Monday, March 31, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Some of you may have heard about the fatal shooting that occurred onboard the USS Mahan (DDG 72) last week.  I was out at sea, and it was tough news to hear, especially with friends onboard.

Please pray for MA2 Mayo's family, as that brave Sailor lost his life protecting another shipmate.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gulp. Diet Time.

So it is about that time.  The time to find a wedding dress.  The time to slim down.  The time to just get healthy for me.  Yep.  It is that time. 

I saw that some folks on the ship were drastically losing weight, and I had to ask how they did it. 

Turns out they started Medifast.  I decided, why not?  I'll give it a try.

I am so glad I did! 

All throughout my life, I have been thin.  Like athletic thin.  After I was diagnosed with two different diseases, the medications have made me gain about 25-30 pounds.  :(  Not the end of the world, but still disappointing.

I'll run.  I'll take spin.  I'll work out all the time, and never lose a pound.

So I started this diet, and it has been awesome!  I have lost over 10 pounds in 4 weeks!  I go to the center tomorrow to weigh in and get measured.  I can't wait to see how I am progressing.

Stay posted for more updates!!! 

Friday, March 21, 2014


Yes folks, that is  the number of hours that I have been at work this week.  Holy moly, and it has only been 4 days:( 

I did a lot, accomplished a lot, and am looking forward to what this next month has in store.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Black 47 - Reels

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Again, one of my favorite bands.  Enjoy your day!

Chicago St. Patrick's Day Traditions

St. Patrick's day is always a big deal in my family, and there are many traditions in Chicago!

When I was a kid, we would always march in the annual South Side Irish Parade.  I have to say, I have never been to the parade down town:(  Mostly because I had a parade in my own backyard! 

We would go to the early Mass, then we would go home, so we could prep all of the food for the parade. My mom would stay at home to cook, and I would go to the parade with my dad.  He would march with the Knights of Columbus, and then we would drive home, and try to beat our guests to the house.  We would have about 100+ people over-beer, corned beef and roast beef sandwiches, music, and laughter all around.  I love those memories.

I can't wait to move back to Chicago, so I can continue to make new memories with my friends and family!

Here are some pics from more recent St. Patrick's day and old!

My cousin via
Megan and Ellen 2009 North Side

Megan, Tara, Ellen, Kim  Forever Green 2010
Megan and Meghan Forever Green 2011

Meghan, Ellen, Megan Forever Green 2011

Megan and Katie Newport 2012

Me.  Newport 2012
Colleen and Megan. DropKick Murphys, 2010 Washington DC St. Pattys Day

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Prayer for St. Patrick

God our Father,
you sent Saint Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland.
By the help of his prayers,
may all Christians proclaim your love to all men.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just another day at the office....

So some of you may know that I am in the Navy.  I am a Weapons Officer on a Destroyer, and recently I had to requalify on some weapons.

Here is a picture of me in action on a 50 caliber machine gun!

Me.  So cool!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


A lot has happened in the last two weeks, and the one word that keeps coming to mind is thankful.

I am thankful for my friends.  I met an amazing group of people at University of Illinois, and throughout my Naval career thus far.  These are people that I can pick up the phone at any time, and they are there for me.  They can watch basketball with me, drink with me, pray with me, cry with me-you name it.

I am thankful that I  met my friend Reid, and his wife Sarah in college.  I am also so happy that we have a great group of people that will help Sarah through this great loss.  We love you!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

High Flight

This week has been a rough week for my ILLINI WGNB Family.

We lost a great friend last week, and I have been praying non stop for Sarah and her famliy.

If you are able to donate to the fund set up for her kids, please do.  Thank you, and continue to pray for her, her kids, and the family.  You can read a story about how amazing she is here. 

 Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air....

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee

Friday, March 7, 2014

Port Call Series: Muscat, Oman

When I was in Muscat, I was fortunate to have a female liberty buddy, a nurse TAD to FARRAGUT. 
We went to the Hotel Intercontinental the first day, and had a spa day.  We explored the souk, which is     known as the Muttrah Souk-one of the oldest in the world.  I bought some Pashminas, as well as Frankinsense and Myrrh.  Frankincense is from Oman, so we saw it everywhere.  We ate dinner at Mumtaz Mahal, a wonderful Indian restaurant.  The food was incredible, but the snake coffee after dinner was the real treat!

The second day I relaxed onboard the ship and caught up with some work. I went out with all of the Department Heads for some lunch, followed by a formal dinner at a Chinese Restaurant.  Combined Task Force 151 was embarked onboard USS Farragut, so we were formally invited to a dinner
with our Pakistani counterparts, as well as their Ambassador.  It was a nice meal, with good coversation, off the ship!

The last day, I went to the "Grand Canyon" of Oman.  It was about 3 hours away from Muscat, with a drive through the desert.  We saw the canyon, ate a picnic lunch, and were pestered by many mountain goats.
After the tour, we went to the souk again, and received a full demonstration on how Pashminas are made from goats in Kashmir.  It was a very interesting display, and I caved and bought two more.  After the
souk, we went to Trader Vics to grab our "last meal".  I had a great filet, and our seats were amazing.  Sea side at the Intercontinental, can't beat it!

Souq.  Amazing lights!

Spice Markets. My favorite!

Mumtaz.  Great entertainment.

Amazing Coffee!

My roomie and me!


Goats.  Everywhere.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Party

I went home a few weeks ago to look at venues, and have a party to celebrate with family and friends.  Since I am a "geobachelor" in Military speak, I don't live in Chicago with my fiance.  Living in Florida has its perks, but I'd rather be at home!

I had so much fun at home.  It was a whirlwind weekend.  I flew home on Valentine's Day, and to celebrate, we had take out, wine, and I was hoping one of his gifts would arrive on time.  The chocolate covered strawberries arrived the next day:(  Mother nature had other ideas for on time delivery, but you can't cry over spilled milk!

Saturday we got up early, and met with our wedding planner.  We looked at a lot of amazing venues, and we picked one this past week!  After a long day planning, we met up with family and friends at Curragh, in Chicago.  I think the party was a taste of how the wedding will be.  Quick, fun, and end the night exhausted and hungry!

Sunday we had brunch with one of my besties, and then I took off to Florida.  Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled.  Some may say fortunately...but I really needed to get back to work!  We had a lot going on, and I missed being with my Sailors fixing some very important gear.

Enjoy some pics from the party and the weekend!
High School ladies.  MHS for life!

2 out of 4 bridesmaids.  Love all my ladies!

4 of 5 kids.  Love my family!  

Me n my guy!

Better late than never!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Port Call Series: Dubai, UAE

This is a continuation of my Port Call Series.  I went to Dubai twice on my last deployment, and I have to say, it is my favorite port!

Half way through our deployment, after 48 days of operating out at sea, we pulled into Jebel Ali, the port of Dubai.  It was a much needed break!

First Trip to Dubai!  
I went to both "big" malls this week, Mall of the Emirates (complete
with indoor ski slope), as well as the Dubai Mall (second in size to the
Mall of America).  Both malls have a diverse selection of stores, and it
is downright overwhelming! The malls were open 24-7, while celebrating
the holiday, Eid.  The Dubai Mall is attached to the Burj Khalifa, the
tallest building in the world.  It was pretty incredible being on the
124th floor of the building! I went to the top of the Burj after a fun
filled day at Wild Wadi Water park (next to the Burj al Arab, 7 star,
luxury hotel that looks like a Sailboat). I felt like a big kid going on
water slides, which is probably why a few of the little kids in the park
asked our group to go on the rafts with them!  I didn't do much other
than shop a little and go to the park, because we worked half days. It
is still fairly hot here, 93 degrees every day, so any water park or the
beach was on most folks' agenda!

Second Trip to Dubai!

The crew just spent this past week in port unwinding after a long period at sea.
 I was able to visit another resort/water park, Atlantis, where you
 actually go through shark tanks on the water slides.  Pretty cool seeing
 the sharks and other fish through the tanks on your way down!  A lot of
 fun, even in February!  My liberty group and I went to an old favorite
 spot of ours, the Irish Village, after the water park to grab a sandwich
 and some Magners.  We realized the Irish pub was on the premesis of the
 Dubai Open.  We purchased some tickets, and watched tennis for a few
 hours.  Most of us had never seen a live professional tennis match
 before, so it was a great experience.  I ventured to the Gold Souk
 yesterday with my fellow DHs, followed by a farewell dinner with CTF
 151.  We will be saying goodbye to our Pakistani ship riders soon-which
  means we get to go home!
 I don't have any photos, as photography is frowned upon in Middle Eastern culture.  You can upset some folks if you take pics of them, so I always just kept my camera at home (aka on the ship).  I loved this port call, and I have been here about half a dozen times.  I enjoy the food, the culture, the shopping!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Celtic Woman - Orinoco Flow

I have been to three Celtic Woman concerts, and I just love their music!  I can't wait to go back to one soon!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How To: 3 Tips to Save $ on Groceries!

I am fairly certain that most people want to save $ on groceries, but either don't know how, or don't have the time.

I definitely do not have time, due to my long working hours, but I find little ways to save money here and there!

1. Plan out weekly meals.  I make a plan of all of my meals, plus snacks.  This way I am not wasting time in the grocery store, or not using food before it goes bad.

2. Plan those meals around the weekly circular if you can.  That way, if you know what is on sale, you can pick from your menu stash!

3. Use coupons when feasible.  I usually never use coupons, but if I find some for stuff I use, I will use them on my shopping trips.

How do you save money on groceries?