Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 20

After being on the go far too much the past few weeks, I finally got a quiet evening at home last night.  And let me tell you, it was heavenly. I ate pizza, drank one of my favorite beers, snuggled with my kitties (OK, really just one of them ... the other one doesn't cuddle), and caught up on my TV from the week courtesy of Hulu.  Ahhhh.  So perfect.  I think I'm a little bit recharged.

On to this week's collection of favorite posts.  I think you'll find something in here you love.

Sarah at Venus Trapped in Mars spoke directly to my heart and made me get all teary with her letter "To The Curly Haired Little Girls."  I only began to embrace my naturally curly hair in college ... after straightening it through most of my school years because of some of the reasons she cites.  I honestly wish younger me could have read this post.  Maybe I wouldn't have wasted so much time wrapping my hair and trying to get it straight.

I am a sucker for a good smoothie recipe, and this Razzy Navel one at Iowa Girl Eats sounds heavenly.

Helene teamed up with Caroline for a hilarious list of blogging tips.  I laughed all the way through.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the only blogger who isn't planning a wedding, preparing for a baby, DIYing, etc.

As someone who has gone through many cycles of losing friends, I was drawn to The Other Juliette's post entited, "This is what happens when a friendship ends."  She took what can be a really hard time and infused some humor.  Something tells me that's in her nature ... and I like that about her.

I've had body image issues for as long as I can remember. The Frenemy provided a nice reminder to be kinder to myself with "Things To Remember About Your Body."

I recently helped a friend house hunt and just learned my apartment rent is going up next month. The combination of these events has given me house buying fever.  But I know I'm in no position to do that right now.  Maybe a year from now.  It won't be my first home purchase, but I still think I will keep track of L Bee and the Money Tree's post on "10 Things to Do Before You Buy Your First Home."

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my friend, Rena, recently signed with a literary agent and has a book deal for her first published novel.  I'm beyond excited for her, and I like how she shared a small part of her writing journey this week.

That should keep you busy for a little bit.  I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Monthly check-in + virtual 5K recap

I know the journey to getting in better shape is a slow and steady one.  And little goals along the way will help me reach my overall goal.  So I have fitness benchmarks I want to reach each month -- the first two are static and the third will be alternating.  After this month, I'll also be sharing my progress in terms of pounds/inches lost and one non-scale victory. So, let's see how I did this month.

Sixteen workouts a month. = FAIL
I only got twelve official workouts (though there were other days with 10K steps). 

BodyPump once a week. = FAIL
I still haven't gotten back to BodyPump.

Track my food each day on my FitBit app. = FAIL
I was good for about three days and then quit.  I will keep this goal for March.  And until I get it right.

Zero out of three is a hard fail. I need to get to work in March.


Pounds lost = Unsure. I was so focused on getting to the gym this morning that I forgot to step on the scale.

Inches lost = Unknown. I did measure myself in January, but forgot this morning because of the same reason listed above.

Non-scale victory = I completed one race (albeit a Virtual 5K) and am officially registered for three more races this year. And I'm just waiting on another to be open.


My virtual 5K went pretty well though!

Check it out:

I'm pretty happy with that time.  Especially because I did it on a Tuesday afternoon, between work and a meeting.  I probably could have pushed myself more, and I need to start doing that more often.  Pushing myself, that is.

Thanks to the US Road Running - Get Out & Run Program for helping me get a race under my belt for this year.


Last week's workouts
Friday: Zumba party!! (90 minutes)
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: 1 mile on the treadmill + circuit training
Tuesday: 30 minutes of yoga at home
Wednesday: 15 minutes on the treadmill + circuit training
Thursday: Off.

I still have not gotten to BodyPump.  And I took more days off than I intended.  The winter blues are killing my motivation.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Re-introducing myself

I've had this blog for almost five years now.  Can you believe it's been that long?  I've shared a lot of thoughts and tidbits in that time, but I don't know if I've ever done a proper introduction.  I've gained some new readers recently, so I figured this might be a good time for it.

So ... this is me:
Most recent photo of me ... a selfie from last Saturday.

///  I was born and raised in central Iowa.
This is me as a wee one!

/// My high school graduating class consisted of 43 people.
Yep, this is all of us.

/// I have a bachelor's degree in mass communication (journalism) and worked in newspapers for seven years, including two daily publications in Texas and a weekly one back here in Iowa. I met a lot of fascinating people this way.  I even got to interview the current president (please, no politics debate).
Me (several pounds ago) with the current prez during campaign time in 2007.

/// I lived in Texas for four years after college, where I learned a ton about myself and developed a love of Texas Rangers baseball.
Just a few of my Rangers bobbleheads.

/// While I was in Texas, I met a lot of great friends, many of whom I'm still in touch with today.  But I also lost someone. My close friend, Amy, passed away in her sleep at the age of 29, and I had a hard time dealing with her death.
Amy and I were on TV a lot during Rangers games.

/// I moved back to Iowa shortly after Amy's death in 2006, and have been here ever since.  I can't imagine leaving again either.  This is home.  Plus, I love that my parents and brother live just 40 minutes away.
My parents in Memphis for Iowa State's most recent bowl game.

/// I currently have three jobs. My full-time gig is subrogation of workers' compensation claims. (Don't feel bad if you don't know what that is. I didn't know until I took the job either.)  My part-time gigs are circulation clerk at a library and beertender at my favorite local brewery (it really was my favorite even before I started working there).
I'm looking forward to reading this soon.

/// I have written and self-published three novels.  I have a fourth one in the editing stages and a few others in draft mode.
Here's a link to my author page on Amazon.

/// My fandoms include live music (I have attended more than 200 concerts), Texas Rangers baseball, Iowa State Cyclone athletics, and Kansas City Chiefs football.
Cheering on my team on a no-makeup Sunday.

/// While my taste in music is all over the board (pop to country to Broadway tunes), I go weak in the knees for a guy who plays piano and/or guitar.
This guy plays piano AND guitar, so you can guess where he ranks.

/// I live with two cats -- Cleo and Casey.  Notice that I didn't say I own them.  I'm pretty sure they own me at this point. They've been mine for nearly 12 years, and I can't imagine life without them.
Casey and Cleo = my loves.

// I have three tattoos.
This is on the inside of my right ankle.

// One of my life goals is to visit every MLB ballpark.  I've been to 10 (out of 30) so far.
My brother and me at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

/// A few years ago, I discovered running.  I have completed several 5Ks and did my first half-marathon last fall.
All smiles after 13.1.

/// I love craft beer.  I'm part of an organization called Barley's Angels, which promotes craft beer education and appreciation for women.
Mmmm. Beer!
/// My biggest celebrity crush is Jake Gyllenhaal, followed closely by Zach Gilford.
Mmm. Yes.
Is there anything I missed?
Something you want to know about me?
Feel free to ask!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I've been in a funk for the past several days, so I decided to jump in on this link-up in hopes of lifting my spirits a little.

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving ...

... that I've gotten back on track with good eating habits this week. It took some work on Sunday and has required me to be pretty disciplined. But I feel better already, so I clearly needed this. I know it's good for my wallet too.

... that I have backed out of some social plans this weekend. I know. That doesn't sound like something I should love, but ... I need it. I have been so heavily booked the last few weeks. I need some downtime. I'm thinking TV/Netflix and writing.  Maybe some wine or beer.

... that I reached my reading goals for the month, completing five books. I'm not quite sure how I accomplished that with everything going on, but I did. Two of the books were pretty heavy, too, so I'm really proud I got through them. Come back Sunday to see what I read.

... that the Rangers extended Adrian Beltre's contract through 2016. I adore AB, and he's such a joy to watch on the field. And now we're assured another year.  YAY!

... baseball is filling my social media again. I missed it more than I even realized. I hate that I didn't catch many games last season. That might be playing into my longing.

... the mango strawberry Spark I bought last week. I've only had the watermelon and fruit punch before this. But I think the mango strawberry might be my new favorite flavor. Yum!!

So, yeah ... it was hard to find things I'm loving this week.  I think the winter blahs have caught up with me. And we're supposed to get 4-7 inches of snow tonight, so ... I don't see the blues going away anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If I could

If I could*...

... Read only one literary genre, it would be contemporary romance.

... Live anywhere, it would be on a large body of water, preferably with a beach.

... Be anything, I would be someone who chooses music for TV shows.

... Play any instrument, it would be guitar. I can already play the flute, and I tried piano lessons, but didn't stick with it.

... Drink only one thing besides water, it would be beer. I think I could get by without coffee (I have for the last two days), but ... I'd definitely miss beer.

... Meet any celebrity, it would be Mindy Kaling. I think we could be BFFs.

... Relive one day, it would be my 25th birthday. My co-workers fussed over me, and then I went to a Rangers game with Amy where I got to be in the birthday parade on the jumbotron.  The Rangers lost the game, but it was still a great day.

... Watch only one show forever, it would be "Friends." Followed closely by "Friday Night Lights."

... Eat only one kind of food for the rest of my life, it would be pizza.

... Only wear one outfit, I would don jeans and my comfiest tshirt.

... Hug anyone right now, it would be Captain Clueless.  He's a guy I dated for a short time. We're actually still friends.  He gives the best hugs ever.

*I got the idea for this post from Holly who got it from Erin who got it from Katie.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Music Monday: Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers - "You Win"

Every now and then, without rhyme or reason, I'm hit with times of insecurity and self-doubt.  My self esteem takes a blow and I become anxious about things and people and relationships.  I had a brief moment of this over the weekend, and this song came to mind.

"Oh, but I still hear these voices asking,
Who you tryin' to be?
And my reservations kick my ass
'Til I have no idea.
And the doubts come on like drowning
'Til I can't get a breath
My desire, it's like a heart attack that
Never lets me rest."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 19

I don't follow Karen (yet), so her post about "reverse Lent" didn't show up in my reader.  However, it did show up several times on Facebook, and I loved it.  I really really like this idea.

Since my theme for 2015 is all about being braver, I was drawn to the post entitled "How Will You Be Brave Today?"  And, naturally, since it's from Nicole at A Life Less Bullshit, it's fantastic.

I thought my neck was going to hurt from nodding so much as I read Steph's, "I Know This Much Is True."  A thousand times, yes!

Mondays tend to get a lot of flack, so I love that Sarah is trying to bring some sunshine to the day with an Instagram tag

Friday, February 20, 2015

Choosing races

This is totally me.
I have a goal of doing ten races this year.  How many have I done so far?  One.  And that was the Virtual 5K I mentioned a few weeks ago (and will recap next week).  But it's the second month of the year, so I really need to get moving on that running goal.

I've been checking out the race web site to see what races are out there.

Here are the ones I'm registered for so far:
- Leprechaun Chase 10K (March 14)
- Beaverdale Spring 5K (April 11)
- Run to Exile 5K (June 13)

I also plan to register for the Dam to Dam Half Marathon (May 30), but registration won't be open until next month.

I suppose that's not too bad.  I'll essentially have five races under my belt by the end of June.  That gives me five months to get the other five races in.  I think I can do it.

For me, the most important factor in choosing races is location.  I would love to travel somewhere for a race someday (and will), but right now, with my crazy schedule, they need to be here in the metro.

The second most important factor is the cost.  I try to stay in the $30-$40 range, although I accept the higher cost for the half-marathon.  Fortunately, this year, my Run to Exile registration was only $1 because I signed up right when the entries opened.  That will give me a little more money in my race budget.

The third most important factor is route.  The main reason I did the Hot Chocolate 5K last fall was because I wanted to run on the Women of Achievement Bridge downtown ... and I did!  Trekking through the Jolly Holiday Lights displays was also what drew me to the Holiday Fun Run.  I like checking out different parts of the city on foot, and races feel like a good way to do that.  I'm pretty excited about the Beaverdale race and Dam to Dam this year.

Fellow runners -- how do you choose your races?  What are your top three factors?


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: 2 miles on the treadmill + circuit training
Tuesday: Virtual 5K!! (Come back on Feb. 27 to find out more about that)
Wednesday: 2 miles on the treadmill + Dirty 30
Thursday: Off

This week wasn't a very good one.  Too many "off" days.  Next week will be better.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stuff & Things 2/19

Usually, tax time is a breeze for me but this year I've hit a big of a snag. My employer for one of my part-time jobs only took 8 cents out for federal last year. That's not a typo.  Eight cents.  In six months' time. I don't know if it's my error or theirs. I've tried contacting the person in charge of our tax paperwork, but she has not responded. I'm more than a little aggravated right now.


I almost always watch the Oscars, but I don't know if I will this year.  For one, I have a staff meeting for one of my jobs that evening.  Secondly, I haven't seen very many of the movies.  Then again, that's nothing new.  I'm sure I'll end up having it on and reading Twitter snark.


Pitchers and catchers report to spring training tomorrow, which means my love is coming back into my life.  That's right, I'm talking about baseball.  More specifically, Texas Rangers baseball.  I have missed those boys something fierce. Especially the two playing around in this gif (the other two are gone now anyway, sniff sniff).


That said, with everything going on, I'm thinking I will have to give up my baseball blog this season.  I couldn't keep up with it last year and I had less going on at that time.  Baseball still has my heart, and I'll still be catching Rangers games when I can, but I don't feel like I have the time to devote to writing about them.  I'm sad about it, but I think it's time.


I'm in week three of my altered work schedule at my full-time job.  On Thursdays, I work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. so I can head to my brewery job and be the opener.  It makes for a long day, but I actually like it.  The traffic is lighter on my way to the office, and I get so much done in that first hour before everyone comes in and the phones start ringing.


There's a new subscription box service launching tomorrow, and it's one I'm really excited about.  Bookworm Box!!!  It will include two best-selling books signed by the authors and other swag.  All of the money goes to charity.  You can check out their Facebook page for more details and how to sign up. 


The other day a friend of mine stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and saw his husband in line to pay, so he walked up and said, "hey sexy."  I'm sure you see where this is going, but ... that wasn't his husband.  My friend was mortified and flustered and I think the other guy was super confused.  And I laugh just thinking about how that scene played out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I have yet to get into Snapchat (not really even interested), but I do love my Instagram.  Sometimes I forget to take photos, and sometimes I have nothing worth photographing in front of me, but I do enjoy it.  It's a fun way to get a glimpse into someone's daily life.  Here's what you might have seen on mine lately.

This is my kind of blind date. You have no idea what book it is until you unwrap it. I like it!

I'm obsessed with my new lip color ... and this shirt from my brewery job.

If you don't have time to read the whole thing, this exists.  Oh, and the last person to check it out from my library was a nun.

I read Jane Austen for the first time. Check back in a few weeks for my thoughts.

I finally hung up the print I bought from Two Thirds Hazel's shop.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm not sorry

The Frenemy has been doing a series with the above-mentioned theme.  Yep. She's letting everyone know what she is unapologetic about.  I've enjoyed it so much, I decided to share my own list.

I'm not sorry ...

... that I hid your racist/homophobic/hateful post from my feed.  While it's tempting to try and set you straight, I know it's pointless.  I won't change your mind or behavior.  And it would only cause me more frustration.  I'll just hide you from my newsfeed instead.  Perhaps indefinitely.  I don't need that crap in my life.

... that I think cats are awesome. Yes, I like dogs, too, but cats are just more suitable to my life and lifestyle. I love their independence.  I think I might be part cat.

... that I don't follow the same dating/relationship rules you do. I have my standards, and you have yours. Deal with it.

... that I have feelings and emotions. Sometimes I can keep them in.  Sometimes I can't.  If you have a problem with that, well ... then it's your problem.  I like the fact that I have a heart.

... that I enjoy reading contemporary romantic fiction. I'm particularly drawn to series with compelling characters and locations (see Melanie Shawn's works).  Yes, they are predictable and sometimes they are steamy.  So what?  I like them anyway.  Please don't call them trashy or chick lit. I find both terms insulting.

... for posting about my workouts.  I don't post them to brag, although when I post, I usually am pretty proud of myself.  But I'm posting it to stay accountable and share something that's important to me.  If those posts bother you, well ... that's your problem, not mine.

... that I need alone time.  This doesn't mean I hate people or am anti-social.  Quite the opposite.  I do enjoy being social and spending time with fun individuals.  But I know my limits. I know what I need to function, and alone time is one of those needs.

What are you not sorry for?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Music Monday: "Honey I'm Good" - Andy Grammer

Andy Grammer continues to completely steal my heart.  I liked this song from the first time I heard it, but the video just makes it even better.  I love all the real couples featured.  Love.

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