Monday, July 28, 2014

Music Monday: Delta Rae - "If I Loved You"

You meet a guy. He's amazing and wonderful and he really likes you.  He's everything anyone could ever want.

The only problem?

You don't want him.

I've been in this position so many times.  I've gone on a few dates and known a handful of guys with whom the interest was incredibly lopsided. They were so clearly interested, but I ... just wasn't.

I've been criticized so many times for letting these guys go.  And I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes wonder if I'd made a mistake.  Or how my life might be different now if I'd held on.  But when I get right to it, I know there was no mistake made.  If I'm not feeling it, it's best to let him go.  I deserve better.  And so does he.

I can't be the only one who's been there.  Obviously I'm not.  Delta Rae has a song about it.  This girl's vocals are amazing and the tune just reminds me of all the situations and people I alluded to above.

By the way, Delta Rae's entire catalog is incredible.  I discovered them earlier this month and I feel like I've been missing out for a long time. If you get a chance to see them live -- GO!

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's about to get (half) crazy over here

I looked at a calendar recently and realized the half-marathon for which I'm registered is just a few months away.  Seriously, where has the summer gone?  I'm not ready to start thinking about October.  But I have to.  In little more than 12 weeks, I will be striding through 13.1 miles.

Twelve weeks.
Eighty-four days.

So I've been trying to do more running the last few weeks -- especially morning running since my body still prefers afternoon/evening workouts.  I start a more structured training regimen next week. In the meantime, I've been researching and polling people like crazy.  I will take all the advice, tips, and suggestions I can get.

Finding a training plan I liked wasn't as easy as I thought.  I did several google searches, scoured several running message boards, and even asked a few friends about their schedules.  I wasn't keen on running five times a week and while I'm sure the tempo runs vs. easy runs are important, I decided a lot of it was too technical.  Just give me a day and a distance and let me go.  I also didn't want to completely give up a few of my other workouts I've come to enjoy.  So, I finally found a plan that is four runs a week with one long run each Sunday, one rest day (Monday), and two rest/cross-training days.  Perfect!!!

Sometimes I still can't believe I'm this into running.  But 13.1, here I come!


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off 
Sunday: Off
Monday: Spin class
Tuesday: 3-mile run with running club in 100-degree heat index
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 30-day Shred (this might become my go-to on super busy days when I just don't have a lot of time)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A music and friends anniversary

Ten years ago, I ...

... went on a crazy three-city --- Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio --- concert road trip (although I'd go on crazier ones after this).

... spent a weekend with people I only knew from online.

... saw John Mayer live for the third, fourth, and fifth times. (The number is now 12.)

... saw Maroon 5 for the first, second, and third times. (They were the opener or featured guest. I'm not really sure how it was phrased, but they only had one album out at the time.)

... learned about the wonder of premium fan club seating.

... heard John Mayer refer to my group of friends as his "Sex and the City girls."  I still don't really know what he meant by that, but clearly he'd started recognizing all of us during soundcheck (another long gone fan club perk).

... saw nothing wrong with leaving San Antonio at 3 a.m. (after a long day of concert-ing), arriving home at 7 a.m., showering, and going straight to work for ten hours.

... enjoyed the people and concerts so much that two weeks later, I agreed to drive 20 hours round-trip with them to see the show in Birmingham, AL.

... had no idea that most of the people I met that weekend would still be in my life years later and with hundreds of miles between us.

There's so much I could say about these people and the weekend of fun we shared.  But I'll let a few pictures do that for me.

I think I was 4th row at this show. He's totally looking at me.

It's cliche to say a musician changed your life, but it's the truth in my case.  I cannot imagine who I'd be without John Mayer's music or the people he brought into my world.  I'm so grateful.

Happy anniversary, Mayer friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Let's cut to the chase

I'm not witty enough for any preamble this week, so we're just going to get right to it.

Vodka and Soda

>> I've never been the kind of girl who gets checked out or noticed. But I definitely got a nod and smile from a random guy at a stoplight last night. Right after I'd finished running three miles in a 100-degree index. Apparently sweaty and red-faced works for some guys.

>> After the above-mentioned run, I definitely went and had dinner (and beer) with a friend.  Because she had a really crappy day.  And I rarely say "no" to beer.

>> I am going to a concert tonight.  Sure, it's Wednesday, and I have to get up at 5ish every day this week.

>> As much as I love my life and my friends right now, I am in need of some alone time. I have already declared Saturday evening to be a solo movie night.  I'm picking out some flicks with eye candy and very little thinking and being a hermit for the night.

>>  I feel like I'm fully back in a workout routine (even after just two days). But I have a hard time with rest days.  I feel like I need to keep moving or I'll stop.

>> I listened to Matt Nathanson's "Headphones" on repeat for an hour the other day at work.  Partially because I love love love the song and partially because I was so busy with my work that I couldn't bother to change the song on my iPod.

>> I really really miss Zumba.  I'm trying to find a way to fit a class with my favorite instructors into my schedule, but it's really tough these days.

>> Unexpected perk of my library job: there are some hot dads who come in with their kids. You know I love the eye candy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birthday in review

Remember last week when I talked about how much I love my birthday?  It seems I'm not the only one who makes the celebration last longer than one day.  It's nice to know I'm in good company. 

Now, let's check out how I celebrated.

I kicked it off on Tuesday with lunch and this delicious dessert that's making a second appearance on this blog.  Because ... it was yummy and pretty.

On Wednesday, I went to Zoo Brew with some lovely people.  Not sure what that is?  Well, there were craft beer samples and live music at the zoo.  And no kids. Except for my group of friends who kind of turned into kids during this train ride. Best $2.25 I've ever spent.
I feel like this is almost as good as the infamous Ellen selfie from the Oscars.

After the zoo, we spontaneously decided to continue the fun at Hessen Haus, a local restaurant that specializes in German fare.  And das boot -- a glass boot filled with two liters of beer.  There have to be at least three people at your table to order a boot, and there are specific rules to follow.  It's so fun!

Apparently, good beer makes me give flirty eyes. Who knew?

Thursday, I took a break from celebrating and just worked 12 hours.  No big deal.

On Friday, I got my hair done (thanks to a generous birthday gift from my brother) and then headed to downtown Des Moines for a double-dose of Matt Nathanson.  I'd won tickets to a special afternoon acoustic session, which was the perfect warm-up for the evening concert.

Doesn't everyone hang out with Matt Nathanson on a Friday afternoon?  They should.

When you're as cool as Matt, you can wear your own tour shirt.

Saturday, I had brunch with two good friends at La Mie, a place I've been dying to try for a little while.  I also had to stop at The Cheese Shop and buy a few things because ... cheese.

That evening, my parents, my brother, and my parents' best friends (who are basically my surrogate aunt and uncle) came down for dinner and drinks.  Our food at Cooper's on 5th was amazing.  I had mac and cheese with gouda and blackened chicken.  I planned to only eat half and save the rest for lunch, but ... I couldn't not eat it all. It was so good.  With our bellies full, we headed to my second home, 515 Brewing Company, for some beers.  I got to try their newest two additions -- Daywalker (a ginger pale ale) and Das Heimlich (a saison made with chokeberries).  Huge thumbs up on both of those.

The only photo I took on Saturday night was of my beer (Das Heimlich). Go figure.

Sunday (my actual birthday) was a lot more chill.  I had a Skype chat with my best friend, worked at my library job (where they surprised me with cupcakes), and just plain relaxed.  After a busy several days, I was completely OK with this.

This wasn't the birthday I had planned a few months ago, but I can't imagine a better week/weekend.  I had so much fun with some of the most amazing people.  I felt so loved and blessed.  That's all I really wanted for my birthday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Monday: Matt Nathanson - "Headphones"

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know I saw Matt Nathanson live on Friday.  Twice. 

I absolutely adore this man.  I discovered his music somewhere around 2004, thanks to some awesome music-loving friends.  I finally saw him live in July 2008 and have made sure to see him every time he's been close since then (six times).

Even though he's gotten quite a bit of radio time, he continues to make music that says something.  His songs evoke feelings and thoughts I didn't know I had or didn't know how to describe.  His latest single, "Headphones," is no exception.  I absolutely relate to it -- listening to music is an awesome way to break away from the world and really focus on myself.  And I've definitely listened to songs that have made me feel invincible ... like I can do anything.

Thanks for another great song, Matty.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Things I've changed my mind about

In case you don't know me, I can be kind of stubborn.  I like what I like.  I dislike what I dislike.

However, there have been a few times people have convinced me to try something I didn't like and I had to eat my words.  Never say never, I guess.  That's been the lesson I learned.

Here are just a few things I've changed my mind about over time.

When I first started drinking, I only drank things that didn't taste like beer.  I tried beer a few times but couldn't stand the taste, so I stuck to things like Zima (does that still exist?), Smirnoff Ice, and anything fruity.  Eventually, I got used to beer and drank the light domestics.  But then I was introduced to craft beer and I swear I'm never going back to my old ways.

Salad dressing 
When I was younger (teen years and before), I ate my salads dry.  Not kidding.  My parents used to tease me because I would literally just eat the lettuce with some croutons.  I don't remember when I first tried dressing, but I've never looked back.  Ranch is my favorite, but creamy parmesan and some Italian dressings are right behind.

For many years, I was the girl who said, "if you see me running, you should call the cops because someone's probably chasing me."  Now, I hope no one calls the cops when they see me running.  Unless it's because they know a hot cop they want to set me up with (hey-o!).  These days, I run for fun.  OK, so maybe I'm still not to the point where I enjoy running WHILE I'm running, but when I'm done, I feel amazing!

My parents are Cubs fans, so I remember lots of weekend afternoons with baseball on TV.  Vaguely at least.  I used to think baseball was incredibly boring.  In fact, I thought it was sleep-inducing. I'd often fall asleep to the sounds of Cubs broadcasters.  And I'm not a napper.  When I was living in Texas, I went to a few Rangers games and almost instantly fell in love --- with the team and the sport.  I'm still enamored with both even though this is a very rough season for my favorite boys.

Harry Potter
I really didn't understand why so many of my friends were gaga over these books about a boy who's a wizard.  I just couldn't grasp the appeal.  I finally gave in when I had a ton of driving to do and listened to the first book.  OK, it was pretty good.  The second book really reeled me in.  I've now read the third and fourth book and ... now I have to finish the series.  Eventually. 

Tell me about something you changed your mind about.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I confess, I love birthdays

I love birthdays. Especially mine.  I put a lot of emphasis on what I'm doing on my day of birth and the days surrounding it.  That's right, I celebrate birthday weeks, and I won't apologize for it.

Some people might think that's narcissistic.  They might be right.

Some people think we should celebrate our mothers on our birthdays (because they did all the work to get us here).  They might be right.

I just don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating another year on the planet.  Another trip around the sun. Another year of surviving all of life's ups and downs and growing (hopefully) in wisdom.

I turn 34 this coming Sunday, and the celebrations have already begun.   They won't end for a while either. 

That said, let's get to everyone's favorite Wednesday link-up.

Vodka and Soda

>> A friend took me out to lunch yesterday for a combined birthday and "thanks for staying at the job I referred you to long enough for me to get a bonus" celebration.  We probably indulged too much, but I don't care.
This complimentary dessert was so worth it.

>> Our waiter at the above-mentioned lunch was pretty nice to look at.  I had to avoid doing this:

>> I'm amused when professional twitter accounts post an inappropriate or incorrect tweet.

>> I am terrible at dealing with my mail. It just piles up on the counter even though more than half of it should immediately go in the trash.  After a few weeks, I hate myself for not sorting it sooner, but I haven't broken the habit yet.

>> Bike shorts are great for saving your butt. But they feel like you're wearing a diaper.

>> I'm equally annoyed and impressed by that guy who started a Kickstarter for potato salad and raised more than $50K.  Maybe I should start one for my life.

>> I have such a love-hate relationship with online dating. Yes, I'm back at it.  Every time I take down a profile, I swear I'm done, but I always end up going back.  And while I've had some good dates and met good people, I'm still not convinced it's the best method for me.

>> I'm kind of obsessed with this parody of/response to "Rude" by Magic.

What are your confessions this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weekend in review: Relaxing, riding, pouring, and painting

I like to think I'm a typical Midwesterner in that I fill up my social schedule in the summer to make up for winter when there are fewer options and more weather interruptions.  Maybe that's not just a Midwestern thing. Maybe it's not a thing at all.  Except that it seems to be the case for me.

This past weekend was a prime example of my life lately.

Well, Friday started quiet enough.  Some tentative plans for the evening fell through and for a while, I was tempted to find new ones.  But I decided a quiet night at home might be the best plans, so that's what I did.

I drank a wheat beer out of the proper glass (which I learned about a few weeks ago at a glassware tasting event ... I should write about that at some point) and watched some mindless movies I picked up at Redbox. It was really nice to have some solitude for the first time in what felt like ages.

Saturday morning, I loaded my bike into my car and headed downtown to meet up with some work friends for the Pedal for Paws bike ride, which benefited the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Above is my team.
Below is the route we rode.

Or at least the route we were supposed to ride. We took a shortcut after the #2 point on that map.  But it definitely wasn't easy by any means.  I thought the hills might kill me.  I had to leave my team after that because I was on a stricter time table.  I finished the route solo although I did make some friends along the way, as I often do.

I made it back to my car a little before 2 p.m., which is approximately three hours after we started our ride.  Not too shabby for a 20-mile trek that included two pit stops.

Saturday evening, I volunteered to pour beer at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent for a few hours at Summerfest in Ankeny (which is just a little bit north of Des Moines).
Photo snagged from the Iowa Craft Beer Tent facebook page, so you could get the full effect.

It's legit a trailer with 24 taps -- at least on this night that's what it had, at the Iowa State Fair, I'm pretty sure that number is doubled.  And it's all Iowa beer.  This is one of my favorite things.  It's where I spend most of my time when I go to the Iowa State Fair and any other event where they appear.  The guy who runs it is super nice, and it was fun pouring craft beers and helping people find beers they might like. (Spoiler alert: No one hated the beers I suggested to them.)

After my volunteer shift, I hung out with friends and listened to the band playing at the festival.  Of course, I enjoyed a few complimentary brews as well as some fair foods.

Sunday, I woke up bright and early to make the 35-mile drive to help some friends paint their house and garage.

These are relatively new friends, but I like them enough that I was willing to give up what would have been my one free day this month to help them make some progress on their first home. Although I don't like them enough to climb up on that scaffolding.  I only painted areas I could reach with both feet on the ground.

Needless to say, I am a bit exhausted after the last few days.  Next weekend should be plenty busy as well since it's my birthday weekend!  There's a lot in the works and a few pieces that still need to fall into place, but it will be a great few days.

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