Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Fiver: Shows I wish I had time to binge watch

We're supposed to get some snow and lots of cold this weekend. It's perfect binge-watching weather. If the weather cancels my plans, maybe I'll have time for a little Netflix. Here's what I would watch.

I love true crime, and I've heard so much about this one. I need to dive in soon.

I keep seeing people quote and reference this on Facebook and Insta. I adore Kristen Bell.

I love the British, the baking, and their quirks. 
Any of the shows in this realm would entertain me for hours.

This one is for my husband, who is a big fan of the WWE. 
He watched the first season of this show in one day. 
I think I could enjoy it as well, if for no other reason than all the 80s fashion.

I've seen this entire series at least four times, but I'm always down for more.

Have you seen any of these?
Which one would you recommend I start in on first?
And are there shows I'm missing here?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

This & That 1/17

:: We finally got snow last weekend. The first real measurable snow of the winter. And we're supposed to get more this weekend. Blah. I don't hate snow, but I hate when it interferes with plans or makes it tough to travel. I have social plans for Friday and Saturday, and I'm supposed to work on Sunday. I'm hoping the weather doesn't ruin any of that.

:: Is anyone else watching "The Masked Singer"? It's one of my new favorites. It's kind of cheesy and ridiculous, but it's mindless entertainment, and I need more of that in my life.

:: I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't watched Marie Kondo's "Tidying Up." From what I hear, it's a good concept, but I don't have time to reorganize my house, so I'll refrain.

:: Ten-year challenge. Yeah, I did it. Here are my photos. I'm so much happier and healthier now than I was back then.

What's on your mind this week?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Music Monday: Brandi Carlile - "Party of One"

I don't do very well at keeping up with albums, so I hadn't listened to Brandi Carlisle's latest until very recently. And I'm so disappointed I didn't check it out sooner. She's a masterful songwriter and has a way with vocals that express so much.

This song is heartbreaking and the video matches the tone, but Brandi's voice is so beautiful.

She also recorded a version of this song with Sam Smith. I'm not a huge fan of him, but his voice works here.

Oh, and this album is up for a Grammy. I hope Brandi wins.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Sweats: Revving up with Xtreme

I've completed my first week of Xtreme workouts.

Well ... it wasn't exactly a full week, so I don't know if I should claim to have finished a week. On Monday, we did measurements, picked up our shirts, and had a lunch and learn about nutrition and meal planning.

I love the shirts this year. They're really nice material, and I think the saying on them is fun.

On Tuesday, we did assessments and a bit of a circuit. Wednesday is when the real workouts started. Unsurprisingly, I'm pretty sore. Even though I work out regularly, I always have muscle soreness at the beginning of Xtreme.

I'm a little nervous about sharing my pre-program measurements. However, I think transparency is good, and I guess if people want to judge me, they will regardless.

Measurements as of 1/7:
Weight: 164.8
Chest: 40.75
Bicep: 12.25
Waist: 36
Hips: 43
Thigh:  23

Assessment numbers (done in one minute):
Push-ups: 35 (including 10 on my toes)
Wall balls: 25
Jump rope: 106
Burpees: 13

I'm anxious to see if those numbers move at all at the end of eight weeks.


Last week's workouts
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Ran 2 miles + Xtreme Revolution Assessments and Circuit
Wednesday: Xtreme Cardio EMOM
Thursday: Xtreme Stations
Friday: Xtreme Partner Cardio
Saturday: Off

Victory of the week:  I did 13 burpees in a minute during the initial assessment! A few months ago, I was terrified of doing burpees because of my positional vertigo, but my physical therapy helped a ton.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Fiver: Recent podcast finds

I was a true crime junkie for a while. But it got to be too much, so I've been trying to broaden my podcast spectrum a bit. These are my new favorites.

One of my blogger friends, Holly, mentioned this podcast in her Instagram stories. I was instantly hooked. The host is bubbly and upbeat as she offers some advice and motivation for setting goals and juggling life. I really enjoyed her episodes on navigating negativity and burnout. The one about purpose driven action was pretty solid too.

Stories I Tell on Dates
Paul Shirley is a former Iowa State basketball player who spent a few years in the NBA. He's also really funny and a great storyteller. This podcast, which offers stories and anecdotes from Shirley's life, is a companion to his book of the same name, though you don't need to read the book to enjoy the podcast.

The Good Parts with Andy Grammer
Musician Andy Grammer interviews various fellow entertainers and celebrities about their lives, career journeys, and more. The one on NeedToBreathe was really great. I can't wait to listen to the one on Rachel Platten. I looooooove her.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
I feel really late to the game on this podcast, which is hosted by one of the guys from "Queer Eye." He tackles some really interesting subjects, including racism, language, and politics. Recently he talked to author Jodi Piccoult regarding her writing about tough subjects.

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker
I love love love Jen. Her views on faith and being a good human align with mine, and I feel like I could get along with her. She has also interviewed Jodi Piccoult (one of my favorite episodes) and talks a lot about a variety of issues. Recently, she did an episode on overcoming body shaming and it really hit home with me.

What are some of your favorite podcasts? I'm always looking for new ones.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

This & That 1/10

:: I'm still loving my part-time job. My only complaint is that I don't get the schedule until 5-7 days before it starts. I'm a planner, so this drives me a bit crazy. It's hard for me to make plans with friends when I have to wait until what I consider last minute.

:: Speaking of planning, Sean and I have decided to make a bunch of crock pot meals that we can freeze and pull out when we're in need of a good meal. If you have a favorite, leave it in the comments.

:: We started having some wi-fi issues a few weeks ago. All of a sudden our streaming service was buffering more. Sometimes, we couldn't watch more than five seconds of a show at a time before it went out for a few minutes. A friend saw my rant about our woes and gave us some good advice. Through him, we got a router booster, which has helped considerably. I'm not good with technology and internet service, so I'm grateful to have friends with so much knowledge.

:: My brother-in-law is on a cruise right now, and his Instagram is making me jealous. As mild as our weather has been lately, I'd love to be somewhere sunny with a drink in my hand.

:: The Des Moines Arts Festival is just over five months away. We have our first planning meeting -- an all-day workshop -- on Saturday. I'm in my sixth year of volunteering with the event and I'm looking forward to getting going!

What's up with you?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Show Us Your Books: December 2018

Life According to Steph

I fell one book short of my reading goal in 2018 (which was 36 books), so I'm attempting the same number again this year in hopes of better results. That said, I did have some good reads in the final month of the year.

This one made it onto my short list of favorites at the end of 2018. So I clearly enjoyed it. I've already said everything I think I can say about it.

I wanted something lighter after reading "Sadie" and "An American Marriage" back-to-back. I mistakenly thought this would be the answer. It was only slightly lighter. But there were a lot of emotions as I read about how Meredith and Nina learned the hard truth about their mother's youth after their father's death. Anya grew up in war-torn Leningrad and had to do some impossible things and make difficult choices to help her family survive. It was an engrossing read with a satisfying ending.

I read the second book in this sports romance series earlier in the year, so I decided I should go back and read the first to get some background on the characters. It was a mostly light read. I had some issue with the fact that the main male character is a major league baseball player who goes to a small town to hide after he's accused of sexual assault. Even though the allegations are false, and you know that from the beginning, it was very hard to like him and root for him. The female lead is also heavily flawed with a questionable past, so they are a good match, and together they work through their demons.

I ended the year on a very heavy note. This book was hard to get through. It flips between 1986 Chicago and 2015 France. In the former, several of the characters are dealing with the AIDS crisis and LGBT rights. In the latter, a woman is searching for her daughter, who left home and joined a cult years earlier. The stories eventually weave together and make sense in tandem, but it was very hard to keep up with. I was a kid during the AIDS crisis, so I was unaware of all that was involved. I found it very eye-opening and heartbreaking to hear how these patients were regarded and treated. Hopefully things have gotten better than those years. We certainly don't hear much about it.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Music Monday: Stephen Kellogg - "All the Love that Comes To Me"

I feel like I've said it a lot since November 23, but Stephen Kellogg's latest album is one of my favorite things right now. I cannot stop listening to it. And with every listen, I absorb a new lyric in a different way. Stephen is such an amazing storyteller, and I find I relate to many of his lyrics. They're about real life. Normal life.

The song featured today, in particular, has been hitting me lately. I spent much of last year (and really a lot of my adulthood) chasing after the attention and affection of people who didn't want to give it. While doing that, I have probably missed out on fully enjoying the affection and attention already being bestowed upon me. I am trying to be better about this -- about appreciating the people who love me and like me instead of worrying about those who don't.

We'll drink enough alcohol
To raise these kids, worts and all
There wasn't enough alcohol to quench my parents' thirst
And if I end up just like them, 
That's OK, ain't no sin
Where you're goin' and where you been is mostly the same place

I've got all I ever wanted
But I still cannot believe
How I love to take for granted
All the love that comes to me

We got enough words to write
Books to read, fights to fight
There ain't enough thoughts and prayers to satiate my rage
And maybe we are just as bad 
As our worst enemies have said
Or maybe we are just ourselves and having an off day

I've got all I ever wanted
But I still cannot believe
How I love to take for granted
All the love that comes to me
All the love that comes to me
All the love that comes to me

I dig the evening buzz
I hate the morning drag
I dig the evening buzz
And I don't sleep nearly enough
But I'm still happy because 

Cause I've got all I ever wanted
All I'll ever need
And I love to take for granted
All the love that comes to me

You are all that I ever wanted
I still cannot believe
How I love to take for granted
All the love that comes to me
All the love that comes to me
All the love that comes to me

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Sweats: Back in business

I think I'm going to start these posts up again. They really helped me reflect on the work I did and motivated me for a new week. And since I'm starting Xtreme Revolution tomorrow, I figured it's a good time to get back at it.

This photo is from last year's Xtreme Revolution.

Xtreme Revolution is an eight-week program hosted by the wellness team at my office. They offer intense workouts as well as education on nutrition and overall health.

This is my fourth round of the program. It's always a great time of workouts, and I enjoy the feeling of camaraderie with co-workers as we cheer each other on and commiserate about soreness. This year, I've been selected as a co-captain of a team! I'm excited to get going. Sean is doing the program for the first time this year. Send your good vibes his way as I'm not sure he knows what to expect.


Since we're in a new year, I also thought I'd share my fitness goals for the new year. Much like my other goals, I'm going to focus on a few things at a time instead of trying to do too much at once. Here are the first two things I want to tackle.

:: PR my 5K. 
My current best time is 32:34. I got within 30 seconds of that not too long ago. I think I can get there this year.

:: Hold a 3-minute plank.
 I really want to get stronger in my core, as I think it will help me in a lot of areas (including running). Late in 2018, I did a plank challenge at work and held it for 1:45. The winner held it for just over 5 minutes. That's probably too ambitious for me, so I'll aim for 3 minutes for now.

If you have any fitness goals, share them in the comments!

Last week's workouts
Sunday: Off
Monday: Cardio with Colby (25 mins)
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Xtreme Cardio (25 mins)
Thursday: Cardio Barre with Brittany (25 mins)
Friday: Flex Friday (25 mins)
Saturday: 1-mile outdoor run (it was 55 degrees ... I had to get out!)

Victory of the week:  During Flex Friday, I increased my dumbbells from 5 lbs. and 8 lbs. to 8 lbs. and 10 lbs. My arms were definitely feeling it, but it was still manageable. I was pumped! I love the feeling of getting stronger.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Friday Fiver: Things I'm looking forward to in 2019

Last week, I reflected on the year gone by. Now that we're in a new year, it's time to look ahead at all that's coming. I have some big plans for 2019. Here are five of my favorites.

Seeing Dear Evan Hansen
I love Ben Platt, so I'm anxious to see his creation.

Honeymooning at spring training
Yeah, we really delayed this aspect of getting married. 
But we're baseball fans, so what could be better?

A baby
One of my best friends is expecting her first baby in June. 
I'm so excited to meet the little one and become an honorary aunt once again.

A wedding
A close friend is getting married next fall. I can't wait to be a part of her big day. 

Cyclone football
Sean and I got season tickets for Christmas. We're looking forward to spending a few Saturdays at Jack Trice Stadium.

What's on your agenda for 2019?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

This & That 1/3

:: I've never been great at using a planner, but I am juggling a lot and wanted somewhere to keep track of my workouts in addition to appointments. I did some research and shopping, but decided ultimately to start with a cheap-ish one from Target. If I successfully use it all year, maybe I'll upgrade next year.

:: Sean and I have been waiting with great anticipation to find out when the third season of "Stranger Things" would be released. On New Year's Eve, we got the news. July 4. Looks like we know what we'll be doing that day.

:: I'm working on tackling some personal debt so I can broaden some of my life goals. Thank goodness I have a friend who is a certified financial planner. She came over on Tuesday to sit down with me and make a plan. I feel much more optimistic about getting things paid off than I once did.

:: I started my first book of the year (pictured below). I'm aiming to read 36 this year. I think that's an achievable goal with everything else I have going on.

What's on your mind this week?

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