Monday, April 21, 2014

Music Monday: Pentatonix - "'N Sync Medley"

If you know me well at all, you know I have a longtime love of boybands.  And 'N Sync is number one in that book for me.

I also love acapella music and Pentatonix is among the best in that genre.

So imagine when the two combine?


Heaven.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Early bird gets the workout

[source]
This was another ridiculously busy week for me, which meant very little time for workouts.  Next week is not looking any better.  In fact, it's looking worse.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  I have some really fun things planned, but they are going to take up literally every evening next week.  So ... when exactly am I going to work out?

Well ... I think I'm going to have to try and be a morning exerciser.

Yep.

A friend of mine wants to try and get moving in the morning too, so we're going to try it together.  Get up at 5 a.m. and be at the gym by 5:15-5:30.  Should give us time to work out and get cleaned up in plenty of time for work at 8 a.m.

I don't know how well this is going to work for me.  Right now, getting up at 6:45 a.m. is a challenge. This likely means some earlier bedtimes and missing the end (or all) of a few Rangers games.

But ... I'm anxious to at least give it a try.  It'll be nice to start the day with a workout.  I'm anxious to see how it changes how I feel throughout the day.

Anyone have any tips for becoming a morning exerciser?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: 3-mile run (35 mins.) + 0.75-mile walk (25 mins.)
Sunday: Off.
Monday: Yoga at home (30 mins.)
Tuesday: Baseball Watching Workout during the Rangers game (probably 45 mins. of activity)
Wednesday: Baseball Watching Workout during the Rangers game (probably 45 mins. of activity)
Thursday: BodyPump (60 mins.)


+++++

[source]
 Total as of 4/18
529 minutes

+++++

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Humpday Confessions

I decided it was time for another round of confessions. Although, honestly, I've been making a lot of them lately.  It's just more fun when it's a link-up.  Especially this link-up.

Link-up here ... if you can stop looking at Ryan's face.


- I get road rage. Passive-aggressively.
Bad, inattentive, and inconsiderate drivers make me rage.  I would never actually yell at another driver. At least not that they could hear me. And I even keep my obscene gestures below the steering wheel so they can't see it. 

- I don't like massages.
I really wish I liked them.  They sound amazing and everyone always gushes over them, but I just can't. I had one once. I was so tense the entire time that I was just in pain afterwards.  I guess I just don't like the idea of strangers touching me.

- My cuticles are a mess.
I'm not very good at taking care of my fingernails.  And when they get dry, I pick at them.  At the moment, they look terrible.  Just terrible.

- I rarely put my laundry away right after it comes out of the dryer.
In fact, I should probably go ahead and just say I never do that.  Sometimes it's hours later.  Sometimes it's a few days later.  Sorry Mom.

- I prefer a lean and toned guy over one with a lot of muscles.
I'm not saying I don't enjoy the goods Chris Hemsworth is showing off below.  But I'm far more attracted to his brother Liam's build.

Which brother is hotter?  Do we really even care?


How's that for an ending to this confession session?
Whew. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

To be an adult or to enjoy life?

Over the weekend, I went to a local music festival with a friend.  I love live music and my company for the night was one of my closest friends.  But my main draw to the festival --without a doubt -- was this guy:



Both of these photos are from Summerfest in 2011.

Oh yeah, he's appeared on this blog a few times.  Probably more than a few.  I'm not going to do a blog post keyword search to find out.  I don't think I'll like the results.

It was a great showcase performance for him. Lots of his family and friends were there and I saw a few new people in the crowd who seemed to enjoy the show as well.  And why wouldn't they?  Listen to this ...


After Saturday's show, I had a chance to talk to Tim as well as a few members of his family.  In conversation with his mother, I told her how many of his shows I've been to (at the time I said 17 or 18, but when I came home and checked, it's actually 21), and she told me I've definitely been to more shows than her.  On Sunday, Tim confirmed that I hold the title of most shows.

I might like him a little bit.  Or a lot.  And I'm not ashamed of that.  He's a very talented musician and an even nicer guy.  I want all the success in the world for him because good things should happen for good people.  And he's a good person.

This summer, he'll be opening some shows for REO Speedwagon and Chicago.  As I perused the tour dates, I was a little sad that none of the shows were in Iowa.  The closest one is Kansas City.  On a Thursday. That's a 3.5-hour drive.  Probably not the best idea.  I mentioned the tour dates to some of my friends in Texas and surrounding areas, since he'll be hitting two Texas cities.

Throughout the day on Monday, when I needed a break from my work, I kept looking at the tour dates.  And I realized Tim would be in Houston the same weekend the Rangers would be playing a series there.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was like the Universe was speaking to me. Calling to me.  Begging me to take my first vacation in more than two years.  Teasing me with an opportunity to see not only one of my favorite musicians but also the baseball team that has stolen my heart.  And did I mention I haven't seen them play live since the start of 2012?  Because I haven't.

I didn't immediately jump on airfare web sites.  I couldn't.  It was tempting, but I knew I couldn't.

I am not a spontaneous person.  I can probably count on one hand the number of spontaneous things I've done.  Ironically, one of the last ones involved a trip to Houston to see Tim Stop as well.  I may have a problem.  But it's not one I want to fix.  Ha ha ha.

Seriously though. Booking this trip would not be a smart idea for me right now.  I could probably do the whole weekend for about $300, but ... I still shouldn't even be entertaining it.  With so many things up in the air for me financially (namely the sale of my house and some debt I'm trying to pay off), I just don't think it's responsible for me to do this.

Sigh.

Honestly ... what would you do if you were in my shoes?  How do you choose between the fun option and the smart option?



Monday, April 14, 2014

Music Monday: Sara Bareilles - "I Choose You"

In case you were unaware, I absolutely adore Sara Bareilles.  Her voice, her melodies, her lyrics ... and her facebook and twitter posts.  She's just awesome.  Even when she writes songs I can't relate to -- like this one -- I still eat it up.



I am dying to see her live.  It needs to happen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ready to get racing

Now that the weather is getting nicer, I am getting very antsy to get outside and run on a regular basis.  More than that, I'm eager to get going on some races. Especially after seeing photos from Holly's adventure at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C. (And I now really want to do that race next year.)

[pin]
As you might recall, I have a goal of completing eight races this year.  I haven't done a single one yet.  But have no fear, I have at least registered for a few.

Here are the events I've already signed up for:
- Run for River Virtual 5K -- this weekend (the real event is in Alabama, but I'll be doing my own)
- Glow Run 5K -- May 31
- Run to Exile 10K -- April 14 (my first 10K!!)
- IMT Des Moines Half-Marathon -- Oct. 19 (yep, I went ahead and registered for it)

And here are the other races I'm considering:
- Windsor Heights 5K -- May 17 
- Metro Arts Rock 'N Run -- TBD

I would also like to find a race each for July and August.  And if I don't die during my half, I will probably do a race in November.  Maybe December. At this rate, I may end up exceeding my goal of eight. I would not be sad about that.

What races are ahead for you?  
Which one are you most excited about?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: Off.
Monday: Yoga at home (30 mins.)
Tuesday: Baseball Watching Workout during the Rangers game (probably 45 mins. of activity)
Wednesday: 4-mile walk with friends (70 mins.)

Thursday: BodyPump (60 mins.) + Zumba (30 mins.)

This was not the week of workouts I had planned.  But after Saturday's gastritis attack, I decided to take it easy for a few days and then ease back into my normal routine. I really felt lethargic after all that downtime, but I'm feeling better and it's good to get back to my normal activities.

+++++

[source]
 Total as of 4/11
289 minutes

+++++


Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's just a little crush

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to leave work for the day. It was a Friday and the office had already started to clear out.  So I was a little surprised to hear someone say, "Have a good weekend."  I looked up and was even more surprised to see that the voice belonged to none other than my work eye candy.


I noticed him shortly after I started my new job, and I can pretty much assure you I did a double- or triple-take.  He's just so nice to look at.  Definitely my hottest work eye candy yet (and, yes, I've had one at almost every job I've had ... they make the days more fun). More than four months later, I still sigh (sometimes outwardly) whenever I catch a glimpse of him, which thankfully seems to be happening more often lately.


Even though we sit just a few feet from each other, separated by just a few short walls, he never talks to me, but on that particular Friday I guess he was in a friendly mood. I know I replied to him but I assure you I didn't say anything groundbreaking. He didn't really either, but it was still enough to make me feel as giddy as a schoolgirl.

When I told a few friends about this event, they did not share in my excitement.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I got a few eyerolls.  Talk about taking the wind out of my sail.  I know what he said to me was nothing earth-shattering.  And I know my reaction was a little juvenile.

I don't care.

I enjoyed feeling the familiar warmth spread through me, the butterflies kick up, and the general good sensations that washed through me in those moments.

[pin]
I love that feeling, and I hope I'm never so jaded that I don't feel it anymore.

And let's be clear. I'm not naive enough to think anything will ever happen with this guy. One, because we work together and that's just not a good idea. And two, because he's way too good looking for me.  Seriously, y'all. He's way prettier than I am.

[pin]

But I'm OK with that.

I'm OK with him just being a visual highlight in my day.  And an unwittingly provider of the occasional trip back my teenage years.  As long as I can feel this way, I'll never grow old!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My double blog life

I decided it was time for me to come clean.  If you've been reading this blog or following me on facebook, twitter, or instagram for any length of time, this might not be news.  For anyone else, well ... I'm sorry to break it to you, but I am a blog cheater.

That's right.  I have two blogs I (attempt to) keep up with on a daily basis.  At least for a portion of the year.

This space right here is for my ramblings about life, dating, music, and other random things going on.  I often struggle with the question of how personal is too personal and how vague is too vague.  I don't know where walls are needed and where I need to open up more.  I'm still figuring that all out, I guess.

My other space allows me a different kind of sharing.  It's where I share my love of the sport of baseball and my thoughts about the Texas Rangers. It's called "Baseball is My Boyfriend."

Screenshot of my baseball blog -- Baseball is My Boyfriend

I lost my close friend, Amy, at the start of the 2006 season (you can read more about her here) and along with a companion and trusted confidant, I also lost my outlet for talking all things Rangers.  I no longer had daily email exchanges and chats about the latest game, transaction, or news clip.  And I moved back to Iowa shortly after her death, so the people around here were not at all interested in talking Texas baseball with me.

So, I decided to start writing a blog.  That was at the start of the 2007 season.  I was still learning about the game and trying to find my way into baseball fandom, so I'm kind of glad I don't know where those posts are anymore. I still have some of the ones saved from early 2008, but they're tucked away in privacy.  Trust me, you're better off that way.

BBIMBF has moved platforms a few times, but in 2008, I was invited to join a network of (primarily) sports bloggers known as MyTeamRivals.  I've been there ever since, and I have to say it's a really nice fit.  There are very few rules, and the set-up is fairly easy to navigate although I'm still discovering new features. And only this year did I set up a Facebook page for my blog.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm an expert on baseball. I'm definitely not.  I'm just a fan.  My posts are game recaps, but they're really just my reflection on the game.  There might be some stats, but I'm ruled more by emotion and what I'm thinking.

I don't blog after every game, although I definitely try.  And during the off-season, I definitely take an extended break.  But I come back to it every spring.  I almost didn't this year as my life has gotten busier and I wasn't sure how it would fit into my schedule.  But so far I'm making it work.  And I'm so glad I didn't give it up.  I would have missed that outlet.

I even have a separate Twitter account for my baseball ramblings.
Much like the blog you're reading now, my baseball blog has helped me find a community of other fans.  I no longer feel alone as a Rangers fan in Iowa.  During games, you'll find me on my BBIMBF Twitter account, live-tweeting the game with other Rangers fans.  I've made so many friends, some of which I've met in person, and others I can only hope to meet someday soon.

Whew. I feel better now that this is off my chest.  The truth is, I've had my baseball blog longer than I've had this blog.  Does that still make me a cheater?  Ha ha.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The weekend that wasn't

I have never wanted a re-do on a weekend like I do right now.

I had awesome plans for this past weekend -- finishing bachelorette party invitations, two killer workouts, and a birthday celebration at my favorite local brewery.

[source]
Well, I only got to check that first one off my list.  The other plans were axed beginning around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.  I woke from a blissful sleep to a severe pain in my abdomen.  This wasn't the average stomach ache or even my pre-period nausea.  No, this was much worse.  As I described to friends, it felt like someone was trying to dig out my internal organs with an ice cream scoop.  I got out of bed and had a small glass of milk, thinking that might help.  It did not.  The second time I got up, I had a cup of peppermint tea.  I attempted many times to go back to bed to try and sleep it off, but the pain kept me awake most of the night.  I dozed here and there but probably didn't get a complete four hours of sleep from the ten hours I was actually in bed.

I really didn't know what this pain was all about, so of course I went to the internet. I quickly learned Facebook is more helpful than Google.  When I did a random search for my symptoms, I was, of course, informed that I was dying.  My Facebook friends asked better questions and decided I should go to the doctor to make sure it wasn't my gallbladder.

So, I got dressed and drove myself to urgent care about 15 minutes away.  After I checked in, I waited another 20 minutes, although it felt much longer as I was still super uncomfortable, and due to fear, exhaustion, and the pain, I was in tears.  Finally, I was called back.  There was more waiting between time with the nurse, the doctor, getting blood drawn, and waiting for the doctor again.  In the end, it was not my gallbladder. It was gastritis.  Apparently, this can be caused by spicy foods, excessive alcohol use, or stress.  Since the first two don't really apply to me, I'm going to guess mine was triggered by the last thing.  And I really shouldn't be surprised.  I have quite a bit on my plate -- some of which is visible to others and some I keep to myself.  Guess I need to figure out how to deal with this or get rid of it.

I returned home with my prescription pepcid, some Pepto Bismol, and some extra groceries for the bland food diet I'll be on for the next week or so.  Yep.  Super fun.  I see a lot of eggs, chicken, and rice in my near future.  And absolutely no coffee, beer, or heavy foods.  Sigh.

I cannot tell you how depressing it was to be sitting at home on my couch, drinking Gatorade while I knew my friends were drinking good (and new) beer at the brewery party.  And it really sucks feeling sick when you live alone. There's no one to bring you more water or fix your food. Blech.

[source]
The weather Saturday and Sunday was gorgeous. It would have been perfect for a run, but that clearly wasn't happening.  My family came down on Sunday and we went out to lunch. I got to have a french dip (no au jus, no fries, and no pickles .... sigh), which was far more interesting than what I had been eating, but my brother's bacon-infused mac and cheese looked better.  And so did my dad's beer.

I threw myself a pretty good pity party over the weekend, feeling like I'd missed out on so much fun.  But I've been on the go so much lately.  Maybe this was my body's way of saying, "slow down."

[source]
 And at least I got caught up on my TV shows, right?  Right.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Music Monday: My Red & Blue - "Color"

I love discovering great new bands via some of my favorites.  Sometimes this happens in the form of lots of mentions on Twitter or some co-writing.  But most of the time it happens via opening act introduction.

The latter is the case for this band.  They opened for Matt Wertz when I saw him ten days ago, and they were fantastic. Great stage presence. Compelling melodies.  Lyrics that hit me hard.  I immediately bought their EP.  I can't wait to see and hear more of them.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Watching baseball and working out

Tuesday was a long day.  A full shift at work and then a meeting.  And then I had Rangers baseball to watch!!  Priorities, I have them.

I still wanted to get a workout in though, so I tried to start coming up with a game workout on my own.  When I mentioned it in Twitter, one of my favorite Rangers Twitter folks sent me a link to his generic baseball game workout.  Thanks Matt!!


I did this for just the last few innings of the Rangers game on Tuesday.  And wow.  I was feeling it.  I

Anyone else want to give it a try?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: Zumba at home (30 mins.) + squats/push-ups/crunches/tricep dips (10 mins.)
Monday: 3-mile outdoor run (33 mins.) + 0.5-mile walk (20 mins.)
Tuesday: Core work + meditation yoga (30 mins.)
Wednesday: Off.
Thursday: 1.25-mile on the treadmill (14 mins.) + 0.25-mile walk (10 mins.) <--- lunch hour workout!


This was a crazy busy week. I'm honestly lucky I got any workouts in at all. Thank goodness I was off on Monday or it would have been worse.  That Thursday lunch time workout wasn't too terrible.  Sure, I was sweaty when I went back to work, but tt was a nice break from my desk, especially since I was having a stressful day.

+++++

To stay accountable, I'll provide my updated total here each Friday.

[source]
 Total as of 4/4
54 mins.

Yeah, I'm off to a slow start, but I'll catch up.  I've got this!


+++++
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not just a girl in her underwear

For more than a year, I've been thinking about doing a boudoir photo shoot.  I would see others (mostly courtesy of my friends' photography pages) and just think, "Those are so gorgeous!" and "She looks so sure of herself."

And that last part is what really got to me.

For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with body image issues.  I've never thought of myself as beautiful.  Only in the last few years did I decide I'm cute.  And sometimes -- if I put some effort in -- I can look pretty.  And that's actually OK with me.  I'm fine with being cute.  That's not a bad thing in the least.  It's a huge step up from what I used to think of my reflection.

Last summer, one of my longtime friends, Ali, moved to Iowa and brought her photography business with her. As we were talking, she mentioned she'd be offering a Living Social deal for a boudoir session.  I thought about it.  And thought about it.  The price was just too good to pass up, and I figured if I bought it, I'd stop just thinking about it and actually do it.  So I ponied up the cash.

It was several months before I finally booked a date.  I delayed it because I thought I should lose more weight, tone up a little more, etc.  I didn't think my body was ready to be in front of a camera.  But as the months wore on and I was stuck where I was, I realized I just needed to book it.

As the date of the shoot grew closer, I grew more excited but also more self-conscious.  I had pinned a lot of inspiration photos on Pinterest, and I can tell you I didn't look anything like those women.  I also saw other shoots my friend was doing and, again, I knew I looked nothing like those women.  I don't have a flat stomach (and I might never have one since I'm not willing to give up craft beer), my thighs don't have a gap between them, and my arms aren't perfectly toned.  But I couldn't change any of these things in time for the shoot, so I just had to deal with it.  I also knew Ali wouldn't let me look bad in her photos.  So there was that.

My friend, Kim, came over to do my hair and makeup.  While I can handle those things for daily wear, Kim is much better at knowing what will look good on camera.  When I saw my reflection after she was done, I couldn't believe it.  I looked so different.  Side note:  Anyone who wears false lashes on a regular basis has my utmost admiration. They looked nice, but applying them was a pain and by the end of the day, I was itchy.

Ali and I met at our shoot site (the house of a generous friend). After a quick tour of the house, we went through my outfits and props and then got to work.  And when I say "work," I mean it.  My abs and legs got quite the workout as Ali put me in different poses.  I'm pretty sure my knees still hurt from being on the table.  As the shoot wore on, I got a little more comfortable in front of the camera.  (It sure helped when all of the house's inhabitants were gone.)  Before I knew it, three hours had passed and we were packing up to leave.

That evening, Ali sent me this photo as a sneak peek:

I was speechless.  Is that really me?  Is that what I look like?

I shared the sneak peek with friends and they used adjectives like "gorgeous," "stunning," "sexy," and "beautiful." And I believe Ali called me a "sex kitten."  These are not words I've ever used to describe myself.

Here are a few more highlights from the session:




 
This experience allowed me to see myself through a camera lens as well as the eyes of others.  It's easier for me to believe now that someone someday will see me as "beautiful."  Maybe that someone will be me.

For now I'm OK with just being cute though.

All photos are courtesy of Alison Claire Photography.  You can see more of her amazing work on her Facebook page and web site

Have you ever done a boudoir session?  What was your experience like?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Running for River

I've never done a virtual race before.  But I've found the perfect excuse for my first.

This is River:
Photo courtesy of the Run for River Facebook page
I mean, look at that sweet face!

A little background from the Raising River Facebook page :
River Thomas is the son of Matt and April Thomas. He was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy at 8 months old (secondary to a Grade 4 brain bleed). River will soon be 3 years old and cannot sit up or hold his head up on his own, crawl, walk, or talk. He requires a feeding tube, several daily meds, braces for his legs and feet, a gait trainer, and wheelchair. A local home builder is helping to build an accessible home for River and his family and all profits from the 5K will go towards that fund. 

And now a little bit about why River is important to me:
I became friends with his mama, April, a little over ten years ago thanks to a shared love of several musicians.  She is one of the sweetest and strongest people I know.  She also has a huge heart, incredible integrity, and a faith that blows my mind on a regular basis.  I remember when she first met her husband, Matt, and I've loved watching her little ones -- Briley and River -- grow via Facebook.  She is a wonderful friend and an even better mother.  I cannot imagine the challenges she faces daily, mostly because she doesn't talk about them very much. April is not a complainer and she doesn't believe in pity parties.  She loves her life and her family, and I'm glad they're having a chance to get into a home that will be the perfect place for River to continue his journey.

I can't be in Alabama, but I still wanted to do my part.  I will be running a 5K where I live.  Due to some plans, it might be a day earlier or a day later, but I will do it.  I've already signed up.

So ... do you want to join me in a virtual 5K? Click here to get registered.

By the way, April has to place the t-shirt order tomorrow (April 3), so if you want one, you should sign up ASAP!




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wallet watch

[link to one of the link-up hosts]
I've never been very good with money.  I've tried making a budget, but I rarely stick to it.  Or rather, I really just don't remain diligent at tracking and discipline.  Lately, my spending has gotten a little out of hand.

I need to do better.
I know I can do better.

As if she was reading my mind, Stephanie over at Not Entirely Perfect wrote about a project called Wallet Watch for this month.  (It was actually initiated by another Steph, but ... I wanted to give credit where I read it.) Well, she started yesterday, but I'm starting today.  I actually edited her rules quite a bit to fit me.

Here are my rules:
1. The spending freeze lasts from April 1-30.
2. The freeze obviously does not include monthly bills or necessary expenses such as groceries and gas.  It also does not include expenses related to the sale of my house or my friend's wedding. I am the maid of honor and I am in the midst of bachelorette planning and dress fitting time.
3. No outings that are not already budgeted for (unless someone else is footing the bill).  These are April 5, 12, 22, and 26.  I will also have a budget for each of those outings and will need to stay within it.
4. No shopping other than groceries. This includes Amazon (kindle books) and iTunes. I also have a set budget for groceries that I will stick to.
5. No ordering in food and calling it 'groceries."
6. No coffee I don't make at home or get free at work. 
7. Post my results May 6.  I promise I'll be honest.

Have you ever done a spending freeze?  How did it work out?
Also, if you have any tips for getting organized and disciplined with a budget, I'm all ears!


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