Friday, October 9, 2015

September fitness 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. 

Sixteen workouts a month.  Grade = A
I didn't think I had done it, but I went back and counted and I nailed it!

Strength training once a week.  Grade = B
Again, working with my trainer made this happen.

Track my food each day.  Grade = C
I was so good about this until the last ten days of the month.

I've decided to stop weighing and measuring. First of all, I'm not consistent with it. Secondly, I don't want it to become an obsession. I want to trim down, but if I'm doing the work listed above, that will happen.

Non-scale victory = I did another 5K and made a new local running friend!


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday:  Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Yoga at home (30 minutes)

Tuesday: 3-mile run + 1/4-mile walk (45 minutes)
Wednesday: Yoga at home (30 minutes)
Thursday: Off (but I feel like dancing at Taylor Swift should count for something)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stuff & Things 10/8

:: My dress code at work doesn't allow athletic or casual wear of any kind, and while some people don't follow that (I see so many jeans and tshirts, it's not funny), I do.  But I'm still trying to sneak in some Texas Rangers colors/gear during this postseason run. Good thing their colors -- red and blue -- are easy to find and incorporate.  My boys start their postseason journey today. I am nervous and excited.

:: My fall weekends are quickly filling up. I'm not sure why I'm surprised when my summer disappeared in nearly the same fashion.  Looking ahead, here are a few things I have on my calendar -- hockey games, a football game, fall colors road trip, corn maze, Matt Nathanson concert, a 5K, and a baby shower. And that just gets me through October. Whew.

:: I have decided on a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project and I cannot wait to get started.  I might have to cool the jets on social activities in November so I have time to write.

:: In case you missed it, I'm seeing Taylor Swift tonight. And I devoted an entire blog post to her yesterday.  

:: Looking for an excuse to go shopping for someone else and get something in the mail?  Kristin and Becky are hosting The Great Pumpkin Swap!!  The deadline for signing up is tomorrow.

What's up with you this week?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

If I were famous, I'd probably be Taylor Swift

I've often thought about -- or rather dreamed about -- what it would be like to be famous. How great would it feel to be a household name and have all the benefits that come along with it? I can just imagine the money, parties, working with other famous people, etc.

Of course, there is a downside to all of this. I don't think I would enjoy having people know all my business ... or just think they do.  And while I would enjoy public celebrations of my success, I don't think I'd care much for a spotlight on my failures and mistakes.

If I was famous, however, I think I would be a lot like Taylor Swift. Here's why ...

She's generous, always giving money to people and causes in need. 
I try to give as often as I can when funds allow.


She's an unabashed cat lady.

Have you seen my Instagram feed?
It's 50 percent cats, and the rest is books, beer, quotes, and selfies.

She always looks like she's having a blast.
From her Instagram posts to dancing at awards shows, she is loving life.  
Apparently, this is similar to how a lot of people view me via my social media posts.
Fortunately, there don't appear to be any gifs of me dancing out there.


She knows the importance of having a tight circle of friends.
I adore all the people featured in her "Bad Blood" video.
They truly seem to be her tribe. 
I randomly put my friends in the books I write. Same thing, right?


She is a bit boycrazy.  Check out her dating resume.  I mean, she briefly dated my all-time favorite, Jake Gyllenhaal, so clearly she has pretty good taste.  
I haven't dated nearly as much, but if I had gotten every guy I'd ever liked, my list would be long. 


Many of her songs are about someone who broke her heart.
That's not unusual (most songwriters do this), but she catches a lot of flak for it.
I have written a lot of poetry in this theme, but mine earned me laughs and ridicule not money.
I still have a lot of my poems in a book somewhere. Maybe I'll share them someday.


Clearly, Taylor Swift is my spirit animal.

And did I mention that I'm seeing her tomorrow night?

I splurged a bit on a solo ticket and while it's in the third level, I know it'll still be fun. I cannot wait to do my best Taylor dance impression.

P.S.  When she performs "Shake It Off," I will absolutely be thinking of my blogger co-stars from our TSwift lip sync video.

What celebrity do you relate to?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

You're doing better than you think

Upworthy recently published a video and short write-up on a social experiment in which people were asked one question -- "Do you think you're successful?"  Loved ones of these people were then asked how they viewed the success of those individuals.  The difference of opinion was eye-opening.

Why do we see ourselves so much differently than others see us?

I've mentioned a few times in the last week that I recently went through a bout of increased insecurity and self-doubt. It happens on occasion, mostly when I start comparing my life with that of others or even just with where I thought I would be by now.

I'm 35. If you'd asked me 15 years ago what my life would be like at this age, I would likely have said I'd be advancing in my journalism/writing career and married with a few kids in a house in the suburbs.

Pretty standard plan, right?  There are lots of people out there living this.

But my reality is that I'm working a full-time job in the insurance industry and two part-time jobs in a library and a brewery.  I'm living in a 600-square-foot, one bedroom apartment.  I'm not even close to being married. I can't get beyond a date or two with a guy.  And my only dependents have four legs and fur.

If I had to rate my success on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd probably put myself at a 5. Or maybe a 6 on a good day.

There are times I look at my life and feel like a complete failure.  I'm not using my degree, and I wouldn't call my professional life any sort of success.  The romantic/family arena of my life is even worse. I don't even think calling it a failure is a strong enough word.

The other day, a friend posted this on my Facebook wall:

The comment came from out of the blue, and I was speechless.

I'm an inspiration?  How could she say that much less believe it?

Another friend recently told me that I inspire her as well, that she looks up to me for all I've accomplished.

How can that be when I don't feel like I've accomplished anything?

It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game -- whether it's to others or to the picture in our heads of how it should be.  I think it skews our vision as we look in the mirror and at our own life.  Those who love us have a different perspective, and maybe it's one we should listen to more often. I know I'm going to try.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Music Monday: Jamie Lawson - "Wasn't Expecting That"

Ed Sheeran has his own record label. Did you know that? It's called Gingerbread Man Records, which is a quite amusing name.  Last week, he took his first artist, Jamie Lawson, to the Elvis Duran Show to introduce him, though he's getting plenty of exposure already. I mean, he's been opening for One Direction, which means lots of people are hearing his music.  He played this song live and it's aptly named because I was not expecting the ending.

Wow.  Powerful song.

I enjoyed his interview and his sound so much that I've already pre-ordered his album. I cannot wait until it's ready to go.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday 9/30

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving ...

... that I'm finally going to get to meet this little lovebug tomorrow.  One of my best friends had a baby in March and it's about time I go see little Isabella.  And her parents too, I suppose.

... the awesome concert plans I have for October.  Taylor Swift and Matt Nathanson (not together, but that would be awesome).  I was supposed to see Rachel Platten too, but that show got cancelled. Sad trombone.

... that I made a new friend at the Remembrance Run last weekend. We were both standing around, waiting to start and began chatting. We ended up running together and talking the entire 3.1 miles. I think I ran much better with her by my side. And she's a cancer survivor, which completely inspired me. We didn't take a photo together, but maybe at a future race.

... that I found a Thanksgiving Day race. And signed up.  I've been wanting to do one for a while, and since my family only lives half an hour away and doesn't usually eat until mid-afternoon, this will be perfect.

... the cooler temperatures that are rolling in. It's still not sweater weather (though it seems not everyone in my office got that memo), but it's getting closer.

... this quote posted by Mandy Hale (aka The Single Woman) yesterday on Instagram. YES!  It fits in so well with my blog post from yesterday and a lot of the inner turmoil I've been battling.

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Outside voices vs. inside voice

I'm a librarian (part-time), so I could easily turn this into a post about library etiquette (which seems to be lacking in all ages these days), but that's not what my title is referring to.  At least not this time.  Maybe you'll get a future post on how not to make your neighborhood librarian roll her eyes.

In recent posts, I've alluded to a struggle and not feeling like myself.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I felt that way and how I got there.  I think the biggest cause is that I let outside voices overtake my inner voice.  Worse than that, I let them become my inner voice.

From acquaintances to toxic friends to well-meaning friends, I've heard a lot of critiques about myself over the years.  I'm sure some of the comments were meant to be helpful, but they didn't always achieve that intention. And I'm confident that some were said out of spite and jealousy, though the people who said it would never admit that.

Now, I'm not opposed to constructive, tactful advice.  I've received plenty of that as well. And maybe they were saying the same thing as some of the aforementioned offenders, but they said it in a way that was less hurtful. It didn't feel like an attack on me or my character.

Sometimes (but not always), I've been able to work through the negative comments. Vent about them to friends and let them roll right off my back.  But when the words and sentiments get repeated, that gets harder.  And it's especially hard when they come from people I thought loved and respected me.

I lost this battle a few weeks ago. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but I suddenly felt the weight of all of these words.  Whether it'd been weeks since I heard them or months, they all came flooding back, filling me with self-doubt and insecurity like I haven't felt in a long time.  They pushed me down into the depths of a very bad mood.

I avoided talking to anyone I didn't have to talk to, and I didn't have any conversations that weren't completely superficial (which is not like me at all).

I was on the verge of tears for the better part of about five days.

I had very little appetite.

I just plain didn't want to be around people. Even some of my favorite people.

Most people left me alone, but a few were persistent. They worked on getting me to talk about what was bugging me, and then assured me it was all in my head (in a nice way).  Even though I didn't immediately buy into what they were saying, I mulled over their feedback over the next few days.  Eventually, I came out on the other side of this bad mood.

Or at least I'm on my way out.

I still don't feel the way I felt in July --- high on life and myself --- but I'm working on changing the voice in my head.  I need it to reflect how I truly feel about myself and not what the Negative Nancies have been spewing at me. So ... I'm getting there.


If you stuck with me through this rambling, you deserve a gold star.

Does anyone have any advice for turning up that inner voice?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Music Monday: Sara Bareilles - "She Used to Be Mine"

Some of my favorites decided the last two weeks were the perfect time to release new singles or albums. I loved it.  My bank account probably didn't, but oh well.  One of my auto-buy artists is this girl, Sara Bareilles.  I have yet to see her on tour, but I'll forgive her for taking a break while she wrote a book (which I pre-ordered) and wrote songs for a musical, entitled "Waitress".  While I wait anxiously for her book and more music, fortunately she released this single last week, which just happens to be a song from the musical. I could not love it more.

Love love love. I relate to so many of the lines. Then again, I have that connection with a lot of Sara's music.

And I'm not the only one who loves it. Check out what John Mayer had to say about it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 45

This edition has a few weeks worth of posts, due to my unscheduled absence from the blog world. I was still reading even if I wasn't posting. There has been some good stuff going on in my reader lately.

Fall is here!  I know I'm ready for all that comes with it.  Kati Rose thinks you need a soundtrack too, and I agree. Her music recommendations are always solid, so go check them out. Oh, and while you're over there, check out her write-up on Ryan Adams' cover of Taylor Swift's chart-busting album, 1989.

I'm so impressed when bloggers can find time for something besides their blog and their family. I can barely find time to post between my jobs.  Bonnie works, has a husband and an adorable baby, she has a great blog, and now she's opened a shop for handmade jewelry. Incredible!

Parents are always striving to understand their children better and making sure they have the support they need. Sarah expressed concerns over her son's lack of chatter, but one of his daycare providers explained why Henry is quieter and it's not a bad thing. It's really something we should remember about older children and adults too.

Rena wrote about the Cinderella complex that seems prevalent in books (and movies and TV) and why it's troubling. I could relate to every part of her post.

Jess cleared up a huge myth about relationships when she confessed she doesn't always know what she's doing in marriage.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Goodbye summer, hello fall

Some people had lengthy summer bucket/to-do lists. I knew I wouldn't have time to check a bunch of things off, so I kept my list short. Very short.  I only had three things I wanted to accomplish this summer:

- Clean out my closets. -- SUCCESS!!
I did this a few weeks ago, actually. I got rid of five bags of clothes -- four for donation and one for trash.  Unreal.  It was great to get rid of so many clothes, but a side benefit is that I reorganized and can now see where the holes are in my work wardrobe. Time to shop!

- Pay off a credit card.  -- SUCCESS!!  
I have one completely paid off and another is down to one more payment.  That leaves me with just one credit card, but the balance is pretty high. If all goes as planned, it will be paid off by next summer. Wish me luck.

-  Finish editing one of my writing projects. -- FAIL.
With the exception of this past Sunday, I spent zero time writing and/or editing this summer. But after getting back in the groove this past weekend, I would like to start penciling in a few hours of writing time every Sunday. We'll see how I do with that.

Two out of three isn't bad.

And here comes fall, which has a whole new set of fun activities to take on.  Here are my goals for the next few months:

- Go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard.
I haven't gone to one in ages. It's time to change that.

- Carve pumpkins.
I did this a few years ago and had so much fun.

- Watch "Hocus Pocus," "Beetlejuice," and "Ghostbusters."
I'm not a fan of horror movies. Those are the closest I'll get to any Halloween movies.

- Participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Yep. I have the writing bug now.  I'm ready to get back to it.

Do you have fall bucket list or to-do list?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday 9/23

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Since today is the first day of fall, I decided to make today's "loving" entry about all things related to autumn.  

I'm loving ...

... all things jewel-toned.
I went shopping the other day, and found myself trying on clothes in colors like deep teal, emerald green, and merlot.

... all the pumpkin beers.
I've already tried a few, including Punk Nut from 515 Brewing (of course), Imperial Pumpkin Stout from Millstream, and Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard, but I have to say my favorite so far is Funky Pumpkin from Boulevard. This sour makes the best use of pumpkin flavor while not being too sweet or spicy. I love it.  And I'm looking forward to trying Hocus Pocus Porter, a pumpkin pie porter I made with a friend recently.

... my Apple Press Scentsy bars.
While I enjoy pumpkin things, apples are really the star of fall for me. This is my favorite bar to break out when the leaves start to turn.

... that I'm in second place in my fantasy football league.
I was a little worried about my Ginja Ninjas when my draft received a C grade, but I've won two weeks in a row.  And this week, I had the highest number of points!!

... late-season baseball.
As I mentioned yesterday, my Rangers are right in the thick of the post-season hunt. They've fallen off a bit the past week or so, but I'm hoping they can pick it up and let me enjoy baseball beyond Oct. 4.  This is when things get fun.  And nerve-wracking.

What are your favorite things about fall?

Tomorrow, check back to see how I did with my summer to-do list and what's on my agenda for the next few months.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hello again!

Yeah, so I took an unscheduled break from blogging there.  Two weeks to be exact. That's a long time for me. I didn't intend to stop posting; it just kind of happened.

In fairness, I have been busy.  Here's a rundown on what I've been up to since my last post:

Giving up on dating. Again.
I signed up for online dating again at one point this summer, and I was quickly reminded of why I hated it. After a few dates, I finally reached my limits and quit again. I swear I'm not going back. If I try to, please just point me to Petfinder and tell me to get another cat. I've also asked out a guy (and again was basically ignored) and gave my phone number to a guy who didn't use it. So ... yeah.  I'm done.

Watching some miserable football.
I've watched the Iowa State Cyclones lose two football games. I was in attendance for the first loss -- to our intrastate rival.  I was working at the brewery during the second one, but got to see it on the big screen regardless. Both were brutal. I'm still a  Cyclone, but man, they're hard to love right now.

Watching/listening to some fantastic baseball.
The MLB postseason race is heating up and my Texas Rangers are right in it. In case you're unaware, they entered September a few games out of the lead for the division and last week claimed the lead.  I'm hoping they can hang on. I love October baseball ... even more when I care about a team that's involved. P.S. Check out Derek Holland's "Wild Thing"-inspired haircut. Too bad it hasn't helped his pitching. Sigh. He's been struggling.

Hitting up the theatre.
I saw "Dirty Dancing" at the Civic Center. I was curious about how the movie I've seen dozens of times would translate to stage. The conclusion: pretty well.  Sure, there were things they couldn't do, but it was still great. The two lead vocalists were incredible, and I liked some of the added scenes that gave peripheral characters some depth.

Drinking beer.
Duh. I do this on the regular. It's the main reason I'm not skinny and probably never will be. Last Saturday, I attended the Little Giant Beer Summit here in town. A few dozen smaller breweries in the state gathered to share their wares.  My favorites from the day -- Basil-Lime Wheat from Wing Nutt Brewery (which is hopefully opening soon); Pride of the Plains Rye Pale Ale from New American Brewing Company; and Main Squeeze Lemon Weiss from Lake Time Brewery.

Making beer.
A friend and I purchased a wort chiller!! This device helps us bring the boiling wort (water with malt and grains) down to yeast-steeping temperatures quickly. Before, we were using an ice bath, and the process just took too long. We were excited to use our new toy as we brewed up a new beer -- a pumpkin pie porter we've named Hocus Pocus Porter. We'll be bottling it this week, and hopefully it'll be ready to drink in a few weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out.

So, yeah, I've been busy. It's not uncommon for me though, so it's not really a sufficient explanation for my absence. There's definitely more to it.  I don't know if I'll talk about it here or not.  But it's probably enough to say I just wasn't in a good place, and I decided to take a step back to try and get out of my own head and get back to who I am and want to be. I'm not there, but I'm on my way.

What have you been up to lately?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Music Monday: Rachel Platten - "Lone Ranger"

As someone who completely sucks at dating and guys, this song really speaks to me.  I've tried multiple avenues for finding a relationship but have never been successful.  I've become more than a little frustrated and disillusioned, and I often wonder if it's even worth it or if I should just remain a "lone ranger."

Regardless, I am very excited to see Miss Platten live again at the end of this month. Last time I saw her, she only had one album, and now she has more material and some major radio success. It should be a blast.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Music Monday: Elle King - "Ex's and Oh's"

I spent most of yesterday cleaning and purging my closet. It felt good to get rid of a lot of stuff.  While I worked, I had iTunes radio running in the background. This song came up twice. It's pretty catchy and haunting, although the grammar nerd in me has a problem with the use of apostrophes in the song title.  I love the tone of her voice, so I did some research on her.  She's Rob Schneider's daughter.  That's kind of crazy.  I think I'm going to have to check out more of her stuff.

By the way, if you go looking for her videos, don't read the comments. Too many people talking about her weight and looks. Ugh.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 44

Between my two jobs yesterday, I worked about 16.5 hours.  We tapped a new beer at the brewery, so we were slammed, and my FitBit says I walked 4.5 miles during that time. Insane.  I got home around midnight and finally climbed into bed around one.  So I have no idea why I woke up at 7:30 this morning. No alarm.  I was just awake.

I suppose part of it could be the excitement I have for tonight's Iowa State football game.  The stadium has been remodeled to add seating, and it's the first game of the season.  It's a clean slate.  Oh, and I have a ticket to the game.  Yeah, I'm pretty pumped.

Jenn at Party of One got very personal and shared her battle with endometriosis.  I can't imagine the pain she's experienced ... for 15 years.  Can you relate?  

Are you looking for your sports people in the blog world?  Sarah at Venus Trapped in Mars has you covered.  She's trying to connect folks who cheer for the same team(s).  Go check it out!

Bonnie at The Life of Bon talked about how she, as an extrovert, and her husband, as an introvert, plan a vacation that suits both of their personalities and tendencies. I'm an introvert, so I relate to Greg, but I know plenty of extroverts. I think her tips can help with groups of friends as well as married couples.

Helene at Helene In Between is nearing 30 and she has a list of things she'll stop doing once she reaches the next decade of life. It's a fantastic list ... especially the last one. 

Rena adequately summed up my love-hate relationship with social media.  Absolutely nailed it.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Saturday!!
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