Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stuff & Things 2/23

:: A few weeks ago, Sean and I went to see his brother perform with the touring cast of "42nd Street." I knew absolutely nothing about the show going in, but sometimes that's fun. It was a really great show. The dancing was fantastic, and the sets and costumes were perfect. I always enjoy live theatre, but it's even more fun when you know someone on stage. (P.S. They still have some shows left on this run if you're interested in checking them out.)
Sean's parents, Isaac (Sean's brother), Sean and me after the show.

:: I'm trying to get better about meal planning and prepping on Sundays. But it's tough. That's usually my only down day, so I don't necessarily want to do anything productive. But I suppose I need to suck it up if I want to eat healthier and cheaper, huh? Anyone have some easy recipes to share?

:: Last weekend, we cleaned out Sean's apartment. He doesn't have that much stuff, but it was exhausting. I forgot about how stressful packing and moving and cleaning can be.

:: And we get to do more of it in about a month because we bought a house. Or rather we're in the process of buying a house. We looked at about four before finding one we liked that was in our price range. The offer has been made and accepted, the inspection is complete, and now we wait for the loan to finish processing.

What's new with you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Finding "me" time in a relationship

I've always been a big fan of "me" time. It was my favorite thing about being single. Truly. I loved having quiet nights at home where I wore comfy pants and had popcorn and wine for dinner. Maybe I'd read. Maybe I'd write. Maybe I'd watch mindless trash TV for hours. I didn't have to consider anyone else when I decided how to spend my time.

That's all changed now. I'm in a serious relationship, which means lots of together time. Especially since Sean has moved in with me. And we're currently occupying a 600-square foot, one-bedroom apartment. Yeah. Not a lot of space for either of us (or my two cats).

We won't be this cramped forever. Someday soon, we'll have more space. Until then ... and even after then ... I still think it's important that I work on scheduling "me" time. It'll help me settle my mind and keep my sanity.

A few weeks ago, Sean had to work an evening. I had the whole place to myself. It was rare. And nice. I chose not even to turn the TV on. I just wanted the quiet. I also did a foot soak and scrub and a face mask. It was really relaxing.

The trouble is finding time to do this on a regular basis -- just be with me.

I don't necessarily want to give up time with Sean. That's already at a premium due to our busy schedules that don't always line up. I also work two jobs, am working on a novel, work out, and want to have time with friends.

Ahhhh.  Is there even any time for just me?

How do you find "me" time without sacrificing relationships or other important things?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Music Monday: Daphne Willis - "Somebody's Someone"

Sometimes, finding a song to share here on Mondays is tough. I have to think and search and analyze. Other times, a song stumbles across my path and I know instantly it needs to be on the blog. That's definitely the case with this tune, which popped up on my Facebook feed this week.

Daphne is one of my favorite artists. Her voice is so unique and her songwriting is incredible. I'll let her dedication say everything I could say about her latest single -- "This song is dedicated to anyone and everyone who knows addiction, mental illness, homelessness or all of the above. Be strong and use your local resources. Together, we can make a difference. Pass it on."

We all hit rough times. It's important not to let those rough times defeat us.

Know your local resources.
Know you're not alone.
Know you matter.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Clearly, I need trainers

This past week was a tough one when it comes to my workouts. I was out of town Sunday through Tuesday. And even if I'd been in town, there were no fitness classes in my office because of a conference taking up our multi-purpose room. Boo!!!

I still managed 30 minutes of activity each day, and I'm really proud of that. However, I know my workouts were not as good as the ones my trainers have designed. I was fatigued after a few of the sweat sessions, but not nearly as beat as I usually am after a Wes or Brittany class.

This only encourages me to take advantage of the classes more often at my office. Not only am I building some friendships with other people in the classes, but I'm getting quality workouts. From cardio to barre to tabata to core. I get it all. And it's free. And I feel better at the end of a week of those workouts.

I may not love the burpees.
I may have to take a few breaks during some of the reps.
I may not believe them when they tell me "one more" or "five more seconds."

But my trainers are great at kicking my butt and making me a better person.

I'm so glad their classes start back again tomorrow. I need my butt kicked.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - 25 minutes on the treadmill + 15 minutes of weights (arms and back)
Tuesday - 30-minute barre-style workout video on YouTube
Wednesday - 30 minutes walking + 10 minutes of core
Thursday - 3-mile run outside
Friday - Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred + 10 minutes of core
Saturday - Off

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Show Us Your Books: January

Life According to Steph

My reading in the new year is off to a very slow start. I have some lame excuses for that -- I've been starting to plan a wedding, Sean moved in with me, and I'm trying to get my next novel edited and ready for publication in the next few months. Those aren't good excuses though. Especially not with such a good book started on my Kindle.

I'm only about two-thirds of the way through this book right now, but I plan to finish it in the next few days so I'm counting it as my January read. I haven't read a historical fiction book in a long time, but this one is fascinating. Reba, a newspaper reporter in a Texas border town, is contemplating her future with a border patrol officer. This proved to be a very timely storyline given all the current discussion about immigration in our country. She interviews Elsie, a woman who lived through WWII and hid a Jewish boy while being courted by a ranking officer in the Third Reich. Elsie's unease about her country and her life is clear in the writing. I was also shocked by the storyline of her sister, Hazel, who after becoming pregnant out of wedlock was sent away to become a "producer." Essentially, she's in a home where she and other women are being bred to produce the perfect race according to Hitler's standards. The author jumps back and forth between past and present, but the transitions are pretty smooth. I can't wait to see how it all ties together in the end.

What did you read this month?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Music Monday: John Legend - "Love Me Now"

Tomorrow is the big love holiday. I celebrated it with lots of self-love and friend love during my single days. This year, I'll actually have someone special for the first time. I've already told him it's not a huge deal to me. In fact, we'll be celebrating pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training instead. We've bought each other goodies from Baseballism (which might as well just have all our money), and we're considering a ballpark-themed menu for dinner. Unconventional, maybe, but it's true to us.

As I'm rambling about love, I decided to share this song from John Legend. He and Chrissy Teigen are one of my favorite celebrity couples. They're adorable and real and funny. I just adore them. And little Luna is perfection.

Will you be celebrating tomorrow? What's on your agenda?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Anyone can be an inspiration

In the decade or so that I've made physical activity a regular part of my life, I've had a lot of people say to me, "you inspire me."

Say what?

Even though I run, I'm not fast. It's not like I'm breaking any records or winning anything.

I look in the mirror and I see weight I want to get rid of and areas I want to tone.

I cannot do more than a few push-ups without stopping for a break.

Lunges are a struggle because my balance is crap.

Don't even get me started on burpees. I'm sure I look ridiculous when I'm attempting them.

So how am I inspiring people?

I don't really know for sure, but there are definitely people in my fitness classes that inspire me.  One woman does our intense classes twice a day (once is enough for me!). Another woman has awesome back and shoulders. Another has arms that cause envy. I follow bloggers who run marathons and are definitely much faster.

These people inspire me to work harder and push myself.  I'm sure none of them consider themselves an inspiration, but they are to me.

I guess it just shows you never know who's paying attention to you and who you might be motivating just by working on yourself.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio)

Tuesday - Xtreme Revolution (barre) + 30-minute run

Wednesday -Xtreme Revolution (cardio)

Thursday - Xtreme Revolution (tabata)
Friday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio)
Saturday - Off

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stuff & Things 2/9

:: Last week had all the emotions -- joy, anxiety, hurt, worry, anger, etc. This week has had its fair share of feels too. I'm ready for a boring week. Anytime now. In the meantime, some wonderful friends sent me these flowers to cheer me up. They certainly did the trick.

:: My fiance loves The Rock. I love Zac Efron. We'll be going to see this movie, even though it looks kind of ridiculous. I mean, there's a high likelihood Zac will be shirtless for a decent portion of the movie.

:: We are currently exploring some TV options to get live sports back in our lives. Anyone have feedback/advice on Sling vs. Playstation Vue? How about Roku vs. Amazon Fire?

:: The Iowa State Cyclones had a big win at Kansas last weekend, and the Iowa Wild are on a hot streak right now. My sports heart is happy.
Photo from the Iowa Wild Facebook page -- promoting Pink in the Rink, which happens this Saturday.

:: Valentine's Day is next week. More importantly, pitchers and catchers report to spring training next week. Sean and I are only formally celebrating one of those things. (Hint: It's the latter.)

What's up with you this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Less negative, more positive

I might be imagining it, but I feel like people are especially on edge, angry, and argumentative lately. Everywhere on social media and even in real life, it feels like tempers are more easily triggered and rants are more rampant. Maybe it's the political climate. Maybe it's the winter blues. I don't really know if I can find one direct cause. All I know is I'm tired of it.

Everyone has stuff going on in their life and minds that no one knows anything about. We are all fighting battles in private and putting on a show when we leave the house. What I'm saying is life is hard enough without extra negativity.

Changing these attitudes won't be easy or swift. But it can happen. Maybe if we all try to do one nice thing a day, we can start a new wave - one of kindness.

Here are a few easy suggestions:

:: Buy coffee or breakfast for the person behind you in line.

:: Compliment a co-worker or random person in the hallway on something they're wearing or their hair.

:: Instead of writing an angry comment on the internet, post a picture of a baby animal.

:: Put your phone away when you're with a friend or loved one. Give them your undivided attention for at least a few moments.

:: If you see someone at the grocery store struggling with their cart or groceries -- an elderly person, a mom with an entourage of kids, or someone on crutches -- offer to help.

:: Donate a bag of food or litter to your local animal shelter.

:: Double your usual tip at the coffee shop, bar, or restaurant.

:: Text or call that friend or family member you've been meaning to reach out to but just haven't found the time.

These are just a few suggestions. There are plenty more ways to bring a little light to the otherwise seemingly overcast world.

Will you join me? What are you going to do today or tomorrow to spread kindness?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Music Monday: Bruno Mars - "24K Magic"

This song isn't new by any means. It's not even new to me. But I love it anyway. I hear it a few times a week, as it's a staple in the workout soundtrack at work. It's impossible for me to sit still when it comes over the speakers.

If I had a chance to see Bruno Mars live, I might even break my concert freeze.  He'd be worth it.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Sweats: 24 days later

A little over two weeks ago, I completed the Advocare 24-Day Challenge.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

- My skin was so clear in that first 10 days.
The entire 10 days. My period happened in there too (sorry if that's TMI), and I usually breakout around that time and I didn't. I can probably attribute this to cutting back on dairy as I've heard that can be a culprit for breakouts.

- I had so much more energy.
I worked out almost every day during the challenge, and I can't remember a day I didn't think I'd make it through the workout. I also felt like my energy was up on my long work days (aka Fridays when I go from day job to job two and end up working about 15 hours).

- I was more focused at work.
It was easy for me to stay on task and not get distracted by my phone or my cube neighbor, etc. My mind felt sharper.

- I felt far less bloated.
Over the past few months, I've had so many days where I felt like a busted can of biscuits or just blah in general. Since I started the challenge, I haven't had a single day I felt like that. 

Oh, and I had some results that were more tangibly measured as well.

- I lost four pounds. All of this came off during the 10-day cleanse phase. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I'm not going to be mad about it.

- I lost two inches in my chest, one inch in my waist, two inches in my hips, and two inches in my thigh. That's seven inches total. This helped verify comments from a co-worker and my fiance, who said they could see a change.


Now that the challenge is over, I'm maintaining an 80/20 regimen when it comes to food. I eat clean 80 percent of the time and splurge 20 percent of the time. It's not as difficult as I thought it might be. And I feel so much better.

And that's really the crux of it -- feeling better. I know now how I felt before I cleaned up my diet and after. I know which feeling I prefer too. I just need to keep working, planning, and taking care of myself.

Have you ever done the Advocare 24-Day Challenge? If so, what were your results?


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Day 29 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

Monday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio) + Day 30 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

Tuesday - Xtreme Revolution (barre) + Day 31 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

Wednesday -Xtreme Revolution (cardio)

Thursday - Xtreme Revolution (tabata)
Friday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio)
Saturday - Skipped -- but I moved some furniture and changed out six kegs during my brewery shift.

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Things that happen once you're engaged

:: Everyone wants to see the ring. This is fine if you have the ring. But if you're like me and the ring has to be sent in for resizing, you spend the first two weeks or so of your engagement with a naked left hand. I felt like such a fraud.

:: Folks want to hear the story of "how he did it." Sean's proposal was very simple and private. It was perfect for us. I just tell people, "he got on one knee at midnight on New Year's Eve." Sometimes I'll add the bits about how he was insisting we stay up until midnight but kept falling asleep. But mostly, I stick to the basics. Not everyone needs to know every detail.

:: You get Facebook friend requests from people you've never met. All of a sudden, once you're digitally connected to another human, his/her friends and relatives think they need to be connected to you too. Sorry, but unless we've met in person, I'm probably not going to add you.

:: Everyone asks when your wedding date is. Thankfully, Sean and I had that narrowed down even before he put a ring on it. Otherwise, this question would be even more annoying.

:: People say, "I can't wait to get my wedding invitation." Um. There are no guarantees you're on the guest list.  And usually the people saying this aren't.

:: Many conversations with your fiance/fiancee involve words like "joint," "add," and "combine." In the near future, Sean and I will be working on joining our phone accounts, adding him to my health insurance plan, and combining our living spaces. He already has a third (or so) of my closet. That's pretty generous, right?

:: You start to bore your friends with wedding ideas and plans. Sorry pals. I'll make it up to you!!

Stay tuned for a post about things I'm discovering as I actually begin the wedding planning. It's an adventure, for sure.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Stuff & Things 2/2

:: I passed my final Associate in Claims exam last Friday. This means I can put "AIC" behind my name in my work email signature. I studied pretty intensely for the final exam of the series and I didn't feel very confident going in, but I survived and now I can take a break before working on another designation.

:: Between Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon, Sean and I changed our wedding date three times. After proudly putting down our deposit (which was more than we had anticipated because I didn't read things correctly), we found out our musician wasn't available on that day. So we tried the Friday right before that. But then we ran into issues with our venue space and timing. So we moved the date once more to two weeks earlier. It was a roller coaster, and I'm glad at least the date, venue, and entertainment are settled. Now to put the rest of the pieces together ...

:: I have mixed feelings about all the people saying, "Facebook is too political now. We should make it fun again." Then they post some quiz or fun meme. Yes, the political posts are heavy and numerous. But the posts (at least the ones on my feed) are about issues that affect real people, either now or in the future. I don't want people to be silent about their concerns. I think we can find a decent balance between the fun and informative on social media.

:: I am considering starting a series of posts about things Sean says. Kind of like Steph's. Because sometimes he's really funny. Just last night, he said, "you know I like to stay up to date on all things retro." Um, what?

:: This week has been super stressful (see item number two, which was only about half the drama of the week). Tomorrow night, we are going out to see one of my favorite musicians. He might also be playing our wedding. Heh. Any guesses? Here's a hint:

What's up with you this week?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Music Monday: Hailee Steinfeld & DNCE - "Rock Bottom"

I wish I could explain why I like Hailee Steinfeld so much. Same with DNCE. I just do. I know they're pop and all over the radio. This should mean I hate them, right? But I don't. I adore both. I won't call them guilty pleasures because I refuse to feel bad about the things I like.

And I really like this collaboration. I could watch/listen to Hailee and Joe sing together more often.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Sweats: January recap

January Goals:
- Complete the 31 Days of Yoga with Adriene.
I didn't do it every day, but I did a lot more yoga this month than I've done in the past year, so that's a win.

- Cut soda.
I haven't had any this whole month. Score.

- Complete the Advocare 24-Day Challenge.
I had a few splurges in there, but overall, I consider it a success. I learned a lot about my eating habits and improvements I can make moving forward.

Number of days I worked out: 23
I'm seriously happy about this! Especially since I'll be working out two more days this month. That's only six days off during all of January. 

Miles Ran: 8
Yeah, that's not very many. I need to hit the track/treadmill more.


February goals:
- Do 10 push-ups a day. Every day. (I'm going to conquer these this year.)
- Run 5 miles each week.
- Do yoga once a week.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Day 22 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped, but I did clean out two closets. Does that count?)
Monday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio) + Day 23 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

Tuesday - Xtreme Revolution (barre) + Day 24 Yoga with Adriene
Wednesday -Xtreme Revolution (cardio) + Day 25 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

Thursday - Xtreme Revolution (tabata) + Day 26 Yoga with Adriene
Friday - Xtreme Revolution (cardio) + Zumba Happy Hour + Day 27 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)
Saturday - Day 28 Yoga with Adriene (Skipped)

My apologies to Adriene, but I've skipped her more than I did yoga with her this week. I just couldn't do it. I needed all my extra time to study for a test, and to be honest, I've kind of grown weary of daily yoga. I'll try to finish strong.


I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

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