Monday, August 21, 2017

Music Monday: Rachel Platten - "Broken Glass"

Rachel broke onto the scene with "Fight Song" and followed it up with "Stand by You." She's becoming the girl best known for powerful motivational songs. I don't think she's too mad about that. I know I'm not. Her songs are some of the best to turn on on a bad day or during a workout. Her latest fits right in.


According to an essay published on Refinery 29, Rachel wrote this song as an homage to people who come together for good.  It also serves as a testimony to her own stubborn pursuit in the tough music business.

She's been one of my favorites for a while. I'm anxious to see what's next from her.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Am I half-crazy ... again?

I've been so inspired by following Holly's posts about her running and training. A few weeks ago, she notched a PR. I was so happy for her. I know how hard she's worked and trained. And I know how it feels to crush a goal.

I completed my first 13.1 race in October 2014. I remember the rush of crossing the finish line at the end. I remember the pride in wearing my medal around all day. I also remember how burned out I got during the training. I felt like all I did was run, sleep, and work.

Despite the training memories, I'm starting to get the itch to do another half-marathon.


The one I'm eyeing is next May.

That gives me plenty of time to prepare. I trained for my first half in 16 weeks. I could definitely do that for this one. I'd have to do a lot of my early training indoors on a treadmill, but I'd be able to get outside late in the training, which is when the longer runs come into play.

But ... I'll also be getting married in June. A month later. Is it a terrible idea to train for a marathon during the last stretch of wedding planning? Or could it actually be good for me to have an escape from wedding madness (running)? I didn't actually lose any weight the last time I trained for a half, so I wouldn't need to worry about it messing with sizing for my dress. I might have to contemplate weird tan lines though.

Am I (half) crazy to be considering another half? Especially one so close to my wedding?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off ... but I did walk about 10 miles at the fair
Monday - Boot Camp (30 mins)
Tuesday - WOD Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Off
Thursday - Warrior Strength (30 mins) + Outdoor run (30 mins)
Friday - BodyPump (60 mins)
Saturday - Outdoor run (40 mins)

As always, be sure to check out Sunday Sweats posts from Holly and Christy.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

This & That 8/17

:: I should probably be more consistent with my blogging, but I'm not sure I care. I enjoy my blog, but I don't want it to become another job or chore. I want it to remain the fun outlet it has been and is. So I'll just continue to blog when I feel like I have something to say. Even if that something is really a lot of nothing.


:: Sean and I went to the Iowa State Fair twice. Although that's probably being a big generous. Our first trip was an 11-hour adventure. The second one was only about an hour (we only got a half-day from job one and then he had to go to his second job). But I think we made the most of our time on the grounds. We ate lots of good food, bought bourbon barrel-aged syrup, saw a Pentatonix concert, met up with one of my college roommates, tasted some beers, and saw baby animals. Pretty much a win.
Some of my fair food: mini donuts, deep fried Oreos, & bacon brisket grilled cheese.
Baby animal alert (clockwise from top left): ostriches, goats, chickens, & ducks.

 :: I had fully intended to go to my favorite fitness class last night. But as the day wore on, I became more inclined to stay home for an evening of TV and reading. And that's what won. I've been so busy the last few weeks. It was nice to just have few quiet hours to myself. I think that's as important for my health and wellness as a workout.


:: I cannot find all the words I want to say about what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend. I've seen lots of articles, coverage, and even a short documentary about it in the last several days. I'm still in disbelief that people with such extreme hate exist. I just don't understand that way of thinking. I guess that's a good thing. All I know is I am very sad about the current state of our nation. We need to do better.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Music Monday: Demi Lovato - "Stone Cold"

The other night, while checking out her video for "Sorry Not Sorry" (it's pretty fun, by the way), I went down a Demi Lovato YouTube rabbit hole. And I have no regrets. I emerged with a reminder of how much I love this song. Her vocals are intense, and I just love the melody and lyrics.




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Finding a running group



I cut back on races this year to save money, but I quickly found that I missed running with other people. I tend to run harder and push myself more when I'm surrounded by other runners of varying levels. I missed having that on a regular basis.

So I decided to try and find a running group. There are several social running groups in the city, but the times and/or locations didn't really work for me. Either they're too late or too far east.

The group search wasn't successful so I decided to try and start a running group. I put some feelers out on Facebook and had some interest. So I started a private group and invited the five or six people who said they were interested. I decided to start with twice monthly runs -- Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. The first one was a Saturday morning, three other people said they'd join me. No one else showed up. The second one was a Tuesday evening. Two people showed up and it was actually a pretty good run. July got hot and one of our runners is in her third trimester, so we ended up cancelling both of those runs. I've scheduled two for August, but no one has firmly RSVPed yet.

I'm a bit discouraged but I'm not giving up yet. Maybe summer is just too busy and people will be more responsive in the fall. I don't know. I'm going to give it a few more months before I abandon my FB running group.

What would you do in my position?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme (30 mins) + Outdoor run (30 mins)
Tuesday - WOD Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - FitFusion (60 mins)
Thursday - Outdoor run (30 mins)
Friday - BodyPump (60 mins)
Saturday - Outdoor run (30 mins)

As always, be sure to check out Sunday Sweats posts from Holly and Christy.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This & That 8/10

:: The Iowa State Fair starts today. It's the biggest event in our state and is definitely a tradition for me. I can't imagine not going every year. I'll be going twice over the span of the next ten days and I'm very excited about the food, the photography exhibit, the baby animals, the people watching, and the Pentatonix concert.


:: We bought a coffee table last weekend. We've been on the hunt for one for a while now -- browsing furniture sites and even the marketplace on Facebook. We couldn't find anything. On a whim, we walked through a furniture store on Sunday and found exactly what we were looking for. Our place feels a bit more complete now.


::Yesterday, I got to leave my desk at noon and go to a baseball game with my department. The weather was perfect and the game was pretty entertaining too. The Iowa Cubs beat the Sacramento River Cats 7-3.



:: I saw this on Facebook and it's so true, it hurts.

What's up with you this week?


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Things I don't ever feel like doing

I stole this idea from Steph and Stephanie because I found it humorous and it offered some good insight into who they are. That's my favorite thing about blogging -- learning about people.



Anyhow, without any further rambling, here is a list of things I am never in the mood to do:

Put away clean laundry.  
Washing and drying clothes is easy. The last part ...eh.

Clean the litter box.  
This is one household chore I would hire out if I had the option.

Dishes.  
Thank goodness Sean takes the lead on this one most of the time.

Read non-fiction.
I have found a few I liked but it's never my first choice.

Try on clothes.
I like having new things to wear, but I don't like the fitting room part. 

Watch "Game of Thrones" or "The Walking Dead."
I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't watch one or both of these. They just don't interest me.

Be the passenger in a car.
I like to drive. And be in control.  

Pay bills.
Blech. 

Drink tequila.
Thanks to a bad experience in my early 20s, margaritas will never appeal to me. 

Obstacle course races.
I love running, but don't sign me up for anything that involves crawling in mud or climbing over a huge fence.

Swim in a lake or river.
If I can't see the bottom, I'm not going in the water. 



What are some things you never feel like doing?



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Show Us Your Books: July

Life According to Steph


I'm almost afraid to say this. I don't want to jinx myself or scare away what's happening. But ... I think my reading mojo is back.

Most of this year, I've struggled to read one or two books a month. That's not like me. I used to be able to knock out five or six. In addition to my two jobs, moving, wedding planning, and editing my own novel took a lot of time, but I don't think that was really the problem. It was part of it, sure, but I think the bigger issue was that I wasn't finding stuff that captivated me to the point where I wanted to read more than anything else.

I think I fixed that this past month. What did it take? Some lighthearted, humorous, and contemporary romance novels. Go figure.

Here's what I've read recently.


This was not one of the books that broke me out of my funk. I decided to try this one on audiobook, hoping it would entertain me during work and get me back into reading. But it didn't work. Maybe it was the narrator. I don't know. I still don't love Sophie Kinsella novels as much as most people. Maybe I'm just not finding the right ones.



Jenna is stuck in the 80s in terms of her interests and her wardrobe. She's even sworn off dating because she's hung up on her teen celeb crush. Suddenly, she travels back in time during a lightning storm and gets to meet the man of her dreams and live the life she's been longing for. The concept is a little outlandish, but I thought it was an entertaining read.



THIS WAS THE BOOK. This story turned me back into a voracious reader. I've been casually following the author on Twitter through another author friend and when I read the synopsis of her novel, I knew I had to get it. Kat is in a bit of a sex drought because of malfunctioning lady parts and she's on a mission to get them back in working order by her anniversary. Meanwhile, she's also trying to catapult her cupcake business to the next level. There are so many cringe-worthy and laughter-inducing moments in this book. And the characters are all so enjoyable. I'd actually love to read more about some of her cupcake cohorts.



I devoured "The Two-Night One-Night Stand" a few months ago and was pretty excited to discover there was a follow up. I needed more of Matt and Holly. Their own snafus brought most of the drama in the first book, but this time it's their friends and family. As they plan their wedding, everyone has different ideas about what Holly and Matt should do. There are points when Matt and Holly don't even seem to be in control of the day, nor do they seem to know how to take control. This book is funny and a perfect conclusion for Matt and Holly's tale.



Bailey and Koralynn are more than best friends. They're sisters (without the DNA link). They would do anything for each other and as this story follows trials of their adulthood, their bond is put to the test. This book reads a lot like a soap opera. There are so many twists and tangles. But I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it turned out.

\\\\////

That's right. I consumed five books in the last month. Honestly, I read the last three just last week. I could not put my Kindle down. It feels good to be back in the reading mindset.

Have you ever been in a reading funk? How do you pull yourself out of it?


Monday, August 7, 2017

Music Monday: NEEDTOBREATHE - "Count on Me"

There's something about NEEDTOBREATHE's style and sound that gets me every time. I randomly stumbled on this song from them the other night and I fell in love at first listen. Maybe it's because the message really spoke to me -- as I recently went through a kind of rough patch.  Sometimes it's nice to hear some words of encouragement during those times, even if it's just from a song.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Sweats: July fitness recap



July goals:
- Run a 5K every week.
This happened three out of four weeks. Not too terrible.

- Go to yoga in the park at least once.
This did not happen at all. Boo.

 
Number of days I worked out: 20. I guess I took more days off than I thought.


Miles Ran: 16

+++++

August goals:
- Run eight times during the month.
- Get my bike out again for a ride.

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Bootcamp (30 mins)
Tuesday - WOD Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Arms/Back/Shoulders (20 mins) + Fit Fusion (60 mins)
Thursday - Warrior Strength (30 mins)
Friday - BodyPump (60 mins)
Saturday - Off

I didn't do any two-a-days this week. I'll be back at it next week.  But I did return to BodyPump, which made me very happy!

As always, be sure to check out Sunday Sweats posts from Holly and Christy.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Best of the Bunch: July 2017



I have played the comparison games too many times. And you know what? I always lose. No matter what the area, comparing myself to others never ends well for me. Holly has been struggling with comparison in terms of running, and boy could I relate. I have had many of the same thoughts when it comes to my running and fitness. But at some point, I have to get over that and just celebrate what I have done instead of worrying about what others are doing. Also, if you've followed Holly at all, you know she's accomplished a lot of great running feats. She's currently training for a marathon. I'm in awe.

I've heard of postpartum depression (and it's still not talked about enough), but I'd never heard mention of postpartum anxiety until I read Cait's post. It makes a lot of sense though, and I could see how a lot of moms could be susceptible to this feeling. I'm really glad she wrote about it.

Do you ever have those days when you just wake up grumpy or out of sorts for no reason at all? I definitely have. Stephanie has some great tips for beating those blues.  She also had a great post about lies she tells herself. I'm guilty of many of them as well.

Hope you're having a great weekend!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

This & That 8/3

 :: I successfully found my wedding dress last Saturday. I only had to go to two of my three appointments. And, as many warned me, the dress I chose was not at all what I expected to be purchasing. But when I put it on, I just knew it was right. I'll write more about this in a future Wedding Wednesday post. But I'm very happy with how the shopping day went.


:: Sean's parents gave me a waffle maker and a breakfast/brunch cookbook for my birthday. I used it the other night to make maple-bacon buttermilk waffles. Not at all healthy, but very delicious.


:: I think I'm finally out of my reading funk. Sure, my reading time was limited for a while, but I don't think that was the real reason my book count was dwindling. I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to read and couldn't find anything to keep my attention. Well, I picked up some new books last week and have already read two of them. I'll probably finish a third by this evening. I'm on a roll. I just want to spend every spare minute reading. Ahh. I missed this feeling.


:: We had a house guest last weekend, which forced us to do more work on the guest room. It's nothing fancy, but it definitely looks a bit more finished now.


:: This was posted the other night. This is the trail where I used to run a lot when I lived in that area. I never felt unsafe on that trail. Yikes! I hope they catch the creep. But the girl sounds like a badass!

What's up with you this week?


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Decisions, decisions

I hate making decisions. Especially big ones.

Anyone who knows me will probably back me up when I say this. It makes me nervous to make a choice. I wonder if I'm making the right one or if I should have gone with another option.

I don't think I had any idea just how many decisions were involved in the wedding planning process.



The big ones are the guy (easy choice for me, although it took me a while to find him), venue (another simple one), entertainment (cake), food (no-brainer), and wedding date (we only had a brief hiccup). You'd think that'd be enough. But no. After that, you have the colors, the attire (for you, the groom, and the wedding party), open bar vs. cash bar, kids vs. no kids in attendance, real flowers vs. fake flowers vs. no flowers, centerpieces, plated dinner or buffet, seating arrangement or free for all, invitations, save-the-dates, registry, etc. My brain hurts just listing all those things. And I know there are several I left off or that didn't occur to me.

Sigh.

I feel really fortunate that Sean and I agreed on most of the big details and haven't had too many lengthy discussions about the smaller ones. And our parents are all in support of what we've decided so far. I feel sorry for those who have to battle their spouse-to-be, family, or in-laws for what they want.

Still, the process has been a bit overwhelming thus far.

I think the biggest headache for me is going to be the guest list.

Our venue has a capacity of 200. That sounds like a lot until you really start listing people. And I should note that Sean comes from a big Catholic family. His dad is one of eight and his mom is one of four. As we listed out his family -- just down to first cousins and no minor children -- there were nearly 90 people. That doesn't leave much wiggle room for friends or co-workers. Now, I know not everyone will come, but I refuse to believe those who say to expect only 75 percent of your guests to show. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm just hard-pressed to believe only 150 or so of our invitees will say "yes" to our invites.

Because of this, I know I need to keep our guest list very close to 200. Right now, we have 205 listed. And there have been a lot of edits, omissions, and additions. I'm sure there will be more. I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel bad if they're not invited.

I'm carefully wading through my friends list. If I haven't talked to them in almost a year, should they still be invited? Also, do I have to invite people just because I was invited to their wedding?

What about relatives I haven't seen in years? Do I have to include them just because we share some shred of DNA?

I'm also waffling on how handle co-workers. Can I invite only a few without inviting others?

I found a few flowcharts out there and they make a lot of valid points regarding the list.




What do you think? Any advice on handling the guest list stress?



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Five things about me

I've taken a lot of time off around here lately. Maybe some of you have forgotten who I am. Also, I'm low on ideas for a post for today, but I wanted to put something up. So, you're going to get some random info about me!

I love selfies, and I don't care if people hate me for that.

ONE :: I have authored and self-published five novels.
The first three are stand-alone works, and two most recent are part of a baseball romance series that will end up being three or four books. I haven't decided yet. We'll see how this third one (which is still in writing phase) ends up. There's a link to my author page on Amazon over on the right side of this page.

TWO :: After years of trying every online dating site available, I ended up meeting my fiance on Twitter.
Really. I used Match.com, OKCupid, plentyoffish, eHarmony, and others I'm sure are slipping my mind right now. But apparently all I needed to do was listen to a local sports radio and tweet into the show after I heard them talking about beer. Voila! Instant perfect match. You can read more about our love story here -- part 1, part 2, & part 3.

THREE :: I adore all animals, but prefer to have cats as companions.
I had four different dogs when I was growing up -- Alex (a boxer pup I've only seen in photos), Peaches (a beagle that was hit by a car before we got to really enjoy her), Mac (a toy poodle who thought he ran the house), and Sable (a doberman who thought she was a lap dog). I loved them all and definitely have fond memories of Mac and Sable. Yet when it was time for me to get my own pets, I chose cats. Mostly, I chose them because they fit my life better. I have always worked some weird hours and long days. That kind of schedule would not be fair to a dog, who needs exercise and potty breaks. Cats are a bit more independent. Mine enjoy my company, but they're fine if I'm gone for long periods of time. In addition to that, I honestly think they just fit my personality better. I understand and appreciate their sassy and independent nature.

FOUR :: I am not using my college degree.
At least not in an obvious way. I have a bachelor of arts in mass communication (journalism). I worked in newspapers for nine years and then ventured into higher education and corporate communications positions. Those did not work out so well for me -- I was laid off twice in the span of seven months -- and I decided I couldn't take anymore rejection and failure. So I work in the insurance industry. That's not going anywhere. I do subrogation, which almost no one understands. Basically, if one of our insureds is in a car accident and is not at-fault, I pursue the responsible party to reimburse us for the damages. Super glamorous. I suppose drafting letters and other correspondence is technically using my degree but I feel very detached from the career I thought I'd have.  I also work part-time as a beertender at a local brewery. So there's that.

FIVE :: I have been blogging for seven years. Here, at least.
On July 11, 2010, I published the first post in this space. It was a Music Monday post and featured a musician that gets a lot of ink (is that the right term?) on my blog. He's one of my favorites. But this really wasn't my first foray into the online blog world. I had a LiveJournal from 2003 to 2007 ... and remain friends with a few people I met there.

There you have it. A little snapshot of me. I'm happy to answer any questions. Maybe they'd give me ideas for future posts.




Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Hitting those two-a-days

If you've been paying attention to these posts, you'll notice I'm often doing two workouts a day. My workout buddy and I agreed to try this about a month ago. I wasn't sure I could or would stick with it, but so far, so good.



I really like doing the morning classes. It's an excellent way to start my day. It gives my brain time to wake up while pushing my body a little. And I've already accomplished something before my workday starts. That's a good feeling. Plus, if I do the morning and noon route, that leaves my evenings free for my second job or anything else I want to do.

The downside is packing a bag. I have to pack my work clothes and workout clothes (for the second sweat session) and all my shower stuff. Only once (so far) have I forgotten something important -- a bra. Yeah, so I had to wear a sports bra all day. Not my favorite thing.  Also, I pack so much that my bags can't handle it. I've already broken two -- one zipper and one shoulder strap. I'm on the search for a good sturdy bag if anyone has a recommendation.

Let's not even talk about the amount of laundry I have to do. I only have five sports bras. So, yeah, I have to wash workout clothes a few times a week. Maybe for my bachelorette party, I can have friends bring me sports bras instead of lingerie. Ha ha.  Alright, so I had to talk a bit about laundry. We'll leave the topic now.

I've also had to compromise a bit on my solo workouts. If I want to go to FitFusion in the evenings, I have to choose to skip the morning or noon workout. My trainer said she doesn't recommend more than 90 minutes of activity in a day for me. Same thing if I want to go for a run -- I have to give another workout up. And some days that's hard.

Working out at such frequency also makes it hard for me to take a day off. I feel better when I work out, so I want to keep doing it. But I know rest days are important too. So I force myself to take two rest days a week. I rarely get much more than that though.

Honestly though, I love this regimen. Especially since my classes are only 30 minutes each. That equals an hour of solid activity each day but it's in shorter segments, which makes it more bearable and keeps my attention and energy.

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Britt's Boot Camp (30 mins)

Tuesday - WOD Strength (30 mins) + Booty Camp (30 mins)

Wednesday - Strike (30 mins)

Thursday - Warrior Strength (30 mins) + Coaches' Call Core (15 mins)
Friday - Run (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

As always, be sure to check out Sunday Sweats posts from Holly and Christy.



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