Friday, April 28, 2017

Four things I get from blogging

Everyone blogs for a different reason. I see it all through my feed -- the various motivations and themes for each blogger. I judge no one for their reasons for blogging, but I thought I'd share a bit of what I get out out of writing in this space and reading blogs each week.

Source

:: It's a writing outlet.
As you might know, I call myself a writer. I have authored and self-published a few novels. I used to work in newspapers and communication too, but those days are behind me. But I still feel called to write. This blog gives me a place to do that.

:: I learn things.
I follow some finance, food, and health bloggers who are great at sharing their expertise. I've picked up a lot of tips and tricks from them here and there. I learn just as much from the other lifestyle bloggers I read who may not even know they're imparting wisdom when they post.

:: I find suggestions.
From books to beauty products to podcasts and beyond, blogs help me discover new things I didn't know I needed in my life.

:: It's a community.
I have become Facebook friends with some of the people I've met through blogging. I no longer just read their words on the page (though I also do that). I also see glimpses of their daily life (different from what they present on their blog). There are so many I'd love to meet for a cup of coffee or dinner or a long weekend getaway. Maybe someday in the future.

What do you get from blogging?


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stuff & Things 4/27



:: The tour of our new place is still coming. Sometime. For now, just check out this view. This is what I saw from the kitchen counter on Sunday. Looooove it.


:: I love the powder dip manicures. My first one lasted me almost four full weeks. And honestly, the only reason I had it re-done is because the new growth was bothering me. And I was ready for a new color.


:: I'm still working through edits on my latest novel. It's going a little faster lately. Maybe because I'm inspired with baseball season starting (even though the Rangers are not very inspiring as of late).


:: I revived my merch girl career the other night for the one and only Stephen Kellogg. By my best count, I've peddled his wares 14 times in the last 10 years. That's kind of crazy. But he's such a talented and sweet individual. It's hard not to want to help him.



:: My bestie had her second little girl last week. I can't wait to go meet little Sadie. And I'll probably forever be calling her Sadie Bunny because of this photo from the hospital.

What's new with you this week?


Monday, April 24, 2017

Music Monday: Needtobreathe - "Hard Love"

Because of some life events, I did not get to see Needtobreathe last fall. It was the right decision, however I'm still anxiously awaiting finally seeing this band live. They'll be releasing new tour dates this week, and I'm really hoping Des Moines is on the list.


Who are you hoping to see live soon?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Sweats: My new morning must

A little over a month ago, I altered my morning routine. Just a little bit. I added one thing.

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the new house or switching bathrooms with Sean (I wanted the bigger shower). It also doesn't have anything to do with the time I get up (although I do get up earlier now that my work hours are different).

The change? Water.



Each morning on the way to work, I consume 8-16 oz of water. I can definitely get in 8 oz, but I've been trying really hard lately to get 16 oz. I might keep increasing that as time goes by to encompass my entire water bottle (32 oz.). OK, maybe I won't finish that in my 15-minute commute, but I'd like to start having more water before I go to my morning beverage of choice -- coffee.

Before this change, the first liquid I consumed was usually coffee. And it was usually a good hour after I'd woken up. I started to wonder if that was the best thing to hit my empty stomach on a daily basis. I didn't read any studies or internet articles or about it, I just decided I should probably do something different for my stomach. I like to keep it happy.

I remembered during my Advocare 24-Day Challenge that 16 oz of water right away in the morning was part of the regimen. I remembered how great I felt during that time. I also seemed to remember at some point reading about how water helps with digestion and metabolism. Hmm. I'd like to help those things.

The most notable difference so far is that I feel more hydrated throughout the day, which is key. Especially since I work out at noon. I'm a sipper when it comes to coffee, so it used to be about 10 a.m. before I drank any water. No bueno.

I also enjoy my coffee more. Waiting for it really does give an enhanced sense of pleasure. Since I've already had breakfast by the time I have my coffee, it almost becomes dessert. Mmmm. 

This small change has made a difference in my days. I just need to start making an effort to continue it on the weekends.

I also found this graphic about the benefits of drinking water at different points each day.


Hmm ... something to think about.

What little change did you make to your daily routine that made a big difference?

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme
Tuesday - Booty Camp Class
Wednesday - Tabata Class
Thursday - 2-mile walk/jog
Friday - Off
Saturday - Off

I bought new running shoes last week and I've been antsy to get them out on the trail. Between commitments and some heavy leg workouts at noon, I haven't yet done it. Soon, I hope!

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stuff & Things 4/20



:: I thought hanging mini blinds would be a relatively easy evening project. Nope. We spent an hour on it last night and didn't get a single bracket mounted. We gave up. We were both getting frustrated and it was hot. So we gave up. Any tips for getting those brackets installed?


:: The other night, I did sensory training at the brewery where I work. Basically we tasted Bud Light with things added to it that shouldn't have been there. We had to use smell and taste to discern the anomalies and learn what they meant. Really interesting stuff. Even if it meant drinking Bud Light all night.


:: My noon workouts are awesome, but they are kicking my butt. This week felt like a lot of legs. Going down stairs is not a party.


:: Because of my midday sweat sessions, I've stopped even putting on makeup in the mornings because I just sweat it off a few hours later. Mascara only for me these days ... unless I'm going out in the evening.


:: At the recommendation of Kristin, I've started listening to the Daily Hope podcast. I don't consider myself religious, but I do have faith. And this is a nice dose of positive energy without being preachy.

What's up with you this week?


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Five things that make me feel put together

I'm stealing this post idea from Jana, who wrote something similar a few weeks ago.

Between moving, working a lot, and other life happenings, lately I've felt like a huge mess. Not even a hot mess. Just a huge mess. My existence feels like chaos. There are a few lulls but even in those moments, I feel a bit out of sorts.



Here are a few things that at least make me feel like I have it together (even when I don't):

- Making the bed.
I used to be terrible about this. I didn't see the point. I was just going to get back into it in 16 hours or so (on a good day). Why make it? I'm seeing the appeal now. It looks nicer and there's something gratifying about pulling the sheets back at night before I climb in.

- Clean sheets Sunday.
I adapted this routine from a friend a few years ago, and I've never looked back. The end of the weekend is such a drag, but at least I have fresh clean sheets to make it a little more bearable.

- Doing my full makeup.
Lately I've been doing just mascara most days. Since I work out at noon, I just sweat everything off anyway. Also, I sit in a cube. Very few people see me let alone pay attention to me. Every now and then, though, I like to do my full face and enjoy the feeling.

- Making lists.
I can get overwhelmed with everything going on. Sometimes just making a list of what I need or what needs to be done gives me some peace. The AnyList app is my most favorite thing. I'll write a longer post about it someday (it's been a savior during the moving process and for sharing household tasks with Sean). There's just something really satisfying about crossing things off when they're done.

- Getting a manicure.
I'm still working on perfecting my DIY technique. But occasionally I splurge and let a professional do it. It feels amazing, and my nails looks so pretty. And since I usually do shellac or (recently) the powder dip, it lasts for a few weeks! Money well-spent.


What things help you feel like you have it all together?


Monday, April 17, 2017

Music Monday: Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio - "Beauty & The Beast"

Gunnar and Scarlett are my second favorite couple on "Nashville" (after Deacon and Rayna). I can't believe I'm only just finding this duet of those actors singing "Beauty & the Beast."




Sigh.

I love it.





Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Iowa Wild Breakaway 5K recap

This race could really be told in three parts. Each mile was very different.

For whatever reason, my ankles hated me at the start of the race. Just across the start line, they threatened to give out and I almost fell down. Then they hurt for the entire first mile. Ached is probably a better word. It wasn't sharp pain, just a mild aggravation. This has happened my past few races out, and I'm wondering if I just need to stretch more or do something else to loosen them up.

The second mile felt really long. I thought I'd never get to the turnaround point. And even after I finally did reach it, the next stretch felt endless. It probably didn't help that I was playing leapfrog with a person who was utilizing the walk-run method. I'd pass her when she was walking, then she'd pass me when she was running. Then I'd catch up again. Repeat.

I finally started to feel good in the last mile. It might have been the high five from the little boy who was offering up free slaps. Or maybe my body just finally accepted what was happening and decided to enjoy it.



Overall, it was a good race. My time was OK. The Iowa Wild swag was awesome. My packet included two free game tickets and I received a flag at the finish. There were a bunch of other great things in the packet as well. The weather was perfect -- 50s and partly sunny. But it was a reminder that I need to get out and run more regularly. Even though I CAN crank out 3.1 miles after not running consistently doesn't mean I SHOULD. Also, I definitely need new running shoes.

+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme
Tuesday - Booty Camp Class + 2-mile run
Wednesday - Tabata Class
Thursday - Barre/Cardio Class
Friday - Circuit workout with Sean
Saturday - Off

Be sure to check out Sunday Sweats posts from Holly and Christy.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Five things I haven't done ... yet?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I hope Mel feels that way because I'm totally stealing the theme of this post from her.

I'm not the most adventurous person. Occasionally, I'll order something new off the menu or take a different route to a familiar destination. But other than that, I pretty much stay with the tried and true. Boring, right? I suppose so. But it's my life, and I'll choose my adventures.



Here are five things I've never done ... along with some thoughts on whether or not I want that to change.

- Skydiving
A few of my friends have done this and had a blast. I'm intrigued but also a little bit scared. I'd probably try it if I got the chance.

- Ran a marathon
I've done several 5Ks, an 8K, a few 10Ks, and a half-marathon. I feel like 13.1 might be as far as I can go. But ten years ago, I would have said I'll never be a runner, so ... you never know.

- Traveled out of the country
I definitely want to change this. And since one of my closest friends is aiming at a destination wedding, I might have a good excuse to get a passport.

- Gone camping
I've slept in a camper in a friend's driveway, but I've never really done the whole roughing it thing. And I don't know that I want to either. I like wi-fi, Netflix, and indoor plumbing. A lot.

- Swam in the ocean
I've put my feet in, but that's as far as I've gone. I have this weird thing about not wanting to be in water when I can't see the bottom, but if I can find a super clear body of water, I'm in!

What are some things you haven't done? Do you plan to?


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stuff & Things 4/13


:: Remember that Parachute setlist wishlist I posted on Monday? Well, the show was last night.I got one of the four songs I wanted, but I'm not the least bit disappointed. It was a great concert! And I was pleased to hear they plan to make Des Moines an consistent tour stop.
Will's voice wasn't broken this year. Hooray!!
Wooly's had a nice crowd for Kris Allen & Parachute.

:: We got a dining table last weekend. It came from Sean's grandfather via his parents. Eventually (once we figure out what we want), we'll change the upholstery on the chairs. But overall we're pretty pleased with it.


:: One of my big pet peeves is people who don't clean up after themselves. We have a water and coffee station at work. Too many times, I walk by to see splatters of water, coffee, protein shake powder, etc. all over the counter. Seriously, people? You know you spilled, grab a paper towel and wipe it up. It's not that hard!!


:: As I've mentioned on here, Stephen Kellogg is one of my favorite musicians. Unsurprisingly, he has a way with words. Most of the time it's in song, but occasionally there are gems on his Instagram as well. Like this one. OK, so his daughter is adorable, but there's a great message in his caption.

What's up with you this week?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Show Us Your Books: February & March

Life According to Steph

I was in the throes of moving last month, so I missed one of my favorite link-ups. I hope you don't mind a two-month recap of my reading adventures. I'm still not doing a ton of reading because I'm also trying to edit my next book -- so that's most of my reading.

This book took me a long time to finish. Not because it wasn't good but because it was so heavy and depression. There was very little joy in this story. And the twists were really emotional. Even though I eventually figured out who the guilty party was, it was still icky to see it unravel. That's what I get for continuing to choose thrillers and books about missing kids, right?


I moved on to something lighter and funnier after so many suspense/thrillers. This book was funny and entertaining. It was a very quick read with flawed yet likeable characters. Even though it wasn't a conventional romance, it was a lot more realistic and still a good love story.

++++

At one book a month, it's going to be tough to make my reading goal for the month. Hopefully I'll be able to dive into a few more books once I'm finished with my own. 

What are you reading? Should I add it to my list?


Monday, April 10, 2017

Music Monday: A Parachute wishlist


Just over a year ago, I saw these guys for the first time. I saw them for a second time a few weeks later. I cannot wait for their show this week.

On this tour, they're letting fans vote on the set list. Here are a few tracks I hope make the cut:






I'll let you know later this week how many of these I got.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Life after Xtreme Revolution

I loved the variety of the Xtreme Revolution program. The instructors incorporated cardio, strength, balance every week, and it was fantastic. It was just what I needed.  When the program ended, was worried I wouldn't find the same enjoyment in the regular classes.

I'm happy to say I was wrong.

The instructors re-vamped the fitness class offerings and so far, I am loving the schedule!



Mondays: Total Cardio Xtreme (although I have been out the last few Mondays, so I haven't gotten to try it yet).

Tuesdays: Booty Camp -- all lower body strengthening and toning.

Wednesdays: Tabata  -- this has become one of my favorite classes. I love the bursts of high impact exercises.

Thursdays: Barre/Cardio -- It's a nice balance of toning and cardio.

Friday's noon class is sport day, but since I'm not very athletic or competitive, I opt out of this one. I intend to use that as a free day to go for a run or do some yoga. Or a rest day when I plan to run over the weekend.

Of course, these are just the noon classes. At 12:30, there are some yoga and core classes. There are also some pre-work classes (Britt's Boot Camp, WOD Strength, Strike, Warrior Strength, and HI to the Weekend) and after work classes (HEAT Aerobic Training, Beach Body Only, Cardio/Core) and WOD Crossfit).

I may check out a few of those if I start getting extra motivated. And since I'll be trying on wedding dresses in a few months, that'll probably happen.

These daily workouts have helped me keep my sanity and some peace as I weathered a move and some other life stresses.



The best part about all these classes (if I haven't mentioned it before) is that they're offered at my workplace for FREE. I used to pay $30/month for a gym membership and there were really only two or three classes I liked (but couldn't always attend). I am really taking advantage of these work benefits. I think it helps that I've found some workout buddies who make the classes more fun and hold me accountable.
+++++

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Off
Tuesday - Booty Camp Class + 2-mile run
Wednesday -Walked for 30 minutes for National Walking Day
Thursday - Barre/Cardio Class + 1-mile run
Friday - Off
Saturday - Iowa Wild Breakaway 5K

Be sure to check out posts from Holly and Christy.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Things that happen when you're a new homeowner

Well, we've been in the house for a few weeks now. I wish I could tell you we're settled, but that wouldn't be the whole truth. All our things are here. We're able to live and sleep and cook and go to work without much issue, but I wouldn't say we're completely settled yet. Being a new homeowner is quite the ride. This is my second go-round as a homeowner, but it still didn't prepare me for some of these truths.

:: You can't find anything.
I thought I did really well packing, but apparently not. There are still a few items that have evaded me. I JUST found the meat thermometer, apple corer, and can opener. Ugh. It's really frustrating.


:: The packed boxes and tubs never seem to disappear.
Seriously, every time I feel like I'm making progress, I still see things that need to be unpacked and put away somewhere.



:: You make so many trips to Home Depot/Lowe's/Target/Wal-Mart.
There are a lot of little things you realize you need once you've moved in. More garbage cans. More hand towels (especially now that there are three bathrooms instead of one). Something to hold plastic bags. A new spice organizer. It's neverending.


:: You're excited to host friends but then panic about the parts of the house that aren't done yet.
Sean and I so want to have people over for games, movies, etc., but I'm not sure the place is ready yet for a lot of people to see it. Will it ever be ready?


What are some things you discovered to be true when you were a new homeowner?


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuff & Things 4/6


:: A few weeks ago, the brewery where I work celebrated its fourth birthday. A local artist (and valued customer) usually makes some art for the owners. This year, he did a bonus piece depicting all of the beertenders!!! I loved it so much, I framed it and hung it in my house. Can you find me?

:: Des Moines Performing Arts announced the 2017-2018 season of shows. After some discussion, season tickets were purchased. I can't wait to see these.

:: I fully intend to give you all a glimpse at the new house. Eventually. But I don't feel like we're fully settled yet. There are still a lot of areas that need work. Let's see where I am with it at the end of this month.

:: Baseball season is officially in full swing (pun not intended, but pretty funny!). I took a half day off work on Monday to celebrate the holiday. As luck would have it, Sean's team was supposed to play at 3 p.m., but they ended up getting rained out, and my team played at 6 p.m. I know it won't always be that way. And watching our teams play each other could be an adventure. We'll see if we survive our first full season of separate fandoms.

How's your week going?




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