Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday Sweats: On the run

As I've mentioned in a few of my last fitness posts, I know I need to be running more. It's the only thing that will make my races easier and more enjoyable. It's not really about how many miles I'm logging, it's more about how many days I'm putting my running shoes to work.

And I want to. Really, I do. I love running. I enjoy getting out in the fresh air, away from social media, work, house chores, and other obligations. Running is when I find a lot of mental clarity and push out a lot of other emotions. It's one form of therapy I employ.

This past week was pretty good. I ran three times. Sure, I only covered six miles. But there have been many months recently that I didn't even log that. So I'm happy with getting out three times in the last week.

My May goal is twice a week, but I'm probably going to try and push beyond that to three times.

The biggest thing is convincing myself I have time. I'm not doing long runs, so it's not like I need a whole afternoon. Most of the time, even a half hour will do the trick. On Tuesday, for example, I got home just before 4 p.m. I changed into running clothes, did a short warm-up (walked to the trail, basically), ran two miles, and then a short cool down. I was showered and sitting down at my computer just before 5 p.m. An hour. That's all I needed to get in a decent run AND get cleaned up. I could probably cut that in half if I just want to get in a quick mile.

How do you convince yourself to work out when you're tight on time?


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme

Tuesday - Booty Camp Class + Core + 2-mile run

Wednesday - Tabata

Thursday - Barre/Cardio Class
Friday - Arms + 1-mile run
Saturday - 1.5-mile walk/run (I really wanted to run, but my legs did not.)

I mentioned on Thursday that I'm feeling more motivated to work out. This proves it!!

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


Friday, May 5, 2017

Five things that happen when you're planning a wedding

I've been engaged now for just over four months. We will be getting married in about 13 months. Wow. That makes it seem sooner than I thought. But really, it's still early in the planning stages, but I'm already noticing some trends.

:: People constantly ask how the plans are coming along.
I wholeheartedly appreciate their interest and honestly don't mind the question most of the time. But every now and then it makes me wonder if I should be doing something more.


:: Everyone offers advice and warnings. 
This is kind of related to the above item. And, again, it's very appreciated. One of the benefits of getting married later than a lot of friends is seeing what worked for them and what didn't. I've already decided to do some kind of receiving line after one of my friends told me she wished she hadn't skipped that. Even with a limited guest list, she said there were still a lot of people at her wedding she didn't have time to speak with. I want to at least say "hello" to each person and thank them for coming. I also want to know what caterers, dress stores, etc. were difficult to work with. Ain't nobody got time for that.


:: You start looking at the cost of wedding venues and promptly faint.
When you wake up, you search for cheaper alternatives. Seriously. I don't need fancy linens or a fountain or high tech lighting. I just want a place that's easy to get to, will look good in photos, and will hold our guests. Fortunately, we found the perfect place. It suits our theme, has room for our guests, a bar, and our band. We booked it very quickly.


:: You are suddenly grateful you have friends and family with a multitude of useful talents. 
Among my list are a photographer, a musician, a hotel professional, and several crafty folks, all of whom have offered up their talents and some discounts. These relationships will save me money, stress, and time. I'm so thankful for these folks.


 :: The guest list becomes less of a "who I want at my party" and more of a "who do I like enough to pay for them to eat." 
And that list gets very small very quickly. Honestly, I think the guest list is going to be the biggest headache. Our venue holds 200 people. He has a large family (those Catholics and their breeding). There are going to be some tough invitation cuts. Maybe I'll just use this flow chart:


Honestly, I feel good about where we are in our planning. We've already made most of the important decisions (date, location, entertainment, photographer, caterer, theme, beer). It probably helped that we talked a lot about what kind of wedding we wanted before he put a ring on my finger. It also helps that (so far) we've agreed on everything so far. Without too much discussion. It's sailing by pretty easily. I'm crossing my fingers that it keeps going that way.

Any advice?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Stuff & Things 5/4

:: I got to meet my new "niece" earlier this week. My best friend had a baby on April 19, and I finally got a chance to see and hold Sadie Grace on Monday. She's so sweet and I look forward to watching her grow up.

:: I'm really going to try and be done with editing and revisions on my book by the end of May. I didn't intend for a whole year to pass between books, but that's the way it's going to turn out. I know I've had a lot going on, but I'm still kind of mad at myself that I've let it drag out this long.

:: I really can't wait to be done with edits. Mostly because I'm ready for the book to be out. But also because I want more time for reading. I truly believe writers need to also be reading a lot. It gives me an idea of what stories are already being told, what stories are missing, and what kind of stories interest me most. Because I'm not going to write something that doesn't interest me. That makes no sense.

:: Workouts have been really tough this week. I'm super sore but also feeling even more motivated, honestly. I feel like I'm getting stronger and better. And the gorgeous weather makes me want to get out and run ... even after I've already done a noon workout. I love it.

:: Today marks one year since my first date with Sean. In some ways, I can't believe it's ALREADY been a year. In other ways, I can't believe it's ONLY been a year. Time is a funny thing. And so is our perspective on it. Anyway. We went out last Friday to really celebrate (dinner and a comedy show at the theatre), which is probably good because we're both working tonight. (That happens a lot when both people have two jobs.) It's been a good year full of memories and learning about him and myself. There have also been challenges, and I know there will be more in our life ahead, but I'm ready for them. And there's no one with whom I'd rather face them.  Happy anniversary, babe!

What's up with you this week?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Currently: May 2017

Listening to ... podcasts. Lots and lots of podcasts. The newest one I added was "Good Life Project" by Jonathan Fields. I needed something happy to balance out all my true crime subscriptions.

Watching ... "Disgraced." I was living in Texas when Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy disappeared and was later found murdered. The whole thing was a mess back then, but the documentary just shows how effed up it was and still is.

Reading ... "Baseball Life Advice" by Stacey May Knowles. I haven't had a lot of time to read lately, but I'm trying to get through this one. I have been following the author on Twitter for a few years, and she's a fun account, especially during baseball season. Obviously.

Eating ... banana bread. I made a loaf the other day. Every time I bake banana bread, I wonder who was the first person to decide they could make something delicious out of rotting bananas.

Looking forward to ... Mother's Day weekend. That is the next time I have two consecutive days off. And the first time in a long while. It'll be weird but nice.

Thinking about ... a friend of mine who is having surgery on Thursday to remove a tumor. Her doctor says the procedure is no big deal, but the recovery time will be rough. And it's still surgery. Anytime someone is cut open, it's scary.

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Music Monday: Stephen Kellogg - "Learn to Live"

As I mentioned recently, I sold merch for Stephen Kellogg at a local show last week. It's one of my favorite local venues (a BBQ restaurant) because it's more of a listening room than a concert space. When artists play there, the audience listens. Intently. This is the perfect place for someone like Stephen, who is a great storyteller -- in song and otherwise.

I love when he tells the story behind various songs. It gives me a deeper appreciation for them, and suddenly it's like hearing them for the first time. After the most recent performance, this is my new favorite SK song. He said he wrote it for his daughters to have and listen to when they're going through something tough.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Sweats: April recap

April goals:
- Run twice a week.
I did this two out of the four weeks. So, that's a moderate success. I really need to get out and run more often. I have some races coming up, and honestly I just miss it.

- 30-second plank every day.
Fail. Hard fail. 
Number of days I worked out: 17

Miles Ran: 7
I doubled what I did in March. I'll call that a success.
And I completed the Iowa Wild Breakaway 5K!


May goals:
- Run twice a week. (Yep, I'm keeping this on here again.)
- Do five minutes of core work every day. (I can find this time every day. I know I can.)

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme

Tuesday - Booty Camp Class

Wednesday - 2-mile run

Thursday - Barre/Cardio Class
Friday - Off
Saturday - Off

April was OK, but I'm ready for a new month of workouts and making myself better.

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Best of the Bunch: April 2017

I have a lot of quirks. Some are more fun than others. I've begun to realize more of them since moving in with Sean. Stephanie had similar revelations after moving in with her man. She also shared a list of co-habitating must haves. There are some good tips in there!

There's so much negativity everywhere. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you. And then I saw Steph's post simply entitled, "I'm rooting for you today." I don't think I knew how much I needed to see that until I did.

My wedding is more than a year away. I know there will be things I can't control or can only control so far. And I am a bit of a control freak. Juliette wrote about what almost ruined her wedding day. It reassured me that even if there are some hiccups, the day will still end up being wonderful.

I love having new things. I always have a wishlist of things I want. But indulging is not a good way to conserve funds. I really liked Nadine's trick for loving what you already have. It's really simple and kind of genius.

There's been a lot of talk about rape culture in recent years. Some people believe it's a term that's been made up and it doesn't really exist. I disagree with those people. So does Steph, and she talks about how to identify rape culture and do your part to eradicate it.

Have a great Saturday!

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.


:: 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?

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