Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Sweats: May fitness recap

May goals:
- Run twice a week. (Yep, I'm keeping this on here again.)
Ugh. I think I only managed this once or twice.  Not great. 
- Do five minutes of core work every day. (I can find this time every day. I know I can.)
I'd say I got this in four days out of every week. Not great but better than none at all, right?

Number of days I worked out: 18 (and I plan to get three more in before the month is done)

Miles Ran: 8 (I'm honestly surprised the number was this high. It didn't feel like this many.)


June goals:
- Run at least twice a week. (Even if it's only a mile. I need to get those legs moving again.)
-10 push-ups at least five days a week.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Total Cardio Xtreme

Tuesday - Booty Camp Class

Wednesday - Tabata

Thursday - Barre/Cardio Class
Friday - Off
Saturday - 2-mile run

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

My must-have apps

I'm not sure what I'd do without a smartphone. It keeps me connected to people (through social media as well as the basic phone function). It entertains me with games and social networking. It also helps me stay organized in life and on track with my fitness goals.

Here are a few of the apps I utilize on a regular basis:

Easy one here. I love music, but there are some days I need something more. I like listening to people talk. Sometimes I want to learn from them and sometimes I just want to be entertained. I've found a pretty good mix of these podcasts and I'm constantly adding to my subscription list.

My Macros+ 

I finally gave up counting calories and any kind of points. Now I'm counting macronutrients, namely protein, carbs, fiber, and fat. I'm still learning how to hit those numbers (or at least get close), but I wouldn't be able to do it as easily without this app. I'm learning so much about my food choices. It's worth every penny of the $2.99 price.

The trainers at my office told me about this one during Xtreme Revolution. They encouraged us to use it when there were no classes. I honestly only used it once during Xtreme. But I've used it a few more times since then. I like that I can choose upper body, lower body, yoga, or stretching and then set the time of the workout.  It gives you a set of exercises, walking you through each one and showing a demo then counting out 30 seconds. I think you can upgrade and change the intervals as well. But I'm fine with the free version for now.

I love lists. Crossing things off feels very satisfying. This app allows me to make lists and share them with people (who must also download the free app) so we can both edit the list as necessary. It has truly been a savior since my move-in with Sean. We use it to keep track of groceries, the weekly cleaning schedule, and any other things we need for the house. I've heard you can upgrade for a few bucks to be able to upload recipes which then populate a shopping list. I haven't done that yet, but I might.

This one might be TMI, but ... I'm sharing anyway. I've always been a little irregular on my periods. Or at least it always felt that way. I no longer think that's really the case. I just don't think I was great at counting the days in my cycle. This app takes the math out of it. I just put in info and update it with data, and it lets me know about key points in my cycle. I really like it.

What are some apps you can't live without?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stuff & Things 5/25

:: It's been three weeks since my last post. I didn't mean to go away for so long. Honestly, I didn't mean to go away at all. But life got busy -- book stuff, friend stuff, work stuff, etc. -- and blogging just had to fall to the bottom of the list. And honestly, I didn't have a lot I felt like blogging about. I'm trying to make a schedule and a list of blog ideas as they come though, so maybe that'll help me stay organized.

:: Speaking of blog planning, I'm aiming to do some wedding posts in the future. But I don't want to annoy people with wedding talk (I feel like I'm already doing that with people in my real life), so I'm thinking it'll only be a monthly post on the first Wednesday of each month. Keep an eye out for those if that interests you.

:: I've never sat in a suite at a concert ... until Tuesday night. A few months ago, my name was drawn in an office contest for tickets in our corporate suite for the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. The show was great and the lights were amazing. I think I spent more time watching the lights change shapes and colors than watching the musicians on stage.

:: One of my cats (the one that isn't very social) has an ear infection that has required daily drops and cleaning for the past few weeks. It seems to be stressful for her and it's not much fun for me either. (The picture below was taken a few hours after her vet appointment -- clearly it wore her out.)

:: The new season of "The Bachelorette" has started. I really liked Rachel on Nick's season. And honestly thought she was too good for him. So I'm anxious to see a season with her as the star.

What's on your mind this week?

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?

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