Thursday, January 31, 2013

3 Things

  1. On Tuesday, I got an email at work offering registration to run a 5K this Saturday.

    I quickly responded to sign me up. This is the same route as the Great Santa Run 5K back in December. As you know, one of my 2013 goals is to conquer a sub-25:00 5K, so as many 5Ks I can do the better. And free is always better. I know I'm still a long way from making this goal. Especially after yesterday's treadmill run. I doubt I'll even PR on Saturday, but every run gets me closer to my goal.

  2. Email subscriptions. Please offer them on your blog. About a year and a half ago, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post about why she loves email subscriptions. I thought she was a little crazy at the time. Who would want so many emails clogging their Inbox? Still, I quickly added the option to my blog. Now that I've gotten much busier with work, and I don't have the luxury of reading blogs as often, I get so overwhelmed with my exploding Google Reader. In fact, I haven't even opened it for months! Instead, I've really embraced email subscriptions. I know there are a couple more that I wanted to subscribe to, so please, please offer it as an option. :-)

  3. Yesterday, I had a terrible headache all day at work. I'm swimming in numbers and crazy spreadsheets on top of my regular duties at work. It's a little overwhelming at times, and I think the stress is affecting me. No matter how bad my day is, though, my little Sallie girl always makes me smile.

border terrier

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weighing In - A Bathroom Scale Review

Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity to try out a new bathroom scale - the EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale. As you might recall, I've never really been one to tie myself to a number on a scale. If I think I look and feel good, then I'm pretty satisfied.

That said, I do like to have a scale around for those rare occasions when I feel like checking out that little well, not so little number. When we left MN, we sold our current scale, so when this opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance of getting a scale again.

This EatSmart scale is about as fun as a scale can be! It's super easy to use as all scales should be and it has some great features.

I really love it's sleek, slim design. It's kind of a classy, elegant looking scale, but the best part is the bathroom door can swing right over it. I've had trouble finding the perfect spot for most of my previous scales because uncarpeted space is at a premium.

EatSmart Tracking Scale

Now, this scale works like many scales. You just step on and it does it's magic. But this one doesn't need to be woken up first. No tapping first to see the 0.0. You just step on and it weighs. Beautiful.

Monday, January 28, 2013

When I Grow Up

Stasha's birthday is coming up, and she thought it would be fun to celebrate with a list of dreams. Dreams of what we hoped to be when we grew up. Every child has grandiose dreams of being/doing fantastic things when she grows up, right?

10 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

  1. Teacher. As a child, the only thing I can definitely remember wanting to be when I grew up was a teacher. In fact, I used to play house with my younger brother and sister. Complete with homework and tests. My desire to become a teacher started to wane while I was in high school, and by the time I started college, it wasn't even on my radar anymore. Of course I now have my master's in teaching, but am still not a teacher.
  2. Famous Singer. Two problems with this. I don't sing very well. I'm a bit shy. Also, I kind of wanted this out of spite after auditioning for several school plays and singing groups only to be shot down because I wasn't good enough.
  3. Dancer. Um, well, I'm actually not very graceful. Nor do I have rhythm. This was just kind of a wishful thinking dream. Like the Famous Singer one.
  4. Actress. Again, there's that whole shy thing. And I don't really like how I sound on camera. Oh, and  I get so nervous in front of a camera, that I'm not very relaxed.

  5. ... And for a few more practical dreams ...

  6. Piano teacher. From my home. I even considered being a music major, but some of the theory classes were too hard.
  7. Computer programmer. I knew this computer science was a growing field, and I could be successful at it, but it seemed so tedious, boring, and my heart really wasn't in it.
  8. Filmmaker. I even went to 1 1/2 quarters of film school. Unfortunately, there was too much emphasis on writing screenplays. I didn't want to write the movies. I just wanted to be the one behind the camera.
  9. Musician publicist. I went through a music-loving phase and wanted to help musician get noticed and get contracts, but then I decided I really don't have the personality for promotions. I'm too shy.
  10. Lawyer. Entertainment law. If I couldn't promote them, I could at least be their lawyer, right? It came down to not wanting to go to more school and really didn't want to have to learn about all the other types of law.
  11. Doctor. This one should have probably been included in the first part of the list, because it was never really a serious consideration. It was born more out of a feeling of not knowing what I wanted to do or be after I'd been out of college for a few years and still didn't have a career.
More than any of these, though, I wanted to be a mom.

None of these have panned out for me, but what about you?
What did you want to be when you grew up? 
Did any of your childhood dreams come true?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Changing it up

Every now and again, I get tired of the color scheme and design of my blog, so I take a day to change it up.

Here's a snapshot of what it looked like yesterday:

Obviously, I've changed the color scheme and the header image. My husband wasn't too crazy about the fonts on the new header, but I really liked it. What do you think? I also added a left sidebar to showcase how to follow me, awards/badges, plus some motivational pictures that I've created.

I like it for now, but I'll probably change it again in a few months. :-) I'd love your thoughts. Do you like it? Is it too cluttered with the new left sidebar?

You might have also notice that I've deleted all my Happy Moments. They're not really gone, I've just moved them to a new home.

I felt like these needed their own home because they were making my blog seem cluttered and overloaded. Plus, for the few of you that subscribe via email or RSS, I felt like you might be annoyed with the daily updates. If you would still like to be updated daily with my Happy Moment, you can subscribe via email here or RSS feed here.

My husband and I were up WAY too late last night. Me working on my blog redesign and him doing whatever. It's nearly 1pm now, and I need to go try to wake him up, so we can head out to enjoy the day. We're hoping to make it to a nearby wash to do some voluntary clean-up. The last time we were there, back in November, there was so much trash everywhere. We thought it would be a good little community service project, which is one of my goals for 2013.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Do you do your own blog re-designs or hire someone else? I'm way too cheap to hire someone, so I do it myself. Plus, I never really know what I'll like until I play around with it.

What is your favorite way to serve in your community? As this is one of your goals, I'm always looking for new ideas.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I'm a Top Health & Fitness Blogger!

I was so excited to receive an email saying I was nominated to be a...

Top Health & Fitness Blogger

While it was a bit of a shock to me, I quickly decided to accept the nomination. It prompted me to write a post that I'm really proud of - Busy College Student? Tips For Staying Healthy.

I decided that even if I didn't win, at least I got a great post out of it.

So, when I got an email on Tuesday saying I was actually chosen as a winner, I was completely floored!

I'm proud to officially announce that I'm a winner!!

Lots of other great blogs were selected, too. You can view all of them here.

Have a lovely weekend!! :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hair Experiment

If you've been following my adventures for awhile, you might recall that I primarily cut my own hair. The last time I cut it was for my birthday back in August (which apparently I didn't post about!).

But I did post it on Facebook. :)

At that time, I decided that I would try a little experiment. I'd only cut my hair once a year around my birthday. My main motivation for this? It's a lot of time, effort, and work to cut my hair? Nope. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Simply Snackin'

If you know me at all, you'll know that the two things I love THE most are snacks and freebies. Okay, well, not as much as Jeff or Sallie or life in general.

But I really do love snacks and anything that's free.

So, naturally, when Simply Snackin approached me to sample their jerky, I practically jumped at the chance. Now, I do try to avoid eating meat as much as possible, but dangle FREE in front of me, and I'm a total sucker.

I was surprised to open my mailbox one afternoon and find a delightful surprise.

(photos take from their website)

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's in my closet?

Kind of a fun topic over at Monday Listicles today.

My closets are kind of a little boring - especially my bedroom closet. We've got stuff, but nothing really crazy or that dates back very many years. As you may recall, we sold most of our possessions back in May of last year.

We basically have three closets in our current apartment, so here are some relatively boring things in one or another.

10 Things in My Closets

  1. SCUBA gear
  2. Running gear
  3. Biking gear
  4. Camping gear
  5. Sallie gear
  6. Jump starter
  7. Monoscope
  8. Santa suit
  9. Motor oil
  10. 5-gallon water purifier
And thus concludes the most boring Listicle.

That's really all I've got time for this morning. I wish I could share some pictures of my boring closets, but I've got to leave for work now.

Have a great week! Why not pop over to Stasha's to discover what I can only imagine will be much more exciting closet finds?

What's in your closet?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

So, You Want to Start Running?

The other day, my little sister left this post on my Facebook wall. It left me with a huge smile on my face throughout the day.

I'm so excited for her to start training with her husband. Now, I just need to figure out why she's going to train, but not run?? ;-)

Now, I'm not the best or most consistent runner, but since she asked, I thought I'd share my thoughts in a post for anyone to read. Actually, last March my sister-in-law asked me some similar questions.

Tips for Beginning Runners | Enjoying the Course

Running Shoes

It seems the first question I always get is about shoes. And, it IS an important question; however, I do not have a favorite shoe. I'm not one of those runners who swears by a brand/model. I find a pair I like, and I run them until I don't anymore. I rarely own more than one pair of active running shoes at a time.

That being said, my best advice for running shoes is to visit a local running store. This is what they do! :) When you walk in, just tell them you are new to running. If it is any kind of reputable store, they will do some kind of fitting for you - measuring, analyzing your gait, looking at your arches, or some variation of these. They will recommend a few for you and then just choose whichever is most comfortable. They may even have a treadmill for you to test out the shoes on.

Training Plan

While you're shopping for shoes, ask about their running groups. Many local running stores will offer different group runs during the week. They often break into groups by distance, speed, experience, etc. There are so many benefits to running with a partner or in a group, but that's really a topic for another day. Now, my sister will be training with her husband, so she's got a built in running partner, but running with a group can help mix things up, at the very least.

Some running stores might even offer training programs that you can sign up for. Having an actual program is really helpful when you're starting out - especially if you're starting with such an ambitious goal! If your local running store doesn't offer one, or you don't want to pay for their program, there are lots of available online programs. Try searching for "couch to 5K (or half marathon or whatever distance)" or "half marathon training programs" or whatever distance you might desire. I've also heard really good things about Hal Higdon's different training programs.

Tracking Progress

I don't know about you, but when I'm training for something ok, even when I'm not, I need some accountability.  Plus, I'm kind of a numbers/data person, tracking myprogess has been a good way to help me stay motivated. I really like to track all my runs on DailyMile. If you're not familiar with DailyMile, it's kind of like Facebook - but for runners, etc. You add friends, log your exercise, and comment on your friends' activity. It's fun, and I've made a lot of virtual friends. If you're on DailyMile, you should totally add me and say hello!

I also recommend tracking your runs in real time. I generally just use my smart phone. My favorite app is Cardio Trainer. I've tried a few, but this is the one that has worked the best for me. If you have an iPhone, I've heard good things about Runkeeper. If you have a little more money, maybe a Garmin is for you. If you're a little low on funds, a simple sport watch with a stopwatch would work for time, and then you could get your exact distance by logging your route into DailyMile.

Core & Strength Training

I think that many runners - beginning and more experienced - often make the mistake of skipping this important part of aspect of running. Having a strong core can really help your running performance and help prevent injury. I'm blogged about my post-run routines here and here - just some simple exercises and stretches that I've found helpful. I struggle with this a lot, but I'm trying to make it a focus. If you're not sure what to do, at least throw in some planks. Try searching for WOD (workout of the day) to find other ideas or you could always get a gym membership or maybe a personal trainer.

Part of this also includes cross training. It helps to mix things up and work different muscle groups. Go for a bike rike. Go swimming. Practice yoga. Take a fitness class. Dance in your living room. Go for a walk or a hike. There are so many ideas!!


This is really THE most important thing to remember. I'm not going to lie. Not every run will be wonderful and tons of fun. Sometimes it will hurt. Sometimes you'll want to die. You'll want to give up. BUT always remember YOU CAN DO IT! Don't focus on the aches and pains or the fact that you feel like you cannot breathe. Instead focus on your surroundings. There truly is beauty everywhere you look. Focus on the fact that you are doing it and giving it your all.

Tips for Beginning Runners | Enjoying the Course

Of course, this also means listen to your body. I'm serious. If you feel like you're about to die, it's not the end the world to stop and take a breather or walk for awhile. If you have a bad run, remember the next one will likely be better.

I don't always listen to music when I run, but sometimes it's the perfect way to enjoy a run. Get lost in your tunes. Or in your head. Or in conversation with a friend. Change up your pace or your stride. Tell yourself a funny story or a joke. Do whatever you can to relax and enjoy the run - even when it sucks. :) You'll be stronger and thank me later.

I think that about covers my advice to a new runner. I'm sure there's lots I left out, but I've already been working on this post for nearly a week work was crazy again this past week!, and I want to get it out there for my little sister to read.

What other tips or advice would you give to a new runner?

Monday, January 14, 2013

10 Random Movie Quotes

Well, Monday's nearly over, but I say there's still time for Monday Listicles, right? This week's topic comes to us from Ally at Just a Normal Mom. Seriously, if you're not reading her blog, you should be. She's got great stories. Plus, she's just all around awesome.

Anyway, she tasked us with 10 BEST MOVIE QUOTES. Or ten best movie moments. Or ten something movies.

I love watching movies, and I have lots of favorites, but I also have a terrible memory for things like movie quotes. And yeah, sometimes even details. I could watch the same movie a dozen times and not remember parts. *sigh*

My husband, on the other hand, is crazy good with movie quotes! I could probably very easily come up with a list of 100. I was going to ask for his help. In fact, I still might, but I'm going to TRY to make a list all on my own.

Here goes...


  1. "Whoa. Slippery little sucker."
  2. "Lubricant. There's always time for lubricant."
  3. "Thanks for breaking glass where my kids play."
  4. "You have a last name, Guy." "Do I? Do I, really?"
  5. "We stole the Statue of Liberty...! The small one, from Las Vegas!"
  6. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
  7. "I'm just sayin'. I want to cut the blonde one."
  8. "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
  9. "Did you love your father?" "What?" "Your father? Did you love him?" "Yes, very much." "Prove it."
  10. "Well, maybe that's cause I just got hit in the head with the 10-lb ashtray!"

Wow! That was both easy and hard. I know I quote movies from time to time, but NOTHING was coming to me. I guess I'm more of an in-the-moment quoter. Something will remind me of a movie, and I'll throw out a quote. Jeff will almost always get the reference right away.

So, how did you do? I know some of these were *really* easy, but I'm interested to know how many you got right.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Busy College Student? Tips for Staying Healthy

Being a college student can be lots of fun! It can also be stressful and VERY busy. Early morning classes. Studying. Socializing. Studying. More classes. Partying. Being away from home. Making new friends. Exams. Papers. Presentations.

It's definitely an exciting time! But it can also be filled with lots of pressure and, at times, it can be difficult to remember balance. Let's be honest, maintaining a healthy lifestyle does not always take priority. 

Despite all the craziness of college, there are some things you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle while balancing all facets of college life. While it's been more than a decade since I was an undergrad student, I was a grad student just last year, so college life isn't too distant a memory. ;-) Besides I think all the following tips are good advice for more than just college students.

Enjoying The Course: Busy College Student? Tips for Staying Healthy

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finally. It's Friday!

You know it's gonna be a long week when....

Monday feels like Thursday.
You turn off your work computer immediately after turning it on in the morning.

I've been consumed with a huge project at work. I've been working on it practically nonstop all week. It's just a lot of data entry, but for some reason it's exhausting.

Not to mention it prevents me from stalking all my social media friends. ;)

Though I'm not finished with this project, I'll be pausing it today to tackle another huge project. And then, I'll be able to get back to normal. I hope.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Not Gonna Change!

We've made it a week into the New Year. If you're a resolution or goal maker, you've probably made a list, AND you've probably been pretty good about sticking with it. So far.

But, let's not kid ourselves. There's plenty that we'll likely not change in 2013, and that's just the topic of today's Monday Listicles.

  1. Doting on my little girl, Sallie, and taking and sharing too many lots of photos of her.
  2. So stinking cute!
  3. Watching General Hospital whenever I can.
  4. Wasting time on social media.
  5. Commuting by bike to work once the weather gets a bit warmer.
  6. Pushing myself to work harder and run faster.
  7. Waiting until the last moment to do laundry.
  8. Eating cold, leftover pizza.
  9. My last name.
  10. My address.
  11. My job.
What do you have no intention of changing in 2013?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water

Come Hell or High Water: Life Lessons From Hurricane Katrina: Facing Life's Greatest Challenges, No Matter WhatCome Hell or High Water: Life Lessons From Hurricane Katrina: Facing Life's Greatest Challenges, No Matter What by Marvin Leblanc
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really didn't care for this book - mostly because it was not what I was expecting. I probably should have researched it a bit more before reading it. I thought it was going to be more about Hurricane Katrina and the stories of the survivors, the lessons they learned. I wanted more details about what happened and the aftermath.

Instead it was really only about the author's experience. He had been one to evacuate, but the parish (county elsewhere in the U.S.) where his home was was one of the hardest hit. He lost everything and had to rebuild. The book attempted to show just what he learned from Katrina and how he was able to move forward and become successful in his personal and work life.

I thought it could have been a lot better developed. There were many times it didn't seem to flow very well - giving a choppy feeling to the book. He would explain some experience of his with Katrina and then jis tying it to a lesson would seem a bit far-fetched, leaving the reader to wonder, "Where did that come from?"

I do think I might have enjoyed this book a bit better, if I were someone who enjoys reflective thinking and journaling as a way to further my career goals. Many of his lessons are centered around how he grew his insurance sales team in the first couple of years after Katrina. This book might be helpful to managers looking to assign their subordinates something to read to inspire and motivate them to work harder in their field. For personal growth, I felt it was a little too business-oriented.

If you are someone who likes to journal, each chapter ends with a Marvelous Moment where he poses two questions for the reader to contemplate and write about. That's not really my thing, but even it was I think it was kind of poorly done in this book. The questions seemed abrupt and out of nowhere, or just related to the final paragraph.

Despite this book not really being for me or what I expected, what it did provide was a lot of inspirational quotes that I did enjoy. Here are a few that I found the most inspiring or motivating. There were plenty more - especially if you're looking for more fulfillment in your career life.

As long as you're fighting, you're not losing.
Celebrate your failures and embrace what you learn from them.
...lots of days I don't feel like I'm getting a good hand from the dealer, but that's the hand that I have to play, so I do it with as much marvelousness as I can."
Lead your life instead of accepting your life.
Don't get caught up in the end result. Just get caught up in the process - the journey.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 by the 5th Virtual Race Series

The 5 by the 5th Virtual Race Series began this month, and I finally got out for a run this morning. The last possible day for January.

With this race series, you have the option of running either a 5K or 5 miles. Since one of my 2013 goals is to conquer a sub-25:00 5K, I chose to run a 5K. I figured it would be great for accountability each month and a nice way to hopefully measure some progress.

Unfortunately, I did several things wrong for this run.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello, 2013!

I'm super excited for 2013. Are YOU?

2013 goals

In honor of goal making and accountability, I created a short video that explains some of my goals.

I do hope to include more video in 2013. They'll get better. I promise.

To sum up my goals, I'd like to:

  • Run faster, conquering a sub 25:00 5K
  • Eat healthier, trying at least two new recipes a month
    (check them out at Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens)
  • Train harder, achieving strong, beautiful arms
  • Read more, finishing at least 12 books
  • Serve more, including CharityMiles and community service with my husband

What are your goals for 2013?