(Near) Death by Cork

Hello hello!

I forgot how much I love Saturdays. This morning, I was able to sleep in and it was a beautiful, beautiful thing. It has been eons since I’ve felt like I got a good night’s rest so that was quite a treat.

Aside from a total fail of an appliance-delivery, a couple of random errands and the World’s Greatest Cup of Coffee, the rest of my day was pretty low-key!

Until about 5:30 that is! This afternoon, I was able to (finally) celebrate Katie’s birthday with her!

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I had some big plans for her special outings and fortunately, my evil plan worked out just perfectly!

Tonight, we ended up taking a painting class at a new little studio that opened up last year!

The cute little schtick of this studio is that it’s BYOB. Given that fun little option, it seems to attract LOTS of birthday celebrators, “girls-night-out” groups and people just looking to have a fun evening with friends. It was the perfect outing for a 23rd birthday!

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I wasn’t entirely sure how the class was going to run,  but it ended up being pretty free-form. There was an artist on a stage in the front of the room who was recreating the painting and explaining the steps as she went along.

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Our paintings were of a city skyline. It ended up being a 3 hour and 15 minute class!

 

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Our finished products! (Mine is on the left!).

Overall, it was a very fun outing. I loved the environment of the place– everyone was just there to have have a good time and to learn something new! It was so fun to spend a birthday night out and to be doing something engaging and interactive at the same time.

Katie and I were actually just talking about how without any sort of consistent intellectual or artistic stimulation, it kind of starts to feel like your brain turns to mush. Very quickly. Back in high school, I used to be very involved in art and took all sorts of classes from drawing/ illustration to painting and sculpture. On top of all of that, I used to sing and took piano lessons too! I loved having those creative outlets and didn’t realize until very recently just how much I miss them. Granted, this wasn’t a serious art class by ANY means, but it was fun and engaging and got those creative juices flowing!

A very successful birthday outing to be sure.

But before I go, I must share the story of How I Nearly Died with you.

The Culprit:

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So I figured that in the spirt of celebrating a birthday, a bottle of bubbly would be the perfect accompaniment to our outing. Typically, the corks are IMPOSSIBLE to remove, right? That’s half of the fun! Well tonight, as soon as I removed the foil, I set the bottle down on the table and turned around for a SPLIT second to grab a towel to throw over the cork before I opened it. It seemed that the bottle had other plans. Within about five seconds, the cork FLEW OFF and shot off into the distance. It was by some grace of GOD that I wasn’t standing over it at the time because it probably would have broken a tooth. Or blinded me. Or broken my face! Oy vey. Just a word of caution: don’t trust pressurization!

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing Sunday ahead of you. Happy Oscars Day and I will talk to you soon!

A Birthday Post

I bet you have been wondering where in the world I have been. Well, the good news is; I have been wondering the same thing…

That doesn’t make it any better, does it?

Well, I owe you about six posts, but for today, let’s focus on birthdays.

This week, the land of 5ks and Coffee Beans has celebrated TWO very important birthdays:

The 23rd birthday of one of my very best friends in the whole wide world!

199035_4583052019150_172377510_nOn Monday, the lovely Miss Katie turned 23! We have yet to actually celebrate the big day, but here is one gigantic, blog-world version of a happy birthday card! Katie is the greatest friend a girl could ask for and I am so, so grateful to have her around. We have so much fun together and I can honestly say that I don’t know what I would have done without her in my life these last three years!

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Happy, happy birthday, Katie!!!

Annnnnnnnnnd, next up:

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RUDITH! Yesterday happened to mark the very special birthday of my very favorite canine friend!

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I know it may sound silly, but I swear that there is a special place in the heart that can only be enlivened by an animal. I begged for a dog throughout all of my childhood, but I never truly realized what I would receive when this little girl came onto the scene: unconditional love, so much fun, so many smiles and laughs, a personality unlike any other, and an unflinching friend; good company and lots of love.

Happy birthday to my puppy, too!

So no, there are no grand workouts to share today, nor any tales of culinary victories or midday meal  mishaps, but instead, I thought I’d share a little personal lovin’.

Thanks for reading and I will be back tomorrow!! Hint: I PACKED A GYM BAG!!!!!

G’night!!

Food Swaps & Retrieved Pottery

Hello there!

I hope that you all stayed safe in this nutty weather that’s been happening in the northeast! It is so crazy how localized snowstorms can be. My new drive to work takes me right along the lake for quite a while. As I sat in my office and stared out of my window at the perfectly calm weather, I was receiving constant text updates from friends at home warning me about how bad the snow was getting. I ultimately decided to leave the office early and continue working from home to ensure that I didn’t get stuck traveling in the thick of it at rush hour, but I felt so silly because all was perfectly still there! I was very happy that I left, however, because as soon as I was about twenty minutes away from home, the snow was coming steadily. There were accidents left and right and it was pretty rough going!

Anyway, I hope that you were all able to stay safe and sound. Here’s to hoping that the power remains too!

Last night, I received an exciting package in the mail from Katherine! Katherine now lives several states away and at one point, we were discussing Wegmans (yes, the grocery store. Our lives are quite exciting.) Katherine mentioned how much she missed having a Wegmans right around the corner and I was saying that I wished Western New York had a Whole Foods. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wegmans, but Whole Foods is just a magical little land.

My very first combination arrived yesterday, here’s what was in it:

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You can barely see it, but on the left, there is a bag of the World’s Most Delicious Granola. For Christmas, my sister got me some vanilla-pomegranate granola from Whole Foods that was absolutely delicious. This one was blueberry almond and I can’t get enough of it. It is the best blueberry-flavored ANYTHING that I have ever tasted. I’ve been putting it in oatmeal and yogurt. (I also brought a small bag to work “for my yogurt” that I busted out by 10 am and proceeded to devour in two minutes flat.)

She also included a jar of dark chocolate Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter. SO delicious. It’s like the best of the Nutella and Peanut Butter lands combined into one lovely little container.

I am very excited about our healthy food swaps. Now the ball is in my court so I better get thinkin’ about some of Wegmans’ Finest.

And now for the retrieved pottery:

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When Chloe was home for winter break, we went to a local pottery store where you can pick out your piece and paint it yourself. It’s actually a lot of fun, my only beef is that there is a $10 studio fee which I think is a tad ridiculous, but I don’t go often. Just the other day, I finally picked up my new sign!

I was really looking for something that I could use and enjoy every day. Granted, a sign isn’t particularly “useful,” but I thought that the message was just perfect to stick on my desk. Believe in yourself, believe in others, believe in good… all very important things to keep stuck in my brain when the going gets stressful. I actually spent two sessions at the store painting this because I really wanted to make sure that the final product was something that I was happy with. (Previous outings to this place have resulted in some lack-luster pieces…typically my impatience gets the better of me and I surrender early on.) I am loving this one though!

I think that’s all for tonight, folks! I will leave you with a picture of the ridiculously wintery wonderland that is WNY…

photo (44)Oh hey there, snow. What up?

Roommate Reunion

Greetings!

Today started off (a little late) with a solo trip to the gym! (It’s been quite a while since I have been to the gym sans-gym buddy!) At first I didn’t have much motivation. Actually, let’s be honest… I had zero motivation. I was ready to call a quits five minutes into my workout. Fortunately for me, about five minutes into my elliptical time, the motivation to (at the very least) not leave the gym looking like a total sap kicked in and I quickly made a new plan. At first, I thought I’d try one of my cardio machine hopping techniques. That sounded like zero fun and I knew that the bike would be the death of me (I used to love cycling bikes, but for some reason, I have NOT been into them recently!). Then I thought maybe I’d just do a cardio circuit in the spare room after a short elliptical warmup, but I knew I would talk myself out of doing rounds 2 and 3 rendering it a rather pointless workout. All of this thinking took quite some time and I eventually fell into the groove of the elliptical. I decided to just stay put and managed to crank out 40 minutes of high-speed, high-resistance elliptical time!

I left the gym feeling quite proud of my (unintentional) accomplishment !

Later in the afternoon, I met up with my freshman year roommate from college. After a coffee run to Starbucks, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the mall! Since a couple of post-Christmas sales sweeps landed me with some excellent deals, I didn’t buy much of anything tonight, but I did find a couple of cute accessories at Forever 21 for ridiculously low prices!

Check out this waist belt that I got for $2.50!

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love having fun accessories, but things like belts are typically 12,000 times more expensive than they need to be. Even though some of the clothing at Forever 21 is a little on the cheap side (quality, not price), their accessories can’t be beat!

We also may or may not have hit up the fro-yo counter…

photo-162Oops? Just kidding, that was most definitely NOT an oops. It was delicious. I had a small red velvet frozen yogurt that was topped with Oreos. It was like heaven on earth. I could probably live off of that stuff, but I suppose I probably shouldn’t.

Overall, it was a quite a fun afternoon. (Who could complain when friends, fro-yo and “café mistos”are involved!?)

In other news (AKA a Random Brittany’s Life Aside), last night I had a dream that my teeth were slowly falling out. As soon as I thought the madness had stopped in the dream and that it was just a “fluke,” two more would fall out. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror in the dream and being relived to discover that I didn’t look ridiculous yet. Even without half of my teeth. I was quite distraught when I woke up and decided to look up an interpretation and take it with a  grain of salt. (Thank you, Google, for reaffirming the fact that a sneeze = instant death and also that our dreams may not symbolize the end of the world!). Here is what I found:

teeth dreams

Glad to know that my anxiety dreams are Google-able and right on the money. 😉

Hope you all have a great night and that your dreamland teeth stay right where they’re supposed to!

 

Uphill Runs and Pro/Con Lists

Late last night, I had the brilliant idea to book my gym buddy for “10:30” this morning. What I did instead was book her for “10:00” this morning. I woke up at about 10:15 to a text message from 10:05 saying, “I’m here!”

Oops, I did it AGAIN. (Thanks, Britney.)

So even though I am The Worst Ever, we still managed to have a good workout and in order to sufficiently punish myself (once again), I ran uphill! (Aka on a steep incline!)

Holy workout! (For the record, I didn’t actually do it as punishment, but it’s fun to pretend. 😛 ) As strange as it’s going to sound, I actually REALLY liked running on an incline and felt that I might actually be able to do it for even longer than I did. For some reason, the incline took some of the drudgery out of treadmill running. It was like I was on a mission! (A mission to climb a never-ending mountain…) I would really, really love to be training for a race right now, but I haven’t found one that I was excited enough about to actually register for (races are QUITE pricey!). Beyond that, the ones that I have found, are a little too soon to realistically train for in a safe and healthy way, which we are ALL about here at 5ks and Coffee Beans! There will be ZERO running-related injuries on my watch!

Next, we went to the floor to complete an “ab workout” that was somewhat half-assed and morphed into sitting on our mats and planning our futures and also detangling the present.

I have mentioned it before, but there are a few things that never fail to make me feel like a real adult. Those things include:

  1. Driving after dark 
  2. Driving on the expressway (part of this is probably because I hated expressway driving and avoided it for the longest time after I got my license)
  3. Drinking coffee from a coffee pot to “wake up”
  4. Running errands in the middle of the day
  5. My gym time with Katie. I am really not sure why this is, perhaps because we typically go in the mid-morning which is not a time that anyone in school would ever be able to go. Or because oftentimes, we follow up with a coffee run (see point number 3!) where we sometimes make pro/con lists (perhaps I should add a number to this list that incorporates “having serious enough decisions to make that they actually warrant well-developed pro/con lists.”)

After a couple of random outings and meetings strewn throughout the day, I made my way to the bookstore to get lost for a few minutes. (I love going to bookstores during the day when there aren’t tons of people milling about. I love books and something about wandering through aisles and aisles of them is very relaxing for me!)

I will talk to you all tomorrow! Double check your plans for the morning… a half an hour can make quite a difference! 😉

Night!

Bridesmaid’s Dresses and Strange Coincidences

Hello friends!

Guess what didn’t happen today. A workout! Oops. I somehow overslept a tad and had a movie date with Chloe early this afternoon so I had to hustle to get some e-mails out and get ready in time! (We actually went to see the Silver Linings Playbook and I loved it just as much or MORE than I did the first time!)

And then there was a great big moment in Brittany’s life. I tried on my first-ever bridesmaid dress. (I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but Bridesmaids is probably one of my top five favorite movies of all time. It is entirely inappropriate and WAY over-the-top in ridiculousness, but I just can’t get enough of it. It is insta-mind-erase, which I can use from time to time!)

Later this year, one of my very good friends, Amy, will be marrying her high school sweetheart and I will be in her wedding!

6th Birthday

Amy and I have been friends since we were four years old! The picture above was taken of the two of us at my sixth birthday party. (Holy 1990s photography! It’s blurry, far away, old. Classic!)

And now, 16 years later….

Dress and Amy

Amy selected several different options for her bridesmaids to choose from. There were a couple of different lengths and styles, but after perusing the options, I decided on this one. (Although the color is actually a deep red. They just didn’t have that one in stock!)

Dress Twirl

I really think the socks make the picture. And the outfit…

Amy disagreed. Apparently, these are slightly more appropriate for the occasion:

Red Shoe

It’s cool. I can be flexible…whatever.

Falling Shoe Pic

If you look carefully (or not even so carefully), you’ll notice this picture is a little blurry. Why? Good question. Because about .04 seconds after this was taken, I almost fell over. Promising, no? One boot, one heel. Yellow coat. Check. Check. Check. Someone’s ready to party.

So, not to be totally sappy, but ever since I first heard the song in Phenomenon (hey there, John Travolta!), I have love, love, loved the song “Crazy Love.” It is so sweet and pretty and I love it. I decided long ago that it will (someday) have a spot in my wedding. I think in the last 5 years, I’ve probably heard it on the radio three times.

Including tonight. The INSTANT Amy and I got into the car after the bridal shop.

Crazy Love

 

Weird, right? (Also, I listen to this particular station CONSTANTLY. I pretty much know their tracks so well that I can predict what’s going to be playing next.)

Afterwards, we hit up Friendly’s for sundaes because everyone knows we are actually still 5.

Once I got home tonight, I had a hot date. With Rudy. Someone was looooong overdue for a bath!

Doggy Bath

 

The 2% of her face that you can see in this picture looks terrified. Don’t be fooled, she secretly loves her baths.

For the rest of the night, I think I will attempt to tackle some more of The Help.

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I’ve been reading this book since just before Christmas and although I found the first chapter kind of hard to get into, I am really enjoying it now. For some reason, the days have been FLYING past me and I never seem to have the time to crack the cover!

Hope you all had a great day!

See ya tomorrow!

Random Acts of Kindness

Just about everyone responds positively to kindness. Oftentimes, it seems that truly happy people are kind. They wish well to others and they behave in ways that make other people smile.

I have been tossing this post topic around for a couple of weeks now. The main reason I didn’t write it right away is because I don’t want to cheapen the essence of this idea by broadcasting the actions that I have decided to take to kickstart my own random acts of kindness mission. Eventually, I decided that encouraging others to do good is by no means cheapening anything, so here it is! In case you are wondering why some of the stories are particularly vague however, that is the reason.

The one moment that changed everything for me happened just a day before Christmas. The act was simple and quick, but left me with such a happy feeling. I knew I had to continue the trend. In this particular instance, there was a very small window during which I could take action. In the seconds leading up to that instant, I was more nervous than I have been in years. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. For some reason, I was panicking. I didn’t know how my intentions would be received (there always seems to be the rare possibility that your efforts or assistance could be taken as offensive). In that mode, I thought I had let the moment pass me by. It seemed like the chance to jump had come and gone.

I was so angry at myself. I was disgusted at my hesitation. The thought that I could have impacted someone’s life in a positive way, but let my nerves get in the way infuriated me.

Just then, the window opened once again and I jumped at the chance to do what I had planned to do all along.

The reaction was so overwhelming that it brought tears to my eyes. In the briefest of thanks, I saw so much earnest appreciation that I instantly vowed to never let my own inhibitions prevent me from doing something that I knew could brighten someone’s life or bring them some sort of relief, even if only for a fleeting second.

Of course, the idea is that the “fleeting second” will turn into something more. It will make an impact (perhaps just on one person), but with any luck, that one person will be moved  to do the same for others.

Everyone can do something nice. Sounds stupid, right? Sort of a no-brainer. But oftentimes, I can convince myself to not do something because it’s too expensive, or too “out-of-the-way”, or too complicated. Simple solution / note to self: pick something different to do. It can be priceless, quick or anonymous. Give me an excuse and I’ll give you an option.

Instead of perpetuating negativity and hurt, positive messages of respect and appreciation for others will spread.

There are plenty of things about myself that I’m not crazy about. Some of which, I am sure affect others from time to time. As strange as it sounds, I believe that addressing these quirks within myself could actually help to ensure the longevity of my kindness mission.  So if that’s where you need to start, I encourage you to do so.

Recently, I have had about 12,000 things swirling through my mind. Some exciting, some 110% nerve-wracking. Tonight I met up with Katie at a restaurant and we talked for hours.  Despite the time we spent, our individual orders totaled less than ten dollars.

In a strange twist of events, we happened to have the most perceptive, attentive waitress in the world (I have notoriously bad luck when it comes to waitress assignments. I have plenty of hilarious stories of fantastically awful service). This one appeared at just the right times, she didn’t act like I was a lunatic when (in my typical, overly-animated way) would be telling a story with my whole soul. She made her presence known so we didn’t feel like we had been plopped at a table on a desert island, but she also didn’t reappear every fifteen seconds to rush us away from the table once she realized our bills were next-to-nothing and we weren’t planning to order anything else.

Usually, I find myself trying to calculate the exact minimum tip to leave due to the terrible service. But tonight, I needed nothing more than an un-hurried night out with my friend and apparently, having a decent waitress made all of the difference in the world.

I left an unusually generous tip that Katie matched and I left a note at the top of the receipt that simply said “Thank you for being so nice!”

Monetary gifts are not at ALL what this project is about. In fact, the note at the top of the receipt may very well have been enough to brighten that waitress’s night, but being a waitress is zero fun. It was late and I was obnoxious, so I figured a couple of extra bucks would only add to it.

Tonight’s post is a little different than any others that I’ve written. Think of it as a challenge. A challenge to be good and do good. We all have quirks that can be worked out (presumably). And as I said before, anyone can do good. Choose something nice to do for someone else and do it. Don’t be afraid to share your stories. Tell your friends. Pass it along. Do good for others, but do good for yourself too.

Let me know what you do. I’d love to hear your stories.

Have a great night! I’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting Boot Camp updates!