Keeping Balance

Hello friends.

A) So far, I have one eligible entry into the Color Vibe race giveaway! ONE. That is just plain nonsense, so I have decided to leave it open until MONDAY, MARCH 25TH. That’s it though. Really this time. And if no one enters, well then, I will just run twice. (NOT REALLY, get commenting!) Please note: In order to enter, you still must comment on the ORIGINAL post, NOT this one.

Congratulations to our first winner, Brianna! Please contact me via e-mail and I can get you your winner’s code for your free registration!

B) My apologies for my lack of posts for the last few days. I just returned, once again, from the Big Apple! This trip, unfortunately, did not run even close to as well as my last venture did. I bumped into just about every issue that I possibly could have bumped into on a business trip, but let me tell you, I am so, so grateful to be back home.

Does anyone remember that Sesame Street song that Ernie sang about how he didn’t want to live on the moon?

Let me remind you…

(Hellllllooo, trip down memory lane!)

That is exactly how I feel about New York City. I like to visit, but I would NOT want to live there. Not even for a minute. “Although I might like it for one afternoon, I don’t want to live on the moon in New York City.” Also, can I tell you how ridiculously terrifying it is to drive a cargo van down the streets of Manhattan? It’s kind of like sailing a canoe in a bathtub.

Anyway, I somehow managed to make it home alive and I am so happy to be here. But now it’s time to touch on the namesake of this post. Keeping balance.

The night that I returned home from the city, I was so unbelievably tired that I couldn’t barely stand up straight. As soon as I walked through the front door, just the sight of a familiar face and my flouncing, bouncing, pouncing dog made me so, so happy I could have cried. Almost immediately, I crashed on an armchair and fell deep into sleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I managed to drag myself to bed, but I could barely turn out the light, let alone change into pajamas and actually get ready for bed. I was gone.

And today, I had a day off. A day off that was still spent organizing things, running errands, completing random side jobs that I have continued to pursue and making sure that life was in order. In the midst of that, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with friends, but it wasn’t all relaxed time… because my weighty schedule was still rearing its ugly head.

Suddenly, something occurred to me; I was losing the work-life balance that I promised myself that I would never lose again. If it hadn’t happened already, it was going fast.

There are so many things in my life that are important to me: spending time with my friends, spending time with my family (heck, even spending time with my dog), making sure that I am always working towards making my life the best it can be, and making time for hobbies and the fun things that I enjoy doing. And yes, on that list, I must include work as well. Having a good job and working hard at it is very important to me. I have always been a pretty motivated person. I enjoy taking on challenges and tackling them, but at times, I take on a few too many challenges at the same time and inevitably end up dropping a ball along the way.

I know what happens when you don’t make time for what’s most important. I spent the better part of seven years doing that. I never really had the time to be me. I took too many course credits (even in high school!), I tried to keep up with too many activities, and I worked far too many hours.

So now, I am left with a critical question– how do I make positive changes to ensure that I never, ever again feel like I’m losing touch with terra firma? I don’t want to be speeding from thing-to-thing like the Road Runner any more. I want to be present and to make the time for what matters most to me, from work to play to friends and family.

And here is my jackpot question for youHow do YOU make sure that you have a healthy, maintainable work-life (or play-life, or family-life, or friend-life) balance? What helps to keep your schedule in check?

I hope you had a great day and I will talk to you all tomorrow. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!

Also, as a random aside: the pedometer clocked its HIGHEST STEP COUNT for me today. A day off. Ironic, no? (In case you didn’t know/ forgot, I am participating in a step-counting competition with my company. The goal is to have the “healthy recommendation  of 10,000 steps each day. That is NOT an easy task on the days that involve lots and lots of desk time!)

Enter to Win: 2013 Rochester Color Vibe Registration

Today’s post is sponsored by The Color Vibe!

While this giveaway is for a registration to the Rochester Color Vibe, Color Vibe races happen ALL across the nation– in fact, their itinerary is growing rapidly (they’re hoping to be in two cities a weekend as they grow in popularity!)

I am SO excited to share this giveaway with you as it holds a place very near and dear in my heart.

Here’s the deal: The kind people at The Color Vibe have generously provided me with two free registrations to the 2013 Rochester Color Vibe (April 20th!). In order to enter-to-win, all you need to do is comment on this post at any point between tonight, March 15th and NEXT WEDNESDAY (March 20th) to be entered into a random drawing! Just tell me why you want to run in a 5k and why The Color Vibe sounds like fun to you.

Special: Get an EXTRA entry into the drawing by sending a tweet to #thecolorvibe and #5ksCoffeeBeans to the effect of “Hoping to win a registration to the Rochester 5k!” Then, comment on this post to let me know you did it and you’ll get an extra entry.

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What’s new at the 2013 Run?

After speaking with a Color Vibe team member, he filled me in on some exciting changes that were coming with the Rochester run this year! (I assure you, the run was a BLAST last year, but apparently, things are just getting bigger and better!!)

Think Dance Party. Everything from the music at the event to the number of runners will be huge this year! This year, the sound and music will be handled by a major production company– complete with a DJ and emcee for the entirety of the event.

The number of runners has blasted from about 1,500 to nearly seven thousand.

There will be more color. More sound. More people and way more fun.

Get your white t-shirts, get your white shorts, grab your friends and get ready to enter.

Remember, you have until WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20th to enter. I will announce the winners that night (there are two passes available and there will be TWO different winners!).

And now, for those who care, just a little bit about how I came to discover the Color Vibe in 2012.

At the end of my senior year, I fell into a bad, bad cycle.  I stopped going to the gym because I just didn’t have enough time anymore. The stress and perpetual presence of fast-food at the dining halls and unlimited access to Starbucks (in all of its pastry/high-calorie latté glory) took a toll on me. I hated the way that I was treating my body and I didn’t like the way I looked.

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As soon as I was re-settled back at home, I knew that it was time to make some serious changes. I had always been a healthy eater and I loved going to the gym, but a combination of over-scheduling, high-stress and unique circumstances just made gym time unrealistic and eating healthfully more trouble than I cared to grapple with.

Running in a “race” had always been on my radar as a “someday” goal. I thought about 10ks, half marathons, but decided to start simple with a 5k- the 3.1 distance. I knew that I had to find a fun one to motivate me. That’s when I stumbled across The Color Vibe. Immediately I registered. I talked two friends into doing it with me and the rest is history.

I used the “Couch to 5k” training program (I was NOT a runner at this point and needed simple “workouts” outlined for me). It was insanely helpful (there is a mobile app too!)

When it came time to Color Vibe, I was rearing and ready to go. I felt better than I had in many, many months and I was looking forward to the event.

As soon as we arrived at the site, the energy was electric. The parking lot was abuzz, people were donning their FULLY white outfits and some silly costumes. (I was that weird girl doing warmups in the parking lot to keep up the energy level…)

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The course was simple. The run was quick. When the race was over, the color party was so much fun.

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Friends were dousing friends in color powder, the music was blasting, and people were rolling around on the pavement to soak up every last ounce of color.

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The Color Vibe is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The positivity and high energy of the event left me on that famous “runner’s high” for days. I cannot wait to do it all again, and I hope you’ll join me!

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You can read my full recap of the event here.

GOOD LUCK!

Get Ready to 5k! (And Peanut Butter by the Spoon)

I am going to start off with the main event here. For those who are interested, a brief recap of my day will follow at the end!

And now, let’s hash out the details of the big giveaway!

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I have TWO entries for the Rochester Color Vibe 5k to giveaway, read on to find out how to win yours! 

The contest will run from FRIDAY, MARCH 15th to WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20th! Two winners will be selected after 5:00 pm EASTERN TIME on Wednesday, March 20th by random selection!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Between 3/15 and 3/20, comment on TOMORROW’S POST and tell me why YOU want to run a 5k, and most importantly, why the Color Vibe sounds fun to you!

2. Tweet a message to the effect of “Entering to win a race registration” or “So excited to Color Vibe!” to @5ksCoffeeBeans and @colorvibe on Twitter, then comment on tomorrow’s post so that your name is re-entered into the drawing!

NOTE: That means that you can have up to two entries for this giveaway. Sorry, only one pass per person though! 

I am so unbelievably excited to share this giveaway with all of you. For anyone who has been following this blog since its early days, you likely know that the namesake is the ColorVibe 5k that I participated in last summer.

Tomorrow, I will share MY Color Vibe story with you and how I came about discovering it, but in the meanwhile, read my recap of the 2012 event here! Officials with the race tell me that this year’s event is going to be different in a big way: MAJOR music improvements (think: DJ, Production company, emcee) and more color. Lots and lots of color. I assure you, last year’s event was a BLAST and a half, so I can only imagine what this year will be like!

More details on the 2013 event tomorrow!!!

Are you ready? I sure am.

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And now for the (unrelated) recap of life in Brittanyland.

Apparently, today was this kind of day… 

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That will absolutely never happen again. I cannot even tell you how much of that jar I consumed with a SPOON. (I actually had the jar for mixing up a cup of my new favorite cookie dough yogurt combo, that didn’t happen however.)

Unreasonable.

Tomorrow’s a new day, right?

After work, I was able to catch up with two friends over a lovely bowl of fro-yo. (Which I failed to snap a picture of, but let me assure you, it was as tasty as could be.) As much as I absolutely love seeing friends, I cannot BELIEVE how quickly my evenings fly by, especially on the nights when I go for an (even very brief!) outing. Getting home after 6:00 each night to begin with makes the rest of my time just breeze right past me. Dinner. Blog. Bed. Dinner. Blog. Bed! I love my new job and feel so lucky to have it, but the schedule is taking some getting used to!

In other news, the pedometer challenge is off to a bit of a rocky start. I haven’t been running in recent days and just haven’t been clocking those steps! Fortunately for me, we are only 4 days in, so there’s plenty of time to catch up! (It also doesn’t help that I temporarily misplaced the pedometer either…)

Happy Friday, my friends! I have yet another adventure this weekend, but I will do my best to check in at least a couple of times. (HOPEFULLY YOU WILL ALL BE BUSY COMMENTING AWAY!)

 

Kids (plus A GIVEAWAY!!)

Guys, today, I get to make the announcement that I have been waiting to make for WEEKS. Stay tuned.

I spent 95% of my day absolutely convinced that it was Thursday and the other 5% falling asleep standing up. I hope YOU had a fantastic day sans-confusion.

Tonight, I had a babysitting gig for myself after work. Ever since accepting my new position, I love my babysitting gigs even more than I did before. Now that my professional life has taken quite a turn (different industry, different feel, very different location), the sporadic hours of babysitting here and there are a welcome change of pace. Spending time with the kids who I’ve known (in many cases) since they were born is so much fun. They’re all growing up and learning new things and getting taller and it’s so great to have that little built-in reality check in my life. Whenever I babysit, especially my youngest charges, I am always shocked by how many different sides of myself come through in that role. One moment, I’m playing dress-up, or putting on a puppet show with Strawberry Shortcake dolls, and the next, it’s all about making boo-boos disappear and promising that everything will be OK. Suddenly, I am the one checking under the bed and reassuring them that the sounds that they hear are trains, or birds– anything but monsters. It really is a very cool experience.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, I was falling asleep ALL day today. Considering the fact that each time my computer took just a little too long to load today, I feared that I would fall asleep on my desk, I made a pit stop after work: a pit stop to Starbucks. That’s right, I BROKE MY OWN RULE. The “Only Buy Starbucks on Meeting Mornings” rule. Bad Brittany. But let me tell you, if you are in desperate need of a serious jumpstart, allow me to recommend the Café Misto with a pump of vanilla syrup and one shot of espresso. WOAH baby. Goooood morning, America.

The rest of my night was quickly consumed with a blurry dinner that consisted of a bagel and some scrambled eggs.

AND NOW. For the big announcement.

5ks & Coffee Beans will be holding its FIRST EVER, real-life GIVEAWAY!

TOMORROW, MARCH 14th, I will be presenting the giveaway and providing you with several different options for entering. This is a good one, friends. Especially for my NYS running buddies. It’s something that is very near and dear to my heart and that I am so, so excited to be offering to you.

I’ll give you a hint…

Get yourself some coffee beans, because it’s time to 5k

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Stay tuned, readers! Be sure to visit tomorrow for the official details!!

Have a fantastic night!

A Forgotten Spoon

This morning when I sat down at my desk, I had a lovely little surprise!

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Let the games begin!

That’s right, today begins the stepping contest and I am ready to rumble! Things are already getting silly around the office… I had a “mobile meeting” this afternoon where we walked up and down the halls to tack on the steps instead of sitting idly at a table as we usually do. By the end of the eight weeks, I’m pretty sure that we will have driven each other batty with all of the pacing and back-and-forth stepping!

And now, let’s talk about my spoon-less lunch!

It has happend roughly 12,000 times since the first of the year. I don’t know what my deal is, but I just can’t seem to get a grasp on packing utensils with my lunch in the morning.

Today, I ended up eating my yogurt by the  forkful. That’s proper, right?

ForkI don’t know what my deal is! Maybe I should keep a stash at work.

And now, let’s dip into my not-so-secret obsession: nail polish. I have a new find to share with you!

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Last weekend, at the chocolate expo, I saw a girl with the coolest nail polish. When she showed it to me closer, it was a zillion little feathery speckles! Plus, it had the funkiest texture I’ve ever seen in nail polish! Of course, because I have the will power of a squirrel in a stack of walnuts when it comes to nail polish, I had to have it! Tonight I finally tried it and I am in love!

The brand is nails inc. and it’s from the “Feathers” line. My favorite part about it is you can create a million different looks with it! At first, I almost left it at just one coat which was a very faint, speckle-y (dare I say, feathered) look! It was super cool. But then, I decided to go for the effect that the woman had when I first saw it: lots and lots of layers. With several layers, the feathering effect piled up and now, it kind of looks like confetti!

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Love it!

I hope you have a great night! Guess where I am headed— off to the gym! (I know, how far from the “I’m going to wake up at 4:45 and get an early workout in!” of yesterday. Whoops?)

 

Ghost Town

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was the taste of spring that I had so been craving. Bring on the sixty-degree days, I am MORE than ready.

Unfortunately, I was stuck inside for a good part of the day, so I didn’t get to swallow up the sunshine as much as I had hoped! Sad!

After some fumbling around for transportation, I made my way to the gym this evening and walked right into The Most Beautiful Scene in All of the Land. The instant I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a good gym night– there were about seven cars. That’s right guys, seven, not seventy. I couldn’t believe it! The gym was a GHOST TOWN! I had free reign of the whole place. I even managed to make my way to the weights! (Which are usually overrun by lots and lots of very, very large men.) Strangely, I think I was a little taken aback by the situation so my workout wasn’t quite as well-planned as it otherwise would have been! I spent a little bit of time on the treadmill, a little while on the elliptical and hit a few different weight machines. I closed off the night with a (semi-spastic) ab workout on the mats with far fewer reps than I had actually intended to complete. Don’t you worry, I’ve got tomorrow’s workout alllll planned out. The freedom of hopping around from machine to machine and not worrying about the line forming behind me, nor the general, anxiety-producing vibe of having an overcrowded facility gave me a second lease on (gym) life! I am really hoping that this little reminder of what an accessible, uncrowded gym can do for the soul will be the push that I need to force myself to hop over to the gym first thing in the morning. It’s time to get serious about this!

(Actually, it’s time to hop-to some big changes all the way around. The lunches, the snacks, the self-control, the gym, the running. Today is tomorrow!)

And speaking of healthy snacks, let’s talk about my newest obsession:

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Raw cookie dough. Only not.

Back in college, one of my favorite healthier snacks was a peanut butter-Greek yogurt dip that I used to make by combining plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. In that dip, there was significantly more peanut butter than yogurt (the yogurt really just served to “dilute” the peanut butter a bit in order to make it slightly lower in calories and also to change the consistency a tad).

And then, I tried this. Oh my dear goodness.

Take one 6 oz. cup of PLAIN Greek yogurt and stir in about a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Swirl in about a teaspoon of honey, and add a spoon or two of mini chocolate chips and bam, it’s cookie dough-flavored Greek yogurt. It is so, so tasty I can’t hardly believe it! On top of that, just one serving proved to be extremely filling. Plus, I totally felt like I was getting away with something so calorically sinful, when in reality, it was just a fun way to get some healthy fat (from the peanut butter) and mega-doses of protein (from the yogurt).

And now it’s time to play a rousing game of “Let’s See if Brittany Can Get to Bed at a Reasonable Time Tonight!”

Happy Daylight Saving Time day! I hope you have all started to recover from your lost hour!

 

An Early Morning Treat

Every-other Friday, meetings at work bring me in to the office at unreasonable hours. (To be fair, it really wouldn’t be so unreasonable if I worked closer to home…)

In an effort to a) curb some unnecessary spending b) cut my coffee drink calories and c) give me a good reason to get myself ready and out of the door on time on those early days, I’ve made a little deal with myself! Twice a month, on meeting mornings, I allow myself a cup ‘o my precious little Starbucks!

Yesterday, I treated myself to a large (errrr, sorry. A venti) cafe mistoI cannot tell you what a HUGE difference that made in the tone of my morning! It was such a wonderful early Friday kick-off!

 

 

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Hooray for shady car pictures! (Also, don’t be fooled by the light outside of the window. This shot happened pre-6:15 am.)

And now. Get ready. I finally managed to assemble a filling, healthy lunch for myself yesterday that incorporated leftovers from the night before. Yes, I know. Throwing leftovers into a container to bring to work really isn’t a complicated task, but I never, ever manage to do it. (Just read last week’s posts!) I was quite proud.

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That looks pretty disgusting, no? Well let me assure you. It was absolutely delicious. Yesterday’s lunch included a small, breaded pork chop. Mashed potatoes (made with both white potatoes and yams for some added nutrition and a hint of sweetness—sooo good. You MUST try that combo!) and roasted brussels sprouts. I could eat that meal every day for a year.

Unfortunately, I only half-won the Epic Food Battle yesterday. Since it was an especially long day with an evening event and an early meeting, around 3:15, I knew it was time for an afternoon snack, especially since, at that point, dinner was still many, many hours away.

Enter: A whole wheat bagel and peanut butter.

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Bagel.

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Peanut butter.

(Utensils are for losers.)

A little bizarre. Slightly uncivilized, but quite filling and very tasty! One day, I’ll get the whole shebang together: breakfast, lunch, dinner. Maybe some snacks? I can make this happen.

In other (extremely exciting) news, I received a very special present at work:

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A KEYBOARD. A real life keyboard. I know, it sounds stupid, but can I tell you how unreasonably obnoxious the keyboard on my work laptop is? It makes me want to cry every time I type on it for any extended period of time. This new puppy will revolutionize my workdays. Hey, it’s the simple things!

And on that technological note, off I go. I hope you had a great night and I will see you all again soon!