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!)

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(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!

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!

Running on Repeat

Hello again! It’s be a loooong time since there have been two posts in one day! (But to be fair, I wrote the review of the Silver Linings Playbook yesterday evening and scheduled the post ahead of time. Hehehe, so sneaky!)

Today was a very fun day that was packed with friend time.

Fitness:

First of all, as per usual, I met Katie at the gym for a nice little run. I was feeling my oats this morning and didn’t stop once. Granted, the distance wasn’t terribly long, but I did feel like I could have kept going which is rarely the case. I owe it all to the Flo Rida song that I listened to on repeat for the entire distance. (Whatwhosaidthat!?!?!)

This is likely just one of my incredibly strange quirks, but sometimes when I can’t seem to hype myself up for a workout, I pick a song and just blast it away on repeat throughout the workout. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m crazy and that it sounds like the most repetitive, monotonous workout ever known to man, but for some reason it totally helps me to get in the zone. Especially for a run. Yeah, I’m a nut. Whatever, let’s move on.

Food:

When I got home, I busted in to a portion of one of my sister’s Christmas presents to me:

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This is seriously the most delicious granola that I’ve EVER tasted. I opened it this morning and threw a couple of tablespoons into a container of yogurt. I then proceeded to snack on it throughout the rest of the day and ate 400% more than I actually intended to. Oops!

Fashion:

After a quick breakfast, I picked up Chloe for a mall adventure complete with lunch at one of my favorite italian restaurants. We had fun scouring the ends of the post-Christmas sales racks. As Operation: Improve Business Casual Wardrobe Inventory continues, I am constantly on the lookout for new additions, not only classic staples, but also some fun and sassy things as well.

For example, CHECK OUT THESE PANTS.

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They are khaki-style and orange and I LOVE them. At first, I tried them on as a joke, but the longer I kept them on, the more they grew on me. With a very dark-colored blazer and some cute shoes, they suddenly become a key portion of what is perhaps my Favorite Internship Outfit Ever.

After a couple of Brady Bunch cracks, Chloe and I both agreed that these pants needed to be mine.

Brady Family

Source.

Evidently, I have a thing for absurdly colored pants. Check out today’s outfit…

Mint Green Pants

Hello there, mint green pants. (Also, check out the dog staring herself down in the mirror. Too funny.) (In other news, that cardigan was a Christmas gift, but it is the comfiest, softest, best-fitting, most perfect-lengthed cardigan that I have ever met. I highly suggest you investigate for yourself. It’s from Gap!)

I also snagged some other excellent deals that I’m very happy about. Slowly but surely, my non-college-bum wardrobe will grow!

Cancellations: In other news, I am absolutely outraged. My CPR/AED course that was supposed to begin next week was CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST. That’s right kids, there weren’t enough people signed up, so I randomly received an e-mail confirming my refund. Very inconvenient.

After my shopping trip with Chloe was over, I headed out for an arctic trek with Jordan. The fresh air was definitely good for the brain cells! Even though I am still defrosting hours later, it was definitely invigorating. It was so strange to follow our typical summer running route in the frigid cold and snow.  Gotta love the seasons!

photo-142(Photo cred. goes to Jordan on this one!)

Thanks for reading and have a great night!

CONQUERED.

Alright guys, hold on to your hats! This is going to be a long one. (With lots of pictures!)

It has finally come and gone. The day we’ve all been waiting for. The 5k day!

The amount of energy I had before the race was unreal. Katie thought I was a nut job! (Not that she didn’t think that already 😉 ). I am 100% hooked. For anyone who “hates running” or has never tried a race before, I can’t recommend it enough. (If you’re able to, that is. Remember, I have absolutely no licensed or certified reason to give anyone fitness or exercise advice!) I was flying on nerves up until we got to the race site and once we landed there, there was SO much positive energy that it was impossible NOT to be happy and excited!

It all started bright and early this morning when I  headed out to pick up Katie and Josh, my running companions!

First we headed to Starbucks to fuel up!

(To fuel up AND get our fight faces on. Naturally.)

Next it was off to pick up Joshua!

Josh, who I might add is in the process of training for a triathlon so he is an old pro at all of this. He was very good about NOT showing off the fact that he could quite literally run circles around me ;-). ALSO, I have to take back everything I said last night about how a crane would probably be necessary to drag him out of bed! He texted ME and asked if I was there yet! Nuttiness!

So after a series of the world’s most ridiculous parking lot warmups and blasting pre-race songs at the top of my poor little car’s volume, it was go time!

 (I was actually the only one doing any ridiculous parking lot warm-ups. Josh was busy making fun of my jumping jacks, push-ups, high knees AND lunges and Katie was capturing it all on camera 😉 )

Next came the run!

For some unexplained reason, it turns out that self-shots taken a) on an iPhone b) in reverse camera mode c) in the middle of a race and d) IN MOTION don’t turn out particularly well, so I’ll spare you those shots 😛

I must say, it was quite a bit harder than I thought it was going to be, but I loved every minute of it and finished in under 30 minutes. I was definitely happy with my time and it was SO much fun! The music and paint and friends made it 100% worth it. It’s so funny to think that after a whole summer of waiting for this one day to come, it’s over! I think I may have caught the running bug, because I can’t wait to find my next race. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be until next spring, but that means that I better make it a good one! It was such a feeling of accomplishment.

In another post sometime soon, I will talk more about the actual training and technical aspects of the whole thing. Today’s post was more of a chronicling of just today. What I will say right now is that if you DO plan to run a race, or try to start training, pick a race and REGISTER for it. Having a specific date in mind served as a great motivator for me. It was also nice to have a specific goal to work towards. Also, most importantly, make sure it’s a FUN one! This was a very short race so I knew that I’d be able to tackle the distance, but having fun while I was doing it was something I really didn’t expect! There were colors galore, people cheering and ringing bells and lots and lots of music at the finish line! It was like a giant party! Pick an event that will keep you moving through the whole thing. If the Color Vibe run comes to a city near you, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s 110% worth traveling for!

Not to sound too cheesy, but I was cruising on that elusive runner’s high all day long. The pictures with friends from today make me so, so happy when I see them. My family even came to the finish line to see me which was great! People who weren’t actually there made it even more special with texts before and after wishing me luck and asking how it went. Even though it certainly wasn’t any marathon or triathlon I plowed through today, it was VERY important to me and they all knew that. I am definitely very lucky!

I told my mom that getting me to change my clothes/ wash that color off would be like trying to make a little kid wipe away a painted face before bed. I’d wear that outfit for days if I could! (Don’t worry, I know I can’t. 😛 )

Now it’s time to head back to work. I’ve actually missed it these last few days!!

Thanks for reading!

How This Time is Different!

Welcome back!

I have alluded to the fact that in the past, I’ve tried various diets/ workout routines/ health kicks that just haven’t stuck. Usually about 30 days is my limit, but this time things are different! Lots of people have asked me what has made this time around so different and I have a few ideas.

1. Workout Buddy Accountability 

So as I’ve mentioned, I’m really not a fan of solo workout sessions. Even if we just *go* to the gym together and split up once we get there, I’d always rather be with a friend! This summer, for the third year in a row my friend Jordan and I teamed up to get in shape and I must say, it made such a difference! Previous years, we were away every other week and keeping a routine was difficult, but this year seemed to be different. It is endlessly helpful (and WAY more fun) to have someone to talk to and keep you company and struggle right along with you 😉 Also, Jordan and I always have fun trying out new workouts and killing ourselves with new routines in the name of fitness! (Now that she’s away, looks like I’ll have to hold MYSELF accountable. We’ll see how that goes!)

2. Impending doom Glory 

I signed up for this infamous 5k at the beginning of the summer! I knew that having a specific goal for a specific date that *didn’t* involve the scale would be an excellent motivator. Even though the distance is teeny tiny, crossing the finish line will definitely be a major accomplishment for the girl who couldn’t run to gym lengths in high school 😉

3. Helpful Apps & Online Tools 

There are two main pieces to this one…

  • myfitnesspal.com: I have tried this once before and it just didn’t click with me. (That could be because I was still in school at the time and it was next to impossible to a) take the time to document everything I ate and b) find entries for all of the random stuff that I ate.) ANYWAY, this time, I’ve got it. According to my counter, I’ve logged in for almost 70 days in a  row and it’s been wonderfully helpful! I am NOT a fan of counting calories by ANY means at all. In fact, I think it can actually be sort of destructive if you get too caught up in numbers (I have friends who won’t eat fruit because it cuts into their calorie limit!) I do however, think this app is extremely helpful for a few reasons. It keeps you accountable (even if you’re not 100% accurate all day every day, you can still estimate!) Secondly, it’s also really nice to know how many calories you “technically” have in a day depending on what your goals are (you can set the goals to losing a pound, a pound and a half or two pounds per week, maintaining current weight or gaining). It makes it very easy to turn what would otherwise be a “too late to care” day into a recoverable day!
  • The famous “Couch-to-5k” program (coolrunning.com): I’ve already talked about this, but it’s very handy. There’s an iPhone app. which is wonderful. It builds your mileage slowly and gives you a concrete goal to work towards.

4. Fun Workout Gear 

Alright, this one probably sounds dumb, but I can’t say enough good things about these shoes I finally splurged on! They’re so comfortable, they’re ridiculously colorful (clearly) and make my runs totally pain-free which has never happened before! In previous years, anytime I’ve started running, my legs, back, feet, everything would be killing me and I’m pretty sure it was largely related to my bad shoes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get sized and have someone help you to pick the perfect pair of shoes for your stride! I got mine at a Fleet Feet store, but I’m sure there are plenty of other chains that do that as well! I love buying new workout clothes, I almost love it as much as I love buying Real Life Clothes and it really does make a difference for me. Having a cute workout outfit ready to hit the gym with is some sort of incentive for me to actually get my gears in motion! Hey, whatever works 😛

5. My Fitness Bucket List 

I already posted about this (check it out here!), but earlier this year, I made myself a “Fitness Bucket List.” Even though these things will take years to check off, it seems to be a good way to give myself goals that will keep me working towards something and working on getting fitter and stronger, instead of this yo-yoness (yes, that’s a real term. Except for not really.) that I seem to have been stuck in before!

6. Check-Ins 

So it might sound silly, but this time, I’ve told people my plan. I’ve told friends to keep me honest. Even this very blog! It all works to keep me honest and keep my on my a-game. Just knowing that people will be checking in on me, reading up on me and asking me what I’ve been up to in my workouts keeps me headed to the gym (almost) every day!

7. A Good Philosophy Can Make All of the Difference

There was a point at the end of my last semester where I had almost convinced myself that being happy and pleasantly plump might be just as much fun as being fit. That is actually a very scary thought because I think I probably could have convinced myself that it was true. I would never, ever, EVER want to make a conscious decision to NOT be healthy anymore, but after an extremely rough stretch of time in the spring and a crazy hectic schedule, it seemed appealing. Why bother counting calories when I could eat cookies instead? Anyway, NEEDLESS TO SAY, I turned that thought process around real fast and couldn’t possibly be happier. Sometimes, it seems like starting the first day of a workout routine is the hardest, but once you’ve been at it for a week or so, especially when you’re in the right mindset, it’s harder to turn back! Soon, I’ll post about this whole “new mindset” and “fit philosophy” idea, but that’ll be later!

Through future posts I’ll touch on all of this again, but that is all for now! Until tonight…