Thursday, February 22, 2018

This & That 2/22

:: I am on day eleven of thirteen consecutive working days. In addition to that, I've had non-work evening obligations five of those evenings. And went to two social things last Saturday. To say I'm burned out is an understatement. I keep saying I need to slow down, but I haven't actually been able to do that. Any advice?

:: People keep asking me how the wedding planning going and my answer can best be summed up in the gif below.

:: On Monday night we had an ice storm. It wasn't fun getting to work on Tuesday morning, but it was manageable. Sounds like there's more winter heading our way today. Dear Mother Nature, you can stop showing off anytime now.

:: On a happier note, one of my coworkers became a grandpa for the first time this week. The new baby's name is Emmett. I love that classic, "old-sounding" names are still being used. I'm all for unique names (no one wants to be one of four in a class), but some people just go too far.

Wow, this whole post is kind of a downer/complaint session. Sorry. But it definitely reflects how I'm feeling lately.

What's on your mind this week?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Longing for community

We all long for a place to belong, but I suppose each of us finds it in a different way.

I wasn't really part of any group or clique in high school or college. I had my group of friends in each setting, but I would never have been able to categorize us. Maybe I was really just a floater. I could get along with a lot of different groups -- the athletes, the smart people, the artists, etc. But I didn't really have one group with which I identified.

When I was in my late teens, I discovered a world of N Sync chat rooms. This was back in the time of dial-up internet, which meant I couldn't get on the web until my family had gone to bed. We didn't have a separate phone line for our internet. Not many did back in those days. But once it was my time, I would spend hours in there, conversing with other people from around the world -- mostly about the band we all loved but sometimes venturing off into other topics. I met one of my very best friends this way. I was in her wedding six years ago. And through her met another bestie. They'll both stand beside me on my wedding day.

I moved to Texas after college and was having a hard time making friends. It is hard to find buddies as an adult. At least in my experience. Once again, the internet came to my rescue. I joined the John Mayer Fan Club (Local-83) and instantly found a community of people from around the world who shared a common interest. Often more than one, but there was always at least one that tied us together. The fan club and message board are long gone now, but I am still friends with many of the people I met there. One will even be photographing my wedding next year.

I currently have blogging, which has also become a community of sorts, although it's evolving all the time as bloggers quit. But I've found a lot of friends there. People who may no longer be blogging but are still among my Facebook or Twitter connections.

Since then, I've ventured in and out of other fan message boards -- some nicer than others -- and found various connections. I'm currently in a few different groups online -- one for brides who are planning their wedding and another for people with fitness goals. Both are encouraging and safe places to discuss a current common interest. Obviously, one definitely has an expiration date. Once my wedding is over, I'll no longer be a bride-to-be.

I guess I'll be searching for another community after that. That's the thing. There's always somewhere else I can find to fit in. Or, at least, that's the hope.

Naturally, I have a song for this post too. One of my favorites. Love love love it. It really does sum things up. This particular performance was for a school, which is highly appropriate.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Music Monday: Charlie Puth - "How Long"

I don't listen to a lot of music radio, so I usually get my dose of newer music in my dance fitness class. My instructor, Emily, broke this tune out a few months ago and I love it. I especially love her routine to it.

I'm starting to develop a small infatuation with Mr. Puth. He's so young, but he's got some great jams. And he's adorable.

How are you exposed to the latest music?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This & That 2/15

:: I've never been a big Valentine's Day person, but I've long since given up protesting it and boycotting it. There was a time I would wear black and just generally be grumpy about the day. But that's no fun. A few years ago, I changed my perspective and decided to look at the day as one of love -- for myself and other important people in my life, romantic or not.

:: That said, Sean did treat me pretty well yesterday. He brought me breakfast from my favorite bagel place. I love their sriracha bacon cream cheese. And their coffee is legit too.

Oh, and he bought me Rangers leggings for pitchers and catchers report celebration.

Yep, I did OK.

:: I sent out wedding invitations the other day. Now I'm waiting for RSVPs. And people to have hurt feelings because they weren't invited. Honestly, the guest list was one of my biggest stress points. Deciding who to include and not include was tough. But we had limits on numbers, so we did the best we could. I'm still worried I hurt peoples feelings.

:: I have not read a single book this month. Nothing in my kindle has caught my attention. Blah. I need to get on it soon. What have you read recently that's great?

:: Another big school shooting yesterday. I don't even know what to say anymore. I hate that it's becoming so commonplace in our country. Our children deserve better. We all deserve better.

What's on your mind this week?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Show Us Your Books: January 2018 recap

Life According to Steph

I somehow managed three books in January. And they were all very different.

"A Promise Broken" by Anissa Garcia
Anissa is a long-time friend of mine. Her romance series is a page-turner, mostly because of the steamy scenes and palpable tensions between the characters. I also really love the cast of characters beyond the main two, so I've enjoyed continuing to "get to know" more members of the family and their friends.

"The Twilight Wife" by A.J. Banner
Kyra remembers nothing about a diving accident she suffered, but feels fortunate her husband has remained by her side, patiently answering her questions about her life. It all felt "off" to me from the beginning. I knew the husband was shady and not being completely honest with her, but the full picture was even more twisted than I imagined. 

"Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate
I saw this on another person's to-read list and thought it sounded intriguing. It was more than that. At times, it was also heartbreaking, anger-inducing, and inspiring. A family of children are thrust into an orphanage and lied to about the status of their parents. The things they endure in the orphanage are unspeakable and then they're separated into various homes. The tale is told from two perspectives that eventually bring the whole story full circle. It started slow, but once I got going, I could not stop reading.

I'm off to a slow start in February, but hopefully I can keep this pace through the year.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Music Monday: Delta Rae - "No Peace in Quiet"

A few years ago, I went to a concert to see Gabe Dixon. I was super pumped to see him after listening to his music for a long time. I had no idea I'd come away from there with a new musical obsession -- Delta Rae.

 Their energy and sound were incredible. I loved how many performers were on stage and the way they were all highlighted during various times. While I haven't gotten to see them, I've continued keeping up with their releases. This one is so hauntingly beautiful and Liz's voice is perfect.

It's about a breakup, so maybe it's not the best for Valentine's Day week, but I just love it, so I'm sharing it anyway.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Sweats: Halfway through Xtreme

Last Monday, we officially passed the halfway mark in the Xtreme Revolution program happening at my office. It's hard to believe we're four weeks in already. I'm really enjoying the classes and my workout buddies.

Photo taken at the end of the first week of classes. This is the 6:15 a.m. crew. Most of them are still hanging in there, but we've lost a few along the way.

To "celebrate" the halfway milestone, our trainers had us do a special workout called a mini-Murph. Here's what it entails:

1/2 mile jog/run
100 weighted squats
75 bicep curls
50 pushups
25 x jumps
1/2 mile jog/run

You must do it in exactly that order.

It's an adaptation of a CrossFit workout. Looking at the full Murph makes me want to vomit.

Anyway, we were told to check our time when we got through it (mine was 21:53). We'll do it again at the end of the program to see if we've improved.

Obviously, that didn't take up the whole class for me (or most of the others), so we were told to go back to the squats and continue through the workout. I ended up doing 200 weighted squats and 150 bicep curls. My quads have still not forgiven me.

The mini-Murph is definitely the toughest workout we've done so far, but there have been a few others that made me sore too. And as much as I complain about it, I secretly love it. I love knowing I've challenged my body and -- honestly -- my mind (because so much of it is mental). I love seeing what I can really do.

I haven't broken out the scale or measuring tape because I want to wait until the end to see the full effect, but I definitely feel like I'm getting leaner and stronger. 


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Xtreme Cardio (30 mins)
Tuesday - Xtreme Burn (30 mins)
Wednesday - Xtreme Tabata Abs (30 mins)
Thursday - Xtreme WOD Strength (30 mins)
Friday - Xtreme Wild Card Cardio (30 mins)
Saturday - Off


If you set any goals or started a new fitness initiative for the new year, how it going?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

This & That 2/8

:: I've never been into wrestling, but Sean is. So on Monday night, I went to my first ever WWE Raw event with him. It was quite entertaining, and we had fantastic seats. Even though it's obviously scripted, there's still a pretty solid display of athleticism, which I could appreciate.

:: Sean and I were going to wait until after the wedding to take on the re-decoration of our basement. But ... over the weekend, we changed our minds. I think we've found someone to tackle the wall and a half of drywall (my brother). We already have most of the furniture. It's just been sitting down there since we moved. We just need a few more pieces (namely a television) and it'll be ready to enjoy. I'm pretty excited about it.

:: I love my brewery job. I really do. But at least once a month, I'm reminded of how terrible people are. And I'm further convinced EVERYONE should have to spend a certain period of time working in the service industry so they can see what jerks they are and maybe, JUST MAYBE rectify their behavior.

:: Baseball returns next week!!! Pitchers and catchers will be heading to spring training to begin tuning up for the new season. I'm so ready.

What's up with you this week?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wedding Wednesday: Following a theme

One of the many challenges I've faced in my wedding planning is the theme. Our day is going to have lots of baseball flavor, but I have to be careful not to let it end up looking like a child's birthday party. The balance between fun and class can be a delicate one. And it's hard to see how it will all come together when I'm really only assembling it piece by piece.

Here are some images I've found on Pinterest that I've used as inspiration. Some of them might be some of my exact choices. Others just gave me an idea to build on.

How did you keep to your wedding theme without going overboard?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Making friends at work is hard

I keep seeing memes and Buzzfeed articles about work BFFs and I admit I get a little envious.

My adulthood has involved a lot of job changes. And a variety of work settings. I've worked in newsrooms (three total), a university marketing department, a big financial corporation, a small third party administrator, and finally a somewhat big insurance and financial company. Sometimes I worked directly with three or four people. Sometimes there were more than 20 in my department.

Through all of this, only one thing has been a major struggle for me -- making work friends.

There have only been two settings where I truly felt like I had friends. In the newsrooms, we instantly kind of became like family. We had to. We dealt with a lot of crap and worked some crap hours. There was no bestie in any of those settings, but I had the occasional lunch or post-work drink buddy. In another job, I was a temp employee. But it's the only place, I legitimately had a work friend. I might even say I had two. We'd get lunch together, go on walks, and chat about our outside life. While I hated that job, I truly miss the friendships I made there.

In one of my later jobs, I was in an office on a floor all by myself. Well, I was alone most of the time. No one ventured upstairs to talk to me unless it was work-related. They hired someone for the other office on that floor, but a few months later, I was laid off. A few of the people in my department helped me move, but I don't know if I'd qualify them as quality friendships.

In my current job, I do not have anyone I'd call a friend. I talk to everyone and am friendly with everyone. But I've never been invited to join others for lunch or drinks after work. It makes me sad sometimes. OK, a lot of times. My job can be stressful and it'd be nice to be able to go for a walk with someone to vent it out. But I don't really feel like I have anyone for that role.

I'm trying to make peace with the idea that it's OK to just go to work, do my job, and leave without having any close friends to help pass the day. And sometimes, I am OK with that. But other times, I get a little envious of people who post about lunch dates or happy hours with co-workers. I wish I had that. But we don't always get what we want. I should really just be happy I have a job I enjoy that also pays my bills.

Work friends are overrated, right?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Music Monday: "This is Me" - Keala Settle

I haven't seen "The Greatest Showman" (yet), but I've heard this song numerous times already on the radio.

The crew on Elvis Duran love it and have cranked it around 5:45 a.m. on a few different mornings. Talk about a great start to the day.

I've heard the entire soundtrack is fantastic but haven't done a lot of digging. Is there another great song from the show I need to check out?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Currently: January 2018

Watching: "Chopped," "Beat Bobby Flay," and "Worst Cooks in America."
Basically, I'm obsessed with the Food Network.

Listening to: the "Waitress" soundtrack.
I've been listening to it for a long time, but after seeing the show last month, I can't get enough of it.

Shopping for: wedding stuff.
I feel like there's constantly something I need to be scouting out. At the moment, I'm fixated on my jewelry. I didn't think it'd be this hard to find simple pearl jewelry that suits my style for the day.

Wearing: workout clothes.
I've been doing two workouts a day pretty often for the past month. And it's going to continue for two more months. You know what this means? LOTS OF LAUNDRY.

Snacking on: apple and peanut butter.
The other day, it was actually my dinner. 

Obsessing over: Funko pop dolls.
Every time I see them in a store, I have to scour the selection to see if there's one I need to add to my collection.

Looking forward to: game night with friends this weekend.
I haven't seen these friends in more than a month. It's crazy. And overdue.

Dreading: more cold weather this weekend.
We were sub-zero and in the single digits for a few days (but it felt like forever) and then it warmed up this week. Almost 50 yesterday. We're headed back down this weekend. Boo. This is the worst part of winter.

Yeah, my life is pretty boring. But I'm OK with boring, honestly. It's much better than drama.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Music Monday: Kimiko Glenn - "When He Sees Me"

Ever since I saw "Waitress" last month, I have been obsessed with the soundtrack. This song, in particular, is a favorite.

Until I went searching for this video, I didn't even realize Kimiko Glenn played the role of Dawn on Broadway. Kimiko was in the touring cast of "Spring Awakening" and I adored that entire group of people. I guess I lost track of Kimiko. But she is fantastic on this number. I wish I could have seen her entire portrayal.

The character of Dawn is quirky and lovable from the beginning. She comes off as naive, and to some extent she is, but she is extremely likeable and injects a lot of humor into the show.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Sweats: Xtreme is here again

Xtreme Revolution is back!!!

Xtreme Revolution is an eight-week fitness program offered at my office. It includes intense workouts and nutritional guidance. This will be my third year participating, and I am really excited about it.

This photo was taken during last year's Xtreme Revolution session. The camaraderie and motivation are awesome.

The program starts tomorrow. We kick off by getting weighed and measured, and then we have a presentation about nutrition.

Workouts begin on Tuesday. Here's how each week of the program will look:

There are six class times each day -- 6:15 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m. Each class is 30 minutes.

This year, we don't have to sign up for a specific time slot or go at the same time every day. Not that they ever really held anyone to that in the past. I'm going to be aiming to do the 6:15 class and one of the noon ones. Yep, I'm going to attempt two-a-days. I'm slightly concerned that the 6:15 class will be really full and then I'll have to wait for a shower, which won't really work since I need to be at my desk at 7 a.m. I have made it just fine for past 6:15 a.m. workouts, but those classes have been small. But ... I'm going to try the morning class and see if I can make it. If not, I'll do noon and afternoon (unless I have to work at my other job after work). If two classes a day get to be too repetitive for me, I think I'll try and complement the day's workout with solo effort -- running or doing my own bit of strength training, whichever is the opposite of the class focus that day. Either way, I really want to hit it hard these next eight weeks.

There are more than 200 people signed up this year, and we're divided into divisions and teams. I'm in Colby's Division on Team Cream of the Crop. My team captain has already reached out with a motivational email.  Here's how we'll earn points for our team:

I'm ready to get started and am looking forward to challenging myself over the next eight weeks. Wish me luck!


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Off
Tuesday - Strength with a little cardio (35 mins)
Wednesday - Xtreme Cardio (30 mins)
Thursday - Barre with Britt (30 mins)
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Circuit workout with Sean (35 mins)

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