Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Hide the scale

 One of the women I with whom I work out told me she's gained eight pounds in the last few months.

Another woman in my office told me she gained three pounds over Thanksgiving weekend.

They both seemed so defeated and miserable as they said it. And the first one has been forcing herself onto the treadmill in the evenings (in addition to our regular workouts).

I used to be just like them. I would get on the scale weekly (sometimes, shamefully, more frequently). It occasionally gave me joy, when the number would dip a little. But more often than not, it just made me feel bad about myself. It made me suddenly second guess everything I'd eaten that week and any workout I skipped or "went easy" on. I decided at some point that I didn't need that kind of self-hatred and instead find a way to love myself. The scale was counterproductive to that. So I stopped weighing myself.

I don't know exactly how long I went without getting on the scale, but I finally had to at the doctor a few weeks ago. The number was about the same as it was a year ago. But I KNOW I'm in better shape than I was a year ago. How do I know? Well, I can do more push-ups and sit-ups. I'm even able to get through several of the hated burpees before I get tired. I feel better in my clothing and I don't find a lot to hate when I look at myself in the mirror (with or without clothes).

That is my progress meter.

I have spent a lot of years hating my body and trying to change it to conform to some number on the scale. Sure, I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I've decided I'm more successful when I celebrate and take care of my body. So that's what I'm working on, and trust me, it's a constant battle, especially with voices around me talking about their war with the scale and their own body issues. And there are days I'm curious about my weight, to see if I've made any progress, but I remind myself that progress for me isn't and shouldn't be measured in pounds.

These Ed Sheeran lyrics are spot on.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Monday Morning Madness (30 mins)
Tuesday - Total Body Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Rested (I was not feeling well, so I skipped all workouts)
Thursday - RIPPED (30 mins)
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

Thursday, December 14, 2017

This & That 12/14

:: When we bought a Broadway season ticket package, we were mostly excited about "Hamilton" (which we'll be seeing in a few months). But I was probably equally excited about "Waitress." I love love love Sara Bareilles and have yet to see her perform live. Seeing people perform her music (yep, she wrote everything in the show) will do for now. It was a fantastic production -- lots of feels, great talent, perfect soundtrack.... oh yeah, and there were little jars of pie. Mmmm.

:: House cleaning tasks have become an afterthought this week. I'm still trying to recover from a busy weekend and also battling a bit of sickness that's trying to creep in. I don't have time for that!! Or for cleaning, it seems. Ugh.

:: We had a really mild fall. While I enjoyed not having to wear a coat for most of it, I was sad there was no gradual cool down. Instead, we're right into the cold. But that also means it's soup and stew weather. I plan to make a lot of them this winter. Do you have a favorite tried and true recipe?

:: As I mentioned last week, my best friend got married over the weekend. It was a beautiful and fun event. No wedding is without hiccups, but the bride and groom handled them perfectly and the festivities were a success.
Of course beers happened!!

What's on your mind this week?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Show Us Your Books: November & 2017 favorites

Life According to Steph

I read a lot more in November than I expected to. I thought I wouldn't have much time with NaNoWriMo going on, but I honestly feel like reading while I'm writing actually helps me. And I was so into this series that I made it a reward for spending time writing. It worked out pretty well. I didn't complete NaNoWriMo (only wrote 32,563 words), but I did feel somewhat productive. And I read four books ... all one series, but still four books.

True North series (four books total)
by Sarina Bowen

I don't recall how I discovered this series, but the description of the third book intrigued me. There was mystery in the past of both lead characters and they somehow brought each other through the feelings associated things that happened to each of them. I know that's vague, but I don't want to give up too much. I loved the characters so much I decided I wanted to read the rest of the series too. All of the books can be read as stand-alones, but it does help to know the Shipley family before diving into some of the stories. After reading the entire series, Zach and Lark (from the third book) are still my favorites.


And, now we're closing another year of reading. I need to finish six more books to reach my goal for the year. I don't think I'm going to make it, but I'm going to try. Regardless,  below were my top five favorite books of the year, in no particular order:

I'm looking forward to finding more gems and adventures in 2018.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

This & That 12/7

:: Sean and I decorated for Christmas the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It's not our first holiday season together, but it's our first while living together. It's gone pretty smoothly so far. Even with my Type A tendencies. He handles them pretty well.

:: At the time we decorated, our fireplace was not functional. It worked when we moved in last March, but when I went to turn it on last month, nothing happened. The pilot light was on, but it just wouldn't ignite. I googled some possible solutions because I didn't want to call a technician if it was an easy fix. As it turns out, it was a super easy and cheap fix. I spent $11 at Lowe's on a steel brush, some steel wool, and some sandpaper. I used those things (mostly the brush) to clean off the thermopile, which converts thermal energy into electrical energy. Voila!! We have fire!!

:: It's finally time for Christmas music. The 'N Sync holiday station on Pandora is a favorite. The Boyz II Men holiday station is a close second.

:: My best friend is getting married this weekend. I'm so excited to share in her special day and celebrate all weekend. She is truly one of my favorite people in the world, and I'm so happy she found someone who appreciates how awesome she is.

:: Last weekend, after said best friend's hair and makeup trial run, we checked out a new place downtown. They had some delicious-sounding craft cocktails. I went with the holiday mule, which was fantastic. But I was reminded why I don't go downtown very much -- PARKING. It sucks.

What's on your mind this week?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: The registry

When I was younger, I had no qualms asking people to buy me things. You can ask my parents. I would take the JC Penney catalog and dog ear the pages containing items I wanted. I'd even circle the exact items on the page -- just in case they couldn't figure out what I was requesting.

Over the years, I've gotten a little more shy about this. There are always plenty of things I want, but I feel awkward putting them on a legitimate wishlist.

As you can imagine, creating our wedding registry has been an interesting exercise for me. On one hand, I have lived on my own for a long time. I have just about everything I need for my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.

On the other hand, it just feels weird giving people a list of things to buy us. It feels presumptuous and just makes me uncomfortable.

But ... I've been told people like to buy gifts and having a registry helps them figure out what to buy, so we created one anyway.

The biggest item is probably the honeymoon fund. For a long time, Sean and I talked about going to Cooperstown in New York for Hall of Fame weekend. But as I looked at the costs involved, I knew it would be too much. So then we thought Denver or Boston. Both contain ballparks we've never been to and would provide other activities. But at present, we aren't sure we'll even have a honeymoon. At least not right away. We might have to delay it a year or so. We just don't have the funds for it right now. I'm hoping some of our guests will gift us a little cash so we can have some kind of getaway.

Other things we've added to the registry:
- an Instant Pot (I keep reading/hearing great things)
- a crockpot for casseroles
- some nice plain glasses (our pint glass collection works, but we could use another option)
- a toaster that can also poach an egg and cook a breakfast meat (whaaaaat?)
- a handheld vacuum (for the stairs in our house)
- a Dutch oven (I'm intimidated about using one, but I'll give it a try)
- towels (you can't have too many of these)
- sheets (see above)

I'm equally worried about not having enough items on the list and having too many. I want to make it easy for people who want to buy us gifts, but I don't want to look greedy!!

If you're married, what were some of your favorite wedding gifts?
If you're not married, what's your favorite thing to give people as a wedding gift?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Music Monday: Ed Sheeran & Beyonce - "Perfect"

I loved this song on Ed's album. I immediately thought wedding when I heard it. While I'll likely request that it be played at our wedding, it won't be a key song by any stretch.

When I heard he turned it into a duet with Beyonce, I was ... not thrilled.


But after a few days of protest, I gave in and listened to the duet version. OK. It's not ruined. I think I forgot Beyonce can actually sing a little bit. 

I still prefer the Ed solo version better, but this version works too.

What song/artist did you resist listening to and then change your mind about?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Sweats: November fitness recap

November goals:
- Run six times.
I ran once. That was it. Not a great month in that sense.

- Meditate four times.
I did this once. It definitely helped, so I need to work on this more.
Number of days I worked out: 14 -- I missed a week because of my foot injury. So that's not too bad.

Miles Ran: 2

Personal victory: I went up in dumb bell weight size for my latest Flex Friday workout.


December goals:
- Run six times.
I miss it and need to get back at it.

- Meditate four times.
Between the holidays and all the wedding stuff, I need some help with my stress management.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Monday Morning Madness (30 mins) + Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday - Crossfit WOD (30 mins)
Wednesday - Off
Thursday -Barre with Britt (30 mins)
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Best of the Bunch: October & Novamber

My friend, Rachel, was one of many who jumped into the #metoo movement. She not only shares her experience but extends her support to those who have gone through it. It's been sobering to listen to the stories of my friends and re-live some of my own. I hope now that we're talking about it, it begins to go away.

Finding time to work out can be a big challenge. I enjoyed reading about how Christy found time for her training runs.

People always talk about the joys of motherhood. Very few ever talk about the tough stuff. I applaud Samm's honesty and candor as she talks about her new journey taking care of a small human.

We're in the midst of a crazy season. There are so many obligations and expectations. Steph had some tips for keeping things simple and also for practicing self-care during the holidays.

I'm such a "yes" person. I'm not good at saying "no." Even if I have a valid excuse. Even worse when I don't (other than just "I don't want to).  Ugh. I might need to start practicing it more, and Kelly has some great advice on when it's OK to be a "no" person.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

This & That 11/16

:: I am officially halfway through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I got off to a hot start and then hit a slow streak, but I made up a little ground last night. I'm currently at 23, 226 words. The final goal is 50,000. I'm going to need some solid writing nights to get there, but I feel good about my progress. At least today I do. If you'd asked me earlier in the week, that would NOT have been my sentiment. Below is a graph of my writing progress. You can see the slow streaks.

:: My preferred background music/show for writing? "Glee." Yep. I should probably be embarrassed, but I'm not. I mostly power through the storylines and pause for the music numbers. It works for me. (RIP Cory Monteith)

:: I've been better with my meal prep this week. Sunday night, I baked some chicken tenders and made some quinoa and green beans to go along with it. That lasted me through yesterday. Last night, I made pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans. It was my supper and will give me lunches for today and tomorrow. I feel like I'm winning at the moment.

:: Another week, another shooting. We're numb to it all at this point. I mean, we're outraged for a little while, and then we go back to life as normal until it happens again. When will we start to do anything to stop it?

What's on your mind this week?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Show Us Your Books: October

Life According to Steph

This was supposedly the follow-up to "The Wedding Tree" (which I read in September). While there were some tie-ins, it was definitely a stand alone. And I think I liked it more. It follows the experiences of a French girl during WWII and the decisions she made, which eventually impacted a young woman back in Wedding Tree, Louisiana. It's hard for me to imagine living through war (as I've not yet done so), but this definitely gave me a glimpse of what it'd be like. And I can only hope I'd be as brave and steadfast as the young woman in the book.

This book was all over my social media feeds. Mostly from other bloggers/readers I trust immensely. So I new I needed to pick it up. I put it on hold at my local library and patiently waited my turn. It was worth the wait. With everything going on in our society with race, this book was super relevant. I don't want to say too much because I believe anyone who reads it should form their own opinion. All I know is it's a book that's going to stay with me for a very long time and affect the way I look at the people and the world around me.

I wanted a thriller of sorts for the month of October and Jana suggested Chevy Stevens. This book has been on my to-read list for a long time, so I decided it was time to pick it up. I live in a city where a realtor was murdered at a house she was showing, so when Annie was abducted from a showing in this story, it kind of made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. This book was twisty and effed up, and I'd like to say I saw the ending coming, but I really didn't. At least not for a while.

November might be a light reading month for me as I plan to once again participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I suspect a lot of my free time will be spent writing instead of reading. Which means I probably won't reach my GoodReads goal for the year. Ah well.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Sweats: October fitness recap

September goals:
- Run 10 times.
I only made it to eight.

- Go to RIPPED class three times.
I didn't go at all. Ugh.
Number of days I worked out: 18 

Miles Ran: I forgot to track it. Oops.

Personal victory: I'm sure I had one, but I can't think of it right now.


November goals:
- Run six times.
I'm setting the goal low since I've been out the start of the month because of my foot.

- Meditate four times.
I've been feeling kind of stressed and overwhelmed lately. I need to find some time to shut everything out. Anyone have any tips?


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday -Total Body Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Xtreme Cardio (30 mins)
Thursday - Off
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

After a week off because of my foot, I'm back to working out. I decided to start slow and go easy on my foot.  I plan to start doubling up again soon.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

This & That 11/9

:: I took an unintentional blogging break. At first, I just didn't have much to say. And then I just didn't have much time to get in here. My breaks are rarely pre-planned, so I don't give any warning. Plus, I don't know how necessary it is for me to let people know when I'm not going to be posting for a while. Either way, I'm back and am going to try and keep up again.


:: A few weeks ago, I hosted a bachelorette party for my best friend, who is getting married in exactly a month. EEK. She didn't want anything big or crazy. She wanted dinner out with friends and then an overnight at a cabin not too far from the city. Oh, and she's a big Harry Potter fan, so we kept that theme with shirts and butterbeer cupcakes (they were delicious by the way). And how cute was the barn we stayed in?


:: About ten days ago, I was working a brewery shift when a full sixtel of beer fell on my foot. It hurt so bad, I thought I was going to be sick. Fortunately, it just glanced off my foot rather than landing a direct hit. It was swollen for a few days and is still very bruised. But I think it could have been a lot worse. (Sorry for the foot photos, but I had to show it. The left frame is how it looked that evening and the one on the right is from a few days ago.)


:: I've started National Novel Writing Month. I was on fire at first, writing almost 9K words in the first two days, but since then I've sputtered. I haven't had a lot of time to write and what little time I did have, I was STUCK. I'm slowly digging out of my rut and hopefully I'll be able to finish as strong as I started.


:: Last, but not least, this guy is celebrating another trip around the sun today. I'm so thankful to have found a guy who loves sports and musical theatre and puts up with my Type A personality and my cats. He makes my bad days bearable and my good days even better. I love him so much and can't wait to marry him.

What's on your mind this week?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement photos

As I got ready to do this month's wedding update for the blog, I realized I hadn't yet shared our engagement photos. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on photos that would only get minimal use. Fortunately, one of my best friends is talented with a camera, so she accompanied us to Principal Park in Des Moines for a photo shoot. It was a really hot and humid day, but I don't think that's too obvious in the photos. Enjoy a few of my favorite shots from the day.

When I first received the photos, all I could see were my flaws. But then I got feedback from friends and family who didn't seem to see any of the things I thought were so painfully obvious. I've since done a better job of silencing that inner voice that criticizes me. It's an ongoing battle.

Overall, I love the photos and am still trying to figure out what to do with them all. Maybe a photo book?  What did you do with your engagement photos?

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