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?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Great Pumpkin Swap reveal

This year, I was paired with Nicole at Adventures of a Semper Fi Family. She's on a bit of a social media/blogging hiatus, but we exchanged emails to get to know each other a little better. She's a reader who has to capture fall in her coffee beverages because there's not much of it in the air where she lives. I can relate after four years in Texas in my early 20s. I tried my best to send a little fall to her.

Last week, I received a package from her. When I opened it, I admired all the colorful tissue paper and read the very thoughtful card.

The collection of teas are going with me to work to help me warm up during the day.

I can't wait to dive into the book she sent. I'm currently reading a romance series, but I like to change it up. The thriller might be up next.

Unfortunately, the candle didn't quite survive the trip, but I'm still burning it. On a plate so the wax that escapes the broken glass won't get all over the counter.

The socks are currently in the laundry as I wore them immediately upon receipt.

Shopping for her was a lot of fun, and I hope she enjoys the package I sent her as much as I've enjoyed the goodies she sent me.

Thanks to Kristin and Becky for hosting this wonderful swap.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Sweats: My worst critic

You shouldn't have eaten that.

You should have done a second workout today.

You should have gone for a run today.

You shouldn't have taken the day off from working out.

These are all things I've heard in my mind in the last few weeks. And, if I'm being honest, some of them have been heard the last few years.

As I work toward a better me, I find I'm my own worst critic. I beat myself up if I don't eat right enough of the time. I feel guilty if I skip a workout or two. I feel like I'm letting people down when I do that. The truth is, the only person I'm letting down is myself. But that still feels terrible.

My life has been crazy the past few weeks, so I didn't work out as much as I had planned. Instead, I took a few hours for myself -- to read, sit and watch TV, or catch up on blogs. I struggled with this. I would second guess my decision for hours leading up to the me time and even beyond. I know part of me needed those breaks. Why does it make me feel guilty?

How can I turn off this voice? How can I tell myself that a few missed workouts will not break me? I need to stay disciplined in my workouts ... but can I do that without being hard on myself?

I guess that's something I need to keep working on.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday -Total Body Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Group run (35 mins)
Thursday - One-mile run + exercises at home (45 mins)
Friday - Off (Noon fitness class was cancelled and I was disappointed and unmotivated to do my own workout.)
Saturday - Off

Kind of a slacker week.  Oops. See ... that's what I mean about criticizing myself. Instead of acknowledging that I did four workouts this week, I can only see that I missed a few days and didn't do any double workout days. Sigh.

Also, to encourage my running, I'm joining Run, Eat, Repeat's Pile on the Miles Challenge which starts Nov. 1. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Lean, mean protein

As I've mentioned before, I met with one of the wellness specialists at my office a few months ago to work on my food choices. I'm very active, but I knew my eating habits needed work. The biggest thing she pushed was more protein. She gave me a plan in which she wanted me to consume nine servings of protein (roughly 130 grams), four cups of vegetables, five servings of fat (of course, she prefers I consume healthy fats), and one serving of starch each day.

The problem is finding sources of protein I like that's portable and I won't grow tired of. Right now, I do a lot of eggs for breakfast (egg muffins and hard boiled eggs). For lunch, I do sliced turkey or chicken. But I don't mix it up much more than that. And I know I need to remedy that. Otherwise I'll get in a food rut and go back to bad habits.

Naturally, I decided to do a Google search for more sources of protein. 

There were lots of results, but I feel like WebMD is a pretty reputable one. I already knew about white meat poultry, eggs, and greek yogurt. But there were a two sources on the site that surprised me.

:: Seafood
I love seafood. And most kids of fish have more than 20 grams of protein per serving. This would be easy to incorporate into dinners at home (on the rare occasion it happens). I wish there was a way to make it more portable for lunches, but I refuse to be that person heating up fish in the office microwaves.

:: Pork tenderloin
I truly never imagined pork would contain protein. And because this is a very lean cut, it would be lower in fat as well. This would also make for good dinners and could reheat easily for lunch and be paired with a salad or vegetable.

Next, I looked at People who are building muscle are definitely going to be all about the protein. I found a few other suggestions.

:: Cottage cheese
There are 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. That's a lot of protein. This is another food that could be breakfast or lunch on the go.

:: Steak
Top or bottom round has 23 grams of protein in a 3 oz serving. That's a lot!! I could easily make a steak salad with some avocado and other vegetables to get that fat and those veggies filled in. Yum!

:: Beef jerky
13 grams in a 1 oz serving. This would be an excellent snack at my desk or during a road trip. A lot healthier than what I'd usually choose, that's for sure.

So are there any non-meat sources? Of course. Eat This, Not That has a good list of other protein sources for weight loss. They're not as high, but they would definitely work.

:: Spinach
5 grams per cup.

:: Sun dried tomatoes
6 grams per cup.

:: Artichokes
4.2 grams per item

:: Peas
8 grams per cup

:: Lentils 
18 grams per cup

Of course, there's always peanut butter and good old protein powder. I really do need to start making more smoothies and protein shakes. The other day Ricci posted an excellent peanut butter cup shake recipe. I really need to do more of those. 

What's your favorite protein source or protein-rich meal?


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday -Total Body Strength (30 mins) + Run (35 mins)
Wednesday - Group run/walk (30 mins)
Thursday -Barre with Britt (30 mins)
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Happy Hour: Milk money

Food insecurity is an issue in this country. In every community, there are children unsure of where their next meal is coming from and parents who are struggling to take care of all their children's needs. 

One 5-year-old in Michigan, appropriately named Sunshine, recently recognized that one of her classmates couldn't afford milk. At home, she dumped out her piggy bank and began counting out coins and bills. When her grandmother took her to school the next day, Sunshine took her precious $30 to the principal and explained what she wanted to do.

Courtesy of her grandmother's GoFundMe page

The grandmother was so inspired, she started a GoFundMe. The campaign has surpassed $10,000, which ensures every child in Sunshine's class and many more will have milk all year long.

Stories like this remind me there is some hope for the future.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This & That 10/19

:: My fingernails are naked for the first time in months. It feels weird. It looks weird. I don't really like it. But money is tight right now with the wedding and other obligations. So I'm on manicure hiatus for a while.

:: The other night, we took a break from TV and sports to watch a classic. "Father of the Bride." Can't go wrong with some Steve Martin and Martin Short. There is some dated dialog, but the 26-year-old movie holds up otherwise.

:: My lunches are so boring right now. Sliced turkey, some cheese, and some kind of fruit or vegetable. They're easy to put together and eat at my desk, but I know I'm going to get sick of it soon. I need to start looking for other options. If only I had time to Pinterest.

:: They've been re-doing the roof this week at our place. I've only been home for a few hours of it, but the banging is really annoying. The cats do not enjoy it. And I've been finding dust from the ceiling on various surfaces in my house. No bueno.

What's new with you this week?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Me too

Over the weekend, Alyssa Milano started a movement on social media. It spread like wildfire.

It was sobering to see how many of my friends joined. I mean, I know the statistics. One in five women is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault. But it's a different thing to see faces instead of just numbers. It used to seem like a really high number. After seeing my social media feeds, I feel like it might be a bit low. There aren't many women I know who haven't been subjected to damaging words, abuse, or actions. 

Sexual assault is pretty straightforward.

Sexual harassment is a little harder to define. Sometimes, I think we mislabel it as something else.

It's sad. And maddening.

After I put up my "me too" post, my fiance asked if I would tell him my experience. I had more than one. Mine are all stories of harassment. As I told him, I found myself trying to justify or minimize what had happened. "I shouldn't have been there alone," or "I'm sure he didn't mean it like that," or "Guys talk like that sometimes." Probably because that's how people responded when I told them about an event that made me uncomfortable. And that's exactly why so many women have experienced it. Society has normalized this behavior from men to the point where we think it's no big deal.

But it is a big deal.

No one deserves to be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. No matter what they're wearing, what they're doing, how much they've had to drink, etc. There's no excuse for being disrespected. Period.

I don't have all the answers for fixing this, but I do believe we need to start making change.

One key is teaching young women how to respect themselves and command respect from others. And they should be taught how to react when they aren't respected.

And when they reach out for help in one of these situations, we need to listen instead of judging, brushing it aside, or telling her to "just deal with it."

I also believe we need to teach young men about respect. They're being fed a lot of messages about what it means to be a man and not all of them are healthy. I urge you to check out the documentary "The Mask You Live In." It provides a snapshot of what I believe to be a huge source of a lot of our problems as a society.

What do you think we can do about this issue?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Gearing up for a great run

It's hard for me to believe there was a time I didn't enjoy running. But really, I've only been running regularly for just over six years. I've done several 5Ks, a few 10Ks, an a half-marathon. I've scaled back on the organized races, but as I've mentioned on here, I continue to include running in my fitness routine. I try to run three times a week between or alongside my other workouts.

I'm always looking for ways to improve my running. I listen to podcasts and read blogs on the subject. I try different tactics to see what works for me. Aaptiv provided me with the graphic below and there are some great tips for new or even semi-experienced runners.

Fuel is so important. You can't run if the tank is empty. On race days, I typically eat the same thing -- peanut butter toast and a banana. I'm starting to wonder if I should incorporate a similar pre-run snack for my other runs.

I'm pretty good on gear. I got fitted at a local running store for shoes. They really helped me figure out what I needed for my feet and joints. And they didn't try to pressure me to go outside my budget either.

Thankfully some of my other weekly workouts give me the core boost I need.

I also really love the quote at the end of the "before" section. I can be really hard on myself if I don't go as far as I previously planned. But maybe I need to start setting my expectations during that first mile.

I had no idea lung function is better in the evening than any other time of day. Truly fascinating fact right there.

I could be better about post-run foam rolling and refueling. I'm still learning how to use my foam roller.

The graphic was provided by Aaptiv, but all words and opinions are my own.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday -Total Body Strength (30 mins)
Wednesday - Run (35 mins)
Thursday -Barre with Britt (30 mins) + RIPPED (60 mins)
Friday - Flex Friday (30 mins)
Saturday - Off

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Happy Hour: Taking the mic

I've been thinking for a while about finding a theme for my Friday posts. The other night, out of nowhere, I decided maybe this is a good time to share something funny or happy. What better way to end a week and start a weekend than with a smile or a chuckle?

Airports can be happy places -- people traveling and going fun places. They can also be filled with tension as people get angry about seating or delays. According to this article, a Southwest Gate Agent recently told waiting passengers that the next person in line would have to sing. One guy didn't shy away from the challenge.

This is hilarious to me for a few reasons:
1 - I have a few friends who would DEFINITELY do this if given the chance.
2 - His choice of song.

Have a great weekend!

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