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!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This & That 10/12

:: The brewery where I work won its second Great American Beer Festival gold medal in as many years. This is a big deal, folks. There are six rounds of judging, and this year there were more than 7,900 entries from roughly 2,200 breweries from across the nation. It's arguably the biggest beer competition in the world. And now, the little brewery I love and work for has TWO gold medals. Last year, they won for Mexican Spring (an agave lime wheat), and this year's star was #QuadGoals (a Belgian quad). It was fun celebrating with the other brewery folks after the award was announced last Saturday.
Photo courtesy of 515 Brewing's facebook page

:: Over the weekend, I also got to check out Los Banditos. It's a local hot dog speakeasy that takes over a ramen house in the later hours. It opens at 10 a.m. and serves interesting hot dog dishes and fries until 3 a.m. I got the one with cream cheese, a pickle spear, and dill pickle chips. Because pickles. It was so delicious and I look forward to going back again.

:: This is how I feel about the world lately. Really.

:: On a happier note, a woman in my department recently retired. We had a luncheon for her last week and she brought us each a little gift. Backwards, right? It was about her, not us. But that's how she is. Her gift and note to me was very touching and I will definitely treasure it.

What's new or good with you this week?
You can even tell me if something is annoying you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Show Us Your Books: September

Life According to Steph

I started the month strong, quickly finishing two books. And then I didn't read for a very long time. Sigh. And apparently my theme was September was people who had died or were dying who wanted to make sure their descendants had valuable life information. Interesting.


The start of this book is really rough. After her mother dies, Brett expects to inherit a small fortune as well as the title of president of a major cosmetics company. But her mother has other plans for her daughter ... actually, they're plans Brett had for herself once upon a time. At first, Brett seems very whiny and is hard to like, but as the story winds on, she becomes more relatable. I enjoyed following the challenges her mother set up for her and seeing how it changed her as a person.

Historical romances have always been hit or miss with me. Even if I am fascinated the that particular historical period, a book has to have a lot going for it to keep my interest. This one did just that. Hope travels to a small town in Louisiana to take care of her ailing grandmother's house. Adelaide, the grandmother, has decided it's time to share some untold family history with Hope. I loved the jump back and forth between past and present. The grandmother was charming and sweet, and I was dying to see what other family secrets would be uncovered.


In October, I feel like I should read some kind of thriller. It's been a while since I checked out that genre. Any recommendations?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Music Monday: The Alternate Routes - "Nothing More"

The world feels so hard to handle lately.
So heavy.
So tense.
So angry.
So ... much.

The lyrics of this song have been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks. A quick search shows I've never shared it in this space. Long overdue. These guys are fabulous, and this song is perfect for our current times.

To be humble, to be kind
It is the giving of the peace in your mind
To a stranger, to a friend
To give in such a way that has no end

We are love
We are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace
We are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

To be bold, to be brave
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The danger's in the anger and the hanging onto it

We are love
We are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace
We are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

Tell me what is that you see
A world full of endless possibilities?
Heroes don't look like they used to, they look like you do

We are love
We are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace
We are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Sweats: September fitness recap

September goals:
- Run 10 times during the month.
I only made it 9. Sad face. I slacked off during that last week of the month.

- Go to RIPPED class once a week.
I got there once and I remembered why I loved it but then life got in the way.
Number of days I worked out: 15. I was shocked when I saw that. I guess I took off more days than I realized.

Miles Ran: 18.63

Personal victory: I missed my 5K PR by only 30 seconds. I think running with the girls (and more regularly) has helped. Now, I'm looking for my next race to see if I can get that PR.


October goals:
- Run 10 times.
- Get to RIPPED three times.

Yep, I'm basically repeating my goals until I succeed or decide otherwise.


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

Even though I worked out four out of seven days, I kind of feel like I slacked this week. I really want to get back to two workouts a day, but it just hasn't worked with my schedule lately.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Best of the Bunch: August & September 2017

I didn't mean to skip this feature last month. But I was in a blogging funk about the time it should have been done. And by the time I thought about it again, it was almost time to post September's gems, so I decided to just combine them into one compilation.

Steph always seems to make this list. And sometimes she's on here multiple times. Like now. She wrote a lovely and heart-wrenching piece about her last weekend with Geege, shared some tips about seven years of marriage, and had some advice about vacation rentals.

Madison offered some words of hope for new mommas who are struggling.

Jana has some observations about the process of losing weight.

Joey lost herself in a pit of self-help strategies.

As someone who's planning a wedding, I have some of the thoughts/concerns Cait listed in her post on post-wedding guilt.

Finally, on a much lighter note, Juliette shares some phrases she's said that make her feel old. I agreed with too many on that list.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

This & That 10/5

:: Last weekend, we went out east to Sean's college homecoming and reunion. The weather was perfect for football game and an evening reception.

:: During our recent weekend road trip, we stopped at an outlet mall and did some browsing. I mostly just wanted to stretch my legs. I had no intentions of buying anything. But then I found Under Armour shoes for $25. And a workout tank for $5. And then some Bath & Body Works stuff.  I probably shouldn't have spent the money. Sigh. Ah well.

:: We've been hunting for a headboard for a while. We didn't want to spend a lot, but we knew we wanted an upholstered one. Finally, last week, we found one on Wayfair for $110 with free shipping. And we had it assembled and installed in less than 20 minutes. It's amazing how much more finished the room looks with it in place.

:: There's so much tension and heaviness lately. Between the Las Vegas shooting and the ongoing debate about the anthem protests and the latest thing the President said/did, it's all a lot to handle. sometimes it feels like too much. While it's important to stay informed, I also feel compelled to remind you (and myself) that it's OK to take a break from it every now and then. That's called self-care.

What's new with you this week?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: All about the cake

The tastiest part of wedding planning is the food choices. Finalizing our menu with our caterer (a local award-winning barbecue restaurant) was fun, but choosing our bakery takes the cake. Ha ha. Yeah, I went there.

Last winter, Sean and I went to a bridal fair. I was on a clean eating stretch, so he was the only one of us who got to taste all the samples. So I relied on his palate to tell me which was best. I was surprised (and pleased) that his favorite was from a small bakery in one of the suburbs. I love using local businesses and products whenever possible. Still, I wanted to taste the cake for myself.

We made an appointment earlier this summer to meet with the lady at the bakery. But some life things happened and we had to reschedule. We weren't sure when we'd squeeze it in with our work schedules and her hours. Finally, last Friday, we had a half-day free to stop by the bakery and taste some of her cakes.

We got three samples in the form of cupcakes:

Strawberry with vanilla buttercream, vanilla with vanilla buttercream, and chocolate with chocolate buttercream.

They were all delicious and we honestly would have been fine with any of the options. Beyond having tasty cake and frosting, the woman we met with was very easy to work with and the prices were reasonable. Oh, and the bakery/store does a lot of good for their community. Sean and I were sold before we even walked in, but tasting the cakes definitely sealed the deal.

We ended up with three sheet cake options for our guests -- marble cake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and vanilla buttercream, and vanilla with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream. We'll also be doing a cut cake of chocolate with vanilla buttercream.

Wedding planning is sweet sometimes.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Music Monday: Kelly Clarkson - "Love So Soft"

I've always loved Kelly Clarkson. It seems like she's been laying low for a while (probably because of her adorable baby), but I was really excited to hear she'd released new music. I finally got a chance to check out the new single and video over the weekend.  LOVE.

Keep it coming, Kelly.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Pinky Swear 5K recap

In the month or two that I've been back to running more regularly, I've been anxious to do another race. I wanted to see if the frequent runs had helped my performance. And, more than that, I just love the running community and the race atmosphere. I was ready to be back in it.

Sean and I both set our sights on the Pinky Swear 5K a few months ago. We know children who have battled or are battling cancer and we wanted to show our support for those kiddos and others like them. The Pinky Swear Foundation was founded years ago when a young cancer warrior named Mitch overheard the family next to him in the hospital talk about how they couldn't afford Christmas. For Mitch, that was unacceptable, and he let his dad know it. He withdrew all the money from his savings account ($6K at the time) and put it in envelopes for other kids around the pediatric unit. As they finished the last room, Mitch told his dad they had to do it again the next year. The reality was they both knew Mitch wouldn't be around the following year, but the young boy asked his father to carry on the tradition. Dad did a pinky swear with Mitch, promising to help kids with cancer for as long as he lived. Today, the Pinky Swear Foundation does more than just Christmas surprises. It also uses funds raised to help families pay mortgages, utility bills, etc. while their child deals with cancer treatments.

This year was the first year of the Pinky Swear 5K. In the past, it's just been a kids' triathalon event, but they wanted to reach more people. And they definitely did. There were more than 1,000 runners at the inaugural event. Amazing!!!

The weather for the race was pretty nice. Although it was a bit humid, it was only in the upper 60s. So it was bearable. The opening ceremonies took quite a bit of time and were pretty emotional, so I was feeling kind off when the run started. About half a mile in, I got minor back spasms but I talked myself through them. The further I ran, the better I was feeling. My pace varied, but I was definitely moving along pretty well.

My unofficial time was 33:07. They didn't chip time the race, so that's based on my Garmin.

I was really happy with my final time. It's only about 30 seconds from my PR. And I wasn't too far behind Sean, who ran competitively in high school and college (although he hasn't ran much in the past year).

I was also happy to be able to run for our two favorite cancer heroes -- Ava (who recently lost her battle with cancer at 11) and Max (who was born with cancer and is currently doing well).

I felt very inspired during the race. And I'm sure my extra training recently has helped as well.

Now, I need to look for my next race.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Pinky Swear 5K!!
Monday - Cardio with Colby (30 mins)
Tuesday - Strength workout (30 mins)
Wednesday - Group run/walk (30 mins)
Thursday - Barre with Britt (30 mins)
Friday - Off
Saturday - Off

I'll grade my September fitness goals next week!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

This & That 9/28

:: It's officially fall, but I got the ball rolling a few weeks ago by decorating my mantle. I have a feeling I'm going to have fun with this feature in our home during various seasons and holidays.

:: I have a love/hate relationship with wedding forums. I've gotten a lot of good ideas and even a good deal on some tablecloths and votive candles. But there's also lots of judgment out there. Especially when someone brings up the subject of no kids at the wedding. Whenever someone asks how to word that preference on their web site or invite, there's always someone who says, "Why wouldn't you invite children? Children bring more joy to the celebration. Weddings are for families and children are part of the families." Sure, but it's not your wedding, Susan, so back off. (That poster's name isn't necessarily Susan ... it just sounded better with the tone of the voice in my head.)

:: I love my Mary Kay charcoal mask. Even if Sean says it makes me look like a luchador (Mexican wrestler).

:: I get to go sample wedding cake tomorrow. This. This is what we've been waiting for. I plan to write about it next week. Hopefully I'll remember to take some photos too.

What's up with you this week?

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