July 31, 2015

training for a half marathon | week 1

Fitness Files. Fit Fridays. Friday Fitness. I mean, there are actually a lot of titles I could have used for this series but it was just too cheesy. I decided to keep it simple instead of inventing some catchy series. I opted to go with the obvious and boring title. 

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I started training for a half marathon. It's been over 2 years since my last half and I basically became a couch potato during that time. Needless to say, I'm pretty much starting over on the fitness front. Nothing like an expensive race with a deadline to kick my butt into gear. I'm loosely working off of this 12 week plan mostly just to keep some sense of accountability and remind me what mileage I'm on. Over the next several weeks, I'm also going to try to document my "journey" here so that you can follow along.

|| Monday ||
Ran 3 treadmill miles (3 min run / 2 min walk).
While watching House Hunters and Pioneer Woman...It's super hilly where we live and since I don't really know my way around, I've been running on the treadmill to save some energy. I plan on doing longer runs outside on some of the awesome trails.

|| Tuesday ||
Barre Strength at the gym.
It's basically Pure Barre but I really liked the class as something different. Kind of wondering what you have to do to become an instructor...

|| Wednesday ||
60 min Cycle class with C. 
Within 5 minutes of the class starting, I always hate myself and wonder why the heck I signed up. It was a butt-kicking workout but I felt good about it since this was supposed to be a "run" day but I cross-trained instead.

|| Thursday ||
30 min FitStar Yoga at home
C needed the car so instead of lunchtime yoga at the gym, I just did a class at home. I like this app a lot especially for quick and easy yoga on the got.

|| Friday ||
Rest! Yay! (Oh and travel to Michigan for Becca's wedding!!)

|| Saturday ||
4 miles which I will probably try to run at the gym at the hotel or somewhere outside before Becca's wedding.

|| Sunday ||
Rest and travel home from Chicago!

Overall, I think this is a great first week especially since I need a little hand holding as I ease back into a regular workout schedule. 

PS. You NEED one of those water bottles. It's the water bottle to end all water bottles (truth. I got rid of all the other ones I own!!!). It's from Swell and it keeps cold stuff cold for 24 HOURS and hot for 12 HOURS! I tested it and it REALLY works even in a hot car! 
(I was not paid to say this...I purchased the bottle with my own money and I'm simple obsessed.)

Are you signed up for any races this fall? Do you listen to music or podcasts? Suggestions?

July 20, 2015

monday musings | 118

This is real life for ya!

>> Look who's back in action! We've been living in Charlottesville for about three weeks now and we're really loving it. The house is about 90% set up and my little home office is really coming together. We're settling into a routine which feels really nice. Nothing like having a clean slate to really get things in order. We joined the gym next to C's office and we've really been liking it, especially all their classes. (We did an epic hour and 45 min yoga class on Sunday morning, whoa). 

>> I signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon and starting this weekend, I'll have 12 weeks to train. I'm basically doing couch to 13.1 here but you know what, I just need a little race incentive to get my butt into gear. Additionally, because we have such easy access to this gym, I think I just need to pick a great show on Netflix and binge watch while I do my runs - any suggestions? 

>> We've been doing a decent job cutting way back on carbs and making some super easy and delicious lunches and dinners (recipes coming soon!). I made this amazing Carrot, Sweet Potato, Red Lentil soup out of this book and we've loved it. A old standby favorite is traditional meat sauce and we normally put it over spaghetti squash but since that's not in season, I got my hands on a spiralizer (just a cheap $6 one) and made a whole pile of zucchini noodles. It was so delicious! 

>> Ok so like I said, we're doing a DECENT job of healthy eating...but we did also join a cider club which I'm super pumped about.

>> The move forced me to REALLY cut back on all the beauty supplies which feels so freeing. I'm no longer a Birchbox subscriber (I know, it had been 5 years!). I'm looking forward to simplifying things a bit in my morning routine especially because I'm now working from home. I also discovered a great site where you can order samples of luxe beauty products but YOU choose the samples which I love. More to come on this...

>> Speaking of working from home, I'm really enjoying it so far. I have been able to be super productive especially now that I have the dedicated office. I don't really go in there on the weekends which makes it feel more like "work" in a good way. I got a beautiful desk and chair that are working great. I'll do a full office post soon once we get everything hung on the walls. 

>> Each year, I go back through all our photos and make a photo book that commemorates that year of marriage. It's such a sweet reminder of all the fun adventures we had and it also ensures that our pictures make their way out of the computer and into our lives. I know these books will be really special as the years go by. (Hard to believe we've already been married for 2 years!)

>> Oh, and we're getting a puppy in three weeks...

July 1, 2015

on five years of this blogging thing

I feel like I blinked and it suddenly became July. How in the world does that work? This May made five years of writing this little blog and I was a bit shocked. I had no long term goals or ambitions of this becoming a "thing". I was bored and uninspired and thought "oh this will be fun..."

So here we are, five years later...five years of my LIFE chronicled on this little slice of the internet. This blog has traveled with me through Dallas, Connecticut, and now Charlottesville. It's been there when I was single, dating, engaged, and newly married. It's seen my life ebb and flow through extensive baking to triathlon training. All of this is exciting while also being a bit overwhelming. I mean, who doesn't get totally freaked out when they go back and read a journal entry from 2010...

All that said, this space has been such a joy. It has taught be about confidence, acceptance, creativity, perseverance, and adaptability. For that, I am thankful. 

Update on life lately
We officially moved to Charlottesville, VA this past Monday. We drove down with a car full of stuff, enough to get us through the undetermined number of days before our moving truck comes with the rest of our stuff. We are sleeping on an air mattress, adjusting to this new city, and trying to get back to our routine. I'm adapting to working remotely and C is adjusting back to the working world (oh hey 9-5!). We're eating breakfast our of plastic bowls and every other meal is at a restaurant or picked up (which now that we're on our 3rd week of this from all the moving...it's getting pretty old). 

I'm really anxious to get my home office set up, put all our stuff away, sleep on a real bed, and cook again. I can't wait to start getting back into a workout routine and healthier eating. I'm looking forward to making friends and exploring our new hood. 

There is also a part of me that is pretty fearful. I've moved pretty much every year since 2006 (even if it was within the same city). It feels really bizarre to be going to the DMV next week to get Virginia licenses (I've only ever had CT, even when I lived in Texas!). It's pretty nuts to think that this could really be our forever home. 

I'm looking forward to getting back to a more normal blogging schedule (so many fun things in the works!) and livening things up around here a little more. Until then, stay tuned!

June 24, 2015

book review // better than before

I actually really enjoy reading "self-help" books. When chosen wisely, I think they can be really inspiring and awesome. I read Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project right after college as it was a gift from my friend Alex. I r

eally enjoyed it and almost feel like it qualifies as a re-read (which is super rare for me). 

Better Than Before is her newest book and let me tell you, it's awesome. The way she researches and write about human nature is so fascinating to me. She basically walks you through how we form habits and the different strategies we can use. There are four tendencies: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel. These "type" guide you through the book and help you identify your barriers and strengths to forming habits. I LOVED figuring out what I was (you can even use this quiz) and then applying it throughout the book. I would read excerpts out loud to C when something totally applied to him. 

Overall, I think recognizing these things about myself and how I deal with habits will make me more aware in the future. For example, I'm a Moderator meaning I'm totally fine having one bite of chocolate cake and then staring at the rest of it for an entire week. C on the other hand is definitely an Abstainer; he cannot have potato chips in the house or he'll he the entire bag. Knowing this will help create strategies going forward. 

I highly recommend picking up this book. It's an easy read and totally captivating.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

May 29, 2015

natural skincare from poor & pretty + a discount!

I stumbled upon these adorable jars of all-natural beauty products by chance and was thrilled to see they are made right here in Connecticut. I immediately purchased the Rose Clay Mask and tried it out at home. While having my "at-home spa night", I looked up the brand and started researching the creator, Sami.

Poor & Pretty was created by Sami Jensen in 2009 after she learned about all the gross ingredients in her frequently used bath and beauty products. Dissatisfied with what was out there, she set out to create her own line of 100% all-natural, hypoallergenic, vegan/cruelty-free. Her products are adorably packaged, smell amazing, and contain only the best ingredients. And because I know you'll love Poor & Pretty as much as I do, there's an exclusive discount code below!

I've had the pleasure of trying a few more of her products and I'm seriously impressed. Here are a few of the items I can recommend but I'm pretty sure everything she makes is awesome. (Not pictured: The AMAZING cocoa butter lip balm that is already living in my pocket, it's that good.)

Coffee Sugar Scrub // This stuff smells so amazing and is so lovely slathered all over your body during your AM shower. It's not too gritty and leaves a trail of soft, moisturized skin behind.

Whipped Body Butter // If you've ever had the desire to spread gooey chocolate, this stuff is your answer without all the mess! It smells like heaven and spreads so nicely over your skin. It doesn't have a super greasy texture but it is rich so you do have to let it soak in a little. It's even better when used after the coffee scrub!

Rose Face Mask // I've been really into dry, clay powder masks lately. I love that you get to mix up just the amount you need. This mask is really gently but doesn't a great job brightening up your skin while also clarifying it. Plus, you look so chic with red clay spread all over your face (husbands and boyfriends beware!).

If I haven't convinced you enough already, hopefully a little discount to her Etsy shop will motivate you to go check out Sami's amazing products. Be sure to use code NATURALBEAUTY for 15% purchases of $10 or more in her Etsy shop. Everything she sells is already so affordable but this discount makes it even sweeter!

Also, 30% of every purchase made from her shop (through Saturday, May 30) is being donated to the Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery in Nepal to help provide comfort items like teddy bears, books, and blankets to the Buddhist nuns (some as young as 3!) who have been living outside in tents since the earthquakes hit Nepal.

Make sure to come back and let me know what you purchased in the comments! 

Disclaimer: I only post about products I actually use and love. I purchased the mask myself. I was kindly gifted the scrub, body butter, and lip balm to review for you here. I'm looking forward to trying out a few more products like her charcoal mask!
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