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10 Feb

Just a quick reminder/ask to vote for Becky’s husband, Ben to help him win a contest and jumpstart his career. Do it! What are you waiting for?  Go to this link. Click on “Support Ben,” via the Facebook button. The website will email you when to vote; both views and votes count! Thank you in advance for your help and support.

 I’m kind of in a happy, bubbly place lately thanks to, well, loving life and everything and everyone around me (and well, the fact that many of my friends have awesome happy, bubbly things going on for them) so I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes and sayings I’ve stumbled across lately….



What’s inspiring you lately?


5 Minutes: January

31 Jan

Rather than doing my monthly obsession posts like I did last year, I plan on doing a little bit of “reverb” at the end of every month. I’m borrowing this idea from the #Reverb10 folks and will be taking five minutes each month to write down all the things I don’t want to forget about the month that just passed.

♦ Laughing hysterically while doing Just Dance with my mom (and getting a serious arm/shoulder/back/ab workout in the process. Seriously!). ♦ Teaching Knight’s girls to blow & catch kisses; then watching them do it from the window of his house when I had to leave. ♦ Two snow days ♦ Reading over 1500 pages in January and loving every single one of them. ♦ Recommitting to my health and fitness, feeling the soreness in my body and knowing that I’m doing the right thing and something I love. ♦ Making big, huge, adult life decisions. ♦  Fabulous girl/best friend weekend with Lisa (more to come on that!) ♦ Video chats with amazing friends. ♦ Allowing myself a bit more me time and a bit less everyone else time. ♦ The shock and surprise on my face when I saw that two kids put a bag of dog poop, on fire, on my parents front porch. ♦ Late night dates with Knight full of smiles and love, hope and joy. ♦ Finishing up my two vacation days from 2010, which meant two Fridays off in a row. ♦ Putting together creative and comfortable outfits that express who I am. ♦ Feeling positive, optimistic, excited and very much like myself. ♦

What do you want to remember about this past month?
What are your hopes/goals for the next month?

Notes to Self

28 Jan

Hi Self,

Just a few friendly reminders…

Don’t get too caught up in the everyday. Silly things like long commutes to work, ice on the windshield, forgetting to put earrings in? Small potatoes compared to the bigger picture.

Continue to embrace those people and things that you love; remember how delighted and engaged you feel during your creative writing class, connecting with other like-minded individuals, sharing books to read, writing prompts, feeling like you belong to a group? Do more of that. Remember how you feel when Knight wraps his arms around you after being apart for a few weeks. Remember how great it is to live with your parents, two people who would do anything for you since it’s all going to change soon; they are amazing forces in your life.

Really push yourself at the gym. It’s totally worth it and you know it. Enjoy the running high, the sweat dripping down your face, pounding it out on the dreadmill, rocking out to really hardcore rap. Sign up for a few races soon, use that Groupon for the Yoga classes and treat yourself right. You deserve it.

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep… you’ve treated yourself to some much needed quiet time this week (read: Saying NO to social engagements) and it’s done a world of good for you. Do it more often. Your friends who are your true friends will understand and still be there for you.

Be present. I know things are topsy-turvy for you right now to a degree, but you can only do so much planning for the future. You know what John Lennon said (“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,”) and you know he’s right. Your life is NOW. Enjoy it, you only get one shot at it.

It’s ok to ignore the pile of laundry growing in your closet, the unmade bed, and bathroom that needs to be cleaned every once in awhile. Chances are it means you’re doing something more meaningful and that’s a good thing.

Love hard. I know you’re good at it but just don’t forget to keep doing it. Love your family, your friends, Knight. They are all deserving. Let those walls come tumbling down and just fully embrace love. You know you want to do it. You know you can do it. And you know what will happen when you do.

And above all? This:

 You’ve really been yourself lately (well, ok, for many, many months now) and it shows. Just don’t forget to always be true to you.

What would your notes to self say today?

The 2010 Wrap-Up

5 Jan

I hadn’t planned on doing the 2010 Wrap-up partially because a good portion of the year was spent recovering, healing, with my nose in books finsihing up my masters. And partially because you were all here for the good, the bad, the ugly (and I thank you for it!).

But it doesn’t seem right to start a new year without looking back, at least a little bit.

So, 2010, in a paragraph…..

Blogger meet-ups that were good for the heart and soul. Fried food on a stick. Bar Crawls that left me with mean hangovers. Training for a 10-mile race, getting injured, but forging on and running a 10k anyway. Adjusting to living with the parents. Countless books read, movies watched, journal pages scribbled in. Learning how to get over heart-wrenching pain. Embracing the people in my life who make me feel good. Eating a whole lot of Mexican food. Letting go of toxicity in my life, whether it be plans, people, or dreams. Cuddles with Jack. Laughing so hard it made my stomach hurt and tears roll down my face. Reasserting my hopes and dreams, ones that are attainable. Finishing my masters and being so thrilled that I actually did it. Squeeing with joy when my diploma came just before Christmas. Getting back to my roots, back to who I really am. Being surprised by love. Being surprised by what I would do for love. Growing stronger every day. Being choosy. Road trips, lots of road trips. Allowing myself to be a hopeless romantic again, and not apologizing for it. Refusing to settle. Learning to say no. At the same time, learning to say yes. Becoming obsessed with all things Ann Taylor Loft, Nintendo, and baking (again). Deciding that I won’t dye my hair any color other than it’s natural color, even if the grays show through. Making amazing new friends that I would be 100% lost without. Hugging my parents more. Falling in love with not only a great man, but also myself.

I’m not making resolutions this year (I’m really bad at them). Instead I’m just facing 2011 head-on with all the changes that I know are ahead of me, some which will change the rest of my life I suspect, and am prepared to tackle all the changes and challenges that I can’t yet see. I’m going into 2011 with hope, joy and smiles and I know that it will be a good year.

What are you going into 2011 with?

This Christmas…

22 Dec

Three days until Christmas. I think the Christmas spirit is finally hitting me; I mean, how could it not after doing the final grocery shopping for the holiday, listening to Glee and Harry Connick Jr Christmas music, and lots of chats with friends and family in the last few days!? Not to mention all the “Christmas secrets” I know which is just super fun.

While I’m taking a bloggy break until after the New Year (when I’ll return with new features and giveaways and much more!), I’ll be pretty busy…

* This Christmas I’m looking forward to drinking wine and making Gingerbread houses with my brother. We laugh a lot, take goofy pictures and actually take the Gingerbread house decorating seriously.

* I can’t wait to wrap presents with my dad while we watch The Santa Clause, a long-standing tradition of ours. He lets me in on some Christmas secrets and we have a good time every year, without fail.

* I’m super excited to put on my awesome fleece-y Christmas PJs that I bought at Old Navy (I may or may not have bought two pairs and some really comfortable socks to go with them. A girl has to have options!)

* I’m ready to be delighted this Sunday when the whole family heads to the Cirque de Soleil Holidaze show.

* I still have a handful of Christmas movies I have to watch so I’m hoping to have my own mini wrapathon this week and enjoy some of my favorites at the same time (hello, Love Actually and The Holiday!)

* This year I think I’m going to a Candlelight Church Service and I couldn’t be more excited (weather permitting as we are supposed to get dumped on with snow apparently). Bonus: it’s also the traditional carol service!

* I have lots of fun dinner dates planned with friends, lunches with out of-towners and some much needed pampering me time.

* NO work. For TEN Days. Be still my heart.

* Above all of this, I think I’m most excited to just be with my family and The Boyfriend (who seriously needs a nickname. I’m thinking Knight will be it…) over Christmas this year! I can’t wait to see the looks of surprise and joy on my family’s face when they open their presents, I’m super stoked about what I bought Knight (we are exchanging presents on Christmas Eve) and I’m just ready to revel in the holiday joy.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 days?

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, much love, joy and hugs throughout the holiday season!

9. Hero

9 Nov

I mentioned that my friend who was injured in Afghanistan over a year ago was finally coming home, and that he did to over 200 members of the Patriot Guard, State Troopers, Firetrucks, American Flags hung at every overpass, his fellow members of the Marines, and hundreds of friends, family and members of the community.

I wasn’t able to be there but the newspaper articles, updates on the news, and photos that his parents shared with me last weekend when I went to visit him and welcome him home were absolutely awe inspiring and tear-inducing.

His story is not mine to tell but suffice to say that he it is a 100% miracle that he is alive and doing well. We all had no doubt that his resilience in his mind, body and soul would conquer the very extensive injuries he sustained while serving his country but to see him in person, telling jokes, stories, doing tricks in his wheelchair, opening up about the experience and what’s he’s been through this last year was nothing short of inspiring. He is a local hero; he has presentation engagements at local Veteran’s Day events, elementary schools and tv interviews coming up this week but through it all he doesn’t act anything other than humble about the entire experience.

He still has a long road to full recovery involving physical therapy, maybe more surgeries, and figuring out how to get him to be able to walk again.

I hugged him a little tighter when I saw him last Saturday during our four-hour visit. I promised to visit him again before he goes back East to the doctors who are committed to his recovery.

His bravery, his commitment to the Marine Corps and his outlook on what is in store for him in the future make me proud to be his friend, proud to have him and thousands others serving our country and so very thankful for their dedication to our nation.

To any men or women in the service, are related to someone who is, or involved with someone who is, who may happen upon this blog, you have my full respect and thanks forever and always.  To my dear friend who nearly gave his life over a year ago, thank you. Thank you for your courage, your strength, your dedication, your spirit and for being you. I have no doubt that you’ll triumph and overcome in the next year.

6.2 Miles Later…

19 Oct

… I fell in love with running races.

The reason I signed up for this 10k in the first place was to prove to myself that I could run races after the doctors told me earlier this year it may not be a possibility.

And run them I can!

There are no pictures of me pre or post race as I was house sitting for a friend this past weekend and was way too groggy the morning of (note to self and other runners: don’t turn off your alarm on accident at 5:15 when it first goes off) the race to attempt a camera photo.

I wanted to get downtown early to avoid any traffic thanks to all the construction plus streets closed for the race, so I arrived around 7:15 am, walked around the mini expo, scored some Vitamin Water, stretched, and did some people watching since most people did dress up in Halloween costumes.

I meandered over to the start line about 7:45 am, positioned myself in between the 9/10 minute milers, and before I knew it, we were off. Well, sort of. It took three minutes for me to get to the start line thanks to the 4000+ people participating in the race.

The first two miles I kept pace with some of the 9 minute miler girls until one of the long, gradual, seemed like it was never going to end hills, at which point I decided that my knee would want me to chill out a little bit since hills are like its kryptonite. I slowed down a bit at the 5k mark at which point it was about 32:30, grabbed some powerade at the hydration station, and stretched out my quads a little. My knee was starting to protest a bit, so I finished out the mile and once I hit 4 miles I walked and stretched out the quads one more time until the 4.2 sign that a spectator was holding up.

That’s when I decided that there would be no more walking.

I started thinking about how I honestly never thought I’d be able to run more than two miles at a time thanks to my knee injury. About how I was accomplishing one my 30 Before 30 Goals. About my dear friends who ran 26.2 the weekend prior and how if they could do that I could surely run another 2 miles without stopping. I thought about how I wanted to be able to tell everyone I did the best I could, ran as fast as I could and be able to call a few special people after with glee in my voice instead of disappointment.

And so I did it.

I conquered the hills that stood in my way (and boy were there a lot of them), saw the finish line , conquered another hill (seeing the finish line was a cruel trick; we still had another out and back to do), gave high-fives to the little kids who were hanging out on the sidewalks, and then at the 5.9 mile mark I sprinted the last 3/10 of the race.

I finished in 67:05; average time for race finishers was 65:05.

I have to say that all in all I am incredibly pleased with my performance since my three goals were: 1) to finish 2) walk as little as possible and 3) if I did have to walk, finish in 80 minutes. If I didn’t have to walk, finish in 72 minutes. All goals accomplished. I must also confess that the last few weeks of training my long training runs fell off my radar thanks to finish my MBA and that pesky thing called life.

A lot of people have asked me what’s next and the short answer: More 5ks and 10ks. As much as I’d love to run a half marathon I know my knee won’t tolerate it. I plan to sign up for a few 5ks that are in St. Louis later this year and find another 10k early next year.

For now, though, I’m on a total race running high.

(And of course, a special thanks to everyone who shared tips, training plans, asked about the race, and sent me well wishes, texts and positive vibes the day of the race!)

(The winner of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Giveaway is Leesh from The Blarkness Chronicles! Congratulations; I’ll contact you for your mailing address today. Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for another giveaway soon.)