Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

For the past two years,  our New Year's Eve has been running a 5K at midnight through the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood.   I know that isn't everyone's ideal New Year's Eve, but for us it was great family time and seemed to be a perfect way to ring in the New Year.   Tonight, super-husband is working until 930p - so we opted not to do the 5K this year.  Instead, we'll be celebrating the New Year at home with a couple of friends  (assuming us old folks make it until midnight)   :)

I had to pick up groceries earlier and while I was out and about I stopped by the Goodwill Outlet.  Honestly, I didn't even know they had an outlet until this summer and this was my first time venturing in.  It's a Goodwill store with huge bins filled with miscellaneous merchandise.  (Note: make sure you have hand santizer or a pair of disposable gloves).  I didn't really see much that caught my eye - it truly is digging for a treasure.  BUT, I noticed toward the back of the store a lady unfolding what appeared to be a quilt.  She kept looking at it and I kept rummaging in the bins around her and eyeing the quilt myself.  It appeared to be in good shape and I could tell it was hand-stitched.  The minute she put it down - I walked right over!  I was pleasantly surprised -- it was super heavy; no hole, rips or tears; and while it did have a few spots on it - I didn't notice any weird smells.  LOL! 

At the Goodwill outlet, you pay by weight ($1.19/lb).  Since the quilt seemed quite heavy I was worried it would cost  more than I wanted to pay.  I kept texting a friend and she said BUY IT!    I was pleasantly surprised when it rang up for $1.19 plus tax.   Hopefully, I will find more frugal finds in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Visions of Christmas

It's hard to believe 2012 is coming to a close - I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas.  I feel blessed to have been able to take some vacation time last last week.   Super husband was able to have the week off as well.   It was filled with the usual busy-ness associated with the holidays, but we had a nice mix of quiet time too.  We hosted my husband's family on Christmas Eve,  his co-workers yesterday and will be hosting friends on New Years Eve - I love having people in my home!   

All of the Christmas decor has been taken down too.  To be honest, it came down the day after Christmas!   The 26th happened to be a cold, wet, rainy day and seemed like the perfect opportunity to take it down.  I go back to work on January 2nd and I feel like the house is in relatively good order.   I'm making a trip to the grocery store in the morning for "post New Year's" foods.  

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide where to go with this blog.  I always have high hopes of chronicling life via the blog, but then I question why - or maybe I should have a specific purpose - weight loss, DIY, raising a family - or maybe I shouldn't attempt at all because I haven't done the best job keeping posts up-to-date over the past couple of years.   Anyway,  something I'll continue to ponder....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Planning Monday

It's been several weeks since I intentionally planned out our meals.  Unfortunately, this often resorts to grabbing a frozen pizza or hitting a drive thru.  (dislike!)   In September, I sat down and made a list of meals we enjoy and threw in a couple of new recipes for good measure.  It totaled to be about 40 different meals.  Today, I went back to the list and picked a few for this week's meals.  No-brainer meal planning right?  :)

Sunday:  Grilled burgers and oven-baked fries (hubby also grilled wings - it is football season after all).  Tip:  If you slice the potato and then let them soak in lightly salted water for a couple of minutes.  They bake nice and crisp!

Monday:  Crustless quiche and fruit

Tuesday:  Sour Cream Noodle Bake with Salad and French Bread

Wednesday:  White Chicken Lasagna with Salad

Thursday:  I'm taking a friend out for her birthday, but there should be leftovers for family.

Friday: Pizza (We've been using the jiffy box mix crust & it's pretty good!)

Saturday: Stir-Fry Chicken and Vegetables with Brown Rice

I'm going to a friend's house on Friday night to work on crafts for Christmas & it's Holiday Open House at work (aka - snack day), so I'll be making some of these marvelous cookie/brownies "brookies" too.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Challenge

Last week, I received an email for a December challenge.  It was from the marvelous boot camp instructor with Mission: FIT.   Her challenge for the month - 50 burpees or 50 squats EVERY day of December.  You might be thinking - I'll be traveling or I'll have company - guess what, no equipment required.  Just motivation to set aside time for 50 each and every day!  I accepted the challenge and I hope you will too.

I opted for squats because I like them better than burpees and they are easier on my back.  I am making one modification and I hope she will forgive me for it.  :)   I'm alternating days with 50 squats and 50 push-ups.  Otherwise, I'm not sure I'd be able to walk by the end of next week.  You don't have to do them all at the same time either.  You can spread it out over your day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kitchen Update - Part 2

A couple of weeks ago,  I posted about the pleasures of removing our popcorn ceiling.  I can't tell you how relieved I was to cross that off my list.  The project was painting, painting, and more painting -- walls & cabinets.

The walls had been the same color (a nice, neutral beige) since we moved into the house in 2002.  I'm not going to lie - I liked it and had intentions of repeating with the same color.

But everyone kept saying - if you are going to paint, WHY paint it the same color?   I'll tell you why - I tend to play it safe that's why!   Well, the more I thought about it - the crazier I realized I was - we needed to step out of the box and try something different.   Replacing countertops was not in our budget, so we decided to go with a color that worked with the hideous color (dark blue-green) instead of working against it.  We chose Sherwin Williams -Tidewater.  Oh my stars - I LOVE IT!
The picture is a little darker than the actual walls.

It brightens up the space!  I wasn't completely convinced at first - it reminded me of a baby's nursery.  However, once we got the kitchen "put back together" - I loved it.  Our furniture is warm oak with honey tones and it complements the paint color.  The pictures I've posted are in the eat-in area of the kitchen. 

Here's one more picture and a sneak peek at one my favorite (and functional) accessories so far!
This picture is more true to color.

More to come...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I was a bit of a procrastinator in getting prepared for Thanksgiving this year.  No particular reason - just lots of different things going - maybe I was stressed, but like always it all came together in the end.

For the past two years, I have participated in our local "Turkey Strut".   After awhile the race registrations add up, so I didn't register this year.  All along I thought I would do a 5K through our neighborhood, we have a nice route.  Thanksgiving morning came and I had a million things still left on the to-do list:  make deviled eggs; make fruit salad;  (oh, did I mention I hadn't been to the grocery store yet?!); clean kitchen; vacuum house... and on and on.   Super husband and super son were busy trying to gather the leaves that had fallen last week - for some reason they always accumulate around the front of our house and get tracked inside.   We're all making nice progress - gotta love TEAMWORK - before I realize it, it's noon and we're done!  Our guests aren't arriving until 5p, so I have plenty of time.  And then the excuses begin --

  • I've worked hard this morning - I should relax until company arrives.
  • What if the virtual 5K times are posted like last year?  Then, I'll feel defeated b/c I'm sure I will be slower than last year.
  • I can do it tomorrow when I don't have any plans.
  • Still struggling with what the "right" thing to do for my back.
You see where this was going right?  Several friends started posting on Facebook about what a fun time they had on Turkey Trots, Gobble Wobbles, etc and I said ENOUGH is ENOUGH.  And headed out for my own 5K.

And, in under 48 minutes it was DONE!

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Third Annual Thankful Virtual 5K

For the past couple of years,  I've done the local "Turkey Strut 5K" on Thanksgiving Day with family.   It really is a wonderful way to get the day started.   Last year, I participated in a Virtual 5K hosted by A Journey to Thin.  Alissa is hosting another Virtual 5K this year, so hop on over to her blog and let her know you'll be participating -- there are some great prizes up for grabs!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Upcycled Christmas Ornament - Angel

Over the past several months, my best pals - Angie & Sally - and I have gotten together for Pinterest craft nights.  We take turns hosting and coming up with ideas using Pinterest as our inspiration.   When possible we try to recycle, upcycle and repurpose items,  the past couple of Pinterest nights we've worked on Christmas items. 

Angie's sister-in-law gave us a bag full of empty shot gun shells.  Hmm!   We searched for some inspiration and found some - but I am most in love with what I came up with this morning.  An ANGEL ornament!!

The only thing that would make them more perfect -- silver wings, but the green glittery wings work just fine too! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kitchen Update on a Dime - Part 1: The Ceiling.. uh Popcorn

Well, it's obviously been awhile since I've posted.   After graduation, I got incredibly lazy and just enjoyed doing absolutely nothing.  For three years, I burned the candle at both ends - working full-time, going to school full-time, trying to maintain a home, be a good wife and mother - needless to say I crashed and burned.  :)

Alas, it didn't last too long.  I started on my kitchen.  For a couple of years, I've been wanting to do some updates (click here for previous post!).  However, updates cost money - cha-ching!   My main issue was the popcorn ceiling - it had started to crack in several places, so I thought it would come down easy peasy.   Handy Randy (our neighbor) advised me to be very careful because any knicks into the sheetrock would have to be repaired.  To err on the side of caution, I decided to use a plastic putty knife to get things started.

Well at the end of day 1 (I should note I worked on this after work, so you won't think I'm a complete loser), it looked like this...

Lessons learned from Day 1:
  • Plastic, plastic and more plastic - it needs to cover EVERYTHING.  This is a dusty job.
  • Time - I need more of it because this is going to take FOREVER.
  • Music - Tunes need to be rocking or you'll lose your mind!
  • Hubby - Did I mention I got the bright idea to do this when he was unable to help?!  He had a medical procedure and was unable to lift his arm above shoulder height or lift anything heavy for 6 weeks!
Onward to Day 3 - let's keep scraping, scraping, and scraping and it's finally done!
Lessons learned from Day 2:
  • Metal putty knife is necessary!  Some friends stopped by to help.  They had metal putty knives - I cringed but I'm certainly not going to turn down help b/c at this rate it is going to take FOREVER!  Their first scrape and it unzips off the ceiling like a zipper.  REALLY!!   I grabbed my metal putty knife and we had the ceiling down by the end of the night.  
  • Friends - I needed them.  This was my first DIY major project and it didn't take me long to realize I bit off more than I can chew.  Thankful for their words of encouragement!
  • Water is not necessary at least not for me! I had read to spray a small section and scrape, but once I switched over to the metal putty knife it came down so easy.
Day 4 - sanding, putty, sanding, putty... sanding, sanding, sanding.  I feel like I went over the ceiling a thousand times.  I wanted it to be perfect.
Day 5 or 6 and I'm losing my mind -- I want my kitchen back.  I'm tired of the plastic, dust. My family is tired of sandwiches.  Haha!
Again, I'm not sure what day we are on maybe 7 or 8 at this point.  It's finally primed.  I used Sherwin Williams products and couldn't be more pleased, and no, I wasn't paid to say that.  The staff at my local store were incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and patient with me.  My memory is failing me now, but I think we did 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.  We went with a flat white.  I love the clean look of white.

Here it is finally DONE!  It's not perfect - if you really look, you can tell I should have sanded more.  However my theory is - if someone notices the imperfections and it bothers them - then they don't need to be in my house!   It was a definite labor of love.   Will I tackle other rooms?   Hahaha!!!   I would like to think future rooms might be a bit smoother in the process as this was complete trial and error, but NO I don't intend to do any other rooms in the near future. 

I'll post more later this week on the cabinets, wall color and other updates!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little Steps

As I mentioned in another post, I've had some issues with  back pain this spring.  For the past 6 weeks, I've taken a break from boot camp and focused on walking & climbing the stairs at work.  Overall, my back is feeling much better and I'm realizing how much injury prevention is a part of the fitness journey.

Some people thrive on exercising alone - it's "their" time and they are self-disciplined, dedicated and focused to make it happen.  I am quite the opposite - I tend to push myself harder and do better when I am part of a group.  Even if the exercise does not involve interaction with others,  I find it easier to find my zone and give 110%.  I still consider the exercise time "my time" because after all - I am doing this for me  (seriously, why else would I get up at 5am).  

Fortunately, my weight is holding steady in a range that I'm comfortable in.  If you haven't tried My Fitness Pal,  I highly recommend it.  It's a great site for logging your daily food journal and exercise as well  & I love the smart phone app for it.

Do you exercise best alone or in a group?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Graduation Day

I could not have asked for a more perfect graduation day!  The sun was shining with a light breeze.  The campus looked even more spectacular than usual.  I was in the presence of family and faculty who had helped make the dream become a reality.  I was overwhelmed with many emotions, on the verge of tears many times; but I managed to hold back the tears and smile instead.  I'm proud of my journey and regardless of what happens in life -- NO ONE can take away the sense of accomplishment and the degree I EARNED.

Quite simply, I am BLESSED!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Finish

Nearly 21 years ago, I graduated high school.  I was a nerd - I liked school & made pretty good grades.  Up until my junior year, my plan was to pursue a career in teaching.  Hands down without a doubt - education was where I would be.  During my junior English class one day we were discussing future career plans, I said "teach".  I remember the teacher (who I won't name as I believe she still teaches at my old high school) rolling her eyes and proceeding to tell me what a thankless job it was.  Now I don't know that I "heard" her as she intended me to receive that message, but I can tell you this - my dream was crushed.  I felt like a deflated balloon.  In hindsight, I REGRET that I allowed her to make me fell the way she did when she made that comment.  Suddenly, I felt like I was in a tailspin trying to figure out what to do with my life.  My parents always encouraged me to be what I wanted to be - but I couldn't erase the words the teacher had written on my heart.

I shifted my focus toward healthcare -- I quickly identified nursing was NOT for me, but thought perhaps radiology technology would be a better fit.  Problem solved?  I was accepted into the RT program at Forsyth Tech and received a small scholarship after graduation.  I never really felt comfortable in the program - almost like a fish out of water.  Once we started clinical rotations - I knew it was NOT for me.  I tried to hang on as long as I could but I was MISERABLE and finally quit.  I had no idea what direction I would go next and started working full-time.

For many years, I regretted not finishing my education.  I made 1001 excuses about why it wasn't the right time or why I couldn't go back to school.  In May 2008, my husband suffered a massive heart attack.  Really quickly, I learned the value of time - we aren't promised our next breath.  I began to reflect on my life  -- there were some decisions I'd made in life that I could change and others I couldn't.  I started a "bucket list" and one of those items was finishing my education before I turned 40.   It was one regret in life I had the power to do something about.

In January 2009,  I met with Dean Williams at Salem College.  I intended to ease myself in by taking summer classes and then going full-time in the fall.  Next thing, I know I'm enrolled full-time in the spring!   The rest shall we say was history.  For the next 3 years, I worked full-time, attended school full-time, and attempted to be a good wife and mother along the way.    It would have been easy for me to change my mind - my husband lost his job the NIGHT I had orientation to start classes - maybe I shouldn't?   But I pressed on.   The following summer he had another small health set-back - maybe I shouldn't?  but I pressed on.   I've had more than enough opportunities to make reasonable excuses these past 3 years - but I pressed on.

On Saturday, May 19th -- I will walk across the stage at Salem College to receive my bachelor's degree in Sociology.   I will  check-off one of many items on my bucket list.   I know there are many people who have questioned my decision to return to school or did not understand why I wanted to at this stage in my life.  And that's ok.  I know it was the right time and the right thing to do -- too many doors opened when I thought they were closed;  a class offered when it shouldn't have been until the following semester;  a small scholarship out of the blue.

If I tried to thank everyone who has helped make this journey possible, I would surely forget someone by name.   It is the incredible support of family and friends  and my faith that have got me to this point.  You believed in me, when I didn't believe in myself.  You encouraged me, when I needed it most.  You picked up my child after school, and cared for him until I was out of class.  You rejoiced in my small accomplishments as well as my large ones.  YOU knew I could do it.  And Saturday - it will be in celebration of you supporting me!

Some of my inspirational quotes along the way...

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing, you think you cannot do" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

"I would rather say 'I did it' than 'I gave up'"

"If not now, when?"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pinterest Inspired - Entryway Reveal

Well, folks - the good news, classes are OVER!    It's official - I'm done and looking forward to graduation.  This past weekend was my first in ages without homework, writing, or planning my schedule for the week ahead.  So, what's a girl to do?

PINTEREST!  Yes, it is my latest addiction.  If you haven't checked it out, go now!   It's full of decorating ideas, recipes, style, and inspiration.  One area of our house that has always annoyed me - the entryway.  I've never felt like we utilized the space as well as we could.  Basically, you walk in our front door and there is a small alcove - approximately 6 ft wide and 1.5 ft deep.   I had pinned lots of ideas on my "Entryway" board, but this one and this one were by far my favorites.

We've been working on bits and pieces of this project for the past three weeks as time allowed, but we finally brought it all together this weekend.   I really wish I had a before picture, but for a moment close your eyes and envision a wall with a mirror and chair rail and that's it!  :)  And NOW....

 I am so happy with the space!   "Handy" neighbor helped us build the shelf out of 12 inch pine and we used corbels from Home Depot to help give additional support.  The oil-rubbed bronzed hooks are also from Home Depot - they'll catch coats, hats, backpacks, and purses.  The "bench" is actually a coffee table I found at a yard sale for $5.00 - I sanded, primed and painted it a milk chocolate color (borrowed paint from a friend).   The cushion - the foam cushion itself a friend of mine was able to get as a "sample" from her work - FREE;  the fabric is a Waverly print - I scored it for $8.00 a yard.  The pillow was a yard sale find for $1.50.  The distressed red cabinet is a hand-me-down from a friend - FREE!  The lamp was a Goodwill find from a couple of years ago.  The basket on the table was FREE -- someone was discarding it from their office last year and I snatched it.  The rug - Walmart special for only $18.00.  Of course, the dog is priceless.  :)   I'm still looking for baskets to go on top of the shelf.  I am SO happy with how warm and inviting the entryway looks now.

I'd like to give a SHOUT OUT to my friends Angie & Sally who helped me think outside the box into repurposing existing pieces of furniture; my husband for his patience :) ; and my neighbor for his carpentry skills.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hey Ya'll

Sorry for the lack of posts... life has been rather busy with school, work, and well - LIFE!   I'll keep this brief and hopefully get back into the swing of posting in May!

School - AHH!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Quite honestly, it seems surreal!   I have one 10 page paper and one presentation left on the to-do list.  Classes are officially over on May 9th and graduation is May 19th.

Pinterest - My latest addiction - maybe a little too much!  We had a Pinterest party at my house a couple of weeks ago and have two more scheduled.  You can see the projects we completed in the picture -- crayon art;  upcycled planters; air freshners; and upcycled "fireworks".   We are currently working on our entryway - the inspiration came from Pinterest (of course!).   I've found alot of GREAT inspiration for exercise too - I have one board devoted to exercise quotes!

Exercise - I had another issue with my back. (ARGH!)  This time I took a two week break absolutely nothing for two weeks - nothing, nada, zilch. I decided to take a break from boot camp for until May.  I've been climbing stairs at work - 12 flights once a day and walking 3 miles M-W-F - trying to ease myself back into. I never realized how much injury prevention is a part of training!

Oh yeah, I had a birthday in March too!  My exercise buddy & I decided to do something fun for our birthdays, so we had a party.  Not an eat cake and pin-the-tail on the donkey party though - we had a Monkey Hooper party!   We were afraid if we did a "boot camp" no one would come.  Anyway,  we had a great time - if you've never tried a hula hoop cardio workout, I highly recommend it!   Monica does a fantastic job and makes it alot of fun. 

That's all for now folks!  I'll be back soon! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crystal Coast 5K Recap - February 25th

On Friday, February 24th, I headed to Atlantic Beach to meet up with some friends from across the state for the  Crystal Coast 5K and Half-Marathon.   It was long drive down with rain along the way.  I was excited to meet up with my friends after dinner -- there were 5 of us total.  We signed up to do the 5K -- all of us at varying stages of fitness.  Saturday would be my first run since the 2.5 week "prescribed" break from running.

Saturday morning, we were all up bright and early.  We looked like bumblebees -- the race shirts were golden yellow & we all had on black running pants!   (I'll try to post a picture at some point).    My game plan was to run the first mile and then do intervals (3 run/1 walk) for the remainder.  They started the race 5 minutes earlier than posted, so we nearly missed the horn!

I started off at a slow comfortable pace.  It seemed like the mile was inching along.  I was beginning to wonder if they had the miles marked.   I didn't realize it at the time, but I stopped about 100 yards shy of the 1 mile mark.  I was frustrated with myself and then negativity began to creep in.  I ended up walking the next half mile and then started intervals.  I realized shortly after I started the intervals something didn't seem right with the timing.  Sure enough - I looked down and my intervals were not set correctly.  GRR! and more negative thoughts.  I tried to keep an eye on my watch and do intervals the best I could and then gave it all I had for the end of the race.

My goal was to finish under 40 minutes.  I finished at 41:36.  More frustration and disappointment went through my mind.   This was a hard race for me mentally - I expected to do better because the course is relatively flat compared to what I am accustomed to running at home.  It wasn't until the last half mile or so that I decided to get rid of the negative thoughts and OWN the race.

In hindsight, I will celebrate --

  • finishing strong after 2.5 weeks of not running & a time very close to my personal best
  • enjoying the company of friends and be encouraged by them regardless of where each of us finished
  • a time faster than last year's race -- nearly 8 minutes faster I think
How do you kick your "stinkin' thinkin'" to the curb during a race?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Update

Sorry for the lack of posts... a few quick updates
  • I followed doctor's orders and didn't run for 2.5 weeks. 
  • I went to physical therapy -- it's amazing how much that helped.  They gave me the green light to run.  It sounds as though my pain is not related to arthritis in my SI joint, but rather from a disc issue.
  • I finally finished the directed study hanging over my head from last semester - DONE!   Now, I'm attempting to focus on this semester.  Realizing last night, I overlooked a MAJOR deadline for next Wednesday & need to crank out an 8 page paper this weekend.
  • I spent this past weekend at Atlantic Beach for the Crystal Coast 5K.  I'll try to post an update on that soon.
  • Still doing boot camp on M-W-F mornings & walking (but now can go back to intervals) on T-Th mornings.
That's it for now -- just wanted to let you know I'm still around just busy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doctor's Orders...

First of all, I LOVE my doctor.  More than anything it seems like I am chatting with a friend who is genuinely interested in my well-being.  Outside of my annual physical,  I've maybe been to the doctor 3 times in the past 10 years for a concern.  I'm grateful for my health. 

BUT... I've been dealing with some back pain since Labor Day of last year.  The college I take night classes at was offering free sessions with a personal trainer.  It happened to be on a night - I had class and had free time, so I decided to take advantage of it.   I don't remember specifically what she asked to do, but I realized as soon as I did the movement I had a "catch" in my back.  It didn't hurt that day, but for about two weeks after that I was miserable.  I sucked it up and went on.  Since then, I've had intermittent back pain.  It's mainly worse at work where I sit for most of the day.  It hasn't been bothering me when running or at boot camp.  Anyway, this week it has been quite unbearable, so I had an appointment with my doctor today.

She's not 100% on what the specific problem is but we think it is related to my SI joint or lower back (sacral/lumbar area).  We are hoping it is just inflammation (that would be the easiest of possible problems).  I had some x-rays done this afternoon.  I'm taking high doses of Naxproxen (like Alleve) twice a day for two weeks.  And, I'll be doing some physical therapy.  Sigh -- she's also asked me not to run on my "run days", but agreed that I could walk.  After some back and forth discussion about boot camp, she agreed I could continue as long as I don't run, jump, or do any activity where I feel it in my back.   So, I'll continue to go and modify the best I can. 

Have you had a back injury?  Did it set you back?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Popsicle 5K Recap

It's probably a good thing meteorlogists don't get fired for wrong forecasts.  :)   The last night, today's forecast was mostly cloudy with rain rolling in this afternoon.   Well, we definitely woke up to mostly cloudy skies, but the rain wasn't far behind.  Brandy and I met around 7:30a to drive out to the Popsicle 5K.  It was the first ever Popsicle 5K and it was well-organized, great volunteer involvement, and not a bad showing for the "first ever".

My reflections:
It was a great, but challenging course. There was alot more positive self-talk today :) I jogged the first mile and intended to do intervals, but ended up trying to listening to my body more. I think I ended up running more than I would have - had I chosen just to do intervals. Anyway, it was great. I was hoping to come in under 40 mins, but as I turned the corner I saw 40 min on the clock - for a split second I felt defeated. Then, I could hear our boot camp instructor's voice inside my head "Finish Strong" - so gave it all I had up the small hill to the finish line. I finished just over 41 minutes (41:30 I think - waiting on official times to be posted)- a new peronal best for me!!!! Both of my November/December times were right at 46:10 (5K) -46:15 (5.5K).

So, how was the rest of my day?   Well, I've been looking into spring races.  I'm already planning to do the Crystal Coast 5K (Feb 25th) and the St. Leo's 5K (March 17th).   Today, I discovered an 8K in May about 45 minutes from here.  It would likely be a challenging race as it's in the mountains.  A challenge will only make me stronger right?  :)   And, I found a half-marathon that offers a 4 person relay in June.  Both races sound really cool - just need to convince Brandy to come on board with me.  :)

Are you ready for your next race?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quote of the Day

I intended to post this yesterday, but completely forgot - so hear ya go!

It's been unseasonably warm here this winter - 50s & 60s this week - crazy huh?!  Wednesday evening it started raining and rained for most of the night.  I woke up early on Thursday morning and thought I heard rain - but it was really just rain falling off the trees. I peeked out the window and saw it was misty, fogging and just plain yuck.  I went back to bed & waited for the alarm to go off.  The alarm went off at 4:55a and I thought "I should hit snooze.  Text Brandy.  It's wet."   HELLO!

 "Athletes don't hit snooze"

So, I jumped up, got dressed, and headed out to meet Brandy.  When I got to meeting spot, there were already 2 other groups of runners on the street.   I've noticed these two groups before - I can tell they are more advanced (longer distances and times).  I'm inspired and motivated by them.   If I want to run with the "big dogs", I gotta get up outta bed.   :)

I'm so glad I didn't hit snooze & so glad Brandy was there to meet me.  Our run was a little slower than Tuesday - but we got 2 miles of intervals done with a .25 warm-up and .25 cool-down.  Slow doesn't matter because while someone was hitting snooze, we were hitting the pavement.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Recipe

Happy Thursday!

I hope everyone is having a great week.  I trying to get back into the groove of work/home/school.  It will take me a week or two to get the right balance.  I wanted to share a new recipe I tried on Tuesday night.  Super easy!

Roasted Broccoli
(source: Food Network)

1 lb broccoli, rinsed & trimed
2 TBS Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced  (I'd even go for 3 next time)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. parmesan cheese or shredded cheddar (we used cheddar this time, but I think parmesan would probably be better)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalk into 1/8-inch thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper and set aside.

Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal cake pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.

SO, It was fabulous on Tuesday night - great low calorie side dish!   Super-husband was late, so it was not the best warmed up.  Tonight, I had one serving left - I hate to be wasteful, so I put on my resourceful hat.  :)   I took 2 eggs; 1 TBS of hormel bacon bits; 1/4 c. shredded cheddar & the leftover roasted broccoli and made an omelet.  And, let me tell you --- it was the absolute best (if I do say so myself!) add a side of center cut bacon and orange juice and dinner was complete.  You could definitely eliminate the cheddar cheese to reduce calories.

I'll be back with a weekly wrap-up on Sunday night!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week(end) Wrap-Up!

What a busy week!    Good news - I was able to finish 3 of the movie reviews for my directed studies.  I have one more for tonight and those will be done!   Then, I'll move on to book reviews.  Did I mention spring semester starts tomorrow night?   It's all GOOD!

Boot camp was awesome last week.  Monday, we focused on our legs and Wednesday we focused on arms.  Friday was my favorite - CIRCUITS!!     Thursday,  Brandy and I met at 530am for running.  We did run (3min)/walk (1 min) intervals for 2.5 miles - adding our warm-up and cool-down for a full 3 miles. 

Friday evening, I decided to get a headstart on cleaning and tackled the bathrooms, kitchen, and one load of laundry.  Saturday morning, my neighbor caught me off-guard and I agreed to go with her to Aldi.  It is never wise to go shopping without a list.  :)   I got lots of fresh fruits and veggies, but I think we made two more trips out for things I forgot.   Saturday evening, we ate at one of our favorite local sub shops.  Sunday - the usual church and small group in the AM and lazy afternoon.  :)    Tonight, we are grilling kabobs (it's so unseasonably warm here!) with corn on the cob; sauteed mushrooms; and roasted broccoli --- I can't wait!!

How was your week?

Monday, January 23, 2012


Ugh. I'm not a procrastinator really, I'm not.  Am I denial?   LOL

In my 20s, the only thing I procrastinated on was doing housework, keeping laundry caught up, filling my gas tank up when the light came on, and staying organized.  Seriously, that's pretty much all I can remember putting on the back burner.

Then as I approached 30, a certain little fella - super-son came along and suddenly the things listed above weren't quite as optional, but more like priorities!   I became more domesticated and enjoyed making our house a home more than ever before.

In my late 30s,  I returned to school and my family was still a priority.  Now, I find myself procrastinating on school work in the worst possible way.  To my credit, last semester I did stay on top of my senior research paper - I knew it would be impossible to catch up if I fell behind on writing 30 pages.  While staying on top of the paper (and receiving an A by the way),  I managed to put my directed study on the back burner. 

The cool thing about directed studies - you move at your own pace and you get 3 months beyond the semester deadline to finish.  I was determined to enjoy the holidays with my family and "I'll get started on it after the New Year".   Now, it's nearly the end of January and I've just beginning to make a dent in the project!  Spring semester starts next Monday & I really need to get this finished and behind me, so I can move on to my three final classes.

I've said all that to say this... I may be quiet on the blog over the next couple of weeks, but I'm determined to not let the deadlines stress me!

Feel free to check in with me and ask about my progress  :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Well, it's that time again.  Another great weekend is coming to a close!

Friday nights have quite frankly just become my lazy, lounge on the couch and watch TV nights.  :)   And, I'm not going to lie I'm enjoying them. Although, I can't for the life of me remember what I watched - I did spend some time on Pinterest - "pinning" motivational quotes to my Exercise board. 

Saturday - I was super excited (and nervous) to try hot yoga.  I'm glad my friend, Brandy, stepped out with me.  I think we both enjoyed it.  You can read more about that experience here.   Saturday evening, I fixed a taco bar -- salad shells, nachos, ground beef, mexican cheese, light sour cream, shredded lettuce, 100 calorie guacamole, black olives, and taco sauce. Our friend Susan and her son, Landon came over to join us.  The boys played video games while we watched ridiculous "reality TV" -- if you want a good laugh, watch Bayou Billionaires & My Redneck Vacation. 

Sunday - We slept late and missed church/small group.  Lounged around for most of the day and tonight, super-husband and I are going out for "date night" at the Depot at Cody Creek.  Super-son is out of school tomorrow, so he'll be spending sometime with the grandparents.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hot Yoga

For some time, the idea of hot yoga has intrigued me.  I'm not exactly sure why - I've never taken a yoga class in my life and definitely not hot yoga.   Anyway,  I learned early in the week our local YMCA had just opened a hot yoga studio.  They were offering classes to members and non-members. 

I messaged my friends, Angie & Brandy, to see if they would be interested in joining me for the Saturday 9:30am class.  Brandy jumped on board.  I was really excited because I was too nervous to try it by myself.  Not sure why - I had a fear of getting dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.  Friday, I attempted to hydrate more in prepartion for the class.   I didn't want to hydrate too much this AM, so I ate an orange before I left.

We walked in and found our spot - near the door (LOL).  The instructor was really nice.  I told him it was our first time and expressed my concerns (noted above).  He said the most important thing to remember is breathing - breathe alot.  His other words of advice - 20 minutes into the class we would take water break, so try to take in alot at that time and other times in the class just sip;  modify the poses as we needed but to work on stretching and working with our bodies.   Overall, some great advice.

I enjoyed the class much more than I anticipated.  I liked the heat - yes, it made us sweat (duh).  My clothes were drenched when we left - but to me the heat was also very calming.  I thought it was a little pricey (even members have to pay for the class) - but I would consider doing it once a month. The more active I become, the more I enjoy trying new and different things. 

Have you tried hot yoga?  What did you think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

25 Random Things About Me...

Ann (over at Twelve in Twelve) posted a getting to know you type post.  Since I had no idea what to write about today - I'm going to post 25 random things about me.  

1. Never say "never"... I said I would never go out with super-husband and look who I married. :o)

2. I've wanted a Honda Accord since my 16th birthday and finally got one (not new, but new to me) in 2011.
3. I thought children with ADHD lacked parenting - until I had a child diagnosed with ADHD. Now, I understand.
4. I've won 3rd place twice at the Dixie Classic Fair for a recipe with Krispy Kreme doughnuts as an ingredient.
5. I thought I would have 2 or 3 kids by now, but God had other plans.
6. I'm a good listener, but I don't always know what to say.
7. I'm a creature of habit - when we go out to eat, my order is always predictable.
8. The best lessons in life - I learned from my parents.
9. Being a mom has been much more of an emotional experience than I ever imagined.
10. I can read a good book in one day -- I can read two good books in a day at the beach.
11. I'm becoming an ATHLETE!  :)
12. I'm much happier working "behind the scenes" than being "in the spotlight".
13. I love my job.
14. I never imagined heart disease would arrive on our doorstep at our age, but I'm thankful super-husband is alive and we can help raise awareness.
15. I loved to play summer softball growing up, but probably couldn't catch a fly ball now!
16. I love a clean house, but have trouble keeping in that way sometimes.
17. I love that super-son declares every Friday night - Family Night.
18. I've always wanted to be a teacher, but let my 10th grade English teacher discourage me.
19. I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune or play a musical instrument.
20. I wish I had patience for do-it-yourself home improvement projects because I have a wishlist a mile long.
21. I love taking pictures but find scrapbooking overwhelming.
22. I am in the last semester of my return to school (YEAH ME!).
23. I am grateful for my friends and family.
24. I am NOT a girly-girl.
25. Exercise is allowing me to become stronger physically & mentally.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekly Menu

Monday -- Homemade Veggie Soup (from my momma!) -- doesn't get any better than that   :)   I was hoping to add a grilled cheese, but super-son ate all the cheese!   I opted for 4 peanut butter crackers instead.  Mom's soup is super thick because it is FULL of vegetables (tomatoes, corn; okra; mushrooms; peas; greenbeans) & I love chunky soup because there is no need to add crackers!!

Tuesday -- Meatloaf Muffins;  green beans;  potatoes

Wednesday -- Spinach Artichoke Bake and a side salad or fruit

Thursday -- Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Friday -- We will likely have leftovers to carry forward   :)  If not, pizza... have I mentioned how much I love Palermo thin crust?   You can't beat the calories per serving in that pizza!!!

Saturday -- Taco Bar (for salads, nachos, or tacos)

Sunday -- Date Night  :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Wow!  The weekend just flies by - AGAIN!

Friday evening, I was really lazy - there was so much I should have been doing, but I did absolutely NONE of it.  I watched HGTV, HGTV and more HGTV!

I knew Saturday was going to be busy, and it did not disappoint.  LOL  Since it is the only day of the week I am able to "sleep-in",  I did just that.  I got the day started around 9am.  :)   We started by working on chores - cleaning and laundry and I tackled errands afterwards.   I was hoping to squeeze a 30 minute run in when I got back home, but that didn't happen.  As a thank-you to some friends who helped out baby-sitting super-son,  we hosted dinner for them.   I kept the menu relatively simple -- salad & potato bar.  We ended the evening with a birthday cake for my friend, Angie and playing the game, Logo.

Sunday morning, we headed out for church/small group.  I had agreed to host a Just Jewelry party for my friend, Angie, in the afternoon.  So after church, I was making sure the house was in order and preparing a few snacks for the party -- apples with low-fat caramel dip & hawaiian dip;  chicken clubhouse squares (I tried to modify the recipe); and chips/salsa. 

Now, it's Sunday evening (did I mention I took a 2 hour nap at 5p - UGH!!!).  I am really behind on some assignments for a directed study for school.  I NEED to get it finished within the next week and a half, but I find myself procrastinating on it.   I'm off tomorrow for MLK day, but I'll be up early for boot camp. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So the coolest part of the Mission-Fit 12 week challenge is the awesome, encouraging, and informational emails we get each day.   Earlier this week, we received an email on goal-setting and today's email was about road races.   Wow!   Is this a big secret with all her emails directed toward me?

After reading and reflecting on the emails this week,  I decided to verbalize my goals for 2012.
  • 12 races in 2012
  • 10K race in fall 2012
  • continue boot camp on M-W-F
  • increase race endurance & decrease time
I emailed our boot camp instructor with lots of random thoughts and she is helping me come up with a realistic plan.  She totally "gets" me and I love that.   Even cooler, I was talking with a friend (who does boot camp too) and she is totally on board with me.  After I get the specifics, my plan is to add an extra early AM (either T or Th) and then a run on the weekend. 

Super excited, so much so that I am probably going to make a cheesy goal poster over the weekend!
Do you keep your goals internal or have you shared them? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The perfect lunch...

Every Wednesday afternoon, we have a weekly staff meeting.  Occassionally, this proves to be a challenge for me because there are always snacks and/or candy.   I usually eat lunch before we go into the meeting, but today I opted to eat lunch while in the meeting.  

I prepared a salad this morning, so there was no trying to figure out "what's for lunch".   Again - planning & I promise a post on that later this week.  :)

It was a really simple salad and easy to throw together. 

2 cups bagged spinach
3/4 c. sliced strawberries
1/4 c. blueberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
2 TBS Annie's Light Raspberry Vinaigrette

I'm sure it would taste even yummier when strawberries are in season.  I was lucky to find the blueberries & strawberries at Aldi over the weekend & they were actually quite tasty!  I put the spinach in a large container  & packed the strawberries, blueberries, and almonds in snack bags.   Super easy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Did you say pizza?

As a matter of fact, I did mention pizza in yesterday's post.  One of my friend's questioned why in the world I would eat a slice of pizza and a piece of ice cream cake.  This may or may not be what you want to read - but it is what it is.

First of all, this journey is about me and only me.  It's about my trek to a healthier lifestyle.  Is pizza healthy?   Well in moderation, I think it is.  Please remember I didn't start this journey on January 1, 2012.  I've been working on this for the past 12-15 months.  To me, my lifestyle change is about LIVING!   Personally, I can't live the rest of my life eating (or drinking) meal replacements;  eliminating carbs;  or exercising 5 hours a day in the gym.

My lifestyle is about...
  • tracking my calories daily
  • enjoying the journey
  • exercising at minimum 3 times per week
  • celebrating life
  • encouraging others
  • focusing on the healthy food pyramid
One reason, I was able to allow for the high calorie lunch is because I off-set the lunch with a low-calorie breakfast and dinner and I'm totally okay with that.   I'll talk about planning later this week. 

That's my two cents, you can agree or disagree.  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

I don't know about you, but our weekend flew by!

Saturday morning started early for me - never fails you are snoozing well & it's one of those "get up early" Saturdays!   I had registered to take a CLEP exam.  I don't need the specific course credit, but I was hoping to gain an elective credit.  I took one last August and was able to score an elective credit.  Ohhh, did I mention it saved me $1,100 in tuition too?  Anyway, the exam was scheduled to begin at 8am.  We signed in and were given our workstation assignments.  I logged in and started the required tutorial & the system went down.  The test administrator did something and we were up and running again & then, yes, you guessed it - the computer went down AGAIN (and yet one more time too).  Fourth time must have been the charm because I was able to sail through after that.  In order to have the credit transferred onto my transcript as an elective credit,  I needed to score 50 points, I scored 48.  *boo, hiss*   I'd like to use all the computer snafus as excuses, but it is what it is & I'll need to pick up a directed study for spring semester.  UGH! 

Note to self: suck it up & move on!

After the exam, I came home picked up the fellas and it was out the door to our nephew's 9th birthday party.  It was a bowling party and super-husband & super-son had a splendid time.  I sneaked away to pick-up groceries, but still got to see them bowl two games.  And, I enjoyed a slice of cheese pizza and a slice of ice cream cake.  We got home around 4pm. I felt like I hadn't been home all day - oh wait, I hadn't!  Later in the evening, a friend we hadn't seen in awhile dropped by with her son.  It was fun to catch up and laugh about "old" times!  

Then, it was Sunday -- church/small group & a nap!  It seems like a blinked and the Monday morning alarm was singing 4:50am!   The 12 week weight-loss challenge started with boot camp today.  There are two GREAT prizes -- most pounds lost will win $400. & highest percentage of weight loss will win a free year of boot camp.  OH YEAH!!!

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's 6pm and ...

Do you find yourself stumbling around the kitchen, staring into the cabinets, wondering what could possibly be dinner tonight?  I have the same probably occasionally.  However, sometimes I think it's simply we can't see the forest for the trees.  Below are some quick and easy dinner ideas...

  • Saute, stir-fry, or grill chicken breasts & add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce) serve with brown rice and steamed (or stir-fry) vegetables.
  • Baked center cut, boneless pork chops.   You can fix these a variety of ways -- coat with egg whites or honey mustard & then add panko crumbs.  Occassionally, I will use the egg whites and then a mixture of panko crumbs, Italian seasoning & parmesan cheese.   Panko crumbs are the absolute best coating.   I recommend baking them on a wire rack on top of cookie sheet.   Serve with brown rice and applesauce  OR whole wheat noodles with Smart Balance and dash of parmesan cheese & a side of sweet peas.
  • 93/7 hamburger patties - grilled (which is why I love my grill pan - we can grill year round!) -- add a slice of Swiss & a TBS of canned mushrooms (or toppings of your choice) and serve with baked fries (thinly sliced potato - sprayed with Olive Oil PAM and sprinkled with seasoning salt)
  • Crustless spinach quiche (I modified this recipe) and fruit ... Breakfast isn't just for mornings! :)
  • Chicken Pitas -- Take a bag of Light Casear Salad (bagged mix) & add cooked, cubed chicken.  Mix together well & stuff into pitas.
These are just a few quick and easy ideas for dinner!  Do you have a favorite "go-to" meal?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Excuses, excuses...

Excuses... I've used them before... it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm too tired, I have too much to do, my workout clothes are dirty,  etc.   However, I can say for the past 15 months - I've kept the excuses on the shelf.   I've been consistent with three workouts a week - snow, ice, heat and humidity didn't stop me (but they probably slowed me down!).  So, why do I do it?

I evaluated the things that motivate me and my reasons "why" ...
  • Family. I talked briefly about my husband's heart disease here, not only was it a huge shock and scare - it was a motivator for me.   I want to be healthy and ALIVE for my family!
  • Health.  I guess this goes with my first motivator - family, but I really do want to be fit and healthy.  I want to be an ATHLETE.  PS - It was great to go to my annual physical and see a 14 lb. loss and get an A++ from my doctor.
  • Self-esteem.  This is one area I can definitely see an improvment - I feel good about myself & I'm more confident.  It's great to get compliments too!
When I started exercising, I felt like I needed someone to go with me or be with me.  I'm extremely grateful my friend, Angie, was willing to get up EARLY and go with me those first few months. I really feel like I would have thrown in the towel had she not stuck it out with me.  Now, I realize this journey is about me and my goals.  It tooks alot of guts for me to try boot camp -- walking into it - not knowing anyone, but I quickly realized we are all on a similar journey.  While I may not "know" them, they were (and are) extremely encouraging and motivating to me.

I guess the bottom line is ... if the journey isn't about YOU or what motivates YOU, then you are doing it for the wrong reason and that is when we start making the excuses.  You may disagree with me and think that sounds selfish - but in the end you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.  Set your goals and then reach for the stars!

What motivates you?
Why do you exercise?

Click over to Twelve in Twelve,  Ann wrote a great self-reflection about what the RunStreak challenge taught her.  I think self-reflection and re-evaluating your goals is a GREAT source of motivation and success as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Food bite!

One of the many changes people wish to make in the New Year is in their eathing habits.  I've climbed on that wagon so many times in the past - I lost count.  I had lost some weight in 2008 with the help of Weight Watchers.  I stayed fairly focused until spring 2009 and then allowed stress to take control. 

However in October 2010, I really began to work hard to adopt a healthy lifestyle.  Hopefully, you've already come to the realization that their is no magic pill.  Unfortunately, there are lots of fad diets, pills, and other techniques claiming to be the best way to lose weight.  I imagine most of them can help you lose weight, but as soon as you stop the program, pill, or technique - it's highly likely you will gain the weight back.

Here are a few tips that have helped me over the past 15 months... 

  1. Surround yourself with people who will support you.   Personally, I think this is one of the strengths of the Weight Watchers program.   Whether you do the program online or by going to meetings, you can find other people who will help encourage and guide you.   I'm extremely fortunate to have  strong support from my family.
  2. Measuring cups & spoons and a food scale are your friend.   Think of it like this -- it is hard to keep track of a checkbook in your head  & it's hard to eyeball food measurements too!   I use my measuring cups and spoons every single day.   For Christmas, I got a food scale  & I love it!  The food scale is very easy to use and a minimal investment for your journey.
  3. Stock your fridge with good food & you will eat good food.   I'm the primary grocery shopper in our household, so I have fairly good control of what comes in the house.  I avoid buying "junk".   Stock up on fruits and veggies.  Try new things - once I discovered hummus, I wondered where it had been all my life.  :)   The photo above is a great idea for stocking a snack container in your fridge.
  4. Try new recipes!  There are lots of great websites to get ideas for low-calorie cooking -- here are some of my favorites...
  5. If it's not working for you, don't quit - RE-EVALUATE!   When Weight Watchers changed their program last year,  I struggled for quite a few months - yo-yoing.  I don't know if it was the new plan or just my body.  In late October, I cancelled Weight Watchers and switched over to My Fitness Pal.  I'm still able to log all my food & exercise online.  For now, this seems to be working much better for me (and it's FREE!).
Later, this week - I'll share some healthy meal ideas!
What is the key to winning the war on food for you?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

New tread on the left / Flat tread on the right
The new year brings crowded gyms and people hoping to become more fit and healthy in 2012!   In 2011, this is something I definitely worked at consistently.  I received my 3rd pair of Saucony Ride 4's for Christmas this year - I've averaged a one pair per year since 2009.  As recommended by Fleet Feet, I use these for exercise and exercise only.  I snapped this picture of the old & new pair as motivation for me to continue pressing ahead in the New Year.  As you can tell, the old pair is completely flat - I didn't realize how much I worn the tread down until I compared them with the new pair. 

Too often, we continue to view ourselves the "old" way too -- instead of celebrating the small accomplishments we've made.  My run pace may still be slow - but it beats my old routine of sitting on the couch.  Take time in the new year to compliment yourself - each day there is something to celebrate.   Maybe you stuck to your plan of eating your packed lunch instead of joining our co-workers for lunch out  or maybe you did "blow it" from a calorie stand-point BUT at least you tracked those calories!  

What are you celebrating today?

If you are starting a new fitness routine, please consult with your doctor.  :)
And, I recommend being properly fitted for a pair of exercise shoes.  You can read my posts on getting started and being fitted.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions & a Money Saving Tip

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't make resolutions, but I found the top 5 resolutions for 2012 interesting
  1. Be financially-savy
  2. Read at least 1 book per month
  3. Eat properly
  4. Get enough sleep
  5. Keep a journal of awesome moments (source: wikipedia)
I would guess that most people's resolutions revolve around self-improvment in some way (diet, exercise, financial health, being a better person).   Personally, I'm not making any resolutions this year.  Instead of using the New Year as a dawning of "new" resolutions -- I want to make each day fresh and new!   Living my best each and every day... when I "fall off the wagon",  I won't wait until the New Year.  I'll dust myself off and move ahead the next day.

Since it is the New Year and folks are perhaps being more frugal this year, I'll share a Money Saving Tip!   I am not a coffee drinker, so I wasn't one of those folks who asked for a Keurig for Christmas.  :)   However,  I do love some speciality drinks - hot chocolate, chai tea latte, and frappuccinos.  I love some Starbuck's but I always feel guilty spending the money on a beverage that I could make at home.  For Christmas, I usually request a Starbuck's gift card & treat myself on Friday mornings.  This usually lasts me until around March and then the card is without money!    Over the weekend, I found a way to stretch the money & save some calories!  

Instead of ordering a Grande Chia Tea Latte - with skim milk (over 200 calories & close to $4.00),  I can order a kid's hot chocolate (with skim milk & no whip) (130 calories and under $2.00).  The hot chocolate doesn't come out piping hot (yeah) and it's nearly half the cost of my usual order.   The kid's hot chocolate was just enough to fill me up and satisfy my sweet tooth. 

Do you have a money-saving tip to share?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year & Race Results

Cheers to the New Year - "Running of the Lights" 1.01.2012
As I mentioned yesterday, our family participated in a local 5.5K at midnight to ring in the New Year.

I'm not sure why it was a 5.5K this year - the only think I noticed that was different was the start/finish line was moved.  I finished in 46:15 - I ran more & when I stopped to walk - I tried to keep a brisk pace & I would do more running (usually I get mentally defeated after I take a walk break and never pick back up with running again).  There was a tough steady incline (that's a nice way of saying HUGE hill) on the back stretch & it slowed me down a bit. I felt strong and my breathing felt really good - just need to work through the "mental" of thinking I need to slow down and walk - when I should just press ahead.  Overall, I'm really happy with where I finished and how I felt throughout the race.

So today, I celebrate:
1.01.11 - Running of the Lights 5K - 53.25
1.01.12 - Running of the Lights 5.5K - 46:15
My best 5K time - Crystal Coast 5K - March 2011 - 45:19

And, congrats to my friend, Sally, who did this virtually with me (via her treadmill!).

PS - If you are reading my blog and thinking "man, that's slow" - then you probably don't need to be reading my blog.  :)    Just remember, I'm still lapping the people who are sitting on the couch.