Who Runs the World?

Apparently I do.  Or, at least that’s my plan for parts of it.  Ever since last year’s “Oh, I should run a 5k before I turn 30” stroke of genius, I have really begun to like running.  Love it, in fact.  I have even started calling myself a runner.  I have a subscription to a running magazine.  Who am I?

I was perfectly content with sticking with 5ks and 10ks as challenges, but then I discovered a little nugget:  The Disney Princess Half Marathon.  It encompasses many things I love:  Disney, theme parks, castles, princesses, running, and goal setting.  It’s a half marathon run through and between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (that’s the one in Florida, for those of you who mix it up like I used to), and you get to RUN THROUGH THE CASTLE!  YES!  Now, clearly this is going to be a challenge.  A half MARATHON?  Good Lord, what is going through my head?  I just mastered the 3.1 mile run, so why not add on another 10?  Sounds like a solid plan!  Oh my gosh.

Now, I have a few secret weapons in my back pocket, the first being B’s Aunt M.  Aunt M has run this race before, and she was supposed to this year before she ended up injuring her ankle.  I texted her after hearing about the race, and she got back to me immediately, writing nothing but encouragement and “Yes!  Doooo iiiittttt!”  (She, of course, is much too classy to use so many extended letters, but that’s what it sounded like in my head, so I took liberties to translate it for all of you.)  Unknowingly, I was then signing on for doing it (I was still in the decision process), and promptly received a “Let the training begin!” package in the mail, filled with a princess crown sparkly tattoo and a running magazine.  Aunt M then excitedly told everyone we knew that we were going to run the race together – including my parents, who didn’t have a clue that I was even thinking about running a half.  Have I mentioned how adorable Aunt M is with her excitement?  Love her!  Her encouragement has really helped with my confidence about being able to training and get through it.  If she thinks I can, why can’t I think I can?

I also am the most ridiculously stubborn person I know, aside from my immediate family members (hey, I have to get it from somewhere… and this is all genetic).  When I set a goal in my head, I have to do it.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  This has actually caused a few issues (more posting on that later), but I jumped onto the training wagon with fervor.  I have had to take some downtime for the past two weeks, and it has killed me.  I have dreamed about running.  I have daydreamed about running.  I have tried it when I possibly shouldn’t have.  (Hint – I have a doctor’s appointment set up for the coming week… you do the math.)  I am going to do this.  I must.  I set the goal, and it WILL happen.  I’m scheduled to do my first 10k on the Best Coast during the summer, so I am stepping up my distance in races as the half gets closer.

So as I go along on my training regiment, I’ll share my experiences with you.  First up, what it is like to deal with Runner’s Knee.  I’ll tell you what, it’s not fun.  It downright sucks.  Just ask B.  No, he doesn’t have it, but he has a noisy wife who has it, and he has suffered plenty through all of my caterwauling.

Do you like to run?  Any tips for a new one?

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Fall Wish List

School starts in just under a week, and I. AM. PUMPED.  I’m serious!  I am very excited to meet my new students, and I am in pretty in love with my new school so far.  I kind of think my new vice principal wants to be best friends for life (in a completely platonic way).

Going back to school wouldn’t be complete without a little perusing of the fall fashions, and there are a few pieces I would love to get my hands on:

1.  Thick black leggings/jeggings

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My post on not understanding leggings as pants is one of my post popular posts (you all need to lay off looking for photos of people’s bums through see-through leggings…), but this is different.  I have a problem with thin leggings as pants.  Thick ones, as long as you can rock them with confidence, are fine with me.  Really.  I want a pair that I am not afraid to show my bum in, so they have to be thick material.  Anyone have any good places to look?

2.  Black riding boots

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I am in shoe love with riding boots.  My brown ones were definitely worn a LOT last year, and I would love to expand my boot collection with a pair of black or gray boots.

3.  Fall dresses

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Pinterest does two things to me:  makes me hungry and makes me wish I could shop without money being an issue.  I see all of these beautiful fall dresses that inspire me, and I want them all!  Just look at how scrumptious these dresses are.  Don’t you want them, too?  No?  Well, you could always buy them for me then.  Just a thought.

4.  Chambray shirt

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This trend totally got me today.  During my district new teacher orientation, one of the special education directors was wearing a gorgeous tailored chambray shirt.  I was sold.  Please find me one, oh fashion gods.  For next to nothing, if you could.

If only we didn’t need to budget so much and save money… Maybe I’ll find some this weekend when B and I hit the thrift stores in the Boston area this weekend!

What are you loving this fall?

Celebrating in Edited Style

A couple days after my dad’s birthday, there was another birthday to celebrate.  My grandmother was turning the big 8-0, and we knew as a family that we needed to do something more than just a cake and a big happy birthday.  We had started planning months before the big day; we had people involved, we had a location secured, and we had a food plan.  What we hadn’t planned on was my uncle losing the lower half of his left leg in a motorcycle accident on June 10.

It was around 9 PM, and my uncle decided to ride into town on his motorcycle, just two or three miles down the road.  My dad said that if he could have foreseen what would happen, he would have driven to his house and slashed his tires.  On his way back, my uncle’s motorcycle was clipped by a woman in an SUV who apparently didn’t see him (how do you not see an on-coming headlight?!).  I won’t get graphic with the rest of the details, but his lower left leg was severed on scene and everyone considered it a miracle he’s still with us.  After numerous surgeries and a month and a half in the hospital, he was finally able to go home at the beginning of August.  His struggle is anything but over, but going home is at least one little start.

Needless to say, this whole situation put a damper on our family, and as a secondary thought, the party planning.  It certainly took an emotional toll on everyone, so instead of pushing everything along and acting like we’re all in the mood for a large room of people, we decided to have a smaller party, one that would involve my uncle in his new rehab hospital he was in at that point.

So what is a girl to wear to a surprise party at a hospital?  I thought something festive but casual.  Something like this:The tank top is from Gap Outlet for $5 (on sale at the time), and the skirt was from Goodwill for $4.99.  The hair flower was something I had already made for our wedding rehearsal dinner back in 2010.  The colors would work well with the party attitude, and the skirt made it a little more formal.  I paired it with navy blue flip flops to round out the casual vibe.  The party was pretty successful.  Tons of Chinese food and cake were eaten, presents were opened, and my grandmother was surprised.  Was it the party we wanted to give her?  No.  Definitely not when compared to what we originally had planned.  But sometimes life needs to be edited in order to celebrate what you have.  Sometimes you just never know.  So we celebrated a big birthday and celebrated being a family. 

That’s what’s important.

Thoughts from the Displaced

We moved in on Sunday, and it’s already Friday.  Where did that go?  I feel like that has been the question of the week, and I’m not talking about the time.  Living out of boxes is totally not my thing.  Observations and knowing where my junk is is more my speed.

My observations on moving and living in a new state from the past five days:

1.  Hearing your father-in-law call your dad a “beast” in a torrential downpour while moving giant furniture is hilarious.

2.  Giant furniture, and the moving thereof, sucks.  These pieces lead to giant bruises.

3.  These giant bruises will surface when you want them the least, like, oh, the day you have an interview to become a coach at your new school district.  No, sir, I wasn’t beaten recently; I just had a run-in with a lot of furniture that needed to go up and down four flights of stairs.

4.  I have the greatest college friends ever!  Carolyn and Aaron got up relatively early in the morning and loaded a ton of our stuff into the parking lot for the “boys” to pack into the moving truck.  If that isn’t impressive enough, it was about 85 degrees out with 70% humidity on Sunday.  We were all drenched in our own sweat.  Gross.  We owe them big time when they move into their new house (which is hopefully soon!).

5.  Remember our neighbor who used to live below us in Maine who constantly coughed and I thought she was going to pass out each time?  Yeah, she’s been replaced by a constantly ringing phone next door.  Who gets that many phone calls during the day?  I think they are running a mail-order bride business.  Also, who still have everyone call their home phones?  Oh.  Right.  My parents who don’t have cell phones.

6.  Whoever designed the lighting in our apartment was on crack.  There are three light switches to the front hallway light.  This light is just for a five-foot hallway.  That’s it.  And there are three light switches.  The bathroom’s light switch is in this five-foot hallway.  Not in the bathroom, oh no!  That would make too much sense!  It’s not like there isn’t space on the wall for it.  There is.  Lots.  The light in the kitchen is also all the way on the other side of this skinny little kitchen, no where near where you think it should be.  Plain and simple – the electrician was on crack.

7.  Why does everyone in Massachusetts have to drive like they are in labor and about to give birth?  Sure, I like to get where I am going too, but I have no urge to get to the grocery store ten miles away in 60 seconds flat.  Also, honking makes few situations better.

8.  The grocery store carries something called “New Age Beverages.”  Um… what the hell is that?

9.  Massachusetts has the FREAKIEST tree frogs.  They sound like they have little sinister laughs.  Nightmares are made of these.

10.  It only seems to rain here when you want to move something, be it all of your apartment goods, groceries, or the bajillion boxes you now have clogging up your five-foot hallway with three light switches.  Where was the rain on the days I was sweating my butt off?

11.  There is a reason people pay a crap ton of money for water from Maine.  I have now discovered why.  When your husband tells you that your new water, even after being run through a water filter, has a different “tang,” prepare for your body to reject it and become best friends with the bathroom.

12.  My in-laws have this weird thing where they like to turn on all of the lights and then just leave them on.  It drives me nuts.  I don’t want to pay to have every light in the house on at the same time, mmkay?  As a side note, I have discovered that I am completely anal retentive about shutting off lights and will only turn them on or use any electricity when absolutely necessary.  You can only see five feet in front of you?  Meh, you’re fine.  No need for lighting.

There are, of course, hundreds of other thoughts bouncing around in my head, like why do 3M velcro strips have to cost so dang much?  And will that stupid phone EVER stop ringing?!  No, sir, Olga isn’t available anymore, but we do have a lovely Marta model if you are interested!  You should also check out Svetlana while she’s available.  Please call back later!

Moving is tough.

Cool Running

Best movie from the 1990s, right?  Okay, definitely one of the best.  Who doesn’t love a Jamaican bobsled team?

To answer your immediate question, no.  I did not join the Jamaican bobsled team.  They told me I was just too see-through in the winter and my accent was off.  Better luck next time.

I did, however, knock another one of my goals off from my 30 Before 30 list.  I ran not one, not two, but THREE races this year, and I frickin’ ran them.  Sure, there were definitely a few moments of walking, but I didn’t do it that much.  Maybe a minute or two here or there, and certainly less than a mile total per race.

The first race was the one that meant the most to me.  I was running it by myself; no one else was buddied up with me, and I wanted it that way.  I do a lot better when I can set my own pace and pick out people in the crowd of runners to beat.  You in the pink hat?  I don’t like the way your ponytail is swinging.  I’m going to beat you now.  Dear dude ahead of me, you kind of smell from back here.  Peace out.  It was even worse when I knew the guy who stunk during the third race… side note:  I was related to him.

The race started bright and early on a relatively cool June morning.  It was the morning my seniors would be graduating from high school.  It was an emotionally loaded day.  B made me some toast and peanut butter, put together with a side of aspirin to help control the feeling created in my throat when I run.  (I have been told this may be part of asthma, maybe not.  Super helpful, doctor people…).  I put on my new running shoes and jumped in the car for the short drive to the registration area.

I wore a t-shirt I made with my colleagues for Winter Carnival two years ago.  It was the first t-shirt I had with my married name on the back.  This would be the first time I got to achieve a running goal with my married name.  It sounded like a good combination.  And, of course, I had to wear my pink running shorts.  Who doesn’t want to run in those.

My mom and dad came to cheer me on with B.  My mom wonders where some of my cousins and I got the running motivation because no one in her set of siblings runs.  I haven’t the foggiest.  We just have goals, and some of them involve running.

When the race started, I wanted to make sure that I paced myself to run most of it.  There were little kids running the race in bare feet.  This race took place through the downtown areas of TWO CITIES.  Note to self:  When I have kids, they will not run races in cities with bare feet.  No.  The first song on my iPod to randomly play was Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”  Thanks for the pep talk, Kelly.  Much appreciated!  I didn’t end up walking until a little after the second mile marker.  Not too shabby.

The end was a little rough, but as I rounded the last corner and ran along the river portion of the course, my iPod decided to have a sense of humor again.  Anyone remember this somewhat inappropriate song?

How did my mom let me listen to this when I was 14?  Questionable.  Very questionable.  Either way, it came on for the “liquid” part of my race finish.  I kicked it into gear for the rest of the race, and ended up coming in with a time that surprised me.  29:48.  I was under a half an hour!  Sweet!  Oh, and yes, I will take some water now, thanks.After getting the first one in, I wanted to see just how well I could run the Four on the Fourth (a race in our hometown on the fourth of July).  I told B we would be running the first mile, and then we would only separate at the two mile marker.  Well… once I started running the first mile, I was gone.  Sorry, hunny.  I walked a good portion of second mile to wait for him, but he never showed up.  So I ran.  And walked a little.  And ran some more.

And guess what?  For the first time, I beat B.  By three minutes.  Do you know how long three minutes is?  When it’s the first time you beat your husband in a race, it’s a frickin’ long time!  I was pleased.

The third race wasn’t so great only because I didn’t pace myself correctly and blew it.  Womp womp.  But I finished, and I am still glad I ran it.  You can’t beat your time every single time, right?

Running is turning into something nice for me, and I can proudly say that I have proven my high school field hockey coach wrong.  Oh so wrong.  She said the last day of field hockey practice my senior year would be my last day holding a stick.  She also said that I just wasn’t cut out to run.  You know what?  Now that I am 26, I can confidently say, “Suck it.  You have no idea what you are talking about.”  Happy early early early early 30th birthday to me!

How Do You Shoe?

It is a rare day for me when I can walk into a Goodwill and find shoes that both A) fit me and my size 10 feet and B) are stylish.  Heck, it’s a rare day for me to walk into most stores and find shoes that fit those criteria.  It’s like all the people who share my foot size keep their shoes until they are worn to pieces.  Honestly, I don’t blame them.  Good looking size 10 shoes are hard to come by at a good price.  I wear mine until I just cannot wear them anymore.

But that rare day occurred!  It did!  It really did!  I was stopping by Goodwill to drop off my second load of stuff in our “we’re moving so we need to go through everything to purge when we don’t need” apartment cleaning.  Of course, I had to go in to see if they had a whiteboard for a craft project I am making for B, which of course led me to the shoe department.

Holy mecca of shoes day.  I think I tried on around 8 pairs of shoes, all of which could have been contenders (except for the first pair of Bass shoes I tried on… someone put a pair of 8.5s in the 9.5 section), but money and space are both issues.  I ended up picking two pairs that will look great as my new “school” shoes.  It wouldn’t be a new school year without having something I could point to and say, “These are my new shoes for school!”  You know what I am talking about.

So what are my new school shoes?  Check them out.

These are my soft, purpley-brown Bass shoes.  Bass, like the company that asks you to pay $90 a pair.  Many of their women’s shoe choices are at least $99 each.  My price?  $4.99… that’s it.  And check out the soles.  They are barely worn!

The second pair was a double score.  If you have heard anything about the upcoming fall footwear trends, you may have heard that loafers are making a casual comeback.  To get into the spirit with a cheap pair, I snatched up these AK Anne Klein babies.  They had a gray tag on them, so even though they were marked at a mere $2.99 originally, I scooped them up for $1.50!  Not bad for costing around $79 at a retail store.Look at that little tassel!  So cute!

The shoes I left behind would have been nice, especially those tall black boots made for the snow, but to be fair, we’re moving.  I need to be realistic (and remember that my shoe bin has zero room as it is!).

Have you found any shoes lately?

The First Man in My Life

Today is a great day in the B (and, of course, H) household.  Today, 52 years ago, the first man in my life started a life of his own.  Today, my dad turns 52! 

B and I got together with my parents and my grandmother to celebrate with a picnic on a local hill that overlooks the nearby mountain ranges.  Absolutely gorgeous.  What is even better is the man we celebrated today.  My dad has always been my hero, even though I haven’t always thought about it that way.  He has taught me how to be strong in my convictions, not be afraid to go against popular belief, and hold my own when it comes to getting quality service, especially when it comes to cars.  Yes, I am a girl, and no, that doesn’t mean I should be taken advantage of because I supposedly know nothing about cars.  During wedding planning, he wanted to be a part of anything I asked of him, and he always made sure that B had a say in the decisions we were making (he always did).The man made dozens of crepes at my bridal shower.  He has tried hard to understand field hockey and all of its rules and whistles.  He let my sister and I put his hair in pigtails.  He wrestled with us and didn’t back down just because “we were girls.”  He fixed our Barbies by making them wooden prosthetic arms, and when prosthetic parts didn’t work, he made them wheelchairs.  He’s been on our side, and while we didn’t always see eye to eye on topics, we can agree to disagree.He’s the best dad, and I am so lucky to have him as my dad.  Happy birthday, Dad!  Here’s to another 52 years!  I love you!

Love VoxBox Review

A while ago, I received my first VoxBox in the mail.  For those of you who haven’t heard of VoxBoxes, it is a small box of products that want people to test out new items and then talk about them online.  It’s run through Influenster, and you have to fill out different surveys about yourself to get “badges” about what you do, stand for, have habits for, etc.  For example, I have a Twitter badge because I have a Twitter account and an outdoor badge because I love doing outdoor activities.  I have a bunch more, but you get the idea. 

My first VoxBox was sent a couple weeks after Valentine’s Day (I know, a while ago!), and it was all love themed.  I was super excited to get it in the mail (and stalked everyone else’s posts on Twitter and whined about not getting mine because of big snowstorms), so when I got it, I ripped into it with B.  Here’s what we found:

1.  A product card – The card tells you A) the theme of your VoxBox and B) what the products in the box are (and how much they will probably cost at your local store).  It’s pretty helpful to get a good description of each product and an idea of what you will be reviewing.

2.  Ghirardelli Gourmet Milk Creamy Devotion Bar – So I totally ate this (and I even shared with B!) and B threw out the box before I could take a photo of it.  Oops.  But the picture is of the coupon!  It came with a great coupon, which is very nice.  The chocolate itself is incredibly milky and creamy.  If you are a dark chocolate fiend, this is not for you.  If you love milk chocolate, however, have at it!  It was absolutely delicious.  It wasn’t too sweet, which is always a concern of mine with milk chocolate bars.  I would definitely recommend this for killing your chocolate craving.

3.  Gillette Venus and Olay Razor – Good. Ness.  This razor makes you ridiculously smooth and you barely need any shave cream. Perfect for the upcoming beach season!  I loved Venus razors before, but this one is the best I have tried thus far.  Run to go get one if you need a new razor.

4.  Kiss Nail Design – Fashion That Sticks – Someone knew what he/she was doing when he/she sent me the box with leopard print nail stickers.  I love me some leopard print.  I’m not going to lie; I was a little doubtful when I first looked at these.  My nails chip faster than you could paint your nails, or in this case, put on stickers.  I am tough on my nails.  These lasted pretty well (around 4-5 days), and I really liked the print a lot.  They say that you can put them on your toes, but I must have a really big big toe nail because none of them were large enough.  Story of my feet.  Nothing is big enough to fit.

5.  Stash Tea Herbal Tea Sampler – I’m not always a tea lover, but the flavors in this box are pretty yummy.  I need a lot of flavor payoff in my teas, and these seem to be pretty good hot and cold.  I really like how they list every single flavor and each component within the flavors.  As someone with a food allergy, individual lists are incredibly appreciated. 

6. Truvia Natural Sweetener – I loved their first jingle.  Now that it’s to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” I’m a little bummed.  But the actual product is pretty fair.  It’s a basic sweetener, and I seem to be okay with it.  I am okay with Splenda, so I guess my taste buds seem to jive with anything without aspartame.  The little packets didn’t make this ideal for baking, though (but I know that was only because they were sending samples, which is very very nice of them).

Overall, I was really pleased with the products I got in my first VoxBox.  I would definitely encourage you to sign up to check out how VoxBoxes work and become a part if you want to be product testers and talkers.  I certainly don’t get paid (besides being paid in products to try the goods), but if you want to get some samples and give some reviews, go to Influenster and create an account.  It’s totally free!  Who doesn’t like getting goodies in the mail?

Have you tried any of these products?  What do you think?

Off From Lent!

When Easter rolled around, I was SO READY to be done with Lent.  I had given up shopping for clothing, and after watching so many haul videos on YouTube (why do I watch those?!  They are so addicting!), I was ready to see what I could find with some of the current trends.

I went to Goodwill with a gift card I had, and I ended up making out pretty well!  And, because I wanted to try it again (and look dorky), I decided to give the whole YouTube haul video a try again.  Egads.  Good luck watching it!

What have you purchased lately?

One Week to 26

My twenty-sixth birthday is officially in one week.  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

If you cannot tell, I love birthdays.  LOVE them.  I don’t care how old I am getting, they are fun to celebrate, hang out with friends and family, and eat some delicious dessert.  Seriously, it’s just a number.  I certainly don’t look like I’m turning 26 (thanks for making me realize that one again, little seventh grader the other day who told me I wasn’t old enough to even think about being married), so there is no way I have to act like it… outside of work.

Last year, I started a goal list of 30 things I want to do before I’m 30.  I have been crossing them off as I achieve them, and I have to say, I think I am doing pretty well.

Here is what I have so far and what I have already accomplished in the past year:

1.  Go to Europe at least once.

2.  Take a photography class.

3.  Reread all of the Harry Potter books again.  – In progress with my literacy class

4.  Learn enough Spanish to have a conversation.

5.  Feel comfortable in my own skin (which means working hard to tone everything up).

6.  Pay off most of my student loans (have no more than $5000 left).  (DONE! 9/21/11)

7.  Get a pet (cat or dog, but it has to be at a time when we feel like we aren’t cheating on our pets who live with our parents).

8.  Have someone buy a piece of my photography. (Christmas photo shoot, 12/18/11)

9.  Enter a cooking or baking competition.

10.  Start another Master’s degree.

11.  Take a cooking class (preferably with B).

12.  Move to another state (and live to tell the tale).

13.  See the Eiffel Tower in person.

14.  Live in a house/apartment where I can paint the walls (we’ll see if this happens).

15.  Run (and actually run) a 5k or the Four of the Fourth (a local race B and I do every year) – I will be on June 1!

16.  Be someone’s role model.

17.  Be in another one of my friends’ weddings. (Bestie C’s Wedding 8/19/11, but I wouldn’t mind more!)

18.  Take someone’s wedding-related pictures (and kick butt at it). (Friend K’s boudoir shoot, 4/12)

19.  Sew a piece of clothing for myself.  (Envelope clutch, achieved 4/18/12)

20.  See a volcano.  (Achieved 7/11)

21.  Learn to do a dive.

22.  Try a type of ethnic food I have never had before (like Ethiopian). (Middle Eastern, achieved 4/19/12)

23.  Cook a turkey (correctly!)

24.  Celebrate our five year anniversary with our family and friends.

25.  Confidently wear a bikini.

26.  Start seriously thinking about having some little chicklettes.

27. Grow my hair out and donate it to Beautiful Lengths at least one more time. – In progress, with even more meaning now that I have found out that my favorite mentor teacher from grad school is suffering from cancer.

28.  Apply to be on “Amazing Race” with B. (Application submitted 10/17/11!)

29.  Go to Cape Cod.

30.  Donate blood once a year. (I’m trying, but of all three times I have tried, I have failed.)  – Okay, this one is a total dud.  I have tried three times, and each time, ALL of the nurses have tried and failed to get my veins.  I turned into a human pin cushion.  So I am changing this goal to read at least twelve books before turning 30.  There are no needles involved in that one.

There are a couple more that are close to being done, but I don’t quite want to talk about them yet.  No, it’s not the baby one.  Sorry Moms.

What do you want to do before you turn the next “big” age?  Should I add anything to my list?