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?

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.

Castle Out of Boxes

The vagabond lifestyle is not for me.  Traveling?  Yes.  Constantly moving and having your belongings not in their places where you can reach for them time after time because everything you want to make seems to call for those pesky measuring cups you stupidly packed away two days too early?  Not having it.

This is currently our living situation.

All of our stuff is crammed into boxes, bags, and the random hampers that lived behind our living room door.  It will probably be like this for a day or two.  Today, though, is the day it all makes a journey.

Today, we move to Massachusetts!

It’s taken me a while to come around to the idea of moving, not because I hate the idea, but because I love the people around me.  My coworkers spoiled me in the past couple days, not to mention how wonderful they have been for the past two or three years.  We have laughed, we have cried, and we have determined that we are not necessarily all going to heaven.  Our family lives here.  Our pets (who all live with our parents) live here.  One of my best friends lives two doors down the hall from our apartment.  I love the outdoors.  Why on earth would I want to leave?

Well, for the adventure.  This is a time where we are married, but we don’t have the extra responsibility of dragging kids along with us.  We also need to do it for B.  This is a time for him to play with his professional dreams and succeed in his own endeavors.  Moving back to Maine wasn’t something he thought he would be doing, but he did it for me to be successful in teaching (and paying back some loans).  It’s time.

So, with our parents’ trucks, our two cars, and a moving van loaded down, we bid Maine adieu for now.  Of course we’ll be back for visits (though everyone keeps talking about Massachusetts as this super far off place where no one ever returns).  Here’s to adventure!  See you again from a place a little bit more southern!

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!

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!

Where in the World is My Wife?

I’m sure B has asked himself that question a few times over the last couple months.  I have definitely hit the road a few times, with and without him, in and out of state.  Travel is my mistress, and I don’t care if loving her is wrong!

So beyond our trip to Ohio to check out OSU, B and I have tried saving a lot of our money because of our upcoming move.  But you better believe that when an opportunity to get away for very little cash came up, I jumped on it like it was a runaway horse.  Wow, I am full of metaphors and similes tonight.  We’ll roll with it.

One of the first trips I jumped on was going to New York City with my seniors.  Every year, the senior class goes on a trip somewhere as their senior trip during senior week (yes, everything does need to be labeled with “senior”).  Last year, I joined in on a trip to Six Flags New England.  This year, the class went somewhere new, somewhere bigger, somewhere called New York City.  Many of my students hadn’t ever been out of Maine or New Hampshire, let alone outside of New England, so it was exciting to show them a new place.  We went all over the city; they discovered street food (though they refused to eat anywhere without running water at first), they discovered the subway (some where thrilled, some swore they would never ride one again), and they learned that people in New York really can be nice (there’s a rumor going around that sometimes they, well, aren’t). 

Then, of course, there were the many, many, many trips back and forth between Maine and Massachusetts to interview and do sample lessons for jobs.  But those weren’t really picture-worthy, and no one probably wants to hear about that.  I know I certainly don’t want to drive that much for quite a while.

B got to join me for the next few trips.  He and I went to my friend Kristin’s wedding at the same mountain where we got married and had a blast!  The wedding was gorgeous (as were the bride and groom), the band rocked, and we had such a good time getting back to such a special location for us as a couple.

And then… Bestie Alana came to visit!  And we. went. everywhere.  Holy cats.  The first part was Vermont, specifically the Burlington and Waterbury regions.  Then she and I went to Lowell to visit Bestie Alexandra and her husband Jimmy.  A beach day to catch up together was in order, and we all came home a little pink.  Throw in some time in our hometown for Fourth of July and some day trips here and there, and you have all of the trips we have been on.  It’s been a little tiring, but totally worth it!
What trips have you been on lately?

Pre-Birthday Date Goodwilling

My husband is ridiculously adorable.  For the past two years, he has taken it upon himself to plan a special date day for me right before my birthday (April 28, for those of you who are counting).  My birthday is two days after my younger sister’s, so we have to share our birthdays typically.  My actual birthday is either a weekday, so no real time to go out and celebrate, or taken over with family plans because of the double birthday.  I certainly don’t mind celebrating double birthdays with my family, but it’s so nice to have a great day out with B.

This year, B surprised me with a day out in Portland.  We started off by going to the Goodwill Buy the Pound location, which really says something about how much B loves me.  He detests thrifting because it takes so much time and it’s not organized.  But for me, he made an exception.

For some reason, the bins seemed to be filled with only children’s clothing.  Good for people with kids, but people, I’m only turning 26.  Is this some sort of cosmic sign from our mothers?  Erin, see?  Look at all of the little clothing at Goodwill.  You know you want to create a person to go into them!  Um, not now, universal messages.  I’ve got some clothing to dig through.  This is what I found after some major digging:

Dexter bronze ballet flats: Retail: $22.99

Brand new with tags still on them!  Who says you can’t find new stuff at Goodwill?

Nine West cross-body white leather with gold chain purse: Retail : $69

Nine West chestnut brown satchel: Retail: $89

Nine West chocolate brown tote bag: Retail: $109

Nine West purple purse: Retail:  $69

Estee Lauder camel colored large tote:  Retail: ~$30

Belts! (Two colorful random ones and a Banana Republic leather red one):  Retail: ~$15 + $50 + ~$15 = ~$80

Bonjour colorblocking in that last one!  Love it!

Scarves! Dark purple pashmina, brown printed pashmina, mint green linen infinity scarf, Apt. 9 box blocked scarf:  Retail: ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$20 = ~$65

Mint green!  I found something in that color!  Weeeeee!  The last scarf is super soft and for B.  He’s a very dapper gentleman.

Express navy blue cable knit V-neck sweater:  Retail: $59

I know it seems kind of silly to be getting sweaters right now, but the three that I got were too good to pass up.  You never know, I could still face sweater weather here in Maine before summer actually begins.

Soffe baby blue sports skirt: Retail: $8.99

No brand magenta summer cover-up dress: Retail: ~$20

The tags were all cut out, but with a belt, this dress will be great for summer.  Without a belt, it kind of does a tent number off from my chest.  I’m wondering if I should make the neckline into a V neck.

GAP cream crew neck sweater: Retail: $59

Express red silk mix V-neck sweater: Retail: $59

All told, I think we made out brilliantly.  B also picked up a copy of the Bible to do some reading as he prepares for graduate work.  I suppose some spiritual work may come out of it, too.  So what was the damage?  Well, check this out:

What I would have paid shopping retail:  ~$749.98      What we paid at Goodwill:  $15

DIFFERENCE:  ~$734.98

Beck also got me this awesome blue NAS clutch/purse for Easter.

NAS cobalt blue clutch (style number 370GY):  Paid: $2.49 / Retail: ~$30

PEOPLE!  Why isn’t everyone thrift shopping?  I get to be a name brand snot AND not pay much at all.  You can be really picky about clothing and purse conditions and still get great stuff.

After our Goodwill run, B whisked me away to the Portland Art Museum.  They currently have some great exhibits, my favorite being one where a woman went into the homes of every person she’s friends with on Facebook to photograph them in real life.  The concept between real friends and online friends and how they seem to have replaced each other is fascinating (that may be my psychology minor talking).  The photos were intense.  And, like every single time I go into an art museum, I got yelled at.  What did I do wrong this time?  I wasn’t carrying my purse far enough forward on my body.  Yep.  I get yelled at for dumb stuff in art museums.  Some gelato after totally made up for it.

We also decided that we had enough time to run by the Maine Mall (yes, that really is its name.  Maine doesn’t have a ton of malls.  Live with it.) and I browsed Forever 21 because I had a gift card from a birthday probably three years ago.  I was determined not to spend more than what the card had on it ($10), so I got these two pieces:

Price: $6.80

Price: $1.50

Seriously, who can resist a little neon yellow locket?  I thought it was too cute to pass up – especially after the bracelets ended up being far too big for my gumby hands.

Overall verdict?  Birthday date 2012 was a complete success!  B can plan dates with the best of them.  I plan on going to Goodwill on my birthday this week because I get 25% off on the actual day of my birthday, and I know what I’ll be looking for:  jewelry.  I am on an accessories kick right now.

Have you gone thrifting lately?  What did you find?  If you don’t thrift, what are you waiting for?!  Go, go, go!

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?

Run It!

It’s vacation week!  Finally!  For those of you who think teachers get too many vacations, please go find the closest door, open it, put your hand next to the door frame, and then shut the door on your hand.  That’s how I feel when you make fun of a profession you have never tried but feel that you have the right to say your piece.  Please.  Not even you deal with your kids all day when there is a full moon.  And let’s remember, they are very different kids when they are away from you and around their peers, for better or for… not better.

But I’m not here to write about my kids (whom I really do love and were not the reason I was so ready for a vacation).  I have been noticing that with all of the running around I am doing (more like driving) and with my current stress levels, my time for working out has decreased, which in turn has led to the scale’s increase.  Soooo not good.  Add to that all of the Easter candy our parents gave to us a couple weekends again, and you can tell that I haven’t been feeling super confident with my body image. 

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Yes, I blame you, Mr. Googly Eyes!  Now come here so I can nibble on your ear…

I promised myself that I would step it up during vacation, and I have been pretty excited by the progress I have made in the past couple of days.  True, there is no way that I would see an improvement on the scale, but I am more focused on feeling better about my physical fitness first.  I decided to go back to what seemed to work for me last year at the beginning of the summer:  going to the track.  I set a distance I want to go (typically around four miles), I turn on my iPod, and I go.  As it turns out, “going” is a lot easier these days.

I have never been a runner.  I have never pretended to be.  My own mom has often told me that watching me run looks painful (thanks, Mom!).  I have a problem with one of my hips, and one of my legs is a little shorter than the other, so I kind of “limp” when I run even if I’m not in pain.  I also have asthma, which is tons of fun, and not a runner’s build by any stretch of the imagination.  But that hasn’t stopped me.  I am determined to RUN a 5k, and I started my training this week.

I started with just seeing how far I could run before I had to stop and wheeze.  My muscles are often ready for more, but my lungs say otherwise.  I paced myself and ran a full mile before I had to let myself breathe.  Sweet!  A full mile!  I walked the rest of the four miles.  The second time I went back, I decided to push it even more.  I ran 1.5 miles before stopping, walked a mile, and then ran another 0.625 miles.  That is the most I have run by myself… probably ever.  I’m getting there!

I’m really proud of my progress, and I cannot wait to go back to the track today.  Anyone have any running tips for beginners?  I know a lot of people swear by the Couch to 5K program, but my iPod is too “old” to use the program.  Have you started any new workouts lately?

The Search Is On!

With Easter finally hopping in tomorrow, Lent is coming to a close.  Thank goodness!  I gave up thrift shopping for Lent because it was something that I loved to do, and to me, I find it important to give up something you really like or love in order to show your sacrifice.  For me, that was thrifting.  But now that it’s over, I feel like I have put thrifting back into perspective.  I can’t afford to shop all the time, and when I do shop, I need to keep it within certain restrictions.

That being said, I do have some trends and pieces that I want to try and find in my next Goodwill excursions.

1.  Mint and coral

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Mint and coral colors are very very in right now, and I would love to jump onto the bandwagon.  I could very easily turn these colors into work appropriate pieces, summer pieces, and generally great-for-any-time pieces.  Sounds like a win!

2.  Handbags

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I have such a craving for different handbags.  I am the type of person who gets stuck in a rut with handbags because I almost never change the one I have every day.  Shame on me…  I really need to get better about that.  I am on the hunt for handbags with color, structure, and just all around appeal.

3.  Dresses

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I want some spring and summer dresses because, well, I want the warm weather we got a little taste of back.  Now, please!  I love the feminine touches dresses bring to a season, and I want some that aren’t incredibly dressy.  I mean, I’m not going to cocktail parties all summer, and even if I was, a girl needs some variety, am I right?

4.  Jewelry

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Like handbags, I am craving some bracelets and necklaces.  I want different pieces that bring a little bit more intrigue to an outfit.  I tend to get compliments on my jewelry the most at work, and I can tell you that most of my collection is super cheap costume jewelry.  Why not see what else I can add to it?

5.  Sunglasses

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It’s getting brighter.  A girl needs glasses.  Enough said.

6.  Sandals

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This, of course, means I need to give myself a pedicure, STAT.  But who doesn’t want to have colorful feet that are cool and comfy?

I guess the longer I stay away from shopping, the more time I have for window shopping.  That may not have been a good thing… Time to go clean out my closet!

What are you on the hunt for lately?