New Plan

New plan, gang!  Oh, yes, hi there.  I suppose it’s been a while… I’ve just been, um, napping. Seriously, though, new plan!  Before I weigh you down with tales from the terrible training episodes I been through with running (you can put your kids to sleep with those in later entries), I thought I would give you a little running update.  Because I still am running, no matter how funny my body thinks it is to send me to a doctor who may or may not believe that I make up my injuries.

The plan all along as been for me to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February.  With nine days to go until the sign up date, I am PUMPED.  runDisney also released information on a new experience they are offering during the half marathon weekend this year.  In addition to doing the half on Sunday, runners can now sign up for the Glass Slipper Challenge, running a 10k on Saturday morning and then the half marathon on Sunday morning.  You get to run both races through Epcot (10k) and Epcot/Magic Kingdom (half marathon), three t-shirts, AND three medals!  All for the low, low price of $270 and your first born child.  Don’t worry Disney; if it’s a girl, she’ll be named after a princess.  No promises for boys, though.  Could you work on some better prince names?  I feel like hospital staff would blame medication if I told them to write down “Charming” as a baby name.  Still, it’s better than Hashtag.  Yikes.


I plan on being completely and utterly out of my mind and signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Go big before going home, right? All of my profits from photography shoots will be going to fund this 19.3 mile endeavor, so we won’t have to pay for it out of our relatively tight budget for the regular life stuff.  I am so excited to sign up; I have been watching different runners’ YouTube videos of running the half marathon the last couple years on a loop.  I’m pretty sure B is about to go out of his mind.

And if he’s going out of his mind just waiting for me to get to the sign ups, I am going out of my mind with an even newer addition to the running schedule.  After an excited text message discussion with B’s Aunt M (the lady who decided that, yes, I am running the Princess Half in 2014), she mentioned that she planned on following a training schedule that would have her ready to do a half in the fall, which is the exact same plan I am using.  I had talked to B before about being ready to run a half in early September, but he mentioned that it might be a little special to run the first half marathon with Aunt M in Florida.  True, it would be, but what will I do for another five months?  Sticking to 5ks and 10ks for that long seems a little wasteful with all of the training.  And if M is planning on running a half in the fall, why shouldn’t I?  Running through Cinderella’s castle will still be AMAZING, and maybe I won’t be as scared out of my pants if it’s my second half marathon.  Plus, with the added challenge of a 10k the day before, shouldn’t I see if I can do a half marathon first?  Well, it makes sense to me!  Now, in October, I will be running my first half marathon here in Massachusetts.  It will allow for my friends and family to come cheer me on for my first if they want to (something that may please my parents a little more than missing the first in Florida), and I will get some experience under my belt.  I’m on pace to be finished with a couch-to-half training schedule by the end of September (I will have to repeat some weeks during the summer because of travel issues), so October should be perfect.

Next race coming up?  10k in Portland, OR! 


Pain Isn’t Always Gain

In my quest to run a 10k in July and the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, I hit the training pretty hard.  I have never been a “runner.”  I hated running growing up (when you have larger body parts, you avoid movements that, um, showcase them), and it was always hard for me to breathe comfortably.  Beyond field hockey and tennis, I avoided it like a snail avoids salt.  But now that I have fallen in love with running, I wanted to make the most of my time and effort.  I combined my efforts for running with my efforts for weight loss and RAN, as in “I’m going to see how far I can go… oh look at that, I just ran more than I have ever gone.”  My longest run three weeks in was 6.2 miles.  For me, that’s a lot.  I was ecstatic!  I ran a 10k!  Where is my medal?

It turns out, and I’m sure all of the pro running people are shaking their heads at me because they know, you aren’t supposed to up your weekly mileage that quickly.  That week I ran 6.2 as my long run?  Yeah… I ran 22 miles that week.  Oops.  But I was feeling great!  No big deal!  I’m young!  The next week, though, my body told me it was displeased in a major way.  My right knee began to hurt.  It didn’t hurt when I didn’t run, so I figured it was something I could just get through.  No pain, no gain, right? 

Wrong.  It got worse.  I couldn’t run at all, and it began to creep into my standing time when I was teaching.  My doctor’s office couldn’t make an appointment for me at a convenient time for another week and a half, so I scaled back a little.  I tried doing shorter runs.  Nope.  I tried doing the elliptical.  No ma’am.  I tried a knee brace.  No way.  I tried a stationery bike.  Try again later.  I tried getting my cardio in with Jillian Michaels’s videos, and let’s just say it ended up with me on my yoga mat, tears running into my ears, begging B to tell me why three hundred pound people on “The Biggest Loser” could run and I could barely do a butt kick.  Poor guy, he’s a trooper.

My primary physician saw me for about ten minutes, moved my knee around, and told me it was patellofemoral pain.  It could be tendonitis, it could be swelling, blah blah blah.  Here’s a referral to physical therapy.  I picked a physical therapy office in the same medical building and called the next day, expecting to see them in a week or two.  After all, it had taken just my basic physician a week and a half to see me after 2:00 PM.  Bless them, the physical therapists took me in the next day. 

Can I just tell you how magical physical therapists are?  I met with my PT Rich and an intern from a local PT program, and they listened to everything I had to say.  When my pain was hard to describe, they were patient and took it all in.  They really looked at what the causes could be, and they didn’t tell me to just rest and take some Advil with every meal. 

Two of the best things they showed me were my daily stretches.  If you experience tight hips or knee pain, gently try these out.  I thought they wouldn’t do anything for me because I was already doing them, but the longer you hold them (note:  not just to the count of ten!), the better you will stretch everything out.

Image    Image

I also found this super helpful, quick yoga video on YouTube from Rodney Yee.  He’s the yogi.

I have been going to PT for about three weeks now, and my knee is about 90 percent of the way there.  I had always read articles in running magazines on how pain is temporary and your brain will try to talk you into not fighting through it.  If you know something hurts, get it checked.  There isn’t any way I could have fought through this, and while it sucks that I now have to train myself all over again, I can do it better this time. 

And We’re Done With That!

After what felt like weeks and weeks of having my graduate class dragged out because of snow storms and instructor illness (oh wait, it WAS weeks and weeks!), I am finally finally FINALLY done with my second go-around with my graduate course that I started in September.  We were supposed to finish up the second week back from Christmas break, but everything just kept getting in the way.  Three weeks later, eight of the thirteen classmates showed up, did the (what we thought were) required presentations, and said thank you.  To be polite, of course.  Because really, no matter what, you should thank a teacher in some way, shape, or form.  Go ahead, go find a teacher.  I’ll wait.  It’s worth it.

Now that I’m done with that, I was thinking I would have all of this extra time floating around to get more writing in.  Apparently, I should have gone into comedy.  With the standardized tests coming up in March, new teacher goal-setting requirements, and physical training for weight loss and the half-marathon, I have barely had time to keep up with grading, planning, and breathing a few moments with my brainiac husband.  Super proud wife, btdubs!  He got a 4.0 for his first semester in his doctoral program!

But, with all that, forgive me for the sporadic nature of my posts.  You’ll just have to deal, just as I have to deal with Runner’s Knee and too small of a closet.  You just need some patience, a little creativity, and deep breathing.

But!  Today!  I have a thrifting haul to share with you.  During the month of January, I pledged to B not to spend any money on myself (beyond food and gas for the car).  And I did it.  And I was proud of myself… and super ready for some thrifting goodness.  On the first weekend of February, I left B to his studying and visited the local church thrift store, the one I will now affectionately refer to as “The Rich People’s Thrift Store.”  This is where the rich people in our rich community donate their clothing, and the proceeds go to church happenings.  I’m cool with that, especially since nearly all of the churches in my area are “reconciled churches,” congregations that have made real steps to be LGBTQ friendly and open.  All of the prices are quite reasonable, with the most expensive standard pieces being blazers at $5.

The day that I chose to go was a stroke of genius.  It was one of the last weekends of their winter clothing, so everything was fifty percent off.  That made even those blazers a grand total of $2.50!  Score!  I scoured the racks and went over each one at least three times to make sure I saw everything that was available.  I was there for about two hours.  Trust me, I saw. it. all.  And I came out with these treasures:

1.  A floral silk nightie and robe set:IMG_8781

IMG_8779Paid:  $1.50 each, so $3 total    /     Retail:  60$

This pair is typically sold in a set, so I really scored on this.  Even though I wouldn’t consider these to be “winter clothing,” they still counted in the discount, so I went for both.  I thought these would be great for the spring and summer.  Cute, silky, and very appealing.

2.  Sigrid Olsen pants:IMG_8774Paid:  $2           /      Retail: $100

Apparently these pants were designed by a clothing designer hailing from the North Shore section of Massachusetts who has since stopped making clothing and gone into art design.  Huh.  Well, good luck with that and thanks for the pants!  My favorite part is that they have an iridescent sparkle of green-blue in them. IMG_8775

3.  Chico’s leopard print belt:IMG_8771Paid: $1.50       /      Retail: $35

A lovely lady in the shop picked this out when I was beside her and said I should try it on because I seemed like a “young, hip woman who could pull it off.”  You meet awesome people when you thrift.  This belt works as both a hip belt and a waist belt, and the print is actually a little furry.  The heart hardware is adorable.IMG_8772

4.  J.Crew maxi skirtIMG_8773Paid: $2    /   Retail: $138

I love love love me some J. Crew, but goodNESS are they expensive!  They realize they are selling shirts and pants, right?  Are they woven together by fashion fairies?  That may explain it.  I tend to be drawn by some sort of fashion thread to anything J. Crew in thrift stores, so I wasn’t shocked when I picked out this and discovered it was the good old Crew.  It’s a little small at this point, but with more time at the gym, I’ll be good to go.

5.  Sheer cream blouseIMG_8776Paid: $1.50    /    Retail: $25

The tag was cut out of this one, though I suspect it’s something like Talbots or perhaps more J. Crew (the remainder of the tag looks like the top of a T or J).  It’s a little boxy, but it is super comfy and on trend for the see-through blouse thing.

6.  TJ Paris blazer

Paid: $2.50     /    Retail: $200

Holy cats.  This blazer is an awesome purple color, so that’s why I got it.  When I got it home, though, I looked up the brand online and found out that the designer is a high-end Paris designer.  Bonjour!

7.  Adolfo tieIMG_8787Paid: $1.50     /    Retail: $35

I picked up this tie for B for Valentine’s Day as a smart-looking treat.  It will look so great with some of his solid colored shirts!

8.  Porcelain soup turine

Paid: (This was a gift… so I’m not telling… but if you can do math, go for it!)    /   Retail: $150

My cousins Emily and Jess got married on New Year’s Eve, so we needed a wedding gift.  This lovely turine matches or is very close to their dishes pattern, so I picked it up for them.  Congrats, guys!

9.  Mixed hangers

Paid: $1.50     /     Retail:  $4

A girl can never have enough hangers, especially when they seem to disappear from your closet.  I feel it is due to B’s uncanny ability to snap the ones in the coat closet with his no-heavier-than-normal jacket.  Typically I am OCD about hangers being the same, but for $1.50, I’ll suck it up.

So, drum roll please….

TOTALS:  Paid:  $25.75       /      Retail:  $693

That, my friends, is a 96.28% savings over retail.  Sahweet!

So stay tuned for a few more thrifting posts and a couple of running ones.  I have plans, so don’t count me out yet!

Things Happened

In 2012, lots of stuff happened.  Oh yes, it did.  Would you like to see the list?  Sorry, there is no option for the short list.  It is what it is, and I lived every second of it.

1.  I met my running goal and then some.  I ran in four – not just one, but FOUR – 5k+ races.  My first was in June, and I swear that adrenaline carried me through most of it.  I came in at around 29:30, which wasn’t a bad time at all, considering the idea of running just a mile could make me start to wheeze.  Image

The second race was the traditional four mile race B and I run on the Fourth of July.  My goal was to run most of it, and if I could beat B, that would be the cherry on the top.  I hadn’t ever beaten B in this race because he has this uncanny ability to sprint out the last mile while I was puttering along behind him.  Boo whore.  This was different, however.  We had planned on running the first mile together, but somehow B ended up behind me and never quite caught up.  Oops.  So sorry, hunny!  Honestly, I had no idea where he was, and I knew it was a good possibility that he had already passed me.  I kept on trucking.  When I reached the last turn before the downhill to the finish, I saw Bestie Alana and my parents cheering on the side of the road.  I gasped out the question, “Have you seen B yet?”  The half grunt/ half cheer I let out when they said no scared the runners beside me.  I ended up finishing three minutes before him and under the time goal I set for myself.

The third 5k race was not so great, but the highlight was probably seeing my ex-boyfriend run by me and do a severe double-take.  Yes, I do run now, and I’m not as fat as when you dumped me in middle school.  What?

The fourth and last race was on Thanksgiving Day.  My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law signed B and I up (much to B’s chagrin), and it started on a bright 20 degree morning at 7:30 AM.  Yes, this is how I spent my first day of Thanksgiving break, a break I had so longed for just to sleep in.  Nope, I had to get my butt moving.  B and I ended up struggling it out together to the end (because his mother stopped me in the middle to “take a picture,” which really let B catch up).  Not my best time, but it was for a good cause and it gave me less guilt when it came to eating pie.

2.  I officially left my first teaching job… not because I fully wanted to, but because B had been accepted into a Ph.D. program and we were moving out of state.  I cried many tears over leaving my amazing colleagues and my troops of kids.  I still miss them, but I am so much happier teaching the grade level I am at today!

3.  We moved to a different state.  The day we moved, it was incredibly humid in Maine, so much so that we were all soaked by the time everything was loaded, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in New Hampshire, and we were hit with a torrential thunderstorm when unloading into our new apartment.  I was miserable for the first month because I had no idea how to get anywhere without the GPS (thank goodness for those suckers), didn’t really have any available friends in the area, and was forced to live out of boxes for a number of days until we fully unpacked.  If you want to see me miserable, put all of my belongings in a box and don’t let me unpack them.  Ugh.  But after a couple months and getting back to school, I settled in and love where we live now.  It’s nice to have our own area and be closer to civilization.  However, if I hear one more person say, “Oh, you’re from Maine?  We own a summer home there!  We know all about it,” I am going to scream. 

4.  I cried when I had to put Massachusetts plates on my car.  So, so wrong.

5.  I went back to teaching middle school, and I couldn’t be happier!  Middle school is my jam, and I didn’t realize how unhappy I was teaching high school until I started teaching in a middle school again.  The kids are full of energy and can be encouraged to take on challenges.  How I missed that!

6.  Bestie Alana came to visit!  Her visits are always too short, but we did succeed in wearing out B with all of our travels.  We went to Vermont and toured around some delicious food places, visited our friend Alexandra in Massachusetts, celebrated the Fourth of July, and took a super hard, awful hike.  I don’t ever really want to go on that trail again.Image

7.  B and I celebrated our second anniversary by going to the “Gentlemen of the Road” concert tour, and it was AMAZING.  The day was beautiful, the location was right on the water, and the music was incredible.  The lack of food (six vendors for 6,000 people, and we weren’t allowed to bring in food) was the only dark mark on the event.  Thankfully, IHOP is open late and I had just enough blood sugar to not blackout while driving on the highway.  Trust me, that’s not a joke.  It almost happened.Image

8.  I got to take so many photos for so many friends.  I took one little munchkin’s newborn, three month, and six month photos, family photos at Thanksgiving, was the official photographer at one friend’s wedding, took photos at another’s and was mistaken for the photographer, and so much more.  I am loving my second job.  It’s my passion.  I could do this forever.ImageImageImageImageImage

And oh the plans I have for 2013!

Oh, It’s the End of December? Huh.

So the last time I wrote for my blog was in August and we had just moved to Massachusetts. Whoa. I guess I lost track of writing there for a minute. I would love to get my writing (and my adult-like thinking) back on track now that I no longer have to prep a lot of work for my school-mandated graduate class. I have missed writing. I have missed expressing myself in a way that is more advanced than a seventh grade level. I have missed a little bit of an audience. Pretty sure it’s just you out there, Alana!

I will do a catch-up post later, but for now, I will leave you with my goals for the new year. As cliche as creating resolutions may be, I like the thought of creating personal goals. Twenty-six years into life, here are my thoughts:

1. I want to reach my goal weight, which is 140. I have some pounds to go, but I have been so unhappy with my body shape lately that this is my time to push myself to where I want to be. No excuses.

2. Eat more veggies. Hopefully, this will lead to more success in goal number one.

3. Read more. Who doesn’t want more time with a good book?

4. I want to write! Fingers crossed that you will see the result of that.

5. Be a good wife and friend. Because we all need to be better and have better.

So peace out 2012! You had your moments, and I am pretty darn happy with you overall. Here’s to 2013!

I Do Not Think You Know What That Means…

Quick!  Name that movie!  Ten sparkle unicorns for you if you can!

I keep seeing Target’s new commercial for colorful collections on TV.  Have you seen it?  Check it out:

Okay, while I am all for color, I’m not sure Target actually researched what that song means.  I took five years of French in middle and high school, and we covered this song.  It’s a song about dissecting an owl.  Is that really the song you want to sell color, Target?  Is it?  I think not.


Tweet Tweet!

Okay, it may have taken me a really long time and a long conversation with my computer-savvy friends this weekend, but I have finally done it!  I have finally joined the Tweeting world.


People, I now have Twitter!  Tweet me (wait, that’s a saying, right?  Isn’t it like asking someone to Facebook you?).

Tweet me:  @AWifeofMaterial

Help me get used to this and make it awesome!

Who else has Twitter?

Sometimes Clothes Don’t Matter

I know that I promised these posts would be about fashion, but I can tell you absolute certainty that in life, clothes are the fun part.  Clothes don’t always matter.  Life without clothes would still be life, you would just be a little colder and a lot more naked.  Still, there is a whole heck of a lot more to being alive.

This past weekend, I lost one of my students.  It is the most awful feeling; my students are my kids.  It doesn’t matter whole old I am or how old they are, they are my kids.  I love each and every one of them.  When this young lady slipped away from us, it broke my heart.  Bloggers write about every little thing their fingers can put onto a screen, but I cannot express how much sorrow I feel for my student, her family, her friends, and our whole school community.  I got the phone call at 8 AM, in the middle of a grocery store, and burst into tears.  This is the second student death this school year.  There is no replacing her, and when my students come back to school, there is a lot of grieving that will happen together.

It doesn’t matter if you look put together every day, it matters that you have the ability to get up and live.  Whatever you believe in, I would be grateful if you could keep my students, my colleagues, and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  They could really use it.

Today, please just be happy to live.  The rest is just outer layers.



Here’s to New Beginnings!

Happy new year, everyone!  I know I already wrote my regular post for today, but I wanted to share a little something with you.  Like I said before, I’m a budding photographer, and I have been lucky enough to have some great friends who have hired me to do shoots for them.  From that and my passion to succeed, I have launched my small personal photography business!  I published my official website yesterday.  Want to have a look?  Stop on over!

HoldenHands Photography

Have a great new year’s day!