Saturday, December 20, 2014

There's Just a Little Somethin'

...I've been meaning to tell you. 

With much anticipation and excitement, the manfriend and I are excited to announce that I am pregnant! And we couldn't be happier.

Baby Moe due May 2015

The manfriend (AKA Pete) and I met in the fall of 2008 at a local running group. We went on our first date on January 4, 2009 (where he told me first dates were like interviews). Three weeks later I told my mom I was pretty sure I would marry the man. 

In April 2012, he {finally} proposed at the end of the Eugene Marathon on Hayward Field. In July 2013, we got married in Bend, OR. In June 2014, we went on a belated honeymoon to Europe to see the Tour de France (and so much more). 

More details to come next week!  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There's Nothing Better Than...

I came up with this topic as I was making one of my favorite sandwich combinations today. Biting into a favorite food I haven't had in a while reminds me I need more of it in my life. Join in and tell me what there's nothing better than.

There's Nothing Better Than...

a grilled turkey, mustard, avocado and cheddar sandwich. The savory flavor combo is just the best in my opinion. Whoops, I ate a little cheese, but well worth it. 

a hot shower after a soaking wet run.  Brrr!

a hot cup of coffee, cider or hot chocolate on a freezing cold day. I often think about making hot cocoa this time of year, but rarely do.

that nap after a loooong run, food and a shower. I tried to fight the post long run naps for years and then one day I just gave into the manfriend's demands that I needed a nap and ever since, I've been a big advocate of naps post long run.

watching a movie cuddled up on the couch while it pours rain or dumps snow outside. 

ice cold water on a HOT day. Refreshing!

pulling on a pair of thick, cozy socks, your favorite sweats and a hoodie. Ultimate lounging bliss.

sipping a crisp beer on a hot summer day with friends. Yum.

laughing so hard it hurts. More laughter, please!

a massage that's so relaxing it puts you to sleep, thus reminding me I need to budget them into my life more often.

Tell me: What's one of your "There's Nothing Better Than..." statements?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Hustle & Bustle

It was fun to hear your budget tid-bits as everyone has different ideas and/or motivations around their spending.

This week, I'm focused on getting back on track. With a week free to clean the house, finish a few neglected projects, and just plain relax before we head to the midwest for Christmas, I really want to return to (mostly) clean eating + some serious workouts.

From last weekend's annual Over the River and Through the Woods 10K 

Last week was all about survival (finals are done. hallelujah.) and then this weekend included the manfriend's company holiday party and an early Christmas with my family.

Mom, my brother Max and his girlfriend Hannah.  Backdrop courtesy of Trader Joe's.

As Christmas celebrations tend to include plenty of good food, this weekend was no different. And when surrounded by a lot of it, I tend to lack the kind of control I do at home.

I don't regret the fantastic weekend we had filled with family bowling, neighborhood walks, Christmas movies, games, presents and food, but I want to get right back to feeling like my normal self.

The plan? Sweat it out every day, whether it's a run, a HIIT workout, or strength training. Drink lots of water. Focus on veggies and quality protein. Forget the cheese and sweets  (because sometimes there simply is too much of a good thing).

Saturday morning I got the manfriend to run with me on the river path.

Last week also included a few much needed om sessions, even the 10 min post-run variety. 

How are you faring with the holidays? What is your favorite tradition this time of year?

Honestly, we haven't had many celebration to attend so things haven't been too crazy, but I haven't had much time to think about many things beyond school and a little Christmas shopping. Two of my favorite things this time of year are laughing my way through Grumpy Old Men and Christmas Vacation and driving around looking at lights in the hills of Eugene. 

Workouts to try:
I tried all of these last week in addition to a few runs + yoga. 

Fitnessista's Kettlebell Rock (strength)
Sarah Fit's Booty Sculpting Moves (strength)
Your Trainer Paige's Abs-olutely Strong Core

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Budget Shmudget

I don't often talk money around these parts, but I'll admit that it's something I think about quite a bit. As we've moved to one salary (and some student loans), I have adjusted how we're budgeting our dollars and cents quite a bit.

I'll admit that neither the manfriend or I have been particularly amazing at budgeting previously, but this change in our finances spurred us to sit down several months back and go through our basic expenses and upcoming needs to develop our base budget (i.e. what we could exist on if we really didn't do or buy much of anything "extra").

While budgeting isn't the most thrilling activity or topic to think about, I confess that after going through the process, I feel much more confident about our financial decisions than I did before. Rather than just spending as we wish and making sure to pay our bills, we're being strategic with our $. And I like that.  

Our basics include:
  • Groceries
  • Electricity + water + internet
  • Mortgage
  • Car payment
  • Cell phones 
  • Home/auto insurance
  • Savings (a modest amount)
  • Private insurance (now that I won't be covered through work)
  • Gas + oil changes
  • Haircuts
  • Dog food
  • Manfriend's beer/coffee money (gotta keep things a little fun)

Honestly, seeing our basic monthly needs added up wasn't as jaw dropping as I might have expected. It was doable.

Of course, life throws curve balls, so there are things like a new roof or dentist visits that will come up and leave you rearranging said previous budget. But because I have this basic budget set up, I'm not panicking when these things come up. 

What has changed? 
  • I'm not doing as many fitness classes as I used to. Lifeforce has pretty much been removed and I am going to yoga about 1x per week. But I'm still keeping my yogaglo membership so I can do classes at home. 
  • We're sticking to one meal/dinner out per week. Even if it sounds good to grab burritos or Thai food on a Wednesday night, it's likely not happening if I think we might go out later in the week. 
  • I am testing out the cash envelope method for groceries. Every two weeks I'll get out a set amount of cash designated for our groceries and then I'll try to only use this $ when I go shopping. Granted, I just started doing this, so it's not yet perfect (i.e. sometimes I forget to bring the cash with me), but it's a start. Plus, cash has me less likely to grab random things I just want. 
  • I'm getting better at not buying things I really want (but don't need). This means avoiding LOFT sales or heading to REI to grab something I need/want for running. Those $30-40 purchases add up!
  • We're prioritizing bigger purchases more than we did before. Things like a new front door, a new chair, a rug for the bedroom, etc. 

So, that's it. It's not a perfect system by any means, but I'm happy that we feel in control of where our money is going and that we're making smarter decisions with our money. 

Do you follow a monthly budget? Any tips or tricks to share? 

I've also noticed that this time of year makes it a bit easier to avoid unnecessary purchases because I remind myself how much we have compared to some and that really, I have everything I need in life. Plus, when I spend extra money on meals or experiences, those are often much more rewarding purchases than acquiring more things. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Keeping your Favorite Runner Warm this Winter

Sorry I've been MIA this past week! The last two weeks of school have been a doozy. But the end is in sight {thank goodness}. I had a presentation and a few projects due this week and then I have three finals next week. Ugh.

First thing's first: this time of year really is one of the best. Yes, I LOVE the sunshine and frolicking outside 24/7, but that little extra feeling of cheer everyone seems to have this time of year is simply refreshing.

And enjoying Trader Joe's spiced cider {while wearing snowman socks} isn't so bad either...

I don't know about you, but as it gets colder, I find myself realizing that "Oh, I really wish I had X or Y to keep me warmer." Granted, we have few days that I might need to wear some of these items, but there are definitely times in December and January that will get pretty frigid around here.

Here are a few things I came up with that may just strike your fancy and end up on your Christmas list (or a shopping list for your endorphin-loving friend or family member).

Running Mittens - When it gets really cold, finger gloves just won't cut it anymore. That's when mittens are where it's at. Because your fingers are cozy together, they keep in a lot more heat than gloves do. I found these North Face Runners at REI that look decent. Plus, if you're a member, you'll earn dividend on your purchase. 

And for fashion and function, I really like these cute Thinsulate mittens that Ashley of (Never) homemaker featured recently.

Neck Gaiter - This is one of those items that could work multi purpose for running, cycling, skiing, and practically any outdoor adventure. The nice thing about a gaiter is that it stays close to your neck blocks the wind on those days you don't pull on a full running jacket or high-neck top. This SmartWool gaiter has a few fun patterns and looks a bit thicker with its double layers.

Good Socks - It may sound like a pretty boring gift to give someone, but honestly, any runner or cyclist will appreciate good socks. Plus, at $10-15 per pair, they aren't something easy to treat yourself to. A few sock brands I love or have hear good things about are: BalegaThorlo Experias, and Feetures. And while they may seem a tad expensive for socks, they last a long time. I still wear fancy running socks that I bought five years ago.

Cozy Vest - Okay, so this may lie more on the fashion and comfort side than the functional aspect of running or outdoors-ing, but with the popularity of vests and the amount of warmth and comfort they provide, don't underestimate the power of the vest. A few cute options for your post-run latte: Patagonia nano puffPatagonia Better Sweater Fleece VestOld Navy quilted tweed, and the Columbia Mighty Lite III.

A few of my other cold day + latte favorites are: this knit infinity scarf, this basket weave hat or this marled popover. And these Ugg slippers in grey (on my Christmas list) for that at-home latte.

What is your favorite piece of running gear? Is there anything you can't live without in the winter time? 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but I really love these quiet mornings on a special day (Thanksgiving!) before the sun rises when it's just me awake in the house. I'm excited for our 5K this morning as well as catching a few minutes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This afternoon, we'll head up to my grandparents for Thanksgiving with the family. I'm bringing the veggie tray and maybe some cranberry sauce as my grandma still does the whole sha-bang on Thanksgiving! Her rolls are the best.

If you're still needing something tasty to whip up for friends, family, or yourself, Minimalist Baker has a ton of drool-worthy recipes on tap for you.

Today I'm thankful for the manfriend, my family, my friends, and living in the Pacific Northwest. Every time I imagine leaving this place, it just seems nearly impossible to do.

As winter approaches, I'm already scheming up the number of times we can visit Bend, or do anything involving getting out to the snow and the mountains. And for the record, we already have two trips to Bend planned for January!

Last Saturday, I opted to skip yoga so the manfriend and I could head on a little hiking adventure - something I always say I want to do, but rarely make the time for.

The views and the long, winding drive to Kentucky Falls were worth it, however.

Don't be fooled by my seemingly normalness. There are days I look like a crazy tourist hiker and last Saturday was one of those...


And as usual, the debate begins in my mind. Will I go out on Black Friday or will I stay in where it's cozy and peaceful?

On the one hand, I'd like to pick up some new sheets at half price and a few other small things, but on the other hand, I could also do that via a little online shopping and avoid the day of craziness. 

Of course, if you're doing any online shopping, be sure to sign up for Ebates. It's free and easy and you'll get cash back on most purchases you make online. Seriously, there is no trick to it. You simply have to login to your Ebates account and from there navigate to the online store of your choice and you'll get a check in the mail once a quarter that you shop.

Are you doing any holiday shopping this weekend? 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating! 

Be sure to eat something you love, move your body a bit, and take a moment to reflect on the good stuff in life. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Embracing the Holidays

Thursday has arrived! Thursday is always a relief because when it's over, we're just around the corner from Friday. Wednesday and Thursday are my busiest days of the week, so it is pretty exciting to almost over the hump.

This year, I admittedly jumped into the holiday spirit early. I blame it on the extra cold temps sent our way over the past few weeks and all of the amazing recipes I'm seeing pop up everywhere. AND the fact that we'll get to celebrate with a white Christmas this year back in the Midwest!

A Few Things I'm Thankful for Right Now:

Holiday Music - Yep, guilty as charged! Two weeks ago I innocently popped in the Michael Buble's Christmas album in my car and it all went down hill from there. Once I listened to a few of my favorites, I was pretty much fine with listening to anything and everything Christmas. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

Candles - This vanilla snowflake candle from Bath & Body Works makes the house smell so good. Last year I got a peppermint one that I also loved, so I picked up a new one last week. It's amazing how a good smell can make you happier.

Turkey Day 5K - It's the little things like running a 5K on Thanksgiving morning that get me excited. The manfriend and I are signed up for the local Turkey Stuffer, so I guess he better start training! I haven't been doing much speed training, so I'll just be running for fun, but I'm already looking forward to it.

Layering up - Now that I'm able to be a bit more casual with my daily outfits, I am embracing layers and feeling comfortable, while still feeling put together. With the colder temperatures, it's been nice to throw on a puffy vest and scarf to stay warm.

Trader Joe's Treats - I found these last weekend at Trader Joe's and put them right in my basket. These are a mini version of the mint dark chocolate covered cookies they used to make. I actually prefer the minis because you can have just a few more. A few other things I'm looking forward to are the spiced apple cider and the candy cane Joe-Joe's.

Thanksgiving Thoughts
I'm starting to think about a few recipes I'd like to make for Thanksgiving - either for one of our family gatherings or just for the manfriend and I to enjoy.

One thing I'm making for sure is Oh She Glows' Sweet Potato Casserole. I love sweet potatoes, but I am not a fan of the candied yams that people do with tons of marshmallows or brown sugar and syrup many recipes call for. I'm especially excited for the crunch nut crumble on top! Angela has put together several other amazing vegan Thanksgiving spreads that put most people's tables to shame. Someday, I will make a Thanksgiving meal from top to bottom.

*I'm particularly fond of her Hockey Nuts recipe that is perfect for a party or giving to a friend or family member as a gift.

How is your week going? Do you have any Thanksgiving recipes to share that you'll be whipping up? Is anyone else running a turkey trot? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just. Keep. Going.

Alternate title: One Step at a Time

This topic is one near and dear to my heart, especially over the past year. For many years (5+) after college, I wondered when and what I would go back to school for. I have always known I would either continue down the marketing path, focus on health and wellness, or dive into something more creative like photography or graphic design.

After several years of hemming and hawing without any attempt at any of my other areas of strengths/interests, I was simply fed up with my own indecision. Jess Lively, a blogger and entrepreneur I have followed for several years has always promoted the idea of living intentionally and focusing on your strengths and interests. In fact, I'm highly certain I adopted the term 'Just Keep Going' from her.

There have been many times where I questioned "Is this REALLY what I want to be doing?" or "Can I hack three years of this plus an internship?" or "Will I be succeed?" There has been fear, excitement, breakdowns, and confusion.  

But amidst the fear and confusion, the thing that I've held tight to is that I just have to keep going. When I start to look at the big picture and what it takes to reach the end goal, I get overwhelmed. It seems like a mountain I won't be able to summit. But shockingly, when I think about things one baby step at a time, it doesn't seem so bad. 

So while the long term is the goal, the short term focus is what gives me strength and reassurance that reaching a big goal is just a matter of taking a lot of little steps.

This idea can be applied to a lot of other areas of life (forming new friendships, saving for a house/car/trip, learning a new skill, etc.).

How do you tackle a big goal? 

I hope you're surviving the arctic blast wherever you are. It's been pretty cold (for Eugene) getting into the 20s at night. Yesterday, I waited until it warmed up around 3 p.m. to a balmy 42 degrees to go running. But I won't complain too much because I know it could be worse. Plus, it's kind of fun to have to bundle up a bit more for our morning dog walks.