Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lumberjack with pretty feet

And the internet wins again.

This past weekend I finally did a few things that were long overdue. For one? I got a freaking pedicure!
I never do red. So mainstream of me.

It's probably been over a year since I've gotten one and, as with getting my hair cut, after I have it done and realize how much I needed it, I promise myself I'll do it more often. And then I don't.

Only time will tell.

The next thing I did that was long overdue has to do with a very large, ugly bush. Let's all get the giggles out of the way now. LARGE UGLY BUSH!

Ok, on to the story of said bush.

The first time I pulled up to my house (which wasn't mine yet) for an open house, my first thought was, "Holy crap, that large, ugly bush has got to go."

I mean, come on.

I vaguely remember asking the property manager if I could remove it and her telling me I'm not allowed. And then lately there have been break-ins in my neighborhood and what better place to hide than behind the LARGE UGLY BUSH, right? My agenda was clear: chop down the bush!

And so, saw in hand...


As you can see, there's still a stump there. I don't have the necessary tools to dig it out, but my brother suggested using the Jeep's 4-wheel-drive power to do it. Not surprisingly, I've already gotten an offer from a friend to do it for me...in exchange for beer. Aaaand...done.

Come spring, I plan on planting something much more aesthetically pleasing in the spot than the large, ugly bush. Suggestions welcome. Clearly, the HOA's landscaping company pretty much sucks at choosing greenery....and trimming it.

They trimmed this dude a couple months ago and left it like this.

Now, had they trimmed the large, ugly bush like this, I would have kept it.

I mean, who would burgle a house with this out front?


Thursday, November 7, 2013

A good day

You know what's funny? When you wear this to work and receive more than one compliment on how "dressed up you are" today.
Secret: It's ridiculously comfortable.

Apparently I'm normally dressed like a slob. I'll have to throw on a dress and leggings more often. That's the key to a raise, right?

So, on to the real reason for this post. It's been one of those months at work where I've felt like everything I do is fraught with disaster. (No, I'm not a drama queen. Why do you ask?) I walked into work today, however, and the clouds parted.

A project that I'd been working on designing, discussing, editing, redesigning, and making changes to since April is finally complete! I don't normally discuss my designs on here, but why the heck not?

Probably scarily accurate.

The typical pieces I get to design at work are one or two-color jobs, normally on white paper, and stapled if necessary. There are exceptions, of course, but just some background. My boss told me back in April that the MPA program in our School wanted a viewbook and that she wanted me to design it: colors, shape, paper type, all that. One of my coworkers wrote and edited the content.

Fast forward seven months:
Ain't it perty?

A few of the spreads

Along with the writing, designing, editing, meetings, and e-mails, we also hired photographers from different areas to take the great photos.

My favorite spread. That's one photo!

My crack at designing infographics. Kinda.

I took these pictures in my ill-lit office, so the actual piece has much better colors. Promise.

This, on the other hand, is a series of pieces I designed, photographed be a professional. Fancy, right?

In conclusion: I really have no point here except that I'm not sad I showed up for work today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 City of Oaks half marathon

If you follow me on social media, you already know that I completed my fourth half marathon. (I got a little annoying with the race photos.)

Many thanks to Will (Lindsey's BF) for being there after I finished to hang out.

This race was, by far, my favorite even with all the dang HILLS. For the first time, I had the opportunity to train AND run this race with friends. It makes such a huge difference. I ran with two friends who were running the full marathon and who had to stop to pee a couple of times. I didn't come close to a PR but I don't even care. Not even .1%. I ran into (no pun intended) calf cramps around mile 10, which slowed me down. My next race is at the beach, so I'll try for a PR next time. Maybe.

Lindsey, Molly, and me. Smiling. While RUNNING!

Aside from friends making this race awesome, a few other things stood out:
  • A church group handing out Twizzlers around mile 5
  • Mile 9-ish, a woman with a box of tissues for those in need (temps were in the mid-40s so snot was flowing)
  • Amazing police and volunteer involvement 
  • Firefighters at two fire houses outside cheering 
  • A pastor spectating outside of his church, fully robed
  • As finishers were approaching the finish line, their names were called over the speakers. 
You can't not fist pump at the sound of your name at this moment.

Also, after crossing the finish, the volunteer handing out medals shook my hand, congratulated me, and put the medal around my neck. That dude deserved a medal!

Well-placed photographer: WIN

This whole weekend was one that I won't soon forget. I think sometimes running to finish and not worrying about your time, but just on having fun, is important. I know people who disagree and that's just fine. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Crazy running arms

I've been putting a lot of thought lately into my running form. I'm sure I look like a total goober when I run, but that's not to say I plan on focusing on changing it any time soon. I'm not sure if it's because it's been so gross out that I've been trying to focus on something other than the heat, but I've been thinking a lot about what my arms are doing, in particular.

I've been seeing a lot of strange "running arms."

Yesterday at the gym I discovered "The Fly Swatter"

If you know this girl, please help her.

I've also noticed the "arms at sides," which just seems really difficult, along with the "exaggerated arm swing" and the "hands behind the back." Maybe that one is intended as practice for having to run if handcuffed?

According to most sources I've explored, I'd describe my bad running arms as the "cross my heart," which sounds nice, but apparently it's not right. I guess I should work on keeping my arms from sliding across my chest. Eh, we'll see.
That finger is always pointing at something to my right.

And, just for fun, the day I was so happy for the race to be over, I inadvertently did "The Phoebe."

Momma, you don't judge me on my "butt-tuck" running, do you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Charity Miles: too good to be true?

Today I finally researched something pretty interesting that I've been hearing about: Charity Miles. It's actually pretty awesome. I'm surprised it's not more popular.

Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.
Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. As you exercise, we'll track your distance and the money earned.

You download the app, choose a charity (from the 22 choices), and tell it whether you're running/walking or biking. It tracks your mileage via GPS and tells you how much money is donated to the charity you chose based on the distance. The only downside is that, since it works off GPS, you can't earn mileage from the treadmill or stationary bike.

Since I just discovered this today, I can't really speak to its integrity or how well it works, but in theory, it's an awesome idea.

Sara McLachlin would be proud to know that I plan on selecting the ASPCA as my charity of choice.

Runner, walker, and biker friends, have you heard of Charity Miles? 

If so, would you recommend it?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I've been absent from blogging for a while now. Basically? Life happened. Life, and me working through some things. Getting back to running after an almost five-month hiatus while dealing with a back "injury" has put a lot of things into perspective.

It feels like I'm starting over. My first run back was ok, but the resulting muscle pain was ridiculous. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I guess I figured maybe I'm lucky and I'll bounce back quickly.


Endurance is earned, not given. You have to earn that shit back, guys. It's no joke! My training plan for my next race doesn't start until next week, but since my first long run (next weekend...already!) is six miles, I knew I needed to work up to it and put in some base miles so I decided I wouldn't wait for the doctor's ok and started running again about a month ago. I'm quite the risk-taker.

I'm in LOVE with my shoes. Sorry, Brooks. I'm a traitor.

Before my running hiatus, I'd gotten to the point where I felt like I was comparing myself with my running counterparts (who are much more competitive and better runners than me) and it wasn't enjoyable anymore. I was almost ready to throw in the towel.


This past Sunday while I was running with my friend, Lindsey, we discussed this issue and I realized I wasn't the only one who'd experienced this "runner's guilt." We didn't have a particularly fast run and we weren't competing with each other. We ran at a comfortable pace and walked when we needed it. It was stress-free and, dare I say it, enjoyable! But we were still putting in the miles. I can't remember the last time before this year that I actually enjoyed a run. No, seriously.

Why was I comparing myself with everyone else? Why did I let it bother me that I'm slower than they are and not wanting to run longer races? Epiphany: Why not be in competition...with only myself? I know, novel idea, right? Welcome to adulthood, self.

Yes, my goal at my next race is to PR (and at the one after that and the one after that) but I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't. I'm just going to enjoy the journey...and embrace my inner tortoise.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Running again!

That's right. After five months of recovering, I'm back at it. It's been slow and annoying and I'm so frustrated with my loss of endurance, but I guess that's to be expected. I did a lot of hemming and hawing around what new shoes to try since I've never had a pair that didn't cause me pain of some sort (mainly in the form of blisters) and I ended up going with a pair of Asics GEL-Cumulus.

So far I've not run more than 3.5 miles so I'm not sure how they'll do for long runs, but for short ones, so far they're winning. I feel bad for cheating on Brooks. We had a good run (no pun intended), but I had to move on. I've also been painfully reminded how much it sucks running in the humidity. Summer forecast: dog breath.

Luckily I've found a group of awesome girls to run with which makes it so much more fun and motivating. Also, they like food as much as I do. It's a match made in heaven.
My first run back...in downtown Raleigh!

And now, to brighten up your hump day:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Of canine injuries and awesomely bad 80s jams

This past weekend I was tasked with the duty of dog-sitting Rocco again while my brother and some other mutual friends of ours went camping...and didn't invite me. But I'm over it...whatever!

An overview in pictures because, you know, if you can't say something nice and all that.

Lunch with the lovely ladies I'll be running City of Oaks with in November.

I didn't take a picture of it, but I also got a $50 parking ticket, which I've contested. Parking in Chapel Hill can suck it.

 Pippi vs. cat.
I made this one small. You're welcome.

(She got out the door to chase a cat while I was bringing Rocco in from his morning walk. Just from running at full speed a short distance to chase the damn cat into a sewer, all her claws started bleeding. I don't ever have to trim her back claws because they stay short, so she must just run with her claws at an odd angle).

Also, ever since this incident, every time we go for a walk she has to check out every sewer we walk past. She learns her lessons the hard way, this one.

high-tech dogshaming

Yes, that's how I spent my Sunday, followed by lots of wiping up of blood spots and washing rugs and blankets and towels. Dogs are AWESOME!

The high spot of my weekend?
iTunes is my hero.
I may or may not have sang out loud with headphones on...to the dogs (ha HA...payback!) 

Did YOU enjoy your three-day weekend?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three random facts

 ...because my life is kinda boring.

Fact 1: I like lumpy food.
Allow me to elaborate. You know how mashed potatoes aren't supposed to have lumps? I'd make them with lumps (Ross would want to eat my mashed potatoes). Also, when I have leftover rice and there are rice clumps? Those are my favorite. Also, lumpy oatmeal. Delicious.

Fact 2: I don't love thunderstorms.
You know how everyone claims to just love thunderstorms? I don't get it. What exactly is so appealing about them? The dog gets nervous, they knock out the power, thunder is loud... I don't see the appeal.

Fact 3: My dog is extremely modest.

What are your thoughts on thunderstorms? Any insight into why people love them so much?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1,000 pink poop bags

Well, since we last spoke, the chiropractor said that as long as my back continues to slowly heal, I can hopefully get back to running on Monday! It's a good thing, because I've also registered for my next half marathon.
Luckily it's not until November 3, so I have plenty of time to whine and cry about how out of shape I am while I'm getting back into shape. Yeehaw!

This past weekend I used my $200 flight voucher and took a trip up to New York to spend some QT with Shane. Unfortunately, it started out with my having to utilize an airplane barf bag, followed by losing out on my entire first afternoon/night there, as I slept for the next 18 hours straight. Lesson learned: Dramamine. For every flight. Also? I have absolutely no desire to ever go on a cruise. Being that sick for days on end on "vacation"? No thanks!
Apparently Dramamine will turn you into an airplane-
riding hippie.

Shane and I got to spend some time together (of course!) and also with his brother, sister-in-law, and 1-year-old nephew. Given the task of entertaining the baby and making sure he didn't eat the dogs' food, I realized that my innate reaction for stopping a child from doing something is to loudly say, "uh-uh!" which is the same thing I do to stop my dog from doing something. I think that means either I'm not ready to be a parent or that raising kids and raising dogs is just a lot alike.

Speaking of the dog, after her initial burst of crazy when I picked her up from four days at dog daycare, Pippi did this until we went to bed:

I even went back-and-forth to the kitchen making dinner and she didn't follow me. Her level of exhaustion was that intense. It was so wonderful.

Little does she know, her momma ordered something extra special from Amazon last night.
Now she can poop to her little heart's content!

1,000 pink poop bags for less than $20. About nine months ago my mom bought me a pack of maybe 300 bags and we're just now running out, so unless Pippi starts going five times a day, we're set for at least a couple years. My color choices were black, blue, or pink, so my choice was clearly made for me.

My original reason for going to Amazon was to order some new "ear tips" for my ear buds because I lost one and not having music to drown out the conversations on the bus to work is painful. How I got from headphones to poop bags? Your guess is as good as mine.

In closing, today is my nephew-dog's 4th birthday!
He's so lucky for his jokester cousin and aunt with access to Photoshop.

Parents of children and dogs: Do you find yourself disciplining them similarly?

Do you hoard odd things...like poop bags?