Friday, March 30, 2012

Ashley's Photo Challenge...One Day Late

Photo Challenge:  Something that REALLY annoys me ~  Storms... I don't find them "relaxing" like some people say... they are way too unpredictable for my liking.  I am not afraid of them; just would rather they not exist.  Rain by itself however...that I do find relaxing.  Unless of course I want to be outside!

Alrighty then, for next week's photo challenge, I want the more colorful thing you can find!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: Spring Break Edition

Yay for Spring Break!  My mom and I just got back from a great little getaway to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  It's a small town, obviously by a lake, full of cute little shops and restaurants.  We found some amazing spots, that I just had to point out to people in the general area!

Our favorite by far was Simple Cafe.

Simple is an adorable little cafe just outside of downtown that serves breakfast and lunch.  They buy as much of their food locally as they can, which I thought was pretty cool.  We loved this place so much, we went twice.  In two days.  I had breakfast both times.  Yum.

We also loved Boatyard Bagel Co.  This place is what you would probably guess-- a bagel shop.  They have awesome bagel sandwiches!  I had "The Anchor" with apple, chicken, and brie, and it was ridiculous.  I had to text Ashley that we are coming back.  It was that good.

Not having to work brings the amazing freedom to eat what I want...and I realized this morning that, it's Wednesday!  So, I started taking pictures.

Here's what I ate...Spring Break style!

Pre-run snack
6:30 am

Banana ( was early)

Post-run snack
8 am

Oatmeal-Raisin (well, in my case, cranberry) Breakfast Cookie from Chocolate Covered Katie (also unpictured...still early)

9:30 am

Breakfast Sandwich with potatoes at Simple
  Realized it was Wednesday halfway in.  Coffee was certainly consumed as well!

1:30 pm

Yep, forgot the picture of this one too.  I had a black bean burger with yogurt and an apple.  Wanted something crunchy, so I finished it off with buttered popcorn rice cakes.

3 pm

I remembered the picture on this one--promise!  Google+, however, disagrees and won't upload it.  I was still surprisingly hungry after lunch (lesson learned- I really can't break my eating routine!), so I had a fairly odd combo of a pumpkin Vitatop with cottage cheese.  It tasted like pumpkin cheesecake.  Winner!


Spinach Artichoke Muffin Pizzas with zucchini and cookies
The pizzas were inspired by this recipe from Get Healthy with Heather.  I definitely want to try the real version of this pizza when I have the motivation!  I had some zucchini (yay green!) and some more oatmeal-raisin breakfast cookies along with it.

8:30 pm

Apple, Multi-Grain Cheerios, and almond milk
I have a small addiction to cereal.

There is something so liberating about just being able to eat when I want to!

Thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW!  The second time was just as fun as the first!

What was the best thing you ate today?
Am I the only one who gets excited about not having to eat "around" my work schedule?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On my way to a 5K

Hi Everyone,
   Ashley here to update all of you on my progress with the couch to 5k program I found here.  I have also downloaded an application on my phone called "Rundouble"  it is set up like a 5K program and also has a pretty cool speaking feature that tells me when to warm up, run, briskly walk, run and then cool down.  I like having the timed feature so I can't be too easy on myself and not really run when I'm supposed to.   I've got a long way to go before I can be comfortable out there running but I'll get there, one thing I do have is quite a bit of confidence about this.   Anyway, Spring has sprung here in Illinois so I've been getting outside often and have bumped up my walking to 3miles.  I'm not comfortable doing this yet and find myself a little out of breath going uphill still, again something that will come with time. 

So on my way to a 5k I've:
  • Purchased my first official pair of running pants (no more unofficial sweats for this girl!)
  • Researched some shoes that I'll only wear for running ; so far my top two choices are these which are from Reebok.  I tried them on this weekend and I liked them because of the flexibility and lightweight feel and these which are from New Balance.  I haven't tried these on yet but when searching for a shoe with the comfort features I want, I got these as a result and do plan to do more research on them. 
  • Gone from just simple short walks, to 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 2 miles, 2.5 miles and now I'm at 3miles.
  • Found myself really studying different routes and apps.
  • Also found myself ridiculously excited about running quotes.
  • Now I listen to the beat of songs on the radio to determine if its a "good" running song.

This is my "On my way to 5k"  to-do list:
  • Purchase more official running clothes
  • Purchase running shoes
  • Jog/Walk a mile for a week then move up until I hit 3miles
  • Jog/walk with a buddy to keep pace
  • Sign up for my first 5K!

At this point, I'm content taking my time, I really don't like how it makes me feel when people pressure me to do more than I feel I can.  This has already been an experience for me but I like it so far.  Now that I am totally like Amy and want to enjoy this running thing I'll quote her by saying

"If you push yourself too hard you're going to hate it"   So here's to taking my time, keeping my pace and feeling love instead of hate!!

Also Congrats to Sisters, Spaces and Stuff as this is post will make 101 for us!  Woo hoo!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

These are a few of our favorite things!

Weekends are for sister dates (both on our blog and in real life, haha).  After a fun "sister date" yesterday (Amy and I went to see The Hunger Games movie and then enjoyed some delicious dinner at Cheesecake Factory).  We've decided to do a blog about some of our favorite things!!

Favorite book:
Ashley:  I'm a fan of all books written by Nicholas Sparks, but my favorite of his is The Rescue.
Amy: No surprise that I became a middle school English teacher when you hear my favs:  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, and The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.

Favorite food:
Ashley:  Pasta!
Amy: It's probably the world's most boring answer, but I LOVE bread.  I could seriously make a meal of it, if I didn't know anything about nutrition and was OK with being hungry within an hour, lol.

Favortie article of clothing:
Ashley:  I love my NIU hoodies, warm and cozy!
Amy: I LOVE long tank tops...not sure why.

Favorite time of day:
Ashley:  I like evenings, about 7pm, because the work day is over, most times dinner is made, eaten and cleaned up, and I can relax and reflect on the day. If it was a good day I like telling Matt the funny stories; if it wasn't that great of a day I usually just enjoy some quiet time.
Amy: I started off saying a "ditto" to Ashley's, but when I think about it, I am becoming more and more of a morning person.  Nothing better than my quiet time on weekends eating breakfast and drinking coffee.

Favorite thing to do:
Ashley:  Lately I've really enjoyed having time to read books and of course blogs!
Amy: I really like going on long walks and talking with people I care about...cheesy, I know.

Favorite vacation spot:
Ashley: I haven't been on many vacations too far from home.  One place that I know I look forward to is Wisconsin.   Matt and I go to Vegas this week, my first time on an airplane and my first time in Vegas! 
Amy: The more I think about it, the more amazing I think New York is.  I would love to go back...but I have lots of other places to check off my list first!

Favorite spot to be in your house:
Ashley:  I am most comfortable in the living room or my bedroom if I want quiet.
Amy: I love my little corner spot on the couch.  My bed is also pretty awesome.  And...I love sitting on my back porch on a nice day.  Hm...I pretty much like all the places in my house!  :)

Favorite item in your posession:
Ashley:  My photo albums are by far my favorites becuase I put a lot of work into all of them, and I enjoy looking through pictures over and over.
Amy: Hmm...well I pretty much love my Kindle.  I do, however, have little items that make me think of different people that I find really special.  My birthstone ring, my maid of honor book from Ashley's wedding, etc.

Favorite childhood memory:
Ashley:  I have many favorite memories, but I think that my favorite would be being able to go back outside to play after dinner in the summer because it stayed light outside until almost 9pm.
Amy: The first ones to pop into my head were having indoor picnics with my mom and Ashley and playing games with my Dad.  :)

Favorite TV show:
Ashley:  Total fan of The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars.
Amy: Right now, I am sooo into The Biggest Loser.  I'm also quite the Gleek!  :)

Favorite movie:
Ashley:  I could watch and rewatch the movie UP.  Its so cute and such a good story.
Amy: I'm not a huge movie person, but I really like Batman Begins, Shakespeare in Love, and the Transformers movies.  Quite an interesting mix...huh?

Favorite work out:
Ashley:  I like going for walks... I'm almost to the point where I might start doing my Couch to 5k program.  I'm following the plan I found here.
Amy: Running.  Hands down.  Although I do miss spin class!

Favorite accessory:
Ashley:  The necklace that Amy made me for Christmas!  She blogged about them on this post.
Amy: My go-to is always my knock-off (oops...secret's out!) Tiffany's necklace that looks like a ribbon.  I get lots of compliments on it, and it has an important meaning for me.

Favorite cosmetic must-have:
Ashley:  Eye liner!  I never used to wear it, but now I feel like my eyes look tired if I don't use it to open them up.
Amy: Mascara.  If I'm not wearing it, I feel like I look sick.

Favorite part of your job:  
Ashley:  Making memories.
Amy: Those unexpected moments when you realize you're making a difference.

Favorite thing to do on a summer day:
Ashley: It doesn't happen often, but a few times a summer Matt and I will go to the zoo... it's super fun! 
Amy: Sit outside with people I love and chat.  So relaxing!

These are just some of our favorite things (shout out to Julie Andrews!), now we want to know what are some of your favorite things??

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Sacrifices for a Race

I love sports, particularly seeing them live.  So, when a friend from work texted me to ask if I would be interested in going to a Milwaukee Brewers game in May, I was pumped! 

I want to say Go Cubs under this picture...but I say that every year, and you know how that goes.  So, I'm keeping my mouth shut!  :)

Until...I checked my calendar.

The game, which is quite a drive from where I live, is the night before my upcoming half marathon.  Uh oh.

Being the nervous racer that I am, I told her I'd have to think it over.  In talking to another friend from work the next day, she said to me " can't let your races run your life."

Which got me thinking...when is it OK to make sacrifices for a race, and when is it not worth it?  So, here's my two cent's worth.

Worth it: Getting up a little earlier to squeeze your run in.  And sometimes necessary to juggle a training plan and time with family and friends!

Not: Going home from something early because you have to run in the morning.  Especially when friends are involved.

Could I really have skipped out on a fun night like this just to run in the morning?!?  No sir-ee!
Worth it: Rearranging your training schedule from impromptu plans.  Luckily I'm still good at this one.  I think it would make me angry at running, and that's no fun!

Not: Skipping out on plans because it might affect or make you miss your run.  Guilty.  But I will not give specifics, as I am kind of ashamed.  It's probably a sin.  Fill in the blanks.

Worth it: Leaving work a little earlier than usual to fit your run in before sunset.  This only applies, of course, if you're a teacher like me or have some other job in which you generally work 10 hours but only get paid for 8.

Not: Getting super paranoid in the week or two before a race. It probably just annoys your family and friends.  Sorry, fam!

Needless to say, I'm going to the game.  I won't lie and say that I'm not going to worry about what I eat or what time I get to bed, and I certainly won't be going out afterwards.  However, there are just some things that aren't worth giving up.  I just need to shift my mind set that going a baseball game the night before a race does not mean I won't meet my goal.

What sacrifices are worth it for you when it comes to races?  What sacrifices are not worth it?

It's Thursday, so we can't forget about Ashley's Photo Challenge!
Challenge:  A photo of one of my favorite traits about myself.

One of my favorite traits is one that I am trying to work harder on... that is my personality and learning to enjoy life instead of stressing about it!!  The best memories are made by doing out of the ordinary things!

For next week, I'd like to see a picture that relates to something that REALLY annoys you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Have you ever found yourself wishing there were more hours in a day?  The feeling that your life is going much faster than you can, and the end of the "to-do" list seems impossible to get to?  I find myself feeling that way often lately.  Then I tell myself stop... if there were more hours in a day, I'd find more ways to fill those hours, which would add to my never ending "to-do" list.  I'm  pretty fortunate that I have help accomplishing tasks but I still like things done my way so I choose to do most things myself.   Now that our house is done being painted I have found the project list growing by leaps and bounds and figured I'd bring my list to our blog for thoughts from all of you. 

I posted some pictures of our finished bedroom and the staircase here , the rest of the house was done in Sherwin-Williams: Bungalow Beige so the color doesn't show well in photographs.  Our biggest project now is our accent wall painted in Sun dried Tomato , also by Sherwin-Williams. 

I know this wall needs something.... I have a big mirror that I am thinking about hanging in the open space but Matt votes a large vintage looking clock (of course another thing to remind me there really are only 24 hours in a day)  So we need help!  A Mirror?  A clock?  or something totally different.  We are looking to hang something in the area where the big annoying glare from the light is... this glare isn't always there just in pictures I guess.

So now that we may get a little boost helping us with that project, I'll go back to the comment I made earlier about wishing there was more time in a day.   The sun rises and sets on all of us the same and there are people less fortunate than I am, so I'll take life as it comes to me even if I feel like I can't keep up.

Since my goal of painting the house has been met I just want to add a quick update on my workout routine.  The weather has turned over a new leaf and getting outside is awesome.  I've bumped myself up to a 2 mile comfortable/brisk paced walk and my goal for this week is to add that 3rd mile.  Once I'm comfortable with a 3 mile walk I want to go back down to a 1 mile walk/jog and move up from there.  I'm actually kind of excited to accomplish this goal!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amy and Ashley A-to-Z

If you ever read our blog (particularly on weekends), you know that we love surveys.  So, when Janetha over at Meals and Moves started this one, I was pretty ecstatic.  Here goes nothing!

A is for age:
Amy: I'm 27.  Still mid-20's, thank you very much.
Ashley:  I'm 25...mid-20's and I feel old...

B is for breakfast today:
Amy: I tried this Cinnamon Apple Cake Bake from here.  It was so yummy and kept me full all the way until lunch, even though I got up obscenely early. 

Ashley: I didn't eat breakfast today  (oops!)

C is for currently craving:
Amy: A smoothie...but I think I'm just thirsty.
Ashley: Something salty like pita chips

D is for dinner tonight:
Amy: Another blog recipe!  I fired up the crockpot and made Cilantro Lime Chicken.  Really yummy, and already looking forward to the leftovers!  (Gotta love gives the best ideas!)

Ashley: Just a chicken sandwich...light but satisfying.

E is for favorite type of exercise:
Amy: I am definitely a runner at heart...but I have really developed an appreciation for strength workouts lately.  I'm loving ab work lately.

Ashley:  I feel most relaxed going for a walk, either at a slow or brisk pace.

Oh look...a picture of me running.  Who would have thought?

F is for an irrational fear:
Amy: For some reason, I FREAK OUT when the power goes out.  I have to sleep with noise, and no power means no fan.  I don't like silence.  Weirdo.

Ashley: I really don't like things I can't predict.  It causes me crazy anxiety.

G is for gross food:
Amy: Peas.  Yuck.
Ashley:  Fish...blah

H is for hometown:
Amy: Add it to the irrational fears (although I don't necessarily find this one irrational), but I'm not a fan of giving out my location.  We'll just say the Chicago suburbs.

Ashley:  agree with Amy

I is for something important:
Amy:  My family.  And friends I consider family.  They rock.

Ashley:  My family for sure!

J is for current favorite jam:
Amy: Well, if we're talking the figurative meaning of jam...I sure can rock out to Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" in the car.  If we're talking food, I'm counting the pumpkin butter I got from Trader Joe's.  Not sure if it qualifies as jam, but I'm also not sure that I care.  :)

Ashley:  I'm really not a fan of the food "jam" but like Amy I can rock out to quite a few songs on the radio. 

K is for kids:
Amy: I spend my day with 160 of them.  Never a dull moment.

Ashley:  LOVE EM!

L is for current location:
Amy: My lovely little office, which is long overdue for an overhaul.

Ashley:  My finally completely painted living room!

M is for the most recent way you spent money:
Amy: Treats for some special people with a little guy on the way.

Ashley:  Painting the house.

N is for something you need:
Amy: Bananas...eek!  I'm almost out!

Ashley:  Groceries in general... cooking up dinner for the next few days will be a challenge our pantry is empty!

O is for occupation:
Amy: Teacher.

Ashley:  Child Care provider/ Early Childhood educator (thats what my degree says)

P is for pet peeve:
Amy: When someone says "I'll also have _____ too."  If you say "also," you don't need the "too!"  Neurotic English teacher moment.

Ashley:  Arguing... I hate it when someone always has to argue with what you say.

Q is for a quote:
Amy: Love this one that I pinned today: "The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start."  I can't read the author, so I'm linking it.

Ashley:  I've recently found a random quote on pinterest that says "No matter how slow you're going you're always going faster than the person sitting on the couch"  I've found it very inspirational  for me beginning my work out regimen.

R is for random fact about you:
Amy: Apple Pie is my specialty.

Ashley:  I have an unusually high level of patience and can ignore things some people can't stand (like the crying child in a restaurant).

S is for favorite healthy snack:
Amy: PB on whole wheat bread.

Ashley: lately it's been string cheese...I like the mid-day energy boost it gives me.

T is for favorite treat:
Amy: Cereal.  It's dangerous.

Ashley: Peanut butter cups!

U is for something that makes you unique:
Amy: Well, I sing random songs...often.  And my toes bend backwards.

Ashley:  Oh I don't know... I can make my voice sound like a chipmunk from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

V is for favorite vegetable:
Amy: Zucchini

Ashley:  Celery

W is for today’s workout:
Amy: Nada.  Sunday's my rest day.

Ashley:  I didn't work out today... I guess running up and down the stairs in my house 10 times to try to control a water leak issue we had.

X is for X-rays you’ve had:
Amy: The general chest x-ray when you're sick and mouth at the dentist.  I think I had one on my knee when I blew it out before college...but not sure.

Ashley:  Same as Amy, general chest x-ray and my mouth.  Nothing else luckily (knock on wood!)

Y is for yesterday’s highlight:
Amy: Spending the day with some of my favorite people.

Ashley:  Spending the day with the same people Amy spent the day with... was super fun!!

Z is for your time zone:
Amy: Central

Ashley: Central

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Running Roadblocks

The weather here is amazing.  Totally amazing.  In fact, I find it a little ridiculous that I am in here blogging right now, haha.  We went from this just a week or so ago... this today...
Yesterday, I was totally excited to get out and run--in shorts and a tank top, might I add.  I had a tempo run scheduled, and it ended up being an EPIC failure.  Very frustrating.  So, this got me thinking of this article I saw on Runner's World not too long ago about roadblocks to running.  To bounce back from yesterday's rough one, I thought today would be a good time to brainstorm some solutions to my biggest roadblocks...maybe it will help you too!

Roadblock:  Energy Crash
I seem to have a tendency to not feel well when I run in the afternoon.  In the morning, this is rarely an issues, but some afternoons my energy suddenly plummets after only a mile or so.

Solutions: In yesterday's case, it became abundantly clear to me that I need to me more careful about what I'm putting in my body in the afternoon and when.  The culprit yesterday was definitely my beloved diet pop.  So, I've got to commit to no more pop before I run.  Monday's run wasn't great (not an epic failure), but I remembered later that after school I ate and then came straight home to run.  Need to give it a little more time, missy!

Also, I try to get myself to just cover the mileage, even if I have to walk.  Of course, then I come home furious about my time, but that serves as a good motivator for next time.

Roadblock: Thinking too much about how much I have left

Solutions: I sure do love my RunKeeper app on my phone, but I definitely need to just turn it off every once in awhile.  The reminders of your pace are great, but sometimes they turn into reminders of how far you have yet to go.  I need to remember to just run for fun sometimes! 

Another good solution for me, the teacher, is to think about lesson plans.  I come up with some of my best ideas while I'm running, and, consequently, these are some of my best runs!  When I get my mind out of it and just go, good things happen!

Roadblock: The evil shin splints

Solutions: I decided to try wearing a compression sleeve on my right leg, which is oddly the only one that is giving me trouble.  I'm about 2 1/2 weeks in, and so far, so good!  I have learned, though, that wearing it after is just as important, if not more so, as wearing it during my run.  I can definitely feel the difference in the hours after a run if I don't have the compression sleeve on.  Interesting what this will do to my routine when warm weather rolls around and I want to wear capris...maybe I'll just have to bust out the screaming-hot-pink ones!  :)  I've also given kinesiology tape a shot, and it helped, but I find the compression sleeves to be much more user-friendly (although much more expensive).

Well...I feel better!  Sometimes all you need is a little action plan!

What are YOUR running roadblocks?  How do you overcome them?

We changed up the routine a little this week, so here is Ashley's photo challenge for the week:
Challenge :  A day I thought was going to be OK but kinda turned out not as planned but now I can laugh about it.

A silly picture for sure... unfortunately it was taken on the first day of our honeymoon in Wisconsin.  The reason why I thought it would be awesome is because we were on vacation! Celebrating our wedding.  You see the weather on our wedding day was gorgeous, sunny, slight breeze and 75 degrees... we got to Wisconsin the morning after our wedding and it was about 50 degrees and freezing cold and rainy... therefore our honeymoon turned into a "stuck inside because of the weather" honeymoon and all of our plans for shows to see and things to do were washed away (literally!)  Now I can laugh about it because just knowing all of the other things we went through to get to our wedding day (drama, drama, drama) having a not so "sweet" honeymoon seemed to follow suit!

And next week's challenge:  A picture that shows one of your favorite traits about yourself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our First WIAW

This past weekend, Ashley, Matt, and I decided to do a New Recipe Night.  So...we figured why not go for it and jump in to Jen's awesome What I Ate Wednesday Party over at Peas and Crayons!

Amy's Breakfast
7:45 am

On weekends (we logged our meals from Sunday), I like to take my time with breakfast.  So, I made some Brown Rice Porridge from a recipe I found on Newest Obsession.  The recipe is actually for Cherry Vanilla Brown Rice Porridge, but I replaced the cherries with mixed berries, since it's what I had, and I replaced the protein powder with PB (yum!).  It was a fun switch from oatmeal!  Of course, iced coffee followed.

Ashley's Breakfast
8:00 am

The breakfast I'd vote the "BESTfast" lately is Multi-Grain Cheerios!! Just plain, no milk, Yes I know thats weird and even my husband says i'm weird.

Ashley's Lunch
11:30 am

I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product but I had some rice for lunch.

Amy's Lunch
12:15 pm


 I am all about egg sandwiches lately, so this one is made up of egg, ham, and spinach (there's my green, if you can see it!) on whole wheat bread.  On the side I had some butternut squash (bought a huge package of it at Costco) with cinnamon and a little maple syrup.  When I was finished, I was still a little hungry, so I dipped into the quinoa bread (found on Clean Eating Chelsey's awesome blog) I made for later with a little pumpkin butter.

 Amy's Snack
2:30 pm

I didn't want to be too hungry before heading over to Ashley and Matt's for Selection Sunday, so I went for my gigantic bag of pears (I rocked my Costco trip) and a rice cake.  Before the show, we had some edamame, but forgot to take a picture (we WOULD miss the picture of the green!).  Had to toss my cutting board in there, because it's just too cute!

Ashley's Snack
2:30 pm

 My first time trying this snack mix, and I give it two thumbs up!

5:30 pm

 It was Matt's turn to pick for New Recipe Night, and he went with White Chicken Chili.  Ashley and I decided on this recipe that we found on Sweet Treats & More.  It was delish!  I have been loving the leftovers!

Amy's Dessert
8:00 pm
I have a slight addiction to sweets before bed, so I went the healthy route and made a green smoothie with spinach, mango, coconut milk, and banana topped with some Multi-Grain Cheerios...good stuff!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

House Progress!

Hello Readers,
  Ashley here, If you have been keeping up with our posts about goals and resolutions for 2012 you already know that one of my goals was to get the house painted.  This week is the week that is happening in our house!   So for this post I'm going to focus more on updating you all on the progress of this huge step for making our house a home, my photography posts will resume next week! 

Master bedroom


There is still a bit more work to do before I have a set of "complete" pictures but by the end of the week it will be done!!  I can't wait for that.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Once...Now I..

Weekends are pretty fun for us here on the blog, as we write this post together.  It's always fun (and a little challenging) to come up with something to write about.  This week, we thought we'd take a little peek into how we've changed over the years.  I (Amy) am up first:

I once...danced ballet.  Very briefly.

Pretty enthusiastic ballerina pose.
Now I...spend a couple of Friday nights every school year teaching my students some pretty sweet moves (i.e. the shopping cart and sprinkler) at dances.

I once...was told by my dad to pick Florida to win the NCAA tournament.  I didn't.  They won.  Amy's bracket was ruined.

Now I...will certainly be calling my dad for his pick before I finalize my bracket!  :)

I once...dreamed of having a big brother.

Now I...have a pretty fantastic brother in law to watch sports and kibitz (haha) with!

Ashley's turn!

I used to …. Hate all sports
Now I…. look forward to Hockey games and baseball season

I used to…. Dread gym class and stressed out about it immensely
Now I… am trying to come up with a fun exercise routine and am totally stress free about it!

I used to… complain about a lot of things which caused a lot of drama in my life
Now I… don’t sweat the small stuff (at least not AS much) and I pick my battles.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All about the light...or is it?

Now that I have a reason to really get into photography, I find myself really wanting to take a course to learn to make my photos worthy of being hung up on the wall.  A few times a week, I login to Pinterest and look at the photography boards of a bunch of people.  Some days I find a ton of inspirational photos, and other days not so much, but, lately, I've been really into nature photos.  If only nature was a little more predictable and didn't move so fast. 

Anyway, tonight the moon is HUGE up in the sky.  I saw it while I was driving home today and wanted to stop and take a picture but didn't think that the car behind me would like that very much, so I kept going and tried to snap a picture when I got home.  My little point and shoot camera just wasn't having the distance and wasn't letting me snap a clear picture without the flash on, so no pictures of that.  I stood out on my patio, frustrated, wishing I had the big camera to lug around that could zoom in on the moon and make people oohh and ahh when they saw the picture... NO LUCK.  So I found myself thinking that if the light was a little better, I could get a good picture... (now thinking) Well duh if it was light out there would be no moon ya dork! 

So anyway.. I've been going round and round in my own head asking --- is it REALLY all about the light? 

I've gone through my collections of photos (and yes I have many!) and found some photos that really are all about the light!

My own challenge to myself for next week is to figure out how to make my point and shoot camera take pictures like a big SLR camera!  I still have some more saving to do before I'm able to lug around the camera and take the classes that will teach me how to use it but...for now I'll keep trying to take a good picture of the moon!    dreaming....   = )

Photo Challenge Results:  
Challenge:  A photo of a day I thought was going to go very badly but actually turned out OK.

May 9, 2009-  My Graduation day.  I was set to graduate at 5:00 PM which left me all day to DREAD it, and I sure did.  A huge arena packed to the brim with people who don't even know me but will be hearing my name being called... watching me and 1 other person cross the stage to be handed an empty diploma cover.  That minute or two of my life was extremely important but just didn't seem to be worth my time, hours sitting waiting for ONE minute.  I remember begging my mom to allow me to NOT walk at Graduation and her saying "you have to you worked so hard for this."  I remember asking Amy how many stairs there were to get to the stage (wondering how many chances I had to trip and humiliate myself).  I remember spelling out our last name letter by letter and writing 2 different ways to pronounce it CORRECTLY... and it turns out that lining up with the 40 girls that I spent 2 years of my life with was one of the best moments of my life (yes that's correct...when your major is Early Childhood you do spend two years of your life in classes of only females).  We had so much in common that we never really let sink in until we we faced with that big stage, crossing over to our future.  By 7pm that night, it was all done--no tripping, no falling, no humiliation, no mispronouncing my name... just me... the college graduate-  with my empty diploma cover and a whole lotta memories!

Alrighty time for next week's challenge...let's reverse this week.

How about something that reminds you of a day that kind of sucked...but now you can laugh about it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How I Became a Runner

In the past few weeks, it seems like I've been talking running with people a lot...which is awesome.  In many of my conversations, people have brought up how I started running, which really wasn't very long ago.  So, I thought it would be fun to look at what turned me into a runner.

Hands down, I have to attribute my becoming a runner to my lovely freshman roommate, Amanda.  She is an avid runner, and I have known it from the start.  She even founded a running club at our school and asked me to be the PR chair (since I was an English major).  I never...and I do mean never, not a single one...joined the group for runs, but I did save all the newsletters I put together!  :)  (Funny how, now, I would LOVE to have that running club so close at hand when I never took advantage of it back then!

Luck sure was on our side when the computer randomly matched us as roomies!
Although I was always reluctant to participate, I constantly admired runners from a distance.  Then, I graduated and started working.  My best work friend is a runner too...what a coincidence!... and we decided to start walking/jogging together.  As I saw a little success with that, I decided--I can do this!

That is when I looked up the Couch to 5K plan.  It worked wonders for me.  I followed it religiously, and the success I felt from it truly started the addiction.  It wasn't until a several weeks in that I finally told my old roomie about it.  :)

At this point, a lot of things changed for me.  I went through a nasty break-up, had to move back in with my parents, and was really struggling emotionally.  I felt like my whole world had been turned upside-down, and I jumped into running head-first.

Enter the college roomie yet again.  She really came through for me when I needed her the most, and we started running together on a weekly basis.  I looked forward to these runs so, so much, and, when she sent me the link to a 5K, I joined, and the work began!

Finally, it was time for the big race.  With the support of Amanda, Ashley, and Matt, I met my time goal and had an AMAZING experience.  I was officially hooked!

Definitely a great time...although I may not look like it, haha
Soon enough, I did a few more races, set my eyes on a 10k...and then decided...hey, why not try a half marathon?  I did some research, found a plan, and went for it.  That brings us to the blog era, so you can read about my half marathon adventures:  pre-race jitters, my first half recap, deciding to go for it again, and trying my own training plan.

So, now, here I am, officially a runner.  I love that my love for running has developed because of people I love and is starting to spread to people I love.  Looking ahead, I can't wait to...
  • Feel the excitement of hitting my sub 2:00 half marathon goal.
  • Run the Chicago Marathon (2013!!!)
  • Run a 5k with some loved ones who are going for it for the first time
How did YOU get into running?