Homebody: My January Cure

6 Jan

In an effort to branch out more with blogging, I’d like to include more home content here. As a new homeowner, I’m interested in and participating in more home improvement projects. Zach and I would would like to improve our home while we’re there — maybe we will live there forever, but if we don’t, we want to be able to sell it for more than we bought it for. Our first big project is on the horizon: We are getting new windows installed any day now (the company is just waiting for a good weather day to do it)! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that, as we have two huge picture windows on the front of our house that are old and needing replaced.

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep the inside of our home as nice as possible, but it’s tough to keep the clutter under control. When we lived in our apartment, I feel like it was easier to keep it nice because it was so small I was kind of forced to. Now I have lots of storage where I can stash things which is a recipe for disaster!

I decided to participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure this year which will kick start a year of keeping our home clean and organized. The first task was to complete a list of projects, room by room which was pretty easy for me. This weekend’s tasks were to buy flowers:

photo 1 photo 2

I ended up getting two bunches of flowers at the grocery store for $1/each (they were on Manager’s Special), which instantly brightened up our main living space. I’m always so glad when I buy fresh flowers for the house, even if it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile expense when I’m at the store.

The next task I tackled for the weekend was to stock up on ‘green’ cleaners. I ended up just stocking up on vinegar and baking soda, to make my own. I followed this recipe and put it into an old Mr. Clean spray bottle:

Basically, I just combined the vinegar, baking soda, dishsoap and lemon essential oil and let it foam up for a while:

photo 2 (1) photo 3

..then filled the bottle with water. I used this cleaner to clean up everything this weekend, and it worked very well and smelled great! I’m a big fan of using vinegar and baking soda as cleanser, if only for the reason that it’s so much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff (even the green cleansers). In fact, I cleaned my oven last month and because I despise those stinky chemical cleansers so I sprayed my oven down with a vinegar/water/lemon juice mixture and sprinkled the whole thing with baking soda. Then I just sat down with a bucket of warm water and scrubbed away. You wouldn’t believe how sparkling clean my oven got! I will never go back to those stinky oven cleaners again.

The final task for this weekend was to thoroughly clean all the floors in the house. Basically, we were to pretend that a floor inspector would be checking our work when we were done. We have a 3 bedroom Cape Cod house, in which the entire upstairs is our bedroom. We have a full bath, walk in closet, bedroom and sitting room up there. The rest of the bedrooms/bathrooms are downstairs. It was definitely a huge selling point for me, it’s so nice having that space up there just for us, and I think that will be the case as our family grows. It’s all carpeted up there and the floors do not see the care that the downstairs hardwood does. So, I started up there first thing Sunday morning. I quickly noticed that the tricky part about this task was that I was going to have to do some other cleaning/organizing before I was able to clean the floors as thoroughly as I would like. Example: Our closet

I love our closet

I love our closet

I really love this closet. Again, it was a huge selling point when we decided on our house. It’s a full walk in, one side for Zach and one for me. We even have a cute little window in there to brighten things up. Lots of shelves above, tons of space. But my side basically looked like a bomb had gone off. Poor Zach was being overrun by my mess. Especially now that I’m having a little trouble fitting into my clothes, I would throw things around in there. Well, I knew I’d have to get everything off the floor to properly vacuum in there so I figured, why not go ahead and re-organize? I’ll spare you the details (although they are pretty fascinating to me), but I’m so glad I did it. It was so easy to get dressed this morning.

Doesn't it look nice? Now to keep it that way...

Doesn’t it look nice? Now to keep it that way…

After I finished vacuuming upstairs, cleaning the baseboards and mopping the bathroom, I vacuumed the stairs and it was all downhill from there. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do clean my hardwood floors once a week (ish), so downstairs wasn’t too hard. I did keep in mind the very thorough nature of the cleaning project, so I broke the house into sections. I would sweep with the broom to get the big stuff, then run the vacuum on the bare floor setting, then use a paper towel and my green cleaner to get the corners, then mop. I seriously could not stop looking at my clean floors when all was said and done:

photo 3 (1)

Ignore that bare corner where the Christmas tree used to reside. I need to do something with that space…

The first week of the January Cure was a success! I’m definitely inspired to keep going and hopefully by the end of the month we’ll see a serious improvement in the cleanliness/organization of our house!

Question of the Day:
Has the new year inspired you to clean up your house? 

 

 

What to do When Your Pants Won’t Fasten

2 Jan

Wear a dress and tights. Done and done.

….just kidding. Honestly though, it’s the first (ok, second, but yesterday doesn’t count, right?) day of the year, and it’s time to be brutally honest with myself: My pants don’t fit anymore. The ironic part of this is that when I got out of the shower this morning, I thought I looked pretty good, but as soon as I pulled on the Gap khakis (size 8) that I purchased just a few months ago, my self esteem took a nose dive. Not only did they not fasten, but I could barely pull them past my hips.

I've fully embraced the "leggings as pants" trend anyway

I’ve fully embraced the “leggings as pants” trend anyway

I’ve said this on some social media site recently, so forgive me for repeating myself, but the Newlywed 15 is more nefarious than the Freshman 15 because I have less free-time than I did in college and I don’t have 24 hour access to a fitness facility. I’m afraid to step on the scale, because I think the Newlywed 15 is more like the Newlywed 20 and if you’re anything like me, seeing those numbers is a recipe for feeling terrible about myself.

I’d like to make a disclaimer here about weight loss. It’s a tricky subject, isn’t it? On one hand, we all want see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain size, but on the other hand, we all want to enjoy life and not have to worry about cutting portions or watching what we eat. It’s important to keep that balance. I firmly believe that it’s important to not obsess about weight — it never leads to a good outlook on life. However, it’s also important to not let your weight get out of control, because health.

The good news is that it’s January, and that means that everyone is trying to get healthy. New apps are emerging, my beloved Weight Watchers just introduced a fun new plan, and there will be a lot of people to share with me a commitment to getting healthy. So, without further ado:

Six Ways to Fit in My Pants Again

  1. Limit alcohol — Things have gotten a little boozy in the Browning household, and that’s got to stop. Not only for my waistline, but for my health. Last night, I couldn’t sleep , so I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, which is an excellent book. If you have trouble sleeping, losing weight, have a low sex drive, are losing more hair than you think you should — pretty much anything — you should probably pick up this book. Hormone imbalance is more of a problem for women than men and Dr. Gottfried’s holistic and medical approach to balancing your hormones is pretty fascinating. Anywho, what this has to do with limiting alcohol is that I took some of the quizzes in the book and the hormone imbalances that I seem to fit into (high cortisol, low progesterone, high estrogen) all recommend severely limiting alcohol. Good for my health, good for my waist.
  2. Keep a Food Journal — Ugh, this. This is where I’m going to struggle. Listen, I kept a strict food journal for years people, so every time I think I should start again I get this little voice in my head that says, “NO! NO! Please don’t maaaaaake me!” — but here’s the thing: The years that I kept the journal? I lost 70 lbs and kept it off. So guess what? It works. Suck it up, Browning! (aww, isn’t that cute — it’s the first time I’ve derogatorily called myself by my new last name)
  3. Learn to sleep again — Good health and weight loss isn’t JUST about food and exercise. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past, and up until recently, I thought I had it licked — but about one to two nights a week, I’m laying in bed wide awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. The specific way I’m going to handle this is no more phone in bed. I’m the worst about staring at my phone while I’m laying in bed, and although usually I can fall asleep despite that, I know it’s not good for my sleep patterns. So, from now on the phone isn’t going to even be by my bed — I’m going to plug it in across the room. However, I’m allowing myself the Kindle in bed. I need to read in bed.
  4. Drink more water — I used to be very good at this too, but I’ve noticed that while I still drink water while I’m at work all day, I don’t drink nearly as much at home.
  5. Move more — I haven’t put any exercise related steps in here, because I’m pretty happy with my current exercise level – I’m working out 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I don’t want to push it more than that because I want to be able to run without injury. I do need to incorporate more yoga and strength training, but that will come in time (especially since I don’t want to run on non-training days). By move more, I mean taking Frank for more walks, getting out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off for some light calisthenics or stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and making sure to get out of my desk chair every 30 minutes.
  6. Keep myself accountable — I need to keep blogging. I need to keep blogging. If you read this (maybe nobody does) and you notice me slacking off, ask me about it. Liz, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I started back up again 😉 Even if nobody reads my blog, it works to keep my honest about my healthy efforts.

I’ve already started some changes that I’d like to tell you about:

training journal

 

Sorry for the dark iPhone photo, but I purchased the Runner’s World Training Journal. I’ve found digital mile tracking (with apps like Nike+, a Garmin watch and/or just keeping track of my treadmill miles on my phone) to be incredibly convenient, but with so many different methods of tracking, it’s hard to see the big picture of my training. So I’ve decided to try to keep track of all of my miles in this book for 2014. I’ll do a full review of this training log once I’ve used it a  bit more.

green smoothie

Green smoothies! These are all the rage, aren’t they? (P.S. I maintain that you can be successful in weight loss and still eat bagels, thank you very much #notafraidofcarbs) My bestest friend Allison was generous enough to give me a Ninja blender for a wedding gift and man, I love that baby. The above green smoothie had banana, apple, cucumber and collard greens if you can believe it. Plus half a squeezed lemon and some water to thin it out. It was delicious (and nutritious). I’d really like to start incorporating more of these into my diet.

run with Frank

Outdoor running! Yesterday, the weather was amazing — 50 degrees and sunny — the perfect outdoor running weather, so I took Frank out for my training run and then we walked to the dog park and home. We both got a good amount of exercise in and we felt great afterwards. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse here in the next couple of days, but I’d really like to take advantage of these good weather days when they come around.

So, that’s that. My pants don’t fit — but I have a plan. To be honest, I don’t really care about looking “hot” or getting a “beach body” — my priorities have changed. I figure if I can keep myself feeling comfortable in the clothes I have, then I won’t have to worry about my weight spiraling out of control.

Question of the Day:
How do you know when you’ve gained a few pounds? 

 

Failed New Year’s Resolutions (and why that’s ok)

30 Dec

I’ve found a trend in the healthy living blog-o-sphere lately, and that is the non-resolution. Several blogs I read are bucking tradition and opting instead to focus on little changes. I totally get it, because statistics show that only 8% of people who make resolutions stick to them! New Year’s resolutions have gotten to be some what of a joke, and I myself have fallen into the trap of planning big on December 31st only to fall flat by March.

Image source: http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/30/new-years-resolutions-are-bad-for-you/

Click image for image source

However, I do feel there is something to be said for New Year’s Resolutions, even if you don’t always stick with them. If you’ve read this blog before (or you go back in the archives) you can see that one of my resolutions last year was to run 600 miles. Well, to make a long story short: I didn’t. However, I did run a lot more than I would have if I hadn’t made the resolution. You see, somewhere around June, my priorities changed and it didn’t seem as important — I joined Crossfit, and I wouldn’t change that experience. My fitness interests wax and wane, and now that I’m no longer a member of a Crossfit box, I’m more focused on running and yoga — and I’m enjoying every minute of my fitness pursuits.

Another New Year’s resolution I had last year was to run another half-marathon, shooting for a PR. Another failure, but again – I’m ok with it. I saw my opportunity to run a half-marathon this year come and go, and I think I made the smart decision to abstain this time. I hadn’t trained properly, and although I probably could have finished the 13.1, I wouldn’t have gotten a PR and I might have aggravated my IT Band injury from 2012.

So despite these failed resolutions, I’ve still progressed. And both of those goals are still within my reach, and here are three reasons why:

1. I got a treadmill!

<3 <3 <3

My awesome husband got me this baby as a Christmas/Birthday present and it’s wonderful having it in the house. It’s so much easier to hop on the treadmill if the weather is bad, and if I just don’t feel like working out, it’s easy enough to hop on and try it out. Usually I’ll just end up finishing a mile or two and that’s better than nothing. I’ve set my yoga mat out right next to the treadmill to remind myself to always stretch afterwards!

2. New shoes!

Hello, lovely.

Hello, lovely.

I love these shoes. They are the Asics Gel Nimbus 15, which is the same model I got last  year, but these feel so much better somehow. The man at the running shop really showed me how they will bring my knees in and help with my IT band issues.

3. The biggie — I did this this weekend:

flying pig

My first out-of-town half marathon! This could be the PR that I’ve wanted for so long (2:00 or under) — although I’ve heard it’s hilly! I’ve got some friends (including veteran marathoners) who I’m training with and we’ve already started (we’ve got 19 weeks). I’m super stoked to be doing this.

I guess the moral of the story is this: Even though you may not reach your goal by December 31, 2014, don’t give up on it. The other moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to fail, because you might learn something if you do.

Question of the Day:
Do you make New Year’s Resolution? Why or why not? What’s your resolution for 2014? 

Wedding Recap #2: Formal Photos/Ceremony

20 Dec
Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Well, hello there! Again, I’m pretty sure nobody reads this blog anymore, but these wedding recaps are mainly for my own reflection. Let’s get right to it, shall we? After our “first look”, we took the formal photographs. I tire of taking photos pretty quickly, and I was pretty excited to make a lifetime commitment to the love of my life, so we kind of flew through them (plus, it was hot, and I was wearing crinoline.) 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKformals016

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

This first part of the formals was so nice. It was just after our first look, and both of us were very giddy. We just talked, walked where they told us to walk, posed like they told us to pose and smiled really big. We were so excited! I’ll never forget that energy between us. It was very sweet and just amazing.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Life was good! Next, we did the group photos with our bridal party:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

….and our families:

ZKformals091

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

There are some shots we didn’t get — for example, for some reason there is no shot of my family with me AND Zach — but I really don’t care. Our photos are amazing, and I wouldn’t change anything about that day. I was so incredibly low stress (ok, I had a few bridezilla moments, but they were fleeting), and it was wonderful. Before long, it was time to head to our ceremony!

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

We had our ceremony and reception in the same place. This was my wedding vision — Zach and I don’t belong to a church, and since I had so many out of town guests I thought it would be nice for them to just be in one place. So our ceremony and reception took place at the hotel where everyone stayed. My family raved about this decision! They loved being able to have everyone in one place and not have to travel around much. I gave everyone maps in their rooms with directions to certain places they may need to go, and it seemed to work out very well. 

One thing I want to talk about is the sweetheart table. This is a new (?) thing people are doing, where instead of a big head table with all the attendants, the bride and groom sit by themselves at a little table and let the bridal party sit among the guests. While it was important to me to have the bridal party be able to sit with our guests (I didn’t want the bridal party’s spouses and significant others to have to sit alone), I was very opposed to the sweetheart table idea. I just found it to be…weird! Well, the day we came to set up the reception hall, Shelley (who is the coordinator at the Ramada and amazing!) had a sweetheart table set up for us and I just liked it! So I went with it. It turned out to be a really fun idea, but I’ll talk about that more in the reception recap. Which at this rate will be in a few months 🙂 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography (can I just tell you how annoying it is that somebody put that brochure on the guest book table and it's in the picture?)

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography (can I just tell you how annoying it is that somebody put that brochure on the guest book table and it’s in the picture?)

After photos, the bridesmaids and I went up to my hotel room to wait until it was time to go down for the ceremony. Zach and the groomsmen went to the room to greet/seat guests. This worked out very well. Us girls had time to relax (and in the interest of complete honesty, I had to air out my undercarriage, haha. The dress and the crinoline + warm weather meant sweaty legs), and the guys were able to get the guests situated.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Soon, it was time for us girls to head down.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mismatched bridesmaid dresses for the win! If you are planning a wedding, please consider this trend. Not only did it make my wedding look super chic and adorable, but it was so easy. The girls just browsed on their own and sent me ideas along the way. Easy peasy!

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

My nephew Nick was Zach’s Wingman. He is too old to be a ring bearer, and he didn’t like the idea of wearing a bear suit (that’s what he thought it entailed), so we changed it to Wingman. It was in the programs and everything. He took his duties very seriously and did a great job. 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

My cousin’s daughter, Ava, was the flower girl. I bought her outfit roughly a year before our wedding, estimating what size she would wear and I’m so glad it fit. Isn’t she precious? Basically, she walked into the door and threw all the flower petals onto one spot and ran away from my mom, which is exactly what I wanted her to do. I think it’s adorable when flower girls just do their own thing.

ZKceremony084

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Ok, so I just want to talk about the ceremony for a minute. I never could have guessed how amazing the ceremony would be. I knew it would be important, but I had no idea how much I would feel its weight (does that make sense?) I definitely felt the gravity of what we were doing, and I could tell that Zach felt the same way. It was awesome!! 

ZKceremony111 ZKceremony119

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Our officiant was a good friend of ours, Adam, who did such an amazing job. He worked with us a few times on our ceremony, and it was just perfect. I had several people come up to me after and say how nice it was. We also had two very close friends participate. Mandee, a close friend, read “I Like You” by Sandal Stoddard Warburg  — a common wedding reading, but I knew it was “the one” after it choked me up every time I read it. Another close friend, Patrick, sang “This is the First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes — and it was better than the original. Definitely teared up. 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

After the reading and song, it was time to get hitched! 

ZKceremony148 ZKceremony149

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

You guys, I’m totally crying as I post this. That was the best day….

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKceremony163 ZKceremony165 ZKceremony166 ZKceremony167

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Next up (in a few months): The Reception (aka the dance party to end all dance parties!)

Question of the Day:
Tell me about your wedding ceremony! 

Wedding Recap #1: Pre-Wedding

8 Nov

I don’t know if anybody will read this because I’ve basically abandoned my blog. I’ve been thinking about my blog — I wanted to change direction with it for some time now (I still do), but once I decided that, I kind of got stuck. Now that I’m married and settled into my new home, I really would like to start again, and I hope you’ll join me.

What better place to start than a wedding recap? I’ve started getting the professional photographs back, so let’s get to business on the first wedding recap, shall we?

Disclaimer: Most of the photos in this post were taken by the fabulous Mark Webb (please see his website here) and edited by the even more fabulous (sorry Mark) Courtney Bell (aka my sister-in-law — see her website here). 

I barely slept the night before my wedding. My best friend and bridesmaid, Allison, slept over that night. We watched Bridesmaids and then we got into bed. I tossed and turned all night, and popped right up at 5:30 AM for coffee and reflection. I wrote two letters to my husband-to-be: One letter telling him how excited I was to marry him, and a to-do list 🙂

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the venue. Allison put together all of the centerpieces that morning and I was to meet Courtney there to head out for hair and makeup:

1380599_10100635412879713_120216111_n

I took this picture

I realized that I was completely starved, so I hopped over to the gas station and got the bridal breakfast of champions:

Obviously not a professional photo :)

Obviously not a professional photo 🙂

My wedding day was pretty surreal from start to finish. I can’t even describe how I felt. I was excited, a little nervous and just kind of….floating. I wasn’t worried about things going smoothly — by that point I didn’t really care — I was just nervous because I was about to do something huge. Courtney and I headed to the mall where I got my makeup done by the fabulous Cassie Denkins at the MAC counter — seriously, she’s an artist:

Doesn't my makeup look incredible? And it stayed on all night!

Doesn’t my makeup look incredible? And it stayed on all night! (photo by Mark Webb Photography and Courtney Bell Photography)

After makeup times, it was off to my bridesmaid Susie’s house to get dressed:

ZKprewed002

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed008

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed010

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed022

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed027

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed052

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed054

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed059

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed060

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

After we all got dressed, I wanted to take a minute to have a drink of champagne with my ladies and give a toast. That worked out as well as to be expected for an emotional bride:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed078

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed080

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed081

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed084

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

So, basically at this point, I was an emotional mess. I cried when I saw myself in the mirror, I cried when I talked to my bridesmaids — it was ridiculous! However, I didn’t cry when I got lipstick on my dress for some reason:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed075

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Oh well! Let’s get this show on the road! But just for a quick FYI, a quick dab with champagne was able to get that stain right out. Well, mostly. After getting dressed, it was time to head to our photo location for the First Look and formal photographs. Earlier in the day, while I was getting my makeup done, I realized that the wedding was the same day as Homecoming for a couple of the local high schools. We had originally planned to do the first look/formals in the park, but knowing that is where all the kids go before formals, I decided to change locations last minute. Honestly, I wasn’t fazed. Not too long before the wedding, I saw some photos that Mark had taken for a wedding at Marshall University (Zach and I both graduated from there), and I loved them, so I quickly spread the word. No big deal. We headed over there, and it ended up being the perfect location for the first look. The Student Center has two entrances: One faces out toward the main road, and one faces in toward the fountain (where we planned to do the photos), so I got dropped off outside the doors to the main road while everyone else went over to let Zach know I was there. Then when they were ready for me, I walked through the student center and out toward the fountain:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed102

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed095

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed096

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed099

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed101

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed105

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed107

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed109

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed111

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed113

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed112

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKprewed117

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Can I just take a minute to rave about the First Look? Best. Idea. Ever. I know some people are traditionalists and want the “first look” to be coming down the aisle, but I guarantee you, he will be just as blown away by how you look both times! I can’t tell you how much calmer we both were after our first look. We both had nerves, and remember the emotional bride crying every second? She was gone after that first look — I was just ready to marry him and then have a party with my friends and family!

ZKprewed133

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

The other great thing about the first look is we were able to go right into the formal photos and family photos, so all we had to do was the ceremony and go straight to the reception. There was no waiting around for our guests, which was really important to me.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

When we got done, we realized only the boutineers had made it to the photo site, not the bouquets:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

…but again, it was no big deal. We just took a bunch of pictures without the bouquets until my dad showed up with them:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Speaking of the bouquets, beautiful, right?

ZKprewed161

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography. Flowers by Jenni Roberts at CK Florist

My next wedding recap will be the formal photos and the ceremony!

Also, I’m going to work on some blog posts to put up next week in the interest of writing more often.

Photo Diary of the Past Couple Weeks

22 Aug

Well, good morning and happy Thursday! I’m heading to the beach on Saturday morning for my annual beach trip with friends. I’m pretty excited about the trip, but it’s come at a hectic time in my life, so it’s hard to not be stressed about everything I’m leaving behind — wedding planning, getting the new house together, and work. But, I’m going to try to relax and enjoy the trip! If you’ve been reading for a while (or you know me), you’ll know that this trip is when Zach proposed to me last year, so it will be fun to celebrate the one year anniversary of our engagement at the beach before our wedding next month (!!!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Eating

I’ve been loving the fresh produce available in the summer time. This morning I had the most perfect peach ever on the side of my usual breakfast of a sausage/egg scramble, tomato and coffee:

photo (10)

 

That sliced tomato wasn’t too shabby either.

Last weekend, after the Crossfit competition, Zach and I went to the first “Rails and Ales Festival” here in Huntington. This is the first time they’ve had a beer festival in downtown Huntington, and it was so fun! When we entered, they gave us a tiny beer mug to sample all the beers. There were also tons of food vendors around, and we couldn’t really decide what to eat until we ran into a friend who had a brat sandwich on this amazing looking bread from the local bakery. We hightailed it over there, and it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve tasted. It had kraut, hot pepper jelly and was served on this amazing homemade cheddar bread. Yum!

rails and ales

 

The other evening, Zach had a late meeting for work so I was on my own for dinner. Our cupboards are kind of bare right now because we are going on vacation, but I had two frozen Tilapia fillets in the freezer and decided to whip up some fish tacos:

fish tacos

 

I’ve never made these before, but after I tasted them, I instantly decided that this would be what I made for everyone at the beach (we all take turns cooking dinner). Holy amazing and easy to make!! I basically just brushed the fish with butter and sprinkled it with my favorite spice blend (Bobby Flay’s 16 spice rub — minus the cinnamon and brown sugar) and broiled it until it was flaky. Then I threw a couple tortillas under the broiler for a few seconds on each side, chopped up some tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and cilantro and served. No salsa necessary (although a nice creme fraiche would probably be nice on top) and it was amazing. I didn’t have any corn tortillas, but next time I’ll use them instead of whole wheat. Yum!

Moving

We finally moved into our new home!

image (12)

Last Thursday, we rented a Uhaul and loaded up our little crowded apartment, and with some help from friends (Thanks, Mandee and Susie!!) got everything in and our apartment cleaned out in two days.

Zach had to drive the Uhaul and smile when I took photos.

Zach had to drive the Uhaul and smile when I took photos.

I took the two days off of work (we only paid 1/2 month rent at our apartment, so we had to be out by last Friday), and we worked for probably 20 hours those two days. It was quite a workout! But now we’re all moved in and slowly unpacking:

View from the front door. You can see a couple freeloaders have made themselves quite at home.

View from the front door. You can see a couple freeloaders have made themselves quite at home.

I really like the house! I love having a porch, I’ve been drinking my coffee out there every morning:

image (8)

Another thing I love, love about the house is the fact that we are on the very top of a hill, so we have an amazing sunset view:

Seriously, every evening! I'm going to miss this when I come home from work after it's already dark.

Seriously, every evening! I’m going to miss this when I come home from work after it’s already dark.

The one thing I’m not too crazy about is the lack of sidewalks around my neighborhood. Frank and I are big fans of our morning walk, and it’s kind of dicey because a lot of times we have to walk in the street because of the lack of a sidewalk. It also turns out that our street is way busier (especially in the morning) than we thought it would be, because we are right behind the hospital and it seems that the people who work at the rehab center behind the hospital use our street as a through way to get to work. That wouldn’t be so bad, but they go a little fast. I’ve already found myself getting very angry at people who speed up our hill in the mornings. I’m possibly going to contact somebody to see if there is something we can do about getting people to slow down on our street. Maybe that seems silly, but eventually we will have kids, and I would like to walk our kid to school (the elementary school is just down the hill). Right now, it’s a little too dangerous to do that. Does anyone have any suggestions how to go about getting people to slow down in a residential area? 

However, the one thing I do like about walking around our neighborhood is the hills! We are definitely getting more of a workout during our morning walk because of all the hills. I just wish the neighborhood were more walk-friendly.

Lifting Heavy

I’ve definitely been inspired by the Crossfit Competition I participated in last week to really push myself to up my weights at Crossfit. This morning we did the second Open WOD for the WV Crossfit Championship (which I’m not registered for, but it’s still fun to try the WODs).

image (16)

Hang clean squat thrusters are a complicated lift to do very heavy, so I decided to start kind of light. Usually I stick with about 45-55# for this lift, so I started with a 35# bar only and worked up from there. The workout was only 5 minutes long, and we had to reload the bar between each lift so I wrote down my planned weights to keep the flow:

image (17)

I ended up getting through the 9 lifts at 75#, which was very tough for me. That’s the most I’ve ever done for that lift, and I was proud of my performance. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the 10-9-8….3-2-1 was for burpees, sit ups and push ups. That was a tough one!

Like I said, next week I’ll be at the beach, but I didn’t want to take a full week off of Crossfit, so I scheduled a drop in at the local box in Ocean Isle. Despite being new to Crossfit, I knew it was common to “drop in” to a box if you’re visiting somewhere, so I took a chance and located the local box. I contacted them and they were super nice and welcoming! It cost me $15 to do a drop in class at 9:00 AM on Monday, so I’ll be sure to report back how it went.

Question of the Day:
Are you the type of person who works out while you’re on vacation? 

I personally love to work out while I’m on vacation. It’s a fun way to see the sights and since I’m not working, it is easier to find the time to get a workout in! 

 

My First Crossfit Competition

20 Aug

Good morning!

I have seriously been slacking on the blogging front. With us moving into the new house, vacation and a wedding coming up I’ve been a busy little bee. However, I just had to fire up the old blog to tell you about my first Crossfit competition!

Despite being new to Crossfit, when my box announced that it would host the national “No Baby, Leave the Socks On” competition, I knew I had to try it out. “No Baby, Leave the Socks On!” is a Crossfit competition designed especially for women. From the website:

First we wanted to change the perception of what ladies fitness looks like and help foster a more positive self-image. One where athleticism and capability trumped body weight and promoted the idea that “Strong is the new skinny”.

Second, we wanted it to be a ton of fun!

As I mentioned in my last post, doing Crossfit has turned my focus from what my body looks like to what my body can do. I knew this competition would focus on what us ladies could do in the gym. Did it ever!

socks 1

I woke up Saturday morning and put on my specially-purchased socks (Yay, Burpees!), my new shoes (New Balance Minimus purchased from the outlet store) and headed to the box. I met up with these two awesome ladies, who are also relatively new to Crossfit and very close friends of mine:

photo (7)

They both also did the scaled competition, and I was SO glad to have them there. We had such a blast. Just for the record, Shannon’s  (on the left) socks said, “Heavy Metal” and Sarah’s said “Bacon” — adorable, right? The atmosphere at the competition was pretty awesome. There were lots of ladies there from various local affiliate boxes, and there were vendors selling various paleo snacks. The energy was high! My adrenaline was pumping like when I’m doing a running race, however, there was a lot more waiting around. The women who were doing the Rx version were first, going in heats.

The first WOD was a Thruster/Box Jump Ladder. Basically, a thruster is a lift where the barbell is in front squat position, and you go from a squat to taking the bar over your head. The Rx version of this workout called for a 65# weight and a full box jump on a 20″ box and the way a ladder works is that you start with 2 reps of each, then go to 4, then 6, and so on. It was pretty inspiring watching the first heat:

photo (9)

These women were all ages, shapes and sizes and they were busting out the reps. It definitely made me even more pumped (and nervous!) to get to my heat. I was in the second heat of the scaled competition, so I was pretty lucky to have Sarah and Shannon there to cheer me on. The way it worked, once you started your first WOD, you had about 12 minutes to rest before you moved on to the second and third, so there wasn’t much time to go cheer others on while you were competing.

The first WOD went well. The scaled version called for a 45# bar on the thrusters and step ups onto the 20″ box rather than jumps. Coach Jeremy (he is the owner of  my Crossfit box) said that we should jump if we could, because the goal is to do your own personal best, not outdo everyone else in the scaled portion, so I started the ladder with the jumps but after I got to 6 or 8 reps I switched to step ups. I got a little tripped up because on the 4 rep circuit, I did 5 box jumps. Luckily, the girl who was judging me quickly corrected me and when I went to do more box jumps she made me do one less. At one point, Shannon yelled to me that I was stepping up on the same leg every time, and I should alternate so as not to wear myself out. She was right, so I started concentrating on trying to alternate. I ended up getting through the 12 reps and 14 thrusters + 6 step ups, for a total of 104 reps. I feel like I could have done a little better here, but I was pretty nervous.

I hit my stride on the second WOD:

10 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible):

10 jumping pull ups (the Rx version did full unassisted pull ups)
20 burpees
30 x 3 single unders (the Rx version did 30 double unders)
40 wall balls (10# ball, Rx did 14#)
50 kettlebell swings (26# scaled, 35# Rx)

followed by max effort clean and jerk.

When I had been watching the Rx ladies do this WOD, there was one judge who I definitely had my eye on. A quick note about Crossfit competition judges, each athlete has one and while they are there to make sure you are doing the movements as prescribed, they are also your own personal cheerleader, which is awesome. I can’t even remember her name (ETA: Her name was Shirley, and she’s a coach at Crossfit Yeti, you can find her profile here), but I noticed how great she was at motivating the athletes she was judging, so I made it my goal to try to get her when I got to WOD 2. Luckily, I was able to get over to her quickly when we lined up. This workout was hard. Sarah, Shannon and another girl from our Crossfit box had practiced this WOD a couple weeks ago, so we knew what to expect (I had gotten 11 clean and jerks when we did the practice run through), but it was even harder this time. I definitely attribute my good performance on this WOD to my judge. She pushed me in the best way, and even when I wanted so badly to put the kettlebell down during the swings, I didn’t because I didn’t want to let her down. I ended up doing 13 clean and jerks! My goal was to do one more than the first time I did it, so I exceeded my expectations. 🙂

Sarah busts out her clean and jerks in WOD 2. Sorry for the  blurry picture, she was moving so fast it was hard to get a good one!

Sarah busts out her clean and jerks in WOD 2. Sorry for the blurry picture, she was moving so fast it was hard to get a good one!

Finally, it was time for WOD 3: The deadlift ladder! The way this one worked is that there were 15 bars set up from 65# – 205# (135#-275#(!) for Rx). You had one minute to do one or more lifts at each bar. Your score was the highest weight you lifted and the amount of reps you did, so if you lifted 195 10 times, your score was 195.10, and if you lifted 105 20 times, your score was 105.20. I had never deadlifted more than 165#, so my plan was just to lift what I could! I ended up pretty easily lifting each bar, and when I got to 195#, I lifted it like 3 times. I just didn’t want to get to 205 and not be able to lift the bar at all! However, my fears were unfounded because I was able to lift 205# 4 times for a score of 205.04!

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page. This girl did Rx (that is 275#), and I know she lifted it quite a few times. Girls rule.

Photo courtesy of the Crossfit Thunder Facebook Page. This girl did Rx (that is 275#), and I know she lifted it quite a few times. Girls rule.

Click here for a video Zach posted on Instagram of my deadlift ladder.

So, my final assessment? Crossfit competitions are fun! I dare say they are more fun than a race. As my friend Sarah said, it’s definitely more physically demanding than a half marathon (she said not more so than a marathon, but I wouldn’t know for sure). For the next day or two after the competition, I was physically spent — I couldn’t get enough food, water, or sleep — so I definitely took a couple days off of Crossfit. I could tell my body needed time to repair, and I didn’t want to overdo it. But it is definitely something I want to do again!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever participated in a competitive sport? 

How Crossfit has Transformed my Body Image

6 Aug

Happy Tuesday!

I hate to be anxious for time to pass more quickly — life is short, people — but, I’m very anxious for the next few weeks to fly by because we have some exciting events coming up! Not only is our wedding in just a month and 22 days, but we move into our new home in just 10 days, and we leave for our annual friends beach trip in just 19 days! What a month August will be for us 🙂

I haven’t really been blogging here lately, mainly because as I mentioned last time I posted, I’m thinking of changing up the format of this blog a tiny bit. However, today I am going to talk a bit about fitness!

Since I’ve joined Crossfit Thunder in July, I’ve noticed some pretty amazing changes in the way I look at food, my weight and my body in general, and I wanted to share that with you today. Prior to joining the Box, I said I would never:

– Join a Crossfit box (I did)
– Eat Paleo (I’ve been trying to keep paleo a bit lately)
– Stop weighing myself daily (I weighed myself this morning for the first time in weeks)

Obviously, I’m eating my own words!

1. Food

Before I started Crossfit, I was constantly eating and/or thinking about food. I was obsessed with it. It really started to weigh on me because I knew I was eating too much, but I was obsessed with getting my next meal. I think I definitely overestimated my caloric needs based on my activity level.

This is a paleo (ish) breakfast spaghetti that I invented yesteday. It was so good! Zucchini "noodles", peppers, onions and ground breakfast sausage topped with spaghetti sauce. Yum!

This is a paleo (ish) breakfast spaghetti that I invented yesteday. It was so good! Zucchini “noodles”, peppers, onions and ground breakfast sausage topped with spaghetti sauce. Yum!

Since I’ve been Crossfitting, I haven’t been nearly as obsessed with food. I’m not really sure why that is, other than I have noticed that I’ve managed to start looking at food for what it is: fuel. I no longer feel the need to snack between each meal – I’ll still have a snack in the pm sometimes, but not nearly as often as I used to. I honestly don’t know if this is due to Crossfit, but it happened right when I started going, so I feel like the connection is valid. I can’t express how exciting it is to me to be able to let go of my food obsession!

2. Weight

I have always been a compulsive scale watcher. Well, always meaning since I’ve lost the majority of my weight. Prior to losing the 70 lbs, I was a compulsive scale avoider! But since I’ve started Crossfit, I’ve completely lost interest in the scale. My goals have changed, and I’m more interested in improving these:

image (5)

 

…than seeing movement on the scale. In fact, I weighed myself this morning and realized that I’m 3 lbs heavier than when I started Crossfit! This realization may have brought me to tears before, but now I’m just assuming that I’ve been building muscle. I know I’m eating well and working out regularly, and that’s all that matters. It helps that I’m wearing a size 6 now, when previously I was in an 8-10!

3. Fitness Goals

One thing that has definitely changed is my fitness goals. Even when I first joined the Box, I was determined to get those miles in running and always, always tracked every mile with my phone. I would never take walking breaks, and I was obsessed with my pace.

photo (4)

 

Now, 90% of my runs are with Frank, sans phone or tracking device of any kind, and I let him stop to check out the squirrels whenever he feels like it. My goals are to get stronger and faster, but I realize from doing Crossfit that I don’t have to log a million miles and constantly work out to do that.

4. My Attitude

Exercise has been my hobby for some time now. I’ve always enjoyed it very much, but now, it’s more fun than ever.

image (7)

 

I love looking at the WOD for the next day and saying, “That looks awful! I can’t WAIT to try it!!” It’s so fun trying to out do yourself every week (and I’ll reiterate that I’ve never felt as if I was competing with anyone except myself). Plus, nobody takes themselves too seriously at CFT — you’ll just as often see one of the newbies giving tips to a veteran than the other way around. It just makes sense — you can’t see yourself doing the moves!

image (6)

 

…but just as often as people are being silly, they are being serious. We’re doing Olympic lifts, and it’s easy to get hurt if you’re doing something wrong, so it’s not all fun and games.

1013801_10151514038382536_1179196042_n

 

But it’s all about being “Stronger than Yesterday” — not stronger than your neighbor — and having a blast while you do it.

image (5)

 

Question of the Day:

Do you think of exercise as fun, or just a necessity? 

Misguided.

30 Jul

I’m not 100% sure where I want this blog to go. I love blogging, and I especially love blogging about fitness, but to be completely honest I’m getting a little bored with the fitness blogging “formula” — post about every workout and every meal. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

20130606-205727.jpg

 

However, fitness and healthy-living is still a big part of my life, even though life has sort of gotten in the way recently. For example, I pledged to run 600 miles in 2013, and I’m still not even to 300 (although I’m convinced if you add up my Crossfit mileage and walks with Frank I’d be much closer): 

not enough

 

…but hey, all I’m saying here is that I have other interests! For example, raising my sweet puppy, Frank, to be a well-behaved young gentleman: 

936484_10100565749261163_467911745_n

 

Decorating our new home-to-be (which is all in my mind at this point because we STILL haven’t moved in!): 

home

 

Planning a kick-ass wedding to the man of my dreams: 

us

 

…and my newfound addiction of Crossfit, which definitely fits into the “fitness” category but has also become a fun sport/pasttime/hobby recently: 

1013801_10151514038382536_1179196042_n

 

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m going to try to blog here more often, but I’d like to change directions a tad and start a more diverse “lifestyle” blog. I don’t want to feel pigeonholed into one genre, and while I don’t want this blog to be all over the place either, I think I have more to offer if I can talk about a variety of things. 

Question of the Day: 
Tell me about your hobbies and interests! 

The Graduate

28 Jun

Well, it’s almost that time. I’m almost a full-fledged Crossfit member!

onramp

 

I’d like to do a full review of the On Ramp class, because I really think that people need to know what it’s like. I feel like there are two camps of people: One group who see “Crossfit” and think they aren’t ‘fit enough’ to do it, and another group who thinks the On Ramp class won’t be a good enough workout. Prior to signing up for the On Ramp classes, I wasn’t brand new to Crossfit, and there were several people in my class who were pretty new to working out in general. I feel like we all benefited from the On Ramp month equally, and that really was amazing to me.

Although I wanted to take the On Ramp class, I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit worried that I would be bored, or I wouldn’t get a great workout. I was definitely wrong on all fronts. The instruction on form was unparalleled in the class. I think the form on my Olympic lifts has improved about a million percent or something from going to the classes. The coaches are so focused on your form, and there was never a moment where they didn’t work with someone until they got it right. Coach Zack and Coach Katie were so good at explaining the form, and there was never a disconnect — even when we had Coach Jeremy or Coach Brad, they explained the form the exact same way, so you know that they are well trained. Their main goal is for you to do the lifts the right way and prevent injury. I have a very bad habit of using my lower back too much on my deadlifts, and every time I did that in class, the coaches were right there to correct it. Very, very helpful.

As for those who think they aren’t fit enough to do Crossfit, my favorite quote that one of the coaches said during On Ramp was, “You get in Crossfit shape by doing Crossfit.” — enough said.

If you’re thinking about doing Crossfit, and you think it’s something you would enjoy, I can’t recommend this On Ramp class enough. I don’t care what fitness level you are, you will never feel uncomfortable or new. The coaches and members are super friendly, and it never felt ‘clique-ish’ which is one thing I was worried about. If you do decide to try the On Ramp class (the next one starts Monday, July 8th), please mention that I sent you! The first week is free, and I’ll get a free t-shirt if I recommend someone! 🙂

At yesterday’s class, Coach Jeremy gave us the go ahead to attend a ‘real’ WOD this morning, so I jumped at the chance — Benchmark Friday!

Today’s WOD was Nancy:

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 13 AM

 

…and like a big kid Crossfitter, I got a photo on the Facebook page:

1013801_10151514038382536_1179196042_n

 

It’s pretty fun seeing myself doing something like that! I used 35 lbs total — not even close to Rx, but I’m ok with it. Overhead Squats are no joke. I felt very shaky the whole time with the 35 lbs, but I was able to do the 15 unbroken each round, so I think I picked an appropriate weight. I finished the WOD in 17:21, which is about 3.5 minutes per round. Not bad — definite room for improvement, but a solid attempt at a first Nancy.

Photo Jun 28, 6 38 16 AM

 

One thing I love about Crossfit is, even though everyone puts their times on the board at every WOD, it never feels like you’re competing with anyone but yourself. Trying to out-do that last time or setting yourself up for something you know that will challenge you is the main goal, and there is never any question. I never worry about being the slowest one, or using the lightest weight — I just focus on proper form and working as hard as I can. I totally get it now, I get why people are so Crossfit-obsessed!

Ok, while I was re-reading this post to edit it, I realize I sound like a Crossfit cheerleader, but I want to assure you that I’m not being paid to do this or anything. I really just enjoy the program that much!! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I just wanted to mention that I ran in the WV 5k Championship this past Saturday and share one of the official photos from the race:

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

Photo courtesy of Mark Webb Photography (I was given permission to share this photo)

I was so disappointed in my official race photos last year, but this one more than makes up for it. Love it! More importantly, despite the heat and humidity that day, I was able to eek out a PR of 27:13! That’s a 33 second PR, if you’re counting (and I am!)

Unfortunately since the race, I haven’t logged much mileage. I’m about to eat my words and cancel my gym membership to focus on Crossfit, so I’m not going to have access to a treadmill for a while in this heat and humidity, so it all depends on how often I’m able to get out there.

Question of the Day:
Would you ever give up your gym membership?