Giving Up Coffee Forever

So. I made it 30 days with no caffeine. Well, except on Half-Marathon day when I had about 6 ounces but you best forgive me for that or else we can’t be friends. For real, okay. No one enjoys a stickler for the rules. Seriously. NOBODY.

Anyway. How did I celebrate that accomplishment this morning?

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With a giant cup of fully leaded Peet’s Holiday Blend. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

I have more to say about the entire Great Skin Care Experiment (A’Dell, put the Clarisonic back on your Christmas List!) but obviously giving up my morning coffee was the biggest damn deal of them all so I want to talk about that separately.

Despite my sensationalized title: I’m just not giving up coffee forever. Not gonna happen.

That said, I found this month so super refreshing that I really took pause for a moment and thought about it. I was far less irritable, my mood swings noticeably decreased, my morning appetite came back so I was up eating breakfast at a decent hour, I slept LIKE THE DEAD, and honestly after the first 4 days (which were totally rough) I felt like a rock star every morning: no caffeine required. These things? These are things one can not ignore.

The Real Deal

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The thing about coffee is that I REALLY enjoy it. And when I say coffee, I mean just that. Black coffee — no cream, no sugar, not fun coffee-infused beverages. I really REALLY love coffee. Part of that comes from the fact that I worked in the Specialty Coffee Industry for over 10 years. The tasting ritual and subsequent rabbit holes of information that you can dive down based on origins and brewing are similar to wine. And I really enjoy that in my life. Not having a connection to that for an entire month really felt like a loss for me. I know that sounds stupid, but it is 100% true. I gave it up, and I survived, but there was never a morning where I didn’t really miss my morning cup. I missed tasting the variations in my beans. I missed switching it up to an Americano once in a while. I MISSED MY COFFEE! And the thing that really underscored that for me was it still felt like a loss even after I had gotten over missing my caffeine.

So how did I respond to all of that missing of my coffee? Well since I felt punished and like my last holdout vice was being taken away from me, I really let myself indulge in other things. Treats, baked goods, sugar, gluten, Halloween Candy — whatever. If it was a forbidden vice, I let myself have it! And in the end, I was NOT better for it. Mentally and emotionally I just felt so DOWN. But I wouldn’t stop trying to fill the hole. That space for that delicious pleasure in my life was empty and so I did my best to make sure if it wasn’t going to be filled with caffeine it would be filled with frosting of some sort. And seriously? It was gross.

But.

BUT BUT BUT.

I don’t want use my consequent poor nutrition as a reason to dive right back into my prior habits. The good parts of giving up caffeine are just too much too overlook (though ironically, my skin didn’t dramatically improve. BOO. But more on that later.) My sleep and appetite and overall function was so much better without daily caffeine imbibing for 5 hours a day. My hydration improved ten fold. All of these things I would like to keep around with maybe a few little tweaks.

So here’s what I decided I can manage:

*I’m going to have a cup of coffee at home in the morning and I’m ONLY going to have one. Yum. I can’t wait to get back to that. Before I was drinking 2-2.5. Garrett and I are also going to move in the direction of making that daily pot a half caf pot.

*I’m going to continue drinking herbal tea at work instead of coming into the office and brewing another cup or two. I think drinking tea at work all day long has been the biggest contributor to my overall feelings of good hydration. I want to keep up that good habit that I’ve put into place over the last 30 days.

*I’m going to start treating coffee like wine. I really enjoy it, and don’t want to give it up. But if I feel like a part of my health is suffering because of it, or if my consumption is increasing I’m going to just STOP drinking it for a bit. My biggest fear when I embarked on this was that I was totally nursing a coffee addiction. But now I KNOW I can go 30 days without it, so if I need to rein it in in the future, I plan on doing it.

All of these things mean that I need be observant about my consumption. I am not great at moderation, and I’m usually not a big advocate for it. But I think with coffee, I need to LEARN how to moderate. So I’m willing to try. It seems sort of hard to me, but even harder is giving up something that I just really get great pleasure from. If it doesn’t work, I’ll rethink it, but for now I’m so happy to be back enjoying a cup of Joe!

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Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon Recap


Hey-O! Guess who has four thumbs and didn’t die this weekend?

Finishers! (With free bananas. Because we are always about the food.)

These girls!

We may have precariously placed bananas, but WE ARE NOT DEAD. WOOT!
I wanted to tell you all about it yesterday, but my schedule was very full with laying on the couch, taking bubble baths and napping. I’m sure you understand.

Race Day

So Sunday morning started very early and with a very large helping of Pepto Bismol. We don’t even usually keep things like Pepto Bismol on hand, but I had a brilliant moment of clarity that morning and remembered that my mom had given Garrett a gag-gift basket for his 30th birthday full of “Old People Things” like Preparation H and other sundry items. Included: GENERIC PINK BISMUTH. Score. I’m pretty sure it was from The Dollar Store and probably expired. But whatever! I pounded that nastiness like Lindsay Lohan shoots Patron. It was amazing. Nerves, man.

We headed out to the course, stopping for coconut water and coffee (Yep, I had me some half-decaf on race day. I NEEDED IT DAMNIT!) parked the car, donned our bibs and then lined up behind about 1000 other people for the porta potties where we may have had the same conversation over and over right up until the race started.
Shit's gettin' real. (Cc: @homesweetsarah )

It went something like this:

WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING HERE? I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

WHY THE HELL ARE WE DOING THIS? I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

And so on and so forth.

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Most of the people around us seemed pretty calm and stretchy in their spandex though. There were even lots of people in costume — like these jail birds and their warden, who apparently were going to run the entire race chained together like it was no big deal.
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I didn’t want to be chained to anyone, I was just ready to get this freaking race started because I needed a place to channel all that nervous energy.

And then all of a sudden we were off!

The Course

The course started off so great! We traipsed through the darling streets of downtown Folsom, towards Lake Natoma and down a bunch of small hills. I think at mile 2 I even shouted out “Downhill Forever!” I smartened up though and realized that for every hill I was going down, there would be one I’d have to truck right back up. This will at least give you an idea of the ups and downs of the course.

Man, there were so many! It really kept things interesting while running but since Sarah and I did not run any hills at all while we trained it definitely felt a little different. Around mile 5 I began to get a little nervous because my legs were feeling a little more fatigued than usual with all the ups and downs (DUH) and I still had more than half the race to go. Also, because there were so many downhills I was still running faster than my planned pace.

Pacing

Hmmm…pacing, let’s talk about that for a minute. So obviously I only had loose pacing goals since my main goal was just to finish. I was hoping to average a 13:30 minute per mile pace throughout the entire race, which would yield a 3 hour finish time. Yes, I know there are Kenyans who run marathons faster than that, but WHATEVER.

I knew my limits and despite that fact that I am comfortably running miles between 10 and 11 minutes right now, 13 miles in a row is a whole different story. And I hadn’t done ANY sort of training beforehand regarding pace so I just picked 13 as my arbitrary number and went with it. At mile 5 I was averaging just about 12 minutes per mile, which was sort of worrisome, but with all of those down hills it wasn’t that surprising. But my little leggies were starting to feel tired. Wait, my leggies aren’t little. Anyway, at that point I just wanted to keep going.

The First Real Killer

Right before Mile 7 though came the first killer hill. It looks so tiny on the elevation map but OHMYGOD I just about died when I saw it (for locals, it is that stretch of Hazel Avenue right by the Aquatic Center. Hmmm…when you are driving up it, it doesn’t seem that steep. ha!) This was the first time I had to walk, and boy were my legs happy to do just that. I had been telling myself “Just Don’t Stop To Walk” over and over because I was afraid of losing momentum, but this hill was just going to be a little too much, so I took the time to engage some different muscles and walk up that thing. Glad I did, because I ended up being REEEEEAL tired later on.

The Summit

At the summit (and the 7 mile marker) I started barreling down the hill so happy to not be going up anymore. But then I suddenly had the sad realization that running on tired legs DOWNHILL isn’t all that much more pleasant than running uphill. Tired legs are tired legs. Pace-wise this is where the race really slowed down for me. And at one point I was really hoofing it and feeling like I was working really hard and I was pacing behind a senior citizen who was SPEED WALKING. Ohmygod, mentally I almost lost it right there when I couldn’t pass the the grandpa with the walking stick, but I kept on trucking.

Luckily this was also where the race got pretty scenic and serene. It was the back side of Lake Natoma and with lots of shady trail areas so it was somewhat enjoyable, if only for the view. This is the thing that I have learned to appreciate most about running — the scenic places that it takes you that you may otherwise never go. There were a lot of those moments during this race where, despite being tired I felt really glad that I was getting to experience this gorgeous place that I live. But even good scenery couldn’t distract me from how slow I felt and how hard I was working for every step.

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At the 9 mile marker I stopped to chug a Gu, stretch my hips and look at my cell phone. I had texts from Garrett and my Mom cheering me on and that helped me get a bit of my mental focus back and pick up my feet.

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Aren’t they the cutest? My mom’s *may* have made me feel a little weepy for a minute. But it also helped me get a little bit of my fire back! (Or at least what fire I had left!)

Miles 10 and 11 though were a total blur. Everything hurt, all I could think about was crossing the finish line, and I started daydreaming about buying the biggest bottle Gatorade available. I’m not even kidding you, I was having IMPURE THOUGHTS about Gatorade when I hit the 11 mile marker. Luckily there was an aid station at 11.5, so I chugged a little bit of the Gu Electrolyte Beverage that they were shilling and it tasted like Dom Perignon. But then it was back to the grind.

When I got to Mile 12 I started really having doubts about finishing. In hindsight that was so dumb, of course I would finish I only had one mile to go, but in the moment all I could think about was that the last mile was completely uphill and just thinking about that was crushing mentally. The brain ALWAYS gives out before the body does. I began to walk and just feel really bummed and defeated. This is also for sure where my (already slowing) pace really crapped out. But then I came around the corner and saw the last bridge that we would be crossing, and it was a pretty one.

I picked up my feet, shuffled across that bridge, did a hybrid of walking and running when the winding hills to the finish line got hard and then finally spotted Sarah at the top of a big incline. She was wearing her finisher’s medal and I could see the finish line and so I harnessed up every ounce of energy I had in me and crossed it — and it felt amazing!!!!!

Official Time: 3:12:02

I didn’t break any records or anything (My average pace ended up being around 14:39) but you guys I’m just so happy to have finished. It’s a start! And it can only get better from here!

Thoughts for Next Time

(Wait…Next time? My Mom and Garrett just dropped dead over the fact that I’m saying there is going to be a next time. HA!)

I ran this half marathon as an exercise to see if I could, really. I wasn’t sure I could go for 13 miles, I didn’t really put a lot of effort into training aside from my regular CrossFit routine and a few long runs, and hey — I finished. Check Plus!

But in the past couple of weeks, and especially during the race, all I could think about it is what I could possibly do if I had tried a little harder to work on speed, or running hills, or if I really gave some energy to learning to pace myself consistently. This was a challenge that was a lot of fun to tackle, but I feel like the process of this race has helped me learn so much more about myself and my running skills and it makes me excited to do better.

So of course I HAVE to do it again. I mean, right????

But I’m taking the rest of the year off. Not thinking about any crazy events, not doing any major training, just enjoying the fact that I accomplished a big deal goal that I wasn’t sure I could do. I’m proud of that and I definitely took a minute to appreciate that after the race on Sunday. I also took a minute to appreciate this when I was done running:
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I would like to tell you I came home and ate a delicious salad or some healthy dinner, but I MAWED a Chipotle Burrito and it may have been the best one I’ve ever had. And then…I slept like the dead! It was a restful sleep free of anxiety dreams and running worries and it was a great way to finish off the weekend. Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and tweets and encouragement throughout the entire process you all. I literally wouldn’t have made it across the finish line without you!

What’s On My Nightstand

My life is overflowing with books to read right now and as usual there is just not enough time to read the all. These, however, are the ones I’m most excited to get through.

1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I’ve heard great things about this book which follows a young woman in Greenwich Village during the 1930s who has a chance encounter with a man that propels her into New York Society. Sounds like Real Housewives of New York: The More Literary Verison.

2. Best Food Writing 2011 by Holly Hughes – I always love these compilations of the best curated food writing from magazines, the internet, and sometimes surprising literary contributions. It’s always a mixed bag, I never love everything, but there are always a few gems. The new one just came out, but I haven’t even made my way through last year’s yet. I’m looking forward to doing so little by little.

3. Little Children by Tom Perotta – Both Garrett and I are reading this for Book Club and it’s our turn to host the dinner to accompany the discussion. The subject matter doesn’t sound to uplifting, so I haven’t quite come up with a menu, but I think I’m going to do lots of finger food since we are going to watch the movie version too when we all get together.

4. Ad Hoc At Home by Thomas Keller – Family style recipes made with fresh ingredients inspired by Keller’s casual restaurant out in Sonoma County. A surprising number of the recipes are Paleo to begin with, but regardless the cookbook itself is inspiring on a number of levels. I’m having fun checking out cookbooks for my own writing/design inspiration and this one totally delivers. When Michelle mentioned it recently I knew it must be worth checking out because that gal has good cookbook taste. And it totally delivers!

5. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Goff – This is an older book that I just recently read about, and honestly I can’t even remember where, but I immediately put it my To-Read list. Something about it just sounds weird and appealing so I want to read it. You can read the plot summary here.

6. The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas For the Creative Cook by Niki Segnit – I think the super long title sort of explains what this is about, but I picked it up on Mel’s recommendation a couple of weeks ago and it is right up my alley. (PS – that post is FULL of awesome foodie fun, check it out if you’re looking for some cookbook inspiration too!)

7. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings – Just like I am a sucker for books about New Orleans, I will basically always read a book that takes place in Hawaii. Remember? Hawaii and I have a special bond. Also I really wanted to see this movie and generally if there is an award winning movie made from a book, I like to read the book first. (Isn’t the book usually better?) Anyway, I’ve been eyeballing this for a while and finally it has made its way to the To Read Queue. I hope it’s good!

*****

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Running Down A Dream

Sunday morning I am running my first half-marathon. Ever. In my life. Yes, that was trepidation you heard in my voice, my nervousness is quite palpable, actually.

My goal: Just Finish.

And right now I feel fairly confident that I can do that. I’m not looking to break any records, or win any awards, I’m just looking to cross a finish line. That alone will mean quite a bit to this girl right here:

October 2010 - Day 1 of CrossFit

You might remember that picture, I’ve posted it here before, but if not, that was me on my first day of Crossfit (two years ago, this month – HEY-O!) On that memorable day the warm-up involved running 100 meters. It was uncomfortable and awful, and I remember feeling particularly embarrassed that I had to walk. 100 meters is not a long distance and I struggled — and it wasn’t in that triumphant-backed-by-a-soundtrack kind of way. I felt uncomfortable, I worried that I looked stupid, but most memorably it just made me upset with my body.

I kept trying to improve, though never running outside of the gym. Eventually I switched up my footwear which made a HUGE difference. Little by little I got faster and slowly but surely my body could go a little bit farther. It was a long term exercise in patience and persistence, because despite the fact that we run a lot in CrossFit there were blocks of time where my running did not improve at all. But then I began to challenge myself to run outside of the gym.

It was funny because I never had that ubiquitous desire to “Be A Runner” that so many people talk about. What I did have was this feeling that running was difficult, and you KNOW how I am with a challenge. Then one night last year I got ballsy. I signed up to run a half marathon in Seattle with a friend (Hi Jessica!) and I set my eye on the prize. I started training very diligently and making good friends with the treadmill at my office gym just about every morning around 5am. This went on for a few months, but after those few months I noticed a little hiccup – I had stopped losing weight. I was CrossFitting like a maniac, eating clean as a whistle, running 4 days per week and generally being a workout superstar! But the weight was just hanging on. Also: I WAS REALLY FREAKING TIRED.

So I reevaluated, hemmed and hawed, asked for advice and did some really deep thinking. I heard loud and clear (from many of you, actually) that training for running events and weight loss don’t generally go together. And because my goal at the time was to drop some weight, and I wasn’t about to give CrossFit up (that I was doing for my sanity), I ultimately decided to NOT run that race. There is a little part of me that still feels sad about it (Running! In Seattle! Waaaaah!) but it was the best decision I could have made at the time and I don’t regret it one bit. Once I subtracted the 5am running and added the extra sleeping, I was right back on track with the weight dropping.

But that “Goal: Unacheived” feeling sort of nagged at me. In the meantime I would run here or there for pleasure, and YES — I do mean pleasure. Running has never come easy to me, and I will never tell you that the first mile I run is enjoyable, but when you have felt that moment of sadness that I felt my first day of CrossFit — sadness about your body and its performance (or perceived lack thereof) you end up reveling in your own progress even if it is progress doing something that isn’t 100% enjoyable all of the time. And as I did it more, I became more confident.

I have said it a number of times: I will never be a super speedy runner. My body was built to lift heavy shit, not so much to race. But I have to tell you, when Sarah suggested we run this half-marathon at the end of October, I felt a little bit inspired.

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Working on my running over the last few months has been SO. MUCH. FUN. at times. Of course it has also been crappy and tiring and hard, but improving on the tough stuff has been AMAZING! I’m not sure I would have challenged myself to run this race on Sunday if it wasn’t for the encouragement of Sarah, but heck, now that we are all signed up, I’m so glad the race is here and we get to do it!

One of the biggest gifts of the last 2 years, since opting to change up my lifestyle a bit, are the people who I have met, gotten close to, and learned from. It’s so fun to have friends who want to go out and run way too many miles on Saturday morning! It feels so nice to have coaches who are invested in your performance. It builds so much confidence to make a goal and then take the necessary steps to achieve it, but it is sharing those goals, and encouraging others, and having lots of discussion with a like-minded community of people that just make it all the more meaningful. It’s happened here in town, at the gym, on the internet, and out in Colorado at the very least. It’s THE PEOPLE that are the coolest part of this journey.

So I’m wondering, My People (yep, that’s you) – if you have a second on Sunday morning, can you send Sarah and I some good pre-race vibes? I’ve been running a lot, but Sunday will actually be the furthest I’ve run, um…EVER, . 13.1 miles, HOLY CRAP I’M A LITTLE NERVOUS. So any good ju ju you have to spare would mean a lot to this girl. But even more, it would mean so much to that girl in the picture up there, who never thought she would even be in a position to ask for support in a race like this. So thanks, y’all! It means the world….

Hunger Strike

Lunch Masterpiece! (A masterpiece mostly bc Garrett made it for me)

A little over two years ago when Garrett + I decided to embark on this Paleo adventure together we were both a little leery. It was so different from what we knew that neither of us could really envision what this lifestyle looked like long term. We decided to commit for a short period of time, but after only a few weeks things felt so dramatically different that we decided to just wing it and learn as we went.

One of the most memorable of my positive Paleo consequences (and trust me there were quite a few in those first few months) was that I noticed I stopped feeling REALLY hungry. That ravenous feeling that would overtake me at about 10:30 every morning and would show up again during that mid-afternoon slump was basically gone. It wasn’t that I never wanted to eat, but I remember constantly feeling satisfied to my core — no will power needed. When I finally read It Starts With Food a few months ago, one of the most compelling things that stuck out to me was the explanation of why that happened.

It turns out Satiation (that feeling of fullness and satisfaction) is set up to work as a direct reflection of your body’s nutritional Satiety. Plainly said, your body is naturally programmed to indicate fullness when your nutritional needs have been met. I always thought they were just two forms of one word, but in fact they are different functions in your body. When you are eating a diet full of a variety of whole foods, your body let’s you know what it needs. It’s when we start eating some of that marginal, processed crippety crap that things get a little trickier. (The book continues to explain this, but I don’t plan to keep going because me explaining science is just sad. :P)

But it makes so much sense. It’s why it is so much easier to consume 600 calories worth of potato chips than it is to consume 600 calories of broccoli. Your body registers fullness in fairly direct proportion to the nutritional density of the food you’re eating. I think this is something that I’ve always understood at a physiological level, but it was interesting how simply the book explained our hunger mechanism. And ever since reading that I have enjoyed paying attention to it in my everyday life. But it’s not only at the dinner table that I am noticing this to be true.

I had a pretty serious discussion with Garrett this weekend that started off kind of light. We were talking about what we have on our plates through the end of the year and he mentioned how it would be awesome if we could just “be normal” for a little while. After doing a Whole 30, finding a stray dog (with bonus digestive issues!) prepping for my presentation in Colorado and then following that right up with embarking on my Skin Care Experiment which most notably had me giving up my beloved caffeine for 30 days – things have been slowly building up to a fever pitch of overwhelm. And all the while, just for shits and giggles, I have also been prepping to run a half marathon, which will finally come to fruition on Sunday (more on that later this week.) Things eventually went from a light-hearted funny discussion, to both of us admitting we are pretty exhausted from all of the juggling.

And if I am being honest, despite my Very Full Plate, I am NOT overflowing with Life Satiation right now. Mostly I just feel tired, and even sometimes lately I feel a touch sad. It’s not that I can’t look around and see the wealth of awesome things I have going on in my life, because I can (and I do!) But mostly it is that I can’t quite kick this nagging feeling of hunger. I spend a lot of time making lists, setting goals, trying new things, and pushing myself through new challenges. I am ambitious, accomplished, and the badge I wear most proudly: I AM DISCIPLINED. At this point though, my discipline is just a way of life and it’s somewhat scary to contemplate operating on a different level. But I’m starting to think my Type A Drive To Achieve is really just a whole lot of energy consumption, without a whole lot of nourishment. My life is currently the nutritional equivalent of a very bountiful basket of Halloween candy. And right now I’m not quite sure what to do about that.

It’s not a bad thing, really, it just kind of *IS* right now. So I am doing lots of thinking, lots of resting, and lots of marinating. Also, I’m breaking rules. You see despite my October Intention of reducing my commitments, I am making just one more that I plan to honor for the next couple of months. I’m committing right here in this moment, and in this space (you all are my witnesses!) to figuring this stuff out. I’ve been going on and on about it for some time so I think it is finally time to stop some of the crazy making and figure out what it is that I am truly hungry for.

And if my Paleo journey is any indication, I am hoping in the end that it will feel like second nature and that it will taste delicious.

These Are My Confessions – Volume Four

In the sea of “I’m so blessed” Facebook Updates, aspirational healthy living/organizational/design/cooking/food blogs, and food-styled Instagram photos out there, there is no shortage of fodder to make you feel like you should be doing more, dressing better, and generally being more fabulous. While I’m definitely huge proponent for trying to live your best life, I also think it’s nice to keep it real around here too! So here are some confessions for ya:

1. OOTDs In Real Life

While I think it is super fun to document Outfits of the Day on Instagram during the week

I rarely document them on the weekends because every possible waking hour I can spend in an outfit equivalent to THIS feels like a win!
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Here, let me breakdown this fine fashion – American River CrossFit hoodie // Hot Pink Mossimo Tank Top // Lululemon Still Pants covered in dog hair.

2. The Kitchen — In Real Life

Last Friday I mentioned that Garrett, Buster + I were having a dance party in my kitchen. (Buster is a very accomplished ballroom dancer, didn’t you know?) An overwhelming amount of people mentioned my crazy-clean kitchen counter tops.
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That, my friends, was just a coincidence. Remember, I cook A LOT. Most of the time I am fighting an uphill battle against this:

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And the closest thing we have to a dishwasher is Garrett.

3. Paleo Perfection — except in the garage!

So I’ve let you walk through what’s in my pantry before:
Pantry

And I’m pretty open about what my fridge looks like:
Inside Fridge

I’m just a real Paleo Angel, eh? But wait until you see the shelf in my garage of things I just can’t let go:
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Rye Chips! Wheat Flour! And Cereal???? OH MY. What gives? I’m glad you asked. It’s football season, and I’ve been known to make a damn good Chex Mix. Sometimes you just gotta off-road! And the flour? Well, I guess it’s just my food-hoarding tendency. I haven’t used it in forever but something about chucking it just feels wasteful. So now it just lives in my garage not being used. Waste of SPACE, let me tell you. The rice is for the dog!

No house is perfect.

4. My Workout Clothes Smell Like FUNK

Will you still be my friend?

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I’ve washed and then dried all of my workout clothes. Apparently this is problematic (especially the drying part.) Most of these are fairly new and they still kind of smell like gym floor. It is so super duper nasty and I am on the hunt for a solution that will work for my high efficiency washer (Do you have one? Weigh in!) Manda said hang drying cures the stink, so I’m trying that. If that doesn’t work, I’m getting some Sport Wash.

Regardless, um…GROSS. It really *is* time for some new duds.

5. I am an Organizational Jekyll + Hyde

(or Heckyll + Jyde if you are Teresa Guidice, but that is neither here nor there.)

Some of my bathroom cabinets are very pleasingly organized. We have talked about this before, I like me some organized drawers.
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But others, just continue to be FULL O’ CRAP (neatly stacked upon other crap.)
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The thing is: one only has so much time to care. And right now, I just can’t get to jazzed up about whether or not my stash of Bath & Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soaps are organized pleasingly by season.

THE HORROR.

6. My Suitcase From Colorado Is Only *Technically* Unpacked

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I’m not a total heathen, I’ve taken the clothing out of the suitcase. I just, uh…haven’t actually put it away and it is all sitting on the guest bedroom bed. Whoops.

This is real life, folks!

So tell me…anything you would like to confess?

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Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three

Diary of a Subculture Junkie

I am not at all easily offended, which I think is a plus because I’m a person with insatiable curiosity. When you want to know how things work or what makes people tick you generally need to be able to endure things that are not explicitly your experience, and I think I do that pretty well. But recently I’ve realized it’s not just something I happen upon, I often seek it out. I love to read lengthy magazine articles profiling people I had no idea about in my free time, or checking out offbeat non-fiction books from the library. You could even rationalize it’s why I watch reality television (even though we all know it’s not reality) or make time to watch more documentaries than I do blockbusters. I just love that feeling of digging into a person’s story.Heck, it’s probably why I like reading blogs so much!

But whether a person’s story is something I agree with is wholly separate, mostly I just enjoy the sport of trying to understand. If there is a super deep rabbit hole subculture that I can dive into and get more information about I am always game to do so. I like reading about how other people live, learning what informs their decisions, and I almost enjoy it more when they are completely different than mine, even if the entire time I am cringing and thinking “WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT?” Yearning For Zion hair anyone?

Which is exactly why I signed up to read BlogHer Book Club’s new selection Diary of A Submissive by Sophie Morgan.

With all the brouhaha surrounding 50 Shades of Grey, and should women be reading erotica?, and is BDSM a subculture or a psychosis? — when the newest selection was released and it was a memoir of a journalist who was very pro the BDSM subculture, I was intrigued. Until the beginning of this year I didn’t even know that subculture existed, so to read about what makes someone tick who actively participates — I have to admit, I was curious.

I certainly had my assumptions before going into this book, and I get that this type of book isn’t for everyone. Garrett and I talk about the books we read all the time and on this one, he preferred instead to not hear the details — and there are DEFINITELY details. But overall I thought it was a pretty impressive book. It doesn’t just deal with the stereotypcial whips! chains! and “Here is how it works, physically” but rather it illustrates one woman’s emotional experience of figuring out that this was the lifestyle for her, which is far more interesting angle.

It’s funny because just as this campaign launched BlogHer emailed all of us to remind us that we were all “allowed” to say “This book wasn’t for me,” if that was indeed our opinion. (We are *always* allowed to say that, but I think with the sensitive nature of this novel some people had expressed concerns about what to write.) And I am sort of curious to see how the weekly discussion groups go with such a hot-button topic. But from a completely objective perspective, I have to say I really did get a good look into what makes Sophie Morgan tick and why this lifestyle appeals to her. When I got to the end I still felt completely confident that this lifestyle DOES NOT appeal to me. :) But that’s what makes the world interesting, right? And it was fun to take a dive down that rabbit hole.

*****

I read this book as a part of BlogHer Book Club and while I was compensated for my review as well as provided a fee copy of the book, all opinions expressed are my own.

Time To Stock Up?

I generally don’t recommend Old Navy with zeal. Their sizing is funky, things are often ill fitting an hour after you put them on, and the quality of garments vary depending on the place they are manufactured. Every once in a while I find a gem, so I never completely count them out, but mostly I prefer to get my clothes from other places.

(Ok let’s be real, mostly I prefer to get my clothes from Target.)

But when it comes to well made, inexpensive active wear OLD NAVY IS WHERE IT’S AT. (Also: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really really like the Active line, I promise.)

Their workout tanks are always cute and stylish and the compression pants are a part of My Workout Essentials. It’s rare that I hit the gym not wearing some element of Old Navy clothing, and (surprisingly) it is totally durable and the quality holds up over time.

Which is why I had to pop in to point out today that their Active line is pretty darn cheap right now!

$9 Tees

$7 Tanks

I recommend both! And while my favorite compression capris aren’t on sale right now, $23 isn’t too shabby.

And from now until 10/24 everything is 20% with the coupon code ONSAVE20.

If there ever was an excuse to go on a shopping spree, this might be it. I don’t know about you but new workout clothes always get me pumped to workout. (Lame, but true!)

Fall Bucket List – 2012

We’re already a few weeks into fall and I’ve been sort of lazy about compiling my bucket list. I think indicates I need a mellow one this year, because we all know I can’t NOT make a list. It’s a sickness.

I sat down and looked at my calendar and really thought about my limited time outside of work and where I could put my energy to make me feel happy and fulfilled this season. Here is what I came up with. I apologize in advance for the lack of typically seasonal pumpkin + apple business, but there’s always Pinterest for that. :)

At Home

*Plant a Fall Garden
*Host Book Club Dinner Again
*Read 5 books
*Send Christmas Cards
*Find a Seasonal Soap for the Guest Bathroom
*Buy New Sheets for the Master Bedroom

In The Kitchen

*Blog a New Soup Recipe
*Cookbook Recipe Testing
*Contribute something AWESOME to Thanksgiving dinner

Fitness

*Finish First Half Marathon
*Enjoy an epic brunch afterward (what?)
*Beat last year’s 5k Time

Style

*Experiment with Colored Tights (eep! This scares me)
*Buy something Leather-ish (Purse! Jacket! Skirt! And by Leather, you know I mean “leather” right?)

With Family

*Have a Family Potluck at my mom’s house
*Send Christmas Cards
*Hang out with my Aunt + Uncle since they live SO CLOSE now!
*Cook some delicious food for my cousin who is having her second baby in December

****

A few manageable items that I can definitely see myself doing. (I mean, especially brunch! Right?) :) Do you make a bucket list this time of year? If so, share a link to it or tell me a few things on it!

Birthday Weekend Bullets

I turned 34 yesterday and seriously, without an ounce of hyperbole, I had THE BEST WEEKEND EVER! It was just full of so many awesome, simple things! Wanna hear about ‘em? Here it goes:

1. On Friday my coworkers decorated my desk. They are very cute! If one has to have a cubicle and a corporate office job it sure is nice to do it with a fun team.

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2. They also made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies for the occasion. OMG, no photos because they somehow practically all jumped right in my belly. No self control.

3. Friday morning I sort of cheated and bought myself an Americano. It was decaf though, so not a total deviation. But man, was it ever good! I don’t think I can go without coffee forever, but caffeine, perhaps. That beverage HIT THE SPOT.
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4. Lots of work got done that day, obviously.

5. Friday night I hosted a really cool dance party in our kitchen. Of course the only attendees were Garrett and Buster, but I think it’s because we put out the invitations too late. Next time we’ll do it earlier. :)
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6. Saturday morning I met up with Sarah so we could run 8 miles. Before the run I thought to myself “Maybe we can just bust out 10 miles today.” During the run I thought to myself “WHEN WILL THIS 8 MILES BE OOOOOOOOOOOOOVER?” It was not our best run. I must have had some psychic feelings while getting dressed.
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7. I asked Buster if he wanted to come running with us and he gave me his WATCHOO TALKIN’ ‘BOUT WILLIS? face. He makes that face a lot when I suggest he run around instead of sleeping. I know the vet said he was only 5, but I think he may be a teenager.
You're going for a run right now? AW HEEEELLL NAW! I'll just be right here sleeping 'til you get back.

8. When I got home, Garrett told me to shower and dress for cool fall weather, so I did. Then we hopped in the car and he took me to our mystery celebration location.
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9. It ended up being Apple Hill, which is a local cooperative of over 50 farms, ranches and wineries that is quite the autumnal destination around these parts. Think pumpkin patches, face painting, pony rides, and wine.

10. Oh yes, wine.
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11. We belong to the wine clubs at a couple of our favorite local wineries and it was that semi-annual time to pick them up. We also had to stop and have a few tastes!
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12. Garrett packed a picnic, so after a bit of tasting we headed out to enjoy the gorgeous weather! It was about 65 degrees and super crisp out. Perfect fall weather, which was a nice change from the crazy high temperatures we’ve been experiencing so far this season.
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13. We continued to wine taste until I was right on the cusp of having a little too much to drink. The indicator for me is not that I feel drunk so much, it’s that I start finding humor in kitschy signs like this and suggesting we buy one:
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That’s when the bartender knows it’s time to cut me off :)

14. We made one more stop at Grace Patriot (my new favorite out in Apple Hill — if you are local, check it out!) to relax and enjoy the scenery, and then we headed home.
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15. Will you judge me if I tell you we ate ice cream for dinner?
(Ok, good. Thanks!)

16. Sunday I got up early (because I’m a nutty morning person) and started a fairly epic marathon of Revenge. I’m so glad to be watching that show again. The end of every episode always makes you gasp! Good TV.

17. We ran to Costco that morning too. Not for your run of the mill grocery shopping, but to pick up some steaks for my birthday dinner…that Garrett was cooking. SCORE! No one wants to make themselves dinner on their birthday, right?

18. But we ended up also picking up a dog bed that we are going to use for Buster outside. He has an inside one, but as the temperatures drop we figured he needed an outside one too. He was somewhat suspicious of it when we brought it home so we figured we’d let him get used to it indoors. I think he thought we were nuts for putting him on it.
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19. But about an hour later, he had found it quite to his liking.
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20. The rest of the day involved mucho relaxing and television watching in my PJs. The BEST kind of Sunday!

I really didn’t want it to end, but today it’s back to the grindstone a year older, wiser and more mature. (HA!) I’m looking forward to getting back to our normal pace of life this week, so despite the fact that this weekend was amazing, I’m sort of embracing Monday. (Embracing The Suck? Hmmm…) We’ve been in an irregular workout habit for a bit, doing some ice cream eating for dinner, and doing a lot more socializing as of late, so today marks the first time in a few weeks that life is just business as usual. I’m kind of excited about it! Lots of excess always makes me crave routine. Getting back to it may just be the birthday present I give to myself!

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