2013 Goals — How’d I Do?

Holly Would If She Could - 2013 GoalsI almost didn’t set goals in 2013, and my reasoning for that in my original post was as follows: “The thing is, I want 2013 to be the year that I am PRESENT. And goal setting, while super duper awesome can be the gateway drug to living in the future (for me!)”    While I ultimately did decide to set some goals, it’s funny how — regardless of my To Do List — 2013 was constantly challenging me to be present. Things worked out so much different than I thought they would when I made this road map one year ago, but despite all of that I wanted to go through and make my check marks. LIST MAKERS FOREVER!!!!  :)

The areas I focused on were Fitness, Fun, Relationships, My Jobs, and this Blog. Here’s how all of that shook out.;

Fitness Goals

*Train for and run The Relay
*Run another half marathon Aw hell no! 10 miles + The Relay was enough.
*Continue CrossFit 4-5 per week This obviously did not happen despite some good efforts.
*Do a pull up. By yourself. Without a band. This is like my holy grail goal.
*Map out a plan to improve your lifting technique I took a class! I worked with a lifting coach! I definitely improved, and I have the PRs to prove it.
*If you have time, incorporate some yoga for mobility So glad I finally did this.

Fun + Relationships

*Get married THE ENTIRE INTERNET IS TAPPING THEIR TOES, GARRETT! :)
*Private
*Keep up with The Great Skincare Experiment and transition to 100% Natural Skincare I kept it up. I transitioned to 100% Natural Skincare. And then guess what? I WENT BACK TO THE DARKSIDE. I’ll talk more about that in 2014, but things are going really well with my skin right now!
*Get professional photos taken with Garrett again Super fail. We barely took any selfies this year. So sad.
*Plan a weekend away with girlfriends While I didn’t do this on such a grand scale since I traveled so much for work, I think I took major advantage of that work travel for girlfriend time, so I’m checking this off!
*Read 50 books BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I think I read less than 20.
*Do another year of Project Life Purposely stopped this after I got my job. Project Life is awesome, it just wasn’t a priority AT ALL this year.
*Write one hand written note per month Fail.
*See a city with Garrett that is new Double Fail.
*Document your outfits more in an effort to dress better at work I got pretty good at regularly putting my OOTDs on Instagram. Follow me there if that is your thing, I’ll be doing it again in 2014.
*Stop bringing/prepping so much food at parties Garrett suggested this one and I TOTALLY did it. It was like REALLY REALLY REALLY hard, but I managed to be reasonable about volume of food at parties, when entertaining, or when “bringing something” to a gathering.
*Take a Butchering class I didn’t. But I’ve got my eye on this for next year.
*Update home decor “If you feel like it and have time” was how I pitched it to myself this year. The cliffs notes: I did NOT feel like it, nor did I have time. :)

Professional + Blogging Goals

*Do more public speaking I did the same amount. We’ll call that completed.
*Write a cookbook I am proud of This deserves a whole huge blog post of its own. Maybe one day.
*Post 52 new recipes to the blog I posted 9. This makes me sad.
*Redesign website This deserves a whole huge blog post of its own also. I have VERY bad web design luck.
*Start a sponsorship/advertising program that builds community Nope. 2014 goal? Yep.
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*Meet more blog readers/bloggers Nailed it! And it was awesome!
*Be a better blog commenter I will say sort of. It went in waves.

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And the thing I made a goal to keep in mind all year long:

Its ok to be happy with a calm life

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Ha.

Ha.

My life this year did not feel calm AT ALL. But I guess that’s okay, because I went into most things with open eyes. I changed direction early on this year, but I’m happy to see I still got some of this done. I will definitely be setting goals for 2014, but they will probably be more fun, funny and superficial with a few To-Do items thrown in. I need a year off from accomplishing things and a year to just focus on feeling how I want to feel. It’s going to be a change of pace, but a good one I think.

Hope you all have a happy and safe new year!

2013: Year In Review

I spent a lot of time reflecting last week about 2013. My initial thoughts were that it had been filled with a lot of struggle. But as I looked through my photos and posts from this year I began to knit together a much more complex picture.

This year has been filled with struggle. But it has also been filled with strength. There have been moments of triumph weaved in and out of the day to day difficulties and I am so happy that I took the time to think back on everything that has happened from a bird’s eye view.

I don’t know if you plan on doing any sort of reflecting before we tick through to 2014, but I would highly recommend it. For me this has been such a learning year and a week ago I was feeling a little bummed because I hadn’t accomplished everything I had set out to do. But after looking back over the last 365 days, I feel prouder than ever (and slightly more exhausted – ha!)

I want to thank you for being a part of this year in my life. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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We started off strong doing our first Whole 30 of 2013. Some people wonder why we do crazy nutrition challenges like this, but I am telling you, I learn something new every single time. This time around not only did a bunch of you readers and I all do it together — which was awesome because it introduced me to a million new and awesome blog buddies — but I also discovered my favorite no fuss weeknight meal: Crispy Chorizo and Kale. It takes about 15 minutes and tastes DIVINE. Both were worth 30 days of Clean Eats, I swear!
Best Weeknight Meal

I looked back at my January Favorites from earlier this year and surprisingly I still LOVE them all. Apparently January was a good month!

February, on the other hand, was the month that changed EVERYTHING: I got a new job! And boy did it turn my world upside down.

I had made my goals and plans for the year and had started to aggressively pursue them all, but this professional opportunity had me throwing all those goals up in the air and catching only what I could as they all came crashing to the ground. It’s funny how life likes to throw curve balls just when you think you’ve got something under control. :)

I was still hitting the gym, but rather than keeping the forward progress going I was really just keeping myself sane. Turns out this would actually be just perfect for the moment.

Best Stress Reliever

March brought the CrossFit Games Open which, as usual, was such a fun experience in the gym. My performance wasn’t stellar, nor was it where I wanted it to be but I had to cut myself some slack because along with Day Job changes, I was also training for a running event. There was A LOT going on and I wasn’t in my best CrossFit shape ever. Looking back, I’m not sure HOW I juggled all of that during that time. Or, more accurately, how I thought it was reasonable that I juggle all of that AND BE SUCCESSFUL. But you know me, I was determined to keep plugging away and to make it fun, DAMMIT. This mostly meant I drank a lot of champagne. As a general rule, champagne always brings the fun no matter what you’re doing. :)

Best Post Wod Recovery Drink

Speaking of fun, we added an exciting new addition to our family in March as well! Of course my mother would rather us have added an actual baby to our family, but I like to think that this car brought us one step closer. Some day soon, Mama! Just be patient! :)

Best New Addition

It was long overdue for us to upgrade our car situation, prior to this purchase our “newest” car was 14 years old, but the big sell on this car (besides the fact that it belonged to a friend who had taken great care of it and needed to off load it in a hurry) was that it was super roomy and friendly for the REAL best new addition to our family in 2013.

The Real Best New Addition

Even though we technically got Buster at the end of 2012, this was the first full year we spent as a family of three. Though it hasn’t been all smooth sailing — Buster’s digestive system is more temperamental than a toddler — I have never been more grateful for a random addition to the family! He has opened my heart and my mind this year and made me realize that maybe I do have a little nurturer inside of me. My ability to love and care for him has has made me feel slightly less anxious about potentially moving on to the “Parenting” phase of our lives. I have high hopes that 2014 will be the year we get on that. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.

April continued with some gym progress and A LOT of running progress — including running my first 10 miler! It was actually a super awful run, but something I needed to do mentally before I finally embarked on the event I had been training all winter/early spring for: The Relay. OMG THE RELAY! We’ll get to that in just a second, trust me, but to wrap up April — it was also the month that I taught my first HOLY SHIT I’M GETTING PAID FOR THIS Paleo Cooking Class.

Best Cavegirl Impersonation

It was a great experience, but boy that whole “Next Food Network Star” stuff is NO JOKE! With all of the mounting responsibilities I had going on at work I decided not to teach more classes this year, but it is definitely something I will do again. You know I like to get out of my comfort zone every once in a while.

April wasn’t all roses and sunshine though, it was actually the beginning of a little weight creeping back on due to stress. It was panic inducing at first, and it was a major red flag that “Hey Holly, this new job has shaken up your priorities and these are the consequences.” It was a tough pill to swallow for me (and frankly it still is. More on THAT at the beginning of January, for sure) but it was about mid-year when I started to realize that this fitness journey that had been so successful and mostly effortless for me over the last 3 years was changing. Learning how to adapt was clearly going to be my next challenge.

But first — first I had a CRAZY ASS RELAY to run:

Best Group of Likeminded Crazy People

I’ve already written so much about The Relay that I won’t get into it too much here, but I think the feeling that sums up that whole experience is: OMG WHAT WERE WE THINKING? And also: MAN I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THAT. I am still simultaneously proud of and horrified by that entire experience. :)

ICYMI:
The Relay, Part One
The Relay, Part Two
The Relay, Part Three

Best Feeling of Accomplishment

As if The Relay wasn’t enough stress for the month, I was put on a special project at work in May that was going to require A LOT of out of state travel. The downside was that I’m not suuuuuuper into flying. In fact, I have been known hold hands with strangers during particularly bumpy patches. :)

Best Opportunity to Overcome Fear

But the upside was — the travel required was mostly to Iowa. And guess who lives in Iowa?

Best Internet BFF Reunion

AndreAnna totally kept me sane in Iowa this year, and she also kept me in pedicures! True Story: I’m pretty sure the only time I got pedicures this year was with her. And if you want to know the truth, it’s probably time I get back to Iowa. Thank god it’s boot season! :)

Speaking of BFFs, in June my California BFF got married! We had such a wonderful time going down to the Central Coast to celebrate and I am seriously already planning our next trip down there.

Best Wedding Fish Face Selfie

Garrett + I get a little antsy if we don’t get to hang with Sarah AT LEAST once or twice a year (this is what happens when you live with the same roommate for SIX YEARS) so I think maybe in February or March we’ll have to make that happen.

In July I spent more time on planes, more time in the Midwest (this time Ohio!), and more time trying to get my workout mojo going. Finding balance between work life and workout life was a real theme this year, and I happily added a little yoga into the mix this month in order to balance out all of the stress I was juggling. That was a real gift of 2013, getting back into Bikram, and I am so grateful for it.

I also got back into cleaner eating (we did our second MOSTLY Whole 30) and as such I got a little crazy with the food prepping.

Best Household OCD Exhibit

Nutrition is the foundation of my sanity (SERIOUSLY) and it was another thing I struggled with to a big extreme this year. Lots of work travel threw me off and my general exhaustion meant that we did a lot more takeout than usual. Frankly, I am still wondering why Chipotle doesn’t have a frequent buyer card! All year long food was a swinging pendulum for me, and one I would like to get more control over in 2014. I have done enough experimenting that I know exactly what kind of food works best for my body. In 2014 I want to explore the reasons that I use to keep me from sticking to those foods. (Ooooh, psychology! :))

In August I reorganized my Pinterest Recipe Boards which was such a small, silly project but one that represented getting back to having a little “Me Time.” The term “Me Time” makes me gag, but I really struggled this year to find time to read, relax or just dick around on the internet, you know? The Importance of Dicking Around – this will be the title of my first book.  ha! But jokes aside, August was the month that I finally prioritized the importance down time.

Part of that was out of necessity, this was the month that my grandma passed away suddenly, and I think that deaths in your family always put the value of time into perspective. August was a month of quiet reflection for me, on this blog and in life. I just wanted to stay close to home and spend time with those I love.

Best Date Night

September was another month that was slowly dominated by Day Job related things and of course MORE work travel. (Back to Iowa! And Internet BFFs!) It was kind of a big deal for me though because (as dumb as this sounds) this month was the first time in my life I ever packed for a 5 day trip in ONLY a carry on.

Best Pack Job Of My Life

I feel like I have not adequately described on this blog what a chronic overpacker I have been all of my life, so that’s why this is such a noteable and memorable event for me. VICTORY!!!!! :)

It was also the month that I impressed my coworkers during a Team Building even where we had to do a Photo Scavenger Hunt.  I remember this because it was the month that I realized “Ok, maybe I haven’t lost ALL of my CrossFit skills this year. THERE’S HOPE!” So that was a relief!
Best Party Trick

Unfortunately it was also the month of this:

Best Worst Testicle Shaped Sunburn

I really think that picture speaks for itself. Oh September, you were definitely a month of laughs! And also the month of our third Whole 30. Three Whole 30s? Wow. I am proud of that. They get easier every time, I tell ya!

In October I turned 35, and WOW did that feel weird. Also: I was back in Iowa. Boy I sure got to know that state this year, didn’t I? Iowa is seriously filled with the BEST people, and I feel lucky that my work travel has taken me there so often. I have new friends there, a fun CrossFit gym that was my home away from home when I was on the road, and every once in a while I think “Hmmm…maybe I could live here.” I’m not dying to get out of California just yet, but you never know…

Best New Toy

October was definitely sponsored by caffeine this year, which worked out well since we finally got a Keurig. I say this without an ounce of hyperbole:  IT WAS TOTALLY LIFE CHANGING! October was also sponsored by Cortisol (eek!) because along with work travel, aging, and general life craziness, Buster had a surgical procedure done that had us holding our breath for one very long day towards the end of the month. He was such a trooper though, and pulled through like a champ. I love that little poochie like my own child and I’m not even ashamed!
Best Cone of Shame Face

November went by in a flash! And I finally had the realization that this was NOT my year for fitness. OOF, that was a hard thing to admit. This was a growing year for me in so many ways (especially in pant size — ha!), but not so much for me in the gym. I’m still mourning that a little, but as I look back over these pictures and think back on everything I’ve accomplished this year I have no regrets. There are many different seasons in life, and this just wasn’t my season for fire breathing. I know there will be another. Maybe it will be 2014? :::crosses fingers::::

This was, however, my season to do a major hair overhaul.

Best Impulse Decision

SNIP SNIP: I was clearly feeling the need for change last month because the pace of this year has been insane. Sometimes when I feel out of control in certain areas I like to exercise extreme control in others. This year that manifested itself in CHOPPING OFF MY HAIR. It’s been an adjustment, but one that I am mostly enjoying. Maybe next year I’ll chop it all off? Oooooh, or get some crazy extensions. Who knows? :)

Best Feeling of Bliss

December didn’t offer much rest for the weary, but there have been pockets of absolute bliss in there that make me feel excited for what’s to come. This picture of Garrett and I is one of the few pictures we took together this year. I was going through my photos at the last minute trying to see if I could get my act together and make a Christmas card a few weeks ago and I realized we didn’t have much to choose from. While this picture doesn’t make us look like flawless supermodels, what I love about it is that it is so representative of us this entire year (and not just because we are full of wine! ha! Oh this year THERE WAS SOME WINE.)

This year we have grown together in so many ways — both with new jobs, new routines, and new responsibilities. But all the while this year we have made time to check in and prioritize our relationship. It was a great year for us personally, and when I look at that picture I can see it in all of the lines on our faces, the bags under our eyes and ahem, my multiple chins. haha If I have to grow older, I’m so so so supremely glad I get to do it with Garrett.

Best Effort

This many not have been the year of checking things off lists, but it is for sure the year of Superior Effort! I feel 100% confident in saying I gave 2013 everything I had. While my priorities ended in such a different place than they began, I am so happy with how things evolved this year. I did the very best I could with the knowledge that I had and in many ways I’m going into 2014 feeling stronger and more confident than ever.

It’s been a year of change and growth and struggling and learning, and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

A Little Thanks

Why I Write

I’ve been a bit hard on myself lately regarding the content of this blog. Too fluffy, random updates, not enough substance, unedited photos that aren’t even very well composed.

You could be doing better, I say to myself over and over. You could be producing more. You could be making a better effort.

But the thing about this website is that it has never been something that I do because I have to. This random, rewarding, time consuming yet life changing, quirky little hobby of mine has always come from a place of writing to figure things out. To figure my experience out, whatever it happens to be at the time. The puzzles have changed regularly over the last 8 years I’ve been doing this, and I imagine that will continue.

I hope what I write continues to sometimes be fluffy. I hope sometimes it is serious. I hope sometimes it is inspiring. I hope sometimes it makes you think. I hope sometimes it makes you laugh. I hope sometimes it makes you feel like you aren’t the only one going through it. All of those valid little pieces add up to the big picture of one singular, awesome, difficult, amazingly lucky life.

I love this Joan Didion quote (and Didion herself) and when I came across it this morning it snapped me out of my little “Oh, this blog isn’t good enough” funk. Because let’s be real, there is no good enough. This is a real story of a real life, and every fluffy/meaningful/disjointed/well thought out post is an important piece of that life. I’m so grateful that I have this outlet to figure it out. And more importantly that all of you take time to be a part of it.

Thank you.

Wednesday Bullets

Just doing a little bit of spackling and painting.

*I was going to write a “Currently” post because I have so many things on my mind to share, but I think It would mostly read like this — Currently:
Eating: way too much candy
Hoovering: tootsie rolls into my mouth along with peppermint bark.
Navigating: life on a serious sugar high.
Feeling: bloated, obviously.
Avoiding: Garrett because he has the flu and has been down for the count with a fever for 4 days now.

In short, it would have been the least interesting and entertaining “Currently” post ever. So now, we do BULLETS!

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*Mmmm…speaking of Bullets (or Bulleit, as it were) I am OBSESSED with this cocktail. And for some reason every time I drink it I wish that I was eating Bacon Wrapped Scallops. I may make that happen this weekend. And yes I do enjoy shaking up cocktails in my blender bottle. IT WORKS!

Doubles as a cocktail shaker!

*So why all the drinking? Well, last minute work deadlines, the finishing of Christmas shopping, sick spouses, and the ABSOLUTE UNSEXINESS of having to spend over $1000 on repairs for your car the week before Christmas have me needing a little drink now and then, ya know? Bad Habits are abounding this year for me. I really can’t wait to get that in check!

*Completely unrelated: I have a new obsession with You Tube Beauty/Lifestyle/Organization Bloggers…or uh, Vloggers. But ew. No. I hate the word Vlog. It started because I was reading In Style and there was a list of Social Media Awards that had interesting people to follow in Instagram. One of them was Rachel Talbott from Check In The Mirror so I watched a couple of her videos and they were fun and fluffy and then I was like, “Hmmm…who else can I follow?”

*Well I’ll tell you who:
– Ashley of MakeupTIA – whose blog I used to follow and had forgotten was doing You Tube videos. She’s just the cutest.
Rachel Haysidt – who is pretty hilarious.
– Reachel Bagley of Cardigan Empire – who couldn’t get any more adorable if she tried.
– Kendra of Vlog with Kendra who has the cutest Shiba puppy ever and makes me want a dog sister for Buster daily.
– Jayme and Mendi of Her Late Night Cravings – two VA gals talking clothes, hair and makeup.
– Estee of Essie Button – Product Junkie and You Tube Enthusiast, she has like a million channels.
– Mallory of Mallory Loves Makeup – I mean, it’s clear she does.

*The upside of this is that I have found a lot of great skincare and makeup suggestions lately. The downside is that I have bought more eyeshadow alone in the last 60 days than I’ve bought in the last 6 years.

*I’ve also loved watching all the food/cooking shows on Tastemade. Clearly You Tube is my new BFF.

*It’s been fun because I’ve been brainstorming a lot about how to incorporate more video into this here old fashioned website (God, HOLLY, without video you are SO BEHIND THE TIMES – HA!) and it’s definitely got my creative juices flowing watching how others do it. That said, I’m also very aware that I am completely out of my league and have no idea what I’m doing in that space, so you know 2014 might get ugly and inexperienced around here. :) Who wants to sit around and talk with me while we take video?

*Wait, that just got weird.

*Are you all ready for the holidays? Are you drinking more cocktails than usual? Are you kicking ass and taking names at life? If so, PLEASE TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

A Refreshing Approach to Goal Setting

Last week I wrote about trying to be present and find peace all while still setting goals. It seemed to resonate with a bunch of you and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who things about these things.

Reader Kelley left a comment directing me over to Marie Forleo’s newest video interviewing Danielle LaPorte on this EXACT subject. What an awesome coincidence! 😉 I really loved everything she had to say but I was especially drawn in at first when she described the kind of disconnect that I’ve definitely felt this year while working through my goals.

I know it’s a bit of a commitment, running a little over 20 minutes, but I think there is so much great advice here. Check it out when you have a little time to spare and the desire to be inspired:

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Of course after I watched it I ordered The Desire Map instantly. When I get through it I’ll be sure to give it a full review. Thanks, as always, for your encouraging comments and emails the other day.

Onward and upward with this 2014 business!

On Peace, Courage + Getting Things Done

Courage

As we were falling asleep on Sunday I said to Garrett that this weekend had been perfection. If I had made a checklist of Weekend Items That Equal Awesomeness, we would have OWNED it. One part fun, one part restorative, one part social, one part productive while not feeling rushed — it really was just so peaceful!

Weekends lately go one of two ways: they’re either great and I’m absolutely energized on Monday, or they fly by so fast that my head is still spinning as it hits the pillow Sunday night. Regardless of which way they go though, the weekends are usually the best part of my week.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, I’ve been feeling a little conflicted about that lately. I’m not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill or trying to worry about something when there is nothing there, but I’m just feeling a bit of conflict around the great exhale that I take every Friday afternoon because it reminds that I’m doing a whole lot of holding my breath.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it is really important to me to try and create a life that needs no escape. I don’t want to be a person who spends an entire year waiting for that one week of scheduled vacation. I don’t want to always be waiting for Friday to come. Constantly looking for the light at the end of the tunnel feels like a giant recipe for burnout. I know that everyone needs a little break sometimes, but as I get older, I become more and more determined to put my energy toward making my daily life as enjoyable and intentional as possible.

When I say that out loud it sounds a little hippie woo-woo, but it actually comes from a really practical place. I think it’s is a consequence of losing a loved one too soon — because thinking about my dad just being done with life in his early 40s BLOWS MY MIND. I think when you lose someone so young, and so unexpectedly, you become hyper aware of fickle nature of time.

So. While the perfect weekend is always welcome at our house, it has really highlighted for me that lately I haven’t been making an effort to really “enjoy the journey.”  I know, I know — The Journey, GAG. I may as well hang up my poster of Mt. Everest with inspirational quotes right below it. But I really haven’t. I’ve been beating myself up a little bit for all of the perceived “failures” I’ve got going on — working out less than I want, seeing friends less often than I’d like, eating crappy food because it is convenient, staying up super late and having “just one glass of wine” after a long work day. Sure, all of those things are less than ideal, but honestly every day I still get up and try to do my best. And I am realizing that I need to enjoy the process of “doing my best” more instead of just focusing on all the things I am NOT accomplishing.

This is so hard for a goal oriented person like myself, especially when I feel like the energy I am expending is not accelerating the forward progress, but I did read the quote above in an old issue of Oprah magazine last night while sitting in the bath tub and something about it just made me exhale a bit. (YAY, breathing!) There is part of me that becomes a little bit scared when I can’t quantify what I’ve completed. When I can’t check something off a list, you know? But I keep forgetting that I’ve been developing a whole new skill set this year, and it’s one that I’ve been writing through as I’ve struggled with it. 

Being present.

It’s fine to have goals and plans, but the only thing I can manage are my intentions in the moment.  I know in my heart that the more I can let go of my expectations of the outcome, the more present I can be. And honestly when I am just showing up and being present, it is when I feel most capable. (And peaceful!)

I think part of what I need to do is re-frame the meaning behind that little voice in my head who tells me I must get up and try again tomorrow, and I really identified that while reading this quote. When I’m being fearful, that quiet voice can sound like a judgment that I’m just not doing enough, and therefore failing to Get Things Done. But in reality, I’m starting to hear that little voice as my biggest cheerleader. Taking a stab at something new, doing the best you can, hell even just thinking about how to make something better — ALL are acts of courage. And if I can still hear that voice, and if I’m still waking up everyday and giving what I can, then I think in the end it doesn’t matter what actually gets accomplished.

Fun Things To Read On A Friday

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Hoooooooooooooooooooo Boooooooooooooooy, y’all IT IS COLD!

By the looks of Instagram that weather is chilly where you’re at as well. I know out here in California our “cold weather” gets a chuckle from other parts of the country, but let me tell you — it’s all relative, and we’ve been spending as much time as possible curled up under blankets all week long! Even Buster is over the cold weather.

This weekend we are headed to our favorite annual holiday party (good food, good friends, pub style trivia + white elephant gifts! YAY!) but I also plan to spend some serious time in the kitchen making some WARM ASS FOOD. If you have a soup/stew recommendation, leave it in the comments. I’m dying to expand my repertoire!

Hope you keep cozy all weekend and have a great one! Now, let’s get to some links!

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*Best thing I read all week: 10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know About Working Out.

*Everyone needs to eat. Not all of us need to cook. I related to this so much.

*19 Signs You Are Doing Better Than You Think. Damn, you guys. We’ve got it pretty good!

*More good advice on how to Be Friends With Failure.

*I think making this recipe with sweet potatoes could be DANGEROUS. In the very best way, of course!

*Now this is a totally awesome, non-twee maternity photo shoot I can get behind! It’s not so much that I am anti happy belly pics, I think it’s more that I just love the concept of a dramatic “Glorious Portrait.” And what’s more glorious than GROWING A HUMAN?

*This might seem completely out of left field since I’m not even a Jonas Brothers fan, but I found Joe Jonas’ perspective on fame and working for the Disney machine completely riveting.

*This NY Times article about how overweight patients face a bias in the doctors office reminded me of this video that I wish the world would watch. (I’ve posted that video before, but it has such a powerful message I’m doing it again!)

*Stephanie put together a great list of Paleo Holiday Gift Ideas for the Foodie on Your List.

*I think I may NEED this t-shirt.

*If you don’t find this adorable, you may not have a heart: Cats Giving High Fives.

*Here is the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2013. Have you read any?

*Not in a book mood right now? How about 10 Inspirational Movies to Watch This Weekend. (I can get behind all of them except Meet Joe Black. ACK! I hated that movie.)

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Books, movies and blankets — aw yeah — let’s get this weekend started!

My Favorite Water Bottles

Craziness Confession: I am super particular about water bottles.

I realize it might be a little weird to have such strong opinions about what holds my beverage but I feel like the vessel MUST be up to the specific task! And all tasks are not equal.

I carry water with me all the time, but what I’m doing will dictate the container I use and some of my favorites are pretty great, so I thought I’d share my three favorites in case you are a Particular Patty too.

 

1. The Aqua Zinger

Aqua Zinger

So I LOVE LOVE LOVE to drink lemon water, but lemon water in any old container just won’t do! The Aqua Zinger is completely bad ass because it is a regular stainless steel water bottle (with a straw!) that has a small strainer section at the bottom where you can add half a fresh lemon (or any other fruit infusion — I also HIGHLY recommend canteloupe and strawberry — YUM!)

All you do is add your fruit to the bottom, fill your bottle, and screw on the lid. It’s good for hot or cold beverages (infused tea, anyone?) and it is just about perfect! The mess is contained, you don’t accidentally end up drinking seeds or pulp, and you can use one half of a lemon (or a small amount of fruit) all day long and the water stays super flavorful. Aqua Zinger, will you marry me?

If I could change one thing:
It would be just a little bit bigger. I usually use this at work, so I don’t really mind getting up and walking to the water cooler, but it would be even better if it fit 24-36 oz of water.

 

2. The Klean Kanteen Insulated Wide Mouth Bottle

klean kanteen
When I’m out and about I like to keep water with me, but my big pet peeve is a water bottle that gets condensation all over it and ends up being a sweaty mess. Also: I like my water to stay cold. What I love about the Insulated Klean Kanteen is that when you put cold water in there it stays cold for TWENTY FOUR HOURS. You guys, do you know how amazing this is in the summer when it’s 100 degrees outside and I’m running errands or hitting the grocery store and I can literally leave it IN MY CAR and it is still icy cold when I return? It is a thing of (refreshing) beauty!

In the winter I also use this for bone broth because it also keeps things hot for up to EIGHT HOURS. I can heat up my broth at home, pop it in the Klean Kanteen and take it to work and drink it whenever I am ready or throughout the day. It holds 24 oz, so it is quite a good amount! It’s also super great for workouts, and they make a sport top version as well (but that one isn’t insulated as far as I know.)  The sport top is still cool, but just not quite as long of hot/cold control.

If I could change one thing:
I would make this NOT a $40 water bottle. It is definitely a splurge and I had to talk myself into this for a long time, but ever since I bought it I’ve never looked back. You guys this is an AMAZING water bottle. High quality material, crazy good temperature control, no leaking or sweating, works like a charm, AND it’s good looking — I LOVE IT. Yes, I just called a water bottle amazing. Yes, I’m aware my life is small. :)

 

3. Contigo Auto Seal Bottle with Storage Compartment

Contigo Water Bottle With Storage Compartment
When I CrossFit I always have my gym bag with me because it’s full of shoes and wrist wraps and jump ropes , OH MY! I’m not packing a suitcase, but I carry a lot of crap, ya know? I usually throw whatever water bottle I feel like in the gym bag water slot and call it good. When I go to hot yoga though, I usually travel light: a mat, towels and water are about all I need, so this water bottle with a storage compartment is kind of a life saver. I can throw my ID and credit card in there and not have to bring my entire purse (which is kind of a gym bag in itself, according to Garrett – HA!) and be ready for whatever enlightenment awaits in that 100 degree room! :)

If I could change one thing:
I would make this NOT plastic. At least it’s BPA-free?

*****

It may seem a little extreme, but hey — water is a big part of my life and I like having the right tool for the job. Feel free to call me crazy, or confess that you are similarly particular. And if you’re the latter, share with me your favorite bottles. LINKS PLEASE! :)

Dress Rehearsing Your Goals

It’s the holidays and we should all stay present and enjoy the season! But can I confess something to you? I am already excitedly thinking about goals for 2014! (Ok, ok — I bet this comes as a shock to absolutely no one.)

Buddy Goals

I just LOVE goals and experiments and (most importantly) KEEPING TRACK because it just tickles my brain. Goals and I go together like Buddy the Elf and Smiling — it’s a Can’t Stop/Won’t Stop situation. Whether I achieve the goal I set out to or completely fail in the process I just love seeing my intentions and efforts turn into real change over time while learning new things.

We are right about to embark upon that time of year where people like to publicly complain about how resolutions are stupid. No one ever keeps them! We are just setting ourselves up for failure! THE HORROR!  But I firmly believe (as I’ve said a million times around here) Failure Is Awesome! And while I am clearly and firmly in the Pro-Resolution Camp, I understand that everyone isn’t as dorked about setting goals as I am.

But if you are contemplating setting some new goals for yourself next year, or if you are just starting to tinker with the idea of trying something new, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things to do during December that help me set me on a path of success come January.

Enter: The Dress Rehearsal.

To me, the month of December is FULL, and I generally don’t try to commit to new routines or make sweeping changes. Tis the season to celebrate maintenance as if it were serious progress, right?  But that is absolutely the beauty of trying new things in December — you can try something, perhaps fail at something, and then when you get to January you’re like “Doing this new thing without all that holiday complication? Man, that feels like a piece of cake!”

Mind tricks. I like them, you see.  :)

Here’s what I’m trying new in December:

photo

Have you heard of 43 Folders?

It’s an organization/reminder system based on David Allen’s awesome productivity book Getting Things Done. I read it back in July and thought there were a lot of good ideas in it, but wasn’t really in an implementing mood, you know?  But I’ve been thinking about it a lot because over the last few months  Garrett and I have drilled down that a good amount of our life stress comes from this feeling of not using time effectively. When we have it we’re not using it, and then we have to scramble at the last minute to get things done when we DON’T have time. UGH. Something needs to change for sure.

So we decided to dress rehearse a new solution this month. Best case scenario, we love it and the holidays run even smoother. Worst case scenario, we do it for a week, get too busy, forget all about it and then we try again in January learning from our mistakes. Anyway, here’s a quick overview of what it entails:

43 Folders Overview

It’s a really simple file folder based system (you have one for each of the 31 days of a month, plus one for each of the 12 months of the year) and the idea is  you can place physical ephemera you will need on a specific day (Invitation to a Baby Shower on Saturday December 13), reminders of things you want do on a specific date (On December 6, Buy Baby Shower Gift), or pending things you want to review later (I printed out the baby shower registry the day I got the invitation, then put it in the December 6th File Folder.) Each day in the morning (maybe with your coffee!)  you open the folder with the current date. Use what you need, prioritize your to do list accordingly, push back things to another folder if they aren’t urgetnand then put your folder in the back and bringing tomorrow’s folder to the front. At the end of each month, you open the folder for the new month and deal with its contents—like putting items in the correct day folders. Make sense?  If not, this is a helpful video overview.

*****

So — that’s what we are dress rehearsing that in December. We’ll might screw up, but who doesn’t screw things up during the holidays, right? 😉  We’ll get an idea of what we like, what we don’t, what will work better, etc — and then come January, we’ll go at it LIKE WE MEAN IT. I love a good dress rehearsal to work out the kinks. Have you started thinking about your goals for 2014? Are you dress rehearsing any new habits right now or just cheering yourself on for maintaining?

Thanksgiving Break

Buster Wants Pie

Hi! I took a little Thanksgiving Break — from work (and from blogging, clearly) — and boy did I wake up this morning feeling refreshed! I find as I get older when I take breaks from work I can either focus on being productive or relaxing, but I can rarely do both successfully. While I did make a long To-Do List over the last week, I really spend most of my time ignoring it, which ended up working out just fine.

Tell me the truth — are you still in a turkey/pie coma? :)

****

Since I was determined to relax last week, I spent Monday-Wednesday doing whatever the hell I wanted. While I didn’t sleep in much since Garrett was up to go to work each morning around 5, I did get to just putter around in the morning. By the time 9 or 10 came around I was about ready to start moving, so I spent the beginning of the week doing a lot of mid-morning yoga. It felt really luxurious to not feel rushed. I’d come home, shower and straighten up the house, and usually watch stream some silly Amazon/Netflix movie. Hi, The Descendants was more of a tear jerker than I expected. And DEFINITELY made me feel like a trip to Hawaii was in order SOON.

In the afternoons Buster and I would head out for long walks, and I think he got really used to me being home. He got a serious overdose of attention this week and I feel a little bad that I have to go back to work today — who is going to pet him all day??? :)
Sunday stroll with the fam.

One day we even met up with Garrett on his break at work and got to walk around the Capitol. They were decorating for Christmas already and WOW, what a production! Way more effort than we put in around our house. ha! If I had to get a boom truck out to decorate my tree it would NEVER get out. I feel rushed to get a tree this year. Isn’t it weird how having Thanksgiving a week later just throws off your entire holiday timeline?
photo

On our walks I caught up on all my favorite podcasts:

*Watch What Crappens
*Underground Wellness
*Balanced Bites
*Fat Burning Man
*Girls Gone Wod

It was so nice to just be walking and listening. Usually I have to catch up on Podcasts in traffic or while I’m multi-tasking so it was nice to just be able to zone out and listen. And then of course because I always feel inspired to kick ass and take names in the gym when I listen to all those awesome people, I spent some time squatting. Ok, also I wanted to do a little Turkey Day Front Loading, I can not tell a lie.

squat

We traveled this year for Thanksgiving and while it was so awesome to see family, rolling with a dog and dealing with holiday traffic was NO JOKE.
photo

We caught up with family and friends, enjoyed some champagne, good appetizers and a host of traditional food, and then as quick as we headed out of town — we turned around and headed back. I spent the day after Thanksgiving with my mom and Buster and I helped her decorate her house and her tree. Obviously he thought that was exhausting:

Tree Decorating is exhausting!

I also did A LOT of Black Friday shopping — all online though. Brick and mortar on Black Friday? NO THANK YOU. While it was weird to see the calendar turn to December over this Thanksgiving Break, I have to say this is one of my favorite months of the year. I love the festivities, I love the cool weather (made up a batch of this and this over the weekend!) and I love the idea of setting intentions for next year. While it is still blowing my mind that this year is almost over, I can’t wait to see what is on the horizon for next year.

I have lots of thoughts about all of that, but we have all month to get to it! For now, we are just enjoying ourselves, the holidays, the smell of pine in the air, good wine, friends and family, and counting up all the things we are so grateful for this year. It’s been a nutty one, but there has been so much good stuff mixed in.

photo

Hope you had a wonderful week as well!

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