Friday, December 20, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Or not.

I've been my usual Grinch-y self pretty much all season and for various reasons. The biggest reasons are the fact that in a very short time I will be unemployed and I'm constantly worrying about how we're going to pay our bills (we're already struggling and I'm not unemployed yet!). Other reasons include the nasty cold weather, the assholes on the road--none of those people are in the "Christmas/holiday/whatever spirit"!--my long commute in general, all the things I will miss about my current job and friends in Cape, etc., etc.

On top of all that, there's the Christmas shopping, which I still haven't started, ya know, because we're poor and whatnot. It combines three of my least favorite things: Christmas, shopping, and spending money. Ugh.

And people kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas and honestly I really didn't know what to tell them most of the time. I feel bad asking for things when I'm buying gifts for very few people this year, and the gifts I do buy will be pretty small. Plus most of the things I want/need, people can't buy for me. Things like getting a job, being able to pay bills (I guess cash works for that stuff, but most people don't want to hear that the Xmas cash they gave you paid your electric bill or whatever).

I considered not buying gifts at all. But I would feel bad getting gifts from people and not giving them something in return. Even if that something was cheap and sucks and they'll never use it. It's the thought that counts, right?

I really think that's the main reason I get all Scrooge-y and Grinch-y this time of year though. And it's not the whole giving/receiving gifts thing necessarily. It's mainly the commercialization of it all. The shopping and putting yourself further into debt for all these material things. It kind of bums me out. The fact that there are stores staying open 24/7 from now until Christmas Eve for shoppers who waited until the last minute and apparently can't go shop during normal hours sickens me. It's stupid and unnecessary and an awful way to spend the week/weekend before Christmas. And some people will end up working on the holiday too.

I think everyone has just forgotten what all these holidays are really supposed to be about. It's not about gifts or spending money or any of that. It's supposed to be about family and friends. Spending time with the people around you. And giving to those who have less than you and need more than you. And it doesn't matter what holiday you're celebrating--Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc. There are people who don't have roofs to hang lights on, or living rooms to put a tree, or the money to buy a turkey for dinner, or clothes for their children, etc. We all know these things. We know there are people out there who are struggling more than us. Yet we go to the malls and buy the latest and greatest and most expensive electronics, games, clothes, whatever. All these material things have taken over our lives.

If you told your family you weren't buying anyone gifts but instead you were going to donate your time/money to help someone who really needs it, they'd probably look at you like you were crazy, be a little (or a lot) mad because that's one less present they're getting--but maybe they would think it's a great idea and join you.

Maybe it's a little late to do that this year (well it's never too late to donate) if you've already bought gifts and people have already bought gifts for you. But it might be interesting to give it a try next year. Instead of asking people for the stuff you want or think you really "need" see if they'd be willing to donate to a charity instead. Or volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter. Then, when the holiday itself gets here and you go to spend time with your family, you actually get to spend time with them rather than focusing on what they got you.

And no, I'm not suggesting this just because I'm cheap and I hate shopping. I think it would be interesting to try though. Instead of figuring out the perfect gift to get someone, you could instead ask what charities they are most passionate about, and donate to those or find ways to volunteer. You'll probably learn a lot more about that person, maybe become closer with them, and create new traditions by volunteering with them or something like that. The holidays should be about family and friends and the time you spend with them making memories and old and new traditions.

Obviously, I don't have much spare cash to donate right now, but pretty soon, I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands, so I plan to start looking for more volunteer opportunities.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Is this something you think your family and friends would go for?

Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy the time off and be safe!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 14, 2013: I said "Really?"

Then I said "Yes!" And cried.

Here's the story:

Chris and I had plans for Saturday night to go see all the Christmas lights at the Zoo. Unfortunately for me, the night before I was up the entire night. No matter what I did, I couldn't sleep. So I spent most of the night looking for jobs and saving several to apply for the next day.

On top of that, it snowed all night. So I spent most of Saturday applying for jobs and then shoveling the driveway. And I finally took a nap around 3:30. I was exhausted and starving.

Chris came home and asked if I was almost ready (I had only gotten out of the shower about 15 minutes before that!). I was, but still deciding what to wear. He suggested we get dressed up and I told him I was probably just going to wear jeans and a hoodie--we were going to be outside in the cold! For one, I wanted to be warm, and two, we'd be wearing coats anyway so you wouldn't be able to see what was underneath.

He said okay and then asked where I wanted to eat dinner. Because I was exhausted from not sleeping and hadn't eaten very much earlier that day, I said I just wanted to go get McDonald's or something because I didn't want to wait too long to eat. I probably would have gotten very cranky otherwise.

So we ate at McDonald's and then headed off to the Zoo. Everything was really pretty, but very cold! Here's a couple pics:


Penguins at the Zoo! 

Swans

Not engaged yet :p

After the Zoo we headed home. And managed to get lost. So we took a little detour through downtown. Oh well. By the time we got home I was ready to put on my pjs and curl up in bed. Plus, I must have pulled a muscle or something when I was shoveling the driveway earlier that day because my foot, ankle, and calf were all really sore. While Chris was letting the dog outside and then back in I was busy getting my boots off.

When he came back in he had turned on the Christmas tree lights and told me to come out in the living room because Copper wanted to play with me. So I finally went out there and started to pet her when I realized there was something shoved in her collar. I honestly wasn't sure what it was at first. It felt like a jewelry box, but that didn't mean that's what it was, or that that's what was inside. 

I said "What's this?" and Chris told me to open it up and see. 

As I opened it, I realized it definitely was a ring box, but it was empty. As I was doing that, Chris had gotten down on one knee and pulled the ring out. 

He asked me to marry him and I was in so much shock I actually asked "Really?" first before I said "Yes!"

And then I cried a whole bunch. Then we turned on the lights so I could see the ring. It's beautiful, and he had it sized before hand, so it fits perfectly! He did a great job picking it out!




Engaged!

After I calmed down a little, he told me to put my shoes back on so we could go meet my parents. They were at Hendel's having dinner with people from church. I cried some more when we walked in and I hugged my mom and dad. People couldn't believe that I had no clue, that I didn't even suspect that he was going to propose. I honestly didn't. Obviously I knew we would get engaged and married some day, but I just assumed it wouldn't happen until sometime next year. 

Apparently he planned to propose in a more secluded area of the Zoo (which is my favorite place there), but it was closed off. And I had made it clear I didn't want to be proposed to in front of a bunch of people. So he waited until we got home. 

He also fessed up to all the little lies he'd been telling me about the money he was spending and stuff. Apparently he planned to wait until Christmas to propose, but I kept asking too many questions and getting too upset about all the money issues (can you blame me?! I'm about to be unemployed!). 

It turned out to be a perfect night though. We had a couple drinks with my parents to celebrate and then headed home.

On Sunday I went to my grandparents house to show them the ring and I also called my BFF to tell her. She literally screamed. It was awesome. 

Later on Sunday I met Chris at his work to go out to lunch with him and a couple who will be opening a Massage Luxe in Chicago. They gave me/us some beautiful flowers and treated us to lunch at a pizza place in Maplewood (can't remember the name right now).


They smell amazing :)

It turned out to be an incredible weekend. And I'm already freaking out about planning and stuff. But the first thing on my to-do list is to get a job! So hopefully something will come up soon and then everything will be perfect! And by "something" I mean something in an office-setting at least, even if it's not related to my degree. I'm hoping to avoid having to resort to retail. 

So that's our engagement story!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lacking Motivation or Something


Sorry it's been a while (again). You'd think with all the time off I've had with the holiday and snow days I'd be more rested and have the time and energy to write, but I just haven't for some reason. I'm not sure if it's been lack of inspiration/motivation, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety/dread/depression from having zero luck in finding a job coupled with all the bills I keep getting that I obviously can't afford to pay if I'm unemployed, plus all the Christmas gifts I have to buy, which I also can't afford. Probably a combination of all those things. Oh and it's cold. Super-duper-stupid cold:

It's blurry, but that says it was 5 degrees at 7:03 this morning.
Yuck.

Quitting school definitely helped me de-stress and I was completely relieved when I did it. But the way things keep piling up is stressing me out all over again. 

I've applied for around 20-ish jobs since October (I applied for a few jobs before that and got rejections on those). Of those 20-something jobs just since then, I've gotten one response, which was a no, but at least it was a response. 

It's starting to look like I'll be working retail or something for a while until I can find something better/in my field. 

I've also begun to look more seriously at trying to get some freelance gigs. Whether I'm working or not, I could definitely use the extra cash. 

The best news I've gotten this week is that they interviewed and picked someone to take over my job. Since we're technically on a hiring freeze until Jan. 1 or 2, she can't be officially hired or start any time before then, but it's definitely a relief to know that someone will be taking over not long after I've left. Plus she's a friend of mine, super smart, nice, and funny. Training her shouldn't be a problem. And that's a big relief. 

One less thing I have to stress over (which really means I can put more of my "energy" into stressing over my upcoming unemployment and bills--yay).

So if any of you happen to need or know someone who needs a freelance writer or editor, please contact me about it! Or if you happen to know of any businesses in the area that are hiring. I would really appreciate all the help! 

I sincerely hope not all of you are dealing with the snow, ice, and well-below freezing temps that we are here! It's no fun! And has made me realize I could really use some kind of boots that aren't just "fashion." 

Also please try to give to others in need this season--and all year round, really. There are many, many people out there who are much worse off than most of us are and could really use some help. So give what you can: time, money, a shoulder to cry on, a meal or two, etc. You could really make a difference in someone else's day/week/month/year. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?

Mine was pretty good. Not nearly as 
relaxing as I hoped it would be, but it was still good. 

Wednesday was probably the best day even though it started with me and Chris driving to Farmington to get my personal property tax waiver, which we had to pay a freaking dollar for. 

Once we got that over with though, we drove back to St. Louis and headed over to The Hill to buy some soap from Herbaria. That store smells amazing! 

After that we happened to drive by Steve's Hot Dogs so we stopped to have some hot dogs for lunch. They were delicious and it's such a cool place. Definitely recommend it!

Later that day we went to see Catching Fire at the theater. It was a really good movie and I can't wait for the next one! 

That night we met my family at church for the Thanksgiving service and then we went out for some pizza and beer :)

It was probably one of the best days I've had in a while. 


We spent Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's and then at Chris's parents'. It was a long day with a lot of food, but it was fun seeing everyone. We went home after that, had more dessert, and watched a movie. 

On Friday I had planned on going to get my license plates renewed but discovered that I couldn't find my current insurance cards. It took most of the day before I could get them printed out. So I decided I would go Saturday. 

I baked some chocolate chip banana bread for Chris (partly because I didn't have time to make it Thanksgiving morning and partly because Chris didn't want to share lol). 

I got up bright and early Saturday morning to go to the DMV to get my plates renewed. Turned out the DMV was closed Friday so it wasn't all bad that I couldn't find my insurance cards. 

I was third in line and could have been done quickly except for one little problem: the renewal notice they sent me said I didn't need an inspection, but since I've moved back to St. Louis, I do need one. And no one could get me in Saturday to do an inspection. I seriously can't catch a break. 

My first attempt at a pumpkin pie. 
So I went home and spent a few hours being mopey and pissed off that I'd have to take Monday off to deal with all this. 

Once I was done moping though, I baked my first ever pumpkin pie. I tried it after Chris got home, and the verdict? I still don't like pumpkin pie. But Chris said it was really good. I also made chili for the first time. It turned out pretty good as well :) 

They actually took a nap together! It was freaking adorable--while it lasted.

Later that night I went over to my mom and dad's house to watch Christmas Vacation

On Sunday we spent most of the day getting out our Christmas decorations. Chris got the lights up on the house. We got the tree up and lights put on but we didn't get the ornaments on. We went out and bought a tree skirt (those things are stupid-expensive), stockings, and a tree-topper. I guess we'll get the tree decorated eventually. 

If you look closely, you can see Copper in the window. Creep. lol



All our stockings, hung from my fancy new bookcase because we didn't have anywhere else to put them. 

I was pretty grumpy most of the day because I hate doing this stuff. It probably doesn't help that I'm so exhausted lately. 

My Thanksgiving weekend was good, but it was busy and not very relaxing. I don't feel like I got nearly enough rest. And I didn't get much else done either. Very little exercise, no violin-playing, and no reading or writing. And as of January 2, I'll still be unemployed. I've applied for a lot of jobs now, and I haven't heard a single thing--good or bad--from any of them. 

Here I am on Monday morning (thankful I have so many sick days) waiting for my car to get inspected and then I get to go to the DMV to hopefully finally get my license plates renewed. Yay Mondays. 

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recipes

This weekend was pretty relaxing. I didn't get a lot of the stuff I needed to do done, but I did get some rest at least.

Copper wouldn't let me sleep in on Saturday though, so I was up before 8am. I made myself some tea and had some apple slices with peanut butter for breakfast. After that I read The Hangman's Daughter for a while. I'm a little over half-way finished with it (I started it a couple months ago...), but it has been pretty good.

Later that day I walked over to the library (I love having a library so close to my house!) to pick up my new library card and check out a couple music books. When I got home I took Copper for a short run. Neither one of us did too well. She either wouldn't keep up with me or kept trying to run ahead of me. We didn't get very far. My asthma was terrible thanks to it being so freaking cold.

Despite my horrible asthma in the winter and the cold weather in general, there are some plus-sides to running in the cold. Mainly, I usually wear a jacket that has pockets, so I can carry more stuff with me, like my inhaler, which I definitely need in the winter. Plus, I'm just wearing more clothes in general. Pants means no thigh-chafing!

Copper and I took a mini-nap when we got home from our run, and after that I actually got out my violin and played for a bit! Later that day I got our dinner ready for that night. Chris and I have decided to try a new recipe every week (this doesn't always happen, but we're working on it) because we've been getting really bored with our meals lately. One of the new meals we tried was homemade sesame chicken.

I found the recipe on Pinterest, which led me to the blog Table for Two (that link will take you to her original recipe). I changed a few things, so here's what I did:

I forgot to buy garlic, so I used garlic powder instead. I don't think it really made a difference either way. I'll probably try to use real garlic next time though. And I used boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins rather than chicken thighs (in the comments she said you could use breasts, so I figured tenderloins would work fine too).

I put the chicken tenders on the bottom of the crockpot then mixed all the other ingredients together and poured that over the chicken. I cooked mine on low for about 4 hours. Her instructions say to take the chicken out and cut it up, but I found that mine were practically falling apart when I tried to cut them, so it was like half-cut and half-shredded chicken.

She also said to add some cornstarch to thicken up the sauce a bit, but she doesn't say about how much. I've never used cornstarch for anything before so I just mixed some with a little water and added it, but I don't think it made much difference. I might just skip the cornstarch altogether next time.

Chris made rice to go with it (I really wish I liked rice) and I made broccoli and then poured the chicken over the broccoli. I didn't bother buying sesame seeds because that just seemed like a waste of money to me. I wanted the flavor, not the "look." All in all, it was delicious and I can't wait to make it again!

The second recipe I tried was on Sunday while Chris was at work and I was at home pigging out on leftovers and such. I decided I needed a healthy snack to break up all the other junk. This is another recipe I found through Pinterest. Here's the link to the original recipe: http://www.somethingswanky.com/peanut-butter-apple-dip-protein-packed-but-tastes-like-dessert/

I love dipping my apples in peanut butter, so when I found this recipe I was pretty sure I would love it. It's honey, greek yogurt, and peanut butter. I think she used vanilla greek yogurt in her recipe, but all I had was plain. I still think it tasted amazing though! And it's healthy too!

I'm always looking for some simple crockpot recipes for us to try, so if you have any good ones, send them my way!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I've never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving (or Christmas for that matter, but we won't get into that today). I don't really like turkey or most of the other traditional side dishes. I hate having a million different places to go. It's just never been my thing.

My family doesn't have a lot of Thanksgiving "traditions" either. We don't go out in the yard to throw around a football (although I kinda wish we did). We don't all sit around together and watch the parade.

What we usually do is go to church the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. I always love going to that one. It alternates between our Catholic church, a Methodist church, and a Lutheran church. And they kind of mix the three together and all the pastors from each of the churches get involved. I really enjoy it.

Like I said, on Thanksgiving day, we don't really have any thing that we do every year. It varies where we go and who we see. I do have a favorite Thanksgiving though. It was two years ago I think. My mom and dad decided instead of going to a bunch of different places and seeing a ton of different people, we would stay at home and have our own Thanksgiving dinner, just the four of us. We got to decide exactly what we wanted to do and eat (which included turkey, stuffing, mac 'n cheese, cranberry relish, broccoli, among other things). The food was delicious and it was just a great day that we got to spend together just the four of us, which rarely happens on holidays.

We have rarely gone shopping on Black Friday. I remember two times that I ever went. Once was with my mom to buy me a new jewelry box that was on sale somewhere. The second time was with one of my cousins to buy ourselves new laptops. That was it. Never again. I hated every second of it. And I don't enjoy shopping to begin with, so going out on the busiest day of the year isn't really my cup of tea.

One thing that almost always happens on Friday is that my mom's Christmas tree goes up. She plays Christmas music while my sister and I help her decorate. It's not something I've always enjoyed doing, mainly because I dislike decorating trees and Christmas music and whatnot.

While I've never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving, I do think it's important that we take the time to be with friends and family. We should be thankful for what we have--not out shopping for things we want to have.

So this Thanksgiving, I plan to spend time with my family and friends and be thankful for them. And I'm going to [hopefully] spend some time resting and being thankful that I will have three days off to do so. I will be avoiding the malls and other stores. I will stay home (when I'm not out doing things with family) and drink tea or coffee and relax and watch movies, and maybe do those things I've been missing lately.

What do you normally do on Thanksgiving? Any special traditions? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things I'm Missing

I miss writing. Now that I've quit school and have slightly more time on my hands, well I'm still not writing much of anything other than these blog posts. I miss my poetry.

Reasons I'm not writing:

  • I don't have the energy. 
  • I don't really have a lot of spare time. The spare time (and energy) I do have goes into looking for jobs. 
  • I haven't felt motivated or inspired in quite a while. I feel like I just don't have much to write about or say lately. Aside from my exhaustion and pending possible unemployment, my life has been pretty great lately and I've been happy. Considering 99% of what I write is heavy, depressing stuff, well "happy" doesn't exactly help me get any writing done. 
  • I also feel like I tend to focus on the same things, and I'd like to branch out to other topics (even if they're still depressing), but I'm not quite sure how to do that. Maybe I need some writing prompts or something (although most of the ones I've seen I completely hate and think they're dumb, so if any of you know of some good ones, send them my way!).
Reasons I should be writing:
  • Even though my poetry is generally depressing, writing makes me really, really happy. 
  • It makes me feel accomplished (even if none of my poetry is ever published again). 
  • Poetry is something I can create. I'm not a good cook, or a crafty person, or an artist, or anything like that. Poetry is my art. That's something I can create. And I can destroy (unlike meals which I mostly just destroy :p). I can mold it into whatever I want it to be. I can share it with the world or keep it to myself. 
I really need to get myself a new journal. One small enough to fit in my purse so I can take it with me everywhere I go. So I can write down lines that pop in my head. Or really great quotes I find randomly throughout the day. Yes, I have an iPhone that I could easily do all of these things on. But it's not the same as putting pen to paper. I love journals--although I rarely fill any up--and I think it's time for a new one. 

Something else I really miss is playing my violin. It has been a very, very long time since I've played. The reasons I haven't are pretty much the same reasons I haven't been writing: I just don't have the time or energy. 

I also miss running. I really can't remember the last time I went for a run. My body actually aches from the lack of physical activity. I'd give anything to trade the soreness and pain I get from spending 4 hours in my car every day for the muscle soreness I get from a good (or even a not-so-good) run. 

I did just find out that I've got eight sick days (yes, EIGHT) to use before my last day. I have no idea how I'm going to fit in that many days off, but I'm totally gonna try because I could definitely use them! And I'm hoping those days off will allow more time for all these things I've been missing so much lately. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weekend Recap


New glasses! :)

I went to pick up my new glasses and contacts last Friday. It's so nice to be able to wear contacts again (and sunglasses!) and glasses that are nice and light. 

We had a couple events in St. Louis on Friday for our newest book: 


We had a great turnout for both events. I love getting the opportunity to meet the authors and hear them tell their stories. Unfortunately we didn't sell quite as much as we had hoped due to time constraints at the second event, but we sold a decent amount of books. While everyone else went out to a fancy dinner that night after the second event (which was at the STL Public Library and that building is so cool!), I went home to eat pizza with Chris and then sleep.

I've been so exhausted lately. And that's making me cranky. It's really bumming me out that I just don't have the energy to go out and do stuff. I got my oil changed Saturday, we took Copper, our horribly behaved dog, for a walk on Sunday, and had dinner with my parents later that night. And that's really about all I did. I didn't clean or do any of the other things I should have.

Probably the best thing to happen all weekend was that I was asked to send in my resume for a possible job! I really hope something works out with that one because it would be an amazing organization to work for. Fingers crossed!!

Who's ready for Thanksgiving? On the one hand I'm totally excited to only have to drive in to work 2 days next week, but on the other hand, it means Christmas is too close for comfort. I have gifts to buy (with money I don't have) and places to go, etc, etc. I'm looking forward to the family time and stuff, but I'm also really hoping for some time to just rest next week. I need it. Badly.

I'm starting to feel sick, even though I've been taking Vitamin-C regularly, drinking a lot of water, eating fruits and veggies, etc. I'm hoping it's just allergies and nothing worse. I don't think I can handle getting sick and needing more medicine.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

To make up for all my negativity in yesterday's post, today I'm going to share some things in my life that I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

1. My current job. I've learned a lot here and gained really valuable experience that I think will prepare me for whatever the next chapter of my work-life holds.

2. Chris. He's always there for me and he listens to me whine and cry and puts up with random mood swings. He's really fantastic, and I don't tell him that nearly enough. Like yesterday, I came home to an incredibly clean house, which he did on his day off--I mean, clean, put stuff away, did laundry, did the dishes, etc. It was amazing.

3. My parents. They've always been supportive and understanding and I'm so grateful for that. And for their food. They feed us about once a week and it's always delicious. And I love getting to spend that time with them. :)

4. My pets. Even though they're generally obnoxious and getting into all kinds of shenanigans, I know they love me and I love cuddling with them. Copper is sweet and loving and excited all the time--she's even nice to Cocoa some times! And Cocoa is a really good snuggler, especially when I don't feel good.

5. New glasses and contacts...which I don't have yet. I'll be picking those up tomorrow, but I'm so very happy that I'll have contacts again! And I'm pretty excited for my new glasses as well. They should be tons lighter and more comfortable than my current pair.

6. Books. Even though I haven't done a lot of reading lately. Total slacker. But I love books. I will always love books.

7. Caffeine. Still can't have any, but I will be so grateful when I can.

8. The fact that it's National Pickle Day. I love pickles. So I'm gonna eat some and celebrate!

9. All of you. I really do appreciate that you all take time out of your days to come read my blog. Especially since this blog was supposed to be about running and I haven't done any of that lately.

What are you thankful for this week?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Can't Catch a Break

I've been kinda down lately for a lot of little reasons, none of which should affect my mood this much, but they just keep piling on top of each other and I could just really use a break.

I was on antibiotics a couple weeks ago for an infection. Took the meds, felt better, finished the meds, everything was fine.
A week later, I have a UTI. There was no reason for me to possibly get a UTI other than the first antibiotic I was on. So now I'm on more antibiotics. (None of my doctors have ever told me that antibiotics could cause--or make me vulnerable--to other infections.)
This new antibiotic says I can't have caffeine while I'm on it. I didn't realize just how much I really depend on those 1-2 cups of coffee every day. I'm irritable, exhausted (barely making it to 9pm the past two nights before I go to bed when I normally stay up until 10pm), and getting headaches.

On top of that, either a hubcap fell off of my car or it was stolen. So I'm down to 2 hubcaps on my car now. It looks awesome. Plus I need an oil change. And this stupid-cold weather makes the low tire pressure light come on, even though I check and check and there's always plenty of air.

Did I mention this ridiculously cold weather? Yeah, I'm over it.

Then there's all the stuff that keeps going wrong at the house (where I only get to spend about 8 hours a day during the week, none of which is in daylight). Our storm door is broken (thanks wind), our garage door is broken (or the motor is dead or something, I don't know), and one of the drain pipes is broken.

And this whole job-hunt thing is exhausting and discouraging. I've sent my resume and applications in to a lot of different places and I either haven't heard anything yet or got emails saying they went with other candidates. I haven't even gotten any kind of interview yet. It's extremely frustrating and worrying. I struggle daily to be calm about it and stay positive. What if I don't find a job? What if we can't pay our bills? It's terrifying to think that I could leave my current job in January (which is less than two months away!!) and not have another job to go to.

I'm sorry for the rant and all the negativity today. I just needed to get all that out. Poor Chris has to listen to me complain about a lot of these things on a pretty regular basis. I'm trying to be positive, but it's like everything is working against me right now and that makes it really hard.

If any of you have any job-hunting tips in general, or know of a place in St. Louis that's looking to hire a writer and/or editor and/or communications specialist, please let me know!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Copper's 1st Birthday

I finally got my pictures to upload! I didn't have nearly as many as I thought...and most of them are of Copper lol. Here they are:


She was not happy about wearing that cone.


She still managed to play with her toys and run
into everything and knock stuff over. It was cute
at first. After a while it was just irritating lol


She's special :)


Baby Madison as Snow White for Halloween. 


Today is Copper's birthday! We celebrated last night though.


We got her some yummy "pupcakes" (mostly because
I was too lazy to get the stuff to make some myself.)
Maybe next year. 


We went to several different stores looking for
party hats. I guess people don't wear party hats
anymore? 


Copper was not too happy about wearing these hats.
And would hardly sit still for these pictures. Brat.


I can't believe she's one! 
As part of her birthday present/party yesterday, we took her for her first walk in our new neighborhood. I wanted to take her a lot sooner, but couldn't find her harness anywhere. Turns out, it was just hanging on one of the dining room chairs under a coat. Woops. She did okay. There are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood though, so of course she wanted to play with all of them. She still has much to learn. All in all though, it was a good day :) 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Going "Natural"

As I said yesterday, I haven't been able to work out much lately. Okay, that's basically a lie. I haven't worked out at all in the last month or so. Spending 4 hours a day in a car and working all day and then job-hunting most evenings is pretty exhausting.

I've still been reading a lot of blogs and stuff though and there was one thing that I kept reading about over and over: the amount of chemicals and unnatural things that go into the stuff we eat, bathe with, clean our houses with, etc. The more I read about all the horrible effects these chemicals can have on people, the more inclined I was to start making some changes.

The problem is "going natural" can get expensive. With our current budget, we just can't afford to buy natural or organic everything. Buying and eating all healthy food is really hard and expensive. The speediness and convenience of frozen meals and fast food right now isn't something I can completely cut out right now. I don't have the time to cook every night or do meal prep or anything like that. And sometimes I just really want a cheeseburger and fries. Don't judge.

So while I am making a small effort to eat healthier, I just can't make any major diet changes right now. The next thing I tackled was soaps. Reading about all the negative effects that fragrances and detergents used in shampoos, body washes, laundry soap, etc. made me want to make some changes.

I now buy handmade soaps from Herbaria Soap in St. Louis. I use their soaps for everything now: body, hair, face, hands. Switching from liquid soap to bars was rough for me at first. I've never liked using bars of soap. But knowing exactly what my soap is made of, where it's made, how it's made, and who my money is going to was all worth it. Oh and they smell pretty incredible too! I highly recommend their soap. While it hasn't solved all of my skin issues (most recently and most frequent is itching all over), I do feel that it has made a difference. And I love that I'm not buying a ton of different (and expensive!) soaps and cleansers all the time.

Since my itchy-skin-issue wasn't resolved just from switching soap, I decided maybe it was time to try some "free and clear" laundry soap and dryer sheets. Again, I haven't noticed much of a difference. However, I did read that detergents can linger in fabrics even after several washings with natural soaps, so if that's the case, I could be itchy for a very long time. (Yes, it may be time to see my doctor about this, but I'm using that as a last-resort.)

That leads me to my next issue: allergy medicine. First of all, that stuff is really expensive. Second, what I had been taking (and what had worked most of the time) has recently stopped working so great. So I tried something else instead. That hasn't worked either. I'm tired of spending money on medicine that only works for half the time it says it's supposed to (like, 24 hours maybe lasts half a day for me). So I've decided to look into some natural allergy relief. What I've found so far is that Butterbur and Vitamin C are the best, especially working as antihistamines. I also read that a combination of the essential oils lavender, lemon, and peppermint can help relieve itching and inflammation.

I've been considering trying a natural deodorant as well. I've even done quite a bit of reading on DIY deodorants, but I think I might just buy some from Herbaria first and see if I like it.

Eventually I want to move to using as much natural and/or homemade products as possible, but that takes time and money.

What's your take on "going natural"? Do you have any tips or tricks or natural/DIY products you use? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm Back!

I know it's been quite a while since I've written on here :( Because of my recent move and grad school, I had to take a little break from the blog to focus on everything else.

We've been living in our new house for about a month and a half now and it's been pretty wonderful. I love the house, I love living in St. Louis again and getting to see my family more often.

Spending 4 hours a day in my car really sucks though. And school on top of that? Well that was a recipe for disaster. Technically, I'm only in my car an extra half hour each way than I was before when we were living in Farmington. I didn't think that would make that much of a difference, but it totally did.

I was exhausted, cranky, felt like I was wasting lots and lots of my time and money, angry, depressed, etc. So I made the decision to quit grad school. At least for now. My last day at my current job is the beginning of January and I have to have a job by then. Spending a ton of time on school work that I wasn't interested in doing in the first place became even more frustrating when I knew that was precious time that could be better spent elsewhere, like looking for jobs.

So I quit. And I feel so relieved. I now have a little bit more time in the evenings and tons more time on weekends to scour the internet and apply for jobs (I've applied for 4 or 5 so far...not having a ton of luck). Plus, I get to spend my extra time doing stuff I actually want to be doing like reading books I'm interested in reading, and maybe running again! It's been a very, very long time since I've gone for a run. I'm hoping to change that soon though!

Here are a few other things that have happened lately:

My aunt and uncle had a baby! Contrary to what certain people may think, I'm extremely happy for them. I'm just not a baby-person, so I'm not all gushy over her and holding her and whatnot. But as far as babies go, she's pretty darn cute (coming from a person who thinks most newborns look like tiny aliens). Her name is Madison and she's about 3 weeks old now. So her and I will hang out in like 3 years. lol

Copper got fixed. Finally. It was expensive. And kind of stressful. Although those sedatives they gave us to give to her were awesome for a while. Until they were gone. And she chewed through her cone. Yep that's my dog. And she'll be a year old on Monday the 11th! I can't believe she'll be 1 already. :( And yes, we're getting her a doggie cake and a party hat!

As I already said, I quit school. It was a difficult decision to make, but once I made it, I felt so incredibly relieved. I'm not saying I'll never go back and finish my master's at some point, but now is just not that time. I'm ready to have a career I love and be able to come home at night and go for a run or read or watch movies or do whatever the heck I want because I don't have homework to do.

I got hit in the face with one of Copper's toys and broke my glasses. That started as a fantastic day and turned into a crappy one real fast. So now I'm stuck wearing the glasses I hate until I can go to the eye doctor this Friday and get a new prescription for contacts and glasses (I can't wait to wear contacts again!). Lack of contacts is part of the reason I haven't started running (or trying to run) again since quitting school. I just can't wear these glasses and run. Doesn't work for me.

I think that's just about everything. The important stuff anyway. I tried several times and several different ways to upload photos to add to this post, but I'm still having problems with it, so no pics for this one. I will keep trying to figure it out and hopefully I'll be able to add some photos to one of the next posts (which I promise will not be months from now!).

Thanks for stopping by to catch up! I hope you all have been doing well!







Thursday, September 12, 2013

Falling in Love: Books


Book love is much like any other love. We fall in love with them, sometimes immediately, sometimes it takes reading a few chapters, and sometimes it takes reading them more than once.

That last one is the kind of book love I have most recently experienced and it took me completely by surprise. As I was carefully working on one of our upcoming books, Annamanda, I realized I had fallen in love with it. Which was surprising because I did not like the book the first time I read it.

It was long. Like 600 pages long. And it took place in/around New Madrid around the time of the 1811-1812 earthquakes and was written as people would have talked back then. And there was a lot about religion (although the book itself is not about religion). I had a hard time relating to it. I had a hard time reading it in general because it was so long.

My boss and I have worked with this book a lot. It's not nearly as close to being done as I'd like, but I've gotten quite a bit of say in the page design and coming up with ideas for the cover. I feel as though this book has become a part of me. And every time I work on it, I fall in love with it a little more. I get excited every time I get to work on it. And I get anxious when there are other things I have to do instead of working on it. 

It's a beautiful book (which we have shortened some) and I just can't wait to see the finished project and hold it in my hands. I think my biggest fear right now is not getting to finish it before I leave. (I've decided that I'm going to leave at the end of the semester, whether I have another job or not.) While there are many things about my job that I don't really enjoy (mainly anything that deals with numbers or budgets or money), working on the books (even the ones I don't like very much) is the very best part. Seeing a book go from text on recycled paper with lots of editing marks and notes on it to the finished product is one of the best things in the world. There are quite a few other books we have scheduled for the spring and it makes me incredibly sad that I won't get to work on them (although since I'll still be going to school here, I'll at least get to see the finished product!). 

Book love is one of the best kinds of love for so many reasons and in so many ways. I think that actually working on books makes it even stronger. And I know that there are some books that I have worked on and fallen in love with that I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't worked on them...some I probably wouldn't even have considered reading at all. 

It's the reason I love books and the reason I love what I do and the reason I'm reluctant to leave. It makes me incredibly sad to know that I probably won't have a job in the near future that even deals with books at all, let alone helping to create them. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget: 9/11

A friend of mine posted on Facebook earlier today and she talked about how she remembered every detail of that day from where she was when she heard/saw the news to what she was wearing. It got me thinking. I really don't remember a lot from that day at all.

I remember I was in a science class (8th grade I think?). And I can remember the news station we were watching because my teacher always had it on before class started. I remember who I was in class with. And I remember not knowing what was going on--I didn't even know what those buildings were. We had never talked about them in a class before and I had never heard of or seen them on the news or anything like that either.

I was confused. I didn't know what those buildings were or who was in them. I'm not even sure I knew where those buildings were. My teacher didn't tell us. Maybe she assumed we knew what they were. Or maybe she was just too shocked to talk to us about it. I don't know.

That's really all I can remember from that day. I don't remember going to my other classes or if my parents talked to me about what had happened when I got home (although I'm sure they did). I didn't know what to think or how to feel.

It's interesting how some people don't remember much from days like that while others remember every little detail about it. And there are kids who were too young at the time to remember it at all. For them it's a "history lesson." They were talking about that on the radio today--we say "never forget" but there are kids who don't even remember it at all. I even titled this post "Never Forget" and yet there's so much from that day that I don't remember.

The whole point though is to remember the lives lost that day. The first responders who risked or sacrificed their lives to try to save others. The men and women who joined the military because of that day to defend our country. And the families of all of those people. Remember them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Falling Off the Wagon

Last week I fell off the "30-Day Squat Challenge" wagon. Hard. Tuesday was my first day of classes and it went pretty well. I had a decent day over all even though I had gotten little sleep the night before: class was good, and I was looking forward to going home, doing my squats and then relaxing.

Instead, I came home to a house that smelled of poop. I had no clue which animal had done it or where, but I knew what it was the second I walked in. I wanted to cry. Of course, it was Copper. She had diarrhea. And she had managed to get it all over her kennel and herself. So I had to clear all of the cat's stuff out of the bathroom so I could give the dog a bath (still in my nice work clothes--didn't want to risk her getting her poop-covered self on any of the furniture). She was not happy about the bath, which she made quite clear when she got out and shook off, soaking everything in the bathroom.

I made a few attempts to dry her off then set out to clean her kennel. I wanted to puke. It smelled so, so bad. Meanwhile, she went and took a little nap on the couch. While she was still soaking wet. On top of all that, I couldn't even shower until later that night because Chris was working late.

Needless to say I did not get any sort of workout accomplished that night. The next day was my other class, Advanced Publishing, which is my night class. I had coffee twice that day because I was so exhausted. The class was good though. We watched Helvetica (if you're into typography and that sort of thing, you should watch it) which was pretty good. I'm pretty sure it's on Netflix, so once we move and have better internet, I might watch the whole thing. Since I work all day on Wednesdays and then have night class (not to mention the fact that I was exhausted), I didn't work out that day either.

By my afternoon class on Thursday I was completely off the wagon. I had given up hope of working out at all that week, or on catching back up on the squat challenge.

I spent the weekend doing homework, laundry, and napping. Copper's diarrhea slowly went away (thank God!!) and she's doing much better now.

Labor Day marked Year Two for me and Chris. We stopped at the Boat House in Forest Park for a beer and then went to the Zoo (mainly to see the sea lions!). After that we went to Pi for a late lunch and then headed home. Aside from burning my fingers with hot grease from our breakfast (much better now but hurt like hell at the time!), it was a really great day :)
Despite all the obnoxious kids that kept getting
in the way, I was able to get a couple good pics.

The Sea Lions/Underwater Tunnel is definitely
my new favorite place at the Zoo :)








Cute little elephant :)

View from one of our favorite spots.

Grizzly bear!


And last, but not least, the penguins!

I hope you all had a fun, safe Labor Day! Sorry that I also seem to have fallen off the "blogging wagon" as well. I promise I'll try to write more regularly ("try" being the key word there!). 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grad School: Year 2 Starts Today!

My "last weekend of summer" was pretty good. Spent time with my family, went to the Cards game Sunday (which they lost...), and went to see our new house (which isn't quite ready yet). 

Before I show you pictures of the house, here's a couple of the coffee table Chris made:

Copper wouldn't get out of the picture. 

We also got a brown slip cover for our futon, since we can't
buy a new couch just yet thanks to the dog! 

And now for the house! It's being inspected this week (I think), so hopefully we'll be able to move in a couple weeks. 

Front of the house. Adorable :)

Itty-bitty, teeny-tiny kitchen--with no dishwasher! But it's
so cute :)

Front door/living room

Bathroom (yes, those walls are purple, lol)

Dining room

Copper's big back yard :)

Back of the house: on the right side is the garage, and the
doorway in the middle is the breezeway/mudroom. 

I can't wait to move!! Hopefully we find out this week a set date so we can start planning and packing! 

In other news, I'm on day 8 or 9 of my 30-day squat challenge. It's going pretty well so far. We'll see how I do once school is in full-gear. 

Speaking of which, I have my first class of the semester today. I'm so glad it's not my night class because I didn't get much sleep last night. I woke up around 2am sneezing and coughing. Finally I just got up around 4:30am. Not fun :( So my Tuesday/Thursday afternoon class is Contemporary American Poetry and my Wednesday night class is Advanced Literary Publishing. I'm excited for both classes. I think this is going to be a pretty great (although probably exhausting) semester! 

And just for fun, here are a couple pics of Copper and Cocoa :)

Left this laundry basket out for her all weekend
while we were gone. Both of her toy mice were
in it when we got back lol

Copper had to sit at my feet on our way back
on Sunday. Luckily, she behaved most of the way.
She did not behave herself most of the weekend though :(











Tuesday, August 20, 2013

30-Day Squat Challenge

I saw this on Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. I actually like doing squats, and I definitely need to strengthen and tone my legs, so this sounded like a good idea to me. I started on Sunday, so today is day 3 for me. Here's the link to the 30-Day Squat Challenge if you want to do it too: http://www.fitsugar.com/30-Day-Squat-Challenge-30806625

The first couple days haven't been too difficult so far. The biggest obstacle for me is keeping Copper out of the way! Basically by the end of it, you're doing about 200 squats. And I think that's a pretty awesome thing to be able to say you can do.

Speaking of Copper, she's been super hyper lately. So Sunday I decided to try taking her for a little jog instead of just a walk. I think she had fun and she was tired/well-behaved the rest of the day!


After I did my squats yesterday I decided to try taking her for another jog. Again, she did pretty well, seemed to have fun, and appeared to be really tired once we got back. Granted these were both pretty short jogs as there isn't really a safe place for us to really run anywhere near our house, but after she drank some water and sat around for about 15 minutes or so, she was back to being hyper and obnoxious and chewing on everything in sight! So while I was plenty tired, she was not :( 


And, as far as the chewing goes, well, like I said, she's chewing on everything. She has a couple bones she likes and a ball and a rope...and that's all the toys she has. Every toy we buy her lately gets destroyed within ten minutes--even the Kong toys, which are supposed to last a long time and be "indestructible." I got a few suggestions from people on Facebook and it seemed like the best option was to get her a Nyla bone. Unfortunately for her, she has to wait until the next time we need something from the pet store. Pet toys are so expensive! If you have any other suggestions for toys that she won't immediately destroy, I'd love to hear them! 

Between chewing on our remotes and terrorizing the cat, she's driving me nuts! 

Poor kitty. 

Chris is going out today to get us some pallets to make us a coffee table! I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'm hoping he doesn't get much started today so I can take some before and after pics for you guys :) 

And school starts next week. Yikes. I'm almost ready for it. Almost ready for all the interns and grad students. Almost. I have a few things left to do. I am ready for my classes. Except I still have a book to get. And it'd be really nice if I could order my Kindle now, but I have to wait for my loan money to go through first. It'd be nice if I could use that money to pay for my books too, but that money doesn't go through until like the second week of school. It's a tad irritating. 

We'll be spending our last weekend of summer in St. Louis. No big plans for Saturday, but we're going to the Cardinals game on Sunday. And we're probably going to stop by our house to see how everything's going (I'll take some pics this time!) and measure some things so we have an idea of where to put furniture and what we'll need to buy. I can't wait to move!! 

And don't forget about the 30-Day Squat Challenge!

It's not quite as bad as it looks...yet ;)

I'm still looking for jobs and applying for some here and there. I'm not finding a whole lot right now though. If you guys know of anyone hiring in St. Louis, let me know!






Thursday, August 15, 2013

Where Did My Summer Go?

Schools starts in a week. Okay, it's like a week and a day. Whatever. I am both looking forward to the new semester and dreading it. I'm looking forward to the classes I'm taking--Advanced Publishing and Contemporary American Poetry. I'm dreading all the people being back and all the interns I'll have and the fact that I'm so not ready for that. I have a lot to do before the interns and grad assistants get here. And it was one of those things where I kept telling myself I had plenty of time until, all of a sudden, I didn't. Ugh. 

Seriously though, I can't believe summer is already (almost) over. It's been a busy summer. I'm looking forward to what's coming up though. First and foremost, we'll be moving sometime in September and I can't wait to be in our new house (and it's actually a house, not a duplex!). Second, there's the possibility that I'll have a new job at some point. I've been looking and I've applied at a couple places, but I haven't heard anything yet. The hard part is going to be finding a job that I will enjoy and that will also work around my class schedule. Most of the jobs I think I'd really love are full-time 40+ hours a week and not likely to give me the time off I'd need to be in my classes (not to mention the driving to and from part). 

Once we're moved in to our new house there are quite a few projects Chris and I want to do (and most of the work will be done by Chris. Probably. ;) ). I think we're going to paint the refrigerator with black chalkboard paint. And Chris wants to build a coffee table. And a desk. I'm most excited about the desk. It'll give me a place to actually do my homework and stuff for work. Right now my "desk" is either the kitchen table or a tv tray. Not ideal. Plus it means leaving most of my stuff in the kitchen. Not a fan of that. 

I also really can't wait to live in a bug-free home. Or at least I'm hoping and praying it will be bug-free. I'm mostly worried about the possibility of bringing the ones we have now with us to the new house. Having bugs has made me more OCD than I already was. Oh and paranoid. It'd be nice to move into our new house and just relax and not be freaked out all the time about the possibility of bugs. In addition to the cockroaches, we also have spiders now too. Spiders are freaky little things and used to scare the crap out of me. After dealing with roaches for the past few months though, spiders are a lot less scary and slightly more tolerable. At least they aren't dirty and carrying God-knows what kinds of diseases. Ick. And most have been fairly small. 

In addition to not getting rid of all of the bugs in my house, there are a few other things I didn't accomplish this summer: 
Reading a lot of books. I finished one (American Psycho) and started another (The Great Gatsby) and that's it. Fail. 
Running a lot. Sure, I ran, but not nearly enough as I should have. 
Eating healthy. After months of eating Walmart's horrendous produce, I've sort of given up. I'm eating applesauce now instead of apples. We keep buying/eating banana's even though they're awful. I buy pre-cut baby carrots in a bag rather than fresh carrots. We buy frozen broccoli and cauliflower. I gave up on buying stuff like grapes or peaches because they rarely looked good in store and when they did, by the time I ate them, they were practically rotten. Such a waste of money. So I'm excited that once we move I'll be able to eat as much fresh produce as we can afford to buy. And when we run out of money I can always steal some from my mom ;)

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now. There's a lot I'm looking forward to this fall though, so although I'm going to miss working from home on Fridays and how quiet and empty campus is during the summer, I'm ready some changes! :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

News!!

This past Saturday we had my dad's 50th birthday party. It was a lot of fun! Here's a couple pics from the day:

My sister, my dad, and me :)

Just me and dad :)
He got about 8 or 9 bottles of crown!
Definitely enough for another party! ;)

This is my Aunt Rose. She's the best.
But she lives in NC, so I don't get to see
her much :( 

So while we were drinking and eating and having a good time, Chris and I were talking to my cousins about this house they're fixing up. It's a 2-bedroom, 1-bath in Florissant and they said they'd rent it to us. We kind of laughed about it and let it go since we had never even considered living in Florissant. 

Well come Sunday we were driving back to Farmington and thinking, depending on what the house is like and how much they'd charge us for rent, it could be worth looking into at the very least. So we drove all the way back to Florissant just to go look at the house. And we loved it. The back yard is huge and has a nice patio. It has a one-car garage, a breezeway/mudroom type thing, and a good-sized basement. The only downside is that there's no dishwasher (but we generally eat off of paper plates most of the time anyway...) and there isn't a ton of storage in the bathroom. The closets are also a little small, but we figure with the basement and garage, that should give us plenty of extra storage for all the stuff we don't use on a regular basis. 

I called them on Tuesday to tell them that we officially want to rent it so it should be ready for us sometime in September. For those of you who are wondering, yes, this adds another half hour or so to my drive. Which will suck. But I have a couple options. 

I can always stay in Cape a couple nights if I really have to. And I'm hoping I'll be able to keep working from home at least one day a week. But I've also decided to start looking for jobs in St. Louis, even if they're just part time. I've got a few reasons for this. 

First, I'm already exhausted and I'm not even in school right now. So adding more time to my drive, plus classes is gonna make that worse. Second, because I'm doing so much driving, I'm spending a ton on gas and car maintenance. Yes, working for the university means I only pay 30% of my tuition, but it also means that I get almost none of the loan money I get approved for (I don't understand why this is but I guess they figure if most of my tuition is covered I don't need the extra money). So this semester--before we even decided to move to Florissant--I decided I wasn't going to take the tuition discount, because I get all of my loan money that way, which I need. So whether I continue working for the university or not, I'm not using that discount anymore, so I figured I might as well start looking in St. Louis. I'll just have to find a place that's willing to work around my class schedule. 

There's too much math involved to really get into the details. But basically if Chris and I are living and working in St. Louis and I'm only driving to school a couple days a week (instead of 5), we'll save a ton on gas and all that. 

And we get to switch our internet to AT&T! Unfortunately that means paying HughesNet's outrageous cancellation fees. But once that's done, we'll be paying about the same amount for cable and internet as what we're paying for internet alone now. So we'll be saving a lot of money as far as stuff like that goes once we move. 

We're super excited about the house and can't wait to move. The fact that we're so close to moving makes our current house seem that much more unbearable. 

Things will definitely suck for a while with all the driving and possible staying in Cape that I will have to do. But when we talked about it and whether we thought it was a good idea or not, we had to think long-term. I'll be starting my last semester of school this time next year. And we had plans of moving back to St. Louis after I finished school anyway regardless of where we were living at the time. Plus, my cousin said if we want to buy the house from him in a couple years, he'd sell it to us for pretty dang cheap. And we already know we like the city and the area and want to stay there, so if we end up loving the house too, why not buy it? So, thinking long-term, we just couldn't pass this up. 

Plus Copper is going to love that back yard! 







Amazon student

Forgot to mention! If you're a student and have a ".edu" email address, you can sign up for Amazon Student, which gives you all kinds of deals like free two-day shipping, plus you get a discount on Amazon Prime. Go to the link below to sign up!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info?ie=UTF8&refcust=PSTF2XI2VVGCCOT6QYRK556MLY&ref_type=generic

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New PR!

For those of you who don't know, "PR" (in a mostly athletic sense) means "personal record". When I started reading a lot of running blogs and stuff a year or so ago, they were always talking about how they PR'd at a race they ran or something like that. I had no idea what that was or what it meant, so finally I googled it. So I'm saving you all the trouble :)

The PR I most want to talk about today though has nothing to do with running. My new PR occurred this morning when I made the perfect cup of coffee. That has literally never happened before. It was delicious, unlike the one I made yesterday. Gross and weak. 

And now on the the running achievements: 
My ankle is doing much better. I ran a full mile yesterday without stopping to walk. After that I alternated walking and running, mainly because I just couldn't breathe. But I did that for 4 miles in about an hour. Overall, I felt pretty good. My legs were pretty sore last night, so I'm taking a break today (plus it's raining), but I plan to run again tomorrow. 

The best part of my run was that for the first time in over a month, I got to run down by the river!

It's been too long :(

It was so pretty and was a really fantastic day for a run in general. The temp was between 75 and 80, there was a nice breeze, and it was kind of cloudy. 

For a while now, I've been using Runkeeper on my runs. It tracks my time, distance, calories burned, elevation climbs, etc. Pretty handy. According to Runkeeper, I've run almost 50 miles since May-ish (whenever I started using it). It's cool to be able to keep track of your all-time miles. And it also breaks it down by week and month so you can see your mileage breakdown that way as well. 

In addition to that, I also started using MyFitnessPal this week. Also a handy tool to keep track of what food you eat, calories consumed, etc. And you can connect it with Runkeeper so that your calories burned from your exercise gets added to your daily log in MyFitnessPal. Most people use it for weight-loss purposes. Although I would like to lose ten or fifteen pounds, I'm using it more just to keep track of what I'm eating and my calories in general so I'm more aware of how much I'm really eating. 

If you want to keep up with my progress on those two sites/apps, you can check out my profiles (which are sort of incomplete at the moment): 
Here's the link to my Runkeeper profile: http://runkeeper.com/user/RunChata/profile
And the link to MyFitnessPal profile: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/runchata

If you're already on those sites and want to "connect" or whatever, well I'm not sure how to do that if we're not already Facebook friends, but I do think I can invite people by email. So you could send me your email and do it that way. So if you're already on there, let me know! If not, sign up and then let me know! 

They also have apps for each so you can put them on your phone, tablet, etc. as well!