Wednesday, June 29, 2016

July 2016 Goals + June Goal Recap

Summer is always an odd time for me in terms of goals. There is always so much I want to do, which is why I made my Summertime Bucket List, but summer isn't typically the time when I try to make big strides in my life. Maybe some of you feel the opposite, but usually, I spend my summers soaking up the sunshine & fresh air & leave the intense goals for cooler, gloomier weather.

It doesn't mean I drop everything, but, my summer time goals may seem a little lackluster compared to what you're used to seeing here. Anyways, let's check out how I did on my June goals & what's on tap for July.



June goals :

{run a 5K}
Nope. I just failed to register for anything. So I didn't run any races.

{drop 5LBs}
Success, I've dropped about 1-1.5 lbs. Not a lot, but I'm focusing on small changes. Sustainable ways, not a "diet", but rather conscious eating & asking myself if I really want the ___ before I put it in my mouth.

{no workouts missed}
HA! I made my nice pretty schedule. Realized I would be out of town for the race I was targeting. DUH. & then just sort of went to a do what I'm in the mood to do deal. It's not that I've specifically skipped workouts, but rather just made them up as I go.

{track all meals in MFP}
Nailed it! Had a few days where I had to estimate a lot, but, it got tracked! I love being able to see how my food impacts how I feel throughout the day.

{70,000+ steps per week}
I'm calling this one good! I had one week @ 64K steps, but it's close-ish & I'll take it.

{up my evergreen content game}
Evergreen content is content that is continually relevant. My weekend recap probably won't be on Pinterest. Think of Evergreen Content as things that might get pinned!

I posted on Adulting 101, Rules for Online Dating, How to Choose a Race & Tips for First Time Campers + a book review. If you haven't already read these, click the link, it'll open in a new tab & you can check it out! Maybe even go crazy & pin it!
__________________________________________________________________

So, what are my July goals??? And I really can't believe it's already July. Lots of carry-over from June goals. I want my workouts & feel good in my skin success to continue - so I plan to focus my efforts there.

{run a 5K}
I've got my eye on a local 4th of July race!

{drop 5LBs}

{track all meals in MFP}

{70,000+ steps per week} 

{use the stick}
I won a free Stick at one of my group runs. And it's a love - hate relationship. It hurts so good. But, now that I've got my very own, I need to use it. I like this way better than foam rolling.

Image result for the stick


{up my evergreen content game} 
I've got some posts I'm excited about in the works...a camping eats round-up, more camping tips, a look at what I pack for a day hike + some ways to save money painlessly. 

What are some of your July goals?
Foam roller or Stick?
Anyone wanna be friends on Fitbit?

I'm linking up with Ange + Amanda + Kristen + Gretchen

Monday, June 27, 2016

How I Decide What Races to Run

Alternate Title : There are 3 races I want to run // do & for my inconvenience, they're all the same weekend.
^But that didn't have quite the same ring did it?

3 races, 1 weekend, & a literal inability to do it all. How do I pick?

There are usually 4 criteria that determine my desire to register, fork over my credit card info & commit my life to training.



1. Budget
I try to keep my running habit as budget friendly as possible. 
What's the entry fee? Would I need to travel for this race? Hotel Room? Gas? Extra meals out?

2. Timeline
I try not to jam pack a weekend - if I know I'll be up late dancing at a wedding on a Saturday, I wouldn't sign myself up to race on a Sunday. Additionally - I wouldn't register for a half marathon that's only 2 or 3 weeks away, when I haven't been training for a half marathon. If I'm going to pay up, I want to be trained up.

3. Race Distance
I don't register for a 5K if I'm looking to race a HM.

4. Uniqueness 
What sets this race apart from the others? Is it a half marathon with an evening start time? Are there unique medals? Is it a relay or distance I wouldn't otherwise race?

Not all races can be unique. Sometimes, if it fits the other 3 categories, uniqueness doesn't matter. $15 for a 5K that fits my timeline & is near my house? Sign me up. An expensive half marathon a 2 hour drive away? It better have something special about it.

BUT...what do you do when 3 races, that all fit the criteria occur on the exact same weekend. Usually I would search out alternate, but similar races & do all 3. Unfortunately, my schedule will not allow for such, nor are alternates readily available. I have to pick & I can only pick one. So, what are my options, what are the pros & cons? 

Option 1 : Ragnar Appalachia  
200 mile-ish relay race, 2 day event, would include 3 trail runs of varying lengths & difficulty
 August 12 - 13th

Pros : Ragnar, a sweet double medal since I'll be doing Ragnar DC this year too, get to try my hand at more trail running, less race more just get yo ass to the finish line.

Cons : Must take a day off work, don't have a team yet, haven't run more than 10 miles on trails in my life, means I can't do options 2 or 3.

Option 2 : Two Face 10K 
2 x 10K, one road race, followed shortly by one trail race
August 14th

Pros : 2 races & 2 medals that hook into 1 sweet, bigger medal, the course is right near my house & put on by my running group.

Cons : I haven't run more than 10 miles on trails in my life, means I can't do options 1 or 3.

Option 3 : Pittsburgh Triathlon  
Sprint Distance - 600M swim, 20K bike, 5K run
August 14th

Pros : I was really bummed I wouldn't get to do a tri this year - racing this would solve that problem, I love tri training - it's built in cross-training.

Cons : Swimming in the Allegheny River, semi - expensive registration, means I can't do options 1 or 2

Option 4 : Olympic Tri + Two Face 10K
Olympic Distance Pittsburgh Triathlon (Saturday - 13th) - 1500M swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Two Face 10K (Sunday - 14th) - 2 x 10K road + trail

Pros : RACE ALL THE RACES! WIN ALL THE MEDALS!

Cons : I usually have terrible ideas, I'm not certain I would like an Olympic Distance tri, I thought the sprint was the perfect distance, I might limit my ability to be competitive in any event, that would be a lot of miles for one weekend + a lot of training.

Which race would you pick - why?
Any other options I'm not thinking of?

I'm linking up with  
Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights 
 Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Five #27

Cue the exclamation points!!! After work today I'm hopping on a plane to Milwaukee! Some friends from our cross-country bike trip are meeting up for a reunion. I think only 6 or so of us can make it, but it's been AGES since I've seen them all, like January 2015 maybe? Anyways...is it 5PM yet!?

Time for some Friday Five in the meantime, I'll try to keep it light on the exclamation points, but no promises!

{one}
 What's a girl gotta do to get this mug? Mugs are pretty much my only shopping weakness. And since this has a lid & doubles as a travel mug, it seems like a solid investment.




{two}
I finally put in my window AC. I did it all by myself, which, maybe I shouldn't brag about...but that thing is heavy! Since this is my first summer in this house, I failed to realize how oddly sized the windows are. It's an older house, so all the windows are super wide. It took a lot of duct tape & I'm not sure if I should even post this to the internet...but whatever. My room is now cool enough for me to sleep & not wake-up looking like I ran a marathon in my sleep. Maybe some time soon I'll care enough to figure out the right way to do it. But also, maybe not.


{three}
Surest way to feel a million years old? Drive a mini-van full of interns on a work field trip. Why was I the one driving? Because I was the "chaperone". Which is a terrifying thought. One girl snap-chatted in the van. & I know I'm old because she asked if she could "snap me" & I told her to keep her grimy hands off of me. Turns out that's not what "Snap Me" means.

{four}
The BF & I were looking at the calendar last night. Trying to figure out his work schedule + wedding date for the 6 we will attend this year + our remaining vacation days. Chaos does not even begin to describe that process.

| side note | The BF works rotating shifts, with rotating days off - the chaos is never ending.

BUT...amidst the chaos, we found a 3 day weekend! So, we hopped on Groupon, booked a B&B & will be off for some exploring later this year! I was sort of bummed that my big vacations were done for the year, so this gives me something to get excited about. I can't wait to hike somewhere new & find some hidden gems along the drive!

{five}
A few of this weeks favorite funnies...
...:

Lol:

http://some.ly/VCY31XL:

And in case you missed it...
Adulting 101 : How to Fake it 'til you Make It went live on Wednesday!

{Link Love}

27 Songs From The Early ’00s You’ll Never Forget The Lyrics To

19 Slightly Odd Things Every Fitbit Owner Has Been Guilty Of

How to update Medical Info with IOS8

 Linking up with Heather, Amanda, Andrea & Tif

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Adulting 101 : Fake it 'til you make it

I wrote an Adulting 101 post a while back, you can read it here.

I had just finished up a whole week of fails & I felt like I wasn't qualified to 'adult'. I wrote the post to cheer myself up & it worked. It also seemed like a lot of you could relate. Like you too didn't always feel qualified to adult. I've read it a time or two recently when I felt like I was in over my head.

I've realized that the adults that seem to have it all together, don't. They've got some of it together & those are the parts you see. But, you miss all the times they accidentally used the wrong soap in the dishwasher & it overflowed, or the time they ate nothing but popcorn for dinner for 3 days straight.

I thought maybe the key to adulting was to "Fake it 'til you make it". Maybe we can't always have it together but we can look like we do. And that if we look like we do, others will believe & just maybe we'll actually start to get it together.


Here's 10 ways to "Fake it 'til you make it"!
I hope you'll chime in with some of your favorites, serious or not, in the comments. 


1. Make your bed
It takes 12 seconds to pull the covers up & it instantly makes the room look more neat. The other upside, you can show a guest your room without them knowing you still use the same sheets you did in college (not that I speak from experience).

2. Cook your own food & eat your veggies
Even if all this means is a grocery store salad kit, or a rotisserie chicken + bag of steamer veggies. Put it all on a real plate, use a real fork & bask in your adult-ness, nothing says "I'm a grown-up" like eating veggies when no one is forcing you.


3. Go to bed on time

4. Keep a stock of beverages
I cannot even tell you how many times I've had people over, offered them a drink & realized the only thing I had to offer them was TAP WATER. And not even with ice, because I do not like ice, so I don't make any. Keep a bottle of wine, or some Cokes or beer or something around that you can offer if someone pops over. They may not take you up on it, but the offer will not go unnoticed.

5. Be the best dressed
Wear a blazer, or a well fitted dress. Something that makes you say, hey, I'm the head bitch boss around here. Dress the part. Then act the part. Nail whatever it is you've got going on today.

6. Pay a bill (on-time)
Nothing says adult like secure finances, or at least secure enough that your electric didn't get turned off. Go pay that bill! Or go for bonus points & put that shit on automatic bill pay!

7. Take out the trash

8. Put a little something away for retirement
If you can spare $5, toss it into your Roth IRA, or 401K, or even just your savings account, same thing if you can spare $50, or $500. It's not so much the amount as the act. Be consistent. Trust me. You'd rather be able to retire in 40 years than have had one more Starbucks Latte.


9. Fold // Hang your laundry
Anyone else do their laundry & then just wear everything out of the basket, but never actually put it away, until it's all dirty again? And then repeat that forever, wearing only the same 10 outfits? No? Just me? Okay. Well. When I want to feel like a grown-up I fold clothes, put them where they belong & I even hang up the nice stuff. BAM. ADULTING.


10. Clean your bathroom
Wipe all the toothpaste globs out of the sink, get the hair out of the drain & wipe down the mirror so it's not full of spots where you accidentally spit on it. When in doubt, Clorox wipes can do all of these things for you. And the Dollar Tree version works just find too, for those of us on a tight budget.

Tell me about an adulting fail you've had.
How do you fake it?

Linking up with Amanda, Emily & Little R&R to share.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekend Highlights : I finally rode my bike

Hi Friends! This week is going to be all sorts of packed for me, and since it ends with a weekend away to see some friends, I am already anxiously awaiting Friday! But, I can't jump ahead to next weekend before I've recapped this one, so here we go!

I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia & to share my Weekend Highlights.

The weekend party started early when the BF & I headed straight to the 40th anniversary party of some friends after work. Drinks, DJ, dancing? What's not to enjoy! 

I'll rag on the DJ who continually turned the lights lower & then back on, then dimmed them again, making picture taking impossible. ;)

You should see all the ones that didn't make the cut!


Saturday started off with a group run. I managed to convince the BF to come run with me, no small feat because it meant we needed to be out of bed by 645AM-ish. We met up with the group & Jennifer joined in on the fun too! The route was half trail + half road & we ended with about 5.5 miles total. My pace was unremarkable, but I had a lot of fun.




Post-run coffee was enjoyed in a new mug I snatched from TJ Maxx last week. I'm not a big stuff person, I can walk through Target & come out with nothing. I just don't need it & would rather spend my money on other things, like food & travel, but a good mug? It's the one thing I cannot resist.

This new one fits HALF A POT OF COFFEE! Like, legitimately, 6 cups of coffe! And, since it came with a view of the BF cooking breakfast, I loved it even more.

Sunday was church with the BF's family before he headed off to work & I headed off for my first bike ride of the year. Shame on my for not dusting off the cobwebs & pumping up the tires sooner, I've been busy.


I did a "quick" 15 miles at nearby North Park. The park has a 5 mile paved loop around the lake. It has it's own bike lane, and some rolling hills. So, while 3 laps of the same stretch of road can get boring, the people watching is great & I love not having to worry about getting hit by a car.

What was the best part of your weekend?
What's your preference - trail running or road running?
How do you take your coffee?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Five #26

Guys. I announced on Monday that I would be cutting back to posting 3 days a week for the duration of the summer, and I can't believe how much more free it has made me feel. I've come to love blogging in the 7-ish months since I started, but, there's only so much excitement in my life. I mean I work 830-5 M-F, I can only pack so much fun & excitement into those extra hours. Nor do I want every waking minute on ze blog. So, it's nice to spend more time sitting, doing nothing on the back porch with the BF. :)

It's Friday, so it's time for some Friday Five. Five random things happening in my world right now.

BTW, coming soon...I've been cruising through books this week, and I'm planning a post about all my recent reads with some reviews & thoughts, for those of you looking for a new read.

{one}
Speaking of reading a million books...the ability to request books from the library online is the best. If I see something on GoodReads or another blog I can just login from work & request it. My local library is only open past 5PM a few nights a week. A real bummer, 'cause I'm pretty sure most humans work until 5PM. So, I pretty much have to go hard & check out 5+ books every time I go to the library.

{two}
Not Your Father's Ginger Ale is delicious.  I've tried their Root Beer & I like it...though I feel like it doesn't always taste the same? Like some bottles are tasty & some almost taste medicinal. Maybe I'm crazy.
Anyways...this stuff tasted like ginger beer.

{three}
Ignore my dirty stove...I do! Haha. 
Focus on the delicious-ness in that skillet. AKA I've had tacos // quesadillas for dinner every night this week. Forget just Taco Tuesday. Every day is a good day for tacos.

{four}
The BF & I are headed to a 40th anniversary party tonight that I'm pretty sure will top most of the weddings we go to this year. It's at a swanky venue, complete with dinner, DJ, open bar, etc. So, I'm excited to swipe on some mascara, dress up & dance. :)

{five}
Anyone else OINTB obsessed? The new season hit today...and while I don't think I'll get a chance to binge watch the season this weekend...only because it's the BF's last weekend off for a while, I plan on hitting it hard on Monday. No shame in my Netflix game. Anyone else?


AND...in case you missed it, I posted on Wednesday a few confessions about the online dating world & some rules for how to navigate it. Just in case any of you are out there looking for love. Or, just want to read more about online dating & then thank your lucky stars you're already married. You can find the post here.

Happy Friday, I'm outta here. I'll see y'all on Monday!

What are you up to this weekend?
Anyone else planning to watch OINTB this weekend?

Linking up with Heather, Amanda, Andrea & Tif

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

6 Simple Rules for Successful Online Dating

Okay, little known fact, or I guess if you know me in real life, you probably know this already. But since we're just Internet friends for now, here's something you don't know.

In college a few friends of mine didn't like who I was dating,  so they set up // actively managed an online dating profile for me. I knew nothing of this, went out on a date they set up for me, thinking one of them knew this guy, only to find out he was a total internet stranger. After an absolutely terrible date I furiously went online to delete the profile, only to find some messages from cute guys. Maybe online dating wasn't so bad after all...

I went on some seriously terrible dates. From a guy who sent his food back, because he read the menu wrong & apparently couldn't handle his food touching (umm what?), to the guy who ordered everything for me & told me he had great taste & I wouldn't regret it...actually, I thought, I'm already regretting this.

It took quite a few frogs but I met a few good ones. They didn't last, obviously, but that says nothing about online dating & everything about me having bad taste in men evolving & growing as a person. Until finally, I met the BF & I closed my online dating profile down for good.

But, in the months years it took me to weed out the weirdos from the wonderful, I learned a few things. If you're a newbie, don't be scared, it's not any more awkward than being set up with a friend of a friend. Promise. But, there are a few ways to ease the pain, so, here are my 6 rules for simple & successful online dates.


1. This is NOT a date
Take a deep breath in, now out. This is not a date. You met on a dating site, yes. But this first meet is just that. You're meeting. Confirming this person is who they say they are (ever seen the show Catfish?) and looking for a base level of chemistry. The question you need to answer by the end of this is, do you want to learn more about this person? 

2. Coffee or drinks only for the first date meet-up
Seriously. You want to get in & get out. If you totally connect on a level that is just unbelievable then go next door & grab a bite to eat. No one says you can't carry on. I'm saying if they're a total wacko you want to have a quick escape, which is sucking down your coffee & hustling out the door.

3. Pay your own way (or at least offer)
Maybe it's just me. But I feel super awkward about a guy paying on a first "date" or meet if I can help it. I usually aim to grab a coffee & get there a few minutes early & snag my own.

4. No weekend nights
Weekday evenings are preferable, weekends during the day will do in a pinch.
Weekend evenings are reserved for special people in my book. A boyfriend gets a Saturday night. A potentially weird man from the Internet does not. Shrugs, you do you, I'm just sayin'. If you're only having a drink, do you really want to yell at each other while EDM blares in the background & drunk college girls twerk nearby?

5. Be honest
I don't do the fake "I had a nice time" bullshit. Drinks are done, bill paid, I'll say something polite like, "I'm glad we met up, but I just don't think we're a good match". If they don't get the hint, continue to ignore their text messages and // or phone calls, responding will simply add fuel to the fire.

6. No personal details
I really would hope this goes without saying, but don't let strange Internet men pick you up from your house on the first "date". Don't tell them exactly where you live, or anything else that could aid in their potential stalker-ish tendencies. You have no idea what you could be dealing with. I always prefer to pick the place, somewhere I know the lay of the land & where I won't end up walking down a deserted back alley to get to my car.

When it's all said and done, online dating can be a great way to meet new people you may not have met otherwise. There are sites you pay for, sites you don't & even all sorts of phone apps (which I never used because I had a "dumb phone" until like 2015.)

The point is. If you're looking for love, might as well try looking online too.

Have you ever tried online dating?
Any online dating horror // success stories!?
Where did you meet your significant other?

Linking up with Amanda, Emily & Little R&R to share.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekend Highlights (I've been busy) + An Announcement

Hi Friends. Welcome to Monday. :/  
(unless you're reading this early)
Last week was such a drag. I felt pretty blah the whole week, time seemed to standstill & I just had some not so great luck. I was psyched to make it to the weekend & after a great weekend, I KNOW this week will be better than last.

What were you up to this weekend?
I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia & to share my Weekend Highlights

Saturday was brutally hot. 90+ and super humid. The day started with a big ol' mug of coffee while I used my new rocker on the back porch.

Saturday night I met up with some friends to see Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. A band I fell in love with over 10 years ago.

We met up in the Strip District of Pittsburgh & grabbed a famous Primanti Bros sandwich. Primanti Brothers is one of those things that's just iconic Pittsburgh. If you ask someone about a Pittsburgh staple? This is one of 'em. All their sandwiches come with tomatoes, fries (as is the Pittsburgh way) & "coleslaw" - which is more like shredded cabbage with a tangy oil based dressing, nothing like coleslaw in the south, or at your BBQ.


After Primantis we grabbed a drink before heading into the show at Altar Bar, a former church, turned intimate concert venue. We were lucky enough to grab a spot to stand on the stairs to the upper balcony. Which ensured we were out of the fray of any rowdy concert goers (though there were none) & afforded us a great view of the stage.


I wasn't a fan of the opening acts, but it seemed the rest of the crowd was. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus played their 2006 studio album from start to finish & while it included all the songs I really wanted to hear, I was a little disappointed they didn't play any others.


Sunday's weather was absolute perfection. 75-ish, sunny, with a slight breeze & low humidity. Is there someplace with weather like this all the time? If so, I think I want to move.

The BF & I headed to the Rachel Carson Trail, a 35 mile+ trail that snakes through all different parts of the county. We've hiked a few sections before & headed back to hike where we last left off. 


We hiked a solid 4-ish miles before deciding we better turn around before one of us got hangry.
Not that that has ever happened before...



Then it was time to settle down for some booking (reading, but booking sounded better) & blogging. While the BF grilled up some brats & picked lettuce from the garden for a salad. Not a bad view right?

And now, for an announcement. I've been posting 5 days a week, but I plan to cut back to 3 days for the summer (through Labor Day) popping in for a 4th day if I've got lots of things to say. I plan to post M, W, F. I love this weather, I love being outside reading a book, hiking, biking, saying yes to whatever outdoor plans come along, so I've got no plans to skip any of that to write a blog post. I would rather under-commit & over-deliver & I hope you all can understand.

I still plan to be around, reading other blogs & commenting, but, sheesh, I know everyone says it, but blogging can be really hard work. So, see y'all Wednesday!


Bloggers - have you ever cut back on posting?
How was your weekend?
What's an iconic food // establishment where you live?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Five #25

This week was not my week. I started off like a zombie on Monday after too little sleep Saturday night, tried to sleep in on Tuesday, but got jolted awake by a work phone call, spent Wednesday traveling for work & it just didn't get better from there.

So, I am so glad it's finally Friday. I'm going to see Red Jumpsuit Apparatus tomorrow night @ a neat venue here in Pittsburgh & the BF & I are planning to hike on Sunday.

Here's a few things that happened this week, tell me about a thing or two you were up to this week in the comments! I love to hear about what you guys are up to!

{one}
My idiot brother walked 37 miles in ONE day earlier this week (and then ate a whole pizza). I thought maybe he had hitchhiked part of it...NOPE. He's been waking up at 2AM or so to hike in the dark while it's cool out. Otherwise, my poor pasty brother gets blasted by the mid-day heat & there's not enough sunscreen in the world to help that. He's making another urgent care trip. His foot // ankle are bothering him. Keep the good vibes, prayers & well wishes coming! :)



{two}
I reached out to Legendary Food for a free sample box. While I would love to pretend that they sent it because I am a superstar with a cult following, the truth is, it's an Instagram promotion & all you have to do is email them. The same box came with 2 mini jars of nut butter & 2 packs of flavored almonds.

support@legendaryfoodsonline.com if you're interested.



{three}
WATERMELON.
Yes, this is my desk at work. Yes, that's a whole half a watermelon. Yes, I ate it all in one sitting. Yes, my co-workers are used to it, I do this all the time. No, I haven't turned into a watermelon yet.


{four}
By time time last year I had already booked my big vacation for this year. I was just wrapping up booking my trip to New Zealand. So, I know it's crazy to say I feel behind on planning my 2017 vacations, but considering I tend to go big, I feel a little behind. I don't even know exactly where I want to go yet. I'm caught wondering if I should just wait for a great deal to come along (again) or if I should pick a specific place & start planning. Thoughts?

{five}
From around the web...
31 Running Tips for Runners of All Levels
Parsley Scallion Hummus Pasta
Wedding Etiquette Rules Every Grown Ass Adult Should Know

I'm linking up with Heather, Amanda, Andrea & Tif

What are you up to this weekend?
Where should I vacation // explore next?
 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

3 Tips for First Time Campers

I don't know about you, but I love being outside. Not as much in the winter, but once warm weather hits, I'm all about it. 

Weekend trips to explore new places rank right at the top of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. BUT, I don't always want to drop a bunch of $$$ on a hotel room or B&B for a night or two stay. This doesn't mean I'm stuck at home though. Camping is a great way to be outside, save some cash & get away from the city for a weekend. 

I posted my tips for beginning backpackers back in May. But many of you said that you weren't quite to the backpacking stage yet, and I get it. There are plenty of camping options that don't require hiking to your campsite carrying all of your gear. What if you've never been camping before though? Don't worry, I was into my 20's before I ever went camping. If you do it right, it'll be just as comfortable as being at home. Here's a few tips to get you started.



1. Pick a well equipped campsite
No matter where you live there are bound to be tons of camping options within an hour or two drive. You'll want to pick a campsite that allows you to reserve in advance, has permanent restrooms (maybe even showers), potable water & nearby parking. These things may not all be important to you, but if it's your first or your 100th time camping, these are still things that can make camping a bit more enjoyable.

2. Bring campfire friendly food
You'd be surprised how well you can eat while camping. S'mores are a no-brainer when you're camping, but most campsites with a firepit will have some sort of grate over top that will allow you to cook food on top. I'll be doing a separate post on eating while camping, but honestly, the BF & I usually take steaks, foil wrapped baked potatoes & s'more fixins. 

The important part here is know what you'll eat, know how you'll plan to cook it & know how you'll store it. If you plan on staying more than one night you'll need a good cooler & ice to keep perishables fresh.

3. Test your equipment
Nothing is worse than getting to the campsite & realizing you can't put your tent together. Or (not that I speak from experience) trying to blow up your air mattress only to realize there's a hole in it. Or that someone forgot to pack the pump...I still give the BF flack for that one. If it's your first time camping, practicing setting up your tent ahead of time, or starting a fire can help you feel at ease when you're setting up your campsite.

Are you a camping fan?
What camping questions do you have for me?

I'm linking up with Amanda to share.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Though the truth may vary...

Y'all may remember a song from a few years back, it was called "Little Talks" by Of Monsters & Men. You can click below to listen it if the name doesn't ring a bell.


I think it came out in 2012-ish? One of the things I love about music is how a song can evoke a specific emotion, but for so many reasons. Maybe it's the lyrics, maybe you first listened to the song with a specific someone, maybe it was always on during a certain time of your life, maybe you've devised your own meaning for the lyrics. But either way, just a few chords of a song can bring this emotion to the foreground.

This song does things for me. You can read the full lyrics here if you're curious. But here's the bit that sticks out to me.

And some days I can't even trust myself
It's killing me to see you this way
'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore
Hey! Hey! Hey!
There's an old voice in my head
That's holding me back
Well tell her that I miss our little talks

I first heard this song while I was biking cross country. I was at a rest stop, in who knows what state, and it came on the radio while I was wolfing down a sandwich before I hopped back on my bike. Some days I couldn't trust myself. Some days my body betrayed me. Some days my mind betrayed me. Waking up each morning to bike 75+ miles seemed like an impossible task some mornings & a joy & privilege some days. 



I didn't know what games my mind would play, but I knew my body would put in the work to get me where I needed to be. I've both loved & hated my body in its 26 years on this earth. Some days it's both. I hate searching for jeans that will accommodate my hip to waist ratio, without requiring a weird dance to squeeze into them. I love this body when I cross the finish line at a marathon, or finish a tough training run. But, regardless of my pant size, or my eternal desire for visible abs, I trust this body.

I trust it to get me where I need to go. I fuel it the best that I can, and I put in the training hours to make this body capable of what I will ask of it. You wouldn't run a marathon having never trained, and you certainly wouldn't do it without eating breakfast first. And you wouldn't cross the finish line without at least a few internal pep talks, reminding yourself that YES, you can do it!

Fuel your mind, fuel your body & you'll go wherever it is you want to go. Don't let your brain tell you otherwise.

What's a song that evokes serious emotion within you?
Does this song speak to anyone else?
Anyone have a song lyric tattoo?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Exposure to a Billionaire : Book Review

Let me start out by saying, I was able to get a free paperback copy of this book through Kristen's book club. And when it arrived to my house I felt like a SERIOUS super-star. I mean, the cover even has a little sticker that says it's a pre-release copy. If that doesn't make you feel important & exclusive then I think your expectations are a little high, and that we should hang out more. Show me the fast lane, friend. ;)

Exposure to a Billionaire

After my less than stellar reading record in April I jumped right into this, just a few short days into May. It looked fairly long & there was a little bit of print that told me this book would take 6 hours to read (I read fast-ish, but it took me more like 5 lunch breaks aka 5 hours). 

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Would this be several short stories from her time as a flight attendant, one big long novel? Somewhere in-between?
Exposure to a Billionaire is a fictional account based on author Ann Menke's twenty-five-year-plus career as a corporate flight attendant. She takes readers on an adventure spanning the globe and gives them an inside look into the world of flying the rich and famous. Get ready for the heroine, Anna St. James, to take off on a fast-paced journey into the exclusive club of private airplanes, yachts, exotic travel, and greed, while trying to stay true to herself.
There's two book rating scales.
Scale 1 : Was this book of great literary value? Did it make me think? Did it keep me guessing? Was it a book I would read again in 20 years? 
This is your Harry Potter & your LOTR.

Scale 2 : Was this book fun? Would I read this while sipping a drink on the porch? Is it a fairly quick read? Is there some element my every day life does not contain?
This is your bad romance novels. They're fun to read, but they're all similar, fairly predictable & in a year you won't be able to remember if you've read it or not.

If you rate every book against a classic, they'll all fall short. But that's okay, I read different style books for different reasons.

This book definitely falls under scale 2 rating. It was fun. I don't sit on the beach & read, but if I did I would take this. It was fine to read during my lunch break, as an escape from the workday. But its literary value was low. It talks about grand adventures that I may never have, traveling in the fast lane, but few of the characters are well developed. I can't picture these people. And I didn't feel connected to them.

The writing style is overly simple & repetitive. If that won't bother you, read it. It's different. But this is a book you turn your brain off, not on for.

Did you read Exposure to a Billionaire?
Do you ever prefer an easy read, something to help turn your brain off?
Do you prefer an e-reader or a physical book in your hands?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Weekend Highlights : Bridal Shower Shenanigans

Today? Sunday? As I type this...I plan to do some laundry, cook some food for the week ahead, & then do nothing else but watch Netflix & read my book. 

Saturday was a busy day. I was go-go-go from the start...which was 730AM for a 6.7-ish mile long run. We ran up the famous Mt. Washington. A part of Pittsburgh known for it's views of the city. But, as you can see from the elevation chart of my run, getting to the top is no joke.


After my run & a shower it was bridal shower time. I helped the MOH (maid of honor) put on a bridal shower & bachelorette party for our friend.


^anyone who knows me in real life knows that me wearing my hair down & having mascara on is like spotting a unicorn. So, it needed to be documented.

The shower was beautiful, the food was delicious & the decorations turned out great, despite our general lack of design skills. 




After the shower ended it was bachelorette party time! We headed straight to the MOH's house to get things started.  We did some serious noshing on snacks until we all realized we were running late & the limo driver had already arrived! We scrambled to get dressed & headed out.

Details & pictures to remain off the interwebs, BUT...

We were out past my bedtime, I danced my little heart out, as evidenced by my 25K+ step count for Saturday (not counting the ones I took after midnight!) & I was oh so ready for bed when we finally made it home. And, for 3,000+ calories burned yesterday, I think I've earned myself a glass of wine while I finish out the weekend.


How was your weekend?
How do you usually wear your hair? - Up, always up. Bun, Ponytail, Braid.
How often do you wear makeup? - I literally own nothing more than mascara, so, not often.

I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia & to share my Weekend Highlights

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Five #24

Happy Friday y'all! I wish that the fact that it was Friday meant I got to relax tonight, but, no dice. While I'm not the MOH, I'm helping put together a bridal shower & bachelorette party for a friend, both of which are tomorrow. AH. So, tonight is going to be lots of last minute details, baking cupcakes, making veggie trays & figuring out what the heck to wear for a night out tomorrow.

I think the last time I went to a bar where I couldn't wear a t-shirt & jeans was in 2011. But seriously. What do I wearrrr!? Neither here nor there, the Friday Five show must go on.

Happy Friday, hope we can catch up on Monday! In the meantime, comment & let me know what fun shenanigans you're up to this weekend.

{one}
This song. On repeat. All day. Errryday, until I hate it & don't want to hear it again until 2018.


{two}
Wednesday night was pizza on the grill. We didn't roll the homemade route because #lazy. Or even the "homemade" using naan route. The BF & I just straight up bought one of the take & bake pizzas from Aldi & plopped it on the grill. But it was delicious & with a salad from the garden far from being the least balanced meal I've ever had.

{three}
I watched Parenthood on Netflix a few months back. I was hit hard when the series ended. Like, I had just spent months connecting with this family (on my computer screen, but still) & now there was no more. I'm about to hit that point with Friday Night Lights too & IDK what I do then. I'll probably just bumble around my house for a day or 2, doing some extra reading & cleaning. & then I'll need a new Netflix show, once I finally accept that this one is over. Tell me I'm not the only one who gets this way.

{four}
I grew up in Cincinnati, I've been to that zoo a million times (and never fallen in the gorilla pit) & even spent over 250+ volunteer hours there during high school.

| side note | My opinion below, highlight to see, if you care...or keep scrolling & enjoy the meme if you don't. :)
I think unfortunately, the zoo was put in a rough spot. But, I do think that these were the very people most educated to make this decision. & the very people who had the most knowledge of this animal.

I also think that it's very interesting how many people are upset about this particular animal, but probably discussed it all while eating a hamburger on Memorial Day. Why is this animal more important? I'm not even a vegetarian...just curious.


{five}
I haven't downloaded this app...but I did use Triposo on my trip to Europe & I LOVED how it worked offline & included phrases, currency conversions & that I could search // save things in each city. So, I could search food near me while standing on a random street in Venice & could see things nearby along with reviews. The maps, even offline were super detailed.

This new app, Walter, sounds like it would be great. I often can't tell by looking at a map how far something might be walking distance. 


This sounds like it would be great for use while traveling, or even exploring your own city in an area you don't know very well. I haven't downloaded it, so take this all with a grain of salt. But, I think I just might before my next big trip. Let me know if you do download it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What's your favorite travel app?
What's your favorite show (available on Netflix)?
What are you up to this weekend?

I'm linking up with Heather, Amanda, Andrea & Tif