Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Monthly Challenge: March

This month's challenge was the Plank Challenge.  I wanted a harder challenge this month, and I sure got it.  The goal of this month was to finish at a 5 minute plank.  I have to admit I didn't quite get there all at once.  I completed the challenge in terms of time, but I took a break halfway through the planks.  Holding that pose for 5 minutes straight is a long time!  Anybody that can do it is awesome and I am simply jealous. 

I think it was around the 3- 3.5 minute jump when I needed to start splitting it up.  Had the progressions gone in maybe 15 second increments each day rather than 30 seconds every few days, I think it would have been easier.  This could just be a mental thing, but adding 15 seconds each day doesn't sound nearly as bad as 30 seconds.  I realize I could have done this myself or found a challenge that was like this, but too late now.  Maybe if I run out of challenges later in the year I'll come back to this one and try it! 

Overall, I really liked this challenge because it worked my whole body.  I could feel it in my abs, my arms, and my legs.  It was also a big mental game in telling myself to just hold it a little longer.  I think the mental aspect is a big part of any exercise, and often times the hardest thing to overcome.  

Next month's challenge just sounds silly and I can't wait.  It is the Amazing Butt Challenge.  And who doesn't want that? 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Glass Castle

This month's book club choice was The Glass Castle written by Jeannette Walls.  I first read this book 5-10 years ago, shortly after it was written.  Reading the book again now that I am a bit older made me understand the story a bit better and think about it in a different way.  

The story
This book is a memoir about Jeannette Walls' childhood and how she was not traditionally raised.  Her and her 3 siblings were constantly moving and struggling to survive.  With an alcoholic father this family bounces from house to house and job to job.  You see this family live through true starvation, homelessness, and poverty.  To make things worse, the parent's are often offered help to make their lives better but choose not to take the help.  Somehow Jeannette manages to survive it all to tell her story. 

My thoughts:
At first I did not like this book.  How could those parents make their family live like this?  The mother is choosing to be homeless and doesn't take the help when it's given to her.  She constantly blames her family for her unhappiness.  And the Dad spends all his money on booze when he knows he has a family to take care of.  It made me so angry.  

But then realizing how Jeannette made something of herself and used all the hard times while growing up to make her that much stronger.  I really admired the children.  Although this book was hard to read at times, I did enjoy it.  The sad part is that the struggle is still out there, and I am constantly reminded of it when I see people living on the streets and begging for money.  This book really opened my eyes that I need to be thankful and appreciate what I have in my life.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the material things in our world today.  It is so easier to forget to appreciate all the little things you do have, that some people are not fortunate to have themselves.  Yes, life may be easier and you may be able to do more if you have money, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will be happy.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

What to wear...

Runners Tell All Link Up: 
Favorite Running Gear & Products 

For those who may not know, this link-up is hosted by the wonderful Amanda at The Lady Okie.  It is only the second link-up and I am loving it already, so go check it out and join in the fun if you haven't already!  This may be a disappointment to some, but I don't really have any fancy products to convince you to use.  But here are the few things that I have found to be pretty essential when it comes to running:

1.  A good pair of running shoes.  My favorite are the Nike Free Runs which describes them perfectly: free.  They are a bit expensive, but I think they are worth it.  Plus the color and style options are endless, and you can even customize your own shoe if you don't like any of their color combos.  They are so lightweight it barely feels like I'm even wearing shoes.  I love how flexible they are so my feet get a full range of motion, and the mesh on the top definitely helps cool off my feet.  These are a must for me. 

2.  A good sports bra.  One of the only times being blessed in the chest can be a bad thing is when you want to run.  The truth of it is, those suckers need to be secure or the run will not be enjoyable.  I really like the Champion brand at Target.  They hold everything in without being suffocating.  The sweat proof ones are a must because they don't leave you feeling all wet and gross.  And best of all, they are pretty affordable and again the color and style options are endless.  I love the reversible ones because it feels like I'm getting two for the price of one!  

3.  A good pair of pants. I got my favorite pair as a gift from the Boyfriend so I don't know where they came from, but they pretty much look like the picture which is a pair from Target.  They are by far my favorite workout pants.  They are made of a spandex type material so they are form fitting but also stretchy which makes them so comfortable!  My favorite thing about them is the little pocket on the inside of the waistline.  It is the perfect size for my house key so I don't have to stick it in my sports bra anymore and worry about possibly losing it! 

4.  There is one gadget that I am loving right now and it is Yurbuds headphones.  Another gift from the Boyfriend but I've seen them at Target or you can buy them online.  I will never use any other ear-buds again.  I have gone through countless pairs trying to find the perfect ones that will stay in my ear, and I have finally found them!  These ear-buds literally stick and lock in your ear.  They have never fallen out which also makes them very good at noise canceling.  And best of all, they come with a little carrying bag so you can't lose them!  My only recommendation for someone would be to pay a little more for the Inspire Duro pair so the cord doesn't tangle.  

One product I have been debating about is an armband.  I am pretty indecisive about my music while running and end up changing the song A LOT.  Any one else do that too?  Would it still be worth it to get an armband? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

10 things I like about myself

The first thing I thought of when I saw this link-up was the movie, 10 Things I Hate About You.  I am so glad this link-up is not about hating on ourselves though.  It is exactly the opposite.  Which I think is so important, and sadly something that we often need to be reminded to do.  It is easy to see the flaws, but it is more important to remember the good things.  So here is my list of 10 things I am proud that make me who I am:

1.  Family is my number one.  Spending time and keeping in touch with my family is the most important thing to me.  And not just my immediate family, but cousins and aunts and uncles and such, too.  It makes birthdays and holidays that much more fun.  Also, family traditions are really important to me, and I feel like it is up to me to keep them going.  

2.  I am a hard worker.  When I put my mind to something, I work hard to accomplish it.  I like to do things on my own and try to avoid asking for help whenever possible.  It feels good to know that I accomplished something on my own when I could have taken the easy way out and asked someone else to do it for me.  You learn a lot more that way.  The only exception to this one is when it comes to spiders.  I have no shame in asking my dad to kill those suckers for me!

3.  I will never be late.  "To be early is to be on time".  I have mentioned this before in another post.  Ever since high school I have had this quote ingrained in my brain, and it has paid off.  I actually stress out if I am running late because I think it is rude when other people are constantly late.  You set a time for a reason and you should stick to it.  Now I understand traffic and just life in general can be unpredictable sometimes, but a nice warning in those situations would be much appreciated.

4.  I can be pretty silly.  Not everybody gets to see this side of me, but I know the ones that do enjoy it a lot.  I can be shy when first meeting people, but once I get more comfortable then it all comes out.  It just makes life more enjoyable to not be so serious all the time.

5.  I have a big heart.  I hate making people mad and I always want those around me to be happy.  I genuinely care about my family/friends and would do anything to make them happy.  

6.  I bake some good cookies.  It started with my mom's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  They were everybody's favorite growing up.  Once we started going camping, it was always my job to make the cookies.  After I realized they weren't that hard to make I started making all different kinds of cookies.  My favorite is still the classic oatmeal chocolate chip though.  

7.  I love music.  Music has always been a part of my life, and I don't know what I would do without it.  It such a great way to express yourself.  I only wish I was a better writer so I could create my own musical stories with songs.  But I still love to play and listen and dance to music at all times.  It is one of the only things that can immediately put me in a better mood.  

8.  I am crafty.  Along with the music thing, I am actually pretty creative in other ways.  I am good at scrapbooking and making the pages look all nice with stickers and letters.  My cousin used to own a scrapbook store and she would let me bring in my pictures and she would show me all the cool stuff you could do with it.  A couple of years ago I learned how to crochet and have been making things like scarves, hats, and even Christmas stockings.  This past year I have starting beading my own jewelry.  This one has probably been the hardest of them all, and takes a lot more patience.  

9.  I enjoy the little things in life.  Whether it's a sunrise/sunset, a penny on the ground, or a stranger holding the door for me.  I love these little moments in life, and they seriously make my day so much better.  

10.  My smile.  I am so thankful I was blessed with a nice set of pearly whites.  I will admit I can be self conscious about them because they are a bit big and I worry I have some piece of food stuck in them or something.  But then I remember smiles are contagious and can really brighten someones day. 

I challenge you to give a stranger a compliment today.  Find something you like about them, and let them know you noticed :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

46 days of torture!

A.K.A Lent.  For those of you Christian folks out there, you might be aware that today is Ash Wednesday.  Which also means it is the start of Lent.  It is a time when you are supposed to give up some sort of luxury, for lack of a better word.  It is meant to be a challenge in remembrance of all that Jesus did for us.  

I will admit I am not as religious as I used to be.  But I still like to participate in Lent every year because I think it is a good practice.  It is good to constantly challenge yourself whether you are religious or not.  

Over the years I have given up things such as soda, biting my nails, swearing, chocolate, sweets, and last year I gave up peanut butter.  Sad to say, I did not succeed last year.  I gave in and ate the damn peanut butter!  So I want this year to be a big challenge for me.  I want to try giving up peanut butter again to prove to myself that I can do it.  But I also want to try giving up sweets again because that has always been a hard challenge for me, but I have done it before so I know I can do it again.  

I'm not sure if Mardis Gras is the best or worst part about Lent.  It's a good excuse to get those last few treats in, but it also sucks waking up the next day realizing I won't get them again for 46 more days!!