Thursday, May 31, 2012

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of May


10,000 Stones by Adrianne - I found this thanks to Pandora.  I love the sound of her voice.

Phonebooth by Maroon 5 - I think this song has a catchy beat.  I will probably buy it for my running play list!


It was a slower reading month for me, mostly due to the crazy number of hours I studied this month - over 100!!

The Imperfectionist by Tom Rachman - This book is a collection of short stories about the various people who work for a newspaper in Rome.  I usually do not like short stories, but these were all related, so I really liked it!

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond - This was a haunting book about the disappearance of a child.  It was a fast, engaging read, but definitely a heavier read.

Room by Emma Donoghue - After having multiple people recommend this to me, I finally got around to reading it.  I read in in the span of about 5 days, which is a testament to how good of a book it is.  It's told from the perspective of a 5 year old who has been locked in an 11 x 11 room with his mom his entire life (his mom was abducted).  It is really disturbing at times, but definitely worth reading.


I had another strong month of running.  I ran a total of 89 miles.  I expect that number to be over 100 next month as I will be able to do all the run club workouts now!  I feel good about the base I have built coming into marathon training season.  I have some work to do, but at least I am in decent shape.


I really did not wear much that could be considered 'notable' this month.  The only outfit that really stands out in my mind was the business suit I wore when I presented at that conference in Denver.  I usually hate business suits, but I actually really like this one!  It's navy, so a little different from your typical black or gray suit.  I got it from Banana Republic, which is my go to place for business suits.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Little Moments - v4

May is almost over!  Hooray! These are my little moments of the past week...

23 - Getting to see my boss's daughter as he brought her into work before her dentist appointment.  She was adopted from Ethiopia and is such an adorable little girl.  We share a love of the color pink.  :) 

24 - Getting sucked into a really good book (Room).

25 - My boss let me go home a couple of hours early so I'd have plenty of time to do a practice exam.  He is a CFA charterholder, so he gets what I am going through, which is really nice.

26 - Getting a thoughtful email from my Grandma (who is 89 - how cool is it that she emails?).

27 - A delicious dinner prepared by my aunt and uncle + 3 games of bananagrams. Oh how I adore that game.  This was a REALLY tough day for me - I cried a river of tears (over a tough practice exam).  My spirits were lifted by spending time with family.

28 - Having some delicious watermelon as an afternoon study break snack.

29 - A spontaneous lunch with a good friend that I hadn't seen in 6+ months.

What were your little moments of the past week?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Rituals

Oy vey, last weekend was not my best weekend.  I did poorly on one half of a practice test and didn't do as well as I had hoped on the official CFA institute mock exam.  I scored exactly a 70%, so didn't do awful, but I was hoping to score a bit higher so I'd feel like I have a bit of a margin for error going into the exam (they don't tell you what you need to pass, but allegedly if you score 70 or above, you pass). 

So my confidence is a bit really shaken...  I know I couldn't have studied any harder than I have so I am trying to trust that it's enough to pass... 

So much of this process feels out of my control, so to give myself the sense of being a bit more in control of things, I rely on some test rituals.  So what are my rituals?

- On exam day, I will wear the same dress, cardigan, and shoes as I wore last year.  The shoes actually should be thrown away as they are not looking so great, but I am keeping them just to wear on CFA exam day.
- I'll wear the horse shoe good luck necklace my cousin gave me as a good luck gift before the exam last year.
- I'll use a pink bic mechanical pencil.
- For lunch, I'll eat at the same French restaurant, and the same meal as last year (Nicoise Salad and a fresh-squeezed lemonade).
- After the exam, the post-exam celebratory dinner will be at the same Mexican restaurant.
- On the day I get my exam results (in late July), I'll once again wear my exam day outfit, and I will give my phone to the same friend at work that watched for the email with my results to come across last year.  Having someone else watch for the email helped keep my mind off it (well, sort of). 

Yes, I realize all of this makes me sound like a complete lunatic.  And I recognize the fact that the shoes or dress I wear or the lunch I eat won't make me pass or fail.  My fate will be decided by how hard I've worked to pass... But I guess at this point, I don't really care what people think of these rituals because if it makes me feel better, it's worth it.  Also, I feel a little better/normal knowing that my cousin also has test rituals when she takes board exams for medical school.  I guess the lunacy runs in the family a bit.  ;)

Are you a superstitious person?  Are there any events in your life that require rituals?  Besides the rituals for the CFA, I have some pre-race rituals, like always eating peanut butter on toast with a banana. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Looking Forward: The Post-CFA Edition

Happy Friday everyone, and Happy Long Weekend to my American readers!  I'm so ready for a 3 day stretch without work.  I'm sad that I won't be with my family this weekend at the lake.  Charlie turned one this week and my another nephew turns 7 next week, and it's my older sister's birthday today, so they are having their birthday celebrations this weekend.  I hate missing stuff like that.  And I am especially sad to miss out because my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew and niece that live in the Chicago area will be there.  I haven't seen them since Thanksgiving and miss them so much, but I can't go away the last weekend before the CFA.  :(  To make up for missing their visit home, I am hoping to make a trip to Chicago this summer to spend some quality time with them.

But the weekend won't be a total downer.  It feels so good to say it's my last weekend of studying!  And my aunt & uncle (aka my St. Paul parents) are having me over for dinner on Sunday night.  And I am running with my run club tomorrow.  So I will do some fun things!

With the CFA just over a week away, my thoughts are definitely set on my "Post-CFA" life.  My weekends are pretty short because of my study schedule, so there is a long list of things I have been wanting to do as soon as the test is behind me.  Here are some things I am looking forward to!

1.  Reclaiming my dining room table.  It's a total disaster.  No, really, I'm not kidding, here is a picture.

I gave up trying to tidy up this area months ago because it just get messy all over again.  It's the first thing I see when I walk into my condo, so my place never feels 'tidy'.  I can't wait to box up all of these books and have a clean, cleared off dining room table once again.

2.  Organize my closet and piano room.  Those are two areas of my condo that need some TLC.  I actually really enjoy organizing, so I am looking forward to spending a weekend afternoon doing just that!

3.  Going to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings.

4.  Having brunch or lunch with people (I'm usually unavailable from 9-5 most weekends)

5.  Playing my piano.  I thought I would play piano more as a study break, but I only gave myself a 30 minute break in the middle of the day and that time got eaten up by making/eating lunch and doing things like folding laundry.

6.  Attend all of the run club work outs. 

7.  Sleep well.  Gosh I hope this happens.  I haven't been sleeping well for the last month or so.  I'm hoping I will start sleeping better once the stress of the exam is behind me.

8.  Experiment with (time consuming) recipes.  I've continued to cook while studying, but have focused on easy, fast things. I want to spend more time in the kitchen and start playing around with some recipes for my Julia Child night that we have each fall (Coq au Vin, French Onion Soup, and Ratatouille, I am looking at you!).

9. Get rush tickets to shows at the Guthrie (a theater that is 3 blocks from my condo).  Roman Holiday starts next month and I REALLY want to see it!

What are some things you are looking forward to?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Moments v3

I can't believe we are in the final weeks of May.  The CFA exam is only 10 days away!  Woo hoo! 

Here are the little moments of the past week...

16 - Going out for a marathon send-off dinner with my run club. 

17 - Having a good conversation with a sales manager which reminded me that I have some good allies in my corner. 

18 - A nice, long conversation with Mandy.  We were so overdue for a chat!

19 - Getting the most perfectly ripe blackberries at the grocery store - and they were buy one get one free (as were raspberries)!  Score!

20 - A fun lunch with my aunt, uncle, cousins, and their significant others at this great raw food restaurant in Minneapolis.  We went last year before my CFA, so we went again to keep up the tradition (they understand my neurotic need for everything to be the same as last year)!

21 - Running in absolutely beautiful weather.

22 - Taking a little break in the afternoon to go on a walk with a former co-worker.

What were your little moments of the week?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Body Image Evolution

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend, and that your week is off to a good start!  My weekend was productive, and good.  Lots of studying, 2 runs, and a fun lunch with family.  So all in all, a great weekend! 

It was nice to end the weekend with a slow, recovery run around one of the local lakes.  The temps were perfect, the sun was shining, and the lake was like glass.  I ran with a friend at a slow, conversational pace, and didn't pay attention to my Garmin for a change, which was a nice feeling.  It was one of those runs where I finished thinking, 'gosh I love running.'

Getting into running has been beneficial for many reasons, but I think one of the unintended and surprising benefits is the fact that I am kinder to myself than I used to be before I took up running.  Before I got into running, I had a pretty crappy body image.  Like many girls in their 20s, I would talk down to myself and focus on my flaws when I looked in the mirror.

Well, then I started running.  And logging lots of miles.  And I went from fixating on my trouble zones and instead was amazed by what my body was able to accomplish out on the running paths.  I let go of that magic weight I had in mind for a goal and instead focused on becoming a stronger, healthier runner.  I threw out my scale because honestly, it had a negative influence on my body image - and I found that it didn't always tell the whole story. 

Despite the improvement in my body image, I still had one hurdle that I had to jump over in terms of body image.  And that hurdle was represented by a pair of fitted LuLu Lemon shorts I had bought the afternoon after my Portland Marathon back in 2010.  I bought those shorts when I was on top of the world and feeling so good about myself.  I usually run in looser fitting Nike shorts, so switching to these fitted shorts was a bit of a stretch for me (no pun intended). 

I bought those shorts that day feeling confident I would get my money's worth and wear them a lot...  Well, nearly 18 months later, I had still not worn those dang shorts.  Last month I decided that it was time to put those shorts to use, and I wore them on a run.

Apprehensively wearing the new shorts...

It's definitely an adjustment from the looser fitting shorts, but I really liked them.  I figured it was time to stop caring about what other people might be thinking about me.  Plus, when I think about it logically, I don't really pay attention to what others are wearing while working out - so I am sure no one is paying attention to me either.

So yes, my body image has vastly improved over the years.  I still have some room for improvement, but I am really happy to say that as the years go by, I am kinder and kinder to myself.  I don't know if I will ever be the senior citizen who traipses around naked in the locker room of a gym, but it's a good feeling to walk by a mirror and to feel more drawn to the things I like v. the things I don't. 

How has your body image evolved as you've gotten older?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Five

Oh Friday.  I am so happy to see you!!

Here are 5 things that are on my mind.

1.  I really want these shoes.  They are only $38 which is reasonable.  But I am really struggling with spending money on non-essential things lately... So I will just admire them online...

2.  I've been listening to the song "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz on repeat each day on my way to and from work.  It's like I have Tourette syndrome when it comes to music.  Anyone else obsessively listen to the same song over and over and over and over?  Oh, just me?  Ok.

3.  Since I started my job, my boss has treated me like a partner, meaning neither one of us took individual credit for anything we did because we wanted people to view us as a team.  Which worked great when we were partnered up together.  Now that relationship has been severed and as a result of this work change, I am going to have to basically start from scratch and re-prove my value to my new manager.  The thought of this exhausts.  And honestly, it scares me.  Big time

4.  I'm actually kind of looking forward to taking 2 more practice exams this weekend.  I am hoping that my scores continue to improve and I continue to feel more confident as the exam approaches.  It's only 2 weeks from tomorrow.  Eeks!

5.  It's pretty obvious that I am stressed right now.  But I am trying to keep that stress in check by thinking about my dear aunt who is fighting the battle of her life against cancer.  I feel like a total schmuck for complaining about work and CFA stress, etc, given the battle she is graciously facing - while being incredibly positive.  I have a lot to learn from her. 

What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Little Moments v3

This week got off to a tough start... But yesterday was a MUCH better day, so hopefully things will only get better as the week progresses. 

The head of our group is coming to our office today to discuss the reorg - I'm hoping I come home from work today feeling better about the changes taking place.

It really was such a blessing that I chose to focus on the little moments in the month of May.  I need these daily reflections now more than ever!

9 - Getting a drink with my boss at the airport before our flight to Denver. Our work lives were turned upside down last week with the reorg, so it was nice to set it all aside and just enjoy a drink together before our business trip.  As I've said before, I absolutely love my boss - he is the best boss I've ever had.  He's committed to still having a role in my development, so hopefully we can make that happen.

10 - Meeting co-workers from our Denver office.  It's so nice to put faces to names, and I really hit it off with the people I met!

11 - Gettting a 94% on an assessment I took on a complicated concept (Derivatives).

12 - 10 miles ran in absolutely gorgeous weather on running paths along the lakes of Minneapolis.

13 - Getting my mail and finding a post card that Jeanie sent during her trip to Paris!  Oh la la, that's the best kind of mail to receive!

14 - A thoughtful and kind email from San, a new friend I've made thanks to blogging!

15 - Eating lunch outside on my building's skygarden level with a co-worker.  I eat at my desk most days, so this was a nice change!

What were your little moments of the last week?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mid-Month Money Manifesto - Month 5

Here we are, 1/3 of the way through the year.  I can't believe how fast this year is going!  One of my goals this year that related to my finances was to not buy any books.

I am happy to report that I have achieved that goal so far and have not bought a single book!! 

This may not seem like a big deal, but if you know me well, you know how much I love to read (and buy) books!  How have I achieved this goal so far?  By using the library like it's my job.  I am fortunate to live really close to one, so it's easy to stop by after work to drop books off or pick books up.  And I borrow as many e-reader books as possible because I actually prefer reading on my nook these days (I never thought I'd say that!). 

Growing up, I never had access to a library, as we lived in this tiny town, so it's been nice to utilize this service as an adult.  It's not a perfect system, of course, as I feel our wait lists for books can be ridiculous (like some books have 600+ people waiting for a copy), but I always have something to read.  I also love checking out audio books for those boring drives home and to the lake. 

I still haven't tapped into my personal library as much as I thought I would (I've got shelves upon shelves of unread books), but I'll get to that eventually.  And I've still got gift cards that I received for my birthday from friends and family that I plan to use when/if one of my book clubs selects a book I haven't read.  But I really think I can go an entire year without spending any money on books - which is pretty miraculous for me to say (I don't even want to add up what I spent on books in the past). 

Do you use your local library?  Do you buy a lot of books like I used to?  I do plan to resume buying books after this year is over as I'd love to have a room with a wall of books some day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Miscellany

Happy Monday everyone.  I hope you all had a great weekend!  We had beautiful weather here, and it looks like the nice weather will stick around.  Woo hoo!  Here's a bullet-point style post of what's on my mind today...

- My trip to Denver last week went well.  I feel good about how the presentation went and the client dinner I attended went well.  It was really great to get out of the office.  I've been avoiding work travel like the plague lately because of CFA studying, but after that test, I think I'll be traveling way more - which I am happy about.

- I made Mama Pea's Red & Green Enchiladas again.  They are so good!  If you like lentils, you should make this recipe.  When I have more time, I want to experiment with making my own green enchilada sauce.

- So it looks like this new change at work might require me to get yet ANOTHER license (I got my Series 7 & 63 last year).  Which means I will have to take another test.  Ahhhhhh!!!!!!  I know I'll get through it, but the thought of studying for yet another test this summer makes me want to cry - actually it already did make me cry. 

- That said, I've had a lot of talks with my current boss about how I can adapt to this change at work.  We are both skeptical about how it will all play out, but I am trying to have faith in the leaders of my organization and am trying to trust that if things go horribly, they will make changes. The head of our group is coming to visit on Wednesday so hopefully there will be more clarity surrounding roles and responsibilities.

- I studied over 25 hours last week.  That's a record for me.  I ended my week by taking my first full-length practice test.  It went better than I thought it would.  The CFA institute doesn't tell you what you need to pass (it's sort of graded on a curve, and around 40% pass), but allegedly if you score over 70%, you will pass.  I scored over 70% on this practice exam.  I am PRAYING it's indicative of how I will do on the exam.  And my scores should continue to improve as I take more exams (my goal is to take 6).

How was your weekend? 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little Moments - v2

Oh this week.  My CFA stress level is at an all time high and I am preparing to co- present at a conference in Denver (fly out today).  So, of course, this is the week the reorg gets announced at work.  I won't say much as one never knows who might read your blog.  The good news is that I will continue to report to someone in Minneapolis (so no move, thank God).  Besides that, I can't say anymore, except that I'm not pleased with the changes.  I am actually trying not to think too much about it right now because I can't handle more stress right now. 

But the little moments carry on.  It's a good thing I started this challenge because right now, I need a reminder to look for the good things in life.

2 - A 4 mile run in beautiful weather along the mighty Mississippi.

3 - Getting my weekly vanilla latte and saving 10 cents by getting the trivia of the day question right.  It's more of a pride thing than a money saving thing - but hey, every cent counts. 

4 - Enjoying wine on my patio with my dear aunt and uncle (whom I refer to as my St. Paul parents) followed by dinner at a Thai restaurant.  I had a tough day studying and seeing them really helped lift my spirits.

5 - Walking into my parents' lake home and hearing my younger nephew excitedly exclaim, "Lisa's here!".  And then he ran over and gave me a hug.  Best.  Feeling.  Ever.

6 - Catching up with a cousin that I hadn't seen in far too many months.

7 - Eating a perfectly ripe avocado - which only cost $1!  Yum!

8 - Walking into a clean condo.  My cleaning service comes every other Tuesday.  Right now, it's worth the money spent (which I feel is pretty minimal).

Have a great rest of the week, everyone! I fly out today for Denver and come back Friday.  I'm still packing 20+ hours of studying into the week, too, so to say I am busy is an understatement.

What were your little moments of the past week?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekend Recap

I'm a little bit late on this, but better late than never, right?  I had a great, but busy weekend!  Here's a brief bullet-point style recap, and a couple of pictures!

- Seeing my family was great.  I had a rough day of studying on Friday.  I woke up on Saturday feeling pretty down and stressed about studying.  But then I got to my parents' cabin, those feelings went away as i focused on talking with my parents and hanging out with my nephews.  It's the last time I'll see family until after the CFA exam, so I soaked up this time with my family.

- I am really glad I got to attend my nephew's First Holy Communion.  I am his Godmother, so it was important for me to be there.  It seems like it wasn't long ago that he was getting baptized!  Now he's almost 8!

- I spent a lot of time in the car over the course of 2 days, so I used that time to catch up with 4 different friends.  It's really hard for me to fit phone conversations into my schedule each week, so it was nice to get caught up with friends and hear their voices!

I'll close with a couple of pictures I snapped with my iPhone!

Andrew and Matthew at my parents' lake home.  I love how they pack costumes with them when they go away for the weekend.

My nephew James - he looks so grown up in his little suit!

Baby Charlie is getting so big.  He turns 1 this month!!  I LOVE his curly red hair!!

How was your weekend?

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Believe...

First off, thank you for all the kind, sweet, encouraging comments out there.  I am so thankful that I have a group of awesome readings that are full of insight and encouragment!

I hope you all had a good week!  I have my nephew/Godson's First Communion on Sunday so am excited to see family this weekend.  Since I won't have a chance to study on Sunday, I took today off from work to make up for that.  I'll put 8 hours in, so it doesn't really feel like a 'day off', but it is what it is.  It pains me to use vacation time to study,  but I guess sometimes as an adult you have to use vacation time for things besides, well, vacations.

After the heavier post yesterday, I thought I'd close the week with something lighter.  Here is a brief list of things I believe...

I believe
- my weight and pants size are the least interesting things about me.
- a meal isn't really complete without a salad.
- vacation time is meant to be used - and I use every last bit of mine!
- that unless your size is expressed in terms of months, you shouldn't wear a romper.
- in all things in moderation.  I don't eat gluten and avoid dairy most days, but besides that there really are not any foods that I won't let myself have.
- there are some things you should vent about to a friend, sister, or parent - not on facebook.
- you can do anything that you set your mind to.
- airplanes should be no-talking zones.  Well, unless I get seated next to a handsome guy (which never happens).  Then maybe I would talk! 
- the summer Olympics is the best sporting event (or series of sporting events) ever!!

Your turn, what do you believe in?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The State of My Single Union

As I mentioned in my recap post earlier this week, I read the book “Single State of the Union” last month.  It’s a collection of essays written by single women - they focus on various aspects of their life:  careers, child rearing, living alone, traveling, etc.  It was nice to read the thoughts/reflections of women whose lives more closely mirror mine.  Living in the Midwest where people tend to marry in their 20s (like my siblings and all of my college friends have) I don't have a lot of people in my life who have similar lifestyles or have been in my shoes.  I am not complaining, it is just a fact of life that most of the people that surround me have found their life partners - and I am so happy that they have!

When reading that book, I couldn’t help but think what I would say in an essay about my single life.  Right now, I can honestly say I am really happy with my life as it is.  I have a wonderful family, a great group of friends, a rewarding career, and a home that I adore.  I’ve pursued/am pursuing difficult endeavors, such as getting my MBA and working towards obtaining the CFA designation.  I’ve discovered the hobby of running, ran marathons and half marathons, and have met wonderful friends as a result.  I’ve had great adventures – trips to Paris, trips to British Columbia to meet up with other runners, trips to other cities to visit friends.

My goal in my late 20s was to get to a point where I was happy with the state of my life and didn’t feel like it was missing anything – I spent so much of my 20s waiting to meet someone so I could feel that sense of ‘completeness’.   Well, I’ve left that mindset behind, and I no longer yearn for someone to complete me – instead I hope to meet someone who will compliment my personality.  But that’s a topic for a whole other post.

So bottom line – yes I am happy on my own, and I could continue to live this life I am living and be happy.  But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be disappointed if I never get married – because I would.  I’d like to share my life with someone and have the opportunity to have children, but if it doesn’t happen for me, I know I'll be ok.  Actually, I'll be more than ok - I'll still be happy.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I was built for solitude.  Most of my interests are solitary pursuits (running, reading, knitting).  I feel comfortable living alone, traveling alone, eating alone, running alone. But there are still moments when I yearn for companionship - someone who will seek out great adventures and share in the inevitable burdens of life.  But at the same time, the thought of meeting someone almost exhausts me – and scares me.  I feel like I keep dating the same person, over and over again.  He has a different name and a different story, but the ending seems to be on repeat.  And while I try to hold onto hope that I might experience a different ending some day, after 16+ years of dating, it gets increasingly harder to believe that. And I begin to wonder if maybe I'm meant to be alone.

Of course, all of this pondering feels like a rhetorical question right now as my life is so not conducive to dating right now...  But it will be soon and I wonder if my attitude towards dating will shift or if this ambivalence towards dating will stick around.

So this is the state of my single union.  Happy. And trying really hard to remain hopeful.  I know that regardless of whether I ever meet someone, my life will be full of great adventures – and it will be full of love.

I'll close with the chorus of John Mayer's song, "Heart of Life", which perfectly sums up how I feel.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Little Moments - v. 1

And just like that, it’s May! Wow, where did the first 4 months of the year go? Well, I know where they went – they were spent studying, working, and running.

The saying goes that the days are long but the years are short – and that is so true. My days feel long, but 2012 is flying by. Through these months of studying, at times I’ve been guilty of sort of ‘wishing’ away these first 5 months of the year - which is pretty silly. I mean, when you think about it, life is pretty short.

Lately I feel like I am buzzing on a different frequency than usual. I just rush from one thing to the next.  I flip through the pages of my planner, obsessing over my study schedule, questioning whether it's enough. While I’ve maintained a more positive attitude about studying, I sort of gloss over the good things that happen to me each day.

I’ve got 94 hours of studying ahead of me in the month of May, if I follow through with my study plan (which I know I will). I don’t want May to get lost in the shuffle of the various commitments in my life. So in an effort to counteract my tendency to sort of rush through each day, I’ve decided to really focus on identifying one thing each day that makes me happy or makes me smile. I figure that by focusing on the little moments of life, this big thing I am working towards won’t swallow me whole.

To keep me on track, I will post a weekly recap of the little moments each Wednesday during the month of May. And hopefully this little project will help me appreciate the here and now instead of fixating on June 3rd when this studying is all behind me!

Only one day has passed, so this will be a short first recap!

Day 1 - Giggling over the fact that I had misread a CFA concept months ago. I thought there was a hostile takeover defense called "the white squirrel". When taking an assessment last night, I realized it was actually "the white squire." Which makes more sense as a competing defense is the "white knight defense". I got a good laugh out of it. And realize this prob only funny to me.

Are there any little moments from yesterday that stand out for you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of April



This Isn't Everything You Are by Snow Patrol - I love when a group has such a distinct sound, you can hear a song on the radio and you instantly know it's by a certain band.  That's what happened with this song when I heard it on the radio a couple of weeks ago.  It's a heavier song, but I really like the phase "This Isn't Everything You Are" as I think it's our natural tendency to sort of link our identity or worth with something like a relationship, career, or something big you are working towards (like for me, the CFA).  So it's good to remember:  This Isn't Everything You Are.


Another big reading month.  77 hours of studying, 5 books finished.  

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain - I checked this out after Kelly raved about it - and it was a great book.  It's about 2 friends who are dealing with the aftermath of their friend's suicide, and are trying to figure out what brought her to take her life.  It's obviously a heavy subject, but it's an intriguing, fast read.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah - This was the April book for our blogger book club.  It was pretty good.  I am not a big fan of Kristin Hannah's book, but I did like this one.  The main characters kind of annoyed me at certain points, though.  I think it's art to have flawed characters that don't annoy the reader, honestly.

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - I loved The Book Thief so decided to check out the other book by this author.  I think I would have liked it more had I not read The Book Thief first, as the bar was pretty high.  It was a good read with a good message, though.

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks - I haven't read a Nicholas Sparks book in years, but requested this from the library after a friend told me it was a good read.  As usual, it was a fast, easy, sort of mindless read, which is what I needed...

Single State of the Union - This book is a collection of essays written by single women on topics such as  career advancement, child rearing, living alone, and traveling.  I can't say I agreed with the view of all the authors of the various essays, but there were quite a few where I found myself nodding my head in agreement. 


This was another strong running month for me.  I finished off with 87 miles.  I increased my long runs up to 10 miles.  My goal is to be at 14 by the time the CFA is behind me, and I know I'll be ready for that kind of distance increase.  I feel good about the base I'll have going into marathon training.

I've also continued to bike - usually 1-2 x's a week on the stationary bike in my condo gym.  And the nice ride bikes are back out, so I bike to/from work, the grocery store, church, birthday parties, you name it!


Oh look, another bathroom shot.  I really need to get a full length mirror...  Anywho, this is my favorite outfit of April.  The cardigan is new (another item I bought with my 50% off coupon at BR).  I love that color of pink, and it looks especially good with navy.  I think navy is the new black.