Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Triathlon Training: Taking a Swimming Class

Happy Tuesday!  A couple of weeks ago I talked about my triathlon training plan so today I thought I'd delve into a class I took to prepare for the swimming portion of the triathlon, which will certainly be my weakest sport of the three.

I took years of swimming lessons as a child and grew up going to the lake so I am very comfortable in the water.  However, all of my swimming has been recreational, so I decided to take a class to work on my endurance and swimming technique.  I took a triathlon swimming class at my local YWCA which taught us the Total Immersion approach to swimming.  I'm still new to it so I can't really succinctly explain what it means, but my take away is that it helps improves your efficiency and form.

Here are some of the main takeaways I got from this class:

1.  I learned an efficient stroke technique for the front crawl.  Since I took many swim classes as a child, I knew how to do the front crawl, but I can't say I was efficient at it.  At this class the instructor gave us a lot of feedback on our stroke and helped us improve our technique.  The class was extremely technique centric so the first 3 out of 6 classes were not exactly a "good workout" as we'd focus on one aspect of the stroke for 25 meters, get feedback, focus on another aspect of the stroke for 25 meters, get feedback, etc.  She also took videos of us individually at two different classes so we could see what our stroke looked like.

2.  More strokes doesn't necessarily = sustainable speed.  In my mind I thought that I would get further by taking more strokes, but that is not really the case (at least for me - I am sure that it's different for strong/seasoned swimmers).  By taking the class I learned that power/speed comes from using your entire body, especially your core.  My goal is to get through the swim and have enough energy for the bike and run so it was helpful to learn that I could slow down my stroke, improve my form, and still finish in a shorter amount of time than I would have if I had just increased my strokes/minute.

3.  The tempo trainer is my friend.  For those unfamiliar with a tempo trainer, this is what it is:

The tempo trainer is basically a metronome that you can put in your swim cap.  I HATED practicing piano with a metronome when I was a kid but it turns out that I love swimming with one. It makes me feel so much more calm and in control and it helps me control my breathing as I breath on the beeps.  Plus it keeps me from rushing my stroke speed.  You are allowed to use these on race day.

I'm so glad that I took this class as I feel much more prepared for the swim portion of the triathlon.  And if nothing else, it motivated me to get into the water once a week in the early portion of triathlon training and since swimming is the least convenient of the three sports BY FAR, it helped to have that motivation!

Did you take swim classes as a child?  Are you a strong swimmer? 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was one of those perfect summer weekends that made me so thankful to live where I live as the weather was just picture perfect.  Phil was gone for the weekend for a golf trip, so I was on my own.  I definitely missed him but I was able to keep plenty busy and had a good mix of active time, social time, and down time.  Here's how I filled my weekend.

On Friday night I went to happy hour with a couple of coworkers that I used to work with.  We hadn't all been together in over a year so it was great to get together and catch up.  That night I was in bed by 9 pm reading.  

On Saturday morning I was up bright and early for a run with my club.  It was the first official long training run for Twin Cities and my 10 mile run went great.  I ran with someone new to the club so it was fun to get to know someone on the run.  It was a beautiful morning and when we finished the run I said, "Gosh I love Minnesota."  That sense of thankfulness for being back in a place I love has not worn off and maybe (hopefully) it never will.  

Our 10 mile route took us through my neighborhood which is one of the prettiest areas of Minneapolis in my biased opinion.
On Saturday afternoon I had some errands to run.  I wore the shirt from the Book Riot Store that Amber got me for my birthday in February.   It was the perfect birthday present for a book-lover like me!

I swung by Phil's before running errands to check on Oscar.  I could tell he was pretty lonely after spending his first night alone, so I played with him lots.  It's tough to get him to stay in one spot long enough to take a non-blurry photo but I captured a couple to send to Phil.

After running several errands, I took advantage of the beautiful day and read on my balcony while snacking on watermelon.

A cool drink + watermelon + a good book + a view = perfection
I went to church that evening and then my friend Amanda picked me up and we headed to the musical Once.  I wore a dress that I hadn't worn since our trip to Jamaica!

I still heart stripes!
Once was amazing!  If you have the chance to see it, I highly recommend it.  The cast is incredibly talented and the show was about 2.5 hours long, including the intermission, which is the perfect length of a show in my opinion (I think some broadway shows get a bit long).

On Sunday morning I woke up early without an alarm and enjoyed breakfast on my patio.

Then I was off to my first open water swim!  The lake I swam at is 6 miles away so I biked over there so that it would sort of be a brick workout.  I got to try out my new triathlon outfit that I had purchased the day before.

The open water swim went pretty well, aside from a little snafu with leaking goggles that resulted in me *almost* losing one of my contacts... I guess it's time for me to buy some new ones.  I swam about 0.75 miles and was definitely glad to be done at the end!

Sunday afternoon and evening were very low key.  I did a lot of reading on my balcony.  I can't remember the last time I sat and read for several hours so that was nice and very needed.  In the evening I tried a new recipe that I had printed out a long time ago. 

I am glad I liked it as it yielded quite a bit - although I am sure Phil would not turn down some leftovers.  I was going to try to reduce/eliminate my dairy intake this month but the last two recipes I've made were cheesy ones so that's been a bit of  #fail.  Maybe next month I'll do better!

How was your weekend?  Was the weather beautiful where you are?

Friday, June 26, 2015


Oh Friday, I'm so happy to see you!  Here's a little TGIF recap of my week.

The high of my week was lots of things, such as getting to know/playing with Phil's cat, going to an Ingrid Michaelson concert with Amber and a friend from work, and seeing a bunch of former coworkers, including my former boss, at an event hosted by my previous employer (I left on good terms so it was great to see everyone). 

The low of my week was feeling extremely frustrated and impatient about something related to work.

A book I am reading is In the Shadow of the Banyan. It's a book my mom recommended to me that is set in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.  I'm counting it toward the "books set in Asia" category of the Read Harder Challenge.

A recipe I made was One-Pan Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta.  It called for marinara so I used this easy recipe to make the marinara using basil and oregano from my herb garden!  I know it looks like it has a lot of cheese but that's actually just four thin slices of provolone.  It was delicious and so easy to make!  Phil does the dishes when I cook so he was very happy that there was only one pan to wash. :)

For my workouts, I completed fewer workouts than I'd like due to lots of evening commitments that kept me up too late to get up before work to workout... I ran on Monday and Thursday, and also went to a swim class on Thursday.  Today will be a rest day, tomorrow I will do my long run with my club, and on Sunday I'm planning to bike to a local lake to do my first open water swim!

The best money I spent was on dinner at a Greek place that we went to before the concert.  The food was so good and inexpensive!

My plans this weekend include going to a happy hour tonight and going to Once the musical tomorrow night (which I'm so excited about!!!).  Phil has a guy's golf weekend so I'll also be cat sitting!  The past week has been a busy one so I am really glad that I don't have much planned for the weekend!

What was the high of your week?  What was the best money you spent?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From Terrace To Table

After several years of high rise condo living and trial and error, I've learned what grows well on my balcony and what doesn't.  I've tried and failed to grow tomatoes, green peppers, and flowers, but have figured out that I'm really good at growing herbs!

Last year I just grew basil as I wanted to see how herbs would do on my patio, which gets limited sun exposure.  Since it grew so well last year, this year I decided to expand my herb garden and I planted basil, oregano, cilantro, flat-leaf Italian parsley, and rosemary.  I "cheated" a bit and bought the herbs in plant-form versus growing them from seeds as I got a bit of a late start due to my move in May.  Everything has been thriving and I got to harvest my first herbs in early June!

Parsley and basil

Rosemary, a bit more basil, and oregano

I would love to grow my own vegetables as I grew up eating home-grown veggies but you just have to know your strengths, and patio vegetable gardening is not mine.  But it's still really fulfilling to make meals that utilize herbs I have grown myself!  I've already made a couple of things so I thought I'd share some photos as well as links to the recipe.  As Phil said, these meals are "Terrace to Table!"

First up, I used my oregano to make Greek Feta-Zucchini Turkey Burgers.  These tasted great but I'll be the first to admit that they did not grill well.  I think I should have added more GF bread crumbs as they were a bit too moist and did not hold together well  Or maybe I should have pre-baked them?  Further experimentation is needed.  They tasted great but they are obviously not very "presentable."  But in an attempt to "keep it real," I'm still going to share the photo because it's the taste, not the look, that counts...  right?  I served the burgers "naked" because the 2 grocery stores I went to did not have GF burger buns.  Such is the life of a gluten free girl...  The burgers went great with the Greek salad I served them with!

The next night, I used a whole lot of basil to make some lentil meatballs and marinara sauce.  I forgot to take a photo of the lentil meatballs before adding them to the sauce so you'll just have to take my word that they are in fact in there!  I made this dish last year as a vegetarian option at a party I hosted so decided to give them a whirl again.  Last time I made them, people ate them on buns as a sandwich filler but this time around we had them on top of GF spaghetti. 

Different night, same salad.  We love salad!

Not pictured is the cilantro that I used to make a southwestern black bean salad - which we actually ate as a dip with tortilla chips.  I'm currently drying the remaining oregano and the rosemary for future use and I'm still trying to figure out a use for the Italian parsley...

It's going to be a fun summer of cooking as I intend to find recipes that will utilize my herbs, which are growing like weeds thanks to the rain and warm weather we've had lately!

Do you have a garden?  Have you ever grown herbs?  What is your favorite fresh herb to use when cooking?  Mine is a tie between basil and cilantro.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet Oscar!

On Friday, Phil got to bring home his new kitten!  Meet Oscar the cat!

He's a fluffy, orange cat that we are already so in love with.  He came from a litter of 7.  Phil knew he wanted a boy, and orange cats are typically boys (which is something I learned - I think it's so interesting that gender and fur color are linked).  There were 3 unclaimed orange cats, so on Friday afternoon we drove down to a farm in southeastern Minnesota where they were born to pick out our kitten.

The 3 orange kittens were all so cute, but we were drawn to the fluffiest of the 3.

The other 2 orange cats were going to homes in Minneapolis, so we took all three back with us.  We timed our departure perfectly as the kittens started to nap when we were leaving.

Oscar (the one sleeping) with his brothers
We felt a little guilty separating Oscar from his brothers but I know he's going to be happy at Phil's house.

On Friday morning, Phil's co-workers threw him a "cat shower" so there were lots of goodies waiting at home for Oscar.  Phil's love for cats is something that is very well-known so I am not too surprised that his co-workers got him some gifts.  Plus he works at a very close-knit company (I'm envious of his work environment).

Oscar lived outside at the farm but so far he's acclimating well to being an indoor cat.  He's a little tentative/shy but I am sure he'll warm up to us as he gets more used to his environment.  Phil introduced him to his first toy and he loved it.

I'm so excited that Phil has a cat of his own now!

Do you have any pets?  We had a cat when I was in high school but he was an outdoor cat so this will be my first experience with an indoor pet!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Threads

As I've mentioned before, shopping is not something I enjoy at all.  I enjoy having new things and feeling well put together but I do not enjoy the process of shopping.  Luckily in May I was able to expand my wardrobe a bit by utilizing two different services:  Keaton Row and Cabi.  I'll explain how they both work below and show you what I ended up purchasing!


A friend of mine at work read an article about Keaton Row and told me about it as she knows how much I dislike shopping.  I was intrigued by the concept so decided to give it a try.  The way it works is that you fill out a profile online about your likes/dislikes/etc and then you are paired with a stylist. The stylist then puts an online "look book" together for you, free of charge.  If you like the items, you click on the hyperlink and buy the item. There is no cost to me for this service because the retailers pay the stylist commission if you purchase an item through the look book.  When I requested my look book, I asked for dresses that would be appropriate for weddings and/or work, as well some other summery work outfits.  I ended up buying two dresses, both of which I am really happy with!

The first dress is the dress I wore to a wedding I went to with Phil.  I really loved how the dress fit.  I do wish it had pockets, though!

When I shared this photo last week, Suki asked to see what the rest of the dress looked like, so here is a picture from Bloomingdale's website.  The dress was on sale when I bought it so the price was very reasonable!

The second dress is a dress that I will be able to wear to work (excuse the horrible photo quality.  I suck at selfies!). 

It's very comfortable and is something I can probably dress up with jewelry for a wedding or special event.  It has a 'wrap' neckline but there is a button in that area that keeps it from 'unwrapping' if that makes any sense?   This dress also came from Bloomingdale's and was on sale when I purchased it.

Overall thoughts:  I consider this a more flexible, no-upfront-cost alternative to Stitch Fix.  I am an extremely picky person so I liked being able to look through the look book and purchase what I liked.  I also like that you are assigned one stylist and can have back and forth dialogue with her about what you liked/disliked.  I will probably request another look book when we move into the fall season. 


Next up, I attended a Cabi paty that a coworker hosted in her home.   Cabi is an online clothing company with consultants that host in-home parties so you can see the clothes in person.  Each season, Cabi releases a collection and the pieces tend to coordinate well with each other and they also tend to coordinate with past collections.  I ended up buying 4 pieces at this party that are a bit more on the casual side but still mostly work appropriate.

First off, I purchased some navy, fitted pants and an asymmetrical striped top (still obsessed with stripes).  The top is something I can wear on Friday at work and is something I know I will also wear on the weekend, and the pants are something I will likely wear every week because they go with a lot of tops in my closet! 

The other two items I purchased were a fitted lace t-shirt and pink jeans.  The fitted lace t-shirt is something I can wear under a cardigan or blazer at work, or I can wear it on it's own outside of work.  The pink jeans were just too fun to pass up (still obsessed with colored pants!).  I could probably get away with wearing the pink jeans on a Friday at work but I'll probably end up wearing them more on the weekend.

Overall thoughts: I liked the ease of the shopping experience as the host had wracks with all of the different looks for the season and at the beginning of the show, the consultant explained how the different pieces coordinated with one another.  The 4 pieces I purchased could probably all go together which is something I really liked about the Cabi line.  The clothing is certainly not inexpensive but I feel like these are pieces I'll wear many times so the cost per piece was justifiable. I also like that I can wear all of these pieces outside of the office in more casual settings.

Between moving and adding 6 pieces of clothing to my wardrobe, my wallet needs a little break but I am planning to request another look book in August so I can add some fall pieces to my wardrobe!

What are your thoughts on shopping?  Have you tried any personal styling services?  I used to do Stitch Fix but was disappointed as my last couple of boxes were disappointing and I felt the stylists disregarded my feedback. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Hiking in Colorado

I fell in love with Colorado after spending a summer and two winter breaks in Steamboat Springs during college.  Given the opportunity, I will gush about Colorado, and one of the people I have gushed to is Kyria.  So last winter when she asked if I'd have any interest in meeting up in Colorado for a weekend of hiking, I couldn't say yes fast enough.

Flash forward to the last weekend of May when we flew into Denver for a quick 48 hour hiking trip.  Now both Kyria and I are HUGE planners but when it came to this trip, we did very little planning.  We booked a hotel room for Friday night, made plans to stay with a friend of Kyria's on Saturday night, and booked a rental car but that was kind of the extent of our planning.  We had a general idea of where we wanted to hike and how far we wanted to hike, and Kyria had gotten a suggestion on the area where we should hike from a friend, but this was one of those trips where we really just figured it out as we went.  But the benefit of traveling with someone that has similar interests is that you can wing it and still have an amazing time.

Here is how we filled our time in Colorado!  I'll let the pictures mostly do the talking!

We spent Friday night in Winter Park, which was about a 90 minute drive from Denver.  It was dark out when we were driving but we saw snow as we climbed higher and higher in elevation!  We were wondering if we'd see snow on our hikes, so seeing snow on the drive sort of answered that question.

On Saturday morning, we were up early and on the road before 7 as we wanted to get a solid day of hiking in.  We drove just over an hour to the Grand Lake area where we accessed a trail head that got us into Rocky Mountain National Park.  We intended to do a 13 mile out and back but encountered snow about 4 miles up, so had to turn back.  Luckily there were several trail heads nearby so we just drove to another trail head and instead of doing one 13 mile hike, we did 2 hikes totaling 16 miles.  Here are some photos from our first day!

We randomly have the same camel back!  It's kind of crazy that we picked the same one without talking to each other!

After finishing those two hikes, we drove to Boulder to spend the night with Kyria's friend.  On Saturday night we had a yummy Italian meal (the restaurant had GF pasta!  Yea!) and then headed to bed early as we planned to hit the road early so we could fit another longer hike in before heading to the airport for our flights back home.

On Sunday morning we drove to the Estes Park area of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Once again we encountered snow on the trail we planned to do so we turned back earlier than planned and added on some miles by checking out another trail.  Here are some pictures from Sunday's hikes!

We saw some wild life on the way to the trail head. We weren't sure exactly what these were, though.  Moose?  Elk?

After hiking 10 miles, we decided to call it a day so that we would have time to stop for a bigger meal on the way to the airport.  I was pretty hungry at this point so the Thai food we got tasted especially good!  We got back to the airport around 3 pm, dropped off our rental car, said good bye and headed to our respective gates (in different terminals).

Looking back, I'm pretty impressed that we fit 26 miles of hiking into a 48 hour trip!  We definitely maximized our time in Colorado!  It was a short trip but so much fun.  I only get to see Kyria about once a year since we live so far apart (I'm in Minneapolis, she lives in Oakland, CA) but I'm thankful for the trips we've been able to take.  Since we don't see each other often and are not phone talkers, we use these trips to really catch up on each others' lives which means we pretty much talked non-stop during the hours we were awake!  We're definitely kindred spirits and great travel partners!

This trip was so great - it makes me want to go back for a longer trip with Phil.  We both love to hike so I know he'd love Colorado, plus it would be cool to spend a night or two in Steamboat.  So many trips to take, so little time/money...

Have you ever been to Colorado?  I love Colorado but I prefer to visit the state in the late spring/summer as I much prefer hiking to skiing because skiing terrifies me and it's expensive!  Hiking is cheap and fun!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tri Training: My Training Plan

Last winter, my good friend Courtney encouraged me to consider signing up for the YWCA Women's Triathlon.  She has done this race three times and had a great experience so she assured me that I would have fun.  I've always been in the "I don't need to try a tri" camp as it's always seemed a bit overwhelming to combine three sports into one race.  Plus in the past I did not have a bike so I always used that as my excuse to not do a triathlon....  but now I do have a bike and I can do all three sports (albeit not strongly) so I decided to just go for it and sign up!  I think it's going to be a great first tri for me as it's a local race, it's a women only race and it's a sprint tri which means I will swim 500 yards, bikes 15.5 miles, and run a 5k.  

Here are my thoughts so far on triathlon training!  (warning, the post got a bit long...)

Training plan:  The race provides a training plan but when I looked at it, it honestly overwhelmed me.  Through my many years of racing, I've learned that training plans are helpful but that I need to make them my own. Plus, triathlon training is not my sole focus for the year - I've also got a marathon to train for!  So I have totally modified the training plan and came up with something that works for me.  Is it an optimal training plan for a triathlon?  Absolutely not.  Will I be ready come race day?  I hope so.  I have absolutely no goal for this race besides finishing it and having fun so I feel comfortable utilizing a home-made less-intense training plan.  Maybe I'll regret that on race day but I don't think the anxiety of trying to follow the a scripted training plan + marathon training is worth it.  My overall plan is to run 3 times a week, bike twice, swim once, and do 2 strength training sessions.  Here are some more specific details about my training, broken out by sport.

Swimming:  Without a doubt, this is my weakest of the three sports.  I took years of swimming lessons as a child and grew up going to the lake so I definitely have a lot of experience swimming, but I am not exactly fast nor do I have a lot of endurance as most of my swimming has been recreational.  To gain strength in swimming, I decided to take a triathlon swim class through the YWCA.  I think that class warrants another post so I'll talk about that another time but the short story is that it's been very helpful.  Since swimming is my weakest sport I should probably be devoting more time to it, but I don't have a gym membership so I don't have access to a lap pool and it's not super convenient to get to a lake (and they are too cold for this wimp to swim in at this point of the year)... so right now I'm just swimming once a week when I go to swim class.  After class concludes at the end of June, my goal will be to go to a local lake to swim once a week.

Biking:  Luckily I live in an area that is really conducive to biking as I can walk out my front door and access many many miles of trails.  So getting in enough miles on the bike shouldn't be a problem.  My goal is to bike twice a week with one of those bike rides being a long one.

Running:  This is obviously going to be my strongest of the three sports.  I'm running way more miles a week than the plan calls for since I'm training for a marathon.  I'll be running 3 days a week with my run club and I don't plan on doing much more running besides that.

Bricks:  I've been told that brick workouts, which is a workout that incorporates two sports, are essential.  I haven't really started doing any of these, but my goal is to start doing them once I start doing open water swims next month as I plan on biking to the lake where the tri will be held, which is 6 miles away, swimming, and then biking home.  I also plan on biking to run club, which is 4 miles away, 1-2 times a week, weather permitting. I want to try to do some more intense brick type of workouts but I'm struggling to figure out the right day of the week to do that...  but I'll figure it out.

Strength Training:  The training plan doesn't call for any strength training but I want to try to fit in 2 strength training sessions a week as I know that strength training has made a huge difference in my running pace and overall look and feel so I want to find ways to fit that in.

Overall thoughts:  Even though I've crafted a plan of my own that is less overwhelming than the plan provided by the race organizers, triathlon training is still a little bit overwhelming. If I wasn't training for a marathon this summer, it might be less overwhelming as I wouldn't have to get so many running miles in...  The hardest part for me is making time for a personal life on top of training.  Phil is very understanding and respects the fact that I am goal orientated but he does kind of get the short end of the stick at times when I'm busy training for races like this... But I'm hoping we can do some of the runs together and I think he'll be up for coming swimming with me when the weather warms up so hopefully I can combine tri training with Phil time at least once a week.

All that said, I think that triathlon training will be good for me as it will force me to cross train, which my body will appreciate.  I know I've got the cardiovascular endurance to complete a triathlon and I'm trying to remind myself of that when I get overwhelmed or concerned about how race day is going to go.  I really want to have fun out there and have a great first race experience!

If you got through this whole post, you deserve a medal!  Have you ever done a triathlon?  If not, would you consider doing one?  For those who have done a triathlon, any tips/suggestions for me? 

Friday, June 12, 2015


I'm closing out the week with a TGIF post!  This was a bit of a hectic week as I traveled Sunday through Tuesday for a work conference but all in all it was a great week!  And I have today off!

The high of my week was last night as I got dinner before swim class with my friend Courtney, then felt really strong during swim class and capped off the night by getting to see Phil after class. 

The low of my week was *crickets* Can't really think of any lows that happened this week, which is of course a good thing!

A book I am reading is Citizens of London for my local book club.  It's a non-fiction book about the British-American alliance during WWII.  It's pretty fact heavy so I'm learning a lot but progressing through it VERY slowly.

A new recipe I made was this gluten free banana pancake.  If you like bananas, I highly recommend this recipe!  I didn't have ground flaxseed so skipped that ingredient and it was still great.  Also, it's a great way to use up bananas that are too brown to eat.  If you make it, make sure you use a small omelette pan - I used a bigger pan so my pancake turned out thin and almost crepe-like; I think it would have been a little better if it was smaller and thicker.  Nonetheless, it was a delicious, healthy and easy week night dinner.


For my workouts, I completed runs on Monday and Tuesday, an arm/chest strength training workout on Wednesday, and swim class last night.  Tomorrow I am planning to run 10 miles tomorrow and then I'll do a longer bike ride on Sunday. 

The best money I spent was on lunch with a friend/former coworker yesterday.  The last time I saw this friend she was in the midst of chemo treatments as she had breast cancer - but now she is cancer free!  It was great to catch up with her and hear how well she is doing now! 

My plans this weekend include grilling tonight and then going to Phil's friend's monthly cocktail hour, running with my club Saturday morning, staying in and making dinner together on Saturday night, and having an aunt date with my nephews on Sunday.  I'm hoping it's warm on Sunday so we can go to a pool or water park, but I've got a kid-friendly museum in mind if the weather doesn't cooperate.  I also have 3 video chats and 2 phone calls planned over the course of the weekend with far away friends that I haven't talked to in months!

What was the high of your week?  Have you made any new recipes lately?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Music, Books, Miles and Looks of May

Well this is certainly belated, but better late than never I suppose!


Blood Muscle Skin & Bone by Brandi Carlile - I couldn't find a good live performance of this, so the audio from her album will have to do.  This is my new favorite song from her latest album.  I'm so excited to see her live in August!


I read 6 books in the month of May which seems to be about the "average" for me these days.  I read some heavier books in May so am hoping to check out some lighter, summery reads in June!  My favorite was The Nightingale - if you like historical fiction set during WWII, check it out!

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett - 3 stars
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl - 4 stars
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - 5 stars
A Fifty-Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot - 3 stars
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller - 3 stars
The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth - 3 stars


My running mileage was lower in May as I ran 74 miles but that was intentional as I wanted to give my body a bit of a break before marathon training ramps up in June/July.  However, in addition to running 74 miles, I biked 48 and hiked 26!  And I completed a 31 day plank challenge and started going to a triathlon swim class once a week.  So I am happy with all the different ways I stayed active this month!


May was sort of a lackluster month for outfits.  It was a really rainy and sometimes cold month so I dressed for warmth much of the month.  My favorite outfit of the month was the dress I wore to the wedding we attended.  It's a dress I bought through a styling service I tried out last month (more on that in a future post).  The dress came from Bloomingdale's and was on sale!  Score!  I think I'll get a lot of use out of it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What I've Been Up to While I've Been Away

Hi!  Long time, no posts...  In early May I decided to take a mini break from blogging which stretched into nearly a one month break.  It was ultimately what I needed to do because I got pretty overwhelmed in May between moving and work travel and a busy social calendar.  June isn't exactly shaping up to be the quietest month but with the move behind me, I've been able to handle my busy schedule a bit better!  Oh - and in case you didn't notice, I also used this little blogging sabbatical to have my blog revamped a bit!  Jess of Nelson Lane Photography designed my header and gave my blog a fresh look and feel!  I hadn't really made any significant changes to the design since I started this blog in 2008 so it was high time to make some changes!  I'm so happy with how it turned out, so thanks Jess!  If you are reading this through a reader ap, click over and check it out!

Here's a little taste of what I've been up to while I have been away! Since I last blogged I...

Packed up all of my belongings and moved them into a new unit 5 floors down.  I am so over moving but I have to say, I've gotten kind of good at it.

Settled into my new place where my view is slightly different but still oh so beautiful.  I'll share pictures of the interior after all my photos have been hung on the wall later this month.

Found out that Phil is finally going to get a kitty of his own!  A friend's in-law's cat had kittens so one of these (most likely one of the orange colored ones) will become ours at the end of June!

Hosted Amber for a night (the day after I moved into my new place!!!) and went to her Stella and Dot party where I bought the 2 bracelets on the left plus a necklace and won the bracelet on the right.

Traveled to Virginia Beach for a conference where I gave a presentation that I was so nervous about (it was supposed to be a 75 minute presentation, I spoke for 60 minutes.  No one complained).  Our hotel was on the ocean so I fit in a mind-clearing run on the boardwalk along the beach in the morning which was excellent (albeit hot and humid!).  My parents lived in Norfolk, VA for 4 years when my dad was in the Navy so it was really neat to (briefly) see the area of the country where they lived. 

 Went to a beautiful wedding with this handsome guy!

Visited a state park with that same handsome guy on Memorial Day.

Met up with Kyria for an awesome weekend of hiking!  That trip warrants another post but for now suffice it to say that we had the best time!  We are awesome travel partners!

Other things not pictured include celebrating my one year anniversary of moving home/starting my new job/rekindling my relationship with Phil, beginning a triathlon training plan, starting a triathlon swim class, and organizing a running club volunteer event, among other things.  When I list it all out, it's no wonder that the month of May flew by and kind of really exhausted me! But the month was full of lots of good things so I can't complain, and so far June is off to a great start, too!

Tell me - what have you been up to for the past month?