Ella met Santa yesterday. Look how shocked she was to find out he was real…
Just kidding. She was actually barking at him.
Thoughts on sending out holiday cards? Ever had an embarrassing family pic?
Ella met Santa yesterday. Look how shocked she was to find out he was real…
Just kidding. She was actually barking at him.
Thoughts on sending out holiday cards? Ever had an embarrassing family pic?
My good friend Vanessa (who’s also a marathoner, running goddess, talented nurse, and all-around amazing person!) posted this quote to her Intagram…a long time ago. A really long time ago. Like a year, which makes me super creepy for remembering it…
Regardless, it stuck with me.
Your 20s are always described as your selfish years. Selfish in this sense refers less to refusing to donate to the less fortunate and more to embracing your individuality, independence, and ability to make decisions, without allowing anything else to take control over you.
So hoarding Halloween candy from children = bad kind of selfish
Moving on from a toxic relationship = the good kind of selfish
Stealing kidney beans from a canned food drive to make your favorite chili = the bad kind of selfish
Taking an unplanned vacation to somewhere you’ve never been = the good kind of selfish.
Now that we’ve got that cleared out of the way, here are the top 4 things that 20-somethings should be selfish about…
How often do you miss sleep because you’ve over-committed yourself or can’t say no to a late-night outing? Sleep is vital, and if you’re missing sleep night after night, you’ll either get sick or, if you’re like me, turn into a raging bitch. My freshman year of college, I said YES to all plans, out of fear that I would lose friends or be forgotten about if I didn’t attend every dinner, party, and social gathering. The result? An exhausted, cold-ridden H, with a terrible report card. I realize now that it’s okay to say No every now and then and that relationships won’t be ruined just because I missed one coffee date; sleep comes first.
As they say, “Don’t make promises when you’re happy,” and the same goes for making plans when you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Just because grabbing late-night beers after your all-day event next week sounds like a good idea now, you might be better off taking a rain check and hitting the sack instead.
Mental, physical, and emotional.
Your experimental college years are behind you. Your 20s are the time for you to focus on you, and your health, physical and mental, is a big part of that. If you need to miss a Friday night at the bar to wake up for a Saturday long run, so be it. It’s all about making healthy decisions for your mind and body. This took me a long time to realize, but saying No to activities that are unhealthy for me won’t make me less of a person; they will just make me more of a me. Additionally, if there’s anyone who risks damaging your mental health and confidence, or who is trying your emotions on a regular basis, they don’t belong in your life. Don’t waste your time.
So you’ve been with your boyfriend all through college and maybe even some of high school? If you don’t think he’s the one now, you won’t think so 10 years from now. So often, I’ve watched my 20-something friends and family members fear ending a romantic relationship because they’ve “put so much work into it” or “have been together for so long” or “are afraid they won’t find anyone else.” We’re in our 20s. There’s tons of time. In fact, this is a little known fact, but B and I took a one-week break from our own relationship last July to think about what we really wanted from our maturing adult relationship. It was hard, it was “selfish,” but it was the best, most mature decision we’ve made for the future of our relationship because we realized just how much we love each other, but don’t need each other–very important at our age (and, more importantly, how much we love OURSELVES, which is something you can forget when you’ve been in a relationship for a while!).
It’s okay to take time. It’s okay to think. It’s okay to weigh your options. It’s okay to step away from we and step into me every once in a while. It’s even okay to fall out of love—better to find out now than later (and it’s also okay, and healthy, to feel hurt–real, deep hurt–when making this kind of decision…sometimes what’s easiest or right in front of you isn’t always right)! If you go on a date but just aren’t feeling it, move on. You don’t owe anyone anything (remember this!) that you don’t want to give them (because YOU are a wonderful gift to be CHERISHED), even your feelings and attention. And if anyone gives you an ultimatum or threatens you or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, forget about ‘em!
The same goes for friends. Who cares if they were your sorority sister or a dear family friend? If they don’t treat you right, or if they aren’t a healthy relationship to have in your life, it’s not worth your time.
-Spirituality and beliefs.
When it comes to your religion, spirituality, or whatever it is that is a sanctuary for you, you deserve to establish your own beliefs. If it’s something that you believe strongly in, don’t allow anyone else to jeopardize or determine your opinion. It’s not about pushing your beliefs onto anyone or judging others for their beliefs. You don’t need to understand the beliefs of others, but you must respect them. It’s about keeping your mind open and finding what you really believe in. I don’t care what your parents believe in, or your friends, or if it’s trendy at the time, or if it’s the only thing you’ve ever known—if it doesn’t speak to you, ground you, center you, find something that does.
There are more than four times that it’s okay and healthy to be selfish, like when it comes to things as major as your sexuality and as minor as your favorite hobby, but I had to stop somewhere. Can you think of any that I missed that are important to you?
What are some healthy “selfish” decisions you’ve made lately?
Been a while!
December 1: 5 miles (4 solo, 1 with Ella)
December 2: REST
December 3: 4 total (5 hill sprints, with WU and CD–1.25 with Ella)
December 4: 6 miles
December 5: 3 miles on TR (slowing increasing speed the entire time)
December 6: REST
December 7: 9 miles (8 solo, 1 with Ella), weights
December 8: 4 miles on TR, 40 minutes on bike
December 9: REST
December 10: 4.2 miles, 1×60 seconds plank
Easy for the rest of the week–Marathon on Saturday!
There are a lot of things that should be bringing me down today. Like the cold rain outside. Like the fact that I have about four loads of laundry waiting for me at home. Like my upstairs neighbor who paced around and kept me up all night last night (See also: had me convinced he was plotting my murder). Like the fact that I’m agonizingly avoiding the Dunkin Donuts box in the office kitchen (to clarify, I’m not avoiding them to be healthy—I embrace the bulge during the holidays. I’m avoiding them because I can’t justify that much sugar before noon.)
I’m not even brought down by the fact that my left knee has decided to completely betray me—et tu, Brute?—only four days before my 4th and final marathon of the year, The Kiawah Marathon (drama queen…me, not the knee, but both probably). Granted, I fell last week while cooling down from my hill sprint workout, so it’s very likely that my knee is just bruised—nothing a little Advil and ice won’t cure—and I’m just being really dramatic, per usual. I did everything “right” after Richmond to avoid injury (low mileage weeks, easy cross-training, lots of rest, etc.) and to be sure I was safely prepared for Kiawah, so I need to remember this and stay confident in my body and listen to the signals it’s giving me.
My, oh my, H, how ever do you stay so positive?
I didn’t. Did you just skip the first two paragraphs? How dare you skim through my
silly blog manuscript!
Jokes aside, I am finding things to Thumbs-Up for Thumbs-Up Tuesday!
Sautéing in olive oil is probably the easiest way to do dinner (See also: I’m lazy). On Sunday night, I threw mixed peppers, small red potatoes, and beef roast into a pan and sautéed them in herbs and spices. It was delicious.
I liked it so much I had it for dinner again on Monday.
My Christmas TV set-up.
It made watching Bonnie and Clyde a little less stressful.
Trader Joes Gingerbread.
These also made watching Bonnie and Clyde a little less stressful. I’ve also had the pumpkin bread, but last night I made the gingerbread and added chocolate chips because I love
calories sugar chocolate being happy.
My jacket from Cocobella.
I got it a few years ago from my absolute favorite boutique in Greenville, SC: Cocobella. I worked there one summer, but you wouldn’t know it because I absolutely fell in love with everything they offer and spent my paychecks almost immediately. So many cute clothes, purses, and accessories. Plus, the family who owns it is so welcoming and amazing–if you’re in the area, I highly recommend that you check it out! (I will report back on the brand later–I probably could check it, but I’m at work and don’t feel comfortable taking my jacket off right now…it’s not casual Friday yet, after all…)
Ella wants to know if the jacket comes in puppy size.
Because it very accurately describes what I feel like when I describe the work I do with SEO. (Algorithms…what?)
Plus, I have a Girls’ Night planned with Steph tonight, am visiting Santa with Ella, dinner with Emily tomorrow, dinner with B on Thursday, and am headed to Kiawah on Friday–lots of great things happening!
What are your favorite things this Tuesday?
From struggling with working to live and living to work, the realization that your parents are humans, too, and doing things that in college seemed to magically get done on their own, being a grown-up is hard. Truthfully, I still fee like a kid, and the few times I actually feel like a grown-up, it’s like I’ve been slapped in the face by the flat palm of adulthood and can usually be found crying over my to-do list, before calling my mom for moral support.
Most of the time, I only feel like an adult if I’m drinking wine or wearing a watch (something about wearing a watch feels so…mature Here, let me pretend to check the time), and I spend the majority of my time in a “Post-Grad Problems” state, still wishing I were back in college and feeling like a baby bird who was thrown out of the nest too soon.
I’m a 23 year old in the real world, and when I’m not playing house, I’m slowly but surely learning what it means to be a real adult, a real 20-something, and it’s nothing like what they show on TV. My closet looks more like the sale rack at Target than Carrie Bradshaw’s collection of designer wardrobe, and seriously, Friends, who has the time to spend all of their free time at the coffee shop? I have an apartment to clean, a dog to take care of, grocery shopping to do, errands to run, and workouts to complete so that I at least stay somewhat sane.
If I’m lucky enough to grab coffee with a good friend, it’s a day here and there for a quick Joe that always ends with, “We need to do this more often,” but then schedules, life, everyday tasks, and the occasional need for personal time get in the way, and before you know it, you haven’t seen friends you used to see almost daily for a month, or two months, or three.
The great thing about this is that you learn to value friendships, especially those that stay the same, even if you don’t see them or talk as often; you learn that although all relationships require love and attention, real friendships sustain the test of time, in spite of conflicting schedules, long distances, and other real world reasons. The bad thing is that you begin to realize the friendships that were perhaps not as strong to begin with because these seem to slowly disappear (although, as my mom would say, this is also a good thing because why waste your time?)
The real world doesn’t come with a survival kit, but if it did, it would probably include a loud alarm clock, Breakfast Roast K-cups, and endless amounts of dark chocolate, plus a handbook with tips for budgeting, basic DIY fix-it tips for when things break at your “new” apartment, and how to deal with those difficult to answer questions (When are you getting married?)
So I’m here to tell you the real world is hard, but growing up can be fun, if you make it that way. Looking back on the H I was even a year ago, I’m amazed by the changes and how I’m doing things that I once swore I could never do. I’m learning, maturing, and growing as a an adult and as an individual, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings for me and my fellow 20-somethings!
It’s all about perspective. I have parents who love and support me no matter what and a boyfriend who will hug me when I Kim Kardashian cry over nothing. Plus, I won TWO FREE HOT CHOCOLATES at Dunkin Donuts. Seriously. Life is hard, but so, so good, if you know where to look.
It’s happened to all of us. Maybe it even happened to you this morning.
You go to bed at night and set an early alarm to workout. And if you’re like me, you set multiple alarms (5-6), with one last-minute-no-time-to-shower one, just in case. You’re getting all pumped up for your workout the next morning. It’s gonna be great. Maybe you’ll even watch the sunrise. Beautiful. Perfect.
So you go to bed. If you’re like me, you’ll wake up just before your earliest alarm and talk yourself back to sleep for “just a little bit.” (That extra 30 minutes is always a bad idea. Always. From the first time you hit Snooze, there’s really no turning back.)
Before you know it, you’ve slept through all of your alarms and have totally missed your chance for the fantastic pre-work workout you were so pumped about the night before. Most of the time, I shrug it off, pack a gym bag, and run after work, but unfortunately, we’re adults now (NOOO!), so sometimes we have obligations in the afternoon (like eating dinner, watching our favorite shows, and dancing to Beyonce in front of the mirror…you know, “obligations”).
I used to be one of those people who thought, “If I only have 30 minutes to workout, it’s not worth it,” but then I got over myself. If you have just a little bit of time to spare before you have to get ready for work, even if it doesn’t seem worth it, you’ll always feel better after a short workout than after no workout.
So throw your workout clothes on, and check out a few of my favorite OH-MY-GAH-I-SLEPT-THROUGH-MY-ALARM Workouts:
You can still get in a really decent workout in a half hour, if you know how to utilize it. I usually do one of two things in this scenario. I either a) complete a 5k time trial, with a cool-down jog or b) pick my favorite 3 mile loop and do a “light post to light post” run. A light post to light post run starts with about a half-mile warm-up and ends with about a half-mile cool down; for the two miles in between, I alternate between sprinting to a light post, recovery jogging to the next light post, and repeat.
If I have 20 minutes to spare, I will typically take to the hills to get the most out of my time. I have a really, really steep hill in my neighborhood, and after 20 minutes of sprinting as hard as I can to the top, and jogging down in between sprints, I always feel accomplished. Plus, hills are a great way for runners to mix strength training with cardio!
If I only have 10 minutes left before it’s time to get ready, I bypass the run altogether. Instead, to make the most of my time, I’ll usually do some sort of strength workout in my apartment. From now on, I think I’ll do the following workout, which I learned at CrossfFit last week (post to come):
Total Time: 8 Minutes
Complete this rotation as many times as you can until time is up!
Write today off as an unplanned rest day. Do squats in the shower if you must, but don’t tell us about it because we could do without the mental image.
WHY ARE YOU STILL CONSIDERING WORKING OUT? Get going already!
And if you’ve overslept, but don’t feel like running, you can always take the dog for a quick walk, do some yoga (I use this free yoga site sometimes), cross-train, lift weights, or hit Google for some fun, new workouts! Even if it doesn’t feel like much, a quick walk around the neighborhood will get you up and going for the rest of the day.
I think my brain is still catching up with me from Thanksgiving break. When I was growing up, I had a teacher who after any break would say, “We need to clean those cobwebs out of your brain!”
That’s kind of how I feel this week so far. If only they sold brain brooms on Amazon!
So instead of exerting my little blonde brain too much (heaven forbid) and also because I’ve been writing like a madman for work today (You mean you blog, nap, and work? I know, I know. How does she do it?), here are some pictures that I didn’t post to Instagram last week.
Have you decorated for Christmas yet? When do you decorate?
Will anyone else be running in the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in DC next year?
Disclaimer: I am not licensed in veterinary sciences, nor am I an expert on dog health. Although several of the tips below I’ve learned from veterinarians and dog trainers, the majority of them have been learned through personal experience and are based on my own individual situation with my dog. Before embarking on any sort of physical activity with your dog, be sure to talk to your dog’s veterinarian because every dog is different! Don’t take these tips as scripture just because you read them on the internet or because some silly blogger wrote them. Before you do any sort of running with your dog, talk to your vet! Seriously, it could be very dangerous otherwise.
Based on the advice from our trainer, veterinarian, and a few veterinary friends, I held off on running with Ella for several months because running too soon can be very damaging for a growing pup. I became increasingly protective of Ella’s joints when I met a woman who had been running with her lab.
“He used to run with me,” she said, “but then he tore both of his hind legs.”
I asked how old he was, and when she said “under 2,” it became even clearer just how important it is to be very, very careful when it comes to running with your dog, especially a young dog. If you do too much, too soon, what seems like a fun, healthy activity for the two of you to do together could end up being very painful for your four-legged running buddy.
Now that I’ve gotten the gloom and doom out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff!
1. Ease into it, and know when to stop.
Before we even started running, Ella and I went for walks, slowly building up to a 3 mile maximum. After a while of doing that, I began to ease “shuffle running” into our walks. A shuffle run is at walking pace, but you shuffle your feet and legs as if you were running. It’s intended to get your dog used to the motion of running and is especially beneficial if you, like me, have a dog who correlates running to playing and chasing. This was something that I learned from our trainer, and it really helped us a lot.
Only recently have we started “running,” but because she is still pretty young, I keep it at a very, very easy pace, and we never go farther than a mile.
Think about when you started running. More than likely, you didn’t jump from 1 mile to a marathon. You eased into it, slowly increasing every week. Do the same thing for your dog, except even gentler. Instead of increasing distance every week, think about increasing it every few months, and instead of adding a mile onto your runs, think about adding as little as a quarter-mile or an extra jog to the mailbox and back.
It’s all about safety, and unlike you, your dog can’t communicate when they’re hurting, and if it means making you happy, even if they are hurting, they don’t want to stop and “disappoint” you.
For instance, Ella runs the last mile of some of my runs with me right now, but she doesn’t do it every day, and it’s at a very, VERY easy pace. We will stick to this routine for a while longer, and when I feel it’s time, we will likely increase her distance by a quarter-mile. We will repeat until we reach the maximum distance approved by her vet, but I’m not anticipating running more than a 5k with her, even in adulthood.
This is the longest and most important tip in this post for a reason. It’s crucial. You can’t assume that just because you have x breed that it will be safe for them to jump into your running routine with all four feet. You need to know how to ease into your dog’s running, and you especially need to know when it’s time to stop. I can tell you how I’m doing it, based on the advice from experts in my life for my dog, but again, all dogs are different. I really can’t reiterate this enough!
And. Rant over.
My trainer recommended that I try a pronged collar for training Ella, like one of these here.
I know that there a lot of mixed feelings about this collar because I was really hesitant about it myself. And then one day in class, our trainer had me try it on to see what it felt like for the dog. It doesn’t hurt. All it does, when pulled, is applies pressure. It’s not intended to be worn for long periods of time but did miracles for leash training and running with Ella. Now she’s so behaved on the leash that she wears her cloth collar without pulling.
For her leash, I’m really not a big fan of the retractable leash in public to begin with, for safety reasons, but especially if you’re running with your dog, you’ll have more control with a thick, cotton leash [in my experience].
I also know a lot of people who use running harnesses and equipment designed specifically for running with your dog. It all depends on your dog. Talk to experts, trainers, and even try out a few different things until you find the perfect leash and collar for your little runner!
3. Safety first!
On top of focusing on health safety and taking care of your dog’s body, you also need to worry about basic running safety for you and your dog. Follow all basic safety rules that you would for yourself, but there are a few more to be aware of for your dog. Stay away from busy roads, and if there’s a house with a known attack dog, avoid it! Also, if you absolutely cannot run without music, keep one earbud out, so that you can hear of any oncoming traffic, loose animals, or anything else that may pose a danger to you and your dog.
Make sure your dog is hydrated both before and after the run, but on hot days and longer workouts, it never hurts to bring a travel bowl of water to fill at water fountains along the way.
Tell them how good they’re being during the run, and give them a big sweaty hug after! Every runner needs a support crew!
Now that it’s so cold, Ella and I like to go home after our run, hop back in bed, and snuggle in our favorite Christmas sweaters.
And again, because I haven’t beaten a dead horse enough already, talk to your vet, pay attention to your dog, make wise choices, and NEVER push you dog too far or too hard. They aren’t like you! Running with your dog can be super fun and is a great way for both of you to stay fit, if you’re smart about it. I could honestly make ONE blog post on that single tip because it is that important.
Okay, my rant really is over now, but rant aside, I absolutely LOVE running with Ella, even for just that one mile. It’s so much fun, and I love watching her sniff every leaf that we pass. Sometimes she even looks up and smiles at me.
Do you run with your dog? What tips am I missing?
First and foremost, Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
DISCLAIMER: If you’re looking for a super happy Thanksgiving post, you’ve, unfortunately, come to the wrong place.
Before I start talking about Thanksgiving in our house, my family is having a bit of a sad day. Last night, after the dinner, as everyone was beginning to wind down, our eldest family dog, Gracie Lu, passed away in her sleep, on the floor next to my mom. She hadn’t showed any signs of being severely sick, but at 12.5 years, she was certainly getting old. Although a really sad time for us, and in spite of feeling like we’ve lost a member of our family, we are also so grateful for the way that it happened. We knew that it was coming soon; we just didn’t know how soon. My mom was already worried about having to make the final decision with her, and we are just so grateful that she was able to have one more full day with her family, before quietly passing away in her “spot.” It was peaceful and painless, and we couldn’t have asked for any more for her. That being said, Gracie Lu was one of a kind, and our hearts, and the hearts of our other dogs, are severely broken today at the loss. Losing a dog is such an empty feeling, unlike any other. Please send prayers and positive thoughts our way!
Rest In Peace, Gracie! As anyone who met you knows, you were your own girl!
She was comically stubborn, and we couldn’t help but smile at the fact that she went exactly when she wanted and where she wanted and avoided the vet altogether (he was her sworn enemy). We hope you’re enjoying chasing squirrels, sleeping on pillows, and eating as many table scraps as you want in doggy heaven! We love and miss you but are so thankful to have had you in our lives for 12.5 wonderful years.
Outside of the terrible, terrible sadness of the afternoon, we were reminded to always remember our blessings and make every moment count .
We started the day with an early, sub-30 degree Turkey Trot 8k. I ran a little bit before and after with my friend Brittany and ran one more mile with Ella when we got home, for a total of 8 miles for the day. Racing is so, so much more fun with friends and without pressure (although Brittany and Kacie may disagree because I literally don’t shut up when I’m out for social runs…or ever).
I spent the rest of the day with family and friends who are like family. I also spent the rest of the day eating everything in sight (which has carried over into today) and taking awkward family photos, with dogs strategically placed.
I also did a little Black Friday shopping at Target, and Ella was exhausted for me.
I also made a chocolate chip pumpkin bread, but don’t be fooled by the major oven fail. It was my favorite of the three.
But, of course, although we’re staying positive and grateful for our time with family yesterday and especially for our time with precious Gracie Lu, there’s an air of sadness in the house today. Again, and I can’t say it enough, we can’t put it into words just how grateful we are to have had one more Thanksgiving with Gracie and for the fact that she didn’t experience any long period of pain or suffering. Although right now we feel an empty place in our homes and in our hearts, we will always remember her.
I think the most heartbreaking thing about it all is watching the other two dogs today (pictured below). Maggie is so confused and keeps wandering around the house like she’s looking for something. We’re giving them lots of love and attention because they’re in mourning, too, except, unlike us, they can’t talk about it. Breaking my heart.
After reading multiple healthy living blogs discussing how to stay fit during the holiday season, I thought I’d follow suit. I was going to write a post featuring pledges that I wanted to make for my nutrition and fitness this season. But what would they say? They’d probably say what literally every other fitness blogger is saying this time of year: sign up for a holiday run, drink lots of water, take small bites, enjoy in moderation, and on and on. I’d previously written a post like this for a client in the fitness industry, so I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to say.
I know that the holidays are a tough time when it comes to health and fitness, and it definitely is important to stay healthy, continue exercising, and practice moderation, even when presented with hundreds of unhealthy options. But you already know all of that. In fact, it’s thrown in your face in the covers of every magazine in grocery store checkout lines, in the stick thin actresses in every holiday movie, and in the constant articles featuring “better” recipes and foods to “avoid”; I don’t need to be that girl.
And then I got kind of mad at society and myself. Not, like, “flamin’ mad,” just, like, “deep sigh of frustration mad.”
Are we so focused on “staying trim,” “fighting fat,” and “healthy alternatives,” that we completely forget what the holidays are all about?
So instead of telling you how to take care of yourself during the holidays (because a) I’m not your mother, b) you can read the same crap in Cosmopolitan, and c) there are more important things to focus on), I’m going to make some real healthy pledges for all of us to keep this holiday season.
This holiday season, I pledge to…
1. Say I love you more.
2. Tell the people in my life how much I appreciate them, and why.
3. Reflect on the past year, meditatively rather than critically.
4. Catch up with someone who, because of life or reasons our of our control, I haven’t spoken to in a while.
5. Give back to those who need it more than me.
6. In fact, in all ways, ask less, give more.
7. Don’t let little things, like tough travel days, family anxieties, or burnt turkeys, stress me out.
8. If I do get stressed, don’t allow it to negate precious time spent with family and friends.
9. Allow myself to be totally happy, free, and gracious.
10. Don’t lose focus of the things that matter most.
What REAL pledges are YOU making this holiday season?
This Over That.
Today I picked cuddling in bed with Ella dog, while listening to the rain outside, over heading to the gym.
Today I picked letting my hair air-dry and throwing it in a messy ponytail over blow drying and styling it.
Today I picked watching That 70s Show while I got ready over watching Spongebob Squarepants. (Don’t judge.)
Today I picked comfort over style.
Today I picked combat boots over black flats.
Today I picked Keurig coffee over 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts.
Today I picked listening to Pandora’s James Taylor Christmas station over This American Life.
Today I picked sushi for lunch with B over eating at my desk.
picked will pick running on the treadmill over running outside.
Today I picked being grateful for the ability to think for myself and make choices, even small ones, over everything else.
What choices have you made today? Make your own This Over That, and share!