First time for every thing pt 3.

Snow-covered van!

Do you live in the Southeast?  So you’re familiar with this bull that has been going on?

Snow-covered van!
Snow-covered van!

Snow Walk

Kudos to all of you marathoners who have been able to stick with your training nonstop. I have fought for my training, and run as much as I can – have logged tons of miles on the treadmill, and at this point, I’m playing mental games with myself to therapy myself into believing that I can trust my training and that I will be prepped for 26.2 miles in a little over a month. Lord please me with me.

So, I hope you all had a fantastic reason. I had a first a few weeks ago, a second first, and now, a third first!

So, I work out a decent bit.  I mean I love to work out, and now that it’s part of my job, it feels as essential to me as like brushing my teeth!  But the one thing that I continue to feel a little funny about is working out with my husband.  We run together, and running has been my thing, so sometimes, it’s hard to let him into that world, especially given that he’s naturally gifted at it.  I love to run, but I don’t feel like it’s something I’m particularly gifted at.  So I get (unfairly) frustrated when I’m huffing and puffing over here at mile six, and without any training, he’s busting out 7 minutes miles.  GET OUT OF HERE!

Austin’s world is lifting, and lifting heavy.  In the last year, I’ve started lifting more, and even started working with a personal trainer, Jill, since it’s a perk of my job.  But he’s still a pro, so I’ve always made excuses not to lift with him for fear of looking a little stupid.  But Jill’s boosted my confidence, and when we were closed for weather on Wednesday, I missed my appointment with her.  Jill was kind enough to email me a workout I could do on my own, and for the first time EVER(ish), Austin and I did a full workout together, lifting side-by-side.  And it wasn’t so bad!!

The workout itself, which absolutely kicked my butt, was a little painful, especially when we got to the end and my legs were starting to feel like Jello.  But working out with my honey wasn’t half bad, and I have to remember, keep reminding myself, that Austin is my husband and that I don’t need to feel self-conscious about things with him. Definitely something we need to do again!

The weekend in review…

So we had a really fun weekend.  I didn’t work too too much, and only went into work to actually work actually once on Sunday.  But on Saturday morning, when we woke up, Austin turned to me and asked if I wanted to go to Waffle House.

We went, and we were that cute married couple that shared waffles and people watched for an hour or so before we headed to the Farmer’s Market and walked around, looked at candy, bought a bottle of wine, and then bought 20 lbs of sweet potatoes for $10.  Yeesh, but I’m totally up to the challenge.  I may consider chilling on the fiber though, cause mama’s stomach is like mehhhh.

Finally, we did something really really cool, and I’m kicking myself because I didn’t bring my good camera.  Austin just got back from China, and we had friends invite us to dinner at a legit Chinese Food place.  We’re not talking pork-fried rice chinese food, we’re talking legit food, served family style and soooo flavorful it was insane.  I’m kicking myself because I didn’t bring my good camera and take pics, but I’ve already started lining up our next time we go there so I can walk you through the entire experience.

MMkay, so what did you do this weekend?  

Did you eat anything good?  Describe it, in detail, to me!

 

New (to me) car.

Kia Soul

If you are in the Southeast, I feel for you.  We are dealing with a ridiculous amount of snow and ice juuuust enough to screw up our day.

So Wednesday, Austin and I took off of work to buy a new car since I totaled the Lancer in a stupid accident about a month ago.

Broken LancerThe whole process of losing that car, totaling it, dealing with the insurance company, and all that fun stuff that comes with totaling a car has been a little emotional.  I was a very new blogger about two years ago, working for Fleet Feet when I bought this car with 0 knowledge of how to buy a car or how all of that worked.  My husband was a boyfriend at the time, and I cried bitter tears when the transmission in my Taurus crapped out.  But the car saw me through my mother’s illness, a new marriage, the poodle, and so much more.  So when the collision shop called me and told me that the car was a total loss, and when the insurance company confirmed it, it hurt.  I know a car is just a thing, and not something that I should get attached to, but I was genuinely sad when the first investment I ever made was totaled in the span if just a moment.

We took off on Wednesday, and this time, I was armed with a lot more knowledge than I was the first time.  I’ll get into the process of buying a car in a completely separate post.  But I’d like to welcome to the family my favorite car I’ve ever owned, and this time, I own it outright, no bank and no parents helping me…

Kia Soul

This is my new (to me) Kia Soul, which I bought after many a night spent poring over Consumer Reports, texting a friend’s husband who is big into cars, and after reminiscing over a test drive which spanned over North Carolina to Philly a few summers ago.  (I rented this car, and begged Austin to buy it for me, not knowing a few years later I’d total my car, and revisit this.)

I’ve never written a check so big in my life, so I was feeling some shock immediately after, but after that, and after getting the chance to drive it a little, even driving it a bit in the snow, I decided that this was one of my favorite cars I’ve ever owned.  It’s cute, it’s totally me, and I totally don’t have a car payment anymore.  Woo!

Promise, I will update you on the process of buying a car soon.

Now, with a traumatic few snow days behind us tell me….

What’s your favorite car you’ve ever owned?

Giuliana Rancic

I was about 16 when I decided that I was going to loc my hair up.

To that point, I’d had every hair style that one could have as a little black girl growing up in the 90s.  My hair had been permed.  My mother hand straightened my hair with the hot comb (the one that you would stick on the burner and run through your hair).  I’d rocked box braids.  And finally, when I was old enough to realize that I didn’t want anyone touching my hair or pulling it anymore, I decided that I was going to loc it up.  I don’t think my mom took me seriously at first.  Up to this point I’d been an imaginative teen, and had dreamt of being a singer, practiced my autograph over and over, changed my handwriting, tried to be a lefty, and expressed my dreams of becoming a Rockette, so she may have thought it was just one of my Cheri-isms, and she bought me a few books on it from the library, not thinking it would lead anywhere.

But I was relentless.

I loc’ed it up myself, and my parents were so horrified by the results (rightfully so), that they took me to a place to get a consultation, and then finally, to get my locs started.  They were short, little baby locs, and my mother was horrified.  She begged me to let her cut them off.  She begged me to try a wig, and then a weave.  And when it became clear that I was serious, she left it alone, and most likely resigned herself that I was just going to with short hair forever.  [Side note:  mom has since come around, and admitted that she didn’t understand what they were going to look like.  She loves it, and has since started to wear her hair natural as well.]

Since then I got into a prestigious private college, graduated college, attended graduate school, met my husband, got married, bought a house, and made a life as one of the director team at a non-profit.

All this to say that though I chose to transition my hair back to its natural form 10ish years ago, I am a productive member of society.  But wearing my hair this way made me afraid that white people would look at me and make assumptions about who I was, my education, or my capabilities as an employee.  Fears that came to light when Giuliana Rancic, a correspondent at E!, made the following comments when sizing up Zendaya’s red-carpet look from Oscar Weekend.

“I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or maybe weed.”

She opened her hands and laughed it off.  My cheeks immediately got hot.

I was taken back to the millions of times people have asked me if I wash my hair.

I was taken back to the time I was in an interview (an interview, people), and one of the gentlemen in the interview asked me what I do with my hair when I’m running.

I was taken back to a 2007 Glamour controversy where an editor stated that natural hairstyles were a big “no-no” for the office.

Giuliana Rancic, your comments were not cool whatsoever.  People with natural hair don’t smell of illegal drugs or douse themselves in patchouli to cover up body odor.  The vast, vast majority of us lead productive lives, and it doesn’t take a classically European hairstyle to achieve any of these.  On the flip side, there are plenty of people with straight silky locks who may smell of patchouli and weed.  I know this because I worked at Whole Foods for a few months while jobs searching after school.  It depends on the individual. 

Now, do I feel like Giulina is an horrible racist?  No, probably not.  But she made an insensitive, stupid, and ignorant comment that peels away that outside layer and reveals what she truly thinks when she sees chicks like me walking down the hall with a huge mane of natural, well-maintained hair.  And that has to change.

 

 

Weekend Buzz + The Best Holiday for Candy

image via Wikipedia

I hope your weekend was the tits.

I actually had a bomb weekend because I got to spend time with my husband.  I don’t know about you guys, but a lot of times of the weekends, we make so so many plans that we barely get to see one another.  And by the time we get into bed too late on a Sunday night, we haven’t seen one another more than an hour or two.  This weekend was a little different – I made plans and drank with friends on Friday, and because I wasn’t teaching or anything, we spent all day Saturday together – cleaning, napping, working out, and finally, falling into bed, deliciously exhausted, but together.

Austin’s the bomb.  I love him a lot.  I like spending time with him.

Now.  Let’s talk candy. 

On the way to run yesterday morning, I got into a big discussion with Mama Cheri about candy.  Now, neither of us eats a ton of candy – she for health reasons, and me, because once I start, I can’t stop.  So when I eat candy, I typically do a single-serve York Peppermint Pattie, or the holy grail of candy, a Reese’s Big Cup, where the peanut butter to chocolate ratio is one that is angelic.  So I’m of the firm belief that Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays for candy.  But I got into this argument discussion with my mother and a friend regarding the best holidays for candy, and they were not in agreement.  So let’s break it down.

The best candy, in no particular order.  

1.  Reese’s – the big cup variety is the best, which I’ve stated time and again.  NOW, the reason for this is that the peanut butter to chocolate ratio.  This includes the trees, the eggs, and the hearts.  All solid choices.

2.  Whoppers – malted milk balls are the absolute best.  Now, there IS a variety you can get at Whole Foods, which makes you feel a little better about stuffing your face because it’s made without HFCS and real chocolate, as opposed to Whoppers.

3.  York Peppermint Patties – the 140-calorie variety that you can commonly acquire at most checkouts at the grocery store.  I mean, DUH.

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

4.  Pretzel M&Ms.

5.  Sweet Tarts- you can shove these in your mouth by the handful, which makes them really convenient.  But really dangerous, as I’ve found out, because when they’re in the admin office, for example, you might eat them all every time you have to go down there.  Which is not productive.

Now, let’s move on to the worst candies, in no particular order. 

1.  Circus Peanuts – my mother disgustingly loves these.  If you read the description on these, you’ll find that they’re considered some sort of marshmallow candy, flavored artificially with BANANA?!  WTH?! Who would do such a thing?

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

2. Okay, so I’m having a really hard time moving past the Circus Peanuts thing. But my mother reminded me of these atrocities…

image via Candywarehouse.com
image via Candywarehouse.com

These guys are called Old Fashioned Marshmallow Eggs. There are a number of things that are pretty disgusting about this candy, mainly the fact that the sugar on the inside is suspended in this marshy thing. It’s really disgusting and not acceptable.

3. Jellybeans – they’re just too sweet and sort of pointless. They also get stuck in your teeth, and you run the risk of getting a horrible flavor, which is totally the opposite of the point of eating candy in the first place. Would you ever just go actively seeking out jellybeans? Probably not because they’re pointless and add nothing to your day.

4. Raisinets – I want to know who on God’s green earth decided that they would combine raisins, which are pretty disgusting on their own, and cover them in crusty chocolate? Why would I ever eat that?

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

So the holiday with the best candy?

For me, hands down, it’s got to be Valentine’s Day because of the variety of chocolate. Yum!

The worst?

Omg, so many worsts here, but I’m going to have to say that Easter provides us with the worst candy because it’s all smooshy and sugary, and that’s just not the way things should be. But Easter, don’t be sad because Easter is going to be closely followed by Christmas, because there is truly nothing fun about sucking on a peppermint stick.

All that said…

How was your weekend? What did you do?

What’s your favorite candy?

Least favorite?

Best and worst holidays for candy?

First time for everything pt. 2

I talked a few weeks back about my first time visiting the chiropractor, and I have to keep it 100, my neck and shoulder are feeling really really good.  I know for a fact that a lot of folks feel skeptical about the chiro, but I was really at a loss for what they might do for me besides prescribe a heavy dose of NSAIDS.  Which, honestly, doesn’t do me a whole lot of good because I could take like a million Aleve and drink red wine till the cows come home – I really wanted results.

So my verdict so far on the chiropractor is that I’m seeing some results, which is more than I could say before.  My shoulder feels 100%, and my neck feels almost 100%.  I think I will continue seeing him every month, especially given the fact that I am so active and am sore and imbalanced any given day.  I’m glad I gave it a shot.

So in the vein of trying new things, I started something a few weeks ago, and I guess I’m committed, so it’s time to come clean…I have been working out with a personal trainer once a week!

Let me back things up.  I never really thought twice about a personal trainer, mainly because I have never ever paid for a gym membership since I’ve been teaching classes for 5-6 years.  But, when I started this job 6 months ago (six months!?) our HR specialist mentioned that we got 1 hour of personal training included in our position a week.  I watched my office-mates take advantage of it, and finally, after months, I took advantage of it.

It’s funny, because it seems like Jill, the trainer, was a little nervous to train the group fitness director, because I’m supposed to be fit and stuff, but she really did an awesome job, and it feels good to feel sore again – sometimes when you’re constantly moving it’s hard to get sore.

I’m enjoying it.  I’m enjoying getting sore.  I’m enjoying challenging myself.  I’m enjoying watching my body firm up.  I’m enjoying talking to Jill on our Wednesday mornings.  And a friend told me yesterday that my body is looking fantastic.  WHA!

I like it :)

Have you ever worked out with a personal trainer?

The Bachelor

Let’s get one thing out of the way first.  I absolutely did slip on the ice yesterday leaving my job.  Now, as I was slipping, I felt it happening and didn’t even trying to resist it, just let myself flop on the ground.  THAT is how you do it, ladies and gents.  That’s my bit of helpful advice as this entire country freezes over, just let it happen, and you’ll be okay.

The Batch

So I am the kween queen of trashy television, and I have been since I was a teenager, and The Real World was a thing.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually desired to be on reality telly, because in my mind, there’s some stuff that needs to stay private, however, I have enjoyed it.  But I truly have not watched the Bachelor in it’s entirety in years.  But one of the girls who works in my office definitely watches it, and we seem to relate really well over my love of reality telly, so I thought, hey, let’s DVR this and catch up when I’m working on the blog at night!

And I can’t look away.

There are so many questions I have as it relates to The Bachelor. 

  • Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey.  What in God’s name is the matter with Kelsey?  Why does she think she’s better than the rest of the girls?  Why didn’t one of the producers provide her with some Roc Retinol for under her eyes knowing full well that she would be on camera?  Why does she cut her hair like a 40-year-old woman? (Shoutout to the 40-year-olds, but we don’t need the mom cut until we are in fact, moms.)  Is she actually a widow?  Who would marry her?  Why is she so grouchy when Chris isn’t around?  How come she thinks just because she threw around the word “amass” one time, she’s a MENSA candidate?  Why did she fake a panic attack for?  Does she know it’s not cute to make a mockery of people who actually have experience with those?  Listen, anyone who fakes anything really isn’t to be trusted.

Panic Attack

  • How do the girls drink constantly?  They are not fat.  I drank nonstop the week of my wedding and gained like 90 pounds in a day.  How?!  Are they working out off-camera?  We also NEVER see them eating so, maybe they just eat green beans and things.
  • Why do these girls wear so much makeup?  I am strictly a BB Cream, mascara, and eyeliner (on a great day), type of lady, so it’s actually really alarming to see girls with lipstick, highlights, eyelashes, eyebrow pencils.  What do you really look like?  Maybe I’m just jealous…

Bachelor

  • Why is everyone crying all the time?  All the time.  I have cried over two boys, one of whom I was involved in a dysfunctional relationship with.  Why are you crying over someone you don’t know?!

Are you following the Bachelor?

Running on freezing

So, it’s cold as eff here, and as far as I know, I’m still running a marathon in two months.

Lord Jesus please someone explain to me why the low on Thusrday is 5 degrees?  I live in North Carolina, this should not be the case.

via WRAL.com
via WRAL.com

This is straight, unadulterated bs. And I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about running this week without injuring myself or going crazy on the treadmill, not only because the treadmill is ridiculously boring, but also because the treadmills at my job try and close you out at 45 minutes for the courtesy of others. I may have to guest it somewhere and run on a treddie or a trail here that will allow me a little more time and still allow me to pack on the mileage. But hey, I won’t whine too much because I have a warm bed and a roof over my head.  More than some folks can say.

But I digress.

Beside the fact that we’re freezing for whatever reason here, I have an actual question for you all.

So, I may be the only woman on the planet, but I never read Fifty Shades of Grey.  I never got into it, and in fact, the summer when the series’ popularity had reached a fever pitch, I was working in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and I truly just didn’t have time to read it, plus I didn’t want my girls to see me reading it (even though a really decent number of them, juniors in high school, were reading it).

And now, with the movie last weekend, and with the proliferation of articles for and against it, I’m genuinely curious as to what all the hype was about, and if we ARE pushing something dark and abusive.  Knowing all of this, and knowing that I’m still training, and running a lot, I’m definitely considering putting that in the queue for treadmill books, really to see what this controversy is all about.  I honestly feel weird commenting on it at all without having read it, and I’m surprised to see that a lot of the folks who are writing blog posts and articles about it haven’t so much as cracked its spine.  But that’s just me.

Are you staying warm?

Did you read 50 Shades?  What did you think about it?

V-Day Weekend

I have an admission to make.

After last week, I was completely overwhelmed, and I was a mess to deal with this weekend.  Between a really big week at work, trying to deal with my car issues, I’m sort of dealing with these feelings that I absolutely suck at life.  As I sit here, I’m looking around at my couch covered in pet hair, and dealing with the fact that the beagle managed to act up enough so that the woman who adopted her is bringing her back (not kidding) I’m wondering how people with kids do this, and have cleaner houses and seem to have their shit together better than I do.

But I digress.

Here are a few snaps from the weekend.

Friday, I hosted a Zumba/Dance Fitness Party at my Y, and we actually had a really really good turnout, which had me nervous all week.  It can be really really tricky to get folks to commit to anything on a Friday night, and I was terrified that no one would show, and I would look like a butt in front of my bosses.

Three hours before the party, I was testing the playlist out on my iPod, when every single solitary song on my device disappeared, and I watched my life flash before my eyes.

“I’m the boss. I’m in charge of this party.  And I just screwed up all the music.”

I raced home, managed to update the software on my husband’s laptop, and load the entire playlist onto Austin’s iPad, literally with 15 minutes to spare before the party.  The party went off without a hitch, our attendance was huge, and I was so proud of my team!

Zumba Party
Zumba Party

Immediately following, I raced-raced to Ruthschris to meet my husband, and I ate everything in sight, including this little cheesecake for dessert that I told the server I would only take a bite of.  Then I ate the whole thing.

Then this girl…

Alyssa Edwards via imgkid.com
Alyssa Edwards via imgkid.com

I met my girls, and hit Legends in Raleigh to see Alyssa Edwards, a contestant/favorite from RuPaul’s Drag Race from a few seasons ago. When I say that she was fantastic, I mean FANTASTIC. Her makeup was on point, her wig was on point, and she had a better body than most people.  She actually was inspiring – I think a lot of times we see drag queens as funny, but in reality, it really can be an art, and what she did was an art.

Saturday, I hit class early, and taught an 8:30 toning, and ran over to our branch to teach an 11:15 Zumba to a packed house.

Sunday, I went to work, caught up on some work, and then hit drag brunch, benefiting a foundation here that hat encourages and promotes the development of services for persons living with AIDS and/or HIV infection. I got brunch and got champagne, AND managed to benefit a sweet nonprofit?  I’ll take it.

This week, we are gearing up for some sort of winter event here in Raleigh and my goal, my only goal, is to keep my head on straight despite life’s…things.

How was your weekend?  What did you do?

What are your goals this week?