Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top 5 of '12

It's time for my annual TOP 5 of the year! Check out the last two years' lists....here and here!


5. Getting involved. This was more towards this years end, but I have gotten more involved in activities outside of work- joining a social sport league (kickball) and volunteering at the SPCA. In my quest to get involved and do things for fun or for others I am starting to cleanse my life of "extras." My first step in this is ending working for my friend's pet sitting business. I felt the need to simplify certain things in my life to allow for more flexibility and free time and that is the first to go (I will also work less at ticket sales for games). I am excited about the time I will have for other activities.

4. Weddings! I watched six friends walk down the aisle this year. All weddings were unique and great fun. I wish them all the best:)

3. Running! Ok, ok, I know, I know- I had this on the list two years ago, and it's not really an exciting thing, but I am continuing to make strides in my running and have registered for my first half-marathon. I hope my enthusiasm and good feelings continue until March!

2. Traveling to Texas! I had a nice, solo visit to my brother's place in Texas. It was a fun trip where I got to see a lot of the Lonestar State and hang with my bro and sis-in-law! Some giant Texas margarita's were also involved.

1. Buying my condo! I love love love my new home and feel like it is a great reflection of who I am at this point in my life. The process was not as smooth as I would have hoped, but it all worked out and has been an affordable investment. It is the perfect size, my neighbors are great, and I LOVE the area. It is close to everything with great restaurants, running routes, shops, movie theaters and parks. I think I'll stay for a while:)

And with that I wish you and your families the Happiest of Holidays...so Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I am spending my Christmas with my parents and brother, visiting family in Ohio, and celebrating the New Year with friends back in Richmond! I hope 2012 ends for us all with a renewed faith in the beauty of everyday life.

The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born and secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness and light, fear and conquest, adventure and discovery, challenge and transformation. Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen... as the whispering beat repeats: be...gin, be...gin, be...gin. It's really that simple. Just begin... again.
Royce Addington 

Cheers to a new beginning this year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stir

For those of you currently not in the dating game, or those of you in relationships that did not involve meeting over the world wide web, let me debrief you on the online dating world. As you have probably heard, there are a variety of online dating sites. Some are free and some are not. Some are religion based, some are known for "hook-ups," and some are pretty legit (I can think of 5 couples who have met online off the top of my head). I am privy to most of the online sites because I have friends who have used just about all of them at one point or another. However, a new phenomenon in the online dating world are the social events. On Match.com, these are called "Stir" events where once a month, Match rents out a bar or social room and invites members of a certain age to come out and mingle in REAL LIFE (crazy thought, right?!). I have only ever heard about these and never knew anyone to go to one (my friends met the old-fashioned, ya know, emailing way...), so I jumped at the chance last night to join my friend, who was working the door, at the event.

It was a trip. First off, Match totally segregates it's Stir events by age. This one was for the 35-45 age group, and some of the people were NOT please. You wouldn't believe the amount of people that came to the front table to ask where younger people were and how many older men stayed around chatting with my friend and I (she is my age). It was also a great place to people watch and see what the dating scene is like for people older than I. Some were uncomfortable and awkward, while you could tell some of the former "players" in the room. Most people were semi-decent looking, but no one stood out as being incredible hot or cute, which may or may not bode well for me as I age. I did try to help one guy mingle with two ladies I thought were cute, but he didn't seem very interested in my suggestions!

The highlight (or not) of my evening was an older man (circa 45, minimal hair) who would not leave us alone, leaving me his email and telling me I was what he 'was looking for." Good to know I attract the older men. I may have to have a sugar daddy one day if I can't ever find someone closer to my own age:) The Stir events may be the place to be for me!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Work Bloggin'

Since I am a counselor at a high school, I get word of a lot of incidents going on in or around our county. I am also privy to emails and resources about what can help parents and students during difficult times. Today I encourage you to go over to my work blog, mbkschoolcounseling.blogspot.com, for some ideas for you or your family when something like this happens.

It has been a very dark few days for our country, so I hope you and your loved ones find light in one another and the holiday season. I have never felt unsafe at my own school, but after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, which hit very close to home, and now this, I find it hard to believe that we are ever truly safe from anything anymore. The media, mental health field and gun control all need to be reexamined. There is no one quick, easy fix, but we all need to remember how we feel now to make this world a better place.

For the children.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Half-Crazy?

A new item is on it's way to being crossed off my bucket list. That's right, ladies and gents, I registered for my first HALF MARATHON.

Thanks to some friends who will be running with me and the fact that it is the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-Marathon, which is a flat, pretty run along the water (and guarantees me a weekend at the beach), I have finally signed up!

My running has been going very well lately with the cooler weather. I have kept up with long runs on the weekends (up to 7 miles so far) and two shorter runs (3-4 miles) during the week. I am going to continue training this way and up my mileage each week after the new year. I am also going to do a 15k at the end of January, which is about 9 miles, so that will be a good time to see how my progress is going. It also will be hillier run, so it will be a good determiner.

What I have really tried to focus on lately in my running is not my time, but how I feel when I am running and cutting myself some slack when I have off days. I find that when I go slower and really enjoy my surroundings, I overall have a much better run. Getting into a rhythm is so essential for me. So there is no time goal for this half, and if I have to walk a couple of times, that will be ok. It is about accomplishing a goal and making it a good experience regardless of the end time. The journey is greater than the result!

If you have any training tips, please let me know! My longest run ever was a 9 miler I did last winter, but I can do up to 7 miles without any training if I am feeling good:). I have one planned for tomorrow morning actually and am looking forward to it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Whirlwind!

I love the holidays.

Precisely because of the social gatherings (holidays=an excuse to PARTAY)! I just had a super-busy, but super-fun weekend. Friday night (after a great nap) was game night at a friend's house for her friend's birthday/the holidays. Saturday morning I went on a great 6 mile run down to VCU and back in the mild weather (I actually would prefer it be more seasonal...but oh, well). I had SPCA orientation from 11-1, fed a neighbors cat, came home to clean and then went to a holiday/housewarming party for an old coworker from 4-6 that was a lot of fun. Then I babysat for two boys I watch regularly from 6:30-11:30 and got to help them decorate their tree! It did fall in the middle of the decorating...but I digress (all was fine- the mom and dad admitted they did not secure it well and besides some water on the floor, no major issues- I had already unplugged the lights). Today I baked Christmas cookies after my morning run while I was doing laundry and then went to help my parents set up for their party that went from 4-6. I just love socializing with people! I should be a professional party-goer.

Anyways, THIS is why I love the holidays- even though it can be busy and stressful, you get to see so many different types of people that you don't see as much during the year. I love all the parties and gatherings because they are all around food, friends and beverages:) What's not to love?

Here is to enjoying the remaining weeks of the holiday season (hopefully not to the neglect of our waistlines...I did have two dinners last night)!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Morning Routines

I have a weird obsession with what people are doing in the morning. I like to know when people go to bed and get up and what they do before they do to work. I assume this obsession has something to do with the fact that I have to be at work between 7:10 and 7:15, so I don't get much of a morning during the week and always feel pressure to go to bed at a decent hour, but I also am curious as to how people use their time. Do you work out in the morning? Do you clean? Meditate? Watch TV? Read the newspaper? Shower? Roll out of bed and out the door in 15 minutes? Especially families with kids- I hear horror stories of what their mornings are like when it comes to the early alarms (aka children) and getting everyone dressed, fed and ready for the day on time. It can be a very exhausting time.

I struggle with how I want my morning to be during the week (weekends are set- sleep in, eat breakfast, watch some morning news and go for a run). In high school I got up around 6:45 and was at school by 7:25. In college, sans my first year when I had earlier classes, I went to the gym before my morning classes, usually getting up around 8:30 because my classes started at 11. On the days when my classes were earlier, I would just sleep in. Often I would go to class straight from the gym (if I walked) or I would drive to the gym and back to my place so I could shower. I always found it ironic that my first year when I could walk to the gym in 3 minutes, I never used it in the mornings. Oh, well!

In grad school I had night classes, so I would get up around 9 and go to the gym and shower before working the lunch shift at my waitressing job. I had a much later schedule then, so I could really get up whenever I felt like it.

Once I started my current job, I would wake up at 6:25 and be at work by 7:10. This year, though, I am finding myself needing more of time in the morning to wake up and feel like my best self when I get to work (you have to be "on" to deal with teenagers!). I have been experimenting with how best to approach this need in the morning. Some days I still roll out of bed at 6:25, other days I wake up at 5:40 to work out at my condo's mini-gym or run, or on days like today, I get up at 6:00, and do a "light" routine on the elliptical for 20 minutes while watching the news. This way, I can rationalize waking up earlier because 6 AM does not seem as bad as any time in the 5 o'clock hour (mental tricks!) AND I am not really "working out" but I am more of "getting my juices flowing." I don't need to shower, and it only increases my morning routine by 25 minutes but gives me that needed extra wake up time.

As you can see, I am not the type of person to give myself more time in the morning to do nothing. I cannot simply sit on the couch (I would rather be sleeping than watch TV in the morning). I also do not drink coffee (except a Starbucks treat) nor do I even get the newspaper. I have internet at work to check the important things (minus Facebook...but it's not worth getting up earlier to check) so I don't even turn it on in the morning and I am one of those freaks who cleans up after herself whenever I do something, so cleaning is not necessary. I shower at night because my hair takes too long to do in the morning. I don't have a dog to take out and my cat does not need morning attention besides me refilling his water to only have him drink out of the toilet (sigh). SO I really need to DO something to give myself the extra time I need and make it worth while to get up. Hence, the casual elliptical viewing.

So what I would like to ask you all (my thousands of readers) is: What is your morning routine like? Do you have any tips for me in my quest to give myself time to wake up in the morning? Yoga? Pilates? Just chill out? :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Video Throw Back

I found this video from my college graduation in May 2008 in dedication to my brother, Nate, who was living in New Zealand at the time. We had consumed three bottles of wine at dinner in Charlottesville at The Melting Pot and most of that was between me and my other brother, Brian. There are other videos from that night that I need to track down because they are pretty funny!




Cheers to a new week!