Monthly Archives: November 2011

Stepping Away from the Checkout Button

Kittens, I am LOVING the responses to yesterday’s post.  If you haven’t commented yet, click here and tell me all.  I’m starting to see a pattern.  And for the most part, it’s hysterical.

All that aside, this is me announcing my official hiatus from shopping.

Yes, seriously.

Until when?  February 1st, I think.  Because March seems too far away and I really don’t know what I would actually need 31 days from now.

I was reading another blog last weekend (I could not tell you for the life of me what it was called) and she said something along the lines of:

Blah, blah, over 200 pieces in my closet, blah, blah, purging, blah, blah, my wardrobe will never be that well-edited.

That mysterious jumble of words really resonated with me.

Truth: I’ve never counted how many things I have hanging/stashed/folded in my closet, but I’m guessing that my number is well over 200 as well.  I love all of it, and I too, have no intention of purging.

So if I’m going to continue on the current path, then I should really get to know every piece inside-and-out.  My spider sense is telling me that in two months, I’ll have a very good idea of what I actually need (staple-wise) and what I really want.

And it goes without saying that it will save some money.

For context, my closet.

What you’re not seeing is the full extent (and contents!) of the shoe shelving in my closet, the running shoes by the treadmill, the shoe rack in the entryway or the hutch-arrangement in our entryway that hides an additional ~10 pairs of sandals/flats.

Yes, I’m coming off of a weekend of Black Friday shopping.  Yes, I just placed a last-minute order today for running jackets/gloves and the odd camisole.

But tomorrow marks the beginning of December, AKA The Month Where Other People Should Be Bringing You Things the month of giving.

So it’s really just time to Say No To Retail Therapy.

The exemptions:

  • The semi-annual sale (it’s when I do the majority of my underwear buying for the year).
  • I see an “it” piece of clothing that is so outrageously low-priced that it would be truly criminal to leave it on the sale rack, dooming it to the closet of another.
  • The running gear I need to be able to keep running (shoes).

Summary: I’m going to have to avoid the mall and the J.Crew website at all costs.  What you can’t see can’t end up in your closet.

This challenge/adventure/experiment starts now.

Do you ever take a shopping break?

A Little Bit Curious

Kittens, as I was reading everyone’s comments on my gun safety post the other day, I realized that it was an interesting litmus test for the blog.

Even though I was expecting the situation to be hardcore divisive, we were surprisingly on the same page.  And then little idiosyncracies started to rise to the surface.  Things that I NEVER would have expected y’all to throw out there that just fit together.

Added to the list of things that we love to do:

  • Foraging for rhinestones in antique shops
  • Spa days
  • Eating whipped cream from the can

Added to the list of things we worry about:

  • The zombie apocalypse (sometimes we only worry about it because other people tell us to, even if we’re not sure why it’s such an alarming prospect)

Added to the list of things we dislike:

So now, because I’m deadly curious, there are more questions to be answered.  Pick one or all of them.  Yes, I realize this is more of a dialogue then we usually work in the comments section.  But I think we’re all going to be tickled by the results of this.

And obviously, I answered them too…

1. Do you dream?

I know we all “dream” but in general I don’t remember them.  So formally speaking, I do not.

2. What was your favorite color in elementary school?  What is it today?

Elementary School: Purple.  Specifically royal purple.  When I was three our dance costumes were Lilac-colored.  I was pretty thrilled about that.  Now: Tiffany Blue and Pink.  It depends on the day.

3. Documentaries: How often do you watch them?

Often enough.  So probably…twice a month?  I don’t know if that’s a lot or a little.

4. When you work out, do allow yourself little vanities?

Example: When I run, I leave my jewelry intact, action a side bang-part arrangement for my ponytail and rock the eyeliner (or whatever other makeup happens to be on my face at the time).

5. What is your greatest fear?

When I was little, I was afraid our stove would burn the house down (it was electric, so don’t ask me how that one worked out in my head).  Today?  Definitely dying in a plane crash.

6. How many times have you eaten Frozen Yogurt as a meal?

Um.  Too many times to count.  That’s basically the only way I eat it these days.

Your turn – spill the beans on #1 – #6.  I’ll super-scientifically analyze the results (it’s just how I roll) and come back with something meaningful for us to workshop next week.

A New Stalwart

I still can’t decide if Mondays are about general wellness, my running, or what.  But in the same way that I don’t want to bombard you with proud pictures of my dinner in every post, I don’t want to chatter about healthy living on a daily basis either.

Truth: Tonight is the first night that Marcus and I have sat down to dinner at-home in a week.  Since the wedding last Tuesday, we’ve been on the equivalent of a food vacation without actually leaving town.

Delicious?  Yes.

Something that my body can handle?  Not really.

At some point it just gets to be a lot.

So this week is as good as any to “reset” before we get into the full-on swing of holiday parties.

What that actually means: Lots of tea, bringing salads (or really veggie-heavy dishes) for lunch, pushing the water like crazy.

Staying away from things covered in melted cheese.  Or things covered in frosting.

They’re basically the same thing in my book.

But enough about the eating.  Unless you’re at the table with me, it’s just not that fascinating.

In the last month, I noticed that my arms really aren’t as toned as they used to be.  I don’t know why what I’ve been doing isn’t working anymore, but facing reality means admitting that it isn’t and making a change.

What is a change?  If you have Comcast OnDemand, this is me telling you to run (don’t walk!) and start doing Yoga Slimdown.  It’s a 22 minute vinyasa session that I LOVE.  Yes, even more than the Yoga Sculpt session that was my stalwart for the better part of the year.

Plus, you can do it from the comfort of your living room/basement.  Without having to leave your house when the temperature dips below zero.  Whenever the mood strikes.  It leaves no room for excuses.  I absolutely love that.

Another reason that I love doing yoga in my basement?  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am EXTREMELY self-conscious when I practice.  If I’m rocking the windmill to keep from falling over (my balance is a day-to-day thing) or I let one rip (let’s be serious – it happens to everyone), there is no judgement whatsoever.  We just continue with the breathing and move into the next pose.

Namaste.

What healthy living/wellness topics would you like to see on The Blog?

Running Pack in the Sky: What are your training plans this week?

Do you prefer practicing yoga on your own or in a group?

7. Take a Gun Safety Class

Preface: This post is about my traumatic (at best) foray into the world of weaponry.  I really don’t “get” the handgun thing.  I don’t think that I ever will.  But if you’re someone who hunts animals, please know that I get that.  It has a purpose.  At the end of the season you end up with a freezer stocked with venison sausage and a jar full of jerky.  This post is not about that kind of thing.

Oh man, kittens.

Gun safety.

Last Christmas, Santa gave Mom, Marcus and I gift certificates for a gun safety class at the local gun shop/shooting range (Dad and Billy are practiced shooters).  Since Christmas 2011 is less than a month away, it was definitely time to use them.

So what better way to use part of a long holiday weekend than to cross another goal off the list?

Mom insisted that we get to the location 15 minutes before it opened to make sure that we would all be on-time.  What that really meant is that we had 15 minutes to survey our fellow range-goers.  That also gave me 15 minutes to think about whether or not I was really comfortable knowing that some of these people were legally able to brandish weapons.

Answer: No.  Not comfortable.

This was also the point in time where I realized that for the price of our class fees, I could have had a very nice Coach purse.

Not okay in my book.

As the store opened, we filed into the entry way and our instructor lead us back to our classroom.  We were greeted by PowerPoint slides, plastic guns, bullet casings and donuts.  There’s probably a bad joke in there somewhere, but I just don’t have time to search for it right now.

At the beginning of the class, we were invited to go around the room and share why we were there.

Most answers were mundane.  But one classmate was a real treasure.

You see, Classmate indicated that he was taking the course so that he could open up a gun shop in Peru.

From there, he asked the instructor about Silencers (super-illegal) which somehow disintegrated into a lecture about the black market (also illegal) and people who smoke bath salts.

I think y’all are quickly coming to realize that this place was just not my scene.

Or as some girlfriends of mine would describe it, these people just were not a part of my tribe.

After that extremely surreal bizarre discussion, our instructor segued into telling us all about how shooting on the range is The Greatest stress reliever and how much fun you can have.

Since I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to pass judgement without offering up alternatives, I made a list of things that I find to be effective stress relievers and things that I find to be fantastically fun.

Behold.

Kat’s Stress Relievers

  • Running
  • Blogging
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Tanning
  • Head massages
  • Tiffany Blue
  • Being surrounded by sterling silver
  • Laying in bed with my hot pack
  • Dealing with my mitts and paws

Things That Kat Finds to be Fantastically Fun

  • Crossing the finish line of a race
  • Triumphing in the kitchen
  • Drinking champagne
  • Traveling
  • Kissing
  • Finding adorable things in my size on the sale rack
  • Visiting active volcanoes
  • Dealing with my mitts and paws

Handguns?  Not relaxing.  Not fun.  I don’t think that something that is specifically designed to take the life of another should be seen as such.

As we were wrapping up one of our bathroom breaks, I came back into the classroom to find our instructor regaling half the class with an engaging tale about someone who owned 60 (!) guns.

Just wow.

And then That Classmate Who Wants To Open A Peruvian Gun Store made his comeback with some questions about when he could gun people down.  Like…if someone was in his house, would it be okay then?  What if they were taking his TV?  What about if he was driving in a car?  What if someone standing 50 feet away wasn’t far enough away?

Um.

No.

After three hours of this insanity intermingled with lessons about bullets and the parts of a gun, we headed out to the range.

So there we are, on the private range, being serenaded by the hellishly rhythmic blast of someone wielding an automatic weapon in the next range over.  Mom is busy trying to put her target on the clips upside-down (just in-case she is being attacked by someone who is coming at her upside-down) and I can’t even unload the damn gun, much less unlock it to shoot it.

We got in, we got out.

The finished product.

When I think of the things in this one life of mine that I have been Called to do, I am absolutely positive that this is not it.

Have you ever taken a gun safety class?

Despite the fact that it was horrible (or as Mom described it, The Dementor to Her Soul and a -47 on a scale of 1-10), I would say unequivocally that everyone should attend one.  It’s not information that I will ever use again, but it is information that everyone should have.

What do you find to be relaxing/fantastically fun?

A (belated) Food Round-Up!

See?  What a difference a day makes.  My appetite has returned and I don’t feel totally demented dedicating an entire post to food.

Even though we were busy-as-heck last week, we managed to sneak a few days of cooking in.  I don’t know about y’all, but when we’re coming up on a holiday, I instinctively want to make sure that everything I cook is the complete opposite of anything that could be even remotely construed as “holiday food.”

Apparently last year at this time, I turned out a pan of enchiladas.  So even if I sound a little bit crazy, at least I’m consistent.  Right?

Sunday – Mexican Lasagna from Nigella’s Kitchen and Guacamole

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense “Mexican” dish that is budget friendly, then this is a good choice.

As I described it to Marcus, while everything tastes really clean and fresh, it is the epitome of British Mexican food.  Which is to say that going by our experience discussing Mexican food with the British people on our honeymoon, they don’t eat a whole lot of it and so this dish is probably very adventuresome to a decent percentage of that population.

How that’s even possible in a nation that eats curry by the gallon, I don’t know.

But it is.

The real reason I wanted to action this specific dish is because I knew that it would taste just delicious on Thanksgiving morning reheated and topped with a few soft fried eggs.  That’s forsight at its finest right there.

Monday – Stir-Fried Spicy Beef with Basil from How to Cook Everything with Roasted Broccoli

I swear-to-God there is beef in lurking in that stir-fry bowl somewhere.

While I was getting everything ready-to-go for our stir fry, the recipe on the opposite page caught my eye because it involved onions and peppers, which our recipe did not.  Since we happened to have a bounty of vegetables on hand this week (and adding them to stir fries is a great way to stretch them out), I simply doubled the sauce to make sure that everything got coated and tossed them right in.

Delicious.

As everything was coming together, I realized that this is actually probably the perfect dish for the el cheapo steak that we sourced at ALDI.  It involves slicing into thin strips, marinating and stir frying.  You know, really functional.  If you’re wanting to do beef and don’t want to spend a lot of money to do so, this dish is very…forgiving.

It also gave me the chance to use one of the basil cubes that I froze at the end of this summer.  We all know that dried basil is a joke, so it was definitely a treat to be able to shoot some (free) fresh flavor in there.

Do you attempt dinner-as-usual during holiday weeks?

If you garden, what did you freeze/can/save from this year’s harvest?

2nd Annual Treadmill in the Basement Turkey Trot Recap

I know, I know.

Usually Fridays are dedicated to food.

But considering the fact that right now the absolute last thing on my mind is food (seriously – I’ve never been this not-hungry in my life), I thought y’all would be good with postponing for a day.

That means it’s time for a race recap of the 2nd Annual Treadmill in the Basement Turkey Trot.  Because if It’s Real, it gets a recap.

Not Real = No Recap.

Like I mentioned yesterday, my body decided that Thanksgiving morning was the day where it was actually going to give sleeping-in a fighting chance.  When I opened my eyes and saw light streaming in through our curtains, my first thought was Not Good.

So I rolled out of bed, threw on my running gear, and hustled downstairs to the treadmill.

This was also the point in time where I realized that my bib was a little bit large and that instead of wearing it on my leg, I was going to have to go front and center-first 5k style.

I was not so excited about that.

Anyway, the week after the Monster Dash, I realized that I should work on managing expectations a little bit and so instead of doing a half-marathon, I went for 10 miles.

10 miles.  It’s my favorite distance.  Not so long that it’s a day-ruiner, long enough that there’s some sweating commitment happening.

It validates the fact that we eat two Thanksgiving dinners.

Most rational person on the planet.  Right here.

What I  learned?  My basement is REALLY not a good space for taking pictures.  Which is probably why outside of this whole treadmill-snaps thing, I avoid it at all costs.

Water Stop

On the Course

My final time?  1:30:00.  And surprisingly (considering the bar hopping that happened the night before) it felt GOOD.  No, I am not adopting beer as the new carb-load.

Finisher.

When you finish your own Turkey Trot, you should probably wear all the medals.  It’s hardware time.

Did you move your body on Thanksgiving?

Black Friday: Day of Shopping or Day of Recovery?

Since we did our Black Friday shopping tres early (the outlet mall opens at 9 PM, so we just drove up when dinner was finished), I would like to think that today was actually dedicated to recovery.

Thankful x5

Oh man, kittens.

I had this really peaceful vision of how this weekend was supposed to work out.

Until we ended up bar hopping last night like we were 21 again.

Thank you for bearing with me through last night’s post.

And my body decided that today was the day I was actually going to sleep in until 8 AM.

Internal alarm clock, how you foil me.

I let Marcus use the vegetable peeler even though I just knew he was going to peel himself.

Which he promptly did.

But the show always goes on.  By the time that we managed to escape the house this morning to go over the river and through the woods, we were at peace.

So now it’s time for that part of the holiday where I give thanks.  Express gratitude.  Appreciate just a few of the things that make my life an absolute joy to live.  Even if they are REALLY superficial.

Let’s be honest.  I feel like it’s implied that I’m thankful for access to clean water.  Electricity.  Freedom of the press.  My family.  My health.

In case it wasn’t implied, hear me now: I’m thankful for all of those things.

What else am I thankful for?

1. My running shoes.  Over the past year, the only thing I can say about the situation is that Ravenna must be Brooks for Winged Victory.  I’m so very positive that they are the hooves that God meant for me to have.  The extra inch of sole on my foot that I was separated from at birth.  You love your shoes?  That’s great, really.  But mine are better.

2. My work schedule.  When I think about the way my life looked a year ago and the reality of my situation now, the difference is like night and day.  I’m finally excited to go to work.  I finally enjoy the time that I spend with my co-workers.  When I get home, I no longer worry about running out of time in the day for everything that I want to accomplish.  When I get home I’m relaxed and happy instead of being enraged about sitting through yet another rush hour.  I was standing in the kitchen last week making croutons and for a moment, my heart felt like it was so full it could burst.  I am so blessed and lucky that we’re able to make our situation work the way that we do.

3. The myAgenda Planner.  I don’t know if the tiny screen on my phone made me feel more claustrophobic about the amount of free-time I had available, or what.  Despite the fact that some of my friends tease me about carrying around a book the size of a Bible in my purse, it so helps me to get stuff done.

4. Garnier Fructis 3 Minute Undo.  Making deep-conditioning my hair a weekly-habit has easily been one of the better ideas that I’ve had in recent memory.  I can source it at the drug store (divas unite) and it works like a charm.  For 10 minutes a week, I get to have hair that is 11/10.

5. The Running Pack in the Sky

Yes, its conception was totally selfish.  I needed to know in my darkest marathon moments that I was not alone.  But you know, it kind of took off.  And every time I see #RunningPackintheSky on Twitter  it makes me smile.  It is real.  Even though we run in separate places, on separate training plans, at separate times, we run together As One.

What are the silly little things that you’re thankful for?