Thursday, November 28, 2013

Extra Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I'm going to keep this short and simple, as Thanksgiving is not a day to be spent in front of a laptop.

The Elf for Health challenge today is to call someone you're thankful for. Simple enough - I may just scroll through my phone's 300 contacts and pick at random.

The truth is, I have so, so many things to be thankful for. It's why I'm a fan Thankful Thursdays on the reg - but obviously this Thursday is uber Thankful. Let's run through a few things.


I'm thankful for my friends. Everywhere. But today in particular, my friends here in Baltimore. They've helped Andrew's absence fly by, and have really grown to be an important group of friends to me. Thankful for all you guys - you know who you are.



I'm thankful for my supportive, amazing family who always have my back, always. While I obviously have good reason to have stayed in Baltimore this Thanksgiving, I'm still missing my fam and crazy mutt, wishing I was there to indulge in some solid Turkey Day food.

my crazy sister

However, my Thanksgiving meal will consist of this:

pretttty sure i'm the only person in Costco yesterday who bought pizza..
And this:

Colorado brewed beer is the only way to go.

WHY?

Because it's what Andrew wants. And he gets back today.

Details will be spared for now as I have t-minus 8 hours to get a whole lot of stuff done before he lands. Including a Thanksgiving run weeeeeeee!!

In short, I'm beyond thankful to be getting my best friend and better half back to Baltimore today. It's been quite the journey for both of us, and the holidays will be all the more sweet being able to enjoy them together.

I hope your day is full of indulgent food, and everything you are thankful for. A friend sent me this great post on Thanksgiving and how we 'broke it'  - it's pretty spot on to how I feel. Eat, drink, and be merry. Don't dwell on your waistline, today's a day to be thankful and enjoy life.

Cheers my friends -

K

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Linkin'

Happy Saturday!! Lazy Saturday morning's have quickly become one of my all-time favorites, as I can take the time to make the breakfast of my liking, brew some Dunkin Donuts coffee, and just write away.

chicken sausage/spinach scramble
IF we are being honest, I had wanted to write this post yesterday and link up with my pal Brooke as she is always full of awesome links on Friday. Yesterday was no different, and she even stuck Jennifer Lawrence in her post who I continue to fall deeply in love with as she continues to be awesome in the public eye.


I actually thought of her when I saw this on Pinterest. 
Other links... I jumped on the 'Elf for Health 2013' train this past week, and the challenge starts on Monday. Basically you get paired up with another blogger, and for four weeks follow an assortment of challenges while supporting and motivating the blogger you are paired with. You can check out details here, and the calendar of challenges is below.


Speaking of challenges, I challenged Andrew to a race that I REALLY want to do this upcoming February. There is a Cupid's Undies Run in Baltimore on Saturday, February 15th, which raises money for the Children's Tumor Foundation. It looks like an absolute blast, and is offered in several different cities across the country (cough cough, Chicago & Denver too, cough cough).

http://www.cupidsundierun.com/
Thanks to the other Baltimore Kaitlyn for making me aware of this :)

Last link of the day. Jess over at Blonde Pony Tail wrote a great post about abs, and what you need to do in particular to see definition. In short, she reiterates the common phrase that abs are made in the kitchen. This topic always fires me up, because too many people - girls in particular - have this notion that if they want to have a leaner stomach, they simply have to rip out some more sit-ups.

No.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge advocate of core strength and work it into my workouts almost daily. But the times my abs have 'looked' the best and had the best definition have absolutely 100% been linked to my diet - like during the 21-Day Detox - and now, when I stick closer to a paleo-style diet.

Which didn't happen last night, when I got distracted by sushi and wine and movie night with the roomie. It was my first time ever trying seaweed salad, and I am now a huge fan.


Side note - Asahi Sushi in Fells Point has incredible sushi for incredible prices, for any of you Baltimore sushi lovers out there.

As soon as I hit publish on this bad boy I'm grocery-store bound. All I currently have left in the fridge is eggs, and that butternut squash needs to be whipped up into some delicious chili since that recipe was the unanimous winner. The name is the game today is productivity, as tomorrow my day will be consumed with this:



I scored a few of those as a 'thanks for working hard this week' gift from the boss. Definitely well worth the blindness that was slowly brought on by spreadsheets.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, I'm sure going to try. It's my last one flying solo before my better half gets back, and to say I'm excited is an extreme understatement.

Make it great, cheers -

K

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snoozin'

Happy Hump Day!

I very much hope that it was happy. This morning began a little frantically for me, as I woke up and glanced at my phone to find that it was 7 AM on the dot.

What?!

I had set my alarm for 5:40 AM as I do almost every morning... yet apparently the volume on my phone was down so low that I just kept on snoozin'.

I never do that. Ever. I honestly think it may have been the first time I slept through an alarm. 

Thankfully I had showered the night before, so I did absolutely nothing to tame my hair, threw on clothes, and was still at work by 7:45.

My wild, just-woke-up-and-did-nothing-to-tame-it hair
Impressive, eh?

I even took a quick second to snap the trees on my street before hopping in my car, which are currently an array of beautiful colors.



Let's talk food for a bit, shall we?

I failed to mention that this past weekend I threw together a hodge-podge recipe for paleo crockpot cranberry applesauce. It came out well and I've been nibbling at it all week.


In case you are a manic cranberry lover like myself, here is what I threw in the pot:

-Two large apples, chopped
-1 bag of fresh cranberries
-1-2 TB of cinnamon
-Two freshly squeezed oranges
(I just squeezed the juices and then left two slices in the pot to marinate)
-1 cup of water
-1/4 cup honey

I turned the crockpot on high for about 3-4 hours, stirring on occasion to help it all breakdown. Now, I like my cranberries a little tart, so if you like them on the sweet side, throw in a bit more honey, honey.

Good stuff.



I also have a large butternut squash that has been sitting up on the counter now for at least a week, and I decided tonight that I want to do something with it by the weekend.

Let's play a game called help Kait choose which recipe to use for her butternut squash. Vote in the comments below, would ya?


All 3 recipes are paleo because that's just how I roll these days. Check out the three fairly simple recipes and let me know your thoughts.

Is 7:30 an acceptable bedtime? Because I would be lying if I said I wasn't lounging here in my giraffe pj's... again.

not sorry.
I've got a WOD planned for the morning, followed by a long day of work, followed by a little coworker happy hour. I sure wouldn't mind if Thursday flies by, Friday's are much more fun, don't you agree?

Cheers!

K

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bears & Bites

First and by far most importantly, thoughts and prayers to our beloved Central Illinois who got slammed by horrible tornadoes and storms this past weekend. The region in particular is near and dear to my heart as my undergraduate school, Bradley University, is located in Peoria, IL which is nearby all of the current devastation.

source
There of course are already several sites and ways to donate/help - I found a few different resources listed on Bradley's website... if you're interested, click here.

In other news, received a pretty awesome surprise in the mail this past weekend for Andrew's mom. She knows me too well.

giraffe pants. obsessed.
No joke, I put them on late Saturday afternoon and did not take them off again until Sunday morning before heading to an early spin class, after a thorough internal debate as to why I could not wear them to spin class. It was a foggy gloomy morning, and I really didn't want to get out of bed.

the walk to the gym...
But my roommates and I hosted a Bears/Ravens/Friendsgiving yesterday and I had to be back early to help set up/cook, so early spin class it was. The day was a raving success... even more so for me after Chicago pulled out an OT victory over Baltimore.



The were such gracious losers.

Unfortunately I was too busy shoveling in my food post-game to take any pictures of our impressive assortment.  However, I wasn't too busy shoveling in my odd breakfast of acorn squash and eggs this morning...



It was actually delicious. Veggies for breakfast. #winning

It was in the mid-60's here in Baltimore today, can you believe it? I allowed myself a few miles after work along the harbor....

Followed by the below kettlebell workout:

10 mins, AMRAP
60 single-under jump rope
15 double arm KB swings (15 lbs)
10 KB upward rows (15 lbs)
15 single-leg bulgarian split squat (15 lbs, both legs)

All you need are these two things and a little bit of space:

artistic, I know.
A full week of work ahead of me, and for some reason it's very daunting. While the warm weather was nice today, I'm ready for the temperatures to drop and winter to start rolling in. I know, I know, I'm crazy.

One down, four to go. Make the week great my friends. Be thankful for the roof over your head, it can disappear more quickly than you would ever think.

Cheers -

K


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Crafty Kait

I have personal rules when it comes to the celebration of seasons. Fall begins in September, winter begins in December. I don't care what the official dates are, that's just how I operate.

Christmas music cannot start until Thanksgiving. However, my roommate is going to break the rules and start decorating our house for Christmas this coming week. So yesterday I broke my own rule and pulled out my snowman mug from hibernation. It had been a long week, and I needed some joy at work.



Wednesday was a particularly rough day for me, one of those a whole bunch of little things added up to a slight meltdown at my desk. So when Thursday rolled around our highschool intern strolled in and handed me two bags of these:


and offered apologies for my rough day yesterday. He sits kitty-corner from my desk for the few hours a day that he's in the office, and most likely thinks I'm a nut job. I am. Regardless, the gesture was precious and brightened my day.

seriously though.
Changing subjects, remember how I have been gym-less since moving to Baltimore in July, and have just been bouncing around on free trials like a sneaky little weasel? Well I scored a 30-day pass to Canton Club about two weeks ago, and have been LOVING the 5:30 AM Friday morning spin class.


The instructor has the potential to be my grandma's age, no exaggeration, and she kicks our asses. Repeatedly. Gets up there, plays some awesome jams, and screams motivation until my gluts are on fire.

Another awesome part of the class is that the studio overlooks the harbor, so we got to see a beautiful sunrise. I wasn't able to snap a picture of the sunrise itself as I was too busy sweating like a madwoman, but hopefully these help you get an idea...



My roommates and I are hosting a Bears/Ravens party tomorrow paired with a Friendsgiving (it's likely I will be the only Bears fan present) and therefore we felt the need to be domesticated and crafty last night with a few glasses of wine. Here's what we came up with:


Pinecone turkeys!
While I sat at the table tracing my hand I realized it had most likely been about 20 years since I had last made a turkey out of my hand. We all did it at some point in elementary school, and there was an odd level of joy that I found in the simplicity of doing it.


Or maybe it was the wine, I don't know.

I'm off to the gym. Today calls for the elliptical and a solid lifting session, I really haven't been giving my muscles enough attention lately. Hope your weekend is fabulous, Go Bears!

Cheers - 

K

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

L&M

Here, my friends, is the recap of my weekend that brought me a whole lot of joy. Better late than never I suppose.

As mentioned last week, I traveled home to Chicago this past weekend for one of my best friend's - Lyndi's - wedding. It was beautiful, tastefully done, and the best part - everyone was there.

some of the crew
I don't talk much about my college volleyball career on here. I should - it honestly taught me so much. I don't often mention my volleyball teammates who were my sisters, and the baseball and soccer players who were my brothers. Our class had a very solid camaraderie in particular, it was honestly pretty awesome. We were a tight knit group of athletes at an already small DI school, and damnit we were proud to be Division I. We worked hard and practiced hard and played hard and sometimes studied hard... all the while having each other's backs, always.

Fall 2009
Fall 2013
Impressive what a little makeup can do eh?

But that internship with the Olympics whisked me to Colorado the final spring semester of my senior year, and Colorado overtook my life for the next two years or so.  I went off the grid and fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and kind of let them swallow me up. Colorado stole me for a solid two years, before moving to Baltimore (almost two years now WHAT).

Three years was far too long to go without seeing some of my closest college friends. And it took this weekend to remember that.



It was a wonderful affair – the wedding ceremony, the reception, the dancing, the post-reception live music. I text Lyndi, the bride, the next day thanking her for hosting such a perfect weekend. Perfect, because we were all together again, and so freaking happy. The best part of the day, and I think she would agree, was the amount of love that was present. A whole bunch of Bradley Alum came together to celebrate two of our own athletes who had made it past our safe college bubble into the real world, and it was genuinely a joyful evening.


It’s hard flying back east after being reminded of the supportive friends I have in the Midwest. It made me excited to return in December over the holidays and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into. Thank you Lyndi and Mikey, for putting on one hell of a party wedding. And thank you x50 for letting me share it with you.


This is a cheesy post, I know. I just can't help but think, as I sit here writing this, how important my friends will always continue to be to me. I love sharing weekends like this, and it definitely helped give me a bit of encouragement coming back to Baltimore for the final countdown.

August 2006
November 2013
Treasure the relationships you have in your life; they are precious, and most likely bring you more joy than you even realize.

Cheesiness, done. Make today great my friends.

Cheers -

K

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday Part II

I'm pretty sure I've done this before, this whole thankful Thursday thing. Nonetheless, I was heading to work this morning and observing the beautiful leaves, and I realized how thankful I was for such a beautiful Maryland fall. 



It really hasn't gotten that cold here yet, and the colors are to die for. Sorry I wasn't able to snap the best of pictures - it turns out when you walk out of Starbucks at 6:30 AM and stand in the parking lot taking pictures of the leaves/sky, people look at you funny.

Sorry I'm not.

Speaking of Starbs, those red cups are back. Oh the joy a little red cup can bring me....



I'm thankful for my roommate. Both of them actually, but Megan gets a shout out tonight, because I work with her and we get to spend an abundance of time together...



She puts up with a lot from me on my moodier of days (WHAT Kait you're moody?!) and I'm thankful for her patience and understanding.

I'm thankful that I have naturally curly hair. This sounds a bit absurd, but I love the fact that I can throw product in my hair after getting out of the shower and go to work with it half wet.



Biiiig time saver. Waaaay to lazy to do my hair most days. Sorry for the horrific pic.

Currently I'm thankful for my bed. I've been having some hard, wonderful sleep in it this week, and am about to do it again.

Last thing. I'm SO thankful that I'm heading home tomorrow to see some of my closest college friends, teammates, roommates, you name it. One of my best friends, Lyndi, is getting married on Saturday, and it's going to be a Bradley Athletics reunion for the books.



Can't wait! Congrats Lyndi and Mikey!

OK, bed time. Sorry for the semi boring week. Looking forward to doing some more writing while I'm home through Tuesday morning.

Cheers -

K

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Breaking Rules

I did something that I technically shouldn't have done after work last night.

I ran.

I know, I know. I need to heal. But my shoes were calling to me, and I need to work through some things in my head.

So I took off under the bright pink Baltimore sky as the sun slowly sank behind the city. And I thought and I prayed and I pouted and I tried to encourage myself.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Kait, what could possibly be wrong? You just went on a week-long cruise with your sister this past month, and are about to head off to Chicago this weekend to see all of your best friends from college for a blast of  wedding."

True, this is true. And I'm lucky blessed to have the means for all of that to happen. AKA credit cards.

But distracting fun trips aside, can we real talk here?

I'm sad, and just a little bit stuck.

I miss my best friend/partner in crime/boyfriend. I have some heavy family stuff going on. Some tough friend stuff going on. Even work (at times) has been a big fat B.

But instead of sitting here continuing to list off all the sad things in my life, I'm going to say this instead.

I love the phrase 'find joy'. I hashtag it a lot on twitter, heck I even may or may not have tattooed the word JOY somewhere on me recently...

(What? Did I say that outloud?)

My point? I'm having difficulty finding joy in my daily life. And it's so selfish. A year ago I may have blamed this on not being able to run. At this point, I know that's not the case. Running brings me joy, yes. But it brings me joy because of the quiet time that I'm able to have with myself, to clear my head.

This is something I know how to do sans running. I need to tell myself this next time I try to run again prior to being healed.

My deal, I would say, in the midst of all the good things that I have in my life, my priorities have shifted a bit out of whack. And that places/things I should be finding joy and contentment in, I'm simply not looking there. Or trying. I'm getting up, doing abs, going to work, eating lunch, working out, coming home, and going to bed. On the reg.

And for some people, a routine like that might be just what they need. But a routine like that for me, isn't in any way serving other people. It isn't really bettering my life. Or bringing others joy.

'Tis the season to be thankful my friends. It's time for me to set it up a bit.

That's all I've got. I don't even have any pictures, I apologize deeply. Hoping your Wednesday is wonderful.

Cheers -

K