Friday, August 31, 2012

I feel like Rebecca Black

A 3:00 yesterday afternoon, I kicked off my 4.25 day weekend... with studying for my accounting and finance classes.  I'm a real party animal, you know?

Today, even though I'm off work, I got to wake up with Ammon at 6:45, make him oatmeal, coffee, and pack his lunch for school.  Does anyone else do this for their significant others?  The girls I work with think it's weirs that I do this, but it's just something my mom always has done for my dad.  Apparently, neither of us fell in love with men who are particularly happy with the idea of getting stuff done first thing in the morning. 

So why, at 7:18 am MDT do I feel like Rebecca Black?

Because my mom and I are going SHOPPING for dresses for the wedding.  The Shabby Apple situation didn't pan out, to my dismay.  However, I'm sure that between Nordstrom Rack, LOFT, and Kohl's, we're bound to find too many things that we just 100% need in our lives.  Shopping with my mom is a dangerous proposition, especially since it's pay day!  I heart pay day.

Alright, I'm going to stop taunting you with my day of shopping and go get ready for it.  I hope you guys are getting excited for the holiday weekend, I know I am.  Have a fantastic Friday!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Bear claw incident

Oh Thursday, my nemesis.  We meet again.  Last week at least, I had a fantastic surprise.  I'll let Ammon explain it to you, in meme form:

And this is what he sent me:
I think I really love him too.  Ammon, that is.  It would be weird to love a kitten I've never met. 

Since that constitutes a total blogger cop-out, I have a vlog for you.  About the time yesterday when my boss said something moderately inappropriate to me.  I know you guys are going to love this.  How could you not, when it's ultimately at my expense?  I promise, it's totally okay to laugh.

That is my sexy face.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surprising lessons learned poolside

Really, I don't know where this topic came from.  I legitimately had no idea what I could possibly tell you today, and I thought maybe I'd tell you about books that had changed my life.  Thinking about books got me thinking about my lifelong love of the written word.  This tangent then had me considering at what point it was that reading took a turn from being all about enjoyment, to being about something greater; about rocking your fundamental beliefs and making you determine what is and is not important in this world.

It all comes back to being hot, sweaty, and half nekked.... AKA, the 5 years I spent as a lifeguard.  Those were some amazing years for me.  And yes, that is when I started reading for more than enjoyment:  there is a lot of downtime when you're a lifeguard, and there are only so many ways you can fill that time and not a) get fired, or b) get arrested.  So British literature was where I started, eventually branching out into Modern lit and Russian lit.   While those books have been set aside in the last 8 years in favor of textbooks and trashy novels to take my mind off of the textbooks, I crave those deeper, more meaningful forays into the social constructs of times and places where every small decision was important, and a person had to own those decisions, no matter what the price.

For your reference:  That hair had not a drop of dye, and that skin not an ounce of sunless tanner.  That is what spending 14 hours a day outdoors gets you.  Oh yeah, and I'm normally as pale as my friend on the left.  Frame of reference, folks.

It wasn't all book learning for me during those days of swimsuits, tan lines, and bleached out hair:  I also learned just how disgusting humanity really is.  I worked at a pool for a couple of summers that was part of a large subdivision, and the HOA hired our company to take care of the pool, including the shower and the restrooms.  People.  I have never used so much bleach, or become so proficient with a plunger in my entire life.  I plunged a toilet at least twice a week, every week, for two summers straight.  I alone used 24 gallons of bleach to carry out cleaning duties, not to mention what the other lifeguards used.  This taught me that dirty, stinky, filthy jobs are inevitable, and that they are important.  It taught me that just because I was a "lifeguard", and that my main duty was to make sure people didn't die, I wasn't above doing these other jobs.

Last, Lifeguarding taught me the value of caring for yourself.  You really aren't of any use to someone who's drowning, if you are not strong enough to save them.  If you're coughing and hacking all over the place, you can't treat a wound, because of the risk of secondary infection.  And if you're passing out in the guard office because of extreme heat, low blood sugar, and moderate dehydration, you sure as heck can't do anything for anyone else.  Not that the last one happened to me during an inservice about first aid.... It was just an example that came to mind (Or it happened.  You can be the judge).

What job had the biggest impact on your life?  Looking back, did you learn any interesting lessons?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making a BOLD decision

Somehow, I have designated Tuesdays as the day I talk about health and wellness.  I do this, so that those of you who are disinterested in these topics can either naturally skip over me, or come up with something hilarious and sarcastic for us to laugh about.  Either way, Tuesdays are for health and fitness talk.

I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to move on from a weight lifting-centered fitness plan.  No, I haven't completed the 90 days.  No, I don't feel bad about it either.  No sense of failure, just the sense that I'm ready for something else.

I feel like I am losing more fitness than I am gaining, because my cardiovascular endurance has suffered greatly from this current plan.  And I've been too fatigued from the weight training to add in the extra cardio I would need.  So I'm going to shift gears, back to what I know gives me a feeling of well-being, stress relief, and added energy.

I'm going back to a cardio based plan, and I'm going to incorporate 2 days of moderate weight training in to balance everything out and keep me injury-free.


I have had a pretty solid goal for myself for the last few months now, that I've quietly shared with several of you.  I want to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) next May.  And not only do I want to run it, I want to rock it.  I've very carefully laid out a training program that will start in November, and take me up to race day.  Yup, I have a 6 month plan.  And I do intend to start easy; in fact, I'll be starting over with the 5k plan I used when I trained for the 5k I did last May.  But my goal this time through is to use the 5k training plan to build speed, not stamina.  That means that I need to get some stamina back PRONTO, so that I can work on speed later. 

A little more stamina would have made a HUGE difference here!

So since I'm writing this on Sunday, we're going to assume I can see into the future, and I'm going to tell you that on Monday, I picked up with running again.  Slowly, because lately, I've been lucky to do better than a 12 minute mile.  But I'm going to work at it, and I'm going to do 3-4 days a week of cardio.

To those of you who are worried now that weight lifting isn't for you:  still give it a try.  I was seeing gains in my muscular strength, but my long-term fitness goals don't require nearly as much muscular strength as I was gaining.  You need to find the right workout to meet your goals.  Some people want to look great, have a good metabolism, and be in and out of the gym.  For those people, strength training is great.  For other people, working out is a way to quiet your mind, a way to let go of fears and anxiety, and something you need in order to stay sane.  I certainly fall into that category, and I prefer the slightly longer, less intense cardio workout.  There is nothing that makes me feel more at peace than a 2 hour hike, or a nice long bike ride.

So I guess what this comes down to is that I know who I am, where I'm at, and where I want to go.  While I've really enjoyed working thorough a program that's so different from what I usually do, I'm read to go back to what I love.  And I'm pretty excited to be changing gears again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Randomly Monday

As I write this post on Sunday night, I can't think of any one cohesive thing to say.  There are so many little things.  So many big things, yet none of them really fit together.  So seeing as today is Monday, and one of those few Mondays where I have to put on clothes and a smile before tottering off to work, I decided to indulge my randomness, and give you a post full of tidbits.  You're welcome, self.

~So I didn't share this before, but Ammon's financial aid for this school year has been a DISASTER, and when school started last Monday, we still didn't know if he was actually going to be granted his financial aid or not.  Last Wednesday, we found out he wa approved, and this huge weight came off of my shoulders.  He will have the financial aid he needs to finish these last 2 semesters!

~Another thing I didn't share before:  I lost that promise ring of mine last Wednesday.  Really, truly.  So embarrassing.  Until Sunday night, when I was pulling a cucumber out of the fridge, and my ring fell onto the kitchen floor.  And then I got to tell Ammon, "Look hney, I found my ring.  It was in the fridge."  Somehow, I made it sound like that's where I keep all of my rings.  He told me that the next time I lose anything, he's going to look for it in the fridge.


~I did serious cooking on Sunday.  It was epic.  I made homemade tomato sauce using the mountain of yellow tomatoes we had from our CSA, and then I put that over chicken and added a salad for lunch.  Dinner, we had lamb chops, homemade tzatziki sauce, sliced fresh cucumbers, and pita.  We also ate a lot of watermelon.  I have just enough watermelon left for me to make a strawberry watermelon protein drink in the morning.
~This week is going to be pretty intense.  I work today from 8:30-5, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30-6, then class Wednesday night from 7-9:15.  Thursday, I work 8:30-3, and am off until the following Tuesday at 9 am.  You know who loves holiday weekends?  This girl!

~I love all of the advice you all gave me about the greatness of Shabby Apple dresses.  It seems like a lot of you find them to be worth the investment!  I haven't purchased very many dresses in the last few years, because I bought several "investment dresses" about 5 years ago.  While I still love them, they're starting to show their age, because I wear them CONSTANTLY.  It might just be time to add in a new investment piece.  Thank you all for your input on that subject.

~I get annoyed when I hear about a baked dessert recipe that "only calls for 3 ingredients".  People.  Boxed mixes are not the answer.  It is not that much more work to make things from scratch, and it's cheaper.  Plus, you aren't going to get whatever nasty fillers, preservatives, and stabilizers that they like to throw in there.  If you want that convenience, there are pins all over pinterest for how to make your own "boxed mixes".  Okay, I'm stepping off my soap box now.  Thank you for indulging me with that one.

~My business law professor is a judge in Larimer County, and he periodically hears cases for our Property Management Company.  Except, guess who can no longer testify before said judge due to potential bias?  Yup.  We will now have to make sure that if I am testifying, that we will not appear before that particular judge.  I feel so special (this is my sarcastic voice).

Anyway, that's my Sunday night/Monday.  As you read this, there is a 70% chance that I will have a cup of coffee no more than 18 inches from my right hand.  That is the hand I use for holding beverages.  See how much you're learning about me today?  I know you're glad you stayed through all of the blog post, just to learn this final little factoid about me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A couple of confessions

Well, another Sunday is here, my friends!  I thought it would be fun to link up with one of my favorite bloggers, Alyx, for her Sunday Confessions series.  I certainly feel like I have things to confess this week!

1)  I haven't felt much like blogging, responding to emails, or reading blogs this week.  With both Ammon and I starting back to school this week, I've been more focused on relaxing and not freaking out.

2)  Workouts didn't happen this week, and I really don't care.  I got the flu on Thursday, and the only thing I cared about was having some Pho (the magic elixir of life), and actively trying to not die.
3)  We ate out far more than I usually condone.  I try to cook at home ore often than not, especially since we get a set amount of vegetables delivered to us every week from a local farm.  I've already paid for the veggies, so I hate to see them go to waste.  We're eating in next week, that's for sure!

4)  I want to quit my current workout plan.  I'm sick of the weight training emphasis.  I want to hike and ride my bike instead.  Or my mom's bike that I'm actively trying to steal.
5)  Instead of buying an inexpensive dress for my cousin's wedding in 4 weeks, I'm really tempted to buy a nice dress from Shabby Apple.  They're so stinking cute!  For instance:

The Billie
Look of Love
See?  How cute would either of these be for a fall wedding???  I'm so in love... and the temptation to press that "add to cart" button is overwhelming.

Do you have anything to confess this week?  Hope you are having a fantastic Sunday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

There's a form for that

My job requires a lot of paperwork.  In fact, if you tried to lease an apartment with us, there would be more paperwork for you to fill out than if you were trying for finance a new car.

Since I'm all about honesty on this here blog, I have no problem telling you that I enjoy handling paperwork.  Now, before you all go and start the arduous process of un-following my blog, hear me out, k?  It's like this.  Paperwork doesn't talk back.  It's organized.  It's orderly.  When done properly, it gives the user accurate, detailed, concise information.  I like my work organized.

It should come as no surprise to you that if I like paperwork in my professional life, that I can see its value in my personal life as well.  Something that I think all of us bloggers should seriously consider adopting is a blog release form.  What is the prupose of the form, you ask?  It's simple.  This would be a form that would give you (the blogger) consent to tell stories about your friends, families, co-workers, Starbucks barista, etc without fear of public shaming.  Think of all the times you've mentioned your co-workers' dislike of ANYTHING on your blog, and how that particular co-worker will never let you hear the end of it.  In an instant, that would no longer be an issue.

So I present to you, the blog release form:

I ____________________ hearby allow for (your name here), the writer of (your blog name here) to use my name, likeness, or description on their blog.  I understand that their ability to deliver witty, funny, sarcastic, or insightful blog content is dependent on my willingness to be mentioned.  By having a relationship with a blogger, I understand that they will feel obligated to talk about their lives and the people in it, even if the story is sometimes at my own expense.

The blogger understands that while I consent to be included on the blog, that they have the responsibility of being fair, accurate, and non-slanderous in their descriptions.  Even if I do something totally evil, the blogger promises to make every attempt to be respectful of my privacy within the blogosphere.

___________________________     ___________
Signature                                             Date

I had really hoped to make this post funny somehow, so that you understand that I'm not ACTUALLY serious about this.  Because really, who would agree to it?  We bloggers operate under the notion of "it's better to beg forgiveness", and I think that for the most part, it turns out pretty well.  However, Alyx and I were talking one night about how it's nice to keep your blog a secret from your co-workers so that you can tell funny stories about them without making them mad.  The idea of a release form was spawned from that conversation.  Wanna have a hilarious email thread with someone?  Alyx is your girl.  I get more great blog post ideas from her than I do from just about anyone these days.

What is your stance on talking about friends/family/baristas on your blog?  Is it no holds barred?  Or do you heavily filter what you say?  Do you do everything in your power to ignore their existence in your life?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The best

On Monday, I went for the BEST bike ride.  My great average speed did not make it the best.  The weather didn't make it the best.  The route did not make it the best.  The peace of mind isn't what did it either.  Can you guess what did?  No?  Well, I suppose I'll have to show you:

Meet my mom's Bianchi TDI.  I think it's a mid-1980's model?  It's totally vintage, either way.  Those silver levers on the down-tube?  Those would be the shifters.  It has purple Look-pedals... I'm convinced that my family is the only family in the world still using the big, clunky clip-less pedals, but we all love them, and use the same pedals so that we can trade bikes around.  I also love how light this bike is, and how smooth the braking mechanisms are.  Don't be fooled by its old as heck handlebar tape, and the totally 80's paint job... this baby is a high end bike.

Why in the world was I riding one of my mom's bikes, and not my own?  That's a great question.  At the present moment, my bike needs new tires.  I have gotten at least one puncture flat on every ride I've been on in the last few months.  Given how horrible I am at changing tubes, this equates into 45 minutes standing on the side of the road trying to change a tube, not look pathetic, and not get hit by cars.  Not to mention that at $5 a pop, tubes aren't cheap... and should last longer than 1-2 bike rides.  So instead of spending the $80-100 it would take to get new tires, I decided to drive the 35 minutes to my parents' house to use this cutie.  Besides that, my bike is pretty basic.  Getting to use my mom's bike is like the difference between driving a beater, and driving a nice car; sometimes you need that extra indulgence.

And then I came home from the best ride ever, and made a fantastic recovery drink:

2 cups of watermelon, 1/2 cup water, and one scoop of strawberry shakeology (protein powder), all mixed up in the blender.  Incredibly refreshing, and surprisingly awesome after a solid workout!

What was the best workout you've had lately?  Do you nerd out on gear like I do?  I am such a gear junkie!  Have a great day, guys and gals!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Health Evolution

When I started this little blog last December, this was meant to be my place to be accountable for meeting my health and wellness goals.  I wanted to lose the weight I'd gained, get back to healthy eating, and start working out regularly again.

Since December, a lot has changed in my life  I went back to school.  I decided that I needed to blog about more than just health and fitness to stay sane.  I started working out regularly again.  Ammon and I invested in a farm, and started receiving weekly boxes full of amazing organic produce.

Overall, I am in a much better position now than I was back in December.  But despite all of that, my weight hasn't budged.  I work out regularly, and I eat healthfully 75% of the time.

The problem is still with my food, and the way that I spend my downtime.  This girl spent all of her downtime DOING things, like rock climbing, hiking, walking, going on bike rides, etc...

This girl also ate a primarily plant-based diet, and never once worried about the quantity of food she ate, because it was almost all fiber anyway.

However, this girl fell in love, got a desk job, and started cooking meat, because her prince charming is a Texas-boy who can't live without animal protein in his life.

Suddenly, that girl found herself staying in more and more, because that's what her prince preferred.  Instead of going for a 4 mile walk after work, she had to get home to make dinner, clean the house, and hang out with the guy she loved so much.  And she loved every minute of it.  She still does.  But the weight crept on, slowly but surely.  It was no longer a matter of adding in a few extra workouts, or cutting dessert out once a week in order to stay trim.

Back to present day Kristen...

I feel an intense sense of frustration regarding my weight and my body image.  I work out 5 days a week.  Like I mentioned before, I eat really well 75% of the time.  I sleep.  I avoid alcohol.  But it isn't helping, and to be honest, I understand why.  I am taking a step-by-step approach to my health, which gives fewer results than a full-health overhaul.  In order for me to hit my goals, I'm going to have to work out every day, plus live a more active lifestyle, PLUS shift my eating so that I'm eating healthfully 90% of the time, rather than 75%.  So while I'm getting there, I'm not there yet.  That's hard to come to terms with in our instant gratification society.  We want success now, not when we earn it.

I'm coming towards the end of ChaLEAN Extreme.  I will officially be done with the program in 3 weeks and 2 days.  It's gone by quickly, and I know that while I've put on muscle and lost inches, the scale is still reading the same number.  It's time to start thinking about what the next step is.  I have a lot of ideas, but I think I need to focus on one thing to add to my current plan once I reach the "Lean for Life" stage of  the program.  I'm going to do the 4th month of the program, and I want to add a 30 minute walking to my day, 6 days a week.  This sounds so easy now, but I know that when it comes time to do it, I will struggle with it.  All of the jobs I had prior to my current job involved a lot of walking, a lot of lifting and moving.  Ultimately, I think that was the secret of being thin for me.  Constant movement.  So hopefully, adding 30 minutes of walking almost every day will move me to the next stage of my health evolution.  I know it won't be what gets me to my goal, but it will get me one step closer to earning that goal.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beauty Box swap

Well guys, we made it to another Monday.  Do you feel like that's an accomplishment?  A lot of times I do.  School starts for Ammon and I today... I'm taking one in-person class this semester on Wednesday nights.  It's going to feel so strange to go sit in a classroom for hours on end again!  At the same time, I do tend to do better with in-person classes, as opposed to online classes.  In addition, I'll be heading back to school in style, thanks to the great stuff I got from participating in the beauty box swap!  This awesome swap was hosted by Tiffany, Megan, and Kitteh, and was modeled after birchbox, but with different price levels!  I thought it would be lots of fun, and decided to participate at the $30 level.

Aren't you always surprised when someone doesn't procrastinate on getting their box out to you?  That's how I felt when an amazing package arrived in my mailbox from Stacie.  It arrived almost a week before the deadline for sending out our goodies!  And let me tell you, I was thrilled with everything she packed in there.  Take a look:

2 different face washes, an eye shadow palette, mascara, eyeliner, eye primer, facial cleansing wipes, a face scrubber, an adorable nail polish, and samples!!!  Don't worry, you get to see the samples too:

Yup, she threw in a trail sized clinique mascara.  I forgot how much I looooooove their mascara.  It used to be the only one I used.  Rediscovery at its finest!

By far, the product I am enjoying the most is that face scrubber.  I never got on the clarisonic bandwagon, but I do like gentle exfoliation.  This is just the perfect blend of exfoliation and gentleness for me.  I'm also really impressed with the eye primer!  I typically use Mary Kay (because I have a ton of it), but I hate how it comes in a squeeze tube.  This one from ELF has a sponge-tip applicator, and goes on like a dream!  I was surprised at how long lasting it is.  Another fantastic win!

I really can't thank Stacie enough... she has amazing taste in beauty products, and her blog is 100% dedicated to her faves.  I would definitely recommend heading over to her blog and checking out what she has to say about the products she's loving right now.

What are your fall beauty essentials?  Any new products you're loving lately?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Last Saturday

Did you notice that it's Friday?  And that I'm just now talking about last Saturday???

I noticed too.  I guess I decided we had better things to talk about.  Hope you forgive me, given enough time.  Last Saturday, I had big plans to go to the hippie-dippie music festival in Fort Collins.  I was so pumped to go.  5 music stages, hippies, dogs, food, beverages... all the makings of a perfect twirly weekend.  And it started out awesome.  I didn't even get out of bed until 10:30 am.  Like a lazy-person.  This never happens.  I am a "greet the day and get it done" kind of girl.  Went to the bank and ate.  Showered, put on flowy white skirt, and tank top.  Flip-flops.  Ready spaghetti.

First up on my perfect Saturday was my free coffee from Corner Bakery.  Because you know it has to be done.  Always. 

Ammon decided he needed a croissant.  I decided you need to see a picture of him eating the croissant.  You're welcome.

When we left, we couldn't start the car.  Well heck... we ended up waiting 45 minutes for the people parked next to us to finish their leisurely lunch and come out to give us a jump.  Figuring that all the battery needed was some charge time, we went for a drive.  I tried out taking nature pictures from a moving vehicle:
After an hour or so of driving, we went downtown and parked.  And realized that the battery was dead again.  So much for that wild hope that the car would be okay.  We decided to deal, and spend an hour or so at New West Fest enjoying ourselves before we would have to flag down someone to jump the car again.

We ended up seeing a great band, The Haunted Windchimes.  Phenomenal folk group from Pueblo, CO.  They really like mini instruments, which makes my piccolo-playing soul happy.  And we saw little girls dancing, which makes everything better.

The old people all seemed to be from a commune, and they all mysteriously knew the same dances... I wish I had better pictures of them.  It was highly amusing.

Fort Collins has started this really cool project where they put painted pianos in popular pedestrian areas, and encourage people to play them.  This is one of my favorites.

So after watching the amazing set, we decided we should probably go buy a new battery for Ammon's car.  Since we had a stellar parking spot, we hoped we could bribe someone into jumping our car in return for the parking spot.  Very handily, the handicapped parking spot next to us was unoccupied when we got back to the car, and we were able to flag down a long-haired hippie straight away.  We weren't so lucky with good service at Advance Auto Parts, where we went to get our new battery.  $120, and an hour and a half later, we had purchased and installed our new battery.  Well, I paid for the battery, then sat in the car reading.  I didn't install anything.  To make up for it, I talked Ammon into taking me to Home Goods.  It opened a few months ago, and I had been sort of avoiding the trip.  I knew I would be tempted to spend if I went in; I was not wrong.  MECCA, people.  Mecca.

This mirror almost made me weep tears of joy, until I realized I could probably make it.

Cafe Rio just happens to be right next door to Home Goods!  So naturally, we needed it, right?  Especially after the great battery fiasco just a short time earlier.  We were too excited to take pictures of our food.  But I told Ammon he had to pose with the sign on the door.  For proof that we conquered it.

So there you have it.  I don't remember what I did for the rest of the night.  Everything after that is of little consequence, because I had hippie music, home decor, and a smothered burrito.  Totally worth a burrito debacle.

This Saturday, I'll be working.  Such a strong contrast from the last.  What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You know those days...

Erin wrote this hilarious post the other day, and I felt the need to share this cartoon with you in response.  Ammon found it and shared it with me, so make sure to thank him in the comments.  He likes it when you all talk about him in your comments.  It makes him feel like you care.  He's a sensitive blogger almost-husband that way.

And that's all I have, because I really, truly, 100% despise Thursdays.  Sorry, but it's true.  Hope I helped you chuckle a smidge on this Thursday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's on your feet?

It's that time again, ladies!  It's time for another vlog link-up.  This month, we're talking about shoes.  What's not to love?  I did my best to keep it short, but you know I love to talk, so... it's 7.5 minutes.  I get it if you aren't interested in watching me show you my worn shoes for that length of time.  I forgive you.  But for the brave souls willing to give it a go...

Are you linking up too?  Please tell me yes!  Just click on this handy-dandy banner:

Hope Squared

I hope you are having the best day! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Phasing out

As of Wednesday, I officially start phase 3 of ChaLEAN Extreme.  Eeep.  This program has moved so quickly!  I have really enjoyed how much variety there is between the three phases, and it has helped me see results with the weight training.

However, I confess right now that I have a burning hatred for Chalene's cardio workouts.  For me, they just don't get the job done like a run, or a long bike ride could.  The cardio section of the workout program focuses on high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is short bursts of really intense exercise, followed by a recovery.

The problem is, I am not a sprinter in real life.  I'm not someone who does well at going all out.  I am, however, really great at endurance, and at ramping up my intensity consistently throughout a given effort.  What this all means is that while I've been pushing myself really hard at these intervals, they are making me frustrated, and I end up not working hard enough, or working too hard and hurting myself, neither of which is a good use of my time.

So for phase 3, I'm going to stick with what I know works.  I'm going to do steady-state, moderate intensity cardio instead of HIIT training.  I'm absolutely 100% looking forward to this change-up in my routine.  I think it's just what the doctor ordered for helping me get through the last 30 days of the program.  In both phases 1 and 2, I had to take time off due to exhaustion, or minor injuries.  Both times, these problems popped up in the cardio workouts.  For me, this is a pattern that needs to be broken, here and now.  A workout program can only be effective if you can see it through to the end.  Sometimes, you have to make changes and allowances to get there.

It's just a great excuse to get sexy, really.  Cause that's what helmets make you.

Something else that's been crazy in my health/fitness part of my life is food.  Last week, I went back to morning workouts.  I even created a pact with Alyx to work out every morning before work!  One thing I noticed right away is that it has made me 1000% more hungry throughout the day.  When I lift weights, I get hungry; however, this hunger tends to be throughout the day.  When I lift weights in the morning, I am falling over starving between 8 am and 4 pm.  The hunger tends to subside after that, but man oh man!  Normally, I have a shakeology shake like this for breakfast:

But now with working out, I find that this isn't nearly enough to keep me going until lunch.  I am hesitantly considering adding in a morning snack.  Snacking does not generally work for me:  I find that I am better balanced mood and energy-wise when I eat 3 meals, and give myself adequate time to digest.  However, I just have this sense that without a mid-morning snack on my weight lifting days, I'm going to be struggling to get through the day.  So the plan for this week is to eat 3 meals on my cardio days, and 4 meals on my weight training days, with the majority of calories consumed before 3pm.  Hopefully, this will help with all of the fatigue I'm feeling from lifting in the morning!

Going into the third phase in ChaLEAN, I wonder overall about what changes I will see in my body at the end of the program.  I had hoped to lose weight when I started this program, but I think that was unrealistic of me.  I knew I wasn't going to follow the diet plan that came with the DVDs, and really, I'm happy with my diet.  We eat pretty healthy, but I don't count calories, and I allow myself dessert once or twice a week.  In addition, my body puts on muscle like a man's body:  I tend to put on a lot really easily, and it takes time for it to get really lean and efficient.  Typically, I only see weight loss when I'm doing cardio 5-6 days a week, and with the intensity of this program, I have not been in a position to do daily cardio.  However, the last phase is called the "Lean phase", and I'm assuming that it has been designed to provide people like me the opportunity to make our muscles leaner and more efficient.  After previewing the first of the 3 strength circuits, I'm already intimidated!  I have no doubts that I am going to see some results from phase 3.  I just don't know yet what those results are going to look like.

So there you have it, my weekly check-in of all things fitness related.  I hope I didn't bore you too much.  As usual, linking up with Allison for Tone-up Tuesday!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Well, hello Monday!  While everyone else is dreading you, I'm undoubtedly reveling in you glory right now... these regular 3 day weekends my job allows me really are the best.

...Enough of my bragging.  It's rude.  How was your weekend?  Did you have the best time?  So far, this weekend has been pretty darn great.  Better than most.  I know you all want to know why.  You're all, "Get ON with it, Kristen".

Fine.  Be pushy.  I, personally, find the suspense delightful.  Besides, you always have the power of scrolling down.  You don't have to suffer my inane chatter.

Friday I got off work at 4, because I worked late for one of the other girls earlier in the week.  It gave me the perfect amount of time to go to the post office to mail off a package.  I also considered making a stop at the jewelry store.  Why?  Well, a while back, I talked about how we're planning on getting married NEXT SUMMER.  And no, we're not officially engaged yet.  We've had many people ask where my ring was, and last week, Ammon decided that the next person to ask him that question would be graced with the answer, "I don't have a ring yet either!  Where's feminism in action?"

...As I write this, it's less funny than it was at that moment.  It just sounds angry.  But trust me, it was pretty funny in the context of our conversation.  So, I was seriously considering purchasing a ring.  For Ammon.  So that I could get mine.  But, I didn't.  I thought it might be too much pressure on him.

Friday night after dinner, I decided I wanted yogurt.  I have a strong weakness for TCBY.  So good.  Off to TCBY we went... already talking about proposals.  I don't remember how it came up, but it did.  We got a block away, and Ammon made me pull over the car.  He unbuckled his seatbelt, knelt on the floor of the front seat, and asked me to marry him.  No ring, just a proposal.  A heartfelt, honest, genuine, "I don't want to live without you, please join your life with mine" type of proposal.  It was very, very sweet.  Never what I pictured, but it seemed to fit us.  After I agreed and started driving again, I admitted that I had almost gone and purchased him a ring so that I could propose to HIM.  He thought it was hilarious.  I reminded him that to me, it didn't matter what kind of ring was on my finger, so long as it was from him, I would be happy wearing a ring from Wal-Mart.  He asked me if I was serious.

Just so we're clear, I was, and still am serious.  I don't think the price of a ring should matter, so much as the symbol matters.   So he insisted that after TCBY, we go across the street to Wal-Mart for a ring.  And lo and behold,

Please pay less attention to how crappy I look, and rest your gaze upon the $48 beauty on my hand.  Originally, we were calling it our pseudo-engagement ring.  Then, the pre-engagement ring.  Kristina suggested it might be a promise ring.  I'm still not sure what to call it.  Any of the three are probably appropriate.  We're pretty set on when we're getting married, and the concept of a promise ring has always seemed juvenile... but I guess that's really what it is.

Whatever we end up calling it, I'm wearing it.  It's what we could afford, and it's where we're at.  That doesn't bother me.  And, for the moment, hopefully people will stop asking where my darn ring is.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What matters

You've all seen this commercial, right?

Well, sometimes I feel like us bloggers get this way.  We have lots of "friends" we never talk to... we just have a lot to make ourselves feel great.  We spend hours catching up on what other people like, what they do... time when we could be doing our own thing.

Don't get me wrong:  I'm a pretty big fan of Blogland.  It has caused me to find new things to try, and has introduced me to a whole host of incredible people.  The people that change your life forever.

But this weekend, I'm out.  No blogging for me.  I'm going to a hippie dippie music festival.  As tempted as I am to check in, to tweet, to even read tweets, I'm going to do everything in my power to resist.  Instead, I wanna twirl in pretty dresses and skirts, drink tea at my favorite tea shop, and buy some incense at the Nepali import shops around town.  I plan on sleeping in, and staying up.  In other words, I want to do the things that I love, but never seem to have enough time for.

And maybe come next week, I'll have a little bit more to talk about than some silly little commercial.  Have a great weekend, and do something just for you, please.  You deserve it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Man of Steel

Hello you gorgeous human being!  I'm glad you're here today.  I want to talk about superheros today.  Well, one superhero, actually.  Superman.  He's pretty great.  Wanna know what else?  It's probably one of the most common Halloween costumes known to man.  I mean, what little guy doesn't dream about being able to fly, being an alien that looks like a human, and is super-strong?

Let me show you Exhibit A:

Yup, Ammon, circa 2010, at the tender age of 27.  In a... are you ready for this?  A youth sized 12 and up husky Superman costume.  Yes, you read that right.  Youth size.  He was very proud that he got the costume for super-cheap, because it was a kid's costume.

I did not wear a youth sized costume... but I did go as Lois Lane.  AND I wore makeup.  I felt a little bit like a cradle robbing cougar.

But the best part of the night... I appreciate more now, because in the last year I started watching the world's best nerd show, "The Big Bang Theory":

Found on Pinterest...
Oh yeah, that's right... Ammon was challenging his inner Leonard, before we knew who Leonard was.  And don't worry, my friend Michelle wasn't making out with him... just her Marilyn Monroe wig.  It was a strange night.  We'll leave it there.

I hope this went a long way in brightening up your Thursday, I know it made mine 10 times better!  Shout-out to the ever amazing, hilarious Dusty for inspiring this blog post.  One of the most hilarious email threads I've been privy to in a Tennessee second.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More than a lunch

Non-Utah people please stand up and take notice:  those darn Utah folk have been holding out.  They had a culinary marvel just hanging around their state for the longest time, and until a few months ago, this Colorado girl never even knew it existed.  And then, when I heard about it, I was pretty convinced that it couldn't really be all that special.  People.  This is something incredible.

It's Cafe Rio.

We had one open up in Fort Collins about 2 months ago I guess.  Long enough that I have been sighing every time I pass by, wondering when I'm going to be like all of the other bloggers and go try it.  But when you live in the state where Chipotle was founded, and your boyfriend is one of the most avid Chipotle lovers in the state, it's hard to try "yet another burrito place."  Okay, that's a lie.  I can think of 6 different burrito places in our area.  5 of them all in a 6 mile radius, and one in Boulder.  That's a lot of burritos, people.  After a while, they all start to run together.

So, on Sunday, we took the plunge and went to Cafe Rio.  We walked in the door to a full house.  Good sign #1.

They were making fresh tortillas when we got to the front of the line.  Good sign #2.

They will smother any burrito in sauce and cheese.  For free.  Good sign #3.

Their drinks... oh the drinks.  Hand-made Limeades and Lemonades.  Hand-made Horchata.  All for the same price as soda, and unlimited refills.  This doesn't qualify as a good sign.  This qualifies as a sign from Heaven.

Probably the most agonizing food decision I'd made in a long time was between the burrito and the salad.  When I found out Ammon was getting a burrito, I went for the salad.  I operate under the "what's yours is mine" principle with food.  If it looks good, I'm probably going to steal a bite.  Be warned.  Oh, and that dressing?  It's a creamy, cilantro packed tangy goodness.  If they bottle it, I will buy it.

Why is it those darn Utah bloggers get all of the best stuff first?  Stop holding out, Utah.  The other states like it when you share.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Almost before last week had even started, I realized I was going to need a do-over on my workouts for the week.  There was just too much going on for me to do everything, and so I had to decide what was and was not negotiable.  Working out 5 days just wasn't going to happen.  In fact, I only managed to get in one workout.

Womp, womp.

But like I said last week, this isn't a race, or a competition.  Yes, I am working through a 90 day challenge, but as a lifestyle change.  So I'm simply choosing to re-do my week 8 workouts.  And this week, I will succeed.  Why?  Because my drive and my desire are there.  Summer classes and finals are over.  I have 2 weeks until my next classes start.  That means I have extra time in my day for the next 2 weeks to get done the things that make me happy and alive, not just the things that have to be done this instant.  It's incredibly freeing.


So there you have it.  My confession about last week, and my plans for this week.  It's going to be a great week, I know it already.

Linking up with Allison for Tone Up Tuesday!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Success, people!  Thank you so much for all of your comments and suggestions over the weekend... and wow!  Who would've known that so many of you have had problems with Blogger???  As it turned out, I was having a profile issue. 

Back when I converted to the new blogger interface, I went ahead and decided to switch my blogger profile for my Google+ profile.  This, I guess, was a HUGE mistake.  Somehow, everything worked fine for the longest time, then BOOM!!!!  Rockets went off, and my email was dropped off the face of the planet.


So, the solution to this issue:  In the mew blogger interface, there's a drop-down menu with a cog symbol on it.  Select that drop-down menu, and click the button that says "Convert back to Blogger Profile" or something like that.  Follow all of the steps for getting that set up... It's kind of time consuming.  Now, here's the kicker:  make sure you click the unassuming little check box that adds your email address to your profile.  This is what solves the whole entire issue.  I'm sure there's some way to fix this in Google+, but given my level of frustration... I settled for simplicity.

So, I'm now back in the commenting game.  If you quit replying to my comments, please know that you can start again.  Sorry for the interruption.

What pressing Blogger issues have you had?  It's amazing the strange things that happen, and the not so obvious solutions to those issues!

Friday, August 3, 2012


People, blogger and I have been battling these last two weeks.  Why?  Because two weeks ago, blogger decided to make me a "no-reply" commenter.  And guess what???

I've tried everything I can think of to fix it.  None of it has worked.  I can not, for the life of me, get my email to reattach to my comments.  I have written some great comments lately, and wondered why I never got a response.  Now I know.  And I'm not going to lie, I'm prett angry about the whole thing.  I didn't change my settings.  As far as I can tell, everything is exactly the same as before.

So I'm turning to all of you for help.  If any of you know how to fix this, please speak up, and leave detailed instructions.  I fill follow them to the letter, if it means that the comments I leave have an email address attached.  Please also understand, you google people, I'm really unhappy about this... it's issues like these that push people into the self-hosted arms of wordpress.  That is all.

It's Fiday, I'm in love...

We made it to Friday!  And while it doesn't signal the end of either my work week or my final week, it does mean that my Macroeconomics class is now firmly in the past.  Whatever else happens, that class can now be a distant memory for me.

So how has your week gone so far?  Do you have plans for the weekend?

It's my one-day weekend.  Emily always calls it the "dreaded one-day weekend" and complains about it for days when it's her turn.  I don't think it's terrible, it's just short.  You have to jam extra awesomeness into one day.  Jam... jam sounds delicious, doesn't it?  Maybe I'll eat jam this weekend.

I do know that on Saturday evening, I'll be going to a baby shower for a former co-worker.  I'll see a ton of people that I haven't seen in a couple of years.  I'll have to pretend that my uterus doesn't stab me every time it senses anything having to do with baby.  Buying a gift at Baby's R US was torture yesterday, particularly when they asked if I wanted their rewards card.  I may have been a little forceful when I told the cashier that would not be necessary.  I've never been to a baby shower.  Or a wedding shower, for that matter.  I have a feeling I might not like parties that are called showers.  I shower with water, not with a bunch of other women who are busy telling naughty/horrifying stories, thanks.

Speaking of stories at showers, my current co-workers love to tell me their pregnancy horror stories.  You want to know the most effective form of birth control?  That right there is it.  No kidding.  Ick.

In addition to eating jam and baby showering, I'll be doing my best to learn about Visual Basic for Applications programming.  We're living the dream around here, I tell ya.  Living the dream.

I tried to find a picture for this post, but my heart really wasn't in it.  That's what happens when I put off writing my blog posts until the last minute.  I hope you forgive me, because... It's Friday, and you have your party pants on.  If you don't have them on, I think you need to fix that.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I've got nothing

Okay, that's a total lie.  I've got a lot.  Just not a lot that is bloggable or blog-worthy.  A lot of things are going on, things that I'm either not at liberty to discuss, are too private to want to talk about on this blog, or come off as just plain old whiney.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I'll get around to telling you about the "too private" and the "plain old whiney".  Not today though.

So, today is Thursday, and today I'm going to be taking my final for macroeconomics.  I haven't worked out the past 2 days, because Tuesday was a scheduled rest day, and I felt like poop on Wednesday.  I literally laid down in bed, and told Ammon that he needed to make the rice for dinner.

Which brings me to another point:  I now trust Ammon enough in the kitchen to let him prepare rice without supervision.  Both of us deserve awards:  Ammon's for superior culinary advancement, and mine for a slight decrease in neurosis.  I feel like I've made greater strides in this department than he has in cooking.

I took this picture when we were waiting for Mount Rushmore to light up... we were parked a few miles away, because parking at Rushmore is a huge rip-off.  Doesn't he look happy???

Speaking of my neurosis, 2 years ago yesterday Ammon and I started "officially" co-habitating.  I have never grown so much, compromised, or learned as much in the 25 years leading up to that day then I have in the following 2.  I know it isn't the right choice for everyone, but I can say that it is the best thing to happen to our relationship, and that it has made me more sure than ever that I want to marry this kid.  In a year or so.

Do you ever think about what your life will look like in a year or so?  I seem to think about it all the time.  Ammon doesn't like to do that so much.  He's more of a "focus on what's happening now" kind of guy.  So when I ask him about things a year or two in the future, he usually has to look at me blankly for a minute, and then start a long timeline to figure out what he sees.  So I usually just have him repeat the same "what-ifs" over and over.  It's easier than playing the scenarios game and going through the whole timeline.

I was supposed to study all day Monday, and instead went to Costco with my mom.  I made some awesome purchases, like a 2 lb block of cheese, a giant pack of string cheese, a large bag of prunes (to counteract that cheesey goodness), and a down running vest.  I was really excited to show Ammon the vest, and then he made fun of me for buying a quilted vest.  I'll try to take a picture sometime soon so that you can decide if he was in the right on this one.

Oh, and you'll love this... when I told my mom I was hanging out with her instead of studying for finals, she said "You can study later tonight."  Love how her attitude has changed on the subject of studying now that I'm paying for my education, not her =).

I'm really not sure what else I can ramble about today.  I wonder how many of you have made it this far.  If you have, I bet you're wondering about taking away my award for being less neurotic, right?  Yeah, me too.  So until next time, blogland...