Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making fitness a priority

I discovered Cassie's blog, Sage, several months ago and knew immediately that I liked her. She's down to earth, is passionate about her health, and has some killer wedding photos and inspiration. After discovering that we were both triathletes, we started talking about fitness in general and how tough it can be to make it a priority. So... we decided to put together a some tips/tricks/pointers for anyone who has thought about making health a priority in their life but doesn't exactly know where to start.

I'm too busy to work out-- how do I fit it into my schedule along with all the other things I have to get done during the week?

K: When I started to get serious about my health and working out, I realized I would have to make some sacrifices. If you continue to say you are "too busy" then you will always be too busy to make fitness an important part of your life. The most important factor was deciding to make fitness a priority. Once it was important to me, I was able to make time for it in my busy schedule. 

C: Change your perspective. Are you too busy to eat or sleep? No? Then you're not too busy to work out. I started seeing it as a necessity instead of just something I would do when I had the time. If I don't have time in my schedule, I make time by getting up earlier or going for a run on my lunch break. 

Cassie before a triathlon she competed in!

What little things can I do during the day when I don't have time to make it to the gym or get outside?

K: If you have a "desk job" then I highly suggest taking breaks. Set a timer for every hour and get up and take a walk - whether to the bathroom, the break room, or just around the office and back. It will (firstly) get your blood flowing and your metabolism going and (secondly) ease the monotony of the work day.

C: The most important thing you can do to incorporate exercise into your day is to make little changes. I always try to walk when when I can instead of drive (even if that means just parking further away to run into a store), take the stairs instead of the elevator, and stand instead of sit when it is an option. When the weather is nice, my husband and I commute to work on our bikes. It's a built-in workout that has a purpose!

What's the best way to ensure I have healthy meals even on the busiest of days?

K: For me, the most important step is to not buy the icky foods. If I don't have them laying around, I don't eat them. Additionally, when I cook dinner I usually try to make enough extra to take to work the next day. Some people "meal plan" and cook all their meals for the week on the weekends. This can be really beneficial, however there's a lot of time and planning that goes in to it. There are many resources out there for meal planning, prepping, etc, along with other tips and tricks for eating healthy, but I think the main focus should be to be prepared for each day. I try to do this by bringing meals/snacks so I don't find myself in front of the vending machine eying that snickers bar.

C: I don't even buy the unhealthy food in the first place because I know if I have chips in the house they will only last maybe 48 hours. My husband and I also meal plan for the entire month and try to make extra for lunch the next day. I would say 99% of the time we pack our lunches. Making your own lunch is HUGE; otherwise, it's too easy to go eat out which adds about 2x the calories to your meal if you're not careful. Preparation is key and that looks different for everyone. 

I'm tired of the treadmill and the elliptical machine, but I still want to stay active and do cardio a few times a week, what are your suggestions?
K: Get outside! Taking my workout to mother nature is one of my most favorite things to do. A simple change of scenery can work wonders. Other things to do for cardio: swimming, biking, or even an aerobics class.

Me and my husband after biking to the top of a mountain.

C: I would also suggest getting outside or trying a group fitness class. Even just grabbing coffee with a friend on Saturday morning and then going for a walk or hike can help get in some cardio for the day. I'm easily bored so I keep a constant rotation of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, swimming, running, cycling, and hiking. 

Cassie and her husband, Matt, doing some zip lining - I'm totally jealous, I've never done it! 

Do you go to the gym in the mornings or the evenings (or use a home gym, etc.) and why does that work best for you?

K: ​I go (almost) every morning before work - wake up sometime between 5 and 5:30 and go to the gym before I have to be at work at 8:30. When I first decided to join a gym I was working 12 hour shifts and I knew I would want to go straight home and to bed instead of going to the gym and not getting home until 9 or 10 at night. I just carried this on to my current job and now I have whole evenings free to do whatever I like.​

C: I know that if I don't get my workout in before work, I am FAR less likely to work out at all. Since it can be challenging to get up early, I try to make it as easy as possible by packing my gym bag and clothes for the next day the night before, having my lunch ready to go, and making sure my husband knows to harass me when I try to make excuses. If I can't get my workout in before work, I will try to go after or just do a workout video at home. Or just take the day off, because that's PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE.

How do you avoid "workout burnout" and keep yourself motivated to go to the gym or work out after the New Year's resolution phase has worn off?

K: I try to change it up! As I've mentioned, I go to the gym 4-5 times per week and usually I stick to the same routine, but as we all know, routines can get boring so I try to keep a few things in my back pocket for those days when I don't feel like doing my "usual" thing that day. I'll go to a class (such as cx works or zumba), do a fun HIIT treadmill workout, or even *gasp* skip that day. My theory is, if you continually do something that you aren't enjoying, you'll make yourself hate it so much that you never go again.

After completing my very first triathlon last spring.

C: Variety and perspective are absolutely key. I don't use exercise as punishment or to "earn" things (and I believe in moderation over restriction) and I am constantly switching up my workouts. Even though I am training for a half marathon right now, I am also doing strength and speed swim workouts, weight lifting, yoga/pilates, cycling, and basic hiking with my husband and friends. I try to remind myself of my goals frequently and not be too hard on myself if I fall short. After all, exercise should be fun!

What are things you do to keep yourself motivated and on track with your fitness and health goals?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Things I didn't do in 2014 (that I was disappointed I didn't accomplish)

I wrote last week about some of the things I managed to cross off my 101 in 1001 goals list. It was quite a bit! While I'm happy with all of the things I did manage to accomplish, there were quite a few things that I wanted to do that didn't happen, some big, some small. I'm writing the ones here that I wanted to get done the most, and the ones that I will work hardest on in the coming year (or two). 

Buy a house
If you've been reading for a while, then you'll know that Derek and I started (seriously) looking for a house to buy in February of last year. Then I got an apartment and we put looking for a house on hold. Then we got engaged and knew my lease would be running out and started looking again in a little different direction. Needless to say, it didn't happen for us. Thankfully we were able to find a place to live - for as long as we need - at a reasonable price. This year, we hope to get back on the ball and find us a forever home. 

Run five 5k races 
I'm cutting myself a little slack on this one because I did run in two triathlons and one of them included a 5k. But only a little slack, because there were plenty of other 5Ks I could have participated in but chose not to because I had other things to do, didn't want to wake up early, etc. This year though, it is on like donkey kong! 

Host a game night
One of my favorite things is playing games - cards, dice, board games, it doesn't matter. Some of my favorites are Zonk (dice), Cards Against Humanity (I still need to buy my own set), and good ole Spades. Growing up, my parents hosted a game night every Wednesday. It was a standing tradition that they upheld until we moved half way across the country. I want to have that tradition with our friends as well. Maybe not weekly, but at least once a month or so.

Go to the Caribbean 
I really wanted to do this for our honeymoon, but due to some scheduling conflicts, we had to keep it short, sweet, and stateside. This coming summer our "big" vacation will be going to British Columbia, along with a few smaller/long weekend travelling here and there and hopefully we'll get to go somewhere tropical in 2016. 

Make an emergency kit for the car
I've had this on my list for almost two years now and still haven't done it. It's probably a really simple task, I just haven't gotten off my butt to get it finished. I really want to though - especially since I've got a brand new car to put it in. What are your suggestions for an "emergency" kit? 

Send a handwritten letter 
Another simple thing that I just have to sit down and make time to do. Host Thanksgiving This just ties in to not owning a home to have my own Thanksgiving dinner! Unfortunately, I don't think my 500 square foot apartment would have held many friends/family members. 

Join a church 
After living in Montgomery for over two years I'm a little ashamed to say we/I still haven't found a church to call home. Partly because I still feel attached to my old church I attended with my parents, and partly because looking for a new church (that we both enjoy and feel "at home" in) is a little scary and daunting. If you've every had to start from scratch, what did you do to find a church? Trial and error? Go with friends? I'm lost! 

What are some things that you wanted to get crossed off your list but didn't manage to? How do you plan to make those goals a priority this year?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Imagine an interesting and catching title

In my attempt to "get back in to blogging" I'm here today to bring you one of my favorite (and easiest) kinds of posts there ever was. The "currently" post. 
Making: Nothing at the moment. However, I did find some really cool things at an antique show that I'm working on re-finishing and I also found a little treasure this past weekend at a run down house on a friend of ours land. I'm not telling you what it is because I want to wait until I've finished working on it. But it's really cool.

Cooking: Nothing right now, but last night I made some roasted veggies that were absolutely amazing. Not to toot my own horn. Okay, I'm totally tooting my own horn. I've said "toot" too much already. 

Drinking: Naked green machine. 

Reading: I just (well like a week ago) finished The Giver. Now I'm making my way through The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I'm only a few chapters in to Sharp Objects but it seems good so far. Don't ask me why it has taken me so long to start The Tales of Beedle the Bard. 

Wanting: I want a lot of things. I want this globe decanter because I think it's really cool. I also want some wooden embroidery hoops because when I went to the store yesterday they only had ugly neon plastic ones and if I want to leave it in the hoop, I need a pretty wooden one!

Looking: for houses. For cool ways to decorate for spring.

Wasting: Nothing?

Wishing: I wish it was summer time already. I can't wait for warmer days when it isn't dark before 6pm. 

Enjoying: Time spent with my husband. We've settled into a fun little routine of coming home, cooking dinner, then watching a couple of episodes of netflix in bed before lights out. It's relaxing and I'd probably do it every night for the rest of my life if I didn't care about my social life. 

Waiting: for my wedding photo album to arrive!

Liking: the warmer weather lately, but I know better than to get my hopes up for it to last. 

Wondering: How I'm going to hold my girls up in my dress for the Mardi Gras ball I'm attending in a few weeks. It's one shouldered and backless and the material is very.....showy. I've never used those jelly cups before, if anyone has, do they work well??

Loving: Life.

Hoping: Someone brings me breakfast. Highly unlikely but I can dream. 

Needing: Some coffee. 

Smelling: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Wearing: White scrub top/bottom. White lab coat. Not my glasses because I accidentally left them at home today. Whoops. 

Knowing: That it's going to be SO MUCH fun to go get my passport changed to my new name. Can you hear the sarcasm?

Feeling: Fine, thanks for asking. 

Opening: Instagram on my phone because Hi, my name is Kalyn and I'm slightly addicted to social media.

Boom. Done. Over and out. Happy hump day

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Things I crossed off my list in 2014

Sometime in April of 2013, I had seen a few people creating these big "101 in 1001" goals lists and I decided I'd do one for myself. Over a hundred things seemed daunting, but I think I've done pretty well. I have a direct link in my toolbar, and I update it every few months, but I realized I rarely ever talk about my list and the progress I've made. So I figured I'd highlight some of the things I managed to cross off in the last year. 

Go to an aquarium
Derek and I visited the aquarium in New Orleans while we were on our honeymoon. It wasn't part of our plan, but we had exhausted many of the other options on the days prior, so we took the trolly from near our room to the aquarium. It was a pretty quick walk through and they had an interactive sting ray exhibit, which was pretty neat!

Become an RN (registered nurse)
I graduated three(ish) years ago as an LPN and I knew I'd go back to school shortly after to become a Registered Nurse. I finished up in May of 2014 and accepted a new position at my place of work the following August. It's been a whirlwind of a year, but I've learned a lot (about my job and about myself). It took a lot of hard work, but I'm glad I went through with it.

Find a quote and work it into a piece of art/home decor

I made this wood pallet sign over the summer. It's still one of my favorite things in my house!

Host a dinner party
This year I hosted a Christmas party at our house (two weeks after moving in!) and it was tons of fun. We did a potluck style dinner and played dirty santa afterward and had a small bonfire. It was good to have all our friends in the same place, eating, fellowshiping, and just having a good ole time.

Decorate for a holiday
I finally got to decorate for Christmas this year!

It wasn't much, but I loved having a space of our own to make pretty.

Sing a karaoke duet
One of our friends had a karaoke party right before football season started this year, and it was tons of fun! My two favorite songs: Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain, and I like big Butts by Sir Mix A Lot. I nailed them both.

Read a book in a day
If I Stay was short enough for me to finish one lazy Sunday. I've yet to see the movie, mainly because I've heard mixed opinions, but I'll probably still watch it on redbox (eventually).

Donate money to charity
Derek and I had rewards at our old bank for spending certain amounts of money/month using our debit cards. At the end of the year we could cash in our rewards, but since we didn't see any "prize" we wanted, we used the option to donate $50 to different charities. I know it's not much, but any little bit helps! My goal this year is to find an organization I'm passionate about and volunteer/donate/do anything I can for them.

Send Christmas cards
I was so excited to send our first Christmas cards as husband and wife!

Compete in a Triathlon
I did two - one here in Montgomery, and one in Gulf Shores. Both were "sprint" distances, and my goal this year is to do at least one intermediate distance.

My long term goal is to do a 1/2 Iron Man in 2016 or 2017.

Go fishing

We did lots of fishing last year, but I really only participated on 4th of July when we went to a friends land with a pond. I usually leave the fishing up to Derek and spend my time lounging on the boat with a good book.

Go kayaking
Technically we didn't kayak at all last summer, but we did join up with some friends a few times who were on kayaks while we were in our boat. Same difference, right?

Get engaged/Get married

Obviously you knew this happened!! Tune in later this week for (hopefully) another wedding post!

Were you able to cross off any of your goals in the last year?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What I Read: December

In November, I read two books. My goal for December was to read four. I failed. Well... I take that back, I will say that I "failed" at reading four books, but I succeeded in celebrating the holidays in a big way, and I blame that for my lack of leisurely reading. I want to set a new goal.

This year, I hope to read at least 30 books. Not necessarily new books, just 30 books in general. I think it's definitely feasable, considering that's less than 3 books per month.

In December, I read two books that were vastly different from each other, but so good. The first was Belong to Me by Maria de los Santos, and the second was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I'm sure you've heard about both of them - and if not a synopsys then maybe at least the titles. They were both on NPR's "Best Books of 2014" list and they both deserved it.

Belong To Me
Maria de los Santos

"But some things, no matter how unlikely, are just supposed to happen. You know what I mean. Somet hings just smack of the future and feel part of an overarching rightness."

Belong to Me revolved around the lives of three suburbian women: Cornelia, who just moved from the city with her MD, gorgeous husband, Teo; Piper, who is far from experiencing marital bliss and who is watching her best friend battle cancer; and Lake, a single mother and waitress who also recently moved with her son, Dev. This definitely isn't your typical "fluffy chick lit" type of book that I thought it would be. De los Santos does an amazing job blending the stories of these three women as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined as past secrets are revealed.

With the power of love, forgiveness, and strength of (unexpected) friendship, the three families are able to muddle through the mess their lives have become and form a bond with one another. Even though the story itself was almost "predictable," the writing and character development was amazing. I was able to connect with each of the women, cry all of their happy and sad tears right along with them, and feel their anger, frustration, and grief as though it were mine too.

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

"His voice is low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers."

All the Light We Cannot See is a book set at the closing of WWII, and covers the lives of a 16 year old blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and an 18 year old German soldier in the city of Saint Malo on the southern coast of France. While the plot itself isn't that "exciting," Doerr's writing will keep you hooked. Though the book begins, and ends, in the final weeks of the war in 1944, many of the chapters are set from 1940-1944 and give all of the backstory and events leading up to the end of the book. 

Yes, this is a "war story," but it is also a coming-of-age story, a story of morals and values, and a story about the choices we make and how the reverberate through our entire lives. It is a story of choosing right over wrong, of going against the odds, of loss, heartache, and love. I've always loved historical fiction (which I will admit is why I originally wanted to read this book), but Doerr makes it so much more.

Did you read any good books last month? What are your reading goals for the upcoming year?