Friday, January 30, 2015

If I Stray ("Wild" Book Review)

I may be very late with this, since it's already a movie and all that, but I've already told you guys that I'm a reverse hipster — I start paying attention to things after everyone else is already onto way cooler things. (I finished Serial this week, btw. Send me your theories.)

I thought about adding Wild by Cheryl Strayed to my book list last year, but I really wasn't sure if it was my thing. I enjoy a good memoir, but sometimes I find memoir-writers to be a bit bratty and self-important and annoying, so I tend to read a lot of reviews before picking up a memoir. But my mom gave me a copy of Wild for Christmas, and I had just finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (Here's my review of that: Read it immediately.) and "why not?"-ed myself into opening the front cover on Christmas Day.

(If you haven't read it, there may be some slight spoilers below, but there's no big "climax" or anything like that that I'm worried about giving away.)

What's it about?
Wild is Cheryl Strayed's memoir of the summer she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from the bottom of California to the Oregon/Washington border. A self-described orphan, Strayed sets out on the trail to find some sense and clarity after her twenty-something life has been turned upside down by the death of her mother, the estrangement of her siblings, the abandonment of her stepfather, and the crumble of her marriage. Throw in a few trysts with "bad news" men and the drugs they love, and Strayed is, at the outset of her journey, lost.

The memoir intersperses Strayed's on-the-trail thoughts and experiences, including an unexpected cast of characters, with her memories of the life and choices and experiences that brought her to the trail. She manages to keep the narratives distinct enough to avoid confusion and masterfully recalls the right memories at the right time.

If you're reading for the writing, it's not earth-shaking, though Strayed turns a pretty phrase and sometimes describes an experience or thought pattern or personality trait so acutely I swear she must spend her evenings peeking into my bedroom windows or into my brain. Our experiences couldn't be any different, but in reading this memoir I felt like I was reading the diary of a dear friend, a kindred spirit.

Overall, there were some passages I slogged through and some parts that were nearly impossible to read. As she recounted memories of her mother I was tempted to drive an hour just to hug my own and tell her I love her. I admit to putting the book down more than once just because it hurt to read.

I won't say this is a must-read for everybody, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, all said and done.

Read it if...
You're a "nature girl," you like true stories/memories/biographies/autobiographies, underdog stories, emotional reads, stories of adventure; you participate in the occasional navel-gazing; your mom bought you the book for Christmas and you have nothing else to read on your bedside table.

Favorite Passages

"I lingered a bit longer, feeling a swell of emotion over the occasion, and then I realized there was nothing to do but go, so I did."

"Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me."

[With respect to the natural elements surrounding her on the PCT] "I was a pebble. I was a leaf. I was the jagged branch of a tree. I was nothing to them and they were everything to me."

"I realized there was a bull in both directions. I simply made a leap of faith and pushed on in the direction where I'd never been."

"Until now, I hadn't truly understood the world's vastness—hadn't even understood how vast a mile could be—until each mile was beheld at walking speed. And yet there was also its opposite, the strange intimacy I'd come to have with the trail."
A mile run on the roads of a New York City suburb is not the same as a mile hiked on an historic natural trail, but I know what she means so clearly here. A mile driven and a mile passed on foot are two completely different measures of space and time, and I never knew this — even as a hobby hiker before I was a runner — until I started running.

"Perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wilderness meant that I too could be undesecrated, regardless of what I'd lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable things I'd done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I was skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me."

"Who would I be if I did? Who would I be if I didn't?"
It was this very pair of questions that led me to decide to run a marathon this year, after the seed of the idea planted itself in my mind a few weeks ago and left me to make something of it. Would I decide to be a person who took an opportunity to run a marathon, or would I be the person who decided she wasn't ready yet? Choosing one way or another would incite little to no reaction in anybody else in the world; it was all on me, and all for me. Did I want to become a person who ran a full marathon this year? Yes.

"There's no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course."

"How wild it was, to let it be."


Have you read Wild, or do you plan to?
Also, yes or no on book review posts like this? I'll only write 'em if you want 'em!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Little Things

Yesterday during my short run through my snow-covered neighborhood, up and down a familiar road, with a captivating podcast in my ears, while local kids celebrated their snow day by sledding, snowshoeing, and snowball-fighting, when I saw just one other runner braving the elements, as my neighbors walked their corgis and pugs and mutts, my strides were long and easy, and short and fast, and comfortable and powerful. I felt like I could run forever.

Yesterday I slept in and worked and wrote and emailed and wrote and edited from my couch, my bed, my floor, my kitchen counter, my yoga mat, my antique wooden secretary's desk, in my PJs, my running pants, and my PJs again, with coffee, and tea, and tea again, and I was warm and calm and quiet and productive.

Yesterday I streamed Netflix in the background while I worked and while I stretched, and I tuned in and out to the background noise at the funniest moments of my favorite show, and I laughed out loud at lines I've heard a thousand times, and I got a couple of jokes for the very first time, and I felt nostalgic as I remembered when Thursday nights were for mom and me and our favorite shows, and I felt happy and peaceful and content.

Yesterday I rolled out my yoga mat and looped a strap around my foot to stretch out my hamstrings, and I swung my legs into deep stretching postures, and I rooted my body into the ground and lifted my heart to the sky, and I opened my back and my spine and my chest and my mind, and balanced on the tallest part of myself and connected my mind with the surface below me, and I breathed deeply and I felt focused and connected and stimulated and whole.

It's the little things sometimes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Line 'em Up

In 2014, I ran five races: four 5ks and one half marathon. My half marathon was the final race of the year, and was 10 months in the making. It wasn't until I ran my first race on March 30 that I knew I would love racing, let alone want to run a half marathon 10 months after my very first run.

Going into 2015, I came from two different perspectives and somehow tried to make them mesh:
1. Races are expensive, yo. And running is free.
2. Racing makes running more fun, and having a goal makes me a better runner.
Before I made my 2015 racing spreadsheet (of course I have one), I knew for sure there would be two dates to fill in: My first race last year is a 5k/10k, and it's an annual event right near my birthday. I've yet to run a 10k, so my birthday race this year was always going to be this 10k. And in May, there's a half marathon that I once thought would be my first big race.

But before I knew it, I filled in more and more lines in my spreadsheet. Because racing is fun, and runcations are part of my goal to run a race in all 48 continental U.S. states. And because running with friends is more fun than running without them.

My 2015 racing schedule has taken most of its shape at this point, but I know realistically that there's always room for another 5k or 10k to crop up. As for the biggies, here's what's coming down the pike this year:

Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon — We've been talking about this one for a couple of months already, and I'm deep into training for a time goal. I've been hesitant about putting it on the blog so far, but I'm going for it: I'm hoping to run this race in 2:00:00. Hopefully I can convince Tracy to pace me for this one ;)
Apple Chase 10k — Last year, the Apple Chase 5k was the first finish line I ever crossed, and it was great. I've yet to race an official 10k, and this year the Apple Chase falls exactly on my birthday! So on my 26th birthday, I'll be looking for a 55:00 finish on my first official 10k. It benefits a foundation in honor of a friend's mother, among other good charities, so I'll be volunteering again this year as well.

Superhero Half Marathon — I know a few people who've run this race in the past, and I hear it's a good time! It also benefits the American Cancer Society, and if there's anything better than running, it's running for a cause. I will have a time goal for this one too, but I'm waiting to see how I do at RnR before setting it.

Fitzgerald's Lager Run 5k — I ran this 5k last year (and PR'ed... by a lot.) and it was so much fun. One of the sponsors is a local bar I love and the race celebrations commenced at the bar afterward. I'll be looking for another 5k PR here, but I'm not sure what it is yet.

City of Oaks* — Since I've been running, I've wanted to race the City of Oaks in Raleigh, North Carolina. My good friends Tracy and Lisa are intimately familiar with City of Oaks, and it's just such a pretty town and big race event, and I want to be a part of it.

Surf & Santa 5 Miler — This is more tentative logistically, but in my mind it's kind of definite. Because nothing says Alyssa like planning a race 12 months in advance. The thing to note about this race? It will involve a visit to Tracy's stomping grounds!

The Maybes
New Jersey Marathon Series — The weekend of April 25, the New Jersey Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k races all take place on our beautiful Jersey Shore. It's not totally likely that timing and scheduling and financials will be in my favor for the half/5k, but we'll see.

Boston Run to Remember — The week after my May half marathon, a friend has invited me to run another in Boston. It's a huge maybe but probably no, but I won't count it out yet.

Sunset Classic 5 Miler — The run shop near me is a sponsor of this June race and I thought about participating last year. It's on the maybe list for this year if I can find a date and it works out for me.

Tunnel to Towers 5k — I was supposed to run this 9/11 hero's memorial race last year, circumstances and stuff and then I didn't end up racing. It's an incredible cause and if I can, I'd like to make it happen this September.

The Asterisk*
*Oh, so you noticed that? Well, here's the thing. When I first started running, I knew race goals would help me to keep going. At the very start, I thought a 5k was impossible. Once I learned it wasn't (one year ago yesterday I ran 3 miles for the first time ever, and I knew I could cross a 5k finish line), I started dreaming a little bigger. My goal list said I would run a half marathon by the end of 2015, and a full marathon by March 29, 2019 — the day I'll turn 30.

But then I ran a half marathon exactly 10 months to the very day after I started running, and everything changed.

So this year, I'm going to train for a full marathon, and run 26.2 miles in Raleigh this November. If I pull this off, I will have gone from 0 to 26.2 in less than two years; I'll be a marathoner.

And now that I'm putting this out onto the Internet in somewhere other than an email to Kristen or Tracy, I'll be in a cold sweat from now until November. Don't worry about me.


Your turn! Go ahead and share with us anything you're working toward, and don't forget to spread some of the love around and share some motivation with others! We're here for all of you, whether you're working on your next marathon or your first 5k, whether you're up in the gym workin' on your fitness or trying to get that warrior 1 just right.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What Real Ramen Is & Other Educational Things

The beautiful thing about life is that there are opportunities to learn and explore the mind and discover things at every turn. The past handful of days have brought a couple of valuable lessons that I hope to remember.

10 Things I've Learned This Weekend

1. Real ramen is worth a 90-minute wait.
"Eating ramen is guaranteed to make you happy."
2. There are some people who really, really, really can't comprehend when I say that the focus of my life has never been, nor is it now, my relationship status, and that being single has never depressed me.

3. Swapping area rugs, rearranging furniture, and cleaning every inch of my apartment is one of the best ways for me to deal with anger and frustration.

4. I will never take kindly to someone insisting they know me better than I know myself or are better equipped than I am to make decisions for me. It will never be okay.

5. It's impossible to watch House Hunters without wanting to punch somebody at some point.

6. Iowans in New York are thrilled when they meet other Iowans. (Related: Don't lie about being from Iowa.)

7. Adnan didn't do it. (I've listened up to episode 10. Stance may change in the final two eps. No spoilers.)

8. The grocery store the day between blizzards is basically hell.
9. People can surprise you at any point in your friendship/relationship with them, and it's not always in a good way.

10. I shouldn't write blog posts when I'm angry, because I'm not good at pretending not to be angry.

In spite of how points 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10 make it sound, it was a good weekend, and I hope yours was too. PS — are you linking up tomorrow?

// Linking up with Biana //

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Sweats 4

Monday: 4 miles + no formal yoga practice
Timing was of the essence. It iced all the day before, so I gave the morning a couple hours to warm up and thaw it a bit. Before the end of mile 1, it had started snowing, and by the time I walked into my building, it was hailing. I ran comfortably today, averaging about 9:25 with some dancing around ice and puddles and nursing my right hip again.

I also broke in my new kicks and put a couple miles on the shoes I'll wear for my next half marathons! (And then I got caught by another runner and a W.B. Mason delivery guy taking a shoe selfie.)

No formal yoga practice today; just some deep stretching and stim before and after my run.

Tuesday: 3 miles + short free flow + medium relaxation yoga practice
I'm back in beast mode. My miles weren't particularly fast, but they weren't slow either, and they all felt GOOD. By the end of my 3 miles I could have gone for another loop. I still nursed some psoas pain but it was noticeably less than the day before.

I bookended the day with a short stretching free flow in the morning and went for a deeper relaxation bedtime yoga practice. I've never done yoga with one of Adriene's videos before this, but oh man, I loved this practice. I liked her style and will be incorporating more of her videos for home practice days I think.

Wednesday: 0 miles + morning stretch flow + long studio yoga class
Rest day from the road, but I opened up in the morning with some gentle stretching poses.
Wednesday night I took a studio class for the first time since college (with the exception of my awesome three-day workshop with Erin in the fall).

I checked out this studio I've heard good things about and man, oh man, was it great being in class again. The teacher was amazing, and it's the type of studio I like. You don't need to chug a green juice before you go in and no one said the words "drum circle," but there were a lot of "if it's in your practice" and "yogi's choice" type of things said. Even though I'm personally not a beginner, I want to be in a yoga community that is welcoming to all levels and doesn't perpetuate that cliquey, mean girl, you-have-to-be-an-expert-already environment. That so not Raven "yogic," and that's not my style. Anyway, Donna taught a great class, was warm and gentle with her adjustments, and kept class fun and grounding at the same time.

Thursday: 3 miles + short hatha yoga practice
Nothing special, but a good run. I'm organically getting faster, just as I was last year in training, without much exertion or effort. I was just over goal race pace, so hopefully some real speed training combined with race day adrenaline will get me where I want to be for RnR.

For my morning practice I covered a quick 15 minutes with Adriene.

Friday: 0 miles + short stretching yoga practice
Rest day from the road, but I started my morning with another stretch-focused practice. I love Erin's hamstring videos, and thankfully she has a whole bunch for us runners!

Saturday: 0 miles + short stretching yoga practice
I was planning on getting my long run in Saturday, but an overnight snowstorm gave us a couple inches and my super wasn't exactly on his snow removal game. I spent a few minutes stretching out sore hamstrings and working some movement into my back, but other than that, Saturday was a rest day. If you count moving every piece of furniture and cleaning every piece of your home as "rest."

Sunday: 8 miles + no formal yoga practice
I ran slow today, nearly 10 minutes per mile, but I'm not mad about it. I'd shave off, if I had to guess, at least 30 seconds total in time I spent waiting to cross the street or trying to navigate snowy/icy shoulders with traffic. There were also the huge ice patches I had to practically crawl over and the black ice I wasn't about to bet on. I ran a hilly route, which I never mind slowing down on, because I know the hills are better for me in the long run. Overall as good a long run I could have hoped for in the conditions given.

I've had no formal yoga practice yet — just some yoga-inspired deep stretches, but no pranayama so it's really just stretching. I may take a relaxation practice later if I have time to squeeze it in before bed.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 4 runs, 18 miles
Yoga: 7 practices

Running with a podcast is absolutely wonderful for my consistency on the run, but I'm still starting out too fast. Mile 2 is always my worst because mile 1 is always a little too gung-ho. I'll finally be budgeting in a Garmin next month and it'll be my priority to make sure I start out a little bit slower and keep a consistent race pace on my longer runs. And maybe negative splits, but let's not get crazy now. :)

Getting back into the studio was a very welcome change this week. I do very much love my home practice and will continue to visit my mat at home daily, but if I want to teach (and I desperately do, and soon) I need to be back in the studio. This center also offers YTT and is definitely a community I want to be a part of. I'm glad I let go of my complacency in home practice and got back out into the world, and I can't wait to take another class with Donna. (Thank god for the amazing deal this studio has on Groupon right now, f'realz.)


Don't forget to link up your training goals with Tracy and me this week! For the first Training for Tuesday of 2015, it's the best time to map out your goals for the year. Grab a button & join the fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Worth Watching Vol. 1

I was one of those weird kids who never had an "I hate school" phase. I hated waking up early to get there, but I loved being at school. I loved learning. I still do, and if I could, I would be a student forever. Since graduating college in spring 2011, my education has been in my hands alone, and so I've made a goal to watch at least 3-5 documentaries every month.

(I'd also love to get my Netflix queue down to a reasonable number, as I have about 200 titles in it and I just watch episodes of Friends and HIMYM that I've seen a thousand times on repeat. The problem is that I so seldom have the time or patience to sit and watch something for the first time, and give it my full attention, generally opting instead to tune in and out of sitcom repeats while puttering around my place, working, stretching, you get the idea. Nothing like writing down a goal for myself to get me to actually do something!)
Here are just a couple of the films and lectures I've watched recently, a sampling of the ones I think are worth checking out:

Ethos. This is definitely not going to be appealing for everyone, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Some things said and discussed in this documentary could give me nightmares. It's a film about economics in America, consumerism and politics, and the marriage of the two that creates a unique and, at times quite scary, economic climate. It's narrated by Woody Harrelson and features directly quoted material from lawmakers and corporate giants past and present. By the film's close, it's clear that it has an "agenda" and it makes no attempt to disguise its goal, how it wants the viewer to change a behavior. Since I happened to already be in agreement with that goal before I pressed play, it didn't bother me. I'd call Ethos informative, but not particularly entertaining.
Netflix rating: 4/5 || My rating: 3/5

Run for Your Life. I've mentioned before that a goal of mine is to run the New York City Marathon. I've grown up right next door to that city, and I love it in a very special way. To run those streets with 50,000 other incredible athletes would be a dream come true. This documentary is about the founder of the NYC Marathon, and his lofty dream to take it from a jaunt around Central Park to a journey through all five boroughs. If you're a runner, watch it. If you enjoy stories of people fighting the odds and making their dreams come true, watch it. If you're a woman, and especially a woman who runs, watch it. Run for Your Life tells the story of Fred Lebow's journey toward the NYC Marathon finish line in every sense.
Netflix rating: 3.5/5 || My rating: 4/5

TEDTalks: Shawn Anchor: The Happy Secret to Better Work. (Included in the TEDTalks "Life Hacks" collection on Netflix.) This brief 12-minute lecture was GREAT. First, Shawn's opening anecdotes and high-energy delivery were entertaining to listen to. Packed in that short video were a lot of informational bits that just... make sense. I kind of feel like I should watch it again, take notes, and place reminders up everywhere. Shawn's advice on how to have a better, more positive outlook which leads to a happier life is not anything groundbreaking or unattainable. It's stuff you can do today, right now, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Anyone should spare 12 minutes to check out this talk.
Netflix rating: N/A || My rating: 5/5

Living on One Dollar
Chris and Zach, international affairs students from middle-upper class American backgrounds, bring two filmmakers along to live for two months in Guatemala on $1 day — the same budget 1.1 billion people around the world are working with.
I almost had to turn this one off several times. Images of the children licking salt from bowls, scavenging for any last bite, hearing a Guatemalan man talk about how the hunger stops them from growing, thriving, even playing... it broke my heart. Of course I already knew that this was going on in the world, and in the past I have donated funds and food to have my small part in relief, but it's not enough. Last January, I made a goal to somehow give back something to someone somewhere every month. And I'm glad that I have been able to follow through, donating funds, clothing, food, and time throughout my community and elsewhere, and I hope to continue doing this for as long as I live. But images like these still made me feel like there was so much more I could do, and to be sure, there is.
This film was eye-opening and saddening, uplifting in parts and devastating in others. It's not easy to watch, but I'm glad I did. (Learn more about the Living On One project and how to support it here.)
Netflix rating: 4.3/5 || My rating: 5/5

Do you have any favorite documentaries you think I should watch? What have you been watching lately?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Running Wild

I'm back in full-on training mode for two spring half marathons with a 10k in between, so running's on the brain. Sorry if you hate it. But maybe even if you hate running you'll like making fun of me after you read the following running-related confessions? Let's give it a whirl.

+ More than once, it's happened that as soon as I finish a run (or a race *wide-eyed emoji*) I'm completely overcome with the need to pee and I dart to the bathroom — faster than I just ran by a long shot — and it's totally hit or miss whether I do actually have to pee once I get there.

+ The other day I bought a running top on clearance at Target without trying it on. I did this because JUST last week I said to Tracy while getting ready for a run, "I wish I could remember where I got this top because it is the BEST one I own." Turns out (shocker), I bought it at Target and I found its twin! Well, I found my blue top's fraternal pink and gray twin. Anyway, when I went to put it on, I couldn't get my head through the hole. Swear to god. It's one of those cowl-type necks that you can pull up a meshy area over your face to keep you warm, but the top opening was stitched WAY too tight. It was on clearance (and a friggin' STEAL), so I couldn't return it, so I hacked away at it with my seam-ripper for about 25 minutes. #resourceful.

+ But before the seam-ripping part of the program, I was stuck in my shirt. Seriously stuck. Like this.

+ I don't always shower or even change out of running clothes as soon as I come in the door. Sometimes I hang out and go about my day for a bit, editing something, cooking dinner, organizing my sock drawer, before I'm bothered enough to wash up.

+ Before I started running with podcasts — ya know, like last week — I always ran to music. I have several running playlists, and by that I mean I have several playlists that I skip over 85% of the songs on. Nick Jonas songs make up the majority of one. I never skipped those songs.

+ I don't really think I know any song that doesn't make me think of someone or something, and I've laughed out loud while out in the middle of a run by myself when a song that cues a funny memory comes up. And the only time I have ever fist-pumped in my life (a feat, considering I'm from New Jersey) has been while running to an Afrojack song after crushing the last stretch of hills.

+ Talking about running with other runners is one of the best things about running. For most of my life I was very much an outsider, or a cusper, and I never had a sense of belonging to a community outside of small group friendships or one-on-one relationships. The sense of community and camaraderie that comes with being a runner has kept my legs moving more than once over the last 13 months. Even something as small as a wave from another runner I pass on my loop or the knowing nod when someone drops the name of a race makes me feel warm in a unique way that little else, except perhaps bad yogi-hood, does. So I apologize if you're not a runner and you hate my posts or Instagrams about running. But they're there so we running weirdos can find each other and I can't explain how much I love discovering the love of running in a new acquaintance.

+ Until I crossed my first finish line, I had no idea that I would love racing or that I would ever even want to run a distance over 3.1 miles. I thought marathoners were crazy (half marathoners, half crazy) and didn't want to associate with people who wore running clothes anywhere but the gym or talked about their MPW. And look at what I've become...

Linking up with Melissa for another Humpday Confessions. Are you getting anything off your chest today?

Related: Next week will be our first Training for Tuesday linkup of 2015! Link up your training stories with Tracy and me and tell us about what you're working on, what you've got coming up, what your fitness resolutions for the year are, and how you're going to rock 2015! Whatever your sport, whatever your training wins or woes, we're here for you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top 10 Best "Friends," Part II

In celebration of the greatest TV series of all time finally arriving on Netflix this year, I gave you this countdown of the top 10 best episodes from the first five seasons. As promised, I'm back with a follow-up, picking out my top 10 episodes from seasons six through 10 and, guys, I gotta tell you, this was damn near impossible. Picking just a few episodes from each season was more challenging than I thought it would be. This show is just. so. good.

But I did my very best, so here you have 'em: 
(PS: Spoilers ahead, if you're working through the series for the first time!)
S6E10: The One with the Routine
Monica and Ross dance the gang into the New Year, Joey has a crush, Rachel and Phoebe search for their Christmas presents and Chandler gets in their way.

S6E24/25: The One with the Proposal
(Syndication breaks this up into two episodes, but it aired as one and I can't choose so deal with it.)
Chandler tries to pull a fast one on Monica, who runs into Richard at a few inopportune moments, Joey makes an accidental investment, Ross makes a decision in his relationship.

S7E4: The One with Rachel's Assistant
Ross, Monica, and Chandler go head to head, Joey gets an opportunity, and Rachel gets a new office decoration. (Ed. note: This episode is just one hilarious line after another for me, so many funnies.)

S7E9: The One with All the Candy
Ross rights a wrong from Phoebe's past (in one of the sweetest episode plot-lines of the whole series and a rare tender interaction between these two), Rachel hides a secret, Monica tries to appease the neighbors with candy.

S7E16: The One with the Truth About London
Rachel teaches Ross's son a few things, Chandler and Monica look for a minster to marry them, and Phoebe lets a secret slip.

S8E4: The One with the Videotape
The truth about Ross and Rachel's night together comes out, with proof.

S8E18: The One in Massapequa
Phoebe dates Alec Baldwin (in one of my favorite roles of his, EVER), Ross and Rachel put on a show, and the friends head to Long Island for a party.

S9E5: The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner
Phoebe just wants to celebrate her birthday but Ross and Rachel are preoccupied with Emma and Chandler and Monica have their own issues, and Joey's not in the mood to wait.

S10E12: The One with Phoebe's Wedding
Monica isn't an easy Matron of Honor and Ross and Chandler force Rachel to make a tough choice, but in the sweetest Phoebe-centric episode of the series, she and Mike get hitched.

S10E19/20: The Last One
I'm still not ready to talk about it.
(Ed. note: I honestly teared up searching for this image. Best show ever.)

Honorable Mentions: (THIS WAS SO HARD!)
S6E8: The One with Ross's Teeth
S6E9: The One Where Ross Got High
S7E8: The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs
S7E12: The One Where They're Up All Night
S7E14: The One Where They All Turn Thirty
S8E13: The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath
S9E18: The One With the Lottery
S9E21: The One with the Fertility Test
S10E11: The One Where the Stripper Cries

Did I list your favorite? In truth, it's so hard to rank these episodes — especially seasons six, seven, and 10, if you ask me. What are your top Friends moments, lines, or episodes? Let's relive the amazingness together ;)

Monday, January 19, 2015

What You Like

There's a New York radio station that's been running this one morning show for, god, maybe close to 20 years now. It's gone through its evolutions but essentially, it's the same group of people I've been listening to since my mom used to have it on for our drive to elementary school. I still put it on for my ride to work these days.

 Last week I caught the show as they were discussing a list one of the hosts had found on HuffPo about ten things people only pretend to life. Their conversation irritated me enough that I went googling when I got to work and found a very similar (perhaps parent?) list: Admit It, You're Only Pretending to Like These 23 Things.

 In general the hosts agreed. If I were the type of person who called into radio shows, I would have called in to offer this very simple, I think, reminder:

  You are not representative of everyone. Your experience is not everyone's. Speak only for yourself. And (in a less elegant reminder) it's incredibly rude to yuck someone else's yum. 

 Let's take a look at some of these things that someone HuffPo thought was worth publishing believes no one actually likes, with just a few editorializations:
1. Traveling — Planes are not for everyone. Traveling can be stressful if you have kids, anxiety, financial limitations, etc. But I'm pretty sure not everyone escaping the northeast to Barbados this winter is just keeping up appearances, or laying on a beach begrudgingly and really wishing they could be home.
2. Going to a club — I don't anticipate finding myself in one in the near future, but there were a handful of years where there was nowhere else I'd want to spend a Saturday night, dominating the dance floor with my friends and dancing until my thighs ached.
3. Meeting someone's family4. Going for a run — Yeah, I totally run races and have already signed up for two 2015 half marathons because running is the least fun I've ever had.
5. Looking at abstract art
6. Going to family reunions
7. Green juice
8. Reading Shakespeare — Definitely not for everyone, I get that. But I have a tattoo for Shakespeare, so please don't tell me that I don't actually enjoy the Bard.
9. Christmas
10. Actually cooking something — Because there's literally nothing good about flavoring and cooking something exactly like you want it, saving money, having control over your diet, shall I go on?
11. Cooking for other people
12. Watching something serious instead of reality TV — You remember there was a time before reality TV, right? My elementary school BFF and I watched her videotapeS of Titanic every day after school, and it wasn't because we'd rather have been watching The Real World.
13. Reading long books — Just shut up.
14. Yoga — She writes: "You do yoga about five days a week, but most of that time you have no idea what position the instructor is asking you to contort your body into, and you don't understand how everyone around you always seems to be so much better at this than you." I have been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and have never, not once, not even as a newb trying out yoga DVDs in my living room, felt this way about yoga. No, you don't just automatically know how to hit all the postures, but that's why you, I dunno, pay attention to the instructor? Learn as you go? It's called a practice for a reason.
15. Being around other people's kids — If it's a fat baby that doesn't talk yet and has a clean diaper and its parents aren't annoying/helicopters/anywhere around, GIMME. (It's gotta be an infant though, and it's gotta be fat.)
16. Caring about wine
17. Taking shots
18. Eating oysters
19. Working in a group — I bet the guy who always got As on the projects other people totally carried really likes working in a group.
20. Someone else's success. — I'm actually embarrassed and horribly sad for you if you can't be happy for a friend who landed a promotion, paid of her student loan debt, met the partner of her dreams, insert any other measure of success. Envy is natural, sure, but if it leaves no room for anything resembling happiness for another person? Sorry not sorry, that's pathetic.
21. Cuddling — Ugh, yeah, what could ever be enjoyable about pressing skin to skin with a person you adore, or are attracted to, or feel emotionally connected to? Gross.
22. Your friend's outfit — Yeah, she always looks terrible and I never tell her that that top isn't flattering; I just smile and nod and die inside.
23. When other people are honest with you — If you're being a jerk for no reason and don't know how to offer constructive feedback, I probably don't like hearing certain comments from YOU. But sometimes when you're not a horrible human being, not everything a person thinks about you is a "truth hurts" situation that, the author writes, is "a pain you would like to avoid at all costs."
Sure, there's a bunch out there who drop buzzworded adoration on certain things as if they're a walking online dating profile, attempting to reflect the image of a certain type of person when really they have minimal (or exclusively embarrassing) interests of their own: "I'm an outdoorsy girl who loves to do yoga and travel!"

But some people DO love yoga. And traveling. And some people have no interest in either of those things. Both are perfectly acceptable. It's just fine to enjoy travel, and it's just fine to have no interest in it. Society has a sort of intrinsic affection for one over the other, though, so it's not uncommon for a person to feel inferior when they don't share the general consensus on bucket list-approved hobbies like travel, hence the percentage of people who claim to like it when they've only been as far from home as Milwaukee.

 Maybe, instead of attacking people for only claiming to like socially-accepted hobbies, we could spread the love a little bit and be a tad less judgmental of people who spend their time differently than how some others think they should? Because doing yoga, traveling, or babysitting your friend's kid may not make you a better person, but shitting all over everything other people do or don't do absolutely does make you kind of a shitty person.

To the person who wrote this list, you sound like you're real fun at parties. Do you just walk around suggesting to people that they don't actually like scarves or showering either? I'm genuinely curious: If you so dislike all these things that bring millions of other people joy, a sense of pride or accomplishment, or sheer exhilaration... what the hell do you like?

Oh and before I go, here are my suggested alternative titles for your awful listicle:
  • Things I Don't Like To Do That I Assume No One Else Has a Different Experience With 
  • 23 Things People Do That I Don't Feel a Part of So I Have to Crap All Over Them 
  • Things I've Never Even Tried to Do Or Educate Myself About Yet Have Decided Are Pretentious or Useless Anyway

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Sweats 3

So I kept my promise and had a MUCH better workout week than the last one. Let's see:

Monday: 6.2 miles + short free flow yoga practice
Tracy and I waited out the rain and squeezed in a soggy, dark 6.2 at a pace I don't want to really talk about. I had some massive residual hip pain from Sunday and we had to do a lot of dancing around puddles and ice patches, and I felt bad about slowing Tracy down. Good thing she's a good sport!

Earlier in the day, while Tracy plugged away at some super complicated homework I wouldn't even be able to read, let alone solve, I worked in a 15 minute free flow practice to loosen up the lower half.

Tuesday: rest
No morning yoga because we were up and out early to get Tracy to the train station, and I had a dinner date after work. I always feel bad about full rest days, even when they're for perfectly good reason.

Wednesday: 0 miles + short yoga practice
My psoas muscle (major hip flexor) was STILL bothering me since Sunday's run, even though it usually goes away within an hour or so after running. I knew I had a chiro appointment and would be taking home the stim, so I put running on hold to avoid a worse injury.

I started the day with this perfect hip opening yoga sequence (thanks for looking out for us runners, Erin!), throwing in some sun salutations to warm things up before diving in.

Thursday: 3.11 miles + medium yoga practice
I ran with a podcast for the first time solo (without a co-runner like Monday, which always affects my pace) Thursday, but first I had a really embarrassing thing happen. My headphones accidentally went home with Tracy, and my spare pair was at the office. All dressed and ready to go, I almost, SERIOUSLY did not leave my apartment because I didn't want to run without sound. I gave myself some serious side eye before heading out the door to take a quiet route so I could hear Serial Ep. 1 (OMG! I LOVE THIS! You guys were right.) through my phone speaker.

I like running with a podcast. I thought I needed the music to keep my running tempo, but... it doesn't actually work. I find with listening to a podcast my pace is much more natural, it feels good, and my splits are so much more similar — whereas previously I'd have my splits varying by as much as a minute. On Thursday, my splits were all within 13 seconds. Score!

I started the day with this older whole body flow from Erin. It's not in either of her 30-day challenges, but if you like her style, definitely give it a try!

Friday: 0 miles + short free flow yoga practice
No run today in prep for tomorrow's long run (relatively speaking. Remember, I only ran 4 miles last week.), but I did wake up with a low back-focused free flow. Cat/cows and seated and reclined twists, oh my!

Saturday: 7 miles + no yoga practice
I almost cheated and chopped a mile off this run. My justifications: This big a mileage increase over last week is just asking for trouble (true; I had only run 4 miles the week before and these 7 would put me at 16 for the week — NOT a good idea.); it's getting close to dark and I'm wearing black on top; my hip flexor is agitated; at least I've already done this much, etc. At the turn where I would have to back-track away from the direction of my house in order to make it 7 for the day rather than 6, I had to make the choice if I was going to follow through with the day's goal or cut it short and tell myself I'd do 7 Sunday. I thought about the half marathon I'll be running in less than two months and how I want to feel on that day and I went left, adding a half-mile out and back to my route and telling myself to just shut up and run.
Oh, and this is my longest run since my half marathon (13.1 miles) on October 26. I was decidedly out of training mode for all of November (20 miles, ugh) and most of December. We're only going higher from here, but more on that next Training for Tuesday (January 27!)

Sunday: 0 miles + medium free flow yoga practice
Worked an easy full body flow in this morning. I'm trying to up my creativity in free flowing and put together sensical sequences that serve whatever I need that day. Call it yoga teacher training training?

Saturday's last mile.
Weekly Totals:
Running: 3 workouts; 16.31 miles
Yoga: 5 practices

My hip flexor pain was really getting out of control, and it was all the more frustrating because I couldn't pinpoint the problem, which made it harder to fix. I had the same pain in my left side and one day it just vanished... and hopped over to my right side, where it's been more aggressive than before. And here's why I love my chiro: Nothing is irrelevant to him. I mentioned the flexor pain and he went right to work on it, pin-pointing the "trigger point" and working it out for me, plus giving me an education on the psoas muscle. I've been using the stim and alternating heat and ice, and it's finally feeling better.

My runs felt good this week. Better than I've felt in a while. Part of it is knowing that my next half marathon is so close (under two months to go!) and it's not November anymore. Part of it is the change in attitude I had around Christmas. No matter what I chalk it up to, it's just good. It feels good. It feels like running feels when you love it and you want to be better and you want to push yourself to get there. I ran 13 miles just a few months ago, but yesterday I had to push myself to finish 7. And I did, and I'm glad I did.


Don't forget! The next chance to link up your training goals, wins, and woes with Tracy and me is next Tuesday, January 27! Let's hear it: Whatever you're working toward, whatever goal you just hit, whatever kind of motivation you need, some share it all on Training for Tuesday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday: The Life Lately Edition

It feels like it's been ages since I joined Amanda's Friday Favorites party. Forgive me for the linkup-heavy week, but life is pushing me to my limits lately and a list post is kinda feeling like exactly what the doctor ordered. Onto the first FF of 2015 and a countdown of my favorite things about the last couple days...

Friends on Netflix. I'm having so much trouble writing part two to this post because I just love, love, love this series so much. It hits me on every level: the feels, the laughs, the nostalgia, the quotability. I honestly can't promise that I won't just loop right back around to the pilot and watch the whole series again.

This post by Tracy. Because guess why.

A new project. I still have to deal with some residual awfulness from last year at work for another couple of weeks, but come February I'll be fully into the thick of my new role, and I can't wait. This week I was assigned a project that I can't wait to start on, as its focus is a cause and issue that's extremely dear to my heart.
The stim machine. You guys. So my ex-running partner had a little one of these that I used back in the beginning of the whole becoming-a-runner thing. Lately I've been feeling my knee more than usual — I've had knee problems my whole life, but they actually began to subside when I started running and taking better care of my body. My chiropractor sent me home with a portable stim and I've been going HAM with it for the last few days: my IT bands, quad muscles, knee, shin, low back, and psoas (a major hip flexor that I severely pissed off over the weekend). Stim my life away.

Weeknight dinner dates. Because it's totally casual and that's totally fun. For now.

My side work. I'm lucky enough to do what I love to do in my day job (well, for the most part...) and also make a side business out of it. ICYMI, I'm the Life section editor for a great online women's magazine, Feather, which I love so much. I freelance as a literary editor and have three pretty awesome novels on my plate right now. And I also freelance as a writer and blogger, and this week I was offered an incredible opportunity with one company I have loved working with a handful of times last year. It's not lost on me how lucky I am to be able to earn a living and work with great people doing something I'm good at and that I genuinely enjoy doing. (Want to talk about your project? Email me!)
Serial. So I'm the kind of person who is so incredibly not a hipster, she's pretty much a reverse hipster. I'm not so much with the whole "into it before it was popular" as I am "becomes obsessed with it as soon as everyone else loses interest." I started watching Breaking Bad the day the series finale aired, for example. And last night I started listening to the Serial podcast. On that note...

Running with podcasts. For the last year I always ran with music and I had this idea that the tempo helped me run fast. (Ignore the fact that I don't run fast.) But on several suggestions and for my own curiosity I decided to give it a shot and I ran with a podcast alongside Tracy on Monday, and then again last night. I think this is my new jam. I noticed a more consistent pace and I could definitely see a podcast I enjoy becoming another motivator to run in these cold months, since I can't think of any other time I'd really listen to them.

This playlist. Ahhhh. Coffeehouse vibes, workday perfection.

Long weekends. My office isn't usually closed on Martin Luther King Day, but we are this year, so I'm looking forward to having Monday off and hopefully spending at least part of it on a mountain trail.

What were the highlights of your week? What are you up to this weekend? 
And what are your favorite podcasts so I can get obsessed with them as soon as I'm done obsessing over Serial?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Am Not

I've made no secret of the fact that 2014 made for a much different Alyssa. Throughout the course of the year I changed in ways I never thought I would, and made changes to my life I never could have expected. Still, there are some truths about myself I think I'd do best just to face and accept. Sure, last year I became a runner, a more serious yogi, a person who wakes up more than 20 minutes before she has to leave for work. But amid all that, I'm still me. I'm still "the kind of person" I am, and there are still plenty of "kinds of people" I am not.

I am not a morning person. I am trying to be an earlier riser, but as far as I'm concerned, anything before 7 a.m. should be entirely off limits for human activity. If your name is Alyssa and you're in fact me. I detest sleeping late and truncating the day that already has so little time in which to do all I need to do, but the best I've ever been able to do is shift my alarms back to the 7:16–7:25 range to allow for my yoga and shower to move to the morning from the evenings. While I'm able to do it for the sake of my schedule, I still don't enjoy waking up. At least not beyond the sheer gratitude I feel for being able to wake at all.

I am not a relationship person. I've had very few serious relationships in my life, but I have loved fiercely, stupidly, regrettably, and insanely. But I don't have certain traits I think other people have that make them good at being in a relationship. It's not that I don't want one (or that I particularly do either). It's that I have yet to spend too much time in a place in my life where a romantic relationship can take priority. I'm also not a person who wants to seriously date someone who I can't see myself with long-term. I'm dealing with two unmatched ends of the spectrum.

I am not a person who looks nice for work every day. I shower and strategically apply concealers and mascara (okay, and CC cream, brow powder, bronzer, blush, nude liner on the waterline and brown liner on the lashlines) and occasionally a lip color before I go to work every day, but the process is so finely tuned that it takes just a few minutes and leaves no room for special decisions. I dress comfortably and occasionally funkily for my super-casual office, and the only heat I take to my hair before leaving is the blowdryer — so I can avoid getting hypothermia, mostly. The weird thing is, though... I love makeup. I'm a product junkie. I love playing with my appearance and my Naked 2 palette is a prized possession, as is my lip color collection. I just don't care enough about how I look at work (where my bosses wear track pants and flip flops and the most face time I have is with my Macbook) to put any effort beyond "look like a human being" into my typical day's getting-ready process.

I am not a person who goes with the flow. I am a person who worries about little things, gets jealous over inconsequential things, and has an overwhelming need to plan for even the least intrusive things. I don't respond well to unwelcome changes and I can't "play it by ear." I can't "figure it out when we get there" and beyond ordering at a restaurant, I don't make game-time decisions. I plan, and I need answers when I need them, and I am perfectly fine figuring out all the not-so-fun details if you will just stop giving me a hard time about wanting to have them figured out. Remember all those times you made fun of me for carrying the Tide To Go pen in my purse and then needed my Tide To Go pen because you spilled coffee on your work shirt? I would love it if you could remember that next time you start to tease me for using my planner to figure out a day to go shoe shopping.

I am not a person who finishes things ahead of time. In true editorial fashion, I am a writer, and if given a deadline, I will work up til deadline. If I get something done early, it's likely because I have an internal deadline that I need to meet that doesn't align with yours. It does NOT mean I am not a hard worker or a dedicated writer or editor. I love the work that I do. Which is why I take on arguably too much of it and have to work right up to deadline on all of it. Oh and even if you don't need me to rush on something, for the love of god, please don't tell me that I can take my time or that you don't need it by any certain date. Please.

I am not a person who wants to see more than one photo per week of your baby. If you have a dog or a particularly cute cat though... gimme.

Sometimes I wish I could be some of the things I'm not. But then I wonder if it would be possible to be those things and still be the things I am. In the grand scheme, I do like the things I am. At least, for now.
It's so casual.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Back to Normal

And on the third day, Melissa said, "We shall confess." And it was good.

Tracy was here this weekend and it was awesome and we had a blast and now she's gone and I have to go be a human at work again and that's not as much fun.

I fell down on the blogging job whilst entertaining my guest with multiple pizzas and drinks and Princeton and New York, but I managed to get a post up on Sunday at least, which must be worth something. Even if it was a post that basically writes itself throughout the course of the week.
Oh right, that multiple pizzas thing. I ate pizza for dinner Saturday and Sunday. Don't care. (If you're ever in NYC, get yoself some Artichoke Pizza. There is no substitute and there is nothing like it.)

The 10-day Instagram yoga challenge I was participating in since the New Year is over and I feel like I don't know how to Insta anymore. Please help me. What do I post? Can I just keep posting snoga pictures? Because that was fun.

GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS. AGAIN. (Chiropractor day.) After today I'll go back to pushing out our sessions to every two weeks, as it was before my car accident in the fall, in hopes of managing to get back to every three weeks soon after that. While I'll be happy to be healing and in less pain, I don't really ever want to go more than like a few days without seeing my chiropractor. Because it feels good and I'm pathetically involved in this schoolgirl crush thing. OH WELL.

I had a dinner date last night, and based on the last year of my life, I'm feeling it best to leave it at that for now and not add any more details. But the part of me that just never shuts up and has no sense of privacy (when it comes to certain matters) wants to talk more about it because, well, I just like to talk. But I'm refraining. But I'll probably spill every last detail to the first commenter who asks for it. YOLO! (Am I doing that right?)

I was charged $5 in fees that I wasn't expecting (on top of the $2 ATM charge and criminal $7 parking (for roughly 8 minutes) fee that I was expecting) in a parking garage over the weekend and when I saw those on my bank statement yesterday morning I immediately started wondering who I could call and yell at about them. Because I've apparently become both of my parents and one of my stepparents already.

I went into 2015 thinking I would focus my racing on bigger races this year, as opposed to many races. I'm already registered for two semi-biggies, will register for a small-ish one as soon as it opens, and am waiting on registration to open on a semi- to very-big one.... which doesn't even address the five others I have on a list that I want to run and have no concrete plans of cutting any one of them from my 2015 list. So much for that.

Thank god for this linkup because guess who has two thumbs and zero posts prepared and left herself next to no time to be brilliantly creative this week? (Me, in case you didn't get the joke. It's okay. It's humpday.)
Making Melissa
Speaking of humpday, you owe it to the world and to blogland. Whatchu confessing today?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Sweats 2

Let me just preface this week by saying: It stops here. Also, I'm kind of dumb sometimes.

Monday: 0 miles + medium free flow practice
After Sunday's run, I wasn't sure whether I would or would not run Monday. Early in the week I feel like I can leave my running schedule up to how I feel, thinking I have the rest of the week to make it up. It's not always true. I declined a Monday run because my calves were a bit sore and we had some nasty wind, gusts 20-40 MPH. No.
I did manage to wake up with a relaxing, stretch-focused free flow Monday morning. I focused about 20 minutes on standing and sitting forward folds, cat/cows, twists and other gentle stretches to get my body ready for the first week back at work.
Day 4 of the #BadYogisDoIt challenge asked for a posture you look to when you're short on time. I love a good twist like lord of the fishes pose.

Tuesday: 0 miles + long free flow & arm balance practice
So this is where my Monday logic comes back to bite me on the ass. We got snow Tuesday, and by the time I left work, it was very very very well below freezing. Roads were not yet plowed, sidewalks weren't shoveled or salted, and running on these streets in the dark alone is basically a death wish.
I "made up for" the lack of a run with a nice long, high-energy flow on the yoga mat, plus did some arm balance practice. Seriously, it's called a practice for a reason because y'all, this takes WORK.
On Day 5, Erin asked how #BadYogisDoIt on their hands. We had a snoga photoshoot at work. It was fun.

Wednesday: 0 miles + short yoga practice
Guess how icy it was Wednesday after an entire 24-hours of temperatures below 20? It's not the cold that's the problem; it's the running on ice in the dark thing that I'm not down with. It's how my old running buddy sprained his ankle last year. That's not a risk I'm cool with making two months before Rock 'n Roll.
I worked my low back and hips with this morning practice though, and spent the evening getting cracked and twisted around by my beloved chiropractor. So that's something.
Wednesday's challenge prompt was "to find balance," so I snapped a blurry shot of this hybrid/variation pose of downward facing dog and tiger pose that's actually a lot harder (for the balance challenged) than it looks.

Thursday: 0 miles + medium free flow yoga practice
Guess who is a really smart person? Not me. So on Thursday I had to run a quick errand on my lunch break, and as I was pulling back into my work parking lot it finally occurred to me: Though I don't belong to a gym because I won't use it, I have friends and a brother who do. And they have free guest passes. And there are treadmills in there. Which are not an ideal (or even enjoyable) method of getting my miles in, but make it possible to run in the icy conditions we've had this week. But I didn't figure this out until after I got back to work without any running gear and wouldn't have been able to get home from the gym until 7/7:30 at least, which would just not give me enough time to do all I had to do to prepare for the next day's special delivery. But now I've resigned myself to it: I'll treadmill if I have to because it's better than nothing. (It really never occurred to me before this day to join a friend at the gym on occasion just for the treadmill. Doy.)
I squeezed in a free flow to open up my back, since I've been feeling tight and angry there, and that was Thursday.
I never got around to snapping this pic on Thursday, so I doubled up Friday. Day 7 of the challenge asked us to strike a pose where you normally wouldn't. So we went into the shipping room at work and to the top of a stepladder. Nailed it.

Friday: 0 miles + short yoga practice
I knew this would be a no-run day, because I had important plans post-work. I started the morning with this nice sun salutation flow, raced through work, and headed to the train station right after... Because Tracy's here visiting this weekend! *all the happy emojis*
The challenge prompt was to show a pose that's your work in progress. Striking a pose is one thing, but holding it is quite another. I'm gonna keep working on handstand and call it a WIP until I can't miss it.

Saturday: rest
Today was a total rest day, as Tracy and I had places to go and things to do. More on that later in the week.
For the last day of the challenge, a free-for-all day, I had Tracy snap this pic of camel pose between our adventures.

Sunday: 4 miles + no yoga practice
My first run in a week... ack. Never again am I letting that happen. It wasn't a great pace for either one of us, but it was so fun to finally run with Tracy to my left! We took a flat-ish course through my town and avoided toppling over on the ice. Calling it a win... for now.
No formal yoga practice today, though we did play around with some arm balances over coffee.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 1 workout; 4.09 miles
Yoga: 5 practices

I'm embarrassed at how long it took me to come up with the guest pass solution. But now that I have literally NO excuses (not that not wanting to die on an icy road is really an "excuse"), I have to be better.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Letters Vol. 5

Dear Erin Motz, You already know I'm a totally crazy #badyogi fangirl, so this goes without saying, but I am so loving this 10-day Instagram challenge! #BadYogisDoIt
Dear Instagram Followers, Sorry for the abundance of yoga pose pictures lately. Don't worry, it's day 9 and we're almost done with the daily posture shots.
Dear Netflix, Thank you.
Dear Work Day, Please speed by because I can't wait to get this (long!) weekend started.
Dear Phyllis Shlafly, I may vomit, and I am horrified.
Dear Clothes Dryer in My Apartment Building, If you can't dry even half the clothes that the washer can wash, what is even the point of you?
Dear Tina & Amy, You gals make everything okay. Thank you for being fantastic.
Dear Paris, You're in my heart. Je suis Charlie.
Dear Late-to-the-Partiers, Here are your resolutions for 2015.
Dear Winter, We get it. You're a thing. Making up for the 60-degree Christmas we had, huh?
Dear Man I Met on New Years, It's casual.
Dear #GirlsWhoRun, This is weird. But also possibly really important.
Dear Wild, I dig you, and obviously I'm already planning my own PCT adventure now.
Dear Wonderful Readers and Feather Girls, We've got some new things on the mag in 2015! Head over to share your story (any story—we want to know about YOU!), ask our expert your relationship questions, or tell us all about your awesome job.
Dear Right Quad Muscle, Shhhhh.
Dear New Parts of My Job, I like you.
Dear Old Parts of My Job, You were supposed to stay in 2014. You are not welcome here. You get one last fling and then we are so over.
Dear Best Weekend Ever, Let's do this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Happy first humpday of 2015, y'all. Very, very, happy. I need a minute.
Making Melissa
Oof. Okay, I think I'm ready. SO. As many of my blogging brethren know by now, Kathy has laid her blog and everybody's favorite linkup, Humpday Confessions, to rest. And we sobbed and sobbed and mourned and mourned. But luckily, the torch has been passed onto our very own Melissa and our new humpday man candy has been revealed and now we have a place to confess and once again all is sexy right in bloglandia. Without further ado, the first confessions of the new year...

+ Since roughly 43% of bloglandia is working on or working with a capsule wardrobe, it was only a matter of time before the fever got me too. The thing is, I like to think I'm pretty good about keeping my wardrobe under control. I go through at least every other month and come out with a bag of clothes to donate or sell. But I started thinking about what I could stand to part with and I went through my closet in another big purge Monday night in preparation for building a capsule-ish wardrobe.

+ That idea lasted me only as long as it took to realize I have more than 10 pairs of patterned leggings that I wear to work and everywhere else in my life and they definitely aren't suitable for a capsule wardrobe and so I just came up with another bag of clothes (23 tops and bottoms, one pair of shoes) to donate instead and ditched the capsule-ish idea.

+ My sweeter-than-pie friend Kristen gave me these yoga socks (sticky on the bottoms!) for Christmas and I was chilled yesterday so I put them on for my evening practice. And then left them on because I liked them. And then left them on way too long because I'm pretty sure I actually lost some circulation in my toes by the time they came off.

+ I have done pathetically little else with my life since Friends arrived on Netflix. (See my guide for seasons 1-5 here! Seasons 6-10 coming soon.) I know every episode backward and forward, can quote the dialogue on command, and yet I can't tear myself away until I've gone through every episode. It's a problem.

+ If you got a comment from me yesterday between 10 a.m. and noon, it was made while I was on a conference call. Oops.

+ I just made Channing Tatum bigger than Melissa's button originally did because I felt I wasn't doing him justice and he deserves much more real estate on this post.

+ My photographer for yesterday's #BadYogisDoIt Instagram challenge was my coworker, who got it into her head that we had to take the shot outside our office... in the snow. I gotta say, I actually quite like the finished product, but also this outtake from when she decided to "get artsy."

+ I'm currently in the midst of planning a trip so far in the future Southwest doesn't even have flight information available for that month yet. Type A much? I've got my Airbnb stops picked out already and am minutes away from adding them on Facebook and laying the groundwork to become BFFs.

+ Today's my first visit to the chiropractor aka Dr. Magic since before Christmas aaaaaand I should probably be ashamed at how happy I am to see a physician but I'm so not and I don't care one bit.

+ I love you all — really, I do, I adore you to pieces — but I'm so glad we're all done recapping 2014 and listing our 2015 resolutions. I understand my own contributions to this phenomenon but I'm still so glad it's over and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Welcome back to our world, Humpday Confessions. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say we all missed you more than a reasonable amount.