A Quick Five to Massachusetts

A quick five day vacation, that is. Over the past few years, it feels like that only trips I’ve been on lately have been RACEcations. This trip was solely to relax and spend time with semi-retired Chick, Bec, and her family.

People, I did not even bring a sports bra! There was nary a Garmin or Spibelt in sight. I’d be lying if I said I missed any of those things. We really didn’t have much on the agenda and that was a-okay with me.

It was so good to just kick back, watch Bad Moms, eat yummy food, and enjoy each other’s company. (And the air conditioning because holy crap, it was hot.) Sometimes you just need to be with your people to recharge your soul and that’s exactly what we did!

We visited Hornstra Farms where we played with the barn cats and cows. And ate delicious ice cream (twice!).

Purple Cow = Black Raspberry with chocolate and white chips

Purple Cow = Black Raspberry with chocolate and white chips

We shopped a lot and bought random things. (Not these though - we just liked that our initials were together.)

We shopped a lot and bought random things. (Not these though – we just liked that our initials were together.)

I got to see the town where she grew up. You know, on the beach. #nottooshabby

I got to see the town where she grew up. You know, on the beach. #nottooshabby

You can "adopt" the carousel horses and the one I was one was named "Merry". Kismet? I think so.

You can “adopt” the carousel horses and the one I was one was named “Merry”. Kismet? I think so.

Fun house mirror... but I really am that much shorter than Bec and her daughter. Whomp whomp!

Fun house mirror… but I really am that much shorter than Bec and her daughter. Whomp whomp!

On the hottest day ever, we decided to go to Boston. I think a part of me is still there, melted on the pavement.

On the hottest day ever, we decided to go to Boston. I think a part of me is still there, melted on the pavement.

Worth melting for!

Worth melting for!

After 3 days, the cats came out of hiding. Cleo even let me pet her!

After 3 days, the cats came out of hiding. Cleo even let me pet her! #judgingme

We took a goodbye picture with pouts and frizzy hair but this one is much cuter.

We took a goodbye picture with pouts and frizzy hair but this one is much cuter.

My traveling doesn’t stop there! Later this week, I’ll be heading off to Europe for 10 days with my husband. We’ll be doing fun things there, including visiting Blindekuh (that would be a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness) and potentially doing this…

Oh! One more thing. As per usual, I hang out with some awesome people. Here are a few that you might be interested in checking out!

  • Are you into gardening? Do you want to be? This is a hot off the presses blog from Sonya, the brilliant friend who helped us start our home garden. I adore her!
  • My dear friend, Bernadette, is a mom who is kicking cancer’s ass. She wrote a children’s book to help little ones that have a mom with breast cancer. Check it out here.
  • Jersey Girl in the South is an awesome home decorating blog from Tracy. If only she lived closer – my house could use her expertise!

Happy Wednesday and happy middle of August!

Planning – a love story (and giveaway)

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Okay, straight up, this post was originally scheduled for last week, but my planner hadn’t yet arrived because I ordered it after the holidays, during the busiest time, and so it took longer than I was expecting, and I just wasn’t ready in time.

Ironic, huh?

Back before cell phones and computers, I used to take great delight in getting a new planner each year, putting all my contacts and birthdays in it, carrying it with me everywhere I went. I loved the idea of planning, even though I was nineteen years old, and I didn’t really have a lot of things to juggle.

Fast forward twenty something years, and my life is a massive, chaotic, scheduling tornado. Between work and kids and errands and LIFE, it just requires a level of organization to keep everything running smoothly.

Most of this is handled by technology these days. My contacts are stored in my phone, and Facebook tells me when people are having a birthday. Most of my doctor’s offices send text reminders, and my Google calendar lets me set alerts for all the things I forgot I scheduled.

But last year, I started to really miss pen and paper planning. And since, for me, interest often turns to obsession, I went a little planner crazy. I got a desk sized planner, a purse sized one, a journal, a fitness planner.

If one planner is good, four is... crazy.

If one planner is good, four is… crazy.

Want to guess how that turned out? I practically pulled a shoulder muscle out dragging all my planners around, and I darn sure wasn’t any more organized. It was too much of a good thing, and the stack of planners were soon gathering dust.

I really wanted ONE planner where I could put everything. Preferably not the size of my fifth grade Trapper Keeper. And pretty. Possibly monogrammed.

Basically, I wanted an Erin Condren Life Planner. Even with the sticker shock, I just really wanted one. Sadly, when I looked into them, while they were very customizable, they still weren’t exactly what I needed. So, I kept looking.

And in the meantime, I Googled ‘menu planner template’ and printed out some sheets to tide me over.

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

Finally, I found what I wanted in the Plum Paper ME Planner. I could customize it to fit all the things I wanted in there, in a way that made sense for my life. And it was pretty. And I could put my name on it. The hardest decision was picking which adorable design I wanted.

Adorable, no?

Adorable, no?

Goals, Bills, Appointments, Meal and Fitness Planning, Self Care, etc. And a fitness section add on. It’s everything, fits in my bag, doesn’t break my shoulder socket. I’m so in love.

Me and my planner spend a few minutes together each night, looking over the next few days, and a few minutes each morning, prepping for that day. We’re still getting to know each other, but I think this is the beginning of a beautiful, organized, relationship.

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One might say I’m a bit old school. I’m a very visual, tactile person. Books over kindles, letters over emails, that type of thing.

Last January I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a planner to Bec, which I guess she took as a challenge. Not even a week later, I had a cute little planner delivered to my doorstep (and lip balm, because lip health is important).

We have a family calendar in our kitchen.

Random fact: I've used this template on my computer since I was a Resident Director in college and had to post RA schedules.

Random fact: I’ve used this template on my computer since I was a Resident Director in college and had to post RA schedules.

But the one that Bec sent? It was mine, all mine! Mwahahaha, world domination!

Ahem. Anyway, I used that planner for everything related to my life. I do a lot of freelance work where I need to track my own hours in order to get cash money and who wants to screw up with that? Um, not me. The planner is a great way to track hours and payments.

It stands to reason that when December rolled around, a planner was on my holiday wish list. I went with this one because it was on Amazon and not one billion dollars.

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It is hefty but thankfully I’m not really using it anywhere but in my home, so the bigger the better. (That’s what she said!)

Look at all the pretty planning tabs!

Look at all the pretty planning tabs!

There is something about having things all laid out in front of me that just works for me. I like the order of this planner, it actually reminds me of a book that I used in Girl Scouts when I was younger.

On the full calendar I have an overview of the month. I particularly like this one for keeping track of my work related activities.

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On the weekly page, it’s more about my personal events: workouts, food planning, volunteer work, etcetera.

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Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

I mean, I know it’s not normal to be in love with a planner but… I LOVE MY PLANNER, OKAY? I am not ashamed.

In addition to Bec and I both loving planners, we absolutely love Skinnytaste. And, naturally, we love YOU. So we decided to pool our resources of love and gift the Skinnytaste meal planner to a lucky reader. Cool? Cool.

We'll pick a winner in a week and then we'll ship out this little beauty.

We’ll pick a winner in a week and then we’ll ship out this little beauty.

Click on the pic below and enter today!

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Do you use a planner or have you in the past? What keeps you motivated? If you see something in writing does it mean it must be done?

This is 40?

A year ago, I wrote a post about being a year out from my 40th birthday. It feels like I wrote that yesterday. But yesterday, I actually did turn 40, so apparently, an entire year has passed. I don’t even know how that happened, but the older I get, the faster time seems to go.

That post was all about plans for the year, ways to get healthy. I didn’t really do any of them. If I’m being honest, I forgot most of them as soon as I finished writing the post. This year passed, like so many others, in a blur. There are moments that stand out, good times and bad that will ultimately define this year in my memory, but the year leading up to 40 was no more significant than turning 40 itself. I tend to idealize moments, think that when I hit a certain point, things will be magically different. I had this idea that at 40, I would somehow have everything together, be this paragon of maturity and grace, the perfect picture of modern working motherhood. And I guess I sort of was?

At the exact moment I turned 40 years old, 4:26PM yesterday, I was in the middle of picking up both kids at school/daycare, wishing I’d taken the day off from work, and jamming to Ariana Grande on the radio. And then the moment was gone, slipped by, and it wasn’t noteworthy, except to note that it’s pretty indicative of my life. And it’s a good life. A really good life.

In terms of where the plans for the past year went…

Weight loss? There was none. Well, there was some but not for more than a minute, and I’m roughly in the same place I was last year. It’s okay. I’ll get there. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I’ll get there.

Running? Nope. That half marathon didn’t happen, couldn’t happen, and there hasn’t been any running since then either. It’s okay. I’ll get there. Or I’ll decide that isn’t where I want to go, and I’ll get somewhere else.

General health and happiness? Sometimes? I don’t stop and enjoy the little things enough. I spend too much time on the internet. I let anxiety get the best of me. I beat myself up for bad choices. I worry, even though I know worrying won’t change the outcome of things. I think, far too much, about where I should be, instead of embracing where I am.

It’s okay, I’ll get there.

I woke up today, my first full day of being 40, and I felt… exactly the same as I did yesterday. Except that I have a whole new decade stretching out ahead of me until the next big birthday, and it just feels full of possibility. What will my 40s be? What will I make them?

I have no idea. Well, I have a lot of ideas, but right now, they’re all sort of swirling around in my head like confetti dropped into a wind tunnel. They are idea-lets, none of them fully formed.  Eventually, the wind will die down, and it will be the time of making lists and making plans and making decisions. And I will. And it will be okay. And I will get there.

But for now, I’m off to spend some much needed girl time with my bffl. Coffee and shopping and giggling somewhere, because we are us and that just sort of happens.

 

And then later, I’ll pick up the kids while jamming to Jason Derulo, and be glad I took today off.

And it’s Friday, so we’ll get take out and maybe go to the mall.

And tomorrow morning, I’ll drive my son to swimming and my daughter to her job and I’ll go grocery shopping.

And I’ll take a minute here and there to look around, to soak it in, to remember.

 

This is 40.

Chick Chat: Vaseline Intensive Repair Lotion

vaseline

Mer: I’m not sure what’s been happening to my skin in the past year or so. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s weather fluctuations. All I know is that I’ve developed itchy, dry skin and it’s agonizing enough that I visited the dermatologist.

Since September I’ve been on prescription strength cream medication; however it’s something that the dermatologist recommended using only during “flair ups” because it thins the skin. Um, say what? I don’t want thin skin!

For daily use, she said that I should find something over the counter that worked well. Luckily, at that time, I received the Vaseline intensive care lotion from Influenster and I’ve been slathering myself with it non-stop. Sounds awesome, huh? Well, it is. It’s been working really well and I’ve been less itchy! Which is good because I don’t want to have to use the prescription strength cream unless absolutely necessary.

Two thumbs up, Vaseline. Keeping you!

Vic: My husband usually buys the hand lotion in our house. Backwards? Yes. But he loves to shop at warehouse stores and who am I to deny him that pleasure? (especially when said store is packed on a Saturday afternoon.)

We’ve used just about everything – Jergens, Aveeno, Lubriderm and yes, Vaseline. He gets what’s on sale, which is fine by me.  And he (almost) always picks fragrance-free lotion.

Huzzah – I don’t wanna smell like a blooming lavender pickleberry or a peppermint-doused evergreen. I just want moisturized skin.

I’ve been using the Vaseline Intensive Repair lotion for a few weeks now and I’m loving it.

When I first applied it, I knew it was different straight away. The lotion feels thicker than what I’m used to using.  My skin feels soft and hydrated. And….it’s fragrance-free.

Confession: I hid my bottle in our guest room to make sure it would stay out of hubby’s hands. To date, it has worked. But that may change after this post.

Bec: Confession time. I have a BIT of a lotion habit. I have a lot of different lotions around the house. When I was younger, it wasn’t something I needed, just something I liked. But hey, just one of the many joys of aging? Drying up like a prune. SIGH. So, after every shower, I lotion up like crazy. If I don’t, my calves will be tight and sooooo itchy, and that is no fun.

I definitely have some favorites, and I actually like the scented ones, but I’m always open to trying new products. So when I got the email from Influenster about the Vaseline Intensive Repair lotion Voxbox, I was ALL in.

This lotion is really thick, and creamy, both pluses in lotion. And they don’t leave me feeling greasy, which is a major deal breaker. It’s hard to speak to the ‘repair’ effectiveness of the product, since this is a bit early in the season for me to start having really dry skin. But, from a preventative angle, it’s totally getting the job done.  The lack of fragrance is actually the only downside for me, I would have preferred a light scent. Not necessarily blooming lavender pickleberry (Vic, you always make me laugh), but something. Still, if it continues to work as well as it has been, I promise you won’t hear any complaints from me.

 Mer, Vic and Bec received the Vaseline Vox Box from Influenster  to test and review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are our own.

Eat, Drink, Move, Think : A Pre-Holiday Challenge of sorts

Sunday post? I know, weird. But I wanted to post about something starting tomorrow, so no time like the present!

Okay, raise your hand if this time of year typically marks a departure from any thought of health, fitness, and weight loss until the new year starts.

*hand up*

Now, raise your other hand if you have found yourself on the other side of a holiday season with 10-15 extra pounds to lose, and a profound wish you’d done it different that year.

*other hand up*

Even if you didn’t raise your hands, if you’ve been stressing how you’re going to stay on track through this holiday season, just know, you’re not alone. The holidays are wonderful, but from a health perspective, they can be difficult. It’s a busy time, sometimes stressful, and with food everything, seemingly non stop.

That’s why this year, I’m challenging myself to take a couple of pre-holiday weeks and get in the zone, and I wanted to invite you all to join me.

We’re keeping it simple, too. Commit to 14 days of focus on four hey objectives, to help ensure that we go into the holiday season strong, and come out on the other side the same way. I promise, this is an easy challenge. Ready? Four objectives.

Eat – Eat food. I mean, we do that every day, right? No specific rules, just try to focus on eating less processed, good food. No eliminations. This isn’t a ‘none of this, none of that’ deal. Just focusing on healthy eating, and make sure you have regular meals and snacks. If you’re following a specific program, and you want to track or count or focus on the specifics of that, that’s cool too.

Drink – Water, specifically. No set number of ounces. No gallon jug with lines. Just drink more water, and cut back on sugary drinks like Starbucks Lattes and Dunkin Hot Chocolates (my personal drugs of choice). Hydration matters, and it’s such a simple thing to achieve, with just a little focus and effort.

Move – Every day. Doesn’t have to be hours and hours, miles and miles. Just get up and move. Every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Enjoy this beautiful time of year with a walk outside. We don’t even have to call it exercise. 🙂

Think – Take 5. Or 10. Slow down. Take a little time for us, every day. Time to think about how we are, how things are going, things we want, and thing we want to change. Take time to appreciate the things we’re thankful for. Meditate. Journal. Sit with our thoughts, with ourselves. Breathe.

That’s it. That’s the whole plan. No tools needed. No special trip to the grocery store needed. No prep work.

I know, this probably seems overly simplistic. But that’s kind of the beauty of it. I’ve got too much going on to do something complicated. And these four things? These are things that so many of us struggle with, and over-think, or avoid thinking about at all, especially this time of year. So, starting tomorrow, for 14 days, these are what I’m focusing on.

Will it help? I think so. I hope so! I guess the only way to know is to give it a try.

Hit me up on Instagram (@bec2point0) if you want some accountability, and use these hashtags: #eatdrinkmovethink #414focus

Healthy Holidays, here we come!

Demotivation

A.k.a. Fitspirational quotes that annoy the heck out of me.

Listen, I’ve been sick all week, so saying I’m cranky is kind of an understatement. That said, I’ve been planning on writing this post for a while, so let’s not attribute all of my bitchiness to the plague I am currently suffering from. Credit where credit is due, I’m just naturally bitchy.

So, if you spend any time on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Facebook…heck, if you spend time on the internet at all… I’m sure you’ve stumbled across a colorful array of weight loss and fitness motivational quotes. Maybe you’ve regrammed some of them. Maybe you’ve taken a screen shot for later use, or later inspiration. If you’ve done any of these things, we have a lot in common.

But lately, there are a few of these fitspo quotes that I find to be downright demotivational. Don’t get me wrong, I know that these are meant to inspire people, and for some, I’m sure they do. And there are plenty of these quotes that do inspire me! It’s just that a couple of them keep popping up and making me a little ragey.

Nothing tastes as good as being thin/losing weight feels – First of all, the person who coined this phrase has clearly never eaten creme brulee. Because not only does it taste as good as losing weight feels, it tastes better. Secondly, and more seriously (although I am deadly serious about creme brulee), I think this quote sends a horrible message. What if that quote on Insta looked more like this?

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Is that motivational? No! And what’s worse, it’s not true. To me, saying nothing tastes as good as being thin feels implies that it’s an either/or scenario, and frankly, I think that’s a load of bull. Reality is not eat junk or be thin. Plenty of thin people eat crap. And plenty of heavy people eat a balanced diet that includes healthy foods and indulgences. So, I reject this fitspo on the basis that my journey to health will have pit stops at the Creme Brulee Cafe, and I will still get there.

No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch – This one gets a lot of traction. And hey, why not? But if it were phrased differently, would it still motivate people?

Loser

Less motivating, huh? And not so flattering to the people you are ‘lapping’, either. I may be slow when I’m running. Hell, let’s not mince words, I’m a turtle. But you know what? The only one I need to compete with, the only person I need to worry about ‘lapping’, is myself. And the people who didn’t get off the couch? You’re still cool in my book.

Pain is fear leaving the body – Other variations of this one include No Pain, No Gain and Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going. Actually, no. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and that you should stop doing that thing.

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Now, there is a world of difference (or sometimes a thin line) between being uncomfortable and being in pain. And hey, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re trying to reach a new level in your sport, there is going to be some discomfort. And yeah, you have to tough through that sometimes. But if something hurts? If you are in actual pain? That is your body signaling you that you’re about to hurt yourself, if you haven’t already. That’s not you being weak. That is you being a human being with nerve endings and stuff.

So those are my demotivators. Are there any fitspirational quotes that annoy you? Or any that inspire you? Tell me all about them!

Did Good, Feeling Really Good: Alex’s Million Mile Wrap-Up

What a month! We walked, we ran, we rode. We made lemon food and wore yellow clothes. We talked about it here, there and everywhere. All with one goal- to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

This has become my favorite time of year for our little corner of the internet. Running for a cause, and seeing the momentum build among our community of friends is nothing short of amazing. Watching our miles and donations climb every day, exchanging shouty-caps texts with Mer because we’re so excited about our team’s successes, seeing that my own local friends have joined our team or donated, reading Megan’s almost daily Facebook posts just pushing for more donations (Megan really should go into professional fundraising because she’s a rockstar, and not at all pushy about it, either.) And of course, the running. I am actually running regularly again and it feels almost as good as my donation to ALSF did.

I just have to say it again- WHAT A MONTH!

First, I have to thank our team. Together, we logged 1,871.13 miles. We all deserve a refreshing glass of lemonade!

But that’s not all…

Together, we helped raise $2,070 for childhood cancer!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has funded over 450 projects with the goal of curing pediatric cancer, so you know those funds are being used for something GOOD. I’m raising my glass to you, Team Scootadoot:

teamscootadoot

Thank you. Thank you, very much.

At the beginning of the month, we told you about a few rewards we had…

For the second year in a row, our top fundraiser is Megan! Her posts to Facebook and Instagram were funny, heartfelt, and obviously very effective. Megan, you’re the BEST! I’m sending you big hugs from Florida.

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Our next award goes to Bonnie, for logging the most miles this month: 193.90! High fives to you, girl!

And finally, the winner of our random draw for our #onwednesdayswewearyellow campaign is Jenn! I like your style, Jenn!

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Thank you, Megan, Bonnie, and Jenn! We’ll be in touch to get your prizes to you. We’re so grateful to have you on our team!

On a personal note, our #journey2amillion was exactly the push I needed to start running regularly again. And it only took two weeks of that for Meridith to convince me to run the Disney World Half Marathon with her in January. Looks like we’ll be having a lot of virtual runs over the next few months.

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This is my last blog post for the foreseeable future. I love my Scootadoot chicks! When I say we all became friends within minutes of meeting, I really do mean it. But life is beautiful and crazy here, and I’m a girl who likes to volunteer for all the things, which leaves very little time for me to share my story on the internet. I’ll still be running and reading though (especially here!)- link your blog for me, please? I’ve enjoyed talking running with all of you, and I thank you for reading. Happy Friday, runner friends!