Saturday, March 30, 2013

3rd 5K Day!

We did it! Our 3rd ever 5K that is. This one was the Bloodgusher 5K (they also offered a 1K, 10K, and 1/2 Marathon) in Midland, TX, raising money for United Blood Services (which handles blood donations). I ran the race in honor of my little cousin, Colton, who need an emergency blood transfusion when he was born (He is now 10 years old and healthy as can be, and I was happy to have a chance to watch him play baseball just last weekend). I love a race for a good cause. Okay, so onto the results!

We were up at 8am for the 9:30am start. I appreciated the later start time, which gave us a chance to really wake up. We were able to pick up our packets yesterday, so with shirts and numbers ready, we were good to go. We lucked out with really nice weather, breezy and cool.

Ready to go. Loved the fancy technical race shirts! 
I think we were both a little nervous because the last 5K we ran was over a year and 9 months ago. Also, we didn't train a whole lot. I was confident in Brendan, and my only goal was to beat my previous time of 38:57. And beat it I did!

The course was nice...except the miles were not marked, so it was hard to know how you were doing. I kept my eye on my stopwatch and tried to estimate. No one handing out water would say anything other than "You're close!" There were plenty of kids cheering everyone on along the course, so that was fun. It's hard to stop when kids are saying "You can do it!" So sweet. One of them was also awesome and told me I was only 1/2 a mile from the finish line. SCORE.

I made it across the finish line at 35:38, with an 11:28 pace. Way awesome for me. I was really happy... and also felt a little sick. Mostly I was happy though! I came in 32 of 42 in my age group.

Brendan killed it, with a 22:12 race and 7:09 pace. He took home a medal for 2nd in his age group out of 25. His last race was 25:30 and he finished in 3rd place, so this was a big improvement for him too.

After the race and Brendan with his medal. 
I think we both had a really fun time. There was plenty of water and snacks (grapes and peanut butter please!) to enjoy after the finish. While there's always room for improvement, we were both proud of ourselves and each other's accomplishments today. Running is still hard for me, but I like how I feel after I do it!

We hope your Saturday will be filled with accomplishments too, whatever they are.
<3 S, B, and totally have been sleeping this whole time L&Z

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why It's Good To Sometimes Skip It (The Gym)

I had a pretty normal Tuesday today: Up at 6am, out the door by 7, teaching from 8-11 (I wish more people had actually read Othello), office hour, commute home, and a lovely trip to our local war zone  grocery store. A nap on the couch later, and somehow it was 5:30. There was only one problem: I was supposed to work out today, and my heart was about 10% in it.

I felt really guilty: I go above and beyond trying to maintain my gym schedule, but sometimes (rarely), the very thought makes me feel sick because I just don't have the energy. The thought of spending an hour and 20 minutes pushing through my workout today was too much. I almost put on my gym clothes before deciding to skip it.

Immediately, I felt total relief. I did everything that I actually wanted to do, starting with playing with my cats and ending with cooking an awesome dinner for Brendan. I actually have the energy left over to prep for class tomorrow instead of collapsing and waking up early to do it.

I'm not proposing we all skip our workouts all the time, but as my New Rules book advises: if you'd rather do almost anything than go to the gym, don't push it. Attitude is an important part of the workout. If my only motivation is guilt, it isn't enough to help me through. As everyone knows, the wrong frame of mind can lead to lazy workouts, which doesn't really help you.

Taking a rest day can also be vital to our future successes in the gym, allowing us to push harder the next time. But most importantly, we have to make choices based on what we need, and sometimes, what we really need is an enjoyable evening. Usually, I enjoy working out, but sometimes, I have to motivate myself, and sometimes, it just isn't happening. I've become good at knowing the differences. I know when to encourage myself and when to let myself be.

It's a good skill to cultivate, and I highly recommend it. Sometimes, you need to skip a workout and make it up later. If you only do this once in a while, you will still meet all of your goals, but you'll also be happier with the journey!

Here's to the making it through the week, whatever that entails for you!

<3 S, B, L&Z

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Suddenly Spring

The week after spring break, our work week was crazy. Yesterday, I was up at 5:30am for a long day of meetings. The week was very productive though. I still managed to work out 4 times, and so did Brendan. Our cleaning service came yesterday, and the house is nice and tidied for the weekend. And the best part? Spring is in the air!

I realized while looking at the coat rack that I haven't used my winter coat in weeks...a look at confirms that it will soon be time to put it away for good. Spring is one of my favorite times of year...I love that it's warm outside, but not too hot yet. I love that things at school get chaotic and crazy (I complain about it...but also love the energetic feeling on campus of everyone--students, teachers, staff--pushing to get things done). We get really beautiful sunrises and sunsets in west Texas...and in the spring it becomes apparent again. We've sat out on our balcony a few times in the past few weeks, and I look forward to using it daily again. I'm ready for another 90 degree day like last Saturday, so we can go use the pool!

In truth, what I love about spring is how optimistic it makes me. I can wear my favorite clothes again, I can spend more time outside, and I have so much excitement about the coming summer (especially this year).

So this weekend, I plan to revel in Spring: have a cold treat with a friend, go for a run to prep for the 5K next weekend (that came fast!), order some dresses, stay up late & sleep in, cook with Brendan, take pleasure in the company of the cats, read on my balcony (for class), and write. I'm SO glad it's the weekend. This one was hard earned.

I hope everyone has a marvelous start to spring...
Here's some more good news for you. Corley made her goal! I am beyond proud of my friend. She inspires me everyday to do what matters to me. She has the courage to do the harder thing and deserves all this and more. I look forward to hearing this EP! And remember, if you gave (or can still give for 31 more hours), there is still time to enter my giveaway. 

Enjoy the first weekend of spring!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Monday, March 18, 2013

Slowgirl at Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, TX

Recently while in Austin, Brendan and I jumped at the chance to catch a preview of the upcoming play, Slowgirl, at Hyde Park Theatre. We went in knowing nothing: we had never seen a show by Greg Pierce, and the only thing we knew about Slowgirl is that it had only been performed at one other theatre (off Broadway in NYC). However, we have seen many shows at HPT, so we trusted Slowgirl wouldn't disappoint. We were right: the show was incredible.

A week before opening, the jungle set was still being finished, but honestly, I could have watched Slowgirl with no set. Theater done well is totally transformative: the only thing that matters is what's going on between the two people on stage. Pierce has completely created a world and story that you just can't help but get caught up in. I won't give too much away, but here's the premise: an outgoing 17 year-old, Becky, visits her uncle Sterling in the jungles of Costa Rica, and slowly it is revealed that they are both seeking escape from the past (Becky's recent, Sterling's far past) in which they have unintentionally harmed others. The show sounds dark, and it is, but it is also hilarious. In the 86 minute performance, we were laughing out loud, cringing at some utterly awkward moments, and then also at times feeling devastated for these characters. I think this is a play about redemption, but not in the traditional way, because the outcomes are not simple. Rather, the show makes one think about the high price people pay for mistakes. In a world where our pasts are so accessible and defining, does one decision (or lack thereof) end up determining the course of our lives? Is this a world that still grants second chances?

The script behind Slowgirl is superb, but the actors on stage, Ken Webster as Sterling and Molly Karrasch as Becky, make the show what it is. Webster is subtle and understated as Sterling; concerned but completely unsure of how to show it, and out of his element with his niece he hasn't seen in many years. His social awkwardness is played perfectly and quiet, where it could be easy to over-do. Sterling takes on mostly a listening role in the production, but Webster manages to always have absolute presence while never distracting from Karrasch. His Uncle Sterling has a totally different look that the off Broadway counterpart, and I prefer Webster's version. He looks like one would after living out much of his past in a jungle. He always has that ability to transform for roles.

This was my first time seeing Molly Karrasch in a major role, and Brendan and I were both blown away. She is perfect for Becky and manages to be at once obnoxious and sympathetic, funny and disturbed. Karrasch has the perfect look for this role: she's wonderfully expressive and can gain a laugh without even speaking. Her posture and speech patterns are every bit 17, and Karrasch delivers as this character: you really believe she is just grasping the complexities of her and Sterling's situations enough to be able to articulate them as honestly as only a 17 year-old could. There are times she makes you feel mortified: partly because she reminds you of exactly what it was like to be this age, lack of filter and all.  She has great comedic timing and is completely unrestrained, a perfect counterpart to Webster's anxiety ridden and on-edge Sterling.

Here's how to see this production...

Hyde Park Theatre is located at 511 W. 43rd Street. You can reserve tickets by calling 512-479-PLAY.  The show starts at 8pm (every night of the run). I happen to know of a free preview on Wednesday, March 20th. Thursday's are pay what you can, and definitely Austin's best theatre deal. On Fridays/Saturdays(March 21 - April 13) tickets are $20 ($18 for students, seniors, military, and Austin Creative Alliance members). For the final two weekends (April 18 - 27) tickets are $22 ($20 for students, seniors, military, and Austin Creative Alliance members). 

If you are lucky enough to live in Austin, make an evening of this. Once you see a show at Hyde Park, you'll find yourself coming back. 

Here's to Slowgirl, which officially opens this Thursday (March 21st). Have fun in the jungle. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Breaking!

Everyone needs a break every now and then! One awesome part of our jobs: built in break time. We just returned from several days in Austin, TX. Please enjoy some snapshots from my break because I'm too tired to really write much!:

First, my mom drove to Midland for the weekend (she was flying out to Nevada on Monday)...we did a lot of relaxing, played some Yahtzee, had drinks, and we saw Silver Linings Playbook (and really liked it).  It was a really relaxing weekend. On Monday, she flew out, and we headed to Austin.
With Mom 
Our main priority in Austin: get outdoors and enjoy it! We also caught up with some family and friends.  Here are some pictures from Bull Creek: 

 Obviously, this also needed to happen:

Two words: Yogurt Land
The next day, it was on to a 3 mile hike on the Green Belt. We lucked out and had gorgeous spring weather the whole time! Sunny and 70s.

The next day, I got up early and went to my first wedding dress fitting. It was so amazing to see my dress with my shoes and veil...just had another "Wow, this is happening pretty soon!" moment.

Later that day, we shared some chocolate from my new discovery, Edis Chocolates, which was delicious! Flour less chocolate cake: yes, please! The truffles were amazing too! We then went to the jewelry store downtown, and Brendan bought my beautiful wedding ring. I can't wait to show you after our wedding in July! We also ordered one for him...but we won't buy it until we're sure it fits :) After ring shopping, we stayed downtown for some SXSW music:

We saw The Silos and The Future Laureates. I really enjoyed both bands, and I bought a Future Laureates CD and t-shirt. These bands totally made up for the parking situation downtown :) I do enjoy seeing people do what they are most passionate about...

Speaking of passion, we were treated last night to a sneak preview of Slowgirl at Hyde Park Theatre. That experience warrants its own post. I promise to tell you about it before they open on Thursday!

We arrived home to this adorableness:

Could there be a more adorable cookie jar in this world? Uh, I think not! Squeals of excitement when I opened that one! PS-those flowers in the background were from VALENTINE'S DAY, and they still look good!

Over spring break, I did everything I wanted and more. I even finished a book I've been reading. It was nice to break away from our everyday routine and get a change of scenery. And now...we're off for another exciting weekend. Our friends, the Shews, will be here in about an hour...but, you know, I really need a shower before that happens.

Here's to breaks: keeping us both happy and sane!
<3 S, B, and happy to have us back L&Z

PS-Corley is about 88% of the way to her goal! Still time to enter our Giveaway. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women, Stage 4 Recap

My Stage 1 Recap is here
My Stage 2 Recap is here 

My Stage 3 Recap is here

Yesterday, I finished Stage 4 of the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. I started the stage on February 5th and finished on March 8th, so it took a week longer than I expected. The delay was due to travel and illness. This month, I've had a lot of allergies/congestion, and I also got a 24-hour stomach bug. That wasn't fun! But despite the delays, I finished the 8 workouts in stage 4, and I'm so very proud of my progress. I also added running into the mix, as I train for my 3rd 5K that happens at the end of this month. I'm still not following any prescribed diet plan...just sticking to my normal health conscious ways (but you know, I still have wine and girl scout cookies!) 

Anyway, without further rambling, here are my results...

                     This Stage                        Total Change 
Bust               -.50"                                    -1"                       
Band              -.50"                                   -.75"
Right Bicep     -.25"                                 No Change (Back to Start)
Left Bicep        -.50:                                No Change (Back to Start)
Waist            No Change                            -.50"
Right Thigh    No Change                            -.50"
Left Thigh      No Change                            -.50"
Hips                 -1"                                      -2"
Weight           -2lbs                                 No Change (Back to Start)

It's really hard to believe I've lost 5.25" off my body, despite my weight remaining the same. I didn't even know it was possible to weigh the same, but look better. It's weird....I don't notice the difference all the time, but I recently ordered two bikinis, and when trying them on, I really noticed a difference! My legs look stronger, my stomach looks flatter, my back is smoother. The changes have been so gradual that sometimes I wonder if they're happening at all, so that experience was really motivating. I just feel a lot better too. Working out makes me feel happy! I also credit running with some of the changes...I need to make it a priority to keep that up. No, it isn't what I'd call fun, but it feels so good after, and I know it's good for me. 

Now, time for my lifting progress. Fun fact: Stage 4 is identical to Stage 2, so I thought it'd be fun to see how far I've come since the beginning and end of stage 2. 

Beginning of stage 2/end of stage 2 >> beginning of stage 4/end of stage 4

Workout A 
Front Squat Push Press: 25 lbs/30 lbs/ >> 10 lbs/30 lbs (+bar) 
Step Up: 30 lbs/30 lbs >> 30 lbs/ 40 lbs
Dumbbell 1pt Row: 20 lbs/ 30 lbs >> 30 lbs/ 40 lbs
Static Lunge with Rear Foot Elevated: 20 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 20 lbs/ 40 lbs
Push Up: This stage required 3 sets of 8 in each workout. I feel like I'm going lower/getting better at them.
Plank: 60 sec/ 65sec >> 120sec/ 120sec 
Horizontal Wood Chop:  20 lbs/30 lbs >>40 lbs/50 lbs 

Workout B
Wide Grip Deadlift from Box: 40 lbs/ 50 lbs >> 50 lbs/60 lbs 
Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 10 lbs/ 25 lbs 
Underhand-grip Lat Pulldown: 50 lbs/ 50 lbs >> 50 lbs/ 75 lbs 
Reverse Lunge from Box with Forward Reach: 10 lbs/20 lbs >> 20lbs/ 30 lbs 
Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch:10 lbs/ 20 lbs >> 20lbs/30 lbs 
Swiss Ball Crunch: 10 lbs/ 10 lbs >> 25 lbs/ 25 lbs 
Reverse Crunch: BW
Lateral Flexion: BW (used the hardest variation) 
Prone Cobra: 20 sec/75 sec >> 120 sec/ 120 sec 
Interval training: 15 min:  I ditched the treadmill and started running outside for interval training...basically just running as long as possible, taking short walk breaks, and running again. 

I'm really proud seeing all these results on paper. I've increased my weight by 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, 25 lbs, or 30 lbs, depending on the exercise. I'm VERY proud of my 2 minute planks...that is NOT easy. 

Tips for Stage 4

With the option of doing 2-3 sets, I took the option to do 2 sets only if I could increase my weight (fewer sets=use more weight, more sets= use less weight). 

I was happy to take my interval training outside. I didn't need as long of rests as the book prescribed...but running after a strength training workout is really hard. 

I kept doing yoga 2 times a week (2 one hour classes each week). Best idea keeps you stretching and focusing on flexibility. 

Plan to mess up your plans: it's good to leave yourself wiggle room in case of illness, work overload, etc. Don't stress about the days it just doesn't happen. The important thing is that you do make it back to the gym the next time. 

Those are my tips...and now, my prescribed week off corresponds perfectly with spring break!! That's right, folks, we're off for the next 9 days. Right now, my mom is visiting Midland, and on Monday, she flies from here to Nevada, and Brendan and I head to Austin for a few days: I'm ready for fun, sun, rest, relaxation, and to make some wedding progress...throw in some SXSW free shows, Austin theater, friends and family, and delicious cuisine, and I'm in heaven! 

Here's to a much needed break! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4 Months To Go!

Wow, it seems like this countdown is moving so quickly. Our wedding to do list seems to be growing and shrinking by the day (Not sure how that's happening, but it is). For what we did between over and year to 5 months to go...check out this post.  I am writing these lists to try to make them generic enough for the use of any bride and groom.

Between Months 5 and 4, We:

Booked Caterer for Rehearsal Dinner 
Confirmed After Party Location

Confirmed Location for Day After Gathering
Booked Transportation for Guests 
Ordered Parent Gifts 

Ordered Part of Groomsmen Gifts 
Ordered Favors 
Updated Website 
Updated Registries 

We Still Need To: 

Bride: Attend Hair and Make up Trial 2 
Bride: Undergarments for Dress Purchased
Bride: Dress Alterations
Bride: Hair Accessories Purchased
Groom: Find a Suit
Write Ceremony Script
Write Vows
Order Ring-bearer Gift
Shop for and Stuff Welcome Bags
Write and Copy Note for Welcome Bags
Create invitations for wedding, response cards, invitation for rehearsal dinner, after party, and website card
Address and Mail Invitations
Create Programs for Wedding
Create Personalized Table Numbers
Create Escort Cards
Create Place Cards
Make Seating Arrangements
Walk Through Schedule with Day of Coordinator
Decide on Menu for Reception (after tasting)
Decide on Menu for Rehearsal Dinner
Bride: Purchase Groom's Ring
Groom: Purchase Bride's Ring
Bride: Purchase Groom's Wedding Gift
Groom: Purchase Bride's Wedding Gift
Purchase Alcohol for Reception/Rehearsal Dinner
Hire Bartender/Security for Rehearsal Dinner
Purchase Marriage License
Officiant: File Marriage License
Get Something "Old" (I asked my grandmother about this)
Get Sixpence for my Shoe (Supposed to bring us financial success in our marriage--worth a shot!)
Purchase Garter
Purchase Supplies for Exit
Get Cake Serving Set
DIY Signs
Photo for Guest Book Table
Purchase Pens for Guest Book

Get Favors Ready for Tables 
Find Card Box 
Get flower girl baskets
Confirm Plans With all Vendors Prior to Wedding Day 

Okay, I now officially think planning our wedding has been one of the most involved projects ever. Even outside of this list, I know there are things I am missing. Luckily, I'm pretty organized, so it all feels manageable. We also have lots of support and help from both sets of parents. Whether it's creative projects (Thanks, Tim!), hunting down decor (Thanks, Sharon!), or calling a million vendors and dealing with contracts (Thanks, Mom!), our parents have been with us every step of the way. We have 18, (18!) friends and family that have booked plane tickets (that we know of), the room blocks are filling up, and we're just so, so excited to celebrate with friends and family. 

The wedding is definitely feeling closer. Showers, bachelor, and bachelorette parties have been planned  by our sweet friends, and we continue to be in awe about the amount of love and support we've been shown. Our first wedding gift arrived on Saturday. Let the thank you notes continue! All in all, this has been the busiest year of my life (especially with the new job and so, so many students), but also the happiest. I wouldn't trade all this work for anything, as I know it is going to pay off and be a celebration we'll never forget. 

Hope our list making helps other and future brides and grooms! 
Happy planning! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 

PS-There are still 19 days to enter my itunes giftcard giveaway and help Corley Pillsbury meet her Kickstarter Goal (she is 32.3% of the way there). Please click here for contest rules and more info. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Wow, it's already March?!

I feel like time is moving full speed ahead.

So far, the weekend has been busy, busy. Yesterday, we graded papers, worked out, and saw Shrek at Midland Community Theater. We both thought the show was adorable and highly recommend it (it closes next weekend, so you better hurry!)

Today, we worked for most of the day. I wrote the midterm for my class and got it all set up for online students. That took several hours...and I did some laundry and dishes on the side. Brendan also wrote his midterm. I was glad we were so productive but also wanted to do something Saturday like, so after we went grocery shopping, we went to a late showing of Side Effects. Side Effects was super scary...I really liked it, but it was also intense. I recommend it...but only if you can withstand being in severe anxiety for about 2 hours.

Tomorrow, we're looking forward to the predicted forecast of 84 and sunny (we'll see!) and celebrating a friend's birthday. Brendan's planning to play basketball, so I'll probably go for a run. I'm hoping that running will start feeling less impossible any day now. I'm still slow and in awe of how far just one mile seems when running.

In other news, we got our first wedding (non-shower) gift today! It was from my friend Bailey's boutique and pretty awesome to find in our mailbox :)

I'm still doing the giveaway promotion to hopefully help my friend Corley's KickStarter obtain more pledges. If you love music, check this girl just $5 to her KickStarter makes you eligible to win a $15 itunes giftcard from my blog. Find out more here: She is 22.6% to her goal!

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

<3 S, B, L&Z
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