Monday Musings

Hello Monday. Quarantine day 854…or something like that.

Are we having fun yet?

I guess I’m really grateful it’s spring and the weather has been gorgeous and since I’m supposed to be home it gives me scads of time to basically do whatever the heck I want.

Not a bad thing right?

I’m grateful too that I can retreat to my hill country home with 28 acres surrounding me with gorgeous views.

I’m grateful also for having a fun little business that I work out of my home. Lately I just find it relaxing and therapeutic.

I’ve also had time to start work on one of my personal projects, an old antique table and chair set. Getting that done will give me alot more space in my barn…space for more furniture 🤣

Here’s a look at that table.. before I started

A sneak peek.. I’ve been busy..

I got the great idea to sand table top. Have I ever mentioned, I hate sanding? This is gonna be worth it though.

Oh. Chairs. It has chairs. I’ve been working on those too. 😱

I need to get this set done because I have an equally old stunning set to do for my dining room….

It looks like this……

Ah.. I love how beautifully old school elegant it all is. I can hardly wait to transform it.

Anyway, even with all that’s going on I feel grateful for all the good things too.

I’m grateful even though my shop is closed, I’ve got several custom orders to keep me busy and making a little cash. It’s rather cool to do things I love and get paid for it as well😉

It’s not all smooth sailing

Hey, I feel like you do too. I miss just deciding to randomly go somewhere without a care in doing so.

Now, I feel almost guilty popping into the store to get a few things. Like…get it…go…get home.

Stay there.

I think what I really.. hate…are the looks on people’s faces. How they look at you like you might brush something off on them. The avoidance of making eye contact or scurrying away. A human disconnect.

It is what it is.

I will do my part. I only go to get what I need and leave.

I keep sanitizer in my car and use it before and after going somewhere. I try to be mindful of my “position ” around people.

I find it all tiring and going home really is a much better,more comfortable option.

Even with all of that…

I’m grateful. Life is still good. I have all my needs met.

I’m glad I can take care of my own nails and that I got my hair all pretty before the salons had to close. 😉 That certainly isn’t earth shattering but small things make me feel good.

And feeling good in a weird world right now, helps.

Making time for self care

More than ever we not only need to take care of our physical health, but mental health too

Exercise is good for both.

Again, I’m happy I’ve been doing the home workout thing for years so it’s life as usual for me. For others though it’s an adjustment of figuring out what to do.

With the weather turning nice, getting out for daily walks is a good option for most everyone. With extra time for many right now, there’s no reason to not get some purposeful movement in.

You may also consider a new hobby or activity to pursue. Start a new book or pursue an online course.

Life is still going on,even if it’s not so conventional right now.

Even though my shop is closed I’m making plans for new business opportunities.

There are plenty of things for us to keep focused on and we can use this time for growth and learning and hopefully not feeding our fears or anxieties.

Before I go…

We are entering birthday season in my family. My kids always request some favorite cake for me to make for their birthday.

My daughter in law found a rather different one this year and…oh my…I can’t say how good it was. It got rave reviews and I think it would make a great Easter dessert.

Lemon blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting.

And because I know you will want to try it, I’ll attach the link for you

https://pin.it/6RbzCio

Tell me…how are you doing out there? Are you using this time to pursue something new? What is helping you move through these days? Do you feel grateful for what you have?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday ya’ll and another day in paradise.

In this weeks edition…

Am I the only one troubled over humanity lately?

The lack of common sense, greed, and overall panicky hysteria have left me scratching my head.

The craziness at the grocery stores can just stop any time now.

I actually decided I’d get up and be at store when they opened yesterday to get a few things that have thus far, slipped from my hands.

I don’t want to be one of “those people ” but it almost forces my hand when I actually “need” items I would just go buy. Not to hoard…just regular shopping ya know?

When I pulled into the lot ( at 7:50 a.m.) it was to see a long line of people in the chilly wet morning that not only came down the street but wrapped around to the front of bulding waiting to get in.

Hundreds of people.

The store was only letting 50 people in at a time.

No thanks.

I left.

Really, staying home in all this isn’t torture when you deal with this fresh hell.

I just wanna buy eggs like a normal person again.

Speaking of food

I’ve seen a lot of posts with people asking what they should do or “take” to have a strong immune system.

First, you should always be concerned about having a strong healthy body, not when you are just worried about fending off the latest virus.

Second, the way you make your body strong, inside and out, is to feed it good, healthy, nutrient dense foods. By that I mean foods with as few or little ingredients as possible, single ingredients are a big win. ( think all kinds of colorful fruits and veggies) nothing replaces or works as good as real food.

Yogurt.

Yogurt is rich in probiotics including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus. These strains boost immune function and may even help reduce both the length and severity of colds. Beneficial gut flora are needed for proper digestion, detoxification, and immune function.

Other factors to consider.

Get adequate rest, exercise, drink plenty of water, limit stress ( turn off the tv and social media bombardment of current issues!) Get outside, enjoy fresh air and sunshine, do a project or hobby that relaxes you.

Just a few tips and suggestions as we navigate through this interesting time in life.

Oh. And yeah, let’s not forget my lovely breakfast pic.

Plenty of sauteed veggies with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and green onions. Also a good dose of dark berries for all of their awesome antioxidant properties and of course, eggs for protein, because muscles 💪

And another thing

I’m semi-amused over all the posts I’ve seen touting “how to workout at home” or how to exercise while the gym is closed.

Hey…I’ve been making home workouts cool long before now 🤣

Honestly, I’m grateful this isn’t an issue for me.

I have an area carved out in my barn I share with my vintage project furniture (that can sometimes be seen photo bombing me) and random tools and whatnot.

I don’t need a whole lot of space to kick my own butt.

I’ve managed to collect enough items that I can mix up a pretty good workout

Between lots of weights, a punching bag, and my recently aquired elliptical machine, not to mention my own body weight, I can mix up all kinds of fun

Of course I have my bike for my favorite gym, outdoors.

Here’s my word to you. Find ways to take yourself out and move.

Walking is still largely available for us all to do. Nothing clears my head more and helps me feel refreshed than being out for a good walk or run.

Right now with current situations walking could be the therapy you need mentally and physically.

Also, just because you may not have weights or equipment at home doesn’t mean you can’t use your own body for body weight exercises. Thanks to Google you can search up plenty to do. Pinterest has lots of options as well ( check out my Sassyfitnesschick board there as well as other exercise boards I have)

Keep in mind too that there are lots of heavy items around your house you could use as weights. You can also pick up some cheap resistance bands at the store which will give you some strength training

Jump rope. It’s not just for kids. Yeah your heart will feel like it’s gonna explode and you’ll be screaming you’re out of shape, but keep at it and you will get better.

If you’re wanting to get a little home “gym” started may I suggest your local online sales?

I have several things I’ve scooped up that was someone elses better idea….like my 50.00 elliptical I shared with you in last weeks Monday Musings.

Decide what you like, what you would stick with and go on a hunt.

What else are you doing while you’re stuck at home? 🤔

Get creative with ways to keep body and mind active and to most importantly, keep a positive mental attitude.

On topic of being home

Let me say that by nature, I’m a very social person. I like being out going, seeing people,talking…maybe talking some more…hubby says I could talk to stump 🤣 so having places cut off from me to go to right now is a rather…odd…feeling.

Like my Starbucks locked their doors on Saturday. Ouch.

Yeah, I can still drive thru for coffee. I never do…I go in so I can see and talk to people. I get to know the baristas and the regulars…I like that contact.

I get it though…the why of it..

But being at home however, doesn’t leave me sitting on my sofa wondering what to do after all my toilets are cleaned and the final dust bunny is gone.

Not when I have a business that I literally work at home. If you’ve followed me you know I have a little side hustle flipping antique and vintage furniture.

I have all kinds of projects waiting for my attention not to mention custom orders.

I’ve kinda liked having some time to really devote to my work.

Check out this sweet piece. I got it this week and just had to start it because I knew how I wanted it.

Obviously, it’s before look.

This is a piece I want to keep, but won’t.

One of those job hazards…wanting to keep things. 🤪

Oh, I got this 50s retro kitchen pantry this week. It’s gonna need some work before a new paint job. I can hardly wait to get to it as I haven’t really done a retro piece and I have alllll the cool ideas in my head for it.

Sometimes…I have to much in my head….

Anyway, i.

Your turn! Tell me how you are coping with all that’s going on right now? Have you picked up a new activity to keep busy? What strategies are you using to deal with life?

Monday Musings

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings, an eclectic gathering of my random, yet sometimes thoughtful reflections.

You never know what’s gonna come out of my head…..

What on earth?

Unless you’ve been in a cave, it seems like people have lost their minds with the current situation regarding this virus.

I’m not camping on this topic long as I feel the majority of us are overwhelmed and saturated with it all.

Thank you media for contributing to hysteria that has led to people literally ripping store shelves bare and hoarding things they don’t need.

This aisle usually has paper products at my store…..

Hold on…I’m going somewhere..

I made a trip to the store the other day for a few things I actually ya know, needed.

One of those items was a vitamin I’ve taken for several years. It never occurred to me that the vitamin section would get hit and so many things wouldn’t be there.

Here’s my thought about that.

You can’t decide to throw some vitamins at your body in the moment of anxiety thinking it’s gonna “help” you fend off something.

If you want to help yourself, it needs to be something you do every single day

Eat healthy, natural foods. Drink plenty of water, exercise, get rest, and depending on your personal needs, then use vitamins if needed.

The best way to keep your body and immune system strong is to take care of it daily.

Not in an impulsive moment thinking it will be some kind of quick fix.

Rant over….stay healthy out there. Wash your hands and be smart.

Speaking of exercise….

If you’ve followed me for awhile you know that I kinda like running.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a crappy injury that’s kept me off of it. I’m still cycling and strength training but I miss the hard work and satisfaction of putting those miles in that running gives me.

I’ve used an elliptical in the past and it was the closest thing to running I could do without actually, you know, running 😛

I set out trolling all my local online sale sites watching for someone to sell off their “better idea turned towel and clothes holder.”

Not to hard to find I might say. I just had to wade through mediocre ones that were to much and then the nicer ones, if well priced, got sold or they were to far away etc.

Until…..

The other night I found a Nordictrack, a short drive down the road from me, selling for only 50.00.

I couldn’t respond fast enough. This time I was the one quick enough to get the prize.

The couple told me they had each gotten a gym membership and it was never used. This originally 800.00 machine ( she had the receipt and manual in a bag for me) had all the bells and whistles on it.

I happily loaded my game on the trailer and hauled it home.

I got it all set up….today was my maiden voyage on it.

Gosh, it felt awesome to be working hard like that again.

Heart pounding and sweat in my eyes…good times 😁

Do you like ellipticals?

On topic of healthy lifestyle

In other recent events in my life, hubby was in the hospital for a number of weeks so needless to say I found myself frequenting the hospital cafeteria for more than shots of coffee.

I have to say their food selections were nice and varied.

Often though, I hit up their salad bar. It offered a good selection of colorful greens and other veggies with protein options too. I got some dressing in a container so I could control what I had. ( remember dressings can contribute a huge amount of calories to a otherwise healthy salad) it was a satisfying and filling lunch.

I wrote a post before addressing the myth that is perpetuated suggesting healthy food was more expensive than fries or burgers ( The Cost of Healthy Eating) You can also check out my post (Weight Loss and Salads and Salad Bar Strategies)

On average I paid 4.00-5.00 for my salad. ( you pay by weight) those cucumbers and chick peas were heavy!)

On one day I just wanted a burger and fries, because, why not? I paid 7.50 for it.

The bottom line is, we make our choices. You choose to eat healthy foods or you don’t.

Not only do I have plenty of colorful veggies, eggs and chick peas covered my protein.

Doesn’t it look delicious? 😁

Speaking of healthy food

https://pin.it/4osmBfX

I made this recipe for dinner recently and it is amazing!

https://pin.it/1WBX33I

I just found this salad recipe and it is definitely on my list to try soon.

Ok and one of my favs…

https://pin.it/7hUVgjK

In other life stuff

In ways of things fun and not stressful, how about a look at a few of my vintage projects?

One of my other plates I juggle is a growing vintage business which involves flipping often old,sad and falling apart furniture.

It brings me tremendous satisfaction to make things pretty again…like this custom order I just finished this week…

Here’s the before:

And the after:

This turned out so cheery and is such a happy piece. My customer…”oh my gosh, I wanna cry, it’s so pretty!”

Makes my day.

I got this super cool piece last week. Its an old wash station. It does have a seriously abused marble top but I’ve got plans to spruce that up.

I think…it would repurpose to make a great coffee bar. At first I thought it would make a great pastry table but it is a bit short for that. How would you repurpose this cute piece?

Then there was this.. I love old telephone benches. I can’t keep them around, a good problem to have..

This is how I got it….

And after..

Boring magazine holder…

Turned kitchen utility crate 😛

Enough of my creativity for now… I got more projects this weekend

And before I go…

Isn’t it pretty? And it’s really black coffee. I love the nitro cold brew from Starbucks. It has no cream, the nitro gives it the smooth creamy foam and it slowly settles and swirls down through the coffee until it’s black. It packs a powerful caffeine punch, yet is ridiculously smooth and satisfying to my soul

My current guilty pleasure 😉

Your turn…..tell me…how are you doing out there? How is your piece of the world doing? Have you tried the nitro coffee? What’s new with you?

Monday Musings

So who stole the weekend already? Sunday night has shown up with the stealth of a cat ready to take down the dinner mouse.

I’m pondering the wisdom of coffee but it seems like a warm, delicious hug after a busy day and I’m close to losing the battle on making it.

Ah yes, I think that’s exactly what’s needed while I let my random Musings outta my head.

Let the monkeys loose

I wondered again today, how I can possibly squeeze more out of myself. Besides the usual life stuff, taking care of myself,family, housekeeping and all that, there’s my little vintage business that is growing.

I’m all happy over that but gosh…I need more time for projects. Besides pieces I do for my shop, I’ve been blessed with repeat customers and custom orders.

Ya know, in the beginning, that terrified me a wee bit. It’s one thing to dive into one of my needy, fixer upper pieces and a whole lot different working on a piece my client tells me has been in her family for over 100 years 😱

I got over it.

I will admit there’s a huge amount of vulnerability putting my work out there.

No one is tougher on me than me.

It all vanishes as soon as my customer sees their refinished piece and is thrilled over it.

I just wrapped up this little curio cabinet for a customer this weekend.. check out its before condition….

And now with it’s cool new look. I’m obsessed with these colors..

I’m pondering what piece I have that I can use this look on.

Maybe this little vintage table/magazine rack? I had a customer bring it to me….she was like…here I want you to have it. It was in an old rent house we’re cleaning out and I know you love stuff like this.. I happily took it..dust, cobwebs and all 🤣

Not to mention hubby and I went out hunting items this weekend and got some cool pieces for the shop. With the approaching holiday season I want it packed out.

Snake oil and magic potions

Ok if you’ve been with me for awhile you know one of my favorite soap box topics is the modern day snake oil of the diet/health industry.

It definitely makes for plentiful writing topics.

Kinda like shooting fish in a barrel.

I’ve been researching/watching/ learning about one company that seems to have quite a cultic following.

I have more than one problem with this (company that shall remain nameless…for now at least)

For instance, nothing is discussed online. Not the name of company or what they are about…other than miraculous weight loss concoctions. However yours truly picked enough keywords from comments to figure it out. 😛

You do have to wait to receive a message from someone about it after you ask then I guess you get the secret info

Well. Ok.

I get it. The idea is so people like me don’t show up and ruin their party calling out the nonsense and drivel.

Doing things like informing them of the junk that’s in those fat burning, toxin cleansing, appetite suppressing, fat blocking miracle supplements they are shoving down their throat.

I think one of the biggest things that got me was a comment from a supporter of this and she said.. I quote

“Diet and exercise backfire”.

Help. Me.

What kind of thinking IS this???

Yes, a restrictive, depriving diet won’t last.

Learning to have a healthy daily balanced diet will last.

Combining it with purposeful exercise will go a long way to keeping you fit and healthy.

Of course that doesn’t sound as dramatic and exciting as the miracle potions Karen is trying to sell me on.

But more disturbingly kids, smart people really buy into all this.

In the past I’ve been a Guinea pig with various things so I could write on them from an informed way.

Everything from foods, to diets ( hello whole 30 and Paleo) to exercise trends (crossfit showed me how capable I am to lift heavy stuff) to more harmless things like athletic wear and shoes.

I love doing it because I can write from a really informed place.

I…briefly…contemplated being a lab rat for a short time.

However…one…I’m not up for paying the equivalent of a car payment for a month of fat burning supplies…( yes for real) and I don’t mean a cheap car payment….

Two….I don’t dig starving and being hungry for the sake of losing weight…especially since I know you don’t have to for success.

Oh and three…I really don’t wanna put all the crap in my body.

So I will continue my fact gathering and may present a post on this…this company…. who shall be nameless cause I’m not giving them advertising time 🤣

Oh a final tidbit…their revenue was listed at 103 million dollars.

In fitness news

I’m doing some time in physical therapy. Mostly we’re working out hips and legs and an IT band that is really giving me fits…horrible fits some days.

Last week they wanted to do some assessments on my strength. They put me on a machine and calculated how much weight I should do with one leg.

165 lbs. For a single leg press.

I was told to just start and do as many as I could. I got to 20, felt like I could do a few more but decided to finish strong and leave it there.

After doing it on the other side I got a brief rest and then had to knock out 2 more sets of 10.

My PT guy comes back and was like…wow you’re pretty strong.. yay for the old lady hahaha

I will admit…it felt pretty cool. It’s one thing to know I’m strong and another to be put through a test and knock it out of the park.

The goal is to get me loose so I can be 100% on the road again doing what I love.

Time will tell I suppose.

I’d still rather play hard, hitting hard goals an challenging myself than watching life from the sidelines. I understand doing that might involve injuries.. it’s a part of the game.

Fall is coming… I think

We’ve had a cool morning or two and its hard not to think of those comfort foods that always seem so enjoyable once the weather changes.

I whipped up a chicken casserole that’s a family favorite this week. Find it below😊

https://pin.it/u3xbwglckelsht

And what about an easy chicken and dumpling recipe? you’re welcome

https://pin.it/ghvsdrla27p2we

I’ve got lots of amazing recipes saved on Pinterest, be sure to check them out!

Your turn. How’s the week been kids? What’s on your plate for this Monday?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids! The kick start of  a new week and new beginnings. The day new diets are determined to be started and Friday plans are already formulating.

I don’t have any weird hang ups with Monday, I’m just glad I’m still invited to the party, ya know what I mean?

Spring is slowly settling in over south Texas and with that comes warmer temps, lighter clothes and the promise of longer days.

But before spring is really in solid, we do usually get a few cooler days before those warm days are permanent.

Of course with the changing seasons, it means retailers will mark down clothes to make room for the incoming season.

Thrift stores are no different.

I frequently haunt a local one for items I can flip, repurpose or upcycle for my little vintage shop. Learn more about it here….. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/

It’s amazing what can be found there if you time it right.

Yeah, you have to wade through the usual cheese graters, random glasses, candleholders, tired picture frames and whatnot to get some cool nugget but I find the hunt as fun as bagging the game.

Anyway, I was waiting for the door to open last week (’cause they don’t open till that clock hits 10 ya know 😉 )

They had racks of markdown winter clothes out front, I guess giving us something to do while we waited. I had noticed this leather jacket hanging right on the end of the rack

I tried to ignore it.

Really.

I have enough black, rocker chick type jackets. I have a thing for them and they in turn, work for me.

But it was just hanging there like it was waiting for me to find it…. and then I thought.. I think it’s my size…

“just try it on” the little bad voice in my head whispered

I pulled it off the hanger, slipped it on, and of course, it fit like a glove.

And it was black. And it had all the zippers and snaps, and cool stuff I love on those jackets….

I casually asked the lady what the price was since there wasn’t one on it.

Her reply… “Oh, it’s 3.99 but all that is half price today.”

I blinked twice… and popped the jacket back off the hanger into my waiting arms.

2.00? You’re coming with me baby.

IMG_20190320_105354_248 (1)
It even matches my car 😉

Ok, I don’t always find cool clothes…  I don’t really look for them. As stated, I’m usually after discarded goodies I can flip for my shop. Sometimes, I’ve got an armload and other times I’m left empty handed.

One week though, I had decided that there was nothing I needed/wanted/ could use. I was on my way out and did a final “drive by” down the frame aisle.  I saw a lady holding a sampler.

A “sampler” is what girls used to do back in the day, practice their sewing. It could contain things like numbers, ABC’s, simple pictures etc.  I love them and have several in my home.

How had I missed these the first time???

I lurked around looking at random things hoping she’d discard it and walk off.

She did.

I snatched it up and also a smaller one on the floor next to it.

My first thought was that they were so heavy. They were framed in glass, double glass.

My second thought was… these look really old.

Like… old.

I didn’t hesitate, but scooped them up, paid the clerk the 11.67 they came to and left.

Outside, I eagerly examined them and came to the conclusion, they had to be real because who would go through such trouble to preserve something that wasn’t that old unless, well, it really was??

And why were they tossed in with the cheapo frames on the floor?

20190324_201212
Yes, this one is dated 1872.
20190324_201225
And this one is dated 1820. 200 years old next year.

I have questions.

Who would get rid of these? Why would someone take such effort to preserve them to only have them land in a bin of cheap frames and art work? Why was something so old, obviously antiqued, so cheap??

Lucky me.

They fit right in with my love of old cool things. And I got both for 11 dollars and some change.

It was my lucky day 😉

Before we leave this topic….

Hubby and I went to a big flea market yesterday. I found a bunch of cool goodies, but this table, how cute is it?20190323_123410

I love these old school tables. The claw feet always help me to date it. They just don’t make such detailed furniture anymore.

This is going to go through a lovely transformation… I promise to show it off when it’s done 🙂

When I’m not flipping furniture……

Spring time also means birthdays in my family. My daughter in law requested a chocolate cake I make with strawberries. It’s a family favorite…

20190323_174804

Honestly though, the frosting I could just eat out of the bowl. With an entire pack of real butter and rich chocolate, it melts in your mouth.

I’ll give you a minute to just stare at it and imagine….. haha

Well, I did make some healthy side dishes for the meal… that helps right?

20190323_183330

There are lots of recipes for asparagus and tomatoes but I kinda do my own thing. I toss the asparagus and tomatoes together with some olive oil, crushed pepper and sea salt, plenty of fresh garlic, and then roast in oven turning frequently till it’s all tender. I added fresh parmesan cheese at the end.

It’s like heaven.

It should also be noted that we were celebrating her birthday early ’cause next week her and my son will be in… Ireland….

and it should also be noted I will be watching my 2 year old granddaughter while they are gone.

She’s like 2 going on 20.

She makes me laugh and she does crazy things.

She’s my spirit animal.

I’m grateful that I’m an above “average energetic” grandmother ’cause it’s gonna be a busy 9 days 😛

And in some final what on earth?? thoughts….

I heard a story on the news recently that made me just wonder … wonder why on earth it even needed mentioned.

It was about some actress or some famous “ish” person “coming out”….

What was she coming out about?

She has stretch marks.

Yes you are reading correctly. She was coming out that she had stretch marks a common normal thing millions of people have.

I was scratching my head at how this was newsworthy and I guess on some level she had felt this had made her less than a person or something like that.

This is what our world has come to. That our value is based on surface things. That if we are somehow “flawed” there’s something wrong with us.

Listen, you may be genetically blessed and not have a single one. You may have done every thing possible to not get one and boom, there they are.

It’s not just that. You don’t have to look far to see that besides stretch marks, cellulite ( again something millions have, even skinny people) is another damning factor making you less than worthy.

Let me just state this incase you need reminded.

Those things don’t define you nor do they make you less valuable.

I can tell you this. When I’m on the road running or cycling or when I’m lifting heavy things, the last thing on my mind is my stretch marks. ( and yep I got some with pregnancy) they don’t define my strength and power. They don’t affect my performance. They don’t keep me from wearing running shorts and a sports bra or a 2 pc swimsuit.

IMG_20190322_111818_694
And photo bombed by an amazing sunrise….

And I hardly let them bother my self esteem.

We live in such a shallow world where such surface things can define us or reduce the value we feel for ourselves.  Society. social media and beauty magazines do a good job promoting this crap.

This is just a reminder that you, and your real or perceived flaws are fine just the way you are.

Now… tell me…. do you go to thrift stores? Do you like finding treasures others have cast off? With the arrival of spring, what’s your favorite outdoor activity?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday beautiful people! It’s really Sunday evening as I write this, and I’m  finally finding a moment to sit down after a long busy day and catch my breath.

Football has been on all day and of course all my men must keep the sound at a level that resembles being at the actual football game.

When the games are over, the sound comes down, it’s then I’m reminded how nice a quieter house is.

With everyone here I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family…. even if they do have the football games ridiculously loud 😉

Family.

It’s hard to not reflect on how blessed I am with my family. I have an amazing, wonderful husband, great kids, my sons wives, grandkids ( another on the way arriving in the spring!) and my daughters boyfriend who after 2 years of putting up with her 😉 is also family.

I’m grateful for who we are as a group. For the love, laughter, silliness and uniqueness of each person.  I guess I’ve become even more appreciative in a world where so many families aren’t like that, who are mean spirited and cut throat to one another, where jealousy and petty things take place over the value of relationships. These behaviors are so sad to me.

It just makes me want to hold closer those I love and what we have. I don’t mean “perfection” because not one single person or family is “perfect”… that also is an illusion many try to present…. just learn to love perfectly with not perfect people.

But really though, if you don’t take care of your family, at the end of the day what do you have? The world is a rough place, love those who are yours, over look faults, be patient with weaknesses, set loving boundaries, speak truth, love fiercely and  value the uniqueness of those who are your tribe.

Ok I’m gonna get off my soapbox now 😉

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Speaking of family… for me Christmas and family are closely tied together.

This past week I’ve gotten all my Christmas decorating done and my massive tree all decorated.

All 13 feet of it.

It’s got over 400 lights, 180 feet of silver beaded garland, and 100’s of ornaments. It took pretty much every ornament I have and my 6’0 body hanging precariously off the very top of a 6’0 ladder… but it’s done.

It is really, I think, the most spectacular tree we’ve ever had.

I love turning all the lights off at night and just sitting in the quiet house before I go to bed and just looking at it.

I find those times peaceful as it lets my mind unwind and wander and reflect on so many things. It’s a practice I’ve enjoyed for years and I find simple joy in it.

Here… I’ll let you have a sneak peak at it all….

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All of the glass ornaments that were my grandmothers and moms go at the top for safe keeping 🙂

 

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How beautiful is this?

Long before you young whippersnappers had that crazy little Elf on a shelf thing going on, I had this little guy be a part of all my Christmases…which are getting up there now 😉

According to what I was told a long time ago, these little guys came on dish soap bottles back in the dark ages.

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My grandmother was the one who got them ( a green and a red one) the green I retrieved from an old tub of my mom’s where Christmas decorations go to die. Although faded and more worn looking I dragged him out and he has a spot on my primitive toy tree ( I’ll show you later )

The red one comes out every year to quietly perch among the branches of my tree.

I don’t have to do anything with him, move him around or pose him in a bowl of cereal.

He’s just a quiet sentinel marking another Christmas in his family.

I love having things from my childhood past to share with my kids and grandkids. Those things evoke feelings and memories of Christmases long ago and the people I loved who I shared them with.

I hope these traditions continue a long time in my family.

 

But on the topic of trees….

I somehow, in the past few years, have managed to have more than one tree. I’ve got little theme trees that I haven’t been able to resist doing.

A primitive toy tree surrounded by my old rocking horse obsession. A cool black and silver tree that holds all my kids ornaments they lovingly brought home from school projects years ago, a silver tree that holds tons of little glass ornaments that date back to my great grandmother. It’s so vintage looking… I love it.

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This tiny tree is only about 2 feet tall. In a old wood crate it’s surrounded by old glass  ornaments who are “wounded” and can’t hang on the tree anymore.

A few years ago I got a pink one. Sorry, I’m a girl and pink is like one of my favorite colors. It’s in my kitchen and it’s all gingerbread and candy themed and my granddaughters adore looking at it.  It’s full of whimsical sparkly play candy and garland although I do buy various colored candy canes to add to it.

I think I’ve got like five theme trees around my home… but hey! It’s better than being a crazy cat lady, right??

In other news….

in a busy month with not only usual life activities, but holiday preparations as well it might be tempting to skip your workouts.

May I suggest something short and sweet that also brings a punch ? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is hard work in a short amount of time.

Got 20 minutes?

Here’s an example of one I did last week.

10 push ups

10 burpees

10 jumping squats

20 jumping jacks

20 mountain climbers

30 sit ups

30 second plank hold

Do as may sets as you can in 20 minutes.

It was a cold morning when I did this. I was sweating at the end. I managed to get 5 sets done. I was thinking that didn’t seem like…a lot.. until I realized I had done 150 sit ups in those 5 sets. I do butterfly sit ups with a 25 lb weight plate to make it a little harder.  I do a longer hold on my plank as well.

It’s important to remember that you can always modify a workout to your current physical abilities.  If you’re stronger, add some weight or push a little harder.

If you are just starting out, reduce reps if you need to and go at an easy pace.

Short, powerful workouts are very effective and if you are limited on time, they offer a high energy boost and get you on your way.

Visit me on Pinterest and find more short workouts on my fitness boards.

Ok and you know I need to leave you with something tasty….

I will also encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits during the festive season of Christmas and all that goes with it however there are going to be tasty treats to eat as well…..

My daughter in law found this recipe and suggested we should try it. We are quite the dessert lab rats around here haha

These are delicious and will probably be added to our list of favorites. Don’t take my word for it, go make it and see what you think.

My cookie baking and candy making will be getting going soon so I’ll share some of my favorites with you in an up coming post 🙂

So tell me… are you ready for Christmas? How goes the decorating? Are you done shopping yet? Do you have a favorite Christmas item or recipe?

 

 

The Road To A Duathlon

Today’s post is a compilation of thoughts, reflections, and an overall recap from my recent duathlon.  I largely write this to exercise my mind and the emotions that come from not only doing this type of event, but the months of training and ultimate finishing of it as well.

It is perhaps, hard to explain. It’s easier to understand if you’ve ever undertaken a similar event but really, for anyone who does this, or triathlons, we all have our “whys” for what we do.

It’s the thing that puts us out there not just for the race but the months leading up to it.

So, if you wish to continue, get comfy and go along on the ride with me. I promise to not bore you with stats and stuff like that 😉

Maybe you’ve never entertained the idea of something so crazy, or perhaps you’ve wondered if you could do it and are sitting on a fence pondering that idea. I’ll just say this… anyone… can do anything they determine they are going to do.

You might not be the fastest or most skilled but by damn, you can do it if you determine you’re going to.

How did an ordinary woman get to this point?

Seriously. It’s a thought that’s danced through my head on more than one occasion.

Somehow a middle aged, wife, mom, grandmother, jack of all trades, previously non-athletic person turned into an athlete. And not just one who plays with one sport, but a duathlete.

I’d have to say it’s largely come from chasing down one goal after another. Once I saw I could do something bigger than I thought I could do, I’d set the bar for another goal, yet larger one.

Although I hated being sidetracked a couple years ago with an Achilles injury, that’s what put me on the bike more. I could cycle and get those miles I craved I wasn’t getting from running. Turns out all that running made me super strong and pretty capable on the bike, not a bad thing.

I kept at the bike as I healed. I learned and practiced. I shamelessly talked to anyone who could tell me what I needed to know. I kept increasing my miles and riding hard terrain.

I wanted to do the duathlon the year I was still recovering from my running injury but when it got to the time I needed to be training, I just felt like my leg wasn’t ready for running.

Last year everything was in place for me to do it.

I invested myself heavily into training, practiced transitions, did brick sessions once or twice a week ( run/bike, or bike/run) to train my body to the demands of shifting from one activity to the next.

Race day I went out and did what I’d trained myself to do. Being my first multi sport event I felt like such an inexperienced baby but I got it done.

And done enough  to place first in my age group. I secretly hoped I’d be good enough to place but hadn’t voiced it out loud.

Overall, it was a good experience and I set my sites on 2018 and doing it again.

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I love the excitement of picking up a new race number.

Same game, new year, new adventures.

As I began training this year I at least understood more of what was involved and required of me to do this event. This duathlon is a championship race and it’s listed as the “toughest in the state.”  They tell no lies about this.

I knew the physical demands as well as mental demands.

There were however, new life things I didn’t have going on last year in competition with me for training.

Namely, a 4 day a week job that took up leisure time.  Yes, I could still get in training on most mornings, I just didn’t have as much time to extend those sessions.

Running. Straight up, running was harder this year. I think there are a variety of reasons, but it is what it is.

Because of that I didn’t push myself as much on it. Yes, I knew I could do it. Would it be ultimately what I wanted in time/pace etc? Maybe not but I’d just have to be good with it.

I kept to my cycling and training on the hardest roads I could find. Hills are definitely one place my strength really shines and since the duathlon course was loaded with some hard monster sized ones it made sense to keep my physical and mental training honed in this area.

The struggle is real.

As race day approached, mixed with my usual pre-race nerves was the overwhelming feeling of…

“What am I doing??”

I found myself wondering if something might come up and then I wouldn’t be able to do it. Like .. “what if I got sick?”  haha something every athlete worries about before an event.

I questioned my training. I questioned my abilities. I questioned if I had what it took to do it ( which is kinda laughable considering I’d done it last year and I’d been training for it this year)

I remember pouring out all my angst to hubby to which he responded….

“You know you can do it. Just go and do it. When you cross the finish line it will be amazing. I don’t even know how you do what you do.”

Somehow those words settled me.

No matter what, doing it, and seeing myself across the finish line was all that mattered.

Quitting was never an option.

Race time….

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Early morning warming up… finish line I got my eye on you

Needless to say like any athlete with an event coming up, I stalked the weather hoping it would be…well… decent.  I’d trained in all kinds of weather but really, who doesn’t want race day to be prime?

Temperatures were promised in the mid-50s with a chance of rain… afternoon rain.

ok well, to me the promised temps were decent… I could still work up a sweat with that.

However, weather you know, has a mind of it’s own…..on the way to the race it started raining some.

Ok no worries. Except once I got there in the early morning dark it appeared the rain wasn’t interested in waiting till the afternoon. Intermittent showers were our friend through out the morning.

Not only that, the comfortable, warmish weather shifted with some arriving wind knocking it into the mid 40’s.

Now we had some rain, wind and much colder air.

All of the athletes were being warned to drop the PSI in their tires, to watch their speed and to be careful on corners.

I was grateful that the rain didn’t daunt me, that I had spent time in it training…. but still… I understood the roads were slick and I also understood that meant a newer level of caution.

Of course I’d dressed more for warmer weather but thankfully had my waterproof cycling jacket on ( which was a bit to warm for the first run leg) I tossed it when I transitioned to the bike…. which made for a colder than anticipated bike ride being wet and flying down the road at rapid speeds.

None of that mattered…. this is what we had for the race…. deal with it.

As I was running the parking lot warming up in the breaking dawn with rain coming down on me one of the police officers stopped me and said “are you sure you want to be out here doing this?” I laughed and told him there were probably a few of us who might think being home, comfy with a cup of coffee, would be preferable to being out at 630 on a cold, wet morning shaking out our legs and nerves pre race.

But then I added….” you have to understand that every single one of us out here might be a wee bit insane. It’s that insanity that has us here and will drive us to finish today ”

He gave me a big laugh and told me to please be careful out there as I went loping off.

And I still stand by that. Being a little crazy is what keeps you out there and is the undercurrent to getting the work done.

And nothing…nothing… feels better when that insanity brings you across the finish line.

The first leg of race, the 5K was just crappy and I knew it would be. It wasn’t my best time and it wasn’t anything that impressed me. I just focused on moving through it knowing I’d close ground once I got on the bike.

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Working that run… evidently the lady drafting me had the same idea about sleeping on the run 😉

 

 

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Nothing but a sea of bikes in the transition area, A cold and wet morning.

I moved through transition as quickly as I could. I think this year I had it about 1:15. Not only are you transitioning into new gear, preparing for another sport, I believe your mind has got to transition as well.

As I knew I would, once I took off on bike I started covering ground and picking off other cyclists. This became as game as I settled into the ride. I was trying to not think about how much colder it was as I sped down the road in shorts and a sleeveless cycling jersey.

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Those clips were slippery that day….

As the miles disappeared I knew I was getting close before we would turn and head back.

The miles with the beastly hills were what I still had to tackle. Only today they were wet and dark looming like large, formidable sentries in front of us.

This however, was home turf and I felt comfortable in it.

As I got closer to the first huge hill that is my nemesis, the one I have a love hate relationship with, I could see it littered with cyclists… all pushing their bikes up.

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This is a sun shiny pic of the “hill”… it looks more formidable grey and wet

My mental game had been pretty strong at that point, but seeing all those people pushing their bikes up, well that can really start to do a number on my mind.

I’ve never, ever since I started riding that beast had to push my bike up and I didn’t plan to start anytime soon.

I locked my mind down, looked directly at the road in front of my bike and plowed up that hill past them.  I think at that point if anyone had gotten in front of me or challenged me on anything,  I could’ve taken them on my mental game was just that strong.  I got on top of the hill, and began to prepare for the second one which was just over the top of the one I’d just climbed.  Again I had to dodge people pushing their bikes up.

I had a brief moment to let the bike do the work before we hit the final back hills. As I came around a curve that was so familiar to me, and prepared to fly up a hill, there were cyclists walking their bikes down saying the spotters had encouraged people to walk down.

Ha. Not likely.

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This was a slippery slope on duathlon day… slowed things down a bit… I only hit 39.5 mph coming off it 😛

I got to the top and prepared for the descent down the back of the hill… again coming back I had to pass people pushing up. Once again I locked my mind down… set my focus directly in front of me and shouldered into it.

The two spotters at the top were like… “wow, nice work ma’am” ha I hardly had time to acknowledge them before I was flying off the hill again, now on my way back to the start line.

A few miles from getting back to the transition area I was aware that I was oh so cold, my feet felt numb and then out of the blue stabbing cramps in my quad, up into my hip, wrapping into my hamstring.

I’ve never had that happen before.  Thankfully I was able to stand up and keep riding and work it out without having to stop.

It was debatable for awhile.

Cold. Cramps. Wet.  Battling mental demons along the way. So many battles that day.

The end was closer. I fought for this thing and I would finish it out.

And finish I did. The last run was a surprise in that it was longer than last year (ah) so where I thought we’d turn and head back…well… no.. we got to keep going for a bit longer.

When I finally got to the stretch and could see that finish line, the big red numbers with the race time, the announcer calling my number, saw my husband patiently waiting for me, knew my months of work was about to pay off,  it was worth it.

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The most non glamorous pic ever… yet one of the most beautiful to me as it represents the finish of what I started. At this point I’m moments away from crossing that finish line after a 3.10 mile run, a 16 mile tough ride, and a 1.5 mile run.  Emotions are running high.

It was worth the months of training, the early mornings, the tired legs, the days that left me exhausted, the doubts were crushed, and once again, there was that overwhelming immense satisfaction in stepping across that finish line.

It makes me weep every time.

My emotions run high as it all culminates  …. the proverbial icing on the cake… my own personal victory.

And well, it was pretty cool to check my stats and see it showed me as first in my age group. 🙂

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So cold, wet, hungry and tired…  but I’ve got some smiles for this….

I’d never entertained that because I just thought my time wouldn’t be so impressive. Once they posted times for both genders, I could see that my finish time was what some of the 20-24 year old guys placed in … so there’s that 😛

So what’s next?

I don’t have any plans of slowing down or sitting on the sidelines watching life. I’d love to do at least two duathlons in 2018. I’d also like to ease back into distance running  and maybe cut my teeth on a half marathon again. It’s technically now “off season” although I don’t see myself not training. I will add in an extra strength training day ’cause muscles are nice to have in a variety of ways. 😉 Not just that, it’s freaking cool to be strong and being strong is what helps me get through the tough part of these events.

I am such a baby in this world of multi sport events so I have plenty of room to grow, learn and improve. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back, knowing I can constantly challenge myself.

And finally, I’ve gotta say thank you to my amazing family, my husband and kids, my tribe who love me, encourage me, tell me I’m crazy, and are so proud and supportive of what I do. My husband who willingly gets up at crazy hours to go with me, who endures the weather, takes pics, and is the smiling face I’m looking for when I come in, who buys me food and coffee when I’m frozen and starving….. his support is crucial to what I do.

And of course my friends who love me, cheer me on and also love telling me I’m crazy… I appreciate all of your encouragement and support  🙂

Thank you for sharing in my recent adventures by reading this post! Your turn, tell me about your adventures…what you’ve done or what you may be planning to do. Do those dreams ever just scare you a little? How have you felt when you accomplished something you’ve never done?