Five things that help me combat stress!

I’m linking up with the Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five for the first time in a while. This week is a free day so I’ve decided that my topic is going to be stress, specifically the five things I do to ensure that I combat stress!

It’s the start of a new semester and while I don’t think that things will be as crazy as they were in the spring (Saturday classes about did me in), I know things will definitely get stressful. I feel like I’m currently in the calm before the storm right now, and I honestly think this weekend is going to be my last weekend where I don’t feel like I have something looming over my head. The projects are about to start!

So with that in mind, I know I need to keep my sanity!

Crafting
I love crafting, mainly crocheting and jewelry making, but I dabble in so many other things as well, and during the school year there are few things more relaxing than crocheting for a few minutes during a study break. I’m able to turn my brain off and focus on the stitches, plus I
end up making something really cool!

Coloring
This is a new one for me, but I recently dove into the world of adult coloring! I saw an article about it and immediately went to Amazon to buy Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden by Johanna Bassford. The pictures are so beautiful, and it’s the great way to end a stressful day.

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Running
This wouldn’t be a proper list if I didn’t include running on here. I always make sure to make time to go for a run, especially if I feel things are starting to get crazy. Running outside and enjoying the nature and just being in my head allows me to feel at peace. It’s a good thing this one is on my list because I’ll be running a lot more as my half marathon approaches, eek!

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Sleep!
I didn’t do the best job of prioritizing this last semester. While I didn’t pull any all nighters I definitely stayed up later than I should have a few times. One of my biggest goals for this semester is to aim for at least 7 ½ hours of sleep a night, hopefully I can work my way up to 8 hours eventually. I always just feel better when I have a full night’s rest.

My boyfriend
I can hear the “awws” now! However, he is so incredibly supportive of everything I do from going to grad school, which I know takes up more of my free time than he’s happy with, and all the running I do. I always know I can rely on him to keep me steady if I feel that things are getting out of control.

Sometimes were a bit crazy...
Sometimes were a bit crazy…

Hopefully, I’ll be able to use all of this for this coming semester.

What are some things that help to keep you calm?

 

 

Evidently I have an Iron Deficiency…

The past few months have consisted of sleep, more sleep, a little eating, talking about how tired I am, more sleep, and sometimes running, sometimes, but mostly sleeping. Notice a pattern here? My boyfriend definitely did, and he kept making comments about how tired I seemed, and was concerned that everything was okay.

I did not notice a pattern, assured him everything was okay, and then proceeded to take a nap (okay, okay, it probably wasn’t THAT bad). Still, I honestly didn’t think anything was wrong. I had just finished a semester of grad school where I took two classes for the first time, in addition to working full time, and one of those classes was on a Saturday morning. It’s only natural that I would be a little tired, especially after a stressful couple of weeks preparing for and taking finals. A little exhaustion now and then isn’t abnormal.

During the semester, I ran pretty regularly until the end when I would forgo running in the morning to sleep an extra hour. Again, though, that was easy to justify, I needed my sleep to do well in classes, and a few weeks off wouldn’t kill anything, but then it continued, and continued. Until, eventually I was a month out of classes, and I was still choosing to sleep an extra hour instead of running because I was so freaking exhausted!

I tried everything short of going to bed with my running shoes on and nothing worked. To be honest, I learned quickly that wouldn’t have worked either, after I came home from work one evening, put on all my running gear and shoes and then proceeded to collapse on my bed and wake up two or three hours later feeling incredibly groggy.

This says nothing of my appetite, which has been nonexistent. My lunches consisted of a little chicken, with a tomato and cucumber salad, and MAYBE if the thought of food didn’t disgust me I would eat dinner later. I knew I wasn’t getting enough calories, but I just wasn’t hungry. I figured, I’m not running as much so my body must not need as many calories, nothing unusual to see here!

Then I went to the doctor for my annual check-up and got my blood drawn. The next day I get a call that I have iron deficiency anemia and I need to start taking iron supplements. Did you know iron deficiency anemia can make you really, really tired? It can also make you lose your appetite, and make you feel weak, which may explain why I felt like I couldn’t run for as long or as fast as I used to be able to.

So I’m taking ferrous sulfate supplements once a day now. I finally got to a store to purchase them and have started them a couple days ago. Hopefully I’ll be less tired, and be able to get myself out of bed in the morning like I used to!

Have you ever experienced an iron deficiency? Did it make you as tired as I am?

It’s been a year!

So, last Tuesday was my blogiversary, and if you visited this blog, you probably assumed I had abandoned it. Fear not! I am still here, and I am rested! I took a break because, finals, and final projects, and SLEEP. Then when that was over, I took another week off because the thought of staring at a computer and writing anything that wasn’t for work sounded miserable. Plus what better way to celebrate a blogiversary than stress free week off from everything, except work, but that’s only because they pay me.

HappyBlogiversaryTo ME!!

I seriously cannot believe that it’s only been a year since threw away my scale and started this blog. In that time the only time I’ve stepped on a scale has been when I’ve gone to the doctor, and I try not to look at the number when I’m there (although I haven’t been perfect). I can honestly say right now, for the first time in my life, I don’t know how much I weigh, and that knowledge, or lack of knowledge, is so incredibly freeing.

RIP Scale
RIP Scale

So much of my self-esteem used to be wrapped up in how much I weigh. If someone had told me that the key for me getting healthier would be to stop paying attention to my weight, and my BMI I would have told them they were crazy! In this past year I have learned that, that number has so little to do with a person’s actual health.

For years, I struggled with my weight, I would fluctuate within twenty pounds and it didn’t matter what I would do. Calorie counting, made me obsessive and caused me to adopt very unhealthy habits, plus when I added any kind of physical activity with it I felt like I could never eat enough food, which would lead to over eating, or eating unhealthy things. I would get discouraged, and give up, until the next time I decided that I wanted to start again.

Still through all of this, even when I would lose weight I would see, at best, minimal changes in the way I looked. My clothes may have fit slightly better, but I still wasn’t happy. Something clearly wasn’t working. This past year has been so different. I don’t know if I’ve actually lost any weight, I’m actually kind of doubtful, but I feel SO DIFFERENT! For the first time that I can honestly remember, a size small fits me better than a medium. I had to get most of my work clothes altered so that they would stop falling off of me when I did things like walk. Letting go of my weight, helped me to start listening to my body and feel better.

In this past year, I started this blog, ran my first 10k, started graduate school, and moved to a new house, and city. While it may not sound like a lot written down, there was a time, not too long ago, where all of those things would have caused me to spiral back into unhealthy habits. Which isn’t to say this past year has been perfect, however, I also never intended it to be. Stress has gotten the better thing, I’ve prioritized many things over this blog and running, but never over my health and my attitude. That’s the difference, and that, I feel, is pivotal.

Putting myself out there, starting this blog, and telling people about it forced me to step WAY outside of my comfort zone. Every time I post even a minor status on Facebook I get so much anxiety, so the idea of writing entire posts on my life and opening myself up to the blogosphere is terrifying. I am so glad that I made the decision to start this blog and take that step. I know that my updates can be sporadic at best sometimes, but it’s provided a way for me to keep my sanity, and perspective throughout this past year. This blog is simply my little corner of the internet, and I feel lucky, surprised even, when other people happen to read it, and even better, respond.

I am so excited about what is to come! I want to keep growing this blog, finish my second year of grad school, and train for and run a half marathon, and to anything else I haven’t anticipated, I say BRING IT ON!

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I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, throwing away that scale was the best thing I could have done for myself a year ago. Starting this blog, was the second best thing. Even if no one reads this ever again, I’ll continue to write, and I’ll stay off the scale. Thank you to everyone who has visited, commented, and reached out to me, the support has meant a lot! Here’s to more blogging and running!

What I Did This Weekend Easter Edition!

Is anyone else loving this recent weather as much as I am? Minus of course the rain we’re experiencing today, but hey, at least it’s not snow!

Despite all the homework and projects I have coming up I was able to enjoy some time outside this weekend and celebrate my favorite holiday, Easter, with my family!

Friday I got off work early and made another flower arrangement, this time for my parents. I like the way it turned out, maybe I should become a professional florist…

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Friday night was Easter and then Saturday after class my boyfriend and I braved all the crazy crowds and went into DC to enjoy the cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms

Despite living near DC all my life I’ve never seen the cherry blossoms during the actual festival, I’ve always waited until the weekend after or later. I can understand why I waited now!

After midnight service on Saturday we celebrated Easter with my family on Sunday. My parents loved the flowers and we even got to take some nice Easter pictures outside. Did I mention I’m loving this weather?

easter

I’ll be squeezing in some runs and maybe a body pump class this week in between classes and projects.

What did you do this weekend? Have you ever gone to the Cherry Blossom Festival?

Ipsy Glam Bag Review – March 2015

I am not usually one for those box subscription services. The thought of spending what little disposable income I have on surprise items I may or may not like every month isn’t really my thing. But then I found Ipsy and I got hooked.

I love make up, I find it fun to apply and I love learning about new products. The problem is even when I find products I may like I can rarely justify purchasing it.

That’s where Ipsy comes in. For just $10 a month (hey I can afford that!) I get a super cute glam bag sent to my door with 5 make up products for me to try each month. After scouring through what items were included in the previous glam bags and deciding that I would have loved to try about 90% of the items I saw I took the plunge and joined the waitlist.

When you join you have to fill out a quiz that asks you about your skin tone, hair and eye color, your style and what kind of beauty products you enjoy using. This is so they can customize your glam bag to your preferences every month. After filling this out, you wait.

I was on the waitlist for two months, because I wasn’t willing to spam my friends via Facebook begging them to click my link and join Ipsy as well. Finally in February they had a skip the waitlist event that didn’t require you to spam friends, which I immediately jumped on and I got my first glam bag in March!

Each month your products arrive in a bright pink envelope holding your make up bag containing all your fun products. I was so excited to try my March items!

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Every bag has a theme and March’s theme was Floral Fantasy. To start with the bag is super cute, although I’m pretty sure that after a couple more glam bags I am not going to want any more make up bags in my house!

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The first item I got was NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie. I don’t often wear lipstick, so this item was a bit of a dud for me. Still I’ve worn it a couple times since receiving it and I have to admit that I love the way it applies and the color isn’t bad for my complexion, if only I actually wore lipstick with any regularity.

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Next was Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush. I was super excited about this product, and it did not disappoint. I’ve been wanting to try new make-up brushes for a while. The bristles on this one are so soft and they apply eyeshadow really well, plus I love that it’s double ended.

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Pixi by Petra, Mesmerizing Mineral Duo eyeshadow was another win in my bag. I love eye shadow and the natural colors in this duo are perfect for the office. I’ve been wearing this almost every day.

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The fourth item was pūr~lisse beauty gentle soymilk cleanser & makeup remover. I’ve used this a few times since receiving it. I love the smell and it manages to remove all my make up at the end of the day without leaving any raccoon eyes.

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Last was LeeAnni Eco 3 in 1 Revolution Light. It’s a toner, serum and moisturizer all in one. I’ve been using this and I haven’t noticed any improvements in my skin but it also hasn’t made it any worse, so it’s just sort of meh…smells nice though.

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Overall, I loved my first bag, I don’t know if I would recommend this to everyone, but if you like make up and enjoy trying new products and things then this is perfect.

Have you ever joined a subscription box?

I was not compensated to write this review. I paid for the glam bag and I wanted to share how much I loved it !

Flowers, Breakfast and Other Things I Did This Weekend

I took a week off last week from basically everything other than work so I could catch up on all my schoolwork. I’m nearing the end of the semester which means projects, projects and more projects, and oh yeah those things called finals.

I made a lot of progress though, and this weekend was finally able to enjoy the beautiful weather we finally have in Maryland!

Friday morning started with a catered awards breakfast at my lunch. Absolutely delicious! I had vegetarian eggs benedict with asparagus instead of ham, tater tot casserole, nuttella crepes and a brown rice and quinoa oatmeal type of thing that I’ve never had before, but was delicious.

I was too excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture of my food before I started eating it!
I was too excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture of my food before I started eating it!

And I ate it all:

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After work on Friday I had just enough time to go shopping for flowers and design this spring flower basket for my boyfriend’s parents for Easter. Then I posted it on Facebook and I’m pretty sure everyone thought it was from my boyfriend and no one thought I designed it. Clearly I am not good at Facebook.

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Saturday morning I had class and then so much walking! My boyfriend and I went to downtown Annapolis where I got a crepe for lunch, from Sofi’s Crepes and then when we got bored of Annapolis we drove up to Baltimore to walk around Federal Hill park to enjoy the view.

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Then I decided to quit my day job and become a captain. Not really….but I think I’d look good doing it!

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Sunday I went to church for Palm Sunday, Greek Easter is next week, and then celebrated not Greek Easter with my boyfriend’s family that evening. Now I’m sad that it’s Monday.

What did you do this weekend? Is anyone else loving this weather as much as I am?

Friday Five: Five Races I’m Looking Forward To in 2015

It’s Friday! And I am still without a working computer. Now I know what’s wrong with it, the parts are ordered, and now I’m just waiting for them to be delivered so I can have a working laptop again and be able to start updating this blog more regularly than once a week.

My ankle started acting up badly last weekend, so my plans to get on stationary bike were delayed another week which actually turned out for the best. This week was crazy with work, and trying to squeeze in time to get my work for grad school done. Let’s just say I’m counting down the days until summer break. 89 days left in case anyone was wondering.

That anticipation I have for summer meant that when I saw the topic for the Friday Five this week I knew it was perfect! I’m linking up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday Five and this week it’s Five Races to run in 2015.

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I’m going to be 100% honest here. I am excited for the 2015 racing season, but does that mean I’ve actually worked out my racing schedule? That would be a definitive no. I’ve barely had time to think about anything past this semester. Plus the fact that I have a Saturday morning class means that I can’t really run any races until the end of the semester.

Still that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few races I’m not looking forward to.

1. The Color Run This is really the only race I’ve decided on officially, although I still need to sign up. I’ve gotten a friend of mine to run this with me, and I am so excited. I’ve never done a color run before but I’ve heard lots of good things.

2. Zooma half marathon or 10k I did the 10k last year and had a blast, I’ll definitely be participating again this year but I’m not sure in which distance. I originally wanted this to be my first half marathon but my ankle is making me nervous. I’ll have to see when I can start training for it. Also did I mention this race has wine? Because it has wine.

Zooma 2014 before it started.

3. Baltimore Women’s Classic I love this race, it’s so supportive, and you get a rose at the finish line! I missed it last year because I sprained my ankle the day before (have we noticed a pattern with my injuries at all?) but I’ll definitely be running it this year.

This was my first race ever. I can't get over how exhausted I look.
This was my first race ever. I can’t get over how exhausted I look.

4. Baltimore Running Festival I did the relay last year, and I am definitely doing the half this year. This will either be my first or second half marathon depending on what happens with Zooma.

Ready to run my leg of the relay!
Ready to run my leg of the relay!

5. Best Buddies 5k This race holds a special place in my heart. Best Buddies is a non profit I worked for for four years and volunteered with for much longer. They had their first 5k last year and it was such an amazing event, so well organized and the volunteers and Best Buddies employees did a great job making sure it was successful. If anyone is looking for another fun 5k to add to their list while helping a great cause this is one to consider.

What races are you looking forward to in 2015?

Friday Five: Things I Love!

I am so so happy that it is Friday. Earlier this week I realized that I hadn’t managed to post anything on here for a little over a week and that it could easily turn into two or three if I wasn’t careful.

It’s not that I have nothing to write about, in fact I have lots of posts that will be coming, hopefully soon. However, my computer decided to die a little over two weeks ago and once that happened it made writing for this blog much more difficult. I usually write at night after work and then post the next day. However, without a working computer that hasn’t been as feasible. I did contemplate writing them on my phone for about 10 seconds, before I reasoned that I hate typing on my phone and seeing as I’m a pretty slow texter it would probably take me 2 hours to write one paragraph on my phone. Not happening.

Anyways, despite all this I knew I had to at least link up for the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia. These are so much fun to write up and I hate to miss them.

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This weeks theme is Love, appropriate seeing as tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’m still not able to run/work out because of my ankle (Soon though!!) and it’s starting to affect my mood. So I thought I would write about 5 things that I am loving right now to help me think positively

1. The fact that I don’t need to buy a new computer: It’s taking a while to fix it, but my boyfriend says he can fix my computer and if it costs me anything it won’t be more than $100. I am so grateful, since a new computer is definitely not in the budget. The only reason it’s taking so long is that we’re both so busy we’ve barely had time.

2. Podcasts: So I was one of those people that binge listened to Serial over the summer and then after it was over I started looking for podcasts to listen to. Right now I’m hooked on Gilmore Guys, which I’ve talked about a couple times on here, and Don’t Get Me Started.

3. Boots, Apparently: I recently ordered my first pair of real cowgirl boots and when they arrived I squealed! I haven’t gotten a chance to wear them since my ankle is sprained and the brace I’m wearing won’t fit in them. I also went to Target this past week and they had boots on +clearance for $11 so naturally I bought two pair, one brown and one black. If I’m not careful, my already large boot/shoe collection is going to get a little insane (maybe it is already insane, I’ve decided to stop counting so I can live in perpetual denial), but how can you say no to $11 boots?

My new boots!
My new boots!

4. Upcoming Vacation/Spring Break: This isn’t quite here yet but I am loving the anticipation. My mom and I will be road tripping it to Chicago to see my grandparents in March over my spring break. She just sent me an itinerary for the trip and I got so excited. It won’t be a work free vacation as I’ll have some studying and a take home midterm I’ll have to take with me, but the break will still be amazing!

5. My Valentine’s Day plans: Okay at least one of these had to be about Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend and I will be staying in and keeping it low key. We’re going to make a seafood dinner together and I’m very excited.

One thing I don’t love? The cold!! It was 11 degrees this morning when I stepped outside, I am so ready for the spring!

What are you loving right now?

My Five Favorite Indoor Workouts!

I’m teaming up yet again with Courtney, Cynthia and Mar for the Friday Five! I’ve had so much fun the past couple weeks.

When I saw this week’s Friday Five, I had to laugh. Favorite indoor workouts, for one I generally don’t enjoy working out indoors, and I can’t do anything right now as my ankle is still hurting me if I stand on it for any extended period time, much less do any sort of activity.

I considered picking a new topic but decided to stick with the theme so I can think positively about indoor workouts, something necessitated by the cold winter weather.

1. Body Pump: I did Body Pump quite regularly about three or four years ago. I can’t say I’m a Body Pump regular right now as I only managed to make it to two classes before my sprained ankle. But I loved both of those classes and I’m 100% confident I’ll be making it a part of my weekly routine once I’m back to working out.

2. Treadmill: I have a love hate relationship with the treadmill. I try to avoid it so much, but I hate the cold weather much more than I hate the treadmill. So, invariably, despite my best intentions, and hard earned money spent on cold weather gear so I can run outside in the winter I always find my way inside on the treadmill once I can start seeing my breath. I’m pretty boring with my treadmill workouts, I just run and speed up and slow down as I feel I can take it or as I get tired. I usually put a towel or sweatshirt on the display to prevent me from looking at the screen every 5 minutes, and I’ve started listening to podcasts while I run.

3. Jillian Michaels Thirty Day shred or No More Trouble Zones: I bought these DVDs a few years ago and at the time, combined with body pump, they were my fitness routine. I don’t do them often anymore, but I love that the Thirty Day Shred is only about 30 minutes and if I’m running low on time it’s something I can pop in and do if I’m pressed for time. I’ll confess I hate her cheesy commentary during the DVD but they definitely get my heart rate up and I remedy that by muting the DVD and playing music in the background.

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4. Cycling: I took a few spin classes years ago and while definitely not my favorite form of exercise they were a nice change of pace. They’re a great way to get your heart racing and they’ll always kick your butt.

5. Yoga: If you’ll recall I took a couple free yoga classes this past year. I really enjoyed them and think it’s something I need to incorporate into my fitness routine this year. My gym offers a few yoga classes that I’m interested in trying out soon.

Have you ever tried a work out DVD? Do you hate Jillian Michaels’ cheesy commentary as much as I do?

My Weekend Update!

I have been having technical difficulties this week. On Saturday my computer decided that it was going to stop working. According to my boyfriend the hard disk is malfunctioning so I have to figure out what to do to fix that, so I’ve been dealing with no computer except when I’m at work.

This means writing blog posts has been a bit of a challenge for now. I haven’t been able to find time to stay late at work to knock a couple out and I had a moment where I considered writing them on my phone, but I gave that up really quickly.

Despite my computer being on the fritz I still had a great weekend! I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh visiting my sister. There was some question about whether I’d be able to make it seeing as the ankle I sprained is attached to the foot I drive with. But by Friday I decided that with cruise control I could handle the four hour drive.

Unfortunately, many of the plans my sister had for us involved walking, lots of it. So we had to cancel all of that, which meant we had a relaxing weekend.

Saturday morning we got brunch at a place called Dor-Stop. They were featured on Diners, Drive ins, and Dives and was claimed to have the best pancakes. Now, I love pancakes but to me a pancake is a pancake is a pancake, still I was curious. But I was more curious about the raspberry french toast that everyone raved about.

In the end my sister and I decided to try a little bit of everything, we ordered the french toast, apple cinnamon pancakes and an omelet (because something needed to be healthy) and just shared it all.

Everything was amazing! And the reviews weren’t lying when they said it was the best pancakes ever. My sister and I took one bite and both decided that we had never had better pancakes. We ate them without syrup, they didn’t need it. The french toast was great as well, it was coated in cornflakes which gave it a crunchy texture, and the omelet was the perfect amount of savory we needed.

Of course, my horrible picture taking continues, I was so hungry I forgot to snap a picture of our food until we were done! But you can go to their website and see pictures of their delicious pancakes!

After brunch we did a little bit of shopping along the Strip in Pittsburgh and then spent some quiet time allowing for my ankle to rest back at her apartment.

That night we went to the Incline to see the Pittsburgh skyline, which was absolutely beautiful! We hadn’t been able to fit this in the last time we were there so I was excited to see it.

Excuse the poor picture quality it's hard to get a good picture in the night on your smartphone....Still beautiful
Excuse the poor picture quality it’s hard to get a good picture in the night on your smartphone….Still beautiful
Cool statue called Point of View showing George Washington and Seneca Leader Guyasuta. I learned this from wikipedia!
Cool statue on the incline called Point of View showing George Washington and Seneca Leader Guyasuta. I learned this from wikipedia!

The day ended with a great dinner at Shiloh’s grill and hanging out at the bar, and then Sunday I made the return drive home to Maryland.

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh? Don’t you want to try those pancakes now?