Sunday, June 30, 2013

Still Walking the Walk

I didn't update on my walking challenge total last week, but that doesn't mean I was slacking on the steps.

For the week of June 17 to 23 I did 75,359 steps. This week thunderstorms and some motivation challenges made it a bit trickier to get to 10k a day, but I should end the week at around 60k steps, which I'm ok with. As long as it doesn't become a regular occurrence.

But, it shouldn't, because I have a new walking challenge going with a few of my coworkers! The office wide challenge ended and a few other people said they wanted to try and keep up with it so, I came up with a plan for the four of us.

We still report our steps each Monday, into a google doc I created. Then every four weeks the person with the least steps buys the person with the most steps Starbucks or Fro-Yo or lunch from a place near the office. That way you get a reward if you are in first place and still have incentive not to be in last.

It's going to be hard to keep this up, especially in the summer heat, but I figure it's certainly worth giving it a shot.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Farm Fresh Marshmallows

I've been walking to my neighborhood farmer's market most Saturdays over the past few months. I realized today, after going fairly regularly since early May, the one consistent purchase I make is... Marshmallows.

What, aren't they your farmer's market staple as well?

These are homemade and come in all sorts of yummy flavors like pineapple coconut, chocolate chip cookie dough, salted caramel, and cinnamon toast. 

Each time I go I end up wandering aimlessly for an inordinate amount of time for the tiny size of the market. We're talking about 15 vendors at most, half with fruits and veggies and the rest with things like empanadas, peanuts, pickles, baked goods and those yummy marshmallows. I check out all of the veggies and try to figure out what exactly I'd do with them. 

I'll pretty much eat most* any veggie served to me, but when I look at a big bunch of kale or a head of cabbage I'm just like... huh. I can't imagine cooking and eating it on my own. That's why doing the CSA a few summers ago was (sorta) a good idea for me. It took the choice out of it and made me figure out what to do with the assorted veggies that magically appeared each Wednesday. 

Left to my own devices I walk round and round in the tiny lot before settling on two onions, a bunch of broccoli and... two bags of marshmallows. 

*mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes and peppers excluded

Monday, June 24, 2013

Running on the Hamster Wheel

That's how I feel these days. Just going, going, going and not really getting anywhere.

Well, that's not true I guess. The going, going, going part is true, but it's not leading me in circles.

Last week I was crazy busy with a multi-day work event that was exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, successful and rewarding all wrapped into one.

Less than 24 hours after it wrapped up I went into an evening and then full day of volunteering for an annual event in my neighborhood. You know, the one I wrote about last year and said I didn't really want to be involved in anymore? Yeah. That one. I coordinated volunteers again, and spent 11 of 13 hours Saturday running around a field, carrying tables and chairs, putting up tents and delegating, delegating, delegating.

My feelings on it right now are exactly the same as they were a year ago. I want a break. I feel like I've done my part. June is generally a really busy month for me at work and the timing of the event is less than ideal. But, there are a few people that do so much in my neighborhood. And there aren't others stepping forward to help. But really, there's no time to think about that now because...

36 hours after that ended, I went into a huge meeting at work. The committee that governs my team's work came to town for their bi-annual two days with us. I had to present on a new project this afternoon and will present an update on an existing project first thing tomorrow morning. We had a dinner out tonight and I just got home at 9. The meeting went well. The feedback was helpful. The dinner was yummy. The company was good. But still... going, going, going....

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekly Walking Wrap Up

I'm trying to stay accountable since my work walking challenge ended, so welcome to a new weekly walking wrap up.

Apparently the challenge ended too soon as this week was my best week yet at 82,763 steps, aka 29 miles.  I'd like to thank DCA, DTW and MSN for helping up my steps as airports = lots o'walking.

A few of my coworkers have been talking about how they want to keep up the activity, despite the end of the challenge and I just proposed our own little walking challenge to three of them so I might have some competition back in my life soon.

But either way, I'm going to do my best to stick with it, despite the heat and humidity that I know is just around the corner!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Color Dilemma

Bubble Bath, the safe
(and boring) favorite
I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty products, but I do tend to get manicures regularly. For the longest time I just stuck with pale pink, OPI Bubble Bath to be precise, as 90% of the time I mange to smudge or chip my manicure before I even make it home from the salon and the pale color hid the chips well. I wanted to try more colorful options, but I knew better.

Enter the gel manicure. I'd heard of gel (aka shellac) manicures, and been intrigued, but for the longest time never tried them. For the uninitiated, a gel manicure is a different kind of polish, and a technique where your nails go under a UV light between coats, so it sets the polish immediately and there's no smudges or chipping. The manicure lasts 2-3 weeks.

The exciting part of this was I no longer had to be afraid of color! I could get something fun and not worry about looking stupid when one nail was messed up super fast.

Woo hoo!

But... the oh so very first world problem I've discovered since I've started getting gel manicures - I like the idea of color, more than I actually like color.


I'm on my fifth one and I've been unhappy with the color I've chosen each and every time. And then I'm stuck with it on my nails for at least 2 weeks.


Today I went with a friend to get my nails done and we both looked at my color options. I almost went with a repeat - Papaya Princess, a color I got two mani's ago that I didn't love at first, but did grow to like over the 2+ weeks it spent on my nails.

But I decided to get something similar, or so it appeared on the little sample. It was a bit less melon, a bit more pink, and it was named Just So Lovely.

On my nails it is not lovely.

On my nails it is hot pink. Neon pink. Bright, screaming, look-at-me pink. I was going to include a photo here, but the photo looks like the color looked on the sample. A normal, yet slightly bright shade of pinky peach, or peachy pink if you will. What's on my hands, well, I haven't been in the dark with the manicure yet, but I'm pretty sure they are going to glow.

Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep paying for the more expensive manicure only to be frustrated with the longer lasting results?

I promised my friend I'd give it through tomorrow, to see if the pinkness grows on me. And I'm trying. But as I'm spending my afternoon catching up on work and getting some work done for a volunteer commitment I keep being distracted from the substance by flashes of color as I type.

I know neon is trendy again, but I'm not trendy. At all. So there is no use in looking like I'm even attempting it.

I don't know why I haven't learned my lesson that color is just not for me. I should have given up after 3 failed attempts, but no... I had to stick with it. Hopefully the fact that I'll likely end up spending money on a second manicure this week - to remove the shellac and replace it with my old favorite - will be enough to cure me of this stupid quest for color.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Colds Are the Worst

I've spent much of the past week battling a cold.

That's the short story. But blogs aren't meant for the short story, now are they? So, where was I?

I've spent much of the past week battling a cold. A stupid cold that has gone through various stages and symptoms and just continues to keep me guessing about what fun it will throw my way next.

First up, last Sunday, hours after I arrived in Wisconsin, came the immediate and utter exhaustion while I was out at dinner. I suddenly felt so tired that I was thissss close to asking the waitress to box up my yet to arrive order so I could take it to go.

I managed to buck up and eat my dinner, then headed back to the hotel where I went to sleep pretty much immediately.

Well, actually, I attempted to go to sleep pretty much immediately. I ended up tossing and turning for nearly 90 minutes before I stopped checking the time and then must have fallen asleep. Prior to that I had a major case of the chills. Teeth chattering like crazy chills. But I fell asleep. For about an hour. Then I woke up, burning up and realized I had a fever. Great. I went back to sleep, for another hour, woke up and realized fever had broken. Great!

Then I was wide awake for about 2 1/2 hours. Not great.

I finally enjoyed some actual, more than one hour at a time sleep, and woke up Monday morning feeling pretty ok. A touch of a sore throat, but otherwise good to go. That continued until Tuesday evening. When my voice started to go.

But Wednesday morning, it was long gone. And according to my colleagues (who are both RNs by background) I had a fever again. I disagreed, but was told their medically trained opinion trumped mine. Oh, and the cough was starting to kick in.

This was the travel day. Coming Home - yay! Running through an airport, trying to make close connections after dealing with hours upon hours of delays - boo! My ears definitely popped more than usual on the flights, but in general the cold wasn't too terrible to deal with. Maybe because by that point it was leaving my head, and moving down to settle into my chest.

Yup, by Thursday the throat was on fire and the coughing, oh the coughing kicked in. While the voice was a touch improved, it was still bad enough that everyone back at the office who was just experiencing it for the first time had to comment on how bad I sounded.

Yesterday morning I woke up fully intending to go to work, but once I realized I couldn't go more than 30 seconds without a coughing fit it seemed like staying home might be in my best interests. So I did, and I slept. And slept and slept. Seriously. I went back to sleep around 9 and didn't get up until 12:40. Then, went back to sleep from 3ish til 5. And 6 until close to 7.

This morning, well, I'm doing ok. I woke up still coughing, but turning my bathroom into a steam room for a bit seemed to get the worst of it out of my system and I actually do have a voice. I really really hope I'm turning a corner on this stupid bug and the worst is behind me.

My next two weeks are jam packed with lots to do and little time for this nonsense. And besides that, I've already gone through two packs of cough drops and I really, really don't want to go buy a third!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Evening Gowns, But Still A Good Time

I went to a water skiing show on Sunday night.

Yup, that's a thing in Wisconsin, and I'm guessing Minnesota too as they are the land of 10,000 lakes.

I'm here for work and my friend Sarah told me months ago that if I was coming to Wisconsin in the summer I had to go to a water skiing show.

In full disclosure, I could not for the life of me remember who gave me that sage advice, then Sarah happened to call while I was at said show. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hello (as Call Me Maybe or some other teen pop song blares from the speaker 5 feet in front of me)
Her: Where are you?!?
Me: At a water skiing show
Her: Yeah you are! (excitedly)
Me: Wait, are you the one that told me I should do this?
Her: Of course!

See, she spent a summer in Minnesota during college and apparently water skiing shows were the big entertainment.

As my only other experience with water skiing shows was from the old school Freaky Friday movie, which I LOVE, I figured this was worth looking into. After some googling I discovered that every Sunday night there's a free water skiing show in the park just a few blocks from the hotel I was booked in. Well, that made those flight decisions easy - I had to get here in time for the show!

I saw a bit of the junior's show and the full show for the Mad City Ski Team. They are only a few weeks into their season, and it was less than optimal conditions with rain, wind and super choppy water, but I was still highly entertained and very impressed by what I saw, which is apparently only a small portion of the amazingness that happens when they compete.

First up, a quick video clip I shot:

And now footage from their State Championship Competition from 2012:

Seriously, take Sarah's advice. If you are ever in Wisconsin in the summer a water skiing show should be at the top of your to-do list!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Walking, Walking, Walking

My six week walking challenge at work ended yesterday.

I walked 449,003 steps in the past six weeks, roughly 155 miles at my stride.

That's like walking from DC to Rehoboth Beach, then continuing my way down the coast to Ocean City. Can't. Even. Imagine.

I averaged 26 miles a week, or a little over a 5k a day. Not too shabby, especially since pre-challenge I'd say on a typical day I'd be lucky if I even got half that.

Last Friday, when it was raining all day I left work with 1500 steps on my pedometer. The old me would have gone home and stayed in the rest of the evening, maybe adding around 500 steps just walking around the apartment. The new me put on a raincoat and walked to pick up dinner, finishing off the day with 6286 steps. Not my best day by far, but a pretty good jump on the step count from where I thought the day would end.

I'm going to keep wearing the pedometer and keep aiming for an average of 10k steps a day. I tend to lose interest when I'm not accountable to teammates like I am with the walking challenge. And it tends to get harder to get out and get moving when the temperatures rise in the summer. But, I'm going to give it a shot.

If you know me, check in on me and ask me how the walking is going. If you don't know me, check in via comments on the blog. Right now I'm feeling pretty motivated on my own, but having some outside accountability certainly wouldn't hurt!

Friday, June 7, 2013


Last week I had lunch with Stimey. It was awesome. We had been planning it for about a month and when we first started discussing it I offered to come to her side of the beltway, as she had previously documented her displeasure at having to cross the Potomac.

Granted, her prior crossing the Potomac experience was for something much less fun than lunch with me, so I shouldn't have been teasing her. Especially since she did end up coming to my part of town for our lunch date. (Thanks again!!)

Now, while I cross the Potomac on a pretty regular basis, it is always heading east to the beach, or north to Baltimore. I rarely go west on the beltway and almost never continue on in that direction, into Maryland. In the 4+ years I've lived inside the beltway I've been to Montgomery County exactly once. Well, after yesterday, exactly twice.

Jen Lancaster was in town yesterday for a reading and signing to promote her new book, The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog. I'm a big fan of Jen's books and I've gone to her signings when she's come through town each year that I've lived here. Usually they are at the B&N in downtown DC. This year, it was in Bethesda.


Bethesda is not even 15 miles from my office, but it might as well be on the other side of the country for as much of a hassle as it was to get there and back.

I knew I was in for a slow trip, leaving work around 5 pm, but I was feeling optimistic. I headed north along the scenic GW Parkway, where I got to really take in the scenery, look at all the trees and all their branches and all their leaves. Really, look at them.

Because you have time for things like that when traffic comes to a complete and total standstill with five miles to go until you reach the beltway. I drifted along, (really, just drifted, no foot on the gas) pretty much from that point until I reach my destination, 54 minutes after starting my drive.

I arrived in Bethesda and attempted to find parking. Of course I missed every turn into the shopping center complex, which was one of those fake cityscape type places. An outdoor mall built to make you feel like you are just in an urban environment. With garages here and there, and apartments above the retail space. I made my way around the exterior, finally finding a garage I could pull into, parked my car and then took the elevator back up to street level. Where I discovered the drizzle had turned into a pretty steady rain. And that my parking spot was a solid 2 blocks from the B&N where the reading was.

Once I got inside, I was happy to be there.

Jen was highly entertaining as usual, answering questions, telling stories and reading from her book. She is so gracious when it comes to the signing, taking time to chat with each person, pose for photos and sign as many books as you'd like. Of course, that makes the line seem to last forever, but... it's still pretty cool.

Then, a little before 9 I headed out to leave. I needed dinner and while there were an abundance of restaurants in the faux downtown I was in nothing appealed to me and I had Chipotle on the brain. I googled and saw that one was located not too far away, so I headed that way.

Of course, I was in the wrong lane when I needed to turn. And then my gps kept telling me to make a U turn or turn left, but there were lots of signs telling me not to do that. I finally realized the signs where for certain times of day, made my U turn and got my dinner.

Next up, the drive home. I decided to go through the city, versus navigating my way back to the Beltway. Yet again being in the correct lane was a challenge. Not getting cut off by taxis was also a challenge. Buses drifting into my lane were a challenge. Rain was a challenge. Construction cones were a challenge. The whole dang drive home was a challenge. While I knew where I was the whole time, I was on pretty major roads, I still wasn't actually completely comfortable with my route until I was about 3 miles from home.


In the end, I didn't really enjoy my trip to the other side of the Potomac.

Total and complete karmic retribution for teasing my pal Stimey.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Happy Birthday Dan. How I wish you were here for me to tell you that, but instead I'll just remember how happy this song made you and how much fun, fun, fun we had over the years.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I had an action packed weekend and have much to say about it, but not tonight.

Tonight I'm tired, and have a bit of a headache and am super annoyed by the fact that storms are rolling in when I really need to go for a walk. It's the last day of the walking challenge and after all of the hours and hours of walking I did over the past five weeks I'm not really willing to let this thing wrap up on a day where my pedometer reads 3734. No way, no how.

As I sat down to write something somewhat substantive I got distracted by a photo on my phone that I took at lunch.

I was in Richmond, having lunch at one of my most favorite restaurants of all times - Sticks Kebob Shop. As I sat down with my plate of deliciousness I snapped a photo, to tweet or post on Facebook, or something, I don't know, I got distracted by eating before I actually did anything with it. (Side note: Distraction is obviously the theme of the day.)

But now, it caught my eye and I can't stop looking at it.

It looks like a face. A kinda creepy, asymmetrical face. I'm vaguely reminded of Cookie Monster for some reason. Please tell me I'm not crazy and you see it too.