Monday, February 29, 2016

Pillowcases and Goals

How's getting back into shape and the running coming for me? 

Well I'll talk more about this below, but in short I am slowly getting back into it.
It's a tad more difficult right now since it's been so long since I have been able to do it. But mostly I am enjoying it.  I know it will get easier in the coming weeks. It will also get easier to wake up earlier, I won't lie right now it's not easy!

But I think we are starting to get into the spring type temps, 20's in the mornings and 50's in the afternoons. Meaning less chances of freezing temps and right now that may make it a tad easier for me!

How's work going?
Well I had an epic fail as a business owner. I hadn't had a voicemail message left in over a month, I am an idiot and didn't think much of it.
Then after 2 people told me they left a message and I saw no notification from it, I called my own number.
Ya, apparently 23 messages I never got. Why? Well I am the idiot who just assumed all old voicemails just auto deleted (They did with my old Blackberry) apparently not with my Galaxy. It only notifies you the first 150. I was over my limit.
I have missed out on so many wedding/event calls. I am kinda embarrassed by it.  Yup, like I said, EPIC fail as a small business owner!

Funny story this week about this guy who came up to me one day at work. (I am still occasionally working at now 1 library.)

HIM: "So someone puked all over the bathroom, it's everywhere and smells terrible.  Do you want to go clean it up?"
ME: "Gross, nope cleaning up vomit is far above my pay grade."
HIM: "Um, okay. Well then how much would you have to make to clean it up?"
ME: "To clean up someone else's vomit? Not enough money in the world, I don't do vomit!"
HIM: *Just stares at me.*
ME: "I'll go find someone who will do vomit though, meanwhile I'd just suggest not going in there."
HIM: "What if I need to use the bathroom?"
ME: "Well unless you can be quick and hold your breath, I'd suggest going somewhere else."

I mean I know he wasn't thrilled with me. But seriously, vomit and not my own, some strangers who decided to make a mess and not clean it up? Yuck, not gonna happen. I don't do vomit!

But on that note, allow me to just say, I give complete credit to janitors, as they do a job I could never do and they don't get far enough recognition for it!  As for the public who do things in bathrooms and leave messes and just leave before anyone notices it was them. Seriously people??? Ewe!!




My niece wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. She's always creating designs. I've been promising for a few months to come teach her how to sew.
When she got home from school I picked her up. Took her to the fabric store, let her pick out the material she liked the best.
Then we went back and we started with making one of the first things I ever made. Which was a pillow case.
She likes to add flare, so I suggested we add a ruffle to the ends, so it wasn't just a normal pillowcase.
I let her do all the sewing herself, I just pushed the pedal on the machine for her, and occasionally stopped or re-guided the fabric to get her back on track.
She did pretty good!  I told her next time we could try a nightgown or an apron, as those are both easy new to sewing projects. I had a fun time teaching her too!




This week's reads. Well to be honest, I didn't get much reading time in, in fact I didn't have a chance to pick up a book until Thursday night. But The Golden Lily was so good I seriously couldn't put it down.  Dang that made for one late night, I finished it around 2AM.  We won't even talk about how fun it was to wake up the next morning, LOL
Then the weather was so beautiful Saturday it just felt like a great day to read another book in the sun, so I grabbed the next book in Richelle Mead's Series The Indigo Spell and read it.  I am seriously loving this series much more than I ever thought I would!


Okay, so this is something I've been struggling with for a while, but I need to work much harder at it. Last fall when I had to quit working out to deal with a worse than normal flare up on my foot injury. Then this winter dealing with my back pain and having to take it easy. Let's just say, I had some pounds to loose before all of that, and then well I am not proud because I gained quite a bit more during those lazy months.

So, I bought a selfie stick. Why? Well, you may or may not have noticed I don't post a lot of pictures of myself on my blog.

Truthfully, I hate to admit this, but it's because I've put on some weight and I just don't like pictures taken of myself right now.  Yes, yes I know I should be more confident. blah blah blah..
Well I should, but I'm not and the good thing about it all, is it's something I can do something about.

So that is where the selfie stick comes in. I am going to share my weight loss journey on my blog. I took a picture (you can see it above) with it just a few days ago. I'd like to share one with each 10 pounds that I loose to show off the progress.

No, you're not getting a fully body picture, but I did take one. Maybe I will share it later after I have dropped some weight, but for now it's just for myself. So I can see where I am, where I want to go, and use it to motivate me to work on improving with eating healthier and exercising more.

The great news is, right now I can get back into exercise, it's just something that will hurt a bit more because of my back issues. But I am choosing to tell myself even that may all be in my head. (Hey, it's worth a shot, mind control ha ha..)

It's going to take a few weeks before I can do a full great 60 minute workout and keep my heart rate up the entire time. But it will eventually come. I'm not going to push anything right now too much, I've dealt with way too many injury blows and I'm skirting the lines already with a couple that may never heal and I want to see how I can work around them for now, especially with my foot work injury. That one's just gone on way too long.

So my first goal, is drop 10 pounds.  But I have a few other goals, my other is to drop 40 pounds by June 1st. That may or may not be realistic, but I like to have goals like that, that skirt the lines of possible and impossible. But I definitely thing I can.

I am going to go at this a bit more drastic to start with. Since I can't burn as many workout calories just yet each day as I ease back into it. I need to compensate for the calories in other ways. So I am going to drop down to my intake of only  1,000 calories a day. Once the workouts can increase I'll bump up the calories a few hundred daily as needed until I am back where I'd like to be on a calorie/workout plan that I can actually do as a lifestyle change.

I'm hoping the significant calorie drop will help me drop the first 10 a little faster, and build up my motivation for it so I can get excited about less weight and improvements in the way I look and feel.

My reward, well besides better health. If I can drop 40 pounds by June 1st, I am going to reward myself with a brand new Stand Up Paddle Board. They are not cheap and the one I want costs around $1,200 on sale, so the money I save from not going out to lunch or dinner and stuff, well that is going to go into the paddle board fund.



Last, I am hosting a Spring into March Giveaway Hop, you have about 1 week to decide if you want to join up with us on it. I am leaving the sign up open through March 9th.
But the hop itself runs March 14th - 25th.  I decide to not go with a theme this time around, so bloggers can choose any giveaway item they would like.
You can find all the details and the sign up HERE.

That's a few little bits of my week and what I have going on right now.  With the Grow Your Blog hop, I have been a little off my normal blogging routine, and I am looking forward to getting back on track. We had 3 great hops, a few worked better than others.  I'll have to share a little more on those after I have all the analytics pulled together on them.

So tell me, what is a goal your working on right now?

I am linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin today for their Weekly Wrap!



Thursday, February 25, 2016

10 Things to Consider to Help Choose the Right Race For YOU

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my tips on how to pick the right race to run. While, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just picking one at random. Depending on what type of runner you are. There are definitely a few things you may want to consider first. So you don't accidentally find yourself part of the 20% who for some reason or another don't show up to the race, or are unable to finish.

running


#1 Check the finisher time requirements

If you are a faster runner, you may not have to worry about this. But those who may have a slower pace, or plan to walk most or all of a race. Should check the race website and look at required finisher time. If you know you can come in under this time then go ahead and register. But if you are worried you may not, or aren't quite sure. It would be better to pick a different race with less strict finish time.
The reason for this, race director choose time requirements based on what the cities/counties permitting can allow. If you can't finish under those time, not only can it be risky when the race support is pulled, but you risk getting picked up with the swag bus, unable to finish.
But don't worry, there are several races around the country who are quite generous with their finisher time requirements.

#2 Consider the distance

Make sure the distance is something you can train adequetly and properly for. So often runners will select race and realize later that its coming up too soon and they aren't going to be able to train for it in time. Or they will select a distance that is much greater than anything they have done before, not realizing the time commitments it may take to train for it.
Running a race you are not trained properly for, can cause injury or even in rare cases believe it or not death. So when you select a race, think about it before you enter and make sure it is something you have ample time to train correctly for.

#3 What race/finisher items are important to you

For many runners just finishing a race is reward enough. But if you are a runner who likes a medal to add to the accomplishment. Double check what the finishers will receive ahead of time. If you want a race shirt, check to see if it is a participant shirt or finisher shirt. So you will know ahead of time if the money you are putting towards the race is going to be getting you what you want.

#4 Check the course support information

Although you may not have to worry about this for shorter distances. For longer distances, Marathon/Ultra's etc. its definitely something to look into.
Most street races have course support and plenty of water stops. If you are running a trail race, or ultra's, some relay races and even occasionally some of the smaller races you may have to supply your own course support at times. Double check these things ahead of time, so you know if they have what you are looking for, or if you need to prepare in advance to bring your own.

#5 Consider the drinks in the race

For a shorter race like a 5k or 10k it likely won't matter as much. But if you are planning on running a distance race and you enjoy drinking sports drinks. Check the race website ahead of time and see what they will be serving. If it's not something you're used to. It's definitely something to consider as you train, so you can begin using them in your training runs. Why is this important? Well in the chance the new drink doesn't mix with your stomach well, you will have less risk of spending more time in a port-o-pottie than running in the race.

#6 Look at the start of the race, and consider transportation.

Some races may have you meet somewhere and then bus you to the start. Others allow you to park at the start or finish. If you are alone, or planning to take yourself looking at this information before you register is a plus. Especially if you want to pick a hotel that you can walk to the start or finish. Or so you can plan for a ride after a race to take you back to your car.

#7 Check the races estimated weather

While most runners including myself would tell you to train for any condition when you are race training. Not everyone understands what a difference heat, humidity, cold can do to you if you are not accustom to running in it.  While you don't need to be discouraged entering a race that is different than you are used to. Knowing a head of time what to plan for temperature/weather wise will help you better prepare, especially for destination races.



#8 Check the course

If you are a runner who trains mostly at lower elevations on flat surfaces. Before you enter a race in a new area it is a good idea to check the course map and elevation charts.  Not to discourage you, but so you can better prepare and know in advance if you need to take a few weekend trips to get some additional hill work in.

#9 Check the day requirements to pick up your bib info

Some races have race day packet pick up, others do not.  If you are traveling in, it is a great idea to check in advance and make sure you can plan you trip to arrive in time to pick up your bib info especially if you must be there the day before.  If you know you won't be there at the expo times, knowing in advance what you can to do either have someone else pick up your bib for you, or even if possible you can have it mailed to you so you won't have to worry about it come race day.

#10 Check what items you can or cannot run with

A lot of races are starting to ban things like headphones for runners own safety. Other races have very strict no littering policy's along the courses. Some races ban certain items just for the safety of others, and may not allow backpacks, larger water containers, selfie sticks, glass items props, strollers, bikes, pets.  Because of the safety of other's you'd be surprised at a lot of the banned items in races, especially the larger ones.
Additionally, some races let you know ahead of time if you veer off the course, or decide to run on the wrong side of the road, you will be immediately pulled from the course. They do these things for a reason, it's best to respect the requirements and go with the rules for yours and others safety!


Races can be a lot of fun. But the fact is, not every race is right for every runner.  If you want to have the best experience possible, check into these and any other thing that is important to you before you pay the registration for a race and discover later that it wasn't what you thought it was going to be.

What is one thing you check on when you go to register for a race?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marathons Worth Traveling For - Mount Desert Island Marathon

I love life, adventure and being active and I love to see the beautiful places this world has for us. Which is why Tuesday's are Travel Tuesdays on my blog. Each week I showcase a different fun adventure to take, incredible place to see or do. You can view all my previous travel posts HERE.

This year I am running a new series on Marathon's that are definitely worth traveling for, once or twice each month I will introduce you to a new fun destination race. Today is the 2nd post in this series that I plan on continuing throughout 2016.

You can check out my 1st race spotlighted to travel for, here: St. George Marathon

While there are many different distances, for this series I am focusing specifically on the Marathon, 26.2. Because for myself that is the only distance I travel around to run and it's easier to write on what you know!





This week, I'd like to introduce to you a smaller marathon located in Bar Harbor Maine.
Mount Desert Island Marathon, this one was actually one of the first races I ran when I started my 50 states goal. It is such an incredible marathon, with stunning fall scenery. I have so many great things I can say about this race and the location. So let's just get right to it.




10 Reasons this race is worth traveling for:


* Small town race. You're on an island after all! They really come out with the organization and race support, it's one of the best run small town races I have done.

* It's New England in the fall, the colors on the tree's. Bright yellows, blood reds, coral oranges and the shades between them. Throw the brilliant colors up against the tall dark green pine tree's and it will literally take your breath away.



* Fabulous coastal views, it's not just beautiful foliage you will get to see. You'll be running right along the Somes Sound, which is the only fjord on the east coast.

* This race is in October, which means cooler temps to run in. Cooler temps, generally for most mean faster times!



* This is a point to point course. While it does have a half marathon, and a marathon relay. If you are running the marathon itself, you won't even realize the other races exist. Their main focus is on the marathon, at least that is how they made me feel.  The half starts at the mid point, so you are never fighting for the road with the runners and different distances. (I am sure they create the same feeling for the half too:)




* Runners World named it one of the most scenic marathons and best overall marathons. I really have to agree with them on this choice, its gorgeous each and every one of the 26.2 miles!




* You are on the same island as Acadia National Park which is absolutely amazing with all that fall foliage that time of year. There are so many beautiful places to drive around and see. Not to mention you can hike up to Cadillac Mountain, the first place in America that the sun touches each day. You'll definitely want to spend a few extra days in the area!




* Need more to do after the race? How about whale watching, fresh lobster dinners, scenic drives. Or just take one of the tour boats and go out and see the island from a different perspective. Or go out for a walk on one of the old historic carriage roads.




* It's challenging and hilly. Let's face it, many runners especially marathon runners enjoy a challenging course. Runners train hard for a marathon, they enjoy pushing themselves over different terrains.  But if you're like me, you may not even even notice the hills much, because your mind is on the scenery around you instead.


* The course itself takes you everywhere from starting in a small town. Through the mountains, forests, into historic neighborhoods and area's, along the coast and then finishing up again in yet another small town. You'll literally never get bored from the sights!



Those are just a few of my reasons why I have selected this Marathon as one worth traveling for! But trust me there are many, many more. But to find those out, you'll just have to run it yourself!


Enjoy what you just read, want to see more? 
Love it if you'd follow me via Facebook Here
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Or add my blog to your blog feed and keep up with me weekly!




So tell me, have you run this marathon before?
If you have, what was your favorite thing about this race?
Or is this possibly one on your race bucket list?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sometimes Decision Making Can Be the Worst!

Hope everyone had a great past week! I had a great time, super busy but got together with so many different friends and family members throughout the week, it was a lot of fun.

Participating in the 3 blog hops I am hosting this month is seriously taking up a lot of my time. Don't get me wrong I love it. But being the host and participating, equals 1-2 hours of blogging
each day to stay caught up.

 (Yes, it's hard to find those hours, which means lots of multi-tasking and late nights.)

But I am enjoying the new friends I am meeting through it, and several others have commented on how much they are enjoying it which makes it all worth it.

One thing I love about the friends I have in my life, sometimes we don't even have to do anything. We can just sit and chat and have more fun discussing random thoughts that pop through our minds. It can go on for hours like that, we have such fun times together.
Do you have friends like that in your life? I hope so!



My sister and I even headed out to a midnight movie showing on Thursday, we haven't done that in years.
We went and saw The Choice, which was a really cute romantic comedy.
Have you seen it?
I think it may go down as my favorite Nicholas Sparks book/movie remake so far.

We each grabbed a large popcorn, so we'd have some for the movie and then the best part, take the rest home and have it for breakfast.  Yes, I know that is not very healthy, but morning after movie popcorn is just the best!



This week, I didn't get much reading in, but in-between projects I did pick up a couple of books. I did read The Revolution of Ivy. It wasn't as good as the first book, but the first book was so good I think I just had my hopes set too high.

I also finished Aprilyn Pikes Earthrise, the final book in the Earthbound series. Loved the series, but something was different about this book and the writing, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Other than I did catch a few editing mistakes, which is uncommon in her books.



The air has finally cleared out here, and it is beautiful outside. I can see my beautiful mountains out all my windows again, YAY
We had several storms move through last week quickly, that pushed all the junk out. Not sure how long it will last, but hopefully we keep getting mini storms to keep it out!

This week I am going to make attempts to get out each morning and get myself back into a normal running routine again and begin the slow build back up in mileage, since running outdoors is pretty much the only way I like to do it!

As for the new career search.
The problem is, I feel like I am 20 again. I seriously can't decide on anything. That and I've been my own boss for so many years that I kinda cringe at having a boss, I know terrible... (Note to self, delete that line before I let any new potential employer see it, LOL)

One day I am thinking okay, maybe I will go this direction. As soon as the idea set's in, I have already talked myself out of it, and I am back to square one.
I am incredibly picky, I want a job I will enjoy that won't feel like work, but pays well.

So at this point, your guess on what I decide is as good as mine, LOL
I've also been dabbling with the idea of looking into affording to go back to school and get another degree in something else???
I'll figure it all out eventually, maybe being picky and waiting is good too, maybe the perfect career just hasn't opened up just yet... We shall see!

Those a few tidbits of my past week. 
I am linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin today for their Weekly Wrap!




So tell me, how has your week gone?
Any fun news to share?





Thursday, February 18, 2016

10 Things you need to know about trail running

As you talk to runners you will find many different types. Two of them are called Trail Runners or Road Runners. Occasionally, the Road Runner decides that they want to give trail running a try.

And why not, where else can you be right with nature. Enjoy new sights, peaceful surroundings, the chance to see wildlife and most importantly the lack of people and city sounds!

So today, for those who may want to take up trail running, I give you 10 things to know about trail running.



RELAX & DON'T GET LOST

Trail running is a lot of fun, even if it is much harder physically than street running. No matter the distance you pick, you should relax and enjoy it. Take time to look around the area, see the beauty and peacefulness of the surroundings your in.
Motivate yourself by the fact that you are running with nature, and there is new beauty with every turn.
However, with that said, be careful not to get lost. Don't get so distracted that you veer off onto the less beaten path. Or if they instructed you to take the next fork in the path to the left, don't take the right because you are not paying attention.

IGNORE SETTING A SPECIFIC PACE

Generally if you're a street runner, you may concentrate on pace, and keep track of how fast you are going, check your tracker often. Well with trail running, you need to chuck those ideas out, and don't worry about pace at all. Trail running has rough surfaces that you have to move around obstacle like. Sometimes you may even have to slow to a walk to get past a few. If you worry about pace, you could distract yourself too much, or worse ruin the best part of trail running, which is enjoying the run and being with nature.

Can you get faster? Of course, the more you train trail running the faster you will be able to get. Your body will strengthen to be able to take all the impact and twists and pounding without injury.

PREPAREDNESS

Depending on the race, you should prepare in advance. If you are not sure what, usually the race website will tell you, or you can ask others who have run it in the past what they would recommend.

Don't sign up for a marathon or Ultra trail run and think that only one pair of shoes is all you will need, don't dismiss if they tell you to plan on having your own race support for fuel and water.

You're also running where the wild things are:) So make sure you show respect, if you are in bear country, yes wear that annoying bell while you run (you'll forget about it eventually.) If you aren't used to wild life, learn in advance what you may or may run into, and what you need to if you do have a run in with one.



SOLO RUNNING

While I don't recommend trail running alone. Possibly you are on a trail that is frequented by runners in the mornings and you feel safe running alone. Regardless of how safe you feel, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. If something doesn't feel right, listen to the inner prompting and turn around.

TIP: Many runners can be found carrying a gun on them in the back country trails. However I STRONGLY urge you if you are going to do this, not only to get a concealed weapons permit or the permitting your state allows. But learn how to use it, take it out to a rage every few weeks and get comfortable with it, so you can be safe. Take a gun class and learn how to take it apart and put it back together again, learn safety tips and tricks from experts so in the rare instance you ever have to use it, you know what to do.
If you're not comfortable with a gun, remember there is always Mace/Pepper Spray and Combo's of them!

RACES

Trail run races, are not always exact. If you freak out about having to add a few extra miles to your run, especially in a longer distance race, you may hate trail running.

Of course race directors try to do their best, but newer trail races you can plan on adding more. But if you trained well for the race, this shouldn't matter to you, it should excite you! Oh, and when you are finished don't go around complaining that your GPS shows you ran 29 miles instead of 26.2. Very few will care, and they'll just be thinking you need to toughen up! They also may roll their eyes if you tell them you feel deserving of an Ultra finisher medal instead of the marathon medal.



TRAIN

Trail running uses different muscles than street running. It also requires building up strength in your ankles, hips and quads from the impact of the terrain and the shifting your body does as you approach obstacles. You'll be far better equip if you enter a race, not to mention reduce the risk of injury significantly, if you train on trails first. They don't have to be the ones you are running, because all trails can teach the body and train it better in different ways and help you out!

BUY TRAIL SHOES

They don't just make them different for the heck of it. Trail shoes will handle the terrain and last much longer than street running shoes. Can you wear street shoes trail running? Sure, but if it's something you are training for or planning to do more of you should definitely look into getting a good trail running shoe and leave the other pair for the streets.

ACCESSORIES

Yup, trail running you get to bring accessories. Bug repellent, hat, sunglasses (not just for the sun, but to protect your eyes if branches flip on your face.) Fluids, you're not going to want to drink from the creek. Trail running and trail races opposed to street races, are the one time where it isn't a bad idea to bring your own fluids or snacks.



ITS OKAY TO USE YOUR ARMS

You may hit a steep hill, and you'll need those arms to help pull you up. Or maybe you'll need them to pull yourself up an embankment.
You'll also use them to help swing your body around as you clear tree's or rocks. So ya, use those arms, and don't feel that because your running you can't use your arms to help you out when needed.

KNOW THE RULES ON THE TRAIL

If you enjoy bringing man's best friend with you on your runs, check ahead of time to make sure they are pet friendly traile. Not all trails are, and you can get fined heavily if you are caught bringing a dog on a trail where they are banned.

Additionally, not all trails welcome runners. Ya, I am not even kidding on this. Due to the fact that some runners are rude and leave their garbage and don't show respect. So double check that runners are allowed, and most importantly make sure you stay on the trail and don't cross into private property (even if a bathroom break is needed.)



Trail running can be a lot of fun. I've done several trail marathons and trail runs in my life and they are an entirely different experience than a trail race.

I won't go to say one is better than the other, both street running and trail running have their pro's and con's. But if you are looking for a new adventure, a better way to build your strength and become a stronger runner. Not to mention, a way to enjoy a run in beautiful peaceful nature surroundings, then maybe trail running is something you'd like to try one day.


Are you a trail runner? What other things would you add to the list?
Or is trail running on your bucket list to try eventually?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

9 Time Management Tips for Bloggers, Creating and Writing Blog Post Edition

Blogging takes time, quite a bit of time. If you aren't managing your time correctly, you'll find you can easily waste a lot of it. There are several aspects of blogging and truthfully there are things you can do time management wise in each category. But for today, I'd like to tackle a specific category, time management for post writing.



Keep a notepad or something handy to jot down ideas wherever you go:

Most of your best idea's for blog posts will likely come to you at random times. Which is why if you keep a notepad or something with you anytime an idea pops into your mind, you'll be able to put it down and think more on it when you have more time.  It will also help, so you don't forget that great idea.

If I don't have my book handy, I almost always have my cell phone, so I also have a folder on it where I text myself ideas.



Brainstorm before you sit to write: 

If you wait to brainstorm when you are sitting down to write your posts, you're already not doing so well in blogging time management. In fact, you are probably adding double the time to it.

If you keep an idea book, as your working throughout your days brainstorm on an idea or two ahead of time that you may want to write about later that day when you sit down to do so.
If you are worried about forgetting, make a quick note in your notebook to help you remember part of your brainstorm process.

I actually find the best time to plan my posts and what I'd eventually like to put together in them, are the times when I am doing other things like out on a run, driving or waiting in line at the grocery store and sometimes even when chatting with friends. The times where I can let my thoughts roam freely when they are not forced.



Writing your posts: 

I hear all the time people say they get writers block, or can't think of things to write about when they have time to write posts.  Well that's usually because they don't do the first two steps above. If you're constantly waiting to do the entire creative process when you sit down to write a post that may have only taken 30-60 minutes to write could easily take double or triple that.

Instead when you sit down to write, just write! Look in your notebook, and pick the idea that has been most recently on your mind and write straight non-stop typing.
I do a 20 minute non-stop writing process.  I've heard other bloggers do 30-45 minutes a day. Where you just sit down and write, let the fingers flow as you put down everything you previously brainstormed on a subject.



Daily writing:

While blogging is a lot of fun, it's also a lot of work. Which is why I highly recommend writing 4-5 days a week 20-30 minutes at each sitting.
These are times you can put together previous brainstorm ideas, and begin formulating them, saving them as drafts to finish or continue another time. This also helps you form better blogging/writing habits, putting yourself on a schedule.
It allows you to enjoy the first love of bloggers, which is to create/write!



Editing process:

9 times out of 10 I will sit down and freely write posts, and then go back and edit them a few days to a few weeks later.
This does a lot of things. Gives you time to walk away from your posts and look at them with a fresh set of eyes.
It becomes easier to delete things, that originally you may have thought were important to include, but after going back and looking at it, realize a lot of things are unnecessary. (This is especially helpful for those of us who tend to be long winded.)

This really doesn't have to take much time, the better you get at it, you will find you can easily go in and fully edit a post ready to publish in 10 minutes or less.



Picture editing:

Personally, I prefer to have at least one image for each post. But at times 3-6 depending on the type of post. Editing and creating images take time, sometimes as much time as it takes to write post.
I suggest doing image/picture editing/creating once a week.

Go back and pick 3-5 posts that are in the finishing stages or ready for the editing stage, and create images for them all at once.

I find that if it's all done on a specific day, it's easier to get it all done and surprisingly ends up working out faster than if I only edited pictures one at a time for each post.



Don't be a blog snob:

If all your doing is promoting your own material all the time, then your not going to get as far as you would if you'd spend a few minutes each day helping promote others blogs as well.  Blogging is a lot of give and take. If you constantly only take, you're going to run out of room to grow. But if you're giving when you can, others will help you take your blog to the next level. Plus, that is the fun part about blogging!



Accept guest bloggers:

If your running out of time to blog, then why not accept guest bloggers.  As long as they have a writing style that you feel your viewers would like. Why not allow a few guest bloggers to help you out at different times of the year to give yourself a little break in the writing process.





A few mistakes that add unnecessary time:

1. Ignore the numbers, don't check your stats often. Once a month is more than enough. Blogging is different than a regular website. Your return for your hard work can take a month or show to actually start giving you accurate numbers.

2. If you don't have anything to say, then yes it's okay to not say it.  Don't post to post. Not only is it a waste of your time, but likely if you didn't have a plan, it's a waste of your viewers time.  Remember to respect your viewers, and they will respect you!

3. Say NO, if you are overwhelmed and a company or program you are affiliated with wants you to run a post for them. If you don't have time, just say no.  They aren't going to dump you, and they will respect that you don't have the time to put something quality together.


Those are my tips.

Granted if you are a "day in the life" blogger these likely may not help you much. Because generally if you are a day in the life blogger your writing and posting as your day goes.
However, if you are a content writer, scheduler, planner then some of these tips may help you.


I find when I do steps 1-2, when I sit down to write I've never had a time where the words didn't just flow. I never run out of content, in fact I have far more than I'll probably ever be able to use. Sometimes you may write something and end up saving it as a draft to use months down the road. Nothing wrong with that, in fact once you get into blogging and begin networking with others daily, you'll find steps 1-2 will save you hours of time each week!


Those are my time management tips for creating posts.  
What are yours?




Monday, February 15, 2016

My Least Favorite Time Of The Year

Hope everyone had a fabulous past week, and weekend!  Did anyone watch the U.S. Olympic Trials? Wasn't it an awesome race!!

Totally have to shout out to the Utah runners in the men's who took 3rd, 4th and 8th. We also had three women from Utah running as well, who did quite amazing too.

I pretty much guessed the first two spots in the men's race, by mile 15 and I guessed the women's top three correctly sooner around mile 8. I like to be right, but the great thing about the marathon is its a race that can always bring the unexpected. Truthfully, that is the best part about the distance!


This week I became active again, with both PT and aerobic and it was hard. My back pains are not being kind, not having cartilage to cushion my movements is tough. But I am, getting it used to movement again. Learning what I can and can't to.

I'd be lying if I said it isn't driving me crazy.
I can right now only run about 1/2 mile before the pain kicks in. Walking hurts worse than running, which I guess is good. I'd rather just run anyway. But right now I am getting back into shape, so walking is inevitable.
I'll get through it, I am just going through the part where my body has to learn the type of pain I may have the rest of my life and its a process.

Since I am only running such short distance, it's easy to just use the good ol' treadmill.



This is the last time I will talk about my back pain for a while I promise, I don't like sounding like a broken record. So until I've made great progress or figured things out, I'll quit chatting about it.

On the plus side, I am going to start a more aggressive diet of natural foods with anti-inflammatory in them, I don't know if it will really help. But it's definitely worth trying!  Good news is, aside from fish, I like most all other foods that have them in it.

DO YOU TEXT TOO MUCH TOO?

My sisters and I realized just how much we text, and how we may actually be able to outdo even teenagers.
One night, one of my sisters left to change her babies diaper and when she came back all she could say was.
"52 texts people, 52..." "I was only gone a few minutes, 52 people....."
LOL

It wasn't until after I went to bed that night and looked back, between 10pm and 1am, we had sent/received over 800 texts.
Yup, apparently we have a problem, but a good  one since we are having fun!

I did chill with my sister and my niece and nephew one day. Helped her hold things while she painted and created her cute Ladybug Valentines box.
Then we relaxed the night away in the hot tub.

When I left that night, we'd been in a long time I was hot, and my dry clothes got wet. So just climbed in the my car in a towel and as I was driving home I realized I was the only one in 28 degree weather driving in a swimsuit, LOL I got a funny look at one of the lights I stopped at. Ha ha.

MY LEAST FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR

This is my least favorite time of the year.  Normally, I love living in Utah, and believe it's one of the most beautiful states, except for a few weeks in the winter, like now.

In Utah especially down in the valleys, we have this thing that happens in the winter called an Inversion.
In short, it's when cold air gets trapped beneath warm air and it becomes gross, very yucky air to breath. In other words, all the pollutants get trapped down in the air we breath.

I hear different stories of how bad it is, some say walking out in it for a few minutes is the equivalent of smoking a cigarette.
It gets hard to breath at times, and its very unsafe to workout outdoors.

I know a few still do it, but you can seriously cause health problems if your out breathing it too long so most of us are smart and stay indoors or go up in the mountains away from it and into the fresh air to work out.

I personally don't need anyone telling me how bad it is. I can see how bad it is.
See the above picture I took last week with the mountains?  Right below it is the exact same picture, and where are the mountains? Hidden by the hazy inversion air, that is where.

No it wasn't a cloudy day. In fact just the opposite , despite how it looks. It was a completely clear, not a cloud in the sky day.
I consider myself slightly more lucky, I live on the higher end of the valley, than those who live lower down in the worst part of it.

We actually need a big storm or some good winds to come through, until it does we are stuck with yuck air. It warmed up a little Sunday we got a little rain, so it might help it a little for a day or two, but the yucky air will be trapped in again until a big storm comes through. Yucky huh!



Had lunch with a good friend, it's always great to sit around and have some fun girl chat. As I was driving to her house, I noticed her neighbor, they designed the UP house to live in from Disney's movie Up. Too funny. It's cute though, kinda! It would be cuter if there wasn't an inversion going on. Believe it or not behind the house are gorgeous huge mountains, which obviously can't be seen.



This week I got a little reading in, not quite as much as the past few weeks. Thanks to being able to get out a bit more and begin getting active again.
I read Bloodlines by Richelle Mead which I guess she's famous for Vampire Academy (which I have not read.) But I actually really liked this book.
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini was one of those books that hooked me at the beginning, almost lost me in the middle, but made me glad I kept reading because it brought me back by the end that I couldn't wait to read what happens next.

So well, that is a few little bits of my past week.

I am linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin today for their Weekly Wrap!



Tell me something you did last week? 
Do you text way too much at times too?
Or do you have neighbors who build crazy fun homes based on Disney movies too?






Friday, February 12, 2016

Get to know Runaway Bridal Planner, Random Style

Funny things happen when I blog, like today for instance. A month ago, I had written a post specifically for my Spotlight day in this hop, and 11pm last night I decided it was a little too much on the duller side and realized that there was no way I was going to run it. At least not today, and definitely not as a way to introduce myself to some of you who may be stopping by for one of the first times and deciding if you want to keep stopping by in the future.

Instead I'm breaking one of my biggest blogging rules, which is creating a post just a short hour before I am going to run it. I'm also breaking my second biggest rule, which is running a post I wrote late at night, with no chance of correcting any grammar mistakes in time before others read it. I'm already cringing to myself, but hey gut instinct, gotta go with that right!




Anyhow, I realized sometimes whether you are a new reader to a blog, or a long time follower. The best way to get to know someone can really be just completely totally random things. Especially since this particular Awesome Bloggers hop, has such a fun variety of people/bloggers participating.

Maybe random is better to increase the odds that something about me and my blog could grab a new followers interest? Well that, or I am making a mistake... Which wouldn't be the first time. ha ha.

So whether this is a huge mistake, or not. 
Allow me to share 10 totally random facts about me.

1 I hate chocolate. I won't touch it. You could leave a pile of all the greatest candy bars on my counter and if you came back a month later, they'd still be there untouched.
As a kid, I used to save all my Halloween chocolate when I was younger and bribe all my siblings with it for months to do all my chores.


2 Thanks to being recently forced to take it easy and not work, for an issue I am having with my back. I have literally just in the past 6 weeks have read 15 novels and over 5,800 pages. Yup, if you can't tell, I love to read. But this is quite a bit excessive even for me!



3 Summer weekends, if I am not working a wedding I usually spend every free weekend up camping.
Additionally, even if I am working a week. I will go camping for the entire week, and just commute to work and drive back up in the mountains after. It helps to have access to my parents 5th wheel for showering purposes, LOL


4 My fun sisters and I get in crazy weird moods and the last three times we decided to dare each other to go skinny dipping they were all in places most would consider far to public. Apparently if there is no risk there is no purpose to do it?? That or we are just nuts... Probably a bit of both!
Not that we have ever been caught (that we are aware), but apparently we can't just go up to a lake in the middle of the night like normal people. 

One of my sisters husbands is a cop, and he shakes his head each time, because he does not want to have to explain to his co-workers the thought process of his wife and her sisters should we ever be caught. ha ha  (I just made it sound like we do this all the time, which is not true. The dares only come up once or twice a year.)


5 I'm a wedding decorator. I have owned my own business for over 7 years and I absolutely love it. I don't feel at all like my days spent doing it are a job at all. It's hard work, but I have been fortunate to have a job that feels more like a fun hobby.


6 I have a group of really great friends who I am lucky enough to say. Without question, and at the drop of a hat, if one needs the other we are there and willing to do whatever it takes no matter how long it takes, no matter what it is to be there for each other.
On that same note, I have a family that is exactly the same way. I am truly lucky!





7 My dad started teaching me to drive at age 12. We had a deal, 15 minutes of driving for every A. 10 minutes for each B and 5 minutes for each C. 
Because we did a lot of camping and 4 wheeling. The majority of all that saved up driving time was done up in the mountains on at times not the best roads. 

Because of that, I learned at an early age how to 4 wheel on various terrains and get myself out of a jams without tipping a truck over or tearing up the undercarriage. Which is why I have my dad to thank when guys give me a double, triple and jaw dropping looks when I'm up on the trails doing stuff even they can't.


8 I am a thrill seeker, and have been since as long as I can remember. I do live by the words that I will try ALMOST anything at least once. If I am being honest, I am really lucky that some of the stunts I have pulled haven't gotten me killed.

In fact, one of my dumbest things I have ever done was in college. I lied to some cute guys that I knew how to rock climb, so I could go with. I didn't think twice about jumping off and rappelling down over 100 feet on sandstone cliffs at midnight to be surprised at the bottom only to have to do a free climb (no ropes) back up in what they call a chimney climb. I copied what they did, nearly exactly and they never suspected it was my first time, and then invited me each time they went after. I think I was lucky it was dark and I never could see the ground and only had the moon to show me how big of trouble I was in each slow foot I took climbing back up.


9 I love to run, and I prefer longer distances. My body doesn't really do well in distances under 6 miles, even if it's a mind thing. Not that I am some great distance runner, because I'm not. But my best miles are once I get up around 10, and the ones between that and 17. 
Another odd running fact, more often than not, I will run a second half of a marathon faster than the first half. I've been trying to work on that for years, eventually I will get this corrected, haha..


10 I like to learn random facts about anything and everything. So that no matter who I am in conversation with, no matter what part of the world they live in, or what their culture is. I can jump right in, and carry on a conversation about something I only know a spec about and pretend I know loads about and just learn more as the conversations go. This has been especially useful in job interviews, when on planes, and when traveling and visiting new places around the country.  My sisters, call that just me being a know it all, LOL They are probably right!



So there you have it, 10 totally completely random facts, that popped into my mind as I typed. I'm hoping most of these are ones I have not shared before on my blog, for those of you who have followed me for quite sometime.

A quick note for those paying their first visit: If you noticed on my ABOUT PAGE I blog about different things on different days. You can find a full schedule there on when I share things about me, travel posts, running posts and other things. I do try to keep specific days for certain things so viewers and followers will know what to expect if they are only interested in certain things I do on my blog.


If you like my blog an want to follow me, I would love it if you'd hit one of my share buttons and follow me in your favorite way to follow a blogger.  You can find my follow tools floating around in the right hand corner of my blog, no matter where on the page you are at.
Oh, and just FYI I do follow back!

So, now that you've learned probably more than you ever cared to about me. Why don't you tell me something totally random about you!

Also, I use the Disqus comment system. It's fairly simple to use, but if you have not signed up with a Disqus account will you please leave me a link to your blog so I can come pay you a visit too.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

7 Winter Running Safety Tips You Should Follow

It's winter, depending on where you live it may be colder than normal. The conditions may be icy, wet and different than your used to running on.  So today, I wanted to share some winter running safety tips that I use.



Run Against Traffic

Sidewalks may be covered in snow and ice, and may not be able to be traveled on safely, which forces more runners to have to run on the road itself. If you find yourself running on a road, you should always make sure you are running against traffic. So you can see what is coming at you, in case you need to move quickly to get out of the way.

Wear Bright Colors

A lot of people think darker colors in the winter are better because they help you stand out a little against the snow, that isn't exactly true. Winter drivers are a little snow blind, and sometimes can't see the person in black. But brighter and yes I am talking some neon's (I know the shame, LOL) can actually be far more beneficial to you to be seen by a driver than darker colors.

Avoid Running in the Dark on the Streets

Let's face it, night running is dangerous any time of year. But in the winter it is even more dangerous especially if the roads are icy. Drivers are putting all their concentration on the roads to be safe, they may not notice you as they may normally in better conditions.  So if you have to run at night, invest in vests with lights, or reflective gear and avoid the streets and stick to the sidewalks and pay attention at all road crossings. Or even better, head to a local track.

Avoid listening to music

If you are running on the street, or if you are going to be coming to intersections and will be crossing them. You need to be more focused. Why? Well, winter drivers are the most unsafe drivers out there. Not only because they refuse to hang up on their cell phones. But there attention is focused on avoiding sliding off roads or the other road conditions.
Your the one that needs to be the most alert. You should assume ever driver can't see you, and isn't paying attention. If you are lost in thought in your music, you could miss stopping or getting out of the way from a distracted driver who has their concentration elsewhere.
Instead save the music for area's that require less of your attention.

Make Sure You Do Get Some Outdoor Running In

Why is this a category? Well I will tell you. Many runners training in the winter are going to be running early spring road races.  If you spend the entire winter indoors, your muscles will weaken, you'll be less conditioned from the softer surfaces and more accident prone when you get out onto a harder surface. Especially if you don't ease or gradually get back into the harder surfaces.
So if you want to safely train through the winter and you have spring races coming up. You should definitely be running outdoors at least once or twice each week to keep your body properly conditioned.


Wear ID

You've probably seen the ID tags, you can put them on your shoe. A necklace or bracelet. No matter which you get, you should have one on you. It should have your name, your address, an emergency contact number or two. Any allergies or serious medical conditions you have. Some also put their blood type on it.
Because if something happens to you, you pass out, you get hit or seriously injured where you can't respond. If you have no ID on you, it could take emergency personal a very long time to figure out who you are and contact your family


Avoid Too Much Conversation With Strangers

You may find this tip strange, and may be wondering why I am suggesting it on winter running safety. It's true, this is a year round tip.
But winter is a different time, you find someone new on the road or trail, you're colder your mind isn't quite as quick to think and sharp. Things start to slip and before you know it, you may have just told a stranger too much about yourself.
That you run on that trail/road all the time alone, that you run in the area every Monday etc... Passing out too much information even to a stranger that seems friendly enough can be extremely risky. If you don't know them, don't give them any personal information, and definitely do not share your running schedule with them.
Additionally, getting in conversation with the wrong person and you could find yourself having a hard time getting away from someone that later you find makes you uncomfortable.
I share this, because I made this mistake earlier this year, and let me tell ya it was a very uncomfortable situation.


Those are a few of my tips, what are some of yours?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

5 Ways to Network with Other Bloggers and Grow Your Blog

If you're interested in growing your blog. Eventually you may to learn some of the best ways to do it.
For some, these tips may seem redundant. But there are many bloggers out there, who have had blogs for years and still wonder why they can't get people to come and visit their blogs.




The saying, if you build it, they will come. Doesn't always ring true in blogging. The truth is, if you create it, and put the hard work into building it up, then they might come!

So today, I want to share 5 ways you can network with other bloggers, and help grow your blog.

Find other blogs that interest you and comment on them.

I am not talking about a quick "Great Post" type of comment. I am talking a thoughtful, show them you actually took the time to read their post type of comment. Ask them questions in your comment, show them your interested and engaged in what they have to say.

Some bloggers do try to visit every single blogger who visit their blog. However, not all do. Larger and huge blogs likely will never return your comment. Even smaller bloggers, may not be interested in growing their blog and networking. If you have left 4-5 comments on different posts on their blog, and you don't see they have ever reciprocated. Chances are they may never. So you can either just read their blog for the fun of it, or move onto a blogger who is interested in networking.

Pin Images, and Share their post on social media.

This is one thing that almost every blogger would love others to know and understand. If you like something a blogger writes, why would you not want to share it with others?
You would want someone else to do the same for you too, correct?
So if you have that extra 10 seconds or less to share someones blog post, then do it!
They will notice, and if you do it for them, they are going to be far more likely to do the same for you! After a while, they will take notice of you, you may even find a new blog follower and friend yourself from it too.

Join a Weekly Link up or a Blog Hop.

A great way to get to know other bloggers who are interested in networking is to join a link up and actually participate in it.
I wrote a post on blog link up etiquette HERE that you should definitely read if you aren't sure what they are or how to participate in them.

When you participate in link ups correctly, you will not only be visiting other blogs, but they will be visiting yours. At the end of one day, you may already have found a few more interesting blogs to follow yourself, and likely someone else is thinking the same thing about yours too.



Interact with them on social media.

Sometimes getting to know a blogger just on their blog alone can be a little difficult. Try following them on their social media channels (they might even do the same and follow you back.) But interact with them. Drop them a "like" or if you have the time, leave them a quick comment on their social mention or pictures.

It helps if you use your social media that is related to your blog. If possible you want to have your social media links match your blog name, or as close as possible.  This way, other bloggers know who you are. Eventually, they will pick up that you care what they have to say or post and your chances of their networking back with you will increase significantly.

Put together your own blog tribe.

What is a blog tribe? A group of like minded bloggers that have common interests and common goals. You work together occasionally on projects, run ideas off each other. As well as a group that is interested in helping each other out collaborating efforts to grow your blogs.

It will take a while to get to this point. Because you won't want to pick bloggers at random. Likely these will be bloggers you have followed, and also follow you and you've noticed great friendships developed between you and them. It could be something officially between you all, or something unsaid. But knowing that you have a small group that you can turn to any time you need help with something, or need to push out posts or projects your working on. Those are the types of things, besides wonderfully great friendships that can come out of finding a blog tribe. Not only that, but if your hoping to have a successful blog, a blog tribe really could be consider essential to finding success.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Books, Zombies and a Great Week

Hope you all had a wonderful past week!
While I still ended up taking it pretty easy, I did get up and around much more than last week.

I finished the drug treatment, and the good news is, it has lessened the pain in my lower back considerably and almost all the swelling has gone down. I think I even lost an inch off my waist just from the reduced swelling, LOL I'll take it!

I am starting to get used to what "manageable" levels of pain are. I'm to young to be on drugs and pain killers daily, so going forward I will only be taking them as needed during really bad times.

I'm also adjusting my mental game.
If I believe I will be in pain, I likely will. But if I believe the pain is leaving, or not that bad, then it won't be. I know not every day will play that way, but I really am trying to adjust my thoughts to the positive, because I think that will help the most!

I taught the community beginning blogging class on Wednesday, and I have to say I think it went pretty good. There was double the turnout that I thought there would be. Those who attended seemed to enjoy it, they asked a lot of questions and a few told me it was very beneficial for them.
Several asked if I would be doing another, and a few more contacted the library when they couldn't attend to see if I would come back to do more. Not sure if more will happen yet, but I am glad it was enjoyed!

I didn't get quite as much reading in this week as I did the previous week.  But enjoyed tackling 3 books that have been on my "to read" list for quite a while.

Defy by Sara B Larson -This is one of those girl power type fantasy's where the heroine has to hide her true identity, so she can save the Hero. I really liked it!

Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch - This one really surprised me, definitely not what I was expecting. It's future world in America where rich politicians pass laws where it is okay to breed the perfect human clones. Young girls, with talents who are then sold as pets to entertain the rich. I wanted to re-write a few parts of it, but over all I enjoyed it!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins - I think Kaiden, the male character in the book might have just nailed my 4th place spot for best book boyfriend. Yup, pretty sure he did! But I am a sucker for the perfect bad boy. If you like a little Heaven and Hell mixed together with a little romance that keeps you guessing the entire way through, ya this is it. I could hardly put it down. I can't wait to get my hands on book 2.

FYI, if you're wonder who make my top 3 lists of best book boyfriends. Prince Maxon from The Selection Series - Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -  Bishop Lattimer from The Book of Ivy


It's actually been a beautiful week, we got a bit more snow several days this past week. I know this isn't the best shot, because I took it as I was leaving my neighborhood from inside the car and the football stadium lights are in the way. But I really am lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful mountain peaks! When I do go out for a run, this is my 5 mile loop, when I run up to the base of these mountains and back.
I'll have to remember to take a picture on the next clear sunset day we have.  The mountains around me turn a beautiful pink in the evenings, it's quite stunning actually!


I took one of my nieces and two of my nephews out for a date night, and we went and saw the Peanuts movie. I bought a large popcorn and my 3 year old nephew pounded that down like no other, I kept looking at him wondering where he was putting it all. I think he ate over half of it on his own, LOL But ya know, you go to the movies you gotta have popcorn right!


I took myself to the new Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie.
Don't laugh, well okay you can laugh. I actually really enjoyed the movie. Ya, it was Elizabeth and her sisters kicking some serious zombie butt, they definitely aren't the weak girls that need saving. But then you've got Mr. Darcy who of course dismisses her until he witness her impressive fighting skills. The zombies are a different than most zombies, they are actually sophisticated and intelligent enough to know what is going on. But ya, they are pretty gross. So ya, you've got those two worlds mixed, and it's lovely, gross and funny at the same time. So yup, I enjoyed a little movie morning out by myself on Friday!

That was my week. I am still itching to get out and be more active. This week, if the snow holds back, I plan on a little running daily outdoors.
I have an opportunity to go snowboarding in a few weeks, I haven't been in so many years. I am not sure if it is the wisest thing to do with my back right now, but then again if I don't fall, I would probably be fine. Of course, I've put on a little weight, so I am not even sure if my boarding snow pants will even still fit, if they don't that may be the deciding factor, LOL But ya, I am just itching to get out for a little snow adventure, if you can't tell!

I want to welcome any of the Grow Your Blog Participants, who are visiting my blog and reading a post for their first time. Looking forward to getting to know many of you better!

I am linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin today for their Weekly Wrap!








Did you see the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie? Or is it something you could careless to see?
Have you read any good books lately?