Thursday, June 28, 2018

30 x 30 Update

Hi everyone!  Today I'm dropping by to share my annual update on my 30x30 list.  I started this list when I turned 25, and now I'm over halfway (I turn 28 today).  Time is just flying by, and here is an update to how I'm doing.

Buy a house 4/1/16

Break 2 hours in the half marathon 10/11/15 (first time)

Break 4 hours in the full marathon

Complete a triathlon (sprint counts!) - Signed up for one in August! :)

Get Married 5/6/16

Splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime meal

Bungee Jump or Sky Dive 10/17/15

Visit Falling Water

Go to all the east-coast MLB stadiums (Remaining stadiums: Marlins Park, Tropicana Field, Turner Field)

Cook a fancy 5-course meal

Plant a garden 

Learn how to ski

Stay at a BnB in Vermont

Learn how to belay 11/6/15

Have a spa day

See a Broadway musical

Ride a jet-ski 7/4/15

Stay at a really fancy house on AirBnB Seashell House in Isla Mujeres

Attend a professional tennis match Cincinnati Open 

Run a race for each birthday
  1. 2015: Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 miler (43:17)
  2. 2016: Butler Road Race 5 Miler (44:03) 
  3. 2017Butler Road Race 5 Miler (44:26)
  4. 2018: Kona Quarter Marathon (1:02:53)
Get PMP-certified (No longer work in project management, so taking this off the list!)

See the Northern Lights

Attend a TED conference

Read 25 books off the Time All-Time Novel list
  1. 1984
  2. Atonement
  3. Animal Farm
  4. The Great Gatsby
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird
  6. Native Son
  7. Watchmen
  8. White Noise
  9. Ubik
  10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  11. Deliverance
  12. Grapes of Wrath
  13. Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret

Try Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail

Learn how to sew and make something

Be in a member of a studio audience for an event or show

So, I have 18 items crossed off, 4 in the works, and plans to cross off a few more pretty soon!  I still have a ways to go, but I'm excited about all of the remaining items.  How fun is it going to be to see the Northern Lights?!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 4

Ok everyone- it's week four of training and I think I'm officially obsessed with biking.  This week, I managed to go three times, and I wish that I could go even more!  It's such a fun activity to do in the summer, and it's becoming more thrilling and enjoyable to me rather than just scary.  I guess that's a good thing to feel at this point in training, right?

Here's how my week of training went, which included my first brick workout, a new distance record for biking, and my first experience with biking in traffic!


12.5 mile bike
This was such a great bike ride!  I can really tell the difference in my comfort level now, because I was able to work on taking my hands off the handles (something I was terrified to do just last week), and worked on speeding through turns instead of braking.  Plus- it was my longest bike ride ever, and is the distance of my race (12 miles)

3.25 mile run
For some reason, Dan thought it would be fun to go running after the bike ride, so this was my first ever "brick" workout!  We ended up doing a little over a 5k.  It was crazy how my legs felt like jello when I started out...definitely have to work on this transition.


BarreAmped Express / 45 minutes
I had a wine club event at the Pittsburgh Winery after work, so I decided to sneak in a barre workout on my way there.  The class was really good and had me shaking the whole time!  During the ab portion, we put the little barre balls under our butts and did ab exercises while balancing on it.  It made it a lot harder but also more fun!  I was also happy to have Alexa doing this workout with me, so it was all around a great night.


Rest Day!
I was actually planning on swimming and made my way to the gym, but it started to storm as soon as I got there and the pool was closed for the day.  Bummer!! 


7 mile run
I met up with Steff after work to go for a run around the lake. It was super warm and sunny out, but not much humidity, so it actually felt really great out.


Rest Day!


1050 yard swim
I made it out to the pool in the afternoon to go for a 20 minute swim.  I was lucky to have an entire lane to myself, and had a great swim.  It's crazy to me how I'm able to swim this far non-stop now when a few months ago I could barely even do 100 yards with breaks at each end!

6.2 mile bike
Dan and I met up with my friend Amanda and her boyfriend Daniel for my first street riding experience!  We started out at the Millvale Riverfront Park, and made our way to Allegheny City Brewing.  It was such a fun ride and wasn't scary at all to go on the road.  Plus, the beers at ACB made the trip well worth it!


2.5 mile run
I had a few things to do in the morning, so I was happy to have an excuse to wake up early and get in a run before it got too hot out.  Even at 7AM, it was already sunny and humid, so I took this run nice and easy!  I got to see a deer super up close and personal, and spotted a few cute bunnies and ducklings as well.

12 mile bike
Once again, Dan and I decided to bike for beer!  We were meeting up with my family for a late lunch at the Hofbrauhaus, and decided to park about six miles away in Homestead.  There's a trail that runs that entire distance (and is the start of the GAP trail!) so it was a great ride!  Plus, refueling with amazing German beer is always a good idea.

Do you like to bike commute?
What were your workouts like this week?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Top Five Friday : Blue Skies

Well guys, it looks like it's going to be one of those perfect weekends!  There is not a cloud in the forecast, and I'm planning on taking full advantage of this weather.  I see a lot of bike rides, SUPing, dog walks, and outdoor runs in my future!  Maybe even a summery cocktail on the hammock?  Who knows!  I hope you all enjoy your weekend, and hopefully there is sun in your forecast as well.

Here are my favorites from the week!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five


Ariana Grande - No Tears Left to Cry
I think that I found my official summer jam!  I absolutely LOVE this song and blast it when it comes on the radio.  Speaking of Ariana Grande- have you guys been following her whirlwind relationship with the guy from SNL?  $100,000 engagement ring after a few weeks of dating.  Celebrities..they're just like us.


Need Suggestions!
Unfortunately, this week I don't have any new podcasts to recommend!  I feel like I'm in a rut with them and don't really feel excited to listen to new episodes lately.  If you have a show you really like to listen to, please let me know in the comments!


Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun
I'm one of those people that doesn't really naturally tan.  For one, I usually burn immediately, and for another I slather myself is sunscreen constantly to avoid said burn.  So, for the last few years, I've been using various sunless tan products to make myself look a bit more lively in the summer.  I noticed a friend with a gorgeous tan at a party the other day, and she told me it came from this product!  I immediately bought it, and am in love with it.  You get an immediate color pay off, but it looks very natural, and doesn't leave your skin feeling sticky or smelling bad.  Plus- you can buy it at the drugstore so it won't kill your summer budget.


First Garden!
For the first time, Dan and I planted a garden at our house!  For the past few years, we kept visiting nurseries and home improvement stores, but ended up going home empty handed every time.  This year, Dan did some research about different plants, and we finally picked some up.  We ended up getting a few perennials (azaelea and hydrangea) along with some annuals (inferno, impatien).  Along with a truckload of mulch, our front yard got a lot more curb appeal and I love it.

Do you take TV breaks during summer?
Who do you pick to win the French Open??

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 3

Week three is now in the books for triathlon training!  With the big race only 2 short months away, it's starting to feel real. While I'm starting to feel more confident in my ability to actually finish the race, I'm still anxious about trying something new.  Training has been a ton of fun, though, so if nothing else- I've enjoyed the experience!

Here's a look at how my third week of training went-


1500 yard swim
This was my first swim where my average pace was under 2:00/100 yard (I snuck right under at 1:58!).  My plan for this was to swim easy for 10:00, then alternate 100 yards swimming hard with 100 yards easy for 800 total yards, then cool down until I hit 30:00.


Strength / 1 hour
I took a class at Beat Fitness, which is a boot camp/circuit-style class.  There were four different stations, and each station had two exercises.  We would do three 3:00 sets with a 30 second rest in between each set, for a total of 12 sets.  The exercises were all really fun and hit different muscle groups- dumbbell row, deficit lunge, bar row, weighted club swings, ski erg/rower, sit-ups, toe touches, and lateral lunges.  Another interesting aspect of the class was that we did the exercises barefoot, which made it even more challenging!  I really liked the class and the upbeat atmosphere, so I'll definitely be back.


 5 mile bike
After work, Dan and I went over to North Park for a loop around the lake.  This was my first time doing a full lap around, which I've always been a bit afraid of because at one point, there's only a small pedestrian lane and bikers ride out on the road.  Plus, it gets a bit hilly which means I'll be going faster!  Dan gave me a challenge of not braking on the downhills, but I ended up surprising myself by feeling completely comfortable the whole time!  My overall pace was a lot faster than usual, so I was really proud of myself for this ride.


Rest Day!


1000 yard swimming
This swim felt really great!  I went after work, and the entire pool was pretty much empty.  I was able to swim non stop and added in a few sprints in the middle.


10 mile run
I woke up nice and early to run with my run squad at the soon-to-open Pro Bike and Run at North Park!  There was an run organized by the store with lots of different course options, and we chose to do a lake loop with Irwin Road added on.  We had a mix of road and trail, and had a great run as always!  The miles always fly by when I run with those girls.

2 hour hike
After the run, Dan and Selma wanted to get outside too, so we went to recently re-opened Fall Run Park.  It was my first time there, and I loved it!  The trail was beautifully maintained, and the creek/waterfall was gorgeous.  I'll definitely be back. 



1.5 hour SUP
Dan's dad was visiting for the weekend, so we all went down to the lake for kayaking and SUPing.  It was an overcast, slightly chilly day, so we were pretty much the only ones on the water.  It was a lot of fun!

What new experiences have you tried lately?
Are you a water person?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reading Lately #4

Lately I've been going through a reading phase.  This usually happens when I'm taking the bus a lot, because it's the best way to pass time (or at least feels more productive to me than watching Netflix).  It seems like I'll go through one of these phases, add a bunch of library books to my Overdrive queue, then have them all become available at the same time, with only 2 weeks to get them read.  Does that happen to anyone else?

So, today I wanted to share what I've been reading lately!  With so many books on my list (and being kind of a slow reader), I've adopted a system of only reading books that I like through the first chapter.  If it's not catching my attention, I move on to the next one on my list.  With that being said, you'll notice that I mostly only have good things to say about all of the books.  If you're looking for good summer reads, I would highly recommend all of these (except maybe Deliverance...a bit dark). 

Deliverance - James Dickey

This was one of the books on the Times Best Novels list, and I honestly didn't know much about it.  Funny enough, right after I finished, I started seeing lots of references to the novel.  This was a pretty easy read, with a few graphic and intense scenes.  It kind of scares me away from ever wanting to go on a kayaking trip though!  

Flat Broke with Two Goats - Jennifer McGaha

One of my favorite genres to read is autobiographies, and this one is always in the "most popular" section of my library's Overdrive.  Without knowing anything about it, I just checked it out and jumped right in.  The story follows a husband and wife who lost everything because of some bad financial decisions, and end up living in a cabin in the woods and pick up two goats (among various other farm animals).  The book is a very easy read with lots of interesting stories, and I love how the author sprinkles in recipes at the end of each chapter to tie together what she just talked about.

Almost Missed You - Jessica Strawser

I actually wanted to read this last year, after reading about it on Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Summer Reading Guide.  The premise drew me in right away- a seemingly perfect couple go on a vacation, where the husband ends up kidnapping their child and the wife has no idea what secrets he's hiding.  The story jumps around timelines and narrators, but it's really easy to follow (thanks to a relatively short list of characters).  While the ending isn't jaw-dropping and the novel doesn't have too many twists, it's an easy read and fun book.

The Selection - Kiera Cass

I found out about this book from the podcast by Young House Love, and when it was described as the Royal Wedding meets The Bachelor I had to check it out.  The story follows a society years in the future after America becomes a new land with royalty and a new caste system.  The royal family puts a call out for young women to enter "The Selection" to get the chance to marry the prince.  We follow a feisty main character who is caught in a love triangle.  Since this is a series, we are left with a major cliff hanger at the end, and I'm eager anticipating my turn with the book!

Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

Another great autobiography!  This one follows comedian Trevor Noah's childhood living in South Africa during apartheid.  Since his mom was black and his dad was white (which was illegal), he was-as the title suggests-born a crime.  The stories he tells are both horrifying and hilarious at the same time, and he takes on such an intense subject matter in a light-hearted way.  This is SUCH a great read, and I highly suggest it.  Plus- the book is being made in to a movie, and Trevor is working on a second book!

You - Caroline Kepnes

Honestly, this book is REALLY creepy and made me feel uncomfortable pretty much the entire time.  We follow Joe, who meets an aspiring writer at the book store where he works.  What starts out as a simple Google of her name turns into stalking and there are deadly consequences.  The book has so many insane moments that made me question encounters that I've had in my life, but I still couldn't put it down.  Apparently the book is now being turned into a movie, which I think would be interesting to see how some of the narrative details can translate to screen.

What should I read next?
What is your favorite genre? 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Triathlon Training : Week 2

Week two of training is officially in the books!  I hit a few milestones this week during training, in both my longest swim and longest bike ride.  Since I don't have much experience with either, pretty much every week is going to be a new PR!  It's been so much fun training so far, and I love the mixture of all the different activities.  

Here's a look at how my week of workouts went:


4 mile bike
I went out for a quick nighttime bike ride with Dan.  It was great and nothing too exciting happened!  We did get to see a pretty sunset, though :)



Rest Day!



4 mile run
This was such a hot and horrible run!  I was definitely struggling the entire time and took a few walk breaks.  Still adjusting to that heat, but I'm trying to remember how awful the winter was. That helps me not complain too much about the heat.

1425 yard swim
My plan was to swim for 30:00, which is my longest swim ever!  Every 500 yards I would take a quick break to walk a lap of the pool, but otherwise I swam nonstop the entire time.  I was really proud of myself for this swim! 


Rest Day!


4.11 mile run
If you ever want to run early in the morning- make plans with friends!  I planned out a run with Jessie earlier in the week, and by the time I woke up on Friday morning the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run.  But, I couldn't ditch her, so I complained a bit and got out there.  The weather was pretty cool but humid, but by the end we were both happy to have a run out of the way.  If it was up to me, I would have gone back to sleep and then probably skipped my run later in the day!  Yay for friends!


8 mile run
Once again I got out of bed early for a run in the humidity by making plans with friends.  I ran with Jessie and Maddie for 8 miles along the river (and ran into speedy Annette and Crystal!).  It was great to catch up with both of them and enjoy all the hungover people in their boats getting ready for the Kenny Chesney concert.


10 mile bike
This was my first double digit ride, and it was so much fun!  I basically did the same route as my run (plus two miles), and it was a perfect day out.  I practiced standing up while pedaling up hills and riding through rough terrain.  I had my mom and Dan along with me too, so it was a great ride all around.

1 hour Barre
In the evening (after doing some gardening) I went to a local studio for a barre restore class.  We did about 45 minutes of barre work (working the core, arms, butt, and legs in different segments) then 15 minutes of stretching.  It was a great way to end the week!

Do you like to bike ride?
Do you run with friends?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Top Five Friday : Change is Coming

It's the weekend!  I love short weeks, and this one is even shorter because I'm at home today to get new windows installed.  Yay for home ownership!  This was kind of a stressful week with some big projects going on at work and a vendor meeting that I was in charge of, but luckily everything went pretty well.  Now I'm looking forward to spending more time outside, and hopefully getting in some gardening, and overall relaxation.

Have a great weekend!

(also, just about missed this, but HAPPY JUNE!!)

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five


Road Trip Playlists
I'm a big fan of all of the pre-made playlists on both Amazon Music and Spotify, and lately I've been listening to a lot of their "road trip" playlists.  They're also perfect for listening to during work or on a run, and I don't even have to worry about selecting a good mix!  One of my favorites is Classic Rock Road Trip, which has over an hour of fast and slow rock songs. 


The Habitat
I recently found out about this podcast, which follows a group of astronauts who are living in a controlled habitat in Hawaii to prepare for life on Mars.  The group has to stay inside for a year, and the podcast is a set of recordings that they make.  There's drama (as to be expected) as well as a bit of romance.  The episodes are really easy to listen to and each one has a different theme about life in the Habitat.


I don't typically blow dry my hair, especially in the summer, so I'm always looking for good air dry products to use.  In this humidity, my hair can get pretty frizzy and messy, so I was hoping that this product would help out.  The verdict- I love it!  Not only does it help get knots out easier and make it easier to brush, but it somehow makes my hair look sleek and freshly washed when it's dry.  There's also a light scent when you use it that also smells clean, so overall I'm a fan.   


Spring/Summer Break
This summer, Dan and I decided to take a break from shows and have a little Netflix/Hulu sabbatical.  There are some outdoor projects that we want to work on, some trips planned, and want to spend more time outside in general.  So- no show updates for me for a while!


French Open
One week into the second Slam of the year and there's already so much drama and action! Unfortunately I haven't been able to watch any matches live (time zone / work problems) but hopefully I can catch some this weekend.  On the women's side, I'm pulling for Halep (and of course Serena, even if she doesn't seem fully back to her regular level yet.  But WOW that superhero outfit and comeback yesterday!!).  For men, it's not as exciting to follow since it seems destined for Nadal to win again (or at least make his way with no problem to the finals).  That's the beauty of tennis though- you never know what'll happen!

Do you take TV breaks during summer?
Who do you pick to win the French Open??