Crawling out from under the warm covers after awaking from a deep, restful sleep is bad enough, but dragging your butt out of bed to go running is like trudging to your death. Ok, maybe not THAT bad, but just thinking about pulling on my tennis shoes and puffing my way down the street makes me want to put the sheets over my head and go back to dreamland. I’ve been trying to take up the healthy habit of running and so far it’s been kind of hit or miss. This morning I actually managed to get out the door with minimal effort. Once I got a manageable (slow) pace going, I actually enjoyed pounding the pavement. I’ve discovered that listening to music while I run distracts me and I end up just walking and bobbing my heat to the beat, so this morning I left my ipod behind and focused on my running. Feeling my heart rate increase and my legs start to burn gave me a sense of accomplishment. It was as if I could actually feel my body responding, saying thanks for caring about its health and well being. Then I saw a hill looming ahead and my body changed its tune to, “Heck no! I am NOT running up that thing!” So I walked. As I rounded the corner I saw a lady out walking her dog so I broke into a jog, pasted a “good morning” smile on my face, and tried to control my desperate breathing until I passed her. That’s pretty much how my morning run went: jog on the flat surfaces, slow to a walk up the hills, and posed as an experienced runner as I came across other people. Who knows, I may even do it again tomorrow…if it’s not raining…or cold…or…


Better than Beauty

It’s a typical day in the northwest – it’s raining cats and dogs…and mice and bunnies and elephants. Seriously, it’s been overcast and pouring all day. On days like this I like to head to Borders or Barnes and Noble and spend hours browsing through the books, magazines, greeting cards, and all the fun little extras they carry like journals and planners. On one of these such trips to Barnes and Noble I ran across the cutest little book called Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm by Helen Valentine and Alice Thompson.

The book gives advice on how to engage in creative and intelligent conversation in social situations, how to dress for your figure and accessorize tastefully, and how to “be kind to atrocious people.” Better than Beauty was first published in 1938 so the illustrations are a bit old fashioned and they use words like “frock” and talk about having several different collars for your basic black dress, but the general concept of the book applies throughout all generations. As I flipped through the book and skimmed the timeless advice on graciousness, healthy eating, and first impressions I knew this was a book I needed to add to my library. In an age where women leave little to the imagination in low-cut spaghetti strap tops and people text in the checkout line it was refreshing to read tips on how to keep your bra straps discreetly out of sight and what topics are appropriate for casual conversation. If you’ve ever had to sit through a casual acquantaince’s recap of their terrible day that started with an arugment with their spouse over finances and ended with the gory details of their nightmare root canal, you’ll appreciate the practical advice to keep your personal troubles to yourself when conversing with the person next to you on the bus. I enjoy reading Better than Beauty every so often to remind myself that charm and grace never go out of style.