Coffee and Me: A Beautiful Friendship

I love coffee. It’s no secret. I will gladly admit my devotion to the strong, caffeinated brew. And, I think it’s safe to say, coffee loves me back. It warms my insides; fills me with energy and life; and comforts me on cold, rainy days or just when I’m feeling down. We’re buds, coffee and I.

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(Instagram)

Most people accept our relationship, and are supportive even. There’s only one who doesn’t approve of my relationship with coffee – my bank account. Yep, my bank account cringes every time coffee and I meet up. Now, I really like my bank account too, and I don’t want to do anything to cause it to turn on me.

For awhile, I was consistently making coffee at home and buying a latte at a coffee shop was a once or twice a week treat. Then I got a Dutch Brothers gift card….and after that, a Starbucks gift card. I’m not one of those people who gets a gift card and thinks, “Oh, that’s great,” and just goes about their life as normal, driving through a coffee shop occasionally and remembering, “Oh ya, I have a gift card!” No, I get a gift card and go, “Must. Spend. Now!” And drive through a coffee shop on the way to work each day of the week. So, now I’m in the habit of driving through to get coffee almost everyday and I’m out of gift cards. *tear* Reality has settled in – I can’t afford to keep buying coffee on the way to work, but neither am I satisfied by my plain Keurig coffee from home anymore.

That’s why I came up with this solution: making my own coffee at home! I still get to spend time with my coffee and my bank account isn’t quite as miffed when I do. Yesterday, I tried making a latte at home with my Keurig, some Almond Milk, and some flavored syrup I had leftover from my days as a barista.

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I brewed 8oz. of regular coffee in my Keurig, heated up 1/3 cup of Almond Milk in the microwave, and mixed those with 1 T sugar free vanilla syrup. Then I sprinkled the top with cinnamon. Ta da! Homemade latte! I used an electronic little stir-y  stick (I’m pretty sure that’s not the technical term) to make the top foamy because, duh, that’s the best part of a latte. It was a tad on the sweet side so I’d use a little less syrup next time, but overall it was really good!

I still didn’t get the satisfaction of driving through a coffee shop which, weirdly, is part of the appeal, but I’m just gonna need to get over that. My latte tasted just as good as anything I would buy AND I got a few extra minutes at home before I had to leave for work since I wouldn’t be driving through anywhere on my way there. Win!

Anybody else have good at-home latte recipes?? I have some pumpkin syrup, so I’ll play around with that as well, but I’d love some more suggestions!

A Sunny Saturday Run

It was another warm, sunny February day today, so I took the opportunity to run outside again. I realllllllly debated taking a rest day. I was sore and just felt like being lazy. But nice days are so rare in Oregon this time of year, so I knew I had to take advantage of the great weather.

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It’s so much fun to run when the sun’s shining and I’m not freezing my backside off. I ended up taking bit longer route than yesterday; not much, just an extra half mile. I started out the first mile pretty steady, then when I heard my Map My Fitness app tell me that my pace was over 12 minutes I decided that this was ridiculous..I’m done being slow. So for my second mile, I decided to do some intervals.

When I signed up for the Shamrock 15k, I asked some friends for advice about how to increase my speed and they all suggested either intervals or running hills. That’s why, when I got fed up with my sloth-like pace, I decided to run some intervals. I started out at my normal pace, then chose a landmark ahead of me (a mailbox, stop sign, bush, etc), something that was a few yards away. I told myself I’d run as fast as I can to that landmark. When I got there, I slowed to a jog for about the same distance, then walked a little farther. Once I had caught my breath a bit, I picked another landmark and did it all again. I figured that with the walking breaks in there, I probably wasn’t going to finish my second mile all that much faster than my first. However, when I finished my second mile, Map My Fitness called out “10.41,” about a minute and a half faster than my first mile. Woo! Ok, so it actually works. I decided to keep it up for mile 3 and finished that one in just over 10 minutes. Score! I felt really good after that, like if I actually put some effort in to my runs I could, in fact, get faster. Go figure! 

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I felt pretty accomplished when I finished. And to think, I got out of bed thinking, “Eh, maybe I’ll just take the day off.” Even when you don’t feel like it, get out there and do something active. You’ll never regret it – you might even have a great run!

Race Swag Motivates Me To Run

Yesterday, I got my t-shirt and race bib for the Shamrock Run!!

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It’s super soft and comfy! But it’s also a reminder that I have to run 9+ miles in less than a month. Yikes! So I got up this morning and ran a little over 2 1/2 miles.

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Fortunately, it wasn’t raining… A rarity for Oregon this time of year. Actually, it was beautiful out. I didn’t even have to wear a jacket! I did layer long sleeves under my t-shirt, though. It is still February, after all.

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At first, it was brutal. I got a side cramp less than 1/4 mile in and my feet felt like lead, but once I got going it felt really good. I probably could have gone father, but my route is only 2 1/2 miles and all my options to keep going we’re uphill. Um, no thanks. Plus, last night I went to yoga and a cardio dance class with a friend, so I was already pretty sore.

It felt good to end with a little energy left. After I got home, I spent a good amount of time stretching and used a large jar candle to roll out my calves (ya do watcha gotta do). I also used the very last of my mocha Drink Click to make a protein shake. *tear*

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I need to work up my mileage quite a bit, so I’ll probably run again tomorrow and take a longer route.
Later in the day, Lucy and I shared a snack. It’s very rare that she sits on my lap without biting or wanting to play, so when she does I pretty much let her do whatever she wants…including lick all over my grapes. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat the rest.

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(Instagram)

Gotta go now! I’m headed to a late lunch/early dinner (linner??) with my mama at Chipotle! Mmm!

Money Can’t Buy Happiness…But It Can Buy Nail Polish….and Clothes

Yesterday, I got to team teach a Group Centergy class with one of my favorite instructors! It was really fun…and kinda intimidating. I mean, it’s totally different doing the poses on stage as opposed to doing them as a part of the class. And being the one guiding everyone else through the moves?? Talk about pressure! But I had fun and it’ll get easier as I do it more often. I’ll be teaching again on Monday, so I’ll be a pro after that! Totally kidding!

Before I could teach on Wednesday, I had to buy a green workout shirt because green is the Group Centergy color. So I went to my fave place to buy workout clothing, TJ Maxx. Seriously, this place has cute clothes and awesome deals! I’ve bought almost every pair of workout pants I own there. I got this cute Nike tank for half off the original price.

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Then, since I was in the athletic section anyway, I decided to look around at all the fitness gadgets. I found this running wrist band and couldn’t leave it! I’ve been wanting something like this to hold my gels, ID, some cash, and whatever else when I run races. I usually just try to stuff as much into my iPod arm band as I can, but it doesn’t really stay put and then I’m running with my arm squished next to my body to hold everything in and it’s really awkward. I liked this wrist band because it’s light and it won’t feel bulky on my wrist, but it’s big enough to hold at least 1 gel and my ID, which is mainly what I was looking for.

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I thought I was being good and would leave the store without buying anything else, but I got to the register and a display of Essie nail polishes caught my eye. Seriously?? Why do they put stuff by the register?? They should know I have no self control! I found a super cute pink polish, which I HAD to buy because I don’t have one (as I realized on Valentine’s Day). Then I saw this really cute orange-y polish and it was pouring down rain outside and the color looked so sunny and summery, so I bought it too. Impulse shopping at it’s finest (or worst??).

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The orange is “Saturday Disco Fever” and the pink is called “The Girls Are Out.” The pink kinda has some shimmer to it as well, which makes it extra awesome! I decided to try it before the orange as kind of a post-Valentine’s celebration since I didn’t have pink for V-Day. 

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The verdict? Impulse purchase success!!

It was kinda nice to spontaneously treat myself. I don’t do it often, as a matter of fact, I really try not to buy things I don’t need. But every once and awhile it’s just a nice little mood booster to get something fun.

Mondays and A New Adventure

Happy Monday, lovelies!

This is what I felt like this morning….

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(Source)

I had a brief period of post-workout high after teaching Cardio30 and taking Group Centergy this morning. It’s Launch Week at our gym, so it’s always exciting to go to class and have new music and workout routines. Plus it’s a holiday, so the classes were pretty full this AM, which always gets me pumped! 

Now that my post-workout high has worn off, I’m back to sleepy…not so much sleepy, more just tired. You know those weekends where you need a weekend after your weekend?? That’s what this past weekend was like. I worked on Saturday and I had a training Sunday that started at 9 and didn’t get over ’til 6:30pm…and I had to drive an hour to get to it and an hour to get home. Once I got home, I had to quick review my Cardio30 launch so that I’d be ready to teach it in the morning. It wasn’t a bad weekend. Everything I was doing was good stuff – I enjoy my job, the training was great, and I really do love practicing Cardio30. It just wasn’t a very restful weekend, ya know? So I’ll stop complaining. I’ve had my afternoon coffee and I’m sure it’ll kick in any minute now! 

So, this training I was at all day yesterday, I’m sure y’all were just dying to know what it was for…ok, just pretend that you were. I recently signed up to volunteer for an after-school program for young girls called Girls on the Run. It’s a program that aims to teach young girls how to live healthy, confident, fun lives by incorporating life lessons with running. At the end of the 10-week program, the girls celebrate by running a 10k.

The Girls on the Run mission is:

We believe that every girl can embrace who she is,

can define who she wants to be,

can rise to any challenge,

can change the world.

(Source)

I’m super excited to be coaching a team at one of our local elementary schools. I’ll be coaching 3rd to 5th grade girls twice a week for 10 weeks. Brandon and I were talking a few weeks ago about what we contribute to the world and about living for more than just ourselves. I thought back to a flier I had seen at work for this program and decided that was my cue to volunteer some of my time to make a difference. I had seen the flier – it was pink, so of course it caught my attention – and thought, “hmm, that sounds like something I’d like to do,” but never signed up to help out. Our talk was just the kick in the pants I needed to follow through. 

I love the heart behind Girls on the Run – to help young girls build confidence, recognize their self worth, learn valuable life skills, and build a bond through running. Running…all types of athletics, really…was never something I saw myself as good at, but through pushing myself to try something new I learned, and continue to learn, that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. It’s a lesson I wish I would have learned earlier in life, so I’m excited to help young girls realize that for themselves. Plus, the season ends with a 5k – fun t-shirts, post-run BBQ, awards, cheering family members – I’m all about the excitement that comes from running a race, and I can’t wait to see the girls experience that as well.

 

Valentine’s Day!!

This is my post-Valentine’s Day …post. I wrote an update about the snow storm yesterday and I did it from my phone…which is 10 times more complicated than just posting from a computer…so I really wasn’t up for posting twice yesterday. Plus, by writing my Valentine’s Day update today, y’all get two days of me!! You’re welcome.

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To start off the day, I made Brandon breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, and strawberries. Mmm!! Oh, and coffee, of course! I was gonna get all cutesy and shape the bacon into hearts like I saw on Pinterest but, let’s be honest, the boy didn’t care what shape his bacon was in as long as he got to eat it! I did take the time to cut one strawberry into a heart…just for a picture..then we polished off our Valentine’s breakfast while, answering emails and checking Facebook. So romantic, I know.

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(Instagram)

Brandon had to work yesterday and I babysat for a coworker for a few hours, but we met back up in the evening for dinner. We were going to go to this nice Italian restaurant that we had heard great things about, but they didn’t take reservations and when we got there the wait was 2 hours. 2 HOURS! Um, no. So we went to a nice pizza place instead. We went for a short walk (it was cold!). Then came home to snuggle in and watch Red 2. What??? “Red” is in the title, so I count it as a Valentine’s movie. 

I got some beautiful flowers from my sweet hubby. It’s kinda funny, ’cause earlier that day I had been thinking, “I don’t know if Brandon’s gonna get me flowers, but if he does I kinda hope he doesn’t get me roses.” Don’t get me wrong, I love roses! But I feel like on Valentine’s Day they are overpriced and just not worth it. I mean, I like other flowers just as much as roses, so why pay your first born child for a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day when I’d be just as happy with any other flower?? And this bouquet has roses in it..just little pink ones. So, basically what I’m saying is he did good!

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When we were out to dinner, we realized this was our 6th Valentine’s Day together. We reminisced a bit about our first… Brandon had so kindly kicked his brother and roommate out of their house so that we could be alone. He made me a yummy dinner..I don’t remember what, but I’m sure it was good..and I think there was cheesecake for dessert. He even borrowed some nice china and a lace table cloth from a neighbor. After dinner, we went for a drive down to a river here in town to just cuddle and enjoy the night together. Since the house we were at for dinner wasn’t really either of our houses, Brandon packed up everything he had used to make dinner and put it in a box in his car and off we went. 

When we got to the park where the river was, we parked. We wanted to get in the back seat so we could snuggle, so Brandon took the box of dinner fixings out of the car and sat it down next to the car while we climbed into the backseat….Now I totally remember what he made for dinner!! Some sort of chicken cooked in wine. Now we didn’t know that this park closed at midnight, so it’s about 12:30am and we’re just sitting there in the backseat talking, when two policemen come up and knock on the window. We were parked past closing time, so they came to check on us…then they saw the box with the opened bottle of wine sitting outside our car and decided they needed to see our IDs. Craaaaap! Brandon explained that we weren’t aware of the curfew and that he had cooked with the wine earlier and they were nice enough to let us go with no fuss, but it was still a really awkward ending to our first Valentine’s Day together. On the plus side, we now have a good story to reminisce about.

Fortunately, this Valentine’s Day was less eventful. :p I hope everyone else had a wonderful day filled with love..whether single, married, dating…we can all take the day to celebrate the people in our lives that make it so rich and fulfilling. I hope that we won’t wait for a holiday to do that, but will continue expressing love to those closest to us all year long!

Practice Makes Perfect!

The snow finally melted!! Well, it melted a few days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting about it. After a leisurely, relaxing weekend it was a surprisingly busy week.

First, we had to walk to Brandon’s brother’s house to get my car. It was a beautiful walk! And a nice way to catch up after being apart for the weekend and get 3 miles of exercise in.

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Launch week is coming up at work next week – that means all our group exercise classes are launching new songs and workout routines. It’s basically like a holiday around our gym. This week was busy with practices.

I went to Cardio30 practice Tuesday night. With the snow and all the focus I’ve been putting on Centergy lately, I haven’t gone on a run in awhile… Which is horrible because the Shamrock Run is only a month away! So I went to the gym a little early to get a run in before practice.

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It was terrible. I felt every single inch of that mile and basically spent the whole time watching the distance on the treadmill and wishing it’d go faster. Ugh! Oh well, it just reinforced that I need to get back at it! So that will be my goal for this week. (I know, I know, I said it’d be my goal last week, but I mean it this time).

On Thursday, I had practice for Group Centergy. It was fun to get together as a team and go through our release and it made me really excited to teach it!

In between work, teaching, and practices, I’ve just been chillin’ with my cat parrot (pat? Carrot?). She’s such a nut.

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And this is what I came home to the other day…

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She hears us pull up and waits for us at the door. Melts my heart!!