Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend Snapshots: Concerts, Craft Fairs and Thirteen Point One Miles, Oh My!

I missed my deadline last week for Weekend Snapshots. I was busily preparing for the holiday boutique at my gym. Every year I have tried to think of a way to participate, and a few months ago I came up with an idea to create edits of my photography -- specifically, photos I've taken with my iPhone during a run. I created a line of homemade cards called #SeenOnMyRun. My cards were well received, so it gave me the confidence to enter another craft fair the first weekend in December. I'm also toying with the idea of creating an Etsy account.

Kauai: Where even the garden snails are stunning.
 This is a sample of one of my photo edits.
I was in LA all day yesterday for marching band championships, so all of the photos are from the prior weekend with my bestie from second grade: 2 concerts, 13.1 miles, a theme park, and an evening spent playing Cards Against Humanity. It was a very, very good weekend. 

I'm almost finished writing up my Veteran's half marathon review, but I will share my 'Flat Babydoll' (for those unfamiliar, it's race tradition to lay out your race day outfit to recreate a 'flat' version of yourself and take a photo):

Saturday night, we went to see Mr. Doll and his band cover Neil Young songs in a birthday tribute concert, Forever Young. It was an incredible concert, and my favorite Claude show to date. 

The bass player in Claude Hopper is so dreamy!
We took in a view on Sunday morning at my favorite hilltop spiritual retreat, and then drove south to spend the night with a friend from our junior high school days. It was a treat staying with her family, particularly her adorable son. We surprisingly don't have any photos of our evening together with Jax, but check out these views from the seminary:

Pretty red picnic bench under the shade of the oak tree.
Beautiful views all the way to the islands.
We also squeezed in a visit to the beach. I did mention it was an epic weekend, right??

I'm a sucker for piers and photos of piers. 

When you tryna take a selfie and your dogs
shove you out of the frame to make a cameo.
We spent Monday at Universal Studios. It was my second time at Harry Potter World, but it was equally as fabulous! The weather had been unseasonably hot throughout the month, but we lucked out small crowds and with mild 70 degree temperatures.

Dee and Marilyn Monroe deep in conversation
Jazz hands: frog choir at Harry Potter World
All the joy!
Such a pretty fountain!
We had a harrowing drive from Hollywood to Inglewood, but Dee handled it like a champ: 90 minutes to travel 24 miles. We made it to the Forum just in time to see Temple of the Dog take the stage. Totally worth it.

Chris Cornell is my favorite male vocalist. Ever. 
We got home at 2am last Tuesday morning, which made for an interesting day since I had to get up four hours later and take Boydoll to school. Dee and I packed in so much fun over the four days that it felt like a dream. She truly is one of my very favorite people. I have the honor of being her son's godmother, and I am beyond grateful for her friendship.

I'd love to hear about your favorite band! Tell me about the last band you saw in concert in the comments. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

TOL #8: Work Anniversary, The Chocodiles, And Mandatory Dance Routines

This week's edition of Thinking Out Loud is going to be a quick one. I typically write my posts 1-2 days before, but I have been slammed this week. I'm not opposed to staying up late to write, but this week I just didn't have it in me.

Chocodiles. I'm an ambassador for Fit Approach, and their latest campaign on Instagram is for Whistle Pet Tracker. The prompts this week have me posting five consecutive days of dog photos, which got me thinking about how rich my life is for having dogs. They are frequently the bright spot of my day. 

I adore our youngest dog, Cooper. We got him as a companion for our older dog almost four years ago. Cooper is talkative, bratty, and stunningly handsome.  

Cooper is the Jeremy Renner of dogs.
Speaking of Jeremy Renner, here is a photo of Hawkeye wearing a pink Hello Kitty outfit. I love this way more than I should:
Hello Hawkeye!
Riley is our older dog, and he recently celebrated his 8th birthday. He is my best friend. Riley seems to get younger as he gets older, if that makes any sense at all. Part of that is the breed...but he also has way more stamina than Cooper, who is five years younger. No matter how excited Riley is to go somewhere, suiting up into his harness is very serious business: he will always stand very quietly, like the gentleman that he is.

A post shared by Babydoll's Bloggie (@babydoll_brea) on

ElectionIt's been an interesting 48 hours, to say the least. It was also my daughter's first time voting for a president. I was proud her for driving home from college to exercise her right to vote.    

Image result for election memes
I think all candidates should be required to perform 
a dance routine, a la Napoleon Dynamite. Just saying.
Eleven. This month marks my 11th anniversary teaching cycle at the Y. I am so honored for the incredible members who join me each Tuesday and Thursday during their lunch break (or the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday at 5:45am). My spin class closest to a holiday is often a themed event with prizes for the members. There is a sense of community at the Y that I haven't found at other gyms, and I love being part of a non-profit that focuses on health and fitness. 

Crafty. My photo cards are coming along nicely. I am about a third of the way into assembling them, and I will work on spreadsheets and pricing tomorrow. I am such a nerd for this kind of stuff! The craft boutique is next week, and I may do another one depending on the success of this event. The money I earn will go towards my 2018 trip to Japan :) 
Edit of one of the photos I took of a garden snail in
Kauai last August  
Veteran's Day Half Marathon. Yup! It's that time already. I'm hoping my hip (and now my knee) will be good to go this Saturday. One thing is for sure: I am going to TEAR IT UP with my girl, Dee. She gets here tomorrow and we'll run drive over to the expo to pick up our race packets and bibs for Saturday's race. I'll have lots of great photos to share for Weekend Snapshots this Monday! Here's a photo collage I made of our races together:

How frequently do you race? Do you have any events planned in 2017?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekend Snapshots: Meetups, Chaperone Extraordinaire And My Babygirl

This weekend was Busy. That's right, people…with a capital B. It started off with a sunrise walk with my friend Smitha (I can call her that, right??) who was in town for a work conference.

Smitha writes the blog Running With SD Mom and frequently hosts fun giveaways. She hosted a Run Lites giveaway in October...and I won!
RunLites Glove (Purple Flecks) Half Length 216NF-F3
Super lightweight and cute, these handlights have such great visibility.
They're perfect for camping and morning runs!
I'm a nerd about all things fitness related, and Smitha and I started chatting online about everything from RX Bar flavors to her favorite hydration recommendation (Orange Mud brand, in case you were wondering). She is always quick to reply and has been nothing but kind. I started seeing photos of Smitha at various spots around my town in my Instagram feed. I hope I didn’t fangirl too hard and freak her out! Smitha is a fabulous social media presence and truly the nicest person. When she learned I had been having back issues -- despite being an avid marathoner -- instead of going for a run, Smitha suggested we meet anyway and go for a walk instead. Runners really do make the nicest friends!
It was such a beautiful sunrise along the waterfront.

Later that morning, I went to the chiropractor for another adjustment and physical therapy. This made a significant difference and tipped the scale in favor of being able to chaperone Boydoll's marching band competition afterall. Thanks to my portable TENS unit, I was able to work on my craft project during the bus ride, too! 

The band won all three categories in their division on Saturday: Best Overall Score, Best Auxillary (drumline), and Best Color Guard. Go Chargers! 

Uniforms and instruments
Horns and hats. 
Boydoll warming up in the bass line. #notreble

I saw this bumper sticker on a parked car, and it was too cute a photo opportunity to pass up. I'm a bunny Auntie, so I know a thing or two about the awesomeness that is this bumper sticker. #bunnyfamilyftw

I took this photo for reasons. So cute!
After a long day down south, we were pleasantly surprised to come back and find Girldoll at home from college for the night. I'm certain that I say this (every...single... time), but I am so glad my girl is an only hour away. I offered to wash and fold her laundry, and made her favorite homemade mac and cheesies for dinner. It was a toss up as to who was happier to see Girldoll, me or The Browns:
Lots of happy sneezes and wrestling. These boys love their girl!  
I was reflecting yesterday about the past few months leading up to this election, and that tomorrow will my daughter's first time votingIn 30 years, this is by far the craziest election cycle I have ever seen. It's certainly one for the history books. 

By this time tomorrow, we will have a new president. I am ready to elect a new POTUS and move forward. To quote Forrest Gump, 'That's all I have to say about that.'

Not on the actual ballot, although nothing surprises
me anymore during an election year.  
Thank you to Katie for her weekend linkup! Have you ever won a contest or any online giveaways?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thinking Out Loud #7 and Why My Back Better Get With The Program

Wassup, friends? This week, Thinking Out Loud has me thinking about my back, and other things. But mostly my back. 

Podcasts. Why am I so late to the podcast party?? This is HEAVEN. It started with listening to a podcast interview with runner and Instagram personality, Runnermarx. Currently, I am on my third podcast in a series called Manic Rambling Spiral, which features blogger Heather B. Armstrong and her co-host and freelance writer, John Bray. Heather's blog inspired me to finally start writing my own (albeit semi-regularly) seven years ago. I can't wait to listen to more!

Manic Rambling Spiral
I'm hooked on podcasts! 

Good grief. I’m writing this at the library while my son is meeting with his French tutor. I’m in agony.

Sunday night, my back started hurting. My final long run before the half marathon was on my training schedule last Monday. Everything felt like it conspired against me to get out of the house sooner, and I didn’t start running until almost 10:30am. The long and short of it was that I ran out of time; we were driving to USC for a jazz concert that afternoon. I had to get cleaned up and run a few errands before we left. I was only able to complete six of the twelve miles I was supposed to run. My back didn’t feel great while I was running...but it didn’t feel terrible, either. Once I warmed up, my back actually felt a little looser.

After teaching my spinning class on Tuesday, I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the chiropractor. He was able to make an adjustment to my lower back on the left side and after some physical therapy, I was feeling pretty good...until this morning.

I taught my spinning class Wednesday at 5:45am, and felt really good. There was a small pinch on the left and I was a little sore - but it wasn’t terrible. After I took our dogs to the off-leash park, I brought them home and decided to head back to the gym to bust out a few treadmill miles before meeting my friend for lunch. When I changed into my running shoes, pain shot up the left side of my lower back. All I could say was, ‘Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.’

So what did I end up doing? If you guessed that I acted a fool and went running anyway, you guessed right. 

You guessed right.
I had another chiropractic appointment today after my spinning class...but honestly, is there ever an convenient time for your back to go out? I’m starting to worry about allthethings: 
  • Sitting in a staff meeting tonight on hard plastic conference room chairs.
  • Teaching my spinning class.
  • Chaperoning the marching band competition, which means a bumpy school bus ride this Saturday almost three hours each way.
  • Running a half marathon in 10 days.
I can only do what I can do. If that means I have a DNF at the half marathon, then that's what has to happen. I'm hoping at a minimum I can run/walk the race because one of my best friends is coming to run the race with me. If I'm completely honest, I'm too prideful to scratch the race. #fomo

Segway. So, have you ever heard a word and seen a word...but not realized it's the same word? I was writing a post a few weeks ago, and yeah: segue looks all kinds of wrong, but I had a suspicion that segway wasn't right either. Derp.  

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, tell me some of you're favorites in the comments.