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Tips for Training for a Marathon

This past Sunday I ran the LA Marathon, a feat I never thought possible for myself, and one I will forever be PSYCHED about.

I wrote a blog about the experience, but I wanted to write another one for anyone who might be considering running a marathon, be it this year, next year or whenever. These are the things I learned both going into the race and on the day itself and I hope they can help you!

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1) Follow a training plan or join a group

Before I started training, the only thing I really knew about marathons was that I eventually had to run 26.2 miles. But as far as breaking it down to manageable increments, I had no idea. I didn’t want to undershoot it and leave me unprepared, or overshoot it and leave me exhausted. So, I enlisted the help of the internet and found this training plan that I followed (as well as I could) and I arrived on race day feeling very prepared.

If you are someone who has trouble getting motivated to follow a plan like this on your own, there are a ton of organizations out there that will give you a community to both encourage you and hold you accountable. If you are in the LA area, check out the LA Leggers, Students Run LA, Movement and LA Road Runners.

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2) Train hills

The LA Marathon is known for its hilly course and let me tell you: the rumors are true!  I was very grateful to have paid extra care in training with hills because I didn’t have any issue with them, but I could tell there were a bunch of runners who weren’t prepared for that element of the course and it zapped their energy.

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3) Mix up your routes

Training for a marathon is a long process. I probably did about 60 training runs, which is actually less than my training plan suggested, but was the best I could do in accordance with my schedule. After the first month or so, I had a list of routes I was familiar with and I would rotate them around. For the most part this was totally fine, but when I started having trouble with my IT Band, I read that one common cause of the tightness is running on the same side of the road too often. Since sidewalks are slanted (even if we don’t notice) we will unknowingly distribute our weight to keep ourselves balanced, which in turn can put extra strain on certain muscles. To prevent this, try to run a variety of routes and sometimes run those routes backwards, or on the opposite side of the street.

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4) Figure out your perfect training diet

There are a lot of articles out there that will tell you the “perfect” thing to eat before and after runs, and many of them contradict themselves. The reason is all of our bodies are different, and as such require different things to perform at the best of their ability. For me, I liked to eat pasta the night before a big run, a protein bar or some toast the morning of, and then a fruit smoothie with some protein powder after. I stayed away from dairy and sugar and I drank lots of water for days leading up to the run and afterward.

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5) Don’t skimp on post run care

Trust me when I say that I know the first thing you want to do after a long run is just sit on the couch. I also think it’s important to note that for the first two months of my training I did. It wasn’t until I started getting to the longer training runs that I realized that just wasn’t going to cut it. I was getting really sore and feeling worn down and frustrated. So, I did research on good post-run routines and then I stuck to them. After every run I made sure to stretch. And then I made myself a protein smoothie, drank water, took a cold shower (it’s as awful as it sounds but it seriously helps with sore muscles, I promise!) and then I relaxed on the couch. If my muscles were still sore, I iced them and took Advil.

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6) Find somewhere to put your phone

I personally do not like wearing any accessories when I run. Not even a fanny pack or those bands that strap on your arm to hold your phone. I am just so particular about the way things feel and I have never been able to find a happy medium for how tight or loose those are. SO, I wore a pair of leggings with pockets down the sides. This allowed me to keep energy gels, snacks, my phone, anything I might need during my run without having to hold them, because as I learned the hard way, anything gets heavy in your hand after an hour or so of running.

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7) Keep yourself hydrated

This was another one I learned the hard way. On my first 15-mile training run, I thought I could just go for it like I’d done on all the runs in the past, assuming that having water waiting for me at the end would be enough. It was not enough. I got so dehydrated and  I was all but convinced I was going to pass out on my walk back to my house. After that, I started planning out my runs in loops. I left a water bottle outside my front door that I would loop back to every five miles or so, and I kept energy gels in my pockets that I would take every hour and a half or so. (If you are a runner that is comfortable running with a water backpack or a water bottle this probably won’t apply to you, but it worked for me and might be something to consider.)

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8) Bring chapstick

When you are out there running for long periods of time, your lips get very dry. I constantly forgot to put on chapstick and I paid for it, both with cracked, dry lips, and sunburned lips. So, if you can, apply a bunch before your run. Also, I’d recommend bringing some with you on race day since you’re going to be out in the sun for so long. There are people who stand on the sidelines with poster boards covered in Vaseline, but I thought that was…kind of gross? It’s really a personal opinion here, if you have no qualms about germs/sweaty hands/melty Vaseline, then go ham on those poster boards. I kept some Chapstick in my pocket and took each poster I saw as a reminder to apply.

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9) Be patient

Training is a long journey. Give yourself time to improve and don’t get down on yourself if that process is slow. Just keep getting out there and keep moving forward.

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10) Listen to your body

There is a fine line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself. Aches and pains are a part of the process, but they shouldn’t all be brushed off as collateral. You know your body, so when it tells you something is wrong, pay attention.

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11) Go for it

Get pumped. Go all in. Believe you can do it and listen to the people around you who believe it too. Let that positivity fuel you. YOU CAN DO THIS!

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12) Push through the wall

In the blog I wrote about my own marathon experience, I talked about hitting the infamous “wall”. It was around mile 21 and I wholeheartedly considered quitting. My self-esteem had plummeted and my body was so tired I wanted to cry, so the thought of having to go five more miles seemed impossible. Prepare yourself for the possibility of this feeling. It is hell, but it is what makes a marathon a marathon. Take a break, breathe in and out, picture yourself at the finish line, and put encouraging words on repeat. I probably muttered, “I can do this” one hundred times after I passed the mile 21 marker, trying to muster up some inspiration from deep inside myself. And though it hurt like hell and seemed like an absolutely ridiculous idea, I started running again, and with each step I let those words sing louder than the doubt. I can do this I can do this I can do this I can do this.

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13) Be proud of yourself

Two days after I ran the marathon, I ordered myself a cake and had the bakery attach at note on top that said: “Never stop believing in yourself.”

There is no shame in being proud of yourself. There is no reason not to celebrate your own accomplishments. You are a badass and it’s most important that you know that. Once you do, you’ll be unstoppable!

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YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

You can do anything.

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If you’d like some information on marathons happening this year, check out this article.

I Ran A Damn Marathon

Two years ago, just after my 27th birthday, I made this list to give myself 30 things to strive for before I turned 30. The very last item on that list, was an ellipses-ed, maybe, kinda, but I don’t know item: Run a Marathon.

I didn’t want to commit to the task, but I also wanted to keep it in mind. I love challenging myself, and I especially love proving I can do things I never would have believed I could, so I put it on the list and let the curiosity fester.

Then, in September of last year, the curiosity bubbled over.

I did some research and I looked up training plans, and I decided to commit to this one, which would have me marathon ready in six months. I would start my training in October, making it so I finished training just before the 2019 LA Marathon.

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The training was tough, and long, and sometimes just plain frustrating, but I got through it, and this past Saturday, as I sat eating my now traditional pre-run pasta dinner, I hoped it had been enough. Then my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, and there was no more wondering, there was no more waiting, it. was. time.

The starting line was at Dodger Stadium and the start time was 6:55 a.m. So after pinning on my bib, jumping around and stretching, and hugging my family goodbye, I got in line, loaded up my playlist, got herded into the corrals, and then…the gun went off.

I was in the zone y’all.

The first mile flew by and when I saw that first mile marker, I lifted my hands up the air, confident, excited and ready. Only 25.2 more to go!

It wasn’t going to be easy. This was a marathon after all, and everyone running that race was running against something that had nothing to do with the course. For me, besides the emotional obstacles of doubt and contemplating my potential insanity and all that fun stuff, I had recently been struggling with the IT band on my right leg.

It began in the last few weeks of training, and though I’d been as diligent as I could to ice it, rest it and pray sweet blessings over it, the muscle still, for lack of a better word, twanged. And unfortunately, after that first strong mile, I felt that twang.

Okay, I thought. We’re okay. We can do this. PLEASE, LORD, HELP. We can do this.

For the next 10 miles or so, I did do it. I powered through. The uphills were tough and the downhills were worse, but I breathed and I focused and I powered through.

We can rest later, I said, talking to my IT band like a person, just keep your shit together for ONE. MORE. DAY.

Thankfully (I guess), by mile 15, the arch of my left foot started to ache, which more or less cancelled out the pain in my leg, giving me a nice, uniform discomfort that was manageable.

And so came mile 16, and then 17, 18 and 19, and just as I approached the mile marker for mile 20, I slapped my hand on a sign being held by a little boy on the sideline that said “tap here for a power up!”

Only 6.2 miles left! I thought. We do this all the time. We got this.

That’s when I hit the wall.

Not a physical, actual wall. No, the infamous, figurative marathon wall. It’s the point when your strength suddenly plummets, the trail suddenly stretches, and time suddenly slows way down.

I came around a corner to the hill that led to the mile 21 marker and I suddenly just felt done.

By this point both of my legs were aching, the bottoms of my feet felt like I was running on broken glass, and my knees were just plain tired of being knees. I stopped running for the first time and I wobbled my way up that hill, feeling as broken and discouraged as I did during my first training run for my very first 5k all those years ago.

Mile 22 wasn’t any easier.

I took turns running and walking, neither one feeling particularly easier than the other, and I stopped making eye contact with fans cheering on the sidelines. What if I can’t make it?

Just then, a text came in from a friend who was tracking my progress online: “Keep it up Kim! Almost there!” I thought briefly about curling into a ball and crying, but instead I decided to start running again. It was a slower pace than I’d kept my first 20 miles, but it was something.

I jogged and I breathed and I tried to stay focused on the songs playing in my headphones, assuming that if self confidence could take me 80% of the way, an up-tempo song with some inspiring attitude could take me the other 20.

Then I saw mile 23. And 24. And then, finally, mile 25.

“Only one mile left!!” someone on the sidelines yelled into a megaphone.

I took a deep breath and I buckled down. My entire body hurt but I didn’t care. I could f*cking do this and I was going to prove it.

I came down the last hill and saw the ocean, and then the road wrapped around and there was the finish line. It was a straight shot. A far, long, seemingly ENDLESS straight shot. But it was there, and each step got me closer, until suddenly my feet were on the final platform and the finish line was moving into my rearview.

I had done it. I RAN A DAMN MARATHON. And the moment I saw my family and they ran out from behind the sideline to give me a hug, I burst into tears.

This was undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also the most rewarding. At the end of mile 20, as I came around the corner under an overpass and looked ahead at the mile 21 marker at the top of the hill, I wanted to quit.

There’s just no way I can make it. I’m in over my head. I can’t do this.

But the moment those words crossed my mind, I was determined to shut them out. To prove them wrong. So I took this picture:

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I wanted to remember this spot. This moment when I could have let doubt and discouragement win. So that when I crossed that finish line, when I got my medal and my free banana, I could always remember that I kept going. That instead of quitting, I went 5 more miles.

We can do anything we put our mind to.

Go the extra five miles. You can do it.

200 Day Time Capsule Blog #3

Hello, fellow survivors of the future. We’ve once again made it through another 200 days, and this time (at least for me) they’ve flown by!

I was genuinely shocked when I saw an email ~*from the past*~ sitting in my inbox this past Tuesday. I had totally forgot, which made it that much more exciting.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this post, which talks about the first time capsule blog I did, and gives you information on how you can join in.

For now, let’s see what past Kim was up to back in August.

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): Wednesday August 29, 2018

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): It’s been really nice the last couple of days. The summer is slightly giving way, so the temps stay around the high 80’s during the day and then dip into the high 60’s at night which is exciting! I honestly can’t wait until fall. I’ve been looking at my sweaters longingly and I can’t wait cozy up.

Note to past Kim: You had absolutely no idea of the fall/winter that was in store you for and the rest of the country, girl. PEOPLES’ HAIR FROZE. IT WAS UNSAFE TO BREATHE OUTSIDE. Things were nuts. Soak this upcoming spring and summer IN. Who knows what’s in store next year. 

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3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): So far today all I’ve done is work. We are currently going through an audit and even though I’m not a big part of it, it still makes me nervous. I hope everything is going good! Later today, I have plans on going to the gym and running on the treadmill. And while it’s not set in stone yet, I’ve been considering picking back up on the running and trying to complete a marathon next year. It’s a daunting thought, but I really think I want to go for it. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Note to past Kim: This one actually gave me chills because we DID sign up and train for a marathon and it’s THIS SUNDAY. Can you even believe that? You are such a badass. 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): Honestly I have a couple favorites right now, so I would say it’s between: “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Billie Eilish, “Live a Little” by Fool and “Breathin'” by Ariana Grande.

Note to past Kim: Still true. Still jammin’.

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): Just yesterday I drove over to the Burbank Town Center after work to see Skate Kitchen, which I loved. It’s an indie movie that one review described as “Lady Bird with skateboards” which is honestly pretty accurate and probably part of the reason why I loved it so much. It was one of those movies that made me think, which made me want to write stories that make people think.

Note to past Kim: Keep writing those stories, girl. You’ve got good ones in you. Give them the time to come out. 

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): I texted my sister asking which celebrities I should use for the “Where’s the Groom?” game I’m putting together for my soon to be (official) cousin Amanda’s bridal shower in September. I’m already excited to read this letter in the future because it means that the wedding finally came and I can’t wait to know how fun it was.

Note to past Kim: Good news, the wedding was everything and more. My feet might still be a little sore from all the dancing we did that night.

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): To keep moving forward. I have this feeling in my gut that I’m right around the corner from something. I don’t know what it is or if it’s going to involve my personal or professional life or both, but I feel like I’m right on the cusp of something, so my goal is to keep working towards it.

Note to past Kim: Good news: We still have that feeling, meaning there’s gotta be something truly great around that corner. Bad news: We still have that feeling, meaning we haven’t come around that corner just yet, but we’re hangin’ in there!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): Cory and Amanda’s wedding. Hands down.

Note to current Cory & Amanda: Your wedding was everything and more! 🙂

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): In one part of my brain I’m worried that I’m not doing anything with my life and that I’m just wandering around with no idea where I’m supposed to be. And then the rest of my brain is worried about mostly everything else. So to be honest, my answer would be: most things. *nervous smile and shrug*

Note to past Kim: Is there a way to send a hug to your past self? Or should I just hug us now? Let’s just give hugs all around. We’re doing our best. We’re figuring it out.  

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from the last time capsule (8/29/18): I can’t think of a joke at the moment, but hey, future Kim, if you’re having a down day, go rewatch Demetri Martin’s new (though I guess it won’t be new in the future) standup special. It will make you smile, I promise.

Note to past Kim: Thanks, girl. PS- future you has gotten real comfortable talking to yourself via blog. Some might say too comfortable, but we say it’s just right. 

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You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: October 7th, 2019

Until then, have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the future!

 


 

Check out the previous 200 Day Time Capsule Blog here.

Hot Guy March Madness (Part 2)

It’s that time of year again, folks! A time when you have to tie your hair back, sharpen your pencils, and make some tough choices. Yes, it is officially March Madness season—though not the kind you might be used to.

Last year I came across this bracket created by comedian Matt Bellassai, and it quickly took my friends and I by storm. (Which you can read about here)

This year, as March approached and talks of the actual March Madness started circulating, we began to wonder if we’d once again get to shamelessly and shallowly pit men against each other, and to our luck, a new bracket was released this past week!

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If I’m being totally honest, I have an easier time filing out a basketball bracket than I do with one like this. I like to think I live a pretty “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” kind of life, and so I find it hard (and mean?) “eliminating” people based on their looks.

I don’t say this sound noble, I say this to introduce you to my mind, which assumes that the choices I make in this bracket will have some sort of ripple effect on those associated with it. As if my choosing Michael B. Jordan over Joe Jonas in the first round will get back to Joe Jonas, causing him to feel such shame he cancels the Jonas Brothers’ Reunion. Or if my eliminating of Timothee Chalamet in the first round will prevent us from ever becoming best friends—though the sadness associated with that fact may help him finally win that Oscar (so you’re welcome, Timmy.)

Another obstacle I come across in these brackets is that I have to constantly remind myself that the whole point is to figure out who the hottest guy is. Going through each round, I’ll get hung up on, “but he’s so cute!” or “but he was so good in that one movie!” or “but he’s hilarious and that’s attractive” or “I’m being unfair, he’s a really nice guy!”

Now that I think about it, this really isn’t that different from how I fill out brackets for the actual basketball tournament. One year I chose teams based solely on their school mascots and how friendly the team seemed in interviews. (Which by the way, I almost won that year.)

So as you can imagine, with all of the ethical standards and uninvited emotional attachment to the men included on this year’s bracket, it took me a good chunk of time to fill it out. I put one guy through farther than any of my friends solely because he has a hand tattoo. Another guy made it through because “he can just pull off sweatpants and that matters for some reason.” And one guy was eliminated because, “I just can’t picture, you know, casually going to Target with him.”

Again, I’m really not cut out for these things.

At the end of the day, my winner was Noah Centineo, who I am unashamedly cougar-ing it up for. The dude is 22, I am 28. *shrugs* Sorry.

(No, really, I am sorry to everyone I eliminated.)

Among my friends, there were three back to back wins for Jason Momoa. So congrats, Aquaman, it sounds like there are plenty of fish in your sea.

Yikes.

I apologize for that one.

A Weekend at Spring Training

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, you probably know that I’m a big baseball fan. My whole life I’ve grown up watching the Dodgers and two years ago I crossed a major goal off my bucket list by attending my first ever World Series game at Dodger Stadium.

This year, my family and I decided it was time to cross another item off the list: Spring Training! And so this past weekend, we did just that.

On Friday morning, as my normal work alarm went off, I (for once) didn’t hit snooze. I popped out of bed and finished packing my suitcase, ready to be out the door as soon as possible. My sister Natalee and I had a quick flight to Phoenix , so naturally I slept through almost the entire thing, giving me a nap that would come in handy later.

Upon landing, we met up with our friend Cody, whose parents, Darryl and DeeDee, had spent the first half of the week in Arizona with our parents, and Mel, who’d flown in from Utah. While our parents looked relaxed, slightly sunburned and well slept, the four of us all looked a little worn out and so relieved to be on vacation we had no idea where to start. Lucky for us, our vacation didn’t waste any time. Once we were all unpacked at our Airbnb, we grabbed some jackets and headed to our first game of the weekend.

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Natalee, Mel, Cody and I had tickets on the outfield grass, so once we got to Camelback Ranch, we just had to pick a plot and roll out our towels. Next, we raided the food court, where we were reminded that hot dogs at a baseball game, no matter where you are, will always be delicious, while Shocktop in a can is not. shrug_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-4_1f937-1f3fd_1f3fd

Natalee and Mel both brought their gloves with them, and Mel had her eye on getting a ball from one of the players. At the start of every inning, she stood up against the outfield fence, waiting patiently for the outfielders to finish warming up before she waved her glove in the air. This proved to be no easy task however, as each inning she was forced to field off crazed children who were willing to go full Lord of the Flies for these balls, often climbing the chain link, body sliding across the grass, and literally putting their glove inside your glove in order to catch a ball.

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But while most kids went home with nothing more than grass stains and a little bit of shame, Mel persevered, catching a ball from an outfielder on the opposing team (shout out to Heath) causing our entire group to erupt in cheers even though the Dodgers were only a few outs from losing the game.

The next morning, after unexpectedly staying up until two in the morning talking, playing card games, and laughing so hard I woke up with an ab, our group pulled back on our hats and made an early start back to Camelback Ranch.

While the game wasn’t until 1:05 p.m., we wanted to try and see the Dodgers (and the Mariners, Darryl, DeeDee, and Cody are from Seattle) practice before the game. We also wanted to get a chance to fully explore our culinary options. The night before, Mel and I had browsed the Food Map (the best kind of map) provided in the program, and all but drooled when we read about the BBQ Macaroni and Cheese helmets.

Wow.

Even now, just typing it out. Reliving it. What an absolute blessing.

I promise you it was as good as it sounds.

Our group also tried the bacon wrapped sausages from the right field grill, and just about every beer available at the park. My favorite was the Four Peaks Peach Ale.

After the game (which the Dodger’s won smiling-face-with-open-mouth-and-smiling-eyes_1f604) we headed to dinner at Salt. As it happened, the Los Angeles Kings, our favorite hockey team, were in town to play the Arizona Coyotes, and being the sports fans we are, we decided to go FULL SPORTS—this may not be the ideal vacation for some, but for us, it was heaven.

PSA: if you commit to a FULL SPORTS vacation, you may or may not find yourself staying up until three o’clock in the morning dancing, practicing proper diving form, doing yoga and attempting other various athletic feats—be sure to properly stretch.

The next day we had tickets to a Mariners game at the Peoria Sports Complex. And while my loyalty to the Dodgers will never falter, I’ve got to say: Peoria might have a slight edge on Camelback.

DON’T COME FOR ME.

Not only are the food options off the charts (loaded tots, funnel cakes, deep fried Oreos!!) the outfield has tons of kid friendly activities (meaning less Lord of the Flies antics in the outfield), and down the first baseline there is a “Craft Beer Courtyard” (which is actually just a booth) where for $20 you receive four tickets that you can cash in for beer, wine or liquor. Between Mel, Natalee, Cody and I, we bought two entry tickets, giving us eight drinks to split, which was essentially my dream because I got to try a little bit of everything.

As beautiful as the day was however, and as delicious as all the beer we drank and all the food we ate was, we couldn’t quite transfer all that goodness to the Mariners (we were fans for the day against the Indians) who ended up losing the game 16-3. Sorry, M’s.

From the game we headed somewhere completely random, somewhere you’d never expect us to go when you consider the weekend we’d had thus far. That’s right folks, we went to Top Golf, where we added our final explanation point in SPORTS!!!

Pro Tip: order (at least) one of the big sweet drinks in the souvenir cups, it only makes golfing more fun. 

Once we got back home, we did what anyone does when they realize a good trip is coming to an end: we found excuses to stay up late, even though we had early wake up calls, because it seemed like the only way to make the trip last a little bit longer. But even when mine and Natalee’s alarms went off a mere three hours after our heads hit our pillows and we knew we officially had to say goodbye to this one, as we walked down the jet bridge to our plane home, we already started counting down the days until our next one.

January/February Favorites

Have we finally made it to March?!

Didn’t it seem like February lasted forever?

Or is it just me?

Either way, I’m excited we’re finally here. It means we’re one step closer to spring, baseball season, a general thawing of my limbs. Let’s just say, I’ve been looking forward to March and it has taken its sweet time to get here. However, there have been a handful of things that made the wait a little more bearable:

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Podcasts

Y’ALL. Whether you are a regular podcast listener or have never listened to a single minute of one, I promise you will get sucked into the chaos of Dr. Death. While I’ve recommended it to pretty much everyone, I consistently have a hard time truly explaining it. To give you the bullet points: it follows the story of a man who may or may not be IS DEFINITELY a sociopath, and also happens to be the worst neurosurgeon ever. The. Things. That. He. Did. Oh. My. Gosh. Listen. (find it here)

On completely different level, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet just makes me laugh. In each episode the brother and sister duo pick a theme such as “libraries in Los Angeles” and then do dramatic readings of the most ridiculous one-star reviews they can find. I laugh every episode. (find it here)

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Movies

If you watched the Oscars, you might have seen Free Solo win Best Documentary which, after seeing it, I can officially say it 1000% deserved. It follows professional climber Alex Honnold as he sets out to free solo (a.k.a climb with no ropes) El Capitan. You know, the casual 3,000 foot rock in the heart of Yosemite Valley. The cinematography is just out of this world, as is the stress you feel while watching. (find it here)

Since my brother is a rock climber, both Free Solo and The Dawn Wall are high on his recommended list, so the other night he came over and we watched both. I’d like to say this one is less stressful, but it’s not. You are immediately captivated by the spirit of climber Tommy Caldwell as he sets out to climb “The Dawn Wall” a section of El Capitan that has never been climbed before. I tell ya, these guys will inspire the heck out of you, but they also might very well give you an ulcer. (find it on here)

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GU Energy Gels

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For the past few months I’ve been training for the LA Marathon and I have absolutely no idea what I would do without these on my longer runs. They are super lightweight so I can keep them in my pockets, and they give me just the energy boost I need to keep running. Not to mention, every flavor I’ve tried is delicious! Highly recommend! (find them here)

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Books

Little Fires Everywhere follows a mother, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl, in their move to Shaker Heights, Ohio, and their introduction to the Richardson family, which has a whole series of repercussions. It’s the kind of story that moves slow but has you hooked the whole time. I loved it! (find it here)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz gives such a unique perspective of real life Holocaust survivor Lale Sokolov, who spent most of his time in the concentration camps working as a tattooist, giving other prisoners their identification numbers upon entering. Lale falls in love with a fellow prisoner and the book follows their journey throughout their imprisonment and afterward. (find it here)

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Music

In the music world, it has been a series of badass ladies that have stolen my heart over the last couple of months. These are a few of my favorites, with the ever colorful adjectives iTunes uses to describe them

thank u, next by Ariana Grande: “This album doesn’t arrive a minute too soon. As Grande wrestles with what she wants—distance and affection, anonymity and star power, and sex without strings attached—we learn more and more about the woman she’s becoming: complex, independent, tenacious, flawed.”

Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers: “A thoughtfully sewn patchwork of anthemic synth-pop, brooding acoustic folk, and soft-lit electronica.

Inner Monologue Pt. 1 – EP by Julia Michaels: “In her second solo EP, Julia Michaels dives further into the messy space between logic and love. By tangling clashing emotions together, she captures the profound thing that’s so perplexing about being in love: it’s complicated.”

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

28 Good Things that Happened in February

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) This couple invited women to wear their old wedding dresses to their wedding

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2) This soldier surprised his dad

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3) Mattel introduced dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs

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4) These people pranked their dads in the best way

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5) Elton John did a duet with the actor set to portray him in the upcoming biopic

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6) This mom sent a video to her daughter

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7) This boy’s embroidery became an internet favorite

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8) This boy showed how strong he is

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9) Selma Blair walked rocked the red carpet at the Oscars, her first public appearance after her MS diagnosis

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10) These people described their age in one word

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11) This police officer left his pregnant waitress an incredible tip

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12) Kacey Musgraves honored Selena with a performance in Houston

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13) Research showed that the sea turtle population has increased by 980%

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14) This little girl got an amazing Valentine’s Day surprise

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15) This man discovered a life hack and decided to forego moving into a nursing home and instead live in a series of Holiday Inns

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16) This community learned sign language to support their newest member

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17) This boy’s hilarious Valentine box stole people’s hearts

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18) Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed together at the Oscars

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19) This:

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20) This little girl was moved to tears by the song her mom wrote just for her

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21) This dog took care of his fellow animals

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22) These people shared stories of the nicest thing that’s ever been done for them

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23) Alicia Keys played two pianos at the Grammys

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24) After winning Best Actress at the Oscars, Olivia Coleman gave the most incredible speech

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25) This boy took his first flight

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26) This man shared an important note on knowing your worth

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27) This little girl received thousands of pictures of dogs

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28) This girl wrote an amazing poem

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what March brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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A Reminder from Awards Season: Try

Fun fact about me: I LOVE awards season.

The Emmys. The Grammys. The Oscars.

I’m here for it all.

I love seeing deserving people get recognized and dreams coming true. And I love listening to the speeches of ordinary people, just like you and me, proving that big dreams are not crazy and pursued passions do not go unrewarded.

Last night was no exception.

As I sat there watching the Oscars, listening to so many winners—especially first time winners—remind the dreamers at home who might be thinking I could never, that you can, I felt that familiar tinge of inspiration.

It’s not crazy to try.

It is never ever crazy to dream.

Because it can be you.

Whatever the equivalent of that Oscar stage is in your dream, it can be you standing up there. It can be you accepting that award and paying it forward to everyone at home thinking they never could.

So don’t be afraid to soak up the inspiration. And don’t count yourself out of conversations about someday. There is no dream you don’t deserve.

Try.

Strain then Stir (Episode 6): Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More

One of my goals for 2019 is to cook my way through a cookbook. The whole thing. No recipes left behind.

My choice for this feat? Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More. And let me tell you, I made the right choice. Not only have the recipes been the good kind of challenging. But they’ve been absolutely delicious!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

(Note: all credit and rights to the photos belong to the team behind the cookbook.)

Salted Maple Granola

This was the very first recipe I tried, so naturally I assumed I was ruining it the entire time it was cooking. To add to that, I’ve never been a big granola person because I’m not a big yogurt person and for whatever reason I thought they were the PB&J of breakfast foods—can’t have one without the other—so I just avoided both all together. Turns out, you can totally eat granola like trail mix. And since the recipe made a big batch (I had about three medium sized mason jars full) I was able to munch on it for almost two weeks. It made for the perfect mid-morning snack!

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Veggie Couscous

It took me three trips around the grocery store to figure out where to find the couscous—which ended up being on the bottom shelf in the rice aisle, by the way—but it was worth it. Couscous ended up being the fluffy love child of rice and quinoa I never knew I needed in my life. Did you know it cooks in, like, THREE MINUTES?! Talk about instant gratification. And then this recipe called for both sweet potatoes and zucchini to be simmered on the stove in broth with cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper and ahhhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Is it possible to miss couscous? To long for it? Because that’s what’s happening.

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Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

Since I could probably count the number of times “a salad” was my answer to the question, “what are you making for lunch?” on one hand, it was understandable why my sister stopped in her tracks when those words came out of my mouth on a Saturday afternoon. “You’re what?” she said, and I shrugged, pulling the carrots out of the oven, trying my best not to talk myself out of the whole thing. If you happen to be a fellow salad shunner, allow me to introduce you to our new friend. This salad is DELICIOUS. The carrots. The dressing. The avocado. The crunch of the sunflower seeds. I was genuinely sad when I finished this salad and I can’t wait until I make it again.

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Thai Seared Tuna Salad

While this goal is supposed to broaden my horizons in the kitchen, it has also opened my eyes to new corners of the grocery store. I mean, would you know where to find a tuna steak off the top of your head? Because I sure didn’t. But you better believe that when I found it—at the fresh fish counter—I ordered it like I’d done it all my life. “Yes, one pound of the tuna steak please.” This is another untraditional salad recipe, and my sister and I were pleasantly surprised by how filling it was. I did forego the Thai bird chiles (because I’m a baby that can’t handle spicy foods) and the cilantro (just because I hate it) but it was still delicious and made me feel like an accomplished adult capable of cooking something both healthy and yummy. Hummy? Yealthy? You get it.

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Thus far, I’d 100% recommend this cookbook for anyone looking to spice up their life. The recipes are different than anything I’ve ever made before, but they are not impossibly difficult, which is encouraging and fun. I look forward to many more mornings, afternoons and evenings spent in the kitchen half stressing out, half excitedly stirring, all while consistently and pridefully stuffing my face. Thanks, Chrissy!

5 Skills You Didn’t Realize Were Skills

Have you ever had a day where you feel like you aren’t good at anything? Like you have no skills worthy of ribbons or awards or even a gasp of awed recognition? Like maybe you can’t even open a door correctly?

I have those days. I think we all do. And why wouldn’t we when there are singers and actors and athletes and those balloon animal artists that walk around restaurants doing their thing, making you think man, I wish I could do that.

The good news is, we can do things, my friends. In fact, we do amazing things all the time without even noticing them.

For example:

1) Carrying Laundry

Do you remember when you were little and your mom would ask you to get the laundry out of the dryer, and how when you pulled it out a towel wrapped around your legs and tripped you and then you dropped a sock and bent down to pick it up, only to drop another one and then another one, until eventually there was more laundry on the floor than in your hands and so you threw it all down in frustration? Just look at how far we’ve come. Now we know exactly how to angle our body; curving our arms and arching our back to ensure that no piece of clothing is left behind.

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2) Driving

For this one, I know we obviously spent time intentionally learning this skill. But I just felt it was necessary to mention it because it is kind of crazy that we casually operate two ton vehicles on a daily basis. Most of the time while listening to music, eating, and trying to do our eye makeup in the mirror on the way to work.

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3) Technology

When I was in 5th grade, my family had a white landline telephone that had huge blue buttons and a speakerphone, which I thought was THE COOLEST. Then when I was in 7th grade, my mom got the first cellphone in our house, which had an antenna that you pulled out of the top, which I also thought was THE COOLEST. And now I have an iPhone a.k.a a tiny, portable computer, that I get angry at when the AirDrop feature can’t receive pictures from other iPhones in the blink of an eye, or when the Bluetooth doesn’t sync to a portable speaker or when the Wifi I’m connected to won’t stream movies and television shows. WHAT EVEN IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN?! When did we learn what all of this was—let alone how to work it all?! Our fifth grade selves would be freaking out.

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4) Cracking our bones

This one goes out to all of our younger selves who only woke up sore when we accidentally fell asleep with our head propped up against a wall with one leg tucked under us and the other one stretched out in mid side-split. Now we wake up, lean forward, twist our legs to the side, point an arm at a specific part of the ceiling and roll our head back along our shoulders, knowing that afterwards, our bodies will be ready (ish) for the day.

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5) People

It’s a part of growing up to learn the way other people work and to be able to identify whether they are worth our time or not. And while there are always going to be times when we are blindsided by an undercover a-hole, it’s still worth mentioning how far we’ve come in the people department. All that advice we can give our friends? It comes from years of learning, sometimes—at least I like to believe—for the very serendipitous reason to tell that friend exactly what they need to hear in that moment.

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These are only five things, y’all.

FIVE.

I know—or at least I assume—that you thought of more while you were reading this. Like hey, you’re right, Kim, I hadn’t even realized how fast I can put my hair in a ponytail. Or that I know the exact amount of meats, cheeses and veggies are required to make the perfect sandwich. Or that I know how to twist, lift and shove that closet door open, even when I’m in a time crunch and don’t have a second to spare.

Sure, it’s silly stuff. But the point of all of this is to remember that we’re all learning, every day, and we’re all growing. Even though it might not feel like it, we are figuring this life thing out piece by piece, in our own way.

Plus, we can’t all be out there making scarily accurate balloon versions of Disney princesses. That would be chaos.