journal

The Last Thing on My Phone (Part 2)

By now you probably know that I am a very curious person who loves gathering information. You also probably know that I’m a little nosey—because what curious person isn’t? So when I found this series on YouTube, I could hardly resist.

It’s been almost a year since we did our first deep dive into our phones, so I figured it was about time we checked back in.

Here were the results:

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1) What is the last photo you took?

Rachel: Mine is of this color coordinated clothing rack:IMG_5236

Natalee: Mine is of this creature on my plant. Look at this creepy crawly:

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Me: Mine is of this clock from our friend Taylor’s house. I just really liked it…

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2) What is the last thing you Googled?

Natalee: “Hitchhiker’s to the galaxy plot.” I need to know it for work so I cheated.

Rachel: “Aladdin.” I was looking at showtimes.

*collective pause to discuss the new Aladdin movie*

Kim: “Rompers for men.” I couldn’t remember what they were called. (They are called “Romp-hims” by the way.)

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3) What is your last text?

Rachel: Oh, this was funny. It was texted to me to describe the way I talk about things. It says, “I didn’t hate it, so there’s that. ‘The Rachel Liner Story.'”

Natalee: It was to the family group chat talking about all the things we are looking forward to on our trip and I said, “Amen to all of that!”

Kim: Mine is also about our trip. I said to dad, “Beer is on the agenda!”

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4) How many alarms do you have set?

Rachel: I only have three but I just reset them.

Me: Oh, I have a lot. I think even more than last time. I have eight.

Natalee: I have six. They range from 5:45 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. Not sure what that 6:20 p.m. one is from but I’m guessing it was probably a nap.

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5) What are your most frequently used emojis?

Rachel: These are my top used: heavy-black-heart_2764face-throwing-a-kiss_1f618thumbs-up-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f44d-1f3fb_1f3fbsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a but I also really love this one: woman-shrugging-type-3_1f937-1f3fc-200d-2640-fe0f

Me: thumbs-up-sign_1f44dheavy-black-heart_2764face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes_1f60dsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a Yeah, that’s me in a nutshell.

Natalee: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602white-smiling-face_263ayellow-heart_1f49bflushed-face_1f633woman-facepalming-type-3_1f926-1f3fc-200d-2640-fe0f This is my favorite though: face-with-rolling-eyes_1f644 It’s the best one ever made.

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6) What is your last voicemail?

Me: Mine is from [my best friend] Allison. She was just calling to chat but spent a good portion of the message complimenting my voice on the voicemail so that was sweet.

Natalee: See if you can guess mine.

*plays message*

“Hey noodlepop!—

Me: —Kristine [Natalee’s best friend.] Not a lot of other people -are out there calling you noodlepop. (For reference, Kristine calls me “Kim-age” so it’s safe to say her nicknames are supreme.)

Rachel: Oh wait, I have a really good one. It’s from this guy offering to lower the payment on my student loans. I mean, what kind of scam does Jonathan think I’m gonna fall for?

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7) What is the last selfie you took?

Me: The last picture I took with me actually holding the phone and volunteering for my photo to be taken was this one of Mel and I. Aren’t we pretty?

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Natalee: Mine is with Amanda. We were a little day drunk and so we thought, “hey, let’s day a picture of us being day drunk” and, well, we look pretty day drunk.

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Rachel: I’m not really in this one but I did take it and it’s when Dylan and I were with the rhinos.

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8) What is the last app you downloaded?

Natalee: Mine is a little basic, but it’s Instastories because for a minute there I was considering making my Instagram stories a little fancier but I haven’t used it yet.

Rachel: The McDonald’s app. I got it to try and collect on those chicken nuggets we won at the Dodger game [at every home game fans in attendance win free chicken nuggets if the Dodgers score six runs or more] Also pro-tip, I don’t think you even have to be at the game to get those nuggets. They just show up in the app… It’s a big deal and no one’s talking about.

Me: Happify. I downloaded it yesterday because I saw it mentioned in an article online, but I don’t really know what it does yet.

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9) What is the last podcast you listened to?

Rachel: Blackout. It’s with Rami Malek. I’ve only listened to the first couple but it’s pretty good.

Natalee: SLP’s Wine and Cheese. It’s where I listen to SLP’s (speech language pathologist—my sister’s future job title) talk about their caseload and drink wine at the end of a long week.

Me: Case Closed. It’s that podcast about solved murder cases that I got into. The second season has been way better than the first. The first season was just about a bad criminal. I mean, if you’re going to murder someone and try to cover it up, at least do a good job.

Rachel: Amen.

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10) What is the last note you made?

Natalee: “Angelina’s across from the Louvre known for drinking chocolate.” It’s a suggestion I got from a friend about something we should do while we’re in Paris.

Me: Mine is a suggested packing list for dad—with witty commentary.

Rachel: Mine was my target list and the best part about looking at it again right now is that I totally forgot I bought these chai teas, but they are definitely in the fridge downstairs and I’m very excited about it.

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So in case you’re ever wondering if these posts are important, or if you’re curious about taking a little dive into your own phone, remember, there might be a chai tea in your fridge that you totally forgot about, so take the dive. It’s worth it.

2019 Goals Check-In

Hey y’all, happy June!

I’m really at a loss for words that we’re halfway through the year already—but then again, it seems like New Year’s Day was approximately 600 years ago.

So.

That’s where I’m at with 2019.

But I set some excited goals for this year and I thought it was about time I checked in with where I’m at.

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1) Journal daily

Progress: 44% (161 days/365)

I have really loved this goal thus far. Journaling is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to start. Now that I have however, I wonder where I used put all those thoughts at the end of the day. If you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep at night, or who tends to bottle things up inside, I highly recommend giving journaling a try. I personally like ruled Moleskine notebooks, but if you are someone who likes prompts to get you started, I’d recommend looking up “guided journals”. There are a bunch available on Amazon.

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2) Take a cooking class

Progress: 0%

This is on my to-do list to research. Anyone have any recommendations for classes in the LA area?

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

Progress: 19% (19 recipes/103)

I chose Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More as my designated cookbook for this goal and I am SO happy I did. Every single thing I’ve made so far (which I mention here and here) has been absolutely delicious. Highly recommend! (you can grab the cookbook here)

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4) Try the best drink from every state

Progress: 2.00% (1 drink/50)

Yeah so I’ve tried a whopping ONE drink from this list, mostly because I almost always order the same drink whenever I go to a bar, but also because I’m not sure how many of these drinks are actually served in standard bars and I’m embarrassed to ask. For the most part I think I will have to buy the ingredients and make them at home, so I will have to enlist the help of my mixology experienced (or just curious and adventurous) friends.

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5) Watch a sunset and a sunrise at the beach

Progress: 0%

I’ve been waiting on the summer weather for this one and it looks like it’s finally starting to arrive! So in the next few months you can find me on the beach, I’ll be the one doused in sunscreen and wondering when it’s okay to put on my jacket.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Progress: 60% (3/5)

I really tried to get on this one early this year because I want to actually lean in to that at least for once. As of now I’ve volunteered with Food Forward three times, both picking and gleaning fruits and vegetables from local farmer’s markets, and in doing so I’ve been a part of collecting and donating almost 4,000 pounds of fresh produce that was donated to hunger relief agencies. Isn’t that amazing?!

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7) See 3 WRLA’s

Progress: 33%

While on a recent trip to visit family in Arkansas, my mom, sister and I took a side trip to Berryville to see the World’s Largest Razorback. It’s about as epically weird and wonderful as you can imagine and I’m so happy my family supports this quest of mine.

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

Progress: 90%

This month I will make my final payment on my second to last loan! That’s right baby! I will officially be down to ONE. STUDENT. LOAN. Ayyyyyyy! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, y’all.

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9) Amazon Wish List splurge

Progress: 0%

I have this one listed at 0% done, though I could probably put it at around 80% because I have an entire Amazon wish list dedicated to this cause. All I need to do now is add those bad boys to my cart and order them with that sweet sweet Prime shipping. Stay tuned.

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10) Stomp grapes and make wine

Progress: 100% (ish)

This is one of those goals that I thought sounded like a fun, quirky and unique idea at first, but now has me kind of wavering, and wondering, do I really want to do that? Until I decide, I’m marking it as complete because I did go wine tasting for the first time this past weekend and that’s in the wine goal family (which is a thing?) so….

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11) Make my family tree

Progress: 25%

I officially have an account on Ancestry.com and have begun my hunting, but I have a BAF (you know, a BIG ASS FAMILY) and so it’s going to take a little while.

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12) Hike the Narrows

Progress: 100% (ish)

Yeah so I’m just breaking all the rules this year but I’m kind of into it. I gave this one an “ish” because a few years back I made “Project Lightbulb” (which was the name I gave to a family trip to Iceland) one of my goals for the year but we weren’t able to complete it. This year however, we gathered our savings, did all the research and are taking (in literally two days) a trip to Europe. Sure, that’s still not Iceland, and sure, it’s also not the Narrows, but it’s still a family bucket list vacation and I’ll take a box check where I can get one.

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13) Do (at least one) unassisted pull-up

Progress: she’s working on it

I have no way to really track a percentage of progress on this one but I am working on it little by little. A couple weeks ago I went rock climbing with my family and it was the first time I noticed I was actually getting stronger. If I remember it correctly, I believe at one point I turned to our guide, flexed my arms and said, “I have medium guns right now, not the big ones just yet.” So I guess that’s my progress: medium guns.

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14) Get 100 rejections

Progress: 3% (3/100)

This one has been a big struggle for me actually. Blame it on the journaling or the full calendar or the final season of Game of Thrones, but my mind has been all over the place and I’ve had trouble finding the time/effort to write, meaning I’ve had almost nothing to submit, and thus nothing to get rejected. It is my goal however, to rope this in for the second half of the year.

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15) Learn Spanish

Progress: 20%

Surprise! This goal wasn’t even on my original list. (I told you I was breaking all the rules this year.) Goal #15 used to be “learn a song on my ukulele” but again, after some contemplation, I realized that maybe I don’t even want to do that. And you know what, y’all, there is no reason to pursue a goal that you don’t even want to accomplish. So I dumped it. Tossed it to the side like every single mushroom any restaurant has dared put on my plate. Then I downloaded Duolingo and I started learning Spanish, and I’m having a great time! I mean, lo estoy pasando muy bien!

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16) Finish my museum goal

Progress: 50% (10 museums/20)

For Mother’s Day my sister and I took our mom to the Huntington Library for some tea (which I highly recommend, by the way!) and a walk around the gardens. About midway through our stroll through the one of the exhibits in the library, I remembered that it was on my list of museums and I took a few seconds to jump up and down excitedly. This is the only progress I’ve made on this carry over goal from last year, but it put me at the 50% mark so I’m calling it a win.

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17) Run a Marathon done! read about it here

Progress: 100%

To be honest I’m still in shock that I can write completed next to this goal, but it gives me such a big boost of pride that I think I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: COMPLETED, BABY. You can read all about it here.

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 40%, which I’m proud of! Not only because I’m on track (for once) but because this is the first year I’ve made adjustments to my goals when I realized my interest in accomplishing them had changed.

For the last few years I’ve felt locked into the goals I set at the beginning of the year, sometimes to the point of hating certain goals, which made accomplishing them far less exciting. It became more about getting it over with, which is not what a goal should be. So I’m proud of myself for loosening the reins a bit and remembering that the whole point of setting these goals is to try new things and explore new challenges—it’s brought the fun back into it for me, and it makes me excited for the rest of this year and the ones to come.

If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

Just Live the Day

A little while back I read The Grapes of Wrath, and like in many of the classics, I found a great nugget of advice. It was simple, easy advice, which to me meant it would be almost impossible to follow, but it’s stuck with me over the last few months and I wanted to share it with you.

To quote it directly from the book, I believe it is Ma who says, “Jus’ live the day. Don’ worry yaself.”

Just live the day.

As in, be here now.

Live this day. Right now.

Don’t live in the regrets of yesterday. Don’t live in the fears of tomorrow. Live this day. No matter where you are.

No matter if that means you need to go out and attack it, or if it means you need to stay home and rest.

Let this day serve you. Let it show you what it’s made of. Let it inspire you, let it heal you, let it show you joy you never imagined.

Find the wonders of this day, and don’t waste them thinking about a day you can’t get back or a day you can’t even reach yet.

This day is only going to happen once, so live in it and take it for all it’s worth.

Jus’ live the day. Don’ worry yaself.

To My Fellow Tough Eggs

Often when I meet someone new, or when I see someone for the first time in a long time, or sometimes for no reason at all, I feel very shy and quiet and unable to start, continue, or enjoy a conversation.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, demanding, THIS IS ON YOU, and making myself believe that whenever a conversation goes stale, or when someone opts to sit or stand with someone else, or when the stranger I meet at the supermarket doesn’t immediately fall in love with me like the movies told me they would, it’s because I’m boring or unlikeable or pathetic—or a healthy combination of all three.

Anyone else with me on this?

Anyone else wish they had that magic they see in other people? That ability to talk about anything and everything to anyone and everyone. That something that draws people to them without even meaning to. That ease.

I do.

And while I think it’s something I’ll always strive for, and as much as I believe that you can challenge yourself and grow and acclimate and learn, there comes a point when we have to realize that we are not required to be that kind of person.

We don’t have to be the person that knows exactly what to say all the time. We don’t have to talk to anyone and everyone about anything and everything. Some of us are simply tougher eggs to crack and you have to give us a little more time.

So, to my fellow tough eggs, let me just say that I am with you. You are not alone in feeling like you should do more, be more. You are not the only one sitting there internally screaming, “SAY SOMETHING.” You are not boring or uninteresting or pathetic. You just need time. And anyone worth having in your life will give you that time. So be patient with yourself.

5 More Things I Do Incorrectly

Coming up on a year ago now I posted this blog, listing 10 things that I do (at least seemingly) incorrectly. Since then, I have (not surprisingly) discovered a few more things that I do, if we want to put it nicer this time, differently.

Anyone with me out there?

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1) Chewing Gum

One of the best features a stick of gum can have is long lasting flavor, right? Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that why there are undoubtedly people who are working as gum scientists, trying to make the dream of the everlasting gobstopper come true? Well if it is and if there are, it’s a wasted effort on me. I’d say on average, the max time I chew gum is about 10 minutes. If I chew it longer, it’s either because I’m on a plane and I’m trying to make my ears pop, or I’m falling asleep at my desk or in the waiting room at the DMV and I’m desperately trying to keep myself awake by chewing—which only works moderately well, by the way. For the most part, I really don’t like gum. It’s weird and I hate the sound it makes when you chew it and after I’ve used it to freshen my breath, I’m done with it and want to spit it out as fast as possible.

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2) Make Pancakes

I’m sorry but I simply don’t have the patience for flipping. The mixing and the whisking and the ladling onto the griddle? Great. But the waiting for the top to bubble or the edges to brown or the pancake gods to send a sign, only to flip the pancake over and have it either still completely raw or burned to a crisp? THE WORST.

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3) Posing for Pictures

What do I do with my arms? Or my legs for the matter? Why does my face keep doing that? And why does one of my eyebrows jump higher than the other one when I smile too big? Wait, why are we taking more than one photo? I only had the one pose in mind and it was mediocre at best. How does everyone else have backup poses?! Annnnd great, I look like a moron.

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4) Hitting Snooze

This one is phrased wrong in that I’m actually superb at hitting snooze. I could have a graduate degree in snoozing. It’s not hitting snooze that I’m bad at. And even though I’d like to get up on time and not have to run around my house like a crazy person for once, and even though I’ve read all the articles on how bad pressing snooze it for you, I CAN’T STOP. This past week I’ve made an effort to only press snooze twice (per day) and I’ve considered that a success.

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5) Taking Pills

I really truly thought at some point I would graduate into a full blown adult that could swallow pills without any issue, but no. I still to this day have to cut pills in half and take them with Gatorade or juice or pudding and I still sometimes have to throw them away and start over. Thank heaven for gummy vitamins.

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So there they are, red strikes on my life report card. I’d like to think that admitting them gives me a green check in the bigger picture, but I’m not sure if life runs on the same grading scale as a kindergarten class.

Just please, give me a gold star and let me be on my way.

A Lesson from Claire Wineland: Love Your Life Your Way

Last month my sister and I went to see the movie Five Feet Apart in theaters. It follows two people with cystic fibrosis, who fall in love but are forced to keep their distance from one another.

The director of the film, Justin Baldoni, recently posted a video on his Instagram (that you can find here) where he introduced his main inspiration for the film: Claire Wineland. She lived her entire life with cystic fibrosis before passing away at the age of 21. In the video (taken in 2015), Claire gives a short speech, and it’s immediately clear why she changed so many peoples’ lives, and why her legacy is sure to live on.

She said:

I’m 18 years old and I have something called cystic fibrosis. I do only have a few years left to live. I mean, that’s how the doctors see it. Let’s get the whole like death thing out on the table, right?

Like all of us could get hit by a meteorite, so let’s stop thinking about the death part of it because that doesn’t matter to me. We have no control over it. But we do have control over whether or not we are proud of our lives. I mean, that’s something we have complete say over.

I am genuinely proud of my life. I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying I don’t feel sadness and suffering, and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being. But I’m saying that that pain and that loneliness and that sadness is beautiful.

We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness and dreams and goals out here. Right? If we say, “No. We are not going to go looking out there for a happiness. We are alive and that is all we need.” We are beating the system. Right? And we’re living lives that we’re proud of. We’re living lives that make us happy!

You have to look at all of it. All of the pain, all of the loneliness, all of the beauty, all of the friendship and the family, and the sickness and the health. You have to lay it all in front of you and you have to say, “Okay. That is what I have and it is all wonderful. What can I make with it?”

Woah, right?

It really made me stop and think.

So often I am someone that puts an immense amount of pressure on myself to live a life that other people can be proud of. Sure, I take pride in what I do, but when I’m lying awake at night stressing, it is because I’m worried I’m not doing enough, not being enough. I’m worried people are judging me or pitying me or just wondering what the hell is she doing?

When we focus on the eyes of others, it’s hard to accept “all of it”. It’s hard to see all of the pain and sadness and beauty and family and friendship and sickness and health, and consider it “wonderful”. We can see the wonder in some of it, sure, namely the parts that might impress or connect us to others, but it’s hard to see all of it as the wonderful combination that makes us, us. It’s hard to realize that our unique combination of all of those elements is what makes our lives beautiful and special and important.

So today, I am going to take a look around, and I encourage you to do the same. Look at all of it. Everything you’ve been given, and find the meaning in it. Find the wonder. Stop living your life by other peoples’ standards and start living a life that you are proud of.

If I Had a Nickel…

So I know it’s usually a joke or a cliché or whatever you want to call it, but the other day I sat down and really considered how rich I could be if I ever did get a nickel or a quarter or, can you imagine, a dollar for every time I did or said and saw _______.

As I thought about it, these were the real moneymakers I came up with:

  1. Cursed in the car
  2. Ate a sandwich
  3. Said, “it’s freezing in here.”
  4. Made a pun
  5. Cried during a commercial
  6. Went to a dodger game
  7. Pressed snooze on my alarm
  8. Watched an episode of Friends
  9. Went to Target
  10. Made myself laugh
  11. Said, “you scared me.”
  12. Cringed at something I said years ago
  13. Cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner
  14. Did a crossword puzzle
  15. Went for a run
  16. Said, “Dude.”
  17. Talked to my dogs
  18. Googled something I was curious about mid-conversation
  19. Wore converse tennis shoes
  20. Rewatched a movie I’ve already seen rather than watch something new—especially something that I’ve been telling people “I don’t have time to watch.” (Sorry)

While there’s no way to know how much money I’d have if I could actually translate all of these into cold hard cash, I can only assume that if I did, I’d be writing this from a huge recliner with a built in refrigerator, wearing a robe made of clouds, while calling my personal driver to pick me up to take me to the airport to board a first class flight to an exotic destination with my family.

Or maybe I just wouldn’t have a credit card bill and I’d totally buy the brand name cotton balls instead of the knockoffs.

Honestly either future looks great.

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What are some things that would make you fictional nickel rich?

And what would you do with all that money if you could somehow get your hands on it?

I’d totally give the number of my cloud robe maker.

Give Thursday a Chance

So it’s Thursday.

Which means it’s almost Friday.

Which means it’s practically the end of the entire week.

Which means there’s no point in starting anything now.

Right?

All those goals you’ve been meaning to start pursuing.

That something new you’ve been wanting to try.

Those chores you’ve been needing to get done.

There’s no reason to do them today.

It’s Thursday.

You might as well call this week a wash and just start again on Monday.

Right?

As much as I want to say yes, and as much as I want to put everything I want to do aside and just worry about it tomorrow or, you know, next week, that really wouldn’t do me or you or any of us any good.

Mondays are great for motivational purposes. They are great for easy calendar tracking purposes. They are great in theory. But really think about a Monday. Think about how when you actually get to a Monday, it’s hard and awful and has too many responsibilities to begin with.

Monday’s can suck.

So…why not Thursday?

Why not Friday?

Why not Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m.?

There’s no reason to wait to start doing the things that will make you happy or organized or less stressed or successful. Every day holds the possibilities we give to Monday and every day can be as looked forward to as Friday.

So why can’t Thursday be your day?

Give Thursday a chance.

Start today.

There is More than Red

I recently listened to the audiobook of “You’re A Badass” by Jen Sincero and immediately after finishing it, I went out and bought a hard copy because I wanted to be able to highlight it and make notes and read it over and over and until the binding is good and tired. It is packed with good reminders designed to get you up and out of whatever funk you might find yourself in, so you can get out there and kick some (mostly your own) ass.

One of my favorite chapters started with the author asking you to look around whatever space you are currently in and pick out everything that is red.

Give it a try.

Focus on those things, memorize them, repeat them over and over again in your mind.

Now close your eyes.

Well. Okay. So this exercise might work better if you were listening to it. Otherwise you’ll just be sitting there with your eyes closed, repeating “ketchup bottle” over and over, with no idea what to do next. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I did not come across this logistical issue.

I APOLOGIZE.

The point of the exercise is to close your eyes, and after spending all that time focusing and memorizing the red, she then asks you to point out everything in your space that is yellow.

Huh? I thought.

Was this a trick?

I just wrote an entire rhyming poem called “Red in my Head” and now you’re going to pull something like THIS, Sincero? I do not approve.

But then she pulls a fast one on you.

She points out that if we are singularly focused in our lives, constantly looking only for the red, than we’re not going to notice the yellow, or the blue or the green. And Lord knows there is some green to be seen after all of this rain.

I listened to this chapter of the book about the same time I wrote this blog, and while they touch on the same thing, they stuck out in different ways. While my reminder to “look up” was a reminder that there are always good things amongst the bad, this “find the yellow” exercise was a good reminder that there is just more.

The world is full of so much more than what we might be struggling with in a particularly difficult moment or season. This doesn’t and shouldn’t belittle what we’re going through now, but it can act as a reminder that there are so many more moments out there for us if we have the courage, patience and perseverance to work through this one. There is so much yellow, y’all! So much blue! So many stars and stripes and polka dots. There is more. So take a deep breath, blink a few times, and let all those other colors come into focus.

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.