Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Let's get weird!

2013, you're on your way out the door. You've had your ups, you've had your downs, but we got THROUGH you. Everyone's making lists of what they have learned for the year which is amazing. I was able to stick to my goals and if we went though everything I learned this year I'd probably be in therapy and/or jail. But hey I survived, had heart surgery, and everything is back to 'normal'. LOLZ do you people know me?! I'm anything but normal.

So instead of my lessons, I'll share this hilarious story. My head is a fairly ridiculous place, and my imagination even more so. But I've decided that I must stop browsing the 'Celebrity" boards on Pinterest before bed because my subconscious is out of control with the dreams. My most ridiculous dream of late was had right around Thanksgiving and included Jeff Goldblum. STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES AT ME he's not the worst looking guy ever.

The dream went something like this: I was at an insurance event in which Jeff and I were making out in a corner and had planned to meet up later, because he had to leave for some reason and that's the point when I had a rational moment of WTF am I thinking?! I'm at a WORK event and everyone knows me here and they're definitely going to tell my husband. But Jeff was such a good kisser so, YOLO.

I think I was incredibly bothered by the dream because it incorporated both an actor I will never meet with my current profession in which there were people I regularly see and know. It's like hey, work associates, I don't see you enough but SO glad you're now consuming MY DREAMS (hashtag workaholic).

I spent my Thanksgiving Eve at a friends house and needless to say after a few dirty martinis my dream came up. My best friend found it ordinary because she's know me forever and she's definitely not weirded out by anything I say. 

My friend's brother picked up on this analyzation and the following conversation ensued:

E: This is the second time I've heard you mention this. You mean the guy from "The Fly"?
Me: Well, yes. But bad reference that movie is gross.
E: Okay then, what Jeff Goldblum are we talking like 90's "Jurassic Park" or "Independence Day"?
Me: Definitely "Independence Day". And he was a really great kisser
Husband: I'm not even upset. He's a good actor

So my husband approves of me making out with actors in my dreams, score. I mean I already have my hall pass set up, I'm looking at you Alex Skarsgard.

Thanksgiving morning instead of watching the parade like normal people, Nick and I put on a movie channel and wouldn't you know Jurassic Park is on TV! The first thing I say is 'Hey, I made out with him'. I really need more of a brain to mouth filter.

I then share with one of my other friends because I love to over analyze EVERYTHING and she texts me the following:

You guys, I have the bestest friends EVER. Also Jeff Goldblum, if by some strange miracle you are reading this, call me because I want to see if you're as good of a kisser in real life as my dream, and my husband is totally cool with it.

BRING IT ON 2014!! You can't even handle this weirdness! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2014 Goals

Go home winter you are drunk! Here it is the first day of winter and I ran outside in capris and a t-shirt...and was HOT. Winter get your butt back here I have some serious goals to obtain, and I run better in the cold!

It may not be Christmas yet but I've got new running shoes burning a hole under my tree on my list for Santa to bring and resolutions burning a hole in my conscious.

Last year I made the Resolution to lower my blood pressure and lose some weight. I'm happy to report that I have lowered my blood pressure to normal levels through diet and exercise and lost 20 pounds overall. So what if  I had a minor heart problem that required surgery?! That was biological and essentially out of my control (thanks mom and dad! I'm kidding, but seriously.)

I'm pretty proud of myself considering it's not been the easiest of years. Our first year being homeowners, then rescuing our puppy Homer, on top of normal everyday stressors and curve balls life throws our way. But I'm glad that I was able to still achieve what I set out to do.

So in the spirit of the rapidly approaching New Year, I've started planning my goals for next year. I am resolute to continue trying to lose weight and tone up, but I'm really going to focus on improving my running race times this year. Both of these resolutions go hand in hand.

Smiling as I saw my BFF Colleen on the sidelines. Half
marathons are so much fun #LiesITellMyself
As of this morning, I've signed up for the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K on April 6th. Stop rolling your eyes at me 9.3 miles DESERVES a bowl of melted chocolate and dippies at the end.
If they're keeping the lottery system I'm hoping to be lucky enough to get into the Broad Street 10 Miler on May 4th.

After those distance races I've got to get my butt in gear for the Special Olympics Fun Run in June. It's only a 5K but I have to get my time under 30 minutes to beat NY YIP's as one of our fastest runners had to go get pregnant and is due the end of May thus won't be running (kidding, I'm so excited for her and her hubby. I can't wait to meet baby 'S'). So I have about 6 weeks and a training schedule already printed to follow as my time will likely be counting towards the final tally this year.

The end of July will bring the Tour de Shore bike ride. I'll definitely be using my bike to cross train throughout these months, so I can pick it up more in June.

My ultimate goal for 2014 is to run a sub 2:30 half marathon. Yes, I'm a slow runner and my halves time average from best 2:39 to worst 2:48. I'm not sure which half marathon I'll run but I know there are a bunch between Philly and Atlantic City in October/November so I'll decide as I see how the training is progressing.

For now I'll enjoy the Holiday Spirits by pushing my body to the brink of alcoholism and diabetes (thank you someecards) guilt free until January 3rd.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Spirit

I will admit I've not whole heartily been in this holiday spirit. Sure my house is decorated inside and out. We had our second annual Ugly Sweater Party last weekend which was a blast. Our tree is up and lit. Tonight we're having an informal work Christmas party with some of Nick's fellow co-workers. Next week we're having a Christmas pot luck at my work. Doggie's Christmas CD is loaded on my phone and on repeat.

But I still haven't ordered any presents with only 11 days to go. In fact that's what I should be doing right now, but I've been avoiding it. Stress with work, running around to meetings, finances, doctor visits, vet visits, life worries; it's just all weighing on me.

However as I was cleaning my upstairs bathroom earlier, everything changed. Our master bedroom is at the front of our house, and the master bath has windows that look out onto the street. We are located toward the end of our development, with a side road leading to one final loop of houses and that being the only way in and out of the loop.

I had just completed scrubbing the shower when I heard sirens. In a panic as I hadn't heard a crash or anything I ran to our hallway which looks out of a large, second story window, just in time to see a cop car go by with it's lights on and Santa following behind him pulled by the fire department on his sleigh. How cool that our township does that I thought, as they turned down the access road to the small loop of homes behind us.

I knew that they'd have to come back around the access road to get back on the main strip, so I went back into the bathroom for a better view.

As I heard the sirens nearing again, I saw a vehicle stop at the stop sign. Into park it was thrown at the sign and a woman ran out, around front to the other side of her car, and grabbed her little boy out of his car seat. They stood by the front of the vehicle as the cop car slowed in order for the boy to see Santa. The boy waved and smiled as Santa waved back, and I could almost hear the exclamation of "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!" over the sirens.

And just like the Grinch my heart grew three sizes too big, as I watched the joy on this little guy's face. Here was a mom, who was likely just on her routine way to do errands, probably counting her blessings that she could share this moment with her son.

I may have shed a few tears as I realized I could have been anywhere in my house, but only in this bathroom could I have witnessed the joy of innocence at this Christmas time. Santa must have known I needed a pick me up like that to get me into the Christmas Spirit.

Friday, December 6, 2013

You Are Gorgeous!

One of my closest friends posted on her Facebook this Huffington Post article "So You're Feeling Too Fat to be Photographed" (read it here). The points are aptly made in the article from the author that life is happening now; capture it because life's not slowing down and waiting for you to lose those extra 10 pounds to feel better in front of a camera. We must stop this negative body image consciousness that is shoved down our throats when we don't conform to the ridiculous, and I use the term loosely, 'standards of beauty'.

I'm all for a healthy lifestyle but that's not the point I want to make. My friend who posted this is one of the most incredible women I know. She's a fantastic mother, wife, and woman who is still standing after going through hell and back. She is someone I admire and could only hope to emulate as a mother once I have children. When I see her and the photos she posts, I see this beautiful, courageous woman. And when she posted the article, I was surprised because I don't see the flaws she does in those photos. I see a gorgeous mom, adoring children, and a loving husband.

I am guilty as charged in finding my flaws in every photograph of myself. Every one that is uploaded is judged with one of the following: I look fat, my arms look fat, my face looks fat, I look overall fat and need to lose weight, oh my gosh why didn't anyone tell me my butt is so big, and then every once and awhile, oooh that's a nice one I don't look fat there! Prime example, my cousin recently posted some of her wedding photos that her photographer took. They came out incredible and truly captured what an amazing wedding it was.

There was this photo of me included with the snippets posted on the photographer's website. It stopped me in my tracks. I remember the conversation I was having with the woman who is not shown. I was shocked at how perfectly a single, simple, in the moment photo captured me and my personality so completely.

Said photo. Copyright Luke Eshelman Photography
Then, I looked closer and thought, "Man, my arm looks fat. I need to work out harder on my upper body".


My brother asked me later that day if I saw the photo. I told him I did and that my arm looks so fat.
He just stared at me. You know what that stare said? "Natalie, you are crazy, your arm does NOT look fat, it's a really nice picture of you".

And you know what, he's right. I'm good looking. I may not be a size zero, but I'm pretty, and gosh darn it people like me. We have to stop looking at ourselves and finding only our flaws because we don't fit into these 'beauty standards' and instead start seeing us for who we are...Beautiful.

But it's so hard. It's probably the most difficult thing to change about our conscious mind because we're defaulted to find the bad. I'm making it my goal to try, each and every day from now on, to stop judging myself so harshly by what 'society' expects me to be.

So this is to you, gorgeous woman or handsome man reading this. Look in the mirror. Say I am beautiful, handsome, and more then just what's on the outside. And mean it. Life is too short to let it pass you by and leave you saying 'I wish I had a picture of me to remember that'.