December Challenge: Photo A Day

What better time of year to host a Photo A Day challenge then the month of December? With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, things can so easily pass us by. Having a photo challenge helps stop and appreciate what’s around us and to document the merriment and sentiment of ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that this was inspired by a few other Baltimore bloggers who have done photo-a-day challenges in the past.

Dec photo a day.jpg

If you’d like to participate, tag photos on Instagram or Twitter with #jcmj, or tag me @jessjanksa. If that’s not your jam, feel free to send photos to me at or mention Just Call Me Janks on Facebook.

I’ll post a weekly wrap-up to show your work, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box & be creative!

I can’t wait to share in this challenge with you. Let’s get to snappin’ 🙂

T-Time Upper Body Workout

Form is everything when it comes to exercise. If you perform a move incorrectly, it can lead to pain and injury.

When completing the following upper body workout, make sure that you keep you core in tight, arms high when necessary & make those T shapes nice & strong.



Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer or fitness professional, just a gal who likes to exercise. Consult with a doctor before beginning any exercise routine. If anything hurts (in a bad way), STOP. 

Let’s Go!

Whew. And just like that, we’re all set for our trip. (Besides packing, of course.)


While in DC (for the second time in about a week), I got to have lunch with a good friend of mine. Since I’m not city gal, he nicely provided options close to the Foggy Bottom metro stop. (And yet….I still got lost – missing my metro stop then getting turned around once exiting the FB station. Whoops.)

We ended up at District Commons. We started with the pretzel baguette, and I ordered the curry roasted butternut squash bisque and with a side of fall vegetables. He got the District Commons ‘burger’ with fries.


Food was good, but the atmosphere is what really makes this place special. You don’t feel like you’re right off a main traffic circle. Our server was very knowledgeable and ready to provide suggestions/guidance when we were ordering. The price was a little steep for lunch, but what isn’t more expensive in DC? Totally worth it 🙂

district commons

And now to tackle the massive ‘to do’ list…have a great Tuesday!

Firsts and Lasts

They say you’re not supposed to do anything different on race day that you do for any other run. Well, when you’re used to running in 40-something degree weather and the temps on race day are in the 20s with winds (making it feel like 10), it leaves little choice but to alter the routine.

My biggest concern was clothing. Hat or headband? Gloves? Turtleneck or crew neck? I settled on wearing what I normally wear for my 40-degree runs (long pants on bottom, sports bra, tank, long sleeved shirt on top) and added a jacket. I purchased a wind-resistant headband and thin smartphone friendly gloves on Saturday, so they went on as well.

I went into the race with three goals:

A – finish the race, run the whole time, cross the finish in under an hour
B – finish the race, run the whole time
C – finish the race

If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you know what happened.

10K photo 1

Despite the conditions and the race itself, I finished my run with a time of 58:52. Goal A crushed! I also got third in my age group. Whoop, whoop!

Now, to talk about the race itself. The Bishops Events Turkey Tumble for Autism was certainly not what I expected. I picked up my packet on Saturday, and found that the medal I ordered (to commemorate my first 10K finish) was well, let’s just say it looks and feels like it was purchased in bulk. I got better medals for FREE from the other 5Ks I did earlier this year. Plus, who gives a medal at packet pick up? I could have easily not run the race while still reaping the rewards of a medal to add to my collection. (And trust me, with the weather the way it was, I considered it.)

This should have been my first sign to how the race would go. We arrived at the park where the race was held with a few moments to spare and I was immediately confused. Where was the start line? Am I in the right place?

Turns out I was.

The race was poorly organized (the 10K group started by following a truck around the course) and not marked well. Think golf signs with turn left, turn right, stay straight on them. Since there was no official start line, my GPS watch time was off (I didn’t have enough notice to start it before running, so I finished with a mileage of 5.75) and even Map My Run gave me a grand total of 6.12 miles. Since I wanted to make sure I hit 6.2 I kept running after exiting the chute. Better safe than sorry!

Additionally, there were no mile markers. Usually, I’m not a big fan, but in this case, I would have taken anything to let me know I was actually on the right path. Finally, I understand that it was frigid outside, but they should have also had more race support. In my mind, having people stationed around the course to cheer you on can be a game changer in your overall race-day emotions.

The upside to all of this was that the race wasn’t crowded. I was a bit concerned when I saw the race was two loops around the same course – thinking that I’d be tempted to start walking after the first loop was complete. However, that didn’t factor in at all. I often felt like I was on a solo run – allowing me to pace myself adequately while not feeling pressure to keep up/swerve around anyone. I kept a good pace throughout the race, but didn’t feel bad slowing down when the wind was whipping at my face or when we had to go up/down steps. (Yes, there were steps involved.)

Would I do another race by this company again? Probably not. But the wind, cold, and race day atmosphere can’t take the grin off my face.

At the beginning of the summer, I was working my way up to running a 5K distance. Now I’ve completed a 10K distance. I couldn’t have done it without the support & encouragement I’ve received both from the running community and from the JA. All of you help inspire me and push me to keep on reaching upward to bigger and better goals. Upon finishing the race, I told the JA that I ran over half of a half (marathon). He looked at me and laughed. “Whatever you want, babe…”

Stay tuned, my friends.


This post is part of the Marvelous in My Monday link up, hosted by Katie at Healthy Diva Life. Thanks for letting us start our weeks with you!

Sometimes All It Takes

Sometimes all it takes is a little something to make or break your day.

I woke up (and I use that term loosely) this morning with one desire: go back to bed. But as the JA came in to kiss me goodbye, he asked a simple question.

“Are you running today?”

And my wheels were turning. Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Then I saw Becky at Olives ‘n Wine‘s Pile on the Miles update. And looked at the weather. And decided to get my butt in gear.

Cloudy but not too cold. Made for a great, pre-race run.

Cloudy but not too cold. Made for a great shake out run.

2.30 miles ran, and .45 miles walked with the pup. Done, son! This puts me at over 80% in achieving my own Pile on the Miles goal.

Now, if only the weather would cooperate for my 10K on Sunday…

weather 11-24

What’s motivating you this week? The fact that it’s Friday is certainly motivation enough to get through the work day and on to the weekend!

Back and Forth (and Back Again)

This morning, the JA and I traveled into D.C. to turn in my passport. Hoping for the best (but expecting the worst), we finished earlier than we thought and returned to Baltimore with time to spare.

Too bad I have to return on Monday to pick up a new passport.

It was bittersweet turning my old document in – that passport took me all over Europe during a semester abroad in college, then to Scotland to visit a friend a few years later, and finally to St. Lucia for our honeymoon last December.

This passport will have my new name and this gem of a photo:

I've titled it, 'Passport Photo or Mugshot?'

I’ve titled it, ‘Passport Photo or Mugshot?’


Any good (or awesomely bad) travel stories? Most exotic place you’ve traveled? Dream destination? I’ve got an ‘American’ travel bucket list, but would love to go to Australia or Bali. Warmth, sunshine, and beaches, please!

Ballet Leg & Booty Burner

It’s no secret that I love my Barre Fusion classes. I danced through elementary and high school – participating in ballet, modern, pointe, and jazz classes at the end – and was so happy when I realized that ballet-inspired classes were becoming available.

In honor of my first exercise love, here’s a ballet inspired leg & booty burner!

Leg & booty burner

A few notes:
– Toe taps/pulses can be performed all at once (10 front, 10 side, 10 back) or as single reps (1 front, 1 side, 1 back – 10 times).
– Stand tall and remember to keep your pelvis tucked under to maximize the contraction in your glute.
– Use the plies as an active rest time, but keep your form! (For a video how-to on plies, click here.)
– Leg circles (also known as ronde de jambes, or rounding of the leg) should be performed in the same front-side-back motion as the toe-taps. For a video how-to, click here.
– Be aware of your hips – especially when taking your leg off the ground! Leg extension on toe-touches/pulses should come from the hip and leg circles should work your hip joint really well.
– Don’t be afraid to stabilize. Use a body bar, chair, table, mantle, couch, large stick, etc. to help keep you steady.

Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer or fitness professional, just a gal who likes to exercise. Consult with a doctor before beginning any exercise routine. If anything hurts (in a bad way), STOP.