It All Adds Up

Ever had those times in your life where it feels like a lot of little things add up to a bad day? That’s me this morning. A few things have been happening offline that are just bumming me out.

Remember that awesome summer trip I mentioned a few days ago? Not happening anymore.

The weather outside is getting nicer, but there’s still ice and snow to handle (as evidenced by my absolute failure of a morning run).

run fail.

run fail.

I went to bed last night feeling fine, but woke up this morning feeling extra mucousy. (I better not be getting sick!)

Watson has his first set of heart worm shots in two weeks, but the beast cannot be contained.

Although there’s nothing absolutely terrible listed above, they all add up to a ‘one of those days’ scenario. Yet, in my best effort to be an optimist, let’s list some good things to restore balance:

I went shoe shopping online yesterday and am pretty excited about my purchases. (Shop the sale here.)

pink toms

It’s Thursday and the weekend is within reach.

I’ve been baking up a storm and the results have been scrumptious!

pumpkin chocolate chip bars

The weather is warming up and (fingers crossed) things will get better enough for me to complete my 5 mile training run outside this weekend. NO maneuvering around ice or falling this time.

I’m feeling better already!

Thinking-Out-Loud

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Five Fitness Apps I Can’t Live Without

If you were to ask the JA one of his biggest pet peeves when it comes to my behavior it would be that I’m on my phone too much. Having a horrible computer (up until I got my brand new Mac for Christmas) put me in the bad habit of using my phone as a replacement. Yet, when it comes to fitness & health, it’s easier to track progress, find workouts, and stay motivated with apps! Below are a few of the apps I use on almost a daily basis:

Editor’s Note: This list obviously discounts social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – which I also can’t live without, but that’s for another day. All wording in italics is taken from app descriptions in iTunes or the apps website. I used iPhone information because that’s what I use. If you have an Android phone, a simple Google search should give you links for your device.

five fitness apps to try

fitsnap

FitSnap – FitSnap is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you create inspirational pictures from your workouts and other activities. Add your workout information on top of your photos to create beautiful images to share with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more. I recently found this app in an article about photography and it’s quickly become one of my favorite fitness photo apps. Just plug in your workout information, choose a filter & layout and you’re done!

popsugar active

PopSugar Active – Your fitness life should be fun, fulfilling, and easy to create. Loaded with video workouts and photo tutorials, POPSUGAR Active is designed to meet your exercise needs. Love, love, love the video workouts. It’s great to have in my pocket when I feel uninspired. Also has treadmill workouts which are helpful to use in lieu of the machine presets.

rock my run

Rock My Run Home of the best running & workout music in the world, RockMyRun is scientifically provenª to help you perform better during your next workout, better enjoy that workout and save you time. Rocky My Run is an easy way to find a mix that will motivate you to go that extra mile. I downloaded this app and have been loving the variety of mixes it’s provided thus far. My top picks? Fist Pump Run and Grrl Power Vol. 2.

sworkit

Sworkit Sworkit takes you through 5-60 minute circuit training workouts requiring no equipment. Just choose what part of the body to workout and for how long. Options include strength training, cardio, stretching, yoga, and even an option to create custom workouts. I’m loving this app for my HIIT & circuit training. The voice prompts are spaced out long enough to keep me motivated, the illustrations help me figure out poses/moves I don’t know, and my workouts/results are easy to share across social media platforms.

map my run

Map My Run Real-time fitness tracking, at your fingertips, on your iPhone, no extra devices required. Our apps use your smartphone’s GPS to record every detail of your workout. Follow your route on an interactive map while logging time, distance, speed, pace, elevation and calories burned. I love my Timex Marathon GPS watch to track my running on a regular basis, but Map My Run is a lot quicker for when I want to get out the door instead of waiting for the watch to find a satellite. Also great for tracking my race times and, most importantly, for walks with the dog.

This is part of my Try It Tuesday series – where I review items/services that I’ve tried and enjoyed. For more, check out the Try It Tuesday page!

What are some fitness apps you can’t live without?

The Rundown

Wednesday was one of those ‘I Fail at Life’ days.

This holiday season has snuck up on me & although the house is now decorated, I still feel ridiculously behind.

For as much as I’ve said this, you would think it would prompt some action. Yes, in the fact that I have a long to-do list. At the same time, when I’ve come home from work, I just want to veg out. Not so conducive to productivity there, Jess.

How did I procrastinate further? A run in our school’s brand spankin’ new athletic center. With a five-miler tomorrow morning, I knew I needed to log a few miles and certainly didn’t trust myself on the icy sidewalks. Girlfriend doesn’t need a busted lip right now.

treadmill

Once that was complete, I made a list (and checked it twice) – determined to knock some shopping off my to-do list. After attending a professional development workshop yesterday, I stopped by a few stores and feel much better about things. Perfect timing, because no one should be a sourpuss at a holiday party!

before leaving the house

before leaving the house

Have a good day & don’t forget to check back later for my weekly photo a day recap!

Uncommon Goods

We all have that person who either seems to have everything, buys things for themselves once the holiday sales start (I’m looking at you, Daddy Janks), or doesn’t express an interest in/want anything. It’s a struggle to find any, never mind the perfect gift.

Hopefully, UncommonGoods can help. This site was brought to my attention this weekend, after visiting a co-worker’s home. Apparently he is the KING of online shopping, but still found fun, unique gifts for his wife.

While I haven’t bought anything from the site (yet), here are a few things that are under $50 that I thought were pretty cool:

For the map lover (or new homeowner, perhaps?): Neighborhood Map Coasters

neighborhood coasters

For the chef: Elevate Kitchen Utensils

kitchen utensils

For the beer lover: Wooden Beer Tote with Bottle Opener

beer tote

For the techie: Portable iPhone Charger

portable iphone charger

There are plenty of other awesomely cool gifts on the site. As the company’s slogan states, “creative living. mindful giving.”

Happy shopping!

This is part of my Try It Tuesday series. Usually, it’s about items/services that I’ve tried and reviewed, but this was too good not to share. For more, check out the Try It Tuesday page!

Words and Deeds

This weekend, I ventured out to one of my favorite places – Home Goods. I went in looking for a dog bed, but, per usual, I ended up browsing the store and coming away with a ton of pictures on my phone.

For some reason, many of the ones from Saturday were pieces of art with decorative words and sayings.

words 1 words 2 words 3

Being a writer, reader, and general lover of words, these struck a chord. A good quote can lift you up, same as a snippy comment can bring you down.

Let’s try to not let the Monday blues get to us. Rather, let’s lift each other up and make this week a great one, shall we?

If you like these sayings, take a gander at my Pinterest board for ‘Words and Phrases.’ It’s where I go when I need a boost!

Black Friday Bug

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving yesterday. We had a slight change in plans when the JA’s cousin gave birth on Wednesday (her mother generally hosts dinner), but everything turned out well. His parents came over to my parent’s house and we all had a grand old time!

As we were watching football, I started sifting through the Black Friday ads. In years past, I never went out for Black Friday. I thought the people were crazy and ridiculous and would do anything to save a couple bucks. (You see where this is going, don’t you?) In our homes, family reins supreme on holidays – especially this year, as the JA and I are going to be away for Christmas. Paging through, I noticed some items that I have been craving for a while now. With a little nudging from the JA, I made my first Black Friday online purchase – a digital SLR camera.

After dinner, though, we were on a roll. He picked up Target’s ad and saw that they had a decent vacuum cleaner for a very competitive price. We didn’t receive the one on our registry, so I went back online and placed it in my shopping cart. Little did I know that after browsing a bit longer, it would have vanished! Argh – so close! Dinner was complete, his parents had left, there was a Target store within 15 minutes of the house and it opened within a half-hour. Do we really need this thing that badly? Are we going to be THOSE people who support the big store that makes people work on a holiday? In short, yes. With a blessing from my parents that they wouldn’t feel slighted (Mommy Janks can’t resist a good sale), we planned our strategy. (I will not wait in line if it’s ridiculously long. We are only buying this and potentially one other thing we wanted. Make it quick and easy, no fuss.)

For those of you wondering, yes, that is a moustache on the JA’s face. We are both very excited for Movember to finish in a few days.

I could not speak more highly of the Target staff. Upon arrival, we were offered complimentary snacks, they were clear about their process and procedures, informative (we were given maps of the store’s layout in advance) and were very helpful once we were inside.

We were a little nervous after hearing that both of the two couples ahead of us had their eyes on the same items as we did, but since that cleaner was our single priority, we made a beeline for it as soon as we could and walked away with one!

Returning victorious, Daddy Janks (who is known for getting up at the wee hours of Black Friday morning) had some more ‘suggestions’ for us. Thanks to our fantastic experience earlier in the night, we pulled ourselves out of bed this morning for two more items – a firesafe box for him and a Kindle paperwhite for me.

We still have plans to snag deals on more remaining registry items today, but we’re in no rush. We’re very pleased with our inaugural Black Friday purchases and who knows? Maybe we’ll do this again next year.

Are you a Black Friday shopper? If so, what’s the purchase you’re most excited about this year?

Birthday Bargains

**I’m going to preface this post with what may be obvious. I am NOT a fashion blogger. However, I was super excited about the following items and did my best with the time and resources I had to showcase them. I tried to link back to items when possible, but since most were on clearance at outlet stores, not much was to be found.**

My birthday was yesterday. Not a “big one” (I turned 29), and really not as big of a deal as I thought it would be. And that’s okay by me. The JA had one of his classes surprise me in my office with a ‘Happy Birthday’ serenade, I went to Book Club, and basically had a regular Wednesday.

However, with a day off on Monday, I did find time to treat myself. I budget a certain amount each month for miscellaneous items such as clothes, haircuts, etc. and for some reason the clothes money was burning a hole in my pocket. If you remember, I bought this dress from J.Crew Factory. Looks good, right? Not so much on me. I can’t find a cute sweater dress that doesn’t make me look like a big, unshapely blob of fabric. But I digress.

I had a meeting in Arundel Mills mall and figured that while I was there, I would return the dress to the J.Crew Factory store. Turns out, they were having a sale. On top of that, they give an educator’s discount. Girlfriend bought herself a sweater and a cute blouse for a little more than what the dress alone cost.

love, love, love it!

Then I saw a LOFT. Picked up a dress and shirt that were both on clearance.

There’s also a Banana Republic. (Seriously, this mall was the death of me that day.) I scored a dress and a cute tank top (both on sale). Banana doesn’t give an educator discount, but they do give one to AAA members. The dress had a rip in the side (directly on the seam) and when I asked if there was anything they could do about price, the salesperson gave it to me for the final clearance price. ULTIMATE SCORE. I came home, sewed the hole, and it’s as good as new.

hey there, gorgeous

I’m pretty happy with myself. So happy that I think I’m going to have myself a little fashion show. Excuse me while I go vogue in front of a mirror somewhere.