August 29, 2011

What a Weirdo

I haven't been TAGGED to do something bloggy in a long time, so thanks to the beautiful and funny Stephanie over at Lunges and Lunch for giving me a fun survey to do!  Take a few minutes and check out Stephanie's blog...she's Canadian (which you know I personally think is awesome), she tells funny stories about fireman showing up unexpectedly (okay maybe just that one time) and she's really inspirational when it comes to fitness and healthy living. 

Now, on to the fun questions!

1.) What's a nickname only your family calls you?
This is SO very random, but my mom and dad have always called me "Sally," and they still do to this day.  I have no idea why...I think my mom said at one point that it's because when I was a little girl I was very prissy and girly like Sally Brown from the Peanuts comic strip.  Interesting for many reasons, since I'm really more of  a very unladylike Peppermint Patty or bitchy/snarky Lucy most of the time.

2.) What's a weird habit of yours?
A weird habit?  Hmmm.  Well, I probably have a few that others could tell you right off the top of their heads, but do we really know our own weird habits? 

I suppose it may be considered strange that I LOATHE condensation from beverages.  I'm always the one wiping it up off the table or off my glass constantly.  I always use up the napkins I get in a drive-thru because I need to wrap them around my drink so I can hold it without having wet hands.  YUCK.  I HATE IT. 

3.) Do you have any weird phobias?
BIRDS.  I really really do not like birds.  I think they're dirty and their little feet are creepy, and I'm constantly afraid that they're going to dive-bomb me.  I was walking into the University union one day from a class, and a pigeon came out from under the awning area by the doors and I nearly flipped my shit because I was certain it was coming after me.  I do. not. like. birds.


4.) What’s a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you’re alone?
Oh, don't know me at all, do you?  You assume that I must be alone to belt out songs?  That I may be embarrassed if someone saw/heard/walked in on me singing, ever?  I mean I suppose that's how most normal people feel about belting out some jams, but...anyway, one of my favorites would definitely be "Every Time We Touch" by Cascada.  It's hard for me not to sing along with it when it comes on around on shuffle while I'm on a treadmill, but I fear that the other gym-goers may not appreciate my skillz. 

Oh and I may or may not totally act out my own personal music video to Adele's "Someone Like You."

5.) What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
Hmmm...another one that's difficult because I sometimes feel like I'm SO very easily annoyed. But overall, I think I'd say that any driving on this university campus can make my eye twitch faster than just about anything else. Slow drivers (slower than the 20mph speed limit!!), suddenly slamming on brakes because they think they've spotted an available parking space (not likely!), students darting out from nowhere on foot or on bicycle...just to name a few things that make my blood pressure spike.

6.) What’s one of your nervous habits?
I'm incredibly fidgety. I have a hard time sitting still.  But since I usually have to, I think I channel all my nervous energy into the one nervous habit that I've never been able to shake and probably never will: I'm a nailbiter. Always have been. I don't even realize I'm doing it half the time. I've tried on NUMEROUS occasions to break the habit, and I'll do really well for a few weeks...and then I gnaw them all off while in traffic (see #5 above) or something.

7.) What side of the bed do you sleep on?
The right side. MY SIDE.

8.) What was your first stuffed animal and it’s name?
I don't remember it's name...but I know I was VERY little, and it was a pink stuffed bear. The box it came in was its "chair" and I would sit in my own little chair next to it and we would watch t.v. I'm sure we were very cute.

9.) What’s the drink you always order at Starbucks?
How much money do I have? Usually it's just a Pike Place roast if I've only got a few bucks. But if I'm feeling treat-y or I have a gift card it's a soy, sugar-free hazelnut latte (in the colder months) or an iced coffee (in the summertime).

10.) What’s a beauty rule you preach, but never actually practice?
Well I wouldn't say never...but I definitely think it's incredibly important to wash your face every night..or at least take off your eye makeup. I am pretty good about doing this, especially in the summer when my face feels nasty after sweating all day or running, but I admit to being super lazy about this at times. Even my husband chastises me about it.

11.) Which way do you face in the shower?
I stand with my back to the water unless I'm washing/rinsing my face. I never understood why people in the movies faced the shower....most of your hair is on the BACK of your head, isn't it? I don't get it.

12.) Do you have any ‘weird’ body ‘skills’?
I'm enjoying that both "weird" and "skills" are in quotation marks. It amuses me. I mean...I don't know? I can pick up things with my toes like a monkey. Is that a "weird" "skill?"

13.) What’s your favorite comfort food thats ‘bad’ but you love to eat it anyways?
Again with the quotes! "Bad?" As in it's been naughty? Or that it's generally frowned upon as an unhealthy food choice? The answer is pizza. I could eat pizza 5 nights a week and, as long as it wasn't the same kind from the same place each night, never ever get tired of it. I LOVE PIZZA.

14.) What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say?
"Dude." I use it a LOT.

15.) Time to sleep, what are you actually wearing?
Wouldn't you like to know?? Seriously, I usually wear a t-shirt or tank top with panties. I get SUPER hot, even in the winter, and I can't stand having PJ pants all tangled up around my legs. Since I was a child I've been known to wake up with my nightgown/shirt/pants tossed across the room in my sleep. Lately I've been wearing prettier nightgowns to bed, but even those get all tangled up around me and I hate it.

16.) What did you used to wear that you thought was cool but now you realize it wasn’t that hot?
Oh lord, probably LOTS of things, but the first one that came to mind was the super sexy (NOT) black eyeliner/white eyeliner combination back in the 90s. Ugh. Thank GOD that trend went way out of style and never looked back.


Well that was fun! And now I'm thinking maybe I kind of am a weirdo, with some of these answers...

So, whom shall I tag? How about these four awesome people:

1. Rachel at We Are the Naslunds
2. Lindsay at Coffee. Camera. Kombucha. Keyboard.
3. Laura Leigh at .....
4. Sarah at Sarah Snacks

Have fun!

August 26, 2011

Fitness Friday -- First 5k Edition

Good morning, friends! (Don't you love how I only post a Fitness Friday when I'm not completely embarrassed about the last weeks' activities? Oh well, at least I can admit it, right? RIGHT?)

So it's FRIDAY,and I'm doing my best to wake up and get the day moving after staying up way, way too late last night.

But sleepy though I may be, I"m feeling pretty great this morning.  A little sore, but incredibly accomplished.  You see, yesterday, I had a really good run.  And I had a pretty good run on Monday, too!  Let's talk about Monday's first....

After last Thursday's quite grumpy post, I tried to get myself out of my funk by going for a treadmill run.  I left that run feeling even poopier because my pace SUCKED and it was really hard.  Just goes to show you that sometimes even exercise can't bust you out of your funk, and you just have to have a crappy day.  Well, on Monday I got on the treadmill again and thought, "Okay, treadmill...why should I let you slow me down??" 

So, instead of picking the speed I usually pick, I bumped it up until it showed me a speed that would give me a pace/mile similar to what I'd been achieving outside.  Then I covered up the display and decided to run for 30 minutes.  I actually ran for 32:39 because I wanted to finish a song.  I lifted up the towel and saw that I'd achieved 2.45 miles at a pace of 13:19/mile.  My fastest outside so far has been 13:06, so I was pretty pleased!

My plan was to run again on Wednesday, but we got invited to a Red Sox/Rangers game, so I decided I'd just go Thursday.

All day yesterday, I was waffling about whether or not I wanted to go run.  I was THIS CLOSE to just skipping it.  Then I got a series of messages from the amazing Sarah over at Sarah Snacks informing me that she'd just registered us for the Labor of Love race in McKinney, Texas on Labor Day (she's doing the 10k, I'm doing the 5k).  First of all, HOW AWESOME is Sarah for sponsoring me for my first 5k?!  Do me a favor and go visit her blog and tell her how awesome she is for doing that for me...

So....all thoughts of skipping my run flew immediately out the window since now I'm actually running a 5k for the first time ever in about a week.  Cue the butterflies in my tummy.  Eeeek!  I've already started formulating a plan (which may or may not include a LOT of googling about "tips for your first 5k") and I'm very excited to be participating with Sarah and having Laura along for the ride for support and photography.

I got to the gym yesterday intending to do a repeat of Monday's treadmill run, but since it was the first day of classes, the place was MOBBED, and no treadmills were available.  So I headed upstairs to the indoor track and decided I really oughta push myself past my typical 2.5-ish mile mark since I have to run 3.1 in a week.  A few things I did differently than usual as I ran in circles:
  • I refused to look at the digital clock on each lap, so I wouldn't worry about time
  • I counted DOWN the laps, instead of up.  This actually helped a LOT mentally...I was counting how many I had left, rather than how many I still had to go.  Plus I always lose count and err on the side of caution, so who knows if I actually even ran more than the 3.13 miles that 25 laps approximately equals.
  • I stopped a couple of times to stretch/slow down/walk but not for long. I wanted to keep going...not to push my body too hard, but because I wanted to keep running.
  • I made an effort to try to go a little faster when I felt good, but didn't try to maintain a ridiculous pace if I needed to catch my breath a little.
The result?  3.13 (ish) miles in 40:23 with an average pace of 12:54/mile!

Who's awesome? THIS GIRL
I was REALLY proud of myself and I felt really accomplished that I'd run a 5k (in circles, but still...) in less than 45 minutes. 

I also learned that I need to do this a few times next week to get my body used to it before I do it outdoors.  I felt great for the first 2 miles, started getting tired around 2.5, which is what my body is used to running, and really had to give myself some pep talks in those last 5 or 6 laps because my body was really getting tired.  In retrospect I suppose I could've stopped/slowed down to stretch and keep my body feeling good, but I was afraid I wouldn't start back up again.  Live and learn, right?

SO YEAH!  Good week!  Didn't run as MUCH as I would've liked, but it was a very accomplished week for me mentally and my pace/mile even improved a little bit. 

I've also found that having some good tunes can really pump me up in a run.  Here's what my iPod decided I should hear yesterday:

I'm not gonna lie...every time I hear "Club Can't Handle Me" on a run, I can't help but go a little faster and get excited.  That's one I'm gonna have to make SURE comes up on my playlist when I run on Labor Day! 

Sorry for such a LONG post, but I am very excited about my running right now, and I am really proud of this crazy body of mine for adapting to a spot where I can say things I never thought I'd say ("I miss running!"  "2 miles is easy!"  etc.).

Have a GREAT weekend!

August 25, 2011

That Other Thing in my Blog Title


Just the other day I was thinking to myself, "Self! Your blog is called 'Music and Baseball,' and yet you NEVER talk about baseball!" Self was right. I do LOVE baseball. Love love LOVE it. But I don't really blog/write about it. Why? Because I'm not a sports blogger. There are others out there who would do a MUCH better job writing about games/players, etc. I just love watching it.

Last night, some friends of ours we haven't spent time with in FOREVER scored some pretty sweet seats to the Rangers game and, since the Red Sox (OUR TEAM!!) were in town for a 4-game series, they invited us!

I absolutely love the Ballpark in Arlington (even though now we have to pass by the Death Star aka Cowboys Stadium [gag] to get there), and I just LOVE being at baseball games.

There was a teeeeeeeeny tiny little bit of rain that came through Dallas right before the game (what a tease you are, Rain) that cooled things down to a nice, breezy 85 degrees -- which felt like HEAVEN -- and gave us some lovely clouds.

The Rangers got a pretty good thumping from Josh Beckett and the Red Sox (final score: 13-2), and since we were only about 20-ish rows behind the Red Sox dugout, I was geeking out nonstop at being so close to all my boyfriends and husbands on the Red Sox roster. 

I was gonna talk about how much I hate it when good-natured trash-talking crosses the line into people being jackasses, but I don't wanna talk about the negative.  We had a GREAT time at the game! 

I also ran into LAURA and her boyfriend Matt after the game, but I was STUPID and forgot to snap a quick picture.  BAD Blogger!

I did manage to get video of the beast that is Jonathan Papelbon delivering the final strike for the last out of the game (notice how many Rangers fans are left...NOT MANY) and a picture of the Red Sox on the field after the game.

(ETA: that video quality is CRAP!  Watch it in HD here on Vimeo instead)

Then I had to snap a picture of the Death Star on the walk back to the car...because even though it is the Place Where Evil is Created, it is quite pretty all lit up at night:

All in all it was a VERY fun night of baseball! Thanks again to our friends Aaron and Ashley for the great seats and thank you to the RED SOX for just being amazing. Go Sox!

August 24, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 13

I can't believe this is WEEK 13!  Crazy! Let's get to it!

So, what is Life Well Lived?  It's very simply a celebration of the things (big or small) that enrich our everyday lives.  So let's talk about today's things that, I feel, make my life WELL LIVED.
(Don't forget to follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Blog, or just tweet about what makes your #LifeWellLived (don't forget the hashtag) and join in the fun!)

Today I wanna talk about how my life is well lived because I am surrounded by talented people in my life. There is NO WAY I am gonna be able to mention every single talented person in my life in this post, so PLEASE don't get hurt/offended/butthurt about it! I just wanna call attention to a few:

Right now, some of my friends in Sundown Collaborative Theatre are performing their show Happily Ever After (written and directed by Cody Lucas, who is also performing in the production) at the FringeNYC Festival in New York, NY.  They have been relentlessly rehearsing this show for four garages (in stifling triple-digit temperatures, mind you) in dance studios, wherever they can find a place.  And on Monday night?  They performed it at the festival.

Photo by Tiffany Hillan

Yesterday, my friend Tashina (pictured below as a creepy-as-hell Rapunzel) posted on her Twitter that their performance was reviewed and that she was pretty much overwhelmed (in a good way!) by how well they were received.  Check out their amazing review here

Photo by Tiffany Hillan
Also, Tashina and Travis (pictured below, left) (that's Zane on the right) have posted trip diaries on  You can read those here and here.  I will admit that I got a little verklempt reading both the trip diaries and the review.  I'm VERY proud of my friends.  Proud of them for their accomplishment, and proud that they are representing little ol' Denton, Texas in New York City as well as they are. Also? I cannot WAIT to work with them on their next production, Cafe des Artistes, in November (Tashina is directing it, and it's gonna be awesome).

Photo by Tiffany Hillan

Also, even though I talked about this yesterday already, I'm SUPER proud of my friends in Manic Bloom for making their very first (awesome) music video.  It's so awesome to see the product of your friends' labor when they are so passionate about what they do, and I couldn't help but smile the entire time I watched their video

Finally, I just wanna share some YouTube videos of some of my friends' performances.  The first one is my AMAZING husband in a production of Pirates of Penzance:

My friend Andrew Tinker's official music video...he's like Jason Mraz, only cuter!

My good friend Max, (whom I mayyyyyy have a teeny tiny little talent crush on) singing "This is the Moment" and just generally being awesome:

And FINALLY, one of my favorite videos I've ever uploaded -- my friends dancing in a producion we did of Crazy For You back in 2009.

I LOVE TAPPING!  I wish I could do it!

ANYWHO, not bad for just a VERY SMALL SAMPLING of the talented people in my life, huh?  Seriously, I could devote an entire blog to the talent pool of my friends and this Dallas/Ft. Worth community, but for now, I'll just stick with this post.

So there you have it!  Another week of praising what things make my life WELL LIVED!  I encourage you to play along and write your own post!  Happy Wednesday!

August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tunes -- Manic Bloom, "In Loving Memory"

I had a TOTALLY different blog post in mind for Tuesday Tunes today, but when I got to work and opened up my social networking sites, I did a big ol' Homer Simpson "D'OH!" because I had TOTALLY FORGOTTEN that today is a very special day for my friends in the Nashville-based melodic rock band Manic Bloom.

First of all, I feel a bit pretentious calling them my "friends."  Yes, I have met them a few times and I got some hugs and such (be jealous...they ARE as gorgeous as they look on t.v./the internet).  But how did I find out about them?  I actually went to church back in high school with their keyboard player, Jeff (they call him "Hildee." I just can't...he's always Jeff to me stubborn I guess!).  When I reconnected with him on Facebook, I found out he was in this band, and that they were going to be playing in Arlington (about an hour from where I live), so I drove out there one night to say hi to Jeff and check out the band.

I. Loved. Them.

Seriously, I haven't rocked out that much at a concert since I was in the early days of college.  (I know you're looking at that picture of me on the sidebar and laughing uproariously at the thought of me "rocking out" to anything, was my own white-girl version of rocking out, so SHUT UP!)

Since then I've also seen them play IN Nashville (BFF girls trip back in January) and again when they played at an event where I work (on a college campus). 

So what's so special about today?  TODAY they released their very first official music video for the track "Death and Conversation" off their album In Loving Memory.  Check out the vid:

I had a HUGE smile on my face when I was done watching the video.  SUPER proud of these guys!!  They'll be playing here in Denton again at the UNT Friends & Family weekend on September 24th, and I can't WAIT to hug all of them and hear them play again!

Also? You should TOTALLY get the album on iTunes.  It's really really good, and perfect for getting you through those tough last few minutes/miles of a workout (believe me...I know from experience).

Plus?  They are just kind, funny, caring guys who happen to also be immensely talented. And funny.  And talented.  (seriously, check out some of the other videos on their YouTube'll crack up)

So today?  Enjoy some MANIC BLOOM! 

Party on, Garth! /really bad air guitar

August 22, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays -- The Last Thing

Happy Monday, lovers!

Since it's Monday,it's time again for:

I hopped on over to see what Kenlie chose today, and it was another survey! Which means I decided to do another vlog! ('re welcome?)

Here are the questions:

FMM: The Last Thing

1) What is the title of the last book you read?
2) What is the last movie you saw in a theater?
3) Briefly describe the last person you saw today.
4) Which store did you most recently shop in?
5) Who’s the last person you spoke to over the phone?
6) Where’s the last place you vacationed?
7) When was the last time you kissed someone of the opposite sex?
8) What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
9) What’s the latest app that you downloaded on your phone?
10) What’s the last kind thing you did for someone?

Aaaaaand here are my answers, Vloggy Style!

Enjoy! Pop on over to Kenlie's blog and play along!  Make sure you leave a comment so you can get the comment love on your own post!

Have a great day, everyone!

(ETA: I just wanna say I LOVE FMM.  I woke up excited to get to work and see what today's topic was, and now that I've made my post, I'm sad that it's over.  Hurry up and go comment on Kenlie's post so I can go read more blog posts!)

August 18, 2011

Grumpy and Discouraged

I've written and deleted and re-written and deleted about three things this morning, and I wasn't even sure I wanted to publish this blog today. 

But sometimes we have to get real.

I'm grumpy.  I'm discouraged.  And I'm disappointed in myself.

I've made some good eating choices this week, but the weak moments have definitely triumphed.  and I feel gross because of it.

I've gone back to only taking pictures from the boobs UP because I'm unhappy with how soft I feel/look.  See above about poor eating choices. 

I'm so tired of being hot.  I can't make myself want to run at 6am when it's ONLY 89 degrees outside and when I WANT to run, it's 104.  So I don't go.  Therefore, I haven't run since last Thursday's cool run in the rain.

I am afraid to be this brutally honest because I've been so slammed for "spiraling" or having a "negative online personality" that I feel like everything that comes from my fingertips to this blog needs to be uplifting and sunshine and puppies and rainbows or else I'll be outcast (again).

I need some rejuvenation.  I need cool breezes.  I need to drink hot coffee drinks without sweating.  I need to be able to wear my scarves and long-sleeved tees again.

I'm ready for a shift/change in gears.

I feel restless and grumpy.

Anyone else out there feeling this?  Or is it just me (oh dear GOD I hope not)?

August 17, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 12

Happy Wednesday, friends!  It's time for another installment of Life Well Lived over here at Music and Baseball.  First of all -- WELCOME to the new readers I've gotten lately!  My stats have really spiked over the last week or so, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  More blog readers definitely make me wanna keep blogging, so keep stopping by and keep commenting.  I love it!

So, what is Life Well Lived?  It's very simply a celebration of the things (big or small) that enrich our everyday lives.  So let's talk about today's things that, I feel, make my life WELL LIVED.
(Don't forget to follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Blog, or just tweet about what makes your #LifeWellLived (don't forget the hashtag) and join in the fun!)

1. I started a book club! And we've already had 3 meetings (and counting...).

As part of my 101 in 1001 goals (see tab at the top of this page...I guess one of my goals should be to actually FINISH THE LIST, huh??), I have started a book club!  We had a meeting last night to discuss The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (not one of my favorite books, but's all about trying new things, right?), and it was a really great discussion.  Now we just need to get more members! (hint hint)

2. I've now left 5 (of 50) Operation Beautiful notes!

Another of my 101 in 1001 goals was to leave 50 Operation Beautiful notes in different places and photograph each one.  Click on the Operation Beautiful tab at the top of this page to see what I've done so far, and BY ALL MEANS, start carrying post-its and a sharpie around with you and do the same!  I guarantee you it will change your whole day around and you just may make someone else's day.

3. I still crack myself up (especially when it comes to conversations with my Bestie/Evil Twin Shelly).

I may or may not have made myself laugh for a good 5 minutes after this text conversation happened yesterday...and TRUST ME, there are so many more gems that I could be posting...I just had to pick a (relatively) PG-rated one to post on the ol' blog.  ;)  Shelly is one of the few people that have been around for over 2 decades in my life, and seriously?  We laugh. all. the. time.  It's awesome.

4.  I have a "local haunt."

I've already given some of the reasons I Heart Denton on this blog, but I REALLY REALLY DO love my little hipster/hippie town.  One of my favorite things about Denton is my very favorite bar -- The Loophole.

It (and another bar I love across town called II Charlies) is owned by a friend I used to wait tables with about (gasp!) 13 years ago.  It's got a great atmosphere, great drink specials....I just love it.  It's my go-to place with friends, and very very likely where I will spend my 30th birthday.  Low key and awesome.  Love it. 

(No really, I'm not an alcoholic...haha..ha...*awkward silence*)

So now it's your turn!  Pick a few things and tell me why your life is WELL LIVED!  Comment!  Put a link to your list!  And have a great day!

August 15, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays -- The Driving Force

I got a lot of great traffic on last week's Friend Makin' Mondays post and frankly it just made MY day to write that letter to myself! 

It's Monday, which means it's time to play again!

Here's today's topic that Kenlie chose:

FMM: The Driving Force

What is the driving force behind your weight-loss?

Hmmm.  I could be very simple with this or I could get a little deep on you all....I'll try to find a balance, how's that?

If you click on the Healthy Living tab at the top of this blog, you'll get a quick rundown and some of my favorite links from when I started my weight loss journey up until fairly recently (a couple months ago...I should really update that page). 

When I started my weight loss journey, the driving force was that I hated the girl I saw in pictures.  It's a strong sentiment to say that I "hated" her, but....I kinda did. That's not the person I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I guess my self-image wasn't too terrible, huh?  But the cold hard facts were there: the number on the scale, the size on the tags of my clothes, and, if I'm honest, the way I felt every time I went shopping, got dressed, was around thinner girls, etc.  The part of me I buried down deep within me and convinced myself didn't exist because I was happy! I was accepted! I was talented! 

So I changed my lifestyle habits.  And I made a LOT of progress in one year

Then, once the weight started coming off and the attention started pouring in, I felt amazing.  I thrived on the attention and the compliments.  And if I'm honest...again...I focused too much on that part.  I started to lose myself a little bit and become a little bit more vain and self-focused than I should have been.  My relationship suffered some and my priorities were in the wrong place.

I had a bit of a wake up call after the 3-Day walk, when my feet and legs were way too banged up and painful to really work out like I had been.  I gained some weight back...along with some perspective.  There were other factors that helped with that...some relationship revelations...some spiritual growth and personal growth...etc.  (This is the part where I'll save you from a SERIOUS trip into Mandy's brain. You're welcome.)

So while of course there is still a driving force to want to fit into that One Special Size of jeans and to play that One Dream Role and to feel good about myself and be pretty and get compliments (don't tell me you don't love getting attention! the day I stop loving attention is the day hell freezes over!)....I'd say my driving force NOW?

I want to be healthy and live a long and fulfilling life.

I don't want the old laziness and complacency to return and be the cause of health problems.

I don't want the manic desire to be thin and pretty to return and cause problems in my mental and physical well-being so that I lose focus of the person I really am inside.

I want to maintain a healthy attitude towards my size and appearance and take pride in how I look, but I don't want it to define me. 

I'd rather be remembered for being joyful, happy, healthy and loving than for being hot.

I may always have thick legs...but they will carry me across finish lines and help me in lifting and chasing after my (someday) children.  I may always have a round behind, but it will never cease to be smacked when I walk by my husband. ;) 

Last thought:  I went to a funeral recently and as I sat there and contemplated my mortality, as we all are wont to do in that situation, I prayed fervently and earnestly that the Lord would keep me on this earth until I am old and gray so that I may experience ALL that this earthly realm has to offer.  He has the ultimate say, of course, but I have a responsibility to make sure that I keep myself as healthy and happy as possible so as to prolong the life I've been given. 

So. What's YOUR driving force to lose weight and be healthy?

August 12, 2011

Fitness Friday (I KNOW!)

So, remember how it's been WEEKS since I posted a Fitness Friday blog?  Yeah.  It's because I've been ASHAMED, people!  I haven't been completely lazy, but I've gotten about as close to doing nothing as possible.  I could blame the heat.  I could be REALLY lame and blame my period (ewwww! run away, boys!).  But I won't.  I've run a few times...walked the pup a few times...but I've been spending a LOT of time doing awesome things like coloring at coffee shops and getting my picture taken and sleeping.

Healthy LIVING, right? RIGHT.


I haven't been exactly active (exercise-wise, anyway) this week, either, but I did want to talk about a major accomplishment I felt yesterday.

As you may or may not know if you aren't living in Texas right now, yesterday ended a 40 day streak of days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees. Yes, it feels like the bowels of HELL.  I ran on Monday afternoon at the indoor track in the gym (which is boring) just because it's too hot to be outside after about 9am. Well, I packed my gym bag yesterday expecting to go run indoors again after work, because I was DYING to run again this week(I know...WHO HAVE I BECOME??).

However, around 1pm, something strange happened.  It got very cloudy outside...and dark...and the wind picked up...

Out of sheer curiosity, I logged on to and saw that the current temperature was SEVENTY NINE DEGREES.  I immediately changed into my running clothes, grabbed my iPhone and took off outside. 

There were sprinkles of rain on my face!!  It was WINDY and the gusts were COOL!  Seriously, I was running with a giant smile on my face because it felt so great outside! Everyone I passed walking on campus smiled at me, people seemed to have a spring in their step....we so badly needed that brief reprieve from the heat! I couldn't help thinking about the way Phoebe runs on "Friends."

My iPod was rocking with me:

I stopped towards the end of my run to snap a picture of the clouds, just for evidence in case it doesn't happen again for months:

When I got back to my office, I checked my iMapMyRun app to save my workout and saw that I ran my best time per mile EVER.  Yes, I'm still slow, compared to most "real runners," but just some data for you...
I checked my past workouts and saw that on June 2nd I completed a 2.25 mile run at a pace of 16:26 per mile.  Yesterday I completed a 2.25 mile run at a pace of 13:06 per mile.

Boom. I was a happy girl.

Of course, after the rain passed, the clouds also disappeared and the temperature rose back up to a nasty and humid 97 degrees...but no matter, because I had jumped at the opportunity to get outside and feel a cool breeze on my face and feel strong and fast(er) and HAPPY!


“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

August 11, 2011

Lesser Self vs. Higher Self -- A Diptic Project

The amazing Lindsay, (her photography blog is here, and all photos in this post were taken by her), who is a founding member of the Denton Women's Collective (I can't wait til we have a web site so I can hyperlink it when I blog about our meetings and current projects!), recently photographed me for a project she's been working on.  She wanted to put two photographs of her subjects side by side—photos which depict the subject's "Lesser Self" vs. their "Higher Self." 

Being the camera whore that I am, I volunteered to be part of her project.  She asked me to start thinking before I came over to her loft for the photo session... "Think of your insecurity/proudest accomplishment or a name you were once called/a role you're aspiring to, etc." 

My knee-jerk reaction when I think of "insecurity" is usually my weight or my size, but when I really stopped to think about this, I's not what really bothers me.  People can call me fat or ugly or whatever, and it will, of course, hurt my feelings...but the fact of the matter is, I don't for one second believe that I am ugly. I don't think that I'm fat (anymore), either.  I still have goals, sure...I want to lose some more weight and be able to run a 10k some day, but I don't think I'm "fat."  So, what is something someone has called me or said to me that truly felt like a punch in the stomach?

I didn't want to admit this...which is why I ended up using it for the project...

In recent months, I was told by a small handful of friends/theatre colleagues that I was one or more of the following things:

  • Mean
  • Hurtful
  • Negative
...and then the knockout punch that sent me into a tailspin:
  • Judgmental

I mean, let's face it.  We're all a little bit judgmental.  Theatre people are, I daresay, the worst about it.  Mostly because we're also some of the most insecure people on the planet, but that's another post for another day and time. 

But...the person who called me this said it in a long line of attacks on my character and, based on the numerous discussions this person and I had had about my faith and his questions of faith, I knew that it was more than just talking about a soprano I didn't like or someone who had no business playing an ingenue at that age. 

I felt like it was an attack on an area where I feel the most afraid and the most vulnerable (and often, where I feel I fail the most consistently) -- my faith and my relationship with God.

I've said before how afraid I am of alienating people or becoming unrelatable (that's a word, right?) or coming across as being "better than" anyone because of my faith, and this person knew that, and so I felt like he chose that word as the killer blow very carefully and purposefully.  I remember that day so painfully clearly because I sat in my friend Jo's car and just ugly cried like a toddler (you know, the hiccuping, can't breathe kind of crying that's SO attractive) because I felt like I'd failed. As a friend and as a Christian. 

It broke my heart.

Since then, I've come to terms with the fact that, yes, I can and WILL make better judgment calls and think more clearly about the ramifications of things I post/say/write...we all can, right?  But a lot of what it comes down to is this:

I can control the motivations behind what I say and do, but I cannot control everyone's reactions.

All I can do is continue to try my own personal best every day to be the best Mandy I can be.  I will still be snarky and catty at times, which may come across as judgmental...I will mess up, but that does not make me a failure or a terrible person...and I will try my very best to be loving and kind and positive.  That's the "higher self" I will aspire to be.

August 10, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 11

Hello, readers!  It's WEDNESDAY, so that means it's time to celebrate LIFE WELL LIVED!
In case you needed a reminder, LIFE WELL LIVED is all about celebrating ALL the joys in your life, both big and small.

(Don't forget to follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Blog, or just tweet about what makes your #LifeWellLived (don't forget the hashtag) and join in the fun!)

Let's get to it, shall we??

Today is kind of a special day for LWL, because I'm using part of a project I'm working on with the wonderful ladies of the Denton Women's Collective I've been a part of for a couple of months now. At our last meeting, I asked each girl to send me a picture of herself that she loved along with 10 things she loves about herself. Here are a few that I've gotten so far, with my own at the bottom (click on the pictures to see the larger versions):

1.) Brittany

1. I have smooth, soft skin like a baby. Seriously, I forgot to put lotion on this morning, but you could never tell by rubbing these elbows.

2. I have really, really good taste in music. Ok, look, I know this could be considered subjective, and I definitely make up for it when it comes to television (Jersey Shore comes back this week….GTL, baby!), but my music collection runs the gamut from The Band to The Avett Brothers and everything in between, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

3. I have a big ol’ booty, I’m good with that! No matter how many lunges and squats I do, it’s just not going anywhere, but that’s ok. In fact, it’s one of the few parts of my body that I don’t often wish was smaller. It makes me feel curvaceous and feminine and besides, even white boys got to shout, baby got back.

4. I’m almost always willing to give someone a second chance. Sometimes this makes people say I’m too nice (as if there is such a thing!), and sometimes it means I have to learn my lessons the hard way (just fyi, the FIRST time your boyfriend lies to you would be good time to dump his ass). But it also means that when a friendship or relationship ends, I can leave it knowing I gave it my all, feeling peaceful about the way I handled things.

5. I’ve been told I have a warm smile. You know how the best compliments always come from a stranger, someone who has absolutely nothing to gain from being nice to you? Well when I was in college I got a call from a family looking for a nanny, and I had to tell them that I had just found a job and wouldn’t be able to interview with them. They told me they were disappointed because that had seen my picture and loved my “warm smile.” Isn’t that one of the greatest compliments you ever heard?! That was 8 years ago and it’s stuck with me!

6. I’m good at being an adult. That sounds silly, but I’m really proud of the fact that I live on my own, am financially independent, and can put together a console table all by myself (and in less than 20 minutes, holla!). And when my boyfriend of six years cheated on me on a business trip, I moved out of our house without once losing my shit and slashing his tires or throwing his electronics out of a second-floor window. If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is!

7. I have awesome hair. I was at the mall a few weeks ago, and as I strolled through the purse department I overheard a clerk say to her co-worker, “That girl’s hair is so cute! I think that’s how I should cut mine.” And while I’ve been pulling my hair back mostly just to avoid, you know, DEATH, during this summer heat wave, four people have told me they love my little pony tail this week alone! Sure, this is mostly thanks to my awesome hair stylist, but hey, I rock it!

8. I am a hard core planner. My absolute favorite Christmas gift last year was a “Life Planner” my brother gave me. It has my name on the front and pockets and tabs and stickers and just….guh….it’s ridiculous the amount of pleasure it brings me. I’ve recently become obsessed with the ColorNote app (Post-Its on your phone!!!) and I can make a list like nobody’s business. Sometimes I feel like I need to focus more on being spontaneous and going with the flow, but being such a planner means I’m able to arrange days off work to hit up a music festival, or put together an awesome bachelorette party for my best friend, or even help plan an awesome community outreach event for young girls!

9. I kind of have great boobs. They’re small enough that I can get away without wearing a bra when it’s 109 degrees out (seriously, c’mon, mother nature!), but existent enough to look pretty hot in a low cut shirt.

10. I can say with certainty that I touch people’s lives. This is most definitely the thing on my list I am MOST proud of. I work with kids with learning disabilities, so almost every single day I have the opportunity to make a difference for them. There are days I want to bang my head against a wall while simultaneously poking myself in the eye with a pencil. But then someone goes and does something amazing, like reading an entire page from a grade-level book without a single error, or clearly articulating the difference between multiplication and division, or giving me live frogs for teacher appreciation week (yeah, that for reals happened) and I remember why I am so incredibly proud of what I do. A kid told me once, “Ms. Sassaman, I’m getting smarter, and it might be because of you.” And that’s plenty of reason to love myself right there.

2. Vassi

3. Rachel

4. Mandy

Also, I've been toying with the idea of making my own commercial like the now famous Dove commercial (seen here), and I decided to give it a shot yesterday.  The commercial shows how quickly a very beautiful woman is turned into someone completely unrecognizeable, but who is the person we see on billboards and magazine advertisements for cosmetics. I actually feel like with this song I should be taking OFF my makeup, but I think that the message this ends up sending is that it's kind of sad how much time we spend (yes, I'm guilty of it) putting on makeup and trying to enhance ourselves. There's some irony in there, so I kept it the way it is.

I encourage you to try EITHER of these projects to remind yourself that you are beautiful JUST the way you are made.  Wear makeup, sure, and feel girly (like I talked about here in my girly questions Vlog), but remember that you really are perfect just the way you are!

August 8, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays -- Letter to Myself

So, if you'll recall my awesome Vlog post from last week that I got from Laura, who apparently got it from a blog called All the was apparently part of a series called "Friend Makin' Monday." 

Because I need yet another day-of-the-week blog post idea (no really! it keeps me blogging!), I think I'll play along again. 

Today's theme is "A Letter to my Future Self."  How interesting and appropriate! See, I'm working quietly on a blog post and project right now with the women in the Denton Women's Collective I've been meeting with for a couple of months now.  I've asked each girl to do 2 things: 1) take a current picture of yourself that you love, and write down 10 things you love about yourself, and 2) find a picture of yourself from middle school/early high school and write a letter to yourself at that time in your life (i.e., "Dear Middle-School Mandy...."). 

ALSO, one of my DayZero/101 in 1001 tasks is to write a letter to myself to be read when 1001 days have passed.  SO THIS IS PERFECT!

So here goes.

Dear Future Mandy,

Today is a Monday, and you're having a good morning so far.  Also, your hair looks kind of awesome, considering that you slept on it wet:

I just want to tell you a few things about your current life that I hope you are still recognizing and remembering in a few years:
  • Right now you're approaching the end of what will be a 5 month break from theatre.  You've really enjoyed being at home with your husband and pup, reading books, watching baseball, and making your life well lived.  Performing is important to who you are as a person, but spending time with friends and family and time by yourself and for yourself is both good and necessary for your soul and your peace and happiness.  Don't forget that.  Nobody wants another 2009
  • You are currently about 15 pounds from your goal weight.  But you care about that number less and less the more active you are and the more personal goals you reach (right now you're hoping to be ready for a 5k in September and possibly a 10k after that) and the happier you are with your life (see above re: taking breaks). Being a size __ is important to you as a personal goal, so I hope that you've reached that point by then, but more than anything I hope you are even more healthy and fit and happy than you are right this minute.

  • Lately, you've been focusing on your husband and the people who are truly important to you in your life, rather than having a HUGE circle of "fringe friends."  I hope that, by the time 1001 days are over and you're reading this again, that you've continued to invest in the frienships that truly matter and that those friendships are even stronger.
  • You've currently been deleting your devotional emails along with all the junk mail you receive overnight. STOP DOING THAT.  Remember how much happier and more peaceful you felt when you took a measely 10 or 15 minutes to read them while you drank your coffee?  Yeah. 
  • You are 33 YEARS OLD right now. Holy. Freakin. Crap.  When I wrote you this letter, you were only 29.  Now, not only are you in a whole new decade, but you probably have children.  So let me just say these things:
    • Do not let having children keep you from being healthy and fit (see above).
    • Do not let having children keep you from having sex with your husband consistently.
    • In that same vein, your husband is not another of your children.  He is your husband and your ally. 
I don't really have much else to say...I'm sure I'll think of other things along the way, but these seem to be pretty important. 

Above all, Future Mandy? I hope and pray that you are happy.  I hope that you're happy in your life and in your relationships and in your job and that you continue to recognize on a daily basis that, even when things seem shitty?  You're still doing pretty well for yourself as far as your life goes.  Don't ever stop finding the silver linings to your cloudy days, and if it helps? Keep blogging about them every Wednesday to remind yourself. 

Take lots of photos, write things down (or blog them...who are we kidding, nobody actually uses a pen and paper anymore), give hugs and tell people you love them, laugh a lot, and try to make someone else smile. 

You, Future Mandy -- are awesome.  I should know, because I, Present Mandy, am awesome.