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Penny Lane

01 February, 2018

Well this is long overdue!

But I wanted to pop in super quick to introduce you all to the newest member of the family!

About a month ago, Sam and I welcomed Penny to the family. She is a 2 year old lab/pit mix who can't decide if she like snacks, wrestling with Sam or snuggling on the couch the best.

She and Sam have been having a fantastic time getting to know one another and are quickly becoming partners in crime. They enjoy checking out all the smells on our nightly walks, destroying all the stuffed animals and toys they can get their paws on and annoying the other dogs at the local dog park together.

   

It's been a loud and raucous adjustment for us all, but it feels like she has always been a part of our family and we are super happy that she is!




TC Trimdown

29 January, 2018

We all have that one friend who is really good at talking us into doing stuff we normally wouldn’t do.

For them, that’s my friend Sarah.

She talked me into starting CrossFit. She nearly talked me into a running a Tough Mudder with her  last summer and she kinds of talked me into doing the TC Trimdown with her this winter.

The TC Trimdown is a 12 week weightloss challenge. She and I are team Iron Maiden and while the goal of the challenge is to shed some pounds, my goal (I can’t speak for Sarah) is to use this to help me get moving and to get ready for an upcoming even this fall (there will be a blog post coming up about that shortly).

Today is technically the start of Week 3.

We weighed in for the challenge on January 15 and while the number that came back on the scale wasn’t what I wanted to see, it didn’t freak me out as much as I thought it would. It’s the heaviest I have been in three years, which admittedly is discouraging. But not so insurmountable I can’t take the weight off again.



I used the first couple of weeks just to get myself back into the swing of things in terms of tracking my macros and getting in some good exercise. I didn't freak out if I wasn't totally spot on with my macros of if I didn't get a workout in. I wanted to ease into this rather than go full speed, because when I do that, I fail. And I don't want to fail again.

To sort out my macros, I use Avatar Nutrition. They use body weight, body fat percentage and activity levels to figure out your macros for you. They also have a shiny new app to track all your food which is a nice perk. It's a fantastic service, that is easy to use and has a super great community on Facebook.

As for my workouts, I’ll eventually end up back at the gym for my lifting program, but for now I’ll be writing my own. I need to sort some things out schedule wise before I can commit to my power lifting program right now. But, it was a lot of fun to get back to doing some movements I haven’t done while focusing on the big three (bench, deadlift and squats).

As we go into week 3, my plan is to do 6 workouts a week: 3 days of straight cardio, 3 days of strength training.

I know it’s going to be tough getting back into the swing of things, but I also know it is all worth it in the end. And even though the goal of the challenge is to "lose as much weight as possible", I just want to get back on track, to get moving and for my pants to fit again.



One Word

01 January, 2018

Whenever I describe myself to someone, my first thought is to say “I’m a hot mess”.

My house is a disaster (my aunt tells me “it’s just really lived in”). My desk at work is a fire hazard. My finances are in shambles. My purse is like a miniature version of Mary Poppin’s carpet bag and half the time if I don’t have my travelers notebook with me I feel like I am flailing.

Needless to say, not only am I but my life is a bit of a mess.

Every year I struggle more and more to select my word of the year.

Am I picking the best word for me?

Am I able to really embrace the spirit of the word?

Does any of it really matter all that much?

The honest answer to all three of those questions is a resounding “No”.

For me, the purpose of the “word” is to help me focus while at the same time, push me out of my comfort zone. It is to help me grow as the next 365 days pass by. It doesn’t matter if I am able to fully embrace anything right from the start. If that were the case, it definitely would be the wrong word for me.

Last year, while trying to narrow down my word, I made a word bubble of all the words floating around in my head. It worked wonders in getting through the process and really narrowing down what I wanted to “work on”. And when I looked at all the words together, it was pretty obvious that CREATE was at the center of it all.

My word for 2018, however, was a real bitch of a struggle. And to be honest. I’m not surprised at all.

2017 was a mess. It was complicated and complex. It was filled with sadness, heartache and heartbreak, more dark days than I remember having in a very long time. And I shed more tears for more people, more lost relationship, more moments of lost hope than I care to remember.

It was also full of moments where I laughed until I cried, found joy in the little things and had moments of happiness, light and love so strong I thought my heart might burst.

Through all the ups and downs I came out the other end of it a different person. I some ways I am harder, stronger than before. While in other ways much weaker and delicate than I like to admit to, but all of it is moving through this journey of life to get me to the person I am meant to be.

I was reminded of all of this as I worked through the process of picking my word for 2018.

And for 2018, it's time to embrace the mess.

Life is messy and complicated.

Feelings are messy.

Relationships with ourselves and other are messy.

If we don't embrace the mess, are we really living.

It's time to get messy and enjoy the fuck out of this life. 


Inktober

24 September, 2017

We all know how AWESOME I am at completing projects.

Nanowrimo....fail.

365 Days.....fail.

Fourteen Day Drawing Challenge....fail.

365 Square (crochet project)....fail.

BUT! Never quit trying, right?

As I mentioned last week, while I was on vacation, I started feeling artsy again and dug out all my art supplies. I also signed up for a couple of online art classes, one of which I have finished and have been really excited about the progress I have made in just a short time. Taking those classes reminded me how satisfying drawing and creating art can be. It's just a matter of sitting down and actually doing it.

While watching videos on the YouTubes, one of the YouTubers I follow, Inkie Beard mentioned VERY briefly about a challenge/project he wanted to try: Inktober. So OF COURSE I had to check it out!

The project or challenge (I never know what to call these things) was started by Jake Palmer waaaaay back in 2009. Basically, he challenged himself to work on his inking every day for the month of December. Actually here......he can just tell you about it:


Fun, right?!

So....here are the basic rules:

Inktober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it online

3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017

4) Repeat
Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.
That's it! Now go make something beautiful.
Over the next few days I plan on getting my supplies (pens, pencils, notebook, etc.) put together so they are easy to get to and I don't have to spend time hunting them down. I feel like that is my best way to get myself set up for success.

I haven't decided if I will do some sort of a theme for the month or just draw SOMETHING. There is an official set of prompts for the project, but I do tend to do better when I have free reign over a project am able to just let my creativity flow. Thankfully I still have a few days to decide how I'm going to tackle this project. But one thing is for sure, I'm really excited about giving it my best shot and seeing how much I improve over the thirty one days.


Get Inspired: All the Hashtags

17 September, 2017

While on vacation, I had the unfortunately pleasure of coming down with what I like to refer to as The Plague: Lite. Punky enough to keep me on the couch for a few days with a fever but not sick enough to totally knock me out and send me to bed. 

I took full advantage of my down time and decided to haul out the art supplies and take a couple of online mixed media classes. I had the BEST time reacquainting myself with my supplies and learning new techniques. 

It also got me thinking about why I create art and what gets me inspired to do so. Sometimes it's a song or something someone else has written. Maybe another piece of art created by someone else or just some random object around the house. Inspiration seems to pop up everywhere and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

I was thinking about doing a post of the things that inspire me the most to create my own art. But really, there are just TOO many to try and put them all in one. So, instead I'm going to do a series of posts highlighting what some of those things are.

To start I thought I'd share my "go-to" when I need a little inspiration. There are plenty of times I'm feeling "arty" but struggle with what to do. I'll sit at my table, staring at the blank piece of paper or notebook and become super frustrated because nothing is coming to me. When that happens, I turn to Instagram and search my favorite hashtags. There are also tons of photos of things that

#floralarrangments
Besides being just plain pretty to look at, flower arrangements are a great way to look at how colors interact with one another. I use them as a bit of a "jumping off"point for painting abscracts of flowers. Just blobs of color on the page to get my brain warmed up. And once the paint has dried, I'll go back in with a pen and add some details.

#artjournal
I think this is my favorite hashtag to look through. I started keeping written journal when I was either 12 or 13 and have been pretty consistent about it. But recently, just writing wasn't enough. It was getting to be a bit "boring". So, I've been using my journals as a way to work out ideas on a smaller scale before jumping to a big sheet of paper. Looking through this hashtag gives me all kinds of ideas for sketches, what papers I can use for writing AND creating. And it's just plain fun seeing how others use their journals.

#watercolor
Next to photography, painting in watercolor is right up at the top of my list of things I LOVE to do. It's is frustrating, finicky and some of the best fun I have when I'm "arting". This hashtag is always full of beautiful paintings others have done and the type or "style" is all over the place which is exactly what I need sometimes. 

 

What hashtags do you use when you need to find a little inspiration? 

Thanks for reading!