The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

A clean fiend

Well if there was any doubt about running out of cleaning supplies this year... Please don't fret ;) anyone who knows my mother won't be surprised at this latest revelation...

As I was doing a little cleaning the other day it felt like I was playing a game of memory. I had a can of Pledge in my hand and I put it down somewhere. A few minutes later I was under the sink looking for something else and saw a can of Pledge. A little confused I peeked around the corner just to verify this wasn't the one I had just been using. Nope. I had two. And upon another sweep under the kitchen cabinet it turns out... I actually had three.

I took a deep breath and nodded my head... After some research it became obvious that much like my overflow of toiletries epidemic... There's a surplus of cleaning supplies at my house too. I'd like to place all the blame on Costco. But it's the holidays... So I'll blame my mother! Ha

After research and revelation... I have two and in some cases three of each cleaning solvent. Comet, Clorox Wipes Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, etc. enough to fill two laundry baskets... Mom... Wanna come "visit" ;)

Collegiate Christmas Cookies

I have a sweet tooth. But it's a very specific sweet tooth. Most of the time I can scroll through a dessert menu and walk away... because to me, it's not even worth wasting the calories on half of it. 

I prefer, warm, doughy, gooey, chocolate or vanilla, usually no fruit and if possible... undercooked. 
Salmonella - been there done that, but never with dessert and I've eaten more dough than actual baked goods so the track record is looking good. 

That being said, there is one baked good I will devour in dough form and in baked form. My sister-in-laws sugar cookie recipe. I don't even really like sugar cookies, unless they are so soft they fall apart as you pick them up. I probably undercook them slightly but as far as I'm concerned, a snappy cookie is as good as trash. 

If I "overcook" (to the time the recipe calls for) and they turn out hard. I'd just as soon throw them away. It sounds wasteful, I know, a little hypocritical during this whole being less wasteful stuff, but I'm embarrassed to even GIVE snappy cookies away. Of course the irony is that some people prefer snappy cookies, and therefore there are probably just as many people who hate my super soft cookies. Well, my brother has turned my hair green via swirlies with 2,000 flushes blue, I suffered through bad teeth, braces, bangs, mullets, perms, an off handed comment from JuanPelota about my home state... so I think I can handle if you don't like my mushy cookies :)

That being said, I try to win hearts by personalization... ha so these were a few of the "Christmas" cookies I gave out this year.

I'm no Martha... but damn they taste good. 

Bikes on Mantles...

With the holidays upon us comes tree trimming and outdoor lighting and in my case, attempting to make homemade ornaments for my friends. 
Well so far, they're not so great. 
I mean heck, if I'm hanging Xenergy cans on my tree, imagine what that box of ornaments I'm sending you looks like...

Ok, so maybe I need to spend a little more time with Martha or Nate next year but I'm still adamant that trees and decor should reflect you and/or your family. 

For example, my parents have a brown piece of construction paper that is the size of my preschool foot, with light brown construction paper "antlers" that are the size of my preschool hands and of course a red fuzzy nose just for good measure. 
It's an ornament I blessed them with (my first go round) at preschool, and it still, very carefully gets hung on their tree each year. 

Some people have those really nice looking tress, that usually sit in those really nice looking (hardly ever used-sometimes even forbidden) front rooms that the world can see as they walk down the sidewalk... While the real Christmas tree, complete with the homemade ornaments sits in the real living room where the real people live. 

Well... I don't have a nice front room with nice unused furniture, therefore I do not have nice, but meaningless ornaments either. 

Therefore... you can probably gather that I also don't own a lot of fine art, or heirloom statues to adorn my mantle either. Nor should I. I mean really... do I seem like the Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn living room person? I'd have that stuff broken in no time...
And yet... I still find myself looking at all their nice stuff...

It dawned on me as I was writing the Christmas card this year, that all the pictures I was including were pictures that included bikes. No cute professional holiday pictures with the dog or beach shots of that non-existent get-away... because, let's be honest... we don't have either of those pictures. 
We have bikes. 

And so instead of scouring the thrift stores hoping to run across an abandoned Pottery Barn vase I can pawn off as my own... I've embraced that it just ain't gonna happen...
 I've been fighting this for awhile now... but without any new purchases this year, I suppose it was bound to happen.

Fine... just put it on the mantle. 

However... if Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel were to design a bike... I'm pretty sure this orange and gray, accented with vintage leather handles and seat... would be it. 

It's the Trek District

Even their logo says... "Where fashion meets functional"

According to recording Great, and classy... artist Ke$ha... "We are who we are" :)

Lew, Lew, Lew :)

I'm in love. It's kind of all or nothing with me. 
One of the people I love is my 81 year old Ironman Great, Lew Hollander. 
If you've read "My midnight date with a Great" - you probably love him too. If you haven't read it - a quick run through will bring you up to speed, but get some tissues :)

I had three hours to kill in the Houston airport yesterday. Headed back from Miami. FYI I have a lot of people ask me which race is my favorite. I've never really had an answer... but after this weekend, Miami was certainly one of the best race weekends... ever.
My voice is gone after that race  this weekend - for good reason of course... and so my usual go-to (talking to someone to pass time) wasn't going to work. 
Then the magazine wall called me. 
Since magazines are on the "illegals" list this year, I just thumb through a few of them from time to time just to make sure I know what year it is and move on...
 and usually buy some Nibs or Fig Newtons or something. 

The headlines make me ill. More Teen Mom drama, or Kardashian Khaos, Demi is too skinny and Will and Jada??? There's really no need to even flip through them. 

Real Simple is more up my alley right about now. 
Maybe they'll help me out with this whole homemade ornament idea that so fair has been nothing but an #epicfail. 
I'm not entirely sure what that means but I see it a lot on facebook... so I'll give it a whirl. 

Well near Real Simple and some of the magazines that actually offer some sort of "content" I notice someone I recognize. And not the usual suspect. It's a triathlete named Andreas Raelert. and not on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It's Outside Magazine.

Intrigued I pick it up and take a look...but it's when I open it... that my heart starts to flutter...

 There he is. My buddy Lew. The oldest Ironman finisher, 2 time defending age group champ (80+ division) and one of those guys who just always brings me to tears. 

Of course... cover model Andreas Raelert certainly doesn't disappoint the eyes either... :)

I'm know being featured in my blog was probably flattering... ha but to make it in Outside Magazine... Glad I can say I knew you when Lew :) I hope next year you'll land the cover. 

A little kick in your Christmas step

So it seems everyone is posting pictures of their Christmas trees online this year...

Well, before you judge my tree, let's paint a little picture. 
I'll be Bob Ross... you be, the awestruck PBS Saturday afternoon viewer. 

Some people say I'm hyper - I prefer energized.
Others might call me A.D.D. 
 Maybe it's just that I can think outside the box, and bun, the bag....look squirrel!

I suppose it's true...when I wake up in the morning, my mouth usually opens the same time my eyes do.
That being said, every once in a while I need a little pick me up.

Coffee is ok, in a pinch but it can make my stomach feel ill.
And most energy drinks just have that weird aftertaste.

Most... energy drinks. 

I've become rather enamored with an energy drink I tried a few years ago. 
One night I was desperate...  I had to go out to the clubs. 
It sounds awkward just remembering it, and I'm sure my face echoed the sentiment. 
You see, normally, when the sun goes down... I go down. As in, asleep. 
I am not... a big 'clubber'

Part of my "job" is to keep the dance party going on the finish line at our big races... and I have found one energy drink never lets me down.
 It's pumped full of B Vitamins, it doesn't have a weird aftertaste and no weird jittery feelings either. 

So... you're probably wondering where I'm going with this....

What do you do when you've vowed not to buy anything new for a year, but you don't really have cool ornaments, and your'e a little impatient 
(maybe because you've already made a load of crappy homemade ornaments for the poor souls who are friends with someone who can't buy you a sweet, new, real gift?).
.. you rummage through the recycling. 

My recycling happens to have a LOT of shiny Xenergy cans....

I'm hoping since they're the official energy drink of the UFC... it doubles as a security system for any peeping toms. ha

Food for (Christmas) Thought...

So where I live, it's not actually beginning to look at all like Christmas... But it almost is.

This is something I've had a little anxiety about since this whole nothingnewforayear thing started.
My thoughts have gone from, the feeling that I really don't want other people suffering through homemade gifts just because of a choice I made this year... to - the reality that for most of the people in my life who I would normally give "gifts" to... they don't really NEED a lot... to the time honored homage that the holiday season isn't really, and shouldn't be focused on material gifts, but the gifts and opportunities and families we are all grateful for. 

With all that being said, it is tradition to give gifts and Lord knows I love traditions.
So... I've been paying close attention to my friends "needs" more than their "wants" if that makes sense and the only thing people really "need" to survive is food. (and water) right??
 Yes Mom, we also need love :)

Well good news... Food is in! Bad news, the food that travels well, are foods made with preservatives, ie, candy, baked goods, etc :)
 I think we can all agree we have plenty of holiday parties with trays of tempting sweets and most people usually find themselves with too much at the end of the holiday season. 

Of course during my research over the last few weeks Kim Kardashian decides to get a divorce. Big question arises... what will they do with all their gifts? According to Emily Post and the wedding etiquette teams around the world, if the marriage doesn't last a year, the gifts are supposed to be given back. Well it seems Kim K decided she'd rather donate to charities instead... I'd like to see the documentation on that one, but it did dawn on me that perhaps I could do the same...

I know this has become a new trend at weddings: 
in lieu of party favors we've taken that money and made a donation to a good charity, etc

I work a lot with the running community where a HUGE trend has people running to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Team Future, etc. 

Of course food is in the "ok" column right... so what if I donated to Food Banks on behalf of my friends?! 

It sounds ingenious! 


So here's the big question. 
Would you rather
1. Receive a package in the mail that has this imprint?

2. Receive notice that a donation to a food bank in your name has been given...


I'm really looking for some opinions... you can even remain anonymous or unanimous as my niece says! ha

I confess... I Bathe(d)

Ok. so the rule was, no taking hotel toiletries out of the hotel. 


Not all hotel toiletries are created equal. 
These are particularly good smelling and quality goods.
I can promise you that the Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn, did not offer the same amenities that THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay provided... On second thought, were there ANY toiletries at the Holiday Inn Express??

The same goes for overseas flights! Have you ever flown Emirates Airlines??? 
Me either! But I have a friend who after druling over his complimentary toiletry kit from his flight gave it to me... it was that impressive. That was also more than a year ago, but I still have the little cologne sample!

It comes with Bulgari fragrances for Pete's sake!

Anyway... I made an executive decision that this was one exception to the rule, especially considering the fact that I probably had to use up my own stuff at the Holiday Inn Express... right? 
The other clarification I'd like to make is that I only brought home what was left in the bottles, I did not rob the cart in the hallway for extra. 

Yes, I know that happens. I know that because, at the Lodge at Vail... they give out Haribo gummy bears with their daily cleaning and I've been a culprit of that offense. There. I said it. 

Someone also reminded me that I am the "boss" of this whole nothingnewforayear, but I've got a terrible Poker face and I knew it was bound to come out sometime. 

P.S. I was confessing this to one of my co-workers (who concurred my decision was justified
And she said La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA has hands down the best toiletries.... just FYI :)

Maybe we should start a hotel toiletries review board like Zagats... or Yelp...

Gatorade/Grand Columbian 140.6 Video #3

Something's gotta go!

I sinned in Sin City! well... kinda
I was in Las Vegas this weekend working and apparently the dress I brought for the "Stiletto Dash" wasn't quite "Vegas" enough. 

Good news... or bad news is, they put someone else in charge of rectifying the situation. A few hours later I got word that a different outfit had been arranged for me... Gold and sparkly... the dress that is made with Vegas in mind! 

I was going to be accompanied by Brooke Burke for a little while and we all know what that means... you just try your best to not appear as an ugly stepsister - hard to do next to a woman like that but... thankfully most of the pictures turned out like this... Brooke in full view with a shot of the side of my head :) 

Heather Ford also came decked out in sparkly garb so I guess it's good someone was looking out for me and my lack of sparkles. 

What you can't see are the shoes I was lucky enough to wear...

The entire event was benefiting Opportunity Village - a local employer of people with disabilities and Operation Smile and... a 3rd grade teacher went home the big winner. Someone who can really benefit from an extra $5,000.

... of course this means one of my pairs of shoes and a dress must go. Unfortunately I don't think I own a pair of shoes that is of equal value but I'm going to rummage around and see what I can find that might add up! ha. wish me luck

Striped Socks...

So I have a small obsession with tall socks. I'm not exactly sure when it started or why, but I have managed to incorporate it into part of my job... which justifies it. Thankfully. Only problem... no new socks this year. I have plenty, don't get me wrong, but I do love them. 
Since I haven't been "shopping" at retail stores in the past few months I haven't really been privy to what I've been missing... until today. 
I'm in Las Vegas for our Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend and I was hungry. Started walking around the hotel for something to eat... and what do I find...

And this is only what could fit into the picture. All the walls were lined. 
Many scenarios went through my mind. 
These were the two most logical... 

1. It's a work expense... does it count?


2. What if I hit the black jack tables, made money I wouldn't have had anyway and used that... does it count then? (Presupposing I actually would win anything of course)


Gatorade/Grand Columbian 140.6 Video #2

Gatorade/Grand Columbian 140.6 Video #1

Thrifty Thrift stores?

so it started with Black Friday, then Cyber Monday... this year they threw in small business saturday...

I should have tagged along for my friends' honeymoon to Thailand - Between every radio DJ, commercial, website, news broadcast, Facebook status updates and phone calls from my mother... I was constantly reminded that the world was getting some killer deals. I took my annoyance out on the kitchen floor with a vengeance. A shiny, clean, tiled surface beneath my feet... like that makes up for it...ha

Almost for a good laugh more than anything I headed down to AMVETS (thrift store) at 8:58 Friday morning (Black Friday) just to make myself feel better. Best Buy wasn't the only store with a line of people waiting to get in! Ok so it was just me and the ladies who worked there who had accidentally locked themselves out... but it counts...

For the most part I think thrift stores are a pretty good bargain, but every once in a while, and more recently and more frequently, I've been a little disheartened by the prices. 

Although I don't frequent Target these days, I do recall some smokin' deals I've come across on their clearance clothes racks. Like... a couple of times I've even found some stuff for $3! And it's brand new...
Which always flashes through my head when I come across a little something at a thrift store that has a price tag of $5.99. Really? A little market research would tell you that down at the Closet you can get almost half the store at that price... and did I mention it's new, and in every color, and size!?

The point of my nothing new, was really to try and not shop at all... Use up what I've already got, but of course there are limitations which is why it was something "not new"... plus it really just makes you think twice about buying something at all. 

So I googled the definition of "thrift"


 noun \ˈthrift\

Definition of THRIFT

: healthy and vigorous growth
: careful management especially of money

I'll take #1 :) and call this year an "education". Only they'll be no diploma or higher salary opportunities (although saving money could count) and of course no student loans...

And I guess thrift stores who are getting my 6 bucks for a shirt I could buy new at Target for $3 are definitely taking #2 seriously and doing a good job of it. 

The point of all this, is that another lesson has been learned. Some of you probably got much better "deals" this past weekend buying brand new stuff, than I did buying it used. Now that's just not smart as far as I'm concerned. Although because I knew that... I may not have bought as much stuff that will eventually be given away anyway... whatever.

I have a rule in life (prior to this year) that I'm not allowed to buy anything unless I love it. As in, I go home and I can't stop thinking about it, love it.
 Because, how many times have you purchased something and forgotten you even bought it? You find it still in the plastic bag, in your closet or your car a few months later....
That's just retail therapy at it's finest. And as far as I'm concerned, that kind of therapy doesn't come with a degree or a comfy couch to lay on :) 

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and worked all those calories off with some road rage in those ridiculous parking lots... 

Boomerang clothes

So a few years ago a friend of mine, who wears about the same size clothes offered me a look through her Goodwill pile... She said, take what you want, and then give the rest away. A fair enough deal...
 As I perused through the bag she would offer ways to wear things, where she had gotten them etc. It was a nice little hand off. Of course the deal was, take what you want, but then it was my responsibility to give the rest away... Smart!  That way she wouldn't have to resist the urge to pull a few things out of the bag she may have been on the fence about. She really likes clothes, so it took a while. But eventually I walked away with a few new things... the rest I hauled down to the Goodwill.

A few months later it was my turn to do some downsizing and I offered her the same deal. She gladly obliged and sifted through my castaways... but this time I was on the other side of the bag. I was offering my advice on what to pair it with, how certain things fit, etc, and it became clear to me that having an exchange like this was a good psychological lesson too.

A few things I had been on the fence about... I sadly watched as she didn't even give a second thought about, and it slapped me right in the face with a harsh reality... Those few items I had fussed about whether or not to give up... were really nothing to fuss about at all. It kind of made me feel good after awhile. Knowing that I had a second opinion... that sparkly going out top I wore on a first date... was in dire need of another date, and it wasn't mine. 

But there were of course a few things I watched her put in her take home pile that made me a little sad to see go, but, glad to know were still not quite gone... boy was I right...

Just a few weeks ago that friend called me for another exchange date. As usual she handed over the bag, and I took a seat to sift. It had been about a year since the handoff from me to her, but it's amazing how fast you forget. As I pulled a few things from the bag I thought, "hey I had a shirt like this"... or "wow, these are just like that pair of pants I loved so much in high school... wait!?"

You can guess what happened... ha! We had returned to that bag I originally gave her, with a few new additions. Yep, a few of those pieces I had reluctantly handed over were now back in my court. Ready for round 2 of the elimination process. Some... sadly were very clearly due for a new owner, but some... I was ecstatic to welcome home. 

Cargo pants are back! ha 
(for all you fellow Big Bang Theory fans)

Spray the Closet

Perfume the closet!

It just came to me. If I spray the closet with perfume, then everything gets to smell like the perfume I like so much... that is almost out.
You know what else is a good way to keep clothes smelling good, especially when you're traveling a lot... dryer sheets in your suitcase. I can't remember who told me that, but it's genius. 

I'm sold... on old :)

I know "vintage" is really "in" right now and I like it. 
My parents are always asking me which pieces of furniture I'd like to claim now, and for years I thought it was a joke. My dad would hand me and my brother each a pad of post it notes and tell us to walk around and put our names on the stuff we wanted. We would look at each other and laugh because there wasn't much we weren't willing to let go to the highest bidder... and more likely to the trash.

 I mean most of it is, well... not exactly valuable, but not that desirable either. They aren't exactly into "investment pieces" :)
However... with the economy in the tank and money tight, the allure of hand me down furniture, even old dresses and jewelry has become fashionable! That's good news for me...

Do you remember when you were a kid and there was nothing interesting in the newspaper except for the comics?
Then as you got older you became pretty interested in the flyers marketing all the newest toys?
Then it was the electronics section that caught your eye.
Pretty soon it was clothes, and then it was cars...
Well I've finally reached that part of my life where thee most boring... has become the most exciting... furniture.

I still can recall flipping through all the Sunday ads being baffled at how anyone could find couches and chairs exciting. And appliances??? forget it...

And now... just a few weeks ago I was home in my parents bedroom admiring their dresser. Beautiful wood, and structure, even the knobs had a newfound draw... It caught me by surprise. 
I hadn't really noticed that piece of furniture even though it had been their dresser my entire life, and my grandmothers life... I mean if you had asked me what it looked like I could have told you, but I guess I took it for granted.

Of course on the opposite wall was another dresser - not so awesome... but it dawned on me how much life has changed. I like that as you get older you become more appreciative, but I also like that the trends right now are on the same page. 

I've always enjoyed reminiscing, sometimes spending too much time in the past and not in the present, but I ran across something yesterday that merged the past and present and I found myself stopping in my tracks and overcome with memories, as well as a feeling of being very present...

Although the price certainly isn't "vintage" and those are LED lights creating a glare... They're just as I remember them...

I'm not quite to the section of my life where gardening tools get me excited...
but it seems I'm on my way...

Bellhops and Bows

One of my favorite moments before a big race is the 4:45am elevator ride, down to the front desk of my hotel to see who got stuck working the overnight shift and has no idea what they are about to add to their resume... :)

In addition to a pair of striped socks... I try to throw in some fun bows in my hair if I can. The only problem is that I sometimes have a hard time tying them myself. That's where the overnight shift, usually the guys at the Bell desk come in... ha

I want to give them some kudos, because even though they look at me funny when I ask them to help me, they almost always agree... and then impress me. 

This was with one guy at the Westin in San Antonio. He had double duty that morning. I had two ribbons in each braid - and he didn't even balk :) 

Maybe she's born with it... maybe she picked it up at CVS

I thought it was over. I kept turning the knob and nothing was coming out. Sadness was sinking in. It really had been one of those products I worried about when I started this whole ordeal. I kept telling myself it was good to go without, makes the heart grow fonder right?

But when I looked closely... the answer was there. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't that hard to crack this one open! And shockingly it didn't break in the process which means I can keep it closed and make it last even longer...

I'm pretty excited about it actually because the way the liquid is designed to come out is through a sponge. Neat. But when I popped it open I can get more or less depending on what I need. 

I wanted to applaud Maybelline because although they didn't design the bottle well (not allowing for all the product to be used) they didn't ironclad the stuff in there rendering it impossible for the consumer to use it up. I thought to myself... it's because I'm worth it! But that's L'Oreal... 

I read the book What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell a few years ago, and remembered an excerpt about L'Oreal and how they came up with that slogan "Because you're worth it"... it's quite interesting. The short version is that one of the few women working for the company wrote a letter fed up and that was one of her lines... it stuck. 

And then when I did a quick little wikipedia on Maybelline... it's owned by L'Oreal :) 
So I guess maybe that tag line persists throughout their products. 

I'd like to think I'm worth something... Thanks for agreeing Maybelline/L'Oreal :) 

Hostess Cake

 I love birthdays. 
I love cake. 
 I love giving (and eating) cake on birthdays

Logic was one of my favorite classes :)

More than the perfect gift... which is very hard to do year after year - I've learned that some sort of baked good pretty much makes everyone happy on their birthday. 
Not surprising...

This year, a good friend of mine was celebrating his birthday... driving a van behind 30,000 + people running a marathon through the streets of San Antonio. He was in what we call the "tail vehicle". No it's not quite as racy as you might think... ha

 It's a very long day... driving at a very slow speed. He's also responsible for making sure that all the runners are on the right path and that no one gets left behind say... in a port-a-pottie, or in a restaurant, sometimes in bars... Rock n Roll Marathoners are a pretty fun group :)

 It's a very important job, but a pretty thankless one as well. Certainly not the most relaxing or glamorous way to spend your birthday (opening hundreds of port a pottie doors), but that's the kind of guy he is. 

We stayed at a very nice hotel in San Antonio - the Westin on the Riverwalk, but unfortunately in our room there weren't any ovens, or mixers or bowls either and so getting a cake on a Saturday night after we had been working all day, without having a car to get me somewhere... wasn't easy 
But it had to be done, and I was desperate.

I contemplated some restaurants, but with 30,000 runners plus their friends and family in town, and other tourists there... scratching their heads wondering why this random weekend in November was so popular... restaurants were running out of desserts entirely! Let alone had an entire cake in reserves to sell to me...

My scavenger skills quickly took over. The most resources we had within walking distance were pharmacies or convenience stores. Walgreens, was closed... Gas stations weren't very close and so it was CVS. 
I was hoping they'd at least sell the disposable cake tins - no such luck. 
When the beverage distribution guy looked away I snuck one of his cardboard boxes. 
And then I stood in the cookie/candy section for a good 30 min. 
I recalled that the birthday boy had a hankering for doughnuts... At another race I remembered him stopping for some and so I thought he might actually enjoy a random smattering of some good old school pastries...
I was trying to imagine how we could incorporate some stuff with a little bit of a theme. I'm sure if I had had more time I could do better (I hope anyway)

I loaded up on Hostess cupcakes, Twinkies, Doughnuts and Raspberry Zingers (for a little dash of color)

I snuck a clean napkin from Room Service to class it up a little and set to work. 
It wasn't my finest creative moment, but it sure hard not to eat half of it in the making... and that's always a good sign!

The Raspberry Zingers were supposed to be a heart in the middle... I have a lot of improvement in that area...

The next morning I ran to the "lead vehicle" and put the box in the truck. It would make it to the start line before I would so they would safely tuck it away on the announcers stage. 

We sang to him as he made his way across the start line that morning, but he had no idea what was waiting for him at the end!

I got a message that said it had made it's way to the finish and was under the table. 
I'm one of the announcers at the Rock n Roll Marathons so when I got to the finish line I grabbed a microphone and headed down to start high fiving and cheering all the runners in. 

The next thing I know I'm in the midst of a dance party and one of the other announcers asks about the goods under the table. I tell them it's a surprise, someones birthday. The looks on their faces gave them away. 
"You didn't eat any did you?" I asked


This is what it looked like... hours before the birthday boy even made it to the finish...

Luckily, the birthday boy, as I mentioned, is a pretty awesome guy. He was pleased with a little bit of a sugar rush after a long day of shaking port a potties...
So was I :)

Happy Birthday to one of the nicest guys I know. 
We love you John!!!

All the Rock n Rollers

The novelty of Fire

Armed with the best research tool I know... Wikipedia - insert sarcasm... but only slightly, I looked up "gadget"

"there is anecdotal evidence for the use of "gadget" as a placeholder name for a technical item whose precise name one can't remember since the 1850s"

Can't remember the name of "fire"?

Yesterday I was in Wal-Mart with my father looking for matches.
 My first thought was the paper plates and plastic cup section near the groceries. Nope
Then I figured back in hunting, camping, sporting... Nope. 
The guy behind the counter cleaning guns said "housewares, kitchen gadget aisle"
Housewares I understood... but gadget?
My idea of a gadget is something kind of gimmicky. When I turned to Wikipedia they called a gadget something that was more like a "novelty". That's what I meant. 
Is fire a novelty??? 
I thought it was funny... thought you might get a kick out of it too...

Paying it forward: Transaction Complete!

I've told you a lot about Iowa in previous posts so I won't get into it much more...but the short and sweet is that Iowa is a very hospitable place where people work.
They work for a living, they work at building communities, they work at family and church and just about everything they put their minds to.

But the midwest is also struggling with a few issues like we all do. Not quite as bad as parts of the south, but not great like the state of Colorado, Iowa is dealing with health problems linked to obesity. But the kids don't start out that way. Most kids are energetic and they burn calories easily with their energy so the key to keeping them at that state is to help them maintain a level of movement and more importantly the enjoyment that an active lifestyle provides!

I suppose it should come as no surprise, that Iowa is also part of a HUGE health initiative to make it the healthiest state in the country. They may have slipped in recent years... but their work ethic has them yearning to make it better. And so I was headed to Iowa, to do my very small part in instilling excitement in the younger generation to reach that goal, and keep it there.

As I wandered around the halls of my old high school (with a classmate who now works for the school) I was amazed at how much had changed... He told me how now they download notes online - no more frantically copying notes from a day you missed in your notebook... We laughed at how the football players can't load up on "power" slices of pizza in the lunch line anymore, even the library shrunk because all the information is available on computers instead of in books. It was a walk down memory lane for both of us. And an eye opener for sure.

But some things, can't really be improved upon.
As I made my way down the hallway where I spent so many early mornings, dreading that cold water, making my way past the kids I could relate to so well, and into the room where I went from an average kid with an above average amount of energy into an average kid with a focused amount of energy. It was a welcomed sight to see... it was just as I left it.  

I didn't even know how to swim when my mom recommended I stick to individual sports :)
I had to ask how far a length of the pool was, and... IM? No clue. ha
And although every year I was sick of eau de chlorine, and couldn't wait to sleep in... every fall I found myself back in that pool eager to give it another whirl, see if I could finally qualify for state.
I never did... :) I got over it.

After some reminiscing with my old coach, a tall and slightly shy, young lady with blonde hair and blue eyes (a lot of scandinavian heritages in Iowa) meekly approached us.
I was told she was a wonderful representation of what the future of Iowa's active generation looks like. To help encourage her continued involvement not only in triathlon, but any active endeavors she pursues we gifted her with a triathlon "outfit" known as a "kit".

Thank you SOAS and GOTRIbal

Because triathlon isn't a sport supported by most high schools, this young lady had to find a group outside of school to pursue her passion. She also runs on her high school cross country team, and this year, as a freshman, qualified to run at the State Cross Country meet.

We'll have to keep our eyes open... Maybe one day I'll be talking about her on TriCenter... but at the very least, I hope I'll be seeing her as fit and active as she is right now, throughout her entire life :)

Paying it forward ;)

Part of the deal with nothingnewforayear is the "one in... one out" policy.

Well... This year at the underpants run I wore my swim cap skirt over my underpants... even though it wasn't quite "underpants" I guess the crowd liked it, and so I won a costume contest courtesy of GOTRIbal. It's a group helping other ladies in triathlon connect with one another!

The wonderful ladies from SOAS - a triathlon clothing company for women donated one of their tri "kits" to me as my prize...

Well, the good news is... I already have a SOAS kit! We thought about who could be a recipient of such an awesome prize, since I'm not allowed to accept it (although I was really tempted..)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the ones who really could benefit from this are young girls interested in getting involved. As of now, being a really great triathlete at a high school level won't land you a lot of scholarships (hopefully that changes soon) but until then, I want to encourage young ladies to give it a "tri" anyway! 

I'm from the midwest where, as we all know, the obesity epidemic is hitting hard. Luckily, I had a wonderful swim coach who took me in, even though I didn't know how to swim well, he made me appreciate a good solid butt kicking workout, the sense of accomplishment sports can bring, and a passion for exercise that will help keep me healthy for the rest of my life. 

So I called that swim coach of mine and asked if he knew of a girl, kind of like me... Not an uber athlete, but someone who could benefit from a little help :)

And so I met with GOTRIbal and SOAS and they hooked it up!

A cute little "kit"

Just a little Paying it Forward - to a well deserving little lady :)

Thank you to Tanya from GOTRIbal and Kebby at SOAS

Old Sole...

I hope this unlucky streak is now behind me. They come in 3's right?
This weekend I lost my black puffy Northface vest at the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles 1/2 Marathon expo.
I also got a poster signed for my niece by Disney star Drew Seeley... which I lost.
Then I came home and changed out of my tennis shoes only to take one step and snap... flip flops broken.

Good thing it's "winter" season and we're all supposed to be making the transition to Boots, but where I live we wear flip flops all year long... which means the cheap pair I picked up at BCF (Burlington Coat Factory) will have to hold together until June. I hope they're up for the challenge.

For the record I once purchased a pair of Rainbow sandals per the recommendation of just about everyone. They ate my feet for every meal for months. I probably spent just as much on bandaids for 6 months as I did on those damn things. When I lost them... it was good riddance. 

Then the raving recommendations came for Havaianas. Saw them at Costco one day and snagged myself a pair. Comfy for sure, but I only got them a few months ago, and now they're sitting in the bottom of the dumpster out back with the moldy cottage cheese... Last night I smelled skunk spray and I have to wonder if he too was disheartened by his findings... Obviously moldy cheese couldn't ease his disgust for a pair of fairly new but broken flip flops - or "thongs" as my mother from the Midwest calls them :)

Not so good. I hope this is one of those situations where the naysayers of my BCF affections are rendered speechless because this may be one of those cases where high dollar amount doesn't equate necessarily to high quality... I guess I could leave them outside and let Senor Skunk make the final call, but I'll pass. 

Not Cool

This perfume is not Lolita Lempicka, my favorite...
It wasn't bad though... and it's under 4 oz so I've been toting it around for a few months now.
From the outside it looks relatively healthy... no cracks, or dents, heck... It's still got it's lid even!

I guess all things are not as they appear. 
The darn thing apparently started leaking and now my bag is smelling very Mary Kay, while I, on the other hand just smell like Tide...

So long Mary Kay perfume. I'm sure the Mary Kay people aren't listening, but in case they are I'll make a plea similar to the others... please improve your bottling... I didn't figure in, the tragedy of disappearing perfume in my year quest not to buy anything new. 

Have no fear my beloved Lolita is safe at home, but with one soldier down, the troops must rally...
I suppose it's only fitting I'll be in Iowa for a few days, and the perfume I wore all through high school will be the one who makes the trip.

Except... this time around... Can you help me with the "cool" factor a little more Cool Water Woman?

Ha! Hope this gets you laughing :)

Holding it together...

They're everywhere.
On the outside they seem to have no beginning and no end.
But they have a shelf life of about... 72 days? ha
No I'm not talking about the most recent disaster of a marriage, I'm talking about hair ties!
Which by the way, seem to be more useful as far as I'm concerned. They actually have skills.

They hold your hair back.
They can be used to hold rolled up posters. 
Sometimes I've used them on the end of toothpaste tubes...

They're simple, there's never a prenup, or a demanding family...and now they're "ouchless"
Maybe Kris Humphries should look into these :)

Only one problem we both have. We can't seem to hang onto them very long. How and why is it so hard hanging onto hair ties? This could be a major problem for me this year... We're running low, and I'm a loser...

10 million hits... 1 month

Some people have a lot to say... 
(I tend to find myself talking faster to get all the stories in)

Others... don't say much at all. 

I guess when you have a skill that is quite literally jaw dropping... you don't need a lot of words.

This is Marquese Scott. 
He's from Atlanta. 
He can do this in any kind of shoe, on any kind of surface.
He doesn't really "choreograph" he just freestyles. 
He's very focused, and yet very aware...

That's about all I know. 
Because Marquese is a man of few words... 
And I can tell you that as a woman with a seemingly, sometimes annoyingly endless amount of words, just his presence and his talent even rendered me speechless. 

Perhaps I should think about fewer words for next year instead of fewer toiletries. 
It's a good lesson to let your actions speak - in place of your words. 

Here's the sneak peek I got yesterday at TEDMED

Waxing and Waning...

So I bought something new today..
Go ahead... laugh away.

but here's the deal...they can't be bought used...
I'm sure you're all laughing, fully amused.

Eye hand coordination and team sports proved... not so much my forte...
My mom suggested I try individual sports, so the other kids could go and play.

A little, late, but a much better fit
I found something I wasn't awful at, and I was chompin at the bit.

Naively I jumped in the middle lane
clearly unaware that although my mind was willing... I was in foreign terrain

200 warm up, the coach would yell
How far is one lap?? I hoped they would tell

I was not very good,  I hardly knew any strokes
but those Catholic's...they give everyone a chance... silly folks :)

4 years later and the team hadn't been able to shake me
and to their surprise, and by the grace of God I'm sure... I even swam Varsity!

But amidst the chlorine and early morning breakfasts, dry-land workouts, and those cracker shaped goldfish
My ears were screaming...keep the water out! it's our only wish!

I finally uncovered this stuff called wax...
it's about as amazing as words passing through phone lines and printing out as a fax!

But wax goes bad - don't you know
and you can't buy it used - i'm sure the Docs would agree that's a no no

So I confess 
I made a small purchase.


What's that.... you've never had an earache...???
Well why don't you just go throw your self in a cold lake! 

LUV Southwest

Customer Service has slowly become important again.
 It's largely in part thanks to companies that took it upon themselves to take pride in their customer service again...even though the world had become accustomed to dealing with an obstinate and thoughtless person on the other line... that's, if you could got past the thoughtless and "hard of hearing" robot recording... is one of the most amazingly accommodating companies on the planet...
 but they could be in a close race with Southwest airlines...

Not only are they simple, they are... simple. Boarding is simple, booking is simple, changing your plans and your flights is simple. It's almost so easy... it's scary. And yet they're one of the few airlines MAKING money. 

I was delayed slightly in Chicago last night and they were in an "oversell" situation. I'd never heard of this from Southwest...

All too often I've been in a situation where this happens, but always with other airlines, and naively, I've eagerly jumped on the chance for a "voucher"... Sounds great right? A free trip for taking a later flight! WRONG. 

USAirways proved to be the most formidable when trying to cash in that voucher. It actually ended up being impossible to use... without making my life MORE complicated, or my flight MORE expensive. No joke. I could only use it during times I didn't need it... or I could put the dollar amount towards when I DID want to use it, but the trip cost would still far exceed an amount I was willing to spend. 

So I carefully listened as the Southwest employee explained what they would offer. A $300 voucher PLUS the cost of the one way fare that got you there. No blackout dates and as good as cash - meaning you could put $98 towards a flight to one destination, and $120 towards a different flight, etc. I was impressed. I already know that working with Southwest to cancel and change flights is as easy... No change fees, no nothing, but wow... 
(I was also enjoying a Diet IBC Root Beer in a bottle, a cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup from PotBelly's and the Colts vs. Saints game... which didn't hurt, but I'll still give 80% of my happiness to Southwests SIMPLE voucher system :)

As I boarded my Southwest flight I sat next to a gentleman who had been with me Saturday morning running our Rock n' Roll 10K race in NYC, and then boarded a flight Saturday afternoon to run our Rock n' Roll St. Louis Marathon the following morning (Sunday), and was now headed home just a few hours later, like me...
 I thought he deserved a cocktail (he did too), so I handed the flight attendant one of my free drink tickets (also a courtesy of southwest airlines, just for flying with them) to get that guy a celebratory beverage. Well aware that positive comments are far fewer in this world than negative ones, I also let that flight attendant know that I feel in love with Lorna Doones 100 calorie snack packs thanks to them. 
(So much in fact that one of my friends bought me a box for my birthday)

Lorna Doone's aren't available on all flights, including that one, but I just threw it out there anyway. They were being so LUVing with their vouchers, and drink tickets, and fun announcements over the PA... I wanted to show them some love too. 

 A few minutes later he arrives with our drinks and some peanuts... and the very last bag of Lorna Doone's leftover from the previous flight... Did I mention how much I LUV Southwest? 

I wish I was sponsored by Southwest airlines, because then the whole world would be privy to the honest-to-God hailing reviews I give them. But they're that good... I'll do it for nothing...

By the way... I mentioned how they have "fun" announcements... here's a perfect example. This is COMMON... And in case you were wondering LUV is their Ticker symbol and their home airport is Love Field in Dallas. How appropriate.