Monday, September 10, 2012


Can caffeine really make that much of a difference in your workout?

You know how some days, you just struggle even gearing up enough to put on workout clothes? Then, you get started and think, "Why did I dread this so much? It feels great!"

Yeah. Today wasn't one of those days. Today, I wasn't dreading it. I actually attempted to run with Jack in the jogger and Tessa riding her bike (Josie was at soccer practice). My multi-tasking blew up in my face when Tessa threw a fit about her helmet, then her hair, then her shoes. This is actually exactly why I wasn't dreading the workout today. The girls were a wily bunch and pretty grumpy and sassy. I thought the bike ride would be good for Tessa. Obviously, she thought otherwise.

So, when Tom got home, I grabbed the headphones and took off. Even better to run alone after a bit of a stressful day. Instantly, I felt like I hit a wall. Usually, I feel fine once I get started on a run. No power in my legs. Blech. I felt like I was running in quick sand. I set off to run 40 minutes and try to squeeze in 4.5 miles. After two miles, my time was 22 minutes. I was walking every 5 minutes, which I never do on the road. I kept taking stock of how I felt. My legs were fine. My lungs were fine. I was actually barely sweating. I really just felt like I ran out of juice. Tonight, I felt the same as the end of the last Mini.

I got to about 2.5 miles and was heading down to start on the last loop of the bike path and stopped. I said forget this. (a la Cee Low Green.) I'm tired and this doesn't feel good at all. What's another mile and a half going to do for me. So, I started walking home. Then, said forget this again, turned back around and decided to do another loop as fast as I could. I was already going to have to take a shower and if I headed home, I would have bedtime to deal with. Still, not great feeling (and not 4.5 miles) but at least I didn't totally crap out.

It's funny because it's just so different than I felt on Saturday running 8 miles with Tom at below a 9 minute pace. I do know that I was fueled right on Saturday - peanut butter on wheat bread and a little of Nana's coffee cake for good measure. I started thinking about what I ate today and it really isn't any different than what I usually eat during the week. But, I almost always have an iced tea (or two) or a cup of coffee when the girls get home from school. I didn't do that today and stuck with water. I guess that will teach me to drink water. :) Plus, and I really don't think this could matter, I had blood drawn for my annual physical.

Either way, I'm taking tomorrow off for a mental health day and will be back at it on Wednesday. This time, I'll be sure to down an espresso or two before hitting the road.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Class Reunion Time!

OK kids. This weekend brings on our 15 year class reunion. I'm excited to get back and see old friends. I think there will be a great group of people there, many of whom I haven't seen since our 10 year reunion. We had a good turnout for that one - about 50 people or so - and it was a lot of fun. We're taking it low key this year and meeting at a local bar with a classmate's band playing for us.

I'm sure there will be a lot of photos as there were last time. We set up a Shutterfly share page for pictures last time and we'll probably update it after Saturday too.

It seems like it crept up on me and I feel like I should have done so much more to prepare - shopped for an outfit, gotten a haircut, prepped activities, etc. etc. But, something from my closet will have to do and my hair is fine and there will be plenty of catching up to do without any activities.

I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New Notebook

In my flustered state that has been my week, I had to (HAD to) drive 20 minutes each way to get yarn at JoAnn fabric to finish my next blanket. (We're driving for another 6 hours this weekend, so I think I can wrap it up.) (And, I procrastinated too long to just order it online.) (And, it made me mad to pay more in shipping than for the yarn, though I probably spent that much in gas.) (And, I use too many parenthesis.)

Anyway, Tom called while I was there and asked me to run into Target to grab Josie a new pair of tennis shoes. We tried to find shoes this weekend and it's a long story that isn't worth typing out, but we didn't get any. I gladly obliged because who passes up Target. I had Jack with me and he had fallen asleep on the ride down so he was clingy and wouldn't let me put him down. He does this so infrequently that I just ate it up! But, though he is small, he does get heavy. I hightailed it back to the shoe department and found the perfect ones.

I couldn't leave though without checking out the notebooks. I've talked about my notebook system before (looking back and realized I never posted it! Yikes!) and I am finally in the market for a new one. My pink notebook (not Moleskine) that I am currently using has been in my purse for almost a whole year. My first list was dated October 4, 2011. This is my first notebook that I have actually used almost all of my pages - I only have three blank pages left!

I was thrilled to see that Target is now carrying Moleskine! That means I didn't have to settle for something for the next year that wasn't my favorite. Here is my little piece of heaven for the week. I'm stoked and can't wait to start filling in the pages. I'm such a nerd. :)

Donald Trump Changed My Life

If you're like me, a small business owner with many irons in the fire, you probably find that your day is constantly filled with interruptions. If I'm in my office, I receive between 100-200 emails a day and probably 20 phone calls, not to mention employee and customer interaction. So, my uninterrupted time at my desk comes a precious few minutes at a time. If I'm not careful, the day slips away and I have truly not managed to do a single productive thing.

Four years ago, my husband and I went to a Get Motivated Seminar. It was day filled with speakers about everything from selling skills to investments. There were some big name speakers, but I only really remember one. I learned something that day that has changed the way I organize my life and increased my productivity by leaps and bounds. Who was the life changing speaker? This guy.

Photo Courtesy of

George Ross, as you likely know, was on The Apprentice and is Donald Trump's right hand man. His presentation was on negotiation tactics, but he started with a quick tip. He said he learned this concept from Donald himself. If it was good enough for the Donald and George, it was good enough for me.

The gist of the idea revolves around a notebook. It can be any kind of notebook, but I am in love with Moleskine. They have many editions, but I prefer the simple, plain black with lines. When starting the first time, make it less about the notebook and more about the process. You'll figure out what you need to tweak the style of notebook you'll need. (I now have a perfect size - probably 4.5x8". It must fit in my purse, but be big enough to keep all of the information I need.)

Start on the second page and right side of your notebook and make your list. This can be a list of things to do this week or for the day specifically. I usually list everything I would do for the day if I had a perfectly quiet day with no interruptions. Then, go down through the tasks and number them starting with #1 being the first task you will conquer. Usually, I use tasks 1 and 2 to get myself going so they're usually easy and quick. Once I get started and knock a couple things off, I'm usually on a roll and the rest of the tasks go much faster. If you have to pause to take a call or talk with a customer, you'll be able to fall right back into your prioritized list.

Here's a photo of my list from the other day when I was at home. I know, it's on the left side of the page. But, it was one of many lists that day. I'm obsessed with scratching off items, so laundry is on there for each time I need to start a new load.

This part may not seem life changing and it's really not. The magic occurs on the left side of the page and the rest of the notebook. This is where you make notes from your day that would generally go on scrap paper, Post-Its or a cocktail napkin. This keeps everything in one nice, neat place and a great record of who you talk with, phone numbers, prices and part numbers, and much more. I take this book everywhere including sales training and seminars and keep all of my notes in this book. I now have four years worth of data that I have collected all organized by date.

Here's a shot of a work day. The chicken scratch on the left side is exactly what makes the concept work.

I also save the back 10-20 pages of the notebook for important information like user names, passwords, and anything else I want to track on a longer term list. I've done a lot with this section over the years including taking measurements when I was on a workout plan, tracking all of my real estate listings, tracking employees bonuses, and keeping a to-do list for when I become president of an organization in a few years.

This is more than a to-do list and it's more than a journal. Following this has truly changed my life and helps me stay on track and organized everyday. And, to think, it's all thanks to Donald Trump. If it works for the Donald, it will likely work for you too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Baby Blanket #2

I started working on my second baby blanket (See Baby Blanket #1 Post) when I got bored on a different project. I found this pattern on Lion's Brand a long time ago and thought it would be a good one to try. I LOVE the colors they use in the photos online, but I wanted to use up some that I had left over from making the triplet's hats. Turns out, I had to go buy more yarn anyway so I still have some left over. Oh well - they are great colors and very soft yarn. These are from Caron's Simply Soft Collection (Watermelon, Off White & Lavender Blue). There is nothing fancy about the yarns other than they can be found at Walmart, which is somewhere I go every week anyway. I'm at a standstill with the other blanket I'm working on because I got the yarn at JoAnn's which is a 20 minute drive away. Who knows when I'll make it down there...

I digress. 

Essentially, it's one of the easiest patterns ever and is very rhythmic. This is a great one to work on while watching TV or riding in the car because all you have to do is double crochet in groups of three with some chain stitches in there too. (Again, this should be contrasted with the other blanket I'm working on that is taking forever because it's an involved pattern that changes each round.) I finished this in no time flat - we're talking only a few hours. 

I made two changes to the pattern. First, I only did 22 rounds. It seems plenty big enough for a baby blanket. I haven't measure it, but it really does seem fine. I wonder if I used a slightly bigger hook than they did in the sample. The pattern didn't specify hook size - I used a J/10. It appears to be about three feet square. Second, I did two rounds (after the 22) in a single crochet for a border. I think I did two or three single crochets in each corner to keep it square. 

I took a few pictures throughout, but honestly, they're not worth loading. In fact, these aren't great either because I took them at night on my phone. I had time to type this up tonight and didn't want to wait until tomorrow to get good photos. Plus, I wanted to wash it up tonight because I'm giving it away tomorrow. It's in the washer right now and I've got my fingers and toes crossed that it comes out of the washer unscathed. 

Here is a close up of the border. I like it. 

See how even the pattern is? I'm telling you, it's a great pattern for a beginner. And, since it's all one stitch (two if you count the chains), you'll get really good at a double crochet by the end!