This week was pretty good, barring a few issues. I’m beginning to remember that marathon training is really just about going with the ebbs and flow. There might be a perfect week and there might be a horrible week, but most weeks are going to be somewhere in between. My biggest realization this week is that I think I’m going to cancel my gym membership. It’s $50 a month and the most I ever use it for is one yoga class a week, if that. The classes I want unfortunately aren’t conducive to my schedule, and I’m not in a place where I can waste $50 a month. It’s just not worth it financially. I might look on Groupon for some cheap yoga classes and work in yoga that way.
Monday’s plan: 40 minute run + yoga What actually happened: I ran to yoga, but I wore the wrong type of pants for running and they kept falling down! So it was a walk of 2.25 miles instead.
Tuesday’s plan: Rest day due to other commitments What actually happened: Rest.
Wednesday’s plan: November Project What actually happened: November Project! We did a hill running workout with some core. I ran 1.61 miles.
Thursday’s plan: 50 minute run What actually happened: I used the treadmill for the first time in a long time and remembered how much I hate it. I ran/walked 2.85 miles in 50 minutes.
Friday’s plan: Rest day What actually happened: I got to sleep in and rest.
Saturday’s plan: 6 mile run What actually happened: 6.10 mile run in 1 hour, 24 minutes. For parts of this I felt like I might die, and other parts felt good. This is the longest I’ve run in 7 months!
Sunday’s plan: Yoga What actually happened: Another rest day. I had to pick up my roommate from LAX at the time I’d hoped to go to yoga and there’s no classes in the afternoons on Sundays, so this didn’t happen. (This is when I realized it made sense to just get rid of it.)
WEEK FIVE’S PLAN
Monday: 45 minute run Tuesday: Track run ~45 minutes Wednesday: November Project + maybe yoga Thursday: 50 minute run Friday: Rest Saturday: 4 mile run Sunday: Rest
I feel like this series is starting to get a bit redundant but I’m going to keep up with it as a training log. It’ll be fun to look back on and I hope maybe 2 people find it interesting. Shout out to Hannah who left a comment last week to say she was loving it, which made my whole day.
The last few weeks have been a lot better for me mentally. I stopped working at a place that drained me, and I’ve been exercising and sleeping more. Despite so much uncertainty (mostly on the job front) I feel good. I’m making choices that benefit future me, even in the midst of some craziness. Here’s five things that are keeping me sane right now:
I’ve been prepping all my meals for six weeks or so now. It has changed my eating habits and my grocery spending. In an ideal world, I’d plan on Friday, shop on Saturday, and cook on Sunday to spread it all out, but I frequently end up planning on Saturday and doing the rest Sunday. I do overnight oats for breakfast every day (and generally eat at my desk when I arrive to work) and then switch up lunch and dinner. I like to make one new recipe a week and stick with an old favorite for the other meal. This way I’m not trying out two brand new things, which makes things easier. The more I cook something the faster I’m able to make it. Does it get boring? Absolutely. But it keeps things easy and stops me from getting take out or grocery store mac and cheese, which is what I’d eat every night if I could! For recipes, I really like Budget Bytes; I made this cilantro lime chicken for dinners last week.
“This is an anxiety response.”
Whenever I feel myself getting anxious, I’ve been saying the above phrase to myself. It helps me to remember that my feelings aren’t the sum total of the situation. For example, the other day I was driving to work and a bunch of weird traffic things happened. I kept thinking I was going to get hit by a car or another car was going to hit me. It wasn’t based in anything more than crazy drivers, but it left me feeling nervous the whole drive to work. I just kept repeating “This is an anxiety response” to myself and it did calm me down.
I went through a long period this summer where I worked out once or twice a week at most. There were some weeks where I didn’t work out at all. Since starting marathon training, I’ve been working out 4-5 times a week. I feel so much better because of it, and I sleep better at night! It feels good to get outside (yesterday I did the treadmill and it was awful) and move my body. I guess it’s true what Elle Woods said all those years ago: endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands! Or in my case, everyone around them.
You Need A Budget
It’s been almost a full year of using You Need A Budget (or YNAB) to track and manage my spending. I can’t fathom how I used to live without it. I’m never afraid to check my bank account; I know exactly how much money is there and where every penny has gone. I’ve had money set aside for my upcoming Amazon Prime subscription renewal for months, I’m currently saving a few dollars each month for next spring’s car registration, and I know just how long it will take me to pay off my credit card debt if I keep saving at the same rate. I love it so much, and I frequently have to stop myself from evangelizing about it to other people. It completely changed the way I think about money. If you’d like a free 34 day trial, you can click this link and I’ll get a free month!
I’ve got a spot on my editorial calendar for a full post about this later this month, but I would be remiss to leave it out of this list. I’ve been bullet journaling for two full years now, and I can’t see myself ever stopping. I love that I can make lists of anything and everything, catalogue notes and shopping lists, make meal prep calendars, and anything else I think of. I don’t feel boxed in by it; rather, I love the freedom to design it as I want and adjust as my needs change. I recently stared using scrapbook stamps in it again to mark the days of the week, and it’s made it feel just a little bit craftier. My post will be up at the end of the month, but if you’re dying for more info in the meantime you can check Rachel’s post and Amber’s post on the topic. Both are old, but they’ve held up and give a good overview!
It was April of 2017, and I had been living in LA for just three weeks. I was at the Festival of Books in line to meet marathon runner Shalane Flanagan, and I heard the girl in front of me in line say that she lived in my neighborhood. Moving somewhere were you have no friends makes you incredibly ballsy, so I struck up a conversation. I mentioned I wanted to find a running club, and she suggested November Project.
It took me a couple weeks to get up the courage to go. It was at 6:30 in the morning, my new friend had given me a heads up that the group was very enthusiastic (great, but at that hour?!) and what if everyone thought I was weird?
I went anyway.
I don’t remember much about that first workout, save for being a little freaked out when everyone repeated my name after me and then clapped. But I know that strangers hugged me and tried to get to know me and pushed me to work hard, all at an hour when most people are asleep. I knew that I needed that energy in my life.
After the first workout on an overcast morning, I challenged myself to go for a full month. The habit was built, and I kept showing up. I started going to Friday workouts in rotating locations around the city, and I got to explore parts of LA I’d never even heard of. I started going to Saturday Stairs, running laps inside the Hollywood Bowl. Honestly, how many people get to say they work out there?!
There’s been intermittent periods of time where I’ve stopped going, preferring to stay up late and sleep in on Wednesday mornings instead. And that’s fine. Sometimes you need a rest. But then something always prompts me to return: a friend checking in, or a favorite location for the workout, or a desire to get 5:30 am #content (just being honest). It never feels weird to go back, despite what my brain might tell me ahead of time. People are only ever happy to see me, armed with a high five or a hug.
It’s difficult to measure the impact that joining November Project has had on my life here, since I joined so soon after I moved. But short of moving to LA, it’s been the absolute best thing I’ve done in the last two years. Through it, I’ve gotten friends, I’ve become stronger (I ran a MARATHON because of it!), and I’ve grown into a happier, more confident person. In a place where I didn’t know anyone, showing up to November Project made me feel like I was known. I wasn’t a nobody in this city; I had friends who knew my name and gave me hugs and cheered me on.
I still remember the first morning at Griffith Observatory, a few weeks in, when the morning fog lifted. I could see the Hollywood sign and the whole city below, and I thought, “Yeah. This is why I moved here.”
Until you’ve run laps around Griffith Observatory or raced on the bike path at the ocean or seen the sunrise from the top of the steps at Baldwin Hills, I’m convinced you haven’t seen this city at some of its most special times. Throw in a whole group of people cheering you on, and you’ve got something I’m ready to show up for.
November Project to me is working hard. It’s pushing yourself just a little bit further than you think you can. It’s making new friends, and pushing those friends to work a little bit harder too. It’s a group of people who are there for you in good times and bad. It’s about showing up, and trying new things, and having fun. November Project groups are called tribes, and the LAX tribe truly is my home away from home in this giant city. I genuinely could not love a group of people more.
I am so ridiculously glad I decided to #justshowup on that day in May last year – my life hasn’t been the same since.
There are 49 November Project tribes around the world – is there one in your city? Find out on their website.
I’ve liked The 1975 for a long time, but I feel like I didn’t properly get into them until a few months ago. My friend Taryn is very, very into them and with her encouragement I started watching some videos and listening to more of their stuff – including this live album, recorded in December 2016 at their show at The O2 in London. Live albums can be hit or miss for me, but this has quips from frontman Matty Healy like: “The memory, the visceral memory of the next three-and-a-half minutes will be better than a video on your iPhone.” If you only listen to one song off this album, please let it be Robbers.
My favorites: Paris, A Change of Heart, Robbers, She’s American
>> Nina CriedPower by Hozier
This is an EP of four songs, so it has me asking everyone I know, WHERE IS THE NEW HOZIER ALBUM?! If you haven’t seen the video for Nina Cried Power, a song he’s said is a thank you note to the spirit of protest, you have to watch it. This is a great interview. This EP has me really excited for his new stuff, whenever we get it. (He’s promised it’s coming in 2019. I want to believe him.) When this came out, I listened to it on repeat for three straight days. It’s a good one.
My favorite: A tie between NFYMB and Shrike.
>> Sings His Sad Heart by Matt Nathanson
I’ve liked Matt Nathanson since I was doodling the lyrics to Come On Get Higher on my high school binders. (Also on those binders: Grey’s Anatomy quotes.) He sort of fell off my radar for a bit, so I was thrilled when I found out a few months ago that he was releasing a new album. This came out just ten days ago and it’s got that sad-but-hopeful feeling that I love: “Sadness used to think it owned me / now sadness gotta share me with you.” There’s a song about wanting an old love to come back to you (“I’ve got a king sized bed and a PhD in the way it used to be”) and another about trying to let go of someone. I don’t quite love this album as much as his older stuff, but maybe it just needs some time to grow on me.
My favorites: Different Beds, Long Distance Runner, Mine
>> Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Listening to this earlier this year meant reliving the moments at The Forum in Los Angeles when I was anxiously waiting for Harry Styles to come on stage, since Kacey was his opener. It’s in recent weeks that I’ve been able to appreciate it as an album of its own, independent of that experience. (I mean, I listened to it a lot before I saw her and I liked it, but now I like it as it deserves.) It’s full of lines like “cause I know my place, and it ain’t with you / sunsets fade, and love does too” that just hit you in the heart. I think that with this album, Kacey has mastered that specific pop-country crossover that’s really popular right now, and added a pinch of disco. Listening to this makes me want to lay in a field of flowers and sing to the clouds, maybe while a horse neighs in the background. Yeehaw.
My favorites: Space Cowboy, Butterflies, Slow Burn
>> Malibu Nights by LANY
Like Sings His Sad Heart, this album came out last week and maybe hasn’t had enough time to marinate. But I’ve been listening to the pre-released singles for weeks. The theme of this sophomore album is sad, sad, and sad (about a break up: “thought you’d be there through thick and thin / said you’d be there for me through everything / said that you’d have my back with anything”). It’s a far cry from the happier stuff of their previous album, but it’s still really good. And sad.
My favorites: Thru Thick and Thin, Taking Me Back, I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore
>> BLOOM by Troye Sivan
Full disclosure: I hated this album the first time I heard it. I thought it was boring and too cohesive and repetitive. Luckily, I gave it a couple weeks and listened again, and now I can’t stop listening. It has a cohesive sound, sure, but all the songs are different. It’s honest and raw and real, and those are three of the most overdone words when reviewing something but in this case they’re the most accurate ones I’ve got. With lines like Seventeen’s “I went out looking for love when I was seventeen / maybe a little too young, but it was real to me” and Plum’s “maybe our time has come, maybe we’re overgrown / even the sweetest plum has only got so long,” it’s hard not to feel something big when listening to this. This is one of those albums that I listen to, finish, and then immediately restart. There’s not a bad song in the bunch.
My favorites: Seventeen, Lucky Strike, Plum
I’m looking forward to the new Little Mix album and the next album from The 1975, both coming out next month. What else do I need to be listening to?
My freshman year of college, I had a friend who was from Colorado. I remember seeing photos on Facebook of a bunch of our floormates who went to visit her – and they were at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I knew then that I wanted to go there one day.
I finally got my chance when Niall Horan announced that it was a stop on his tour. My roommate scored us really good seats by magic (like, fourteenth row) and we booked plane tickets and a place to stay with some friends.
I stayed in Denver for three days and did some cool stuff, but I’m just going to talk about Red Rocks – because it’s the coolest part of the trip and because it’s the only thing we did that I have really good photos of! The rest of the trip was mostly eating and it looks like I didn’t take too many photos. We stayed in an AirBnb-type place near Coors Field. For food, I can recommend Cherry Cricket, where I had a great burger, and Snooze, which had some of the best breakfast food of my life.
Walking into Red Rocks was a really surreal experience. I’d never been there before but I also felt like I’d been there a thousand times – in the very best way. I know this makes no sense, but you just have to trust me on it. I loved it immediately, and I already knew I was going to be ruined for any concert afterwards.
We got to catch a minute of soundcheck (see photo at top) before we were shooed away by a security guard, and then we went to the on-site restaurant for dinner. There’s not much in the way of food on the way to Red Rocks (which is in Morrison, CO, about a 15 mile drive from Denver) so we ate there. You have to make a reservation ahead of time, I believe. The food was fine but nothing memorable, but it was worth it to get in a bit early.
There’s not much I can say about the concert itself without sounding incredibly sappy and poetic. This was the fourth time I saw Niall this tour, which I know is a little ridiculous, but each and every time I had the happiest night of my life seeing him. This, though, blew all those others out of the water, and I would’ve traded the three of those in a heartbeat to get this night out of the deal. Niall was so thrilled and excited to be performing at Red Rocks, and that’s how I felt about being in the crowd. I took a bunch of photos but nothing that did the venue and the experience justice, so I tried to keep my phone away and soak in the whole thing.
The venue is incredible. Because we were so close to the front, I could turn around and see the expanse of the crowd behind us. I could say it over and over til I turn blue, but the venue lends itself to the experience feeling almost spiritual. You’re outside in the mountains, under the stars, there’s people all around you, the sound is bouncing off the rocks in the best way, and you’re in this really special place. It looks really gorgeous in photos, but pictures just do not do the experience justice.
I could probably talk about this all day but the basic facts are that I had the very best time, Red Rocks ruined me for any other concert venue, and I absolutely cannot wait to get back there one day.
This week was a bit of a wash with regards to workouts, but the first half was good! I’ve definitely noticed that having Bri training for the marathon with me has been great for accountability and keeping me to my word. But then there’s times like this weekend and we also talk each other out of workouts. It’s a balancing act!
Monday’s plan: Boot camp + 30 minute run What actually happened: 50 minute run, 3.5 miles
Tuesday’s plan: 30 minutes at the track What actually happened: 30 minute run, 2.25 miles, with some core exercises
Wednesday’s plan: November Project workout + evening yoga What actually happened: 1.25 mile run with core exercises, no yoga (might be time to get rid of this one/move it to a different day if it’s not going to happen)
Thursday’s plan: 40 minute run What actually happened: No workout. A whole bunch of rough things happened in the afternoon so an evening workout didn’t happen
Friday: Rest What actually happened: Rest!
Saturday: 5 mile group run What actually happened: No workout. Our power went out Friday night and we couldn’t get out of the building to eave for the workout the next morning. I never got around to making it up (this is 100% due to laziness).
Sunday: Yoga What actually happened: No workout. I slept in and watched Grey’s Anatomy in my pajamas.
Here’s what I’m planning for the week ahead:
Monday: 40 minute run + yoga Tuesday: Rest day due to other commitments Wednesday: November Project Thursday: 50 minute run Friday: Rest day Saturday: 6 mile run Sunday: Yoga
My roommate Bri works at NBC Universal, and one of the perks of her job is that she sometimes gets invited to movie screenings. There’s a movie theater at Universal CityWalk. On Wednesday night, they closed it to the public and invited employees to see First Man, which is about the moon landing and stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.
At first I thought it was just going to be one room of the movie theater but I quickly figured out that they had closed down the whole cinema. We were handed popcorn and a drink as we went in. The theater has really nice reclining seats (the kind I’d never pay for myself!) and they were really comfortable. The whole experience felt pretty special.
As for the movie itself, I loved it! I left the theater thinking about how much I love space and wanting to research all the historical events. I don’t think every movie ever has to teach us something, but I do enjoy leaving a movie and wanting to learn more. The film isn’t just about the moon landing, but rather the years leading up to Armstrong becoming the first man on the moon, so it deals with his training, the death of his young daughter, his family, and how he copes with everything going on. Claire Foy plays his wife and she’s excellent in the role. If you’re interested in space, I would absolutely go see it!
My idea of myself as a person who would never, ever get a tattoo changed in the spring of 2014. I was a few weeks away from the end of my study abroad semester in Paris, and a couple of my friends decided that they wanted to get tattoos. For the first time, I didn’t meet the idea with “no way, never ever” but instead a feeling of “I’d like one, but I don’t know what I would get.”
That feeling stayed with me for a few years – until last summer, when I started to think more seriously about the idea of getting one. I knew at some point I wanted to get a flower, likely a peony or a rose, but I didn’t know where I wanted it to go. So I set that one aside and kept thinking. I don’t remember when I got the idea, but it seemed like it came to me, fully formed: an arrow tattoo on my forearm.
(I should mention that after I got the tattoo, I remembered that Kristin of Taz and Belly had gotten an arrow tattoo on her wrist the year before, and I loved it. I must have shelved it in the back of my mind!)
So what does it mean? I’m gonna be honest: I partially got this just because I liked it. Not every tattoo has to be meaningful! I have friends with lots of tattoos, some they got just because they wanted it in the moment. To some it may seem like a careless way to treat your body, but to others it’s art.
That said, there were a couple of reasons I got this:
Arrows represent forward movement, and I wanted something to represent moving across the country and starting a new life.
There’s a line in one of my favorite songs by the band The Maine: “Stay soft but don’t be gentle.” I loved that an arrow is delicate but also capable of making a big impact – or doing some damage!
I liked it!
I definitely intend to get a flower at some point, but I still haven’t figured out where I want it, So while this is my only tattoo for now, it probably won’t be my only tattoo forever.
Do you have any tattoos? Do they mean anything special?
A few months ago, I was lamenting the fact that I felt like my life was full of obligations to others and I wasn’t doing things I wanted to do. So many of the things that have happened this year have been because someone else forced my hand: looking for a new place to live, looking for a new job, finding a new therapist, the list goes on. That’s when I decided I wanted to pick one day each month where I would make absolutely no plans for the day, and do whatever I wanted in the moment.
I picked September 22, a Saturday, for the first Adventure Day.
I started the morning by waking up late and not feeling bad for it. (Not feeling bad about my choice is key for the Adventure Day.) I had two cups of coffee, made eggs for breakfast, and watched half of The 1975 at The O2while I worked on Project Life for the first time in months.
I went to a 15 Years of Grey’s Anatomy pop-up exhibit that was put on by ABC and POPSUGAR. It was cute! There were lots of pieces of fan art, a few props from the show, and a bunch of places to take photos. I loved the sign that said ‘You’re my person’ a lot. I think this is something that would’ve been better with a friend – alone, it was just wandering the room and looking at the exhibit because I didn’t feel like taking photos alone. I haven’t watched Grey’s in a few years, but it was cool to get to see some of the props.
After that I went to get lunch at a vaguely fancy grocery store, and then I went to the library for a while to read. At this point I was starting to feel like I should’ve planned this whole day better. I didn’t make any kind of plan and since I had a concert to go to that evening, I was a bit limited on where I could travel. I toyed with the idea of setting a spending limit of $25 for adventure days, with the intent of trying to do free things. Between lunch and dinner, I ended up spending most of that on food.
I went for a drive around Beverly Hills to look at the fancy houses that I can dream of one day affording, and then I sat in a park and read Dreaming in Irish and wrote in my journal. It’s a park that I went to for a November Project workout once last year, and I’ve wanted to hang out there since. After that I made a quick stop at the Beverly Hills sign, since I’ve been wanting to grab a photo of it for a long time.
Soon after that it was time to leave to head to the Greek Theatre for the Johnnyswim + NEEDTOBREATHE show. Ticketmaster did a $20 all-fees-included promo earlier this year, and I will take any excuse to go to the Greek that I can. It was a good show! I like some of their songs a lot, and others not at all. They didn’t play some of the ones I love, which was a bummer, but I still had a great time.
I’m loosely planning the next Adventure Day for this weekend, and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do yet – stay tuned!
Tucked away in the mountains of Malibu is a little oasis called Malibu Wines. I went with some friends from November Project this weekend, and it was incredible. It’s a bit of a drive from LA, but definitely worth the trip.
The aesthetic is really lovely. There’s a lot of tables with umbrellas, a grassy area for picnicking, and a stage that held live musicians. It’s basically a beer garden, but for wine.
I expected it to be more wine tasting than wine drinking. I’m sure you could go there and making more of a wine tasting afternoon if you wanted! But for us, it meant sitting around a table eating snacks and drinking various bottles of wine we bought one at a time, trading stories and laughing hysterically and listening to the various live musicians (some better than others) and taking full advantage of my friend Joel’s portrait mode.
It was perfect.
The great thing about Malibu Wines is that you can bring in whatever snacks you want. You’re not allowed to bring alcohol (and there is a security check) but you can easily bring a box of crackers or a whole picnic. There was an Italian food truck on the premises. I didn’t buy the $10 Italian wine ice because I thought it was wildly expensive, but it sounded really good. They seemed to have a big wine selection. I do know their cheapest bottle is $28 because that’s the one we bought.
We did have a bit of trouble with parking when we first got there. Basically, Malibu Wines is split into two sections: the Malibu Wines area, which is where we had our picnic, and the Wine Safaris, which is a tour that yes, involves animals. You park in the same parking lot for both, and then take a short shuttle ride (literally three minutes or less) to the picnic area. It wasn’t a big deal, but it would’ve saved us about 15 minutes of driving around looking for the entrance had we known.
Malibu Wines is located at 31740 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. It’s open 11 AM – 7 PM Monday through Thursday, 11 AM – 9 PM on Fridays, and 10 AM – 9 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
As a bonus, when we were driving back to LA, we spotted the Bachelor Mansion on the side of the road. I never expected it to be so close to the freeway!