Saturday, June 4, 2016

30 for 30 Day 4: Overcoming my fear of public running

Day 4*
Progress toward goal: -5 lbs
Workout: Run/walk around the lake

I should preface this post by saying I have a slight phobia of running in public. I used to frequent a popular lake in town, but was scarred for life when some college guys drove by and yelled, "SLUT!" loudly at me.

Excuse me? I was about as modestly dressed as one can possibly be while walk/running around a lake. So much in fact I was wearing a hoodie.

That experience, combined with a story of other college guys throwing eggs at runners around that lake, pretty much made me think running was the IRL equivalent to posting a video on YouTube and waiting for all the trolls.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Lately, though, I've been dipping my toe in the pool of public exercise. I walk around the lake near my office building during my lunch break, I walk occasionally around the lake by my apartment building - but rarely do I actually run. Today, however, I did.

I should warn you that I cannot tell you how much I ran in how many minutes because that is not at all how I measure these things. What I can tell you is I ran from the garbage can to the fifth light pole in the distance, walked three light posts, then ran to that group of ducks.

It's very high-level, expert runner stuff.

What I found during my somewhat minimal amount of running is that it's not too bad. I made sure my headphones were blaring in case of a drive-by troll, but ultimately I was just able to clear my mind and focus on my breathing. Sure, when I actually saw an experienced runner I'm not going to lie and say I didn't feel self-conscious. Because I totally did. But I guess the point is, I kept going anyway (I mean, I had no other choice. I had to get back home.)

How's your 30 for 30 going? Is there an exercise you've felt too self-conscious to ever try? You name it, and I'm sure I felt or feel the same way!

*I did walk around the lake on Day 3 during my lunch break, so the 30 minutes happened! I just didn't have time to blog about it, unfortunately. It wasn't too exciting anyways. Mostly, I kept notes on all the ducks and geese who do not give a single F about drivers and will galavant in the middle of the road at their leisure.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

30 for 30 Day 2: POP Pilates & Other Musings

Day 2
Progress toward goal: -5 lbs*
Workout: Pilates

Today I got a late start on my 30 minutes of physical activity. So late that it came after a cocktail and three episodes of Bloodline that I watched in rapid succession with my boyfriend.

I almost didn't do it guys. Could you imagine - day 2 and I already gave up? What an anti-climactic fitness journey that would have been. It would be like not making it to the makeover episode of Biggest Loser. Like, what is even the point?!

Determined, I decided to replace the 30 minutes I would usually take in the evening to read the news and brush up on some literary canons (JK, I mean looking at cat memes and sending the funniest ones to my best friend and mom in a group chat) with pilates.

My experience with pilates is limited to the Autumn Calabrese 21 Day Fix version, which I do enjoy. Ironically enough though, I was too lazy to locate the dvd tonight so I ended up doing a workout by Blogilates.

If you've never watched Blogilates before, I recommend it. She creates super quick fitness videos that actually seem feasible. Five minutes for a better butt? Sure, why not!

Tonight I did her Slim n' Sculpt Beginner's POP Pilates video twice (it's 13-ish minutes of actually working out - I know, I know, I'm missing 4 minutes. However, I do walk to and from work so I figured it works out in the end).

The workout had a few moves I was used to doing from the 21 Day Fix videos, only there wasn't a slightly chubby, out-of-shape older woman doing modifications in the background like I'm accustomed to. So full disclosure, this was a pretty hard workout. Super fast, but sort of intense.

If you try it, I want you to know it's okay if you can't do everything she does. In fact, here's a list of how I handled the most challenging moves:

  • Roll-ups - immediately I thought, "This isn't going to happen." Basically you lie flat on the floor and simply roll up into a sitting position. Instead of rolling up gracefully, I sort of rocked myself back to gain momentum and then launched myself upright. I did not feel bad about this.
  • Bridge Single-Legged Leg Lift - These really hurt, but they hurt in that way you know it's working. Sort of that feeling you get after doing 5 crunches and your stomach just feels like a six pack has formed. I had to pause the video for a minute and I know for sure I did not come close to as many reps as she did.
  • The "Elbows Together" move - the second time through I thought, this is it. I'm going to die. Again, I took a quick break. No shame.

So Day 2 is down. Tomorrow will be a challenge for me. I'm going to try and wake up early enough to go on a run/walk (mostly walk) before work. If I don't get the activity in early, it likely won't happen since I have plans tomorrow night. SO MUCH PRESSURE.

How was your first (or second) day doing 30 for 30?

 *I weighed myself today after not weighing myself in two weeks and, surprisingly, I am already 5 pounds down! Only 15 more to go! If you're interested, I've been using the My Fitness Pal app to track my calories. My username is hiamandarae if you'd like to be friends!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

30 for 30 for 30

Happy June, everyone.

As Summer approaches, I'm sure, like me, you're hitting up Pinterest for all the arm exercises you'll do in between the fruity cocktails inspired by Disney princesses you'll be making. It's great how optimistic we are about things - like, sure, I'll make that chocolate-caramel-deep-fried cheesecake right before I go on that four-month juice cleanse so I'm bikini ready. Life is about balance after all.

Despite my best pinning efforts, the weight has not miraculously fallen off. Which is what I expected after I pinned that recipe for a green smoothie. But now I realize simply pinning recipes and workouts aren't working, so I'm actually trying to lose weight - not for summer, not for a bikini body (if you want to wear a bikini, just do it!) but for like, life. And I really want to meet my goal before my birthday.

My birthday.

My 30th birthday.

(I don't think there's a font menacing enough to really convey the sense of dread here. Maybe Chiller?)

It's not that I think I'll self destruct in late September, leaving behind only tears and my Pinterest board as a reminder of everything I didn't accomplish. (I mean, okay. In all honesty, those Buzzfeed lists that suggest things you need to do/read/eat/go before 30 freak me out. I can still go bungee jumping in Thailand while reading a Lauren Conrad novel and eating spicy food past 9 p.m. once I'm 30, OKAY. Get out of my life forever, lists promoting ageism!)

But rather, I just want to greet this milestone feeling my best. And to feel better, I sort of want to see this thing through. Because let's face it, I haven't seen much through lately. Blogging has been a nightmare, reading before bed has been replaced by me lazily scrolling through Instagram, and I've lowered my expectations of hitting 10,000 steps a day so much that I'm happy if I even stand up while at work. I have to do something and stick with it!

So, like any sane person, I took advice from a random user commenting on a Youtube video. Tamigotchi90sgrl* suggested that if you want to stick to anything, you should share your goal with others so they hold you accountable. To the three people who read my blog: I'm counting on you!

And like any other sane person, I got inspiration for my first little initiative while lazily scrolling through Instagram.

#30for30 (for 30).

Starting today, do 30 minutes of activity every day for the next 30 days (in preparation of your 30th birthday, if you're me). If you're totally happy not doing the physical activity thing, do something else. Read 30 minutes every day for 30 days. Write. Play music. Spend quality time with your family.

My #30for30 will include the physical activity and the blogging about it. I'm going to try and test out different workouts and report back. If you don't hear from me, it's very likely I've broken something.


Day 1
Goal: lose 20 pounds
Progress toward goal: None, get off my back it's day 1
Workout today: Yoga

If you're playing along with #30for30, let me know what you're doing. Because, you know, I'm nosy like that.

*Name has been changed to protect the commenter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Diary of a Three Day Stair Stepper

We stood silently in front of the yellow flyer that had been crudely taped to the elevator door. The corners had been ripped, evidence of the door’s frequent opening and closing.

“This is going to suck,” my neighbor finally said.

“Uh, yep.” I replied.

The elevator would be down for three days.



As a resident of the seventh floor, this was life altering. Suddenly I found myself creating a list of all the things I couldn’t do over the next three days. This list was compiled much quicker than I anticipated, but consisted of: Laundry. A week’s worth of grocery shopping. Bringing items that required two hands to carry into my apartment.

It was unreasonable to be asked to give up that list of three things for three days.

But since I’ve been regularly attending spin class, naturally I felt the same level of physical confidence going into this week as someone who’s been intensely training for American Ninja Warrior. I could climb seven flights of stairs multiple times a day.

Day 1

Already I’m over the time it takes me to get downstairs.  I don’t go home on my lunch break so I’m saved the midday climb. However, trekking home from the end of a long day at work, I momentarily forget the elevator is down until I see the exasperated face of a dog-owning tenant. “This is harder than I thought,” he says as he passes by me.

I start the climb and pass another resident around the third floor. “Seven, right?” she says. We’ve apparently taken to referring to each other by floor levels, like we’re from respective districts in the Hunger Games.

I solemnly nod my head and she replies grimly, “I feel you girl. Eight.”

Around floor five it hits me I may just die in the stairwell. What’s even more horrifying than death though is someone passing me in this panting, vulnerable state so I soldier onward until I see the seven.  I swing open the door and pray I don’t run into anyone.

When my boyfriend comes over later, I once again find myself close to death on the fifth floor. “Can you just carry me,” he calls from behind me. I laugh, but it comes out as a gush of air from my lungs followed by a cough. Like pioneers clinging to life during the harsh winter, I feel like this challenge will only strengthen our love for one another.

Day 2

I leave for work and find someone resting in the lobby. “Taking a rest,” he says. I nod understandably and walk out into the morning fog. He looks out the window, surely thinking of fonder times when he didn’t have to take a rest in the lobby.  I imagine him writing a Civil War-style letter to the girl he had to leave behind upstairs.  

Dearest Gwendolyn,

I am afraid I have fallen under a terrible spell of lethargy and do not know if I have the strength to carry myself upstairs. I pray that someone stronger than myself will deliver these words to you.

With all my love,


Hard times have fallen upon us. These are dark days.

I go straight from work to school. When I come home (following some added challenges courtesy of my vehicle) I lead my friend to the staircase and he trips immediately as we begin our ascent. I keep going – “Be careful,” I call behind me. I’ve been hardened by my experiences. I’m like that old guy from every adventure movie who’s too calloused to react to others’ naivety. One thing I’ve learned is you just keep going.

Day 3

I find a hairnet between the fifth and fourth floor. I’m so overcome with curiosity that I trip and almost tumble forward down the stairs.  Like, where did it come from? Does someone moonlight as a lunch lady?

The day at work is long but unlike yesterday, I do not forget I have to climb the stairs when I come home. I’m actually already calculating the amount of times this will happen. Once when I first get home, then again after I get home from spin class, one more time after my boyfriend comes over and then shit, I remember we wanted to get takeout, so that’s a total of four trips up and down seven flights of stairs.

I’m mentally preparing myself for this harsh reality when I enter the lobby of my apartment building. And then I hear it – the distinct whooshing of elevator cables moving (I’m actually not sure if the cables are actually making that noise, but in my mind, that’s what is happening.)

There’s a fresh pink piece of paper taped to the door. Elevator is up and running.  I delightfully hit the up arrow and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And eventually give up because it takes too long and just take the damn stairs instead.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Obligatory New Year's Post

Hey guys.

I'm writing you from my couch as I, for whatever weird reason, have fallen victim to CMT's top 20 countdown. And, I don't even like this music. But what I do like are the music videos and how unapologetically terrible they are. Cue girl in white cotton dress wearing cowboy boots while this guy sings/stalks her from a tractor. Like, hey guy, you're weird. Get back to work. Why are you singing? Why's this girl frolicking in a field that's clearly about to be plowed? None of this makes sense--this is not real life.

Real life is sitting in front of your TV while your severely swollen ankle is on ice because you sprained it on New Year's Eve. Seriously. I had wonderful plans of going to spin class, you know, kicking the year off right and instead my foot looks like it belongs to the ugly step-sister who's trying to shove it into the dainty glass slipper.

Cute. Cankles are so cute, right? I hear they're trending for 2015.

Since I am currently in a position on my couch that can only be described with the hashtag #whateverwherearethecheetos, I figured I'd do something semi-productive like blog.

So, happy new year. 2015, where did you even come from? I mean, it's 10 years since I graduated high school. TEN YEARS.


How did that even happen? How did I become 28? Time is a strange thing. Especially this past year, with all the changes I've made and the ones that have made me, it seems like days, weeks, months are now defined by deadlines and meetings and plans I scribble down in planners because I actually need planners now. And then suddenly, it's 2015 and I need a new one.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy. Actually happier than I've been in a long time, but I really feel sad that things seem to be just a blur of happenings anymore. My mother warned me about this--the older you get, the quicker things pass you by.

And that terrifies me.

So, my resolution for this year is not going to be the usual (even though, once this fat-faced, ugly step sister cankle heals itself, I am at that spin class!), instead I'm opting for actually taking time to do things I want to do. Seriously. And I know that sounds cliche, but once you really sit down and think about everything we do on a daily basis, how much of it is exactly what you want?

Here's to writing in fro-yo and Food Network Magazine time into your planner. Mini hikes so you can pretend you're as badass as Cheryl Strayed. Or even blogging, and not because your ankle is fat and misshapen, but because you actually make the time to do it.

Here's to 2015--make it your year, y'all! Even if it's just twenty minutes at a time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Friday from Wednesday

So, hey, it's been a while.

Let me just get that out there. After my several empty attempts at creating a writing schedule so I could stay consistent I, well, pretty much fell off the face of the earth.

Some of you may have been wondering if I reactivated my OK Cupid account and somehow fell victim to the pixelated charms of Sasquatch (you know, it's the classic Beauty and the Beast love story), leading to my doomed fate of dying alone in the forest at night with only the dim glow of Sasquatch's Nokia flip phone from 2003 illuminating my tragic surroundings as he takes a selfie, then filters it through Instagram with the hashtag #lovekills.

Thankfully, that didn't happen.

What has happened is I have a new job as a marketing coordinator (side note: when I first got this job, that's basically how I wanted to introduce myself until someone punched me in the face. Like, "Hi, my name is Amanda and I'm a marketing coordinator. Yes, I'll have a tall iced coffee, please.") and a new boyfriend who does not live in the forest or take unrecognizable selfies with an antiquated mobile device.

Shit's kind of together at the moment, which is weird for me. And this is why I feel like I haven't had much fuel for writing. As you know, most of my anecdotes are based on embarrassing social tragedies or how depressed I am at work. Not that the social tragedy thing doesn't happen any more (believe me, on the daily) but I'm sort of content.

And it's sad that I can't write when I'm happy. Yet another reason I believe I am truly like Wednesday Addams. I mean, right now I'm happy in life, but sad that I can't write when I'm happy. So technically, what's making me write even now is sadness.

What's wrong with me?

The point is, I was shopping on ModCloth. I know, you totally saw that sentence coming because it makes so much sense in the context of this post.

But seriously, that's what happened. I was shopping on ModCloth and I saw this book titled, "Do Something Every Day That Scares You." Of course at first I thought, pfft, ridiculous. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I am terrified of pretty much everything, so to do this wouldn't necessarily require me jumping out of airplanes or sword swallowing. I could, I don't know, go to a sit-down restaurant alone. Enroll in a class at the museum. Wear harem pants.

And then I realized I hadn't blogged in quite sometime. It was in this moment that a little wisp of sadness made its way from my heart and to my keyboard. I could write about doing something that scares me every day. (Okay, maybe not every day, but you get the point.)

So, that's where I'm at. I'm going to wear harem pants. And be really scared and sad. And then write about it.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Friday Night Writes & Other Things At 3 AM

So, it's 3 AM and yes, I realize I just started this blog post by unintentionally quoting a Matchbox Twenty song.

I've had issues sleeping pretty much all week, which is a terrible affliction to be plagued with when your job requires you to be awake for eight consecutive hours. Last night, for example, I had a nightmare that all my close friends finally got their dream occupations and I was still the one wandering around blindly, nurturing my sanity by doodling nonsensical things at my desk and filtering photos of my coffee through Instagram. Even mid-nightmare, I was in emotional duress because I wanted to be happy for my friends but at the same time, I wanted them to be unhappy with me.

It was horrifying. (And man was I glad when I woke up to realize we were all still miserable.)

It doesn't help that I've already failed to blog at least twice a month. I really wanted to use this platform as some sort of representation of what I'm capable of to potential employers, but, I mean, stream-of-conscious writing at 3 AM isn't too impressive.

So, I'm thinking about creating a writing schedule (this also has the potential to serve as a convenient excuse for getting out of social interactions I have no interest being a part of--sorry, it's "Friday Night Writes!" Gotta go home and write stuff by myself without you there!) Right now may be the prime time to do this because I seem to be creating more structure in my life. Like, I have that My Fitness Pal app and a workout schedule AND I purposely went up and down the stairs at work 10 times on my break (and it was only on the 10th time down that I encountered someone in the stairwell and really wanted to explain that I wasn't severely out of breath from only walking down two flights of stairs, but rather my inability to breathe and sweaty appearance was because I had been working out hard core on levels they wouldn't understand.)

We'll see. I have a planner and a calendar and a pen to write stuff on the pages. But, I also have a Pinterest account and apparently, insomnia. And on that note, here's a photo I found that made me laugh way too hard.

P.S. It's now 4 AM. Cool.