Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Outdoor Workouts: Mt. Pisgah

Mt. Pisgah is a 700ft sand dune that Specks and I frequent here on the island.  It's a pretty steep climb so I like to use it for working out.  Running uphill...in sand...is a chore.

We love it though! Specks and I will usually climb it multiple times in a row.  We climb our way to the top and then run down, at full speed. I always feel like such a kid running down a giant dune at full speed.  After catching our breath for a few minutes we repeat the task.  It takes me about 15 minutes to climb to the very top and back down with Specks.  We like to do the climb at least twice.  It's a seriously intense workout.

The views from the top help make this one of my favorite workouts.  On a sunny, clear day you can see all of the islands surrounding ours.  It's really beautiful to witness.  Michigan has such blue, open skies. On a snowy day there are beautiful views too.  Drifts of snow mix with the sand making for some interesting terrain. It makes the climb super varied and worth it.

Your turn...What are some of your favorite outdoor workouts?

Currently listening to...Sons & Daughters- The American Spirit

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekly Schedule

The week I've been waiting for is finally here!! This is the last week of school before spring break and on Thursday I start my trek up to Alaska to visit Cody.  I'm really only planning out Sunday-Wednesday this week.  I'll be on planes and in airports most of Thursday and Friday.  Seriously though, I'm not complaining.  Especially after Cody sent me a couple of beautiful pictures of Juneau this week.  The mountains, the ocean, the overwhelming amount of green! I miss that place so much...

Ok, back to the schedule.  For the most part I'm just using up random stuff that I have in the house because I will be MIA from the island for a whole week. Don't want to come home to a fridge of moldy food. Here's my plan for the week! 

Weekly Eats
Sunday: Spaghetti, Salad
Monday: Veggie Pizza
Tuesday: Cheesy Baked Macaroni, Green Beans
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: N/A
Friday: N/A

Weekly Workouts
Sunday: Climbing Mt. Pisgah (x2) + 1 mile walk
Monday:  Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
Tuesday: Hoop Fitness
Wednesday: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
Thursday: N/A
Friday: N/A

Your turn...Are you doing any traveling this week? If so, where are you going? 

Currently listening to...Clair de Lune- Debussy 

Monday, March 16, 2015


This is a big week in my household.  All three of its occupants celebrate their birthdays.  Specks is the first to get to celebrate.  His birthday was Sunday (3/15) and he turned six! We celebrated by going for a very long, fun walk and then climbing a 700ft sand dune.  Specks is all about the adventure.  He also ate way too many treats and napped with me on the couch.  Perfection :)

Today, we celebrate another exciting birthday.  Cody officially enters his mid-twenties today...such a youngster! I wish more than anything that he was here to celebrate with me.  We will be spending lots of time on FaceTime today.  I will most likely sing to him, which he will pretend to hate.  He will spend the day working and staying busy.  Luckily, he is in Juneau with all of our friends so they will treat him to a fun birthday celebration this evening. More than anything, I hope this year brings him love and happiness.  I hope he gets to go back to college this year.  I hope he climbs a few mountains this year.  And I hope he enjoys every minute of time with Specks and I this year.

Finally, we will wrap-up the birthday extravaganza on Wednesday with my birthday. This year will be odd for me.  I've never spent a birthday alone, much less hundreds of miles from family or Cody.  I may venture out for dinner with a few of my local friends.  It should be a very low key affair. I'll go home to Specks and get in some cuddle-time.  Not altogether a bad thing.  I'm happy to be a year older and I am happy to have a new year to work on goals and aspirations that I have for myself.

All in all, it should be a pretty nice week.

Your turn...How do you celebrate the birthdays of your furry friends?

Currently listening to...Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Snowshoeing on Lake Michigan

Sunday I went snowshoeing with some friends out on the very frozen Lake Michigan.  It was a nice opportunity to get myself out of the house for a few hours.  I spent most of my weekend in a state of laziness (by choice) and I knew I needed to get in a workout and some socialization at some point.

The temperatures were surprisingly warm.  After weeks of temperatures in the -10 to -30 range having double digit, positive temperatures was a treat.  I never thought that the upper teens would feel like a warm summer day.  I must confess, temperate climates have left me spoiled.

After a short hike through deep snow we came to our destination...Lake Michigan! From there, we hiked out onto the frozen tundra that is Lake Michigan in early March.  The ice was incredible! Huge hunks of blue ice were sprouting from the frozen lake and snow.  It was surreal to see.  The only other time I've seen ice this blue was when we climbed Mendenhall Glacier last winter. It is insane to think about this ice forming in such a short amount of time.

The ice was slick and the cleats on the bottom of my snowshoes were much needed.  The ground was uneven part of the time, which made for a unique snowshoeing experience.  I'm not sure that I would have made it without them though. Overall, it was a great workout and I was glad to get in a fun, unique way to get outside and exercise this weekend.

Your turn...Have you ever seen any blue ice?  What winter activities are keeping you busy?
Currently listening to...Riptide- Vance Joy

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Basketball Games and R&R

This week has been crazy.  I've been truly astounded at how tired I have been every night.  It's like a freight train ran me over. After a week of standardized test preparation, professional development, coaching, and life in general I was ready for the weekend.  First, I had to coach and attend the Alumni Basketball game on Friday night.  It was a HUGE community event, complete with a martial arts demonstration, violin performance, singers, and a chili cook-off.  Lots of fun!

Friday at about 9pm...I was ready for a weekend of nothing but binge-watching Netflix and taking naps.  Ok, I guess I'll go grocery shopping and walk the dog.  I am committed to the boring-ness of a weekend holed up in the house though. It will be a glorious thing. 

Your turn...What are your weekend plans?
Currently listening to...When The Lights Go Out-Black Keys

Friday, March 6, 2015

Midwestern Winter

I'm not going to lie.  This winter has been tough on me.  Getting used to the harshness of Midwestern winters has been an adjustment. Juneau boasts a beautiful temperate climate.  It stays between 30-60 year-round. It's just a nice, predictable climate. I was completely used to it.

Before living in Juneau I had spent four years living in/going to school in Southern Illinois.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Southern Illinois, just know the climate is NOTHING like typical Illinois.  Snow is a rarity.  The first year I lived down there I never wore anything heavier than a hooded sweatshirt in the winter. It's dominated by warm weather.

Moving back to my roots has been rough on me because of the climate.  It's been 6+ years since I lived somewhere with harsh winters.  Believe me, this one has been one for the record books.

Long strings of cold.  No sign of the grass since early December.  I am ready for the thaw.  Ready for spring.  I don't know about you guys, but this winter stuff has got my praying for the warmth.

Your turn...What has your weather been like?

Currently listening to...Heaven- Brett Dennen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Living Alone Bucket List

While I kick-it solo for the next couple of months I thought it would be important to set some goals for myself.  I'm not the type of person who does well with tons of free time.  Planning and having very laid-out plans works well for me when dealing with down time.  I decided that this would be the perfect time to throw myself into some fun hobbies and meet some personal goals.  So, without further adieu, here is my Living Alone Bucket List!

1.) Read at least one book per month. I have a reading list that I am working on right now.  I am also the queen of rereading stories, which I am looking forward to doing with some of my favorites.  I am kind of interested in doing some rereading while I am alone because I find it easier to dive head-first into a book that I already know I will love. Plus, I already know they'll keep my attention.

2.) Go on one hike per week and take my fancy camera every time. Specks and I LOVE hiking on the weekends.  It makes both of us feel happier and healthier.  I am waiting for a bit of a thaw before tackling new trails (mostly because my tiny car has to stay on plowed roads).  We will be taking on some new trails as it warms up though.  Taking my nice (DSLR) camera is important on these hikes too.  I really want to focus on honing my nature photography skills.

3.) Clean the house for at least 10 minutes per day. I am awful about cleaning. I would make a horrible stay-at-home mom.  Living alone makes me produce half as much clutter, dishes, and laundry though.  I'm hoping to stay on top of it.  This includes dishes (yuck) and laundry (double yuck). A clean home is significantly less stressful to come home to every day.

4.) Take the dog on two long walks per day. Specks gained some weight during his sickness.  That coupled with the serious decrease in hiking our lifestyle has taken since moving away from Alaska has me thinking he needs a more serious exercise regime.  Twice a day for at least 20 minutes per walk, 1-2 miles minimum.  That is my goal for this cute doggy to stay healthy!

5.) Join a yoga class. There is a once a week yoga class offered on the island and I am really hoping to go to it regularly.  It will help get me out of the house and keep me in shape. Double win.

6.) Practice guitar.  I have a beautiful and amazing guitar, which I rarely play because I suck.  Sucking isn't as big of a deal when you live alone though.  I'm hoping to take this time to brush up on some of my skills.  Maybe start a band...or not.  Haha.

7.) Write in my blog four times per week. Blogging is a great creative outlet.  It also helps keep me accountable for my goals and lifestyle.  Blogging regularly seems like a good activity to keep me sane.  Plus, I lost a lot of readership when I took a hiatus and need to rebuild it.

8.) Write fiction. I love writing and I have always been interested in writing fiction.  Hopefully, this hiatus from living with my BFF will give me some time to throw myself into a new project.  Writing fiction is a great creative outlet and it eats up a lot of the free time that I find myself having.

9.) Exercise at least four days per week. Gotta get this booty back in shape! I lost a lot of my muscle tone and I have gained a few pounds since moving away from Juneau.  These next few months are pretty crucial for getting my body back on track.  I really would like to be back in long-distance hiking and mountain climbing shape when I get back home this summer.

10.) Try new recipes.  This one I am pretty excited for.  Cody is NOT an adventurous eater, while I am super non-picky.  I am going to throw myself (slowly) back into the culinary world.  Also, my evenings are pretty free and open these days so lengthy recipes aren't seeming quite so off-putting as they did when I had somebody to kill time with after work.

Your turn...What's on your bucket list?

Currently listening to... Dearly Departed- Shakey Graves

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekly Schedule

Happy Sunday! I am back at it for another week of meal planning and workouts.  Last week was pretty successful.  I managed to stick to my plans really well.  This was especially surprising because we had a snow day this week and I tend to fall off the wagon of healthy-living when I have too much free time. My willpower isn't exactly...strong. 

I did switch up my workouts a few times this week.  Mostly just substituting one thing for something equally challenging.  I was really into Jillian's 30 Day Shred this week so I did that more than I was planning. Overall, I felt really great about it.  It was also super nice to have my blog to guide my meal choices and workouts for the week.  I think I'll make this a regular Sunday tradition for the blog.  It's been so helpful this week that I'd like to see it continue! 

Weekly Meal Plan
Sunday: Stoney's (out to eat)
Monday: Pizza Primavera
Tuesday: Breakfast
Wednesday: Alfredo with Steamed Broccoli
Thursday: Leftovers!
Friday: ??? School chili cook-off and a basketball game!
Saturday: Cheesy Quesadilla with Rice and Beans

Weekly Workouts 
Sunday: Hula Hoop Fitness
Monday: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
Tuesday: 3 mile walk
Wednesday: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
Thursday: Yoga Class
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Hike OR Hula Hoop Fitness (weather depending)

Your turn..Do you meal plan? Any tips or tricks? 

Currently listening to...Late July- Shakey Graves