Wordless Wednesday: View from the Window

I'm linking up with Beth at Running with the Sunrise for another Wordless Wednesday. 

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

And that goes for things on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and anywhere else as well. 

Since I have nothing nice to say (and a lot of verbal crap I would like to throw at people), I've decided to give you three things to brighten your day and mine. 

1. Organ Donation

I know, it isn't a lot of fun to think about. I've had friends saved by donors and friends who died and were able to be donors. It's a good time to remind you to think about it and talk about it. Make sure your loved ones know what decision you would want to make--since you might not be able to make it yourself. One donor can save up to 8 lives. That's a lot. You can learn more at the National Organ and Tissue Donation Website

2. This otter

Seriously, if you can watch this without smiling, then I feel sorry for you.

3. Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte

I was disappointed when I thought this was coming out and then didn't see it on any menus. After all, the other holiday drinks were available. I figured maybe they had decided not to offer it. Fortunately, it has finally appeared. You can bet I picked one up to try this morning. 

What are your day-improving tips?

A Weekend of Food and Film

My weekend involved a whole lot of sitting on the couch. Now, normally I would be lamenting the fact that I actually did very little, but sometimes you just need that time to recharge. Which is why I saw more movies in the last 48 hours than I think I saw in the last four months. Mostly, it involved catching up on my Superhero moves (X-Men, Spiderman, and Captain America). I have to say that while I am not typically the kind to go for action movies, I generally like the ones coming out of these universes. Spiderman still needs some work, though.

I did manage to go grocery shopping though. It might have been right after watching this week's episode of Shark Tank, so many of the items were at least inspired by the episode. 

First up was these amazing dark chocolate covered hemp seeds from Himalania. 

Then I managed to track down this TIny but Mighty popcorn (inspired by the Pipcorn pitch on Shark Tank). It's made with smaller pieces of corn than others and is supposed to be easier to digest.

I also picked up some of Heidi Ho's vegan cheese spread (the creamy Chia Cheez one). (Sorry, no picture--yet). 

I'll be writing up reviews of these in the next couple days. Overall, though, I was pretty impressed. 

Now, it's back to my week filled with lots of PowerPoint presentations and other silly stuff. 

Linking up with Katie  and Erin this week. 

3 Tips to Handling Holiday Stress

Can I please have another fake snow day? Please? No. Okay then. 

Since we do not have 4-6 inches of snow on the ground, I had to get in the car and go to work today. Not that it is all bad. I am terrible at working from home, so I got very little done. Fortunately, I am on a roll in the office today and knocking out tasks pretty quickly. 

As the holiday season approaches, I know a lot of people (including myself) start to feel the stress building up. It's hard to take time for myself when there are demands from work, family, community and everyone else. Still, it is incredibly important to find some balance. Here are some of my tips.

1. Treat Yourself

Most of us are reluctant to spoil ourselves, especially during a time of year that is mostly about doing for others. It helps to be a little selfish from time-to-time though. It will help remind you that you are also important. Plus, it is a good way to get away from things for an hour. Get a massage or manicure, go to a movie, or simply hang out at a coffee shop. Whatever would help you is what you should do.

2. Indulge...a litte

Hanging on to strict diets during this season is hard. Seriously. Also, it isn't very fun. Sure, you want to avoid reversing all the hard work you put in over the last 11 months, but you also want to enjoy it. Plan to indulge a little on specific things (the ones that you wait all year for) and then stick to your plan the rest of the time. It will make you happier and less likely to overdo it. 

3. Run

Or go to the gym/yoga class/spinning. Exercise is a great natural stress reliever. If you think you don't have time, you are probably wrong. Find time somewhere in your day (even if it is only for 15 minutes). You will feel better and it will help you burn off those extra cookie calories. 

What tips do you have for managing holiday stress?

Houston, We Have Snow.

I'm linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for another Think Out Loud Thursday.


1. I woke up this morning and there was no snow. There was a huge amount of craziness yesterday where everyone was 100% sure we were going to get 4-6 inches of snow (a big deal in Portland). They cancelled a bunch of my meetings. Schools were set on a delay--then subsequently cancelled this morning. I still don't see snow. Now I just feel stupid for working from home. On the plus side, I am in my pajamas and staring out at beautiful scenery instead of stuck in my office. On the downside, I still don't see any snow. 

2. The beautiful scenery yesterday made up for the ugly weather. Between out wind gusts and the bitter cold, it wasn't a lot of fun to be outside. Still, when I can see five different mountains from one spot, it is a pretty good day. 

Some of them are a little hard to see, but they were totally there. 

Some of them are a little hard to see, but they were totally there. 

3. TRX class killed me...again. This class is going to punish me until I break. It's awesome! I feel terrible through most of the class, but awesome when it is over. Last week I was super sore until Sunday (class in on Wednesday). I'm hoping this week is a little better. We did an extra set of each exercise, though, so who knows. 

4. The (lack of) snow and school closure means no trail run for me today. I'm not at work by the trails and my partner is at home as well. I'm either going outside later or hitting the treadmill. I don't really have good enough cold weather clothes, but I do live super close to an REI that would solve all my problems. 

5. Nothing beats staying in your PJs, drinking a homemade chai latte and putting your feet up on the couch. Seriously. I am in heaven right now. 

Ever had a fake snow day? What would you do with it?

Winter Weather Favorites

Winter seems to have appeared with little warning in Portland. I've lived places where winter started in September and extended through May, but the Pacific Northwest is normally a little more stable. Winter, as I interpret it, really only lasted for two months last year. While we were still light compared to most places, it was an overall rough season. I even got a day and a half off work due to snow. 

That said, I don't miss freezing to death. I am almost always cold, so when you add in icy temperatures, I tend to be miserable. There are a few things that I love about winter though. 

1. The coffee.

This one might seem odd, but I love the different flavors of coffee that come out this time of year. I'm not talking about Peppermint Mochas (though those are good too). I'm talking about actual flavored coffee (sorry to those of you who are traditionalists). This morning I got a cup of Winter Blend coffee from Einstein Bagels and it tastes like the perfect blend of coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. Nothing added. Just simple and easy. 

2. Tights. 

I love wearing skirts and dresses to work. I think they look better on me than pants. They are also much easier to find in sizes that work since fewer things seem to be able to go wrong. Unfortunately, I don't do cold legs. Enter tights and leggings. I love that I can add a smattering of color or texture to an otherwise boring outfit in a way that also helps keep me warm. Bonus: it extends my wardrobe a lot and makes it so I don't have to buy entirely new clothes. 

3. Running.

Okay, so there is definitely a sweet spot for this when it can get too cold, but the mildish-winter temperatures we are lucky enough to have around here are perfect. They let you throw on a long-sleeved top and go. It's nice to not be burning up after a mile like I was all summer long when my runs were done in 85-90F. It definitely helps with both motivation and speed. It helps keep me motivated and away from the treadmill. 

4. Scarves.

Still hanging around on the back of my office door from last winter.

Still hanging around on the back of my office door from last winter.

Yes, I could wear a scarf all year, but that wouldn't make them as special. I find they are the perfect way to change the look of an outfit or jacket without buying a lot of extra stuff. I've bought several, but I also crochet my own from time to time. 

5. Soups.

Is that weird? Soup is one of my favorite lunches, but it never seems to make sense when it is warm out. Now that it is cooler, it's become my go-to item for lunch and sometimes dinner. It is easy and can be super healthy if made right. Plus, there are a lot of options, which means it is hard to get bored.

What are some of your favorite winter weather things?

High Wind Weather Run

It's one of those days where nothing seems to be getting done the way I want it to, including getting a blog post up.

I went for a run at lunch today and it was COLD. The actual temperature wasn't actually that bad and my long-sleeved pullover from Adidas did a great job keeping my body warm. The issue was the wind. To prove that I am not just wining about it, I pulled this picture for you.

Yeah, so that kinda sucked. I told my friend that I felt like I was running into the wind both ways. I don't know how it is possible, but it is completely true. You can see where the big gusts were on my pace graphs for the day. I need to pick up something to cover my ears on runs. They suffered the most. Well, them and my eyes. I wore my sunglasses, but my contacts were bone dry by the time I finished.

Either way, I did my planned 2 easy miles today at a 9:24 pace. I'm still easing back in after hurting my ankle, so I'm pretty happy with that. I've got a 5K race coming up on Thanksgiving, so right now I am just focused on trying to make sure that I am ready to run the best race possible. Oh, and have a lot of fun. That's why one of my runs each week is out on the trails with a friend. 

How's your Tuesday shaping up? Is it beginning to look like winter in your neck of the woods?

Hood River +Monday Goals

Hey there! It's Monday again. Strange how that keeps happening. I had a crazy weekend that involved a whole lot of glitter, bunches of children and some really awesome cocktails. 

And that was my Saturday. Sunday, I kept things a little more relaxed and went to Hood River, Oregon to enjoy the fall leaves. I'd heard that it was the perfect time of year out there and wanted to see for myself. I waited around Portland in the morning while the fog slowly lifted. Once the sun came out, I figured it was perfect. 

Of course, I was completely wrong. It rained--hard--most of the way out to the gorge. Not unusual, but not exactly the weather I was hoping for. Once there, the wind was gusting and it was pretty cold. At least the rain had let up. I didn't grab any good pictures of the leaves (I know, bad blogger), but I did get a picture of the delicious beer that I grabbed at Pfriem

I had the Christmas Ale. Perfectly rich and delicious

I had the Christmas Ale. Perfectly rich and delicious

I'd always stuck to either Full Sail or Double Mountain Brewery when I was at Hood River, so discovering a new one was a lot of fun. They had great food too. We started with bacon wrapped blue cheese dates that were absolutely amazing. 

They were gone way too quickly.

They were gone way too quickly.

On the way home, I did manage to snap a quick picture of the Washington side of the Columbia River.

Alright, and since it is Monday, I've got some goals for the week:

  1. 3 runs--1 on trails, 2 on the road
  2. 2 yoga classes
  3. 1 TRX class
  4. Try a new juice recipe at home
  5. Hit 10,000 steps 5 times

And just because it is one of my favorite songs to listen to right now, a little inspiration:

What are your goals for the week? Any songs that are currently stuck in your head?