Monday, September 30, 2013

Two newsletters you need to be getting

Hi friends! Happy Monday!

A while back, I came across a list of the best email newsletters. I sorted through and ended up only subscribing to two.

But guys, they're a pretty great couple of newsletters.

Now I Know is a quirky newsletter. Every weekday, Dan Lewis sends an article about something new: today's was about how Solitaire helped the first generations of computer users learn how to use their computers. A few days ago, I got one about how a woman's biological children somehow had DNA that didn't match hers, and before that an incredible story about how women in Albania elected to permanently behave as men to receive certain social benefits and abilities (like to head a household and, you know, not be considered property.

You guys know I nerd out on stories about other peoples' experiences. If you do too, sign up for this newsletter here. It's the kind of weird, funny history you wish you'd learned in elementary school, and takes about 5 minutes to read. Worth it.

theSkimm is an AWESOME newsletter that is basically the only way I knew anything about what was happening in Syria and the way I'm keeping up with the potential federal shutdown. theSkimm is targeted at young-ish adult women (probably if you read my blog, you're in their target audience) and focuses on one national or international story each day. It also provides brief information on 3-4 more ongoing stories each day.

If you all (like me) have trouble keeping up with the news, I highly HIGHLY recommend this one. Reading it has become the first thing I do every day! Sign up here.

Do you subscribe to any good newsletters? I'd love to hear!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book review: Candy Girl

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

Candy Girl is the story of a young writer who dared to bare it all as a stripper. At the age of twenty-four, Diablo Cody decided there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. She soon managed to find inspiration from a most unlikely source— amateur night at the seedy Skyway Lounge. While she doesn’t take home the prize that night, Diablo discovers to her surprise the act of stripping is an absolute thrill. This is Diablo’s captivating fish-out-of-water story of her yearlong walk on the wild side, from quiet gentlemen’s clubs to multilevel sex palaces and glassed-in peep shows. In witty prose she gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at this industry through a writer’s keen eye, chronicling her descent into the skin trade and the effect it had on her self-image and her relationship with her now husband.

Candy Girl is not for the faint of heart. Or the shy or squeamish.

I don't remember where I heard of this book, but it has been on my list for a very long time. Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay for Juno, so I expected it to be funny, and having never stripped, I knew it would be unlike anything I've experienced.

The story in Candy Girl is interesting -- Diablo really didn't seem like someone who'd end up as a stripper. All of it is new to her and that makes her really relatable, despite the job she has taken on. 

But it's also graphic. Really graphic. Bodily fluids and weirdos and stuff. So you want to be prepared for that if you read it.

I didn't hate this book, and I didn't love it, but it was interesting and intriguing, so I figured I'd let you know it existed! :)

Have any of you read Candy Girl? What did you think?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time is FLYING

You know the feeling of setting something on your calendar that feels YEARS away, and then getting to that day and thinking, but it wasn't supposed to happen yet! It should still be six pages ahead in my planner, not today!

I feel like that a lot lately.

Since I last posted any life updates, I ran my half marathon (which I did post about), and another race (which I have yet to post about, but want to).

I edited at least 78 resumes, but once you count in all the walk-ins who don't show on my calendar as appointments, you can probably bump that up to at least a hundred. I also gave four resume writing presentations and one over general career fair-yness.

I planned a dinner for over 200 people the night before the career fair, and handled all the students who needed to Get Their Act Together Already.

Then the career fair finally happened and we all could breathe again.

I went to an engagement party with my boy, for which we dressed fancy(er than normal) and failed to get a picture together.

And I've been to a couple football games.

I've also managed to go to class, read for class, write papers and blogs and whatnots for class, catch a cold, sleep in once or twice, and miss blogging and all of you.

Coming up in the next week, in the category of I-Can't-Believe-This-Is-Already-Happening are the fall retreat for the leadership plan I work with (I LOVE RETREATS), a couple workshops to help me with the looming Big Girl Job Search (coming to a theater near you in May!) and, oh yeah, mine and Pat's three year anniversary (um, WHAT? when did that happen?)

I hope to be back on this blog more regularly, friends. I have a list as long as my arm of brilliant blog posts. If only I could get my fingers to type them.

Please, tell me -- what's happening in YOUR world? (I miss you!)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Broadway Bridge Half Marathon Recap

Hi friends!

Last Sunday I ran my second half marathon. I'll get a few important things out of the way:

1. I did not beat my first half marathon time.
2. I did not complete the race without walking.
3. I'm still actually really happy with this run.

I'll start at the beginning.

Going into race weekend, I didn't feel awesome. I didn't make it through my 11-mile training run, quitting early and walking home after six miles. So the most I'd run in this training cycle was 10 miles, and I'd been plagued by a series of tough long runs.

But I didn't feel awful, either -- I was hoping for cool weather seeing as the race started at seven sharp, literally four minutes after sunrise, and I was proud of myself for figuring out a way to keep hydrating the night before even though I went to KU's first football game.

My mom and little sister came up for the race, my older sister was there, Pat got to be there this time, and my new friend Michelle came as well.

My dad wasn't able to make it to this one -- he had to work and take care of my grandma. But he started texting me like a week before cheering for me!

The night before we all stayed at my older sister's apartment and I really just had a good time with all of them in town. So I went into the race in a great mood.

With Pat, right before the start

Waving as I ran past Pat right after the start
 I started out pretty strong, I think. I was keeping a great pace through the first 6 miles.

I saw my family/supporters right around the 6 mile mark and I was doing great -- I'd run through the first aid station and managed to get some water down at the second while running. They were so awesome! My family made signs, and so did Michelle and they saw me coming and started cheering.

Michelle and my sisters had both made signs! My sisters made an Office themed one, which was the one showing at this point. :)
A la Dwight's "It is your birthday"
My pace picked up by like a minute and a half when I saw them! It was so great to have all of them there!

Between 7 and 8 miles was where things started to get difficult. I got to a brutal hill and NO ONE, in front or behind me, was running up the hill -- every single person was walking. That was the first time I walked, but I ended up walking quite a bit through the race.

It got pretty hot -- I saw a bank sign that said 86 degrees at one point, and Pat said he saw it get up to at least 84. There were so many hills -- any time I talked to other runners on the course, it was about the wicked hills. By the time I saw my supporters again around 10 miles, I already knew I couldn't beat my previous time. At that point I was pretty disappointed and almost wanted to stop. But I got some water from Pat and ran off again.

I walked a lot in the last 5k, which was another thing I didn't want to do. But there were a TON of people walking. The course was really difficult, it was really hot -- and I just don't feel bad about walking. Even though my big goal was to not walk, there will be other races.
This one, I was glad to finish.

My strategy became to run any time it was flat or downhill. I was able to run about the last mile and a half -- my GPS actually says I ran 13.5, so a little bit extra once you count in all the wide turns and stuff.

I saw my family one more time right before my GPS hit 13.1! They had inherited a sign from someone else and were right before a downhill/flat stretch to the actual finish line. So really, they saw me finish my half marathon, even though they didn't quite make it to the finish line in time.
The closest sign was the inherited one :)
The other side of the sign my sisters made :)
I finished in 2:44:47 -- 22.5 minutes slower than my first half marathon. But, I finished, and I actually had a lot of fun and am proud just to have finished this one -- it was SUCH a hard course. I also was able to avoid some of the stomach issues I had the first time, although this time I had some pretty serious chaffing issues and was apparently bleeding on my leg for a lot of the course.
The only decent photo I got from the race people -- not at the finish, though.
My first half marathon was super emotional, I didn't get much sleep the two nights before, and I was just struggling with motivation. This one was really difficult physically -- lots of hills, heat and humidity.

But I've come to realize that there's always going to be something extra -- nothing can ever go perfectly. I think, as much as getting after your goals and achieving that PR, best time, running races is about facing whatever challenges come up -- in the course of training and in the course of the race -- and finishing, beating them down, crossing the finish line.

I got really mad at myself at my first half for not taking a picture with my parents, who were SO AMAZING. So at this race I made everyone take pictures with me.

Michelle and I took one picture on my phone and then I started to feel sick and told Pat to hurry and come take a picture with me -- not realizing that Michelle wanted a picture on her phone too! So we got these two pictures, which pretty much sum up the emotions of running a half for me, I think.

So that's it! That's my second half marathon. When I got to that first awful hill, I had a few minutes where I was convinced I'd never run again. But less than a week later, I've been looking for more races to sign up for. Running just gets in your blood that way, I guess. :)

Thanks for reading, friends!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book review: Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

I loved this book.

Blood Red Road is in the future -- a future in which no society seems to exist, really. Saba, her twin Lugh and their little sister Emmy grow up in isolation, knowing only each other, their father, and neighbors that stop by from time to time. Saba and Lugh are 18 years old and have never been more than a day's walk away from home.

That all changes when Lugh is kidnapped by men who have come, just for him. And Saba takes off after him.

I've read a lot of dystopian/futuristic books, and this one ranks high among them. Young did an amazing job world-building -- making us believe the world that she's created, that Saba has to navigate. It all seems real.

The characters are also wonderful. Saba is stubborn and funny and hard to understand sometimes. That's a pretty good description for Jack and Emmy too, come to think of it. But add "charming" to Jack's list and "feisty" and "determined" to Emmy's.

In Blood Red Road, you believe in the characters. You get attached to them and root for them and you can't stop reading until you know how it all ends.

Loved it.

Have any of you read Blood Red Road? I highly recommend it. 

P.S. The audio version was also quite exceptionally read -- a great one if you've been wanting to try audio!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Five kinds of blog I LOVE to read

A couple weeks ago I posted about blog posts I don't love. But it didn't feel right to leave off so negative! I have met some wonderful bloggers out there, and wanted to share some love! So here are five kinds of posts I love love love to read. :)

ONE. Your life experience. I love reading about your unique adventures and experiences and qualities. Sometimes, these posts fall into categories of Things I'll Never Go Through or Things I am Not, but sometimes they are things I may one day face and isn't it cool to know how someone else has accomplished/handled/managed (survived) it? And isn't it cool, in this world where I will only ever get to be me to learn about how other people are and how they see the world? I think so. Highly recommended for this category of loves: Yes and Yes's True Story series.

TWO. Posts that build me up and make me feel good about myself. Does this really need any explanation? Okay, I'll explain anyway: I am bad at comparing myself to others. But finding a post that says, Hey. You're doing this right and you're awesome? That is a magical, wonderful moment and can make me smile all day. Examples here and here. And here and here. And one more really great one here.

THREE. Fun relationship stories. I love hearing about your weird dad or they ways your boyfriend is goofy. LOVE IT. I don't care who the human in your life you're talking about is. I just love hearing about how people relate to each other. Fun posts here and here.

FOUR. Running and work out posts. I especially love when they're about things I haven't done yet, like marathon-ing, this crazy workout Amy was brave enough to try, and triathlons, which I idly dream of doing someday.

FIVE. The random, the silly, the everyday. Similar to the first category, but less pressure -- I love to just read about the every day lives of all my blog friends. Because I will never live your life, but I can still learn about another human's experience and perspective through this thing we call blogging, and that's pretty cool.

What do you all love to read?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Before my second half marathon: Training Tuesday

It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

A little programming note: This will be my last Training Tuesday, at least for a while. I started this series way back when I signed up for my first half marathon and when I felt like I had SO MUCH running stuff to talk about. That's just not the case any more. It has come to feel forced, and I don't want it to be.

If any of you all want to still write Training Tuesdays, please do! I still enjoy reading them. But for now, I just don't have that much to say.

I'll still post a recap of my half and my upcoming 5k, so look for those. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Intervals inside
Wednesday: Rested
Thursday: Ran a technology-free three miles at the rec center when I forgot my phone in the car! Kind of nice to not worry about my pace, but it made me hate all the people on the indoor track even more than I usually do.
Friday: Rested
Saturday: Cross trained by helping my sister pack her kitchen to move :)
Sunday: Five miles
Monday: More cross training thanks to my sister's move -- we adopted her very heavy kitchen table, which Pat and I moved down a flight of stairs and up into our apartment. I also ran around her complex's parking lot a bunch because my key didn't work :)

My second half marathon is coming up this Sunday.
It feels WAY different than my first.

Going into my first, I felt super excited on all my runs in the last week. All I could think about was how I would pace myself and other strategy.

I guess I'm just now getting into the last week, but I'm not sure that excitement will be there. This time, I'm more concerned with getting to the race, which is in a less-familiar city, what time to wake up, and how I'm going to eat and hydrate the night before and go to KU's first football game.

I'm excited to have another chance to have a race I can feel happy about. And that's my main goal. I've said all along I don't want to walk in this one unless I'm walking through an aid station (I haven't mastered the art of grabbing those little cups and drinking while running without spilling down my arm).

But even more than that I just want to be happy with how I do. Whether I'm faster or not, whether I finish without walking or not, I just want to have a smile at the end when they get my picture at the finish line.

My sisters and at least one parent are planning on coming to the race, along with a new school friend and Pat. So hopefully it'll just be a fun race and another medal to hang on my wall.

Think of me and Holly this Sunday! We'll be running half marathons (mostly) at the same time -- mine starts 7am central time and hers 7am eastern!


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