a random fact for every mile.

I never hit “publish” on a blog post in the middle of the night, so by the time you’re reading this, it will probably be a perfectly acceptable hour on Friday morning… but, for the record, it’s currently 1:16 AM.

Until now, it’s actually been a really great week for me where sleep is concerned (a cause for celebration over here!). It should come as no surprise to any of us, though, that the insomnia that I so love to hate is back at it so close to tomorrow’s half marathon. I have to check in at the start of the race at about 5:45 AM on Saturday morning, which means I am now about 28 hours away! Please cross your fingers right along with me that I’ll be able to wind down for a solid night of sleep later tonight. (Tomorrow night? It’s unclear. But you catch my drift.)

In honor of the 13.1 miles I have ahead of me — and also because it’s fun — I’m sharing 13 random facts about myself below. I bet even my close friends and family members won’t know them all : )

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Don’t mind the man lurking behind me. I’m just hangin’ out in my favorite hat.

  1. It took me a truly embarrassingly long time to learn to ride a two-wheeler. By the time I had it down, I was probably closer to seven than six. Even then, I refused to turn left, and instead rode loops in one direction for hours at a time in the parking lot of my dad’s high school (which was the place where, after months of hard work, I finally figured the whole thing out).
  2. The fact that our guests weren’t allowed to shower Matt and I with rainbow sprinkles as we walked down the aisle after our ceremony was one of the very few things about our wedding that didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Believe me, I asked. More than once.
  3. I played Kim MacAfee in a Girl Scout camp production of Bye, Bye Birdie circa 2003. It was the single highlight of my musical theater career.
  4. Since moving to New York, I’ve developed an irrational fear of falling down the stairs. I blame all of the frantic trips down the subway steps.
  5. It took me three tries to get my driver’s license, but I haven’t so much as scratched or dented a car since then (knock on wood).
  6. I know every word to “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights,” thanks to a loooooonnnngggg family road trip to Canada a few years ago during which we listened to an old Meatloaf CD and little else.
  7. I bake a mean chocolate chip cookie.
  8. Halloween is my absolute least favorite holiday. I know this is a highly controversial opinion, but I hope we can still be friends.
  9. Disneyworld commercials make me cry. Ever since our honeymoon to Antigua, ads for Sandals all-inclusives have the same effect.
  10. As a teenager, I was one of those girls who thought it was super cool to wear cheap stilettos from Payless and the Macy’s double clearance rack to school. I felt totally fabulous, but believe me, it didn’t really match my image. Ironically, I could probably count the number of times I wear a heel annually as an adult on my fingers.
  11. When I was in third grade, I started a class newspaper.
  12. On the rare occasion that I go on a YouTube binge, I typically stick to videos of Jimmy Fallon’s Puppy Predictors and clips of “Hot Topics” from The View.
  13. I’ve always hated coffee, but now that so much of my work life revolves around meetings and work sessions in coffee shops, I’m learning to drink it. I have to admit that in the hot temperatures we’ve had in New York for the past few days, an iced coffee feels pretty good.

Happy weekending, everyone! If you’re feeling inspired by my random confessions, feel free to leave a random fact about yourself in the comments below. In case you couldn’t tell already, this is a judgement-free zone.

And don’t forget to check back in early next week… Tuesday is giveaway day! I can’t wait to share this month’s prize with you! 

 

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monthly goals recap –> february + march. (+ the giveaway winner!)

Thanks, as always, to everyone who entered this month’s giveaway. Based on a random drawing, our February winner is LINDSEYGSANDERS! Lindsey, I’ll be in touch today about getting the necklace to you : ) Don’t forget to tune in for another giveaway next month!

Here we are… in MARCH! The first part of the year can be such a bummer sometimes, and March always feels more promising. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we East coasters will be out of our winter coats for good and starting to enjoy some spring weather! Higher temperatures and sunshine are good for the soul. I might be a little biased, but I happen to think that there’s not much better than that first warm day in New York City when everyone is finally back out exploring their neighborhood and looking forward to the spring and summer ahead.

With the new month, of course, comes my opportunity to check in about my February goals and to look ahead to what I want to accomplish in the next few weeks. First, let’s talk about last month:

  • Successfully launch the Bulldog Yoga blog. √ YES! It’s been such a fun process working with this team, and I love watching the blog take shape.
  • FINISH my book outline and start the writing process. √ YES! This was touch and go, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it happen, but I got in some quality book work while Matt and I were at the Jersey Shore last weekend. I had been pushing myself to complete an outlet for the entire book, but I’ve decided that what’s going to work for now is an outline for the first half, which has given me enough to work with to dig into the first chapter. Lots more to come in March!
  • Write another piece for Bustle. Not this month! I pitched a story that wasn’t the right fit, but at least I gave it a shot, right?
  • Feel strong and healthy in my first month of half marathon trainingI can’t decide if I should officially stamp this one with a check mark and a YES. I felt really great during my runs for the first three weeks of the month, but the last week or so has been harder. I’ve been out of my routine because of some weekend traveling and I’ve also been a little under the weather, so my last few workouts have been a struggle. I’m hoping to get some rest and get back on track next week.
  • Continue pitching to Refinery29. Not this month!
  • Break into a new outlet. √ YES! I’ve signed on to do some writing/content strategy work for a bridal designer here in Brooklyn, and in the last week, I’ve had story pitches accepted at two great new sites! I’m going to keep the details quiet for now so I don’t jinx it, but look out for more details in March : )
  • Read at least 3 books. Ugh, guys. Did you know that Grace and Power is SO long? Well, it is, and it put me off my reading plan for the month. In March, I’m hoping to do some lighter reading.
  • Finish our wedding album! Not yet! It would have been great to complete this by March 1, but it’s also not something I want to rush, so I’m OK with the fact that it’s taking a little longer.

February was tough. I felt every bit of those three missing days of the month, and I didn’t check as many things off my list as I would have liked. The good news is that I was able to meet some of the financial goals I’d set for myself, which feels pretty great.

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Getting ready to fill up my Passion Planner with March goals! 

Looking ahead to March, here’s what I’m hoping for…

  • Successfully move forward with the new projects/outlets I mentioned. I want to do quality work and see these stories go live before the end of the month!
  • Break into a new outlet. Always, always, always.
  • Finish first draft of at least two chapters of the book. Now that my outline is in good shape, I am going to jump into this! Two chapters seems like a totally reasonable goal for March.
  • Successfully pitch to Marie Claire, Refinery29, and BustleI had such great experiences working with these three outlets over the last few months, and I’d like to land another story in at least one of them soon.
  • Finish our wedding album! This is still a top priority.
  • Make progress on Project Puppy. After years of discussion, Matt and I are finally starting to take very. small. baby. steps toward getting a dog later this year (!!!!!!!!). I won’t say more, because nothing is definite, but I am cautiously optimistic, and I hope we can continue moving forward in those conversations this month — even if we don’t bring home my our new furry best friend for a while.
  • Read at least 3 books. Yep, still here.
  • Curb my sweet tooth. As you all know, the struggle is real for me in this area. I’m going to try to cut back a little!
  • Set clear boundaries for “down time.” Something that I found really challenging in February was feeling frantic. As a result, I spent a lot of time trying to simultaneously work while “relaxing,” and it didn’t do me any favors. I want to make more of an effort to designate off hours (when I can!) so I can actually recharge and do better work.

What are your goals for March? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

 

 

monthly goals recap –> january + february.

It’s (somehow) the start of a new month (how did that happen???), which means it’s time to check in on my goals for January and start looking ahead to February. Here’s a recap from last month:

  • Work on my book outline. √ YES! This process is still slow-going, but I’m happy to say that I’ve at least gotten started. I spent the first half of the month researching best practices for book outlines and then started working on research and an outline in Scrivener during the back half.  
  • Hit 45 blog posts. As of today, I have 43 posts (this is my 44th). While I didn’t technically “achieve” this goal, I’m not going to count it as a failure because I actually feel really good about the pacing of my posts this month! Would you like to see me post more or less often? Feel free to let me know in the comments below (or contact me elsewhere)!
  • Run 5 miles. √ YES! Half marathon training is officially underway!
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m very close to finishing my third book from the month of January, but I didn’t quite get there. To be fair, I’ve been reading pretty hefty books — but I need to do a better job at making time for reading, which is still one of my favorite things to do.
  • Confirm first copyediting/copywriting gig. √ YES!
  • Write another piece for Bustle √ YES! I pitched a few pieces to Bustle earlier in the month that didn’t quite land, so I wasn’t feeling too confident about this goal. At the very end of the month, though, I had an unexpected opportunity to write this piece about the late, great Mary Tyler Moore and what her show (and its theme song) means to me.
  • Break into at least one new outlet. Not this month!
  • Keep weeknights sacred. √ YES! I’ve been doing a much better job at this so far in 2017. Matt and I are really enjoying having more time together during the week just to spend time together and recharge.

Yesterday, I wrote out my goals for February in my Passion Planner (which I’m still loving, by the way). Here is what I’m hoping to accomplish in the next (short) month:

  • Successfully launch the Bulldog Yoga blog. I’ve been hired to launch and run the blog for an amazing yoga studio near Philadelphia. The content will go live in the middle of February, and I can’t wait to see all of our hard work come together! (P.S. If you live in or are visiting the Philly area, you should definitely check out Bulldog.)
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I got to spend a day at Bulldog Yoga earlier this week… how cute is Gracie, the mascot?

  • FINISH my book outline and start the writing process. I thrive off of organization and structure, so I’m hoping that once I have an outline in place, I’ll be able to jump into a first draft a bit more easily. The outline process is more labor-intensive than I would have expected, but I think it’s going to be key to my success on this project.
  • Write another piece for Bustlereally enjoyed working on my latest piece for their Feature section, so I’m definitely hoping to pitch and write for them again. Let’s get some momentum going!
  • Feel strong and healthy in my first month of half marathon trainingA few days into my training program, I’m already feeling great! My goal is to keep myself healthy so that I can make the most of my runs and lay good groundwork for the rest of my race prep.
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This morning’s run!

  • Continue pitching to Refinery29In early January, my essay about “quitting The Bachelor ran on this amazing site. I pitched a few more concepts to my editor there mid-month, and none of them were exactly the right fit, but I’m going to keep trying in February.
  • Break into a new outlet. The constant freelancer’s goal!
  • Read at least 3 books. I’m going to get my reading mojo back!
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The next books on my reading list. Let the record show that there is not a “light read” among them!

  • Finish our wedding album! I started creating our album (using the amazing photos from Bri Cibene Photography) in mid-January, and I’m hoping to have it finished and ordered by the end of February. I’m having so much fun making it — the only problem is that I want to include all of the pictures and there just isn’t space!
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Here’s a sneak peek at the first full spread of our album!

What are your goals for February! I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!

half marathon training.

When registration opens for the Brooklyn Half Marathon each January, I hold my breath for a few minutes as I rush to buy my spot in the race before it fills up. Something stressful always happens — last year, the site timed out as I was logging in, and this year, I (of course) forgot the password for my New York Road Runners account. Thankfully, I managed to get everything reset again, and I’m all set to run my favorite race for the *fourth* time this May. WOO! (P.S. did anyone else notice that the registration fee went up this year? Ugh.)

I’ve gotten a few comments from readers asking me to share a bit more about how I train for half marathons, and today seems like the perfect day to do it! I’m in no way an expert, and there are lots of different ways to get ready for this kind of race, but this is what has worked for me.

I ran my first half marathon in 2014, mostly because I wanted to prove that I could. I’d never been involved in team sports in school — honestly, I was the totally un-athletic kid in class who huffed and puffed her way through every timed mile fitness test. When I got my driver’s license, I joined a gym and started to learn more about working out, and since then, exercise has been an increasingly important and regular part of my life. Still, I had a mental block with running. A few years ago, when my roommate told me about her great experience running her first half marathon in Brooklyn, I decided to see if I could do it, too — it was one of my resolutions for 2014.

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Getting ready to start my first half in 2014!

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At the finish line in 2014 with my roommate and running inspiration!

When I tell people they can build up to a half marathon even if they don’t run at all, I know from experience that it’s possible. I basically started from zero. I’m a big believer in following a clear training program, especially if you’re a new runner. To train for my first half marathon, I used this plan. In 2015 and 2016, I tried different training plans (there are tons to choose from online if you want to find one that works for you and your body!), but I’m actually going back to the original one this year, because I think it was the best. It’s a 16-week plan, so it really allows you to get into great running shape over an extended period of time, and if you have a few months to devote, I would definitely recommend it.

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In 2015, I also ran a half in my hometown. It was so fun to have my parents there to cheer me on!

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Back at it in Brooklyn in 2015!

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People have different opinions on this, but I do almost all of my training for half marathons on the treadmill. This is partially out of necessity, since I do a big chunk of my running during the winter months, but it’s actually turned out to be beneficial in other ways. Running still does not come totally naturally to me, so training on a treadmill helps me learn how to pace myself. Most importantly, since running up to eleven miles in a gym can be really boring, I find that there are so many interesting things to look at on race day that time seems to fly. It’s been really helpful for me mentally in every half marathon I’ve run.

Nutrition is a whole different story, and something I continue to figure out each year. While I’m in training, I try to cut back on some treats and snacks (we all know about my sweet tooth), and I keep my drinking to a minimum, especially on nights before a long run. At the same time, I tend to have a much bigger appetite than usual while I’m training, so I’m constantly trying to adjust my meals to make sure that I’m getting enough calories and protein.

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Matt ran his first half with me last year in Brooklyn, just a few weeks before our wedding! I was so proud of him, but I think I’ll be back on my own this year : ) 

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I start my “official” training plan for this year next week, and I’m so excited! Getting in top running form is tough, but it gets me in the best shape, and I always feel really great about myself throughout the process.

Would you like me to share more about my training or to offer more tips? Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

***Don’t forget to enter the January giveaway so you can win this bracelet from The Shine Project!  All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post here. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Monday! ***

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