Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's been a hot minute since I've shared a Friday Favorites post, but I'm hoping back on it and I'm sure you will be glad to stopped by to check out today's list! PS I'm always looking for new (to me) and exciting things, so make sure you let me know in the comments some of the things you have been loving lately! But, without further ado, let's jump right into it!

The Kindness Diaries

A friend of mine mentioned this Netflix series on her IG stories a couple weeks ago so the hubby and I put it in our queue. The host, Leon Logothetis, travels the world with only a vintage motorbike and the kindness of strangers, which he pays back in unexpected, inspiring ways. The episodes are only about 20-25 minutes long and always leave us with a smile on our face (and a tear or two in our eye). {We used to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition on Sundays and the hubby would call it his "crying show" because it always left him in tears... let's just say this one is very similar ;)} PS When I was doing an image search for this one I noticed he also wrote a book - guess I'll have to give that a read soon too!


Candy Man

A friend sent me this article through Facebook and said it reminded her of something I would do when I was in my 90s. Let's just say it made me smile! Here's to hoping I make it to 94 years old (and am still spreading a little extra kindness to those around me!)! And Hershey's, inspired by his example, will be spotlighting him in a new marketing campaign.


Every Saturday, Bob Williams, a 94 year old World War II vet, retired teacher and high school football coach walks into a Dollar General store in Long Grove, Iowa, and buys a box of Hershey's milk chocolate bars. Williams hands two to the cashiers, a third to the person behind him in line and then sets off around town handing the rest out to anyone he sees.


Thank You, Zetterberg

Okay, so I can't say I "like" that the Detroit Red Wings' captain Henrik Zetterberg is officially retiring (due to a degenerative back condition he was deemed not healthy enough to play this season) - even if deep down we knew it was coming, but I at least wanted to take a quick moment to thank him for all of his time, love and effort that he gave to the Red Wings, the city of Detroit and to hockey in general. He was definitely one of the good guys! We will miss you Zetty!

National Public Lands Day

Saturday is National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually at public lands in the United States on the fourth Saturday of September. It is a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, which promotes both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands. National parks, monuments and forests that charge fees will be free Saturday in honor of the 25th National Public Lands Day. It’s also the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation’s website. Last year, about 169,000 people turned out to improve local, state and federal public lands. Ryan and I haven't decided how we'll  be celebrating, but you better believe will be out in the great outdoors (and doing our part to leave it better than we found it)!


What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Woman's Choice - Is It Really?

They say reproductive rights are about a woman's choice, but are they really? I mean, I guess they are... till health issues, government regulations, societal pressures, God and a fallen world, etc get involved, but we don't focus on that, do we?

I read a few articles over the past week on an assortment of "women's issues" and they rocked my world. Some made me nod my head in agreement, some made me shake my fist in anger, some made me think about things from a totally new perspective. In case you haven't read them yourself, I wanted to share them, as well as a bit of my own personal story.


My hope in opening the curtain and letting you (and the rest of the InterWebs) into my private life is that it helps us all to understand and remember that everyone has their own journey... and it's THEIR JOURNEY... and that it's not our right or place to impose our opinions or preferences on others and try to force them into our ideals. NO MATTER WHAT!

The hubby and I have been married for over 10 years (we celebrated our anniversary in August) and together as a couple for over 15 years (we started dating our sophomore year of college, in September 2003). I knew for many-a-moons that kids would not be in the cards for me. The reasons are plentiful (not wanting to pass on health issues, enjoying freedom, not feeling a "call" from God, etc), but I knew my future spouse would also need to be on board. Ryan and I discussed this numerous times, at length, and after much careful consideration, are thankfully on the same page. Let me be clear - this was not a decision taken lightly (just as I hope the decision to have kids is not made willy-nilly). (Just in case you were wondering - he was never 'opposed' to children, thought "if it happened, that'd be cool", but once we dove into it he understood my point of view, which in turn became his perspective as well - but not because of any pressure I forced upon him... he arrived at the extremely personal decision for himself.) This may not be your path, but it is what works for us.

I am not here to ask for your approval or even understanding, just acknowledgement that this is OUR CHOICE! Kids are not for everyone. Couples are childless for many different reasons (whether it is their choice or not). Just because you don't fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the traditional "American family" does not mean you are 'wrong' or 'missing out' or 'selfish'. There may be an ideal out there that the natural progression in life is to find a spouse, settle down, have a family and die... but that doesn't mean it's the only way. Write your own story and live your own adventure!


Anywho, back to the articles I came across last week, with topics including abortion, childlessness and miscarriage. No matter what your personal feelings or experience with these topics, I hope you take a few minutes to read through the articles with an open mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts (as long as we can have a respectful discussion, of course)!

My Twitter Thread on Abortion by Design Mom

I do not want to get into my personal feelings on abortion (although I would be happy to discuss this with you at a different time), but this post was AMAZEBALLS! Gabrielle touches on some opinions that were extremely eye opening. As a society we are told that abortions are all about the women, but, in fact, Gabrielle's article suggests (which I absolutely agree with) that the issue is not with women... but with MEN (and, to be crude, irresponsible ejaculation)! Like I said, you may or may not agree with abortion (I would actually say this article isn't even focused on abortion - whether is is right or wrong, etc), but I hope you read this post. If there was ever a time to use the phrase "mic drop", it is after reading this.

Childless Aunts Are The Most Undervalued Women In America by Tin Nuo Chan

The title of this article drew me in immediately. We didn't decide against children because we hated them... we just knew they weren't right for us. With that said, we still have some amazing kids in our lives (in fact, we will become the legal guardians of our best friends' adopted children if anything happens to them). Even though I am secure with my decision on not having kids of my own, some comments people make still hurt... Phrases like "I never knew real love until I was a mother", "Now that I have kids my life has true meaning", "It's a mom thing, you wouldn't understand". Obviously I know people aren't necessarily saying these things to be insulting. And most folks who say these statements may truly believe them for themselves. But PLEASE take a moment and think about what you are essentially saying... Since I don't (and won't) have children, I must not know real love, have purpose in my life or have the capability to understand your life.

I thought this article was powerful. If you have childless women in your life, please do take an extra minute or two to think about what you are saying (and what they may be hearing). Whatever path the women in your life are on, PLEASE LOVE THEM, THANK THEM, PRAISE THEM FOR ALL THEY DO AND GIVE THEM AN EXTRA SQUENCH OR TWO! 

Our Loss is Not a Secret by Liberty and Ryan

One of my sweet friends recently went through a miscarriage and was brave enough to share her experience on a recent blog post. With miscarriage statistics being as they are - recording that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime - you would think that this subject would be one that would be discussed more openly or frequently. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that women (and men) have the right to keep personal matters private - but I pray that when we begin being more open with one another then the hurt and mourning can be shared as a community. We need women (and men) to know that although we might not know the right things to say or what to do to alleviate the pain they are going through, that we are there for them no matter what to help shoulder the burden of life with them!

You may call me a feminist, a liberal, a hippie, and who knows, I may be all of the above, but all I know is that I will continue to advocate for and fight on behalf of the rights and respect I believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON deserves!


Have you read any interesting articles lately?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 37

Sunday, September 9th – 12 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 10th – 3.4 mile run with the hubby

Tuesday, September 11th – 11.11 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, September 12th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, September 13th – 1 mile warm-up, 7 x .25 mile hill repeats {3.5 miles}, 1 mile cool-down, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, September 14th  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, September 15th – 10 mile pace run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Although this was a somewhat lower mileage week (and my Garmin is reminding me that I was "unproductive" - HA!), I am still stoked with my workouts. My hill repeats on Thursday may not have been fast, but they felt strong. (FYI - I shared this suggestion on my IG stories, but thought I'd mention it here as well. Folks ask me if I have any tips for hill repeats and my "secret" is to dedicate each uphill to a specific person or family. I take the uphill to pray for them and find it helps me to take my mind off myself and the struggle I may be feeling at the moment.) If I'm being honest, Saturday's pace run was freaking me out a bit, and even though it didn't feel easy (oh how I wish holding my marathon goal pace felt a little more effortless), I was able to nail the workout and have an average pace of exactly what I was aiming for - 7:37/mile!

How were your workouts this past week?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

#Carlees34 Recap {34 Acts of Kindness}

In case you don't follow me on social media (or maybe you found this post from searching for "Acts of Kindness"), then maybe you don't know I spent the 34 days leading up to my 34th birthday doing at least one intentional act of kindness per day. I called the project #Carlees34 and it was my small attempt at spreading a little extra love to those around me. I know it may seem outlandish to some, but I truly believe that one person (and one act) CAN and DOES make a difference!

Here are the 34 ideas I implemented, in case you're looking to pay it forward to those around you. {PS I'm not sharing this as a way to toot my own horn or get any type of acknowledgment, I'm simply hoping it'll inspire others to do the same.}

34 Intentional Acts of Kindness

  • Sponsor a child through World Vision
  • Make bookmarks and "hide" them in library books
  • Take cookies to local police officers
  • Leave cold water on a running/ biking trail

  • Create a Charity Miles account to help raise money when running/ biking/ walking/ hiking
  • Clean up trash at the beach
  • Write and mail 34 notes to friends

  • Spread the word about rare chromosome disorders and donate Chromosome Disorder Outreach
  • Paint encouragement rocks and leave them around town
  • Send a postcard to a cancer patient

  • Take candy to the employees at our favorite restaurant 
  • Donate dog treats and toys to the local Humane Society

  • Buy car washes for people at the gas station
  • Take family friends to a live taping of one of their favorite TV shows
  • Make blessing bags for homeless friends (and keep them in the car)

  • Buy groceries for the local food pantry
  • Write encouraging chalk notes on running/ biking trails
  • Volunteer at Feeding San Diego

  • Pass along books we've finished to people who will share them once they're done
  • Pack an Operation Christmas Child box
  • Buy pizza for homeless friends

  • Buy coffee for the car behind us
  • Acknowledge everyone I come in contact with

  • Take donuts to local firefighters
  • Create a thank you box for delivery drivers
  • Hide toys at playgrounds and donate to a school's playground fund

  • Host a giveaway of runner's goodies

  • Bake cookies for neighbors
  • Take books to a local children's hospital
  • Delivery flowers to an elderly care facility

And, although the 34 days are officially over, that doesn't mean I will stop my acts of kindness. In fact, I hope this is a lifelong campaign... one that I hope you will join me in continuing! These acts don't have to cost a ton of money or be some grandiose plan, every tiny smile or kind word helps. As Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Hold the door for a stranger, give a compliment to a friend, call your mom, etc. We can make a difference in the lives of people around us! LET'S MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE! 

What's your favorite way to spread a little extra kindness to those around you?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Orange County Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon Race Recap

Saturday was race NUMBER ONE of the 2018 Lexus LaceUp Running Series. The series kicked off in Orange County {Irvine, CA to be specific} and I couldn't wait to take on the half marathon distance with the hubby by my side!

This is actually the first year I've participated in any of the Lexus LaceUp events, but I had been looking forward to running them for quite a while. Since I was asked to be an ambassador for the series I was given two registrations to each of the events - which means the hubby and I will be running each of the four events. With that said, you know I've always gotta #KeepItReal, so despite not having to pay the registration fees, you better believe I'll be giving you my honest feedback.


When signing up for races, there are a ton of details to consider - the race distance, the course, the training required, the bling, etc - but an additional tidbit of info I normally look at (especially if the race is "too close" to justify spending the night in a hotel but "too far" to want to drive there and back twice {once for the expo and once for the race}) is if the event offers race day bib pick-up. Let's just say I was STOKED this race not only offered day of pick-up, but if you registered at least a month ahead of time (August 9th was the cut off for this event) it was FREE! (And if you missed the free deadline it was still only $5, which is totally acceptable in my opinion when it'd save me from sitting in 3-4 hours of traffic on a Saturday.)


So seeing as we would need to get to the race a few minutes early, that meant it was early to bed and much earlier to rise.

The plan was to wake up the hubby by 4:15 so he could get ready
and we could walk the dog before leaving, so I got up about 45
minutes before that so I could get ready to go. 

Thankfully I had laid out a #FlatCarlee the night before and knew I wasn't forgetting a crucial piece of gear I would need.

My #FlatCarlee included: a collaboration sock from Sparkle Athletic + PRO Compression, black Brooks FastForward Crossback sports bra,
unicorn and rainbow Sparkle Athletic skirt, a tank top I grabbed from TJ Maxx or Marshall's a while back, elite Road ID, Be Awesome
trucker from Sparkle Athletic, black and pink QALO silicone wedding bands, black and pink Momentum Jewelry wraps,
my Garmin Forerunner 935, and Brooks Ghost 11.

Lucky for us, there's no traffic on the roads at zero dark thirty, so getting to Mike Ward Community Park was a breeze! We pulled into the lot and found parking by 5:40am (although spots were already pretty limited so I'm glad we arrived when we did) and made our way to the tents. Since the half marathon didn't kick off for another 50 minutes or so the lines were short. After grabbing our bibs, beer garden bracelets and participant goodies, we went back to the car so we could drop the gear we didn't need, pin on our bibs, tape the hubby's knee and sit for a few extra minutes before heading to the start.

On the way to the start we ran into a few friends (but either due to the lack of lighting or my sleepy disposition I forgot to take pictures with everyone - OOPS!). I love running "local" races and seeing people we know out on the course.

Although I prefer early starts (for cooler temps), pictures never seem to turn out great pre-race.

The weather was better than I expected (I had seen a high in the 90s when I was looking earlier in the week, so when it was still in the 60s at the start I was pleasantly pleased... even though the nasty humidity can TAKE A HIKE!).

Eh... this summer has been pretty disgusting... hoping fall weather arrive soon!

Eventually it was time to get the party started! Seeing as this was a smaller race (there were 600 finishers in the half marathon distance), the corrals were "self seeded". Normally this can be a chaotic, but at least the pacers somewhat helped because folks could look to them and line up based on their signs. (Although, I'll be honest, the starting line was a bit of a cluster because it was simply on an extra wide sidewalk so there wasn't a ton of room to really get situated.)

We couldn't get a picture of both of us smiling or both of us being goofy... so we were left with this being the best option ;)

We were towards the front of the second "wave" to start

They did release us in "waves" (they had volunteers split the crowd with rope to make sure not everyone started at once), which was beneficial, but both the hubby and I commented afterward that it felt super crowded because the beginning of the course was very narrow. It sort of reminded me of a high school cross county meet because we were meandering through a park with flag ropes showing us the boundaries, going from sidewalk to grass and back to sidewalk, and not having much room to spread out. (#BloggerFail - I didn't take a picture for safety purposes so you'll just have to trust me.)

And, well, since I'm being honest, I might as well get the "bad" out of the way upfront, right?! Let's just say the course is less than beautiful... You are running on a bike trail along a dried out riverbed. At least it didn't appear to be where homeless encampments pop up (like along the one in Oceanside and Anaheim), but the views were less than stellar.

There were constant "rolling hills" because you were going under the streets

I'd assume they keep the course on the bike trail for as much as possible because they don't have to close as many roads (which means a lower cost for permits, police/ sheriff presence at intersections, etc). The path isn't closed, so there were folks out for a morning stroll and bikers cruising by, but thankfully it was mostly just runners (and volunteers) out there.

More bike trail running

The hubby has been having an issue with his knee lately (I can only "gently remind him" so many times to make sure he is stretching and foam rolling before I become the nagging wife and quit nudging him to do it all together - which means he is learning the hard way that PREHAB is much easier than rehab), so we had to take the race a little slower than we would have liked (with a few extra stretching stops and walk breaks than normal), but it's all good!

While the hubby is stretching, I am selfie-ing ;) 

There were a couple places on the course that are out and back, which means you get to see your fellow runners coming at you. I know not everyone loves those parts (the hubby is one of those people who hates it... he thinks it's a bit of a mind "f" because you are rerunning somewhere you've already been simply to get in more distance), but I love it! I enjoy cheering on fellow runners and I think looking for friends in the crowd helps give me something else to focus on.


Yay for FREE RACE PICTURES! It may be one of my favorite race perk!

Eventually it was time to cross the finish line (which was actually also the starting line we had crossed about 2 hours and 8 minutes previously). My sweet friend Andrea, who just completed the UTMB like a week before, was announcing and gave me and the hubby a HUGE shout out (she even told everyone about my #Carlees34 project and suggested folks follow along on social media!). I love when my friends are announcing the races I run - it always makes me smile!

Can you tell by Ryan's face he was DONE?! And he was less than excited about my happy predisposition?!

This lady is a ROCKSTAR (with a capital R!)!

Although the race left something to be desired, the post-race perks were AWESOME! Along with your medal and participant tee, you also get a free beer and post-race meal from one of the food trucks. (I will mention that online it said there would be 5 different food trucks {yes, I did check them and their menus out beforehand to decide what I wanted ;)} but there were only 2 {and a random tent} so the lines were pretty insane, but, hey, free food is free food, right?!)

While I was waiting in line for a smoothie (I was bummed because I was craving the pitaya bowl but it wasn't one of the options they had for runners), the hubby went to the "random tent" and got a overflowing plate of fruit and sweets.

Food and beer are the way to my hubby's heart so the race made up for the early morning with the delicious spread!

FYI: Honey and bee pollen are NOT vegan so I would recommend the "v" be removed from Option 1.

And seeing as I am not a beer drinker (I have never tasted pee, but I think if I did it would taste like beer... ), the hubby ended up scoring big and cashing in on both of our beer tickets. #WinnerWinnerChickenDinnerBeerBreakfast He was pretty pumped that they had "decent" beer at the post-race party. While we were in the beer "garden", someone gave us an extra food ticket so on the way out we went by the "random tent" and got more fruit and sweets.

I smashed the fruit AND donut! The cinnamon roll was totally for the hubby!

All in all I would say this was an average race. I think the post-race perks made up for the lack of beauty on the course (and I guess you probably aren't normally signing up for a race in Irvine for the stunning scenery ;)). I am excited to run the remaining races in the series to see how they stack up against this one.

Not sure which looks better... the medal or the food...

After our tummies were fully fed, it was time to hit the road (I knew the longer we stayed the worse traffic would get). On the way back to the car we snapped a couple quick pictures, but otherwise we mostly just beelined it to the parking lot.

Sometimes I wish races would think about the lighting of the pictures before they place "backdrops"



Yup... Stuck in traffic and the hubby is snoring away ;)

If you wanna run any of the other events, make sure to use code "CARLEE10", which will save you 10% on any of the races. The hubby and I will be running the full in Ventura and the half in Palos Verdes and Riverside. Hope to see you!

What is the best post-race food you've had?