Category Archives: Life in General

Week In Review; February 25-March 3

 

Weekend: Last Friday night, I headed up to Pittsburgh with my Dad and boyfriend.  My boyfriend had gotten us tickets to a UNC game for Christmas (my dad and I are HUGE UNC fans) and offered to drive us up.  It was a great weekend, and other than the walking I did around Pittsburgh, I did no such exercise!

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All smiles after a UNC win!!!

Monday: Missed my Monday group run, so it was a 5.7 mile run on the dreadmill for me.

Tuesday: Not a planned rest day. (See weekly low, below.)

Wednesday: Due to the predicted crazy thunderstorms, I was once again relegated to the treadmill for a 10k.  Turns out, barely even rained. So annoying when they hype up a storm.  Also, dangerous, because when a real storm comes, people won’t believe it and won’t be prepared!

Thursday: Back to the hardcore spin class.  Pretty difficult, but such a great workout.

Friday: Planned rest day.

Weekly High: Seeing UNC win, in person!!!

Weekly Low: I took a pretty bad spill at work on Monday.  All of my weight landed on my left hand and injured my wrist/hand/finger.  Other than the bad scrapes, I felt okay but because there was so much bruising, work sent me to get checked out.  Spent most of Tuesday at the medical center getting x-rays and such. Tore up my skin pretty bad, a few bruised bones and a sprain.  Thankfully, nothing is broken, but I am still all wrapped up for the time being due to the deep scrapes and sprain.  No swimming for about a week and it was definitely a little harder to spin, but I am still making it happen!  No excuses!

Three things I am grateful for this week:

  1. Getting to take a road trip with my dad!
  2. No break after my fall!
  3. The weekend- it’s been a long week!

Quote of the week: 

Twice I had to run on the treadmill.  My hand is wrapped in a bandage.  I had to modify for spin.  Not allowed to swim or lift.  But I found a way and had a good week of workouts!

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❤ Jillian

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Bucket List- De-Clutter My House

High up on my bucket list but perpetually at the bottom of my priorities, is my desire to de-clutter my house.  Clutter has been an issue in my life since I was old enough to have things.  I have always been a collector and a messy person.  (Messy, not dirty.)  As a messy collector, I have always had to walk that fine line between being a pack-rat and being a hoarder.  I am convinced there is a difference, but I am also convinced that living with less clutter means living more serenely.  And who doesn’t need some serenity!

Of course, wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things.  I have WANTED to be a neater person for years.  In each new apartment, and later my house, I loved being able to start fresh and for a few months I would do great.  Then, just like that…so much stuff.  I have never lived completely unpacked.  I have been in my house for close to 5 years.  Five years, and I still have boxes.  This is ridiculous folks.  I am finally ready to start making things happen!

Since I have already failed 249387 times, I knew the first thing I had to do was find a new plan.  I did some research and the book by Maria Kondo, the life-changing magic of tidying up, kept resurfacing.  Then, within days of that search, two different friends posted about it on Facebook, with PROOF of their own accomplishments.  That gave credit directly to the book.  I was certain, I needed this book.  Plus, it serves a double purpose since reading more was one of my resolutions.

So, I got the book.  Now, I just have to open it up 🙂

Are you a neat or messy person?  Are you easily attached to items?

Resolutions

I am not really big on New Year resolutions- I feel like you can change anytime, regardless of the date on the calendar.  With that said, I do always like to use the New Year as a time to reflect and think about some of the things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year.

  1. I think I finished all of three books this year.  Sad.  I need to make reading more of a priority and do something with the stack of unread books next to my bed!  The goals is one book a month and do review the said book on the blog as a way to keep myself accountable.  I should probably get started on January!
  2. Write more.  Duh.  Kind of the point of picking up the blog again!
  3. I have been making it a point to take one or two trips a year for the last few years, and I definitely want to keep up the traveling this year!  I absolutely love to travel and prefer to spend money on experiences, not things.
  4. Last August, I gave up sugar.  Completely for the first weeks, with the exception to natural sugars in fresh fruits and veggies.  Then, I stayed very low sugar, only treating myself a few times over the course of four months.  It was SO HARD but I definitely felt a hundred times better.  A fun side effect was a decent amount of weight loss, but the best part was how good I felt.  Over my winter break, I fell hard off the wagon. Like, face first into the ground.  So. Much. Sugar.  This past week, I have gone back to weaning myself off and I am feeling the struggle.  However, knowing how great I felt before, I am re-committed 100%.  I truly believe sugar is the real problem and know without question it is the best healthy lifestyle choice I can make for myself.
  5.  I have been working really hard over the past few years to put away a decent savings.  Not easy, as it seems every time I get to a comfortable place, something decides to break in my house.  Plus, I have a list that keeps getting longer of things I want to do to make home improvements.  However, I made huge improvements in paying off debt and I want to use the “extra” to keep up the savings.
  6. I tend to be really conservative with my money when it comes to splurging on myself, but as important as it is to save, I also think it is important to spend.  (See above: experiences over things.)
  7. Donating isn’t just about money.  I give to quite a few charities and I am happy to do so, but I want to make more of an effort to donate my time.  Everyone gets the same amount of hours in the day, and I hope to use more of mine in ways that help others this year.
  8. I spend way too much time on screens, between my phone and my computers at both work and home.   It is simply not healthy and often unnecessary.  I need to get better about shutting down and shutting off.  Too many of my 24 hours are spent looking at a screen.  Those hours could be better serving my desires to volunteer, read, or you know…relax!
  9. I have this cute little tab up at the top of my blog listing all of these things I want to do; there’s no real time frame but I have a few in mind I would like to complete this year.
  10. Shit or get off the pot.  For real.  It is high time I stop just talking and start just doing.  I spend too much time worried about how my decisions would affect others; that is sweet of me, but I have to start thinking of my own long term future.  I need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and just do it.  (I make it sound good, right?!?)

 

I also like to give some words of advice to others for a successful New Year:

  1. When having a discussion, don’t use Google to support your facts.  Ah, critical thinking,what the olden days were like!
  2. Cut people out of your life who you truly do not like and add people who you truly do. Note: On Earth, not just Facebook.
  3. Enough with detoxing and juicing and cleansing and pills.  If you want to lose a little weight quickly, eat less and exercise like crazy.  If you want to lose a lot of weight slowly, do yourself a favor and make a lifestyle change.
  4. Volunteer at least once over the next 90 days.  Don’t tell social media about it.
  5.  Tell those you love that you love them on a more regular basis. To their face, not in an email or text.
  6. Back up your photos.  And take more of them no matter what you look like!
  7. Please stop liking the Kardashians.  All of them.
  8. Shit or get off the pot.  This applies to whatever thing you’re not doing that you should just sack up and do already.  I’ll try to practice what I preach!

The Comeback

2016 has been quite the year!

After a few years of rebounding, both mentally and physically, I was ready to start the year by getting back to racing again.  I had spend 2015 working out for fun and ended that year by ramping up my running. For the first time in a long time, I was feeling good.  I was ready to focus on shedding the weight I had gained and getting back on a training schedule.

Then, only one week into the new year, I was in a major car accident. It really brought me down.  I was injured pretty badly and could not work out at all.  In a matter of weeks, I put on even more weight and started to fall back into a depression.  It would have been really easy to spiral out of control, but luckily I had a great PT, a runner herself, and she really helped me positively recover.  It was a very slow recovery, but by May, I was back in the gym and by June I was running again.  It was a very tough and very frustrating couple of weeks.  I wanted to stop multiple times.  I hated starting over.  I was finding it hard to self-motivate and keep my head up.

Then, I had an idea. I reminded myself daily what it felt like when I was first starting- when it felt impossible the first time.  I reminded myself how great it felt each time I reached a new goal; what it felt like the first time I ran a whole mile…and then a 5k..and then 10 miles, a half-marathon and gasp! a FULL-marathon!  It all started somewhere.  I hadn’t been so determined in years! I went back to my roots and started thinking about how it was when I very first started running.  I went back and ready my first blog, and the answers were all right there.  Join a club, write up a training schedule and sign up for a race!

Just like when I joined Teach Triumph way back in 2008 looking for triathlon support, I joined a local running club to keep myself motivated and accountable.  I began running with this group each week.  I wrote up a schedule and started training for an October 10 miler.  I ran, and finished that race. I followed it up with a 10k run a few weeks later.  Both of my races were far slower than I am used to, but it wasn’t about that for me.  It was about so much more.  Mostly proving to myself that I could still do this, and that I was on my way back!

It was not the comeback I had once planned, but it was a comeback!

I am looking forward to what 2017 brings.  Happy New Year, indeed!

A Lot Can Happen In Two Years…

At least a few times a week, I think to myself, “I wish I was still blogging.”  Today, almost 2.5 years after my last post, I decided to try again.

I think the hardest part about starting over, is defining myself as a blogger.  Prior to this experiment, which only lasted a few months, I had a blog for 5 years.  I kept up with that blog despite working full time and being in school full time.  That blog was (and still is) a picture of who I was at the time.  It was easy to keep up with because it came so naturally.  I was essentially keeping a record of my life over those years.  Every now and then, I would write a serious post, but for the most part my subjects were always running, triathlon and life in general.  Then came a few major life changes and I was burnt out.  My life was changing and I no longer felt the blog reflected where I was going with running and triathlon.  So, I stopped blogging completely.  After a short break, I started this one…but it never really took off for me.  I wanted it to be a place where I could talk about my favorite things- books, food, running…etc.  I also wanted it to be a place where I could lay down the thoughts I intentionally shorten for, or entirely keep off of, Facebook.  I went back and looked and I published exactly one post of that nature; my last post.

As I began to really crave writing again, and picking up blogging again, I tried to assess what went wrong.  And of course, answer the nagging question, “how do I start over?”  The answer came to me and it was fairly simple.  I want a blog, where I can just write.  No weekly themes, no specific amounts of posts a week/month; just writing about whatever I feel like, from silly musings to the issues that really matter to me.  Talking about the things I love (or maybe the things I don’t love) and once again exploring my passion for the written word.  Truly, that was the purpose of this blog when I started it the first time, but I quickly got away from it.  So instead of once again starting over with a new blog, I decided to just pick up where I left off.  This time, staying true to the original purpose behind Jillian Loves- writing, eating, running and living!

Cheers!

Discriminate, It Does Not

Robin Williams committed suicide.

Everyone is talking about it.  And that is only a good thing if we are talking about it for the right reasons.

Addiction is so personal to me and I am working on a post that goes much deeper than this, in hopes that if even one person changes their attitude when it comes to how we treat those who are suffering from mental illness or addiction, it will have been worth it to open up about my personal story.  I have so much I want to say and I feel like it needs to be said right now, while people are still listening.

But for now…I will leave you with what I posted on my Facebook this morning:

I am having a hard time being on Facebook today.

Earlier this year it was Phillip Seymour Hoffman and before that, Corey Montieth, and not too long ago, it was Heath Ledger. Before that…Monroe, Joplin, Hendrix, Belushi, Farley, Houston, Jackson…the list is seemingly endless.

Robin Williams isn’t the only face of those suffering from mental illness and addiction; he is just the most recent famous one. Robin Williams has always been one of my favorite actors and the news of his untimely death saddens me greatly. But I am not shocked. The devil of mental illness and addiction will take people and swallow them whole. It robs them of reason and logic. It tells them that they are broken beyond repair.

And it does not discriminate.

We have so much sympathy when a celebrity dies. My Facebook is flooded with posts encouraging people not to judge others, reminding us that we don’t know what battles others are facing and to remember that it can happen to anyone. If only we had the same amount of compassion when it came to those suffering in our own backyards, as we do when it is a famous person. Because celebrities aren’t the only ones dying. Far too often, I see people chalk up a loss to drug use as another selfish life wasted. They are judged. Their inner struggles and battles are ignored and it is quickly forgotten that it can happen to anyone. But it can happen to anyone.

There is so much opportunity for us to educate ourselves about addiction and mental illness and more importantly, about why lives are ending far too soon. But we have to stop living under the notion that it can’t happen to us. It’s easier to think that drug addiction happens to other people; not your spouse, your kids, your siblings or your friends. No one you know. And certainly, not you. But that is a false sense of security. Here is the reality- it happens far more often than we want to believe. Chances are, that someone you know is suffering from mental illness or addicted to drugs right now. Chances are, someone you know is struggling to live.

Oh, and if you have been lucky enough to not been affected by addiction, be careful where you throw your stones because there are only two groups of people. Those who have been and those who will be.

 

<3Jillian

Totally Random Thursday

No, no, no….it’s not a new weekly post thing, just the only title I could think of for today.  Let’s face it, weekly posts aren’t really my thing, especially in the summer!  I just wanted to share with you a bunch of randomness without having to think of a catchy title.  I am lazy like that.

1- SHINGLES IS NO JOKE

That’s right.  I had Shingles.  What I thought was a few bug bites, multiplied itself over 48 hours and I was freaked out enough to go to Urgent Care.  Thank God I did too, because I had a really mild case and got on medication fast enough for it to still work.  That’s the thing with shingles; there is no cure and it has to run it’s course.  The course SUCKS in a way I cannot explain.  It took every ounce of self-control I had not to itch my leg.  That is also where I lucked out…location, leg.  This can show up on your face, torso, back or chest.  For me, I could at least keep it hidden.

Facts about shingles:

If you had chicken pox at any point in your life, ever, you can get shingles.

It is not an “old people” illness.

It is serious and needs to closely monitored, especially if you have a low immune system.  Again, I was really lucky to get a mild case and they are still monitoring me.

It is not an airborne contagion.  It is only contagious if it is directly touched while in the blister faze.  And the only people that can catch it, are those who have had chicken pox.  You cannot get shingles from shingles.  If you catch the virus from a person with shingles, you will get the chicken pox.  This is only if you never had the chicken pox.

It’s not a pretty sight and I was really embarrassed about it, until I started telling people and it seems everyone knew someone who had it.  No one talks about it because the think it is embarrassing.  It’s not.

2- Windows 8 is not the devil.

I finally got my new laptop and here is how I felt the first day:

windows 8

But then, I went to the Windows 7 interface and all is right with the world!

3- The coolest drink I’ve ever had!

Went to a cool little bar spot and they had the most awesome drinks.  I have to imagine if the place is busy, this is a pain in the ass to make but you can tell by the one photo how much fun the bartender had making it.  The pictures don’t even do it justice; it is a whole show!  And the drink is only $15.  I say only because it is coffee, espresso and alcohol.  And it is HUGE.  And delicious.  It had an awesome sugar rim and was topped with amazing homemade whipped cream.  It was the best dessert drink I have ever had.  I have paid more than that for drinks that sucks.  Not this one…it was worth every sip!

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cool drink

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4- Too much vodka on an empty stomach is a bad idea.

I was in my friends wedding last weekend.  I made the mistake of not eating and then there was no food until about 5pm.  By then, I had downed two vodka tonics and they just kept coming.  That, on top of the fried food I devoured during the cocktail hour and my stomach was not friends with me on Sunday morning.  I can’t even remember the last time I had anything fried (other than french fries) and I was seriously paying for it.  So the lesson is, don’t eat friend food and drink a lot of vodka on the same night.

Here are some pics from the wedding:

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Oh, and sidebar…I caught the bouquet 😉

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5- I NEED more summer!

I want more of this….

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I feel like I say this every week.  But legit- HOW IS SUMMER GOING SO FAST?!?!?!?  I don’s understand how it just goes in the blink of an eye!  I am looking very forward to my vacation next week, but once I get back, I know it is grind time and then BAM the school year starts!

 

How has your week been?

Why Yes, I Do Have A Blog!

You know what happens when you don’t have a computer?  You can’t blog!

Today, I am at work, hosting a soccer camp, so I have some time to get you all caught up!  Hopefully, my new laptop will be ready by the weekend and I can return to my regular scheduled blogging!  Meanwhile, I’ll just say, blogging on the Ipad is TERRIBLE!  Ugh!  Times ten!

Summer is going to be over in the blink of an eye!  I cannot believe we are almost through July!  The other day someone said something about how long until Christmas and all I can say is they are lucky they didn’t get punched square in the face.  I DO NOT want to talk about snow, cold weather or anything that involves being back at school yet!  Don’t get me started on the Back to School section of Target!

Let’s talk about fun stuff!

July is my birth month.  Summer birthdays are the absolute best and I have been living it up for sure!  In the past two weeks, I ate lots of yummy food and had WAY more beer than I should have.  I celebrated for a solid two weeks, which is what everyone should do on their birthday, and I had a blast!

Here is what 33 looks like….

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A few from my birthday party.  You are never too old to have one of those!

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Snapped this one of my new favorite summer activity…tubing down the river.

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And from my visit to Reboboth Beach.

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And here are all my cakes!

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Left is an ice cream cake (my mom is known for them!), then the cake and goodies from my friend Theresa in Delaware and finally, on the bottom is my cheesecake.  The cheesecake will be featured in this weeks New Food Friday.

Overall, I am having such a great summer.  I really don’t want it to end!  I have a few late summer races, two vacations and a lot more fun planned for August, but I don’t want to rush it!  If only it were summer all year!

What has been the best part of your summer?

Summer Vacation & A Birthday

I’m officially on Summer vacation for one month 🙂

I am working a one week soccer program but it still feels like vacation.  I get to sleep past 5am, work out in the morning, spend afternoons at the pool, go out any day of the week and stay up past 10pm.  I love it!

I had a most excellent 4th of July weekend. Spent some time at the pool and went tubing over the weekend. So much fun!!

Today begins my birthday celebrations.  I’m officially 33. I like celebrating birthdays because it is the one day you get to celebrate yourself. I’ve accomplished a lot in 33 years and have a lot to celebrate. Especially this year when I feel like things are finally coming together!

I am working on a “letter to myself” post that I was hoping to have done today but it’s not looking that way! You’ll have to stay tuned for that one!

I’m off to run 3.3 miles…I think that’s a good number for today!

Do you enjoy celebrating birthdays?

❤ Jillian

I Bought A Blender (and I have a free shipping code!)

You know you’re old when…you get way excited over the purchase of a new blender!

Seriously, I feel like I spent as much time on buying a blender as I did on buying a house!

Before I started making breakfast smoothies every day, I think I used my blender all of 10 times.  After using my Oster 5-speed blender for only one week, I realized quickly that I needed to invest in something better…and quick!  The Oster is good enough for some stuff, but every time I rev it up, I worry if it will be it’s last rodeo.  It just wasn’t built for everyday use and it doesn’t have the ability to make much more than a smoothie.  And I think it hates spinach more than I hate avocados because it is a bitch to clean!!!!

So I did it.  I splurged.  I really didn’t have the money, but I figure if I have to keep buying $30 blenders, eventually I would be spending more than I could afford anyway.  So I did it.

I went over and over and over…Nutri-Bullet, Vitamix or Blendtec.  It was not an easy choice and the internets only made it harder!!!  I researched tons of websites, blogs and review pages.

Now, you need to know one thing about me.  If I go out with the intention to have one beer, but I have two…I have buyers remorse.  Every time I go to Target…buyers remorse.  I have an incredibly hard time buying things for myself.  I work SO HARD for my money.  Until last August, I had two jobs.  For most of my life, I have had two or three jobs and at times was a full time student on top of it.  Technically, I currently have one job, but I pick up every single extra event I can at work.  I do every SAT, ACT and SSAT testing day…giving up a ton of my Saturday’s.  I proctor the Student Center once a week during the school year.  I work every camp sign-in on Sundays during the summer.  I will pick up anything at my job if it means extra money.  And I use that money for bills, gas and every now and then for a night out.  I am lucky that there are some great parents at this school whom often gift me on holidays and at the end of the year with gift cards; then I can treat myself (without guilt) to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and use VISA gift cards for new clothes.  My parents hook me up every Christmas with grocery and clothing store gift cards.  I make use of every coupon or store savings I can.  What I am trying to convey here is this…this was a HUGE purchase for me.  To have bought this for myself was a huge deal.  I am not a cheap person by any means, but I am frugal and careful with my money.  However, after weeks (and weeks!) of researching, thinking, weighing my options and reading reviews, I decided this was a worthwhile purchase and pulled the trigger.

Here is how I finally broke it down to make a decision:

NutriBullet:

  • While it was the cheapest option and there were some pros that were very key in my life (takes up very little space, powerful, good for single use, easy to clean), I also kept reading about their terrible customer service.  That pretty much ruled them out right off the bat, except that I couldn’t get over how low the price was and the fact that I could easily store it.

Blendtec:

  • This was actually my first choice.  I was pretty sold on it because  everything can be done in one jar, it has pre-programmed buttons, it is easy to clean and comes with a great warranty.  However in every single review, good or bad, there was something said about the atrocious noise.  But even that didn’t completely rule it out for me.  I figured I would deal with the noise because the price was right and it got more good reviews than bad ones.

Vitamix:

  • The only bad review I could find on the Vitamix is that it takes up a lot of space.  Pretty small complaint but considering my counter space is already at a premium, this was a tough one for me.  I barely have room as it is with my KitchenAid mixer, coffee maker and microwave.  On top of that, it was by far the most expensive option and I couldn’t find a way to justify it.  Everyone says is the Ferrari of blenders, but at some point I have to draw the line.

 

So…drumroll please…

I BOUGHT A VITAMIX!!!!

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Forget the need to draw lines.  At the end of the day, this was the best purchase.  Especially because…da da da da…they are currently having a special on refurbished 5200’s and I got it for $299.00 PLUS free shipping!  They are regularly $329 and shipping is $25, so I saved $55!  Had I gotten a Blendtec, I would have also gotten a refurbished one, and it would have been $279 (comes with free shipping), so I only paid $20 more than I would have if I went with my initial choice.  And I would have had to deal with the insanely loud noise that legit was complained about in every single review.  Lastly, when it came to reviews, I had to LOOK to find a negative one about Vitamix.  The only things I could find other than space, was that you need to purchase a separate pitcher for grinding spices or making bread.  Since I do not intend to use it for either of those reasons, it only made sense to go with the Vitamix.  (If you are thinking of buying one, the $30 discount is good until the end of June and if you want the free shipping, you can use the code:  06-007021)

I honestly do think that it is a matter of personal opinion and depends on what your needs are when it comes to which one you buy.  I am sure I would have been happy (albeit, perhaps deaf) with a Blendtec, but I am really happy I was able to treat myself to the Vitamix.  In the end, I think it will pay for itself by way of healthy eating.  I already have a whole list of things to make, and I cannot wait!

I will be sure to do a personal review when it arrives!

 

Do you own a Vitamix, Blendtec, Nutribullet or any other special blender?  What are your thoughts?