Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Then vs. Now Half Marathon Style

Kind of inspired by Shay's race recap here, which really made me think about how far I have come in other areas of my life and how much my race times don't matter in the grand scheme of things. 

I haven't run a half marathon since March 2015. I didn't really have high hopes for this one, I just knew I wouldn't die and I was fine with that. I have not given up on my sub 2 hour half marathon goal, it is just not the most important thing to me right now. 

2012: Best half marathon so far. Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon. Time: 2:04:48.

2012: First off, biggest thing - I was blonde! I was also about 20lbs lighter. I lived with my friend, KC and I had just gotten back together (kind of) less than a month before. I didn't like myself very much. I was always calling myself fat, or berating myself for being such a slow runner. I would get down on myself and rely on others to pull me out of my funks. I used a $10 watch from target that was basically a stopwatch. I worked at my friend's dad's restaurant and I enjoyed it, but only because I thought it was just for a year. I got into a few squabbles with the manager because our personalities clashed and I was such a delicate duckling. I didn't know if KC would be at the finish line, or if we would even last the year. I didn't have any cats (in the same country)!

2016: Not best, but probably mentally the best. Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon. Time: 2:32:12

2016: Obviously, not blonde anymore. I recently shed 5lbs but I am still heavier than younger me, but I am so much lighter mentally and emotionally. I'm not as focused on my weight but more on my health. That friend is now one of my top 5 people in the entire world, and we still run together even though we don't live together. This time, I didn't expect KC to be at the finish line (he dropped me off, went to the gym and was going to meet me at the runners reunite spot) but he snuck back in to see me cross the finish line.... and he didn't see me. Ha. But relationship wise, KC & I are married with 3 babies cats. I also don't stick my tongue out as much as I apparently liked to in 2012.

I am bigger than when I thought I was fat, slower than when I thought I was slow. But I am so much happier. I don't hate myself - I know I say this a lot, but for someone who actively disliked herself from age 12 or so to 25 or so, this is a huge, huge thing. Part of me can't even comprehend how much I used to hate myself, the other part is so proud of how far I've come.

I am not perfect and I don't get along with everyone, but I don't fight with people for the sake of fighting with them. My down phases are so few and far between that I don't actually remember the last one, but I do remember that it was me who got myself out of it. I love the people in my life, so very very much, but I exist for myself now, whereas I didn't think I was worthy of existing before. That sounds way more dramatic than I meant it to.

Apparently I was just kidding about the sticking out of the tongue. Why do I do that?

I might not have beat my personal best half marathon wise, I didn't set any running records. But would I go back to 2012 and be that person? Hard no, friends. Hard no. Realising that and loving who I am and where I am, that right there is a personal best.

Linking up with Alyssa and Tracy


But just for fun,

2011: 2:37:15
2012: 2:04:48
2014: 2:39:15
2014: 2:33:21
2015: 2:50:36
2016: 2:32:12

I beat every race except 2012, which is totally fine by me. Then I ate lots of food, which is also fine by me.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Link Up Reminders

Happy Monday all! Just a quick post today to remind everyone that the link up for our next  'What's New With You' with Gretch and I is this Thursday. We'd love for you to link up with us with what is new with you!

What's New With You

Also, the link up for book club is next Tuesday so if you read Exposure to a Billionaire by Ann Menke we'd love for you to join us in chatting about it.

Comments turned off today, but I hope you can link up with us!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stitch Fix #4

So another stitch fix. I wasn't planning on doing another one, but then Laura went and posted a dress that I just had to have. I scheduled my fix immediately, begging them for this dress. I was almost 100% sure they wouldn't send it to me because seriously, stitch fix never sends me things that I beg for. I was already getting upset about it and I hadn't even received the fix! Then I was browsing mod cloth for a different post, as you do, and what do you know...

Beauteous Beach Comber from ModCloth

The exact dress with a different name. I immediately sent a snap to Laura like omg look what I found and she told me to buy it, so I did and blame her. Unfortunately, it was too short... and I sent it back. Womp womp.

Skies are Blue Emmitt Knit Maxi Dress - Called the Beauteous Beach Comber @ ModCloth
Beauteous Beach Comber Maxi Dress

I think it was also a bit big on me, it didn't sit right. If I had gone down a size, it would have been even shorter. I know the length doesn't look that bad, but really, I just want a maxi to hit my feet at least, the ground preferably. I don't think that is too much to ask! I wanted to include it in this post even if I didn't get it from stitch fix, because Laura did.

Anyway. So that was a bit sad, but I was able to change my note to my stylist (I seriously was like GIVE ME THIS DRESS OR I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN) to something a little less crazy, but I was unable to cancel the fix as it was too late. I just changed my note to my stylist to ask for dresses - I could receive all dresses and be perfectly happy. I told them I like maxis and fit & flares, but nothing too short. I also updated my stitch fix style board on pinterest, it had dresses, tops and midi skirts on it.

I was honestly shocked when I got the notification and took a sneak peak and saw that they were all dresses. I always said that if stitch fix sent me all dresses, I'd likely keep them all because dresses are my favourite. I am much more likely to fall in love with a dress, or spend more on a dress, vs a top or whatever. So I was pleasantly surprised that they actually listened to me.

So let's have a look shall we..

Skies are Blue Laine Dress $68


See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Skies are Blue Laine Dress $68

Brixon Ivy Tommi Sweater Dress $98

This dress was super cute. It was not $100 cute. I loved the style, the fit, the pattern, that super cute skirt - but again, not enough to justify the cost. Also, the material was SUPER thick. It's a sweater dress, so duh. But still - the style screams summer to me, but the material was all winter. That plus the cost made this a no go for me, but if those things were different, I'd have kept it.

See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Brixon Ivy Tommi Sweater Dress $98
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Brixon Ivy Tommi Sweater Dress $98
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Brixon Ivy Tommi Sweater Dress $98

Gilli Adalea Dress $58

This dress looks remarkably similar to one I received in my Golden Tote, probably because they are the same brand. This one just didn't do it for me though. The top was weird (my friend asked if it was a nursing dress) and the bottom half was not as flowy or flattering as the one in my Golden Tote.

See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 -  Gilli Adalea Dress $58
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 -  Gilli Adalea Dress $58

Maggy London Jovanie V-Neck Eyelet Dress $98

My stylist mentioned that she saw an eyelet dress on my pinterest board, and even though this was above my price range, she wanted to send it to me just in case. Even without it being almost $100, it's just not my jam. It stuck out weird at the side, maybe that's the way it was mailed, who knows. This seemed liked a good dress in theory - eyelet, fit and flare... but eh. The colour underneath was fun but it wasn't as obvious in real life as in photos. It also wasn't tight enough in the waist, and had too much flare at the bottom. It is a fine line between fit and flare vs loose and too full at the bottom, and if you're not careful you'll end up looking like an upside down toilet paper doll.

See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Maggy London Jovanie V-Neck Eyelet Dress $98
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Maggy London Jovanie V-Neck Eyelet Dress $98
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - Maggy London Jovanie V-Neck Eyelet Dress $98

London Times Nicola Dress $58

This was the only dress I considered keeping. The print wasn't really my jam, the material was odd, it was too loose at the waist.. it was cute, and I liked the neck, but I didn't love it. I couldn't see myself actually wearing it, and I'd rather lose $20 than spend more on a dress I won't wear. I would have kept it if it were a bit tighter in the waist, a different material and pattern. I swear I'm not as picky as I am sure I am coming across...

See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - London Times Nicola Dress $58
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - London Times Nicola Dress $58
See You In A Porridge - Stitch Fix #4 - London Times Nicola Dress $58

Affiliate links used in this post - if you sign up with stitch fix I get a credit, and if you click on other links I make like 2 cents and you support my shopping habit. Thanks!

I don't always have the best luck with stitch fix on the stylist/items side, but I think their customer service is top notch. My first fix, there was a mark on my dress and they gave me 15% off or offered to send me a replacement. This fix, I realised I had (stupidly) scheduled it for the same day as KY Oaks, and I wouldn't be at work to receive it, and wouldn't get it until Monday - which is when I had to send it back. So I asked them to move it up, and they did! I was surprised, again. I was ready to be like well screw you I'm not even opening it, so I'm glad they were able to move it up for me, even if I didn't end up keeping anything.

I am a bit bummed that this is the first fix that I didn't like anything enough to keep. It's probably for the best for my wallet, though I am cranky I wasted $20. I don't know when my next fix will be.

Do you like any of the items I received?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Books Lately

My last books lately post was a little lacklustre, I just didn't feel like reading for a few weeks. It happens. I went in and out of the mood again this month, I think I read like 6 books in one weekend and then didn't read for 2 weeks. Life is weird.

Keep Me Posted - Lisa Beazley - 3 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was enjoyable, it was very real which I appreciated. I do wish the book was faster paced. It took a long time for the conflict to even arise, which of course made the ending/resolution feel rushed, and too neatly wrapped up However, there were definitely things I liked! I loved Cassie's relationship with her kids and her husband. What really struck a chord with me was how she realised that Leo would let her retell a story a thousand times over, but she interrupted him when he did the same, and gosh I do that too. So rude! Going to try and be better. It really was a sweet book and I did enjoy reading it, and I really do wish there were half stars because I would totally give this 3.5 (or 3.75!).
Swear on This Life - Renee Carlino - 4 5 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I LOVED this book. When I saw it on netgalley, I knew it was by the same author who wrote Before We Were Strangers which I honestly didn't hate, I just didn't love love love it. I thought this would be another like that, but is so much better. The characters are likable, the story is so unique, I just freaking loved it. It's captivating, and I normally don't like stories within a story but it works. There were only two parts I didn't like (spoiler) I didn't like the Trevor guy and didn't think there was much point to his story, and I didn't like how Em forgave her shitty father so easily. Or maybe I'm just jealous that he changed. I'm glad her mom was a piece of shit still though, that is way more realistic. The ending was a wee bit rushed, but still good. Is this book amazing literature? No. Is it enjoyable? Yes. Highly recommend. More of a 4.5. Upped it to 5 because it was that damn good.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple - 3 Stars

I have been hearing about this book for a couple of years, so I think maybe it was a bit too hyped or my expectations were too high. It was funny, it was different, but it wasn't my favourite book ever. That being said, I'd still recommend it and I'm not mad I read it.

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series - Maggie Stiefvater  3 Stars

I actually read the first book, Shiver, many years ago before I even knew what goodreads was or what YA even meant. It's been so long that I hardly remembered anything about it, so I thought I'd give it another go. I really don't know what to think of this series. I read it all in one weekend, but I wasn't blown away.

First book: good 
Second book: meh 
Third book: blah are you freaking kidding me.

One thing I really hate is a lazy ending. I don't want to use my imagination, I am using it enough to read. Sometimes a vague ending works, sometimes it doesn't.
The Fall Up - Aly Martinez - 4 Stars 

Okay, this book was all sorts of cheesy, adorable and kinda lame. But I enjoyed it. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the use of certain words.. Honestly, I swear I'm not a prude but I think books/scenes can be sexy without the use of some words that I am not gonna write out here. They really take me out of the book and make me dislike it. That being said, the story was super cute, a tear or two might have slipped down my cheek as I finished it, so obviously I enjoyed it despite the crass words.
Magical Beings' Rehabilitation Center series - KM Shea - 4 Stars

I really like KM Shea's books. They are quite ridiculous and silly but I love them. They are all on kindle unlimited, and I am not sure if I'd pay for them but I would definitely borrow them from the library, if that gives you an idea of how much I like her books. They are all very short, quick, silly, make you smile books. This one was a little bit younger and sillier than I'm used to, and there were parts that bugged me, but overall I really enjoyed both of them. That being said, I think a certain kind of person would like her books, but most wouldn't.

Red Queen & Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard - 4 Stars

Red Queen has been on my list for ages. I was worried because of the negative reviews, but I think I am finally getting to the point where I can say screw reviews and read what I want. That being said, it didn't super blow me away, though I was intrigued and I did enjoy it. I picked up the second book almost immediately, but it took me a lot longer to get through. The 3rd book isn't coming out till next year and the 4th until 2018, like wtf. 
 If you like YA dystopia type books, I recommend.
Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge - 3 Stars

I was so disappointed in this book. In case it isn't obvious, I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty & the Beast is my fave. This book had so much potential. I think that it was very predictable, I mean we all know the B&tB story, but still. I didn't like how there were so many stories within the story and they were used to explain other things and it all just got so convoluted, not to mention boring. The main character was so fickle, in an eye rolling kind of way. The story started out strong but completely did a 180 and then the ending was all kinds of stupid. 

The Infinite Sea - Rick Yancey - 2 Stars

This book was excruciatingly boring. Yancey treats his readers like idiots, constantly repeating things and over explaining others. It's infuriating. I didn't hate The 5th Wave but I was curious to see what happened but the answer to that is nothing much. The only character I liked dies.

Someone else said it perfectly: I just finished this and forgot everything that happened because nothing happened.

I also read The Love That Split the World for book club, you can read the review here.

TL;DR - Books I'd recommend because I enjoyed them: Swear on This Life and The Fall Up. 

Life According to Steph

Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Read anything decent lately?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Kentucky Oaks 2016

I mentioned Oaks the other day and many people asked me what it was - basically, it is the same thing as the Kentucky Derby. It's just the day before, less people and it is cheaper. We've been to the Derby 3 times now (2012, 2014, 2015) and Oaks once before (2013) so we thought it was about time we attended Oaks again instead of the Derby.

Like I explained in my Guide to the Kentucky Derby post, the 'Derby' is a day but also a race during the day, if that makes sense. Oaks is the same - the day itself is called Oaks, but there is also a race called Oaks, and it is the big one. It's also all female horses and the winner is awarded a garland of lilies (as well as $1 million), so it's dubbed lilies for the fillies.

Another fun thing about Oaks is the pink out. Churchill Downs is decorated in pink, and they partner with Bright Pink (the only national non profit organisation for breast cancer) and guests are encouraged to include pink in their attire. Churchill Downs donates $50,000 and there is a survivors parade and a fashion contest.

All in all, Oaks really is a fun day, just as fun as the Derby. Lots of people come in from out of town and do the whole weekend, but we haven't done both (yet....). It's a bit much! Naturally, I took about 75 million photos... It was a gorgeous day, not a drop of rain (unfortunately can't say the same for the Derby goers!). We might already be planning next year..

But guys. There were SO many teenagers there that I thought I walked into a highschool dance. It was insane. And they were all so rude! One girl asked me to take a photo and when I gave her back her phone she looked at me, rolled her eyes and said to her friend 'it'll do for now' and I wanted to slap her and say bitch you weren't even alive when phones/instagram were invented so respect your elders. But I didn't.

Also, so many people without shoes. I could write a whole post about that, but I won't. Attention, if you ever want to go to the Derby and you don't read my guide, at least read this: Do NOT wear heels. DON'T DO IT. I love heels, I wear them all the time and can run in them if need be (a short distance, lets not get crazy) and I wore heels to the Derby once and it was enough for me. Seriously, trust me - don't do it.

Two more things to address: I unfortunately did not get a lily! I can't believe it. It's my favourite drink, but I guess the day got away from me and I just stuck with beer. Also, I misspelled the word obviously on snapchat. In all fairness it was very sunny and hard to see, I promise I wasn't so drunk that I forgot how to spell. Once I saw it, I was tempted to delete it I was that embarrassed but yolo, I guess?

Unless that's a capital I... but I don't think it is. So I apologise, obviously I know how to spell obviously. I do think I won a bit of money on that horse.. maybe not 1st place but something. Overall, we came out even I think. Which is better than losing money!

It was a super fun day, got just a little sunburn which is better than normal. Was home by 7pm I think? Woke up hangover free, cleaned my entire house and then did brunch on Sunday and watched North & South... twice.

KC was very sick on Thursday night & Friday, hence the need for bleach on Saturday. Hashtag marriage y'all. He hasn't been that sick since London in 2010 (and you all remember the hotel story...) so it was a bit odd and I hope it doesn't happen again for at least another 6 years.

Also, my dress is from Rent the Runway and I am wearing my irresistible me hair extensions. We go all out here!

So, fabulous weekend if I do say so myself. Linking up with B!

Is the Kentucky Derby on your bucket list? So when are you going to go?