Making My Long Distance Relationship Work

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I get asked all the time how I make my long distance relationship work with my man-friend. I’ve been asked twice this week! Then,  just yesterday, I received a message from a friend asking for advice on the subject. She wanted to know basically what our best practices were since we’ve been together this long… so I thought I’d write about it.

I live in Kentucky and my man-friend lives in Canada. It’s a two hour time difference, 6 hours worth of flights with a border crossing, or a 30 hour drive. So we’re legit long-distance. The good news? We have been making it work for about 2 and half years now.

This isn’t my first long-distance relationship. I’ve had a few before this one, all ending for different reasons. When people wonder how their relationship will weather the distance if somebody has to move or they meet somebody that lives somewhere else, I think you just have to look at the relationship by itself first. Is it really good so far? If so, it’ll be able to handle anything. If it’s just so-so, you could try it out and see how it goes. If things are already rocky, then abort mission! It’ll never work. You could force it, but both of you will be miserable so I’d let it go and let the distance be the excuse.

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When my friend asked for my biggest tips, here are the ones that stick out the most:

1: Communication. COMMUNICATION!! 

In any relationship, being able to talk to your partner about anything is imperative and vital to its success. When you add distance to the mix though, it’s even more important. I’ve always been horrible at talking about the hard things. In the past, I’d always hold things in, not wanting to rock the boat. I’ve had to work really hard at this over the years, but having a partner that I feel completely safe talking to has helped immensely. If there’s even the slightest issue, we discuss it right away, before it has the chance to grow into a huge ordeal. The best thing you can do is provide an environment where nothing is off-limits when it comes to conversations. If you scream, if you don’t let your partner talk, or if you criticize or down-play what they have to say, they won’t feel safe talking to you and eventually they’ll stop. So talk it out! Encourage the talking! Even if it’s hard every now and then…

2: Be Supportive. Genuinely. 

You can say you support your partner and you can go along with what they’re doing, but if don’t genuinely like what they’re doing, the distance will soon become your weapon to use against them anytime you’re upset. I have to travel a lot of weekends. I have to get up at 5am most days of the week, which means I go to bed early most nights. If my partner scolded me for any of these things, it’d leave me questioning if they really supported me or not. Sure, it’s not the most convenient schedule, but running my own business and calling my own shots is what allows me to have a job I love and a flexible vacation schedule, which is crucial for me. Sometimes work comes first and that’s ok. If I bitched my man out every time he told me he had to leave the country for work, he’d probably be on his way out. I feel so lucky to have somebody that understands my travel schedule, supports my work choices, and encourages me to invest in the things that make me thrive. And I’m happy to do the same for him.

3: Schedule Regular Date Nights

With awesome technology like FaceTime and Skype, we get to talk to and SEE each other every morning and every night. But just doing the day-to-day conversations isn’t enough. Dates night are in order! Sure these date nights might not happen as frequently as they would if your partner lived in the same city, but they have to be scheduled regardless. My man-friend and I have crazy schedules. We live in different time zones, we both travel for work, I run my own business, he has two little boys, etc. It’s all crazy, but we make it a point to schedule a date night every other week or so. We’ll rent the same movie and FaceTime while we watch it. We’ll sit and have dinner together while we chat. We’ll read the same book and then talk about it (this has only happened once and we’re still only halfway through it, but we’ll pick it up again later when things aren’t so hectic). It doesn’t matter what the “date” actually is, it matters that we’ve got uninterrupted time together. Usually these only last about an hour and a half or two hours, (because I wake up at 5am every day and I’m lucky to be awake past 10pm during the week) but it’s better than nothing. Just like any other relationship, if you don’t tend to it, it’ll suffer.

“Just Because” flowers are always a hit too… Big points were earned when these bad boys were delivered:

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moving on…

4: Have a life of your own. 

If I didn’t have my work, my hobbies, my family, or my social network, I’d be miserable sitting around all the time and waiting for him to call. He’s got a long work day during the week, and he’s busy with his kids at night and on the weekends. He also loves to be outside so when he doesn’t have his boys he’s out climbing, biking, or skiing. All of that is perfectly fine because I have a lot of similar things that take up my time and energy as well. We are each happy in our own lives so we’re not looking for somebody to “make us whole” or “fill that gap” in our lives. If you think having a relationship will fix everything that’s wrong in your life, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

5: Have a limit. 

We make it a point to never go more than 4 weeks in between visits. Now sometimes this can’t be avoided and it goes over a little, but for the most part, we see each other once a month. I will travel to him, he will travel to me, or we get lucky and both have to be at the same fitness event. Either way, we knew this had to be part of the plan. There were some really long periods between visits when we first started and that made things difficult. It didn’t make us fight, it just made us really sad because it was emotionally draining not to be together. Once we realized how much it affected us, we made the 4 week rule.

6: Budget for it.

Now that I’m a little older, paying for visits has become easier than it was in college. Back then, it was saving to pay for calling cards and scrounging every penny to buy a plane ticket every few months, which made things way more stressful. Traveling so often can get expensive so I’ve just made it part of my budget and cut out non-necessities from my monthly spending. I also have a United Airlines credit card that I use for almost everything (bills, gas, groceries, business trips, etc) so that I can get the airline miles to help fund trips. If you know you’re gonna have to do the long distance thing for a while, you’ve got to find a way to make it happen, but without breaking the bank.

7: Have a plan. 

Hopefully, there’s an end in sight. Whether one of you had to move to finish school, do an internship, complete a work contract, or wait for immigration, you should have some sort of ultimate plan to be together in the future. If you don’t… then why are you spending all your time and energy on this person? My man-friend and I will live together one day, but since the immigration process for me to move to Canada is a big, huge beast of a process, we’ll go with the flow until we get the green light. Until then, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. Since it’s working. : )

 

Being desperately in love doesn’t hurt either…

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Are any of you guys in a LDR?

Any distance tips you’d like to add?

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My nephew’s gonna be a climbing monster!

Although I’m really excited about my upcoming move, I’m getting a little bummed about leaving all my friends and especially bummed about not seeing my family as much. I already don’t see them enough because of my travel schedule, so I’m trying to take advantage of every free evening! My usual Tuesday night clients were both out of town this week so I called my brother to see if it was cool if I picked up my nephew, Jaxson from school to hang out with him for the rest of the day. I’d taken him and my sister-in-law to the climbing gym a couple months ago and he loved it. A new bouldering gym just opened in downtown Louisville and I hadn’t been yet so I thought it would be the perfect time to try it out. Also, I was pumped about picking him up early from school. Even though it was only about 45 minutes from the end of the day, leaving early is still just as exciting. I’m not sure though which one of us was more excited about it…

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For those of you that didn’t know, Climb Nulu is freaking awesome. It’s absolutely huge. There are tons of routes, lots of variety in difficulty, and the walls go up to 16ft! I’m particularly fond of its hours: 11am-10pm. Here’s some quick info on it:

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Like I said, it’s huge! Their kids climbing area wasn’t opened yet, but he did just fine on the regular routes (V0s). The best thing though was that Jax is a natural! I showed him a few technique things on his first couple tries and he remembered them and put them into practice each route. He was super cute: “It’s kind of like figuring out a math problem!” He totally gets it. He even took a no-hands rest:

Going for the hard stuff…

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And taking a few falls. Yay for padded floors!

He’s matching hands, he’s switching feet. He’s down climbing like a champ and figuring out how to transfer his body weight with very little help from me. This climb he did several times to the top, but I caught his first go at it on my phone. Check out his moves!

(My phone was propped up on a chalk bag and fell over before he finished so you miss the rest of his down-climb and his big jump off… but it was a good one.)

We were super hungry afterwards so instead of going out to eat we came back to my house to cook dinner together. I’d bought the ingredients to make these Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls earlier in the week so that’s what we made. He’s going to be quite the good cooker one day. ; )

*I used to say cooker instead of chef when I was a kid, so that’s what we call it.



Taking him climbing with no ropes, giving him giant knives to use… #auntoftheyear

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All in all it was a pretty sweet day and I’m glad we got the chance to hang by ourselves.

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Workout Playlist: MJ, Jay-Z, and JT

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Love ‘em all!

So I smooshed them together in this playlist.

Get after it. Be a beast.

I made the above collage from these:
MJ Photo. Jay-Z photo. JT Photo
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The Plan: California, Colorado, Canada

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Apparently I’m only interested in places that start with a C… I’ve had a bunch of questions about where I’m going, what I’m doing, and where I’ll actually be living after Tango and I leave Kentucky next month. There is one long answer because I’m actually going a bunch of places… or at least that’s the plan. It could change, but here’s what I’ve got sketched out in my mind (and on my spreadsheets) at the moment:

 

1. California… by way of Texas. 

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I will leave here mid April to head out to San Diego to put my things in storage, since that’s where I will end up after my road trip. My good friend, Karley, last seen here, is getting married to her sweet fiance in their backyard in Austin, TX so I’m gonna go there first. It’s not entirely “on the way” but it’s only a 300 mile difference. So I’ll stop a night in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, since that’s the halfway point, then make a stop in Dallas to see a couple friends (plus, I’ve never been to Dallas, unless you count the airport), then head down to Austin for their nuptials. I’m hoping to catch Sara on either side of the city since our past blate attempts have never played out, so we’ll see on that one. After I leave Austin, I’ll make the long haul to Tucson, Arizona, (since camping alone on the border doesn’t sound like the safest thing to do)  to check out Saguara National Park. From there it’s a short 5 – 6 hour drive to San Diego.

I used to live right up the hill from San Elijo State Beach. I’d always wanted to camp there as it’s  right on the cliff on the beach but it never made sense to pay $35 to camp literally down the street from my place so I never did. Plus the campsites fill up fast and you have to reserve a spot well in advance, which I’ve already done!! So we’ve got 2 nights there.

I have to head up to San Fran for a 6 day training at TRX Headquarters so Tango is going to stay with my awesome friend, Danielle while I knock that out. I’ll come back down to San Diego just in time for my U-Box to arrive and I’ll toss everything in storage and we’ll head to our home for the month of May…

 

2. Colorado! And surrounding areas

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I’d been debating on moving to Denver, which is where this whole idea started. I’d always wanted to live there, I have quite a few buddies there, and it’s gorgeous! But San Diego was home for 4 years and I’ve just been feeling it pulling on me a lot for the past year so I ultimately chose it. I still wanted to spend a significant chunk of this trip in Colorado though so I will be cruising all around the state and using Denver as home base. I want to see Boulder, Breckingridge, Aspen, etc. Half the state of Colorado is pretty much all state parks so I plan on checking out as much of them as possible. Hopefully I can wrangle some climbing partners along the way and I’ve got a little side trip to Santa Fe, NM I’d like to sneak in there as well. I’ll have the whole month to wander so we’ll see how long gas money stays around… It’ll go by quickly but I’ll be pretty excited about my next section of the trip though:

 

3. Canada!! 

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My man-friend and I do a pretty good job of making sure that we never go more than 4 weeks between our visits, but we’re usually confined to 3-5 day visits because of work. This time though I’ll finally be able to go stay with him for most of the month of June! He’ll be working, but I’ve got several work projects I’ve needed to start hammering away at so that’s what I’ll be focusing on while I’m there. The good thing is that during the summer, that part of Canada stays light outside until around 10pm. So even after a full day’s work, you’ve still got time to go climbing, head out for a bike ride, or just hang out outside. I have a feeling that month will go by a lot faster than I want it to, but onward!

 

4. And ending up back to San Diego

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Although it will be hard to leave my man-friend, after all that time on the road I’m fairly sure I’ll be dying to get a paycheck and and to not live out of a suitcase. I’ll cruise back to San Diego via the western route (maybe… by that time I may be looking to save those extra 5 hours and go straight south) either the last week of June or the first week of July. I’ll get my things out of storage and move them into an apartment. I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching fitness classes and seeing some of my old clients and class attendees. Hopefully an 80s Friday will be in the cards for July! I’ll be super broke but the great thing about San Diego that I learned when I moved there the first time (when I was 21 years old, a week out of college, and with $200 to my name after I paid rent) the beach is FREE and you can spend as much time there as you want! I’ve been dreaming of getting to eat one of Ann’s famously delicious meals while shooting the breeze with her and Ted on their patio. And hitting up the Whistlestop for game night with Brian, going for a hike or climb with Brenna and Danielle, and drinking coffee and laughing with Julie. Saturday brunch at Colleen’s and the french toast… all me goodness!  I can’t wait to see ALL my buds there, experience regular Taco Tuesdays and happy hour margaritas, and carne asada nachos from the many available taco stands around the city. There’s a good chance I’ll gain 10 lbs the first month I’m back, but Barry’s Bootcamp will take care of that in a jiff. I’ll also get back to taking dance classes on a weekly basis. Culture Shock and APA both have plenty of daily open classes to choose from so I plan on getting my “Adult Jazz/Contemporary” and “Advanced Tap” on as quickly as possible. Ryan, I hope you’re ready!

 

It’s all still 4 weeks away, and all subject to change a wee bit, but there it is! The plan!

Will you be on any of my stops along the way?

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Investing In Yourself

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I’m very excited about my upcoming move/road trip with Tango. Not only does a couple months roaming around out west fill my “wanderlust” cup but it also gives me the opportunity to slow the hell down and focus on myself (and my dog) for a couple months.

One of the things I used to do a lot was invest in my professional education. When I lived in San Diego, I was lucky that so many great fitness companies were right there or within driving distance. I could go to a number of conferences and workshops every year and was continuously learning, implementing what I’ve learned, and becoming better. It’s not that I haven’t been to any conferences these last few years, but I’ve just working at them instead of learning at them. The same goes for most of my weekends spent teaching TRX Education. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those weekends… but teaching instead of learning isn’t getting me anywhere farther. And it’s hard to forfeit a free weekend these days when I’ve had so many weekends away from home. So the fact that I’m quitting most of my work for 2.5 months will give me some much needed time to step away from things and focus on what I want to learn.

One of my resolutions this year was to take some of the fitness workshops I’ve been wanting to take for a while now. I’m excited to say that I’ve recently received my materials to study for the Precision Nutrition certification, I just signed up for the Barefoot Training Summit (barefoot training is a huge passion of mine), and I’m currently trying to find 3 weekends that I’ll be available to take the Muscle Activation Techniques certification. Booyah!

But wait! These certs and workshops cost money!

And if I’m not working, I’ll have less money! What the hell am I doing?!

Investing! You usually can’t get something for nothing, so you’ve got to earn it. You don’t have a well-paying job at 18 years old, but if you invest in your college education, you have a better shot at one. You aren’t guaranteed the top spot at your company the first day on the job, but if you invest your time and energy (and sometimes money) to learning all that you can about your field, you’ll have many more opportunities as you go along. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but you certainly have a better shot at doing well if you’ve made a conscious effort to learn more along the way.

 

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The Sacrifice.

So. All this ish costs money. It’s not like this money is falling out of the sky and into my lap right now. And this post isn’t me recommending that you drop everything you’re doing, abandon your family, and throw a bunch of ish on your credit cards. That’s the opposite of moving forward. It’s me saying that if you want to, plan it out and make it happen. A lot of planning has gone into this trip. Over a year’s worth!

After paying off all my debt, I’ve been saving like a madman these past several months to be able to make this trip (and these events) happen. I’ve set a strict budget so I don’t come back to reality a financial wreck. For the next several months I will not be spending money on anything but the necessities. Tango and I will be camping most of the time (which is ok by me, but I might smell if you get too close, so you’ve been warned). I’ll be eating only meals that can be eaten raw or cooked over a camp stove; soooo a lot of oatmeal, fruits/veggies, and peanut butter in my future. The car that I was hoping to buy at the end of the year will most likely have to wait another year or so, so that I can save more for my downpayment. No more eating out for dinner. No shopping. You get the picture…

But all that is ok because I know with all that time outdoors with my dog, I’ll get to hike and play and revel in the sunshine and the fresh air. I know that I won’t have to wake up at 5am! At night I’ll get to read my nutrition books in peace by the light of my headlamp. I’ll get to take the time to figure out my camera and take wonderful photos to show you guys where all I’ve been. While driving all over creation I’ll get to visit new places and take these courses that will fill these cups that have been clanking around for attention for quite some time.

So while some people may look at these future months of mine as homeless and broke, I will look at them as exploratory and rich. Investing in yourself and what you need is never a waste of time or energy. Being the best YOU you can be is beneficial to yourself as well as everyone around you. So if there’s a part of you that needs attention, please don’t ignore it. If you’ve got to invest time, money, or energy into making it happen, please do! Find a way to do it. Talk to those closest to you to see if they can help you out. You may not have the ability to take a couple months off but maybe you could take a night class once a week to get that degree you’ve needed for a raise. Maybe you could work some overtime to pay for a certification that will give you some new skills. Chat with a friend to see if you could swap child-care so you can have some alone time once a week. Whatever you need, GO FOR IT.

Only you can make things better for yourself. Be a beast at it.

What are you needing to invest in these days?

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SUNday!

Sunshine. Sunroof. Sunglasses. We are in love with any word that begins with S-U-N today. It’s been a glorious day and I think the entire city is just glad that there hasn’t been any precipitation in the past 24 hrs and the clouds are nowhere in sight. Is it me or has this been the cloudiest winter in a while? It may just be that it’s that point in the season when we just can’t take any more cold…

 After a million weekends away, (and another trip coming up in 4 days) I’ve been enjoying this weekend at home immensely. I’ve been sick all week so not having to wake up by an alarm clock was EVERYTHING. I stayed in bed until 10am in this morning, much to Tango’s annoyance.

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But I made up for it…

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He spent the morning lying in the sun in the driveway while my roomie and I cleaned the house. We then went to our local park and walked the 2.5 mile loop (twice!) before cruising back. We stopped at Farmington on the way home so he could run amok offleash, which he did… through the mud. He chased the ball exactly 4 times (he will never fetch more than that) and then we came home, only to go back outside to the backyard. He slept next to me while I read my book and just when the wind picked up and my shorts got to be a little too chilly, we came back in. Not that that’s stopped him from soaking up a little bit more though.

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He’s just like his mother…

How did you spend your Sunday?

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Things That Are My Jam Right Now

aka my Instagram feed from this past week…

{This National Parks Pass}

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I used to have a National Parks Pass every year when I lived out west. I haven’t needed one the past few years, but with my big trip/move coming up I decided I needed one again. I LOVE that I’m going to get to see a few parks I’ve never seen before. This pass now makes it easier to afford it.

{The new iPhone earbuds case}

I’ve been dying to get the new iPhone, since my current one was over 3 years old, but have waited to bite the bullet because they’re so damn expensive. I just received it this week and was stoked to see this new carrying case designed to keep your sh** from getting tangled up. Since I use my phone all day long this is a huge problem of mine. But no longer!!!

{The Under Armour Performance Center}

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After our conference in D.C. last week we headed over to Baltimore for a TRX event held at Under Armour’s Global Headquarters. They have a fitness facility that is simply amazing! We were like kids in a candy shop running all over the place there. Climbing ropes, sprinting across the wide open spaces, traveling that looooong line of monkey bars that goes down the middle of the room. Gah! Most gyms nowadays pack every square inch of their facility with machines, leaving no room for actual movement. A space like this is a trainer’s dream come true. I was also pumped to see Misty Copeland’s photo on the wall representing the dance athletes out there!

{Tango, Churchill & Sunspots}

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Being out of town so much lately has left me seriously missing the animals of this household. And winter just sucks right now. It was great to spend 30 minutes on the floor in the sunspot with Tango and Churchill. I was trying to build playlists and they were trying to zap all my energy. Effers…

{My bootcampers killing it with pull-ups}

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I focus a lot of time on pull-ups in my TRX Bootcamp. We do a ton of back work and assisted pull-ups with the Suspension Trainers so that they can all progress to doing full pull-ups. Women cruise around thinking they just can’t do them, but I want to show my ladies that they CAN.  And they did. We don’t kip in my class so strict chin-ups and pull-ups are done frequently. Some with help from a spotter, but many more ladies are to the point where they don’t need one! It’s so empowering to be able to pull your own body-weight up. Way to be a BEAST, ladies!

{Being an official “presenter”}

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I’ll be presenting TRX content at 3 conferences this year. My name is on the programs. People can register for my sessions, and I’ve created a new “Dance Body” workout that will debut in NYC in a couple weeks and later this summer in LA. All of the sudden I feel like a grown-up. My favorite part is having access to the presenter lounges. #freefood ; )

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Workout Playlist!

Turn it up. Work it out. Be a BEAST.

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I was at a fitness conference all last week in D.C. so I didn’t get to post the second February playlist. Better late than never so here ya go!

BONUS: If you play the Tiesto song, the beat almost matches the lights in the photo above! ; )

Happy March, guys!
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Lately…

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Five posts in one week and then two weeks with nothing. It happens… Life has been crazy around these parts. Planning a move and preparing for a move don’t make regular work/life to-do lists any shorter, but I’m excited about all of it. Right now my plan is to be in Colorado for the month of May to scope out Denver and Boulder, then head up to Canada in June to hang with my man-friend, and then either return to Colorado to settle for a bit or head back to San Diego to settle for a bit… by the beach. Like I said, this is the plan now, but it’s subject to change. I’m also trying to make plans for my Louisville fitness business to continue after I leave. This is a hard thing with a lot of moving parts, but I’m confident I can make it happen and leave all my clients in good hands. I’m also trying to manage my bootcamp and current clients around being out of town so much. I’ve got TRX workshops to teach and conferences to attend (and present at!) all over the place. Coming up is Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Chicago, New York and back to Indy. Soooo not hectic at all.

 

We’d planned on doing the “look away” but Tang ruined it at the last second…

Besides our impromptu, sunny day selfie shoot, here’s what else has been going on:

Making: Budgets… Trying to live for 2 months without working and pay for a move across the country, with a dog, is going to be interesting.

Drinking: White Russians. Because Winter.

Reading: I’ve been on this biography for a while now. SUPER interesting and motivating, it’s just long as hell.

Wanting: The 55 degree weather we had a few days ago to come back around.

Watching: Dvr’d episodes of Modern Family!

Eating: The squash/corn chowder that I’ve made appx. 20 times this season. Because Winter.

Listening: Kelly Clarkson’s Heartbeat Song.

Smelling: My pine candle. I got a little carried away at Christmas time and bought way too many holiday scent candles. I’m ok with it though.

Wishing: That Alabama same-sex couples are currently planning their now-legal weddings and can have the exact wedding they’ve been dreaming of.

Enjoying: This quiet night at home.

Loving: The fact that I see my man-friend in a little over a week! Can’t wait for 5 days together.

Hoping: To find a Yakima storage box for my car on craigslist. New ones are $500 – $600!

Needing: Another 10 hours of sleep like I got last night. That was glorious.

Feeling: Excited, nervous, excited, ready, not-ready, overwhelmed, and back to excited (about my move).

Wearing: These cotton wunder unders for the millionth time. They’re so soft. And I want my money’s worth.

Bookmarking: This book to read when I finish my current one. My friend Kara told me I would love it.

 

 

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Workout Playlist! Throwback Hip Hop

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So the best thing has happened to radio here in Louisville, KY and it’s known as Old School 105.1. On Monday morning I saw about 5 Facebook posts about it and each day there have been more and more. With each song that comes on we’ve all been immediately transported back to middle school, spring break, senior prom, etc … Basically, if you’re between the ages of 28 and 40, you’re stoked. So tomorrow’s workout playlist has been inspired by the greatness that is the new 105.1.

 

So much to choose from, but these made first cut.
I have a feeling this is Version 1 of many…
What would you add to this list?
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