Rest Day Round-Up: Star Wars Edition

I used to have a thing called Friday Favorites here on the blog, but it didn’t take off because I’m lazy and a spotty blogger at best. But I’m not ready to let it die!

Because we’re all much more than just runners. We’ve got full lives and other interests besides mile splits and training runs. And even the most seasoned runner knows that rest days are the most important part of training: a chance to hit our physical – and mental – reset buttons before diving back into the hard work. So, with that in mind, I bring you the Rest Day Round-Up!

In these posts, I take a break from talking about running to share what I’m digging in the non-running world. This week for the inaugural post, let’s take a look at all the things that tickle my intergalactic fancy with a special Star Wars Edition!

This action figure that I got from eBay for $7

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Sorry, Beyonce. You can take your floral arch and your beautiful little babies and your flowing veil and chill out in the Sea of Tranquility behind you. Pregnant Padme wielding a blaster is the Feminist Icon we need in 2017.

But seriously, when I first saw her, I thought she was a joke. But this is, in fact, a very real action figure they released when Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005. And she currently protects me (and Luke and Leia in her belly) from her perch on my desk. I don’t think I’ve ever loved an action figure more in my life.

My recent exchange with the official Star Wars Twitter account

It all started last week when I discovered the Star Wars app (yes, I’m a late adopter), which has an Augmented Reality feature that pops a character into your world when you scan certain photos. When I used it to play with K2-SO, I thought it might be fun to play with the folks in charge of the Star Wars Twitter feed. And it kind of blew up in an unexpected and awesome way:

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Yes, Star Wars replied to me in the sassiest, most adorable way. AND YES, that says 503 likes. FIVE HUNDRED AND THREE, YOU GUYS. Apparently, when Star Wars replies to you, it gets you some mild attention. I had a blast checking my notifications all day and still giggle at how something as simple as a tweet can connect us to brands and communities we love and create so much pure joy. Bless those folks.

The latest BTS Footage of The Last Jedi

Speaking of BLESSED, allow me a moment to be grateful for the gifts that were bestowed upon us on Saturday in the form of new behind the scenes footage and a series of incredible teaser posters unveiled at Disney D23.

Folks who aren’t in the fandom might not understand, but this footage is a seriously Big Deal. It raises so many questions! Why were there so many Kylo masks? Is Benicio del Toro a good guy or bad guy? And WHERE CAN I GET A PORG OF MY OWN??

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Fun fandom-centric, female-friendly gear

I’m very lucky that I get to work in an office that allows us to wear basically whatever we want within reason. This gives me the opportunity to wear SW gear basically every day if I wanted to. But I’m no one-trick pony, and have tons of regular clothes that deserve some play, too.

So while I’ve discovered that my new signature look is basically a bold lip and a SW shirt (see the floral stormtrooper and blue comic book shirts below), I also like to throw subtle nods to my fandom with gear I’ve picked up from Her Universe and Love & Madness:

While L&M recently stopped selling Star Wars gear on their site (boohoooo!!) I managed to clean house there and picked up pretty much one of everything they offered. And Her Universe is always offering fun new stuff, like the Rebellion Romper in the first pic up there. I rocked that for a 4th of July BBQ and got so many compliments – especially when people realized it had tiny little droids and X-wings hidden in the floral print!

That about wraps it up for the first installment of the Rest Day Round-Up, so tell me: what are YOU crushing on lately? A binge-worthy tv show? Fun new podcast or flea market find? Share the love in the comments!

Friday Favorites: Fueling Edition

It’s been a while since I did a Friday Favorites, and while browsing through some of the recent pics in my phone, I noticed a trend: I take a lot of FOOD pictures. So for this edition of Friday Favorites I’m going to share my favorite (if not the most well-advised) running fuel!

Enduro Packs

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Now that the weather is creeping above 50 degrees, I sweat a LOT more. Like as soon as I start running I’m covered in a sheen. I never used to be a salty sweater, but in the past 2 years I’ve noticed a change in my body chemistry and find myself covered in dried salt even after shorter runs in warmer temps. Thankfully, EnduroPacks is there to help me replenish that salt and stay balanced. With no sugar or anything artificial, I spray this stuff right into my water when I’m done running and feel like a new person.

Pizza

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I never said I was perfect, OK? But hear me out: after a long run, I crave weird things depending on what my body is missing. And lately, those cravings all tend to focus on huge slices of veggie pizza loaded with every vegetable you can think of. Namely the veggie pizza from our local pizza joint, pictured above (along with a white broccoli slice, because I’m only human). I’m not saying that this is OK to eat every day, but sometimes you have to listen to your body and go for the stinkin pizza.

Avocados

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I. Love. Avocados. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here, but when I tell you that I could eat them at every meal, believe that. I’ve got an especially tasty recipe that involves fresh boiled shrimp, pico de gallo, avocado and chopped cilantro that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. My hubby and I have even considered moving to a warmer climate just so we could plant an avocado tree in our backyard and have them whenever we want. #obsessed.

How about you guys – do you have any favorite fuel? Share what you’ve been craving lately in the comments!

Friday Favorites: Too Much Coffee Edition

I know what you’re thinking: three posts in one week? Who is this chick and what did she do with the old, lazy blogger Jess? Well, let’s just say I’ve had too much coffee and not enough breakfast this morning, so my new-found abundance of energy means you get a bonus post this week. So because I haven’t done one in a while, let’s check out some Friday Favorites: Too Much Coffee Edition!

House of Cards

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Never before has a TV show (or movie, for that matter) made me DESPISE characters so much, yet compelled me to keep watching like House of Cards. There were even times after certain events involving Corey Stoll’s character and poor Rachel, where I had to take a break from watching for a few weeks because I was so gutted. I hated these people for what they did, and couldn’t imagine ever caring enough about them to watch the show again. Yet, like a moth to a flame I kept coming back. Hate watching? Maybe. All I know is that Season 4 is officially out as of this morning and I’m REALLY looking forward to binging as much as I can this weekend.

Star Wars on Blu Ray

Guys. You guys. Linda, honey, just listen. I know I’m a geek for loving on Star Wars, but I don’t CARE anymore. At first I tried to play it off: no, I’ve had this Death Star blueprint shirt for a while, just never wore it. Yeah, I figured I’d get a Kylo Ren blanket cause the cats really like that soft smushy material and it was on sale.

Rey practicing the snow fight? Adam Driver interviews? A BB-8 puppet in action?? KYLO REN ON THE FALCON, YOU GUYS?! I have no more chill.

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See what I did there?

I can no longer hide it. When they announced the home video release date of the Force Awakens yesterday along with the DVD trailer up there, all hope for a normal future was lost. I’ve officially blocked off my calendar from April 1-15 for an extended two-week geek out while I watch all the deleted scenes, making-of documentaries, and memorize every single scene. I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to binge-watch Star Wars til my eyes bleed and I think I like it.

Coloring

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They had me at “anti-stress”.

Back in college my parents would send me little care packages every few months. One time my mom decided to throw in a dollar store coloring book and a pack of crayons as a joke “for stress relief”. Well, I colored the HELL out of that thing. And I even mailed home a few pages for them to put on the fridge, because I evidently never emotionally matured past the age of 9.

I like to think that my mom was the firestarter of the adult coloring book trend (not to be confused with adult coloring books, ya perv). They’re billed as stress release, anti-tension, mind calming things, and I’m here to tell you: it’s true. All of it. (see what I did there again? GOD I’m on a roll!)

Every few nights I take out my pencils and one of my coloring books (yes I have 3), pick a page and get lost. Bonus: I’ve been trying to get better about how much time I spend on my phone in the evenings, and this is a major aid there. Plus my hands are too busy coloring to snack too! Extra bonus!

I’ll color you a page and post it here for you to hang on your fridge if you want. You know. For decoration.

That’s about it for my Friday Favorites – I’ve had a good 24 oz. of water while typing and the caffeine is starting to wear off. So now it’s your turn: Have you ever gotten emotionally involved with a TV show? What do you secretly geek out over (and if it’s Star Wars, can we be best friends)? Want to color with me?? Bring your own pencils and we’ve got a date.

Make Stuff Happen

I’ll write a full post about last night’s 2nd acupuncture appointment this weekend, but long story short: it was another home run. We started treatment on my knees and while the affects aren’t as immediately as apparent there, he did continue to work on my anxiety and over-eating pressure points, and those two areas of my life still feel like they’re in perfect harmony for the first time in more than a year. It’s a great feeling and I’m looking forward to keeping it up throughout this winter, especially now that we’re about to be hit with a snowstorm that will keep me in my house (where the junk food is) for the next 48+ hours.

After my appointment I went to bed at my normal time and slept so soundly that I didn’t open my eyes again until they popped open at 5:45 all on their own. It was like a switch was flipped and I went from “OFF” to “ON” and I was ready for anything. So I decided that instead of rolling over and fighting to get back to sleep for one more measly hour, I’d go to the gym for one last run before the snow keeps me in the house for the next 48-72 hours.

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Evidently only about 6 other people had the same idea. Nutjobs.

I wasn’t going out for any records with these miles – while not technically junk miles, they were more of a test to see how my knees would fare after their first acupuncture treatment. My doc had warned me that they might still be tender but harmless, so I wanted to see for myself what that meant.

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The earlier the workout, the louder my tights get.

As it turns out, I barely felt a difference at all – at least I experienced no NEGATIVE side effects. I hopped right on my favorite corner treadmill, turned on my tunes (the same random rockin’ playlist from the Joe K 10K) and after only about 3 minutes of warming up, I broke into a smooth 11:32/mile pace and stayed there for 2 solid miles. Not bad!

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The extra time was that silly warm up – I need to remember to stop and re-start to get accurate times on the treadmill!

I could have kept going. I even had about another 10-15 minutes, enough for another mile, but I just couldn’t help myself – the sunrise was too inviting, and I decided to do something different and shake up my routine.

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Could you stare at that and not want to go out and breathe it in??

I hopped in my car, pulled out of the gym and into the park’s parking lot (they’re right next to each other) and drove right to the edge. I parked, walked out to the beach, and just breathed in the frozen air while the sun rose before me.

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It was super cold – about 18 degrees – but I couldn’t help myself. I stood there like a fool for those full extra 10 minutes, smiling the whole time. It felt so good.

It hit me then that I never would have seen this – never would have felt this peace, gotten this fresh air – if I hadn’t gotten up out of bed and moved. I was so tempted to roll back over and sleep another hour. But that’s not what this whole thing is about, is it?

Too often we complain about not having time to make stuff happen. We’re “too” everything. Too tired, too busy… But after riding an emotional roller coaster for the past few months, I’ve realized that the only way to make shit happen is to make it happen YOURSELF.

No one is going to walk up to you with a free hour and tell you to do whatever you want. You need to make the time. Sure, you’re not going to feel like climbing out of bed an hour early. But once in a while, if you push yourself to do something that’s not on the schedule or that takes you off your usual course – even for 10 minutes – you just might surprise yourself.

My Favorite Interval Training Workout

Now that I’m feeling confident in my running, I’ve starting incorporating more strength training into my weekly plans to improve my overall fitness. I’ve mentioned these strength workouts a few times here, and since some of you have expressed interest in them, today I’m going to share my favorite HIIT workout with you!

This is a combination of a workout I found in a magazine and a “tune up” workout a fitness instructor friend of mine created. It’s a quick, 6 set routine that I need virtually no equipment for – just a chair and a pair of dumbbells of my choice. It can be done almost anywhere and hits almost every area of the body (arms, back, legs & abs) and depending on what level I want to tackle, I can fit this into just 20 minutes!

HIIT Workout

Just Starting Out: Do each move for :30, rest for :30 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 twice.

Feeling Strong: Do each move for 45, rest for :15 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 three times.

Superman Strength: Do each move for :60, rest for :10 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 a total of 4 – 5 times

Set 1: Chair Squats & Decline Push-Ups

Chair Squats: Squat as close to the chair as possible without sitting, then return to standing position.

Decline Push-Ups: Get into plank position with feet up on the seat of the chair, then perform a pushup.

Set 2: Bent Chest Flies, Chair Step Ups (one set = both legs)

Bent Chest Flies: Sit on chair and bend over at waist with a dumbbell in each hand (I use 7.5 lbs). Without moving the torso, engage the core and lift arms straight out to the side and back down.

Chair Step Ups: Using one leg, step up on seat of chair and stand, then step back down and return both feet to floor. Repeat with other leg.

Set 3: Triceps Dips, Split (Bulgarian) Lunge (one set = both legs)

Triceps dips: Sit on the chair and hold the seat, then slide off while still holding the seat and dip up and down off the chair, focusing on the muscles at the back of the arms.

Split Lunge: Stand facing away from the chair and rest the top of one foot on the seat. Lunge, and repeat.

Set 4:  Seated Leg Lifts, Hip Bridge

Seated Leg Lifts: Sit on chair and hold onto the sides of the seat. Lift legs up in a crunch position and lean back, then alternate between tucking legs up to chest and straightening them.

Hip Bridge: Lay down on the ground with knees bent and feet on floor. Lift hips up slowly, hold for a few seconds, and release.

Set 5: Incline Push-Up, Calf Raises

Incline Push-Up: Face the chair and grab the seat with both hands, extend legs and lower hips for a straight back, then perform a pushup.

Calf Raises: Stand on a slight ledge (or just stand), and raise onto tip-toes, then back down.

Set 6: Straight Arm Planks, Burpees

Straight Arm Planks: Get in the same position as the decline pushups in the first set, but hold in a plank for the time allotted.

Burpees: Chances are you know how to do a burpee. But if you don’t, just watch this – and accept my hearty apology for introducing you to this move from hell.

For a super full body workout, you can also add a 15 Minute Cardio Boost after this workout too:

  • Warm up 3 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Cool Down 3 Minutes

I’ll admit that doing both workouts one after the other will be tough at first, but it’s ultra fat burning and when I was doing this 3x a week I saw big results!

Keep in mind that I’m in no way a professional. I’m not a registered personal trainer or physical therapist, and I take no responsibility for pulled muscles, injuries or sprained anythings. Keep in mind: this is just a workout that I like to do, and I’m sharing it for entertainment purposes only. Always check with your doctor before beginning a new fitness or nutrition program. I just really enjoy this workout and wanted to share it with you guys!

Let me know how you enjoy it – now I’m off to go do this myself! 🙂

Friday Favorites: Spring Edition

It’s Friday, and I’ve got some new favorite things to gush about, so you know what that means: it’s time for some Friday Favorites! This week’s theme is all about the joys I’ve experienced so far this spring (all 7 days of it):

1. House of Cards

house-of-cardsOK people. I know I’ve talked about this show before, when I discovered it on a long treadmill run and got hooked from the first minute. But the initial love has turned into a full-blown obsession, and I find myself talking about these people to anyone who will listen. I’m trying our Zoe Barnes’ hairstyles. I’m approaching work annoyances with a “What Would Claire Do?” mentality. When Peter Russo’s watershed bill failed, I caught myself shaking my head in heartbreak for him THE DAY AFTER I WATCHED THE EPISODE. Guys. Help. Anyone else with me on the Underwood bandwagon?

2. The Starbucks Birthday Cake Frappuccino

11055928_658446210933827_620156968_nMy friend at work sent me a link via Skype yesterday, and all it said was “Soooo tomorrow?” Seeing as today is my 2 year anniversary at my job, I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate both Starbucks’ birthday and my work-a-versary with a Birthday Cake Frappuccino!

It’s evidently their vanilla and hazelnut flavors all swirled up, topped with raspberry-infused whipped cream, and damned if it doesn’t taste surprisingly cake-like! It was a little sweeter than I’m used to though (says the girl who can eat frosting right from the can), so I’m suffering a bit in the aftermath. I crashed pretty hard after I finished it and crave super healthy clean stuff now, like hardboiled eggs or edamame, but all in all I think it was worth it 😉

3. Today’s necklace:

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This is the Flamenco by Lia Sophia. A while ago I bought this pretty lady along with a handful of other baubles when I heard that Lia Sophia was going out of business. I’m a sucker for shiny things and had to have it, even if I wasn’t sure what to wear it with.

Fast forward to this week, when I made a promise to myself to try one new article of clothing or fashion accessory every day. Nude pointy-toed pumps, a scarf with pineapples printed on it, an old repurposed t-shirt.. things were going great! Then I spied a fancy necklace on a coworker yesterday, and inspiration struck. She had the right idea by pairing it with a simple slouchy tee – and that’s how Flamenco worked her way into my wardrobe!

How’s your Friday going? Do you want to share your own obsessions with me? Tell me – I’m always looking for new things to love on! Happy Friday, everyone!