Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week 21 Bumpdate and Gender Reveal!

This week has been interesting and exciting all in the same. There were moments of high ups and moments of lows. I've generally been feeling like myself aside from a nasty headache that I seem to be getting every 3-4 weeks that sticks around for a few days and forces me to drink a diet coke. It's truly the only thing that relieves it, as I won't take Tylenol. I think it's an aspartame withdrawal symptom, as I only drink a diet coke once every 3 or so weeks now when these headaches pop up.

We went to our 20 week appointment on Wednesday and got confirmation that Baby C is definitely a girl! We're so excited and can't wait to meet her at the end of November/beginning of December!
Baby is now the size of: A pomegranate or a baby bok choy. Why does it seem like a baby bok choy is smaller than the banana baby was supposedly last week? I'm going with pomegranate.

Total weight gain: +15 pounds. I'm going to tell you something. I'm going with my weight on my scale here, because I started measuring myself as soon as I found out I was pregnant. The doctor's office weighs me in clothes, and they started my number by saying "what did you weigh before you got pregnant?" and being the female species that I am I rounded down two pounds. I'm an idiot. So, my doctor says +18 and I say +15. But in reality I think I know best on this issue because essentially the doctor is just going on what I made up as my starting number. Thanks for letting me justify...

Maternity clothes / preferred attire: I think I popped a bit more this week. The maxi skirts are starting to get a little uncomfortable and I'm finding that non-maternity shirts are just starting to get a little too short to be cute. I need to invest in a few more maternity pieces for when school starts back and I have to look more professional.
Sleep: Sleep has generally been better except the night of the headaches. That makes it hard to sleep through and I woke up a couple times that night and sat up because it felt better than laying down. I am still waking up at whatever time I get up to go to the bathroom for the last time, which tends to be in the 5:30-5:30 range.
Cravings and favorite foods: I eat a lot of berries and fruit and peanut butter.
Food aversions: Nothing really. I'm having a harder time with water, but I'm forcing it down.

Exercise: Hey, I rode my trainer once for 30 minutes after the doctor on Wednesday! I didn't wear bike shorts because I was like, hey it's only 30 minutes. And my body for three days after was like, "you haven't been on your bike in months and you weigh more now than you did then. Bad call."
Mood: I've been in a pretty good mood this week. I've been getting anxious about going back to school and all the stuff I have to do to prepare for it. That compounds with all of the stuff we have to do to get ready for baby. It's a lot at once.
Symptoms: Baby is kicking very regularly now. I feel the movement mostly when I'm sitting down on the couch, and I hardly feel it when I'm up and moving. And headaches. Ugh. That's another symptom I've been feeling this week that has been awful.
Movement: Yup! Regularly and I love it. Tim still isn't certain that he's feeling it, and even though I think I can feel it from the outside maybe I just think I can because I feel it so strongly on the inside.
Missing: This week, sushi...I want to eat my weight in fresh salmon sashimi...
Best moments this week: There were two best moments this week. First, We got to see our baby again for the 20 week anatomy scan and find out that she's right on track for growth. She weighed in at around a pound and was in the 53rd percentile for size. Grow baby grow! The second best moment is actually happening as I write this; we're painting baby girl's nursery! It's going to be a light purple color. The nursery colors will be purple, grey, and white. 
Interesting Pregnancy Moments: I feel bigger; I am bigger but I also feel it more. I know I'm going to continue to grow and get even bigger, which is very interesting to me. 
Worst moments this week: I did not like the doctor we saw at the practice this week. We have to rotate to new doctors each visit (and I'm not sure why because I have to have a c-section scheduled because of the myomectomy from 2012), and there was a new one to the practice that we were scheduled to meet. He had started on Monday and we went on Wednesday. He was so loud and over the top and he just didn't have good bedside manner. I wanted him to check my thyroid levels (I have hypothyroidism) and he said I really didn't need to, but it's something that my primary care physician suggested I do monthly. I felt as though he sort of shamed me about the working out thing, and I just overall got a bad taste in my mouth from him. I'll be requesting not to see him again and I will ensure that he isn't the one scheduled for my c-section. I may even buy him a plane ticket to a far off land during the time I'm scheduled so that he isn't even the backup doctor. 
Buying: I am so so excited about this one. I bought three things this week, and it's all getting us well on our way to being prepared for the baby! The first thing I bought is the Halo Bassinest Sleeper. We're planning to keep her in our room for the first few months when she arrives, and I'd been looking for a bassinet. This one is so expensive, so it wasn't even something I was thinking was possible for us, but I was also looking through the Swap n Shop pages on facebook pretty regularly to see if anything went up. I found a hardly used on on there for $100 and I met the lady to pick it up. It's in basically like new condition, and I'll just clean it and it will be perfect. I'm so happy with it.
We also bought the crib conversion kit at Babies R Us that turns the crib we're going to get into a toddler bed. I had read reviews that the conversion kit is really hard to get a hold of, but I called the company that makes it and the Babies R Us and I think we've placed our special order and should get that in 12-16 weeks. Because the crib and dresser we want are a bit expensive we knew we wanted to be able to use it as a toddler bed and wanted to ensure that we were able to get the conversion kit if we were going to definitely get that crib. 
And lastly, I bought a set of cloth diapers and have plans to make my own burp cloths following this tutorial that I found on Two Twenty One's blog. 
Dreaming About: Getting the nursery setup. It's being painted and we'll order the rest of the furniture this week. I can't wait to get going on the decorating. We still have so much to do!
Have a wonderful week, and I'm sure I'll be back before I even realize it. These weeks lately have been passing very quickly...

Monday, August 3, 2015

20 week bumpdate!

I don't know if people still read my blog since I went pretty silent post-Ironman Chattanooga (cue gratuitous post reminding myself that I really was athletic this one time). I'm doing these weekly bumpdates for myself but also because I really did and do enjoy reading them from other bloggers. I like knowing what's normal (even though I'm learning that abnormal is pretty much the normal). 
(I now realize this shirt didn't fit the bump...oops...)

Baby is now the size of: A Belgian endive or a banana. An endive is so fancy, so the banana gives me a better sense of how big baby really is. Apparently this week they start measuring head to toe instead of crown to rump. Good to know. 

Total weight gain: +13.5. I guess I'm down a little from last week. I've been eating insanely healthy this week and I also know that I'm still right where I need to be. I know last week I was holding some water weight, and my doctor I'm sure will be happy on Wednesday with where I am. She told me at the 17 week appointment to gain half a pound per week, so I'm working on that. I should be right at that when I have my appointment on Wednesday. 

Maternity clothes / preferred attire: I'm still wearing mostly yoga pants and maxi skirts and tshirts. I was out of work this week so spent a lot of time in comfy clothes since I was just working around the house. I'm going to have to buy some stuff for when school starts back. I wear a lot of dresses and I know they'll be too short in the front to wear to school.
Sleep: Sleep has been better this week than last week, though I still pretty much get up at 6:00-6:30 even when I don't have anything to do for the day. I did sleep until 7:30 on Wednesday, so that was nice. I just end up waking up around that 6:00 time and can't go back to sleep. I'm getting 7-8 hours/night, which is pretty normal for me. 
Cravings and favorite foods: This week we ate strictly at home, which is unusual and hard for me. I love takeout or grabbing lunch somewhere! I think that's another reason I'm down a little from last week; I just didn't eat as much. I've been wanting milk like crazy the last week. I probably drink 2-3 glasses per day. 
Food aversions: Nothing
Exercise: Though I guess it doesn't really count, I've been doing a whole lot of cleaning the house and organizing and it has kept me really active and busy around the house. I've actually really enjoyed it a lot, and it has been nice to know that we're getting rid of junk and will actually have room to put baby's stuff.
Mood: I've been really emotion again this week as far as crying is concerned. I cry at commercials, things I read, things people say that are sweet, and really just about anything...other than that this has been a great week! I can't believe we're at halfway!
Symptoms: Movement!!!
Movement: Since last week when I thought I felt the baby move, I can definitely now confirm and say that I have definitely felt the baby move quite a bit. Baby is very active in the morning and at night, and then there are little spurts during the day where I feel a couple of kicks or punches. I can tell that there has been growth because I'm feeling the kicks all over. 
Missing: Caffeine. I drink a cup of Keurig coffee per day and limit myself to under 200 mg/day, but I was a serial Starbucks drinker and had a Venti almost every day before getting pregnant. I miss that...
Best moments this week: Feeling movement and knowing for sure it was movement! Hands down. It has been great to feel kicks. 
Interesting Pregnancy Moments: Though I feel like my emotions are a bit more settled, crying uncontrollably over commercials has been sort of funny. I'm also starting to get a little shortness of breath when I lay back on the couch. That shortness of breath is odd. I have to turn and lay on my side to regain my breath. 
Worst moments this week: Not much. I'm actually feeling pretty good this week!
Buying: Nothing so far. We're getting close to having decided on our nursery furniture. We're getting a crib and dresser from Babies R Us and hope we have success. We've heard a few horror stories of registries and products from Babies R Us. 
Dreaming About: Still dreaming about our big 20 week appointment in two days. I'll share the gender and nursery ideas after that!
Have you had a bad experience with Babies R Us registries or furniture?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

18 and 19 week bumpdate

We went home to visit my family in Chattanooga last week, so I didn't get a chance to do an 18 week bumpdate. We had a great time with them and the dogs were so sweet and seemed to know something was going on. My sickness has been calming down aside from a random rejection of breakfast last Friday morning. That was odd. For the most part I'm feeling better though and I've even come off the Dicelgis completely. I'm happy about that.
Baby is now the size of: a tomato or a zucchini. One app says zucchini and then the sticker set I got says tomato. Either way, it's a marginal vegetable! I remember when baby was the size of a poppy seed or grain of rice only a few months ago. How quickly he/she is growing!

Total weight gain: +14/15. It depends on the day and how much water I've had to drink, but again I'm happy with my weight. If I end up going a bit over the +25 suggested gain I'll be okay with that. I know that I am doing my best 80% of the time to eat clean and count calories and manage what I'm doing. 

Maternity clothes / preferred attire: Ugh. As I've noticed the belly has gotten a little bigger and a little more round I'm also finding that even my maxi skirts are getting a bit less comfortable. The dresses are fine, but the skirts are a bit tight. I bought a maternity v-neck shirt at Target, and as you can see in the photos above and my random choice to wear it for the photos to weeks in a row, I love it. I'll need to get a few more. It's more defining in the "I'm having a baby" way, whereas the other tshirts don't hug the bottom so it's still questionable if I'm just putting on some extra weight. I think that question is soon not going to be at all a question anymore.
Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty well this week and have only been getting up once or twice for the bathroom. I don't think I'm drinking enough water, though. I need to up that. Last week I slept awfully. I woke up all the time and saw the clock every hour every night. It was awful. I'm glad that period went away, though I'm still waking up for good around the second time I wake up for the bathroom. It gives me time to get stuff done, though!
Cravings and favorite foods: I've been wanting a lot of soups, fruit, and salads this week. Yesterday the black bean soup at Panera made my day. 
Food aversions: Nothing
Exercise: ...I always thought I'd be the one our running and pushing and working out like crazy when I got pregnant, but the heat in Florida and being pregnant is sucking the life out of me. I can't imagine being at the end of pregnancy in this heat. It's bad enough in the middle. 
Mood: I've been really emotional this week and there have been QUITE a few mood swings. I can't control my emotions at all. 
Symptoms: Emotional. Tired. Occasional round ligament pain.
Movement: I'm pretty sure I've been feeling baby move for the last 4 days. It's little flick feelings low in my stomach. I enjoy feeling it, but it's not that special feeling yet that people talk about because I'm not REALLY sure that it's baby. I have an anterior placenta that blocks a lot of the front part of my belly, so it muffles movement some. I know that is has made me excited for feeling it even more and regularly. I think Tim felt a flick last night and he was excited about that. 
Missing: Not worrying. I'm always worrying about something. Is what I'm eating okay? Did I drink enough water? Is what I'm eating healthy? Is that baby moving? Am I doing everything okay? It's tiring, but in the few instances where my mind calms down it is nice to relax. 
Best moments this week: Visiting my family was the best. I loved getting to hang out with my mom and dad and their dogs. It's always sad leaving them, and I wish they lived closer. Also, it was wonderful to start feeling what I think are movements. 
Interesting Pregnancy Moments: Excuse me while I'm unladylike for a minute. I've been so gassy, and it's awful. I was talking to a parent this week and accidentally had one of those almost silent burps but it definitely didn't pass unnoticed. I said, "I'm so sorry. I'm pregnant and all of this stuff is just happening with my body that I can't explain." They laughed, so it turned into a funny moment.
Worst moments this week: Not sleeping last week. And being moody.
Buying: We bought our diaper bag!! We got the Jujube B.F.F. bag. I'd been doing research and knew it was the one I wanted, but on Amazon Prime day it went on a major sale, and we snatched it up. I can't wait to start packing it up! I liked it, but when it came I loved it even more. In person it's not quite so bright and some of the petals are grey. It's perfect.
Dreaming About: We have our big 20 week appointment next Wednesday where they do the anatomy scan. We'll also see gender one more time (just to confirm), and then I'll share! I'm so excited to tell you!
And one more week to go until week 20 and the official "halfway point"!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

17 week {bumpdate}!

As of Friday, I'm 17 weeks along! Just like everything else, time seems to pass slowly in the moment but quickly in looking back. Last week as a pretty good week, and it seemed like maybe the last time I was really going to get some good sleep {unless, hopefully, these last two days have been flukes, but I'll let you know next week}. 
Baby is now the size of: a pomegranate. Pomegranates seem large to me, so jumping from an avocado to a pomegranate seems like a big jump in one week. Baby is either growing quickly or I'm picturing a pomegranate as much larger than they are.

Total weight gain: +12. I'm still doing my best to eat well 80% of the time, but this week I got a couple of cravings for less than healthy things that I fell to. 
Maternity clothes / preferred attire: All maxi dresses, maxi skirts, and the one pair of maternity drawstring Old Navy pants I bought a while ago. I'm going to invest in a couple of pieces this month. 
Sleep: Like I mentioned above, it was okay last week. Still up for the bathroom 2-3 times per night. I have the snoogle and sleep on my left side. I sometimes have to flip to the right side, but for the most part I'm on my left. 
Cravings and favorite foods: I wanted cookies 3 times last week and let myself have a couple. I also had three coke slurpees. I've been trying not to overdo it on the sugar, but that frozen drink tastes so so good when it's so hot out!
Food aversions: No food aversions this week...
Exercise: I walked once...I should do it some more this week! 
Mood: I've been feeling more like myself this week, but I still go through mood swings. I think that's inevitable. I cry at sweet commercials and get annoyed easily, but I'm really feeling better.
Symptoms: I still feel stretching in my stomach sometimes, but not always. I'm getting hotter and having to turn the air down more.
Movement: I still don't think I've felt any movement. 
Missing: This week I miss being able to take medicine when I don't feel good. I have been vigilant about taking prenatals in addition to my thyroid medicine and the anti-nausea meds, but I've pretty much decided against taking anything else. I'm an Advil lover, so not being able to take that all the time has been a pain. 
Best moments this week: We went to Lowe's to get some storage containers for stuff from the extra room we're turning into the nursery, and we stopped at the paint colors. I was thinking we'd go with a neutral color, but I was excited when Tim picked a color that was more tied to the gender. It got me excited pinning nursery decor ideas. 
Interesting Pregnancy Moments: I didn't really have any pregnancy moments this week that I felt were particularly related to being pregnant. Just being hot all the time...
Worst moments this week: There also haven't been any "worst" moments.
Buying: We didn't buy anything this week, but I've been pinning stuff to buy and register for!
Dreaming About: This isn't something I'm "dreaming about" in the sense of looking forward to, but I've been having insane dreams. There are all sorts of bizarre things, and they're all related to me not doing something I'm supposed to or not being somewhere at the right time. I know that pregnancy causes crazy dreams, and I've certainly had them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

{Getting through} the first trimester nausea...

I'm feeling pretty good most of the time these days, and I'm grateful to be able to say that. I don't have the food aversions that I did, and I actually was able to go on a 30 minute walk on the treadmill today and feel pretty good! I know that my round ligament was tight the whole time, as I could feel it. It was weird to have a random twinge not in my foot or leg or running related area but instead in the side of my stomach. But anywho, today I'm here to tell you about how I got through the first trimester.

I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of April. We were really excited, and the first few weeks we kept it a secret from everyone. It wasn't hard to; I felt great! I even started wondering when I was going to start feeling bad. By week 5 of being pregnant, I even started wanting to feel a little badly, because I had read that was a good sign. And then, sometime during week 6 that wish was granted. And it was granted to the extreme! As soon as I started feeling nauseous I felt really nauseous. And this "morning sickness" thing was cute, but I decided it needed to be called "all day sickness". It didn't go away at any point. There would be an hour or two on occasion that I would feel a little better, but it wouldn't last. The only thing that made me feel better was eating. So, I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. 

The foods that I could stomach were not what I would consider healthy foods. I could think about a salad or eggs or vegetables. I ate bagels and chips and crackers. I could handle soups and sandwiches, but it was things that were light and things that had carbs that aided. One morning it was a chicken biscuit and hashbrowns from chick-fil-a that made my life. One car ride when we went to visit Tim's family on the other side of the state, I just ate through an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, because that was the only thing that kept me from just falling into a ball of tears from feeling so bad. I vomited on occasion, and sometimes I made myself because it made me feel better, but for the most part it was just the overwhelming sense of nausea all the time that was so awful. 

I wish I could say I drank a lot of water or ate smart, but I didn't. I also couldn't workout. I came home from work for all of April and May and couldn't do anything but hang out on the couch. Even dinners were often a choice of soup or takeout. I found out in early June that my hypothyroidism had gotten worse and I needed to increase my medicine, so I think that was part of the reason I felt so drained. 

When I went to the "8 week appointment" I was almost at 9 weeks, and that's when they gave me Diclegis to take the edge off. It did take the edge off, and I felt mostly better most of the time. Now that I'm moving well along into my second trimester I can say that I definitely feel a huge difference between then and now. I have more energy and just feel generally better overall. I started eating salads and tracking my food 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I stopped with the bagels and carbs all the time, as the food aversions were gone.
Here I am at 10 weeks 6 days; I had a teensy bump. This was at night, when I'd obviously had more to eat, so that may have been a little part of it.

Here's what I tried and how it worked to get me through the first trimester:
From left to right:

Sea Bands: Some people swore by these. They're these bracelets you put on with pressure points on your wrist that are supposed to help. They helped me absolutely none. I stopped wearing them after three days because they looked ridiculous and did nothing.

Gin-Gins: These ginger candies are very strongly flavored, and they helped me a touch more than the Sea Bands, but the taste was so bad they they revolted me a little more than they helped, so I ate two and didn't eat them again. 

Ginger Ale: I won't link to this. You know what it is. This helped more than Gin-Gins. I drank a lot of this in the first weeks and it soothed me a little. I think it was a combination of the ginger and the bubbles settling my stomach.

Salt & Vinegar Chips: The sourness did more than anything else. Pickles helped also. 

Diclegis: This is the biggest thing that helped. You take two at night before you go to bed and it's a time release pill that is basically a mix of B12 and the active ingredient in Unisom. It helped 75% of the time during the second trimester. It's sometimes hard to get covered by insurances, but my doctor gave me a sample that has lasted me up until this point. 

If you're pretty sick, I'd highly recommend the diclegis. It worked wonders.

Were you sick during your pregnancy? What worked for you? Did you take anything?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

16 Weeks!

As of today, we're 16 weeks along! It's crazy to think 16 weeks have passed, but at the same time it hasn't all been easy and carefree like I somehow imagined pregnancy would be. I'll share next week a little back story, but for today I thought I'd do one of the standard pregnancy updated that I have been enjoying reading and looking back on in the first weeks of my pregnancy.
Baby is now the size of: an Avocado. It would only make sense that I'd do my first post when the baby is the size of one of my favorite foods. 
Total weight gain: +10.5 pounds. I was up A LOT more than I was comfortable with in the first 12 weeks, so I've been REALLY careful about what I eat for the last 4 weeks. I track everything and eat a TON of fruits. I eat an occasional treat, but I really limit my desserts, sweets, and fried foods. The first trimester was awful for food aversions and nausea, and the only thing I could eat was bagels, chips, soups, potatoes, etc. I had to keep eating to not feel nauseous, and I put on weight faster than I wanted. I've since cut the chips and bagels, etc. 
Maternity clothes / preferred attire: I bought some maternity pants, but I've mostly been wearing plain v-neck T-shirts and maxi skirts or maxi dresses. I haven't really been wearing the maternity stuff yet.
Sleep: Pretty good, but I get up to pee a lot! I'm up 2-3 times per night, I think. 
Cravings and favorite foods: I don't really crave foods too much. I've been eating a lot of berries and watermelon. I eat a lot of salads. 
Food aversions: Luckily those have gone away for the most part; I'll have one occasionally when I don't feel great. I had food aversions so badly the first 12-13 weeks and wanted almost no protein. I couldn't stand the smell or thought of eggs.
Exercise: I didn't exercise at all in the first trimester, which is so unlike me. I would come home from work dead and between feeling like I had been hit by a bus and being sick, going out for even a walk in the 85+ degree heat didn't sound appealing. I went to England at Week 12 and did a lot of walking for the week, and since then have been meaning to start working out again. I just got out of the habit. As we've started cleaning the house out I ran across my swimsuits, and I'm thinking I'll start trying to swim or walk this week. There's no excuse not to. 
Mood: I'm up and down. I cried through the first ten minutes of a dolphin show at the Atlanta Aquarium 2 weeks ago, and then I didn't cry at the wedding we were in town for (I always cry during weddings). Sometimes I feel great, and sometimes I feel like I want to throw anything I can get my hands on against the wall. I can't explain it, and sometimes I forget that it's probably hormones. 
Symptoms: I get an occasional stretch feeling in my abdomen, and I'm starting to think it's the round ligaments, but I'm not sure. I have fibroids (something I'll talk about another time) that are causing me to measure ahead of where I am, and I think that's playing into the round ligaments.
Movement: I haven't felt any movement I don't think. There was one time this week I stopped and thought I felt something, but then I didn't feel it again so I decided it was something else. There are so many random feelings I have in my belly that relate to other things (*cough* gas *cough*) that I don't know when I'll for sure know it's the baby.
Missing: Sushi. Venti Coffees from Starbucks. Not worrying about everything I'm eating and if it's "okay". Sleeping through the night. Feeling like myself. Even when I feel pretty good I'm only at 85% I'd say.
Best moments this week: We found out the gender last Saturday! It was really exciting and we went to one of those elective places. Now we're starting to get the house ready. Tim is cleaning out his office/man room that will become the nursery, but we're still weeks from having a blank slake. Having my mom come last weekend and help us clean and purge was amazingly helpful. We collected bags and bags of trash and giveaway, and I'm amazed how much junk two people can collect.
Interesting Pregnancy Moments: I started reading up on what we need to register for and buy for the baby, and it was a bit overwhelming at first. It's so different than registering for a wedding registry. You pretty much know you need plates and some sheets and a few baking supplies, but with a baby you have to start reading up on what stroller goes with what carseat and whether you want a one size fits all wrap or a wrap that comes in sizes. I spent a LONG time yesterday reading baby site after baby site for opinions and reviews, and I've come to some decisions. I will talk to my friends who have kids now and make sure I'm on the right track, but I'd also love feedback as I share our thoughts. 
Worst moments this week: I've been taking Diclegis because I was so sick and vomity in the first trimester. I keep testing and not taking it one night, but then I'm nauseous and pretty sick by the next evening. The doctor said the medicine is incredibly safe and completely approved for pregnancy, but I still am hesitant about it all. I also had the worst headache that I've had in years last weekend. I did everything and it wouldn't go away for over 24 hours. Once it finally faded I felt like a new person!
Buying: Once we found out the gender I ordered a couple of outfits from Target, but we're currently saving and waiting to buy the nursery furniture once Tim's room is cleaned out and we have somewhere to put the stuff.
Dreaming About: Our next sonogram in August. I look so forward to seeing the baby move and knowing everything is going well in there.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My {Our} Next Big Adventure!

So, I'm ready to share what's up next for me {and Tim}. It has been a while since I've posted about running and triathlon, and it's for good reason. We're going to have a baby! It has already changed things a lot, and I'll share more over the coming months. I must admit, it's likely to become very pregnancy-centric around here, but I want to document the journey to be able to look back on! 
I'll share some more details soon, but in the mean time, could you please tell me some Pinterest boards that you know of that are good for being pregnant and new moms? I haven't been pinning a lot in this category, and I know I need some good stuff to look through to learn about this new path.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Challenge Team Summit and race planning

Last weekend I went to Jacksonville for the Challenge Team Triathlon Summit. I didn't get to go last year because of when it fell on the calendar and a work commitment the week after. I didn't know what it would be like this year, but I was looking forward to it with a little nervousness. Because I had met a lot of people and talk to them throughout the year I was excited to see them, but anytime I go to a big social gathering with people who I don't know all that well I get a little nervous. Maybe that's a little strange, but oh well!

I got there on Friday night and headed straight to Maggiano's, where the team dinner was, and sat down at a table with a whole bunch of people I hadn't met before. And instantly, all the nervousness melted away! I had a great conversation with some teammates from Minnesota, Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts, etc. Already I knew it was going to be a fun weekend.

The goal of Summit is for everyone to get to know each other and also to tell us all about the season and what the races are going to be like! After hanging out and talking for a little bit back at the hotel, it was an early bed time! We volunteered at Best Damn Race Jacksonville starting at 6:45 on Saturday morning. We had to get up at 5:15 to hit the road. 
I ended up at an aid station that fell about a mile before the end of the race, so we got to see the 5k, 10k, and half marathoners run by. It was so cold, but it was a lot of fun yelling for the runners and having fun with teammates. There's nothing like boding over frozen hands while pouring water and cheering. I enjoyed volunteering and seeing a race from the other side. Though I've gone to races to cheer before, I've never volunteered. I definitely will smile and thank volunteers more as I'm running; it made a difference in our spirit at the aid station. 

After our aid station was done we had a quick lunch and then went back to the hotel to learn for the afternoon. There was a lot to talk about, but it was good to understand the Rev3/Challenge merger and what the goals for this racing season are. The Challenge races are going to keep the quality of the Rev3 races, and they're going to do a great job combining the "big race" feel with the family friendly atmosphere that Rev3 has always been known for. I was glad to learn that the spirit of the races will remain, though we're racing under a new name and company.

I also picked up some swag from our sponsors for the year. I'm looking forward to another year being fueled by PowerBar and not stinking like chlorine because of SBR.

After we were a done a few of us went to dinner and hung out. I had fun talking to Sarah and Nicole, whom I had talked to a little bit at Rev3 Williamsburg and Rev3 Florida last year. I look forward to seeing them as some races this year. The best part of being on the team is knowing that I'll always know people at the races I go to. Saturday night was a lot of fun, but I still got up and got in a run on Sunday morning!

I had been back in the groove with Camp Gladiator and a little but of running, but when one of the girls that I shared a room with woke up Sunday and wanted to go for a run, I really think that helped me get back into my normal routine even more. Sarah and I ran 6 miles in really perfect running weather, and since then I've gotten my groove back.

I left Jacksonville after some more meeting on Sunday ready to have a fun triathlon season this year. I don't have any goals meant to surpass last year, as I still am ready for a bit of fun versus focus. I can't wait to race some great Challenge races this year and have fun along the way!

It also got me thinking about what my race calendar would look like, and I think I've got some ideas penciled in. As far as Challenge races, I'm definitely going to do Challenge Florida, and I'm thinking I'll do Challenge Atlantic City and Challenge St. Andrew's as a whole trip. I'll talk more about that as I piece it together, but I have some really great ideas if they work out.

I'm also really excited for a 5k I'm running in February. I'm so so excited that Tim has signed up to run his first 5k, and I'm running it with him! I have been waiting for this to happen since I started running, and I can't wait to do it together! We're doing Best Damn Race Safety Harbor, which has free race photos, so I'll have plenty of photos to share! It's going to be so much fun!

If you're planning to race a Challenge race this year, leave me a comment and your email address and I'll email you my discount code for 10% off the registration price. I'm so excited for this season!

Have you ever volunteered at a race?
What races do you have on your schedule already?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Stitch Fix January Review

Over my break from work I did some blogging catching up and playing around on Pinterest, and I ran into a couple of posts on with Stitch Fix reviews. Between that and re-organizing my closet and seeing some areas that needed a few more pieces, I scheduled a fix in the middle of December and it was supposed to come January 7th. Much to my excitement, it came early, and with great pieces!
I wanted to share my actual items with you before I tell you why I think this fix improved for me over ones I had gotten before. Though my fix card said this was my fifth fix, I can't for the life of me remember more than two I have gotten before. 

What is Stitch Fix?

It's a styling service! You pay $20 to have a box of 5 items shipped to you. The items are selected based on a style profile you fill out, notes you give your stylist, and a Pinterest board of your style (if you want to leave that link). You can pick what items you don't want to receive (I pick no jewelry or outerwear) and also what price ranges you're comfortable with (there are less expensive and more expensive options, based on your clothing budget).

When the box arrives, you try the items on and decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back. For whatever you keep, the $20 styling fee is applied to your total, and then you pay for the rest in online checkout. If you keep it all, you get 25% off the total cost of the box. If you keep nothing, you do lose that $20 styling fee.

What did I get?

In my notes to my stylist I mentioned that I wanted something bright and was hoping for a long sleeve shirt of some kind. I didn't want any accessories or outerwear (because, hello, it's 75* in Florida right now). I explained what I didn't want, and then I left it up to her. And she did great!

Item 1: Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress, Small, $68
I had pinned this dress to my style board, and when I saw that it was coming, I was super excited and just knew that it would be a keeper. I put it on and suddenly wasn't nearly as sure. The scarf I put on to accessorize; the dress is more of a boat neck of sorts. 
The fit and flare is generally something that I like, but the thick material of this dress flared out a little more than I was expecting. I think because I have curvy hips it made the material go straight out instead of falling down to the side like it should have. I don't hate it at all; I just questioned it a little.
At first I was going to think about it a little, but after uploading these pictures I just decided no. I am only going to keep items if I'm sure about them and feel great in them. I don't want something else hanging in my closet that I like the idea of but don't feel good in it when I put it on.

Verdict: RETURNED!

Items 2 & 3: Loveappella Oliver Faux Leather Trim Striped Top, Small, $58
Liverpool Rizzo Pull-On Skinny Ponte Pants, Medium, $98
When I saw this shirt coming, I hated it immediately. I didn't like the wide stripes and I knew it wouldn't look good. I don't like 3/4 sleeves, so, yeah. The pants I had seen some positive reviews of, so I was hoping to like them as I like skinny or straight legged pants.
But then, I put the pants and the top on together, and I liked them both. I immediately loved the thick material of the pants that would be great for work or wearing out when I pulled them out of the box. I can wear them with heels, tuck them into boots, or wear them with flats. I mentioned in my style profile that I'm curvy on the bottom compared to the top, so I was happy that she picked pants that fit me so well. 

It was the top that surprised me the most! I don't know how to explain the material, as it isn't cotton. The trim is a faux leather detail, and I think it can be dressed up if I put a blazer over it or worn comfortably to a lunch with friends. It just fit me well, and I really like clothes that fit me well.

Verdict: KEPT BOTH!

Skies are Blue Devon Lace Back Blouse, Small, $48
This shirt has a really cut lace detail in the back, and I really liked the blue color when I took it out of the box. I was hoping to really love it when I put it on, because it was a good price for the material and unique detail. 
Unfortunately it was a big no once I put it on. It was a bit short, and I hate short shirts. It ended up looking a little boxy on me, and the collar detail was sort of sailor-ish. I tried to take a photo of the back detail, but after a few failed attempts and photos of my hair, just take my word that though the back is cute, it doesn't make up for the front.

Verdict: RETURNED!

Honey Punch Layla Striped Elbow Patch Detail Cardigan, Small, $48
This is the one that I struggled with the most. I put it on without being in front of a mirror and instantly didn't like it. SO. MUCH. FABRIC! When I asked Tim to take photos, he said it was fine and didn't hate it as much as I thought I did. Even in the mirror I thought I didn't like it.
The elbow-patch detail is cute, but it didn't make up for all the fabric for me. I just felt wide. But then when I saw this next picture I thought it was kind of cute from the front if you stand the right way. I thought maybe I should keep it just for casual outings or to add a cute detail to a simple outfit. 
 Ultimately, though, I went back to the thought that I had no reason to buy something that I sometimes thought was cute. I decided to just quickly checkout on the Stitch Fix Website and pick the pants and striped top and hurry on with it so that I didn't change my mind.

Verdict: RETURNED!

All my items are packed in the pre-paid shipping envelope that is sent with the box of clothes, and I'll drop it in the mail tomorrow to make it's way back to the Stitch Fix HQ!

What would you have kept and sent back?

I will say I was A LOT more pleased with this fix than my last one. And I know why I was...
I read a few blog posts about how to improve your Stitch Fixes, and I followed their advice. So here's my translation of that advice and what I think worked for me!
  • Be detailed in your Stitch Fix requests: Don't leave it blank or just write a sentence or two. Tell your stylist what you're looking for and what you're not. I said things like "no jeans" "I'd like a bright colored top" "I want a long sleeve shirt". I got everything that I asked for!
  • Keep your Style Pinterest board updated: I had been pinning outfits throughout December that I saw other people wearing. I searched for Stitch Fix Reviews and pinned outfits from those that I liked. I wrote little notes like, "Stitch Fix Stylist, I like this color but not the cut," etc. I know my Stylist saw it because she included in her note to me that she had seen a pinned a lot of skinny black pants. She also mentioned that I had the same dress pinned. 
  • Update your Style Profile and add a note: Go back and check it every once in a while to see if it still applies. Your style changes over time, and so does what you wear, so keep it updated when you schedule a fix. Also, add a note there too. I noted here where I normally shop and what I look for in clothes in general. This is where I noted that I like quality clothes that fit well and look tailored. 
  • If you want something specific, ask for it: If you really need a dress for a special occasion or a wedding, explain what you're looking for. Ask for options. They don't care if you send items back, so if you want multiple dresses to try, ask. If you want all tops, note that. They listen to the notes in the fix requests.
  • Give feedback on what you keep and send back: When you checkout online, it asks for feedback on why you kept what you kept and why you didn't keep what you sent back. I was especially specific in these notes, and I look forward to seeing how that helps with the next items I get sent.
I went ahead and scheduled my next fix to come at the end of this month, and I asked for a critter print top in this one. I can't wait to see what I get sent!


Have you tried Stitch Fix? If you haven't and are interested, I'd love for you to use my referral link to sign up!

Let me know your thoughts on Stitch Fix in the comments, too. How has it gone for you in the past?

Friday, January 2, 2015

What motivates you?

Before I start, I'm looking to update my blog design but don't want to spend a fortune. I've been out of the blogging world for a while now, and it seems like all the prices I'm seeing are outrageous. Anyone have any recommendations for blog designers in the $100-$150 range? I'm looking for clean and simple. Thanks in advance! I'm working on this now!

Okay...

As I mentioned in my 2014 wrap up, I didn't really make any big goals or resolutions for 2015. That said, I of course want to stay active. Since I spent a lot of December thinking about working out and only a little time actually working out, I decided I needed to start January on the right foot. After lazing (is that a word?) around and having breakfast and coffee, I decided I couldn't just skip a workout again on the first day of the new year, so I put my running clothes on.

On days where I don't feel like running (which are sometimes more frequent than days I do), it's easier to pretend I'm just going to put on running clothes and think about it. Once the running clothes are on it's easier to get out the door because I already feel more motivated by wearing workout clothes. Just a thought...

I had heard about Serial, the podcast, and needed something to listen to, so I started that with the intention of running 4 miles. The first episode was 53 minutes long, so I thought if things got good with it I might run 5 miles. And things got good indeed. If you've heard about Serial but not started it, just listen to episode 1 and decide. It's a true story told week to week of a man who was convicted of murder and is in prison but the only thing the jury made the decision based on was another man's word; there was no evidence. A former journalist is telling the story because she did a lot of investigation into the details. I'm only on episode one so I don't know how it continues or how the story unfolds, but I'm looking forward to getting there...

I ended up running 5.25 miles at a pace I was pleased with considering my time off. I'd like to thank Serial for the motivation.

And it got me to thinking...what are some things that keep me motivated or make me workout when I don't necessarily want to? 
  • Having something that I want to listen to on a run or watch on the trainer                                                                                                                           
  • Making a commitment to a friend to be somewhere to workout with them                                                                                              
  • Wearing new workout clothes (I bought some from Fabletics yesterday and will do a review once I get them...)                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • Trying a new workout (I'm getting ready to start Camp Gladiator Bootcamp on Monday)                                                                                                                      
  • Sometimes it's just getting on the scale after a few days of eating badly (hello holidays!)     
And now I'm going through these motions all over again today...

I'm also enjoying my last weekday off before heading back to school on Monday! Happy last Friday of vacation to those of you that had extended holidays!

What motivates you when it's hard to get out the door or get your workout started?
 
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