Race-cation Must Haves

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with half marathons. Of my 12 races to date, only 5 of them have been in my own city. I love to travel to races. Not only do you get a vacation out of it, but you get to explore 13.1 miles of another city by foot! That’s a win-win in my book!

However, taking yourself out of your running element can be dangerous (don’t try anything new on race day, right?) Below are some tips and tricks I’ve learned on my 7 race-cations (2 of which were in other countries!). You better believe I’m taking my own advice next month when I head to Disney World for the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend!

1 – BRING EVERYTHING WITH YOU. Shoes (obviously), shirt, socks, shorts, etc. Take a look at the weather a couple days before the race and pack contingency outfits. That way, you’re not stuck in insert city here without your favorite running pants because you only packed shorts.

2 – This also applies to your race fuel/KT tape/etc. Sometimes expo’s don’t have your favorite flavor of chews or gels or KT Tape that is already cut. This way, you keep everything the same and don’t have to try anything new on race day, the cardinal rule of racing. If you don’t like powerade, gatorade sells powdered mix that can be packed in a carry-on.

3 – Pack your foam roller. Especially if you’re planning on exploring the city. (or hello Disney Parks!) I always feel less stiff after a good roll, and this way I can still keep up with my family or friends. Mine fits in my carry-on rollerboard suitcase, with plenty of room for the rest of the my gear.

4 – DON’T check any of your race-day essentials. We all know airlines lose bags every day. Wouldn’t it be awful if your airline lost your bag with your running shoes in it? Have everything you absolutely need with you on the plane, and any extras, backups, nice-to-haves in your checked bag.

5 – Don’t stress about it! If you forget something, don’t let it impact your race. Find a RUNNING store in the area and go talk to some experts there. They’ll have recommendations for what socks to wear if you forgot yours, or they might have some of your favorite blocks in stock. (HINT – there’s a great running store at Disney Springs that has a huge variety of socks/blocks, KT tape, etc.)

6 – ENJOY! The best part of traveling to races is that you get to see another city! It’s called a vacation for a reason!

Anything else you would add to this list??

2015 in Review

Man, WHAT. A. YEAR. It’s a little overwhelming thinking about summing up the last 365 days because in many ways, 2015 exceeded every expectation (intentionally or unintentionally!) set. Read on to see why 2015 has been the best year ever!!

On January 5th, 2015, I quit the job I once thought was my “dream job”. For a while, the unpredictability was charming and fun, and it never failed to provide a good story to tell at family get-togethers about my crazed life on the road. But toward the end of 2014, I started to crave a 9-5 desk job that offered a little more stability. And as it turns out, my new job is much more than just stable. I still get to travel, but significantly less, and to better destinations! In 2015, I went to Mexico, Ireland, and Poland. And in 2016, I’ll (hopefully) go to Scotland, France, and Malaysia (each twice!). I’ve found the elusive work-life balance… even though work still finds its way into my subconscious while I’m sleeping on occasion!

Even though I didn’t travel as much for work this year, I still got around. I went to Vegas in January, Florida in February, Mexico in April, South Africa in May, Ireland in July, Poland, England, and New Orleans in August, Florida and Nashville in September, and finally Florida in November. 11 trips, 5 countries, 63,000 airline miles. I hope 2016 is just as exciting!!

Man, I ran the shit out of 2015! I’m being pretty literal about that… Because I ran 6 half marathons. I kicked off the year with the Glass Slipper Challenge (and a killer vacation with my BFF to Hogwarts). I was super proud of my PR from the Princess Half (my favorite race ever), until two weeks later, when I beat it again during the Heart Half here in Cincinnati (also… my least favorite race ever). Next up was the Flying Pig, where I tripped and busted up my knee and then ran 8 more miles. I ran my second international half marathon in August while I just so happened to be in Dublin for work (that was a smelly one!). My TENTH half marathon was the Queen Bee in on 10/10 (would have loved to PR that one, but it’s a tough course!). And finally, my half of a half marathon was the Wine and Dine in November (still counting it). Of the 5 real half marathons I ran this year, all 5 of them were under 3 hours, and they rank 1-5 on my fastest races I’ve ran. I’m super proud of myself for growing so much as a runner this year, and can’t want to see what the next year has in store! Maybe I’ll break 2:30??!!?

2015 was the year I became a HOMEOWNER!!! After much help from my mom, I closed on my new condo in April, and moved in the very next day (and did minimal packing, which made for a long/stressful moving process). I have the most polarizing feelings about actually being a homeowner. Yes, it’s a better financial decision, but UGH, some days it feels like a money pit. I’m constantly wanting to upgrade little things around the condo and buy new end-tables and pillows and decorations, and the door needs to be replaced, and the windows are leaking and so on and so forth. Hopefully in 2016, I’ll be able to finish off my honey-do list and really feel settled in my new place!

Some of my new years resolutions from last year did not make it through the new year… I wanted to read 25 books; I only read 18. I wanted to pay off $12,000 in debt; I took on over $150,000 in new debt (granted, it’s house debt, so it’s not terrible). I wanted to stop hitting the snooze button; that DEFINITELY didn’t happen. It might be worse than last year. BUT, I did follow through with a few resolutions! I wanted to run 5 half marathons; I ran 6! I wanted to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. And even if it was a resolution from 2014, in April I donated 8 beautiful inches to a woman in need of a wig.

With my last years resolutions (failed and otherwise) in mind, I came up with a few goals for this year. I want to get back to spending 10 minutes every day cleaning something around my home. I want to make my bed every day. I want to do 6 half marathons. I want to cook a new recipe once a week. I want to pack my lunch 4 times a week or more. I want to read 26 books (ambitious, I know).

I think my #2015bestnine sums up this year pretty well… Even though I posted the picture of Olaf and I last Christmas…

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All the glory be to God, though. Through him, all this is possible. May he bless 2016 and all that it has in store. For me and for you.

Happy New Year friends!!!

-Jess

Disappearing Act

I say it over and over again – I need to be better about blogging. I promise to be better this month… next week… next year. And over and over again, I fail. I get lazy. I come up with ideas for things to write about in my head, but they never make it to the paper – so to speak. For the last year or so, blogging just hasn’t been one of my top priorities. No matter how much I would like to claim it was. I stopped reading blogs, commenting on other people’s blogs, and stopped connecting.

So last month when my domain was up for renewal – I had a bit of a choice to make. Do I want to keep up the act of being a backseat blogger – one that promises in every other post that she’s going to post more? Do I really want to commit to this? What does commitment look like? Realistically, how often can I expect to post new content? Should I give it up altogether?

No, I don’t want to give up blogging. But I don’t want months to go by between my posts. So – I’m redefining what commitment means around here. Commitment to quality content over page stats. Commitment to blogging friendships and a present worth documenting.

I miss writing, and I miss being committed to something.

So, see you next week … really this time :)

-Jess

August in Review / September Goals

August started out with good enough intentions to really get back into blogging … But then of course, I got busy and lazy, and well, here I am. I still blogged more times than I did in May or June or July, so I feel good. August was a good month, and he’s why.

I started off the month in IRELAND! My new favorite country. Mostly just because I love Guinness. I ran the Dublin Rock-n-Roll half marathon (race recap HERE).

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And then I QUICKLY jetted off to Poland (read my Poland favorites HERE). Poland was great, but I was SO ready to get out of there and head to London to visit my Uncle!! We did a mini-pub crawl around his neighborhood and stayed out until almost 3am (which is super late for Grandma Jess). I can’t wait to go back to London because my Uncle knows the coolest places to take visitors. We spent all day Saturday walking around little markets and playing yard games at a pub near his flat. I tried Pad Thai for the first time, and I must admit, it was quite tastey!

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Mother Nature and her friend Erika foiled my plans to spend the last weekend of the month in the Dominican Republic. So I booked a last minute flight and went down to New Orleans to visit my sister for her birthday! She took me to all her favorite food places and I got to lay around with her pup!

We had beignets at Morning Call –

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Happy hour at Rum House … We also had some delicious tacos that were consumed before I could snap a picture –

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Donuts at District Donuts – I had Lemon Blueberry, and Jen had cookies and cream

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And last but not least, cuddles with Hannie –

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Other August fun facts:

– Finished 1 book. BAD JESS. I have a long way to go if I want to finish 25 books this year (I’ve read 11 books, so 14 left!). EXCEPT, I’m currently working through 4 different books, so I predict September will be a big month! The book I read is called “Love Does” by Bob Goff… Honestly, probably the best book I’ve read all year. I laughed, I cried, I learned. It was the best book for my single soul.

– Visited 3 different countries (4 if you count the US) and 1 new city! It was a big travel month, so many passport stamps!

– Football season is back, and I’m the most happy.

HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER ALREADY?!?! Ever since graduating from college, this time of year always makes me a little sad. I miss buying back to school supplies and having easy classes with little homework. Basically, I miss college.

September Goals:

– BIRTHDAY MONTH! Holy shit, I turn 26 this month.

– Lose 5 pounds. Every month. Same old same old.

– Read 4 books. I have a 10-day vacation and that should be plenty of time to get caught up in my reading challenge.

– Run every day. I’ve got two half marathons coming up in the next three months, so I gotta get moving. Literally.

– Get my second bedroom put together. This might fall off until October, but I definitely want it done before the Holidays so my sister can stay with me when she comes home.

Happy September!

-Jess

Happy Birthday to Objessions!

So, we’ve already established that I’m a terrible blogger (although I have blogged 3 times this week, which pretty much classifies me as a professional).

Last year, I forgot my blogs first birthday. When I realized this, I vowed that I would do something “special” for my second birthday… Meaning I would buy a cupcake, take a picture of it, and then shove it into my mouth-hole. And maybe buy myself a new blog design on etsy.

But, I forgot my blog’s second birthday, which was last Wednesday. I blame Ireland.

Pretend that this is the cupcake that I ate that day… And when I get back to the states next week, I will go buy myself one and eat it in record time. And maybe i’ll redesign my blog again. TBD.

As a celebration, here are some bloggy statistics.

Total Views : 18,787

Total Posts : 102 – man, i missed that milestone too.

Weirdest search engine terms :  “peed in traffic”, “rearrange this s s u p o l e r n e i f d”, and finally “big piss flaps on small teens 2min vids” – mildly disturbing.

Most popular post : Crockpot Mac and Cheese (thanks, Pinterest!)

Thanks for following along! Here’s to more years of intermittent blogging!

-Jess

July in Review / August Goals

Looking back, July didn’t seem all that busy … But I feel like I was constantly on the move! With the all-star game in town and various other activities with my friends, I feel like every day had some sort of activity planned. One thing I sucked with this month was taking pictures! Looking through my camera roll on my phone, I think there are less than 20 from the whole month … Shame on me.

The month started with a really low-key fourth of July weekend. I spent the day at the pool with my mom, then we did what all Americans should do on Independence Day … We went out for Mexican food. ;)

I did the color run with two of my three sisters and we had a lot of fun! We might have overdid it a bit though, because we were the most colored as we walked out of the finish line party.

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My housewarming party was towards the end of the month, and I was so happy to show off my new place to my friends and family! The day I had it was not only brutally hot, but also rainy at times. But people came and went enough that it never felt too crowded inside my place, but I was hoping for a nice day so we could be outside!! My parents helped me out a bunch with food and beer, and I had so much fun the entire day! :)

The last weekend in July, I set off to Ireland for work! I got to explore Dublin, go on a musical pub crawl with my coworker, and have a calm week in the Irish Country-side. All-in-all it was a great week, and I cannot wait to go back (mostly because I’m in love with Guinness and I need more.) The weather in Ireland in the summer is so different than in Ohio … It felt like fall and had me craving pumpkin spice lattes, ugg boots, and scarves. #BASIC

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Other July Fun Facts:

– Enjoyed my first Brazilian Steakhouse experience. Food Coma doesn’t even begin to describe.

– Finished 3 books! The Storied Life of AJ Fikry (really boring- I do not recommend),  Reconstructing Amelia (enjoyed for the most part), and The Girl On The Train (i recommend if you liked Gone Girl).

– Completed the first 4 weeks of BBG … Hardest workout program ever. But I’m seeing and feeling results, so it’s working!

August Goals:

– Run the Rock-n-Roll Dublin half marathon on 8/2!

– In the 3 weeks I’m home this month, I want to cook at home at least 4 nights a week.

– Limit alcohol intake during the week … I think I drank too much when I was in Ireland.

– Read 3 books. I’m currently reading “Love Does” by Bob Goff and I picked up a few new ones at a bookstore in Ireland.

August is going to be a busy one! I start off in Ireland, then head to Poland for work and England to visit my uncle. Then at the end of the month, I head off to the Dominican Republic for a long weekend! BRING IT ON!!! :)

-Jess

April/May/June in Review & July Goals

Oh hey y’all. Long time no see!

I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger. Blah blah blah. I say it every month in my goals post- “I promise to blog more”… “I need to be better about blogging.” Etc, etc.

Maybe this time it will actually stick? Can’t say. Life is busy. Busy and beautiful.

Which is why I need to be better about keeping track of my life.

So, let’s see … Has it really been almost three months since my last blog post. SHAME.

Here’s a list of things that has happened since then, broken down by month:

APRIL:

  • I cut almost 9 inches off my hair and donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths! My sister got her hair chopped as well and donated 11 inches to Locks of Love! (Pictures below!)
  • I went to Mexico for work… So many tacos (and so much octopus, weirdly enough!)
  • I bought a condo (and moved!) … Becoming a homeowner has been such a whirlwind. I’m not quite sure if I love it or hate it yet. So many decisions to make and bills to send and things to buy (depending on what it is, this can be fun. I didn’t enjoy buying furnace filters, but new decorations, I like!)

MAY:

  • My knee healed up nicely after my tumble during the flying pig. It was sore for a few weeks, but running and training have resumed. My next half marathon is the Rock-n-roll DUBLIN in August! CANT WAIT!
  • Speaking of running, I’ve registered for four more races … the color run in Cincinnati in July, Dublin half in August, the Queen Bee half in October, and the Rock-n-Roll New Orleans in February.
  • I went to SOUTH AFRICA on a mission trip! Look for a re-cap post on that later this week!

JUNE:

  • I joined a new bookclub, and I read 3 books … The Interestings (ironically not that interesting), All The Light We Cannot See (pretty good!), and Scary Close (HIGHLY recommend to muh single frands, and married friends for that matter)
  • I bought a selfie stick … I judge myself a little bit, but so many fun pictures.
  • TWO of my closest friends moved away – one to Arkansas and the other to NYC. :(

Just a little re-cap on the last several months of my busy life, obviously much more has gone on that is un-highlight worthy and i’ve already forgotten about … If you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a little photo recap for ya:

      

  Now, for some goals for July!

GOALS:

  • Complete the first month of #BBG … I started the program on 6/29, and I’m already seeing bits of progress!
  • Stop drinking diet coke during the week.
  • Finish getting my new place together before my housewarming party!!
  • Finish 4 books … I think it can be done, I’m almost done with the next book club book and I have a book of short stories almost finished… Plus I’m going to Ireland at the end of the month and will have a nice long plane ride to read.

March in Review / April Goals

Well here we are again… I can’t believe it’s already APRIL. True to form, April has begun with lots of rain. March was a busy month for a few reasons, but I’ll start off by saying that I think April will be my favorite month this year… Family in town from England, work trip to Mexico, best friend’s birthday, buying a house, moving, all in the next 30 days!! AH!

Every Sunday, I get up early and pick my sister up from her apartment and we go volunteer in the nursery at my church… Except on March 1st… On March 1st, I slept through my alarm and woke up 1 hour and 40 minutes later to 7 missed calls and a dozen texts from my sister saying “Have you left yet?” “Are you awake?” “I’m calling Crossroads.” “Are you OK???” … Needless to say we did not make it to volunteer that morning, and I felt terrible about it. Still do.

After several weeks of breaking out in hives, I finally went to the allergist this month… And she basically told me to suck it up and they would eventually go away. Thanks, doc.

For 2 of my friends birthdays, we decided to drive up to Columbus for a Sam Hunt concert on a Thursday night. The concert was amazing, per usual… But I got a speeding ticket on the way up :( … And then the next day when I went to pick up cupcakes for their birthday party, I got a parking ticket!! I cried a lot that day because cops are unfair and tickets are expensive.

I ran half marathon #7!!! It sucked, but I got a decent time. Read about it HERE.

I’ve had my eye on this one particular condo since Valentine’s Day … And between my realtor, my mom, and myself, we’ve been bugging the developer of this condo waiting for it to go on the market for the last month! On St. Patrick’s Day, I emailed him again, and he emailed be back and said it would be going on the market THAT WEEKEND! I just had to get in to see it ASAP, so on March 18th, my mom, dad, sister, and I all went and fell in love with it. I put in an offer that night, they countered the next day, and I accepted!!!! It was SO much easier this time around, and I’m SOOOO excited to move in at the end of April! Don’t worry, there will be home pictures appearing here once I’m settled!!

And the rest of March has been a whirlwind of paperwork and pinterest as I plan my new home out in my head!

MARCH STATISTICS:

Tickets … 2 , total cost of tickets … $190, no joke.

Favorite Song … I Want You To Know – Selena Gomez and Zedd … Love.

Miles Ran … 31 . bad. Next race is May 3rd, so I better get running!!!

Books Read … 1 (uh oh)

Times I ate Chipotle … 6, it’s a problem.

APRIL GOALS:

Buy a condo!!!!! Yes, it’s happening!

Read 3 books … I think it should be easy to accomplish because I have 5 flights this month and plenty of time to spend reading.

Blog more … this is a goal every month.

Run 3x per week … Gotta get my time down so I have a better proof of time to submit for the wine and dine in November!!

Lose 5 pounds … Again, still, always, etc. Didn’t lost 5 pounds in March, but didn’t gain 5 pounds in March either, so that’s a win.

Snow Day Essentials

Mother Nature dumped another 6 or 7 inches on Southwest Ohio, so I spent my Thursday avoiding all things traffic and worked from home. Here’s what I need when spending the whole day indoors.

Gourmet breakfast and warm beverages in fun mugs.

I normally make scrambled eggs for myself 2-3 times a week. But it’s almost always a quick thing with no bacon, no veggies, and no cheese. On snow days, I take a little extra time to chop up some tomatoes, broccoli, and throw in some spinach and hot pepper cheese just before they’re done. HEAVENLY. Oh, and I used heavy cream instead of a little milk and these eggs were OH SO FLUFFY. Definitely becoming a regular thing around here.

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 A cat one-sie

Who cares if it was your halloween costume.

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Harry Potter

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t have to be snowing outside. If there’s nothing on TV, chances are good that I’ve got one of these movies on in the background. For this snow day, it was Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2.

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Diet Coke.

While everyone else in the city is stocking up on bread and milk in preparation for the snow-pocalypse, I make sure I have at least two cans of diet coke. Priorities.

Candles

I went for Fresh Balsam from Bath and Body Works. It smells like a Christmas Tree. And even though it’s March, snow on the ground makes me want Christmas all over again.

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Currently …

Watching … Property Brothers. I’m obsessed. They make me want to renovate a house. I’m also watching Friends on Netflix. It’s my favorite.

Drinking … Gatorade. Freshly back from the gym and still not ready to drink alcohol after the horror that was my hangover this weekend.

Eating … Peanut Butter Patty Girl Scout Cookies. WHY, WHY did I let those little girls at Kroger talk me into them??? Zero Self Control.

Pinning … Home Decor ideas for my new place (that hasn’t even been found or purchased yet). I’m thinking purple/gray/white for the bedroom. Think this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 5.56.50 PMReading … If I Stay. I’ve heard I’ll probably cry.

Needing … To do some spring cleaning. And probably some packing, since a move is imminent.

Wanting … To redesign my blog again. must. stay. away. from. photoshop.

-Jess