February In Review

Man, February was a busy one. I’m excited for a more mellow March.

As far as goals go, I did a pretty good job. I stayed away from restaurants with only a few exceptions when I forgot my lunch, Valentines Day with my gal pals, and once this past Friday to celebrate making it through the month. During March, I’m going to go a little easier on myself and give myself one lunch and one dinner out per week. I’m off to a good start, since I forgot my lunch on Monday… Pretty standard.

I had a really intense bidding war on a condo at the beginning of the month that left me really exhausted (like, going to bed at 6:30 because I was so tired). After going back and forth and back and forth for several days, it was clear that the current owner and I were never going to come to terms, and I ended up walking away. I loved the condo, and absolutely could have seen myself living there, but I didn’t get emotional about it because I didn’t want to overpay. Who knows, maybe she will come down in price and I’ll end up buying it… But for now, it wasn’t in the cards.

I had my first meeting for my mission trip to South Africa! I am so excited after meeting some really great people! If you want to donate to my trip, you can do so by clicking HERE. The children of South Africa and I thank you :)

I spent Valentine’s Day with some girlfriends this year. Friday night we went out for a nice dinner and some casual half-yards at Yard House. Then Saturday, i broke out in hives at the thought of still being single , two of my friends came over and I cooked them dinner while we watched Sex and The City and stand-up comedy on Netflix. Lots of wine was consumed. I may or may not have cried when Carrie shows up at Miranda’s at midnight on NYE to tell her she’s not alone.

I also took a weekend getaway down to Orlando with my pal Krystal for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. We had such a fun time escaping the hell that has been this Ohio winter. You can read about it HERE. My biggest regret was that I didn’t get to see Kerri :( NEXT TIME!

This month I became addicted to foam rolling. Like, I considered bringing it to work so I could foam roll in a conference room at lunch time. I didn’t do that, but it’s a problem, y’all.

MORE FEBRUARY STATISTICS:

Miles Ran … 43.7. I took the last week off to recover from the Glass Slipper Challenge. My next half is March 15th! So training ramp up this week and then taper next week. Sheesh.

Favorite Song … Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding . No, I did not see 50 Shades of Grey. Nor will I ever be seeing it.

Seasons of Friends Watched … 5. I finished it and then I cried because Rachel got off the plane.

Number of times I broke out in hives … 6. Seeing an allergist next week, because this shit cray.

Books read … one. I’m going to have to pick up the pace if I want to read 25 this year!

MARCH goals:

Lose 5 pounds. Definitely didn’t in February, so maybe I’ll be better this month.

One lunch and one dinner out per week, MAX.

Run another half marathon :)

Watch one of my best friends from high school get married!!!!

Blog more. I suck, I know.

Happy March :)

-Jess

Race-Cation Recap

What do you do when it’s -10 degrees outside in Ohio and you’re in need of some serious Vitamin D? Grab your bestie and head to Orlando, of course!

Now, this little vacation had been planned since July, but the fact that it felt like NEGATIVE 25 degrees outside made the idea of Florida in February that much more appealing.

I was headed down to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon for the third year in a row. It’s seriously my favorite race of all time… And I’ll probably go temporarily insane when registration opens up again for next years race and sign up again. Krystal came with me for moral support, and because I promised her we could go to Harry Potter World. Probably more the latter than the former ;)

We landed Friday around lunchtime and after checking in at Disney’s Saratoga Springs, we made our way over to the race expo. I picked up my Glass Slipper Challenge bib and the shirts, and we shopped around a little bit. Then we both met our Prince Charming and we all lived happily ever after. The End.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.29.53 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.54.56 AMKidding. I wish. We made our way over to Downtown Disney for an early dinner and some shopping. My favorite purchase of the day was my “Chip” mug from Beauty and The Beast. I may or may not be sipping my hot cider from it as I write this :)

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.31.09 AM

I was exhausted and had a very early wake-up call on Saturday morning, so we headed back to the hotel around 8. I slept great, and woke up at 3:15 ready to run 6.2 miles. It was a tad colder than I would have liked, but I was plenty prepared with throw-away clothes and blankets. I ran my fastest 10K ever at 1:13, and was SO excited! On the boardwalk, I stumbled upon my favorite race sign ever:

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.25.48 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.31.57 AM

After a quick shower, we were on our way to Harry Potter World!!! Even though I’ve been twice already, I hadn’t been to the new addition of Diagon Alley. We went to Universal first, and then took the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.26.59 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.32.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.27.31 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.09.39 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.10.54 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.28.46 AMI’m obsessed with my new Gryffindor sweatshirt!

We walked around Islands of Adventure a few times, and then after spending 7 hours there, we decided to head back to the hotel. After a quick dinner, I was asleep before 9pm. I had another early wake-up call and 13.1 more miles to run!

Sunday morning was a lot warmer than Saturday morning was, and I was way over-dressed while waiting in the corrals for the race to start. I ran a strong first 5k at 37:14. I had to make a bathroom stop around mile 4, which took about 5 minutes (it couldn’t wait!), so my 10k time was a little slower at 1:17:07. And the second half of the race was a little slower than the first half, mostly because it was warming up a lot and I was getting tired. I finished with a time of 2:47:05, almost 20 minutes ahead of my previous half time of 3:06!! I had hoped to finish under 2:45, but didn’t because of that long bathroom stop. Unfortunately, all my pictures from during the race were taken in Snapchat, and I either forgot to download them, or they didn’t save. Majorly depressing.

After a good foam roll and a shower, we checked out of the hotel and went to celebrate at The Cheesecake Factory! We wanted a margarita and a place to sit outside. I probably consumed all of the calories I burnt during the race, but who cares. We hung around outside at a Panera for a half-hour or so before we had to go to the airport :(

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.43.14 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.34.33 AMoops. bought too much stuff

Such a fun race! Such a fun weekend! And I get to add these three shiny medals to my medal rack!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.42.47 AM

I’m already thinking I want to do the Princess again next year. Someone talk me out of it!

-Jess

 

 

January in Review / February Goals

January was a REALLY fun month! So much happened that it’s hard to believe it was ONLY one month long.

On December 31st, I found out I was going to be offered a new job, and on January 2nd, that offer showed up in my email! I accepted on January 3rd, put in my notice on January 5th, and started my new job on January 26th! It’s only been a week and a half at the new gig, but I can already tell this is going to be so much better than my last job. With my travel greatly reduced, I get to come home and cook dinner every night (a huge adjustment)! It was really sad leaving my old job, but I truly think that this will offer a greater work/life balance and will give me some semblance of a normal life. The future is bright, y’all!

Nehemiah6:3

I traveled to Las Vegas with my girlfriends for a fantastic weekend! (Are you traveling there soon too? Check out my travel tips HERE.) We had the best time! I wish we could go back and spend more time there together, but it’s hella expensive and I’m on a budget! ha.

VEGAS4

I found out that I’ll be going on a mission trip with my church to Cape Town, South Africa this Memorial Day!!! I’ll be going with 29 others and we will be working with Orchard: Africa primarily in Khayelitsha which is the largest slum in South Africa. Orchard: Africa has a proven track record effecting change in rural communities. The trip will be mainly kid-focused activities (which is perfect, because I LOVE kids!) I’m so excited to step out in faith and to go love on the kids of Cape Town! If you feel inclined to donate financially to my trip, you can do so by clicking HERE… Otherwise, prayers are appreciated!

GOSA

Some other stats from January:

Favorite song … Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars … I think we listened to this 500 times while we were in Vegas. One of my friends even performed a drunken, dramatic reading of the lyrics and it was hilarious.

Seasons of Friends watched … 5

Number of times I ate sushi … 6

Books read … 1 (ouch!)

Number of times I cried at work … 1 … I started thinking about dogs that don’t get adopted and then get euthanized and I got really sad. #ADOPTDONTSHOP YALL

Miles Ran … 50

Dollars won while gambling in Vegas … 41

Number of times I went to bed before 9pm … 4 #imagrandma

FEBRUARY GOALS

No Restaurants! Except when I go to Disney… In an attempt to save money, I’m not dining out AT ALL this month. Unless I’m going out with my parents. Or on a date (HA!).

Run a Half Marathon! Disney Princess this month! :)

Only snooze 1 time every morning.

Lose 5 pounds.

Happy February! :)

-Jess

Quick and Easy Home Decor

I’m super cheap when it comes to decorating my apartment. I always buy things on sale, and have even tried making my own art… Which of course ended poorly.

I finally got to a point where my living area had a color scheme (Gold and Black, think Kate Spade). I have an accent wall painted a dark gray, and black/brown furniture. But everything I have is very basic and not entirely creative. Don’t even ask about my bedroom.. because I definitely have my curtains stapled to the wall.

So when I saw this valentines day bag at target that matched my colors, I knew I had to find a way to use it on my walls.

target bag decorI bought this gallery frame for $12.99 and the bag for $3.99. I ended up cutting the bag apart so that it would fit in the frame, but it ended up looking really good! and I’m happy to have something else on the walls!

-Jess

My 40-day GSC Training Plan

I’ve learned that I do not have the foresight to train for races. I’m very fortunate that I’m relatively athletic and healthy and can still run/walk 13 miles without training. But do I wish I could finish those and still walk the next day? Or finish them in a decent time? Sometimes.

In 39 days, I am running in the glass slipper challenge at disney world. That’s a 10k on saturday and a half on sunday. I did it last year, and I think I went temporarily insane when I thought it would be a good idea to sign up again. Perhaps because I love Disney World, and any excuse to go is a good excuse in my book! I came up with a loose plan to train from now until February 20th.

January GSC PlanFebruary GSC Plan

For those that are wondering, that’s 123.75 miles of training and 19.3 magical miles of racing! I did my one mile today (I would have done more, but I was super hungry.)

Anyone else running during Princess Weekend??

The 2015 Book Club Jar.

I’m so lucky to have friends that are such avid readers… Because I think without them, I would likely re-read the Harry Potter series over and over and over again (Ain’t nothin wrong with that). I’m also not one to go out of my reading comfort zone and try books that I might not like. I need someone pushing me to try new authors, new genres, etc. So on New Years Day, my friend Abby and I sat down and tore through Pinterest looking for the best books to be reading in 2015. And thus, the book club jar was born!

Book Club Jar

We went a little overboard when picking out our list of books… We’d have 23 on the list, and would say “Let’s pick two more so we’re at 25” and then twenty minutes later we’re staring at a list of 33, then 37… We finally settled on 43 books, knowing full well that we would not get to all of them in 2015 (a sad fact, because I’m so beyond excited about every book we put on the list).

I hope to do some book reviews of the ones we get to read, but here is the list we put together!

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

Animals – Emma Jane Unsworth

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

Yes, Please – Amy Poehler

The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty – Amanda Filipacchi

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Heartburn – Nora Ephron

Sula – Toni Morrison

How To Get In To The Twin Palms – Karolina Waclawiak

The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton

If You’re Not Yet Like Me – Edan Lepucki

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris

Room – Emma Donoghue

The Girl In The Flammable Skirt – Aimee Bender

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf – Ntozake Shange

Boysgirls – Katie Farris

These Things Hidden – Heather Gudenkauf

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple

How To Be Both – Ali Smith

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

As You Wish – Cary Elwes

Choose Your Own Autobiography – Neil Patrick Harris

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight

The Diana Chronicles – Tina Brown

City of Thieves – David Benioff

The Enders Game – Orson Scott Card

Meaty – Samantha Irby

Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

S – JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst

The Lost Girls of Rome – Donato Carrisi

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

First up is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? What books are you reading this year?

-Jess

P.S. Find me on GOODREADS

I’M ALIVE!

OH HAI GUYS! Remember me??

I cannot believe that I only blogged like, 30 times in all of 2014 (mostly at the beginning of the year too!) … Shame on me. I will allow you one minute to throw garbage at me for being such a terrible blogger.

But in all seriousness.

At the end of 2014, I took a good, hard look at what I had made a priority over the last 12 months. And I honestly did not like what I came up with. I put work as my prime concern, spending 31 weeks traveling, countless nights and weekends spent hunched over a computer, and I have nothing to show for it (other than a paycheck and some emails thanking me for being so dedicated). I fooled myself into thinking that if I worked hard to prove myself now, that 5 years from now I wouldn’t have to work such crazy hours. In the consulting industry, that’s simply not true. So when my boss asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, I had to really consider if I saw myself working 12-14 hour days and traveling every week while potentially sacrificing my personal ideas, like getting married and having some babies. And I decided that work can’t be my sole focus anymore. And so I took a different job with another company.

I also took a look at how I intended to use this space in 2015. In October, I chose to repurchase my domain… One that isn’t exactly cheap, but worth it if I actually blog and dedicate the time to building relationships with other bloggers. And I’m hoping with the new job, I’ll actually have time after work to do something other than work out, eat, shower, and sleep. And lezzbehonest, most days I don’t even work out.

I’ve got some other stereotypical New Years Resolutions like – do 5 half marathons, read 25 books, pay off $12,000 in student loan debt (super inspired by Erin over at Love, Fun, and Football for paying off all her student loan debt… AND She’s a fellow Bengals fan!), stop hitting the snooze button so much, etc. But I wanted to make 2015 about more than just a checklist of things to accomplish. I want to measure it in feelings and connections and things that can’t be measured. So that in 365 days, I’m not staring at a list of things I might have got around to doing if I wasn’t working so darn much. I want God to show up in BIG ways this year, which means I have to do BIG things!

All of that to say that I’m back. And I plan on showing up around here so much more in 2015. I even have ideas for posts for the coming weeks! THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

-Jess

#JessDoes30by30

Hey y’all! I’m linking up again for Runners Tell All! My favorite link-up series :)

September’s Prompt: Race Bucket List

What races would you love to do if you had the time/money? These can be as realistic or unrealistic as you want!

I had this crazy idea one day while I was stuck in my walking boot that instead of training for a full marathon, I would try to do 30 half marathons by my 30th birthday… I turned 25 last week, so that gives me just over 5 years to complete 26 halfs (I’ve already done 4, and I’m registered for 5 and 6). I’m calling it #jessdoes30by30 … I’m officially crazy. I have a google doc and everything.

That also means that my Race Bucket List has turned in to a list of races that I will eventually need to do in order to reach my goal… So in addition to running every local half marathon for the next 5 years (like the Flying Pig, Queen Bee, Air Force, etc.), I’ll likely be participating in the following at some point:

Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon… Because who doesn’t want to have a late-night exclusive party in Epcot?!

NYC Half Marathon … Mostly because I’ve never been to NYC and it sounds like a good time!

Nike Womens Half Marathon in Washington DC. Or San Fran. IDK, maybe both?

NFL Hall of Fame Half Marathon in Akron, Ohio… Mostly because the metal is pretty cool. And sometimes pro football players run it too.

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon … mostly because it’s close. But really, it probably has a cool medal. And I’m all about that bling, bout that bling.

Rock and Roll Nashville Half Marathon … because I love Nashville, and drinking after the race just sounds so much better with live country music.

London Royal Parks Half Marathon … Because then I’ll have done 13.1 in 3 different countries, and that’s cool

Are any of these on your bucket list too??!

August Stitch Fix (!!!)

I have recently fallen in LOVE with stitch fix. If you’re unfamiliar, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service through the mail (kinda like Birchbox). You fill out a style profile, link up your pinterest boards, twitter, linkedin, etc, and a stylist will select 5 pieces (accessories and clothes) to send you on a bi-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly basis. You pay a $20 styling fee, which gets applied to anything that you buy, and if you choose to buy everything they sent you, you get a 25% discount. I signed up on a whim, because another blog I follow had been posting pictures of what she was receiving, and I thought this would be a good way to get new clothes without having to go to the mall.

I got my first box back in June and kept all 5 pieces they sent me. I wear all 5 of them ALL the time and get SO many compliments on the shirts they sent. They sent a pair of jeans that have quickly become my favorites, and I’m pretty sure I wore them every day last week. When I originally signed up, I selected the bi-monthly boxes, thinking 5 new items every month was a bit much… But since I loved everything I got SO much, I decided to switch to monthly boxes. But, I still had to wait two months for my next fix. FINALLY, my August box came last week!!!

I not-so-patiently waited for this box to arrive. I had SUPER high expectations because of how awesome my June box was. When I got the notification saying my box was delivered, I literally could not wait another second to find out what was inside. SO, I went on the website and acted like I was going to check-out to see what items were in my box (like I said, not patient). I then googled each and every item and found other bloggers that had received these same items in their boxes… complete with pictures and everything. SO, since I said on last week that I would love for this to be a fashion/style blog, here I am, posting pictures of what I bought in the hopes that someone as impatient as me googles what’s in their box and stumbles across my blog. I also linked the blogs that I found while doing my internet stalking.

Item 1: LANDERS LATTICE CROCHET DETAIL TANK

Blog: I love boxes

I see myself wearing this shirt a lot. Because I could easily pair it with a cardigan to wear to work in both the summer and the fall. I would pair it with some dark jeans or a colorful pair of shorts.

stitchfix1

Verdict: KEEP!

Item 2: DASH BUTTON-FRONT CHAMBRAY SHIRT

Blog: Stay at Home Artist

I might be the only 20-something girl that does not already own a Chambray shirt. I think I’ve pinned 50 outfits that included one, but could never find one that I liked… Until now. Last week, I wore this both with my work pants and with a pair of leggings. You can’t tell in the picture, but it’s long enough to cover my booty.

stitchfix2

Verdict: Keeping. And ironing… So wrinkly from being shoved in my suitcase

Item 3: JILLIAN CROCHET DETAIL TANK

Blog: Confessions of A Cookbook Queen (also, totally envious of her coral version of this shirt… Makes my gray color look boring)

I love everything about this shirt. The fabric is SO soft, and it’s a basic enough color that I can wear it with anything! I love the detailing on the back, even though my hair is too long to see it.

stitchfix4

Verdict: Obviously keeping.

Item 4: CHAR IKAT PRINT MAXI SKIRT

Blog: Thirty-Something Mother Runner

This is probably my favorite piece from the whole box. Since I’m 5’9″, I have a hard time finding maxi skirts and dresses that actually reach the floor, and this one would drag if I wore it like I normally have to wear my skirts. I am obsessed with the pattern and colors and I will wear this a lot. I wore it to my grandma’s party on Sunday, even though it was a million degrees and humid as hell outside…

stitchfix3

Verdict: Wearing as I type, so obviously keeping.

Item 5: PIEDMONT METAL ROPE DESIGN BANGLE SET

Blog: Samantha Chic

I love these bangles… The look great with my David Yurman ring, but are a fraction of the cost of an actual Yurman.

stitchfix5

Verdict: If I wasn’t going to keep the other items, I probably would have sent them back… But after the 25% discount for purchasing everything, I basically got these for free.. So, Keep.

Total for all 5 items minus the $20 styling fee and the 25% discount for buying the whole box = $217.32 … Easily $150 less than a day of retail therapy at the mall.

Oh yeah, if you sign up using my referral link, I get $25 … So if you’re thinking of signing up, use this link and I’ll buy you a Starbucks. :)

Grandma’s 90th Birthday

It’s not everyday that one of your family members turn 90!! We had a lovely Labor Day weekend filled with lots of family from out of town… Here are just a few pictures from our celebration on Sunday!

Grandmas1

My grandma, bless her heart, was so overwhelmed by all of the people that came out to celebrate HER… At one point, while everyone else was setting up, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I just wish Howard was here.” (Howard is my grandpa, who died 9 years ago). And all I could do was look back at her with tears in MY eyes and say “Me too, Grandma.”

grandmas2 grandmas4

There are 16 grandchildren, and this is likely the first time in at least 9 years that all 16 of us have been in the same room at the same time. It’s a little difficult, since the age difference between the oldest and the youngest is roughly 35 years!

grandmas3

5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren (soon to be 25!) … As my sister put it, She’s the Queen! (or, matriarch.) Happy 90th birthday, Grandma! We love you so so much!

…..even though she’ll never see this because I’m 99% sure she’s never used a computer. :)

-Jess