[Life] Paddle boards, birthdays, and triathlons

Life has been exhausting in the absolute best ways imaginable. Every morning just before the sun rises I’m up eating breakfast and heading out the door to run, walk, paddle board, or bike with Joe (and often Coco). In addition, three days a week I’m at the gym (the $20 a year membership gym!) circuit training with light weights and my own body weight. If you think I’m starting to look like a bodybuilder you’ll be disappointed to know that the only thing about me that resembles a bodybuilder is my tan (and even that’s not exactly accurate because of my fair skin, blonde girl problems). Anyway, it has been the most enjoyably exhausting two months and here’s just some of the latest and greatest happenings from the caribbean:

  1. Paddle boarding has become my newest addiction. It scares the H-E double hockey sticks out of me while simultaneously thrilling me to pieces. And to be fair, I’m only scared when it’s cloudy outside and I can’t see the bottom or if I’ve travelled too far into the deep that I can’t see the bottom. Perhaps you could say I’m not a fan of the deep, dark blue waters and what swims below. Flashbacks occur now and again to that time I drifted miles from shore into the deep abyss waters of Lake Superior in a tiny raft, having to be saved by my father who clearly thought I had better arm-strength, boat handling and navigational skills. However seeing sea turtles, beautiful sting rays, and countless starfish make it all worth it. Plus having Coco dangling over the front of my board or hiding in-between my legs or watching Joe move with ease on his board makes my heart full. Joe-Paddle boarding
  2. I celebrated my golden birthday! And it was extra-amazing thanks to Joe, my handsome husband! He spoiled me to an evening out at my new favorite restaurant, Zion Modern Kitchen, where I gorged myself on seared ahi tuna and banana bread pudding. There may have even been some late night snacking on french fries and a frosty and even pizza, three things I rarely eat but apparently you only have one golden birthday so… go big or be old!Ahi tuna-Zion Modern Kitchen
  3. I drove for the second time since we moved! It turns out that the need for coffee can be an extremely powerful motivator. Let me expand on this a bit further: Driving occurs on the left side of the road and although most drivers are polite, they drive a bit crazy and I’ve never had to deal with rush hour traffic until moving to an island. Figure that one out. And since we’re on the subject of driving, if you want a thrill drive 60mph once or twice a month after only driving 35mph at the absolute most any other day. I’m not even kidding, 60mph on the only highway on the island feels like 120mph and you better believe I’m holding on for dear life.Iced Mocha-Bistro Cafe
  4. I roped Joe and I into volunteering for St. Croix’s Ironman 70.3 and it was awesome (and exhausting)! Athletes endured jellyfish stings, poor road conditions, and pouring rain to make it to the finish line. Being up close and watching those athletes motivates me to want to do and be more in my own fitness and triathlon journey. It was amazing to see the diversity among the athletes—age, weight, fitness levels—and know that all it takes is the time, dedication, and mentality and anyone can push through to the finish.Swim Finish-St. Croix Ironman
  5. The dark side of the island… St. Croix is unfortunately a place where dogs are seen in a different light. They are seen as fighting dogs that will earn you money and not a member of the family like most of us view them. Pit bulls are top dog on the island (along with short-legged mixes of who knows what) and they are everywhere. Fortunately there is a rescue service on island and many dogs are given a chance at a better life. If you ever visit St. Croix I encourage you to look into taking a rescue dog back to the states with you for someone to adopt. Paws From Paradise takes care of all the details, all you have to do is fly.Sunrise-St. Croix

Until next time… Cheers! 💜

Every now and then bite off more than you can chew… then chew like crazy. -Lorna Jane Clarkson

[Life] Adventures Afar

Life has been a whirlwind of chaos the last few weeks. My workout routine was, for a while, less routine and more fit-it-in-whenever (if-whenever-even-happens) kind of schedule. Finally this last week I was able to get back into more of a routine and get back to what I love—running and working out (hopefully soon adding in cycling again). I’ve gone from the mundane of everyday to a new and exciting opportunity. I’ve had highs and I’ve had lows. But right now, I’m focused on everything positive and embracing all of these new, incredible opportunities and doors that have opened before me.

On that note, as I grow and change, so too does this blog grow and change. With the big new adventure my husband and I have embarked on—we headed south to St. Croix, trading the snow and cold for sunshine and warmth—I’ve decided to post a bit more of what I call ‘Life’ posts to this blog (or at least that’s the plan!). My family and friends already know this blog so rather than starting another one, I’m going to distinguish these posts by always starting them with [Life]. They are meant to inform and amuse family and friends of adventures and new life experiences. They will be a bit more like diary entries (fitting I think given my blog title!) and probably will be random musings and lists like Saturday confessions and A bit of this and a little of that.

So here you go:

  1. I have a fabulous new job!
    I LOVE this new job that I have, but I have to look at amazing food photos all day (bummer, right?!), which means I’m hungry all day long and wanting to go straight to my kitchen and whip up a batch of cookies, fresh bread, or whatever other wonderful concoction I happen to be looking at in that moment. I have to say that right now I’m extremely blessed. This is absolutely my dream job to have. If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that food is one of my obsessions. Being able to pursue a passion of mine combined with my skills is beyond exciting. (The photo below has nothing to do with my new job. This was just a super delicious brunch meal I had on Easter Sunday—Crab Benedict!)Crab Benedict
  2. Proud wife moment alert!
    My husband hates to run. He would rather clean than run (we clearly are completely different people). I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t like to workout. He very much enjoys lifting weights and biking—things he can see change with. But with our new adventure he’s taken up running with me. Just about every morning he has run with me at the beach or up and down the hill just outside our doorstep. In one weak moment he even ran next to me on a treadmill!Joe and Libby on treadmill
  3. I’ve been applying sunscreen and bug spray like some people shun carbohydrates.
    What can I say? Worrying is in my DNA; add in the fact that I’m blonde and you’ll understand why I feel the need to generously apply sunscreen all day long. I think the bug spray speaks for itself.
  4. We joined the cheapest gym and supported a good cause!
    For $20 a year, $40 per couple, Joe and I can workout and support a non-profit in our community helping others to get motivated and fit. The gym is only open from 3pm-7pm, but for us that works perfectly. We run in the morning and save the afternoon/evening for lifting weights (Joe) and a BBG workout (me).we rise by lifting others
  5. I’ve been using this running technique almost daily.
    When I use to run on a treadmill everyday (I just could never get myself to run in the Wisconsin winter cold), I would always have an action plan—speed, time, and incline. Now that I’m running outside daily I have to keep my mind occupied to push through. That’s where using the Attention Narrowing Running Technique really comes into play. If you haven’t tried this technique, I strongly recommend that you do. You may be surprised how much easier you can climb that hill when you focus ahead.running technique_ironwomandiaries

I feel like so much has happened these last few weeks that I can’t even remember it all in detail enough to share anymore. I tell bits and pieces to my mom and dad and the rest gets lost and mixed up amongst everything else that’s happening. But, anyway, I wish you all a wonderful week!

Stay tuned for your usual every other Monday, Monday Motivation post next week! 💜

A bit of this and a little of that

I haven’t blogged in forever 😳. So to make up for my lack of blogging I’m going to share with you a bit of what I’ve been up to, including a few of the things I crossed off my seasonal bucket list. 💜

In October we spent a lovely weekend up north at my parents’ house. We went for a walk in the woods around Long Lake to see the fall colors.Libby and Joe at Long Lake.

And the colors were GORGEOUS!Long LakeOf course we had to go to my absolute favorite coffee shop—The Black Cat—and get a chai latte and raspberry scone.Black Cat coffee houseIn November we celebrated Joe’s dad’s birthday (83!) and enjoyed Thanksgiving early with my mom. Why early you ask? Well, instead of a traditional Thanksgiving spent with family, Joe and I hopped a plane (or maybe 3) and escaped to the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. We traded cranberry sauce and stuffing for a cheesy lobster spread with pita. And of course we had to have one colorful/fruity/tropical drink next to the ocean! Tropical drinks: St. Croix

I’ve ran or biked every day before work, and an occasional Saturday or two, since before Thanksgiving. I’ve also continued to do other training, like HIIT and resistance, so that 2-3 times a week I am getting two workouts in a day. Running or biking every morning sets my mood for the day and gives me added energy. If you don’t already, I highly suggest adding a morning workout into your routine at least a couple of times a week. Libby: post runHere at home we’ve had a ridiculously warm winter (no complaints here!). But with no snow on the ground it is a bit hard to believe that Christmas is next week. One of my favorite things about this holiday season has been watching a Christmas movie EVERY DAY this month. Of course a lot of the greats have been watched—Santa Claus (1-2), Elf, Christmas Vacation—with more still on the list—Rudolph, A Christmas Story, A Muppet Christmas Carol. But mostly Hallmark Channel specials have been watched. Not all with terrible acting, but the plot rarely changes. Nevertheless, they have worked at making it feel like Christmas is near.Christmas tree 2015One of my new favorite things is having lunch, almost weekly, with my good friend Annie and her newest family addition, Jameson. JamesonAnd, best of all, Joe and I celebrated three years of marriage on December 9! He is by far my biggest supporter and fan, and I don’t thank him enough for it. He puts a smile on my face every morning and makes me laugh every day. He is hands down the hardest working person I have ever known, which I hugely admire and appreciate. He inspires me to work harder and to chase my dreams. I’m so blessed to not only have him in my life, but to call him mine. Out of all life’s adventures, he is my favorite. 💜Joe and Libby: WeddingSo that’s a glimpse into all that has been happening! What have you been up to? And in case I don’t get the chance to say this next week—happy holidays! 🎄

What’s your story? [OR why being YOU is all that matters]

young ballerinas Your story isn’t their story. Just like their story isn’t yours.

I’m going to tell you a secret: Everyone’s body is different and everyone’s talent is different. Okay maybe you already knew that. But until you actually allow yourself to accept that, you will NEVER be happy with who you are and where you are in your life.

For me this is an ongoing process—a process of accepting myself, knowing my strengths, and recognizing my weaknesses.

I saw something recently that is a necessary reminder for us all: social media and blogs often only show the best part of a person’s life. (In fact this story just came out that highlights this further: Social media is not real, says teen Instagram star) Social media and blogs don’t show us real life, struggles endured, or what often is raw reality. We only see what that person wants us to see. Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone, some people do show all aspects of their life and keep it real. However, too many times we only see this false, fairy-tale like reality created by a person behind a computer screen. We start comparing ourselves to these versions of reality and consume ourselves with how perfect everyone else seems to have it, all while we struggle along. Next time you catch yourself in this hole, remind yourself that you are only seeing part of the story.

There is a particular aspect of my life that I am not entirely happy with, a part of my life that I am not yet ready to share. However, I will say, that I have decided to focus on the positives of what I do enjoy about that piece of my life puzzle and consume my mind with those vibes. To let the negativity go and focus solely on me and what I can control.

These are a few things I’ve learned that you may also find beneficial in your own life and happiness journey:

  • Comparing my chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty leads to nothing more than self-doubt and insecurities.
  • All I can be is me—every bit of imperfect me. And I’m learning to accept that, to accept me, and to focus on my story. I can (and do) use others’ stories as motivation and inspiration, but focusing on my goals and myself is what will make me happy in the end.
  • My story isn’t written yet. I am in control of how each chapter ends and how new ones start. Live for my own dreams and goals.
  • Just because I haven’t reached my goals yet doesn’t mean I am a failure or haven’t made progress (this goes for both personal/professional and fitness).
  • So what if it takes me longer to achieve what I want. Enjoy the journey and be open to change.

What have you done lately to focus on you? To ignore someone else’s story, knowing that their story isn’t yours?

Here are words I’ve found enlightening and inspirational recently (from a few of my favorite Instagram peeps):

I find it interesting reading the comments on social media. I find that with celebrities in particular, people will comment, "I wish I was her" or "I wish I had her life"..... Do you really though? 📱Instagram is 1% of someone's life. You only get to see the BEST parts of everyone's day ...new clothes, new hair, amazing holidays, love, happiness ....because we know, no one wants to show off their sadness☝️☝What you don't see is the 5am wake ups, the late nights working, the bullying, the changes in friendships, what it really takes to run a successful life, the long hours, the tears, the lack of sleep, the stress, the pressure, people trying to use you, gaining some things but losing others. Yes, I shared my incredible world tour with you on Instagram, but what I didn't share, was the 6 months worth of work it took to organise it. I didn't share anything the week before when I found out it may be cancelled. I cried, yes.. but I put my head down and made it work without a sound. What I'm trying to say is, no one sees the other 99% of anyones life. You see the best parts and you "wish you were that person". As I said the other day, the grass isn't greener on the other side. It's greener where you water it. #somethingtothinkabout www.kaylaitsines.com/guides #notaseasyasitlooks

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People who persevere to succeed in life pay attention to the lessons they learn from their mistakes as much as they do to their accomplishments. Ask yourself what you have learned from the greatest mistakes in life and how can it help you to succeed? It’s easy to get caught up thinking that we’ve failed in our attempts to succeed in our goals, but its important to take away all the lessons in life in order to try harder the next time. Open your eyes and heart, listen to life and what it has to offer. Learn more about yourself, others, and your relentless capabilities. There is greatness inside you, you just have to look past the mistakes and take on life with the an adventurous heart. #yougotthis #relentlesslybeautiful

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Exercise to be fit, not ‘skinny’. Eat to nourish your body, and always, ignore the haters doubters and unhealthy examples that were once feeding you. You are worth more than you realize. You are incredible, powerful, brave, strong, and unstoppable. You are #relentlesslybeautiful. You are everything! Start tomorrow by leaving all the negativity of today in the past. It's done, gone, and can't be replayed. Look at tomorrow with bright eyes and an open heart to make your choices that will lead you to the life you want to create. If something isn't bringing you joy, leave it behind. The negativity won't fuel your dreams, it will only bring you crashing down. You want to live healthier, do it! Make the change, make the commitment, and move forward. In life you get a second chance, it's called tomorrow. Take it and remember #yougotthis! 📷: @encarnacionphotography #gofitjo #motivationalmonday #fitness

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