dare to be different, inspire

New Year, New Decade, New Opportunities

I think I will start with writing something profound or brilliant in my mind.

2020 is upon us and like many I have goals to write, tackle and conquer but this year is different. It’s the start of a new decade and thus the magnitude of go bigger is something I want to do in many areas of my life. I want to escape the ordinary. Of course, my 2020 journal (pictured below) is perfect for cataloging my ebbs and flows of the year. #2020hereIcome

Lucky for me I have an amazing tribe around me willing to jump in on adventures, shenanigans and overall badass challenges I find intriguing. Some are extreme while others just take time.

Time is valuable to me. One of my most precious commodities. Where to use it? Who gets my time? What’s the value of my time and so on. Keeping this in mind I will share a few tidbits about my year of awesome!

It started in December of 2019 when I decided on a 2020 theme of me. What can I do 2,020 of to level up my fitness, for example.

Goal one was finalized: run, walk, jog, crawl, bike, row or ski erg 2,020 extra miles in 2020. This is in addition to any other regular daily workouts which is the kicker. It’s extra time. Who can commit? Who will commit? Who will cross the finish line?

Today I have about 10-15 willing participants tracking their miles along side me. Each for different reasons and each have their own path. Some have daily goals of extra miles, some weekly, some monthly and some want to count backwards. Whatever the method the miles add up to the same total of 2,020 miles. 365 opportunities await each participant. Each individual has to make a choice to put in work today, tomorrow and the the next day and stay the course of time.

Some will need a fixed routine to succeed. Others may need variety. Some may take big bites out of miles while others may take smaller steps. The power of choice. The power of self will and desire. The strength required to commit long term.

I started my first four days of the year with 7 miles a day and then jumped up to 10 miles and 9 miles respectively. Most of which I completed on my bike erg, which I love. (Thank you concept2). 47 miles down and 1,973 to go for those who like to count down. I may not keep this pace but as the hype is fresh I will bank those extra miles for the days I am traveling, sick or unable to hit my strides.

I’m pretty excited about this challenge. Will I finish? Will my friends finish? Will anyone join me virtually? Will I be able to push myself when times are tough? Can I manage my time? Basically this is a solo task. Only I can make it happen. Only I can decide if I finish. But as a bonus I have a tribe willing to attempt it with me. How lucky am I?

I am lucky, loved, blessed and all so appreciative of the opportunities I have and the memories I can make. You are also lucky as you have a front row seat to my adventures. This could be good or bad. I have not only set a lofty goal, I actually shared it with the world in this blog. How about that for a massive accountability partner?

This is not my only goal, rather one of many. Many more than others I know but for me this is a year of me. A way to launch into the new decade and see what I can really accomplish if I focus and prioritize. Dreaming big in most areas which will test me, but of course I’m ready.

What makes me ready? To start, I was invited to a vision board party. What in the heck is that? It’s a gathering of key influencers in your life who you feel inspired by. People you like to spend time with vs. those people you have to spend time with (or coworkers). You write your story so to speak on a poster board using words, pictures, objects and whatever other flair you can put your hands on. This was so in my wheelhouse. Why did I never do this before? Who cares, I’m doing it now. It’s a new decade and a new opportunity!

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I learned a ton about myself and those around me. It was empowering to say the least and fun. I don’t think I’ve used a glue stick, scissors and tape like I did that day for a long time. Talk about the memories of the good old school days before the internet became front and center.

One pal even bought magazines for the first time in ages and couldn’t believe how much they cost nowadays. See how old I am!

I will leave you with this glimpse of the sparkle we all shared that day. No need to name who did what rather it’s meant to provide a visual inspiration for others. Maybe one of my readers will feel motivated to host a vision board party.

Some chose to fill the board up while others left room to grow. Captivating just to see how folks approached the task and invested themselves into the outcome. Mine is posted prominently in a space where I can see it and be reminded of the mindset I had when I made it.

What will you do to make your decade launch special in 2020?

dare to be different

Feeling the Burn

I did it. After many months of thinking about it, I finally joined the tattoo club. Maybe it’s small. Maybe it’s only one color. Either way, it’s mine.

The shape decision was difficult. What could I choose that I would still love many years from now?

I thought about memorializing something from my past…

To remember my Mom, maybe a ladybug or a dogwood. Or for my Dad, a carousel horse or something musical.

Maybe an accomplishment? My PhD? Something to do with my kids? Nothing jumped out at me.

Then I decided to think about my present and my future instead. What would remind me to keep pushing forward to the future I’m trying to create?

I knew I wanted something tiny for my first one. And just like I enjoy words with multiple meanings, I wanted a design that had multiple meanings as well. After looking and thinking about so many possibilities, I finally settled on a flame.

Here are a few of the reasons behind that:

I’m a big candle burner. I love the light and the flickers. I constantly have them around as a source of warm comfort.  But that’s just the start.

More importantly, I strive to be a light for others.  To bring warmth and brightness into the world.

Fire is a transformative thing.  You can’t be near it without being changed by it.  I want to say the same thing about my life in the world.  That my life is a force for change.

But the deciding factor was this quote: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”  To bring to mind the spirit of my year of fearless.

I put it on my ankle to remind myself to hold my own feet to the fire. Not to become complacent or lazy.

Just because the year ends does not mean my spirit of fearlessness has to.

I’ve had it about a month.  I still smile when I look down and see it.  It’s small, it’s special, my unique ink. It lights me up. What do you burn for?

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celebrations, dare to be different

The Extra Bling

What girl doesn’t like bling?

Well apparently the group I travel with is not willing to settle for one medal when they can get another to earn the bonus bling. What’s next….a 5k the morning after!

Sunday was planned to cheer on two of our group running the 5k before we hit the road for our return leg. And then the next not-so-good idea hatched.

The smarty pants of the group read the fine print. The fine print nobody else read because we all focused on the headline….the Marathon. Nope, she read that if you run the smaller race on day two you get a medal for that race and a bonus medal for accepting the challenge.

None of us registered in advance for that. Most of us were sore. Why on earth would we run a 5k? Well, because we are crazy.

Beth, aka Chick 2, sent the email to verify we could register onsite. One by one we agreed this is a very bad idea but we can do it. It’s only 3 miles. That’s a fun run compared to the day before. We pop the Aleve. We whip out the extra set of running clothes. We hydrate again. We giggle.

We have zero preparedness. We grab a quick bite to eat on the way. I got the last bagel at the shop. It wasn’t my favorite flavor but it was a carb and I needed it for fuel. Let’s face it, I needed rocket fuel.

This is us. A group of fit-ish people spending time together making memories. Pain is only temporary, I said to myself. If my calves hurt when it’s time to run I’ll walk. I’ll just keep moving. Isn’t that what life is about? You keep moving through whatever obstacles get in your way.

Port-o-potty time again. Oh, how I hate port-o-potties. They are one of the nastiest places to go voluntarily. You can not unsee what you see inside of them. You can’t not smell the rancid smell that comes with them when the contents are baking for hours in the hot sun. It’s absolutely foul.

Moving on to the race line. The national anthem plays and there is a sense of calm in the air. One by one we line up. We are moved like cattle through the corral. 5-4-3-2-1 time to get this run done.

One mile complete. That wasn’t so bad. 33% complete. The scenery was amazing. A park setting with beautiful trees. Less spectators but off to the streets we go. Houses rich in history. Roundabouts to run. Corners to turn. Mile two was there before you knew it.

Running back to the park you see some running mates. You hear the cheers from friends. The final stretch ends in the minor league stadium. A grand entrance of sorts.

Crowds of people in the stands cheering as run the edge of the field to the finish line. It’s over. We did it. We earned the bonus medals. We didn’t die. Life will continue.

The irony of this story is the bad idea was actually a great idea. The short run loosened us up for the long car ride home. We ran with friends who cheered us on the day before. We did something spontaneous. We made more memories.

The Bad Idea Club is open for membership. Are you ready to join or will you create your own club with likeminded people?

This post series goes out to my tribe. My tribe of strong friends who push through life with me. Thank you for an amazing great story, awesome memories, and adventures to look forward to.

I added some unexpected medals to my collection this weekend. So glad I have friends to remind me to step out of my comfort zone to conquer what seems impossible in the moment. Reflection is key to development. I am always raising my bar to foster my own personal growth.

This post is the third of a series. Be sure to read about the PJ party and the equation post. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

adventure, dare to be different, friendship

PJ Party Surprise!

I absolutely could not wait to write this post. For one, it’s amazing and I haven’t even started writing it yet. Doesn’t the picture below indicate an amazing story is forthcoming?

How can this story be so amazing and I am just about to start it? I lived it. I experienced the fun. The crazy. The spontaneity. The friendships. And now I can’t wait to tell the world about it.

It all started with a simple idea. A PJ party. A onesies PJ party to be exact. That morphed into who will have the funniest onesie. Some borrowed. Some new. Some old ones in the mix. Didn’t matter, they were all unique.

A day late on the party but that didn’t matter. There were 2 dragons, 1 fox, a frog, a giraffe, an elephant, a snowman, and a couple I can’t recall. Doesn’t really matter we all dressed up in onesies for fun. And oh, what fun we would have. Everyone played along. They all dressed up. What a sight.

Amidst it all, a surprise was lurking. A “joke’s on me” kind of surprise. An unexpected event. A KT’s bad idea club. They even had t-shirts made. What in the heck. I can’t make this up. My group of fun, fit and fabulous friends were the best at concocting an epic event that I was completely unaware of. They even had an unveiling party within the PJ party.

This crazy crew said my bad idea (marathon adventure) warranted a club. KT’s Bad Idea Club to be exact. The Bad Idea Club guarantees amazing memories. Ha, it sure did on this adventure.

This crazy crew opted for beach photos in the onesies. That was a sight to see in itself. From the strangers giggling as they took our group photo to the comical poses we created in our onesies. As my friend Sarah said, “if you’ve never been to the beach in a onesie, do it pronto.”

I wish I could tell you everything but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, thus I will leave you with a few pics to close out this post.

You can imagine how awesome our beach/onesie adventure was.

Be sure to read all three posts from my marathon series. They are linked but different. I encourage you to read them all for a full visual of the weekend’s adventures.

dare to be different, featured, fitness and nutrition

Designed By Me, For Me

I’ve had the itch for a while now to get a pair of custom Nike Metcons. Did I really need them? No. But did I really want them? Yes. Do I work hard enough to indulge and buy? Heck yeah!

I waited patiently which is not my style. I am more the immediate gratification type. I let time pass. I watched new releases thinking I’m going to get these. Nope, I didn’t need them. Then I just decided I needed my own flair. I designed my own custom Metcons. Thank you Nike for letting me soar as an individual.

I left these in the cart for a while thinking, should I? And then one day I decided it was time. A gift to me, from me. The design part was simple. The visual confirm said “buy me.” Then the awful wait. Processing, making, finishing, shopping, and the wait. The suspense is just killing me as I wait patiently, getting ever so excited when Nike updates my inbox. 

A little Wonder Woman influence to match some shorts I have. A little individualized style on the tongues. And just an overall badass and obnoxiously loud pair of shoes to get my grind on with. Most of my gym clothes fall into the obnoxious category so might as well add shoes to the list!

So excited to put some mileage on these new kicks. Let me know if you give them a thumbs up or down.

It’s good to get some retail therapy here and there. If you have been holding off on that special gift for you from you, go for it. Let my post be the one to push you over the edge. Indulge indeed.

And for the record, that pair of Metcons that I had waited on ordering went on sale. Yep, they sure did. I bought those, too. Shaking my head at myself. #shoesgirl two pairs on the way. One custom, one basic off the shelf. They will still work the same.

Don’t judge me. I’m living my best life. Getting fit along the way. Smiling as I strut my stuff in my new comfy kicks.

And two thumbs up for the lifting inserts inside the new Metcons, the tissue paper and my name label. Nike did not disappoint. Bonus points to Nike for that extra boost.

dare to be different

Tat Time, What’s the Number Now?

It’s that time of year when I put some fresh ink on my canvas, aka my body.

My body. My expressions. My designs. My tats tell a story of sorts. They have meaning and normally signify moments in my life path. A triumph. A struggle. A birth. A tribute. The list could go on. I’m often asked about my tats. I’m even sometimes judged for them.

No matter what others think, I still do me. I have one heart, one brain, one body to live in and I’m going to make it as customizable as I envision.

So what’s the new piece? A piece of ass so to speak. Where is it? You will have to see me in person to see that, I suppose. Maybe it’s visible maybe it’s not?!?!

I guess you will just have to ask me about my tats if you are curious.

 

celebrations, dare to be different

Toasting A Year Without Alcohol

“So, are you going to the party this weekend?”

“I don’t think so…”

“Why not?”

(Pause…stare…long enough to be uncomfortable…finally blurts out)

“Um, I’m taking a break from drinking right now.”

Just one of several moments that stand out in my mind as I’ve worked through a year without alcohol.

A year without alcohol.

I don’t really want to say a year into sobriety. I think of sobriety as something different. A different level of commitment, perhaps. And I do think I’ll drink again someday. So, right now, it’s just been a year of taking a break.

What has it meant?

At first, it was for my weight. Daily beers add up. Or two. Or three. Once in a while, even more.

When I started the keto diet in January 2018, I just wanted to keep my carbs down, so I switched to vodka. Or hard seltzers. Less carbs, but still drinking my calories.

When I started Stronger U in August 2018, where I learned more about calories and alcohol and the effect it had on my body, I decided to try to give it up for a while. Labor Day weekend turned into a month.  Then I figured I would try for Thanksgiving, then join in the customary wine we have at family gatherings… but once I got there, not drinking turned out to be just fine with me.  I only had to turn down wine a few times, then people left me alone about it. Christmas, same.  And so on.  Summer may have been the hardest, with beer and refreshment season in full swing.  But, once I hit about 6 months, I knew a year was an attainable goal and I wanted it.  And now I am here.

I do believe it has played a significant role in my weight loss and body reshaping. I know it has taken a lot of my belly away.

Beyond that, what else has it meant?

I do come from an alcoholic family.

I have “flirted with” or tiptoed on the edge of alcoholism several times throughout my adult years. I’ve always been able to pull myself out of it, sometimes with the help of family and friends.  Still, since I was 21, I’ve never been more than a few weeks without a drink, except when I was pregnant. So a year is satisfying personally, knowing I have some measure of control over consumption.  (And yes, there were plenty of times I craved a beer this year for whatever reason, but decided not to have one).

What about my friends?  I did stumble over my words when I first started sharing it. But for the most part, people have been nice or just nonreactive about it.  A few have even been curious. I’ve found a few people who have used it as a conversation starter, to talk about their own relationship with alcohol.  Some friends who are trying not to drink have looked to me for support at social gatherings.  It’s easier to not drink if you know others are doing the same thing, whatever the reason might be.

What’s been a bit surprising is how few people really care. If people notice or ask, I usually just say I’m taking a break from drinking.  But, most of the time when I was drinking before, it was a beer (or three) by myself at home at night.  Alcohol wasn’t a huge part of my social ties or traditions.  I think people who have after work drinks with friends or other routines and rituals involving alcohol might have a harder time. I’m grateful it has been simple, and has cost me little while I’ve gained insights and energy for new challenges. 

I don’t miss waking up with a hangover.  I don’t miss feeling out of control at times.  I don’t miss wondering if I’ve waited long enough to get behind the wheel of a car. I don’t miss my beer gut.

If and when I drink alcohol again, I hope I look at it just as I would any other indulgence: a treat to be enjoyed once in a while.  Until then, I’ll be toasting with my mocktails, offering to be the designated driver.

If you’re trying to drop some pounds or wonder if you can go without alcohol, I encourage and challenge you to try it for a week or a month.  You might be surprised what you learn.  Share with us in the comments!