Signing up for a Fun Run

I know I’ve said this before, but waking up to go to the gym is difficult. And this morning, the freezing temps, my sore neck and sleepy body decided to act as very legitimate excuses …and I skipped the gym, again.

You see, sometime around noon yesterday I kinked my neck (let’s just say I can’t turn to the left). I still made it to yoga last night and found some relief in the heat and stretching. I made sure to be gentle and skipped one or two difficult positions.

Yoga is great because I’ve implemented the buddy system (shout out to my lovely friend Emily!). But my solo gym sessions? I’ve found excuses are so easy to make at 6 am when there’s no one to answer to but yourself. I’m can almost always convince myself I’m too tired or it’s too cold.

But starting today I have a two new excuses to not skip out on running. A group of friends and I signed up for the happiest (aka easiest?) 5Ks! We will be participating in Run or Dye in April and The Color Run this July.

While I’ve heard that sometimes you are basically forced to walk due to the Colorful crowds, I’m actually excited to have something extra to motivate me in the morning. My goal is to complete these to fun runs with ease, and I’m going to get back to the gym starting tomorrow morning. Even if it is still freezing cold.

Deciding what’s worth my time

This is not a post about taxes.

But, I have to do my taxes this year. At 24, this will be my first year of filing without help from my dad and while I feel totally capable, I’m still a little nervous. I’m going to itemize and figure out all of these W2s and forms and numbers and… Basically it is just going to take a little time.

When I was explaining all of this to a friend he said it wasn’t “worth his time” to itemize or do his taxes himself. Having someone else do your taxes is pretty normal – and the smart thing if you don’t know what you are doing. But the way he phrased it made me wonder how we decide what is and isn’t worth our time in other aspects of our lives.

Currently I’m entry level, which is short for my time honestly isn’t worth a whole lot. If something will save me a few bucks (like buying the rice you have to boil for 10 minutes instead of the kind you can microwave), I’ll probably do it.

I grew up with parents that worked hard for what they had. There was no such thing as quitting when times got tough. Sick? The cows won’t feed themselves. Tired? Too bad, your clients aren’t going to wait around for you. But giving their all didn’t stop at work. My mom never hesitated to ask if it was “worth her time” to volunteer and clean the local church or help serve meals after funerals. My dad never wondered if it was worth his time to remove tree branches from an impassable local dirt road after a big storm.

I’ve spent time mopping floors and making fries for minimum wage and (more recently) carefully editing words that may never be published. Why? Because I’ve decided it’s worth my time. Because I was taught that there is no job beneath me. If it’s legal, ethical, placed in my sight and needs to be done, it’s my job to do it.

But what about all of the selfless work? The work I have watched my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents doing all of my life. I’m sort of, well, failing at this. I’ve managed to fall off this bandwagon. I don’t volunteer to babysit kids during PTA meetings. I don’t offer to sit down with high school juniors to edit college entrance essays. I don’t cut and plate cakes at local fundraisers. I tell myself I’m too busy, but what I’m really saying is that it isn’t worth my time. And how sad is that?

You’ve probably benefited from people doing things that weren’t necessarily “worth their time.” At least I hope you have. I know I have. And I know it’s time for me to give back so that another generation knows what it’s like to be worth someone else’s time.

Celebrating Success

Today is the last day of January. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolution(s)? Do you feel like you’re succeeding or falling off the bandwagon?

Something to consider: You never fail until you stop trying.

So you skipped the gym or messed up your budget by buying an expensive purse. It’s OK. Accept it. Move on. Start over.

Today, in the spirit of ending January on a positive note, I’m celebrating my victories and not dwelling on my flops.

1. Less screen time, more reading and writing: This month I’ve written twelve blog posts (including some for submission elsewhere) and made it halfway through Quiet by Susan Cain.

2. Enjoy the morning: Although mornings are still difficult, I’ve only had to rush out the door once in the past two weeks.

3. Embrace yoga and start running: Aside from living through Couch to 5K sessions, I’m enjoying my post work-out yoga stretches. I’ve also made it to 1-2 yoga classes a week.

4. Explore groups that promote growth: My book club meets next week and I’m so excited to discuss Quiet!

5. Cook more, eat out less: While I still enjoyed eating out over the weekend, I’ve successfully made it through one week on my own cooking.

6. Gain financial stability: Guess who has health insurance and disability insurance? This girl.

7. Set aside time to relax: This has been the most difficult resolution thus far. I’ll be focusing more energy here in February.

DIY Headboard

Headboards are expensive. Specifically when you have champagne tastes on a beer budget…like I do.

When I moved to my new place last October, I had the chance to finally upgrade my itty-bitty bed to a QUEEN. Thrilled, I started looking for headboards to go with the beauty of a pillow-top I had just purchased. Knowing my budget, my mom mentioned a magazine DIY project she saw involving three picture frames. Two weeks (and a few coupons) later, I had three frames, quilt batting and fabric.

To save money, I decided to go with ugly art in beautiful frames. I purchased three identical pieces on clearance, saving myself about $50 a frame. The plan was to take the art and glass out and keep just the frames. I then went on a fabric hunt, looking for something to match my new gray comforter.

The hardest part was taking the pictures out without ruining the frames. Lots of staples, so pliers came in handy:

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A lot of work, but well worth it given the money I saved. I then cut out pieces of cardboard, batting and fabric to create the cushioned center for each frame.

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I stapled the fabric over the quilt batting and to the back of the cardboard piece.

Frame

The next task took a little teamwork. My dad cut out long pieces of wood to hold the cushion in the frame.  My mom and I then used small nails to attach three of the thin wooden pieces to each frame. We placed the wood lengthwise on the frame so the insert was secure and supported at the top, middle and bottom. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to take a picture of this before hanging the frames on my wall.

I’m really happy with the results! The frames are sturdy and have just enough of a cushion to lean up against. I’ve even been asked where I bought it! Pretty good, right? Overall a great low-cost project to add class to my room while sticking with my very small budget.

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