The Amazing 2013 Budget Binder


Jordan and I have a pretty good budgeting system in place. We save every receipt and keep track of exactly how much we spend every month. Since getting married, we've paid off both our car loans and both our student loans, and as of right now, we are completely debt free. 

It's been going well, but there is always room for improvement, and one area of the budgeting system that we don't have down is the actual organization of our system. This post is what inspired me to make this budget binder*, which I spent way too much time on and am super excited about sharing with you! 
The first part of the binder is the zippered pouch for my pen and calculator. These are very important budgeting tools. Next, we have the larger zippered pouch, which is where we will put receipts. I wrote "checked in" on the pouch so we would know those have already been written down on....

...our monthly budget sheet!

This is the budget sheet we have used every single month since August of 2011. It has the 7 main categories on it--entertainment, gifts, misc., personal, medical, gasoline, and grocery--and we write down every receipt amount, add it by week, and total it at the end of the month. We always know exactly where we're at and how much money we have left at any time. 
I'm excited about this budget sheet. I just made it for 2013, and I think it will help see how much we're saving every month. This will be especially good to know because we're currently saving up for a down payment on a house. 
I also add this checkbook register sheet, which I downloaded for free here. I think this will be much better and more organized than the stupid blue checkbook book I've carrying around that has pages falling out.
This last page is the one I am really excited about. The blog where I got this budget binder inspiration is called iheartorganizing (a great blog for organizing fools like me), and she has an Etsy shop where she sells some of her spreadsheets. I bought this finance checklist for $3.00.
Yes, I spent money on a spreadsheet. 

But I will reject your scoffs, because I am certain this will revolutionize our system. Here's why: With this sheet, I can better keep track of the bills that have been stacking up on our counter. I've even paid a bill or two late because--shock!--I forgot. Good grief, what have I become?!

I added this spreadsheet to our budget binder along with a pocket folder so I can put our bills away as they come in and immediately note them on this sheet, adding a checkmark after I've paid it. 

And that, my friends, is three dollars well spent. 
So the budget binder is complete, along with extra sheets and a few more pocket folders for paystubs and coupons. I'm oddly excited about my bright red binder, and the nerd in me just wants to get to the end of January so I can write some stuff down on my new sheets! 

I'm kidding, but I'm serious.
For more inspiration, go here
*I bought all the materials you see in this post at Staples. Approximate cost: $35

Hooray for organization!

UPDATE Part 2: Take a closer look into our budget system.

Marathon Training: Week 4


I could not be any happier with my run this morning. As you probably know, in the fall of 2011 I started trying to get under a 2-hour half marathon. I've been slowly getting faster, and I think 2013 might finally be my year. Yahoo! 

I wanted to use this 12-mile run as a test to see how close I am to that goal. I finished 12 miles in 1:50, which means I'm at just about the right pace to add on another 1.1 miles at about 9-minute pace. Here's how the miles broke down this morning. The best part is that, similar to my amazing 8-mile run in week 2, I get faster the longer I run. 

The 5 you see on Monday was cross-training. I worked on the stationary bike and then weights. On Thursday I did go to the gym, but I felt nauseous and just ended up walking on the treadmill for a half hour. I didn't figure that was worth noting. I guess I should have, though, because my dad called me to "see if something was wrong" because he hadn't seen a running update for 2 days. 

So far marathon training is going well. I do weekday runs on the treadmill in the morning before work, and being able to do my long Saturday runs with a local running group has been a huge help. I highly recommend you find a running group in your area to join if you're training for a race. 

My half marathon is coming up at the end of February, and I am very hopeful that I can finally break the 2-hour mark. Until then, I'll keep focused on adding miles and mentally preparing for my marathon. 

Check back next Saturday for a week 5 update! 

Patterns of Sleep (Or, Ways I Annoy Jordan While Sleeping) PART 2


About a year ago, I wrote a blog post (Patterns of Sleep, Part 1) about the things I do to annoy Jordan while we're sleeping. Until I married Jordan, there was no one besides my college roommate to tell me I did strange things while I slept....that is, until I DID marry Jordan, and then out came the crazy stories.

When I wrote that first post in March of 2012, it had been almost a full year of marriage, and now, after nearly 2 (in May), I think it's high time for an update. 

Jordan likes to tease me about the fact that I could sleep through anything. You could parade a marching band through our room with tubas and trumpets playing The Star Spangled Banner as loud as they could, and I wouldn't notice. But for some reason, lately I've been doing this thing where I get in that between-dreaming-and-awake state where you sort of wake up, and you know something is going on but you don't know what. 

During these times I get irrationally upset. Like, the Hulk and I could swap rage stories upset. 

When we first got married, Jordan and I didn't not want to go to bed at the same time. It was like we were 16. "Don't go to bed without me!" "No YOU don't go to bed with out ME!"

This cute honeymoon stage lasted approximately two days, until Jordan realized that I am a grandma and like to go to bed before the sun goes down. It is a rare occasion when I don't fall asleep before he does, and it takes about 30 seconds before I'm hard asleep.

Every night he rolls over and gives me a kiss before turning off his light. Because we're cute and stuff. Lately, however, I've been waking up when he kisses me. This is where the irrational rage comes in. 
One night he kissed me, and I woke up and shouted, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" 
And he said, "Um, well, I just kissed you."
Then I glared at him and rolled over to face the wall.

The next morning, I didn't remember anything about it. When I told him I didn't remember, he looked at me like this:

Another time, I purposely fell asleep on his side of the bed with my feet on his pillow and my head facing the bottom. I thought I was so funny, and I fell asleep chuckling to myself. "He's going to come in, and I will be asleep on his side!" (Chuckles) "AND my head is facing the wrong end!" (Chuckles) 

This is real-life excitement, people.

When Jordan comes in an hour or so later, I'm asleep, obviously. My evil plan is working beautifully, except in all my plotting, I didn't consider the fact that when he did come in, he would wake me up and force me to move, initiating the irrational rage. Nevermind that the whole thing had been my idea in the first place.

So he comes in and shakes me, and says, "Why are you on my side? You're weird."
And I'm like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING?"
And he's like, "Um, you're on my side. And you're crazy. Move."
And I'm like, "WHYYYYYY?"
Suddenly, in my dreamlike state, I remember what happened, and I say, "This seemed like a good idea at the time." To which Jordan replies, "You did this on purpose?"

Then he looks at me like this:

Again, I didn't remember this until the next morning when he reminded me, and even then he had to fill in some missing details.

These kinds of things have been happening lately, and more often than not Jordan has some weird story about me getting mad in my sleep. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't, but I never remember the whole story, and it's really fun to hear Jordan reenact the previous night's ridiculous episode. Thankfully, he realizes I am sleeping and not in control of what I'm doing, so he doesn't get mad at me for being mean to him. In fact, he usually finds it funny. 

Which is exactly what happened last night.

I was tired, and Jordan was in the man cave/extra bedroom/library watching Blades of Glory and playing a video game. I wanted to go to sleep, but I also wanted to hang out with him, so I felt like a fair compromise would be to get ready for bed and then take my blanket into the other room to fall asleep on the futon. Jordan warned me ahead of time that when it was time for him to go to bed, he would wake me up and move me. "So don't get mad," he said. I assured him that I would be fine. Lies!

As it happened, I naturally "woke up" at the same time he was ready to go into our bedroom. I say "woke up," because it soon became clear that I was not, in fact, awake. He walked me to bed, and I lay down. He leaned over to kiss me, and I promptly started trying to make out with him while mumbling incoherently and drooling on myself. I have no explanation. 

After Jordan successfully freed himself from my unconscious advances, I fell back asleep, and he started his nightly reading ritual (right now he's reading The Fellowship of the Ring). Just before he turned out his light, he noticed I had an eyelash on my cheek, and he reached over to get it. What he didn't know was that at that exact moment, I was having a dream that something was on my face. I don't know if it was a hair or an insect, but whatever it was caused me to violently flail my arms in the air just when he reached for the eyelash.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I shouted. My rages seem to have a theme.
"You had an eyelash."
Then we both started laughing, me more hysterically than him, because when you're dream-awake, every emotion is intensified. 
"Okay," I said. "Thanks." Then I closed my eyes. But I could feel him staring at me, so I opened them again. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" 
"Just looking at you cuz you're pretty."
Then I closed my eyes. But I could still feel him staring at me. 
Then I started laughing, and he started laughing.
"WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?" As if I hadn't just been laughing. 
Then I started crying. I grabbed a blanket, stormed out of the room, and said, "I'm sleeping in the other room."
Jordan chased me into the other room, laughing the whole time, and slowly talked me off the proverbial ledge in that calming way you're supposed to talk to crazy people. "Come on. Don't sleep in here. Come back to bed."
"Well are you going to stop looking at me and let me sleep?"
"Yes. I will."
So we got to bed, and I fell into a hard sleep in not-quite-literally-but-almost 3 seconds. The next morning I remembered the whole thing vaguely, but he had to fill in a lot. And I definitely did not remember trying to make out with him. So weird. 

I don't know what the moral of the story is unless it's that you should be glad YOU don't sleep with me. Because I would probably try to assault you. That, and Jordan is a forgiving person in real life and while I sleep. For this I am glad. 

It appears I might have to make these sleeping update posts a yearly tradition, because as crazy as I used to be, it appears I've given me a run for my money.

Until next year, sweet dreams! 

Marathon Training: Week 3


I promise that not every single I post I write from now on will be about running, but I didn't want to miss out on my weekly marathon training recap! I think it will be fun to go back and look at what I did later on. You know, after I'm all cool and tough because I actually ran a marathon.

This week I stuck with a 10-minute/mile pace for every run, which I am happy with. I want to be a little faster overall, but I also realize that I have a looong way to go (like, 14 weeks to go), and I don't want to burn out or injure myself because I went too hard in the beginning.

Saturday's 10-mile run was tough. I ran with the running group for another 6:00am wakeup call, and we ran in a park where there were a good number of hills. I talked in my last post about how I always set my treadmill at an incline, but there is nothing quite like running hills outside. My knees were feeling it. 

I'm glad to be done, and right now I can't imagine running for 26 miles. But I know I will get there, slowly but surely. Here's to week 4! 

Run 5 Miles in 50 Minutes with this Treadmill Workout


I've been running on the treadmill a lot lately. It's just been too cold to run outside the past few months. (Oklahoma got snow, so I'm not complaining.) Plus, I switched jobs last year, and now I get home much later than I used to. That's why I'm so glad my apartment has a gym, where I can go running and work out in the mornings before work. Believe it or not, a 5:15 wakeup actually does get easier. 

Having an accessible treadmill is pretty much the best perk about having an apartment other than not having to mow our yard. 

There are differing opinions about treadmills. Some say it's bad to run on a treadmill; others say it's fine. I fall somewhere in the middle. I think a treadmill can be a valuable tool if you use it right. Following are a few tips I've learned from my hours on the treadmill, and at the end of this post I've put a 50-minute treadmill workout that I created based on this Pinterest pin. I used the original workout as a base and tested it until I found the right speeds to get to a 10-minute/mile average for 5 miles total in 50 minutes. (The original pin was a bit slower than I wanted to do.)

1. Up the grade

I always always always set my treadmill to at least a 1.0 incline, but it's usually more like 1.5 or 2.0. There are two main reasons for this: 1) Setting an incline will help to simulate outdoor running. When you run through a neighborhood there will be natural hills, and you want to try to train your legs for that as best you can. The outside ground is not as flat as a treadmill at 0.0. 2) Increasing the grade is a great way to bring up your heart rate even if you're going slower. If you aren't able to run at a 6.0 pace, slow it down but increase the incline as you do so. It will also help tone your calves, which is always a plus in my book.

2. Increase the speed

I like a treadmill because it forces me to run at a certain speed. Sometimes I feel like I'm working harder to stay at a certain pace on a treadmill than I would be to keep that same pace outside, and then when I run outside I feel like I'm flying!

Don't be afraid to increase the speed and see what happens. You've got the timer right there. I like to tell myself, "You can do anything for 40 seconds." And it's true. Certainly you can sprint for 40 seconds, so use the treadmill to force you to run at a pace you might not think you could otherwise, just for 30 seconds to a minute at a time.

3. Find something fun to watch on TV

For me, "something fun" is sports. The Australian Open is on right now, and when I got to the gym yesterday, the first thing I did was turn on ESPN. The time flew by (relatively speaking) because I got interested in the match and stopped watching the clock every 30 seconds. 

Now, I know professional tennis isn't everyone's box of crayons, but take advantage of the fact that you have a TV available and find something to watch! Sometimes I just turn it to CMT and watch country music videos. It really does make it more fun, especially when you find something you can really get into. Plus, it's nice for me because we don't have cable, so I get to watch channels I wouldn't normally be able to.

4. Run Outside When you Can

At the end of the day, there is no substitute for a good outdoor run. You need to train in the elements--whether it be wind, humidity, heat, cold, or rain--and it's not like you can pay someone to stand in front of you and pelt you with water like rain. Okay, you could pay someone to do that, but that would be a ridiculous waste of money.

One thing I will add is that when I finally do go for an outside run after doing treadmill duty for a few weeks, my knees start hurting around mile 3 or 4. I think the treadmill is easier on your knees than the pavement is. That's probably why you're not supposed to only run on treadmills. 

I will admit that running on a treadmill gets boring, and I wish I could get outside more. But right now it's just not possible, and I have realized that the treadmill doesn't have to be terrible. 

The best thing I've found to make running on a treadmill interesting is to find different workout plans, like the one I have here. It really does make the time go so much faster, because instead of thinking about time in terms of 50 minutes, you think about it 3 minutes at a time.

This particular plan is a type of fartlek run that involves jogging, running, and sprinting with a few different inclines mixed in. I just ran this yesterday to make sure I did the math right, and I ran 5 miles in almost exactly 50 minutes (49:50). Check it out and let me know what you think!

Do you run on a treadmill?

*Find me on Pinterest and see what other fitness tips I've been pinning!

Why the Bachelor Contestants are Crazy


I got a comment on my last post that someone thought something terrible had happened to me, due mostly to the emo picture and dramatic lighting and also partly because of the Bible verse. When someone quotes a Bible verse, you know it's getting serious. 

So let me just say that no, nothing terrible has happened to me other than two nights ago, when I made a terrible awesome fashion decision and put on my nightgown from LLBean (my Christmas present to myself, thankyouverymuch) and then I added sweatpants AND...wait for it...a hoodie ON TOP OF my nightgown.

Holy moly, right? 
My husband is a lucky, lucky man.

ANYWAY, moving on to more important things like The Bachelor.

Right now, everyone I know is crazy about this show. The only season I actually did watch straight through was the one with Jason (above) and Melissa. That was the season with the awkward on-screen breakup during the "after the final rose"--the breakup that ABC tried to pretend was real but was completely staged. 

I don't watch it on my own because I now watch The Biggest Loser, which is also on Monday nights, but I have a group of girlfriends who watch The Bachelor every week, and every so often I go watch it with them because everyone knows it's funner to make fun of stupid people with a group of friends. 

I think we can all agree that the people on this show are ridiculous. What I have always wondered is why? Where do these loonies come from? Well, today I looked up the casting application, and let me tell you--it is awesome. No wonder the producers are able to find such nut jobs. Following are a few of my favorite questions from the application. You can tell they're really trying to weed out the quality people.

Have you ever been arrested, charged or convicted of a crime of any type?
If so, please give details and dates. 

They start off with a relatively normal question. This is something basic you put on a job application. But then here's the followup question...

Have you ever had a temporary restraining order issued against someone or had one issued against you?

Who wants to bet the ABC producers actually LIKE it when someone says yes. 
Bring on the psychos. Like this chick:

Do you drink alcoholic beverages? What’s your favorite drink?

Why do they want to know this? They want you to get drunk so you do weird things like this:

If you have been previously married, why are you no longer together?

Please refer to question two. That restraining order speaks for itself. 

List the date when such marriage(s) were legally dissolved.
This can only mean they've had people apply who are still legally married. Now that would be a twist.

Do you have any tattoos? If yes, what are they? And where are they located on your body?

I just don't understand this question. At all. Knowing this type of information is only relevant if you're planning on doing this: 
And it's really not even relevant then.

The application ends by asking contestants to submit anywhere from 5 to 15 pictures.
Fifteen pictures? That seems excessive. Hopefully no one is submitting any like this:
Although I do feel like we should know in advance how a person looks while crying. The uglier the better, I say. 

ABC is kind enough to also offer the option to submit a casting video. Apparently they've got some real dummies applying via video. Check out the taping instructions I found. Here are my favorite requirements:

#6: Do not chew gum.

#7: Make sure you are framed properly. A medium close-up shot is from just below the waist to just above the head, like this: 

This is serious. That picture is actually in the directions. Because the sentence isn't clear enough, I guess. And the stick man is WINKING. Winking! 

So there you have it. Obviously those casting questions are perfectly staged to find the wackos. I bet any girl who has a restraining order out against her is automatically in. But, after all, that's why it's so much fun to watch. Not for the love stuff but for the pure insanity. 

(P.S. For some fun Bachelor recaps from the current season, check out Helen's blog.) 

The Fig Tree


I took this picture with my new tripod and remote.
I was inspired from a photography blog that talked about the importance of taking self-portrais.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, 
nor fruit be on the vines, 
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

--Habakkuk 3:17-19

I don't know what 2013 holds for me, but right now, these verses from Habakkuk are speaking to me. I feel as though lately I have been struggling with being content. Content with my job, my apartment, my income, my photography, my blog. 

This year I'm trying to read a chapter of the Bible every night, and last week I chose to read through Habakkuk. I feel like I relate to Habakkuk a lot in what he says here at the end of the book. He is coming to terms with God's plan and realizes that even though it looks like nothing is going right--there's no food and no animals and no hope--YET he will rejoice and have joy. 

During my run on Saturday I was listening to my ipod, and the song "Starry Night" by Chris August came on. I ended up listening to it on repeat for the last half hour. If you have a couple of minutes to give it a listen, I highly recommend it. And apparently it makes a great  inspirational running song, because I ran 3 sub 9-minute miles during that 30 minutes. Plus one for Jesus music! 

Marathon Training: Week 2


When I tell someone I'm training for a marathon, they always ask, "Is it your first?" I answer yes with a sense of pride that yes, finally I'm doing the full, not just the half anymore (although the half marathon is certainly nothing to shrug at). This pride is mixed with fear because I have no idea what's going on. Every training run is new, and every mile is one more than I've ever run before in my life. I keep pinning articles to my fitness board on Pinterest that are helping me learn about pacing, cross-training, stretching, and food. (Pinterest is super handy, I've decided.)

I'm running a half marathon next month in Texas as part of my marathon training, but it's weird that this time the half marathon is not the goal but just another training run. And I can't tell you how strange it is to be faced with an 8-mile training run in week 2. Week 2! 
Normally for my half-marathon training, the 8-miler doesn't come until at least halfway through, and it's one of the longest long runs I do. If I follow the OK Landrunners training schedule, I will be doing THREE 20-mile runs. I can't even imagine what 20 miles feels like.

This week's 8-mile run was one of the best runs I've ever had. I had negative splits on every mile except 6, and I felt amazing. I didn't get any cramps or lose my breath or feel like I needed to stop or even slow down. It's the kind of run that reminds me why I love running. Here's how the miles broke down:

I know there will also be terrible runs in the future where I can barely put one foot in front of the other, so I am going to take joy in this run and try to remember how a great run feels.

One thing did happen on my run this morning that I should mention. The blister monster came back, which is always the sign that I need to invest in some new shoes. I have been wearing a pair of Brooks, which I like a lot, so I will probably just get another pair of those.

Check back next Saturday for an update on week 3!

Easy Weeknight Meal: The Chicken Braid


Pin now, read later!
No, just make this right now. Thank me later.

I don't remember when or where or how the chicken braid was introduced to my life--and I don't care. All I know is that on nights when I need something delicious and simple that uses ingredients I more than likely have on hand, Jordan and I look at each other and know we're both thinking the same thing: chicken braid (also known in the Bumgarner household as the "chicken & broccoli braid"). I got my mom hooked on the chicken braid as well. That's how you know it really is good. 

My favorite things about this recipe is that the more you cook it, the easier it gets. I don't even measure out anything anymore. It's all about eyeballing. I have an ingredient list below, but the options of what you can do with this are endless. 

For example: sometimes I don't have any onion, so I leave that out. Sometimes I only have a red pepper or a green or even no pepper at all. No garlic? No problem! The picture above was when I made it most recently, and we were all out of dill. That didn't stop me. Each time I make this it tastes slightly different. A friend of mine adds chopped nuts to hers and uses turkey instead of chicken. Sometimes she adds dried cranberry to make this more of a dish for fall. You could leave out the broccoli if you don't like it. It's up to you!

Here's what we normally use:
2 cups cooked chicken (frozen chicken strips or 2 fresh chicken breasts) <--or, what I like to do is buy a rotisserie chicken from Walmart and save all the chopped, cooked chicken in a freezer bag. Makes this recipe super easy!

1 cup cooked broccoli
1/2-1 cup green or red pepper
1/2 cup onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayo **don't let this freak you out. Jordan hates mayo, but he loves the braid
2 teaspoons dill
2 (8oz) crescent roll packages (or 1 large & flaky crescent roll package **DO NOT get the "buttery" flavor crescent roll. I tried it once, and it was not good.**)

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Start by chopping the veggies and chicken. You can chop it as small or large as you want. 
3. Combine the chicken, broccoli, pepper, garlic, and cheese in a large bowl. 
4. Fold in the mayo, dill, and salt. 
At this point you can decide if you want more or less mayo, cheese, etc. The more cheese, the cheesier it will be (obviously). The mayo will combine with the cheese to create a kind of sauce, but be careful not to add too much mayo or it won't be cheesy enough. If you want more chicken, more pepper, now is the time to add it. 
5. On a large bar pan or cookie sheet, unroll 1 crescent roll. DO NOT separate the dough. Instead, push together all the edges so you have one large, rectangular dough area. 
6. Using a knife or kitchen scissors, cut both sides of the dough on each side of the rectangle, approximately 1.5 inches apart. You want the cuts to be directly across from each other, so if you make 6 on one side, make 6 on the other. Here's a really terrible picture of what I mean:

7. Spread the filling evenly down the middle.
8. Take the opposite pieces of dough and twist together on top of the filling, forming a braid down the center. Seal the ends of the braid. It doesn't have to be perfect. The point is just to get a seal around the filling so it doesn't spill out everywhere.
9. Repeat with the second crescent roll.
**optional: brush the top of the crescent with whipped egg white and sprinkle with almonds** (we rarely do that part because I'm lazy and also because I hate almonds) 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
*Note: our oven cooks unevenly, so halfway through I usually have to turn the pan around so the opposite side is near the back.

This usually makes enough for Jordan and I to both eat our fill for dinner and have an entire braid leftover for dinner or lunch the next day. The more fillings you add (chicken, pepper, whathaveyou), the larger the braid will be. 

And there you have it! It's seriously so good and has become a go-to meal that's easy enough to change up depending on your own food preferences. Plus, it's pretty good for you if you get light mayo and fat-free crescent rolls. 

Linking up for Taste of Tuesday with Ashley and Jessica!

**Check out my recipe page for more good eats!**

The 4 Stages of Blogging


When I started this blog back in May of 2010, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know how long I would keep it up or what I would write about, and I certainly didn't' know if anyone would read it. Now, almost 3 years later, I'm still writing. Some very important moments have been documented here, along with a few funny anecdotes about married life with Jordan. 

I love having all the stories written down--little things I know I wouldn't remember otherwise--and each year I make my blog into a book that I will keep and read and laugh at later when I don't have this blog anymore. I also know that having this creative outlet has been fun for me, but sometimes I have mixed feelings about this blog of mine, and I believe I've discovered a pattern. Because while for the most part I try not to concern myself with followers or comments, sometimes my mind takes over and I start thinking all sorts of crazy things. 

This pattern is something I like to call "The 4 Stages of Blogging."

Stage 1: The Initial Post Drafting 

The first stage takes a firm stance during the initial drafting of a blog post. It's where I state my undying devotion to my blog and disdain for anyone who doesn't like it. 

"I don't care how many followers I have," I say. "This is my blog, and I do what I want. Also, this post is amazing. You're a brilliant writer." Then strut around my apartment for a few minutes before striking a pose like this: 
I feel very cool when I do this. I'm sure you can see why.

Then I finish writing my post, edit it, show it to Jordan if I think it contains potentially embarrassing/compromising stories about him that he might want to edit out, and hit publish.

Stage 2: The Unnecessary Exaggeration

Once the initial post is published, unnecessary exaggeration makes an appearance. I would estimate this happens once every 3 or 4 posts, every time I get more than 3 comments from people who aren't my mother or my best friend. 

This is when I pat myself on the back and start making ridiculous statements like: "I am so awesome. I have 136 followers and am on my way to 1 MILLION! Everyone loves me. I must clear my schedule because Ellen is going to be calling to schedule an appearance." 

I usually strike another pose at this point.
Because it's awesome. 

Stage 3: The Return to Reality

After I come down off the high of my barrage of 3 comments, I write a few posts that get 0-1 comments. I start to think: "Um, is this thing on?" This is followed almost immediately by a valiant effort to return to stage 1, where I swear undying devotion to my blog and disdain for anyone who doesn't like it. And anyway, I remind myself, I don't care how many comments I got. 

Stage 4: The Confusion

Stage 4 is where it gets interesting. More often than not, my self-doubting stage 3 is followed by random acts of affirmation in the form of people telling me they read my blog. It's always unsolicited and leaves me confused. This has happened to be at church, at work, and through friends of friends. 

After convincing myself that no one actually does read my blog, I don't quite know how to respond when people tell me they DO read my blog. In a panic, I start going back over all my old posts in my mind. I try to remember what the last post I wrote was. Was it stupid? Does this person think I'm an idiot? Did I have a glaring typo?

During this stage I often feel suspicious. They must be lying. They know no one reads my blog. This is just a way to lure me into submission before they kick me in the kneecaps and steal my purse. Yes, that must be it.

The most confusing part is when it's a boy telling me they read my blog. For some reason I assume Jordan and my dad are the only boys reading, but this is not at all the case. For all I know, males could make up the majority of my readership. (What up, boys?) 

Jordan and I were hanging out with a few couples last month, and one of the guys said, "I read your blog all the time." 

This was my first thought: so you mean you read the post about where I talked about how I organize my underwear drawer? 
Awkward anyone?

And then, after he told me he read my blog, he said, "I would enter your giveaways, but it's always earrings or something."
And then another guy said, "Yeah! Give away something for the guys."
I said, "Like what?"
And they said, "I don't know. Gun ammo or something."

Apparently there might be an ammo giveaway going on at some point. You can start getting excited about that.

So those are my 4 stages of blogging, mixed with the realization that BOYS read my blog. I am scared of boys.


Sometimes I'm happy where I am, just rolling along with my regular followers and my witty anecdotes. Other days I wish I had a thousand followers. But one thing I know. Whatever happens, at the end of the day I will always have one thing...


Ha. No. Not that.

My poses, duh. Holler.

Ellen, I'll be waiting for your call.

Marathon Training: Week 1


Week one of marathon training is complete, and so far so good! I did my Saturday run with a training group that meets every Saturday morning and trains specifically for the OKC Memorial Marathon in April. There were a lot of people out at 7:00 am this morning, bright and early, to run 6 miles. 

For my first marathon, I'm using a hybrid of a few different plans, but mostly I'm using this one from the running group. 

My goal is to finish the marathon in under 4:30, which is about 10-minute per mile pace. I also just recently signed up for the Fort Worth half marathon on February 24, which is perfectly timed for the 13-mile training run in week 8.

I hope to post a training update every week, and in 17 weeks I will be updating you on my first marathon!

How I Sucked In 2012. And Goals.


This time of year, everyone's all, "Here are all the things I'm going to do to improve myself next year!" and "Here are all the things I accomplished this year!" 

That's great and everything, but if I'm being honest, there were a few ways I fell short in 2012. I believe it's important to note these just so I don't start getting a big head about how awesome I am. (It's easy to do, seeing as how I am very awesome.) Here are just a few things that come to mind:

---In May I started an alphabet scavenger hunt. It began as a linkup, and I had dreams of the hundreds of people who would participate. I had a good following at first. (And by "good following" I mean 2.) But then it petered out, as most things do, and I was all alone. I lost motivation to do it every week because I wasn't sure how many people cared. It soon turned into a once-every-few-weeks kind of thing. Then, before I knew it, I hadn't looked for a letter in months. I left off at R a few months back, and my continuation is still yet to be determined.

---At the beginning of the year, I decided to do a writing series called "polishing your prose." The idea was to post one article on writing every month. This was back when I was employed as a full-time editor and spent every day reading and editing books. Then the terrible summer of 2012 happened (professionally speaking), and I quit my job. It became harder to write the posts after that, although really my employment should have had no positive or negative impact. I kept it up faithfully until November. I had every intention of making it up in December, but somehow I skipped that too. I'm pretty bummed out that I crapped out right at the end.

---In February I tried running every day for a week. I ran for 6 days straight. So there's that.

---I did hit my goal of reading 30 books, but it's important to note that as soon as I hit the big 3-0, I didn't pick up another book for 2 and a half months. I really could have blown my goal out of the water. My younger, overachieving self would be so ashamed. 

---I've made a couple of goals concerning prayer, devotions, and Bible reading, all of which have lasted approximately three days. Not good.

On the surface, this has the potential of being a depressing post. Who wants to talk about failure at the start of a brand-new year? But you shouldn't feel sad for me. What I've learned is that it's okay to fail. In fact, you need to fail a time or two. People who accomplish every goal they ever set are not setting high enough goals, in my opinion. That is what I am going to focus on in 2013: setting goals but also not being afraid to fail. I am competitive to the max, and sometimes I don't even like to start something because I am afraid I won't finish. This is not the way I want to live. 

I tried thinking of resolutions for 2013, but only one solid goal came to mind: run 500 miles. Other than that, I am going to attempt to get serious about reading at least one chapter of the Bible every night and cleaning my apartment once a week

If I've learned nothing else this past year, it's to be present. Put down your phone, stop whining, and just look around. It might not be the best day of your life, but it's a blessing nonetheless. It's not about whether or not I failed but whether or not I tried in the first place. That's what I'm going to do my best to focus on in 2013.