October Post Preview + Announcing a One-Day Linkup!


[gold dot image adapted from here]

For a few months now I've seen Emily do a preview of next month's upcoming blog posts. I liked the idea, but since my blog ideas pop up without notice, I didn't think it would work for me.

Next month, however, I actually have a few fun things planned for the blog and wanted to share so you could start getting excited now! (Or, ahem, know which days to skip. Not that any of you would do that.)

Here's what's coming up in October on The Lady Okie:

More from my "How to Start Running" series, which will include posts on gear, setting a schedule, and staying injury free. I will also be adding a fun feature section to each running post, so you can meet some running blogger friends of mine and get inspired from their stories! (Don't miss Part 1: Setting Realistic Expectations.)

A marriage update, because I haven't written one of those since I wrote that letter to my newlywed self on our two-year anniversary back in May.

I'll be linking up with Mallory on the third Thursday of the month (October 17) for a Boy Behind the Blog post. I enjoyed writing 5 Funny Things I've Heard Jordan Say and would like to include a few fun posts about Jordan every now and again so you don't forget about him!

I have a post on tithing that I'm working on. I've wanted to post on this for over a year now and keep putting it off. It's happening this month!

For the past two months I've been keeping a dinner journal, where I document what we ate every night. This isn't part of a diet plan. It's just a fun, albeit nerdy, experiment. This month I'm going to tally up the dinners show you some favorite meals in the Bumgarner household as well as some pantry staples I try to keep on hand to whip up a quick dinner on the fly.

I also have 3 races this month! I'm so excited. I haven't run a race since my marathon in April, and I've been jealous of all the summer race recaps I've been reading. Here's what I have lined up:
  • Color Run on October 5 (go here to get a discount code for $5 off!)
  • My 6th half marathon on October 19
  • The Tomato Dodge on October 26, which will either be freaking awesome or a total bust. I'm hoping for the former. (email me for a discount code for $7 off)

Now, for a...
***One-Day Linkup Announcement!***

This month I'm also going to be hosting a one-day linkup that I hope will be a lot of fun. I was brainstorming some post ideas and thought it would be fun to write one that copied the game my friends and I used to play in middle school (okay college, who am I kidding): Never Have I Ever. I lost pretty much every time because my friends were much more adventurous than I, but I like to think I've branched out a bit since my younger days.

So link up next Thursday, October 10, with your "Never Have I Ever" post, and we'll have some fun! You can make a list of things you've never done or write about one or two things. You can write about things you haven't done but want to do or things you've never done and don't ever want to do. It's whatever you want!

Just seriously, someone please link up. It would be embarrassing to have no one do it with me. You can grab this button if you're so inclined. I spent approximately 1.2 minutes on this. Never have I ever been to graphic design school. (See what I did there?)

Finally, I wanted to share the 5 most popular posts from September in case you missed them. 
Here they are in order of popularity.

10 Reasons Why Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby
My Recipe for Super Easy Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken
How to Start Running Part 1
5 Blog Posts I Usually Skip
Runner Problems: My Calves Are Too Big for My Skinny Jeans
I keep waiting for blog inspiration to leave, but I'm just having too much fun! I appreciate you coming here to read and comment, and I hope I can continue to bring you quality posts on a semi-regular basis.

Here's to October!

5 Funny Things I've Heard Jordan Say


(This will be Jordan's face when he discovers that I've written a post about him. I SHOW NO MERCY.)
I talk about myself a lot on this blog, and I've written about me doing some embarrassing stuff. You know, stuff like BE ALIVE. Seriously, I've pretty much done something awkward and/or ridiculous within seconds of waking up.

But don't be fooled. 

Mr. Lady Okie adds his own ridiculousness to the crazy pot, and today I am going to share some of them with you. You're welcome.

Upon waking up 

Him: "I just had the best dream."
Me: "Oh yeah? What was it about?" (Me thinking: It was probably about me! How sweet.)
Him: "My mom brought me dinner. TWO plates of fried chicken and rice a roni. Mmmmm. It was so good."

Lesson learned: Men really do think about food all the time. Specifically their mama's food. 

One day, I found him flexing in front of the mirror.

Him: "Look at this!"
Me: "What?"
He flexes again. "No matter how much I eat, the top two abs never go away!"
Me: Blank stare.

Lesson learned: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE LESSON IS. Maybe that men can't count? Um, honey, I love you, but you're 4 short of a six pack. Now stop flexing and come eat mac 'n' cheese from a box with me!

While browsing the Internet: 

Him: Check this out! Kim Kardashian has blonde hair now. 
Me: Cool?
Him (after a pause): Yeah, I'm ashamed I clicked on that link.
Me: You definitely should be.

Lesson learned: Even men can be hoodwinked by the lure of the Kardashian women.

While playing a video game: 

Me: Dinner's ready!
Him: I'll be there just as soon as I can warp back to base.

Lesson learned: I will never understand video game lingo, and I'm not going to try.

While cooking: 

Me: I'm going to make breakfast for lunch. Pancakes, bacon, and eggs. 
Him: That's weird. Pancakes and bacon don't go together.
Me: Blank stare.
Him: Oh yeah. Nevermind.

Lesson learned: Men don't actually pay any attention to what they're eating. I'm pretty sure pancakes and bacon have been eaten together since the beginning of time.


The Social Media Rabbit Hole or, The Real Reason I Don't Own a Smart Phone


I used to pride myself on being one of the last people in my friend group to have a smart phone. I claimed to "not care" about Facebook, and I thought Twitter was stupid. I sat high on my self-created pedestal for a long time, lording over my social media-obsessed peers while frowning on their addiction to the internet and all the worldly distractions it offered. 

I was the last pure, unsoiled being, and I was proud of it. Or, at least that's what I told myself when I wrote this post.

But behind my righteous facade, a darkness was growing.

I got a Twitter, and it crept nearer. I made a second twitter for my editor account (I've actually since deleted it), and the darkness loomed. Then I made a Facebook page for The Lady Okie blog, started up another blog where I post editing and writing tips twice a week (amanadabumgarner.com), and the darkness moved ever closer. 

Now I am convinced that the only thing saving me from disappearing completely down the social media rabbit hole is the fact that I still don't have a smart phone. This is also the reason that I don't plan on getting one any time soon. 

It's not because I don't want one.
It's not because I'm too good for it.
It's not really because I don't want to pay for the data plan. (Although it kind of is.)
It's not because they're evil.

It's because I'm obsessed.

Right now while I'm typing this I'm also thinking about how I haven't checked my Twitter in five minutes. I probably have some interactions to respond to! People "favoriting" my hilarious tweets! People retweeting my hilarious tweets! People tweeting me to tell me I'm hilarious!


I'm being a little dramatic, of course, but not really. The darkness is here. Can you feel it? Because I can, and I don't like it. I wasn't until I read this blog post that it all came together for me.

If I waste even 5 minutes on unnecessary social media per day, I will be wasting 30.4 hours a year, which is just over 1 DAY of my life per year. And you know what? I waste well more than 5 minutes a day, so that number is even higher. Major sad face.

The blog post I mentioned asked this question: What do you do when you get free time? She talked about how instead of wasting time on social media, she's trying to be more intentional about the way she spends her free time. The post included a quote saying that the greatest waste is getting an hour of unexpected free time and doing nothing with it. Yet I do this so often. And I am convinced it would be WORSE if I had the ability to carry the Internet with me in my pocket.

Seriously, check out this article about whether or not smart phones are killing our memories.

So anyway, that's the real reason I don't have a smart phone. I'm not shaking my finger at those who have one. I know they can be useful, and the iphone camera is awesome. I don't even know how to take a picture with my phone, which isn't helpful when you're at the mall shopping by yourself and want to text a picture to your best friend for a second opinion.

Still, I just know that it would be so easy for me to become one of those people who can't live without it. And I want to be able to stand in line at Walmart or wait at a stoplight with just my own thoughts to keep me company and not feel the urge to check Instagram every 2 seconds. Because I totally would. I hear Instagram is loads of fun. I mean, who doesn't want to take pictures of their lunch and post it for the world to see?
Here's the truth: I have enough trouble as it is. At this point, I'm barely keeping my head above the social media rabbit hole. A smart phone would put me over the edge.

[For another great read: Technology and Being Intentional]

If you have a smart phone (so, basically everyone reading this), I'd love to hear how you manage not being obsessed with social media. Would you ever consider going back to a "regular" phone?

Also.... (the really important question) I am just being really dramatic about the whole thing?*
*No, don't answer that.

Winner of the Jewelry Giveaway!


Giveaways are fun, but they're a bummer too, because at the end of it all I can only choose one winner. 

And the winner is....
Congratulations to Chelsea! I'll be emailing you to pick your piece. 

For everyone else, you can still buy something from The Bauble Dept. Etsy shop. Free US shipping and mark-down on everything in the stop until the end of the month! Thanks to Allison for the giveaway.

How to Start Running | Part 1: Adjusting Your Mind-Set & Setting Expectations


Lately I've gotten a few requests to do a "how to get started running" post. I've been wanting to write a post about this for a while now, but the main thing keeping me from it is because I don't feel qualified. 

I'm not a physician or a personal trainer or coach. I'm not fast by elite standards, and I don't follow any sort of normal training plan. I don't diet and I don't do as much cross-training as I should. 

I'm just a regular person who fell in love with running. But I guess that's as good a qualification as any, right? 
hello, squinty eyes
So just keep in mind, those of you who are interested in reading this series, that what I'm about to say is based solely on my own personal experience as well as a number of articles and book I've read on the sport of running. You should consider consulting your doctor before beginning any kind of regular fitness regimen. Also, I realize that some of you might be way more in shape than I was when I started running, so not all of this will apply to everyone. Again, I'm just speaking from my experience.

Okay, so, now for the million-dollar question: How does one get started running?

The answer is as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and as complicated as an advanced algebra equation. I'm going to split this into a few different posts, because in order to go into the detail you're probably looking for, this is gonna get long. For today's post, we'll focus on two things: adjusting your mind-set and setting realistic expectations. I really think this is where your running success or failure will be defined. 

First, realize that it's going to take time.

I've been running consistently for over 3 years, and it was only over the course of this past year that I've been able to honestly say that I think running is fun. Fun. Like, pack my shoes in my suitcase and go running on my vacation fun.

What I want you to understand is that it wasn't always like this. Many All of my early runs were filled with pain. This pain was both physical and mental. The physical pain was obvious: burning lungs, stomach cramps, leg cramps, blisters, and nausea. The emotional pain was even worse in some ways. It was facing the embarrassing realization that I couldn't hold a light jog for more than 2 minutes at a time. It was wondering when, if ever, I would be able to call myself a runner.

Both of these pains took time to overcome. And it's not like every run I go on now isn't hard. But for me, running is so much easier than it used to be when I was huffing and puffing after half a block. (However, it isn't ever going to be easy. Read this awesome post from one of my favorite running bloggers about easy running.)

If you're just starting up running, it's not going to be instantly easy, which is where realistic expectations come in.

As you're considering starting up running, you need to figure out where you're at physically. Maybe you're able to run a mile or two. Or maybe you're able to walk for 30 minutes. Let's assume you're the latter. You're not a blob on a couch stuffing your face with cheesy puffs, but you're also not sure how far you can run, if you can handle running at all.

Setting realistic expectations means working with what you've got. The Couch to 5k program is all about building up your running in slow steps. (See also: How Stuff Works: How the Couch to 5k Running Plan Works.I didn't follow that, or any, program when I was first starting, but I basically did the same things they recommend: alternate walking and running for a set period of time. Continuously build up your running time as you lower your walking time. Eventually you'll be running more than walking, and soon enough you'll be running the whole time! 

At this point you could care diddly squat about distance. We're focusing on time.

For my birthday I bought myself a copy of Run Less Run Faster. It has a lot of great advice for experienced runners, and it also outlines a novice 5k training program that I would totally try out if I were just starting. 

Here's the first workout of the 12-week program: 

Total time: 32 minutes
Walk for 10 minutes
(Run: 1 minute | Walk: 2 minutes) x 4
Walk for 10 minutes

It's a 32-minute workout, and you're running for a total of 4 minutes. You're probably thinking that sounds ridiculous. Surely you can run for 4 minutes over a 32-minute time frame. And you probably can. But the point is to be realistic about it. You aren't going to be blazing any trails for the first few weeks or even month. Just keep your eyes on the prize. Start with something somewhat manageable.

Now, check out what the first workout in week 4 looks like (this is still according to the aforementioned book):

Total time: 36 minutes
Walk for 10 minutes
(Run: 3 minutes | Walk: 1 minute) x 4
Walk for 10 minutes

Do you see how the running time has increased and the walking time decreased? The overall time of the workout also increased just a tad. This is how you build up. But it takes time. I think a lot of people start running and then drop out after a few weeks because they get discouraged. I know from experience that it's totally embarrassing to admit that you're running a total of 3 minutes at a time. 

To this day I remember going for a run with a friend of mine freshman year of college. I think we made it 5 minutes before collapsing. 

When there are people posting post-marathon pictures, your 36-minute workout won't feel like much, especially since you spent 75% of it walking. But at the end of the day a 5k is completed one minute at a time. So keep adding minutes. You'll get there.

Okay, that was a lot already! 

Next up: running gear. For now, just do some research on what plan you're going to follow and work on adjusting your mind-set and setting realistic expectations for yourself. Maybe even see if you can find a 5k to register for. Yep, I went there. Just make sure it's about 9-12 weeks out. Believe it or not, you'll be ready by then.

Do you have any questions? Anything to add? Leave a comment!
Also, if you have any questions or suggestions for what to put in an upcoming running post, leave a comment or email me at: theladyokie@gmail.com

Until next time, happy running!

That Time My Blog Post Went Viral


Viral: "A viral blog post is one that has an extremely high number of shares compared to the number of shares for your average post." (via Write to Done)

Something weird happened to me last week. 

I noticed an oddly large amount of traffic on a post I wrote a month or two ago titled "10 Reasons Why Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby." I only noticed the traffic because my crockpot BBQ chicken recipe has been holding the top spot pretty much since I posted it. Apparently people love them some bbq chicken. So I was curious how a random post on running could get so much interest when I hadn't done anything personally to promote it. 

Upon checking my stats, I realized that the marathon baby post had gotten 4,000 views. IN ONE DAY.

I know that's not a lot for big-time bloggers, but for The Lady Okie? Holy wow.

So I checked the source of all the traffic and saw it was coming from Facebook. Weird, since my FB page has less than 200 followers. And... down the social media rabbit hole I went. Just call me a blogger/private investigator.

The Lady Okie at your service.

At the end of it all, after I scoured the interwebs and stalked twitter and facebook for a good 15 minutes, I found out that Canadian Running Magazine had linked the post on their Facebook page and broadcasted it to over 20,000 fans. I can only assume they discovered the post because it was featured in the Health section of BlogHer, but that's just a guess.

At the time of this writing, my post had 118 likes and 133 shares, as well as a number of reshares from those shares as well as a lot comments.

Hence the four thousand pageviews. Also hence the reason my blog is currently so popular with Canadians. (Not that I don't like Canada, but I was confused since most of my pageviews originate from Oklahoma City. No, I don't sit at home all day pressing "refresh" on my own homepage. Why would you even think that?)

This was exciting, as you can imagine. Who needs the lottery when you're an internet sensation! My second thought (after the visions of fame and fortune) was to be glad more people were getting the chance to experience my witty sense of humor. Honestly, I feel like I've been wasting it on you people. It's time for a new audience.* 

Greetings, Canada! What's that now? You think I'm funny? You're too kind. Hang on. Ellen DeGeneres is calling me to appear on her show alongside the two-year-old who plays piano and sings Adele songs.


I started reading the comments.

Apparently there are people in the world (all women so far, go figure) who do not like that I would dare to compare running to giving birth. I didn't know that my post would be so offensive, but apparently it is.

These people, whoever they are, do not understand a little concept called being funny. Clearly it was a post that was meant to be read by someone with a sense of humor.

Calm yourselves.
That's what I want to say.

Did I say running a marathon was the exact same thing as having a baby? No. I said it was similar.

As much as I say it doesn't matter, I can't help but be offended by a few of the rude comments. Of course, there are also a lot of "LOLs" and such, which is great. Why does the 2% of rude have to ruin the rest? I don't know, but it does leave a sting when someone leaves a comment about something I wrote and basically says I have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm not upset about the fact that they disagree with me. I'm bothered by the fact that they're not understanding me. They don't get me, and they don't get my writing, and that makes me feel bad.

Anyway, the point of all of this, I guess, is to tell you that it's difficult to write online. To be a person with no face, just a screen with letters on it. And it's hard to try to write so that you can feel whatever emotion I'm trying to convey. 

I enjoy sarcasm, and I enjoy jokes. I'm also able to laugh at myself. All of these things are great in person and more difficult in writing. That's why we need to remember to take anything we read online with a grain of salt. Some people just don't come across well in writing, and just because we disagree doesn't mean we have to be rude about it. 

So far in my blogging experience, I haven't had a lot of negativity to deal with. That's thanks to all of you! You leave me awesome comments. It makes blogging lots of fun. I appreciate the fact that you read and the fact that you comment. And I appreciate most of all that even when you disagree with me, you do it nicely.

So. In conclusion,

Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for reading my blog. 
And thanks, most of all, for getting me.
Just assume everything I write is 40% hyperbole, 50% sarcasm, and 20% dramatic. 

Then assume I'm not very good at math.

*Please don't make me add a disclaimer to that line. THAT WAS A JOKE. I love you all and wish I could buy you each a cupcake. Unfortunately, I already ate them all.

Win Something Pretty from The Bauble Dept.


[P.S. Winner of the workout band giveaway was CeCe!]
* * * 

I don't do sponsorship on this blog. I thought about it for a while. I even wrote up a post detailing all my sponsorship options. 
Then I deleted it. 

I'm not here to discuss the pros and cons of blog sponsorship, but obviously the pros are that if you have sponsors you can earn money for blogging instead of what I do (ie. not earn money). The cons, however, outweighed the potential money earnings, at least for me. That's all I'm going to say about it. I'm not saying sponsorship is bad; it just isn't for me (at least right now).

Anyway, besides the cash, one pro for YOU of me not having sponsors is that you can be 100% sure that when I host a giveaway, it's because I think whatever I'm giving away is legit. It's not because I got paid.

So please take the time to check out my girl Allison, because she's one of my favorite bloggers! She and her husband, Riley (who is also an electrician like Jordan!), are leaving in a few weeks to live on a boat. Like, for real. She quit her job, and he's taking a leave of absence from his, and they're going sailing for an unknown period of time. Who does that? (Don't tell her, but I'm planning on stowing away in her suitcase.)

Besides being a great blogging friend, she also sells jewelry! The stuff in her shop is super cute, and I'm always crushing on her great necklaces and earrings. These are a few of my favorites:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Lucky for you, I've convinced her to give away a piece from her shop! 
You could win your choice of these earrings or this necklace:

Allison is also offering FREE shipping (to the US), and she also put everything in her shop on sale through the end of September. Apparently when you go on a boat, you don't have room to bring your entire Etsy inventory.

So enter using the Rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win the earrings or the necklace. And make sure to visit her shop for a lovely piece of handmade jewelry with free shipping through the end of September! Winner will be chosen on Tuesday

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creative Writing Prompt: The Dinner Party

I got this creative writing prompt from a blog linkup. Everyone uses the same first sentence and writes a short piece of fiction. You know I'd be all over this. It's been a while since I actually sat down to write a fiction piece, and the exercise was quite fun even though I can tell I'm out of practice. Writing fiction is no joke. Let me know what you think!

To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century.

I had been looking forward to it. That was before I knew he was going to be there. 

I’d never been to the Richardson house, but ever since I moved to Summerset, I had heard stories about the dinner parties that were hosted there on the third Thursday of every other month.

For as much as they were talked about, the dinner parties were a mystery to the townspeople. Talk was, the Richardsons didn’t invite just anyone to one of their dinner parties, but no one knew the exact criteria required for an invitation. I was delighted yet surprised when the envelope arrived. After all, I’d only been living in Summerset for four months and didn't know many people. Still, I'd heard rumors about Richardson parties, and when I saw the scrolling cursive addressed to Miss Evangeline Harper, I knew an invitation was inside.

For three weeks, I counted down the days. I bought a new dress and practiced what I was going to say to Mrs. Marla Richardson. I pictured making my grand entrance to the stately old house on the hill at least a hundred times. Everything was going to be perfect.

Then, the day before the party, I got a phone call. It was from him, telling me he was going to be at the Richardson dinner party too. After we ended the call, during which I had barely been able to say anything beyond a few mumbled words, I stood in my kitchen and stared at my phone in shock as the setting sun wove twilight shadows across the tiled floor.

“How did you find me?” I whispered to the empty room.

The sun suddenly dipped below the horizon. Then the light vanished, and I shivered.

Scenes of Summer: In 10 Photos


* * *
For the stories behind these pictures...

See more pictures from our crazy family photo shoot.
Check out more pictures from the lake here and here.
Read about my favorite Chicago places:

My Budgeting Confession


*This is part 4 of my budgeting series*

You've no doubt heard me talk before about our budget binder and how Jordan and I each have a monthly allotment of what we call "blow money." It used to be $100, but when I lost my job we cut it down to $50 each. That means each month we get $50 to spend on whatever we want.

I don't know if you know this, but $50 is not a lot of money. It's like one pair of jeans from the Gap or half a pair of new running shoes.

That's why, in my list of posts I usually skip, I should have added fashion posts, because it kills me to see all the cute things you people are buying! Luckily, I have a few awesome friends who heard my childish cries for cash and gave me gift cards to spend for my birthday, which is how I acquired my pair of green skinny jeans that don't actually fit my giant runner's calves.

But I digress.

Fifty dollars. It goes fast when you have to, say, buy new running shoes or sign up for races, and sometimes I go over my month's budget. Then sometimes, I go over the next month's budget. 

All of the sudden I'm 3 months behind, and Dave Ramsey is frowning at me.

This happened to me recently over the summer. I needed new running shoes, I renewed my blog domain name for another year, I bought a mint green t-shirt, and by the time August hit, I had already spent my entire month's blow money.

I'm telling you this because despite the spreadsheets and the insanely organized binder, I don't want you to think I have my budgeting act completely together. I don't. But I'm working on it. I was really proud of myself, because in August I didn't buy anything, and I'm finally caught up with the current month! It's a great feeling. 

I've read a lot of blog posts about how difficult it is to not spend money. And that's true. But I think spending money is just like anything else: it's a habit. I would even say it's a habit than can be broken.

Sure, I wish I had unlimited number of dollars to spend. I've been majorly crushing over a pair of plaid Sperry's that I saw a friend of mine wearing at church a few weeks ago, and it would be awesome to be able to go to the store right now and buy them. But it's not the end of the world. Those Sperry's aren't going to make me a better person or make my life any better. They're just shoes. Now I just need to repeat that to myself until I believe it.

Spending money doesn't have to be a crutch or something we do just because we're bored. Staying on budget is hard sometimes, but it's worth it to pay attention to what you're spending and get back on track. 

All that to say: My goal for the last four months of 2013 is to stay on budget each month. We're halfway through September, and so far so good.

I can do this! I just have to stay strong.

Also check out these great budgeting posts I've found: 

>Sallie & Perkins series from Erin @ Love, Fun & Football
>How to Have a 10-Item Wardrobe from JenEricGeneration
>Our Debt-Free Story from Words of Williams

Do you have trouble staying within budget? 
What do you do to get back on track?