*Project 12: A photo on the first day of every month in 2014*
January | February | March | April | May

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn [book review here]
Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings
* * *
Currently Reading: My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
After that: In the Woods by Tana French

1) My family came up from Texas on November 8, and we took a trip to Eischen's in Okarche for fried chicken. This restaurant has been on my Oklahoma bucket list since I moved here! See more pictures here.

2) I went to Tulsa November 1-2 to visit a friend.
3) We drove to Texas for Thanksgiving!

November 7: We got Chinese takeout and watched a movie
November 16: Double date after church

Notable Events
It snowed! And...everyone in Oklahoma freaked out. School was closed and everything. Being from Illinois, I like to make fun of the Oklahoma drivers who don't know what they're doing in the snow, but it was for real slippery and dangerous. I think the main problem was that the weather people predicted "a few flakes" and yet it was like a blizzard on Sunday. No one was prepared.

Our turkey trot this year went great! We had a big turnout and raised a lot of money for Youth for Christ. The weather was perfect. I can't believe next year will be our fifth year of putting on this race.

After the runners leave, things get crazy. When will we be old enough to not jump on each other? Apparently never.

Just before everyone headed their separate ways, I propped my camera on the car for a good old-fashioned self-timer picture. And that, my friends, is how we ended November.


Two big things are happening this month: 1) Christmas, obviously. 2) I'm flying to San Diego THIS WEEKEND to visit a friend who recently moved there. Our other friend is flying from Ohio, and I'm so excited for a fun girls' weekend! We're doing the Electric Run 5k on Saturday so I'll hopefully have some good pictures from that to share.

Pre-Thanksgiving Coffee Date


Hello, friends! 

This will be the only time I'll post this week. I know we all have Thanksgiving stuff going on, and to be honest I'm just too busy right now to worry about writing blog posts. That and I'm in the middle of two really good books, and at this particular moment in time reading > blogging.

I'm pretending that we're meeting for a quick pre-Thanksgiving coffee date before all the craziness of the holidays hits. I might splurge and order a peppermint mocha this time. Despite my aversion to coffee, I actually like those. However, since I'm not used to the caffeine, after I drink one, I'm literally bouncing in my chair so I drink with caution.

I would probably come in wearing the above outfit, because it's actually one of my favorites right now. If you hate it, just don't tell me about it, because I think I look really cute. Let's just say I feel stylish, which doesn't happen to me all that often. Hashtag cheap people problems.

I bought that striped sweater at the Loft outlet a few months ago. It was 40% off but still cost me $30, which is on the high end of what I like to spend for any type of clothing besides running shoes. But I'm glad I did. Those boots are the new brown ones I mentioned buying in my winter wardrobe essentials post. Rack Room shoes for the win.
Speaking of running shoes, I just recently bought a new pair. I got Mizuno's this time, which is a brand I've never run in before. I really like them so far. Plus, they look really cool. Dark gray with blue stripes. I don't buy running shoes based on the look, but it doesn't hurt. When I was at the store, I told the guy who was helping me that I had "only" run about 550 miles so far this year.

I remember a time not too long ago when the very idea of running 500 miles in a year sounded insane. I guess it's all about perspective. Well, perspective and the number of crazies I follow on Twitter who run marathons every other weekend. Sometimes I have to remind myself that is actually not the norm, and my 3 days of running a week are nothing to shrug about. I'm officially registered for two 1/2 marathons in 2015, which is two more than I ran in 2014, so I'm pretty pumped. Sub 1:50, here I come.
^^^I made that scarf. My friend Justine gifted me a skein of alpaca yarn a few years ago, and I made that cowl out of it. But the yarn is suuuuper thin, and it took me forever to finish. It's lightweight but still keeps my neck warm when it's just a tad on the chilly side. I'm pretty proud of it. (The leaf necklace is from an online popup store that I used to get emails for, but I forgot the name now, so that doesn't help you.)
Since it's almost officially the end of November, I'm calling it quits on my "no comment" experiment. I'll be writing up a post in December about what I learned. It actually was an interesting experiment, and I'm glad I did it. Feel free to share any thoughts you had about it. For now, I will just say that I will be keeping comments on for good now. I suppose I get why some people turn off comments, but to be honest I think it's kind of a silly idea. More on that later.
Thanksgiving is going to be crazy this year, just like it has been for the last 3 Thanksgivings. In 2011, my family started a turkey trot in our neighborhood. The first year, we had 300 runners, and last year we had over 900! This year we expect to have about the same. 

It's a ton of work, but it's a lot of fun. There's a 1-mile fun run and timed 5k. All the money raised supports the ministry of Youth for Christ in North Texas. If you want to read more about how the turkey trot all started, you can read this post. So that's what we'll be doing Thanksgiving morning: setting out cones to mark the route, getting registration organized, and cutting bananas for the finishers. (And if you happen to live in the Flower Mound, Texas, area and want to come out, here's the registration link.)
I keep thinking of more things to type, but ain't nobody got time for that. This is the holiday season, after all. The most wonderful time of year. And the busiest. I'm a little insane. I am already completely done with Jordan's Christmas presents and I have our Christmas cards in envelopes, addressed, and ready to send out! Please tell me I'm not the only one.

I hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving and spending time with family and friends, however that looks in your world. Thanks for stopping by for a glimpse into mine.

Just for kicks: If you're interested in a funny Reese family story from last year, here is a post that is at the top of my list of all-time favorites.

Runners Tell All: My Running Fans


"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month we'll have a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here. We are accepting two sponsorship spots for each month, who will receive a sidebar ad on both blogs as well as entry links in the giveaway. 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly toward running-related giveaways. Email me if you're interested! We have 2 spots available for December!

Welcome to the second-to-last Runners Tell All! Next month will be the last linkup. Beka and I want to thank all of you who played along this year. We've had a lot of fun, and we hope you have too. The final linkup will go live on December 21, and the prompt is: Reflect on your 2014 running share your running goals for 2015. We hope you will join us for the last linkup and our final giveaway, which will have three winners!

This month we're talking about our running fans.

It should go without saying (even though I'm obviously still saying it) that Jordan is my biggest running fan. He's the one who has to listen to me talk about how my training runs went, what my pace was, how far I ran, and what I listened to. I know he doesn't really care, but he still asks and listens, and I appreciate it so, so much.

My family are also big fans of mine, and I do not take it for granted that they've been there to cheer me on for both marathons and as many other races as they could come out for. Anyone who makes signs and stands outside cheering for over four hours deserves a pat on the back. Spectating is not easy, and I often think they have a right to be more tired than I am.

After I finished my first marathon, my college girlfriends sent me flowers, and I felt so loved and special even though they couldn't be there in person.

Finally, I can't not mention all of you--my online running community. Not many of my real-life friends are runners, and sometimes it's hard to find people who get it. Sometimes I feel all alone. But you guys get it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the running community is amazing. No matter how slow or fast you are, everyone crosses the same finish line. You really won't find more encouraging people that your fellow runners, and I love talking to you guys about it. That's why this linkup has been so much fun! I'm going to miss it.

It's so fun to have my family waiting for me at the finish to congratulate me, and then it's fun to go online and share my story with all of you. Running wouldn't be at all the same without my fans.

**No giveaway this month, but next month there will be a final giveaway with three winners, so be sure and come back! If you want to be part of our giveaway with 3 links and a sidebar button on both Beka's and my blogs, email me! <theladyokie@gmail.com>

Runners Tell All Linkup Rules
  1. You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
  2. Link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post. 
  3. Have fun!

5 Winter Wardrobe Essentials


Today I'm linking up with Kiki for another round of The Circle. (Side note: I really love Kiki's blog, so if you don't read it already, you should get on that.) Today's topic is "5-10 Essentials," and so seeing as how arctic-ageddon is upon us here in Oklahoma, I thought I would share with you my top 5 winter wardrobe essentials. Fashion posts on The Lady Okie Blog are like purple unicorns, so you better enjoy it now because soon it will be gone!

*I fully intended to take cute, pin-worthy, up-to-date pictures of the following items, but I've been crazed lately, so please enjoy these out-of-date pictures I stole from previous blog posts.

1. Coats
I have a few coats of varying thicknesses and cuteness factors depending on where I'm going and how cold it is outside. The above coat is one of my favorites. It's from Banana Republic, and I bought it for $30 at a resale shop (Plato's Closet, I think) back in 2010, and it's still doing its thing 4 years later. This coat has definitely gotten its money's worth and then some. The best part about it? It has so many pockets. Like, hidden fleece-lined pockets upon pockets that I only discovered after I bought it. Double winning.

2. Scarves
I am all about them scarves, y'all. A woman can never have too many. I might be fine without a coat, but if my neck is cold, it's all over for me. If you don't know what to get me for a present, a scarf is always a good option. 

I often crochet my own scarves after seeing something at a store that I like. I'm all, "$30? Sorry, Loft, but I can totally buy the yarn and make that myself." The above scarf is from the American Eagle outlet, and I wear it all the time. It's white and gray and goes with everything. I'm almost finished crocheting a blueish-greenish infinity scarf that's nice and warm and big. I can't wait to wear it!

3. Skinny Jeans
I used to be so opposed to skinny jeans, but a few years ago I saw the light and now I can't go back. I have three pairs that I switch between in the winter: dark purple jeans from the Banana Republic outlet ($12, holler!) / dark wash jeans from the BR outlet / MissMe jeans from Plato's Closet ($25, holler!).
4. Boots
Up until a few months ago, I had 1 pair of brown boots (from Kohl's), which you can see in the picture above. They are so comfortable, and I have gotten a surprising number of compliments on them. Mostly from homeless women on the side of the street as I walk downtown to the library on my lunch break. You think I'm kidding.

Anyhoo, after wearing my brown boots almost every day for two years, I spent an entire month's blow money on a second pair this year from Rack Room Shoes. I also have 2 pairs of black boots, so basically I'm set for the next forever with boots.

5. Sweaters
(^^Here's me wearing a sweater, a scarf, and my skinny jeans!)

My sweaters are all mostly from Target, Banana Republic outlet, or the Gap outlet. You're probably sensing a theme here with clothing stores. I find myself buying a lot of striped sweaters, which is still kind of strange to me because I used to hate all things striped. 

I stick mostly to purples, greens, and blues, since those are the colors that are best for my complexion. Reds/oranges/pinks are definitely a no-go for me. I mean just look at that pumpkin. It's blowing my skin tone right up. You know it. I know it.

What are your winter wardrobe essentials? Love or hate skinny jeans? Black or brown boots?

Serving: All the Fried Things


Last weekend my family came into town (minus my brother Daniel who decided to be lame and stay home; what a loser), and I got to cross something off my Oklahoma bucket list: fried chicken at Eischen's in Okarche, Oklahoma.

Since I moved to Oklahoma in 2008, I've heard people raving about Eischen's and how delicious the fried chicken is. But Okarche is a pretty long, boring drive, so we'd never gotten around to making the trip. With my family in town, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity.
Oklahoma gets a bad rap for being one of the most unhealthy states in the nation, and now that I live here, I see why. Never before have the options of fried food been so unlimited. People fry nearly everything. And it's awesome.

Since moving to Oklahoma, I've had the chance to eat my share of fried chicken at many different dining establishments. Last year I wrote a post about the deliciousness that is Babe's fried chicken in Texas. Well, sorry, Babe's, but Eischen's fried chicken is hands down the best fried chicken I've ever eaten. Ever. I mean, like we're talking party in my mouth can't stop won't stop.

Eischen's is Oklahoma's oldest bar, and it truly is a dive. It was actually featured on the show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." 
You can only pay with cash or a check, and I just always feel like a restaurant is more legit if they don't take credit cards. You eat with your hands on large, square pieces of white paper, no places or utensils. Fried okra comes in a giant pile with a side of slices of white bread. 

Goodbye, cholesterol levels.
My one complaint is that from a picture-taking standpoint, the lighting in this place was terrible. I guess that's a dive for you.

I love crossing things off my Oklahoma list! I might not live in the most popular of tourist spots, but the longer I'm here, the more I find fun places to go and things to do.

*Comments have been turned off this post. If you're interested in why, read this. Feel free to email/tweet/facebook me if you have a comment! This experiment is only going through the end of the month, and then comments will be turned back on permanently, so don't worry.

How I Got Over My Running Slump


You may have noticed that this year, I haven't blogged about running very much. To be honest, I think hosting our monthly Runners Tell All linkup is the only thing that saved me from not posting about running at all.

As I've mentioned before, 2013 was an insane year of running for me. I ran over 850 miles, which included 2 full marathons, 3 half marathons, a 25k, a Warrior Dash (5k mud run), and 2 5ks. (Get all the race recaps here.) That's not a lot for some people, but by the end of the year, I was burned out.

I spent the first half of this year running without a watch and without a time or distance goal of any kind, and I won't lie: it was nice. I ran when I wanted, as long as I wanted, as fast as I wanted, and I loved it.

But around the beginning of September, I fell off the wagon. I was tired of running. I was bored and had no motivation or desire of any kind to head out for a run.

Word to the wise: When you're in the middle of a running slump, the last place you want to be is on Twitter on a Saturday morning. Saturdays, if you don't know, is when most runners do their weekly long run, and my feed is a long list of updates from people finishing 10-, 15-, 20-mile runs. It was super depressing.

This is not the first post on how to get out of a running slump, nor will it be the last. But I wanted to share some of the things that helped me get back on the running wagon. Because I am back on it and loving my runs right now. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to any of you who are in the middle of a slump of your own.

Okay, so you're in a slump. You're not a terrible person. You don't suck at life. And yes, you will be able to run again.

Once I admitted those things to myself, I was able to cut myself a break. I realized there wasn't any point in allowing myself to swim in guilt for skipping a few days (or even weeks) of runs. It is what it is, and recognizing my slump for what it was helped me to feel less guilty and more optimistic about my future return to running.

No, not literally naked. 


Running naked is a runner's way of saying running without a watch. It's easy to get caught up in numbers. How fast did I go? How far did I go? What was my overall pace? What were my mile splits? Numbers are fun, and I get way too much joy out of plugging my latest runs into dailymile. But sometimes it's necessary to just go run for the heck of it. Run because you want to, and don't care about the clock. (But, see #4)

This is not a new tip. Every runner in the history of ever has included "run in a new place" in a list of ways to get out of a slump. But that's because it works. Part of my problem was that I was so bored of my route. Whether it was running laps around my apartment complex or running through the same neighborhood streets, I was tired of it.

You might think, as I did, that there's no way you can run in a new place because of your schedule. But you just have to get creative!

I have actually started running during my lunch break, and it's been so much fun. I had always thought I couldn't do it, but Tamara's post made me reconsider. It's great to run in a new area and during a different time of day than I am usually out, and if I keep it to 3 miles or so, I actually don't get too terribly sweaty. (Unless I'm doing a tempo run or something.)

If you can't run during your lunch hour, consider bringing your running clothes with you to work and going straight to a nearby park or neighborhood. Often, my problem is that once I get home, I'm done. There's no way I'm going out. But if I have my running clothes with me, I can change and head directly to a new location and go running before I get home.

I know I said in #3 to run naked, but sometimes the opposite it needed: a training plan. Another reason for my slump was that I had been running without a watch for too long. I was doing the same route at the same(ish) pace, and I was bored out of my mind. Some people get into a slump because they've been following a training plan for too long, but it was about time for me to have some structure.

I've mentioned this book before, in part 1 of my "How to Start Running Series."

I bought Run Less Run Faster a while ago but had never used any of the training plans. To help get me out of my rut, I decided I was going to train for a 5k, which is what I'm doing right now. After running a marathon, a 5k sounds like a lame, but it's actually the base for all the other distances. One of my goals for 2015 is to run a sub 1:50 half.

The training plans in this book provide you with 3 types of runs per week: a track workout, a short tempo run, and a long run. They include all the paces for each run and include stretches and warmups to do.

This might not sound like a novel concept to many of you more experienced runners, but I had never done any real tempo or track workouts before, and it's been really fun to follow the training plan and try to hit the goal paces for each workout. I find myself actually excited to see what the plan is for that day, and even though the paces are tough and I'm dying by the end, it's fun to run, even for just a few miles at a time, in the 7s.

It's so easy to look at social media or read blog posts and be discouraged by how many people have their act together and are running and beating their goals and basically being awesome at life. But instead of being discouraged, try seeing that as motivation and encouragement. 

Having the monthly Runners Tell All linkup this year has been so much fun. YOU have made it fun by commenting and visiting other blogs and linking up and sharing your story. It's been motivating for me to read about your training runs and your favorite moments and your favorite running gear. If you're in a rut and you're frustrated about it, tell someone. Share your frustration with a fellow runner and let them be an encouragement to you. Because as awesome as we try to sound in our Saturday morning Twitter post, we've all been there. You're not alone, and this won't last forever.

Now to find a 5k to sign up for....

Have you ever been in a running slump? How did you get out of it?

Life of an Editor: FAQs (Part 2)


Back today with the second half of your questions! Find part 1 here.

1) Are you able to just read for fun or are you always editing as you read anything?

This is a question I get a lot. People always want to know how I can read for fun at home when I already read all day for my job. But here's the thing: it's so nice to grab a book and just read it without worrying about whether or not I'm catching all the commas or how I'm going to suggest the author rewrite this or that scene. I can just read it and think what I want about it. End of story.

That said, I don't know if I will ever be able to "turn off," so to speak, the editing. I catch errors all the time in books, on signs, in my church bulletin, in blog posts I read. But for the most part, I realize that we're all human, and you will not find a single book or article without at least one error.

I also find myself saying, "If I were their editor..." if I read a book I had problems with. Or I'm like, "What was the editor doing?" But sometimes you can't blame the editor. Maybe he or she suggested the change, and the author freaked out or the publisher didn't go for it. You never know.

2) Do you edit other people's emails/blog posts/tweets?

When people find out I'm an editor, their first reaction is usually something like, "Oh my gosh please don't ever read anything I write! I'm going to be so self-conscious now."

So here's the truth: yes, when I read tweets and Facebook statuses and blog posts and emails, I do notice misspellings and improper grammar. HOWEVER, I am not judging you. People make mistakes. I make mistakes all the time. It's super embarrassing. I understand that not everyone cares about words as much as I do. 

Honestly? I will only judge you if you repeatedly misspell words like your/you're or abbreviate words like "sorry" to "sry." No.

I have a very small number of blog friends whom I will email or text to say, "Hey, you misspelled [blank] in your post today." Mostly, I realize no one wants to hear that, but there are a few people I know would appreciate knowing so they can correct the mistake. I  only do it if the mistake is in the title or is a funny error like writing poop when you meant pop or something.

3) Do you mentally edit people when they're talking?

Short answer: sometimes.

I'm not one of those people who goes around correcting everyone out loud, though. That's rude and annoying, and if I did that I would probably have no friends. I do correct Jordan out loud sometimes, and I will correct people if they ask or seem to want to know. Otherwise, I will just keep it to myself. And, honestly, in a regular conversation, I don't have time to sit there silently correcting people in my head, because I'm actually listening to what they're saying and having a conversation.

4) Do you ever see yourself doing freelance editing full time?

I will save my rant about working from home vs. office jobs for another post. (Long story short: I get really really annoyed when people act like freelancing is the "dream" and you're just settling if you have an office job. Stop doing that.)

Right now I will simply say that I don't know. I think freelancing full time is a completely viable career option, and once Jordan and I have kids it would be nice to have a more flexible schedule and not have to pay for daycare. For the time being, however, I really do love my job and don't have any immediate plans to jump on the full-time freelance train.

5) Are you ever going to go back to school?

I really hope not. At this point in time, I have zero desire to go back to school. And honestly? Unless my career goals drastically change, I won't need to.

6) What does your supervisor do?

I report directly to the executive director, who is head of the organization. Not to sound too drunk with power, but I am the editor of the publication. I decide which articles are in and which ones are out, and I write a monthly "from the editor" column in every issue. I'm kind of a big deal.

At my last job, there was an actual editing department, and over the four years I was there, I eventually worked my way up to being one of the supervisors. Each of us was in charge of a team of editors, and we managed their book schedules, discussed their edits, did quality control reviews, and of course got forwarded all the angry author calls.

7) Do you edit more than one thing at a time?

Answer: sometimes.

Like I said in the last post, if something is particularly dull or lengthy, I might switch it out with something shorter just to keep things moving and myself sharp. I can be in the middle of a few different projects at once, and it's not a problem for me. But these days? I usually just do one thing at a time, because a lot of the stuff I deal with is shorter.

* * *
Okay! I think that wraps it up. Thanks to everyone who showed interest in this series and asked questions. This was fun!

Feel free to leave me any feedback/more questions/responses in the comments!