Monday, January 10, 2011

Funky Flashback: A Few Ghoulish Videos!

To help you get in the Halloween spirit, I will be sharing three gouhlish videos starting with "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. While this video was from an awesome movie, I'm not sure what is scarier in this video -- the ghosts or the overuse of neon lights! :-)

And no Halloween-themed music video collection would be complete without...Michael Jackson's "Thriller"!

While the last selection isn't a "funky flashback," hopefully it will get you in the Halloween spirit. Here's "This is Halloween" from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.

For more Halloween fun, I've posted a ghostly tale today and a few others earlier this week. Check them out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Proof of the Power of Positivity #1

(Wow, my third post today!) Okay, here is my first list of how the Law of Attraction has worked for me. (See post below.) They may be little things, but that's okay!
  1. One night while I was scrapbooking, there was a tv show on about lucky people. They were asking the question, "Are there people who are really lucky?" One thing I remember from the show is where they took a group of people who considered themselves lucky and one group who considered themselves unlucky. They put money on a street and sent each person walking down that street. Nearly all of the "lucky" people found the money and nearly none of the "unlucky" people found it! After a few more experiements with similar results, they determined that "luck" is really not some cosmic occurance -- it has more to do with perception and observation. People who think they are lucky, expect things to come there way and look for things to come their way. They are more observant and more celebratory of when good things occur.

    I went for a run the next day and was thinking about that money experiment. I thought to myself, "I'm a pretty lucky person. I wonder when I'll find money someday. I just need to be more observant." As I finished my run, I stretched, then started walking over to my car. I decided to take a different way back to the car and just as I cutting through the lot, I looked down and guess what I saw -- a $5 bill! :-)

  2. Last night I was working on a scrapbook project. Last week my DH and I went to Cord Camera to get some cardstock for my projects. I could NOT find the right color cs to save my life, and they have every color cs there imaginable. I gave up. So as I'm working on my project, I think to myself, "I know I have everything I need right here to make this project even better." I decided to look through my old stash of cs, and there is the perfect color I needed! Yea! (Pics of that project to come!)

I hope to add to my list throughout the day! Do you have examples of how the Law of Attraction (or positive thinking at least) has worked for you?! Please share! :-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I've Got a Challenge For You!

Okay, you know by now that I think Cards for Heroes is a great program. AND, just the other day I posted about how I want to do some challenges. I also challenged YOU to take some on too. Well, the two have joined! Cards for Heroes is hosting a challenge! For every card you send to them (which will then be forwarded to soldiers overseas so that they can use them to send notes to loved ones,) you will earn one entry. So if you send 20 cards = 20 entries! You can earn entries in other ways too. Then in early Feb, they will draw a name and the winner will receive a bunch of cool prizes! (I think the real prize though is in knowing that you are helping out and doing wonderful things for others who have sacrificed so much! I mean really, stop for a moment and think about what the soldiers and their families have given up for us and for others. Now, how hard is it for us to make or buy just a few cards to send over to them? It's such a small and easy thing for us to, but is one that could be very meaningful to them, so think about it!) Check out the website for more info. You can click HERE or on the banner below!

Speedwork = Torture

I decided to try to get one session of speedwork in before my race this Saturday and opted for a tempo run. I don't have a path near me with mile markers, so I used to plot out a course at my local bike path. I was lucky enough to find a path with enough landmarks to do a 1.5 mile warmup, a 4 mile tempo run, and a 1 mile cooldown -- Perfect! I then checked Accuweather to see when it would be best to run. The forecast said it would be clear until noon which was perfect since I had a chiro appt at noon anyway. I set my alarm for 7 and set all of my clothes out.

I woke up the next morning to the howling of wind and patter of rain on the windows. WHAT?! Stupid forecasters! What do you they get paid for anyway?! So I got on INAccuweather to look at the radar. The whole map was nearly all green and yellow. Grrrrr. It looked like it might clear up in another hour though, so I decided to wait it out. After an hour or so it was still raining -- I decided to just go and brave the weather.

I went out to my car, already annoyed at my start to the day only to look over and see a near flat tire! GRRRRRR. I fiddle with the air compressor with no luck. I decided to just go to the stupid gas station down the street and fill it up there.

Finally, I fix my tire, go bankrupt filling my gas tank, and finally head over to the bike path. After all the time I wasted fiddling with the tire though, I had JUST enough time to get my run in. Luckily, the skies cleared up and the sun started shining. At first I thought, "YES, I did wait it out perfectly!" Then I noticed the steam coming off the path...the only thing the sun did at that point was evaporate all of the water right back into the air creating a soupy, humid mixture that hung all around me. Oh well!

I took it easy on my 1.5 mile warmup and then kicked it into gear for my 4 mile run. I am SO bad at gauging my pace, so I did the best I could to stick to a 9 minute mile. I couldn't really tell whether I was on pace or not since there were no mile markers until 1.5 miles into the tempo. I felt like I was going pretty fast though, although I wasn't feeling great at all. My legs felt tired and I felt like I was gasping to breath in that thick air! It took awhile for me to settle my breathing and ignore my legs which were whining at me to stop. I saw the 1.5 mile landmark ahead and was hoping to see a low time so that I could at least confirm that yes, my efforts creating kickin-butt pace. Yeah...that didn't happen. I hit the 1.5 mile mark with a time of around 14:30. Whoa, that's one minute off the time I should have hit at that point. UGH! I already felt like I was using every fiber of my being to run fast, and then I found out I was too slow! WAH! I told myself to suck it up and just move faster. I kicked it up a notch and told myself to just push on. Little negative thoughts kept creeping in my head though..."You don't need to do all 4 can just do 3.5...or maybe even just 3. That's still good!" I thought, "NO NO NO! I WILL do the 4!" Once I got to the 3.5 mark, I was tempted to stop, but luckily enough, I could see the mile 4 marker ahead. I just focused on that and completed my run. As soon as I hit that though, I was exhausted! I pushed so hard during those 4 miles, I immediately stopped to walk to catch my breath. I haven't walked during a run in months! The only consolation was that at least it was only during my cooldown. I walked for one minute and the jogged the rest of the cooldown.

I wasn't too disappointed about the walk during the cooldown, but I am bummed about how hard those 4 miles were. I ended up running them at an avg pace of 8:45 per mile, which according to my target times via the McMillan Calculator, is pretty good. (My tempo pace is supposed to be 8:47 to 9:10.) What concerns me though is that there is NO WAY I could have done another mile at that pace today. I could barely do the 4 miles! What really bums me out now though is seeing that my target pace for my 10K is supposed to be 8:40 per mile. I had a hard enough time today doing 4 miles at 8:45, and I'm supposed to 6.2 miles at 8:40? I don't know how I'm going to do that! I think I'm going to need a little race magic! Actually, the magic of the race atmosphere has helped me out in the past! In fact, during my 5.25 mile race a few weeks ago, I averaged an 8:36 pace for the 5 mile portion and that was with a crummy first mile! Maybe it was the weather today...maybe it was my harder than normal cross-training session yesterday... maybe it was just a bad run. I hate excuses. Oh well. I'll just have to except it for what it is and let the race atmosphere carry me as fast as I can go this Saturday! ***crossing fingers***

TWD: Black and White Banana Bread

This is my first TWD post since taking two weeks off while on vacation in Hawaii. (To read about that, see posts below.) While I LOVED my time in Hawaii, there is one and possibly only one thing I missed about home, and that is being able to cook my own food! I was glad to get back into baking with Tuesdays with Dorie this week. The selection of the week is Black and White Banana Bread and was chosen by Ashlee at A Year in the Kitchen. (See her blog for the recipe.)

I was excited to try it because I love bread and also because I had never attempted marbling before, so I was interested to see how it would turn out. Then I went over to the TWD blog and saw that many people were having trouble with the recipe. Many said the bread didn't cook through, the batter was too runny, it was too dry on the edges and too moist in the middle or that their marbling didn't turn out at all! I was really worried at this point. I figured though, if I botched it, at least I wouldn't be the only one!

Well, I baked it last night and followed the directions to a T. It actually seemed pretty easy. I baked it in the oven as directed, and what can I say? The baking fairies worked their magic because my bread turned out pretty decent! Now if you click on over to Ashlee's blog, her bread looks awesome! Mine...ugh, not that great. I wish it were more puffed up and airy like hers. Mine settled a bit more and is more dense, but it's still better than I was hoping for considering all the trauma so many people were having.

I gave it a taste and it was actually pretty good! It wasn't dry at all. It was quite moist, but not too much. Now, I'm not a fan of chocolate in bread, so I likely will not make this again, but it was still a good baking experience!

Next week we are supposed to make blueberry ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker so I immediately thought I would just do the backup choice which is simply to do a recipe from a previous TWD week. But then I started reading about a few people who already made the ice cream and how awesome it was! I know how to make ice cream without a maker (using bags and ice) but it's such a pain in the butt! We'll see how ambitious I'm feeling this weekend!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cool Cards Using SheetLoad

We had a snowday today (WOO HOO) so I had some extra time to do some fun things. A few days ago, I ran across this cool blog called Sheetload. On the blog, you can download directions for using just a few pieces of patterned paper and cardstock to make awesome cards! (Check them out!) I've been wanting to make some cards so I finally got to today. Here are a couple of cards I made using the August sketch.

What's cool is that with the directions and the sketch, I was able to make the cards pretty fast. What's also cool is that I was able to use materials that I already had! Here is what I used: PP is "Emma" by Making Memories, stamps are $1 stamps from Joanns or Michaels, charms purchased from Joanns or Walmart, flowers by Prima, and the ribbon I just had laying around.

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. It was a great way to use up the PP I never use anymore and a quick way to get cards done for next year! :-)

A Few More Summertime Blooms

Just wanted to share a few more blooms from our yard this year! Here are our clematis which are on the side of our house. We've had the large purple Jackmanii for three years now. The others are new. The last pic is an Oriental Lily which is blooming a little early this year, 'Mona Lisa'. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Mission: The Power of Positivity!

So since I finally finished The Other Boleyn Girl, I picked up a new book and one that I think I am in need right about now: Law of Attraction by Michael Losier. The basic premise of the book says that whatever you are thinking or feeling, you are putting out a vibe. Whatever the vibe is, the universe responds by giving you more of what you are putting out -- so if you are putting out a positive vibe, more positive, good things will come your way. If you are putting out a negative vibe, more negative, unwanted things will find you. So basically, the law of attraction says that you are attracting positive or negative things (or people!) into your life based on the kind of vibes you are putting out there.

When I first heard this, I thought, WHAT?! That sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo! But then I kept hearing more from all over the place. With everything going on in my life right now (or maybe I should say not going on,) I thought I'd give the book a try.

This book is a super short read! (I started it and finished it in under an hour!) It has a lot of activities and worksheets to get you started in the right direction. After reading it, I figure that whether I believe in the whole vibrations into the universe thing or not, much of what Losier said in the book is just good positive thinking and what could be wrong with that?! Here are some things he suggests:
  • Think about what you want. Write it down and be specific! To get started, it helps sometimes to write about what you don't want. For example, if you want to find your ideal spouse, use your negative experiences to write down what you don't want. Those things are often much easier to list! THEN, turn each item on your negative list into something on your list of things you DO want. For example, if you know you don't want a spouse who is controlling, write instead that you want to find a spouse who is flexible, trusting and well-balanced. Losier calls this "identifying a contrast".

    Again, whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, many goal-oriented people will take the time to actually write out their goals. I remember reading somewhere that those people who actually write them down are far more successful in achieving them! I see no harm in applying that to personal goals!

  • Give attention to what you want. Don't write about what it is and stop there. Take it one step further and write about how you feel working towards attaining it! That'll serve two purposes: 1) It will remind you daily about what your goal is, keeping it fresh in your mind, and 2) It will make you feel good about it, which makes you then put out that positive vibe that will hopefully bring more positivity in your life. Again, believe in it or not, what harm can come from thinking consistently and positively about what you want to achieve?!

    Some people may consider this step an affirmation. Affirmations don't always work though. With a typical affirmation, one might say, "I am good enough, smart enough, and people like me." (Bonus points to the person who knows where that line comes from!) The problem with that is, if a person really feels that they are NOT good enough and smart enough, self doubt will come into play and the only vibe that person will be putting out is a negative, doubtful one. To fix that, instead say, "I am excited at the idea of being good enough, smart enough..." We can all be truthful in saying that we are excited at the idea of achieving ____ and therefore, put out that positive vibe!

  • Allow things to come into your life. The biggest barrier to allowing the Law of Attraction is doubt. Losier says that we must remove doubt in our lives to allow the Law to work more successfully for us. Again, believe in it or not, what harm can come from having a less pessimistic, more positive outlook. One exercise that he suggests is to list all of the ways the Law of Attraction has worked in our daily lives, no matter how big or how small. The more we do it, the more we will see that it really is working and that we really do have control over our happenstances. I think this activity is a simple idea. Again, what harm can come from acknowledging the good things that come into our lives!

So, with that, I am going to work towards writing at least one thing every day where the Law of Attraction has worked for me. Since this post is getting crazy long, I'll start with a new post for today's entry!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Just Signed Up for a 10 Mile Race! Am I Crazy?

I just started really running again about 7 weeks ago. My goal for the YEAR is to run a half marathon which is 13.1 miles. I ran my first race, a 5K (3.1 miles) last weekend. I got so excited after completing the race, I started looking for more to run. While searching for 10K races, I stumbled upon a 10 mile race: The Hermes Cleveland 10-Miler. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to do it. Check out all the perks: It's chip timed, meaning the timing is accurate to the hundredth of a second (or something crazy like that,) all 10-miler participants get a tech shirt and a cool finisher's medal, there will be music playing all along the course, and there will be a post-race party at Cleveland's House of Blues with a live band. How fun! I looked at my training schedule to see if it's doable and it looks like it's actually within reason. See, every Saturday, I try to do an LSD (long, slow distance) run. Each week, I try to run 1/2 to 1 mile more than the previous week. Just last week, I ran over 6.5 miles. This coming weekend, I'll run 7 or maybe 7.5. The Hermes 10-Miler is 6 weeks away -- at this pace, by race day, I'm scheduled to run a 10 mile LSD anyway! So why not do it in a super fun atmosphere with lots of "free" goodies?! I say "free" because there is a $25 entrance fee, but with all the stuff I get, and compared to other races, $25 isn't too shabby. So, I can't believe it, but it looks like my next race is a 10-miler! That blows my mind! My goal for the YEAR is to run 13.1 in September, and I'm going to run a 10 in April? WHOA! If I can run 10 in April, 13.1 in September will be a breeze! Now all I have to do is convince myself that yes, I can do it! Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another New Distance PR -- It's All Mental!

I went out today with a little trepidation over whether or not I could finish my 8 mile run, but....I DID IT! The weather was awesome today and I was psyched to push out the 8 miles. I chose a path that I was somewhat familiar so that I could concentrate on the run instead of being afraid of crazy psychos chasing after me! Since this was my longest run ever which I assumed would take definitely more than an hour, I took along my Sport Beans for an extra energy boost. I felt great on the first 4 miles, but decided to eat some beans to give me some energy to finish the last half of the run just in case. (BTW, the beans are by the makers of Jelly Belly beans which you know means that they are super yummy!) Well, after just 10 minutes of finishing my Sport Beans, I swear I felt a boost of energy! (It could have been all in my mind, but hey -- either way, I felt great!) After hitting mile 5, I could see the light at the end of tunnel. I just started counting down the miles from there and before I knew it, I had finished my 8 mile run (8.1 to be exact!)

What was funny was that after I got back from my run and got all cleaned up, I checked my email and saw a comment on my last blog post. The wise words of Kai reminded me that these types of runs are ALL mental. She is SOOOO right! Through the last half of my run, I kept thinking, my legs feel GREAT -- I'm not even tired! (Thank you magical Sports Beans!) Mentally though, I was having a harder time towards the end. I just kept focusing on something up ahead unti I reached it, then I would choose another point to get to. It was a great feeling though as I closed in on those last few miles! I was so happy to be finished, especially since I really felt like I still had some fuel in the tanks! I probably could've gone another mile or 2! I also was fairly pleased with my time. When I looked at the halfway point, my watch said about 39 minutes. I finished at 1 hour, 19 minutes which means I kept pretty much the same pace through the whole run! While that equals a pace of 9:50 which I'm not too thrilled about, this is the FIRST long run I've had where I've been able to maintain my pace through the whole run! Woo hoo! I am making progress!

While I was stretching, I was reflecting on my run thinking, "Wow, that was kind of tough. I don't know HOW I'm going to do 10 miles in just a few weeks!" But then I remembered that I did end feeling pretty good. I also thought about something I wrote in my training log just 7 weeks ago: "Goal was 4 miles, but could only do 3.6 -- don't know how I will EVER do 4!" Well, 7 weeks later and here I am running 8.1! It's all mental baby! I CAN do it...and so can you!