Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 Bucket List - Progress Check

Ah! It's (almost) June! That means I'm almost 24, which is crayyy-zee. Seriously, I'm convinced that somehow when you turn 21 you simultaneously push a fast forward button that nobody warns you about. 

Time speeds up, I tell ya!

So here we are, 5 months into the year. Let's check out those bucket list goals:

1. Run at least 3 races (any distance 5K and over)


-10K Coronado Valentine's Day Race: Feb 17th / DONE! 54 min, 8:30 mile pace

-5K Los Angeles Run or Dye: March 9th / DONE!

-15K San Diego Hot Chocolate Race: March 24th / DONE! 1hr 26min, 9:14 pace

-Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon: May 11th / DONE! 2hr 3min, 9:18 pace

-5K Nite Moves: May 15th / DONE!

-Bubble Run 5K: September 7th / registered!

If you kept track, that's 5 races done so far! And this past month, I officially ran my first half marathon! The plan is to run another by the end of the year :)

2. Read 30 books

So far, I've completed 4 books.


Totally on target right? Safe to say I've exchanged all of my reading time for running time. 

Keep up with my {minimal} reading progress here.

3. Get a passport

This one is still on the back burner, just looking for a month where I've got the money to drop on the application. 

Which really means I have to pick a month to suck it up and just drop the money on the application, already. 

It'll be one of the next 7, promise.

4. Travel outside of the country (preferably missions related)

No updates here (still). Honestly, this one is in God's hands. I've officially decided that if I'm meant to go out of the country this year, He will make it clear to me. 

And if not, 2014's where it's at.

5. Cross off at least 2 states

This is for my 50 State Challenge.

I've officially booked a flight! And looks like I'll be crossing off not 1 state, but 2 states when I go to The Influence Conference in September. 

Illinois & Indiana, here I come!

6. Meet a blogger friend IRL

Yahoo! Get to cross one off! I met the wonderful Julie from An Anchor for the Soul this month. 

Recap can be found here.

7. One spontaneous trip

Tahoe: Back in January

8. One random act of kindness per month

January: gas station

February: check! 

March: check!

April: check!

May: check!

This is probably one of my favorite things on this bucket list :) 

9. End the year with 0 balance on credit card

Revision: Maintain 0 balance on credit card

Definitely been keeping my credit card paid off every month! I've got a balance on it right now from paying for my Influence airfare, but you bet it will be back down to zero by the end of June!

10. Double my savings

Revision: Rebuild my savings

If you're confused about the change in these last two bucket list items, check out this post. 

Last month, I had my savings account at 59% of what it used to be. Goal: get that number to 100% by the end of the year.

At the end of May, I have 70% of my account back! 30% more to go! 

11. Cut and donate my hair

Crossed off in January.

12. Take Milissa on a sister weekend getaway

I'm gonna aim to have this happen in August! Really excited for this one :)

13. Get a blog makeover!

My new look was revealed last month, and I am still loving the final product!

Amy, from the Charming blog, designed this beauty, and I have nothing but amazing things to say about her! If you're ever considering doing a blog makeover, I'd highly recommend this girl!

What do you think??

So there you have it!

I'm loving tracking my progress each month, hope you guys aren't getting too sick of it!

{Bucket List progress tracked here}

In other news, Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh Hayy There

I can't believe I haven't blogged at all this week. Weirddd. 

I guess I've got the typical excuse: life has been happening. The new job legit takes up all 9 hours of my work day (who would have thought?), and I guess after work I'm, you know, living. 

But I miss you guys. I'm thinking you should all sign a petition that I can send to my boss for an allotted amount of blog reading time at work. That would totally work, right? 

{Ron, ignore that}

Ron is my supervisor. And yes, he reads my blog. Because he's awesome like that. 

Everyone say "Hi, Ron!"

And now that I may be dangerously close to the overkill point with rambling (or just getting in trouble with work), here's some pics of what I've been up to lately. 

But more importantly, what have you been up to? 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Today, I am thankful for two different kinds of freedom. 

I am thankful for the freedom that we experience in our beautiful country. The freedom that I have come to realize isn't truly free. The kind that many have lost their lives to protect, and many others are currently far, far away from loved ones to do the same. The kind that some can only dream about, as they live in countries that experience bombings such as our Boston Marathon tragedy every single day. 

The older I get, the more I realize how incredibly blessed I am to live in this country, where freedom is a reality that I will probably always take for granted. 

Today, I am thankful for another kind of freedom, as well. I am thankful for the freedom that is found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I am no longer a slave to my sinful ways, that I am no longer stuck in my pride, or my jealousy, or my constant need to validate myself. 

Today, I am thankful that my soul is free. And I know that no matter what I may face here on this earth, nothing can change that fact. Because nothing can change what my Lord and Savior did for me on that cross. 

So today, I appreciate the freedom that I am blessed to experience in so many different ways. 

And I also appreciate the incredible beauty that is all around me in this world. 

I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day today!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ask Amy's Running Buddies

I figure that you guys have heard enough from me this week, so I decided to bring in some help. I once did an Ask Amy's Gym Buddies post, and had a lot of fun with it. So I decided to bring it back, this time for:

Ask Amy's Running Buddies!

So without further adieu, I introduce you to my running pals:

What is your favorite thing about running? 

Kacey: My favorite thing about running is how it makes me feelAs much or as little as I feel motivated to go for a run at the beginning, I always feel better in the end for having done it. It's a sense of accomplishment, even for a small run. Pride in having gotten out there and done something good for yourself. You feel physically stronger, and emotionally it's a chance to clear your head, take a mental break, and get some peace of mind. I do some of my best thinking on a good, long, run. 

Kristi: It is such a good time to clear your head. When I'm having a stressful day or just not in a good mood, going out and running always makes me feel better. 

Madeleine: Since I am really new to running right now it's noticing when I have improved. I ran a 5k without walking any of it for the first time ever this month, and I was REALLY excited. I think I realized recently that being proud of even really small improvements is the best motivation to keep going and not get discouraged when you're a beginner.

Renee:  Running is such a release for me. It's my free therapy! If I'm sad, happy, angry, stressed, worried, etc running ALWAYS makes me feel better! (Chocolate does the same but this is the healthier option..hehe)

Would you consider yourself a "natural runner"?

Kacey: Definitely not! I almost am tempted to say there's no such thing as a "natural runner" - it's amazing how much of running accomplishments are achieved by a mental strength and motivation as well as physical endurance. A huge part of achieving any goal you set your mind to is derived from an emotional and mental commitment, and running is no different!

Kristi:  I wouldn't say I'm a "natural runner" in the sense that I'm naturally fast or naturally able to go long distances. But when I'm running it feels right, it feels natural, like it was something my body was meant to do. 

Madeleine: Nope, I'd say i'm pretty far over on the other side of that spectrum. 

Renee: I've been a natural runner for awhile but I wasn't always. Growing up I couldn't stand running and thought it was the worst activity ever! However, my senior year of high school I was very stressed out about a situation and I decided to take my issues to the road and run it out. When I returned I never felt better in my life. It was from that moment on I fell deeply, madly, truly, in love with running. 

Have you ever had any injuries from running?

Kacey: I have gotten a stress fracture while training for both of the half marathons I have run in my life - one that started out as shin splints and the other was in my foot. 

Kristi: I have what I like to call "weak hips", and they bother me when I'm putting in a lot of miles. But thankfully I have never had a serious injury or anything that prevented me from participating in a race.

Madeleine: Yes, and it's embarrassing. I was in such bad shape a few years ago that I wound up with patellofemoral syndrome after running like half a mile and now my knee makes this really nice cracking sound when I run, or walk up stairs.

Renee:  I've been very lucky to not have any major injuries. Besides the typical shin splints, I did experience a strange pain in my lower calf but quickly attributed it to the new shoes I purchased. A new pair of shoes and 2 weeks off running solved my problem!

Do you have advice on preventing injuries?

Kacey: I think the most important part is knowing the balance between challenging yourself and pushing your body too hard. You need to remember to take breaks and let your body rest and recover. Also, it's super important to know the preventative techniques that can keep you safe and healthy - replacing your running shoes after the recommended amount of use, stretching before and after any kind of exercise, etc.

Kristi: Stretch a lot and don't jump into anything without properly training. If you have a big race, or even your first race, coming up, you need to prepare. Start slow and add miles in small increments each week. 

Madeleine: Recognize your limitations, and don't push yourself so far beyond them that you wind up with an injury that you could have avoided. If you feel any kind of pain while you're running, slow down and if it doesn't go away stop and walk. Oh, and go to the doctor and get checked out right away if you need to, don't put it off until you've done damage!

Renee: Get your run analyzed! This is the best advice I can recommend to anyone starting out running. It's amazing how shoes can affect your run style and cause injuries if they aren't right for your feet. Everyone is different and should know what their feet like and don't like. If you are looking to start running or increase your miles and think, "Oh my 5 year old shoes will be fine" NO THEY WON'T! Also, listen to your body! If something hurts, stay off of it. Rest and recovery is such an important part of running. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?

Kacey: The hardest part is getting started. Whether it's the first mile on a long run or the first run in a training schedule, just getting yourself out there is half the battle - once you're on your feet and moving, the rest is easy! Also, I would definitely recommend training with a buddy or having a goal in mind like an upcoming fun race (just take it from Amy - she's become a running race junkie!!) My favorite runs have been with my Dad - we both signed up for a half marathon, and being in separate cities we couldn't run together but we became "friends" on MapMyRun, and could track each other's progress via the app. It's a great way to record your own progress, and to share with people who are supporting you and motivated in the same way. Plus, having the race together to look forward to was an awesome inspiration and made for such a fun trip together! Look for a local race in your area, or make a trip out of a destination location! Also....having cute running gear never hurts ;) 

Kristi: Just go out and do it! Walk or jog around your neighborhood, or ask your friends to run with you. You'll be surprised at how big the running community is. Chances are you already know a lot of people who love running and would love to introduce you to it. 

Madeleine: Biggest piece of advice - quit putting it off and go do it. I put it off for years!  Know and accept that it is going to be tough at first and you're going to get frustrated, but that just means you have that much more room to improve.  It's okay to be slow, and you should be at first. Start slow, both pace and distance, but push yourself every run to do a little more than you did last time. Last but not least find a running buddy, ideally one like Amy that will push you to run a little more when you want to stop and convince you to sign up for crazy races that you are SO not prepared for (ahem, Coronado 10k AMY. Remember how I lost that one?).

Renee: For someone starting out running I'd say to be patient and proud of yourself! Don't expect to wake up and run a half marathon tomorrow. Training takes time and patience to slowly build up your miles. You don't want to over do it and injure yourself. If you've just started out running, you're already way ahead of everyone else still on their couch. Also, running buddies can be the best inspiration and push to help you keep going, so find some!


A huge thank you to all of my amazing running friends! I hope you enjoy their insight and advice as much as I did!

Leave em' some love, will ya? 

Oh, and Happy Friday!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Getting Healthy (Part 3)

This is part of a 3 part series. To find parts 1 and 2, go here and here.

Okay, before I even start this post, let me tell you how God is funny. Cue to: yesterday evening. 

If you didn't catch it here, my responsibilities at work have changed in the last few weeks. And by that, I mean they pretty much doubled. And it's a huge blessing, believe me! I love what I'm doing now; I'm extremely interested in the subject, and am loving the increased responsibility. But it's a lot more than what I was doing a few weeks ago. 

So, as a result, both Tuesday and Wednesday night, I had to stay a little late to finish up my work. AKA had to work right on through that work out time that I was discussing yesterday. On Tuesday, I was a bit bummed about missing my favorite class, but I rolled with it. 

Come yesterday? Not quite so graceful. I was legit upset that I had to cancel a running date, and was seriously considering skipping community group to go for a much needed run. 

Until it hit me. That I had literally just written a post on how working out does not define me. It's great to get a high from the burn, but whether I work out 7 days a week or 0, it doesn't change me. Sure, I might feel a little leaner after some solid work outs, and I may be loving that extra confidence boost of looser clothes, but that's where part 1 of this series comes in. 

Those perks to working out? They are not what make me beautiful. 
Jesus is what makes me beautiful

And so I, myself, had to remember that this week. 


Getting Healthy: Healthy Nutrition

Of all 3 parts in this series, this part was the hardest for me. This part is the one that takes the daily commitment, and this is the one where I fall short the most. 

And you know what? That's okay! We all have our strengths, and our weaknesses. We all have things that come easy to us, and things that require time and dedication. Getting myself into the routine of making healthy eating choices is absolutely one that requires time and dedication for me. But it's also one that I am now happy to make sure I put in the time and dedication that it deserves. 

I was a girl who bounced between diets. Special K? I've done it. Counting calories? Yupp. "Let's eat only fruits and vegetables for a week"? Yes, even that. 

Diets came and went, with no lasting change. I got over the Special K products, counting calories got exhausting, and let's face it: you can only eat so many fruits and vegetables before you get sick of them. 

So I thought that maybe if I focused on working out, I could forget about these strict diet changes and each whatever I want. 




In the beginning of 2012, I was working out more than I ever had before. A month passed, then two, then six: no change. It was getting to be a bit frustrating, how was I spending so much more time in the gym, and not seeing any results? 

It was then that I realized how important nutrition is. It really is essential to having a healthy lifestyle. But learning that and applying it are two different things, am I right? 

I'm not sure if I ever even mentioned it on the blog, but it wasn't far into 2013 that I realized what my word for the year was: surrender. 

I surrendered my financesmy dating life, and yes, I even surrendered my nutrition. And only 5 months in, I am already amazed at how much God has blessed my surrender. 

So what do I mean by "I surrendered my nutrition"? I prayed about it. I got on my knees, and told God that I needed help. I found that when I didn't make wise eating choices, it lead to me feeling bad about myself. And when I felt bad about myself, I ran to seek comfort, approval and validation. 

But 9 out of 10 times, I didn't run to God. 

So I said enough was enough, and I asked for help. And I'm so thankful that I did. I have found a new sense of self control with my diet that I never had before. I haven't had meat in 8 months, and just went full vegetarian a few weeks ago. I gave up chocolate for lent, and gave up all sugar in April. 

And I'm not here to preach about these diet choices of mine. I'm not saying meat is bad, and I'm certainly an advocate of treating yourself to sweets. I have incorporated sugar back into my diet since April, and I've had my fair share of delicious treats. 

The point is: I learned this year that I am in control of my nutrition. That control that I was desperately searching for with my eating disorder, I've now found it in a healthy way. I've learned that the best way to eat healthy is to actually do your research. What foods are good for you? What foods aren't? How much protein does this have? How much fat is in it? 

These are things that I never knew before, and now I'm thankful for the learning process. I'm thankful that I'm interested in learning how to best feed my body, and I'm thankful that there is grace when I say screw it! And go for the giant burrito or piece of homemade cake. 

I'm thankful for the healthy mindset that I've found, and the healthy work out plan that has now become a lifestyle. 

I started this series with this, and I'm going to end it with it as well:

I view my relationship with health in a similar way to how I view my relationship with God, always needing time, commitment and dedication. Just like with my faith, some days I rock it, and some days I blow it. That's just how life goes, am I right? 

But the point is, regardless of if it's a day where I'm rocking it or where I'm blowing it, I'm

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting Healthy (Part 2)

This is part of a 3 part series. To read part 1, go here.

Out of all 3 parts of this series, part 2 was the easiest lifestyle change for me to make. I'm not sure why, as my work out routine had always been pretty inconsistent prior to 2012. But that year was a year of change for me, and my commitment to fitness was a pleasant outcome of all of those changes. 

I imagine that everyone has certain parts of this series that they will excel at. Whether you've been blessed with a healthy mindset your entire life, or simply have a knack for eating healthy. For me, it was the work out segment that came naturally, once I got in my groove. So without further adieu, part 2:

Getting Healthy: A Healthy Work Out Schedule

I'm gonna start with the advice I know you've already heard: find a type of exercise that you enjoy. And now, I'm gonna ask you, what is it that you enjoy?

Do you enjoy being outdoors? Hiking, biking or running are right up your alley. 

Do you love having someone to motivate you and take the pressure off of creating your own work out routine? Then you'll love group fitness classes. 

Are you a water person? Swimming is where it's at for you. 

There are so many different ways to get that exercise in. So find something that you enjoy, and do it! Better yet, find a few things that you enjoy so that you can have variety to your schedule. 

I'm 100% a cyclical person. I go through running phases, group fitness phases, and hiking phases. I'll run on the treadmill for 3 straight months and then ditch it for 3 months on the elliptical. But you know what phase I've officially out grown? The no-working-out phase.

Something that has really helped me is to start thinking "when am I going to work out today?" versus "am I going to work out today?" That one extra word seems to make all the difference for me. Sure! There are still plenty of days where it just doesn't work out {like yesterday, for example!}. But there are plenty more days where it does. 

Committing to a healthy work out schedule was easy once I realized how much happier I was with consistency. However, there was something important that I learned long after I had the schedule down. 

I love the high that I get from working out, I really do. But I reached a point where I realized I was using that high in an unhealthy way. Was I working out an unhealthy amount? No. Oh the contrary, I'm sure my body loved the consistent kick in the butt work out. 

But was I turning to working out in an unhealthy way? Yes. In much the same way as I was previously turning to food for comfort, I was now turning to working out for comfort. I realized this when I couldn't work out for a few days because of being sick, and immediately ran elsewhere for comfort. {There's your back story on this post}

So, this is why getting a healthy work out routine is part 2 on my list instead of part 1. I had to make maintaining a healthy mindset my first priority over maintaining a healthy work out routine, in order to truly find 
a healthy me. 

Once I realized this, I could go back to kicking butt in the gym or out on the trails without turning to these things for my identity. My identity lies in Jesus Christ first and foremost, and it's from Him that the strength was found to finally commit to a work out routine that led me to my 
happy, healthy spot. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting Healthy (Part 1)

This week, I have it on my heart to share my experience with getting healthy. I don't think anyone will be surprised to hear that I am constantly hearing about diets, work out plans, and everything else that is health, fitness or nutrition related. It's a huge part of our culture, consuming minds of all ages and genders. 

I want to share my experience of getting healthy because I can 100% say I am finally in a place where I am happy with my health. I view my relationship with health in a similar way to how I view my relationship with God, always needing time, commitment and dedication. Just like with my faith, some days I rock it, and some days I blow it. That's just how life goes, am I right? 

But the point is, regardless of if it's a day where I'm rocking it or where I'm blowing it, I'm

And it's taken me a long time to get here.  

So this week, I'll be sharing with you my experience of getting healthy. A three part series. 

Because before I could even think about nutrition or fitness, I had to focus on my mind. 

Getting Healthy: A Healthy Mindset

For me, finding a healthy mindset was essential to ever getting to a place of lasting results. You see, for years I let my mind wander to an extremely unhealthy place, and it took a lot of time & love from Jesus to reverse that. 

I opened up about my struggle with an eating disorder once before on the blog, so if you're interested in hearing about my battle with bulimia, feel free to read more here. Bulimia had an incredibly profound impact on me emotionally. It was so much more than just a quick way to get thin. On the contrary, I quickly realized it yielded no such results. 

Struggling with that eating disorder dragged me into a very dangerous place of turning to food for comfort. And not just turning to food itself, but turning to the fact that I had "control" over that food. When things got too overwhelming, I said screw it. I'm gonna go indulge in whatever the heck I feel like, and take "control" over how it affects my body. 

The thing is, in an attempt to gain control, I really lost it. 

So, back to the main point here. How did I get healthy?

I changed my mindset. I took a good, hard look in the mirror, and realized that I am beautiful 
just the way I am, no changes necessary. 

And I'm not beautiful because of the number on the scale, the clothes that I wear, or the color of my hair. I'm not beautiful because of my complexion, my fashion accessories, or even because of how I feel when I look in the mirror. 

I am beautiful because the Bible tells me so. I am beautiful because Jesus tells me so. 

I am beautiful because I am wonderfully and fearfully made. 

And I'm here to tell you that you are, too. 

And upon learning this, my mission to get healthy changed a bit. I no longer focused on a goal weight, goal clothing size, or even a goal of how I want to look in the mirror. 

My new goal was to treat this beautiful body that my Heavenly Father made with the respect it deserves. My new goal was to treat this body with love that I had been neglecting myself for years. 

You see, changing my mindset changed everything. Because treating my body with the respect it deserves? That was a goal I was willing to commit to. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

My First Blate!

This weekend, I went on my first blate (blogger date, copyright: this gal).

I feel like I am officially a blogger now. Hooray! 

I had the privilege of getting together with the wonderful Julie, who blogs over at An Anchor for the Soul. And I don't think it could have been more perfect. 

Quick back story of how I "met" Julie in Blogland. I found her over in the comment section of The Williams Post (thanks, Kerrie!). One click of a button, a few glances at her blog, and I was sold. 

It only takes reading a few posts to know if you share the same heart as someone, am I right? And this girl? Well her words could have come straight out of my mouth. And that's how I feel with every single one of her posts. 

You know those blogger glasses that we all wear? The ones you put on before you read someone's blog, that blocks out all of the bad and illuminates the good? They either leave you feeling super dang inspired, or super dang jealous? 

Well, the closer Julie and I have gotten, the more and more we realized that both of us were wearing those glasses at first. Reading each other's blogs and thinking 'dang! this girl's got it all figured out. this whole shining for Christ thing.'

And usually I would curse those blogger glasses, because of all of the comparison, self-doubt & envy that they bring. But this time, the glasses didn't bring any of that. They brought encouragement, inspiration and motivation to shine brighter for Christ. 

And I will always be thankful for Julie and her example that she set for me, without even realizing it. Because of her, I have learned (and am still learning!) to be a confident witness of Jesus. 


Things I learned about Julie:

1) She is beautiful. Hands down, stunning. 

2) She has the cutest accent. I heard it in a vlog, but hearing it in person is even better. 

3) We have really similar back stories, and our families have a lot in common. 

4) She is incredibly easy to talk to. The conversation was flowing from first hug. 

5) We have the same taste in coffee. (Both ordered iced non-fat mochas, her's decaf and mine white mocha). 

6) Her and Matt really do shine for Christ. It's not just words on a page, they truly are in a Christ centered relationship. 

7) I swear we are the same age. Even though I'm 4 years older. When did that happen?

8) We really would be bffs if we lived closer. But I'll settle for Blogger bffs :)


Julie, I had so much fun with you this weekend. Thank you for being my first official blate! I couldn't have asked for a better one :)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation with your fam! And can't wait until the next time we get to meet up!