Friday, July 24, 2015

Race Review: Torchlight 5k

On Wednesday I did my first race in quite a while. I started running in 2011 after thinking that I was NOT a runner for most of my life (I now think this is true of no one). I ran a 5k, a 10k, a 10 mile, a half marathon, then another, repeated all of those in between, then a marathon in October 2014. But then, after that I barely ran at all. Wanting to get back into a workout routine and get that runner's high back, I started running again this spring. It finally felt like it was time to do a race again so I got my sister to sign up with me.

The Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5k an evening race at 7:30pm in Downtown Minneapolis.


Packet Pickup: 

There were a TON of options for packet pickup at locations all over the Twin Cities at a variety of times. Despite this convenience, my sister and I waited until that evening. It was still pretty quick to get our bibs and shirts (which we had to carry while running, whoops).


I was really surprised how well things flowed. We picked up our packets, got 21+ wristbands, and used the bathrooms in about 40 mins and then were ready to start right away. They staggered the start by times and it made it much less crowded. Cody dropped us off but I imagine that parking would have been quite difficult. There was a shuttle to take you back to the start from the finish so that's nice but would also have been a little annoying. So nice to have a kind husband to chauffeur us around.


Always nice when a map includes 'Beer'

The race started right at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Downtown Minneapolis and wound through the Downtown area. They were able to close the streets because immediately after the race there was going to be the Aquatennial parade. Otherwise I don't think they could have done that on a week night. The course was really nice and there wasn't one tiny hill. We got to see all of the buildings downtown, including where my sister works, the Guthrie theater, and ran across the iconic Stone Arch Bridge.


There were a lot of runners but due to their waves of different paces it didn't seem to crowded. It was also unusual that there were a lot of spectators. They were set up staking out spots for the parade, but it was still nice to pretend they were there for us and they cheered a little bit, too. It was also really cool to run by a fire station and all the fire fighters were cheering for us.

Perks/After Party:

There were two water stations which I didn't use since it was only a 5k but it was pretty hot so it's nice to know there was ample opportunity. They gave really nice T-shirts that I don't think I'll donate immediately because it's so soft and I'd like to sleep in it. The party at the end of the course had live music and you got two beers included in your race fee. Only problem was that it was Michelob Ultra - blech. I mean, I still drank one but I gave the other one to Cody. They also gave us a TON of free stuff. Target handed out actual bags stuffed full of crap. Some of it was useless but there was lip balm, lotion, fruit leather, and like 5 Kind bars. Not too bad!

Personal Review:

I'm really happy with how the race went! I had low hopes since I'd just felt like running has been a struggle lately. But this felt better than most of my runs lately. I finished in 31:56, which is nowhere near a good time for me. But, I was honestly hoping to finish in under 35 minutes, so it was a pleasant surprise. I even had a bunch of energy left in me to push myself faster in the last quarter mile or so. It felt good to get back out there. Hopefully this will help me feel better about amping up mileage and speed in the near future. It was also really fun to run this with my sister. We've only run two other races together. One was a triathlon in which we were separated by age group and the other was her first 5k. She just recently ran her first half marathon and is doing the Ragnar relay this summer. It's cool how much progress we've made from both being afraid of running.

We don't look alike.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Colors

Our wedding colors were one of the first decisions I made. I knew I wanted my bridesmaids in a dark color, but didn't want to go as dark as black. I also loved the idea of having metallic accents. Additionally, I knew my flowers couldn't be navy blue or gold, so I had to bring in another shade. 

My inspiration came entirely from perusing visual ideas on Pinterest. And that's how I landed upon navy blue, gold, and coral.

Here are some of the images that inspired me:



Our bridesmaids' dresses, Cody's suit, table cloths, and napkins were navy.

Our flowers were coral and other shades of pink.

Our cocktail tables, runners, chargers, and accent pieces were gold.

I loved how it turned out for a November wedding.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Choosing and Asking Your Bridal Party

I've attended weddings with ten people on either side of the bridal party and those where they just have a Maid of Honor and Best Man. It would be so exciting to have so many people stand up for you on your wedding. However, when we got engaged, I wasn't sure I wanted a bridal party. I was reluctant to ask my friends to invest all the money and go through all the work of being bridesmaids. But in the end, I am SO glad that I asked the girls that I decided upon to be my bridesmaids. They were such an important support system for me throughout the process and it really is meaningful to have people stand up and support your marriage.

I feel like I have this curse that all of the most amazing ladies I know are scattered throughout the country. Seriously, my closest friends live in Chicago, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and Milwaukee. Conversely, I always have people to visit! People told me it would be difficult to have bridesmaids who weren't living locally and were unable to help on a regular basis. But I definitely made the right decision with every one of them!

Maid of Honor - Amy

2013 at a wine tasting
There was no question that I'd ask my younger and only sister to be my Maid of Honor. She's 4 and a half years younger than me and we've been especially close since we've gotten older. Though she didn't admit to me that she didn't like my ex-boyfriend until after we'd broken up, she loved Cody and as soon as she met him. It was so fun to see them develop a friendship while we were dating. She's the only one that lives in Minneapolis and she did SO much to help with the wedding. She threw me a beautiful shower, not one, but two bachelorette parties, ran countless errands and helped with EVERYTHING. At the rehearsal dinner I forgot literally everything I was supposed to bring and she immediately turned around, walked out the door, and went to get it for me. She also hates public speaking and gave a great speech in front of everyone!

Bridesmaid - Julia 

2007 in Atlanta
Julia is my oldest friend that I'm still close with. We met in orchestra class in seventh grade and were inseparable until we graduated from high school. We somehow finagled having identical class schedules and were co-captains of the swim team. She went away to college in Atlanta, and I to Boston and she's lived in Washington DC, Miami, and Chicago since then while I did my stint in China and then went back to Minneapolis. We haven't lived the same place since 2005 but we've remained very close. She's one of those people that I can always pick up exactly where I left off, no matter how busy we've been or how long it's been since we've talked. She was the perfect amount of honest I needed in the wedding planning process. I'm so glad that she told me I could do better when I showed a dress I was considering. While Cody and I were engaged, Julia was in medical school but she made it home to go dress shopping with me, for my bachelorette party, and the wedding. She has also always employed the same honesty about guys. I knew when she didn't nay-say Cody, he was good. I also forgot to mention that she's hilarious. Our photographer got the funniest pictures of her and her fiance dancing at our wedding. And when I think about their wedding next year, I practically tremble with excitement!

Bridesmaid - Mariam 

2010 in China
Mariam and I were randomly matched as roommates freshman year of college in Boston. I thought it was so strange that a girl from New Mexico and a girl from Minnesota ended up meeting in Boston. Despite not initially having that much in common, we got along great and even spent Thanksgiving together when we couldn't fly home. Then, during senior year I emailed her to let her know I was thinking about going to China for the next year and asked if she would be interested in something like that. She e-mailed me right back, "I'm in." So off we went to China, having no idea what we were doing. We totally leaned on each other throughout that experience and when traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia, The Philippines, and India. She lives in beautiful Albuquerque now and I've loved visiting her there and having her come to MN. She hates the cold, so I know that when she comes here, she's a really good friend. She fielded every crazy text message from me while wedding planning like a champ and flew to Vegas to celebrate my bachelorette party. She and her boyfriend stayed with us the week of the wedding and were the perfect guests.

Bridesmaid - Karissa

2013 at another wine tasting, go figure
Karissa and I actually grew up together but never knew each other well. We ran into each other again when we were 23 and found out we were both pursuing teaching degrees. We quickly became extremely good friends and she's one of the only people who I truly feel I can talk about anything with. She has one of the biggest hearts and so many of her friends adore her that she's in almost everyone's wedding! She moved to Las Vegas where she accepted a teaching job in 2013 which was sad but worked out well because she met the love of her life, who we also love! Karissa has supported me in some of my most difficult teaching moments and is such a great confidant in every part of life. She was so supportive right when Cody and I started dating and almost caused my to go deaf when she screamed in reaction to our engagement. She was such an attentive bridesmaid and jumped up with a bobby pin as soon as my hair slipped during speeches. She also pounded mimosas with me on the morning of the wedding and was such a fun influence on the mood of getting ready that day.

Junior Bridesmaids - Kaylee and Kristen

2013 at a UofM Gopher hockey game
Cody has two younger sisters who were 11 and 13 at the time of our wedding. We really wanted them to be a part of wedding but they were clearly too old to be flower girls so it was perfect for them to be junior bridesmaids. They did such a good job and looked so cute. It's crazy to look at this picture now because they already look so much older!

Asking the Girls

As soon as we were engaged I scoured Pinterest for ideas for everything and came up with how I wanted to ask my bridesmaids. Since most of them lived out of state, I knew I wanted to sent them something in the mail. Here's what I created:

I got all of my supplies at Michael's. I wish I'd known when I'd made these that I'd be a blogger in the future and want nice pictures to post. But I am glad that I was able to find these pictures on my old phone.

I got a wooden box and decoupaged gold patterned scrapbook paper on the top. I put a translucent pink paper over it and a gold sticker with their initial. Inside of the top of the boxes was navy card stock (our wedding colors: navy, gold, and coral).

I got a mini bottle of champagne and created a customized label that said, "One question left to pop..."

Each word was on a gold card stock disc, strung on navy string.

There were cards with information about the bridal party and wedding, held together by mini clothespins and a tiny bouquet.

I put everything in the boxes with chocolate and pink shred paper. I wrapped them up with brown paper and mailed them off! It was so fun to wait for the girls to receive them and get their calls. Cody's sisters apparently screamed and jumped up and down when they got them and I still see them sitting on their dressers at home when we visit.

It was so exciting to wait for their calls as they said yes!

Here we are on the day of!
The most gorgeous bridesmaids, in my opinion!
Cody asked his groomsmen a little less extravagantly through phone calls and asking them in person. Probably not too surprising that he didn't decoupage boxes for each of them.

Best Man - Ron 
Cody's mentor

Groomsman - Ryan 
Cody's roommate. They met working at the MN House of Representatives. He was also there when we met in Las Vegas and was somewhat responsible for our relationship since he started dating my friend and it was his birthday party that I attended and saw Cody again after Vegas. He and his girlfriend are some of our best friends.

With their other roommate, Elliot in 2013
Groomsman - Hart
Cody's college roommate. He also did a great reading at our wedding.

2010 at a MN Twins game

Groomsman - Jeremiah
Cody's college roommate.

2008. I think they look so cute here!

Cody's guys:

Here are some pictures of the best bridal part we could have imagined!

With our junior bridesmaids, Cody's sisters and our ushers, Ron's kids.
It was literally 1 degree that day. Everyone was so good about taking outdoor photos!

I laugh every time I see Ryan's face in this photo!


Friday, July 10, 2015

There are Two Types of People in This World...

I'm not sure what it says about my personality that I like statements that categorize with finality. And never are differences more pronounced than when you are newly married :)

Cody and I joke about this all the time.

I took this picture the weekend after we got married:

Marriage is cutting your pizza differently on either half.
This is a big one for us:

And yes, I'm the one who tortures Cody through multiple alarms
Also, Cody is pretty neat, while I throw clothing everywhere. However, I really appreciate cleanliness, and that seems to evade Cody's vision.

As I started thinking about this, I ran across some funny posts. There is a Buzzfeed post that lets you choose your answer and see with which side of the population you fall.

Omg, clear your inbox! Actually, Cody takes this one step further and moves EVERY email into a new folder.
I guess some people just like to watch the world burn
I don't think I actually care about this one

There's also a Tumblr account devoted entirely to this topic.

Ugh, WHY would you bite into that? I also feel similarly about people that don't string their string cheese.

Once our tech guy at work actually told me my computer wasn't working because I had too many tabs open.

Guess we're those weirdos.

I am also hooked on Gretchen Rubin's podcast, Happier.

She says that it can be helpful to know which camp you fall into. Self-knowledge helps you become happier.

Are you a Tigger or an Eyeore? Essentially, are you excessively cheery or excessively gloomy?
I'm not sure I fall strictly on either side. I try to be positive, especially when I feel I work in an excessively negative environment. However, I really value authenticity. I hate when people bullshit me. It's just lying.

I'm definitely an abundance lover that is trying to embrace simplicity. I love my fridge stocked, my shelves decorated, and options in my suitcase when I go out of town. However, I know I need to get rid of excess stuff. It's cathartic.

Well physically, I ran a marathon. This clearly took long range planning. But I am a huge procrastinator. Gretchen distinguishes between sprinting and procrastinating and I think I am more specifically a sprinter. I deliberately wait for deadlines. I truly think I produce better work under pressure. Starting things too early leaves too much time for hemming and hawing over details.

Lark or Owl? Early bird or Night owl?
Ha! Neither! I can't stay up past 10 and it is a struggle for me to wake up. I could snooze for an hour. But if I had to fall in one direction, it's Lark. I like mornings once I'm up and I feel like I'm missing it if I sleep too much.

This is interesting and I see parts of myself in many different tendencies. I don't think I'm a rebel. Sometimes I'm a questioner. But I'd probably like to think of myself as an Upholder who sometimes needs the external motivation of the Obliger :)

"There are two types of people in this world: Those who believe there are two types of people in this world and those who know better."

Of course it's tempting to classify ourselves and others but this video also hit home with me. We can change. And that's why a growth-mindset is so important. If I want to be an Upholder, a positive Tigger, or someone who uses only one alarm, of course I can change, if I want to.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: The First Steps

I am by no means a wedding planning expert. I had no idea what I was doing going into this and I hope it will be the only wedding I ever plan (for myself). This is just some of our experiences with planning.

Our First Steps:

1. Announce your Engagement!

Cody and I got engaged in Las Vegas. He had spoken to my parents and his mom in advance. So immediately after the actual proposal, we called them to confirm all went as planned. Next, I wanted to tell my sister, so we went to find her and I just waited to see how long it took her to notice my ring. So funny! I then started calling and texting some friends and we met up with others so I got to inform them in person. But we were also in the midst of celebrating so I know I didn't get to everyone I wanted to.

As I was about to leave Vegas to fly back to Minneapolis, Cody asked if he could put our engagement on Facebook and I told him to go ahead. Honestly, I wish I would have been a little more careful about making sure I told everyone. I know I like to hear from close friends personally. But it's really a small part of the process and I don't think anyone was seriously offended.

I also decided not to post a picture of my ring on Facebook. I think it's a little tacky. I do not judge people for doing it because I was obsessed with my ring, too. But it's just not what the proposal is all about.

Of course it said my maiden name back then.

2. Introduce Your Families

I know a lot of people have already done this by the time they are engaged, but we hadn't! Cody's mom and sisters came to the Cities and we all had lunch at my parents' house. It went great!

3. Set the Date

We met and got engaged on the same weekend one year apart. Therefore, we were immediately interested in getting married that weekend the next year. That happens to be a weekend that all teachers in Minnesota have two extra days off of school (thus why I was able to travel the same weekend, two years in a row) and it's my personal theory that many teachers want to get married that weekend (if not during the summer, duh), to take less time off of work. Everything was completely booked that weekend.

I teach during the summer so it isn't a much less busy time for me during the school year. Plus, Cody and I both hate being hot. We just never pictured getting married during the summer. So, if we wanted to get married before then it was going to be a quick engagement. We decided that fall of the next year seemed best.

Other than that, it was totally dependent on what was available for venues!

3. Start a Guest List

We created a Google Doc spreadsheet (more on this later, but Google Docs was incredible for wedding planning) and just started listing. We started with family and "must invite" people. We also opened it up to our parents who added a bunch of people. This was great because we later used it to gather addresses for Save the Dates and invitations, gifts we'd gotten, and checking off thanks you's sent.

It's a good idea to have a pretty firm number in mind so that you can find an appropriate venue. We had what people referred to as a small wedding. I thought it was funny because 120 people was definitely plenty for us. But, I know some people that have had well over 300 guests. We don't have very big families and having a "smallish" number kept a lot more options open for us.

4. Select a Venue

This needs to be done early, at least where we live because things book up FAST. We started out wedding planning with a small budget in mind. We started looking at some different venues that were very affordable. But after talking with my parents, we were able to set our sights a little higher.

Factors to consider:
- Do you want to get married in a church?  Nope. My dad was marrying us and is a judge.
- How many people do you need to fit? We estimated about 140
- On what day of the week do you want to be married? Saturdays book up the earliest, then Fridays.
We really wanted a Saturday since we had people traveling from out of town.
- Do you want to travel between the ceremony and reception venues or keep it all in one place?
I'm so glad we stayed in one place since we had a surprise snowstorm on our wedding day!
- Do you have a certain caterer that your heart is set on? Some venues have regulations about the caterers you can use.
- Does the venue allow you to stock your own bar? This is a HUGE money saver.
This is something we realized in hindsight :)

McNamara Alumni Center: University of Minnesota

The first venue we checked out was an alumni center where I went to graduate school. We'd get a small discount for my alumni status and the large reception area was incredible. However, because of our number of guests, this section was way too large, and the smaller reception area was totally boring.

Millennium Hotel: Downtown Minneapolis

I was really impressed by this venue. There ceremony would have been in the dome, as pictured below. Then there was also a large reception area behind this where all of the tables would be for dinner. Afterward, the dome area would be converted to the dance floor. When we went to look at this venue, they did an event where you could also sample food from their caterer. They also packaged everything (food, bar, venue) into one fee. And it was reasonable. We definitely almost got married here.

James J. Hill Reference Library: Saint Paul

Once we found the library and visited, there was no comparison. I'm so glad that we decided to go with this one because it was incredible.

Photos from our wedding

5. Attend a Wedding Fair

We went to the Unveiled Bridal Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. At that point we'd already made some decisions but it's a ton of fun to wander around and get ideas for decor, sip champagne, and sample food and desserts. I went with Cody and my Maid of Honor (my sister).

This bridal show gave you cute stickers to identify Bride, Groom, MOH, etc.

My very first link up!