harry potter forever

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Like most children of the 90s, or really, any human being with an imagination and a heart, I will never NOT love the Harry Potter books and anything related to them.

It’s almost time for my yearly re-reading of the books. I can feel myself getting itchy. I keep thinking about how all the Harry Potter movies on Blu-Ray and the new illustrated edition of the first book are at the top of my Christmas wish list.

The need for a  Harry Potter fix is only being increased by the knowledge that people I know with have gone on the Harry Potter Studio Tour or will be visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Either experience would have me over the moon with joy!

Since I won’t be having an authentic butterbeer or pumpkin juice anytime soon, I’m going to have to curl up with some tea, pull out my plain old original copies of the series, and read away.

Maybe I’ll even imagine I’m in the Gryffindor common room while I’m at it!

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fit by 27

 

What ages have been defining years in your life?

Age 25 was a defining year for me. I tore the ACL in my left knee, ten years after I tore and had surgery on the right one. I was diagnosed with celiac disease. If those two life events weren’t enough, I was also completing my first full year as a classroom teacher in an innovative school model.  With the support of my husband, family, and amazing co-workers, I finally started putting my health before work (since I basically didn’t have a choice at this point), and with their support, learned to not let myself feel guilty for it. With these emotional breakthroughs, plus the fact that I finally have a more complete picture of my health and what my body needs to thrive, and I am ready to make 26 yet another defining year for me.

By the time I turn 27, I will be consistently eating for health in a balanced and healthy manner, I will no longer fit the medical definition of obese, and I will crave and love exercising again like I did when I was a teenager.

To help me stay focused on health as a fun journey and one that is centered around more than just weigh loss, but positive habits, I created a Fitness Bucket List for age 26. Here are all the activities I want to complete by June 7, 2016:

  1. Try every fitness class at my gym.
  2. Complete Blogilates for Beginners calendar.
  3. Complete a monthly calendar for Blogilates.
  4. Go at least one month in which Dan and I only eat out one meal a week.
  5. Make at least 5 recipes from the Oh She Glows cookbook.
  6. Make at least 5 recipes from the Skinnytaste cookbook.
  7. Make at least 10 new recipes from the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
  8. Run in a 5K race.
  9. Bike 100 miles outside on my road bike (versus a stationary bike at the gym) by the end of fall break 2015.
  10. Complete the Workitout 100 challenge.
  11. Complete a Whole30 challenge.
  12. Complete the 21 Day Fix workout plan as written.
  13. Go to the gym and workout before work every day for a week.
  14. Do yoga every day for a month.
  15. Follow a Tone It Up weekly workout schedule exactly as written for at least one whole week.

I will be posting overall weekly updates on my Fit By 27 journey, as well as some individual posts about different items on my fitness bucket list. I’m very excited to finally prioritize my health and go after what I want. I know I have created fitness challenges and projects for  myself in the past, and haven’t had a ton of sustaining success. I really believe I will achieve my goals, improve my attitude, and revise my lifestyle for keeps this year not because I have finally realized life is always busy and there is no perfect time to make big changes, but because I have finally matured enough to be able to handle that fact and just do it anyway. Here’s to 26 and getting fit!

Have you ever done any of the activities on my bucket list? Are you on a similar fitness journey yourself?


*image created using Rhonna Designs app

weekly gems

IMG_0550-0.JPGOh hey, Frieda.

 

101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

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31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 9

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: Bucket/life list

I have definitely made bucket lists in the past, but (1) I made them years ago and my likes, dislikes, hopes, and wishes have changes since then and (2) I have no idea where any of them are anyway. So I just rewrote it, including what I am sure is some of the same and definitely some different. I had a lot of fun making my list and I’m looking forward to both crossing items off and adding more things onto it.

  • Travel outside of North America
  • Write a book
  • Host a fancy Thanksgiving dinner
  • Learn another instrument (I know how to play violin and alto saxophone)
  • Break 1:00.00 in the 100 freestyle (This is definitely the most “up in the air” item on my list)
  • Earn a masters degree
  • Fund a scholarship
  • Own, renovate, and decorate my own house
  • Climb a mountain
  • Visit as many national parks as possible
  • Go to Hawaii
  • Become known for a very delicious signature dish
  • Learn another language
  • Swim with dolphins
  • See a Broadway show with its original cast
  • Perform again. In a band concert, a play, something.
  • Learn a crafty skill and use it at least once to do something nice for someone else
  • Be hired as a full-time teacher
  • Learn how to change the oil in my car
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Revise, further develop, and publish my Honors Project
  • Go fishing

 What’s on your bucket list?

bucket list: fall 2012

Every time a new season rolls around, I think about all the reasons why that one has to be my favorite. And every year, when fall arrives, I wonder how I even questioned which season takes top honors. I ADORE autumn and embrace every second of it! Pumpkin and apple flavored everything? Cool crisp weather? Sweatshirts and boots and layers galore? Football? Start of the holiday season? Does it get any better?!

 

So while I wasn’t super successful at my summer 2012 bucket list (only completing numbers 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9), I’m of course making one for fall, too. After all, it’s a bucket list – you write down all you hope to do and achieve, and make the best of it!

  1. Bake something with pumpkin in it and/or make caramel apples.
  2. Clock in miles on a trail (running, biking, walking, whatever) and take in all the different colored leaves.
  3. Attend a football game of the high school where I work.
  4. Have a campfire, make s’mores, and drink hot chocolate.
  5. Make a new decoration each for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  6. Rake up a big pile of leaves and then jump in it
  7. Try some new healthy casseroles and soups that can be made in a slow cooker.
  8. Watch a scary movie I haven’t seen before.
  9. Go on a hayride and/or go to a festival.
  10. Carve pumpkins.

What are your favorite things about fall? What plans do you have for the 2012 season?

 

bucket list: summer 2012

All right, so I’ve got summer on my mind (and I think that’s okay; it’s May 10th already!). Every year I usually make a “summer fun list” of things I want to do that summer, though I never shared them through this blog before. After seeing Emily’s post, though, I realized it was silly that I never thought to (especially because I have this series here on Beagle & Bear!). In any case, here’s my Summer 2012 Bucket List!

 

 

  1. Go to as many baseball games as possible.
  2. Visit a Cleveland museum.
  3. Go to dinner at Great Lakes Brewery Company.
  4. Complete a 5K.
  5. See some of these movies.
  6. Visit the Columbus zoo (I haven’t been there since before the Polar Frontier opened!)
  7. Try every group fitness class at the gym I recently joined.
  8. Go to Melt Bar & Grilled, but JUST for drinks and dessert.
  9. Go to a concert and/or camping….whatever happens to work out best!
  10. Bike a total of at least 50 miles on the towpath trail.

Basically, I just want to make my summer full of all things Ohio (including the two cities I spend the most time in, Cleveland and Columbus) while including plenty of entertaining experiences and opportunities for fitness. I can’t wait to start knocking items of this list!

Do you have a summer bucket list? What are you most excited about?

 

bucket list: concerts i want to attend

I love music. I love making playlists, listening to albums by my favorite artists and bands, and discovering new (or new-to-me) artists and bands. I don’t care how I listen to music – my iPod, Pandora, Spotify, traditional radio – I just love listening to it. However, I’m not a big concert goer whatsoever. I hope to change that over the new few years. So much so that I’ve made a bucket list of artists and bands that I someday want to see live in concert. Check it out (the artists/bands in bold are the ones I want to see the most):


Have you ever seen any of the artists/bands on my list in concert? What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? What bands/artists would make it on your concert bucket list?

get fit get strong: training time

Hello, everyone! What have you been up to the past couple weeks? My new job is great! I am really enjoying myself – keeping super busy, but liking where I’m at and what I’m doing.
Last week I began training for my first 5K (using the Couch to 5K iPhone app). I have never really been into running or enjoyed running that much, but I wanted to give it a wholehearted shot. I want to make running part of my fitness routine because you can do it indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t require equipment, you can do it by yourself or with friends, and you can do it competitively. I have always done better with fitness routines if the routine was centered on a training program and a specific goal.
All that being said, I am going to knock an item off my fitness bucket list and run a 5K. I know a 5K is around 3 miles and isn’t too hard for a lot of people, but it will be a challenge for me, both physically and mentally. To help motivate myself (beyond the basic inspiration of getting healthier and doing well in a 5K), I am participating in an October 15th race that’s part of my alma mater’s homecoming weekend events. I walked in the event a couple years ago, and it’s a very low-pressure, fun atmosphere. Also, it’s my first homecoming weekend as a BGSU alumna, so it will be nice to run around my former campus, reliving old memories and seeing the new buildings that were completed this summer. Plus, the sooner I finish my 5K, the sooner I can go tailgate for the football game! : )
Have you ever run a 5K? Do you have any tips for me? Is anyone else running a race this fall?