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This is THE END

CUE THE DOORS.

Ok, or I just stopped blogging here, and I’ve moved permanently (!) to

AndThenBlog.com

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Four Day Weekend, Five Year Plan

Memorial Day Weekend (or #MDW, as I learned via Instagram and Facebook) is one of my favorite holiday weekends for many reasons. I like Memorial Day as a holiday because of why we celebrate. I like that it is the unofficial kickoff for summer. I like that I generally have a day off from work. I like that it usually ends with my birthday.

This year, Steve and I both took Tuesday off too so that we could have a longer long weekend, and so we could properly celebrate my birthday. We did, it was lovely. This was a truly wonderful weekend with family dinners, gardening, puppy time, brunch, pony rides, lounging on cliffs (normal #MDW behavior).

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But the beginning of the weekend–Friday night, and both Saturday and Sunday–were awful weather-wise. Pouring, humid, gray, gross. Not very #MDW conducive.

But that craptastic, frizzy weather was a godsend.

Forced to sit inside, without any projects or books or Netflix prepared, we got talking about what we want from life, what we want from our careers, and how we’re going to get it. And a five year plan, of sorts, was born. We came to the realized consensus that at this stage in our lives, we are just getting over living in semesters, and just getting into our careers, and just getting settled with the house, and just finally getting to that comfortable adult place, that we trained ourselves into a tunnel. Getting settled and focusing on all of that meant that we were only focusing on all of that. And pigeon-holing ourselves into that safe picture of what works for us at 28 and 27. It started to look like forever would be safely spent in said pigeon hole, going about our business, and nothing would change.

But we like change.

We like new.

We’re happy where we are right now, but someday, we’ll have changed and nothing else in our chosen life will have.We’ll be like the Alamo in the middle of downtown San Antonio: safe and relatively ancient, yet surrounded by change and growth. Or like your uncle who still wears his circa 1987 Members Only jacket like it is still badass (NB: it is not).

Details aside, I can safely say I–and Steve, and we–needed a kick in the pants to get out of our respective ruts, move forward, and grow. And I think we’re going to do it. Discrete and measurable goals were set, and plans for how to reach them were made. Abstract ideas were discussed, and plans for how to realize them were made.

We’ll get there.

And then…

….there was the day I ate a chocolate chip muffin, an M & M brownie, a Big Mac, a large fry, a Thin Mint, hummus and triscuits, and the most bacon-and-bacon-fat-laden carbonara this side of Paula Deen’s gullet.

And because it was blustery, I could “not go to the gym.”

Ugh. Zumba*, soup, and salads tomorrow to repent.

*oh, I totally Zumba now.

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Because I am 14 27, I’ve taken to Instagramming particularly cute outfits, or those that represent non-scale victories for me. It actually all started with my pink-pants-in-a-blizzard outfit that I posted here in February.

Some of my outfits since:

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Yeah, no, I realize this makes me look totally vain.

Oops. Oh well.

WORST BLOGGER EVER, and a contract

…I’ve had to say that more than I’d like. See, last time I wrote anything here it was February 20. It is now May 11.

I’m no mathamagician, but that’s a long time.

So, instead of a detailed retrospective, here’s a bulleted list of what’s happened since my last post:

  • All the snow melted, March and April were blustery and depressing, but now it’s springish and I’ll shut up about cold and snow until December.
  • We made our pilgrimage to DC for Chapeau Weekend and it was, in a word, excellent.
  • Gym dates are being kept, still, and slowly but surely the weight is coming off. I’m about 4 pounds away from my next big base-10 milestone.
  • I did, in fact, purchase two bikinis.
  • I bought more consigned furniture and re-did it, and yet, that lovely cabinet is still sitting, untouched, in the garage. No excuses anymore.
  • Steve built me some awesome raised beds and my railing-top planter box for my herbs. Just yesterday, we had 5 cu yards of loam delivered and we moved it to where it needed to go (then we hobbled about like elderfolk as a result). Today, we hit the Casey Farm plant sale and some time this week, all my plants will be going in the ground.
  • I’m in Downton Abbey withdrawal, but, oddly enough, the fact that Burn Notice is returning is making that better (… like it’s Downton’s estranged 8th cousin, naturally).

And more will surely come, and I will share it with you like a good blog hostess.

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Ok, so I hereby RESOLVE, PROMISE, and SHALL post to the blog any and all instances, occurrences, and/or happenings that may or may not constitute the interesting, noteworthy, and/or mundane-but-shareable, with a frequency of not less than once per week. Under the pains and penalties of blog “perjury” (NB: that’s not real), I do so freely agree on this eleventh day of May in the two-thousand and thirteenth year of our lord, free from coercion, duress, and/or undue influence.

/s/ Kelly E. Noble

I had to go and lawyer you. Sorry about that.

Where There’s a Winter, There’s a Loser

(Hint: I’m the loser)

I am usually ok with a long cold New England winter. I like cold weather, actually, and the sheer length of winter has not traditionally bugged me because I know spring–and summer!–are around the bend.

But this year? Not so much.

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This was only the first half of the snow that fell in that storm…there was more, and there have been more storms. Blergh.

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Something about this winter has me clinging to sanity and on the verge of a trucker-mouthed breakdown every time it snows slash is dark (so, yes, every night). Get. me. OUT. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t drive by the airport every morning and evening and fight the urge to pull off, by a one-way ticket to Key West, and just leave.

In an effort to make time pass and get to spring, I’m trying to keep busy, make plans, and focus on fine-tuning all the different aspects of my life. Por ejemplo…

 

MY HEALTH

Gym dates are being kept.


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I’ve been trying to kick a lingering chest cold which has kept my workouts shorter and less intense, but frequent steam room visits and my new office humidifier are helping.
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My hope is that by working out and staying healthy, I can stay happy despite the winter madness.

 

CLOTHES

I’m banning all-black or black-and-gray outfits from my wardrobe. I live in black and gray, usually, especially if I have a serious meeting or hearing to conduct. But I’ve got to get away from that until happier spring times arrive…the navy, gray, and taupe suits with bright tops and shoes are going to have to do the trick for those.

The other day, I was so bummed by the season that I said “screw it” and wore bright fuschia skinny ankle pants, a floral blouse, and a gray jacket. Needless to say, I brought spring to my office and made myself smile.

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A friend of mine has banned tights from her wardrobe, and when it gets a bit warmer where I am, I may do the same thing.

My next spring-hastening-the-wardrobe plan may be pulling out all of my spring and summer clothes, trying everything on, and then making my infamous “piles”–toss, donate, keep. And any keepers will be somehow worked into my cold weather wardrobe slowly.

 

TRAVEL PLANS!

Chapeau Weekend 2013 is almost upon us!!! Every year, my friends from law school convene in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the arrival of spring, and the drinking of all the alcohols, and eating all the foods, and partaking in all the brunches.

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For me, and I suspect for some of them, spring time = fancy Easter dresses, spring-y chapeaux, and the promise of sunny city strolls together.

I cannot wait.

 

FOOD

Simply talking about summer food has my mood brightened and those last lingering risottos, stews, and roasts tasting better. We’ve signed up for both the veggie and meat CSAs again, so there will be more wonderful produce and meat to look forward to.

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PLANNING FOR THE BEACH

The process of getting Beach Kelly ready for the season is underway. The gym and Weight Watchers are only part of it, though. I’ve been looking at bikinis…yes, as in two-piece bathing suits–a new goal of mine!–and getting my beach pass in order. I’m so ready, you guise.

 
GARDEN

We started talking about the yard and the garden almost immediately after the last season ended. Some of our plans include building raised beds, an herb growing box along one railing of the deck, building some chaise lounges for the yard, and trying new varieties of produce in the yard.

 

HOUSE PROJECTS

This is my sore spot right now. I have so.many.things I want to do, but because of the weather, I can do so very little of them. Grr.

For example, I found a great glass door bookcase for the living room, but it needs some TLC in the form of patching, paint, and new hardware.

bookcase…but it is too damn cold to paint it, let alone work out in the garage that long. Plans as of now are to patch the “media hole” (ie, hacked out rectangle) on the middle shelf by replacing just the back of that portion, sand and paint the whole piece gray (I’m thinking Rustoleum’s Oil Based Smoke Gray on the outside, and the inside a slightly lighter shade of gray), and then replace the pulls with brass ones to match the hinges (which I’m pretty sure are brass, but a good polish is in order).

The bedroom has gotten a warmed-up mini makeover, replacing the cool silvers, grays, and blues with warmer golds, persimmon, and teals. I moved my orange lamp from the living room to the bedroom, swapped out the curtains for rich tan velvet panels, and we put in some new art:

summerartSteve took that photograph when he was fishing years ago, and the colors are gorgeous. This bad Instagram doesn’t do it justice. I had it printed on a 20×30 canvas as a surprise for him, and it is awesome in the room.

Finally, my go-to home brightening accessory? Fresh flowers. Instant happiness.

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Before you know it, it’ll be hot and muggy and I’ll be bitching about that. Until then I’ll enjoy, I promise!

 

 

I’m Running With the Girl in the Mirror

And I’m askin’ her to change her braaaaaa….! (Thanks, MJ, for the borrowed tune)

First cardio workout at the new gym tonight. I forgot just how strange it can be to run next to a mirrored wall. There’s something so unnatural about it. I mean, there you are, a hot mess, running in place, for yourself to see. There is an upside: I can see my hard work, even if it reminds me of that meme going around that I can take no credit for:

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Except I have huge will-not-be-tied-down boobs and frizzy hair and a red face. But yes, there is a distinct difference between imagined and actual. Thanks, mirror. You da best.

I subscribed to several podcasts for my workouts and today was Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. I love NPR and am the kind of person who is disappointed in others when they don’t. That is entirely unrelated to my workout but I thought I should share.

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The Healthy Track

So, in what must appear to be true “January-is-resolution-time-and-that-is-all-!” fashion, Hubs and I are joining a gym. Except, it has zero to do with New Years resolutions or it being January. It has everything to do with it being too damn cold out to do anything else.

Remember how I was all psyched to run, etc etc? Yeah, no, it’s still freaking freezing. And dark. That doesn’t change when you are Hubs and you walk 2 dogs. And frankly, we’ve been mulling this a while. Well, I’ve been mulling this a while for me, and then I mulled it a while on the Hubs’ behalf (that’s marriage, kids). He used to lift (ie, I peeck tengs up and poot dem down, pow pow powowpowpowpow) for a while like 4xs a week and he seemed to really love it. Then we got super busy with the house, work, and life, and that got pushed aside (along with me getting off the couch and eating salad), so it’s been a while. And I really liked it when I was running (albeit outside), going to yoga, and I always like it when I’m swimming, and I wished I could lift (…ok, strength train with, like, machines).

The day we were out “antiquing,” we drove past a Healthtrax facility. I knew that it was a beloved institution from the lawyers I used to work with, but I also knew it was expensivo. It has a lot of nice cardio and lifting machines, classes, a pool (bubbled over in winter!) a top of the line weight room, and fancy schmancy magic workout equipment from Germany. I asked Hubs if we joined a gym like that, would he go with me–even just two nights a week? He knows how I am: if someone isn’t like “Kelly, you’re fat, get up, come with me, it will all be over soon,” I will not go to a gym.

This explains all but two of the past seven gyms I’ve belonged to. One was my law school gym: during bar prep summer, my bff Hala would make me go witha lot of luck; the other was the boxing gym I belonged to with bff Regina during law school–we loved that place. Jesse, our coach/trainer, was the perfect coach, so that worked well for us.

Hubs said yes, he would go, so long as it was not a gym where they limit the weights, etc…referring of course to PF, one of my 7 (this number surprised me, too, friends!) gyms. I told him I’d look into it, that was that.

And I forgot to, of course.

And then I remembered.

My research revealed good things. Rates that were incredibly reasonable for the services offered, in fact. So we set out to tour the place.

Our tour guide/trainer-in-residence was Matt. Super enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, exceedingly thorough, Matt gave us Ms. Jean Brody’s creme de la creme tour. What honestly impressed me was the fact that he knew the names of about 75% of the gym-goers we encountered. I liked that, even if the thought of someone recognizing me while I’m head-to-toe clad in spandex/bathing suit is basically mortifying. But overall, we liked what we saw. It’s a place for professionals (and retired professionals) to work out without the meatmarket effect, or the meathead effect for that matter. It’s really nice and I think that matters when it comes to actually, you know, going.

The Meyers-Briggs ESTJ in me wanted to take the class schedule (including spinning, group power, group yoga, Zumba, etc, yoga, pilates, etc) and plan our visits.

So I did, much to my ISTP husband’s chagrin.

I’m headed there tomorrow night to officially sign up.

I’m oddly excited by this. My gym bag will be unearthed, my yoga mat, bathing suit, and zoomers packed in, and my ass is gettin’ in gear.

I’ll keep you updated.

PS: Up until like 2008, I for true thought that spinning was just a class in which they turned out the lights and let you spin around with your arms spread wide, like you (surely!) did as a child. I understood the popularity. When I learned it was just cycling, I was sorely disappointed. You would be too.

Lazy Sunday

Three cups of coffee, two quiet pups, and one very happy Kindle-reading husband, and it’s the perfect lazy Sunday.

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Lazy for me equals kitchen puttering, so for breakfast we enjoyed meyer lemon and cottage cheese pancakes. It’s a Martha Stewart recipe I pinned, and I’m now obsessed. They are light and fluffy and perfect for breakfast–not those sit-like-a-brick-in-your- stomach pancakes we’re all used to.

I also made some almond, coconut, and cherry granola, inspired by my friend Rachel over at How ‘Bout Some Cake.

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Aside from a yelp/bark/growl inducing fox sighting, it’s been nearly silent here so far today.

Heating up some left over beef bourguignon on the stove now. Late breakfast…late lunch. C’est la vie.

Headed off to The Lodge tonight for the Pats/Ravens game. It’s gonna be freezing, but hey, that’s The Lodge.

Boogie Shoes

 
Remember when I said I would go running on New Year’s Day?

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I did. Haha you thought for sure I was going to be all “I didn’t.” But I did.

And it was an awesome run. Short, but good for my first run in a month and a half.

image_1 (Enjoy my music selections? Cruel Summer was funny haha because it was winter and snowy, and Toes was funny not-even-a-little-haha because I could not feel mine so it was nice to hear an entire song dedicated to these things I thought I didn’t have.) 

I was happy to go only like 20 minutes because you know what? It was really freaking cold. And windy. I was properly dressed, et cetera, but my nose and my toes and my fingers were like “DUDE it is chilly, go home to your fireplace!” I did, eventually, but I resolved to fix one of those problems as best I could. New sneakers were in order.

I know, I know, twist my fricking arm to get me to buy new shoes. High-larious. But I actually felt justified in needing an extra pair of running shoes for this new cold weather exercise experience I’ve locked myself into. My current sneakers–which, by the way, I absolutely adore and will keep for warmer weather–are Nike Pegasus 28’s. I have narrow, underpronating feet with laughably high arches. My feet roll out something wicked and I need super cushioning type shoes, and these work really well. So, in my winter running shoes, I was looking for the same thing.

Now, I’ll be honest. I sort of made up “winter running shoes” in my head because aside from hiking sneakers like Merrills or somesuchbidness, I was sure that people’s feet just didn’t get that cold. I was wrong. I was inclined to believe that over regular street runners, trail runners would probably be better for the winter because the outsole is more rugged, the sole is made in such a way to be super grippy, and the top of the shoe/heel tends to be a little thicker and more waterproof. But they are usually super ugly and CLEARLY this is a factor in my safety.

Off to DSW we went. Yes, we. Steve was actually the primary purpose for this trip. He needed new running shoes and some new work shoes, too, but how could I *not* look? As he likes to point out that of DSW’s 20-odd rows of shoes and 30-0dd half-rows of clearance racks, approximately 4.3 are devoted to men’s shoes. The rest? Women’s. He’s not wrong. So, with Mr. Cinderella trying every single pair of dress shoes and sneakers on, I got bored (yes, I got bored at DSW–that’s umpossible). I resorted to taking photos of shoes and sending them to friends.

Exhibit A:

photo (Ugliest. Boots. Ever. I mean, come on: they are half Uggs–awful–and half Danskos–awful. Full disclosure, I OWN two pairs of Danskos but by no means think they are nice lookin’)

Exhibit B made it to Instagram:

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I tried on some shoes for myself in my boredom, and I came across two styles I liked. One was a pair of Nikes that were “Shield” style. I mean, like, the sneaker was the SuperZoomer+4 or whatever, but they were the “Shield” version thereof (sort of like a trim package for a car? sure). I did a quick google of this (yes, I had that much time. Mr. Cinderella was trying all.the.shoes, remember?), and these are LEGIT winter running shoes. They are more waterproof, more windproof, and have more reflective material all over them because in the winter, it’s wetter, windier and colder, and darker. Shazam! Shoe heaven!

Except the SuperZoomer+4s were not that comfortable a style for my foot, so no dice.

Lo and behold,  right next to those, I found some Nike Pegasus 29 (one generation newer than my usual shoes) in the Trail version. They were extraordinarily comfortable. And not cheap. But I had a coupon and Mr. Cinderella was paying. And they are worth it. I love them.

I christened them on a quick freezing run yesterday morning:

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It snowed yesterday in the early hours, and so the roads were slick and smoupy (that’s like smooshy and soupy)(it’s bad) but I was not deterred.

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It was, again, wicked cold (that “40 degrees” thing on the app was WRONG) and the air was super dry, so despite some quick “ohmigod-I’m-gonna-wheeze-myself-to-death-if-I-don’t-pause” walk breaks, it was a decent, albeit quick run. I had hoped to go longer–like 30 minutes–but that cold air was harsh on my already-sore throat.

And, no lie, the playlist gods must have known I got new shoes, because at the end of my run, this was a-rockin’ on my iPod:

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Completely unrelated to this (or, as my friends and I say, “speaking of bacon” or, in the alternative, “speaking of Susan Sarandon”), I want to give a big ole’ shout out to my friends at The Old Orchard House! They are buddies of mine and I’ve been dying for them to start a blog about their sweet country house–and they did! Bwa! Can’t wait to read along!