November 26, 2014

Bumps n' Grinds

Let's talk about burlesque. I'm into it. No, I don't do it. The leg strength that enables me to bike and run, oh, I don't know, 70.3 miles, unfortunately, renders me a terrible dancer. But that doesn't keep me from trying. Why? Because life's a bitch and then you die, so why not take a burlesque class.

Initially, I was going to write a book report on burlesque because there are so many misconceptions about it, but you know what? Ain't nobody got time for that. If you're so inclined, here's the Wikipedia page. I like to describe burlesque as a variety show with boobs.

Let me back up and tell you how I entered this strange, amazing, tasseled world. A few years ago, the universe presented me with the gift of Freya West. She entered my world in a cloud of glitter, tattoos and blue hair, exuding self confidence and positive, badass energy. She's kind of like a tattooed unicorn. Freya is one of my favorite people and she just happens to be the Headmistress of Nashville's own burlesque school, Delinquent Debutantes.

I started going to burlesque shows (Freya is a producer and performer for Music City Burlesque) and LOVED them. Then Freya opened a dance studio down the street from my house. I backed the Kickstarter to fund the studio and earned 3 class credits. Freya suggested I try Floorwerk and/or Bumps n' Grinds. I had a posse of girlfriends who wanted to go with me, and they wanted to do Bumps n' Grinds, so we booked it.

Y'all, this class is the most fun I've had all year. I laughed so hard my face hurt. And I learned a dance routine! When I came home and showed the routine to John, he stared at me like he was seeing me for the first time and asked how much the classes cost and how often can I go.

The class is called Bumps n' Grinds. I expected to learn some dirty, Laker Girls dance routine. Turns out, I was totally wrong. Bumps are hip bumps. Grinds are swinging your hips. Freya taught us how to do these things. Once we got it, she taught us how to travel while bumping and grinding and then she taught us how to add arm movements. It was awesome, tough and hilarious. I loved every minute of it!

I haven't been back yet because I got sick and now it's Thanksgiving, but I'll be back, probably next week. Bumps n' Grinds is on Tuesdays at 6pm. Go with me! Classes are $15 and you sign up here. The easiest way to get info is to like their Facebook page.

This post is already too long, but before I go, I want to stress how open and empowering the environment is at Delinquent Debutantes. This studio is for all ages, shapes and sizes. Freya calls it "bawdy positive". She also says, "If it jiggles, you're doing it right." Let go of your hang-ups and come dance with me! I'm looking at you, new moms.

P.S. If you're a cancer patient or survivor, check out Be Well Burlesque and come dance with me for free!

November 25, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up: Thrifting Edition

On Saturday morning I met Melanie, Casey and Polly at Bongo East to run the 10-mile Bongo to Bongo route. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to brunch at Mas Tacos. I've eaten Mas Tacos, but only from the truck. This was my first time in the restaurant. Everything I ate blew my mind, the tacos, of course, but the horchata iced coffee, oh my god, and the tortilla soup, forget about it. So good. Teresa, girl, you complete me.

After brunch, Melanie and I checked out a vintage yard sale with East CAN. We just wanted to pet the dogs. I did score a bunch of awesome records for John though. The yard sale sparked the thrifting part of my brain, so when Melanie and I parted ways, I drove to Southern Thrift on Charlotte, and basically spent the rest of the day there, #blessed.

I wanted this shirt so bad, but it didn't fit. Or maybe it would've fit had I not still been wearing my sports bra (and running tights - god, sorry). Whatever. The label was Kenny Rogers Western Collection (!!).

At first, I posted this jacket as a joke and said it's what I'm wearing to everyone's Christmas and Chanukah parties this year. I went ahead and took it into the dressing room, again just to be funny, but then something happened and I kind of fell in love with it. I hemmed and hawed over it, but ultimately left it behind. It was $10, too big and wool-lined, which would make it too hot to wear 90% of the time. But man...

Changing my long run to Saturday meant I didn't have to get up and do anything on Sunday, so I cracked open this salted Belgian chocolate stout I bought at Woodland Wine Merchant recently. Y'all, this beer, nay, stout, was well worth the $10 price tag. It was delicious! And strong! So strong. I spent my night making nachos and live-tweeting my way through Wayne's World and Singles.

On Sunday, John and I had a day. We went to Martin's BBQ Joint and dined on heaping plates of delicious meat. Seriously, love that place. Then we coffee-ed up at Eighth and Roast and hit the Tennessee Antique Mall. I almost bought this $25 "bean pot" with the 4 little bean bowls, but I didn't, primarily because I don't have anywhere to put it. But I hearted it real hard.

We left the antique mall and went over to Grimey's, where John bought all the CDs. Sufficiently shopped out, we went back home and made our Thanksgiving shopping list. We're hosting a Friendsgiving again this year, so we braved the terrible weather and trekked over to Publix to get our turkey and then planted ourselves on the couch and watched more Twin Peaks.

More thrifting pics here.

November 20, 2014

Erin Condren Life Planner 2015

I just ordered my fancy, new Erin Condren life planner for 2015. If you want one, this link will get you $10 off:

Why am I buying a $50 paper planner? What is this, 2003? Here's the deal. I live by Google Calendar. I have one for races, training, work, birthdays and anniversaries, and they're all magnificently color-coded and synced. But they're just digital appointments and reminders. There are no notes about FEELINGS, or milestones. My Augusta Google Calendar has my training plan, but my paper planner has a year's worth of notes about how I FELT during my training. There are stickers and exclamation marks every time I did something for the first time, met a goal, or lost weight. It's so satisfying to have something you can flip back through and see your progress. For instance, here's my first entry:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
*180 lbs
Trainer ride, 30 min
Strength, 30 min
First day with TriSuccess! Feel like a badass!
Had pie for lunch. You can lead a horse to water...

*The author would like you to know that she's currently weighing in at a svelte 159 lbs, thank you very much.

Last year's planner

Last year I chose one of the super cute classic covers, but this year I went off the range. I noticed on Instagram that a lot of girls have covers I couldn't find on Erin Condren's site. I did a Google search and found an image that took me to Etsy. Y'all, there are Etsy sellers that make you custom covers for just $5! So yeah, I totally bought one of those.

Let my online detective work be your gain. It looks like there are two Etsy sellers who specialize in EC covers:

Evelyn Lane

I went with Evelyn Lane because she is offering 15% off everything right now. She was great and easy to work with. And P.S. if you're new to Etsy, here's a link that gives me referral credit:

So here's the deal. These planners already cost $50 ($40 if you use that link up top) + $8 for shipping. They're not cheap. To do what I did will cost you an additional $15:  $5 for the Etsy cover, $5 to EC to upload your own front cover, and another $5 to upload your back cover.

I'm a special snowflake and it was worth it in my case, but I want to be up front about the additional cost. Also, figuring out how to do this isn't intuitive, so if you decide to go this route, here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Buy the Etsy cover and save the png(s) to your computer
  • Select the 2014-2015 EC life planner - picture this! full frame - custom colorway
  • I didn't want any additional text on my cover, but EC doesn't give you a way out of this, so I opted for a black "2015", which I did by selecting Black as both my primary and accent color, then selecting Other under Personalization and typing "2015" into Line 1.
  • Under Capitalization, I chose the "as sampled" option
  • Upload your front and back covers. The images will then show up in the boxes under "front cover" and "back cover". Mine didn't do this the first time and I had to start all over. It seems to be a bug in her site. It worked the second time.
  • Under Special Instructions, I clicked the "no thanks" option. The other $15 option is if you want to do more than upload images for the front and/or back cover.
  • Double check that your shizz is correct, then hit Continue, and you can take it from there.

Her site's a little clunky and could use some updating and a more streamlined way to customize and purchase, but I forgive her because I love these planners so much.

Happy planning!

November 17, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up: Yes Please Edition

Friday night manicure. Essie No More Film and Sephora Only Gold For Me glitter topcoat.

Early Saturday morning I took a 5-mile performance test at Endeavor Performance. It was real hard. I went HAM. I came in 4th place. The End!

I rode so hard, y'all. I was in 5th place the first half of the ride. As I started getting close to the person in 4th place, I was able to pass her and stay ahead of her. It's probably the fastest I've ever ridden. Todd crouched down behind me for the last few minutes and got me to sprint to the end and keep my 4th place status. When it was over, I stood up on my bike to relieve my soft bits and tipped over. Why? HAM, that's why.

Parnassus Books turned 3 over the weekend and to celebrate, emailed 20% off coupons to use in the store on Saturday. Yes Please by Amy Poehler? Don't mind if I do! Buying books at Parnassus is one of my favorite things to do in Nashville. Second only to yelling "Hello!" to Ann Patchett when I run past her walking her dog in the morning. A behavior I'm simultaneously embarrassed about and unable to stop. I love everyone that works in Parnassus, but I especially love Bill. When I was checking out, Bill said, "My, look at your nails!", which is pretty much the highest compliment you can pay me.

John's car is a truck now. A fact that we're both hilariously in denial about. But we got our first truck request over the weekend. Friends Keith and Nicole (Urban, yes) needed help with a couch. I snapped this pic of Linda on our way out because it's the way she looks at us every time we go somewhere, like she couldn't be more disappointed in us. Because I like to come up with pun-y memoir titles in my spare time, I came up with this one for Linda, Where Are You Guys Going:  The Linda McCartney Story.

Melanie and I were scheduled to run 6 miles on Sunday. The weather has not been kind to us. The temperature for our Friday run was 18 degrees, and on Sunday, it was POURING. And also still really cold. Six miles isn't that far, so we ran our 6 rainy miles and then treated ourselves to coffee and breakfast biscuits at Dose.

A few hours after my rain-run, I started to feel sick, which should surprise no one who tracked my fitness this weekend. I decided pho would make me feel better, so we went down the street to Vn Pho & Deli. The pho was delicious, but I am definitely sick. We spent the rest of the day on the couch watching Twin Peaks.

November 13, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga -- Doing It!

A week ago, Ironman announced a new 70.3. And guess where it is? Chattanooga! Prior to this, I was planning on doing Augusta again with some of my Nashville tri friends. I loved Augusta and was looking forward to racing it again and trying for a faster finish time. But ultimately I went with Chattanooga because:

travel expense
race date
future race plans.

The location is a no-brainer. Chattanooga is a 2-hour drive from Nashville, as opposed to Augusta, which is a 6-hour drive. This means I can buzz up to Chattanooga on the weekends and train on the course, which is HUGE.

The travel expenses incurred during Augusta were substantial:  gas, food, hotel, etc. It added up. Chattanooga will be cheaper primarily because it's closer. I also won't need a hotel. I have friends in Chattanooga who have graciously offered up their homes for training weekends, as well as the actual race.

The race date, May 17, is a deterrent for a lot of people because it's so early in the season, but I like that it's early. Oh, and my birthday is May 20, so DUH. I trained well for Augusta and I've maintained it for the most part. If I follow the same 20-week training plan, I'll start training on Dec. 29, which is 7 weeks away. I like that I won't have those bleak winter months to lose my training and gain Christmas weight. I was worried if I did Augusta, that by the time I started training, I would be starting from scratch. I also like getting my big race over with early in the season and spending the rest of the summer doing fun, local races.

We all remember how vehemently I decreed 2 weeks after Augusta that a 140.6 just wasn't in the stars for me. Show of hands if you actually believed that. No one? That's what I thought. Well, you were all right. About a month to the day after Augusta, my friend Marne talked me into doing a 140.6 in 2016, which is the year I turn 40 (hashtag: fabulous by forty).

So.... the new plan is volunteer at IM 140.6 Chattanooga in 2015 (same day as Augusta) and race IM 140.6 Chattanooga in 2016. Also on the table is IM 140.6 Lake Placid with Marne in 2016. My hesitation with Lake Placid is cost and distance. I want people to see me do my first 140.6 and Lake Placid is too far to expect people to travel. The cost of flying me, John and my bike there, plus hotel probably rules this one out. But I have until June to decide, so we'll see.

Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga 2015 -- doing it! Ironman 140.6 Chattanooga 2016 -- probably doing it!

Yours forever in HAM,

November 10, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up: Anniversary Edition

This weekend was our anniversary. On Friday I stayed in, painted my nails and watched Mortified Nation on Netflix. Have you seen that? It's pretty hilarious and I highly recommend it.

Saturday morning I finally took a class at Endeavor Performance. I say finally because people have been telling me to take this class for a year. Congratulations, you all win. This class was awesome. It was also my first time on my bike since Augusta, which was 6 weeks ago. Oops! And ouch.

Todd is offering some free classes right now. I took a free beginner class on Saturday and I'm taking the free performance test this week. This is a whole other post, but it looks like I start training again in 7 weeks and, if I can swing it, these classes may be a new addition to my training. To be continued...

I spent Saturday afternoon sitting on an ice pillow and taking pictures of Linda. It's hard to tell, but her head is laying on her paws.Y'all, this dog.

Saturday was our 6-year wedding anniversary. John and I met and started dating in 2004, so this year is a cumulative 10 years together, which is so nuts, especially since 10 years ago, John was 15. Just kidding. Kind of.

For dinner Saturday night, we went to Margot. We had such an amazing time. I don't know why we don't eat there more often. I like the cozy atmosphere and the food is unbelievable. We had frog legs! And they were so good! Also, that cookie plate right now is on point. Trust.

Oy, Sunday. It was a rough start. Luckily, I just had to run 10 miles. I can do that on 1 hour of sleep (approx.) and a belly full of frog legs and wine. No problem! Sigh... I met my lady gang on Belmont Blvd and we ran Bongo to Bongo, shockingly without incident.

I stopped at the store on my way home and grabbed stuff to make crockpot dinner. I made this recipe from Erin's Food Files. It was delicious!

Still in marital celebration mode, we treated ourselves to a fancy movie. We saw Interstellar in IMAX at Opry Mills. It was totally worth it! Well, says the one Baldwin who didn't spend the rest of night reading Interstellar sub-Reddits.

For your perusal, here are 500 pictures from our 2008 wedding:

November 8, 2014

Birchbox Review: September

I loved this Birchbox despite being a little behind posting the review. Here's what I got!

Noir Cosmetics Long-Wear Eyeliner, $15

I've received a couple of good black eyeliner pencils via Birchbox lately. Maybe the universe wants me to wear black eyeliner. I like this one from Noir. It feels great going on, not stabby or pointy. It's made with vitamin E and jojoba oil. It's also waterproof, which I like. I still prefer my Bobbi Brown gel liner, but this is a great pencil.

Ruffian Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes, $12

As someone who does her own nails once a week, I have a lot of opinions about nail polish remover products and their varied effectiveness. I love these towelettes! First of all, the towelette is a lot bigger than the typical ones you buy at drugstores. These don't have acetone, which means they don't smell and they don't strip your nail. They're actually scented, which seems like a bad idea, but isn't. And they remove the polish! A lot of towelettes I've used dry out or fill up before you finish all 10 nails. Not these! I love these a lot, but I'm going to have to think about $12 for a box of 10 (plus shipping).

Juliette Has a Gun Romantina, $120

Skin and Co Sicilian Light Serum, $47

My opinion still hasn't changed on serums. I don't believe in them, but I keep using the samples. No idea if this one does what it alleges to do, which is "restore firmness and clarity". Meh? Until someone proves me wrong, I think serums are a way to make women in their late thirties spend money in Sephora.

Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Naked, $10

Yes, finally! I've been in the market for a neutral/tan nail polish and this one is perfect! In a month, I've already used almost the whole bottle. Looks like I'll be buying this one.

Microdermamitt Makeup Remover Mitt, $28.50

Okay, this guy is why my review is so late. I didn't want to publish it until I tried this weird magnet mitt. The questions I have for this mitt couldn't fit into a Suburban. I'm so confused about how it works. How does it take off makeup, especially mascara and gel eyeliner, without cleanser? How does rinsing it with hand soap every night not make your face explode? How does it not have chemicals? HOW DOES IT WORK?

But it totally works. It's super soft and feels great on my dry, sensitive skin. And it really does take off all of my stubborn eye makeup. I don't know what kind of black magic makes this thing work, but I'm real into it. This mitt is the "Miracles" of Birchbox. (video NSFW)


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