Friday, May 18, 2018

FMM - Blogiversary Winners!

Thanks to everyone for the fun memory comments on Monday's post - it was neat hearing when you guys started reading my blog and what you enjoy the most (PACO).  The winners of my little giveaway are:

Susan C. - Amazon
Violinista - Starbucks
Rjax - Starbucks
Kim (in Columbia) - Amazon
Karen - Starbucks
Karen A. - Amazon
Kim (Kilax) - Starbucks
Rachel - Amazon
Deborah - Starbucks
Barbara - Amazon

Please email me (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) ASAP so I can get your gift cards emailed to you ASAP!  Thanks again to everyone - I wish I could have an Oprah moment and give everyone a gift card...maybe in another 10 years?

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After all the chaos of the renovation, I was ready for some order in my life, so I ordered a new shoe organizer for my closet and had to laugh at the warning on the box:
Well alrighty then, I won't unpack the packaging from that side!  Forbid!
Ten kajillion pieces later, I had it assembled!
Once I got a wooden mallet, it was pretty easy to put together - and I didn't end up using several of the shelves, so I could make a smaller unit for another closet at some point.  Here's the link if you're interested (and yes that's an affiliate link).
I moved one of my old shoe organizers to the front of the closet - this houses my most-used shoes right now (running shoes and summer sandals...OK, flip flops, mostly).  It feels good to have everything in its place now - my closet was stuffed with tons of boxes during the renovation and I could barely walk a couple feet into it.

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With the dining room looking so fresh and new, I was inspired to create a table tableau - or is it a tablescape?  It took me a couple of days to get it mostly where I wanted it to be, but I like it:
From afar...
Close up!  Luckily the table is big enough that Jeff and I can sit across from each other at either end for meals without having to disturb the display.

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I'll have another update on the renovation on Monday - except for a few odds and ends, it's just about finished, THANK GOODNESS.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

WWU - Baby's First Brownie

Welp, the heat and humidity has arrived for real - and really, we were lucky to not have too many hot runs this late in the year, considering how Texas usually has it in for anyone who exercises outdoors.  But on Saturday, it was 76 degrees at 6:00 am, with a balmy 94% humidity.  That'll slow you down, but hey, at least we all got out and ran, so I'm calling it a win.  And with things getting back to normal with the house, the thought of weekday running doesn't seem like one more thing I have to do; rather, I get to go for a nice little run with Jeff and Diane, and that's a pretty good way to start my day, even if it's well before sunrise.

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While we were at Blue Baker on Saturday, Logan showed interest in the brownie ends that our baker bestowed upon us, so naturally, it was time for him to have a taste:
I WANT THOSE BROWNIES, MOM!
Mom obliged, giving him a taste of the thick chocolate icing...
 
I HAVE MADE A BIG MISTAKE.

We figured that the chocolate might be too strong for Logan - after all, who doesn't like chocolate?  But maybe we should have started him out with some milk chocolate.  Next up, a Hershey Bar!  Just kidding - I'm sure he will have plenty of time to develop a love for all things chocolate over his lifetime.

Cary had to go out of town for several days last week, so she was having some extra bonding time with her baby at breakfast:
Pretty obvious they missed each other - a true mother and child reunion right here.

Monday, May 14, 2018

TEN YEARS, BABY!

I really can't believe I've been blogging for 10 years, but today - May 14, 2018 - marks 10 years to the date of my first post.  Ten years is a long time to spend doing anything, much less something as basic as blogging.  But here you go - 10 years after I started documenting my weight loss journey, I'm still here, writing about everything under the sun - and you guys are still reading, which warms my heart.

I don't actually have a lot to say on this special occasion, because I've come to realize that every day can be special - it's more about noticing the impact of any given day versus trying to make something happen because it's a certain day.  So hey, Happy Monday!

I didn't plan ahead very well for this post and by the time I started writing it, I realized that I hadn't taken any good pictures like I used to - and quite frankly, after all of the craziness of the house renovation, I was really enjoying some down time over the weekend, puttering around our new-to-us house, and I didn't want to bother doing my hair and makeup and getting dressed for a picture. I didn't have any to pull from my files, either, because 99% of the pictures I've taken in the last few months are either running pictures or else I'm holding an adorable baby - pretty much the story of my days, and I'm OK with that.

But then I remembered that my most recent favorite picture was of me finishing the Silo District 5K last week. It's not because I look like a gazelle runner, with my hair flowing behind me, long legs striding toward the finish line - nope, that image will never be me, no matter how I see my runner self in my mind. But I love this shot because 10 years after I started my lifestyle change, I'm still out there, doing something I never EVER though I'd be doing - running. And as you can see in the picture, I'm not first, and I'm not last; I'm participating in a fun event instead of having to stand on the sidelines because my body wasn't capable of exercising like that.

So here I am, sweaty, red-faced, not as thin as I was during the early years of this blog, but not as heavy as I was when I started this blog, either - I'm here, I'm happy, and I get to participate in life...and I really can't ask for more:
No matter how the race goes, always - ALWAYS - smile for the camera!

Finally, I wanted to do a little giveaway, to show my appreciation to those of you who continue to read and comment.  And yes, there's a reason why the giveaway isn't included in the title - hopefully this will keep the randos who only comment to win a prize, any prize, from entering.  What's that they say?  My blog, my rules, right?  In honor of my 10 years of blogging, I'm going to give 10 readers a $10 gift card from either Starbucks or Amazon - your choice.  Speaking of rules, to enter just leave a comment saying whether you'd prefer a gift card from Starbucks or Amazon, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. 

This giveaway isn't sponsored by anyone but me - my money will be purchasing the gift cards and the lucky winners will be receiving them as e-gift cards in their email.  I'll take entries until 8:00 pm CST on Thursday, May 17th, do a random draw, and list the winners in Friday's post.  Just my way of saying thank you for reading my little blog!

Friday, May 11, 2018

FMM - Boo-gainvillea No More

You may remember my saga of my non-blooming bougainvillea from last year - the one I had didn't like most of the areas where I put it, and by the time I finally moved it to its happy place, it was nearly the end of summer and blooming season.  In the meantime, my neighbor across the street had a potted bougainvillea blooming like crazy near their mailbox, so that taunted me every day.  But this year, I bought a new plant, put it in a pretty pot, and started it out in our front yard.  And then about a week later we had that damaging hail storm, which tore it up something fierce.  But I'm happy to report that not only did it recover, it has literally blossomed into a gorgeous plant:
Yep, I'm just a little happy about this!  No more boo-gainvillea over here - we have a full-on beautiful bougainvillea this year!
The day lilies have come back beautifully, and the lantana, which was completely dead and gone, is growing like crazy, yay!  Considering the amount of neglect we've given the yard this spring, the front beds are looking pretty good.
 Yucca blooms going strong!

In the backyard, our pot plants are doing well - again, with nothing but a little water and a lot of neglect:
The sedum came back and is the biggest its been, ever.
Paco perusing purple peppers - this was another plant that sprouted from nothing.  Good to know this will come back after several hard freezes!
My New York hosta is looking gorgeous - thanks, Lori!
And this is our miracle - our Sago palm, which looked completely dead after so many hard freezes over the winter, is finally showing signs of life with this one sprout!  I was so happy to see this, as it was such a big beautiful palm, and it's nice to know it's still alive.

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It's graduation weekend here for Texas A&M, which means that after our early morning run tomorrow and breakfast at Blue Baker, we'll be sheltering in place and avoiding the masses of people on the roads and in the restaurants.  A weekend home sounds good, actually - I have a lot of deep cleaning to do thanks to the renovation, and I can finally start putting some things away.  I'll have the next installment of the renovation update posted soon, but come back on Monday for a Very Special Post.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Silo District 5K Race Recap!

 The medal - front and back.  It's quite large, and the center part is a spinner!

On Sunday, several of my fellow Renegades and I ran the inaugural Silo District race, which was being held in conjunction with Fixer Upper host Chip Gaines running his first marathon.  Cary, Julia, and Diane ran the half marathon, while Karen and I ran the 5K - hey, we weren't as crazy as the others...running a half marathon in May in TEXAS?  No thank you.  As it turns out, we made a good decision because Texas skipped spring and went right to summer - it got up to 87 degrees, which made for a particularly brutal race.

When we first heard about this race, we were IN - having been to Magnolia Market in Waco recently and having seen how nice everything was done there, we figured that they would put on a good race, even with it being their first one.  The race was a fundraiser for rare cancers and 100% of the proceeds went to the Brave Like Gabe foundation - Gabriele Gruenwald is a runner who was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer but not only has she continued to run, she trained Chip for his first marathon!  The entry fees were higher than usual - I paid $50 for a 5K, which is a lot, but knowing all the money was going to such a special charity helped.  My mother had a rare cancer, so any additional research in this arena is very welcome.

Waco is about a 90 minute drive from our town; we could have gotten there extra early on race day to do packet pickup, but Diane very nicely volunteered to make the trip on Saturday and came home loaded up with all of our swag:
A technical shirt - the back has the saying on it that I very nearly bought as a sign when I was at the market last fall!  The front has the silos, and if you look closely you can see the silhouette of a runner in front of them.  We also received a canvas tote bag as well as a painted burlap tote bag.  We all purchased a soft cotton t-shirt with the logo on race day as well.
On the shuttle - gotta love the photobomber!

On Sunday we woke up super early and were on the road by 4:00 am.  Diane rode with Jeff and I, and we made good time...oddly enough, there was no traffic on the way to Waco - hah!  The only hard part of the race came with parking - we were to park at one location and hop on a shuttle to the Silos.  The parking area was very dark; they had a few temporary lights set up but not nearly enough, and the people working parking detail were hard to see - only one had a lit baton, so that was a bit of a mess.  Anyway, we got ourselves parked and hopped on a shuttle very easily after that.

Once we arrived at the Silos, we found the rest of our group and hung out, taking a few pictures:
 
The green Willys makes for a nice backdrop - plus the sun was rising over the silos, turning everything orange.
It was too early to strike a fun pose for this - Diane looks happy while I have my usual look of pre-race trepidation going on.
But then I found a puppy!  OMG, this was the sweetest little guy - a four month old Corgi named Buxton.  I loved him so much.  He was like a fluffy dachshund!  Even Jeff fell for this puppy.  Do you guys think Paco would mind getting a baby brother?

The marathon started half an hour before the other races, so we got to watch the start on a jumbo monitor:
And yes, that there is Chip, wearing an old-school sweatband - and his leather tool belt!  I thought he was just wearing it for the photo op at the start of the race, but no.  That crazy man ran all 26.2 miles in it!  I can't imagine the chafing and bruising that he got - it was the real deal, and it had to have put the hurt on him.

As it was getting closer to race time, our three halfers made their way to the start line, while Karen and I, along with Jimmymeow and Jeff, walked about half a mile to the 5K start.  Along the way we got stopped by a train:
Just waiting for the train to go by...
And then we got to the 5K corral - if you click on this picture, you can see the orange start banner waaaaaaay in the distance.  

Jeff and Jimmy stayed with us for a while but finally left to go hang with Brian and Logan.  The race countdown began, a horn sounded, and...we didn't move.  Usually you start shuffling toward the front, but it took forever - seriously, we started 20 minutes after the first runners!  They announced that of the 6000 participants in the race, over 3000 were doing the 5K.  When we got close to the front we realized they were releasing everyone in small waves, which ended up being great as it never felt congested once we started.

So the race.  Being as we had a garage sale the day before, and with all the prep for it the day before that, I knew I was not in good running shape, plus six weeks of renovation craziness had contributed to my overall feeling of being worn out, plus my eating has been pretty bad.  I decided ahead of time that I'd just hold my phone and take pictures, enjoy the new-to-me town and route, and not stress about running at all.  And that's exactly what I did, which turned out to be extra good because it was HOT - there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun was out and shining down on us, and we were running on hot asphalt.  I ran and walked, and as it got hotter, I ran in the shady areas and walked in the sunny areas.  I still got plenty hot, but it could have been a lot worse had I forced myself to run more of the race.  Here's some of pictures I took:
 One one bridge, taking a selfie with another in the background.  I was over the Brazos river here.
Start of the next bridge.
This was a pretty one!  
The first two bridges were nice and flat, which I appreciated a lot.
Selfie with cattle sculptures at the other side of the bridge, which was part of the Chisholm Trail.
I really loved seeing all of the motivational signs throughout the race!
Mile marker 1 for the 5K - these Chipisms are very good.
My artsy shot of the Alico building, which you see in every episode of Fixer Upper (and from pretty much everywhere in Waco).
I joked to Karen, when we were in the starting corral, that my goal was to catch Jimmy Don, who was the 5K team captain.  He's the guy who does all of the metal work on Fixer Upper.  Anyway, I was heading into downtown when I saw a group of people, and realized that he was in the middle!  So I asked for a picture and walked with him for a bit - he was wearing, no joke, cowboy boots, jeans, a cotton t-shirt (you can see how sweat-soaked he was) and his cowboy hat.  He's the same in person as on TV - I was really happy to get to chat with him.
Yet another cute area of Waco - they planned the route through a lot of neat spots that I'd like to go back and check out.
More Chipisms!
Here's the much-appreciated second water station - did I mention how hot it was?  Also, look what is looming up ahead - one heck of a steep bridge.
 
But first, a little entertainment in the form of the Baylor University drum line, woohoo!
 
This hill was steep!  Everyone was trudging up it.  When we got to the top it leveled out - no rewarding downhill to run down, boohoo.  But I had to laugh when the two women next to me were indignant about that very thing - I guess we're all alike, we want our treat for making it up a hill.
Finally, the finish line!  I saw Jeff there and he got a good picture of me, phone in hand, haha.
I really, REALLY loved this last Chipism.  It struck a chord with me.

This race was so nice - there were a lot of people doing it who absolutely weren't runners, but rather, were Fixer Upper fans, so there was a different feel to it.  There were tons of walkers, lots of groups of friends, and there was a lot of chit chat and camaraderie coming from everyone.  It was much more than a 5K - it was an event.  If they hold this race again, I highly recommend it, even if you're not a runner, and even with the heat.  It was that good.

After I finished, I received an ice-cold towel, a bottle of water, my medal, a banana, and a huge sugar cookie from the Silos Baking Company:
A little heat-delirious, but happy with my medal and my cookie.  That cookie was so good!  I was nice and split it with Jeff - spectating is hard work.

A few more thoughts about this race.  While I had a great time, I know that it would have been a different story had I tried to run a longer distance.  Karen and I had plenty of time to cool down, change into dry clothes, have lunch, and even do a little shopping at Magnolia Market while we waited for our half marathoners to come in.  And the post-race party was the best - THE BEST - that I've ever been at.  There was plenty of space for participants and their friends/family to hang out - we snagged a picnic table with a canopy so we had shade which was wonderful.  But people were everywhere, relaxing and hanging out on the lawn, doing some shopping, and it made me realize how crummy most other post-race "parties" are - we weren't rushed off, we could be with our non-runners, everyone could eat and drink - it was awesome.

The grounds of the Silo District are lined with food trucks.  Jeff and I split the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich:
Gouda, bacon, and fresh basil - it was so good!

And most of our group ended up buying $8 iced teas, which sounds ridiculous until you were there and did I mention how hot it was?  You got a glass mason jar to keep, and refills were only $2, so we all went back for refills a couple times.  Jeff and I shared this - well, I drank the first one and then we shared:
It says sweet tea on the jar, but they had unsweet, which is the only way I can drink iced tea.

Cary came in, looking hot but really good!  This was her first half marathon since having Logan (she didn't get to run Houston as she was the first to be felled by food poisoning that weekend):
Logan liked his new teether!

Julia and Diane finished, and after a while, we heard that Chip was coming toward the finish line, so we went to watch him on the monitor:
He'd traded in his sweatband for a baseball hat, but that crazy man still had on his tool belt - oh, and he also wore long jogger pants the entire time.  I bet if he'd worn different clothing, he might have finished in under 5 hours, but that's Chip Gaines for you - determined to finish despite all obstacles!