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Seriously, Mother Nature??? March 28, 2015

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This blogger is dreaming about maxi dresses, taking my dog swimming, strappy sandals, running outside, and patio drinks.  How about you?

Cross(fit) my heart, hope (not) to die March 9, 2015

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Over the years, I have tried a lot of different exercise methods and classes and programs and whatnot.  I always attempted to be open-minded, but the one genre I never warmed to was the boot camp/CrossFit style.  Even though my husband loved his experiences, I chalked that endorsement up to his military background – after all, having been in the Air Force, he was used to being yelled at and “motivated” to action in less than positive ways.

When we moved to Hill East at the end of 2014, we noticed that there was a CrossFit studio less than 3 blocks away from our house.  Since we had fallen very much out of shape, and since the convenience factor was high, I finally relented and signed us up.  You know what?  I am woman enough to admit when I am wrong…and I was definitely wrong about CrossFit.

CrossFit Inc. defines itself as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains.”  Whiiiiiich basically means that you do a little of everything!  The hour-long workouts are intense and can include everything from jump ropes to indoor rowing machines to barbells to resistance bands, and everything in between.  Oh, and speaking of the workouts, there is some CrossFit lingo to know – for example, “WOD” means “workout of the day,” which is only one component of the session (the highest-intensity component).  There’s also generally a warm-up, a skill development segment, strength work, and some stretching.  It’s a lot of work for one hour, but it’s varied and interesting and slightly different every time.  CrossFit facilities aren’t called gyms, they’re called “boxes” – and each box has its own personality.  Thankfully, I found a box that is small, encouraging, and fun!

The great thing about CrossFit – which is one of the major things I didn’t know – is that it is scalable.  I thought you had to be a super weightlifter, or be able to do 300 pushups without a break, to be able to handle CrossFit.  But, thankfully, that’s just not true.  The components of each workout have a prescribed (or Rx) level, and then there’s always an option for less than prescribed (or Rx2).  Can’t even do Rx2?  That’s okay, too – you just do what you can and try to push yourself to YOUR limits.  It’s competitive, but in the right way (for me, at least) – it encourages me to compete with myself.  It’s nice to be able to see improvements in your time/reps after you have practiced movements for a while.

Right now, we’re pretty routinely attending CrossFit 2-3 times a week, and hopefully soon we’ll be able to bump up to the full 4.  Regardless, it’s safe to say that this CrossFit convert will be WOD-ing for a long time to come.

Who else out there does CrossFit?  What do you like best about it?


Gotta Love the Globes January 12, 2015

Posted by bettyjoan in Pretty.
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Much to my husband’s dismay, award season has officially kicked off with last night’s Golden Globe Awards.  I found the show itself to be pretty flat (minus George Clooney’s speech – could he be any more gosh darned adorable?), but there were some noteworthy fashion moments on the carpet.

Couples were really knocking it out of the part last night – here are some of my favorites –

Legend PaceyTatum

I mean, how cute are these lovebirds?  And Pacey Witter all grown up?  Rawr.  Diane, you are a lucky lady.

George and Amal also looked great – NO ONE rocks a tuxedo like Mr. Clooney.


My overall favorite look of the night had to go to Naomi Watts – Ah. May. Zing.  That necklace!  The color of the dress!  So gorgeous.


Seriously, the necklace…WANT.


Lorde and Emma Stone both wowed me with their twists on pantsuits.


And Emily Blunt was absolute perfection in her white criss-cross dress, braided up-do, and gorgeous turquoise-colored earrings.


Agree?  Disagree?  Did you miss Joan Rivers as much as I did (I think I’ll miss her even more during the post-show Fashion Police episode – sniff)?  Sound off!


Grocery shopping in the modern age December 22, 2014

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When we chose our apartment, a big factor was how convenient it was to the grocery store.  The Harris Teeter is literally right downstairs (we don’t even have to go outside to get there, if the weather is crummy), so I’ve gotten pretty spoiled.  Unfortunately, when the store was closed down by the health department recently – yes, you read that right – I was faced with the challenge of finding another option.  Thankfully, this article had recently stoked my curiosity about some new delivery options in town, so it was a perfect opportunity to test some of them out.

First, I decided to grab some basics from Safeway via Instacart.  Instacart gave me the option of about 6 nearby grocery stores, including Whole Foods and Costco (for which you do NOT have to have a membership, as it turns out).  You can get things as quickly as within one or two hours, but I chose a later delivery window since I wasn’t in a huge hurry.  The website is super easy to navigate, so ordering was a breeze.  Some items were marked up, but overall, I didn’t feel like I was getting completely robbed (especially considering the time and energy I saved).  My delivery was free, but it generally ranges in the $4-$10 range, depending on how quickly you need your items.  My courier texted me a couple of times with questions about substitutions, and I appreciated the desire to get things right.  I can definitely see myself using Instacart for parties or other time-sensitive moments, but I like grocery shopping too much to give it up completely.  :-)

Then there’s Postmates.  Postmates isn’t just groceries – it basically turns every store and restaurant in the area into a take-out joint.  When I used it first, I opted to get some of my favorite items from Trader Joe’s.  The actual items on the app (no website here – you have to do everything from the phone) were more limited than in the store, but it saved me a schlep to TJ’s, which was awesome.  There is a delivery fee (which varies) and a 9% service fee, so the charges can add up.  But…Shake Shack, delivered straight to my door?  Worth the premium, especially when I’m in the middle of a move and have no plates or silverware.

Next service to try – delivery booze from Klink!  Anyone tried it?

And the leaves that are green turn to brown November 16, 2014

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Fall in DC really is beautiful, though it tends to be short-lived.  It seems like this fall will be no exception.  Frankly, it didn’t even feel like fall until right around Halloween, and then this weekend, less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, felt more like winter.  The leaves are in big crunchy piles on the sidewalk, it is dark when I leave for AND come home from work, and folks have broken out their scarves and knee-high boots – so, I guess there’s no mistaking the season.

Some animals prepare for winter by hoarding.  In our household, we seem to be doing just the opposite – we have decided to buy a house, so we are thinking about what we can eliminate, reduce, and streamline.  While that process unfolds, I find myself looking and feeling a lot like the many neighborhood squirrels – like I have packed on extra heft to protect myself from the impending cold.  I have been exercising less and less – not only because other things have been more pressing, but also because I seem to have lost the inherent drive to better my body.  Is it unreasonable to think I might get that drive back during the short, cold days of winter?  Past patterns do not give me hope in that regard.

In any case, I will write here when I can – about training, yes, but also about life in our new neighborhood, as we put down real roots and try to become a part of a larger community.  Perhaps our neighbors will turn out to be running partners, or I will find that biking to work is more rewarding on the new route.  Who knows?  Anything is possible.

And, of course, there is always spring to look forward to…

RTR Unlimited review September 22, 2014

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My love for Rent the Runway is well-known.  So, when they announced their “Unlimited” service, I was one of the first people in line.  Basically, you fill your queue with as many items as you like from their VERY impressive selection of accessories (handbags, scarves, jewelry, sunglasses, jackets, FUN!!!), and they send you three at a time.  Shipping – both ways – is free, just like with their dresses.  You can keep the pieces as long as you want.  Whenever you want to return 1, 2, or all 3 items, they will send you others from your queue to replace them (so you always have 3 items).  The monthly fee is $75, and you can cancel anytime, as long as you return all of the items you have first.  Simple!

Here’s what I got in my first shipment:


These Dannijo earrings were super fun, but VERY heavy, and not particularly practical for everyday wear.


These OScar de la Renta earrings were awesome – the only downside was that they were clip-ons.  Then again, they’re a lot lighter than they look, so it wasn’t a big deal.


I think the Gigi New York satchel was the best part of the delivery.  It fit all of my stuff (and I have a LOT that I carry in my everyday bag), and the leather looked and smelled so amazing.  It was obviously a very high-quality item – in fact, it was brand new with the tags when I got it, so I’m pretty sure I was the first renter to get it!  I didn’t want to give it back.  :-)

I kept the bag for longer than the earrings, even taking it on my West Coast adventure this summer.  Then I got my next bundle:


This grouping wasn’t my favorite.  The bracelet is awesome (I still have it, actually), but the earrings were kind of blah and the necklace arrived damaged.  But, in true RTR fashion, I got replacements very quickly and without any extra hassle on my part.

I hope I continue to get handbags (I haven’t gotten any since the first one), since it’s nice to spruce up that part of my wardrobe without having to commit to a large purchase.  I like the jewelry as well, but I have plenty of accessories already in my closet.  Hopefully, I’ll get to try out some of the jackets during the fall – if I keep getting a good variety, and if RTR keeps adding more goodies to their vaults, I imagine I will continue to be an Unlimited member.

Has anyone else tried the service?  What did you think?

How to have a Ragnarly, dude! relay race September 5, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Today, we are a week out from Ragnar DC – squee!  I started re-reading posts this morning from Ragnar TN back in 2012, and it got me all excited for the fun that is to come.  But, I also started getting a little anxious about logistics and packing – after all, there are a LOT of moving parts when you’re talking about 12 people, 2 vans, 200 miles, and zero sleep.

There are oodles of blog posts about how to pack for Ragnar.  When I was prepping for Tennessee, the chronic overpacker in me got really frustrated – you want to have everything you could possibly need for 3 different “mini” races (and for lots of potential weather scenarios), but you also can’t take up so much room in the van that you don’t have any left for the really important stuff (otherwise known as your teammates and a cooler).

So, rather than put together yet another in-depth packing list, I’m going to talk about the things you probably DON’T need to bring to Ragnar…

Lounging/non-running clothes – Okay, so I’m not talking about clothes for partying after you finish the race, or PJs for in the hotel the night before the start.  I’m talking about clothes for DURING the race, after you have completed one of your legs and the waiting begins.  While I definitely recommend bringing three separate running outfits, there is no point in putting on “regular” clothes in between.  You probably won’t have time anyway.  Make sure you have flip flops or slippers or other comfortable non-running shoes, and call it a day.

Enough food for a small army – Yes, you will definitely eat a lot during Ragnar.  But, not everyone likes the same things, and even ONE person’s tastes will vary during a 30+hour period (for example, I liked pumpkin muffins at the beginning of Ragnar TN, but I had eaten so many of them by the end of my second leg that I never wanted to see another one as long as I lived).  Make sure you have plenty of hydration, and sure, pack some portable and chewable fuel, but remember that you can usually stop for food at least once or twice during the journey.  I distinctly recall both a Zaxby’s AND a Cracker Barrel stop during our van’s off time.  At the time, they were both the best meals I have ever had.

Full size pillows – They take up a LOT of room.  Chances are, not everyone will be sleeping at the same time, so you could always use folded up sleeping bags and/or blankets to rest your head.  If you have one of those airplane neck pillow things, all the better – it’s small, and it works for both sitting up sleep AND laying down sleep!

Your pet – I love my furbabies as much as the next person.  Probably more, come to think about it.  But as much as you don’t want to take Fifi to the kennel while you run around the countryside, do the humane thing and spare your dogs/cats/cockatoos the misery of being crammed into a van with a bunch of crazy, delirious humans.  Plus, you don’t want your best buddy breaking loose when one of your teammates, in a sleep deprived haze, opens the door to the van before you’ve actually put the leash on.

A bad attitude – Seriously, just don’t.  Ragnar is FUN!!!  If you come expecting to have a good time, meet some cool people, and enhance your existing friendships, you’ll be in great shape.  The opportunity to be tired and cranky will most certainly present itself, but don’t take the bait!

Anyone else have tips on what not to bring?

Running Up(s) and Down(s) September 4, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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The downer is that I decided not to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year (booooo).  As thrilled as I was to win a spot in the lottery, the summer turned out to be way busier than I was anticipating, and training fell by the wayside.  There was no way I was prepared to run 26.2 miles, and I didn’t want to do it unless I could really do it well.  The good news is that MCM has a deferral program, so I paid a fee to guarantee my entry in the 2015 race.

So, what am I going to do to ensure that 2015 doesn’t go the way of 2014?  First things first, I had a consultation with a personal trainer last night – I think losing some weight and incorporating strength training into my fitness routine are both excellent ways to make progress towards next years race(s).  The workout was TOUGH, and I am still hurting today, but my miserable excuses for push-ups demonstrated that I need to get some expert help and not just focus on cardio.

Second, I am going to try to have a BLAST at Ragnar DC next weekend – hopefully, that will kick-start my get-back-in-shape campaign and renew my love of running and fitness.  Even reading some blog entries and recaps of last year’s DC Ragnar has started to get me in the spirit – so look for a post in the near future about things I am looking forward to (and hoping to do differently) during my second relay experience!

Summer Loves September 1, 2014

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I haven’t done monthly Birchbox reviews in a while, partially because BUSY, but also partially because there were a couple of “meh” boxes where I didn’t feel strongly about any of the products.  Thankfully, the last couple have been pretty darn good (especially August), so I figured I’d give a shout out to some of my favorites.

LAQA & Co. Lip Lube


I got this in the purple shade, and I was immediately skeptical – but, it’s actually pretty fun!  I wore it to perk up some neutral-heavy work outfits, and I loved how moisturizing it was.  It also has a subtle minty flavor, which is always appreciated.

Noir Eyeliner


So, I am still figuring out whether I like the Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner, so I wasn’t initially thrilled to get an eyeliner pencil in my Birchbox.  However, I quickly changed my mind – this liner is AWESOME.  It goes on super smooth, and it is VERY long-wearing and VERY black.  It’s not as precise as a gel or liquid, of course, so it would be hard to do sharp wings or cat-eyes with this.  But, for an everyday liner, it is a high-performer.

Vasanti Detox Cleanser


I love everything Vasanti does, seriously.  This cleanser is no exception – fresh-smelling and effective, this is a great everyday face wash.  I am currently having a nice little bout of adult acne, so I won’t be buying this immediately, but I would be happy to work it into my skincare routine once I no longer look like I am going through puberty.

Anyone else discover great new products this summer?

Emmy Excellence August 27, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Pretty.
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When I got rid of cable earlier this year, I neglected to think about the impact it would have on my awards show fashion watching!  Even though I only saw the lame network coverage of the red carpet (sniffle…E!, I miss you), I definitely have some thoughts about whose looks were made for TV and whose should be canceled immediately.

The Award-Worthy:


Heidi Klum was one of the first celebrities I saw, and I was so happy – she looks amazing!  The dress is great (fit, color, visual interest, yay!), the earrings are super cool, and the loose waves are beautiful.  Maybe not as much of a risk as she usually takes, but I’m okay with that.


Prints can be dangerous (see Betsy Brandt – sorry, Marie, but it just wasn’t attractive), but I think Julie Bowen knocked it out of the park with this dress.  She looks…just WOWZA.  I think the side part works really well, too.


I suspect that people either love or hate what Julia Roberts wore, but count me in the former camp.  She looked dazzling on the carpet, and it was so nice to see a short dress amongst a sea of gowns.


Some people have said they didn’t like the cut of this dress for Amy Poehler, but I thought she was exuding confidence and sexiness.  I think the styling really takes the whole look up a notch (it could have washed her out otherwise).

The (not-so-Breaking) Bad:

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

I hate how everyone was tip-toeing around how absolutely awful this outfit was.  “Oh, Lena Dunham always gives us something to talk about!”  Come on – this is ugly with a capital UG.  And I feel like her new hairstyle would have looked so fantastic contrasted with a dark, dramatic gown – a missed opportunity.


This dress says, “Hi, I’m Katherine Heigl, the mother of the bride.”  It ages her like whoa, and the color does absolutely nothing for her beautiful features.  Sad.


I will give Kerry Washington credit for the color – she rocks a bold hue.  But the cut and fit of this dress is completely wackadoo, and I don’t like the hair (it just looked limp, like it was doing well to hang from her head).  A rare miss for this fashionista – makes me wish for one of Olivia Pope’s rockin’ pantsuits.


I hate that I have to put Allison Janney on my no-no list, because I adore her and there probably aren’t many actresses I’d rather be friends/have a beer with (especially when I am re-watching “The West Wing” and falling in love with her all over again).  But sometimes friends gotta dish out the tough love, and this dress is just way too suburban-Winter Formal-circa-1982.  And wasn’t it SUPER hot out there (it IS August in L.A., after all)?  Velvet just doesn’t make sense.  All of that said, the hair and makeup were bangin’ and the fact that she somehow mentioned incontinence in her acceptance speech is pure awesomesauce.

The Smack in the Middle:


Every year, one pregnant actress just KILLS it on the red carpet.  Hayden Panettiere is so close here.  Hair?  Perfection.  Makeup?  Satisfactorily glowy.  Dress that hugs baby bump instead of trying to hide it?  Boom.  So what is my issue?  First, I am really, really hating the nude overlay on the torso.  It was not subtle, and it took away from what was otherwise a super sexy look.  I mean, come on – we can see the girls anyway, so show them in all of their enormous pregnant glory!  Second, except for the times when she was posing or being interviewed, she was displaying full-on resting bitchface.  It’s just not pretty.

So…what did everyone else think?


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