Feb 012015


I leave for Vegas tomorrow* and my life feels one part put together and three parts a total mess.  I am just about fully packed, and by that I mean FULLY PACKED – no room for any-single-thing-else.  In an effort to rock my “don’t over pack” goal, I’m using only a backpack and duffle bag for the five nights I’ll be in Vegas and I’m taking every inch of space available to bring the items I’m promising myself I’ll use. 

I’m bringing gear to work two trade shows, celebrate my way through a retirement dinner party of a dear work friend, try my very best while bowling and playing Las Vegas bar trivia and even running a few times while I’m in the warm weather.  That’s an awful lot of fun packed into a short trip (and an awful lot of outfits needed, too) and I’m both excited and exhausted, and I’ve not even made it to the airport yet.

Also packed in my bag is a slew of hotel and purse friendly foods.  I like to keep some healthy eats on-hand when I travel to both save a little bit of cash and make choosing a nutritious snack as easy as possible for myself.  I consider all travel vacation-mode, and I will no doubt be having my fair share of indulgent moments on any trip I take – if I can make a few of my snacks both free and healthy, I call it a win. 

travel snacks

Currently in my snack pack I’ve got:

past travels

Other snacks I often travel with:

  • Twizzlers – they are a road trip MUST, in my book.  And if I’m feeling especially nostaglic for high school soccer, white cheddar popcorn along with it.
  • pretzels
  • carrot sticks
  • grapes
  • berries
  • bite sized tomatoes
  • crackers
  • any sort of nuts

Do you have travel snack MUSTS?  What are your go to bars for keeping in your purse? (I’m not the only one who does it, right? I love that KIND bar and the Coconut Cream Pie Lara Bar best!)


*Of course, as I write this I am waiting for the projected 8-12 inches of snow to start falling to ground late this evening, so we’ll see when I actually get around to taking off on that plane to Vegas.

Jan 112015

2014 Opener

Oh, 2014, I hated you so hard.


It was a difficult year, but like other years marked in the story of my life as the darker chapters it was a year full of growth and getting to know more about myself than I could have ever expected. These lessons and life changes have been some of the highlights of the past 12 months, and I’m grateful that 2014 does have some bright spots that I will continue to remember fondly.  I ran my first half marathon and found my super power. I conquered many challenges and “opportunities for solutions” [my office’s way of avoiding the word problems] while gaining more confidence at work, as “my day job” continued the transition into “my career.”  I furthered my relationship with the Beef Checkoff and am proud to be a Beef Expert Bureau Member. We added another fuzzbucket to THS HQ and I watched a lot of great television and laughed through a lot of hilarious podcasts. 

The last quarter of 2014 was by far my favorite of the year, and I feel like I ended on a high-note in terms of feeling like my life was truly enjoyable, or at the very least filled with many truly enjoyable days.  I got to spend time with people that I love and made decisions to go after what I want and stop apologize for wanting it.

 tear it up

I didn’t plan to set resolutions or goals for the new year, but I did spend some time thinking about what I wanted to feel when I looked back when it comes time to shift my thinking from 2015 to 2016 next December.  Late this past November, I stuck a poster-sized post-it on my wall and scribbled “2015” in the upper right corner.  It sat blank on my wall through all of my holiday prep, remained empty while I was off-to North Carolina, and still sat ghost-white when I returned, until days after I rang in the new year and started scrambling into my January.

The strength that I felt as 2014 came to a close is what is helping me propel myself into 2015 feeling happier than I have in a long time.  When I started to really focus in on my intentions for 2015 I found a common theme throughout the list – connection.  In 2015 I want to feel connected.  Once this was clear to me, the word CONNECT was written boldly in green marker on the post-it, directly to the right of the year.  I want to take the time to plug in and connect in several energy-stirring areas of my life.  I want to seek new connecting opportunities and be open when they appear in unexpected ways.

the end of it

Connect with my innermost self. Even though I don’t know what that really means right now, I feel very strongly pulled in a direction of self discovery.  An emotional peeling of the layers to get to the core.  Step one is letting go of what was and focusing on what is ahead. Ready, set, go.

Create avenues for connection with my co-workers.  Late last year I decided that I was going to try to strengthen the friendships I had with the people at work that I felt a connection.  I also decided that I’ve said “I wish I had a group of people to play bar trivia with each week” to myself for too long, and that creating a bar trivia team with my work friends would be a great idea for the new year.  I talked it up all last month also tried to make it one of my official work goals, but management did not seem to think it was a good fit. 

Another biggie for me in terms of connecting with my co-workers is taking the conversation beyond the weather.  I’m not saying I want to jump into the deep end of conversations, but I want to at least take one step away from the shallow end.  At least to start.  I’m trying to focus on asking better conversational questions and aiming to actively listen instead of think about what I might want to say next.  

Connect with the open road.  I don’t want to lose my love affair with running, and I know that easing back on my mileage over the winter has been a big help in my not getting bored with running during my heavier training months.  This has been the trend for the past several years.  In 2014 running was redefined for me, as something I did – run, to someone I am – a runner. I am eager to get back out on the street on the regular come spring time.  For now I am spending my fitness energy on running when I can and doing activities that will make me a stronger runner come the sunnier days.

Stay connected with special relationships, and find new ways to keep connected with loved ones across generations.  With snail mail, and Facetime, and mobile/internet games, and group text messaging, and hopefully some in-person visits, too.

Make neighborhood connections.  Visit local establishments and get to know the owners and employees. Be a good neighbor.  Participate in community events.  Support my village. Buy local. Be local. 


Cheers to a blank-page-feeling, hope-filled new year, my friends.  I’ve poured one out for all that was lost during 2014 and I’m raising a glass to all the potential connections in all our lives this year! May we be open to the unknown and willing to take the first step. 

Last Week Listens

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Ramblings
Nov 102014

I haven’t shared a list of podcast episodes listened to in a long time, but I have been talking about podcasts in real life A LOT lately.  Three of my friends have recently asked me for podcast consuming advice; when do I find time to listen, what do I listen to when, what podcasts should they start with – I’m not a podcast expert by any means but I am, by all means, a podcast fan. 


Here’s a bit about the podcast episodes that stood out the most in my from last week.

Haunted – Radio Lab.  I love Radio Lab for many reasons and this episode was especially good for spooky fall. At one point I freaked myself out while washing the dishes while listening and made myself jump.

Gillian Jacobs, Laura Silverman, Cameron Esposito and Eddie Pepitone Guest – Doug Loves Movies. Gosh I love this show. I’ve really taken to Cameron Esposito’s comedy in the past 6-months, too, and she was wonderful.  All the guests had moments where their comedy was shining.

Surprise Ending – The Because Show. This is an episode that fans of the show will feel their way through.  The title is a total hooky spoiler alert and I still wasn’t expecting what happened!

Death with Caitlin Doughty, Kumail Nanjiani and Chelsea Peretti – Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher.  This is the kind of podcast that will feed you conversation topics you never expected.  This episode will get you seriously thinking about death acceptance and laughing in the same breath.

EHG Mini: The Face Off Finale Report – Extra Hot Great.  Especially notable because I am stoked that Liv, Tara’s young niece, will be covering Master Chef Junior this season!  I watched the premiere this weekend and can’t wait to hear what Liv thought of the first challenges.

Serial – ALL OF IT.  I binged the seven episodes during my walks to work last week and during some errand running.  It reminds me how much I love This American Life.

The Accidental Outlaws – Everything is Stores.  With marijuana legalization being such a hot topic these days, this episode seems especially top-notch.  If you like This American Life, RadioLab, or Serial, you’ll dig this podcast, too.

Small Batch: Taylor Swift’s New Album 1989 – Pop Culture Happy Hour.  I’ve seen a lot of commentary on 1989 and this short [9 minutes!] discussion on the topic convinced me that maybe I should check it out myself.

Kevin Barnett: A History of Bombing – The Talk of Shame.  A great story teller is on-deck in this episode, delivering several laugh-out-loud moments.

What have you been listening to?