Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be Kind

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Be kind.
I don't think I was ever intentionally mean, but I know I have said and done things that were purely self-serving and perhaps veiled in kindness. I wish, now, that I was the person who was spoken of as overly kind, thoughtful, caring. I think I am all of those things, and I try every day to be more and more kind, but there are those people who are just so nice, supportive, generous. I want to be like them, and I want younger Katie to spend more time focusing on kindness rather than selfishness disguised as kindness.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas: A Bahamas Bachelorette!

I love my friends. I love to travel. I love LOVE. Of course bachelorette parties are pretty much my favorite things in the world. I've done some pretty awesome ones - Asheville, NC; Destin, FL; Las Vegas, NV! And now, the Bahamas!
One of my besties from college is getting married at the end of March, and after tossing around a whole slew of ideas, we landed on a Royal Caribbean 4 day, 3 night Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral.

We left ATL really early on Friday morning and drove down to Florida. It was a long ride, but we worked the majority of the way with a few episodes of Scandal mixed in. We got on the boat, and immediately sought food. As with all cruises, this would be the first of many, many meals...
While everyone else got settled in and started on the cocktails, Mandy & I hopped up to the gym to get our FitBit steps in. #addicted
The boat departed and all the sudden the treadmill became much, much trickier. Only Olivia Pope could keep me quasi-balanced for the last 10 minutes of my run. It was hard! With that out of the way, we let the official festivities begin! We met a couple of the girls at the arboreum bar, and they had made post-cocktail plans to meet everyone else for the free liquor tasting. Let me just pause and say I love cruises, always have and always will, and one of the biggest reasons I love cruising is for the number of free activities of all types, available to everyone on board! Sure, you can spend plenty of money, but there's so much to see and do that doesn't cost a dime!
Anyway - after that, it was a typical night on a cruise. Shower, drinks, dinner, show! Another huge perk of cruising, there is a routine, and it's pretty much the same no matter the line, the duration, anything.
Friday night's show was a 70's montage, and so much fun! We stood around watching for about an hour, and at that point some of the girls called it a night.
The bride, her sister, Mandy & I decided to venture to the "Silent Party" at the lounge on the top level of the ship. We were so skeptical, but it turned out to be my favorite thing we did all weekend! As soon as you walked in you had to grab a set of headphones and put them on because it was the only way to hear the music. I cannot reiterate enough how much we loved the Silent Party.
Please note our friend, lovingly referred to as Stranger Danger, but more importantly the awesome headphones we are all wearing. The party raged until nearly 3am. We danced, we sang, we made new friends, but most importantly we celebrated the bride-to-be!

The next morning, Mandy & I slept in before making our way to the restaurant for breakfast. For some reason this meal took forever, but we got out of there quickly and Amanda & I beelined for the Crown & Anchor Society reception. It's a reception for frequent cruisers that the captain hosts with complimentary cocktails and appetizers and light snacks. To be honest, I think the timing was pretty poor for the reception, as they usually take place before dinner, but I won't complain about 4 mimosas at 11am :)

Our first stop was Nassau, where we had all been before. We docked around noon, but we waited until about 1:30 to debark and explore. We pretty much hopped off the boat, stopped at a liqor store, and wandered to the nearest beach to soak up some sun. A couple of us were brave enough to test out the massage hut... best decision ever!
We moseyed back towards the boat pretty early - we had a lingerie shower to throw! A couple of the bridesmaids brought a bunch of really fun accessories to make it special, plus the Bride wanted to do a white elephant gift exchange as well. Laughter and tears and everything in between ensued. I am so, so happy for my sweet friend, and wish her a lifetime of happiness and love <3 nbsp="" p="">

More of the same on Saturday night, but the evening culminated in a gorgeous Chilean man telling Amanda that he loved me and he would marry me tomorrow. Well, you don't say? I'm in! I came home as single as I left, but it was fun while it lasted. Sadly, I got no pictures with my Latin lover, but he called me "mami" and "mi amor" and danced like a maniac.

Sunday was a beautiful day in Cococay, Bahamas (Royal Caribbean's privately owned island) but the group decided to hang out on the boat. We had to tender to get to the island (take another small boat from the ship) and it just seemed like more work than it was worth.

We said goodbye to the Bahamas and headed back to Port Canaveral, and then onwards to ATL. It was such a fun weekend, and I can only hope that the bride had as much fun as I did. Cheers to her and her husband-to-be.
Only 2 more months 'til I do! #mrsdub

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#kanda2014 in Croatia

I'm prettttttty sure my mom gave up all hope for me inheriting her love of travel the spring break of my freshman year of high school. We spent 10 days in Italy and I pouted through the Sistine Chapel because I wasn't with my friends in Panama City (in hindsight, what friends?) and she cried over me being an ungrateful brat. Understandably so, and she really ought to have just slapped me.
The good news is that 10+ years later we alternate jealousy of the other's wanderlust and upcoming trips. Last year after I up and went to Iceland, I created a travel bucket list. Thus far I'd call it a raving success. I spent 9 days in London and then into Scotland, checking off #7 on a list of 7.
And now, just a few days into 2014, I'm already planning for another check off the old bucket list. My bestie & I have booked a 11 day trip to Croatia, flying from Atlanta to Zagreb, picking up a rental car and spending 2 days making our way to Split, where we will hop on a boat for 7 days to explore a few islands on the Dalmation Coast. The sailing ends in Dubrovnik where we stay overnight and then spend 18 hours traveling back to Atlanta. Maybe this is cheating but it's my bucket list so who cares: I am counting the week on the boat as equivalent to my bucket list goal of spending a week on the beach and giving myself a pat on the back.
Even more exciting, Croatia has made several lists for being a top place to visit in 2014. For once, I might be ahead of the curve. Let's not get used to it.
Have you already made big travel plans for 2014?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

#monthofmovement is more than haflway over!

So far, so successful! A few of the workouts I've done:

  • Gorgeous run on the Atlanta Beltline
  • New yoga studio
  • Dancing ALL.NIGHT.LONG. at the club on the cruise ship. I count it as exercise because I sweated up a STORM!
  • Ellipticals on a moving boat. Trickier than it sounds.
  • Multiple tennis matches and tennis practices

body weight workout
This full body workout from HTP kicked my asana.
I'm pretty sure mixed in there were some treadmill runs, some elliptical sessions, and some more outdoor runs while I train for my half marathon.
Coming up this week:
  • Monday rest day
  • Tuesday 5 mile run
  • Wednesday TBD, but probably a 2mi adventure on the treadmill followed by a body weight circuit of some sort
  • Thursday I'm trying my very first CrossFit class
  • Friday is hopefully another 5 mile run
  • Saturday tennis match
  • Sunday 6 mile run!
How is your #monthofmovement going?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Men are scum (and why I'm trading in dating for running in 2014)

My dating life has admittedly been all over the place and for the most part, non-existent.

I don't really have the time (bogus excuse), but more than that I'm just not making the time - I feel like I've been dating forever. It's so low on the priority list, I honestly almost forgot about it. Sure, I had an active profile on a couple dating sites over the course of the last 12 months, but it was really nothing more than that and I think I managed a grand total of 6 or so dates. I guess that makes what I am about to share even more surprising.
I debated whether or not to tell this story. I know the person read this blog, looks at (or looked at?) my Instagram and Twitter accounts. My whole, unimportant, lame life is out there for the world to find, but I guess he should have known that when he started all of this. All is fair in love and war, or something like that?
It started out innocently enough with Tinder, if that can be perceived as innocent. But I pinky-promise, I use it just like I use any other dating site. He messaged me, we started chatting, things went quiet, and a couple weeks later I picked it back up again. We started talking all day, every day, about every thing. Past relationships, family, work... you name it. Most of it was pretty superficial, but every now and then we got pretty deep and someone revealed maybe a little more than they intended.
We exchanged phone numbers, texted, sent selfies and stupid pictures of nothing and everything, and finally, finally, our schedules synced up and we made plans to go for lunch. Long story short, I showed up and he didn't. I knew deep down in my gut when I left work that day to meet him that something wasn't right, so I hardly waited 10 minutes for him at the restaurant. I called him, got his voicemail. He'd been out partying the night before and already texted me about what a mess he was that morning, so figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. Life's hard when you are 32 and still crashing on friend's couches...
But I realized in his voicemail I had stumbled across a little gem of information I didn't have previously - his last name! So of course what do I do, I look him up on Facebook. And what do I find?
A profile picture including his wife and baby.  
So, there's that. Of course that was a dealbreaker (understatement of the day?) but I was interested to see how he handled this, so I let it play out. He gave me some half-assed excuse and a half-assed apology and I just didn't drop it. After this message on Saturday night: "I owe you big, Katie. I'm a guy and prone to goofing up and making mistakes and doing dumb things. I'm sorry.", I decided I'd had enough and I immediately quipped back, "Do you say the same thing to your wife?"
I just can't even, on so many levels. That he could take something that could have been so good (online dating) and turn it in to something so bad. That he could basically tell me that I am not worth anything more than someone else's seconds. I invested time and feelings. Let's be real, I never met the dude so I wasn't that invested, but multiple weeks of talking all day, every day sure does wear a girl down. All for nothing - worse than nothing! All for someone who was already spoken for. Douchebag.
I guess after quite a few forays into online dating I can finally say I have had one of those horrific online dating experiences we all hear about. Thanks pal.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dallas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Training Update 1

I am sitting down and writing this after what was supposed to be a 4 mile run. It turned into a 2 mile walk. I started out feeling fine, but about 1/4 mile in, my left shin started really hurting. I figured I'd slow down, walk for a few minutes, and I even stopped to stretch, but no matter what I did the pain was excruciating. As I'm sitting here now, it's throbbing.
I can't tell you how frustrating this is to me. I know it's just my shin and probably a relatively easy fix (I'm thinking new shoes or at a minimum shoe inserts) but I am not a runner. I don't actually know what's happening. I'm a human with 2 legs who is attempting to put one of them in front of the other for 13.1 miles and if this is the kind of encouragement I get from my body, well then I might as well give up now.
I'm not going to. Being intentional means that I deliberately registered for this 1/2 marathon and I'm going to do it come hell or high water, but man, it is not going to be easy. I didn't expect it to be, but I thought maybe the initial training weeks would be a little nicer to me.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day, and then Tuesday I'l attempt another 4-miler. I'm hoping I can squeeze in a trip to Sports Authority or something and pick up shoe inserts but maybe I'll just throw on a different pair of tennis shoes and give them a go. Better than nothing.
Any more seasoned runners have different advice? My shoes are definitely not worn out, so I'm a little bummed at the idea of having to buy new ones. I'm trying really hard to remain positive, but I would be lying if I said I hadn't considered throwing in the towel. But I won't! The show race must go on!

Friday, January 10, 2014

DIY Succulent Garden

I have a fascination wtih succulents. They are just so versatile, what with not really needing to be watered much and only requiring sunlight and growing, growing, growing forever. So what better way to tell friends how much I value them at the holidays than a little succulent gift?

It all started with this post. I ran to Home Depot, scooped up the supplies, and hurried home to get my craft on. I tried my hand at decorating my own vases but quickly decided that was for the birds.

What you'll need for the succulent garden:
  • Multiple small dishes or 1 large dish
  • Succulents (1 per small dish or 4-5 per large, depending on size)
  • Rocks (I got mine at the dollar store!)
  • Dirt 
What I used for decorating the "pots":
  • Martha Stewart decoupage set (I bought gold embellishments!)
Step 1: Get all the supplies ready!

Step 2: Cut materials, start decoupaging. Note: I would completely eliminate this step next time. No need for decorated vases unless you feel really passionately about them!


Step 3: Place rocks in bowl, then place succulents, and finally place dirt around. Note: I did this backwards and put the dirt in first. It was really hard to then dig holes for the succulents, which is why I recommend putting the dirt in around them!

Step 4: Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#monthofmovement for January 2014~

Many, many moons ago some friends & I tried to make #changeyourlifechallenge happen. It was awesome and super fun, but it really ended up being just us. Whatever, we liked it and kept it up for a fair amount of time. And then no one joined us so it kind of fizzled away. C'est la vie!

But now my fab friend Jessie is back with the #monthofmovement and I am quite literally jumping on the bandwagon. I have a 1/2 marathon that needs to be trained for, tennis matches that need to be won, plus a bunch of Groupons and coupons burning holes in my pockets! I also found a Groupon for a CrossFit gym, and I'm hoping that one a little bit closer to my house will match the deal. I've been interested in trying CrossFit for a while so fingers crossed they will match the Groupon rate. If not, oh well, but you never know until you ask! Update: no dice. Your loss, CrossFit!

Not to mention I'm really kind of DYING to win my office's FitBit competition in the first month. That Amazon gift card has my name all over it (after the 3 people who are currently beating me.. but we're not even a week in so let's not get hasty)

So... who's with us?
PS - major props to my blog designer and good friend, Nicole, for the excellent logo!

Friday, January 3, 2014

23 Things To Do Whether or Not You Get Engaged Before You’re 23

A stranger posted a link to this blog post, which one of my friends commented on, and therefore it showed up in my newsfeed. The friend who commented is nearly 28, married (and has been for 5ish years) with no children. She has moved across the country, gone through her husband's multiple deployments, traveled extensively (although she works for an airline), and was fairly upset about the content of the blog post. What I have found most interesting is the outraged married ladies calling her bitter and the HELL YEAH single ladies feeling that she should preach on.
I re-posted it to my Facebook page and thought I'd share my thoughts here as a single lady who has been in my fair share of serious relationships, agrees with the sentiments of the blog posts but thinks the author went about it in the entirely wrong way. She's not bitter, she's immature, and probably a bit jealous of her married friends. Isn't that how life works? You want what you don't have? I love, love, love the life I live, and couldn't imagine it another way, but there is a little part of me that wishes I had married my high school sweetheart, popped out 2 babies before the ripe old age of 28 and was living the white picket fence life. Just like the friends I have that went down that path every so often wish that they were having shots bought for them at bars by gorgeous men pretending to be circus trainers and running off to wherever they feel like going that weekend because they can.

I'm pretty sure we're all just a smidge jealous of each other. So what?
Since when does the fun stop once you get married? Last time I checked, marriage was supposed to make my life infinitely better, not insanely more boring. Am I living in a fantasy world?
Generalizing marriage to be a cop-out or a "safety blanket" if you do it before a certain age is just plain wrong. I know several couples who have been together since high school and are still happily married. I know plenty of others who got married at the ripe old age of 25 and were divorced at 27.  It's not one size fits all. Yes, the odds of 50 years of marital bliss are statistically not great for those getting married young, but who am I to judge?
Beyond that, the rationale for not getting married at age 23 is "Because you owe it to yourself. You are a human being that deserves to thrive inside AND outside of a relationship." Well, last time I checked, I could thrive inside and outside of  relationship regardless of whether or not I am in one. I find it unfortunate that the author only condemns marriage, but not casual dating or monogomous, long-term relationships.
To follow my fellow bloggers advice, I would amend her call to action. There are so many things to do and see and experience in your 20's that are truly once in a lifetime opportunities. But you don't have to do them alone. You don't have to be single, married, in a relationship, white, yellow, black or orange. You just have to be you.
Please enjoy these 23 things whether or not you get engaged before you’re 23. (My personal thoughts, changes & updates to the original list are in italics.)
1. Get a passport. Everyone single 20-something should have a passport.
2. Have a hobby.
3. Make out with a stranger.  But probably do it less often as you get older.
5. Start a band. Or sing karaoke, or watch your friends sing karaoke, or watch strangers sing karaoke and have a little chuckle about it.
6. Make a cake (this one). Make a second cake (this one). Have your cake and eat it too.
7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.
8. Explore a new religion or fall deeper into the faith you already have.
9. Start a small business. Or support the ones you love.
10. Cut your hair.
11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face. I just can't with this one, at all. Been there, done that, and I was 16. Unnecessary now to intentionally hurt someone, especially yourself.
12. Build something with your hands. (any of these totally count)
13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.
14. Study abroad or take a trip to somewhere you've always dreamed about.
15. Make your parents proud.
16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again. Any TV show will do, my personal preference is Law & Order: SVU.
17. Eat a jar of Nutella 1 lb bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting.
18. Make yourself feel comfortable around strangers.
19. Sign up for CrossFit, or a marathon, or Zumba classes, or something to push yourself physically.
20. Hangout naked in front of a window. To each their own...
21. Write your feelings down in a blog, in a notebook, in a word document on your computer.
22. Be selfish. But only sometimes.
23. Take a chance on something (or someone), just once.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Just like that...

It's nearly the end of the year! As always, I spend the end of the year reflecting on what I did over the last 12 months and what I want to do differently in the upcoming months.
2010 was GROWN UP. 2011 was CONSTANT. 2012 was FUN. 2013 was AMBITIOUS. I spent a lot of time reflecting about 2013. Were things around me changing, or was I changed? In Costa Rica I deemed 2013 the year of transformation, but in hindsight, that's not quite accurate. I think I am still figuring out who I am, and in doing so I took risks and created adventures for myself and challenged myself. I did things that I didn't think I'd ever do, and pushed myself to the limits, quite literally.
When I decided to apply to a top 25 part-time MBA program, everyone around me thought I was setting myself up to fail (although they didn't tell me at the time). Hell, I thought I was setting myself up to fail. And then I got in.
When I booked a trip to Costa Rica 8 days in advance, I thought I was absolutely mad. No one else knew how to deal with me and I was at my wit's end with a lot of things. I didn't know how to deal with everything happening around me. And then I spent 7 days with some of my now-favorite people in the world and it feels like it was the easiest thing I've ever done.
I pushed myself in (and out of) relationships, both personally and professionally. I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I worked harder this year than I ever have in my entire life both at work and at school and I am beyond proud of the things I have done, the people I have met, and the accomplishments under my belt. I was promoted to a new role, I was recognized at work with an award for excellence, I passed all my classes in my first semester of business school, I was elected social chair of my class...these are not easy things, and I certainly don't think I made them look easy (in fact I probably made all of them look infinitely harder), but it's just more examples of how I pushed, pushed, pushed without looking back. Or around, or forward, really.
Seems like 2014 has some big shoes to fill, but that's not the point. Believe it or not, pushing yourself to the limit is exhausting. It can be heartbreaking, disappointing, and plain old hard. It's also invigorating, inspiring, exciting. But it's time to slow down.
I would like 2014 to be INTENTIONAL. I'm not making resolutions, per se, but a few goals.
  • Less time and effort into my love life: I will be spending zero time pursuing any dating opportunities between now and the end of March. I'm not going to say no if the opportunity arises, but I'm not going to seek it out.
  • More time and effort into my physical well-being: I'm running a 1/2 marathon (!!) on March 23 and would like to finally do that triathlon I spoke of.
  • Less time bebopping all over the world just because and more time with people that matter in places that matter: a long weekend in Atlanta with the Costa Rica girls, #kanda2014 in Croatia, debating between a shorter return trip to Iceland and a 2 week trip to China for school in August, at least 1 trip to San Fransisco, and a few stops in Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Miami to round out the year, and of course many a summer weekend at the lake.
It's never the new year without an actual resolution, though, so here it goes. My 2014 New Years Resolution is to make my bed daily. I have one other one, but I'm keeping it to myself for now :)