For some reason, people seem to assume I have always loved running. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, I am training for my fifth half marathon, all of which have been in the last two years, but two years ago I would have told you running was my least favorite workout. Like rock bottom. I hated running, and the only reason I had sort of started in the last few years was because of my dog.
I am the type of person that always needs to be doing something, if not three things. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing on vacation even. Because of that, I found running monotonous and repetitive and I would get bored just being there alone with my thoughts. Listening to my brain non-stop without a distraction? Kill me.
Then it came to the muscles. Using those same muscles and tendons over and over and over for hours on end, I became very aware of the discomfort and pain, which then lead to it worsening, me slowing down, and it becoming more challenging to keep going.
That all being said, I have since discovered lots of great tips which help me overcome these mental and physical roadblocks! Now I love running because of implementing these, and I switch out my methods depending on my mood.
1. Pretend you’re doing another activity.
This is one of the biggest breakthrough methods for me! I am a figure skater, so while I’m in the midst of my run, I will envision myself jumping, spinning, ice dancing, skating with my team, etc. I’m quite good in my imagination! I think the reason this one works so well for me is my breathing, heart rate, and physical movement match what I’m actually doing, so it’s a simple distraction that entertains me as I choreograph in my head. This would also work really well for other activities like dancing, swimming, roller blading, biking, etc.
2. Give yourself a mental “to do list.”
I actually used to practice this back when I had a super boring college job. My mind is always racing, so throughout my week I will add to my mental to do list to process things during my run. This might be brainstorming, analyzing, or working through a problem. Doing it at a time when I’m uninterrupted and can’t do much else is super productive for me! If I need to take notes, I will use Siri and my notes app. Works like a charm.
3. Distract yourself with audio.
Okay, so this one isn’t news. Lots of people have workout playlists that get them pumped up (or even relaxed) while running. I personally love to listen to Jesse Cook’s flamenco guitar while I run as it will help me get into meditation mode. That being said, there are so many more options these days! Audiobooks are a great way to get yourself out of your physical body and into a story. Podcasts are too! I recently have been listening to the How They Blog podcast while I’m running, and it’s great to be learning and bettering myself mentally while I am physically too.
4. Plan for great scenery.
Where I live provides a multitude of beautiful locales for running and finding the beauty of nature while you’re running can have a huge impact on your mood and how distracted you are. I will plan my runs purposefully in gorgeous places so that I can enjoy the beauty and just being outside while I run.
5. Bring a companion.
I actually prefer running alone for various reasons, but a lot of people find having a companion who they can talk to and pace with really helpful for training. For me I usually don’t have a human companion, but my dog Daisy is a great running mate! She has done almost every single training run with me, and she motivates me to keep it up and makes it so I’m not alone.
What helps distract you most when you’re running?
I love cooking, but working full time and having a toddler complicates that. That’s why I have figured out the solution to me actually cooking (and not giving in to grabbing takeout yet again) is doing the prep work ahead. See my tips on that here.
Along those lines, the other day I wanted to bust out a yummy meal with the food we had on hand, and I had just bought these Italian-style meatballs on a whim to see if they were any good, so I decided to experiment with them.
My husband called me that he was on his way home so I decided I would see what I could do before he got home. Well turned out I finished up the whole thing in that amount of time so dinner was ready when he got home. It’s like the unicorns and magical butterflies were on my side! Not only that, he raved about how good this dish was (and I quote “honey, this could be in a restaurant”), which coming from a man that grew up on gourmet food as the norm, is saying something! I’m definitely going to keep this one on the “make again” list.
1 bag fettuccini noodles
1 bag Italian style frozen meatballs
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 cup frozen (or fresh) peppers, diced
1 small can mushrooms
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
4 ounces of cream cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 heaping handfuls spinach
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in fettuccini. In another pot, turn to medium heat and add in frozen meatballs, mushrooms and peppers. Continue stirring until meatballs start thaw. Pour in sauce, garlic, and seasoning then continue stirring until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Strain cooked pasta. In the sauce pan, add the cream cheese to sauce and melt in until completely combined. Turn down heat to low and stir in spinach until lightly wilted. Serve over pasta.Read More
I just love when delicious side dishes are easy, especially when they are healthy and pretty, to boot! There’s something I just love about heirloom carrots — the colors are so beautiful!
It’s silly, but I love shaving off the outside peel to discover this bright white or vibrant purple carrot flesh, and then cutting into them to discover the varied, colored centers. Okay, I know, enough with the ode to a root.
The other fun thing is kids get a kick out of having veggies that are a different color, so if your kiddo is a picky eater, this makes carrots just that much more fun. My little guy loves veggies, but he thought having purple and white carrots was so entertaining. Ha!
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prep and is full of flavor the whole family will love. It’s also a super easy one to prep in advance so you can just toss it in the oven when it’s dinner time.
6-8 heirloom carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
A handful of fresh thyme (or about 1 tsp dried)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice carrots in quarters, lengthwise and then in half. Spray a little olive oil in a oven safe pan and toss carrots in. Drizzle remaining oil over the top, stirring around until lightly coated. Dust garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then top with fresh thyme add in water. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft.Read More
Since my hair is the longest it’s been since my sophomore year of college, I braid it a lot to keep it out of my face. Plus big, thick, intricate braids are trendy right now, so bonus! When I wear it out and about different ways, I get a lot of people asking how I did it or how I do certain types of braids, so I wanted to start a “how to braid” series where I can show you easy step-by-step tutorials for various braids and hairstyles. First up, fishtail braids since it’s one of my faves and one that seems to intimidate the most people.
Now I should start by saying I am not one of those people that can just do every hairstyle with ease, so don’t be intimidated! A lot of people will look at different things I’ve done and say “well I could never do that to my hair because I suck at doing hair.” Stop. Just stop it. My hair is thick and coarse and kind of hard to work with, so it takes me a minute to try new styles, too.
I love the look of fishtail braids because they are so pretty and intricate, but for the longest time I looked at various video hair tutorials and I could never quite get the hang of it without it falling out two seconds later. Then I needed a mirror to redo it, which never worked! Finally I figured out how to move my hands to make it stick, and could do it without watching myself by the next day. Below is a little video of my fishtail braid hair tutorial. Be sure to subscribe to my channel as I’ll be sharing more coming soon!Read More
I love cooking. I really do, but after a long day at work, taking care of my toddler, dog and household, sometimes working out, running errands and/or [insert a billion other things that take over my life] it’s hard to make myself cook. I get tempted, and too often give in, to grabbing take out or something easy. Now if someone who loves cooking is feeling that, certainly those of you on the edge probably give in too.
That being said, I have figured out a few things that actually help me to make better decisions and make food at home, often healthy meals and very often fast and easy!
1. Do bulk cutting ahead of time. I’ve started to make it a habit to buy a 10-pack or so of chicken breast and chop it all up on the weekend, store in little freezer bags (1 breast per bag), and put in my freezer. I have found between the ick factor and the inconvenience of needing to wash a knife and cutting board, that is one of the biggest holdbacks from making myself cook. Plus having little baggies of chicken breast allows me to grab just what I need for my recipe and without any mess.
2. Cut up foods over time. When I am already cooking with fresh produce, I chop up a little extra and store it in te freezer. Sort of the same concept as above, but this time it’s just when I have extra or if something is about to go bad. For instance if I am cooking with half an onion or half a zucchini, I’ll cut up the whole thing, use half for what I’m making and toss the other half in a freezer bag. Then when it’s time for dinner I can just open them up and bake, sauté or whatever.
3. Double up slow cooker recipes. When you’re lazy, slow cooker meals are your friend! There’s nothing better than walking into your house after a busy day to discover your house smells amazing and dinner is ready. Yes! So when I prep a slow cooker meal, I’ll chop up double, add half in my crock pot, half in a freezer bag. I’ll hold off on liquid ingredients and such, but all the veggies and sometimes even mean depending on the recipe can go in ready for an extra lazy day when you’re in need.
4. Grab healthy premade meals. I try to stay away from foods that have a crazy amount of preservatives and all that, but having a few easy to throw together meals will really help you stay in. One of my favorites is the frozen bag of teriyaki chicken from Trader Joe’s. One bag comes with two packets of sauce so you can split it up or make it all. I just make it all and add in some frozen stir fry veggies and then take the leftovers for work the next day. Voila!
5. Grab pre-prepared produce. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m kind of cheap in this realm because I hate paying for someone else to cut up my produce when I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself and paying half the price. It bugs. But here’s the thing, if instead I decide I’m too lazy to actually follow through I have rotten produce, wasted money, aaaand even more waste goes to me eating out. Nobody wins with that. I have learned there are a few staples I like to have so I actually eat what I buy. For instance, I love grabbing pre-made chopped salads that come with the toppings and dressing. I split those in two, sometimes add lunchmeat or chicken on top, and my hubby and I will each take one to work. Or I’ll grab broccoli slaw for an easy side salad. Fruits I try to mostly stick with ones I can eat without too much work cutting like strawberries, grapes and bananas. I’ll still grab plenty of others, but having a few easy, go-to meals allows me to hit my goals of saving money and eating healthy.
What foods help you stay in?Read More
Happy Monday everyone! It’s the start of a new week and I’m already asking, “is it Friday, yet?” Isn’t that why Mondays are the worst? Um, yes. Well hopefully I can make your Monday a little bit better!
First off, I added these adorable designs to my Angie’s Nest Etsy shop. Didn’t know I had a shop? I sell artwork, wall prints, and most recently I have started selling my vinyl designs you can iron on to make cute graphic tees, sweatshirts, bags, blankets, and plenty more.
What I love most about this? Well I am very particular about the way my shirts fit, so I’m always hesitant to buy certain cute styles without trying them on first — especially when I’m going to be paying all this money just for the saying/design I want only to have it fit funky. Plus if you and a group of friends want matching shirts (like my Fab5 friends and I make for race shirts all the time — see examples here) this is a great way to make sure you can all look and feel great in shirts you love.
Head on over to my Etsy shop to see more options. AND I’m also doing a loop giveaway with 10 other shops! You can enter to win two custom vinyl designs of your choice from me and 10 other amazing prizes from others! Just head on over to my Instagram @angiesnest to enter, look for the pic below, and get all the other deets!Read More
Last night my friends and I went to Paint Nite at Red Rock in Fashion Place Mall. This was my second time attending a Paint Nite event, so as an artist myself, I wanted to share my perspective and review my experience.
Overall, both times I have gone have been excellent! It was a relaxed atmosphere, everything was organized, and the focus is really on just having a good time, not your painting skills. They even make you do a silly pledge at the beginning essentially promising you will have fun and not bash on yourself or compare your painting to anyone else’s. Both times I heard some people going into it fairly timidly with their “lack of art skills” and ended it off feeling proud of how they did.
The instructor walks you through step by step, but welcomes you to break the rules if you feel comfortable doing so. I, of course, like to make it up myself a bit, so I liked the freedom to make it my own. Now, acrylic isn’t my usual medium (although I’ve been getting into it a little more recently), but it was easy to follow along even all being at different levels. It’s so cool to look around the room at the end and compare everyone’s different interpretations! I heard several people saying to each other that they saw someone else doing something and which inspired them to do that too. Some might call that “copying” but I think it’s great — everyone mutually sharing ideas and pushing themselves a little out of their comfort zones. Also, I think art is so beneficial for anyone, so anything to get more people experiencing it is awesome. It’s so good for the soul!
The whole thing is all about just having a good time and relaxing. Both times I had friends with literally no painting experience that did excellent. Even if you get to the end and aren’t totally in love with it, just the act of painting, having a glass of wine (or whatever your vice is) and hanging with your friends is a blast. Maybe this is a little skewed since I am a mom of a toddler and would think taking a shower uninterrupted is a great luxury, but still. Also, I might add I could do this myself for free at home as I have my own acrylics, wine, and canvas, but doing it in a different setting at a time that forces me to just chill is worth it. Totally a fun evening!
The other cool thing was hearing our instructor talk about how this job has benefited him. He a young artist with student loans to pay off (I mean haven’t we all been there?! Ugh) who had never actually been paid to paint. He said this job has totally changed his life, so that was pretty cool to hear too!
If you want more info on signing up, you can check it out here! Also, just not note, this is not a sponsored post — it’s just my review.