Highlights of August

Friday, August 26, 2016

I have slowly been getting back into the blogging game. I'm basically a one-day-a-week blogger now (better 1 day than none, right?!) and so a lot of stuff gets left out when I only blog roughly 4 times a month.

So last month I saw how Elizabeth did a cool vlog of her adventures throughout the month and I really liked the idea, so I'm totally stealing her idea and making my own vlog to update y'all when I don't always blog about everyday life. Though everyday life isn't always that interesting, I tried to throw in the highlights.

What have you been up to this month?!

Finding Reading Time in a Busy Schedule

Friday, August 19, 2016

I swear my free time has diminished to about 5 hours a week. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but that's what it feels like. In all honestly though, between working a full time job that sometimes requires Saturday hours, training for the half marathon and just keeping up the house, reading falls somewhere behind blogging on the list of when to get things done.

Every year I create a goal to read 20 books on Goodreads and so far, every year I have fallen short. This year seemed to be the same (see all of my excuses above). I tried multiple times to sit down and read but every time I lost interest in about 2.5 seconds because there were other things I needed to be doing or I was just plain tired and wanted a nap. So far this year I have read 8 books and only one of this has been paperback.

Okay, so how do you read books when you have a busy schedule? Well, my answer has been audiobooks. I rediscovered them in all of their glory. Yes 7 of the 8 books I "read" I actually listened to. Most of them I listened to while driving back and forth to work. But it's also easy for me to listen when I'm cooking or cleaning.

This year I have read: The Girl on Legare Street, Who Moved My Cheese, Low Pressure, Texas Lucky, Lethal, The Heart Goes Last, Demon Rumm, and Rogue Lawyer.

I have also discovered a new favorite author, Sandra Brown. I have fallen in love with her writing style and can't get enough. I've read 4 of her books this year, that doesn't sound like a lot but for me, it is.

I also wanted to revive the Read Across America map! I have started adding a few new books to it.

My two new adds for this year are Texas with Low Pressure by Sandra Brown and also Louisiana with Lethal also by Sandra Brown. Next up in Tennessee with Ford Country by John Grisham.

How do you fit reading into your busy schedule?
What have you been reading?

Hello Half!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Running has never really been my "sport". I really disliked running in high school and I warmed up to it a bit in college. Anybody else feel this way? I am trying to make it my thing. I have now completed the Monument Avenue 10K in 2015 and 2016 plus too many 5ks to count! But it has been my goal to run a half marathon for over 4 years now. It is on number 37 my 101 in 1001 list and I was beginning to get a little worried that I wouldn't complete one. BUT I'm happy to announce that I have signed up for the American Family Fitness Half Marathon on November 12th.
I am fairly nervous about this half, but I am so excited to finally be completing this goal! Sports Backers is holding their 8th year of the half marathon training so I know by the time the Half gets here I will be very prepared for it!

I had my first welcome/introductory training run last Saturday and it just stood to remind me I have a long way to go. We ran 3 miles and they were 3 tough ones. This past week was our first official training week. 3 days at 3 miles each. It has been so hot and humid here in Virginia I hadn't been running. I completely understand why I didn't run any this summer. Those runs this week were pretty killer. I was slow and drinched by the time I finished those 3 miles. But I'm looking at it as just more room for improvement. By the time race day gets here I will have improved greatly, the weather will have cooled down significantly and I know I will be very proud of myself and how far I've come!

I am so excited to share little tid bits of helpful hints along my journey that can hopefully help y'all with whatever race you are preparing for. The first one being, if you know there is a camera man nearby taking pictures always smile! You hate to be caught in an aweful face like I was. I will know better next time!

PS check out my coach friend who is looking quite stunning in his orange and penguin hat!

Smile, it's just one more mile!

What tips do you have for running a half marathon?

What's Up?! I'm SUPing!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Welcome back to Earth, Ashley! I have been going about enjoying my summer and missing this little blog of mine! I never felt like I had time to sit down and write about what was going on and what I have been doing and such. If I ever get a free moment, I feel like I need to be doing something productive, like cleaning... yuck! I would rather by blogging, believe me but the messy house says different!

I have been trying to take a bit of my free time for myself though! Way back at the beginning of July (that feels like so long ago, where has summer gone?!) I really wanted to try out SUPing. Stand-up Paddle boarding has been one of those things that I thought was so cool and I really wanted to do but never thought I could. So I bit the bullet and went to rent one when NPG and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks.

We took the rental paddle board back to where we were staying and played around in the canal a bit. It felt like it took me a good 5 minutes to stand up. I tried doing like the girl said by getting into downard dog and just getting a good feeling of how the board moves under you. I must have looked like an idiot with my butt stuck up in the air screaming how it was wobbling too much! I hope it wasn't as bad as I imagined it looking from anybody who might have caught a glance. Eventually I got up and moving and I had such a good time!

I took it out a few times while we were down there. NPG even took it for a spin once, though he had a little too much confidence trying it out for the first time and tried just stepping from the dock onto the board. He got a refreshing dip in the water before he got on the board for good. He got back on with a little more caution the second attempt and finally got to paddling.

But basically after attempting it I knew I wanted one! So I set out on the hunt to buy one. I didn't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on an every so often weekend adventure board. But when we went to Myrtle Beach for my birthday I visited a few board shops and almost lost hope until we visited an upscale "Wings" type of place and they had one that met the specs I wanted and was well within my price range! So I bought it as a birthday present to myself.

PS getting this thing home from Myrtle Beach was very fun... except not really...

I went out the first weekend I had free. NPG took me to a boat ramp about half a mile from our house and I paddled about a half a mile but it was so hot I was dripping with sweat by the time I got half way out. I had so much fun but I hurt my wrist in the process. I let it heal during the week and then went out this past weekend with one of my girl friends.

She has a kayak so she met me and we went out together. It is so much more fun when you have somebody to paddle with! We went to try to explore some man-made islands from where they dug up dirt to build up for I-95 but unfortunately the tide was way out and we couldn't make it into the area too far. We also feared snakes a little bit as well as alligators. We weren't sure if they are in Virginia but decided it was best not to look that up until after we got safely back on dry land. (We did look it up and they haven't made it up into Virginia yet) We ended up staying out on the water about 2 hours just paddling a little and talking. I think we probably paddled a little over a mile. It was so much fun. I can't wait to go out again!

Paddling into where all the little islands started.

You can find me on the water from here until it's too cold to go out!