Saturday, December 13, 2014

doings | crossfit foundations

I just completed my first 5 Crossfit classes.

After hearing so many mixed reviews of Crossfit, all of them falling into one of two categories, either "I love it!" or "Those people are crazy", I entertained the idea for a few months.  I'm a "calculated risk taker" kind of girl.  And very unathletic.  But after doing some not-so-sneaky research and listening to my brothers talk about it non stop, I decided I was going to sign up for the 5-night Foundations class (if there is one thing I learned through my scuba diving ordeal, it is, try before you buy).  I figured that 5 classes weren't going to kill me and I was really hoping that I'd love it and leave with a new hobby.

Walking in the door that first night was absolutely terrifying.  Actually, walking in the door EVERY night was terrifying.  The smell of rubber mats, sweat and fear met me.  Across the room, there was a man doing pushups.  While standing on his head.  The owner walked over and introduced himself and said "don't worry about him, he's just cooling down over there".  Of course.  The rest of my class arrived and we began with a warm up that was something like wrapping my one leg around my neck three times, doing a lunge with the other leg and then having to find my elbows and put them flat on the ground.  Our coach looked like he was chilling on the beach and my legs were a quivering mess.

Then we moved onto our basic Crossfit moves.  We spent 45 minutes going over the proper form of for pullups, burpees and pushups.  I was exhausted.  Mentally I'm thinking "you've got this Abbe, they'll probably have us do 5 more, 10 at the most and then let us cool down and go home".  Probably.  Then the coach says "okay, now were going to move onto what we call a WOD or Workout Of the Day".  Hello?!?  If that wasn't a workout, then what did we just do?  Let me tell you, our WOD included a few more than 10 MORE burpees among other delightful things, like pull-ups.

That was the first night.  The other nights included squats, crunches, ring dips and the alphabet soup code that make up Crossfit exercises names.  The coaches did an incredible job of making sure that we got all of the movements correct so that we will be able to perform the exercises quickly without hurting ourselves.  I had no idea I was so uncoordinated!  I, however, was not surprised at my fitness level.  This occasional jogger is really out of shape.

One night found me sprawled on the ground, forehead to the floor, 2 seconds away from crying my eyes out, because I couldn't do a pushup or even a modified pushup because my kneecaps were so bruised from burpees the night before.  It was a low point.  That night I saw a little bit of why people love Crossfit, I was the last one to finish the WOD, the last 10 pushups weren't happening and everyone got back down on the floor and did those pushups with me.  (it was really beautiful y'all)

I finished the course and while I'm not totally in love with it, there must be a slight affection in my heart because I signed up for the next 3 months of classes.  I'm also pretty sure that I signed something last night that said I'd look like a supermodel in 3 months or my money back.  That line was definitely in the contract. Haha!  With workouts this intense, it had better do something.

Working through all of that fear and physical exhaustion was such a good experience for me.  I'm not the type of person to exercise hard on my own, and having coaches that push me is great.  My brothers have also been supportive, in their own sweet little ways.  Dan and I have the same mobility issues and he reminds me everyday that I'm not an expert in all things Crossfit (what?!?).  The best part is talking about it when you're done, having someone to commiserate with when it hurts to walk up the stairs.  I told him that he was welcome to order me pink lifting gloves for Christmas.  He said he was in no way going to enabling me to be that much of a wimp.

And that is precisely the kind of support that I'm talking about.

Monday, December 8, 2014

finds | incredibles collector's phone

This is probably one of my favorite thrift store finds.  Of all time.  The funny thing is that the scarier the store, the better the stuff inside.  Sorry, that's just how it works.  

I ventured into said "scary store" a few weeks back, remember the ugly sweater search?  While this shop didn't have any Christmas sweaters, I did find a gorgeous vintage wool cape that has been so much fun to wear.  Ahem, another story for another day...

Anyway, back to my PHONE.  I was on my way out of the store and saw that it was sitting on top of a jewelry case.  Hmmm.  I kinda checked it out and decided to move on.  Wrong move Abbe.  The second I got in my car, I instantly started thinking about it again.  Then I googled it.  Because I'm slightly crazy or so my sister said after I refused to stop talking about it all afternoon.  It was all her fault for not making me buy it right the and there.

Blinking lights.  It had blinking lights!!!
Among other fabulous features.  Spandex suit and batteries not included.

The deciding factor for me in going back to the thrift store (something I never do) was the fact that this little guy was for sale of ebay for upwards of $60.  Can you say collectors item!!!

I brought Miss Grace along with me for moral support and we marched back in to claim my prize, which was now on sale for an extra 30% off!  Just when you thought things couldn't get any better!  Haha!

Then we made a pretend superhero phone call/photo op in the target parking lot and sent it off to our closest friends.  I was Elastagirl (of course) and she was Violet.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

doings | a little bit of a lot of things

As I mentioned before, I took a little break.  November was a good time for me to attempt to relax a bit.  I reread one of my favorite novels, traveled, spent less time on my phone, did some writing.  It was great!  Not instagramming has left me with a collection of delightful little things that have happened over the past month, and because I'm usually terrible about going back and blogging things,  here are a few snapshots of what I've been up to.  Some of these photos will probably be expounded on in later blog posts (probably... haha!)

Chasing fall in North Carolina...  The last few days of gorgeous colors!

Oh, and I got to see my best chum Anna for a few days!

While up in the air, I flipped open my American Airlines magazine and saw this article.  While in Normandy last June, I had the pleasure of meeting these men and their group from the AirPower Foundation in a tiny restaurant one night.  Americans have a way of attracting other Americans.  It's because we're all loud.  Ahem.  It was such a memorable experience, Captain Frank Padilla, after grilling Anna & I on our motives for coming for the 70th Anniversary of DDay, presented us with commemorative coins made for the event.  If you ever want to see it, just ask, I always carry it in my purse.  Be warned, asking to see it means that you will have to endure my long winded stories.

Rita's Italian Ice in Naples, FL.  One of the best things I've ever ate!

My magazine cover came out!
After slacking off on running for about a, um, er, year... I ran the 5K Turkey Trot.  My time was decent.  At least for me, and it was the first time I've run 5k without stopping!  Races are so much fun!

This guy, however, has not been slacking off in the athletic department.  He's not a runner, but his overall fitness level from Crossfit had him placed 2nd in his age group.

Our first big snow.  And very scary road conditions.
Welcome to winter in the north.

A very simple Thanksgiving table.  I hand sharpigraphed (sharpie marker + calligraphy-ish skills) the place cards.  Next time remind me to give myself a few days to get that done.  Hand cramps!

Trimming the tree with these cute elves!  

Public Service Announcement:  both of these attractive people are single and on the twitter, 
I'm still not cool enough to hang out with the twitter crowd, but if you are, you should follow along.  @BrookeAlline and @danielrpowers

Ugly Sweater Party games!  Marshmallows and chopsticks make for a really good time!


And, last but not least, the gorgeous styled shoot that I worked on with friends last march, was finally published!  You can read more about our "Wedding Brunch at the Hunt Club" on Wisconsin Bride Magazine & Kathryn Grace Photography. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

thoughts | november

Dear family, friends, acquaintances & other,


It's starting to delight the socks off of me (wait! I never wear socks.  anyways...), as I find out how many readers I have.  For the longest time it was just me typing out some words about some stuff and my 10 year old sister would read it and laugh a little.  Now I'm quite confident that I'm up to at least 9 readers.

According to my blog analytics, which are hilarious by the way, I can see what people are googling to find my blog (my favorite is "is Topo Chico better than Perrier", haha! I did write that, perhaps Topo Chico would like to sponsor me and send me on a tropical vacation?), I digress.  But it is fun to be able to see the clicks that come in everyday and I do love it when friends mention that they've read my blog.

I began journaling when I was about 17 and didn't miss a day for years (my future grandchildren will read this and die of boredom), it was a lot of nothing, but I did start to develop a voice and found that I loved to write.  I'm a thinker, my brain is always going 100 miles a minute and writing slows me down and brings some clarity.  My sister @BrookeAlline keeps telling me that I should stop thinking so many thoughts, my brain might blow up.  If she only knew.

So I blog.  To keep the brain from exploding.  Or something like that.  It's a public record of what I want people to know about my life.  Honest, but not too personal, sometimes funny, mostly boring. Most importantly, it keeps me writing.

November has been quite eventful, but I feel like its the calm before the storm leading up to December.  I took a break from social media, deleting my apps (I discovered that if I'm bored, muscle memory takes over and I'm tapping without even realizing it.  Deleting the app = problem solved).  Deactivated my Facebook, and haven't missed it once.  Pinterest on the other hand, well... Next time I'll include that in my list of things to avoid.  But I'm planning a bunch of things right now and its my favorite party planning helper.  -ish...

We hosted Thanksgiving on Thursday (of course), with a slightly smaller crowd than last year.  Slightly.  It was a good one.  I settled on the thing that I'm most grateful for this year.  That through many "dangers, toils & snare, I have already come, 'tis Grace that brought me safe this far and Grace will lead me home".  I've tried to make a conscious effort to thank God for the hard things in life and realized that He has brought me through many trials and will continue to.  As Christians we are not called to a life without suffering and hardship, but we are able to endure because God is with us.

And there you have it.

Speaking of parties, our first Christmas party is tonight.  Mom swapped the house out for Christmas decor yesterday and we trimmed the tree last night.  I'm curled up in the parlor looking at it now.  We went for a classy mix of metallic as well as red and green.  And just a touch of tinsel.  Haha!

It's our 4th annual Ugly Sweater party.  I'd just like to say that we were on the early cusp of this trend.  Our first year, sweaters were everywhere and like $1.  This year, certain members of my family, who shall remain nameless, spent $20.  On ONE sweater.  At the GOODWILL.  Its highway robbery I tell you.  Brooke and I were not about to let the corporates over at Goodwill dictate our Christmas traditions, we went to the grungiest thrift stores around and picked up some tremendous little duds.  Mine cost $1.99 plus the $4.99 for the vintage plaid wool skirt that I'm wearing with it.  Instant Christmas cheer!

We've got about 30 friends coming, the largest party we've hosted yet in our little rental.  It should be fun though.  All the major party planning books tell you to over-invite anyway, it makes for a snappy time.  That, and all the food.  Good food makes for the snappiest of parties.

I've got to get back to my lists for the party.  Food to make, things to set up, games still left to figure out, prizes & scoring system, food to make, frosting!, shovel the front yard, er, sidewalk, more food... You get it.

Be back in December!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

thoughts | the last weekend of autumn

This weekend...

In my corner of the world, the middle of October signals the end of autumn and as the last leaf falls there falls with it our only hope of warmer temperatures and we brace ourselves for the return of the polar bears.  Or winter.  

We had an exceptionally stunning autumn this year.  Our town managed to make a "Top 10 Fall Color" list and brought with it, hoards of people.  The usual "summering" crowd made another appearance and our streets were once again crowded with tourists in white socks and hiking boots. And Land Rovers (one simply can't enjoy adventuring without a proper luxury SUV!).  But that was early October.  Once we passed the peak, everyone went home and our little town was quiet again.  We were just about to settle in for a long winters nap and then then the weather changed.  This past weekend was a complete bonus.  Gorgeous temperatures in the 70s, sunshine, and just enough color left on the trees to make the everything glow!

I woke up early-ish and was about to grab some coffee when I heard a knock at the door.  Hang on, let me back up...  I first got out of bed because Cal was convinced that he heard a strange noise in the garage and I quote "Probably a mouse banging on the door with a hammer".  Probably not.  Anyway, looked around for a sparkly princess shoe to use as a weapon and when I couldn't find one, I bravely opened the door.  It was nothing.  No mouse, no hammer, no anything.

Imaginative little children.

So anyway, the real knock at the door was our sweet friend (Hi Anna!) who was supposed to meet my sister Mim for a morning of trail riding.  Mim had disappeared into thin air and I was like "Hey! I'm sure she'll be right back, do you want some coffee?"  Heeheehee!  Anything to distract from the fact that I had just answered the door in my pajamas.

After all of that excitement, I was totally awake, and it was Saturday.  And I get cabin fever very easily and once I opened the front door and felt that wonderful breeze, I decided that staying in was not an option.  And also, an early morning meander through downtown sounded quite lovely, sort of like a modern day Audrey Hepburn, only with a gluten free bagel instead of a croissant and jeans instead of a black evening gown.  I also decided that putting my makeup on was a good idea.  At this phase in my life, I can't be too prepared to bump into a handsome stranger. 

Driving down the hill into downtown was breathtaking.  The lake was dark blue and sparkling.  Almost all of the piers have been taken out by now and stacked on the shore, but the few boat owners who were late to pull their boats out of the water were smugly zipping around the bays.  Our little library, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's protege, was beautifully framed by a few bright trees.  I walked over to the bagel shop and ordered a gluten free bagel (extra crispy) with blueberry cream cheese, because I'm fancy like that, and then remembered that the latest Southern Living mag was out and due to our recent move and the fact that I've had the mail forwarded so many times that it throws everything off for a few days or more, it might maybe be in my mailbox!  I meandered over to the post office, overcome with joy because I love living in town (so much!).

No date with destiny at the post office, but my magazine was in my little box, one tall in a grande cup americano with cream later, I was sitting on the patio at Starbucks reading my magazine and trying to figure out how to make all of this last.  The coffee, the smell of the leaves, the EVERYTHING.  I was feeling very nostalgic about life until I was brought back down to earth with plans to meet my friend Sophia for a little leisurely shopping action.  

I don't want to brag, but we're pretty much professional thrift store shoppers (Brooke can be included in this club as well, she just wasn't feeling it this weekend).  Give us a few hours and we'll locate every designer brand in the place, along with vintage clothing and Anthropologie-worthy housewares.  I tried on the most fabulous 1980's party dress, I'm not sure why, but some 80's clothing suits me a little too well.  Maybe it's the jewel tones or the slightly over sized scale.  Maybe its because I'm 92 at heart...  Anyway, I put it back on the rack.  Just couldn't see it fitting into the dress code for any upcoming parties or weddings (black velvet sweetheart necklines top, emerald green satin full skirt and orchid purple sash.  WITH BOW!).  Not feeling it?  That's okay, neither was anyone else.

Friends of ours hosted dinner for the church ladies later that night.  I had every intention of leaving in time to get some packing done before bed, but then we got talking and laughing about important girly topics and the next thing I knew it was 11pm.  Which is the equivalent of 3am for this morning person.  Hey!  I'm not one to break up some good fellowship!

Well that was long enough.  Sometimes I have a lot of words to say, which is why it's taken me approximately 9 paragraphs to tell you what I did on an uneventful Saturday in October.

How was your weekend?  Any plans for this upcoming weekend?