Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baby? No, thank you.

Lately, I feel like everywhere I look someone is either pregnant or taking home a new baby. 

Seriously – my nephew is due fairly soon, women at church keep showing up in adorable maternity dresses showcasing their latest baby bump, my Facebook feed is blowing up with baby shower pictures, “in labor” play-by-plays, creative pregnancy announcements and sonograms (my least favorite), and even Leslie and Ben – possible SPOILER ALERT – are having triplets!

What is this world coming to? “Well, we are at the age where most people start having kids,” Jared tells me every time I see a new picture and ask this question out loud (he loves that I need the obvious to be stated to me multiple times a week). But how? How can I be this age already – an age I used to expect I’d at least consider getting started –and so far from ready to even think about starting a family of more than cats?

It’s more than just my aversion to babies (Baby animals? Nothing cuter. Baby humans? Um, let’s just say I can think of a few other things I’d rather look at or play with). It’s even more than the time they consume. And it’s even more than the amount of money they cost. It’s not a fun thing to think about when you’re starting a family, but wow. Little people cost not-so-little fortunes.

What freaks me out the most is that they’re much more than little creatures for people to ooh and ah at or buy tiny, precious shoes for. They’re human beings who are going to grow up and have lives that affect other lives – and you will be responsible for them. Forever. That is a lot of pressure and a level of responsibility I am not ready to handle. 

Does my heart melt when I watch my husband play with his awesome kid cousins or interact with other little ones? Of course - I'm not a monster.
But how about when I think of us attempting middle-of-the-night diaper changes, trying to explain ‘why’ questions, saving for college funds and all of the worst-case-scenarios I come up with? Not so much. I mean, after all, you could parent to the best of your ability and still turn some less-than-stellar people out into the world. 


Having kids is such a ‘normal’ and expected thing in society, but when you stop and think about what you’re actually doing, it’s pretty overwhelming. This is why I don’t understand how so many people think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask why you don’t have kids yet, when you’re planning to, etc.

Congratulations (seriously - I admire you) to people able to step up to the challenge, but I have a long way to go before I can.  Some say it’s selfish to wait (or put off kids altogether), and some say it’s smart. In my case, it is smart - though I might be biased. 
I want a career where I feel somewhat stable and headed in the right direction. I want us to not be drowning in student loans. I want to be living in a place where I’d feel happy ‘settling down.’ I want to learn how to cook edible food and clean efficiently. I want to have a little more fun enjoying my freedom, learning more about myself and life in general and enjoying all of my husband’s attention a little while longer. OK, that last one sounds a little selfish, but if I can’t become a better version of myself before becoming a mom, then how does that benefit anyone involved?

Of course, not all pregnancies are planned, and bless those of you who make smart, responsible decisions when this happens. And of course, if our parents waited until just the right moment when they felt ready, most of us wouldn’t be here today. But right now since I do have a choice, I am choosing to say no, thank you for asking (even though it’s a huge, personal, life-changing decision and not really any of your business).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Favorites

This week has sort of been a week of treats! From tasting new sweets, to learning about new indulgences offered locally, to falling back on old favorites, here are my seven favorite food finds of the week!

1. Easter EGGNOG! The only thing better than holiday eggnog I have looked forward to for at least six months is surprise eggnog in April! I found eggnog around Easter two years ago but not last year, so I was just a little excited to find this in the grocery store this week!

2. Fage key lime-flavored yogurt. I've professed my love for Fage before, but I just stumbled upon its key lime flavor this week, and it is De-licious!

3. Food truck season is finally getting into gear, and we're pretty spoiled downtown since most of them are usually around (and very close to me!) at lunchtime during the week. My favorite was right across the street this week: Vellee Deli. So amazing!
  4. Coldstone cash. I didn't actually have any creamy Coldstone goodness, but I did get a gift card from my parents I plan to use soon:) 

5. Cook, a new restaurant in St. Paul, features a masterpiece they call the Frenchcake Stack - hash browns cooked in pancake batter, topped with bacon and eggs, and completed with French toast. Read about it here. Hello, perfect brunch (or any other meal) entree! I cannot wait to try you.
6. Honey Nut Cheerios. The combination of overeating Cheerios as a toddler and the fact that they remind me of babies has turned me off from Cheerios for years. I get so overwhelmed in the cereal aisle, though, and they were on sale, so I grabbed a box and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

7. We finally got around to trying Forever Yogurt, a fairly new addition to The Shops at West End. Walking by a sign featuring a "circus" swirl consisting of caramel corn and cotton candy flavors, I couldn't not try the caramel corn...and the angel food cake...and oh, the toppings! This might be my new favorite frozen yogurt go-to!

Enjoy your weekend! Hopefully you have a few of your own food finds!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A glimpse into the life of . . .

                   ABRA COLEMAN
Abra is a group fitness instructor at the gym I work at, and while I’m excited to feature her for everyone’s sake, I also chose her for the selfish reason of learning more about her myself. When I first started working there, I was captivated by the energy and enthusiasm she radiates going to and from her classes. 

Her influence on her students is obvious when I watch them all leave, sweating and smiling like crazy. I have yet to take one of her classes, since I am usually working when she’s teaching, but I look forward to (and dread – she works you hard!) the day when I finally can! 
She also teaches yoga and yoga sculpt at the Calhoun Beach Club, works as a real estate agent, in sales and events for Athleta and is a volunteer yoga instructor at the Shakopee Women’s Prison. She’s also a recent empty nest mother of three whose eyes light up when she’s talking about her children – what she considers her greatest accomplishments.

I’ve gotten to know her a little better, and I’ve got to tell ya: if you’re having one of those days and looking for someone to join you in a pity party, Abra is not your woman. But if you’re having one of those days…or any day…and looking for someone with a positive outlook on life who is going to tell it to you straight, give you a better, clearer perspective and offer support in any way she is able, Abra is definitely your woman.

Here are a few more goodies from someone whose greatest passion is “building community through teaching” – how could you not learn a thing or two?

Dream job: My dream job is to have my own studio that provides community, yoga, juice, food and education.

First job ever: Waitress.

First job after graduating/first "grown up" job: Mother, real estate agent.

What drove you to pursue real estate: Money. I was getting divorced.

What is your favorite part about your job(s)? Connecting, sharing, inspiring.

What is the most challenging aspect? Compensation.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing a similar career path? Go for it. Find/follow your passion; then it doesn't feel like work.

What motivated you to become an aerobics/yoga instructor? I love fitness and groups.

What is your favorite part about being an instructor? Witnessing transformation.

What is your favorite way to work out? Yoga and yoga sculpt.

What advice do you have for people new to the fitness world? Strength and flexibility are available to anyone who wants it. It takes time and commitment. It is a process - you don't get to the end at the beginning.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Good question! I am not sure. I probably would not have listened anyway:)

How do you define success? Success is a feeling inside that is peaceful and productive with ease and energy.

Who has been your biggest influence, personally or professionally? My grandmother.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time? Family, friends, food and wine.

Number one on your bucket list: I'll get back to you on that!

Favorite ice cream flavor: Ben and Jerry's Greek yogurt banana.

Thanks, Abra!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter thoughts

I won't be able to post anything for the rest of the week, and my "glimpse" fell through for today (and why would I ever
 think to be prepared and have others planned in advance?), so I decided to post a few random thoughts on Easter since it is fast approaching!

This blog isn't about sharing my thoughts on religion, but it is about sharing most aspects of my life, so I will just say that Easter is one my absolute favorite times of the year (for reasons other than Reese's eggs and Peeps....and jellybeans and chocolate bunnies - I'm not a Cadbury creme fan). 

As a Christian, for me it is a reminder of a huge sacrifice that was made for me and a time to take an honest look at my life and determine if I am living in a way that is even worthy of such a sacrifice and to see what changes I need to be making to try to become more worthy - changes that usually run a little deeper than typical goals set as New Year's resolutions, for example.

It is also a time of hope and peace in the belief that there is more to our lives than just life until death and of joy in the thought of being with loved ones again after they leave us here on Earth.

For non-Christians surrounded by others celebrating the holiday with time off from work or feasts with friends and family, I would think now is as good a time as any to join in the spirit of revival - of any kind! Spring is here! Maybe not all the way, but it's OK to breathe a little sigh of relief and wave (among other things) goodbye to winter! 

Spring is my favorite season. With grass peeking out, lakes thawing out and a brighter, warmer sun shining longer than it has for quite some time, I just cannot not be in a good mood! Everything is coming to life again, so why not give life to things you've been wanting to do but just haven't gotten around to yet? I seem to have the most energy this time of year, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

And if none of this interests you, please at least immerse yourself in a delicious brunch! Find delicious recipes here, here, here and here!

Happy Easter! I hope you're able to spend lots of time with loved ones and beloved food groups!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Friday Favorites

Sometimes I post 'Friday Favorites' on Fridays. And sometimes I spend all night turning my laptop on and off until I admit defeat and go to bed. I'm winning today, though, so - 

Spring is here (well, for the most part - we can never get our hopes up too much around here)! Suddenly people exist, and they're all running outside. I've mentioned before that my iPod tunes are in desperate need of an update, but there are some pretty old goodies on there I will never part with. My taste in music is not necessarily appreciated by many people, but they just don't know what they're missing. Here are five of my favorite (slow, ancient) non-running songs to run to:

1. I Knew I Loved You - Savage Garden. Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones created many, many beautiful and incredibly underrated songs (in my humble opinion), and running may be the last thing you'd think about doing to this ballad, but that build to the chorus is actually pretty motivating for building up to a sprint!
2. Mouth - Merril Bainbridge. No matter how tired I am, this song always picks me up. I don't know what it is that makes this so catchy and fun, but I love it!
3. Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson. Oh, Kelly. You give me chills every time - fast or slow.
4. Breathing - Lifehouse. My all-time favorite band. I don't know what I would do if I ever had the chance to see them play. Ahh. Again, I don't know why, but I find the slow-type build motivates me to move faster.
5. Halo - Beyonce. I guarantee if Beyonce shouting at you that she can "feel your halo" doesn't get your butt in gear, thoughts of this gorgeous lady working it on stage will.
      Happy running!