Couch to 5K: Weeks 2 – 7

I haven’t given you the weekly play by play of my Couch to 5K training (you’re welcome) for two reasons. One, I’ve been very busy and tired. And two, I have been keeping a running diary that our coach gave us. But so many emotions are going on right now, its time for me to put it down and think through it.

I was very pleasantly surprised the first couple weeks of “running” in the Couch to 5K group class. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t keel over. I didn’t love the actual running part, but I loved the warm up, the group, the cool down, and I loved the feeling of accomplishment after it was over. Those first 2-3 weeks I was just so amazed that I was able to do the 60 seconds, then 90 seconds, then 3 minute intervals. I felt very proud of myself and thought, “hey, I might be able to do this after all”.

I have had some struggles and lessons along the way. I suffered with shin splints weeks two and three so I bought compression sleeves for my shins and they eventually went away. I learned the hard way, you do not go on a morning run without some breakfast and hydration; get up earlier. I learned that shady paths are the best, sun on a run is my enemy. Hills are my undoing, and the sad thing is they aren’t even really hills, just bridges or upward slopes on the greenbelt. And I learned that for the most part, each week is the same amount of difficulty. When we were doing a minute and a half, 3 minutes seemed impossible, but then we did it, and then 5 minutes seemed impossible, then we did it, then 8 minutes. But if I had to pick, I did struggle with week 4 the most – this was the introduction of 5 minute intervals. This was the first week I didn’t feel proud of myself after the runs, at least not until I finally nailed that 5 minute streak.

We are now on week 7 – no more intervals! The runs are now twenty-five minutes at a time. And I am noticing a huge change in my attitude the last two weeks. Those first few weeks I felt accomplished, proud and excited I was making progress. My goals going into this were pretty laid back, I set my bar low – just cross the finish line, hopefully run at least half of it. But somewhere along the line I got caught up in…something… the competitiveness with myself or the others…or started feeling cocky, expecting myself to be able to do it. So now I feel disappointed in myself when I cannot run the full time without stopping. I feel grumpy about not making it all the way. I know I shouldn’t feel that way. Before this started I didn’t even know if I could run one minute, and was happy with myself just taking the dog for a walk. I never imagined myself actually running. Now I am up to twenty-minutes on my best day, or more typically ten minutes at a time. So I know I should just be happy I’m moving and being active. It is still great progress for an asthmatic couch potato. Dang you Aries traits that want to be good at it or don’t do it at all. This is why I never did sports as a kid – well besides the constant asthma attacks – I’d try something and if I wasn’t good at it right away, I didn’t like it and didn’t do it again. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I want to push myself. It is all mental. I just need to change my attitude and perspective and be happy for any run time I accomplish.


Today, Monday March 21, 2016, starts a new chapter in my book. Today I will start running for the first time in my life. On purpose. Yes, RUNNING. Me! This does not sound like me, the asthmatic who had a doctor’s excuse from PE so I wouldn’t have to run. The one that cannot go anywhere without her inhaler. The one that said I would never run unless being chased with a knife and even then I might take my chances. Today I will exercise my God-given right as a woman to change my mind.

Before I gain new perspective on running in the weeks to come, I want to discuss my reasons for finally giving in to the run-bug.

First, I have been wishing for better fitness level and skill, not only to be healthier and more active, but also to be a survivor. Whether it is outrunning a zombie hoard in the apocalypse, outrunning a would be rapist kidnapper, or chasing my dog down the street when he escapes from the front door I need to be able to take care of myself (and those I love) by being capable. I jokingly write down my running goal as “to be able to outrun zombies” even if I don’t actually believe the zombie apocalypse is going to happen. It could be any life or death situation you see in an action movie. I have always felt like I had strong muscles, yet also always felt weak my whole life as to what I can do with this body, like my muscles didn’t know what to do. I had such weak lungs I was always afraid. I knew if my life depending on me running, I was a goner. Like the great move Zombieland says #1 Rule to live by in the apocalypse is CARDIO! So if I can tackle running, this is one more item I can cross off my list of things that make me a weak victim versus a strong survivor. (1st item was being blind – with contacts I would have lasted 4 weeks in the zombie apocalypse, now that I had Lasik and can see without assistance, I totally upped my chances to like 4 months)

The second reason is that I was inspired by a new friend. She took my BFF’s Couch to 5K course this winter. She was not an “athlete” just like I am not an “athlete” and yet she did the course, she did the 5K and I watched her cross the finish line. Her runners high, sense of accomplishment and new-found belief in herself was evident and well worth it. It started me thinking that maybe I could / should stretch myself and go outside my comfort zone too and just maybe I could do something to surprise myself too. So whether I ever run again after this 5K in May is over or not, if I can commit to this, complete this and cross the finish line, then I will have succeeded. Remember, in 2016 the year of Katy, I want to stretch myself, break my own mental boundaries and do more than I ever thought was capable. This is a great first step. I may not be able to control much in this life, its time I control this body instead of it controlling me.

The Castaway Plan

I have always wanted to go to Positive Changes and get hypnotized to love eating healthy and exercising. I wanted to hypnotize away my love of yummy food. I felt like that is the only way I could ever stop eating the foods I love that are so bad for me (chocolate, pizza, ice cream, creamy pasta dishes, cheese, breadsticks – take your pick). But lately I have kind of been starting to change my thinking on my own. Unfortunately it hasn’t taken complete hold yet, but when I stop and think about it this is what comes to mind… To have the health and body that I want to have, I should eat as if I am stranded on an uninhabited island.

Now let me clarify – I don’t mean to starve myself into anorexia. But as I am trying to think of food as fuel versus my favorite hobby, it brings to mind the survivor type shows my family watches. Survivor, Survivorman, The Island, Dude You’re Screwed, Ultimate Alaska Survival, Naked & Afraid, Alone – to name a few. We LOVE our wilderness survival shows in our house. Often on these shows they struggle to find food, and without food they have no energy to build shelter, gather fire wood or walk themselves to civilization. I remember on one episode – I think it was Naked Castaway – the guy was finding small snails or limpets of some kind on a rock, eating them and saying how many calories were in each one (something ridiculously small like 15 calories) and how many he would have to eat to get enough nutrition. On the show Alone, the men were almost starving on rainy days they could not get out and find food. Catching a fish was the highlight of their stay and kept them strong for another day. One guy was busting his balls trying to catch a moose to eat. A moose! Like who would that fill up? Starving people, that is who. So when I want to graze out of boredom or gobble up some deliciousness for the fun of it, instead I need to think about how if I was on that island, and I’d had a banana for breakfast, a citrus & beet salad for lunch, and a chicken & shrimp skewer for dinner, that would totally be enough to keep me surviving and moving. I don’t have to eat three slices of pizza to survive. If I was stranded on an island there would be no pizza, I would be happy to find snails and a coconut. (yuck) But you get the drift. I don’t want to starve myself, and I don’t want to eat like I’m poor circa Hunger Games. I just want to retrain my body to become more realistic on what it actually needs to survive and function. I have let my food cravings dictate my life for far too long. Now my body needs to use fat stores for energy. And replacing junk food with nutrient rich foods makes me feel great after eating instead of tired and bloated. When I do “cheat” I need to eat smaller portions because I am not climbing trees, chopping logs, or hiking across glaciers to burn enough calories to justify eating like a lumber jack or a navy seal. I sit at a desk for most of the day. Instead of feeling deprived when I can’t have French Fries, and am getting sick of sweet potatoes and chicken, I need to remember if I was stranded on an island I would be ecstatic to have sweet potatoes or chicken, its more than most of those “survivors” get in a day. Give me some salmon, squash and an apple and I should be good. No one needs Ding Dongs or Cool Ranch Doritos to survive. I wonder how many chemicals are in that cool ranch powder flavoring anyway?

In America we have so many choices in food and drinks; we are used to it all at our finger tips. (And the commercials – damn you Olive Garden!) But if you really look next time you are at Grocery store, it is REDICULOUS! We have a hundred different kinds of breakfast cereal. We have three or more brand names of every sauce or condiment there is, plus an original and fat free version of each. We have thirteen different flavors of Ranch dressing. And the number of different flavors and brands of potato chips is out of this world. How many brands and styles of every stupid thing is there? Juices, Pop or Beer – don’t get me started. But if I was surviving in nature (where none of those foods exist because those are all contrived with chemicals in labs and factories) I would have basic choices of meats and vegetables and need to make my meals from those. I am learning to bring vegetables of all kinds into my daily menu and it feels good. The Whole30 program started me on this course and now it is my responsibility to keep going, to keep making good choices, and to retrain my brain myself, without being hypnotized.

Stumbling Along, the Journey Continues

I haven’t blogged since my thirty days of the Whole30 ended, eleven days ago. January was a success for me – I stayed true to the Whole30 program and ended up losing 15 pounds and two inches off my waist. I was so happy with the results and it was enough incentive for me to continue to eat healthy and use what I’ve learned. However, since then I have had a number of ups and downs. I was very tired the last week of the program and was looking forward to adding a few foods back into my menu. But then when the day finally got here I was almost afraid to have anything non-compliant and still have not had some of the things I was craving. I did pretty good the first five days, having one piece of bread one night or using store bought spaghetti sauce over my spaghetti squash instead of the homemade sauce another, but mostly ate the same natural foods and was able to stay the same weight…until Friday. Friday was the first day I had something really bad – a cupcake at the office SuperBowl potluck. Saturday was half good, half naughty and Sunday was a strait out sinful day full of simple carbs. I never want to eat Velveeta cheese dip again. Ever! I felt so sick. I was over-stuffed (a feeling I hadn’t had in over a month) and miserable. I felt so down on myself, so much guilt. The good news is, I feel like I learned a valuable lesson. I don’t like how I feel on bad-for-me, “food with no brakes” foods. I need, want and crave the healthy fuel that gives me good energy and makes me feel proud of myself.

So I am back on the plan with alterations. I have gone from about 900 calories a day to 1200. I am allowing myself tortillas and black beans. I will allow myself restaurant vinaigrette and feta cheese on my salad. Since I didn’t really have any health issues or stomach issues when I started the Whole30 (just no energy, bloated and sugar addiction) I feel like I can add these items back into my life in moderation. Most other things I can live without. I might have a treat now and then but I am going to try to limit them as much as possible. I even went through the Dairy Queen drive-thru for the kid this afternoon without getting myself anything or tackling him for a bite of his ice cream. I stayed strong and the more often I do that, the easier it gets. I will not be perfect, and that will be fine as long as I do my best and continue to keep the fat off. I say fat versus weight because I do plan on building muscle and cannot be fixated on what the scale says, but need to go by my body composition, energy and the waistband of my pants. Have you done the Whole30 before? If so, how did you feel once it was over and what did you incorporate back in?

Whole 30: Day 25 – Nothing sounds good.

Hello. A few days have gone by since I last posted on my Whole 30 journey. Last week (week 3) – was a mix of so boring there’s nothing to say to so cranky it would be a twenty minute negative rant. I spared you most of that. You’re welcome. I am now on Day 25 and I am so close! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m starting to secretly plan my reintroduction phase, or at least contemplate different things I might try, and look forward to having my weekends back.

The Whole 30 Program provides us (in book or online) a general timeline of what we will most likely experience during the 30 days based off millions of experiences over the years. Some of it has been spot on for me and some of it I have been way off course. For example, week 1 is typically when you are tired with no energy and your “Tiger’s Blood” energetic phase is supposed to come around days 16-27. Not for me. I felt GREAT for most of those first two weeks, more energy than now. I think a lot of it was a more positive attitude. Week 3 through today I have had off and on days of “OMG this fresh pear is so delicious, this salad is awesome” to “Nothing sounds good. I don’t even want to eat”. I really think it is my natural (Aries) tendency to get bored with things quickly. I’ve eaten pounds upon pounds of ground turkey and sweet potatoes this month (I do love it) and have tried to mix it up with recipes from the book or Pinterest, but have only had about a 50% success rate with those. And when they don’t turn out well, it wastes a lot of ingredients, time and energy. I actually do best when I leave it simple such as grilled lean steak with steamed broccoli, or cedar plank salmon with asparagus. Nothing too crazy. I was in the kitchen on my feet for 9 freaking hours on Saturday. NINE! (With one break to run to the store for stuff I forgot). I don’t even work that hard at work. I was physically and mentally exhausted by evening and hadn’t done a lick of housework to show for it. Food prep was fun the first hour as I started my soups, but the later the day got and I still wasn’t done with dinners, the more resentful I felt. My success of the day was Cabbage Soup – I thought it was delicious and I have enough for 5 more meals. Failure of the day: Roasted Red Pepper & Cauliflower Soup – I must have missed something because mine is not liquid enough to be considered soup. It is more like pumpkin baby food. And I have 5 days’ worth to throw away.

I survived the food dreams and cravings just fine, surprisingly, but I am definitely in the “Interlude: I am so over this” stage (Day 21). Good news is I am not having cravings or tempted to cheat. Bad news is, I just don’t even care about eating. Nothing sounds good. I’ll just sit here until my stomach starts to eat itself. I’d rather take a nap. I could really use a nap. Nope, better get up and make myself something to eat again. But the good news is I only have five more days to go until I have free will in the kitchen again. I can tell this month has been great for my body, weight, health, and cooking habits, not to mention a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement for being able to stick to it. I know I will walk away with better habits and be more conscience about what I put into my body. But I also know myself well enough to know I cannot live within this strict of parameters and could not last like this long term. I do still plan on eating a mostly Paleo diet with a few well deserved cheats here or there. And I should still have enough left over ingredients to continue to use the healthy foods and oils in my cooking – it just probably won’t involve hours of making homemade mayonnaise, ketchup and dressings. If you’re doing the Whole 30 too, stick with it. If you on contemplating doing it, DO IT! Overall, it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. If I can do this, anyone can. Even when I sound negative about it, that is just the lack of carbs talking, I know it is working wonders.


I Want A Donut!

I want a fucking donut! Not because I actually want to eat that sugary fried happiness, but because I am so tired of cooking. A toasted low-fat whole wheat waffle with peanut butter takes 2 minutes and is only 165 calories. A bowl of instant oatmeal only takes a minute, and my favorite Greek Yogurt is already in the fridge. Running to the store for a donut would take ten minutes roundtrip. But I can’t have any of those things. There is nothing quick and easy about this Whole30 eating plan. I’ve spent hours in the kitchen dicing vegetables, steaming, baking, chopping, peeling, dicing more vegetables. I’ve dirtied so many dishes, knives, choppers – my dirty dishes volume has tripled. And that is a chore I already hate with passion.

So am I happy today? Obviously not. After doing the rest of the dishes from last night, chopping, and then cooking the spinach frittata, I finally got to eat breakfast at 11am. I’ve spent more time on my feet in the kitchen the last week alone than I normally do in a month. I’m worn out and cranky. As soon as I get one meal’s mess cleaned up its time to make the next one. Make that two meals – a healthy meal for me and a normal meal the family will eat. I want someone else to cook and clean. I want it to be easier to eat healthy. Let’s get a drive-thru fast food place that is all Paleo and whole30 meals pre-prepped. Or a pizza place that delivers “Mom’s salad & Whole30 approved dressing” with the kids’ large pepperoni. Well, I only have thirteen and a half days left so I guess I can put up with being the kitchen bitch for two more weeks if it means I lose another five pounds. But that won’t stop me from complaining and daydreaming of donuts.


Year of Katy

In one of my favorite sitcoms, The Middle, the forever optimistic Sue Heck says “this is the year of Sue!” Well I feel like 2016 will be the year of Katy. Not necessarily career-wise, but on a personal level. I am starting 2016 with a huge desire to spend this year proving to myself that I can do things I thought I could never do before. A year of challenges and pushing myself and bettering myself. I’m one of those people who hate leaving my comfort zone, and yet I always know that when I do, I become better, I learn more, I always gain something, whether a new skill or just an embarrassing life lesson. I feel inspired and hope to see it through.

I will be turning forty this year and I have to admit, I have lived it pretty safe so far. I have wanted my stable family, career and household, and I got it. I planned everything in the beginning, then just survived day to day, my weekly routine pretty much on autopilot. On the surface, I love a weekend full of Netflix and chill. But I have also been so bored on the inside. No changes in scenery, company, house, car or man. I’m about as predictably stable as you can get. But even though I wanted a safe life, I also wanted adventure and lots of fun times. I wanted a more active family than the one I have created. We are all couch potatoes; the husband with his TV, the boys with their video games, me with my books or TV or Twitter. I always have good intentions of being outdoorsy like I was growing up, but in the day to day routine I just don’t force it. Most days I am too exhausted and it would just be so much work to so whatever it is I am contemplating.  “Once it is done raining this spring I’d like to go hiking,” I say. “Ugh, it’s too hot to go hiking when it’s a hundred degrees, let’s go this fall when it cools off,” I say. And of course my ever present regret that my husband is not taking my boys out teaching them how to fish, camp or hunt like we both always thought he would. He was outdoorsy when we got together too. He’s still outdoorsy – that one or two times a year we go to the mountains. The rest of time he is in the same trap as me – married to the TV and the exhaustion of a full work week.

Well, I don’t want to be so complacent any more. I want more adventure and more wonderful memories with my boys before they are all grown up. And I finally believe I have the power to make a change in myself. I find it really difficult to change my personality, but I can change my actions. I can move. I can get fit. I can push myself more than I have ever pushed myself before. This is what I want to do with my 2016. And just maybe by conquering more, doing more, feeling better –  just maybe it will change part of my personality for the better too.


“I Can Do It!”  Photo via Amazon, I claim no rights to this photo.

So here are my goals for the 2016 Year of Katy:

Year-long resolutions:

  1. Change my eating habits, eat healthy, get fit, make my body the healthiest, strongest, happiest it has been.
  2. When I see something that needs done (picked up/cleaned/fixed), do it right then versus putting it off, noticing it every time I walk by, and then having guilt & unresolved clutter in my life from all the things not done (picked up/cleaned/fixed).

Baby steps & monthlies – starting a new side-resolution each month to build on:

  1. January:
    • Open my mail daily, tossing the junk, don’t let it stack up and build clutter.
    • Join the Gym, use the treadmills 3 times a week.
  2. February:
    • Get back to doing my morning workout DVD’s 4-6 days a week.
    • Hire a housekeeper.
  3. March:
    • Learn how to run!
    • Do something fun for kids over Spring Break
  4. April:
    • Turn 40 without getting depressed – have a big fun party with my friends.
  5. May:
    • Run in 5K race with my friends.
  6. June:
    • Clean out that horrible hoarder garage.
    • Take a beautiful day-long hike in the mountains!
  7. July:
    • Keep up with yard work even when it is “too hot”.
    • House hunt.

This is as far as I’m going now because after that, everything will depend on if we sell our house and move or not. (I really want a new house). But you get the idea. I want a lot to happen this year. I need a lot of good changes in my life. I will make it the year of Katy! Hopefully Katy will surprise us all in good ways.

Say what? …Oops.

Well I just had the wind knocked out of my sails. It was brought to my attention that when doing the Whole30 program I am not supposed to weigh or measure myself for the whole 30 days. I don’t remember reading that in their first book It Starts With Food, but then again I did read it over about a six month period and might have forgotten. I recently got their newer book too but had only read the Preface and some of the recipes until now. I thought I already knew what I was doing but apparently was breaking a rule. I’m feeling pretty pissed off about it right now actually because I was feeling good about myself and seeing my results helps me stay motivated. My commitment might not have been as cemented in place if I had thought it wasn’t working yet. I do promise and commit myself to following all the food rules for the Whole30 but I cannot promise on this one particular weight rule. I may stop weighing now, I may not.  I’ll think about it when I’m in a more peaceful mindset. Right now I’m going to the gym to work off some frustration.

Sweet Potato Hash

I’m at the end of my first week of the Whole30 and still learning lessons the hard way every day. I’m part of a Facebook challenge group that will be starting The Whole30 on Monday so I thought I would share my biggest success of week 1. This recipe below is my favorite so far. I made a big batch on Saturday for lunch and boxed up the leftovers to use throughout the week. I had it for breakfast on Sunday, and lunches on Wednesday and Friday, so it worked marvelously. Sometimes left-overs are gross, but this dish warmed up nicely and was as good day five as it was day one. I feel the perfect amount of full after I eat this, with good energy. The original recipe came from the book It Starts with Food Recipes by Laura Hill, but I altered a little to my tastes and what spices I had in my cupboard (hers is for 2 servings, mine made 5-6 servings, so the below is paraphrasing with my own tweaks.

 Sweet Potato Hash


  • 1 – 1 ½ lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced/minced
  • ½ Red Pepper chopped/diced
  • ½ cup White Onion, chopped
  • Sweet Potatoes (I used 5 small ones, if using large ones from grocery store, probably need 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasonings (McCormick Perfect Pinch is what I used, already had in cupboard but can use any or all of these herbs: thyme, oregano and basil)
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Organic Eggs (optional*)

Quarter & boil sweet potatoes for a few minutes depending on their size to soften (like you do for potatoes in a potato salad, not to mash-able softness), dice them into cubes.

 Pour Coconut oil into a skillet on medium heat. Crumble ground turkey into pan. Add diced onions, garlic & red pepper. Add diced sweet potatoes. Sauté until turkey is cooked and sweet potatoes are right tenderness.  Add scrambled eggs*, pepper, and serve.

*The original recipe called for eggs in it, however I wasn’t sure I was going to like that so I scrambled my eggs separately on the side and added it to half of the final product later so I had a choice between with and without eggs – I liked it both ways, but it was nice to have the variety.  Use 1 TBSP coconut oil when scrambling eggs. 



Meal planning is a Bitch

Continuation of Whole30 Journal…

Day 7

I was pleasantly surprised it took this long, but night 7 I am finally sick of my Whole30/Paleo meals and wish I could eat something else. A toasted English muffin sounds good. I think I have hit this “bad meal attitude” today because I am at the end of my premade meals. I have one serving of sweet potato hash left but I’ve already eaten that 3 times this week. I have one serving of Paleo Spaghetti left but I had that for lunch earlier today. It is Thursday night and I think that after cooking at home for six out of the last seven nights, it is just that night of the week where we would normally come home too tired to cook and order pizza. But since I cannot order pizza, or any other kind of shortcut, I am stuck with “nothing sounds good”. I made left over pork burritos for the boys and I snacked on imitation lobster and cooked carrots – just two random things I had in the fridge. It was not emotionally satisfying but it filled me up so I have nothing to complain about. I did 45 minutes on the treadmill.  I felt a little light headed at the end, the low amount of calories might be starting to get to me, or maybe its because I went off and left my water bottle on the counter at home, but after 24oz of ice water and some beef jerky, I feel good again.

Has any Whole30 alumni out there also experienced a bad day around day 7 or so? It probably doesn’t help that Thursdays are normally my most tired day of the week – after getting up early all week, working all week, the body is dragging and the laundry is stacking up; you just want the weekend to get here. Friday is always better because even though you are still tired, you get an energy/attitude boost because, duh, it’s Friday.

Day 8

I’m sick of water. I was already drinking a lot of water before I started this program but I would also have chocolate milk or cranberry juice or lemonade when I wanted it. Now, my only option is water. And green tea, which I have been drinking every morning. I’m not drinking Spark because it has sucralose in it. But at lunch time today I am craving a giant glass of cold milk. Don’t worry I didn’t cheat and still don’t plan to either. Instead, I planned out the next 7 days of meals so I have something to look forward to and can stop by the store for the 18,000 vegetables I need. Here’s what my next few dinners will look like:

  1. Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad (Pinterest)
  2. Mexican Tuna Boats (Whole30 Cookbook)
  3. Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad (Pinterest)
  4. Asian Zucchini Shrimp Stir-fry (Pinterest)
  5. Melissa’s Chicken Hash (Whole30 Cookbook)
  6. Salmon w/ side of Beet & Spinach Salad (salad from Shape Magazine)
  7. Grilled Chicken Breasts w/ Asparagus or Broccoli

Will my whole family eat these? No. My husband has been trying my meals but also still eating his regular food and bad snacks. My boys won’t try most of this except the shrimp and chicken. So I am still making two sets of meals all the time. This is where single people or people without kids have an advantage. For the rest of us I guess we just grin and bare it because I can’t use my family as an excuse for me to be fat anymore. Eventually it’ll rub off on them.

I may sound a little negative today but it’s all good still and the best news is I get to weigh in again tomorrow so hopefully that will give me another boost of excitement. If not, I know for sure that spending time with my friends will. Happy Friday everyone!


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