Friday Five: Five Blogs to Love and A Little Change

24 Apr

HAPPY FREAKIN FRIDAY!

April is just too crazy of a time in our lives.  I will admit that I bring all the crazy onto myself.  Between last Friday and next Monday I’ll have done all of these things: Coached soccer twice  | Volunteered at a Red Shoe Chili Cookoff pouring beer with DOC | Took four boys to  Dave and Busters with DOC | Baked a cake | Became PTO Secretary | Helped create a fourth grade poster presentation, monologue and end of year presentation | Rebuilt a MLP Castle ($&*% million pieces) | Ran up a mountain | Bought all the supplies for a Fairy Garden Party | Hired a new summer sitter (fingers crossed) | Had a pizza night with friends |  Threw a Fairy Garden Party for three girls | Baked a cake | Ran a 5K | “Ran” a 1/2 (there will be walking) | Visited family | Started a new job.

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At the top of “O Hill”. I might have thought about calling for Uber.

That’s right, after leaving my job at The University in December of 2013 and spending a year-and-a-half in the non-profit world, I’m heading back to The University in May.  What that means is that while I’m still going to be working on my health and wellness and being a wife and mom, I’ve decided to stop coaching for beachbody and running accountability groups on line. I’m still going to blog from time to time and share on social media at The Evolution of Mrs. Aimee C on facebook and instagram, but  far less.

Back to the University means back to my favorite gym!

Back to the University means back to my favorite gym! Please ignore evil eyes and wingy hair. 

SO!  I’d love to share with you some of my favorite people to follow who make me FEEL good about myself and where I am on my wellness journey, as a woman, as a wife and a mom.  I don’t like folks who don’t seem real or who I can’t relate with – so these ladies really connect with me and where I am in my life.

What You Can When You Can:  The women behind the #WycWyc Movement: Carla and Roni are legit.  They’re moms, fit chicks, wives, just trying to get shit done.  They are, as Carla says, unapologetically themselves, honest and kind.  I listen to their podcast on my runs.  They make me feel like I don’t need to be AMAZING ALL THE TIME – I just need to do the best I can in any given moment and accept that I don’t have to do it all.  They aren’t letting anyone off the hook – they just let you hit a pause and cut yourself some freakin’ slack.  Join their movement!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans:  The Shrinking Jeans posted this earlier this week and I think I shared it everywhere.  This is as real of a reminder as we get.  IF you like doing challenges – they host them monthly, offer great advice, and a trusting community.  If you follow me, I think you’ll like this group!

Running With Curves: Jill Angie.  My gosh, she loves curvy women enough to write a book just for us!  She has built a curvy runner group that I love being a part of on facebook. This group is so MOTIVATING!  She hosts virtual races, gives tips on clothes for curvy women to move in!  Shocking!  I know!  If you are a curvy athlete – you NEED to follow Jill at Running with Curves.

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(PS – speaking of curvy girl fitness clothes – I just tried these NEW Katie K Active’s Signature Urban Capri’s this week.  I swear I heard angels singing. Pants that stay up and have a perfectly positioned pocket to hold my chapstick and iphone?  YES!!!!  Visit KatieK active and if you choose to purchase anything use the code Aimee15 for 15% and free shipping on your order!)

AND OF COURSE the Friday Five Ladies Mar, Cynthia and Courtney AND the Official Pittsburgh Marathon Bloggers!

That is WAY more than Five – but no matter what stage of your journey you are in, I want you to find someone to connect with.  These are several that are meeting where I am in MY journey, and of course I still follow other blogs (Momastery, Relay Foods, What’s Up Black Dude) for other parts of my life, but for wellness and my well being, I choose these folks right now.

Who are YOU reading that motivates you to move and to love yourself?  Go visit the Friday Five Linkup – all the fifty plus bloggers over there are sharing THEIR favorites!  That’s a lot of reading and a whole lot of inspiration for you!

Make it a great weekend!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Blow Me Away

20 Apr

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As you may know, I’ve been training for the Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh HALF Marathon (and also the 5K the day before so that I can earn some extra bling in the Steel Challenge) and raising funds to Finish MS as a charity runner for the weekend. I was ALSO named one of a handful of runners as an Official Blogger for the weekend.

 Let me just tell you how intimidating all of this is!  These other bloggers are BLOW ME AWAY AMAZING!  Heather is running in her first trimester, Mar is a running coach and is a total running badass, Cherie is a trainer, has been in magazines for her amazing 85 pound weight loss, Jenifer is an elite runner qualifying for Olympic trials,  Baron is a muthaflipping ex Steeler and accomplished artist (he painted this year’s marathon poster) and I could go on and on about these eighteen fantastic folks. It’s an intimidating bunch for little old run-walker me.

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My training hasn’t gone according to plan.  I’m still firmly planted in walk running.  I haven’t run-walked over seven miles.  It’s going to be hard.  But I’ve had fun getting these goofballs out with me a couple of times lately.  (ok, this run was actually “punishment” because they were grounded and I needed to burn off some of their energy – but STILL, we’ll call that little 5K a training run!)

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I had a friend last week ask me what my race plan for the half is and this was my exact response as copied from messenger:

Race plan??
Get there. Run. Stop at water breaks. Take selfie’s.
Finish? Eh?

I guess my plan is survive?  Finish? Yes. I am running with professional athletes, and trainers, and elite runners. But I’m going to be there.

See you at the Finish Line! Save a Smiley Cookie for me, yinz!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Ten

17 Apr aimeeandjb

Three years ago today I wrote this post. It is the story of the boy’s birth and all the crazy and amazing that his birth brought.

big headed baby

It was back when only my blood family and a few friends read my blog.  My mom is probably still angry that I said she had verbal diarrhea.  My sister and cousins are probably still angry that I mentioned that they have big asses.  Sorry.  It is my truth and my story and y’all all get to play a part in my stories!  Love you, mean it.

A girlfriend of mine posted this to facebook the other night, and then two sorority sisters and then it was all over my feed.  And I clicked.  And I cried. Finally someone made me feel BRAVE.  and Powerful.  Thank you friends for posting the story and to Core for sharing the post.

His birthday each year makes me feel very emotional. It was one of the hardest years of our lives full of loss but when we had him we were full of love. The fear of the c section and the fear of becoming a momma overwhelmed me. Am I doing enough?  Am I doing it right?

I think every mom feels this at one time or another. Not enough.  Not powerful.  But looking back through pictures and seeing how we weathered storms I see power and bravery and most of all LOVE.

I see the young man The Boy is turning into.  His quick humor, kindness, willfulness, and smile.  I see his love. I only hope he knows the depths of mine.

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Happy 10th Birthday, Boy.  We love you!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

Self Esteem

15 Apr

A couple of weeks ago I posted that Dove had failed me.  As the mom of a biracial child I took the Dove commercial about curly hair very much to heart.  I felt like Dove was telling me that I couldn’t teach her about beauty because I couldn’t show her how I love my stick straight hard when she struggles so much with her curls.

But Dove’s new campaign really struck me as “what am I teaching her about beauty.”

Every morning when I wake her up I tell her “wake up, my beautiful girl.” Of course, I often tell her how smart, brave, kind, loving and talented she is, but I also want her to know that she is beautiful.  I want her to feel that from the inside out.  I want her to know that someone in this world knows she is beautiful no matter what she hears the rest of the day, that her arms are chubby (they aren’t!), that her hair is prettier straight (it’s not!) or that she’s too tall (she’s not!) (all things she has heard in kindergarten! UGH!)

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What strikes me in this new campaign is that OF COURSE I would be the mom pulling her own daughter towards the BEAUTIFUL doors, that I would walk proudly through the doors with her to show her I believe us to be beautiful.

But would I walk through the door alone?  Are my actions at home telling The Girl that I think I’m beautiful no matter what? I mean how many times have we heard “actions speak louder than words.”

Just the other night in trying on a new pair of Pixie Pants (I love you Old Navy Pixie Pants) I hemmed and hawed about wearing a patterned pair that I had brought home and finally DOC said “please stop.  Please just stop talking about your body that way.”  OH MY GOSH.  If I talk about my body that way in front of him – am I also talking that way about my body in front of her that way?  She was WITH me in the dressing room at Old Navy – had she seen my face, wrinkling my nose, deciding yes or no based on how clothes made me feel.

I have some work to do!  I’m walking boldly through the beautiful door WITH my daughter but mostly WITH myself. I’m a work in progress people!  I’m still making peace with myself and my body in this world but I really need to for HER (and her brother and their future spouses!).

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Here are some really amazing articles on how to help our girls feel beautiful and darn near all of it starts with us.

From Skinny Mom (the name drives me crazy— but the messages they send are spot on!) on what we can do with our girls to help their self-esteem.

From Carla Binberg.  I just love this message.  Teaching our daughters to know what is right for their body and to be unapologetic in doing what is right for them.

From Smitten By:  that I found by clicking through on a Pin that I found with a beautiful quote.  So glad I clicked through! What a great post!

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and three facebook pages I follow who always share positive messages on how to raise strong, confident, empowered daughters:

A Mighty Girl
The Eleanor Project
Beauty Redefined

Do you worry about what messages you are sending your daughter?  How do you help her self esteem and get her through this crazy world?

Sigh.

Sparkle On,

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter , Pinterest and  Instagram!

Things I Learned While Training This Week

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1.)  I’m learning to be more confident in myself.  I’m less focused on the jiggle and the wiggle and the wedgies and my shirt riding up and all the other body image issues I’m usually aware of while running.  What I need to learn is to leave my dang pullover in the car!  It’s warmed up quickly on some sunshiny runs this week and I was left having to tie my pullover around my waist.

bathroom selfies are the worst! SORRY!

 2.) I’m learning what music really gets me focused and what needs to get deleted. Missy Elliot, Katy Perry, Brittany Spears, Pink and old school hip hop you made the cut. But I’ve also found a good funny audio book keeps me going!  Thank God for the national treasure that is Amy Poehler.  People may look at me like I’m crazy as I laugh and cray and run through the University but, hey, see #1.

  

 3.) I’m really proud of what a good spitter I am.  Yes, this is the insanity of running.  I spit when I run and I’m really getting good at it.  I am strangely proud of myself for this task. 

 4.) Running is my therapy

There have been times around the three mile mark when I have to talk myself through an issue, work, home, personal, running itself, that brings me to tears.  I’ve reached a decision in my mind.  Don’t know what it is about the three mile mark, but I like it.  If I call or text you after (or sometimes during) a run – it was your voice that helped me or a person I needed to tell. 

 5.) And one thing I need to learn?  For the love of God woman, find a way to carry tissues, chapstick, your phone and gum. Your bra can only do so much!  Any suggestions?

 

 

What do you jam to while you workout?  Best song, book or podcast you’ve listened to lately?  What do you use so your bra is not acting like a purse?

Make it a great day!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!


Wordless Wednesday

1 Apr

  

Big Puffy Heart for these three.  

Friday Five: Spring Eats

27 Mar The Girl strawberry picking in 2011

It’s time for the Friday Five! Today’s theme is “Favorite Spring Foods” and, as usual, I am linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run, for their Friday Five linkup.

Strawberries

There really is nothing better than fresh picked fruits and vegetables and strawberries are at the very top of my list.  I’m so thankful that my birthday is in the spring because I get to head out and pick fresh berries and put them on everything!  Strawberry shortcake, on salads, ice cream, margaritas, smoothies, —- AH!  Come on spring and get here so those strawberries can grow grow grow!

Here is hands down my favorite strawberry recipe, from Cooking Light, that also includes another favorite on this list – BASIL!

The Girl strawberry picking in 2011

The Girl strawberry picking in 2011

Basil

I already told you I love mixing basil with strawberries (have you ever tried a strawberry and basil mojito?).  I’m obsessed in the spring with putting basil on everything – crostini with a stack of basil and melted cheese, on pizzas, to flavor water, but most importantly caprese salad. Fresh tomatoes, basil, a little course salt and good olive oil tossed with some buffalo mozzarella.  PERFECTION!

Chandler Bing gum would be perfection

Asparagus

I never thought this would be on my list but I really love asparagus roasted, steamed, or grilled.  A well roasted asparagus with salmon and crispy fingerling potatoes is about the most perfect meal.

(I’ve added this recipe to my Relay Foods weekly meal plan for next week.  If you haven’t tried Relay Food Meal Planning yet, and you live in VA, Baltimore, DC, Annapolis or Raleigh, you MUST!  If you’re currently using a service like Blue Apron, Plated, or the similar, I think you’ll find Relay’s meal planning a good fit for you.  Check it out with $30 worth of free groceries using this link!)


Wood Fired Pizza

Last summer I worked on a wood fired pizza food truck.  Worst idea ever because now I’m just obsessed with making and eating Wood Fired Pizza.  You’ll never guess what my favorite pizzas were…. yep, you guessed it… the ones with fresh local spring fruits and vegetables. We made one with strawberries, spinach and a balsamic glaze, another with grapes, rosemary and blue cheese.  I eat very little grain but if I go, I go big with quality ingredients and amazing flavors.  If you’re in the central Virginia area,  you need to check out Blue Ridge Pizza Co at festivals, wineries, wherever you can find them and check out the tastes of wood fired pizza.

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Cider and Wine

Speaking of Central Virginia, I’m so thankful when spring rolls around in Central Virginia because that means wine tasting and cider drinking outdoors. A Saturday or Sunday stop at a local vineyard or cidery is the perfect way to celebrate spring and to shake out of winter.

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How about you? What are your favorite spring eats? What’s your most unique flavor on a pizza?

Make it a great weekend!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

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