I’d be lying if I said…

1. … I’m not at all grateful for my awesome co-workers.

20130222-082948.jpg

As any citizen of the U-S-of-A knows, tax season is in full swing. For those in the CPA world, that means spending more time with co-workers than family and friends, in a very stressful work environment. When things are at their worst work-wise, sometimes the only thing that can make it better is being surrounded by others who just GET IT. And it helps when those people are fun, witty and cool. I’m very fortunate to have a good group of co-workers who fit into that category. This week, a small group of us left work at 6:00 (gasp!!) to celebrate one of our own becoming an official U.S. citizen. We waved miniature flags through dinner, drawing many looks from other dining patrons. To welcome Remo as a citizen, we got him a “survival” kit, complete with a red, white and blue skull-cap, a box of knock-off brand Twinkies (Hostess, we miss you!), a trucking magazine and a tall can of Busch Light. Welcome to America, Remo!

And can I just say how awesome the people at The Rail were on Wednesday? Several other diners came over to congratulate Remo and shake his hand. That’s the America I know and love!

2. … I didn’t shave off 5:30 minutes from my previous 5K time.

That’s right: I have cut my 5K time to 5:30 faster than my first one of 2013. How happy does this make me?

20130222-082936.jpg

VERY HAPPY!

To be fair, my first 5K of the year was just a “let’s see where I’m at with this running stuff” test run, since I hadn’t run in over 8 months. I am not the kind of person who can just run 3.2 miles right off the bat, so that first 5K including some walking. I still did it in 33 minutes, so I was happy with that. But today, I did a 5K in 27:29, so I was SO VERY VERY VERY HAPPY about that. So happy that I don’t even care that my hair looked like that when I was done (scary). More so, I’m proud of myself for sticking with my new year’s resolution to become the gym rat I once was. Now that I’m seeing results, I’m extra motivated to stick with it. Nashville will be here in just over 9 weeks (ohmygosh)!

3. … I’m not going celebrate National Margarita Day.

Because you can bet your bottom dollar I am. It’s cinco o’clock somewhere!

4. … I’m not going to miss these two sweet faces like crazy next week.

20130222-083008.jpg

20130222-083101.jpg

Ryan and I have decided to send Sarge and Gunner to a trainer for a week to get Gunner all squared away with obedience training and to work on some social anxiety issues my little Sargie has been having. Being dog-free for a week will be nice (No midnight potty breaks! We’ll have the whole bed to ourselves!), but man, I am going to miss those little guys so much. I’m sure my husband will have to deal with a weepy Whitney when we drop them off tomorrow morning.

5. … I’m not looking forward to the Oscars on Sunday.

YES! The Oscars are here! This is a big night for movie fans. I wrote about how much I enjoy this particular awards show last year, and we’ll be doing the same ballot contest in the Bowers house again this year (Here is a printable ballot, if you want to get in on the fun). I have no idea what the winner will get this year – but I’m going to make sure it’s good, since I don’t plan on losing. 🙂

So, how was your President’s Day?

How was everyone’s Presidents Day? I spent the day working, but I’m very happy for all of you who got to spend it at home. And also very jealous. 🙂

It was another Monday Rest-day on my running schedule, which I definitely took advantage of. My legs were pretty tired today because I did my long run (4 miles) on Sunday, instead of Saturday. Why you ask? Well, because I spent Saturday working at the office. Which was just lovely.

Not.

But after a good run and some errands on Sunday, I treated myself to a movie with a friend. We went to see Safe Haven, which I surprisingly really liked. I’m not the biggest Nicholas Sparks fan, but I love Julianne Hough, and now that I’ve seen this movie, I have a crush on Josh Duhamel. Besides some overly sugary-sweet parts, it was cute, funny and had some on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments.

If you aren’t aware, the movie is based in a sea-side town in North Carolina. In one scene, Julianne Hough is prancing around in a little bikini – which was a harsh reminder that swimsuit season is quickly approaching. The official start of spring is just a month away! That makes me so happy, but it also makes my heart race a little. My arms, legs and stomach aren’t quite ready to give up the full-coverage that winter clothes have to offer. While my committment to the gym has been great, I’ve been a little lax in my diet, and I’m definitely feeling the results. So in honor of spring and the shorts, tank tops and bikinis that will follow soon after, I am getting back on the (mostly) clean-eating wagon.

Dinner was thrown together with what I had on hand, and I was very happy with how it turned out.

20130218-195322.jpg

That’s a 4 oz. tilapia filet with a yummy quinoa salad, made with a 1/4 cup of quinoa (uncooked amount), 1/4 cup of shelled edamame and 2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped. I love how eating healthy makes me feel – and this was a very satisfying meal!

On an unrelated note, I saw this really cool offer for a free wristband and wanted to share it. Take a short quiz to find out your “good doer” style, fill out your information and your wristband is on the way! They are the Livestrong-type wristband, but in six different colors, each with a good doer style on it. My quiz resulted an “idealist” – can’t wait to get my cute pink wristband!

So that was my Presidents Day – hope you all had a great one as well!

Things Making Me Happy Today

As the title suggests, there are some things that are making me smile THIS BIG today!

1. Our new puppy, Gunner.

After many (many, many, many) talks about getting another dog, my husband finally won and convinced me we “need” another dog for Sarge. While I much prefer to adopt adult dogs rather than puppies, when a friend’s dog became pregnant (surprise!) with mastiff-mix puppies, it seemed like the perfect fit. Enter Gunner: the 8-week old, 17-pound addition to our family.

20130214-162441.jpg

Even though taking care of a puppy is a TON of work, we love having him. He seems to be fitting in just fine – and we hope that Sarge eventually warms up to him. He’s getting used to him…slowly…but for now, Sarge is happy just playing keep-away from Gunner.

20130214-162520.jpg

2. Making gift baskets.

I wrote about doing this for a friend’s baby shower last summer, but I just want to say it again: I love making gift baskets. I really should do this more often for people, because it really is a ton of fun. Plus, a basket full of gift that costs $25 looks waaaaaaay nicer than a $25 gift card. And in my opinion it’s a much more thoughtful, personal gift.

Anyway, a few months ago my friend Deanna asked if I would make a gift basket to auction off for a fundraising event she is helping organize. I jumped at the chance, and even got another friend to make a basket (which wasn’t hard to do at all – she is SUPER great at making these things!). I decided on a “Happy at Home” theme, and kept the color scheme red and white.

The basket includes:

* The book Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin (I haven’t read it but have heard it’s great – and it’s what the “Happy at Home” theme is centered around!)
* Two “Keep Calm and Carry On” mugs, one red and one white (sort of like this, but a little fancier)
* A wintry soup mix, to fill bellies on cold winter days
* A bag of Joe coffee (Love the bright red bag this coffee comes in!)
* A yummy smelling candle
* Milk Chocolate Lindor truffles (These are my absolute FAVORITE! And it was such a shame that the entire bag of truffles wouldn’t fit in the basket. I took one for the team and ate the extras. It’s called sacrifice, people.)
*Aloe-infused socks (sooooo soft)

The basket itself is actually a black canvas tote with a pretty damask design on the inside. Topped off with a sparkly red bow, the basket is complete! I love it – I wish I didn’t have to give it away, but since it’s for a good cause, I guess I will. 🙂

20130214-162530.jpg

And here is the adorable “Tea and Biscuits” basket Katie made:

20130214-172017.jpg

3. Ideas!

About a year ago, I started this blog, not really knowing WHAT I wanted to do with it, just that I wanted to DO it. I’m still trying to nail down this whole blog thing, but I’ve had so much fun with it over the past 12 months – it’s amazing what a little idea can become!

I’ve had a few more ideas sprout recently, and I can’t wait to see what they grow into. A few projects with my sister, a book club with my co-worker-turned-good-friend-and-wine-buddy Amy and combining two of the things I love into a volunteer opportunity. Great things to look forward to!

4. Joining a running club

I resolved this year to be committed, but I’ve also resolved to be committed to those things that hold one or more of the following:

1. It is for / important to someone I love;

2. It improves my health, brings me happiness and/or contributes to making me an overall better person; or

3. I just really, really want to do it.

Today, I’ve committed to joining the Summit Athletic Running Club (SARC) with my abovementioned friend Katie, and I couldn’t be more excited! The club sounds like a wonderful group of people, and I’m looking forward to using it as a way to stay motivated to run after the Nashville half is over. Speaking of the Nashville half…

5. The Nashville half is getting closer!

Yes, April 27 is still well over 2 months away, but it’s getting closer and closer! I definitely need a little trip away from real life, and I’m so excited to be spending time in my favorite city with my husband and some good friends.

Plus, since my old running shoes are, well, old, I’ve decided to get a new pair. It’s all in the name of pain-free running! These lovely gals have grabbed my attention:

runningshoes

Those are the Asics GT-2000 in Electric Melon and Turquoise. Love ’em.

6. Some new country music

There are some new songs out right now in country music that just make me JAM! I’ve especially been rocking to these two fine tunes:

I love how music can just totally improve your mood. These two songs definitely do it for me!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Hope there is plenty to make you happy today and all weekend.

True Whit Turns One!

Happy First Birthday, True Whit!

One year ago, I started this blog – not really knowing what I wanted to do with it or where I wanted it to go. All I knew was that I wanted to do it.

My heart leapt when True Whit got its first follower – and again after the second and third and fourth. Now that this little blog has over 80 (!!) followers, my heart still gets excited for each and every one. For the bloggers who get more followers than that in one day, my excitement might seem a bit lame, but I’m truly over the moon that even one person wants to read what I put on here!

To all of my family, friends and blog-readers from all over the world: THANK YOU for your support over the last year! Every “like”, every comment, every visit to True Whit has meant so much to me. Writing on this blog has been very therapeutic for me, and I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement more than you could ever know.

Looking forward to what this next year has in store!

The Case for Paper Planners

The scenario goes like this:

Friend(s): Are you free on Saturday/next week/whenever?
Me: Let me check [pulls out planner from purse and looks].
Friend(s): [Insert jokes about my use of a planner, instead of keeping everything on my smartphone]

Every time my planner makes an appearance, my friends tease me about it. And in my work-world where people live and die by their Blackberries and iPhones, I get very strange looks when I update meeting details on actual paper, instead of in my phone. I’ve trusted my schedule to a planner for as long as I can remember: what started as a way to keep track of homework assignments and who had a crush on whom in middle school, evolved to include social and athletic commitments in high school and now has become the holder of just about everything going on in my life. My planner is what keeps me in the right place at the right time (for the most part).

I’ve always verbally defended my preference for planners, but it wasn’t until I read a post from one of the blogs I follow that I decided I needed to write about it. For 17 years my planners have helped me, so it’s time I make my case for them!

First – I just thing paper planners are more practical. Yes, it’s extra “stuff” that you must carry around, but mine is 6.5 in x 3.5 in and weighs less than a pound (actually, much less than my iPhone, come to think of it…). And planners give me the “big picture” of what’s really going on in my life. To see what I mean, take a second and open your smartphone (or other electronic) calendars, if you use one. Can you clearly see everything you have planned for the month in detail? All I see when I look at mine is a bunch of dots:

 

20130206-091418.jpg

[For the record, the only reason I even have dots in my calendar is because I made the mistake of linking my Facebook account with my calendar. So now I have the birthday of every single one of my Facebook friends at my fingertips. If I actually used my phone’s calendar, this would really annoy me, but since I don’t, it doesn’t. Great story.]

Anyway, let’s say I want to get together with a friend on February 18. I can easily scroll to that date to see if I have anything going on that day (besides wishing a Facebook friend or two a happy birthday). However, what about my schedule for the rest of the week? I’d have to manually go to other days to see what’s going on. It just so happens that I leave for a business trip to McLean, VA on February 19. So even if I didn’t have plans on February 18, I probably should be spending the evening at home, packing and hugging Ryan.

BUT – one look at my planner tells me EVERYTHING I have going on for the week of February 18:

20130206-093427.jpg 

Plus, as you can see, I have a really specific scheduling system down that involves highlighters, initials and other cryptic coding (Type A much?). That kind of stuff is SO much easier to do outside of the digital world.  

In addition to my stance on my planner’s practicality, I also hold the sentimental value of my planner near and dear to my heart. One read of my “About Me” page is all it takes to see that I’m a sucker for sap. Being able to look back through my planner at the end of its useful life is a very sappy time. I still have my planners from high school and college, and when I look at all the scribbles from my teens and early 20s, I remember my awesome teammates from soccer, basketball and track and how much fun we had together; I remember my housemates in college and the random and silly things we did; I remember so many memories…everyday-events I probably would never had remembered without looking back at my planner.

For example, when I was writing this post, I flipped back through my current planner to December 2011. One event caught my eye, then another, then another…and before I knew it the entire Christmas season of that year all came rushing back to me. It definitely made me happy, but what made me even happier was all of the friends and family I spent time with that holiday season are still in my life over a year later. 

20130206-083812.jpg

AND I found a sticky note with a fruit-smoothie-type drink a friend told me about! I had forgotten all about that. Thanks, Planner!

Can you really look back on your electronic calendar and get the same nostalgia? I don’t know for sure, but I would think not. My guess is that you would probably never even think to look back at your electronic calendar since it never really ends. This might be a “nothing” for some people, but for me, it’s definitely “something”. It’s so important to me that I’ve decided to start a “thought a day” journal (like this one), so life’s “little moments” aren’t forgotten.

I realize having a planner just isn’t everyone’s style – and I’m cool with that. The point of all of this was to just make the case for paper planners – and why I’ll probably always use one. Which will probably always be accompanied by jokes from my friends. But that’s ok – I’ll just smile like I always do, knowing that writing their name down today will preserve the memories we’ll make for a long, long time. And that is so worth the extra “stuff” I carry with my planner.

Rest Day

Happy Monday! We made it through our first weekend in February and the snow continues to fall upon us in Northeast Ohio. Keep holding on, everyone: spring will be here before we know it!

An update on my Super Bowl pick: turns out I cheered for the wrong team. Or rather, I picked the LOSING team. As a Browns fan, I know the two do not go hand in hand. But the 49er’s played a good game – I thought they were going to come back and win! I think this year’s Super Bowl was a great one – the game was exciting, most of the commercials were entertaining and we even got to experience a power-outage.

And as it always does, Sunday turned into Monday. It was back to work for a lot of us, which I’m sure not many were thrilled about. Today is no ordinary Monday for me: today is the first official day of my 12-week half-marathon training program. Since I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in Doritos at my sister’s Super Bowl party yesterday, I was reeeeaaaally not looking forward to going to the gym today. I’m sure you can imagine my absolute joy when I looked at what today held for me on the training calendar:

Day 1: REST

YES! I guess it’s not Monday Runday for me! I think it’s kind of funny that Day 1 of a half-marathon training program is “Rest”, but I’m not complaining! If there is one thing I know how to do well, it’s resting.

So after work, I put on sweats and spent the evening cuddling with Sarge. Ryan is at work until tomorrow morning, but I hear he’s enjoying his rest day too. I can’t think of anything else I would have rather been doing on this cold, snowy night. Yes, I technically should have gone to the gym today, but I had a crazy busy weekend that left me exhausted this morning. Just as with running, we need rest days in life, too.

Unfortunately, as with all good things, this rest day is coming to an end. Four-thirty tomorrow morning is going to come way too soon, so I’m off to bed. Good night, all!