Tulsa Love:Joe Station Dog Park

(please read this in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if Miley were speaking out loud to you.)

It’s a blog takeover today!  And that’s right, I’m a British street dog.  There’s no real reason for it except when mama makes me talk to her and other people, it always comes out in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if an American were trying to speak proper British.  But I let her entertain us and others with it.

Usually when mama writes these blog posts, I’m lying right next to her in bed.  She’ll tell you it’s because there’s nowhere else to sit in the house (true, there’s only a bench at the kitchen table for now) but I know it’s really because she is the most comfortable there and loves to snuggle up with me.

I know on Tuesdays she writes about things she loves about Tulsa so I thought a great way to get me to the dog park during the beautiful weather this week would be to recommend I guest blog for her….and it worked!  We went to run and chase balls yesterday.

Joe Station Dog Park is really close to the house – I think mama would run us there if it was not past the busy interstate but otherwise it’s just a quick car trip from downtown.  There are plenty of tennis balls provided to play with, water buckets and in the summer I love to play in the kiddie pools.

Most of the time I’ll run around chasing any ball that’s being thrown.  Mama does a good job of throwing them for me but sometimes I get distracted by others throwing balls too.  Or other kinds of balls like soccer balls.  I always go after those.  Luckily I’ve never heard owners get mad at mom, even though she gets embarrassed about me.  I just perk my ears up and wag my tail at people and they don’t mind.

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I love it.  Mama loves it so I can get tired without messing up her run.  Come play with us sometime!

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Organized Home:Food Storage

I got to start today with a fantastic yoga class at our Studio here in Tulsa.  Mondays aren’t so bad when you get to start them gently moving your body and slowly waking up to the sunrise.  My first week of fast 5k training last week went really well.  I managed to get all the runs in, and all the circuits.  I feel a deep soreness to the bone in my quads, which hopefully means I’m pushing it on the runs.

During some of my down time this weekend, I conquered the next area of my Organized Home project.  I’m following along with the podcast Organize 365 and each week taking some time on the weekend to clean out and organize an area of my home. Last week I cleared the kitchen counters off, and this week went deeper in the kitchen to the cabinets and fridge.

Per usual, the first step was to take everything out of these spaces.  I decided to do the cabinets first and then the fridge.  I don’t have a walk in pantry so all of my dry goods and cans get stored in the cabinets.   Once everything was on the countertops, I vacuumed out the shelves and wiped them down.  Then it was time to toss.  Like with the master closet, there were some rules:

  1. Anything that is expired
  2. Anything that’s been open longer than you can remember
  3. Duplicates of things, especially spices

Now to put things back in these freshly clean, spacious doors.  She suggests storing things in a sorted manner that makes sense to you in additional bins but I didn’t have any, and don’t want to buy any so instead I separated my shelves into nuts and baking items, and canned goods below that.  I like her idea of having an area to store necessary ingredients for specific recipes for your week.

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After!

 

Once everything was either in the trash or back in the cabinets, I moved on to the fridge.  Same rules apply for tossing here: expired and duplicates are gone.  No second thoughts.  My favorite tip for the fridge was to not actually store your fruits and veggies in a drawer because then they’re out of sight and out of mind.  So I decided to have a shelf for snacks like veggies, guacamole and hardboiled eggs and a shelf for leftover storage and ingredients for meals for the week.

This clean out worked really well with my time in the kitchen this weekend anyway.  I’m really intentionally working on a strong Sunday cooking habit, and having a cleared out pantry is already providing more calm when I do it.  For maintenance she recommends a Sunday clean out where you go through the fridge for leftovers and opened produce to try to use up as much of it as you can – an easy habit to implement with the Sunday cooking!

Next week we stay in the kitchen and tackle dish cabinets!

How do you organize food storage?

Sprenk’s Favorite Things: Side Pockets

How did Friday get here again already?  How is it almost February?  Sometimes I laugh that after 30 years of dealing with the passing of time, I still get caught up in how fast it always seems to go.  Friday means I get to share a favorite thing with you!

Every so often there’s an innovation to something standard that is so brilliantly simple, you wonder why the hell it took so long for it to catch on.  The main development I’m sharing today is the SIDE POCKET.

Pockets on workout pants have evolved over the years.  Some were just big enough for keys, some on the front elastic band with no zipper, some on the back sacrum area with a zipper (painful for crunch work, and damaging to your phone), eventually they grew bigger to hold music devices and phones, and then finally, someone thought to put a big pocket on the side of the upper leg.

My first pair of pants with this perk were hot pink All the Right Places crop from Lululemon.  I bought them because they were pink, and realized later on my first run in them that this pocket was gold.

This year, my favorite tights for doing circuit workouts in also have a side pocket.  It’s great because I’m working out by myself most of the time and want to have headphones in.  Since I do floor work, I don’t want to smash my phone in my back pocket so I slip it into the side pocket of these tights.  These Tight Stuff tights deserve their own favorite things day I love them so much.

Finally, when I run now, I mostly always choose my full length leggings because they’re the only real cold weather running tights I have with this feature.  Before I owned pants with a lateral pocket, I would just carry my phone in my hand (to avoid the sweaty back pocket).  I never realized how burdensome that is!  It’s so freeing to stick it in that leg pocket and still have the headphones be long enough to reach my ears.

Besides being handy for my phone on runs and during workouts, they’re also at the perfect location for me to just walk around with my hands in my pockets – a joy I didn’t even know existed!

It’s hard now for me to buy pants without this side pocket functionality.  Yoga specific pants would be ok, since I’m not usually needing to carry a phone with me for those, but otherwise, from now on running and studio pants will be filtered by the option of the side pocket or not.

Do you love the side pocket?   How do you do music during your runs and workouts?

Thirty Thursdays: Book List

Here we are again for another 30 before 30 bucket list item.  If this list is proof of anything, it’s proof that I do really well with action items.  I’m certain I won’t get every item checked off this list by August, but I’m also positive that I’ve done more things because of this list than otherwise.  So I made a list within a list.

I wanted to get into the habit of reading for pleasure again.  I completely lost this in graduate school (except when I’d escape to Mexico for Christmas and binge read shelves of books) and never took the time to build the habit back up.

I perused Pinterest and the internet for lists of books people should read before they turn 30, lists of books all women should read, lists of books for young entrepreneurs etc.  And this is the list I came up with:

  1. Anna Karenina
  2. Start with Why
  3. The Beautiful and the Damned
  4. Contents May Have Shifted  X
  5. The Edible Woman
  6. Play it as it Lays
  7. The House of the Spirits
  8. The Awakening
  9. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
  10. Bluets
  11. A Room of One’s Own
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird
  13. Villette
  14. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
  15. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
  16. Sharp Objects
  17. The Bluest Eye
  18. Why Not Me
  19. Save Me the Waltz
  20. Bastard Out of Carolina
  21. Love Medicine
  22. The Color Master
  23. I Feel Bad About My Neck
  24. The Age of Grief
  25. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
  26. Tiny Beautiful Things
  27. Friendship
  28. Bad Feminist
  29. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  30. We Should All Be Feminists
  31. Men Explain Things to Me
  32. The Dream of A Common Language X
  33. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  34. The Sun Also Rises
  35. Infinite Jest
  36. Unbearable Lightness of Being
  37. Leaves of Grass
  38. How Should a Person Be
  39. Portrait of a Lady
  40. A People’s History of the United States
  41. The Power of Habit
  42. Total Money Makeover
  43. The $100 Startup
  44. The Traveler’s Gift
  45. Essentialism
  46. Blue Like Jazz
  47. How to Win Friends
  48. Energy Bus
  49. Think and Grow Rich
  50. Bible
  51. All the Single Ladies
  52. Seabiscuit
  53. small great things
  54. The Nest
  55. Hidden Figures
  56. Eleanor and Park

Originally this list was meant to be 30 books long.  But the lists I kept finding for recommendations forced me to continue adding to this one.  I tried to compile a decent mixture of fiction and non-fiction, modern and classical writings, books I’ve read already and completely new ones, and a broad spectrum of topics.  I’ve crossed out the books I’ve completed on this list since making it, and put an X next to ones I’ve tried but couldn’t stay into.

Have you read any of these?  What else would you add to the list for someone to read before they turn 30?

Workout Wednesday: Runner’s Dozen

Hi friends!  How’s your week going?  I’m feeling strong and on top of workouts and this Whole 30 eating plan we’re doing at the Studio.  I’m sure grumpy and tired days are ahead but it’s so great when energy, time and productivity seem abundant.

Case in point – I’ve filmed a workout video for you from my stack!  This week I chose one that is not my own creation.  I’ve actually looked to see who compiled these moves but I can’t find a true creator.  I’ve seen this workout referenced in my Believe Training Journal, on several running blogs and I’ve used it (not as much as I should) on and off for years.

The Runner’s Dozen

This workout is for anyone and requires no equipment.  It’s targeted to runners because the moves help develop core strength (core is glutes and shoulders too, not just abs) in a way that is functional to running.

There are 12 moves, to be performed in the order listed below:

  1. 60 bicycle abs (total)
  2. 20 pushups to side planks (total pushups)
  3. 30 marching bridges (total marches)
  4. Ab scissors – 30 horizontal, 30 vertical (total each direction)
  5. 60 second elbow plank
  6. 30 fire hydrants (total)
  7. 10 side plank leg raises
  8. 30 bird dogs (total, one side at a time)
  9. 15 V-ups
  10. Knee tucks (5 outside, 5 middle, 5 across – per leg)
  11. 10 second hold + 5 pulses flute balance (front, side, back)
  12. 10 pushups, rest, 9 pushups, rest……down to 1.

That’s it!  One time through takes 10-15 minutes so this could be done after a short run, or on its own as a maintenance day or strength day.  The link to the video is here, and the moves are performed in the order listed above.  It is not a real-time video, but sped up and not of the correct reps.  It’s meant to show form and modifications (pushups, side planks).  Good luck, and let me know if you try it!

Tulsa Love: Retro Den Home Styling

Before I officially settled in Tulsa, my sister friend Katie toured me around her favorite places.  Places I hope to tour you around via the blog or if you ever come visit.  One of the first on her list was a vintage furniture store called Retro Den and we were heading there for a succulent planting event.  Not a lover of furniture, vintage or plants I was far from convinced this would be great, but open minded anyway.

Flash forward 2.5 years later and one of my big resolutions is keeping a pot of their succulents alive and I’ve hired these girls to style my living room.  Obviously I was so wrong about how I would feel about my experience in the store, and actually ended up planting several succulents alongside A. Daly that very day, and putting a sale hold on a gorgeous industrial cart that just screamed at me.  Good work Katie Carp.

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One variation of couch location

Those succulents have since died (not their fault, mine.) but that cart table is now the center of this styling session for my living room.  Fast friendships grew out of the Ashleys too, as they’re both so personable, warm and funny and I spent a lot of my early down time days hanging around their shop or bringing them food in exchange for little shop gifts.

As much as I’d like to do a full makeover and update to my house, I think it’s more realistic financially to just update the actual furniture.  My whole time in Tulsa I’ve been working with a strange mix of pieces I acquired in Memphis or Austin or from my parents’ attic/basement.  I had all the pieces that I needed but it looked like a patchwork quilt of furniture, and a cluttered one at that.

I had a little bit of money saved up, and I started selling pieces off. (The LetGo app and Facebook groups are a great place for this).  Soon I’d sold off all my living room furniture except my precious cart table and that brought about a proper theme for this Christmas (last year’s snow ski, this year furniture).  I asked for a couch, and that was it.  Santa generously pulled through with some couch cash and a suggestion to get a designer to go with it.  The Ashleys!

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Couch and designer for Christmas

Before we even started our session, the As began gathering intel.  There were forms to fill out, Pinterest boards to make, screenshots to share.  This was surprising to me but shouldn’t have been.  I do the same thing to people when they start working out with me.  Why are you doing this?  What do you want to accomplish?  What are you willing to do?  Not do?  What’s your budget?

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In my own attempt at designing my living room, I wanted it to center around travel and books.  I don’t have a television so wanted art on the walls to inspire chatter about places I’ve been or places to go.  Books on the shelves could be topics of chatter too.  The cart needed to stay.  I love the bookcases and the length of the room.  The mantle is overwhelming.  I want a gallery wall and a cozy country feel.  I want the room to feel open, calming, warm, inviting and friendly.  I want a tufted or nailhead trimmed sofa and cozy reading chairs, maybe a reading nook.  And a gallery wall.  My budget is about the price of the sofas I’m looking at.

We scheduled the consult for a Thursday morning at 9am.  Normally this is late in the day for me, but I was feeling under the weather and barely out of bed when they arrived offering coffee, bright yellow tulips and friendly chit chat.

First, we took a tour of my house.  In their styling sessions, the As will use pieces you already have in your home (especially if your budget is as small as mine) to “shop your space” and I knew they were probably looking around for those things.  But I was also beaming with excitement as they complimented other parts about my home.  I loved this house when I first toured it, and still do, but there’s something about being reminded why you fell in love with something in the first place, especially after it’s flaws start to come through (cabinet doors that don’t shut, painted shut windows, loosey goose doorknobs, shower knobs that don’t let the bath faucet on).  It’s important to say that these were genuine compliments; I don’t feel like they were fluffing me up to love them more.

The tile in my kitchen, the modern and old mix of furniture in my bedroom, the light from my windows, my quirky little bathroom sink.  They brought so much appreciation for my own home back to me, and I’m going to hold onto that forever.

Then it was down to business.  The living room.  The mantle.  Without hesitation, the first thing to go was the Christmas decor.  Since it is mid-January, I reluctantly complied.  They both agreed, based on the photos I submitted, that my big map could stay (yay!) but needed to just rest on the mantle instead of hang.  They cleared off the rest of it while I just stood back and watched.  Then we went hunting for things again, this time to the garage.  They spotted a metal basket and two old milk jugs from my parents’ basement that I loved when I saw them down there and had carted around through three living spaces.  My favorite part of the day (after the house loving of course) was watching them carefully wash and prepare these vintage jugs for use in my current living room.

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The day-of before

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Packing away Christmas

They brought them in and toodled around with the perfect placement.  I’m still just standing back watching, amazed at what’s happening before me.  They worked so well in sync together, checking in with me and my vision, but also just knowing my vision well enough to decide things together.

Besides being under the weather I think they could tell I was overwhelmed and were so kind in listening to my mini-panic about clearing off the mantle.  Last fall I’d spent a little over $100 on lanterns and candlesticks and big books to try to fill it out, and they just took them off.   It’s frustrating to feel like you tried on your own, and couldn’t find the look you wanted, but then such a relief to finally get the mantle under control (this is why you hire the As!).

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Too soon our styling session was over and the cheery girls left me to bask in my delightfully arranged living room (still just with a cart in it but simplified), but not without homework.  I had five main tasks for the next month before we come tighter again.

  1. Buy a couch
  2. Paint the fireplace white
  3. Get a snake plant and some philodendron
  4. Only buy white things, and no more new pieces
  5. Look for a jute rug

I was a little nervous about being left to these devices on my own but the girls were supportive in answering questions I had (what kind of paint? where do I buy those plants?) and even pinned examples of it all to our shared Pinterest board.

The couch is ordered, the fireplace is painted and the plants are happy in their new home!  I can’t wait to share an updated post with you once the couch is in its place, but this one was meant more to focus on these delightful girls and their very-worth-it service.  If you’d like to read more about this service, check out this link.  At the very least, even if you’re not into furniture, vintage or plants, swing by their shop near 12 and Harvard to say hi.  You won’t be sorry.

 

Organized Home: Kitchen Counters

Moving right along this week into the kitchen.  I am so glad that this Organized 365 project called 40 Days: One Whole House didn’t tackle the entire kitchen at once.  Instead, we’re easing in very slowly starting with the kitchen counters.  I listened to the less-than-15-minutes podcast for this topic on a drive out for dinner with Chap and the kids, and was ready to tackle the counters the next day.

In the podcast, she talks about all horizontal surfaces in your home and how they end up becoming holding spaces for all kinds of things.  Keys, papers, bills, extra cups.  It’s so easy to just set things down and leave them there for later.  I’m working hard on making a space for everything, and then returning items to their homes when they’re not being used.

The first task for the kitchen counters was to take everything off of them.  Everything.  Appliances.  Papers.  Grocery bags.  Drying racks.  Bananas.  That part was easy (my dining room table has turned into a lovely holding space for all of my items in purgatory during this project).  Then, her rule is that you can’t return anything to the kitchen until you use it.  You’re supposed to use the whole week to figure this out but I didn’t want to so I started my meal prep for the week and only returned the things I used during that time.

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Purgatory for Stuff

In the podcast, she specifically calls out several things that most people have out on their counters and should maybe reconsider.  The first is a toaster.  I don’t have a toaster but I do have a microwave.  I don’t use it everyday, and I’m not even sure I use it every two days.  I tried to move this to the laundry room shelf but the plugs weren’t compatible so it had to stay in the kitchen.  Next were those porcelain canisters of all the kitchen utensils.  I have one, and I do use it everyday, but the look of it does clutter up the counters and I have plenty of drawer space.  The utensils are now in a drawer close to the stove for easy grabbing.  And the canister moved to the mantle to hold a new snake plant!

I decided to also tackle the fridge space while I was going at the counters.  Taking down expired Save the Dates and old holiday cards.  The only things that went back up were scenery magnets and art of my favorite cities (Memphis and Tulsa).

It was pretty simple for me to decide what to not put back on the counters.  The three big jars of protein powder I hadn’t scooped from in months.  The utensil canister.  A big bowl to hold fruit that’s usually empty.  And it was nice to rearrange a little.   This new layout worked great while I was prepping veggies and meals for the week, and I love that it feels a lot less crowded in here – from the counter space to the fridge!

Need to work on getting those doors to stay shut!  Next week: pantries and leftovers.