2014 Recap! Where is the world is Carmen San Diego?

Hi strangers!  I up until a few days ago I thought that I had not written anything for my little bloggy-blog in well over a year ago!  Then just the other day I realized that it has been less than a whole year (just February, not so bad right?).

So this year has been full of adventures.  Some of the highlights include two trips to Mexico, one for a wedding, one for my bi-annual volleyball beach vacation.  I also went to North Carolina for a week with my family to celebrate my cousin Anne’s wedding. 

When the summer came there was lots of staying around the cities and mini roadtrips for this girl, because, well, the bank account was drained by the above trips!

The All-Star game was in Minneapolis so my dad and I checked out the Fan Fest and some of the other events around the cities!

There were a few races sprinkled in, here and there, in the last few months.  A color run 5k, the Goldy’s Run 5k and Grandma’s Half marathon, Torchlite 5k, Turkey Trot 5K and Monster Dash 10 mile.  There was also the trip to Fargo and the weekend of races.  I went to Fargo to run the 5k and 10k with two cousins, then came back down to the cities to run and walk the Mother’s Day 5k at the Mall of America.  My friend ran his first marathon this year, and I did some pacing with him (on my bike).  We explored a new to-him trail by the river near my house.  Though it was washed out from all of the rain this summer, but we made due! 

A quick trip over to Eau Claire for a wedding reception for the couple who got married in Mexico earlier this year.  Many friends and sorority sisters were there, of course there was lots of catching up to do!

I had my first attempt at Jell-O shots for the 4th of July, which turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself!  The guys made a slip and slide which was just about as much fun for the adults as it was for the kiddos!

Then it was back to Eau Claire for a wedding for a sorority sister and fraternity friend of mine.  We might have missed the wedding, and were a bit (lot) over dressed for the wedding reception.  It was still a lot of fun and great to see some of the girls, and guys again!

There was the big end of summer road trip, or as I fondly refer to it as, the Wisconsin Sigma Baby Tour 2014.  Many of my sorority sisters life in eastern Wisconsin.  In one shot I got to visit with three of them and the little tots!

In the fall there was a camping weekend up to Duluth with friends.  We went to Split Rock Light house, and a new brewery.  My aunt and uncle live in Two Harbors and took us all out on their boat for an afternoon too!

I took both of my nephews out for an afternoon for each of their birthdays.  One in February to see the Lego movie.  He loves building anything Lego, so I knew it was the perfect gift for him.  I brought the youngest nephew to see all of the animals at the zoo in the fall.  They both loved the one-on-one time with Auntie Amy!

The fall lead to snow and winter cold.  I quit working at the gym (I finally have one job only for the first time since 2007!), but am still an active member.  I am loving being able to have the option to go to work our and not have to go when I was scheduled to work.  I’ve missed my run club peeps! Sending them off from behind the gym’s front desk each week was just not the same!

Halloween was an adventure with some friends who are very into Halloween.  They start building a haunted house in August and run it as a food drive for a local food shelf.  After a bit of coaxing I finally went through and did get scared…a bit!

Then there was the holidays and my big 31st birthday!  I had a fun night with some friends to help me celebrate my new year.  The holidays were spent with lots of family.  With two Thanksgivings and three Christmases you can imagine all of the food and family time!  It was all pretty great.

Oh yea, I saw Heidi too! She stopped to visit with me on her way back to the CO from WI.  I felt so special! 😉

On the final day of 2014, I was with great friends having a fun relaxing night in a hot tub with a drink or two (I firmly believe hot tubs are the best in the winter!).

If you made it through all of my wordiness, you deserve a reward!  I sure that this is the longest post I’ve written in the last 365 days, and to sum it all up I made a Flipgram of fun shots of my adventures throughout the year.  Enjoy and Cheers to 2015!



2 Challenges – Week 1 Recap and Ice Golf!!


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Heeeey how you doin?  I am currently sitting in my jammies in front of my fire place on a freezing Minnesota day, but I have nothing to do today, so I can totally get away with it!

This week I started two “challenges” for myself ‘this month that have been actually sort of difficult!  One was centered around my finances, and one was centered around my eating/exercise habits.  So let’s recap!
My last post about money explained that I need to put myself (and stick to) a budget, now that my roommate it no longer living here and therefore not paying me rent.  I did the adult thing and figured out what I have left over after paying bills and putting 10% of my pay in to savings.  (Is it weird that I got that savings thing from friends? In the one with the prom video, Mr. Gellar tells the Monica and Ross to put 10% of their pay into the bank, yea, Mr. Gellar was smart)

What I figured out is that I have just about $75 per week to spend on…well…life – gas, groceries, eating out, you know, all that stuff.  Well let me tell you what kidlets, $75 doesn’t get you too far.  At all.  Let me show you how my week went this week:
Sunday post church brunch with Angie and Brady at The Lowbrow(WILL go back) :$11.97
Groceries: $43.45
Gas: $61.08
Doing a little quick math you can see, I exceeded by $75/ week budget by $41.45.  Dang it!  So that takes me to this week only having $33.55 to spend on my groceries this week.  I *hope* I can get through this week with out getting gas.  I just have to get to Friday, and I’m in the clear, because Saturday I leave for Mexico!!

So that’s how I did this week with my finances.  I spent too much, but I only bought the necessities, aside from the brunch.  But a girl’s gotta have some girl time right?  Also, two wins that I had (while I wrap this up): Friday night after volleyball we go out to a restaurant/bar most weeks and I *try* to not order anything to save my pennies.  This Friday I succeeded!  I love hanging out, but I hate paying the bill.  Win.   My second win happened last night.  My friend had a birthday celebration and we all (her family and friends) went to play ice golf.  I clearly didn’t have the $20 to pay to play, but I did have some gift cards, that I wouldn’t use, so i traded my sister them for $25, and I magically had money to play ice golf!  After ice golfing all day we went out to eat.  I kind of had to go because I was riding along, but I didn’t eat, and instead snuck out after to run home and eat my own food and then headed back to the party.  There you have it, over budget for the week, but I spent much less, than I could have spent!
Do you have any penny pinching tips for me?  I need to work on my coupon clipping! Do you use coupons?

To break up the word-y-ness of the uber long post…Here are a few pictures from my first ice golf adventures!

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Last Saturday I started the 10 day Advocare Cleanse.  Which before you groan, and eye roll, it’s not one of those cleanses where you drink only water or something disgusting.  This is one where you eat whole, non processed, good for you foods.  No alcohol, no dairy, no bread-ish stuff, and you are supposed to drink about 100oz of water a day (which you should do anyway, or 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water per day).  You have a fiber drink and pro-biotic pills, and herbal cleanse pills you take through out the 10 days.  It’s part of the 24 day challenge, but I only did the 10 day cleanse part, well, because it was about a third of the price!  It wasn’t too hard this week to stick to my plan, until yesterday. The ice golf (read: not eating from about 9am until about 4pm) threw me off.  When we finished and I got a hamburger at the food stand, I was so hungry and excited to eat, I nearly choked on the damn thing!  by the time i got back to the party after going home and eating my own food, the rice crispy treats they made were calling my name….and I may have had a few and some ranch crackers.  Damn.  Today i feel like a puffer fish in my face after being good all day.  Man sodium really does a number on me.

Thanks to my 9th grade English teacher who told me on Monday after Easter Sunday, that I looked like I got punched in the eyes (because I was puffy from the Easter ham, ect. the prior day) I am hyper-sensitive about being puffy.

On to the exercise side of things:  I made it to the gym or was playing volleyball 4 days out of the last 7.  That’s pretty decent.  I have told my running buddies Jeff and Stacey my plan and they have been awesome in motivating me and being my gym buddies!  We are trying out new classes and we are all doing the 90 day challenge at the gym too! Which brings me to…dun dun duuuuun….the weigh in! Yesterday before the Ice golf I headed over to the gym to get weighed in for the 90 Day Challenge.  I got my weight and body fat measurements taken for the start and then I think once a month I’ll go back to get checked again, until the final weigh in!  Win of the day:  the machine said that my body fat was down 10-12%% from the time that I got tested about 5 months ago when I was taking the team fitness classes!

Viva Mexico!


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One of my very close friends from college got married recently and invited me to her wedding.  I was one a a few select few on the invite list who could actually go.  You see, this wasn’t just any old wedding/reception, this wedding was in Cancun! (woop!) 

I ended up having a sorority sister as my date for the 4 or so days I was down there.  We stayed at a really nice all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya.  There was a group of roughly 25 of us there, I think.  Between her family and his family and us college Sorority/fraternity people, I lost track. 

Any hooters, it was a good mix of people and lots of fun and Margarita’s during the rainy evenings and days.  I am sorry we didn’t have nicer weather. 

But don’t you worry, I made a beeline for the volleyball court every chance I could, but sometimes the Canadian boys wouldn’t be soo keen on me playing with them, until i proved myself that is…

The day we got there was rainy, but sort of warm.  The next day was warm and sunny perfect! until the early evening when the clouds came in and my friends’ wedding had to be moved off of the beach to a sheltered area!  The next day was cloudy, but dry (during the day), and our final full day was cold and windy and rainy.  It was wind of a bummer to pay all that money to go to this fancy place on a beach and not have great weather!

So that is the re-cap my very first Mexican vacation and here are a few pictures to be jealous of!

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Dolla Dolla Bills Ya’ll


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So its almost the end of the month…you know what that means! Bills bills bills!  Going all sorts of old school with the tunage today so bear with me


A long time ago,  I did my adult duties and figured out a budget that I should be sticking to for my spending. I don’t take into account my rental income as that is not steady (the roommate moves out this weekend and I try to put most of that into savings each month) or the money I make from my second job at the gym (the schedule is never consistent).  So I factor in all of the things that I know, all my recurring expenses, all of which are the same each month (woo! Neerdy accountant alert!) Water/electric, gas, mortgage, HOA dues, tv/internet, car payment, gym dues(free bc I work there!), phone bill and student loan payment. And the balance of my paychecks that I have left at the end of the month (after putting 10% of each check to savings) is $300.

**pat myself on the back moment: I carry no credit card debt!**

At first when I was starting to really be a responsible adult I thought, well maybe I can go on $100/week. That’s ok…then a few weeks when buy and it was hard, man!  So here’s the new plan, $300/month, aka: that’s $75 a week peeps! That’s really not a lot especially with insane gas prices and the hundreds(sometimes) of miles I drive each week!

Side story- I went to church with Angie a few weeks ago and there was a story about a couple who got out of debt by, among other things, setting a budget and going to a cash only system.  It got my wheels turning. I could do that. So this is what I am going to do.  I don’t necessarily have to get out of debt, but I need to stay out of debt.  And jus learn to live within my means.

So this Saturday, for the month of February I am going to take out my $300 put $75 in each of 4 envelopes and that what I get for the month. This is not for my bills, but for my spending money I.E. gas, groceries, eating out ect. I think it will be real tough. I know it will be really nice to not have a credit card bill for 4 weeks!

 I just love this song…and it reminds me of Jamaica! dolla dolla dolla!

I have downloaded the “simple spending tracker” app on my phone and go through spurts of tracking. But I will track everything come February 1st!
Some things I have coming up this month is my trip to CANCUN (already paid for)!! So that will be a week of no driving my car, but $50 in baggage fees at the airport. Boo. Why baggage fees?! Dumb.  Before I leave for Mexico I want to take my oldest nephew out to see the Lego movie (he loves Legos!) for his birthday since I’ll be missing his 6th party. Hopefully that shouldn’t be too big of a hit if we catch a matinée and I sneak in some snacks!


I am counting down the days until my car is paid off in 2016 and my student loan is paid off in 2017.  That is a lot of days!

Til then, do you have penny pinching tip and tricks for me?!

Manic Monday – Boiling point



It has just been one of those days.  One of those days that from the time I opened my eyes in the morning, has been distracted, drama filled, and just emotionally exhausting.  I won’t go into everything that has put me into such a crying my desk/emotionally exhausted/barely got two things done at work today/can’t concentrate on anything at all kind of a mood.  But here I am in a funk and really truly pissed off as just about everything including myself for being so worked up.

Today was a day where it seemed that everyone I encountered needed or wanted something from me.  Some of which is expected i.e. @ work.  But then comes my extra curricular activies, which I had hoped I put to rest with a few emails earl-ish in the morning.  But then it continued to consume me.  I got so angry.  Then that fed into other rage filled topics that I try to keep compartmentalized (to avoid this), but they all added to the pot that was my head today and boiled over, pretty much all day. 


So that was me today, drama in the morning before/right when I got to work (I am really a no drama person, I lead a very boring life, promise).  I thought my head was going to blow.  There were a few tears. Quit wanting things from me, people. ok!? ok.

My head jumped from the original focus of the morning (not work) to a family vacation we have planned, that I am VERY anxious about due to a volatile relationship I have with a family member (I have to spend a week in a house with this person).  Crap the last time I spent part of a week in a hotel with this person I had a total breakdown (it was epically horrific).  Crap how am I going to help pay for this vacation with the fam, I have no money, my second job cut ALL of my hours for the month of Feb, and my roommate is moving out in a week, so I owe her back a security deposit.  Crap I probably shouldn’t start trying to pay for personal training right now, since I have no dollars.  Crap I probably should not go up to Duluth for the Grandma’s half marathon in June so that I can save that money.  Oh crap, how am I going to get my self to run or work out if I don’t have a trainer OR at least something to train for?!  CRAP

It got me.  It all got me so worked up.  And why?  I don’t know.

How do you not let one thing feed into another, and another, and another until you are nothing more than a blob in the corner?

How do you compartmentalize?  I suck at it, today anyway.

Finding the words



It’s been nearly a month, 4 weeks, 30 days since I completed my second full marathon.  I’ve started to put the words together to share with you all, but they just aren’t coming.  I’m working at it, when I have the time.  It’ll be a big post…pictures and stories and such of my adventures in Chicago. 

Just thought I’d let ya’ll know, between two jobs, 3 volleyball leagues, and attempting to get back to a regular fitness and running routine, finding the words to convey the one million feelings I had during the Chicago marathon is not coming easily!

Orange is my color – Tough Mudder Minnesota


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Last year a bus full of my fellow gym members loaded up a coach bus to head just over the boarder into Wisconsin to join a bajillion crazy people for the Tough Mudder!

I thought that they were all crazy and total maniacs!  I at the time I didn’t see myself doing something like that, EVER.  After some running buddy peer pressure I signed up!

Last Saturday was the day!! Somerset Wisconsin 10-ish miles and 18 obstacles later I earned my orange headband!

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Let’s talk obstacles shall we?  There were 18 total, if I remember correctly.  We had an obstacle even before we crossed the start line!  We all had to get over a 6 foot wall to get into the coral and get pumped up!


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I was SO Hungry! I was a member of the clean plate club for sure! Even had some DELICIOUS cake.  It’s cool, I earned it!IMG_20130720_222048_584

My friends at the wedding knew that I was doing the tough mudder in the morning and I brougt my headband with to show off during the dance!  I got some strange looks but my friends knew and were proud! 🙂IMG_20130720_222114_967

A day later my legs looked better than the felt after I got home yesterday! + my delayed ( because I don’t drink and drive, and there was free wine at the wedding DUH!) celebratory drink post-mudder.

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Last night my friend Dawn ask me if I thought I’d want to do the tough mudder next year, I responded with “ask me tomorrow”.  It was fun, it was hard, and it was exciting to complete!  I just wasn’t sure. 


(Edited Note: Don’t ask me why this was sitting in my drafts for 2 months.  The tough mudder MN was the weeeknd of July 22, and I am just posting now!? Don’t ask why!!)

@Hansonmusic is still around!! (And really good!)


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My friends Anna and Angie are big fans of Hason, yes the boys who brought you Mmmbop.  Well I was a fan back 15 years ago, but never really knew they were still making music UNTIL the Minnesota State Fair this year.  The boys played two night at the Leinie’s State (free!!) so we all check out the show and it was so good! I had no idea they were still around, or so good!  We stayed after to see if we could spot the boys and we MET Zac!  We were total fan girls, and I am ok with it!  #bestnight!

Oh yea, I have my two favorite songs, which you must check out!

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