One perk of the new job is free gym access. I didn’t know about this particular perk when I accepted the position – though it alone is a big selling point for me.

I need you to realize how novel this is for me. I’m frugal and all about convenience. I’ve never paid for, and honestly can’t imagine paying for, a gym membership. I run outside, have weights at home and enjoy a good living HIIT session. I took full advantage of the state-of-the-art Rec Center in graduate school, but have trouble justifying a regular gym membership. I roll my eyes at expensive boutique gyms and shake my head when people don’t use those memberships all. the. time. (Looking at you, Sarah).

gym rat, fitness, health, workout | Piloting Paper Airplanes

But I have to say, I begin to get it.

It’s dark in the mornings already and I don’t especially like dark runs. The gym is located in a sister building two blocks from my office. The moderate space is well finished and bright, the equipment spot on. The manager/personal trainer is fantastic. Equally important, the dressing rooms and showers are quite nice.

I say equally important like a snob because I go before work. I cart along my work clothes, shoes, shower stuff, makeup, accessories, the whole shebang. Lately I’ve showered at home maaaaybe 20% of the time. Having a spacious, functional, and I’ll say it – pretty – space to get ready has made a bigger difference than I expected.

gym rat, fitness, health, workout | Piloting Paper Airplanes

And so my weekly routine has evolved. I’m about to get really Type A here, so hang with me.

• Sundays I prep lunch stuff and plan work clothes for the week. Oh yes, I dry-erase 5 days of outfits on my mirror.

• Each evening I pack my bag. This means work clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. A box of hair and makeup things has a permanent place in my bag. I also set out workout clothes and have my lunch packed in the fridge. When all I want is to climb into to bed, that weekend planning pays off here.

• My alarm goes off before 6 am and I get one snooze. Then I’m up, throwing on gym clothes, eating breakfast, adding lunch to my bag and checking that the bus is on schedule.

• I’m out of the house by 6:30 and on the bus ~6:40. Dupont Circle awaits.

• I’m usually on the gym floor by 7:20. Most days I get a solid 45 minutes of activity, clean my equipment, and head to the shower about 8:15. Then I’m getting ready, packing up, leaving the gym at 8:55 and walking into my office at 9:00.

gym rat, fitness, health, workout | Piloting Paper Airplanes

I have a solid schedule of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday at the gym and Thursday I work an early shift at my yoga studio. There are a handful of us that frequent the morning hours; good morning’s and smiles acknowledge that we all see each other most days. With one exception of my team’s overtime Monday Night Football game that kept me up far too late, I’ve stuck with this morning gym time.

gym rat, fitness, health, workout | Piloting Paper Airplanes

You guys, I feel good. That’s the important piece of all this. My body is in a rhythm that works for me. I’m alert and focused at work in the morning. Weekends have been full of outdoor activities like hiking, apply picking and trail running. With consistent weekday workouts, I leave my weekend activity unplanned and go with what I want to do. It’s fresh and spontaneous.

gym rat, fitness, health, workout | Piloting Paper Airplanes

And honestly? I don’t really miss my living room workouts. There may be some snowy mornings that I stay in and come spring I’ll switch some days back to neighborhood runs. The rest of the time, this is the best gym membership I never paid for.

Thanks for reading!

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Do you like gym memberships?
Or are you a home-gym rat?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

This has unexpectedly been a summer of change you guys.

In June it became clear I needed to leave my budget-strapped nonprofit and I began a serious job search. To say the environment was toxic is an understatement and the last few months only became worse. And let me tell you! Job hunting takes so much time it’s a job in itself – while still working full-time, the relaxed and adventurous summer we had planned went up in flames.

Through the process and despite problems in the office, I realized how spoiled I’ve been. I worked a 20-minute walk from my house, my yoga studio is in the same building and my favorite local coffee shop is right there.

I’ll have to commute now? Join the rush-hour crush on public transit? My commute time quadruples?? I’ve managed to retain small-city work habits in DC. Remarkable, really.

The good news is I’m now a week into a new job! My commute isn’t the worst – I’m able to catch a limited-stop bus and avoid the metro trains all together. It’s a nice salary increase. The staff are spunky and friendly.

I’ll give a little more detail when I get my new office arranged and decorated and can also post photos.

In other summer news!

We went on vacation! Finally. And it coincided with our 3-year anniversary! We camped for 5 days in a Maryland State Park, turned off phones, didn’t check times, went exploring and generally just breathed. In perfect timing, I accepted my new position the night before we left, so we really were able to fully relax.

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com
Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

I ran a 10-mile trail race with some good friends:

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

I’ve been much more consistent with runs and workouts:

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

We’ve spent time around the city and had family visit:

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Cassie and I took advantage our last weeks working together (she started a new job too!):

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

I’ve enjoyed my home. A peaceful home space is so important when outside the doors is crazy:

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Life in pieces makes a whole | PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

Now I can settle into a new space and new routine. I can work with freelance clients again. And because I work in the city now, I can be cool and have lunch dates with fellow downtown employee friends.

Thanks for sticking with me!

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Since I’ve been mostly absent, how have your summers been??
How do you handle transition periods?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date
The chaos of creativity {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}
The chaos of creativity {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

Why is it that inspiration always – and I do mean always – comes as I’m getting ready in the morning or on my walk to work? Moments when I can’t jot some notes in a post draft. “I’ll do it when I get to work,” I always say. “All I need is 3 minutes to type a few notes so I can write about this later.”

Hm, right. I get to work, make my tea, chat with co-workers, open email, check some articles and any creativity I had is gone. One a good day I can remember a shred of what I wanted to write. Most days it’s lost. The result is that I don’t post regularly.

Because here’s the thing. I’ve  never been one to push out blog posts everyday just to publish something new. I write when I’m inspired and motivated. I write when I have something to say. When I’m building my mileage again and have thoughts on running; or chatting with a friend about yoga and want to share how I practice at home; or when I’m writing a marketing article for work and it seems a good fit to adapt for the blog; or when I’ve made a new piece of clothing and do a style post.

I never blog for the sake of blogging. I blog for the sake of creating.

For me, in this space, that’s personal. PPA has a .518713% chance of ever generating revenue because that’s not how I’ve built this blog. My post “schedule” is random, the content is varied and social media marketing for PPA is sporadic at best.

Maybe I’m rebelling because digital marketing is my day job and I want a break here. Maybe it’s because my ideas and interests change on a whim so I don’t like being tied to one blog theme. I realize this doesn’t add up to blogging best practices and I’m more and more comfortable with that. In the past I’ve struggled with this creative chaos; now I’m embracing the ebbs and flows of inspiration.

One week I want to write about everything, another I sew 2 new tops, and another I take apart old jewelry make something new. I’m embracing the fact that sometimes these projects go unfinished as my inspiration moves on. It doesn’t have to be about the final product, but simply about the joy I have in the process. (Even if that means unpublished posts and storing a collection of art supplies).

I want to create. I want to share and learn and teach and vent and process. I want to grow through what I write in this white box. It will never generate high page views but it will inspire me. On a good day, maybe it inspires you, too.

Thanks for reading, friends.

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How are you most creative?
Do you thrive in creative chaos
or with organized lists?

30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

FINALLY getting these posted! It’s not a complete “story” as I don’t have any photos of the cookout party. I was too busy chatting and doing real life to have my phone out I guess.

It was a fabulous 30th weekend! Brother and SIL from New York came down, brother from Alabama came up last minute and close friends moving out to Cali joined us on Saturday. We went to an art museum, cooked out with a bunch of friends to celebrate the last day in my twenties, cheers-ed 30 at midnight, made waffles for brunch and took Monday off for an adventure to the botanical gardens. It was relaxed and fun and just what I hoped for.

30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} 30 birthday photo story {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

Now it’s July, my birthday month is over and I’m 30 you guys.

Thanks for reading!

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Tell me about your summer so far!
Fun trips? People visiting? Favorite summer activity?

Apartment dwellers workout {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com | TheNotePasser.com} creative workouts

Since I missed National Donut Day yesterday (gasp! I know, it was hard) let’s meet for brunch at a favorite little bakery for coffee, bagels and donuts. I want it all, right now. Fair warning, I haven’t eaten yet, so you may want to let me take a few bites before we can really visit.

Apartment dwellers workout {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com | TheNotePasser.com} creative workouts• Apartment Dwellers Workout. My friend and all around sustainability nerd Elizabeth featured the first installment of this series on her website The Note Passer. She’s one of the coolest people I know. From her site: “my aim is to be a comprehensive resource for ethical alternatives that benefit both people and the environment. The Note Passer is inspiration for better, sustainable future; one that’s full of more meaning and less waste.”

The workout is all about limited equipment, limited space and a general inability to jump over your neighbors’ heads. It’s a tough life, staying fit in an apartment. So here’s a low impact, bodyweight cardio workout. Cheers, apartment dwellers.

• DeskCycle verses standing desk? I’m all about the standing desk. Unfortunately I don’t have one now, but I make-shifted (a word?) one at my previous job. Lately the stationary sedentary work life has really bothered me and I’m brainstorming ways to raise my workspace again.

But wait! How about trying something new??

I’vApartment dwellers workout {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com | DeskCycle.com} creative workoutse had this for two days, pedaled for 6 hours total and burned over 1000 extra calories. It looks silly, I know. It’s worth it. The best part? I haven’t been cold in my arctic office.

Back to the standing verses pedaling question. From the DeskCycle website: Sitting on an exercise ball while working, raises your energy expenditure by 6% over sitting at your chair. Standing at your desk raises your energy expenditure by 30%. Pedaling the DeskCycle at only 1 revolution per second, at resistance level 3, raises your energy expenditure by 100%.

More detailed thoughts later after I use it more.

• I’m a little crazy. But really. This is the busiest period of my work year and I’m turning 30 in not very many days and the summer had an identity crisis of 60ºs with rain for 5 days straight and I’m suddenly training for a 10 miles trail race in not very many weeks. Hello summer.

OK I’m done rambling. Your turn.

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What’s new for you?
Do you like standing desks?
What are your creative workouts?

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The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date