Balcony garden {}

I so want a garden this year and the spring weather this weekend that is gone by today got me all inspired. A quick pinterest search and I’m FULL of ideas. People have some quite unique things! Here are a few:

Gorgeous, yes??? How’s that for some Monday motivation full of sunshine and bright colors?

I think this year we’ll start a bit simpler than some of these, since neither of us are experienced gardeners. In fact, I think I’ve killed most things I’ve attempted to grow. BUT. I really really really love fresh green stuff, I want at least an herb garden, and some bright fun flowers would be awesome. Our balcony get’s a lot of direct sun so I’ve got some researching to do.

Any gardening tips?
Have you grown a balcony garden?
What’s you favorite thing to grow – or favorite fresh-from-the-garden food?

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I have been obsessed lately with fashion blogs and fashion on Pinterest and… the lack of fashion on my wardrobe. Ugh. Normally I don’t care all that much and with limited spare funds for shopping exploits, it’s easier to make do. Plus, my non-fashionista self has an irritatingly hard time selecting and pairing pieces.

But! Jon and I have planned a joint shopping splurge in the near future – hopefully SOONER than later *wink* – and I can’t tell you how excited I am to not only get rid of and replace much of my closet (honestly, I still have things from college; maybe before college) but also update Jon’s wardrobe. Giddy!

Alas, the time has not yet come, but I’m trying really hard to plan. Too often I impulse buy just because something is on sale and not necessarily because I love it or because it will last. And I’m pretty awful at shopping with the rest of my wardrobe in mind. The worst thing ever is getting home excited about a new piece and having nothing to wear it with. So I’m trying to be proactive while I bide my time (let’s be honest, I don’t actually want to plan and think this much) until shopping extravaganza can begin.

Ok, also, despite my big words, we don’t actually plan to spend a gazillion pennies. But it has been years since either of us were able to put a whole lot of effort or dollars into quality clothes and I, for one, think its past due. Jon is along for the ride. 🙂

Anyway, I’m switching up my fitness or life motivation to fashion inspiration this week. And HALP! I need advice, tips, ideas, style tips, anything. I’m creative enough that I want to say I’m pretty good at fashion stuff… but that’s just not the case. Here’s what I like: skinny bottoms; loose tops; short skirts; lots of color; not afraid of patterns but I have zero concept how to mix them; absolutely ok with sparkle; some structure but not too much; a “whimsy” feel; nothing fussy and definitely comfort reigns over all else.

Single #1 fashion tip; ready, go!

Also, what is your favorite store to shop at?
Do you have a “style” you’re drawn to?
Favorite fashion blogger or Pinterest board?

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A dark side of health bloggers {}
A dark side of health bloggers {}

My bubble of “healthy-living bloggers are such a supportive and positive community” was just popped.

As happens so often on the internet, I was caught in a rabbit trail that led to me to Get Off My Internets, a forum site dedicated to venting and skewering bloggers. I then spent more time than I want to admit reading through forum pages of some big healthy living and running blogs.

I am ashamed.

I only scanned the forums for blogs I know. Many of them are long gone from my personal reader for various reasons. I even agreed with a lot of what I read. Or at least ended up agreeing. The power of suggestion went something like this: Oh yeah, I guess that is annoying. It always bothered me when {blank} wrote {blank}. Now I know why. Even worse: I understand how {blank} could be irritating, but I never noticed. Except now I will. Every time.

It seems I have avoided a dark corner of the internet until now. I understand discussion and disagreement on the internet as a form of social learning and development. Previously private conversations now play out on a grand scale online. Hello comment sections! Many times I learn more scanning through comments than I do from an article itself, despite some horrible things people say behind online anonymity.

Some of the forums hit on important questions, like “do healthy-living blogs encourage disordered eating and workout obsessions”? Um, yes. I would love to have that conversation!

Do fitness blogs encourage workout obsessions? {} Do health blogs encourage disordered eating? {}

Other comments raised concerns about whether specific bloggers are actually healthy. This isn’t really anyone’s business besides them and their doctor… but I’m willing to give a pass here with reservations. When you read a blog for a long time, you pick up trends. When a blogger starts to take a seemingly negative turn, regular readers notice. Is this worth discussion in a public forum? I’m not convinced, but it does raise some concern that a blogger with a lot of social influence could hurt readers in the process.

What made me hang my head in shame was the general bitching:

• “I hate how she writes with. so. many. periods.”
• “All she does is whine and complain, I can’t stand it.”
• “I’m so tired of reading how she’s the perfect Christian SAHM who gets to run every day.”

And the kickers that get a rise out of me so fast:

• “I never thought she had a great body anyway.”
• “She thinks she’s way better looking than she is.”
• “Why does she always wear pants like that? They make her legs look awful!”



There are no words. I’ve been staring that this screen for several minutes and still don’t have anything short of a full-out scream fest in response.

The worst part is these forums are often started and maintained by other health bloggers. People who [should] sure as hell know better. Who [should] understand how much those words really matter. It is pretty evident in the forums that many of the bloggers themselves keep tabs. So not only are we bashing and shaming these people, we’re doing it knowing they are likely to read it. And we’re announcing that its OK to belittle someone with such a lack of basic respect.

The solution is stunningly simple: you don’t like a blog anymore, don’t read it. The opinions you can keep to yourself – or at least behind the privacy of email with friends, not a public forum. Good gracious. If you can’t say something nice…?

My happy online corner of beautiful people accomplishing extraordinary things full of encouragement and support just had a dark shadow creep in. Pardon me while I go watch these adorable goats playing. And some JLaw funny moments. Maybe some Benedict Cumberbatch clips. I need to find a happy place again.

Your turn:
Are these forums valuable?
What serious conversations should fitness/health/lifestyle bloggers be having?
Am I simply overreacting?

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Washington DC {}

I can finally talk about it. We are officially leaving Missouri and heading east!

We each came to Missouri, Jon from Ohio and me from New York, for college. Then work. Then graduate school. And another job. During that time, I’ve been a couple of plane flights away from my family and Jon has a 12–hour drive to his family. It’s not easy getting back for holidays or important events, much less just a weekend visit.

And so, 10 years later, we’re moving closer.

We’ll cut the trip to his parents in half and we’ll be an easy bus or train to my brother and sister-in-law in NYC, plus a ton closer to more of my family in Upstate NY.

Still, the D.C. area isn’t the most convenient if the only reason we’re moving is for family. Except that I love D.C. I loved it when I went to a conference in college. The city simply spoke to me, you know? Then I did my master’s thesis back there; I wanted to see if I enjoyed living there as much as visiting. The answer was a big yes. Plus, my goal all along has been to work in the non–profit sector; D.C. is kind of a good place for that.

But we weren’t ready to move yet. Jon was still working on his master’s and I got a job at Mizzou that I’ve enjoyed the past two years. We still have great friends that are basically family just a couple of hours away. And until last year, I still had two brothers and s-i-l here. Missouri is where we grew into adulthood and it is home.

When a posting for a communication coordinator at the small D.C. non–profit came to my attention, I sat on it a few days before deciding to apply. I scoured their website. I noticed they were also hiring a development director… but didn’t see any staff currently listed on those two positions. During the initial phone interview, I confirmed that both were new positions. I could be in a place with a new commitment to outreach and fundraising and communication, and be a key staff member in building those strategies from the ground up. It was intriguing.

Then followed a group Skype interview and a whirlwind trip to D.C. After every conversation and lots of emails, I kept telling Jon that this just felt right. And obviously, I was offered and have accepted the position. It’s an exciting new step in my career and just happens to be in my favorite city. Well, like a block across the line in Maryland and we’ve confirmed an apartment close by.

I’m sad to leave our friends; I’m sad to leave our neighborhood where we love living; I’m sad to leave the low cost-of-living; I’m sad to leave the “Mizzou family” (working at a major university is quite fun). On a somewhat selfish note, I’m sad to leave a corporate setting with top equipment and computers. The non–profit sector is a bit different. 🙂

Iconic Mizzou: the columns and Jesse Hall.

The timing for this move isn’t the greatest – but for the right position, we’ve made the timing work. So! The next month (well, nearly 2 months) will be crazy. We move the second week of December, I start my new job, and then it’s Christmas! Beginning January we can start settling into a new city and new routines. I  know there are lots of runners in the D.C. area; I’ll need new routes!


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