Think Pink.

This past weekend I participated in one of Columbus’ largest annual events…The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I walked…I just like to make sure everyone knows that I don’t run…

One of my goals for “The Year of Being Alive” was to get involved with an organization where I could do event planning and fundraising for a cause I care about. So, I recently joined the Komen Young Professionals and so far it’s been great!

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Team KYP 2013

During the race I had a moment…you know one of those spontaneous tears moments? (Am I the only one who gets these??) There is a point on the route where hundreds of motorcyclists line up and cheer on the racers, revving their engines and beeping their horns. (Yes, I recognize this is a strange place to get emotional.) But there was this moment of pure, human interaction. People giving up their own time to cheer on others who were giving up their own time to celebrate victims and survivors . A community coming together to not only raise awareness and money, but to encourage each other to keep fighting. And in that moment, I wasn’t thinking about the 5K I was walking, or that it was about to thunderstorm or the myriad of scary possibilities our society has recently encountered when large, public groups gather. I was just happy to be there seeing the smiles on faces. 

I think the tears came from a place that is still taken by surprise by humanity. In a world full of so much selfishness, negativity and uncertainty, it’s a joy to catch those glimpses of celebration.

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And the celebration continues! Join KYP for Style for the Cure in June! Put on your little black dress and come out for a fashion show, cocktails and celebrating some strong ladies!

Saturday Fun: Winter Hike.

One of my goals with being Alive in 2013 is to do more new things. Eat at new restaurants, see more sites…basically do a lot more of the stuff I always talk about wanting to do (less talking and more action.) And Saturday was one of those!

I don’t know where you were on Saturday…but in Columbus, Ohio it was 60 degrees in January…so most of us were outside.

My dear friend Michelle and I had already planned to go out for our first Winter Hike, sponsored by the Columbus Metro Parks. We majorly lucked out that the weather was so fantastic. If you aren’t familiar with this program, the Metro Parks sponsor guided walks each weekend over the winter. Each week is in a different park around central Ohio. It’s a great way to get out, enjoy the weather, soak in some vitamin D which we DESPERATELY need in the winter and enjoy some time with your friends and family. This week was at Sharon Woods, which is ironically right down the street from where Michelle and I met, our days at Otterbein.

When we first arrived, we were in utter shock. EVERYONE was going to the hike. There were cars as far as you could see in all directions. Even regular participants said they had never seen it this busy. Obviously, spring-like weather in January is a hit! It was great to see so many people out and about.

Seriously…by the bus loads!

Once we arrived, all we had to do was follow the arrows!

Excited for our first hike and some fresh air!

I’ll admit, I was a little bummed that the snow had melted and the park was just sort of boring and wet, but we still got a few glimpses of nature and her beauty.

The great thing about these hikes is that there are volunteer guides everywhere. So if you have questions, or wanted to take a guided hike, you can. You also have the option of what trail you take. Michelle and I chose the 2 mile track, but some of the parks offer up to 7 miles. It really gives you the opportunity to have a great time no matter who you are…and there were definitely some experienced hikers in the mix (not us).

At the end of the walk, there is a fantastic treat! Volunteers serve soup, snacks and hot chocolate. We even had chocolate milk from Snowville Creamery (so yum!)

Chicken chili, cornbread and chocolate milk!

All in all we had a really great morning out…that was until we had 0 clue how to find our car. After wandering aimlessly and finally asking for directions, we discovered that there was, of course, as sign (there were helpful signs everywhere!)

At least we didn’t get lost on the trail, right?

If you’re looking for good way to spend your Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon (they have walks on both), be sure to check this out! We’ll be out next Saturday!

How did you spend your weekend? Any good winter activities you can share?

Finding Life Balance.

Ha.

That title makes me laugh out loud at myself. Ask anyone who knows me and they would tell you that I’ve been missing a lot of balance the past couple of years. Between a sometimes 24/7 job, going to graduate school part-time, taking care of myself, my cat, apartment AND trying to actually spend time with important people in my life, it seems like something is always getting shorted. But, I have made a commitment to make myself more of a priority this year. And since I know I’m not the only independent-stubborn-do-everything-take-care-of-everyone-wanna-be-wonder-woman out there, I thought I’d share a little bit of how I’m trying to accomplish this.

1) A cleaning schedule. Yes, I feel a little bit like I’m back in college; we used to have chore charts on our refrigerator. But keeping my home clean and organized is something I’ve let fall by the wayside. And I for one feel so much better and function so much more efficiently if I come home to a clean place. So I’ve started a cleaning schedule. I have one small task assigned to each day; for example, Monday’s is to clean the bathroom. Breaking up projects makes them feel less daunting…I’m more likely to clean when I think to myself “all you have to do is run the sweeper, no big deal!” So far, so good!

2) Eat. I’m really bad about this. Really bad. Most people eat out of stress or emotion…I actually avoid it during those times. And when time is short, it’s easier for me to just keep going and survive off of coffee and sugar (healthy, right?!) So I’m making myself meal plan each weekend for the week to come. I try to cook at least one dish each week that I can have for leftovers the following days. And I have plenty of portable options (fruit, protein bars, nuts, yogurt, veggies, crackers/pretzels.) I know that not eating properly affects my ability to be my best and I need to make the time for it.

3) Health time. I’ve been making it a priority to make sure my whole self is healthy, such as going to the chiropractor to work on some problems I’ve had for a while. I usually breeze past any ailments I might have because I’m wrapped up with doing too many other things and I don’t want to worry about the details. I’ve also been sure to take time, at least a few times a week, to do some kind of work out that I enjoy. Recently it’s been yoga or spinning. Even though I could probably be spending that time on homework or running errands, I’m trying to remember that an hour of “me” time is necessary. 

4) Time off. This may seem shocking…but the world can function without me (gasp!) Accepting that is sometimes hard, I like to take care of everyone, all the time. But again, staying refreshed is necessary to be productive. I’ve already got time off scheduled for mid semester and I’m thinking about trips for summer. Really my favorite vacations are spent at home, catching up on projects I’ve wanted to work on and visiting a lot of friends. The important thing is to rest.

5) Boundaries. This is somewhat of a culmination of the other points. I’m teaching myself that it’s ok to not be on all the time. I’ve started shutting my work email off my phone during the weekends. I try to spend my evening hours doing things I enjoy and not only things I feel required to do. And I allow down times; because sometimes the best way to end a busy day is curled up on the couch cuddling with my kitty. 🙂 

What about your life balance, do you have any secrets to share?