Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March in Pictures

This lamp reminds me of a dementor or a character from from Lord of the Rings. 

I call this one, "Still Life: A Sick Day"

Get your coffee from grease monkeys while you get your oil changed.

I just love the light on the mountains in this picture.

 Sometimes these two go on romantic dates to watch the sunset together.

Fish head.

 Lime head...? Denver has a lot of litter, but if more litter looked like this I'd be okay with that.

People bring their (non-service) dogs everywhere in Colorado. Even the grocery store. Sorry but leave your pet at home if you're going grocery shopping. I promise they'll be ok for the 45 minutes you're gone.

My cousin came to see me on his way out to Moab! Haven't seen him in years. So good to catch up.


I live near light rail tracks and every time I try to cross the arms start coming down around me. You've never seen me run so quick.

Most interesting lawn decorations I've seen, ever.

Flowers? For me???

Repeating patterns in the wood.

For real life "in pictures" you can always follow me on Instagram, @leshemc

Training for Tuesday...

My blog categories can be found on the right hand side of the screen. The bigger the text, the more subject matter in that category. Well if you squint really hard, you'll see the word fitness.
No really, check again. I swear it's there!

Exercise has been a struggle for me the past few years after tearing my ACL sidelined me in 2010. Good grief, its 2015 and  I'm still blaming that for the reason I'm not in shape as I'd like to be? How shameful.

Circa 2011. Frowning cause I couldn't run the warrior dash with my bum knee.
Well I've finally started taking steps to change all that. I haven't mentioned it here for fear of jinxing myself, but I'm in week 6 of 9 of the Insanity workout program. I bought the series three years ago and never successfully completed it. I had a lot of residual knee pain from my surgery, and Insanity is not easy on joints, so I quit the program two weeks in because it hurt too much.

Lately, thankfully,  my knee has been feeling stronger than ever, and while it still doesn't feel the same as my "unbroken" knee, it feels strong. I can deal with the weird numbness when I kneel and have accepted that it might always feel twingy when I jump. The good news is I can make lateral movements without falling over, so I'd still call the surgery a success.

With this new found strength I've been able to stick to the program. I've lost a few pounds, certainly nothing a good cookies-and-cheese bender wouldn't fix, but it shows progress. I'm only doing the exercises not following the diet plan cause I figure baby steps are the best way I can ease into this without scaring myself back into my old non-exercising ways.

Though I'm not doing the diet, I am trying to eat more vegetables and drinking TONS more water... although the water is out of necessity because I keep waking up feeling hung-over without the fun of actually drinking the night before. The dry Denver air really does suck the moisture out of you, and it's only getting worse as the weather warms.

With four full weeks to go and a lot of squats to suffer through, I am already thinking about what I can do after the program ends. As happy as I am to be regularly exercising again, recycling back through the Insanity program is not an option for me. I'm too bored. I know what Shaun T is gonna say before he says it. Plus, the weather is too nice to be cooped up inside. I need to find something that is preferably gentle on my knee, but also intense enough to maintain the momentum I've built through Insanity.

Options I'm considering: digging out my old brace and doing some very light running (think no more than 3-4 miles), mountain biking, hiking more and more difficult trails, open water swimming if I could just find somewhere in this desert to go...

PS Is anyone else doing Insanity? Don't you think that Tanya girl is a cheater? She doesn't squat all the way down, ever!

Linking up with Alyssagoesbang for this Training for Tuesday Post.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Preventative Care: Shopping rules to avoid an overstuffed closet

Have you heard of  capsule wardrobes? It could possibly be the biggest trend re: clothes I've seen since Stitch Fix.  In summary its a "mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces you love to wear." We're talking 33-37 pieces and that's it. Intimidating? You bet. Ideally I'd love to get myself to this point, however, I don't think even this avowed-minimalist-attempter is on that level just yet.

Want to see some ladies who've made the leap? Check out Ashely, Sarah, or Anushka.

Nevertheless, I spent another Sunday cleaning out my closet with the help of the guidelines I found at Anushka's blog, Into-Mind. (I really love this blog. It offers the most practical and well explained advice on all things related to getting dressed: cleaning out your wardrobe, creating a uniform, defining your personal style, etc)

In direct contrast to my efforts, I also bough some clothes this weekend. Hey, I'm only human. I could have come home with a LOT more than I did, but I'm trying to attack this wardrobe problem on both ends. What do I mean? The easiest way to declutter is to never buy the surplus clothes in the first place, so I decided it write out my own rules for shopping, or guidelines for practicing preventative care for my closet.  The list below helped me bring home just a few basics I'd been wanting versus pretty, but ultimately, un-wearable clothes. I've been more-or-less following these rules, but by writing them down, I'm making myself publicly accountable and therefore more likely to adhere.

1. It must fit. Or if you REALLY like it, it must able to be tailored with minimal adjustments. Within my "fit rule" I have sub-rules. Your sub rules are (most likely) going to be different from mine because everyone should have rules that work for their body and taste.
  • Not too tight around my shoulders. This is a common problem for me because I'm broad backed from years spent swimming. Sure, I'm awesome at sharks and minnows but incapable of wearing button down shirts without feeling like the incredible hulk. In the past I've bought the too-tight top anyway because I thought I could deal with the minor inconvenience of not being able to lift my arms. Not so. If the shirt restricts my range of motion, I will pass over it every time I get dressed.
  • No empire waists.  Supposedly universally flattering but I think I look 3 months pregnant in this style. I prefer clothes rest at my natural waistline.
  • No low rise pants.  I hate the impending feeling that I'm one good squat away from mooning the world, and frankly I don't think low-rise are very flattering on me because I have short-lady-legs.
  • Defining minimal adjustment: adjusting pant length, letting out a seam, no more than $15 in tailoring work.

2. Be aware that there are clothes  you'll find beautiful, but still aren't your style.

What do I mean by this? Example:  I really love walking through Anthropologie. I think they have some of the most unique and well made pieces in the mall. But they are also usually pattern-heavy and frilly (ruffles, raw hems, lacy, etc.) While I find these things beautiful on other people, I don't like the way they look on me. I prefer clean lines and simple patterns or none at all.

3. Think about it. 

Whatever you think you want to buy, put it on hold. Wait a day. If you think about it, go back. If you think about it but you aren't excited, let it go. If you forget it entirely, well you have your answer! If you can't put it on hold for a day (lets say you drove far to get to a certain mall or you're on vacation) put it on hold and keep on shopping. See if you think about it before you leave the area for the day... same rules.

4. Avoid fast fashion/establish a shopping hierarchy.

I'm looking at you, Target, H&M, Forever21. There's just too much temptation with low prices and trendy pieces. I'm not saying swear them off forever, but don't go there first. I'm lucky enough to live close to a great re-sale store called Buffalo Exchange. It's similar to Plato's Closet but higher quality pieces and less frenetic store atmosphere. (There's a place in Cleveland called Avalon Exchange which is similar, and I recommend.) If I'm feeling antsy to shop, I go to Buffalo Exchange, and if I have the energy I'll also check out Goodwill. Admittedly both stores can be hit and miss, but I find that to be true with traditional stores too.  If I can't find what I'm looking for at Buffalo or Goodwill, then I'll try Marshall's/TJMaxx/Nordstrom Rack and then the mall. 

So the hierarchy I've established for myself is: My own closet (come on, surely you must have SOMETHING you can wear?), resale, discount departments store, higher quality "mall stores" like The Limited, and then if I'm still unsatisfied, I unleash myself on fast fashion.


Again, I'm only human, I break these rules from time to time. I get suckered in by the discount tags and make impulse buys when I'm feeling emotional... but most of the time if I adhere to my own guidelines, I make smart, wearable decisions.