True Crime

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Unless you are my husband or I birthed you, you likely do not know that I love True Crime.  I secretly love a good 20/20 mystery or Dateline’s In Depth Investigations.  I have listened to every single episode of Crime Junkie which amounts to 262 episodes.  I have discovered there are also podcasts that allow you to binge whole seasons around just one crime.  This allows you to get all the details surrounding the investigation.  Unsolved crimes, coverup and lies are my absolute favorite and always leave me wanting more from these investigators.

I recently stumbled upon a podcast called, Serial.  Specifically, I have been hooked on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee.  Her ex-boyfriend Adnan Seyed was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He has always claimed his innocence and there are many people that believe there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict him and that the evidence that was presented wasn’t even accurate.  There are interviews, books, podcasts and even a limited series TV show that documents the investigation and follows the attorney trying to get him a new trial.  It is fascinating.  

Perhaps I missed my calling somewhere along the way, but I do enjoy being an armchair detective. Send me your favorites.

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Loving the Comfort of Routine

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind with birthdays (oh my gosh, the birthdays), a race, a prom, Mother’s Day, and race recovery. I spent some time pondering what I am loving right now and this is the nerdiest of answers: routine. I am loving getting back to some regularity in my life. My life, especially when training for a race, becomes fairly scheduled. The more miles I want to cover, the more sleep, food, and time are required. So when the post-race week arrives I am more than ready. I gladly blow off any routine or schedule other than what is 100% demanded of me. I stay up a little later and sleep in more than normal. As I told a friend, I was going to eat all the food, drink all the drinks, and nap all the naps. I really did my best to meet that goal and aside from missing out on a few naps, I think I excelled. 

But then there comes a point in the week where you start to feel more rested and your energy slowly begins to return. Then your mind gradually but assuredly begins to form thoughts about what’s next. What do I need to work on to improve? What is the next race? What does this next training block entail? But also what’s next in life. After a 24-hour excursion like the Outrun 24, there is also a distinct period of clarity. It clears a bit of the static for a span of days and you are again reminded of where you want to spend your time, finite energy, and attention. 

This is why I am loving routine because it provides the framework to lean toward a new goal. I am a big believer in savoring the accomplishment, and I have. Routine offers me grounding and anchoring. It gives me room to grow and also reminders to take care of myself. In fact, I have been reading a book lately called Essentialism and there is a whole section on “Protecting the Asset.” In case you aren’t clear, we are the asset. We are what matters and routine is the vehicle that best lets me protect the asset. I am back (mostly) to my normal life, easily returning to training, and also tending to the boring things that pay off like sleep, stretching, eating the greens, and drinking water.

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I love Grammarly

Grammarly is brought to you today by the letter G!

I am not sure if we have established as common knowledge that I am a bit of a nerd. I like to read and learn and I am a sucker for school supplies. When those crisp folders and flashy post-it notes line the aisles of Target around early August my heart rate creeps up and my palms start to sweat. I try to come up with all sorts of reasons that I need a brand new folder, spiral-bound notebook, or a glue stick.

This is the kind of affirmation and positivity I appreciate in life!!

All of that information will allow what I am about to tell you next to make sense. I love the app called Grammarly but more specifically I love the progress email it sends me each week. Grammarly is what you may have surmised, an app that helps you improve your grammar, punctuation, and all things writing. In fact, I hope I get some bonus points in my email next week for writing about Grammarly while using Grammarly. 

This email tells me how many weeks I have been using it, and tracks my productivity, my mastery of the English language, and my vocabulary. Friends, I possibly have been waiting my entire life for someone or something to appreciate my affinity for and the collection of words I hold inside my head – and thanks to my friend Heather who referred me, I have found it.

Not only all of that, I believe this app has made me a better writer. It highlights for me the tone of my writing and where I could create a clearer or more succinct sentence. Sometimes I still ignore it because I like to think I have a certain flair and on occasion, Grammarly tries to edit my style but on the whole, it is amazing! Try it out yourself. You can use it for free or upgrade to the Premium version. Of course, you know what a word-lover like I did.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you know me at all, you know I love to bake, and more specifically, I love to bake chocolate chip cookies.  Yes, I bake other things, but this is my specialty.  It’s been my thing since I was young and it’s still my thing.  I bake them when I’m happy, sad, stressed, or just in need of something sweet. I have baked them with various kinds of chocolate, M & M’s, oats, nuts, and even gluten-free.  

You may recall that last year, I even baked one in a skillet on the stovetop.  That one tried to beat me, but I wouldn’t rest until I had mastered it.  It’s still not my favorite way, but I’m always up for a good challenge.

Now, I might be late to the party, and likely I am, but I have just discovered the art of browning your butter prior to baking with it.  This is a game-changer.  Just when I thought a classic chocolate chip cookie could not get any better, they go and brown the butter.  It smells all warm and carmel-ly (is that even a word) and then you add it to the cookie dough and…I may just have to go bake another batch right now.  

My mind is blown by this and now I need all the ways you use brown butter.  Please let me know because who doesn’t need more butter in their lives?

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Cold Showers

I know this sounds awful but what I am loving these days is cold showers. To be more precise, I am loving what cold showers do for me in the long run. Many of you have likely heard about the benefits of ice baths, cold showers, and the like in the realm of Wim Hof and others. Without getting too in-depth, the overall idea (proven by research) is that immersion in cold water whether in a bathtub, lake, or shower while still maintaining a consistent breathing rhythm can aid in recovery, boost heart rate variability and even improve sleep quality. 

I started out at 30 seconds, increased to a minute, and now am at 90 seconds. 

I won’t say that the process itself is all that enjoyable but after my cold shower, I dry off, hop into bed and start my wind down for the evening. I read a book or simply snuggle under the covers to warm up. I tell myself that 90 seconds of discomfort is worth a quality night’s sleep and better recovery. And you know what? It is. 

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Loving laughter …. and a cat

What I am loving these days is making Reels on Instagram of my cat, Bhakti. I appreciate and recognize the absurdity of that first sentence. But on day 2 million and 87 of this pandemic in 2022, the year of our Lord, I cannot work up the self-consciousness to care. Each day I post on @bhaktithecat on Instagram because it’s a public service. If stupid cat content doesn’t get us through the times we are in, I ask you, what will? Recently, I have stumbled my unskilled way into making Reels, which is a quasi-fancy way of saying you make videos with songs that Meta (the soul-sucker formerly known as Facebook) has strong-armed artists into providing for wayward content creators such as myself. 

Most mornings I sit on my sofa with my steaming hot cup of coffee and giggle in the dark pre-dawn hour as I create something that nobody else may watch or enjoy because I can. Because I kinda love it. These silly creations make me laugh. And from some of the feedback Bhakti receives, it makes others laugh too. This is what I am loving right now and if you would like to avail yourself of the stupid cat humor. I have included some for your impending delight.

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For love of a ring!

What I am loving is my new gadget called the Oura Ring. Let me tell you why before you look it up and judge me for buying a wildly extravagant tracker. (Of course, after you are free to judge me all you want). One of the few intentions or goals I made for myself this year was to commit to recovery and rest as wholeheartedly as I do training. I have many times during training seasons been lackadaisical about sleep, stretching, trigger point, and mobility. It’s not that I haven’t participated in any of these disciplines before but I have never put them on the same level as training. I knew they were important and yet still failed to give them the priority.

I knew if I wanted to recover well I needed to have objective and undeniable metrics to guide me. I considered many trackers and the pros and cons and landed with the Oura Ring. What I am loving is that I get great feedback each day on how well I am recovering, where I am lagging, and if I need to rest even when my training schedule says today I need to run. 

It’s nudging me to fully lean into the discomfort that is resting when my mind is telling me to push harder. It also gives me reinforcement the next day when I realize I feel so much better and stronger because I didn’t do a high-intensity workout when I truly wasn’t ready. 

Is this ring for everyone? Definitely not. If you don’t need information like respiratory rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, and recovery index then it’s likely not worth the money. If you wouldn’t act on the information to make changes, also not the best purchase. But, if you are a bit of a nerd when it comes to these sorts of things and would be willing to make adjustments to improve your wellness, sleep, and decrease your stress you may want to look into it. 

OK, I am done, judge away.

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Jewelry Cleaner

This post about what I am loving right now is a two-for-one because you get a little life hack as well as someone new to follow. So, the life hack I love is a jewelry cleaner. I know, first lip balm and now a jewelry cleaner. You might be thinking we can only go up from here. 

There are a lot of things we love at Lowi and G that might have a much larger impact on your life, but I thought I’d share another practical item that you also might come to love. Let me begin by saying that I stole this idea from Instagram. I have followed @livingwithlandyn for several years and she is creative and funny and has some fantastic life hacks. Her “Bling Wash” as she refers to it is the absolute BEST jewelry cleaner I have ever used. I like to clean my rings at least once a week and more often if I have been baking, slathering my hands in lotion, or traveling. I’m sorry, but you can’t always take your rings off. I know you should, but unless I have a perfect place to store them, I will forget where I put them or God forbid, drop them down the sink. So, I clean them regularly.

Like Landyn, I have tried the jewelry cleaners from the jeweler and the store, but they get gross very quickly and they never really do a great job. When I stumbled upon her “Bling Wash” I had to give it a try.

So, basically, you take a glass dish and pour in 2 cups of ammonia-based glass cleaner such as Windex. Then you add a few drops of dish soap. Now microwave this mixture for about one minute WITHOUT ANY JEWELRY IN THE BOWL. Got it? You only microwave the liquid, nothing else. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave because it will be HOT. 

Once in a safe place on the counter, drop your rings in. Let them sit for at least 10-15 minutes. You can leave them longer for a deep clean. 

After they have soaked for at least 10-15 minutes, gently scrub around the prongs with a toothbrush to loosen any additional dirt and grime. Now, over a bowl or a sink that has the stopper in it, gently rinse the rings, and then dry with a paper towel. That’s all there is to making your rings sparkle like the day you first put them on. 

If you want to read the “how-to” and “why” directly from Landyn herself, click here and you’re welcome.

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In late 2021, I by chance heard about the mental toughness builder 75 Hard. Embarrassingly, this is how I go about most things in life. A new book, practice, approach to life ricochets into my sphere and I decide that I should definitely give it a whirl no matter how utterly ridiculous it may sound. I immediately attempted to get Lowi on board and she soberly and rightly said, no. We were headed toward a family wedding and she thought it best a challenge saved for the new year.

However, one of the staples of 75 Hard is doing two workouts a day. I thought maybe I should start easing myself into this practice without any pressure. This little experiment caused me to stumble into what I am loving right now: early morning walks. I began walking just to see what it would be like to add an additional “workout”  before my day began. What I have learned is that I could more accurately call it solace. This walk is not something I do with the intent to physically better myself, it is for my mental wellbeing. Before the day is able to reach full speed and carry me off into distraction and chaos, I go outside and walk. I breathe in the cool air, often listen to a guided meditation, and slow to measured strides to match the voice in my ears. Once the meditation is complete I many times listen to nothing but the sound of the trees, passing traffic, barking dogs and I watch my day and the world around me gradually come alive. It’s the best 50 minutes of my day I think because it is without expectation. I am not trying to accomplish anything with this walk other than to be present, to be in the quiet. By the time I return home I am ready to begin the day. I invite you to give it a try even if it’s for a few minutes. Silence is soothing and I am loving it.

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Lip balm

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I love Fresh Sugar Hydrating Caramel lip balm.  It comes in a small little glass jar and it’s way too expensive for the amount you get, but it is amazing for dry lips.  It is a must-have for me in Colorado and while I have tried some other flavors, the caramel is the BEST.  Don’t knock it until you try it.
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