Kelly Clarkson concert time!!

Kelly ClarksonnnnNNN!!

My brother and I went to her concert after months and months of looking forward to it.  Kelly Clarkson is the epitome of talent!!  If you look her name up in the dictionary the definition is TALENT, GENUINENESS, AWESOME.

Thanks to my brother, we were VIP row 2.  I have never been so close in any concert as I have also never made it through a concert without starting to get bored as, until this.  THANKS JAMES!!


First stop was the VIP Lexus Club!!  Starting to feeling very important.


Free drinks in the VIP lounge!!  Yeah!  Well we don't drink so the girls gave us a Redbull and Sierra Mist instead.


There was also a free buffet but we weren't hungry and just wanted the concert to start.  (I would like some free buffet now.)


I didn't know if she'd sing my all time favorite song in my whole life, but she did.  Catch My Breath.


The special guest opener was Pentatonix.  They are a capella and were amazing [along with the girl's shoes].  Listen for ten seconds and you'll be converted to the fanclub of Pentatonix.


James had his picture taken with a couple of the openers, Eric Hutchinson and ...Abi?  Maybe?  It was like 100% humidity so yeah, sweaty.


The weather was superbly cool with a monsoon rolling through.  I was worried about the haboob in the area, but it missed the venue and all was well in the concert world.

Have a nice Wednesday!  What is left of it at least.


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Don't forget to enter my giveaway found here.  Only six people have entered at this point, so chances of winning are good.  :)  You have until the end of the day 9/6/15.

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A Giveaway! {CLOSED} + Marathon Training Update

<Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!>

These past two weeks were pretty good training weeks!  I stuck to my heart rate zones and my legs continue to feel great.  

Ben and I hired a coach and he thinks my zones are too low, so this upcoming Tuesday I'll be taking another test to hopefully determine that I'll get to expand my zones a bit.  YAY.  That = faster running.



This plan I've been working on has had a lot of step back weeks, more than I've ever had in a training plan.  I'm 8 weeks into it and my long run is only at 10 miles, which looking back I wish I would have changed things around considering I ran a tough half course in May (Great Wall Marathon!), but there's nothing I can do about it now.  :/  

Thankfully I've turned my training over to a coach to worry about and we'll see how I do in the next two months as my long run doubles.

I have learned that when I am in charge of ME, I am too cautious.  I'll take like three years to get my mileage up to 35 miles per week in order to avoid injury.  :P  My coach said that I have to eventually just go for it if I want to ever get better.  I DO.  And that is why he has entered the picture!


I don't mention it much, but I am still cross training consistently:  squats, lunges, pull ups, push ups, planks, etc.  Sometimes late at night after everything life is finished, but I do get it done.


Before heart rate training, I never saw 13 hour recovery times.  NEVER EVER EVER.  So that's been fun.


B3 still loves his swing and just chills there while watching me run sometimes.  I think the max on the swing is 25# and he's not even 20# so we'll keep this up while we can. 



GIVEAWAY TIME!  

This past year my friend Christine, with Dream Big Runner, has started to make and sell custom shoe charms and bracelets.  Besides being able to customize them, an awesome thing is she donates a portion of each sale to charity, which you can read more about here, or you can visit her Esty shop here.

I have had my charms for about 5 months and have received a lot of comments/inquiries on them, and they still look brand new.  I wanted a bracelet that would help motivate me through this training cycle so this is what Christine and I came up with!  It is adorable, light weight and I love it:


Below are a few examples from her Etsy store:


The winner will receive a pair of shoe tags or bracelet of their choosing, perfect for the runner, fitness guru, or anybody at all, you don't have to be into fitness!

Your chances of winning are good, so enter via the Rafflecopter below and let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you!  :)

Giveaway closes in two weeks, 9/7 @ 12:00am (so you have through the end of the 6th).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received shoe tags and a bracelet in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks Christine!
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An Arizona August

Baby boy has had a rough last few days with his teething and has wanted nothing but to be held, specifically by mom or dad.  He's usually a happy little boy with a toothy, wide grin, but he's been sad, clingy and waking a lot at night.  Breaks my heart, exhausts my body.  These teeth have been the slowest/ worst ones thus far.  Teething sucks.


My dad came into town this weekend which was a lot of fun to see him!!  He more recently remarried, and things have never been so different for our family, so any chance to catch up with him is treasured.


My dad brought with him some record Arizona weather and we hit 117 degrees, the hottest temperatures in over two years!!  In the past we could always find things to keep us busy, but we've found that with an infant, when it gets that hot there is not a whole lot to do except swim.  And we usually wait for shade to even do that!

The problem with such high temperatures is that the night time lows are in the 90s and by early morning we're already well into the 100s, so mornings are out for venturing with the bebe.


Luckily this extreme heat is short lived.  We're back to low 100s, a breath of fresh air!!  The low tomorrow night is 81.  81!!!  Break out the boots.


The pool thermometer broke, but usually the water is close to 100 degrees by this time of summer, which it does feels like it.  A giant bathtub.  I am still cold when I get out.


The bugs are out in herds when it's this hot.  I assume they're all cookin' in the ground and have to come out.  We haven't had any scorpions, but we've had these new and obnoxious little black beetles, and Ben also found this creeper in the street.

Child of the Earth?

This is my fifth summer here and every year there are new summer bugs that show up.  This is also the driest, most boring summer we've had, and I'm hoping we get some monsoons because they are just so exciting and typically make the Arizona summers much more bearable.

Meanwhile we'll just swim.  And obsessively watch the weather radar for a STORM.

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I also posted today about my brother in the finals for Chinese Top Idol.  Help him win by voting for him for this last round!

^^Click to enlarge

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Chinese Top Idol - Final Round!!?

My brother made it through to the very final round of Chinese Top Idol!!  There were multiple cities with auditions and the top from each city have made it to the finals, for a grand total of 12.

Source
This round he sang three songs and one was recognizable, as it was in English:



Once again I just copied my sister's blog below because the final round we have to help him out by voting for him.  Please vote if you would like to help him win!!:

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CHINESE TOP IDOL - continuing on!

My brother flew back to LA last weekend and made it through that round to the top 10!!  Thanks to those of you who took the time to vote which helped!

This next round will take contestants from 10 down to 3, and it's 100% based on judging, no votes.  I think this one is this upcoming weekend?  I'm not sure, but I'll keep ya updated.

Source

Yesterday I got a text from my brother with this picture:


He was interviewed by channels 10 and 3.  I haven't yet seen the channel 3, but here is 10:


I am like a Fox 10 Phoenix groupie so I loved this.  :P

Good luck brother!  Again!!

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Marathon Training Weeks 4 & 5 - A training in PATIENCE

I'm already a month and a half into training for Canyon City and had a couple of great training weeks.  Wahoo!

I am proud to say I stuck to my heart rate training 100% of the time!!  This is a huge feat for me considering the paces it required (O-M-G-S-LO-W-E-R-T-H-A-N-M-O-L-A-S-S-E-S).  

Heart rate training is a training in patience.


During the week I run for time.  That is why my mileage is so wonky (which drives me nuts, I always have to continue on to an even-er number).  

In actuality, since I'm running slower, I'm spending the same amount of time on my feet as if I had run higher mileage at my normal paces.  Make sense??  haha

^^How do you post fun or exciting pictures of training when you are on the treadmill all of the time...?

^^The only training picture I took.  I'm a terrible social media-ist lately.  A freaking selfie.


My 9 miler this week took me the same amount of time as the 8 miler took last week!  :D  

Some things that I have learned to help keep my heart rate down, which equals running faster in the same zone, are:

  • Watch a tv show/ movie - one that really interests me and causes me to zone out
  • No music - sad face, yes
  • If I must listen to music, mellow is the way to go - movie soundtracks, chill stuff, etc.
  • Avoid overheating - I turn the A/C down a couple of degrees and have 3 fans which makes a difference
  • No gum!! - Chewing raises my heart rate 5-10 bpm -- crazy!  If I fuel or take a drink I can see my heart rate bump.
  • Relax! - No fists, relaxed shoulders, etc.
  • Avoid bouncing - yes
  • Don't stress about my heart rate - really! it might actually raise it

^^Long run low heart rate record!!

Heart rate training is fascinating and once you get over the embarrassingly slow, am-I-even-moving, pace thing, it's pretty enjoyable.  I look forward to every work out and wish I could run even more.  #success

"...Build up the distance you can run for, over time, to 10 miles. At first, you may have to slow down within the run to maintain HR, but over the weeks and months, you should note that the running speed begins to remain more stable and you do not have to slow down (so much) to stop your HR rising. In time, the running pace at this HR (and all other HR’s above it) will also improve...

Be patient. Do good work. And improvements will come."


^^Hey girl.  What's your target heart rate number?

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On to week #6, a step back.  I wish we were closer to the race itself because I'm still so jazzed about it.  These next months might kill me with anticipation.  Have a wonderful week!  

PS.  I put my phone within arms reach and B3 dropped it.  Soooo I'm phone-less until Tuesday.  Please use email/social media to reach me until then.  Thank goodness for phone insurance, for there is nothing like breaking a brand new NOTE.

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Review of Resolutions (take II)

We're over half way through the year, and sadly my resolutions haven't been at the forefront of my mind like they were earlier the year, but I am still plugging away at them in bits and pieces and want to do better for the next few months!


Fitness:

  • Run 500 miles:  I set 500 miles as a realistic goal since I didn't know what post partum running would look like for my legs and I didn't want to feel pressured [into injury].  So far so good and 500 should be easily reached if things continue as they are.


LilySlim Fitness goals tickers


  • Get my abs into shape:  All the planking in June made a difference, so I'm going to go with success on this one.  Planking is so boring, but it works wonders!  Highly recommend this after having a baby.




  • Adopt the 3+2 program (3x run + 2x cross train):  After June's running streak I discovered that running at higher intensities just 3x per week was more taxing on my legs than frequent low intensity runs.  I've since switched to 5-6x weekly, low intensity heart rate training sessions + strength training (push ups, planks, lunges, squats).  My legs have been happy!




  • Adopt a weekly clean eating lifestyle - Still doing pretty well with my eat healthy weekdays, treats on weekends.  I've noticed an increase in my appetite with training, heaven help me.


  • Get to China trained but injury free:  Done!  You can see my sister's review of it in the recently live video below:




Other:

  • Adopt a daily cleaning schedule list:  This one has basically been thrown out the window!  I do daily chores and have decided that more probably isn't going to happen during the week due to time. 


  • Read 10 books:  I've read 3 books.  I'm just sucking at this one.  I read Gone Girl, The Cuckoo's Egg (loved!!), and a running book.  I'm currently reading American Sniper but haven't picked it back up in a couple of weeks because my spare time has been elsewhere (here, running, piano, family).  I'm thinking of buying some Kindle versions to read while on the treadmill.  

On my list to read:
  1. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
  2. The Book Thief
  3. Unbroken
  4. The Devil in the White City
  5. The Graveyard Book
  6. Bloodsworth
  7. Kiss of the She-Devil





  • Pump/nurse for 6 months (March 13) - Made it to 5+ months before I dried up, but then used my massive milk stash until 9 months.  Thinking about all that pumping makes me shudder.



  • Finish the nursery - Good intentions,.. slower actions.  Just need some wall decor and pictures printed!



  • Whiten my teeth (post nursing) - Done



  • Decorate my work space - I have frames, artwork and a large letter B.  Need a few more frames and I'll be set.




  • Grow out my hair - Going strong but I'm definitely in that "blah" phase of the grow out.




  • Do something with the front yard/entry - Hired a yard crew, got the sprinklers running, now we have a book to look through to decide on what plants/trees we want put in (palms!!).  After that decision all that we need to do is fix the ugly front entry slate that's broken and bothers me 24/7.



  • Get back into blogging mode/redesign blog - I've finally accepted the fact that I just don't have the time to put into the blog to make any of my visions become reality, but I will try to keep up with it because I have loved blogging over the past eight years for many reasons.



  • Get back to Nikon pictures - Baby strides, I just wish my Nikon wifi auto-uploaded to Google photos too, the most convenient phone picture backup ever in life.



  • Write/orchestrate two new pieces - Not so much progress since the last update.  How is it August?  Eff.

The most amazing cover ever ever ever in the history of life. 





  • Be more positive/kind/optimistic/forgiving around the clock - I must do better!
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