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Sorry, not Irish. Kiss me anyway!

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!


I will be celebrating with my annual viewing of the beer baron episodes of the Simpsons (unlike my college days, which were somewhat a…different…story.)


All holidays require a special playlist WITH a visual aid, and last night’s class was no different!  This lineup was very well received–after a warmup and a hill, we took the shamrock loop x 5.  The total time for this loop is ~25 minutes, so adding a hill at the end rounded out a 1 hour class.


Warm up

  • Don’t Trust Me 3OH!3
  • Time of our Lives Ne-yo and Pitbull
  • Ordinary Day Great Big Sea


  • You Shook Me All Night Long ACDC
  • Blank Space Taylor Swift

Shamrock Loop: 1 min seated hill (7 out of 10 difficulty) 1 min standing burst of speed 1 min hard climb (9 out of 10 difficulty) 30 second transition 1 minute seated sprint (5 out of 10), 1 min recovery

All this 5 times–25 minutes of looping fun! All this while these awesome songs are playing:


  • Run Runaway Great Big Sea
  • Take Me to Church Karma Remix
  • Whiskey in the Jar Metallica
  • Johnny, I Hardly Knew You Dropkick Murphys
  • Old Black Rum Great Big Sea
  • Drunken Lullabies Flogging Molly


  • Wild Night Van Morrison


  • Zombie The Cranberries
  • Stuck in a Moment U2

Cool down

  • Carry On FUN
  • Lucky Me Great Big Sea

It was fun to break out of the norm, and the class seemed to love it.

I’ve been really pushing it on the work/bridal alterations front, so my legs were pretty trashed after this class and my favorite part was coming home to hang out with my favorite red head.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


My New Toys

I bought myself 3 new fancy toys this summer. I tend to be pretty damn cheap, so this was a big deal for me.

1) After many, many years of borrowing one/going to someone else’s house to serge the tiniest part of an alteration, I finally bought a serger.

A Brother 1034D–delightfully basic, great reviews, great price, differential feed. Loving it so far!

2) We got married 4 years ago. So many of our dear family and friends gave us gift cards to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They finally turned into this:

IMG_1033.JPG (bad pic, but amazing product.)
A Shark Navigator Liftaway Pro.Our house is primarily hardwood with a few area rugs, and this vacuum is perfect. The microfiber pad attachment? Brilliant. I love it.

3) I had an old Garmin eTrex gps that bit the dust 2 years ago. After a lovely conversation with a Garmin rep, I finally–FINALLY–traded the old unit in for a credit toward a Garmin Forerunner 15.


It arrived the same day as a necklace honoring my homeland.

So far, I LOVE the watch. I’ve never had one before, so I can’t comment on missing any of the advanced features that other watches provide. It tracks my distance, pace, calories, HR. Love using the heart rate monitor strap in my cycling classes–makes teaching much more focused!

I am still twirling with excitement over these three things.

do you have any recent purchases that have quickly become must haves?

The Last Three Months

I started this post one month after the madness started.

Then it turned into two months.

We are now three months out.

So much can happen in a short span of time.  

TwoThree months ago, the husband and I were in a doctors office, first hearing the words “abnormal test results.”  “[Giant, bloodsucking] tumor” (<–that was added for flair.) “Cancer.” “Surgery.” 

Three weeks later, the husband had surgery.  Level IIIa tumor was removed from his colon, Stage II cancer.  Inconclusive results on the lymph nodes (only 9 appeared to be removed–thankfully, they were all negative, but nothing concrete until 12 were confirmed negative.)

Four weeks of recovery time.

Five weeks later, we met with the oncologist: the husband is cancer free.  No chemo.  Monthly monitoring bloodwork, meet with the oncologist every three months, colonoscopy every six.

It seems insane that this even happened. It seemed insane that it is over. And it seems insane because it almost feels like it didn’t happen, and everything that went on during the two months of madness seems far away.

The friend’s wedding I missed because I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t process the idea of flying across the country? It seems trite and stupid to have missed it.

The half marathon I skipped because I couldn’t comprehend taking on the stress of training? The reasons seem so small.

Would I have done anything differently? Probably not.

I found myself necessarily paring down a lot of the time-sucking crap that was filling my life with anxiety. Everything from Words with Friends (which is surprisingly stressful) to stepping down from a volunteer committee that was more of a “should do” rather than a “want to.”

I’ve come to rely on my friends and family so deeply through all of this, before, during, and now after the madness. My running kept me sane, my spinning kept me pumped, and my sewing kept me calm.

But on the other hand, it does. not. seem. fair. that my husband got off so easy. So, so many people are not as fortunate to have their cancer taken care of with a simple laparoscopic surgery. Don’t get me wrong–I am thankful every day that he is here, whole, and well. I am sad this is not everyone’s story.

Here’s to hoping it continues to look up. It’s been a long road in 2013. I’m thankful to have my little family home and intact. We are fortunate.

Here’s a picture from when the husband came home from the hospital–the puppy sat like this for days.


Summer is what?!?! Over?!?!?

What!?!? Summer is over?!?!? What on earth did I do?

I certainly didn’t keep up my blog.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. I subbed a ton of spinning classes this summer, and was given 2 regular classes! So every Saturday morning and Wednesday night, I’ll be at the gym to kick some ass.


2. Our garden exploded with tomatoes.

Jars of sun-dried tomatoes, salsa, pickled jalepenos, and diced tomatoes are lining our pantry shelves outside–I am so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of canning and jumping right in.


3. Camping for the fourth! Beautiful weekend in the mountains!


4. So much running with my girls–so thankful for all the fun and the friendship, especially in the last few weeks. Another highlight–one of my runner girls has been training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in October with Team in Training, and I’ve been happily helping her with some of her fundraising efforts.

5. Three whole married years with my favorite person! Love you babe!

6. This is the first summer since I was 20 that I did ZERO traveling. On one hand, I’ve been so exhausted over the past year traveling to see family seemed like the most insurmountable hurdle. Call it intuition or what have you, but it seemed very important for me to stay low and close to home this summer. I am thankful I did, but could not have imagined the reason my intuition was right.

We found out almost a month ago that my husband has colon cancer. Surgery day has come and gone, and we are waiting waiting waiting to find out the next step. My emotions have been all over the place, and I am happy to find solace in my time at the gym and my running therapy session with my runner girls.

7. Holy crap, wedding season is upon us. ::big breath in:: Here we go.


I’ll exhale in November.

Because It’s Juuuuuune! June! June! June!

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June is busting out all over!

Who could forget the utter joy of Carousel? It’s June! In Maine! (And let us delicately ignore the themes of domestic violence. I hate myself for agreeing with Richard Rodgers–it’s my favorite R&H musical too.)

This enforce runs through my head every June. It’s a really exciting month for me–it starts the 2 month hiatus from my 8-5 job (aka, kicks off ladies who lunch season.)

First, a recap of last month.

The good great stuff of May:

1. Fabulous and fun time running a half marathon with my runner girls.
2. Lots of spin subbing and few great playlists under my belt.
3. I GOT MY OWN CLASS!!! Every Saturday at 7:00 head out to the gym and I’ll kick your butt (or at least make you sweat (which auto correct just listed as swear–lol).
4. We painted the house!!! Old color on the right, new dark blue gray on the left. It looks divine.


Onto June goals.
1. More strength training. I went to an ab focused boot camp this am, and am appalled how far I’ve fallen. Run for 13ish miles? Sure. Two hours of spin? Bring it on. One minute of side plank dips or v-ups? OMG. Torture.
2. Finish getting my paperwork filed, and get some business cards with 100% correct info. Feel appropriately lame until I do.
3. Clean out my closet. There are some serious de-cluttering Goodwill trips in my future.
4. 60 minutes of yoga per week. Whether it’s an hour long class or three twenty minute sessions, I need to get to it!
5. Make one spinning playlist a week.
6. Participate and kick ass on this plank challenge.

7. Keep up with blogging!
8. Do something social at least 2x per week AFTER 7 am. The majority of my social life currently happens early.
9. Eat lots of green food. Eat lots of real food.

That’s all to kick off week one of summer vacation–a very, very hot kickoff to summer. Tomorrow this one will get shorn:


And I’ll show you what happened to these innocent little plants:


Spoiler alert–it’s pretty leafy back there in the garden area.


What are your big summer goals? Let’s hear ’em!!!


Introspection Central!

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First and foremost, how is it May 12? I had such grand plans to post about my goals for the month! So a post from my very full mind today, and a better, more focused post tomorrow.

Sorry, very little will be about spinning (which has been back burner-ed by training for a half), running (training for a half) and sewing (it’s wedding season, and I’m exhausted.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!!

Or, as I like to call it, the ultimate day of introspection.

I have such a wonderful mom. She is my favorite person to talk to, and we are s much alike (which is one reason why I would never admit to her the dark place exists.) I am so proud to be her daughter, and I am so sad that it has been years since I’ve seen her on Mother’s Day. I know so many have lost their moms so this is small potatoes, but I miss her.

My MIL is amazing. The way she has held herself and the family together since FIL’s passing has been awe inspiring. She is the only one I feel I can truly talk to when either my husband or I are standing on the precipice of the dark place–she gets it, never judges, gently guides you to the path that leads back to the good, and cheers you on until you get there. There are no words for how wonderful it feels to be unconditionally supported like that.

I could go on and on about friends and family who are awesome moms, but I’m too wrapped up in my own head or that. Also, I would NEVER SHUT UP. I know so any great moms.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, especially today. To all the moms out there, I wish I were one of you. But I’m not, and I’m not sure I ever will be, and I don’t know if that will be by circumstance or choice.

It has been a hell of a year–hellish in some parts, hell of a fantastic ride in others. The dark place has been prevalent. On days like today, it is hard to fight the monster inside your mind that is quietly telling that you to forget about all of the amazing things that surround you. That tiny little voice is fighting like hell to make you believe you are a lesser person. Maybe if I had been nicer, kinder, less selfish, ate better, married younger, ran more/less, not gone out partying every night until 3 am (and anyone who know me knows how laughable that is), I could have that thing I’ve always wanted, and not having little monsters around is out of he question.

On a day like today, it is impossible to pull my head out of my ass and quiet the monster.

But then I look over at my husband, sit our patio and look at the life we’ve built, and know that we’ve got it pretty awesome on the flip side.

Also, what is the cure for the introspection?

Mother effing wedding season.

I feel like a rock star–clean office, huge to-do list complete, challenging projects, happy brides, supportive husband.

Seriously. I’ve got it good.

Spring Break! Spring Break!

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I loved this episode.

I’m on spring break this week, and it’s gone fast!!

I’m torn between feeling like I’ve been unbelievably lazy and super productive. What on earth have I done this last week?

–left work at noon, watched the fighting Illini win (ILL! INI!), and the husband and I fell asleep at seven. Wow.

Ang Lee, Illinois alum

Saturday–Worked 8 – 4, came home to watch Marquette win (Ring out Ahoya!), fell asleep at seven. Apparently the exhaustion of the last month caught up with the husband and I on the exact same weekend. That’s magical.

Jesuit pope!!!

Sunday-church, worked in the yard. But after all that sleep, we were both in the mood to get stuff done. Awesome. My yard is super free of weeds.

Monday: Ran 3 miles, then spin! Great morning—even better afternoon! Thanks to a glowing recommendation from a friend who is also a spin instructor at my gym, I went in to talk to the manager and was hired on the spot!!


TuesdayRan with my girls at 6!. My 8 am run canceled on me. Lunch with a friend, where I met this little girl. Does Miso J. Puppyvich need a sister?

One gorgeous wedding gown showed up at 4–I love fun, exuberant groups. Quick take in on the side seams, bustle and add some straps–easy, fun, and a project for Tursday.

Wednesday–watched the kiddos, work for 4 hours, wine night with my favorite wine ladies. I’m shockingly honest 2 glasses in.

Thursday–worked at home while we had concrete curbs put in around our yard!!!! Yay! This is where a walkway and a planter bed will go:


Today! Spin!!. Great class–even though I reached the point of wanting to throw up a few times. I don’t know if that’s a testament to my poor food choices before class or my hard core-ness during class.

Now for some work around the house and more March Madness!!!

Who are you cheering for?

Any big plans this weekend?

I’m shooting for 10 miles tomorrow! Hope your weekend is great!

Ashleigh Lawrence

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