Stitch Fix

A friend of mine recently sent me an email. It simply said "have you heard of this? Stitchfix.com

I clicked on the link and thought it seemed a neat idea but put it out of my mind. I told her I thought it was a cool idea and asked if she had done it. She said she had not but she had perused the reviews and most of the clothes were really cute. I gave it another look...and the more I think about it, the more I'm liking the idea of this. 

Perhaps I should back up a bit. What is Stitchfix? Stitchfix is a personal styling service. You tell us your style, size, and budget preferences, and we send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home. Each Fix is unique and hand-picked just for you.  It costs $20 per month and if you decide to keep any of the 5 items they send you, that $20 goes towards purchasing that item. If you decide to keep all 5 items, you get 25% off. Plus you already paid $20. 

I know, I know. I don't need more clothes! And I don't need to spend the money! But...all of my clothes look the same. And while my current clothes are comfortable - they are certainly not trendy or big-city worthy. I filled out my personal style profile. But you don't pay anything until you schedule your first "fix". 

If anyone reading this decides to look into it, I get a $25 credit for each person who signs up. Soooo....if you click on any of the links in this post and schedule a fix, I'd greatly appreciate it! As would my clothes :)   




Kindness Quotes

I came across these inspirational quotes and I liked them. I would like to figure out a way to make them into artwork and to hang in my room or around my new apartment - details on that in another post. I think reading these words every day would remind me who I want to be each day.

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

 In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. ― William Gibson

 I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings. — Mary Oliver

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. ― Marilyn Monroe

Be humble, for you are made of earth, be noble, for you are made of stars ― Serbian proverb <---- span="">really like this one!!

Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile. ― Unknown

Don't be perfect. Be you. Don't be what you think they want you to be. Be what you know you are. Don't look outside yourself for anything. It's all within. ― Jackson Kiddard

Kind Over Matter - by Josh Radner

I heard about this while watching The Ellen Show (is it The Ellen Show or The Ellen Degeneres Show?) at the car dealership today. I liked the excerpt that she read and decided to find the whole thing.  Basically, Josh Radner thinks we should be kind. And if I think about the type of person I want to be, or the type of person I like to encounter - he describes it. I've been having trouble with this lately but I hope that by posting this for other people to read it will help remind me what type of person I want to be. 
Here's the link if you want to read further but I copy/pasted the whole article so that's that

There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
—Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Here's a theory I've been kicking around for a few years: Success in Hollywood—being incredibly well paid to do something very few people get the chance to do—won't make you happier, but it should make you kinder. It never made sense to me that someone would achieve any kind of success in show business, only to become a jerk.
It certainly seems like the unkind—craven, wildly ambitious, stab-you-in-the-back types—are rewarded time and again. But bad behavior generally ensures a short shelf life. The question is really, What kind of person do you want to be once you've "gotten" somewhere?
When I left NYU in 1999, the year I turned "pro," I was on the lookout for examples of what kind of professional actor I wanted to be. Before long, I had the great fortune to work with Judith Light, who, in addition to being wildly talented, seemed to place a premium on kindness. I remember how she greeted everyone with a smile—no matter who they were. She listened as if the fate of the planet depended on hearing someone's every word.
Maybe it has something to do with my being from the Midwest, but witnessing actors like Judith—and the decidedly less enlightened behavior of others—confirmed my suspicion that it was possible to be both a good person and successful in show business. I realized Vonnegut's dictum was basically the only Hollywood rule worth following: You've got to be kind.
Kind to your fellow actors, to the producers and their spouses, to their assistants and their interns. You've got to be kind to the agents and managers (even if you often can't tell the difference between the two), to the director and the people in wardrobe and props, to the photographer and the valet and the guy working checkout at Whole Foods, to the reporter at the press tour who thrusts a tape recorder in your face and says, "What song makes you want to get up out of your chair and dance?" And you must—and this is much tougher than it sounds in an industry that almost dares you to go insane—extend that kindness to yourself.
It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn't matter. Because I think it's pretty much the only thing that matters. This should not be mistaken as a call for humorlessness or some naive, fussy moralizing on my part. It's not about being "good" (a loaded concept, to say the least) or "nice," which is really just a social convention that often has to do with worrying about being liked (occasionally masking real deviousness). It's ultimately about compassion, recognizing that all of us are going through it all in our own particular way, no matter our social status.
It's not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we'd prefer not to be. For me, it's simple and not entirely unselfish: When I'm kind, I feel good; when I'm not, I feel horrible. (Of course, the publication of this piece now ensures I will be caught on tape being a total schmuck.)
When my show How I Met Your Mother first went on the air, some people were quietly concerned the job would "change" me, as Hollywood lore is littered with tales of the monsters fame has created. Being a jerk was never all that interesting to me before I was on a television show. Now four years later, I'm happy to report no one has told me I've become one (to my face, at least).
Where will any of this get you in Hollywood? Maybe nowhere. That's not really the point. Kindness is not about instant gratification. More often, it's akin to a low-risk investment that appreciates steadily over time. One thing I've found to be true in show business, as well as everywhere else: Whatever you put out there comes back to you in some form eventually. Hopefully, one day you look around and say, "Hey, I've got a pretty nice life full of fantastic people." If you have a better definition of success, I'd like to hear it.
This is bigger than Hollywood anyway. (Warning: If you think this is all a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense from someone who has clearly spent too much time in California, you might want to stop reading now and flip to the crossword.) I believe our thoughts and words are powerful far beyond what we suspect, that they carry some sort of mysterious heft that ripples outward, like the tiny flap of the butterfly wings causing a hurricane. Our planet is being despoiled in a myriad of provable ways, but might our unkind words be contributing on some level?
Consider it: What if we began to view unkindness as air pollution of the most toxic variety? Would we think twice before sending ozone-depleting nastiness from our lips into the atmosphere?
If you believe, as I do, that the state of the world is inextricably linked to our minds, that the external is a reflection of the internal, our minds are not in great shape. Every act of kindness, then, is not merely a sign of personal virtue. It's saving the planet—the ultimate fusion of environmentalism, spirituality, compassion and common sense.
Of course, this is just a theory. In a more practical, less metaphysical sense, if you're kind in Hollywood, people will want to work with you again. And if some unkindness is unavoidable, well, that's why we have agents (or managers).



I completed 14.2 today. I know, I know. You are dying to know! What was 14.2?? Let's see if I can explain it where it makes sense:

0:00-3:00 (the first 3 minutes)
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (65#)
10 chest to bar pullups (the bar must make contact below the collarbone)
3:00 - 6:00 (second 3 minutes - only completed if you finish the first 3 min in time)
2 rounds of:
12 squats
12 chest to bar pullups.

And you continue on, adding 2 reps for every 3 minutes you successfully complete. I don't feel the need to type further because I didn't make it further. I didn't make it that far, but to give you an idea of how the workout went.

I got my very first chest to bar pullup approximately 24 hours before the workout. I went in with a goal of 13 reps. The 10 squats would be easy. The pullups would be tough. I warmed up in the back room and they were going pretty smoothly. Then it was time for the workout.

Mistake #1  - complete before I even left my house. I put lotion on. My legs were ashy. My lotion has sparkles in it and it makes me happy. It also made my hands very slippery.

Mistake #2 - I was sweating. Out of my control but it made my hands very moist. Hard to hold on to the bar with moist hands.

Mistake #3 - the bar I was using was SO slippery. It probably wasn't as bad as I'm remembering. But I could not hold on to the bar for the life of me!

Mistake #4 - I should have made tape grips. I considered it but decided it was unnecessary due to the low number of pullups I'd be doing. The tape grips would have meant I could hold on to the bar.

I ended with a total of 14 reps. 1 more than what my goal was - but I think if I could have held the bar, I could've gotten at least 20 reps. What does this mean? I'm trying this one again too!

Picture from this workout to follow - there are 2 girls at my gym, Ali G & Lauren A who take awesome pictures and are so great to volunteer their services to capture the day - can't wait to see what they got!



I promised you a picture from the 14.1 workout for the Crossfit Open. If I look terrified and/or ready to cry? I was. I absolutely hate double unders and was dreading them. This picture captures that.



Well, I made a decision. I'm not sure if it was the right decision or not but I don't know if either side of the coin was going to sit perfectly. I'm staying in Chicago. I've been back and forth for well over a month now...and just had to pick a place. I decided I should stay here for another year. If I hate it, I can leave next May. But right now, I'm not unhappy.

Things I have lined up:
1 - a trip to NC for the month of April
2 - 2 new roommates. That's right, I'll be living with people. Fingers crossed that's a good experiment!
3 - a new job. It's only 1 day a week but they may need me to pick up some extra shifts here and there. It's a start at least. And I'm very excited about it. It seems like a complete different place than my previous employer. I'll write more on that next week after an official work day.
4 - happiness. I have a sense of happiness right now that I haven't felt in a long time. Things aren't perfect but they are way better than they were 6 months ago.


Decision Time

How do I decide? I thought I'd made a decision. I thought I was going to stay in Chicago. Then I went up to Madison for my road trip. It was so nice being outside of the city. It put me in a weird head place for a few days and I'm not completely out of that head place. I talked to a friend of mine who is in a similar position - stay or go - and honestly, she confused my head even further.
What if I am choosing to stay for the wrong reasons? What if I'm wanting to go home for the wrong reasons? This weather is not helping matters. Why would I want to stay in this miserable cold? Will it even be gone by the time I get back in Chicago in May? But I want to stay with my friends. But I want to go home to my friends.
I've got a couple job interviews this week. What if the jobs seemingly are great (which my previous job was at first) and then it all goes downhill?
What if I stay and I love it? What if I go and I regret leaving? What if  I stay and am unhappy again in a month? What if I hate living with roommates? So many what ifs.
I tried saying out loud this whole week that I'm staying. Trying it on for size. See how it feels coming out of my mouth. Initially, it felt good. It felt right. But towards the end of the week? I started to question it. Is it the right thing? Then I went to lunch in Chinatown with some friends today (I should write a blog post on that. I was so lost!) and I didn't want to leave. It's all so confusing.

Do Over!

The nice thing about the crossfit open is you can re-do the workout as many times as you'd like between the announcement of the workout and the following Monday. I decided to try this one again because I know I can move faster. My double unders went much better today. I was able to do sets of 5 pretty consistently throughout the workout. Yesterday, I got 78 reps. Today I got 101.

Things I did differently:
- wore running flats. The shoes are smooth on the bottom so if the rope catches on the tread on the bottom of the shoes...well, there is no tread.
- tried to breathe during the double unders. If I got flustered (which I often do), I stopped, took a breath and did 1 double under. If I had to do them 1 at a time, that's how I'd get through the workout.
- Moved faster during the snatch. Technically, the weight just had to go from ground to overhead - arm positioning/stopping points didn't matter. So most of the reps I did in a snatch position but when it was hard to convince myself to pick the bar up, I moved to a jerk movement. (go halfway up, quick rest/turning of wrists at shoulders, weight overhead)
- had a different judge. My friend Chrystal judged me today. She was much more liberal with the double unders than yesterdays judge. I'm tricky to judge double unders on because I do a single turn of the rope, followed by a double turn, followed by another single. I often get tripped up on the second single - yesterdays judge thought it was during the double under.

I'm happy with today's results. Until I can figure out double unders (i.e. work on them and not expect to magically have them one day), I'm going to struggle on any workout that involves them.


Crossfit Open 14.1

I completed my first crossfit competition today. Or I started it at least. The Crossfit Open is a 5 week competition with weekly events that each athlete has 4 days to complete. I chickened out last year. It seemed so intimidating. How would I ever lift that much weight? I can't do a pull-up! Double unders? Psssh! Let's not be silly.
This year was going to be a different story. Even if I couldn't do everything, perfectly or at all, I was determined to participate. I was beyond nervous today and almost didn't want to participate. So many people, so much pressure. But then someone reminded me, it's just a workout. Who cares what your score is? You did it!
Today's workout?
30 double unders (jump roping with the rope passing under your feet twice per jump)
15 snatches (weight had to go from ground to overhead, women's weight 55 pounds)

I knew the snatches would be fine. It's a fairly light weight and I'm pretty comfortable throwing the weight overhead. The double unders have been a constant struggle for me. I just got a new rope so I don't whip myself nearly as often as with my previous rope. Did I mention you just repeat those 2 movements over and over for 10 minutes? Initially when I thought about this workout, I was like - 5 rounds. 1 minutes for double unders, 1 minute for 15 snatches. That builds in such a buffer. Then I heard another girl saying it took her 3 minutes to do the double unders. I started rethinking my goals....down to 1 round. I met my goal. I made 1 round plus 3 snatches. I definitely need to work on double unders. I used to think I was a coordinated person...until I tried these things. I'll have a picture to add to this post at some point. (If I don't look atrocious in all of them!!!)