A Countdown to 2018

In just a few hours many of us will be ringing in the New Year with the clinks of our cheap champagne glasses, kisses from our loves ones, hugs with our friends and family and new goals on the horizon.

If you have certain things you want to accomplish in 2018, I still stand behind the notion of letting go of the New Years Resolutions and instead focus more on goals and the experiences that go alongside them.  I laid out a few steps towards goal setting back in 2014 that you can read here.

In looking ahead at 2018 I actually find myself focusing less on specific goals and more on the bigger picture.

Focusing more on living a life of purpose and intent.

Being truly PRESENT.

Being more observant in my career.

Being MORE present for my husband and his business.

Allowing more time for myself to learn and grow in the areas that mean something to me, my self-awareness, personal health, well-being and my bigger purpose.

Making more time for meaningful conversations with friends.

Being quiet, listening more, saying less.

Cancelling out the unnecessary noise that life wraps us up in and spending more time on the quiet.

Being less of a copy and more on owning my original.

 

Here’s to a great end to 2017.  I hope you grew, you learned and you loved.

Cheers to 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Homemade Granola

 

If you are looking for a healthy alternative to traditional sugary granolas look no further.  This easy to make homemade granola is quick to assemble, uses all natural ingredients and is modifiable.  This recipe was originally seen at Cookie & Kate, I just modified it a bit to fit my needs.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raw nuts (I used raw almonds. Other suggestions might include pecans, pepitas, walnuts)
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (honey can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries. Other suggestions might include blueberries, cherries, berries)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt & cinnamon.  Stir to blend
  3. Pour oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated.
  4. Pour granola onto large rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer, keeping it loose.
  5. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway.
  6. Let the granola cool completely on pan, it will crisp more as it cools.  Stir occasionally if you want loose granola or leave it undisturbed if you want granola clusters.

Enjoy on its own, over Greek yogurt, in milk with fresh fruit.  Possibilities are endless.

 

 

Cheers!

The Hobby | Biker Photos

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It all started summer 2017 with this girl, this bike and a camera I had received as a gift nearly three years prior.

I didn’t completely know what I was doing, and I certainly still don’t, but I knew I wanted to try and capture a few photos of Liz with her bike.  And what started out as a fun night of unknowns, turned into a hobby worth exploring.

But not for reasons you might think.

I am connected to many influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women.   Add to the equation a woman who rides her own motorcycle and you end up with a pretty powerful subject.

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According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the number of women riders in America is growing daily.  In fact, in 2015 female motorcycle owners made up 14 percent of the industry.   In 2003, an estimated 9.6 percent of the motorcycle owners in America were women, which shows us an increase of over 50 percent in 10 years.

Nice work, gals!

Women Riders Now provided us with an even larger breakdown:

  • Slightly more than 17 percent of Gen X owners (born from early 1960 to mid-1970s), and 17.6 percent of Gen Y owners (born in the 1980s and 1990s) are women.
  • Among Boomer owners (born between 1946-1964), women make up 9 percent.

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We are a highly educated group as well!

  • 47 percent of us have a college or post-graduate degree.

 

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As I said…

 influential,

intelligent,

beautiful,

gracious,

inspirational

WOMEN

Before I knew it, one session turned into another and another, and with those sessions I started to grow in my confidence, abilities and knowledge.   Each shoot I critiqued and analyzed to find something new to take away, whether it was a new technique or studying the settings I had used to get the desired outcome.  I fully invested in studying aperture, ISO and shutter speed and how they intertwine.  The importance of angles and subject placement started to take shape.

The positioning of the sun and the effects it had on the shooting range was an eye opener for me.  Using natural light to enhance the subject while avoiding unappealing shadows or bright, nearly drowned out spots, can be tricky depending on the time of day and location.

 

I started to work on the concept of depth and subject placement in order to get the end result desired, whether it be a bold, loud full landscape statement, or a naturally blurred or bokeh effect background with the focus on the subject.

 

I have learned so much, and have so much yet to learn.  I don’t want to be a hobbyist who is a simple “point and shoot” type.   There are plenty of “photographers” out there.  Anyone with a fancy camera can wave their hand in the air.

Am I a professional photographer?  Absolutely not.  Do I want to be?  No.  Am I trying to be?  No.

I am enjoying learning a fun hobby while working toward producing products for people that have a look and feel of minimal effort, but polished and a semi-professional edge.

 

But, my dear friends… it’s more than that.

Those influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women I am fortunate enough to know?  I want you to see them too.

 

And I want them to truly see it in themselves.

 

 

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I want to help boost confidence in the individuals in front of my lens.

I want them to own and embrace what makes each of them unique.

 

I want to pull out the happiness and joy these girls exude and put it in print for the rest of the world to experience.

 

I want these girls to feel pride when they see themselves in print.

 

I want to help build self-esteem, self-confidence, pride, happiness and joy into each of my subjects

one shot at a time.

 

And with that,

I think I found my niche.

 

I look forward to the spring months ahead where I hope to hit the ground running with more opportunities to capture photos of not only my friends with their bikes, but also to the many other strong, powerful women (and men) out there riding their own.

When you are ready, so am I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personalities

Lighting

Angles

ISO versus Apeture vs. Shutter Speed  – oh my.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas has arrived in our home!

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Harley couldn’t be more excited.

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‘Tis the season for evenings of nothing but Christmas lights turned on, soft Christmas music playing in the background and holiday candles glowing.

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And naps under the tree for Grimmy.

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I love the peacefulness and renewed sense of spirit and hope that this season always provides.

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And the general feeling of joy that seems to be spread across the city and our neighborhoods.

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas season as you embark on the many holiday gatherings with family and friends.

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Cheers!

 

The Half Marathon Breakup

10.31.17

 

Dear Half Marathon,

You and I… we just don’t mesh.

You demand too much of my time.

Your 10, 12, even 14 week training plans are insane.

You require long distances and hours on sacred weekends.

Each weekend you even go as far as to increase in mileage requirement.

You force short speed work runs during the week in between work, gym, activities, LIFE.

You wreak havoc on my inner workings if you know what I’m sayin’.

 

The forced nature of our relationship is downright draining.

I don’t want to have to stick to your demanding schedule anymore.

It’s annoying.

And who are you to tell me what to do?

What I am getting at here is…

We’re over.

We had some ups and downs, but in the end, our 3-time relationship was beautiful.

I will forever be grateful for the challenge.

It’s not you, it’s me.

And all that other breakup crap.

Sincerely,

The Non-Forced-I-Like-To-Run-At-My-Own-Leisure,

Jordan

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Sunday, October 29th, 2017 concluded my half marathon running days.  From my first half-marathon in 2013 to my second in 2014, it’s been a journey.  A fine one at that.  But, ladies and gents, I am for real done with the training of it all.

I set out on my third half marathon journey in July of this year.  I committed (silently) to run the Good Life Halfsy as my last half-marathon and conquer a new PR of 1:59:59.  My first half I finished at 2:10.  My second half I finished at 2:05.  Surely I could knock out another 5 minutes off my time, ya?

TOTALLY!

And I could have, had I taken the training a little more seriously.

But I didn’t.

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I didn’t account for the amount of time I’d be out of town in September or the work events and travel, I sometimes bypassed a distance run on the weekend due to some of that CRAZY rain we had for a while and I am a NON DREADMILL runner.  I won’t.  Just won’t.   I ran when I could.  I stayed as close to the training schedule as I could.  I realistically reduced my goal time of 1:59:59 to 2:04:59.

And then October hit and I put in one serious distance run of 10 miles and only logged 7-8 distance miles the other weekends, and a few 4-5 milers during the weekdays leading up to the event.   I just was over it.

And I also scheduled my LIFE first, training second. 

I ran an out and back if you are trying to figure out my mapping situation above. 

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No excuses.   I am just not a dedicated runner.  I don’t claim to be.  I don’t want to be.  I have many friends who ARE runners and holy shit they are SLAYING it out there.

Let me brag on Cara for a sec.   She started running (seriously running) last fall.  Competed a few halfs and began seriously training for a full early summer of 2017.

On October 15th she completed her first FULL marathon (26.2 freaking miles) and came in at 3:54:45.

Guys, that is SMOKING fast.  Especially for a first-timer with an average pace at 8:58.   So crazy proud of her.

Cara on the right. 

Tori (marathon master and extraordinaire, dual Boston Marathon conquerer) is on the left and helped coach Cara through her training.

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She LOVES to run.  Lives for it, actually.  The day after her marathon she was running on the treadmill before coming to my PiYo class.

Ok, let’s call it like it is.  She’s a weirdo.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

You still following me?

Bless you, my child.

I set out on October 29th with no expectations, which is a big deal for me.  I am super competitive with myself when it comes to the mileage and my pace.   Note the keyword there: myself.   I don’t give a darn what others are running at.  I truly don’t.  But I care about how I am doing compared to myself.  But, I also had to be very realistic.  I am most definitely not in what I consider my best shape.  I’m probably the most out of shape I have been in since 2013.   I went through a phase the last 8 months.  Quit master training, cut back from teaching 7-8 classes a week to 2-3 classes a week.   I stopped hitting the weights in August when my work-life balance were competing with each other.  I was burnt out.  BIG time.   And I simply have NOT been motivated to get myself back in the game at my 100%.  I am still in the game, but not playing competitively.

So, Sunday October 29th came, ready or not.

And off I went.

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I had a good playlist set, I was content with whatever time I was going to come in at, I tuned out everyone around me, and I just ran.

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The hubs met up with me around mile 3.5.   He had every intention to meet me again at mile 10, but somehow we missed each other.  I was fully prepared to yell some very explicit language at him.  Sometimes you just need to get your words off your chest, you know?   But instead, my fellow running neighbors got my words.   We had a laugh about it.

And we kept going.

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Miles 10 through 12.5 sucked.  No way around that.   My breathing was on point.   My head was clear.  But my legs…. they were on fire and not afraid to tell me every single stride and step they took.  I had also been nursing a pulled hamstring in the days leading up to it so was overcompensating a little on the right to alleviate pressure on the left, so that played into the leg sensations as well.

With the end in sight and the dreaded HILL at the end (for the LOVE people), I SPRINTED my little heart out the last .25 miles.   I set my eyes on roughly 6 people ahead of me and made it a point to pass them.  I passed all of them, with the last girl getting passed literally two steps before we crossed the finish strips.

Goal accomplished.

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2:10:10

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A respectable time.   A time I am honestly proud of considering all the other factors that came into play in my training and lack there-of.

  • I finished milliseconds faster than my first half marathon that I trained religiously for.
  • I finished in 1,966th place of the 4,505 finishers that day. First half of the group, yo!
  • I wasn’t one of the 47 runners who started but didn’t finish.
  • I wasn’t one of the 2,000 runners who registered but didn’t participate.

It also proves to me that I know I CAN do better, I did it before, and with a little more training I could master my 2:04 time, or maybe even my 1:59:59 time.

But, those days are officially done and over for me.

I like to run for ME.  For the fresh air.  To clear my head.

I like my 3 milers.  I like my 6 milers.  I like to run them when I want to and I like to run for as long as my body chooses to.

Not when a training program tells me to.

So with that, I can officially say…

It’s been a good run.

Cheers to never again.

 

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Special THANKS to the fine folks of the Good Life Halfsy!   This is such a well put together run and event.  I was completely blown away by the organization, the structure, the route, the after party (that I didn’t get to stick around for since I had to be back in Omaha at lightning speed to make my Nebraska Wind Symphony concert).

Well done, friends.

Well.   Done.