Everyday Inspirations

 
 
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My skating girls, from left to right: Amy, me, Haley and Alyssa
{angie}
Goodbyes are sometimes bittersweet. I just had to see off my dear friend Haley as she moves off to New York to grasp her dreams. Bitter because, well, she will no longer live half a mile away so sipping wine and doing crafts just won't be quite as easy from 2,000 miles away. Sweet because I am so proud of her for taking a leap and taking a great job she deserves. 

For the last couple years, Haley has been in law school and with her ambitions involving many opportunities out of state (or country), we all knew her leaving was inevitable. So this talented girl graduates and literally missed the call where she was offered the job as she walked across the stage to accept her diploma. If that's not fate telling her to take it, I don't know what is. 

We skated together as teenagers and stayed in touch through college, but I think our friendship really has been enriched in the last couple years since she moved back to Utah. Between her witty, sarcastic sense of humor and her mutual love of learning, cooking, Twitter (@hales5), blogging, crafting, and let's not forget bedazzling, we were destined to be close. We were good friends in high school, but I'm so glad we have had the last few years to really let our friendship steep to the level it is now. 

She truly inspires me with her many talents and her determination to live her passions. While I will miss seeing her all the time (this is the part where I have to take a deep breath to keep from tearing up...again), I'm so truly proud of this amazing woman. And I'm not going to let it feel like goodbye -- between Facebook, Twitter and our new obsession with Words with Friends, I'm hoping it will feel like she is still just down the street. Love you Haley and so happy for you.  
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{angie}
"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."  ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

I am definitely like my mother and I'm certainly not pining. I am proud to be a chip off the still young and beautiful block. Can you believe she is only 29? Yep, gave birth to me at four-years-old. ;) 
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{ash}

My family lost our sweet dog Bud a few weeks ago. Yesterday I received a gift in the mail from my darling friend Deb: a book called Dog Heaven.

I love this sweet story. Tears streamed down my face as I turned the pages and read about the puppies who have left us and how they now run, jump, play, and sleep under the the watchful eyes of God and angels. I shared it with my mom yesterday and together we cried and laughed and missed our best friend.

Thank you, Deb, for sending this book into my life.
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I just love the pictures of puppies sleeping on the clouds.
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{angie}
Today I wish a very happy 75th birthday to my amazingly talented, smart, beautiful grandma. Many people learn how to crochet or bake bread from their grandmothers -- these are both on my "lessons learned from grandma" list, but the list goes so much beyond that. 
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My grandma was born in Chicago on May 1, 1936, just 16 years after women were granted the right to vote. Like many women of her day, she got married young to her high school sweetheart, my handsome grandpa. The next few years of her life she would be the quintessential woman of the 1950s. She was a homemaker and had three children -- Susie (my mom), Jimmy and Billy. 
But my grandma wouldn't settle for average. She went back to school with three children in tow and got a bachelor's in nursing followed by a master's degree. Many women of the time were forced to take on a masculine persona if they wanted to get ahead, but she stayed true to herself and showed she could own her feminine personality while not sacrificing any bit of strength. At 59, she got her nurse practitioner's degree and started up her own successful private practice. 
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What inspires me most is not all the degrees and certificates that hang on her wall of accomplishments, but that she was able to make the most of each of these opportunities while also filling her life with her dearest passions. Her family and friends always remained number one and she loves us all with every fiber of her being. She continues to travel the world (I can only hope to visit as many countries as she has in her lifetime) and embrace cultures of all different origins. My grandma has a witty sense of humor, loves to dance, sing, shop, play dress up and will jump at playing hostess at any given opportunity. Through her, I have learned a sense of generosity and caring that comes not from any expectation of something in return, but from her big heart. 
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As her oldest granddaughter, I have inherited her legacy of feminine strength everyday through the values she exemplifies and has instilled her only daughter, my mother. I like to think I am a lot like her as I strive to live my life with both ambition and a deep passion for life. Here's to my ever-inspiring grandma, who at 75 doesn't look at day over 29. :) I love you grandma! 

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{ash}

Have you ever come across a quote that just says it all? I had to share this one.

"I'm concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe, where science and the spiritual meet."
- Joan Jett

Say it, girl.
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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,  all of which have the potential to turn a life around. 
  -  Leo Buscaglia
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{angie}
"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." -S.D. Gordon
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{ash}

Dan and I took today off. Originally it was because we wanted to go camping, but since it's Easter weekend, we decided to stay in town. Turned out to be a perfect plan. We had a delicious brunch, went shopping at the outlet mall for some desperately needed work pants for yours truly, and even cleaned up the house a bit.

At the mall, I stumbled upon this darling elephant necklace and had to bring it home (only $12 -- steal!). I think he is beyond sweet. I just adore elephants (and hippos... probably because I've loved two big gray animals most of my life).

Today was a good day and it has made me reflect on blessings. I'm so thankful for my life and all the moments that make it, both big and small -- so thankful for for the love I share with others, for budding spring days, for quiet homecooked meals with my sweetie
 

{ash}

On race day, I never listen to my music the whole time. I get a lot of energy from my surroundings--the cheering crowds, the sound of thousands of runners, the music blaring from someone else's speakers. However, a half marathon is a long distance, and by about mile 10, I'm ready to give myself a boost. That's how I came up with my "last 30" plan. I used it last year and loved it, so I brought it back for last Saturday's race.

Here's how the "last 30" plan works: As described, I spend the first 10 miles of my race enjoying the excitement you can only get on race day. Once I know I only have three miles left, I plug in my earphones and start my playlist. This playlist is a special one because it is made up of all the songs I couldn't get enough of during this year's training--the songs that I blasted at the gym again and again and again. Hearing them play me through the last minutes of my race is pretty awesome. I especially needed the music this year. After my long, emotional night, I was dragging. My playlist was like my training buddy, pushing me through just one more song... just one more song....

Best of all, a "last 30" playlist is super short (as implied, just about 30 minutes, or the last three miles), which is MUCH easier to set up the night before a race than a playlist of two hours. Actually, now that I look at it, my list is about an hour long because there were too many good songs I wanted to include. ;)

Without further ado (in case you're interested):
{ash's 2011 salt lake half marathon playlist}
Dark Fantasy - Kanye West
Even Flow - Pearl Jam
Kids - MGMT
Uprising -  Muse
Pardon Me - Incubus
Show Me the Way - Peter  Frampton
Have a Cigar - Pink Floyd
Tight - INXS
Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix) - Beastie Boys
Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
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{angie}
Sorry for the tardiness of my post (only 15 hours behind deadline). I got a bit caught up with, well, taxes. I guess a little procrastination leads to more lateness. I did them all by myself for the first time (with a bit of assistance from my brother over gchat). I guess I am finally embracing adulthood. Taxes are filed and now I can breath a sigh of relief. 

So what better way to celebrate my joy than to eat some of these colorful Cadbury Mini Eggs? I have been avoiding buying them all spring, but I finally gave in to reward myself for getting my taxes done. They just happened to get thrown into the cart along with some other tax refund celebration purchases (yay for refunds). Now here I am a few hours later and it's all I can do to stay away from that little crystal bowl of eggs. My bikinis do not thank you Cadbury! Maybe I need to go for a run in this sunshine instead. Happy weekend! 
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