Friday Free-For-All – 03/29/19

Friday Free-For-All

We’re finally all healthy after last week’s illness. I was the first to go down, and I honestly thought Ben and Vera might be spared. But then Ben and V both woke up sick on Saturday morning, and there went that theory. This week involved lots of cleaning and lots of laundry to banish germs, but I think we’re in the clear. Now hopefully that’s the last round of illness for a while! Come on, spring!

I’ve been slacking with blog stuff lately. I have two product review posts that I just can’t seem to find the energy to finish. Once again, I’m feeling very “meh” about the whole blog situation. My domain renewal is coming up and I honestly can’t decide whether or not to renew. We’re on a really strict budget right now and while $26 doesn’t seem like a lot, that’s a quarter of my discretionary spending for the month of April. It feels like maybe not the right choice, especially when I haven’t exactly been churning out blog posts.

I’m attempting a sourdough starter. Sourdough is my favorite kind of bread, but it’s kind of fiddly. You have to make or acquire a “starter,” which is basically a colony of wild yeast, and use that in your recipes. It’s a living thing that you have to “feed” and take care of, which is a lot of pressure, haha. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and since I’ve been baking a lot of yeast breads lately, I figured, why not? I’ll let you know how it goes.


Have you ever made sourdough bread?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/10/18

Friday Free-For-All

The weather finally broke today. We’d had a string of brutally hot, humid days, but today dawned sunny, dry, and relatively cool, thank goodness! It felt nearly autumnal when I got up this morning. It made me very excited for the fall running season 🙂

We are up to our eyeballs in blackberries. Seriously. We have SO.MANY. Blackberry plants in our yard. They’re only just starting to ripen and we already have picked half a gallon. I’m excited to freeze them and have them all year round for baking and smoothies.


We’re slowly getting back in the swing of meal planning and grocery shopping. Since V was born, we’ve been very lucky to have lots of meal deliveries, and lots of invitations to various friends’ and family’s houses for meals, but with Ben going back to work soon, we need to get back to “normal.” We did a mini plan and shop to cover a few days this week, and it felt really good. English muffins were buy one, get TWO free at the store, so we bought six packages! I love me some English muffins.

I’ve been reading blogs, but not commenting. I’m usually reading blogs on my phone one-handed while nursing, so it can be tough to make the effort to comment. I’d like to be better about it going forward, but no promises. Just know that I’m still here, reading and enjoying!

I have to confess, I’m having a hard time coming up with stuff to write about that’s not baby-related. Having a child seems all-consuming right now, and pretty much everything I do every day is wrapped up in having a baby. I’m doing laundry, feeding, changing, pumping, taking pictures, and all of the myriad activities that come along with being a mom. I’m hoping that Ben going back to work in two weeks will force me to start seeking out more stuff to do and get out of the house more. I’m also hopeful that my six week checkup next week will clear me for normal physical activity, so I can get back to running!

While I’ve got baby on the brain, do you have any questions about parenthood/childbirth recovery/babies for me?


Why You Won’t Be Seeing Much of Baby Girl on the Blog

Even before becoming pregnant, Ben and I had a lot of discussions about the presence we wanted our children to have on social media. From the get-go, Ben was adamant that putting pictures and anecdotes about our kids on the internet made him deeply uncomfortable, and he’d prefer that we keep our kids completely offline.

As a blogger and social media devotee, I was less convinced. How in the world would I share pictures easily so that friends and family could access them? How could I continue to blog about my life and family without including pictures of our future kids? As time went on, however, and especially after becoming pregnant, I realized that what Ben had been saying all along resonated with me more strongly. Thus, we’ve made the unanimous decision to minimize any sort of online presence for our kids until they’re old enough to decide for themselves what/how much they want to share. Here are a few reasons why.

Agency and Choice For Our Children
I understand that some people choose to be open books online, and love sharing photos and stories about their kids on their blogs or social media channels. It works for them, and I offer no judgement, truly. I just worry about how my own kids would feel about it when they grow up. Some day, my kids are going to want to create their own online lives, and for them to find out they’ve already got a lifetime of photos and stories about them online might not be happy news.

I think we can all agree that the internet is a scary freaking place sometimes. I don’t think I need to go into details (though I could post numerous examples), but suffice to say, I don’t want complete strangers all over the world, or even close to home, to have access to photos of my kids.

It seems like not a day goes by without some stupid click-baity article posted about celebrity parents being called out for things like not properly buckling a car seat or their kids being “too skinny” or “too fat” or some other BS thing, all because they posted a photo online. But the thing is, this happens to “normal” parents too. Posting photos of your kids automatically invites comments. The vast majority are benign and even supportive, but you just never know what someone else is going to have to say about your parenting choices, and I’d much rather have those conversations one-on-one as needed, rather than via Instagram, ya know? Sidenote: when I posted a pic of my car seat installation, I had a comment about a better alternative within 5 minutes. Granted, it came from a place of helpfulness rather than judgment, but that’s EXACTLY the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid… Lesson learned!

All of the above means that you probably won’t see many pictures of Baby Girl, or any future kiddos, here on the blog. I’m sure they’ll pop up occasionally, but my determined rule is that there will be no “full face” photos, meaning you’ll be seeing a lot of back-of-the-head shots, emoji-over-the-face shots, or from-a-distance shots. I think this will be the sweet spot for maintaining my children’s privacy while still being able to share about my life. This will also likely mean that any updates post-baby will be focused on me and my recovery/return to fitness adventures versus posts about Baby Girl’s development.

Also, I’ve finally taken the leap and made a separate Instagram account for the blog, and made my personal Instagram account private. From here on out, blog-y, fitness-y stuff can be found on the handle @darlin_rae, while more personal and family stuff will be on @rbdinvt. If you’ve been following my personal Instagram for a while, don’t worry, I won’t boot you! But I will be VERY selective about who gets access going forward.

This also means that we need to have a firm conversation with family and friends about not sharing photos of our kids on social media without our permission. I will be the first to admit that in the past, I have shared photos of other people’s kids without giving it a second thought. But becoming a parent myself has made me realize that that’s really not cool. I don’t anticipate that this will be a fun or easy conversation, but it has to be done if we hope to maintain our kids’ privacy the way we want.

Parents, how did/do you handle social media sharing with small children?

Quick Post-Christmas Check-In

Hi friends! I kind of disappeared there for a minute. It wasn’t intentional, but between holiday festivities and a bunch of time off work, I just didn’t feel like blogging.

I ended up with seven whole days off from work, which was an absolute treat. I got to spend some time with my family and Ben’s, relax, and just enjoy the holiday season. And the best part is, this is a short week, with another long holiday weekend coming up, woohoo!

I’m hoping to get back on the proverbial wagon as far as workouts go, but I know that motivation is way low this time of year, and it’s supposed to be in the single digits or colder all week, so my motivation is even lower!

Anyway, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that this week is short and painless! I’ll try to check back in on Friday with my usual Friday Free-For-All post. I’ve got lots to update you on!

Hello? Anybody Still Here?

Hi friends! Long time no see!

It’s been almost exactly two months since I decided to take a break from blogging, and it’s gone by really fast! All of a sudden today, I started to feel really nostalgic about this here little blog, and miss checking in with you, so I decided to pop in to say hello. I’m still not quite sure what the future holds for the blog, but I’m not really ready to say goodbye forever. So for now, I’m just gonna take it one day at a time, post when I feel like it, and try to let go of all of the weird feelings of obligation that lead me to my break.

So, what have I been up to? A lot!

We moved back in with the in-laws.
We’re back out in the boonies, which has many pros and cons. But it’s definitely going about as well as it possibly could. We’re all getting along great, the cats (all five of them!) are getting along great, and we’re watching the pile of money in our house fund grow. We’re getting ready to actually start talking to a mortgage broker and maybe even look at some houses. It’s a very exciting time.

Dance Classes
I’m taking a Jazz Fusion class on Tuesdays, and Tap on Wednesdays. The jazz class is AWESOME. I mean, it’s also a little awkward, because I’m one of only a small handful of adults in with a bunch of middle and high school girls who dance circles around me, but it’s great exercise, and exercise that I enjoy doing the entire time. Tap has been more challenging. I actually started out in Tap 2 because I’d already taken Tap 1, but after a couple of weeks, it was clear that I needed to go back to the beginner class and get more comfortable before moving up. Still, though, it’s good exercise as well, and will help me in my future theatrical endeavors.

Not a whole lot of running.
I think taking a break from the blog gave me “permission,” if you will, to take a break from running as well. Marathon training took more of a toll on me than I first realized, and even though I took a short break post-marathon, I still had lots of races and stuff coming up so I didn’t really give myself the time I needed, and kept pushing myself to run. I haven’t run since September 26, so it’s been almost a month, and I’m in a pretty good place about it. I think backing off on running has allowed my metabolism to normalize a bit; I’m not nearly so hungry on a regular basis, meaning I’m not eating as much, and I’ve actually managed to lose a couple of pounds, hallelujah! I’m definitely not going to completely give up on running, but the wheels are turning, and I think I feel a larger post coming on.

Work has been BUSY.
I have one team mate out on maternity leave, and another who was out for two weeks of vacation in September, and is now out for another five days for minor surgery, so my workload is significantly higher than usual. This has been a somewhat difficult adjustment for me, but I’ll make it. I’m also still working one shift a week at Athleta, which is great, but starting to feel like a bit too much on my plate. I was only planning to work there through December, but I may need to step back sooner rather than later for my mental well-being.

Wine and Dine is coming!
I fly out in less than two weeks and I couldn’t be more excited. I desperately need a break from work, and I’m excited to spend some time with my team Can-Am ladies, including finally meeting Lisa in person!

Whew! There, you’re all caught up. As I said above, I’m not quite sure how often I’ll be popping back in, but I no longer consider myself to be “on a break.”

What’s the most exciting/positive thing that’s happened to you in the last couple of months?


Taking a Break

I think it’s time for me to take a break from blogging.

The biggest contributing factor to this decision is how stupid busy and stressed I am at the moment. I have quite a bit on my plate, and blogging is something that should be fun, but right now, is just causing me stress. Writing my own blog posts and responding to comments, crafting social media posts, plus reading and commenting on other blogs is something that I spend a significant amount of time doing these days, and I’m starting to feel like that time could be better spent elsewhere.

The other piece is a bit harder to articulate. Basically I’ve just become overwhelmed by the expectations and obligations of having an online presence. I don’t like the behaviors required to be a “successful” blogger, or Instagram user, or Twitter user. Jockeying for likes and followers and using a billion hashtags and worrying about SEO is just not me. This was a big part of why I stepped down as a BibRave Pro. I was hoping that removing that particular obligation would help ease the pressure, but I still can’t totally escape the feeling that if I don’t post regularly, or have tons of likes on my Instagram posts, I’m not a “good” blogger. I’m also struggling with the pressure of having an audience. It sometimes feels like the things I’m doing (running, racing) and the things I’m writing here, or perhaps the way I’m writing them, are more for other people than for me, which is not why I started blogging.

I just need to hit reset and figure out a) if I want to continue blogging, and b) what that will look like for me in the future. I need to take some time to reconnect with running and exercise as an outlet for myself rather than a performance for my online audience. I need to do it because I want to do it, not because I want to see the likes stack up. I need to find the internal motivation rather than the external motivation. I need to escape from the world of hashtags and optimization and creating my “brand” and just focus on real life for a while.

I’m not sure how long this break will be, but I’m not planning to come back until I really feel the desire to blog again. I deeply appreciate everyone who’s ever stopped by, read, commented, or otherwise reached out. I’ve made some amazing connections through this little blog of mine, but I’ve just got to step back and figure out my own stuff for a bit.

Friday Free-For-All – 09/11/15

FFFA (1)

Pig roast tomorrow! And thank goodness. This whole deal has been stressing me out for months. We intentionally didn’t have a big wedding because we didn’t want to deal with all of the planning and drama, but then we decided to have a big, casual party to celebrate… Truthfully, planning this pig roast has caused almost as much stress and drama as a wedding would have. Yes, it will be fun, and yes, I’m excited, but I’m also ready for it to be over. Family is due to start rolling in around noon today, and the shenanigans will begin.

My blog traffic this week has been way higher than usual. Starting on Friday, my traffic just shot up–my average readership is around 40 views per day, but I’ve been averaging 100 views since the weekend. I have absolutely no idea why. And here’s the kicker–I didn’t even post anything Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Weird. I should maybe look into that, figure out what’s bringing people in, and keep doing it, yes? HI NEW READERS!

I took my first Zumba class yesterday. The Sh’Bam instructor was out of town, so they offered a Zumba class instead. It was surprisingly really fun. I felt like a pretty damn good dancer the whole time, especially since I decided to throw self-consciousness out the window and just go for it. While Zumba was also really fun, I think I like Sh’Bam better. Zumba instructors rely on hand signals for cuing as opposed to verbal instructions, so it can be difficult to follow. But it was still a great alternative cardio workout, so I wouldn’t say no to doing it again.

Have you ever taken a Zumba class?

Any fun plans for the weekend?

Friday Free-For-All – 05/08/15

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I officially registered the domain “” I love my little blog, and I felt like it was the right time to make things a little more official. I’ve never intended to make this a “serious” blog or make money from it, but it just feels nice to remove the “wordpress” from the name, and I plan to spiff a few things up to have a more cohesive theme going on.

Tomorrow is my birthday! And it should be another good one. I have the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k in the morning (it’s not too late to make a last-minute donation here!), and then we’ll be having my 4th annual Cinco de Mayo-themed birthday party.

And last but not least… we got an apartment! It’s small, but very clean and cool. It’s in a converted elementary school building, so it’s got huge windows and vaulted ceilings! It’s also a 10 minute walk from my office, and very close to the bike path, the lake, the beach, and great shops and restaurants. We sign our lease on Monday, and move in June first! We are so excited to have our own place again after almost two years of having room mates or living with our parents.

Who’s got some tips for apartment decorating on a budget?

Happy Blogiversary to Darlin’ Rae

Exactly one year ago, I was sitting at my parents’ house. I don’t remember how it came up, or why, but I decided I was going to run a half marathon. And I started this blog to document my training.

First ever race medal!

In one short year, so much has happened! I ran my first half marathon. I made a bunch of amazing friends, and Team Can-Am was born. I’ve formed phenomenal relationships with fun, athletic, talented people all over the world. And I became a runner. I can’t wait to see what this next year of running and blogging brings 🙂

Many thanks to all of my readers and friends out there. I couldn’t do it without you!

Blog World Tour

So a few weeks ago, right in the midst of holiday craziness, my lovely accountabilibuddy and fellow member of Team Can-Am, Kim, tagged me to participate in the Blogging World Tour.  Yes, yes, I know it sounds fancy, but really, it’s not.  It’s just me giving you a little sneak peak into what’s going on with my obviously very focused and organized blog-writing process (HA!).

Step 1 is Acknowledging the blogger/blog that invited you to the Blog Tour:

Kim is hilarious and awesome.  She loves margaritas almost as much as I do, and she has a lovely Wonder Mutt named Calypso.  If you don’t already follow her and would like a daily dose of hilarity, go check her out at Black Dog Runs Disney.

And now I get to answer some questions that supposedly will give you some secret info about how and why I blog.

What am I working on?

Regarding this blog, I’m striving for consistency.  I started out blogging 7 days a week, which was too much.  I backed off to whenever I felt like it (except weekends), which was not enough structure.  These days I’m just aiming for at least Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and if more than that happens, awesome!  I’m also trying to write posts or at least start drafts as ideas occur to me, with the goal of having one or two posts ready to go when I hit a spell of writer’s block or get super busy, and also keep a list of topics to write about so that I don’t get stuck.

In life, I’m working really hard on paying off my student loans so Ben and I can buy a house and start a family within the next five years.  This is hard, because I spend money like nobody’s business.  To me, budget is a four-letter word, and bonus time means paying off my credit card.

How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

I’m gonna be 100% honest here and say that I don’t really think it does.  I don’t think I have a terribly distinctive “voice” (maybe another blog thing to work on?), and I don’t think my content is all that unique in the world of running/fitness blogs.  And really, I’m OK with that.  I didn’t start this blog as a money-making enterprise, and my goal is not to generate income or get the most follows or shares or likes.  In fact, I’m happy that my blog is relatively small, because I’m able to focus on quality interactions with the limited number of followers/commenters I have.  So maybe that makes my work unique?  I don’t know…

Why do I write what I do?

Mostly because Ben doesn’t understand my running talk.  I’m sort of joking, but it’s true.  My “real life” friends and family aren’t runners, so they don’t really understand a lot of what I talk about when I talk about running.  They don’t understand my enthusiasm for good socks, or the devastating effects of runger (OK, maybe Ben understands that one, poor guy!), or exactly how much being sidelined with an injury sucks.  But here, I can write about how I’m feeling and what’s going on, and instead of glassy-eyed stares or stupid questions like “Why can’t you just go on the elliptical instead?”, I get commiseration, camaraderie, advice, and support.  I write to share my feelings and build a community with like-minded people.

How does my writing process work?

Other than my regular weekly posts, Manic Monday and Friday Free-For-All, there isn’t really a schedule.  I often get ideas for posts in totally random places–in the car, watching TV, or at the gym.  I try to jot the ideas down where possible, or make a mental note, and then flesh out the posts later, usually on the day I post them.  Yeah, there’s not a whole lot of planning ahead around here.  And then after most of the words have come out, I proof-read and edit the crap out of the post.  I know that some people are more along the feeling of, “Well, it’s more authentic or natural if I just write and post as-is,” but I’m way too Type A for that.  I’m a grammar enthusiast to a fault, and I put a lot of thought into word choice, phrasing, transitions, and punctuation.  I guess that’s what comes from being a theater major and an English minor.  After proof-reading a post several times, I will then do a preview of what the post will look like, and proof-read again.  It’s amazing how different a post can read and look when it’s in your actual blog layout rather than draft format.

So there you have it, an insider’s look at the super secret and effective blogging life of Rae.  And now, I’m supposed to tag someone (multiple someones?) to do a blog process tour of their own.  Since all of my accountabilibuddies have already been tagged, I’m going to nominate my friends Dana and Amy, of Slow and Steady(ish) and Let’s Go Running.

How do you stay organized with your blog posting?

Are you a proof-reader, or do you shoot from the hip and post as-is?