I Love Many Things…

In my last post I alluded to the fact that I love many things…doing many thing, experiencing many things, you name it.  Some people say my hobbies get in the way of my hobbies…and this is not entirely false.  Ha!

I’m not sure when this dilemma started or how it quite got to the size that it is today, but the struggle is real folks…  LOL… However, I’m not willing to totally give up any one of the things I love just yet.  My “loves” ebb and flow as far as the amount of time and attention they each get, but there are some constants.  This blog post is dedicated to sharing some of my passions and why I love them….and perhaps why I can’t quite cut the cord on giving any of them up.

Fitness:  I developed a routine of working out several years ago.  It started in January 2007 with my soon-to-be hubby, Brian; we signed up to do Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping.  We both had not been working out and with our upcoming wedding in May, it seemed like a good idea to start the path toward getting fit.  We were #soreAF for the first two weeks, but once we got over the hump, life was much better.

I’ll write a separate post on all different fitness programs I have tried over the years – but suffice it to say, this was the beginning of what I’m considering a life-long journey.  I would say that I have a few favorites that I keep coming back to, depending on my current gym membership, timing, and the need for constant variety in my workouts.  I love lifting –both barbells and kettlebells; they make me feel strong and badass.  This is one reason why I love my current gym home Brickhouse Fitness.

I found a renewed love for biking about 3 years ago and that has stayed on the short list; being outside is always good for my heart and soul, and easier on my knees/hips than running.  Kickboxing is also a favorite although it tends to cycle in and out of my routine.  I remember a biking friend asking if I wanted to ride one time (during the summer of 2016…as I was preparing for a CrossFit competition) and I declined saying that I need to focus on lifting workouts for a few months.  She said, but…but…that will take away from your biking time…??!!  And I said, yep, it will.  Ha!  I was okay with that for the time because I had a goal of doing my first CrossFit competition, while they had a Novice division and before I chickened out!


Sampling of kettlebells used in a workout at Brickhouse Fitness.


A shot of me (dying) at the MAT Games, my first CrossFit competition, in June 2016.


Photography:  This is no surprise based on my prior posts…so we’ll just leave this here…along with a few more of my favorite photos…  🙂

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Reading: I have always loved reading a good book…especially mysteries.  I remember going through all the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books as a kid (among many others).  The past two years especially I have been trying to make carving out reading time a higher priority.  I love reading and it is just a matter of making the time; I had let it slip over time and wasn’t reading nearly as much as I wanted to.  I pretty much don’t watch tv anymore because I would rather read a good book.

What has also been fun and helpful is that when one of my best friends Lacey moved away from Des Moines to Texas, we decided exchanging books was a good way to keep connected.  We both get a monthly book box subscription called Book of the Month (let me know if you’re interested, I can send you a discount code).  The first of the month is exciting as we coordinate picking our books so we both don’t get the same one (you get to choose from a selection of five).  Once we’ve read our book, we send it along in a care package via Flat Rate boxes at the USPS.  🙂 My “to be read” pile is always high, but it’s been fun reading books together and comparing notes.

I also had started a book club, the Dust Jacket Divas, when I got divorced and we have continued meeting once/month for 14 years now (ack!).  I don’t always make it to book club and sometimes I decide not to read the book as it doesn’t interest me, but the ladies in the group have become my extended family.  My friends now tease me because yep, I’m “that girl” and have a spreadsheet of all the books I’ve been reading.  Hit me up if you need a few ideas!


Scrapbooking/Stamping: Many moons ago I tried making hand-stamped cards and I was hooked.  Making cards and scrapbooks make me feel creative as well as it’s a great way to keep memories along with the photos I like to take. At least twice a year, I spend a whole weekend dedicated to working on various stamping and scrapbook projects.  My very favorite is making Halloween cards.  Some years I try to hand make all my Christmas cards (we’ll see how that goes this year…LOL…).  Often I will create some type of scrapbook for each of our big family vacations each year.  I love matching papers and creating a way of capturing amazing memories!


This is a mini-scrapbook of all the books I’m reading in 2017.


One of my Halloween cards for 2017.


Another Halloween card for 2017.


The cover of a 12 x 12 scrapbook I made for my sister of her trip to Australia.

Travel:  Many of my other hobbies intersect with this one.  I enjoy traveling…and we usually travel somewhere by car so we can take our bikes.  And, of course, the camera always goes along!  This year we actually did one very different type of vacation then normal = we went to an all inclusive resort in Jamaica for my step-daughter’s wedding!  It was a fantastic trip and we had a blast exploring as well as celebrating with Katie & Jake as they got married.

I also took a photography vacation to the Grand Tetons in September (see my favorite images here on SmugMug: Grand Tetons).  Each year my photo buddy, Sarah, and I try to travel together to a photography workshop to keep honing our skills.

We also took a biking vacation with friends to the Cuyuna Lakes area up near Ironton, MN; this was a blast!  We rented a house, explored the MTB trails (gorgeous!), checked out the local brewery and just had time to relax for a long weekend.

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Where we go each year shifts around, but a constant is the fact that we try to escape for at least a week or two throughout the year to places we love or new-to-us places that look interesting.  Often vacation locations tend to revolve around bike races Brian is doing, but not always.  Two favorite travel spots are the North Shore of Lake Superior in MN and Colorado Spring, CO.

Volunteering: Last but not least, I love volunteering and helping others.  Most of my volunteer work revolves around my natural talents, hobbies and interests.  I used to be a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa; I still spend time with my “Little” Shelbi as we have time.  We love our church home, Lutheran Church of Hope – Ankeny and I volunteer on the Production Team there (can you say…computer nerd?!?!) and taking photos at various church events.  I also love animals, especially dogs (cue Lucy and Kona cuteness…see below), so I volunteer as a photographer at the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa. More recently, I’ve done some volunteer photography at bike races (see my post When Plans Changing = An Amazing Experience) and for Volunteer Iowa events.

So as you can see…I love many things!  These are just a few of my very favorites and at this time, I’m not willing to give any of them up.  That might change and/or my interests may shift…no promises.  🙂  One constant that is weaved throughout all of my loves is spending time with the people I love too – whether its traveling with my husband Brian, getting creative with my favorite scrapbook girls, or biking with my best biking buddies!  There are so many amazing things to see and do!!!

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