Reflection – 2016 Year End

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Earlier this year, I decided my word for 2016 would be “Present”, as in being actively present in life and all parts of it. The good and the bad. As a result, I believe 2016 has felt like one of the longest and most intense years of my life. If this year were a cocktail, I’d call it Crazy Mary. Yes, that is a Pearl Jam song.

“One night thunder cracked. Mercy backed outside her windowsill.
Dreamed I was flying high above the trees over the hills.
Looked down into the house of Mary.
Bare bulb on Newspaper covered walls. And Mary rising up above it all.
Oh… Oh… Oh…
Next morning on the way into town saw some skid marks and followed them around.
Over the curve, through the fields, into the house of Mary.
That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.”

That last line strikes a true chord in me. “That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.” Whether you are terrified of success or failure, love or heartbreak, what you know for sure and what you know nothing about at all; whatever it is, it could meet you halfway. That’s  both a frightening and reassuring statement to consider. It’s like saying whatever happens, it’s going to hurt eventually because it matters… but if you are willing to go for it, if you’re willing to really put yourself out there (balls to the wall), then it could meet you halfway. Isn’t that better than never having it? Never knowing? Living the same day over and over again like a bad Justin Bieber song….for the love, someone change the station!!

Oh wait, it’s you, you have to change the station if you want to experience something new. You may not like it, it could even be worse, but it will be different. Change is good. Change is always good because we learn from it and knowedge is infinite.

I learned a lot this year…. some things I had to learn more than once. That’s just me. I’m very thorough you see. I don’t make the same mistake twice, I like to make it three or four times JUST to be sure ! (As the saying goes…) I’m also very stubborn and I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

With that said… let’s re-cap the 2016 Bucket List

1.) Go to Prom – Check!

Not only did my prom date kick ass, but Salt-N-Peppa were there to help us dance the night away in the proper decade! This was an awesome night and proves some of the best nights are worth the wait.
salt-n-peppa

 

2.) Road trip in a convertible – Check!

We were so excited about cruising around in the convertible that I never actually took any pictures of the car itself. Note: It was a Ford Mustang and a fabulous addition to this road trip!

3.) Go on tour with Pearl Jam – Check!

What better excuse for a road trip than to follow Pearl Jam around for a week? Alright, alright… so I know that doesn’t classify as actually going on tour with Pearl Jam …but just let me have this one, because it’s probably as close as I’ll ever get!

From Miami to Tampa with 2 of my favorite girls and my favorite band.

These shows were E P I C as always. I love you Pearl Jam! I love you Eddie! #yourbiggestfan

4.) Complete a half-marathon – Check!

kat.halfmarathon

Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon, 2 hours and 38 minutes. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I’m even contemplating a full marathon in the future. I said contemplating… don’t get all excited just yet.

5.)  Go somewhere in Alaska I’ve never been – Check!

Homer, Alaska. Beautiful waters, great halibut fishing and good times all around.


 

6.) Find a rainbow Eucalyptus tree – Check!

Maui, Hawaii


 

While we were in Maui, I also checked off:

#7: Travel the road to Hana and #8: Visit a new island.

My friend drove the road to Hana for us and I have to say it wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. However, if you are easily car sick, this is not the drive for you. With that said, it’s a fine ride with the appropriate dose of Dramamine and the right people. That is until you pass Hana of course, and then you are basically SOL in a rented SUV. The previous twists and turns makes what lies after Hana look adorable. We turned around a mile or so away from the Seven Sacred Falls. Some things just belong on a post card! Here’s a bit of what we did see…


9.) Publish first novel – Epic fail. I did not do this for many reasons. Did I finish the book? Yes, I did. I just haven’t figured out if that’s how I want to end. I’m just not done. I don’t know if I ever will be as what’s in this book is all a very intricately weaved web of days gone by and days not yet had. More to come…

I didn’t really have a number 10 this year. I was just going to fly by the seat of my pants and see where things took me. Here’s how that has worked out:

  • Started backpack initiative for keeping the homeless warm. Donations have been received to date for this project and distribution is in the works with a local charity.
  • Set out to lose an additional 10 lbs, only 25 to go! Yes, I gained quite a bit of weight this year but I’ve also never felt healthier or happier. You win some, you lose some. Not always in pounds.
  • Brought my sister to Alaska for the first time! It was so much fun to introduce her to my beautiful world. I love her so much and so glad she got to see where I call home.
  • Fell in love. ❤ He’s like Christmas morning. Every time I see him, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life.
  • Let go of toxic relationships. If people in your life are consistently handing you the scissors, cut the chord.

So that’s where I am in Living Out Loud. Where are you? Do tell.

It’s been a great year! I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds.

xoxo

❤ Kat

Rainbows and Unicorns

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Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns…. so “they” say.

One of the major items on my bucket list this year was to find a rainbow eucalyptus tree. Also known as “Mindanao gum” trees, these beauties can be found in most tropical or subtropical areas, including the beautiful paradise where I was so lucky to find them, known as Maui, Hawaii. These trees grow over 200 ft tall and have all different shapes and styles.The colors change with the season just like leaves do in the fall or a girl’s mood from month to month. At first glance, it looks like they have been painted, but when you approach them closely, you can actually see the colors are revealed by the bark breaking off. The thinner the bark, the brighter the colors seem to be.

If you find yourself in Maui on the road to Hana, you can’t help but see these just after mile marker 7. Take my advice and don’t do this in your flip flops…. you’ll go through an entire container of baby wipes trying to get the mud off your feet. Satisfaction mud, bucket list mud, but still…. mud. (http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/nature-blows-my-mind-rainbow-covered-eucalyptus-deglupta-trees.html)

 

I didn’t find any unicorns, but that’s only because they are extinct. See for yourself:http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/news/a37608/unicorns-are-real-fossils/

If Good Housekeeping says it’s true, you bet your matching cermaic bowls it is. Turns out they weren’t the shiny, magical type of creatures we had imagined….Elasmotherium was an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros native to Asia during the Pliocene through Pleistocene eras. Colour printed illustration by Heinrich Harder from Tiere der Urwelt Animals of the Prehistoric World, 1916 Hamburg. Heinrich Harder (1858-1935) was a German landscape artist and book illustrator. These images come from a series of prehistoric creature cards published by the Reichardt Cocoa company in 1908. Natural historian Wilhelm Bolsche wrote the descriptive text.

Well, you can’t have everything.

I very much enjoyed my trip to Maui even without the unicorns. There was plenty of other magical things to see. Waterfalls, sunsets, beautiful fish under water and even the Garden of Eden.

Even if you aren’t chasing rainbows and unicorns, make the most of out the adventures life sends to you. There is beauty in every mile.

xoxo

❤ Kat

Nothing better than a dirty house…

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Happy Halloween!!


I hope your weekend was fun and your night filled with the magic of tricks and treats!

I had my own little party this weekend and I have to confess… nothing makes me happier than cleaning a dirty house after a big party. I know that sounds absurd to most! There was glitter on just about everything. Chips, popcorn and miscellaneous items everywhere. Also, if you lost your wig, tobacco, vampire teeth, shades, underwear …or even your dignity… it is now safely in a box that shall be stored in the garage.

So often we take these things for granted. A dirty house often means it was full. I think of people who would give anything to have a house that full and I feel blessed in being able to clean it up.

I think of people laughing, dancing and being just exactly who they are for a few hours in my living room… and it makes my heart smile. Despite the candy wrappers, the empty bottles, etc. I sweep, and then I go to work and think of people who are praying for a job, any job. I’m lucky enough to have a very good one! I’m lucky to have to set an alarm, to have bills to pay, to have such a busy life full of light and warmth.

This year, I am taking it upon myself to bring some of that warmth to others. We have many homeless people in the city of Anchorage. It always bothers me and I never know what to do about it. Money only goes so far and it doesn’t really help because most of these people don’t even have an ID to go stay in a hotel even if you paid for it. They are stuck in a cold shelter at night (if they’re lucky) and even more cold during the day. So, I have an idea.

What if I could fill a backpack with a few essential items to make getting through the day and night a bit easier? A few dollars sure, a blanket, a warm hat, a pair of gloves, some instant toe warmers after walking outside in the cold all day. Maybe a book to read or something to occupy the mind away from their despair and loneliness, however temporary I pray it might be.

I’m accepting donations and I’ll distribute any that I receive throughout the year.

Remember, it’s not what you got… but what you give. – Tesla

xoxo

❤ Kat

 

Always help someone.:

 

 

 

 

For what it’s worth…

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Quote by William Leal by LovelyDayFleur on Etsy:

When is the last time you remember feeling inspired? It is rare and far between for me these days. I’ve been drowning in bad politics, media cocktails, numb interactions, work, routine, petty first world problems. I’ve also been consumed with love, friendships, happiness, memories, the fast pace of it all so fucking familiar… so messy. I haven’t really taken any time to just absorb it. To just sit and breathe it all in. We’re so damn busy trying to catch up that we forget to sit down, shut up and just be still in this life we have created. For some of us, that seems impossible. For others, that is completely uncomfortable because it’s not the life we imagined.

It seems there should always be more. Why am I not where I thought I would be? Why am I not better? How can I be more, do more, live more? Expectations can lead us blindly into the land of never enough. There is no value to anything there because there is no gravity of the present. Even if you sold your very soul in a place like that, you’d get only a fraction of its worth. The sooner you let go of what could have, might have… the less you’ve got to lose. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep reaching for your goals or working towards your dream, but wake up every once in a while and cherish how far you’ve already come. Respect the years traveled. Time is your most valuable currency.

None of us are living the same story, but the struggle I sense is the same. Maybe we fall in love with life and we start to lose sight of the things that kept us so busy before. The bucket list. The goals. The job. So, we beat ourselves up over it and get back to being focused, responsible, boring adults. Yet, isn’t falling in love with life exactly what we are all after in the first place? Isn’t that the very sparkle in the hopeless romantics eye? The universal language of hope, the endless search and reason. We actively seek it out. We listen to all of the songs, watch the movies and read all of the books. We dream of a world so promising that the poetry and lyrics remain damp on our lips as we sleep. Still, we can’t be bothered with the meticulous beating of our own hearts.

When you wake tomorrow, think of what a beautiful thing it is to be alive. Take a moment not to dread that it is Monday, because you are that much closer to another exciting Friday. Each day is so full of potential. Recognize it. Taste your coffee. Inhale and exhale consciously. Daydream. Wonder. Challenge yourself just because you can, with no end reward or list to check it off from. Maybe your challenge is a day without challenges. Maybe you just show up, do your best and the challenge is allowing that alone to be enough.

All I’m saying is, allow yourself a bit of grace when you have earned it.

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Lives DO Matter

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I’m not sure what to think about all of the news lately from the shooting in Dallas to all of the other many shootings we’ve seen against police and our black brothers and sisters. I’m deeply bothered by all of it, so of course I’ve got to say something.
Before you interpret what I’m about to say in your own way, you should know that I have known and do know several people who are victims of police brutality, racism and prejudice. Yes, some of those people are black. Some of those people are white. Some are Hispanic. None of these people or their families deserved what happened to them.
Here is what I know to be true about current events: 
All of this killing is unjust and unnecessary. 

All of the shootings against blacks have NOT been by ONLY police officers. It’s way bigger than that! It’s bigger than traffic stops and you tube.

Not all whites are racist. 

Not all police officers are white. 

Not all protestors are violent. 

Black lives DO matter.

Police officers lives matter.

Asian, Muslim, white, Indian, mixed, Japanese, Arabian, Samoan, tan, albino, red, gay, straight, Bi-sexual, transgendered, and human lives all matter! That shouldn’t be a debate if you respect human life. 
But… I’m not supposed to say “all lives matter”. Because that is now labeled offensive until further notice, or until something bigger happens and we get distracted by Starbucks cups, Justin Bieber or whatever we are told to hate in the next media brewed cocktail. 
Fact: Hate breeds hate. Ignorance breeds ignorance. Neither of these things will get you the results you want.
This is not a time to pick sides and make videos go viral. This is not changing anything. When we combine fear with ignorance, this is what our world looks like. Chaos. 
Think for YOURSELF. Educate yourself. Take a look at yourself and be the change in the world YOU want to see. God does NOT have Facebook and something isn’t going to change because you lay in bed at night clicking a share button.

Xoxo

Everything You Need

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You know how we are always on this mission as a society to find out who we really are and who we are supposed to be? Some of us are obsessed with it. We read all the articles, scan all the blogs, complete all 24 days of the 30 day challenges. We fail. We set ourselves up to fail by trying to follow some unrealistic goal to become this perfect robot of an individual. Yet, in trying to be perfect, we actually set ourselves WAY back. Maybe we try to sleep even though we aren’t tired because the perfect person gets 7-8 consecutive hours of sleep each night. We don’t eat when we are hungry because we’ve already reached our daily calorie goal, or we don’t eat at all because we are frustrated and then eat everything in sight! It doesn’t just apply to how we treat our bodies today but also to relationships. ESPECIALLY to relationships! The drama, the forced interactions, the people you don’t even like who you for some reason feel obligated to make unnecessary conversation with. When in reality, they probably don’t want to have the conversation either.

When we were all kids, we probably ate when we were hungry. We napped when we were tired. If someone was impolite or we just simply didn’t like them, we did not have to put up with that person unless they were an adult. When we were little, if it didn’t make us happy or satisfy our needs, we didn’t want it. We had no use for it. Kids are so smart!

As adults, we spend most of our time trying to make others happy instead of ourselves. We spend time on ourselves only trying to fit into the perfect box instead of understanding we don’t belong in any box to begin with. It is an unfortunate pattern I see in myself and in others too often. A pattern of self doubt that infects our quality of life each day. We lay in bed and worry about tomorrow as if it is promised. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Am I enough? Imagine if we used that same energy to make ourselves happy, how that happiness would infect our life with entirely different results!

Turns out… you can learn a lot about yourself by just going for a nice long run…a 13 mile run actually.

kat.halfmarathon

When I first decided to register for this half marathon 6 months ago, I was doing what I always do. I was making  a list of things I have never done and never thought I could do for the year. I like to have goals for the year so I have a road map of where I’m going. The bucket list has been my sense of purpose for quite some time now. I love my list. I have also noticed I am a little co-dependent with the list. Over the last year, I have made the list more flexible. I have removed and added new things. I have allowed myself to edit. I have allowed for things not to get checked off. Honestly, I was really worried this race was going to be one of those things. How could I actually do this?

For those of you who know me or have been following my blog, you might know that when I first started running I could barely run 2 minutes without gasping for air. I still struggle with a steady pace but I enjoy the struggle when it’s over. So I keep doing it.  I trained, I ran my ass off and I am damn proud to have completed this particular race in 2 hours and 38 minutes. That so far is my best. That is not perfect. That is not above average. That is not below average. That is just my best and that is totally enough for me. I now have the satisfaction of checking this off my list and the desire to do it all over again! Crazy, right?!

My first thought when I finished this race was “I didn’t know I could do that”. I didn’t know I could run 13 miles. I didn’t know I could out run the guy behind me. I didn’t know how amazing it would feel to finish it! The feeling of accomplishment among other runners matched with the mutual sense of community and support you feel around each other is the best part of any race. Nothing is forced out there. We are all just trying to do our best. We are all tired at the end. We all wanted to give up at some point but we didn’t. We didn’t give up. For some of us, completing our run every day may just be the one thing we feel like we have control over in our life.

No, I didn’t know I could actually run a half marathon in under my 3 hour goal. I also didn’t know I could graduate college with honors. I didn’t know when I was 16 that I would learn to drive and travel all over the United States. I didn’t know I could survive immeasurable loss and heartache. I didn’t know I could go back one day and stare it in the face. I didn’t know I could grow into what people tell me is an amazing writer. I didn’t know any of it. Sometimes what you don’t know about yourself is everything you need to start the incredible journey of discovery. That’s what life is. It is a journey. There will be set backs. There will be unexpected detours, road blocks and sometimes it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going. When you reach your destination it will most likely be more than you expected. It will be better. You will be better too for having reached it.

I’m so thankful for what I have learned that I didn’t know before. I’m so proud of the life I have built and the things I have gone through that made the path to get me here. No, I didn’t know any of it was possible. I didn’t have a master plan. I still don’t! I am just winging it. List in hand, all sights forward and living out loud. I hope I see you out there.

xoxo

Keep Going. Everything You Need Will Come To You At The Perfect Time:

Kat On a Hot Tin Roof

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What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof,  I wish I knew.... just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can.:

 

Fear.

It is the ultimate barrier between you and everything you have ever wanted. It is the top enabler of invisible limitations and my own personal favorite… procrastination! It fuels doubt and insecurity like a well oiled machine. Fear finds its way into your mind and your heart even when you sleep. It is relentless. That son of a bitch!

My first race of the summer is this Friday. Twilight 12k which is in celebration of the upcoming summer solstice. For those of you who may experience normal sunrise and sunset in the summer time, solstice for Alaska means … YAY FOR MIDNIGHT SUNSETS!!

Evening Glow Sunset - Alaska P.s. simple quest for everyone) Why did Bill die?:

A 12k is about 7.5 miles. The race is at 7:00pm in downtown Anchorage. That all sounded doable about a month ago.

That was a bad idea. I am in NO way ready to run 7.5 friggin miles…. I needed to boost my workouts last week and get some good 5 mile runs in at the very least to feel even close to ready! That was my plan to conquer this weeks goal. That WAS my plan!

So, of course, right on cue…(whenever I have an upcoming goal) I took ill. Yep, so sick to my stomach I slept for 2 days and couldn’t eat anything for the first day at all. No significant illness could be detected. I had no fever or anything like that, I just felt like I had been hit by a truck and then it came back for me a few times… just to make sure I knew where my place was. That place was in the dark and buried under covers on the 2 prettiest days we’ve had so far. I missed a week worth of runs. That’s 20 miles or more.

I do recall being fairly anxious the week before, dizzy when running, forgetting to eat the right things..” Oh wow… did I just have bacon and wine for dinner again? Dammit!”

Even though that fits right into my calorie goal if I do it right, that is not exactly a runners diet. Bacon is awesome! Don’t get me wrong here, I’m fairly confident that bacon with wine is the answer to all the problems in the world. However, I do know better. Eggs, tuna, quinoa, kale, lean protein, whole grain bread and fruit. That’s what I’m supposed to stick to, and most days I have! Except for well…  Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and most Friday nights!

My point is, I am not where I should be for this race. I am not where I wanted to be physically. I didn’t change enough of my habits to get there and in a way I probably made myself sick cutting out the right foods so I could fit in the wrong ones. This did not help me get ready. This did not properly fuel my workouts. My choices were not the best. Getting sick is not the only excuse I have. I have millions of excuses. Good ones too! I won’t list them here. No, I’m not cancelling the run even though if we are being perfectly honest… I want to. I want to throw myself down a flight of stairs instead of climbing set after set to build up my glutes!

Why? Because I am scared. I have never done this before!The most I have ever run in a race is a 5k. Those are simple and over fast, like a good one night stand! In and out, nothing to gain and nothing to lose. These runs are different. These runs require commitment to the distance. A few extra miles have never seemed so long to me. I am scared. I am scared I will fail, I am scared I will be last, and mostly I am scared about what that means for all the other goals I have set for myself. Am I aiming too high? Do I ask too much of myself? Should I set limits? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

I do know I am running this race Friday the best that I can. I do know I will likely be slower than most people there. I know the weekend after that I’m running 5 miles for breast cancer fundraising. The week after that it’s 13 miles for the Mayor’s Annual Marathon. 13 miles is only half. The fear continues, but so do I.

That’s the important part I guess. Trust me, when I’m at the gym running in front of other people or on a trail, I do not feel like a gazelle when I am doing it. I feel like an obese cabbage patch doll who just ate nachos. (Damn I love nachos..) I DO want to give up, I DO want to stop. The only problem with that is I want to succeed more. I want to finish more than I want to give up.

So think of me this Friday night when you are out with friends or relaxing at home, think of me as I move at turtle pace mile after mile. My thighs are already killing me from the stairs I climbed today and my ass feels like a brick HOUSE. Even so, I’ll be there. No matter how slow I go, I’ll be faster than the couch.

A little more confidence, a little less fear. Day by day. Race by race. I got this… 

xoxo

46 Quotes From Reddit That Will Change Your Life For the Better: Words can move you, make you happier, and motivate you.