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Friday Fun: Quirks 3.0

May 29, 2015

Quirks are those personality traits that seem quite annoying when you’re with someone but totally endearing when you’re apart. I shared a few of my own quirks then thought it was fun enough to share some more. Apparently I have more interesting oddities to reveal because I’m back at it again!

Here are a few more of my (hopefully mostly endearing) personality quirks:

I sing in the car. Badly, might I add. I prefer to be alone in the car so that no one hears my terrible singing. The fun part is that despite having a crappy memory, I can recall the majority of lyrics, even to songs I haven’t heard in years.

I sleep in shorts that are over 15 years old. These are soccer uniform shorts from a team I was on during junior high, so I was probably 13 or 14 when I got them. They’re completely beat up – ripped and worn through – but so dang comfortable. While I’m sure my Mom is glad to have gotten her money’s worth out of these shorts, I’m also certain she wishes they’d mysteriously disappear or get eaten by the washing machine.

red soccer shorts

I only wear my hair up for workout activities. This includes the gym, hiking, soccer, etc. I just don’t like to wear my hair up in public which is so incredibly odd because it contradicts my “I’m always hot” disposition. Plus, I went through all of ninth grade only wearing my hair up. Good luck figuring that one out.

I shop like a man. I know what I want so I’m in and out. Actually, I prefer to not even go to the store. Amazon Prime to the rescue! That subscription is dangerous, my friends.

What are some quirks you have? Sometimes they’re pretty fun and sometimes they’re “whoa where did that come from?!”

Get Active: My Garmin Vivofit Fitness Tracker

May 28, 2015

I had been eyeing up a fitness tracker for 2+ years. Last year I had firmly decided on a Fitbit Force but hadn’t pulled the trigger because… I don’t know. Probably because that meant bringing some sort of fitness into my life for a fitness tracker to track. Makes sense, right? Thought so.

During my research, I read about rumors that Garmin was coming out with its own wristband fitness tracker. I already have a Garmin GPS watch for running (what little I do) and knew the brand was pretty much guaranteed to produce a solid, well-thought-out product. I waited for its release and in the meantime, the Fitbit Force was recalled. You probably heard that users were getting a rash on their wrist, something I am 99% certain I would’ve experienced due to nickel in the wristband (I’m allergic).

When I finally decided to get my butt in gear and get active, purchasing a fitness tracker was part of the game plan. I re-visited the Fitbit line to see if they’d done anything nickel-free (they hadn’t) and I also read and watched a ton of reviews and comparisons across multiple fitness trackers. There’s a standard level of functionality that all popular fitness trackers meet, and each have little perks that help it stand apart from the rest. That’s true for the Garmin Vivofit too, but its perks boosted it miles above the rest.

Here’s specifically why I went with the Garmin Vivofit:

  • It has a display. This was paramount. I didn’t want to have to sync to my phone every few hours of the day just to see my progress.
  • It tells me when I need to get up and move! The display shows a progressive red line if I’ve been idle for too long.
  • Battery life is ONE YEAR. I don’t have exact stats but that’s about 48+ weeks longer than any other tracker’s battery life claims to be.
  • It’s waterproof. No taking it off for the shower or worrying that normal moisture would break my precious tracker.

Garmin Vivofit

One of my favorite aspects of the Garmin Vivofit is that it sets you up for success. Other fitness trackers seem to have a constant daily goal, such as 10,000 steps. With my desk job, that’s not a reasonable goal for me except on weekends and soccer days. The way it works is that it chooses a step goal and if I complete that amount, the goal goes up for the next day; if I don’t hit the amount, the goal either stays the same or goes down. I love that it wants me to succeed! Hitting a goal makes you feel good and gets you working harder.

Ricketts Glen State Park - Janelle

The most common question I get asked about my Garmin Vivofit: is that a Fitbit? Which makes me laugh because apparently “Fitbit” has become Band-Aid and Kleenex and Scotch Tape in that folks will just call any fitness tracker a Fitbit.

Seriously though, the most legitimate question I’m asked: is it accurate? The answer is that it’s as accurate as any other tracker available, which is to say that they’re all fairly equally inaccurate. If you try to “test” it by taking ten steps, it’ll probably show 15 or so. But that’s not the point. The point is for ANY fitness tracker to get you up off your bum! Mine has. I’ve taken walks around my neighborhood or living room to hit my daily goal. I’ve gone on long hikes to beat Garmin community members in steps challenges. I’ve gotten up from my desk at work and circled the building to make that annoying (in a good way) red line go away.

It works. But you have to work too.

hiking with Hootie - heart rock

A fitness tracker simply measures your level of activity throughout the day. Different trackers manage different statistics but most will at least show you how many steps you took during a given day, broken down into hourly chunks on a chart. Some, like the Vivofit, do estimate the distance those steps took you and the calories you’ve burned but again, those are estimates. A fitness tracker isn’t a GPS running watch and it doesn’t know if your recent 1000 steps were a leisurely walk around the block or a sprint on the soccer field, two totally different activities when it comes to burning calories.

A fitness tracker is a tool to help you become and stay healthy but it isn’t going to automatically make you healthy. It encourages you to be more active.

hiking in California

After ten months of use, I’m extremely happy with the Vivofit. There’s now a Vivofit 2 plus other options from Garmin to help you track your active lifestyle. I’m confident they are all quality products.

Do you have a fitness tracker or step counter? What factors influenced your purchase decision? If you don’t have one, have you ever thought about getting one?

Create: Motivational Fitness Art

May 27, 2015

My personal trainer, Matt, works really hard with me both in preparation and during our actual sessions. I appreciate his hard work and I thank him by working hard myself.

I wanted to do something more interesting to thank him though. I’ve written him thank you notes and that’s about all he will accept. So I had an idea to create a piece of art that included some kind words from me.

This isn’t it.


As soon as I started thinking about that, a vision popped into my head and I got to working on it right away.

You know the bicep flex iPhone emoji? I put it beside “PT with Matt” three times per week in Sunrise, my phone calendar app. That one tiny little emoji serves as motivation and a reminder why I go to the gym. This piece of art is based on the bicep flex emoji.

First I sketched out an outline of the emoji. Drawing is not my strong suit but I think it turned out “close enough.” (Yep, I totally threw perfectionism out the door for this project!)

creating motivational fitness art - cut out colors and shapes

I also cut blue and tan-like colors out of magazines. For the tan colors, I ended up dividing the group into one pile of “skin” and one pile of “natural” (which was wood, food, leather, etc); I went with the skin colors and scrapped the rest.

I cut out the bicep flex and traced it onto an old canvas (which had been painted on before) just so I knew how much background coverage was needed.

At this point I just cut all of the magazine snippets into strips of varying widths, angles, and lengths. I used matte Mod Podge and brushed it on the canvas which helped the magazine strips stick right away. Just be careful not to use too much glue or the strips get super wrinkly. Unless you’re going for the wrinkly look, in which case… glue on with your bad self.

creating motivational fitness art - glue background

I glued the tan magazine strips directly to the emoji cutout. When it was done, I just turned it over and cut around the outline once more.

creating motivational fitness art - glue foreground

At this point I was getting SO excited because the art was really coming together and it was almost done. I glued the cutout onto the blue canvas and covered it in a coat of gloss Mod Podge.

I was originally going to put Matt’s name at the bottom of the art. That’s when I realized that a) that was kind of lame and too small anyway, and b) I’m not sure this type of art is Matt’s style. He has a FRESH START calendar but I didn’t want to push art on him. Art is such a personal preference and it’s hard to guess what someone might like.

Ultimately I decided to make this for myself. What did I want the art to say? GET STRONGER. Hell yeah!

motivational fitness art by the20what

I love love looooove the way this turned out. I can’t stop staring at it. Not only do I love the way it looks, but I also love the way it makes me feel: strong and ready to work hard.

creating motivational fitness art by the20what

I made this in a few hours in one sitting. I think a whole series of these with different muscles and in other bold but related colors could be fun in a home gym, as part of a gallery wall, or just as a collection together.

You could easily reproduce a similar project, even if you’re not crafty or artistic at all. The hardest part was sketching the emoji which you could shortcut by printing out an image. (I don’t have a printer so my only option was hand-drawing it). Everything else was a breeze and it was so much fun watching the whole thing come together.

Have you ever made a piece of art to inspire yourself or others? Have you seen any other fun motivational fitness art? I’d love to experiment more with this line of art and see what happens!

PS – There’s some fun art available in my Bold By Janelle Etsy shop. You can also check out over a dozen creative projects I’ve shared over the years. The most popular: painted terracotta pots, fabric flower bouquets, geometric Himmeli wreath.

Currently – 5/26/2015

May 26, 2015

currently - 5/26/2015 - niece

Missing my niece, her siblings, and her parents already after a way-too-short visit this past weekend.

Getting a new mattress delivered today. I’m a big girl now!

Reading Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech, the mother of Zach Sobiech who was featured in Soul Pancake’s My Last Days documentary.

Drinking Sheetz’s “fluffle puff” smoothie lately which is marshmallow & peanut butter + chocolate. Also known as heaven. (PS – Don’t tell me how many calories are in it).

Loving that this is a short work week, especially because I’m…

Traveling to see Ginger BFF on Friday! And Garth. Don’t forget about Garth.

Slacking on making my lunches ahead of time this week. I will surely pay for that later.

Planning to send out some snail mail love as soon as I can get to the post office.

Wearing the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 every day and absolutely loving them. They get a lot of compliments too!

Finishing some creative projects within the next few days.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner of coconut shrimp made by John because a) it’s tasty and b) I don’t have to make it.

Feeling odd (and flabby) that this will be an intentional rest week from working out.

Avoiding thinking about June yet. Don’t make me!

What’s currently going on in your world? Share with me please?!

Web Wandering

May 22, 2015

web wandering

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Killing time at work till 5pm? Or want to read some fun things this weekend? Let’s wander the web together!

My favorite thing to share with you today: 4 Reasons Women Should Train for Strength. Specifically, this talks about the goal of getting stronger. Amen, sista. That’s my jam right now.

My darling boyfriend John has what I call The Face. I’ve tried to explain The Face to two different therapists and no one gets it. It’s this horrible look that he doesn’t know he’s giving. Probably both of us should study up on Mixed Signals: Why People Misunderstand Each Other. (Found via Elise)

I am dying dying dying to incorporate this piñata cake approach to my birthday cake in September. With waaaay more sprinkles on the outside, of course.

Last year I spent a ton of time brainstorming what skills I have and how they translate into the business world. If you’re in need of doing that, check out 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Discover What You’re Good at (and forgive them for ending the article title in a preposition).

I don’t know what it is about pizza that makes it so darn delicious but here are some pizza rolls that I just can’t stop drooling over. (Found via How Sweet It Is)

Do you have trouble with sleep? It might have something to do with your cortisol levels. Oh women and our hormones… Lack of Sleep and Hormone Havoc: What to Do About It is an insanely helpful resource to help figure out what’s going on with your body and how to resolve it.

Blueberry breakfast cookies! One of my favorite cookie recipes is also from How Sweet and it involves blueberries that burst a little while baking and a little in your mouth. It’s blueberry heaven. I imagine these breakfast cookies are too.

Feeling introspective? My ginger RV-loving hero, Heath, explains The Reason Why I Can’t Sit Still. I could relate to him so much that I practically left him a novel in the comments. If you’re constantly doing things, read this one.

In case you have a little extra time this three-day weekend (don’t forget to take some time to remember our Veterans though!), here are 21 Inspiring Books That Will Make You Want to Quit Your Job. I’m not sure if I should read every book on this list or avoid them. Could be dangerous :)

Have you been wandering the web too? Got something to share? Link to it in the comments!

The Perfectionist’s Struggle

May 21, 2015

I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. It’s the Type A in me. Can you relate?

“What is one strength and one weakness?” is a common interview question. One of those answers for me is “being a perfectionist” but I’m never sure whether to say it’s a strength or weakness because it truly is a double-edged sword. It means I do things right and with my whole heart but not quickly.

It can also be annoying and a huge hinderance.

When I designed the FRESH START calendar, I knew I wanted to include a message that spoke to perfectionists. It turned out to be one of my favorites. (It’s also May’s art. Did you see it when you flipped to May?)

FRESH START calendar - May

I like the P theme but mostly, I like that it’s a reminder to focus on, acknowledge, and reward yourself for progress and passion. There’s no need to feel anxiety over perfection if you feel passionate and you’re making progress.

This is something I struggle with three times per week at the gym. I absolutely LOVE working out with my trainer, Matt, and he’s always pointing out my progress. He says things like “You just beat your last PR by seven pounds.” or “Four weeks ago you were at this weight. Try it. Feels like feathers, right?”

My default response is to minimize my progress every single time. It’s the voice in my head! “Yeah… but I wanted to be at this goal.” Or “Yeah, I did it… but I didn’t get as low as I wanted to.”

Matt probably wants to slap me. Hell, should want to slap me! Can I just keep my mouth shut and recognize the steps I’m taking forward, no matter how small they are? Acknowledge that I just started lifting nine months ago and absolutely fell in love with it? Appreciate that Matt is helping me improve almost every single workout? It makes me sick just thinking about how my perfectionist tendencies can get in the way of truly appreciating where I started, where I am now, and the work put in and progress made in between.

FRESH START calendar - May 2015

All of that to say… I’m working on it. And if you are too, this quote is for you. Remember to take a moment to savor progress and your passion for a project, hobby, career, or lifestyle. Maybe it’s a sport, maybe it’s your job, or maybe it’s parenting. This reminder applies to so many aspects of life.

Let’s try to remember that perfection isn’t a realistic goal. It is difficult to shift our internal dialog from perfection to recognizing progress and acknowledging when we feel passionate. It’s completely worth it though. I’m really looking forward to shutting those default responses down and instead patting myself on the back for taking action and making progress. It’ll be a nice change from beating myself up over not hitting unrealistic goals.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? How has it affected your life (positively and negatively)? What’s your approach to moving away from perfectionism?

PS – If this post strikes a chord with you, there are a handful of discounted FRESH START calendars left. Use it as a wall calendar for the rest of the year then frame this month’s art as a permanent reminder to be kind to yourself.

More Love Letters – May 2015

May 20, 2015

It’s time to write some love letters!

More Love Letters - May 2015

How cute are those smiling Cheerio-like cereal pieces?! See? Snail mail makes people happy.

I continue to write notes in response to More Love Letters’ letter requests because it makes people feel good. Period. The bonus is that it’s damn good karma. I would hope that when I’m going through a period of struggle and despair, someone would write me a note. If that’s my hope, I figure I better do the same for others. Plus I love buying notecards and writing notes!

More Love Letters - May 2015

Sometimes I read the letter requests and I can’t relate to the situation at all; I’ve never been in their shoes. But I can relate to being human, feeling down, needing a pick-me-up. I can relate to emotions they are going through. And even if I can’t find a thing to connect with them on (which hasn’t happened yet in my 2.5 years of love lettering), I can still find something nice to say to build them up.

If you’ve been hesitating to write notes to strangers because you think you won’t know what to write, I can confidently say that you will figure it out. It’ll come to you. And if by chance your mind is still blank, just write a nice quote you find online and call it a day.

We all feel better sometimes just being with someone or hearing from someone, knowing that they thought of us. It’s the same here. You can write a lot or you can write a little and the point is that you took the time out of your day to do it.

More Love Letters - May 2015

If you’d like to write some notes for More Love Letters, here are the letter requests. Get those puppies in the mail by tomorrow, May 21st.


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