27 March 2014

Tutugate 2014

Right now, there's a bit of social media hullabaloo regarding SELF magazine and tutus. Specifically the tutu of Monika Allen, the woman behind Glam Runner. Ms. Allen is a cancer survivor and the proceeds made by her tutu company go towards Girls on the Run charity.

So, when SELF requested a photo of her in full on tutu fabulous superhero gear, she happily provided it.

Then the issue came out.

From Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood

The text reads: A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these foufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it. 

Well then.

Dick Move #1
SELF should have been upfront about their intention in using the photo. Obviously they were well aware that if they called up Ms. Allen and said "Sooooo we want this one photo of you in that ridiculous superhero get-up 'cause we want to put it in our magazine and make fun of it" that she would say no. It was a lie by omission and unprofessional. Requesting personal photos for this reason is not cool.

Dick Move #2
It was poor and irresponsible journalism to post a photo of a person in the magazine without doing just a bit of research on the person. I mean, seriously. How hard is to spend five minutes on Google. More to the point, this is a magazine that promotes healthy living and while I get SELF thinks the tutu thing is ridiculous, why do they still feel it necessary to attach an actual person to that trend when that person is doing something healthy. Like, y'know, running. In a marathon. It would be like someone taking a picture of me and my bat wings and posting it making fun of my excess skin and calling it ugly without realizing that I have excess skin because I've worked my ass off to lose a significant amount of weight.

Dick Move #3
If a national magazine wants to mock a trend they find stupid, fine. But you don't require using someone's personal photos to do that. You could just have a photo of a brightly colored tutu on a plain white background. That would be enough to get the point across. Or, gosh, I don't know, use your own damn photos. I'm betting SELF has some photographers on staff. Put them to use for fuck's sake. Dress up an employee in a tutu and take photos of them or something. Again: requesting personal photos for this reason is not cool. 

Do I think SELF was looking to personally attack Ms. Allen? No. They were clearly mocking the trend but in mocking the trend they are also mocking the people who choose to adopt the trend. Which brings me to my final point.

It doesn't matter that she had cancer.

In an statement published by USA Today, SELF, editor in chief Lucy Danzier said "I am personally mortified. I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake. We shouldn't have run the item."

Here's the problem with that statement: it seems to suggest that it would have been okay to run the item if Monika had not been a cancer survivor. And that's simply not true. The fact that she had cancer is beside the point. The point is that a national health magazine requested personal photos of a person off the street doing a healthy activity without disclosing why they wanted the photos and published them. And the only reason they wanted the photos? They didn't like what she was wearing. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

the early bird catches the exercise worm

So, last week when I went to the gym super early it was because I happened to randomly wake up at 5 am and figured it was a good opportunity to get my half-marathon training long run in so I wouldn't have to worry about them during the Film Festival.

Yesterday, I purposely woke my ass up at 4:45 am to get to Planet Fitness before work for the same reason: I'll be back at  Tower City Center for the weekend and wanted to get those six miles out of the way. Because I'm a relatively slow runner I needed to get to the gym soon after it opened to give myself enough time to finish my run.

Honestly, though, I am really enjoying the early morning workout. There's almost nobody at the gym at that time so no worrying about having to wait for machines and once it's done, it's done and you don't have to spend the rest of the day thinking about how you need to get to the gym after work. Plus it sets a great tone for the remainder of my day because I don't want to undo all the hard work I put in that morning so I find I make better choices on days I workout in the morning versus days I work out in the afternoon/evening or don't work out at all.

(Also, truthfully, I don't have a TV at home. I watch everything online so those big screen TVs up overhead at the gym are becoming a bit of a guilty pleasure. And they make the treadmill way less tedious.)

I also did the math on my Planet Fitness membership. I went for the Black Card which is $21.65/ month and I've gone 5 times this month so far (I might try and make it in Saturday morning before the festival, will depend). That comes to $4.33 per gym visit. I mean, hellooooo. That's a number I can get behind.

In other news, FitBloggin is only three months away! I'm so so so excited and can't wait to finally meet all the people I've been communicating with over social media for the past few years. I may also have started the hunt for one or two fabulous pieces to wear for my boudoir photos. I'm seriously kind of leaning towards a super sexy black corset and a crinoline in a bright color. Take the more clothes is more approach. Plus, who doesn't love the idea of hanging out in a hotel room in nothing but crinoline and a corset?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 March 2014

staying healthy at tower city during the film festival

How was everyone's weekend?! Mine, of course, was spent at Tower City for the Cleveland International Film Festival. This really is one of my favorite features of this city and the great mix of films I saw (two documentaries, one drama, one comedy, and a shorts program) reminded me why.

Tower City Center

Knowing I was going to be spending much of the weekend sitting, I made an extra effort to give my FitBit a workout. Friday I was yet again up ridiculously early and decided to go to Planet Fitness to get a workout in. Then, when I had time to kill between movies I made a point to walk around the building. The Cleveland Union Terminal building is gorgeous with a long history here in the city but I had never really paid much attention to the architecture before.

One of the benefits of my pass is that it comes with entry to the Hospitality Headquarters up on the third floor. It's a space for film festival staff, pass holders, media, and filmmakers to go and hang out between films. Considering those of us who fit any of those categories are the ones spending all day at the festival, it's nice to have a place to go and relax that isn't the food court at Tower City.

They also provide us with food, often from local restaurants and businesses. Cookies from Gypsy Beans, baked goods from Zoss, and, of course, Cleveland's own Pierre's has ice cream.

They always have healthier options, too, like fruit or veggies, cheese, crackers with peanut butter, chips and salsa or guacamole, etc. (Basically, now that I think about it, lots of stuff with protein. Gots to keep our energy up, yo!) The food court also has some reasonable options, like a Subway and this really amazing build-your-own-salad restaurant. I also bring my own snacks to have on hand, but I like knowing I can always pop upstairs for something, too.

Up on the third floor there are also signs encouraging Tower City shoppers to do what I was doing: walk around. Apparently 9 laps around the top floor equals a mile (it's a smaller floor than the first and second, so those might be closer to 4 or 5 laps) and along the floor are these bright red signs with healthy information.

Friday I had over 15,000 steps and Saturday was just over 9,000. Not bad for someone who spent both of those days sitting around watching movies.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 March 2014

film festival friday


Well, okay, technically speaking the Cleveland International Film Festival started with their Opening Night Gala on Wednesday. But for me, because I work during the week and all, today is my first day getting to attend! Naturally I had to dress for the day with my hoodie purchased last year.

I am also once again turning to Mary Poppins with my CIFF tote bag full of goodies to keep me entertained and fed throughout the day, as I pretty much live at Tower City Center during film fest weekends.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I bought myself an all-access membership level pass for the 2014 Film Festival. I've had a pass like this in previous years as a member of the selection committee, but this year it was either buying my own or tickets. And, lemme tell ya, once you've had a pass you can never go back to tickets. I've been attending the Film Festival since, like, 1999 so after a good ten years of tickets -- and, goddess forbid, standby -- I am more than happy to fork over several hundred dollars to wear this lovely badge around my neck. I may also already be starting a savings plan to buy next year's pass. Because that's how I roll responsibly, yo.

The upside to this pass is that I can pretty much make up my film schedule as I go along. The downside then is that when people ask me what I'm seeing I kind of have to furrow my brow cock my head to one side, and say "Well, I'm not entirely sure yet..."

My favorite time of day is the early morning so usually I'll decide what I want to see for the first showing around 9 or 9:30 and decide what sort of mood I'm in as the day goes along, glancing through the film guide to see what is playing next. Am I in a foreign comedy mood or a thought provoking documentary frame of mind?

In other words, there are benefits to being single after all. Like discretionary income and indulgence purchases like this. Speaking of, at last year's film festival I met a handsome fella who I hung out with in between films and had dinner with in the evenings (and maybe also sometimes made out with, but shhhh, my family reads this). I referred to him as my Film Festival Fling because, well, as soon as the Film Fest was over I was kinda sorta over him. But it was good for the week and a half or so and I'm currently taking applications to be this year's FFF. Y'know, in case anyone out there in the Land of Cleves is interested....

If you happen to be at the Film Festival this year and see me, be sure to stop and say hi!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

19 March 2014

five o'clock fitness

Being that it's Wednesday and all, I was supposed to go to my usual 6:30 am spinning class over at Harness Cycle. I was registered and everything and had my alarm clock set only, y'know, my sleep had other ideas.

But wait! This isn't going where you think it is. I promise.

See, to get to my 6:30 am spinning class on time I usually get up at 5:45 am. Gives me enough time to grab a bit of coffee, wake up a bit and head on over. This morning, however, for whatever reason I was awake -- and by awake I mean bright eyed and bushy tailed -- at 5:00 am.

So, I had some options. I could get up and just give myself more time to get ready before spinning. I could go back to sleep. Or I could choose Door Number Three, which involved going to Planet Fitness. I was on that treadmill, watching some Law & Order: SVU by 5:45 am.

Not only did I kill it, but you should also be my FitBit Friend.

But, wait! This needs further explanation.

Not only is it Wednesday, it's a Wednesday at the end of March. Today, you see, is the start of my favorite time of year here in the Land of Cleves: it's the beginning of the Cleveland International Film Festival. If you've been reading this blog long enough you know I am a huge fan of the film festival and plan entire weekends around it. I've volunteered for them as well as been on the selection committee to help choose what films YOU guys see at the festival. This year I bought a membership level all-access pass and was so excited about camping out at Tower City Cinemas Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and indulging in some independent films.

Except, see, I'm in half-marathon training mode and have these long runs to worry about. Over on my blog's Facebook page, last night I was musing over how these next few weekends are going to be challenging for my half training because of everything going on. At the time, the only  thing I could come up with was forgoing some films at the festival to make sure I got my runs in.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Did I actually just say that? Me? Film Festival Gal? Skip some films to go running. I just said that. Me.

Don't get me wrong. I love running. I love that I'm currently training for my second half-marathon. I love how running makes me feel. But for fuck's sake, I done lost my mind with that comment.

So when I was awake at five o' clock this morning and realized that if I left right away I'd have enough time to get my 5 miles in and still have time to get home and get ready for work and, therefore, have this week's long run completely out of the way so I could blissfully enjoy the film festival this weekend...

Well, I was out that door faster than you can say Action!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 March 2014

recap: 34th annual st. malachi five miler

Another race is in the books! This time it was the annual St. Malachi race which is one of Cleveland's biggest races, with close to 5000 people participating! (I think that is combined for both the 5 mile and 2 mile.) This is also a race that encourages dressing up. Apparently I've become one of those runners that gets in on the action.

The sparkly shamrocks did pretty well for most of the race, although the wind got to a point where I did have to take them off because they were creating drag and slowing me down.

My approach to this race was a lot different than any of my other races. See, I know myself well enough to know that I'm not yet at a point where I can run an entire race except for a short distance like a 5K. There will be walking. It is inevitable. Normally, however, I just run until I can't run anymore and then walk and hopefully start running again at some point. This has been my approach for, well, all of my races and, y'know, I've managed to finish all of them so clearly it works.

Lately, however, I've been wondering if that's the best approach and if, instead, I should build walking into my runs. Basically doing races and, really, all running utilizing intervals. It's what I've been doing at Planet Fitness as I've been using the treadmill for half marathon training and so on Saturday I decided to put it to the test at St. Malachi by running for 10 minutes, walking for 3, and on and on for five miles.

I crossed the St. Malachi finish line with a chip time of 1:16:37, which came to a 15:19 minute mile. Not my fastest, but not my slowest either. More than the time, however, I just felt better about the run. I felt strong and as if I could keep running, which I think was really key. I think with my other races when I try to keep running and running I wear myself out and end up walking more simply because I'm too tired to run anymore. By staggering the running I was able to stay focused and tell myself "Just keep going for another 5 minutes and then you get a small break" and was able to power walk for a few minutes. When I would start running again I felt a big burst of adrenaline.

I think my ultimate long-winded, not very well explained point is that intervals really seemed to boost my overall morale and endurance and I think it's something I'm going to continue incorporating into my runs and especially my upcoming half in May.

This really is becoming one of my favorite Cleveland races and the best part is that it's so fucking close to my apartment. I'm not even kidding, it's a little ridic. This year the finish line was literally across the street from my building. Just imagine: run five miles, grab a banana, then just walk across the street and voila. Home.

Of course, yesterday I had to put together my racing scrapbook page. Because I am a big ol' nerd.

Yes. I own Muppets pj pants. I know you are totes jealous.

Prior to the race I ran into my college roommate Megan, which is always fun. Since graduating 10 years ago we have kept in touch and over the past few years that I've been running occasionally run into each other at races. She was actually waiting for me at the finish line of my very first race. One of her goals for this year is to run one race every month which I think is fantastic. I also found out her mom reads my blog, so hi Mrs. C!

This year another fun thing Hermes did was have a couple of contests related to the St. Malachi race. I did design a t-shirt for the t-shirt contest but was happy to lose to the winner because I really liked this year's design. I also was all over the website Shamrock Hunt and when I submitted my answer after the race, the box that popped up said I had the correct answer so fingers crossed I win me some moola (though the third place prize of a free race entry would be pretty sweet, too.)

Does anyone else do walking/run intervals on a regular basis?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 March 2014

Hellooooooo and Happy Friday!

I don't know about you all, but I'm so hoping for nice weather this weekend. Obviously there are lots of reasons to want sunshine, but most importantly tomorrow I'll be racing in the 34th Annual St. Malachi Run!

I did this race last year and had a great run despite the awful weather. St. Malachi always hosts their annual race around St. Patrick's Day and this year I'm taking things up a notch by dressing up.

I'm not one to really dress up for races but after getting my pink bunny on for the Christmas Story House 10K back in December, I get it now so when I saw the sparkly green shamrock headband for, like, $2 at Target, I said what the hell.

I think my favorite part about the St. Malachi race is how close the start/finish line is to my apartment. Considering how big the race gets and how limited parking is, being able to roll out of bed and walk two blocks to a race is the most amazing thing ever.

The funny slash convenient thing is that St. Malachi is a 5 Miler and my half-marathon training plan called for a 5 mile long run this weekend. Talk about luck of the Irish, amirite?

Any other Cleveland runners doing St. Malachi? If you see me, be sure to stop and say hi!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 March 2014

what I love wednesday: fiona apple's better version of me

On the weekends, whether I'm writing, working on my Etsy shop, or just hanging out online, I tend to always have a Pandora station playing. I have enough Pandora stations lined up to fit any and all moods I could potentially be in, but this past weekend I was in the mood for some Fiona Apple.

Usually the music is just background noise that I tend to zone out, but something about this song -- which I had never head before prior to, say, Friday -- got in my head and I couldn't stop listening to it. I mean that seriously, too: I ended up buying it from iTunes and having it playing on repeat the better part of the weekend.


I'm in love with this song so much that as soon as I was registered for my usual 6:30 am spinning class at Harness Cycle I immediately contacted my instructor Katie and put it in as a request. Not only did she play it as the warm-up song -- making it the perfect start to my day -- but every class she has a theme or message she wants all of us to carry with us on the bikes and then when we got out into the world after class and so this morning she kept encouraging all of us to be better versions of ourselves.

That's pretty much at the heart of my "be your own hero" motto -- just always see yourself as a work in progress and constantly strive to make choices that will create a better version of the fabulous, awesome you that you already are.

Is there any particular song you're especially digging these days?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 March 2014

review: my oatmeal

As a Fit Approach member, I was recently given an opportunity to design and try my own healthy oatmeal combination at My Oatmeal.com for free. Considering how much I lurve me some breakfast food and eat oatmeal most days during the work week, I naturally jumped all over this chance.

At first I thought, "Oh great! Design my own healthy oatmeal blend? How hard can that be?"

Then I actually went to the website and was so totally overwhelmed by the amount of options that I didn't even know where to begin and it seriously took me, like, three days to try again.

Eventually I decided to design a carrot cake blend because, hi, carrot cake. My most favoritest kind of cake of all time. (No, seriously. If you're going to bake me something, bake me carrot cake, k?) I started with the basic quick rolled instant oats, added in their carrot cake flavoring, brown sugar flavor, and vanilla frosting flavor (because what's carrot cake without some icing on top, amirite?). Then I added in golden raisins and walnuts.

My Oatmeal highly recommends adding in some kind of sweetener when designing your custom blend but I like to have more control over the amount of added sugar going in so even though they offered the artificial sweetener Sucralose, I still opted to not include it in my blend. When I had this a few days ago for the first time I just added my own level of sugar and all was good.

We Fit Approach members were provided with a dollar amount to spend on the My Oatmeal website and while I was trying to figure out if I had enough still left to build another custom blend I was met with the option of purchasing a Mystery Blend for significantly less than building my own. I'm not one to usually go for grab bags or anything like that but with this I was willing to take a chance.

I got the small bags 1 lb bags of this healthy oatmeal and they were still much bigger than I was anticipating, which makes me super happy because both blends are so so so yummy. I still have absolutely no idea what flavoring is in the Mystery Blend (the nutritional information just says added flavoring but doesn't give details and my taste buds are failing at guessing) but it's so good and my carrot cake blend is to.die.for. Seriously. I want to marry it, that's how much I love it.

I also love that the nutritional information was included right on the bags. Of course I immediately figured out the Weight Watchers points for each blend and wrote them right on the bag. Naturally a same size serving of one of these is higher points value than just regular plain instant oats, so I won't be eating them all the time but they'll be a nice treat and the "best used by" date is end of August.

Have you ever made a healthy oatmeal blend with MyOatmeal.com? Also, be sure to check out Busy Being Jennifer's blog for a feature on my Etsy shop, PK Paper Company!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

05 March 2014

what's up, wednesday?!

As mentioned last week, along with winning a free race entry from Anchored in CLE, I also won a free subscription to Runner's World from Run Bake Blog! First issue arrived Monday, woot woot!

Just flipping through this issue, I can already tell that the articles are going to be incredibly helpful for my training and running in general and I'm already excited to see what articles appear in future issues.

(In other news I bought a new fancy schmancy computer over the weekend, trading in my seven year desktop for a oh-so-lovely new all-in-one with a ginormous monitor. The light in my office is clearly not good, as seen in the photo above, but once I get that all figured out I may start doing vlogs again!)

My training is going well, I love utilizing Harness Cycle for my cross-training, and after not running for a few months I'm starting to feel more confident about running the St. Malachi 5 Mile race on the 15th. Honestly, though, all I care about is the weather because holy hell last year Mother Nature took a lot of rage out on us runners.

(I also may or may not be planning on getting in the holiday spirit for St. Malachi and dressing up. The get-up may involve sparkly shamrocks. BUT I REFUSE TO CONFIRM OR DENY THAT.)

Last week a few of my co-workers were talking about this twelve week class they teach and how twelve weeks translates to 1/4 of a year. The training plan I'm currently using for the Cleveland Half Marathon and will probably use again for the Rock 'n' Roll CLE Half is twelve weeks. That means that I will spend half of 2014 -- six whole months -- training for half marathons.

I swear to goddess, sometimes the things that come out of my mouth these days....

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

03 March 2014

dear barrio

I'm a big fan of brunch. In fact, I'm a big fan of breakfast just about any time of day, as my Twitter profile indicates. My friends Michelle and Sara are also big fans of brunch and we are big fans of Barrio so about a month ago when we decided to start doing brunch on a somewhat regular basis we decided to start with your establishment.

Of course, when I say a month ago I mean Super Bowl Sunday, a day you were apparently not open. Your social media profiles all seemed to suggest it was because of the game, which left us a little confused considering we were brunching at, like, 11 and the Super Bowl didn't start until that night....

Whatever. Town Hall was perfectly happy to take our money and we were perfectly happy to eat their fabulous pancakes.

Yesterday morning we decided to yet again brunch and decided to yet again try Barrio. According to your website you open at 10am on Sundays, which was perfect for us.

Michelle and Sara were travelling from the East Side so being a downtown/west side gal I was there first and arrived a little bit before 10. Door was locked, but I was a bit early, and then I noticed that the hours on the door said you didn't open until 11. Well, now, that was a bit weird, but, y'know, maybe you hadn't gotten around to changing the etching?

I go back to my car and was texting with Sara and verifying the time on the website, which indeed said 10. So I decided to call. No answer, but then the message picks up and the voice starts telling me the hours. Perfect!

Except according to the message on your phone you don't open until 1pm on Sundays.

Even more confused, I yet again get out of my car to see if maybe I can flag someone down in the restaurant. While I'm standing there, an employee comes by to get in. I ask what time they open, she says 11. I say that the website says -- and she kind of sighs and nods and says "I know. I keep telling my boss to change it but he won't listen."

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

To recap. Website says 10 am. Front door says 11 am. Phone message says 1pm. Oh, and their Facebook page? Yeah, according that they open at noon on Sundays.

Ohhhhhh, Barrio. No wonder you were practically empty that one time I managed to brunch there months ago: nobody knows what the hell your hours are. 

Whatever. Lucky's was perfectly happy to take our money and we were perfectly happy to eat that fabulous toast and house made jam.

Look. I don't mean to brag or anything, but Sara, Michelle, and I are kind of a big deal. So when all three of us go to social media outlets to voice our frustration at yet again not being able to brunch at your restaurant, people listen to us. This is the second time in the span of a month that your bizarre hours have screwed me out of a Dirty Morning breakfast taco and margarita and I was really, really looking forward to both.

Sooooo yeah. I'm pretty much done with you, Barrio. For, like, ever. I would do the whole "It's not you, it's me" thing except in this case it really is you.

If any Clevelanders have brunch suggestions, let me know. We're putting together a list for these lil monthly gatherings of ours. East side, West side, wherever and bonus points if they serve a boozy brunch (which Lucky's does not, but we managed to survive). 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

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