How to look younger: I’m really not a child bride

Anyone I ever complain to about this tells me they would kill for this problem. That’s the same thing people tell me about my curly hair -they’d kill me, scalp me and make my hair into a wig.

Maybe I should be really, really scared of these people.

Normally I’m okay with people thinking I’m a lot younger than my 22 years. However, there is a line. And that line is when the cashier at World Market tries to keep me from buying my wine. Yesterday, there I was, just trying to check out, when the cashier started freaking out.

“I’m really going to need to see your ID,” he said. He looked at it. “This can’t be real. There’s no way you’re old enough to buy alcohol. I can’t sell you wine. I don’t want to go to jail!”

I blinked at him. I wasn’t wearing pigtails. I didn’t have pants with JUICY written across my butt. I thought I looked moderately professional.

“I’m definitely old enough,” I told him, snippily. Maybe my grouchy tone indicated my happy youthful exterior was an illusion, but he eventually rang me up, shaking his head the whole time.

I got my wine, so it turned out okay. But this happens all the time. I’d be fine if people thought I was just in college. But clearly I look, much, much younger.

“Are you excited about prom, honey?” asked an elderly lady while I was looking at shoes in the mall.

“Wow, I can’t believe you’re actually 21! You look like a friend of my daughter’s at her high school!” remarked yet another cashier trying to take my wine away.

The absolute craziest of these instances happened last year, when I was working in the coffee shop. One customer caught sight of my wedding rings and was fascinated by them.

“How long have you been married, honey?” she asked. I told her six months.

“Oh! Wow!” she said, her eyes darting around. She leaned closer and started whispering. “You know, dear, you don’t have to stay. There’s help. I can get you out, if you need help.”

I blinked. “Excuse me?”

“I mean, how old are you, honey?”

“Twenty two.”

She stared. “OH! I’m so sorry. I saw a special on 60 minutes the other night on child brides from West Virginia, and I thought . . .well, I though you were only 14. . . ”

Yeah. That happened. But, since I believe in making the most delightful lemonade from lemons, I present:

Five Ways To Make Money by Looking Younger

  1. Get knocked up. Take your pretty young face straight to MTV and get cast on Teen Mom. Lie about your age. It’s cool, everyone will believe you.
  2. Drawing deep on your acting talent, develop a personality disorder that causes America to hate you yet follow your every move with reckless abandon.
  3. Write a book loosely based on your life.
  4. Start a fashion line.
  5. Pop up randomly on other reality shows, like Celebrity Rehab, Celebrity Boot Camp or a yet-to-be-determined spin-off of Teen Mom.
Now, just count your dollars, and use them to buy pants with JUICY written across your butt.

Because nothing is classier than free advertising on your butt.

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Desk workouts for the fit office lunatic

It’s no secret that I work in a cubicle farm. As farms go, they’re not half bad. The sun occasionally overpowers the fluorescent lights, and there’s a water cooler and free breakfast on Fridays. Exercise, however, is not something I fit in at my desk.

Apparently, friends, I’ve been doing this all wrong. Since sitting at a desk for hours a day shortens your life, it is necessary, it is vital, for us office workers to take a stand (literally) and commence in strange arm motions and alterna-desks that will make us look like (fit! healthy!) lunatics.

So abandon your office chair, conventional desk, and every modicum of self respect and get your office workout on today!

1. Treadmill desks

Why settle for something as silly as a simple chair when you could walk your way to the top? For the low price of $2,593, you can prolong your life one humiliating step at a time with a treadmill desk!

The decrease in typing speed, concentration and productivity of yourself and mocking co-workers is just a small price to pay for your health.



2. Exercise ball chairs

Look at this guy:

Doesn’t he look delighted to be using his new exercise ball in place of a chair? To have his bottom lovingly coddled by the firm yet yielding rubber? So delighted, in fact, he has abandoned his work, and is merely staring into an empty manila folder.

“Where did it all go wrong?” He wonders, his thoughts struggling to be heard over the sound of a nearby treadmill and giggling co-workers. “Why can’t I balance on this thing?”

Use of an exercise ball as a chair is as follows:

  • Sit on ball.
  • Wiggle.
  • Topple off of the ball, and feel pride crash to the floor along with your body.

3. Workout Routines

Photos from Good Housekeeping

When you get tired of falling off your exercise ball, you too can awkwardly squat over your chair, just like this woman! This 25 minute office fitness routine, which involves stairs, windmill stretches, squats and wall pushups, is designed to keep you mobile and fit by moving you repeatedly through the office for 25 minutes while everyone else is working.

Why do this at the gym or home where it might look normal, when one could just as easily do it in an environment designed for well-dressed computer productivity?

So ignore your laughing coworkers as you squat for 2-3 minutes over your exercise ball. Pay no attention to your boss asking you where your report is as you do wall pushups outside of his office. Those people on the first floor have no reason to complain about you tramping up and down the stairs for 20 minutes. You are fit! You are fabulous!

You are fired.

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Summer Goals – Why Yes, These Are Inspirational

Like the new blog name?

Unfortunately for my hips, there’s been a little too much candy eating and not enough running the past few weeks. My office got a huge project, which led to more than a few 60 hour workweeks. Out of the goodness of their little office hearts, a basket of candy was placed next to my cubicle.

Next, a craving for Cheez-its hit. One Costco trip later, me and the other writers happily sustained ourselves on candy, Cheez its and coffee for the next three weeks.

So glorious. So, so bad for my hips.

Running feels like a traitorous friend right now. My knee has been feeling a little off since the half, so I’ve only been doing 6-10 miles a week and some yoga. My body is really confused by this lowered mileage, assuming that each two mile run means that a six-eight mile run is following. Which means I get ridiculously hungry from my 20 minute run. Since I spent the last two months going “I ran 11 miles! FOOOOOD!” I’m not really quite sure what to eat anymore.

I’m really not interested in dieting. I have plans, goals and aspirations. I want to enjoy my food. I want to complete my mission to try every flavor of Wegman’s sorbet.

Nothing must stand in the way of my quest!

I don’t want to go on some 1200 calorie diet, since I’d like to actually have the energy to do workouts that aren’t just slowly plodding on the elliptical. I don’t really want to give up my exciting journey through the sorbet of Wegmans. Or my cheese.

I think I’ll view the couple extra pounds the way I viewed my super long runs: Hard, but worth it to reach my end goals.  And in this case, the goal is my exciting path through a pint of green apple sorbet.

Or pepper crusted goat cheese on baguette.

Or grapefruit sorbet.

Or pulled pork sandwiches.

Anyone else getting hungry?

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How I ran on the highway to get to my half marathon

Thanks to the Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon, I’m officially Frederick Half 2a half marathoner! I survived and managed a 2:42 time, which was right between my A and B goals.

What I’m most excited about, of course, is my new blingy medal. I’ve been getting some looks in stores from people, but I know they’re all just jealous that their jewelry isn’t as big, shiny, or accomplishment screaming as mine. My medal holds up well for all occasions, although I have to hold it down while running, since it likes to smack me in the face. I think I almost strangled myself in my sleep with it the other night, but I woke up just fine.

Actually Getting to the Event

All the literature from the marathon planners said to be at the race at 6:45 to ensure you’d be nicely in place at the 7:30 start. Christopher and I did all the right things for this to happen. We were out the door at 6 am. We were in Frederick at 6:30. We stopped on the highway and didn’t move more than an inch for fifteen minutes.

Yes, true to form, I panicked. I proceeded to panic for 15 more minutes, until about 7 am. We weren’t even on the exit ramp. At this point my stress ramped up into the red zone. 7:15 rolled around, and we were still just before the exit ramp.

So I did what any rational person who’s $70 half marathon starts in fifteen minutes would do. I got out of the car, waved Christopher goodbye, and ran down the highway toward my race. A few other runners had the same idea, so I luckily didn’t get lost.

I ran up right as the national anthem was playing. I felt a little guilty for shoving my way through the crowd in search of the restrooms during it, but there was no way I was going to run 13 miles without…well, you know.

I got to the start line about seven minutes after the race started. Magically, Christopher had parked the car and was walking up right as I ran toward the start line. Guess I could have waited. Oops.

And then I was off!

Mile 8 was when stopping sounded like the best idea ever

The first few miles through downtown Frederick were exciting – the crowds, the spectators, the shops and buildings.  One guy set up a bacon pit stop in front of his house, yelling “Electrolytes!” I felt pretty great. I experimented with my pace a little, running with the 2:50 pace group before deciding my legs could withstand a little more.

My knee started to throb around mile 2, and it continued to do so the rest of the race. I wasn’t thrilled, but I ignored it the best I could. Aside from that, my body was pretty happy until about Mile 7, which was when I started taking a one minute walk break every half mile, since my knee was starting to really ache.

The course was flat up until that last 0.2 miles, when it suddenly turned into a giant hill that ran right through manure country. I tried to run a little faster to escape it, but no one could escape the stink!Frederick Half

Then there we were, at the track with the finish line! I had some kick left in me and set into an all-out sprint over the finish line.

Christopher completely missed my awesome finish. “I saw someone sprinting and thought, ‘Nah, there’s no way that could be Allison. She looked so dead at mile 8.’ I didn’t think you could move that fast, anyway!”

The man has NO FAITH in me.

After standing in line for 30 minutes to get my t-shirt post-race (No, not joking. Yes, it was awful and my legs cramped) we finally made our way to our car, where I could finally sit down.

Resting on my laurels

I really did enjoy the experience! At about mile 8, when I decided I was insane and so over this half marathon thing, I decided instead to sign up for the Army 10 miler in October. Because stopping at ten miles seemed so much more awesome than going for another five.

What surprised me the most was how fast the time went by! I felt like I had just started the race when I rounded mile 11. I had pictured many more moments of excruciating despair.

And in all seriousness, I’m really proud of myself, and my shiny medal is really cool.

Photo Credits:, since Christopher didn’t take a picture of my cool finish because he didn’t think I could sprint. Hrmph.

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Why traveling is scarier than half marathons

Some people worry about running half marathons. I worry about driving to them.

To pick up my packet for my first half marathon tomorrow morning, I had to drive from my office in Chantilly to Frederick at rush hour. 3 hours later, I’ve made it safely back to my comfy couch, where I’m happily consuming pasta in preparation for the event.

I don’t really get phased over huge things. Big work project? It’ll get done. Half marathon? I ran 12 miles on only sugar fumes 2 weeks ago, no biggie. Driving and getting somewhere ontime? Cue the “We are all going to DIE” panic attack.

There’s something about traveling that really just makes me lose it. There’s so many variables that could go terrible wrong – traffic, slow husbands, stupid drivers, car crashes, husbands taking their damn sweet time because “It doesn’t take an hour to get to the airport,” forgetting things, getting lost – it’s crippling.

We went to Catalina Island for our honeymoon. Catalina is a little island about an hour away from Los Angeles. It’s lovely. It also required only one hour of car time and one hour of boat time, with no pressure of timely arrival. I knew that there was no way our 1 day old marriage could survive the test of traveling. That test (which I failed, by the way) happened instead one week after our wedding when we flew back to Virginia.

Luckily we’re still married, despite the hazards of travel. Christopher has since learned how to deal with his insane  very prepared wife.  Recently, when booking an upcoming trip for a wedding, I instantly went into panic mode.

“The only flights I can find have THREE layovers, and the only hotel nearby is the Super 8 Motel! I hate weddings! I hate traveling! I hate stupid Missouri! Who gets married in Missouri?” I said.

“What’s the big deal? I think it’d be hysterical to watch you run through three airports panicking we’ll miss all our flights,” Christopher said.

I threw my computer on his lap. “MAKE IT BETTER.”

20 minutes, one round trip flight with one layover and a Doubletree Hotel later, the trip was booked. “I decided panicked Allison wasn’t funny enough to make up for the very grouchy Allison that would follow,” he said.

So. Half Marathon. Tomorrow. Barring any really late arrivals, I’d like to run it under 2:30. That’s probably not going to happen. So, instead, I’m going in with a goal of running under 3 hours. Because that should most definitely happen.

I’m nervous!

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Mourning a Furry Murder

I know that, to some, squirrels inspire lots of unfounded rage. Like this cop, who maced a baby squirrel while onlooking middle school girls screamed.

If you’re a dog, squirrels inspire the instinct of their wolf ancestors – hunt, kill, eat.

If you’re down south, squirrels might inspire a great stew recipe.

If you’re my car, squirrels inspire cruelly crushing their bodies with your tires of death.

If you’re me, killing a cute little hopping squirrel with your car will temporarily devastate you. I mean, the little dude crunched.

I drove on and prayed that by the time I got to work, there would be no furry bits on my tires.

I’m not a huge animal lover. The only pets I’ve ever really owned were some goldfish, including one we lovingly named ‘Flush.’ I’m allergic to cats, and the only way I could ever own a dog is if it lived outside. I don’t like that dogs smell. Yes, I am a princess sometimes.

But I love watching squirrels. I never really saw any growing up in California, but now there are bunches of them frolicking across (and…inside, in some cases) the roof of my apartment. I like how they scurry, I like the little baby ones, I like not crushing their little bodies with my terrible death vehicle.

My coworkers were no help when I told them of my great sorrow.

“Allison, you know it’s probably all over your tires.”

“I ran over a bunny once. It was still twitching, so I backed up.”

“Once, there were 11 squirrels in my attic. I shot them all with a BB gun. They were having a squirrel orgy – I couldn’t handle the ruckus.”

I really do wonder sometimes about these people I spend 40 hours a week with. But then again, I’m the one who murders fluffy, cute baby rodents.

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Easter Sugarfest 2011 Recap

On Friday I ate so well that I thought I’d post everything, food-blogger style.

My day started with a delicious donut:

Followed by coffee, of course. Then, for lunch:

Easter chocolate, courtesy of the HR department. Imagine about five little eggs filled with assorted chocolates instead of just that one. I followed my awesome lunch with diet coke. And more coffee, of course.

To try to get a little extra protein in my diet:

God bless whoever covered peanuts with butter toffee. Probably ate about half the little container.

Next, I was really feeling something sour. Enter Sour Patch Watermelon Gummies!

Now, this next food was a little bit of a splurge after all my healthy eats all day, but what’s life without a little splurging, right?

(I’m pretty sure this was the healthiest thing I had all day. Imagine it’s much, much bigger.)

So, here’s a little quiz for you. After this great day of eating, guess what I did on Saturday?

  1. Passed out in a sugar coma.
  2. Selectively ate salad all day.
  3. Ran 12 miles.
  4. Ate more Easter candy.

If you guess “3”, you’re right! Obviously, I totally went on to run 12 miles in about an hour. (plus another 90 minutes, but who’s counting?) It was possible the worst long run I’ve had…ever. I’m not one to blame my BFF sugar, but I’m pretty sure it let me down hardcore.

Following Easter Sugarfest 2011, I made a wise, mature, and soul crushingly sad decision. I did not go to Target and buy all the bags of 50% off Easter candy.


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