2013 is going to be a hard year to beat.

366 days ago, I wrote on my Facebook page that "2013 will be the best year," and I won't pretend to hesitate when admitting how right that prediction was. This was a huge year in my life, though I'm sad that, with all the busyness this year threw at me, I wasn't able to share every little detail with you. I'm not big on resolutions, but this is one I am really going to work for in 2014: while I'll be busy with a few other fun projects this year, I'm recommitting myself in 2014 to keep this blog going strongly. I'm sorry I failed you this year.

Because I wasn't the greatest shower-and-teller this year, allow me to recap just why 2013 was the greatest 365 days in my 28 years of existence:

So, obviously this was the most exciting thing to happen to me this year. On May 18th, I gained the raddest husband on earth and we threw, in my humble opinion, the Most Perfect Wedding of All Time in the History of the Universe. For the year and a half leading up to the big day, I wondered how it could be possible to pull off this meticulously-detailed wedding that had been floating around in my head, but on that day, with the help of the most amazing friends and family imaginable, not only did everything turn out just as I had imagined - but it was better. The day was the perfect symbol of our relationship - easygoing, full of fun, a little sappy, bursting with color and happiness and plenty of goofy moments. It was a sentimental day full of love, followed by a huge, champagne-soaked party. I couldn't wipe the big, dumb grin off my face all day - not only because it was the wedding I'd always wanted, but because this pretty-cool dude was now my husband. Best day of my entire life, and then some.

P.S. Want to see more wedding pictures? Check out some more photos of before-the-ceremony, all the little details I made and the super-happy, tear-filled ceremony itself.


A month before our wedding, (A MONTH BEFORE OUR WEDDING), we tore down the main wall between our living room and what was then our "French" room. While we were at it, we tore a big hole in our stairway and added a bannister so we could see from our kitchen to our living room. It was a big project, but it made a huge impact and our little home feels so much bigger! I'm still amazed when I look back at pictures of how it looked previously and how it looks now. What a difference!


In the fall, the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel's new lifestyle site, Fresh, launched... and I was tapped to be the resident home-design blogger. It was a huge honor to be asked to blog for them, and I've had an absolute blast doing so! It's been a fun side project and it's nice to have a new audience reading my work. Writing professionally has always been my dream - we're talking since I was, like, six. So picking up my new blog, Make, Do and Mend, and a couple other freelance projects along the way, is me making a couple huge, happy leaps to that dream. Plus, I get to write about what I love - thrifty DIY home design! This year, after a lot of work and patience, it all started falling into place for me.

(P.S. Check out Make, Do and Mend's latest post: "New Year's Resolutions for your Home")

Surprise! If you don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know yet that I recently accepted a job as contingent editor at a major national magazine. I may have always wanted to be a writer, but I went to college with the hopes of one day working at a magazine. After working in marketing for seven years, I'd all but kissed goodbye my magazine dreams, until I began freelancing for the magazine last summer, and then was offered my new position in late November. I begin next week, and am so excited to get started! Another dream, realized.

Wisconsin's largest newspaper featured our home in their "At Home With..." feature in both the print and online editions. We were interviewed and our home was photographed and I was so uncomfortable being the subject of this feature.... I'm used to being the one writing, not being written about! However, we had a lot of really nice compliments about the interview and our home, so we appreciated it. It was just kind of fun opening our home for so many people to see!

I can't get over how amazing this year was. Just thinking about everything above, and all the little things in between, I get nothing but big puffy floating hearts dancing in my eyes. I've never really had luck on my side, and things generally don't come easy to me, but this year, things just..... worked. I'm reminded of a quote from Conan O'Brien, after being fired from NBC, on his first "Conan" show on TBS, he said, "If you work hard and are kind, amazing things will happen." This is the best summarization of things I can work up while sitting here, on the last day of a pretty incredible year, thinking about all the amazing things that have happened to me in 2013. Big, big things are ahead, and I can only hope that the same good fortune that I've experienced this year can be realized by all of you.

Here's to a great year behind us and an even better one to come. Kick all the butt in 2014, my friends. The happiest new year to you all!


A Few of my Favorite Things (this Christmas)

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, friends! I'm fully aware of the uncharacteristic lack of Christmas posts this year, but the shortened Christmas season, paired with quitting my job (and landing an exciting new gig, which begins in January) have left this holiday season as the most hectic one in memory. Number of Christmas crafts I conquered this year: ZERO. This fact is frightening and sad to me... Didn't make one new decoration, ornament or gift this year. Who am I???

However, I'm looking forward to an extended 15-day vacation, beginning today, to relax, soak up the holiday and complete a few projects around the house that I promise to share with you (hey, I'll even finally have enough time to update more frequently!).

It's not like I haven't done anything Christmassy this season - far from it. And to prove that to you, I'm going to let you in on "a few of my favorite things" (get it?? GET IT??!?!?) I've done so far to celebrate my favorite time of year:

Raindrops on roses Snow dropped on backyards...
Over the weekend Milwaukee got walloped with snow. Overnight on Saturday we got at least six to seven inches, making holiday travel difficult for most. However, I love the fresh new blanket of snow that coats everything in the perfect Rockwellian Christmas glow. All the snow clinging to the trees and grape arbor in our backyard sets the perfect scene for the holidays.

... and whiskers on kittens
I mean, come on. Just look at this guy.

Bright copper kettles Bright copper beverages...
In the search for the greatest Christmas brew, you can stop right at Great Lakes Brewery's Christmas Ale. Unlike some Christmastime-marketed beers, it doesn't hit you over the head with orange, nutmeg and clove; it's got just a hint of holiday spice to make you feel that warm, festive feeling. The perfect beverage for your Yuletide imbibing needs.

... and warm woolen mittens ... and warm felt Santa hats/beards
I ran a Santa Hustle 5k earlier this month where each runner got a Santa-suit-inspired shirt, hat and beard. At first I thought it would be annoying to run with the beard, but as it was about 16 degrees that day, I found it to be an excellent face warmer. What a fun race!

Brown paper packages tied up with strings
I had a blast wrapping Christmas presents this year (yes, whilst using plenty of kraft paper and baker's twine). I love being creative with each gift and adding just a little personal touch to everything. When I wasn't using kraft paper, you better believe I made good use of that adorable penguin paper - it's my favorite.

These are a few of my favorite things
After visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, I brought back some old records I used to love as a kid/had completely forgotten about. Let me tell you, after a few spins this Christmas season, these two still hold up.

Cream colored ponies  Cream colored goodies
As is tradition, I was busy, busy, busy making sweet treats in the kitchen this year. Once again my Christmas Cake-Batter Popcorn was gobbled up very quickly, and I spent a few backbreaking hours decorating the hell out of my classic frosted sugar cookies. It's a lot of work, but Christmas surely wouldn't come if I didn't make these treats every year.

... and crisp apple strudel ... and crisp savory meat pie
Meat pie is a traditional Christmas dish in Eric's family, so ever since we began dating I've enjoyed a meat pie each year. This year, for an annual Christmas gathering with friends, Eric made a gussied up version of the standard meat pie (don't tell Grandma!), which was delicious. Our friend Andy is an expert crust-smith and added the special "MP" (for meat pie) embellishment on top.

Doorbells and sleigh bells Buckeye balls and Martha Washington balls
As with the popcorn and cookies above, Buckeyes and Martha Washingtons are classic Christmas treats we love to make each year.

... and schnitzel with noodles and snacks by the oodles
There is no counting calories at Christmas. Only eating the piles and piles of delicious food thrown in your hungry face at every turn.

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings Uhhh.... I've got nothing for this.

Moving on.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes Friends in white outfits at holiday bashes
We attended a "White Christmas" party earlier this month where guests were encouraged to come dressed in all-white attire. Eric and I approached the theme a bit more loosely and dressed as Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes. We had a blast with this. I highly suggest bringing a pair on drum sticks with you to any and all parties you attend from here on out.

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Again with the snow. Even Mr. Pancakes is enthralled with it.

Silver white winters than melt into springs. (see above)

These are a few of my favorite things (Christmas lights!!)
Obviously, you know I'm a big fan on these.

(I realize the following three entries are not part of the "favorite things," but roll with me on this one)

When the dog bites... 
Meet Penny, the most adorable new resident on the block. Whenever I'm in need of a puppy fix I can mosey on across the street to our pals' house and play with this cute-as-a-button pup. She is sweet at sweet can be.

... when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad...

The Onion's announcement of it terminating its print edition was a big kick in the gut for me. I've always loved flipping through its pages while at a local coffee shop and stifling the laughter brought on by each knee-slapping story. Its local A.V. Club outfit in Milwaukee has also gone the way of the Dodo, which also makes me terribly sad. I made sure to grab a few copies of the last issue, which, in true Onion fashion, sported one last hilarious cover.

... I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.
D'aawwww. I had warm special feelings when placing this ornament on the tree this year - our first Christmas together as a married couple. Of all of my favorite things this year, being married to my super-rad husband is my favoritest.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope the holiday is filled with all of your favorite things and then some. Have a spectacular holiday!


Let There Be Lights

As you may be aware, we are a Christmas-loving household. Not just in the sense that we can more or less (Eric more, me just slightly less) recite "A Christmas Story" word for word (my word-for-word movie is "Home Alone." Trust me. I've done it. Tot he chagrin of agonized audiences within earshot). And not only because we enjoy the tradition of putting up the tree making Christmas treats and listening to holiday tunes. When it comes to celebrating Christmas we like to go all out, so due to our shortened Christmas season (just three and a half weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas), we're trying to cram in as much as possible.

Last spring, Eric surprised me by removing the two, ugly-old trees from our front yard. Not only did this ramp up our home's curb appeal immensely, but it also created an opening for more space to work with on the Christmas-light-display front. Eric's motto, when it comes to Christmas lights, is "More is more, and also, let's add more." And honestly, I've never been one to lean toward "tasteful" Christmas decorations. All-white lights are beautiful and classy, but, for me, when it comes to Christmas decorations, the more garish, the more kitsch-tastic, the better.

And so, our display has grown. We've got a lot going on now that we've got extra room to spare out front, and are not taking granted of that space. We flipped the switch on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and in the days that have passed we've received a ton of compliments from passersby. Our three-year-old neighbor said, with our lights on, we "look like we're partying!" And apparently our other toddler-neighbor across the streets likes to stand in the window and stare at the lights, as well. For Eric, the big kid himself, his favorite part of putting up the lights is hearing and seeing the neighborhood kids enjoy them.

Although plenty of adults have complimented our display, too.

So now, in its entirety, I give you our improved, slightly larger, 2013 Christmas light display:
As I say every year, the photos don't really do this display justice. For one, you can't see that the candy canes that line each side of our yard flash continuously. Secondly, there is a lot of detail that doesn't come through. But, I mean, you get the picture. (If you want to see the whole thing in action, check out the video Eric posted on Instagram last week).

We've got a number of new items this year. Most notably, the MERRY X-MAS Scrabble tiles on the left side of the yard. Eric had the idea for these a few weeks ago, and put me to work in making them.

To make them, we bought pre-cut 24"x24" sanded plywood, then I just simply (though somewhat painstakingly) drew and painted the letters on each. Eric affixed them to some wooden posts with heavy-duty construction glue, and we pounded them into the ground at a height that would still allow people to see the tile numbers once we get a few inches of Christmas snow (by the way, we received five inches of snow yesterday - I wish I had a chance to show you the lights in the snow! I may post an update when I get a chance).

Also new this year is my pal Snoopy and his buddy Woodstock. This is the first animatronic decoration we've ever purchased, and I've had my eye on him for well over a year now (Eric finally caved when I asked him if we could pplllleeeeeaaasssseeee add this to our display this year). The mailbox lid opens and closes while the lights are on, and I just think it's so cute every time Woodstock pops out to say "hello."

Also new this year are the smiling snowman and candy cane near the front door of the house, and a second penguin pal on the right side of our yard. Eric also added a few extra strands of lights, as well as a red and green floodlight on each corner of the house.

Of course, Mr. Bear was welcomed back to his rightful place in the front yard once again this year, adorned with his favorite Santa hat, and holding a festively-lit wreath, as in years past.

We're pretty pleased with our display this year. Nothing matches or goes together whatsoever, but, oh, are there a lot of pretty lights. Every once in a while I'll catch Eric just looking out the window at them, proud of his work and happy to light our street once again this Christmas season.

Many more Christmas updates to come! Until then, stay festive, gang!


A Saturday Check-in

Hey everyone! Just a quick check in before I head out for some serious shopping for an upcoming local gift guide on Make, Do and Mend!

Speaking of Make, Do and Mend, I recently posted a bevy of beautiful Thanksgiving tablescapes to get you in the spirit for the big day on Thursday! (I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of the super-cute kids' table featured on the blog). Check them out and get inspired!

It's absolutely freezing (literally) in Milwaukee right now, with a high of only 24 degrees today! We flew right past fall, here. And, just in time for the temperature drop, I had a CrossFit ...(oh, yeah, I'm doing CrossFit now... I don't belong to a box, but do all the WODs with equipment in our basement and garage. I feel like I'm beating the system, here)... a CrossFit workout that kept me outside most of the time. Here's what I did:

3 rounds for time:
800m run
65 lb front squats, 10 reps
200m run
11 pull ups
400m run
24 kettlebell swings, 35 lbs

I finished in 34:39 and was absolutely BEAT. And my fingers were freezing.

But I have nothing to complain about, because Eric is spending the entire day outside on one of his most favorite days of the year: Christmas Light Set-Up Day!
Eric looks forward to this day all year long. He puts on his headphones, blasts the Christmas music, drinks hot coffee and sets up our winter wonderland all day long. This year, we're excited to deck the yard in even more Christmas lights than the last two years (thanks to those pesky trees being removed!). I'm so excited to share the whole shebang with you after Thanksgiving! Eric wasn't planning on it being so cold this year, but his heightened holiday spirit should help keep him toasty.

What are your plans for the weekend? Anyone else doing any Christmas decorating around the house?


Currently Loving: Keep

Hey friends! Just checking in because I found something that I absolutely have to share with you.... it's what I believe is totally going to be the next Pinterest (and you know how much I love Pinterest).

It's called Keep.

Keep works a lot like Pinterest in the sense that it lets you "keep" (get it?) anything you see on any retail site to add to a wishlist or a collection. It's also filled with other things that fabulous followers of Keep have, well, kept! On every item you scroll over on Keep, you easily find the online store it's from, the name of the item and its price. The great thing about Keep is that it's strictly used to curate things specifically for purchase - you won't find any recipes, DIYs, or faded photos with an "inspiring" quote overtop (unless it's a print for sale). You can't "keep" from a site's homepage or from a blog, so this means none of the links in Keep will lead you to some random page where you can't find the item pictured (which, ahem, we all know can be a huge problem on the aforementioned site).

Pretty freaking fantastic, right?

I'm currently making some holiday gift guides to share over on Make, Do and Mend and I'm finding Keep to be the perfect place to keep all my finds in order. Plus, if you're creating a holiday wishlist of your own, this is such an easy (and beautiful) way to share all of the things you want from Santa.

I just stumbled across this site last night (thanks to my spirit animal favorite designer, Emily Henderson) and I'm already head-over-heels in love. What a genius idea!

Go on over to Keep and sign up right away! I know you'll love it just as much as I do. And while you're at it, be sure to follow me, my collections, and everything I keep. I'd love to follow you back!

P.S. This post was in NO way sponsored by Keep. I just love brilliant things on the Internet that people far more brilliant that I have brilliantly brought into my life. And when I love something, I love to share it with everyone around me. So hop to it!


A Change in Style

Alright, after hearing from a few readers (thank you!) who'd love more of I'm Loving Today, and realizing how much I love being a little more personal in this space, I've decided to keep it going here. It was never a question of whether I wanted to keep blogging, but rather, if I would have relevant things to blog about now that I'm posting three times a week to my home decor blog on Fresh (check out that space here).

And then I thought to myself: hey, there's a lot more to me than home design! I love to bake, travel, listen to music, exercise, have fun and be an all-around goofnerd. But mostly importantly I love to write, and having one more outlet for this passion of mine is certainly welcome. I'll continue to give home updates, DIY projects and more (I mean, it is what I love to write about most), but I want to keep this space a little different than Make, Do and Mend. A little more personal, a lot more varied, subject-wise. But because I'm proud of my work on the aforementioned blog, I'd also like to keep you current with my posts over there. So look out on the bottom of my posts for quick links to my latest work over on my other blog. You get the best of both world, people. Ain't life swell?

So, in honor of my comeback, I felt like I'm Loving Today needed a little facelift. Honestly, I've been wanting to change up the design of this blog for a long time, and I'm so happy with the simpler, sleeker style I've come up with! Easier to read, prettier, cleaner. So for all you Feedly-ers, BlogLovin-ers (or whatever else people use now that Google Reader is no more), switch on over to the physical blog and check it out! Hooray for a change in style!

Thanks again for the feedback about my uncertainty with this space. It means so much to know I have reader who care about my silly little words, no matter how trivial they may seem sometimes. You're the raddest group of folks on the 'net. You are the ones who make me want to continue what I'm doing.

So, in the words of every SNL host just after their monologue, "We've got a great show coming up. Stick around, we'll be right back!"

This week on Make, Do and Mend:


Where I've Been, Where I'm Going

Hello? Hello? Anybody still out there?

While I can't be sure that I've got anyone still checking in on this poor little neglected blog, on the off chance that some readers haven't given up on me completely, I wanted to give you an update.

After my wedding in May, I just kind of stopped doing.... anything. I had burnt myself out with projects and was so consumed with planning and throwing together what turned out to be the most amazing day in the history of days that after it was all done, I relished in the fact that I had nothing to do. Nothing to plan. No pressure.

So I spent the summer just relaxing, enjoying married life (which really hasn't been different whatsoever than our former situation of living in and owning a home together, aside from the name change) and just having a very uncharacteristic "I don't have to do a DAMN thing, so I'm not gonna!" kind of 'tude.

Flash forward to September of this year and I started getting the itch again. I really missed blogging, but I only wanted to blog if I had quality things to share. So I started rethinking this blog and mustering the inspiration for some fun home projects to come. Right around this same time I was contacted by the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin's largest newspaper), who I'd been privately consulting over the summer about a new lifestyle-devoted web site. They said they needed a home blogger and asked me if I'd be interested in hosting a blog on their site (they also featured our home in their home and garden section of the paper and on their web site!). After weighing the options, I decided it would be a great opportunity. You see, I absolutely love this little space and I love sharing my life and ideas with you, but I am also excited to be hosting a new blog on a high-trafficked web site where I'll reach a whole new slew of readers. It's great freelance work, and much of my new blog is just like what I've been sharing here for the past few years: fun home decor ideas, tips and projects for young folks on a budget.

My new blog, if you'd like to jump aboard, is called Make, Do and Mend. I'm liking where it's going so far, and I think it's only going to get better as it grows!

I've been thinking about what's going to happen to I'm Loving Today since Make, Do and Mend launched last month. To be honest, I've really missed being a little more personal on the blog. I'm Loving Today is a space where I share about trials and triumphs in home design, but it's also a space where I share updates on our silly little life, which for some odd reason, I really enjoy writing about.

I don't have an answer on where I'm Loving Today is going. A few months ago, my backlog of photos was inexplicably completely wiped. There's a large, large chunk of old posts that are missing photos and after that happened, I just got really down about this space. Would I go back and add in the photos back post after post? Would I scrap the whole thing altogether? Would I continue as if nothing happened? I eventually decided upon continuing forward, but when I look back at old posts I just cringe at those sad "missing photo" blocks. It's horrible. It's bad blog form.

So I guess what I'm rambling about is... should I keep this blog going as a space for me to write about life updates? Should I start up a new blog solely devoted to that (I've already began designing a new blog if I should decide on this option)? I'm lost here, and I'm wondering if anyone is missing me.

Whatever the case, if you want to keep up with my home-decor-specific blogging, hop on over to Make, Do and Mend and see what I've been up to lately!

Or leave a comment, drop a note or something letting me know your thoughts, if any, on what I should do with I'm Loving Today. I could really use some reader insight, here.

Thanks gang! Just know I love writing for you, and it's something I don't plan on stopping... maybe just moving.


Your Weekly Pins

Before getting into today's post, I just wanted to share some exciting news: Our engagement pictures have been featured today on one of my favorite wedding blogs: 100 Layer Cake! Initially, I was told they had been accepted and would be published way back in March. When March came and went I thought we'd been forgotten about, but I guess they were just waiting for a more summery time of year to publish our fair photos! How exciting!

Okay.... now on to our usual Friday business: Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

Beautiful doors.
[How amazing is this door? The colorful, intricate stained glass is jaw dropping. What a warm welcome to everyone coming through the door!]

coral and navy bathroom
[I love this little bathroom, with its subway-tiled tub and shower and the little crown moulding feature above that double-fauceted sink. I imagine Kate Spade's home having a bathroom that looks just like this.]

Adorable, retro-styled kids' room
[I was in awe of this entire house tour, looking like it's been frozen in time from the 1970s, but this adorable little kids' room was my favorite part! That little magazine rack by the bed is such a cute touch, and I love the built-in shelving.]

Weekend brunch idea: heirloom tomato frittata.
[This heirloom tomato frittata looks so stunning I would hesitate to eat it and ruin its beauty! But I'm sure it's equally as delicious as it is beautiful.]

Patterns on patterns.
[I love the different patterns in this outfit... who says you can't pair polka-dots with a Southwest-inspired print? The colors work beautifully together, and I love dressing it down a little with a band t-shirt.]

Adorable dress. Love it with the headscarf!
[I love this entire outfit. First of all, the dress is just so cute, but I love the addition of that unexpected bandana! I am absolutely wild about her shoes, too. Just such a fun look, all around.]

Cutie Crossing Sandal in Pastels, #ModCloth
[These just may be the perfect summer sandals. Bright and colorful, airy and pretty. I am just head over heels for these beauties!]

delia creates: All-Occasion Chalkboard Banner
[It can be a chore to make a new message banner for every kind of shindig you throw... so this chalkboard-style bunting is a genius idea - you can use it at every party you have and simply re-write the message on each of the pennants!]

Adorable tray!
[I don't know what it is about this quirky little tray, but I absolutely adore it. Those cute little people holding hands? So sweet!]

The Elements Of Style Illustrated #anthropologie
[I make no secret of the fact that I am a bonafide Word Nerd. Proper grammar and spelling are very important to me, and I think it's a shame when some people don't respect the two when writing. I would love this beautiful, illustrated edition of the Elements of Style book - the prettiest reference guide out there!]

There are plenty more where these came! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.


What I'm Loving Today: Zombies, Run!

Sometimes while running I used to play this little game with myself where I imagined someone was chasing me. I'd sprint for a couple of blocks until I "evaded the chaser," then returned to normal pace. It's a fun way to work in some intervals, but I didn't have a system to regulate these bursts of speed, and if imagining a creepy dude chasing me motivated me to run more quickly, what could I imagine to push me to run even faster?

Zombies. Zombies are probably the number one motivator to run as absolutely fast as you can. So when I learned about the Zombies, Run! run app, wherein you can hear the zombies breathing down your neck as you run, I was super interested to try it out.

Zombies, Run! is an app that's a GPS tracker (like RunKeeper) with an evolving storyline... a storyline where you have to run from zombies while collecting supplies to help you and the rest of the Zombie survivors ward off the undead. You throw on your headphones, select a mission to complete, and listen to the storyline unfold as you trot along. Dispatchers speak to you through your headphones telling you what's going on, where to run to next ("The abandoned hospital") and where the next pack of zombies lie. In between their dispatches, you'll hear your own music stored on your phone throughout that run. 

That's just the general option. However, there is an option to turn on the "Zombie Chase" mode... wherein a robotic voice pops in at random intervals to warn you that zombies have been detected... shortly, he'll chime in again and tell you the zombies are 100 meters away, 50 meters away, 20 meters away... until they get close enough you can hear them groaning and gurgling in your ears. You have to speed up in your run to get away from them... so it's the ultimate interval workout. Plus, who wouldn't pick up their pace if a pack of imaginary zombies was clawing at their heels?!

Yesterday I attempted Season 1 (Season 2 was just released), mission 1. I selected the option to keep the mission going for about half an hour, and, of course, enabled the Zombie Chase mode (when enabling, you will get a warning about keeping aware of traffic and staying safe when sprinting away from the zombies... I will say, once I was in the middle of running from zombies and was caught because I was waiting at a traffic light... the ultimate bummer). The story starts out with the dispatchers giving the background on what's happened: that is, zombies are everywhere, fiending for your brains, and you need to get to the base camp to bring supplies to those inside. 

I took off running at my usual 4.5-mile pace (around 8:20-8:30/mile). About half a mile into my run, the robotic voice chimed in saying zombies had been detected. At that point, I wasn't quite sure when I was supposed to speed up or exactly how fast I had to go to escape them. I picked up the pace a bit, then was warned they were 20 meters away from me. I kept running at the same slight pick-up, but heard the zombies breathing down my neck shortly, and then... nothing. Well, shit. I was caught by the zombies half a mile into my run. It was then that I realized when it says you have to run away from the zombies fast, you really have to f'ing sprint. I'm not the fastest runner ever, but I wouldn't consider myself slow... so I couldn't believe I'd been so easily caught. How could runners who typically run at a slower pace than this ever get away from the zombies? After I got home I looked it up and apparently the Zombie Chase mode calculates your average pace over the previous 30 seconds, and once the zombies are detected, you must increase your pace by 20% from this average pace. You must maintain that increased pace for one minute in order to escape the zombies. 

Okay, no wonder I was caught! Within my 4.5-mile run, I was chased by zombies six times... I escaped three times and was caught three times. And I swear that the app just knew when I was running up hills; there are four decent-sized hills on the route I took, with one being a pretty long, gradual hill... I was chased by zombies on three of those hills, so it was a double effort to get away from them! I realized that on my next mission, I truly need to go into this as an interval training-style run: slowing my pace in between the zombie chases so I don't wipe out halfway through the overall run. Because, folks, I was wiped by the time I got home. It was a great workout! I wouldn't have thrown in those intervals if I just would have gone out on my own. 

So, obviously my favorite part of the app is the Zombie Chase. It's what keeps you motivated and working hard throughout the mission. Without the Zombie Chase, you just kind of listen to the storyline unfold in your headphones. Yes, you do pick up supplies here and there, but you don't have to do anything to pick them up; you basically just keep running and when you pick anything up (a First Aid kit, a bottle of water, etc.), you're alerted through your headphones. Because it was my first mission, I wasn't too engaged in the storyline, but I've read that as you keep going you get more invested in the story from mission to mission. 

As I said, my run was about 4.5 miles, however the mission was only to last half an hour. So after I completed my mission, I was congratulated and then informed the app would go into radio mode. In radio mode, you just listen to your own tunes until you finish your run, but the Zombie Chase mode is still active. I like that you've got the option to stay within the app and the zombies still chase you even though you've completed a mission. However, if the zombies do catch you even when you're in radio mode, you will lose all the supplies you've acquired to that point. So you can't just ignore the warnings.

My initial thought, when I was in the middle of my first zombie chase, was how fun this app would be if you used it while running at night. I was running on a gorgeous, sunny evening through a busy neighborhood, so I really had to use my imagination to believe I was being chased by zombies. However, if I were out at dark (with the protection of street lights), I'm sure I would've been more excited (and scared!) by the entire thing. What's more, I think running with this app would be a blast if you were running trails through a secluded forest.   

If you enjoy running, or need an extra motivator while you run to escape any monotony, I'd recommend downloading Zombies, Run! While the stat-obsessor in me prefers using my Garmin watch (you do have the option of looking at your run statistics, but they're fairly watered down compared to what you get with a Garmin), it is nice to have for those who simply want to see their average pace and distance throughout their run. 

Based on concept alone and functionality of the app, I'm a fan. I probably wouldn't think it was worth my money if not for the zombie chase option, but hopefully this app will motivate people to run who otherwise aren't into it. As for me, I'll work it in between regular runs a couple times a week and see how the story unfolds. If nothing else, it will force me to work in some sprint intervals (something I rarely do unless I'm training for a race), and make me feel like a badass for outrunning the brain-thirsty undead.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...