Liebster Award

Liebster Award {the ponytail diaries}

I guess I’m “officially” a “lifestyle” blogger now that I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award, thanks to Sarah of Coffee&Glitter!

You know what these are, right? Sort of like blogging chain letters, except instead of “SEND THIS TO 10 PEOPLE IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS OR YOU’LL HAVE BAD SEX FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE” (or worse, I once got an email chain letter when I was little that literally promised I’d be raped and killed if I didn’t pass it on) you just get to check out some potentially new-to-you bloggers only if you feel like it.

Anyway, thanks Sarah for the nod, and now I get to answer her questions and nominate 11 other bloggers to answer some questions I make up.

But first, I need to choose which Liebster Award image I want to use…

We’ll go with this one.

Liebster Award

Sarah asked…

1. When did you start blogging and why?

The Ponytail Diaries started last May. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s partly to build up an online presence and some credibility as I build my freelancing business, but the reason this is kinda the furthest you can get from a “professional” business/writing/marketing blog is because I wanted an outlet where I had some more freedom. I call it a “niche-free lifestyle blog” because I don’t fit into traditional lifestyle, fitness/healthy living, writing, or other typical blog genres. And while I’d love to grow this blog and plan to monetize (soon!), I see The Ponytail Diaries more as a place to practice writing and build (non-professional) relationships and community.

2. What is the story behind your blog name?

I’m horrible at names! Titling papers or creative writing pieces in school was always the hardest part. Somehow, randomly, “The Ponytail Diaries” popped into my head — several years ago, really — and I figured I’d never come up with anything better if I tried. I couldn’t believe the domain name was free when I checked it, actually.

3. Dresses, Shorts, or Sweatpants?

If by sweatpants you mean yoga pants, then definitely sweatpants. I’ve come a long way from my tomboy days of never ever ever wearing skirts of dresses unless I was forced to, but I have to stop and think about putting on a dress when I get dressed in the morning. I just automatically put on jeans most of the time.

4. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’ve totally figured out a loophole to this question — pizza. Because you can take dough, add any kind of sauce, any kind of cheese, and any toppings you want and still call it pizza. Plain cheese, loaded with veggies, pepperoni, deep dish, thin n crispy…AND I’M JUST EATING PIZZA EVERY DAY GOT YA.

5. Other than blogging, what is a hobby you pursue?

Photography, knitting, running, reading, binge-watching Friends on Netflix…

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Inappropriate cell phone use and bad drivers. I have two, sorry. Both of which cover a broad range of behaviors. I’m tricky like that. Oh, and bad grammar. I get super irked when I see typos on, say, menus or official event flyers or brochures.

7. To date, what is the best thing that has happened to you in you life?

It’s a toss-up between spending a year in Europe (certainly some of the most fun I’ve had) and meeting my husband.

8. What is something you hope to accomplish in your life?

Published author. I’ll do whatever I have to in order to be successful as a writer and probably be fully satisfied, but my dream has always been to be a traditionally published author on the Times bestseller list.

9. What is your guilty pleasure?

90s pop? 90s sitcoms like Boy Meets World and Full House (I still have a girl-crush on Aunt Becky)? Except I don’t feel guilty about those in the least.

10. Where is somewhere you want to travel to?

I’d love to visit all of America’s National Parks. And lately I’ve been drawn to Southeast Asia, specifically South Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia. And Thailand. And France and Ireland and Greece.

11. What is the best blog post that you have written so far?

My dad says it’s this one on why I run.

Now, I’m nominating these awesome bloggers:

Emma // ever emma
Cheryn // ruby square
Lindsay // Typically Late
Andruida // The Tiny Telescope

And I want to know…

1. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
2. Drink of choice after a long day?
3. If you had $10,000 and had to spend it all in one weekend, what would you do?
4. What was your favorite book you had to read in school (or which book did you hate least)?
5. Chris Hemsworth was named Sexiest Man Alive by People – agree or disagree? (If you disagree, you’re dead to me who would you pick instead?)
6. What’s your favorite thing about your best friend?
7. Oh no, you broke your leg and are stuck on the couch all weekend! What are you watching on Netflix?
8. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken so far?
9. What was the first concert you went to?
10. If you could see any significant historical event first-hand, what would you choose?
11. What three posts of yours should new readers check out first?



currently… {january 2015}

...currently January 2015 {the ponytail diaries}

loving | white Christmases, family time, and San Diego winters.

finishing | Gone with the Wind. Frickin loved it while simultaneously wanting to throw it across the room every time Scarlett was a selfish idiot.

listening | lots of country my brother recommended: Micky & the Motorcars, Aaron Watson, Reckless Kelly, Turnpike Troubadours. Kid’s got taste.

planning | what I’m going to eat after my marathon. priorities.

watching | Mockingjay, finally. Friends. Downton Abbey.

playing | that catchphrase-like game from Ellen. so much fun. we played it on New Year’s Eve while waiting for the tape-delayed feed of the ball dropping.

hoping | i don’t have to crawl to finish the marathon on Sunday.

eating | planned meals! we’re on week 2 of meal-planning and it’s gone so well so far.

drinking | so. much. tea. my cousin gave me my favorite teavana blend (samurai chate mate & ayurvedic white chai) for Christmas and it’s bee so good to have that back in my life.

bookmarking/pinning/tweeting/sharing | these cookies. this advice on not procrastinating. this brilliant idea. this yoga challenge. this hat pattern. this chili. these dreamy dream-catchers. this…homemade amaretto? whaaat?




A Twist on my Reading Goals: TBR Reading Challenge

A Twist on My Reading Goals: TBR Reading Challenge {the ponytail diaries}

Somewhere in blogland I saw something about a TBR Reading Challenge — where, in this case, you pick 12 books that have been sitting in your “to read” pile for ages and actually read them. I have plenty of books that have been sitting around forever and for some reason never get around to reading them (mainly because I get distracted by shiny new things and library books). So I decided to pick some of those and incorporate them into the 36 books (hopefully more) I’m planning to read this year. Behold:

TBR Books: Fiction {the ponytail diaries}
The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Pamela Kaufman

Again to Carthage: A Novel by John L. Parker, Jr.

Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen


TBR Books: Non-Fiction {the ponytail diaries}
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend by James S. Hirsch


TBR Books: Classics {the ponytail diaries}
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

Things Fall Apart by China Achebe


TBR Books: Business-y {the ponytail diaries}
Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Johnathan Fields

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss


affiliate links galore…




Weekly Wishes: Marathon Week

Weekly Wishes {the ponytail diaries}

I’m linking up with Melyssa at Nectar Collective today to share my wishes/goals for next week. Join in!

There is currently a mouse somewhere in my apartment. I saw it last night and suddenly the little M&M shells we’ve been finding on the counter made sense. Ugh ugh ugh. I’m embarrassed to admit I screamed and freaked out and scared the stupid thing so we (meaning Husband) couldn’t find it. So now I’m sitting here expecting to hear the pittering of its feet across the counter or, worse, over my feet. Ugh ugh ugh.

Anyway, marathon countdown is fully and officially on. My “tapering” has gone well, with easy, decent runs and lots of yoga. I’m nervous, but I also know I’m at the point where there’s not a whole lot I can do to make the race go any better. So I’m just waiting until 6:15 next Sunday morning. Here’s hoping that it’ll all be over before 10:15.

Last Week’s Wishes

01 | get my truck washed
No, only because I waited until the weekend, and by then, rain was in the forecast for Sunday and I figured there was no point in paying to have it washed only to have it rained on less than 24 hours later.

02 | clean out my cupboards
Done! We actually wound up with a completely empty shelf, and I’m now on the lookout for some storage containers for the bulk food I’ve been trying to buy more.

03 | update my LinkedIn profile
Done, but there are still more tweaks to make and portfolio info to add.

04 | at least 4 green smoothies
Miserable fail. Whoops.


This Week’s Wishes

01 | prep to switch the self-hosting
Double-check that all my content is backed up and…do whatever I need to switch Ponytail Diaries over. Anyone who’s done that, can you share any tips or tutorials or whatever?

02 | finish editorial calendar for January and get started on February

03 | start Article Writing Masterclass and stay current with the sessions
This is an online course I signed up for before Christmas on writing feature articles for magazines and similar markets. This is something I’d love to break into but don’t really have any experience in, so I’m looking forward to it, but I have a horrible track record with online classes.

04 | at least 4 green smoothies
Before the spinach goes bad.

What are your goals for this week??

The Nectar Collective



Gratitude Challenge, Week 2: My Partner in Crime

52 Weeks of Gratitude: My Partner in Crime {the ponytail diaries}

Before I got married, I would go to friends’ weddings and during the reception, someone would inevitable ask one of them, “So, do you feel any different?”

And most of the time, because most of my friends moved in together well before getting married, they’d shrug and say, “Not really.”

I always thought that was a little disappointing. Like, you’re *married.* It should feel more significant, shouldn’t it? Your wedding day should feel like a turning point, a…portal from complete independence to having a partner for life.

And then I got married — over a year after my husband moved in with me, and we combined bank accounts, and started listing the other as our emergency contact — and after the wedding was over, I was like, “Okay, back to normal. No more wedding planning YAY!”

The wedding wasn’t a single, major turning point.

But I’ve learned, over the past year and four months, that it’s a subtle process of learning how to lean on each other. How to support each other and let yourself be supported. And, without getting too sappy, it’s been a weird, confusing, hilarious, wonderful journey — and we’re just a little over a year in.

I pride myself on being fiercely independent, but I don’t think I would have left my job last year without my husband cheering for me and insisting I could do it.

We wouldn’t have gotten Onyx if he hadn’t convinced me we could handle it.

I wouldn’t be in San Diego if he hadn’t decided to move here first.

There are literally thousands of times I wouldn’t have laughed if he hadn’t been there talking in weird voices or telling me about ice cream bread or imitating Sheldon Cooper.

I wouldn’t be dipping my toes into homebrewing or rock climbing or camping.

I sure as hell wouldn’t have become a country music fan.

My cooking skills would probably still be limited to boiling pasta and tossing it in sauce from a jar.

I wouldn’t have acquired any taste whatsoever for black coffee (still not my favorite drink, but I like trying freshly brewed coffee from decent quality beans).

It’s unlikely I ever would have watched any Batman movies.

From the mundane to the really freaking huge stuff, I can’t imagine a better partner, best friend, confidant, or cheerleader to face it with.

Love you, babe (even though he won’t read this).

wedding photos by the super-awesome Jaime of Aptera Studios



Resolutions I Will Never Make

Resolutions I Will Never Make {the ponytail diaries}

If you’re as sick as I am about reading endless Christmas recaps or New Year’s Resolution posts, well, sorry if this kinda adds to the onslaught. But as I’ve been sorting through resolutions and goals and doing the dishes every damn day in 2015 (Husband did them last night, though, God bless him), I’ve also been struck with thoughts of things I don’t want to do.

I resolve NOT to…

Do a juice fast
I like food. Real food. I like juice, too, I just don’t see why I can’t drink juice AND eat food at the same time.

I mean, not the exact same, because gross, but you know what I mean.

Give up drinking
I also like beer. And wine. And tequila. And bourbon. And gin. I don’t like vodka, though, I’ll resolve not to drink vodka.

Make an avocado face mask
I’m all for “DIY beauty” and making body scrubs out of sugar or using coconut oil as a moisturizer, but I will never, ever, ever put an avocado on my face instead of in my face.

Unless I’m eating a really messy burrito or something and get a little smear of avocado near my mouth. But I’ll still lick it off my fingers.

Complete an Ironman triathlon
I actually joined Cal Poly’s triathlon club one year. I was recovering from knee surgery, so I couldn’t really run, and I couldn’t afford a bike, and classes always interfered with swim workouts, so it didn’t really work out, but for a few years I was all “Triathlons! Yeah!” and thought about one day completing a half-Ironman and then a full Ironman and being all badass.

Then I realized I pretty much hate swimming and biking, and more recently realized I hate marathon training, so…no. I’d still contemplate an easy sprint triathlon, though. In a lake. I don’t do ocean swimming. There are sharks in there, people.

Go vegan/paleo/any other super-restrictive diet
I really, really, really like cheese. And bacon. And bread. And pasta. And I really like the idea of moderation.

If you like any of those diets and they work for you, great! But don’t tell me I need to try them to change my life. I don’t want to change my life to one without cheese.

Buy nothing for a year
I’d be all for not buying material or consumer goods (except for, you know, food and gas and toilet paper and stuff), but you know what I’ll never not buy? Plane tickets to friends’ weddings or family get-togethers. Concert tickets. Race registration fees. Yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards. Wine and beer tasting fees. Experiences that I do with friends that enrich my life.

Also, books and yarn. Which are material goods, yes, but material goods used for experiences like reading and knitting. Oh, and homebrewing equipment and ingredients (again, experience).

I get the idea and challenges behind a “buy nothing” year, but there are some things of which I’m not willing to deprive myself.

Create a capsule wardrobe
Lord, these are trendy nowadays, aren’t they? I have been meaning to weed some stuff out of my closet (again) and I’m trying to buy more consciously, but ALL the capsule wardrobes I see are full of neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. With, like, a single “statement piece” like a jacket or scarf that has some color or is in a crazy print.

Guys? Bright colors and prints are, like, 80% of my clothes (the rest are jeans and socks. Some of them. I like fun socks). I’m not fashionable or stylish by any means, but I love bright colors and crazy prints and pieces that only go with specific other pieces. I’m not interested in being challenged creatively to come up with 90 new outfits from 30 pieces that basically all look the same.

Also, does underwear, socks, and workout clothes count in capsule wardrobes? Because if that’s the case I definitely can’t do one.

What do you resolve NOT to do?


Sub-4:00 Marathon: Final Training Update

Final Sub-4:00 Marathon Training Update {the ponytail diaries}

I think I might have jinxed myself with some of my last training updates. Because since Thanksgiving, my training has been poopy (technical term).

Ugh, guys. The marathon is less than two weeks away and I do not feel good about it at all. Between various trips from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and getting sick in the middle of December, I barely completed any long runs or pace workouts and all my motivation went whoosh. (Especially after I started entertaining thoughts of running crazy-fast 5Ks and wishing I was on a track instead of plodding around Mission Bay.)

In short: I’ll still be running 26.2 miles in Carlsbad on January 18th. I have absolutely no idea how it’ll turn out. I think really hope that breaking four hours is still possible. I hope I’ll be happy with whatever result I get. I know I’ll be relieved to close this chapter and turn to the next one (quarters on the track alllll day). But I have a sneaking suspicion that if my finish time starts with 4:xx:xx, I’ll be really upset with myself and maybe even vowing to run another marathon for some sort of “vengeance” or whatever. And as of right now, I do not want to run another marathon (seriously, I barely even want to run this one).

I don’t mean to sound all negative and whiny. I’m proud of myself for sticking to this commitment as best as I could — but my “best” wasn’t very good, at least in December. I couldn’t do anything about getting sick, but traveling for Thanksgiving, my brother’s graduation, and Christmas? I should’ve worked around them. I had the best intentions of doing so — but didn’t follow through. Really, the best move I could’ve made would have been to…not pick a marathon where my training would peak over the holidays. Dur.

And even before reaching the starting line, I’ve learned a lot from this race. Like that vanilla Powerade gel is surprisingly tasty but the blueberry-pomegranate Gu gel is absolutely disgusting. So at least I’ve got that going for me.