A Little Catch-Up

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Hi guys!

I've really been neglecting the blog-world this week! Not only have I not posted in days, but I am waaay behind on reading all my fave blogs!

I promise I haven't been slacking off. In fact, I feel like I've gotten a lot accomplished!

Last month, when Travis asked what I wanted for my birthday I told him extensions!! I've been lusting after long hair for ages and mine grows at snail-rate. Since he hates shopping, the whole idea was a win-win. So this week I finally got my "birthday hair!" I was surprised at how easy the extensions went in (it took the stylist about an hour) how natural they look, and how affordable the whole thing was. Love it!




On the wedding front, I ordered our favors this week; I can not believe the wedding is happening in only a month! Originally I had planned on etched martini glasses (so Vegas, right??) but Travis vetoed on the grounds that "who wants to carry stemware around Vegas all night?" Okay. He had a point, so I went with plan B: chocolate. Pretty sure my insatiable sweet tooth will be happy with that decision. I also found one of the gifts for my bridesmaids. I think it's adorable, and I wish I could show you a pic!  But in the event that they happen to be reading this, guess I better keep it under wraps for now.

Since we leave for our girl's cruise to Catalina and Ensenada at 5am tomorrow morning (omg, I'm so excited!) I've had to do quite a bit of packing. Almost unbelievable how many shoes one person needs for 5 days away!

And, since I'm going to be in a bathing suit for the first time this year, I thought it was a good time to try out the infrared body wrap at a local salon recommended by a friend. It looked pretty funny....



...and I don't know that it did anything for my cellulite. But, the deep heat fully relieved the hip discomfort I've had constantly since I started running. Just for that, I'd say it was worth it. The only problem with the treatment was the second degree burn I ended up with on my bony pelvis. Oops! Turns out high pain tolerance isn't always a blessing. Have you ever tried a body wrap?

This week I also had fun attending an annual dinner with some of Travis's coworkers. The host had what I consider pretty close to my dream backyard. I didn't want to be a creepy party-guest so I didn't get any pictures, but the kitchen area looked a lot like this:



There was also a gorgeous fire pit, lots of flowers and a batting cage. A batting cage?? Seriously? How cool is that?

Last but not least, I was able to get my package for the Send Something Good Project in the mail just before the post office closed yesterday. (Dear Package Recipient: if you happen to be reading this, I apologize for the hasty and rather sloppy wrap-job. I had also intended to include a longer note, but time got away from me!) I can't wait to meet my own Secret Bloggy Santa and see what they chose to send! 

Well friends, it's time for me to go and finish up my cruise-prep! I also have a batch of low-carb peppermint patties waiting to be dipped in dark chocolate. (Check my Pinterest board for the recipe-you won't regret it!) Hopefully I'll have a chance to do a little blogging aboard-ship. But if not...till the weekend!

*Bridal Shower*

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I'll let you in on a litle secret about me: I am shy. Like, really shy.

Some of the folks I work with may not believe that, because work is my comfort zone and I have no problem being assertive or sharing my opinions (aka getting on my soap box) in that environment.

But in most social situations I'm quite happy to be the gal in the background, mellow, having a good time and just enjoying the company. So I was a little nervous about this weekend:

my Bridal Shower!

Which by definition sort of meant that I was the center of attention. Eeek! Scary stuff for a shy girl!
I can't believe how time is flying by. Just a few more weeks till the wedding!




I have to hand it to my amazing friends Erin, Erin and Chris. They put me at ease and made the bridal shower brunch absolutely fabulous down to the tiniest details. Those girls can cook. And they are crazy-crafty! Love them!

It was a relatively small shower, with mostly family, due to the fact that we are having a pretty small destination wedding. The work these ladies put into the event (and dress shopping, and honeymoon planning) has really been extra special for me since I don't have a mom to help with those things (long story for another time...this is meant to be a fun post!)

I didn't get to take as many pictures as I would've liked... I had my hands full of champagne punch, sweets and lovely gifts, but here are a few shots from the day....

The beautiful hostesses: Chris, Erin and Erin

The delicious spread

Seriously, how cute are these cookies??


Marrying into a family full of awesome ladies!


Drea, and my sweet step-mom Debby
Last, but not least, I will leave you with a little picture of the party favors...

Homemade sea-salt caramels?? Heaven!!

Drab to Fab: In Living Color

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Last week I got a little too busy and missed one of my fave weekly link-ups: Drab to Fab hosted by the lovely Amy @ Sugar and Spice. This week I'm back, with something I have been obsessing over ever since I came across Kendi Everyday's inspiring style blog: colored jeans. I am no fashionista. I have hitherto been strictly a dark-wash person, occasionally venturing into the slightly bolder territory of white pants. But I do love to style-watch, and slowly but surely I'm pulling myself out of my comfort zone and playing with more colorful trends. What I love about colored jeans is that-IMO-it is just about impossible to take yourself too seriously (or make a grumpy face) while wearing them. They're fun! So far I've picked up a rusty-red pair (Forever 21), and a pair of candy-colored turquoise (Macy's) so bright I just want to eat em up!! As in prior Drab to Fab posts, I'm mixing them up with items already lodged in my over-crowded closet.


Feeling sassy...lol



Ok...so teenage rebel may not be my best look. See?
Even Ella's a little concerned. But I still contend that Social D is
like, the best band ever ;-)


This outfit prompted a little boy at the mall to remark, "Wow,
Daddy! You don't see colors like that every day!"
Hmmm...was that a compliment??
What do you think of this trend? Love it or leave it??


Send Something Good link-up

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Today I am thrilled to be linking up with Miss Gentri Lee, who along with Kaitlyn and Kristy have organized the Send Something Good Project. If you're not familiar with the SSG Project, it's basically like a Secret Santa package exchange. But for bloggers. And in April. So, in a word: awesome! I have to admit I'm excited. I mean, surprise mail not involving an unexpected bill is pretty much the best thing ever. Plus, I now have a whole new list of awesome blogs to check out! To make the gift exchange as easy as possible, our hostesses asked us to share a few interests. Here goes...I'll keep it simple:

**Things I love: The Short List **

- Bright colors
- Animals
- Traveling and the outdoors
- Candy
- Did I mention candy?
- Running and fitness (there's a reason this one is directly after candy. Hehe)
- All types of books, art and music

If you are reading this dear secret bloggy santa, then thanks for participating! Can't wait to get to know you! :-)

Feeling Goal-able

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I'm so excited!

This week I finally  passed 10 miles on my long run. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm a tortoise, not a hare. It took me a full 2 hours.... I will clearly not be setting any land-speed records.
But I'm still excited to have achieved the biggest goal I've set since I started running last summer.

So now what?

I'm thinking it's time to sign up for a half-marathon!

Who's with me??

On that note, I figured it might be a good time to share a few running tips I've picked up over the last  months:

1. Run against traffic. Whether you have a comfortably large shoulder or prefer less runner-friendly country roads, if you're running on the street you should always be able to see what's coming at you so you can take evasive action if necessary.

2. Be visible. I'm always surprised at how many people I see out for a run in head to toe black. Bright colors or reflective striping make you more visible to drivers, and the more visible you are, the less likely you are to become a statistic.

3. Choose your tunes wisely. I love all kinds of music, but Andrea Bocelli's arias aren't what get me moving. Finding songs with a good beat can help you maintain your cadence and push through fatigue. Some of the current faves on my playlist: M.I.A. Paper Planes, Wiz Khalifa No Sleep, Nicki Minaj Starships, and Lupe Fiasco The Show Goes On.

4. To prevent "bonking" (depleting your glycogen stores) or developing leg cramps on a long run, you might want to consider carrying a gel or chewable energy/electrolyte replacement. Clif Shot Bloks contain both electrolytes and simple sugars and taste like candy. (Always a plus as far as I'm concerned!) Gu Roctane gel has the basics, plus aminos and caffeine for an extra energy boost. And don't forget to stay hydrated!

5. Don't neglect strength training! Weight training, and excercises like squats and lunges will strengthen and tone your muscles in a way that running can't. And stronger muscles = better runs, so it's a win-win!

Have you ever participated in a full or half marathon? Any running tips to share?? I'd love to hear!

Happy almost-Friday!

Taxes and a Dare

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Taxes.

Ugh.

Every year, no matter how many thousands of dollars I've already contributed, it seems the government wants a little bonus come mid-April. And, IMO, they haven't done a whole heck of a lot to earn it.
So... every year, I procrastinate on doing my taxes. This year, I'm two whole days early! (Hold on a sec, while I mentally give myself a gold star...ok, I'm back!) As luck would have it, the amount due this time around was only uncomfortable, as opposed to last year's outright painful.

Have you done your taxes yet?

Given this morning's anxiety level, I thought this would be a great time to mention a new link-up, hosted by Erin @ The Bright Owl : Zendala Dare. Now, if you happen not to be familiar with Zendala, please allow me to enlighten you because it is a fabulous stress-reliever.

Look closely at the tiles and you'll see faint gray
line in various patterns...

You can buy "pre-strung" Zendala tiles in beautiful patterns which you simply fill in with whatever tangles you want. OR, you can go to The Bright Owl and download the Zendala that Erin designed for us this week. Either way, having the string already there and only needing to be filled makes this a fun, super-easy Zentangle project, and a good way to relax post tax-stress. Here's what I came up with for this week's dare:


tangles: waves, beau, jonqal, rick's paradox, florz, efilys,
boomerangs, bales, marasu, tortuca
Go try a Zendala! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Last Thing Thursday

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This week I'm linking up with Jenna @ The Life of the Wife for Last Thing Thursdays. Fun! 

The last thing I....

ATE:
Well, see, we have this leftover Easter candy I didn't want to waste....




CRAVED:
Coffee with honey and whipped cream. A little weird? Maybe. A whole lot delicious? You betcha!!

SANG along with in the car:
Gotye "Somebody That I Used to Know."  It took me a long time to warm up to it, but now it's a total brain-worm.

READ:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Yep, I know I'm waaaay behind the eight ball on that one. Especially since I saw the movie opening weekend. Glad I finally got around to reading the book!

Did that was super PRODUCTIVE:
Spent a good chunk of time organizing my bedroom closet (which yes, also technically belongs to Travis...or at least 1/4 of it does...) and got rid of 2 garbage bags full of clothes I'm no longer wearing. Whew. That was work. Want to see a before picture? It's like scary hoarder-status.


Now I wish I had an "after" pic Lol

That made me LAUGH:
Doomsday Preppers...have any of you seen that show?? People stockpiling knives, guns and slingshots and teaching their kids to eat bugs in order to survive the choas of "dirty bombs" or "catastrophic solar flares." But then it sorta made me sad. None of the "preppers" seemed...happy.

That made me CRY:
 A news article about a father and daughter hit and killed while out for a bike ride. Aargh. I wasn't expecting to have to reapply mascara after reading the news.

That made me all WARM & FUZZY:
The YouTube video of a mama dog rescuing her drowning puppy from a swimming pool. Aaaaawww.



Thanks for stopping by! Happy almost-Friday!

A Red-Letter Day & An Award

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Happy belated Easter! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday!
Today was a red letter day for me. (Points if anyone can tell me what that phrase actually means!) The bestie was up for the day, and we used our belated birthday celebration (it never gets old turning 29!) as an excuse for some serious pampering.
We started with breakfast at the Redwood Cafe, known for their fresh, organic menu, and managed to snag the table next to the fireplace. Win!
Then we moved on to Massage Envy where we had facials and, you guessed it-massages! Ahhhhhh.....
After our morning of luxury we managed to drag our rumpled, slightly dazed, shiny-faced selves to the Starbucks next door for lattes and catching-up. Since she moved 2 and a half hours away and became a new mom, those moments with my bff are rare and precious.
Another little piece of awesomeness is this award I received the other day from the fabulous Amy at Sugar and Spice!
Thank you Amy!! You totally made my week!
Each nominee should:
1) Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
2) Add an image of the Versatile Blogger Award
3) Thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link to their site
4) In the same post share seven completely random facts about yourself
5) Include this set of rules                                                     
6) Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs

Here are my 7 random facts:
1. I am deathly afraid of spiders, but I did have a pet garter snake growing up, and I love lizards!
2. I can't sing (literally I have about a 1 octave range) but I was in a concert choir my first year of college. I still can't figure out how that happened, as I actually had to audition.
3. I got my first job when I was 15, serving frozen yogurt at the mall. We had to wear these stupid promotional t-shirts that said "scratch and win."  Em. Barassing.
4. I have 3 tattoos, one of which I drew myself, and none of which I regret. (And no, I've never been incarcerated. Lol)
5. I own so many lipsticks and glosses that I forget and start to buy repeat colors. The shame! 
6. My very first crush was Kirk Cameron. I can offer no excuse, except that I was 9. And Growing Pains was the shiznit in 1986.
7. I never wore the color yellow until this year. Now I'm going for it!
Now that you all have a bit more insight into just how weird I really am, it's time to tag some other bloggers! I'm still new at this, so I don't have 15. Yet. But here are the first 10 fabulous blogs worth checking out:
Tennille @ live.laugh.love
Marilyn @ 4 You With Love
Savannah @ Rolled up Pretty

Drab to Fab: Jewelry Roll Tutorial

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I have a few different trips planned this year and-I'll just get this out there- I am a habitual over-packer who always travels with waaay more than I actually need. (A girl's gotta have options, right??)  Not to mention my lack of, er, organization.  In an effort to turn over a new leaf, I've been looking for products to make packing more efficient. My favorite find so far is this portable little make-up kit from Smashbox, available at Sephora. It's got eye shadows, blush, bronzer and lip gloss all in one little package. How perfect is that?? I've also been looking for an easy-to-pack jewelry organizer. I could see in my mind's eye exactly what I wanted: a cloth roll with lots of different sized clear compartments to keep everything tangle-free. Unfortunately, although I checked a bunch of different websites, I couldn't find quite what I had pictured. So...I figured why not make it myself?

*Jewelry Roll Tutorial*
What you'll need: fabric (I used 2 coordinating pieces from the remnant bin), thread, clear vinyl, 1" ribbon ( 3 yds give or take), velco, fabric glue
What you'll end up with: One totally personalized 10" x 18" jewelry roll with ribbon tie closures and lots of pockets!

You may want to start like I did, by cutting your 2 fabric pieces a little bit bigger than 10" x 18" to account for any, ahem, mistakes that might occur. Make sure to iron out the creases!


I <3 polka-dots! Almost as much as I <3 stripes...

For my jewelry compartments I decided to use four 4" x 10" strips of the clear vinyl, and sew them into different sized pockets: one long (for necklaces), one split in half (for bracelets), and two rows of four small pockets (for earrings.) You can customize the pockets to whatever works for you. Lay out the strips of vinyl on the outside of the inside piece of fabric to decide where you want your velcro, then use fabric glue to attatch different size pieces of the velcro to both the fabric and the vinyl.

Pin the vinyl pieces into place and you're ready to begin sewing! You may have better luck with your machine, but mine absolutely hated the vinyl so I had to flip my fabric over and sew on the back, using light pencil markings as a guide since I couldn't visualize the edges of the vinyl.



Once all the pockets are completed to your satisfaction (whew, that was more work than I anticipated!) You may realize like I did that you're left with a lot of rough, unattractive edges. No problem! You can pin some of your ribbon across the width of the roll to cover the vinyl edges and stitch it into place.



Now you're ready to add the coordinating fabric for the outside of the roll. Make sure you include a length of ribbon between the pieces at one end to use as a tie closure (I used about 14") and sew everything into place. The other half of the ribbon tie closure can be attached to the outside middle of the jewelry roll with more of the fabric glue.



Almost done! The last step is to cut ribbon strips in lengths to match the edges of the roll, and iron a crease down the center of each. That makes it super easy to sew into place around the edges for a nicely finished look.


And voila!





If you decide to make your own jewely roll, please let me know! I'd love to see what you come up with!

Join this week's Drab to Fab link-up at Sugar and Spice so we can see your awesome outfit or fun DIY!



Oh, The Places I'll Go...

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It's been quite a while since I've written any kind of fitness-related post, but I dont want you all to think I've been just sitting around on my keister. In December I posted about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). While I'm still convinced that its a crazy-efficient way to workout, it also happens to be murder on my joints. So, after a little running hiatus, during which I medicated with heavy doses of reality TV while my hips recovered (ok, so maybe there was a little sitting around on my keister) I'm back to working on what I like best: distance runs.

I don't know that I would consider myself a "runner" just yet. In fact, growing up I hated-literally despised-running. Last July, when a coworker encouraged me to sign up for Tough Mudder, I laughed. I was leading, shall we say, a sedentary lifestyle (by which I mean I was working hard to perfect my couch potato skills.) But when I tried to let Travis in on the joke, he didn't respond like I expected. He thought I should sign up. Well, that got me thinking. And, eventually, it got me running. The first couple runs saw me doubled over, sucking wind with a stitch in my side after a quarter mile. I felt like death. And I was starting to get seriously behind on important stuff like Bachelor Pad. But, as uncomfortable and sore as I felt, as I kept at it I also started to feel...good! Turns out "runner's high" isn't just some wildly exaggerated myth. Setting and reaching new distance goals kept me motivated and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I became a little obsessed, running 5-6 days a week. Looking back, that was probably not the smartest way to train and actually kept me from making the progress I wanted. Now I try for a more balanced approach, running two days a week and interspersing those runs with some strength training (Hellooo Brazilian Butt-Lift!) which has done wonders for my endurance. My goal now is to run 10 miles loving every step. This week I made it my farthest yet at 8.67 miles. (You better believe I'm counting those tenths and hundredths!) So I don't know if I'm a "runner" yet, but I'm getting there. And really, when you live in an area this beautiful, there's no excuse not to enjoy every mile.


We've had just a little rain recently...

Next up: master the art of running with a wine glass

I turn heads when I run!
Are you a runner? What keeps you motivated?




Diva Challenge: Huggy Bear

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Huggy Bear, (the tangle created by JJ Barbera--not the Starsky and Hutch character) is the theme of this week's Diva Challenge. It's a fun tangle with a retro feel to it, which is why I wanted to add in a few shapes I remember from my childhood. I may have gotten a little carried away filling in the circles....


Tangles: Huggy Bear, Beadlines

Happy Tangling! Have you done the Challenge yet?
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