Friday, January 31, 2014

Pinterest Told Me to... Stripes with a Statement Necklace

Let's be honest. If Pinterest had a dress code, it'd be stripes with a statement necklace. If you flip through the Women's Fashion section, you know it's true. At least 1/4 of the pins involve one of these two. (Other runners up would include plaid, Hunter Wellies, and aviators.) Thus, when I saw this pin... I wasn't really all that surprised. I mean, it's nothing new. Actually, it's pretty basic. But it spoke to me, so I pinned it. 

Then the other night, as I was walking through Target, I found this dress. And I had to have it. I loved the fit, the stripes, the fabric. The dress was made for me. But it was also -10 degrees outside, so I was having trouble rationalizing the purchase of a spring dress. That's when the lightbulb went off & I remembered my pin! Into the cart it went... and the next morning, this happened. 

dress - Target // shirt - J.Crew // necklace & tights - LOFT
boots - Steve Madden // watch - Coach 

I feel like I hit the nail on the head with this one without even really trying... 

I got a lot of compliments at work too. So many people loved that I could wear it now & wear it in the spring too! Teachers just love versatility. And one of my good friends had to check my tag because she didn't believe that my dress was from Target. She was convinced I bought it at J.Crew... which probably wouldn't surprise anyone either. 

And a close up on my necklace, which is 40% off at LOFT this weekend! 

Linking up with Shay & Shaeffer for their Get Pinspired Link Up! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mastering Weight Loss Maintenance

Over the past nine years, I've learned a lot about maintaining weight loss. In all honesty, keeping it off is just as much work at losing it in the first place. It takes just as much, if not more, discipline. It isn't impossible though. People are always asking me how I do it... so here it is. 

weight loss scale

Tip #1 - Leave 12 Hours Between Dinner & Breakfast 

This is something that I've just recently started doing & it works wonders. I usually am finished with dinner by 7 p.m. & don't eat breakfast until I arrive at school at 7 a.m. the next day. I've completely eliminated snacking from my night time routine. I have noticed a big difference in my metabolism, so I know it's working. 

Some people have asked if I get hungry, but I go to bed relatively early (between 9 & 10), so it doesn't bother me. If you're a night owl, it might be a struggle. Nonetheless, I'd give it a try if I were you. 

Tip #2 - Don't Drink Your Calories 

Most women my age love to go home & drink a glass of wine after a long day. Not me. I'm just not into it anymore. I know it's annoying to some of the people I hang out with that I'd rather drink iced tea, but it makes me happy. If I'm being completely honest, all I'm usually thinking about as I drink the wine is how many miles I'll have to run to burn it off. I have to have a reason to celebrate to start drinking my calories & a crappy day at work just isn't something I want to waste them on. 

Tip #3 - Get off Your Ass 

Exercise is probably the biggest factor in maintaining my current weight. It lets me eat a relatively normal diet & feel satisfied. It also keeps my muscles toned & my metabolism revved up. Even as little as 20 minutes a day makes a huge difference. I've taken to walking the hallways on my lunch break, which makes me feel like a dork sometimes, but it gets the job done in these frigid temps. 

Tip #4 - Know When to Stop 

It's ok to indulge. I'm all about frozen margaritas, queso, and chicken tenders. But I don't do it every day. Not even every week. You have to know when enough is enough, otherwise you'll end up in a dangerous downhill spiral. This is essentially what happened during my first ten weeks of knowing I was pregnant. I went balls to the wall & took it as license to eat breakfast sandwiches & cinnamon rolls every day. Things got out of hand quick & luckily I put myself back on track after the first trimester. So if you decide to treat yourself, make sure to get back to your normal at the next meal. 

Tip #5 - Use Your Skinny Jeans as a Reality Check 

I'm not always a fan of the scale. Yes, it provides me with some sort of accountability on a weekly basis. However, the true measure of how much I've been slacking off is my skinny jeans. And when I say skinny jeans, I mean my skinniest pair of skinny jeans. You all know which ones I'm talking about, because they're the ones that you go to when you're feeling hot. If I can't zip those ones up, I know it's time to put the margarita down & hop on the treadmill. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday...

Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I did a "dump" of every day outfits that I've been wearing. I'm trying to limit the number of outfit photos I take with my iPhone in front of the mirror this year, but when it's this cold, it's hard to get anyone to go outside to take them with a real camera! These outfits were some of my favorites from the past two weeks & even though they're in mirror selfie form, I just had to share... 

red blue striped blazer
pants - Banana Republic // blazer - Gap // booties - American Eagle

black white flats
sweatshirt - Gap // scarf & watch - Forever 21 // flats - Kohl's // skinnies - Old Navy

gold glitter flats
skinnies - Gap // loafers - Gap // sweater - Forever 21 // necklace - Francesca's Closet

skirt - Gap // blouse - Loft // watch - Coach // boots - Steve Madden

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tax Refund Wish List

I finished our taxes last night & thanks to Miss Ella, we're expecting a nice little refund. Now, that refund will be headed directly to our savings account. However, if I could spend it to my heart's content, this is what I'd purchase. 

maxi dresses

iphone 5S

One of these is actually happening & that's a new iPhone. I have a 4, not even a 4S. So it's time for an upgrade. My front camera doesn't even work anymore, but that's probably for the best - less selfies on Instagram that way. 

What are you doing with your tax refund? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Update: Gowns, Burritos, & Far Too Much Elmo...

As soon as the last bell rang on Friday afternoon, I jetted out the door & headed to meet my sister and Kaylee. We were on a mission to get to my parent's house in Saratoga & that meant hitting the road ASAP. While I love my sister, I also fear her wrath when she's under stress, thus I was doing my best to be as punctual as possible. 

Why so stressed you may wonder? Oh, she was just waiting to find out if the offer her & her fiance had put in on a house was accepted. And she was on her way to pick out the wedding dress of her dreams. Kind of two big events... 

Thus, I did my best to keep Ella occupied & happy in the backseat - which basically meant that I let her watch episodes of Sesame Street the entire way there. I'm so over Elmo... 

I was very jealous of the set up she had going on... 
Fortunately, Britt got the call from her realtor on the drive. They accepted their offer & my sister is going to be living exactly 3.9 miles from my house! I can't wait to have her so close to me & be able to see her all of the time! 

I woke up on Saturday morning & headed downstairs to the treadmill. I busted out a solid 2.5 miles before I had to get ready for the day. We had an appointment at Angela's Bridal & I was so excited to see their new location. I had tried on dresses at their old shop & it was nothing compared to their new space. It is so gorgeous - inside & out. 

bridal salon
Angela's Bridal in Downtown Albany

We walked in & were greeted by champagne at 10 a.m. and even though I'm not normally a champs kind of girl, I drank two glasses because I'm the maid of honor & that's my job. I cannot say enough good things about our experience at Angela's. I love that you're assigned one consultant & they let us pick out the first 5 dresses. We got to wander around & decide what we loved best without anyone being pushy about it. Britt tried those on & even though she found one she really loved, the consultant then pulled a few more. It was a tough choice between the top two, but in the end, she actually chose a dress that her consultant pulled for her. If you live in the area & are getting married - Jessica @ Angela's is amazing! 

with our mom in front of the many racks of gorgeous gowns... 

trumpet style wedding gown
this is not the dress she chose, but doesn't she look gorgeous? 

sweetheart neckline wedding dress
also not the dress... 
We were supposed to go to another boutique in the afternoon, but Britt found the perfect dress & we all agreed that we loved it. I was a little sad that we weren't going to the spot where I'd found mine, but I just love her dress & can't imagine her in anything else. 

Once Britt had found her dress, Kaylee & I decided to browse through the bridesmaid dresses. Unfortunately, nothing really stood out to us. We're going to keep looking around since we still have time. I'm just really glad that Britt has her dress & that is checked off of our list! 

We were all starving by the time we left, which meant we needed to find a Chipotle. My dad hates Mexican, so we always make sure to go with mom when we're in town. It was my second burrito of the week, but that corn salsa just never gets old. So freaking good...

We spent the rest of our day doing what we do best - shopping! We bought a few things for Ella for our upcoming trip to Florida. There is no way that her summer stuff from last year will fit her, so I'm trying to pick out a few really cute outfits to pack with us. My mom also bought Britt & I Valentine's Day gifts because we're trying to eat healthier & don't need any chocolate. I got an awesome new blazer that you'll see later this week. It's even got a little red in it, so I can actually wear it on V-Day. 

We were supposed to go out to dinner with my dad & Ella when we got home, but the roads were getting nasty. We decided to stay in & eat healthy at home instead. Smart choices on Saturday night meant that on Sunday we got to go out to breakfast.... 

We went to Cracker Barrel, which is one of my favorites. Ella did a lot of coloring while I did a lot of eating. She just kills me with her cuteness & her ability to eat like a lumberjack. 

Before we knew it, it was time to head back home again. Which meant more Elmo in the backseat... but I'm not going to complain because it was a great family weekend. 
Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday - Wedding Dresses, County Champions, & a Burning Sensation

Getting a late start today because this week has been a whirlwind! I can't believe that it's already Friday! Obviously that's a good thing, but because it snuck up on me, I am not even close to packed for our trip this weekend. I'm praying that I don't forget anything & that if I do, my parents have it at their house! We're leaving as soon as I get home & I did my best to throw everything together. I just know that if I'm running late, my sister will get feisty. 

1 - Wedding Dress Shopping 

The reason for our road trip this weekend is to shop for my sister's wedding dress! I am so excited! We're going to look at the same place where I bought my dress, plus another that stocks Lazarro. It will take every ounce of self-control to not be the MOH who starts trying on dresses too. But I won't. I promise Britt. 

beaded wedding gown
a close up of one of the dresses she'll be trying on... 
2 - County Champs

Last night our Varsity team competed at the County Tournament. This is a Varsity only competition, so I get to relax & just push play. Haha - that's a complete lie. I I am still a nervous wreck. I coached most of these girls during my first year & still get anxiety because I just love them to death! 

cheerleaders pray during awards

They nailed their performance. It was absolutely flawless. Then, my favorite cheerleader ever made it onto First Team All - County! So proud of her!!! 

3 - Brooklyn Half Marathon 

As I tried to tell you Wednesday, I am all signed up to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 17th! I'm going to run it with two of my co-workers that have never run a half before. I'm really looking forward to training with other people this time & I get to act like a "coach" - even though I'm not remotely qualified to coach anyone in running! 

Also, one of my best friends is moving to NYC & I'm going to get to stay with her... on her birthday weekend! Perfect timing! It's going to be such a great trip! 

4 - The Start of Training

The start of training has caused a burning sensation in my ass. It's on fire from all of the exercise it's gotten this week. I was able to run on Monday & Thursday. Then on Tuesday & Wednesday I walked on an incline during my lunch break. You burn a lot more calories than you'd expect walking uphill & it will make that booty burn! I'm lucky that I have the OT room with 2 treadmills right across the room from me. It makes my lunch breaks a lot healthier. 

I'm also focusing on squats, lunges, and ab work to help get ready for the race. I know that I need to keep my quads strong to support my knee & all running bloggers profess that "a strong core is key to solid running." So, I'm going to try... even though I feel like I never get anywhere with my abs. 

5 - Weight Loss 

Apparently I'm doing something right with my eating because I'm down to 126 pounds. Who knew that those "clean eating" gurus actually knew what they were talking about. The lowest I can ever seem to get is 125, but I plan to change that during half training. I know that I'll be packing on muscle, which may skew the scale. However, I also know that my clothes are already fitting me better, so the training will only make those results more amazing. Fingers crossed I'll be ready to wear a bikini during our trip to Florida in March! 
Thursday, January 23, 2014

7 Baby Items That Are Totally Overrated...

Two years ago, I was wrapped up in a frenzy, researching everything that I could ever possibly need to welcome Miss Ella into the world. I spent an unhealthy amount of time on The Bump & subscribed to just about every possible baby newsletter out there... my favorite of which is Stroller Traffic. This basically resulted in information overload and over-registering. There are things that I have for Ella that we've barely ever used. There are other things that we did use, but were totally pointless. We could have saved a lot of money if I'd only known that I didn't need these 7 "essential" items. 

1 - Sophie the Giraffe

sophie the giraffe
So this teether was, and still is, all the rage. It's supposed to be all natural, and it's cute, and it's French. Celebs have been handing them to their kids for a few years & now Pottery Barn stocks them too. The truth of the matter though, it's just a status symbol. The $2 teethers at Target will work just as well and are a tenth of the cost. If you don't care about looking cool, this isn't an item to spend money on. 

2 - Bumbo

The thing about the Bumbo is that it actually is a practical product. We used it frequently... for about two months. Before she could hold her own head up? It was worthless. Once she knew how to sit on her own? It was worthless. It just wasn't worth the expense for us... if you really want one, ask a friend to borrow it or check out a consignment shop

3 - Video Baby Monitors

I have a friend who swears by her video monitor. She lives in a huge house with three floors. Her sons room is the in the middle, while she spends most of her time on the first & third. I can completely understand having a video monitor in those circumstances. However, I have a two story house in which I can hear Ella crying from all rooms. I sleep right next door to her & always have. We just didn't need to spend $300 on a video monitor. We never used it, because it was never charged & we could already hear her crying. So unless you live in a mansion, skip it. 

4 - Wipe Warmers

Just don't. The baby doesn't care. It'll never actually be on when you need it to be. You won't ever want to sit around waiting for the wipes to warm up. Just don't. 

5 - Diaper Pail

We have one of these & we absolutely hate it. First, it's expensive. The refills will run you $16 per two-pack, which in our house lasts just over a month. That's because it has to be changed frequently, otherwise it reeks. Slowly you'll notice the nursery smells, then it'll seep into the hallway, and if you don't nip it in the bud, the whole upstairs will be unbearable. So while it's a great idea & can be handy in the middle of the night, just bag them up & put them in the trash. You'll save a lot of money & your nose will thank you. 

6 - Crib Bumpers 

notice the bumper on one side & not the other... 
Let's just ignore the fact that they're reportedly unsafe for a moment.... I had custom bumpers made for Ella's nursery. They're adorable - yellow, white, & grey with elephants on them. I loved them. Then, it came time to put them on her crib & they simply didn't fit the long ways because of the decorative panel on her crib. I tried to make it work, but it just looked tacky, so now she only has bumpers on the ends of her crib. Which look cute, but were definitely not worth the $150 I spent. It makes me angry just thinking about it... 

7 - Noise Machines 

You know the adorable lamb that attaches to the crib & makes the noise of the ocean? I think it's awesome. But you know who hates it? My daughter. She can't stand it. She prefers the hum of her ceiling fan & humidifier. Thus, it sits there purely as decoration in her crib. The most expensive stuffed lamb a baby girl could ask for... 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Brrr.... the Skunk Needs a Scarf

It's about to get random up in here people... just because that's the kind of mood I'm in today. Totally random. 

Let's start with the obvious & give Lisette at High Note Designs a big round of applause for her overnight work on the blog! (I'll pause while you applaud.) She did my original design almost a year ago, so I obviously turned to her for my updates. First, I am in love with my amazing new main picture. In case you're wondering... that's Ella - dressed as a skunk. AKA - pretty much the cutest thing you'll see all day. Lisette also added a popular posts section to the sidebar and added a new section to the navigation bar above for all of my health & weight loss posts! She's ah-mazing. If you need anything design related, she comes highly recommended. 

Moving on... I'm obsessed with this scarf from Zara.  

plaid scarf

The problem is, it's completely sold out. I can't find it anywhere... except on eBay. Anyone care to guess how much it's going for there? Over $150... for a scarf that was originally $30. I'm so annoyed by it, as I have mentally created at least 5 outfits that I want to wear it with. But a $150 scarf is not in the budget. I guess it just wasn't meant to be... 

I could really use a scarf this week too, because it is frigid here! We're experiencing round two of the Polar Vortex. (Thankfully no one is overreacting the way they did the first time.) Last night, as we were leaving practice, Ella looked at me from under her puffer coat's hood & said "Brrrr." And my heart melted. I mean... how could it not... 

And I was going to end this by telling you about how I just signed up for another half-marathon, but registration still hasn't opened yet. I'm so confused because it says it opens on Wednesday, January 22nd. I assumed that meant in the morning. I guess we'll just have to talk about that tomorrow... 

Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Q: What's Black and White and Red All Over?

A: My outfit for Saturday evening... 

pants - Gap // shirt - Target
flats - Kohl's // bag - Kate Spade
necklace - Francesca's // bangles - Alex & Ani 

... and because I thought you'd all enjoy a close up of my thighs shoes.

I wore this low key look for an evening of shopping & dining with my family. It was a little brisk outside, so I basically sprinted to the car. But otherwise, it was a perfect outfit for browsing the mall & stress eating all of the waffle fries I could find (which is fine, because I repented with a serious run on Monday). It's a small miracle, but I didn't buy a single thing for myself while shopping. In fact, the only thing that we bought at all was a new blue & gold outfit for Ella to wear to competition on Sunday. 

Oh yes... about competition. It was a bit disastrous. We still got second, but that was only because of a miraculous recovery. Ella didn't care though. She's just loves trophies...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Social - My Top Three...

I'm off to my second competition of the season! Fingers crossed that they nail it again! In the meantime, I'm linking up with Neely for Sunday Social...

Top 3 favorite kinds of food...
1. Chicken fingers
2. Anything Italian 
3. Mexican 

First 3 things you do in the morning...
1. Go to bathroom
2. Check email on my phone 
3. Put contacts in 

Last 3 things you do at night...
1. "Put my phone to bed." 
2. Take out contacts 
3. Check on Ella one last time

3 TV shows you NEVER miss...
1. Big Bang Theory
2. Modern Family 
3. Nashville 

3 places you want to visit...
1. Hawaii
2. The West Coast 
3. Chicago 

Our dream vacation is Disney's Auluani Resort in Hawaii! 
3 people you can always count on...
Any members of my family... but especially my husband, my mom, & my sister. They're my go-to support system. 

my every day support system... 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kasa de Kardashian

On Thursday morning, the design overhaul of my favorite Kardashian sister's house was unveiled by InStyle Magazine. She's been working on the project for over a year with the help of interior designer, Jeff Andrews. The two of them have collaborated to create spaces that are far more glam & over the top than I ever expected... even for a Kardashian. What's even more unexpected is how in love I am with it all... 

photo via InStyle Magazine 
Let's start with the office. My house doesn't have one. However, I want to have one eventually, in house #2. I love that she didn't choose traditional office furniture. Instead, she chose to repurpose her father's old desk & found vintage chairs. The colors are bold & vibrant without being matchy, matchy. I also really love the books on the walls. I get the impression that they're there solely for decorative purposes, but I love how they're grouped by color. 

photo via InStyle Magazine
When I decorated Ella's room, I chose to go with neutral colors, sticking to grey & light yellow. Kourtney did the exact opposite - opting to create the girliest of nurseries. She says that it is her favorite room in her house & I can see why. I adore the wallpaper that she put on the ceiling & think it makes perfect sense - I mean that's what the baby looks at. And although I'd never have the room, I love that the crib is floating in the center of the room. I think it makes it a focal point & allows access for more than one person - perfect for adoring eyes in those first few months. 

photo via InStyle Magazine
This is probably the most practical room in Koutney's house - the playroom. She chose to put magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard paint - something I plan to copy over the summer in Ella's playroom. The finishes are "low end" for the Kardashians - with most of the items coming from Ikea. I just love that she kept is simple for the kids... 

photo via InStyle Magazine
Ok - so having a neon sign above your bed is a little over the top. I get that. But I love the neutrals in her bedroom. The black, tan, and gold blend well & create a luxirous sanctuary. I can't help but notice that this looks nothing like her room on the show though... I'm wondering if it's the most recent overhaul? She usually has a co-sleeper attached to the bed too... hmmm. 

photo via InStyle Magazine
On the other hand... this is the room we see most often on the show - Kourtney & Scott's kitchen. I love that she kept it simple & just added pops of brass & gold throughout. The color comes from the accents - flowers, fruit, etc. My favorite part though is the mirror on her vent hood. It allows whoever is cooking to see what's going on behind them, as well as reflecting back light & making the space seem bigger. I'm already thinking about how I could replicate this in my own house... 

photo via InStyle Magazine
This last room is most definitely the least practical. I mean, who really has a piano room in their house? Certainly not me. But I just thought it was too cute & over the top to not share... My favorite parts are the tee-pee for the kids & the baby pink piano. I just love that she brought the kids into an otherwise very formal space. But let's look at the chair by the piano for a second... seriously? That's just hideous. 

What do you think of Kourtney's house? Love it or hate it? 
Friday, January 17, 2014

5 On Friday After the Most Stressful Week Ever

1 - Sick Kid 

So I told you on Tuesday that Ella has been sick. Well... she's still sick. I have no idea what is going on. She's fine & I'm doing a happy dance, then she wakes up from a nap & is the sickest kid ever. I just hate seeing her this way & it's going to put a real damper on our weekend plans. It's already put a damper on all of our weekday plans... things like going to work, doing my job, and earning my paycheck. I've sucked at all of those things this week because I hate leaving her. I did try to take her to daycare on Wednesdsay, but she was so sad & clingy that I ended up going to get her after my morning classes.  She made it all day yesterday, but was a tired mess by the end of the night & woke up every hour last night. I'm so over her being sick...

on her way to daycare yesterday... as I'm trying to make her smile & look cute. 

2 - Plane Tickets

I'm very excited that my sister & I purchased our plane tickets (on sale!!) to Orlando this week! We're going for a 4 day weekend in March with my parents & I cannot wait! This will be Ella's first time flying, so I'm sure I'll be nervous about that. But my nervousness will be outweighed by my excitement about taking her to the Magic Kingdom & lounging by the pool! Seriously, just the thought of these things makes me so happy... 

3 - Competition (yes, again)

I have my second competition of the season on Sunday. I thought we were ready for it. I know practice was disastrous on Monday, but they recovered nicely on Tuesday. Then, shit hit the fan... We have the flu going around the team & one of my girls got a concussion. So... things are up in the air right now. I'm hoping for the best & bracing myself for the worst. 

4 - Company

My parents are coming into town for the weekend! They're obviously here to see Ella, but they're pretending that they care enough to come & watch my team compete. So it'll be fun to spend time with them & have them there to cheer me on! They're also taking Ella overnight with them Saturday, 

5 - Gold Card

It was a big morning for me... I earned my last star as a Green Level Member at Starbucks.

I cannot wait for this to arrive... 

Yes people, that's right. I am now a Gold Card Member at Starbucks. I'd like to thank all of the people who have bought me gift cards over the past few months for making this possible. As well as my local Starbucks for having a drive-thru. Without that, this wouldn't have been possible. 

Now let's celebrate, get the party started & #backthatazzup for the weekend! 
I'm going slow jam style today because I am obsessed with Beyonce's "XO". 
Love my girl Bey!  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

I've been having a really stressful week & if it was springtime, summertime, or fall - I'd probably be able to shake it off. But it's winter, and that's just depressing on its own. So I'm really fighting to stay positive. Notice that I say fighting, not curling up under a blanket & giving in. Over the years I've developed a few coping mechanisms to get myself through the months of January & February. Which leads me to... 

Get Some Sunlight.
I know it isn't easy to catch rays when it's 20 degrees outside, but every little bit will help! If you travel to and/or from work in the dark daily, get out on your lunch break. The fresh air & natural light will boost your mood & refresh you for the remainder of the day. 

Drink Up
Staying hydrated is a great way to kick the winter blues... and no, hot cocoa doesn't count. By drinking a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water, you'll have more energy, better skin, and less bloat. Which are all positives in my book...

It's true what they say, laughter is the best medicine. So do it often! Go see a funny movie with a friend or cozy up on your couch & watch a classic comedy! No time for a full length feature? YouTube clips can boost your mood in a matter of minutes! Check out one of my faves...

I know you might just want to come home & snuggle on the couch. I get it. But you'll feel a lot better if you sweat! Last winter, I used my gym membership to train for my first half-marathon. This winter, I don't have a deadline like that looming over my head, but I am working to tone & maintain my weight. In order to do this, I'm combining at home workouts like this one & cardio sessions in the weight room at school. Find a way to sweat! 

Sleep It Off...
I'm a huge advocate of sleep. I get 8 to 9 hours a night & I am a bear without it. Winter was made for taking naps, so go ahead and curl up for an hour or two. Just don't make it the whole weekend :) 

Embrace It.
Embrace the elements & go play in the snow! You'll feel like a kid again & get a totally unexpected workout. Sledding, skiing, snowshoeing - they all burn major calories & are a lot of fun. Take advantage while you can... 

Whip Something Up.
Winter was made for cozy meals. Nobody wants to eat stew in the summertime, so now is the time to whip it up! I love to make healthy versions of Chicken & Biscuits, Beef Stew, and other hearty casseroles while the weather is chilly. Nothing beats comfort food! 

In the summertime, our schedule is jam packed. But things slow down in the winter & we spend more time at home. Less socialization can leave me feeling a little isolated, so I make it a point to schedule activities for both Ella & I, even when it's cold. Lately we've been taking advantage of local museums & an awesome trampoline center. Of course, we still love the mall - even if we don't buy a thing, it gets us out of the house & moving around. 

This is the time of year that I book spa treatments & refresh for the busier season of my year. I try to get at least one massage & facial to rejuvenate myself and stay relaxed. I always come out feeling amazing. I just booked my own appointment for February & even though my massage is going to eat up my entire gift card. I know it'll be so worth it... 

Make Plans!
When all else fails, I remind myself that winter won't last forever & start planning our spring activities! This is the time of year that we book our summer beach house and I start to plan for all of our spring commitments. I usually pick out a few spring time races to run & make plans for April break. By doing it now, you'll have even more time to enjoy the warm weather when it arrives! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter White, Winter Bright

I love wearing white in the winter. I'm aware that you aren't technically supposed to do it after Labor Day, but I just love how bright it feels on a cold, snowy day. In particular, I love wearing white with brights. Which is what I did for school the other day. I loved the pop of the lime green cardigan against my navy gingham shirt, which was all set off by my favorite white bootcut jeans. 

jeans - J.Crew Factory // wedges - Target // button down - J.Crew
cardigan - Gap // watch - Coach // bracelets - Alex & Ani 

Linking up with Shanna & The Pleated Poppy today! 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Popping In...

Just popping in for a minute today... you may have seen on Twitter that Miss Ella is sick :( We took her to the doctor yesterday & they did some blood work.  Thank God she doesn't have pneumonia. They had me pretty scared for a while yesterday! She does have a crazy fever though, so I'm at home laying low with her. IE - we're having a Twilight marathon... 

Doesn't she just look like the saddest little girl? Eric sent this to me while I was at practice last night & I wanted to cry...

I may be off work today, but I'll still be heading to practice tonight. Let's just say that I regretted singing their praises yesterday. Practice was ROUGH last night. I went in thinking they'd handle the small changes without a problem, but I was wrong. We have a lot of work to do before we compete again on Sunday...

And last things last... congrats to Ashley for winning the Lululemon gift card giveaway! I can't wait to hear what you used it towards!  

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a "real post" where I'll be sharing one of my favorite work outfits for winter! 

Monday, January 13, 2014


Two months ago, I decided to take a risk. Instead of taking my normal 20 girls on the squad, I decided to bump that up to 28. The other coaches thought I was nuts for taking on so many 7th & 8th graders, but at the time, my mindset was go big or go home

The risk didn't stop there. I completely overhauled my routine from the fall. Again the other coaches thought I was crazy. It was already a good routine, one that had already won me two first place trophies, but I knew it could be better. I knew that if I pushed, I could make it bigger & badder. My team had so much potential, I just needed to push them. 

I started from scratch & began to add difficulty elements. Jumps, stunts, tumbling, pyramids.... they're all twice as difficult as they were in the fall. I've been pushing my girls to do things they've never done before. On top of that, I'm pushing for flawless execution. The whole time knowing that the whole thing might backfire on me. 

It hasn't always been pretty. I've behaved like a crazy person. I know they've probably hated me at times. But we all had a common goal, we were all ready to take it to a new level. We wanted to be the team that everyone was talking about at the end of the day. We wanted to wow them. 

A week ago, we returned from our Christmas break and I saw it all start to come together. I saw the stunts start to hit. The timing started to mesh. They stopped counting & actually started smiling. I knew they could do it. And as I saw it, I knew that I needed to up the ante. That was when I challenged them to win Grand Champs at our competition on Saturday. In order to do it, they'd need to beat our own JV team and everyone else, but they accepted my challenge. 

We got on the bus with focused determination, well as focused as middle schoolers can be. We warmed up & though it wasn't perfect, they felt good. Finally, they took the mat Saturday morning at 10:04. They were flawless. They brought both the JV & Varsity coaches to tears. They were fierce

Despite that, I still wasn't convinced we'd achieve our goal. It's almost unheard of for a Freshman team to beat their own JV team, let alone everyone else's JV team too. We got to awards & I started to prepare them, "you were amazing & I'm so proud of you. I don't care if we get grand champs..."  I didn't want them to feel let down after such an amazing performance. I started regretting that I'd ever challenged them to such an impossible task.

It turns out I wasted my breath, because we did it. They beat them all. The risk paid off. I couldn't be more proud.

grand champs ultimate cheer and dance
my team... in our Grand Champs T-Shirts

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