Archives for April 2016

Summer, runDisney, and Outdoor Play

Hey friends! I hope you are all having a good week. We have officially ended our two whole weeks of spring and moved into summer. Man it’s been warm and humid this week! As the owner of a frozen yogurt shop I can’t really complain about the heat because…job security, but it’s not good for running outside! I am sitting outside in the shade under a fan writing this post, and I am still sweating. I understand those of you up north may be green with envy reading this, and while I would hate your winters, I would totally take your summers!

Anyway, who signed up for runDisney marathon weekend on Tuesday? I totally forgot about sign up until a friend reminded me. I have been asked a few times if I was running, and while the original plan was yes, it has changed to a no…or a well, I’m not sure. Trust me, I would love to run the half, it’s an anniversary year for the race, AND it falls on my 10 year wedding anniversary weekend! (January 6). The plan has always been to run it, but there are a few things up in the air for us this winter so I would hate to have to register and then defer. A huge CONRATS to those of you that are running though! You will have so much fun, and I can’t wait to hear your stories. (You can go here for more info on signing up).

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I have been reading a lot of blog posts about outdoor play with your kids. Now that it’s plenty warm enough, I want to come up with some fun summer activities for Emma Kate. We have a baby pool and a splash pad, but what else? I’m going to attempt (haha) to make homemade sidewalk paint, and I want to get her a water table, but yall, I think we have established over the years that I am just not a crafty or creative person. Who has tips and ideas for me that are cheap or free?

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(When I say cheap or free, I mean…this is what we did on Sunday.)

Lastly, a huge thanks to those of you that continue to sign up for my free goal setting printables and my free how to start a blog e-course. I had a lot of fun working on them, and am in the process of working on some more fun things! I have loved getting the e-mail feedback from you, and hope that you are learning/getting something out of it. I so wish I had someone to walk me through the basics when I was starting out, so I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, plus, sometimes everyone just needs a little kick in the butt to get started on something, am I right? (You can sign up for my free e-course here).

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Have a great day my friends!

QOTD: Favorite outside activities with your kids? Are you running marathon weekend?

Snowballs, Sweet Tea, and Sunny Days

Happy Monday! We had a great weekend and I hope that you did, too. We drove to south Louisiana to visit my parents for the weekend and it went by way too fast! My dad had foot surgery back in March which left him unable to walk on his foot for about 6 weeks, and now he is in a boot and allowed to put a little pressure on his heel but is still pretty immobile. He has been going stir crazy so we served as a distraction for a couple of days.

We arrived Friday afternoon to gorgeous warm (but not humid) weather. We sat out on the back porch and ate pizza for dinner and caught up. Saturday morning, I went for a run on another beautiful day while my mom and dad watched Emma Kate.

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I ran 4 miles at a not easy but not hard pace, and I felt great which was really nice! They have really shaded streets and it was so flat, which helped I’m sure. I cooled off on the front porch. It was so beautiful outside I felt guilt going in!

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My parents went to a crawfish boil, and Bobby and I met up with Jen her husband, and her kiddos for lunch. We met at this same restaurant when we were pregnant with our kids, and they were born nine days apart! Check out the 2014 pic and then the one from this weekend!

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These two were so cute running circles around a big tree chasing each other. Emma Kate kept trying to hold her friends’ hand. I have a feeling the teen years are going to be rough on us.

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We got home and put Emma Kate down for a nap and just hung out outside waiting for my parents to get home.

c61e9a14-125c-43f9-848f-7a494786bc1aThen my dad and I went to get a snowball. I was stoked because it was the first one I have had since last summer.

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I went all out. Wedding cake cream with condensed milk. Totally worth it.

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When we got back, we decided to let Emma Kate play on the back patio with a house and some bowls and things. She had a BLAST and entertained herself for at least an hour, which is a record for the attention span! Bobby and my dad BBQ’ed while the water fun was happening.

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We just relaxed at the house Saturday evening, and then Sunday after a lunch of leftovers it was time to go home (we travel during nap time.) I had to stop at PJ’s of course because the southern wedding cake velvet ice is back for summer! It’s totally delicious and again, worth every calorie.

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Now it’s back to the work week grind for us! As usual the weekend flew by but it was a fun one.

A huge thank you to those who signed up for my free “how to start a blog” e-course! I am getting great feedback so far and I hope I have answered some of your questions. You can still sign up here.

QOTD: Favorite thing to BBQ? Best snowball flavor?

I’m Still Alive

Hey guys! I really can’t remember the last time I went two days without a blog post! I’m trying hard to extend some grace to myself as yesterdays no-post was scheduled, but today’s was not. Some things came up that took up my time and I am sorry! BUT I promise I have been working on something I am really excited about that will (hopefully) be ready Monday. See ya tomorrow, Have a great Thursday!

5 Steps to Reaching Your Goals

Having yearly and monthly goals is something I have been doing for awhile here on the blog. If I’m being honest though, it was more just something that I would throw out and “hope for the best”. If I accomplished a few, then that was great, and if not, well it didn’t alter my life in any way. I pretty much just had a flippant attitude towards goals, until I recently decided I wanted to tackle a big, monster sized goal that I knew I couldn’t take lightly or it would never actually come to fruition. It’s something I could write down on a life goals list for “someday”, but in reality I know I would simply skip over it because it seemed too dang hard and scary.

5 steps to reaching your goals

Well guess what my friends? I have decided I CAN DO HARD THINGS. In order to actually make my goal a reality, I knew I needed to come up with an actual plan that I would follow in order to reach my goal, and I wanted to share them with you in hopes it will light a fire and help you to get moving on something big you have been wanting to achieve. This leads me to the steps that I have been using as they relate to goal setting and goal ACHIEVING. I hope you find them useful! Be sure to read to the bottom for some fun new info!

1.) Create yearly AND monthly goals: Some goals are really big, and some are things that can get done in an afternoon. This is why I feel having long term or yearly goals and monthly goals is a good idea. Not only because it’s good to have mini goals and big goals, but because the BIG goals don’t seem so scary if you can break them down into smaller steps designed to help you achieve the big end goal. So not only should you take some time each year to evaluate your long term and big life goals, but try to come up with some smaller more manageable things, and think of ways to break up the big monster goal into smaller bites. For example, if I had a big long term goal of say renovating my kitchen, then I would break that down into monthly more manageable goals like “find a contractor and get three estimates” for month one, “pick out and purchase paint colors and new appliances” in month two, and “pick out and purchase flooring and light fixtures” in month three. Renovating a kitchen seems a LOT less scary when all you have to do this month is decide on paint colors and what new appliances you want!

2.) Make sure your goals are measurable: This is a big mistake people (and myself, yes me, all the time!) make when setting goals. One of the key points about a goal is that it needs to be measurable. if you just make a monthly run of “run more often”, well…what does that look like? How many times a week constitutes more often? Did you reach your goal running only twice a week? The waters can get really muddy this way, so a better goal would be “run three times a week” for a month, or “read two books this month”. That way you know if you succeeded!

3.) Create action steps that will help keep you on track so you are more likely to succeed: If I set a goal of running three times per week but don’t do anything else to help myself or plan for it, then I am more likely to fail. However, if I were to create action steps such as “write workouts into my calendar” or “pack my gym bag and put it into my car” and put these steps next to my goal, then I have given myself the tools to get the job done.

4.) Put your goals in front of you: One of the pitfalls of goal setting is forgetting about them! I am guilty of this as well, and have learned that if I keep my goals within sight, literally, I am more likely to work towards them. A couple of ways to achieve this would be to write your goals or action steps on the bathroom mirror, but a post it note on the refrigerator, or writing the goal step right into your daily planner so you know there is dedicated time in the week to work on them. The more often you see them, the less likely you are to forget about them.

5.) Know your worth, you CAN do hard things!: For me this is one of the biggest hurdles. Like most people, I have big hopes and dreams for my life, but sometimes the steps it takes to accomplish those things can seem pretty daunting and scary. It’s so tempting to just put something off because it seems to hard, or because we fear rejection or failure. You have probably heard this before, but Thomas Edison had 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb. 1,000 yall! But guess what? He. never. gave. up. That man did hard things, and so can you.

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I am in the process of working on a goal that is very overwhelming and scary to me, but I would love to let you in on it in about a month. I am nervous/excited/terrified to even tell you all about it, but I think it will be worth it to have the amazing people who have been with me over the years reading my work to help push me through to the finish line.

With that being said, I want to offer you all a FREE goal setting printable, fitness tracker printable, and monthly fitness goals printable, where you can clearly define and take action steps towards reaching your goals. All you have to do is sign up via email, and they will be sent to your inbox to print and fill out. In addition to this, my email subscribers will be the VERY first to know about my new endeavor when the time comes. Simply opt in to my offer below to be among the first to hear my news. I can’t wait to share with you, and I hope you enjoy the printables! You can click the link above or fill out the box below this blog post.

QOTD: What steps do you take to help ensure you reach a goal? Have you signed up for your free printables + my newsletter?

Farmer’s Market Date Night

Last night, Bobby and I had a date night. We decided to eat at a restaurant called County Seat at the town of Livingston, and it just so happened it was also opening week for their farmer’s market! You may remember me posting about Livingston before when we went there for Santa pictures with Emma Kate. We hadn’t tried this other restaurant so thought it would be a great opportunity.

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The décor was adorable, and we had a super cute booth. I love the tables!

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I ordered one of the drink specials. It was really good, but all I remember is it had prosecco and hibiscus in it.

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I ordered a burger on a pretzel bun and brie mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was delicious, and the burger was good but had a little too much pepper on it. Bobby got a tuna melt and sweet potato soufflé. It liked the sweet potato’s but we were disappointed in the portion size for the sandwich.

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I know I’m dorky, but check out how cute the bathroom is!

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After we ate, we walked over to the farmer’s market. It has been yucky and rainy all day so the turnout was small, but it was fun and we walked away with some lettuce, sweet potatoes, and a tomato.

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They had music playing and Home Depot was there doing crafts with the kids.

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The rain held off while we were there, which I’m sure the vendors were happy about!

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After that we drove around and looked at some open houses of new construction homes in the area. I may be in the minority, but I LOVE touring new homes. There is just something so fun and exciting about it to me, talking about what you love and what you would do differently. I rally enjoyed myself and am glad we were able to get away for a couple of hours. We will for sure be back at the farmers market this summer. If you are ever in the area, you should stop by!

QOTD: Do you ever go to a farmer’s market? Do you like looking at new homes?

5 Reasons You are Failing at Weight loss

Losing weight can be tricky business. We are bombarded with ads promising fast results and that you can lose a dress size in a week. The truth is, lasting weight loss is done slowly for most people. However, there are a few things that you may be unintentionally doing that could be sabotaging your efforts. Instead of getting frustrated, let’s take a look at 5 reasons you could be failing at weight loss. Maybe one or two will strike a cord with you, and help you to get to your goal weight. You can do it!

Failing at Weight Loss

1.) Water Consumption: One of the reasons a lot of people (myself included) struggle with losing those last few pounds is we aren’t drinking enough water. I finally had to just force myself to sip water all day long and not only can I feel a difference in not feeling bloated, but my skin is more clear as well, bonus! Tip: Sip out of a pretty cup with a straw, it helps me! I shoot for eight glasses a day, and except on special occasions have cut out soda all together.

I really like this fruit infused water bottle to give your drink a little flavor.

 

2.) Rewarding Workouts With Treats: This is a major trap that creates a vicious cycle. Should you celebrate your weight loss? Heck yes! But you shouldn’t celebrate with a food related reward. Otherwise, you are eating back all the calories you just burned from your workout! Other good options are a manicure, new workout clothes, or some time to yourself to go to the movies.

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3.) Snacking all day, Oh, it’s just a handful!: As someone who works from home, this is another trap that I fall into if I’m not careful. One handful of M&M’s isn’t a big deal, but when it turns into three or seven spread out throughout the day, then I’m in trouble. Little bites add up quickly, so beware! This is why I prefer things that come in snack sized portions like string cheese or a cup of Greek yogurt.

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4.) Portion sizes: Living in the south, this is a biggie. I was taught to eat everything on my plate, whether I liked it or not. Stores sell monster sized dinner plates, which compounds the problem. Check the back of your food labels and find out what an actual serving size is and measure it out. You me be surprised to find out that you are eating multiple servings of your favorite cereal!

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5.) Not working out enough: I love my activity tracker, but there has been a lot of controversy as of late about the accuracy of them. Did I REALLY walk 10,000 steps? Was that my actual heart rate for for my exercise class? It’s hard to know for sure, but I would much rather err on the side of doing more work than the minimum as opposed to not doing enough. I have found that when I just enter age and weight into a treadmill or stationary bike, the calories are WAY overestimated, and this can lead to a big problem if you think you are burning more than you are. Shoot for 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, or 30 minutes a day five days a week to have a healthy heart, and improve your fitness.

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PS: Sign up for my FREE set of printables to help you track your daily fitness routine, as well as make goals related to fitness and every day life.

QOTD: Did any of these resonate with you? What other reasons can you think of that cause people to fail at weight loss?

*Please note that I am not a doctor, and these are just things I have observed in my personal life and journey with weight loss.

Day in the Life: April 2016

It’s been three months since I wrote a “day in the life” post, so I thought it was high time to do it again. I think these are so fun and enjoy giving a glimpse into how quickly my world changes! I have tried to be more purposeful lately with my time, and organizing things, schedules, etc. and it has really helped me to be more productive!

Last time I did a day in the life where Emma Kate was home with me (remember, she goes to daycare three days a week), so I thought it would be fun to do a day where she is at school. Here we go!

6:45: I hear noises on the monitor and roll over to check the time. It’s overcast out so it seems way earlier than it is. I get up, throw on some clothes, (laying out my gym clothes the night before really helps me save time in the mornings) and go get little bit.

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She asks for Bella while I’m changing her diaper and clothes (I lay out her clothes the night before, too) so I call for the dog and she comes running into the room.

6:55: I take the dog out, feed her, and give Emma Kate a sippy cup while she watches TV.

7:00 I throw on some shoes, run my fingers through my hair like a comb, and decide I am presentable enough for drop off. I pour some iced coffee into a cup and head for the door. Whoops! Forgot the dog is still outside. Bring her in, load up the toddler into the car with her backpack and, and we head to school around 7:10

7:25: We make it to daycare, and I am thankful we beat most of the traffic. I have to drive by a high school to bring EK to daycare, and the worst traffic is around 7:30/7:45 headed in the direction of her daycare.

7:30: I bring her in, chat with her teacher for a minute, say goodbye, then am back in my car headed home.

7:50: I have a little less than an hour before I leave for the gym, so the first thing I do is grab a quest bar to eat, and then I settle down into my chair to read my Bible. If I don’t do it first thing, I will forget, plus I like how it sets the tone for my day.

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8:10: I have about 30 minutes of time to work, so I check my social media sites, do a little posting and answer some emails from the night before. I see that I have several quote requests from clients, but don’t even want to open that inbox until I get home because I know I don’t have time right now to really get into doing quotes.

8:42: Dang it! I do this every time. When I have “extra time” before I need to go somewhere, I always end up late! I quickly fill up my water bottle, brush my teeth, wash my face, and re-do my hair. I throw on a jacket, jump in the car and head to the gym.

8:58: I hurry into the gym and remember this is the day my trainer teaches another class right before ours and is usually a couple minutes late, so I am thankfully there before she arrives. I’m so glad our class is bigger this boot camp session, I love new people coming in and getting stronger and more healthy!

9:02: We start our warm up, and end up having a super intense class. We did tabata training today (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) in the room where they do HEAT class (aka it’s REALLY hot in there!) and I was dying by the end of it. I think it’s the hardest class I have done to date! However, I felt great after which is always a good sign.

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10:05: Leave the gym and head to the grocery store. I text Bobby from the parking lot asking him to add anything he needs to the list. (life hack: We use the Anylist app, and have a shared grocery list on there, so he can add things to the list on his end, and they show up on the list on my phone. This makes shopping so much easier because if he tells me I forgot something he wanted, I just say “it wasn’t on the list!” and he knows to add it for next time. Same goes for when we run out of something, whoever uses the last of it just adds it to the list in the app. It’s awesome.

10:55: Much to my dismay, a couple weeks ago Kroger decided to move around ALL THE FOOD in the store! I’m still learning where everything is so it takes me twice as long. You don’t realize how accustomed you are to something like this until it changes! So I finally leave the store and head home.

11:10 I’m home, and I unload the groceries, let the dog out, and put up all the food. I realize I’m getting hungry and craving some carbs so I put a potato in the microwave and eat a few slices of turkey while I wait for it to cook.

11:30: The toddlers eat at 11:30 at daycare, so I pull up the webcam while I eat my potato and check in on her eating her lunch. Then I decide to tackle my travel client email inbox and spend the next hour doing quotes and answering questions.

12:30: I check my other inboxes, and then decide to start writing this blog post.

1:00: I am working on a really big project that I will share with you later, but it involves a LOT of research and technical stuff, so I spend over an hour giving myself a headache trying to figure some things out.

2:25: Check in on Emma Kate again via webcam. They are all waking up from their naps, and I suspect EK has been awake for awhile. yes yes, we are still battling with the short naps over here.

2:30: I realize I am still hungry, so I eat some yogurt and string cheese for a snack. I am really trying to make an effort to eat more healthy, and snacking is certainly my downfall.

2:35 I’m back to checking inboxes, answering emails, and posting on social media. I go from one to the other, and once I get back to the first inbox, I have new emails to answer.

3:00: I’m back to working on my big project and start feeling overwhelmed, but press on absorbing as much information as I can.

4:30: My eyes are starting to cross, so I take a quick break to put on a load of laundry and do the dishes in the sink.

4:45: I’m back at my computer, knowing I only have a few precious minutes left helps me to focus on the task at hand.

5:15: It’s time to go pick up Emma Kate from school! I jump in the car and drive over.

5:30 Little bit is happy to see me but looks worn slap out. That girl can play hard. We drive home and Bobby is there. I cooked last night so we are having leftovers (another life hack that has helped saved me time lately, I cook bigger portions so I don’t have to cook every night).

5:45 I put Emma Kate in her chair and get her food for her. By time I fix my plate she is almost done eating so I shovel my food down, but at least we are all sitting together at the table. This is something that is really important to me and we do it every night we are home.

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6:00: Emma Kate plays with her toys for a few minutes, and then we go outside for a little while at 6:15. She runs up and down the driveway and pulls flowers off my azalea bushes. I can’t wait for it to get a little warmer, we are going to buy her a water table and I think she will really enjoy it. I make a mental note to research them online.

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6:45 we come back inside for bath time and PJ’s. We are VERY scheduled with EK so she knows exactly what to expect and when. She plays in the tub a few minutes and then she is out, dressed for bed, and drinking out of her sippy cup by 7:00.

7:00: We sit on the couch, read books, play games, and just relax as a family winding her down before bed.

7:15: Time for Emma Kate to go night night. We say prayers and put her into bed. I jump on the computer to finish this post and then grab a snack.

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7:45: I finish folding a load of laundry, picking up the kitchen, and pick up a few toys. I put the bathroom cleaning supplies in my bathroom to remind me to clean them tomorrow.  (I’m super visual!)

7:55: Bobby and I are finishing up season one of a show called “The Man in the High Castle” on Amazon Prime. If you like history you will love this show, it’s really fascinating. We watch the last episode and I google that season two won’t be out until the end of 2016. gah!

8:40: Bobby tells me goodnight and he goes upstairs to play video games for a little bit. I catch up on a couple of shows on Hulu and start getting sleepy.

9:30: Lights out for me. Lately it has been taking me awhile to fall asleep and I wake up some in the night, so I am sure to go to bed early to get enough sleep. I drift off around 10:00 and get ready to do it all over again.

QOTD: What is your favorite thing to snack on right now? What time to do go to bed?

Family Weekend

We had a blast this weekend and I was so sad for it to be over! On top of gorgeous weather, my parents came up for a visit on Thursday morning and stayed until Saturday.

They met us up at the shop and we went out to lunch (Emma Kate was at daycare). Then My mom, dad and I went back to the house and sat on our screened porch and chatted, which was so nice. Not having to chase around a little person was relaxing and we got to catch up and give each other our full attention, which rarely happens when my hyper little bug is around. We picked her up from school and Bobby came home to BBQ.

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Again, the weather was perfect and we even ate outside.

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Emma Kate was hilarious, she saw us dipping our chips in the guacamole and wanted to do it, too.

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We watched the movie Courageous after EK went to bed, and on Friday morning, my dad and I went to Lowe’s while Bobby went to work and my mom watched little bit. We got some new flowers for my pots out front, and then all five of us went out to get Mexican for lunch.

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Bobby had to work Friday afternoon and evening, so the rest of us hung out at home. Saturday morning Bobby wet to go run a 5k with some friends, while I stayed back with the family and got to go run three miles of my own while grammy and grandpa watched Emma Kate.

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Bobby came home from his race, I went out and grabbed some groceries, and then sadly my parents had to go home.

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We had a really great visit, and I’m glad they came up to see us (it was nice not having to make the drive to go see them!)

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The rest of Saturday we hung out at home and I got a little work done yesterday afternoon out on the screened porch, because…again with the beautiful weather.

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Sunday morning we went to church, and Sunday afternoon we spent some time outside with Emma Kate and got ready for the week ahead.

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I have been working on some ways to better organize the house and my time, and I can’t wait to share some of my ideas with you later!

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I hope you all had an amazing weekend, and have a great Monday. You can handle whatever is thrown at you, one step at a time.

5 Things Friday XIV

It’s Fri-yay! I hope you are all having a great day, and enjoy the weekend. We are having beautiful spring weather here (sorry you folks up north in the seasons that are very confused right now). Here are your 5 Things Friday!

1.) Giveaway: Today is the LAST DAY to enter my Shabby Apple gift card giveaway. I will announce a winner tonight, so hurry and enter!

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2.) Family fun: My parents are in town for a couple of days so I may be a little absent on social media, but I still love yall, don’t worry.

3.) Get Your Hair Did: My poor sweet Bella got groomed yesterday, and instead of giving her a clean shaven face, they left her a little beard so now she looks like a sad old man. Poor baby.

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4.) Halloween?: Yesterday Emma Kate decided what she wants to be for Halloween. At least a ghost costume is easy? And yes she did this by herself, and yes she walked around running into things, and yes, I let her. Come on, a parent has to have a little fun.

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5.) Running Skirts: In case you missed my blog post yesterday (shame on you) I kid…sort of… then you may have missed that I am now a RunningSkirts ambassador! If you have any questions on skirt related things, let me know. (the above link is an affiliate link).

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QOTD: What are you doing this weekend? Favorite Halloween costume?

Running Skirts Ambassador

I have been a fan of RunningSkirts for a long time. When I first started distance running, a friend told me about them. I was a bit skeptical about running in a skirt, but I bought one anyway, and loved it! Freeing feeling, pockets, and adorable. I ran my very first half marathon in a skirt, (even though it was freezing!) and never looked back. 17957_532274161768_61700476_31353822_8119432_n

Now, I have quite the collection!

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Also a fun fact that you may know if you have been reading my blog from the beginning, but I used to work for running skirts. I went around selling to running stores, and I worked a lot of race expos.

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Unfortunately due to other work constraints, I was not able to continue my job after the first year, but I had a blast while I was able! I continued to wear RunningSkirts, even while I was pregnant (did you know they have maternity skirts?)

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For the several months (almost a year) after I had Emma Kate, I had a hard time fitting into my old skirts (and still can’t fit into some because I have gained so much more muscle!) but was stoked when I was finally able to wear some of them again.

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So imagine my excitement when last week I got a special surprise in the mail from my favorite set of twins! They chose me to be a skirt ambassador and I am so excited to be “back” in the skirt family.

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By the way, the tank they sent me is AMAZING.  The tank actually COOLS YOU DOWN while you are running, perfect for summer!

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If you ever have any questions about RunningSkirts feel free to ask me, I can recommend all kinds of things to you. Also, you can shop at any of the links in this post, and there is also a button on my right sidebar that will click you through to their website. Happy shopping!

QOTD: Do you run in skirts? Favorite RunningSkirts print?