June 29, 2012

Friday Favorites

You know it's going to be a weird day when breakfast is a bowl of soup (yep, that happened). Unfortunately, my Fridays have recently been the busiest days of the week... not exactly an ideal way to ease into the weekend. Today is no exception, with several back-to-back meetings and lots of things to get accomplished in between. Before all that gets started, however, there are a few quick favorites that I've been waiting to share with you. In brief:

I discovered and downloaded this song on Tuesday, and have already played it more than 100 times. No joke, I've had it on repeat all. week. long. I think I owe my firstborn to Pandora for knowing exactly what I want to fall in love with.

This article on being a military spouse is absolutely spot-on. If you are one, read it and just nod along. If you're not, read it for a rare opportunity to see life from our perspective.

london calling
Trials overload! Between swimming and track this week, I can barely keep up, but I am loving every second. This does not bode well, however, for the two week blitz that will be London -- perhaps my boss would grant me an extended vacation so that I can sit on my couch 24/7, basking in the glory that is Bob Costas? That man makes me inexplicably happy...

And finally, this:
happens tonight. Hubs and I already have tickets. I am beside myself with excitement.

Happy weekend, everyone!


June 27, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I had every intention of sitting down yesterday evening to write something meaningful. I planned to come home from a great run in my favorite spot, blog a bit, shower, and then head to the grocery store, getting home just in time to cook dinner before the hubs got home from work late yesterday evening. Somewhere along the way, I was going to return a few emails that have been sitting in my inbox for entirely too long, call my best friend to finally figure out some details of the shower I'm planning for her, throw in a few loads of laundry, paint my toenails, and make sure the puppy got out to the dog park to run around for a bit. I wanted to empty the dishwasher of the clean dishes that have been waiting patiently for days, pick up the shoes that are threatening a coup to take over our closet, swing by to get gas, and prep lunch for today.
Needless to say, blogging was perhaps the least important of the things I didn't get done yesterday. After a particularly miserable run (part blazing heat, part rebellious stomach, part unwelcome pain that has me threatening to disown my entire right leg again), I dragged myself home, frustrated and exhausted. The twenty minute break to refocus turned into thirty, which turned into an hour nap. I did at least wake up after that, but still found myself in the same spot more than an hour later. I kept telling myself to get up and shower, that grocery shopping would fix my terrible mood, that otherwise I'd regret wasting the evening. I knew that I shouldn't let a bad run ruin my day, that I was being lazy, and that bailing on my to do list would leave me scrambling later in the week. I knew all of this... and yet that little voice kept encouraging: stay here. relax. you need this. And perhaps I did need it. But I also needed to grocery shop... and twelve hours later, I still do.
I did eventually manage to empty the dishwasher, banish my shoes to just one corner of the closet, and, by some miracle, I had a homemade dinner waiting when hubs walked through the door (pasta continues to be the solution to most of my problems). And this morning, I've set myself up with a rather large cup of coffee, an upbeat Pandora station, and a renewed determination to knock out the tasks I so effectively ignored last night. Fingers crossed, I won't have to write another version of this post tomorrow morning...


June 25, 2012

Weekend Twofers

[grumble grumble] Monday morning [grumble grumble] temps in the triple digits this week [grumble grumble] sore legs [grumble grumble] so much to do this week [grumble grumble] I'd rather be in bed. Excellent -- now that we're caught up, let's begin.

My weekend seemed to settle neatly into pairs:
2 delicious meals
1. As you might have guessed from Friday's picture, my mom and I kicked off the weekend early with a yummy trip to Melting Pot on Thursday night. The highlights included two fantastic pomegranate martinis (half off!), the Boston lager cheese fondue, and our usual dark chocolate with Baileys for dessert. Yum indeed.
2. Dan and I headed out for date night on Friday and ended up at our local Mellow Mushroom. We often order takeout from here, but it has been years since I ate in their actual restaurant, and we enjoyed it a lot. We ordered a ton of food and brought home lots of leftovers, which is always a plus. I was in a rare mood and didn't feel like wine or beer, so I ordered a hard cider which turned out to be exactly what I was craving.
2 tough runs...
1. I have begrudgingly reinstated the long run in my training. Through most of the winter, I milked the "sore shin" excuse primarily on Saturday mornings (the pain drove me crazy all week, but came in handy when I wanted to sleep late on the weekends), so it has been tough to get back into the habit, but this Saturday morning I hit 11 miles for the second weekend in a row. I have been really good about starting early the past two weekends, hitting the street before 7 am to avoid most of the disgusting heat. This weekend was tougher than last, but I think it was mostly a mental thing -- I thought very seriously about cutting it short several times, but ended up just gritting my teeth and suffering through all of it.
2. My recovery run yesterday was equally rough. All I cared about was three easy miles to get me past my goal mileage for the week and loosen up my legs a little. I let myself sleep late, and then wimped out and headed for the treadmill to avoid the heat. I turned on the platform diving trials to keep my mind occupied... and it didn't take long to realize what a mistake that was. Something about the combination of running but not actually moving forward and watching people do handstands on an extremely high ledge and then spin through midair really did a number on my stomach. I watched maybe three dives before I had to turn it off, and I felt queasy for the rest of the day.
... and 2 great runs
1. Friday afternoon after work I headed out for just a couple miles, and despite the awful heat it felt pretty good. My legs felt fast and it was one of those (rare) times when I could have kept going and going. Getting home in time to shower for our date took precedence, though.
2. This morning I managed to talk myself out from under the covers early enough to have plenty of time for a run. Monday mornings are often a struggle because they are the one morning a week that Dan has to be at work by 8, so we are both rushing to get ready and out the door on time. This morning, though, I managed 6.5 miles (a workday morning record) and still had time to dry my hair and pack a lunch. Nice way to start the week.
2 movies... kind of
Saturday evening, we headed out to meet Dan's family at a drive-in movie "theater" in one of our neighboring counties. It was absolutely packed with a strange mix of relatively normal people who had also made the trip from our hometown and some real characters from the outlying counties. The line for the snack bar was truly people watching at its best. I made it through nachos, previews, the first movie (Brave, which was adorable and quite funny), twenty minutes in line for a bathroom (twice), and about five minutes of the second movie (The Avengers) before that morning's 5:00 wake-up call caught up with me. Luckily, it was easy enough to snuggle up under a blanket and nap -- and thankfully Dan enjoyed the movie enough to stay awake and drive us home at a ridiculous hour of the night early morning.
catching up with 2 great friends
Between work, wedding planning, running, and trying to find time for sleep in between, I have been terrible lately at keeping up with friends from college. Luckily, one friend was visiting my hometown this weekend and we were able to meet up for lunch on Saturday. I had such a great time hearing about her life and getting updated on lots of our mutual friends. I also finally got to talk to one of my awesome bridesmaids last night after weeks of playing phone tag. As tough as it can be to find time to sit down for a phone conversation these days, I love getting to talk to my girlfriends and know that I need to do that more often.
...and 1 breathtaking sunset
Finally, an 11th wheel: a wonderful addition to our weekend that has no matching set. Last night we headed out for milkshakes and a drive with some beautiful scenery...
Not a bad way to end a weekend!

This week is going to be a bit crazy... I'll be writing tomorrow about why (hint: those wedding bells off in the distance are getting louder by the week). Hope everyone has a fantastic Monday!


June 22, 2012

Starts with "Y"

[hard to tell from the pic, but I honestly looked like I'd just stepped out of a pool...]

yes, please.
 [Happy Weekend!]


June 20, 2012

Hump Day Humor

In honor of the first day of summer -- and as a direct result of the fact that the disgusting heat outside may have fried a few brain cells -- I bring you some heat wave funnies:

Stay cool out there, friends!



June 18, 2012

Weekend Sampler

This weekend was glorious. And I have proof:
date night! sad we didn't know where to look at the camera...
date night eats... yum. best fish and chips in town!
fantastic run super early on Saturday morning
refueling in the best way possible (pic stolen from a few weeks ago, but Saturday's tasted just as good)
more snacking...
beautiful view from the dog park
[his] and [hers] dinners at Outback Saturday evening with a wonderful friend. as you can see, hubs loves those cheese fries.
And then we made a horrible, terrible, wonderful mistake. 
Dan ran across a golden retriever kennel online and convinced me that we should go visit the puppies. Except it didn't take much convincing, so Sunday morning we made the hour drive to what turned out to be an awesome farm. With puppies. Be still my heart...
Go ahead, bask in the adorable:

chomping on my toes! these guys were definitely in the chewing phase... they wanted to bite our arms, legs, clothes, and one of them even got a rather large mouthful of my hair (luckily most of it remained on my head). I spent most of the time we were there with my fingers locked in the grips of little puppy teeth.
We did manage to escape without a little fluffball this time around (which is good and bad all at the same time, because there were at least three I would have taken, no questions asked). We are, however, excited to go back soon... these were by far the happiest two hours of my week, if not my whole month.
Honestly, who wouldn't just melt over a face like this?
Besides the pups, we also met a few horses:
a picture-perfect shaggy longhorn:
... and a donkey that may have had a thing for my husband:
donkey going in for a snuggle. Dan slightly unsure of the intentions of said donkey.
On the way home for Father's Day dinner, we also made a quick pit stop to love on our wedding venue a bit:
so beautiful!
All in all, a fantastic weekend full of food, running, wine, family, and puppies. What more could a girl ask for?
What's that? She could ask for one more adorable puppy picture?
Oh, well, I suppose I can do that for you...
Clearly he's a little depressed that it's Monday, too.
Hope your weekends were just as lovely!



June 15, 2012

Friday Favorites: Entertainment Edition

Hurray! We're down to merely hours in our countdown to that magical hour of the week: Friday at 5:00. Word on the street is that tonight is date night around these parts (much needed, it has been a looong time), so I'm pretty excited to get home, get a few miles under my feet, and then straighten my hair for someone other than my coworkers (ha). To celebrate the end of the week, it's time to share a little bit of what I'm loving lately. This time around, I'm highlighting a few of the things that have been keeping my eyes and ears happily entertained:

I've been making an effort to find more time for reading recently -- I forget how much I love getting lost in a great book until it's 2 in the morning and I promise my sleepy self for the fifth time that I'll turn off the light after just one more chapter. Here's what I've been enjoying so far this summer:
I included this book in my Friday Favorites a few weeks ago, but it is so worth a second mention. Written by one of my favorite bloggers, it presents a unique and truly stunning perspective on parenting, love, family, heartache, and acceptance. Each story Kelle tells is imbued with a warmth and passion that makes it riveting, even as it makes you cry. Her journey with Lainey and Nella is beautiful, and her ability to share it so genuinely is really incredible.

It's true. You can go ahead and judge me. I had actually been avoiding this book for months, just as I usually steer very clear of any movie/book/celebrity that makes teenage girls shriek and declare their undying love to someone they've never met (see also: Twilight, Justin Bieber, High School Musical). However, after assurance from my best friend M (an English major in college), this blogger who shared my hesitation, and my mom (of all people) that Hunger Games was different, I begrudgingly agreed to try it. Verdict? I'm glad I read it, but I'm not nearly as head over heels as most people seem to be. The story was good -- I enjoyed the plot line and the few twists that weren't quite so easy to spot from three chapters away. From a "big picture" perspective, it was decent, even pretty good. The thing that drove me crazy, though, were the details: the lack of consistent character development and the moments where I had to pause and shake my head, wondering what motivated a completely incongruous thought or action beyond the author's need to move the story line along. To me, the writing also left something to be desired -- unfortunately, I was continually reminded that I was reading a book for young adults, with the vocabulary and sentence structure to prove it. Overall, I have certainly read much better, but I've also read much, much worse. It was a good summer book: light and fluffy, quick and easy to come back to. I was intrigued enough by the ending that I did buy the second book, which I've just started.
(Go ahead, all of you who would like to blast me for not thinking this is the book of the century. I can take it.)

I ran across this book on amazon quite by accident: it was one of their discounted Kindle books this month, which are typically C+ grade literature at best, but my quick scroll through was interrupted by the beauty of this cover (I know, I know... don't judge a book and whatnot). I was intrigued by the description and at $1.99, it was worth the chance. This turned out to be another quick read (all of 24 hours), not because it was fluffy (although it was, a little) but because I just couldn't get away from it. Part coming-of-age, part psychology-of-a-college-student, with enough early-20's angst to make it interesting, it reminded me a bit of my own years at school. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, but what sold me was the emotion: these characters were real. I saw myself in all three of them as they struggled with loss, love, and trying to figure out exactly how to steer their lives in a direction that they could accept. Definitely a great summer read, although it left me a bit sad that it is Ryan Quinn's only novel to date.

The hubs and I have really enjoyed watching our way through this Discovery Channel miniseries over dinners this week. The episodes are a great mix of awe-inspiring NASA footage, interviews with such legends as Armstrong, Aldrin, and Lovell, and enough nail-biting suspense that we are thankful to be watching this on Netflix, without actual commercial breaks. This series focuses less on the rockets themselves and more on the astronauts who flew them, as well as the incredible support staff on the ground in Houston. I have learned a lot, although perhaps the most interesting tidbit that has emerged over our viewing is the realization that while my hubby would love to travel into orbit, I think I'm perfectly happy to watch with both feet on the ground.

If my husband was reading this, I guarantee he just rolled his eyes and closed his web browser. As tough as it is to admit, though, this so-awful-it's-wonderful show is my favorite guilty pleasure. It was one of the only TV shows I watched consistently while hubs was deployed, and even though I've missed most of the present season (I fear that turning it on would probably drive him back to Iraq), I did thoroughly enjoy a episode at the gym a few nights ago. The level of crazy on screen during this hour simply can't be rivaled, and I love it just because it puts my not-quite-so-ridiculous life in perspective.

(Sorry for the boring video... it's the best I could find)
This song is currently on repeat in the car, on my runs, and in my head. Casey James has a fantastic voice and the melody is absolutely gorgeous. I am also so in love with the lyrics that I've wondered more than once if it would be worth packing a suitcase and heading to the airport, just for the romantic "don't get on that plane, I love you" moment. So far I've decided against it -- Dan is so laid back and unconcerned that I'm pretty sure he'd just tell me to have a nice flight... besides, if I'm headed anywhere on an airplane, it's going to be with him in the seat next to me!

This movie isn't actually out yet, but I am counting down the days. Dan and I have watched the trailer at least seven times in the past week, and every time I laugh so hard I cry. It is totally irreverent and at times downright inappropriate (what do you expect from Seth MacFarlane?), but still so so funny. Warning: if you're easily offended, it's probably not for you -- the R rating is definitely well earned. I am just powerless not to laugh at such awful things coming out of a cute, fuzzy teddy bear, though.

And on that note... Happy weekend, everyone!



June 14, 2012

Thursday Things

I was a little shocked when I realized this morning that it was not Wednesday, but Thursday. Did I sleep through yesterday? This week has flown by. In an effort to catch my breath and celebrate being one day closer to Friday, here are a few Thursday Things that have been taking up space in my cluttered brain these days:
 - I had a fantastic run last night -- my legs showed up for the party for the first time in a while, and I felt speedy and awesome. The cool breeze was a big bonus, and 8 miles ticked by with very little trouble. It was terrific right up until the end, when I discovered that I'd forgotten the whole use-body-glide-you-idiot step when I was getting ready. Let's just say that the cup of ice water I got at Starbucks after I finished was less for rehydration and more to hold between my legs on the way home. Ouch.
what a flattering picture, right?
- Speaking of Starbucks, who had this brilliant idea?
Why thank you, that's exactly what my drink needed: a huge, soggy sticker sliding along the side of the cup. Only one of the locations in my town does this, but I'd like to give whoever is responsible for the new practice a good plink right between the eyes.
 - My new goal is to cut out the shorter junk runs in my week and consolidate them into longer workouts. I know that some shorter speedwork is still important every week, but filling my calendar with lots of 3/4 mile runs really isn't making me a better runner. I'd like to see my average run somewhere closer to 6/7 miles. If we're being honest, I'm hoping that this will help me ease into higher mileage for my long runs, as well -- my ultimate goal is to slide into a few 13+ milers without thinking about it too much, so that one day I wake up and realize that another half would feel short and easy.
 - Apparently today is Flag Day. Shouldn't we get a day off for that or something? Today is also the US Army birthday, although I think we can all agree that they don't look a day over 236. Here's to many more years of last minute decisions, overcrowding and confusion, hurry-up-and-wait, always doing things the hard way, and somehow making it all worthwhile, Army. I'm not sure how you do it, but keep it up!
 - Recently I wrote that I was craving a long drive. Thankfully a 14-hour roundtrip to Charleston cleared that little urge right up, but now it has been replaced with something slightly trickier... I'm dying to fly somewhere these days. It's not even a matter of destination at this point (although I never say no to a good vacation), I just really want to get on a plane. That honeymoon thing sure is taking its sweet time...
 - Such a dangerous Pinterest find:
I have a thing for buttons and just so happen to have a big bag of red ones sitting at home. There are also these:
... and how cute are these??
I have a feeling it's going to be a busy little weekend...
 - And because it's been a while since the last Toby update:
... he's still just as sleepy (and photogenic) as ever.
Happy Thursday, everyone!



June 11, 2012

Wedding Love: Save the Date!

So very true. As usual, talking myself out from under the covers this morning was probably the hardest thing I'll have to do all day. Luckily, my boss is on vacation this week, meaning that it should be a quiet and productive week on this end. I have a long list of things to keep me busy while she is gone, but I'm also hoping to have plenty of time to tackle the REAL list: the wedding to-do's. It's this list that grows by leaps and bounds each week, keeps sneaking up on me in nightmares, and leans over to tap me on the shoulder every time I sit down for a minute. It yells obscenities like "That wedding website sure isn't going to finish itself!" and "Your bridesmaids are going to quit on you if you don't find them a dress to wear!" and "Were you planning to have food at this wedding?? Because you certainly won't if you don't start planning it!" It's quite the taskmaster, this list -- a little less "important reminders," a little more tough love.
This week, though, I will be able to cross one of the major things off the list: with any luck (and just a few more hours of feeding envelopes through my printer), our save the dates will hit the road tomorrow, headed off to at least 10 different states. I am super excited for our family and friends to rip these babies open, because -- can I brag for just a second? -- they. are. amazing.
When I started my search for save the dates, I knew basically what I wanted: not just a "mark-your-calendar," but a way to explain the whole two-wedding thing. Sure, most family members and friends have been following along closely enough to know about our slightly unconventional plans, but I could just see the puzzled looks on some people's faces when they opened their invitations and thought "Aren't those two already married??" So I wanted our save the dates to spell it out in black and white (or grey and green, as the case may be): yes, we're technically married, but we have a legitimate reason to be doing it again, and we'd like you to be there this time around.
Enter the incredible Ashley of the Etsy shop Fish Feather. I took one look at her signature "Long Story Short" save the dates and fell in love. I adored her designs and the way each card told a sweet personal story, sharing everything from the big moments (the first meeting, the engagement) to the unique little details of each couple. I knew that this was the perfect way to tell our own story -- not just why we're getting married twice, but our whole story, a tribute to seven amazing years together. I wasted no time in getting in touch with Ashley, and she could not have been more wonderful. She put so much work into our card, making sure the spacing was just right, the colors were exactly what I imagined, and the wording was perfect. She took my vision (which was half vague idea and half type-A specific) and ran with it, creating a one-of-a-kind card that is even more adorable than I had dreamed. 

[Since family and friends haven't received theirs yet, and since Ashley worked so hard and I don't want to risk anyone stealing her awesomeness, I'm only sharing a little teaser. Rest assured, it only gets better from here... and yes, I did think he was kidding when he asked me to be his prom date all those years ago.]

I am dying with anticipation for our family and friends to see these. They are the perfect way to start our wedding excitement, and I made sure to order a few extras for us to keep -- I'm already planning to frame one and hang it with our wedding pictures! Please head over to Ashley's shop and take a look at all the fantastic invitations and announcements she has to offer. Her creations are all so original and wonderful, I promise you will fall in love just like I did.
Happy Monday, everyone!



The opinions included above are all my own, and I was not compensated for this post. Ashley is just so amazing that I had to share her!

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