Friday, November 30, 2012

Family Christmas Letter

One of my favorite things to do at Christmastime is send Christmas cards to loved ones. As you saw from yesterday's post, I finally got our family photos taken so I could get cards made. Another thing I like to include with these cards is a Christmas letter that lets friends and family far away know what's been up with us the past year. {Call me a nerd, but I love it.} I remember my family getting these types of letters when I was a little kid and I really enjoyed reading them. I wanted to try something different than the usual letter format this year, so when I saw this card at Minted, I knew I wanted to create something like it, but larger {love when I get to put my graphic design degree to use...even if it's for no money, lol}:

So here's my version that I slaved over last night, I'm quite happy with it! {Sorry to those that will be receiving this, as now it's not a surprise, but I figure much of my long distance family are not avid readers of my blog, so I'm sure it's fine!}

Sadly, I felt like I was having to really reach to find interesting things to put on this letter...I guess this was just one of those years where not a lot of big things happened. I think we all have those years from time to time. The kids are at ages where they weren't hitting any crazy milestones. If it weren't for Breckin being so lazy about walking that he didn't really do it until January of this year when he was 16-17 months old {because that should have been a 2011 milestone, seriously!}, or for Tanner's loosening baby teeth, or Breckin nearly losing his finger in a door jamb at daycare leading to his first {and hopefully LAST} set of stitches, we wouldn't have had many milestones at all! I know we will have a much more interesting story in 2013. Jake and I are both hitting big birthday years, 35 and 30, respectively. I plan on FINALLY visiting my beloved California to see old friends {my 30th birthday prezzy to myself!}, we are taking the boys to Disney World and Legoland in June, I am running my first half marathon...gosh, I am much more excited for next year's Christmas letter! {At least now I have a good template, lol.}

Do you do Christmas letters?
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Downtown Charleston: 2012 Family Photoshoot {Sneak Peek}

Last Sunday, I got my family together for a heinously overdue family portrait session. I chose downtown Charleston for the location because I thought the brick buildings and cobblestone streets would provide a fall/winter feel as well as a beautiful backdrop. I am still waiting to see the rest - the photographer should have them all to me by early next week {and I will of course share my faves with you}, but here is a sneak peek she sent me the other day...I'm excited about them, though a little nervous to see the rest, as my boys were not so cooperative for the majority of the shoot. {Ugh, boys. What are you gonna do?}

I found our photographer on Craigslist...she is new to the Charleston area and was looking to gain clientele, so she offered a great deal...I know that's taking a risk, but from what I see so far, I think she did a great job. And she was a sweetheart to work with. Her name is Hannah Hamilton, and her business is Once Upon A Time Portraits. If you're in the Charleston area, give her a shout, she's got a good price!

Anyway, here you go:

The first thing I thought when I saw these was "damn, I have a GOOD-looking husband." LOL. I'm sorry, I may be bias, but I don't think so. He's one attractive man, and he's all mine. I love seeing all of my beautiful guys looking their best together. Poor Breckin must have had allergies because his eyes were watering and nose was running throughout the shoot. Thank God for PhotoShop.

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Even When You Don't Want To...

You just should. Workout, I mean.

I tell you, I have so many days where I am just not mentally into getting my workout done. I feel like that's the hardest fight for me; not the physical battle. If I am not mentally in the kick-my-own-ass mode, it is a struggle to get my workout on.

I had a mental battle like this just yesterday afternoon. I was due to run 5-6 miles per my half marathon training schedule. I was all gung-ho in the morning...I got my workout wear, running shoes, etc. in a bag and stuck it in my car for a quick change after work so I could run on Daniel Island, an island near my home. {It is just such a better scenic run than my neighborhood.} But all day at work I was fighting allergies, a crampy tummy and just an overall feeling of crappiness. But deep down, I knew I had to make myself do this run.

So I got ready for my workout, parked my car on a random street and started running the route I had planned out on MapMyRun. Immediately my insides clenched with crampiness and I thought, "There's no way I'm going to be able to finish this run." I also was angry with my body for performing so poorly. I found it harder to breathe than normal...I felt less energized than normal. I won't lie, I even walked some of it.

I think I like running in this particular place because I know that if I park my car and start heading off far to the other side of the island, it's inevitable that I will have to make my way back, which means I have no choice but to do the miles. So in the end, here is what my RunKeeper app on my iPhone recorded:

So it wasn't my best time per mile {12:15} obviously since I walked a little bit, but I think I averaged about the same time per mile as when I did my first 10K in I don't feel I was too shabby considering the distance for me was a good bit further than normal.

Overall, I'm just proud that I won my mental battle with myself. I know that I need to fight the urge to quit...that urge might always sneak up on me...but I know that I can shut that voice up.

How do you break through your mental battles with working out?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Holiday Wishlist {Oh, Hubbyyyyy...}

1. Young House Love - I have been dying to get my hands on this baby. I have followed John & Sherry's blog for years - what blogger hasn't?

2. Hunter Original Rain Boots - Can you believe I live in South Carolina and don't own a proper pair of rain boots?

3. BEBE Sport Pink Leopard Print Pant - Leopard, pink and for working out? Yes, please.

4. The Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera - I have been longing for a great camera and would love to tinker with my photography skills - possibly start a side business?

5. Erin Condren Personalized iPhone Case - This is just too perfect. I already have the planner to match!

6. ZGallerie Mimosa Bedding - Want to go white with the master bedroom bedding and I love this set.

7. Nike Air Alvord 10 Trail Running Shoes - Girl has got a half marathon coming up and I could really use a new pair of kicks to get me through.

What's on your Christmas Wishlist this year?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winter Jackets

We got a little cold front here in Charleston this past weekend and it got me thinking how I need a new winter jacket. I already have a nice long white wool coat from Victoria's Secret, but I'm definitely in the market for one not as long...and not as white. Here are some of the options I'm looking into...

I love the subtle leopard pattern on this one...

 I also just love a classic gray to go with anything and everything...

And I do always love plaid for outerwear...

I'll decide on one soon and let you know! Hope it's not too cold where you're at! xoxo

*All photos courtesy of Victoria's Secret.
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Turkey Day Run: Race Recap I have to officially say I hate the chip timing system. Hate.

I feel like my time is never logged right in the end. {Let's not forget last month's Race for the Cure when my time chip apparently didn't even log my actual!}

So let's hash this out...the race officially started at 9am. I was in the second wave which started at 9:03. So the clock had been running 3 minutes before I was able to start. When I hit the end of the race, I remember looking up at the time and seeing 34:54...then of course, due to bottlenecking, was unable to get my timer under the finish line until sometime after 35 min, apparently 35:09, because my time on the website says this:

BUT, if I go to my RunKeeper app, I show that I ran FURTHER than 3.1 miles {not by much} and know that my app had been running for at least two minutes before I actually started moving:

I suppose this chip time was close, but due to the bottlenecking at the start and at the end of the race, I'd estimate my actual time to be right at about 30:30 - 31:00 minutes. So pretty much the same as last month's Race for the Cure. My next run is the Reindeer Run, hopefully I can really push it then! I'd so love to see a time UNDER 30 minutes.

Going to trudge through with my half marathon training this week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Gym Routine: Back

Welcome back to my little mini-series, My Gym Routine!

Today, I am letting you in on my favorite back exercises.

Here is the schedule of posts for your reference:
Mon 11.26.12 - Back
Mon 12.3.12 - Chest
Mon 12.10.12 - Triceps
Mon 12.17.12 - Abs

I find the back is often neglected in many people's exercise routines. It is a very important area because your back controls your ability to do most anything. Think about someone who breaks their back - they're not going to be walking, are they? Your back is also closely related to your core, the main muscles that keep your body in balance. A weak back can lead to some very unfortunate injuries. Keep yours strong by focusing on it a few times a week, with moves such as these:

Back Extensions

Back extensions are great for the lower back as well as your abs! Build a strong lower back and you will notice a flatter tummy. I typically grab a weight plate anywhere up to 20 lbs and hold it with my arms crossed across my chest, but if you're a beginner to working your back, simply putting your hands behind your head {shown} will keep you from doing too much too soon. For this exercise, I ai to do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Bent-Over Row

Grab a barbell {I use about 30 lbs}, hold with your palms facing outward and pull to your chest, then slowly release back down to starting position. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.

Lat Pulldown

Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, grab a pulldown bar. Keep your back straight and sit up tall. Exhale as you pull the bar down to the top of your chest. Slowly rise back to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps with a weight that has you to failure by the 15th rep of each set.

Monday Musings

How was y'all's Thanksgiving weekend? I tell you, it was soooo nice having four days off from work. Thanksgiving/My 5th Anniversary was a great day. I started out on a good foot by doing the Turkey Day 5K downtown. It was a great day for running, however, a bit cold waiting for the race to start! Before heading back home, I had a post-race beer {gotta love free booze!}

Our Thanksgiving dinner was very quaint since it was just the four of us this year. We cooked a turkey and a few of our other favorite Thanksgiving dishes and had a nice family meal. {Due to the cold, we didn't make it out to Breach Inlet for a beach picnic as I had originally hoped.} Here's my sweet boys enjoying their feast:

And yes, that is turkey he is holding {he gets just as excited for Thanksgiving as his daddy does}:

After dinner, hubby surprised me with my anniversary gift:

It was the Chance Chanel perfume...

I'm loving the fragrance. It's nice to wear a new scent every once in a while.

On Friday, I put up the Christmas decorations and that night we passed around the eggnog, turned up some Christmas music and decorated our Christmas tree.

On Sunday, we went to church and then that afternoon we headed to the cobblestone streets of downtown Charleston to have a long overdue family photo session. {Christmas cards need to be made soon!} I can't wait to get the portrait CD back later this week to show y'all how they turned out!

Have a great week!
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am likely off running in our local Turkey Day 5K as you're reading this. I look forward to this 5K every year. It is one of my favorites. The weather is usually ideal for running and it's just a fun event afterward with the free beer in the park and all. {Hey, I can be a little bad, right?} Is there a Thanksgiving race in your town?

I'd like to take a moment to be thankful for my health. Not everyone out there is able to even run a race. The fact that I can breathe easy, complete tasks without ailment and am disease-free is a very big blessing. I thank God for the ability to do the things I want to do...that my body is strong and able...I try never to take that for granted...that is why fitness is very important to me.

I have a favorite quote that I use at the bottom of my work email signature...and I believe it is very fitting for today...

Steve Prefontaine was a great American runner that lost his life in a car accident at the young age of 24 - in his prime. He never once wasted his God-given ability in the years he had. My advice to you always with fitness is to take today and take it now. Do your absolute best with the time you have.

We've not a lot planned today as far as Thanksgiving dinner goes - my family is 3,000 miles away and Jake's family left town to visit his dad's side in Illinois. It is actually also our 5th wedding anniversary today, so we plan on cooking up a few smaller portions of our favorite Thanksgiving foods and having a picnic at Breach Inlet, Sullivan's Island where we were married. The boys in tow too, of course. {And hey, less Thanksgiving calories for me this year!}

Hope you are enjoying this holiday with loved ones. xoxo.

Happy Thanksgiving & An Anniversary

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you...I hope you are able to be surrounded by loved ones.

I think it's important to stop and be thankful every day. It shouldn't have to wait to be said until this one day each year.

Food for thought: Try to start each day on a high note by being thankful you were given the breath to breathe another day...end it on a good note by praying to God and being thankful for the blessings you have. You may also notice you naturally become a happier person. A thankful heart is a happy heart.

This is the last post in my Thankful series...and seeing as how it is Thanksgiving and also my husband's and my 5th wedding anniversary, I am dedicating this thankful post to my loving husband.

I am thankful for Jake, the love we share, the family we've built and the life we have together. We are far from perfect; we have ups and downs, but we always make it through in the end and that is what a real marriage is all about.

It was 5 years ago, on Thanksgiving of that year, that we exchanged our vows:

We had a quaint little private ceremony at Breach Inlet on Sullivan's Island.

Six months later, we had a reception with family and friends.

Thank you, my sweet husband, for five amazing years...looking forward to many more. You are the most wonderfully perfect man for me. Happy Anniversary, I love you. ♥

I hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones and good food. It is just Jake, the boys and me this year, I am running the Turkey Day 5K downtown and then, since it's our 5th anniversary, we plan on making some small portions of our fave Thanksgiving foods and heading out to Breach Inlet on Sullivan's Island where we were married to have a family picnic. Hoping it goes as planned!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Series: My Sweet Boys

For this Thankful series post, I am sharing what I am most thankful for:

I don't know if this post needs words...

Nope, just pictures I think...

I thank God every day for these beautiful boys of mine.

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