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Thursday, February 19, 2015

hair : an adventure of cuts and my new lob

Let's talk hair!
I'm definitely a person who likes to change up her style on a regular basis.  Always have been.  Even as a little girl there were several times when I decided I needed a chop and took the scissors to my long blonde locks - I think age four and six.  Sorry Mom!  (It was very traumatic for her, and now I totally get why.  Yikes.) But you must admit my longing for bangs and then just kinda making it happen was pretty brave/assertive of me.  Just sayin'.

So brave I have always tried to be, with both color and cuts.  Not exactly wild and crazy - but willing to try new styles!  I dyed my own hair all throughout high school, and this did not always turn out well (bright blonde, a weird shade of greenish brown, red!) but I didn't have the cash to have it professionally done so, again, I had to make it happen somehow.  

Post-high school and especially in the past five years I have gone from long to short and back again many, many times.  My hair grows really fast, so that makes it easier to change things up.  I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my recent cuts, and show you the latest cut!

Let's start back in 2009...

The Sleek Bob
Let me just say this is my favorite cut of all - a smooth bob just below an inch or two below my chin.   I have done it various times over the past ten years. The only part I don't like is that it is hard to put my hair up/back for the gym.  But it is definitely the cut that I feel suits me and my personality best.

The Shag
 This was supposed to be more of a choppy, textured bob - worn messy!  I really liked it because I had just had Cormac a few months earlier and wanted something updated but low-maintenance.  Once again, with this one I was happy to go short after having longer hair throughout my pregnancy!

The Long Pixie
I chopped it into a this cut after I lost all my baby weight with from my first pregnancy.  I had always wanted to try a super short style.  I know there are shorter, very edgy pixies, which I think are cute but I was not brave enough to go short and spikey.  Nor will I ever be.  I decided the pixie is not for me!  I have too giant of a head, and am not too cheap to go in and have it "cleaned up" every six weeks.   I liked the short and sassy look for a while...but not the upkeep or growing out process.  Next came - 
Long and Layered with Blonde Ombre
 So after two cuts of the pixie, I started growing out my hair -- about the time I got pregnant with Finola.  So it took about a year and a half to get from a short pixie to the length above, even with a few trims/re-layers.   I looooooved this blonde ombre (partial highlight.)  I don't look very good fully blonde due to my really dark eyebrows, but I liked it only in the lower half of my hair.  This style was really fun over the summer - I did a lot of braids and low side ponytails and messy top-knot buns.  Really versatile and feminine.    I like long hair every once in a while!  Hubby likes me to mix it up, too.  But then I got bored with it.  

Which brings us to....

 The Lob
This is pretty much "the Rachel" of haircuts right now, so I had to try it.  I really like the long pieces in the front and how it angles back shorter.  I did an even lighter ombre this time, starting the highlighting even higher.  I love the loose waves and beachy vibe.  It makes me excited for spring -- and our upcoming vacation.  Another reason to change it up!  

Has anyone else tried 'the lob'? 
What is your favorite 'cut for yourself?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a unintended mileage cutback...and a valentine's recap!

So, um, yeah...about last week...

...wasn't my most productive week.

Just as I was about to leave the house for my 18 mile run on Saturday morning, fully dressed in running garb, ready to brave the cold, I could not find my iPod.  Anywhere.  After a brief meltdown that only a runner may understand, I still couldn't find my iPod, and I decided I was mentally was unfit for running any high mileage.  Remember what I wrote about how I am a creature of routine and ritual?  How I don't deal well with last-minute changes to plans I've had for a while?  This was a prime example of that.  I could have probably run up to ten miles without music...but not eighteen.  Also, it is the way I know how far I am running - it is highly motivating for me to know what mile I am on, which my iPod kindly tells me.  So,  quite disheartened,  I took my dog for a brisk four mile jaunt, stewing at first about the cosmic forces seemingly preventing my marathon training.   By mile two, however, I was reaching a place of zen about the situation.  Perhaps if I'd attempted the long run I would have gotten injured.  Perhaps this was divine intervention -- God telling me in no uncertain terms I needed a cut-back week.  Message received, Lord.  By mile four I was feeling much more stable.

Running is therapy, folks.  There is no doubt about it.  Even a short run.

I eventually felt okay about not getting a long run in this week because I finally started looking at training programs, real training schedules, and I was WAY ahead of the mileage I should have been at.  I have eleven weeks left before the race, and according to all of the beginner marathon runner schedules I looked at I should have only been around 13 miles, rather than 18.

Despite this new knowledge , I still felt really, really guilty taking the week off from a long run.  I know that I need to give myself a break.  Then I found these words and they really spoke to how I was feeling:

Even a bitty four mile one.

Also, through looking at actual training schedules I learned that I should be doing more runs during the week (shorter, of course) at my race pace (which I don't really know yet.)  So I am going to try to incorporate more of that, somehow.

Last week's training...
Sunday: Recovery day from my 17 mile run - no workouts.
Monday: this 10 minute intense lower ab workout and this 7 Best Ab Exercises workout during naps
Tuesday: this 18 minute Miley Cyrus leg workout  and this 8 minute ballet workout ; PM gym - light cardio
Wednesday: PM gym - light cardio
Thursday: PM gym - this higher intensity fartlek workout...which I actually stretched to 30 minutes.  I felt a little goofy running this fast on the treadmill - and like it was going to break! But I felt really strong after!!!!
//source//
Friday: AM yoga class
Saturday: 4 mile run.

  + + + + + + + 

Onto the fun stuff...

Valentine's Day!  Yes, a silly Hallmark holiday...but so fun!  I've always loved having a special day of celebration with Hubby....but now I see that every holiday is more fun when you have tiny babes at home to enjoy them with. (No, I am not being sarcastic, I promise.)  It definitely changes things up, but I've come to believe the more loved ones you have around you to celebrate things with, the more special it is.  Increasingly I treasure our tiny yet growing family* particularly since I am so far away from my own family in Minnesota/Montana, which includes my three siblings, two sibs-in-law, and six nieces and nephews.

It is hard not seeing them...but I feel like we are creating our own little tribe here.*

*I'm not pregnant! just saying.  not pregnant.  various glasses of wine were consumed during the Valentine's feast after the kiddos went to sleep! :)

So Valentine's Day being on a Saturday looked like this for us:

Took kiddos to their first offical gymnastics class at a local gym that morning.  Since I had bailed on my long run I was able to go and watch...and it was so CUTE!  Basically just a bunch of toddlers tumbling around and looking adorable.  I watched from a balcony, being a dorky mom taking phone pics, while Hubby was with baby girl for her Bear/Cub class.  It was so sweet and she did really well.  She is very enthusiastic about most things and pretty fearless!

after class - bear and cub still playing!
Cormac was old enough to be on his own so, after a slight meltdown, he went with his class of littles around to all the stations and did quite well.  He has SO MUCH ENERGY, so it is nice to get him into activities where he can burn it off.  I loved watching him bounce around in his typical helter-skelter way, and how he proudly showed his teacher his "somersault" about twenty times.

The rest of the day was pretty laid-back.  After naps we bummed around a bit, then took the kids to the nearby Chik-fil-A for their dinner, as they love the little playroom and "making friends" there.   Then we headed to the grocery and bought food for an adult feast that night -- since we had no sitter we were cooking at home, like we did last year.  Tradition?  Yes, please!  It is really fun, as I get to cook alongside Hubby which never really happens with our schedule.  (Oh, and I prefer being the chef at our house, which he enjoys.)

Before the kids went to bed we all indulged in some chocolate covered strawberries from Hubby...and let the kids each eat a donut.  Nothing like a sugar binge before bedtime!  ;)  (Let there be no dieting rules on holidays, I say!)
these were YUM! nice work, hubby!

giving them donuts was not the original plan. 
I gathered this misfit group of candles for mood lighting...
we finished these off in no time.
shrimp cocktail is a staple at our "fancy" home dinners 
my special filets - so, so good.
The rest of the menu was steamed broccoli, a crusty loaf of bread, and, of course, red wine.  We watched our wedding dvd while dining and it was so fun reliving that day a little bit.  We plan on making this another tradition.

Hope everyone's Valentine's Day was so, so sweet!  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

in lieu of a card...

Dear Valentine,
I was going to give you a card.  A real nice card.  However, I thought, knowing you as I do, this would mean a lot more.  (Plus, this does not cost $6 like the card I was going to buy you.  Which I know matters to you, my financial-minded Valentine. :) )

I know I am a lot to put up with at times.  A fiery temper.  Kinda selfish.  More than my fair share of crazy.  Dramatic.  Emotional.   Ridiculous.  "Annoying." (hehe)  

Despite all that, I know you love me.  You always have.  You were the guy who sent me flowers and chocolate even when we lived far apart and I'm pretty sure we weren't even dating.  The guy who wrote me real letters, lovely letters, even when email would have been easier.  The guy who felt confident about marrying me even after my own parents tried to "warn him" kindly that I am a lot to handle.  

The guy who took on took on my debt when we got married and didn't blink an eye.  (Then put us on a strict budget to pay it off, of course.)

You, my Valentine, are more than I could have hoped for.  Romance and comfort and excitement all rolled into one.

Thanks for sitting through countless episodes of the Bachelor with me, telling me you love my hair no matter how short or long it is, coming to my rescue always, being the calm + logical one when I am the total spaz, and trusting me as your partner in life.

I thank God for you every day.

The most dedicated reader of this little blog.

My Hubby.

Will you be mine - forever?  

Love,
Your Wifey
thanks for being so fun - and for thinking I am fun, too!

Monday, February 9, 2015

vaseline and a wind-burnt face make you look years younger!


This was my first time finishing a run in a very long time (ever?) where I questioned whether or not I could really reach my goal.  Last week I finished tired but as though I could have gone another mile.  This week I hit a wall with three miles left, mentally, but mostly physically.  My knees hurt, my legs felt like I was dragging two useless stumps along with every step, and my feet did not feel great.

But I finished the seventeen miles, walked (limped) a bit to aid recovery, and hobbled home.  

Instead of accomplishment I felt fear.  Fear that I would never make it to twenty-six miles.

Hubby and kiddos were encouraging as Hubby helped me stretch out my poor, poor hamstrings and hips.  The kiddos stood over me he did so, staring down with silly smiles and placing various magnets (they are really into magnets right now) on my face.  It was bizarrely comforting.

Then I went about my normal post-run rituals: first and foremost, getting a frothy, delicious chai tea latte at Panera, along with a French toast bagel with cream cheese.
this makes me happy!
I made a couple other necessary stops and a woman who owned one of the stores admired my wedding rings and told me I looked "too young to be married."  Wha????

I replied that it is probably because I have vaseline smeared all over my face to keep it warm/not chapped during my run, so I look like a greasy-faced teenager.  *awkward laughter from me*

She stared at me and I made a mental note to simply say 'thank you' when someone compliments me.
apparently she didn't notice my crow's feet???
Anyway, I think I really need to a) figure out how to work my legs out better...or stretch more effectively and b) work on my mental game.  I have one more long run slated before my cut-back week and I really want it to go better.

Any advice is welcome!!!

What do YOU do to get through a long run or hard workout when you feel mentally "done"? 

What yoga poses or stretches do you find most effective post-run or post-workout?

Last week's training...
Sunday: Recovery day - no workouts.
Monday: this 10 minute intense lower ab workout and this 10 minute core workout during naps; PM gym - light cardio + circuit
Tuesday: random free weight arm exercises, and this 18 minute Miley Cyrus leg workout  (I don't care how you feel about Miley, she's got great gams...this is a great lower body workout to do while watching your favorite show - super repetitive!) PM gym - 5K treadmill run at a 7:45 average pace
Wednesday: this 10 minute booty barre workout this 16 minute 'Miranda Kerr' butt workout during naps; PM gym - light cardio
Thursday: this VS Ab Workout during naps; PM gym - the same fartlek workout on the treadmill I did last week
Friday: AM yoga class
Saturday: 17 mile run
+ + + + + + +

And here are some random photos from last week with the lil blondies.  We have fun.
don't let this disgruntled expression fool you.  he spent a lot of time painting his face and was very proud of it.
eating a post-facepainting cookie.  I mean, it was hard work and all.
"inside" a fish tank at the children's museum.  this wins the "creepiest photo" award for the week.

we finally had a warm-ish day on Sunday - so we headed to the park!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Whatever your fitness goals, train hard!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

january diy : colorful play tent!

I love crafting and just being creative in general -- despite not having a natural propensity for it (meaning : I am impatient and disorganized!) So crafting for me usually means a lot of unfinished projects lying around the house, and lots of mess! Sure, I do get a lot completed...and it is that satisfaction that drives me to keep on crafting/diy-ing. I love seeing things in my house that I had a hand in creating!

This year I decided to pick one project per month, in an effort to focus more on one task at a time and be more organized!  Oh, and save money by buying only what is necessary for that month's craft.  (Seriously, I have a lot of crap I've never used in my basement and crafting bin.)

Last month's project: A play tent for the family room!  I blogged in this post about wanting a striped play tent.  But instead of spending lots of cash ($160!) for this cute one...I made my own humble, yet still cute, version! (around $40!)

There are plenty of DIY no-sew tutorials out there for tents, but I fell in love with this tutorial about making a simple A-frame with colorful yarn-wrapped posts.

Here is how mine turned out....
I might eventually get a rug for underneath...but for now these colorful tiles do the trick!
I purchased the fabric from IKEA!
I took these pics right after I finished it.  Lil Girl is checking things out cautiously...while wielding some sort of weapon.

We've been playing in it quite a bit -- usually filling it with pillows and blankets and having "sleepovers."  I love how it adds to the "kid-friendliness" of our family room...and I am excited to add more decor to this room to make it feel more "done."  

Things to come in this space...
  • A large antique "built-in" cabinet that purchased at an antique store -- which will replace the old + ugly cabinets/shelves we currently have.
  • a DIY coffee table made from salvaged barn wood from my parent's farm
  • curtains!  I plan to make them myself...so it could be a while...
  • a cute gallery wall!  I am currently gathering items I want to put here.  I have a vision and it is VERY slowly coming together.

What are you currently working on in your home?

Monday, February 2, 2015

fartleks + second winds

This past week I did a fartlek on the treadmill for the first time. "Fartlek" (heh, heh) is apparently one of those terms that all runners should just know.  So now I do!  Basically, it is an interval training run, varying speed and incline.  Here is what I can tell you: by the end, I had run 5 miles, it had gone by FAST because of all the changes, my head was dizzy from staring at the numbers on the chart, and I was dripping sweat.  Okay that might have been because I had dressed improperly for such an intense run, but still.  Hard work - and an awesome way to run on the treadmill!

The one I did was fairly fast, but there are plenty you can find on Pinterest that are a slower pace overall. (Or faster...if you are fast like that.)

On Saturday I completed my sixteen mile run!  It was rough, ya'll.  And cold.  Which is probably why it was so rough.  I am ready for warm weather, because I am hoping I will run faster then.  My respect for long-distance runners in Minnesota (my home state) has greatly increased.  I mean, if I am complaining about temps in the low 20s, I can't even imagine running in a hard Minnesota winter.  With snow.  But I guess your body just adjusts?  I think I have lost all my Minnesota winter toughness.
//source//
Anyway, no major hills on this run, but I tried to mix up my route a bit.  Oh, and I found it interesting that I got a second wind at around mile nine.  Nine!  I needed it, too.

Last week's training...
Sunday: Recovery day - no workouts.
Monday: this 10 minute core workout and this 10 minute barre workout (oh my - looooove barre workouts!) during naps; PM gym - light cardio + circuit
Tuesday: PM gym - this fartlek run on the treadmill
//source//
Wednesday: this 40 minute bikini body workout and this 16 minute 'Miranda Kerr' butt workout during naps; no PM gym...I felt wiped out, and Fin was sick.
Thursday: this VS Ab Workout during naps; PM gym - the fartlek treadmill run (again!) I felt much more efficient the second time!
Friday: AM yoga class
Saturday: 16 mile run

If you've been following along you've noticed I am sneaking in 10-40 minute workouts during the kids' naps, just in my living room - no equipment necessary.  I love this because it is super convenient, prevents me from snacking during the nap period, and has been the key for me toning up recently!  Even 10 minutes extra core training a day helps!

Other notes : 
I started following this running blogger and LOVE HER : www.hungryrunnergirl.com

This weeks "dirty cheat meal" : an entire box of girl scout cookies...and a can of Dr. Pepper.  Oh, the shame!  ;) It was a post-long run binge that wish I could say I regret...but I don't.   I buy two boxes of GS cookies a year, and I always seem to eat the Tagalongs all at once.  At least this year I had just burned approximately 1600 calories during my run and could feel less guilty.

Runner's logic.

How was your training week?  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

girlie things.

I never knew how much having a girl would affect me...
....having a girl who is apparently just like me.
Sure, she looks a lot like I looked at her age...
blonde, curls, blue eyes, stocky build.
But more than that, we have a lot of personality similarities,
from what I hear from my parents, photos and home movies that I used to pore over, observations from my husband, 
and my own memories of being a tot.
She's an introvert - she loves her crib and is totally fine playing in there by herself for a while after waking up.  (Cormac has never been this way - he wants out and to be around people as soon as he wakes up!)  She loves social interaction for a little while...but you can tell when she reaches her limit and all she wants is Mama.  She has perfected the stiff-arm if anyone gets in her way of this.
She is a total button-pusher.  She knows exactly what you don't want her to do and will purposely do it and watch your face, while smiling a mischievous smile, for a reaction.  Most of the time I find this amusing, but Cormac does not.  Whenever he wants to be left alone she laughs uproariously and tries to hug him and wrestle him.  I remember tormenting my little brother, as well as my older sister, just like this.
I would say that I have seen the light as to how annoying unwanted hugs are...
but I knew it back then even back then
That is what made it fun!  
We make the same facial expressions.  The "piggy-face" I constantly made as a kid she has down perfectly.  She also has her "intense look" (or "RBF") when she is concentrating even mildly, which I am known for.   I often get mistaken for "angry" and "serious" and even "stuck up" because of my facial expressions.  So she has that to look forward to.

She also loves all things girlie.
Her favorite activity (besides annoying her brother) is playing with my jewelry.

We recently reached important "hair milestones" with her first ponytail, a teeny tiny one, and first pigtails!
kinda pathetic...but I'll take it!
piggy tails!  (ignore the fact that she is eating toast...on the couch...)
 She also is enamored with fingernails.  Not only does she not mind at all having them trimmed, but she brings me nail polish, always bright pink, and says, "paint" in a rather bossy tone.  I happily oblige and she stands perfectly still while I paint each tiny nail.  Then we both blow on them to dry, and I tell her to "wave 'em like you just don't care!" and she waves her wet nails deftly through the air and it is honestly the cutest.  Just love how serious she is about not messing up her 'manicure.'  
check out those pink nails!
eating cake together.
Anyway, we have fun, us girls.

(And Cormac.  it should be pointed out that Cormac also loves playing with my jewelry and having his nails painted. I steer him away from the fluorescent pink, though.)