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Left Photo

Middle Photo

Middle Photo

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Right Photo

Friday, June 28, 2013

H54F: Take 2

 What a fantastic week!!
I'm feeling good and this weekend I get to see my parents!

I met up with Molly last Thursday to attend the Kari Jobe worship concert at Cary Church of God.  I am obsessed with Kari Jobe and I adore Molly so it was a fantastic evening!

I am feeling well enough to start running again!
This has been a huge void for the past 3-4 weeks because I've had morning sickness. I was super excited when the doctor told me I'm good to run with some adaptations!

I've been taking prenatal yoga for the past 3 weeks and I absolutely love it.

I visited the zoo with some great girlfriends and their children.
If you live in NC and you've never been to the zoo, it is FABULOUS!
I only live about 30 minutes from it and I intend to get a family pass after baby comes.

Sweet friends popped in to visit the other evening and brought me a pregnancy calendar where I can document every step of my pregnancy.  I started filling it out that same night.  I love knowing that I won't forget anything because it will be documented!

How was your week?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Exercise during Pregnancy

**I am not a personal trainer, dietician, or in the medical field.  The information I am sharing is what works for me, my active lifestyle, and my doctor.  I've done lots of research and reading and I encourage you to do the same if you are expecting and want to stay active!**

If you aren't expecting or if you are and just haven't shared it with the world yet, let me warn you: once you share your exciting news, everyone has an opinion about what you should or shouldn't be doing.  Some of it is great and helpful while some of it is frustrating and discouraging.  And if you are pregnant and have shared it, you can nod your head in agreement because you know exactly what I'm talking about.  My advice: listen to your doctor and do what is best for YOU.

After talking to my doctor I learned several things about exercise throughout pregnancy...

  1. If you were active before, you can stay active throughout (unless you get to a point where your pregnancy becomes a high-risk in which your doctor will tell you to stop).  My doctor pretty much told me I can continue running just as far as I was before and doing the activities I was doing.
  2. Adjust your workout accordingly.  The doctor did say I can keep going like I was before, however he said that I need to slow my mile time.  Essentially, at no point in my workout should I be so winded that I can't carry on a conversation.
  3. Drink water.  This is important all the time, but especially during pregnancy.  Drink, drink, drink.  You want to ensure that your baby is getting all the oxygen it needs especially since while working out your muscles require that oxygen.  Supplement by drinking even more than normal.
  4. Only do what feels right and once something stops feeling right, stop doing it.  If at any point you feel light-headed, dizzy, or sick stop.  Wherever you are, whatever it is, stop.  This goes for walking through Target if that's what you're doing.  If it is really bad, call your doctor.  Or discuss it with them at your next appointment.  I'm currently taking prenatal yoga - my instructor constantly reminds me to do only what feels comfortable.  This is a time when we don't want to stretch too far or twist in a way that could detach the uterus.
  5. Continue strength training.  I think when pregnant a lot of us focus on not gaining too much weight so cardio takes over our workouts, but it is just as important to continue strength training.  Delivery is one of the biggest workouts we will ever go through and the more upper strength we have, the easier delivery will be on us.
I will be sharing my fitness experiences throughout pregnancy with all of you.  I'm hoping to stay as active as possible throughout pregnancy.  Won't you join me?!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Being pregnant is the absolute best gift I could have ever received.  I am making a conscious effort to enjoy every single stage of pregnancy.  There are so many things you can worry about!

Too many things and if I'm honest with myself, I am not in control of any of them.  There are things I can do to try to ensure my baby's health, my own health, my experiences during labor, my recovery time after delivery, etc, but what I do will not guarantee anything.  At some point, you just have to give it all to God.  He is in control of my growing baby.  Worry only makes things worse.  For baby and me.

So, all the concerns people share, all the horror stories, or the suggestions about breastfeeding, epidurals, or exercise they have to be taken lightly.  Don't get me wrong.  Some people have been super supportive and forthcoming with advice and life experiences.  To those, I am so grateful.  Others have shared opinions and stories that no new mother wants to hear.

For now, I'm doing the best I can for baby and me.  I'm following my doctor's advice and I'm not worrying.  I'm drinking in every moment.  Fear and worry will prohibit me from enjoying every moment so I'm tossing them aside.

In case any of you are expecting or thinking about having children in the near (or far) future, I want to share with you some incredible resources I've found along the way:
The Workout Momma: This blog is written by a personal trainer and yoga instructor who had her first child last year.  She shares information on how to safely work out throughout pregnancy (obviously after you get the OK from your dr.) and expectations of recovery.  I've gotten many ideas from her in regards to pool workouts and yoga which I take 2 days a week and have now started practicing at home.
KellyMom: My friend from college just told me about this resource last night and it is incredible.  It is full of evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep, and parenting.  I have started reading and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June CARA Box

This month's theme for the CARA Box was the carnival.  I loved it!
I grew up going to the fair, showing cows, submitting vegetables and crafts for ribbons, and attending the demolition derby.  I'm so country - just writing that makes me chuckle.

I really connected with both partners this month and I'm so glad I got to meet them!
Mallory sent me my great box.  Her blog is full of fitness inspiration, running, and great recipes.
I absolutely loved everything in my box.  I've packed my lemonade packets to take to the beach (which by the way has been a huge craving in pregnancy), tore open the animal crackers, used the beautiful polish on my toes, and lit the candle.  This candle is heaven in a jar!
Thanks, Mal!

I sent to Alena this month and she is just so sweet.  She is a fellow New Yorker (my home) and stays at home with her adorable daughter.  We have written back and forth almost daily for the last few weeks - she is so upbeat and positive!  I really enjoyed getting to know you and sending you your box Alena!

Cara Box

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 21, 2013

I know what you're thinking...I must love summer.  The title of my post is the first day of summer.

But, that is not why the title of my post is June 21, 2013.

Mother's Day 2013: Little did I know I was a momma at this point!

June 21, 2013
...the day we heard our baby's heart beat for the first time.
...the day I got to see him/her on the little tv screen.
...the first picture of my sweet babe that will soon take over my wallet.
...the day my life changed forever.

I'm going to be a momma!
We are absolutely over the moon.

Friday, June 21, 2013

H54F: Take 1

What a great week!  It was my first full week of summer vacation and I truly enjoyed every minute of it.  I'm already looking forward to the rest of summer.  So, I'm linking up with Lauren!!

  • I tried a new yoga class last Saturday.  Let me just say I am now a self-proclaimed yogi.  I absolutely enjoyed learning a new fitness regimen and I learned so much about my body - can't wait to share more with you!
  • I was cleaning out my sewing room and came across my baby book.  Look at this presh picture of my baby brother and me.  I adore him.
  • I went to the beach for 2 days (and used my new monogrammed beach bag) and it was blissful.  Something about salty air, waves crashing, and sunshine...
  • I celebrated a sweet friend's 30th birthday.  I adore her and had a blast eating amazing mac and cheese with her.
  • I finally got back on my running schedule!  I've had a short hiatus, but I'm back!  I don't know who is more grateful: me or the dogs.  
P.S. I am doing something extremely exciting today and I can't wait to share it with you all next week!

How has your week been?!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soak it in.

You may have noticed things have become a little more relaxed around here.  Yesterday I didn't write a post and last week there was also a day I missed posting.  It's not that I'm not still as committed to bloggging as I have been for the past almost year.  I've just realized the importance of slowing down and smelling the roses.  You know, what all the experts say you need to do in order to live a fulfilled life...

So, I've taken less time stressing about what to write and more time to walk the dogs.  I've spent less time cleaning house and more time laying by the pool.  Less worrying and more celebrating.

It's so important that we provide ourselves a break or a rest from the every day.  Everything about life is such a blessing and if we aren't careful, it's so easy to let it pass by without soaking it all in.  This summer I intend to soak it in.  I want to enjoy everything and truly live in the moment.

What are you currently soaking in?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1. Worse, 2. Better

Maybe I'm at the age where life just got real and things get tougher.
Maybe I'm more aware of what is going on around me because I'm not as self-consumed as I was.
Maybe I'm just surrounded by marriage and babies and things that make life complicated because I'm at that stage of life myself.  Either way, I'm alarmed and saddened by the amount of people that are so willing to throw things away for "grass that is greener" or so it appears.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that everything about my life or my marriage has been rainbows and butterflies.  That's not reality.  Fact is, we face obstacles and hardships daily because they shape us and make us better human beings.  And they are worth it.

I look around me and see people giving up on marriages and love and relationships in general because they aren't meeting expectations.  Women seeking the attention they want from their husbands from their male coworkers instead.  Men flirting with female counterparts rather than their wives.  The grass is greener on the other side...in their eyes.  It makes my heart sad.

Just like grass needs the rain, our relationships need attention.  Rather than admiring what someone else has, seek to make what you have better.  Flirt.  Go on a date.  Cook a special meal.  Find a new hobby together.  Go for a walk.  Sit down at the dinner table and turn off the tv.  Try a new restaurant.  Turn off technology.  Listen.  Kiss.  Hold hands.  Dance.  Remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.

I wish more people would spend some time on their relationships before throwing in the towel.  It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.  A friend shared this quote on Facebook this week...

Maybe more marriages would last if people realized sometimes the 
better comes after the worse.

I love you, Jus. xoxo

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lessons from my Father

For Mother's Day I shared some of the lessons I learned from my mom so I thought I would share lessons I learned from my dad for Father's Day.

~to downhill ski without pointing my skis~
~that you can't please everyone if you're doing your job right - in fact, you will more than likely being making someone extremely unhappy if you're doing your job right~
~to check the oil in my car, pay attention to the gas level, and put air in my tires~
~how a man should treat a woman (by observing how he treats my mom)~
~to get on the floor and play - you won't always be able to and getting dirty is worth it~
~to go to all your children's ball games~
~to hold my head high no matter what anyone else says or does to me~
~to stand up for what you believe in regardless of how people respond~
~to lead~
~that sitting around the campfire with a cold beverage in nature is one of the best places to be~
~to spend as much time as possible with your elders~
~to help however and whenever possible~
~the importance of volunteering~
~to wear shoes when driving in the snow~
~to look for the best in people, but not forget the worst - avoid being a doormat~
~how to drive stick shift (this was a joint effort with mom - poor dears!)~

My dad is truly the best dad I could ask for.  He always answers my phone calls with "Hi honey" and leaves me voicemails just checking in to see what I'm up to each day.  He has always been invested in my life, activities, and interests.  On Father's Day and everyday, I'm so thankful for him.

Lov you, dad!

Linking up for Funday Monday

Friday, June 14, 2013

Please Help!

I don't normally do this, but this is something that means a great deal to me and will affect me if voted into place.

As most of you know, I'm a school teacher and I absolutely love my job.
For the past three years, I've been working on my Master's of Reading part time
and for the last year, completing my National Boards.

It was announced in the educational budget for the state of North Carolina that in order for teachers to receive Master's level pay, they must complete their degree by April 1, 2014. 
After this date, Master's level pay will no longer be awarded.

Guys, I literally finish my degree in May of 2014 - there is no way to finish by April 1.
I do not teach for the money - how crazy would I have to be to think I would get rich in this profession-
However, I haven't received a raise in the last 5 years.  I'm going into my 8th year of teaching being paid what a 2nd year teacher gets paid.  I can't say the only reason I went for my Master's is for the raise, but it was definitely a motivating factor in my decision.

Already, North Carolina is 48th in the nation for teacher salary.
I'm fearful for what this new budget will mean for education in our state.
I'm afraid fantastic teachers are going to leave and students are going to suffer.

If you are a teacher, have a teacher in your family, loved a teacher growing up, or ever had a teacher,
please, sign this petition below and let's prevent this budget from being passed this way.

Thank you so much!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Residents

If you visit often, you may have noticed some new residents on my side bar.
These beautiful women are supporting me in my upcoming launch of a new monthly link-up.
Each of them has touched my life in some way in the past year and I have learned and grown so much from them.  Please, check them out - I'm sure they will inspire you as well.
You see, July is my blog's birth month so I've decided to launch a link-up in which we can

Celebrate EVERYTHING!!

You may have even noticed the button for the link-up on my sidebar.
Feel free to grab it and share it on your own sidebar if this is something you think you will want to participate in each month.

Domesticated Working Woman

Here's the gist...
So many bloggers are incredible at so many different things.
And many of us have goals, aspirations, and resolutions that we are working toward on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, but we aren't sure how or where to share them with each other.

One of my favorite things about blogging has been the incredible overflow of love, support, encouragement, and cheering that so many of you have done for me over the past year.
From setting up at my first craft fair to completing Whole 30, you have been there for me every step of the way and your words have truly inspired and motivated me.

So, I decided to create a monthly link-up where we can celebrate anything and EVERYTHING while sharing words of encouragement and motivation.

The first link-up is scheduled for July 30.
I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Soul Cleansing on the Wine Trail

My Outfit (middle): Tank: NY&Co (old), Shorts: Express via Marshall's, Shoes: TJ Maxx

Last weekend I met up with 5 girlfriends from college in Charlottesville, VA for a wine tour.  If you've never been to Charlottesville I would say it is a mixture of Charleston, SC and Burlington, VT.

There is something about a good group of girlfriends that is just soul-cleansing.  Every time I leave these girls I feel like a better version of myself.  You know what I mean?  It's like the laughter, reminiscing, and memory making is medicine for my soul.  We don't get to get together as often as we would like.  You're looking at Philly, VA Beach, North Carolina, Boston, and central VA here.  So when we do get together, we live it up.

It's always scary making big life decisions and choosing a college was one of those scary ones for me.  Every time I get together with these girls, I realize just how RIGHT I was in my decision to attend Juniata College.  This is proof that I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Linked up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pool Workouts

Summer is almost here!  
In the south that means warm temperatures and extremely humid air.  I always find it difficult to maintain my running schedule in the summer because of the weather so this year I've decided I'm going to utilize the pool at the country club to get some activity in. 
The kickboard is going to be my best friend this summer.  I am not a fantastic swimmer and my upper body strength is weeeeaaaakkkk.  I'm going to attempt to swim as many laps as possible and then just hang onto my kickboard and get some good cardio out of kicking back and forth.  It's a great way to get cardio and kickboards are very inexpensive.

Pool Push-ups
What a great way to do some strength training with low impact!  The water helps stabilize you while still getting an upper body workout.

You may laugh when you read this, but last summer when I taught water aerobics we ended each class with The Wobble and the Cha Cha Slide.  Not only are those great workouts when dancing, but in the water they are even more difficult because of the resistance it creates.  

How will you adjust your workout this summer?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fitness Friday Evolution

All good things must evolve.
Fitness Fridays is one of them!

Kelly and I have decided that some changes are necessary so without further adieu:

Our new button!
*Grab it and add it to your side bar or share it at the bottom of your Fitness Friday posts*

Honor Courage Commitment

Fitness Friday will no longer be a weekly link-up.  It will be a once a month link-up on the first Friday of each month where we can recap the previous month's accomplishments and set goals for the upcoming month.

We are hoping this will encourage more participation!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Modest is Hottest: Tank Tops

I am a firm believer in less is more.  By less I don't mean less clothing.
I mean less revealing.  It is so hard these days to go shopping for clothing that is not super revealing!
Shorts have a 1 inch inseam, skirts are minis, and even dresses have wide open backs.
In my world, modest is hottest, simple is elegant, and classic is timeless.

So, I've accumulated a list of items that I have or want to add in my closet that would be hot, elegant, and timeless.  I've done my research and put together some pieces at different price points in case any of you are running into the same problem as me.

Today: Tank Tops
I live in North Carolina.  I'm from upstate New York.
To say it gets hot down here is an understatement.
Not just hot, but humid so sleeves are pretty much out of the question from May to September!
I am not a big fan of spaghetti straps or low necklines due to the nature of my job and sometimes its difficult finding tanks that aren't halters, spaghetti straps, or even see-through!

Luckily, I think tanks are making a big comeback this year so I've been able to find some great options.

modest is hottest: tank tops

1.  GAP: Love the splash of color in this tank.  I don't wear yellow well so this is a way I can incorporate it into my wardrobe.  Not to mention this is a great price.

2.  JCrew: I really like this tank despite its high price tag.  I love that it is versatile across seasons.  It would look great half tucked into a pair of shorts, tucked into a pencil skirt, or skimming over a pair of skinny jeans.  It's versatility makes up for the steep(er) price.

3.  Target: Of course I put Target on here.  It's affordable and on trend.  Not to mention, this tank is a breathable cotton perfect for the summer heat.

4.  Abercrombie & Fitch: I never shop here!  When I was searching the web for tanks, this one caught my eye and shockingly, it's from a store I haven't stepped foot into since high school.  I was pleasantly surprised that they have upped their game from graphic tees, hoodies, and torn up jeans.  This is another great piece that could be worn similar to the JCrew one and at a lower price point.

5.  ModCloth: I love ModCloth.  If you haven't ever shopped here, you must check it out.  Everything is very unique and mostly vintage inspired.  I especially love the peter pan collar and scalloped hem on this tank.  It is very feminine.

6.  Dorothy Perkins: I just discovered this store, but I have fallen in love.  I purchased a peplum top earlier this year and I absolutely love the trend so when I came across this lace one I knew it was going on the list.  Peplum hides my trouble area and lace is just gorgeous.  It is so classy and can easily be dressed up with pearls or down with denim.

Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Welcome the Humidity

ruffle tank and blue pants

With the school year coming to a close, I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  For that reason, I haven't been able to get an outfit picture for this week!  So, I thought I would share one of my favorite outfits I wore this week that you could shop from.

It has become so humid so quickly here, that I'm all about tank tops.  The breezy, breathable fit of this one is my favorite kind.  When it's sticky I want nothing up close and personal with my sticky-mess.  What do you wear in the summer heat? 

Linking up with Shanna and The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lulu's Mimi Addition

I made this for my girlfriend's little boy.  He turned 1 last weekend.  It's hard to imagine how quickly little ones grow up and turn into small adults carrying on conversations with real words and walking around with nothing to hold onto.  I thought this was a perfect gift to grow with him as he continues to grow.  It ties to the headrest in the car (either the back of the front seat or to the middle seat) so that your little one can grab out books, coloring books, crayons, etc. to be entertained while riding in the car.

I'm hoping to add these to my list of regular items I sell through Lulu's Mimi at craft fairs.  My questions to you:  Is this something you think could become popular?  How much would you be willing to pay for something like this?  I've not found anything like it for sale on the web of this quality.  I was unable to locate a tutorial or pattern so this is entirely my creation.  Food for thought...

One of the biggest issues I have with creating new items is what to charge and whether or not they will sell. I appreciate any and all advice you are willing to share!

Thank you for being you!  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sweat Happens.

**You know those pills that are easier to swallow because they have sugar coating?
Yeah, this is me minus the sugar coating.**

Something that drives me insane, a pet peeve if you will, is when people complain about their circumstances and do nothing to change them.  I understand there are certain things in life that are unavoidable, unchangeable, or out of our control.  I'm not talking about those things.  I'm talking about the things that we do have control over that we choose not to do anything about.

For example: the weight I gained after getting married.  I gained almost 20 pounds!  I've heard that's normal; you get comfortable, eat more because you're feeding your hubby, blah blah.  However, I wasn't okay with it.  It took me a while to realize that I couldn't just sit around and gripe about it and wish it away...

Miracles don't happen, sweat happens.

It takes work and a lot of it to lose weight.  It doesn't happen over night.  There is no miracle pill or shake that you can drink to make it go away.  Fad diets don't stick and whining doesn't do anything.

Don't sit around making excuses.  Stop ordering the same food in the drive-thru.  Instead of going home and sitting on the couch watching tv, go for a walk.  Keep your fruit bowl out so its the first thing you reach to when wanting a snack.  Do something you "can't" do.  

People say to me all the time: "I don't know how you do it."  "I could never do that."

Yes, you can!  Those words might irritate me most.  Even more than someone complaining about being fat all the time and not doing anything about it.  You don't know how I do it?  Well, let me explain:

Some days it's hard.  Really hard.  Some days I don't want to put on my running shoes and some days it hurts.  Some days I need to run and its easy, but a lot of times its not.  Some days I run fast; other days I run really slow.  Sometimes I go far and some days a mile is all I can muster.  When I first started I couldn't run more than 1 mile and even that was hard.  When I first started eating healthy, I had headaches, cravings, and wanted to give up.  When I first started doing strength training and core I couldn't use more than three pound weights.  So, to you that can't do it, I say....yes, you can!  You maybe not be able to run a marathon right now, but you can run even a half mile.  You may not be able to do reps with 15 pound weights, but you can use lighter weights.  Stop saying you can't and start challenging yourself mentally and physically because you can.

In all reality, you can do it.  Or you can at least do something.  If you can't run (for real reasons) then bike or swim or take a cardio class.  If you can't live on fruits and veggies (for allergy reasons), then limit your sugar and dairy intake.  Even a small step is a step.  No more excuses.