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Thursday, October 31, 2013

First Guest Post!

Hey all,

Really quick, I just wanted to let you know that I have a guest post up on Skinny Meg's blog today!  I know, I know.... I pretty much can't contain myself.

Hop on over there and check it out!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pottery Barn Wish List

Hey all! Last weekend, George and I went to Peoria.  We were able to see the new house!  The last time we had seen it in person, it was just an empty lot.  Seeing the actual framework coming together was really exciting!

View from the back.  Walkout basement, living room and sunroom on the main floor, and starting to see the 2nd floor bedrooms.

So, as we're getting to closer to living in this house, I've been thinking more and more about what we're going to put in it.  George and I are thinking we'll make do with what we have for a bit, buy some essentials in the first few months, and slowly fill up the rest of the house.

Right now, I'm just trying to get a general idea of what I want, color scheme, etc.  My "go to" for furniture will always be Pottery Barn.  I'm IN LOVE with pretty much everything they sell.  It's my style, pretty affordable, and livable.  I don't want my house looking like a museum with nothing touched or lived in.

Luckily, G and I have some major gift cards to use.  Pottery barn also gives you 10% back in store credit for whatever you put on their credit card.  So, you're saving 10% on everything (assuming you pay it off immediately).  Everything pictured below is from Pottery Barn, but I'm also going to try to find similar styles of accessories from places like Target and Home Goods.

I'm linking up with Annie and Morgan and sharing my Wednesday Wishlist.

Here are some design ideas that I have come up with:

We are doing white cabinets with a few glass fronts.  Our granite is tan with some brown and cream "movement." <A term that I just learned   I'm thinking that using dark barstools and dark table and chairs for the breakfast nook will be ok, because the rest is so bright.  I'm hoping to do some oiled bronze pendants and use some green accents.  I'd like to tie some red in without making it look too Christmas-y.

For the main floor living room, I'm hoping to use a mixture of cool grays and blues with warm brown leather.  I can't decide between doing a leather sofa or a leather chair.  Either way, I want some of that cozy brown leather, with that fluffy rug and throw.  Since this furniture is on the main level, it needs to be durable, but stylish as well.  We currently have a Pottery Barn couch and couldn't be more happy.  

So there you have it, my Wednesday Wishlist.


Also, don't forget to join Kylie and I's Favorite Things linkup on Friday!  More info here.

What do you think?  What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Monday, October 28, 2013

DIY Gel Nails

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  As promised, I'm sharing my gel nail tutorial today.

I used to wear acrylic nails for a long time.  They were durable and fairly inexpensive, but you had to get a fill every other week.  I feel like that was kind of a time suck, and I was ready to not pay money to have my nails done.  I had Sue (my favorite nail lady in the world) do gel nails one day.  IT'S SO EASY!

I have paper thin nails, so the gel isn't as durable as the acrylic, but the gel does make your nails significantly stronger.  Besides missing Sue, seriously it feels like we have broken up, doing my own nails has saved me a ton of time and money.

*Side note: One day when G and I were still dating, I was getting a pedicure on my disgusting hobgoblin ex-ballerina feet, and Sue told me, "You no marry doctor husband with these feet."  I admired her honesty, and we became BFFs.  I miss her so.

ANYWAYS, on to the gel nails.

Here's What You Need:

Light (Buy It Here)
Acetone (Buy It Here)
99% Isopropyl Alcohol (Buy It Here)
Paper Towel
Base Coat (Buy It Here)
Color (Buy It Here)
Top Coat (Buy It Here)
Glass Dish
Cuticle Cutter
Good TV shows on the DVR

*Please pardon the poor photography and the fact that my wedding ring is coated in hairspray

Step 1: Removing the old gel polish

First, take a coarse nail file and gently file the nail beds.  You want to take the shine off of the polish and just gently buff them.  This helps the acetone really soak in.

Next, pour a little acetone in a glass bowl.  Just enough to cover your fingernails when dipped in there. It will end up looking like this.

Keep your fingers in the bowl for about 5 minutes.  You will see the polish start to bubble up and flake off.  I take some cuticle cutters and gently scrape/peel the polish off.  You may need to repeat the process for stubborn pieces of polish.

Some people do the cotton and foil thing, but I'm not into it.  I feel that this is easier and takes less time.

Step 2: Prepping your nails

If you have nothing on your nails, start at this step.  Take a "zebra" nail file (I've tried others and this works the best), and file the last bits of the polish off.  

Purchased at Sally's
Before: You can see little bits of remaining polish, file that off.

Roughen up the entire surface of your nails.

After: This is what they should look like when you're done
I usually trim my cuticles at this point as well. Pushing them back and trimming them will help for applying the polishes.

Next, take a paper towel (cotton rounds shed) and get it wet with alcohol.  Rub the alcohol over each nail.  This removes dirt and oil from your nail beds and helps the foundation stick.

*Important* Don't touch anything after you put the alcohol on your nails.  You want them to stay as clean as possible.

Step 3: Putting on the foundation

Ok, this is where shiz gets real.  It's super important to take your time.  Being sloppy will cause your manicure to peel, so be careful.  Apply the base coat or gel foundation (whatever your brand calls it).  You want to paint your nails like regular, but DO NOT let it touch the sides of your nails.  Once you let it cure, it spreads out a tiny bit, and if it hits your cuticle, it will peel in a few days.

Keep an imaginary 1-2 mm border between polish and your nail.  After you have the base coat on, put your nails under the light for 2-3 minutes.  They will still be tacky when you take them out, but don't worry.

Step 4: Applying the color & top coat

Apply the color the same way you applied the foundation.  Let cure 2-3 minutes between each coat.  I always do two coats.


Next, apply the top coat, and you guessed it, stay away from the edges of your nails.  Let it cure for 2 minutes.

When you take your nails out from under the light, they will have a tacky coating on them.  Take a paper towel wet with alcohol and rub it over the surface of your nails.  This removes the stickiness and makes your nails super shiny.

That's it!  Enjoy!

Anyone else do their own gel nails?  Do anything differently?

Don't forget to link up with Kylie and I and let us know your favorite things for November! Link up on Nov. 1st

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Have to Run a Marathon in 7 Weeks?

Hey all,

In seven weeks and a few days, I'll be standing at the start line of the Rocket City Marathon trying not to barf on my shoes out of nervousness... or something like that.

So far, training has gone well.  I'm doing my long runs with my aunt, and we're having a great time.  On Sunday, we did our first 18 miler.

We did a 3 mile loop, followed by a 6 mile loop x 2, and then a different 3 mile loop.  I had water every 3 miles, and snacks every 6.  I'm still LOVING the applesauce packets.  The berry flavor is one of my favorites.  I also have a bite or two of a Zone bar to keep me full.  One thing I've learned about these runs over 10-12 miles, I get hungry!  The last thing I want to happen is to get hungry/low blood sugar during the race, so I'm practicing eating little bits at a time.  I'm currently thinking that I'll need a wagon full of snacks for this marathon.  

During the week, I'm running 2-3 times per week.  Only running 4-6 miles at a time.  Many training plans call for more, but I'm trying to come out of this beast injury free.  If I live through this marathon and decide to do another, I'll work on upping my mid week mileage.  

I'm loosely following Amanda's training plan that looks like this: 

I can't pimp this girl enough.  Go check out her blog!

Here is my version:

I want to try to get in two 20 milers, but we'll see how it goes.  I've started to develop a few minor injuries that aren't really causing me too much trouble, but I need to watch them.  My right inner part of my knee started to really hurt after the Iron Horse.  Now, it is just sore after runs, but I'm keeping a close eye on it.  I'm also having some right heel pain that is probably a touch of bursitis.  Again, icing the crap out of it and popping Aleve.  Currently, I'm too chicken to do an ice bath, but I feel that the time is coming.

So there is my running update.  Anyone see any major flaws in my plan so far? Haha

(P.S. Don't forget about the Favorite Things Linkup on Nov. 1st.  More info in my "Favorite Things" tab.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roasting Garlic

Hey everyone,

So, I'm going to let you in on one of my favorite and easiest foods to make.  When I say easy, I mean 2-3 steps easy, not 30 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking. <Homie don't play that.  G and I mostly eat roasted garlic plain with bread, but if you want to get fancy, you can add it to whatever recipe you're making.

First of all, let me explain that George and I are garlic fiends.  The more garlic, the better.  (Besides being insanely delicious, garlic is also supposed to be a natural antibiotic.) I try to sneak it into whatever dish I'm making for dinner that night.  If we're having a salad or a veggie heavy dinner, I'll make roasted garlic with crusty bread as a side.

So here is the quick and easy way to roast garlic:
(Please excuse the crappy iphone pics)

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • First, you'll need to cut the tops off of the garlic.  You want to expose as many of the cloves as possible.  I usually cut 1/3 of the way down.  
  • Once you have the tops cut off, place them on some aluminum foil on a cookie sheet.

Nice blurry pic, Em :(

  • Drizzle the cloves with olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper.

  • Next, you will need to build a little tent out of the foil.  I just kind of gather it up towards the top. It does not need to be 100% sealed.

  • Now, you just throw it in the oven for 45 minutes.  After that, take it out, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and put it back in for another 15.

I serve it with toasted french bread and a plate of olive oil with salt and pepper.

What is your favorite way to use garlic?

ALSO... Don't forget to link up with Kylie and I and let us know your favorite things for November! Link up on Nov. 1st!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Iron Horse Half Marathon Race Recap

Well hellloooo there.  I've been pretty busy these past two weekends. Two weekends ago, George, my parents, my aunt and I went to Midway, Kentucky to run in the Iron Horse Half marathon.  General impression = meh.

Let me start off my saying that I was pooped.  The weekend before, I did 16 HARD miles in humidity and rain.  That was my 2nd 16 miler, and it was rough.  So when the time came to do Iron Horse, I just wasn't really feelin' it.

We drove down to Lexington on Saturday around lunch time, picked up our packets, had pasta for dinner, and went to bed early.  The next morning, we all got up and drove to the start of the race.  There were maybe 10 porta-potties for 1,500 people.  It was beyond ridiculous how long the lines were.  My aunt was still in line when the gun went off.

Before the race, before George's heel blew up like a ballon
So, as my dad and I were in the starting corrals, I thought to myself, "I don't want to do this."  I don't know why, this was the original half that I had started training for.  The "scary, unobtainable goal" as I had once thought.  The gun went off, and we started running.

This was a figure eight course, (which I've found out that I really don't like) that went through some pretty Kentucky countryside.  Most of what we ran past were horse farms.  In the first few miles, we saw some BEAUTIFUL scenery.  There was a big group of horses running back and forth in their pasture alongside of the runners.  It totally looked like they were showing off.

This was definitely the high point of the race.  The rest of the race was more empty fields, pretty autumn trees, and the scent of horse poo in the air.  It was described as "rolling."  You were never running on flat ground, you were always trudging up a hill or running down one.  Not really my cup of tea, but then again, I'm a wuss.

I started sucking pretty badly at mile 10.  I was sick of running up hills, and it was hot.  I stopped to walk, and then stopped to walk again, and then again, and then again.  These were probably 20 second walk breaks, but they felt like an eternity.  I went into this race telling myself that I wasn't going to race it, and I was going to just run it as a FUN training run.

The fun part didn't exactly happen.  I was mad that I wasn't going to have a "good" finishing time, and I felt tired.

It ended up that no one really had a good race.  My aunt and dad weren't happy with their times, and my already injured husband became really injured.

I made George take 5 pictures, all with the sun in his eyes. What a patient husband I have.
I ended up finishing in 2:19:13.  I was PO'd with my time, 7 minutes slower than my last half.  But... here is where I start making excuses: I was tired, and the course was very hilly.

George finished in 1:41.  He was on track to break 1:30 at the half way point, then his heel started eating the back of his foot became really painful and swollen.  He shouldn't have run that race, but oh well, lesson learned.

ANYWAYS, that was my Iron Horse experience.  So now you know.

Did any of you rock a race this past weekend?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Coming Up on Beauty and the Greek

Hello everyone!  It's Friday, and I'm really excited about some of the future posts on the blog.  Here is a quick preview of what's to come!


Crock Pot Fajitas

I have found an embarrassingly easy recipe for crock pot fajitas. It takes maybe five minutes of prep work, and that's about it. My husband doesn't like Mexican food (I married him anyways, haha), because it's too greasy and fatty. This recipes is a good compromise. I get the mexican flavor without the artery clogging fats... aka the best part about Mexican food.

Favorite Things Linkup

SO EXCITED FOR THIS!  Kylie from Lip Gloss and Lunges and I have created our very own linkup.  We both are into sharing our favorite things, and we would LOVE to hear some of yours.  This linkup will happen monthly on the first weekday of every month.  Don't worry, I'll be annoying you reminding you when it is coming up.  Please, please, please link up with us and share some of your favorites for November.  It can be anything from clothing, beauty products, food, home goods, tv get it, ANYTHING that you're loving.  Check out my "Favorite Things" tab up top for more info.

Iron Horse Race Recap

Last weekend, my family and I did he Iron Horse half marathon in Midway, KY.  I've been running A LOT lately, and this wasn't the best race for me.  Check out some of the pictures and my review to see if this is a race that you would be interested in for next year.

Gel Nail Tutorial

I'm back to doing my own gel nails again, and I'm loving some of the new fall nail colors.  When I hear my friends talk about getting their gel nails done for $20-25, I want to shake them.  For a little bit of money up front, it is SO much easier to do them yourself... AND instead of paying for a tip, you can give yourself some chocolate.  Next time I do my nails, I'm going to take detailed pictures and do a tutorial to show you all how easy it is!

Marathon Updates

So, as you can see, my weekly and monthly mileage is increasing slowly but surely.  This weekend I have an 18 mile run scheduled, and I'm SO nervous. ("I'm shaking in my little space boots." <name that movie)  At the end of my two 16 milers, I was dead...done, so I have no idea how I'm going to squeeze out two more miles (or ten for that matter).


That's all I have for now.  Have a wonderful weekend, and start thinking of your Favorite Things for November!