Monday, September 30, 2013


Seattle Great Wheel

Today marks my 500th post. Five hundred. Thinking back to the beginning of this blog (though I began blogging a year earlier than that on LastLash), it's amazing to me how fast time has gone. I'm grateful for this place where I've been able to share so many different things. I know that I could share all the same things on Facebook or another social media venue, but this site is all my own. Just mine. No one has to visit it every day, or has to see me pop up in their news feed... if they want to see it, they can.

I've written my way through so many firsts. So many moments. So many trials. Every post (but one!) has had a photo. Every post has been seen by someone. Every post has a comment, a reaction, an impact (though not all big, by any means).

I've opened my editing screen, typed word after word and hit publish five-hundred times. Through each post, time passes and I share more and more of my life. I want to say thank you to each one of you, whether you've read just a few posts, or every single one (and I know some of you have!). I also want to thank all my past & present sponsors and businesses who have worked with me and supported this journey. I am so grateful to all of you.

I don't know where this blog is going in the future—or even my life for that matter—but for right now, it's right where I want it. I'm having fun, I'm enjoying every moment, and most importantly, I'm happy. Thanks for reading my story.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Fashion & Beauty Budget

Shoes: Mix No 6

I was asked recently about my fashion & beauty budget—how much do I spend a month?

To be honest—hardly anything. I don't really enjoy shopping, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. Lately, I've only been shopping for clothes when I attend fashion or blogger events—is that awful? I just never really go to the mall or into any clothing stores, so I can't say I have a budget for fashion. It seems like every season, I'll pick up a new piece or two, but my closet is so full already that I just don't need much more. This season, I'm on the hunt for a good pair of rugged tall boots (wish I could afford these Steve Madden boots), a couple new pairs of work pants (I have these Mossimo ones and just need a smaller size), and a bright purse (I love this leather purse by Rabeanco). When I do shop, I usually only hit up the sale racks, so now the goal is to find all those things at budget-friendly prices. I'd say I spend $50 or less per month on clothes, and that's being generous.

As far as a beauty budget goes, I'm a former makeup-purchasing addict (I was a "regular" at Sephora), so I have a HUGE stock of eyeshadows, blushes, eyeliners—you name it, I have it in almost every color. I used to drop well over $100/month when I was shopping at Sephora regularly. I'm a sucker for eyeshadow palettes, and those things are spendy (this little Lancôme one is my daily go-to, and it's $49!). The only things I still pick up every month or so are mascara (this is the only one I use—and trust me—I've tried them all and drugstore mascara is the way to go) and chapstick (this is my favorite). I probably spend about $5-$10 a month on beauty products.

So overall I'm maybe spending $50 a month on my clothing & beauty purchases. Some months it's far less, some months it's a bit more. What do your beauty & fashion budgets look like?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Rabeanco

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Roux Mac and Cheese

Roux Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese. One of my favorite favorite foods. I consider myself a connoisseur of two things—nachos and mac and cheese—so if I'm sharing a recipe for mac and cheese, you know it's going to be good.

This recipe is straight from the minds of my brother-in-law Ian and his fiancè Georgina (thanks guys!). They are awesome at making up recipes on the spot, and this one originated after they found the perfect recipe for roux—a cooking mixture made from flour and fat that is used to thicken sauces.

We made this for dinner last night and topped it with grilled rosemary chicken. It was delicious! I think it would also be good with jalapeños or broccoli—can't wait to try that next time.

Roux Mac and Cheese
Roux Mac and Cheese

RECIPE: Roux Mac & Cheese
Cook time: 20 minutes │ Serves: 4 (full entrees—if used as a side, serves 8)

  • 1 box medium shells, cooked as directed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garlic salt
  • Salt & pepper


In a large pot on medium heat, create your roux by whisking butter and flour until it becomes a light tan color. Add milk and bring to a simmer. Add mustard powder. Slowly add in Monterey Jack cheese until it melts. Add cheddar to taste: more cheddar = more cheese flavor. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Add cooked & drained pasta to sauce and mix well. Top with shredded cheese & enjoy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Quilted Jacket

Striped Shirt with Jeans and Mary Jane Wedges
Jacket: c/o Joules, Shirt: Francesca's, Jeans: Express, Shoes: Rocket Dog, Belt: Vintage Levi's, Bracelet: c/o Payton Jewelry Design, Earrings: c/o Christine Marie Studio
Quilted Jacket with Jeans and Mary Jane Wedges
Quilted Jacket
Mary Jane Wedges
Quilted Jacket with Jeans and Mary Jane Wedges
Quilted Jacket and Fall Leaves

Obviously it's still pretty early in the fall season to be wearing a quilted jacket—but this last week has been chilly in Idaho! And just because you might not be in the jacket-mindset at the moment doesn't mean you aren't going to need one—and soon! My jacket, the most gorgeous ruby color, is from Joules—a brand based in Britain that has been making high-quality clothing, rich in British style, for almost three decades. Not only is my jacket an absolutely perfect fit, but it's going to keep me so cozy this fall. I love the corduroy elbow patches and pocket flaps, as well as the navy floral design on the inside of the jacket.

My photos make the ruby pop a little more than it does in person, but this jacket is such a quality piece. I'm excited to bundle up in it all season long. If you'd like to see Joules' other jackets, click here. And how amazing are their quilted vests and rain boots? I want to add everything from their site to my shopping cart—British country style is where it's at... brilliant! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Aunie Crocker & Cheesecake Brownies

Learning to Bake
Cheesecake Brownies

For some reason, I have never really learned to cook. I can bake a banana cake now and again, and I've been known to serve up a mean bowl of white chicken chili, but when I say that's all I know how to make, it's not an exaggeration.

Now that Daniel and I are in our new home, we've already been the hosts to several small events, mostly just football game nights. And I don't know what it is about football, but it makes me want to bake! Last Friday, I saw an amazing (and easy!) recipe for cheesecake brownies on Dana's blog, and I knew it would be the perfect sweet treat to serve up to our guests.

I followed the recipe as directed, but at 55 minutes, they weren't quite done yet (mine were in a deeper dish), so I let them sit in the oven for 60 minutes before pulling them out. To be honest, they probably could have used a full 75-minutes, because these things were not done. Initially, I was so embarrassed... my very first baked treat didn't turn out! But guess what? Instead of cheesecake brownies, we ended up indulging in "molten cheesecake brownies." The middle of the brownie batter ended up not getting cooked the whole way through, so these were a bigger hit underdone than if they had been fully baked. In fact, the next day, both Daniel and his brother asked if there were anymore "molten brownies" left... they wanted more! Success!

Friday, September 20, 2013


In the past month or so, a lot has happened. I turned 27, we bought and moved into a new home, my dad got engaged, we sold our SUV and are now sharing a vehicle, and I've been running my heart out in preparation for my first marathon in under a month. That's a lot!

But I think the biggest surprise came this morning when I got a text from a friend that said, "Chic of the Week again?!? I think that makes you Chic of the YEAR!" And there's only one thing I know of in regards to "Chic of the Week," so I immediately got the biggest smile on my face and clicked over to Lauren Conrad's blog. And there it was... the Chic of the Week.

Lauren Conrad Chic of the Week: Aunie's Cute Hair Cut

I was featured for my haircut that I did on the spur-of-the-moment the day before my 27th birthday. What an honor! I've been a member of LC's blog community for over a year and a half, and I'm always uploading my photos into her gallery—and that's how they found out about my haircut & chose me as their Chic! You can seem my profile here, and to join the community, click here—you never know, you may be featured as their next Chic of the Week! To read the full Chic of the Week post, click here!

To Allison on Team LC, thank you so much for your kind words and for choosing to feature me and my haircut! To Lauren & the rest of Team LC, thank you so much for your support ... it means so much to be chosen as your Chic... again! It's such an honor to be featured among all the other talented women on Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Story About My Name: Annelise

The story about my name Annelise, and nickname Aunie
Do you miss the long hair? Can't say I do quite yet! My shirt: c/o Kintage

My name, Annelise, is an old-fashioned Scandinavian name. It was quite popular in Germany (spelled Anneliese) and Norway (spelled Anne-Lise), and most recently has been gaining popularity here in the United States. My name is said to mean "Grace of God" or "God's promise of Grace" and it's been broken down that Anne is Hebrew for "grace" and Lise means "God's promise."

My name is pronounced ana-lisa—traditional to how they say it in Norway—and you can listen to it here (I say my name in the video at 0:01). Since my parents chose the traditional spelling of my name, instead of the more Americanized version of Annalisa or Analisa, my name gets mispronounced often. I get ann-elise or anna-lise a lot. And that's OK... so many people in America say it differently, so I can't expect people to get it right the first time when it's spelled differently than how it sounds.

I was named after my dad's Norwegian cousin. My mom fell in love with the name when she met Anne-Lise on her first trip to Norway. When my parents found out they were going to have a baby, they either wanted to name me Annelise or Inger-Lise (inger-lisa). As a child, I wasn't able to say my full name, so it came out more as "ahh-cee," and thus my childhood nickname—within my family only—was Icy. My family still calls me Icy, and it's my favorite nickname I've ever had.

As far as my other nickname Aunie (like the proper auntie without the "t"—listen to it at 0:05 here) goes, my best friend Ashton began calling me Aunie way back in 4th grade. She's the only one who ever called me that until I met Daniel and his family and they wanted a nickname. I told them I didn't go by a nickname—but they insisted! So Aunie it was. And then this blog happened, and the rest is history.

So now the real question, how were you pronouncing my name before you read this? How did you pronounce Aunie before you read this? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Marathon Training Update: Week 15

Marathon Training

Only 3½ weeks until our marathon... I can't believe it! We're on week 15 of 18 (running schedule here) and I'm so excited, but also a little discouraged. Two weeks ago, we ran 22 miles for our long run. I felt great during the run—we were right on pace and besides for a little knee soreness, I had no pain anywhere else. I finished the run feeling like a rockstar, knowing I would have had to run only 4.2 more miles to have completed a marathon. That's crazy awesome! The only thing is that later that night, I had some major right calf pain and soreness, down by my peroneus and achilles. I thought it was just sore... but it turns out I was mistaken.

I ran last Tuesday and my lower calf was still really sore. On Wednesday, I was about a mile into my mid-week 8-mile run, when I felt a big snap (not a tear, thank goodness) and immediately began hobbling due to the pain. Of course I started crying too... crying while still trying to run down the road at 5:30 in the morning in the pitch-black darkness. Awesome. I thought I may have just tweaked my calf, so I kept on running, but about a mile later the pain was pretty severe so I turned around and ran (slowly) home. And again, I cried the whole way.

I think the tears were less about the pain and more due to the fact that I was upset because I thought I might be injured. I didn't think I had seriously hurt anything—I mean, I was still able to run, so nothing was torn—but the idea of training for 14 weeks and not being able to run this marathon was really getting me down. As soon as I got home, I called my physical therapist. I went to her house for an appointment, and we didn't have any fancy equipment, but she believes I have either a grade 1 soleus strain or a stress fracture in my fibula. To be honest, when I heard that news I breathed a huge sigh of relief. BOTH of those are things that can be healed, and both are also something that I can continue to run on while treating with care. I took the rest of the week off from running, but biked the weekend 12-miles with my mom while she ran.

Yesterday, I ran for the first time in a week, and while my calf was tight, the pain was not significant at all. Looks like my resting, icing, compression, elevation (and ibuprofen!) are helping do the trick. I'm keeping my running slow and not trying to do any speed training like I was before. Bummer... I was having so much fun with trying to set new training PR's, but that in itself may have been the thing that tipped off this injury in the first place... dumb, dumb, dumb—all my fault. My new goal is just to be able to actually run the marathon.

So here's to healthy legs, less than a month to the race, and a big HOORAY for no more long mid-week runs (our last one was last week, now our mid-week distances max out at 5-miles). Come on legs... you can do it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leopard & Neon

Leopard Top and Neon Accessories
Top: Jealous Tomato for Apricot Lane (similar—I love this look!), Shorts: Old Navy (similar), Shoes: c/o Fit in Clouds, Earrings: c/o Love Obsessed, Bracelets: c/o Sophistifunk
Leopard Top and Neon Accessories
Fit in Clouds foldable flats, sequin flats
Leopard Top and Neon Accessories

I bought this leopard & faux leather top at Apricot Lane back in July. I knew it was too warm at the moment, but—here it is, my first mention of it—with fall inching closer and closer to us, I knew it would be a purchase that I wouldn't regret.

Also, you might recognize my flats... they're the sisters to my other Fit in Clouds pair, and they're the cutest little flats that you can fold up and stick in your purse. These would have been the perfect pair to tuck into your bag during Fashion Week—but for me, I prefer to just wear them all the time! No heels needed.

Pairing this whole black & white outfit with some bright neon accessories added the perfect pop. Also, my earrings are from a little shop called Love Obsessed, and all her pieces are made with vintage materials and are one-of-a-kind. A few pieces of jewelry similar to mine can be found here, here, and here, but hurry because once they're gone—they're gone!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sharing a Car...

Sharing a car with your spouse

A week after we moved into our new home, we sold our Explorer (which had been listed on Craigslist since May). It kind of happened all of a sudden and then BAM—we found ourselves with only one car. When we first listed our Explorer, we began looking for a new vehicle right away, but we didn't want to purchase anything until it sold—since with Craigslist, you just never know when something will sell. We figured it could be a week or months—and months was correct. We had found a couple of really nice pickup trucks (we're looking for something we can do landscaping projects with!), but of course those sell right away, so we kept finding ourselves playing the waiting game.

Now that we're down to one car, we can't seem to find the right second vehicle. They're either too old, have too many miles, are far too expensive... there just hasn't been "the one" that has popped out at us yet. So for right now, we're making one car work. And we're going to try to for as long as possible.

Oh, one car. It's interesting, I can say that for sure. We both work in Boise (and not too far away from each other), so it's convenient to drive to work together in the morning. Daniel begins his workday earlier than I do and finishes earlier, so lately he's been dropping me off quite early, which actually has helped my productivity go through the roof! Figuring out our other schedules has been a bit of a challenge. With my marathon training still at its peak, we're having to work around my run days and his gym schedule, so it's been tricky. But I'll say this, I'm becoming an expert at taking super-fast showers and putting on my makeup in the car while he drives us to work! Our routine lately has been: wake up at 5:00 am, go for a run, come home and hop in the car with Daniel to go to the gym—and while he works out for about 30 minutes, I shower and get ready. Then we get back in the car and head to work! It makes for a packed—yet enjoyable—start to our mornings.

Oddly enough, carpooling together has been really fun. We have a lot more time to talk about things we want to get done for the house, plans we have for the week, how our days went, and we have been really enjoying spending time—even if we're not talking—together. I'm not sure how long this one-car situation will last, but right now it's a great fit. Sure, we've had to re-arrange our schedules (especially after-work meetings/plans/errands), but hey—we're saving tons of money, we're spending more time together, and we're making memories that we'll always be able to look back on. So new vehicle, come when you may—but at the moment, I'm in no rush for another change.

Friday, September 13, 2013

rosieMADE Grand Opening

rosieMADE Grand Opening
Me with Tanya of StyleSpyGirl, Alicia Vanderschuere (owner of rosieMADE), and Ashley of Rustic Living

Last night, I attended the Grand Opening of rosieMADE, a store in Boise featuring items that are handmade in the USA by women-owned/operated companies. The inspiration behind the store is the famous Rosie The Riveter, who supported USA manufacturing during World War II, and patrons of the store are referred to as "rosies." It's a beautiful business model and the items in the store are so unique and creative!

Some of my favorite items in the store included handmade jewelry, body and bath soaps—in the shapes of cupcakes no less—distressed t-shirts, and stitched stuffed animals. My friend Ashley of Rustic Living is also now a vendor for rosieMADE, so I was able to peruse her handmade pillows, placemats, coasters and purses. Her items were so shabby chic and my favorite of anything!

Also attending the Grand Opening were a couple of my blog & real life friends: Tanya of StyleSpyGirl, Ashley of Rustic Living (mentioned above), and brand new Boise blogger Amy of Sugared Rush. We had the best time connecting with these female business owners and learning more about their products. The turnout for the event was great and I can't wait to see the success that Boise will bring to rosieMADE.

rosieMADE Boise Idaho
rosieMADE Boise Idaho
rosieMADE Boise Idaho
rosieMADE Grand Opening with Sugared Rush blogger
This is Amy, and she just started the fashion & photography blog, Sugared Rush!
rosieMADE Boise, Rustic Living
rosieMADE Grand Opening, Rustic Living
This is the funniest photo! Ashley & Michael's 3-month old, Austyn, was a sleepy girl!
rosieMADE, iTySE bags
iTySE bags, reusable shopping bags made at a prison in Oregon. These are the coolest & the woman behind them is amazing!
rosieMADE Boise Idaho
rosieMADE Grand Opening with StyleSpyGirl blogger
My friend Tanya of StyleSpyGirl. We have the most fun seeing what each other is wearing because our styles are so opposite. She's the "downtown chic" and I'm the "beachy casual." Look, we even ended up wearing the same color palette last night, and our styles are so different. We love it!
rosieMADE Boise Idaho

If you're in Boise, be sure to stop by rosieMADE and shop their USA handmade goods. They're located right off 35th and State in the cutest boutique. Thanks again, Alicia & rosieMADE for inviting me to this lovely event! We wish you & your rosies the best of luck!

PS> My shoes are c/o Fit In Clouds. So comfy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Daniel's Favorite Outfit

Sporty chic, Hoodie Shorts and Sneakers, Short Curled Hairstyle
Hoodie: Old Navy (similar), Tank: Abound at Nordstrom Rack, Shorts: Kohls (similar), Sneakers: Vans, Bracelet: c/o Massi (currently half off!)
Sporty chic, Hoodie Shorts and Sneakers, Short Curled Hairstyle
Sporty chic, Hoodie Shorts and Sneakers, Short Curled Hairstyle
Vans Lo Pro Sneakers
Sporty chic, Hoodie Shorts and Sneakers, Short Curled Hairstyle

I don't know what it is about this gray hoodie, but Daniel loves it. It's been hanging in my closet for years, and earlier this summer I pulled it out to layer over a tank at the lake and Daniel couldn't understand why I hadn't worn it in front of him before... it was his new favorite! Last Sunday, it was Family Day at the Air National Guard and he texted me before I drove over and said, "Wear your gray hoodie!" It's not the fanciest sweatshirt, and it was a little warm for the 80+ degree day, but when a simple thing like that can make your husband smile, why not do it? Plus, it couldn't be a more comfortable piece—I wish Old Navy would bring this style back!

Also, the bracelet I'm wearing from Massi (also shown here and here) is on sale for 50% off! What a steal!

PS > If you're in the Boise area, come join me and some of my best local blogging friends (Ashley from Rustic Living, Anna from The Days When I'm Not a Nurse and Tanya from StyleSpyGirl) at the Grand Opening of the new rosieMADE store! I blogged about rosieMADE before here, and I stand behind them as a store that supports independent businesses with goods made by and for women! We will be there from 5-8 pm and would love to see you!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Running Shoes

Mizuno Running Shoes

I've gotten quite a few questions lately about which shoes I'm wearing for my marathon training. You've seen them in all my training update posts... they're Mizuno Wave Elixirs—and I swear by them!

I have been a runner since I was in middle school, and I've worn every kind of shoe—Nike, Asics, Brooks, New Balance, Reebok, Adidas, Avia, Pearl Izumi—every major brand but Saucony. My Mizunos are my favorite yet. These are the first shoes I've ever picked that didn't give me blisters or shin splints after just a couple miles. In fact, these shoes are also the ones I've had the best luck with in reference to my toenails (if you're a runner, you know what I'm talking about).

In the past, I've always worn specific styles for support and over-pronation—I wore the Brooks Adrenaline for years—but shoe models made for support have always seemed so bulky to me. When I went in to my local running store (Shu's Idaho Running Company), I asked for something a little more low-profile and fast, but a pair that could still handle all the miles I was going to be running in them. Their associate had me try on several different pairs of shoes and the Mizunos fit the feel I was looking for. They're low(er)-profile, super-lightweight and really quick shoes. I plan on buying a new pair soon so I have a fresh pair for the big race in October.

I think the biggest thing when it comes to running shoes—not gym shoes, but running shoes—is do not buy them because you like the way they look, buy them based on how they feel when you run in them. And don't guess when it comes to running shoes—go to a local specialty running store (not a general fitness shoe store in the mall, so yes, they might be more expensive) and speak to a running specialist who can fit you into a pair of shoes. Tell them what you're looking for, have them measure your step & stride and analyze your foot. They will know what shoes to put you in. Once they bring you a couple pairs to try, put them on and GO FOR A RUN. Literally. Go outside the store and run around the block, around the parking lot, wherever... just run in them for a few minutes. If they don't feel right, they are not the right pair. Once you narrow down what feels right, that's your shoe. And you know what? They might not be pretty. Truly. But if they save your feet, keep your legs shin-splint free, provide support for your knees and ankles, don't give you blisters and don't make your toenails fall off, don't you think that's worth it? I sure do.

Anyway, that's my running soapbox for the day. I've lost one too many toenails and had to pop one too many Ibuprofens for sore knees after runs to not want to share. And just because the brands I listed above didn't work for me, that doesn't mean they won't work for you. Do you have a shoe you swear by? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Big Congratulations

My Dad is getting married!

MY DAD IS GETTING MARRIED! Congratulations, Dad & Karen!

Dad, when you called me and told me last night, I was overjoyed for you. This wedding has been years in the making and I'm so excited that you asked Karen to be your wife. I couldn't be happier for you, and I teared up when I learned that Stewart was going to be your Best Man. That's just too perfect.

Karen, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY... officially, anyway. I know you've been part of our lives for many years and we love you! You make Dad so happy and we're thrilled that you guys are tying the knot. Can't wait to celebrate your big day with you!

Their wedding is tentatively planned for next summer in McCall, Idaho and I am already excited for the big day. My dad said it wouldn't be a big wedding, but considering that they have friends all across the US, I'd imagine they'll fill Shore Lodge to the brim. Plus, they know everyone in McCall, so I imagine it will be a party of a lifetime.

Here's to you, Dad & Karen. Congrats... or more appropriately in Norwegian, "SKÅL!"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Graphic Tee & Short Flipped Hair

graphic high-low tee
Shirt: Macy's (similar), Leggings: Steve Madden, Shoes: Carlos (similar), Bracelet: Thrifted, Nails: OPI I Ate Berries in the Canaries and China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise, Hairstyle: Straight and Flipped Hairstyle for Short Hair
graphic high-low tee
hairstyles for short hair
graphic high-low tee
graphic high-low tee, short straight hairstyle

I received this shirt as a birthday present (thanks Kari & Gregory!) and loved it immediately. I don't normally gravitate toward graphic tees, but this one won me over with the delicate lace pattern & high-low chiffon on the bottom. I paired it with leggings and simple accessories and kept my hair to a straight-in-front, flipped-in-back style.

All I have to say about this look was that Daniel whispered to me, "This is the best I've ever seen you look." Cha-ching, baby.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Hair Cut Details

I posted last week about cutting my hair, but I didn't have a chance to break down the details. As most of you know, back in October of 2011, I started a project & blog called Bye Bye Beehive. It was a 365-day journey to "stop doing" my hair. I stopped teasing, highlighting, hairspraying, using any heat tools, and any products other than shampoo and conditioner. Basically, I only shampooed, conditioned and air dried my hair every day for a year. It was in an effort to help grow the long hair I'd always wanted and had never had. I've been a blonde almost my whole life, and due to all the over-processing over the years, my hair never seemed to get longer than just past my shoulders. At the end of the year-long project, my hair ended up growing 6.5 inches and was so thick and healthy, I couldn't even believe it! (If you're looking to grow your hair, give my Bye Bye Beehive Challenge a try!)

In addition, after a year of "not doing" my hair and learning to love air-dried, natural hair, it was hard for me to want to go back to blow-drying and processing. So I didn't. I did make the jump and dyed my hair brunette back in March (and had it touched up in April), but since then, I hadn't touched it. It had been almost a year since Bye Bye Beehive ended and I was starting to crave a new style. My hair started seeming a little stringier (I'm sure a trim would have fixed that), and I know Daniel loves my hair when it's short, so I finally made the decision to change it up, and I knew if I was going to do it—I had to go big or go home. I took this photo the night before I cut my hair, showing the growth I had achieved over the almost two-year period (the left photo was Month 1 of Bye Bye Beehive, the middle was the end of Bye Bye Beehive, and the right photo was almost a year later after still not using heat tools).

Hair growth, donate your hair

Despite how much I had grown to love my long hair, it was so much longer than I was used to, and to be honest—if your husband gives you the googly eyes and says how cute you'd be with short hair... why not give it a shot? It's just hair, right? So I chopped off 14 inches, and donated 12 to Children With Hair Loss. I picked their charity because they take hair that has been highlighted & color processed, which many organizations do not accept.

Donate your hair

And now here I am with this new shorty-short hair cut, and I'm having so much fun with it. I haven't worn it the same way yet, opting each day for waves, beach curls, a front braid, a ponytail, air-dried waves, pinned half back... seriously, the options are endless and since it's so much shorter, it just takes a minute or two to style. It's also just the right length to fit in a ponytail when I'm running so I don't have to worry about hair in my face or on my neck. And hey, if I decide I want to go long again, now I know how fast my hair grows, right? I could be back to longer locks in no time!

Short hair cut, short hair soft beachy waves

Have you ever donated your hair? Made a drastic change? Cut your hair because your husband thought it would be cute (and no, I didn't just cut it because he wanted me to—I love short hair, too!). I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Marathon Training Update: Week 13

Marathon Training
MY RUNNING GEAR: Marathon Training Shoes: Mizuno, Training Bra: Old Navy, Hats: Nike, Green Running Shorts: Nike, Black Running Shorts: Nike, Pink Top: Under Armour, Orange Top: Fila, Tie-Die Top: Nike

Throughout the past 13 weeks of training for the City of Trees Marathon, I have made some big, big changes. I think the one that I'm realizing most these days is my new level of fitness. My mom jokes that I'm a "machine," and while I'm no bionic woman, I sure am running faster. Much, much faster.

When my mom and I began training for this marathon back in June, we were running a 10-minute mile pace. I ran 10-minute miles no matter what distance I was doing, whether it was our short 3-milers in the beginning or the longer 8-12 milers on the weekend (here's our marathon training plan). That was simply as fast as I could and/or cared to go. A couple weeks into our training, I began running with one of my mom's friends, Teri, and boy did she push me. She's a rockstar and her pace is usually around an 8:30-minute mile, so the days when I would run my 4 miles with her, it would kill me. Literally. I struggled.

As the weeks have progressed, I've noticed that I'm getting faster. The distances have been getting longer, the runs getting earlier, and my times have been dropping and dropping. I can no longer go out for a 5 mile run and expect to go for 50-minutes (I don't run with GPS, so I would just go based on time before, estimating that each mile was taking 10-minutes). These days, my 5 mile runs take more like 40 minutes—or less. Just this morning, I ran 5 miles and my average pace was a 7:35-minute mile. That's almost 2½ minutes that I've shaved off my average mile time.

Now, I won't be so bold to say that I'm going to try to run a marathon at a 7:30/mile pace, because despite the fact that I can hold that for 5-8 miles, that definitely doesn't mean I want to attempt that for 26.2 miles. No thank you! When my mom and I do our long training runs on the weekend (22 this week—my longest run yet!), we usually still average 10-minute miles or just a fraction less. We are really consistent and don't intend on trying to break any records. We just want to run it together as mom and daughter.

Anyway, training is going great. We have 5-weeks left and some intense weekly mileage to look forward to, so all I can say is that this training is a lot of fun, I'm getting faster, I'm getting leaner, and I just really, really enjoy it. Will I do another? That's still up for debate... I have to finish this one first!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Chapter

New Home

First comes love, then comes marriage... then comes a home—sorry, no baby carriage quite yet. This past weekend, Daniel and I moved into our new home, and we couldn't be happier. I feel like everything we've gone through—every trial, every test, every minute of waiting—has boiled down to this moment, and it's so beautiful.

To be honest, the process of buying our house was fairly simple. I've heard so many horror stories of people trying to buy houses and having it just be headache after headache. We are counting this is a huge blessing for us!

While wading through the piles of stuff and unpacking one box at a time, we're focused on de-cluttering and simplifying. I can't wait to have a house that's decorated just for us, with my very own kitchen to learn to cook (finally, right?), a garage to park my car in, a yard that's our own private sanctuary, and a place—honestly—to just be myself. That all may sound so materialistic, but if you have never had any of those things to call your own, when you work so hard to finally earn them, it's such an amazing feeling. Most importantly, I'm excited to build this house into our home. Our place to entertain, to share the love, to be with each other. And eventually, our place to raise a family of our own.

This new chapter is my favorite one I've written yet.