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Not A Runner? We've Got You Covered.

6.29.2014
Running. Cardio. Barf.
 
That's just how I feel about it. But as much as I hate cardio, I LOVE the results I see from it. You all know I'm working towards a goal of getting in the best shape of my life. I have my mind set and I'm running for it. (Pun totally intended.)

Of course I prefer weight training, but cardio is something I'm learning to love. It's not my strong suit so I have to mentally prepare to run the miles I put in everyday and it's not an easy process. There is way more to running then I ever thought and here to share some tips and give us a little pep talk is a gal pal of mine who inspires me to train and reminds me that you can start from scratch.

Meet Jessica, the adorable blogger behind I Love You Rhinos (the cute story behind her blog title here). 
 
I am probably a little too excited about two things this morning! 

First, I am teaming up with Maeg, who I absolutely adore. 

Second, I am talking about my most favorite thing to do in the whole wide world, besides eating guacamole and shopping. I'm talking about running! 

Ya, ya, ya I know what some of you are thinking... "She is one of those crazy people. Running sucks."

Well for a lot of people just starting out it does. It takes a lot of practice and if you are thinking you just aren't a runner, end of story, you should probably start with your head game. That's where I started because I was not always a runner. I actually just celebrated my first race anniversary this past March.
Can you please look at this girls legs? Inspiration enough to run! - Maeg
Because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about some of the things I have learned in the last year or so, especially for those of you just starting out like Maeg.

I am going to start kind of harsh...

ONE. Every runner hates the first two miles. A lot of long distance runners don't even hit their sweet spot until mile 5! You have to find a way to get over the pain, practice some new breathing rhythms & play mind games with yourself. I just don't want to paint this picture that all of "us" runners are immune to the pain and feel no challenge. We do! It is what comes after you knock your walls down and push past your own limitations that you feel how amazing running is, you just have to make the commitment to get there. Keep pushing. 

TWO. Get the right gear. It will make all the difference. Get fitted for good shoes and wear every moisture wicking garment you can, including your socks!!! You will feel better, be less distracted and confident on the road. 

THREE. Take time to listen to your body & get a roller!!! Make it a part of your routine to roll early on, especially your IT band. You will thank me later. Google more on this if you can. (Info here).

FOUR. There is no other sport, in my opinion, that shakes up your stomach more than running. If you are running longer than an hour you need some sort of fuel. There are so many different products to chose from and what works for you one month might have you gagging or in a port a potty the next. On another note what you eat before runs, even the night before, can have you looking for the closest tree or bush out on the road. This is real life people and it will just take trial and error for you. 

FIVE. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate all day! Everyday! It will really help you be a better runner and it is preferable that you are drinking h2o, not beer, wine or tequila :) 

------

Well, Jess, you had me until you said I couldn't hydrate with tequila. I'll have to re-think this whole running thing.

Y'all go visit Jessica for more running inspiration via her blog, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. Or just to be cute and say hi!

Do you have a running tip to share? I'll take all the help I can get!

Shop #ModernTulipStyle

6.27.2014
What kind of business owner would I be if I didn't do a little self promotion from time to time?

I've added a few beautiful pieces to my boutique and there is more on the way! If you follow me on Instagram you have already seen me wearing some accessories around. They are just too stinking pretty!

Don't forget to use code TULIP for 10% off any order! Happy Friday, dolls! Xo



How To: Create A Rafflecopter Giveaway

6.25.2014

When I first started offering giveaways I was like a lost puppy trying to figure out how to run a Rafflecopter. It took me hours and I wish I had been able to find a tutorial on how to set one up. So I thought I would save you from lost puppy syndrome.

ONE Go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/  -  You can use their website free of charge, your options are just more limited. To be honest, I use it free and it does everything I need.

TWO This is the homepage that shows your current giveaways, past giveaways and where you will click "New Giveaway" on the left hand side. 


THREE Click "Add a prize" to enter the prize you are giving away. You can only use a picture if you have a monthly subscription. Free users can only put text here. (In my opinion that's no big deal because most likely you are going to show a picture in your post of your prize.)
FOUR Once you've entered your prize you will see you can now add more prizes. For instance if you are giving away a different assortment of items (ie. gift card, nail polish, perfume). You can also add a "nickname" for your records in looking through past giveaways. And you can enter "Terms and conditions" (ie. people 18 and older, US residents only.)


FIVE Now this is where the fun begins. You must start plugging in your "entries". This can get time consuming especially if you have a lot of people involved in your giveaway. Click "Add An Entry Option" and this is what you will see. Some of these options are disabled if you are using the free version. Don't worry, you can use the "Invent Your Own" option to create the same entry. I'll show you.


SIX Here I have chosen "Invent Your Own". I am choosing to have people follow me via Instagram for this entry. This is what will show on the main part of the Rafflecopter. Where it says "Your Text To Link Here" you will put "Instagram". Then where it says "http://your-url-here.com" you will put your direct link to your profile on Instagram. So that when they click the word Instagram it takes them directly to your page. You can also have them tell you basic information so you can verify entries once the giveaway has ended. (For instance, I want to know your Instagram name so I can verify you actually followed me via Instagram.)


SEVEN Below is what it looks like once I've filled in my information. Now you can also choose if you want the entrants to be able to do this option daily for more entries (this is perfect for tweets) or if it's mandatory ( I use this as a free entry to get your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win).

EIGHT After you have finished adding all your entry options you are almost done! Now you must add a date and time you'd like your giveaway to run. And then click "Preview & Install".


NINE Now it's here that I click "Preview All Options" and test out each entry option making sure they are all working properly and going to the right webpage. If you are missing anything as simple as the "http" in a link, they won't work properly. So test them all out. 


TEN Now all you have left to do is install your widget on your blog post. Simply click "Copy" to the right of the html code. Now go to your blog post and click "HTML" in the top left corner. Copy and paste this code. And she's ready to rock! You did it! Now get a cocktail, stat!


If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask :)

Introducing: The Creative Closet


(insert applause here).

Jana and I are so excited to announce a new linkup we have created! Get excited, because this is good! Jana and I both have a love for fashion, but like most women we struggle to create "new" outfits from the pieces we already own tucked away in our closet. I don't know about you, but I get stuck in a rut wearing the same pieces over and over until even my husband starts to notice. #embarrassing

What's the solution? Insert "The Creative Closet" here.

What is it? The Creative Closet will be a weekly linkup (every Tuesday) that is all about expressing yourself creatively through fashion and looking at your closet with a fresh pair of eyes.

When? Jana and I will create prompts for every Tuesday for the entire month. The two of us, along with a new co-host each week, will style an outfit based on the prompt and create a collaborative post that will feature all three of our outfits. You will have the chance to link up you post featuring your own take on that Tuesday's style prompt.

Why? The goal of this linkup is to help us to view our closets more creatively and to mix up our outfits, share our love of fashion, and to encourage each other to be bold and try new things.

JULY PROMPTS:

July 1st: All American Girl
July 8th: Radiant Orchid
July 15th: Classy Neutrals
July 22nd: Pattern Mixing
July 29th: My Go-To Piece

Join us beginning July 1st by linking up your post on one of our blogs. We want to see everyone's looks, so make sure to share on social media using #thecreativecloset.

Would you like to co-host? If you would, please click here to claim your slot. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask either Jana or myself. We hope you're as excited as we are!

Gym Regime: Back & Biceps

6.23.2014
So last week I mentioned I would start sharing my gym regime with you. Today I am sharing one of my favorites, back & biceps.

WARNING. I am a sweaty, hot, nervous, blurry mess. Turns out taking pictures in a gym makes me feel extremely self-conscience. I was getting so upset with Jon telling him take the pictures in a sneaky way and do it faster and get it over worth. It made for some really crappy pictures, but they hopefully illustrate the exercises in a way you can understand.

For each exercise we do 3 sets of 12 reps. I choose to lift weight that I can still preform with good form, but that exhausts me by the third set. We move back and forth between back and bicep exercises taking a rest between each exercise. 

Also, before each workout we run 2 miles to get our sweat on and do 20 minutes of abs.


Funny thing. I hated working out my arms up until recently when I started noticing more definition in them. Then I started to work them out harder and noticed the muscle I was building. So this routine has quickly jumped up there as one of my favorites of the week!

Don't forget all good gym motivation comes from cute workouts clothes, am I right?

Five lovely ladies and myself have teamed up to bring you the chance to win a $65 Albion Fit gift card! Albion Fit has the most adorable and well made workout gear, plus swimsuits that are to die for! So if you need some extra fitness motivation, enter the giveaway and you can score yourself some cute stuff to wear to the gym, or to show off your new, fit bod at the pool. :)

Albion fit giveaway
 

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on June 24th until 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Entries will be verified, so please be honest. Good luck!


Dress Malfunctions & A GiGi New York Giveaway

dress (old)
Our Summer calendar seriously has the word "wedding" written one bazillion times. If only I could have $10 for every wedding we have gone to or will attend this year. But no, I have to buy them a gift. Life isn't fair people. Luckily the wedding we attended this weekend is a childhood friend and it was a pleasure to watch her walk down the aisle and move into a new stage of life. Jon even said it was the most beautiful wedding we have been to. And I have to say is, Southern weddings for the win!

I had originally planned on wearing this gorgeous dress from Shop Riff Raff. It's absolutely stunning on, but I didn't plan ahead. When you buy a new dress, TRY IT ON before you head to another state for a wedding without a plan B. I thought I had the "no bra" situation figured out with the dress. Turns out I didn't. It wasn't until an hour before the wedding that I put my dress on and realized that my girls wanted to be the stars of the show. Or maybe I should say it was a tad bit nipply outside...

Thank goodness my 13-year-old sister came out like a champ and let me borrow this dress from her closet. I bought her this dress last year and luckily I only buy things for her that I will end up stealing at one time or another. So the crisis was averted.

All that I was missing from this outfit was an adorable clutch... 

Once again this is another giveaway where I am completely jealous and wish I could figure out a sneaky way of keeping the prizes all to myself. Don't worry, I wouldn't dare. My conscience would eat me alive for years to come and this girl can't take sleepless nights. Grumpy wouldn't even begin to describe me with lack of sleep...

But I digress.

These GiGi New York clutches have been showing their pretty faces all over the interweb lately, and rightfully so. They are gorgeous! The color options are like some I have never seen before and they are just the right touch of class for a perfect night out on the town. Not to mention the smaller pouch would be fabulous to throw my phone and credit card in when I run into the store. Or just to hold my lipstick in my purse. Multi purpose pieces make my heart swoon! Meet the fabulous ladies who made this giveaway possible.

GiGi New York Giveaway

I Love You Rhinos // The Modern Tulip // Make Me Up Mia // F Yeah!
Rad Maverix // My Cup Of Sparkle // Wearable. // But First, Coffee // Flowers In My Hair
Birdie To Be // Lot48 // Recent Somethings // Army Ever After // Kids And Cabernet

Winner must respond within 48 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen randomly.
The winner has the option of adding gold initials into their clutch. Winner will have to pay $15 (per clutch) for initials.


4 Week Body Transformation

6.19.2014
Please don't judge too harshly. Mmkay, thanks!

As promised I am sharing a 4 week transformation today and I'm gritting my teeth. Although I have seen some huge changes in the last four weeks and I'm proud of how far hubs and I have come, I am also a perfectionist. It's hard for me to share something unless it's complete and I haven't hit my goal just yet.

I know sharing this will keep me on track along with possibly motivating others so that's my drive.

I lost my actual before pictures so, unfortunately, I had to resort to using a picture from our vacation this past May. Luckily these pictures were taken the week before we started so they are still accurate "before" pictures, just not the posed ones we had taken. Hubs doesn't want to share his transformations until he is completely finished. And I'm the perfectionist?


Starting weight: 126.2 lbs
Current weight: 117.2 lbs


Noticing // Definition in my arms and stomach. Those obscene amount of crunches and greens are paying off.

Feeling // Amazing! My body feels way stronger. My energy levels are up. My skin is looking better than ever. I am noticing an overall tightness in my body that I love and I'm not going to bed and waking up bloated each morning.

Eating // Every 2-3 hours, 5x a day. My eating is super clean and strict during the week, on the weekends you can forget it! This girl doesn't say no to Margarita's. Ever.

Focus // Building muscle! I want the athletes body I had years ago. I like looking toned and having muscle, to me that is sexy. I am focusing on my legs and back hard these next four weeks.

I have had quite a few questions about our gym regime so I will be sharing that over the next few weeks in detail for those of you interested.

Only 8 more weeks to go...

Is there any question you'd like me to specifically address regarding health and fitness?

A Simple Gift

6.18.2014
fruits and veggies

Weeks ago a precious customer of ours came in to order some parts. It was then that we got into a conversation about gardening, green thumbs and my lack thereof. He mentioned something about his garden full of veggies, blackberries, strawberries and other delicious bites. I remembering saying something like "I wish I had a garden to eat from. I love getting my fruits and veggies at the farmers market."

And that was it.

Two days later that same sweet man came walking in with a bushel of fresh picked blackberries. The prettiest berries I've ever seen! I shrieked, "For ME? How much?" He explained nothing made him happier than giving away his fruits and veggies to those who need or appreciate them. 

Without thinking, I ran around the counter and squeezed him! He tensed and didn't hug back.- Side note, I'm a hugger.
Blackberry cobbler
The blackberry cobbler didn't last long enough for me to take a picture. It was a total hit for Fathers Day!
About a week or so later, his car pulls up. As he gets out I notice a plastic bag in his hand. I thought it was a bag of parts he was coming in to replace. To my surprise it was a bag of bright green zucchini, yellow squash and huge tomatoes. I couldn't believe it! These are things I pay money for at the grocery store each week and here this man is giving it away to me.

I hugged him again displaying my gratitude the only way I knew how. This time he didn't freeze. One hand came around my shoulder and he gave a gentle squeeze on my arm.
fruits and vegetables

Monday, he shows up again. This time with more tomatoes, cucumbers and red potatoes. 

I explained to him how much this meant to me. I had already fixed a delicious blackberry cobbler from his first gift. Jon and I had now enjoyed sauteed veggies and skewers also, perfect for Summertime. And the fact that he was giving me something from his heart meant everything to me. 

This time I hugged him and he hugged me back.

These are the moments that make me appreciate our business. The special relationships I create with special people in this world.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

SKEWERS:

> Soak wooden skewer rods for 10 minutes before use.
> Cut up veggies of choice 1/2" thick
> Add some steak or chicken (meatless is boring)
> Place them randomly on skewers
> Season with Lawry's Seasoning (YUM)
> Grill for 10-15 mins, rotating occasionally
** Cut into the meat to make sure it's finished. Enjoy!

#WhereImFromSwap

6.17.2014
I had the pleasure of joining in my second swap created by Kallie from But First, Coffee. She first created a mug swap months ago that was fabulous. Then, being the creative genius she is, she created the Where I'm From Swap. The purpose was for bloggers to send a package to their swap partner containing goodies that interest them, but reflect your home state. So fun!


Kallie, my swap partner, is from Connecticut. She is basically my Northern twin considering she loves a good Marg, Mexican dishes every Friday night, lipstick obsessed and puts hot sauce on everything. My husband was a little weirded out when he heard too. 

These are the fabulous goodies Kallie sent to me from the good ole' state of CT! 


1. Coffee mug for my morning coffee obsession. This mug is from The Griswold Inn where Kallie worked once upon a time. Fun fact: It's the longest continuously open Inn in the US since 1776! Listed as one of the 1,000 places to see before you die!
2. UCONN Salsa for my continuous chip and salsa addiction. (This girl gets me). UCONN is Kallie's boyfriends Alma mater and they go to all their football games.
3. Hot sauce from her favorite Mexican place where she mentioned they make a killer marg. (Gosh I love her).
4. Polish & lipstick because, well, I have an unhealthy addiction to polish and lipstick. This lipstick is one of her favorites and she thought the color would look fabulous on me :) Thanks Kallie!

All along with an adorable little map of where she lives and the important spots surrounding her.This note and map put a ginormous smile on my face :) It was so personal!

To check out what I got Kallie for the swap, go here.
 
I'm 99.999999% positive Kallie will be putting together more swaps in the future so make sure to follow her to stay updated. It's so refreshing to meet new bloggers and come to know them like sisters. 

Have you participated in a swap before?

Living In The Moment

6.16.2014
Living in the moment, finding balance in life

It's a funny thing, as of lately I find myself living in the moment verses over analyzing. Making quick choices more frequently rather than thinking things through a tad bit more. Doing what immediately makes me happy over what I "should" be doing.

I'm determined now more than ever not to let life pass me by with a quick bat of my eyelashes. Our business consumes our life 99% of the time. And after the business day is over I spend a majority of my remaining waking hours working on my blog and squeezing in a workout. For months it has become an exhausting routine. I have felt myself crawl into my shell and hide as often as possible from the things I love to do because I can't do it all and my priorities are out of whack.

I'm done with that.

I'm dead set on choosing my husband, family, friends and my pups over my to-do list.

Rather than getting out of bed at 6am to write a blog post this morning, I chose to snuggle up close to my hubby and enjoy those extra quiet moments in bed.

Instead of saying "no" to dinner plans with friends, I chose to say "yes" and skip the laundry folding, lunch packing and email responding I had originally planned.

I pick working out because I love it instead of spending a third late at work trying to get ahead.

I choose to come home and snuggle with my hubs and pups rather than come home and sit at yet another computer screen to write a blog post.

I won't spend another Saturday cooped up at home working on my to-do list when I can be out on the lake or hiking or working in my yard. 

I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe a change in perspective? But I'm living in the moment for once and I'm loving it.


Vitamin D Is Crack

6.12.2014
So I saw this post over at Living In Yellow and I loved it. Not only did Erin give me new ideas about what I could enjoy during Summer, but home-girl got me pumped because everyone else is getting pumped about Summer! We are all seeing that sunshine, feeling the warmth browning our skin, watching the rain roll in occasionally cooling off the earth, enjoying the outdoors on the weekend. I LOVE it! I'm giddy just talking about it. I swear Vitamin D is crack.

summer bucket list


// Attend the farmers market a handful of times

// Buy fresh flowers weekly

// Create a cocktail I've never made before

// Landscape around my house & decorate my porch

// Wake-board

// Spend the night at the lake every weekend as often as possible

// Drink coffee on the porch in the morning

// Make a cobbler with freshly picked fruit

// Take a cruise - see you in July, Alaska!

// Play beach volleyball

// Make freshly squeezed lemonade

// Have friends over for a cookout

// Go to an outdoor concert

// Attend local festivals

// Hike with my family of four

// Drink as many margaritas as possible (this is a year round tradition)

Sounds like I have a lot to do, I should go stretch.

I'd love to hear what's on your bucket list! Heck, take this idea and spread it; let's see what everyone is planning for Summer! Go link up at Living In Yellow.

Skincare Routine Currently

6.11.2014


SKINCARE | ELIZABETH ARDEN


Do you ever hit a plateau with your skincare routine? Recently this happened to me and I needed to shake things up a bit. I've been an Olay girl for years (10 to be exact) true and true, but I noticed it wasn't doing the job anymore a couple of months ago. I was getting more break outs than normal, it wasn't removing all of my makeup and my skin looked dull. I switched to Neutrogena because I had always heard great things. Weeks passed and still, no changes in my skin. So I did some digging and found Elizabeth Arden. An affordable, yet highly reviewed skincare line.

I actually found the cleanser, toner and mask at TJMaxx and decided to give it a whirl. In a weeks time I saw a noticeable difference in my skin. I use the cleanser and toner every morning and night. I incorporate the mask 1-2 times a week. I still have my Neutrogena facial lotion with SPF that I use each morning because I can't stop using it before it's empty. I'm nerdy that way.

I should also say that I am drinking a few bottles of water every day too. This makes a huge difference for my skin. So that could be helping too.

Do you have a skincare line you've used and loved? I'm interested to know! Are you like me and have used the same products for 10 years?

Wear // lulusimonSTUDIO

6.09.2014

Tee | Jeans | Print
 
 Necklace | Tassel Bracelet | Sunglasses

Lip
| Polish | Bag

I just love happy mail days. Seriously, as an adult, getting something other than bills makes my little heart thump a bit louder. It's like Christmas except I don't have to stare at the package for 25 days anticipating it's contents. When I received these goodies from lulusimonSTUDIO I was giddy! I've been dying to put together a tee/blazer look for awhile now. I just couldn't find a tee I was in love with. Then I found this one and all was right in the world.

Not only does Lindsay carry adorable tees (loving this one & this one), but she carries one bazillion adorable prints. I just know you can find one you love! And why not get it for free? Because Lindsay is sweet enough to give one lucky winner a FREE 8x10 print of your choice. So you can have happy mail too :) Happy Tuesday, sugar babies. Xo!

PS. Head over to my Instagram for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway winner will have 48 hours to respond or prize will go to next winner chosen by the rafflecopter.