A Salesman, a Security Guard, and a Cobblestone Necklace

I’ve said it before. In fact, I’ve said it here… and here… and here. Oh, and here.

Tiffany & Co. is the best store in the world.

And in case I haven’t made you a believer yet, allow me to spend yet another blog post trying to convince you how fabulous this store really is. And I’m not sorry.

My bestie and I just took our annual Girls’ Trip, this time to snazzy, jazzy New Orleans. Our trips always include a few stops for frappuccinos, and while waiting for our order at the mall near the French Quarter we spied it – Tiffany & Co. <3

We got our coffee, and because my bestie is the best bestie in the world, she was happy to let me wander through the mall and swoon over the store’s entrance, which was flanked on three sides by beautiful tiffany-blue lighting. She humored me and guarded my beverage and my purse while taking yet another photo of me in front of a Tiffany & Co. sign.

And the security guard comes over and asks if he can be in the picture with me.

Here’s where I knew I’d be having yet another great Tiffany’s experience. Here’s where this visit to Tiffany’s became my favorite ever. Here’s where I knew I’d be writing another post about this establishment and its total awesomeness.

After my photo moment with Ben, Sanne and I went in to look at all the goodies. We were immediately offered assistance by a salesman with an incredibly kind face, to which I politely declined. I explained that I wasn’t going to buy anything, I was just looking to get some ideas for my upcoming birthday. Sanne and I walked around admiring all the pretty things – and then I saw it.

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This is the Tiffany Cobblestone Medallion Pendant. It is by far my most favorite item the store has to offer, and I had never seen it in person before.

Cue the drool.

This pendant is absolutely breathtaking, and comes with a pricetag completely worthy of its beauty – $14,000. There was no way they were going to let me try that on, especially knowing I had no intention of purchasing it. But I had to ask. See, right before we left for New Orleans Jay accidentally made a joke about money while planning a trip with his friend, saying, “There’s no time like the present to spend money.” So, naturally, I saw the perfect opportunity to freak him out a little. After all, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose too, right? :D

I asked the kind-faced salesman, John, if there was any way I could try it on. He didn’t even hesitate – he pulled it right out of the case and while my jaw dropped to the floor and tears began to form in my eyes he brought it around the counter and clasped it around my neck. I’m still in shock.


Can I just stop for a minute and say again that this is the most stunning piece in the entire Tiffany & Co. collection?


I took a bunch of pictures with the necklace on before reluctantly handing it back over to John to return to the case. He wasn’t done with me yet though, and called me to join him behind the counter to have a look at the matching Cobblestone ring on his computer screen. Definitely on my wish list too, but as I told John, if you’re going to spend that kind of money then you should definitely go for the more eye-catching piece. :D

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We finished looking at everything, but before we left I asked John to take a picture of Sanne and me. He looked around the store for a minute, then found the perfect backdrop. I wish this picture did it justice – the wall behind us was beautiful.


Then I took one with John too because, after all, we had become such good friends by this point.


I asked him if he was okay with me posting his picture on my blog, and he got all excited, writing down my blog’s web address and complimenting its name, which then led to a brief conversation on Slurpees, Icees, and slush puppies. :) In case you can’t tell, John is awesome. He then called Ben (the also-awesome security guard of entrance-photo fame) over and told him that the two of them were going to be in my blog post.

Sadly though, we couldn’t stay all day, and Sanne and I bid adieu to our new Tiffany & Co. besties. On our way out John gave me his business card and told me that he hopes I get my necklace someday.

Me too, John. Me too. <3


Grandpa Bill

There are some people in this world that you just have a connection with. Miles don’t matter. Infrequent interaction doesn’t matter. Commonalities don’t matter. What does matter is the joy you feel when those miles are crossed… when the interactions occur… when the commonalities are discovered. That’s when you know that a magical connection exists. You feel your soul light up with just the thought of them. And you feel an enormous hollow space in your heart once they are gone.


That’s how I feel about my Grandpa Bill. He passed away this July, just a few days shy of his 84th birthday. He didn’t have a funeral, so he didn’t have a eulogy. There was no memorial service, so there was no one listen to stories and memories of how he impacted their lives. But I want to share what he meant to me, share the memories that are working to help fill the void that’s now there.


For as long as I can remember I’ve been told that I take after him, and it’s always made me a little proud. To me he was someone who confidently knew what he did and didn’t like; someone who loved my grandmother very deeply; someone who’s respect was hard to earn, but for me it was one of the best feelings in the world to know I had it. His approval meant everything to me as a child, and whenever I worked towards a goal throughout my life I did it knowing in the back of my mind that he’d be proud of me when I succeeded. High school, college, teaching, marriage, kids – I wanted to be someone he could brag about. I wanted him to be proud of who I was and the choices I made. When I started dating Jay I remember thinking how much my Grandpa Bill would like him. And when they finally met and he told me that I’d found a good man – well, let’s just say that Jay became even more attractive that day once I knew he’d met Grandpa Bill’s approval.


I’ve never lost anyone that I felt a real connection to, and I was surprised at how quickly my head and heart flooded with memories. Memories like the small planes he flew right off his own property (he’d even mowed his own runway!) and the stories he’d tell about flying and shutting off the engine mid-flight to test his emergency skills. The rusty oil tank on his property that was no place for children, yet he allowed my brother and me to climb the rickety ladder and sit on the top, feeling like royalty looking over our domain. Watching the Long, Long Trailer with him, and listening to him talk about Snow White, his favorite Disney princess. Laughing while he chased pelicans on the beach, trying to capture a photo in one of the cameras he’d bought on one of his frequent pawn shop excursions. The cave tour Jay and I took with him that led us on a 4-mile subterranean journey throughout Mammoth Caves while a tornado passed over us above ground. The surprise wedding album he had someone make for me because he knew I enjoyed scrapbooked albums.


But my favorite memories are the ones that occurred on my wedding day. <3

The night before my wedding I put everything I’d need to get ready at the church the next day in my mom’s van, including my wedding dress. The next morning my mom and I grabbed our purses and stepped outside to leave… and noticed the van was missing. Gone without a trace. We freaked out, thinking maybe it had been stolen, until my Grandma Skip walked in and told us that Grandpa Bill had taken the van to check out some pawn shops. This was before cell phones were common, and as my grandpa had no idea my dress was in the back we had no way of getting in touch with him and no idea how long he’d be gone. Fortunately, he showed up in time for us to get there with plenty of time to get dressed, although I’ll admit we were a bit panicked for a while!

He more than made up for hijacking my wedding dress after the ceremony though. Jay had rented a Rolls Royce to whisk our newly married selves to the reception, and it wasn’t until we were about to get in the car that we realized our driver wasn’t going to take us anywhere until we paid the $300 remainder we still owed him. We’d completely forgotten about it and didn’t have any money to pay him. At the exact moment we were about to send the driver away and bum a ride with someone, my Grandpa Bill walked up – not knowing our predicament – and said he wasn’t sure when he was supposed to give us our wedding present. He put something in Jay’s left hand while shaking the right, and when we took a look we saw that he’d given us exactly $300. In cash. We turned around, handed it to the driver, and headed off to our reception. (Then he commemorated the event in the wedding album he’d had made. :D )


When I was in my early teens my grandpa sent me a special birthday gift. Along with the gift from him and my grandma, there was a small package with a note in his blocky handwriting. It was a silver chain bracelet, and he’d written that when he saw it he thought of me and wanted me to have it. I don’t know if my grandma knew about this extra gift because the note was signed just by him, but I always felt like it was something just between the two of us. I wore it every day, and when it broke I bought another to replace it. When it broke too I went years without a replacement – until Jay took me to Tiffany’s to pick out my Christmas present. I chose a simple beaded bracelet with a Tiffany Blue heart to stand in for the silver chain my grandpa had bought me all those years ago. I wear it every day and think of him whenever I look at it.. <3


I’ll miss his determination to make sure I was safe – which usually involved his belief that I needed a gun. (We’d had long phone conversations about why teachers should have concealed weapons in classrooms, and once while we were driving he even pulled out his gun and tried to stuff it in my glovebox. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to see what kind of gun would fit in it, but I’ll bet if I’d decided to get one he would have been more than happy to take me shopping.) I’ll miss that blocky handwriting. I’ll miss the way he smiled at me, conveying just how proud of me he was and how much he loved me.


Rest in peace, Grandpa. Gobs of love to you forever. <3

London on a Bicycle

One of our favorite things to do whenever we vacation somewhere is to locate a bike rental shop and check out the area at our own pace. Jay and I have biked through Williamsburg, Toronto, and even on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island), and now we’ve added London to that list!


This past June Jay and I decided to spend our 13th anniversary in London. We knew we’d want to go exploring on a bicycle at some point in our 3-day stay, and after doing a little digging online we came across BrakeAway Bike Tours. The company offered a number of different tours, and we were thrilled to see that one of them would cover many of the popular tourist attractions that we’d already planned to visit – which would save us a ton of sightseeing time on our trip.


We met our tour guide, Matt, in Waterloo Station, then took a short walk to where the bikes were housed – a crazy tunnel where spray painting the walls was completely legal. The tunnel was frequented by graffiti artists who would just paint over the existing work on the walls, and as a result the walls were constantly changing daily – we were advised to take pictures of anything we liked because it would most likely be gone the next day! There were even artists spray painting in the tunnel while we were there, which was pretty cool to watch (albeit a bit smelly).



We put on our helmets, grabbed our bikes, and headed off through the tunnel. I was a little nervous about biking on the “wrong” side of the street, but Matt was a great guide and always made sure everyone in the group stuck together. He explained biking signals, that there would be areas where we’d be required to walk our bikes, and that we could feel free to stop him any time we needed.



Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (including the Changing of the Guard), St. Paul’s Cathedral, and MI5 were just a few of the stops on our tour. At every location we went to, Matt would give us interesting tidbits of information that made us feel as though we were really getting insider information – past and present – about the city. He quickly caught on that Jay and I are Harry Potter fans, and any chance he got he’d squeeze in a few factoids about the actors and the movies. :)


The ride was an easy 7.5 miles, which we finished in only about 3.5 hours (including a 20-minute break). Despite the crazy traffic and not being used to everyone driving on the left, we didn’t have a single moment where we felt things were dangerous. Our tour included the bike rental (mine was named Audrey Hepburn – how perfect is that for a gal who loves Tiffany’s?) and helmets, and of course, an amazing tour guide. My bike had a little basket on the front, which was perfect for holding my purse, jacket, and water bottle. If you’re ever headed to London for a sightseeing trip, I highly recommend checking out BrakeAway Bike Tours! :)


Jay and I have always enjoyed walking and biking through the cities we visit, but I think this tour has made us consider booking bike tours on our future travels to other cities, too! Now, where to go for our 15th…? ;)


PS – I was not paid or perked or even asked to write this post. Jay and I just had such a good time that I wanted to give this company some internet love! <3 :)


It’s one thing to mispronounce words, and it’s another to have your own phrases and ways of describing things. Julia’s only 4, but she’s got her own linguistic style. And it never fails to make us smile.


For example, a common Julia-phrase while reading a book is scoop the page.” This is her version of saying turn the page,” but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it, because when you go to turn a page your hand sort of scoops the paper up. What doesn’t make sense is that she sometimes applies this to watching TV, and she’ll ask us to scoop the channel or scoop the shows.” I just can’t bring myself to correct her though. (PS – Here’s one of my all-time favorite videos of her reading. :) )

The other day we were at the table talking about something fun we all liked doing this summer, and after sharing hers she told us all that it’s her favorite because it’s the much most more funnest ever.” How can you disagree with logic like that? :D


But my favorite is when she talks about decorating the bed.” In Julia-speak, this is her way of saying “make the bed,” but I’m guessing she has issues with that phrasing since she’s not actually creating a bed out of thin air. I just love it when she runs up to me with a huge smile on her face and says, “Mommy! I decorated my bed all by myself!” :) In all honesty, I think I like her way of saying it better.


Then there’s also the seemingly endless list of words that she just can’t seem to pronounce no matter how many times we practice with her:

  • wusually (usually)
  • bekbast (breakfast)
  • amember (remember)
  • pocksicle (popsicle)
  • Valenstime’s Day
  • instrodoosting (introducing)

IMG_7970I think my favorite mispronunciation though was when my best friend and I were planning a trip to New York and I was trying to explain to Julia that I’d be gone for a few days. She looked up at me and said, “Have fun in You Nork, Mommy!” Oh, my heart. <3

When Emily was younger she of course struggled with word pronunciations too, and to this day I can remember the day she stopped mispronouncing “tarantula.” For the longest time she called it a “tralantrula” and no matter how much she begged I refused to tell her the right way to say it. Then one day she got in the car after school, looked right in my eyes, and said it correctly. I was crying as I drove out of the parking lot. My baby girl had lost her last word. :'(

It’s been almost 9 months since Sanne and I took that trip, and to this day Julia still can’t say “New York.” I think I’m going to leave it that way – I wouldn’t change this girl’s unique style of talking for anything. Her sense of style… now that’s another thing entirely. :D


Running, Rainbows, and Relationship-Building

Back in May Emily and I participated in our second Color Run together. We’d had so much fun at last year’s run that there was no way we were going to miss it – especially when we found out that they were not only going to have sparkle-filled dust pouches, but they were also going to be handing out medals! Color us excited!
IMG_7568The day before the race we had to pick up our race-day packets. This year it was at our local Kohl’s store, which was a huge improvement over last year’s craziness at Sports Authority. It was much more open and much less crowded than last year. Plus they gave the girls some free cotton candy. Cotton candy makes everything better. :)



That night Emily and I laid out all of our clothes in our downstairs bathroom so that we wouldn’t wake anyone in the morning. When our alarms went off at 5am we got up, got dressed, and stealthily snuck out of the house like the Color Run ninjas that we are. On our way we happened to look out of the car window and saw a fellow runner, which Emily thought was hysterical. Gotta love those silly headbands!


The event was otherwise pretty much the same as last year. Emily and I were closer to the start line this time though, and it was pretty awesome being right in the thick of the crowd. There were bubbles everywhere, and everyone was just so happy! We sang the anthem, the start gun fired, and we were off!


The route took us through the same tunnel we’d written our names in last year, but this time Emily didn’t want to stop running to do that again. Unfortunately, it might have been better for her if we had, because she had a pretty bad fall while running in it. A motorcycled officer was trying to get through the crowd behind us but was having trouble because even though he had his siren on, the echo in the tunnel made it impossible to pinpoint where the sound was coming from. I only happened to see him because I’d turned around to take a photo of the tunnel entrance behind us. When I finally got Emily’s attention to get her to move, she turned around to see what was going on. He zipped by, she stumbled while running downhill and looking backwards, and I thought for sure that would be the end of our fun together. One of her bib pins stuck her in the belly pretty bad, and her knees and palms were scraped up too. But that girl of mine got back up and said she wasn’t done running, and ran almost another full mile before deciding to walk a bit. I was so proud.


The rest of the race was pretty uneventful – at least, accident-wise. We were definitely pelted with color, of course! We walked and ran to the finish line, holding hands as we crossed. <3 They gave us our medals and our glitter packets, and Emily and I headed over to the stage area to celebrate in the after party and toss some powder in the air.


We didn’t last too long though – people were a bit aggressive when trying to grab the freebies the MC was tossing out into the crowd, and Emily was almost trampled a few times. Not to mention the fact that we could barely breathe whenever the MC had everyone toss their powder in the air at the same time. That stuff gets thick – just check out our selfie below!



Instead, we found a table, drank some water, and enjoyed watching everyone walk around like a big rainbowed mess. Emily ran around hunting for leftover powder in packets (everyone just dropped their color packets on the ground after opening them and tossing their powder), and she actually managed to score a couple of unopened packets in colors we hand’t been doused in. Of course, she remedied that immediately.



And it wasn’t long before she looked like this:


My best friend Sanne was there with her family again this year, and even though we didn’t complete the course together we made sure to meet up for a picture. :)


At the end of it all as we walked back to the car, Emily looked up at me and told me that this was the most fun she’d ever had, and that she was so happy she got to do it with me. And for us, that’s what this is all about. Sure, we love the medal and we love the theme of this event. But doing it together is the part that we cherish the most, and we can’t wait to do it again next year. <3

IMG_7630PS Is it just me, or does it look like I’ve created a medal junkie? :D

Three Days of London Love

For our 13th anniversary this year, Jay and I decided to cash in a few of his frequent flier miles in exchange for round-trip tickets to London. He’d been there for a workshop a few weeks before and had quickly decided he loved it, but hadn’t really had a chance to see anything besides his classroom. I was a little jealous he got to go at all, since I had always wanted to visit there too but wasn’t able to tag along on his trip. So when it was time to decide where we wanted to spend our anniversary, London seemed perfect! We packed our bags, dropped the girls off at Jay’s parents house, and said our goodbyes. What a bunch of hams. :D


We gave ourselves three full days to explore the city as much as possible, and we are pretty impressed with how much we managed to squeeze into those few days! Jay found a great deal on a hotel right in the city (not too far from St. Paul’s Cathedral), and our room even had a view of the London Eye. (It’s the rounded shape touching the trees on the right).


The first thing we did was stop by the Tower of London and admire the crown jewels. We also enjoyed the view of London Bridge from afar. I just love those beautiful blue supports!


We knew we’d want to ride on the famous London Eye, and Jay decided to enhance the experience by booking a champagne tasting for us to enjoy while we rode. It was amazing! We tasted five different champagnes by Pommery, all described by a wine and champagne expert. The experience also included one of the Eye’s tour guides, who sweetly pointed out some of London’s main attractions from over 400 feet in the air. The added bonus was that instead of staying on the Eye for one 30-minute rotation, the champagne tasting ticket allowed us to stay in our capsule for a second rotation. One solid hour on the London Eye with a few glasses of great champagne? Now that’s the way to kick off an anniversary trip!




Of course there were the iconic red telephone booths and double-decker buses everywhere, so that was easy to check off our list of must-sees. :)


On our second day we decided to take a bike tour of the city. We’d found a company that could take us past many of the things we wanted to see, including the changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and a few other well-known tourist attractions. It was a fun way to see the city, and ended up being our favorite thing about our trip. Afterward we did some exploring and eating, and then we did some more exploring and eating. :)



Our last day in London was on our actual anniversary. <3 We started it off by visiting the Sky Garden, a public garden located on the top floors of a skyscraper. The views from the garden were amazing – it was pretty awesome being in such a serene place surrounded by plants while looking over a bustling city below.


We also checked out the British Museum and went back to Buckingham Palace for one last look up close before we left. Those gates are a little too fancy for my taste, good thing I don’t live there! :D


For our anniversary we ate at Barbecoa, an amazingly delicious restaurant that overlooks St. Paul’s Cathedral. Jay had told them why we were celebrating when he made the reservation, and they gave us the best table in the house. <3 We seriously had one of the most memorable meals we’ve ever experienced and left a little chubbier than we were when we arrived – which we were totally okay with whenever we remembered the steak… and the garlic potatoes… and the salad… and the champagne… and the dessert….IMG_8566


We spent quite a bit of time walking everywhere over the course of the trip, and only used taxis or the subway (or Tube :) ) when we didn’t have time to walk. All that walking gave us a chance to really get a feel for the city and discover things we might have otherwise missed. We popped into shops and diners as we liked and just soaked in as much as we could, which is exactly how we like to vacation!


We absolutely fell in love with London. Everything about the city was beautiful, but our favorite thing was how so much history was standing right beside modern civilization. Everywhere you looked there was old and new. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and there was so much to see and do that even a solid week would have been hardly enough time to really get it all in. Which, of course, means that we will just have to go back and see some more in the future – but somehow I don’t think we’re going to have a problem with that! :) <3



Book List Update

This summer has been great for reading! Since my last book list update I’ve been chugging away, knocking off almost every book I added in April. This last round of books really encompassed a wider range of genres than I usually read, and I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone of mysteries and crime dramas. It definitely encouraged me to continue to mix things up a bit!Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 9.30.30 AM

Here’s what I read, and some thoughts I had after reading:

The Girl on the Train – This was hard to put down, I’m looking forward to the movie!
Oh Yeah, Audrey – A fun little story about some online friends who meet up for the first time at Tiffany & Co. It’s a super light read, I enjoyed it but found it a bit too short for my liking.
Yellow Crocus – An interesting story about a wet nurse and the life lessons she passes on to her charge. Difficult to read, as it reveals some of the horrors of slavery, and yet also enlightening and encouraging. I loved the ending.
Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Agency – This nonfiction was recommended to me by Jay, who had to read it as part of his coursework. If you’re interested in how advertising firms pitch their ideas to companies, this book is for you. I found the process fascinating, but a huge part of the book was data and historical factoids, which made it hard to get through.
Wreckage – I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, but the concept was interesting. I was a little underwhelmed at the “twist” in the story, and although I enjoyed the book I was glad that it had been a freebie I’d found on Amazon.
The Husband’s Secret – I really liked this one, although it was somewhat predictable. I’ve become a fast fan of Ms. Moriarty’s work!
Dark Places – I’ve read Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, and this was by far my favorite of the three. I was completely sucked in and although I had ideas about what was going on, in the end there was just no way I could have put all the pieces together.
Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy – I resisted this one at first, but a sweet friend insisted that I’d like it and she was right – this book was 100% good stuff.
The Dead Key – I really loved this one, but it’s a crime drama so it was already at an advantage. An easy read with more than a few suspenseful moments.

That was pretty much everything on my last reading list! I had already read and enjoyed Allegiant, but I decided to wait to re-read it just before the movie comes out next year. And I hadn’t realized I’d put two of Liane Moriarty’s books on my last book list, so I decided to move What Alice Forgot to my new list instead. So even though I ended up cutting two books from the list, I somehow managed to sneak in two others I hadn’t planned on at all. :)

And here’s my new list:Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.07.17 AM

  • The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman
  • The Good Girl – Mary Kubica
  • What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty
  • What She Left Behind – Ellen Marie Wiseman
  • The Vacationers – Emma Straub
  • The Melody Lingers On – Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst
  • The Collector – John Fowles
  • Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe

I’m looking forward to every one of these books, can’t wait to get started!

Happy reading, everyone! :)

Summer Headaches and Jiggle-Free Runs

Betcha can guess which one I prefer.

Let me define the Jiggle-Free Run (JFR), for those of you who aren’t runners. The JFR is that euphoric moment when at some point during one of your runs you realize that NOTHING IS JIGGLING.


I always thought it was just a myth, right up there with the Loch Ness monster and those free Disney cruise tickets you see on Facebook. But I can happily say with confidence that it’s not just a myth – I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this phenomenon at least two times in the past 3 years I’ve been running. It looks something like this: one minute you’re trotting along, wearing the same clothes you always wear, along the same route you always take, keeping the same pace you always keep. And then… you suddenly realize your tushie isn’t bouncing up and down anymore. Your thighs aren’t rippling with waves of kinetic energy. Your arms aren’t flapping in the breeze. And just like that, you realize that you are, in fact, jiggle-free. Now, it doesn’t always last – like I said, over the past three years of running I can only remember this exact incident happening to me on two occasions. Just two. For some insanely unfair reason a Jiggle-Free Run on a Monday does not guarantee a Jiggle-Free Run on a Tuesday. :'(

Here’s where those evil summer headaches come into play.

You want a JFR? Then you gotta keep running. No excuses. That means even if it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk outside, you’ve gotta get out there. But running in the summer heat means you’re almost sure to get summer headaches. So achieving the elusive JFR means you’re just going to have to suffer with those horrid summer headaches. You just can’t have one without the other.

Or can you?

Not to brag, I think I may have cracked the code for avoiding the dreaded summer headache.

Now, before you give me my Nobel Peace Prize or whatever honorable award you feel should be bestowed upon me for my discovery, let me be straight with you. First of all, these are pretty no-brainer tips that I’m pretty sure I’ve chosen to ignore for the past few years. Second, they are working really well for me, but there’s no guarantee that they will work for you. Sorry. But hopefully seeing that these tips worked for me will motivate you to try them or find your own secret weapon and get you closer to a JFR of your own. :)

  1. GO EARLY. I know some people run later in the day or early evening, but that just doesn’t work for me. And if you think about it, running late in the day means you’re running in an environment that’s been heating up all day long. The pavement, the air – it’s all been cooking as the day has progressed. I’ve found that going early in the morning means that everything is cooler. Even if that means it’s only 95 degrees out at 7am instead of 100 degrees at 7:30am. :D
  2. DRINK WATER. So basic, right? But seriously, a dehydrated body is a body that can’t function at optimal levels.
  3. TURN IT DOWN. If you run with earbuds in, check your volume level. It’s super easy to turn it up to overcome the noise of traffic, barking dogs, or whatever, but make sure you turn it back down! I’m completely convinced that a lot of my headaches have been the result of too-loud music pounding directly into my brain.

I’ve been following these 3 tips faithfully, and despite my previous complaining about summer running, this summer I have managed to get out for a 2-4 mile run at least 4 days a week – headache free!

Now, if only I could do something about the swoob*… :D


*swoob = boob sweat ;)

Speak to Me

There are a LOT of quotes out there. Happy quotes. Inspiring quotes. Snarky quotes. Encouraging quotes. I’m-frustrated-so-take-THAT quotes. These catchy phrases can be a great way to summarize how you feel about anything, and because we can all relate to so many of them they spread like wildfire. I have a few friends that post quotes so aligned with their mood that you can tell what kind of day they’ve had without ever asking them.

To be honest, half the time I don’t even really read quotes. But every once in a while I run across one that speaks to me. And almost every time a quote touches me, I’m able to see it as a reminder of how much God loves me and how much I need to lean on Him to get through life.

For example, here is my favorite quote of all time:Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 10.12.33 PM

I’ve loved this quote for as long as I can remember. It makes me take pride in who God has created me to be, and as a result I want to give my best in whatever I’m doing. This quote reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that I need to take pride in who He has created me to be and reflect my best for Him.

Usually when a quote sticks with me it’s because it draws attention to an area of my life that I’m struggling with and leaves me with a nugget of quirky wisdom:

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I definitely struggle with expectations I put on myself. Is my house clean enough? Are my children behaving enough? Do I look good enough? But exactly when – and why – did I decide what my life is supposed to look like in the first place? When I set these expectations of “supposed to,” the only one ruining my happiness is ME. I love how this quote puts it in perspective – my life is already awesome, as long as I learn to love it for exactly what it is! <3

Once in a while a few simple words reveal things about myself that I was never even aware of:

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This quote is 100% me. I’m constantly getting disappointed when I don’t feel the same level of commitment that I give being returned, and I never realized why it bothered me so much until I read this. It makes me remember Psalm 46:1: that God is my refuge and strength. Not people. I can’t let myself get depressed or frustrated when others aren’t being exactly what I need them to be, because I know He promises to never fail me.

Quotes also have a way of reaffirming something I’ve already been learning somewhere else in life:



Last year our church held a women’s Bible study by Kay Warren called Choose Joy. It was during a time when for some crazy reason I was insisting on being miserable instead of choosing to be happy. These quotes popped up on my Instagram feed in one day from two different people and instantly reminded me the importance of the choices we make. along with this one, which not only helps me to evaluate the current choices I’ve been making but also helps me realize that if I want something to have greater importance in my life, I need to find a way to make it happen.Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 9.55.28 PMI keep all the images of these quotes in a folder on my computer, and occasionally I’ll take a look at them and remind myself to focus on what’s important: my faith, my family, my friends, and myself. These quotes, along with the Biblical truths that back them up, help pull me out of whatever funk I’m in at the moment.

And this one helps too, of course. Words to live by. ;)


Smores Pops

Smores Cake pops and Oreo pops are fun to make, and even more fun to eat. But if you’re looking for an easier and quicker treat, I highly suggest you try these super yummy Smores pops! I made them a couple of summers ago and forgot all about them until my sweet friend Tina mentioned them a few days ago. Since the girls and I had planned a lazy day at home they were the perfect activity! Seriously, they are the easiest things ever, so they totally qualified as a lazy day activity. :) Here’s what you’ll need:


  • lollipop sticks
  • graham crackers
  • jumbo marshmallows
  • milk chocolate chips

Are you ready to be prepared to be blown away by the simplicity?

  1. Crush the graham crackers. You’ll only need about 2-3 cracker sheets, I always err on the side of too many in case the chocolate goops them up in the coating process.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips. I put about half the bag in a glass container in the microwave and melt on high for 30 seconds. Then I take them out, stir well, and return to the microwave on high for another 30 seconds. IMG_9643
  3. Place a marshmallow on the end of each lollipop stick.
  4. Dip the marshmallow halfway into the melted chocolate. I twist mine as I pull it out so that the marshmallow doesn’t slide off the stick. IMG_9645
  5. Gently roll the chocolate-dipped marshmallow in the crushed graham crackers, then tap the top of the marshmallow into the crackers so that all the chocolate is covered in graham cracker.IMG_9649
  6. Place the finished pops in a glass so that they won’t stick to each other, then place in the fridge (standing up) for 10-15 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.

That’s it! Super easy, right? Emily and I made about 20 of them in less than 10 minutes, which means they are also a fabulous treat if you’ve promised to bring dessert somewhere and forgot and don’t have a whole lot of time to bake cookies or an upside-down pineapple cake or monkeybread. Not that I’ve ever been in that situation or anything…. ;) IMG_9651 So there you go! A fast, fun, easy, and yummy treat that makes you feel like you’re camping – even if your hubby would never agree to sleep on the ground in a tent. :D Enjoy! :D