Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Little Reason My Family Makes My Whole Life Better PLUS How Criticism Can Help

I have run all my life. On summer vacations in Hyannis I would join my dad on his run to the Kennedy Memorial and back. In high school I signed up for track because my friends convinced me the coach was hot. And in college, I'd jog around the track before cheer practice with my roommate. After college I continued to work out regularly. I would pack a bag and hit the gym before work most mornings. It was a pain to wake up early and I hated getting ready in the locker room, but I loved how much more energy I had throughout the day. Running has always been a part of my life. But I'd never (ever) call myself a runner.

So I was not prepared for a sudden burst of motivation.

A few weeks ago I stepped off the treadmill and walked over to where Keith was stretching. "I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?"

"Ummm. Not really," he replied.

Shocked that my husband wasn't giving me the pat on the back that I thought I deserved, I mumbled that I had done some other stuff on all those other machines earlier and so for that reason 12 minutes was probably an ok time and what does he know anyway.

  Keith: A run motivator and fear or heights supporter.

A day or so later my brother called from his base in Afghanistan while we were eating breakfast. "Phil, I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?" Somehow, I expected a different response. Instead a cackle of laughter came through on the other end of the phone. He was less kind when he told me that my time was not very good. And to put things in perspective, he added, he can run two miles in that time. 

Thanks for the perspective, Phil.

Now that both my husband and my brother doubted my running abilities, I had to prove I could do better. Their criticism made me realize that I could do better. The next day I went to the gym—not to burn calories or get in shape—to shave time off my mile and get back into the good athletic graces of my loved ones. I cranked up the speed and when I finished under ten minutes, I was happily pleased with myself. 

9:54 won't be breaking any records, but I was happy about it.

But I couldn't stop there. The next day I wanted to run faster. And the day after that I wanted to run  further, too. So I keep lacing up my sneakers and running. I run to top my previous time. I run to build up endurance so I can run farther. And I run because I like the way I feel when I'm done.

I've never been this motivated to run before. I've never even liked to run—it was just something I did because staying fit is important to me. But now I have two of the best cheerleaders on my side. Sure, they're not shouting through megaphones as I zoom (cruise?) past them on the road. (But I know they would if I asked them to!) My husband and my brother have equally motivated me to push myself a little further each day. I bet they didn't even know they were doing that for me when they told me my mile time sucked! 

Thanks Keith and Phil! 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Favorite Cocktail Party

Saturday was my first St. Patrick's Day without an Irish last name. (Koru Kate, I know you feel me on this.) Since I didn't the right name to display my heritage, I had to wear the form of green pants. Green pants I would have worn regardless of my name, but wear them I did.
Keith and I were invited to a cocktail party that night. Our assignment: mix up a favorite cocktail to be tasted and voted on by all guests. I was so up for the challenge. Just a week earlier I hit up Pinterest looking for a creative drink to make with some quickly ripening peaches in my fridge. I found an easy and refreshing version of a Peach Collins that Keith loved, so we entered that.
Other entries included delicious versions of strawberry mojitos, lychee martinis (tinted green for St. Patty's Day), espresso martinis and a cosmopolitan shot. Each drink was delicious, and it was so hard to pick just one winner. To be a fair judge I had to try more than just one sip of each.
It was such a fun evening. Having each guest make a cocktail was a perfect way to get everyone involved. Warning: the bigger the party, the more dangerous this gets. Mini versions of your favorite drinks for a tasting are my recommendation for lightweights and large crowds. You'll thank me in the morning!

A huge thanks go out to Will and Thanh, our hosts for the evening. Here's Thanh shaking up her Lychee martinis.

Not a Nerd. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hunger Games Party Inspiration

Since everyone and their mother (Yes, moms are included in this trend) is obsessed with The Hunger Games, I thought I'd look into some fun ways to bring the book to life through a party. I was just invited to a Hunger Games book club meeting and, since I don't do anything small, I have been looking into some recipes and treats inspired by my favorite citizens of Panem. With the movie premier a little over a week away, I thought this was the perfect time to start planning a Hunger Games party.

Cupcakes on Fire from Fictional Food were the first thing that came up when I googled "Hunger Games inspired recipes." These carefully crafted cakes are setting the bar pretty high. I will in no way try to attempt making fondant Mockingjay pins. But if you can, or know someone who can, call me.  There are some easy directions on making the actual cake look like it is on fire that I think we can all agree is worth a shot at attempting.

Cupcakes on Fire {via}

Poisonous Nightlock Berries were the start the revolution against the Captiol and got Katniss into a bit of hot water at the start of the second book. I think they deserve a special shout out in the form of a berry cocktail. Nightlock Berries are fictional (I googled that, too,) so you can make any type of berry cocktail and get away with it. I always pictured those berries were red and this Berry Little Cocktail from Martha Stewart is a funny little way for guests to honor Katniss and Peeta's attempted double suicide. Cheers!

Martha Stewart's Berry Little Cocktail {via} 

 Last but not least, it ain't a Hunger Games party without bread! Peeta and Katniss had their first connection over two loaves of burnt bread and bread continues to play a major role in the story as the pair compete in the games. Each District is known for a different type of roll, like the crescent rolls sprinkled with seeds that Katniss is gifted from District 11 after Rue dies. And did you know that Pamen is Latin for bread? The name is derived from the Latin phrase panem et circenses which describes entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters. AKA the Hunger Games.  

If you've got enough time to make your own bread, this version of burnt raisin nut bread looks perfect. But you can also buy a nice loaf at your local bakery. Nothing wrong with that. 

 Burnt Nut and Rasin Bread {via}

I am really looking forward to this Hunger Games party and can't wait to see the movie! I might even skip my usual Wild Cherry Pepsi and try to sneak a Nightlock Berry cocktails into the show. 

Have you read The Hunger Games? What are your thoughts? And what is my party menu missing?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Night: The Bachelor Finale

 Is Ben your type? {via}

I am sad to report that I have been anxiously awaiting today's arrival. It's Monday and that means tonight is The Most Dramatic Bachelor Finale Ever.

I've seen all the tabloids and I have a pretty good idea which lady will get the final rose. I don't know how much more drama the producers can create. None the less, I am excited for tonight's episode.
I don't watch much junk TV, so I allow myself to invest in this long-running dating game show.
You want to know why I watch it?

I think it is exciting to watch people go on first dates. There are so many dates on this show and most of them gives me the same butterflies I had on my first date with Keith. (Some of the dates also make me cringe!) I still get butterflies when I look at Keith, but not the same kind that fluttered in my stomach when I wondered if he liked me, too.

So I watch. And sometimes Keith does, too. He was rooting for Emily, the pretty rapper.

Do you watch? What are your thoughts on tonight's episode? 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Night Date Night!

 You know you have the best husband when he texts you at lunch to let you know he reserved *Breaking Dawn at the Red Box!

What are your plans for this lovely weekend? Before we settle in for the long anticipated (at least by me) viewing of Twilight, Keith and I are going out for Indian food. I really like my outfit today and I want to take it for a spin around town before changing into sweats and snuggling on the couch.

Enjoy the sun.


*UPDATE: Yikes! This movie was bad. We did not make it through the honeymoon. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shabby Apple Giveaway at Creative Montage

I love a good dress. I really can not stop talking about dresses. There is just such a good feeling you get from wearing a new dress that you don't get when you slip it on the second or third time. It's a small joy, and sadly it is becoming a rather expensive joy. That's why I'm so psyched that Creative Montage is running a giveaway for this darling Lighthouse dress from Shabby Apple. New dress joy feels so much better when it is won!

Head on over to Creative Montage to enter. PLUS! (Yes, there's a plus.) Shabby Apple is offering Creative Montage readers 10% off their next purchase. Click here to receive your shopping code! 

Fortnight Lingerie

This pretty little bra and panty set just made my morning. Named after one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, how can I do anything but adore this style from Fortnight Lingerie.
I want. I want. I want.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wear It Again Bridesmaid Dress

Sometimes when I get a little bored I like to shop my own closet. I like to pour myself a glass of wine and pick through my clothes to make some outfits for work, events or just a night out on the town. I love clothes—this is fun for me. I got going last night and as I was tossing out some old, old dresses, I came across this J. Crew bridesmaid dress from my friend Maura's wedding.

I like this dress. And aside from the fact that it is listed on J. Crew's website under the Weddings and Parties category, it doesn't really look like a bridesmaid dress. Now, I can't imagine wearing this to another wedding. It's just my luck that the bride will have picked out the exact same dress for her maids. That would happen to me. But I thought this dress was really worth saving, so I dug into my closet for some style accessories to help me change the look.  Here's what I came up with:

I pulled this cheery yellow J. Crew cardigan on over the dress and added a brown leather belt. I think it helps keep things casual. I don't own these darling Seville Wedge Espadrills  so I slipped on a pair of nude ballet flats instead. Oh and the wine. I always accessorize with pinot noir. And there you have it: A bridesmaid dress has been reborn! 

What do you think of my second time around bridesmaid dress? Have you ever given one of your bridesmaid dresses another day in the sun?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Proper Bra Storage Tips

I have a lot of bras. Truthfully, I wear two or three of them all the time—a seamless nude bra and a padded black push-up are my everyday staples. But I can never say no to a pretty bra. Therefore, I have lots of pretty bras all crumpled a drawer. Additionally, last summer I went through a bright bra phase and now I have lots of bright bras crumpled in the drawer, too. Typing that made me cringe a little bit. My bras—pretty, bright or basic—should not be crumpled anywhere!

One of my favorite lingerie retailers, Bella Bella Boutique came to the rescue with some bra storage tips on Facebook. They say that dividing your bras and panties and stacking your bras, like so, will help them keep their shape.

I used to fold my bras and stuff them into a drawer divider, but I like this stacking method much better. And see that pretty eyelash lace in the front? It used to get all bent out of shape. Lying it flat keeps the lace in place and looking pretty. And when I am spending $50 -$90 on a good bra, you can bet I want to keep it in good shape.

During this cleaning adventure I also discovered that Pepper is a big fan of lingerie. I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised at all. Luckily, I had a cat nip mouse on hand to distract her and was able to save that pretty bra from the claws of death.

So tell me, how do you store your bras? Got an intimate apparel storage advice? 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Wardrobe Lusting!! Plus My Shopping Plan

My mom mailed me the spring Lilly Pultizer catalog. I have no idea why my mom receives this catalog, (because she's awesome,) but now I'm thinking, "Why am I not getting it?" One look at these preppy dames partying it up in pretty prints and I was done. Now I need a vacation and a new dress. (Another new dress, my J. Crew order is arriving today.)

I want to be a smart shopper this spring, so I am going to stick to buying clothes in the same style and color family. I'm trying to buy things that will work well together and with the items in my existing wardrobe, rather than impulse buy the newest trends just because they jump off the rack at me. I started a Pinterest board a week ago with all my favorite picks—a chambray shirt that will pair with colored pants (I've got like 10 pairs, no lie) and classic skirts, a pair of J. Crew chino shorts and a cute short sleeve cardigan (because air conditioners are lurking everywhere). I also pinned some pretty dresses that would be perfect for weddings and other fun summer affairs and lots of yellow. Yellow is going to be my spring color. So now when I shop, I am looking for items similar to the ones I've pinned and I think that should keep me in good shopping shape. We'll see if this works!!! (I do have a few impulse pins. I don't really NEED three Lilly Pulitzer dresses.)

I know this winter has been kind to us, but now that I've got this pin board up and running I am itching to ditch my winter coat. I love my coat A LOT and it makes me feel so put together when I wear it, but lately I've been dreading the moment I have to slip it on.

I want my jean jacket.
I want my J. Crew chino shorts.
I want the Eryn dress from Lilly Pulitzer.

And I want to wear all of these things to a beach somewhere in not too distant future.

That is all. Thank you.