Oh, The Places I Would Go!

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.

O - OH, THE PLACES I WOULD GO!

Where would I travel if money were no object and I had all the time in the world?

Tuscany
Ever since I saw the movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun" I've wanted to go to Tuscany...
and buy an old house that needs fixing up.


Ireland
P.S. I Love You is one of my favorite movies...and made me want to see Ireland. So pretty!


Mt. Everest
I don't just want to visit, I want to climb it. I've had a crazy fascination with Mt. Everest for a couple of years. I've read several books written by people who have climbed it. Weird, I know.


Appalachian Trail
 I would hike the whole Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Main...or Main to Georgia


Hawaii
Clear blue water, beach, sun...


Prince Edward Island
Only because the setting of "Anne of Green Gables" was set there


New York City
I am from New York State, but I have NEVER been to New York City


Alaska
I always see gorgeous pictures and always wish I could see it in person


So, where would you go if time and money were no object?


Don't forget about the Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!

Nothing Better

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.

N - NOTHING BETTER

There is nothing better than...

Feeling the sand between my toes


Spending time with family




Hiking a good trail


Spending the day with my two favorite boys


Making a goal and actually accomplishing it


Going through old pictures that bring back memories




Getting to witness God's handiwork


Yep, nothing better...

Moments

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter. 



M - MOMENTS

What happened at the Boston Marathon today is so sad. Why a person (or people) would have such disregard for human life is beyond me. 



Given that I run, I also think of all the runners who have trained so hard for this marathon. The day that they should be celebrating an accomplishment is now marred with devastation and sadness. I think about the families who still might be waiting to hear that their loved ones are okay. 

I'll be running my first half marathon in two weeks. I think of my loved ones who'll be waiting for me at the finish line and it breaks my heart to think of the family and friends who were waiting for their runners today.

And just like so many others, I think of how precious life is. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. This is just another reminder for us to treasure every moment. 

Every kiss

Every hug

Every moment that we have with the people we love is a gift. 

Especially when we see horrible tragedies such as the one today.



A 'Runner's United To Remember' Facebook event has begun for those interested.



This is a virtual event where anyone can run or walk any distance anywhere anytime in honor of the victims and to show unity in running community.

Letting Go

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter. 
I'm almost caught up!

L - LETTING GO

It has taken me 32 years to to learn this concept and I still don't have it down pat yet.

I have been an insecure person for the majority of my life...insecure with myself and my relationships with others. I constantly worried what other people thought of me and often got upset over things that really didn't matter. 

So, now I'm learning to practice the concept of "letting go." I still haven't mastered the concept and probably never will completely. I struggle with insecurity one way or another every single day. In the midst of my insecurities, I also want to have total control of every situation. If I'm in total control then things can go the way I think they should go. No failure, no heartbreak and no unwelcome surprises.



That's not the way life works though. Even if I feel that I'm in control, life is still going to happen. I will still get hurt or disappointed. I will still sometimes fail, especially when I'm trying to control the situation.

For me, letting go just means realizing I can't control what's happening around me but I can control how I respond and how I react. 



Kick-Starting Healthy Eating...Again

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter. 
This is such a lie because it's Sunday and I'm having to post twice to catch up.

K - KICK-STARTING HEALTHY EATING...AGAIN

I'm behind! It is seriously hard to post every day. But, I have enjoyed this challenge. This is the most consistent I've been at writing on my blog. Woo hoo!

I am in desperate need of taking control of my eating habits. Things aren't good at all. I crave sugar all the time...and I give in to the cravings. I am back to drinking 20 ounce Mountain Dews daily. So not good.

Not too long ago, I had said that my focus would totally be on my eating once the half marathon is done in two weeks (two weeks...yikes!!). But, my eating is starting to affect my moods, my attitude and my exercising. 

I decided to make some changes this weekend. At first I had decided to do a 10 day detox, but as I was researching the foods I would be able to eat I decided not to do a detox. Being a single mom means I am constantly on a tight budget and a tight schedule. I couldn't rationalize buying food for a totally separate meal or even having to prepare two of every meal every day.

So, I planned my menu for the week and went grocery shopping. My eating this week consists of these things:

Whole grain bread
Peanut butter
Raw almonds
Apples
Bananas
Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Raw carrots
Cucumbers
Hummus
Chickpeas
Corn
Chicken

I have not had caffeine in two days (bring on the headaches). 

The last time I felt this way was when my weight loss journey began. I'm just done being tired and eating junk. D. O. N . E.

I'm thinking of slowly gravitating towards clean eating. I think if I take it nice and slow my son won't even notice what he's eating. 

So, if you have any healthy recipes out there, please share!

I shared this pic on Facebook and Instagram the other day. These pictures are really what keep me motivated.




I also got my first sunburn yesterday while doing my long run. First sunburn of the year...and surely not the last.


Keep Calm and Jog (Or Run) On

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.

J - KEEP CALM AND JOG (OR RUN) ON

Jogging or running (in my opinion, both are really the same thing) is one of those physical activities that I NEVER thought I would be doing.

Two years ago, I remember printing out the C25K schedule and making a decision to start running...or jogging. I remember getting up that first day and putting on my workout clothes, knowing that this was going to be easy peasy because I had been spinning for a year. If I could spin two days a week for an hour at a time then I could run for sixty seconds at a time. Right?

Oh my goodness, I remember those first 60 seconds of jogging. I thought my lungs were going to explode and my calves were never going to be the same again. After the second week of working the program, I had to take a long break from running because of shin splints. I was discouraged and very hard on myself. Here I thought I had come so far, but at that moment I decided there was no way I could be a runner. I just couldn't do it.

Fast forward a year. I started doing boot camp which is taught by one of my friends. There is quite a bit of running in boot camp, which really intimidated me. I had to walk a lot of the time. It had been a year since I had even tried to run, so everything I learned had to be relearned. During that time though, I developed a different perspective of running. I decided I wanted to be a runner and I would be a runner. Period.

My friend who taught bootcamp was training to do a half marathon. The run was about 4 or 5 months away. Plenty of time to train. Note: I had never done a race EVER. I decided to run the half too. I printed out a half marathon training schedule and planned out my runs.

It didn't take long into my training for the negative thoughts to begin. I started telling myself there was no way I could run 13.1 miles. I was hard on myself every time I had to stop and walk.  I ended up talking myself out of doing the run. Once again I had quit something.

However, things turned around at the end of last year. In December,  I entered a drawing for a free entry into a local 5K run; and it so happened that my name was drawn. So, on December 5, 2012 my son and I ran our first 5K race. Given that I didn't do a whole lot of training before, it went well. I finished in about 37 minutes. 



I can't even describe the feeling of finishing that run and realizing I had just accomplished a big goal. Thus began a new love for running. 

Last month I ran a 15K, and at the end of this month I will run my first half.



I am by no means a professional when it comes to running, but here are some things I think newbies to running...or jogging need to know:

1) Get fitted for running shoes. They can be pricey but they are worth every penny. Taking care of your feet is important given that you need your feet to run.

2) Learning to breathe correctly will probably be one of the hardest parts of running. I have read so many different resources and asked a lot of other runners about breathing. I have come to the conclusion that a person needs to learn what works for him/her. My friend says she breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth. I can't do that. I have found that chewing gum helps with my breathing. It will take time to find what works best for you. Don't get discouraged.

3) Walking is OK. You are still a runner even if you have to stop and walk every now and then.

4) Cross training is a must. You will become a better runner and your running form will improve when you cross train, especially when you work at strengthening your core.

5) Don't do too much too fast. Work your way up. 

6) Find good, motivating music. It's almost as important as good shoes.

7) Learn to enjoy your running time. It's just you and your body. It's amazing how far you can push your body when you really believe you can accomplish your goal.

8) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure you are properly hydrated before and after your runs. And, make sure you are stretching...especially after your runs. I've learned the importance of these the hard way.





**Don't forget about the Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!**

iPhone Love

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.

I - iPhone Love

I LOVE my iPhone. I really don't know how I functioned before I had one.

Apps? The more the better. 

Here are some of my favorite:
However, I'm hard on phones...which doesn't bode well for my wallet...

I am not good with electronics AT ALL. Apparently I'm rough on things I love (hmmm, that might be a very true statement).

About a month or so after getting my first iPhone, I dropped it in the post office parking lot and shattered the back. My friends had told me on several occasions to get a case. Well, after shattering my phone I decided it was time to get a case.

Here are some interesting facts about iPhone cases from Shutterfly:
Shutterfly iPhone Cases Infographic
This infographic is provided to you by Shutterfly, a leader provider of photo books, custom iPhone cases & more!

First, my case is 100% to protect my phone from me. Beauty has nothing to do with it.

Second, I'm proud to say my phone has never fallen in the toilet.

Third, who wants to test out their cover by driving over it with a car??

Wanna see a $100,00 iPhone case?


Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

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There is no doubt that Isabelle Thornton of Le Chateau des Fleurs is talented.  This French-girl-gone-Utah has a wildly popular blog full of interesting DIY posts, photography, giveaways, and great reviews.  Aside from being an awesome blogger, she also creates fun apps for phones.  Previously her "Make Me Skinny" or Bon Bon app has kept many entertained as they edited and adjusted photos on their iPhones, and now I'm excited to announce she's released an entirely new app!  This one is different, and for Android!


Let's face it, sometimes you spend more time with your smart phone than you do with your spouse, friends, coworkers, and family... You sleep with it, eat with it, and admit it-you take it to the bathroom with you!  With Smartphone DNA you are creating a new kind of experience with your Smartphone.

What is Smartphone DNA?  
Smartphone DNA is an app dedicated to Twitter users, and it allows you to collect your Twitter DNA via your Android phone, and then compare it against other twitter users to see how much you match!  This is a great way to locate new Twitter friends that have things in common with you! 

How it works:
  1. Smartphone DNA shows you a list of apps you currently have installed.
  2. You select the apps you want to share as part of your DNA
  3. Smartphone DNA shows you how closely you match the DNA of other users.


Smartphone DNA is 100% secure and controlled by you.

Win a Kindle Fire HD
To celebrate the release of Smartphone DNA, Isabelle is offering one lucky newsletter subscriber  a brand new Kindle Fire HD!  Can you say wow?  This is the reader of all readers-with a 7" full color HD display, exclusive Dolby audio, and ultra-fast WiFi it's top of the line.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to have one for yourself!  Follow the break to enter the giveaway:

My (naturally curly, thick) hair

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For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.

H - My (naturally curly, thick) hair

I was cursed blessed with naturally curly hair. Not just curly, but THICK and curly. 

My hair hasn't been real curly my whole life. It was more wavy than curly when I was younger. But one day while my parents were not supervising me (as they obviously should have been) I found a pair of scissors and CUT my hair. 

Not just a little cut. It was bad. 

So bad that my mom drove me to my grandma's house, pushed me through the door and said to my grandma, "do something with this." All while my older cousins laughed hysterically. 

Ever since that episode (which I totally blame on my parent's lack of supervision) my hair has been really curly. I have spent most of my life fighting the curl. I straightened my hair with a flat iron and a clothes iron (yes, I did that). I have also spent tons of money trying to tame the mess. 

I stopped fighting the curl about two years ago. I came across several videos from a girl who practices the 'Curly Girl Method.' I started following her method and began to see a big difference in my big ole' frizzy fro. 

Some of the ideas from this method will sound crazy, but I use them and I know they work. Here are the steps I follow:

1) Stop using shampoo OR use a shampoo that contains mild cleansers. Most shampoos contain sulfates that are not good for curly hair. 

2) Wash your scalp with conditioner. Massage your scalp with your fingertips. This will loosen any dirt and any other particles. Make sure to thoroughly rinse your hair after.

3) After you rinse your hair take the conditioner and apply it to the rest of your hair. This is actually when I comb my hair...the ONLY time I comb my hair. After combing through your hair, rinse the conditioner out. I will sometimes rinse my hair with cold water. Rinsing with cold water helps with the frizz. 

4) After your hair is rinsed DO NOT wrap a towel around your head. The fibers in a normal towel will frizz your hair. I use a t-shirt to wrap around my head. You can also use a micro-fiber towel.

5) Once I'm done washing my hair these are the products I apply:




After you apply your hair products, put the t-shirt back around your  head to absorb the excess water. 

6) If you blow dry your hair, make sure to use a diffuser. Most of the time I let my hair air dry. 

It took a while for my hair to adjust, but I'm much more happy with the curl. I also found a GREAT hair stylist...which is especially important for naturally curly girls.

So if you have thick, naturally curly hair I promise there is hope.