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Have I mentioned that I have the cutest siblings ever??? In case I haven't, I'm just going to show you how stinking cute they are!!

Really, I have one biological sibling.  That would be Hermano.  He was my 4th birthday present (pretty cool, huh?) and I love him like crazy.  He was my date to my friend's wedding a couple weeks ago and it was a blast to have him there :) 
My other sibling is my "little sister" Caitlin. We've pretty much been siblings since she was born but it took a while for her to get to Tejas and join me :) Her 21st birthday is in a few days and she went home to Arizona so I sent part of her bday gift to her house there.  Last night, she got it in the mail and texted me.  Cutest pics ever (like every other pics she sends me)
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Before opening the package...
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Overly excited about the gifts I sent her...
All of this is just to say that I absolutely adore my siblings. Have a terrific Tuesday. Then end ;)
 
 
This weekend, Max and I took my mother-in-law on a 4 mile walk.  I'm trying to encourage her to start working out and we both had the itch to go for a walk Sunday morning. It was great to get out... not so great to get out around noon in the middle of a Texas summer...

After 3.5 miles, poor Max decided his fur coat wasn't doing it for him any longer.  He found a shady spot in the grass and was out for the count.  Luckily, his grandma ran home to get the car and we shuttled him home.  He tried soooo hard to make it but he just. couldn't. do. it. My poor little boy! Anyway, I took advantage of the time with him and we took some pics together :) (He doesn't look like he's about to pass out, does he? Such a good model!)

This weekend's events reminded me of how important it is to take measures to stay cool during your summer workouts (especially in temps teetering on triple digits!!).  Here's a list of 8 Ways to Stay Cooler During Summer Runs that I found in my Runner's World magazine.  It's just a few but every little bit helps!! (I also copied the info from the RW page so there are some helpful links you can check out).  And, just remember, it's more important to stay safe than it is to finish your run.  If it's between you finishing the run and passing out, it's a heck of a lot easier to make it home when you're conscious...

1. Run when the conditions are coolest. Take advantage of long summer days to run when the mercury is lowest, ideally in the early morning or evening. (Getting it done in the a.m. can boost your mood for the day, too!) If you've got a key workout on the schedule, consider taking it indoors so you can push harder without having to fight the heat. 

2. Hydrate properly before, during and after your run. Warmer temps mean upping your fluid intake. Before your run, try to drink at least eight ounces of water or sports drink every hour so your perspiration systems are in tip-top shape. Consider bringing fluids with you on the run in a water belt or pouch, or map out a run that hops from water fountain to water fountain. (Gas stations, schools and city parks are often good options.) If you don't like to carry fluids, stash bottles along your route for longer runs. Replenish post-run with an electrolyte-filled sports drink. Check out this tag page for more tips

3. Run near water. Rivers, lakes, and oceans usually create slightly cooler, breezier conditions. (And afterward you can reward yourself with a postrun dip!) 

...4. And on grass in the shade. Asphalt retains heat and radiates it back upwards. If possible, find a park or trail with tree cover. 

5. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Reflect the sun's rays away from you (rather than absorbing them with dark gear), and avoid tight attire that won't allow a breeze to get through. Steer clear of sweat-soaking cotton; instead, wearing moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics. For some runner-tested options, check out this list

6. Grab the sunscreen. Not only will you avoid harmful ultraviolet rays, but a layer of the stuff will keep your skin and body temperature lower. Don't forget to apply on overcast days as well. Use SPF 30 or higher.

7. Pick the right headgear. You lose much of your body heat through your head, which is a good thing during the summer. Don't cap it off with a snug, thick fabric hat. Instead, opt for a visor or roomier lid with breathable mesh. 

8. Try precooling. Lowering your body temperature in the hour before you run in the heat slows the rate at which your core temperature rises once you're out the door. That translates into being able to run farther or faster than would otherwise be possible in the heat. One review of research found that precooling improved hot-weather performance by 3%. In addition to wearing a commercially available "ice vest," you can sip cool beverages and sit in an air-conditioned room.

 
 
I don't know about you, but this week seemed to take Foooooor-evvvvv-eeerrrrr.  It could be because I went to sleep late every single night for one reason or another - oops!!

ANYWAY, I wanted to wish you all a happy Friday! Hopefully you have something exciting planned for the weekend! I'm hoping to catch up on some of the sleep I missed this week - wish me luck!

Saw this list of 20 Things Texans Like to Talk About and thought I'd share it.  If you're from Texas you will totally get it and if you're not, you've probably met a Texan and this may help you make a little more sense out of what they are talking about ;)

 
 
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So I normally am not a big TV fan. When Hubs is out of town, I will go an entire weekend without even touching the remote.  I always feel like I should be doing something else like reading or working out or pretty much anything other than watching TV. I do, however, keep up with some shows that I watch with the hubby and enjoy them but I could live without them.... except Suits.

I LOVE the show Suits. I mean, I've been counting down the days till the new season starts (tonight!!) and all day, I've been giddy about the idea of watching it tonight.  Yesterday, I received my newest Birchbox and was stoked to see that they mentioned Suits as their inspiration for this month. I mean, really, it's like they were in my head!

Since I couldn't  hope to describe the series in such enticing yet concise language, I've included the description that USA uses to explain the show:
Even the best lawyer in New York City can use some help.

While running from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant young college-dropout, slips into a job interview with one of New York City's best legal closers, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Tired of cookie-cutter law school grads, Harvey takes a gamble by hiring Mike on the spot after he recognizes his raw talent and photographic memory. 

Mike and Harvey are a winning team. Even though Mike is a genius, he still has a lot to learn about law. And while Harvey may seem like an emotionless, cold-blooded shark, Mike's sympathy and concern for their cases and clients will help remind Harvey why he went into law in the first place. Mike's other allies in the office include the firm's best paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle) and Harvey's no-nonsense assistant Donna (Sarah Rafferty) to help him serve justice. 

Proving to be an irrepressible duo and invaluable to the practice, Mike and Harvey must keep their secret from everyone including managing partner Jessica (Gina Torres) and Harvey's arch nemesis Louis (Rick Hoffman), who seems intent on making Mike's life as difficult as possible.
If you haven't seen this gem of a show, I highly recommend you catch up, stat. Having gone to law school, I can relate to a lot of the expectations put on the characters and I feel like it has a fairly realistic portrayal of life in the legal/big firm world.  Of course, the characters are great (Donna is my favorite character but who doesn't love a smart, funny, fashionable red-head who is always going to tell it like it is).

This show provides the right amount of drama and character support to make a truly wonderful series. Check out the preview for tonight's show below and then go rent seasons 1 and 2 so you can truly get all that is going on!
 
 
Saturday evening, we cooked and had our next-door-neighbors over for dinner and games. (This pic is a week old but I didn't take one on Saturday night).  It was so much fun to hang out with them and when Karen won (that's right I announced it for the world), I think all of us ended up clapping in celebration!! 
I had Sunday lunch with this cutie this weekend.  Her dad is my dad's Godson and it had been 4 years since I saw Isabella.  Last time I saw her, she was half this size and hadn't lost ANY teeth yet (notice that little gap on the bottom of her smile? She lost that tooth while we were at lunch). I love seeing her family and it was great to see her again!
Thank you to my friend Kristen for letting me use her picture :) Sunday night was filled with amazing Texas thunderstorms. I didn't want to go to sleep because I just love the sound of rain falling. It was wonderful
This was the precursor to the full family-snuggle-during-a-thunderstorm time.  After this, we had all the animals on the couch snuggling with us while we turned off the TV and just listened to the thunder crash and the rain hit our roof. I didn't want it to end.

P.S. Look how cute my baby boy is all curled up with Daddy :)
I hope all of you had a lovely weekend! Can you believe the year is half over?? Where does the time go???
 
 
So I made this for lunch over the weekend and it was amazing. So amazing that I brought it for lunch today! Except today, I added a little bit of quinoa to the mix to change things up a bit :) It takes about 10 minutes to make and fills you up for hours! Plus, it's easy to change the seasonings to fit your mood.  I used the ingredients below but you can use whatever you feel like to flavor it!

Ingredients:
2 stalks of kale - leaves torn off into smaller pieces
A turkey burger
Avocado
Olive Oil (enough to saute your kale to the consistency that you like)
Spicy Italian seasoning salt (just a pinch)
Chile powder
Lime juice
Onion powder
garlic powder

Directions:
Saute the kale in olive oil and season, to taste, with the seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder and chile powder.  While the kale is softening, cover the turkey burger in lime juice and chile powder (I like a lot of flavoring so I added quite a bit...). Cook the turkey until it is cooked through and put it aside.  When your kale has sauteed to the consistency you like, cut up the turkey and mix it in with the salad. Dice pieces of avocado to add to the salad and voila! You have a delicious and healthy meal!

 
 
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So it's been, ohhh, three months since I last wrote here. That's only like a quarter of a year. Or a whole season.  Guess I just needed to take a little time for myself before re-enetering the blog world.

So much has happened over the last couple months that I don't even know where to begin. I thought about going through long, drawn-out updates to let you know exactly what the last 12 weeks were like but I realized that would probably put you to sleep and since it's still the beginning of the week, it would just be mean to put you through that.  Instead, here is a recap of lessons learned/realizations:

  • Collecting my Tiffany's necklace after the NWM in DC was great and so was seeing close friends; running through an injury which put me out for 3 months was not so great.
  • When I'm not updating this with healthy recipes and fitness tips, my cooking suffers and I embrace a lazy lifestyle a little too easily. Blogging apparently holds you accountable (or at least it holds ME accountable).
  • Weekends away in the wine country with girlfriends are fabulous; staying in spider-infested cabins in the woods - not so relaxing!
  • After three bad lodging situations in 6 weeks, I'm thinking it's about time to buy a camper. 
  • Very few things make me happier than getting books in the mail :) Fortunately, I've received quite a few recently.
  • You have to hug your pup every night because sometimes incredibly terrible things happen. So, go now, grab your puppy and snuggle with it as long as it will let you. **See note below.


Ok, so all those things sounded better in my head but, hey, at least it's a start! I'll try to get things back up and running over the next few days.  Before you leave, please check out my friend's sad story and sign this petition to support more responsible gun handling/decision making by off-duty officers.

**My dear friend Kim lost her family dog, Gunner, this weekend when he ran out of the yard to follow Kim's 12 year old step-son and 5 year old son after they hit a baseball over their fence.  When the boys were looking for their ball, Gunner saw a neighbor walking their dog and went up to say hello. The neighbor's wife tripped and said she was scared for her life, so her husband, an off-duty officer, immediately shot Gunner at point-blank just feet from the 12 and 5 year old boys.  The boys were devastated as they watched their 4-year old dog take its last few breaths. It's absolutely horrible that someone can be so quick to shoot an animal, ESPECIALLY right in front of children. The fact that he was an off-duty officer makes it even scarier.  He is someone we trust our safety with but it doesn't comfort me to know that he is someone who will pull and discharge a gun in a residential area with no hesitation and questionable threat. 

Check out Kim's family's story right here. It is one of several news reports from the Houston area.


 
 
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Hey guys! 

I know it's been forever... I've been traveling like crazy for work and I just haven't had the time/energy to write on here.  I read a good little article this morning to motivate myself for the upcoming long runs in my VERY near future and I thought I'd share it with you.

Runners World has a great assortment of articles from everyday runners and this particular one describes a man's first long run.  I really enjoyed reading it because I've been in that man's shoes. I have gone out and suffered through runs, gone on when I felt like it, and always had a distance that I'd think "some day". 

I have completed two half marathons (one in a decent/ok time and the other in a depressing time since I got very sick halfway through).  I have to say that I also didn't prepare well for either of them. Life somehow seems to get in the way.  I mean, I could run okay for the first half or so but after that, I would lose steam.  

This time around, I started out with super high hopes of following a strict training plan and then.... I ended up traveling EVERY SINGLE WEEK for the last 8 weeks. Next week will be my first week home without travel since the middle of February and the next week will be FULL of travel up until my race trip. 

Needless to say, my training has once again suffered greatly.  I was in decent shape in January but once the travel began (and the getting stuck in snow storms, etc.), it all went downhill. It's so hard to get back into the swing of things once you take off a few weeks! I have increased my speed, which is wonderful, but when it comes to the endurance, I'm still miserable.  

And, my former injuries are not helping the situation. Each time I hit around 3 miles, my IT band cramps up and I'm miserable. I've tried some different therapeutic options and I'm hoping I've found something to get me to the finish line at the end of the month.  

Basically, I'm saying that I'm not ready. At all.  Since my race is in 25 days, I guess it's time to REALLY buckle down which means that this weekend, I'll be tackling a 7-miler along with upping the number of short runs during the next couple weeks. Next weekend, I'll hit 9 (10 if I'm feeling really good), and hopefully my legs won't give out of me before the end! Haha. 

Sometimes it helps to read others' stories so I know I'm not the only one in the boat and the article today really helped motivate me to go out and there and just do it.  (That and the new shoes I should be getting tomorrow!).

 
 
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So I was pretty excited this weekend when I found the perfect couch for our living room! Like most (financially conscious) newlyweds, we inherited furniture or found something super cheap so we would at least have something to fill the space in our rooms.  

Slowly but surely, we have acquired some great new furniture.  My first major purchase after getting hitched was our bedroom set. I splurged on that and bought a beautiful, classic, and sturdy set.  We found a matching set for our dining room and then made do with the rest of the house.

As was pointed out to us on our anniversary trip, once we hit the two year mark, we are no longer considered a newlywed couple. Since our status is moving up, I thought it was time to upgrade our living room as well :)

I decided to check out craigslist as my hunt for a new couch set commenced.  Boy did I luck out!! This beautiful set fits perfectly in our house and I love that the ottoman can open up to hold blankets or anything else we may need! We got a great deal and I couldn't be happier! I feel like we really are moving on up!

 
 
So I have been severely lacking in my blog-updating lately and I'm going to try to do better! The last few weeks I have traveled all over the state of Texas (mostly for work) and I've had few opportunities to get on here. I've been to the Panhandle and South Texas, Central Texas and I'm headed to East Texas next week. All in a month's time! The trip to Central Texas was for my cousin's baby shower and Husband's and my anniversary. This week I'm thankful for the trip Hubby and I made and the few days we got to escape normal life!
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I'm thankful for new babies in the family! This weekend was Cinnamon's baby shower and we found out they are expecting a little girl! I'm so excited to welcome another little one! And, it's so much fun to buy clothes for baby girls :)

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This week, I'm very thankful for WINE. Our anniversary trip was to the wine country in Central Texas and we had such a wonderful time tasting tons of amazing blends! We spent two days traveling to different wineries and broadening our palette.  Now, we have to figure out when we can use the goodies we brought back!

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Our trip was incredible.  We stayed at this amazing Bed and Breakfast in Fredericksburg and we were spoiled rotten.  Our room was quaint and perfect and the breakfast was delicious.  It was exactly what we wanted and when we left, Husband promised to go back soon! I'm so glad I found the perfect spot for our trip! Check it out - Corner Cottage B&B.

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So this is King George - the Corner Cottage Conman. He tricked all of us into believing he was a starving, homeless kitty and we were shocked to find out that he specializes in conning lodgers into believing he needs leftovers.  Though I felt a little embarrassed that I fell for his tricks, I am glad he added to the weekend. Had to make sure I got a pic with him before I left... Isn't he adorable!?

 

Shades of Rose