Archive | July, 2013

Beginning ChaLean Extreme: First Impressions

31 Jul

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With Day 1 officially behind me, I can happily say: I am loving ChaLean Extreme!  Like in-an-excited-mood-all-morning love it.  Now… I’ve only done the fitness test and one workout, so I may not be the best judge yet… but I thought I’d give a few first impressions of the program.  I can’t wait to continue and see what the next few weeks will bring.

Initial Good Impressions:

  • The workouts have a time countdown clock on the screen (in usual beachbody fashion), so I knew exactly how long I’d be sweating this morning.  Very convenient for planning purposes.
  • The workouts are different everyday!  There is a calendar telling me exactly which workout to do when.  I love the structure, but variety.  I really hate doing the same workout each day.
  • Chalene is awesome.  She is motivational, but also sincerely sweet.  I feel like she’s just training me and not putting on a show or making a video.  I’m really looking forward to working out with her.
  • I love lifting, and that was pretty much all we did for the first workout.  LOVE.  The first workout was 35 minutes and consisted of a warm-up, several exercises (squats, shoulder presses, chest presses) in sets of 12, and a cool-down.   Perfection.
  • Holy injury prevention.  Not only can all moves be modified, but they are done slowly and correctly.  I was massively impressed with Chalene’s ability to fully explain how to do a move.  I’ve completed P90X, so I’ve done a workout or two .  Chalene explained things in a way that was straight forward without either talking down (if you’ve worked out before), or talking up (if this was your first day picking up a weight).  I’m thrilled I chose this program and if the next few workouts are similar, I think it will truly help strengthen my runner’s knee issues.
  • I’m actually excited to see what tomorrow’s workout brings.  I’ve been feeling on the burnt out side for awhile now – it’s awesome feeling jazzed about fitness.

Negative First Impression:

My biggest beef is the nutrition plan.  1300 calories is the recommended amount based on my weight.  And let me tell you folks, that’s just not very many (for me).  I did pretty well yesterday, but when I came home from work I was grumpy, irritable, and starving.  I just about bit Adam’s face off – it wasn’t pretty folks.  He did make the comment “well it’s definitely extreme.”  Hah.  Good point.

I ended up scarfing almost a whole bag of baby carrots on top of my dinner (that already put me at 1300).  I was still dying so I went with some cheese, grapes, and a whole wheat tortilla.  I ended up going over my calorie allotment yesterday.  It was an important lesson that I’d rather eat a bit more throughout the day than get to a crash/crazy lady person point.  Essentially if eating 200-400 calories more in oatmeal or fruit prevents me from eating 800 calories in cheese and crackers – that’s completely worth it!  I want to focus on whole, fresh foods – not numbers.

Additionally my goals with this program are not truly weight loss.  Sure, I’d love to lose 3 or 4 pounds (who doesn’t?).  But my main goals are fitness, muscle definition, and a trim body.  Of course I need a low enough caloric intake to make this happen, but I am not looking for any extreme weight loss (remember, that wedding dress still needs to fit, I don’t want to get it taken in!).  I’ve decided to up my calories to 1500 for today.  I’ll give it a whirl and push it up to 1600 or 1700 if that’s killing me.

I would prefer if the nutrition guide gave ratios of protein/fat/carbs and a range of calories.  I don’t do well with strict allotments.  But I’m just going to modify the best I can and keep moving forward.  I learned a lot from the P90X nutrition plan even though it was hard in the beginning, so I’m going to do my best to glean info from Chalene as well.

The good news?  At this point – no other negative thoughts.  :)

Tips to Begin

  • Print out the workout sheets!  I forgot about this one and was bummed this morning when I didn’t have them.  They are available online.
  • If you’re doing your measurements and pictures on your own, plan a little extra time.  I was surprised how long it took me to measure and photograph myself without someone around to help (and it was also hilarious/frustrating).  A little bit late to work because of it…oops. :)  But – also make sure you do take measurements and pictures…they are so inspiring at the end!
  • Watch the beginner DVD.  I actually didn’t get around to watching it until I was making breakfast this morning and it was very motivational.  I enjoyed it and should’ve started it before I began the program to get all pumped up.
  • Do your best.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t stick to the nutrition plan entirely, but today is a new day!  Time to just press play again and use every day to get a little bit better.  It’s easy to get frustrated with a new program either by not being able to do all the exercises or following the guide.  Don’t let the frustration get in the way of keep pressing play!

So far I’m very pleased with the program, and I’m excited to keep moving forward.  I love the set-up of a 3 month program.  I will do a different workout every day, but each of the four weeks within a month will be the same.  Then the following 4 weeks will be new DVDs.  And so on.  It progressively builds and changes.  The variety is there, but consistency as well.  Perfection.

Happy Wednesday!

-Kelly

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ChaLean Extreme Prep

29 Jul

Happy Monday!  I’m coming back from the most wonderful weekend out in Seattle with my little sister.  She moved there this winter and it was my first chance to get a peek at her new life out there.  We did a little of this…

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Checking out the AMAZING views Seattle in the summer has to offer. We did lots of exploring!

 

And then we did a little of this…

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Took lots of selfies to show Mom we were still alive.

 

We threw in some of this…

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Wedding fun! Trip to Ikea for some cheapo wedding decorations.

 

And we can’t forget, some of this…

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Ahh, relaxing at the pool.

 

All in all – a completely awesome trip.  I wish I were still there!

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And of course silly pictures to send our family. Love ya Jules!

 

Unfortunately I had a bit of a flight snafu and instead of my nice early flight (with time to prepare for ChaLean!), I had to take the red eye.  Yeah.  So I flew home last night, landed in Indy, hopped in my car and went to work.  A day running on just a few hours of sleep.  Absolute madness.

I had my fingers crossed I would have a certain package waiting for me.  And sure enough: ChaLean Extreme had arrived!  This evening after getting home from work I skimmed the program manuals and got familiar with the program.  I plan to officially start the program in the morning, and I wanted to be prepared.  My flight situation threw off my plan, but I decided to do the prep work tonight and start tomorrow.

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Hooray! Look what arrived :)

So, how do you prep?

The most important thing for me – remove all barriers.  Essentially, I wanted to set myself up so that tomorrow I don’t have any excuses not to begin.  It’s easy to push things off, “Oh I’ll do it next week” or “I’m too tired and I can’t start now.”  I want to start strong and motivated, and that requires effort.

Step 1: Read and Plan

It’s crucial to understand more about the program.  Tonight I didn’t do my deep dive of planning, but I got familiar enough to begin tomorrow.  This week I’ll spend more time specifically mapping out recipes and workouts (once I’m running on more than 2 hours of sleep).  Tonight I skimmed the books and made a plan for the morning.  Because there is a fitness test prior to working out, I needed to plan for it… I can’t just start workout 1 tomorrow.  I’ve decided to do my fitness test in the morning as my day 1.

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Doing some light leisure reading.

Step 2:  FOOD!

Diet is 80% of results and I knew I needed to get some fresh food to start strong.  I cleaned out my fridge, made a list, and tackled Target.  I broke my cardinal rule of always throw a chopping party immediately – but with my restful-sleep-on-a-plane night, I cut myself some slack.  The chopping party will be tomorrow evening.  :)

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1. I threw out all old/expired food and made a list of what I needed.

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2. I gave the old fridge a nice cleaning.

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3. Weeeee! Fresh food purchased and ready to go!

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4. Voila! Instant full fridge of yumminess.

It looks like the ChaLean program follows a high protein diet, limited by calories.  This isn’t typically my favorite style – I really loathe calorie counting.  I’m planning to give it a solid go though, as I want to follow the program as closely as prescribed as possible.  I was pretty disappointed that my calorie intake is set to 1300 calories.  Yikes.  I miss the P90X diet of 1800.  But I know what I’m up against now, and filled my fridge accordingly.

Step 3: Equipment

Because I have a lot of equipment from P90X, I was pretty much set and ready to go.  Tonight I picked up a cheap scale, as I know that’s one of the metrics used in the before/after.  It was a little annoying not having a scale with P90X, so I splurged on a $7.99 dial scale at Target.  It doesn’t show half-pound increments, but that might be a good thing.  I really don’t like to obsess over numbers.  General trends is what I’m looking for.  Other equipment like resistance bands and a fat caliper came with the program.

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The newest piece of equipment.

Step 4: Bring it!

My alarm clock is set and I’m ready to start my day with photos (this will present an interesting challenge alone), measurements, and a fit test.  I’m excited to give myself a baseline, though I know “Day 1” can often be a somewhat depressing place to start (I think most people can agree!).  I know I’ve lost a bit of fitness in the last 2 months.  But the good news?  There’s no where to go but up!  I’m already looking forward to day 30, 60, and 90!

I feel as ready as I can be to start, and that’s so crucial.  My foundation is set and there’s nothing left to do but press play!  Wish me luck on my first day!

-Kelly

How do you start a new workout program?  

Reasons to Exercise

24 Jul

The past few days have been a little rough.  Last week I decided I was going to just totally unplug and take a break from working out.  I finished up Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 and I was planning my next program.  I was feeling kind of un-motivated to work out, so I just went with it.  For several glorious days I pushed my alarm back and basked in the glory of several guiltless workout free mornings.  It was fantastic.  This past weekend I relaxed a bit and enjoyed some delightful culinary wonders like girl scout cookies and Indian food.  Again, fantastic.

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Oh yum… yeah a few too many of these.

Doesn’t really sound so rough huh?  Well yesterday I feel like I finally hit a wall from all my wild and fancy-free living.  And then it hit me: my body truly has been trained!   After months of P90X and focusing on better eating, my body craves healthy food.  My body wants to be active.  Saturday and Sunday I had a dull headache and just felt sort of blah.  My lack of healthy-living may not be entirely to blame, but it certainly played a part.  Call me crazy, but this is pretty awesome!

It’s common sense: eat a bunch of candy and you’ll get a tummy ache.  But now I feel like I’m at a new level – my body truly has gotten used to a regular diet of fruit, veggies, and working up a sweat.  When I deprive my body of these things, I feel it.  It took 3-4 days to really feel it, but this is such a change.  It used to take a few weeks of living unhealthy to really notice it (Christmas break in college ehem).  What a cool revelation.  When I changed my life style back in October I was really hoping that this would happen!  (Doing a little happy dance).

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Now I crave these things! Okay not all of these things and not all the time… but I’m making progress!

Last week I was really feeling some pressure that I was entirely putting on myself.  I found out I got the part and Adam and I were in the heat of several big wedding decisions.  Definitely exciting things, but I sort of felt my edges cracking from my own pressure (I think all other type a-ers can relate to this!).  So while the good news is my body craves healthy-living, and I will naturally want to get back on the healthy train…the bad news is that I sort of turned to food to deal with my stress.  Feeling stressed about needing to be an athletic dancer to play the part in the show?  Yes, eat more peanut butter and cookies…brilliant strategy to achieve your fitness goals.  Yeah…not such a great habit.  My eventual goal would be push my stress away by making a delicious yummy healthy or doing some yoga.  Now those are coping mechanisms I can get on board with!  Patience Kelly, one thing at a time.

The past week has been a great discovery of how far I’ve come fitness-wise, but also seeing that I still have room for growth.  As I left Adam’s apartment yesterday I made the comment, “You know I think the number 1 reason I work out is for balance and attitude.”  All of these thoughts got me really thinking about why I work out.  Why is it such a part of my life, and why do I want it to continue to be a priority.  In usual fashion, I present to you a list!

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Hooray exercise!

Reasons to Exercise and Stay Active

  • Attitude.  Working out keeps me mentally sane and balanced.  I just have a better attitude when I’m active.
  • Health.  From preventing heart disease to avoiding diabetes to controlling my asthma, health-related reasons to be active abound.  I want to be around a long time and I want to be healthy while I’m around.
  • Outlook. (And not the microsoft kind). Holy positive.  I am a much much more positive person when I take the time to invest in myself.  Suddenly the birds are chirping and I’m thrilled about the rest of my day.  Yes it may sound cliché, but come on… there are definitely endorphin side effects to exercise (and happy people just don’t kill people!  What movie?? :))
  • Confidence.  When I’m active, I feel like I can take on the world.  Whether it comes to pushing myself out of my comfort zone socially, pushing myself physically, or pushing myself to go stinking shopping even though I don’t like it – I’m more confident!!  And believe me, confidence just makes life easier.
  • Keeping up!  When I’m in great shape I’m much more of a “yes” girl.  Want me to join a dodgeball league?  Yes.  Want to run a 5K with a day’s notice in green tights?  Yes.  Want to go hiking?  Heck yes.  I just don’t have the excuses to say no.  “I can’t keep up” or  “I’m not in good shape” aren’t in my vocabulary!
  • Taking care of myself for others.  My friends and family receive major benefits when I work out.  I’m kinder, more balanced, and more passionate about life.  In addition, I’m healthier and more durable for whatever life throws my way.  If I can’t get myself to work out for me, often thinking about them will be the extra push to get me out the door.
  • Nutrition.  Fact: when I’m active, I make better food choices.  There is such a symbiotic relationship between food and activity  – I love reaping the benefits from both!
  • Looking good.  Let’s face it, one of the side effects of fitness is looking your personal best.  It’s nice to look good and feel comfortable in your skin.  It helps with confidence and being a “yes” person!
  • It’s relaxing and therapeutic.  Or at least it can be…eventually. :)  It took me a long time to view running as a ‘relaxing’ activity – but it’s awesome to just take time away and focus on yourself.  Be one with the run (or zumba or crossfit or whatever)!
  • The challenge.  I love setting goals and reaching them.  Fitness is an awesome place to compete against yourself for yourself.  It can be very motivating and satisfying to see yourself reach them.  The first time I did a pull-up I just about cried!
  • To enjoy treats.  Okay I had to add this one… regular working out makes the occasional crack-filled cookies from my mom totally doable (Note: not filled with actual crack).  Everything in moderation is one of my favorite phrases, and working out regularly allows me to really live this phrase out!  Because I just can’t say no to cupcakes every time.

So if you’ve been in a rut like me, there are a few reasons to push play or get out the door!  If you’re looking for more reasons or motivation head over to Catherine @ A Two Storey Home.  Ironically she had the exact same thoughts today, and beat me to the punch (which is good, because she’s been thinking about working on her defense skills)!  She lists a lot of great reasons to focus on strength over skinny – I love it!

In other news, ChaLean Extreme officially shipped yesterday, woot!  I’m so excited to share the process and my next phase of pushing myself!  Until then, I’ve climbed jumped back on the healthy train with a quick stop at the grocery store for some fresh produce and some invigorating yoga this morning (thanks Lucy for the motivation to get back at yoga!).  Man does it ever feel good to be back on the train.  Next stop: ChaLean Extreme!

-Kelly

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

What are your reasons to work out?  Why do you maintain your fitness?

Maintaining Fitness with Runner’s Knee

23 Jul

Okay folks.  It’s happening.  I feel like I’m finally having my “ohmygoshican’trun!??!” breakdown.  I have worked hard to maintain a positive attitude and a cheery disposition on my ‘vacation’ from running over the past 2 months – see I’m even using positive words like ‘vacation’ to fool myself into thinking this is a happy time.  Well this week I have really hit rock bottom.  I stare longingly at runners at times.  Other times I glare angrily at them as they joyfully jog along, smirking at me as I either a) walk slowly in my fitness gear or b) look out my car window.  Okay so maybe they aren’t smirking at me – but seriously, they might as well be…

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Is that dust collecting on my shoes? Gasp!

Signs you may not be dealing with a lack of running well (aka Runner’s Knee Negative Attitude, RKNA):

  1. Angry or jealous thoughts regarding anything running related.  Runners included.
  2. Turning to food to deal with the frustration.  Nope I didn’t have half a box of girl scout cookies this morning.  Or several scoops of peanut butter straight up instead of a breakfast.  Not at all.
  3. Angry thoughts targeted toward the injury.  Frankly I’m just really mad at my knees right now.
  4. Sense of hopelessness.  No, but seriously, sometimes I feel a little lost without running.
  5. Feeling depressed (not the clinical kind – just the meh this sucks kind).  Running helps me to stay cheery.  Not running isn’t good for my attitude.
  6. Feeling like you “aren’t a runner.”  Yeah I used to be one of those…
  7. Not eating well or hydrating enough because after all “I’m not training and it doesn’t matter”
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Step away from the peanut butter!

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I don’t even remember what this is… a pull-up bar? a push-up bar? Was there even a time when I could do pull-ups? (okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic)

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Absolutely I’ve used my new yoga block. I just prefer to use it with the packaging still on. Helps me feel more yogi.

As of this week I am officially displaying all signs of Runner’s Knee Negative Attitude.  A non-life threatening issue that can wreak havoc on your attitude, outlook, and disposition.  It can have ramifications on your social life, loved ones, and anyone in your path.  Proceed with caution.  Now that I have been (self) diagnosed, I feel more prepared in coming to terms with my condition.  Over the past couple weeks I have done some things well in dealing with the condition, but I’ve also bombed majorly in other aspects.  Now that I’m in this sad, pathetic position I’m realizing there were some crucial steps I could’ve taken to avoid this unpleasant condition.

Bottom line: It all comes down to maintaining fitness and staying active.

For me, the double whammy is not being able to run, but also slowly moving backward fitness-wise.  Major bummer.  These are the steps I wish I would’ve taken when I first got diagnosed.

1. Stop. Okay, so you’re freshly diagnosed with an injury.  Hooray, right?  The most important thing to do: stop using it.  I cut way back on my running, but I should’ve stopped entirely and switched to another form of fitness.

2. Find another outlet.  This is my number one mistake.  Instead of researching a pool for swimming or taking my bike into a shop to get fixed, I just stewed and swirled.  For the first few weeks I did well with my workout DVDs.  But I know myself, and replacing running with a cardio activity like swimming or biking would help simulate the theurapuetic benefits that running accomplishes.  The repetition is calming and I should’ve stinking made the effort and committed to a new activity for a couple months.  This would’ve helped tremendously.

3. DO YOUR EXERCISES!  A big one.  Again – for the first few months I was diligent.  But as time passed and I didn’t “see” improvement I got discouraged.  Well here’s the thing folks – normally recovery isn’t instant and it will take some time for those exercises to provide benefit.  Stay diligent and eventually there will be a payoff.

4. Maintain a healthy diet.  I have been doing about a B on this one, but eating balanced meals more regularly would’ve significantly helped.  Now I feel a little out of sorts without running and not eating as cleanly as I could be.  You are what you eat.  Now that I’ve been eating more processed/sweet things I can feel it.  And I don’t like it.

Recovery is possible.

I truly believe that my RKNA is a direct result of not doing the above.  Instead I have let myself get a little bit soft, a little bit lazy, and allowed myself to pout just a little too much.

The biggest secret?  Stay active.  Do whatever you can to maintain fitness and stay active… you won’t be sorry if you do!  Here are some ideas on how to maintain fitness when you can’t run regularly.  I wish that I had done a better job overall.

  • Walk.  Lace up those shoes, listen to music and go on nice walks.  They are relaxing and get you outside, moving, and active.
  • Swim.  See above – but seriously I should’ve made this happen.
  • Bike.  Again, see above.  Biking is a nice lower impact way to be active and outdoors.
  • Join a gym.  If you can use the elliptical and don’t own one, consider joining a gym or Y.  Generally these facilities have equipment that can be used with Runner’s Knee or other injuries.
  • Complete an at-home DVD program like P90X or ChaLean Extreme – one that is more focused on lifting.  I’m starting ChaLean next week and I CANT WAIT.  I think getting back into the swing of a program will really help.  Be careful not to choose something high impact that could cause more injury (in my case, Insanity).

Now that I know what I should’ve done, I’m trying to work on my attitude to try and turn this ship around!  I start ChaLean Extreme next week, which should be a big help.  I’m also going to research both joining a gym with a pool, and getting my bike fixed.  They may be out of my price range, but it’s at least worth taking a look!  August 5th is my start date with my first foray back to running.  It’s just 2 weeks away and will be an indicator of whether or not a fall race is happening this year.  Let the countdown begin!

-Kelly

What activities have you done when you couldn’t run?  How have you dealt with injuries?  Have you ever experienced Runner’s Knee Negative Attitude?

And the winner is…

22 Jul

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After about a week of researching, thinking, deciding, and putting off my decision… I have finally decided my next workout program!  In the battle between T25 and ChaLean Extreme, it was an extremely close call.  And honestly I will probably do both over the next 6 months.  But, for right now…because I miss the lifting and variety of P90X, I have ordered ChaLean Extreme!  I’m really excited, though still not 100% sure I made the right call – don’t try to change my mind, I think it’s already in the mail ;)  Here are a couple of the main reasons:

The Reasons

  • I miss lifting.  I really started seeing benefits from it, and I’m excited to do that again.  I sort of feel weak now…whomp.
  • A gut thing.  I’ve been thinking about ChaLean Extreme for a long time, and just think I’m really going to like it.  My curiosity is getting the best of me – I’ve gotta try it!
  • A time thing.  I have a bit more time through October (when rehearsals for White Christmas start ;)).  I can do T25 when I’m truly ‘busy’ and 25 minute workouts will come in really handy. For now, I can handle the 45 minute or so workouts from ChaLean.
  • I feel ChaLean might be lower impact than T25, though I could be wrong…again an instinct thing. I watched a couple clips of both programs and feel this might be a better fit for now.
  • ChaLean is a bit older so there is a small cost savings there.  I can use every penny I can get!

The Plan

After ordering it today, I’m hoping it will arrive sometime this week or next.  That being said, I’m tentatively planning on starting next Monday, July 30.  When I did P90X I was careful to plan ahead and make sure I was truly ready to begin the program.  Having seven days to mentally get prepared for my start will be awesome.  Next weekend I can do my before pictures, take measurements, and get serious.  I can start mapping out my meals and have a chopping party Monday night.  With P90X I marked my milestones on the calendar so I knew exactly when pictures would take place.  Mentally that was really helpful.  Fingers crossed that the program arrives in time for my projected start date!

Until Then…

Until I start I’m going to focus on staying active in other ways.  I’ve been going on a lot of walks lately and have found them helpful. Though, not quite as awesome as running (yeah not even close). :(  I want to take a break from DVD workouts until I begin next Monday, so no random P90X or Jillian Michaels workouts this week.  I want to start fresh and ready!  A huge part of success for me is feeling mentally ready.  Now that the program is ordered I have roughly a week to get my mind wrapped around the idea “that this is happening.”  Then there is no turning back!  I have found that if I just start something without really planning and thinking about it, I’m much more likely to abandon it.  Now I’m really just ready to get committed to a new fitness program and make sure my eating is healthy – I think ChaLean Extreme will be just the ticket!  I have made the financial commitment and the public commitment to all of you: so it’s on!

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend I spent in Nashville (yay!).  Three weeks was just too long without seeing Adam.  We are so happy to be around each other once again.  Though it was funny, both of us mentioned a few times, ‘I really gotta get back to working out like we did before’.  With Adam’s residency crazy work hours, my knees, and losing our regular workout partner, we’ve both been a little under-motivated.  Hey, it happens!  Though Adam is actually considering doing T25 now, hooray!  Which would be convenient for me… I could just borrow it when he’s done. :)  With his crazy schedule, it could be perfect.  Though really he needs something that doesn’t cause weight loss!  I swear that boy has lost weight since I last saw him.

We rounded out the weekend with a huge day of wedding planning yesterday!  I know, aren’t I kind?  ‘Hey Adam, your first day off in 10 days, let’s wedding plan!’  Okay I swear it wasn’t that bad – but we did make a lot of the big decisions that I’ve been waiting on his input.  That’s success!  Invitations are ordered, save the dates are addressed, and ties are picked out.  And he managed to squeeze in a few video games as a real treat.  A day off of perfection :)

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Some possible ties! 40% off at Macys… sweet. Adam’s is the gray one in the center. But which one for the groomsmen?

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

-Kelly

Did I make the right call with ChaLean Extreme?  Any tips for getting started?

Wedding Planning 101

19 Jul

Wedding planning has officially taken over my life.  To be quite honest, I’m shocked at how much I think about the wedding.  Frankly, it’s an obscene amount.  Let me preface this by saying I wasn’t the type of girl who dreamt about my wedding growing up.  I love weddings, don’t get me wrong… I just didn’t necessarily visualize specific details prior to Adam.  Now that I’m in the midst of planning one, it’s been more of a challenge without those visions in place.

Our wedding planning has been a team process, and thankfully we got the bulk of the big decisions out of the way before Adam moved to Nashville.  Now that Adam is away I am spearheading a lot of the organization, but we’re still tackling the actual decisions as a team.  Here are some of the things we’ve done that might be useful if you ever find yourself planning a wedding!  (Note: these are just personal observations – I know there are 12 ways to peel an orange, or plan a wedding!)

I said no to the binder… and survived.

Everywhere online I found articles saying I must have a binder with all of my wedding information.  I found sites explaining specifically how to make the binder and why it was so important.  Honestly the idea of a paper binder just didn’t seem to mesh with my lifestyle and how I like to organize things.  I do agree that organization is needed, there are just many ways to be organized.

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A snapshot of our Google Docs. There are more folders and a Master To Do list.

Adam and I decided to organize our wedding “binder” through Google docs.  I could not say enough positive things about this way of organizing wedding details.  We have folders that are shared between us and can be accessed on any computer, ipad, or even our phones.  The folders organize things like “ceremony”, “wedding website”, “budget”, or “people”.  Any documents related to a topic can neatly go in the folder and we can create new ones from right within Google docs.  Planning a long distance wedding – this has been a lifesaver.  It also means you can share documents or folders with your MOH or other family members.  Talk about amazing.  Seriously check this out if you’re starting the wedding planning process.

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Our “Budget” folder is full of spreadsheets!

Pick your priorities for budget

Before we even signed our first contract, Adam and I settled on 3 top priorities.  We wanted some hierarchy and organization to where our money was being spent.  We also wanted to be on the same page before talking to vendors or getting far down the planning process.  Choosing our priorities has made it easier to cut costs in areas that aren’t priorities.  For us we chose:

  • Photography.   We want beautiful photography that could double as art and we could proudly display.  This was a much bigger priority for me than for Adam but I told him how important it was to me.  We agreed to have it as a mutual priority.
  • Music. This really is one of Adam’s big things.  I love music too, but I would’ve been okay without a live band.  Adam loves music more than anyone I know.  Having something truly special and amazing from a music perspective was very important to him.  I agreed and we made this a top priority.
  • Family.  Adam and I really toyed around with the idea of having a destination wedding.  My family all adores traveling and conveniently I have 3 in the airline industry.  :) But the more we talked about it, the more we realized that we would alienate some family by throwing a destination wedding.  We want as many of our loved ones to be there to celebrate with us so we decided that having a higher number was a bigger priority than having a fancier or more exotic wedding.  I know often people make the decision to have quality over quantity – but with our big families and tons of mutual friends we went with quantity over quality.  If the people we love are there, the wedding will be amazing in our books.

 Whatever your top priorities may be, discuss them, agree to them, and then stick to them.  Now whenever it comes to big decisions we analyze whether or not they fit in our “Big 3.”  It has provided us with wonderful direction.  I’d highly recommend agreeing to your top priorities.

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Cut Cost

Once we determined our priorities, we have been mindful to cut cost in areas that don’t build or add to those priorities.  Not to say that we haven’t been able to get what we want or have made choices we regret – we’ll just been diligent about cutting cost.  For example – finding a dress off the rack instead of ordering one and getting alterations.  Could I have found a more beautiful dress?  Well duh, if I had an unlimited budget.  But my dress is just beautiful and will work wonderfully.  We’ve had to control those urges of “but wouldn’t this be better?”  Better and perfect are words that are the enemy!  I don’t want to go into debt for our wedding, and we’ve had to make choices that, while lovely, maybe aren’t the most amazing choice out there.  (There’s always something more beautiful, more amazing, more expensive, etc).  Resist the urge!

Areas we’ve cut cost:

  • Mailings.  We’ve exclusively used Vista Print and I LOVE IT!  Our Save the Dates were around 50 bucks for 250 of them in color, postcard style.  You seriously cannot beat that price…believe me I tried.  They look so professional and in comparison to the wedding websites, they are so reasonable.  I don’t think anyone will know that we paid hundreds less than some other sites out there.  We also are doing online RSVP and just including one page for our invitations.  Again if it doesn’t support our Big 3…we’ve got to cut cost.
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Note: the stars aren’t in our real design ;)

  • Attire.  With my dress off the rack and requiring no alterations, borrowing a veil, and wearing old shoes (I think ;)).. I’m hoping to come in under budget for my attire.  Adam is wearing a suit he already owns and just purchased the matching vest to dress it up a bit.  He will look perfect to me. Well frankly he could wear anything and I’d be happy.
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Oh yeah… that’s a sharp suit!

  • Food/Cake.  We settled on a buffet meal (I know, I know… could be classier) and hosted wine and beer.  Everyone will have a wonderful hot meal and something cool to drink…but we won’t be pulling out the stops to make sure this is the fanciest night of everyone’s lives.  Honestly as long as people are fed and can drink something they will be happy.  They aren’t going to a 5 star restaurant, they’re coming to our wedding!  A close family friend is going to bake our cupcakes – yum.  She’s an amazing baker :)

 Again it doesn’t matter what your priorities and your “don’t cares” are – they could be the exact opposite of mine… just pick them and stick to them!  Otherwise you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money on everything!  Weddings are insane, crazy expensive.  Really it’s dumb.

Have fun and stick to your guns!

Everyone has their own wedding vision, and everyone will judge what they want to judge…especially when it comes to a wedding.  “Oh that’s an interesting color”  “Hmmm, they should’ve done traditional vows”  “Well January is certainly an interesting time of year.”  At the end of the day it is about Adam and I getting married.  We want happy guests (of course!), but we have to accept that we will probably do things in a way that isn’t exactly the way everyone else would do it.  And that’s okay!!  That’s life.  We have to go with our instincts and pick things we love.  And most importantly we don’t need to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and go into debt to have a day that doesn’t feel authentically ours.  Some people will think we spent too much on our wedding, others will think we were el cheapo…at the end of the day we have settled on an amount we feel comfortable with and will work within our budget.  Live and let live I say!  Most importantly – I’m trying to just enjoy this special time.  Marriage is a huge step and relishing in the planning and preparation is a wonderful thing!

So there you have it!  A couple things I’ve learned along the way.  So far, Adam and I have really enjoyed wedding planning…especially now that the big decisions have been made :)  We think we are close to deciding on our wedding invitations and suits for the guys.  I love progress.

HAPPY FRIDAY!  Have a wonderful weekend!

-Kelly

P.S. We decided on the navy blue for our bridesmaid dressses!  Woot!  Thank you all for your opinions.

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P.P.S. Notice the new wedding tab across the top… I’ll be adding wedding posts every now and again as we get closer.  Hope you enjoy! :)

What wedding planning tips do you have?  Any lessons to share?

I’m Dreaming of a…

18 Jul

Crazy awesome week!! :)

Well folks, it has been a pretty nuts around here.  First – last Monday I auditioned for White Christmas, a huge favorite musical of mine.  It turns out it was a joint audition for 2 shows (White Christmas and Sunset Blvd.)… and I ended up getting a call back for both!  Talk about lots of quick learning, excitement, stress, and lots of showing people what I could bring to the table!  My callback for Sunset Blvd. went okay at first (there were 3 other ladies there going for the same part), but then I choked (no!!), and I knew when I left that I wouldn’t get the part.  I remained hopeful, but got a very thoughtful condolence email Saturday night, stating that they decided to go in a different direction.  Le sigh.

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A no go on Sunset Blvd.

I held out hope for my dream part: Betty (Rosemary Clooney in the movie) in White Christmas.  I got the exciting news on Monday (a whole week later!) that I was invited to a callback Tuesday evening!  I was thrilled, but also very nervous.  I notoriously choke during call-backs, yeah it’s a problem.  The pressure, knowing who I’m up against…gah!  It always kills me.  My nerves aren’t the strongest when it comes to auditions, yeah again, a problem.  I showed up on Tuesday and to my surprise the director had me read for Judy, not Betty.  To fill you in – Judy is the younger, dancing sister, originally played by Vera Ellen in the movie.  I could hardly contain my shock.  Yes, I dance… I even could say I’m a dancer (I did take many, many years of dance, but many years ago).  But a showstopper lead dancer of the caliber of Judy??… that might be more of a stretch.  I did have a dance audition and thought I did pretty well, so they have seen what I can do in that department.

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Va va VOOM! This is Judy!

Yesterday morning I got the shocking news: the director offered me the part of Judy!  I got in the show!  Can you believe it??  Well I’m still in shock a day later.  It really hasn’t set in.  I am SO excited.  So so so excited!  I’m thrilled to be in White Christmas, but I must admit that I’m nervous about all the lead tap dancing scenes.  I took many years of tap classes, so it’s in there… I just need to dust the rust off.  Immediately.  Like 6 months ago immediately. Rehearsals don’t start until October so I’ve got a bit of time to get myself into Judy shape!

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You may recognize this! The song “Sisters” is from White Christmas. Can’t wait!

Additionally I’m a little nervous because Judy is notoriously an athletic, thin, dancer.  Though I love fitness and being in good shape – I don’t know if I exactly have a dancer’s build (If you’ve seen my P90X results, I think you might agree! ;)).  My Mom said I need to not compare myself against the movie: if they picked me, they want me!  And they know what I look like!  It’s just very strange suddenly feeling pressure to be thin and in shape (I know I’m putting it on myself!).   With the weddings and this show I now feel like I don’t have as much wiggle room with fitness and nutrition.  Honestly, I like to live a more balanced life of enjoying treats every now and again.  And well… I still will.  :)  But now, I will probably feel a bit more guilt.  Whomp whomp.  Especially now that I still can’t run – I don’t really have an awesome way to rationalize my box of white cheddar cheez-its treat consumption, or burn off the stress (Oh I ate an enormous cupcake – I’ll just run 8 miles).  My way to handle stress: eating a box of cheez-its.  Not exactly the path to a thin dancer body.  Yikes.  Say a little prayer for me (and my box of cheez-its). :)

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Wearing fun dresses and doing cool moves like this?! Holy awesome!

In other news, I get to see Adam this weekend.  It’s been 3 weeks and I’ll admit: it has been really hard.  I miss him being in my life on a day to day basis.  I just miss being around him!  What I’d do for a little hug!  Le sigh.  Another side effect of no Adam: I sort of feel like I’m swirling!  My structure and discipline have been slipping, I’m just struggling to get into my new routine without him!  I’m hoping the start of a new Beachbody program (the jury is still out on which one) will give me a new spark and something exciting to look forward to!  Is it Friday evening yet??  I’m so excited to hop in trusty Little Star (my car) and get on down to Nashville.  Adam will only have Sunday off – but any time will be better than no time!  Can’t wait!

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Yeah…I miss this kid. A lot.

And just so I can end on a thrillingly positive note: HOLY MOLY I GOT A PART!!! :)  What an amazing opportunity – I know I will treasure it!!  What an exciting next few months.  3 months until my bro’s wedding.  4.5 months until White Christmas.  And exactly 6 months until ‘I do!’ :)

Happy THURSDAY!  We’re almost through the week!

-Kelly

Have you ever felt pressure to be thin for an event?  Have you ever eaten a whole box of cheez-its to deal with the stress you feel to be thin for said event?

Workout Program Showdown: ChaLean Extreme vs. T25

16 Jul

The showdown begins!  What showdown?  The big decision: now that I can’t do Insanity, which program will I do?  The opponents?  ChaLean Extreme and T25.  Both of these programs are by Beachbody (the makers of P90X and Insanity), which is a company I really like, and have found success with lately.  Why do I like their programs so much?  Well, frankly, I am kind of lazy.  I enjoy the pre-packaged style of these programs.  They normally are for a set length of time (2 or 3 months) and include a diet plan as well.  Essentially all I have to do is follow the recipe to success!  I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  For me, this system works great as I really enjoy structure.  I like making and meeting milestones, and seeing progress.  Both of these programs will allow for structure, direction, and motivation.  Personally, without a set plan I tend not have quite as much success with fitness.  I will definitely remain active on my own, but having the structure is the little oomph I need (especially with all the weddings coming up – no pressure or anything :)).

Thanks to Beachbody’s satisfaction guarantee,  I actually was able to return Insanity and will now buy a lower impact program due to my knees.  What a win!  I’m so excited to select my next program and get going.  I have not done either ChaLean Extreme or T25 before, so they will be a completely new experience to me.

Wedding Fitness Goals

With 90 days until my brother’s wedding and 186 until my own, let’s just say my desire for fitness might be taking on a slightly more vain approach than usual.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I just don’t want to have to pay to get either dress altered (haha just call me el cheapo).  My bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding barely zips.  I’m talking barely.

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It zipped…thank goodness!

My own wedding dress fits snugly, but I don’t want any anxiety about either fitting.  I’m looking for a program that will help me tone and lose just a few pounds.  I also don’t want to lose too much weight – that means alterations as well!  Thanks to P90X I’m pretty close to where I’d like to be, so I’m also not looking for anything crazy extreme.

Detailed Personal Fitness Goals:
  • Trim and tone – looking for a lean look (think of all the pictures!!)
  • Working out up to 1 hour per day.  Ideally 5 days a week. (I like making fitness a priority, but want to also have a life :))
  • Low impact.  I can’t do anything that would mess up my knees.  My doctor said any exercises with heavy squats or angles on my knees are a no-go.
  • Enjoyable.  I tend to work out in the morning and I hate the morning (it’s a problem).  I want something I can look forward to.
  • Variety!  I love programs that have different workouts every day and give a lot of variety in the type of workout.
  • Easy to follow – make it simple for me.  I don’t want to think (remember, I’m lazy).
  • Lifting component.  I feel like I’m losing my strength from P90X – okay I’m definitely losing my strength.  I miss weight training.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these programs.  First up… ChaLean Extreme.

ChaLean Extreme

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From Beachbody’s website:

Get ready to burn fat, boost your metabolism, and get lean with ChaLEAN Extreme®. Trainer Chalene Johnson will help you build toned muscles so you can lose up to 60 percent of your body fat in just 3 months. ChaLEAN Extreme is designed to give you visible results in only 30 days.

Chalene’s Lean Phasing® technique shifts your body’s fat-burning focus from cardio to resistance training. By using weights or resistance bands, you’ll build lean muscle and ramp up your metabolism. When you have more muscle, you’ll burn fat long after your workout.

The details:

  • 90 day program
  • All days are under an hour, with the shortest around 35 minutes.
  • 6 days a week.
  • Nutrition guide included (Recipes though, which I stink at)
  • 15 workouts included
  • Variety of strength-training, cardio, and abs
  • Focus on lifting – similar to P90X in this sense.
  • Very positive reviews on Team Beachbody
  • Low impact and modifications shown in the DVDs

And on the other side of the ring, Focus T25, the brand new program from Beachbody.

 Focus T25

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From Beachbody’s website:

25 MINUTES. 5 DAYS A WEEK. 100% RESULTS.

The only thing standing between you and the results you want is TIME.

Shaun T experimented for the last year to design a program that delivers the same kind of results you’d expect from an hour-long program, in under 30 minutes. He’s pulled out the rest to give you everything you need, nothing you don’t.

The result is FOCUS T25—and the name implies the intent: If you focus your intensity for 25 minutes, and you do it 5 days a week, you WILL get results.

The details:

  • 25 minutes a day
  • 5 days a week
  • Nutrition plan included
  • No reviews yet on Team Beachbody – it’s too new!
  • A little concerned it could be too high impact, though I’ve been told it’s not. Also seems that there are low impact modifications.
  • 10 week program
  • No equipment needed
  • 11 workouts
  • Variety of workouts
  • Simple movements and straight-forward instruction.

The Decision

Such a tough choice!  It seems like I’ll be in great shape (no pun intended, though it is a clever one ;)) with either option.  I may eventually do both of them, it’s just a matter of which one first!  I’m leaning toward ChaLean Extreme first to give my knees more time to recover…but I like the idea of T25 first because it might be more cardio focused and requires less time…remember the tiny Bridesmaid dress, yeah I need that to fit.  Will all the lifting in ChaLean Extreme cause me and my ginormous muscles to be busting out of the dress?  I’ve been thinking over the decision a lot lately and still can’t quite make up my mind.  Any ideas from those of you that have done either of these programs?

Until the decision is made… Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Have you done ChaLean Extreme or T-25?  What do you think is better? 

(Note: I do not work for Beachbody, coach, or have family/close friends that do, additionally I will be purchasing either program using my own money).

The Benefits of Not Running

12 Jul

Well I haven’t been running, which you may know if you’ve been around here before.  You can check out my experiences with Runner’s Knee here: The Dreaded Runner’s Knee, Dealing with Runner’s Knee, and When Running Hurts, okay…so maybe I talk a lot about my inability to really run.  But what I wanted to do today is take a look at the positive side of this situation.  The benefits of not running!  Okay, I tease, there really aren’t that many true benefits.  But… this morning I was able to find TWO clean athletic socks (that matched) easily and swiftly and it got me thinking, “there have to be more positives out there!”  So for all you injured runners out there – this one is for you!

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The Benefits of Not Running

  • An abundance of clean running/workout clothes.  Now when I do my morning workout I no longer have to search and sniff test endlessly.  It’s super easy to find all parts of my workout ensemble that are clean.  Win!
  • Extra time to try new fitness trends!   Without all those hours spent running you could explore Zumba or Crossfit or any Beachbody at home DVD program.  Think of the possibilities!  Usually with all that time running I don’t feel motivated to check other things out – a non-serious injury allows you that excuse!  Or you can be like me and watch hours of old Grey’s Anatomy episodes on Netflix.  Endlessly.  Either activity is a big win!
  • Decreased hunger.  When I’m not running a ton every week, my hunger seems to go down to a tolerable level.  Though, the lack of running means I should probably keep track of what I eat a little better.  The excuse “I ran 10 miles today” no longer is valid…darn!
  • No paces to stress you out!  If you like to see improvements with running and get frustrated with slow times… one way to avoid all this?  No running at all!  No running = no pace = no stress.  Sounds brilliant to me.
  • No farmer tan.  I don’t have to worry this summer about my usual running shorts line on my thighs.  Now I can look better in my underwear.  Such a win.  Priorities people.
  • Money savings.  Race entries are expensive.  Like really expensive.  A break from running means a break on my wallet for awhile.  Though I have made up for it in Physical Therapy bills… womp womp.
  • Free Saturday mornings!  Without a long run to plan around I’m totally and blissfully available!  Saturday brunch?  No problem.  A late night on Friday?  No problem.  Want to drink wine at 9 am?  No problem.
  • No need to track the weather!  What a relief!  I no longer have to care about the humidity or chance or rain.  Is it a nice day?  Great.  Is it the most horrendously humid day every experienced?  Cool.
  • Nothing to compare.  If you have an issue comparing yourself to other runners…taking yourself out of the game removes all comparisons!  Now you can sit on a high pedestal and say “Oh if I could run, I totally would be faster and could run longer” and it doesn’t matter because you don’t have to prove it.  Sweet.

So if you’re currently injured and feeling sad – don’t worry, there are plenty of positives to the situation.  And, if these don’t make you feel like slightest bit better (or at least smile), hang in there… you’re not alone!

Happy Friday!

-Kelly

What positives would you add to the list?  How do you deal with breaks from running?

 

Run-cation, Nashville, and an Audition!

10 Jul

It has been an exciting and busy last couple of weeks around here!  I took my first trip to Nashville to visit Adam, celebrated the 4th, and managed to squeeze in an audition.  I feel like I’m running, running, running! (Okay – bad use of the word running…I’m still not physically running, le sigh).  Remarkably I’m feeling a bit better about the whole not running thing.  Or maybe I’ve just started to accept it as the best thing for right now.  I’m still hopeful a fall race is in my future – though I am also accepting the reality that a sub 1:50 half-marathon is not very likely.  And that’s okay.  At this point, I’d be happy just being able to run at all!  I’m going to pull the trigger on a race sometime in August when I need to start my training.  For the next few weeks I’m going to enjoy a real break from running and focus on fitness in other ways.  I’m thinking of it as my vacation from running.  I also have enough other hobbies to keep me verybusy!

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These guys are feeling sad and neglected.

Nashville

Last weekend I made my first voyage to Adam’s new home in Nashville!  It was a wonderful visit and awesome to check out his new place.  I wasn’t able to help him apartment search so it was my first time seeing his apartment.  He did a great job picking it out – great location and very cute.  It’s definitely small, but the location makes it worth it.  We had fantastic weather and spent time helping some friends from college apartment hunt.  You read that correctly – two of our close friends are also moving to Nashville!  How cool is that?!  The weekend was far too short, and it made me a little jealous of the three of them down there without me!  Patience Kelly.  On my drive back to Indy I was pretty sad.  Okay, really sad…but it makes me so happy knowing Adam has an awesome gig down there!

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Out with friends – the new Nashville crew unites!

Adam also officially started his residency!  Scary stuff.  He’s really a doctor now (crazy!) and has 4 years of training to continue learning.  Adam is one of the most calm people I know- just cool as a cucumber, seriously…nothing ruffles his feathers.  The day before his first day of work was a different story – he was nervous, stressed, quiet, distracted.   I was actually fascinated by it!  It was so interesting to see a totally different side to him.  He has now survived his first week and is settling into things.  The days are long (12-14 hours) and he only gets 1 day off a week for this rotation (no 4th of July celebration for him), but I know he’s really happy with his program and is learning a lot!  He’s not really getting workouts in, but at this point I’m just hoping he eats food and sleeps!  Priorities people!  It will be interesting to see how we settle into a new routine of long distance with his extreme schedule.

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Absolutely I took a picture of Adam walking into his first day at the hospital like a creepy stalker.

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Celebratory sushi! Here’s to the first year of residency! Hopefully not like Grey’s Anatomy.

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Look – I’m a doctor now… I get an iPad.

Nashville itself is an awesome city.  I can’t wait to spend more time there.  We ate a lot of great food, heard a lot of awesome music, and soaked in the fabulous warm weather.  It’s an exciting next step!

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I love brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night – how convenient!

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Our first breakfast out and about in Nashville!

An Audition

One of my favorite Christmas classics, White Christmas, will be on stage in Indianapolis!  I adore the music and story and couldn’t wait to audition for it.  I thought the auditions would come sometime in September, right before rehearsals.  Surprise!  They were Monday of this week – yes, it’s July!  They did joint auditions for another show (which I may or may not have also auditioned for?), which is in September, hence the earlier audition.  I found out about it last week and scrambled to get myself ready in time.  The only problem: I have extreme audition anxiety.  It’s terrible!  I love performing and have been doing it since I was a kid (singing, dancing, acting)… but auditions are a nightmare for me.  I could hardly think on Monday… talk about nervous wreck.  In light of this extreme anxiety, I still did pretty well at the audition!  My definition of pretty well?  Really I just want to perform my pieces well (1 minute monologue, 16 bars of music, dance combination).  Auditions are so much more than just ‘nailing it’ and you get the part.  The director also usually is going for a specific look, age, etc. etc.  There are so many factors going into the final casting – all I hope to do is perform my personal best.  And I did!  I was thrilled.  I may not be what they are looking for – but I showed them what I can do!  I anticipate it will take up to a week to hear any word, and everyone that auditioned will get a call whether we are in the show or not.  That is such a relief to find out either way.  My fingers are crossed!

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Number 25 – my FAVORITE number. Can you tell that I’m beyond nervously sickly anxious?

Wedding Dresses!

With both my Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor in town for the 4th – we made good use of our time and went bridesmaid dress shopping!  Wohoo!  I was hoping for a dress that complements mine, but  also fun and something they love.  Essentially they could pick any dress they wanted as long as it didn’t look dumb.  :)  I’m easy to please.  Amazingly enough we all settled on the same dress!  We all love it (or they are really good liars) – really there couldn’t be a better fit!  It looks amazing on both of them, is comfortable, the same material as my dress (shh… a clue), and has pockets!  Could it get any better than that??  The only issue?  We don’t know what color… yeah slight hiccup.  Unfortunately the store didn’t have samples of the fabric in sizes larger than tiny so we couldn’t decide.  I’m leaning towards blue, gray, and ivory as my “colors” – but there were a couple of shades that fit that category.  Adam is thinking navy would look best against a winter backdrop, as it will add some contrast.  But… a beautiful light periwinkle might be gorgeous too!  Any opinions on the colors?  I keep hoping I will wake up in a moment of epiphany and know the perfect color!

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Hmmm… blue? (Not this dress…but this fabric)

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Or gray?? (Not this dress, but this fabric)

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Or one of these colors??

Happy Hump Day!

-Kelly

Any opinions on bridesmaid dress colors?  Have you ever auditioned for a musical?