Archive | November, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: My Brother’s Wedding

20 Nov

Hey All!  A little bit of fun for today – the official photos for my brother’s wedding are complete.  Swoon, swoon, and triple swoon.  Can you say swoon more in one post?  Mylanta they are just GORGEOUS.

When I said this was the most beautiful wedding I’ve attended – I mean it!  Andrew and Carolina did almost everything on their own – no planner!  Hard to believe with all the details and gorgeousness you’re about to see.  They have an awesome network of friends and family down in Atlanta that helped bring their vision to life.  I had the most difficult time picking which pictures to post – there were hundreds of just beautiful images.  I wanted to share a little wedding crack with you – enjoy :)

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What wedding is complete without mimosas?! Note: You might see this same picture from my wedding, Carolina is letting me borrow these cute glasses!

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Getting all dolled up!

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My beautiful sister Julie!

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Carolina adding the final touches. A stunning bride.

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With the dress – almost time!

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My sister and I getting Carolina all ready – sisters! :)

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My handsome brother waiting on his bride for their first look.

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Leading Carolina out to meet her almost husband!

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Umm… is this a magazine? Seriously gorgeous.

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My brother’s face. So, so happy.

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Such a beautiful couple!

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Carolina carried the most gorgeous bouquet. Exotic and elegant… but simple enough to not be distracting.

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I loved Carolina’s head piece. It was so simple and beautiful, but added a lovely bridal touch. A perfect veil alternative.

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I loved the guys’ boutonnieres – so simple, but so sharp.

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The reception was inside the winery to the right, and the ceremony down the hill to the left. Beautiful.

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SUCH a cute card and gift table.

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Fun and informative programs.

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Adam walking my parents down the aisle.

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Walking down! Don’t cry, don’t cry.

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Carolina’s Dad walking her down the aisle.

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Gorgeous ceremony. Gorgeous setting.

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A packed house full of Brazilians, Americans, Dutch, and many other cultures. It was an international event!

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Carolina has two adorable daughters and the four of them did a beautiful unity canvas ceremony. Such a fun way to include the girls and symbolize the creation of a new family.

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Adam and I sang ‘Lucky’ during the canvas ceremony. Notice Gabi dancing like a crazy girl! She’ll be one of our flower girls and I can’t wait to see what antics she’ll do then!

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Husband and Wife!!

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My cute parents recessing from the ceremony. So happy!

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The whole group.

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Don’t mind me, I’m just a weird lurker peeking around my sister. HAH.

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Julie and I all ready to party!

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Heading into the reception – it was so beautiful. Simple, but every detail accounted for! They used the same chairs for the ceremony and the reception – brilliant!

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The wedding was at a winery which provided a beautiful subtle theme.

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Simple centerpieces with a fun book to write happy notes to the new couple.

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Some of the most heartfelt speeches I’ve ever heard at a wedding. Absolute perfection. Love the joy on Carolina’s face!

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Cutting the cake. Holy yum. Brazilians love their treats :)

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First dance. So beautiful.

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Mother/Son dance. So cute to watch those two. My Mom looked so radiant!

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This was the most touching moment ever. The two girls joined ‘Grandma’ and their new step dad! I think they felt like they were missing out on the action!

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Andrew and his new partner in crime.

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This wedding was FULL of amazing, thoughtful details!! The favors included little character faces with a cute note on the back. Carolina got these made on etsy. The drawings looked just like them.

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The favors included treats from the US (Andrew’s home country), Brazil (Carolina’s home country), and the Netherlands (where they met).

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My sister caught the bouquet like a boss.

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DJs extraordinaire.

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Goodnight and farewell Newlyweds!

  As you can see it was a beautiful, touching, and FABULOUS event.  It was so much fun, and the perfect wedding for a perfect couple.

All photos taken by Caca Santoro Photography – she was so wonderful and did a fabulous job!

-Kelly

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The Surprising Similarities Between Dancing and Running

19 Nov

Remember that one time that this blog was a running blog, that actually talked about running?  Yeah it’s a foggy memory in my head too.  Thanks to my knees breaking and getting engaged…I do more wedding planning (daily) than running (never, thanks knees).  Life happens.  And for the record, I’m determined to be a runner’s knee success story that you all can read/cheer about, as I throw a celebration parade and toss candy throughout all the land. Slightly excited about that mayhaps…

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The past few weeks I’ve spent a ton of time dancing in preparation for the musical White Christmas (which opens FRIDAY!).  Through my dance rehearsals I’ve been reminded of running somewhat frequently, and thought I’d have a little fun comparing and contrasting the two.  Because let’s be serious, the dance floor is as close as I’m going to get to running for another few months.  Er, yeah, makes perfect sense. Go with me.

Similarities between Dancing and Marathoning

  • Your feet are just disgusting.  Whether it’s blisters, sores, or other nasties… they just aren’t that pretty. AND you can’t get a pedicure because you’re afraid of losing your callouses. I’m tempted to post pictures, but I will spare you all.  You’re welcome.
  • It is freaking hard.  After my 4 hour dance rehearsal I actually uttered, ‘That was literally harder than a marathon.’  Keep in mind one (usually) trains for a marathon and this dance rehearsal was the first session for me in many years.  Let’s just say I wasn’t properly trained for it.
  • It can be both thrilling and frustrating.  GAH must stop running, WEEEH must never stop running!  GAH can’t get this stupid lift, WEEEH let’s dance like this forever!
  • The right attire can improve comfort and reduce chaffing.
  • Shoes make all the difference.
  • You’re tempted to text pictures of your feet to friends and family because you feel like a warrior.
  • If you’re asthmatic like me, you have to remember to take your inhaler before you begin!
  • Stretching can make all the difference in performance and reduces injury.
  • You secretly hope people will start chanting your name in support.
  • You plan your other workouts around your runs/dancing rehearsals… because of course, you want fresh legs!
  • It can make you sore.  Really, really sore.
  • Holy moly does it make you hungry!  Why yes I need to scarf that whole lunch box!!  I’m a growing girl!

So even though I can’t run, I’m still hanging in there (read: keeping very busy and distracted).  PLUS I’m managing to find a way to ‘blog’ about running.  Win and Win.  Just FOUR days until the show opens… holy tummy ache.  Last night was the first night with microphones and lights, tonight we’ll add some more costumes, and tomorrow I get my wig.  Things are getting real!  Hope you all had a great weekend!

Kelly

Wedding Friday: My Bridal Look

15 Nov

Warning: very girly and long wedding post. :)

With White Christmas opening NEXT FRIDAY the wedding has taken a real back seat.  Most of the big tasks are out of the way and we’re down to details.  Adam and I are feeling pretty good with our progress, as we front-loaded many decisions and tasks due to the holidays and White Christmas.  The show runs for 4 weekends, so I’m going to be a pretty busy lady until December 16th… and then it’s Christmas… and then it’s WEDDING TIME!  My how time flies when you’re having fun.

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Hooray! It’s almost show time!

One of the fun parts of the wedding for me has been determining my ‘look’ for the big day.  I’ve thought a lot about all of the details including the dress, under garments, make-up, and all the small special touches.  For you brides out there (I’m talking to you Lily) or people who just enjoy wedding crack (I’m talking to you Meghan)… here are some of the details I’ll be wearing/doing on January 18th!

Beauty

New Routine

For the last couple months I’ve upped my normal beauty routine.  Instead of forgetting to wash my face or put on lotion (like I normally do,) I’ve gotten more regimented about my habits.  Yay!  I really hope this sticks around after the wedding.  Some of the things I’m doing to feel extra ready:

  • Acne control: I already used ProActiv on a daily basis.  I’ve never had a huge problem with acne, but I do get the occasional breakout.  I used ProActiv in college and loved what it did to my skin.  I started using it every morning a few months ago (I only do the regimen once a day).  I have noticed a smoother look to my skin and less random zits popping up  (pun intended, har har)
  • Wrinkle Cream: Yes because I’m at that lovely age where I use both acne lotion and wrinkle lotion :)  I put on some anti-aging cream at night before I go to bed.  I read an article when I was a teen about how important it is to start moisturizing and that your 20s are a great time to start using anti-aging cream.  I took it to heart!  The main benefit is that I’ve noticed my skin is more moisturized.  With a winter wedding.. just what I need.
  • Body lotion: Am I the only one who gets a bit scaly in the winter?  Normally I’m super lazy with body lotion and just put it on once my skin is dry and sad (aka when it’s too late).  This year I’ve decided to be proactive and put on lotion every day after my shower.  My skin is much smoother and I’m liking this new habit.  Fingers crossed that I’ll avoid scaly wedding skin (lovely thought right??)
  • Teeth whitening: So I’m a huge ‘teeth’ person.  Don’t know what it is, but I’m a big fan of a bright nice smile. (Side note: When I lived in Costa Rica, my Polish co-worker said she knew I was an American before I even spoke by my ‘movie star smile that many Americans have’ – her words not mine.  Maybe a nice smile is a cultural thing?!)  I’ve used Crest Whitestrips in the past, which are awesome.  I have pretty sensitive teeth and my sister recently recommended the crest whitening mouth wash.  I LOVE it and its effects are gradual, but noticeable, which is great.  I use it about every other day and I think my smile is coming along quite nicely.  I don’t want to have a super bleached look (you know what I’m talking about), but something nice and bright.

Hair/Make-up

For the actual day of the wedding I decided to get my hair and make-up done.  Now this one was a big surprise to some of my family members.  Mainly because I’m pretty adept at doing hair and make-up (mainly make-up).  I’ve been performing my whole life and do make-up for friends and family if they have a special occasion or event.  Here’s the thing… could I do my hair/make-up?  Absolutely.  Do I want the stress/anxiety of doing my hair and make-up!?  Heck no.  I want to relax and know that whatever happens I hired a professional to deal with it.  Bad hair day?  No problem.  Make-up issues?  No big deal.  I’ll happily do my make-up for other weddings or other people… but with such a huge event I just want to be pampered.  Call me crazy :)

One other note on this.  I know many people feel that we shouldn’t perpetuate society’s crazy ideas that the wedding is “the best day of your life” and “the bride has to look her best, oh and groom just show up” and you must “diet down and sweat for the dress.”  I’m really not a fan of all that pressure out there (particularly on females).  Planning a wedding is enough stress.  BUT.  I enjoy make-up, I enjoy dressing up, and for me this is a very fun excuse to do some special things that I will likely never do again (hello, make-up artist?).  I want to be clear that I don’t feel this is necessary for a wedding, or even something that you should do. It’s just something fun for me, so I plan to partake, because seriously when is the next time I’m going to get a facial?  Um never.  And for the record I do want to look great!  Not because society says so, but because it’s a huge party… and well… who doesn’t want to look awesome at a party (especially one they are hosting).  Can I get a heck yeah?  But can I also get a heck yeah for those gals that prefer less grooming on their wedding day?  Totally support and understand that.  Because truthfully… Adam and I could wear pajamas and no make-up and this day will still be so incredibly special because we’re joining lives and getting married.  Not because I got my make-up done (though let’s be real, that’s pretty special too;)). Okay stepping down from soap box.

I’ve decided to go with airbrush make-up (yes it’s extra, boo) and actually went with one of the more highly rated places (read: expensive, GAH). I’m happy to cut corners in many places… but not on my face (I actually tried and my sister was like… Kelly, what is the point of hiring a nice photographer if you look crazy in the face.  Good point Jules).  And especially because I know how to do my make-up, I really might be critical and want a true artist :)  I went with the same place a friend used and she seriously looked like a goddess.  Like, model amazingness.  She said the make-up lasted til the next day and it was the best experience.  Fingers crossed I find the same thing!  I have a trial coming up in December to get all the details worked out.  I played around with my look to get an idea and I want something natural looking with a nice bright lip.  It’s winter so I sort of want to look rosy cheeked, like I was just out for a snow ball fight, on my wedding day. Yep, that happens.  Sorry for the selfie…

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I make an exception for selfies when showing make-up is involved.

With my hair my sister also offered up some brilliant advice: put it back.  I really prefer my hair in some variation of down but Julie said, “Kelly, before every picture you’re going to ask me which side should have hair in front.  Or maybe I should put this hair in back behind my shoulder?  And how does it look?  And is there still curl?  Knowing you, you just need it back.”  So back it is!  I haven’t fully decided on the style.. but classy, with some swoop-age.  Adam’s only request is ‘not promish’.  So some variation of this:

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Ooo so classy.

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She is so gorgeous. My hair may be too thick for this style, but I love it!

I’m also planning on putting in a sparkly hair piece since my jewelry is minimal.  I found this comb on Rent the Runway that I think I may use. Ooo fancy.

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Pearls and sparkles, ooo la la!

Accessories

Jewelry

I’ll be wearing my engagement ring, my old roomie’s earrings, and a necklace at the reception.  Because of my bolero, I will only wear earrings during the ceremony, and add the necklace for the reception once my dress is strapless.  I’m hoping to create a simple, but elegant look.  I’d say the overall feel I’m going for is elegant.  If people think in their head “Oh she looks so classy” I’ve done my job!

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My earrings and necklace I plan on wearing. The earrings belong to my former roomie and the necklace I already had.

My something “old” is my Great Great Aunt Julie’s sapphire ring. The ring is super old and beautifully fun.  It will be special wearing such an old family heirloom.  Oh and it’s gorgeous.  This will go on my right ring finger.

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Didn’t even know we had ‘heirloom jewerly’ til my Ma pulled this one out of nowhere!

Veil

This is my something borrowed.  I’m using a dear friend’s veil that conveniently matches my dress perfectly!  I originally wanted a drop veil – which is essentially like a big sheet of tulle that also covers your face.  My friend’s veil just is in the back, which is just fine.  Adam wasn’t a big fan of the face veil so that helped me come to a decision on that (though I am just the slightest bit sad that I won’t have a blusher).  Plus veils like I want are like 400 dollars.  How is that possible!?

Rings

The rings have finally been picked up and here’s the finished look.  Hooray.  So thrilled with how they turned out.  I love the idea of having a simple band that I can wear alone should I want to leave my engagement ring safely at home!  And the contrast against my engagement ring is nice, by my eyes anyways!

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Adam’s ring and mine!

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My set together.

Winter Details

The fabulous part of having a winter wedding is the fun wintery details I get to include!  I’ve decided (or attempted) to not go too overboard on the winter-ness and incorporated some fun elements that seriously make me giddy.

Gloves

I want something for my hands to stay warm, but also that add to my look.  I found a pair of gloves on Etsy that were perfection.  Conveniently enough, Adam’s Grandma knits/crochets!  She agreed to make me some ivory gloves and I’m SO thrilled.  It will be SO special to have her create my gloves.  Can’t wait to wear them! She’s making some gray ones for my ladies.  Such cuteness.

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Look at that bow! So cute!

Leg Warmers

Okay, we’ve all seen the wedding shoe shot.  It’s fun, it’s cute…and I want one too.  I thought about boots for the shoe shot, but then thought… wait a minute.  What about leggings!? I found some ivory leggings that serve the practical purpose of keeping me toasty, but also adding a fun look.  My girls are going to get some leggings too.  Cute and practical!

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Love my little leg warmers!

Tights/Thigh Highs

During my brother’s wedding I learned something very important.  If you wear tights that go up above your bellybutton and you have a fitted dress…you have to essentially take the dress off to go to the bathroom.  I kid you not, I had to take my dress off every time I went to the ladies room.  It was ridiculous. This also meant my sister had to accompany me.  Every. Single. Time.  With my wedding dress I would have to do the exact same thing (gross).  Enter the solution: Thigh highs!  I’ll still get warmth, without the hassle.  I also hate that my thighs rub together at the top, so these should help with the rub (it doesn’t matter what size I am, my legs always rub a little bit.  #firstworldproblems). Thigh highs are kind of fun and classy too.

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ooo so fancy.

Scarf/Shawl

Instead of a coat, I’m planning to wear a shawl/scarf thing.  I know I’ll be a bit chilly…but honestly we aren’t planning on being outside much.  I’ll be able to survive for the pictures! And it was 12 dollars.  I don’t want to buy a beautiful coat that I will only wear a few times.  I already have an ivory jacket that I will wear when we’re not doing pictures if it’s insanely cold.  Plus I love the more casual feel of the shawl.

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Here’s my shawl with the bridesmaid dresses.

I also have my bolero over my dress so I don’t look strapless and freezing.  Can’t WAIT to show you guys the whole look.

I feel like my personal details are really coming along and I’m so excited for these little touches that will make the whole look special.  Just 64 days!

-Kelly

What beauty tips do you have for me to get me ready?  Did you have any personal touches on your wedding day?  Any other advice for me!??

Learning to Like Yoga

12 Nov
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My trusty yoga mat – maybe I’m also learning to tolerate it because Adam used it to propose. He’s a tricky one.

Yoga and I have long been sworn enemies.

“Wait, I just have to stand there holding that position?!  Where is the cardio?  Where is the high intensity?  I’m bored.  Are we done yet?”

“Hmm, so you’re telling me that I need to just relax and sit there?  And  empty my mind?  How the heck do I do that!?”

and…

“I’m expected to hold positions called ‘downward facing dog’ and ‘tree’ and take this whole thing seriously?  Yoga people are in la-la loosey goosey land”

All of these thoughts have crossed my mind about yoga at one point or another. For many years I had a flat out yoga boycott. “It’s stupid and touchy feely, therefore I will not do it.”  That seemed to be enough for me.  I happily avoided yoga, pursuing other fitness endeavors including running, zumba, or the elliptical. But within the last year, something within me has changed: I have learned to appreciate yoga.  This has been a conscious effort and it hasn’t been without work!  It’s a huge step and honestly, I’m not that upset about it :)  These are some of the reasons I wanted to ‘learn to like’ yoga:

  • It is very complimentary to high intensity fitness.  Doing yoga on my “off” days is perfect.  It allows me to remain active and workout, without too much wear and tear on my body.  I use it for days off from both running or lifting.
  • It can be refreshing.  Once you understand it and know some basics, it can feel very refreshing when you’re done. It took me about 6-8 months to feel ‘refreshed,’ but eventually it happened.
  • I am injured.  Yeah, between my knees and now my ankle, I wanted a form of fitness that I can do despite injury or age.  Yoga rarely irritates my knees.  Yoga FTW.
  • Increased flexibility which helps other things.  Whether it’s running or dancing, increased flexibility can have a positive effect on performance.  I have really enjoyed the new flexibility gained.  Makes me feel less “old” :)
  • I feel like yoga is helping me have a more ‘well rounded approach’ to caring for my body.  Instead of focusing on burning calories and high intensity, I’m giving my body a little love by forcing myself to slow down, stretch, and smell the roses.   All things I need!
  • I can’t run so I need something where I can ‘zone out’ – after months and months finally yoga is that for me.

So how did I do it?  How did I force myself to learn to like yoga?  Well, first of all… it takes time.  And in my case, lots of time.  I didn’t expect it to happen overnight, and frankly I had very low expectations for even liking it at all.  Here’s what I did.

How I Learned to Like Yoga

  1. Start with a DVD.  I started doing yoga out of the comfort of my own home.  I didn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed in front of a bunch of yogis.  I didn’t have to worry about not knowing what the heck to do.  And for me, this method was perfect.  I could watch the DVD and learn on my own schedule and timing (conveniently could pause it if I needed more time to study a move).  The DVD got me familiar with the lingo and ‘language’ of yoga.  Heck, it even allowed me to laugh out loud at some of the ‘silly phrases’ that can come along with yoga.  What can I say, I’m mature.
  2. Start with a routine.  I did yoga every Thursday.  I just knew it was my yoga day and dang it if it was scheduled, I was going to do it.  I did the DVD as a rotation of other workouts so I was in the habit of working out every day and yoga was just the next one in line.
  3. Mentally prepare for it.  Starting about Wednesday morning I had to start ‘talking myself into yoga’ so I’d be ready by Thursday morning (and wouldn’t press the snooze button).  I would give myself the expectation that I was going to do it and think about all the reasons why I wanted to do it (distress, stretch, flexibility, stamina, mental health). Self talk can be a powerful thing!
  4. Start small.  P90X has a yoga DVD that is 90 minutes long. NINETY MINUTES!  Well knowing my hatred of yoga I knew that just wasn’t a smart way to get me to do it.  Adam and I found a yoga DVD that had 6 different segments that averaged 20 minutes long.  We could do anywhere from 20-60 minutes by combining different segments instead of 90 minutes.  This was my gateway to yoga.
  5. Get a mat.  Making a small financial investment in yoga made me feel more invested ‘in my practice.’ I guess I would liken it to runners buying their first pair of ‘real’ running shoes… just makes you feel like a runner.
  6. Be patient and kind to yourself.  Holy cow those first few weeks months of yoga were frustrating.  I felt like I literally couldn’t do anything. I tried to be kind to myself and constantly reminded myself that this was a journey that would take awhile and benefits would come.  They may take forever, but they’d come.  It took a lot of positive self talk (remembering the why) to get me to return.
  7. Have an accountability partner.  When I first started yoga I had Adam to encourage me to keep going.  And I could encourage him on the days he felt less than enthused.  Now that I’m out of the hating phase, I don’t need one as much – but it was incredibly helpful during those first few months.
  8. Take a class.  When you finally feel ‘ready’ – take a class!  Just a few weeks ago I took my first yoga class after about a year of doing yoga at home.  It was awesome!  I could understand what was going on and while I’m by no means great at yoga, I felt competent at least attempting most of the moves.  In the class I learned more proper technique for some moves and it was very beneficial.

So there you have it – my recipe for success.  I still don’t ‘love’ yoga, but I’ve made huge strides. This morning I voluntarily chose my yoga DVD because I’ve been pretty sore lately due to all the dancing and P90X, and I wanted a low impact workout to take care of my body.  Yep, I wanted to do it.  Crazy things can happen kids.  I guess it’s time to call a truce with my war on yoga.

Hope you’re all having a great week.  Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Do you do yoga?  Why?  Any major benefits you enjoy?

Sometimes All You Need is a Break

6 Nov

After returning from my whirlwind Bachelorette weekend I was excited to get started with P90X.  After finishing 90 days of ChaLean Extreme on Friday, I was pumped and ready for the next challenge.  Well… insert a little bit of standby travel drama and suddenly it’s Tuesday morning before I’m back home for a workout.  All my plans to complete my fitness test and my first whole week of P90X sort of crumbled.  Suddenly I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store (being delayed 24 hours can put quite a kink in the week!), and I needed more days in the week to get my schedule accomplished.  Throw in sleep deprivation from a fun filled amazing weekend (yes, worth it ;)), and I had the recipe for complete P90X failure.

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One of my fav bachelorette gifts. Oh the perks of getting married in winter!

Instead of following my own advice of waiting until you’re really ready to begin P90X, I just jumped in and tried to stay afloat.  There was a bit more sinking than swimming so I decided to redub the week “Pre-P90X week.”  And I’m so glad I did!  This translated to finishing 3 of the workouts which started to get my body and brain used to the intensity and length.  I also got the fit test out of the way (umm so much weaker when I don’t have Adam to compete against encourage me).  I managed to stay pretty active, but also allowed myself time to rest and relax from the weekend.  I took a few glorious days to sleep in and not feel guilt free about my workout.

This was my best “break week” yet!  Mainly because it was a break week of moderation.  I still worked out, but not every day.  This left me feeling refreshed, but not uber lethargic from no workouts at all.  Sometimes when I take a week or two off, I just totally jump off the wagon and IT’S SO HARD to get back on.  Moderation break week = awesome. Additionally, food-wise,  I enjoyed some Halloween splurges that were fun, without going overboard (which is sometimes what happens when I allow myself a break day or week).  This nice moderation allowed me to get more excited about P90X, but allow some freedom… the perfect blend.  Everything in moderation as my Mom always says!

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Yes I will enjoy this cupcake in moderation.

This week I ‘started’ P90X strong and I’m feeling great about it.  I got my chopping party in on Sunday and have my food ready for the week (YUM!  I forgot how much I enjoyed eating by post-it note).  With my measurements and fit test out of the way, I’ve really been able to focus on the workouts.  Perfection.

It’s fun working out again with Tony, he really is pretty ridiculous.  So far the longer workouts aren’t killing me yet, but it’s definitely an adjustment (let’s just say I’ve been running late all week).  So far I have completed Chest and Back (push-up city), replaced Plyo with ChaLean Intervals (my knees are still bugging me, and I softly rolled my ankle last week in rehearsal… don’t even want to talk about it. ), and did Shoulders and Arms this morning.  Tomorrow brings 1.5 hours of yoga. Yikes.

I will say folks… I’m sore.  Even though I’ve been doing ChaLean Extreme, it’s amazing how different exercises bring out different muscles. This is why I love variety!  There is truly no end in sight to pushing my body.  I guess I thought at a certain point I’d have more trouble getting sore… simply not the case!  Hmm.. I wonder what it’s like for professional athletes??  Do you guys still get sore when you switch to a new workout?

In other news, just 3 weeks until White Christmas opens!  I’ve been tapping, dancing, singing, and acting my little heart out every night.  Things have sure been busy (most nights eating dinner in my car, thank goodness for food prep).  I constantly feel my to-do list growing (hello thank you notes!) and my time shrinking!  I imagine the poor little blog may suffer a bit, but I’ll do my best to document my progress with P90X (and of course the wedding, we all know that’s my favorite part!).  Just know I send my love even if I send no posts :) In two weeks I’ll see my sports med doc for ankle/knee issues, looks like I’ll be facing my demons after all.  A bit nervous about what he’ll say about my running future.  Say a little prayer.

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The whole group heading to do some promotional photos!

And in wedding news… things are trucking right along!  Adam and I had our LAST premarital session Sunday (we’ve had to do like a million because we’re getting married at his family’s church, but I’m catholic so we need to do both… let’s just say fiasco).  We feel thoroughly “tested” (we had to take 2 multiple choice tests through the process) and know our strengths and weaknesses as a couple.  Knowledge is power right? As much of a “pain” it has been to fit in all these sessions, it is really nice going into things with every stone uncovered (okay many stones uncovered).  Should help make the whole marriage transition a bit easier!

Adam also finished up our wedding programs this week (I’m in LOVE) and we finished up “Our Story.”  This is a little book about how we met that we’ll have in the pews.  The story how we met is pretty unique and we thought it would provide some entertainment to our guests, and if you can’t tell…we both enjoy writing just a bit.  :)  Happy to have those big projects out of the way.  At this point I’m trying to switch my focus to the musical and off the wedding.  Easier said than done.

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Our rings! We went with simple gold bands. Because we’re cheap, I mean traditional.

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Happy after our last session! Sad because I had to say goodbye to Adam. :(

Anyways, have an awesome week!!  Power Yoga in the morning… GAH.  Wish me luck. 1.5 hours of yoga is a lot even for a ‘yoga-liker’ like me…I’m getting there Lucy and Catherine.  Slow and steady I’m starting to ‘like’ it.

-Kelly

The Best Weekend Ever: NOLA 2013

1 Nov

Sometimes you have those weekends that are great.  Sometimes you even have those weekends that are amazing.  Then a weekend comes along that is the best weekend ever.  This past weekend was my best weekend ever.  11 of my closest friends and I ventured on down to New Orleans for a Bachelorette party in style.  It. Was. Incredible.  Initially when my sister suggested New Orleans, I thought she was crazy. “Julie, everyone and their mother is doing these extravagant bachelorette parties!  I really, really don’t want to inconvenience my friends or pressure them into something they don’t want to do.”  Julie’s response? “Kelly, your friends are all over, they aren’t all in the same state… 80% of them will have to buy a plane ticket anyways, why not go to a tourist destination and make a weekend of it?  You can provide your friends with an experience.  We’re all adults, they won’t go unless they want to!”  And my goodness, an experience we had.  I hate to say Julie was right… but wow, Julie was right.  The weekend was perfection.  It was a great blend of “bachelorette” activities, but also some downtime of just strolling around the city and people doing their own thing.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect time.

My sister and I fly stand-by (my brother works for an airline) and managed to squeak onto the same flight from ATL to New Orleans (yay for flying together)!  We got in super late Friday night and crashed at our airport hotel. The official activities kicked off with lunch on Saturday, so we were able to sleep in and relax a bit before heading down to the French Quarter.

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Ready at the hotel before heading off!

With 12 gals, we squeezed 4 in a room and it worked out perfectly!  Before lunch we all managed to put our things in our rooms and settle in.  My close friend Jessica (who was the co-planner in this endeavor) created welcome bags for everyone.  It was so thoughtful and each bag had a mask, along with candy (yum) and a few other goodies (um, advil).  How cute is she??  Once the whole group was assembled (hello a million reunion hugs!), we ventured off to lunch.  Jess picked out a New Orleans favorite and we lunched right in the French Quarter.

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Eating lunch with the whole group. Yum!

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Exploring the city!

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Wandering around the French Quarter

I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this part of the city.  It was so quaint and really did have a European flair to it!  The weather was perfection and I kept wanting to pinch myself: I was here with 11 of my favorite people… how did this happen!??  I didn’t think that I would ever have such a gathering, I was just overwhelmed by the love and support.  I know bachelorette parties are all about celebrating and maybe a bit of partying, but honestly I felt somewhat emotional and sentimental the whole time.  It was so touching to have so many of my friends there, just a beautiful thing!

After lunch and a quick roam around the center square, we split up into smaller groups with some of the gals heading back to the hotel for a quick nap, and others venturing into more of the French Quarter.  My little group ended up going to the French Market and picked up some fabulous masks (a cheap and fabulous souvenir!).  We were delighted with our finds.

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Our little group bought some fabulous masks :)

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More roaming!

After a few hours exploring we went back to the hotel to get ready for some ‘official festivities!’ Our goal was to be ready, dressed, and back in our room for the night to begin.  My sisters (Julie and my two sister in-laws) set out to decorate the room with lots of candy, streamers, decorations, and even a pumpkin.

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Yep, this really happened. My friend Jess is the best.

We were in the Halloween spirit!  The plan was for all of my ladies to wear black and for me to wear white – when they arrived it was awesome.  We looked like such a coordinated group ready to hit NOLA!  Also the outfit selection was  fun and pretty painless for the rest of the girls.  They didn’t have to agonize over what to wear too much, and black looks amazing! I’ve been to bachelorette parties before where I really agonized over what to wear, I didn’t want to be too flashy or casual.  I’m a fan of dress codes in this situation!

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The whole gang in our coordinated outfits!

At 7 we started with a few games, drinks, and snacks in the hotel room.  We played something similar to the Newlywed Game- Julie emailed Adam earlier in the week and I had to guess his responses.  Every answer I got correct, the girls had to drink, and for every wrong answer, I had to take a drink.  It was pretty hilarious, and I did a decent job…though some of the questions were pretty ridiculous.  We also opened gifts (hilarious side note: all my gifts were super practical nighties and such.  One of my friends even gave me flannels.  Do my friends know me or what??!).  Afterwards I gave each of the girls a hand written card thanking them for coming and for their friendship over the years.  It was pretty special moment.  I really wanted to find some way to express my gratitude to my ladies, and well… writing worked for me! :)

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Pumpkins, cards, candy, and silly straws…what more could you need?

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My former roomie, Katie!

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My sister and sister-in-laws (Well Katie will be my sister-in-law in June!).

Toward the end of game time my sister started tying pink ribbons on each of the girls’ wrists.  I was confused at first, but she explained that every time I wanted a drink throughout the night all I had to do was untie the ribbon to claim my drink from that friend.  It was BRILLIANT.  1. It allowed me to be in control of how much I was drinking.  Honestly I don’t drink super often and I have a pretty low tolerance.  I really didn’t want to get sloppy, and this brilliant strategy worked perfectly.  2. It spread out the burden over the girls – it allowed them to each buy me a drink without one girl buying a million. I can’t recommend this strategy enough if you’re planning a bachelorette party in the future.

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The whole outfit! I rented my dress from Rent the Runway and found my little veil at Charlotte Russe for 8 bucks. And my sister in law got my sash on Etsy!

We also played a scavenger hunt throughout the night, taking various pictures for each of the requirements.  When Julie asked if I had any preferences about the party months ago, I just told her I didn’t want to get really drunk and I also didn’t want to do anything that would make me feel uncomfortable with other guys.  I picked Adam as my man; I personally didn’t really feel the need to spend time with guys – I was there with my girls!  This scavenger hunt was great because it wasn’t focused on other guys, mainly just doing silly fun things as a group.  Some highlights?  “Dance the Macarena as a group” (which we did to some random rap song in a club.. hilarious) and “take a picture with a police man” (thank goodness it was Halloween, a ‘cop’ jumped right in one of our pictures without us even asking.)  My sister did a perfect job finding fun activities that everyone thoroughly enjoyed without making me feel uncomfortable.

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Loaded up and ready to go to eat a late dinner.

After our “game time” we all loaded up into a 12 passenger taxi to Emeril’s restaurant.  Talk about FANCY!  I was in shock we were somewhere so classy.  This kind of thing just happens on pinterest or  in the movies or to other girls! I was just on cloud nine; I don’t think I’ve ever felt so special in my life. When we walked in, we made quite the splash with our coordinated outfits.  The food was divine and it was SO special being there with my ladies. A few of the toasts brought tears to my eyes, but I was proud I managed to keep it together (success!).  At one point, a little boy came over to our table asking if I was getting married.  I smiled yes and  asked his name (Noah) and age (9) and we took a picture together.  He was so cute and gave his friend a high five when he got back to his table, talk about adorable.  10 minutes later our waiter arrived with 12 fancy shots on a tray… from the two little guys at the table next to us!  Talk about learning how to be smooth with the ladies early on!!  Though, they were there with their Dads and we could tell their whole table was getting a kick out of the whole thing. We eventually reciprocated with 2 Rory Rogers (coke and grenadine… I used to have them as kid).  The whole thing was pretty hilarious and got our night started on the right foot!  After they left, we learned that one of the Dads was the founder of Jimmy John’s!  So the rest of the night we were feeling famous after getting a round from Jimmy John (that was not subs).

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Fancy ladies dining.

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My amazing friend Jess who helped pull this amazingness off. She carved three pumpkins, that’s dedication.

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Our fun masks! With my friend Allie.

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“Uh, did a 9 year old just buy us shots?!”

Once our delicious, fun, and wonderful beyond wonderful dinner ended, we loaded back up and went out to Bourbon Street to experience it in all its glory!  Because it was Halloween weekend it was madness.  People EVERYWHERE.  Costumes EVERYWHERE.  It was just surreal being there.  I LOVE dancing (pretty much nothing I love more, it’s a sick obsession) so we went to dance clubs, karaoke places, and danced some more.  Eventually we headed home around 4 am with some hilarious memories and everyone really in pretty good shape (myself included: success!).  I couldn’t BELIEVE we stayed out til 4 – I struggle to stay up til 11pm normally… this was shocking.  But just goes to show how time flies when you’re having fun.

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All the ladies out on Bourbon!

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The bride says we must dance!

The next day we woke up for a delicious breakfast at the Ruby Slipper, which really hit the spot (hello French Toast!). We wandered back to the hotel and packed up to say goodbye.  Everyone kept saying how amazing the weekend was and how happy they were that they came.  My little heart just wanted to explode.  I am so happy that everyone had such a good time.  I mean it was pretty amazing for me – but I wanted to make sure others had a great time too.

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Brunch the next day… so yummy.

Because I fly standby I had to try for a couple flights (major bummer) and eventually made it out of New Orleans on a flight to Memphis (success.. I thought I’d be in NOLA til Monday). I thought my troubles were behind me, but shocker…eventually got stuck in Memphis overnight.  I looked up how far Nashville was… my wheels were turning, maybe I could make lemonade out of lemons and see Adam!  It was just 3 hours.  I found a car rental for $35 and made the drive to overnight in Nashville.  After such a magical weekend it was AWESOME to get to see Adam, if only for about 2 waking hours!

I made it home late Monday thanks to some flight delays…but all of the hassle has been entirely worth it.  I’m so happy I have all my memories and pictures from such a treasured weekend.  I know I’ll remember this one for a long, long, LONG time.  This week has been a bit sleepier and hectic than usual, but a fair tradeoff for the best weekend ever, don’t you think??