Friday, November 13, 2015

If I Had to Describe Myself in a Shirt...

You know when you see something and think that it was made by some magical little elves that reside in your head? Because it's just so perfectly perfect that no one else's brain could have conceived it?

Or something like that.

That's how I felt when I saw this shirt.


All I care about is Rottweilers.


And like 2 people.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Look Out the Window




















I arrive at work this morning, energized and ready to tackle the day. I have some intense “excel” to do (as Tim would say) and I was ready to knock out this big item on my to-do list.

I get to the office, park in my usual spot overlooking the pond and now multi-colored trees, and head in the back door. Usually the first one from my team, I head down the dark hall without flipping on the lights. Something about the darkness and quiet before everyone else gets here is soothing to me.

I enter my office and flip on one of two switches so that only half of the florescent bulbs come alive with a buzz.

I start my typical Monday-Friday routine. I power up the computer, turn on my other monitor and digital frame, gazing for a moment at a silly picture of Tim with a bird on his head, and linger on it as it fades out to Piper and Bear snuggled on the couch.

I take my tumbler to the kitchen, clean it out, and refill with fresh ice, water, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I get back to my office, plop down in my rolling chair, nearly missing, and click away on the screen, firing up everything I need to get to work.

Then, like slamming head first into a brick wall, I see this:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

10 Completely Free and Crazy Useful Resources for Bloggers

I'm so excited to share today's guest post, written by Christine of 'Christine Everyday'. She's dishing about 10 great resources for bloggers and they are all free! I definitely use some of these religiously, and some I haven't heard of! So, while I go test some of these out, go ahead and read Christine's tips. Let us know what you've tried, liked, disliked, or what she can add to the list! ~Kali

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When I first started blogging, I was under the impression that all I needed was a blog.  I would just type up my posts, submit them to the wide world of the Internet, and wait for fame.  Pretty simple. Oh boy, how wrong I was. Blogging is a constant give and take of work and balance, and so many resources are needed to make our blogs more successful, and to save us time in all the tasks we have to as bloggers.  Between unique photos, social media community, blog design, and everything else, it is so great to have a handful of really useful resources to help you along your blogging journey!


Disqus 

This is my favorite comment platform, because your readers can sign on once and it will keep them signed on - not just on your blog, but on any blog that uses Disqus.  The platform is sleek, pretty, and functional, and allows for comments with minimal efforts.  This prompts more readers to comment, because let's face it, everybody hates having to type in their name, email address, and blog HTML every time they want to comment.  Plus, Disqus allows you to tag other users in comments, which makes it easy to share content with people who may enjoy it.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer 

This resource from CoSchedule (the producers of many helpful resources) is my favorite.  It is basically plug and chug - put in an idea for a title, and it scores it.  Not only does it give you a numerical score, but it color codes the scores.  A green color is the sign of a decent title, while yellow or red should be worked on!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Reduce Office Stress

Stressful workplaces are never good places to be. They can feel stifling, and they certainly don’t make for an open, pleasant or creative working environment. Reducing levels of stress should be a key aim for every business owner.
Mediation
Arguments occur in every workplace; there’s no way of escaping them. But these arguments can be dealt with positively, and they can be dealt with poorly. The trick is finding ways to resolve arguments and disagreements without making the situation even worse. This is why it’s vital to have a manager who is skilled at resolving problems without favoring either side of the disagreement. If the mediation is successful, the individuals involved should be able to shake hands and move on.
Time Planning
In the workplace, it always seems like there’s not enough time to get the necessary jobs done. That’s why it’s so important to manage time effectively, and plan what should be done when. If time isn’t managed properly, people could end up struggling to meet deadlines and being put under immense pressure. And all this leads to is increased levels of stress in the office. Time management training can help to solve this problem by teaching skills that aid the proper management of time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why I Hate Halloween



Don't get me wrong - I love the fall. I'm not crazy about the fact that we are barreling head first into winter, but for the brief moment that is fall in the Bluegrass, I love it. The colors, the crisp cool air, and, most importantly, fall wardrobes. I was meant to live in boots and dark colors.

While I love the fall weather, I have a love/hate relationship with October for one main reason... I hate Halloween.

I didn't always hate it. When I was younger, going trick-or-treating made it all worth it, of course. And then I was in denial in my teen years as it was fun to dress up and party with your friends.

But now that I'm a full-fledged, thinking-on-my-own adult, I feel free to express my minority opinion.

I HATE HALLOWEEN.

More specifically.. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE ARE OBSESSED WITH HALLOWEEN.

Here's why I just don't get it:

1. I don't like being scared.
Yes, I'm a big wuss who doesn't like scary movies, haunted houses, etc. I even get freaked out by people in masks. And I don't understand how people get enjoyment out of being scared out of their mind. How is that fun??

2. I'm not really crazy about kids.
Once I have my own, I'm sure I'll love taking them around the neighborhood, but as it stands now, the idea of interacting with strange children all night and pretending to be interested in their costumes does not sound appealing in the least. I'll be in the house with no porch light on watching TV with my dogs.

3. I don't like being morbid.
This may be my biggest issue with Halloween. Why do people enjoy putting tombstones, skeletons, blood and gore in their yard/house to decorate? Why do people paint their faces so it looks like they are distorted/burned/gushing blood? Why would someone want to dress up like a zombie or another gross creature? I have no answers! I don't want to celebrate death, I want to celebrate life, thanks.

4. What is it with horror movies?
For example, the Saw series. There is a psychopath who gets pleasure from terrifying and torturing people. And people all over the world flock to see this film? Yea.. I won't ever get that... sorry.

Somewhere in my early 20s I decided to let my true feelings known and I immeditately shut down any invitation to attend a haunted trail or a horror movie. I stopped trying to make myself enjoy scary things and just accepted that Halloween is not my holiday.

I'll keep my sparkly, magical, champagne-filled New Years Eve, and you people can keep your blood and guts. :)




P.S. Luckily, this year I'll be enjoying sunny Naples with my parents during Halloween weekend - sunshine and sand, here I come!

4 Steps for Writing a Successful Business Plan



Starting a business can be hard. There is a range of factors that often get in the way and make succeeding nearly impossible. The people that do succeed tend not to make mistakes. They realize that one simple mistake can lead to a whole host of problems. It is like a domino effect where one domino falls and the rest follow. So, what do they do to prevent mistakes? Usually, they make a business plan. A business plan details every movement of the company, effectively covering every base. However, they are not easy to create, so the person in charge needs a couple of tips to get started.


1. Executive Summary


The problem most business owners or management executives have is their intentions. Thankfully, Orrin Woodward and his Life Leadership Income Disclosure Statement are here to help. What they want from their business is buried away somewhere within the business plan instead of on the front page. A good business plan keeps the overall targets in sight all the way through the process. That way, a business never loses vision of what they want or how to hit their goals.


2. Explain The Business


The best bosses understand what sets them apart from the competition. How do they stand out from the rest of the sector? The second section of a business plan needs to explain and analyse what the product is and what it does. As a result, it also helps people understand what is unique about their product or service. How does the idea stand out from the crowd? What will customers gain from their purchase? Can the business develop to future changes to grow and expand? All these are questions that need asking and answering.

Monday, October 26, 2015

What Meeting Planners Want Their CSMs to Know






The Meeting Planner/Convention Services Manager relationship is an interesting one. You're assigned to work very closely with each other for a specific amount of time. You go through a lot together, working out every minute detail. It all culminates into a live event. And then it's over as quickly as it began.

Here's some things Meeting Planners want their CSMs to know.

We know you're busy.
It must be difficult focusing on in-house groups while your future planners are pulling you in multiple directions. I can see how that would make it hard to manage your time each day. While I'm mostly at my desk during the day, you may not even open your emails until 5pm. Just know that we understand the demands of your position.         

Our focus is this meeting.
While 4 months out you are mostly concerned with your in-house group and then with all the groups before us, for those four months we eat, sleep, and breathe THIS meeting. And we need your help.

Non-responsiveness is a silent killer.
Yes, we may bombard you with calls and emails every time we think of the smallest question. Even if we try our best to gather questions and then send to you all at once, you know our name is going to pop up in your inbox frequently. If you take a week to respond to one email, just know that we are panicking. Even sending a quick email saying you received our message and will get back to us tomorrow goes a long way for our mental stability.

We don't want to taint the relationship.
Even if we are concerned about your performance during the pre-planning stages, we probably won't tell you. You are our lifeline for this meeting. And this meeting is our baby. So the last thing we want to do is upset you and make you less eager to go above and beyond for us.

You have the power to make us look really good or really bad.
We take responsibility for the meeting in the eyes of our team, our bosses, the members/attendees and even the industry. So, if things go wrong during planning or on-site, it reflects poorly on us, whether or not it was within our control. On the other hand, if we work well together and the meeting runs smoothly, you can help us exceed the expectations of our invested parties.

We don't like giving bad feedback.
We really don't want to give you or your team poor results post-meeting. We want nothing more than to sing your praises to anyone who asks. But, we have to be honest. I've worked with CSMs who are outstanding on-site, but would take weeks to answer my questions in pre-planning. It made planning a big challenge and I felt obligated to mention it even though the live event was successful.


I've had some incredible CSMs that have made my life so easy, I want to send them a Christmas card. I've also had some not-so-stellar CSMs who have made me eager for my event to be over.

It's important to remember that for Meeting Planners, the pre-planning process is just as important as the live event. We want to feel like our CSMs are giving as much attention to our meeting as we are, even though we are just another group in their lineup.

In the end, we both want the same thing: a wildly successful event. With good communication and understanding of each other, we can get there.




Sunday, October 18, 2015

Best Tips For Working Up A Sweat


If you’re trying to get in shape then take my advice, just do it! It’s honestly a lot easier once you get started and get into a routine, as you can see from achievements on other posts. It’s definitely hard trying to work up the energy to get off the sofa. But once you make staying fit a personal life goal, you can have exorcise become a part of your day, everyday. Here are some tips to help get you started.


Buy The Equipment


When exercising, it’s important that you invest in the right equipment, even when the situation seems quite simple. For instance, if you’re running it’s important you buy a good pair of running shoes. If you run in shoes that have poor leg support, you may develop serious issues later in life. Essentially, what happens is that the force of running works down your bones, often leading to the development of arthritis. Similarly, if you are weightlifting, you should make sure you’re buying high quality weights from a good source. If you check out, https://www.fitkent.com.au you’ll find all the equipment you need.

Motivate Yourself


There are a couple of ways you can motivate yourself to exercise. A great way is to use music and by creating running playlists or exercise jams. Ideally, you want tracks with great beats. Dance tracks work quite well but you’ll find any upbeat song is awesome for lifting weights.


Aside from that, you can use apps to motivate yourself. Using an app you can keep track of your progress. If you’re doing well, knowing what you’ve achieved can help you push up your game. If the situation is poor then it can still encourage you to put more effort into it. It’s really a win-win and great for keeping a watch on your weight and diet as well.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The 'MEH' Mood



I got to work today and was thinking about how I'm just not "on it" today. Or really this whole week, to be honets. My energy is low, I'm eating like crap, I haven't been to the gym, my house is a dis-as-ter. And instead of tackling everything, I've been a lazy blob.

As I was scrolling through my daily reads, I saw this post from Steph. What a coincidence that she was writing about just want I was feeling. If "MEH" was a mood, it would be mine this week.

It's strange to me how I can be so fickle from week to week. Some weeks I'm super woman, going to the gym in the morning, killing it at work, coming home and knocking out laundry and even cooking!

Then there are weeks like this when I haven't been to the store, so I don't eat well. I just stare at the laundry pile, the dog-hair covered carpet, sigh, and proceed to the couch for some TV time.

Maybe it's the momentum issue I've talked about before. The more productive and "on it" I am, the easier it is to continue down that path. But when I get derailed from traveling, a fun weekend, or bad weather, the snow ball effect also happens, but in a negative way.

On days like this it makes me think.. are there really people who are "on it" 24/7, 365? It sure seems like there are.

I follow a blogger who is a mother of 3 young children, a wife, a career woman, and runs a lifestyle blog AND a cooking blog daily. She also seems to find time to volunteer, shop like crazy, and decorate her impeccable house for every season. Just reading her blog makes me feel inadequate. How does she do it?

I know the life that is shared online is not 100% real. I know her kids are probably fighting over something stupid and there's probably days they just order pizza (here's hoping). But on days like today, seeing people who are getting shit done makes me even less interested.

I'll just be over here on the couch that's covered in dog hair, thanks.

You've heard me say it before: Yesterday has no bearing on today. I know that I can get back on the train and my productiveness will come right back.

But today, MEH is still hovering over me like a dark cloud.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Some Thoughts on a Thursday



1. I've decided to start the Harry Potter journey all over again, from the beginning. And by journey, I mean the books. I've only read them through once and it was years ago, before the movies came out. So, I'm in for a long treat!

2. Tim decided last week that he no longer wants to eat any product that comes from a pig. He's disgusted with how many pigs are treated and tortured before slaughtering. It bugs him so much because pigs are extremely intelligent, even more so than dogs. And no animal deserves that.

After some thought, I've decided to join him in this effort. It feels nice to take a stand for something. Even if we won't make much of a difference, it feels good to not contribute to the issue.

Ham and pork will be pretty easy for me. But, I do love bacon and pepperoni, so those will be tougher to let go.

3. I'm starting to think of Christmas gifts for the people in my life. I like to try to buy a couple things here and there early so I don't have a huge cost in December.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Looking for Beauty Solutions








So lately I'm struggling with these makeup issues and can't seem to find the right solution, so I thought, who better to ask than my interwebers.

1. Eyelash curling

I have thick, long lashes that hold mascara nicely. But the problem is they are straight as a board. They actually angle down. I've tried several curlers. This Tarte curler is what I'm currently using. It does a good job but I have to curl a couple times before and after mascara. And throughout the day. (Side note- the Tarte mascara is awesome. Lengthens and defines without clumping. Unlike the Benefit one I tested.)

I was thinking of trying a heating curler like this Panasonic one I've seen ads for. Have any of you tried these? Any suggestions?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Keep Your Makeup In Place All Day With These Tips

There is nothing more irritating then looking in the mirror at lunchtime only to realize that almost all of your makeup has worn off. You might think that keeping your face in place all day long is impossible, but it’s actually, not.
With Winter on the way, you know that soon enough, on the way to work, you'll have to deal with wind and rain, which can lead to all sorts of makeup issues. That’s why we've got some great tips, to ensure that come Winter, you know how to keep your makeup in place all day long.
makeup.jpg
Cleanse your face
Before you start applying your makeup, one of the most important things you should do is cleanse your face. This will help to ensure that when you put your makeup on, that it sticks properly and won’t easily wear off.
Once you have cleaned your skin, the next step is to apply a lightweight moisturizer. Leave your moisturizer to be absorbed by the skin for a few minutes, so that when you apply your makeup, there is no oily residue left.
Always use primer
You know how your nail polish stays in place that little bit longer when you use a base coat? Well, it’s the same with your makeup, if you want it to stay in place, a base coat or primer is a must. Using a primer will help to fill in any open pores, it will help to blur imperfections and, best of all, it will act as glue for your makeup.
Top tip: Just like with moisturizers, there are different primers for different skin types. So when you are choosing a primer, make sure to pick one that is suitable for your skin type.
Opt for waterproof products
Want to stop the rain from causing your makeup to melt down your face - you need waterproof products. You have most probably heard of waterproof mascara, but did you know that you can also get a foundation that’s water-resistant?
Don’t apply makeup with your fingers
Far too many of us use our fingers when applying makeup. However, if we want our makeup to stay on all day, we shouldn’t do. Our skin has oil in it, which gets spread onto each surface that we touch, including our face. Oil can cause your makeup to run more quickly, which is why it’s so important to use makeup brushes when applying your products.
Set your makeup
Once you have finished applying your makeup, use a translucent powder to fix it in place. Using powder over the top of your other products will soak up any excess oil on your skin, and will set your makeup in place.
Top tip: If you wear pencil eyeliner, sweep a small amount of powder under the eyelids and use it to ensure that your eyeliner doesn’t smudge.
These are just some helpful tips to keep your makeup in place all day!



This is a sponsored post, not written by Kaliwood.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hootie and The Skinnyfish



Growing up my Dad often made us listen to his music. Whether it was playing in the house or on 12 hour road trips to New York, I quickly learned songs from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eagles, The Who, and the list goes on.

It comes in handy at weddings because people love to play the throwbacks and I usually know them all. I also can appreciate cover bands at events. Thanks, Dad.

For some reason, when I was younger, and my father mentioned "Hootie and the Blowfish" I always pictured this band of really fat guys. I guess I assumed that if a group was calling themselves the blowfish, then they must be larger than life. So one day I searched the band online and came to find that they weren't overweight at all. In fact, they were quite thin.



The oh-so-witty preteen Kali then started calling them "Hootie and the Skinnyfish" anytime my Dad would ask "Do you know who sings this one?"

Whenever Dad said "blowfish" I would correct him, "It's skinnyfish!"

Now I realize this joke is lame, but that's not the point of my story. I never really appreciated the Hootie songs back then. I don't know if I didn't give them a chance or never really paid attention, but I pretty much wrote off the skinnyfish.

Fast forward to my adult days. "Hootie" is now Darius Rucker, a crazy successful country singer. I start loving his songs and realize that this man has the most incredible voice I've ever heard. It's one of those effortless voices that sounds phenomenal without trying.

Then it hits me. This is HOOTIE. Like, ringleader of the skinnyfish, Hootie.

If his voice is this good, then....

Download and listen to every single Hootie and the Blowfish song they ever made.

BAM.

Instantly become obsessed with Hootie and the Blowfish.

And now I'm sad! Because I didn't appreciate them when they were actually a band. And now I'll never see them live in concert.

I keep looking out for Darius to tour near me, hoping that maybe he'll sneak some throwbacks into his set list.

I even think "Hold My Hand" would be an awesome father/daughter wedding dance song. Especially with our history with the skinnyfish.

Until then, you'll find me driving with the window down blaring some Hootie and the Skinnyfish any chance I get.




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Diet Battle: Tips to Make Small Improvements



I saw this quote the other day and it really resonated with me. I've heard from multiple trainers and nutritionists that losing weight and being healthy is 80% diet. And now matter how many times I hear it or read it, my heart sinks every time. I'm not a fast-food-eating kind of girl, but I do love my queso.

The very first time I even thought about losing weight, I immediate thought I would simply increase my physical activity (ie: start working out) and the pounds would just come right off! I quickly realized I no longer have the metabolism of a 16 year old, and that wasn't going to work.I also realized that I don't just want to lose weight. Yes, I'd like to lose ten pounds or so, but more importantly, I want to be healthy overall. We only get one body and one life, so I want to take care of myself as much as possible. We recently had a wellness seminar in the office that focused on the consequences of what we eat. Our speaker pointed out that you should care about what foods you are eating not just because they may make you fat, but because they may harm you in other ways as well.With all of that knowledge, the 80% still gets me. I'm no gym rat, but I still find it much easier to go out for a run than to say 'no' to Happy Hour. Social activities involving food are my love language. They say that making small changes is easier to do than to overhaul your entire life at once. So that's what I've been trying to do. I've talked about how I struggle with motivation, how setbacks have no bearing on future performance, and other fitness topics, but today I want to share what I've learned about focusing on that 80%. Some of these things I've been successful at integrating into my life. Others I'm still working on.1. Make Breakfast EasyI eat a KIND bar every morning when I get to work. My favorite is Nut Delight so I make sure I have a full stock in my desk drawer at all times. I eat only one and that's it. No more last minute stops at gas stations on the way to work to get some powdered donuts. No more quick drive-thrus for a breakfast sandwich. Those things are so bad for you and I've found that starting each day off right has helped my energy level and reduced my stomach pains during the day.
2. Replace All Drinks with Water
Really, there are few beverages that are good for you. Coffee, tea, sports drinks, soft drinks - they all have their setbacks. I refill my tumbler with water all day at work and just sip away. I also try to order water if I go out for lunch or dinner. (Bonus - it saves money!) I often splash some lemon juice in my water if I just need something extra. It tastes better and has a lot of health benefits.It's not easy, I know. I probably still let myself have two Diet Cokes a week. But I'm working on it!3. Let Yourself Feel FullWhen you're eating something you really like, it's hard to not overeat. Try to slow down during the meal, then it'll be easier to pay attention to when your stomach is actually full. Then stop! Portion control is important. 4. Know the Difference Between Taste Cravings and HungerOften times after lunch or dinner I'll want something sweet, or salty (usually the opposite of what I've just had). I need to remember that I am no longer hungry, my taste buds are just craving something else. It's difficult to not give in to these temptations!5. Meals Should Energize YouYou know that feeling after going out to lunch? You come back to your desk and you get so tired? You hit a wall and your energy tanks? Our wellness coach told us that meals should energize us, not make us lethargic. If you are eating the right things, and the right amounts, you should feel rejuvenated after lunch and ready to tackle the afternoon. I must say I can tell the difference when I eat well.7. Keep Working Out for the 20%Even though I know the biggest battle is diet, I will continue to make physical activity a part of my life. There are so many benefits of working out that go beyond calorie burning, that it is definitely worth it to me.
Hopefully these tips are helpful to those of you who, like me, really appreciate tasty food. And hopefully I can come back to this list when the next queso-filled happy hour is staring me in the face. One day at a time!

Hot Tips for Planning an Extended Trip to Europe

If you're going to choose the best continent for overseas travel, Europe is probably it. It may not be the largest, but that gives it an advantage. You can see so many different countries within a relatively small space. Rail travel is excellent, and it's just as easy to drive or fly to wherever you want to go. Plus, the Schengen Agreement makes it simple to enter and exit different places without a complicated border check. If you're thinking about a trip around Europe, here are some recommendations for planning.


Set a Budget
You might not like it, but money makes the world go around. The first thing you'll need to consider is how much you have to spend, and how you're going to spend it. You might not get as much for your money as you would have twenty or thirty years ago. But if you choose the right places and find ways to save, you can make your cash go further. As a general rule, countries in Eastern Europe are cheaper. And they're becoming more popular as tourist destinations. When you create your budget, you'll need to think about travel, food, accommodation, and activities.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dogs are the Perfect Fitness Companion

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I like to keep fit, as you can probably tell. I spend a lot of time working on my health and fitness. And recently earlier this year I made a pledge to run 30 miles in June. As you’ll be able to see from the post I took my dog, Piper Jane, with me. And that’s what I want to talk to you about - taking a dog as a fitness companion.
Now, a lot of people like to run with friends, and this is perfectly fine. However, I find that it can be difficult with different schedules and fitness levels. So I decided to start taking my dog with me, and it’s worked great! Here's why I think dogs make such good fitness companions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Good is Worth Fighting For


Bad news...it seems like it comes in waves. It always lurking around us, targeting people just outside our circle, constantly trying to penetrate our lives.

Lately it's been just that kind of bad news. It doesn't directly affect me, but my friends, colleagues, and friends-of-friends are in the cross hairs.

I typically avoid the news because I don't want to hear even more of it, on a larger scale. But now I can't avoid the gym TVs in the morning, blaring the latest catastrophe.

I put in my headphones and try to tune it all out.

Because most of the bad news comes just like this, as something we hear of in passing, something that causes a brief pause in our busy day, we get the mentality of "that could/would never happen to me".  Yes, we take a moment to sympathize with our friend, or our nation, possibly even reflecting on our own lives or taking action to help, but in the end we are grateful that our personal circle has dodged a bullet yet again.

I know that I am like most people. I have adopted this mentality in many aspects of my life. I am, in fact, lucky to have great family and friends, and have worked hard to achieve other successes in my life. I have a wonderful life in the grand scheme of things, and I'm sure there are times when I take that for granted.

I go 80 on the highway that has a 75 speed limit. I don't call my mother every day to tell her I love her. I don't laugh at every one of Tim's corny jokes. I reschedule time with a friend because I'm "busy" or tired. I lash out to those around me when I'm stressed.

I'm guilty, like many of us.

But I'm also a realist.

And in between looking towards the future with stars in my eyes, the moments of realism always anchor me back down. They turn off the music in my ears and open my eyes to the world around me. I hear the horror of a shooting in the news. I see the suffering of a family grieving a miscarriage. I feel the pain of a friend's marriage torn apart.

I don't think these things could never happen to me. I don't think my little slice of life is impenetrable. The realist in me knows better.

Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows. And that's scary.

So, what do we do? Do we never get married because we've seen so many end in heartbreak? Do we not have children because something can go wrong? Do we not drive because of the fatal crash we saw on the morning news?

I like to think that we, as people, choose to move forward. I like to think that we continue to remain positive despite the harsh realities of this world, knowing that while there is much sadness, there is also good. So much good.

We don't need to turn and run from the horrible things we hear or experience. We must stop and reflect, stop and help, or simply stop and listen. It's important to acknowledge the bad, to let it know we see it, and that we aren't giving up.

And then we must remember to move forward, in spite of fear. In spite of the bad that will never stop challenging us.

Because the good is worth fighting for.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Running Playlist for Fall 2015




I love doing running playlists for you guys, but this one may be the best yet. Normally they feature songs that I've been rocking out to for several weeks. But the other day I was on the treadmill and wanted something new to listen to so I launched Google Play random playlist (it's similar to Pandora) and there were several new songs I hadn't heard but that I really liked. So allow me to share the goods with you!


Friday, September 4, 2015

2015 Summer Event ~ A Taste of Tahoe


Time for another event wrap-up! Two weeks ago we took over Tahoe! And I must say, it was even more gorgeous than I remembered!





Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Time I Met Rascal Flatts


I don't care what anyone says about Rascal Flatts. I have always loved them, and always will. Rascal and I go way back.. like to Mayberry days. I've spent many summers on the lawn at Riverbend belting out their story-telling tunes.

So, when I had the chance to meet them several years ago when they came to Lexington, you can bet that I was FREAKING OUT.



We already had tickets to go when my coworker got a text from a friend who worked on the tour. He said he could set us up with some 'Meet and Greet' passes and our work day went to hell. I was making signs and practicing exactly what to say to make the boys love me immediately.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There's Something Magical About Montreal


Sometimes I go on a site visit to a new city and I enjoy it. I come back and start the hotel selection process and log it away as another completed task. And then there are times I go on a site visit and I really connect with the city. It becomes one of those places I tell everyone about and I can't wait to return to.

Montreal was one of those cities. I love Montreal. J'adore Montreal.

Montreal has it all. If you want downtown dining and nightlife, they've got it. If you want hiking, biking and greenery, they've got the mountain! If you want river front action, check. And if you want to take a European stroll back in time, well there's Old Montreal.

Monday, August 31, 2015

FemaleBloggerRT: $300 Cash Giveaway!























Hey guys, just popping in to let you know about this big giveaway going on over at @FemaleBloggerRT.

They are giving away $300 cash in honor of reaching 30,000 members of their blogging community!

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FBRT also reposts on Instagram, so mention them in your photos!

Helpful hint: FBRT only retweets tweets that don't mention other RT accounts.

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This giveaway is presented by Shopping Links , your one-stop shop for connecting brands with bloggers. They post new collaborations all the time, so head over to their site!

This giveaway is sponsored by Lili Burton, so make sure to check them out as well!


The giveaway is open to anyone in any location and it closes Sept 23. 




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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mid-Year Fitness Report: The Best Yet


I didn't get to 30 miles in 30 days in June. I only got to 17. I had a very strange break out all over my face which we think was poison ivy (still unsure to this day how I got it) and so my doctor suggested I avoid getting hot until it cleared up. 

So even though I didn't hit that goal, I'm here with good news. June was still pretty bad ass...

I was so excited when Map My Run sent me my monthly work out report and my mid-year report. Usually I look at these reports and think, "That can't be right. I know I went to the gym more than 2 times! I know I ran with Bear more than that. I had to, right? Why is that whole week empty? I really only ran that many miles? It sure felt like way more than that!"

That's part of my problem. I'll work out once and for the next few days I'm on cloud nine relishing in my superior commitment to fitness. Only to then realize you actually have to CONTINUE to work out... like constantly. For the rest of your life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Experience with Invisalign (Before & After Photos)


If dental pictures freak you out (like they do me), then I suggest you just pass over this post. However, I really wanted to talk about my experience with Invisalign and didn't think I could do that thoroughly without showing my before and after pictures. So, fair warning!

Invisalign worked for me. Not only did it fix my bite, widen my mouth and straighten my teeth, it also worked for my lifestyle. For anyone who wants to perfect their smile and isn't in high school, they know the importance of doing it discreetly. I mean, who wants to walk around with metal braces as an adult?

To find out exactly how Invisalign works and if it's right for you, visit their website and talk to your Orthodontist. I just wanted to share the pros and cons of this process from my personal experience.

Pros:

  • Perfect teeth. This outweighs any con in my book. Not only do they straighten your teeth, they correct your bite, enlarge your mouth, etc.
  • Better option than veneers because you keep YOUR teeth, no filing down and gluing on false teeth. My dentist encouraged orthodontia because my teeth are very healthy and in great shape. Veneers are a much quicker "fix", but in the long run I'm so glad I have my teeth.
  • Almost invisible. It's true that most people I talked to had no idea I had my trays in. It wasn't a distraction in conversation. This is so important especially for adults in the business world.
  • You can take them out! Eating was so easy because I could just pop them out and eat whatever I wanted.
  • You can see it working. You can feel it working. Every two weeks you change your tray and each tray gets straighter and straighter. 
  • Your snacking and munching habits all but disappear. It's so not worth another brushing and rinsing just for a cookie. So you don't eat the cookie. I lost weight!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Ponytail


I posted this picture on Instagram this morning...


I was at the gym lifting some weights and then adding miles to my #30Miles30Days goal. I looked in the mirror and noticed The Ponytail.

The Ponytail and I have a long history. I'm someone who feels way more comfortable rocking a long pony than when my hair is down and perfectly styled. The Ponytail is my comfort zone.

I grew up in sports. I didn't do dance or gymnastics, I played sports.... Basketball, volleyball, slow-pitch softball, fast-pitch softball, soccer, even ultimate frisbee. I loved competition, winning, being part of a team, and the challenge. 

Basketball practices were terrible. Volleyball was even worse. But I loved it. I soaked it all up. My poor parents went to every single game. Even the 3on3 basketball tournament outside on blacktop in 100 degree weather.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Run 30 Miles in June



The problem with sharing your fitness goals on your blog is that you have to own up to not meeting them. But, that's always why I like it - it's holds me accountable. Because I don't like to fail. I actually dislike it very much.

I joined a May challenge to hit 30 miles in 30 days. I was going to do with with a mix of walking and running because I knew my wisdom teeth removal would hinder me a bit.

What I didn't know is that I would not be allowed to exercise for a week and then one of my extraction sites would get an infection so my recovery time was much longer than expected. So, I ended up only getting 23.03 of 30 miles in May. Whomp whomp.

But it's a new day and a new month, so I'm ready to get back out there! I've set a personal goal for myself to RUN 30 miles in 30 days in June!

Follow me on Instagram and if you're feeling frisky, join me using the hastag #30Miles30Days.

Running with the pups will be even more fun because I finally tossed the old running shoes and upgraded to these pretty little things...


I'm going back to Tuesday/Thursday mornings in the gym. I know that strength training is just as important as cardio so it's coming back into my life!

I'm also going to try to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. I was doing well for several months and for some reason it's been really tough as of late. I find myself craving things constantly. So, I'm working on curbing those cravings.

If you're like me and need all the fitness motivation you can get, I suggest checking out Southern Shrinking Yankee. She's on an awesome weight loss journey and her dedication to boot camp and meal planning is on point! Also, her very honest writing is refreshing!

I also like to go back and read some of my previous fitness posts. Some quotes that stuck out to me today:

"The important thing I've found to remember about fitness is that yesterday has no bearing on today. ... even if you fell off the wagon yesterday, that doesn't mean you can't do well today.

"I've never gone down in weight, just up, so this is new territory for me. I also think that is why I'm less concerned with the number right now, because I'm not desperate to lose 15 pounds (although that's the ultimate goal). I am desperate, however, to create good habits now, realizing that if i don't, I may be at a point later that I don't want to be. Instead of letting myself get to that point and then try to fix it, why not just try to prevent it altogether?"

If you have recently posted anything about fitness motivation, please share! I love to read others thoughts on how they stay on track and what works for them.

Before I go, I want to give a little shout out to our Piper Jane. Today she is 3 years old! She is our original pup and I love having this little rambunctious rug-rat in our lives! Read about the day we adopted her here!

Happy Monday!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Four Teeth Lighter - I'll Take It



I had my wisdom teeth pulled last Thursday. All four of them. BLAH. I'm still not feeling 100% but I'm glad I'm this far along in the healing process already.

I never really had any pain or problems associated with my wisdom teeth. But, I just spend a pretty penny on Invisalign (post to come later), and I didn't want those little jerks under the gums to shift my now perfectly straight teeth.

Also, once taking a look at the X-rays, those jerks were big and sideways and looking like they were definitely up to no good. So they had to go.

I haven't had any type of surgery since I was about seven when they cut my abnormally large tonsils out of my throat. (Apparently they were trying to strangle me.) I guess that's the reason I was a hot mess last Thursday morning. I just didn't know what to expect and I was nervous about being sedated. As soon as the nurses started hooking me up I lost it.

Luckily, they just pump a bunch of stuff in your veins and you pass out and wake up 45 minutes later talking all kinds of nonsense. The doctor told Tim they gave me more "juice" than others since I was all worked up. Apparently I'm not great with any type of medical procedure. Looking forward to pregnancy.. whoo hoo!

Four teeth lighter. They told Tim they were so big they had to use a drill. Thank whoever invented sedation meds for said sedation meds.

There is a video of me in the car after surgery and I must admit it is hysterical. But I look absolutely ridiculous and pathetic so I'm not sure I'm ready to post it on the big bad blog. Facebook was hard enough.

Now on day 5, I feel better in terms of not being in as much pain and not being dizzy from all the meds. But I still feel like there are big blueberries shoved behind my teeth and I so badly want to remove them.


I'm also still sticking to soft-like foods. Even though I want nothing more than to house some Chipotle chips and guacamole right now.

Do you know how hard it is to watch Tim eat all of the things I love to eat for four days while I slurp down yet another spoonful of applesauce?

Let's just say I think we should start considering it as an alternative form of torture. It's effective.

Until next time!