Getting my hurr did

Another thing I’m going to at least get a general idea of before October 10th is how I want to do my hair for the wedding.  Since I’m planning from far out of town, I have to kind of take a leap of faith as far as hairdressers go.  I’m getting married at my alma mater, but the hairstylist I used during college has moved on to bigger, better things.  Finally, I got tired of reading the same reviews on Yelp over and over again and just decided to go with the same salon and hope for the best.  I am having a quick 15 minute consultation with her while I’m in town in a few weeks and need a little guidance.

Starting reference point: this is my hair:

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Except add maybe an inch of length to the bottom since the picture was taken.  It is brownish-red (not that that matters, but whatever), slightly past shoulder length, and both thick and fine at the same time.  (The individual strands of hair are very fine, but I have a lot of them, creating kind of a fluffy duck fuzz effect at times.)  I’m going to keep growing it until the wedding if it kills me (and it might), so I’m expecting it will be long enough for pretty much any hairstyle I could possibly want.  I just want to be able to say to the hairstylist, “This is GENERALLY what I want,” and let her do her thing.

Here are my hairstyle requirements:

  • Up.  I don’t want my hair interfering with the awesome neckline of my dress.
  • No curls.  I find them very prom-ish and my hair doesn’t hold a curl anyway.
  • Nothing involving a tiara, for the love of God.
  • Something I can show off my pretty hair fascinator and veil in
  • Something that will not fall down and I won’t have to worry about touching up at all.
  • Simple, classic.

I’m thinking this leads me to a pretty basic chignon or bun-style hairdo.  I really love this photo of Anne Hathaway at the 2009 Tony Awards.  I think it’s because I like her hair, but it might also be because I just generally want to look like Anne Hathaway.  We’ll see.

I also love this picture of Katherine Heigl.  Again, maybe this is just because I think she’s gorgeous.  But whatever.

What do you think of these?  Yay or nay?  Do you think I’m on the right track?


Today was a treadmill day.  I actually WANTED to run outside again, but something is going on with my upper respiratory system that tells me to stay inside.  When I was a kid, I had pretty severe asthma.  I consider myself having outgrown it, since I am no longer on medication for it and haven’t had an asthma attack since probably junior high, but running outside when there’s a bit of a chill really seems to bring it back.  All afternoon and evening yesterday I was struggling with a bit of wheezing and chest tightness, so I decided to keep it indoors.

Anyway.  Went to the gym, and ran about 2.25 miles at a 9:50 pace when I saw a “friend” of mine from the classes I went to regularly a few weeks ago.  Pathetically, since we just moved to an area where I don’t know anyone but T and his family, and I’m unemployed, I don’t really have friends.  So, we chatted for a bit and she mentioned that she wants to get back into running outdoors.  She lives about 10 blocks from me, so we exchanged phone numbers and talked about possibly going for a run next week sometime.  She says she does about 10 minute miles because she’s a stay at home mom and pushes her daughter in the baby jogger when she goes.  (Cute kid, by the way!)  So, maybe, I made a friend?  And a running buddy?

After she left, the treadmill had reset itself so I started it up again.  I decided to play around and run some random intervals for a mile.  I think I did a minute at a 10:00 pace, a minute at 7:30, 2 minutes at 10:00, a minute at 7:30, a minute at 12:30, a minute at 10:00, and a minute at 9:00.  Something like that, anyway.  I finished the mile in a total of 9:15, somehow, and then walked briskly for about 5 minutes.  I wasn’t sure whether to call it quits or keep going.

I thought it would be interesting to “feel” the difference between a 9:15 mile at weird intervals and at a steady pace, so I picked it up and ran a steady 9:15 mile.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was!  Anyway, then I cooled down by walking.  In total, I think I ended up covering somewhere between 4.5-5 miles in 50 minutes.  It was fun!

I was playing with speed a little bit today because of my upcoming 5K on October 10.  I’m going to be running with my sister, and she is WAY faster than I am.  I secretly want us to run the race together because we don’t get to spend much time together since she lives far away, but we are both really competitive and I know she will probably leave me in the dust.   I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with her–the difference between the two of us is that she doesn’t run outside at all and runs short distances.  She told me, for example, she ran 3 8:30 miles on her treadmill the other day.  I run longer distances than she does, and I do some outside on hills, but I am slower.  So, it will be interesting to see how things shake out!

Anyway, I have to run–I have shopping to do!
PS: Don’t you just love my new header?  My awesome graphic designer buddy Salt made it for me.  She’s a fellow yoga-loving bride and I highly recommend her blog for another good fitnessy-weddingy read!

Let them eat cake.

I seriously cannot  think of anything about our wedding I care about less than how our wedding cake looks.  This presents a problem, as we have our wedding cake tasting (yay) and design (boo) meeting on October 11th.

Our bakery is kind of a unique situation.  Our cake is included in our reception package because the restaurant has a contract with a certain bakery.  From what I understand, they have a book of cake designs we can choose from, so we can’t design our own (not that I would want to do that).  We can customize colors, but the design is standard.  They only have a few options up on their website, and they look just fine.  When I think about it, if I have to form an opinion on this, I guess I want something sophisticated and not boring.  Yup.  I don’t care if it’s square or round, or if it’s colored or white.  I think T is going to be making a lot of these decisions because I cannot muster up the energy to form violently passionate opinions about this.  Here are a couple of ones from their website I like.

Classic but a little boring:

I like this aside from the obnoxious bow:

Again, like it except for the ribbon.  People, step away from the fondant bows:

So, yeah, someone needs to form an opinion about this, because I don’t have one.

Taste is a different matter.  I love cake.  When I was little, my mom baked and sold beautiful cakes out of our house–mostly birthday cakes, but I have lots of fond memories of “helping” my mom bake and frost cakes.  I still love to do it, and she recently gave me her cake decorating kit.  It makes me a little bit sad that I live somewhere where I don’t have friends to make cakes for birthdays and showers and whatnot to play with it!  Sigh.

T and I are both BIG chocolate cake fans.  I hate white cake and T does not see the point in cake that is not chocolate.  I like yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and pound cake, and red velvet cake.   We’ve eaten this place’s cake before, and it’s fab.  I am super excited to pick this out.  Here are our options:

Cake flavors

  • Marble chiffon
  • Vanilla chiffon
  • Chocolate chiffon
  • White cake
  • Double devil’s food
  • Pound cake
  • Almond pound cake
  • Lemon pound cake
  • Banana cake
  • Carrot cake


  • Vanilla custard
  • Chocolate custard
  • Lemon custard
  • Strawberry jam
  • Raspberry jam
  • Apricot jam
  • Vanilla buttercream
  • Chocolate buttercream
  • Hazelnut buttercream
  • Mocha buttercream
  • Lemon buttercream
  • Raspberry buttercream
  • Strawberry buttercream
  • White chocolate mousse
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Raspberry mousse
  • Strawberry mousse
  • Irish cream mousse
  • Lemon mousse
  • Tiramisu mousse
  • Fresh strawberry
  • Fresh banana
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Fudge
  • Ganache
  • Cream cheese


  • Fondant
  • White chocolate ganache
  • Dark chocolate ganache
  • Wedding buttercream

PHEW.  I will bring my camera and blog about all this, but wow.  Talk about a lot of choices!  I think this might be the part of wedding planning I am most excited for. We’ll probably avoid the jams, because I’m not a fan of jam fillings in cake, but fresh strawberries and bananas sound pretty good.  And cream cheese?  And ganache?  Oh man.  I am way excited for this, but the sheer amount of decisions involved will be a bit overwhelming.  We’ll probably have 3 or 4 tiers based on our number of guests, so we’ll probably have different flavors in each.

What’s your favorite kind of cake?  Best wedding cake you’ve ever had?

BONUS: Check out a fun food giveaway at Leah’s blog, Leftovers for Lunch!

Humility; flotsam and jetsam

I’ve decided that for my half marathon training, I’m going to be doing a combination of tackling the nasty hills in my neighborhood AND running on the treadmill.  I think that doing all my training on the hills would be very discouraging, especially when it gets cold, and I generally do enjoy the treadmill so I shouldn’t give it up.  Running hills will make me a better runner, but so will doing speedwork and intervals on a flat treadmill.  My only conundrum will be when I start getting into the 8+ miles part of my training, as I don’t think doing it on hard hills or on a treadmill will be ideal.  I’m going to have to start scoping out my area for some good flatter locations.  (My half course is largely flat, which is a blessing.)

This morning I went on a 3 mile run on the hills in my neighborhood.  Since I stuck to the treadmill all last week, it was a different (and difficult) experience, but I felt noticeably stronger since I’ve been running more in general lately.  I took a slightly different route that was largely downhill on the “out” part but largely uphill on the “back” part.  I had to take three short walking breaks (once due to a phone call I thought was job related, but wasn’t) but I felt good about it in general.  It’s funny how going downhill and going flat I feel so great, and then I start the uphill climb and I’m just humbled.  At this point in my fitness journey,  I’m pretty used to being one of the most in-shape people in the gym at any given time.  I feel great about myself when I’m the only one running intervals on the treadmill while everyone else is ambling away on the elliptical.  But man, running hills is just so humbling.  Marathoners always say “respect the distance;” I think I’m going to have to learn to “respect the hills.”  I’m going to have to LEARN to suck at something when it comes to the terrain here, but at the same time it feels nice to have something I know I’m going to conquer eventually, you know?

I also had my first moment of runner camaraderie today as I ran my last loop around my subdivision.  Another man was running the opposite direction and he gave me a wave and I waved back.  It was kind of fun to be like, “hey, we’re runners and we’re cool like that.”  Yes, I’m a nerd.

Since I don’t have any pictures about my run, I thought I would post a few random ones I took this weekend that aren’t really worthy of a post in and of themselves.

I’ve never seen this flavor of Clif bar before.  It was pretty good.  Not my favorite, but I liked it better than I thought I would.  It was especially great with a smear of cinnamon peanut butter on it!

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I spray painted some baskets for assorted things at the wedding like programs and photoshare cards:

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Shout out to the first honeycrisp of the season!  These babies are perfect and I think I’ll be fighting T for the last one tonight:

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In other news, my contact lens case (with lenses in it from last night) is missing.  I suspect Buckley has run off with it and hidden it somewhere.  Crazy cats.

What’s humbled you, fitness-wise?  Have you conquered it or are you still working at it?

Emergency strategies

Sorry for the late posting today.  I got a summons for jury duty today, and I was expecting to be dismissed pretty quickly since I’m an attorney (albeit unemployed, but still).   I wrote a whole fun blog post from the iPhone WordPress app, and then somehow it didn’t publish and got eaten in the process.  So, here’s me trying to recreate that post.

Since I expected to get dismissed so early today, I didn’t bring a lunch.  Sure enough, lunchtime rolls around, and I’m still there.  Boo.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in sunny and healthy tofu and salad bar California and Florida like a lot of other food bloggers.  I live in the Midwest, in a town widely celebrated for its superb barbecued meat products.  My options for lunch were Panera, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Arby’s, pizza, Chinese buffet, and Wendy’s.  Not exactly healthy!  I debated between Panera and Subway, the two places where I know I can do relatively okay and still get a decent meal, and chose Panera because soup sounded good.

I ended up getting a You Pick Two with chicken noodle soup (picked this over yummy creamy soup for the healthy factor) and a sandwich of just turkey and gouda on tomato basil bread.  (I don’t like veggies as condiments, I like them on their own, as side dishes or salads!)  I picked an apple for a side dish instead of a white baguette or potato chips.  I didn’t miss the bacon or creamy sauce that was supposed to come on the sandwich at all.  It had a lot of flavor, and wasn’t too bad calorie wise since I opted for half instead of whole and cut the gross stuff.

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I only finished half the soup, because it was a little saltier than I like it.  (And yes, I do drink diet soda.  Unfortunately.  I’m trying to give it up so that I only drink it when I’m out for lunch or dinner, but it’s tough.  If it’s my only vice, I feel okay about it.  Nobody’s perfect!)

One thing I was also happy I did today was bring a snack.  I almost always throw some sort of bar in my purse before I leave the house in case I get a case of the hungries.  I love to snack, and I hate being without one.  I also keep bars in my car console for emergencies like this.  The key here is picking a kind of bar that travels well.  This means nothing with chocolate coating or icing on it, and nothing soft that will smush too much.  My favorites for this are Kashi chewy granola bars and Larabars.  Clif Kids bars work pretty well, but smush a bit.  Balance bars do not travel very well.  Here was my snack of choice today in my purse, a Kashi Peanut Peanut Butter chewy granola bar.  I ate it on a court recess around 3 p.m. and I was so glad I had it!

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Please excuse the grainy iPhone pictures.

In the end, I wasn’t picked for the jury (not surprisingly), but I was a little disappointed because it sounded like a really interesting case.  I’m skipping the gym tonight because my body is telling me that it’s tired and I want to see T since I haven’t all day.  I’m not concerned–life happens, and I’ll still get in at least 4 good workouts this week, AND I was pretty active yesterday.  It’s all about balance!

What are your emergency strategies for when things don’t go according to plan?

Active Rest for a Cause

Every week, I take two rest days away from the gym.  One day, usually Saturday, is absolute rest–I lay on the couch and do as little as possible.  Sometimes I don’t even leave the house.  The second day, usually Sunday, is what I call active rest–I don’t go to the gym, but I try to do something a little bit physical, whether it’s heavy cleaning around the house or a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or Wii Fit or some extra stretching.  Yesterday I rested hardcore–I basically didn’t budge from my armchair all day long.  Today, though, I’ve had some pretty fun active rest planned for awhile.
This morning, T and I participated in the Whisper Walk for Ovarian Cancer.  It was a 5K walk, so no runners, and obviously, for a great cause–to raise funding for ovarian cancer research and to spread awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer so women can detect it earlier.  Sadly, T’s Aunt M has been fighting ovarian cancer for the last few years.  She’s been through countless surgeries and experimental medications and chemotherapy, but still has a wonderful spirit and attitude that we absolutely love.  She was able to walk the entire 5K with us today and we had a lot of fun for a great cause.

Before the walk, there was lots of food and milling about in a courtyard:

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Lots of people were wearing signs on their back showing who they were walking the course for.  This one was my favorite–the guy wearing it was probably in high school  (sorry it’s huge, I wanted you to be able to read it!):

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Hee.  And finally, here’s me in action:

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I had someone take a picture of our “team,” but she wound up taking a video instead!  Boo.  We were nine strong and all enjoyed a lovely brunch after the walk.  All in all, it was a great experience.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the weather was nice and mild.  It was also nice to see the course, because I’m running a 5K at the same place on November 22nd.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a way to get in some good active rest for a good cause, look for charity walks in your area!  It was a fun experience and obviously helping a good cause is a worthy bonus.  Since I don’t have a job right now, I’m trying to put a lot more effort into helping out causes I care about.  I currently have a regular volunteer position at one of my favorite charities and I try to donate platelets once or twice a month.  I also have a few bigger public service projects brewing behind the scenes that I’ll hopefully have more information about later on.

What charities do you support?  Does the charity benefiting from a race influence your decision to do it or not do it?

What have I done? (Again.)

Prompted largely by the assistance of a little liquid courage, I registered for the Olathe, Kansas Half Marathon last night.

Oh my god.  What have I done?  I can do this,  I know, but wow.  It’s on April 10, 2010, so I have 6 months to train.  Currently, I could probably run 6 or 7 miles at a stretch without walking, so I feel okay about this.  There are three major half marathons in my area–one in April (a month before the wedding), one in June (a month after the wedding), and one in October (not ready this year; don’t want to wait a full year to do it next year).  I didn’t realize the April one existed, and was debating whether half marathon training the month of the wedding (and on the honeymoon) would work, logistically speaking.  So, I got all excited and pulled the trigger, figuratively speaking.  Interesting fact: this race goes around and finishes at Garmin’s international headquarters.  I’ve already asked Santa for a Garmin Forerunner…let’s hope I’ve been good this year!

A few things I need help with:

  • Dumb question, readers, but where exactly do you find trails to run on?  I know they EXIST, but I’m kind of scared to just get on a trail and go.  Are there websites where you can find trails in your area?  I would like having a map pre-run.
  • Any recommendations for a training plan?  I’ve looked at a few and it seems like the Hal Higdon ones are my favorite.  I like that they incorporate strength training, stretching, and that there are different levels.  But am I a novice?  Intermediate?  I know I’m not an expert, by any means.
  • I’ll start the training program in January, 12 weeks before the race, but what do I do now?  Just…get better at running?  Work on distance?  Speed?  Both?

This is going to be an adventure!  Cross your fingers!

In other news, I appear to have somehow tweaked my left shoulder, so that it hurts when I try to raise it above parallel.  I’m icing it and taking a total rest day today, and tomorrow will be a fun active rest day.  I have a pretty cool activity planned, and I’m excited to blog about it!  Happy Saturday!

I love my bridesmaids

And honestly, I’m sad that I don’t get a bridesmaid’s dress.  Because I LOVE them and would totally wear them to another wedding or a cocktail party or whatever.

Bridesmaid’s dress shopping was kind of a comedy of errors.  Since we live in KC, and our wedding (and my family and 2 bridesmaids) is in Chicago, and one bridesmaid is in Indianapolis and one is way out in Boston, we basically had one shot to find these puppies.  My mom and sister came to visit me in late August and we were determined to pick out dresses in KC.  That way, the girls would just have to get measured, call their measurements in, and I could hopefully order them in time to deliver 3/4 of the dresses at Christmas.  (The Boston one will have to be shipped.)

How should I put this…my mom, sister, and I have very divergent tastes.  I tend to run towards Gap, Banana Republic, and J.Crew at the mall; my sister will head towards Forever 21; and my mom will go to Coldwater Creek.  So, finding a dress was no small task.  I really wasn’t too picky–my only criteria were that the dress was knee length and not strapless, because I think those looks are the most flattering on most people.  (I also hate long dresses in general, my wedding dress being the notable exception here.)  I was open to champagne gold, pink, or aqua dresses.

My poor sister.  God bless her.  We literally stripped her down and THREW dresses over her head.  She stood there with her arms up, I dropped them over her head and zipped them up, we immediately said “nope,” or “maybe” or “hmm” and then she got out of it and we handed it to my mom, the expert at hanging things up.

Here are a few of the losers. (Ignore the colors–the samples were all sorts of heinous shades.)  I really wish you could see the expression on my sister’s face, but I’ve cropped it out because who wants pictures of them in unflattering bridesmaid’s dresses splashed across the interwebs?  Her expressions range from “why are you doing this to me” to “punchy and pretending to be a model.”

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Eventually, we decided to go to another store.  And finally, at a third, when my sister was actually texting while we dressed and undressed her, we found one we ALL really liked.  We ordered the color in the picture–it’s actually a two tone dress–the sash is a slightly darker shade of champagne gold than the rest of the dress.  It’s by Jim Hjelm Occasions.  Here’s the picture from the website (helpfully, of the back):

And here’s my lovely sister modeling:

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And the back, which I lovelovelove:

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Anyway, hopefully everyone will call in their measurements by October 1st and we can get the dress order in.  They said they usually take 2-2.5 months to come in, so that would mean we’d have them by Christmas.

What do you think?  Thumbs up? Thumbs down?  Ever had a bridesmaid’s dress you hated?

On a kick

Sorry I slacked a little yesterday.  I had kind of a rough afternoon, but it all ended in some great news so I feel good.
Anyway, the exercise stats.  Yesterday was yoga.  I think yoga and running are my two favorite ways to work out lately, and I think they complement each other really well.  Sometimes I get really pumped about weightlifting or group classes, but neither of those have really been interesting me lately.  Yesterday’s yoga class was particularly great.  I especially love how great pigeon pose feels on my hips, all three variations:

My only complaint is that I wish my gym offered yoga more often.  They only have yoga once a week!  Boo.  There are two Pilates classes, but I don’t like it nearly as much.

Today I was pumped for another good long run on the treadmill.  I’m not going to give up on running outside, but for now I’d like to work on improving my distance, which is kind of hard to do on the insane hills in my area.  I discreetly snapped a few pictures in the gym to show you where I work out!  Fun, huh?  Here is my workout, in photo form.  It was really awesome and I feel great about these stats:

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Yup, that’s 4.55 miles in 45 minutes (the :07 was just the time it took me to get out my phone and take a picture.

Here’s my view from the treadmill.  Today I watched a little Bonnie Hunt, a little Martha Stewart, and a little bit of the View.  It’s really hard to read closed captioning while running, though.

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Gotta run (again)–I’m off to volunteer!  Do you like the gym or working out outside better?  I really have to be in a mood to go outside, but it is a nice change of pace from time to time.

How it all started

I guess if I was going to this blog in chronological order, I should have started with how T and I met and/or got engaged.  But, it’s too late for that, so excuse me while I regress a bit in time to tell the tales!  (An administrative note: I swear T exists and is super hot, but he’s requested to keep his adorable face off the blog and I’m going to be nice and honor that.)

We met in April of 2007 at the end of our first year in law school.  First year law school classes are basically set up so you have all your classes with the same 30 or so people, so you rarely see anyone outside that group.  A friend of mine was having lunch in the basement of the law school one day, and I was supposed to meet her.  I was supremely annoyed to find that SOMEONE had the audacity to be sitting in MY seat.  It was T.  And he and my friend were discussing whether the plural form of the word “squid” was “squid” or “squids.”  I was a little rude to him, but then realized, “Hey, he’s pretty cute,” and friended him on Facebook.  Because of finals, I didn’t see him again until the end-of-the-year celebration party.  We immediately hit it off, and started dating, and by the end of the summer, we were pretty much inseparable.

T proposed to me on New Year’s Eve 2008.  It was totally unexpected, because a few weeks earlier he’d told me not to get my hopes up for a holiday proposal.  We were both sick with colds, so instead of going out and having fun we decided to have a quiet dinner at our favorite restaurant and then come home and watch movies.  Naturally, as soon as we got home from dinner, I decided to put my pajamas on and crawl into bed with our cats and lay down for a bit.  T came in to see how I was, and then asked me, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?”  I didn’t think he was proposing, so I just said, “Yeah, sure, whatever, of course.”  Then he looked at me kind of strangely and said, “I’m serious.  Will you marry me?”  Of course, I said yes!

T tends to get excited about things and do them early (I get my birthday and Christmas presents a week before the actual holiday, usually), so he didn’t have a ring when he proposed.   We went shopping after the holidays and he picked out (with my input) my ring.  It came in a few weeks later and it’s beautiful!  It’s a round cut diamond in a channel set band.  We’re currently in the process of finding a wedding band to go with it.  Here’s the bling:

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I love it and I couldn’t be happier with what he picked out.

So, that’s how I got here, all engaged and stuff.  Sorry for the brief sappiness!