My grandmother – my mom’s mom – is a lot like me. She’s always itching to create things, and she has a real soft spot for the stuff of yesteryear. Is it quaint? Quirky? Gingham? Filigreed? Floral? If so, it’s caught her eye, and probably coming home with her. What’s more, she’s very generous with her acquisitions, which means a visit to Grandma – or Grancy, as some grandkids call her – is a return with a new (old) find. Our house has three (yes, three) rocking chairs, a vintage Risk game, cookbooks, a clock, a nightstand, and much more that have made their way from Grancy’s.
And this frame. During my most recent visit I asked her if she had a frame that would complement an Old Hollywood-style photo. You see, a few years ago I sat for a friend starting his photography business; the goal was to create 40s-era glamour shots à la Marlene Dietrich and Ingrid Bergman. I really loved the photos (Jeffrey Blake of Lost Lake Photography if you’re in the Utah County area, FYI) and have been meaning to frame a print or two. My request produced the frame you see here.
I loved the raised detail, but the chips and cracks weren’t as great, at least not in this instance. To everything there is a season, right?
Enter Mandi of Vintage Revivals. Her work is just. Too. Cool. One project that had me especially enamored was her tinfoil nightstand. It didn’t take me long to decide that this little frame was going to get a metallic makeover.
Something I really like about this project was that I could attack it right away. After doing a light cleaning of the frame, I grabbed some foil and some Mod Podge and just went at it, really. I worked in 3-4″ wide pieces of foil, coated the less shiny side with glue, and smoothed it over the surface of the frame. While it would probably be smart to say I was gentle and patient and such, I’m really the slapdash type. Rips happened.
But I just took a tiny piece of foil and layered it right over the holes. No harm done. In very little time, I was looking at this:
Which wasn’t too great, even apart from the blurry photo. It looked like a frame wrapped in foil, like frame leftovers or something. Mandi expresses the same nervousness at this point with her nightstand, but I really had doubts. I was past the point of no return, however, so I determined to see it through. Besides, the fun part was next!
I coated the whole thing in a layer of Mod Podge and let it dry, then got out these acrylic paints:
Folk Art Metallic Antique Copper and DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Dark Patina.
My thought was to get a worn-dime look, because I love the play of teal, copper, and silver together. Mandi used faux glaze and a different type of paint for her project, but I’m too cheap to spring for that stuff. (Not that they’re that expensive.) Acrylics were much more my speed. I started with the Dark Patina, squirting it directly onto the frame and quickly distributing it with a craft sponge.
Once the whole frame had been coated and dried, I moved on to the copper. This time I didn’t squirt the paint directly on, since the copper is much darker and I wanted more control over the end result. Instead, I dipped my sponge in a small amount and lightly applied it to the frame.
Like so. While the paint was still wet, I gently wiped it with a rag to get more even and light distribution.
And that’s it! Once it dried, I tried it out with the photo, and I think it turned out well.
As you may know, we are currently reading The Night Circus. You may also know that books with food are better. I mean that in pretty much all senses, too: Eating while reading, for example. Or cookbooks. Both of these are better. But especially better? Best, even? Books that feature food prominently, and describe it well. The food that is read about is always delicious, and not just to you. Created in the mind of the individual, fictional food adapts to the tastes of the person imagining it, and so fictional food is loved by everyone. The prime example? Turkish delight from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I don’t personally know anyone that actually likes Turkish delight, but I also have yet to meet a person who hasn’t craved what they thought Turkish delight should taste like while reading that book.
And it’s no different for The Night Circus. The food mentioned – and there is plenty – is only the best of any circus concessions or dinner party meals that you can picture. So, should you choose to make something from the book, make sure it’s done right. Do it for a special occasion (though there’s no shame in making one up, of course), and put the work into the details. This is fictional food, after all – it has no business in being disappointing.
And what did we choose? A little bit of circus, and a little bit of midnight dining. Tracey’s dangerously delicious Iced Hot Chocolate both echos the book and tastes absolutely correct in the sweltering heat of summer. Paired with some Reveur-style Cookies and Cream Popcorn – flecked with red – it’s the perfect snack for strolling through the circus grounds.
And for something more substantial, we drew inspiration from Chandresh’s lavish parties filled with exotic, rich foods. Get adventurous with Green Apple Curry over basmati rice and the seriously luxurious Honeyed Fig Tarts with Mascarpone. Do I need to say more than that, really?
Finally, how could we not include some Chocolate Mice? Easy, delicious, and just about the cutest. Though perhaps you’ll have better luck than me at finding licorice lace for proper tails.
Have you read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus yet? I ask not just because Ben’s Book Club is right around the corner, but also because it is one of the very most thoroughly enjoyable books I have read in a long time. I love the characters, the setting, the story, the themes, the feel of it. It’s one of those books that I read, and I get a little annoyed, because I love it so much I wish that I had written it. Pick up a copy. Really.
It’s so sensory, that book. Not really overwrought, just rich – dripping! – with details. Upon learning that the movie rights had been purchased and a screenplay was in the works, I told Tracey that I wanted a movie mostly because it increased my chances of there being an actual Night Circus I can attend someday. I’ll be among the first in line, with my red scarf tucked securely around my neck.
So yes, when the time came to actually plan the book club meeting, I got quite excited. All the food! (It’s coming tomorrow, so check back.) The circus! The magic! I had so much fun pulling different great ideas from all over the web.
Thanks to a predetermined color scheme, I hit up my two favorite party supply sources for black and white wares: Smarty Had A Party and Hey Yo Yo. (A side note – I spend far too much time on both of these sites; I love them! Do you have a great party source that you use? Do tell.)
Once Wed shows you how to hang strands of rock candy, perfect for an impromptu Ice Garden (1). Use this tutorial from Oh Happy Day to make your own “Le Cirque des Rêves” marquee (2). And what circus is complete without a tent? Delicious Reads has a great example of a simple one (3), and be sure to check out their post to see an enchanting party; you’re sure to be envious.
The circus is not complete without the little sensory details, and neither is yours! Light caramel-scented candles (1), and cast stars around the room (2). Want to get really extravagant? Have guests make wishes on a Wishing Tree (3), and start the night out right by having guests enter through a proper tunnel of lights (4). And don’t forget the music! The author herself has created a playlist of songs that helped her write the book – that list is available here. Or if you prefer, create the illusion of being at the circus by playing this Sounds of the Carnival album.
And we haven’t even scratched the surface! What parts of the book would you recreate for a party or book club?
This post may seem long, but that’s only because it’s long. But this is the third and final part of my Summer Trends series, and guys, I definitely saved the best for last. I am SOO excited about this one. Today, I’m featuring prints. And it was almost impossible for me to narrow it down to the 7 prints that I did. There are so many fun prints to chose from — and they are everywhere. Just about any clothing store you go in will have some sort of print to chose from. So just pick your favorite (or favorites… my favorites happen to be all 7) and get shopping. Stat!
I love prints because they are so versatile. You can use them as neutrals. Or you can use them as statement pieces. Prints can stand alone in an outfit, or they can be paired together (oh yes, I did just say that two different prints can be paired with each other… just stay with me, I’ll get to this). Since I have seven different prints below, I’m going to write just a little bit about each one to help you on your way to including prints in your summer wardrobe (although I’d be surprised if some of you don’t already have at least one of these in your closets).
1) First, stripes. O.M.G. Stripes. Stripes are my all-time, number-one favorite. Vertical or horizontal stripes. Even as I sit here typing this, I am wearing a striped shirt (which isn’t surprising considering that probably 50% of my clothing items have stripes on them). Even before my husband was my husband, he and his little sister would make fun of how many striped things I owned. (If I was ever shopping with his sister, she’d pick up anything and everything with stripes and say, “This looks like something you would wear, Erika!” Hardy…har…har, Bethany. Har.) Selecting only 4 striped items to include below was just about impossible — there are so many great striped things to chose from. I couldn’t find it online, but H&M has this great stretchy, striped t-shirt that is right around $5. I have 2. Just, make your way to your local H&M and buy yourself one, now! Since I already included striped pants in my first summer trend post, I didn’t include them here, but they’re definitely still on my list. Just know that if it has stripes on it, you should probably just buy it. Immediately.
2) Leopard is my next favorite. I love what a little bit of leopard does to an outfit. But, leopard-wearers beware! Too much leopard can look trashy. Or too Jersey Shore-ish. (Those two adjectives are synonyms, aren’t they? I did love me some Jersey Shore though—don’t judge.) Someone once told me (as I was wearing leopard shoes) that leopard belongs in the bedroom and nowhere else. I respectfully disagree with her, the ignoramus. I have 2 leopard-print scarves, 2 pair of leopard-print shoes, a leopard-print belt, a leopard-print cardigan, and a leopard-print skirt. I think as long as you keep it classy, and use it mostly as an accessory, then leopard is a wonderful addition to any outfit. (Hint: I love wearing leopard and stripes together.)
3) Floral is lady-like. Floral is beautiful. Floral is very summery. Floral is definitely huge this summer and every girl should have at least one floral item in her closet. (Hint: I also love pairing floral and stripes together.)
4) Polka dots are fourth on my list. I’m not as crazy about polka dots as I am about stripes and leopard print, BUT I do own several polka dot items. I’m dying over the pink, polka dot, peplum top I included below. It’s gotta be as close to perfect as a top can get. (Hint: I love polka dots and stripes together. I know—shocker! Polka dots and leopard OR polka dots and floral would each also look great together.)
5) Graphic tees are huge this summer. If you don’t have one, get one! All the tops I included below are pretty inexpensive (thank you, Forever 21) and they’re all so super cute. I now own 3 and am so excited for all the outfit possibilities I am going to get out of them! A graphic tee and striped shirt. A graphic tee and blazer (not included in this post). A graphic tee and floral jeans. A graphic tee and leopard belt. Get it yet?
6) Camo. The one thing I don’t have in my closet yet, but definitely something that’s on my shopping list. I’m drooling over the camo destroyed jeans (see last week’s post for more destroyed denim options). (Hint: I’d love to pair a graphic tee with some camo jeans. Or, you guessed it, camo bottoms with a striped shirt.)
7) Last, but definitely not least, tribal prints. I included a maxi skirt, because what says summer better than one of those babies? And those wedges?! How could you just not adore them? Tribal prints are so fun and so must-have for this summer. Since most of the tribal prints are so busy, I’d say you’d probably be better off just pairing them with a neutral.
And, in the interest of preserving the tradition from the past two weeks, here is a selfie shot where I paired two different prints: gingham (not featured in this post; it was originally, but I thought I had too many items already) with stripes.
While this next “trend” may not actually be a trend, I am including it in this post because we had a request to. And we give our clients what they want, gosh darn it! And because, this is a series about summer, and there’s nothing better to include in a summer series than swimsuits. And because a lot of these swimsuits are pretty trendy in and of themselves.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure (gentlemen, beware!), as I was searching for these swimsuits, I searched with the idea in mind that the wearer would have little in the way of chestal endowment. (Pretty sure I just made up the word “chestal” since it’s being underlined in red whenever I type it.) I figure, I fit into that category myself (thanks, mom!), so below are some ideas (“The boob tip”) for those who, like me, have no boobage to speak of, but still wanna look hot (“The trend”) in their swimwear.
1) The trend: the cutouts. The boob tip: this suit is padded (a must! for anyone with a small chest) and it has a strap that goes around your neck to keep it up. (This is the suit I own, so I know it works for the no boob thing.)
2) The trend: It’s mint. The boob tip: It’s a push-up swimsuit.
3) The trend: Chevron! The boob tip: It’s padded (see #1 above) and it’s got a sweetheart neckline, which outlines curves, giving the allusion that you do actually have boobs.
4) The trend: Gingham (a print!) The boob tip: It has a sweetheart neckline too (see #3 above) and padding (see #1 above).
5) The trend: It’s a print! and it’s bright! The boob tip: Its drawstrings make it cinch around your waist, making your waist appear smaller and accentuating your chest. Plus, it has padding and a strap to go around your neck (see #1 above).
6) The trend: Teal ikat (a print!) The boob tip: Sweetheart neckline and padding (see above), plus there’s a neat twist on the bustline that would accentuate the shape of your bust.
7) The trend: Bandeau The boob tip: It’s a bandeau top, so it accentuates the bust area. Plus this particular suit has an underwire, so it’s basically a push up, and that’s never a bad thing for us boobless.
8) The trend: Polka dots!! The boob tip: The entire suit is ruched so it gives the allusion that your bust is bigger than it actually is. Plus, that neck strap is never a bad thing!
Seven years ago today I married this guy. As you can probably tell by his amazing “groomal”, I am the luckiest girl in the world. Over the past seven years we have spent less than 30 days apart, had two children, moved four times, made four job changes, ate 752 hot dogs and watched approximately 1,627 episodes of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.
While the last number is not exact, it is certainly not an exaggeration. We literally watch PTI every single day. We TiVo it. My kids watch it. Sam calls it “Daddy’s show” and he knows there will be no Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if Kornheiser and Wilbon are on.
And you know what? I like it. I grew up in a family that wasn’t overly concerned about sports. We loved our Nebraska football and we attended many a Omaha Royals baseball game. However, it was never a priority in our home. Now, I’m not saying that Ben is a sports fanatic, but he certainly loves sports. Especially football. He also loves his family. Especially his wife. And I love him. So, every day we spend a half-hour tuned into PTI. It works for us.
So why am I writing a whole post about this? I’m writing it because I firmly believe one of the reasons we have such a happy (yet imperfect) marriage is because we share interests. I’m sure Ben knows far more about photography, Etsy and Downton Abbey than he would like to. He can tell you all about the show Revenge and why Nolan Ross is the greatest character on television.
On the other hand, I can tell you that the last two Heisman winners came from Texas schools. Thanks to PTI, I have been able to actively participate in 4 seasons of Fantasy Football leagues with my husband. I’ve won two of them. Also, I hate Alabama football because Ben hates Alabama football. And he hates Alabama football because he hates Nick Saban. I was enraged when Saban walked into Sandra Bullock’s living room in The Blind Side. This is love people.
So in honor of Tony and Mike, here are five things they have taught me about marriage.
1. Be friends. Mike and Tony have been friends for over thirty years. They enjoy each other and spend time together off set. I think the greatest asset Ben and I have is that we are best friends. Really. Best friends. There have been many times that the opportunity has arisen to hang out with my female friends and I have opted to stay home with Ben. Be with the person you chose to be with.
2. It is okay to disagree. Tony and Mike disagree all the time. Each segment lasts anywhere from ninety seconds to three minutes. Sometimes they fight and argue over an entire segment but as soon as the next segment is up, they are back to being friends and thoughtfully discussing the next topic.
3. Be yourself, but be better together. Every once in awhile, someone will be on vacation or on the road so they will bring in a guest host. There are some guest hosts we like better than others. If Bill Simmons is on, you better believe we are going to watch. Even though each host has chemistry with their guest hosts, the show is never as good as it is when Mike and Tony are together. Marriage should be the same way. You need to maintain your own personality and beliefs but use them in ways that make you better as a couple. I am outgoing and talkative — Ben isn’t. Ben is deliberate and thoughtful. I’m impulsive. Over the last seven years we have learned from each other and taken the best from each other’s personalities. Ben now talks to strangers in line at the store and I actually think for a minute before I buy a cotton candy machine. (Which they have a Target right now and I desperately want one.)
4. Sometimes a third opinion helps. Tony Reali is the “Stat Boy” for the show. He is also ridiculously cute. He mediates the segments and at the end of the show he reviews facts that they may have wrong. If you can’t agree on something, don’t be afraid to get another opinion. For a long time, Ben and I disagreed about when we should start our son in kindergarten. Finally we consulted with teachers, doctors and other professionals. Ben won. He’s starting in the fall.
5. A little penguin dance never hurts. Every once in awhile Tony does the following dance:
It’s my favorite. I also love Ben’s terrible jokes and the awesome songs he makes up on a daily basis. Keep the mood light people and just enjoy each other.
In the words of my sweet husband, “Ahhhh tender. Heart. Fade out.”
Something you might not know about my husband is that he is a secret hipster. Hipster in that somehow he finds music way before anyone (me) has ever heard of it. But not crazy obscure bands**. Like normal bands that you might actually listen to. The man has great taste in music. (His running playlist is much less embarrassing than mine.) So when he sends me something, I know it is going to be good.
Enter Lorde, a 16-year-old from New Zealand. This girl is something else. She is blowing up in New Zealand and Ben says she is just starting to get some attention here in the states. You should pay attention. We’ve decided she’s kind of a cross between M.I.A. and Adele. How’s that for random comparisons?
Her first album became available on iTunes back in March. Five songs worth of greatness. Royal and The Love Club are my favorites so far. Here is the video for Royals. Check it out. You can thank Ben when she gets big and you can say, “Oh yeah, I started listening to her waaaaaay before she was popular.”
**Also, while we are on the topic of hipsters and their crazy obscure bands, check out Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” that he did at Coachella a couple weeks ago. Hysterical. I’m so embarrassed for these people it almost hurts! Favorite quote: “I used to spin them all the time.” Ouch.
I’ll tell ya, for whatever reason, this danged post was so haaaaarrrrrrrd to write – in that “Ugh, I don’t want to write this, whine whine whine, grumpy cat face procrastination” kinda way. So yes, it’s coming to you later in the day, and it’s a little messy, but that works, because it embodies the ideas I’m about to set forth.
Just do something. (Okay, “just do it” was taken, alright? As was “just keep swimming”. Golly, this is not a new sentiment, is it?) And keep doing. Take a deep breath, quiet your fears (this step is optional sometimes, actually), and do something.
My example of the day? My friend Andrea, who had an idea, and rather than just bringing it up every few months with her friends and saying, “Gosh, wouldn’t that be cool?” she went for it. Now, she has a patented design and a Kickstarter project (underway now! Check it out and donate!) and she’s got more ideas and she is DOING.
On a much less grand scale, doing for me is usually just getting my house clean. And I’m not saying that in some humorous, hyperbolic kind of way. No dears, that’s quite literal. But this: If I think too much, it never gets done. Thinking is not action. I can plan and figure out the recommended ways and research homemade cleaning supplies and all that, but my house is still in the same state. But if I pick up a fruit snack wrapper off of the counter and put it in the trash, well hey, I’ve done something. The trick is to keep doing after that. Start small, sure, but don’t stop. Eventually, things will fall into place.
“But!” you say. “But! You could be doing things inefficiently – wasting your time and energy!” Yeah. I agree. More times than not you won’t be doing anything right at first, but I’ll hazard a guess that in most instances, it’s just as do-able to figure out those things along the way. This is about not over-complicating things, so if trying to figure out the best way to do something is preventing you from, you know, doing it, then it’s time to set aside that dream of perfection, at least for now.
But most importantly, trust yourself on all of this. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for, you know? At least about things that pertain to you. Don’t do something because it’s going to get the approval of others and therefore validate you. That’s not producing, that’s taking. Do because you love it, do because you love somebody, do because you just want to try. And keep doing.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken was on the husband’s list of “Places That We MUST Go Try” for about 6 months before we ever made it down in January. Over the next four weekends, we ate it three times.
That’s how much we love it.
Since then, I have been raving to Sarah and Megan about the wonder known as Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Then we came up with “Hey Megan!” Then people really liked “Hey Megan!”. (Thank you Pieous!) Then Megan got famous. So tonight, Sarah, Megan and I all ventured (sans husbands and children) to Lucy’s Fried Chicken.
The moment we pulled up, someone said, “Oh, this is so Austin.” There is no higher compliment to be paid. While they have a small indoor dining room, their patio is where it is at. Fans stir the breeze as the clientele sit on wooden picnic benches and those awesome plastic chairs that we all remember from school. Whoever handles their graphic design does a fantastic job because just looking at their menu is fun. A typography dream come true.
Our service was fantastic. Kent, our waiter, automatically found a place in our hearts due to his name. Both Sarah and I have brothers named Kent. He was friendly, helpful and super attentive.
The actual menu itself is amazing. They specialize in chicken and oysters. Tonight we chose to stick with chicken because someone in our group (cough, cough, Megan) is a Boston girl and doesn’t trust seafood outside of her beloved New England. Whatever.
Anywho. As we wanted to eat EVERYTHING on the menu, we finally decided on a small collection of things to sample. And by small, I mean all of this. For three women.
Basically we voted on everything we wanted to eat and then we narrowed it down. Sorry that the photo is a little blurry. I was afraid someone was going to start gnawing on my arm mistaking it for a piece of chicken.
So let’s go in course order. At least, the order we would have eaten in had we not dove into this mass all at once.
Sarah started with the lemonade. This is some serious lemonade, people. Slightly fizzy with the sweet and the tart balanced just right. My sister had it when she was in town and I think my dad drank a good portion of her glass.
Next up, the appetizers. We chose to have the cornbread muffins (Megan’s favorite) and the fried deviled eggs. Yup. I just said, “fried deviled eggs.” I should also mention they come with a serving of bacon aioli. The cornbread muffins have bits of corn and pepper in them and they are heavenly. The deviled eggs are a fantastically over-the-top, southern, spicy surprise. The only problem is, after eating one, you seriously start to question the choices you are making in life. Maybe just stop at one. But enjoy that one because they are pretty tasty.
Next up are the sides. We ordered a selection.
We decided to go with the Mexican Cola Sweet Potatoes and the Crab-Boil Potato Salad. Both were good but the sweet potatoes came out the winner in the race. Whoever thought to put Mexican Cola in sweet potatoes deserves an award. They are sweet and gently mashed to the perfect texture. The cola doesn’t over-power the potatoes; it adds just a little something special.
Our other two sides are technically entrees. We treated them as sides. I know — we are wild and crazy. On the left are the “Local Farm Vegetables”. Our selection included fried green tomatoes, grilled kale, broccoli, okra and beets. Truth be told, I am not a huge veggie eater but I ate everything on that plate and enjoyed every single bite. The fried green tomatoes are done with the same batter used on the fried deviled eggs. They are served on top of a cream sauce (dill maybe?) that complimented the slightly spicy batter perfectly. The grilled kale was a lovely surprise. Even the okra was really good. And none of us really like okra.
On the right is the Macaroni and Cheese. Sarah said, “This is like Grandma’s macaroni and cheese.” It includes smoked cheddar, provolone and swiss. Then they top it with . . . are you ready . . . cornbread crumbs. I just died.
Finally, we come to the chicken. Here’s the thing. I don’t really love fried chicken. You heard me. I don’t like the grease, it is hard to cook correctly, and I’m too lazy to deal with the bones when I eat it. But this fried chicken makes my heart sing. The breading is perfect. Never greasy. It is crunchy and flavorful and it stays properly adhered to the chicken. The chicken itself is perfectly cooked and moist throughout. Also, thanks to the first waiter I ever had there, I learned that honey mixed with hot sauce is the best way to eat it. I will never eat it any other way. If you aren’t a huge fried chicken fan, give Lucy’s a shot. They may just convert you.
Finally, let’s talk about the pie. We had the hot chocolate pie and the lime pie. The chocolate pie is basically chocolate ganache in a pie crust topped with a toasted marshmallow and whipped cream. Heavenly and rich. The lime pie is my favorite. I am a connoisseur of key-lime pie and this particular version might very well be my favorite. It is creamy and limey without being too tart. I can eat an entire slice without succumbing to heartburn. That is saying something.
In conclusion, Megan and Sarah really enjoyed their dinner and I earned additional food credibility. Sarah says, “Come for the chicken. Stay for the sides — especially the vegetable plate.” Megan said, “Where are we going next?” I say, “I can’t move.” But before I roll myself off to bed . . .
Things you need to know.
Address: 2218 College Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Cost: $$ (Our check was about $70 before tip.)
Food: Perfect home-style cooking with a bit of flair.
Kid Friendly: Yes, although running around the patio may be tempting for some. However, this place is super casual so I wouldn’t worry too much.
Pepsi or Coke?: Coke. But no Diet Dr. Pepper. Bummer.
Sarcasm aside, kudos to you if those are your thing. Me, well, I’m just trying to turn the dial from “sedentary” to “light physical activity”, and the less foofarah the better, I say. Luckily, my friend Lori sensed that I, like she, both hated running and felt a need to actually do it. A few weeks ago she approached me about doing the “Couch to 5k” app regimen with her, trading off on watching each other’s children. How could I say no? But oh, does misery love company, and it wasn’t too long before Tracey was roped in, too, so that now we all — in very theoretical theory — should be ready to run a 5k sometime this summer. Theoretically.
And hey, I’m doing it. I’m sorry if you were looking for some huge affirmation of, “Oh mylanta, people! Running is the most fulfilling thing and I now run barefoot and I will run 9 marathons in my life and endorphins!” I’m just not that person. Certainly not yet anyway. Again, props to you if you are. Sincerely. But I will say this: I’m glad I’m doing it. I do it in the mornings, and I do feel better throughout the day. I like having that time to myself, and I like getting outside more. I like the idea of making my body stronger and more capable, and I like setting goals to try new things with that stronger, more capable body. I like the simplicity of it, too; just get up, go.
But perhaps my favorite part is the music.
The music gives me more of a mood boost than the running, I think, and I love being able to have a solid half hour to just listen. I love moving steadily along with the beat, feeling connected to it. And I love bobbing my head without reservation when Jesse McCartney comes on, because how can you not?
So, here are a few standouts from my current playlist that I would certainly recommend you incorporate into yours. The full list is pictured above, and Tracey has graciously shared her sweet tunes as well, pictured below. (And Erika has a new phone, so she doesn’t have much to share right now, but she wants you to know that you can bet JT is on there, and for good reason.)
Go Do – Jonsi
I’ve mentioned this song on the blog before, but I’ll be darned if it wasn’t tailor-made for running. Even a grouchy runner like me lifts up her head, puts a spring in her step, and pushes herself just a little further. If you add no other, add this one.
One Day Like This – Elbow
A wake-you-up yet still relaxing song that has one of those fist-pumping builds at the end to make you feel like you’re running dramatically in slow motion. (Or just slowly in slow motion. That would be me. Have I made that clear yet?)
Learnalilgivinanlovin – Gotye
It doesn’t get more upbeat than this. Push play, and feel the energy coursing from your headphones, delivered with a smile. You’re welcome.
Hey Ya! – The Blanks
Note the artist here, because this is most certainly a cover. And don’t get me wrong, the original is great to run to — see Tracey’s below for proof — but I am sort of hilariously obsessed with low-key music. In fact, you’ll see that much of the stuff I run to most humans would never consider workout-worthy. However, I really find that having soothing music interspersed with the more high energy stuff helps me feel more like I’m doing something relaxing and fun rather than grueling. So, if that sounds like something that appeals to you, check out this (mostly) acapella cover from The Blanks.
As promised, here’s Tracey’s current running playlist. My faves? Wouldn’t It Be Nice so awesome! — and If I Can’t Have You. Plus, while texting back and forth about this, we agreed that The Killers’ All These Things That I Have Done is a gem for running (it’s on her other workout playlist, in fact,) but really, most Killers stuff is a gem for anything.
Uninvited comment from Tracey: Please take note of Grace Potter’s “Something That I Want” at the very end of my playlist. Yes, that is the song from Tangled. Lemme tell ya, this is the only way I get through the last 2 minutes and 43 seconds of my run. Because something that I want, at that point, is to be DONE. It is happy, upbeat and inspiring. I dare you not to feel motivated listening to this song. Tracey out.
So yes, there should be more than enough there for the fellow fitness novices out there who are looking to expand their music library. What are some tunes that get you motivated to move? Any that are super embarrassing? Do tell.
You guys. I am sorry for the overload in this “part 2” post. (Except, really, I guess I’m not). I have been internally debating ALL week on whether to talk about pastels or to talk about neons. And then, just last night, I decided, why limit it? This is my post, and I’ll do what I darn well please with it. Insert hashtag thatsthebeautyofblogging here (for Sarah’s thoughts on that, see this). So, today, we’re talking about both pastels and neons. And also, distressed denim. Because I love them all. And I think they are all great for this summer.
You can do so many things — I repeat, sooo many things — with these three items. The outfit possibilities are endless. All three trends can be worn together. Or they can all be worn separately. Get crazy with it. There are no rules in fashion. You could pair some distressed denim with a bright neon shirt, a white or neutral blazer (not featured here), and some pastel shoes/belt/accessories. Or you could pair some pastel skinnies with a neutral shirt and a neon cardigan or neon pair of shoes/belt. Seriously. I could go on and on. And on and on. So I’m just going to stop and let you guys do the rest of the imagining and putting-together-of-outfits yourselves.
And once you come up with something incredible (because I know you all will), share it with us! Email it to us or post it to Instagram with the appropriate hashtag (#NeonOpinion #PastelOpinion #DistressedOpinion). If we get enough outfit pics, we’ll feature them in a future post! Until then, here are the guides to help get you started…