RockMyRun – Our Favorite Running App

One of our favorite things to do on the blog is share products that we love. Let me introduce you to RockMyRun.

This is hands down one of my favorite running apps.  I have a lot of music on my iPhone but sometimes I just want to mix it up.  This is where RockMyRun comes in.  They have millions (maybe not that many) of playlists featuring every genre imaginable.  You can filter by genre, time, BPM and length of workout.  I am totally motivated my music so having upbeat fun songs to listen to helps me push myself a little harder.  Plus it gives me access to songs that I wouldn’t normally purchase.

Here are some of my favorite mixes.

Girls Night Out

Runchat Fan Mix

Fight to Fit

Best of 2013

Mixes are available for streaming if you have WiFi or unlimited data.  Or you can download them to your phone and have access to them whenever you want.  They have two different levels of membership.  Here is the explanation according to their website. 

RockMyRun offers two tiers of memberships: Standard (free) and Premium. Standard memberships have access to standard mixes, get 1 download of any standard mix per month and unlimited listening to standard mixes in the RockMyRun app.

 

Premium memberships come in 3 lengths: monthly, quarterly and annually. With a premium membership you get access to ALL the mixes available at RockMyRun. You receive a number of downloads based on the length of the membership: 3 downloads per month for monthly, 9 downloads per quarter for quarterly and 36 downloads per year for annual. These downloads do not roll over to the next month – they are use or lose.

If you happen to be looking for some new jams for your workout, you may want to check out this app.  If you see me dancing as I’m running down the street, you’ll know what I’m listening to.

RockMyRun didn’t pay us to say nice things about them.  We just dig the app and thought you might too.  

 

Breaking Bad (Habits) Part 2

So dieting….. am I right?? Just to give you an idea of how it is going, I may or may not be sipping on a Dunkin Donuts Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and munching on a chocolate donut. In my defense, they were hand delivered to me at my office on a rough day by a sweet friend who knows how much I adore sweets (and also how much I hate diets). How could I possibly turn that down?  Am I supposed to let the poor defenseless donut die a sad death in the trash can?

I’m sure you can tell my mindset and dedication is wavering, but let me fill you in on how I got here, and really exactly where I am.

Week one was pretty darn hard, as you could tell from my first post. Day 6 was my cheat day and I took it pretty easy. I ate off my meal plan and just added in a few cheat items, like a roll or two, and a cookie or two, and a Diet Coke or two. You know, the important things!

But after going 6 straight days without sugar or dairy or carbs at all, my body didn’t handle itself very well after cheat day. I felt ill. But my cravings became harder to curb. And my will to live became less and less. So I cheated more. If we’re being totally honest, I can’t quite call it cheating if I’m still consuming way less calories than I normally should be, you know? 

On Day 14, I was down 3.5 pounds. I felt good. I was halfway to my goal weight. And the best news of all was that we got new meal plans. With more calories. And with normal food. No more chicken and spinach!! Everyone at the gym was super excited. And I have to say that I’m pretty happy with the new plan. It’s the Mexican Food meal plan and it includes things like cheese (gasp) and tortilla chips (double gasp). 

The only problem is that I misjudged just how stressed I would be at this time of year. Am I the only one who hates January??? I’ll post more on that later, but I have been turning to food to make me feel better way too often. And wouldn’t you know it, the stars aligned and I found a bakery that makes some amazing Triple Berry Tres Leches Cupcakes. Don’t ask me how I got there. I’m not sure I can recall. Bakeries must have magnets or something that force my car in the parking lot and my person through the front doors. And did I mention the Girl Scout cookies on every corner?? I mean….

So today is day 21 (of 56). I haven’t lost any additional weight this week. But I’m counting that as a win. Maintaining is just as important as losing, right? And I totally have the maintenance thing down… as long as I can keep my donut trips in check. But it was really good and totally worth it. Just sayin’…  

Obviously I still have some work to do if I ever plan to give anyone qualified advice on dieting.

Is It Spring Yet? Rainboots!

Is it spring yet? Remember how last week I talked about them winter blues? Well. It’s snowing in Denver again. So I guess, really, the answer to my question is a most definite “no!” It is just not spring yet. So I decided to start counting down. I’m going to count down to blue skies and warmer temps.  Then I’m going to count down to bright colors and tulips. I’m going to countdown to all sorts of Cadbury Eggs. After that, I’m going to count down to baseball and summer vacations. And I’m going to count down to April showers, the quintessence of spring. The moment when the cold snow finally turns into oh-so-welcome, little drip-drip-droplets of soft, cool water.

Oh Bambi.

Anyway. What better way to count down to April showers than by shopping for rainboots? Rainboots are to April as April showers are to spring: the quintessence. (Too much to use that word twice in one post? Eh, I’m leavin’ it.) So, I have scoured these internets high and low for all sorts of different rainboots for you! That is, if you’re in the market. Which, you probably should be. Because, spring and April showers and rainboots and Bambi!

Our Favorite Rainboots

Is It Spring Yet?? Rainboots! #hunters #target #lace #tartan #spring #rainboots #ankle boots #leopard #floral #snakeskin #polkadots #metallic:

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007 // 008 // 009 // 010

 

011 // 012 // 013 // 014 // 015 // 016 // 017 // 018 // 019

I want ALL these rainboots. I have included all sorts of different rainboots to choose from, you’re welcome. If you’re looking for some brand name/splurge rainboots, try #1, #2, and #19 (Hunters), #4 (Ugg), #7 (Valentino), and #9 and #10 (Sperry). If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, but still good quality, try #3 and #17 (Target), #15 (Kohl’s), and #11, #12, and #14 (DSW).

What style of rainboot should I buy?

I tried to include a variety of trends. Ankle boots are huge right now. I have a pair of knee-high Hunters, which are always practical and never go out of style. But really, ankle boot rainboots (#4, #10, #11, and #19)? I mean, seriously. I am seriously dying over #11 in particular. With the bow!! And the #10 rainboots are fur-lined! Sperry, for the win!

Anything tartan or plaid is also very trendy right now. The tartan Ralph Lauren rainboots (#13) would be the perfect way to incorporate this look into spring. Metallic is also big, so why not add some metallic to your rainboots? I submit to you that I cannot think of one good reason not to. Sperry’s got Metallic rainboots down (#9 and #10). Plus, I mentioned above, fur-lined! Helloooo! If you like the lace trend, try lace rainboots (#4, #7, and #8). And then, of course, anything printed. Printed rainboots are soo fun! We already talked about the tartan and lace. There’s also polka dots (#12), snakeskin (#16), leopard (my fav! – #17), and floral (#18).

Aaaand, I think that just about covers it for rainboots. Check back next week for the second edition in my countdown to spring… what will it be, what will it be? Oh, the suspense! 😉

Curing the Winter Blues

I want to be somewhere tropical right now. Somewhere that the white sand is almost too hot to stand on barefoot. Almost too hot, but not quite. Somewhere that a colorful beach towel is perfect for taking a nap in the bright warmth of the sunlight. Somewhere that I can take a couple of steps and end up in the cool, bright blue, salty water, looking for turtles and fishies through a snorkel mask. Somewhere that a line of tall palm trees casts the perfect amount of shade and breeze.

I want to be somewhere that my only care is that my piña colada is going to melt too fast. Or that the sun is going to set too soon. Or that a coconut just might fall on my head. Or that my skin might maybe get a little too red.

Instead, I’m sitting in my tiny apartment. In the middle of suburban America. In the middle of a snowstorm. Where the space heater humming at my side isn’t quite warm enough and the sun has already set and there’s no hope of wearing a swimsuit any time soon. And my cares instead include worrying about what to cook for dinner this week, and when I’m going to finish all the piles and piles and piles of laundry or go grocery shopping, and wondering what bills will make their way to my mailbox tomorrow.

Instead of a piña colada and a suntan, I’ve got the Winter Blues*. In years past, I have cured my Winter Blues with some really fattening foods, as many chick flicks as I can handle, and a healthy dose of a patience, just waiting for longer, warmer days to find me again.

But this year, mostly for the sake of the blog and having something to talk about, I’ve decided to put together a list of 10 things, besides chick flicks and binge eating candy and cupcakes, that can help me through my Winter Blues. And luckily, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna let you use these ideas too. Gosh, we’re nice, huh.

WinterBlues

1) Keep Up on Your Resolutions — Odds are you had some resolutions you made a couple weeks ago when the New Year rolled around. And what better way to keep up on those resolutions than by trying to defeat your Winter Blues? Exercise more. Eat healthier. Work out a budget/get out of debt. Write letters (actual snail mail letters, people) to loved ones. Whatever your resolution may be, winter is a great time to try to achieve them, especially if you’re trying to defeat the Winter Blues. Instead of using winter and the cold and the shorter days as an excuse to get you out of your resolutions, use winter as a reason to actually accomplish those things. Find ways to motivate yourself. It will be worth it, I promise you.

2) Start a Recipe Group or Book Club — Get some friends from the neighbor or from church or from your kids’ schools and plan a time once a month or once every two weeks (whatever fits everyone’s schedules) and get together. Share recipes or read books together. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house, socialize, meet new people.

3) Be IN Winter — Go out in winter. Don’t let winter keep you inside. Find an activity you enjoy despite the cold outside. Go snowboarding or skiing and snowshoeing. Go sledding or snowmobiling. Go ice-skating or find some ice castles. Go to the zoo. Just make sure to bundle up reaalllyyyyy well.

4) Learn a New Hobby — If you’re too afraid of #3 (understandable if you’re anything like me… I despise being cold more than anything), then stay in your house and learn a new hobby. Learn to sew or cook or bake or scrapbook. Take a class online to help you learn photography or web design or graphic design. Learn how to draw or write calligraphy. Pretty much anything. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t found the time, why not start now, while you’re sitting in your house feeling sorry that it’s just so darned cold outside.

5) “Spring” Cleaning — Why not get a head start on cleaning your entire house? That way, once spring does actually decide to roll around, your house will be spic and span and you’ll be ready to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh, warm weather!

6) Binge Watch a Show — This is one of my favorite things to do, I admit. It’s bad. I really should do something more productive with my life, but when it’s cold outside and I just wanna curl up under a blanket, Netflix becomes my best friend. Sign up for Netflix or Hulu or even buy a season of that show you’ve heard is soooo good, but you just never had time to watch it.

7) Write in a Journal — I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Write about whatever you’d like. Things you’ve done. Goals you have. Ideas you’d like to share one day. About how much winter sucks.

8) Create a Photo Book — Websites like Shutterfly, Mixbook, or Snapfish are great tools to help you organize your photos into cute, personalized books. Make a book of your last family vacation, or what you did last summer, or what you did over Christmas break. I guarantee looking through all those pictures will chase those winter blues right away.

9) Serve! — Volunteer at shelters or food kitchens or nursing homes or even your kid’s school. Go by yourself or with friends or with kids. Seek out people who may need your help. I know from experience that the best way to keep you from thinking about yourself is to help someone else in need.

10) Plan a Trip — If all else fails, and you happen to have some money you’ve set aside for a rainy day (or in this case, a snowy day?), go on a trip. Take a staycation for a weekend somewhere close. Take an extended weekend somewhere slightly further away. Take a weeklong trip somewhere you’ve been dying to go. Go somewhere warmer than where you are if that’s what your heart desires. Or go to the mountains somewhere and lock yourself up in a cabin and do any of the ideas above.

Let us know what your favorite things to do to cure your Winter Blues are. And if none of the 10 ideas work for you, just appreciate how beautiful winter can be. My husband took this picture with his iPhone after a snowstorm earlier this month. Whoooaaa. Good job, Kent!

IMG_4172

*Winter Blues in its most severe form is sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing. This post is not meant to belittle or demean that condition or anyone who suffers from it. We are not doctors, and our advice/opinions are not meant to imply that we are. We merely want to share our very unqualified opinion about some things that help us brighten up our own dark winter months.

Last Call: Winter Coats

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! January is almost over, which means we only have a couple months of winter left, which means Spring! Which then means Summer! Not that I’m counting down the days or anything… except, OK, yes I am. Summer and me, you guys, we are friends. We get along. Summer and me, we have a great relationship. So, it’s no surprise that I’m excited for it to get back into my life.

But until then, I will finish using my snowboarding season pass – gotsta get my money’s worth – and I will keep drinking as much hot chocolate as my tummy will let me and I will keep washing my car after every snowstorm and I will keep my winter coats in the forefront of my closet. As should you… as should you.

So (and my summer-loving self is saying, ‘thankfully!’), this is the last call for winter coats. A winter coats roundup of sorts. And if you’re in the market for a new winter coat, now’s just about the best time that you could be looking! Winter coats and jackets are starting to go on sale to make way for all the spring items that stores are getting in stock, but it’s still cold enough in most places that there is still a good variety to choose from. And the best part (or worst part, depending on how you look at winter) is that you still have a couple months to wear them, depending on where you are. But then, they won’t be so worn that you can’t get use out of them next year too.

LastCall

A couple of things you may want to remember when shopping for winter coats at this time of year:

1) Search for a sale. If you find a coat you like, but it’s not quite on sale yet, either search somewhere else for a similar one or just wait for the one you like to go on sale. Odds are it is on sale somewhere or it will go on sale soon. After all, like I said above, spring is quickly approaching (yay!) and stores are going to want to get rid of their winter coats sooner or later.

2) Keep in mind the season… after all, it is still winter for just a bit longer. Try to find jackets that are versatile enough that you can wear them to finish off this winter season, but that maybe you can keep wearing into spring – you know, maybe something that’s not too dark or too heavy – and that you can, again, wear when winter inevitably makes it way back into your life.

Below, quite a few options of winter coats – several of them are on sale or clearance – to get you started. We aim to please, mostly is what this post is.

(Also, let it be written, let it be known that my love for the Target clearance section surpasses my love for most other things. Just to throw that out there.)

Denim

Dark (Clearance) // Light // Dark (Splurge)

Wool

Gray (Sale) // Maroon (Clearance) // Hooded // Melange // Blue (Sale)

Trench

 

Tan (Clearance) // Tan // Red (Sale)

Stripes

Black & Grey (Clearance) // Red

Rain

Blue // White (Splurge)

Quilted

Navy // Teal (Splurge)

Plaid

Red (Clearance) // Black (Splurge/Sale)

Peacoat

Red (Clearance) // Grey // Striped (Sale)

Parka

Maroon (Clearance) // Red (Splurge/Sale) // Blue // Green

Military

Green // Blue (Super sale!)

LeatherSleeves

Fur-trimmed Black // Funnel-neck Black (Splurge)

Leather

 

Black // Pink // White

Random

Leopard // Biker // Blazer // Camo // Floral

 

Please Keep Your Seat in the Upright Position

Dear Lady in Seat 23F,

First of all let me start by saying thanks for not giving me the look of death when you noticed my family sitting behind you. I appreciate the fact that you didn’t make any comments regarding our presence or expressing your hope that they would sleep through our flight. I realize that three and half hours with two kids five and under isn’t super desirable on an early morning flight. I’m their mom and I don’t relish the idea.

Lucky for you my kids are both great travelers. We drown them in treats and juice to keep their mouths occupied. We also bring six different electronic devices along to keep them entertained. We really do try as parents not to leave an impression on our fellow passengers. As part of our mission we do our darnedest to make sure they don’t kick the seat in front of them. Just call us the “Feet Police”.

However, when you, the lady with the neck pillow, decides to recline your seat, it makes my job even harder. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice that I was holding a 21 month year old directly behind you. I know you did. You aren’t sleeping. I can tell because you’re taking photos out the window of the plane. Do those few extra degrees really provide that much comfort? Because let me tell you, it makes a HUGE difference to the lady wrestling a squirmy toddler behind you.

I, for one, would like to propose a collective agreement among humanity to keep your seat upright on any flight that isn’t a red eye. You aren’t going to sleep comfortably. It’s a plane. Your best bet is to sit next to the window and lean over. A reclined seat isn’t going to help.

Be kind to the families sitting around you. Give the kids a chance to be good travelers before you make snap judgements. Chances are the parents were frazzled by the time they dropped off their baggage. We won’t even talk about the nightmare known as security. We paid for our seats just like you and we probably paid even more in terms of our mental health. Believe me, if I could reasonably drive from Raleigh to Salt Lake City, I would. But I can’t so we are in this together.

So do me a solid. Be kind, don’t recline.

XOX,
Tracey

Breaking Bad (Habits) Part 1

Breaking Bad Food HabitsLike 90% of the world, Erika and Tracey have both made health and exercise related New Year Resolutions. While we are both doing pretty well, one of our favorite contributors, Andrea, is putting us to shame. This is serious stuff for anyone and for someone who loves her food as much as we do, this is downright inspiring.  

My name is Andrea and I am a carboholic. It’s ugly, but it’s the truth. For a long while I’ve been in denial about how my addiction to sugar and bread has been affecting me, but now I’ve been forced to deal with it head-on. It is time to start breaking bad food habits. Ok, so maybe it was my idea, but I’m totally facing it. And it’s hard.

As typical New Years Resolutions go, I had the super great idea to sign up for the weight loss challenge at my gym. The initial reason for signing up was that I’m a tad competitive and wanted a chance at winning some prizes. Also, I had no idea what was in store for me and thought it would involve limiting portions or whatever. Wrong. Majorly wrong.

Fast forward to my weigh-in.

Step 1 – Stand on the scale. Easy. Take off my shoes and every extra piece of clothing possible to decrease the number as much as possible.

Step 2 – Get measured. Also pretty easy and semi-painless. Since these are numbers I didn’t have to see, they didn’t bother me as much.

Step 3 – Out come the calipers. I hate these things. No one likes to be grabbed by their fat rolls, let alone have those rolls measured with…. Pinchers.

*At this point, I feel like I’ve got it made. I can totally win this thing.*

Step 4 – Sit down to discuss a meal plan. Turns out that these meal plans are configured for you by a computer based on your measurements and percentages. It becomes obvious very quickly that computers have never eaten a bite of this food in their lives – all the foods listed are bland, flavorless, and contain zero ounces of pleasure.

Step 5 – Haggle relentlessly over substitutions and more exciting options with the trainer (or, rather, the computer).

The main idea is that the first two weeks are the clean-eating cleanse phase (breaking bad food habits) and then we follow that with a diet plan that is more diverse for the next six weeks. I will admit that at this point I still felt pretty cocky about the whole thing. That is, until I realized what was missing. Sugar. Bread. Diet Coke. Items that were essentially the lifeblood of everything good and happy in my life. I was scared and I panicked. I went on a minor food binge for the rest of the day in preparation for what was to come the next morning. I ate all my favorites… sugary cereals, tacos, donuts, gyros, and ice cream (not in that order). Obviously, not the best approach, but I ended the day semi-disgusted with myself and ready to go sugar-free.

Here are some general feelings that I have experience while going through this process…

Day 1. Dude! I feel great! This is going to be a breeze! The food isn’t that bad and I’m not even hungry. I thought the whole concept of losing weight meant starving yourself but I can totally handle this! Seriously rocking the workouts and the food prep.

Day 2. Still going strong. I am going to kick this challenge in the butt! The workout was good and my energy levels are still high. By the end of the day though, I really do start to miss dessert… and Diet Coke.

Day 3. What the crap happened to me? I feel terrible. Seriously, seriously terrible. I have no purpose anymore. There is no meaning in life without chocolate. And I can’t even tell you what I would do for a huge, buttery homemade dinner roll right now. Diet Coke would totally make me feel better… but blast, I cannot have it. Skipping the workout today because of the general lack of will to exist.

Today is Day 4. I guess I feel better. I suppose I’ll drag myself through the motions today. The workouts are supposed to boost my energy so I guess I’ll go. Dang, that was the hardest workout of my life. I feel like I’m exercising in a pool of Jell-O. Now I’m generally exhausted and slightly depressed. Even the 2.5 lbs I have lost so far don’t do much to cheer me up.

Mostly, I have spent a lot of time daydreaming about cheat day (Sunday). I already know exactly how I want to cheat and what I will savor the most. They are big plans: I will add dark chocolate to my boring daily snacks of nuts and berries, I will have a thin crust veggie pizza with no tomato sauce for lunch, and I will enjoy some rolls with my dinner. Most importantly, though, is the addition of Diet Coke back in my life (even though it is only for a day). It may not sound wild and crazy, but I do want to have a chance at winning this thing so I’m mostly taking it easy on the carb-loading. That, and I don’t want to make myself totally sick by overloading my system with stuff that I’ve been depriving it of for 6 days.

I can’t say I feel any better yet. My trainer admitted today that he was pretty worried about how I would fare without sugar. And so far I would have to say that I’m not faring well.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

Rules of Running for Non-Runners

Remember how Sarah talked me into doing Couch to 5K last spring?  Remember how I did it and then actually ran a 5k? Yeah, that was pretty big. So big that I thought, “I ran a 5K. I have reached my running pinnacle. Why on earth would I ever run more than this?” It was the pinnacle of running for a non-runner like myself.

Well . . .now, I’m running more than that. In fact, last week I did 8 miles. Next week I’m supposed to do 9.5 miles. In the middle March I’m going to go a full 13.1 miles, in public, with a whole bunch o’ strangers and maybe even get a (participation) medal.

How did this happen? Like it did for Megan, it just kind of happened.

We moved and now there is a beautiful running trail right behind my house. My new home also happens to be in a place where I know virtually no one and I can’t reasonably call anyone I love until 10 am because of the time difference. To top it off, my kids are early risers and the men in my house leave at 7:00 am. Little miss and I had to find something to do. So we ran. Then we ran farther and farther. Then it started getting easier. Then I thought, “Hey, maybe I can actually do this thing.”

Through the course of the last couple of months I have learned a few things. Things that have helped my body that is still working to shed another 50 pounds. I would like to share a couple of very unqualified rules on running for non-runners.

Running for Non-Runners

1.  The first 1.5 miles are rough. Like really rough. I still feel this way every day. Each time I head out, I think, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this. My body hurts, this is unnatural, and I hate it.” Once I excepted the fact that I was going to be uncomfortable for at least a mile, things got better. Now, by the time I hit 2 miles I’m in my groove. I’m breathing better and my body seems to have decided that I’m going to keep going whether it agrees or not. Now I’m to the point where I want to run at least 3-4 miles on a normal day because I know I’ll feel good at the end.

2. Ignore your pace. Not everyone will agree with this statement. If you have speed goals, by all means, keep track of your pace. However, if you are like me and you are just trying to make running happen, look for your own rhythm. As you continue, you’ll get faster. When I ran with the jogging stroller, my phone was mounted right where I could always see my pace. It was too much pressure! I worried that I was too slow. I constantly tried to run a negative split or maintain a certain pace. Once I let go of that (by putting my phone in my pocket), I found that my speed was much more natural and I enjoyed it a lot more.

3. Vary your route. If you always run the same route, the scenery will get boring and your body will get bored. Mix it up.

4. Keep your chin up. Mentally keep your chin up. You can do this. Physically keep it up and your form will be better. Stop looking at your phone, feet, stroller, or whatever. Enjoy what is around you. Be aware of your surrounding. It is safer, more relaxing, and a lot more fun.

5. Bring a buddy. Find a running buddy. This can be a friend, spouse, child, or simply a friend on the phone. I’ve found that my long runs are a lot easier if I have someone to chat with. On my last long run, I spent 3 miles talking to my friend Shannon. Not only did it take my mind off the mileage, it helped me maintain a reasonable pace so I wasn’t gasping for breath while talking. If anyone would like to sign up to be a phone buddy during my half, I’m taking volunteers.

6. Walk when your body needs it. I am a HUGE fan of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method. I find that I can go farther and I enjoy it more when I take walk breaks. My body feels better during and after my run. I’m not competing with anyone but myself so as long as I get the miles in, I’m happy.

7. Go hands free. My form is better when I’m not carrying something or fiddling with my phone. See #2 and #4. Plug that single head phone in and let your smart phone do what it is designed to do. I have Runkeeper set to give me my total time and distance at half mile intervals. I don’t have it tell me my pace (even though we all know I quickly calculate it when I hear easy even miles). It helps me be more aware of my surroundings as well.

8. Make a goal with consequences. For me, that was shelling out $100 bucks for a half marathon. Now I have to do it because I don’t want to tell Ben that I wasted the money. Do whatever works for you.

9. Realistically schedule it. I am not a morning person. I say I’ll get up and run a six but my body and brain aren’t really on board. Run when it works for you. Look at your schedule and find the right time. It might be during lunch or after work. Maybe it’s running around the park while your kid is at soccer practice. Find the time that WORKS and put it on the calendar.

10. Do it for you. That means doing it your own way at your own pace. You don’t have to run the same distance or pace as your spouse. Ben runs faster but I run farther. Accomplish YOUR goals. Do you want to be able to run a whole mile? Great! Are you like Erika and want to see how far you can run during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy? Perfect. Maybe you just want to be outside for 30 minutes a day. Do that. Figure out what you need and grab it. Whatever you do, just know that if you are running at all, then you, my friend, are a runner.

Now, I have a toddler to wrestle into a jogging stroller so she can yell at me for the next 45 minutes.

Stocking Stuffers Under $50

So the holidays are NUTS, am I right? And apparently that makes us bad bloggers. And for that, we are really, really sorry. Things like trips and weddings and shopping for gifts and spending time with family and baking for neighbors (and baking for myself) and making Christmas cards and in Tracey’s case editing photos and sitting in holiday traffic and packing for holiday trips… it’s actually all what makes the holidays the best! But it’s also what makes us bad bloggers. Come January, we’re gonna be back at this thing full force, arms a swingin’, dukes up, that sort of thing. (Along some pretty exciting changes too. At least that’s what we’re aiming for.) But, until then, enjoy a few posts sprinkled in here and there, like you enjoy some cinnamon and marshmallows sprinkled on top of your favorite hot chocolate. Today’s post was actually written last week, but hasn’t been ready to post until today. That’s how nuts these here holidays have been.

I am so excited about today’s post! We have stocking stuffers! Who doesn’t love opening their stockings on Christmas morning? I would argue it’s one of the best parts of Christmas. I love seeing what’s going to be stuffed inside that giant, fuzzy sock. Not to mention I love love love all the items I’ve picked out. I can only hope my stocking looks this good on Christmas morning. And I can only hope the same for my husband, also. Guess I better get on that, then.

All these items are under $50. And you’re welcome for that. What are some of the things you guys are going to put in your stockings this year?

stockingstuffersHER

01 . 02 . 03 . 04 . 05 . 06 . 07 . 08 . 09 . 10 . 11

01 and 02 – Bath and Body Works has some great stocking stuffers. And they always have great sales! And I die over all their Christmas/winter scents. The candy apple Christmas one might just be my favorite.

03 – Candle. Because.

04 – And perfume. Because. This one from Victoria’s Secret is the perfect little size to fit into a stocking and it smells amazing. I carry this exact one in my purse. It’s perfect for on-the-go.

05 – Who doesn’t want to spice up their passport a little bit? A passport case is such a cute way to do it.

06 – Jewelry box on the go? This is a perfect idea and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner. The perfect size for your stocking!

07, 08, 09, 10 – CLOTHES! When you were 7, getting clothes for Christmas was THE worst. Now? Probably one of my favorite things to get. Funny how that works, eh? Chunky scarfs, pack o’ belts, cute accessories, and stripey socks? May your stocking look this good and you have a happy new year.

11 – A ticket stub book, to keep all your tickets for 2014. Amazing.

stockingstuffersHIM

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01, 02, 03 – Mancessories. Men just need pocket knifes. Odds are your man already has one. But if not, go get him one stat. He is a man after all. iPhone wallet or money clip… depending on what your man prefers to carry. Both are practical. Both are perfect stocking stuffers.

04, 05, 06 – Because usually men just stink. It’s just part of who they are. So poo-pourri because nobody wants to deal with smelling thaaaat. ManCandles, just because. And Sasquatch soap, mostly because this one made me laugh.

07 – Sometimes people think I’m joking when I say I love bowties. But aren’t they just the cutest! If your man thinks he can’t pull off a bowtie, stick one of these suckers in his stocking this Christmas and prove him wrong. Which just happens to be one of the things we women do best.

08, 09, 10, 11 – Not sure how many men love getting clothes for Christmas. But sunglasses, sports socks (that look like shoes, hello!), beanies, and gloves are so super practical. You just can’t go wrong with these as stocking stuffers.

12 – Portable fire starter. See 01 about being a man.

13  – Bacon toothpicks!!!!!! (That many exclamation points is still not enough)

14 – Retractable auxiliary cord. I actually got one of these for Christmas from my man last year and I love it. Seriously. Love it.

The Christmas Card Procrastinator.

Christmas Card
Pixelated to protect the identity of innocent children.
Card design by www.birdesignshop.com Photography by www.samstowndesigns.com

Still trying to decide what to do for your family holiday card? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, Hey Megan is here to tell you about how this year may be the year that she becomes a Christmas Card winner.

Oh, the season is upon us. Black Friday (which started Thursday and was still going strong on the Saturday after Thanksgiving) is just about over. Today is Cyber Monday. Incredibly, my Christmas decorations are up… mostly because it took so long to get my Halloween decorations put away that I told my husband just to bring down the Christmas stuff while he was up there (in our very icky storage space above the garage). So, if that opener didn’t make it clear, I am a procrastinator. And I am not very creative, or organized, nor do I have an eye for home decor. But to be more clear, 90% of my Christmas decorations are gifts from other people. I just put them up wherever the kids want them every year. Not that I don’t love the season—I LOVE this time of year. I’m just not…well…my sisters. They got all of the genes when it comes to beautifying their houses and designing fantastic Christmas cards with adorable letters inside.

So, I ask you. Where are you when it comes to Christmas cards? I am positive our own Tracey will have ADORABLE pictures of her kids in matching outfits doing something priceless and poignant on her Christmas cards. Most years I am happy I get some kind of picture of at least 75% of my kids out to enough of my family members. Don’t get me wrong. I love getting everyone else’s Christmas cards. I love seeing how everyone has changed (She lost weight! They had ANOTHER kid! Thank goodness that one grew into his looks, etc). I also understand that Christmas cards are a great way to keep in touch with people you NEVER keep in touch with other than FB stalking. Clearly, I am not against Christmas cards, I’m just not any good at them!

Every Thanksgiving I think, “This is the year my Christmas cards is going to be outstanding and include a fabulous letter about all the goings-on at the Peterson home.” Then, three days before Christmas I am stuffing envelopes at the post office while buying stamps. My card is a picture of my kids wearing… clothes, doing… something in the same general vicinity of each other… usually slightly out of focus. Urg. Fail. Again. And this after reading a darling poem about all of the great things my nephews have done this year. Or staring for weeks at my sister’s three kids, dressed to the 9’s striking adorable poses in a card that is practically a short photo book. Fail. Again.

But this year I am on tops of things. Yep. I got Tracey to take our family pictures in June (yes, I wanted bluebonnets, but like I said—procrastinator). So, gorgeous pictures of my kids smiling and wearing coordinating outfits? Check! And my good friend Sara gave me this cute little notebook to write down all of the cute things my kids said and did (yes, I know she gave it to me years ago—procrastinator). I finally started writing stuff in it! Material for a cute letter? Check! Wahoo, I’m on a roll! Now all I have to do is get the pictures downloaded from the disk to a photo site (I know, I know, Tracey! I still haven’t done that!), order the cards, write the letter, stuff the envelopes, print up the addresses . . .

Oh, man. This might be another fail . . .

Stay tuned!