Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wine Down Wednesday Pairings

Hello Wednesday! I'm pretty excited about today because after I work, I have a full week off! Remember, I only work two days a week. So when we have a Monday holiday, I end up getting a full week to myself. It's a pretty sweet deal.

Even though I only work two days, those days are jam packed and pretty exhausting. I'm up at 4:30am and at work by 5:30am. I've trained several clients, taught two classes and gone home to a crazy toddler who's running around destroying the house these days. Seriously, I spend the afternoons following her around, making sure she doesn't hurt herself and picking up after her. I wouldn't change it for a thing! But after she goes to bed, I'm ready to wind down and relax on the couch.

You know the best way to wind down a crazy day? Wine. I love me some wine. When we went to San Francisco in May, we spent a day in Sonoma County doing wine tastings! While there, I officially became a wine club member at a winery called Iron Horse. If you're going to the area, look it up. It's gorgeous, the views are amazing and the wine is even better. I'm kind of obsessed with sparkling wines and that is what they specialize in. Lately I've been indulging in a glass of my latest shipment which is essentially a sparkling chardonnay with some Original SkinnyPop Popcorn!

At just under 40 calories a cup, it's the perfect snack to pair with wine while sitting on the couch watching Bachelor in Paradise. Don't judge me. We all have our guilty pleasures!

I've also snacked and sipped while cooking dinner! It's a nice little appetizer. As long as JP is home to entertain the munchkin, I can cook dinner and drink my wine in peace. On Monday, I was able to do just that! It's like my own little piece of Heaven while living amongst my crazy, perfect, chaotic life.

There are actually six different SkinnyPop flavors to choose from all under 50 calories per cup. To make it even better, SkinnyPop came up with a wine pairing graphic! I've included it below so you can decide which flavor you want to try with your favorite wine to wine down this Wednesday! I'm dying to try the dusted dark chocolate with a bottle of red I have waiting for me at home.

I'm excited to start my extra long weekend after I get off today! I'm hoping it involves a chance for me to wine down!

What would your favorite pairing be?

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Marathon to Mom: How I plan to get back at it.

Guess what? Marathon training season is once again among us. Earlier this year, I wrote about the transition from marathon runner to mom. I'm still a runner, but the dynamics of my running have changed a lot! Since I've officially started training again, I thought I'd share my training plan and how I plan to get back into the swing of things!

First things first. When you're heading out for a run with baby, you need to make sure that no only are you ready, but that baby is fully prepared! Our staples for a good run include snacks, water bottle, toys and of course her fan in this Texas heat. I also stash a diaper, some wipes, extra snacks, a bib and a burp cloth just in case. Sometimes we stop by Whole Foods on our way home and get something to eat or pick up a few groceries. The burp cloth also acts as an awesome sweat towel if it isn't needed for cleaning anything else up!

Since I have the jogging stroller, I can always bring a big water bottle for me which is so nice! I also stash my phone and keys in the mommy pockets, so no need for a belt or handheld bottle. Of course, I'm pushing a 20 lb toddler in a stroller. You win some, you lose some. It definitely takes us longer to get out the door these days, but once we're out, it's on!

 Here was my getting back into things plan:

  • Start small: 2-3 miles once or twice a week
  • Run walk intervals: I didn't just back into running right away. I would walk some then run until I was out of breath or too hot. It is summer in Texas after all. Heat and humidity will get ya.
  • Build up slowly: After a while, instead of going on feel, I would go on distance. Run 1/2 mile, walk 1/4 mile and continue with that until I finished. In the same sense I would increase my distance slowly too. I'd do a shorter (2-3) and a longer (4-5) mile run each week. 
  • Don't try to be what you once were: I often needed to remind myself that I wasn't trying to be super fast or go super far. It was just about getting back into it and enjoying running again!

It wasn't anything crazy, but it was a start!

Once I started to get the hang of it again, I implemented my "early training" plan:

  • Try new routes: This would up my distance by exploring new trails, seeing different things and just exploring!
  • Increase to 3 days per week: At first, one day would be a long walk and then my two runs. Then I would do two days of run/walk intervals and one day a full on run. I've gradually increased to where most of my runs are all or majority running. Some days it's just too hot or humid though!
  • Listen to your body: This goes back to the heath and humidity. When running, I have to be careful and listen to my body! If running isn't in the cards, a long walk is always a great alternative!

Now I'm about to 3 runs per week! At least two with this little bug and one at the gym. I'm training one of my clients to run the full in Houston in January, so I run with her on Wednesdays. It forces me to do some speed work or get a solid tempo run into the mix. Soon I'll up my running to four days a week, but I'm not in too big of a rush to do that yet!

Here's my plan for this week:
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work
Thursday: Walk
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Rest

Nothing too crazy, but I'm officially starting my training plan!

I was originally going to aim for an October half marathon, but plans kind of changed when I realized the date wouldn't work for me! Now I have my sights set on the Cypress Half Marathon in November. It'll be a great race in an area that I'm not used to running. I'm really looking forward to getting back into racing again. I've got about 11 weeks until the race, so let the training begin!

After the Cypress half, I'll be in full swing for Glass Slipper Challenge Training! That's right, I'm running Disney Princess again! Last time I tried to do Glass Slipper, I sprained my ankle while pregnant and couldn't do it. I'm looking forward to the three day 5K, 10K, half marathon challenge.

So here's to running again and a little Monday morning motivation! I'm hoping to encourage some others to get back into running or get into it for the first time. Plus, sharing with y'all holds me accountable! Now I'm turning this over to y'all. Any running topics you want me to talk about? Any questions y'all have about running or fitness? Please let me know! Comment or shoot me an e-mail!

Happy Monday y'all!

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Exciting News...

I know what y'all are thinking, and no, I'm not pregnant! Chloe's only siblings will still have four legs for a little while longer.

Today I have some super exciting news to share! Before I tell you exactly what that news is, I want to give y'all a bit of a background story. It relates to the actual news, trust me.

Earlier this year, JP and I had a discussion about his career and where he would look to go for his next role. Based on his ultimate career goal at his company, there were a few boxes he needed to check to get there. One of those boxes is an international role. We talked about what moving overseas would mean to our family and decided that now would be a great time to do it. Chloe hasn't started school yet, and I could easily get a working visa once we got settled and teach some classes if I wanted. We could make a real adventure out of it! So JP talked to his boss and said that we could and were willing to move internationally.

In April, we were told that we would be moving overseas. They didn't know exactly where or when, but the most likely options were London, Hamburg or Singapore. I was shocked, excited, scared and overwhelmed all at once! The logistics would take some time to work itself out, but we would probably move sometime after the holidays. Since there were so many open ends at the time, we decided to only tell our families and our closest friends. Of course everyone was excited for us, but no one actually wanted us to leave! Not that we were dying to leave either, but I knew it would be such an amazing experience for our little family.

Since April, more terror in Europe happened; Brexit happened; oil prices dropped again; more layoffs happened in the oil & gas industry; and American expat assignments decreased...a lot. This kind of changed our expat course. Instead of leaving after the holidays, it would probably be pushed back to summer 2017.

Then a role came up that JP was interested in. It would be a global leadership role, a promotion, based in Houston and have overseas travel. It would check off a few of the proverbial boxes, and he would have some global experience without having to move. Kind of a win-win right? The only problem is that so many people were applying for the job. His boss and other advisors said that he would be a good candidate and one of the top contenders, so he went ahead and applied.

He made it to interviews which narrowed it down to about 5-6 people. Then he made it to the top two. Last Friday, we found out that he got the job!

We are staying in Houston for at least 4 more years!

Since this is a 4 year role, we know that we'll be here for that long! JP will definitely be traveling more, and I'm hoping to go with him some! We're excited for his new role and what this means for our little family. The current plan is to stay in our townhome in the city for a few more years. I'm going to continuing working at the gym part time because I enjoy it! Life will go on as normal. Like I said JP will have to travel and I definitely want to join him when he goes somewhere exciting! I'm sure his traveling more won't always be easy, but Chloe and I have amazing family and friends near by to lean on when he does. Until then, we have so much to look forward to: fall, football season, the holidays and so much more!

I'm beyond proud of my husband. He works so hard for us. It's because of him that I can work part time and be at home more with Chloe. It's because of him we can live in our beautiful home. It's because of him that we can live the way we do. I have to brag about him a bit because he deserves it! I'm excited for his new role and what all of this means for his career. He's a hard worker and a family man, and it clearly shows!

Today we're going to have family time and celebrate! So here's to our next Houston!

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thinking Out Loud

Some days I don't have posts all planned or thought out. Some days I don't have any clue what to share in this space. Some days I stare at my computer screen wracking my brain. Some days I don't have a good story or pretty pictures to share. Some days I wonder why people read my blog. Some days I wonder if people care. Some days I try to figure out what people want me to say. Then remember that this space isn't for other people. It's for me! Yes, other people read my ramblings and I'm so thankful! My blog buddies are the greatest and I'd say that my readers are what keep me blogging. Some days. Most days, this space is mine! My thoughts. My pictures. My life. My workouts. My recipes. My ideas. My words.

So today is one of those days. I thought about not blogging today. I don't have a lot of important things to say. I don't have a specific topic or a great workout to share. I do have random iPhone pictures and random thoughts though. I love a cute picture and some bullet points, so that's what I have for you today...

Follow along with the pictures! Left to right, top to bottom:

  • Lately we've been taking advantage of my amazing farmhouse sink during bathtime. We still use her tub, but the sink is so big and I can stand! Plus Chlo loves the faucet. And what Chloe loves, Chloe gets :)
  • I've been working out pretty solid lately and I have some great workouts and other fitness surprises coming your way. It just takes a lot to get pictures taken and ideas perfected!
  • Auntie Ali and Uncle Philip got Chloe this bike for her birthday! We've started taking it on our shorter walks lately. I'm obsessed and I think Chloe is too.
  • Two words. First Ponytail. 
  • We recently painted our stair hallway from the first floor to the second. It was so needed! We finally hung up our diplomas and Aggie ring picture that my in laws got us for our wedding. It was LONG over due. This is pretty much what you see as you come into the house!
  • We "attended" our first Usborne book party on Facebook the other day and I'm so impressed! I'm hoping to review some of the books and share my thoughts will y'all soon.
  • This girl FINALLY got a haircut this week. Man I needed it bad. Really bad. Thank goodness for Victor. I went in and asked him to fix me and make me pretty again. No instructions other than that and I love it!
  • Baby girl loves her Little People! Aunt Kate got her the LP zoo for her birthday and Aunt Ashley got her the LP princess castle. I keep one in the living room (which also acts as the playroom) and one in her bedroom so she can play with them wherever we are hanging out!
There you have it. A bunch of random pictures which even more random thoughts! Thanks for reading along with my babbling. I kind of love y'all for keeping up with my even with all my weirdness. Y'all rock. Happy Thursday!

Do you ever have too many thoughts and not enough all at once? Or am I just crazy?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Thing 1 & Thing 2 Waite Twins Baby Shower!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of co-hosting a Dr. Seuss themed baby shower for one of my very best friends! Ali and I had a blast planning this party. For starters, Pinterest had all sorts of Thing 1 & Thing 2 ideas for twin showers. Since Ashley is having a baby girl AND a baby only made sense that we take the theme and run with it.  

Now where must all shower start? With the invitation of course. Ali and I met up and found our favorite 3 invites that we showed to Ashley. We let the mommy-to-be pick the final one! A cute invitation is necessary. After all, it's the face of the party! We ordered ours from Etsy from a shop called Painted Rain

Painted Rain on Etsy
I was in charge of invites and had a great experience with this shop. I was able to customize the invite to make it for boy/girl twins and to make it for a couples baby shower. I forgot to include a line for the RSVP and asked for a correction. She did it quickly and had it back to me the next day!

After you have the perfect invitation, you need to focus on FOOD!

Here is our dessert menu:
1 Fish, 2 Fish Cupcakes - My go to cupcakes for all parties: mini cupcakes from Crave Cupcakes
Green Eggs & Ham - Window pretzels with a white candy melt and green m&m
Chocolate Covered Raisins
Sneech Snacks - Rice crispy treats
Fruit Salad

Our savory menu:
Who-ville Tree - Antipasto with marinated mushrooms, stuffed olives, assorted cheeses, pepperoni
Go Dog Go - Pigs in a blanket with mustard
There's a Wocket in my Pita Pocket - Chicken salad pita pockets
Grinch Dips - Spinach artichoke dip and guacamole with tortilla chips and pita chips

Needless to say, the food was a hit! Almost everything was gone by the end of the party! Ali and I were pretty proud of ourselves. In case you're wondering, I made the food signs. You can download the font for free at DaFont. Just type Dr. Soos in the search line and you can add it to your computer in just a couple steps!

The other important step in planning the perfect shower is decor! You need pretty decorations to help enhance your theme. Again, Pinterest to the rescue.

Ali made this adorable sign that we set up just outside the front door. We also made several pennant banners for the food table, fire place and front sign. These were super simple and very cheap! All you need is some string and scrapbook paper!

We found these adorable onesies on Amazon and we knew that we had to use them as decor! As for the burp cloth, my mom found this one for us to use and it fit the theme perfectly!

The last fun piece of decor that we made were the Thing 1 & Thing 2 center pieces. Ali spray painted the bottles red and we used blue tissue puff balls to place on top. Tadaaaaa! As simple as that you have Thing 1 & 2! We were also supposed to have little Thing 1 & 2 labels, but I accidentally left those on my printer at home!

Once you have the invitations, food and decor, you're pretty much ready to party! We hosted the shower at the mommy and daddy-to-be's house. Since they're having twins, we knew there would be TONS of gifts. Instead of carting them around from place to place, we figured why not just have it at their home! We made sure that Ashley lounged around on the couch while we got everything ready. She's already doing so much work growing two babies!

The shower was a hit! There were at least 40 people there showering these two precious babies. I can't wait to meet them, but I hope they stay put until at least November! They're due November 18th, but you never know with twins!!!

We're so blessed to have the most amazing friends from college. Even though it's been quite a few years since we graduated, we're all as close as ever. Our friends came from all over Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and even New Orleans to celebrate. 

We've gone from a crazy group of college kids to husbands and wives and now to moms and dads. It's been the best walking through life with these amazing friends. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for all of us!

What are your favorite baby shower themes?
Any awesome shower throwing tips that I left out?

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Flashback Friday Five: Freshman Year

It's Friday again! Today isn't just another Friday though. Today is the day we move my baby brother, my parents' youngest son into his dorm room! That's right, my not so little brother is going to college. My parents are officially empty nesters as of this afternoon. My brother and I are 10 years, 2 months and 7 days apart in age and 11 grades. My parents have had a child in grade school since 1992.

Matt will be attending Lamar University in Beaumont, TX which is about and hour and a half away from JP and I! He's going to study Construction Management and I couldn't be prouder of him. I am his big older sister after all. 

Thinking about moving Matt into school is giving me flashbacks to my freshman year! I thought I'd share a few moments dating back to my first semester of college in summer/fall 2005!

one. Freshman Orientation
At freshman orientation, I found out that one of my friends from high school had the same major as me! Funny that we didn't realize it until orientation. We were in the same freshman engineering group which meant we had our first Physics, Calculus and Engineering 101 together!

two. Fish Camp
The first introduction to Texas A&M and all of our traditions is at Fish Camp! It's a four day, three night adventure immersing us in all things Aggie. This is where I met some friends that I am still in touch with today! We may not be the closest of friends, but thanks to Facebook and Instagram, we still know what's happening in each other's lives.

I loved Fish Camp so much that I was a counselor the next two summers. JP and I were counselors together which is how we met! So needless to say, Fish Camp has a special place in my heart.

three. Roomies
I stayed at the Calloway House my freshman year which was an off campus private dorm. It was just across the street from the baseball field, so not far from campus at all. I lived with Nicole, my best friend from high school and two other girls. We stayed in a four bedroom, two bathroom dorm with a common space and kitchenette. I was a bit spoiled, but I loved it!

four. Traditions
Learning about all things A&M at Fish Camp was one thing, but actually partaking in them was another! I loved being a part of bonfire, football, yell practice, and so much more!

five. Parties
Freshman year isn't freshman year without dorm parties, going out dancing, tailgating, staying out late and being with friends. I was lucky to have such a great group of friends! We may not all be as close as we once were, but these ladies know they will always have a special place in my heart!

Well that was definitely a walk down memory lane for me! Sometimes I feel like I look like a baby in these pictures and other times I feel like I've barely changed!

Now tell me...
What were your favorite parts about freshman year?
What memories to you remember the most?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our Little Mermaid is One!

This little mermaid turned one and had her first under the sea birthday party! We had our friends and family over at my parents' house to celebrate with a pool party since this little girl loves the water so much! Of course there are tons of pictures that I had to share with y'all!

I made her sign above using my Cricut and a chalkboard marker on an old picture frame with black chalkboard paper backing that we found at Target!

Cupcakes were from my go to cupcakery in Houston...Crave! I'm kind of obsessed with them.

My mother-in-law made the cross stich artwork and daddy/daughter photo frame in the picture below. They were the perfect addition to the mantel d├ęcor, and they're even more perfect in our home!

Chloe had so much fun at her party! She got to play at her new water table and see so many people. I'm surprised she wasn't more overwhelmed. I mean, it's got to be weird constantly being the center of attention and just coming up to everyone's knees. But then again, when isn't she the center of attention. Plus she's used to crowds at this point in her life. Part of having a big family and grandparents' and parents' that like to have people over and throw parties!

Chloe and Harper LOVED playing at the water table and eating ALL of the fruit. They shared a plate and it was adorable!

The whole party was a team effort. My dad and JP grilled fajitas. JP's parents' made queso and a white cheese and avocado dip. Matt made guacamole. Meena made salsa. My mom made rice and beans. Auntie Annie bought the plates, napkins, plastic ware and some decorations! They say it takes a village to raise a baby and that couldn't be more true. We are so thankful and blessed to have such amazing family and friends that are part of our lives. Chloe has some wonderful role models to say the least!

I forgot to get pictures of our awesome food set up, but we did get some of our friends enjoying it!

We had a blast swimming! I mean, who doesn't love swimming in almost 100 degree Houston summer heat?

We had to get a picture of Chloe and her best girlfriends! We're so lucky to have these women and their daughters close by!

While everyone else was helping with the food, I was busy making Chloe's smash cake! I was going order one for her, but I decided to make it instead. I'm so glad I did. I saved a ton of money and it was actually fun to make! I made it two tiers, one pink and one purple with pink and purple icing! I was pretty impressed with the final product.

Chloe loved her cake as always! This girl has a serious sweet tooth.

She also loved opening her presents! She was definitely spoiled rotten. We have so many toys that I don't know what to do with all of them!

It was an amazing turn out. I'm still in shock that my baby is one. This past year has flown by so fast. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for our family!

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