Saturday, December 22, 2012

Going the Distance

I recently changed my workout routine.  Its not designed so I'll run my fastest time or lift more weight than I've ever lifted before.  Its designed so I have more energy, more optimism, and more endurance.  

The new training program has allowed me to fit workouts into my schedule better.  Some are shorts and more intense and many include Roxy so I don't have to walk her AND workout.  

I also took the pressure of myself with this new program.  Instead of having every day laid out and set in stone, I have a variety of activities to choose from and I can make it fit into my schedule and my work.  Although I work from home, I spend my days in front of my computer creating content, locating customers, and networking.  Its more time consuming than any full time job I've ever had.

Anyway, I have also given myself the luxury of not wearing my GPS watch and just running until I feel like stopping.  With no mental guidelines and no pressure, I've started increasing my mileage more and more.  I'm back to about 8 miles at a slow and steady pace and I could easily go farther.  I stop when I get hungry, Roxy seems to be tired or the weather changes.  

While I could LOVE to do a half marathon in the coming year, I don't want to do the local one (through Danbury) and I don't have the money to travel for one or pay the entrance fees that are normally at over $100.  

So I'll just keep running for me and at the end of the day, I'm happy with my accomplishments and happy with my new program.  I'm anxious to add even more distance, but I've learned that running is for the pure joy of it.  Its about how it makes me feel.  And if that is anything but happy and peaceful on any given day, then I'm not doing it right.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Running with Roxy

I started combining my doggie walks with my workouts and training Roxy to run with me.  It works out better as she doesn't have to stay home alone while I work out and I don't have to spend more time in my day to walk Roxy.

Turns out Roxy LOVES running and wonders why we don't go much faster.  When we start out, she BOUNDS ahead.  Then she tries to herd me and starts to circle.  I've worked out getting her in the right spot, going in the right direction in just a few minutes.  Its also taught me to go slow when I get started and not start off too fast so that my asthma is bothered.   We've been using a waist leash and it works perfectly.  She is out in front of me and while she's not pulling, she is out from under my feet, even if I have to make a quick adjustment.

I need her to listen to me with just a quick pull or word.  Since I'm running, I'm out of breath and I can't really repeat myself.

We are working on getting by people easily.  I have been taking her to a local recreation center with a paved 1.2 mile trail.  I started taking her there because we see lots of people.  As a rescue dog, we need interaction in order to improve her state of mind and reaction.  Sometimes she goes right by people and other times we need to step aside and let people pass.

I was originally concerned that it was going to give me too many breaks in my run.  However, I will tell you I need to work on my emotions and giving off calm energy when we meet people.  All I know is that my heart beats quicker when a dog is going for Roxy than it does when I'm running.

I'm also working on keeping her paws in good shape.  We ran a little two far twice now and her paws have been red and raw.  She's pretty good at not licking them, but I worry abut infection.  We are using Musher's Secret and it is making things better.  I just need to take her to trails or leave her off my long runs.

Overall, I have to say that a run with Roxy brightens both of our days and its a wonderful bonding experience. Its worth the set backs, and the time invested in training.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown Acts of Kindness

As many of you may already know the Newtown tragedy took place very close to my home.  We had friends and family effected and our community will never be the same.

Last night my husband and I visited the memorial and it was saddening, touching and inspiring all at the same time.

As a former teacher I cannot imagine the horror that took place in the school.  I can understand the teachers' need to protect and save their students.  They are not simply students, they are truly "your kids" and you are bonded to them in a way few can understand.  Those teachers who are returning to work this week are amazing in strength and spirit.

Many have asked me what you can do.  The United Way has set up a fund for the families and community and you can donate here:

However, if a financial donation is not in your budget, please consider doing something else.  Please consider performing an act of kindness for each one of those lost in Newtown.  Acts of kindness can be small.  Buy a cup of coffee for someone, volunteer at a school, clean the house for a stressed out friend.  Think creatively and just do what comes from your heart.  If everyone did this, we can start to change the world.

There will also be a 5k to support the cause...right now details are in the works.  You can find out more here:

Even if you are not local, you will be able to run remotely and support.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Personal Savers Review

Whether you're looking for a useful stocking stuffer for a loved one or you're planning on starting a new workout routine at the start of the new year, Personal Savers Wrist Saver is a great purchase.

Personal Savers Wrist Saver is easily affixed to your wrist with velcro.  The 1/2 ounce of pepper spray can be accessed by just quickly turning the top of the container.  I practiced so I knew how to use it and I was confident I could do so in an emergency.

Its important to read all the safety precautions before giving someone pepper spray and make sure you know about your local guidelines and regulations.  Pepper spray can be used on humans and animals.

The Wrist Saver also has a mini LED light, a place for some personal information and a reflective band.  So instead of putting on a lot of different items, you can just grab this one as you go out the door.

I wore this for running and while I was worried it was going to be bulky and uncomfortable, I really forgot I had it on.  This would make a great gift for a college student, runner or just any lady on your list you need a little more security.  

Personal savers has options for running, cycling and just walking around.  Take a peek at all their offerings here:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back To The Mat

Okay I've been whining a lot lately about being sick, etc and the reasons I have not been running or to yoga in a while.  I finally got back to my yoga studio yesterday.  I was nervous.  I was scared I wouldn't be able to do what I used to do.  I was scared I'd be out of breath, I'd be clumsy or I'd hate it now.  I shouldn't have been worried for a second.

I picked one of my favorite class days, times and teachers and headed in early so I could get set up.  I went in and I rolled out my mat.  I love the smell of my mat, the feel of the yoga studio beneath my feet and the warm heat that wraps you up when you walk in.

I was thrilled to see all the gals I take class with and the smiling and happy endorphins were a great way to start the class.

I'm not sure what I looked like, but I felt great during the class.  It was challenging and difficult, but it was fun and I know I got a good workout.  I felt warm and stretched out and amazing afterwards.

My yoga studio focuses on only doing what is right for you.  Only going as far as you can go and not struggling with your practice.  Like so much else in my life, I'm trying to learn when to hold tight and when to let go.

After just one class I remembered why I love it so much.  Its the only time I can stop my thoughts and just be.  I get a workout in and at the end, feel a warm glow.  I can't wait to get some great sessions in this holiday season!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hickies Laces Review

If you’re looking for a cute and functional stocking stuffer, try out Hickies laces. Well, they are non laces really.  Hickies allow you to turn any pair of shoes into slip ons.  I’m always racing out the door (and who isn’t) and I love being able to just slide my shoes on and off instead of having to tie them.  (Because I never tie them right and they are untied before I make it to the car…)
Hickies laces are made of think but stretchy rubber.  You feed them through your regular lace holes and close them using a small latch system.  I did both of my running shoes in about 20 minutes.  The second one went faster than the first once I knew what I was doing.
I didn’t know if there laces would be tight enough for a run.  I went out for a run in the woods and they stayed snug and comfortable.

The are adorable and give you shoes a fun, clean look.  They come in 16 colors.  I love the idea of using these for kids, teachers, nurses, etc.  Anyone who is on the go and needs to look good.  Ok, that’s everyone!
These make great clutter free stocking stuffers.  They come in 16 colors and each set comes with two bonus Hickies of a complimenting color.  You can, of course, customize your looks and go wild with lots of colors!  Its a great way to dress up a pair of boring pair of athletic shoes and add a bit of personality and style to your daily look.
Take a peek at Hickies at Brookstone:
Order a pair for every stocking you’re filling and one for yourself!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Go Both Ways

This is today's thought as I try to get back to yoga...being away for part of the summer and then having a hand injury and an illness has kept me from being "on the mat", a place I love and cherish.  I'm hoping to get back to class this week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Trot Wrap Up

On Thanksgiving morning, for the third year in a row, I ran the Ridgefield Turkey Trot.  It was the largest the race has ever been and as always it was a lot of fun.

I had stayed out pretty late the night before and eaten some junk food so my stomach was a little upset.  However, I was ready to just go out and have a good time.  I knew I wouldn't PR and I didn't want or need to.  As I've posted before, for various reasons, my training has been put on the back burner and I've been running more for the fun of it than anything else.

I wore long leggings and a long sleeve top.  I was cold at the start and as usual I heated up quite quickly.  I handed over my hat and gloves to my husband at the half way mark.  I could have even unzipped my top a little more.

I hadn't been wearing my barefoot shoes for training and they felt lightweight and amazing on my feet.

So I didn't PR.  As a matter of fact, I didn't push it at all.  I ran slow and steady and since I didn't wear my watch and they didn't call times I have no idea where I was on miles etc.  It was the first race ever that I just truly went out to have fun, and didn't care about timing etc.  It was liberating.

Big thanks to my husband who, as always, got up at the crack of dawn and stood in the cold to take photos.  My uncle also ran with me.  Its so much fun to have a family event like this to look forward to!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hickies Laces Review

If you're looking for a cute and functional stocking stuffer, try out Hickies laces. Well, they are non laces really.  Hickies allow you to turn any pair of shoes into slip ons.  I'm always racing out the door (and who isn't) and I love being able to just slide my shoes on and off instead of having to tie them.  (Because I never tie them right and they are untied before I make it to the car...)

Hickies laces are made of think but stretchy rubber.  You feed them through your regular lace holes and close them using a small latch system.  I did both of my running shoes in about 20 minutes.  The second one went faster than the first once I knew what I was doing.

I didn't know if there laces would be tight enough for a run.  I went out for a run in the woods and they stayed snug and comfortable.

The are adorable and give you shoes a fun, clean look.  They come in 16 colors.  I love the idea of using these for kids, teachers, nurses, etc.  Anyone who is on the go and needs to look good.  Ok, that's everyone!
These make great clutter free stocking stuffers.  They come in 16 colors and each set comes with two bonus Hickies of a complimenting color.  You can, of course, customize your looks and go wild with lots of colors!  Its a great way to dress up a pair of boring pair of athletic shoes and add a bit of personality and style to your daily look.

Take a peek at Hickies at Brookstone:

Order a pair for every stocking you're filling and one for yourself!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What I've Learned

Well the holidays are just around the corner!  Its amazing to think of what 2012 has brought.  Since the end of the year is fast approaching I wanted to stop and think about what I've accomplished and learned thus far this year.

I've learned that sometimes you can't plan things.  I had some big goals for 2012 and some days I was just focused on making it through the day.

I've learned that I run for the love of it.  While goals are great, running to me means an escape and is a treat to myself.  It does keep me in shape and healthy, but its a best mental workout I can find.  I love running and it will always be part of my life, but not my whole life.

I've learned to be thankful for the little things, like time with family and friends.

I know that I need to be more mindful and present.  Its hard to focus on what you're doing and who you're with in the age of technology, but its important and when you do focus, you have so much more fun.

I love wine.  A good glass of wine at the end of a day really helps me unwind and feels like a little party every day.

I now know that I can't do it all.  I can't be everywhere.  I need to pick and choose what I can do and if something goes undone until tomorrow, the sky won't fall.

What have you learned this year?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Review

I was recently able to dry the new Burt’s Bees line of Intense Hydration products.  I have dry skin in the winter and although I love using natural products but sometimes they just haven’t been as effective as their chemical laden counterparts.

I was able to try the Intense Hydration facial cleanser, Night Crème and Mask.

The Cleanser comes out creamy and although I doubted its ability to give me a fresh, clean feel, it did.  And your skin feels soft after washing!

The night crème is thick and luxurious.  It goes on easily and absorbs quickly.  My skin sucks it up immediately and I’m left with soft skin.

The mask was the most perplexing of all.  I read the instructions and it says to apply a thin coat of mask and let it dry.  Then you remove it with a tissue.  Any excess can get rubbed in.  I was really worried that I was going to feel like I needed to wash my face again after using the mask.  I followed the instructions and I was shocked when I was left with really soft skin and a wonderful feeling to my skin.

The best part about the Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration collection is that they are 99% natural.  Oh and they are easy to find at your local store and AFFORDABLE!
They are worth giving a dry during this cold, dry winter season.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

NON Race Report

Well I have been quiet lately everyone for good reason.  Last weekend I accidentally closed a finger in the front door.  While I didn't think it was bad or painful, my body did and I passed out.  The injuries from the fall were far worse than the door.

I suffered lots of swelling and bruises, cuts and a possible concussion.  I didn't think any of this was a big deal either but as days wore on I was foggy, hurt and just overall tired.

I had a race this past was the fourth in a series.  If you complete all the races you get a special prize.  I completed all four last year and I had done all three thus far this year.

The Halloween race is my favorite race as there are costumes and candy involved!  And that adds a little more fun to the mix! I also had friends and family running.

I debated how I would feel on race day over and over.  I went out for a walk with Roxy a day and felt wiped out.  I rested and debated trying my hand at the race.  However, when it came down to it, I was still injured and there was rick of me getting more injured by running the race.

Once upon a time I would have run the race no matter what.  However, now I realized I have my whole life to run, why push it TODAY?  So my husband took me on an overnight trip to Maine and we had a great time.  And my uncle very sweetly gave me the prize for running all four races!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunny Florida

I recently want on a professional conference of Certified Professional Organizers.  It was in Florida so it was a welcome break from the dropping fall New England temperatures.  Most people dread business trips, but I love them.  I am so grateful to see new places, get to meet new people and learn new things.  This trip was no exception.  I was with 11 other like minded ladies, all who are CPOs and run their own companies.  Its always so hard to tell people the challenges, joys and frustrations that come with being an organizers so being with people who completely understand is wonderful.

We work a lot and we work hard, long hours together, but the result is excellent.  The dynamic can’t be beat.  Leaving everyone reminds me of the importance of keeping in touch and finding some of that balance and fun with my colleagues, no matter how far away, throughout the rest of the year.

On a workout note,
I only got one run in during my trip.  However, being out in shorts and a tank versus capris and a long sleeve top felt great!  It was HOT though, almost 90 degrees.  I don't even run in that temperature at home.  It was about 7 am when I ran.  I found a great bike trail near my hotel.  I will say that the high tension wires that ran along it made the route a little less scenic, but it was flat!  Also, it was odd to me to see the houses decorated for Halloween.  I know its October in Florida too but it seems as if the picturesque fall things only happen in New England.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Craft a Day Part Five

I'm shocked that I'm on part five of this craft series but I'm so happy I've gotten the opportunity to learn so many new crafts and try out things I've always wanted to try.  Thank goodness for Etsy which allows me to chat with crafts people, find supplies that can be shipped to my home and do so without spending a ton of money!

The first craft I did was Pinterest inspired.  You take clear glass ornaments (in any shape or size) and pour in a bit of floor wax.  Swirl it around inside and pour out any excess.  Then, pour in a little glitter and shake it up!  Let them dry and then put the little "lids" back on.  They come out really cool and I love the fact that you don't have to use "holiday" colors!

The next craft I tried was needle point.  Again, I bought a kit on Etsy that came with the materials, instructions and equipment.  It was supposed to be a keychain, however, I never folded it over and I'm using it as a book mark.  I love the preppy look and feel of it.  Needlepoint was really easy (especially because I know how to cross stitch) and it was a fun activity to do while watching TV.
I'm not sure I'd want to do a big project of needlepoint, but this one was just right.

I've wanted to try felting for a long time.  Again, I never knew where to buy the materials, and how difficult it was.  I bought a kit on Etsy for about $12 and once it came in the mail, I opened it up and got started right away.  By the end of the day, I had three finished penguins. Are these useful items?  No.  But they are adorable and will make great little holiday decorations.  Turns out you don't really need a kit, you can just buy some felt and once you have needles and a pad, make any animal you can think of!  I'll be felting again for sure and also want to try my hand at felt beads.

Finally, I did some beading.  This feels like old hat to me now, as I've been beading the longest of any craft.  I made an anchor bracelet (which took all of five minutes) and a wrap bracelet.  I've been wanting a wrap bracelet for a while but didn't want to pay the hundreds of dollars they cost.  This was one of the most difficult beading techniques I've done thus far but it was a lot of fun once I got started and I can't wait to make more of these.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween Race Costume!

Well its that time of year again, time for my Halloween race and time to come up with a comfy and fun Halloween costume.  I was Minnie Mouse last year and I wanted to change things up this year but not have to buy any pieces.

So I decided to be one of my favorite animals, a bunny!  I'll be wearing a white pleated running skirt, white knee socks and my pink running shoes.  I'll wear a pink or grey or white top, and of course, my bunny ears!

I also ordered some yarn online and made myself a bunny tail!  It took me all of five minutes and I think its adorable!

If I can find some easily and inexpensively, I will pick up some face paint, but otherwise I'll just use some blush on the day of the race.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

On Shoes Review

I have spent the past few months adjusting to new barefoot shoes and I've loved them.  I was recently sent a pair of On Running shoes and I was skeptical at first.  They obviously look different than any other shoe out there. They feel different too.

I put them on and right out of the box, they were comfortable, and cozy. I usually want to take my shoes off the moment I walk in the door and these I could comfortably wear all day.

I started off my walking the dog in these shoes, a brisk walk on mostly pavement and some gravel.  They were comfortable and supportive and stabilizing.  I loved the way I felt connected to the ground and like I was really stable when my dog pulled or tried to run.

I then rain on the road in these shoes.  I had no idea how the little "pillows" would feel and if they would be bothersome under my feet.  I didn't feel them at all. What I did feel was a cushy ride in which I felt as though I was being pushed forward to move faster.

I was really skeptical about the shoes also being good on trails.  However, earlier this week I took them out on the trail and once again loved them. I love the fact that I felt stable on the trail.  I had traction going up and down hills.  I didn't feel every rock or branch under my feet. Meanwhile the shoes aren't heavy like other sneakers I've worn.  They are lightweight and you can actually feel the ventilation in the foot bed.  So you won't have sweaty, stinky feet with these shoes.

The shoe I tried was the Cloud Runner.  That is their hybrid shoe, for both road and off road.  I love being able to have one pair of shoes in my car that can take me to both running destinations.

The technology is new and its designed to absorb the impact for you and propel you forward in a forward motion.  Take a peek at their website for a great video about the technology and to read about it in more detail.

They do have light weight options, racing options and other colors.  You can check out their whole selection here:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Warrior Dash Race Recap

I ran my first Warrior Dash earlier this September.  Sorry this post is so late!  I have to say it was one of the most fun races I've ever done.  I'm a big fan of the theme races with obstacles and the Warrior Dash did live up to my expectations.

The race event was the biggest I'd ever taken part in.  There were thousands of people there, live (loud) music, a beer tent, other stores/vendors, food, and multiple race start times.

The start was really cool.  Flames shot up over the start area and you could feel the heat as you ran by.  The crowd was loud and rowdy, making it a fun atmosphere.

The first mile was a lot of running and due to a few events this summer, I was having a hard time with it.  Running around a track faster than I'm used to to start took its toll on my asthma pretty quickly.

Before I knew it were at the first obstacle.  We ran through tires and over cars, then we ran through hanging tires.  We climbed up a rope ladder, walls with little rungs and even a flat wall with just a rope to climb up.  I was fearful I'd have to go around some of the obstacles but they were actually much easier than I thought.  The hardest part was hoisting myself up and over on a few accounts.  The course is harder the shorter you are.
This is right before we entered the muddy area.  We are still relatively clean here.

My first medal!  And I love the fast that the race number still has dirt on it :)

After the race and the mud fight!

Last obstacle...before going deep into the mud.  (It came up over my elbows!)

Fire pite!

There was one obstacle I fell off and into frigid water that was up to my neck.  I should have paid attention to how deep it was BEFORE I fell in!

There were two water stops and no porta potties ( I wished there was one!).  We ran up STEEP hills made of sand, through about a foot of mud, over a rope bridge, some more walls and we were at the end.  The last two obstacles are two small fire pits you jump over (really cool!) and a mud pit with barb wire over it.  While this looked fun and easy, it was harder than I thought.  I had to hold myself up off my knees to avoid them from getting cut up.

The mud was a funny type of mud that didn't come off easily.  We were hosed down with a fire hose and it still didn't come off.  Then we jumped in a lake and were still dirty, then I took a hot shower.  The clothes did come clean in the laundry though and the shoes don't look much worse for wear after a good run through the washing machine.

Yes, I was cut up and bruised at the end of the race, but it was some of the most fun I've had in a long time and doing it with my uncle was a blast!  We had a little mud fight and a lot of laughs!  I will do another Warrior Dash next year hopefully!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Craft A Day Part Four

I've still bee crafting!  I've done a few that I'm not going to share until after the holidays as they will become presents, but I'm shocked at 1.  How easy craft stuff is to get via Etsy now.  (The supply section makes it great!)  2.  How friendly people who craft are.  I've asked a lot of questions of other crafters on Etsy and as long as you don't want to sell their designs, most are willing to share tips and ideas.  3.  I belong to Amazon prime and for selected items I ca get free shipping.  I've been on a rotating schedule of making, selecting a new craft, ordering supplies and waiting for them to come in.
I visited Michaels today and have most of the supplies for two more crafts too!

Okay I've retaught myself how to crochet.  I used to do it a lot.  However, its been over ten years and things have changed.  I now live near a very nice yarn store and going in was like visiting a candy shop.  Everything was pretty and inspiring.  I got some organic, hand dyed cotton yarn for my projects. It was must nicer than the stuff I used to buy at my local Wal-Mart.  I love crocheting because you can throw it in a bag and do it everywhere, including while watching TV.

I made some bath scrub to use right now, while the weather is getting dry and my legs and feet are already showing it.  I following this recipe:  1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and essential oil. For a brown sugar scrub, try 2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

I sugget adding a little more sugar until it becomes a little more "dry".  Put into ball jars and give as presents or keep for yourself!

I also made tee shirt scarves.  I had no hope for this one, but others who had tried it on Pinterest seemed to like it so I gave it a shot.  I visited Wal-Mart and bought two extra large men's tee shirts.  You cut the bottom hem off and set it aside.  Then cut strips 1-2 inches in width, going all the way to the arms.  Then, stretch the strips out.  Gather them together.  Use the hem that you set aside and cut  it so its one long strip.  Tie a knot around the other strands and then wrap it.  The scarf looks cute doubled up, single, etc.  These would be really fun for kids to make and can really come in any size you can find a tee shirt in!

Up next; glitter ornaments, beeswax candles and stencils ceramic ware.  More posts to come!  Oh and I bought the BEST glitter kit today!  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Craft a Day~Beauty Products~Part Three

I've always wanted to make my own bath products and lately I've been experimenting with all sorts of cool things.  Some of these are old standbys for me and some are new endeavors.  I wish I had thought to take pictures while I was doing these things, but I was engrossed so I'm sharing the pictures I found on various craft sites.

The first thing is something I've done a lot over the years.  These are bath soaks and they are great for everyone, even those with jacuzzi tubs who can't use things with bubbles, etc.  They are super simple to make.  Mix 1 cup epsom salts with a little food coloring.  Any color will do, however, I used blue.  Put in a few drops of peppermint and mix.  Then form them into circular bath forms and let them dry.  You have to let them dry for a WHILE.  Longer than you expect.  Flip them over a few times if you can.  I bought the molds on Etsy but you can probably find them at a craft store as well.  The more molds you have the more you can make at once.  The one cup of epsom salts makes about two of the molds I have.

I also made lip gloss.  This type of gloss was super easy to make and took only a few minutes.  Kids would love this.  Take some Vaseline or some Alba non petroleum jelly and mix it with Crystal Light or Kool-Aid packets.  I bought specialty lip balm "pots" on Etsy.  Not only is this fast and fun, it tastes amazing!

I did make more traditional lip balm too.  I sourced everything from Etsy but now that I know what I need I could probably find things easier.  You mix four tea spoons of bees wax with four table spoons of sweet almond oil (you can also use coconut oil), sprinkle in a little coco butter and melt in a double boiler.  You can add some essential oils and even part of an old lipstick for color and you're done. Pour into the container of your choice and you're done!  Again, I used lip balm containers I bought on Etsy because they sealed well and I decorated with paper tape.

I made goat's milk soap bars and I was shocked at how easy they were.  Buy the soap base online (Etsy, Amazon) or even a craft store.  Melt in a double boiler, add some essential oils and food coloring and pour into molds.  I used a silicone mold made for baking, but it allowed them to cool quickly and then I could pop them out really easily.  I made lavender soaps (light purple) and peppermint soaps (pink) and both came out great.  They are really luxurious.  You can layer colors if you are more patient or even use glycerin so you have a clear base soap instead of a while base.

Finally, I made lotion bars.  Again, just mix all of this in a double boiler and then pour into molds.  (I really got my money's worth out of the silicone mold I bought!).  Melt a 1:1:1 ratio of vegetable shortening, canola oil and bees wax.  Add essential oils and pour into molds!  Super easy and really nice to use.  Just rub on skin!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Craft a Day Part Two

As promised, I have a few more crafts to share.

This one was super easy and fun....I downloaded some templates from Martha Stewart's site..and printed them onto plastic shrinking film.  (AKA Shrinky Dinks).  Shockingly enough, I had the plastic film in my craft drawer from a project a long time ago in a craft land far, far away.  They say that you can cut them right after you print them, but my printer ink took a long time to dry.  I let them sit almost all day.  I then cut, punched holes (Very important to do BEFORE you bake) and baked them.

For anyone who isn't familiar with shrinking plastic, its almost paper like before you bake and then becomes much smaller and hard during the baking process.  Its important that you can see them while they are baking.  They will curl up and then flatten out.  When they flatten out they are done.  Every oven is different so they don't give you a set time and temperature for the process.  I flattened them with a spatula once they were out and then let them cool.  Add key rings or ribbon and you're done!  These would also make great gift tags!

Something else I've done is to replace the sea glass and shells out of my table centerpiece.  I couldn't figure out what to do with it for fall so I tried a bit of everything.  I put some kraft paper on the bottom, added some candy corn, ghost Peeps, mini pumpkins and pine cones and voila, instant (and yummy) centerpiece.  The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the fact that I will have to rebuy the pieces every year if I want to recreate this.

I will post more about some of my crafts again soon!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Craft a Day

Okay lately I've been feeling crafty.  Combined with the upcoming holiday season, I've decided to start making some presents and some crafts.  I used to craft all the time and then I opened my own business. Let's just say life got in the way and I stopped everything for a long time.  Here are a few of the crafts I've made recently:

The first thing is a Cath Kidston bag.  The fabric came as part of a kit/book that a great friend bought me YEARS ago.  While the instructions were in "British" and it took me a bit of time and Googling to decipher, I think it came out great and I can't wait to use it.  Its adorable and I'm going to keep my doggie leashes in it :)

The second craft is a dog silhouette.  It was really easy to make and while I love the small version, I plan on making a bigger version to use as wall art.  It was really easy to make.  I took a side profile picture of my dog.  (This was the toughest part because she HATES her picture being taken.)  I printed it out on my regular printer in greyscale.  I cut that out (very carefully), and then taped it down (with removable tape) to a piece of card stock.  I did this backwards so that I could trace and when I flipped it over the lines wouldn't show.  I traced and then cut it out.  I mounted this to another piece of contrasting card stock and put it into a frame.  Easy and cute!  My husband loved it!

I've made about 6 pairs of earrings and other assorted beading projects.  I can't tell you much about them because they are holiday presents and they are still under wraps :)
However, I will tell you I love Fusion Beads and their inspiration site.  There are lots of great and inexpensive projects for everyone from beginner to advancer jewelry makers.

I'll go over some of my other crafts in a few more posts...stay tuned!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!

This made me smile :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ruffles with Love Review

A friend of mine recently told me about Ruffles with Love's Etsy store and all of the cute tops in it.  I visited the site as fast as my fingers could take me there and I wasn't disappointed.  Their tanks and tops are adorable and have lots of cute, spunky and clever sayings on them.

Some of favorites are:
I don't sweat, I sparkle
Train like a beast and
Sweating for the dress (for brides to be)

The top I received says "Sweat now, rest later."  Its a motivational message every time I see the shirt in my closet.  The tops come in tons of colors and sizes so you can find one that's right for your, your sister, your girlfriend, mom, etc.  These make super cute holiday presents and they won't break the bank.

I haven't even talked about my favorite part of the shirt yet!  Its the racerback, knotted with a pink bow! Pink bows make everyone happy!

Take a peek at her whole collection here:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ultima Replenisher Review

I am bad at drinking enough water during the day.  Part of it is that I get to busy, but a big part of it is that I am not a big fan of water.  I recently had a chance to try out Ultima Replenisher and I love it.

Its a mix in powder that tastes like refreshing lemonade.  Its easy to mix and it tastes great.  Its not over powering and it doesn't take over sweet like some other powder mixes.  It actually mixes clear like real lemonade.  It doesn't have the artificial coloring that other mixes do either.

Ultima is a great alternative to other sports drinks.  It has less sugar, more elctrolytes and even fewer calories.  I love that it doesn't give you that sugar rush.  I'm hypoglycemic and so many beverages make me sick to my stomach or give me sugar issues for the rest of the day.

I also like that I can mix the drink myself.  The powder is easy to carry and I can turn any bottle of water into a sports beverage on the go.  Ultima isn't expensive and its easy to find too!

Take a peek at the Ultima website here:

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Leaf

Well I have a lot of goals this fall.....I know this isn't the normal time of year to make new goals and reassess things, but for me its a new beginning.  I had a rough summer and my training took a back seat.  I am learning a lot about myself and while I may have lost a little fitness this summer, I gained a lot of perspective and mental strength.

I know now that I need to take breaks in order to be more effective personally and professionally.  If I'm over tired and over worked, I'm not doing anyone any good, especially myself.

I've also learned not to sweat the small stuff and as the saying goes, its all small stuff.  The house will get picked up, the emails will get sent...all in due time.  I'm not saying I've become a slob and all of a sudden I'm not making to do lists, I'm just saying I'm learning to relax a little bit more.

So all of this had made me think about why and how I want to work on my fitness.  I do want to do some serious running this fall....its my favorite time of year and I love being out in the brisk air with the leaves falling.  I also love the decreased humidity and throwing on another layer over my tank top.  Oh and I love stopping for a pumpkin latte after my run :)

So this fall my goals are to enjoy my training.  Really have fun with it.  I'm not going to stress about times, or distances or compare notes with everyone I meet.  I am just going go out there for the LOVE of it.  I can choose to beat myself up over slower times, shorter runs, or feeling out of breath, but in reality, I do the bestI can every day and I'm only out there for me.

That being said, I'm running the Warrior Dash in a few weeks!  I'm really excited for my first obstacle race!  Oh and it has a MEDAL!  Silly I know, but I'm excited!
I'm also running a race near Halloween...which seems so far away but I know its close!  I need to decide if I'm recycling last year's outfit for getting a new one for this year...big choices :)

Anyway, I'm turning my back on being OCD about my running, yoga and training and truly turning over a new leaf this fall!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my amazing, funny, smart husband and best friend!!!