Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Presently Loving- March 2015

We've decided to compile a list each month of everything we are presently loving- from new workouts, to foods, to clothes, to funny things we find on the internet, and everything in between. It'll be a little smattering of both Meg and Steph's favorite things... this month.


This show. Y'all. Our latest guilty pleasure. The Royals on E! is delightfully trashy. Equal parts comical, dramatic, and "royally" scandalous. You should watch it simply for the Queen's hilarious comments about her ehhh... "adventurous" daughter:


  • This City! Especially since spring decided to make its arrival, this place has been a lively scene for all of my creative moments, and a reliable muse during my occasional bouts of writer's block. There's always something interesting going on around here, and some of my new favorite things to do lately are roaming around in the shops downtown, people watching, finding cool pieces of art to muse over, and finding comfy, offbeat coffee shops to write in. 


        It's also a fun place to feed the sports fanatic in me..... 

....and sometimes, to try new things. And although I'm still on the fence about the whole Rodeo scene (blog to follow) and fireworks inside NRG Stadium (is that even safe? ehhh...no one died), Zac Brown put on one hell of a performance. First rodeo experience...Check  

  • Bare Minerals' Mineralixers line! I'm constantly on the prowl for good skincare products, and Bare Minerals never disappoints, so I finally tried this one out. It's a far cry from conventional skincare, but give it a shot. If you can get used to washing your face with oil and THEN adding water (messed that up a few times), then you'll love it. I hate the way my skin feels after workouts (sweat is good for your skin..yea yea, I get it. But it feels yuck!) So I wash my face a lot post-workout and this trio is a lifesaver for cleansing the skin and replenishing the moisture you lose by washing your face. The 5-Oil Blend and Eye Balm are light and feel amazing on my skin. LOVE LOVE LOVE! 

  • Nike Free 5.0 Trainers. Loving these! I hate the annoyance of having different shoes for different types of training, so I love the fact that these are just as good for sprint training, HIT, and long distance cardio as they are for heavy impact weight training. Hands down, my favorite training shoe! 

  • BOXING! I've reunited with an old friend of mine -- The ultimate antidote for a bad day and the most fun you'll ever have doing cardio. It's great for cardio work, warming up the shoulders, or getting in a high intensity kickboxing workout, especially when working with a trainer or partner using the boxing mitts for challenging moving target workouts. 

I love the versatility of it. If you're working out alone and have access to the boxing dummy or punching bag in the gym, you can grab a set of boxing gloves and find a workout that works for you, depending on what you're working that day. The one below is a great one!

And when you're on the road or can't get to the gym, there are plenty of boxing circuits that can easily be simulated with no equipment (there are tons of them online). Definitely at the top of the list for this month's favorite cardio workout!


  • This season! My favorite season has always been fall. The crisp chill in the air meant scarves, sweaters, boots...you know...layers. Layers of clothes to cover up the layers of chunk. And the dark colors were so slimming (but I use that word lightly, looking back)! This is the first spring season that I am CONFIDENT in rocking these pastel colors and printed shorts and sleeveless tops. And let me tell you, it's a great feeling. Bring it on, summer.

  • This 21 Day Arm Challenge from PopSugar. I have always been a fan of this site and I get their emails daily, but this one I'm sticking to because it's something I can easily do at home with the Rascal running about. I took this pic after the first workout. We shall see the difference in 21 days! 

P.S. I feel like such a goob when I flex. And then take pictures of said flexing. Anyone else with me on that? 

  • This sweatshirt. The length! The fabric! Perfection. Honestly, it's the best sweatshirt I have ever purchased. I want one in every color. 

  • This breakfast. Along with the warmer temps comes the desire for iced coffee, fresh fruit, and...a steaming bowl of oatmeal? No thanks. Lauren Conrad in her infinite wisdom has concocted this particular recipe for Overnight Oats. I know there are dozens of variations out there, but this is the basic I keep going back to. I also add a little scoop of protein powder to make it even more filling. Some people warm it up, but I like it right out of the fridge. Then you can add whatever you want to jazz it up. Banana and peanut butter? Sure! Brown sugar and Craisins? Why not! Pumpkin pie spice and walnuts? If that floats your boat! You can't really go wrong with this stuff.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Steph Says: Zydeco Marathon Race Recap

So in case y'all missed it, I ran a marathon.

Let me start by saying that it was one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching, painful, exhilarating experiences of my entire life. Right up there with childbirth.

Did it just get weird? Sorry. Moving on.

The morning started out perfectly, considering that earlier in the week we were looking at 100% rain. But the weather gods smiled upon us and it was a beautiful, DRY, slightly chilly morning! My run group met up at 6:30 a.m. to snap a quick picture and then headed for the bathrooms, and then the start line.

This year there were corrals with expected finish times. We snuggled in (it was a tight squeeze) behind the 5:00 finish time pacers and made our way to the starting line.
I decided to not use my phone's GPS to track my run because I didn't want it to die on me halfway through the race and cause a flip-out on my part. My phone is kind of temperamental, and when I have too many apps going, it likes to have meltdowns (similar to my almost-two year old). It was definitely different to run without hearing my average pace every mile, but it kept me more focused on surviving and less on my speed. I'm still not sure if that was a good thing or not!
I like my photobomber on the left.
So the race begins and my friend Leigh Ann sticks with me through most of the first 6 miles- through the Saint Streets, downtown, UL's campus, Girard Park, and the Oil Center. I was averaging a little over an 11 minute mile according to Leigh Ann when I hit the dreaded hills of Bendel Gardens, but I was still feeling really good at that point. The spectators and signs along the course REALLY helped with that! One house along the route had a fun jump in the front yard and a live band playing in the garage! I couldn't pull out my phone fast enough to take a picture, so you'll just have to trust me that it was perfectly hilarious and highly motivational.
Ain't nobody got time for that.

Almost to mile 9, heading back to the Oil Center, I saw my mom waiting for me! I was so happy to see her face! She gave me the little rah-rah that I needed and I continued on towards downtown. Somewhere on Congress Street, around mile 12, the 5:00 pacers caught up to me and passed me up. I tried to keep up, but I still had over halfway to go and I didn't want to waste too much energy too soon. I tried to keep them in my sights, though. (What a precious idea that was.)

The worst part of the Zydeco is that it's a double loop marathon. So when you turn the corner onto the final stretch, there's the finish line ahead of you to the right, and there's a small sign that says "second loop" with an arrow pointing left.


I could see the time by the finish line, and it said 2:39. Since it took 7 minutes to cross the start line, that put me at a 2:32 half finish time... Only two minutes slower than my time at the Cajun Country Half in December! That is a pretty big accomplishment for me, considering that I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could have. Again with the conserving energy and all that. Onward!

I took the left fork and gritted my teeth for round two. I remember doing a mental check of how I was feeling, and all of my usual aches and pains from my training were nowhere to be found. I now realize that it was because something new and different and ten times more painful was waiting for me!

Somewhere around mile 16-17, my IT band just decided it was done. DONE. I had never before, not even once, had trouble with my IT band. In fact, I didn't know where the damn thing even was. But it made itself known to me somewhere in the Oil Center by tightening up like a stretched-to-the-limit rubber band. At that point, it became very difficult to run, let alone walk, without a limp.

This sucker.


So I'm limping along and all of a sudden, everyone who passes me starts talking to me. 
"Are you okay?"
"We're almost there!"
"Dig deep!"
And my favorite- 
"Is this your first marathon?"
I mean did I have a sign on my back that said "IT'S MY FIRST MARATHON, PLEASE HAVE PITY ON MY SOUL"?!?!? At least all of the conversation took my mind off the pain! I met Ted from Virginia who was running his 71st marathon and Edward from El Paso who had run an Ultramarathon the day before. We were all struggling together in this little pack through Bendel and back into the Oil Center. 
Somewhere along Coolidge I hear a car engine behind me, and lo and behold, it's the sweeper car. The "sag wagon," if you will. I whip around to my new buddy Ted and said, "There is NO WAY we are the last two people." To which he replies, "Oh yea, honey, we are about to achieve celebrity status."

Well, this celeb sped up a teensy bit and, once out of Ted's immediate vicinity, started bawling. Every doubt I've ever doubted starts running (ha) through my head. You're too fat for this. What made you think you could run a marathon? You're not going to finish. All that training was for nothing. But somehow I managed to snap out of it. Probably because I heard Ted holler at me that he sprints the last mile, so unless I wanted to be dead last, I had better get to steppin'.

I took the advice of those 47 chatty people who passed me up and I dug deep. I limp-ran my way to the final stretch down Congress and I see Leigh Ann running upstream toward me- that doll had stuck around to see me finish and she was coming to cheer me on through the last quarter mile.

And there it was- the finish line. I saw The Hubs on my left and started to tear up because I was so happy to see his grinning mug. As soon as I ran across that finish line, I was overcome with emotion.
I did it.
This girl, who couldn't even run down the straight part of the high school track, who weighed 275 pounds less than two years ago, who used to avoid aerobic activity like it was my job, completed 26.2 miles on my own two feet in less than six hours. I might not have accomplished my goal of doing it in close to 5 hours, but still... I freakin' did it.

My girls who cheered me on!

My official time

Once I could finally gather my thoughts and emotions, and walk with less of a limp, The Hubs and I went on a little day date to Grub Burger Bar for a much-needed and well-deserved feast. I got this milkshake called the Kitchen Sink... it did not disappoint. I love the combo of sweet and salty and this one has chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, peanut butter, coffee grounds (what?), potato chips, and pretzels. Ohhhhhh yum. 

And I ate every last bite.
Because I ran a marathon.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Steph Says: I Have No Words.

In eight hours, I will be crossing the starting line of my very first full marathon. I'm a little overwhelmed and for once, at a loss for words. So I've got some pictures to talk for me!

Today was the race expo and packet pickup.

Decisions, decisions.

Some of the fabulous ladies in my running group!
 Then, it was time for the carb expo/food festival.

I heart carbs.
Red Skin Potato Pie @ Mellow Mushroom

Get in mah belly!

Rascal Mae getting in on the action.

And y'all thought I was kidding. 

So I'm full and happy and ready (I hope) for tomorrow.

My new lucky number.

Let's go.