I have a Dream

I have a dream.

A life long dream of running a marathon and I'm half way there.

I started running 4 months ago. This past weekend I ran my first 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours. My pace 9.02-9.45 minuets per mile for 13.1 miles: By far my Personal Best.


Me Crossing the finish line.
Crossing that finish line........

Well there pretty much isn't anything else in the world like it. It's unbelievably empowering and gratifying.

One of the things I love so much about running is there are NO short cuts.
If you don't train......You don't finish.


This is a sport that takes real dedication and commitment and that is something that I feel very proud to be a part of.

Luckily because I live at 7000 feet and this race was at sea level, I had no trouble whatsoever. 

It was a beautiful, easy race for me.

I hardly broke a sweat and sprinted the last mile. 

At mile 12 the course split for half marathoners to one side and full marathons to the other and honestly I was DYING to just do the whole thing but my family was waiting for me and I didn't want to injure  myself.

It was a ridiculous amount of fun.

I can't wait to do it over and over and over again. I may become a racing junkie. Seriously it was THAT fun......for crazy ole me anyway!!!

So next up.........

On may 5th I am going to be running the full 26.2 miles in Shiprock New Mexico. It will be my first full  marathon and I am extremely excited. I've only got 6 weeks to train so it's on full blast now. 15 miles training run in 2 days.......cross training on Tuesday along with my usual 30 miles a week. As for my diet...I'd really like to lop off 1o more pounds so I think I'll try to stick to a lot of baked chicken, broccoli, and brown rice.

The idea of pushing myself mentally and physically to a breaking point is very intriguing to me...........I think most people just call that crazy.


Proud Mama Showing off her medal!!


It felt great when I lost 110 pounds but this feels even better........I am really proud of myself! 

Just in case you were wondering when I first started training I put about 4 pounds of muscle weight  but have since lost another 3 pounds and another 5, YES 5 inches off my mid section.  

I am very eager to have a "runner's" body which I am quiet far from unfortunately but I know I will get there eventually if I keep running. I can't lie....I want to be ripped!!!! When you work this hard at something you deserve to be ripped.

Because I lost 113 pounds, I have A LOT of extra skin and flab that is really hard to get rid of. But I couldn't be happier with the results I have seen from running; just another reason I love this sport!!!! Plus I get to eat a fried oyster po boy and a cupcake whenever I feel like it! 

I burned 1500 calories on race day!!!!! AWESOME!!!! 

(just in case any of you are new here you can read my weight loss story here)

Setting a great example for those kiddoes!!!!! 


A lot of marathon runners I talk to say they only run the race to get the shirt (that's a joke). 

But seriously it's like a badge of honor. You'll have it forever. It's a great keep sake. The one I got from this race I thought was particularly nice.  It's a Brooks cool max T's. 

I also was awarded a medal. AWESOME!!!!! 

Now I've got to get a wrack to start displaying my bibs and metals if I'm going to become a racing junkie!!!!


At the Marathon expo they had runners skirts which I have wanted FOREVER!!!!! 

I mean how much cuter can this get?

So that was my treat for the vacation and I love it. I would say perfect for 10 mile or under runs. Any longer and you may need more stability but over all  very comfy and easy to run in and SO ridiculously cute!


RUNNER FOR LIFE!


If you have a dream.......GO FOR IT......You will make it happen if you want it bad enough!!!!! 

I want to take a minuet to just thank you all so much for your incredible support throughout my weight loss process and now my running journey. It feels so good to have people rooting for you. 

I promise I'll run that 26.2 miles and make you proud!!!! 

 




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bits of splendor monday




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Stylin' with Stephanie

hey everyone! i'm stephanie from love.life.babies. and it is such a treat to be with you today! 
i know you are all probably missing hanna {so am i}, but i am so pumped for her as she accomplishes one of her goals running a half marathon! her passion for running is just contagious isn't it? love her! 
so today i wanted to talk about long skirts. they're super in right now 
and i love the look of them but what in the world do you wear with a long skirt?
i decided to pair this "ballerina-esque" black skirt with a striped tank and a coral cardigan.
if i'm being totally honest i mulled over what to pair it with for quite a while trying on at least 20 different tops! ha! but i think the tank and cardi were a nice accompaniment. what do you think? be honest!!! 
i also stacked a few bracelets and rings to add a little spunk. 
now heres the big question...what shoes do you wear with a long skirt? clearly i haven't figured that one
 out because i opted for just bare feet. for some reason i feel like a great wedge or
 maybe even a combat boot would look fabulous. 
skirt//cardigan//tank: forever 21//necklaces: pac sun & urban outfitters

overall i really like the long skirt trend. have you rocked it? 
do you love it or are you not convinced? 

thanks again for letting me share with you today! 
please stop by my blog and say hello if you have time!! 

we love you hanna come back soon!
xo


--
stephanie nickel

{love. life. babies.}

Guest Post. Val So Cal


Hello, bouffe e bambini fans. I'm Val from ValSoCal
 It is a privilege to be here today.

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My blog is about life and simplicity. I love sharing easy meals that anyone can make. I'm a busy mom
and time is limited...so I want to whip up a meal in a flash and spend time with the ones that mean the most. Come on over and make something yummy.


Mozzarella, Tomato, and Avocado Salad. Recipe {HERE}

 Pizza Meatloaf Cups. Recipe {HERE}

Coconut Lime Margaritas. Recipe {{HERE}


Thank you for being here today and sharing your recipe's and blog with us!! 
I adore you and your scrumptious recipes!!! 

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Brutal Truth is a Beautiful Thing with Laura from Bits of Splendor

I have started a little interview process called  "Brutal Truth is a Beautiful Thing."
I'm doing this because I love to get to know the "real" people behind their blogs. I think so many of us are afraid to tell the truth whatever it may be. We want others to like us. We want others to read our blog. We don't want to scare anyone away.

Me included!! 



You can read my itnterview anytime {HERE}  
 
For the first year I never really shared a lot of personal information because I didn't think people wanted to hear it.I posted my recipes and a few cute pics of the kids and that's it. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, people still want all the fabulous recipes and cute photos but they want to know me. I have gotten the biggest responses from my "on my heart" posts. People want to know you, what makes you you, the person you are. They want to know how you live your life. They don't want a bunch of  nonsense about how fancy your car is and perfect your life is. I think we all want to be able to relate to each other and NONE of us are perfect!!!
 
Today's Interview: Laura from Bits of Splendor
 
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What's your greatest Weakness?
Insecurity. Sometimes I worry way too much about what people think of me, or will think of me. There have been times where I allowed it to keep me from doing things, or making certain decisions. But I am learning more and more to let go of that. To be me and to be confident in who that is. Not everyone is going to like me or approve of what I do or have to say, and that's OK! It's actually very freeing to come to that conclusion.






 What's your greatest strength?
Compassion. I love people. I love all kinds of people and I am genuinely interested in their lives. I especially have a heart for the hurting. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with how much I *feel* for people. But that drives me to want to do whatever I can to help, or to offer love, or hope. Sometimes I feel like I can't do enough but I have to remember I can do something.
One of my favorite quotes....
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do"
Edward Everett Hale


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What has emotionally crippled you in your lifetime? 

My most emotionally crippling moments were when we lost two of our babies Grace Ann at 20 weeks and Faith Marie at 23 weeks. 






What has elated you with joy in your lifetime?
Being married to the love of my life and the day I became a mother and every day since. I truly feel that being a mom is the greatest gift I've ever been given. I think happiness comes and goes depending on your circumstances. But Joy is deeper. It is constant. Being a mother, thought at times hard, is such a joy. 
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How much have you evolved since your teenage years? Are you a similar person?
Oh my goodness. I have changed so much. I used to have a mouth on me. Constantly getting in trouble for it. I was never afraid to speak my mind and sometimes that hurt people.

I still have that mouth, but I've learned that words don't always need to be spoken, I don't always have to be heard, and that this mouth of mine is powerful. I can use it to build up, encourage, and speak life. That's what I hope to do. I think my mouth has become one of the biggest ways God uses me. The very thing I struggled in, has helped transform me. I'm still a work in progress. And always will be. I hope to always be changing and growing and moving forward.

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What's something you don't want to tell us about?
To an extent I'm a pretty private person. I think certain things should be held sacred and close to your heart. There is a fine line with sharing too much and sharing too little. I want to be transparent and open. I want people to relate with me and my struggles and know they aren't alone. On the other hand, there are certain things I won't talk about in an open space. Maybe in a small cluster of trusted people, or just between friends, but certain things I think should be held close.

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When the world is crashing down on you, where do you go?
To God for sure. If there is one thing I've learned it's that no one else has the answer and no one else has the control to change things. Prayer changes things.






Do you have any goals? What are they?
-To run in a marathon. My first goal would be a half marathon. 

-To have another baby. Our youngest, Mia is 15 months old. I think we will start talking about it when she is closer to two. For now I'm enjoying her as my baby, but can't wait to have another one. 

-To own a boutique one day. Filled with a mix of eclectic, vintage, modern, and handmade goods. In a small, trendy town, with a place for young kids to hang out while their parents shop. Good music, yummy treats and coffee too!

-For Project Hope to become a nation wide, non profit organization. That it would reach millions of families and mothers with the gift of Hope.

-To write a book

-To step into the ministry I know I'm called to alongside my husband. 

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Can you honestly say you love what you do?
100%. I love being a stay at home mom. Being home with my kids is a joy and a blessing. I love to be here when my husband gets home from work. Making our house a home. I love it all.

On the other hand, I also love that my shop and blog have given me opportunities to channel my creativity and to also do what I can now, where I'm at, to encourage others and minister to women in a way I never thought I would be able to. It has helped me define who I am and where I want to go. Knowing that there are no limits except the ones I put on myself. I'm of the belief that you can be a mom and wife but also pursue your dreams and ministries.

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Who has been the single most influential person in your lifetime thus far?
My husband. I was on a completely different path when I met him. He changed me. For the better.
He is the person I go to about everything. He thinks things through-- I talk things through. He helps me process. He keeps me balanced. He makes me a better person. Grounds me. Loves me well. Knows me best.
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Honestly, we are all striving for something, what is your greatest goal in life? I'm not talking about money!
To make a difference in my community and in our world. To love, serve and most of all lead by example. So that I am raising my children to do the same. I want my children to pursue their dreams, to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones and to love others. And I know that the best teachers they will ever have is us--mom and dad. So my greatest goal is to raise children who are aware of the world around them with a compassion and passion to do something in it, that will change it.

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Name your most defining moment!!!
When I was pregnant with our second child we went in for a ultrasound at 20 weeks to find out if it was a boy or girl. Instead we found out that we had lost the baby. No heart beat. Grace Ann had passed away a week or two before.
I was scheduled for an induction two days later. That morning I woke up with an incredibly heavy heart. I knew what I was going to have to face that day, but I didn't know how I would be able to. I remember sitting up in my bed. I didn't want to get out because I thought if I tried to stand in that moment, I would fall to my knees in despair. 
I started to cry out to God in prayer. For strength. For peace. For Grace to get through this day.
That very moment, I knew I had a choice to make. I could get out of bed, fall to my knees and never get up. I could allow this to defeat me.  Or I could get up and face this day with my head held high. Knowing I had God's grace to get me through and that I would get through it.
I chose to get up.

Thinking back on that day, I remember a calm and peace I had never felt before. I remember it overwhelming me just as I began to push, and I remember it consuming me as I held our daughter and said goodbye.

God's grace sustained me. I believe in that moment of decision, I was changed forever.

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Are there people in your past that you wish you could make amends with?
Not really. I think people are in your past for a reason.  







What memory will be forever burned in your mind to the point where you can smell the room and feel the energy?
Ever since I was a little girl I have had an intense awareness and need to be in the moment. I can remember closing my eyes and saying "I'm glad it's right now, I'm glad it's right now." It was my way of living in those very moments. Right then. 

I think that ability has carried me through some of my most joyful and yet also hardest moments. When I had Grace Ann, I was on a lot of pain medication. I have snipits of memory. Of her. The room, the people. Most of it is a blur and I sort of resented that. 

So when we lost our second daughter Faith Marie after an emergency c-section at 23 weeks, I wanted to take in every single detail I could. After they wheeled me back into the recovery room,  I remember my mom telling me we had lost the baby and that it was a girl. They handed her to me. All wrapped up. She was perfect. I remember fighting through every other emotion and pain, just so I could hold on to these moments with her.

And I did. I studied every bit of her. I remember her. Those are memories I will cherish forever. 

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 What movie and/or book speaks to you? 
The Bible. It is God's written word. It is relevant and fresh and new, no matter how many times I've read something. 







What is your greatest wish right here and now? 
I wish there was such a thing as a perfect balance. But I really don't believe there is. The roles we women have to play each day can be a lot. And sometimes it can be overwhelming, but I think we just have to pick out the things that are most important and focus most and best on those things. I wish I could do it all, but I know that I can't. And I'm finally ok with that.
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Laura is a brand new friend of mine and I am so grateful to have met such a beautiful  soul. I already adore her and her blog. Thank you Laura so much for being part of the Brutal Truth Series and sharing your story!!! I am so honored to have featured you today!!!
You May read the entire series of "Brutal Truth"

 Interviews {HERE}



Spring Florals with Marion Berry

Hi everyone!  
My name is Marion and I produce a style blog called Marionberry Style.  I was so excited when Hanna asked me to produce a post for when she is off running her half marathon (Go Hanna!!).  

Since my blog is all about current trends and mixing inexpensive finds with investment pieces, I thought I would pull together a style that incorporates one of Spring 2012's hottest trend: floral prints.  



But yes...it's still winter.  Especially here in Denver!  
So I am holding back on throwing on the pinks and pastel floral print in favor of darker hues.  




I found this skirt for $9 at Nordstrom Rack.  It has pockets.  For these two reasons I did a little happy dance in the aisle (insert husband eye-rolling here). 




To make this look season appropriate, I paired the floral skirt with cozy sweater tights, booties and a cashmere top.  I felt like I was wearing pajamas 
(except for the whole 4-inch heel part).




Skirt - Lily White 
Cashmere Sweater - Moda International
Bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Sweater Tights - Hue (Purchase HERE)
Shoes - Via Spiga (Similar HERE)
Necklace - Vintage
Earrings - Nordstrom

So embrace the Spring's floral trend a little early!  Just be sure to keep the color scheme a little on the darker side, at least until mother nature starts to give us the thumbs up to break out the pinks and peaches.  

1) Delias - Purchase HERE
2) TopShop - Purchase HERE
3) Alice and Olivia - Purchase HERE
4) J.Crew - Purchase HERE


What do you think about wearing floral prints in Winter?

Thanks Hanna so much for having me!!  Can't wait to hear about your race.

XO - Marion





It's Your L*U*C*K*Y Day GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED




I'm going to keep this short and sweet. 
I have a dear freind and her name is Amy. She is the owner and master mind behind {EVY"S TREE} but not only that. She is my friend. I consider her a close blogger friend. She is a wonderful person and has a beautiful family.

And today she has decided to giveaway ANYTHING in stock in her shop!!! YES ANYTHING!!!!! I know kind of hard to believe but that would be Amy for you. UNBELIEVABLE!!! 

Here's a couple photo's of my faves but you can go look yourself right {HERE}







Pretty Amazing isn't she?? 

Personally I own about 6 pieces and love to the ends of the earth! I am so grateful to have Amy in my life. 

So, like I said before she's giving away ANYTHING  you want in her shop! I'm keeping this giveaway simple! Over the couple years I have been blogging I found that a million entries into a giveaway is annoying and it doesn't give everyone a fair chance. So all I am asking for is one humble entry today. Please visit my beautiful friend who makes gorgeous clothes! That's it! 

MANDATORY ENTY!!! 
Visit {EVY'S TREE} and try to find just one thing that is your favorite and let me know what it is and where you would wear it!

This giveaway is open to the USA and Canada only and will close Friday March 9th at midnight! 

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This Months Random iPhone shots


My Snuggle Bugs

Daddy and Milton Shoveling The Driveway
Me, going running.........please excuse gigantic pig sty in my bedroom. Hey, what can I say, I'm out living my life and having fun with my kids not cleaning all day:)

The Heart Shaped Pepperroni Pizza I Made for the Kids to Eat While I was at Work
Well, My boys are lucky that mommy was a beauty school drop out because now they get their cuts for free
Best Moments Ever
Ginger's Room on Valentine's Day
Hitting The Pavement

Helping Mommy Pack for her big race


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