Friday Finds: Finding Red

I’m obsessed with the plum/burgundy trend. Seriously – i have pants that are a berryish/marsala color, and now I’m looking for a few nice tops to dress up and dress down. It’s a beautiful color for the fall and these pieces I’ve picked for this week’s Friday Finds are perfect transition pieces and will also last you through the colder months with some layering.

 

Friday Finds - Seeing Red

1. This utility blouse from Loft is super versatile. I have a couple of these from Loft and a similar style from Express. I saw a similar top at the outlet a couple weeks ago but they were out of my size so getting it now? 40% off? Win.

2. Another gem from Loft, this autumn plaid blouse would be super cute with skinny jeans or with black work pants OR with leggings.

3. I have a Charley sweater from JCrew factory in a deep reddish color from last year, but I love this long sleeved Sawyer sweater for those chilly fall days that I really hope are just around the corner.

4. I can’t get enough of Old Navy’s Pixie pants! Last year I got a raspberry-ish colored pair and the color is back this fall! They call it potent purple but it’s definitely a bit more plum/reddish. Love them!

5. For my fellow pencil skirt lovers, check out this beautiful burgundy lace Halogen Skirt. The price tag isn’t so horrible either!

What trend are you loving lately? 

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The Working Parent Balancing Act

So many people ask me how I can be so busy and yet stay so active and train for races regularly – especially as a working parent. It’s a juggling act my friends. It’s not easy and you pick your battles.

smoothie

What do I mean? It’s a balancing act of compromise – knowing when to rest. Knowing when to be a little selfish and knowing when your family needs you. My workouts to me are important – they keep me sane, healthy and give me the 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of me time I know I need to be the best version of myself and thankfully, I’m blessed to have a husband who understands that.

Despite finishing Iron Girl and being relatively happy with my time, I did not train 100% according to my plan. I didn’t get nearly as many miles on the bike as I would have liked, I nursed injured calves through most of my training, and I leaned on hubs a lot in the mornings when I would get up and out to work out and he’d get little Man up and ready for school. But I did my best and really, that’s all I could have hoped for.

Check your schedule 

What do I mean by that? I mean look at your family’s schedule first. I know that little Man has speech therapy two days per week. One of those days I take him. Now, hubs is back in classes so I know two evenings a week I’m on the hook for pick up. I don’t work out every day – I try to – but I also value rest days. Weekends we go out and be active as a family whether to the park, or walking/running around the neighborhood. Weekdays are tougher but as many working parents of toddlers especially can understand, you just have to do the best you can. But I always look at my schedule and know what days are going to be ideal for morning/evening workouts

Be realistic

if you’re not a morning workout-er, don’t bank on getting in a 5 mile run or a 15 mile bike before work. Save the long workouts for the weekends when you can compromise with your spouse. As i mentioned, do the best you can. Maybe set the goal to workout 4 days per week rather than 5 or 6. Setting yourself up for success, versus failure, will make a huge difference when it comes to setting realistic goals for yourself.

Don’t underestimate strength workouts

Can’t make it out for a run or a bike? Weather crappy? Oversleep? Too many morning meetings to risk getting into work late? I’ve dealt with all of those things, and do pretty regularly. Now that hubs is back in classes, I know I can plan for an evening workout for 30 minutes or so after Little Man goes to bed with a fitness video (last night I did the 21 day fix Upper Fix – my arms are HURTING today). There is nothing wrong with getting your butt kicked for 30 minutes with an intense cardio DVD or whatever other workout you may scrounge up. It might not line up with your training plan, but it’s better than nothing.

Make it a Priority

Listen, there are certain musts in every day. If you prioritize your workout x days per week like you prioritize your cleaning routine or how many nights you’re going to cook a family meal, then you might actually get your workouts in and feel accomplished. I add my workouts to my to do list and make sure it’s either the first thing I check off in the morning or the last thing I check off before winding down at night. If it’s a priority for you, then you’ll make it happen.

Plan ahead

I plan my workouts out for the week at the same time I plan our meals and our grocery list. I take into account: Hubs’s MBA classes, Running Group nights, Work happy hours, plans with friends, and everything in between. Will I make it to my regular Thursday night yoga class? Should I work out in the morning? What’s the weather going to be like? This helps me plan out my week to set myself up for success but I also factor in my rest days because those are just as important and I can go about my day without stressing about missing a workout.

Find a buddy

Nothing says accountability like finding a friend.  Whether you join a weight loss group (think DietBet), Weight Watchers, a running club, or sign up for a training program – finding a group to hold you accountable does wonders. I joined up Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries 10k group as a mentor – now I have to run Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday’s – I’m accountable and I know that people rely on me to be there. Additionally, some moms and I got together and have a dietbet-ish type of facebook group – we weigh in once per week, we comment regularly, and we pay $10. I haven’t hit the goal yet (5% this time around!) but it’s the accountability and knowing that i have a group of mamas who have the same struggles that I do that makes it fun for me.

It’s a balancing act though friends. My fitness and healthy living efforts are not flawless. I am not perfect. I dove right for those stupid sugar cookies at Wegman’s yesterday in the brief 20 minutes I had between meetings – but gawd was it delicious.

Working parents, what are your tips for balancing training for big races, accomplishing hefty weight loss goals while juggling a family and a full time job? 

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Race Recap: Iron Girl Columbia Tri

I am an Iron Girl!

So this was my first year competing in Iron Girl – I’d heard great things about the race and was super excited for it. it was my A race this year – especially since I deferred Dewey Beach to next year. I’m REALLY hoping I can race it next year though i fear it may coincide with my big sisters wedding – regardless. I HIGHLY recommend – i had a blast on the course!

Expo & Racking

I was super impressed by the organization and ease of packet pick up, racking my bike and generally getting the gist of the race layout. I didn’t do much research about where swim start was ahead of time – major planning fail – but luckily on Sunday morning I just followed the crowds to head over.

Swim

I was really not looking forward to swimming in Centennial Lake – I mean…no body of water is perfect but I do have to say this was probably slightly better than the Potomac (at least this swim wasn’t cancelled). I felt unprepared in the open water, and the form I had worked on the past couple of months in the pool went to the crapper. Then my goggles fogged up. Multiple times. Not my strongest swim but certainly longer than I’d been swimming and I wasn’t last out of the water or last in my division so…success!

I actually think I did pretty well for T1 – the run up from the water was a ways, but getting pseudo-dried off, and since my bike was in the middle… on the end (I always get the crappiest transition spots) I consider 5 minutes not too shabby.

swim time: 34:29
T1: 5:07

Bike

irongirlbike

I was strongest on the bike. I felt really good. I got my clips fixed the other day before I racked my bike and they loosened them so they’re easier to get in and out of – win! Biggest flaw of my training? Lack of bike training. lack of hills. WHOOPS. That being said…I still did really well and didn’t have to walk my bike up any hills (remember when I had to do that on the Huffster back at Hopkins Vineyard Tri? Yeah. That sucked.). I made up a lot of time on the downhills – i need to work on my fear of speedy downhills and losing control because downhills can be fun. I suppose.

Bike Time: 1:09:55
avg speed: 13.7 mph

Run

irongirlfinish

T2 was super fast – it helped that I was closer to run out, and that I really only had to drop my helmet and get my sneaks on which only needed to be tied. I think i did really good at setting myself up for success in regards to the transitions here so I feel good about that.

But God that run sucked. There is no amount of words about how much that run sucked. So much. So many hills. Was not fueled well. Should have brought that extra Gu. My calves were super tight because of my ankles and hills do that to me. That being said, I think I did…okay. I finished strong. I walked up a lot of hills. Was slower than i had hoped but it was hot and my calves were aching. Room for improvement but that finish was pretty awesome.

T2: 2:18 (!!!)
Run: 43:47  (12:53 avg pace)

Total time: 2:35:37.9

Given that this is my first FULL tri post baby (swim got canceled last year at Nations), I’m pretty proud of these numbers. I’m never going to be a front of the pack-er. I’m a solid middle-back of the pack and as long as I’m having fun, and giving my races my all, then i’m a happy camper!

Stay tuned on the blog this week to find out what’s on deck for my fall race schedule and a discount code to join me at the Annapolis Running Classic in November!

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Friday Five: Favorite Things

Happy Friday Folks! I’m changing it up a touch instead of my favorite reads from the week I’m sharing a few of my favorite things and a few reads that have caught my eye this week.

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//Wear this

I’ve been in full on dress mode. I don’t know, they’re just easy. I don’t really have to think about them especially on mornings when I’m tight on time.

1. I’ve mentioned this one from Old Navy. All of the colors plskthx. Got some dough to spend? Check out this Boden lookalike.
2. H&M lured me in with a 50% off email. Then I saw this beaut. For $10. Sold.
3. Another Old Navy one – for the birds!
4. I really, really want to try a swing dress, in the past I’ve been wary of how they look on me. I love this one from Old Navy, this from Nordstrom and this one from Asos.
5. I love, love, love this navy scalloped dress from JCrew Factory. So pretty and feminine.

//Read this

1. How closely do you follow YOUR training plan? I never follow mine perfectly to a tee because…life. Greatist says it may not be as important as you think to follow your training plan perfectly.
2. I really really want to work for Netflix. They’re offering up to one year maternity leave.
3. Note to self, stop over scheduling.
4. How do you survive long runs with a toddler, or do you not? Macaroni kid has some survival tips.
5. I think, I need to try this popcorn. ASAP.

What caught YOUR eye this week?

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Maryland Sprint Duathlon Race Recap

Yesterday I completed my first *big* race of the season and my first duathlon – the Maryland Sprint Duathlon.

I think I can say that it’s official, I’m in love with endurance sports.

Saturday we went up to Western Regional Park out in Howard County to get my race packet and get a lay of the land. I had no idea what the course had in store for me, and no idea what to expect in regards to the race.  We got there shortly before the race chat, so I sat in on it which was incredibly helpful. While I’ve done a couple of triathlons before, I’ve never listened to the prerace talks so my familiarity with the USAT rules is minimal at best. I also found that listening to the course description gave me an idea what to expect – also helpful.

Sunday, we got up stupid early to head out. I was worried about race traffic since not anticipating race traffic has burned me before. Also i wanted to have time to get set up in transition and not be rushed. We got there around 6:15/6:20 – no traffic, no backups, not parking hassle. Incredible!

MD Sprint Du

Run 1 and T1

The first run was a bit downhill going through the park, onto a trail and then down a road with a short out and back turn around then up a hill back to transition. I picked up new sneaks from Charm City Run the other day and while I know you’re not supposed to run a race in new sneaks, it was really nice having only minimal calf pain and having a better understanding on what’s going on with my legs (it all makes sense to me now…consider my beloved Newton’s retired for the most part :( More on that later!). The weather was perfect, and it was super nice having the chance for water/gatorade at 3 spots.

Saw hubs and little man as I ran into transition and grabbed another cup o’ gatorade.

My transitions are not fast, and I really need to work on them

Run time: 21:36
Transition 1: 3:30 (!!!!) 

Bike and T2

I’m still not super confident on my bike. That’s just a fact. Downhills make me anxious (i’m afraid of crashing) and I’m not at all used to clipping in and out yet. BUT! I am getting better.

I got my tires pumped up before I headed into transition (good thing since I was apparently flat!!) and had the bike dude check out my pedals –  I have a clip that’s bent because i got my cleats stuck when i was working out on the trainer earlier this spring. It should be an easy fix, but I need to bring them to a bike shop to get fixed but I can still get half clipped in and fully clipped in on the other foot. I need to get this fixed ASAP since I noticed I had some pain in my right foot that I think is related (as in did not have on the other foot that was properly clipped in).

The bike was awesome. A bit hilly but some awesome downhills. I passed a bunch of people and didn’t finish DFL so I felt really good about that. I only dropped my chain once, but I fixed it and it remedied this annoying clanking sound that I was having. I should have sipped more of my fuel but I kept forgetting and by mile 10 I was a little crampy likely from dehydration. Note to self: practice drinking while on the bike.

I should probably read up more on bikes and/or go to some clinics so I learn the basics… how to change a tire. How to know your tires are flat. You know…the basics.

Again, transition took me a couple of minutes – so I need to find a way to be more efficient – especially as I change my shoes.

Bike: 1:00:38
T2: 3:20

Run 2

The second run sucked. While the first run was largely downhill, when that course gets reversed that means a large part of the run is up hill. Thankfully – it was only two miles. A slow and hot 2 miles but only two miles so the suck time was only 2/3 of your average tri.

Run 2: 24:48

Chip time: 1:53:54.3

What I liked about this race

Beautiful location
Open course but no traffic so it felt closed
Not a crowded race
Awesome medal/race shirt
outstanding support – each time I stopped on the bike someone pulled up to ask if I was okay.

What I didn’t like about this race
Early race at 40 minutes away from me = earlier morning.
ALL OF THE HILLZ.

Would I race again? Abso-effing-lutely – Sign me up for 2016 for sure! Many thanks to the fine folks at Rip It Events for putting on an amazing well organized and overall fantastic event!

 

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Friday Five: What I’m Reading

Happy Friday folks! It’s my weekly post of my favorite articles around the web. Disregard the fact that this post is almost two weeks old since i started drafting it. #timelinessfail

motivation731

 

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Fitness & healthy living
1. Sugar detox? I should probably consider this.
2. Do you compete with your spouse for the AM workout? How do you both fit in your workouts? We’re still figuring out the balance.
3. I love this post about getting started with meditation – something I absolutely need to do more often.
4. How often do you weigh yourself? (I weigh myself every day….)
Family
2. Note to self, stop apologizing. For everything.
4. The terrible twos are pretty terrible, but I do agree with all of these reasons why 2 year olds are amazing. Especially the running hugs.
5. Wanna support some momtrepreneurs? Check these mamas out!
Fashion
1. Plaid pants, yay or nay? Check out these from Old Navy.
2. Rompers! I really want to find a cute one, I found this one on forever 21 (ordered. But not yet worn. Tonight? or next MNO perhaps?!) and I am absolutely OBSESSED with this one from Cupcakes and Cashmere but can’t justify the cost.
3. Lilly Pulitzer sues Old Navy – is anyone surprised here? (I have the Old Navy shorts…not gonna lie, bought them because they looked like the Lilly print…)
4. One of my favorite bloggers posted the most adorable black and white outfit. I may have to replicate this.
5. How many colors do I need this number in? How cute will it be with cognac boots in the fall?!?!
etc//
1. On work/life balance. Do you have it?
2. You don’t need a promotion to grow at your job (despite popular belief). I found this fascinating!
3. I loved this post from Katy Widrick predicting the future of blogging. Time to up my Canva skills!
4. Speaking of canva skills…. HubSpot gives the non-designer (me!) design tips for better blog graphics. I’ll get there. Someday.
5. Who wants to do cat yoga with me?

 

 

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#tripnorth2015: The Un-Vacation

Hubs and I just got back from another #tripnorth. It was supposed to be a vacation with beach time and no obligations, but as I’ve come to learn, a vacation does not include a few things that are kind of non-negotiables when it comes to our trips: 1. family obligations and 2. a toddler.

The toddler is here to stay (lucky for him! Not so lucky for my “vacation” prospects in the near future.) and family obligations usually come with the #tripnorth territory. So we’ve gotta find a happy medium here.

But regardless of those vacation “non-negotiables” for this year it wasn’t entirely family or #babyschmidt’s fault our vacation was…what I hearby deem an “un-vacation.” My new job came with a few upsides (bigger salary!) and a few  downsides … largely the lack of vacation time in the first year. Not to mention, hubs had some work obligations that also cut “vacation” short on the front end.

Over the past few months, our vacation went from: a few days on the Cape, to a Yankees game, to U2 at MSG to celebrating my father in law’s birthday to… no Cape Cod. Reselling our Baltimore/Yankees tickets. We did get to U2 (which was AMAZING – no way we were sacrificing those!) and we were a part of an amazing surprise birthday party for my Father-in-law’s 65th birthday (which so awesome to be a part of!) but there wasn’t really any beach-ing…or a lot of quiet relaxing – again…toddler. So clearly I need to modify my vacation expectations. At least until retirement when Hubs and I can vacation any damn time we want.

So here are my lessons on managing vacation expectations with a toddler.

unvacation

1. Always have a back up plan (especially in regards to food) 

CT Lobster rolls

Thursday night before the u2 show, we kicked around Eataly – grabbing a drink up on the rooftop beer garden, getting oysters on the half shell at the fish bar, and then a cheese plate – but we had planned on grabbing a pizza or some pasta at the pasta place except by the time we got around to them…there was an hour plus long wait. WHOOPS. Needless to say, we trekked up towards Madison Square Garden and found a place after a few horrible suggestions on hubs’ behalf. The place we ended up at was good, but it was expensive for what it was. And in turn, we were a little late for the show.

Subsequently, a similar mistake was made on Sunday on our mission to find Lobster Rolls – the place we had found turned out being a food truck on the side of Bridgeport Avenue – and while I’m sure it was delicious, it wasn’t exactly a toddler appropriate atmosphere…being on the side of a busy road and all…with no fences. So we ended up finding another place that was delightful.

2. Research, research, research! 

Friday night, we went to Quassy – a tiny, independent amusement park next to Hubs’s hometown in Connecticut. Kudos to hubs for finding 50 cent ticket night (and  hot dogs! Which were…just okay.) but less kudos that they had a splash park that little man would have loved. Even less kudos for buying $20 of tickets (so 40 tickets total mind you) only for E to burst into tears as soon as the first ride he went on (a little boat ride. That i almost sunk because I didn’t know it was kiddos only. No ‘rents allowed). Total parental fail. He also had a meltdown on the train ride…and the carousel.

3. Don’t over plan but don’t not plan at all either

I had some general ideas what I wanted to do on our “vacation” – go for a nice hike… go to a beach… but I’m not from Connecticut. I had no idea what the best places were to do any of these things. Hubs wasn’t super helpful in planning or researching. We went on a little hike around a pond in his hometown – which wasn’t quite as challenging as I might have liked (which, if we had brought Little Man…probably couldn’t have been super challenging anyhow). And we ended up at a beach in Milford on Sunday afternoon – it was okay. Fun to wade in since it was low tide and there were tons of tide pools with little Hermit Crabs.

4. Be active

It’s vacation! Get outdoors – find new and interesting playgrounds. Explore the beach. Go for a hike where you’ve never been before. There is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than being active on vacation. If you’re training for a race, have a plan to continue your workouts. I stuck with the sleep plan over the workout consistent plan but I did do research on spin classes…I just didn’t actually make it to any of them. Instead however, we went berry picking at a farm up in Litchfield County and that in itself was a pretty hearty workout.

5. Make the most of it

Our “vacation” certainly wasn’t perfect but it did contain a lot of something we don’t get a lot of during our usual weekly hustle: quality family time. Despite the fact that I committed to doing some work to ease the PTO I had to take. And the fact that our vacation went from nine days to five days – two of which we already had predetermined plans. We spent a lot of time together and made a lot of great memories.

Make a list – hubs and I didn’t really communicate our expectations until I had a mini-breakdown and expressed my sadness that I didn’t really feel like it was much of a vacation. Thus came our definition of vacation as time off with no predetermined obligations. Beach or not – because every vacation can’t have a beach. This also likely means that race-cations aren’t really vacations, not that I’ve ever taken one of those. Yet.

So, now it’s back to the real world. Back to triathlon training. Back to work. Back to summer here – we’re going to hopefully round off our summer bucket list and I’m going to knock out the rest of my triathlon season before diving into my race season this fall since I have a couple of fun races planned. As I don’t have much more time off between now and June 1 of next year, we’re going to take advantage of the holidays, and try to make some fun day trips and fun weekend plans over the next few months to really make the most of our time together as a family.

Have you taken an “un-vacation?” How did you make the most of it? 

 

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What I Wore: Camel and Tan

I picked up a new bag this week and I’m in love. Since starting my new job, I’ve been looking for a new bag, something with a bit of spunk without breaking the bank. Earlier this week, I found it on a lunchtime trip to Target.

black and camel outfit

Excuse the wrinkles. It was the end of the day.

Pants | Tee | Necklace, (JCrew Factory, sold out – similar) | Sandals, Loft (sold out, similar) | Bag (other fun satchels: here, here, herehere and here)

merona satchel

I wanted a bag smaller than the standard tote bag (this is similar to what I was using, which i picked up when I first went back to work in February 2014), and this satchel is the perfect size where I can carry the necessities (kindle, wallet, notebook for blog topics/ideas, makeup) but small enough that I won’t accumulate a bunch of crap – which I often do.

Also, about this tshirt, I know it looks like garbage because…selfie. Which I’m bad at taking. But seriously? It’s the basic crew neck tee from Loft, and oh em gee, they’re the softest, best quality tee shirts I’ve found in a very long time. And they’re cheap as you know what (Especially right meow with their 50% off “everything” sale – code GET50).

Happy Thursday folks!

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Iron Girl Training Week 6: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So last week, was one of the first weeks that I fit in all of my workouts. There were a couple of modifications (i.e. only one day in the pool and only one day on the bike), but all in all? I felt really good all week long.

But, then we know that every rose has it’s thorn right? Right.

The Good

thegood

As I mentioned, all of my workouts! I did a great pool day, had four run days (total of 15.54 miles)

I took my bike off the trainer. Finally. I took it out on the roads. Felt really good. Need to bike more though.

And i finished a 5k! The women’s distance festival 5k was on Saturday – was tons of fun. Had I not ran the 1.5 miles to the start line from the Honda dealership where i dropped my car off for an oil change, I probably would have been sub-30 but. Alas. I spent all that energy in HUSTLING to get to the start line on time.

thebad

My legs are sore. Really, really sore. Try pushing 28 lbs of toddler in a 20+ lb stroller after riding 7.5 miles (and falling) after running nearly 6 miles in the two days before. That’s bad. Real, real bad. Nearly ugly but not quite…I just walked more.

Also, I’m not great at hydrating. Need to be better.

theugly

The fall on Bay Ridge Road after i dropped my water bottle and couldn’t un-clip fast enough. Thankfully, I didn’t fall too hard. My right clip is slightly…broken? So I can be pseudo-clipped in. Which is great and all to help me get out, but I need to remember to UN-CLIP my left foot. I’ve got a nice scrape on my knee and a bruise on my tricep, but other than that nothing was hurt but my pride (thanks to the passerby who stopped her car to ask if I was okay).

 

This weeks workouts

Monday – rest day. At most maybe a strength workout. Maybe.
Tuesday – swim day.
Wednesday – Run 35 – 40
Thursday – Bike 45
Friday – Run 30
Saturday – Run 5 miles
Sunday – Brick (Bike 45, Run 20)

Proud that i was able to defer Dewey so I’ll be able to enjoy my pal’s bachelorette without feeling I pissed away $80 and instead a week later I’ll be doing the Frederick Women’s Sprint Tri which I’m pretty excited for. I really wanted to get in two tri’s this season – I had wanted to do an Oly but I’m just…not there yet. Maybe next year. Plus I have some big running races this fall – well not BIG like Marathon big or anything but you know…big for me.

Happy Monday!

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Weekend Reading

Happy Friday folks! I’ve been compiling my favorite articles this week to share with you my five favorite articles in my favorite topics. Happy weekend and happy reading!

appreciate{via}

Fitness & Healthy Living
1. I really have no desire to be an ultra runner but i do think ultra runners are amazingly inspiring.
2. Long live rest days!  In case you were wondering how often you should run
3. I like these tips – versus their fadish alternatives.
4. Because we all want to know the secrets of running faster, right?
Family
2. i agree with all of these – Why I work.
4. Yes. So grateful for ALL of my mama friends – online and off!
5. I would agree with this – but they don’t change in a bad way per se. And you find new awesome mama friends :)
Fashion
2. I think i need to revamp my wardrobe with these guidelines
4. Belle posted about these shoes the other day and I must. have. them. now.
5. Yes to all these ideas! Leggings-as-pants love!
etc…
2. Love these tips to grow your blog.
3. How to free up more time in your day.
4. It’s all about balance, right?
5. If I only had the time to make ALL OF THESE.

 

 

 

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