SKORA PHASE Shoes {Product Review}

A while back I posted on social media a picture of a new pair of SKORA PHASE shoes I bought and I had lots of questions from readers and friends about my beautiful new shoes and whether I liked them, etc.
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I wanted to do a review a while ago, but posting lately has been light given the craziness at work and summer, vacations, etc. so while I am home with a sick, napping Ashton, it was the perfect time to actually write my review. Also, I’ve been wearing these shoes now 3x a week for 3 months, so I feel extra confident in the review I am about to deliver because we are far past the honeymoon phase of a new shoe and they are still exceeding my expectations.

First, a little background on SKORA.  SKORA Running is a running shoe company based in Seattle and they have been around since 2012. They make minimalist zero drop running shoes known for their anatomical fit–a foot-like design with negative flare and a curved platform, that provides runners the opportunity to run “natural.” SKORA calls it  “Run Real” –and if you are interested (it’s pretty cool) you can read more about it here.

I happened across these shoes accidentally, but I am SO glad I did.  I was in the market for a great minimalist shoe that I could use while lifting since I was using an older pair of running shoes and just wasn’t feeling the ground contact like I wanted to while squatting.  The SKORA PHASE shoes popped up in a marketing email to me and it was love at first sight.  I mean, these shoes are GORGEOUS. The colors are amazing and I started reading up on them.

“PHASE is constructed using the latest lamination techniques, with a minimal single-layer mesh upper and laminated reflective details. With an asymmetric lacing system and unique IBR outsole, PHASE provides maximum performance with minimum weight and interference. Zero-drop, 11mm stack height.PHASE is built on our revolutionary IBR (Injection Blown Rubber) platform. R02 pushes the boundaries of material technology. IBR offers better abrasion resistance, grip and compression-set than injected EVA with lower density and weight than rubber. This provides a runner with incredible ground feel and running comfort in an amazingly durable, flexible and lightweight complete package.”

Some Key Features:

– 5.8 oz / 163 g
– REALFIT™ last
– Airmesh upper
– Laminated reflective overlays (no-sew)
– Asymmetrical lacing
– Anti-slip microfiber heelpad
– No-tongue design
– Reflective details
– IBR (Injected Blown Rubber) outsole
– Rubber toe bumper
– Zero-drop construction
– Stitch-down construction
– 11mm Forefoot/heel stack height
– 3mm removable Antimicrobial insole

When these shoes arrived, I ripped open the box and the online pictures didn’t do these beauties justice, they are just so bright and GORGEOUS! I love bright colored shoes and these are the best looking workout shoes I have ever owned (those silver stripes are reflective)! I immediately put them on and modeled them for Ashton and Robyn.

skora phase 2

First thing first, these shoes are LIGHT–the lightest shoes I have probably ever held with the exception of flip flops.  They are flexible and when they are on, you really feel that your feet are connecting with the ground.  I love the laces and the gripping on the heel is awesome, especially when I am squatting on the gym floor. I really felt like I was barefoot while wearing them.

The one negative to my shoes (and this is totally my own fault) is that when I ordered them, I ordered them in my running shoe size and they are definitely too big for me, but I just couldn’t bear to part with them once they arrived so I sucked it up and tied them a bit tighter–live and learn right?  These shoes have an extra wide toe box which I really like as well as an airmesh upper that let’s the shoes breathe, meaning no sweaty, smelling shoes post workout. You can also remove the insole to gain more volume by approx. ½ size–something I didn’t need, but would be helpful if you needed the extra space.

For me, this shoe was exactly what I was looking for in a lifting shoe and I have loved them.  The let me get deep into my squats while feeling the ground and I have found they have helped my form a ton because of this. They are super comfortable and mimic being barefoot.  They are designed perfectly for a natural feel and while I don’t use them for running, I can bet they are pretty awesome for all those minimalist runners out there that want something super lightweight–maybe even a racing flat!  I think that I may try a bit of running in them when I order my next pair and see how I do.

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Question of the day

Anyone else out there wear SKORA or other minimalist shoes?  Thoughts? Questions?

 

A letter to Ashton on his first day of Pre-school

***I wrote this letter to Ashton on his first day of Pre-school last week, but didn’t post it, mainly because I spent most of the the day crying.  I’m better now! :)***

 

My sweet little monster,

Well, it’s finally here, your first day of pre-school!  I am certain that I am 100% more anxious about this than you. For the past 3.5 years, you went to Carolle’s house for daycare.  You loved Carolle and she loved you like you were one of her own children. I never worried about you with her. I knew you were safe, having fun, learning a ton, and most importantly being loved. Now, Daddy and I are dropping you off at real school. A place filled with teachers and children we don’t know. We are starting a schedule that is new for all of us. With that comes uncertainty and of course, a bit of anxiety for me (and maybe for you too!)  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to think Mama is unhappy, because I am not. I am really excited for you to start preschool because I know without a doubt you are ready for it. I know you will thrive in the new independence.  I know that you have been ready for this experience for a while, it was me who held off putting you in school last year because, well….because you are growing up so fast and I still look at you like you are my little, tiny baby who needs me for everything and I didn’t (and still don’t) want you to grow up so fast. I know growing up is inevitable and I know that there is only so much that Daddy and I can teach you in the evenings and on the weekends, there is just SO much for you to learn outside of what we can teach you.  There is this whole, great big world out there and I know you are ready to start soaking it all in and I am excited to watch this happen!

So, this morning when you are confused as to why Mama is home and waking you up, it’s because I took the day off of work today. I wanted to be able to drop you off on your first day of school (something Daddy usually does) and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go into work because there would be a lot of tears (mine not yours.) After I hug and kiss you and leave you at school…I have some hopes for you today, as you start a what will be many years of school and education….I hope that your first day is met with your usual zest and curiosity for life, I hope that you love your new teachers and meet some great new friends. I hope no one is mean to you.  I hope that you don’t get scared and cry because you are in a new environment that you are not used to. I hope you have fun and laugh and I hope you learn something new.  All day I will be wondering what you’re doing, if you are okay, if you are having fun, making friends, and eating your lunch. I know I worry too much, but how can I not–I’m your mama and I love you.

Always remember that no matter how old you are Ashton or how independent you become, you will always be my baby.  So go off my little monster, grow, learn, have fun and be awesome.  I can’t wait to pick you up and hear all about it tonight!

Love you always,

Mama

Here are a few pics of him on his first day!

Preschool collage

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Question of the day

Parents…does it get easier as the years go by?

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Celebrate Girlfriends

Hey friends–I’m still on vacation until the 25th, but wanted to check in with you on a very important topic. Did you know that in August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a National Girlfriends Day?  Well they do and for the month of August, they want people to celebrate their girlfriends and provide support to each other in helping each other stay safe and live a healthy life.  Since we all know how important it is to be healthy, I thought you would all like this infographic that outlines the checkups women need to make their health a priority throughout their lifetime.

I know you all love to empower your friends and family to live the healthiest lives they can, so please share this with your girlfriends (and guy friends) and help raise awareness for this important topic because just one conversation could save a life!!

Oscar Women's CheckupsLRG

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Question of the day

Are you good about going to the Dr regularly for check ups?  Did you learn something new with this infographic?

 

A new running first

Hey guys, happy Wednesday!  I hope you are having a great week.  I’m just trying to make it through the week and then I am on vacation for 2 glorious weeks!! More on that in a later post.  I had a new running first yesterday and figured I would share it with you, because why not get a laugh at my expense, right? :)

So, yesterday I started my usual morning run and it was super humid, nothing too uncommon these days. About 1/2 mile into my run it started raining, it wasn’t too hard and it actually felt pretty nice, so I didn’t think much of it, I just set off on my usual route.  When I hit my turn around spot, it got pretty dark out, but I was still going about my business.  I took a quick water break and two creepy guys a few feet away asked me how long I had run, commented they liked my outfit (huh?) and told me I looked like my hard working running was paying off because I looked great.  Now, I don’t normally like to make quick judgments about people, and maybe they truly were trying to be nice by paying me compliments, but they totally creeped me out the way they were looking at me. I try not to be rude to people, especially when I am outnumbered by two much bigger men, so I just smiled, said thank you and booked it in the other direction.  That was just the beginning of my running firsts.

A few minutes later I looked out to where my work buildings were and a HUGE bolt of lightning struck down. Running first number two.  I normally love thunder and lightning storms…you know, when I am safe inside my home watching them.  Being outdoors, running and exposed while they are happening all around me…not so much. I started to panic.  I was still about 2 miles from work.  Did I run into a building? Try to wait the storm out? What if it lasted a long time? I had an early morning meeting I had to be at and there were a lot of commuters out walking to work, so I decided to try to get back as quick as possible.  About 1/3 of a mile away I run over a long bridge and have to take a very tight left turn to start back to work.  The ground was already slick because of all the rain and I was being careful on the bridge, but when I came around, I was probably going a bit too fast and I wiped out.  Running first number three.

I have been running almost 5.5 years now and have never fallen before. I pride myself on having fast reflexes and great balance but I had no hope. I went down hard and immediately felt the road burn.  I reacted quickly and popped right back up and thankfully, I don’t think anyone saw me. It all happened so fast that I don’t think I really processed it as adrenaline was pumping through me and my only thought was, just get back to work and safety as soon as possible.  As soon as I got to our building, I stopped my Garmin…you know, priorities people 😉  I walked into the lobby, was taking my hat off and getting my badge out to swipe through security and one of the guards, looking concerned asked if I was okay.  I said yes and he motioned to my blood covered leg, hand and arm.  Uh, yeah..it wasn’t too pretty.  I didn’t even really notice it until then because my focus had been on something else.  I brushed it off to the guard, told him I was okay, thanked him for his concern and headed back up to the gym so I could shower and get ready for work.

That’s when I also noticed, that my phone was smashed up.  Running first number 4. When I fell, I was holding my phone in the hand I used to reach out to stop myself, which lead to a cracked screen and outer corner.  Awesome! I cleaned myself up a bit before taking these pictures so it didn’t look like a gruesome scene but I was pretty banged up and had road rash all the way up my thigh.

running firstI’ve spared some of the details but let’s just say I didn’t realize how bad the road burn was until I got into the shower and had to grit my teeth and hold back a cry of pain.  After my shower, I was able to get mostly everything to stop bleeding, I got dressed, hit up the first aid box in the gym and proceeding to clean them out of triple antibiotic ointment and bandages.

I’m happy to say that the rest of my day got significantly better.  I am still pretty sore today and my skin still burns but I have no doubt each day will get a little bit better and really, it could have always been worse, right? I usually love most of my running experiences, but this is definitely not something I want to repeat. I can now say that I have fallen during a run, run in lightning and encountered creepy men while out running. I guess maybe it was best that I had so many bad running firsts in one experience? Does the mean they are all done? Wishful thinking?

Have a great rest of your day!!

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Question of the day

Have you ever fallen while running? Ran in a lightning storm? Broken your phone while exercising?

One Sentence per picture

Happy Friday my friends.  How are you all doing?  I am REALLY excited for the weekend and counting down the hours.  I have 20 minutes before my next series of meetings starts so I thought it was just enough time to check in and say hi.  I think today is a one sentence per picture kind of day, don’t you think?  I thought I’d share with you the last 10 pics I have on my phone and give you a little snap shot into my life lately, since I have been so great at posting 😉

              Pretending to ride a bear is actually pretty fun!

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Ending our weekend away on the best note possible!

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Meanest Mama award goes to me for not letting him play with electronics!

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This hasn’t happened since he was a newborn!

 

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A fun day at the park!

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The cure for a lazy summer day is a sand box and toys.

 

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We have a gnome living in our backyard tree.

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With this delivery,we now have every published Dr. Seuss book for Ashton!

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“Mama, you can’t catch me!”

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We break the rules and get the lollipop first!

 

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Well, that’s it for this edition of One Sentence per picture!  Have a great weekend!

 

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Question of the day

Tell me one good thing that happened to you this week!

A great piece of advice

Do you ever read something that just resonates with you so deeply and is exactly what you need to hear in that very moment?  I received a great piece of advice earlier this week. I subscribe to email updates from a brilliant guy named Peter Shankman.  If you don’t know who Peter is, I highly recommend you Google him or just click the hyperlink above.  A little back story on him…I “met” Peter back in 2003 when I worked at a company that provided customer service to the American Express Centurion Card (the Black Card).  Peter was one of my clients and he was the nicest person I have EVER spoken to.  That is a pretty large statement, but it’s true and he is someone who with every single interaction I had with him, made me feel important.  He is also incredibly likable and I have followed his insanely successful career and have respected since our first conversation when I was only 22 years old. He made that much of an impression on me. Anyways, I digress.  I subscribe to his email updates and on Monday one passed through my inbox that had me thinking.  Here was the story from the email…
“The best piece of advice I ever received in my life was from an older gentleman, sitting by himself at the edge of a skydiving drop zone in upstate New York, back in 2005. I’d just started skydiving, and I was having a hard time with my friends who didn’t jump not understanding why I did. More specifically, I was getting upset that my friends didn’t see the joy I was getting from my new love of this sport.
 
The old man heard me talking to some friends about how upset I was, and he interjected himself into my conversation with one line, and one line only. He said simply this:
 
“Son, if you can’t change the people around you, then change the people around you.”
 
He turned around and went back to watching skydivers land.
 
Now look, if you’re an older person in the sport of skydiving, that means that you’ve been smart enough not to get yourself killed, so your advice has merit. But for me, it was more than that – His advice was so basic, yet so brilliant.
 
You see, we spend so much time trying to make the people around us “fit in” with what we consider our normality – and it drives us crazy. Think about how many times we say “She just doesn’t see it my way,” or “Why doesn’t he get my point of view?” The fact is, sometimes, we’re not supposed to perfectly align with someone or something else. And when we don’t, we can spend all our time trying to make it work, driving us crazy in the process, or we can simply change the people around us – and find people, situations, or ideals with which we connect.
 
The choice is ours, but chances are, only one of those choices will provide us peace.”
change
If you can’t change the people around you, then change the people around you.” So simple, but profound. I typically don’t have a hard time walking away from people who don’t make me want to be the best version of myself and who don’t add something positive to my life.  At times it has been family members as well as friends.  It’s never an EASY decisions but it’s a necessary one. I just cannot let people create negative space in my head and I have been ruminating over a relationship in my life lately (don’t worry, it’s not Robyn :)) and I have realized I need to back away.  After multiple discussions with this person, there is a constant lack of regard for anyone but them self and I have had enough. So, this was that great piece of advice that I needed in that moment to finally make a decision. So that is where I am at right now….I hope you all have an awesome Wednesday! <3

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Question of the day

Thoughts on this quote? How do you handle situations like this? Walk away? Stay and hope it gets better?

Update on the 2015 Reading Challenge

 

Hey friends!  Sorry for the radio silence the past week, you know how it goes.  Life gets busy and time is precious and we have to make trade offs.  But, I’m back and I wanted to do a bit of a mid year update since we are officially halfway through the year and that means I am halfway through the Popsugar Book Challenge and it seemed like this was a good time to start recapping the books I have finished so far in 2015. I am really enjoying this challenge because it is forcing me to read genres that I would never had read if not for this challenge.  So, here is what I have covered so far!reading

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  5. A book with a number in the title Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  6. A book written by someone under 30 After by Anna Todd
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author Bright Side by Kim Holden
  10. A mystery or thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title Gus by Kim Holden
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read Confess by Colleen Hoover
  17. A book a friend recommended The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on its cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in high school, but didn’t
  26. A memoir  American Sniper by Chris Kyle
  27. A book you can finish in a day Free Fall by Paula Bowman
  28. A book with antonyms in the title Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle Hourglass by K.S. Smith
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school #Scandal by Sarah Ockler
  37. A book with a color in the title Grey by E.L. James
  38. A book that made you cry Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  39. A book with magic  Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
  40. A graphic novel The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  42. A book you own, but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started, but never finished  She’s come Undone by Wally Lamb

So far, this reading challenge been a lot of fun, but I am still having trouble neatly fitting all the books I am reading into the right categories.  I still have a bunch of books that I have read that don’t fit really into any of these categories, but I am okay with that. I have already read 60 books this year (just counted them on my Goodreads) so those that don’t fit will just not go towards this challenge.

I look forward to checking off more of these categories in the weeks to come.  Stay tuned for more and have a great week!

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Question of the day

Have you read any great books lately? Tell me about them!!

Worcester Runs Boston: My first exhibit

A few months ago a friend of mine contacted me and asked if I had any interest in participating in an exhibit called Worcester Runs Boston that one of her photographer friends was kicking off for local runners who have run the Boston Marathon. I really didn’t know what it entailed, but in a knee jerk reaction, I said I was in.

Over the following weeks, I talked with Jeff, the photographer multiple times about the project, provided him with some information about my Boston Marathon experience and then on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I found myself in a photography studio doing a photo shoot for this exhibit.

Well, the exhibit was unveiled at a popular local cafe that also has a great gallery space in late May and I went with my boys to check it out. I was really nervous for some reason, probably because my picture and story were up on the walls in a space that gets a ton of traffic for everyone to see. However, I was really pleased with the final result and actually received quite a few sweet messages from local friends that were in the cafe and saw my picture and read my story.

It was kind of hard to capture the whole exhibit as it spanned a pretty long section of the gallery but I think Jeff did a great job.  Here are some shots I took.

PicMonkey Collage1

PicMonkey Collage2

Here is a little bit more about the Worcester Runs Boston project:

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Here is the group shot that was featured in the exhibit:

worcester runs boston

And then my personal photo and story

sara boston marathon pic

This was a really fun project to be a part of.  The exhibit was hugely successful and I hope that my story was able to bring more awareness to the MMRF and all the great work that they do.  An added bonus is that Jeff sent us all our professional shots from the photo shoot to keep. Here are just a few from the shoot.

PicMonkey Collage 1

The exhibit just ended after being up for over a month.  We were able to go back down to the gallery and get our framed photo right off the wall to take home, which was really cool.  We are currently redesigning our house, so I don’t know where I am going to hang my picture, so it’s sitting on a chair in our house right now, but you better believe it will be on a wall for years to come (right next to my bib and medal!!)

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I hope you all have a great weekend…see you in a few days!

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Question of the day

Have you ever participated in an exhibit like this? Been to one?

Lily Trotters: Fitness + Fashion rolled into one {Product Review}

 ***Disclaimer: I was provided a free pair of Lily Trotters to review, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.***

 

Hey friends, I am super excited to be sharing this review with you today! A few months back my awesome friend Salt reviewed these amazingly adorable compression socks and I was green with envy.  I mean, these compression socks are seriously CUTE!  They are fitness + fashion rolled into one.  Then, a few weeks ago, Susan from Lily Trotters reached out to me asking if I would be interested in reviewing a pair of their compression socks.  Um…YEAH!!

A few days later I received these gorgeous socks in the mail!

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I absolutely love the colors, but also the little details like the pink frill at the top.  Lily Trotters really does a phenomenal job of mixing fashion with fitness.  I mean, who says you can’t look cute and fashionable while working out?

lily trotters

Other than being seriously awesome looking, Lily Trotters are much easier to get on than my CW-X, ProCompression, or any other brand of compression socks/sleeves that I own and wear.  I’m not saying I will not continue to wear my other brands, as I have amassed quite the stash of compression socks over the years, but for the sake of this review, you will not break a nail (like I have done on SO many occasions with my other compression socks) or break a sweating putting them on.  What you will get is a great amount of support, just enough compression to feel like they are working but not making your legs feel strangled with pressure.

I tested these twice before writing my review and both times my experience was the same.  I did a 7 and an 8 mile run in them and both times my calves felt great during and after the run.  And who doesn’t like to look down as they are running and smile when they see their fun gear? It automatically gives you a little emotional boost–am I right?

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They also washed really well with no pilling, shrinking or loss of compression afterwards.  What’s even better is that they are multi-functional. You can also wear these beauties under pants when you aren’t piling on the miles, and these won’t have my co-workers laughing at me and referring to me as that “crazy runner” who wears weird socks post runs at work.  It’s a win/win right?

So, do you want to get your hands on a pair of these beautiful compression socks?  Lily Trotters are currently in development, but you can go visit lilytrotters.com to register for updates on their Kickstarter launch and to take advantage of their “Early Bird” discounts!

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Question of the day

Have you seen/heard of Lily Trotters?  Thoughts? Do you wear compression socks/sleeves? What brands are your favorites?

Friday randomness with a Q&A

Hey friends–3 posts in one week…while at a conference??? I am quite proud of myself.  This is going to be another light, fun post mainly because I am wicked (that is such a MA thing to say) short on time!  So, you all know I love my friend Hailey and she tagged me in this fun questionnaire on her blog, so with my love of questionnaires, you know I am joining in!  So it’s time for some Friday randomness with a Q&A. Let’s get down to business…

What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

I was a red head until about 5 or 6 years old and then my hair turned a dark auburn with lots of red highlights, but not that beautiful, vibrant red anymore :(  I am still pissed that happened, I really wish my hair was still red!

Have you ever met someone famous?

Yeah, I have met a few famous people- and spoken to a ton of them (that’s another story)…but my favorite was Blake Shelton back before he was famous.  He opened up for a show I was going to see and stopped by a local pub that we were eating at to do a “warm up” set before the show. He was super nice and I will never forget that night.  This was pre-super famous Blake, when he had long hair.  He was still REALLY handsome (and tall!)

What is something you hope will never come back in style?

MC Hammer pants-no explanation needed.

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What is one thing on your travel must-see bucket list.

I hate being restricted to just one place, I have a whole list of places…but, I will say an African Safari during the Great Migration.  A MUST see for me!

Who would you want to play in a movie of your life?

I think we may have established this on Wednesday’s post, Anna Kendrick. LOVE HER!

Who is your favorite Disney Princess?

Is Ariel a “true” Disney Princess? Regardless she would be my pick….I guess I just realized she was a red head…am I biased towards red heads? Maybe.

What would you sing at karaoke night?

No one wants to hear me sing, but if I HAD to sing something…it would likely be something funny like Baby Got Back.  Why? I know every single word and it’s hysterical…why else?

Who would you want to be stranded on a dessert island with?

My boys.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Again, I can only pick one?  Dishonesty among a whole host of other things.

What clothing item/accessory/shoes do you have way too many of in your closet?

I don’t think I have too much of anything in my closet…Robyn would disagree. He’d say I have WAY too many clothes, shoes and bags.  But who asked him, right? 😉

 

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Question of the day

Now it’s your turn, answer one (or more) of the questions above!