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.”
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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.

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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:

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And then my personal photo and story

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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?

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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!

5 Dinner Party Guests

Hey friends…I hope you are all doing well. I have to keep this short as I am in a week long sales and marketing convention and I have about 20 minutes of unscheduled time in my day today but I wanted to pop in and say hi and ask you guys a random question.  First let me back up and explain.

On my walk from the hotel to my meetings this morning I was thinking…if I was hosting a dinner party and could have 5 famous, living celebrities as my party guests, who would I choose?  I have really random thoughts throughout my day…I know this, just go with it.

5 Dinner Party GuestsThis took me about 5 seconds to rattle off people in my head.  My list would be:

  1. Anna Kendrick (she is my BFF in another life)
  2. Jimmy Fallon
  3. John Stewart
  4. Amy Poehler
  5. Jim Krasinski

I am fairly certain this would be the most entertaining dinner ever!  All of these people are hysterical, seem super down to earth and have made me laugh until I cry on multiple occasions.  They all have similar humor to my own, are quick witted and just seem really awesome.  Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by people like that?

My people would change if we added qualifiers like, just 5 famous people (vs. celebrities), 5 authors, 5 people who have made history, etc, but I was specifically thinking celebrities this morning.

So there you go, some mindless fun to have on this Wednesday morning…now I want to hear from you!

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Question of the day

Who are your 5 Dinner Party Guests?

Ashton’s first race

Hey friends, I hope you had a great weekend!   I am really excited to tell you all about Ashton’s first race yesterday. There is a local race near us called the Worcester Firefighers 6k that started back in 2000 after 6 firefighters lost their lives battling a fire at the Worcester Cold Storage.  Since it’s inception, this race has been a huge local draw.  They also offer a Youth 1k race (0.62 miles) and I thought this was the perfect first race for Ashton.  Not only would he get to race, but the money goes to a great cause, a win/win for me!

Yesterday morning we left the house at 10 am to drive to Institute Park in Worcester where we picked up his bib and shirt.  It was a super quick process and everyone was really sweet.  His first bib number was #792

2015-06-14 10.23.59He fueled for the race with a tootsie pop! Just kidding, he has chocolate chip pancakes that he and Robyn made earlier in the morning! :)  This race has a lot of fun features like a DJ, clowns, face painting, a moon bounce, a silent sports auction and a free BBQ in the park for everyone after the race.  

Since we had about a half hour to kill before the race, Ashton requested some time in the moon bounce so he got nice and sweaty before we even started the race! It was getting HOT (in was about 90 degrees when we started the race) so I was pumping him full of water to make sure he was hydrated and I got him all sun-screened up as well.

We spent some time watching the firetrucks raise the flag over the finish line, which was really amazing to see!

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Then, the MC called all the youth runners to the starting line and we made our way over there. I had to snap a few pics of him on the starting line.

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The MC for the race was awesome, she was getting the kids to sing and dance while we waited for the horn to go off.  Once it did, we were off!

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I love that the race has free pics, I love that it captured Ashton’s excitement as we started the race.  He wanted to hold my hand the whole time…who am I to argue with that??

He started off really strong but towards the turn around area, he was losing steam and saying how hot he was.  We stopped and I was carrying water for him just in case which I was glad I did.  He took quite a bit of water and then said he wanted to walk.  We walked for a little bit and then he asked me to carry him.  I didn’t want his first race experience to be a bad one, and it was SUPER hot out, so I grabbed him and started walking.   Then of course he said, “Mama, run with me!”  So, that is what I did…up a hill, with a  32 lb toddler on my hip. And…this is the picture of us crossing the finish line.

unnamedThe whole race was over in a matter of 4:35, but it’s a memory I will never forget.  We just ran our first of what I hope is many races together!

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Ashton said he had a lot of fun and asked if we would do it again….music to my ears!  I think we will wait until the Fall though, since running in this heat is not ideal.  After the race, none of us we up to sit out in the blazing sun to have a BBQ, so I grabbed Ashton a little ice cream cup and we headed back to the car to cool off and head home.

All in all, this was a really special race and I am just so happy to be able to share something I love so much with my boy.

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Question of the day

For the parents–have you raced with your kids?

For non-parents–do you remember your first race?

I’m back with the drink you must make this Summer {Brazilian Limeade}

Hey guys, I know I have been MIA…I’m sorry.  You all know work has been consuming my life and I just haven’t had a chance at night or in the mornings to type up posts.  However, I am back with the drink you must make this summer, which is going to totally make up for my absence!

So, for those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that I lived abroad in Brazil. When I was there, there was a drink I would often have that was my absolute favorite, Brazilian limeade.  It was sweet, tangy, refreshing and just made me happy.  However, until just a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had it since I came back to the States in 2001.  I posted a few weeks ago that my boys and I went to an asparagus festival.  Yeah, I know asparagus and Brazil don’t necessarily make sense in the same sentence, but I am getting to the point.

There was a vendor there selling smoothies, sandwiches, etc.  I saw Brazilian limeade as one of their specialty drinks and immediately my interest was piqued.  I got in a ridiculously long line to first ask what was in their limeade before I shelled over $4.00 for an impostor drink that would leave me dissapointed. The woman told me it was fresh limes, sugar, water and the magic ingredient..sweetened condensed milk!!  SCORE! I knew this was the real deal and immediately ordered and paid for my drink. The first sip was like a little slice of heaven and immediately took me back to my days in the hot summer sun of Brazil, sipping on my limeade trying to stay cool.  Isn’t it crazy how a certain flavor, scent, song can take you back to a certain time or plan and you can remember it so vividly??  I was so excited to finally be tasting this again that I told Robyn I had to make it at home.

So…I did.  This is the drink you must make this Summer!  There are 4 ingredients, it is SUPER simple.  Here is what I did loosely and it came out great and you can tweak it based on your personal tastes!

Brazilian Limeade

4 limes

6 cups water

1 cup sugar

6 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk (I used fat-free because it is what we had on hand)

  1. First, mix your cold water and sugar well and pop it in the fridge while you prep the rest of the mix.  You can also do this ahead of time if you are going to want to drink/serve it immediately.
  2. Next, wash your lime well as you will be using the whole lime.  The cut the ends off and then cut each lime into eighths.2015-06-07 13.35.26
  3. Then, place 1/2 of the limes and 1/2 of the sugar water in your blender. Place the lid on your blender and pulse 5 times.2015-06-07 13.42.44
  4. Take the blended mixture and pour through a fine mesh strainer.  Make sure you pour over the pitcher you are going to use to serve it in for less clean up. Once you have pressed the limes to ensure you have all the liquid in the pitcher, you can throw out the pulp.
  5. Repeat step 4 with the remaining sugar water and limes.
  6. Lastly, add sweetened condensed milk (you may want to play with the amounts based on your personal tastes)  Stir it well and serve this delicious goodness over ice immediately.2015-06-07 13.58.25
  7. You can thank me later! :)

Just a note, once you add the condensed milk, this will not stay fresh for long, so if you make a big batch and don’t think it will all be consumed within a few hours, you can make the lime mixture and keep it in the fridge for a few days and just add the condensed milk by the glass as you want to drink it. I did that this week and it was delicious and I was able to prolong my drink happiness all week!

Enjoy and have an awesome weekend!

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Question of the day

What’s been going on with you all since I have been away?  Highs? Lows? Have you ever had Brazilian Limeade?

My Favorites

Happy Wednesday my friends!!  I hope you week is going well.  Things here have been trucking along quite nicely and in the spirit of keeping things fun and light (and celebrating a consistent posting schedule this week!) let’s do one of my favorite things…a little blog questionnaire.

While reading this month’s issue of Health Magazine there was an interview with Tracy Anderson, a very well-known fitness trainer that trains celebs like Gwenyth Paltrow. I thought this would be fun to play along with!

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Here are my favorites…

Song that amps me up to workout: This is really hard, sometimes what gets me going is something slow and smooth like Sam Smith (especially on longer runs) or sometimes it’s more “popish” like Carly Rae Jepsen.  Sometimes it’s something more alternative like The Killers.  One song that I always love and makes me happy is Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days.  It was one of our warm up songs when I was playing soccer in college and it always got me focused and ready to play.

Way to eat eggs: Is there a bad way to eat eggs (other than raw I suppose?)  I LOVE eggs and most of the time, I top mine with fresh salsa or ketchup.

Podcast: I LOVED the Serial podcast, I can’t wait for Season 2.  Currently, I listen to a lot of TedTalks, mainly on the commute to and from work.  (I don’t know of a lot of podcasts–if there are any you LOVE..please let me know in the comments and I will check them out!)

Kind of date: At this point in our lives, date nights don’t happen all that much so the bar is set pretty low.  As long as I have time to talk to Robyn and do something fun, I am happy.  Dinner, drinks and a movie are always great…bonus points for eating outdoors and going to the drive in!

App: Instagram

Item in my closet: My running shoes (duh!) :)

Gifts to give and receive: I love to give and receive experience types of gifts…a night out painting, wine tasting, cupcake tours…you get the idea.  Anything that gets me/us out and about trying new things/places are my favorites because you always remember those experiences, but may not necessarily remember a shirt, pair or shoes, etc.

Pizza topping: Fresh basil and mozzarella.

That’s it friends, some of my favorites!  Now, I want to hear from you!  Oh, and don’t forget to have a GREAT day!

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Question of the day

Share an answer or two to the above questions–I love learning new stuff about YOU!