September Goals

Summer has felt nice and slow, but then all of a sudden, it was my sister’s birthday yesterday (happy birthday, Dana!!), and now, it’s September! I’m sad that summer is coming to a close–it’s definitely my favorite–but I’ve realized that I’m really excited to experience a new season with a husband. Summer started pretty much as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, and being married has made these last few months feel even more special. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they feel exactly the same after getting married, but that has not been the case for us at all, and I love it. I got so excited yesterday chatting with Dave about making our favorite chilis and soups, pulling out our coziest blankets, and going for runs in crisp weather, and I can’t wait to see what our first married fall is like!

september goals
August Goals

1. Finish writing wedding thank you notes. Finally!!
2. Train for and run the Run for Life 5K (and hopefully beat my time from last year). YES! I beat my time last year by four minutes and felt great.
3. Host our first guests in our apartment. – Our friends weren’t able to make it, so I’m bumping this goal to September for when Dave’s parents stay with us for a night.
4. Unplug for vacation with Dave’s family in the Adirondacks. Yes, and it was heavenly. Read about it here.

September Goals

1. Host Dave’s parents well in our apartment.
2. Serve my first couple well at their wedding ceremony! I joined the wedding committee at church (the same church where Dave and I were married) and I’m really excited/a little bit nervous to help at my first wedding this month.
3. Successfully complete my first month of my fall capsule wardrobe.
4. Stay under our food budget. Travel/a little bit of laziness led to too much money spent at restaurants in August, and I really want to do better this month.
5. Start a new fall tradition with Dave. (Do you have any favorites we should consider? I’d love to hear!)

10 Things I Learned In My First Year of Running

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve tried to become a runner. There was the time in elementary school when my dad took my sister and I out for jogs in an attempt to improve our mile times in gym class. Then there was the time in high school when I tried out for the cross country team…and had to push myself in order to finish second to last. Maybe it was the engagement ring on my finger, or maybe it was just growing up a little and deciding it was now or never, but around last summer, I decided to do it, once and for all. It’s been just over a year since running has become a consistent part of my life, and while it has been hard, it’s also become one of the things I’m most proud of. I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned this year, and if you’re new to running or discouraged by it, I really hope you find this encouraging! And if you’re an experienced runner, I would LOVE to hear some of the things you’ve learned along the way, too. I have a long way to go!

gray-and-pink-nikes

1. You WILL get better. On that first run, I couldn’t go a mile without stopping to walk. I was convinced that that would never change, but sure enough, it did. I’ve gotten so much stronger and faster over the last year, and I’m really proud of how different I feel when I run now.

2. Tracking your runs is helpful on many levels. I recently started using the Map My Run app, but I also like writing down each run’s mileage in a plain old notebook. It shows my progress, it’s motivating if my mileage is down from the previous month, and it gives me a way to compete with myself a little.

3. The right gear makes a big difference. A month into winter, I was ridiculously bored of running on the treadmill, but I simply had nothing to wear that was appropriate for running outside. A proper jacket, some compression leggings, and a thick headband later, running on cold days quickly became my favorite–plus, it’s fun to look really legit in all that gear :)

4. Running on a treadmill feels different than running on the road. For me personally, I have to raise the incline quite a bit to make similar progress on a treadmill as I do on the road. I used to only run on treadmills because I felt more vulnerable if I was on the road for the world to see, but now, I know I get the most out of my runs outside, and only run on the treadmill in bad weather.

5. In a similar vein, new routes can feel totally different too. The loop Dave and I usually run is somewhat hilly, so we love occasionally driving a little ways to one of the many trails throughout the Triangle. Not only are they a change of scenery, they’re also sometimes easier!

6. If you don’t fuel yourself well, you won’t run well. My worst runs have been 1. when I’m dehydrated, 2. when my stomach is empty, or 3. when my stomach is full. Planning ahead to time my meals/snacks right is essential for me! If I’m going to run after work, I’ll eat a Clif bar about half an hour before I leave the office. If I’m running in the morning or doing a race, I like to have half a banana and a slice of Ezekiel bread toast with peanut butter an hour before I start.

7. Sometimes, it’s the weather’s fault. This is a recent revelation–I feel like it has taken me so much longer to get into a groove post-wedding, but then in New York a few weeks ago, I went for my first really good run in months. The difference? It was 70 degrees and there was no humidity!

8. A running buddy, an awesome playlist, or new workout clothes are some of the best motivations. No explanation needed :)

9. There’s no shame in running and walking. My dad is the best runner I’ve ever known and my biggest inspiration, and ever since he started decades ago, he’s been doing running-walking intervals. In his most recent marathon, he did five minutes running-one minute walking intervals, and finished in the top 10%! #LifeGoals

10. I really enjoy it. Not every minute of every run, but overall, yes, I can honestly say I do like running. That’s something I never thought I would say, and it feels good!

Planning My Fall Capsule Wardrobe

The idea of a capsule wardrobe may not be anything new in the blog world, but even so, I always love following along with people who give them a go. My fingers are crossed that y’all feel the same way, because I’m excited to be planning a capsule wardrobe for this fall and to share about it here! But let’s back up a little, shall we?

What it is: There are a few variations on what a capsule wardrobe is exactly, and I don’t think the specifics matter much, but the general principle is this: a closet made up of a select group of versatile, seasonal items, all of which you really love. A closet consisting ONLY of pieces that you love (and that fit perfectly) simplifies your life, pushes you to mix/match/accessorize creatively, and let’s be honest, many of us already go to our full wardrobes every day, only to spend ten minutes sifting through them and ending up in one of our favorite shirts again (guilty–hello, chambray button-down). I’m following Caroline of Unfancy’s plan most closely, which you can read more about here.

trenchSource unknown

Why I’m trying it: There are a few reasons! 1. As I mentioned, I’ve been so intrigued over the past year or two by the idea of a simpler, more specific wardrobe–I followed along with it on Unfancy since day one, and also really enjoyed reading Cuyana‘s series on the Lean Closet Movement. 2. Every season, I try to shop intentionally by making a specific list of things I want to add to my closet, and then sticking to that list when considering buying something new. However, now that I’m married and do my best to love Dave through respecting our budget (the best motivation!), I knew it was time to take things a step further and cut out shopping for awhile. If for nothing else, I hope this gets me out of the habit of thinking I need things, when honestly and truly, I have so much more than I could ever need. 3. It’s a fun challenge! I love outfit planning and have always thought fall was the most fun season to dress for. I’m excited to get outside of my comfort zone a little and wear things from my capsule wardrobe in new ways.

When: I’m planning to use my capsule wardrobe from September 8 (right after Labor Day) until November 30, with a few intentionally planned exceptions (namely, work events that require a specific outfit that doesn’t fit into the rest of my wardrobe).

How: Now for the fun part! I started on Pinterest–I have a board for fall and winter fashion, so I went through it and re-pinned my favorite looks for this coming fall in a separate secret board (sneak peek below). After gathering that initial inspiration, I went to my closet and pulled out anything I know I want to wear this fall–my field jacket, trench coat, gingham button down, and beloved chambray shirt, to name a few. I was pleased to have a pretty solid start after that step! Next, I worked my way through the Unfancy Capsule Wardrobe Planner, referring to my Pinterest board for textures, colors, and styles I was particularly drawn to, and combining that with the pieces I had. I ended up deciding to only purchase two new things to round out my fall wardrobe, making my fall shopping total $115–surely much less than if I were to make smaller, more frequent purchases throughout the season. Altogether, I decided on 18 shirts, seven bottoms, three dresses, four jackets/cardigans, and eight pairs of shoes, for a total of 40 pieces. (Note: accessories, jewelry, workout clothes, and cocktail attire don’t count toward that total.)

capsule-wardrobe-ideas

Now I’d love to know–what would you be most interested in reading as I try this out? Regular outfit round-ups? My favorite looks? Any pros and cons that arise? I’ll be sharing my 40 final pieces next week, and other than that, I’m totally open, so let me know!

Our Top Three Morning Smoothies

I’ve always loved the idea of drinking smoothies in the morning, but since I have a pretty sensitive stomach and need solid food in the morning to keep me from feeling queasy all day, I never thought it’d be something I’d do. A few weeks ago, I had the most obvious revelation ever: smoothies with a side of toast! Duh! I’m embarrassed that it took me all these years to come up with a solution, but now that I have, Dave and I are loving our new go-to weekday breakfast. Along with coffee and a slice of Ezekiel bread toast, I’ve been whipping up smoothies every morning. Our blender might now be our new most-frequently-used registry gift, and our fruits and veggies intake has gone up. Win-win! Here are the recipes currently in my rotation:

Green smoothieClassic green smoothie: I jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon (making them for an afternoon snack) years ago after reading about them on my favorite food blog, Oh She Glows. This is still one of my favorite combinations, and you can find tons of variations on it here. I use two big handfuls of spinach, one banana, a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter, a quarter cup of Greek yogurt, milk, and a few ice cubes.

Tropical strawberry banana smoothieMorning Glory smoothie from the Oh She Glows cookbook: If you don’t have the Oh She Glows cookbook, seriously, buy it today. I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but this cookbook is my favorite and I love every recipe I’ve tried. I’m planning to work my way through the smoothie section–this tasty tropical one is on page 66.

Chocolate peanut butter green smoothieChocolate peanut butter smoothie: Yes, this is basically the same as the classic green smoothie…but this one tastes like chocolate :) I cringed buying cacao powder because it’s a little on the pricey side, but I love that it’s a superfood, and this bag will last ages. For this smoothie, I blend together two big handfuls of spinach, a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter, a tablespoon of cacao, milk, and a few ice cubes. After a morning workout, I sometimes add a tablespoon of chocolate protein powder too (Dave has this one).

Are you a smoothie drinker? Have any favorite combinations we should add to our rotation? I’d love to hear!

My New Favorite App

As much as I love getting out and trying new things in Raleigh, I have to admit, I end up at my favorite go-to spots all too often. Googling things to do, looking up restaurant reviews, and researching events can be kind of overwhelming to me, and I’d much rather do something off of a friend’s recommendation than something I find myself–which is great, but not very conducive to regular adventures! That’s why I was SO excited when a friend recently showed me the Offline app, and it has quickly become one of my new favorite things. I could hardly wait to tell y’all about it!

offline-app
Offline is a curated collection of activities and events,  and it is currently available for Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Nashville, with Atlanta, DC, and hopefully lots more coming soon. You can search by headline categories like “Must-Dos in August” or “This Weekend” to find out what’s right around the corner, or check out their main categories–a few of my favorites are Cheap Dates, Best Brunch Spots, and Coffee. If you find an activity you want to do, you can bookmark it, and even add it to your iCal or text it to a friend. Once you do that activity, you can check it off and upload a photo that other users will be able to see when they’re looking into that spot. It’s a little bit addictive, and I’ve already bookmarked tons of places and activities I want to try! If you’re in any of the cities I mentioned, sign up here and let me know what you think :)

Offline led Dave and I to the Slingshot Coffee HQ this weekend, where they host a pop-up coffee shop every weekend during the summer. It was totally unassuming and I don’t think we ever would have found out about it otherwise, but we loved everything about it–the cold brew coffee, the pimento cheese pop tarts (as good as they sound!), and the all-outdoor seating. It reminded me so much of Austin, and we will definitely be back before fall comes around!

weekend-at-slingshotslingshot-coffee-hqgingham-shirtslingshot-cold-brew-coffeeShirt | dress (similar) | shoes | bracelet | nail polish