Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! Another week down, another glorious weekend is upon us. What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans? Andrew is in Atlanta with some friends and I am headed to Tupelo for a 14.2-mile race. Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend, everyone! XO!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Reads:

This week I'm reading the next installment of the Outlander series, The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. The main characters are still living in pre-Revolutionary War America but war is definitely on the way. I think, at some point, they will end up traveling back to the present day (at least I want them to), so we'll see. I don't want to give too much of the story thus far away, so if you are making your way through the different books or planning on reading them, (and I highly suggest you do), it won't ruin it for you.

Here's what we're working with in this, the fifth book:

"The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser's wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy -- a time-traveler's certain knowledge. Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleft-stone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time -- 1743 -- when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George's army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor -- Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead -- or ignite a conflagration that will leave their souls in ashes.

Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgetable, Diana Gabaldon's new novel is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama. Crossing the boundaries of genre with its unrivaled storytelling, The Fiery Cross is a gift both to her millions of loyal fans and to the lucky readers who have yet to discover her."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New music:

In case you were interested in what I've been jamming to this month, here it is. May I present my favorite playlist for the month of August:

I think it really captures that end-of-summer feel. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A smartphone tale:

It all started with the iPhone. It was our first smartphone and needless to say the experience wasn't a good one. Not that the iPhone is a bad phone -- it has a lot of great qualities -- but it just wasn't right for either of us. So we dropped it and went back to basics: a plain old phone for just calling and texting. It actually worked really well for us and for a long time, we were really happy. They were cheap and easily replaced (I left mine in an airport, Andrew's got washed). We didn't have to worry about data. But then we started to wonder: are we doing ourselves a disservice? Doesn't the bill for these simple phones seem a little expensive? Would a different smartphone be a better fit for our lifestyle? So we started searching for the answers to our questions.

I'd been doing online research for about a month and was really interested in the Nokia Lumia 1020 because of the amazing camera. The camera feature is what I use most and the only thing that I really missed about having a smartphone. I take a lot of pictures and dragging my huge DSLR around everywhere was started to become a hassle. I missed the days of a good camera in my pocket. I know Andrew was also interested in a good camera as well, if only to catch some good images from his telescope. So, it looked like the Lumia was leading the pack.

Then we did some investigating in stores. And we completely changed our minds. Isn't that always the way? You think you know something, you think you have your mind made up, you're ready to act on your decision, and then suddenly there's a wrench in your plans. Long story short, we ended up not only not going with the Lumia, but leaving AT&T altogether and going with Verizon. The customer service is better (for us at least), our bill is cheaper, and my work discount is higher.

So, after much discussion, demonstration, online research, and two trips to the store, we are proud owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (me) and the HTC One (Andrew). I chose the S4 because of the 13 mp camera. Andrew really liked the look and feel of the One. And he'll still get to use the better camera on my phone for taking pictures of the night sky. It's a win win.

It's a weird feeling to go from something so simple to a device that can recognize my face, tell when I look away, and even control my television for me. It's a bit of a learning curve, for sure. But we are enjoying the experience and I am excited about being able to take more photos of the world around me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Weekend:

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to another weekend. What are you going to do with it? I have a long run tomorrow morning and multiple bike riding adventures to go on. In reality, we will be biking around the Arkansas River but in my head, we will be in Amsterdam, riding over the canals. It is one of my major life goals to adventure it up in the capital city of the Netherlands. One day.

Here's a brief recap of what we've been up to lately:
  1. I finally tracked down a sweater I've been after since last winter!
  2. Breaking news: we may be venturing back into the land of smart phones.
  3. Reunion with my running pals over pizza -- love those girls!
  4. We've been eating dinner every night to the sounds of classical music on vinyl. So classy.
  5. Training in the humidity is killing me! Seriously, I'm completely exhausted. Come on cooler weather!
Have a great weekend! Do something fun!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Love:

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New reads:

This week I'm reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It was my turn to pick a book for my book club to read, so I chose this one. I had heard a lot of good things about it, was intrigued by the basic plot line, and decided to give it a go. It's the first book in the Flavia de Luce series and apparently, it has something of a cult following. Have you read it? It's such a cute story.

"In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950 -- and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. 'I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.'

An enthralling mysery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions -- and a rich literary delight."

I'm not much of a mystery enthusiast. Not that I dislike them, I've just never really delved into the genre. I'm not done yet, but I am very much enjoying this story so far. Maybe it will serve as a stepping stone into the waters of mysteries and thrillers. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Weekend:

Oh man, it's about time Friday showed up. I have been going about 90 miles a minute around here so this week has felt exceptionally long. I am so ready for a few days to recharge.

What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans? I am headed home today after another conference and we have absolutely nothing planned. I mean, of course I've got a long run (12 miles) planned, but after that, nothing. It's going to be glorious.

Have a relaxing weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Sorry for the radio silence the past few days. I've been slugging away at a conference since Sunday. I'm back in the office today until this afternoon when I will be jet setting off to another conference for the rest of the week. I swear, if I survive the month of August, I am going to need a major vacation.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Weekend:

Happy Friday, guys! Another weekend is upon us. Wahoo! What will you be doing with your precious free time? Any plans? I've got a long run planned for early Saturday AM and then a schedule packed with lots of lying around. I've got a few projects that have been patiently waiting on me to finish them so I plan on taking a crack at that as well.

Here are the most interesting things that happened around here this week:

  1. H&M (FINALLY) opened their online store last week. So, naturally I've been creeping on them and ordering way too much. 
  2. I tried running intervals and actually really enjoyed it. I'm thinking about running them during a 14 mile race I've got coming up next month.
  3. We've developed an unnatural obsession with old Arrested Development episodes. We've been watching them every night.
  4. I'm sewing new pajamas!
  5. We've been tossing the idea around of a trip to Florida to do some diving. And perhaps a trip to Hogwarts (!) Anyone interesting in joining us on a good, long road trip?
Have a great weekend, everyone! It's going to be ridiculously hot out there so be safe, hydrate, and wear lots of sunscreen!

We love:

Today is National Book Lover's Day! How are you celebrating? I'm reading, organizing, and generally showing my books some love today. You should probably do the same, you know, if you're a total literary nerd like me.

Here's something pretty entertaining: 21 signs that every day is National Book Lover's Day for you

Happy reading, everyone!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New reads:

This week I'm reading Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I've had this book for a while now with every intention of reading it, but other books kept grabbing my attention. This was recently made into a movie (with Tina Fey!) and I desperately want to see it (because of Tina Fey!) but I made a deal with myself that I had to read the book first. So, here we are.

I'm only about 100 pages in but so far, I really like it. It's already one of those stories that has me really intrigued. I find myself thinking about it when I'm not reading (driving to work, trying to fall asleep) and wishing I could disappear in its pages for a while. When I look at where my bookmark currently rests, I get sort of giddy that I have so much story (about 350 pages) left. I can't wait to see how the story unfolds.

In case you were wondering, here's the basic plot:

"For years, thirty-eight-year-old Portia Nathan has hidden behind her busy -- and sometimes punishing -- career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her less than passionate relationship. Then suddenly, the piece of her past that she has tried so hard to bury resurfaces, catapulting her on an extraordinary journey of the heart that challenges everything she ever thought she believed. Soon, just as Portia must decide on the fates of thousands of bright students regarding their admission to Princeton, so too must she confront the life-altering decision she made long ago."

I like the writing. I like the characters. It's interesting. Have you read it? Maybe you saw the movie. What did you think? Good? Bad? Don't give anything away, though. I don't want to spoil it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Marathon training:

With the arrival of August comes the beginning of my marathon training. It's finally here. There's no going back now. I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated. I mean, take a look at that schedule. That's a lot of miles to log. I'm sure that once I'm in it, it won't be so bad but looking at it all laid out in front of me is a little like staring down the barrel of a gun, I'd imagine.

Also, when it's all said and done, I will have run over 600 miles! That's like running from here to St. Louis (almost)!

And if you think of it, I'd love a friendly word of encouragement or two on those Saturday long runs (especially 10/12, 11/16, and 11/23).

Monday, August 5, 2013

We love:

Just a little Mary Poppins remix for your Monday morning.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday! I am excited to finally have a weekend without any plans. I can't wait to just sit around, sleep in, and do nothing! It is going to be luxurious after the last two weekends of constant activity. I've been dragging a bit this week after the swim meet last weekend. I'm ready to recuperate.

Also, can you believe it is August already? Man, this summer has seriously flown by. And I must say, I'm not sorry to see it go. Summer just isn't as fun when you're a grown up. I'm ready for the cooler temperatures of fall.

Have a great weekend, everyone! And happy birthday to my favorite twins on the planet! Love you roaches!