Wednesday, October 3, 2018

First Ever Half Marathon: Gear

Every year, Team World Vision comes to our Church to talk about running and raising money for families and children in need of clean water in Africa. The video they play, gets me every time. I would have signed up years ago if it wasn't for a few different things that I just couldn't get past. 

One of them, was fear. 
"You hate running" 
"You have bad knees from years of cheerleading & gymnastics" 
"You haven't gone to the gym since college" 
"You have zero time" 
"You are already overcommitted" 

The first step, is raising your hand, getting more information, and honestly, signing up. 

When I watched that movie, I honestly couldn't believe the people that were now labeled "runners". They were all different shapes, sizes, and ages. If someone twice my age could do it, why couldn't I? 

The next step, is telling people. I remember coming home from church and walking outside to see one of the runners in my neighborhood. I walked right in front of her, making her slow down and stop her watch (which I now realize would have been SUPER annoying) and I said it out loud. " I signed up for a half marathon!!" 

She was thrilled for me. She said she would send me an invite to the neighborhood running club group and announced to the group that day, that I had excitedly signed up to run. There. I told someone. Then I told lots of someones. As many people as I could, because then it meant I was truly committed. 

Fast forward to my first days and weeks of training. 

Here is the gear that I love and have found most helpful for running my first ever half marathon. 

1) Shoes, good shoes. First I went to the local running store, Striders and was fit for Nike Pegasus. They fit and felt great. After hitting the road 5-6 times a week, my shins were in so much pain! I went back to the store and tried on lots more shoes and got more opinions. I left with Skechers GOrun Ride 7 running shoes. I honestly feel like these shoes propel me forward. They have a great cushion and an angle that keeps me leaning forward.

2) Flip Belt. I knew that I wanted my phone with me while running. I wanted to listen to music and use GPS. An avid runner & friend of mine told me about flip belt. I was sold. This belt is awesome! I would recommend trying on sizes in the store rather than just buying off amazon. I would have probably bought a small online but then I went in the store and realized the XS was nice and snug and I could barely feel I was wearing it. I also snagged the 6 oz water bottle that I store in the pouch on the flat of my back. They have two different size water bottles meant for & made for flip belt.

3) wireless headphones by Aftershokz. These are the most amazing headphones. They rest in front of your ears and use bone conduction to deliver sound. Meaning you don't have something plugged in to your ears. You can hear the music but also hear whats going on around you while running like passing cars. 

4) Music- the app called Rock my Run is amazing!! you don't need to pay for a membership but at just 25$ a year, it was well worth it to skip some commercials and have ability to play music to your steps/stride or to your heartrate. I absolutely love this app. It's all remixed songs and just about every playlist you can imagine. 

5) running app. I used Map my Run by under armour. It worked well with my apple watch and tracks lots of activities, maps out your run, and gives you updates for each mile including pace and split pace. 

6) a great headband - my head hates glasses, sunglasses, hats and headbands. almost immediate headaches for me. so I went with these nike tie headbands. These stay in place and are the most comfortable. Especially for someone who hates wearing headbands mainly because of discomfort. 

7) socks - these asics socks have great cushion and a higher heel tab. These you can definitely snag off amazon! 

8) compression socks - after my shins initially gave me some trouble, I found that these compression socks were very helpful. I ordered these off amazon after reading on a blog how much better they were than medical tape. For this price, it was well worth it even if I wasn't sure it would do the trick! I have worn on the left leg the entire training process.  

9) gummies - I haven't used many gummies during my running journey, but I did love the ease of these gatorade blocks. many people complain they are hard to open and eat but I just opened prior to the run and didn't ever have an issue. they fit perfect in my flip belt and taste great. I bought bulk off amazon. 
Less than 3 weeks and my first half marathon will be under my belt. Not only that, but I have raised over 3500$ for water for Africa. The cause itself is inspiring and has helped me change habits around our home regarding water. This will be my first ever race! I have never even run a 5K before but this training schedule kept me on track and helped me find a groove.

What's stopping you from doing something like this? I can tell you myself and people around me had their doubts but I hope to be testifying to people next year when time comes to sign up. To tell them, Yes, you can do this! No ones said it would be easy, but I can tell you that I have enjoyed it just as much as avid runners said I would. It's challenging and then some. I can't believe when I am talking to people now, I start talking about other races & different cities but the cause won't change.

Hope this helps someone out when considering your first ever half marathon. Shoot me a message if you have any questions!

Friday, April 13, 2018


I was a smidge hesitant to take our kids to Frederik Meijer Gardens for their butterfly exhibit this year. It seems like they rush through the greenhouse so they can hurry up and visit the gift shop. I mean, the gift shop is filled with more fun and interesting toys than any other store. And they know they'll get to pick something out. But , nevertheless, we ended up going.
I still brought my camera so I could play with my lens that is a 50mm f1.2. That low aperture is really fun to play with and I don't get to use it that low for my newborn sessions.

I love that you can see the glimpse of that gorgeous blue color of the Morpho.

It was a sunny day which my Dad loves, knowing that the butterflies will be nice and active.

and of course the biggest mission is try to have a butterfly land on you.  or if you can slip your finger right in front of its legs so it will just perch on you like a parakeet.

 I was by the right flowering bush to snap some while they were eating.

this is the only picture I got of me and the regardless that I am just a head, i'll post it anyway :)

Keeping the tradition alive, it was overall a great visit. We walked away with a small plush gorilla and a small poodle in a purse. The kids gave me what funds they had saved to contribute, still not quite grasping the value of a dollar but that will come. hoping to come back in the summer for the splash pad per usual!!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Long overdue update

I started to blog a while back when someone showed me how they printed their blog into a book at the end of each year, because honestly, who has time for scrapbooking. I remember when my mom devoted months to the scrapbooks for both Jarred and I. It sure is fun to look back on, but just like bronchitis, ain't nobody got time for that! One of my close friends has a beautiful blog and is really the one that got me started. When I asked her how she keeps up, she said, you just devote time to it. Simple as that. I just don't devote time to it. I would like to keep a better track record, but sometimes I find that I am trying to keep up with so much that I then pull the opposite. I stop posting on social media, blogging and even sometimes purposely forget my camera so I can 'live in the moment'.

Our house has been getting updates and little face lifts and revisions. Jason has definitely lived up to the new phrase 'shiplap sunday'. And I don't even mind it. The dining space is full with ship lap.... 

 now the coffee shop ceiling, the built ins in the living room, behind the tv....
 and now in the 'waiting area' before you walk into the studio. This space is hands down my favorite ship lap. Chevron !!

What about the kids?

Austin is really enjoying the wrestling season. Well it's already almost over. He has proven he can hold his own that's for sure. This year he went up against kids 5 pounds heavier and a grade older and it didn't phase him. He won 12 for 18 matches and who knows, I may have missed a few of the nights where he just did one match. The matches he lost, I was just as proud. He worked so very hard and gave it 100% all of the time. My favorite was watching Austin interact with the older kids on the team. He was often sent to a tournament with one kid from each weight class so he was the only 1st grader. I am glad he isn't afraid to do things when its not including his specific friends. In between rounds, he was usually trying to tackle one of the older kids and they enjoyed his 'go get 'em energy'.

oh brother. Such a funny miss! we tried hip hop dance which she absolutely loved, but she's just a tad young. The classes start at age 7 for a reason but we tried it anyway to get an idea. she just needs to be a little older in order to have the coordination but she begs to go back all the time. We are heading back to gymnastics for a little while but dropped out since she was in the 4-5 year old class and they don't really get to do much but the same thing each week. Getting kids involved in things early, can be fun, but sometimes its nice to enjoy not having something every night of the week. She has modeled twice now for TinyTys and has been on the cover of the box of their first set of toys in stores. Its very fun when friends text pictures of her face in the toy store in the mall or in Meijer. She has been asked to model for an eyewear company in the spring. She gets very excited for photo shoots.

double oh brother. its' time to get this girl some formal training. thankfully I made her an appointment to get that scheduled. I had a lot more time on my hands to train Lily back in the day when I was in college, but now?? shoot!

The studio has been up and running for about 5 months now. I love it. It has pushed me to learn so much more about lighting which has always been more of a struggle since I have zero formal training.

I am now blessed by an overly full schedule that books up months in advance, mini session days that slots can't stay open because they are full before I announce them. I have had many students come through who have mentored through me and many more people whom I have taught lessons to. People are driving from hours away and I.feel.blessed.
Well, that's life in a nut shell at the moment. I find myself lately saying 'right now, my kids WANT to be with me. it won't be long before their friends will take precedence over me.' Our plans for the year include planning a trip to Greece for Jason and I likely in August.

Soooo many of my photography clients ask about my full time as a PA. I still work full time and don't have plans to cut back. I worked hard to get there too. I applied to a year long program to learn more about integrative care in oncology and will hear back in the spring if I was accepted. So many patients long and desire for anything and everything to treat their cancer. Working in the cancer realm for the past 7 years has engrained in me to live for today, life is short, don't wait to do things, try things, or learn new things.

Lee & Birch:
A few years ago I was named the 'IT girl' for Lee & Birch clothing boutique. I continue to model for them in studio and for the runway shows whenever they ask. I absolutely love & adore everyone involved in that company. They have become friends and I just can't get enough of them. It's fun to do something for yourself especially when you take on so many other roles in life.

What else? Is there anything else? I still don't drink coffee....unless you drown it in chocolate and all the fixins'!

until next time.....

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