one last pitch

if you're like me, you have been mad scoping all the bangin' olympic bodies.

and if you are a magnet of horrific irony like me, you also happened to installe a full length mirror in your house for the first time ever on the same weekend that the olympics began.

this unfortunate combination of occurrences has lit quite the fire in me. there is nothing quite like spending 3 hours ogling fat-free bodies in peak condition shredding water, air and belief and then catching a head-to-toe glimpse of yourself in the mirror.

representing the country of The Dimple-cratic Reflublic of Badonko: keight dukes.

something must be done.

my plan-- august va-voom: a month-long group competition where every little exercise you do earns you points and the top point-winners get cash money prizes. absolutely no athletic ability or fitness experience needed!

keeping track of it all in a google doc is HUGE motivation to get off the couch an get in some lunges or go for a walk.

when you see the other ladies kicking butt, it is major accountability.

here's a snapshot of the personal sheet each competitor will have:

-blue arrow: the list of exercises that earn points (for each of the linked exercises in blue, there is a video of the correct form for each activity)
-green arrow: the number of points you earn per unit (10 minutes, one rep, etc) of exercise.
-red arrow: the categories of each exercise group
-yellow arrow: this is a new feature where we are adding a daily CAP of "other cardio" to make the competition more fair to folks of all schedules and abilities. for any one day, the max amount of points you can earn in the light/moderate/intense cardio categories will be 20. no rollover points. there will be NO MAX on any other category, so feel free to run 10 miles in one day. this should make things more competitive throughout the month.
-purple arrow: the total points you have scored on that particular day.

you will log your activities under the appropriate date column (1 for august first, and so on) and the point values will calculate automatically thanks to excel prowess.

so here's an example. let say i do the following on august 1st:

-40 lunges on each leg
-30 sit ups
-25 push ups
-25 minutes of riding my bike at a fairly challenging pace
-1.5 miles run at 11 min/mi pace

here's how i would log those:

note that for 25 minutes of bike riding, i put in 2.5 because the units for that exercise are 10 minutes at a time.

my total score for the day is 12.28.

does that make sense?

i promise its not hard and the spreadsheet does all the work for you. we will also have a leader-board with graphs for overall points and the leaders in each exercise so you can keep track of the competition.

so seriously, join now! (the signups close at noon EST today) you will be amazed at how much the group dynamic and community accountability can motivate you to move your butt.

because, seriously, those olympians did not get that way by eating cheese and watching other people work out on TV.

you can pay securely and fast through paypal right here: SIGN UPS CLOSED!


oh, how i love him

riddle me this: i slept with a 29 year old hottie last night and woke up next to a sexy 30 year old. how am i not a dirty sloot in need of a little of the cami-secret treatment for my adulterous soul?

TWIST! these are both the same man.

jesse *thinks* he was born at 6 am, so while we snoozed this morning, the boy i have loved since we were 21 left me behind and blazed the trail into the thirties!!!

photo by jason tatum

this boy makes me coo-coo for his cocoa puffs. ew, wait a second. not like that. but sort of. but not really. not out loud on the internet, at least.

this man is the best thing that has ever happened to me (because jesus created me, i kind of happened to Him, thus, jesse gets to be #1 in this category).

this husband of mine is humble, caring, hilarious, kind, talented, brilliant, mature, and smoking hot.

he has put soooooooooo much effort and work into becoming the amazing husband, father and christ-follower that he is today and he has let that same christ do so many good (but still hard and painful, sometimes) works IN him.

it shows.

i sit in the audience on sundays as he leads worship for our church and i am just so mind-numbingly, bring-me-to-me-knees, thankful that the story of my life (and the inscription on jesse's wedding band) reads: with you. in him. forever.

forty hundred points if you can find me in this picture.

and its not about some rockstar-sex appeal thing that can tend to happen when a man gets on stage with a guitar in front of a crowd that makes my soul-panties drop like whoa.

that room could be empty and i would still feel like i do.

watching this man that i am one flesh with (it's not icky, its jesus-magic!) worship our king does something to me that is so purely love and so unique to my entire life experience, that i am just in awe. it only happens for a few seconds at a time and it's so intense that i almost cant stand it.

it happened this week when he was singing "how he loves us" (which is a pretty intense song just on its own). seeing my husband let go and let himself sink in the ocean of grace and love is a seriously intimate experience. even with 500 other people in the room.

it's like my soul is finally doing the thing my vocal chords never can: singing in perfect harmony with someone else. it's the briefest of glimpses of what it must have been like in the garden: a husband and wife worshiping their creator and being utterly content in the love he is pouring over them. it feels heavenly.

like i said, i am able to hold onto this harmony for maybe 8 seconds before my stupid, fallen, pancake-brain goes, "oh look, something shiny!"

but the impression is made and this complex love of ours is another layer deeper and richer for it. my husband is a man of god and a man whose heart is chasing after jesus and his kingdom. that's a gift i do not want to take for granted (though i do).

speaking of gifts...let's talk about a few lesser ones. (awkward segue out of deep mushy land).

jesse drinks coffee, so over the last few months i have stocked up on a few bags of his favorite starbucks whole bean bags (haha, beanbags). we got a coffee grinder at one of our wedding showers (thanks, hess!) and he loves putting it to work making fresh ground coffee like a fancy pants who owns cuff links or something. these bags will last...not long. he's a fiend.

they both wanted to "try a bean." we let them. guess which child actually chewed it up?

but he cant resist the white sweetness (in his coffee AND his bed..HIYO!) so he takes a little sugar in his coffee (though he would have it known that he likes it black too...like a real man. because beanwater is MANLY!).

our sugar cannister is huge and annoying so i made him a little tupperware thing full of it with a plastic scooper to use over by his coffee setup. but still. that takes two hands and all kinds of lid closings and chaos and it's just too much!

so i was delighted to gift him this gem this morning which is one-handed, safe from the ants, and dispenses a perfect teaspoon every squeeze. a great gadget that solves a real problem for $10, please and thank you.

he will be getting more gifts as the day unfolds.

i went to make him a savory delicious breakfast to go with his coffee, but our little locust horde of toddlers mowed through all our eggs and special link sausages sometime this week without me noticing.

so all we had was bread and i needed to make it spectacular. cue the pioneer woman's cinnamon toast the right way (just follow the recipe at the bottom because her post is confusing ans shows 4 ways to make it but only one is right!).

oh sweetbabyjessicafelldownawellandthengotrescued, this stuff was UNREAL!

like crispy, warm, melty, sweet candy atop golden buttery bread.

it is henceforth known as birthday toast in our house:

a birthday toast to jesse! (i love myself).

for moms who dont plan ahead, we are thankful there is judah's used 3rd bday candle and a fruitloop in our pantry playing the party of the 3-0 candles!

here's to the man who butters my bread in all the right ways. (mostly i just mean he puts a lots of actual butter on my bread at restaurants and stuff...but still, that would be THREE sex/breakfast puns in this post thankyouverymuch).

happy birthday jesse! you make my heart go boom boom and i am eternally ecstatic that you were born and you are mine!

and hey, i'm sorry that i wasnt able to give you sausage this morning, but maybe tonight--nope, shut it down. i've gone too far.


getting fixed v3.0

it's that time again! my 3rd stitch fix post. (1st fix here, 2nd here)

i have earned some referral credit at stitch fix, and at least as long as i have it, i will definitely keep the stitches coming. when you sign up, you get your own unique referral code so you will earn $25 stitch fix credit for every person who signs up through you.

this arrived at my door on monday:

and if you read raechel (which you should), you will notice her fix arrived monday as well and she posted about it yesterday. we didnt plan that, so i just have to assume our fixes have sync'd up like our ladytimes would if we lived near each other.

you'll also notice with blinding jealousy (oh, is that just me?) that she got the exact same dress that i almost loved last time, and it was a winner for her. i have written stitchfix and asked for my dress back so that we can be twinsies, obviously.

let's open up my box!

my love-offering gift was chapstick this time! it's not just fancy on the outside, it's also really quite fine balm. manufactured in gilead, perhaps?

when i first opened my box, eyes aglitter, with visions of my soon-to-come fashion coups (like this one!) dancing in my head, i was a little crestfallen because a sea of black and brown greeted me.

i took it in stride and decided to: 1-give them a try. i wasnt going to be WEARING 5 neutrals at once, after all, so i could liven things up and 2-to update my profile with them and request bold colors and less neutrals.

first a sleeveless kimono. yes. i, too, thought this was impossible, but the scientists have finally figured out how to make a garment that has no sleeves and does not wrap up and still call it a kimono:

for $92, this kimono better come with my own personal geisha. it didnt.

on the hanger impressions:
-the pattern is dark and floral. two things i dont wear a lot.
-the sleeves (weird to find them there since this is sleeveless) were interesting and strange with how low they went. note: the black rim sleeve thing is really just decorative; the armhole opening isnt that big (aka you cant see my sideboob/bra).

i am mean. this is as close to fierce as i have in my arsenal (see also: awkward, eyes closed).
on me impressions:
-far cuter than expected.
-not a flattering color/pattern for me
-too short to help me with my hips (which i like to play down)

final verdict: it's a no for style reasons, but the price tag made the prospect of owning this pretty much fictional from the get-go.

my accessory item (i've had one in each shipment so far)

just like last week, i didnt even need to see these on to know that $28 was too much. these are a pretty basic style earring in a neutral color. i could find these somewhere else for cheaper.

i have duly updated my profile to say "interesting, statement jewelry only please."

oh, man, yall, this next one about knocked me over:

oh, it's a black and brown maxi dress with double leg slits (a la angelina at the oscars)

i would never have tried this on in a millionty billionaire's years if it wasnt for you guys.

i knew styling would make or break this dress (we are disregarding the fact that, as far as my style goes, it was already filed under "broken.") but first i wanted to style it the way i first saw it in my head when i pulled it out:

with a slouchy black cardigan, greasy hair, glasses, hippie moonstone jewelry and a camisole.

if you'll excuse my friend above, she is late for teaching divination up in the astronomy tower. now someone please accio me some mother-flipping bleach now so i can scour this image off my retinas.

and while we're doubling your pleasure, let's go ahead and double your fun.

that wasnt a real cami under the dress!

that's right!! you've been punked by my cami secret®! this delightful snap-on contraption (as seen on TV):

looks like a thong, works like a bib! finally a dickie i can wear in the summer!

and why, you might ask, do i own these? wait for it....my mother in law gave them to me!

now, in any other universe, a daughter in law might take this as a passive aggressive hint (albeit hilarious) that her MIL thought she was freaknasty and needed to cover up. but not me. because A- i love my mother in law and we are quite close. all of our aggression is handled actively, not passively. B-i had said something to her before about hating having to wear a whole extra shirt underneath things to contain inappropriate mammarial spillage and she was being so kind and loving to find these for me to help me with that.

that still doesnt mean i cant enjoy a good laugh with her (and yall) about the whole concept of these lace-trimmed modesty-keepers (which, honestly, i will probably secretly use in all seriousness, to de-vamp some of my date clothes for church or work).

here's the dress as seriously and real as i could make it:

the cami secret is out! and i am belted, wedged (shoes) and accessorized better.

in the end, it did fit me perfectly and is quite prettily cut.

but that pattern killed it for me. i am just not a lady who like mottled neutrals. and i dont think i could have pulled off a maxi that had double thigh-high slits because i'm too much of a hem-hiker (when i need to show off my moves, of course). at $95 this was basically just a fun round of dress up.

at this point i am thinking of making my requests for colors, preppy styles and classic patterns IN ALL CAPS for next time.

i was a bit discouraged when i pulled out item #4 and it was another black.

the styling suggestions almost made me not even try this on since they looked so staid and buttoned-up.

the pattern photographs like an optical illusion, but it's really just a classic white pinstripe (you can see it up close in the pic on the right)

this is a silky loose-fitting button up blouse with tab sleeves (which i LOVE because the permanently rolled up look looks sporty AND doesnt make me have to keep shoving my sleeves into place).

since it's more of a menswear silhouette with a definite menswear color/pattern, i left it pretty deeply unbuttoned to fem it up ( i would wear this on a date night in the ATL, btw):

i wanted fun, colorful shorts to pair this with, and my choices were orange (nixed due to halloween) and yellow, pictured, which i was afraid would scream "i just got off work at california pizza kitchen" when paired with black pinstriping. whatever.

i actually felt great in this shirt. i liked the cut, details and fit of this. in a medium, it is almost even too big and can be belted with success (these boutiques need to stage a size-standardization conference so that all mediums will be created equal).

and at $42 BEFORE my mandatory $20 styling fee (to have my fix sent), this was a great deal for a long sleeved button up shirt.

this was my keeper.

and to celebrate, this happened:

catch me next at the summer olympics, dominating the gold in the event of: standing

the last item was yet another black/brown piece:

they gave me another blazer! i was excited about this since the one in my last fix was an almost, but the black/camel colorblocking scared me.

i gave it a whirl:
dont be fooled by that stank face, i actually really like this look.

the rounded split-sleeve detail is awesome, and the cut really was flattering to a chick who carries her weight down south. i even think the colorblocking assisted with this.

for $70, it was in the running.

except for one little thing. it was WAAAAAAAAAAAY too small.

until i shoved my arms in this beast, i had always wondered what it might be like to stuff your own sausages. cross that one off the old bucket list, because i bet it felt just like this.

again, ALL of my coats in my closet are mediums, so this is just a freak sizing thing. i refuse to let it get me down and instead choose to spend 10 minutes in my back yard do, fat guy in a little coat, hulk, and in a van down by the river guy impressions.

for your viewing pleasure:

so yeah, another 1 for 5 situation.

ok, blog friends: hear my cry:

-no neutrals/blacks
-clean lines/patterns
-statement jewelry

this is what i have asked for in my next fix. this is the first time i have been ultra-specific and i think, (based on other folks experience) that it is going to work. i was afraid of being too narrow at first and limiting potential risk-wins, but now i realize that my spectrum of what i would even consider is a little more focused than i thought.

i know the people at stitch fix listen. they have impressed my brains out repeatedly with their customer service, and they really do want to make you look good and feel happy.

so my strong advice when you sign up (no, they dont pay me at all for writing about them, it's just such a bloggably fun service) is to be really specific FIRST and then open then door on later fixes. i think my experience has been less successful partly because of sizing issues (preach, sister) but also because i was too afraid to really speak up and say what i wanted and what i like.

i do imagine the poor stylist who gets my order every time puts on coldplay's "fix you," and belt out the chorus while looking at pictures of my dressed as above. the final line i wrote in my style profile was: "i might be your everest of styling. godspeed."

until next time...

My other Stitch Fix Posts: