[taking a break from the incessant running posts, I'm sure you won't mind]

Sometimes I like to stare at drool-worthy interior design, even though I'm finished decorating our duplex----and we aren't moving again any time soon. It's just fun to look at beautiful homes and there's no better blog than Desire to Inspire for pretty design pictures. Let's take a look, shall we?

1. How about a crisp, bold bedroom?
[From Erinn Valencich at Omniarte]

2. This would be my dream kitchen. I would become a cook in an instant!

3. White-washed ceilings paired with hardwood floors always get me.
[from Julie at Remodelista]

4. Wouldn't you love to soak in this tub? Love the tile.
[from Jonathan Clark Architects]

5. Something about the cleanliness of stark white in this one appeals to me.
[by ZK]

6. If ever there were curtains with my name all over them, it would be these:
[from Elle Decor South Africa]
7. Here's an ultra contemporary white-on-white dining room that I adore:
[from Landstrom Arkitekter]
8. Oooooh, rustic rooms are the best:
[from S.Russell Groves]

9. This one is clean, contemporary but funky and I dig it.
[From Bolig]

10. I'm obsessed with this paint color combined with white.
[by Jim Bastardo]

11. Talk about some outdoor living spaces!
[random real estate pictures]

12. And who wouldn't want to shower here?

13. Love the eclectic style of these.
[by Fuse ID]

14. And we've always wanted to live in a loft like the one on the left. The right picture seems so homey and bright.
[by david baker + partners]

If you don't already read Desire to Inspire you should probably start. There's not much text to read so it's one of those blogs that you can mindlessly stare at for hours. Do you like to save inspirational pictures for your 'someday dream home,' too?

Proof that I'm still competitive...

...when we ran our 1/2 marathon we both said, "We couldn't care less about our time, we just want to finish." And we did, with a 2:10:30 time---not fabulous but not the worst, either.

This time we said, "We couldn't care less about our time, we just don't want to die." We'd mentioned the 4:30:00 cut off as a respectable time, but we decided we didn't really care. And I firmly believed that statement until just now.

I was reading through some running blogs and stumbled upon this fact, which hit me like a ton of bricks.

Oprah Winfrey ran her first and only marathon back in 1997 in 4:29:20. Dude, I really want to beat Oprah. My inner competitive athlete just emerged while sitting at this computer and I thought, "If freaking Oprah can run sub 4:30 then so can we."

And just like that I've decided that I care about our time. So now it's out here on the blogosphere, which means it's really going to suck if we post a 5:00:00 marathon or something....but whatever. Right now I want to beat Oprah and come in under 4:20:00. That would be exactly 10 minute miles, which is our average, but it won't allow for any walking/puking/dying/crying time.

But when I'm near death and my legs are burning, I will just picture rich Oprah [who I happen to love, by the way] sitting on her talk show couch and bragging that she ran a 4:29 marathon. Because if I'll never meet the legend in real life, at least I can beat her in a marathon, right?

Does that make me psycho or just competitive? It's not like I care about beating any 'real' people, or friends, or other bloggers [I'm sure they'd all whip my 4:20:00 goal anyway]. Just Oprah.

And I still don't want to die, either. I hope that's not too much to ask.


We made it. Both of us, together. So taking a week off from training did not hinder Nate's ability to run 9 miles. Following Mr. Higdon's program to a tee works for me and I'm not gutsy enough to flirt with disaster, and take a week off myself. Although it does sound nice....I'm too much of a crazy perfectionist like that. I think the only difference between my run and Nate's run is that he is extremely sore right now and I'm really not so bad. Perhaps it DOES pay to follow the schedule, eh?

The run itself was rather uneventful except for the fact that I tried to down one of those power gel packs and almost vomited. I swear those things taste like minerals and chalk, even though the flavor was supposed to be 'Raspberry.' How about 'Barf Berry?' Nate swears by them and tells me I HAVE to find a flavor I like or I'll die on Marathon Day. I think I might take that challenge:)

The skort worked like a gem--no chafing and I felt fabulous, or as fabulous as can be for running 1.5 hours straight. I even saw another skorted lady run towards us and nearly flashed her a gang sign. We are like sisters bonded by the skort and that made me happy.

Another thing: it was pretty freaking hot on Saturday. We ran down by the lake front again [my fave!] where it's always about 10 degrees cooler from the grand ol' Lake Michigan. But still, quite balmy. And buggy. Nate had about 20 gnats stuck to his sweaty brow after our run, I kid you not. Those little buggers stayed the heck away from my skank forehead because they knew I'd freak out if I became a bug trap.

And speaking of the heat [for Wisconsin standards at least, I mean was still only in the low 80s] ---we finally threw in the towel and installed two window air conditioning units the other night. I could not stand stepping out of the shower in the morning and immediately wiping beads of sweat from my upper lip. I get a little cranky in the mornings when I'm hot [or maybe even if I'm not, so what?] so the cool air is divine. And we only ran it one night so far and now we are back to windows only but at least we have AC as an option for future heat waves.

I'm sure you Missourians have a hard time fathoming life without AC until this point in the summer but I will give it to Wisconsin: this time of year is glorious. Absolute perfection with the lows at night in the 50s and highs in the low 80s. I will not complain for at least three more months about the bitter cold north:)

Back to the run: we finished all 9 miles in 1:27 which is slightly faster than our 10 minute mile average. In fact we were running about a 9 minute mile the whole time until the end, when Mother Nature decided to blow blustering wind into our faces for about three miles. It was like running in place while listening to my eardrums burst from the howling. And guess what? The actual marathon will probably be the same since we end right down on the lake front! Yippee!

So yes, another long run is behind us. As Nate said, "We are practically running half marathons at this point," which of course is stretching it a bit. It's only going to get longer from here so I guess we need to saddle up!

Attack of the SKORT!

BEFORE: a lowly runner, stuck in a time warp wearing a sports bra from high school, 'cheerleading' shorts, and a ribbed cotton wife-beater.Please note how slow and uncomfortable she looks. Chafing, hot, and outdated.

AFTER: A successful trip to REI during their summer sale and $350 later [combined between said runner and her husband]

Outfit #1: Ready for running, biking, and possibly swimming if needed. Tight shorts [read: REALLY tight] and tank top equip this runner to be 'hard core':

And slightly scary. This is definitely a no-nonsense outfit, no?

Outfit #2: Tight capri pants [still REALLY tight] and a pink shirt, ready to wick away moisture while remaining stylish:

Please note that these types of outfits inspire said runner pose like a model in a fitness magazine.

Outfit #3: mesh tank top and a SKORT!!! She did it, folks. She took the plunge and bought a running skort. No turning back now....

Yes, she is a dork but strong and determined to run 26.2 miles. And if this pimped out skort makes her feel happy, who's to argue? The Nike Personal Best Running Skort is surprisingly comfortable and adorable, and not to mention on sale! Boy shorts underneath mean running sans lacey underwear:)

Here was the runner up: the REI OXT Fleet Skirt. But it was a little TOO frilly with those flaps, and it flared out too much. A girl can ease into this skort wearing for now, right?

Significant research went into these purchases. Upon closer investigation, it was discovered that skorts are all the rage. All over the place. Coveted by many. For instance, in Athleta there was this plethora of skorts:

And these statements:

But the best description went something like this: "Passing the guys on your run is hard enough for them, but imagine their surprise when you cruise by in a skirt." Girl power, baby.

And so on our 9 mile run today, I shall don this combination: skort plus hard core tank. Wish us luck! Any votes for The Marathoning outfit? Never too early to think about The Big Day, right?

[on a side note, my running partner and husband has run exactly ZERO miles this week. That's right, nada. I've been a good little runner and followed the training plan to a tee, going 3, then 4, then another 3 miles this week. Nate has just been studying his face off, so we shall see what happens as a result.....]

It's a dogs life

Please look at the following photos of my boys and try not to say, "Awwwwww". I'm referring to the dog, not the human although both are pretty cute:
[nate's annoyed face is noted]

[henry's broken wrists are noted]

[then henry starts to get funky]

[why is it necessary to put one paw up on the couch?]

Why does Henry feel the need to contort his body like this? Because he is a show boater. He loves the attention and I swear he knows when I'm taking his picture.

Then there is this fabulous piece of evidence that our dog is X-rated. I've shown you still pictures before but nothing like a video to convey his true colors. I'd say he's pretty spoiled, wouldn't you?

And now I present to you the best part of Nate's day:

Similarly, the best part of my day:

Ceasar Milan would be SO disappointed in us. Yes, we let our 25 pound dog jump up on us. Yes, we let him get excited. And yes, I make out with Henry most nights [my mouth is tightly shut, don't worry!]. Big deal. It makes the long days at work or school worth it, I tell you.

The funny part is that Henry gets this excited whether we've been gone 9 hours or 9 minutes. We need to get him a watch...

Any other dog lovers out there get this type of greeting upon entry? Isn't it the best?


Can I just steal your attention for a second? I just finished designing a wedding album for a fabulous client and I have to share. I don't plan on blogging about every album but this one excites me too much.

Ingredients for a fantastic album:

1. Images by insanely talented photographers Alisha Clark and Luke Walker
2. A ridiculously gorgeous bride named Sharon,
3. Finally teaching myself to use diminished opacity stripes on my layouts.

Take a look at some of my favorite pages, but check my website under 'Examples' for the whole glorious album. Remember to click the image to make it larger:

Tell me that the second to last page with their first dance ISN'T the cutest shot of a bride and groom ever. They are just so freaking happy it's sickening:)

That is all, you may now resume your regular internet time:)

Raced for the Cure

64,000 participants
3.1 miles walked
$3.3 million dollars raised
And one of the best events I've ever attended.

Please check out this link to an awesome slideshow, made by the St. Louis Post Dispatch on STL If you don't feel moved after watching it, there might be something wrong with you. Here are some stills from that same slideshow:

And now for my own personal pictures:) This is going to be a long post, so settle in for the long haul.

Me with Hannah and her mom, Ann, who has just completed 8 rounds of chemotherapy. She gets to wear the pink 'survivor' shirt to the race while the rest of us 'supporters' wore white shirts.
We walked down to the race from Hannah's place, because we knew parking would be a nightmare. Look at the glorious day we had downtown! And I'll never get enough Arch pictures, especially with sunshine like this.
With 60,000+ people you KNOW it was a great place for people watching. Look at this hot pink dog!
Look again. Someone seriously dyed their poodle pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. I think Henry would look fabulous in pink, don't you?
So here is part of our team Wilkie's Warriors. We donned the gray "Attitude is Everything" shirts for this occasion, even though I think Keri should have sported her pink survivor shirt. Do we look ready to walk?

I had to snap some pics of me and Lindsey even though we were sweaty beasts before 9 a.m. Oh how I missed St. Louis humidity!

And here I am with our girl! I think the pink bandanna is quite becoming, don't you?

We began the walk, which was pure chaos because of the sheer number of participants. Then all of a sudden we heard everyone gasp. They started taking pictures like this:
Why, you ask? When we came up over the hill this is what we saw. Click on the picture to get the full effect:
A sea of people all supporting the same cause. All touched by breast cancer. All fighting for the cure. It literally gave me goosebumps to see thousands of people united for a cause.

Here is Keri's little sister Lynsey, Keri, our friend from college Mike and his wife Emily. They came all the way from Dallas, Texas for the race!

You know you are in St. Louis when you walk by an Imo's pizza parlor!! Love this picture.

I couldn't help but get a little emotional as we walked by these types of signs. Many of them said, "In honor of" or "In memory of" with names, then birth dates to death dates. Pictures of loved ones carried on participants' backs. I know there were many smiling angels looking down on St. Louis this day.

There were even Harley biker dudes waving and cheering for us. They were so cute I had to snap another picture:)And some of the outfits were awesome. For instance, a pink hula skirt!

Then there was Lindsey's back sweat. I felt it was appropriate to include in this post, even if she gets mad at me. :)
As we rounded the corner we passed right by SLU---where we all went to college. Here we are on Compton avenue, one of the sketchier areas on campus, but you can still see College Church's steeple. It was only fitting to pose here, right?This one is way better, lots of pretty buildings in the background and a nice little pond. So THAT is where all of my college tuition keep up SLU's gorgeous grounds!

Our two survivors, Ann and Keri, trading chemo stories. It was so special to see them meet and bond, I had to be the creep with the camera:)

This is my take on an artsy balloon shot with Keri and Michael underneath. Didn't turn out quite like I wanted but oh well.

After the race some of us headed out to Llywelyn's Pub in Webster to re-fuel our bellies. Can I just say that the grilled cheese is to die for? Seriously.

And the real pearl of the whole day? The fact that Kabance Photo was there to snap a 'Party Pic' at the finish line!
You only understand the irony once I explain that Kabance was the company hired to capture our college party life moments. They were at every date dash, Greek event, and I believe even graduation. We'd hop online after a night out to see what kind of debauchery presented itself in pictures. And now? Here they were capturing a grown up moment shared by college alums, standing a few feet from our university. Life is funny sometimes, isn't it?

I know this post is already really long, but I just want to share a few thoughts, so hang in there!

The weekend could not have been better. I got to spend quality time with amazing girlfriends, we had perfect sunny weather, I ran the 6 mile loop in Forest Park [my old stomping grounds!], enjoyed lots of yummy food, and I left feeling refreshed. Trips back to St. Louis always make me nostalgic and a little sad, but this time I can honestly say I only felt happiness. It was a special weekend, and I'm incredibly grateful that I was able to attend the Race for the Cure.

I know everyone has the same question: How is Keri doing?

Well, first of all she is the most adorable bald girl ever. Who knew that underneath all of that curly hair was a tiny little head? I mean it's TINY. And perfectly shaped, without any weird birthmarks or anything, so she pulls off the G.I. Jane look without missing a beat. Although I love her wigs and scarves, the bald head is my favorite. It just makes me want to rub it but I restrained myself from petting my friend. That would be a little odd, no?

She also seems more like herself now, compared to the last time I saw her [right after the first chemo]. Correct me if I'm wrong, Keri, but I think St. Louis makes her a happy girl. Lots of smiles, laughter, and a little more bounce in her step again. She's Keri again, not that she ever lost herself, but I'm hoping that the worst is behind her. I'm so excited to see what her bright future holds and I can't wait to share many more happy memories together.

We got to spill our guts during some classic girl talk sessions. Man, I missed those. They ended with laughing so hard we were crying and barely breathing. Even with Keri's dried out tears we managed to crack ourselves up, just like old times. There is nothing like divulging too much personal information to a best friend, over-analyzing boys and relationships, and reminiscing about the good old days.

So did anyone else attend the Race? I kept my eyes out for some familiar faces but didn't see any. I'd love to attend the Milwaukee Race but I'll be at a wedding in St. Louis that weekend. I highly recommend going to any and everyone affected by breast cancer in some way. You will not be disappointed.

And with that I am off to bed, with visions of pink shirts and smiling faces dancing in my head:)
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