Seeing Should Not Always Be Believing

A few days ago I was sorting through some pictures and placing an order for some prints.  I use Picmonkey to do any editing that needs done.  I’ve never used it for anything but the basics like cropping and fixing exposure and stuff, but I was playing around with one of my dogs’ pictures and found a whole mess of features I’d never paid any attention to.

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My baby boy turned 6 on Monday!

It’s truly amazing how much you can do to a photo!  I decided to try it out.  It was early in the morning and I was still sitting around in sweats, face and hair completely undone.  I snapped this selfie.

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It don’t get no more real than this.

Then in literally like three minutes, with a few clicks of self-tanner, airbrush, blemish eraser, tooth whitener, weight loss, eye brightener, lip color, eye liner, etc. I turned that plain Jane into this.

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Ignore the hair. There wasn’t a flat iron feature. haha Although I could have given myself highlights if I’d so chosen!

If I can do that with a completely bare face in just a couple of minutes, if I’d been made up to begin with, I probably could have created a pretty stunning head shot.  I think everyone knows how much editing and photoshopping is done in magazines and other media, but with software like this so readily available to absolutely anyone, can you really believe ANYTHING that you see anymore?  I’m not saying this to sound jaded or anything.  I just know how we girls tend to compare ourselves to other women who we think are prettier or thinner or younger looking than we are–even our Facebook friends or bloggy buddies.  I mean sure as hell don’t have the time or the give-a-damn to do this to every photo that I post, but you know what?  I’d be willing to bet that some of those bigger bloggers that do this for a living do.  This just served as a really good reminder to me, and I hope to you too, that you just can’t compare yourself to someone else’s photoshopped version of reality!

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Weekend Recap: Trying New Things and Slowly Getting My Miles Back!

Another weekend, come and gone.  *POOF!*  Just like that.  This weekend was the perfect mixture of fun, active, and lazy.

Friday when I got off work, I did something I rarely do–I went to the gym.  Friday afternoons are usually my unwinding, beer-drinking time, but when I looked at the WOD and saw it was all upper body stuff with some rowing, I wanted to go.  Lord knows I need all the upper body help I can get.  I’m really glad I went!  There was only one other person there for the 5:30 class besides me, so the coach spent a lot of one-on-one time with us.  It was great.

When I got home I was kind of surprised that D wasn’t home yet.  It was nearly 7, and he really tries not to work past 6 on Fridays.  It’s our Friday night ritual to grab takeout for dinner, and I was starving, so when he wasn’t home by 7:15, me and the dogs hopped in the truck to go to the shop and drag him out of there.  But when I got there, I saw what the hold up was.  He had been waiting on his Dad and uncle to get back in town to unload his newest acquisition.  They had driven to East Tennessee to pick up this:

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He won it on auction for $2,500 and it has WAY more than that much on it in parts that he needs for a couple of other Corvettes he is in the process of rebuilding right now.  So it’ll be used as a donor car and stripped for parts and sell or scrap what’s left when he’s done.

The rest of Friday night consisted of Taco Bell and Cardinals vs. Braves on TV.  I’m so feminine.

Saturday morning the insomnia monster reared his ugly head.  I woke up, wide ass awake, for no reason whatsoever at exactly 3:48.  I stayed in bed hoping to go back to sleep until almost 4:30 then gave up, got up, and started the coffee.  I had absolutely nothing I had to do and nowhere I had to be all day long, and I milked that for all it was worth.  I wasn’t a complete bum.  I did do some cleaning and several loads of laundry, but that was spread out over several hours of Harry Potter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia watching.  But even while I was watching TV I was multitasking:  paying bills online, doing some shopping online, ordering photo prints online… wow, remember when you actually had to put on pants and leave the house to do things?  And, yes, I said ordering photo prints.  I’m still old school in that respect.  I still order prints.  I do one photo album every year with printed photos from some of the highlights of that year.  I don’t know, there’s just something nostalgic about flipping through the pages of a photo album.

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But the thing I’m most proud of doing Saturday is this!

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I’m a total newb at canning.  But really I don’t think this counts as canning.  I didn’t cook anything or put any of this up.  It only made three small jars, so I just stuck them in the fridge.  I’m a salsa freak anyway, so it’ll get used quickly.

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I started working on it immediately.

Saturday night we went to the movies to see…wait for it… MINIONS!!!  I’ve been dying to see that since I first heard it was being made.  We were the only adults in there without kids.  It was hilarious.

Sunday I got caught out in a torrential downpour when I left to get groceries.  I had no idea it was even supposed to rain!  It was perfectly sunny when I left the house and by the time I got to town…

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I sat in the Kroger parking lot for 10 minutes hoping it would let up, but it never did, so I got drenched walking in.  Part of my grocery list involved getting the stuff to make pickles.  Like I said, I’m a total newb at this, but I have a ton of cucumbers that are going to go to waste if I don’t do something with them.  This will be my first stab at making pickles.  I got all the stuff with plans of making them as soon as I got home and then run later in the evening, but that rain REALLY cooled things off!  When I got home and it was still only 83 degrees (albeit with matching humidity–yuck), I put my pickle plan on hold and hit the pavement.  I ran five miles, making that my longest run post-injury!  It was at an embarrassingly slow pace and I even had to walk once for a minute at the top of a hill, but I’m just tickled shitless to be back out there.

And now we’re sitting here watching Run All Night that I grabbed from the Redbox while I was out earlier, and this weekend is a wrap.  I’m really not looking forward to this upcoming week.  I’ve got a new employee starting bright and early in the morning, and that’s always kind of a mess for the first little while.  So here’s hoping for a smooth transition!

Do you do any canning?  Any tips for a first-timer?

See any movies this weekend?

I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading again for her weekly weekend update linkup!

Food For Thought XIII: Summer Eats

I don’t know about y’all, but the LAST thing I want to do in the summertime is come home after working and/or running and/or the gym and spend even a minute more than absolutely necessary in the kitchen.  Here are a few go-to quickies that I’ve found and am loving this summer!

Vegan Tempeh Salad (recipe in link) – It says the prep time for this is 45 minutes.  From start to finish, that’s probably accurate, but it’s not 45 ACTIVE minutes.  It’s more like “Put the tempeh on the steamer, go get int he shower.  Set aside to cool, go blow dry your hair.”  It really doesn’t seem like it takes that long.  And this stuff is so dang good.  It’s my new favorite way to use tempeh.

Tempeh Salad

Smoky Black Bean Wraps from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook (third party recipe in link) – I loooooove the smoky mayo in this.  I would totally use that on other stuff.

Smokey black bean wrap HHC

Tempeh Burger Pizza from The Friendly Fig (recipe in link) – Remember that time, like two minutes ago, when I said the tempeh salad was my favorite way to use tempeh?  Yeah, I had forgotten about this!  I may or may not have eaten the whole thing by myself in one sitting.  Spoiler:  I did.

Cheeseburger pizza Friendly Fig

Summer also brings with it a couple of fantastic BBQ holidays, and those are always a fun time to try out new things.  Between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, I made three new-to-me recipes.

Carrot Hot Dogs from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (I don’t find her recipe online, so I’ve included a link to the book it’s in, but there are variations all over the interwebs–just google it!)  These are fantastic.  I have bought my last commercial vegan hot dog.  These are my new cookout staple.  And they’re SO EASY!  Without giving away too much, all you do is boil the carrots, then let them marinade for at least 24 hours, then toss them on the grill or in a skillet.  You just can’t beat ’em.

Carrot dogs HHHG

Cowboy Beans from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (ditto above about not finding the recipe online) – I followed the recipe as it was published, but then (as with many of Ms. Nixon’s recipes) I found it … lacking.  But I was able to tailor it to my taste by using more of the seasonings in the recipe as well as tossing in a couple of my own.  By the time I got done with it, it was pretty good!  I’m still on the hunt for the perfect vegan baked beans recipe, so if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments!

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Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (recipe in link) – You know that smoky mayo up there that I said would be good with other stuff?  Well, here ya go.  I’ve made so many different bean burger recipes, using so many different kinds of beans, but this one was a first.  I’ve never used a white bean and certainly never sweet potatoes in a burger.  While these tasted great, they really didn’t turn out exactly right.  They took twice as long to cook as the recipe says and they still never got crisp, but I think adjusting the cook times and temps would make a big difference.

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What are some of your favorite summer eats these days?

Weekend Recap: Running, Reading, and a Quick Roadtrip

I seriously had THE BEST weekend, guys.  It really didn’t start off all that great.  I was in a LOUSY mood when I left the office on Friday.  It was just a rotten week.  So many negative things going on in the world and in the lives of some people close to me, and that kind of stuff just really takes its toll on me.  I try really hard to not let it, but such is the life of an empath.  (If you have time, read this article.  I always thought I was just weird, but this describes me to a T!  Turns out there’s a name for me after all!)

After coming home I was able to decompress a bit and ended up enjoying a night in with the hubs with takeout and the DVR.  I mean REALLY, how can anyone be in a bad mood while watching Chrisley Knows Best?

Saturday morning, the plan was to get up early to run to beat the heat.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I got up before 6, but it was already miserable out there, so I kind of figured “what’s the point?”  I decided to wait a little bit.  Yes, I knew it would get a little warmer, but I wanted to let the humidity drop a bit.

tempThose screen shots were taken exactly an hour apart–before I left the house to go to the track and as I was getting back in my truck afterwards.  It was sheer misery.  I loved every second.  Bonus:  I hit my goal pace for every 400 but the last one.  By the last one I was D-O-N-E.  I think that’s how you know it was a good track session, right?  😉

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The I came home and took the dogs for a walk to try to tire them out because they were going to be staying in boarding that night since their sitter was out of town too.  (This is the third time in a row we’ve planned out of town stuff at the same time and been unable to dog-sit for each other!).  But these poor kids just can’t handle the heat though.  They get too hot long before they truly get tired.  They’re dragging ass by the end of a short walk (especially Harley, bless his heart), but as soon as they get inside and get cooled off they’re back up to speed.  I miss the fall/winter/spring days of long walks and tired doggies!  And fewer bugs.  UGH.  I found three ticks on our ritual after-walk tick check–two on Harley, one on me.

After getting showered and eating a quick lunch, it was time to hit the road.  A four-hour drive to see a ballgame then a four-hour drive home?  Yep, that’s how we do date night around here!  haha

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Cards vs. Mets

We both wished that we’d planned for a hotel stay rather than driving home in soaking wet sweaty clothes.  It still felt like almost 100 even after 10 pm!

Just in case you don't believe me?  haha
Just in case you don’t believe me? haha  Like I’m the only one experiencing summer…

That 2:30 am shower felt sooooooooooo goooooooooood.

Sunday morning the boarding place called bright and early.  They’re not open on Sundays, but they allow pickups if you’ll come while they’re there throughout the day for walks and potty breaks, so I asked them to call me when they were there for their first one.  I couldn’t go back to sleep after I got back home, so most of Sunday was just spent reading, lounging around with the pups, and doing all those domesticated wifely things.  Perfection.

Between the car ride up Saturday and reading Sunday morning, I’m about to knock this one out.  It’s another one my sister loaned me insisting that I’d like it.  I was afraid it would be too sci-fi for me, but it’s not at all!  It’s really very, very good.

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From the back cover:  “Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.  Now he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.  After a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive.  And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.  Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death.  The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.  Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive.  But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

Trust me, it’s good.  Two thumbs up from a very anti-sci-fi girl.

I had planned on running in the evening, but I just felt zapped.  I don’t know if it was the four hours sleep, just being out in the sun and heat so much Saturday, still dehydrated (many beers and only one bottle of water at the game), or what, but I was just not feelin’ it at all by Sunday evening when I’d planned to run.  So ya know what?  I put on some yoga pants, plopped my butt back on the couch, and didn’t give myself one ounce of crap about it.  The run will always still be there tomorrow.

I’m linking up with Tara for the usual weekend update roundup!

Thinking Out Loud: Nine Days Worth of Babble

I hate it when I let myself go so long between posts.  It’s been nine days, so I know shit has happened, but so much time has passed that I don’t even remember what I wanted to ramble about, so I end up looking through my phone’s pictures and my Instagram and Facebook posts to remind myself.  That’s when I end up with a post like this:

  • Our damn central heat and air unit went out Fourth of July weekend.  Luckily it wasn’t crazy hot that weekend or the following few days while we weighed our options.  UNluckily, it was going to cost almost as much to repair it as to replace it.  We’re now the proud new owners of a shiny new (FULLY WARRANTIED) unit.
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My husband, the master of all trades, even installed it himself. He’s pretty damn handy.

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  • I get to mark another item off of my summer to-do list this weekend.  We’re going to St. Louis Saturday for a ballgame against the Mets.  Look for me.  I’ll be the one wearing red.  😉
  • Speaking of crossing things off lists… I’ll be knocking another state off of my 50 half marathons in 50 states goal this fall!  We’ve got a Florida vacation planned for October anyway, so I checked halfmarathons.net on a whim a few days ago and there’s one in Key Biscayne (45 minutes from our resort!) two days after we get there.  PERFECT!  That’ll give me a total of 10 states.  (It would have been 12 if my hip hadn’t taken me out of the game keeping me from running the ones in Colorado and New York I’d planned on running while I was in those two states earlier this year!)
  • I joined a CSA again this year, and so far it’s been a big, fat bust.  The quality of the food has been great, but the farm has just suffered a very poor yield.  But that’s part of the risk/beauty of a CSA.  Better that a lot of people lose out on a very reasonably priced share than for the farmer to lose his ass.
  • I have, however, ended up with a butt load of cucumbers.  I really want to learn how to make pickles.  I’m just not sure I have the patience.  I lost interest just looking at the You Tube videos.
  • I just signed up as a Fabletics VIP member and got my first outfit.  I love it!  I’ve only just tried it on, though, so I’ll wait to do a full review after I run in it.  That may be a while.  Crops in this summer heat?  HELL NO.
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Forget the outfit. I just knew you all were dying to see a picture of my dog’s asshole.
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From the blooper file.
  • I won a $100 Walmart gift card this week from a blog post giveaway that I don’t even remember entering.  haha Score!  Thanks, Kara!
  • I’ve been reading more than usual lately.  And by that, I mean I’ve read four books this summer:  Insurgent (good), Allegiant (an unforgivably terrible ending to the trilogy), Dad is Fat (cute), and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (funny).  And I just started The Martian today (so far I’m diggin’ it!)–even though I’m also currently reading Oogy (a wonderful story but very poorly written).  My sister also just loaned me the first book of the Game of Thrones series.  She INSISTS I give it a shot even though I keep telling her I’m not gonna like it.  I’ve never watched a single episode of it, but there’s a reason for that.  It just doesn’t look like something that will rock my world, but she assures me that it will.  Actually, I think her exact words were, “It will ruin your life.”
Here goes nuthin'.
Here goes nuthin’.
  • She brought me this book last weekend on our sister date.  We went out to a new-to-us Chinese/Japanese joint and then watched The Gallows.  Neither of our significant others like horror flicks (they freak hers out and bore mine), so that’s our thing.  We always watch the scary ones together and always on the big screen.  That’s the only way to watch a good scary movie!

Have you ever joined a CSA?  What was your experience with it?  Do you watch (or have you read) Game of Thrones?  Scary movies–yay or nay?  Theater or at home?

Social Media: A Love/Hate Relationship

The good thing about Facebook is that it gives everyone an outlet for their opinion.  The bad thing about Facebook is that it gives… well, EVERYONE an outlet for their opinion.  I get that everyone is entitled to one and blah, blah, blah, but more often than not it just seems that people are throwing their opinion out there with hopes of inciting arguments and debate.  These past couple of weeks have helped me clean up my friends list quite nicely!

bye felicia

BUT social media does have its perks.  To the world of animal rescue, it has been invaluable.  Rescues can reach out to fosters and donors and network nationwide like never before (at least until Facebook changed their algorithms trying to force nonprofits to pay to have their posts seen, but that’s a tangent I won’t get off on today.  If you’d like, you can read more about that here.)

I’ve become a little more involved in social medial myself this year.  At the beginning of 2015, when I was healthy, running 100+ miles a month, and had high hopes for this year, I decided I was going to actively pursue 50 half marathons in 50 states.  I knew that there had to be a way that I could use those miles to do some good, so after talking with a local rescue and a couple of friends, we came up with an idea.  Remember the bike-a-thons we probably all took part in as a kid?  You know, you go around the neighborhood asking for pledges, and people pledge so many cents per mile.  You ride your little heart out for one event on one day and then tally up how much your pledgees owe you!  Well, what I came up with works much the same way, only this “event” lasts all year.  At the beginning of each month, I’ll ask for pledges for that month and then at the end of the month I tally up how many miles I’ve run, walked, etc., and those pledgees make their calcuated donations to the rescue!  The rescue is Goofy Foot Dog Rescue, so I very appropriately (in more ways than one haha) created a Facebook group called The Goofy Runner where this all takes place.  If you’re so inclined, I invite you to join the group!  You can pledge for one month, pledge every month, or don’t pledge at all and just sit back and watch or offer moral support or share the page.  You can be as involved as you want to be!  No one will harass you or try to guilt or shame you into anything.  This is all in fun and just a very light-hearted fundraiser.  And I very intentionally keep the pledges low so as to encourage more sponsors.  I’d rather have 20 sponsors with a $10 commitment than 3 sponsors with a $25 commitment because #math.  So please come join us!  It’s not too late to sponsor July!

Also follow me on Instagram @pamruns13.1 for a hot mess of randomness.  Everyone needs more cute animals and nonsense in their day, right?

I’m linking up with MCM Mama for today’s Tuesday’s on the Run topic:  Social Media Share.

A Four-Day Weekend Recap: Fourth of July Edition

This sure isn’t the recap that I was hoping to be able to write.  I was hoping that this would be  “Fireworks!  YES!  Grilling!  YEAH!  Swimming!  WOOHOO!”  But Nope.

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But we made the most of it and the weekend didn’t totally suck.  Since the 4th fell on a Saturday this year, I got Friday off work for observance, and I took a vacation day on Thursday, giving me a four-day weekend.  I spent all day Thursday with my BFF who was in town for a short visit.

Even though most everything was closed Friday, my husband’s employees at the shop wanted to work, so he went in too, leaving me with the day allllllllll to myself.  It was pretty glorious actually.  haha  I ran four miles (my longest run post-injury!), walked the dogs two miles (during which we got rained on–again), and then I did something I NEVER do.  I did yoga.  On purpose.  Voluntarily.  I’ve tried two yoga classes before and I hated them both, but when I said I would do whatever it takes to stay on top of this hip shit and prevent recurrence, well I meant it.  I searched You Tube for hip opening videos and I found this one.

It felt sooooo gooood.  It was only 20 minutes and it kept you moving pretty frequently, so I didn’t have time to get bored with it like I have with my two previous yoga experiences.  And it’s pretty impossible to get bored with dogs *ahem* assisting.

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Thanks, Bella. Having the sweat licked off my legs is really helpful.

Oh and I checked in with a small group of friends that were doing an ab challenge.  My progress was thwarted by a strain early in the challenge, so I didn’t come out of it like I’d hoped, but they’re a work in progress.

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Even though I was off work, I did end up having to go in for a couple of hours that afternoon.  We were still open for business and the internet at one of the offices I manage went down.  That creates a major inconvenience because the day’s transactions have to be transmitted, so I had to take all the info from that office to my other office for transmission, but I just went in my shorts and flip-flops with a wet head and snuck in the back so I didn’t have to see or deal with anyone.  It kind of pissed me off that I had to go in, but I guess it’s just part of being in management.

The country club here in town has an annual event the Friday before the Fourth of July that we always go to.  Well, when I say we “go to” them, what I mean is we go and park in a field behind the country club and watch the fireworks for free.  haha!

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Saturday I got in a quick three-mile run wearing these babies.

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ordered from http://www.goneforarun.com

How freaking cool are they???  Actually they were anything BUT cool.  I thought I was gonna die.  83 degrees and 78% humidity?  Sure, tall socks sounds like a BRILLIANT plan.  But hey, the Fourth only comes around once a year.  Wear ’em while you can!

My parents came up Saturday afternoon.  The plan was to grill out, but with the jacked up forecast, we cooked…in.  We really didn’t do much else.  Just hung out.  Which is totally cool with me because we don’t get to do that much.  They’re not far away, really.  About an hour and a half.  Just far enough away to be inconvenient.  When they left, I was in my yoga pants and T-shirt by the time they were at the end of the driveway.

Sunday has been super low-key.  I slept in (8:30!!! minus one brief wakeup call/breakfast request from the cat a few minutes till 5) then spent the majority of the rest of the day on domestic duty–cleaning up the kitchen mess from Saturday night, cleaning house, doing laundry…all that wifely stuff.  I did get in a quick 30-minute spin and some strength training and took the dogs to the park for a walk .  Dang, it sure does feel good to be active and pain free again!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July weekend and is coming away from it with all of their appendages still attached and intact!

I’m joining Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for the Weekend Update link-up.  You should join too!

A Bestie Date is the Bestest Date!

Thanks to the 10 hours and 700 miles between us, my best friend and I don’t get to see each other nearly as often as I’d like.  But lucky for me, she and her husband both have family here and are obligated to come back at least occasionally.  They are here right now for one of those obligatory visits, picking up their kiddo from her parents’ house where he’s spent a few weeks this summer.  I put my dibs in for her on Thursday!  I picked her up at 9 that morning and she was MINE ALL MINE all day!  I felt so cool picking up a hot chick in the vette.  hahaha!

Chick magnet
Chick magnet

First order of business was caffeine!  We hit up my local little coffee shop (where we were lectured about how nobody knows what they really want and schooled on the difference between coffee and a latte lol) and then promptly headed to the nail salon for mani-pedis!

Most awesome nail tech ever.  He was hilariously inappropriate.  Which just happens to be my favorite kind of person.
Most awesome nail tech ever. He was hilariously inappropriate. Which just happens to be my favorite kind of person.

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Since the inception of our Girls’ Day Out plan, we had intended to spend the majority of the day poolside, but Mother Nature just wasn’t all that cooperative.  After our fingers and toes were all sexified, we came back to my house where we looked at the radar and the sky and the radar again, weighing our odds and trying to decide if we should even try the pool.  We finally decided to give it a shot.  The sun was trying SO HARD to come out!  But by the time we got bathing suited up, grabbed some lunch to go and some beer and got there, these were the skies that greeted us.

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We weren’t gonna let a little rain scare us off though.  We stayed by the pool through the sprinkling until it became a steady rain, at which point we grabbed our towels and stood in the garage and waited it out.  Within just a few minutes, the sky cleared off and we actually saw the sun…off and on for the next couple of hours.  When the next heavy rain came along around 3, we packed it in and called wraps on our pool day.

We went back to my house for showers and to pick up D and met Michele’s hubs and son for dinner, parting ways and saying our “see ya later”s about 9 that night.  One short day after not having seen each other in over a year just wasn’t long enough!  We’ve made a plan that next time we will have to go to Virginia to see them so we don’t have to share them with anyone else!  And because I suck and didn’t get a single picture of us together, I leave you with this one, my favorite one of us from our vacation in the Dominican Republic last year!

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Love this girl!