Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SOS: Exam Week Struggles

Y'all. This week has been the week from you know where. And I don't mean because I've been hobbling around in a boot all week. I mean because it's exam week so obviously my computer decided to die for real. It happened last Thursday, about 5 minutes into writing my Five on Friday. Thank goodness for my iPhone, which helped me write the rest of that post! Sadly, there's only so much blogging I can do on my phone without wanting to pull out my hair, which explains my absence in the bloggy world. I really miss reading and commenting on all my favorite blogs! 
Since I was going through blog withdrawals, I begged my little brother to lend me his iPad. I'm glad he obliged, because I don't know how much longer I could bare exam week without a good distraction! 
In case you haven't noticed, I'm being a tad bit dramatic... Upon reflection, this week could have been wayyyy worse. I saw the computer crash coming, so I saved important papers and documents I knew I'd need to turn in or study to my Google Drive. It's been such a life (or at least GPA) saver! Tomorrow is my only scary exam, and then it's SUMMER! I can hardly believe it! Expect a very enthusiastic Five on Friday in a couple days! Yay! Hope everyone else is surviving their crazy busy lives! 
I leave you with old-school JT because I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to pun it up on the blog.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Five on Friday: Finals Edition

Happy Friday, friends! I apologize for being so MIA this week, but it's been a whirlwind end to the semester! This was the last week of classes, and finals are just around the corner, so obviously my computer thought it would be cute to absolutely freak out.

It was not cute. It was straight up annoying. Now, I'm really the only one to blame here. I've known my beloved Macbook Pro was on the fritz for a couple months now; I even visited the Genius Bar, where the kind folks at Apple told me it would cost a pretty penny to replace whatever the heck they told me needs to be replaced. Being the stubborn determined gal I am, I decided to stick out the rest of the school year, backing up all my files diligently, because there was no way I was going without my computer during the semester. This morning, after a "safe" reboot, my computer started cooperating, and I hope it holds out just one more week before it goes back to its random meltdowns... Let's get to the Friday Five quickly, just in case...

The Snapchat kind of says it all...

After my race the other weekend, my biggest pain was my blisters... Or so I thought. The week after the race, I realized my right foot hurt. Pretty badly. I brushed it off until I looked incredibly dramatic limping around (causing more than a couple eye rolls from John!). Last weekend, I finally scheduled an appointment with one of Clemson's orthopedic people, but by the time my appointment rolled around, my foot was feeling better (heck, I even went on a short run on Wednesday!). I didn't want to pay a stupid cancelation fee, though, so I went in anyways. I guess it's a good thing I did, because thirty minutes and a few X-rays later, I was told I have a stress fracture! Yay! Before I could comprehend the whole thing, my foot was in this clunky black boot. In typical Chelsea fashion, my first concern was the wedding I'm in in just eight days. No worries, though, guys. I can take off the boot for wedding festivities. Phew. 

Do you like the hair-tie featured above?! Well, it's from the world's cutest Easter basket, courtesy of my mama, the crafting queen. 

These precious baskets were waiting for Corey, Morgan, and me at my grandparents' house! John wasn't able to join us, but he still got in on all the goodies!

My mom mcguyvered Easter baskets out of big beach towels and just one safety pin! Love! 

As much as I loved the towel and the Vera Bradely hair ties Morgan and I got, my favorite part was this pair of earrings:
As someone who loves simple, low maintenance studs, these earrings are perfect! I can wear them with silver and gold! This picture from the Belk website simply doesn't do them justice!

It was so much fun celebrating with my family! 

I can't tell you how much I love being around these people, and I just can't wait until we're all home together for my last summer as a college student! Eeek! 

While I'm super excited to go home and relax, I'm not going to know what to do without spending my days with all my early childhood friends I made this year! We all got so close this year, bonding over insane projects, papers, and portfolios. On Wednesday, we all went out for Mexican and margs, and y'all. It was ridiculously entertaining. I'm bummed we didn't get a picture, but it's probably for the best since I doubt I was looking too cute after that second daiquiri... ;) 

I may not have any pictures of our night, but here's a picture of the three early childhood amigas on our class trip to the Children's Museum of the Upstate. (Sidenote: if you live anywhere close to Greenville, SC, take your kiddos here! It'll be well worth your trip.)

Well friends, I apologize for my Five on Friday debuting on a Saturday, but wouldn't you know my computer freaked out as soon as I finished typing number one on my list! Hope you're having a better weekend than my computer! I'm off to spend a day with John and my family, so you know I'm a happy girl! Cheers to Saturday! 

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Giveaway Goodness

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I love free stuff. Especially when all I need to do to get said free stuff is follow a few cute bloggers on Bloglovin' or Twitter! Done and done! 

If you haven't been to the blog in a while, you may have missed that I'm part of a super great giveaway right now! A few great gals and myself are giving one of our readers a $125 in PayPal cash- can you say score?! 
If I could win, you know I'd be all over this! Here are a few things I'd spend the money on if I won, just to give you some ideas and get you inspired to enter! 

I love this Alex and Ani bracelet, not only because of its design, but because through September 2014, 20% of all Alex and Ani sales, with a minimum donation of $25,000, will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Y'all already know how much LLS means to me. 

Since this winter was the winter we thought might never end, I spent a lot of time wishing I had a nice, durable, quality pair of boots for rainy, slushy days. This classic, matte black pair of Hunters fits the bill!

I'm wondering when I'll be serious enough about running to actually buy a GPS... This Garmin is pretty sweet- easy, practical, and pink!

If you're feeling inspired and thinking, "Sign me up!" Just go right ahead and sign up through the widget at the bottom of my last post! Hurry, though, because it ends soon! AKA at midnight! 
(Sorry I didn't remind y'all earlier, but my computer kinda freaked out and stranded me right before finals... Yikes! Thank goodness for iPhones, right?!) 

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Good Friday + Giveaway!

It's a very special Friday for those of us celebrating Easter... Good Friday isn't exactly a holiday where you say, "Happy Good Friday!" cheerfully, but ultimately, it leads to something pretty great. (And that's putting it mildly, no?!) With a grateful heart, here's my Five on Friday! (Make sure y'all read five... you don't want to miss it!)

Check out April, Christina, Natasha, and Darci!

I've woken up with this song in my head more than once this week, and I'm not complaining. This reminder is just so beautiful to me:  
"His love endures, forever. His love endures, forever. His love endures, forever and ever. We have found our hope, we have found our peace, we have found our rest, in the One who loves."

Since I want to give my body time to recover from one of the coolest experience of my life (AKA my first half marathon), I've been doing pilates for my workouts this week. I actually started the Blogilates Beginner's Workout Calendar, and I have to say, while pilates isn't high impact, is it kicking my booty! Well, more like my (non-existent) abs... If you're wanting a challenging core workout, I suggest you check out any of Cassie's videos on her Blogilates Youtube channel! These videos have been a calming yet challenging way to start my days this week!

Loving Lately: Loafers

If you couldn't tell from this Polyvore set, I've been on a bit of a loafers kick lately... It all started with the C. Wonder "Bee Happy" loafers a few months ago, and then I moved on to a needlepoint loafer obsession, as shown with the precious pink and navy (my favorite color combo!) monogrammed loafers featured in the bottom left corner. Personally, I love the preppier look loafers provide, and with that being said, would I wear all these? No freaking way. (Not sure if you guys have realized this by now, but I'm not exactly "edgy"...) But somewhere out there is a Zooey Deschanel/ Jess from New Girl kind-of-girl who could totally pull off those pencil loafers (plus the future-teacher in me got a giggle out of em)! I also couldn't resist featuring a velour pair showcasing my most-commonly-used Emoji... If you're curious about any of the pairs I featured here, just click on the image, and it will lead you to my Polyvore page with all the shoe details!

Yesterday, my parents came to Clemson. It's my mom's spring break, and my dad took the day off to come play golf with Corey. My mom and I walked the first half of the course with the guys and ditched the back nine to hang out with Morgan, Corey's girlfriend. Earlier in the week, Morgan turned 20, so I baked the sweet girl a cake while the three of us girls hung out. After my dad and Corey finished golf, we all met up with John for Morgan's birthday dinner. It was a fabulous night, finished off with some super yummy cookie cake (if I do say so myself!). I can't take all the credit, because I got the recipe here.

I don't really have any good pictures of the actual cake (we gobbled it up too fast!), but here's a shot of the beautiful birthday girl and me! We're so lucky to have Morgan in our lives- she really is one of my favorite people and closest friends! 

Who's ready for another giveaway?!?!?! If you're not like, "I am! I am!" then shame on you, because this giveaway deserves at least a little excitement! After all, you could win over one hundred dollars in Paypal cash, just from following a few fabulous blogs (including yours truly's hehe)!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Recap

Mission accomplished. 

Well, I did it. I ran 13.1 miles straight. I'm officially a half-marathoner, and I have the ridiculous blisters to prove it! (Gross, I know.) Although it was the inaugural year for Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh, there were very few hiccups, at least from my perspective! Sure, they ran out of official race bags at the expo, but that's alright. That's what we get for coming in the last hour (around 4:15) on Saturday! 

Expo fun: John and I raced these little dinosaurs up the volcano. Even though I was wearing boots, I still beat poor John. Guess all my training paid off ;) 

Ta-da! My mom insisted I get a picture in front of these cool balloons at the front of the expo. 

We didn't spend much time inside the expo; it was closing down, and I didn't need to much, other than my check-in gear. I was surprised that it took me less than 2 minutes to get there, check-in, and get my bib and shirt! I went with a medium, since on Brooks site it said mediums fit size 6-8, but I like a looser fit when I'm running. I don't care about showing off my curves, so I wanted to exchange mine for a large. Sadly, I couldn't do this at the expo, but I was able to exchange my shirt on race day at an information booth. Again, it took, like, a minute to exchange it- the staff and volunteers were definitely prepared, at the expo, and on race day! (Shout out to my sweet boyfriend, who thought to bring the shirt with him so I could exchange it after I finished!)

Super nice Brooks technical shirt- can't go wrong with a basic black!

That evening, after the expo, I parted ways with my parents and John so I could go to the special Team in Training Inspiration Dinner. (If you're like WTF is Team in Training, see this post!) It was a yummy pasta buffet with salad, steamed veggies, breadsticks, and a variety of cookies and brownies for dessert. The food wasn't what made it special, though- we heard from incredibly motivational speakers who thanked us for our efforts raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The main speaker's personal story with TNT was incredibly touching, but the most moving part of the dinner was seeing how many people in the room stood up as blood cancer survivors. I lost it when I saw a little girl stand up proudly; it was moving and reminded me just why I was running. Even though Uncle Mike didn't make it, there are so many others who just might have a better chance through the research we're helping fund. 

Shot of the Inspiration Dinner

Now that I was all fired up and motivated, it was time to prepare for race day! After I laid out my clothes and pinned on my bib, it was time for bed- that four a.m. alarm was going to seem super early if I waited too late! 

Pre-race with John! My eyes look crazy because a. I was so jittery, and b. my mom's flash was blinding that early! I wanted to make sure my eyes were OPEN!

Four a.m probably sounds crazy early (because it is), but it gave me plenty of time to wake up at the hotel and get ready. We left the hotel at five on the dot, and I'm so glad we did. We made it to a super-close parking garage downtown without any problems! Sure, we were one of the first cars there, but I'd rather have time to eat a banana, talk to my family, and hang out with Team in Training friends before the race than completely stress out because I'm in a traffic jam at 6:30, just thirty minutes before the race is set to start!

Like I said, I met up with the 120-something other Team in Training participants to snap some group pictures before the race. 

Katie was such an encouraging friend to train with! She's somewhat of a half-marathon pro- she's completed 10 and has her eleventh in just a couple weeks! As you can see from her bib, she was completely crazy and did the full marathon! People like Katie and my coach Dean made Team in Training such a fun experience. 

I was amazed how quickly the time flew that morning. Before I knew it, it was time to head to my corral! I was in Corral 18, so I anxiously waited while the first 17 groups started the race. I chatted it up with a veteran runner next to me, and I soaked up all the enthusiastic energy around me. I knew I'd be needing it later! 

Like I said, I knew I'd need that energy later... Like around mile 9. Look at that brutal incline! I sure didn't choose an easy first half as far as elevation! 

Because running a half-marathon wasn't enough, this dude decided to dribble not one, but TWO basketballs while racing. Also pictured, Elvis. They don't call it the "Rock 'n' Roll" for nothing!

Before I knew it, I was off! I think I managed to pace myself really well at the beginning. I didn't feel burnt out or tired until mile ten-ish, and up until then, the race seemed to fly by! I think fueling myself throughout the race was crucial, but the fabulous weather certainly didn't hurt!  

John took some happy pictures of me throughout the race! Here I was at my second family sighting! I was so excited, because I got the chance to read some pretty fun signs my mom made. 

This sign really kept me going. I saw it, and I knew I wanted it to be my running mantra. Honestly, it may have been because I was feeling so emotional, but it struck a chord with me. I need to celebrate every moment, not only while I run, but also every other moment in life. It reminded me of my Uncle Mike, who celebrated little things, like playing frisbee and jumping in a freezing cold lake. His life may have been cut short, but at least he celebrated every moment before leukemia. 

Muah! I got creative with my poses when I saw my family. John captured the kiss I blew him and my parents around Mile 6. 

See that sign? 10k down, AKA almost half-way there! It's amazing to think that just a year ago, I was worn out after a 10k. This year, that wasn't even my halfway point, and my time was still better! 

Like I said, the last few miles were brutal, but I kept on trucking, mainly because I thought of my family, all the people who've been affected by blood cancers, and how close I was to accomplishing a big dream. I kept repeating, "Own every mile. Cherish every moment," over and over again in my head, until I crossed the finish line 2 hours 29 minutes and 5 seconds after I started. I beat my personal goal for an under 2.5 hour finish! 

I mean, if you say so...

As soon as I finished, I grabbed my medal, a water bottle, a cold towel, and headed for the Team in Training tent. They had plenty of goodies for me, including another medal (specifically for charity participants) and lots of food. I inhaled a cupcake and almost cried tears of joy when I saw mini packets of Swedish Fish. I was almost as happy when I reunited with my family. ;) 

So glad he loves me even when I'm a sweaty mess! 

My favorite sign. 

This sign needs a little background... When I told my Uncle Mike I was going to run to raise money for cancer research, he told me "Atta girl!" This wasn't the first time he'd encouraged me with those words, but, sadly, it was the last. In fact, it was the second-to-last text I ever got from him. Seeing my dad hold up a sign with his brother on it, proudly cheering me on, meant more than I can say. 

I am so, so, SO thankful my parents came out to support me! How precious is that sign my mom is holding, too?! Belle has always been my favorite princess!

Closeups on the bling ;) 

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better first half-marathon experience. Yes, I said first, and yes, I'm already scheming up my second one... There's a little truth behind the "addiction" part of running, although I'm looking forward to some weeks off! Finally, to everyone who supported me along this journey, either through donations or cheers, thank you so much! I know Uncle Mike would celebrate this moment! 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Five on Friday: Pre-Race Jitters

Happy weekend, everyone! It's a pretty big weekend for this girl, because it's...

(If you can't tell from the bold text and three exclamation points, I'm a little nervous/ excited/ anxious/ crazy/ all of the above.) 
Since I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact I'll be running 13.1 miles on Sunday, I figured I'd do a little Five on Friday as a little reality check for myself.... Here are some things on my mind about the whole race thing:
What am I wearing?! I'm always a conscientious situational dresser, so it should be no surprise this is my number one thing. The weather is supposed to be fabulous in the fifties at the bright-and-early-seven-am start time, and it'll warm up from there. That means one of my favorite pairs of running capris, a light and breathable Nike tank, my Team in Training jersey (which is super short for some reason), my favorite Moving Comfort sports bra, my favorite pair of socks (because cotton socks plus Chelsea running equals baaaad blisters lately), and my new kicks.  Is it a mistake that the longest run I've done in these suckers before the big day is six miles? We'll see. 
Half Marathon Clothes

What if I hate it?! What if I have to walk?! What if I don't hydrate enough and I'm miserable?! What if I look like a double-chinned zombie in all of the pictures they take along the way? (Ew, I'm so vain, but I'm just being honest here...)
Even worse.... What if I love it?! What if I get addicted to it and want to run another one?! I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough to train for that...
Fingers crossed I don't channel Dory.... As much as I love running, long distances just aren't my thang.

How the HECK have I gained weight since I started training for this? Oops, that was a rhetorical question- I don't really need to replay all the times I used "Well, I'm running tomorrow...." as an excuse to eat that third cookie or piece of pizza...
Hehe. This may be semi-off-topic, but it just made me smile. And it's hard to smile when I remember the few pounds I need to lose... riiiight after I finish carbo-loading! ;)
Last but not least, my reasoning for running this half: my Uncle Mike. I am so grateful I've had the opportunity to train in his honor. Finishing on Sunday will mean so much more for me because it will be in memory of him. I've had the pleasure of raising $1335 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training, and I've met some incredible people I can call my friends along the way. As hard as it was to run with gross blisters and shinsplints, and through torrential downpours, none of that momentary pain was even close to what cancer patients deal with on a daily basis. I'm proud I have the chance to represent Team in Training on Sunday, and I'm even more proud to represent and honor my Uncle Mike. 

Uncle Mike wearing one of his other hats: granddad. He was also a fantastic father, son, brother, and friend. 

Well, folks, that it. I think I've gotten out lots of my pre-race apprehensions and jitters, and I'm as ready as I'll ever be! Any well wishes, prayers, and cheers would be appreciated- I hope y'all have a fabulous weekend! 
One last thing- if anyone you know and love has battled leukemia or lymphoma, I'd love to wear a little ribbon in remembrance of them as I run.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Love Letter to Blogging

Dear Bloggity blog, 

            I love you, and blogging, and the blogosphere in general, and this is why:

1. You give me a place to write. I like writing, so that's cool.

2. Not only do you give me a place to write; you give me a socially acceptable place to write about my life. Instead of writing long, rambly Facebook statuses every week, I just blog!

3. You've helped me make bloggy friends. They support me and I support them (except when I go, like, four days without checking emails and comments and other blogs and stuff).

4. Speaking of going AWOL, you've helped me become more accountable and better about responding to emails and stuff in a timely fashion. Sounds weird, but as someone who generally dreads responding to emails and text messages and the like, this is big! I love answering my blog mail and comments :)

5. It's a place to store memories. Hopefully down the road, when I'm wanting to remember a special time or event, I can look up old posts and scroll through captioned pictures and smile. It's like an online scrapbook, only way more fun and way less frustrating. (I'm terrible with scissors, so scrapbooking is no bueno for this chica.)

6. You've given me a hobby! I'm not that interested in sports or anything, so this has been super big for me! Instead of creating a bracket or fantasy football team or something, I just blog and stuff! Like I said, it's like an online scrapbook, and scrapbooking is totally considered a hobby!

7. I just adore reading and falling in love with new blogs- especially lifestyle, fitness, and wedding blogs! The fabulous thing about the blogging world is how connected everything is- if I'm on a site I love, chances are good I'll find five more sites I love just looking at that blog's comments!

8. I get to participate in giveaways, and sometimes even win fun things like Sephora gift cards!

9. I'm learning lots from ya. Seriously, I had no idea how to make little buttons, or do any little html things before you (except for ♥ from back in my Myspace days, but I digress...). I'm constantly trying to learn more about this whole process, and I still have a long way to go before I'm even close to knowing everything I want to know about blogging!

10. Not only am I learning lots about blogging, but I'm learning lots about myself! It's been interesting to assess my strengths and weaknesses, question my writing skills, challenge my networking abilities, and improve my blog little by little.

Endlessly BeLoved
Thanks to Brianna for this fabulous linkup! Always nice to remind myself why I blog, especially during a busy time of year when it's easy for me to neglect it. 

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Five on Friday: Savoring Spring

Happy Friday, everyone! I decided to take a trip home for the weekend, so I'm happily typing this post in my kitchen on a fabulous Friday morning, soaking in the gloriousness of a fresh new weekend. Let's start it off right with Five on Friday!
Visit April, Christina, Darci, and Natasha

1. Lauren James. 
I'd stumbled upon Lauren James' clothes before- mainly her adorable, southern t-shirts. However, the brand really caught my eye when I saw the Livingston- one of the most gorgeous seersucker sundresses I'd ever seen:

 Seriously, the back is ah-mazing. It comes in mint, coral, light pink, light blue, and (my favorite but least practical for me) white.  

Obviously once I saw that dress, I was scouring the site for any and all other precious things, and I found the following: 
 Because who doesn't want seersucker athletic shorts? 

If I was a hat girl (they look atrocious on me), I would totally get this girly hat. 

If you couldn't tell, there's a big seer-sucker theme here! This cute image will be on an LJ towel soon!

I probably sound like I've been paid to talk about this company the way I just raved, but nope- I just loved these finds and had to share! 

2. Influenster VoxBox
Speaking of paid reviews, I've recently fallen in love with Influenster! It's a company that rewards you for reviewing your favorite (and least favorite) items, from groceries to beauty products! I am a serious sucker for freebies- I think that's why I like Costco so much (I can make a meal out of samples there on a Saturday!).  I also like reading other people's reviews before I buy something, so once I found out I could earn freebies by writing reviews myself? Sold! How are you rewarded, you ask? Simple- once you write enough reviews and take enough surveys (which didn't take me long at all), they start sending you products they think you'd be interested in. My first payoff? A cute little Colgate box:

Coupons, whitening toothpaste, and an awesome two-in-one whitening pen and toothbrush, all wrapped up in bright red tissue paper!

I've always been pretty "meh" about whitening toothpaste- it's bad for my gums, and I hate the taste. This toothpaste definitely had a weird flavor, but it did make my teeth brighter. Would I buy it? Nah. Now the Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Whitening Pen? That's a different story! I was a bit worried the whitening pen "gunk" would stick to my lips and not work, but it totally did! I'll admit: I haven't used it regularly (just saving it for when I have a reason for dazzling white teeth), but I know once I do, it'll make a serious difference! 

I just received my second VoxBox in the mail, and I cannot wait to try all the products! For now, here's a little teaser: 

Thanks for the Uni VoxBox, Influenster! 

3. Spring has (finally) sprung!
Can I get a hallelujah?! Seriously, this nice, warm weather has been a long time comin' here in the Southland! I hope I can soak it up with a walk with my parents later this evening!
4. One week 'til I'm rockin' and rollin' in Raleigh!
That's right folks- next weekend is my first-ever half-marathon! Eeek! Words can't begin to describe how nervous I am! I haven't exactly kept up with my training plan since spring break.... My 10 mile long run last weekend was a struggle, so adding three miles on to that sounds pretty terrifying. Adrenaline will kick in and help out on race day, right?! At least that's what I'm telling myself... 

5. Dad's birthday!
Last but not least, it's a very special someone's birthday today! I'm so thankful for my dad's hard work supporting his family and putting his children through college, but even more than that, I'm just thankful I've had such an incredible role model in my life. He's a total smartie pants (like wayyy smarter than I will ever be), but he's the furthest thing from arrogant. Watching him teach Sunday school to kindergarteners and first graders is the cutest thing, because I'm reminded of his kindness. Even though he is stern when he needs to be, the kids love him for the same reasons I do: he's just a great dude. 
Happy birthday, Dad! I love you so much! 

Can't wait to go out and celebrate his 51st with my parents tonight! Yay for birthdays, and yay for the weekend, y'all! 
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