Saturday, June 21, 2014

Five Favorites

This is the tenth edition of Five Favorites, which means that over the course of the past three months, I have shared with you 50 of my most favorite things. I hope you've enjoyed reading these posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them!

1. Old Navy Active

I know what you're thinking: Emmy, you've already professed your love toward Old Navy workout clothes 1,000 times over. And you'd be correct. However, I wanted to tell you about my new favorite find today.

Normally, I purchase these workout tops:

The Knotted Racer-Back Tank

This particular cut is my absolute favorite because it isn't skin-tight (hello, muffin top with spandex capris), and it's a bit longer than most workout tops.

But, the hotter it gets, the more I realize that because the tank is 65% polyester and 35% cotton, it tends to soak up the sweat and get really baggy, really fast.

So, I decided to try one of the new tops:

The Cut-Out Mesh Tank

This particular tank is also a bit longer than most, but it's more fitted and less flow-y. It's 91% polyester and 9% spandex, so it doesn't get bogged down and bagged out by sweat. Also, the whole tank has a cut-out pattern (almost lacy), so there's great ventilation. And as an added bonus, it's super cute: wearing this top, I rode my bike down to a pub to watch the World Cup match last weekend, and I saw one of my sister's friends who commented on how much she loved my top and how she couldn't believe it was a workout tank, as it was something she'd wear to go out.

So yes, I will be wearing this (in one of the three colors that I have already purchased) all summer. I'm going to have some sweet tan lines. :)

2. Maybelline Define-A-Lash Waterproof Lengthening Mascara

Mascara is the one cosmetic item that I always wear: whether I am going out on a date or running a race, I throw on a coat or two of mascara before I head out the door.

Also, I hate spending money on make-up. I want the best product for the least amount of money, and I want items that are going to last a while.

Enter: Maybelline mascara.


I love this mascara because it is good-to-go after one application, it goes on smoothly and doesn't clump up, and it seriously does define my lashes. And because I always buy the waterproof kind, it doesn't smudge, even when I tear up, wipe my eyes, etc.

I'm sure it makes me look exactly like this:


Oh, and it's also less than $8 at Walgreen's. Done and done.

3. My Road Bike

I talked about this road bike nearly a year ago, but I have to talk about it again this year since I have been on it at least three or four times a week this summer.

I love my bike and think that I would be lost without it. It could probably use another tune-up, but I absolutely love everything about this bike -- even the clip-in shoes that have caused a couple of embarrassing moments this year.

Also, I have been doing a lot of work on my bike this summer -- all by myself. I figured out how to attach a pump, another cage, how to adjust my seat, etc. I wholly understand that these are "basic" things, but since I am pretty much the furthest from a fix-it kinda gal, I feel quite accomplished.

I'm pumped (and terrified) to take 'er out on a 50-mile ride later today.

4. Report Sandals (Ryella)

I wear a lot of flip-flops during the summer. But, since I've been a little fancier this summer than ever before (read: going on dates and trying to dress to impress), I decided I should buy some big-girl shoes to match the dresses that I've been living in.

I must have walked the aisles at DSW a dozen times before settling on these bad boys. I really liked them from the get go, but I was also nervous that they would get too hot and sweaty on our super humid days, that I wouldn't like the enclosed heel, etc.

But I am so glad that I settled on this pair. They're so cute, they go with everything, and they totally dress up a plain ol' dress very nicely. Since they only cost $35 and considering I've worn them every day for the past two weeks, I'd say I've already gotten my money's worth.

5. Orange is the New Black

You guys: I binge-watched this show. And when I say "binge-watched," I mean binge-watched. I'm pretty sure I made it through all 13 episodes in a matter of three days.

And now I'm in withdrawal.

I love so much about this show (while also acknowledging its faults). I love that the cast is 95% female and that there are strong, well-written characters for the actresses. I love that it shows varying relationships between women. I love that it shows the stories and lives behind incarcerated individuals. I love that episodes can make me laugh and cry, can shock me and touch me.

Seriously, I need Season Three a lot sooner than June 2015.

What are some things that you've been loving lately? Are you an OITNB fan? What TV shows hook you for hours on end?

Find previous "Five Favorites" here:
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Five on Friday

Good morning, friends!

It's Friday, and since I'm back to semi-regular posting, I thought I'd once again follow along with The Good Life BlogHello! HappinessCarolina Charm, and A. Liz Adventures for a little "Five on Friday."

Enjoy the randomness of my life. :)


Yesterday, I ran for the first time in nearly three weeks.

You see, I had some major knee issues that had been accompanying me for a couple of weeks, and then I foolishly ran a half marathon at the end of May. Because my knee was (obviously) bothering me after those 13.1 miles, I wizened up and decided to take a much-needed break from running -- and focus on cycling for exercise and to maintain endurance.

So yesterday was my first measly two miles in quite a while. I was fully prepared for the run to suck since it was in super hot and humid weather and since I had not run for a while, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt.

And then shit hit the fan. Endurance-wise, I was great: I could've gone forever. Pain-wise, not so much. I made it nearly a mile around the lake before deciding that I should take a quick break due to the fire poker jabbing the outside of my left knee.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. The second mile included much, much more walking, simply because I was in too much pain to run.

And even more unfortunately, the pain did not subside when I stopped running and instead continued through the rest of the day.

My long-distance-running career may be quickly coming to an end.

Soooooo pretty. Also, helloooooo boobs.


I know you are all well aware of my obsession with love toward La Croix. Well, have you heard the news?

Yep: La Croix is feeding my addiction with three new flavors. Since I was at Target this week (and La Croix was three for $9), I succumbed. I picked up a case of mango and a case of apricot (and my tried and true favorite, lime), and both are absolutely delicious: clean, crisp, refreshing.


This past month my book club read The Orphan Master's Son.

This was the first book-club book (out of nine or ten) that I did not read. It was supposed to be absolutely amazing (I mean, it won the Pulitzer Prize), but I just could not get into it; I tried countless times, and each time I tried, it felt like I was just staring at words. I mean, I would make it several pages, but I would have zero idea as to what was happening.

Interestingly, it turns out that most of the other women felt the same way. I think eight of us were at the meeting on Monday, and two of us had finished the book, and one of us was halfway through.

This month we're reading The Interestings, so I'm much more excited about that.


Speaking of books, I decided that since the crazy storms had rendered me without power on Tuesday, I should reorganize all of my books. For most people, this would likely be a small task; I, however, have a lot of books and a little OCD, so this took me all morning.

First, I piled all of the books on my dining room table. Then, I sorted them according to genre: for instance, Latino literature, African-American literature, African literature, Asian literature, general literature, young-adult literature, memoirs, poetry and anthologies, non-fiction, education books, etc. Next, I alphabetized them within their genres. And finally, I put them back on their shelves.

Apparently I ended with more books than with which I started, so...that was another challenge.

While it took me forever, my anal-retentive self is very happy with the end result.


My sister has been begging me for months to head down to her town for trivia at Peace Tree Brewery; unfortunately, I have had bowling league obligations each time she has asked. But, since they're continuing trivia through the summer, I am thankfully able to attend.

On Wednesday, I headed down south, and my sister, brother-in-law, two of their colleagues, and I formed The Kids' Table team.

After the first round (Classic Album Covers), we only had a measly two points. (We knew a lot of the bands and music but did not know the album covers. Ugh.) In the second round (Random Trivia), we killed it with nine out of ten. And then in the third round (June Trivia), we earned another four points, which left us in first place!

I am so ridiculously competitive, so I loved that we won. And, check out the sweet prizes:

We each received a mini growler (I think they're actually called "stumpy growlers") and could have filled it with beer for 10% off that night. Pretty sweet, right?!

It was such a fun evening, and I am so happy that a.) my sister lives close, and b.) that she wants to hang out with me. I already can't wait for July trivia. :)

What's been going on in your life lately?

Have you read any good books? Hook me up with some recommendations, please!

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Three Thanks

It's been a while since I've seen y'all. I knew that a couple of you (Mom and MB in particular) would get on me about it, but I didn't realize just how many of you actually read this little blog o' mine.

Ask and you shall receive, friends. I am back today with the regular Three Thanks and will be back (at least semi-regularly) with some new posts.

Please join me (and hopefully Aly) with our link-up, Three Thanks. If you don't have a blog, please jot down what you are especially grateful for in the comments section below.


I am grateful for my dad. I am thankful for him for many reasons, but today I am going to mention just one: a week ago today, he drove over from Omaha and attended a swanky fundraiser with me.

He arrived just before the event and left shortly after, so he spent more time in the car than he did in Des Moines. And it meant so much to me that he would drive all that way to and from to spend the evening with me.

I had such a wonderful evening being silly with him, chatting with him, showing him off to all of my friends, and having him all to myself. It was an absolutely awesome father-daughter night. 

He is pretty amazing, and I am 100% certain that I had the best date at the event.


I am thankful for Shaw.

Here we are in the middle of a 32-mile bike ride. (Please disregard my massive head in this photo.)

And here we are at one of the Market to Market exchange points.

He and I have spent a lot of time together over the last several months. We obviously coached tennis together so were forced to hang out nearly every evening and then the three days that we were at state, and now that school is out, we have still been getting together nearly every day to go on a bike ride, to watch soccer, to grab patio drinks, etc.

Shaw is one of my best friends in the entire universe. He is one of the people I can be my absolute true self with -- silly jokes, poop talk, and all. And he is one of the people that I can rely on no matter what; I know that he sincerely cares for me and wants the absolute best for me. I can count on him to tell me when potential dudes are being stupid, and I can count on him to tell me that I need to stop over-analyzing things.

I love him so ridiculously much and am indelibly grateful that he's in my life. (And, I'm super stoked for all of the shenanigans we are going to get ourselves into this summer.)


I am thankful for the most fabulous friends' night in the history of ever.

On Friday night, Eric, Alicia, Katie, and I went to Malo, a new restaurant downtown, for dinner. We had so much fun just chilling on the patio, catching up.

Then, we hooked up with Shaw, and the five of us headed to Gray's Lake for unWINEd, an event put on by Jasper Winery. Again, we had so much fun just being together.

After we each finished our cocktail, we decided to walk the trail to Confluence, a great brewery about half a mile away. And that, my friends, is when the shenanigans started.

We goofed off like little kids the entire way to the brewery, and then as soon as we got a table inside, we started the most competitive game of UNO that the world has ever seen. I think we sat and played cards for nearly two hours, essentially until the taproom closed and we were kicked out. And then we proceeded to act like fools (again) on the entire trek back to Gray's Lake.

It was the most perfect night and, I think, just what each one of us needed.

I love those goofballs more than I can even express.

What are you especially thankful for this fine Thursday?

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