Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Run, Run, Rudolph...

This past weekend, Daniel and I had a blast running through Sea World at the Vanessa Welch Reindeer Run! This 3-mile course included entertainment, snow, and lots and lots of running reindeer! It was magical to see everyone's costumes! From antlers, to jingle bells, and tu-tu's, they had it all!

Getting ready to run! Isn't he a cute reindeer?

Track Shack always does a great job facilitating events, so I was thrilled to know that they were apart of this one! What makes them great: quick and easy packet pick-up, awesome t-shirts, water stops, volunteers, and medical help if needed the day of the race, and of course the fun athletes they attract! If you're looking to get into 5K's, I would definitely start with an event by them.

You can check out their upcoming events at their website here.

Having fun at the course!

Sea World was so beautiful decorated for the holidays! It was hard to stay focused on the course with everything going on. But I did get a chance to enjoy the snow!

What a fun, festive experience! I would definitely do this race again! Check out my GPS route below.. I love using the MapMyRun app to view my route!

I can't wait to get into some more 5K's and races in 2014! They are just such a fun way to get your exercise in. I also love that once you sign up for a race, that gives you a date and goal to shoot for. Very motivational!

Can't wait to join you at the next one! :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Friday Book Review - The Resolution

Title and Author: The Resolution for Women, by Priscilla Shirer

Release Date: July 2011

Page Length: 288 pages

How I got the Book: Public library

Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | ChristianBook.com

Description: "The Resolution for Women inspires women with intentional, spirit-filled living from three unique angles. Section one, entitled, "This Is Who I Am," helps a woman define herself as "authentically me, purposefully feminine, surprisingly satisfied, and faithfully His." Section two, "This Is What I Have," invites her to value "my best, my blessing, my honor, and my heart." And Section three, "This Is What Matters To Me," focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy. The Resolution for Women is designed to inspire a revolution."

My Thoughts

I had seen the cover of this book dozens of times over the past two years, but never had the desire to pick it up. I am terrible in that I buy books based on interesting covers. While this cover was pretty, it didn't tell me much about the content. Even the book description left me wondering, what on earth is this about?!

I finally got the courage to pick up this book and start reading. Boy, was I glad I did! Strap on your seat belts, because this book has some deep, life changing content. It's not like anything I've ever read before. What The Resolution aims to do is challenge women (any one of us, in any life stage) to live their life with eyes wide open, and to its full potential. Priscilla challenges us to be better than our best for God.

Relevant Material

What I love most about this book is that the topics are very relevant to our culture today- our struggles, our tendencies, our failings. This is not your mother's or grandmother's devotional book. I could really see myself and my girlfriends in this book through her teachings and examples. Here's what I'm talking about...

"You can always tell people who operate form a position of perceived lack and deficiency. They're stingy with their time. They're selfish with their resources. They're tightfisted with their energy. They're reluctant to sow of themselves into the lives of others because they're afraid they don't have enough to do it with and still have enough time leftover for themselves."

This was the first quote I wrote down in my notes. WOW! I see so much of this in young women today. Why do we feel like we don't have enough to pour out to others? Why are we holding onto our time, resources, and energy?

"Someone, somewhere, needs you- in all of your uniqueness- to step up to the plate of your calling." 

Here's another mind-blowing quote from Priscilla. It's so empowering to know that someone, somewhere, can be and will be blessed by me. Me- exactly the way I am, the way God made me.

"Sooner or later, for all of us, the inevitable pressures of life will reveal the truth of what's inside. Sure, external strength alone can be enough to handle some of the simpler, less demanding situations, but when the stress builds to a certain weight and downward force...the person lacking depth of integrity will snap."

I love that this is a call to examine our character. Priscilla really builds up her messages for deep self-examination (like this passage here) in later chapters. As you keep reading, her questions, thoughts, and messages go deeper and deeper.

A Little Long

Don't get me wrong, Priscilla does a fantastic job with this book. However, I feel like Part 3 of the book, where it talks about marriage, children, leaving a legacy, could have been cut-out. There are so many other Christian books that discuss those topics. I read the section on marriage, but I couldn't relate because I've already been married. I'm not a newlywed anymore. I also started the section on children (never finished), but I couldn't relate because I don't have children. Cutting out Part 3 would have shortened the book about 100 pages.


Fantastic book for women! Definitely a great Christmas present! It will be one you go back to over and over through the years. Because of it's length, give yourself some time to read and mediate on the messages. Take time to answer the discussion questions. Be ready for life change! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

First Friday Book Reviews - Coming Soon!

Over the next year, I'll be reading and sharing my thoughts on several popular Christian books. I'll post a book review the first Friday of each month, to help inspire and encourage you to check it out.

Let me just say, I am SO EXCITED to be embarking on this challenge! I feel like this has been several years in the making... I read a lot of Christian books when I first became a believer in 2009, and through 2010/early 2011. Books on salvation, marriage, dating/courting, biblical character, etc.

Then, I hit a wall. I wasn't interested in the Christian resources out there, and I wasn't sure in the direction I wanted to grow. I started some books, but never finished. Finally, I allowed myself to stop forcing it.

It's been two years now, and I'm super excited about several Christian books that are popular today! I don't know all the books I'll be reading over the next twelve-ish months, but I have a good list to start with. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

My first review comes out this Friday! Stay tuned! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ways to put "thanks" in your thanksgiving

with thanksgiving just two weeks away, i thought i'd share with you some fun ways to make the most of this holiday. seems like everywhere we turn, christmas has already made its debut! walmart has trees out, the grocery store already has candy canes, heck, i'm even getting tons of christmas circulars mailed to me from various stores!

while i am super excited about christmas approaching, i really wanted to find fun thanksgiving activities to put the "thanks" back in my holiday. here are 4 fun ones to try out!

  • create your own thankful tree

    • when i saw one of these at my girlfriends house a few weeks ago, i knew my husband and i had to make one! it was super easy and only took us about an hour to work on together. 
    • head on over to your local park and grab some fallen tree branches. back at home, you'll also need pens, scissors, a hole puncher, string, and cardstock with leaf cut-outs
    • bundle your branches together and tie with string if necessary. i also used some vase filler to make the branches stand up-right in my vase.
    • cut out your leaves, then punch a hole to string for hanging. jot down something you're thankful for and your name on the leaf, then hang on your branches!

here's a fun example from Emily at Simply Vintagegirl 

  • create your own thankful tablecloth 

    • this idea i've heard of before, but have never been daring enough to do... 
    • essentially, you have guests on thanksgiving day write what they are thankful for on your tablecloth. each year you put out the same table cloth for them to add to. 
    • i'm thinking of doing a patchwork version of this idea. i'll give each guest a few 4x4" squares to share what they are thankful for. then, after the holiday, i'll sew together in a patchwork fashion. each year my squares will grow as we add to them! 
    • here's a fun example from Kathryn at daring young mom

  • take to social media 

    • post one thing you're grateful for each day either on your facebook or instagram
    • i've seen others do this and i love reading about or viewing photos of the blessings in their lives
    • what a fun and easy way to use technology!

  • enjoy a "thanksgiving-only" activity 

    • sign up for a thanksgiving morning race! what a fun way to get up and out early and enjoy the brisk weather. your city or town has to have a 5K Turkey race going on, why not join them this year? i did last year (and we're going again this year!), remember that one? 

    • enjoy a thanksgiving movie at the theaters. after eating, indulge in Free Birds, a fun family movie before the season of tons of christmas movies!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

My One Year Blogiversary!

Happy One Year Blogiversary! Can you believe it?! It's been one year since I've started blogging! 

my display at this past weekend's craft fair

As a fun treat, let's take a look at some of this past year's highlights.. I've also got some fun photos from posts that never made it live! Check it out!

This idea for blogging started late last fall when I was sick with strep throat. I spent all day in bed reading several of my friends blogs, and thought to myself, why don't I give this a try?! I knew I wanted a fun place for readers to learn about diy projects, crafts, and my life.

Honestly, I had no idea how fun blogging could be! I've grown so much in my abilities to write, photograph, and promote over this past year. It's given me a great outlet to share my life and look back on lots of fun memories and moments. So without further adieu, let's take a look!

After traipsing around the Fall Fiesta in the Park at Lake Eola, I decided to write my first post. Soon after, I had the fun idea of creating a how-to for those two adorable foam pin-boards. I can't believe that was my first how-to!

Christmas was just around the corner, and with that, my attempt at homemade goodies! I had so much fun creating those candy cane reindeers for my husband's 5th graders! And remember how those candied peels totally bombed?! Oy!

For Christmas, I got a sewing machine and started right away trying to make things! One of my favorites were those catnip mouse toys for kitty! I also had the goal of finishing up my cabinet staining before the new year. Check out that post for some quick tips on refinishing wood cabinets. 

In February, I ran my first solo 5K, the Lady Track Shack race. Looking forward to doing that again here in a few months! Daniel and I also worked hard on those diy high-top patio tables, which resulted in my most-read posting to-date! Easter weekend we worked hard to install that fence and gate. Boy, what a project

Summer we did a few projects, but that was probably my slowest blogging time! Here Daniel works on changing out an old porch light, and we also see the "after" photo from a garage sale find!

August and September I was super busy getting Daniel ready for back-to-school, and prepping for a couple of bridal showers, an engagement party, and baby shower! Although they were a lot of work and planning, they were so worth it! 

October I worked hard to get ready for my first-ever craft fair! I also had my hands full with running and promoting my Etsy shop, Lilac and Lovely

Here are a few sneak peaks of photos that never made it live!
creating an apron for Amy (April)

end of the school year reflections (May)

the last day of summer (Aug)

guest bathroom re-do (Sept)

Can't wait for this next year blogging! More to fun to come! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

November is Craft Fair Month!

Mark your calendars, because November is craft fair month! That's right, crafters work hard all year, but most especially in October prepping for those local craft fairs.

You'll find plenty of unique and special items at these fabulous shows! Here are some of my favorites for the month...

Saturday, November 2nd: 

Arts and Crafts Fair at Orlando Grace Church

  • 9am - 2pm at 650 Maitland Ave, Altamonte Springs
  • Vendors include handmade creators, vintage collectors, and home business owners 
  • Local Christian radio station, Z88.3 will be there!
  • My very on Etsy store will also be featured! Check out the Lilac & Lovely booth while you're there! 
  • I'm excited for this event because it promises to be a venue where there'll be less crowds. This gives you the opportunity to talk with your artisans and crafters to get their story behind their items and why the love what they do!

43rd Annual Fall Fiesta in the Park

  • Both Saturday and Sunday, November 2nd and 3rd from 10am-5pm at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando
  • With over 300 artists and crafter booths, this is the mecca of all Orlando craft fairs!
  • They will also have a kid's play area and tons of tasty food options.  
  • Daniel and I went to this one last autumn, and while it was a lot of fun- be prepared for the crowds. I also wasn't as thrilled with how little booths were actually crafters. Not another booth with pretzel dip! C'mon people! You can check out some my photos from that event in this blog posting. Also-be prepared to pay for parking!

Saturday, November 9th: 

40th Annual Great Day in the Country Arts and Crafts Festival

  • 9am to 4pm located on the grounds of Lawton Elementary School, 151 Graham Avenue, Oviedo, FL
  • Free parking and shuttles to the event
  • Promising over 350 vendors, live entertainment, children's play area, and tasty food!
  • This is the craft fair I've heard amazing things about- I'm definitely saving this date! 
  • With Ovideo's quiet, small-town charm, I'm sure the Great Day in the Country won't disappoint! I see some yummy buttered corn in my future!

Saturday, November 23rd: 

  • 9am to 5pm, both Saturday and Sunday the 23rd and 24th, in downtown historic Longwood, near W Warren Ave
  • Always the weekend before Thanksgiving, there will be artist's and crafter's booths along the tree‑shaded streets of Longwood's charming Historic District. 
  • Free admission and free parking immediately adjacent to the event. 
  • Daniel and I went to this one last year. It was definitely a smaller event than Fall Fiesta, but had some great vendors! This is very close to our house, so it was nice to walk around for an hour or so and then head home.

Happy Fall Craft Fairs, Ya'll!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to Eat Your Way Through the Countries (with a Skinny Wallet)

Living in Orlando, we are privileged to be able to have Disney World right around the corner. Every autumn Epcot showcases their International Food & Wine Festival, and it is pretty spectacular! 

This being our second year at Food & Wine Fest, I thought I'd share some tips on how to eat your way around the world on a budget! 

Chef Remy posing with Beer Flight #1 and Cheese Trio (Artisan cheese served with honey, La Bonne Vie Triple Cream Brie served with apricot jam, and Wijngaard Goat Gouda with Craisin bread)

1. Eat breakfast. Yep, sleep in and eat breakfast before heading out the door. The countries and food stands do not open until 11am, so no need to rush to the park.

Chef Remy & I posing in France

2. Do not feel like you have to stop at every stand. There are 30 (yep, thirty!) food stands sprinkled throughout the park. You can still buy from 4-5 stands and feel like you had an amazing experience. This year we stopped at the Cheese, Craft Beers, Greece, Brewer's Collection, Desserts & Champagne, Florida Local, and Belgium country marketplaces, and that was plenty!

Trying beer flight #1

3. Go splitsies!  Split food items with your spouse or friends to really get a great tasting experience! You'll just get a few bites of it, but you'll get a ton of variety!

Dessert Trio of: Chocolate orange cupcake,
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake, Morello cherry pistachio mousse

Belgium waffles with berry compote and cocolate ganache and whipped cream 

4. Know your budget. This one might be obvious, but talk with your spouse or friends that you'll be going with, to keep accountability on your budget. For last year's Food and Wine Fest, Daniel and I brought $20 per person for food and drinks. This year, we doubled (that's $40 per person) and really got to purchase lots of food during the day, souvenirs, and even a Starbucks on the way out of the park!

Starbucks within Epcot

5. Bring cash. It makes things so simple for purchasing food all day. Most food and beverage prices are a whole dollar, or quarter amount (ex: $3.25, $2.00), so you won't be stuck with lots of coin change.

Tasting the berry Belgium waffle... delish!

If you want to check out the menu of food and beverages before you go, here's a link to Disney's list of country Marketplaces (bonus- prices are listed!). 

Happy tasting everyone!

Chef Remy & I near the cheese menu kiosk