iStock 000018828403XSmall What to expect when getting fit for running shoes.

(disclaimer: not an expert. but just wanting to encourage anyone who swears they’re too fat to run or can’t run or are too intimidated to use “real” running gear – it’ll be okay. you can do it!)

At the beginning of April, one horrible mile on the treadmill had me limping away from the gym, sharp cramps shooting up my calves. I experienced shin splints & leg cramps before, but this hurt to climb into the car, to walk up the steps, to simply stand. I spent the evening icing my legs & I knew that if I wanted to keep running, I’d have to change the way I ran.

My running friends encouraged me to “get fitted” for the right running shoe but that felt so..official. (& expensive – my shoes up to that point had set me back $50 at the most thanks to Rack Room sales.)  I was worried they’d laugh me out of the store when they realized I’d never even run a 5K & that I prefer the treadmill. I like knowing what to expect in every situation & this time, I had no freaking clue what to wear, what to say, what to ask.

That weekend, I stopped at a local running store on a whim. I was wearing jeans but had my running clothes out in the car. Instead of asking me to change, the associate sat me down & asked questions. What was hurting? When did it start hurting? Did it ever go away? How often did I run? What were my goals?

(answers: inside lower shins, inside upper shins. about one mile in every time. yep, after 1-2 days of rest. every 2-3 days. maybe run a 5K without dying?)

He brought out a neutral Asics shoe, laced me up, & asked me to do a quick jog down the sidewalk for him. I tried to block out the cars waiting at the stop light, running in jeans, the fact that a marathon-running stranger was watching my very amateur gait & I set off at my usual pace. While he crouched on the sidewalk, I ran.

Supination! Basically, you hit mid-foot but land on the outside. Then you slowly roll on the outside of your foot,” he explained. I’m striking a part of my foot with minimal shock absorption.

Over the next 45 minutes, we tried on six different shoes. The entire process was trial & error & by the end, my shins were so irritated & painful that it became harder to tell what felt good & what didn’t. (a very discouraging feeling, I must say.) I narrowed the shoes down to the pair that felt the best on my feet (Brooks Dyad 7) & from there, we tried several inserts to see if that would help shift my weight off the edge of my foot. The inserts only irritated me so instead, he threaded the laces to help give my ankle more support to ease the tendency to roll outward. He answered all of my questions, sharing his knowledge & never treating me like a newbie, just a fellow runner that needed help.

He also suggested that I begin “rolling” my muscles after each run, so I sat & watched YouTube videos before finding a corner in the stretching room where nobody could see me & giving it a go. The first few times I rolled were so awkward – my arms shook & I couldn’t quite get the right angle but like everything, practice makes better.

Neither the shoes nor the rolling were a miracle fix & the first few runs were awkward, getting used to new shoes. It took several weeks of icing & rolling for the pain to stop but  over the past month, my shins have hurt less with each run & I’m running farther than ever. Since buying the Dyads, I’ve logged my longest, fastest, & furthest distance runs.

A few weeks ago, I ran 2.5 miles at a 12’11” pace.

I’m not fast & I’m not great, but I think I might finish a 5K without dying.


House Tour: The Living Room

by Beth Anne on May 30, 2014

When we were house hunting, we had a list of things we absolutely wanted in our new home:

  • linen closet
  • 4 bedrooms
  • laundry/mud room
  • two family spaces

The two family spaces broke down to needing a place to play & a place to escape.  When we first toured our home, I immediately started placing furniture before we even put in an offer. The back family room a playroom for now, but a place for teenagers to sprawl in 10 years. The front living room a space to escape (most) toys during the little years, but a spot for us to be present in supervising said teenagers without hovering. (Is that strange & dated? That’s okay.)

When we bought the house in September 2012, 90% of the house was painted a terrible lime yellow that turned neon green under artificial lights.

livingroom yellow House Tour: The Living Room

I was so eager to get rid of the yellow that I made some pretty bad paint decisions. The green I chose was supposed to be a muted olive but turned out to be celery. It was nice, but not cohesive to the rest of our home:

livingroom green House Tour: The Living Room

But at this point, I was several rooms into painting & paint-chip-burned-out. So I pulled out the trust Benjamin Moore & slapped Revere Pewter on the walls. It was a lazy move that paid off:

livingroom1 1024x768 House Tour: The Living Room

We’ve done a few more updates – our old Target bookcase was about to lie down & die. I was nervous that we’d hear a crash in the middle of the night & find our books in a pile, so I offered it up to the Craigslist gods & started searching for an affordable barrister bookcase (HA! HAHAHA!). The great news is that Raleigh has an entire “strip” of furniture stores on Glenwood Avenue, ranging from Rooms 2 Go all the way to small business locally-made oak stores. We also have these mass warehouse-type “stores” that sell a mish-mash of furniture at way discounted prices.

livingroom2 1024x768 House Tour: The Living Room

I settled for a manufactured barrister-esque bookcase. I love it even though it may only last 10 years at best. Furnishing a house in our early 30’s breaks down into two categories – what to spend money on & what to buy knowing you’ll toss it. Couches & mattresses & kitchen tables? Spend cash. Television stands (televisions change every 10 years so needs will change) & children’s dressers (young kids can be rude to furniture) & dining room sets (only used 3 times per year)? It’s okay to not buy top-of-the-line.

Of course, that’s not a hard rule of thumb. Just my rule of thumb.

I added one of my favorite pieces of art, Dancers in Blue by Edgar Degas, & then I sewed pom-poms onto the curtains for fun.

livingroom3 1024x768 House Tour: The Living Room

The room flows directly into the entry way, which is our functional drop-off for keys & mail.

hall 1024x768 House Tour: The Living Room

(People like to ask about the framed picture of the ram – it’s for Rameses, the mascot of the University of North Carolina.)

I love this space. It’s easily my favorite room to sit with a cup of coffee, to read or write. It’s formal, but open to everyone – hence the Wii & train table & children’s books. If I had one goal for my entire home, it would be for every space to feel beautiful, warm, & functional for the entire family.

I’m so excited to show you a little more of our beloved “money pit” although I am definitely not an interior designer. Owning this home has been such a challenge for me & Doug – we always joke that it feels a lot like doing triage, so many things to fix & just trying to figure out what needs to be addressed first. (Right now it’s the kitchen floor & while we save like mad to replace the back deck, we still have to get the garage door functioning on a remote & replace the ceiling fan in our master bedroom.) Focusing on the easy fixes like paint & art helps me stay focused for the big stuff & remember that owning a house is a marathon, not a sprint. & with each house that goes on the market around us, we give a little cheer that our sweat & tears will pay off in the long run.


quick source list:
paint color: benjamin moore’s revere pewter  |  grey rug: garden ridge, $100  |  tree canvas: home goods  |  degas print: home goods  |  lamps: marshall’s  |  striped pouf: zulily  |  braid print: elizabethmayview on etsy  |  ram print: dimdi on etsy  |  painting of tucker: linnyfish on etsy  |  white console: home goods


Legos & Work & Life

by Beth Anne on May 25, 2014

891374 1447586455487654 1931486524 n 300x300 Legos & Work & Life

Harry is the master of Legos. He’s putting together 200+ piece sets alone & it’s just amazing to watch. Like one day, we were worried he wasn’t going to point on time & now he’s building a freaking Lego camper, complete with coffee mugs, little tables, & a canoe.

I’ve decided after watching him that everyone falls into 1 of 3 Lego categories:

  • People who prefer to buy Lego sets & follow directions
  • People who prefer to free-build with a bucket of random Legos
  • People who don’t give a shit about Legos

Harry falls into Group 1 & I fall into Group 2, but I think that’s the perfect balance so he can build the trucks & I can design the houses. It’s something that I never mind doing with him & most mornings before work & daycare, we’re in our pajamas building.


10401719 794466917243974 1686711764 n 300x300 Legos & Work & LifeOn Wednesday, our boss gave us the afternoon off to swim & party at his pool.

It’s been over 9 months & I still want to pinch myself. The work I do is fun & creative & challenging. When I first started at Ignite, the hardest part was being surrounded by people 9 hours every day. There was no break from conversation or laughter & for someone who spent 18 months working alone in a cubicle, it was a culture shock. I spent most of my evenings in the first few months running in the lights-off “getaway room” at the gym & then turning down every invitation for dinner or play dates. I felt so burnt out.

Now it’s simply my new normal & it’s hard to believe that a place like Ignite exists, where I’m a person as much as an employee & leggings are more acceptable than suits.


10251280 622916277794144 253226239 n 300x300 Legos & Work & LifeWe discovered through x-rays that Tuck has severe hip dysplasia in one hip, the beginnings in another, & arthritis in both hips + knees. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when they had to sedate her for x-rays due to pain & then bring me in the back room, where I stared at the foggy black & grey films. The doctor showed the tiny bits of bone chipped off into her muscles from the bone-on-bone grinding & handed 2 prescription bottles.

“Long run, what are her options?” I asked & the vet simply stared at me sympathetically.

Our life with Tuck changed that day, starting with medication & realizing that she’ll never use the long back steps again. Instead, she’s leash-walked out the front door & for the first month, we carried her up & down the inside steps every night & morning.

It was heart breaking those first few weeks, desperate for her to feel better. We wondered if a life on pain killers was a real life, without walks & running & things she enjoys. It was a very isolating experience for me & Doug, knowing that any decision we made would be met with judgment.

We are thankful that the NSAIDs have done beautiful work on her pain level – she’s off the daily pain killers & can now climb the stairs by herself, although we only allow it once per day. Her days of runs with me & chasing rabbits in the back yard are over, but she seems pretty content with her new, quieter life.


10369496 569147683199452 1216687991 n 300x300 Legos & Work & LifeI started the week running 2.5 miles at 12’11” pace. A month ago, I hurt myself with shin splints & cramps, limping for 2 days & taking an entire week off from the treadmill. I’m not entirely sure what happened, except I think I had a hard day & pushed through it with a funky gait & then BAM! legs screaming. It’s been a slow build up since then, increasing by only 20% each week & on Monday, I felt I could keep going but stopped myself.

I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or incredibly, fearfully dumb to hold myself back, but the point is that I’m only .60 from running a 5K without dying. Which is perfect, considering my first 5K is scheduled for late June.


Right now the boys are still sleeping upstairs & my coffee is hot & I’m 20 pages in to my first summer book. (Lone Survivor, not an affiliate link, on loan from a friend. Anyone read it?)

It’s funny how life seems boring but then I stop & realize these little things are my life. & it’s pretty fantastic.


There is something about mothers.

by Beth Anne on May 13, 2014

When I was a little girl, my favorite days were the ones when my mother came to school. For lunch or a class party or a play…I thought she was beautiful & she’d wear her perfume & lipstick & I couldn’t wait to show her off.

She was my mother, only mine, & I was the luckiest girl in the whole world.

mothersday There is something about mothers.

On Friday I put on a sundress & lipstick & my magnolia perfume & walked through the preschool doors for a Mother’s Day tea. Harry ran over quietly & squeezed me tight, his lips pressed together in a proud smile, the kind where I know he’s just bursting inside. He led me to a little chair & brought the strawberry he dipped in chocolate pudding just for me & crawled into my lap when I told him it was the best tea party I’d ever attended.

I’m his, only his, & I am still the luckiest girl in the whole world.


Prepping for Summer at the Pool

by Beth Anne on May 12, 2014

It’s May. MAY! How did that happen? Where did the spring go? Why are the yearly dues for the pool already…well, due? I’m sitting in my living room & the chestnut tree in our front yard bloomed perfect pink & yellow blossoms & I’m writing a check, sealing our entire summer of sunshine & chlorine. I can feel the warmer sunshine & the air conditioning hums. For so many cold months, Doug & I promised Harrison that the warm weather would come again, that the pool would eventually open after Mother’s Day, right around Momma’s birthday. It seemed so far away at the time & yet here we are, trading out jeans for shorts & planning strawberry-picking playdates & garage sales. I spent the majority of Saturday digging through closets & the garage, pulling out items we no longer need or want & I stumbled upon our pool bag. Big & canvas with our last name embroidered & it still smelled like sunscreen. In the hot months, we keep the bag at the base of our stairs, ready to grab after long days in the office. It’s stocked with sunscreen & snacks & freshly washed towels, even extra sunglasses & goggles. The sunshine does wonders for my soul but the fast transition between office & pool with an excited preschooler in tow can send my stress levels through the roof. Like any part of parenting, I’ve found that being able to anticipate emergencies & pack ahead keeps the excitement & anticipation at a manageable (& fun) level.

  • Sunscreen: People, do not play around with skin cancer. Cover yourself.
  • Extra towels: I always keep a few extras, especially in May & June when the water is still chilly & warm, dry towels are needed to stay warm during break.
  • Double-duty shampoo: We eat dinner at the pool on weeknights, so bathing in the clubhouse locker rooms means Harry can play longer & just hop in bed when we get home.
  • Lotion: Because chlorine is brutal on the skin. It causes itchy, dry skin so when he’s out of the shower, I cover both of us in gentle, fragrance-free lotion like Curél® Itch Defense® Lotion and it seems to have work it’s magic overnight.
  • Dry clothes: I stick these in a gallon zip-lock bag for after the shower.
  • Hats: The sun can get tough when you’re out for 4+ hours on weekends.
  • Entertainment: books, cards, a bag of pennies to dive for.
  • Snacks: I always stick a few non-crumbly, non-melting snacks in the pockets for emergencies. Raisins & squeeze packs & fruit snacks are great options.

poolbag 1024x7681 Prepping for Summer at the Pool

Only 3 more weeks until our pool is open & y’all, I really cannot wait. The winter was so long & the spring so cool that we are all ready to live outside. But come to think of it, I might want to throw a blanket in my bag. I’m pretty sure that the pool water will be frigid thanks to that awful winter. & I should probably make sure my bathing suit still fits.

And now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, tell me in the comments below how do you beat summer skin irritation?

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