Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Old Me

As a child in school, we were often asked at the beginning of the school year to describe ourselves. One word that would more than often come up was “shy.” Shy Sylvia. It stuck around for most of my life, high school and even in the early years of college: Je suis timide (French class).

A few years ago I was given the opportunity - several times - to come out of my shell and show the world what’s inside, but I was still too timide. I have a friend whom I've had for a few years now that finally broke me out of that shell. This summer was that moment. I don’t know what came through me... maybe it was a change that was needed at a chance that was there to take. I grabbed it by the horns. Although I don’t remember what kicked it off, I do remember the moments thereafter.

I was never one to get up and get jiggy with it (yeah, I said it); I would be the one holding the wall up, or keeping the seat warm, drink in hand and shuffling my feet down below. I felt the music inside me, but that energy was too concerned about opinion showing itself. I didn’t like that feeling: caring what others thought of my sassy dance moves. I wanted to dance and that was that.

So it happened. One night, while out celebrating my freedom, liberation - whatever the reason - with my good friend Linda, I started dancing: feet, body, arms and ALL! There I was, Shy Sylvia, NO MORE! I loved it! Another sense of freedom rushed through me - I knew this feeling before, and I know it again now. It was great; I felt accomplished, energized, satisfied. I wanted more of it! We were at a place where people danced whatever their body felt; no matter how funny or awkward or “stupid” they looked, they were letting it happen. Seeing that definitely helped in getting those sassy moves onto the dance floor. Let’s dance!

Trying some shoes on for my next outing. Nice!

Linda and I at the Dave Nada show.

Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from doing what you want. If you like it, you like it; if you love it, you love it, and that’s that! Whether it be dancing in public (like me) or accomplishing some other task, get it done and get it done now. Life is what we make of it, so make it happen. Take the bull by the horns, ride 'til you die…‘til the wheels fall off. Cheers to life!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Linda's Gift Guide: Boyfriend/Husband/Brother Edition

It feels like everyone has gotten into the Christmas spirit early this year (sooner than usual, if that's possible), and their excitement is contagious! I'm festive! I can't wait to wrap presents for my loved ones, choose the perfect Secret Santa gifts, laugh my butt off during White Elephant exchanges, and see everyone's face light up when they uncover the mystery in a box!

This year the spirit has got me and I have tons of gift ideas. I wanna share them with you! I'm going to do a weekly gift guide on what to put under the tree for your nearest and dearest.

First up: Boyfriends/Husbands/Brothers

This J. Crew chambray tie is a little pricey at $83, but I'm a J. Crew groupie, so deal. I'm sure it would be easy to find an alternative at a cheaper price.

Williams Sonoma has Star Wars cooking everything! I love the Star Wars Spatula Set and Pancake Molds. I also found this here Star Wars toaster. What dude doesn't like Star Wars? Cooking has never been so fun. $10-$30

Blu-ray DVDs. Yeah, so impersonal, right? But you know that little PS3 they bought? They like to play with that shit. They want every chance to say things like "picture quality" or "1080p" and other terms that I don't care about. Blu-rays are that chance. And you know what? Half Price Books has them [in-store] for about $10. I suggest something like I Saw the Devil.

The Moment Watch in Gun Metal (Mesh) by Flud. Just because it's sleek. $80

Guys really like knives. Nobody really knows what they do with them, but it's a rite of passage. Maybe he'll let you hold it. $25

A cool Paris print. $19

Or maybe a Thom Yorke print. They even got the wonk-eye correct. $20

Telescope!!!!! You never walk into a dude's place, see a telescope, and cringe. NO! You stick your head in the eyepiece and say, "You're a bad-ass and I want to have your scientist children!" $35

This solid wood iPhone dock amplifies music naturally, so that means no cords! For a person that hates cords, I love this. Downside: they're no longer able to ship holiday orders. But! They'll send you a card to give to your loved one on Christmas so they know it's on its way! Mini and iPad versions also available. $70-$90   

Such a simple yet dope Batman money clip. $40

Sometimes knick-knacks are acceptable. Such is the case with Cubebot. $35
And there's no reason to break the bank, either. Put some time, effort, and lovin' into your gifts. 

DIY suggestions:
  • Make him a crochet bow tie. (I would be highly jealous if you did this.)
  • You can create a 2012 calendar along with a corresponding mixtape (one song for each month).  Maybe for August, your anniversary month, you can decorate your calendar with a picture of when you first started dating and include the song you first made out to on your mixtape. For a fancy effect, you can get your calendar bound at any office supply store. And don't forget to circle important days on the calendar! He'll have no excuse for missing special days!
  • But if he still manages to miss a special day, you'll forgive him with this Get Out of Jail Free card. You can give him one to use during a fight. Fine print optional.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My dog drives me crazy!

I have a black pug who is absolutely insane! His name is Charlie, and he loves to bark at planes or anything that walks by. It gets annoying when you have a sleeping baby in the next room. You would think that pugs wouldn't bark as much as a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian, but they do. He loves to whine...yes, I said whine. He does that little puppy cry whenever he wants something. Most of the time he does it when he wants to go outside. He likes to sniff peoples armpits. Don't ask me why he just does. He likes to follow me around. Where ever I go Charlie is right behind me. Sometimes I wish I would have gotten that adorable little white dog instead of this crazy pug. At the end of the day I still love my crazy, weird, annoying dog.

This is Charlie my crazy dog! Don't be fooled - he is seriously insane!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Standing Only Dress

Recently I wore a skirt that was what I refer to as "standing only". A "standing only" can be a skirt, dress, top, or pants. It's anything that you can't really sit down in, either because it will ride up (in my situation) or because it's too tight. Victoria Beckham once wore a dress that she had to stand in all day, too. It was a beautiful Roberto Cavalli dress modeled after a Chinese Ming vase.

Victoria in a standing only Roberto Cavalli dress
Victoria Beckham asked Roberto Cavalli to model the dress just like the vase and take the bottom in so much that she had to stand the whole time!

It's a great risk to wear one of these, especially since you have to commit to standing the whole time you have it on. This proves very unpractical at times, but us girls (and some guys) will do anything for fashion!

Since I feel I've become quite the pro at this, I've learned a few tricks to get me through the day:
  • Don't wear shoes that will hurt more than half an hour
  • Don't wear these outfits anywhere you will have to sit down (restaurants, plays, church, work, etc.)
  • Perfect places to wear these to are art shows, parties, clubs, some weddings - but only if you're gonna commit to standing through the event
  • Wear these outfits with someone who will be there to help you bend down or pick things up that fall
  • Don't try to sit, kneel, or hop a fence (I learned the hard way). Recognize your limits and stick to 'em.
And before you start judging and saying this is dumb or superficial, save it! Women are still going to do it so you'll be wasting your breath!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things Women Should Not Do

Girl Power is super in this year. Actually, it's been around since our female role models drilled it in our heads when we were growing up that we could do anything. It's turned some females into self-entitled hardheads, but I digress. Contrary to what yo mama says, there are some things you just can't do:

1. Feel guilty for wearing flats. I've known (shallow) dudes that have gotten salty with women for wearing flats. Oh, so we're supposed to teeter through life in some 5-inch stilettos? No, sir. I love heels and I'd wear them every moment if they were practical. They hurt after hours of wear. I'm not gonna wear heels to Six Flags or to walk across campus. I know guys want us to constantly bring pleasure to the eye, but it's not possible. Embrace flats. They make you less cranky and more cutesy. When some of these "men" grow seven inches, manage to wear jeans with no holes, or caps without hologram stickers on them, then maybe we can reconsider this.

2. Wear heels to Six Flags. As much as I wish this memo will be received by the masses, it won't. I'm gonna see a chick awkwardly strolling through an amusement park, thinking she looks fine and is making her man proud. No. And I wish I was joking about these women's lack of common sense.

3. Con a dude into buying you a drink/flat-out asking for a drink. These women are brave. Y'all are on that whole independent, I-pay-my-own-bills tip on Twitter during the week, but come the weekend, you're scamming dudes to save $10. You know what you need to save? Your dignity. Ditch the fake smile and buy your own damn drink.

4. Take 27 self-camera-shots in a car or bathroom mirror. Honey, that's what your friends are for: to take pictures of your everlasting beauty for all to covet. That's not your job. (Side-note: isn't it always pleasingly awkward to catch someone taking a picture of themselves when they think no one is looking?)

5. Drive trucks [they can't drive]. If you're struggling to successfully park or reverse a truck, you do not need to be driving that monstrous thing. If you're constantly on the fritz about running over a small person when you're driving a truck, you do not need to drive it. If these things are no sweat to you, you may drive that truck and may god have mercy on all of our souls.

6. Hide your crazy from your friends. You beat on the door of your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend's house in the middle of the night. You might have said he had syphilis (not true). And you might have let on that you were pregnant (also untrue?). Do not hide these tales from your friends. Re-telling the story while someone laughs at the situation makes you feel like you're not crazy, you're just reeeeaaally funny! And then they'll start spilling their own crazy confessions! Suddenly, you don't feel so alone anymore! We're all crazy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This is not a phase

It began with a 1966 Ford F-150: sea foam green, rustic but running. I hated that truck when I was younger, freshman in high school. I was embarrassed to say the least. By graduation, I didn’t care what everyone else thought - about anything. I saw that truck and saw potential. I loved that my dad kept it running by whatever means necessary. I loved that the radio was still there, knobs and numbers, but got no reception whatsoever. Everything inside was original, except he made it a standard. When I mean everything, I mean everything! The seal on the windows, the seat, and the door handles, the mirrors, the engine! Have you ever seen the engine of a classic truck? Well, you could see the ground straight through, unlike today’s vehicles. I would have loved to see that truck restored and on the road with my dad driving it. I tried once, ordered us a parts magazine: LMC Truck. They have everything I could imagine!
Knobs, seals, decals! I enjoyed the times when my dad would work on his truck and I would be nosy and watch to learn. He would shoo me away, stubborn as I am, I stayed.

Next in the family: a 1956 Chevy, dark blue. I never saw it running, for it was sold before restorations were made to it. That classic had potential as well; it was never given a chance.

I’ve been to many classic car shows since those days and it makes me want to restore one of my own more and more. When I get my chance, I would keep it simple, clean, classic. No CD players inside, no fancy air conditioning (if it never had it), no low-rider status. I want to keep the vehicle as it was in its heyday. Then, I want to drive around in it on the weekends and cruise the town with Benny and his friends in tow. Maybe even drop him off at school in it. Dreams!

Have you even seen the movie: CARS? If you have kids, you probably have. It’s a great movie; make sure to watch the bonus material. This is the scene that I love.

Here are a few shots of the latest classic car show I went to:

I don't agree with the wheel choice on this one so much...

reminds me of the one on Beetlejuice!

Driving Benny around in this one, with his friends!

In my driveway,one day!

notice the "air conditioner" love!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Edition of DIY Di

Its time to let you guys see another one of my fave DIY loves! This little project was one of the first homemade fixtures I completed when we moved into our place. It has MADE my little sunroom into a little piece of heaven. It’s a place we can relax and read our books to find more great ideas and inspiration!! It provides a soothing place to sit back and listen to our music to unwind from the day. Its OUR little room.
The project was brought to us by the Salvage Sisters' awesome book! My fiancé found them while we lived in the apartments, and bought the book for me to gather inspirational ideas (he’s sweet like that). Once we turned to page 66, we knew it had to belong in our soon-to-be new home. 

So off we went to find some of these:

I found these on the side of the road! I love love love curb-side shopping!!!! Don’t be a judger!

And turn them into this:
you can use it to store all sorts of stuff! we decided to use ours as a book shelf but you can store your knick-knacks, plants, vases, records, dvds - anything!

Supplies are super easy to find, and fast to assemble. Do yourself a favor and go buy this book if you love the idea as much as we do! These ladies are so creative and, throughout their book, they share many of their DIY projects. What I loved about them the most was that they love curb-side shopping as much as I do! They have such an eye for designing with found/FREE stuff! So next time - before you throw away that dresser/curtain/chair/table/anything - take a good long look at it and imagine a new beginning!

they provide step-by-step guidance on how to build your new shelves and have many more DIY inspirations too!

My apologies about not providing pics over the process, but we built it on a late night, and completely forgot to capture the awesomeness! OK, OK... when I say "we" I mean the fiancé with the man power tools in hand and me directing and designing it.

We plan on and can continue adding on if space is needed. That's another reason why this project is so awesome! So if you guys have drawers that need a home, I am adopting!
I love our room!
go ahead...you know you want to....love and admire!

Now go home and build something out of nothing!!!! Restore and reuse people! And please, please, let this girl know if you run into something awesome to DIY... I'm always looking for the design high!

-this girl (DIY DI!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting ready for the holidays!

I'm really excited about all the upcoming holidays! I love the smell of fall. You get to burn pumpkin spice candles, and set up all your decorations. I found these really cute lights at Target - they are mummy lights. I'm definitely going to get those. Also, the pumpkin patch at the farmers market will be setting up soon. I can't wait to get Ari's first pumpkin!

Halloween is the first to come, and Ari's costume is on its way (thanks, Di)! Every year we go to my mother-in-law's house and pass out candy. That is the place to be on that particular day. Hundreds of kids come out to trick-or-treat. It's so much fun to see all the different costumes. Some are very creative! We just have to make sure to be prepared for all the traffic. It seriously gets crazy!!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ladies, This Is an Intervention

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies.

Wear a gosh darn bra that fits. Y'all are driving me crazy when y'all walk around with sagging boobs, "wide" boobs, or spillage at the top/sides of the bra. I know y'all spend enough time in the mirror to catch these blunders. You girls at the club are the worst... maybe you think you're cute struttin' your stuff to Drake in your little leopard-print strapless, but girl,your rack... that strapless bra is doing you no favors, and your boobs are down to your belly button. Hell. No. Ain't no boy buying you a drink that night.

But I can help you.

First, you need to accept your bra size. Whether you think you're too big, or too small, it is what it is and you need to own it. I like to ask people their bra sizes because I'm nosy. Some of y'all straight up claim a C-cup when it's evident that your breasts are larger than two toddler heads. Not only do you lie to me, but you lie to yourself when you buy a 34C bra. You're looking a hot mess because you don't want to face that you're a 36DD. Skinny little straps make you sag. Wearing smaller cups because you think they lift is non-sense, because now you're spilling. And only smaller-busted people can get away with a strapless and avoid sagging (sorry to crush your dreams). None of that is cute, or flattering.

Secondly, fork over the money. Bras should be pretty and bras should do their job. Always. Cheap bras usually only have the cuteness down, so you're going to have to pay a little more to look sexy and have support. But the beauty of this is that you never need to pay full-price for a good bra. Money shouldn't be an issue when there are sales galore at department stores, and especially online. A bra is an investment.

Lastly, quit being lazy. You need to go get yourself measured. Department stores and Victoria's Secret do it for free. Those ladies are so nice and have soft hands and mousy voices and they're your fitting room slaves. Try bras on. And know that it takes time to find The One. Don't settle on a bra that is not cute or not supportive. Keep looking for a perfect match for yourself - there's a bra for everyone. And you'll fall in love when you find it. The whole universe aligns and it's magic. Promise.

So there's my rant! Give in, ladies. Ill-fitting bras make you look "unsmooth" and actually make you look bigger than you are. You don't want that, do you? Then invest in a great brassiere - there are few greater joys. It will make you feel more confident and comfortable, and I swear your clothes will look better. Let's do our amazing bodies some justice and wear only things that compliment us. And then shake it in the club, you little vixen.


Lululemon sports bras for the busty gals. You need one of these.

Figleaves is bra paradise. And underwear paradise. And swimwear paradise. I want a gift card for my birthday. Please? Thanks.

Oprah is passionate about bras that fit. Here. Here. And here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going Back to Pre-K!

I have to go back to Pre-Kinder! I started a new job last week as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher's aide! Back to blocks, and ABC's and 123's! I love it! I love the way kids look at me with big eyes. They think I have all the answers and know how to do it all. Most of all, I love the way they say my name, Mrs. Gonalez, as Mrs. Gonalez (somehow they lose the Z).

I've noticed a few things being a Pre-K TA. A big one is not being able to wear heels! I have to wear comfortable clothing and lots of cotton, as I do a lot of dancing and walking around!

Also, a lot of the kids have accidents... lots of 'em. Potty accidents are the worst kind. And they love to put everything in their mouths! Glue, paste, crayons, paint, and play-doh are all materials of choice. A few other things I've noticed: they love to color and do puzzles.

Now you guys know how I love to compile lists, so I've compiled a list to help you with your own little one starting Pre-K:

  • First: potty train them! Kids have way too many accidents at school.
  • Read to your child! The more kids are read to, the better they will understand letters.
  • Let them color at home! Buy them crayons and coloring books. It develops motor skills.
  • Most importantly: let them learn. A lot of times I see parents trying to baby their 4-year-olds! They can do more than you think.
  • And lastly: be careful what your kids hear/see. They repeat it all at school! Things like "my dad works at night 'cause he's a robber!" or "I'm peeing outside 'cause that's what my dad taught me to do."
    Hopefully I'll survive the year at Pre-K!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Meddlesome Mondays

    Blushing Dames was on a little hiatus last week... we've been busy gals. But worry not, our dear readers, because we'll be back soon with more posts. Hang tight!

    Check out some pretty/inspiring/cool things I found for you to peep!

    Hey, you. Dude. In skinny jeans. Make sure the jeans fit. The jeans. Make sure they fit. And other guidelines for menswear.

    Move. Eat. Learn. 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38,000 miles, and 1 hot guy. Check out these amazing videos. The filming is amazing. I'm wanderlusting like a motha!

    Hair, skin, and make-up tips for women and men.

    Quick! Take me somewhere fancy so I can wear this gown.

    Alyson Fox is one talented lady. Aside from her gorgeous artwork (just gets better the more you scroll), she also photographs. She's releasing a new book, A Shade of Red, containing portraits of more than 100 women with only a single shade of red lipstick linking them together. Lovely.

    And your game-plan to make it through the week? Simply.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Point, Click, don't delete!

    A disposable, one-time-use Kodak camera in 1998 turned into an iPod in 2011. Remember when Eckerd would sell their re-usable cameras? Those were a hit for a period of time. Remember when Polaroid’s instant film was still sold in stores? Yeah, that was back in the day, too.

    When I was in high school, I took a photography class – a memorable photography class. It wasn’t much; nothing fancy. No state-of-the-art dark room, but it did what we wanted. I took some photos and developed them myself. I gained some friends and learned some things, but that was that. Through those years, my friends and I would take an endless amount of photographs… ENDLESS. We were obsessed with capturing everything we did, no matter what it was. To this day, I photograph the most random things. Time flies and shoe boxes fill up. I have roughly 10 shoeboxes full of photos, memories, thoughts, people I love and some I don’t know anymore, times of when things were for the young, for the careless and carefree – a photograph can capture those images… those feelings. I love to photograph what I feel is special to me. An event? A wound? A drawing? A movement, a gesture? Sure, I’ll take it. My older sister let me borrow (then have) her old 35mm manual SLR camera. I think the lens was 80mm. It’s broken now (no thanks to someone who shall remain nameless!). That was my camera of choice. It went with me to Austin, TX and back, S.L.P., Mexico and back, and then it retired, as was the film those photos were burned onto. Film, where are you? Come back to me at a decent price. Thanks.

    Fast forward a decade or so. I’m still here, doing what I did a decade ago: taking pictures of things that interest me, and people I love and care about. Nothing will change that about me. I love pictures, photographs, encapsulating those special moments that our brains can only hold so much of into a little square-digital these days, but a square on the screen nonetheless. Sure there are benefits of this digital age… just don’t hit delete by accident or forget to back-up your precious memories.

    I wish there were a way I could upload those 5K plus photos I have in those shoeboxes, but I don’t think I can live long enough to do it. Maybe when I retire, too, but by then I would have more than I could handle… that’s a good thing.

    My little gadget has helped me while being on-the-go and taking a quick flick at a moment’s notice. I love it. Being a mother, I need a camera at my fingertips at all times. Little boo can surprise me when I least expect it and I need to be ready for it.

    You, too, shouldn’t let any moment pass you by.

    miT and me,guitarist for 311!! back of Bronco Bowl, 2001...

    My eldest niece, Natalie, 2006...
    T.N., S.L.P., MX 2006...one of the best trips I've been taken on...

    Emily and I...2006...I was still in shock after announcing our newest addition...daddy in the background
    boo has grown up in art galleries all his life, yes ALL....in utero, 2007...

    fun in the summer...2011

    Boo's POV...taking photos is in his blood...2011

    be quiet and drive...2011

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    A Dream....

    Overslept! Bahhhh! That’s what happens when you are a vampire and your body refuses to see the light of day. Lately, this schedule has been taking such a toll on my body that I just don’t feel normal anymore. Things must change, but more on that some other day. For now, my apologies for the lateness of this post.

    The topic of today….. my dream.

    Some of the best times during my crazy days are spent in the shower. That is where I find my stage and become that star. Once upon a time, I had these dreams to sing but never had enough confidence or courage to do so. I loved the idea of bringing happiness to people through music and having all sorts of awesome clothes! I went from being an indie wanna-be singer to a rock en español wanna-be - I even thought about opera! It was the stage that I yearned for, and at the same time dreaded! I remember spending hours of my day just writing and listening to my fav songs to gather inspiration. Then I would hit the shower and test them out. Emo style! I loved surrounding myself with music, so I followed local bands around and stuck by one for a long time… shout out to KILOMETRO! They were living my dream, so I tagged along living vicariously through them. After jam sessions, I would linger around in hopes that I could grab that mic... and one day I did.

    I had a little over 5 songs written out and recorded about 3 that I can recall. I loved every minute in the studio where I was finally able to come out of the shower. Thanks to the help of my friend with his mad instrument skills and only fellow band member, Auggie, I was able to live a dream that I had dreamt for many years. I never went as far as hitting the stage but, for me, having my songs recorded was enough.

    As time went on, new dreams arose and I placed this one back in its location. After all, I knew that chasing this dream was going to bring many years of struggle, and I had bigger things to catch. I do often wonder what if I would have just stepped a little more into it, but I remember why I made my decision to leave it and I smile.

    Well, I shall take off now. My iPhone is on the dock and I hear my audience calling behind all the water drops. I must hit the stage!
    Yeah I sing in the shower!!! So what? It's my dream.

    -this girl, di

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Meddlesome Mondays

    From Sylvia, to you:

    This is one of my many-visited cooking sites.

    When I become a nurse, this is where I want to provide my skills.

    From Ana, to you:

    First, join Sole Society for free!

    Then check out all the shoes and newly-added boots Sole Society has to offer this month.

    From Linda, to you:

    I think I want to make a similar colorblock skirt.

    Look at these dreamy dresses, sleek hair, and red lipstick. Love!

    Tell your ego to shut it.  

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    What Next?

    I've been thinking about what I want my next series of paintings to look like. Lately, I've been working with fabric more than usual. Now I'm thinking why not try something new? I saw some of my old paintings at my cousin's house, and that's when it hit me: why not go back and try some of the techniques I tried when I was in undergrad? My paintings had so much meaning back then. They were much more colorful and abstract. I want to experiment and make a body of work that is out of my norm. Also, I would like to go to larger scale. Most of my work has been small, but I feel it's time for me to go big!

    I want to make some new paintings because I would like to build my body of work for grad school. I finally decided that it's time for me to go back to school. I'm not going to apply right away because I want to make some new work for my application. Maybe by next year I will be ready to start applying. I guess it's time for me to hit the studio. I'm glad the weather is going to change because that means the studio will be nice and fresh!

    This is some of my new work. The medium is all fabric.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Running: Love/Hate

    Me and Running? We have a love/hate relationship. Our affair was off to a great start in 2008, when Running and I were first introduced. Those were some good times - probably our best times. I would bear the 100-degree heat just to see him. And there were benefits to spending so much time with Running: he made my legs more shapely and my waist looked amazing in a pencil skirt. I was on a high every time we saw each other. We were inseparable. I was in love.

    Sadly, after a couple of years, Running and I broke up. I started having an intense affair with school, and he wasn't too happy about that. Something about me not making time for him. We did the exchanging of things: he returned my love-handles, and I gave him back the calf muscles he gifted me.

    Without Running in my life, I became moody and listless... I missed him. I tried to get back together with him, but he wasn't having it. With so much time apart, we were no longer in sync. I'd go full-throttle and give it my all, but he'd just wear me out. And gosh, Running is so needy! If I didn't see him a few times a week, our relationship got rocky. We fought every time we hung out. I wanted to give up; I hated Running.

    But somehow, we're still together. I know he'll make me feel guilty if I skip our dates, so I do my best to show up. There are days when I dread seeing him. Sometimes we'll be hanging out, and I just wanna go home. But we finish doing what we're doing, and I'm happy. The rest of my day is all smiles, and I wonder when I'm gonna see him again. I keep coming back for more. Me and Running? We're back together. I'm in love.

    Now, here are some pearls of wisdom I've learned over the course of our relationship:

    1. Make the most bad-ass running playlist, and update it often. Anything upbeat will do the trick. Sing. And don't forget your headphones.

    2. Breathe through your nose, and make your belly puffy with air when you inhale. Make your stomach tight when you exhale. This takes practice.

    3. Shades. Sunscreen. Chapstick. A quality sports bra. Water. These are non-negotiable. Trust.

    4. Nike+ keeps things interesting. For me, tracking the pace, mileage, and time of my runs is motivation. You can see your progress, and even challenge friends.

    5. Speaking of friends: invite them. You don't need to run side-by-side, but at least show up together to hold each other accountable.

    6. Replace your running shoes every 6 months or 300-500 miles! Not doing so causes shin splints, and prevents you from performing your best. I like these. And tie your shoes right!

    7. Eat food for energy. I like apples or bananas with peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, or chicken. Also, coffee helps. Let your food go down, lest you collapse from a stomach ache mid-run.

    8. Stretch. Now this is up for debate: I say don't stretch a cold muscle, so I stretch after a run (I warm-up by walking first). But others think it's best to stretch before a run. I'm no expert, so do as you please.

    9. Don't start off running all fast like a bat out of hell, only to burn out and quit. Pace yourself. You can even do intervals of walking/sprinting. With time, you'll build speed and endurance. Patience, my little darlings. Patience.

    10. It's all mind-control. Challenge yourself by going a certain distance, even if you're tired. Keep your mind on your breathing and scenery, not on how hard it is. With running, you have to tune out. That's why it's the greatest stress-reliever.

    11. Make time for running and keep going. If you miss a few days, start up again. Just do the damn thang.

    So there you have it, folks! If you have any tips, or would like to dish on your running/workout process, I'd love to hear! Take it to the comments section! Happy running!