Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Medieval

The Louisiana Renaissance Festival on Sunday was a lot of fun! We at roasted turkey legs, scotch eggs, and Shepard's pie. We saw a skeleton puppet named Ded Bob do stand up, a wench show, a falconry show, a joust (which seemed to have taken a great deal of it's inspiration from WWE, and a juggling duel that involved the losing juggler rolling across a stage covered in mouse traps. The funniest thing about the festival was that there are apparently people (who own VERY elaborate costumes) who go to fair after fair, year after year. We definitely heard how Ded Bob was better when he was a strolling attraction who started out at the Texas Ren Fest, and met a guy who had seen the wench show "hundreds of times." I didn't wear a costume (just my sweet new old man hat), but my darling fiance wore a kilt, and my friends Sarah and Jon dressed up like a king and queen. I took lots of pictures, of course. Here are a few of my favorites.

Everyone watching the falconry show

Queen Sarah speaks softly but carries a big...hammer

King Jon would like to Axe you a question. :P

Scotland Forever!

My darling fiance's costume earned him lots of compliments!

Newsies, Merlin, and Braveheart?

Braveheart with Queen Sarah and King Jon (and Merlin)


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon 2: Electric Boogaloo

Last year, the 1/2 Marathon was my first ever. This year it was my third. I'm proud to say that today I set a new personal record, beating last year's time by 2 minutes (and last month's time by 10!), running 13.1 miles in 1:56:57.
Much like last year- it was SO COLD this morning. Driving over, my car thermometer said it was 38 degrees! Fortunately, it was pretty sunny and by the end of the race it was in the mid-50's. Overall, it was a gorgeous day for a run and the time really flew by for me for the most part. Around 10.5 miles, I started really flagging and my running buddy Margee had to remind me to eat the Gu chomps I had in my belt, and the last 3 miles were pretty tough. Fortunately, I knew that I had a good shot at a new PR which kept me motivated!

Pros of this race:
The T-shirt is long sleeved and the design always makes me smile. What's better than a long sleeved race t-shirt? A long sleeved race t-shirt with a rocket on it!
Whatever energy drink they provided tasted really good. It wasn't too sweet at all.
After the race, there were Nilla Wafers and cups of hot chicken soup. Bliss!!
It's a fast run- flat and uncrowded.
It's cheap- it was $25 prior to Nov. 22 and $30 on race day.

If you run this race alone, you will be bored. It's a small race and there are long stretches where there aren't that many people. It's also not all that scenic- you're running down a road with woods and nondescript buildings along side it for the most part. There are a couple airplanes and booster tanks at one point, but that's about it.

Overall- I like to run this race because I'm on the coast anyway for Thanksgiving and it's a great excuse to eat all the stuffing I can fit in my face. :) Also, I've gotten times I'm proud of both years I've run it. If the opportunity arises, I'd definitely run it again!

As for recovery, I'm doing basically the same thing I did after the Jazz Half Marathon- today I got home, napped, did runner's yoga, then took an Epsom salt bath. Tomorrow, I'll be doing a lot of walking b/c I'm going to the Louisiana Renaissance Festival with a bunch of my friends. So far I'm in more pain than I was last time, but I think that's b/c I had to drive half an hour back to my parents' house after the race and then an hour and a half back to New Orleans this evening, so my legs are kind of stiff. They're not too bad though!

How did you spend your long weekend?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I'm in Gulfport right now, and I was way too busy stuffing my face to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving yesterday. :) After lunch yesterday, all the guys (my darling fiance, dad, brother and brother's friend Heath) went to Natchez to go hunting, and my mom and I had a girl's night with my brother's girlfriend Stacy and Heath's wife Ashley (and their sweet baby, Zaiden). We watched Mamma Mia and ate candy and popcorn. Yum!

Today, Mom and I woke up at a reasonable time (8am) and went to the local outlet mall to check out the Black Friday deals. We wandered around for a couple hours and I got some nice stuff. The best things I got were 3 pairs of work pants (buy 1 get 2 free at Bass!), a really warm wind and waterproof jacket with a soft fuzzy lining (also from Bass), and a really awesome old man hat from the Gap. I'm obsessed with it. :)
Tomorrow morning I'm running in the Stennis Space Center Half Marathon. I'm really excited b/c last year's was my first ever half marathon. This will be my third. It's supposed to be really cold, which makes for two things: an uncomfortable wait at the start line, and a good, fast race! I'm looking forward to it. Plans for the rest of the day include taking mom to TJ Maxx to look for sheets, picking up my race registration, and meeting Grace for pasta at Salute.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


New plan! Instead of going to Portugal for our honeymoon, we are now going to Spain!
To make a long story short, I won 2 free tickets to Europe at a conference last year and we couldn't use them to go to Portugal in April (due to the Spring being a popular travel time and there not being many flights to Lisbon) so after spending a LOT of time with customer service, we managed to make a trip to Spain work out!
Not that I'm complaining because a free trip is a free trip, and I think that Spain is going to be awesome! So it's time to brush up on my Spanish! Anyone have a Rosetta Stone they want to lend me? :)

Has anyone ever been to Spain? Where should I go? What should I see?

Friday, November 19, 2010


It's kind of funny how many comet names would make trendy childrens' names.
I particularly think that "Arend, Biela, Brooks, Clark, Daniel, Faye, Finlay, Gale, Gunn, Halley, Hartley, Helin, Hill (I went to high school with a Hill), Howell, Levy, Lovas, Maury, Ory, Russel, Swift, Swan, Taylor, Tempel, and Wolf" sounds like more like a Kindergarten class roll than a selection of comets.

DO you like trendy names or do you prefer traditional ones?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shelly's Christmas Gift Guide (Part 2)

I'm sure you all were waiting with baited breath for my gift suggestions for the gentleman in your life. (And if not, just leave me and my delusions of grandeur in peace.)

I really love shopping for guys. I think menswear is classic and appealing and timeless in a way that women's clothing is not (as an aside, I probably can't pull off these lady's wingtips, can I?) and there are so many neat gadgets marketed towards men! (On a related note, I gave up playing with girls toys when I was a little kid b/c my brother's toys were way more fun.) So overall, coming up with this half of my gift guide has been a lot of fun! (And right after I typed this paragraph, my friend Bonnie, who is apparently a mind reader, sent me a link to a great blog- Tomboy Style. Now I seriously want the wingtips!)

First I'd suggest you check out the new L.L. Bean Signature Collection and the new Land's End Canvas collection b/c I think they've done a good job of making these with an eye to a younger consumer. The styling is more current, and the fits are more tailored- but I think that they both have a lot of casual but classic appeal.

For dressier clothing, I'd check out Brooks Brothers and J. Press (home of the Chuck Bass scarf). J Peterman has some cool stuff if you don't mind the uncertainly of ordering something from an illustration (excuse me while I go drool over the lambskin flight jacket).

For a sportsman's kind of look- I'd go to Kevin's or Orvis.

And of course, there's always Jcrew. I've been really loving their men's shoes lately.

I'm also loving the ties and bowties from Southern Proper.

I've had good success giving men bags as gifts as well. Messenger bags, weekend bags, and shooting bags always come in handy.

As far as gizmos go, I'm always amused by ThinkGeek. I think that whiskey stones, fire starter knives, samuri sword umbrella, moleskin notebooks, a portable hammock, and a coffee cup power inverter, are all cool gifts. The entire site is worth pouring over and I think that they have a lot of stuff that's great for kids as well. I'll keep it brief, but their kitchen gadgets section alone is a thing of joy- who doesn't want a zombie head cookie jar, science themed cookie cutters, a brass knuckles corkscrew (true story I almost bought a clutch with brass knuckles as a handle at the thrift store last week!), a build your own crazy drinking straw kit, a pi ice-cube tray (okay maybe that's just me...), an egg cuber, or a pirate toast maker?

For entertainment, I like to give boxed sets of movies and TV shows as gifts. Star Wars always seems to be appreciated. (As a bonus, here's a really funny video on Talking to your Kids about Star Wars that my darling fiance sent to me last night.)

I'll wrap this up with some outdoorsy gift ideas. I shop for the hunters and fishermen in my life at Cabela's (Pretty much the only thing that makes my dad happier than a gift card from Home Depot is one from Cabela's). Sigg water bottles are great, useful gifts that come in a lot of cool colors. It's always a good idea to check out the deals on things like camping gear at Overstock.com. (Right now, there's a pretty good deal on cast iron skillets, for example.) I also think this telescope is really cool. (I think this would be a good gift for a guy with kids- my dad bought me and my brother a telescope for Christmas one year and we all looked at the stars together for years after that!) And if you live somewhere that actually has a winter- snowshoes could be a pretty cool gift as well!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sewing Party!!

My friends and I have been completely inspired by the blog New Dress A Day, and decided to get together, take a trip to the thrift store, alter whatever we found, and wear it out! I think the results were really great!
My dress ended up needing the least TLC of anyone's, but I also tailored my friend Stephanie's dress down from a size 18 to a 6, so I definitely did my part today. I've made a few mosaics to show our before and after pictures. Overall, I will say that altering a dress is way easier than sewing a dress from a pattern, and I will be scouring thrift stores for more alterable finds in the future because this was entirely too much fun!!

My dress didn't need much work- but the bell sleeves had to go!
I did all the sewing for Steph's dress- we took it from an 18 to a 6!
Sarah T. chose a blue skirt that fit perfectly and paired it with an Eli Tahari shirt that needed some help. She removed the sleeves and gave it a new collar!Sarah L. found a very long striped taffeta skirt- it was adorable once she made it a mini!

We all also found several additional items at the thrift store that we loved and brought home. Have you ever found something amazing at a thrift store?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shelly's Christmas Gift Guide (Part 1)

Since the holidays are rapidly approaching, I thought that putting together a little list of gift ideas would be fun! So if you're looking for gift ideas this year, I hope I can provide some inspiration. For this guide, I'll be linking to things that are primarily girly. Part two will focus on gifts for guys.

Homemade- I think that baked goods make wonderful homemade gifts. Choose something that's easy to make in bulk and keeps well like Scottish shortbread, meringues, or if you're feeling creative, you can make a cake in a jar! (Cake in a jar can be made two ways- you can bake it in the jar, which means that it will last up to 6 months, but the downside is that you can't frost it. Alternately, you can bake a cup cake and then put it in a jar along with frosting for an adorable presentation. I think both are great ideas. Here's a another link in case you are team pie.)

Paper- I LOVE paper products. I think that cards and stationary are great gifts because they fall right into that "this is so nice but not something I'd buy for myself category." Also, it harkens back to that golden age when people wrote letters instead of email. I'm a huge fan of Crane and Kate Spade stationary.

For the dreamer- I love sleepy time presents like herbal tea, lavender eye pillows, cute slippers, and PJ's! (A note on those PJ's- my darling fiance has two pairs of Brooks Brothers PJ's and the fabric is so soft. Highly recommend.)

For the reader- Kindles are great because you can get books, papers, and magazines! Plus, they solve that pesky problem of having to balance packing space versus reading needs (I usually need at least 2 books for a long trip!) when you travel.

For the fitness enthusiast- I'm not advocating that you give a gym membership to someone who isn't a religious gym goer (because that could possibly be misconstrued), but if you are looking for a gift for someone who loves a particular activity- gear is always appreciated. For runners, I'd suggest a spibelt, running clothes, or a sample pack of Gu. Yoga enthusiasts might like a gift certificate for sessions at their favorite yoga studio (ditto for Pilates studios) or a little something from Lululemon. A camelbak is a great gift for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors.

Jewelry and accessories- obviously the options in this category are practically infinite, but here are a few things I think are awesome. I love this clutch, all of these five necklaces, this pin, these too. And since I hear that in some parts of the country (not New Orleans this year, apparently) there' a thing called winter- knitwear can also make a great gift.

Obviously there are tons of gift options that I haven't covered like books, wine, and decorative Christmas platters (you laugh, but I was pretty thrilled to receive several last year since I host a yearly Christmas party), but one lowly blogger can't do it all! Stay tuned for part two- gifts for the guys.

What's your favorite thing to give as a Christmas gift?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've never been incredibly adept with makeup. I feel like some girls are just born with an innate understanding of how to apply it, whereas I'm lucky if I remember to slap on some lip gloss before I leave the house in the morning. ( I do wear light foundation, mascara and blush, for the record. It's just that nothing stays on my lips anyway!)
There are several reasons I'm not a huge makeup person. My mom never wore very much in the way of makeup, I am generally running late in the morning and don't like to spend any extra time getting ready, and I have very small facial features (which I don't think can really carry a lot of makeup- if that makes sense).
I do, however, like to amp up my look a little bit for special occasions in which I will be photographed repeatedly. So this means that I have to think about wedding makeup.

I think I want to do it myself.

I remember when I was in high school and college, getting one's makeup done for a special occasion (at least in the bustling metropolises....metropoli....metropolai? of Natchez and Hattiesburg) meant going to Dillard's or McRae's (which doesn't even exist any more! Clearly, Belk's bought McRae's just to make me feel old!) and getting your face done at the Estee Lauder or Clinique counter.
In all truth I wasn't really a fan of their work. You know the saying that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail? I guess the deep south equivalent is that when all you have is a makeup brush, everything looks like a contestant in a Miss Mississppi Pageant.

Not the look I'm going for

I'd say my least favorite experience at the hands of a Clinique girl was when I was being prepared for a sorority formal and she said "Oh! You have the tiniest eyes and lips!" While proceeding to attack me with purple eye shadow. Yeah, That's not really a compliment.

Although I could use the makeup artist at my salon on my wedding day, I have a couple of other reasons besides my distateful experiences at the hands of the Estee Lauder girls for wanting to do my own makeup.
1) I'll need to touch up my makeup throughout the day anyway.
2) It seems like a good chance to splurge....I mean, invest in, some nice makeup!
3) I think that if I do it myself, it will be more "me."


So...thoughts? advice? tips? Any favorite products to suggest?
I'm thinking about going to either Sephora or Mac to buy the makeup I'll use....

Are you one of those girls who "gets" makeup or do you find it a little intimidating like I do?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


My darling fiance's mother gave us a KitchenAid mixer as an early (and greatly appreciated) wedding gift. I wanted to try it out today, so I decided to make meringues! I've never actually had meringues (although I love lemon meringue and key lime pie), but I thought they'd be the perfect thing to make in my mixer since they are so difficult to make by hand. Luckily, they turned out to be simple and delicious with the help of my mixer.
I used a recipe posted by Jenna at Eat Live Run, and added mini dark chocolate chips because someone in her comments suggested doing so. I'm glad I did because the rich chocolate was the perfect counterpoint to the airy sweetness of the sweetened egg whites.
Basically, I just mixed 3 egg whites, 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar, and 3/4 of a cup of sugar until the egg whites formed stiff glossy peaks, then folded in 1/2 a cup of mini-chocolate chips. I used two spoons to plop little meringue clouds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and baked them at 200 F for nearly two hours. Mine took longer than Jenna's recipe called for and I think it's because mine were bigger meringue blobs rather than the little meringue kisses she made- so adjust your time according to the size of your meringue. Just don't open the oven for a least an hour if you don't want your meringues to crack!
When the meringues were done, they were hard on the outside, and they got slightly harder as they cooled. The insides were spongy and full of air. (and chocolate!) They're so good that I'm not sure I'm going to be able to take them to work to share!

Hello, Gorgeous

Egg whites and cream of tartar
Let's get this party started!

Something's Happening!Wow! All that delicious fluff from 3 little egg whites!

Adding Chocolate Chips
Happy Little Clouds
The finished meringues. I ate two of them right after I took this picture!
What's your favorite dessert?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wedding Inspiration Update

It's been a while since I've blogged about wedding stuff, but I spent some time tonight updating my wedding inspiration board. I've split it into three boards- one for the ceremony, one for the picnic (we are taking advantage of the Peristyle since we have it all day by having a picnic between the morning wedding and evening reception, to refresh your memory), and one for the reception.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finish Line

I found a picture of me, Margee, and Jen finishing the Jazz Half in the photo album from their website. I'm making a pretty tortured face. Can you tell I was pushing it at the end?
Also, how amazing are Margee's pink leopard leggings? :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Goody Two Shoes

In the past two days, I've voted, gotten my flu shot, had my oil changed, worked out, and and eaten plenty of veggies. I've been so responsible! Bleh! :)
As far as my recovery from the half marathon, it couldn't have been better. I swam on Sunday like I planned, then spent the afternoon walking around the quarter and tailgating for the Saints game. I though I had probably over done it in terms of being on my feet so I took another Epsom Salt bath and I had almost no pain on Monday, which would normally be my worst day in terms of soreness.
Sunday was a lot of fun. I got to see my friends from college, Belmont and Brittany, who I haven't seen in a couple of years. I also sold my costume for the day (a pair of cat ears that were really cute, but at least 4 years old) to a random lady at Pat O' Brian's for $20 (which was way more than I paid for them!) The coolest thing was that my friend Jon won the costume contest at Pat O's and got $100!
He was teen wolf!