My Favorites: Ashley and The Polkadot Alley Boutique

Having lived most of my life in Dallas suburbs, I never thought I would be saying, “Yay, I can’t wait to go shopping in Lubbock!”.  I met my wonderful husband while attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, so we travel there often to visit family and attend football games, but I never dreamt I would be itching for a trip to Lubbock so I could go on a shopping spree at The Polkadot Alley Boutique.

My college friend and sorority sister, Ashley, is the founder and let’s-be-frank “mastermind” of a little gem in the West Texas desert called The Polkadot Alley and has been on this journey since 2008.  I’m proud to know and support this woman-owned business because I’ve seen Ashley follow her dream and work tirelessly to support a business that takes time and dedication.  She is also a loving wife and mother with three precious children, so you can say she’s an inspiration and role model to all.  Ashley has been so successful with her online store and storefront boutique that The Polkadot Alley has been featured not only on the local Lubbock news and TTU Alumni magazine, but also in worldwide news publications like The New York Times.  The internet boutique business is booming, and Ashley was there at its inception, helping to bring fashion to young (and not-so-young) ladies all over the states!

ashleyphoto_collage

Even though the models featured in The Polkadot Alley are geared towards the college crowd, do not let this deter you from exploring all of the wonderful pieces they have to offer!  And if you are in the Lubbock area, go visit her boutique where you can browse the fabulous store, and maybe she will let you peek at the warehouse in the back where she has tons of racks of shopping heaven!  I’ve been known to get lost back there for hours.  Hehe…

I want to share with you some of my favorite summer and fall looks from my recent shopping sprees at The Polkadot Alley and introduce you to Ashley’s wonderful store:

Blog Summer Outfit
I LOVE Summer!!!

The Pink Romper.  I know what you’re thinking, rompers can be super scary.  I picked this romper out for fellow 3NonBlonde Amanda to try on and she threw it back over the fitting room to me.  I thought, “Why not?” and proceeded to squeeze into this amazingly flattering shorts romper.  I immediately loved this romper because it has a flirty hemline that gives it a little more length so that my booty doesn’t hang out the back.  Ashley’s store has tons of romper selections, but this has been my favorite so far.

IMG_6911
This romper pattern reminds me of fireworks!

The Crop Top.  This is the first legit crop top I have bought and worn in my life!  Ashley carries it in like 5 other colors and I’m regretting not getting one in each.  I have received tons of compliments on this crop top and have worn it with a black pencil skirt and also with shorts.  It’s an easy piece to dress up or dress down and the neckline has a beautiful embroidered pattern on it.  The Polkadot Alley has a store full of crop tops and now that I’ve mastered my confidence in them, I know I’ll be looking for more.

IMG_6901
Crop tops for work? Yes!
IMG_6144 copy
And also appropriate for Cancun!

Two Dresses for Any Season.  One of the many reasons I love The Polkadot Alley is they have many color and length choices.  Sure, I love short minis and dresses, but now that I’m 36(!), I am acutely aware of office and leisure appropriate clothing.  This is exactly what I was thinking when I spotted this delicious coral dress that hits the knee.  Ashley has it in like five different colors and also in a floor length style.  I’m too short for floor length, so I fell in love with this length because I could easily throw a cardigan or blazer on it and dress it up for work.  It’s a great color for any season.  The other dress I feel in love with was this 60’s inspired white dress with flower detail.  I traveled for work recently and wore it on a plane ride and it was pretty comfortable.  It’s a perfect A-line and doesn’t cinch but also doesn’t make you look frumpy.  It’s perfect!

IMG_6898
This color is yummy.
IMG_6907
Why yes! I am auditioning for Madmen!
Blog Fall Outfit
Fierce for fall

The T-shirt Dress(es).  Finding two t-shirt dresses that fit in length and width was a miracle in itself.  I am really thanking the fashion Gods the flared dress look is in this season.  It helps me find pieces that fit without worrying about things being way too small.  Anyway, the plum dress I found has pockets, which I love!  The black t-shirt dress is just so soft I want to live in it.  I bought it this weekend and have already worn in three times.  The week is not over, I may wear it again!  The versatility of the t-shirt dress is the reason I convinced myself to get both of them.  I can already picture throwing on a pair of boots, scarf, and moto jacket to make them fall worthy.

IMG_6904
Comfort, pockets and style…
IMG_6914
I want to live in this dress. It’s super soft.
IMG_6748
Perfect gameday dress!

I hope you enjoyed learning about The Polkadot Alley and find yourselves furiously searching the website for a new outfit!  Let us know if you have previously shopped at any online boutiques or if you have shopped at The Polkadot Alley.  I would love to hear your comments!

Social Media for The Polkadot Alley:

Facebook

Instagram

Blog

Online Store

Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Elisa & Babyzilla Makeup Tutorial!


We’re on YouTube people!!  You know how I recently fell in love with makeup and all things wonderful for face beauty?  Well, now Babyzilla has joined in the fun so we decided to do a beginner’s makeup tutorial and share with you on YouTube how we get ready everyday.  Disclaimer…I don’t let Babyzilla wear makeup everyday, she’s only allowed to “play” makeup with me and sticks to chap sticks and glosses on a regular basis.  After all, she’s only three and I want to keep her that way!

This was such a fun video to make and only afterwards when I was editing did I realize how expressive Babyzilla’s face is.  Sassy pants all the way!  I hope you like our “look” and at your request, we would be happy to do more makeup tutorials or any kind of Mommy and Me videos you may want to see of me and Babyzilla.

Babyzilla makeup
Our completed look…I still think that lipstick looks better on Babyzilla!
Babyzilla makeup 2
Get out of my spotlight Mama!

Below is the list of our beauty products:

What’s your daily makeup routine?  Do you have any tips and tricks for us?  Do you play “makeup” with your daughter?  Share in the comments section and enjoy the video!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Anniversary Date Surprise!

The husband and I are celebrating our nine year anniversary this year with another epic trip to Italy. However, because of timing and my need to hoard vacation days for another vacation later this year, our flight schedule has us landing in Rome on our actual anniversary with massive jet lag and still a full day of travel before we get to our first destination. Since sleeping on planes and trains and dragging our luggage through cities doesn’t scream anniversary, I decided to plan a small surprise before we left town.

I struggled with ideas for the surprise. A fancy dinner didn’t seem appropriate, since we are about to eat our way through all of the delicious Italian food and wine. A movie date didn’t seem right either. Instead, I booked us a time slot at iFLY Dallas. If you haven’t been before, it is basically indoor skydiving. They opened in Frisco about two years ago and we hadn’t tried it out yet. It seemed like a fun way to celebrate nine years of marriage – by doing something completely different!

I booked our appointment online and decided to add on some additional minutes to the package so that we got a bit more flight time in. We had to trek all the way to the suburbs for this, so I wanted to make the trip worth it! On the way there, I played a custom playlist to give him hints to where we were headed.

Blake guessed on the first song. Perhaps I should be a bit more obscure with the lyrics next time.
Blake guessed on the first song. Perhaps I should be a bit more obscure with the lyrics next time.

After we checked in, we had about 15 minutes to watch one of the groups before our safety class. Although I had seen some video online, watching in person was way better. By the time our safety class started, we were both pretty excited.

ifly

Before getting geared up.
Before getting geared up.

After a safety video and some important information from our instructor, we geared up with suits, goggles, earplugs, and helmets. A few pro tips:

  • Don’t wear any jewelry. There are lockers to secure your valuables, so put them there or leave them at home. This includes wedding rings.
  • Wear shoes that lace up tight. Slip on shoes can fly off and no one wants to be in a wind tunnel with your shoe.
  • Go casual – jeans or shorts and a t-shirt is just fine.
  • Your hair will be a disaster after you are done. Just own it. Bring a wide-tooth comb or just plan to rock a crazy style until you get home.

Once we were geared up it was time to start our group’s turn. I have to say it was a pretty awesome experience. You can’t hear anything in there, so it is all hand signals and maybe some lip reading as your instructor sees you are ready to try a few tricks. Blake and I learned how to move forward and back in the tunnel, as well as up and down vertically. We also learned to spin a bit, although mine needs a bit of work. I made good friends with one side of the tunnel wall.  Oops!  For the last 30 seconds of the second round the instructor grabs your suit and takes you for a fun spin up and down vertically. I loved every second of it.

After you are done, the instructor will give you a certificate and go over with you how you did and give you some pointers for the next time. Blake and I happily signed up for another package, then went out for margaritas to celebrate.

 

After! Big smiles.
After! Big smiles.

It was definitely a good choice for our anniversary and I’m glad we did something other than the usual nice dinner and drinks. What are your anniversary traditions? Share with us in the comments – I’m going to need some new ideas for the 10th anniversary next year!

Kendra Sig

I’m Not Good At Decorating!

I hear this frequently from some of my friends. I don’t think I am that good at decorating either but my friends sometimes say differently. I think what I am good at is copying actual designers. So I thought I would pass on my trade secret. Pinterest and Houzz. Unless you have been living under a rock you already have a Pinterest and possibly a Houzz page. Good, you are half way there to being a semi-professional decorator.

First, gather all your inspiration boards and look over them for similarities in the pictures and why you picked them. For me, I didn’t know I loved white kitchens and baths until I started looking back over the things I had pinned.

baths
Clean, white bathrooms with a Traditional style.
bedrooms
Neutral, calm bedrooms also in Traditional style.
kitchen
Crisp white kitchens. Traditional in style again.

After you figure out what you like you have probably narrowed down a ‘style’. If you want, there is a quiz on Houzz.com that attempts to tackle your design style by asking random questions. It told me I was Transitional which I do think is partially correct although I do tend to sway a little more traditional than modern in my decorating.

If you are decorating a whole house start with a room and work your way through the house. If you are starting with a room, pick the larger items first and then find the little decorating details later. Go to local flea markets, HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Garage Sales or anywhere else you have access to home items, you never know what you will find. Look for items that go with your style or copy exactly what you want from the Pins.

If you want to know what to do and what not to do, here are some links:

details
It’s the little things that make a home. These were things we are taking into consideration with the new home we are building.

The question I get asked the most is how to pick a paint color. My suggestion is easy, look through your Pins and catalogs and see what color continually catches your eye for a space. Go to Home Depot, Lowes, or Sherwin Williams and grab a couple color swatches in that color. But here is the trick, what ever color you think you want, ask for a small sample in the color above. Colors on paper never look the same on walls. Your eye will tell you it isn’t too dark until you get it on the wall and it is too dark. So always start with a shade lighter than you would originally pick. Get several samples and then paint the colors in small swatches on your walls in every room you intend on putting that color. Then watch. Every morning, afternoon, and evening the color will change just slightly with the light. At the end of a couple of days (or weeks if you are like me) you will find the color that is just right. If you want to skip this step and go for my favorite gray, may I suggest Sherwin Williams Big Chill. I have many friends and family members who have this color in their home and I think it is THE perfect gray.

bc
Big Chill – Sherwin Williams

In the end, remember decorating is about you and your likes. Go with what makes you happy and brings you joy. If someone else doesn’t like your style, then they can decorate their space to their liking.

What are your favorite decorating tips and tricks? Any good places to shop for fun decorating items?

Amanda Sig

Getting Over My (non)Runner’s Shame

I’ve gone through a running journey that will (God willing) probably continue for the rest of my life…yet for a long time, I refused to label myself a “runner”.

running14
My SIL Jennifer is my runspiration…I literally run after her!

I took up running when my sister-in-law Jennifer was looking for a running buddy and I was interested in losing some weight, and have been hooked ever since.  No matter if I’m training for a marathon or barely squeaking by on 5 miles a week, I have finally gotten over myself and admitted to myself that I am a runner!

I go through phases when I stop running altogether but I will still read about running, look at other runner’s instagram posts, and even sit and think about speed training programs.  Yet, even when I was looping White Rock Lake (only real runners do this on Saturdays) at the butt crack of dawn, I was somehow intimidated to call myself a full-blown runner.

Why?  I’ll tell you why…I was stuck on this idea that runners had to look a certain way.  They had to have those long, thin limbs that make them look like they can get carried away by the wind at any moment and they don’t have anything that jiggles, flops or bounces.

gollum

The reality of the sport of running is that runners come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors.  And that is what made me fall in love with running.  It’s inclusive of everyone, regardless of bodytype, and the results are undeniably good for your health.  It’s one of the only sports where you can literally go out to a park, or where ever, and join a runner’s group and no one will think you are a freaking weirdo.  They will welcome you and say, “Oh hi, what’s your PR goal?”.  Then, they will proceed to ask you about your nice running pants or shoes.  Amazing, because this actually happened to me when I joined a running group!

That’s when it all clicked for me…I am a runner.  I started looking around and found these incredible, yet normal people like me that are running like the hilarious genius of Kelly on Run, Selfie, Repeat and the mold breaking covers of the Women’s Running magazine that dared to look like this and this, and I was further inspired to show my pride for the running community that I belong to.

womensrunning-usa-083aa

Running for the past ten years has helped me overcome post-baby weight, served as therapy for stressful job situations, and helped keep my sanity when life’s pressures are threatening to spill over.   Not to mention it brought me closer to some of my dear friends like the other two NonBlondes!  My unicorn will often tell me to, “Go for a quick run” when he sees the crazy behind my eyes.  He would rather spend an hour putting kids to bed on his own than having me be a miserable mess all night because I didn’t get to put in the miles.  So, I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t matter where or how or why I run, and the important part is that I continue getting out there and proving to myself that I am a runner and I’m actually kind of good at it!

Race pice
Running the half with my sister Rocio while 3 mos prego with Babyzilla
RacePic02
Antonio at a Color Run 🙂

I’m currently in one of my running modes where I run often, but not for long distances.  I can’t seem to balance my time between life’s responsibilities well enough to get away for hours, so I cherish anytime I can get to hit the street or gym treadmill.  I mostly run on my own, but lately, I’ve had the luck of bribing having the company of my sisters or my friends and other times it’s just me and Babyzilla in the stroller.  I used to run half marathons and even ran one while pregnant with Isabella and then shortly post-baby, but that goal is not in my short term future.  Instead, I try to make the most of every short run that I get and keep pushing myself beyond my limits.

Running collage
Babyzilla is often my running buddy!

So, if you live within a twenty mile radius of North Dallas and need a running buddy, let me know!  Do you like to run races?  What’s your best PR?  Are you a closet runner like I was?  Share your stories with us in the comments section.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

My Favorite Things: Zulily Online Shopping

Zulily01
Babyzilla’s Flash t-shirt was originally meant for Antonio…oops, I misread the size chart

I hardly ever have time to shop at an actual department store, so I do quite a bit of online shopping.  When Babyzilla was just a baby, my mother-in-law  suggested I take a look at Zulily’s website because she had recently signed up and there were so many adorable kid outfits at reasonable prices.  It just took one browsing session to hook me onto Zulily sales.  If you are not familiar with Zulily, it’s an online store where you find heavily discounted products (clothes, shoes, health & beauty, toys, furniture, etc.) everyday and each collection is only available for a limited time.  They have unique styles you would not usually find in department stores and also familiar brands that you would see in department stores.  If you are thinking of buying from the Zulily website, I have some tips on how to maximize your shopping experience.

Tip #1: Zulily packages take a while to get to you, so order way in advance.  Zulily does NOT have two day shipping, like Amazon Prime, so you may have to wait anywhere from two weeks to a month to wait for your order.  It’s not that bad, but if your’e like me, you want instant gratification and also procrastinate so you order things at the last minute and expect to get them yesterday.  That’s not going to happen with Zulily so you may as well place your order, forget about it for two weeks, and then find yourself pleasantly surprised when that package shows up in the mail.  Last September, I ordered some Halloween outfits for the kids and I was tracking the package which seemed to have gotten lost.  I called the Zulily customer service number and the folks gave me a credit for my items and were extremely apologetic.  The items finally showed up and then I had some credits to spend!  I have placed about a dozen orders with Zulily and this was the one time I had a shipping incident.

Zulily02
Babyzilla often picks out her own outfits, so I will browse online with her to get her stamp of approval. Antonio, not so much.

Tip #2: Kid sizes run small, so make sure to size up.  Most of my Zulily shopping has been for my daughter and son, so I’m not familiar with how adult sizing compares, but the kid’s clothes does run small.  My kids are both big for their age so I often get one to two sizes bigger than what they usually wear.  Especially with tops.  I once ordered a Flash t-shirt with the intent on buying it for Antonio and it ended up fitting Babyzilla.  So, make sure you pay close attention to the size chart and go up from there.  I would much rather have a larger item than a smaller one because then I would at least be O.K. knowing the kids can grow into it.  There’s not much you can do with an article of clothing that is too small besides exchanging it or giving it away.  I have not had to exchange anything from Zulily and I’ve been sizing up since the beginning.

Tip #3: Extensive brand selection is their strong point.  I used to shop at several local boutiques for Mudpie items until I started noticing Zulily carries the same exact brand, at a discounted rate.  Why would you want to pay more for something you can get for less money online?  I felt a twinge of guilt for no longer shopping at the boutique but my pocketbook won that battle.  On the flip side, they also carry very well known department store brands like Spanx and Jessica Simpson in their collections.  I recently bought Babyzilla two Jessica Simpson bathing suits and Antonio a Nautica sweater at discounted prices that were way below store prices.  Again, there is a whole world of adult clothing and furniture and many other things that I have not yet experienced at Zulily because my shopping has been focused on children’s clothes.

Nautica
Antonio’s Nautica sweater is one of my favorite purchases
SWAG
Antonio’s Swag T-shirt by LC Trendz
Jessica Simpson bikini
Babyzilla’s Jessica Simpson ruffle bikini

Tip #4: Last Chance Deals and Ready to Ship!  Two gems from Zulily online shopping are Last Chance Deals and Ready to Ship products.  As indicated in the name, Last Chance Deals are sales which are nearing their end and you need to get a move on if you would like to purchase.  Ready to Ship! deals are marked with a rocket and will ship within two days of ordering.  These items are meant to be “fast track” items that can get to you in a much quicker timeframe than normal Zulily sales.

Tip #5: Utilize their great website and app.  I have the Zulily app on my phone and I can shop, track, and view my latest orders from the palm of my hand.  This can be a little dangerous if I have some time to kill…The order status on their website and app make it very clear to see the status of your orders.  This is helpful when you’re like me and you forget when you placed the order and need a reminder on when to expect that fun Zulily package.

IMG_1007

In summary, buying kid clothes from Zulily has been a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience for me so far.  I will continue to find frilly outfits for Babyzilla and cool t-shirts for Antonio.  My next adventure on Zulily will be to buy myself something.  Have you ever shopped at Zulily?  What is your favorite online store to buy from?  Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

I love Work Out Accessories…..Working Out Not So Much!

As you may recall, I had a New Years “Wish” to do a better job of working out and eating better. I think I have tried to do better but seeing as how I did a pretty hard core Pilates class for 3 months last year prior to the wedding, I still have a ways to go this year to ‘do better.” But one thing I have gotten better about this year is all the fun accessories I am finding for working out.

First thing the hubby and I did in January was join Camp Gladiator. If you remember the American Gladiator show from the 1990’s, that is basically Camp Gladiator. Actually when it was revived for one season around 2008 (I think), the winner from right here in Texas started Camp Gladiator with the prize money. It has been fun to workout with my husband but one thing I desperately needed was a mat strap. He has a thin yoga mat that came with a strap but I am a giant baby and have a super thick mat since working out outside is not my favorite. Lugging that dumb mat was a pain, luckily ‘I have a guy girl for that!” My uber talented friend can sew just about anything and she started an online business focused on yoga and other workout accessories, HandmadeYoga! She is a lifesaver and made me an extra long strap for my mat which may seem like nothing to most people but lugging this thing around is so much easier and I think it is adorable! If you are in the market for anything Yoga, Barre, Pilates, or meditation related, there is probably something to pick from. She has even had requests for sock bags for after Barre classes, honestly I think that would have come in handy when I was taking pilates. Check out her Etsy Shop here!

diptic

While I do love me some Camp Gladiator, some weeks just don’t go as planned. Be it work, travel, or stomach bugs and finding an hour plus for working out just doesn’t happen. Yes, I know, if I was super dedicated I would make time but until I can figure out how to make the same paycheck by working out, I have to find other ways to get moving. 4 or 5 years ago I somehow got talked into training and running a half marathon. I didn’t keep up with the running and now I am trying to get back into it, not half marathon crazy, more like a regular 5k kind of crazy. So I downloaded the Couch to 5K app.

app

But you can’t very well run with your phone in your hand so I found this SUPER CHEAP (look at me not spending a ton of money!) arm band for my phone. And while I imagine running with your iPhone on your armband would be the 2016 equivalent to this…

boombox-guy-80s

….it really is beneficial to have some nice earbuds. I have a pair of the Bose Earbuds that I have had for some time. They fit in my little ears and don’t tend to fall out easily. My girlfriend also suggested the JayBird Wireless earbuds which will be a little treat to myself when I sign up and run my first 5k!

Lastly there is hydration! With all this shopping working out you need to hydrate. I have fallen in love with a certain water bottle by S’well. These things are AMAZING! I put some ice and water in one during a bachelorette party in NEW ORLEANS in the SUMMER and the ice didn’t melt THE WHOLE DAY! I may over use the caps lock but I can’t over stress how amazed I was. I also made some flavored tea one night and put it in the bottle hot and attempted to chill it over night in the fridge with the lid off. Nope, had warm tea the next morning.

gear

What are your go to items for working out? Elisa did a great post on her favorite workout pants and I like all things accessory. Share what you need to get through a workout, I am always up for more shopping working out. If you need help finding a workout program you love, check out Class Pass, it lets you try all the different gyms in your area to see what you love. I did just hear about a new workout on trampolines I think I need to go check out!

Good night, off to bed so I can make my 4:45am Camp Gladiator class.

Amanda Sig

 

Colorado for People Who Don’t Ski

Not a bad view to see each morning.
Not a bad view to see each morning.

My husband loves to snow ski. When the temperature starts to drop, you can bet he will start watching snow reports in Colorado and figuring out when he can get away for a few days on the mountain. Unfortunately, I do not share his love of skiing (or his athletic abilities), so this is typically not my favorite vacation. But the last two trips we’ve taken I’ve actually found a few things to do that I’m happy to share with my fellow non-skiers.

In 2015, we headed to Keystone for 6 days. Knowing there was no way I could stay in a condo by myself for that many days without losing my mind, I checked out TripAdvisor for some good ways to kill the time.  First up was an afternoon trip to Frisco Adventure Park for some tubing. We visited on a Wednesday and basically had the tubing hill to ourselves. After making friends with the staff, we rode the magic carpet to the top of the hill and proceeded to slide down the hill on tubes round after round. The guys at the top of the hill had a great time sending us spinning and showing us how to connect our tubes so we could all go down the hill together. I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile and I think we all enjoyed it – even the seasoned skiers who I dragged along. Prices are reasonable and reservations are recommended. If it is crowded, consider booking more than 1 hour to be sure you have enough time to get in plenty of runs while waiting your turn in line. Since we were the only ones there, 1 hour was enough for our group.

You can see he isn't quite sure what I've signed us up for.
You can see he isn’t quite sure what I’ve signed us up for.

For the next outing during my time in Keystone, I found Good Times Adventures. After being away from our dogs for a few days, I figured I’d go snuggle with some other pups to fill the time. Let the dog sledding adventures begin! I didn’t really know what to expect out of this excursion. Would it be a cheesy run around a track in a field of snow? I can tell you it certainly is not! Groups of ten dogs pull your sled through trails in the forest while you attempt to guide them and keep them on task. One person rides in the sled while another hangs on to the back. While the dogs are mostly following snowmobiles driven by the experienced dog sledding guide, they do have opinions of their own and occasionally pick new trails or go a bit faster than they probably should. We learned so much about the Siberian Huskies on our team, about how they are trained and all of their unique personalities. You can see the love that goes into the care of these dogs, and how much the guides enjoy sharing their knowledge and passion. As a bonus, Good Times Adventures also runs snowmobile outings, so if you make the trip you can certainly complete both in one day.

dogs

Just a few weeks ago we took a trip to Vail for a few days of vacation with our friends. Because this was a shorter trip, I didn’t want to pull the husband away from the mountain for any non-skier activities. Vail is a great town for wandering and shopping, but I really couldn’t see spending three full days shopping (unless it was with someone else’s money). So I took the plunge and registered for a full day snowboarding lesson. After a disaster ski lesson experience in 2009, I was pretty apprehensive about spending more time falling down the side of a hill. I reasoned with myself that at least time I would be strapped to the snowboard when I fell, so I wouldn’t have to spend half the day retrieving lost equipment from each fall I made. After grabbing my equipment from the rental location, I trekked over to Golden Peak and the Vail Ski School. I had booked in advance for a Friday, hoping to beat the Saturday crowds. As it turns out there were only two people registered for the beginner snowboard lesson, so we both ended up with great personal instruction throughout the day. My instructor, Colleen, was fantastic. She worked hard to explain each new skill, gave us plenty of opportunities to ask questions and practice the skills, and gave great feedback when something went wrong so we knew how to correct it on the next run. After I explained my fear of heights, she thanked me for letting her know and told me we could just see how the day went with no pressure of the ski lift hanging over my head. So I happily went down the same smaller hill over and over again for most of the day, learning new skills that would help me should I ever make it up to a higher point on the mountain. In the end, I didn’t progress far enough to feel comfortable moving on, but I did learn a whole bunch. I also enjoyed the experience so much, that if we return to Vail I would happily sign up for a 2 or 3 day class in order to lean more and feel more comfortable on the mountain on my own.

snowboard

While I won’t be qualifying for the Olympics anytime soon, I’ve learned that cold-weather vacations can be a lot of fun and a great change of pace. So next time you’re invited to Colorado in the winter, sign up for a few of these adventures and have fun discovering a different kind of relaxation!

This Isn’t Your Momma’s Scrapbooking

I’m excited to be a guest blogger on 3 Non Blondes! My name is Jordan. Yes, I am a blonde, but not naturally, so does that count?

headshot
As beautiful on the inside as she is the outside. -Amanda. 3NB

I’m here to tell you about scrapbooking and memory keeping. I know your first thought is, “people still do that?” Or “I thought only grandmas did that?” Well not anymore. If you’ve ever done scrapbooking in the past, you know it is super time consuming to cut out tiny pieces of paper and #buyallthestickers. I gave up on that. As sweet brown says,

sweet brow

Last year, I caught up on 11 years of scrapbooking using this nifty little app called “Project Life.” Yes, you can scrapbook from your phone. I mean that’s where all our pictures are anyway?

I made all of these in 2015 while working full time!
I made all of these in 2015 while working full time!

 

Yes with this app you can scrapbook in the carpool line, at the doctors office, while getting an oil change, you name it. All those free bits of time can really add up to making great books.

app
There is an app for everything!

Becky Higgins is the developer. She has a whole company dedicated to pocket scrapbooking. She herself thought, “there has to be a more efficient way than this??” She developed an app that contains all her existing designs so that you can scrapbook on the go. Currently, the app is only available in the iTunes store but should be available for Android users by the end of February 2016 (any day now!).

Basically, you open the app, pick a layout, drop your photos in it as well as your scrapbooking “cards”, write your text (you can even use voice texting!), and then move on.

Once you have a bunch of pages to print, you order straight through the app. It’s $5 flat shipping and they arrive at your house in about a week. Once you have your pages, you need an album and page protectors. Slip them in the page protectors and you are done!

This is how the pages arrive. You can see the different sizes 12×12, 8×8, 6×8, and 4×6.

You can find the albums and page protectors at Michael’s (and use your 40% off coupon!) or online at BeckyHiggins.com.

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, pick a small project. I suggest to people to just pick a vacation and put that together. For example, my husband and I road tripped the Ring Road in Iceland for our one year anniversary. On the 5 hour flight from Rekjavik to Toronto, I scrapbooked our entire trip. I had 40 pages done from 1,000 photos. No way would I have gone into the detail that I did if I had done that at home. I wouldn’t have found the time. Once we landed in the states, I hit “order prints” and had my pages by the following weekend. I slipped them in my album and called it a day.

Another thing to note is that the app links with DropBox, One Drive, etc. if you store your photos there! (Like I do!) You can also back up your pages straight there.

If you want to learn more about pocket scrapbooking and the Project Life app, hop on over to Becky Higgins’ Youtube channel to see her tutorials on the app as well as her other product. You can also follow me on Instagram @maebellmakes for ideas and inspiration.

“I have at least 11 or more years of scrapbooking I need to do, I am so excited to get my first project going. I have actual pictures I need to scan so I can upload. Remember, when pictures were on actual paper and not in a cloud somewhere. This is my first sample page I made.”  -Amanda, 3NB

pups
Of course the Fur-babies are my go-to demo page, look at those faces!

Jordan also challenged another friend to scrapbook her 1st anniversary trip. She was able to get the whole thing done on her flight home! I love this idea of actually being able to keep up with all the pictures I take.

What do you use to scrapbook with all of this 21st century technology? Has anyone else used Project Life?

Thanks Jordan for a great blog! I am already getting hooked and can’t wait to see my first completed project!

jordan sig.001

 

 

 

 

Fitspiration: Keeping My Workout Resolutions

Workout01
My attempt at a bridge.  Ouch.

Remember our New Years Resolutions post and how I needed to really focus on getting my “work-out” on this year?  Well, it’s been tough, but I’ve kept to it…for the past two weeks anyway.  Setting and keeping health and exercise goals is difficult but I’ve found that keeping myself accountable is possible by tracking my progress and leaning on my support group.  And today, I’m going to share with you how I’m staying motivated.

Workout03
5 miles and a wall hand stand. Double ouch.

Nike+ App – I have been using the Nike+ app for years and have always loved how it tracks my runs.  And now, there is a “Coach” feature which allows you to select training programs depending on your distance and stamina goals.  I’m utilizing the 10K Intermediate Program so I can increase my speed for a 10K and then prepare for a half marathon race.  Oh, and the geek in me loves all of the charts and maps available for every run!  Also, there is a sense of community with this app and you can add other runners and compete with them through different challenges.

Workout06
Post workout @ the gym with my sister

Gym Buddies a.k.a. People Who Call You Out for Being Lazy – I’m lucky enough to have my sisters and several friends that also have workout goals in mind this year.  With the encouragement of my workout buddies, I’ve found that I have ventured out of my comfort zone and tried several new workout classes at my gym including kickboxing, zumba and core classes.  So, instead of scheduling happy hours with these family members or friends, we are penciling in workouts together.  See how that works?

Workout05
Tiny hotel workout room? No problem as long as there’s a treadmill!

Plan Ahead – I plan my workouts ahead of time and typically have a run, class or bootcamp session on my calendar five to six days of the week.  I set out my workout clothes every night to avoid wasting time in the mornings.  And this past weekend, we went out of town so I made sure to pack several workout outfits and made it a priority to run on the treadmill at the hotel and then on the beach the next morning.  I focus on short term goals for the week and reflect of progress I am making each day.  I also avoid obsessing over the scale because I know it took almost a year to put on 10 pounds and it could take a while to get it off.

Workout02
We <3 the beach!  A morning run on the beach was delicious.

Instagram – I love any app that organizes the internet for me.  And I LOVE Instagram because there is a community at my fingertips who cheers my runs, provides encouragement, and keeps me accountable for my progress.  I recently shared my goal dress that I bought from Bloomindale’s on a post and received encouraging words from another runner.  I also use instagram to challenge my sisters to different workouts, including my attempt at a backbend/bridge posted at the beginning of this post.  That’s the competitive streak in me.  Hehe.

Workout04
red inspiration

I know I have a long way to go before I reach my health goals, but I feel really good about how I’m approaching my exercise routine this year.  Whether it’s running on a Friday night, or waking up at 4:45 AM to make my bootcamp class, I’ve found several ways to keep myself accountable and motivated.  What kind of apps do you use for your workouts?  What keeps you motivated?  Share with us how you say “pass” on happy hour and hit the gym instead.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig