{race report} Dallas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon


Just mere days after completing my first half marathon, I had signed up for my next one. My legs were still sore and the pain I felt after finishing that race was still fresh in my mind. And yet, I coughed up the $85 and put the March 24th race on my calendar.

I took a LOT of time off between my last half in December and this recent race. The "off-season" got the best of me and I was very unfocused on training. When the days are short and the temps hit freezing, there's not a chance I make it outside for my runs. Let me just tell you, the treadmill is a poor substitute for pavement. Maybe it's just me, but I always feel very off balance on the treadmill. I also get very bored. I don't really listen to music when I run so I have to rely on the TV. As you can see, it can become a complicated situation for me, especially if the treadmill right in front of the TV is taken.

In the end, race day came and I didn't feel prepared at all. But whatever, it was just 13.1 miles. I'd managed to cross that finish line somehow...

I obsessively checked the weather all week. 40 degrees with 35 mph winds. Super. At least that sounded slightly better than the humid, 80 degrees I ran in for my last half.

But let's cut to the chase here. There was something like 14 corrals and you better believe I was assigned corral 12. That meant we shivered in the cold for an extra 30 minutes or so. Oh and yes, "we" being me and C because he so graciously agreed to start with me. He's a keeper, that one.

It wasn't until about mile 4 that I could finally feel my feet and legs. C was probably more miserable and thankfully agreed to run the whole race with me. It was fun having my own personal pacer.

monday musings.


1. Spent some times volunteering at the zoo this weekend for my Junior League placement. I'm looking forward to affiliating with the New Haven chapter when we move.

2. It was 40 degrees with 35mph winds for my half marathon on Sunday. But in the end, I managed to PR and have a great time. Check back for my race report!

3. I had the pleasure of making these precious cupcakes for a very special 2 year-old. Just call me Martha and yes, I'm taking orders. (More on this to come!)

4. My skin is definitely looking better and better each day. I'll admit, I cheated with the dairy a little bit (I mean, come on, chocolate milk is the BEST recovery fuel and who can say no to pizza...?) but I'm still limited my intake for the most part.

5. I received my first StitchFix this weekend and can't wait to get home from work to try everything on! (I was way too sore last night...)

6. I also received my first Julep Maven box. I already knew what would be in it so it's not a super fun surprise but I'll let you know how the polish holds up when I try it.

7. Glad this is a short week and that the temps are supposed to heat up here in Dallas. I got re-fit on my bike and I'm looking forward to riding a bit this weekend.

8. Mad Men returns next week and I'm so ready. I need something fill the void since Downton Abbey broke my heart.

9. I'm really looking forward to our trip to CT in April and hoping we find a place to live. I would love to cross that off the to-do list.

10. Invitations are ordered! This wedding is happening! 110 days!

a skincare update | part III


Last Wednesday, I spent the evening talking skincare and make-up with my sweet friend, Casey. While not only knowledgeable about skincare (she's a Licensed Esthetician and PCA SKIN® Certified Chemical Peel Professional), she's also an all-star triathlete! I mean, this girl is FAST! So when she's not making other girls cry at races for beating them by several minutes, she's running her chemical peel business. Talk about one rockin' chick!

As you've noticed from my prior two posts, I'm on a mission to make my skin healthy and glowing in time for the wedding. It's still a few months away but healthy skin takes time...and patience. I knew Casey would be the right person to go to for this. Not only would I be able to receive an awesome chemical peel, but she knows a whole lot about skincare and what products to use (even what foods to eat!).

If you're anything like me, chemical peels probably don't sound enjoyable or glamorous. Well I'm here to set the record straight! First of all, a chemical peel is not a facial. Instead of leaving your appointment looking worse than you walked in, you'll leave a chemical peel feeling glowy and smooth. Also, you don't need weeks of recovery or downtime. Lastly, your face will not necessarily be peeling off. I also found this article helpful on PCA's blog.

Let's talk about the process, my experience and the results!

heads up, big news!


We're moving! 

I can't believe I'm writing this but it's officially official! This summer we'll be making the trek from Dallas to New Haven, CT. C has been accepted to Yale's MBA program and we couldn't be more excited (and I couldn't be more proud!).

We have tons of packing and planning ahead of us. May is shaping up to be a very busy month that includes and trip to London /Scotland and C's bachelor party. We're officially giving up our Dallas residency as of June 4th. C is doing a triathlon in Maryland June 9th so we're planning to get the apartment packed up, drive to Maryland for the race, then finish driving up to CT. 25 total hours. Ouch. Luckily, we'll get to spend some time with C's parents when we're in Baltimore and when we get to CT, we'll have my Mom's help! Hooray for being closer to family!

So not only am I planning a wedding for July, but I'm also helping to orchestrate a move AND hunt for jobs. At the end of the day, I'm thankful for C and for new opportunities that we get to pursue together! The next two years will be exciting as we spend our first years as a married couple exploring a new place and making new friends!

We'll miss our friends in Dallas dearly. We've been spoiled by great food, outdoor activities and luxurious living. But I'm looking forward to the new adventure and milder summers! But I think both C and I will need to invest in a nice, warm, puffy down coat.

monday musings.


1. Just want to say a big Happy Birthday to two of the sweetest friends I have - Mary and Becca. I'd be lost without each of you in my life and it's a joy to celebrate your birth(s).

Mary & Me in Cinque Terre, Italy                                                Becca & Me after her first triathlon

2. My cousin, Meagan, spent a few days of her precious spring break with us. I'm shocked I don't have any pictures of all the food we ate, but I feel like that's all we did. Well, and shop.

3. On a total impulse by, I swiped these kicks at Madewell. I'm in love. I'm loving Keds all over again. I also snagged a Kate Spade wallet (50% off) that perfectly matches by purse. #win

4. My second half marathon is this weekend and I have mixed emotions about it. I don't necessarily feel ready but at least I know what to expect? I'm looking to shave 9 minutes off my previous time. Seems like a wholeeeeee lot.

5. My first StitchFix is set to arrive this weekend and I'm really excited to see what all the buzz is about.

6. I found out about Everlane this weekend from my cousin and I'm excited to order something soon. The canvas totes are adorable and so affordable!

7. While we're at it, I'll just go ahead and tell you about Julep Maven as well. Similar to Birchbox (which I so dearly love) but nail polish focused. I'm curious so I signed up for a starter box but I'm not sure I'll be sticking with it.

8. Alright enough about shopping...Mad Men returns April 7th and

9. We had our last pre-marital class last night and it was the best one yet. They brought in couples from all different stages of marriage from 7 months to 36 years and then we were able to submit questions. It was so great to hear from a variety of REAL people.

10. Our wedding is 117 days away and that seems like not very many days...yikes!

PS. Follow Signed With Love on Bloglovin'! It's the best and there is even an app for your phone so you never miss a post!

{our wedding} the invites


I'm not sure I've told y'all this yet but I'm utterly obsessed with our wedding invitations.

But let's back up for a hot minute, WHY IS PAPER SO EXPENSIVE? Holy cow, when I started looking at invitations, I almost had a panic attack. How can something so simple as paper and ink be so dang expensive? Let's not even get into letterpress, I'm talking easily a couple thousand dollars for that stuff. Thank goodness we don't have to send out hundreds of invites or we'd really be in trouble.

So after the stark realization that I was going to have to get a little creative with my invites, I set out to scour the interwebs for something equally adorable as the fancy letterpress stuff but about 1/35th of the price.

I ordered several samples from Minted and Wedding Paper Divas (our save-the-dates came from here - thanks for the coupon!). They were all sorta...blah. I would lay them all out for C to examine and sure enough the ones I liked, were the ones he hated and vice versa. Ugh.

I browsed the invite books at Paper Source and was completely uninspired. I even ordered samples from adorable shops on Etsy. We got closer with a few of these but something still wasn't right. Feeling somewhat defeated, I started researching vendors listed on some of my favorite wedding blogs.

That's when it happened. I found them. The most perfect invites in the entire world. I immediately ordered a sample and inquired about the cost (which I was PRAYING would be in our budget).

When Jill at Ruff House Art confirmed that her sample was completely customizable and only $3 for a complete invite (including RSVP card), I was sold. Done and done. She even makes matching menus, programs and place cards that are also totally affordable. 

But then she out did herself and sent us the proof of our invite. I just about lost it. They were so stinking perfect. They captured the exact style we were going for. They were totally "us".

I can't wait to get the final product in my hands and out to all our guests. This sneak peek will have to hold you over.


1. Get creative. Etsy is an amazing resource for this kind of stuff. But either way, consider lots of options. These days, a lot of places will design an invitation suite for you for something like $75 and then you can print them yourself! Be prepared to do a little legwork if you're trying to save a few dollars.

2. Hug a tree. I've noticed that it's not uncommon these days for people to send electronic invitations. Websites like Paperless Post offer an amazing selection of beautiful electronic stationery. If you're having a small, budget friendly wedding, this might be a great option for you, especially because vendors often offer significant discounts for larger quantities of orders which may be a downside if you only need 50 invites.

3. It's just paper. Yes, I love those lovely letterpress invites as much as the next girl. But, you know what, your guests are going to take 18 seconds looking at your invite, hang it on their fridge for a week and then toss it in the trash. If you paid $15/invite, that's $15 that's likely to end up going to waste the nearest recycling center. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the fancy invites and if your budget allows it, then by all means! But if we're being totally honest here and really consider where those things end up....well it's a little silly. Can you remember what the last wedding invite you received looked like? 

a skincare update | part II


While the wedding is still a few months away, healing troubled skin can take some time. I've started to take some steps to ensure that my skin is at it's glowing best on the big day.

Last week I talked about some of the products I started using. I'm really liking how they control my oily skin and make it feel clean but not tight. I'll admit that I'm not totally sold on the moisturizer but I think my skin is just trying to balance itself out.

In addition to the Mario Badescu products, I used some birthday money and a Sephora gift card to finally invest in a Clarisonic. I chose to purchase the Clarisonic Mia mainly because it was the cheapest option but also because all the reviews I read said it was awesome. It just didn't seem like I'd need the full size device or the Mia 2 (which just offers two speeds for $30 more).

You can find the device at lots of stores including Ulta and Nordstrom - so search for the best deal/package!

The Clarisonic is basically like an electric toothbrush for your face. It has a large brush head (that needs to be replaced about every three months) and it spins gently but effectively to really clean your face. The one time I had a facial, the lady used the Clarisonic on me and I loved how it felt. It really does feel like I'm getting a deep, deep clean!

I started using it last week and I like it a lot! It's hard to really tell if it's taking off more make-up than regular face washing but when I swipe my toner over my face, the pad rarely picks up leftover make-up. The brush feels really soft and definitely helps smooth my skin out. I use the Botanical Facial Gel with the Clarisonic but you can you whatever face wash you prefer. Some people use it twice a day, but I've just been using it at night. While I do have oily skin, over doing it just dries my skin out and makes it produce more oil. Not a good cycle. For another perspective, check out Kate's review on her blog, The Small Things.

I did lots of research before purchasing and made sure to review Sephora's return policy. I have 90 days to use the product before I'm beyond the return window so I still have another 9 weeks or so to see if it's really making a difference.

Overall, I would definitely recommend it! I have several friends swear by it and get great results.

Tonight I'm taking another step towards healthy skin - I'm getting my first chemical peel! My sweet friend Casey (who happens to be a speedy fast triathlete), is a licensed esthetician so we're teaming up to share all the ins and outs of chemical peels! Check back soon for Part III of my skincare routine!

{recipe} chocolate chip chai banana bread


I always want to make something with bananas but don't have any ripe bananas on hand. Then there are other times when we have tons of ripe bananas and yet I can't find a recipe to make. This isn't really an issue because the bananas wind up in the freezer and are so perfect in smoothies. So cold and creamy!

This week I purposely bought some almost ripe bananas with the intention of making a banana recipe. By last night, they were at the perfect level of ripeness. However, after my run, making chicken tikka masala, and eating dinner, it was 9:30pm. Oh well. Nothing like a little late night baking to help me fall asleep!

This recipe was a cinch to whip up and I had plenty of time to get ready for bed while it was baking.

monday musings.


1. I bought this book which I started to pour over this weekend. I have so much to learn but I think it will be really fun to finally begin to master my camera.

2. C had his first triathlon of the season on Sunday. It was chhiiilllyyyy and super windy but at least the sun was out! Best part of all - C had a blast and I didn't get frostbite. Win-Win.


3. I also made cupcakes for said race but was too cold to go back to the car to get them. I wound up bringing them to our pre-marital class last night. Yes. I brought cupcakes to a bunch of starving brides. I'm so mean.

4. I also ordered this book and it arrived today! I'm really excited to read her thoughts and hopefully get come career motivation.

5. We made this "paleo fudge" last week that consists of almond butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey. It was JUST like an almond joy!

6. I'm planning to make this or this tonight with some smushy bananas we have taking up space on the counter. In fact, I decided to make a whole pinterest board dedicated to this! (Update: Chai Banana Bread just came out of the oven!)

7. I found this AMAZING steal at Luke's Locker this weekend. I got this vest from Patagonia for...wait for it...basically free. I mean it was $45 but when the original price is $178...that mean's it's basically free. Right? Ladies, am I the only one who does this? If something is 40% off then another 50% off, that makes it basically free. Yes. I believe this to be true.

8. I'm getting my first chemical peel this week from my sweet friend Casey! You can check out her site here! You better bet I'll be blogging about the whole experience!

9. Box full of Nuun goodies arrived in the mail today! Tried the new watermelon flavor during my run today and loved it!! Can't wait to try Cherry Limeade.

a skincare update | part I


It wasn't too long ago that I was raving about the new Kiehl's products I'd just picked up. While that system seemed to work for me for over a year, I could tell it was time to change things up. My skin has been all over the board - super oily, super dry, tons of tiny breakouts. Gross. I did some research and asked around before finally settling on some tried and true Mario Badescu products.

I used a bunch of Mario Badescu products in high school. They are super affordable and super effective. I've been a fan of the drying lotion for awhile now. It works like a charm and it's only slightly embarrassing when I go to bed with little pink dots all over my face.

I browsed the website for a while, took the skincare assessment and read a TON of reviews online. I settled on the following products.
  • Botanical Facial Gel ($12) - A refreshing oil controlling cleanser. This non-soap, non-foaming, gel cleanser is deep cleansing and refreshing for oily skin. Removes make-up, dirt and oil thoroughly without over drying skin. Exfoliating Alpha Hydroxy formula helps prevent build-up that can cause blackheads and pimples. I'm using it morning and night. It smells great and doesn't feel harsh. You have to get used to the fact that it doesn't foam or lather. 
  • Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($15) - For dull, congested skin, this lathering, deep cleanser has the exfoliating powers of Glycolic Acid to break down build-up from skins surface, reduce minor discoloration and leave skin radiant and smooth. I've been using it 3-4 times a week. 
  • Cucumber Cleansing Lotion (Toner) ($15) - Your skin will be refreshed and deep cleansed with our 4% alcohol and soothing Cucumber Extract astringent. Removes pore clogging residue and disinfects skin’s surface for thoroughly clean skin to prevent future acne problems. It feels really good on my skin and gets rid of any last traces of make-up. I'm using it twice a day after washing with either of the above.
  • Control Moisturizer for Oily Skin ($18) - Acne inflamed and oily skin will be well hydrated and soothed with this oil-free, Balsam Peru formula. Reduces redness upon application while it provides the needed moisture balance from aggressive acne treatments. It's a little thicker than what I'm used to but I do think it balances the dry patches from treatment without being greasy.
I also purchased two products to use on my body - the Special Cleansing Lotion "O" and the A.H.A Botanical Body Soap.

It's important to note that no matter how many different products you use or how much you pay, it won't be effective unless you develop a firm routine. For me, that means washing my face both morning and night. It means using lukewarm water (not hot) especially when rising my face in the shower. It means regular exfoliation and moisturizing. Unfortunately, it also means not caking on the concealer and foundation on a bad skin day. (Ladies, we all know that only makes it worse...). It means keeping face wipes with salicylic acid in my gym bag so that I can quickly clean my face after a sweaty workout. (I also use those same wipes to quickly get my make-up off if it's a particularly sleepy night. I try not to make that a habit.) Lastly, it also means patience. Oh how we'd all like to wake up with amazing, smooth, glowing skin.

In just a week, I've definitely noticed and improvement in the evenness of my skin. My make-up goes on smoother and I need less of it. I've also noticed that my face isn't nearly as oily as it used to be at the end of the day.

I also started using a Clarisonic. That's coming up on Part II!

{recipe} homemade pasta


I was pumped to receive the KitchenAid pasta maker attachment for my birthday from my little sister! It was even funnier when the exact same thing showed up on our doorstep. First wedding registry present and we had to return it. But props to the little sis for being sneaky and not marking it off the registry!

Of course, I knew we had tons of homemade pasta in our future. Fresh pasta is so incredibly delicious. It's amazing that flour and eggs can create such a delicious product.

Our fridge is a mess...
And so we set out to make a tasty meal of Shrimp Scampi with Homemade Fettuccine. I prepared the dough before our marriage class last Sunday and then came home to lots of kneading, rolling and cutting.

monday musings.


1. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind and even the beginning of last week. It wasn't until Thursday that I managed to organize the goodies from the bridal shower and make a dent in the mountain of laundry piled up in the closet.

2. I'm overhauling my skincare routine because I need this face to be "wedding ready". I'm excited to share my new routine with you soon! Hint: It involves a Clarisonic!

3. I'm also trying to get my butt back into gear for this race...but also for my overall health. Ugh the winter is such a drag! I've added this arm routine twice a week to get my limbs looking a little more toned for the big day. Maybe I should carry a weighted bouquet...?

4. It is overkill that I enter pretty much EVERY wedding related giveaway I see online? I mean, you can't win if you don't enter, right?

5. The bridesmaids are ordering their dresses and the groomsmen have ordered their suits! It's happening!

6. Despite the freezing temps Saturday AM, we managed to get out butts out to the lake for a run with the team. Workouts are so much better when you know you have people waiting on you.
C's first time at The Pearl Cup and my first traditional macchiato 
7. Saturday did eventually warm up slightly and we made it out to Ford Stadium at SMU to watch Duke play Georgetown in the Lacrosse Patriot Cup.

8. We met from friends at Rise for dinner on Saturday night. That place is such a gimmick and the souffles just aren't that good.

9. I finally caved and won this new SLR lens on Ebay (for a steal!). SO EXCITED!! I hear this is THE lens you need for great low light pictures and I'm so pumped to test out food pics for the blog!

10. I scored this Lululemon jacket this weekend for a STEAL!

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