Photo Challenge

Do you think I can hack it? We all know I failed dismally at coming anywhere close to finishing the Project 52 Photography Challenge I started at the beginning of this year. This one should be fun and light-hearted. And heck, it’s all via Instagram or Twitter. Goodness knows I am constantly bombarding Instagram with pictures of my kids, my house, my food, etc. For the month of December, I’ll just have a little more guidance. Here goes nothin’!



Run – New Shoe Review

Last week, I promised to give you the low-down on my new running shoes, so here I go…

Since January, I’ve been running in a pair of Brooks Addiction 10 shoes recommended to my by the helpful folks at Sportspectrum in Shreveport. I have low arches. I over-pronate (on one foot). I need motion control or stability shoes. The Addiction are motion control shoes. These are generally recommended for severe over-pronators. When I started running in them, they were really painful on my left foot, because I don’t over-pronate on that side. Once I got used to them and they were broken in, it didn’t bother me as much, BUT the one thing that has always bothered me about these shoes is that they feel heavy. It takes me a good mile or two to really get warmed up and not feel like my feet are dragging me down.

It is recommended that runners replace their shoes every 300 to 400 miles. You should replace shoes sooner if you are a heavier runner, or if you are running on rough terrain. I generally run on the treadmill, track, or sidewalk, so I feel like I can push it closer to 400. I probably hit that mark months ago, which is why – go figure – running in those Addictions was starting to become painful.

A local running shop (yes, there is one in Minot! Bless you, Mile One.) offered 20% off running shoes for law enforcement and military in October, so on October 29th, I finally went in to pick out new shoes.

This time, I am trying stability instead of motion control. I’m hoping it will be a happy medium for both of my goofy feet. I tried on A LOT of shoes before making my choice this time. And after hearing my complaints about the weight of my Brooks, the salesgirl pulled out a pile of notebooks and read me the weight for every single pair.

I finally settled on a pair of Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 running shoes. I know. Cha-ching! And I thought those Brooks were expensive. However, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I would rather buy expensive shoes than injure myself running in the wrong shoes. Because let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time before I bite it on the ice around here. I’m just lessening the probability of hurting myself doing something ELSE silly.

What’s the difference between the two? According to the specs I can find online, the Mizuno’s are technically only a little bit lighter, but my goodness, they feel so much better. The salesgirl’s chart said that they are almost a full ounce lighter. What I can find on the Brooks and Mizuno websites say that my Addiction shoes weigh 10.2 ounces and my Mizunos weigh 9.9 ounces. I’m not sure which information is accurate, but the Mizunos do feel much lighter on my feet.

The Addiction has a much larger toe box than the Nirvana, but the Nirvana has this really cool stretchy mesh on the toe that is awesome. It moves with your foot, so it hardly matters to me that there isn’t as much space there. From a personal perspective, I think too much room in the toe box is bad for me. I curl my toes under funny to compensate, and often, my toes are sore by the end of a run. In addition to the mesh, the toe of the Nirvana is curved upward more, mimicking the motion of your foot as you run, and I don’t end up curling my toes as much.

I’ve put between 20-25 miles on the new shoes at this point, but so far, they feel great. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or if the weight of the shoes was really affecting me, but I have consistently run about 30 seconds faster per mile than I was in my old shoes. That’s on two treadmills runs, one outside, and one on the track.

The only other factor that has really changed is the temperature. In the Jeff Galloway training plan, I’ve read that “runners tend to slow down 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60F.” I wonder if we also speed up when it’s colder? Eager to get finished and get inside? Of course, two-thirds of my running has been indoors, so this may not actually explain anything. It pretty much means there is absolutely no predicting what my pace will be on race day – training in North Dakota and racing in Florida. Oh, well. I still consider myself to be in the “finish and have fun” category.

I’m curious to see how the new kicks feel as I begin to add more distance, but I suppose I’ll know soon enough!

Home – Nesting, Again.


We’re in a new house. We’ve unpacked – as much as possible with the furniture mishaps. Now, I’m nesting. It is time to create and make it home.

First order of business – a wreath! Before we moved, I bought some natural raffia mesh from Red Door Interiors. If you’re in Louisiana and you’ve never been there, stop reading this and just go. I’ll be here when you get back. 🙂 If you’re not in Louisiana, you can order the same thing from Trendy Tree. They call it deco paper mesh. Anyway, I was eager to use it, so I whipped up a fun new wreath for the kitchen the other afternoon.

To make a deco mesh wreath, you need a wreath form, floral wire, scissors, mesh, ribbon, and whatever else you might want to add to make it pretty. A good cup of coffee helps the process, too.

Begin by cutting 10-15 pieces of floral wire, about 7 inches long, and wrap them in various intervals around your wreath form. At Trendy Tree, you can also buy work wreaths with the wire already attached.

Next, take the end of your mesh, scrunch it up, and secure it to the wreath by twisting the wire around it tightly.


Move about 12-18 inches down the mesh, bunch it up again, and attach to the wreath. You’ll have to fiddle with the scrunching until it looks the way you like it. You can use more or less mesh, depending on how full you want your wreath to look.


Keep going, around and around…


…until you like the way your wreath looks or you’ve run out of mesh, whichever happens first.

Do you see that chevron burlap ribbon there? That came from Hobby Lobby. I wanted to be able to change this wreath up for different holidays and seasons, so I didn’t attach it permanently. I just stuffed it in around my wreath and attached a bow with another piece of wire.


Ta-da! My first wreath for the new house. Proudly sitting on the bar with the ol’ Scentsy.

If you need more help figuring out how to make your own, there are tons of great videos on You Tube. Just search “how to make a mesh wreath.”