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Hello loves!  I hope you are as happy as I am about tomorrow--Friday!  Why so special?  Because I am heading to beautiful Charlotte, NC to meet with one of my dearest and sweetest friends and then we are driving to gorgeous Charleston, SC for a girls' weekend!  You have no idea how I have missed the Carolinas.  In case you didn't know, North Carolina was my home until a few years ago.  But most of all, I cannot wait to see my friend Sherri and for us to have a stress free weekend.  And with Charleston in mind, I am kicking my Friday faves. To include the super cute weekender bag and clutch (which I'm using as makeup bag) from Target.  Seriously, how awesome are they?  I love that they have the feel of India Hicks' Riviera bag without the sticker shock of $200+.  This one for Merona is a great price at $45.

P.S. I want to thank the U.S. Army for teaching me how to properly pack light and effectively.  It is amazing all the stuff that fits into this bag.


If you read my Friday faves last week, you know that I went to see the new Batman v Superman movie and was totally excited about the new Wonder Woman cameo. It is possible for one person to steal thee show in the last 30 minutes of  movie as Gal Gadot proved.  Anyhow, I have been a Wonder Woman fan since I was little, so when I received my WW Barbie doll today, I turned 10 yrs. old all over again!  Woohoo! Yes, I collect superheroes stuff-- and this one just became my favorite! 

Do you know what else is one of my new faves? My new Brooks Transcend 3 running shoes.  They are so comfy and perfect for the training I am going through right now in preparation for the Great River Ragnar Relay in August.  Review of the shoes to come next week.


By the way, this past week I got a haircut--- from a professional.  It has been years since I had someone cut my hair.  I did it myself (yes, I cringe reading this).  I have had short hair for years but this time I went shorter and edgier in style.  The stylist used a razor and I love the result. It was selfie-perfect ready.  Ok, bad segway into talking about how much I love my new iPhone 6S.  I finally got an upgrade and since I have been going to interviews I wanted a case that was professional but still me, and this case from Kate Spade, goes beautifully with the rose gold on the phone. 

 
And finally, I am loving the warm days we've been having interspersed with colder ones. Minnesota weather is bipolar and it is messing with my mind.  So when we have a warm day I take advantage of it especially the sunsets.  And let me tell you-- the MN sunsets are A M A Z I N G.  Just beautiful... especially when accompanied by a glass of wine. #NOFILTERS


And there you have my favorites for this beautiful Friday!  I wish you all a fabulous weekend.  Be safe, have fun and enjoy it!

What are you Friday faves?

FRIDAY FAVES // SOUTHERN EDITION

Spring has definitely sprung!  And aside from the weird snowflakes that we have had, the temperatures are finally very springlike here in Minnesota.  And thank goodness for that!  I love Spring-- everything about it as about new things, rebirth, light colors, feminine looks and thee girlie in me loves it.  Today's Friday favorites reflect all that I love about the season.  

Knox Rose for Target. I am in love with this collaboration with Target.  Knox Rose is a boutique style brand that is ultra femenine without being too frilly.  Some of the pieces have a boho chic look to them but my favorite aspect about the line is that the clothes are not tight fitting.  #SorryImNotSorry but I just cannot handle tight clothes.

Jo Malone London.  In a perfect world I would have enough money to have a fragrance specifically blended for me.  But I do not. Enter Jo Malone of London. Discerning simplicity is the best way to describe these beautifully blended fragrances.  They are the epitome of classic British style.  I love their philosophy that fragrance is perfectly fitted to your lifestyle.  And in my case it is simplicity with a floral edge.  I love many of their scents but the Nectarine Blossom and Honey are my favorite. It gives me an immediate sense of relaxation.

Hyacinths.  Aside from tulips, is there another flower whose look and scent embodies thee essence of Spring?


Blue Apron Meals.  Oh my goodness, one of my friends introduced me to Blue Apron and I think I am in love.  Blue Apron is a meal service that delivers specially selected meals that you prepare at home.  You select the number of people you want to feed and the menu, and they send you the recipes and perfectly portions ingredients to prepare them.  I got a free trial for a week for 2 people and it is the right amount of food for my husband and I.  I have to warn you that the sticker shock of what you have to pay per week may surprise you at first but when we did the math for 5 of us, it seemed a little less than what we pay going to the grocery store.  Have any of you tried it?

GROW Planter from Target.  So I have a love affair with the dollar bins by the entrance at Target and this past year they have gotten really good about what they offer on those bins.  Its not only cheap but also super cute! These planters were from those bins and for $5 each are a total steal. 

Joseph Bentley garden tools.  I love garden tools that are not only functional but beautiful. It's my thing.  For over 100 years Joseph Bentley has been trading in the gardening industry world creating tools that are built to last while retaining that traditional vintage style. These three are my new additions that just came in the mail.

It's Interviews Time! For the past 8 months-- since I got married, I have been looking for a job without luck.  I am upper level HR management and there are not many positions in the area where I live.  But two weeks ago I decided to go outside my comfort zone and really work in various resumes, and the Lord heard my prayers because yesterday I had a phone interview that I think went well and next week I have another one.  In 8 months, these are the first interviews I have had.  I will give them my all and put it in God's hands that He helps me find the job that is right for me and close to home.  This last one will be important because once my husband starts farming, the kids will have to go to the grandparents if I am at work. And that is truly too much for them.

Chemex Love.  So, for some reason I never thought of this until I saw it on Instagram, but I love the idea of using my Chemex for brewing tea instead of coffee. Truth be told, I do not like coffee in the Chemex. :)  And if you want a small treat, try using a blooming tea ball and watch as the tea blooms into a flower in front of your eyes. 

And last but not least, we have to talk about Wonder Woman, y'all!  I have been a WW fan since childhood and even have the series on my iTunes. Furthermore, I collect the comic books. So when news came out that a WW film was in the making I was hesitant because let's be honest-- there is one Wonder Woman and her name is Lynda Carter. Boom! 

Fast forward to last weekend and me going to see the new BatmanVSuperman movie at the theater.  Having seen the trailer for WW and knowing that Gal Gadot as WW makes an appearance, I was looking forward to it.  And she did not dissappoint!  Let me put it like this: the best part about the movie was the last 30 minutes when Wonder Woman makes quite an entrance to the beat of the amazing Wonder Woman theme by famed composer Hans Zimmer which is perfect for the Amazon princess. The only way to describe it is badassery personified. 

  
Do not get me wrong, we went to watch movie twice because it is really good BUT Wonder Woman steals the show. I am highly anticipating the movie next summer. Long live the Amazons! :)  Have you seen BatmanvSuperman?


What are your Friday favorites? 


Plus:

Friday Favorites // Welcome Spring!

When Holy Week rolls around, I always feel this sense of sadness.  Yes, there is literally-- the light at the end of the tunnel on Easter day.  But before that happens Jesus has to go through some seriously heinous experiences. I love something the pastor at the new church I am attending said this Sunday (I am paraphrasing): While the crucifixion and resurrection are the greatest sermon ever preached in the flesh, the settings and conditions for the work of God are rejection and suffering". And when I think about these words plus what Jesus endured, it makes my human flesh cringe because my threshold for physical pain is almost minimum. And I cannot imagine the pain that Jesus went through.  


The entire story of the passion of Christ tells us that God so loved the world that He sent His only son to die for our sins. We know how this story is going to. We know the awful ending before the Resurrection. There are no surprises in the plot of this story.  I remember, as a 7 year old in Puerto Rico, watching the movie Jesus of Nazareth, and crying so hard because I could not understand why people would do this to the good man.  By the time the nails are driven through Jesus' feet, I was just sobbing.  This is an experience I will never forget... yet not for the reasons you think.  It was not because of the physical pain Jesus endured.  It was not even because of the spitting, the rejection or the tears from His family.  To this day the moment of the passion of Christ that takes my breath away is that split second before Jesus utters the words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

The moment when all the sins of the world-- past, present and future-- 
fall upon His battered body.

Think about it for a second.  Here is Jesus-- God fully human-- paying for the sins that are not His.  The sins that have been committed and the sins yet to be committed.  A normal human would have said "Oh, I don't think so, God.  These humans will insult us and betray us constantly, and you want me to give my life for them?".  But not Jesus.  The only glimpse of a crack in him is that moment when he cries to God for forsaking him.  It is God's humanity in display. 

And the pain. Try to imagine the unimaginable.  I do not think any of us can imagine that kind of searing pain. Yet in that pain we see victory! It is God and Jesus tag teaming against evil.  It is God saying-- after the Garden of Eden you took away humans nature and made it sinful.  You thought you had a claim on humanity but I am God, and I created Jesus.  He is the one I sent with one purpose: to take away the sins of the world.  You do NOT have a hold on him. Through Him I stake my claim in humanity.  I am God.  The creator of the Universe and I WIN!

You cannot tell but I have tears writing this because even when I considered myself an unbeliever, this moment at the Cross has always brought me to tears.  It is how I know God has been working on me for a very long time.  It is because of this that my prayer to the world is that the significance of the season allows us to come closer to God to truly recognizing the amazing love He has for us-- that Him being omnipotent made himself human to become the vessel for all of our sins and in that way be able to redeem us. I also pray for those who are on the fence about God and Jesus. That the Holy Spirit fills their hearts and guides them to say the biggest YES in their lives. Be blessed my friends.


I may be found joining these amazing ladies: Elizabeth. Angie. HolleyJenniferLauraAnneJennifer. Bonnie. Jill. Kate. Lyli. Suzanne.

A BREATHLESS MOMENT AT THE CROSS

Happy first day of spring! Well, for the most part. Here in Minnesota, after a week of beautiful weather, it is back for 30F days. Yesterday it even snowed and it was not even on the forecast. Luckily it was about two inches and by noon it had melted. Today it was in the low 40s but the sun was shining brightly-- so it felt like the perfect cool spring day. And I tell you what-- weather like this makes me think of light fares and this one is simple, delicious and healthy




BLOOD ORANGE + AVOCADO HERB SALAD
by Sweet Clementine

Ingredient

1 blood orange
1 avocado
2-3 thyme sprigs
5-6 mint leaves
Salt

Steps: Cut the blood orange into segments and thee avocado into slices. Arrange in platter and garnish with herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

BLOOD ORANGE + AVOCADO HERB SALAD



This past week was the "unofficial" beginning of my training plan. The point was for me to see where I was. And I tell you, I am sucking wind. This winter was really hard for running because I got scared of the Minnesota winter. I did venture out a few times looking like a marshmallow man but sub-zero temps are no fun.  So I knew last week would hurt... and I was right. The only thing that made it bearable was that it finally warmed up all the way into the 60s.

For the Great River Race I am using a Ragnar specific training plan-- Villager-- via Pear Sport by coach Matt Fitzgerald.  This plan is specific for beginner level and low mileage runner, which I am. The longest I have ran is a 10K and I normally do not do races.  I just run because I like it.  The 12-week training plan includes foundation, speed,  hill and recovery runs.  So you get a little bit of everything to give you a strong plan.  

The training last week was focused on short foundation runs which should not have been challenging but were. It was straight up sucky not only because I am out of shape but because I normally run at a set speed so I can settle on a rhythm. The runs (which will be the same as this week) consisted of:
  • 5 min. warmup in Zone 1
  • 15 mins. in Zone 2
  • 5 min. cool down back in Zone 1
One thing you will notice is that this training requires a heart rate monitor which I do not have. So this week I am getting one. But back to the runs-- the change in pace really threw me off but you know what?  I liked it because it really did challenge me.  So at the end of each race I ended up with a smile on my face because I got out there and push through it.


 

Week 0 Ragnar Relay Training