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We Be Jambin’

Back in late July or early August, I made a drastic change.

I took off my acrylics.

I wanted to save a little money, and it was getting increasingly difficult to set aside time for my appointments.

I’ve worn them on and off over the years, so I wasn’t surprised at how ragged they were.  The acrylic and drill had ravaged them.

I bought a treatment (pictured above) to help out.  It did.  A little.  I knew, though, that time would heal best.

I started school without fancy nails.

I was slightly mortified.  I am known for my fancy (and perhaps over-the-top) designs.

I missed my pampering sessions, though.

I remembered that my friend, Heather, sold Jamberry, so I decided to place an order.

I went all out, taking advantage of the Buy 3, Get 1 Free deal on sheets.  I also purchased a starter kit (the pouch above) and a small heater.

Heather came by my house to hand-deliver the heater, which she happened to have in stock (the rest had to be ordered through her website).  She gave me some pointers on how to apply the wraps.

A few days later, while watching college football, I got down to business.

I’d watched a few videos, so I felt prepared.

I watched them again as I applied the wraps.

About an hour later, my nails were finished.

Yes, I did that.

All by myself, thank you very much.

I was curious how they would hold up.

A day or two later, I noticed the tips wanting to peel a bit.  They were a little rough as they started to lift.

I did some research and learned a few tips.

First of all, it’s suggested in some videos that you file the tips at a 45-degree angle.  What you’re doing is wearing off a barely-discernible bit of wrap from the edge of the nail.  By smoothing it down, there’s nothing right on the end to lift.

I’m telling you…you can’t see where you’ve filed it.

Heather had suggested using a baggie to wrap each nail, pulling each wrap tightly while heating it a few seconds.  Google that.  It’s pretty easy and effective, in my opinion.

I also watched a video that demonstrated how to ever so slightly heat a flat iron and, while it’s cooling, use the corner of it to smooth down bubbles to start forming.

I’ll admit that I did that too.

Without burning myself.

Go me.

I only had to do that one time.  Once I figured out the 45-degree filing tip, I didn’t have further issues.

My wraps stayed on two weeks until I was ready to change them.

Two weeks later and still looking great!

I was hooked within the first few days and ordered more wraps so I’d be ready when it was time to change them.

Removing the first set was extremely easy after I watched a couple of videos.  One concern I’d had was damage to my nails afterward; however, my nails were in better shape than when I’d begun!  If you ever try this, look for a video that demonstrates how to use a dental floss stick to slide under the wrap after it’s been soaked in either nail polish remover or lemon juice.

Less than an hour later, since I had already become a pro, I was all set.

Please note two of the wraps…my running girl (in honor of my first 5k) and the inspirational words.

Too.  Awesome.

This weekend, I’m planning on applying my third set of wraps.

They’ll be fall-themed.

I’m psyched!

Now, here’s something i want to put out there.

I’m buying these through my friend, Heather.  If you’ve read my blog over the years, you might remember my story about Heather.  She became a single mom after her husband passed away from cancer a few years ago.  To support her family while she stayed home to care for her children and later attended nursing school, she started selling Scentsy and Jamberry.

She’s back to working full-time outside of the home but still supplements her income.

She needs our help.  She’s been getting used to working a full schedule again and hasn’t had as much time to promote her Jamberry stuff.

I agreed to host an online party for her because I love this product so much.

Can you help her reach her goal this month?  She needs another $90 in sales to hit her magic number in order to maintain her active status with the company and, thus, keep earning some money for her family.

Here’s the link to the party.  It closes at 11:59 on Saturday, the 31st.

Join me in a “Jam” session so we can be Jambin’ together.

Ya mon.

(Go ahead and roll your eyes.  I know you want to.)

Early Morning Rain Shawl

I did a lot of knitting during my summer vacation.  I shared some of it in this post.

I thought it was past time that I wrote about a project I finished in August.

This is my Early Morning Rain Shawl.

I discovered this pattern when I went yarn shopping one day in June and fell in love with the Wolle’s Yarn Creations…

The owner of the yarn store showed me the shawl she was working on, and I knew I had to make one for myself.

I bought the yarn, beads (oy vey), and a Verna-X Beadle Needle…

I cast on July 19th.  The work was a little slow going at first.  Learning how to pull beads through my new tool wasn’t very easy; however, I watched the following video a few times and got faster…

The open lacework made my heart happy…I do love this type of knitting.

The pattern is written in a narrative format with sections divided into chapters.  It makes for lovely reading.

I wasn’t able to knit to the end of the pattern; the way it’s written, you can customize it a bit.  My gauge runs a little big.  I was only short a few rows.  Next time, I’ll buy one more skein of yarn so I won’t get stressed out.

The overall look of the shawl wasn’t affected in the least.

It’s a rather long shawl that drapes nicely with the added weight of the beads.

One of the things that made this pattern so enjoyable to knit was how each section changed.  It wasn’t monotonous garter stitch that went on forever.

The fringe freaked me out a little…at first.  It wound up being a piece of cake to work up.

This is a versatile scarf…perfect for casual wear…

When I bought the yarn, I envisioned wearing it to dinner at the beach.  The Mr. and I enjoy eating at various restaurants that have an ocean view.  The breeze is sometimes a bit cool for me.  The cotton yarn is light enough to take the edge off without making me sweat.  The open lace also helps.

It was a fairly quick knit.  I finished on August 10th, right before I had to head back to school.

I think it’s already become one of my favorite shawls!

Checking One Off the List

One month and one day.

That’s how long it’s been since I last blogged.

I’m hanging my head in shame.

A high school friend and I had a great conversation a few days ago on Facebook, and he told me how much he enjoyed my posts.  You see, although I’ve been playing hooky from my blog, I’ve been very active on other social media sites.

Anyhow, his kind words reminded me how important it is for me to sit down and write.  It’s one of the gifts God has blessed me with, and I don’t want to waste it.

So, here goes…the first in what I hope will be more regular posts.  🙂

My life has been busy.  Really busy.

I’ve had some things I’ve been working on that I’ll share when they come to fruition.

Soon.  Very soon.

Let’s start with one of the things I can share with you.

You know you’re going to get the back story because that’s how I roll.

A few years ago, I was shopping at Sams, when I noticed a lot of other customers who had colors in their hair, colors on their running shirts and shorts, and were, in general happy.

I finally figured out that they had done The Color Run that had been held earlier that morning.

The seed was planted.

I knew I wanted to do that some time.

Life got in the way; time passed.  Still, I harbored that desire.

I’ve tried a number of times to do 5k training.  I’ve usually given up for one reason or another.

This past summer, Super Sis and I had a chat, and she mentioned doing The Color Run, which was going to be happening in her city in October.  I checked my calendar and saw that the weekend would most likely be free, so I agreed.  I completed my registration on July 2 (I looked back at my confirmation email).

I was committed now.  I’d paid money…ordered my registration kit.

I was excited because she would be doing it with me, but with the start of school quickly approaching, I pretty much put it out of my mind.

One afternoon, I got a package in the mail…

Oh my gosh.  It was the stuff I was going to need for my race…my very first 5k!!!

I called Super Sis.  We got excited together.

I stuck it in my car even though the race was still over a month away.  I didn’t want to take a chance that I’d forget it.  I’m a little over the top in that way.

About a week before the race, Super Sis called me.  Her husband and son were going to be at a baseball tournament the weekend of the race, and she wanted to know if I wanted to do a sleepover.

I had planned on staying with the Mr.’s parents who live a couple of streets away from Super Sis, but her call changed that.

Super Sis and I are very close.  I treasure her more than I think she will ever know.  Knowing that we would have an entire evening and the next day to giggle as much as we wanted, be dumb blondes (she’s not blonde, but she acts like it a lot), and just do the things that our husbands, brothers by the way (we hail from Alabama where this sort of thing is actually normal), find annoying was too much for my heart to take.  I was anxious for the weekend to arrive.

I packed on Thursday night…

The next day, I wore my super hero shirt to school…motivation to power through the day…

One of my students asked why I was dancing through my lesson…why, in fact, all of the teachers seemed to be dancing that day.  Hello, can you say Friday?  Kids aren’t the only ones to get “turnt” at the end of each week.

:::rolling my eyes:::

Anyhoo, I left straight from work and listened to my playlist on my phone the entire way…

A couple of hours later, I arrived.

I saw Super Sis, through the front window of her house, run eagerly to the front door when I rang the bell.

We hugged.

It was Girls’ Night!

I made her the Tofu Scramble that I love so much…

She actually liked it but claims she’ll stick with regular scrambled eggs.  Still, I opened her eyes to how delicious Turmeric, one of the spices I use, can be.

We spent the evening chatting lazily.  We also, funny enough, happened upon a PiYo infomercial on TV.  I’ve just started the last week of this program and am a HUGE fan of it (you’ll be reading about this soon).

She wound up ordering it!  The deal on the TV was pretty good.  She’s interested in the exercise part, not necessarily the eating plan.  She’s very thin as it is but wants to be stronger and more flexible.  I can’t wait until she starts!!!

We went to bed wayyyyyy too late for people who were going to be getting up the next day to race, but when you never, ever get time to talk without having to worry about dividing your time between husbands and children (even though both types of our humans are grown), you take advantage!

The alarm went off way, way, way too early for a Saturday.  I did my First5 devotion and began getting ready.

I had read that if you have highlighted hair, you should put coconut oil in your hair to prevent the dye from staying.  I didn’t want oily hair, but I didn’t want to run my new highlights.

Super Sis and I decided to braid our hair.  She did mine first…

I did hers afterward.  I had flashbacks to high school when I braided her hair.  We won’t discuss the arguments we had over “bumps” in her hair.

Ahem.

We added the hair bands…

Ever wonder how long it takes to get ready for a 5k?  Apparently, for us, hours.

Some girls get ready to go clubbing.  We get ready for races.

Ahem.

We had to take a few more selfies because…well because we could…and we didn’t have our guys rushing us…

Before we left, Super Sis looked for her pup to make sure she was settled in.

Oh she was, all right…right on the couch.

This is Gracie, and her health has been declining the last few months.  Please say a prayer for her and for my sister’s family as they prepare to let her go.  In the meantime, she’s getting lots of love and was, if I remember correctly, allowed to stay on the couch while we were gone.

We took a couple more pictures…

We finally made it to the car.  Super Sis drove.

See that tattoo on her leg?  I had one to match…

We were both also sporting tattoos on our faces…

After about twenty minutes of navigating downtown streets, we finally arrived.

There’s a reason why this race uses the hashtag #happiest5k.  We could hear music blaring from large speakers even before we got out of the car.

People of all sorts…runners, families, single-tons…everyone was wearing either tutus or other running attire.  It was like the world had converged in this one area…the colors were bright and cheerful.

We donned our bandannas, something I’d had people say would be helpful to prevent the powder from entering my nose and mouth, and waited for the race to start.

Music blared.  People danced.

We.  Were.  Pumped.

A deejay counted us down, and before we knew it, we were off!

My form.  It’s not great.  My upper body is too stiff.  I’m researching how to correct this so I don’t expend unnecessary energy.

Still…I was running a 5k…with my sister!

I looked over at Super Sis, the excitement oozing out.

“I’m running a 5k,” I told her.

She smiled.  She’s done two or three of them.

It didn’t take long before I realized a small problem.

We were running on asphalt.

I was used to running on smooth sidewalks.

I looked over at Super Sis and said, “This is actually kind of hard.”

She smiled.

She’s been training on and off for about a year.  I could see how much stronger her strides were, and I offered to let her go ahead.  I knew I couldn’t run for long stretches and would be alternating what I like to call running (my version of it) and fast walking.

She’s a wonderful sister and told me not to apologize.

We grew excited as we neared the first color station.  We wanted all the colors.

We ran through together, holding hands.

Disappointment set in, though, as we exited that station without one single drop of color on us.

Say what?

We ran on.

We walked.

There were hills.  I struggled.  Podunk, USA doesn’t have hills like these.

Thankfully, my PiYo kicked in because my legs had actually gotten stronger through the seven weeks I’d been working out.

I conquered those hills with the encouragement of my sister.

We neared the second color station and made a new game plan.  We decided to run on both sides of it where the volunteers were lined up with containers of colored powder.

We looked like bandits as we approached, bandannas pulled over our noses and mouths.

I threw my arms in the air as I ran though…why, I’m not sure…but it felt good.

I wound up with orange powder all over me…fitting because I was wearing an old pair of blue Auburn shorts.  Orange and blue…college game day…get it?

She didn’t get as much, but we ran on.

We passed a few people.  Super Sis looked over at me and said, “We just passed someone.”

I smiled.

She continued, “She was pushing a stroller.”

My bubble deflated.

heehee

It was all in fun.

We approached the blue color station, and some lady we’d passed earlier passed Super Sis and ran ahead of her through the station, stealing some of her color.

I ran through on the opposite side and saw a volunteer reach over my head and pour out color.  Super Sis laughed when she saw me.  She said the back of my neck was covered in blue.  It had gone down my shirt.  It was in my hair.

I was even more excited.

This was my first race, after all…something I’d wanted to do for years.

We ran on.

I think my form improved as my body warmed up…

Super Sis completely rocked it…

Please admire my mad photo-taking skills.  I ran backward, uphill to snap that picture.

Anyhoo…

We ran.  We walked.  We took a picture or two along the way.

And then we saw the finish line.

We heard the music.

We ran one more time.

I wish I had a picture of it, but my camera was in my running belt.

I cannot tell you how emotional I was as Super Sis and I went under the Finish sign, color thrown on us and bubbles blown around us.

There was a loud crowd cheering.

Tears welled up in my eyes, but I kept them at bay so I wouldn’t smear the paint on my face.

Hey, you do what you’ve gotta do to look pretty.

We got packets of color and our medals when we went through the finish line.

I had done it!

Super Sis had done it!

We had done it together.

We were sporting every color of the rainbow…

On every part of our body…

We took a lot of pictures as we prepared for the color party…the party after the race where racers throw color everywhere.

I think that the next picture is probably one of my favorites from the day…

I bought a few souvenirs…the bumper sticker being my favorite, I think, because this truly was my first “real” 5k.

Before we left, we got blown off…with leaf blowers.  I might have enjoyed this a little too much.

It was finally time to head back to Super Sis’s house.

We had taken a “before” picture in her car before we started the race.  Now, we took the “after” picture.

I was so pumped after the race.

I’d set a goal, and I’d accomplished it.

I’d had one of my favorite people in the world by my side.

The race was so well organized.  It went beyond what I’d expected to experience for my first race.

I’m even more motivated to get better at running…to keep on pushing…so that when I’m actually running a timed race, I’ll see improvement.  In fact, my goal is changing now.

I want to actually run an entire 5k.

I have some work to do.

I’ll have these fun memories to keep me going.

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