Last week I was browsing on Pinterest and I came across an absolutely unbelievable look. It was the embodiment of Autumn/Winter. It was absolute perfection. The femininity of the cable-knit jumper contrasted against the leather leggings brought me to my knees; It was love at first sight.

Have a look at the original blog post for yourself and tell me you don’t also fall head-over-heels in love with this look! From the talent over at Could I Have That, “Underestimated” is the title of her post and although it may be from winter 2014, it is such a timeless, classic look that it NEEDS to be a staple in every wardrobe! (Perfect title for a blog too, huh?)

And so today, I set out to create a similar look of my own, both one that every gal could afford, as well as the lavish one that every gal dreams about. (Because hey, it’s nice to have dreams, right?)

I hope you find the look as captivating as I did! And of course, if you fall in love with anything you see, click on the photo and head over to Polyvore to source the site for purchase.

 

Fall Faves - Budget vs High Fashion

How do you plan to style your Autumn/Winter wardrobe? Did you love the look? Shoot me a tweet!

Until next time,
XOXO – K

A Mile is A Mile

I was out for a 15 mile run on Tuesday and somewhere around the 10 mile mark, it dawned on me just how far my running has come since I moved to Dublin. And so today, I want to focus my efforts on those things that have made me a better runner, in hopes that my sharing them with you will also help you to become a better runner for yourself.

1. Off days are OK, but you do have to power through them

You talk yourself up for your run all day; You get changed and lace up; And thirty seconds to a minute and a half into your run you think to yourself, “Oh. My. Gosh. Why am I doing this again?” It’s in stark contrast to those days that just seem effortless and easy, right? Trust me, this happens to everyone. And it’s utterly important that you keep going on those days because you have to teach your body that it can, and it will keep going.

2. Rain, heat, cold, or shine

Weather is a fickle creature, and I know all too well how easy it is to use the weather as an excuse to not go for a run. Strike that mentality. You HAVE to do it, and you know why? Because there is never a race-day weather guarantee.

Autumn Weather3. Set goals, and stick to them 

For me, it’s easier to keep myself motivated and running when I have an end-game in mind, and a financial commitment. And so, I run for races. If you can set goals for yourself and stick to them, you’ll see the improvements — they don’t always have to require a financial commitment of course.

4. Don’t forget your core! 

When I ran my first two half marathons, I relied solely on my lower half to get me through. It wasn’t until late last Autumn when I began a series of upper body & core workouts that I noticed HUGE strides in my running pace and endurance. You use your arms while running as much as your legs. You also rely on your core muscles to carry you along, so do yourself a solid and focus on the whole you, not just the legs.

Spiders

Yep, that’s me attempting spider push-ups. (I have wrist issues, so to combat that, I use yoga blocks for intense floor work)

 

5. You have to, and I mean absolutely HAVE to, cross-train your lower half.

As important as core strength is, your legs are what carry you through a race. All too often, runners think they can’t run because of their various problems. “Oh, my knees are bad” or “I get shin splints every time I run”. Did you know that most knee problems are due to weak hip flexors and IT bands? Did you also know that shin splints are generally a product of poor footwear or  running form? I have battled through these exact same issues — and I’ve come out ahead because I opted to begin cross-training. (Luckily, the at-home workouts I do for core, also focus on lower half strength.) IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD and I simply cannot stress that enough.

6. Music matters

Running Playlist

Have a play list, and a power song. And make sure your power song is in your playlist a few times (depending on your race length). And train with this play list — so you can tweak and edit before race day. At some point in your race you won’t even be hearing words, just beats, so be picky with your songs and make sure your feet can run to those beats! You’ll be pleasantly surprised when your power song changes over time…I certainly have!

My current favorites?
Eminem – Lose Yourself
Kenny Loggins – Footloose
The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

I all too often take hydration for granted. I’ve pushed myself a few times and can easily drink a pot of coffee then run 5-6 miles an hour later and be fine — but that’s not always been the case. And I certainly can’t push myself to run 12-15 miles without proper fluids. And even when I think I’ve had enough fluids, I land in bed with a migraine anyway. You need water. You need electrolytes. PERIOD.

8. Run with a friends.

You don’t realize how important running with a group of people is until you look down at your watch and you’ve run 5 miles without batting an eye because you were preoccupied with chatting. The best thing I ever did was find a group of people who pushed my limits, tested my endurance, and all around helped me become a faster runner simply by talking to me while we ran. Some days I didn’t think I’d make it through the runs, but those were the days my group mattered most (and goes hand in hand with #1 above)

Running Friends

9. Don’t fall victim to “carb loading”.

Don’t get me wrong, carbs are über important for runners, but you do not want to eat a heaping plate of pasta for lunch the day before a race and follow it with a large pizza for dinner. The carbs will process into sugar overnight and will leave you feeling sluggish on race day.

Consume your carbs evenly throughout the week of a race, and be sure you are eating the good carbs — sweet potatoes, whole grains, and legumes. I find quinoa is the absolute best before a race, as it is both a whole grain & protein packed. Stay away from processed and bleached carbs if possible.

10. Listen to your body.

I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Your body knows best, so pay attention to what it is saying! If your ankle hurts, take a day off from running and try some yoga. If you are hungry, EAT. The longer and further you run, the more your metabolism kicks in and needs fuel to continue and repair muscles. You only get one body, so take care of it.

Race

These are all the things I’ve learned about myself as a runner over the last 18 months. You can do anything you put your mind to, and here’s my proof: In September of 2013 I was a 12-13 minute mile distance runner (10K +) and a 10 minute mile short distance runner (+/- 5K). Today, I am a 9 1/2 minute mile distance runner and a 7 1/2 minute mile short distance runner. And now you know my secrets.

Until next time,

XOXO – K

In early July, my husband and I found out our time in Ireland was coming to an end earlier than expected. I’d like to tell you together we consciously made the decision to cut our time here short, but that would be a lie. What happened really isn’t important, but just know the world ultimately had different plans from our own wishes, and there was nothing we could do but embrace what was shortly to come.

And so, our time in Ireland will come to a close in mid-September, two days after I run the Dublin Half Marathon. It has been an emotional roller coaster and I’ve cycled through all of the 7 stages (or 10 or however many there are — it was a lot, either way) — but we’ve come to grips with the time we have left and have spent every minute trying to savour it. And even though it has been a challenging road, this living abroad thing, it has been one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

And so, this post is about the journey; that reflection; the last 18 months.

There has been coffee.

Coffee

There has been adventure.

Adventure - Flying

There have been tears — lots and lots of tears; Which has led to wine — lots and lots of wine (and tequila).

Wine

Tequila!

There has been food — so much food!

Seafood

There has been laughter.

Laughter

There has been dancing.

Dancing

There has been running.

Running

There have been fashion firsts.

Fashion

There have been friends — friends from every corner of the world.

Friends 1

Friends 2

Friends 3

Friends 4

(It just dawned on me that in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO under this section I’m wearing pink. Even in the black & white photo, I know my dress is pink…. hmmmm… Seriously, look out Elle Woods!)

But perhaps, most importantly, there have been memories; And no one can ever take away the memories, even if the world alters the path a little. Our Irish chapter is coming to an end, but the book is far from finished; And memories last a lifetime.

So, as they say, when one door closes, look for an open window:

Closed Door

(Just make sure the window isn’t barred shut!)

America, I’ll be seeing you SOON.

Until next time, XOXO – K

About a week ago, my hair left a lot to be desired. From the windy streets of Dublin to the salty sea waters in Spain, my hair needed SERIOUS help. It was dull; it was frizzy; and most sadly of all, I had split ends.

I promptly made a hair appointment to snip off those dead ends, but my gal was away on holiday for another week, so in the mean time, I had to do something to revive my locks!

I was scrolling through pinterest, when I came across a pin from the Rawmazing blog. I found, what I thought was an awesome, easy, solution for my hair: a Rosemary, Avocado, & Coconut Oil recipe.

Coconut Oil & Avocado

If you are like me, you are always stocked with avocados (great in smoothies) and coconut oil (try it in your coffee). Yes, you really can put avocado in your hair!

Just do a little blending of the ingredients and you end up with what looks like green baby food.

Coconut Oil & Avocado Combined

You’re probably thinking that it has to be the messiest thing anyone could put in their hair right? NOPE. I’ve had more trouble with a baking soda paste (clarifying attempt) and box hair dye than this stuff. It’s thick enough to paint right on — and even though I was wearing an old t-shirt, I managed to keep it off the bathroom floor (and walls!).

If you’ve ever stored homemade guacamole overnight in the fridge, you know it easily turns brown — you know, oxidation and all. It’s really no different in hair. I put the mask on and before I could even snap a photo it was melting into my hair & oxidizing.

Coconut Oil & Avocado Hair Mask

Now, I didn’t have any of the smell-good stuff on hand so after about 15 minutes I could only smell avocado — and admittedly I wanted some tortilla chips! Don’t worry though, I powered through the full half an hour project and hopped into the shower to get the mask out of my hair.

I shampooed and conditioned as normal. I toweled my hair to remove the excess water, combed my locks, and went to sleep. I woke up to a hot mess the next morning! My hair still looked wet, so I attempted to use the hair dryer. NO LUCK. It wasn’t wet, it was greasy! I quickly realized that coconut oil is a disaster to get out of my hair — and I had zero time to re-shower that morning as I was already running late! I threw my hair into the infamous blogger bun and went to work.

Once I was able to fully remove all of the coconut oil from my hair that evening, it was soft & silky and the mask had actually given a little life back to my otherwise dull hair.

I’m not sure I would use the mask again, but if I do, I’ll be sure to shampoo twice! (And use water that is warmer maybe?) All in all it wasn’t a complete pinterest fail and I did find another use for the coconut oil in the pantry!

Have you used coconut oil in your hair? Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to chat.

XOXO – K

 

Oh Chanel!

August 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was scrolling through photos recently and found all of the photos from my birthday bash. Have you ever visited Chanel? You know Chanel, that ever iconic name we all know and love (and I don’t care who you are, you covet Chanel as much as the rest of us, even if you won’t verbally admit it!) Today, I’m not referring to the magnificence that is clothing, oh no. I’m actually here to discuss the beauty counter.

For my birthday, I was smart enough to book an appointment to have my make-up done — because as much as I like doing my own, sometimes you just need a pro on your side, especially when it’s a BIG night.

I met up with a few gal pals for a pre-beauty application drink, you know, to calm the “I’m thirty” nerves a bit.

Cosmo

 

Then I headed off to Brown Thomas on Grafton street to have the lovely and talented ladies prep my face for the evening out. And I was pampered like you wouldn’t believe!

The whole session took about an hour. (Unfortunately, photos of the products were not allowed, but don’t worry, I have a feature coming soon.) The application involved moisturizer, primer, foundation, highlighter, powder, bronzer, blush, a subtle smoky-eye, and my favorite part, the lipstick. VOILA!

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

 

Now, I’ve never done a perfect smoky-eye before, so it took me quite a minute to get used to the look….but every time I see the photo now I absolutely want to recreate the look! It really makes my eyes pop, which is something I’ve never been able to successfully do.

And of course, like Elle Woods, one of my signature colours is pink. So I opted for a bold, shiny, pink lip. (It was actually coincidence that my top matched my lip!)

Rogue Coco #80 - Suspense

Rouge Coco #80 – Suspense

 

Chanel - Suspense

The lipstick is undeniably amazing and lasts for hours and hours, even through who-knows-how-many cocktails! It glides on easily and is highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way. And if you want an extra bit of shine, opt for a Chanel tinted gloss on top. You won’t regret it!

Masquerade 30th

Have you ever tried smiling with a massive mask tied to your head? It is certainly no small task! And of course, a look at my birthday outfit.

Until next time. XOXO – K