4th Annual Friend Photos

2015 annual friend photos

Well, I’m about 8 years behind on sharing life events on here, hence why I’m just now telling you about our 4th annual friend photo session that happened over a month ago. Once a year, during one of our Texas visits, my girlfriends and I get together for an annual group photo. We like to try and choose a different local (Southeast Texas local) photographers each year, and this year we went with Jacquelyn from Local Honey Photography.

Our little family Our family 2015

We started our annual photos in 2012 as a way to capture the beautiful relationships we have together, but also to start an annual event that will not only ensure that we always get together, but show how our families grow each year. Look at us 4 years ago…

2012 first annual friend photo
And we thought this was a huge group…

Now look at us, this year…

2015 annual friend photos
Now THIS is a big group.

Jacquelyn from Local Honey was AMAZING! She was so great with all of the kids, many of which were unhappy. She was quick, easy-going, great at telling us just what to do, but most impressively, she was able to do photos for all 4 families, friend photos, a large group photos and kids photos in just one hour!

my world in a photo

our sweet kids together
They are all growing way too fast!

We have been very lucky to always find photographers that do a great job and manage to make us look good and our kids look happy. It may be witchcraft, but it’s the good witch kind, like Glenda.

mommy daughter photo daddy daughter photo

This was the first year that our group photo didn’t grow in numbers. I don’t think this will last. SOMEONE is bound to have another kid, or two, in years to come. I suppose one day we will reach our max and then we will just be watching our kids grow each year… Not sure how I feel about that.

Our 2015 family photo
Nope. Not pregnant and no, I do not know if/when we will have another.
Luna Hazel
My whole heart

And to end this one, here’s some super cute candids Husband caught during the shoot.

our kids playing luna's silly face friends laughing

making kids smile
Doing our best to get all the kids to smile at the same time.

luna in the sunshine


How to do a Mud Run

how to do a mud run

Before doing the Original Mud Run, the Warrior Dash and (most recently) the Spartan Sprint, I spent a lot of time googling things like what to expect in a mud run, what to wear in a mud run, what obstacles should I expect, how to train for a mud run, and can I get a disease from the bacteria in the mud and so on and so on… To be honest, I found very few helpful articles. The tips I found were vague and/or obvious.

So, since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I have decided to write it myself! I recently completed the Spartan Sprint (which is my fav mud run so far) and after three completed mud runs I say I am now qualified to give my own list of tips. Here’s my What to Expect/Do/Wear in a Mud Run list!

Before the Spartain race
Our “before” photo. So CLEAN.
Spartan start line
Crossing the start line!

What to Wear

Wear clothes that you won’t be upset about if they get stained. Make sure they are fitted and NOT cotton. Cotton will get soaked, heavy and start stretching. I opt for dark clothes because they clean up well. Don’t wear shorts. Shorts are just asking for worse scrapes and bruises. I’ve heard of people duct taping their shoes, but mine have never ever even almost come off. I’ve also worn the same pair of old Nike’s in all three mud runs. I just toss em’ in the washer and save em’ for the next muddy race! I’ve also never worn gloves or felt the need for them.

wall climb Spartan Race
Climbing this giant wall with the teamwork.
barbed wire spartan
100 yards of army crawling under barbed wire! Ouch. BTW, crawl, don’t roll. You’ll just come out super dizzy.

Hair tips

Wear your hair back and secure it with whatever it takes. My hair is long and thick. It is near impossible to keep up while working out. During the mud runs I either braid it into a bun or wear a tight bun on top of my heat with a couple of hairbands, hairspray and a headband. This last thing I want is my hair in my face… well, truthfully, the last thing I want is mud in my eyes. I’ve tried coming up with a cute way to wear my hair, but that just doesn’t work in mud runs.

wading through water Spartan
this water was FREEZING!
rope mud climb Spartan
yeah, we totally needed help once we got to the top of this slippery climb

Stick together and stay positive

Unless you are training to place and are running in the competitor’s wave, do not give a shit about your time. These races can get crowded, you may have to wait your turn and it’s all about having fun and completing the race. We like to do these kinds of runs with our friends and we like to stick together. If someone gets tired and needs to walk, we all walk. We support one another, cheer each other, help one another through the obstacles and cross the finish line together. It’s a lot more fun that way, promise. (Plus, you all get the same medal anyways.)

we are spartans

fake guns spartan
umm, this is my tough face

What to pack

Pack clean clothes (obvi), I suggest packing loose fitting pants. I’ve learned the hard way that it is near impossible to put on leggings when your legs are never going to get completely dry. Baby wipes to clean those nooks and crannies, extra gallons of water (because sometimes the spray off area really sucks and it’s freezing), extra towels for drying off and sitting on in the car, a sheet to change behind (because often there are no changing tents), flip flops for afterwards, band-aids, snack because it is along car ride to and from (for most people), a spectator with a camera!

teamwork spartan
what friends are for, thanks for the moral support Mike!
mud pit Spartan
My face says it all. I definitely cut my butt on a sharp rock coming down. ouch

How to prepare/train

MOST people who are in this race are not in the best shape ever, but most have at least been training. It is not easy. This specific Spartan Sprint in Fort Campbell, TN was 5 miles. It had some seriously difficult obstacles (i.e. carrying a 5 gallon bucket without a handle and full of rocks up and over a giant hill, climbing a 30 foot rope without knots, dragging super heavy weighted metal sled through the mud, etc, etc). No one is going to force you to do something you simply can’t do, but your going to want to do it all. Plus, you don’t want to be unable to walk the next day.. I suggest focusing your training on running hills, long distance, push-ups, lunges, burpees and pull-ups. Upper body strength and endurance are top-priority.


mud hills spartan race
Waiting to do the first slide together.
real faces mud pit spartan
It looks like it could be fun, but lots of rocks and mud in your mouth make it not-so-fun.

Be a team player

I touched on this topic above, but it’s not just about sticking with your workout buddies. Support the other runners too. I cannot tell you how nice it is to hear people cheering each other on and cheering you on. And, even if you have teammates, you will need a stranger’s help at some point. I had people help pull me up muddy walls, help me down muddy hills, give me tips on the bouldering wall and much more. You will also want to watch the people in front of you tackle the obstacles. Learn from their mistakes and triumphs.


pulley challenge spartan
girl power!
spear throw spartan
Okay, I HAVE to brag. I got my spear to stick on the first throw! I was SHOCKED and way too excited.

What to expect

Expect to get soaked to the bone wet, get scraped up and bleed a little, get mud absolutely everywhere (think ears, eyes, underwear, etc), be cold (before and after – depending on the weather), see someone cry, be sore, have an awesome day and feel like a badass.


ring challenge Spartanrope wall climb spartan

You will not die (most likely)

You will not die. If you can’t complete an obstacle, you are told to do 30 burpees. Is someone going to watch you do them? Count them? Scold you if you skip it? No, no and no. Every mud run wants you to think it is the hardest, scariest, most challenging thing you will ever attempt, but truthfully… taking Luna to the grocery store is scarier. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough, but if you are training for it, it’s totally doable. As far as getting a flesh-eating bacterial disease from the mud? Well, just don’t google any articles about it before you run… it’s still up for debate.


rope climb spartan
That’s Husband making it to the top… I”m on the right, and that’s about as high as I got.

spartan fire jump


We typically get Starbucks, a cupcake and go out for a giant lunch. We spend the night binging on movies and snacks and plan to have a lazy Sunday afterwards. What can I say? We know how to party.

spartan finish line
hose shower spartan race Everyone loves a nice cold shower, right?

If you like being active, adventurous and tackling a challenge then definitely sign up for a mud run. (Except the Orignal Mud Run…remember how disappointing that one was?) We are seriously considering signing up for the next level up Spartan race – the Spartan Super or maybe the Tough Mudder.

spartan race finishers

spartan sign wall H ave you done a mud run? Got any tips to add to the list? I’d love to hear about your experiences!



Our Many Halloween Celebrations

a positively panicked halloween

It’s November 1st, Halloween is officially over, which almost makes me sad, but then I remember it’s my Birthday Month/Thanksgiving/Black Friday and so many fun events are coming up! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though…can we first reflect on one of the best holidays in existence? The day of playing dress-up, getting free treats and watching scary movies!

tinkerbell eating

You know we did some pre-celebrating at Boo at the Zoo, but Halloween is kind of like my Birthday..it’s celebrated all month! Luna got to sport her Tinkerbell dress all over town… starting with The 12 South Farmer’s Market End of Season/Halloween Celebration. We danced with Mr. Steve (in the rain), ate grilled cheeses from the famous Grilled Cheeserie truck and stocked up on some veggies.

halloween at the farmer's market

Of course, pumpkin carving was a must. I risked cutting off every finger to carve a Mickey for Luna. She had literally zero interest in helping me or touching the pumpkin at all. BUT, she did point to it after I was done and exclaimed, “Mickey!”, so it was worth it. Plus, I roasted some delicious pumpkin seeds afterwards.

pumpkin carving with a toddler

We celebrated with friends and got our annual “kids in costumes” photo. And, yes, that Charlie Brown is the cutest thing anyone has ever seen!


toddler friends at Halloween

Luna also had her first ever school program this week! If you know Luna, you know she can be quite the dancing fool. She loves hamming it up for her friends and family and giving us quite the booty shaking performance. Before the show, her teachers warned the parents that since their class is the youngest, they do not force them to go on stage or wear their costumes if they don’t want to do it. They don’t want to freak the kids out and make them unhappy. When it all began, Luna paraded in wearing her costume, like a big girl, got on stage and looked so ready to perform. However, once she realized there was a room full of strangers staring at her, she froze. She stood, center stage, with this look on her face for the entire 3 and half minute performance.

baby's first program
I guess she’s not quite ready for the limelight.

This weekend, we took a road-trip to Chattanooga with some of our best friends. We mostly ate and relaxed, but we got out and enjoyed the cool fall weather with our Halloween girl too.

halloween at coolidge park
Playing at Coolidge Park

halloween on the carousel

friends on Halloween
Good times with good people

We may not have done any actual trick-or-treating, but I still got us together for a themed costume!

Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and Tinkerbell costumes

Peter Pan Wendy and Tinkerbell

I’m already brainstorming for next year’s costumes! What did you do this year? I’d love to see everyone’s costumes!


*I just want to add that I ordered Luna’s Tinkerbell dress from an Etsy shop called All-Inclusive Designs. It fits size 2T-5T, it’s comfy, easy to wash and great quality. It was only $25 and so much better than anything I could find in a store. Plus, I know she’ll be able to play dress-up with it for years. This is not sponsored, I just seriously love this costume and would love to spread the word because it sucks to waste money on cheap costumes that don’t even make it through one holiday. So check out her shop and her Facebook page!

Boo! (at the Zoo!)

Nashville Boo at the Zoo

If you haven’t realized it, we are a bit obsessed with the Nashville Zoo. Luna and I attend just about every event they offer throughout the year. Our zoo rocks. So, clearly, we wouldn’t miss this year’s Boo at the Zoo (formerly known as the “Ghouls at Grassmere”).

Somehow, we have the CRAZIEST jam-packed schedule this fall/winter and we only had one day to make it to one of our fav Halloween festivities…luckily, that “one day” just happened to be opening night. Unluckily..Luna had a cold and a couple of teeth coming in. She wasn’t exactly her normal happy-go-lucky self, but she managed to enjoy herself.

Right after entering the gates we were greeted with Disney Princesses and the Nashville Zoo’s famous giraffe mascot. Luna, being her grumpy little self, wanted nothing to do with them so we opted for a red-carpet Mommy/Daughter photo shoot. (Which is basically the same as taking a photo with a Disney Princess, amiright?)

mommy daughter red carpet

Our first stop was the Story Tail Treat Trail. We “trick-or-treated” around dozens of animal exhibits and Peter and I, eh hmm, I mean Luna, got lots and lots of yummy treats. Most of the animals are in for the night during the festivities, but we got some up close and personal looks at a kangaroo, a tortoise and a bearded lizard.

nashville zoo, trick or treat

I was SO excited to see the moon photo-spot was back this year! Last year, I just had to take a photo with Luna (for obvious reasons), and this year was no different. Now, the Nashville Zoo, just has to promise me to always and forever keep this photo-spot available during the Boo at the Zoo. Luna and I need to re-create this photo every year, at least until she graduates high school.

2014 vs 2015

Luna’s favorite spot was the Fall Festival Field. There’s lots of carnival games, treats, a maze, a hayride, etc… BUT the highlight of the entire night was the corn box.

corn box nashville zoo

Luna really REALLY did not want to leave the corn box. The fit that ensued when we had to leave was cause for alarm. Husband and I considered leaving her and coming back for her the next morning. I’m sure the corn is a comfy place to sleep, plus the zoo keepers already have to deal with wild animals. Same same.

My favorite part of the night was the carousel, or shall I say the “SCAREousel”. I let Luna choose her animal (kangaroo) and we had a magical ride together.

the zoo carousel

boo at the zoo carousel luna on the carousel blue eyes sunset carousel mommy daughter carousel kisses

Tomorrow and Friday are the final two nights of this years Boo at the Zoo! Nashville friends, you don’t want to miss this. Dress your kids up, head over and enjoy the evening!

Happy Haunting! Three more days till’ Halloween!


10 Life Lessons From Cinderella

10 life lessons from cinderella

Growing up my favorite Disney princess was always Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. She is smart, a little quirky, beautiful, kind and wears a beautiful yellow dress (my favorite color). However, after seeing Cinderella on Broadway in NYC, the new Cinderella movie and now Broadway’s Cinderella in Nashville at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, I may have a new favorite. Cinderella has gone from being a sweet girl who finds her prince, to a kind, smart and brave girl that not only wins the heart of a prince, but opens his eyes to the trials in his kingdom. Her determination to follow her dreams changes people and makes her world a better place.

Cinderella on Broadway TPAC

I wrote a review of the show here, and my opinions haven’t changed a bit. The show is just as magical the second time around (yes, even on tour!). So, for this review I’m going to give you 10 important life lessons we can all learn from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s modern day Cinderella.

Cinderella on Broadway TPAC

1. Kindness is never wasted. Be kind to each and every person you meet. “Kindness is practiced now in all the great courts.”

2. Don’t give up on your dreams because anything is possible. “Impossible things are happening everyday.”

3. Sometimes wearing a beautiful dress, having an amazing hairstyle, the right makeup and a great night out makes all the difference in the world! It’s just like dressing for success.

4. Reading is the key. Cinderella finds all the answers she needs in the book about the world that Jean-Michel gives her.

5. One pair of shoes can change you life. (Especially if they’re made of Venetian glass.)

6. Speak up. You know what’s right and what’s wrong. Tell it like it is, sister!

7. People are not always as they appear. That snotty girl, might actually be an insecure intellectual who is being bullied by her own parents. The plain poor girl could be the kindest best friend you will ever have. And, the town crazy lady could be your Fairy Godmother, who knows!?!

8.We all have people who inspire us (Fairy Godmothers). Cinderella had her Fairy Godmother, but we all have/need someone in our lives to empower us and remind us to believe in ourselves.

9. Have courage. Do not let others intimidate you from going after your dreams. Sometimes courage looks like standing up for a friend. Sometimes it is following your own path. Sometimes it’s doing the right thing when no one else is. And, sometimes, courage is simply showing up.

10. When the right person comes along, the shoe will fit.

Cinderella at TPAC

TPAC has done it again by bringing, yet another, fabulous show during Broadways season. It was a magical night out and I’m already looking forward to the next!

cinderella broadway musical tpac



Model Baby

Luna in Simon & Co

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite local baby stores, Simon & Co, posted a question on Instagram… “Who wants to be a part of a photoshoot for Simon & Co??!” Well, obviously, I immediately replied with a “YES Please!” Because a) I love their adorable onesies and b) I love even more having photos taken of Luna.

Luna in Simon & Co

Local Nashville photographer, Kristin Sweeting, took the photos and alongside her was her sweet infant baby boy.

Luna in Simon & Co

Kristin was so sweet with all of the babies. She could so easily get them to sit, stand, smile, be still and pose for each picture. I have no clue how she did it, but I’d like to learn that kind of witchcraft.

Luna in Simon & Co

Savannah, owner of Simon & Co, with her (almost) husband Kramer, started this company of fun baby clothing together as a way to celebrate families and bring the community closer together. Their motto is “clothing with a big personality, just like the kid who wears it!”

Luna in Simon & Co

Luna modeled their “whoa baby” onesie.  Being the pro she is, she paired it with some leg warmers, fox flats and occasionally, a yellow crown.

Luna in Simon & Co

She cheesed it up for us…

Luna in Simon & Co

but, showed us her serious side too.

Luna in Simon & Co

Work it!

Luna in Simon & Co

Obviously, we are are now the proud owner of a “whoa baby” onesie. In fact, she wore it home.

Luna in Simon & Co

We are also big fans of Simon & Co’shealthy fat” onesie, which features a really happy avocado.

Simon & Co healthy fat onesie

**Just in! Simon & Co wants to offer a discount code to all of you beautiful readers! For 15% off your next order just use the code BLOGSFORLIFE15 as you checkout. Happy shopping!**

Be sure to check Simon & Co and Krisin Sweeting Photography out and support Nashville’s local entrepreneurs!



30 Questions About Me



We are on a quick family vacation to Texas for a cousin’s wedding and since I am with my parents (and they are more than happy to entertain Luna every second of the day), I have this weird thing called “free time”. It’s possibly the best feeling I’ve ever had. In any case, I’m in the mood to write and recently came across this survey in Hellogiggles.com – “30 questions you should ask your best friend”. I figure we’re pretty close, right? So, I might as well go ahead and answer them for you…

1. Who are your top three lady heroes?

Lorelei Gilmore, Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn and Miss Frizzle and yeah I know that’s 4.

2. When you were little, what did you want to be?

A veterinarian until I realized that you have to deal with sick animals and then, a meteorologist. In fact, I still often watch the weather channel for fun.

3. Who do you think should run for president in two years?

Ellen DeGeneres…well someone like her, but with lots of political experience.

4. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Ever?

Ummm, Big Girls Wear Panties?? I only have time for children’s books, stop judging me! I did just start The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the new book in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.

Ever?? That’s tough, but I guess Harry Potter. I could read those books forever.

5. What makes you feel afraid?

Death, cockroaches and being alone with my thoughts

6. Would you rather get lunch with Gillian Flynn or J.K. Rowling?

Obvi, J.K.! Although, I wouldn’t pass up a lunch date with Gillian either.

7. What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory?

Thinking that everyone called a vagina a “noony” until second grade….thanks Mom!

8. If you had the option of adopting a baby fox or baby koala, which one would you choose?

Both! No way I could choose one over the other.

9. What’s your dream job?

Well, I LOVED being a full-time stay-at-home-mom, but since I can’t do that forever and it’s not technically a job… I’d like to teach in an atmosphere that gives me the freedoms to teach creatively, and not be controlled by test scores and mountains of paperwork. I’d also like to get paid to travel the world… So maybe a blogger that reviews the world’s most unique destinations? Yeah…that sounds good.

10. Who is your favorite mythological god/goddess?

Hmm, Artemis, I guess. Goddess of the hunt, wilderness, animals, young girls, childbirth, plague and the moon.

11. Who was your first crush?

Oh boy… Probably someone in preschool #boycrazy. Either that or JTT.

12. If you had to choose between using Internet Explorer forever, or permanently using an AOL e-mail address, which one would it be?

As humiliating as it might be, an AOL E-mail address.

13. If you could either be a duck or an owl, which would you be?

Duck! I want to be in the water all the time, duck my head in for fish and shake my tail feathers all cute like.

14. What do you love about yourself most?

I’ve always had a high metabolism.

15. What don’t you like so much?

Acne problems and my inability to say “no”.

16. Rugrats or Doug?

Ah, it’s like Sophie’s choice! Doug, because he had The Beets.

17. Which house would you belong to in Game of Thrones? Like, very honestly.

Okay, honestly, I was going to just say House of Targaryn because that’s my fav, but I just googled it, because how do you actually know what house you should be in? Turns out it depends on your hair and eye color. So, then I guess I’m in the House of Lannistet of Lannisport.

18. If you got a (new) tattoo, what would it be of?

A moon for Luna, because I’m a cheesy Mom.

19. What would you like to eat for your last meal?

A giant plate of nachos… Or tacos….or french fries…

20. If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose?

Anything to make me popular enough to be on Dancing with the Stars!

21. Who has influenced you the most?

Probably my Mom.

22. What are your favorite lyrics?

Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true

23. Real jeans or jeggings?

Real jeans

24. On the first day of ruling the world, what would you do?

Make the entire world read Horton Hears a Who and write a report on what it means to treat others with kindness.

25. If you were forced to open a bakery, what would you name it?

Hilarie’s Honey Buns

26. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done on a date?

Hitchhiked maybe? I dunno, we’ve had A LOT of weird dates, especially in Albania.

27. What do you hope to achieve by 50?

The ability to grow and maintain a vegetable garden.

28. What has been your best moment this year (so far)?

Traveling with Luna to England and Scotland. Best time there was probably in York.

29. Would you rather be stuck in traffic for two hours, or have Chipotle run out of guacamole forever?

Stuck in traffic. It would suck, but not nearly as bad as losing guacamole FOREVER.

30. Why are you so amazing?!

It’s all in the coffee.