Anniversary Weekend Fun

Four years ago, my now-fiancé, Matt, and I were about to leave for a concert (The Fray) when he asked me to be his girlfriend. Four years later this past Friday, I attempted to surprise him with another concert, but that guy is just too smart to be fooled!

Matt and I met during our first week of college at a meeting to be writers for the school’s newspaper. (We’re little nerds, what can I say.) I remember him making jokes and being super outgoing, thinking he was pretty cute—and then inwardly thrilled when he walked me back to my dorm afterwards. We spent some time together and talked quite a bit, but I had come to school a LONG way from home so I could spread my wings and just be me, figure out who ‘me’ really was—so, between classes, a few clubs, and joining a sorority, I just didn’t have time to try to fit another puzzle piece into my life.

But four years later as college graduation neared, our paths crossed again, and finally it was the right time for both of us. And we’ve been together ever since. It’s been a fun, crazy, busy, exciting, full-of-love four years that we’ve grown together through. 🙂


Oops, that’s not right…Here we go:



Last summer, we got engaged. We decided to hold off an extra year on the wedding so we could put our resources towards buying a home while the market was still so great. (Every year we cringed at the amount of money we were throwing away in rent!) We were able to find our perfect home this past April, and with that out of the way—it’s on to wedding planning for next summer!

We had a great anniversary weekend, first with a little Friday night fun. That concert on Friday I mentioned above was one of Matt’s favorite country singers, Phil Vassar. He played at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Friday night. What a great show!! I have to admit, I was planning the concert all for Matt’s sake; I listened to Phil when Matt played his music, but besides that, he wasn’t necessarily my favorite artist. But, you know how sometimes you see a band or singer perform live, and their passion, energy and pure talent are enough to make you a forever-fan? That’s totally what I experienced at the Phil Vassar concert. We are definitely going to try to go see him live again at some point. He was just a ton of fun to watch and listen to. It probably helped that we were able to score a spot only four rows back from the stage, dead center. Pretty sweet!


celebrating 4 years together

Another fun side note, they were shooting footage for his newest single’s music video, Love is Alive, during the concert. We’re hoping that since we were so far up front and in the center of the crowd, maybe we got into the video. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed & wait to see!


honeypie cafe

The next morning, we stopped in Bayview at a cute brunch spot, Honeypie. They have tons of vegan and vegetarian options, and also some decadent and meat-laden dishes like the country-fried pork chop with eggs, sausage gravy and potatoes…which Matt of course had to get. I got a breakfast burrito, which was delicious, filling & way too much food. Definitely recommend Honeypie for brunch—or just for some sweets! Look at those…it took all my willpower not to give in to one of those babies.

Then it was on to our wedding venue destination in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We drove around to every park in the city to scout out a wedding ceremony spot. We also stumbled across a church that we both liked a lot, Matt especially. I have always imagined our wedding taking place outdoors, though, so it will take some convincing for me to change my mind… However, I sadly was not ‘in love’ with any of the parks that we saw, and really can only imagine our wedding take place in one pretty, secluded and quiet spot that we were pretty fond of:


So now it’s on to figure out the logistics, cost, risk of an outdoor wedding, and all that jazz so we can make up our minds and get our date set. Now we’re finishing off anniversary weekend with a little home-cooked dinner & some wine tonight before it’s back to the real world tomorrow. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Anyone out there have an outdoor wedding ceremony and have any advice? We aren’t hiring a wedding planner & we’re doing everything ourselves here…so any advice is appreciated!


Chicago Marathon Training, week 2 recap

Here’s a recap of my week #2 marathon training.

All in all, a solid week. I am feeling good mentally & physically!

  • Sunday, June 23rd: Long run, 8 miles • 11:19/mile pace
    • I did my long run on Sunday instead of Saturday, thanks to a traveling mishap on Saturday. I waited to start until almost 9am, which wasn’t so smart since it was about 75 degrees when I started, and 85 degrees when I finished. It was a hot one! I went slow & steady since it was my first long run, and I stopped at home to refill my water bottle with ice water about halfway through, so those things helped me to feel pretty good throughout.
  • Monday: 3 mile run, easy • 10:23/mile pace
    • Easy recovery run along the lakefront kept it breezy & cool.
  • Tuesday: Was supposed to cross-train by biking, but it was rainy/stormy out, so I did some core work & Pilates strengthening inside.
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run, easy • 10:50/mile pace
    • Ran with my training partner for a nice, easy 5 miles. Goes by so much faster when running with a friend!
  • Thursday: 3 miles • 10:10/mile pace
    • Ran along some roads in the hot sun & HIGH humidity. Sweat didn’t even seem to drip off…just stuck there. Gross & was glad when it was over.
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: My usual long run day, I planned it as a rest day due to wedding planning out of town all day, but did LOTS of walking…probably 2 hours total in the city and throughout some parks in Cedarburg (and moved my long run to the next day)

Here’s a look at what I have coming up this week:

  • Sunday: 9 mile long run
  • Monday: 60 minute cross-train (bike ride)
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: 3 miles
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 6 miles

Running to the Altar

If you’ve read my About Me page yet, then you see I have an exciting event coming up next summer…my WEDDING!

One of the benefits I’m hoping to glean from marathon training is weaning a few extra pounds off this bod & then keeping them off, so I can look good in that white dress. Cliché and such a silly chick thing to do, I know, but c’mon—wedding photos are immortal! Might as well make sure I’ll enjoy looking back at them later (hopefully not in longing of a bygone svelte body).

I’ve read several times that marathon training can actually cause weight gain. Due to increased mileage and calorie burn, you’ll be hungrier, which means you eat more (duh). But, if you aren’t eating more lean proteins and fruits/veggies, and instead justifying that extra piece of cake or cookie that won’t really satisfy your hunger (unless perhaps it’s a Snickers), then it’s easy to see how that scale can creep up.

cupcakes = my weakness

cupcakes = my weakness

As you’ll come to find out, I like to bake & I have a major sweet tooth. In the past, I did justify the ice cream, or cookie, or chocolate every day after I worked out. Sometimes I would literally stop to get a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my workout class. Ha! If you aren’t trying to lose weight and you eat a well-balanced diet in general, I think that’s just fine to do once or twice a week. But, when you’re trying to burn that extra fat off, putting it back into your body via gooey hot fudge and vanilla ice cream is not going to help.

Nowadays, I’m focusing more on eating lean meats & way more veggies than I ever did before. I actually hated vegetables up until a couple years ago, after I graduated college, when I started finding some ways to prepare veggies that were actually tasty. (Look for some recipes in the future on that topic!) It’s a little embarrassing to admit that, but I was like a big 22-year-old kid who would frown and just push her veggies to the side of her plate. Wah, wah. Now, I try to incorporate them as often as I can. And, on the weekend I let myself splurge once on a sweet treat…after all, who can really give up ice cream?!

healthy prep

What it comes down to is, I’ve changed my outlook on eating as fuel to get me through marathon training runs. Plus, having healthy meals and snacks planned out for the week means I am never hungry (even with cutting calories to lose weight) and I always feel energized and good during my runs. Win, win!

Oh yes, so back to that whole wedding thing. 🙂 We’ve got the reception hall picked out, and this weekend we’ll be touring the area to find a park to hold the wedding ceremony at. Perfect timing, as Friday is our four-year anniversary together! We’ll be celebrating with some hard core wedding planning. I’m sure my fiancé is super excited. 😉

How do you like to fuel yourself for your runs? Do you have to watch what you eat?

Any advice on deciding upon an outdoor wedding ceremony space? Luckily, our reception hall can double as our back-up plan in case of rain, so we’ve got that one covered!

How I’m Training for my First Marathon

Let’s take a look at what’s ruling my life these days…marathon training!

Running a marathon is truly something I never thought I would do. Over the last couple of years, I’ve run many races & distances, including a handful of half marathons, with a PR of 2:11. The dedication and time it took to run 13.1 miles, and the few injuries that cropped up during those times, were enough to make me swear off even the idea of running 26.2 miles.

Then this past January, something changed. During a “run-cation” (vacation + running  race) with my two sisters in Florida, they talked me into signing up for the Chicago Marathon so we could all run it together.

Translation: They will finish over an hour ahead of me, and I will be cursing them as I near the 20-mile mark & they’re already celebrating. I missed out on the speedy runner genes, apparently.

I’m still not sure what it is that changed my mind… Maybe it was the fact that we’d run a half marathon in the Florida heat that morning and our wine flights at dinner were going to my head. Maybe it was the fact that a half marathon used to seem like an insurmountable task to me, but then, even when I slacked on my training, I was still able to finish 13.1 miles. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t pretty easy, but a half marathon also wasn’t an impossible feat anymore. So I needed a bigger challenge. Why not take that conquest on with my sisters, my best friends, by my side?

My sisters & me after the Naples Half Marathon.

My sisters & me after the Naples Half Marathon.

I had used the Hal Higdon training plans for half marathons before, and I liked the balance of running with rest/cross training days. I felt like it gave me a great running base without going overboard. A pal from my running club and I decided to train using the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program. I switched around the schedule of my days, but here’s what my plan looks like for the next couple of months…

Chicago Marathon Training Plan, Hal Higdon Novice 2

Click to see the greuling & fun details…

I’m giving myself the flexibility to switch around days and workouts, especially with the summer heat about to descend upon us here in Wisconsin, and all the fun activities that pop up in the sunny summertime months. It seems like here in Wisconsin, we get 3 months of great weather, followed by 9 months of winter, so I have to enjoy the sunshine while I can!

Each Monday, I’ll post the week’s upcoming workouts, and a recap of the past week’s so I can keep an eye on my progress & stay accountable.

This week’s workouts:

  • Monday: 3 mile run (check!)
  • Tuesday: cross train with my bike group, pending storms / alternate: Pilates and core work
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: 3 mile trail run with running buds
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 9 mile long run
  • Sunday: rest, i.e. stretch/foamroll & walk

Any words of advice for a marathon newbie? Do you have a specific training program you prefer to follow, or other fitness that you incorporate into your routine to help you?

About That Lovely Life…and me!

Hi there! I’m Amanda, a 26-year-old lady with a lot of lovely things going on in my life right now. Rather than let these fabulous experiences pass me by, I want to write about them to remember the great times and memories, as well as share my crazy busy life with you! I have a lot of random interests, so here’s a bit of what you’ll be reading about:

  • Running the Chicago Marathon in October 2013…my first marathon!
  • Getting married in August 2014 (I hope I don’t need to say: my first marriage!)
  • Settling in & making over our first home – bought in April 2013
  • Cooking healthy & tasty recipes while losing a little weight
  • …Balanced by a little beer, wine & cheese sampling
  • Web design & marketing geekiness
  • And who knows what else will get caught on camera & typed up in a storm

Follow along with me during this exciting, probably exhausting, definitely crazy, enchanting, LOVELY time. 🙂