Tag Archives: Thankful

Marvelous Mondays – February 6th

6 Feb

Great news to all my readers. Ali is back to her happy self!

I finally shook my mood from the past couple weeks and I am feeling normal again. Cheers to that!

Now let’s get excited about the week, shall we?

Nicole’s Birthday

Obviously today is marvelous because it is my best friends birthday!

Throwback pic from 2003! We were WAY too tan for February.....

Happy 26th Birthday, Nicole!!! I love you and cannot wait to be your maid of honor in 4 months!

Foggy Run

I had a stellar run this morning in the fog!

No, this isn't really from this morning, but it is such a cool pic!

It was a bit scary because it was super dark and super foggy, but I felt great and ran a good pace. Isn’t a great run the best way to start off your day? I think so!

Chocolate Ale

People in Kansas City have been crazy obsessed with this seasonal beer made by Boulevard Brewery. It is called “Chocolate Ale”.

After bar hopping with my friend Kim this weekend, we can now contribute to conversations about Chocolate Ale. It tasted like beer, with chocolate in it!

You would NOT want a glass bigger than this.

Sweet Baby Time

Yesterday I attended my first “play date”. My boyfriend Zack’s sister has two of the sweetest little babies, and they had a little date setup to play with their cousin Gia. I invited myself and tagged along!

I love these girls so much and see them every chance I get! Being Aunt Awi is the best thing ever.

Bridget drinks lots of water just like Awi!

Ummm, for real....look at that sweet face!!!!

So what are you looking forward to this week? Or did something great already happen that you would like to share?

Wishing everyone a happy, positive, upbeat week ahead!



The Power of Positive Thinking

18 Jan

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the role positive thinking can play in ones life.

Everyday I come in contact with negative people, and I always want to ask them what they think their negative attitude is going to accomplish for them. Do they think that complaining about something is going to make it change? Do they think that if they try to bring other people down with them, their bad situation will somehow get better (the misery loves company idea)? Or do they not think about these things at all?

I am a positive person, and I always have been. I try to see the good in everyone and in every situation I am placed in. Am I always able to overcome every obstacle with a big smile on my face? No. But you can bet I will try my hardest to do so.

Positive thinking has not only played a huge role in my life, but also in my running successes. Since I began my running career at the age of 13 (middle school cross country), I have realized how important it is to stay positive during races and hard workouts.The minute that I let my mind go in a race, I might as well quit.

I have encountered many “mental” runners over the years. I have run with them on my cross country/track teams, and next to them in half marathons. And I always feel sorry for them that they deal with those negative thoughts. I am so thankful to stay away from joining the crowd of “mental” runners, and that I can keep myself going by saying affirmations in my head.

As I said earlier, I don’t make it out of every situation with a big fat smile on my face. But I do really try to make that the case. The experts say that running is very much a mental sport, and I couldn’t agree more.

To all my friends out there facing something hard in life, or getting prepared to, please keep in mind that you can overcome so much by keeping your head up and your mind free of negativity. And if that isn’t enough to think of, try my favorite quote by Robert H. Schuller – “Tough times never last, but tough people do!”.

How do you keep negativity from creeping into your life? Or do you struggle like so many do to keep these thoughts away? Do you have advice for dealing with other negative people we encounter daily? I would love to hear your views on this!



A Year in Review: 2011

4 Jan
One of my Twitter friends recently asked a question. It was: “If you could use one word to describe your 2011, what would it be?”. I quickly replied with: Happiness.

2011 was a wonderful year filled with many memories worth noting. Below is a month by month snapshot of my favorite memories of 2011. Please excuse the delay in writing this blog post.


January was a cold and snowy month in Kansas City. January brought me to St. Louis for my dear friends Lindsey and Joe’s engagement party.

All of Lindsey's Ladies, minus Kara


The month of LOVE! In February, Zack and I took a trip to Louisville, KY. This was Zack’s first meeting with my family that lives there. What a wonderful weekend we had!

At the Jim Beam Distillery


March was a crazy busy month for me! In March I ventured to Texas to visit Zack, then hit up Louisville to see my family and topped off the month with a fantastic trip to NYC!

My first time riding a horse in Louisville!!!

Aunt Holly and I outside of 'Catch me if You Can'


April is my birthday month! In April I celebrated a few other birthdays with friends, and then celebrated my own. Easter was also a highlight of the month, and I was happy to spend that weekend with my family and Zack!

Yes, sometimes I wear extensions.

Bridget looks right at home...


In May I got to see my parents new getaway home they had been working so hard on. The home is amazing and the view is even better!! I also took a trip to Texas in May to visit Zachary!

This is what you see from their front porch


What a month June was!! It started with a trip to Boston for work, that also included quite a lot of fun! Then I went to Key West with Zack’s family to celebrate his parents 30th Wedding Anniversary.

Boston Harbor in the morning, so peaceful!

Sunset Cruise in Key West, FL

I swam with the sweetest Dolphin, Santini!


July brought me to California for my first ever visit to the state! My best friend Nicole lives there now, so a trip was in order. I went over the 4th of July weekend and we had the best time in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach!!

In July I also ventured to the Lake of the Ozarks with Eileen, Louisville to see my Cousins and St. Louis for Lindsey and Joe’s wedding shower.

We climbed a mountain, in skirts!!!

We LOVE wine!

I had the most relaxing Friday of my life in Louisville with a Skinny Girl Marg and To Kill a Mockingbird

We were oh so tan!


August took me to Chicago for Lindsey’s Bachelorette party. Such a fun weekend. I also took a trip to Lawrence, KS in August to celebrate Zack’s BFF’s birthday.

Lindsey's Ladies!


Fun Friends


September was another busy month in my life. It began with me running my frist 10K race, and getting 2nd place right behind Stacy!!

Next up for September was a trip to Indianapolis for #ET11. We saw Katy Perry and partied our butts off.

To round out the month Lindsey and Joe got married! It was the most beautiful wedding. Remember the bouquet toss?

We made a podium.

DEG after Katy Perry

Some BM's

Party Central


In October, I started this blog!! I also co-hosted a “sprinkle” for Brianna and Baby Girl Bruening #2, met Reese Bruening, ran a half marathon- Rock ‘n Roll STL, and celebrated Halloween as a devil-angel!

Ready to Pop!

A little princess whom I love so much!

How cute are these shirts that Stacy made??

ohhhh scary! Espcially scary is that pleather dress I'm wearing....


In November I signed up and committed to run my very first marathon!!! November was full of training, hard. November also took me to Chicago for a girls weekend with Mom and Aunt Holly and Louisville for Thanksgiving.

So much fun!

The best family ever.

I am TERRIFIED of mascots!!!! (At Churchill Downs)


2011 ended with the best month of all for me. In December, I experienced one of my greatest life accomplishments – I ran a marathon. I also qualified for Boston at that marathon!!!

Christmas came in December, as did time with family and friends.

We ran 26.2 in the pouring down rain.

My biggest cheerleader!

BFF Nicole came home for Christmas!

Bridget turned two and celebrated another Christmas!

My Mom had this made for me - amazing!

Ringing in the New Year with perfect company!


2012 – Here We Come!

2011 was such an amazing year. It is hard to believe that 2012 could top it, however I have a feeling it will. I have many plans ahead for the new year, and can’t wait to share them all with you on future posts.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my fabulous year, and to everyone that will make 2012 just as special.



The 25 Questions of Christmas

20 Dec

Today while reading a fellow blogger’s blog, Enthusiasticrunner.com, I was inspired. Jocelyn posted “The 25 Questions of Christmas” and I decided I wanted to do it too.

Enjoy my responses to the questions I know you want answers to. Also, please share your responses to these questions in the comment section!

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

My Grandpa Hat used to LOVE to feed us Eggnog…so I am going to go with that. I don’t think I have had it in years though.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa gifts are left under the tree, un-wrapped. I think it is weird when people have wrapped presents from Santa. Like the guy really has time to do that!

3. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

I love Thanksgiving dinner, so mashed potatoes, green bean and corn casserole, stuffing, turkey, etc. If I had to pick one of these items though, it would be mashed potatoes. Grandma Hat had the best recipe ever.

4. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

Hard to say a favorite, so I will list a few!

I love to think about is when my brother Michael and I got a triple arcade from Santa. That was the most exciting gift I have ever received! And my brother never thought we would actually get it. I knew Santa would come through though.

I brought Molly (American Girl) to Christmas Eve Church service and almost lit her head on fire during the candlelight singing.

Decorating for Christmas with my Mom is a favorite memory. We would always listen to the Carpenters Christmas CD and sing along.

Holiday baking with my Grandma Hat, and watching my Grandpa Hat work so hard on his homemade chex mix.

Watching Christmas Vacation with my Dad. He laughs so hard during that movie!!

5. What is on your Christmas wish list?

For the past two years I have asked for a Nikon D3100 SLR. I have already been warned I will not be receiving this though….

I already received my AMAZING fur coat from Aunt Holly, check that off!

Other than the camera and coat, I asked for a Tiffany ring and new charm, Glee, a water bottle, scarfs, gloves…and that is it. My list is pretty darn exciting these days!

6. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?

Last year Zack and I exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve. When we were little we used to always exchange gifts with Grandma and Grandpa Hat on Christmas Eve.

My family always exchanges gifts on Christmas morning. And ‘A Christmas Story’ is always playing in the background.

7. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

Lights, ribbon, ornaments. I love “special” ornaments that have meaning. After my Grandma Hat passed away, I took all of her Hallmark collector ornaments. She had a TON of Barbie’s, which are all on my tree now. It is so pretty. I also have my childhood ornaments I would receive every year on my tree.

Look at those Barbie's

8. Snow? Love it or dread it?

LOVE it!!! Nothing is more relaxing to me than watching snow fall. I think it is so beautiful. Yeah, yeah it might cause problems on the road and with travel,  but if I don’t have anywhere to go I love every inch of it!

Baby Karly loves the snow too!

9. Real tree or fake tree?

I love real, but they aren’t very practical anymore. Too much work!

10. Do you remember your favorite gift?

The triple arcade that I spoke about earlier. My American Girl doll, Molly  and my dollhouse would also top the list.

This thing was badass

11. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Being with my family and reflecting on how thankful I am. Life is good.

12. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin roll, chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, cookies. I am a sugarholic. I love almost all sugar.

Robert and I hard at work on the Pumpkin Roll

13. What is your favorite tradition?

Opening presents with my family Christmas morning. PJ’s on and Christmas Story on TV. Through all the years this is the one tradition that has never changed. And I still wake up obnoxiously early every year on Christmas. I just get too excited to sleep!

I also love my Christmas ornament making with Caden. We have made an ornament together every year since he was a 3 month old. It is our little tradition.

Just a few months old...look at that hand!

2010 was a good one too!

I think sparkly flats should also be a holiday tradition

14. What tops your tree?

A bow at my parents and on my little tree. A star on Eileen and I’s big tree.

A bow tops my "girly" tree

15. Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love to give gifts. I get so excited seeing a gift bring someone joy on Christmas. I think I am a pretty good gift giver. I put a lot of thought into it.

16. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Michael Buble, My Grown Up Christmas List. I cry when I hear that song…it is just so beautiful and the words are so meaningful!

17. Candy canes, yuck or yum?

I am not a fan.

18. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

I wake up at the crack of dawn and watch A Christmas Story. Then everyone else gets up and we do stockings and start breakfast. Next up are gifts, then we get ready to head to my Mom’s side of the family for brunch (however this year we are doing a lunch!).

Clark side, 2010

19. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

I hate malls, and get easily annoyed. I like shopping at the Plaza in KC. If I cannot find it there I will shop online.

20. Christmas letter or Christmas card?

Card. Unless you are funny or have an interesting life.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

The Santa Clause and Miracle on 34th Street.

Am I the only person that thinks “It’s a Wonderful Life” is super depressing?

22. What do you leave for Santa?

When we were little we just left whatever we could find. I remember leaving pop tarts one year!

23. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

White on the trees, colored on the house.

24. Do you hang mistletoe?

No. I never understood it. Unless you are using it at a middle school party as a substitute for ‘Spin the Bottle’, what is the point? The other day at work someone suggested that we hang mistletoe in our cube…I was weirded out.

25. When do you hang your decorations up?

After Thanksgiving when I have time!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!!



I am Happy and Excited!

30 Nov

Great news! I have turned my frown upside down since I wrote about being grumpy and nervous. I am now happy and very excited for this race!!

So what caused the sudden change in mood? Well, to be quite honest I am really not sure exactly what the game changer was. I just kind of snapped out of it (thank goodness)!

Glad I am feeling better...because this race is SO soon!

Tonight I went over to Stacy’s house for dinner. We analyzed the course and reviewed the pace bracelets with our different goal times. We made dinner plans for Saturday and started making a plan for race clothing. I also got to spend time tonight with Stacy’s son Caden, and he always puts a big smile on my face!

Along with dinner, Stacy also gave me a little pre-race treat. I LOVE it! Diana stopped by and brought me a treat too. I seriously have the best running buddies and friends ever! They are making such a big deal about my first marathon and I am soaking it all in. I cannot wait to use all my new goodies in Dallas (and beyond).

Cutest gifts ever! And there is much more in the bags!

Thank you to everyone that has been supporting me with this race. I appreciate all of the well wishes from my family, friends, fellow bloggers and twitter followers so very much. Not to sound greedy, but please keep them coming!

Talk soon!


A Thankful Thanksgiving

24 Nov

*Sappy post alert*

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you are all having a fabulous morning while preparing for the Holiday. Over the past few weeks I have done a lot of reflecting of all the things in life I am thankful for. And there are quite a few things to be thankful for this year. So let’s get started.

Seeing that this is a running focused blog, I will start with the obvious. I am thankful for being able to run. Running has brought a lot of joy to my life, and has also been a w0nderful stress outlet for me. Running has brought me closer to friends, and given me pride in myself. For those reasons and many more, I am thankful that I have the ability to run.

Next stop on my thankful list: fashion. I am thankful to have fashion in my life. I love to shop, and it brings joy to my life. This might seem silly to some, but I am very thankful for this.

I am very thankful for my job. I love the company I work for, and I am constantly reminded why it is a great place to work. Everyday isn’t always the happiest, but the majority for them are and I think that is pretty darn great.

now lets get deep

I have the best friends in the entire world, and I am very thankful for this. If ever I am having a crisis (which is often) I can call a number of people for support. My friends are the best, and there is no arguing that or convincing me otherwise. I love them all.

I have the best boyfriend, and I love him very much. He supports me, and loves me. He is there for me when I need him and is always willing to offer up advice when I ask. Although he is far away from me right now, I know this will not last forever. Everyday I think about how lucky I am, and realize that most people go their whole lives without ever experiencing what I have.

and saving the best for last..

I have the best family EVER. They are funny, loving and always supportive. I couldn’t be luckier for the people I get to call my family. My parents are always there for me, my brother is a great friend, my grandparents are so very loving, my aunts/uncles/cousins are wonderful, and my dogs make me laugh and provide unconditional love. Without these people in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Thank you to everyone in my life that has made me so happy, and made my life so beautiful. Although I don’t say it outloud everyday, I do think about it constantly.

Wishing you, your family, and your friends a very happy holiday.



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