princess half marathon expo

First I want to say a huge thank you to Caitlin, Lynn and Sam for being awesome guest bloggers!! You girls rocked it :)

On Friday we headed to the Princess Half Marathon Expo which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  It was so exciting when we drove into Walt Disney World; I couldn't wait to get to the expo.  At the expo we picked up our bibs and our goodie bags and all of a sudden it all became very official.  I was never really nervous, but just excited and anxious about it all.

We walked through the expo and saw all the latest running gear.  There was a lot of really cool stuff, but the only thing I bought was a 13.1 magnet for my car.  It's in the shape of Mickey ears; very cute.  We got some other free goodies as well.  There were so many people there, it was a little overwhelming trying to walk through the crowds.  I don't know the official number, but I heard there were over 16,000 people participating in the half marathon.  Pure insanity.  It was awesome.

My aunt Tresa and I about to enter the expo.
The Braves were at the ESPN Wide World of Sports for their Spring training, so we got to watch them for a little bit after the expo.

guest blogger: fitness, food & faith

Hello new blog friends!  This is Sam from fitness food and faith filling in for Amber while she’s kicking some serious half marathon butt.  I can’t wait to hear all about the race!

I’m flattered to be guest posting today and excited to share one of my favorite recipes with you.  The combination of flavors sounds a little bit strange, but trust me, it’s seriously like a party for your taste buds.  This recipe reminds me of all things tropical.

Garlic Shrimp with Coconut, Cilantro, and Tomatoes

1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 tsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 14 oz can diced tomato
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/2 lime, squeezed
Kosher salt
White basmati rice

Thinly slice the red peppers and add them to a skillet with the olive oil.  Heat on low and saute until soft (about 5 minutes).  Meanwhile, thinly slice the green onions and add the whites, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute.  Add the diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and salt.  Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend together and to thicken the sauce.  Add the shrimp and cook until they are cooked through and pink (roughly 5 minutes).  Squeeze half of a lime into the mixture and stir well.  Serve over rice and top with green onions.

Feel free to stop by my little blog anytime; I’d love to hear from you! 

guest blogger: hearted girl

commonality, connection and creativity
These things go hand in hand when tapping into an illuminated reserve of brainchild conception that is called inspiration! A place where everybody knows your name...isn't that something that warms us up and gets our gooey insides flowing; not to mention a rather familiar tune as well.

My beats get faster when I've found someone or something I connect with, there's a certain awakening that occurs causing my every sense to heighten. Though it's not an everyday happenstance but why would we want it to be; those sparks sometimes flicker for a moment and other times you can keep revisiting them as a constant source to pool from.

Grudgingly, I began my day; one like every other. Not really even fully aware of how I made it into
the bathroom, brushed my teeth or showered. It was a blur. The hours that followed bled together almost unknowingly like an aestheticized wound. I didn't realize maybe I'd left a bobby pin protruding from my topknot or that my packed lunch hadn't been refrigerated. My unfocused bleary eyes still tired from a restless sleep the night before, I hear a muffled ping go off inside my bag. Pulling out my phone I check a new email, half-expecting it's a spam raid or possibly my darling man sending me a cyber-kiss to help cheer up the day. No...I see an email from someone I don't totally recognize. "who's this?"  i think. Reading on to see it's from a fellow blogger, she read my stuff, she liked it AND she kinda/sorta likes me too...really?? well wow, I am instantly perked up in my chair, the flush rushes back into my cheeks, every beautiful color
has returned to the room. I am inspired!

There's nothing magical here, not a hat trick or a genie did appear. It was the feeling of recognition, not just the "i like you" or "you're great"....the simple, sole fact that someone took the time and effort to extend themselves in my direction.
Encountering an inspired event is also usually unforeseen and this is what I believe to be the universal conspiracy edging you closer to a mondo epic WAHoooGA trajectory! Some like to play it cool and not get too glitter disco dance party, some I imagine stifle their involuntary inhalations by packing on the stone cold swagger. I on the other hand go with my impulse: busting out the exclamation points and jamming with the moments transformative powers by plugging all the way in.

It's interesting to read about the various "rules of nature", there are quite a few and usually I question a lot of so-called "rules" and nature IS outdoors where the winds howl and spiders hang from trees but I'm choosing to use this word more as a symbol for our impulses right now. If you think about it nature really does have its own unobscured way of taking in the good with the bad and making its own pot-luck collective, so it works here too. The thing is when you offset natural instincts, things go wrong every time. This is how I view inspiration too; it's like our own little intuitive divining rod leading us to the right place at the right time. Set yourself apart from the fray and open up to the inspiration! Skeptical eyes are kinda "UGH", it's the bright ones that are wide enough to catch the brilliant light!

colorful images via (clockwise) 1, 2, 3 & 4
black & white images via 1, 2

guest blogger: style within reach

Hello This Is The Life readers! Caitlin here from Style Within Reach. I'm happy to share some  of my favorite spring shopping trends while Amber is running away down in Florida (I could use a little motivation from her myself!). After spotting silk blouses, wide leg pants & tribal necklaces all over the spring runways, I know my wardrobe will require these neutral basics this season.

Want:  Top Shop
Wish:  Joseph
Want: Calvin Klein 
Need:  Spiegel
Need:  Day Birger

it's almost time to run

jacket-william rast for target, tanks-american eagle & old navy, jeans-nordstrom, boots-target, necklace-aldo, earrings-guess

I know I haven't talked about it too much lately, but oh my word - my half marathon is this weekend!!  I can't even believe that it is here already.  My aunt and I have been training since about September and it's about to come to an end.  We run the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 27.  eeeeeeek!
Jas and I are headed down to Florida on Thursday and I can't wait.  I am super ready for a break from work and such.  And I know hubby feels the same way.  Jack won't be able to come with us this time and we're a little sad about it, but I know he will have a good time at his doggy hotel.

I am also super excited because I have some awesome guest bloggers lined up for Thursday and Friday.  So stay tuned :)

button up-william rast for target, jeans-gap, shoes-adidas, belt-dickies, watch-nixon

more birthday fun

dress-urban outfitters, cardigan-target, tights-old navy, belt-betsey johnson via tjmaxx, shoes-kelsi dagger via tjmaxx, necklace-tiffany & co. (gift from hubby several years ago)

My birthday night we went out to celebrate with some of our closest friends.  It was a great way to end an already fantastic day.  I was truly blessed with a wonderful birthday and I wouldn't have changed anything about it.

This is what I wore for dinner.  I was so excited it was a bit warmer and I was able to dress up without having to have too many layers.  The lighting is not the greatest, but it was already dark out and the flash sure did not do me any good so we opted for some indoor photos.  Please excuse our messy kitchen!! I am so embarrassed, but hey - this is real life my friends and things get messy sometimes.

I bet you are all dying to know what my final two birthday gifts were.  Hubby did really good, he is the best gift giver ever.

My third gift was this awesome book - Domino: The Book of Decorating.

My fourth and final gift was this beauty - the Canon PowerShot SD1400IS.

Go here to see my first gift and here to see my second gift.

our little boy is growing up

As of today, we have officially had Jack for one year.  
It is hard to believe that a year has already gone by, but in a way I also can't believe it's only been a year.  When we brought Jack home, he immediately fit right in and was a part of the family.  I can honestly say he is the best dog for us.  He has been such a fun blessing for our family.  And he gets along with our cats, which is a HUGE bonus.

Jack has grown up and developed such a fun personality.  He is so well behaved and very smart.  I can't believe we got so lucky to find an amazing dog.  We found him on Petfinder; he was a rescue.  I highly recommend rescuing because there are so many loving animals out there just waiting for the perfect forever home.

avatars myspace at

birthday princess

I had an amazing birthday yesterday.
We went to church, had lunch with family, took Jack for a hike, relaxed and ended the day having dinner with friends.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  I could not have asked for a better day.
At lunch, hubby surprised me with a ginormous princess themed cookie cake, a princess pin and even princess plates.  He is really the greatest.  I got the princess treatment all day :)

time to shake things up

top-gap, cardigan-old navy, jeans-american eagle, shoes-modcloth (seen here), purse-michael kors via tjmaxx, necklace and belt-the limited, ring-janeys jewels (seen here)

It is officially the beginning of my birthday weekend and I am so excited!!

Don't you just love birthdays?
I, for one, take full advantage of the occasion and throw around the birthday card like it's nobodies business.  Luckily, I have an amazing hubby that treats me like a princess and can't help but give in to my birthday requests.  I just have to bat my eyes and give a sweet smile and say, "but babe, it's my birthday."  And like magic, it works every time.

This was the outfit I wore to work on my (day before) my birthday.  I just love Fridays because they are jeans days and I am totally a jeans person.  Anyhoo, I was inspired by Elaine with this outfit.  When I saw her post, I instantly thought I could totally recreate this!  And so I did and here it is.

I know you are all dying to know about the rest of my birthday gifts.  I told you about the first one here.  Hubby warned me that the second gift was a funny one and I had no idea what to expect.  When I pulled  the Shake Weight out of the box, I was definitely surprised.  My hubby is such a silly fellow.  
But the shake weight actually seems to work.  Or at least it feels like I was getting a workout.  We'll just have to wait and see how buff I get after using it for a while :)

food for thought by hubby

hey guys. hubby here. amber's pretty tired tonight and asked if i wanted to write something. so bare with caught me off guard. let me just say that this is the hardest thing to do and i have crazy respect for people who write blogs. you guys blog about everything, and make it look so easy! so with that said, this is what i came up with. remember, i had very little time. 

i took this picture when we went to savannah, ga. here. i really liked it because it made me think what if every business had this policy? but better yet--what if everyone just treated each other with this kind of thinking?

food for thought.

okay. that's all i got for tonight. short and sweet. (just like amber) and who knows, maybe next time i'll surprise you with an outfit post! 

my hubby is {sew} sweet

Last week hubby informed me that I would be receiving multiple gifts this year for my birthday (which is February 19).  And I would be getting one a day for four days, I did the math and that's four whole presents my friends!!

As you can see above, gift number one was a sewing machine.  I have been wanting one for a while now and I am super duper excited to get started on this puppy.  I have been thinking up all kinds of projects already.  George is pretty excited too.  George is the name I gave the sewing machine.  I just now came up with it, literally I decided that while I was typing it.  

Hubby deserved (and received) several kisses for this awesome gift.  Oh and I gave one of those kisses to George.  He blushed a little bit since we just met.  Maybe I'll have to tone down the sewing machine affection a bit until we get to know each other better.


I went to a special spot the other night and watched the sunset.  It was breathtaking.
If ever you need a moment to clear your head, I recommend finding a quite place with a view and watching the sun slowly and then quickly set.  It is truly a beautiful and peaceful thing.
God is good.
I think I would like to have a house one day with a view like this.  Wouldn't you?

love love love

Happy Valentine's Day!!
I am happy to report that I am having a better day today.  Thank you for all your kind words. You guys are the best!  

Soooo for this special day hubby got me a princess sleeping mask and princess slippers.  Very appropriate, I must say.
And I got myself hubby yummy donuts from Dunkin Donuts.  Also, very appropriate.


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