Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday and Tips to Improve Running Speed!

Yay! Taylor used one of my ideas for her infamous Top 2 Tuesday post today...
Top 2 Favorite Cities
1. Now it's no secret that I have a love affair with the end-all of everything metropolitan... AKA New York City/The Big Apple/The City That Never Sleeps!
If Jeff was to come home one day and magically snap his fingers and say we're moving to NYC, I'd have my bags packed in mere minutes--there is something so elegant and refined about NYC, yet it's still playful and fun and the best place to take in sites and sounds, a melting pot of cultures, the endless shopping and amazing restraurant scene, not to mention Times Square, Broadway plays, my lovely little Brooklyn, and the list goes on and on... I'll be visiting soon again I hope {next Christmas season ladies!! we PROMISED} and my heart will be 100% again...

2. Leaving the fast-paced city life, my 2nd favorite City has to be Napa... talk about serene with incredible landscape and rolling hills, and the most gorgeous vineyards, it's hard to top! Jeff and I enjoyed our 1st trip there last year and can't wait to revisit to venture to some places that we missed out on during our first go-around--if you love all things wine and want a romantic fun getaway weekend for you and your love OR a girl's weekend, Napa Valley is the place to go! Take in some sights, drive through San Fran and Sausalito--ahmazing I tell you!
Other close contenders would be: Seaside, Denver, Barcelona, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Dallas. Make sure to visit Taylor's blog to tell her your favorite places =)

And just because I saw a fantastic article this morning via Runner's World, I just wanted to share this with those of you exercisers out there... I'm constantly trying to increase my speed and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose--they say this is the no fail method and I've been working on my time using these tips and I've seen a GREAT improvement in my times lately...

Secrets Of Speed
By Michelle Hamilton
Intervals and tempo miles matter. But they're not the only tools a runner can use to get quicker. Heed the advice below and watch your PR get a little lower.
1. Lose Weight : A 5-pound weight loss can take more than two minutes off your half-marathon time. Plus, weight loss can reduce your injury risk and improve your biomechanics.
2. Wear Less: Don't wear things that will slow you down. That means no fuel belt, no headphones, no iPhone, no long-sleeve shirt around your waist, and no heavy shoes.
3. Sleep More: Research from Stanford University indicates that athletes who get more sleep during training have better reaction time and speed. Even if you can't get 10 hours of sleep like the study subjects, the researchers say that just a 20-minute nap can help performance.
4. Drink Caffeine: Not only is caffeine credited with improved alertness and increased focus, newer research suggests it can improve pain tolerance and help you fatigue less quickly. To get the most out of caffeine, down a cup of plain tea or coffee (not a mocha frappuccino) 30 to 60 minutes before a race or hard workout.
5. Limit the Junk Food: Sugar can actually trigger hunger, which can lead to weight gain. Plus, you'll get more out of your mileage with long-lasting staples like whole-grain rice and pasta than with sugary foods that can cause sluggishness—not what you want if you're pushing for speed.

So, what helps kick your botty into high gear?? Fast music, running outside, or having a partner to keep you moving?? I'm interested to hear your success stories!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love My Life!

Today's mood: feeling genuinely happy and lucky and blessed...
Is it Monday all over again?? Really, this weekend FLEW by, but this was the best weekend filled with tons of friends and family, and I am so grateful for a fun-filled engagement party thrown by four fabulous hostesses!!
Friday night, a few of us started our weekend off by heading to Mafiaoza’s for pizza and beer… and since it was so nice and breezy, we were able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather! Luckily, Jeff and I called it an early evening since we had his family coming in town bright and early the next morning.
Saturday, I ran errands around town and got my morning run in before our company got into town—we took them to our favorite Local Taco for lunch since they had never been, and then drove around Nashville since we had some free time to relax.
That evening, we got ready and headed downtown for our engagement party, which was more perfect than I could’ve ever imagined… a full post to follow once my lovely ladies give me pictures--since I wasn't allowed to be camera paparazzi all night, but here are a few pictures just to tease ;)

Our little family... my Mom, Brian and Jennifer, Jeff and I, Kaye, and my Dad
Me with My Bridesmaids!! This made me so happy they were all able to be there!! OXOX
Sunday, we relaxed and enjoyed breakfast/brunch from Star Bagel and then said goodbye to Jeff’s family. While he stayed home recooperating from all the fun, I went with my parents to take in the exhibits at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
Mom and I walking in the museum
We got to see Chihuly’s blown glass exhibit AND the Golden Age of Couture Fashion Couture exhibit… so up our alley, but my dad was just a trooper and loved entertaining us. We had so much fun and if you’re a local, you must see this before the exhibit is gone next month—great for a girls night!!
Enjoying the GORGEOUS weather
Afterwards, we headed to Taco Mamacita {my dad's favorite destiantion these days} for some afternoon tacos and margaritas and then went home to relax to get ready to tackle the work week! Happy Monday friends!!!
P.S. it's ONLY 5 days until football time in Tennessee--woo hoo!!

After our party and fireworks show {haha!}, a big group of us headed to midtown to Corner Pub and closed the bar down!! Impressive, right, since this NEVER happens anymore... It was like we were in college all over again and we had a blast, just like we always do! I swear, we meet some VERY interesting people wherever we go... LOL.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Version of a Blog Sale

I see so many lovely ladies on here that are always hosting blog sales to make room in their closets... needless to say, mine is borderline "hoarding" and I need to kindly remove some of my gently used items for the boy's measely 2 shelves {bless his heart as I have like 12 racks} are getting taken over by yours truly--sorry Jeff!
With that in mind, I wanted to have a trial run to see how this goes--more "occasion" type dresses this go-around and we'll see if we have any takers... =)

If you're interested in purchasing, email me at natashamassey@gmail.com
**Payment will be received via PayPal and shipping will be $5

Black Strapless Forever 21 Satin and Lace Detail Dress
Size: Medium, Worn Once, Price $10
Different View
Mod Print Forever 21 Halter Dress
Size: Medium, Worn Once, Price $10
Alyn Paige via Dillards Strapless Print Dress
Size: 5/6, Never Worn, Price $20
Banana Republic Silk Flower Print Dress
Size: 6, Worn Twice, Price $20
Maggy London via Macy's Kelly Green Halter Dress
Size: 4, Worn Twice, Price $20
Red BCBG Cocktail Dress
Size: 6, Never Worn (tags attached), Price $20
Forever 21 Champagne Strapless Cocktail Dress
Size Small, Worn Once, Price $10
Steve Madden Black Flower Wedges
Size 7, Brand New in Box, Price $20

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hola Thursday... So Glad to See You!

First and foremost, I logged on this morning to see I had reached 500 FOLLOWERS—never in a million years did I ever think so many people would care what I have to write, but thank you so much for taking a small peak into my daily life… I know it’s not all glamour and I say rando things at times on a wide range of topics, but I appreciate your love and comments more than you could ever imagine! Can’t wait to see what’s in store next!

Speaking of opportunities, the lovely team at CSN Stores contacted me to do a product review. With so many options at their 200+ stores, I can’t wait to see what I can find to complement our home…maybe some Corelle for entertaining, some fun new lamps for a guest room, or maybe a new blanket for our lazy couch downstairs perfect for a nap!

I just got in a BIG BOX of supplies delivered via FedEx so that I can teach myself the fine art of Copperplate calligraphy…. I ordered it from the MAJOR online calligraphy superstore and can’t wait until I have some free time to get to work—practice makes perfect!!
Copperplate Calligraphy Sample via Betsy White
AND, tomorrow afternoon, this wonderful desk will be arriving at my house so I can set up shop—yippee!! I am so excited to have a place to write/work/blog in our house rather than on the kitchen island...

Last night, a few of us girls got together to hear all about Meg’s Mexican honeymoon adventure… we had ladies’ night cocktails at The Wine Loft (the best baked brie in town!) and went through the slideshow on her camera of all their pics—looks like they had a BLAST!!! So lucky to have such great friends =)

Today’s high temperature in Nashville is a mere 85…say it ain’t so??? It’s August 26th and we can NOW go outside and enjoy the weather since we weren’t able to all summer—so glad fall is fast approaching, which means football every weekend, decorating our house for fall, and spending way too much $$$ on Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes =)
I just bought this OPI nail color to wear to our party Saturday night because it matches my dress… no, not fall at all, but can you say girly????

Enough of me and my mindless ramblings for today... Happy Thursday friends--so very close to the weekend, though I have too much to accomplish before it gets here, and I can't wait to let the fun begin =)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedding Wednesday... Helpful Tips and Our Engagement Party!

Back for another installment of my favorite day to blog... all things Wedding Wednesday! This week, I am bringing you helpful tips and reminders from some of my favorite sites/vendors/blogs--hope you find these helpful! I'll also post where I am with each of these items just so you can hear how I am progressing with the $$$

First things first--via The Knot several weeks ago--"10 Wedding Blunders to Avoid"
1. Blowing Your Fashion Budget On Just the Dress...remember to add tax, alterations, undergarments, shoes, veil, and accessories, which should all be factored into your "dress budget"
Where I'm At: my dress was right on my budget, however my veil definitely was more money than expected--oops! Oh well, Mom agreed and said I just "had to have it"
2. Getting Attached to Specific Flower Types...choose flowers you like, but remember to talk with your florist about possible backup options--things happen and being open to change will help the florist know what you like vs. what you loathe
Where I'm At: still deciding between 2 florists; both know what types of flowers I am OK with, what I ABSOLUTELY must have, and where I am willing to negotiate
3. Sending Out Save-The-Dates Too Soon... it's tempting to tell everyone about the wedding ASAP, but don't send those cards out until the guest list is finalized
Where I'm At: For me, my STDs will be going out exactly 8 months prior to my wedding date (etiquette is 6 to 8 months in advance)--and the reasons why: 1) June is the most popular wedding month, and 2) CMA Music Fest is the same weekend, therefore, my OOT guests need to book hotels rooms early because EVERYTHING in Nashville sells out--yes, we have blocks of rooms, but they wont hold them past May!
4. Skipping a Wedding Videographer...they say photos only take you so far, but videos let you hear your vows and watch your friends tear up the dance floor...with more people documenting your wedding, you'll see things you may have missed
Where I'm At: Unless someone drops some magical wedding dust for my already-over-budget grand total, this will be a NO GO in my book! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE videographers, but we already spent more than our allotted budget on A LOT of our wedding details (photog, band, caterer, etc.) and those things are far more important to me... plus the vendors I like are pricey so that is an element I am willing to forego
5. Micromanaging Your Vendors...your talented pros should know and understand your vision, so let them do their jobs! It's tempting to control every detail, but you won't have the time, and you certainly don't have the experience. After your initial meetings, trust the pros.
Where I'm At: I micromanage my wedding team (Mom and Jeff and I) and I'll let my wonderful wedding planner take it from there once all the initial details are all settled =)
6. Picking Your Attendants Too Early...your bridesmaids should be your closest friends. They have to be people you trust to be there when you need them. You don't know new friends well enough yet to be sure they'll support you in tough situations, and picking people because a family member demands it or so you and your man will have an even number of attendants are also decisions you'll likely regret.
Where I'm At: I LOVE each and every single one of my BMs and chose each of them for a specific reason--wholeheartedly know they'll be there for me through thick and thin and know I made the right decision 100%
7. Telling Everyone About Your Wedding...it's so hard not to talk about your wedding. The more you share, the more opinions you're going to get, whether or not you ask. Part of wowing your guests is surprising them. And, talking about your plans means opening yourself up to copycats, who may actually be marrying before you do.
Where I'm At: I talk to my closest friends about the specific details, but some things will be left a surprise for EVERYONE {yes, Meg and Bev, that means you too!}... I do share LOADS of my planning details/process, but I can surprisingly keep a secret =)
8. Starting Your Hair and Makeup Too Late...you don't want your 'do to fall out or your makeup to fade before you walk down the aisle, but stylists will likely get to you late if you're last in the chair. Schedule your appointments in the middle. It's not a big deal for a bridesmaid to switch to a less complicated hairstyle. That's not an option for you.
Where I'm At: This is something I hadn't thought of until now... thanks for the tip!
9. Speeding Through Photos...anything less than an hour isn't enough for a portrait session; an hour-and-a-half is closer to ideal because you'll look more relaxed in your pictures...if you refuse to see your groom before the ceremony {that's me!}, take pictures separately beforehand so the only shots left to take after the ceremony include both of you.
Where I'm At: I think I have this set in stone--from being in so many weddings, I know what works and how to get people moving along, swapping out family for the full bridal party while still making it to the reception on time so the party can begin
10. "Hiring" A Friend Instead of a Pro...your pal was the king of the mix CD back in the day, but that doesn't mean he'll make a great wedding DJ. Even on a tight budget, you're much better off paying a vendor with experience to take care of the biggies, like the music and the food. Don't you want your friends to enjoy your wedding instead of having to work through it, anyway?
Where I'm At: Completely agree!! No friends working my big day--I want them to ENJOY everything we have planned

I also stumbled across this blog post recently from Kristin Kaplan, a wedding planner here in Nashville...from her blog and company Simply Stunning Events cleverly titled "You Get What You Pay For"... SO TRUE!

And let me try not to squeal with excitement, but I am anxiously counting down the days until  our Engagement Party this weekend!!! 4 of my very best friends {and bridesmaids} are co-hosting the event and Jeff and I couldn't be more elated to spend some quality time with family and friends Saturday night. We are so blessed that we have an extremely supportive group surrounding us and this journey we're beginning... can't wait to tell you all about it next week!!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The County Fair and Top 2 Tuesday

So, did you all have a fantastic weekend??? I sure did… so much fun time spent with friends and getting loose ends tied up for this weekend’s festivities and my forthcoming house guests—oh I just scream I am so excited!
Friday night, we ventured out to Wilson County for the ever-popular fair—no don’t think we are all Appalachian/crazy mountain people or anything, but we had a fantastic time with one of our fav couples, The Vaughns! Matt and Jenna crack me up and we had such a good time with them, people watching and eating bad food, and playing all kinds of carnie games—P.S. those people are SCARY!
Jeff walking in--he was sooo excited because he had never been!

BBQ Sandwich and Corn Dog--Our Dinner!
Me and Jenna Trying to Beat the Heat!
Demolition Derby Time!
Roasted Corn=YUMMY!!
Jeff Trying to Win a Prize!
Matt and His New Lawn Mowing Accessory
Shotgun Shooting
Chocolate Covered Cheesecake AKA Jeff's Dessert
Our Prizes! And yes, mine is so ugly it's cute =)
The losers=no prizes!! haha, just kidding!!!
The rest of the weekend was spent working on the house--loads of pics to follow tomorrow so you can check out all of our progress and then getting ready for our party this weekend!!

And for today's Top 2 Tuesday via Taylor at The Undomestic Momma...

Top 2 Biggest Indulgences
1. Nice Restaurants
It's no secret that Jeff and I love to eat well... sure, we plan inexpensive dates sometimes for fun so we can stick to a budget and see what all we can come up {letting our creative juices flow}, but we both love to eat out at a swanky restaurant every now and then... case in point in Napa and New York City last year, it was no holds barred as we took in the gourmet feasts at Quality Meats, Pastis, Press, and Bouchon just to name a few--ahh, much better than the Special K I had for ceral this morning... we'll be poor, but at least we will have eaten a perfect meal!

2. Shopping
Put me in a mall and this girl will go to town... however, I am quite the bargain shopper--unless it's for a special event, I find it hard to spend more than $100 on a dress/shirt and top/etc. Sure, there are times when I find something that is absolutely perfect and I don't care how much it costs {take handbags for instance}, but I usually let that be a special treat or something for my birthday...and I am always trying to find items that are on sale! I get emails everyday from different shopping websites telling me what sales are coming up, and what deals not to miss out on so this helps keep my shopping habit under control--sometimes it's more fun to look than to buy  =)

Monday, August 23, 2010

If You Really Knew Me...

OK so I completely stole this from the one and only Leslie at A Blonde Ambition—such a fav blog of mine by the way—and I think this is the most fun “getting to know me” type post to date. It’s based on the MTV show “If You Really Knew Me”… the show is all about high schoolers opening up from different groups in their respective groups—the jocks, the nerd, the in-crowd, etc—and they attempt to break down the typical high school cliques.
P.S. why didn’t anyone think of this sooner??? Genius I tell you!!
So with that being said, here is an introduction to me…

If you really knew me, you'd know that...
  • I have a stepbrother, but grew up as an only child and will forever more remain an only child… and yes, with that brings being stubborn, independent, and extremely selfish—I just learned to share in college thanks to living in a sorority dorm and it was one of the best lessons I’ve learned so far
  • I have had a million different pets…cats, dogs, a bunny, a guinea pig, fish, and birds
  • When I was 18, I was in a really bad car accident and was on bed rest for an entire week… heart contusions, badly bruised, and major headaches, but all that remains is a scar on my back—and I thank God each and every day for letting that serve as a reminder as to how lucky I am to be here
  • I am a spelling whiz and it drives me INSANE when people misspell words—nuts I tell you!!
  • I love to do laundry…yes, weirdo I know, but hopefully that will come in handy one day when I get to be a stay-at-home Mom—hey, I can dream, right?
  • I hate talking on the phone—I will email and text you all day, but the ignore button on my phone gets pushed quite frequently (sorry friends, even though most of you already know this)
  • I love reality TV…Real Housewives, Real World, The Bachelor…you name it, I probably watch it.
  • My 1st semester at college, I ended up with a 1.4 GPA and almost lost my scholarship--however--I was put on academic probation that next semester and got to work and never made below a 3.0 after that...lesson learned!
  • Since the age of 16, I have never gone more than 6 months without a boyfriend—not a serial relationship person I SWEAR, but it kinda just happened
  • I love movie soundtracks—and my absolute favorite is Meet Joe Black…Thomas Newman is an incredible composer {if you like that sort of thing}
  • I am afraid of bugs, touching dirty dishes that have been left in the sink with nasty water, death, any type of white food {mayo most of all!}, and the dentist
  • I love movies with war and romance—think Braveheart, Gladiator, The Patriot, Legends of the Fall…heart skips a beat just thinking of them
  • I love to cook but refuse to make anything that requires more than 10 ingredients… hey, we all need shortcuts and I will not spend $10 on something I will never use again
  • And some randomness, just because: I love the smell of white out, I keep a journal of my favorite quotes for daily affirmation/inspiration, love each and every holiday, I am obsessed with Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, I will sit and doodle for hours, am practically an identical twin to my mother, hate Bounty paper towels because of the texture, I hope to run a marathon one day, rarely wear the same outfit more than a few times (and my friends know I am so guilty of this!), I have an extremely close-knit family that all live in Nashville, wish more than anything I could sing, can’t wait to travel to Italy one day, have been in 5 of my friend’s weddings, I make lists everyday just so I can check things off, collect coffee table books from everywhere I travel, love to entertain, and am OCD about having a clean house.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fashion Friday..Orange You Glad It's Almost Fall??

Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen... a mere 2 weeks to go before the 2010 football season is officially kicked off!! Wahoo for the VOLS of course, but I am all about the SEC being the dominant conference in college football {as if there was another conference top-dog out there??} and can't wait to watch hours of football every weekend with the friends and tailgate all throughout the fall season in my beloved Knoxville...one reason I love the fact that we have season tickets--wahoo!!!
With that being said, that means it's time to stock up my closet full of orange and white... and yes, when you live in Tennessee you stock up on orange gear--no matter what time of year! I bought a skirt in May to wear to a football game in September because there is always a shortage once football rolls around--and luckily for us, it'll probably still be in the 80s and 90s so we can sport "summerish" clothing for the first few games.
Here are some cute pieces I stumbled across lately:
BCBG Draped Dress via Dillards
Ruffled Cardigan via JCrew
Laced Tank via Anthropologie
Cashmere VNeck Henley via JCrew
Ruffled Blouse via JCrew
Orange Ruffle Coat via BeBe
Flame Suede Purse via GAP
V-Neck Tee via Ann Taylor Loft
Ralph Lauren Scarf via Shopstyle
One Shoulder Top via Dillards
Now I can give my shameless plug for my alma mater and favorite team...
GO VOLS!!! ;)
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