Landscape Up-Lighting

Installing up-lighting on the exterior of your house is something that you can do in one night.

First, find your exterior outlet – then figure out how many areas/lights you’d like to highlight. Once you have your plan, head to your local hardware stores to pick up your materials. Install should take you less than 2 hours.

– Connect the Wire to your Low-Voltage Transformer (following the instructions included in the transformer)
– Insert lights into the ground where you’d like the up-lighting.
– Connect lights to the wire, following the instructions.
– Plug the Transformer in and make sure the lights work. Unplug the transformer to finish the following steps.
– Using wire cutters, cut the excess wire.
– Separate the wire. Grab your electrical tape, wrap each of the individual wires (using electrical tape).
This is where I got a little hung up, because I originally taped the wire without separating the two wires and the lights didn’t work.
– Plug the transformer back in (to make sure everything works)
– Mount the Transformer and Solar sensor to your home. I mounted ours behind our Boxwoods to keep it hidden.
– I set ours up to go on at Dusk and be lit for 7 hours – but you choose what’s right for you and your home.

Hampton Bay Low-Voltage 200-Watt Landscape Transformer
Landscape Lighting Wire (we needed less than 50 feet)
Hampton Bay LED Landscape Flood Light
Wire Stripper
– Screw Driver
– Drill with Bit to handle concrete

Rain Barrel Dreams

It’s been a wet few days weeks here in Michigan, and I’ve been dreaming of installing a Rain Barrel (insert an earth loving GIF). I’m dreaming of having it in our backyard, tucked away behind our deck – which would still allow us to use the rain water to water our grass – are you getting as excited as I am???

Rain Barrels I’m Eyeing:

Wicker 50 Gallon Rain Barrel – Wayfair – $127.99
Canaan 50 Gallon Rain Barrel – Wayfair – $104.99
Rainwater Urn, 65 Gallon – Gardener’s Supply Company – $199.00
Rainwater Urn, 50 Gallon – Gardener’s Supply Company – $139.00
Madison 49 Gallon Rain Barrel – Home Depot – $118.00
Good Ideas 50 Gallon Bark-Textured Rain Saver – Walmart – $121.06
Athena 50 Gallon Charcoal Rain Barrel – Home Depot – $113.42

Things to Think About:

– How frequently are there problems with the pickets?
– Is it really worth the small savings we’d see in our water bill?
– How many headaches will we have (water not flowing correctly)?
– What other items would we need to successfully connect your current gutters to a Rain Barrel?
– Again, is it worth it?

If you’ve installed a rain barrel in the past, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I will be sure to take you along as we install our Rain Barrel over on Instastories!

Marathon Training

Marathon Training

Pre-Run Energy and Hydration.
– A plain bagel (sometimes with some Almond Butter on top if I was feeling Wild)
– Enhanced hydration of either Liquid IV (Passion Fruit or Lemon Lime) or Nuun’s (Watermelon or Orange) in a water.
– Clif Bar
– Preventing Runner’s Trots by taking Imodium.

Nutrition while Running.

  • Clif Cubes Double Peanut: Is exactly like a Clif Bar, but is serrated into 4 cubes for easy consumption – filled with Almond Butter. It’s nice to break up the Gel’s with something you can chew.
  • Clif BLOKS Salted Watermelon: Eat 1-2 at a time, and use in between the miles when you are using Gel Packs.
  • Honey Stinger Gel (Acai Pomegranate, Mango Orange and Strawberry Kiwi): I’ve tried multiple different types of gels and Honey Stinger are the only product that don’t give me gut rot.
  • Honey Stinger Waffles (Caramel and Gingersnap): So tasty. They taste like a healthy version of a Stroopwafel.
  • Peter Rabbit Organic Baby Food (Mango, Banana and Orange; Banana, Mango and Kale): Baby Food has a similar nutritional statement as the Gel packets – with the only difference being Sodium. Due to the high fiber and low sodium I would not recommend eating a great deal of these on your run – I limit myself to one.
  • Tailwind Nutrition: Mix with water throughout your run.
  • SaltStick: Great thing to carry on long runs and race day. If you start cramping, take a salt pill and you’ll feel better in minutes.

Your local running store will be your best place to tryout different products.

Post Race.
– Obviously you need to stretch after any run.
– Cold Bath.


Mental Toughness. Woof. You will have runs that kick your ass and you will have runs where you think you can concur the world. Highs and Lows man.

Training Plan. I used the Nike Run Club Training Plan.
– You put in the race date and they create a tailored training plan.
– Great in app tracking.
– Free
– If you miss a run, the plan will update – sounds great in theory, however it becomes difficult to get back on track. Some weeks it would say I have to run 3 miles when I really needed to run 15.

Strava also offers a training plan in their Summit Training Pack – $6/month.
– If I had to do it again, I would try out the Strava Summit Training Pack – which would only run you $2/month.

Chafing. For any long run, make sure you are not wearing new clothes. Vaseline works wonders if you do experience it.
– Vaseline between and on top of your toes. I never tried this, but Jay swears by it.

Detroit Marathon Finisher

Detroit Marathon Finisher

We are marathon finishers and I now understand why someone would put a 26.2 sticker on the back of their car (don’t worry – I wont be putting a sticker on my car unless I get a few more marathons under my belt).

Running a marathon is a joyful, emotional, powerful, humbling and miserable experience. Our finish time was no where near record breaking, but we make it thru and are finishers.

Results: My dad and I finished, holding hands in 5:30:02. If you were to take out our bathroom breaks, our unofficial time is somewhere around 5:10-5:15.

Our goal was first off to finish, and secondly to finish under 5 hours. We met one of our goals and weren’t too far away from the second. It is easy to get defeated if you read this and say that we didn’t meet our 5 hour goal. But damn, run a marathon and give everyone grace who has crossed the finish-line no matter what time it is in.

The Why: We ran to raise money for Project Purple – who’s goal is to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and improve the lives of patients through support, hope and compassion. I am very proud to say that thus far, I’ve raise over $3,000.

Emotional Struggle. When training, no one talks about the emotional roller coaster you go on when actually running the race. Yes, there’s the pain – but I’m talking a real life emotional struggle. Breaking down crying out of no where type emotions.

Number of Times I cried: 1) Teared up Crossing the Ambassador bridge, when the sun was rising- super thankful for the experience. 2) Seeing our cheering squad (My Husband and Mom) at mile 12. 3) Mile 17 when Jay was crying 4) Mile 18 when we saw my brother, sister-in-law and nephews 5) Mile 21 when it got so damn hard, we’d ran the furthest we ever had before and I started to really think about Uncle Scott 6) Anytime I thought about taking a Gratitude Mile.

Race day photos:

I promise to never try to talk someone into running a marathon – however I will be there to support you every step of the way if you want to do it!

Backyard Updates

Backyard Updates

It is amazing what 6 weeks and some elbow grease can do – (Left – Before; Right – After).

One day it hit me how out of control our fence and side yard was – so I decided to do something about it. I went into this thinking I would be able to knock it out in a weekend- anddd 6 weeks later I’m finally done. If you’re interested to see progress in video format, head over to InstaStories.