Life

Listen up, ladies!

Like many women, I have body issues. Like most women, at times, they feel like huge issues. We always strive to look the way we feel we should look based on what we see on television, magazines and social media, just to name a few. Or by how great looking our friends are.

I wished I didn’t have these issues. I wished I loved my body – the bumps, the humps, the dimples, the saggy skin, the discolorations and oh my, the stretch marks – the god-awful stretch marks. UGH! But I simply don’t. I am trying. And I admit, there are days I look in the mirror and actually kind of like what I see – as long as I have clothes on, that is. I like what I see when I see my face, don’t get me wrong. It’s the rest of the body I can’t stand – especially naked!

As some may remember, this summer, I actually posted a photo of me in a swimsuit on social media. Not that big of deal, right? Well, for the last few years, I have not worn a swimsuit, or worn one in public. I used to wear one all the time. When I had a body I somewhat liked or at the very least, didn’t mind. And I most often don’t wear shorts, unless I am running. I finally got over that a few years ago and now, in the summer, shorts are all I wear when running – even at races where I know people will see my legs, specifically my thighs, or even more specifically, the back of my thighs. Oh my – I actually shudder just thinking about it. But, like I said, I have gotten over it. I did actually wear shorts this summer to a music festival my husband and I went to. I was a little self-conscious all day, but I did and I was happy I did because it was dang hot out!

When it comes to my legs, I know they are strong because they have carried me many, many miles and although they are far from perfect, they allow me to run and have gotten me through 201 races in the last eight years. I just wish they LOOKED better.

I really didn’t like this picture of me because my legs – to ME – look huge. I can nitpick a picture of me to death and tell you everything wrong with it – seriously, just ask my husband. I am SUPER picky when it comes to pictures of myself, especially if my whole body is going to be in the photo.

But recently, I did something that not only surprised my husband, it surprised me. However, it was not without a lot of anxiety, worry and trepidation.

But you know what, I do it again in a heartbeat. Why? Because of the experience.

Soooo, what I am talking about? I am talking about a boudoir photo session. And I now believe that every single woman should have one.

It started out with me trying to figure out a gift for my husband for our upcoming 10-year anniversary. It’s not that he is hard to buy for, because he’s not, but I wanted something extra special.

I started researching the net, trying to find someone local who does boudoir sessions because that is what I settled on. I thought it would be a pretty cool gift. I searched and searched and at first, came up with nothing. I found boudoir photographers in St. Cloud, Fargo and of course the Twin Cities metro area, but I didn’t think there were any in Alexandria.

I messaged a local photographer I know, Jennifer Guenther, and asked if she did boudoir sessions. She did. I was so excited – and hesitant – and nervous. We chatted via Facebook messenger and before I knew it, the appointment was scheduled. I will admit I almost canceled – on more than one occasion. I truly didn’t know if I could go through with it. I just knew the photos were going to look horrible no matter what I had – or didn’t have – on.  Not because Jennifer isn’t a good photographer, but because my body is gross. Yes, I said it. It’s gross. At least it is to me.

As the day crept closer and closer, I kept feeling more and more anxious about it. I truly didn’t know if I could go through with it. But yet, at the same time, there was this part of me that felt excited, bold, brave and kind of pumped. I even talked about it with a few girlfriends. I told them what I was going to do. It helped calm me a little.

The day came and I had everything ready. My outfits were picked out. My hair looked decent. I put on a little more make-up than usual. I had a couple of accessories with me – my running shoes, a music CD  and a bottle of wine (to be used in the photos not for drinking…Lol!). I was ready. But still nervous. Very, very nervous.

But I am here to tell you right now that Jennifer Guenther is amazing! She put me at ease. She made me feel very comfortable. She was professional. She made me feel relaxed. And, she knows her shit. She knows how to use a camera. She knows how to use natural light. She knows poses. She just knows. That’s it. It was the most fun and best experience ever. And no, she did not pay me to say those things. This is how I truly feel. She simply was the best.

HOWEVER, because I was still feeling uneasy about seeing my photos – Ya’all I have still major body issues. Remember that – I asked Jen if she would pick out the photos that were to be used for the photo book I was going to give my husband. I asked her not to show me the gallery until AFTER I had given my husband the photo book. I asked her to pick out the photos, design the book and then when it arrived, I asked her to wrap it up for me. I thought if I looked at the pictures beforehand, my husband would have never received his present.

But again, Jennifer is amazing and not only does she know photography, she knows how to make a girl – a woman – feel good about herself. At one point during the photo shoot, she asked if I wanted a sneak peek. I didn’t. But yet I did. So, she showed me one of the pictures. And you know what, it wasn’t too bad. I actually, for the first time in a really, really, really long time, liked what I saw. She – Jennifer Guenther – made me see myself in a completely different light. She made me see myself for the beautiful woman my husband sees and loves so very much.

It felt amazing. It felt empowering. I felt relieved. I knew this was the right thing to do. Not really so much for my husband, but for myself.

The day I went to pick up the photo book, Jen talked me into opening it and taking a look at what she had produced.

In my conversations with her in the beginning, I asked if she could airbrush my skin to make it look perfect. I didn’t ask her to make me skinnier or better looking, but I just wanted – for once in my life – to have perfect looking skin. Because truly, that is what I despise about my body. It is my skin. She told me she keeps the texture in people’s skin. She said, “I still want it to be you.” She said she could remove the stretch marks and the scars, but then it wouldn’t be me. But she also said that she softens lines and uses the light to her and my advantage. She told me I would be happy.

And you know what? I was. I was actually more than happy. When I unwrapped that book and opened it to the first page, I was speechless. My eyes filled up with tears. My heart actually felt happy. She made me look beautiful – not photoshop beautiful, but me beautiful. I saw someone in those photos that I haven’t seen in a very long time. I was in awe. And I was thankful. I was thankful to Jen for her beautiful work and for making me, see me. Those pictures – that book – her words, her kindness, her mad photography skills – mean way more to me then she will ever know. She was so genuine. She wasn’t being fake with her compliments to me. Or if she was, I surely didn’t feel it. All I felt was good. I felt empowered. And happy. And yes, beautiful.

By the way, yes, my hubby loved his present and it was so worth it – for him and for me.

Ladies, listen up. If need a present for your significant other – or if you just want a present for yourself – I highly recommend booking yourself a boudoir session with Jennifer Guenther Photography. It is 100 percent worth it. Trust me.

You can find Jennifer on the web at jenniferguenther.com. And she is also on Facebook. Just search Jennifer Guenther Photography.

I debated posting any of the photos, but then decided, what the hell. So, here ya go:

(Sorry, Jen, I had to put the text box on it…it showed a little more than I was comfortable with!)

Please, if you ever do a boudoir photo shoot, contact Jennifer Guenther.

(Yes, Jen, I stole this from your Facebook page!)

Life, Running

Stillwater Log Run vs. TC 10 Mile

My goal this year for the Stillwater Log Run 10-miler, which was nearly a month ago already, was to beat last year’s time. This year’s race, on September 22 (my son’s 25th birthday!), was supposed to be better than last year. I felt better. I felt stronger. I felt more prepared. I was ready.

Or so I thought.

Once again, I decided to run with a pacer, someone who keeps you on track and most often, on an even pace for the whole race. Because I felt SO good – I really did – I decided to line up with the 1:50 pacer, meaning we would finish the race in one hour and 50 minutes. I knew this was somewhat of a lofty goal, considering last year’s Log Run I finished in two hours. But I thought what the heck, might as well give it a try.

Here are my stats from the 2017 Stillwater Log Run 10-mile race:

I was not happy with last year’s run. At all. I had to walk a good chunk of it and that, to put it bluntly, pissed me off. So this year, I trained more and truly felt ready for it. I felt ready, despite the extra 10 pounds I can’t seem to get rid of. Damn menopause. Yes, I am using that as an excuse. Lol. Anyway, I ran a nine-miler a couple weeks before this year’s run and ran the whole thing – no walking. I ran it in 1:43:33, which resulted in an overall average pace of 11:30 min/mile. I was happy with that.

Race morning, I remember feeling great. Again, I felt ready. Which is why I decided to go with the 1:50 pacer. Yes, again, a little lofty, but in my head, was actually doable. And it was, for the first five miles. So, what went wrong? A couple of things. One, I typically DO NOT talk when I run. It takes too much out of me. Especially with my asthma. Second, pushing it up a hill and going at a faster pace up the hill. So, why did I talk? Because after mile one, it was just me and the pacer, which I feel really bad, but I can’t remember his name. Justin? Maybe. Anyway, because it was just the two of us, it seemed awkward not talking. We didn’t talk a lot, but I knew it was too much and there were a couple of times where I did tell him I needed not to talk because I knew it was taking too much out of me. But then, we would start talking again. Stupid, I know.

At mile five, after the pretty big hill on mile three, I knew I couldn’t keep up and told him I was going to slow down, which I did. My pace dropped from 11:09 to 12:22. I was mad. I was frustrated. And it reminded me of the year before, where I also struggled and actually gave up. Mile seven came and went and I had to do a bit of walking – up a hill. Mile eight was okay. I sent a text to Al, my husband, who I knew had already finished, which read, “Struggling hard. 1.4 left.” He replied back, “You can do it! There is a nice downhill.” Mile nine had a bit more walking and then on mile 10, which is where there was a nice downhill and when I knew I could actually beat my time from last year, I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up, quit feeling sorry for myself and dug deep. My pace went from 13:39 in mile nine to 11:31 in mile 10. I did end up beating my time. Not by much. But I did it!

Here are my stats from this year:

And this is what I looked like after the race:

Al thought it would be funny to put that sign by me. And it was. After I rested a bit, Al and I did get a good photo and then, I saw a couple of paramedics and asked if they would be kind enough to do a funny photo with me. They did and thought it was hilarious!

And even though I struggled, I have to admit, I was happy to have beat my time from last year, even though I barely did. The photographer, who works for the Stillwater Gazette, captured a decent photo of me coming into the finish line.

Yes, I truly was that happy to be done. He also got a great shot of Al, too, who looks fierce and determined! Al, by the way, finished in 1:29:33.

Two weeks after the Stillwater Log Run, on Sunday, October 7, Al and I ran the Medtronics (Twin Cities in Motion) TC 10-Mile Race in the Twin Cities. This race, which we planned out to be, was our 200th race since we started running eight years ago. Together we’ve run 92 5Ks, six 7Ks, 65 10Ks, 12 10-milers, nine half-marathons (13.1 miles), three half-marathon relays, four quarter-marathons (6.55 miles), one 2.5 miler, one 12-mile relay (we each only ran three miles of), and one 1-mile sprint.

We have also done several races where one of us ran and the other didn’t. Total mileage for all the races we’ve ran, including those not together, is 2,120.5, which is roughly the distance from Alexandria, MN to Key West, FL.

We were both pretty pumped and super stoked for the TC 10-mile race. Me, being me, made shirts for the both of us to wear. Not only to celebrate our 200th race, but also our 10th wedding anniversary, which happened to be the day after the race. The picture is from after the race once we were back in our room. We had planned to celebrate close to the finish line, but it was way too cold! We celebrated in our nice, warm, cozy room instead!

And once again, I felt great. I felt ready. I had a feeling it was going to be better than Stillwater and I was right. It was. A couple of things I did differently – I didn’t run with a pacer, I didn’t talk and I just ran according to how I felt. If I felt good, I pushed myself a bit; if I felt like I needed to slow down, then I slowed down. I walked one time and that was only to send a quick text to Al letting him know I only had two miles left. His response, “Wow! I am just about done.” Five minutes later he texted back, “I just finished.”

A couple of other differences with this race, which is why I think it went better, was the amount of race spectators and the number of participants. There were people along most of the route for the Twin Cities race and in Stillwater, there were only 255 runners, whereas the TC 10 Mile, there were 10,904. Just a wee bit different. Lol.

The number of runners and the number of spectators can make a huge difference. I feed off the energy when it is a bigger run. It just seems to give me more energy, plus, with this being the 200th race for us, that in and of itself made me feel more energized.

Here’s a look at my stats from the TC 10-mile race:

Yes, I shaved nearly six minutes off of my time. And my average pace was even better than the nine-miler I ran. Seriously, I was so super excited after the race. I felt so good the entire time, even when a squirrel ran across my foot. Yes, you read that right. A squirrel ran across my foot, along with a couple of other people I was running next to. It was crazy and it gave us all quite a chuckle and we were all just a wee bit shocked and surprised as could be heard by all of our gasps and then laughs. In 200 races, I can say that has never happened before.

It was a fantastic race for me. Al didn’t quite do as good as he wanted, but he finished and that’s all that matters. Our next race is the Fargo Mini Marathon, which takes place this coming Saturday, October 20. Al will be running the 10K and I am going for the half-marathon. YIKES! I don’t necessarily have a goal in mind, although I would love to do better than last year’s time, but I will be happy if I just finish.

Both Al and I are looking forward to the next 100 0r even 200 races. We both love it and will keep doing it as long as our bodies and my lungs allow me to.

Stay tuned for a couple more blogs coming up this week (or hopefully this week). I have one for all the ladies out there. You will want – and NEED – to read it. I promise.

And then I will be blogging about our 10-year anniversary trip we took to Duluth. We left after the race on Sunday, October 7 and came home late Friday, October 12. It was a magnificent trip and I can’t wait to share some of the photos.

Until then, here’s a couple of finish line photos from the TC 10-miler. Yes, I truly was that excited!

Life, Running

Not every run can be good

I am not sure if it was an average of the five-plus hours of sleep in the last three days or maybe the humidity or even poor nutrition (although I have been eating pretty decent lately!), but I really wanted to give up and quit running when I hit mile three of my five-mile planned run this morning. It was just not a good run.

I was tired and sluggish, that is definitely a fact. And my body just felt heavy and off and I had what I like to call either cement legs or elephant legs. They just didn’t want to move or just wanted to move super slow. I had to will them with everything I had to keep moving forward. It wasn’t painful. I wasn’t in pain, I just felt blah.

Sleep, truly, is something elusive to me lately. Menopause – yes, I said menopause! – has hit me hard and almost every single night I wake up anywhere between 2 and 3 a.m. with the hottest of hot flash night sweats. This whole menopause thing with its hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and everything else it comes with it is for the birds. I welcome any suggestions for handling menopause. And yes, I do take stuff for it. Currently, I am on Paxil and I was taking black cohosh (for several months), but it wasn’t doing anything. I quit taking it. Instead, I started taking Estroven, the sleep cool and calm one. And to help me sleep, I have been using lavender oil in my diffuser.

The picture below is from this week. But most weeks look the same. Most often, I have been actually going to bed, as in our actual bedroom instead of falling asleep on the couch. But sometimes, I fall asleep easier to the noise of the television instead of the hundreds of thoughts running through my brain.

As I was chugging along this morning, as I hit mile three, I thought about quitting. I wanted to just stop. I wanted to be back in my bed sleeping to be real truthful. I was still two miles from home and knew that I couldn’t call the hubby because he was still sleeping. I knew I had to get home whether running or walking. I told myself just to run to mile four and then I could stop and walk the last mile in.

I will admit, I did take a break and just stood still for a minute when I reached that four-mile mark. I took a drink of my Scratch hydration drink I had with me, tried to catch my breath (the air was SOOOO thick), had another talk with myself, (not out loud!) and then decided to run to four and a half miles. Thinking I could walk the last half mile.

I was struggling hard with myself at this point. I really wanted to keep running – in both my heart and head – but my body just didn’t want to cooperate. As I was getting closer to home, my body felt like it was in slow motion. I did take another break, this time, walking for about a block. I had just a half mile left and that is when I dug in, told myself to buck up and just finish. Just do it and get it over with.

When I hit that five mile mark, I was so happy to be done. I was feeling pretty crappy because of how crappy the run went. My stomach was even a little wonky. My last few runs have been pretty good – for me, that is. I am not a track star by any means, but my runs have felt so much better lately. I felt like I was getting my stride back and getting back into the groove. And then today happen.

I wasn’t completely disappointed with my time, just more disappointed with how I felt – slow, hot, tired and sluggish.

I expected my splits to be horrible, meaning I expected my last mile to be much, much slower than the first. It was slower, but not I expected it to be worse. It honestly felt like I was doing a 13:00-14:00/mi pace but I actually kept it under 12:00/mi.

While I was walking back – I had less than five blocks before I reached home – I was really kind of pissy about my run. But, as the day wore on and I had time to think about it. I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, AND…I didn’t give up. As much as I wanted to throw in the towel at mile three, I didn’t. Yes, I took a couple of breaks, but I did run the five-miler like I had originally planned.

I know I am not going to have great runs all the time and that is okay. We can build off of the not-so-good ones and learn from them. I love running and hopefully always will. And, I guess I will take the good with the bad AND the great.

If you care to read more about my running journey, check out the column I wrote in today’s Echo Press. I wrote about how I started running and the milestone we are about to hit. Take a look and let me know your thoughts. Click HERE to read the story.

Running

Need your help!

Hey everyone! So, in about a month, my husband and I will be running the Twins Cities in Motion 10-mile run. It is taking place during the big Twin Cities Marathon weekend. Our race takes place Sunday, October 7, which happens to be the day before our 10-year wedding anniversary.

How cool is that – 10 miles for 10 years! And, another exciting part is that the Twin Cities 10-miler will be our 200th race. YES! TWO-HUNDRED races – in eight years. Our very first race was a 5K for our local humane society. I came across the pictures from that race not that long ago, along with a post I wrote on Facebook about possibly doing a race.

Well, it turned out we did run that race. All three of us – Brandon, Al and me. My hubby and I were definitely bit by the racing bug after that race. My son, not so much. He’s never ran another race with us. Lol!

We had no clue what we were doing back then. We have sure come along way in eight years…and 200 races!

So, why do I need your help?

I want to know what you want to know? What questions do you have about running? About our races? About eight years worth of running 5Ks, 10Ks, 10-milers, half-marathons? What would you like to know?

Please post a comment with your questions and I will do a follow-up blog with all the answers. Keep in mind, I am pretty open and will answer just about anything.

If you don’t want to comment, feel free to send your questions to celbeam@gmail.com. Please put in the subject line: Running questions. I can’t wait to see what kinds of questions you have. COMMENT OR EMAIL NOW!

Uncategorized

The mind is an interesting thing

As she was running down a lonely country road, the sun was starting to peak above the horizon. The sky was aglow in shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. The air was thick and a light fog was just started to lift.

As the sun made it’s way past the horizon and into the Saturday morning sky, something on the side of the road, in the ditch, caught her eye. It was something wrapped in light green cloth, almost neon in color, with pinkish edges on one side. She decided to approach the object to get a closer look and it was then, she doubled over and upchucked the banana and peanut butter toast she ate before heading out the door for her morning run.

Fingers.

Five fingers attached to an arm, that she guessed belong to a male, were sticking out of the neon green cloth that lay in the ditch on the side of the road. Immediately, after tossing her breakfast, she reached for her phone and dialed 911.

This my friends is what I thought of on my run this morning after seeing a green cloth in the ditch. No, it was not wrapped around some arm, but in mind, it surely could have. Apparently, I watch too much Forsenic Files!

My mind comes up with lots of different scenarios when I am running based on what I see and hear, and I can write the best stories. There are times I wish I could stop, find a computer or use my phone and spew out the words stirring around in my mind. I probably could write a fairly decent murder mystery with all the stuff swirling around in my brain, stuff that comes from running early in the morning when my brain is fresh.

The arm-in-the-ditch scenario was all written in my head during my nearly one and a half hour (seven mile) run this morning. And I have to say, it was a pretty damn good story. By the way, the photo posted above was taken by me, but not on my run this morning. It was taken the other week on my way to bootcamp.

Someday, I might finish writing that story. It has potential.

Sunrises

One of my favorite things to do when I am running early in the morning is to take pictures of the sunrise. Yes, I will literally stop by run and often times, just stare and soak up the sunrise before taking photos. I love the sun and each day it rises it’s different – the sky is different, the color is different – it’s amazing.

I also have often changed up my route just to get a better view of the sun rising or a better angle for a photo. I probably have hundreds – yes, hundreds – of photos of sunrises. I also have plenty of sunsets and clouds and trees and lakes because I love nature in all its glory.

I am going to leave you with a few of favorites from the past couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

By the way, these were all taken with my iPhone 8. The first two were slightly edited while the last one was not edited one bit.

Uncategorized

A fresh start

Hey everyone, it’s me, Celeste, who used to blog at Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl. Don’t worry, that blog is still there. I just decided to start a new blog because…well, because I just felt I wanted a new, fresh start I guess. The look of the blog is still a work in progress. Over the next fews weeks, you may see the look of it changing. Sometimes, it take me a bit to settle on something. Plus, I am not the best graphic design person and I am too cheap to pay someone to do it for me!

Anyway, hope you enjoy it as much as you did my Confessions blog.

This blog won’t be so much about my weight loss journey anymore, like the other was or was supposed to be. It will have some content that deals with my healthy living journey, but it won’t be focused on it.

This blog is basically about my life…the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows and the everything in betweens. My goal is to blog at least once a week. Hopefully on Sundays as that is usually my down day and the least busiest.

I don’t necessarily have a plan for what I am going to write about, but I hope you all find it interesting.

A great weekend

It was a whirlwind of a weekend.

On Friday afternoon, we had an employee team-building event at Luther Crest in Alexandria. For those of you who don’t know, I am a newspaper reporter at the Echo Press in Alexandria, MN. It was awesome! It was so fun to get out of the office with my co-workers, having fun, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company.

I am hoping we get to do something like this again.

As soon as we got done with the event, Al (my husband) and I scrambled home to pack and hit the road. We were heading down to the Rockford/Buffalo area to run in the Rockford River Run 10K, which was set for Saturday morning. We wanted to get to Rockford before 8 p.m. so that we could pick up our race packets on Friday instead of Saturday morning.

We also had to get a few things ready before we left house because Al and I were planning on having our Caribbean Day date day/night on Saturday. Al and I have been doing Caribbean Day since 2011 and it is one of the highlights of our summer.

Well, we made it down to pick up our packets and then we found a restaurant to get spaghetti, which is what we typically eat the night before a race. Al and I made our way to Buck’s, which is a take-out pizza and pasta place. After getting our to-go order, we headed to the hotel and finally got to eat. It was about 8:30 p.m. when we finally sat down at the table in our hotel room. The spaghetti was actually better than expected and the garlic toast was pretty dang good, too.

After unpacking and getting all our race gear ready, it was finally time to hit the hay. I think we were both sleeping by 10:30 p.m., which is actually quite early for us. I was stoked!

Race day

My alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. and I immediately shot of out of bed because Al’s alarm was supposed to go off about 15 minutes later. After our race morning rituals, we were out the door and on our way to the race. We got there in plenty of time. I didn’t necessarily set a goal, although I knew I wanted to get back before they started the awards, which was set for 9:15 a.m. The race started at 8 a.m.

As we took off on the rolling hills course (yes, it really was full of rolling hills!), I felt pretty dang good. I did realize, however, around mile 3, that I probably started off a little too fast. But, I just kept trucking along. When I realized that I could probably come in around an hour and 10 minutes, I tried to push it a little bit. Then, because things were going pretty well – despite the hills, humidity and low air quality from fires in California and Canada – I figured I could actually finish in probably an hour and eight minutes. So, I decided to go for it.

When setting a goal like that, I will keep repeating over and over again, one oh eight, one oh eight, one oh eight, meaning an hour and eight minutes. As I crossed the finished the line and looked down at my watch, I actually saw 1:07 something. I was STOKED. And then when I looked up my times from previous 10K races from this year, I was even more stoked. I shaved seven minutes off my time from the Shamrock Shuffle in March. My time at that race was 1:14:50.

My guess as to why I shaved that many minutes off? 1. I feel like my asthma is finally under control. 2. I am exercising and running on a regular basis. And 3. My head is finally in the game. If you are new to my blog, last year was an extremely rough year as I lost both my parents. My mom died March 11 from Dementia and my dad died July 3 from Alzheimer’s. It was beyond horrible and I was in a deep, deep dark hole for awhile.

But, I am happy to say I am in the process of climbing my way out and I feel so much better. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some extraordinarly hard days, but they are fewer and far between now.

Back to the race. I ended up finishing the race in 1:07:27, according to my Garmin. My average pace was 10:48 and I seriously couldn’t be more happy. Al finished in 56:10.

Our Caribbean Date Night

Our goal was to make it back to Alexandria by 2 p.m. so we could start our Caribbean date. We made it back by 1:35 p.m. and things quickly got underway. We bought a new blow-up pool and using our air compressor quickly got it blown up and then filled with water. We also got a couple of air mattresses and a beach ball just for fun. The tiki torches were also put in place and I started making our drinks – Blackberry-Mint Moscow Mules. Click here for the recipe, it came from Good Housekeeping.

Yes, we did put umbrellas in our drinks.

After the drinks were poured and the chips and salsa were brought out, it was time to sit back, relax and just enjoy each other’s company. It was seriously, the most perfect day.

Side note, as I posted yesterday on my Instagram and SnapChat accounts, the picture of me in the swimsuit is kind of a big deal. I have some huge body image issues (I will write on that in an upcoming blog) but I wanted to document the day and if it included me in a suit, well then be it. I am working on those issues…one tiny step at a time!

Our Caribbean Day ended with us taking a late-night walk because we stuffed ourselves silly on the awesome steak and chicken kabobs and grilled peaches, peppers and pineapple. The meal, of course, was beyond delicious!

So, there you have it. My first blog post on my new blog, Newspaper Girl on the Run.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I look forward to posting more next week!