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While I was not exactly enthused about packing up for our 3rd weekend out of town, I am feeling so refreshed after this particular weekend away! Earlier this year my mom and I were on the hunt for a race to do this fall, and when my aunt texted suggesting the ZOOMA race in October we were sold. It was a 5k, 12k and a half marathon on Amelia Island. Blake's aunt and uncle own a 2nd home on Amelia Island that I had been hoping I could take my parents to anyway, so it was the perfect location! 

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

The race started at the beach, headed up a main road, turned onto a residential street, looped around Old Town Ferdandina (where I picked out a few houses I definitely wouldn't mind buying), over a bridge, then into the back entrance of Fort Clinch State Park and back to the starting point. 

I still have the goal of visiting every state park in Florida, so this was a really cool way to cross another one off the list! It was an absolutely stunning run. The state park has a very winding canopy road that miles 3-6 were on. SO beautiful. 

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

ZOOMA 12K // Pugs & Pearls Blog

I knew I wasn't going to be able to run all 7.4 miles, but I actually ran 90% of it which completely shocked me! I owe it all to Orange Theory. My stamina and endurance have increased tenfold since joining this summer. I ran really stinkin slow between mile 5-7, like speed walkers were passing me slow-but I kept going! Mom actually finished 3 minutes ahead of me because I was determined to not stop running. She was able to walk/run towards the end a lot faster than me. 

She is talking about a half marathon next! I told her I want to relish in the glory of our 12k for a few days before I start thinking about the next one! She is very inspiring to me.

The race was just the cherry on top of a perfect long weekend! We spent some time at the beach, exploring downtown Ferdandina Beach, and just spending time together. The house is so nice, and it has a great back porch that overlooks a marshy river. The sunsets were spectacular!

Amelia Island // Pugs & Pearls Blog

On our last day we had an unexpected cold front come through! I'm so glad we got to the beach when it was still hot! Thankfully we bought long sleeved t-shirts the day before.  We weren't quite ready to go home yet so we decided to go explore Fort Clinch since we really didn't get to see much during our run. It was very interesting and fun to explore! My sore legs were screaming at me climbing the stairs, but it felt good to stretch those muscles.

Amelia Island // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Amelia Island // Pugs & Pearls Blog

It's been a little bittersweet spending time with my family since my younger brother moved to NYC. We really enjoyed being together, but there is definitely a piece of the puzzle missing now! 

My Amelia Island Suggestions:
The Salty Pelican (we went twice!)
The Sand Bar (right on the ocean)

Places to Stay
Our Family's House is for rent!

Things to Do
American Beach (A great place to go to the beach, but it also has a lot of history.)
Twisted Sisters Shop (so many cute things!)
JJ Cooper Shop (Blake's dream wardrobe would come from here. Lots of Barbour!)
Farmers Market/Car Shows - We happened to visit on a Sunday and there was a farmers market and car show going on! 

Okay, that was a pretty long post! We really loved staying on and exploring Amelia Island. My family always heads to the Gulf coast for our beach trips, since that's where we grew up going. Not only is that area completely destroyed because of Hurricane Michael...but we also know it like the back of our hand. It's really cool to visit a new place, still within a few hours drive and to love it just as much as our traditional destinations. Amelia Island is very Florida with lots of palms and big southern oaks. It's got a lot to do, but still not overly touristy! 

Leave a comment below if you've visited Amelia Island! Where do you like to vacation with your family? How often do you get to get away with your parents and siblings? And raise your hand if you've done a 12k! I feel like that is such a random distance-you usually hear of 5 or 10ks. 

ZOOMA 12k Recap & Our Amelia Island Weekend

Monday, October 29, 2018

Plot: A very dysfunctional family moves to Alaska to start over in the 70's. 
What I Liked: This book was one of those I couldn't put down. The female relationships in this book are really enjoyable to read about. Kristin Hannah is an excellent writer. The Nightingale was better, but this was a really good read.
What I Didn't Like: The first half of this book is pretty dark and heavy. And then for some reason the second half changes to something resembling a Hallmark movie. A reviewer said that on Goodreads and I was like 'exactly!!', I couldn't have said it better myself. 
Rating: 5 stars! Definitely pick this one up. 

Plot: A Japanese organizing specialist walks you through her methods for decluttering.
What I Liked: She has some really valuable tips. Like: "You shouldn't be deciding what to get rid of, you should be deciding what to keep." That really spoke to me. Also, she gave a really good tip about how you should decide where things should go. She suggested putting things not where they are easiest to take out, but rather easiest to put away. I think I've often put things near where I use them, but if you want things to stay decluttered they need to be easiest to put away. 
What I Didn't Like: She talks a lot about herself in this book, and I think she might be the most unrelatable person ever. I'm also not interested in literally thanking my items for their service, although I do think the concept of treating your things well is great. 
Rating: 3 stars. There are some really practical tips here and I think if you need motivation for action this is a good read. 

Plot: This is Carrie Fisher's memoir, including excerpts from diaries she wrote while filming Star Wars.
What I Liked: There are some very interesting parts about her family life, her auditioning process and general perspective. 
What I Didn't Like: This is not the book I thought it would be. I was kind of hoping for more behind the scenes Star Wars stuff. Quickly the book goes into the longest tangent ever about her affair with Harrison Ford. Which could be interesting, but she never actually says anything about it! She talks about something happening, without actually giving details. And that just goes on and on.
Also the diary excerpts did not keep my attention. They weren't so much daily life records, which is what I was hoping for, but rather read like a teenager's private poetry. 
Rating: 2 stars. Just Meh. 

Plot: Mindy Kaling's 2nd book in which she talks a lot about her college experience, some writing on The Office, starting her current show The Mindy Project and general thoughts on friendships and relationships.
What I Liked: Mindy Kaling is SO funny. Her humor is so relatable and honest. I really enjoyed her perspective on a lot of things. In the book she does a quick short story about this imagined version of herself that is so cute and I wished it kept going! Her Harvard commencement speech is also at the end and it's hysterical. 
What I Didn't Like: This is my fault, but I didn't realize this was her second book. I was hoping for more Office related stuff and apparently that's in the first book. 
Rating: 4 stars! If you want a quick and funny read, or you love Mindy Kaling pick this one up! 

I've been doing so much more reading lately, and I love it! It's all because of the Libby app! All you have to do is connect your library card and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks. Of course the more popular books tend to have a waitlist, just like in the physical library. Leave a comment below with what you are currently reading! I'd love some more recommendations.

Affiliate links present!

Recent Reads

Monday, October 22, 2018

My Favorite Disney Ride // Pugs and Pearls Blog

One of my favorite things about Disney is that we've made so many great memories there. We've been so many times now, but each time has a distinct memory attached to it. It's either because of the friends we went with, or something like trying out a new restaurant or ride. Even things like the weather has made each trip stand out as unique. (I will never forget the time we saw 'snow' flurries in Hollywood Studios that one day! Disney made a killing in the gift shops selling hats, gloves and scarves to everyone who thought they were in Florida and didn't need that stuff!)

When we were deciding to renew our annual passes this year, Blake and I started reminiscing about our favorite times there. Then, for fun, we tried to narrow down our favorite places to eat, and our top rides. His favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear. Which was surprising! But, it makes sense because the guy literally looked up how to max out the score by hitting certain targets. My favorite ride though, hands down, is Big Thunder Mountain. Three of my very favorite memories took place on that ride.

Earlier this January when we really wanted to see the new fireworks show, and we had just enough time to ride something before it began. We decided to run over to Thunder Mountain and we were thrilled when the wait was just the perfect amount to time to ride and have time to get back over to the castle. We were stuck deep in the queue when we saw that there was only 10 minutes before the show started. It was too late to get out of line, so we made peace with missing the fireworks. 

We boarded the train, and started up the track. Our cart was coming over the crest of the first hill and the fireworks started! We ended up having the best view in the entire park! Riding the roller coaster with fireworks popping all around us and that chilly air in my face legitimately made me feel alive. 

Come to find out, the music is now piped in all around the park, so when we got off the ride we still had a spectacular view of the end of the show. (That's us watching it in the picture above!)

After the Disney Princess 5k with the girls, three of us wanted to go to the parks. February 26, 2011. We took turns riding rides solo all day. After we got down to the loading area of Thunder Mountain, we decided to ask if we could all three fit in the seat. The operator shrugged and said sure! The three of us squeezed into the last row. We DID NOT fit. But we were locked in (literally) and committed. 

I cannot remember a time ever laughing that hard! I was in the middle and just knew, more than once, that I was going to fly out. It's a wild ride anyway, but 3 people trying to hang on for dear life made it all that much more insane. I feel like that ride bonded us for life Chabeli!

Blake had just proposed to me in front of Cinderella Castle. October 5, 2009. We had the most perfect day. So many of our friends were with us. Our future brother in law won the American Idol Experience earlier in the day. My lifelong friend Devin found an abandoned wheelchair and someone in our group definitely pretended to be disabled to jump lines. (The whole reason they don't do it like that anymore...) Notice the wheelchair made the picture! 

After the fireworks were over, we were SO in love and so excited. We wanted to end the day with one more ride! We all ended up at Thunder Mountain and Blake and I got the back row. I just remember feeling so happy and exhilarated. 

Leave a comment below with your favorite ride at the Disney parks!! Do you have one special place where a lot of big things have happened? 

The Wildest Ride In The Wilderness

Monday, October 8, 2018

October Goals // Pugs and Pearls Blog

September Report
Add Additional Day of Exercise.  I feel like I'm never going to be happy with the amount of exercise I'm doing until it's every single day. Hashtag perfectionist. While I was definitely active in September, I still feel like I could work on this one. In addition to Orange Theory this month I went on a few runs around the neighborhood and walked a lot with my sister. One thing I am proud of is how much faster I am on the road now that I've been doing Orange Theory. Huge improvement there! 

Use Myfitnesspal Consistently. I really did use Myfitnesspal a ton this month! I found that I am really diligent about inputting meals until after lunch. I almost always forget to go back in and put in my dinner record. I want to get solid about it because I really think it helps! Such a reality check when you have your calorie intake in black and white. In August my goal was to drink more water, and I still improved on that this month! I thought I should add that detail because Myfitnesspal has a direct correlation to that improvement. I'm in love with the way I feel when I am hydrated! Still not at a full 8 glasses a day, but man it's made a huge difference. 

Have Someone Over. Gah! This one almost happened! We planned a dinner with a couple and their son for September, had it on the calendar and then the day before we found out her dad was having a medical procedure. I offered to postpone, and she was grateful to hold off. We plan on rescheduling for this month, but I have got to get it officially on the calendar. I've already mentioned how busy we are this month, so there are going to be limited times available. But, it's really important to me that we get back in this habit! A lot of you commented that having people over is hard, would you be interested in a full post about how we do it? 

Save a Certain Amount of Money. Big ole nope on this one! I had the money set aside, and we ended up spending it on Disney passes. LOL. So responsible and mature, I know. 

Do 1 Social Media Free Weekend This Month. CHECK! I did this and wow! I had no idea how interesting that social media free weekend would be. The key to my success was deleting the apps completely off my phone. I'm really glad I did that because throughout the first day, I would mindlessly scroll to find the app and realize it wasn't there. I would have failed if I hadn't removed the temptation. The first day was hard at first because I didn't realize how often I reach for it. The next day however, was so relaxing. I truly loved it. And then on Monday when I logged back in there was SO much to see and comment on. It was actually exciting to use social media rather than just a habit! I would really like to do one social media free weekend a month. 

October Goals
To be modest with myself, I'm not making any goals for October. I've mentioned before that we have a WHIRLWIND of a month ahead of us. We have so many travel plans and I even had to change my work schedule to accommodate that. I feel like I am not even going to know my own name after it's all said and done.

If I were to set a goal it would be to keep the days inbetween simple. I want to just manage to stay on top of laundry and keeping the house tidy. I want to make sure I get out in a nature a little bit to ground myself. And I want to make sure I don't neglect the basics this month. Things like my Bible reading schedule and making sure we have good home cooked meals whenever possible. 

I hope you all have a great October and I hope we get to see some real Fall weather this month!

October Goals

Thursday, October 4, 2018

As much as I love Stitch Fix, I didn't intend to get any more boxes this year. I felt like I didn't really need anything new, especially for the fall/winter season. Living in such a warm climate means that my cold weather wardrobe is still in an almost new condition. But, Stitch Fix told me I had a credit in my account and I needed to use it before it expired. I'm definitely not one to pass up free stuff! 

It's always so exciting to open your box! It's half the fun. Erica says this all the time but you absolutely have to try on everything! Things might look completely different once they are actually on your body. 

Here's what I got in my box!
Colette Piper Knit Top - $38

This is absolutely 100% my style. In fact it's almost identical to the top I wore in this post. The stripes are thicker, but the material and the cut is almost the same. So much so that I can't justify another striped shirt! The stylist definitely got it right though.
Verdict: Return

J Crew Merc. Maylee Slim Boyfriend Chino - $36.50
Stitch Fix // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Can I just say how much I love J Crew Mercantile? It's basically J Crew's version of Old Navy. The clothes are great basics and the prices are so much better than traditional J Crew. When I pulled these out I was not sure how I was going to feel. On one hand I was excited to see the brand, but I have never really tried a boyfriend style pant. I just never thought they would work on my shape. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled these on! I do have a pair of olive cropped chinos (from Old Navy ironically), so I'm still debating on these. I'm also wondering what shoes would work?
Verdict: Still deciding. 

Tinsel Floid Chambray Top - $48
Stitch Fix // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Meh. That's how I feel about this one. I love the light chambray color and polka dots. The material is very heavy, so I know I wouldn't get much of a season to wear this top. Plus the fit is just okay. I don't hate an oversized shirt, but this just doesn't really flatter anything. I wish that the photo would reflect just how much extra material there is. I also noticed that the buttons easily come undone. If I loved it, I would size down. 
Verdict: Return.

Hummingbird Liara Knot Front Knit Top - $34

This is why I say you HAVE to try everything on! When I pulled this top out, I literally just put it to the side. The material seemed weird and almost sheer. I was positive I wouldn't like it. As soon as I tried it on I was sold! I LOVE this shirt! The knot front tops are very popular right now, but I had never considered it for me. This shirt does exactly what I've been trying to do with the 'half tuck' thing without being fussy. It's great. And the color is absolutely perfect for summer or fall. I immediately took the tags off and paired it with jean shorts-but I know it will look equally good with jeans and ankle booties in a few weeks. 
Verdict: KEEP! and try to find other colors. 

Nine Britton Abigail Brushed Knit Midi Dress - $54

If something could be the exact opposite of my style, this dress would be it! Holy crap, I didn't even want to put it on. It wasn't as bad as I thought once it was on though. I have super mixed feelings about the material. It's both soft and comfortable, but also really clingy which makes me uncomfortable. The length was great, and I did like the color. I think it would be really cute with ankle boots. However, I can't think of any occasion I'd feel appropriate in this. So not me. 
Verdict: Return.

Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite piece is! Should I keep the boyfriend pants? Help me! 

October Stitch Fix

Monday, October 1, 2018


Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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