July 28, 2014

Three Ways to Dress Up Your Favorite Cowgirl Boots

Let's talk cowgirl boots for a minute, shall we? I used to think that they were only for girls who lived on a farm, rode horses and knew how to wrangle things. I think we all know by now that I don't fit that description!

But boots have really taken on new style life in the last few years. You don't have to live on a farm to pull off some fun looks! A simple pair of cowgirl boots can be worn with shorts or jeans for a more casual look or they can be paired with a dress and some statement pieces to give a more polished look. In fact, I'm of the opinion that you can wear them for just about any occasion. 

To prove it, I pulled out my Ariat Heritage Western X Toe Boots and got to work. With the help of a simple red dress I scored from H&M, I was able to accessorize and add simple pieces to create three totally different looks. 

Date Night- I kept things simple here, because the dress with boots combo is both fun and flirty and doesn't require extra dolling up. The hubs and I usually go to dinner for date nights, but he said with this outfit on, he'd want to take me dancing too! ;)

Casual Fridays- Breaking free from the typical office heels, this outfit would be perfect for a dress down day at work. The blazer from Banana Republic, a pretty necklace from Hello Cheeseburger and a top knot bun give this a really chic and stylish flair. 

Wild Card- I felt that look number three was perfect for church or other occasions which required a little more conservatism. The hubs argued however, that this outfit would be a good every day look. Throw on a cardigan like the J Crew one from above and you're set. It's perfect for most occasions, even if you only end up grocery shopping and hitting up the PTA meeting!  I decided to throw it in as a wild card, because while I don't always feel like dressing up every day, I do sometimes like to have a little more pizzazz and this is just the right amount. 

What look do you prefer best? I'd love to hear how you dress up your boots! 

This post was sponsored by Country Outfitter. All opinions included here are my own.

July 23, 2014

The BEST Job of All

There used to be a time not terribly long ago when I worried long and hard about this stay at home position of mine. What was I giving up? Who was I really giving it up for? Myself, the hubs, the kids? What were the sacrifices going to be in the short-term? Long-term? And also, HOW THE HELL WERE WE GOING TO AFFORD IT?! I've worked *on official tax records* since I was 16. Prior to that, I was working for my parents. They had a produce stand and an auction hunting-stuff moving-yard selling biz. Have you ever watched Storage Wars? That show's got nothing on my parents. 

So taking a risk, I sort of closed my eyes and free fell into it all. The long days, the longer nights. The occasional boredom when it was just Landon and I and he was still pretty much immobile. It was definitely surreal and kind of an awkward adjustment. And anytime I did anything just for me, I felt really awful because, did I really deserve it since I was no longer officially working in an office? Contributing to society in this monetary way? 

Enter from stage left, Ryland. Now there were two kids and endless worrying and HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO AFFORD THIS?! But you know, we did and it was fine. Life got wayyyyyy more interesting! The question came up: Should I maybe think about possibly going back to work sort of? And the resounding answer was always: No. No you shouldn't. So life went on, as it does.

Then a few months ago, the weather was just starting to get warmer and the sun was shining and clouds for days, people! I just hummed with positivity. The kids were in a good mood. Filled to the brim with goodness, is how I felt. And I realized that this is it. This is the best job in the whole world. Not the cleanest. Or the most fun all the time. Certainly doesn't come with decent pay and health benefits. But it is the best. 

We have adventures like you wouldn't believe. Dance parties that would make Beyonce stop in her tracks and bow down. There's a lot of singing and running and fort building. 

There are some days when there's more whining, more yelling than I would like. Those days are rough. But those days are also few and far between. 

I decided to give up worrying. It was mostly bad for me anyway. I decided to stop thinking about things too much, because there will always be someone else's opinion or a stupid article that filters its way in and makes me doubtful of my decision. There will always be that urge to do more and to be more and to dust off that degree and get to it already. But there are also plenty of years to still make all of that happen. Why not just be satisfied in the now? It is enough. Truly. 

Mostly, it's magic and I wouldn't trade it for all the doll hairs in the universe. ;)

July 21, 2014

On The Fun of Wiping Out- a.k.a. My First 5K

Over the weekend, I participated in my first 5K. I've always wanted to be the type of person who boasts about running in these types of races; unfortunately I have a love/hate relationship with running and so races don't seem very beneficial to a person like me. Though I wish they did! I actually signed up for a run a few months ago and it was cancelled last minute, but I'm honestly glad that the Hit and Run 5K was my first experience and I'll tell you why.

First off, pre-race endorphins must have been put into the air somehow because the people surrounding me were utterly ecstatic to be there! They were totally pumped and in turn, it got me pumped up. 

Second, I got to practice being alone, but only for a little while. I had a friend cancel at the last minute, which made me want to back out of the race. I didn't want to do it alone. There's such a stigma around doing things alone and I didn't want to be that person, swimming in a sea of aloneness. But I remembered this video I watched a few weeks ago about being brave and being okay in the aloneness and so I stood there watching groups of friends and family talk and laugh, and I practiced being okay with the fact that I didn't have friends or family to talk and laugh with. I stood up straight and confident, I smiled and stretched. I told myself not to feel stupid just because I was standing in a crowd alone. And somehow, it really helped. 

The race started and I took off. I met some very friendly people. A few even asked me to join their group for the remainder of the run. It was okay to be alone, but it was definitely nice to be included too. 

Third, the obstacles were really fun! I totally wiped out on the first one. It was a slippery balance beam and there were hanging tubes that looked like punching bags and you had to navigate around them while balancing. I did okay on the first one, but I held onto the second for too long and ended up losing my balance and slipping off into the street on my butt. I just laughed, stood back up and started running to the next obstacle. 

There were 4 total. I really liked the ball obstacle where you had to jump from one bouncy ball to another. I didn't do well at it but I liked it anyway. ;) 

All in all, it was really a great experience. I especially enjoyed having my little guys meet me at the finish line with big smiles. I had to carry Ry to the official finish line, because he didn't want to be left behind.

I had a good time and I would definitely do it again! I think this was a good ice-breaker race. It gave me a chance to check out the atmosphere and still have some fun.

July 14, 2014

Kansas City Hit & Run 5K

Have you ever watched the show, "Wipeout?" If you haven't, you really need to look it up, because it's ridiculously hilarious. Chris and I used to love to tune in every week to watch new contestants try to take on the obstacle courses, and of course, get knocked around a bit in the process. I always wondered how I would fare in a race on an obstacle course like that. Could I make the timer?

This weekend (the 19th to be specific), I won't have to wonder anymore. The Hit and Run 5k is coming to Kansas City and I'm stoked! It is an obstacle course filled with mechanical obstacles, giant inflatables, dodge balls, foam, water and a few other surprises along the way. 

The neat part is that you can basically make it a family affair. The age limit is 10-70 years old and you can choose to run, jog or walk your way through depending on your own abilities. If a particular obstacle looks too rough, go around it and move on to the next one. (Though I doubt any of my readers will have to "go around." Plus, with your family and friends cheering you on in the sidelines, you'll get that extra pep in your step)

Check out all the foam!

I'm a little worried that I might actually believe I'm on the game show and start knocking people over to "win." ;)

And on that note, who wants to join me?! Courtesy of Hit and Run, all Defining My Happy readers get 20% off of their tickets by using code: definingmyhappy14  PLUS- if during your registration process, you click share to Facebook, you get an extra $5 off! These tickets are already super cheap, so it's like you're getting them for next to nothing now. No excuses not to show up!

Want more info? Check out this video:

Click on over to the Hit and Run site to learn more and register.

*Thanks Hit and Run for sponsoring this post! Can't wait to run this weekend.

July 11, 2014

The Thing About Button Down Shirts

I love fashion. I love styling pieces together. If I won the lottery, a decent chunk of it would go to a new wardrobe and a bigger closet. But as it is, budgeting is the name of the game these days and so I have to tread carefully and find pieces I'm going to hang onto for awhile. 

I really love American Eagle shorts. They're not paying me to say that either. They fit well, are affordable and they're not super short AND I haven't had problems with them riding up when I walk. There's nothing quite as nice as not having to worry about pulling down your shorts after every few steps or worrying that someone is getting more cheek than they bargained for, am I right? (Okay, no cheek at all is fine by me, let's be honest)

I also love button down shirts, but unfortunately, that's more of a love/hate relationship. Meaning, I love them, but they hate me. You see, while I'm petite in almost every way, my chest is...not so petite. Any larger chested gal can tell you- One of two things that happen in a button down shirt are- 

a.) You go a size up so you can fit the chest area, but it bags out everywhere else making you feel fat.
b.) You try to stay within your size range, hold your breath while it barely buttons over the ladies and then have to walk around all day adjusting the gaps between the buttons, so your fellow humans don't get a peep show. 

I usually end up with B. I really hate the idea of a baggy shirt.

Last summer, I bought a few button downs from The Gap and this style that I'm wearing is the boyfriend fit. It's better than any of the other brands of button downs I've tried. And they pair nicely with my American Eagle shorts.

Here's one way I wear them:

As you can see, there's still a tiny bit of poppage at the top and it does bag out a smidge when I bend, especially like above. (hubs told me to pose like this-ha!) But overall, it's an outfit that can keep rotation in my closet.

How about you? Do you battle with certain areas on your body that fit weird in certain clothes? 

*Also, any larger chested gals have suggestions on good button downs? I'm all ears! :)


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