Marathon Recap: The Expo and Pre-Race


My marathon race recap is turning into a mother of a post, and I still haven't added anything about the expo and early-morning preparations. I know you're already getting excited.

It's going to be long and include every detail because I'm not writing it for you word skimmers out there. I'm writing it for future me to reread in a few months when I've forgotten what it felt like to be hardcore runner girl who finishes marathons.

With that said, here's a quick recap of the expo and the morning of the race.

Race weekend is a huge deal for Oklahoma City. The Arts Festival also comes to town, so there are thousands of people out and about. My mom and I have gone down every year for the past 3 years to walk around and check out the artistic happenings. And eat fair corn and ice cream, of course.

So that happened on Saturday. Should I have been walking around for 4 hours the day before my first marathon? Probably not. But you only live once. Plus, everyone knows fair food is the marathon dinner of champions. Amen.

After a few hours, we met my dad at the expo to get our bibs and shirts. I was really excited and kept taking pictures of myself everywhere. If I caught people staring at me, I just said, "First marathon." Then they seemed to understand why I was being nutty.

On Sunday, I woke up to pee twice before 4 a.m. Much too early for nervous bathroom breaks. Finally at 4:30, it was time to start getting ready. I had picked out the perfect race outfit, including my new arm sleeves (which turned out to be orange even though I thought they were going to be red). I was just planning to wear them until I saw my family for the first time on the course. By then I knew I would have warmed up, and I'd get rid of them.

In the morning I drank some water and ate 1 banana and half a plain bagel. I know you're supposed to eat a lot pre-race, but I just can't. I have had too many bathroom emergencies to know my stomach can't handle much food before a morning run. (Case in point, the 25k I ran a month ago, where I had to stop THREE times during the race. Darn you, irritable bowels!)

My mom, brother, and sister drove up from Texas to cheer us on! Jordan was there too, but at the time this picture was taken, he was in line at the Port-o-Potty. He had to go so bad, he ended up offering the guy at the front of the line $20 to let him cut, which I think is hilarious. (He did get to cut, but they didn't take his money.)

I found my 4:30 pace group pretty quick and settled in. The OKC race doesn't have a staggered start, but you're supposed to line up according to time. My dad and I started out together, but as soon as we crossed the start line, we split up. What's up, red devil eyed me?

That's when my 26.2 (+ an extra .28) journey began!
Full race recap to come hopefully tomorrow.

Marathon Training: Week 17 *The FINAL WEEK*


I'm sorry this post is a tease, but I couldn't not document the final week of marathon training. I have so many thoughts on the race itself I don't even know where to start with my recap, but I'll be working on it this week, so check back.

For now, I will tell you that tapering makes me lazy. It's sad when you don't want to go out on a 3-mile run because it sounds too long. Ha. I actually skipped a scheduled run on Thursday because I just didn't feel like it. How's that for marathon spirit? In my defense, it was cold and rainy outside.

But I did run on Sunday, and my dad and I both finished with no injures except my knees and my sunburn. (No chaffing, though! Moving Comfort bra, I love you.) I think my dad had chaffing issues, but I won't go into detail about that...

Here's a picture to tide you over until the recap post. (And... I just realized my eyes might be closed.)

Thank you so much for your emails and comments and tweets of encouragement! Sometimes I feel like no one's out there reading this thing, and although I would still write even if no one read it, I do enjoy the community of blogging. You all are wonderful.

The #1 Thing I've Gained from Running. And Marathon Goals.


As of this writing, my first marathon is less than four days away. 

Over the last 17 weeks, I have run 334.27 miles, which averages out to just under 13 full marathons. I have spent almost 60 hours running and burned 11 pounds (equal to approximately 222 donuts woo!) over 54 workouts

Since January. 
All in preparation for one 26.2-mile race through the streets of downtown Oklahoma City. 
I feel ready. More than ready. In fact, I have complete confidence that I will be able to finish and that (if all goes according to the plan), I will be receiving my finisher's medal around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. 

I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that whenever I think about crossing that finish line, I get tears in my eyes. When I started this whole thing 17 weeks ago, I saw 15, 18, and 20 miles on my schedule and felt doubt. Could I do it? 

Three years ago I was doing run/walk intervals while training for my first half marathon. Now I'm days away from being a marathoner.

Running is a whole world of its own, and a lot of people don't get it. Why spend money to run around outside when you could run around outside for free? Is it really worth it to spend 60 or 70 or even 100 dollars+ just to torture yourself? 

To that I say, it's not just the race itself that I'm paying for. I've spread my $75 race fee over 17 weeks of preparation and anticipation, talking to other runners, reading running blogs, and most of all: those 60 hours on the road. Just me, my Garmin, and my ipod. 

For a while I wondered what I was going to do when this whole thing was over. What was there to prepare for after running a marathon? But now I know: I will keep running. I'll keep signing up for races because I love it. It's okay if other people don't get it. 

Three years ago, I signed up to run a half marathon. I spent the summer training, and I spent all summer stressed out because I wasn't sure I could do it. I doubted myself. Three years and four days later, I will be running twice that far, and I don't have any doubt I can do it. 

That's the #1 thing I've gained from running: confidence in myself. 

It's being oddly excited for a 16-mile run because it's longer than you've ever run before. It's knowing that as long as you start, you can't lose. It's crossing that finish line and knowing you gave it all you had. It's doing something that once sounded impossible.

So if you've ever told yourself you could never run a 5k or a 10k or a half marathon or a full marathon or any other fitness exercise, I am here to tell you that you only can't because you didn't try. Make a plan, stick with it, and it will happen.

Marathon Goals

1. I'm adding my name to the list of first-time marathoners who have a time goal even though veteran marathoners insist they shouldn't. Obviously I will just be happy to finish, but I just can't help but make a time goal. You can say I told you so later. 


My plan of attack is to stick with the 4:30 pace group and see how it goes. However, if it's not going well, I am going to keep in mind goal #2: 

2. Enjoy the race.

Whether or not I decide to run more marathons, this is the only first marathon I will have, and I want to enjoy it. Obviously I will be tired and winded and feel like I want to die, but by enjoy it I just mean that I want to do my best while still having fun when I see my family cheering me on. I would sacrifice time just to slow down and not have a miserable time of it because I was trying to go too fast. 

So there you have it. 

17 weeks has come down to 4 days. I stuck to my plan for the most part, and now I'll just be chugging water and avoiding high-fiber foods. Crossing my fingers for no bathroom stops! 

By the way, here is a copy of my marathon training plan. I looked at 3 or 4 plans and then combined them all into one that would work best for me. I adjusted when it was necessary based on sickness, weather, travel, or other unforeseen events, but for the most part I am very proud with how well I did. 

This is the final version of all the runs I actually completed. (Note: Week 12 I only did one run because I caught the flu! That was terrible.) As you can see, I mostly ran on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday. I found that having specific days to run helped keep me focused and motivated.

So wish me luck and think thoughts of good weather and fast times on Sunday! 
Thanks so much for those of you who followed me on this journey 
and for all the comments of encouragement along the way. 
26.2 or bust.

--follow me--
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How to Cook Fresh Green Beans


fresh green beans

Forgive me if a post on how to cook fresh green beans seems elementary, but I had never cooked fresh green beans in my life until a few months ago. (See also: How to Cook Fresh Brussels Sprouts)

Now I can't stop making them, and Jordan swears he could eat green beans every single night. That's a recommendation if I ever heard one. Cooking fresh green beans is so easy and so delicious, I just can't believe I haven't started making them sooner. 

Here's the best way I've found to cook the most delicious fresh green beans! (Recipe adapted from my mother-in-law.)

First things first: don't buy the green beans in a can. Just don't do it. Buy the real green beans from the actual produce section. You can buy the actual real green beans from a farmer's market or land of good and plenty such as Whole Foods, or you can get a bag that feeds 2-3 people for less than $3. Or a giant bag  of green beans that will fill a family for $6. (If you get a giant bag and you're only one or two people, just toss the rest in the freezer until you're ready to cook them!)

Fill a large pot with water and get it boiling. Dump the fresh green beans in and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Cook just until they become tender but are still a bit crunchy. The point is not to cook the green beans all the way but just to loosen them up a bit. The main cooking will happen in a skillet. 
cook fresh green beans
(The reason you boil them first, as I learned from my mother-in-law, is that if you haven't, cooking in a skillet alone takes a long time. It's a similar idea to boiling potatoes or carrots before putting them in a stew. And since you aren't using salt or anything else, you don't really even need to wash the pot after you're done with it, so the cleanup is easy.)

While the green beans are boiling, heat up a large skillet with some olive oil. Just enough to help the beans to not stick to the bottom of the pan, maybe 1 tablespoon. You can use butter too, if you want. Or both.

When the green beans are starting to get tender in the water, drain them and add them to the hot skillet. Sprinkle on kosher salt (you can use regular salt, but it will not be as good, trust me), fresh-ground black pepper (again, you can use regular pepper, but it won't be as good), and some garlic salt. I don't have measurements; just eyeball it. Trust your Jedi instincts.

*Note: this would also be a good time to add in onion power, garlic powder, crushed fresh garlic, chopped onion, bacon, or any other spice your heart desires. We like our beans simple with salt, pepper, and garlic, but feel free to get adventurous.

Mix well and then cover the skillet and let the fresh green beans steam for a few minutes. Turn every so often until they begin to turn brown. This process should take no more than 10-12 minutes, depending on how many beans you're cooking and how hot the skillet is. (You also don't need to steam them if you don't have a skillet with a lid.)

When you think they're done, try one just to make sure. The green beans should be tender, limp almost, and a bit charred on some sides. And oh so deliciously salty.
delicious fresh green beans

Serve as a side with any meal! This is what I served it with most recently: 
-chicken marinated in a teriyaki/garlic sauce (& cooked on my electric George Foreman grill)
-long grain & wild rice a roni 
-Pioneer Woman's crash hot potatoes 

These fresh green beans would also go great with my recipe for pork chops & stuffing!

Don't forget to check out more of my recipes on my recipe page
p.s. You might also like: How to Cook Fresh Brussels Sprouts

Marathon Training: Week 16--ONE WEEK TO GO!


And so the countdown begins.

I had a dream about the marathon last night. I won't be surprised if I have marathon dreams all week long for as much as I've been thinking about it. 

Sixteen weeks ago I made myself a running schedule and put it up on the fridge. At least 3 days/week I've crossed off my training runs, moving farther down the calendar as the weeks passed. Now, my first marathon is exactly one week from today. 

I will save the rest of my thoughts for a pre-race post later on this week, but for now, here's a picture of my dad and I. We ran 8 miles together on Saturday for our last long run. 

Not many people get to say they ran a marathon with their dad. I'm so proud of him. 
We run to be healthy. We run because we can. We run to remember. 


High Five For Friday: The Beard Edition


Newsflash: when you don't have a full-time job, you don't get as excited about Fridays as the rest of the population. Still, a few things happened lately that deserve a high five despite the difficult news stories that broke throughout the week.

[Winter in Oklahoma is taking one final stance against spring]
Someone found my blog by Googling "my man won't shave his beard." There are no words for how happy this makes me.

To whomever you are, I say: Welcome, friend.
(Read this post if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Spoiler alert: it's called "When Your Man Won't Shave His Beard")

Yesterday, this conversation happened:

Me: You have some food sticking to your beard.
*Jordan puts his hand to his beard.*
Me: No, I mean your top beard.
Jordan: You mean my mustache?

You mean that's not what I said? Indeed. Carry on, then.

This week I cooked FOUR meals that I found on Pinterest from my Entrees board. Four. All were easy to put together and quite delightful. I might have hurt my arm from patting myself on the back so much.

-Buttermilk Roast Chicken
-Chicken Enchilada Stack
-Baked Spaghetti Pie
-Oven Toasted Ravioli

One day earlier this week I saw a Mini Cooper painted top to bottom with the British flag. I was like, yes, we get it. I've seen "The Italian Job," thankyouverymuch.

I am obviously not going to high five about the Boston tragedy. I offered my thoughts on that horribleness in this post. However, I will high five my local Oklahoma City marathon, which is coming up in just over 1 week! This will be my first marathon, and I am even more excited to run in it after the support shown from runners across the country.

If you don't know, the OKC race is a memorial to remember and honor the 168 people who died in the 1995 OKC bombing. This year, there will be approximately 24,000 participants, and we are going to be wearing red socks during the race (if I can find some) as a tribute to Boston. They have also decided to offer free entry for any Boston runner who was unable to finish their marathon. The Boston runners can start at the beginning of the OKC marathon or start at the place they left off in Boston. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. Awesome stuff.

Speaking of, tomorrow is my LAST long run before my marathon. Someone pinch me.

Our Budgeting Binder: A Close-Up


A few months ago I wrote this post about our budget binder. Within a few weeks, it quickly jumped up the rankings to become my second-most popular post and continues to get hits every day.

After I published the post, I received a good number of responses (more than my usual five)--on the blog, through facebook, and in person.

A lot of people wondered why I am still doing budgeting stuff on paper and haven't started doing everything online. was mentioned more than a few times as a great resource, and I have no doubt it is something I will check into at some point.

As of right now, we pay some bills online, but I keep track of everything on paper. It's a system that works well, and it's a system that has allowed us to use the last two years to become completely debt free while saving up thousands of dollars for the beginning of a down payment on a house. We paid off both our cars and student loans within the first 18 months of our marriage. 

The critical comments I received from people who thought I was ridiculous for still budgeting on paper were balanced out by the people who had legitimate questions about how we budget; and I even had a few friends ask me if I could sit down with them and go through the binder and our system in more detail.

With that in mind, I decided it might be helpful if I went through the binder again to explain the categories and our system for spending personal money for clothing and other items like that. I'm warning you now that this post isn't short, so skim until the end or quit now if you want to. But I do hope this is helpful to some of you! Budgeting is hard work, but it does get easier. We've been using this system for 2 years, and it's become basically second nature now. 

I also want to say that there are tons of amazing budgeting systems out there. This is just what Jordan and I have found to work best for us at this point in our lives. 

(I'm not going to explain the whole binder itself, just the specifics about our categories and system. For more on the creation of my awesome red binder and the spreadsheets I use, you can go here.)

First, I should tell you three important things about our system: 

1. We keep and log every single receipt on a spreadsheet

2. We do NOT buy anything we don't have the money in our bank account for. 
3. We use our credit card for most purchases, but we pay off the full amount at the end of every month. 

Our "envelope system"

A lot of people asked me if we used Dave Ramsey's envelope system, and the short answer is no. We tried it for a month, and it didn't work. We now use our Discover card for about 90% of purchases made throughout the month. We do, however, have a few physical envelopes we use for these categories: 

AUTO--annual car tags, oil changes, windshield wipers, tires, etc. 

TRAVEL--anything that involves going out of town/vacation
MEDICAL--copays, prescriptions, over-the-counter medication
ENTERTAINMENT--date night/anything done with friends (movies, bowling, ordering pizza, etc.)
CHRISTMAS--buying Christmas presents, obviously

We use these envelopes in a few different ways. Let me explain:

- Entertainment

Our monthly budget allows $ for the entertainment category, and anything that's left over at the end of the month goes into the entertainment envelope. This is a great system, because I'm sure you've noticed that some months you eat out or go on dates or do things with friends more than other months. So by rolling over any extra entertainment $, we can save up for expensive date nights or have some extra spending money just in case one month is busier than another. 

- Christmas

For the last two years, we have saved up Christmas money throughout the year. Every month we put a designated amount (usually $25 - $30) into the envelope. By the end of the year, I have a couple hundred dollars in cash ready to spend on gifts for family and friends! This completely takes away the stress of gift giving and allows me to do what I love best: buy presents. (For more on that, read: My 5 Stages of Christmas Shopping Addiction.)

- Travel/Medical/Auto

Unlike the Christmas envelope, we do NOT put a specific amount into these categories every month. The amount added depends on that month's surplus after paying bills and tithing. We try to at least put $20 into each envelope; that way when an emergency happens like all your tires go flat at once, you have cash on hand to spend on expensive medication, tires, etc. 

Okay, now to the actual budgeted categories, of which there are six.

Monthly Budgeted Categories

1. Grocery--obviously, buying groceries. This includes eating out for lunch during the week (Taco Bell, Subway, etc.) We try to eat out during lunch maximum 1 day/week; all other times we pack a lunch. Eating out for dinner counts under entertainment. I'm not going to share actual amounts for most categories, but I will for this one. For the two of us, our monthly grocery budget is $350. Jordan thought that was a lot until I did the math. $350 = $175/person = $5.83/day. That means it costs less than $2/person per MEAL all month long. Pretty good, if you ask me. 

2. Gas--You can't completely budget 100% for car gas, but we do try to keep this number in mind as we go through the month.
3. Personal--paper products (toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels), haircuts, toiletries (shampoo, soap, facewash, contacts, shaving cream)
4. Entertainment--see above
5. Gifts--baby/bridal showers, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts (usually includes mailing costs/stamps)
6. Misc.--anything that doesn't fit into the above categories (decorative house items, Girl Scout cookies, kitchen stuff)

Those are the main categories we have that seem to cover all of our purchases. Finally, we have the last category:

Clothing | Blow Money

With this, we do something that's probably a bit different from "normal" couples, at least that I've talked to. 

Every month Jordan and I have an allowance, for lack of a better word, for clothing and "blow money," which just means money we can spend on whatever we want.

Our budget used to be $100/person each month ($50 for clothing/$50 for blow), but since I lost my job, we cut that in half to $50/person/month ($25 for clothing/$25 for blow). Even though I don't have a full-time job right now, we both still think it's important to have some money to spend on ourselves. Obviously you could cut back on this as much as you needed depending on your personal finances. (And I'm sure this will change once we start having kids.)


Includes things like:
-Jewelry, hair accessories (headbands and the like), socks, shoes, shirts

Having this type of budget is really hard for me when buying running shoes/athletic apparel. One pair of shoes takes out my entire monthly allotment and then some! Sad face. However, having a clothing allowance forces me to think carefully about what I buy and whether or not I really do want it. I have turned down many a clothing item because I realized I didn't want to spend 1/3 of my whole month's budget on one shirt I wasn't sure if I really liked. I also have realized that I would rather spend clothing money on running shoes than a new spring outfit. Priorities, people. (You know you're a runner when...)

For running shoes, I usually try to just ask for those for a birthday or Christmas. If that doesn't happen, I have to save up my clothing $ for a few months before I buy my shoes. Again, it's very important that we do NOT buy anything we don't actually have the money on hand for.

Blow money

This one can get tricky, and it's the category Jordan and I have to discuss the most often. Blow money is basically anything we want to buy for ourselves. So, for example, I sign up for races using my blow money. I sponsor a blog or host a giveaway using my blow money. I use my blow money for magazine subscriptions or new camera equipment. Jordan uses his to buy video games, ammo for his guns, and pay for things like MLB TV, among other things.

The confusion comes in sometimes when it's an outing with friends or something that might count under "entertainment" or "misc". We handle those on a case-by-case basis. Basically we discuss it, both offering our opinion of where it should fit in the budget, and then come to a fair conclusion or compromise. (This is marriage at its best, and sometimes it's a longer conversation to come to a compromise than others.)

I will say this: I go through my money pretty quick. Races aren't cheap, my friends. Jordan rarely uses all of his money for the month, so I get really happy when I spend less than him. Last month I was lower than him by a whopping 81 cents. It was great.

What happens with extra blow/clothing money?

Whenever there is leftover allowance, it goes into the Amanda or Jordan envelope. Yes, we each have our own envelopes where we keep "our" money. This is how I save up for a race or a new pair of shoes. I saved up for my camera for a year. A year! It was not easy.

Our Christmas bonuses from work, birthday money, and Christmas money also go into our personal envelopes. And, any money we get from doing outside jobs we can keep as our own. So, if I get money from taking pictures or Jordan gets money for doing some electrical work for a neighbor, we keep it ourselves. 

Sometimes I wonder if having a personal envelope is feeding an attitude of "mine." If I paid for it out of my blow money, I deserve to have it all to myself, right? (Admittedly, I have issues with this type of thinking.)

But I do think it keeps us accountable to the money we spend and where it goes. Having personal clothing and blow money also eliminates those fights about "how could you spend so much money on races?!" I can sign up for as many races as I want if I have the money for it, and Jordan might think it's stupid, but that's why I have my money and he has his. 

So overall, for us at least, the pros weight out the cons.

Okay. I think that's all for the categories. Whew! I told you that was going to be long. 

If you have any questions at all, I would love to answer them! Ask in the comments or shoot me an email (abumgarner [dot] editor [at] gmail [dot] com). I'm not shy about discussing budgeting stuff, and I think everyone needs to budget!

Do you have a budget?
How do you handle clothing/blow money?



I had a different post already written and scheduled to publish.

It was going to be about how April is my running anniversary. About how in April 2010, I started training for my first half marathon and about how I will be running my very first marathon in less than two weeks.

It was about what I love about running and how my life has changed--how I've changed--since I signed up for that first race.

Then Boston happened.
And I cried.

In many ways it was similar to how I felt about the Connecticut shootings just a few short months ago. But in other ways it was so different.

This hit closer to home for me, and I feel personally violated. My blogger friend Lauren put it perfectly when she said that running is her safe space.

What I really love about running is that when you run, you don't lose. Ever. No matter how slow or fast, last place or first, you just don't lose. As Lauren said: If you can put your feet on the ground, you're in.

And there is NOTHING like the feeling you get when you cross that finish line.

Today, that victory was taken away as a blast went off just steps from the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

There are so many things that break my heart about what happened today. I can't imagine the joy of a lifetime accomplishment stolen by fear. Fear of those participating, fear of those watching.

I really don't know what else to say except that I'll be running the Oklahoma City marathon in two weeks. It's a race to remember the OKC bombing of April 1995 and the 168 lives lost. Now, this year, we will also remember the Boston Marathon.

“The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other... but to be with each other.” 
―Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run)

- let's be social - 
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My Style: Aviators = Cool


When I wear aviators, I feel cool. When I feel cool, I purse my lips. This is what I would do all the time if I were rockstar.

Aviators from Maurices (similar)
Earrings from Francesca's (not online)

When I wear aviators, I also feel like everyone's looking at me because I. Look. Awesome.

Now, the truth is, everyone is probably either A) not looking at me at all or B) looking at me because I look stupid.

But does it really matter as long as I think I look cool? I guess maybe it sort of does, because some people think they look cool in shorty shorts and Uggs when in fact they do not. This is not my opinion; it's fact. Amen.

Anyway, aviators. They're back, and they're awesome. What up, Top Gun!
I got a new pair in my Easter basket from Jordan's mom, and I've been wearing them every day since. Even inside. If Kanye can do it, I can do it. (This is quite possibly definitely a terrible mind-set to carry into other areas of my life, but in this case I think it applies perfectly.)

Note: when you wear aviators inside, you run into stuff and have to walk carefully, but whatever. It's about looking cool, after all.

Do I feel uncool because I wear sunglasses inside and because I just wrote an entire post about aviators? Negative.

If aviators are cool, then taking pictures of yourself wearing said aviators and then writing about it is the coolest of cool.

Own it.

What makes YOU feel cool?

- let's be cool together, socially speaking - 
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Marathon Training: Week 15


It's week 15, which means I only have FIVE more runs before the marathon! Where did the weeks go? Seriously.

This week was the first taper week, so I cut a mile off my usual 5-mile weekday runs. Both of those were inside on a treadmill due to weather. It was boring, but I got it done.

My long run this week (that I just finished about an hour ago as I type this) was fantastic. I finished in 1:47, which paced at 8:48 min/mile! I felt really good throughout most of the run, and I ran my last mile the fastest of them all in 7:54! It's really nice to feel faster at the end of a run than you were at the beginning--major mental boost.

Here's how the miles broke down:
9:29 - 9:15 - 9:01 - 9:02 - 8:55 - 8:35 - 8:36 - 8:29 - 8:53 - 8:57 - 8:42 - 7:54

Two weeks from tomorrow I will be running in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and hopefully picking up a sweet medal at my inspiring finish. Speaking of inspiring finishes, for those of you who have Netflix, check out a documentary called "Spirit of the Marathon." It follows 5 runners of different backgrounds and abilities training for the Chicago marathon. Even Jordan sat down and watched some of it with me. It was good.

See you next weekend for another recap!

Love Bingo: A Bridal Shower Game


On Saturday I was in Illinois for a bridal shower. I was put in charge of games, which in my experience seems to be the job given to out-of-towners. I've done games at a few showers now, and let's be honest: bridal shower games can get old quick.

So I went on the hunt for an original game, and Martha Stewart did not disappoint. This game is called Love Bingo and was a lot of fun! I got multiple compliments from guests about how creative and fun the game was.

Here's what you do: 
> Create squares of 16 on card stock. Number the boxes randomly 1-16.

>Create paddles, two for each guest, using popsicle sticks and cardstock. Write the bride's name on one and the groom's name on the other.

>Ask the bride and the groom the same set of 16 questions. Then, number slips of paper 1-16 and write one question on each paper with the answer for either the bride or the groom.

So, for example: one question could be: What is your favorite color? The bride says red and the groom says green. On the paper numbered 4, you write: Favorite color is red.

Obviously this is about the bride. So, guests hold up their paddles to show what their guess is: bride or groom. If they're right, they get to put a marker on their BINGO card on number 4. The paddles make it fun because everyone can see who's guessing bride or groom. For square markers, I was going to use Smarties, but the store was out. (OUT of Smarties. Weird.) So I got a few bags of Red Hots, which I said was the "red hot" love. That got a few chuckles.

Love BINGO was a really fun way to learn about both the bride and the groom, and everyone loved it! I saved all the BINGO cards so I can play this again at another shower.

Here are two list of questions you can use to play a Love BINGO game of your own! These weren't easy. In fact, even the bride's and groom's mom got some questions wrong.

- let's be social -
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