I Went Out on a Limb and Wore Orange


Free stuff stresses me out.

I don't get a lot of free stuff from blogging, but I do get some, and every time I spend way too long choosing my item. Remember my free 8x10 canvas I showed you last week? It took entirely too long to pick which picture to put on the canvas. (BTW, congratulations to Jennifer for winning my giveaway!) I got some free eyeglasses last year, and again I spent like an hour picking frames. Apparently I care more about making sure I like my free item than I do the one I actually pay for with my own money. I don't know.

Anyway, when eShakti contacted me to review an item from their spring line... let's just say it took a while to pick what I wanted. First because their stuff is really cute. They have tops, jackets, skirts, and dresses in many different colors and styles, and the designs are unique. They even sell bridesmaid dresses!

I knew I wanted a dress, because I already have one eShakti dress from a product review I did last year (you can see it by clicking here), and I get so many compliments on it. Seriously, every time I wear it people ask me where I got it from. And then I'm all, "I got it for free for blogging about it!" And they're like, "Cool?" And then I feel like a nerd.

Anyway, I ended up picking this dress after much internal debate.
(My eyes look closed. I promise they are not.)

Then I dressed up and took my tripod outside and tried to act like I didn't see the people in the apartment next to me staring at me through their window. Hashtag blogger problems. 

As a general rule I do not wear colors in the orange or red area of the color circle. (Actually as a general rule I do not take fashion photos, so I'm 0 for 2 at the moment.) I have my bright red facial skin coloring to thank for my hatred of wearing orange. But I decided to go out on a limb and get this dress. I figured if I hated it, at least it was free.

Well, I DO NOT hate it. I love it. It's perfect. It has pockets! Hello, love of my life.

What I love about eShakti (yes, this is a product review, but I seriously do love this about them) is how easy it is to customize their clothing. You can add or remove pockets, choose the length of your dress or skirt (floor length, below knee length, above knee length), change up the collar style of your dress or shirt (v-neck, scoop neck), and they offer fully customized sizes 0-36 as well for those of you who have trouble finding just the right size.

***This giveaway is now closed***
Congratulations to Leslie and Shelley!

I'm excited to able to offer a giveaway for TWO $25 gift cards, which can be used for anything on the site! Two winners. Hurrah! And, if you sign up as a new member, you can get a $25 gift coupon, which you can use along with your gift card, so it's basically like you're getting $50!

To enter, just visit eShakti and leave a comment with a favorite item.
You might want to start with their new arrivals.
Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Pinterest too!

Note: This giveaway is only open for the United States and Canada.
Winner will be chosen on Saturday, March 1
* * *

*I did receive a free product from Eshakti for this review, but all opinions are my own.

One Year Ago Today, I Got Fired


If you weren't following my blog last year, you missed some good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean a lot of dramatic, whiny posts about how stressed out I was because I didn't have a job.

I realize that compared to the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, or your house burning down (or blowing away in a tornado if you live in Oklahoma), getting fired from your job really isn't the bottom of the barrel as far as depressing life events go. But man did it sure feel like it.

I did a lot of soul searching during the 8 months I was unemployed. I cried a lot, prayed a lot, and took a lot of trips to Texas to hang out with my family at the lake and lie in mega hammock, because, well, duh. It's mega hammock.

I wrote this post, which was my attempt at "getting fired humor" even though what I really wanted to do was rant about stuff. Stuff like terrible bosses and unjust firings.

I also logged almost 900 miles last year, including 2 full marathons, 3 half marathons, a 25k, and 3 5ks. Running that much in a year sounds absolutely unfathomable to me (I did it, but I can't believe it), but it kept me sane and gave me a place to work through my anger. I also think it's safe to say that running saved Jordan from my crazy state of mind.

The point of this post isn't to go into the whole story or recap my year. That's over and done with, and now I have a fabulously amazing job that I love. (Which I might write more about later... job hunting stuff, that is, and 9-5 jobs in general. I have thoughts.)

But I didn't want to let today go by without a nod to the last 365 days.

It was one of the hardest and yet most rewarding years of my life. I learned some valuable lessons, and I like to think it changed me for the better. I hope it did, although I think I'm still too close to it to tell exactly how.

What I do know is that I saw, like never before, the clear hand of God in my life. His provision. His peace. His promise to sustain me and provide in good times and bad. Last year I got the chance to practice what I preach about the "in bad times" part. For that, although it was hard, I am thankful.

Here's to another year full of surprises. That hopefully does not include a new job.

P.S. Today I'm guest posting over at Life of Lane about sharing your faith on your blog!
Go HERE to check it out!

Runners Tell All Linkup: My Running Story in 250 Words


"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month we'll have a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here. We are accepting two sponsorship spots for each month, who will receive a sidebar ad on both blogs as well as entry links in the giveaway. 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly toward running-related giveaways. Find more information on sponsorship here.

-I made it! 249 words. Boom-

I joined the track team my freshman year of high school because I wanted a t-shirt. 
I was slow, and I hated it, and all I got for my efforts was a neon green shirt that said, 
"Fast Girls Have Good Times."

I was not amused.

I didn't run again until four years later, when a friend and I decided we wanted to start. Our first time out, we made it five minutes and vowed to keep at it until we could run for at least thirty minutes straight. We spent the next few months adding a minute every time.
Six. Seven. Eight.

The first time we ran thirty minutes without stopping, we couldn’t have been prouder. I continued to run off and on throughout college and after graduating, never running longer than three miles.

In 2009, a friend ran the Oklahoma City half marathon, and I wondered if I could run a half marathon too. I thought about it for a year and finally registered for my first half in 2010 at the urging of a friend, who said she’d run it with me. I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to sign up if it hadn’t been for her.

I fell in love with running in 2013, when I started training for my first marathon.
That’s when it became something I did for fun.

I love talking about it, writing about it, and doing it.
And I can’t imagine my life without it.

Next month's topic
(Friday, March 21)
 Favorite Running Gear/Products
Include links and pictures if possible!

February Giveaway

This month, thanks to our sponsors, Beka and I are giving away an "I Run This Body" t-shirt to 1 winner in the color of your choice! (See all the colors here.)

I've been majorly crushing on these shirts for a while now, and I'm kind of jealous I don't get to enter this giveaway. Check out our sponsors, and then enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

Runners Tell All Linkup Rules
  1. You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners!
  2. Only link up posts related to our running prompt. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link.
  3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post.
*Update 2/23: The Linky Tools server crashed and apparently took all the pictures with it! But the links are still good. Sorry about the lack of lovely link pictures!

Canvas Love (and something for you!)


UPDATE: Congratulations to Jennifer!

I've been wanting a canvas print for a looong time, but I got nervous. What if I spent all this money on it, and it looked horrible? No canvas for me.

Then I got the hookup with Easy Canvas Prints. After some thought, I decided I had enough pictures of Jordan and I around the apartment, so I ordered an 8x10 print of one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. I don't know what it is, but I love these flowers so much, and the print turned out perfect.

Now, I'm officially obsessed with canvases, and I don't know if I can ever buy a regular picture frame again. Seriously. I even referred Easy Canvas Prints to another blogging friend of mine, and she ordered a print for herself! The site was easy to use, seemed cheaper than a lot of other canvas sites I've seen, and offers a choice of wrapping, so you can get the picture wrapped around the sides or choose to mirror the photo around the sides.

The BEST part is that I get to give away a free canvas to one of you! One winner will get a free 8x10 canvas from Easy Canvas Prints with free shipping to the lower 48 United States.

You can also get up to 50% off a canvas print by using this link.

To enter to win an 8x10 canvas print, just leave a comment letting me know you want in! A winner will be chosen on Friday and notified via email. If for some reason you decide you love my flower picture, just let me know and I'll email it to you!

And remember, click here for up to 50% off a print!

*I was provided a free 8x10 canvas print for my review, but all opinions are my own.

P.S. Don't forget to link up for our first "Runners Tell All" THIS FRIDAY. Go here for more info.

5 Things I Never Talk About on My Blog


*The credit for this post idea goes to Jenny. She's fabulous and brilliant, and I read everything she posts. You need to check her out.

If you know me in real life, then you know there aren't many topics I don't talk about. For the most part, I don't really believe in TMI, and supposedly taboo subjects like salary and weight don't bother me all that much either. I like to think I'm pretty honest on this blog, but there are a few things I don't think I've ever written about.

My commute

*No, I didn't take these pictures while I was driving! That would be really unsafe.

The drive to and from work takes either 25 or 40 minutes. In normal rush-hour traffic it takes 25 minutes. If there's been an accident or a cop is doing radar or construction is slowing everyone down or people just decide to take their sweet time, it takes 40. Never longer or shorter, and never between.

When I'm not listening to an audio book, I'm jamming out hard to country music.
Sometimes when I'm running early I stop at Panera and get a muffin.

All in all, it's really not a bad drive. The worst part of it is coming home. There's construction on my exit, and there's a huge backup at the light. If you don't time it right, you sit in a long line for 4 or 5 light changes, and it's really annoying.

My love for skim milk.

I. Love. Skim. Milk.
Yes, it tastes like water. That's why I love it. I refuse to drink 1% and 2% milk. I feel very strongly about this.

Don't even try to argue with me, or I'll be all like,

My apartment

The only thing I really talk about is the fact that I wish I lived in a house instead of this apartment. But I think I may have finally made my peace with that. We just signed another year lease, so that's happening, and I just need to suck it up and stop complaining. I have a place to live after all. What more do I need?

I'm not really keen on taking you on a tour or showing you all our stuff, because I feel weird about internet weirdos seeing my house and maybe thinking, "Hey, they have a TV. Maybe I should steal it."

I don't know. People are weird. You have to be careful. And since I can't paint our walls and have limited space to decorate, I don't feel like there's anything particularly interesting to show you. Thus, I don't. Also, the lighting is terrible in here, so the pictures wouldn't turn out well anyway.

How often I make cookies

I make cookies a lot. A LOT. I love it. But what I am going to do? Blog every time I make cookies? No, because it would ruin any credibility I may have as a running guru. I LITERALLY have sugar cookies sitting on my counter that I made last night and a bowl of frosting in the fridge.

Actually... can we just forget I told you about the cookies? Kthanksbye.

Pop culture

A lot of people like blogging about TV shows (*cough* The Bachelor *cough*), music they're loving, celebrities, even stuff that's going around social media like the Duck Dynasty thing that went down with A&E a few months ago.

I don't keep up with many TV shows, and you've all seen my phone, so it doesn't make much sense for me to pretend I'm all "in the know" about pop culture references. So just in case you thought I was, let me tell you: I'm not. When I watch award shows, I probably only know 5% of the nominees.

Mostly, though, I don't blog about pop culture because I would rather just blog about myself.

What do you never blog about?
Anyone else out there love making cookies?

Blog Talk #1: How Do You Get So Many Comments?


#2: Scheduling Blog Posts
#3: What Do You Think About Sponsorship?
#4: Why Do You Unfollow Blogs?
- - -

This is the first installment of "Blog Talk," in which I will give my opinion on different aspects of blogging and then continue the discussion in the comments. Because I want to hear what you have to say! Yes, you're even allowed to disagree. Just be nice about it.

*Feel free to email me or leave a comment if there's a particular aspect of blogging you'd like me to cover in a future installment of Blog Talk.

Blogging is weird. 

It's a strange mix of awkward and awesome when someone stops me in the hallway at church to tell me how much they love reading my blog. "You're so funny!" they say. And then I'm torn between sheepishly waving their statement away and stating the obvious: that yes, I'm hilarious. You're welcome

It's also such an excellent creative release to be able to edit all day at work and then come here in the evenings and create my own stories.

One other obvious reason I spend so much time here is because I find it so much fun to interact with all of you. This interaction mostly happens through comments, although it also happens on Twitter and email and occasionally at night when I dream about visiting bloggers in real life. True story.

We can turn our noses in the air and point our fists to the sky in righteous defiance and say, "I write for me!" all we want to, and while that is (or should be) true, I think there's at least a small part of every blogger who hopes others will read their words. I mean, if you really, truly, honestly don't care about other people reading your blog, why do you blog? Seriously, if this is you, please comment on this, because I want to know.

For those of us who do care about interaction, how do we know others are reading our words if they don't leave a comment?

They could tell us in person, I suppose. Comment on a tweet or a Facebook post. Shoot us an email. But in general, it's hard not to gauge the "success" of a post--the success of you as a blogger, even of you as a person--on the number of comments you get (pathetic though it sounds).

Which brings me to my first (and let's be honest, maybe only) installment of Blog Talk. I've gotten a couple of emails lately from a few fabulous ladies asking what I do to get so many comments on my posts. Short answer: I have no idea.

That's not me being vague. Honestly, I don't know.

What I do know is that these people who've had their blog for six months and get 89 comments on their posts is not the norm. Did you know I will have been blogging for 4 years in May? FOUR YEARS. It is only in the last year that I have started regularly getting more than 2 or 3 comments on a post. Again, I can't say for sure why that is, but I can tell you what I do on this blog and what I appreciate about other bloggers that keeps me coming back to leave comments.

1) Reply to Comments

I like interacting with people who interact with me. I enjoy leaving comments on blogs when I know the other person is going to write back so we can continue the discussion. To be honest, I've stopped following certain blogs because I've left a number of comments, and they've never once written back or visited my blog or interacted with me at all.

Of course, I realize that for some people, interaction is hard, and they're busy, or they get 89 comments on their posts, etc. But I think everyone can and should do something to interact with readers, and I personally try to interact as much as possible with you guys, whether that's by responding to comments, making a return visit to your blog, compiling a reader survey, or responding to personal emails.

I also realize that in this phase of my life right now I have more time than others might to do those things. I'm not trying to be mean to those who have kids or other responsibilities. I get that we all have regular lives to lead, and at the end of the day Jordan should be more important than writing a blog post, but I do think that on some level you get what you give. It's okay if you're too busy to interact with readers, but then you have to be okay with less interaction from readers.

2) Ask Questions

Sometimes it's hard to know what to comment on a certain post. I read it, I liked it, but I don't want to just say, "Great post!" I like when a blogger has questions for me to answer at the bottom of their post, because then I feel like I'm interacting with them in a specific way. I always try to leave questions at the bottom of my posts about things I'm interested in hearing from you. That makes it fun for me and, I hope, fun for you!

3) Leave Comments on Other Blogs

For the most part, I think it's safe to say that if you never leave comments on other blogs, people are not going to leave comments on your blog. You can't just take and never give. You know how much you like to get a comment? Well, that other blogger feels the same way! I still get all excited when I open my inbox and see that I have a new comment. (Until it's a spammer. Then I wish I could reach through my screen and tear out their eyes.)

Yes, it takes time to read a post and leave a comment, and sometimes you don't have the time right then. Or sometimes you're reading on your ipad and are afraid to leave comments because autocorrect is the devil and is out to ruin your life.*
*Hypothetical scenario

You don't have to leave a comment on every single post you read, but how do I know you're reading if you never leave a comment? I don't. That's how. (Unless you're my mother, in which case I ASSUME you read everything. Hi, Mom!)

**One thing to add about comments on other blogs: I absolutely do not understand it when I see a linkup that has 50 blogs linked up, but the post has 10 comments. I always leave a comment for the hosts when I'm linking up. I think not commenting and just linking up and leaving is the blog equivalent of dining and ditching. So rude! Thoughts?

4) Be Interesting

Just being honest here: I am not going to read your blog or leave a comment if you're not interesting.

Interesting can mean different things to different people. Interesting doesn't have to mean funny. Interesting doesn't have to mean pretty pictures. But interesting does have to mean, well, interesting. Whatever interesting means for you, be that, and the readers will come.

I named this series "Blog Talk" because I do want us to talk to each other. I don't know about you, but on these types of posts I enjoy reading the comments just as much as I do the actual post!

I have my opinion, but I want to hear yours. On these posts I will write back to comments in the comment section (instead of through email) so we can learn from each other, so be sure and check back. And again, you can disagree, but be nice about it. Any unnecessarily rude or nasty comments will be deleted. The Lady Okie has spoken.

* * *

Are comments important to you?
Why do you (or don't you) leave comments on blog posts?
What do you do to get comments on your own blog?
Why do you leave comments on my blog? <--This is not me fishing for compliments. I honestly want to know. I'm confused by this recent influx of comments.
Help a sister out.

Keep It Local OKC: S&B Burger Joint


A few months ago, 198 of you answered some questions for my blog survey. Then I spent a ridiculous amount of time making pie charts and posted the responses. I didn't really change anything I do here based on the responses, but it was helpful to see what kinds of posts you all enjoy reading, and I got a few topic requests that I will do my best to cover on this blog in 2014.

Surprisingly, I got a few requests for posts about local stuff around OKC, and at first I was like, heck no. But then I thought about it, and it's actually a good idea, because despite what you may think and even despite what I thought when I moved here, Oklahoma City is actually really cool.

One of the things OKC has that I think is awesome is a focus on keeping it local. For $10, you can buy a "Keep it Local" card, which gives you discounts and other perks to local OKC shops, restaurants, and other businesses. You can find the entire list of vendors on the Keep it Local websiteMy goal for 2014 is to check out as many of these restaurants and shops as I can! (*This is not a sponsored post. Keep it Local has no idea who I am.)

Recently I met some friends for a weekday lunch at S&B Burger Joint, and Jordan was able to come too because he was off work that day AND my Keep it Local card got us 10% off our lunch. Winning.

I was also winning because I got the boys to take a picture outside the restaurant. You can see how happy they were about it.
Apparently it was bright. I don't know.
His beard looks so red in this picture!
Don't mind my ghetto 1998 phone there to the right.

The burger menu is full of crazy twists. Like the one with peanut butter on it...? Kind of scared to try it, but I also think you can't go wrong with peanut butter. Kind of like bacon, which coincidentally, is also on the peanut butter burger. If that's not heart healthy, I don't know what is.

There's a burger called "Hot Lips," which I told Jordan he should try and then winked at him just to make sure he caught my drift. But he went in a different direction and got the burger called "The Fatty," so there's that.

One thing I love about the menu is that all the burgers come in regular or slider size, which are half the size and half the price of the regular. I got two sliders because I wanted to try different kinds. And then of course we had to get the side of fried green beans because, well duh. This is Oklahoma. WE FRY EVERYTHING.

Review in brief: S&B Burger Joint is delicious, and I will be back again. The fried green beans are YUM, and you should try the sweet potato fries, because they're really good too.

Does your city keep it local?
What are your thoughts about peanut butter on a burger?

Where My Blog Name Came From


Linking this post up with Kiki!

The story of where my blog name came from is actually not that interesting, but I'm going to Jedi mind trick you into forgetting I just told you that.

Four years ago, I started this blog, but it was under a different name: Breathing in the Wind. It's surprisingly hard to come up with a name for a blog, and I spent at least ten minutes brainstorming ideas.

That was a joke. Actually I spent twenty minutes on it.

The reasons I felt like Breathing in the Wind was a good fit were threefold:

1) I had recently moved to Oklahoma, which is windy.
2) I am alive, thus I breathe.
3) I often go outside and therefore breathe into the wind in order to stay alive (see #2).

Then, in fall 2012, I had to choose a team name for the annual Reese Fantasy Football League. After approximately 3.8 seconds of thought, I typed in The Lady Okie as my team name because the majority of the other teams were run by my guy cousins who live in Illinois, and I wanted to distinguish both myself as a female and also an Oklahoma dweller.


I bought the domain for theladyokieblog a week later. It was perfect! It was short and required no explanation, which were my two main goals. Since that time, I've come to realize just how truly brilliant my blog name is. It's not only a name for a blog but a name for ME. I unknowingly branded myself as THE Lady Okie. Soon I will be like those famous people who change their name, and no one remembers what their original name even was!

I'm talking to you, Vanilla Ice, aka Robert Matthew Van Winkle.

If my 400 followers in 4 years is any indication, I'm going to be famous real soon. Watch out.

Have you changed or would you ever change your blog name?
Does your blog name have a story?

Awkward + Awesome [volume 3]


This is also known as the post where Jordan and Amanda fail at life and you get to laugh at us while we laugh at ourselves. You guys, it's concerning to me how easy it is to find awkward things to write about.

Let's get started.

Awkward: realizing you're wearing two scarves. There are no words, only this picture:
There's nothing quite like taking off your scarf and realizing there's another scarf underneath.

Awkward: going to the bathroom at the end of the work day and realizing your underwear is inside out. I don't know.

Awkward: changing into your pajamas and realizing you were wearing your shirt inside out AND backwards all day. It was a tagless tee, so I'm not that stupid. 
But I'm a little stupid. 
(Note: this is a different day than the inside out underwear. I don't know if that makes it better or worse. Then again... can it really be better?)

Awkward: your husband is brushing his teeth, and all of the sudden from the bathroom you hear, "Hey! I have pot pie in my beard." 

Then you cry a little bit inside.

Then you tell him that if he can't keep himself under control, he should think about shaving his beard.

And the MOST awkward of all that has happened recently...

Let's just say it ended with this:

And let's also say that no one was seriously injured. You should also know that Jordan 100% supports the publishing of this story.

I really wish I could do this story justice in prose, because it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. However, you probably had to be there to understand just how ridiculous this was.

Two weeks ago, Jordan and I were heading out to dinner because we had a Chili's gift card burning a hole in our pocket. As we walked around the corner of our building, we started racing each other toward the car (because we're five years old). That's when Jordan did a football spin move (because he's five years old).

He misjudged the diameter of his spin, ran into a tree, and fell flat on his back. 

When I first saw him on the ground, I thought he was joking. I mean, who runs into a tree and falls down? But then he looked at me, and I saw his face was bleeding! I was concerned initially, of course, and we ran back upstairs to survey the damage. At this point I was doing a weird half laugh half sob. Because it was funny and ridiculous, but he was also bleeding so it was scary.

The lighting is terrible in our bathroom, so I don't know if you can really see all the damage this branch did to his face, so I made a diagram, because apparently I have nothing better to do with my life.

It could have been really bad. As in, he could have literally poked his eye out. His eye was cut both below and above his actual eyeball, and he had a bump on his head, so it's a blessing he didn't hurt himself. HOWEVER, even as I got him a wet washcloth, and he sat down on the couch, neither of us could stop laughing.

We didn't go to dinner, because he was too embarrassed to go outside. He kept saying, "I hope no one saw me!" He even wanted to stay at home and not go to work the next day. It looked like this for a week:

And everyone was like, "WHAT HAPPENED?!" 
So he made up a lot of stories like how he was sailing on the lake and the mast hit him in the face or how he got cut in a knife fight defending my honor. But ultimately he had to tell the truth and admit that he ran into a tree, which I personally think is the best story of all.

To be fair, this "tree" was really a death trap waiting to happen. They trimmed some of the mini trees in our complex a few months ago. This is what he ran into:

But still. 
Scary horror movie tree or not, who runs into a tree???
My husband, that's who.

And not that this is awkward or awesome, but we both caught the stomach bug last week one after the other. It was kind of like this.

If we're keeping score, these past few weeks it's been like:

Life: 8764932 / Bumgarners: 0

At least we're keeping it awkward. I mean really, if you can't laugh at yourself, what's the point?