I'm Kind of a Big Deal. I Have Fans.


So last weekend my brother got married.

As tends to happen when a wedding occurs, extended family gathered to celebrate the nuptials, which meant I got to see my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents that I hadn't seen in a while.

For normal people, this type of family gathering usually means a lot of small talk. 

How's your job? Good. How's Jordan? Good. When are you going to give me my nineteenth great-grandchild? I don't know, Grandpa.

Luckily for me, I have a blog. Also lucky for me, and most importantly, the majority of my family reads it.

It's always fascinating to me when people say they don't tell anyone they know in real life about their blog, because I tell everyone I know in real life about my blog. I mean why not? It's basically free advertising, plus I'm hilarious of course, so really what I'm doing through my blog is bringing happiness to the people around me. And who doesn't want more happiness? (Hint: no one.)

The only thing that gets slightly awkward is when I do things like blog about getting my period on my business trip. But I just have to be okay with my grandpa knowing about my lady business. It's a good thing TMI really doesn't exist in my world.

Anyway, I do have a point here.

At the wedding, I saw my aunt Jeanine and aunt Jane. The first thing Aunt Jeanine said to me was, "I feel like I should ask for your autograph or something. It's like you're famous! I just love your blog." 

And I blushed and was like, "Oh yeah? Well thanks. I'm glad you like it." Humility is a lost art, you guys. I hope you're taking notes.

Then she was like, "I get so excited when I get an email about a new post." And I was thinking, Crap, I blogged about my period a few weeks ago. Awwwwkward. Oh well.

Aunt Jane was just as effusive in her praise of my brilliant writing skills AND bonus: I didn't have to update anyone on my life because everyone already knew about it from reading the blog! Boom.

At some point during the reception, I was running around taking very important pictures of stuff like this:
And I stopped by the table where my aunts were and said, "Let's take a picture together for the blog."

You seriously would have thought I'd just told them they'd won the lottery.

Aunt Jeanine was like, "OH MY GOSH I COULD GET ON THE BLOG?"
And I was like, "Sure if you give me twenty dollars."*

So, Aunt Jane (left), Aunt Jeanine (right), this one's for you. Because you're such fantastic blog readers, and I like to give my readers what they want.

Then my uncle Brian wanted in, because guys like blogging too.

And that's pretty much what happens now at family reunions.
It's crazy, you guys. I have fans.

I'm kind of a big deal.

Now I'm curious:
Does your family know about your blog? Do they read it? Do you have fans?

*That was a joke. It's actually only ten dollars for a picture.

Excuse Me While I Get Emotional


This weekend, my little brother Austin got married. Jordan and I took off work on Friday to head south to Texas, and from there it was a blur of family coming into town, rehearsal, the big day, and then cleaning up and saying goodbye to family. My brother Daniel was the best man; Jordan was a groomsman; and my sister, Sarah, and I were a bridesmaids, so you could say it was truly a family affair.

Everything went really well, the venue was gorgeous, and Amy did such a great job on a lot of cute little details.

I expected to get emotional about my little brother getting married, but I completely underestimated just how emotional I would get. Let's just say I cried the entire three-hour drive back to Oklahoma on Sunday. Jordan thought I was insane. Not that that's really anything new.

Let's be clear, though: they were not tears of sadness. I think Amy is such a great addition to our family, and I was so happy to see Austin and Amy get married.

They were tears of nostalgia, I guess. (Probably coupled with some tiredness and stress that comes from being surrounded by extended family.)

I don't know if you know this about me, but I don't like change very much. And as I watched Daniel give the best man speech and tell stories of Austin growing up, I just kept thinking about how awesome my family is and how much fun we have together, and then I got sad that those days of it being just the four of us siblings are over.

This is a fact that clearly escaped me three years ago when Jordan and I got married, so you could say I'm late to the nostalgia party. But it suddenly hit me just how big of a deal it is to get married and bring someone else into the family.

I took this picture at the rehearsal dinner. Growing up, they fought like brothers do, of course. I don't want to paint too a rosy picture of my family. But seriously. This is our childhood summed up in a photo. Cracking up about something silly.

Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out.

So yeah. Before I start tearing up again, let's move on. Please enjoy this photo dump of scenes from the weekend. I'm excited to see the actual professional photographer shots!

Runners Tell All: My Proudest Running Moment


"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. 
We have 2 spots available for July!

This month's topic is: your favorite or proudest running moment

I definitely think favorite and proudest can be two different things, so I'm interested to see what direction you all take this. I really had a hard time narrowing down my favorite running moment, but it was easy to come up with my proudest: when I finally ran a half marathon under 2 hours.

You can read my full race recap here of when I ran the Cowtown Half Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2013. When I ran my first half marathon in 2010, my goal was to finish under 2 hours, 10 minutes. I finished in 2:08 and was ecstatic. From there I set my sights on a sub 2-hour half, because I knew it was definitely possible. For about a year and a half I trained to get faster, and I ran a 2:07 and then a 2:03, both in 2012.

I ran the 2013 Cowtown Half with my brother Austin, who had run it the year before in 1:57. I figured he could pace me. {Side note: I'm in Texas RIGHT NOW with Austin, who is getting married this weekend! It's weird when your little brother gets married.}

I caught up to and passed the 2-hour pace group around mile 10, and from that point on I knew I was going to be under 2 hours. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I burst into tears. Like, sobbing tears. So hard that a volunteer who was handing out medals asked me if I was okay. 

"I'm just so happy," I sobbed.

That is the one and only time I have cried at the finish line. I've teared up during races, but only once have I legit ugly cried at the finish, sweat dripping down my face and my hair a knotted mess.

You might be surprised that running a marathon doesn't rank at #1 on my list. There's no doubt that crossing both of those finish lines changed my life, but when I think back on all my races, half marathon #5 always comes to mind first.

Truthfully, I realize the competitor in me will always want to try to go faster. Last year I ran 1:53, and I would love to go under 1:50 at some point. But I can honestly say that even if I never get faster than I am right now, I'm still so dang proud of myself for that 1:56. I totally earned it.

(p.s. For all my race recaps and a list of all the running posts I've done on this blog, check out my running page.)

Now it's your turn! Link up below with your favorite or proudest running moment, and if you don't have a blog but just want to share, leave a comment or shoot me an email! I would love to read about it.
(Monday, July 21)

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Share, and let's learn from each other!

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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! Don't be lame.
  2. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (I've done it before too, so I'm not joking.)
  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.

Give Me All the Condiments


In my experience, there seem to be two types of people in the world: people who like condiments, and people who don't. Now, of course there are exceptions, but most of the people I know either pile on the condiments or choose the other option: to eat their burger, hot dog, burrito, taco, potatoes, etc., plain.

Beyond the many other things Jordan and I disagree on, we differ wildly in our thoughts about the deliciousness of condiments.

In my opinion, the more the better. In his opinion, I am insane for liking ketchup and mustard and relish and mayonnaise. Whatever, dude. 

There's actually a longstanding Reese family joke involving me and condiments that I will never be able to live down. We were in Chicago eating hot dogs at Portillo's, and I had so much stuff piled on mine that my bun fell apart, and everything fell onto my plate in a heap. I was distraught, as one would be if one's food had collapsed in on itself, and I started crying right there in the restaurant. 

Over a hot dog.

And let's just say I was not young when this happened. My brothers will not let me forget about it.

Anyway, the point here is not about the various times I've cried over spilled and/or burnt food (which is an embarrassing number of times). The point is that when it comes to summertime cookouts, I think condiments can make or break the meal.

Which is why when French's Yellow Mustard contacted me about a month ago to collaborate on a post featuring their mustard for their summer #NaturallyAmazing campaign, I was like, "Am I selling out by blogging about something as ridiculous as mustard?" But then I was like, "No I am not, because mustard is not ridiculous. Mustard is serious business." Take it from this Chicago girl: a Chicago-style hot dog without the mustard is not even worth eating.

French's was nice enough to send me a lovely gift basket with free mustard, which happened to work out perfectly, since I was down to the last squirt in my current mustard bottle. Blogging perks, I tell you.

Besides the mustard, they also sent me a collection of recipes featuring French's mustard, and this weekend I made one: Garlic Basil Mustard.

I chose this recipe, because it gave me an opportunity to use fresh basil from my new... basil plant! This is an exciting happening in my life right now: I have officially become a grower of things.

A few weeks ago I decided I was tired of being depressed that I don't have a yard to grow a garden in, and I went to Lowe's and bought myself some clay pots and two types of herbs, which are now perched on my porch and make me very happy to look at. 

Does this mean I have a green thumb now? Maybe I need to wait a few months and see if I can keep them alive and growing...

So I stepped outside, picked some leaves off my basil plant, whipped up some basil and garlic mustard, and took it over to my in-laws house for our Father's Day cookout this past weekend. Jordan's dad was grill master.

Personally, I liked the basil garlic mustard. It still had the signature mustard taste but with a bit of an extra kick because of the garlic and then some hints of sweet from the basil. (Plus let's be honest: it was fun to chop up fresh basil from my own plant.)

I honestly have never given mustard much thought before, but I love that French's Yellow Mustard is 100% natural, gluten free, and kosher. Plus, it has 0 calories. Holler! Unlike some mustards, there’s nothing artificial: no preservatives, fillers, or thickeners.

Click on the image below to follow French's on Pinterest! They just made a Pinterest board recently and would appreciate some love.

They have some great boards filled with recipes, kitchen hacks, and even this board for inspiration for a mustard-colored home, just in case you really love mustard yellow.

After lunch, I was able to snap a quick Father's Day picture of the Bumgarner boys with their dad. 

This is basically a miracle that they posed for an actual picture. Have you ever noticed how there are a bazillion pictures of my family on this blog and none of Jordan's family? Well, I've taken it as a personal challenge to rectify this situation starting now.

So now that you know my feelings about condiments, I want to hear from you. Let's take a poll: 
Do you like condiments? Which is your favorite? 
Most importantly... Have you ever cried because your food fell apart?

*Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Yellow Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s #NaturallyAmazing Program, but all opinions expressed are my own.

The Lady Okie Blog Survey Results! Round 2


This is the second blog survey I've done in my four years of blogging. (Click here for the results of the first survey.) Putting this together takes some time, but it's so fun to read the responses. This is not a short post, so buckle your seatbelt.

To be honest, it's always a bit nerve-wracking to do a survey, because I realize someone could take the chance to say something rude or mean. It is anonymous, after all. But in four years of blogging, I have somehow managed to avoid any blogging drama, and I only got the nicest of comments on this survey! Seriously, you all are the best, and I loved reading what you all had to say. Thanks so much for the feedback!

Now on to the survey.
There were four questions, and I got a total of 159 responses. Woo! Prepare yourself for pie chart awesomeness.
I assumed most of the people who read this blog are bloggers, and I was right. I think having almost a third of my readers be non bloggers is pretty good, though!

Kiki wrote a post about this idea of whether or not you talk about your blog to people who know you. A lot of people say it's awkward to talk about their blog to other people, and I agree. It is a bit awkward and self-serving. 

But I also know for a fact that my friends and family enjoy reading my blog because they like seeing what we're up to. Friends from college and high school that I don't get to see very often have texted or called to tell me that they love reading my blog because it's like I'm sitting there having a conversation with them. In the past I've even sent an email to some of my girl friends with a link to a post that I think they'd enjoy. So because of the fact that I like to pimp out my blog, I'm not surprised that so many people who are not bloggers read this blog.

Here were some of the "other" comments on this question with my comment written in italics next to it.


No. I am not clever. <--- Let's be honest. None of us are actually THAT clever. We're just good at faking it.

I have intentions and a URL, but consistently fail to actually blog...does that count? <-- I guess technically it counts, but then again not really.

Heck no! I wouldn't have enough interesting things to write about <-- I never think I have anything interesting to write about. I live in Oklahoma, okay? I don't even have a pet or a child to keep it interesting. If I can do it, you can do it.

I don't say "heck" <-- Stop being difficult.

Looking into starting one! <-- You should! Just know that you will spend the rest of your Friday nights from now until forever writing blog posts.

No <-- I'm confused about this answer. Wasn't "no" already an option?

This question was obviously just for fun, so thanks for humoring me. I do think it's hilarious that out of 159 responses, ONE person said they plead the fifth. 

Not as many of you went with the weird option as I thought. You were probably just trying to be nice. But it's okay. I know I'm weird.

I'll bet most of the people who know me in real life checked the weird one. I know Jordan did. That guy.

So, most of you who took this survey have been hanging around for about a year. This makes sense, because last year when I did the Blog Every Day in May with Jenny, I gained a bunch of followers. Is that where you all came from? According to my first survey, most of you linked here from another blog, so maybe that's it.

In any case, I'd say the spring of 2013 is when I started consistently getting more than 10 comments on a post. I still feel like a rockstar when I get over 10 comments.

Eleven percent of you have been around since the dark ages. Aka when my blog was first birthed and had the name Breathing in the Wind.  I got a couple of confused comments like, "Your blog used to be called Breathing in the Wind?" 

Then I got this comment: 
So glad your name isn't Breathing in the Wind anymore, sounds like the title of a romantic novel with Fabio on the cover.

To which I say, you may have a point. 

I can't say the idea of a romantic novel with that title didn't intrigue me, however, so I've taken it upon myself to create a mockup of the cover of my first novel:

Coming soon to bookstores near you! It's gonna be steamy.

P.S. For those of you interested in the story behind my blog name, click the image below:

This is the only question that is the same as my first survey, except I changed up the categories a bit, so really it's not the same at all. 

In the first round, your favorite posts were my fitness/running and my "funny family posts." This time, fitness/running are still high one the list, but I was actually surprised that my "real life" posts took the top spot.

However, I suppose that is the point of a lifestyle blog, yes? To write about one's life. But sometimes I think we all feel so much pressure to be funny or to offer a helpful tip or use a "Pinterest-worthy photo" that we forget that the best posts are the ones that come from the heart where we're just sharing about our lives. It was unexpected, I think, but it really makes me happy that you like my real life posts the best. That's what I like writing about the most anyway.

I'm not surprised that my God/faith posts are ranked lowest. I honestly don't know if I would choose that at my absolute favorite category on most of the blogs I read either. But as I talked about in this post, my faith is such a huge part of the my life that it's kind of in everything I write about even if I'm not outwardly talking about it. I hope you guys know that.

Here are some of the comments I got in the "other" category: 

everything except running <--- WE ARE NOT FRIENDS. Just kidding. No, but seriously.

Anything that contains the names Jeff and Peerman <--- This would be Jordan's friend Jeff Peerman. Hi, Jeff! You're so sneaky.

Video games <--- This is either Jordan or one of Jordan's friends. They all got a huge kick out of this post and now Jordan is paranoid I'll do it again.

To conclude, I want to share some of the comments you left in the "do you have anything else to tell me?" box. I seriously was blushing as I read some of these, because you left me the nicest little notes! I can't thank you enough. I got a lot of great comments, so I hope you don't feel left out if I don't include yours below. I just grabbed some of the ones I thought everyone would be interested in.

1) Honestly, I didn't like all of the posts about running and would skip over them because I hated everything about running. BUT over time I've been getting more interested in running and have found myself using your blog as a running resource. And now I look forward to those posts. I guess I didn't know a good thing when I saw it, huh? <--- This is kind of awesome. I'm making running converts! You guys all better watch out.

2) I have no recollection of how I found your blog. I do remember that one of the first posts I read was a lesson on grammar, which I enjoyed. Also......I hope it will become a mommy blog someday!  <---- Can I tell you guys a secret? Sometimes I brainstorm funny ways of announcing my pregnancy on this blog. Is that weird? Jordan and I are not trying or anything, but sometimes I'm just like, "How will I announce it to everyone?" I mean, it's kind of a big deal.

3) You continue to brighten my day everytime you post! It's almost as exciting as reading RealitySteve...ok, maybe sometimes it's as exciting. You could amp it up if you sent in an app for me to date the next Bachelor and then you could blog about all the witty, funny things I say on the show. <--- This is really only funny to me because I totally know which of my friends would write this. Liz, it means a lot that you love me almost as much as you love Reality Steve :)

4) Really loving the Runners Tell All link-up! I love all the topics and getting everyone to share their crazy stories behind why they willingly lace up shoes and pound pavement without Godzilla or the Zombie Apocalypse chasing after them {both of which, aside from "the Army makes me run" used to be the only excuses I would accept for voluntary long distance running}.  

***That reminds me. The next RTA linkup is Saturday! If you can't link up on the weekend, the linky will be open all next week. The topic is: Your Favorite and/or Proudest Running Moment. There will be another giveaway with TWO winners!***

5) You're my favorite blog. I sometimes will wait to read your post as a treat after I do something icky like clean the house. I'm a beginner runner, married no kids. And I think you're wicked funny. Love love! :-) <--- Okay, who is this?  That is so nice of you to say. And also kind of intimidating. That would suck if my post was a letdown. But seriously, what a compliment.

6) I feel as if your blog could use a bit more Jeff Peerman. There is a distinct lack of it and that should be fixed immediately. -Concerned Reader  <--- GOOD GRIEF. This is what happens when boys read your blog. They complain you don't talk about them enough.

Just for that, here's a picture of our friends Jeff and Kyle. This is the only one I could find on short notice. Kyle also likes to complain that I don't showcase him enough on the blog, so I hope both of you are happy.

7) Sometimes I like to access your blog through absurd google searches just to amuse you. You can track what searches people arrive via, right? I sure hope so because some of them are quite ridiculous and amusing. To me. <--- So, yeah. This is kind of the best thing ever. Seriously, when I read that I laughed for like five minutes. Whoever you are, you might have too much time on your hands.

 On that note, I guess Blog Survey 2014 is a wrap! 

Now let's continue in the tradition from Survey Result Post #1 and have a moment of silence for the hours I spent making pie charts that I will never get back. I hope it was worth it. Thank you again for reading and commenting and taking my survey. Cheers to you all. 

Stay tuned for scenes from my upcoming romance novel....