Monday, November 28, 2011

Half Marathon Mondays

Hubs and I are signing up for a Half Marathon. Yep, that's 13.1 miles. I have to admit, I was really nervous about telling y'all about doing it. We can't back out now.

Let's rewind to October of 2010. I was out of shape and over weight (more on this at a later date). I couldn't even run 1/2 of a mile. I'm serious. It wasn't pretty - as a matter of fact it was pretty pathetic. We had been concentrating on our jobs and working on the house for so long, that I had completely neglected myself.

In November, Hubs and I decided to join a gym.

In February, I decided I wanted to try running. I didn't know where to begin. Finally someone told me about a program called C25K or Couch to 5K. This program makes runners out of couch potatoes. It definitely worked. Within 9 weeks, I was running 3 miles - it was a slow 3 miles, but 3 miles just the same - further than I have ever run before.

After those initial 9 weeks, I set a goal that I wanted to run 5 miles. Hubs and I decided to take a running class at our gym. This class was amazing. It takes place 3 or 4 times a week in our cardio theater (Yes, you read that correctly. We have a theater in our gym with treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals). The teacher plays music videos on the screen and she tells you when to run, leads you through sprints, and instructs you when to adjust your incline. With weeks, I was consistently running 4 1/2 to 5 miles within the hour... and actually had fun while doing it.

I guess you could say that I was bitten by the running bug - and at that point, we made the decision that we would do a half marathon. I looked at several of the half marathon training programs online and decided I needed to train to train - ha! I needed to be able to run 30 - 60 minutes four times a week, covering approximately 20 miles a week.

And now I do. It's amazing to think of where I was exactly a year ago.

On February 4th, Kevin and I will be running our FIRST Half Marathon, the Critz Tybee on Tybee Island, outside of Savannah.

We are currently in our third week of Half Marathon training. We are using Hal Higdon's Novice 2 program. The furthest we have ever run is 8.5 miles, and we were struggling. This program should be able to condition us to be able to run further.

Every Monday, until Race day, I will give you an update on how the training goes as well as the trials and tribulations that come along with it. In just 12 weeks, we will run over 214 miles. I know at some point I am going to want to quit - but I can't... I've told you about it now.

Don't worry, we are still working on the house, but we realized that can't be our whole life. If anyone else out there is training, let me know! I need training buddies. Hope y'all have a great day. Talk soon, friends!

Brandi Nell

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Fall Y'all

Fall is officially here in Atlanta. The colors seem to be more vibrant this year than in years past. I probably say that every year though. Ha!

Instead of trying to tell you how pretty they are, I thought I would just share some pictures with you. Yep, this is where I work, folks!

Quarry Garden at the Atlanta History Center

Gardens at the Atlanta History Center

Smith Family Farm at the Atlanta History Center

Smith Family Farm at the Atlanta History Center

Swan House lawn at the Atlanta History Center

Swan House at the Atlanta History Center

Swan House at the Atlanta History Center

Told you it was pretty here. I am lucky to work in such a beautiful place. And trust me, that's only half of what we have here. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, come and see me at the Atlanta History Center (why yes, that was a shameless plug).

I hope you are enjoying fall as well. It will be too cold before we know it. Have a great day! Talk soon, friends!

Brandi Nell

***p.s. All photos are courtesy of the Atlanta History Center. They were taken by very talented friend and co-worker, Trevor Beemon. He's got skills y'all. He also runs a blog called Southern Sightseeing. Go check it out!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pinterest Lunch

Is this not the smartest thing ever?

I saw the idea of the "Salad in a Jar" the other night on my favorite obsession, Pinterest the other night. Immediately I thought, Why didn't I think of that?!?

I made a few of these and they turned out amazing! As long as you keep the Spinach (or whatever green you use) away from the dressing, it will stay fresh! So... be sure to add your dressing first and your greens last! I understand it will stay fresh for almost a week... I will be testing that this week.

This is such a time saver for me, and will force me to eat better for lunches at work. And it's a great excuse for more Mason Jars! Hope you have a great week, friends. Talk soon!

Brandi Nell

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yumm... Pecan Pie Mini Muffins

Hi Friends! Hope you are having a great Thursday. Wooo hooo! The weekend is almost here. We are hoping to get out and enjoy some of this gorgeous fall weather we are having here in Atlanta.

Now, I know you are probably still munching on candy from Monday night, but I just had to share this delicious recipe with you. Are you ready for pecan pie mini muffins? Yep. You read that correctly. Pecan. Pie. Mini. Muffins.

My Half-Mom (Oh, I guess I should explain. We don’t like term Step-Mother, Cinderella ruined it), Doris, made these for us while we were down at the Farm this past weekend. I can’t describe how good they made the house smell, and they tasted like a little piece of heaven in your mouth.

As soon as I got home, I asked her to email me the recipe so that I could share it with y’all.


  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten

** You will need a mini muffin pan for these


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 24 mini muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans. In a separate bowl beat the butter and eggs together until smooth, stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Cups should be about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks when done.

I made them on Monday night for Hubs and I to take some to work… and maybe for us to snack on at home too. They turned out just like Doris’. They were awesome. I really wish that I had some vanilla ice cream to go with them. That’s the only thing that could make them better.

These will be great to take for any of the holiday festivities coming up. Can’t wait to hear what you think about them!

Warning: They are in no way healthy for you. In fact, I need to go run right now – just for thinking about them again. BUT they are mini, so that makes you feel better about eating them, at least that’s what I am going to keep telling myself.

Hope you have a great day. Talk soon, Friends!


Brandi Nell

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween on the Farm 2011

Hi friends!

Hope y'all enjoyed a safe and fun Halloween! There was tons of candy in the office today, and I am certain it will be that way all week. I have been *trying* to use my will power and just say no, but chocolate and I have been in love for years. I am drawn to it. It is drawn my hips and booty. Hopefully I will have SOME will power.

If you have been a follower of the Brandi Nell the Southern Belle for long, you may know that my family has a Pinetree Farm in Southeast Georgia. It has been in our family for years and my father lives there. It's one of my favorite places to be. In fact, Hubs and I exchanged our vows at Warnock Family Farms in 2008.

Every year my Dad and his wife, Doris, throw a Fall Festival at the Farm. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year. I Love spending time with the family and all of the minis. And let's face it, munchkins in costumes are pretty much amazing.

Yes, this is a large bouncy house on the farm. HA! The kiddos LOVED it. It had a slide inside and and obstacle course. I love that my Dad and Doris did that for everyone's enjoyment. You could hear the giggles and screams of laughter the whole day. So fun!

We always have a hayride for the kids. There are "haunted" stops along the way. The few of us that don't have kids hand out candy at these stops. Next year, I will be the only one without a mini. HA! Guess I will have to work EXTRA HARD.

Didn't we do a good job decorating this stop? Love the ghosts!

Amelia as a Leopard & my Niece, Darci as Pocahontas on the hayride

Princess Addison and Darci/Pocahontas

My nephew, Bryar as Bam Bam - and he is even MORE adorable in real life.

His costume was ADORABLE.

Darci, Addison, and Addie just hanging out on the hammock. Such sweet girls.

Darci and her Poppa (my Dad)

This photo CRACKS me up. So funny.

Darci and I playing around with my iPhone the next morning. Such a silly girl.

Brittney, Daddy and Myself

We had about 10 kids on Saturday and around 25 (probably more) adults for the day. My Dad and Doris were WONDERFUL hosts and everyone had such a great time. Such priceless memories were made for everyone.

Next year, Brittney's little one will be here to play with us for the Family Fall Festival. CANNOT WAIT to play with that butterbean!

I will be working on a couple of projects this upcoming weekend, and will be sharing a recipe later on this week. Hope you guys have a great day... try not and eat too much candy! Talk soon, friends!

Brandi Nell