Written by: Ethan & Kristin

Signs Your Significant Other is a Runner

Anyone in a relationship with a runner knows there are certain things that are just par for the course. You may not see it at first, but one day you’ll wake up and realize that your life revolves around running too, even if you aren’t the runner!

Signs Runner GifHere are some signs that your significant other is a runner, and you are a runner in spirit!

1. When someone asks if you’re going out on a Friday night, your answer is always, “we have a race in the morning.” (even though it isn’t your race!)

2. You’ve become an expert at hitting as many spots along a marathon route as possible to cheer your mate on.

3. Your treadmill sees your significant other more than you do.

4. You can often be found in a race shirt that you didn’t even run.

5. You have as much of a “race day routine” as your significant other does.

6. You schedule vacations around races.

7. “Long runs” take up a big chunk of your weekend, too.

8. You can pack a race day bag with the best of them.

9. It’s routine for you to spend hours at a Starbucks or Panera in a random city while your significant other is running an Ultra.

10. You’ve got the pre-race dinner down to a science.

11. You’re well-versed in moisture wicking wear and the latest compression gear.

12. You get race day jitters.

13. You can closely estimate any race time finish by pace- off the top of your head.

14. You love race day as much as they do!



Simple Tricks To Get Your Diet Back On Track

When you’re on a diet, you’re going to hit a plateau. It’s inevitable.  You’re going to find yourself unintentionally slipping into old habits. It’s quite easy to slip up, but the good news is, it’s also easy to get back on track!

By following a few simple tips, you can get right back to watching that scale drop instead of staying the same or even going up. They aren’t gimmicks, they aren’t “get skinny quick” tips. They are just helpful tips to get you back on track.

simpletricks

1. Water. Have you been sneaking in a diet soda once a day? Or skimping on your daily intake of water? Beef up your water intake, and you’ll help keep your digestive system running smoothly, plus you’ll stay fuller longer. The Mayo Clinic recommends 13 cups a day for men and 9 cups a day for women.

2. Back To Basics. Do you use a food tracker? Or keep a food journal? Go back to a week where you were successful and stayed on track, and replicate that week.

3. Add veggies to every meal. It’ll keep your calories in check, add some extra fiber to your diet, and help you have one less poor option to choose from.



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4. Have a “no cheat” week. If you feel like you may be slipping away from your routine, or sneaking in a treat here and there, try having a no cheat week to whip yourself back into shape!

5. Make a lunch pact. Grab a co-worker, spouse, or friend, and support each other in a “no lunch out” week. Packing your lunch will save you calories AND money!

6. Take a Walk! Getting some exercise, even if it’s just a walk at night, will help boost your weight loss. A daily walk will help you increase your energy levels and your metabolism.

We hope these tips and tricks will help you get over the hump and back on track! Do you have any additional tips for us? Leave them in the comments!



Easter 2014

I have a hard time getting Ethan to agree to any sort of “girly” posts. I’ve been trying to get him to let me do a Manicure Monday post here on Hello, Flecks! for a while. He wants nothing to do with it. Men!

But yesterday for Easter, we both got a little fancy, and, I must say, we looked pretty cute! Our sweet neighbor offered to take some pictures for us, AND we matched, AND I had fancy nails. I mean, if this isn’t all the makings of an outfit post, I don’t know what is.

As a lifestyle blog, I feel it is our duty to appeal to our lady readers as well as our dude readers. So, LADIES and gents, I give you, The Flecks’ Easter Fashions!

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EthanEaster1

KristinFireplace

 

 

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The details:

Kristin: dress-Elle at Kohls. Shoes-Target. Nail decals-Made by Muchies Mama

Ethan: shirt-Club Room at Macy’s. Tie: Calvin Klein. Jeans-Alfani at Macy’s.



How the Fleck to Buy a Home

How the Fleck to buy a Home

You’ve heard it is one of the most important, most emotional, and biggest decisions you can face, but how exactly do you buy your first home?

We are not claiming to be experts, but we successfully purchased our first home even though the experience scared the crap out of us. We learned a lot, and we’d like to share some personal advice with you.

There is no shortage of information on buying your first home, but we wanted to put a list together that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. This is advice that the experts don’t talk about, advice you would get from a friend. 

 

Message from the Realtor about our Home

Message from the Realtor about our Home

1. Study

As a first-time homebuyer, this is a BIG decision. Pre. Pare. Don’t let the situation take you for a ride. Be in control by doing your own homework. Read the advice of professionals.

Don’t walk into house-hunting blind, you will get hit by a firing squad of advice, information & marketing.

As long as there is a loan & money securely in place, it is shocking how easily you can purchase a multi hundred-thousand dollar asset without really letting it register emotionally.

We recommend Buying a Home: The Missing Manual. It provided a good broad set of information about the entire process. Being prepared makes the it go so much smoother on everyone’s end, especially yours.

2. Build your team

Realtor, Broker, Home Inspector. Insurance Agent. These are just a few of the people that you want with you along the way.

Some people like to shop all on their own, do all the legwork themselves, access the MLS and save the commission for themselves, and that is great for them. They’ve probably done all of this before.

The vast majority of first-timers have no experience  & want people on their side who can help guide them through this process. Good people that will be on your side can be hard to find. If you want a good team, be willing to pay the 3% in commissions for them. They are usually worth so much more than money, they are worth peace of mind.

Build a team of people you trust and you’ll relieve a lot of stress and worry.

3. DON’T fall in love!

The reason most people get house fever is that they fall in love with one property and then get dead-set on it. There’s a tunnel that separates them from the rest of the homes and they can’t imagine living anywhere else.

There were a few houses slightly above our price range that we thought we loved. By staying firm on price, we were able to find a house that had everything we wanted along with the right price tag.

4. DO make some snap decisions

We had started looking for houses with 3 whole months to find something. Then, even if we didn’t find anything, we were prepared to keep looking and stay put.

In actuality, it really only took 3-4 weeks to find something we really loved. We busted our house-hunting butts for weeks and we were both exhausted by the time it was over.

In this hectic pace, we had to make quick decisions. There are so many options and choices to make that some must be made quickly in order to succeed.

Good houses can move lightning-fast, and sitting on the fence with small decisions can cost you a lot in the long-run.

(Side Note: Don’t waste the realtor’s time on wild goose chases for properties you only half-like, either. There were many times we would check out a house that looked good in pictures, and within seconds of entering the home, we knew it wasn’t going to work. You don’t have to be nice and cordial with your realtor by wasting their time walking through an entire house you won’t buy.)

5. Stay firm on budget

Plan your family’s budget and expenses. Houses are expensive, and you must be financially prepared when buying.

General rules are to allocate no more than 25%-30% of your take-home pay to PITI (or Principal, Interest, Taxes & Insurance for the home), and know that if you go over this, you are potentially cheating your family out of the ability to build up savings in other areas of life for other expenses and emergencies.

If the home you like is on the high side of your price range, step back and think if that’s something you really can handle in the future.

6. Stay organized

If you’re really looking for a house, chances are you’ll be looking at more than a half-dozen homes in a Saturday or more. All of the little nuances of a home can quickly get lost in the shuffle.

Many recommend taking pictures of each home, which is great if that helps you. We found that we didn’t end up needing a ton of pictures and we spent more time inspecting the details of each home while we were there.

  • We only took pictures if we really liked a home.
  • We reviewed the houses at the end of our trips and wrote down comments on the printouts from our realtor.
  • When we got down to 2 or 3 properties, we made a Pros & Cons list so it was easy to see the differences in properties
  • We kept our communication consistent with our realtor & broker. We CC’ed each other in email chains and made sure we all knew what each other were doing.

7. Go to the home inspection & pay attention!

We were shocked when we realized that not everyone attends a home inspection. We were expecting someone from both parties and likely both realtors to be attending the home inspection.

It turns out we were the only ones who actually attended! It was an invaluable opportunity for us to learn about:

  • The internal structure of our new home purchase
  • Potential problem areas
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Items to prioritize for future replacement
  • Good working knowledge of the home and its basic functions.

We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention our wonderful realtor Barb Carroll. She was professional, punctual, and had a great sense of knowing what we wanted before we did. If you are in the Cincinnati area, check her out when you are ready to buy.

 

We hope that some real-world advice from actual first-time buyers will ease your mind about the whole home-buying process.

Skincare SOS! The Best Choices In your 30s!

musthaves

 

Good skincare.  It’s something that is really important, especially to women,  especially the older we get. For the first year of my 30s, I still treated my skin like I did when I was in my 20s. Enter year 31. Things were changing. Yikes.

It really is crazy how quickly you can start to notice changes in your skin. One day I looked at my hands and realized even they looked different. This whole aging thing is happening, and I’d better start to take care. I made it my new goal to whip my skincare regimen into shape. I’ve broken down your skincare must have’s below. And the best part? They are all under $20!

1. Antioxidants. We all know that antioxidants are important. They help fight against free radicals, keep our skin looking bright, and help reduce wrinkles. Because I like to use as many natural products as I can, I use Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh. It smells amazing, it’s nice and gentle, and it has those antioxidants we need!

  

2. Retinol. If you are in your 30s and you aren’t using a retinol cream, RUN to the nearest drugstore. Retinol cream helps your skin repair itself (especially overnight), and it is the biggest wrinkle fighter you can get. Because we are budget savvy, I use Walgreens Deep Wrinkle Retinol Cream. It works great and also smells nice!

3. SPF. Wearing an SPF daily will help protect your skin from sun damage, and even though you may not realize it, we are constantly exposed to the sun’s rays throughout the day.

4. Serum. Serums do more than your regular moisturizer because they reach deeper into the layers of your skin than your typical moisturizer does.

I’ve found that a 2 in 1 moisturizer in serum works best for me. Why, you ask? Well, because I’m lazy and also don’t want to spend a billion dollars on skincare products. Simple, people. It’s the way to go. I like Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Moisturizer+Serum Duo with SPF 15. Look at that. Hitting 3 steps in one. Rock on!

.These products make me skincare routine super simple, and that’s why I love it. I use the cleanser and the retinol cream at night. No moisturizer needed. And in the mornings, a quick swipe of the cleansing towelettes and the Olay moisturizer+serum duo. It’s seriously easy peasy, AND I’m protecting my skin.

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