Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Whew, the holiday has passed and slowly but surely life is slowing down in preparation for the new year. I have not posted in a while, so I am going to do a recap of all the Christmas celebrations and happenings to date!

It's kind of a shame when your husband looks at you on Christmas Eve and says he is ready for Christmas to be here so we can relax and enjoy the company of our family because we have run ourselves to death in preparation for the holiday! Maybe next year we will do better! But, this year Brian had Christmas Eve off from work and it was so nice to be together all day! Of course we took the opportunity to finish up some last minute shopping but we also hit the gym on Christmas Eve which my body is thankful for after all that I indulged this holiday. (sidenote: I managed to only gain 2 pounds over Thanksgiving and Christmas and have already dropped 'em!)...

On the eve of Christmas Eve we baked Christmas Cookies at Brian's parents' house and decorated them with my niece. She loved rolling out the cookie dough but didnt care too much for decoarting the cookies... We ended the evening with a carriage ride through Starry Nights!

Christmas Eve we went to my Aunt's house for dinner and some present exchanges.This was an exceptional Christmas and we can't wait to take our family vacation this year to the Bahamas!!!

Christmas morning, Brian's parents, Katherine and Mike came over for breakfast and gift exchanges. We ended the morning by playing a very strategic board game that i can't remember the name of... but it was fun!

Then we cleaned house and headed over to my mom and dads for more gift exchanging and dinner. I crafted a few gifts this year but didnt get a picture of everything... my favorite was getting my niece's handprints on some tiles with quotes to give to my parents (hayden's grandparents) and my sister and Ray.

This Christmas Brian and I decided to seriously scale back our gift giving to one another in hopes of starting some more house projects soon (i'll keep you posted on what we do... but i'm dreaming of new kitchen counters :)

Even with all of the holiday excitement, it was hard to forget those that we were missing this Christmas... more than a few tears were shed as we remembered my grandmother who passed this February; our sweet companion, Jake who we lost this October and my Great Aunt Sylvia who died on Christmas Eve. her funeral will be Monday in Chicago. I am so grateful for the wonderfu family that I have and those that we were able to celebrate with and we were blessed beyond measure this year. Prayers out to my family in Chicago who were missing a very special lady this holiday.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and spent it with loved ones!

Monday, November 26, 2012

On my way!

I'm on my way outta this slump!

Even with this gloomy day I left work and hit the gym... And ya know what?!?!
Running on a treadmill for 3 miles isn't nearly as awful as I thought it would be! I still miss the pretty scenery from the park but it wasn't so bad!

Between my jog and coming home to a beautifully decorated house all decked out for Christmas I'm well on my way outta this slump!

Oh and to treat my self I had a dove chocolate when I got home and got some additional advice!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Slump

So on October 20th I ran my first 10k it was long and hard but I felt so accomplished once I reached the end!

I've been in sort of a slump since we lost our beloved pup, Jake...

I continued to train for my 10K and go on like usual../ I think I have only ran once since my 10K... And with the holidays approaching my love for baking is fast approaching and I can feel the hard work that I've done slipping away and the pounds adding back on...

So this week I'm going to do my best to get back on track... It's difficult with the cold weather... I hate the idea of running on a treadmill but with the cold air and it getting dark so early I think I will have to give in and get more use out of my gym membership...

But enough with all this whining... For a post-thanksgiving rundown I am thankful for:
God, my husband who continues to keep me young and loves me no matter what, my friends who keep me sane, my job that presents new challenges and opportunities every week, my house that I have to come home to each day and my health which I have worked very hard to improve this year!

In a nutshell I am more fortunate than I deserve and need to get out of this slump!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Too early?

Is it ever too early to start crafting for Christmas?!?!

I actually have a few gifts purchased but I'm so ready to deck the halls I just can't help myself!

Pinterest just makes matters worse! At least I'm crafting and not just pinning!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's not easy...

I sat down to write a post about jake the other day... In my last post I wrote about unexpected expenses and about how we took our beloved pup to the vet and got some bad news and a big bill... I feel so selfish now for complaining about that expense because I would give up my house to have that dog back!

Unfortunately, we had to make a tough decision last Friday and Jake is no longer with us... The 4 page post that I drafted was obviously very long and very sad and kinda depressing so I won't share that with you... But I'm feeling better lately... I don't miss him any less and it's not easy coming home and not seeing his smiling face and wagging tail but I now know we did the right thing!

I pretty much took the whole weekend to pretend like this didn't happen and then moped around the house... I didn't run, I barely cooked anything to eat... I didn't watch TV or visit friends instead I went to work with my dad in the morning and with my mom in the evening on Saturday to keep my mind off it...

Then Sunday came and Brian and I were home with nothing to do and we were forced to work through the sadness! I love my husband so much for helping us both get through that day!

Going back to work Monday helped and having my favorite TV shows (dancing with the stars and the voice) didn't hurt either!

Yesterday I decided to jump back into routine and I went for a run after work... I hadn't ran in about 10 days... And I've been training or a 10K on Oct 20th.... I haven't been able to run more than 5 miles at a time yet... So yesterday I just went for it... I ran 6 miles without stopping!!! It wasn't easy but I did it!

I have learned so much just how much taking care of yourself, being with family and prayer can get you through the days and times that aren't so easy...

Maybe later on I will be able to share a happier post about Jake and what happened to him but right now it's still not easy to talk about.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unexpected expense

My poor pup, jake is very sick!!!

On Friday, I was getting ready to go out to my parents house ... Usually jake follows me to the door barking because he wants to go and get in the car too.... This was not the case Friday. Before I went to leave I let the dogs out one last time and jake just went and laid down in the flower bed... I figured he was just tired and with the change in the weather his old bones were just tired so I left him at home...

Fast forward to Sunday and Brian and I were gone almost all day for my dads birthday. I asked our dog sitter to stop by to play with the dogs and let them out for an hour and our dog sitter said jake wouldn't get up off the floor. Normally jake is ecstatic to see Kayla and Barks his head off! We got home Sunday night and found him the same way.

Jake is notorious for getting ear infections so I looked in his ears to see if they might be bothering him... I couldn't tell so we decided to let him sleep it off and would call the vet the next morning... Well he was pretty much completely lethargic the next day and kept falling down when he was standing up...

So we take him in to our vet... He proceeds to remind me that jake is a very old dog (12-15 years) and he might just have some bad arthritis coupled with the rainy weather and you get a lethargic dog....he decided to do some blood work and take his temp... Well after having a 102degree fever the doc asked to keep our buddy, jake over night to wait on his blood work....

He was diagnosed with a "tick-born disease" ... There are 10 differen ones (Ricky mountain spotted fever, Lymes disease, etc.) they are all treated the same! So our pup is home with lots of expensive meds and he should be getting better in a few days... Getting better means getting up on his own to do things other than eat and go outside to potty...

So far he is Doing well taking his $150 prescribed meds that we have to get refilled next week that he will be on for one month! But regardless of the expense i am so glad that he is doing ok and that what he has is treatable!!!

I don't know what I would do without my jake!!! He is pretty lazy right now but he should be back to his more mobile lazy self in a few days!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shadow Boxes

So now that I am blogging and posting about a few DIY things we do around the house, I’m starting to realize just how much stuff I go and raid out of my grandparents old house and transform it for my own home.
Brian already knows that a project is waiting for him if I mention that I went over to my grandparents house over the weekendJ But don’t be fooled he likes all this DIY stuff just as much as I do!
So back at the beginning of the summer, my dad had these super cool looking wooden boxes that he was storing flats of annuals flowers in to carry around the yard to plant. I recognized those old planter boxes. They were the ones my grandfather used in his greenhouse. I asked dad if he had 2 of them that he wasn’t using. Well sure enough, that ended in dad and I going over to Pa’s house to raid the old greenhouse! Well I came home with 2 really cool reclaimed wood looking plant boxes!
My dad did not understand what I was going to do with these for decorating but I assured him I would figure something out! These boxes are super cool (sorry I do not have a before picture). They look like old reclaimed wood from the old house that is still on my grandparent’s property. Pretty much they are backed with some old reclaimed beadboard from the old farmhouse and then they are framed with some wooden planks.
I had these 2 prints that I got from an antique mall in Collierville that I framed and matted myself and they looked a little bare on my walls. So I thought they would be perfect to hang within the plant boxes to make a shadow box. The only problem was… my prints in side of their frames were not symmetrical with the boxes. The plant boxes were much longer and leaner than my photo frames. So they kind of looked bare inside the boxes so I’ve had these planter boxes sitting in the floor of my living room for months trying to find a solution.
Then I got the idea that I needed to add something else to have at the bottom or top of the picture within the shadow box. I love all the metal work artwork that is so trendy right now but I needed something very small. I already have lots of metal crosses hanging in my house and I need something that hung horizontal. I saw a bunch of iron keys art at hobby lobby and decided that would be perfect for my shadow boxes! I picked up 2 iron keys for $3.99/piece at hobby lobby and went home and attached them to the shadow box.
On Sunday, the hubsters and I headed to Lowe’s to purchase the proper tools that we would need to hang the shadow boxes since they are so heavy now.  Then we picked the placement for them on the walls. It was Brian’s idea to hang them at the corner of the living room which looks way better than what I would have done! Here is how it turned out!
 I love how rustic the wood and keys look against the clean lined silver frames!
There is even something written on the side of the box in my grandpa's handwriting. But I have no clue what it says!

Hayden dropped by later that night just after we had hung them and put the TV back in place. This is her and Brian in front of the TV playing with her "baseball" which is actually a ball made of rope that is a dog toy...She's a silly girl!

What's been going on...

Life has been crazy these past few weeks!

We have traveled to visit my sister in-law in St Louis where she is starting her first year at Covenant Seminary

My sweet niece turned 3 this year! She had a fun swimming party at my parents house! Brian and I love that little girl so much! This year Brian built her a dollhouse and I decorated it! I think we had just as much fun making it as she has playing with it!

I traveled with one of my best friends to gatlinburg with her entire wedding party to celebrate her upcoming marriage! The girls went on a hike to grotto falls and it was beautiful!

This weekend is going to be busy busy too! I am going with my other best friend, Ashley to go wedding dress shopping and I can't wait to see her try on some gorgeous gowns! Then Sunday is my dads 50th birthday! We have lots of fun in store for him!

More detailed posts to follow but here are a few pics of what's been going on Lately!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Worm

SO, I haven’t been blogging very much lately. I had gotten into a
pretty good habit of it about 3 weeks ago until I became a book worm
nerd. SO let me at least share with you the lovely books that have
taken over my spare time and taken me away from blogging.
A few months ago, I got caught up watching the “Love Comes Softly”
movies (starring Katherine Heigl) on the Hallmark Channel that are
based on the “Love Comes Softly” book series written by Janette Oke.
Those movies were the best! and made me wish I had actually read the
books (movies always ruin books and are never as good as the book
itself). So, since I had finished everything else on my reading list a
few months ago I decided I had waited long enough to start the series.
I am on Book 5 of 8 and am HOOKED! Seriously this lady wrote this
series in the 70s/80s and it’s based on pioneer times but the
characters are so lovable and the life lessons are a joy to read!
I was worried I would get bored reading the books since I had seen the
movies and there are 8 books (that’s a lot!). So I planned to read a
book or 2 in the middle of the series to help me stay motivated to
finish. I did read those 2 books but found myself rushing through them
so I could get back to my faithful Janette Oke series! I’m such a
nerd… no need to remind me.
The 2 books I have read during the interim of the series are:
The Last Boyfriend written by Nora Roberts (Book2 of the Inns
Boonsboro Trilogy).
Still Alice (Lisa Genova)
I had already read the first book of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy and now
I can’t wait to read the third one. This series does have a lot of
similarities as the “Bride Quartet” series written by Nora Roberts but
they are still different enough to keep you interested.
My co-worker told me about the book, “Still Alice” and since the Walk
to end Alzheimer’s is this weekend in Memphis, TN I decided it was an
opportune time to read it. Let me tell you how good this book is! I
had a lot going on this past Saturday so I started reading the book
while waiting for my color to set while getting my hair done Saturday.
SO I only got through the first 30 pages. As soon as I woke up Sunday
morning I had to start reading the book and I just couldn’t put it
down! I finished it on Sunday afternoon and found myself laughing, and
crying throughout the book. It is a great insight into what the person
who has Alzheimer’s is going through and how the family members
affected deal with their emotions.
SO there you have it…. That’s what I’ve been doing… I haven’t yet
started the 5th book in the Love Comes Softly series because now I’m
reading a political book that I decided to go out and get after
watching the RNC and DNCs the last 2 weeks; which has also taken all
of my attention away from blogging and extracurricular activities.
I drafted a blog post about my frustrations with speeches from both
parties but I hate to get political on my blog. I don’t want to push
my thoughts or ideas on anyone, but I do hope that everyone is out
there educating themselves on the candidates. I'll just say that much for now :) I’m sure you would rather take reading
recommendations from me rather than voting recommendations!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Light

Well folks, I'm beginning to see my living room in a new light! Remember my post from a few weeks ago where I showed you how I re-purposed some glass continers? Well, while I was hunting down those containers in my grandparents' basement i came across these white ceramic lamps:

Now I know they don't look so pretty in this photo... but, I love the size and geometric pattern on them. So I went out and bought some rustoleum hammered silver spray paint from Lowe's and found some awesome lampshades on clearance for $4.99 apiece. The transformation was pretty amazing!

I wanted some larger lamps to frame some artwork that Brian and I purchased from a local "starving artists sale" back in February. Here is what the space looked like before I updated the lighting:

Sorry the photo quality is so poor but as you can see the single petite lamp does not hold up to the scale of our painting. Here is what our space looks like now:

I love the way this turned out and these are super nice quality lampshades! The damask is a silver raised velveteen feel material! This whole project cost me $6.97 for spray paint and $10.91 for the lamp shades! What an awesome update for less than $20!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Smoke Signal

Today was kind of a rough work day. I'm constantly trying to find my place in my workgroup. I want to make sure that the work i'm doing adds value and that it is something that only I can do well. Of course I try to make sure I can do a litle bit of everything acroos the tasks of our workgroup to show that i am versatile.

So, today I thought I had reached my breaking point of trying to find that fine balance between being an expert in one thing and being an extremely versatile employee... The underlying question in my head is... which employee will be most valued by my company... the one who is a subject matter expert in XYZ or the well-rounded employee who knows a little something within several areas... The survival of the fittest side of me says that the subject matter expert employee coud never be replaced so that's who I should strive to be... But I just want to learn a lot of things and be able to work in many groups and areas within my company..

I was really strugling with this today... I hadn't planned on bearing my burdens and concerns to my family.. until they called to check-in and my dad read me this short story which really helped me to stop worrying and know that I can handle whatever is put in front of me:

"The Shipwreck"

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground--it just may be a smoke signal that summons The Grace of God.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I can't do it all

Every now and then I'm reminded that I just can't do it all... That happened to me twice this weekend...

1. I went running on Saturday a.m. I thought I had plenty of time to squeeze in a run before all of the activities of the day began... But I got to the Lake trails at herb parsons and there was a huge trail bike marathon going on... I decided to try and run even though the trails were now narrow and crowded. I wound up tripping over a tree root and falling face first on the ground. Sometimes things just don't work out and I have to let it go. I don't have to do it all. I was also reminded just how much I love where I live and how close I am to some pretty awesome places!

2. I always say I'm going to make radical changes in how I spend my money and that I'm going to save xxx amount of money per month... And I just haven't been able to do it! So this week I have given myself and Brian an allowance! Wish us luck!

I'm looking forward to this week and the beautiful weather! I'll keep you posted on our allowance and savings plan!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eat That Frog

So I got my MBA in December 2011 and started my first ever, real world, full-time 9-5 job. I was used to working 20-40 hours/week while going to school full-time with lots of homework, papers and projects to occupy my time. I was really concerned about my emotions post-graduation. I’m used to being busy. I like being busy. I find myself getting bored more often than not.
I started making a list of all the books I would now have time to read after graduate school was over. I sped through that list fairly quickly! Once I finished the list I began looking for other things to read. I felt like my mind wasn’t as sharp as it used to be since most of the reading I had been doing was certainly not for educational purposes. I stumped upon “eat that frog” and purchased it off amazon and dove right into it. This book seriously helped shape so many of my habits and so far I have achieved several goals that I set for myself.

Essentially the books tells you to rank your tasks whether they are daily, monthly, weekly or yearly tasks. They can also be personal or work related tasks. You rank them in priority and then again based on what should get done first. Eat the biggest, ugliest, most time-consuming frog (task) first. IN other words… tackle those things that you dread most first… then each subsequent task gets easier. IT sounds simple… and you probably already know this… but sometimes you really need a big push to get moving in the right direction.
Here are my 10 goals that I made for myself… I won’t’ show you too many specifics or how I ranked them but I will show you how many I have crossed off the list: (oh yeah and I’ll probably omit the names of my CCs and my goal weight)
10 Goals:
Weigh ___ amount (aka. The same as I weighed on our wedding day)
Pay off ___ CC
Pay off ___CC
Run 3 miles
Buy new Car
Continuous Education Opps.
Community Involvement
Take a vacation
Board/leadership Opp
Religious Fulfillment

As you can see, all but 2 items are crossed off the list. I have one more CC to pay off and the last one, “religious fulfillment” is going to be an ongoing exercise. I don’t think this will ever be crossed off my list. The reason this made my list is because I feel like I have lived pretty selfishly these past years and have not given enough thanks to God for all that I have whether they be experiences, relationships, or other life milestones. I set out to do more than have quiet time for prayer at night and am still working on the ins and outs to becoming a more religiously fulfilled individual.
This list has done so much more for me than I could have imagined. I weight what I want to weigh but also I’m healthy, I ran my first 5k and I’m currently training for a 10k. I have paid off one CC and am still working on the other and have started a monthly budget spending and savings plan. I have built in education opportunities that will help me excel at work through online learning. I took on a leadership role within my sorority alumnae group. The list goes on and on… Thankfully we still have 4 more months in this year for me to continue to fulfill my goals and make new ones along the way!
So go out and Eat That Frog!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Better with time

Isn't it funny how things come back in style??!!!

Well, I LOVE finding old things and trying to give them new life by using them as decor in our house! Every now and then I get the itch to go through som eof my grandparents' belongings to see what treasures I can find! My grandfather (my dad's father) passed away when I was a freshman in college and my grandmother continued to live in their house until about 2 and a half years ago. Once my grandmother was placed in a nursing home in 2010, her house was cleaned out so someone else could move in and some of the family went through and took items that they found sentimental or that they wanted most. My grandmother passed away in February and it took me a while to be able to go back through som eof her belongings now that she really isnt here anymore. I used to enjoy telling her how i made new life out of lamps and furniture of hers that i now have in our house. We furnished our entire house with hand me downs of my grandparents and parents furniture... we seriously only have 3 items that we purchased in our house.

I also, love to look in home decorating magazines as well as pinterest for new ideas and things to do in our home. I big thing I have seen lately are large colored glass vessels to place on open shelving or on your mantel... Well I had just the thing in mind and I knew there would be some in my grandparents' basement!

Ta Da! These are old green glass bottles that my grandfather collected to store his homemade wine in! They are the perfect color green to match the decor in my living room! My grandfather collected these color containers becasue he said that the dark glass was better for aging red wine... One of hte bottles was labeled "Black Muscadine December 1980". These bottles were in pretty rough shape as you can tell... So i emptied the contents of the bottles and soaked them in hot soapy water to get them good and clean...

Then i looked at the current decor on my mantle:

It was quite a hodge podge of leftover decorating items that I had lying around the house...
So i played around with a few ideas and arrangements and this is what I came up with... I plan to re-use some of the items i took down in the guest bedroom as well as some switching around that will be happening in the master bedroom ASAP!

Here is the new and improved mantel:

Here are some close-ups of those glass beauties!

The flowers were from my dear friend Ellen's rehearsal dinner this weekend... maybe my hubby can buy me flowers every week once these die because I think fresh flowers are always a nice touch on the mantel :)

My favorite things about this mini project are:
The cost... you can't beat an updated look for $0! I also love that I was able to recycle and use something in a beautiful way that belonged to my grandparents. I really am not a big fan of spending a lot of money on decorative meaningess elements... so this little switcheroo just really makes my day:)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running Woes

So I know I told you recently that I was having trouble staying motivated when running with the weather and time commitments and just worrying too much about my running alone....

So I found a few solutions.... Instead of running the 3 times per week (as instructed on my 10k app) I am just running twice a week and trying to go to my dance jam cardio class at least once per week...
I have found that running in the evening rather than the morning just works better for me... So to help with my worrying about running near dusk.... I made these purchases at target!

A new security light and a very bright new shirt! Now there is no excuse for someone not to see when I'm running... Which worries me and my husband!

Here are my safety purchases:

Friday, July 20, 2012


So you know I've been trying to do this running thing here lately... I finished my 5k training and ran a 5k I found it hard to stay motivated so I started 10k training... And now it's super hot outside.... My 10k training runs last an hour which is a huge time commitment for 3 days a week.... And this weather lately is crazy! The heat index is 110 today!!!! I try getting up early to run to beat the heat but that just doesn't always work.... Like this morning I got up and was on the trail at 6am then psyched myself out because Running alone on the boardwalk along the wolf river at 6am during sunrise gets a little creepy.... I worry way too much about things like running into crazy people .... Or snakes.... Or just anything! And it was super hot even at 6 am! So I only ran about 2.5 miles this morning and was suppose to do 4.5.... So I'm trying to motivate myself!

I think running at night just works better for me... Although I'm much more paranoid about running at night than I am about running at 6am! Maybe they make maze for runners to carry on their armband.... I'll google that later!!!

Here are a few items that I pinned on Pinterest to keep me motivated!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Powder Room

Well, it took a while but I have finally put together most of the accessories in the guest bathroom.
Here was one of the before photos:

Here is the after shot:

I splurged on the flowers for the wall in this bathroom. I usually try to score serious bargains when it comes to accessories but I had been eyeing these flowers and for almost a month so I just had to have them! And I LOVE the result!

We switched out the hardware on the bathroom vanity. I also varnished/stained the vanity cabinet in order to make it a darker wood.

I think our guests will feel very welcome using the guest facilities! Brian and I have used that bathroom more than ever before since our master bath is still under construction.
We found some rotten wood on the step going into the shower after we removed some of the marble surround in the master bath. We had to remove all of the caulk and let the area sit for 1 week in order to get rid of all the moisture. We have resealed inside the shower. This past Sunday Brian was able to replace the rotten wood with waterproof concrete board and seal the step back up with the marble piece.
All of the floor tile is done and it has been grouted. We have put down new floor molding and just need to add the shoe molding  and caulk a few more areas again to be officially finished! We are hoping to get all of that finished by next Sunday, but who knows! I can’t wait to share the big reveal in that room but here are some sneak peeks!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Long Time No See

I apologize for my absence lately! In my last post I told you that I was signed up to run my first 5k!
Well the Saturday before Father’s Day I got to Shelby Farms an hour before race-time and was so nervous I wasn’t sure if I would keep my breakfast down. I don’t know why, but all of a sudden my nerves just kicked into overdrive about not finishing the race.
I was pretty well-prepared for my first 5k. I used the 5k Runner (free) app on my iphone along the “mapmyrun” app to keep track of my workouts. I started using the app toward the end of March and finished the training about 2 weeks before the Civitan 5k. I think I felt a little extra pressure to finish and do well having announced it to my whole family that I was doing this and of course mentioning it here on the blog.
There are several reasons why I set out to run a 5k. First of all, after going to a few dr. apts. About my high cholesterol my doc recommended that I lose some weight. The newlywed fifteen nine had officially kicked in post honeymoon. Instead of taking medicine for my high-cholesterol my doctor recommended that I change up my diet, drop coke, and start exercising. I insisted that there was no way I could go without coke until after graduate school exams were over. I also had zero time left in the day to exercise working 40hours/week and taking 12 hours of graduate level course-work.
So, the first week after finals while grocery shopping, what did I do? Ha, I put coke in the shopping cart! Of course Brian silently removed it and replaced it with a pack of Coke Zero and so the change began. Coke Zero is seriously the only diet drink product that has been able to get me off my traditional coke! I used to drink seriously at least 3-4 of those per day in graduate school and I was much worse during high school, drinking about a 2 liter a day (no exaggeration there). I NEVER drank water! Now I try and drink 2-3 of my camelback water bottles/day. I’m down to one coke zero and one cup of coffee/day. My challenge now is to only have one or the other per day and eventually eliminate the coke zero.
So after making that grand change, my sister-in-law was hosting a 5k for her church (Miles for Mercy 5k). The week of this race is the week I started my 5k training. I figured if I could walk that whole thing then I could run it! 3.1 miles isn’t that long… right?
The first few weeks of training were pretty rough… and I was wondering why I was making myself do this…After about 3 weeks, I began to look forward to jogging in the afternoon. I probably did not start losing actual pounds until about 5-6 weeks into training. This was the most frustrating part for me. I was working so hard and not losing a single pound! I could tell things were fitting me differently… but my doctor recommended that I lose about 17 pounds! Something wasn’t working! Then miraculously the weight started coming off! As of today I think I have lost 15 pounds! It’s not so obvious that I have lost that much weight since I’m so tall but that’s ok.  Only a few people have even noticed I lost weight (a few co-workers and of course my husband). But that’s ok, I just can’t wait to go back to the doctor in October and have them weigh me and re-check my cholesterol!
So, back to the Civitan 5k. My cousin’s wife, Carrie was also training for a 5k (she used the couch to 5k app). We finished the training about a week apart and decided to run our first race together. We were both so proud to have finished our first race. I think a few of our family members didn’t think we would really finish, but we did it! I set a goal for myself to complete the 5k in 38 minutes or less. I finished it in 35 minutes! I was so proud of myself! My GPS did say I actually went 3.33 miles… but I think that was from weaving around the crowd once we hit the narrow trail at Shelby Farms.
The average time for female participants was just over 42 minutes. For my age group I placed 8 out of 13 runners. There were 161 female runners and I came in at #79. So I would say I’m pretty average and I’m pretty happy about that!

Another goal I set for myself was to weigh exactly what I weighed on my wedding day! I am only 3 pounds away from that weight and I’m super pumped! I have slacked a little bit on my training since I ran my 5k… I had a summer cold last week that seriously left me completely out of commission to do any exercise! But I ran this morning for the first time in 13 days and I’m sore but so happy to get back into it! Hopefully an upcoming vacation won’t completely derail my progress so far!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Busy Weekend

Unfortunately, I do not have a bathroom reveal for you this week. With any DIY project there are bound to be snags along the way and we hit one last Sunday… Since this weekend is Father’s Day, I do not anticipate finishing this weekend either. But that’s ok… we will finish eventually and I will be so happy with the results!!!
I will give you an update of our progress… Brian spent a good 7 hours of non-stop work in our master bathroom on Sunday. Since we decided to lay the tile on an angle with a staggered brick pattern we are getting some interesting angles and final cuts in the doorways and corners on one end of the room. So we have come up with a game plan as to how to finish off the doorways so they will all look the same.
I am going to try to make templates for the other odd cuts with newspaper and lay them out so we make sure we like it before we lay the tile and it’s there forever.
We are hoping to work on that early Sunday morning before we celebrate Father’s Day with the dads in our lives! We are hoping to just cook out and spend quality time with our dads.
On Saturday, I am going to run a 5K! It will be the first time I have actually ran an entire 5K (assuming I make it... hehe). I made a New Year’s Resolution to get down to a certain weight and to run a 5K. I started a 5K training app in late March and finished the training a few weeks ago. My cousin’s wife, Carrie is going to run with me! I’m pretty excited that I will have actually achieved one New Year’s Resolution tomorrow if I make it all the way through!
My other New Year’s resolution was to weigh the exact same amount that I did on our wedding day. I am happy to report that I weigh exactly what I weighed after we got back from our honeymoon J… So only a couple pounds to go… (Obviously we ate a lot on our honeymoon… we did the all-inclusive thing so there was always plenty of food around)…
So there is a lot going on this weekend. I am trying not to set unrealistic goals for our renovation since we have so much going on, but I am hopeful that we will get something done in there this weekend!
This is the only picture that I have and this picture was taken before Brian began work on it last Sunday... so we already the tile laid and cut underneath the vanity and the tub and in the toilet area... All we have left is around the half wall by the toilet and the doorways to the closets and entry way left to tile:

Here’s what we have left to do:
Cut tiles for corners of room and doorways
Lay those tiles
Grout tile
Add new floor trim around toilet area
Paint trim and doors
Hang the cabinet doors back up with new hardware
Replace shower hardware
Seal tile in shower
Put marble face back on the tub (with silicone)
Install new toilet

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I heard on the radio this week about a new medical condition (I forget the name) that is arising from social media. Basically it’s about how we are addicted to reading the status updates of others and unfortunately we are comparing ourselves and our lives to our friends. Most of the time, people only post the positive and cheery aspects of their lives on social media feeds which tends to make us think of our own lives in a negative light especially when we have a bad week or day.
Well readers, I am going to do my best NOT to only show you the cheery aspects of my life. So let me tell you about my no good very bad day/week…
Well, as I have mentioned previously… we are putting down new tile in our master bathroom. Well we got all of the whole piece tiles put down on Sunday (hip, hip, hooray)! But it takes 24 hours for the thinset underneath to dry which mean you can’t walk on the tile for at least 24 hours… Well you know we started tiling in the far corner of the bathroom and made our way to the doorway by the time I realized that the entrance to my closet had brand new freshly laid tile surrounding it…So my wardrobe to work Monday was seriously hap hazardous and that does not good for my mood or self-esteem on a Monday morning.
Besides that, I have been completely restless for the past 3 nights (mostly due to storms and having lots on my mind) and when I do sleep I constantly dream about stressful things like we started laying the tile in the wrong direction and now have to rip it all up and start over again…etc, etc, etc.  So I wake up in a fury thinking something needs to be fixed or I am behind on something else!
So with our bathroom being torn up, it takes me forever to find anything when getting ready because we are now sharing our guest bathroom.  I’m spoiled used to having our nice double vanity in the master bath where everything has its own place. So let’s just say I left the house about 20 minutes later than usual Monday trying to scrounge up something decent to wear out of what was in the laundry room that I hadn’t ironed and put back in my closet yet and searching all over the house for my get ready in the a.m. routine supplies since they are scattered between the guest bath and our 2 guest bedrooms.
 Also, I have left the house twice this week without my phone only to realize it after I get more than halfway to work!!!! This results in me being about 30 minutes later than usual getting into the office. Nothing ruins my morning more than having to trek back home after I am already enroot to work…
I got a speeding ticket last month in none other than the speed trap we call Oakland. I got a ticket for going 55 right in front of the 55 mph sign… I’m sure that’s everyone’s plea in the courtroom though so I just kept my mouth shut accepted the ticket from the officer (who was VERY polite) and went on my merry way. Mind you, the only reason I was traveling through the great town of Oakland was to make a donation at the nursing home for Mother’s Day… Come on, no good deed goes un- punished un-noticed… right???
So I prep myself for going to court. I have to take off a few hours early to get from work to Oakland for this ticket court business. Only to find that I had written the wrong time down in my planner ( I was off by a whole hour) and had to take an additional hour off work at the last minute (oops..)
Good news was, I was in and out within an hour and the ticket is no longer on my record (thank you very much Mr. Judge)
I’m hoping for better days to come and am constantly reminded that God is in control. This day is already looking up since I am hosting a fabulous dinner meeting for my sorority alumnae group!
I hope you all enjoy your Thursday and continue to countdown the hours until the weekend is here! Hopefully by the middle of next week I can share with you the big bathroom remodel reveal!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bathroom sneak peek

Happy Monday!!!

I haven't posted in a while about our bathroom progress.... But we have made awesome progress!

We have finished up the guest bath it just needs some accessorizing. But it looks great!

We began prep work on the master bath all last week and started laying tile yesterday! It took forever to figure out the angles in our master bath and to get a good pattern and starting point but once we got started we were on a roll! Hopefully we will finish it by the middle of next week!

We finished up the guest bath on memorial day and here is a sneak peek of it:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Jake!

Yesterday was my 90lb. yellow lab's Birthday! His name is Jake. Mine and Brian's first apartment was broken into only 8 weeks after we moved in. After we moved to another apartment in a different city Brian decided we should get a dog for the nights that I would be home alone while he was working late. We found this boy in the paper and brought him home on May 29, 2009...

Jake has been such a great addition to our lives! He is very lazy and has never met a stranger. He loves when company comes over to visit. But his favorite thing to do is nap all day on the couch with a big fluffy pillow!
Unfortunately we do not know Jake's birthday or his actual age. His owner passed away and the famiy that inherited him was allergic to dogs. So we have no information on his previous history, so we celebrate his birthday on the day we brought him home and he got a new life!

Here is Jake's (what we think is) 10 year Birthday portrait:

I stopped by Three Dog Bakery after work yesterday to pick him up a wheat and peanut butter pup cake to celebrate the occassion with our other dog, Nola!

They patiently waited for their slices of the "pup"cake....

Jake's face is a little blurry... he wouldnt sit still or stop barking... he was so excited! I love that big dog more than words can describe. I know some people don't even like to have dogs for pets but this guy has been such great company over the last 3 years of survivng college and graduate school and late nights while the hubby is at work. i don't know what I would do without him!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Money Matters

So, let’s talk about $! Haha, all I’m seeing are $ signs lately with this bathroom remodel!
So about money… You gotta have it. We work 40+ hours/week so we can survive, pay our bills, and occasionally reward ourselves every now and then.
Well I’ve been researching a trip to Napa for the hubby and I. I have broken down the cost for us to get there and stay there which isn’t so bad. The problem is the amount of spending money that you need in NAPA. If you Google “how much money to spend in Napa” you will get responses between $1500 and $3500!!!!! I just can’t keep up with the Jones’!!!! And since our bathroom remodel has now extended into the master bath as well… we have decided to postpone Napa for another year. We will use that week to take a smaller road trip this year if gas prices will allow!
So I looked at my spending this past month to see where else my money is going…
How much was strictly bills?
How much was necessary recreational spending (i.e. Mother’s Day, dinners out with friends, fun days out to the zoo, etc.…) you know necessities of life!
How much was strictly selfish recreational spending (i.e. Macy’s, Target, nail polish, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc.)
How much went to daily operations (i.e. Gas & groceries)
Well I am appalled at my findings!
Of course the largest portion went to bills and daily ops… BUT my selfish recreational spending was horrible! Like if I cut that out for last month I could afford that Hot Air Balloon Ride in Napa with the photos and souvenir champagne flutes!
So my goal for the rest of this month (and next month) is to cut out ALL selfish recreational spending!!!
Haha, yea right! But my goal is to cut that in more than half and to reduce my normal recreational spending (maybe I don’t need to order a pitcher of margaritas with my girls’ night out dinner)…
The point is… Money MATTERS! And you should break down your monthly spending and it may scare the heck out of you but hopefully you will learn something from it. The next time I think I need a new OPI nail color… I will revisit my current collection (aka the entire bottom drawer in the bathroom vanity) and refrain from spending.
Practice Self Control & Happy Spending!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bathroom Remodel: Update

Well, we survived the weekend folks!

Here is the list of items that I hoped we would complete this weekend:

Pull out the old toilet

Demo the existing tile

Paint trim and door

Stain vanity

I am happy to report that we completed all of the items above except for one! I can’t believe it! I plan to paint the trim and door this afternoon. We will continue on with the progress one evening this week when my dad can stop by and show us how to use the tile saw. So all in all, we had a pretty progressive weekend!

However, we did run into a few snags along the way.

The old tile was set on top of concrete and it was ridiculously hard to get off! We ended up having to rent a special drill to get it off. We went to rent a demo drill and left with a “chipper drill”. This baby was intense!!! But it did the job! Luckily we went to rent it on Saturday and since the store is closed on Sundays, we got to keep the drill until Monday a.m. for the price of only one day!

Since we were having so much fun with it, we decided to go ahead and demo the tile in our master bath! So quickly this project will be going over budget since I hadn’t planned on starting the master bath at this time!

At least we saved money by not having to rent that tool again later on!

Then it was time for us to patch the sheetrock in the guest bath after we removed the old porcelain towel bar and toilet paper holder. We patched the sheetrock, applied the joint compound and paper tape and let it dry.

After Brian sanded everything down, he removed the hardware and doors off the vanity. Then I sanded it with steel wool and then washed it down with soapy water. After it was dry, I applied mineral spirits to clean and prep for the varnish/stain.

Instead of stripping the vanity and sanding it all away and then re-staining it, I decided to varnish it. So after waiting 20 minutes for the mineral spirits to do their work, I mixed some poly-urethane and stain together and applied it to the vanity cabinets.

3 hours later, the vanity and its pieces were dry. But, it wasn’t as dark as I would like. So I added more stain into the mixture and did a second coat. Now it looks perfect!!

Some lessons learned from the project so far:

Face masks are absolutely necessary for staining and tile removal.
Wear closed toed shoes during tile removal and thick gloves.
Patience is key!
The prep work is the hardest and most crucial part to this project.
Pure acetone nail polish remover easily removes varnish/stain from your skin!

I can't wait to share our finished project with you! Stay tuned!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bathroom Remodel

The hubby and I are embarking on our first EVER bathroom remodel this weekend!
We are very excited and anxious to get started!
Here’s what our bathroom looked like when we first moved in:

There is carpet in front of the vanity! In a bathroom! That is just crazy! Well we really didn’t like the look of this bath when we first moved in. So we did a few quick updates to it so we could live with it for now…
Here is what it looks like today:

In the process of pulling the old sheet mirror down it buckled under the pressure and broke in to 2 large pieces and a few smaller ones. Luckily Brian only suffered one very minor cut in the process! But one of the big pieces hit the back of the toilet and cracked it and the tile.
So our last minor update project in this bathroom did not go so well! But, it did look a lot better after some new paint, mirror, and accessories!

Here are our plans for this remodel:
The items in blue are what I think will actually get finished this weekend:
Pull out the old toilet.
Demo the existing tile.
Paint trim and door.
Put down new tile.
Install new toilet.
Hang new towel bar and hardware.
Stain bathroom vanity.
Replace sink faucet.
Replace bathroom vanity hardware.
I’ll be sure and update you on our progress next week! Are you doing any renovations in your home? Who are the experts that you call on for help?