I have a confession to make. Way before we were even trying to get pregnant, I started buying things for our future nursery. I knew I always wanted to make a beautiful space for a baby that was gender neutral in terms of color and elements after seeing Jeong Mee Yoon’s Pink and Blue Project back in 2005. I also wanted to avoid a heavy theme, and instead, rely on a looser grouping of colors through which we could weave our favorite elements. We’ve got 15 weeks left to go until the baby is here, and I’d thought I’d show you what we’re going to be using (when we get the room to a place where decorating can happen):
- Scenic Forest Tapestries from Urban Outfitters; I bought these back in January of 2011. They will basically serve as floor to ceiling curtains along one wall for the closet (it’s a huge closet, way bigger than any baby could use lol).
- Featherbottom Rug from CB2. We’ll be redoing the floors in the nursery ASAP and getting rid of the gross carpet, but this rug will tie together the blues/oranges of the tapestry with the greens and yellows that I also want to have in the room. (I splurged on this one when I was very newly pregnant.)
- Bear Cub No. 3 and Bear Cub No. 4 Prints by Sharon Montrose for 20×200. I bought these prints off of 20×200 back in 2011; they’ve been in a drawer ever since for the future nursery.
- Vintage Dolly Toy Co. Balloon Vendor Nursery Lamp + Matching Switchplate. When I was a very little kid, I had this lamp in my nursery (way back in 1978); I love it, and I had to keep it as an element.
- Black Forest Owl Wall Clock. I thought this was adorable and bought it on eBay a few years ago. It’s also been in a drawer ever since.
- Baby Fawn Pillow; I snagged this from H&M last year when I was perusing baby stuff to buy for others. I have a baby animal thing obviously, but I like it because it coordinates with the tapestry/curtains.
- Graham Glider + Ottoman from West Elm. I have loved the look of this glider for years; I’m so glad West Elm still makes it. My husband and I are both pretty tall (6′ & 6’5″), and I think this one gives us a place to rest our heads. I got an amazing deal on this at the Asheville West Elm Outlet back in March.
- Ikea Hensvik Crib. I really like very plain cribs, and I didn’t want to spend much on such a temporary piece of furniture. I like the little ornamental detail on the ends of this crib because it’s just a little bit fancier than the more modern versions that are plain and straight. We bought this Memorial Day Weekend at the Charlotte Ikea (on sale yay)!
We already have two dressers for the room; the pieces are part of my Dad’s first bedroom suite. He got it when he went to college. We’ve moved the bed into the new guestroom for now, but one day, when the baby is old enough to sleep in a real bed, we’ll reunite the pieces. We’re also changing the color of the room to pale yellow (similar to background color in the element collage above) and putting down hardwood floors (haven’t picked the flooring out yet though). I’ll try to post some progress pictures of the nursery soon!
I have a huge closet of clothes that I never wear. I’ve also filled at least two other closets with clothes in my house that are either 1) out of season or 2) have been pre-purged into a sort of clothing purgatory between my main closet and the eBay/charity pile. It’s going to take some time to complete this project. However, the first step of this journey starts today!
Here’s my priority of things to get rid of (from easiest to purge to hardest to purge):
- Things that I don’t like, and don’t fit
- Things that I like, but don’t fit quite right
- Things that I like, fit well, but I never wear because it’s a weird piece
I’m sure there are other categories, but this is just getting going and will have to do for now. Everyday, I’ve got to purge three things. Today (DAY 1!), I’ll have to do it this evening.
This project is desperately necessary in my home. I really need to buy some new staple pieces, but I can’t buy anything until I actually figure out what I need and what my wardrobe holes are. Right now, I don’t even know what I really have.
In conclusion, I’m posting this picture I took of my (rainbow) closet organization. This picture really illustrates my clothes problem; I haven’t worn a single one of those pretty colored dresses in the last year. They’ve all got to go.
Rob and I never lived together before we got married, and when we finally did get married and move in together, we had a lot of fun playing Rock Band (the video game). We named our band in the game Flesh Eating Champagne, and the name has stayed with us since. When we need to come up with a team name for trivia or a race, I always suggest Flesh Eating Champagne. It’s only fitting that we have a logo.
After running in three 5Ks, a 10K, two 15Ks, and two half marathons, it was time to make a display for all of our race paraphernalia. I checked out Pinterest and Etsy for precedents, and finally made these two boards for us. The total cost was pretty cheap! We bought the two wood plaques at our local craft supply store ($2.99 each), two 6″ clipboard clips from Amazon ($2.99 each), a bag of fifty silver eye-hooks also from Amazon (eye-hook diameter: .24′, length: .87″, $2.09), and used some white spray paint that I had on hand to quickly paint them white. I pre-drilled 25 holes for the eye-hooks on each plaque, hand screwed the hooks, and mounted the clipboard clips. There are definitely fancier versions of this out there, but this definitely suits our purposes. (And yes, Rob did get the number 69 at our last 5K, lol.)
When I began running, I think I did what a lot of people do. I pulled on some clothes I found around the house, laced up the most decent sneakers I had in the closet, and went out for week 1, day 1 of couch to 5K training. That was May 1, 2014. I ran my first 5K on July 4, 2014, and then I decided to begin the bridge to 10K training for a 10K I registered for on September 6,2014. And then I registered for a 15K on September 28, and then a half-marathon on November 2. And I knew I better buy some decent gear.
My sister took some video of me on my first 5K run, and the first thing I realized was that I desperately needed a better sports bra. I did some research and realized that the bras I had been wearing (sized only small/medium/large) were woefully inadequate for the gymnastic boob movements of running. I bought some Moving Comfort sports bras that worked very well. And then one day, I needed to run after work, but had forgotten my sports bra at home, so I stopped by the nearby outlet store for a bra to not ruin my training schedule. That’s where I found the best sports bra ever. The Champion All-Out Support Wireless Sports Bra is amazing. I read the reviews online and there are a lot of complaints about it having smaller sizing. I didn’t notice that; the bra sizing has been consistent with my regular everyday bra sizing. You can always try on multiple sizes to control for that issue. The real amazing thing about this sports bra is that it has two panels sewn together (I guess to mimic the support of wearing 2 sports bras at once – a strategy some women employ), but these panels make an amazing pocket. I can drop pepper spray and my phone in this pocket for easy access. No more special cases for my iPhone to wear on my arm or around my waist. It just stays snug in my bra. (And we’re talking an iPhone 6+ here.)
My next favorite piece of gear is my CW-X running tights. Now I know that there are a lot of “compression” tights out there. I even have some from Old Navy that are great for pilates or even spin class. However, the high impact workout my knees and pelvis get while running necessitates my magic pants – CW-X Women’s 3/4 Length Stabilyx Tights. I have two pairs that I recycle every other run. I bought my first pair of these tights after getting a few weeks into my B210K training, and I was starting to have some knee tenderness after a run. That knee pain is completely gone now. These tights are really magical. They provide support like no other running tight. In the mild climate where I live, the 3/4-length, non-insulated version has managed to get me through the coldest weather so far (in the lower 30’s). Sometimes I pair some compression calf sleeves with the tights for added warmth or training support, but usually, I don’t.
My final recommendation is a relatively new acquisition, my Basis Peak. I am a data junkie; I’ve been running with a heart rate monitor since my first few weeks of training. I import my data into MapMyRun (my family all joins in on that fun), Strava because I love the heat map and following the pros, and Smashrun because they have a data-analyzing powerhouse for runners. It’s amazing to see my heart rate training bands over the past months. Before the Basis Peak, I was using a chest monitor. And although it wasn’t too bad, I did have to deal with chafing, putting it on, and trying to keep it from not stinking. My Basis Peak changes all of that. Using MapMyRun, I record my heartrate for all my workouts – spin class, yoga, barre-lates. It works with Strava also to record my runs. And its all from my watch. I run at crazy hours and I always have my iPhone, so I don’t mind that the watch doesn’t have GPS. It’s data is just so robust and convenient! I charge it every day while I’m showering (although it is water resistant). And that’s it. Heart rate, sleep monitoring, awesomeness!
My husband and I are training for our second half marathon this spring, and I know this gear will be with me the whole time making my running life more convenient.
Over a year ago (3/13/12), I began my laundry room renovation project. As you can see from the first post, the room was in dire need of work! I’m excited to say that this project is well underway, and though it’s not quite complete, we are almost at the end. (I’ve made some after/before pictures and attached them to the end of this post.)
What have I done so far? The two biggest changes implemented are 1)Painting the room pinkish/coral and, 2)Reorganizing my stuff. We moved the original utility shelves to a more suitable space, bought chrome wire shelves from the Home Depot, and got rid of unneeded junk. I also got a cute (cheap) red rug from ikea, covered the previously white shelf with red wrapping paper & clear contact paper, and moved a puzzle of Tamara de Lempicka’s 1925 painting, “Self portrait in the Green Bugatti,” in from another room to cover the electrical panel.
One of my favorite new tools is this set of mini drawers that my neighbor gave us when she was reorganizing one of her spaces. I now have different drawers for beads, paints, printmaking supplies, floral supplies, embroidery thread, felt, etc. Even my buttons are sorted by color and pretty in their own drawer!
What’s left to do?
- Replace the ugly light fixture with the chandelier from my bathroom. In the first image on this page, you can see the light I’ve renovated to be the new light over my tub. (It’s sitting on the cabinet.)
- I’m working on a solution for air-drying clothes.
- Looking for a cart to go between the dryer and the cabinet.
- Considering a unified enclosure for the washer and dryer.
- and, Maybe some more wall art, scavenged from other areas of the house.
I finally got around to rewiring a vintage lamp I bought from etsy. I love the white rainbow.
I was tired of the brass lamp kits available locally at Home Depot/Lowe’s, so I bought this Jandorf Make a Lamp Kit (60139) in a pewter finish on Amazon.
Instead of going out this past year on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I stayed home and made our favorite appetizers! We love these bacon wrapped bites of goodness, and they would be perfect to celebrate your normal, everyday Champagne Thursday. Even though the holidays are over, we’ve got to keep up with the celebrations…(but these may interfere with new year’s resolutions that involve eating healthy).
- Thick-Sliced Bacon (The better your bacon is, the better these turn out. We love to use the black pepper bacon for an extra kick, and I usually buy the 24 oz. package)
- 8 oz. cans of Water Chestnuts (I have a hard time finding these whole, so I usually make the sliced water chestnuts work. Three cans should work for 24 ounces of bacon.)
- For the Sauce:
- 3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 3/4 cup Ketchup (Heinz!)
- 1 tablespoon Miracle Whip (or mayo – i can imagine some fancy mayo making this sauce even better)
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 5 teaspoons Sriracha (you can always start smaller if heat isn’t your thing)
- Drop a handful of toothpicks in a dish of water and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Unwrap bacon on cutting board and cut the entire package into thirds (of equal length).
- Open and drain water chestnuts. If you’re using whole water chestnuts, cut them in half.
- Wrap one-third slice of bacon around a water chestnut half or stack of two slices. Secure the little bundle with a toothpick through the middle.
- Arrange the wrapped water chestnuts on a broiling pan (that pan that comes with the oven) or on a wire grill that fits on baking pan, but keeps the food off the surface of the pan. The key here is that these delicious bacon wrapped delights will shed a lot of bacon fat as they bake; it’s nicer to keep them out of the pool of fat that will be sitting in your pan.
- Bake wrapped water chestnuts 40 minutes, and while the water chestnuts are baking, mix up your sauce ingredients in a small bowl with a fork.
- When the wrapped water chestnuts have baked for 40 minutes, pull them out (leave your oven on). Spoon/pour the sauce onto the tops of the wrapped water chestnuts.
- Put the wrapped water chestnuts back in the oven for about 20 minutes; bake until the bacon is crispy.
- Use tongs to move the appetizers to a serving plate; leave the toothpicks in the wraps, so people can easily grab them.
- Make sure you get some when you put these appetizers out, because they disappear fast!
When it’s cold, we always make more soup, and one of our favorites is Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup. By substituting Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles for the real thing, we enjoy a more low-carb version of our favorite cold day treat.
- 48 oz Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1/3 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
- 3/8 cup (6 tbsp.) Brown Sugar
- Sriracha – We use 2 tbsp., but I recommend starting at 1 and seasoning up based on how you like it.
- 1 Medium Lime – the juice & the zest
- 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
- 2, 7 oz. packages of Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles, rinsed in cold water and drained (We use these from Amazon, because I subscribe to them!)
- 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
- 1 cup Sliced Mushrooms (Any kind will do, I used Portobello in the picture, because that’s what we had in the fridge. Shiitake might be the best choice for this asian-inspired dish.)
- 1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes (I usually quarter these.)
- Fresh Cilantro (2-3 tbsp.)
- Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, lime juice, lime zest, and bring to a boil.
- Toss chicken strips in corn starch
- When broth mixture boils, add chicken, mushrooms, and Shirataki noodles.
- Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro.
- Let the soup cool 2-3 minutes before serving
I have a problem throwing away things, especially paper remembrances – ticket stubs, cards, programs. There is no logical reason to hold onto the Phantom of the Opera program from my high school orchestra trip or the autographed Penn & Teller program from their performance at Duke, but I still have them. I have quite a stack of holiday cards, and I was trying to brainstorm a way to incorporate the cards into a new wreath. (Our previous wreath was nice, but a very plain wreath of greenery with a simple red bow.)
I can’t say that I thought of this idea all alone; my inspiration was a DIY Clock from Junk Mail that I saw on Apartment Therapy. To make the wreath, my only materials were items from the dollar store, old holiday cards, and a few Christmas catalogs to fill in the spaces. (I only had cards for about half of the spokes.) I made a 3″ wide base for the wreath by cutting it out of foamcore with my x-acto. The interior circle was large enough to feature the star ornament; the outer circle was just 3″ larger than the interior. I used my handy compasses from grad school drafting to get the circles right, but a piece of string could also be used to measure the radii. After I had the wreath shape, I stacked foam to about 1.5″ and hot-glued that to the back of the wreath shape in 4 places to give the wreath some depth. Then I covered the whole frame with ribbon. You can see the back here:
The next step was to roll up the holiday cards. I used the entire card for each spoke and started rolling from the plain side, so the end product would have the most color. And I used a dowel to get the initial shape and help keep the rolling even. In my wreath there are 58 spokes; 29 of these spokes are from Christmas cards. The remaining spokes are pages from the West Elm and Blissliving holiday catalogs cut down to a similar size. I wasn’t worried about the spokes being the same length, but it could be easily controlled if precision spokes are your thing.
The last steps were to hot glue the spokes to the base in a radial pattern, add gold ribbon for hanging, add a gold bow, hang the gold dollar store ornament in the middle, and finally I added some bells to up the holiday-ness of the wreath. I thought it was important to keep the wreath accents in the same color (gold), because the rest of the wreath could be pretty busy.
Now we have a wreath that is inexpensive AND is made from the love and kindness of our friends and family. It’s perfect. As we get more holiday cards over the years. I will probably just replace the catalog pages with real cards.