Day 01: Moving In

Hurricane Florence

There was a point when we were scared of Hurricane Florence–that point where the hurricane was forecast to be category 5 making landfall directly on our house. In the end, she came onshore as a massive storm that caused major flooding and annoyance for all of us — food shortages, traffic, logistical nightmares, and going without power. We were lucky though; unlike some of our neighbors, we didn’t lose any property or our lives. At worst, we had some discomfort and a major clean-up job in our yard.

Back Deck

My parents live very near to us, but on the beach side of the Intracoastal Waterway. When Florence was heading towards us, they evacuated to my childhood home much further inland (ironically, enough, in Florence, SC). After the hurricane went through, one of the first things that we did was drive over and check out their house for any damage. There was a section of the gutter that fell down, but the worst damage was water intrusion from the many hours of wind-driven rain. Their house has a roof deck and buckets of water came in around that door, went through the floor/ceiling, and into the bathroom beneath. Lots of water also came in through a huge, west-facing window. The repair contractors came and measured the moisture and found water had moved through the walls and ceilings all along the main floor of their house. My parents were facing some very lengthy repairs for all the water damage.

Light Switches

The good news was that the contractors could get started on my parents’ house ASAP. They would box up and move their stuff (either to a safe spot in their house or a warehouse), rip out the moisture-damaged surfaces, use industrial machinery to dry everything out, then replace all the affected floors, walls, and ceilings. The bad news was that my parents wouldn’t be able to live in their beach house during this process. Normally, this wouldn’t really even be an issue. My parents still own their home in Florence; they could easily head there for the time of the repairs. The complicating factor was that my parents watch our youngest son for us during the day. Phoenix goes to baby boot camp with his Yaya and Granddad, and we couldn’t be happier that he’s spending his infant days with them. We love the daycare that our older son goes to, but we have so much more peace of mind that Phoenix is in good hands with my parents. But how could mom watch Phoenix and live in Florence? With all the flooding around our rivers and the commute times, the answer was they couldn’t go to Florence, they’d have to stay at the beach.

Baby Phoenix

The only option left to my parents was to move into our house for the duration of the repairs. I didn’t know what to expect from the first day. I really wanted my parents to feel completely welcome at our house, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be to move into your 40-year old daughter’s house, not wanting to impose on her family’s life. We had a great first day though. Mom and Dad brought all of their stuff to our house (including Timothy George, the Shih Tzu), and Mom made us all a really delicious spinach salad for dinner. It always used to drive me crazy how my mom would bring a million small bags when she travelled instead of one large one, but I’ve recently noticed myself doing the same thing, especially with all the stuff we cart around for Phoenix and Ephraim.

Bag Collection

Our Nursery (finally)

Last year, I posted about how I was going to decorate the nursery, but i never got around to posting the finished room. The room is ALMOST finished, but it’s definitely time to show it off. (Still left to do — new floors below the carpet, a couple of pieces of artwork, and crown molding.)

For fun, let’s start with never before seen pictures of the starting point of the room, specifically taken in May 2016. Our junk room:

I really don’t have very much to say about the transformation that I didn’t say in the previous post, so let’s get to the pictures!
This first panoramic view of the room clearly shows almost all of my favorite elements: The tapestry curtains, the rug, the West Elm glider (which is so comfy, I can say that now from experience). We ended up going with a brighter yellow than I originally planned. It gets blown out in some of my non-professional shots, but its pale and buttery, and it brings lightness to the small space.

Another panorama shot from a different corner. I think this is the only shot that clearly shows the little Black Forest Owl Clock.

The tapestry as curtains to cover the open closets – my favorite element, and the organizing element for the nursery. I used the Ikea Dignitet to hang the curtains over the entire wall.

I never posted pictures, but at one of the amazing baby showers thrown for us, the hosts used that pattern as the “theme” for the shower. My dear friend made the most amazing cake based on the curtains. It was so good to eat too!

Books and chest! Note about the crib, yes there is a hamper of stuffed animals, but Eph is still sleeping in a pack n’ play in our room for the time being.

Close-up view of the highboy with the lamp I had as a baby (matches the lightswitch plate), the bear cub prints, and the kitty LED light.

Books, books, BOOKS! Some new, but many from my childhood. And a bluetooth speaker to stream cool kid tunez.

The other dresser, which is a great diaper-changing station.

You can see in this shot that the main family trash can is in the kitchen right outside this room. We don’t have a “dedicated” diaper trashcan, but having a closed trashcan so close makes that ok (even now as his diapers actually have an unpleasant smell because of all the solids he’s eating).

Another view of art (still working on a couple of other pieces to fill some gaps behind chair and above the dresser)

There’s lots of little elements of love that we were gifted by amazing friends and family:

  • White, handmade, crocheted blanket used for baby snuggles
  • Handpainted owl (matching the tapestry) that says, “Observe and reflect and become a little wiser everyday.” Perfect!
  • Kittycat LED Nursery Light (changes color and awesome for low light in the night)
  • Wipes warmer (some babies may not mind cold wipes, but Eph definitely prefers warm)
  • Keekaroo changing pad,

Guest Room Revisited

The first step to our nursery renovation was moving the guest room. We’re keeping most of the guest room furniture in the nursery (the two dressers anyway), but there just wasn’t room for the full-sized bed component of the bedroom suite. I’ve also been rearranging a lot of the books on the bookcases in our den to make some room for baby toys (when the need arises). The guest room is now a library of sorts.

We painted this room orange when we first moved in, and I still love the color. When the late afternoon sun comes in the window, it’s just gorgeous. The other components of the room are the bed, MCM hutch, brass étagère, the bird mobile, and some prints I bought in Portland. I’m pretty happy with the overall finished product.

Guest Room Redux

Guest Room Redux

Guest Room Redux

Moogle and Teddie Onesies

Teddie & Moogle
Teddie & Moogle
I participated in a gift exchange recently on a board for moms due in September of 2016, and I ended up getting matched with a mom who loved JRPG’s (Japanese role playing games). I made her some onesies for her little guy featuring iron-ons from two games. (Rob, my husband, helped me pick out good character as his knowledge of JRPG’s is far larger than mine.) I chose Teddie from Persona 4 and Moogle from Final Fantasy. And even though my iron-creation skills are limited to the monochrome world (for the most part), I think these onesies turned out pretty cool!
Teddie from Persona 4
Teddie from Persona 4
Moogle from Final Fantasy
Moogle from Final Fantasy

Swap Gift
The entire gift package!

Nursery Decoration Time


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!

Wardrobe Challenge

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):

  1. Things that I don’t like, and don’t fit
  2. Things that I like, but don’t fit quite right
  3. 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.

The Only Team I Need: Flesh Eating Champagne

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.

Flesh Eating Champagne Logo

And here’s our team on a 5K Glow Scavenger Hunt back in October sporting the logo on day-glo orange t-shirts.

Putting the Hard-Earned Medals on Display!

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.)

My Favorite Running Gear: Sports Bras with Pockets, Running Tights, and the Basis Peak

My Favorite Running Gear

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.

Laundry Room Renovation: Almost There!

View of the LaundryOver 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.)

Different OrganizationWhat 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.

Mini DrawersOne 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!

Rainbow Button Drawer

What’s left to do?

  1. 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.)
    Current Light (left), Future Light (right)
  2. I’m working on a solution for air-drying clothes.
  3. Looking for a cart to go between the dryer and the cabinet.
  4. Considering a unified enclosure for the washer and dryer.
  5. and, Maybe some more wall art, scavenged from other areas of the house.

After (Left) & Before (Right) 1
After (Left) & Before (Right) 1

After (Left) & Before (Right) 2
After (Left) & Before (Right) 2

After (Left) & Before (Right) 3
After (Left) & Before (Right) 3