Monday, October 28, 2013

Training Week 6

Hey y'all! Training week 6 wasn't all that eventful to be honest, so I'm going to just give you a short run down:

Monday: Trainer appointment, same as always.

Tuesday: 4 miles. Felt good-ish (as good as running 4 miles can feel anyway).

Wednesday: 2 miles. Got 'er done.

Thursday: 4 miles. Not as crappy as the previous week, not amazing either. I walked some of the last two miles. 

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Was supposed to work out, and I didn't. But it was my best friend's wedding, so I had an excuse.

Sunday: 5K (3.1 miles). This was supposed to be an actual race, but I just ran it in my neighborhood like I always do. I was SO GRATEFUL that I had a reprieve from the long distance run (last Sunday's 6 miler was a MOTHER!). I PR'd for this distance, coming in at 33 minutes, woo hoo!! 

All in all, a pretty normal running week for me. But if I am being honest, I'm really not looking forward to the increased distance I am going to be required to do this week! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Surprise! Another FREE printable!

Happy Wednesday!! Because I love my readers, and because I love the season, I'm surprising you with yet ANOTHER free printable for you! Just remember to click the link, then download the image to your computer before you print. I hope you enjoy!


A FREE fall printable!

I have something special for you guys today! A FREE fall printable! All you have to do is click the link below and it will take you to the printable. Once there, select download. The downloaded image will print perfectly! It is perfect for an 8 X10 frame! I hope you enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Training Week 5

Hello to all my reader friends! In case you were wondering, I'm still trucking along with my half marathon training. Week 5 has officially wrapped up so here is the low down.

Monday: Trainer appointment. As strange as it may seem, somehow that always ends up being an enjoyable 30 minutes.

Tuesday: 4 mile run. Notice how the distance of these runs is slowly creeping up. My friend Hannah (who is getting married in 4 DAYS!!! WOO HOO!!) ran with me and I have to say she did really good! It was a pretty enjoyable run, but again, my app wasn't working properly (stupid iphone!) so I'm not sure what our time was. My phone said 35 minutes, and Hannah's phone said 45 minutes. I have a pretty good feeling Hannah's was closer to being correct. 

Wednesday: 2 mile run. This run didn't even phase me. (NOTE TO SELF: when running becomes so easy that a 2 miler doesn't even phase me, chances are I'm about to get my butt kicked.) By this point, I was feeling so used to running longer distances that I felt confident and just knocked these two miles out easy peesy. My time was 21:50 which was pretty much normal.

Thursday: 4 mile run. Remember how I said 2 miles didn't even phase me on Wednesday? Well, I think sometimes I get overly confident in my abilities and nature likes to remind me that I need to stop being so damn conceited and realize that I still have a long way to go. This run kicked my ass. Seriously, it was so hard. I ran the first mile but struggled through it. I basically walked/ran short intervals for the next three miles. I'm not even kidding when I say this run was a lesson in humility for me. Which is probably a good thing, in hindsight. My time was 52:30. Ugh.

Friday: Rest day. Yay!

Saturday: I didn't have time for much, but I did squeeze in a bike ride, which was nice.

Sunday: 6 mile run. This is the longest run I've ever attempted, not only in my training program, but in my entire life. Up until Sunday, the furthest I had ever run was 5 miles. I guess in some ways it was a decent run, and I should be proud. But honestly, I can't help but be a little disappointed in myself for how it went. I ran the first four miles, but by the end of mile four I was starting to feel the pain. My lower back was hurting pretty bad and I was running hunched over to relieve the pain. Not attractive. If any of you have any suggestions about how to relieve lower back pain while running, I'm all ears. I started to walk. I only walked about 20 steps before I forced myself to start jogging again, but it wasn't long and I was walking again. I walked for about a minute or so and then started back up. I managed to run the rest of the way, which included the full last mile. So, all in all, I guess I didn't do too bad. I probably ran at least 5.5 of the 6 miles and only walked a little bit, but I was really hoping to run the entire thing. 

So here I am, at about the half way mark of my training, and I'm feeling a little discouraged. I've come a long way but I still have SO FAR to go. Let's hope I can get my head and heart back in the game long before December 8th rolls around.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Candle Upgrade

If you've read my blog before, you already know that when it comes to my home, I have champagne taste on a beer budget (more specifically on a Natural Light budget). I'm always looking for ways to use inexpensive items in creative ways, and today I want to share with you a simple trick to ensure that your cheap candles are as amazing as name brand ones like Yankee, Woodwick or (my personal favorite) Bath & Body Works candles.

You can find cheap candles at most stores. Dollar stores, Walmart and grocery stores usually have a good selection. Typically, it isn't very difficult to find cheap candles that smell good. The main difference between cheap candles and expensive ones is that the cheap ones don't smell as strong. Which brings us to tip #1. Unless you are putting your cheap candle in a very small room like a powder room, make sure you buy one with multiple wicks. The more wicks the stronger the smell. I bought this three wick candle at Kroger for $3.88, and it smells amazing:

While it smells nice and with 3 wicks is strong enough to freshen my entire living room, it is kinda ugly. So I whipped out my handy dandy glue gun and came up with this:

I bought a ziploc bag full of lace at a garage sale for 25 cents and it has lasted me a very long time. I also purchased a spool of twine about a year ago for I think $3, and it is nowhere near running out either. So for pennies, I upgraded my cheap grocery store candle so that it not only smells good, but it looks good too. If lace isn't your cup of tea, it would also be really easy to use Modge Podge (which is just a glue and water mixture) to stick newspaper or even sheet music to the outside of your candles.

Not a bad transformation, right?

What about you? Do you have any tips to turn inexpensive items into treasures?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm getting a little antsy... do some DIY! Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying all the running I've been doing and I am looking forward to my first ever half marathon in December, but all this training has seriously cut into my DIY time. I have a list about a mile long of things I'd like to do in our home including but not limited to:

master bathroom total remodel, backyard overhaul, new counter tops in guest and half baths, french door installation in the dining room, new carpeting, new tile in the upstairs bath, new blinds in all the bedrooms, the list goes on and on. 

Also, I am SO EXCITED because this year my hubby and I will be hosting our family Thanksgiving dinner. Last year was our first year to host and we had an absolute blast doing it.
Will we ever forget how the men huddled around the radio because our cable decided not to cooperate so they were unable to watch the football game? Ah, memories.

I'm really looking forward to hosting again this year and am hoping that Thanksgiving at our house has become a new family tradition. Unfortunately, it just isn't feasible to think we could accomplish anywhere near our entire list of to do's between now and Thanksgiving. We probably never will finish them all.  So, I've decided to narrow down my list to...

 8 things we can reasonably accomplish in the next 12 months

1. Finish framing the half bathroom mirror. 
The sad thing is, we've been 90% done with this project for months already, I just have to slap a coat of paint on our already trimmed wood and stick them up. When it's all said and done, I'm hoping it'll look something like this:

2. Paint/stain the cabinets in the master and half bathrooms. 
I'm not sure if I want to paint them grey or stain them a dark wood color, but here are my inspiration photos for these projects: 

3. Staircase remodel. 
This is a little bit of a bigger project, but should still be reasonably affordable. I'm hoping the transformation will look a little something like this:

4. Hang chandelier in master bedroom.
We purchased this chandelier to hang over my hubby's nightstand forever ago (like almost 2 years ago) and still haven't taken it out of the box. I'd like to actually get it hung up one of these days because I still really like it! The main reason I've put this project off for so long is the fixture is hard wired (meaning it is powered through a light switch, and must be installed directly into the ceiling). I want to change it so that it can be plugged in. 

5. Paint the kitchen. 
Remember back when I did the kitchen remodel post and I said that we were pretty much done with this room with the exception of painting the walls? Well, we still haven't painted them and its been almost 7 months. I think we've decided on a coffee/mocha color although we've been advised by several friends that grey would be pretty too. It currently looks like this:

6. Paint the master bathroom.
About a month ago I noticed a spot on our master bathroom wall that needed to be touched up. The old owners had kindly left us a gallon of paint to use for this very circumstance. Unfortunately, the paint was so old that the color had changed pretty drastically. So now we have a spot on our bathroom wall that doesn't match the rest of the room. Needless to say, now the entire space needs to be repainted. I'm leaning towards a light and spa like color scheme, much like what we did in the upstairs guest bathroom. Here's a picture of that hideous spot, in all it's glory:

7. Neutralize the gallery wall. 
Back in June I did a post about my gallery wall (read about that here). While in the process of writing the post I started to think about "neutralizing" the colors of the gallery wall, and since then the idea has stuck with me. I want to get rid of some of the darker blues as well as the green frames by painting them white. I may even spray paint my little bike white. It currently looks like this:

 8. Fix the door frame in the upstairs bathroom.
Remember how excited I was back in August when I finally completed my guest bathroom mini makeover? Sadly, we only had a few weeks to enjoy the space before our dog Ruby had a full blown freak out session and did this to our door frame:

So, now we need to fix that too.  

Ok, I know what you are thinking. Thanksgiving is in like 6 weeks, not 12 months! I thought I'd start with projects for the next year, and I'd take your advice about which ones I should tackle before Thanksgiving. I think we can get at least 2 or 3 things checked off the list. 

So what do you think? Which ones should I attempt to do before Thanksgiving? 

As always, thank you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Training Week 4

Happy Monday everybody! I hope you are all feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world after an enjoyable weekend! Today, I am going to update you all on week 4 of my half marathon training. I'm not sure everybody loves reading about this as much as they like reading about home decor stuff, but writing about it helps to keep me accountable, so I'm going to keep updating you all on my running progress. I promise to throw in some fun home decor stuff too!  If you want to read about training week 1 click here, week 2 click here and week 3 click here

All in all, this week was a really good week. This is the first week where I haven't had to walk at all. The first 3 weeks of training had good days and bad days, and while I was making progress with each run, sometimes I had to walk. Week 4 I managed to run every single step of the 14 miles required of me. Here's the breakdown:

Monday: no running, just a workout. I had another trainer appointment which was good!

Tuesday: 3.5 mile run. My time was 37:54, which I think is my fastest pace for this distance so far, and I felt really good about it! 

Wednesday: 2 mile run. This was a treadmill run. I really don't like running on a treadmill. It feels so pointless to me. Plus, I really like to spend as much time outdoors as possible, since I'm already stuck in an office building 40 hours a week. I ran it in 21:19 which I also think is my personal record for this distance, so I felt good about that. Two PRs (personal records) in a row was a great way to start my training week!

Thursday: 3.5 mile run. This was definitely harder than the 3.5 miles I had to do on Tuesday, but it could have been worse. I managed to run the entire thing in 39:22 which didn't seem too bad for a Thursday run. 

Friday: Rest day. Yay!

Saturday: Cross training. I went on a bike ride and then did 100 push ups, 100 crunches and 100 squats! I'm still sore!! 

Sunday: 5 mile run. I was absolutely DREADING this run. Saturday night was my friend Hannah's bachelorette party and we had SO MUCH FUN. However the prospect of running 5 miles after a night of partying was really unappealing. I'd only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before and was completely exhausted. I took a nap before my run, but was still operating on less than 5 hours of sleep. As I was lacing up my shoes I told my husband that I was too tired to run 5 steps, let alone 5 miles. I told myself I didn't have a choice and to just go ahead and get it over with. On my way out the door, I'd decided that if I could at least run the entire first mile, I could walk/run the next 4. Somehow I managed to run the entire 5 miles without walking at all. I seriously have no idea where I managed to get the energy to do it, but I did and I am proud. To me this is a bigger accomplishment than last Sunday's 5 mile run. Last Sunday all the cards were in my favor. The weather was gorgeous, I had a full nights sleep, I had the perfect pair of running pants on, and I was feeling great. This Sunday I had zero energy, I hadn't had enough to eat, the weather was sticky and all my favorite work out clothes were dirty so I had to settle for a less comfy outfit and I still managed to pull it off. I have no idea what my time was because my running app wasn't working correctly (it told me mile 2 took me 22 minutes and that mile 3 took me only 5 minutes. It then told me I did all 5 miles in 43 minutes) but if I had to guess I was probably around the one hour mark. Afterwards, we went out to dinner to celebrate my mother-in-laws birthday (Happy Birthday Kellie!!) which was a really fun evening and a great way to end the weekend. 

I'm beginning to think Hal Higdon (read about his training programs here) must really know what he is talking about. So far I've followed his Novice 1 program pretty much to a T and I've already accomplished far more than I ever thought possible. 

How about you guys? I hope you are having success in your attempts to accomplish your goals too!!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DIY Patio

Back when my hubby (well at that time he was still just my fiance) and I first moved into our home, the back yard didn't have a patio or deck, just a small landing right off the back door. I knew that spring would approach fast and I definitely wanted to make use of our yard for entertaining and cookouts. So, we decided to build our own patio! This was our first major project in the house. Here's what the yard looked like before:

I didn't want the patio to take up too much of the yard because I wanted there to still be  plenty of green space for our pup to run around, but I also knew I wanted to convert that round planter pictured above into a fire pit. We decided a curved patio would fit our space best. We shopped around, and ultimately bought our supplies at The Home Depot. I think we spent about $700 on supplies, but we did all the labor ourselves, so that saved a ton of money (and burned a LOT of calories!). Even though I wasn't blogging at the time, I documented the process pretty well because I was so excited to be doing our first big project as homeowners! 

The first step was to remove the grass from the area we wanted to put the patio. Once all the grass was removed, we had to smooth out the ground and level it.

 That's my father in law helping us level the ground :) 

 I didn't take pictures of this next part, but the next steps were to put several layers of sand and fine gravel over the ground. Then we laid a fabric weed blocker down on top of that. We laid the fabric blocker down as we progressed with the bricks because the wind was blowing it everywhere.

After all the bricks were laid, all that was left was to clean up! The edges were rough, and we planned to finish them, but never got around to renting a brick cutter to do it. Luckily, the grass grew in and covered the edges so that now they look smooth and even! We do still need to cut some bricks and fill in the edges surrounding the fire pit! 

Today the patio looks even better because we've purchased patio furniture as well:

What about you? Have you tackled any big DIY projects in your home that make you proud?


Monday, October 7, 2013

Training Week 3

Hey there! I'm continuing my weekly tradition of telling you about my progress during my first ever half marathon training. Read about week 1 here and week 2 here). So, here we go! 

Monday: no run today, just a work out. I had a trainer appointment and it was a good session!

Tuesday: 3.5 mile run (this is longer that the first two weeks, where I was only required to run 3 miles). This was a good run, and I felt no need to walk at all. My time was 39:50 which was fairly solid.

Wednesday: 2 mile run. I had plans in the evening after work on Wednesday, so I got up at 4:45 am to run. SO EARLY! It was pitch black outside and I only saw two other runners and practically no cars were out on the roads. Not gonna lie, even though this was a short run, it was hard. The shorter rest time since my Tuesday run probably contributed, plus it was kinda creepy being out when it was so quiet and dark. My time for that run was 24:11 so definitely not my quickest.

Thursday: 3.5 mile run. This was also my birthday (which, btw, was awesome!) so, per family tradition, we had plans with my family to get together to celebrate after work. I decided to run to my parents house which is only about 2.5 miles away, so I knew I'd have to take the "scenic route" to stretch the run out an additional mile. This was actually a really fun run and I totally take back what I said last week about Thursday runs sucking no matter what.  It was really fun not knowing exactly which route I was going to take and just winging it. Also, I'd had a longer time to rest since I had run so early on Wednesday which was helpful. AND, my hubby came with me which made it really fun! He biked instead of running with me, but still knowing he was there made it better. My time was 40:40, but I'm confident that I would have finished faster than I had on Tuesday if I hadn't had to wait for cars when I was crossing intersections (and I thought I saw a dead guy which momentarily distracted me, but that is an entirely different story). 

Friday: Rest day. And celebratory date with my hubby for my birthday. Good fun ensued.

Saturday: Cross training day. My hubs made me do 10 rounds of 10 burpees and 10 sit ups. Yes, that does equal 100 burpees. Yes, I did almost die. 

Sunday: 5 mile run. If you read my recap last week about my 4 mile run, you'll know that 5 miles is a HUGE deal for me. Like, its the longest distance I've ever attempted to run in my life (before yesterday I'd only attempted it once before and that was like 7 years and a good 30 pounds ago). You are not going to believe what happened!! Wait for it...

It was easy. 

Yup, you read that right. The weather was gorgeous (about 65 degrees!) which I'm sure helped, but really I just felt good from start to finish. I didn't have any serious thoughts on life like I did last week, just a good, lighthearted run. And I was never tempted to walk at all. Crazy right? Now I've probably jinxed myself and this coming weekend I'll struggle the entire time, but whatever. Here's my screen shot of my time (which I'm pretty proud of) and just for fun I've included my split times as well. 

Thanks for stopping by! Here's to this week being as easy as last week was!


Friday, October 4, 2013

I love coffee

Hi! First of all, HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I hope you've all had a great week and are looking forward to a lovely weekend. I don't have too much to talk about today, but I wanted to share with you guys this adorable sign that I found at Hobby Lobby last weekend. 

These wooden signs with sayings on them are so in style right now, and when I found this one that was all about coffee, I knew I had to have it. I LOVE COFFEE. For reals. Maybe more than wine. (Ok, maybe not that much, but you get my point). It is the perfect size hanging on the end of my kitchen cabinet, and you may notice that our Keurig is right below it. This is my "nod to a coffee bar" so to speak. If you've been on Pinterest, it's likely you've seen those adorable coffee bars and coffee stations that people are putting in their kitchens these days. I love them, but just don't have the space for one. So this little corner of my kitchen will have to suffice! 

What about you? Have you made any small additions to your kitchen lately that make you happy?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Training Week 2

Hello my wonderful readers! I hope your week is off to a lovely start. Two days ago, on Sunday I wrapped up the second week of training for my half marathon. The program was exactly the same as week 1 (read about week 1 here) in terms of distance requirements. 

Tuesday's 3 mile run was normal and good, as was Wednesday's 2 miler. I finished the 2 mile run in 21:23 which is pretty quick for me, so I was really happy with that time.  Thursday's 3 mile run was TERRIBLE. I've decided Thursday runs just suck no matter what. Even if my outfit fits perfectly and the weather is gorgeous, by Thursday I am just way too pooped to have a good run.  Also, as part of my training program, I've given up all alcohol Monday through Thursday, so by Thursday all I want is to drink a big glass of wine and sit on my butt (SIDE NOTE: That's all I want right now too, and its Tuesday morning). On Thursday I STRUGGLED, and I mean A LOT. I thought I was going to fall over and I literally limped my way back to our house. I finished in 37:56, and I had to walk several times. (Insert sad face here).  So same as week 1, here I was, facing the daunting task of running 4 miles on Sunday and feeling less than confident after my Thursday 3 miler.

Sunday morning dawned dreary, warm and humid. I rolled out of bed at around 10am and looked out the window to see a rainy day. Feeling slightly less than thrilled, I figured it was best to just get my run over with before it started to really storm. So I went outside, and I started to run.

When I hit the mile 1 marker, I felt really good, but I knew that I usually struggled most between miles 1 and 2 so I didn't want to be overly confident. It was drizzling which was a new experience for me. I had never run in the rain, and surprisingly it was nice. It wasn't raining so hard that I was miserable and luckily my feet stayed dry, but the light drizzle on my face and body felt refreshing. As I ran between miles 1 and 2 (the most difficult stretch for me because I'm already getting tired and still have such a long way to go), I thought about my upcoming 25th birthday and reflected on all the lessons I had learned in my 24th year on earth. And those thoughts of life lessons and milestones pushed me through. I hit mile 2. I was half way done. I was feeling GOOD. 

The rain continued for the next two miles and I thought about my marriage, my strengths and weaknesses as a wife. I thought about my overwhelming love for my husband, and how grateful I am for him. I thought about myself as an individual, my strengths and weaknesses as a woman, independent of who I am with my husband. I thought about my crazy idea to run 13.1 miles. I thought about my fears of not being able to finish the race. And I ran. And I didn't stop. For 4 WHOLE MILES, I ran. I didn't walk. In the rain. 

 It is so hard to explain, especially in writing, the feelings I felt as I finished that run, but I'll try.  

Less than 2 years ago, I was newly engaged and determined to be a "skinny bride". I decided I was going to work out, and as part of my workout routine, I was going to run. So one night in the first week of December 2011, I went for a run, and Reid went with me. It was cold and dark outside and not even 30 seconds into it, I wanted to stop. Reid was cheering me on, telling me I could do it. "Just make it to the stop sign babe, you're doing great! Just to the stop sign!" I wanted to scream "I can't make it to the stop sign you freakishly healthy and in shape man!!!" but I didn't have enough breath to say a single word, let alone scream an entire sentence, so I didn't say anything. I made it to the stop sign, barely. Afterwards my chest hurt and I couldn't stop coughing. I didn't know how far I'd gone, but it felt like I'd run FOREVER. A few months later I mapped that route. I had only run 1/10th of a mile. Like literally less than 1/2 of a lap around a track. 

Fast forward to the first week of December 2013 and I'll be only days away from my first ever half marathon. I can't even satisfactorily explain to myself how I got from where I was then to where I am now. I just did it. And you know what, there is still a lot that can happen between now and December 8th. There is still a lot of training I have to do. And I know there is a HUGE difference between running 4 miles and running 13.1 miles. For all I know, I could trip and break my ankle today and be done running for months. But two years ago I could barely run 1/10th of a mile, and today I can run 4. I feel amazing. Proud. Healthy. Alive. Young. Energized. I've accomplished something big already, and I am not even close to stopping.