Friday, May 31, 2013

Hello

I'm taking a moment out of my day to tell you two things:

1. My goal this weekend is to write - at minimum - ten blog posts. I haven't had free time in the past two weeks, so I'm really getting behind.

2.  I submitted this photo to WRAL pets and have been religiously checking everyday to see if they have posted Otis' photo online:


It's definitely a 5-star photo and I'm crossing my fingers he will be Pet of the Week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

26 Things I'm Thankful For On My Birthday (and Everyday)

This list may seem very basic, but it's nice to slow down and reflect on life's many blessings.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. :-)

1. Brian
2. My family
3. Brian's family
4. Colby & Otis
5. Our house
6. The friends I hang out with every weekend, the friends I see only a couple times a year, the friends I never see but keep up with through social media
7. My faith in Christ
8. My job
9. My car
10. Vacations
11. Paid time off
12. My health
13. My Pottery Barn bedding
14. My pictures
15. Reading on the deck on a sunny day
16. Running
17. My cell phone
18. A chilled bottle of white wine
19. A good recipe
20. Lunch at Wendy's
21. Good customer service at Wendy's
22.  Beating 5 o'clock traffic
23. A gym membership
24. Ice cream
25. A compliment
26. A good night's sleep

Birthday Memories

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday!

On May 23rd....

10 years ago - I was hanging out with Ame and Erin all day. We went to Chuck E Cheese and then to youth choir that night. 

Here's me and Ame goofing off in the church choir room:


5 years ago - I could legally drink! Meg and I went to the beach for the weekend.
Here's a pic of Meg and me at the beach that year (Key West):


4 years ago - I graduated from Elon!


Oh how the time flies!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Run Like a Mother

This is a piece I wrote to contribute to 919 Magazine.


It was early March and I remember seeing the GMail pop-up chat box in the bottom right corner of my computer screen.

It was a message from my friend asking, “Do you wanna run a 5K with me?”

I thought about making up a reason why I wouldn’t be able to run the 5K, perhaps using my go-to “running-induced asthma” excuse, but a small part of me was up for the challenge. The “Run Like a Mother” 5K race in Wake Forest was nine weeks away, which would give us just enough time to complete the Couch-to-5K training program.  Most years of my life have been spent perfecting the Couch-to-Freezer routine for my nightly bowl of ice cream, so I figured it best that I try something new.  Plus I’d be running with my friends on the 919 Magazine team, and since 919 Magazine was one of the race sponsors, my registration fee would be waived. Free entry! Score!

My friend Ame and I decided we’d meet three times a week to run. We’re both lucky to live within close proximity to Lake Lynn, Shelley Lake, and the Greenway, so we agreed we’d meet at one of these places for our tri-weekly running date.

Well, Week One of the Couch-to-5K training was a breeze. With sixty-second intervals of walking and running, we were feeling like champions at the end of each session. Bring on the half marathon! By Week Two, I was begging to be back at Week One.  By Week Three, one of us was sick and the other was too busy, so Week Three became Week Four, and Week Four was entirely too difficult. “I can’t believe they expect us to run five minutes straight!”

But we pressed on.

I came to appreciate the time spent running with my friend, catching up on our jobs, our relationships, and our drama. Shortly after Week Four ended, I found myself without a running partner, which isn’t too surprising given the busyness of life. Although it was a little harder to find motivation, I didn’t lose steam.  I came to appreciate the time spent running alone, reflecting on my job, my relationships, and my drama.

The biggest challenge came at Week Six. My mom invited me to participate in the “Strike Out Sarcoma” 5K in Durham that weekend. I felt nowhere near ready, but I agreed I’d try. I surprised myself by running the entire race – albeit at a very slow pace. I finished in 35 minutes, 37 seconds. I was so proud!

Successfully running the Sarcoma 5K that weekend was the energy boost that I needed. I gave myself a few days to relax before I once again kicked it into high gear and finished the Couch-to-5K program.

On the morning of the “Run Like a Mother” 5K, I was feeling slightly nervous, but determined. I knew that many people would be walking, and walking the 5K seemed pretty tempting at 7:30 in the morning.  

But I ran.
Slowly. Very slowly.

I finished at 37 minutes, 37 seconds. It took me a bit longer to run this 5K than the previous one, but I blame it on the “mother of a hill” that I sluggishly conquered at the end of mile 2. 

I’m excited about my newly discovered passion and I plan to keep on truckin’. Today, I registered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Raleigh on June 8th. Maybe by next year I’ll be running longer distances, or maybe I’ll pick up the pace and improve my time. The way I see it, running these 5K races has its perks. I burn calories while supporting a good cause. And now those nightly bowls of ice cream are completely justified.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Otis Went Under the Knife

Otis had surgery yesterday to remove a part of an elongated palate that was obstructing his airway. Many English Bulldogs require this surgery, so we knew it was a possibility when we picked the breed.
He did fine for the surgery and seems to be recovering nicely. It will take a few weeks for him to heal, but hopefully he will be breathing better than ever!

It's been a busy week for me and it's only Tuesday.

If you're also feeling overwhelmed, here's an Otis picture to brighten your day.


I'm now going to eat a bowl of cookie dough ice cream and then take a long, steaming hot shower.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Extreme Home Makeover: Master Bedroom Edition

Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE our master bedroom, but it took me a while to warm up to it. When we were contemplating whether or not we wanted to put an offer on this house (a decision that took about 0.002 seconds), the master bedroom was my #1 complaint.

It is so friggin' small.

A few weeks prior to finding our current house, we toured a different house that was for sale and its master bedroom had completely won me over.

The master bedroom in that house was un-be-lievable. For starters, it was enormous. The master bath alone was bigger than our current bedroom. It had a second-story porch attached to the bedroom, complete with french doors. It had an area devoted to a workout space/home office and the walk-in closets were out of this world. It was a bedroom fit for a queen. I was having visions of bubble baths in the jacuzzi tub, coffee on the bedroom porch, and shopping sprees to fill my gigantic closets.

As much as I loved that bedroom, the house was relatively new construction in a cookie-cutter neighborhood with only about 0.2 acres. Brian and I just didn't have a peace about that house and we knew that it wasn't for us.

But I kept thinking about that bedroom.

And then we bought our current house, which has a master bedroom fit for a person who likes really small spaces.

Not that I'm complaining or anything.
In fact, I've grown to love the idea (and actuality) of having a small master bedroom.

It's cozy.
It only allows me to keep a minimal amount of clothing on hand (which is good since I only wear about 10% of my wardrobe 90% of the time).
It's cozy.
We won't have to spend as much money on furniture since there's not much space.
It's cozy.

So, yeah. I've come to love it.

I'll give you the grand tour. Like every room in our entire house, it's still a work in progress.

From our living room, you enter into the master bedroom and there's a little entry hall. Bathroom to the left, window to the right. Mallard duck straight ahead.


To the left, to the left. It's where I use the bathroom in that room to the left.


Ok, here's the master bedroom.


Quite the view, eh?


Ok, here's everything wrong with the master bedroom.




Exposed dirty laundry?!
Cringe.


When we moved in, we did some furniture shopping the first few weeks, but we didn't find anything we felt like we had to have. We knew we'd be better off waiting instead of making a hasty, expensive decision.

By the way, here's my dream bedroom on the Pottery Barn website:


I think it would look perfect and I've already got the faux fur throw and pillows; however, one of the main problems we've encountered is trying to design and decorate a master bedroom that is Otis-proof.

The white duvet will not work.
Anything over $100 will not work.

Otis has currently chewed and peeed on our current quilt.
Peed or peeed? Not sure. Past tense of pee.

Basically, anything we buy is at risk of being destroyed.

We've got our work cut out for us, and I've decided to tackle this as my next project.

I drew up my floor plan last night.


Brian was quick to point out two things:
#1. There are no measurements.
#2. The drawing sucks.

Well,
#1. I prefer not to be confined by measurements.
#2. I can't outshine you in everything.

;-)

Alright, stay tuned for the progress report....


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Slippery When Wet

You see these slate rocks?



When it rains, these rocks are a death trap.



This was me last night when I was coming back in from my walk with Otis:



Limbs everywhere. It wasn't graceful.

I somehow managed to land really hard on my butt, but I also ended up with a busted kneecap.

The whole thing happened so quickly. It's kind of a blur.





Unfortunately for me, I'm running a 5k this Sunday.

Fortunately for me, I now have an excuse if I don't end up running a 5k this Sunday.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Calorie-Laden Mother's Day Gift Ideas

If you're unable to hand deliver a gift in-person, I'm a fan of sending tasty treats. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Dorothy Lane Market Killer Brownies
I've used Dorothy Lane Market on three separate occasions, but I'm still waiting for an occasion to send myself a box of these Killer Brownies! Although there are a bunch of different brownie varieties, there's an overall consensus from my recipients that Original Killer Brownie is the favorite.

{Image from Dorothy Lane Market}

Here's a link to a review of the brownies from The Pioneer Woman.

2. Les Madeleines Croissants
I recently sent these as a birthday gift to Brian's grandma and sister. I haven't gotten a chance to talk with them about how they tasted, but I can say from personal experience that I received top-notch customer service at the bakery. Since this bakery is in Oregon  I obviously had to do all of my ordering online and over the phone. I had originally confirmed the order online, but decided the next day I wanted to change it. Everything went smoothly and they even sent me a personal email to make sure everything went as planned.

{Image from Kevin and Amanda}


The best cake I've ever eaten. Seriously. It's worth every dime.You can't go wrong with the original caramel cake - it's why they're famous!

{Image from Caroline's Cakes}


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Contentment Challenge

Back in April, I decided I would participate in Nancy Ray's Contentment Challenge. Basically, for the next three months, you're encouraged to focus on Jesus and not buy shit.

Nancy Ray puts it much more eloquently than I do. She doesn't use the word shit.

So far I've been successful with not buying anything other than the artwork I showed you on the previous blog post and groceries (groceries are allowed). Each month there is also a task to complete.

For the month of April, you were encouraged to clean out your closet and give stuff away for a charitable cause. Well, I decided I would donate my beloved prom dress. I searched for organizations that were accepting prom dresses for low-income girls, but I guess I'm a little late in the year for prom. Most of the charities are no longer accepting them.

I didn't end up giving my prom dress away and I never cleaned out the closets at my house, but low and behold, my parents actually cleaned out my closet at their house (in my childhood bedroom).

They knew nothing about the Contentment Challenge; it was just good timing on their part.

My mom claimed she was "de-hoarding" the whole house, although I'm pretty sure it was only my bedroom that got de-hoarded.

I'm on to you, Mom and Dad.
The kitchen counter still looked hoard-ish, as well as the guest bedroom. ;-)

My childhood closet was cleaned and the items were either donated or trashed. Mostly trashed.

Here's the huge pile of stuff that my parents so kindly moved outside to the garage:


While I don't think I'm an actual hoarder, I do suffer from severe nostalgia. It pains me to part with things.

By the way, I own every Teen People magazine ever created.


A few seconds ago when I posted this picture, I had to make an emergency phone call to my dad to save those Newsweek magazines that I must have overlooked. I can't part with those.

Goodbye large Corona piggy bank.
And goodbye large book titled "When you ride ALONE, you ride with bin Laden."


Goodbye Chumbawamba. You were such an inspiration.


I get knocked down, but I get up again.

You're never gonna keep me down.