Another Easy Holiday Wreath!

I have been thinking about decking my halls since I’ve moved into my apartment back in September. Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered gorgeous yet affordable ways to give my home that holiday glow. As I mentioned here, I have been on a serious wreath binge. I have three done, with one more to go.

When I saw the Coffee Filter Wreath from the Frugal Homemaker, I know it had to be mine. Earlier this year, I spent much of two weeks making coffee filter peonies, and so my love for coffee filters began.

For the wreath form, I used the Tubular Pipe Insulation method that seems to be all to rage on Pinterest. I bought a $.97 piece, sliced it in half, taped the ends together, and was ready to go. If I were to make this wreath again, I would use the thicker version of the pipe as the glue melted through the pipe.

Using a hot glue gun, I folded the coffee filers in quarters and started gluing them around the pipe. I wasn’t sure how close to place the coffee filters, so in the beginning they were very close. I began to grow impatient so I started spacing them out quite a bit. I even went back where I started and thinned some areas out. A few hours and two burnt fingers later, I had a beautiful, lush wreath that I can’t wait to show off!

I would highly recommend this project to anyone. It was so easy and leaves you with a big impact wreath.

Color Run Miami

Two posts in one day? I’ve been busy, give me a break!

Two weeks ago, I participated in the Color Run Miami. For those of you who haven’t heard about the Color Run 5K, the idea is that you start out with a crisp white t-shirt and every kilometer, you pass through color stations where colored powder is thrown on you. By the time you cross the finish line, you should be looking like a bag of skittles.

Besides the 5:00 a.m. wakeup time, I was pretty excited about this race. We had a group of friends who all signed up for the race, all who we have a great time with. Due to a traffic backup, we arrived to the race a few minutes before the first wave was hitting the course. We found that this was no issue as there were probably 15 waves of people… holy moly. I even had time to purchase my awesome Color Run shades from the merchandise tent.

The course was not that great for Miami. We actually ran behind a sewage plant, complete with broken glass and noise-tingling smells. It still was a great time.

I made sure to run in the “high color lanes”, right next to the people who were throwing the color. I wanted to be sure to be as colorful as possible at the end. Either I wasn’t getting hit with color or it wasn’t sticking, because my tee was still looking pretty fresh at the end.

One of the coolest parts of the Color Run would be the party afterwards. Every 15 minutes, they do a color throw, where everyone throws their package of color that is given to them with registration. The result?

This was a very fun race to be apart of. If the Color Run is coming to a city near you, I would highly recommend you sign up. By no means do you have to be an expert runner, you can even walk the 3 miles if you would like. I’m already looking forward to the Color Run 2013!

The Countdown Commences: Holiday Wreaths Part One

Happy November 1st! As we speak, the candy corn on the Target shelf is being pushed into the clearance corner, making way for the holiday candy canes.   It seems that every year, the stores try and force the Holiday season upon us earlier and earlier.  While I love the holidays, I don’t embrace this notion and have a few rules to keep myself from being sick of Christmas. For example, I do not listen to Christmas songs or watch Christmas themed movies until after Thanksgiving. That being said, I tend to feel overwhelmed at Christmas time with the amount of projects I want to complete. After having this feeling last year, I vowed that I would strive to complete Christmas projects as far in advance as possible in the years to come.

So far, I have stayed pretty true to this promise. I have started one of the major homemade gifts and have completed three homemade wreaths, all extremely affordable.

The first wreath I made was pin-spired Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour and is made from Dollar Tree ornaments and a wire hanger. The ornaments cost me about $8 total from the Dollar Tree and I used a hanger I had around the house, pretty awesome!

When picking the ornaments, gather a variety of colors, textures, and sizes. You need about 70-80 to complete the wreath.

First step, carefully take off all the top hooks from the ornaments. Using hot glue, dab a little glue on the top of the ornaments and secure the hooks on the ornaments. Be careful, that glue is HOT!

As the glue is cooling, bend the hanger into a circle. Unwind the wire ends and straighten as much as possible.

Slip the ornaments onto the wire, alternating size and color. Continue until wire is filled. Be gentle on your ornaments! Some of my Dollar Tree ornament hooks broke as I was clustering the ornaments.

The hardest part for me was securing the wire ends together. I tried gluing it, taping it, taping while gluing… nothing. I ended up bending the ends backwards and hooking them together. Once they were hooked together, I clamped the ends down.

For the last part, add a pretty ribbon and admire the (not so hard) work!

 

Our Living Room and Kitchen!

A few weeks ago, I showed the progress of my bedroom. At that time, my living room still had some work to be done and was not anywhere close to “reveal” status. Well, I’m finally ready to show it off. It only took a last minute visit from my landlord to kick my butt into major cleaning mode.
Without further ago, here it is, starting with the kitchen:

Washer and Dryer nook/storage area

Living Room from Kitchen

As you can see, our place has come a long way from when we first moved in. While we have made a lot of progress, I still have a million ideas on what I would like to change, but that never stops, does it?

Spectacular Spectacles

I have been wearing glasses since the tender age of 7. When my mom took me to see the optometrist, I was only able to see the big E.  That meant one of two things: Either my teachers and family needed to spend more time educating me with my ABCs, or my eyesight was horrible. Thankfully, I was well versed  with the Letter People so we knew it was time for glasses. When I first starting wearing them, I was frequently leave them at home and my mom would have to bring them to my school. I am baffled how this ever happened as now I am not even able to pull back the sheets in the morning without them on.

As one of the very few privileges of being visionally-challenged, I upgrade to new spectacles about every two years, more time that the normal person keeps their iphone. Two years is just about the time I can no longer move my chair any closer to my monitor and about the time I am sick of my current frame. I finally reached the two year mark this month and was on the hunt for new glasses. Since I have not had my eyes checked since I moved, I also had to find an eye doctor.

A little research on Google and Yelp, and I had found my optometrist. I went to Eyes on Sunrise, which I would highly recommend. It was very quick and painless, and also led to a major “Small world” moment. My eye doctor grew up in Holt, which is extremely close to my hometown back in Michigan. After my appointment, I was released into the room filled with frames where I was to find my perfect pair.

My inspiration for glasses was from YouTube sensation Lennon Stella:

 

 How cute is she? I can pull this look off, right?

I had no idea that my inspiration would lead  to people wondering if I was a NBA player or rap singer. When I went to pick up my glasses the other day, my first glance in the mirror seriously gave me the feeling that I needed to steal the microphone from Taylor Swift at the VMAs. In the first 36 hours, I cannot tell you how many times people have come up to me asking to sign their LeBron jerseys. Okay, maybe that hasn’t happened yet, but any minute now.

Jay-Z and me… My brother from another mother?

With any new pair of glasses, I think these will take a little while for me to get used to. Hopefully the “geek chic” will stick around for at least two more years. If not, I better start working on my jump shot!

Happy Birthday, Big Sister!

Today, besides being the awesome date of 10/11/12, is my older sister Nicole’s birthday. Nicole was always someone I looked up to. She is just over 2 ½ years older, so we are fairly close in age. One of my most cringe-worthy home-video moments would be when I was probably around four or five. It was during a Christmas when Nicole was gifted her first two-wheeled bike. That thing was a beauty! It was pink with a white banana seat, something that would send any little girl into a two-wheeled-tizzy. During this video, my Dad was filming my Mom helping Nicole ride her bike. You will find my frantically chasing after the bike and crying in the background begging for a turn. I’m sure Nicole can attest that this is how I spent most of my childhood with her.

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I’ll admit that with this incident, I probably was memorized by the shiny silver spokes and really did want a chance to ride the bike, but I also wanted to ride it because she was. Nicole was always so cool and I wanted to do anything she did. From sports to clothes to activities, whatever Nicole would identify as “cool”, I would quickly adapt as my latest obsession. I doubt I ever would have had a zipper Trapper Keeper has it not been for Nicole. I for sure know that I never would have played soccer or any other sport that ended only in my embarrassment. As an added bonus to having Nicole as a sister, I always had the most fashionable hand me downs. I couldn’t wait for Nicole to grow another inch so I would have that top I was stealing from her closet anyway.

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Now, years later, we have become two individuals, yet I still find myself looking at my sister in awe. She is so gorgeous, with a special talent of doing hair and makeup. I try time and time again to curl my hair, but I can never style it as perfect as she does. I don’t even consider trying the tricky up-dos she is able to create. She is inspiring, with a will and determination that is second to none. Had it not been for her, I don’t know if I would think it was possible to live so far from my family. She also has made me so excited to have a dog of my own. Her two (not so) puppies are the apples of her eye. She gives them so much love and care and they are so lucky for her as a mom.

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This is yet another day that I am so sad to be away from my family. I wish I could be at home, eating a piece of Orange Juice cake in honor of Nicole. Since I can’t be, I’ll have to send all my love across the nation to her. Nicole: I miss you so much and I wish you a great birthday! Use that birthday wish wisely but know that this is your year! Love you!

Tower of Terror 10 Miler Recap

This past weekend, I participated in the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler alongside my boyfriend Danny. We had been training for MONTHS and in what seemed was a blink of an eye, the race was here. We headed up to Orlando on Friday afternoon to pick up our race packets at the Health and Wellness Expo. I’m always impressed with how well run these Expos are considering the mass amounts of people that come through.  Friday night, we dined at the ever so elegant Sweet Tomatoes, a soup and salad bar restaurant, and went back to a friend’s house to relax.

Since this race was at 10:00 at night, we decided to visit Animal Kingdom Saturday morning. I had not been there in about four years, so it was great to be back. The major highlight for me? Having my picture taken with Doug and Russell from Up!

 

Oh sweet and innocent before-race-Danielle… You have no idea

In order to get to Hollywood Studios where the race was being held, we had to take a shuttle from Wide World of Sports to the park. Since they were closing down roadways, we were instructed to be there no later than 8:00 PM. After a few hours of sitting around, I suited up in my Mrs. Incredible gear and headed out just after 7:00 PM. Thank goodness we did! The traffic was so backed up that the 10 minute drive took us about 45 minutes! We loaded on the shuttle and we were off to the race.

Disney always has the races incredibly organized. The bag drop and corral loads were both so smooth.  Since we had no proof of time for an endurance run, we were placed in the last corral. We were worried that we would have a hard time navigating around the slower runners. Luckily, we found out how the corrals were working and made our way to the front. I only had to punch three people to get a good place in line! After about an hour of waiting, we finally started to make our way to the starting line.

Me and my Mr. Incredible ready to race!

Let me pause here to tell you about my training conditions. I mainly trained inside an air-conditioned gym, on a treadmill that had a fan. The one outdoor run I did was in 60 degree weather at my cottage in Michigan. To say I was not prepared for the Florida humidity was an understatement. At 10:00 at night, it was still 75 degrees and as humid as can be. Danielle was not ready for that.

So there I am, waiting at the starting line, not knowing what to expect. Once those fireworks went off, I was on my way.  From the beginning, Danny was pushing me to run and lighting a path through the runners.  Although it was easier than I expected to get around the slower runners, it still was exhausting.

Miles 1-3 were okay… nothing spectacular. Our 5K time was 26:53, an 8:39 pace, at least 1 minute slower than I normally run it. Still, not too shabby! This stretch of the course was not that great, mainly highway with little entertainment. Then came miles 4-6. I started to cramp up and feel exhausted. The heat was getting to me in the worst way. Could it have been the 2 bottles of PowerAde and Gatorade Prime? I wanted to be in a pool with a gallon of water in my hand. On top of that, we still were on the boring highway stretch. Around mile 6, we ran over rocky terrain in the dark, which was extremely hard. From there, we made our way to Wide world of Sports.

This portion was a breath of fresh air. There were a few spectators cheering us on. Occasionally we would hear something like “Let’s go Incredibles!” which put a huge smile on my face.  Danny and I were still side by side, but I had made him slow the pace down considerably. Our 10K time was 56:45, a 9:08 pace. After rounding a baseball field, we made our way back out into the dark. Only 3 miles to go!

Then came the pukey burps. I remembering thinking on numerous occasions how embarrassing it was going to be when I had to stop on the course to puke. Despite that feeling, I kept pushing myself to finish. I was not going to give up.

Finally around 8 ½ miles, we entered Hollywood Studios. We made our way through Lights, Motors, Action, down the streets of America, back behind the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and to the Finish Line. Running through the park was amazing and I enjoyed it as much as I could.  I can assure you that had it not been for the spectators, I would have given up. The Incredibles shout outs pushed me to that finish line, I was so thankful for them. The spectators paired with Danny pushing me and paving the way made this race INCREDIBLE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our finishing time was 1:33:19, a 9:20 pace. We placed 610 & 611 out of 8919, that is the top 7%! Of the women, I finished 206 of 5798, top 3.5%. The pride that I feel for finishing is something that I don’t think I can put into words. We ran the entire time without stopping, not too bad for our first endurance race!

We finished!

During the race, I kept thinking to myself that I never wanted to run again. Five days later, I sit here with my mouse on the “register” button for the Princess ½ Marathon in February. I have proved to myself that I am capable of amazing things, so why stop at 10 miles?!?!?

The Master Reveal

This past weekend, we finally reached the UNPACKED status in our new apartment. It took us three weeks to get there, but we made it. Three weeks sounds like a really long time, but when you factor in our fulltime jobs, we were only able to do anything at night after work and on the weekends. Then you consider that when we get out of work, we are exhausted and can barely left our left arm. Mix this all with a bustling social life, you get about 24 hours. So basically, we unpacked in one day. That logic works, right?

In the past three weeks, we were able to:

  • Pack up/ Clean/ Paint old condo
  • Unpack at new apartment
  • Paint all trim (never again… never again…)
  • Paint master bedroom and living room.
  • Decorate apartment and hang pictures

That is a lot accomplished for two people!

 Now comes my favorite part, I get to show off my new digs. Today I will be showing you what we have completed in our master bedroom. There are a few projects that I still have in mind, but this room is the most complete.

 From the “before” picture, you can see the original colors of the walls and trim. When we moved in, the walls were a white color with orangey beige trim. BOORRRIINNNNGGG.

 

We spiced it up a bit using “Natural Gray” paint from Behr and “Snowy White” on the trim. With the natural lighting, it has a slight purple tint to it, but we like it nonetheless.

Here are some pictures from the new and improved place:

 

The newest addition to our bedroom is our brand new Sealy Queen sized mattress. Going from a double to a queen, I feel like I have to use a map to find my way across it. It is covered with a comforter made by my ever-so talented mother, thanks Mom! The US pillow with the hearts was inspired by a Pinterest find from Come On Ilene. The hearts on the pillow represent places that Danny and I have lived (San Francisco and Chicago) with the biggest heart being over Michigan. Our headboard was a fancy piece of wood (thanks Dad!) that was covered with foam and fabric. Sitting next to my side of the bed, you will find a picture of my Mom, my sisters, and me. I absolutely love this picture and love that it is the first and last thing I see every day. Boy, do I miss my family. 

Over the TV, you will see one of my favorite gifts. Danny bought me the Weeds wall hanging from CB2 as a Christmas present a few years ago. I love the shadows it makes against the wall. It adds and artsy feel to the room, something I am horrible at creating.

 

As you are reading this, I am probably sitting back in my chair with my feet on the desk, wiping my hands together. It feels so great to see everything coming together. As I said before, I am in no means done, but I have a feeling my houses will always be a work in progress.

Ready to Run

As I have mentioned a few times, my boyfriend Danny and I are participating in the upcoming Disney race, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler. How upcoming, you may ask?  I’ll be there in 10 DAYS!

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We have been training for this race since April and just completed our last long run yesterday. The weekend before last, we ran nine miles at the gym. It took me about 77 minutes (8:35 pace) while Danny finished a few minutes before me. During this run, the sickest blister formed on my left big toe while my right pinky toenail cut into my other toe. It was a painful run BUT we were both so proud to have completed it.

When we went to the gym yesterday, we both fully intended to run 9 miles, as we did the week before. On Saturday, I had my gym ritual of back to back gym classes of Body Pump followed by Zumba. During Zumba, while Shakira was blaring over the speaker, our instructor had us do a straight minute of side high kicks. As a former Pom Pon girl extraordinaire, I took this opportunity to show that this 26 year old still can kick as high as those highschoolers. Turns out, I can kick that high, but my muscles require a little warning. My inner thigh muscles went into instant shock and my left muscle became strained. Ouch!

So yesterday, about half way through my run, my body reminded me of those kicks from the previous day. I turned to Danny on the treadmill next to me, mouthed that I felt like I was dying while I slid my finger over my throat. We both finished running 65 minutes (our treadmills have a 60 minute limit with a 5 minute “cool down” that we bump back up to a running pace) and decided that we were done for the day. All training schedules say that you should avoid long runs every weekend and instead do every other weekend, so we were okay with cutting our run a mile and a half short. When I got home, I kicked off my awesome kick to find ANOTHER blister. This bad boy was bigger than the week before and could not be ignored.

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This weekend, I also made our logos that we will wear for our Incredibles costumes. I found the image online that I used as my template and made it the size that I wanted. By using fabric and craft fuse, I created the logos that will be tacked on to our running shirts. I’m very happy with the way they turned out.  In the picture below, you can see some of the chalk that I used to trace the pattern with. It will be cleaned up, I promise!

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Old Navy Cardi Party

Over the past year, I have joined a number of survey and activity sites to earn a little more spending cash. One of my favorite websites would be Crowdtap. It is a fun, interactive website where you take quick polls (called quickhits) and answer questions for points.  The points can be redeemed for gift cards to stores, including Amazon.  By using the answers of your quickhits, Crowdtap gives the participants to the opportunity to join certain moderated discussions. These crowds present discussion topics and on occasion offer fun sampling opportunities.

Through Crowdtap, I was able to become a member of the Old Navy Style Council, so swanky! I was recently picked to host an Old Navy Cardi Party. What is an Old Navy Cardi Party, you ask? It is the COOLEST thing I have ever been able to do! I invited friends to Old Navy, where we were able to pick out a scarf, skirt, and cardigan… FOR FREE

So last night, I met up with my gal pals where we met up for a night of fashion and friendship. When I gave one of my friends the coupon, she made a bee-line for the nearest associate. She did not believe that we were receiving a skirt AND scarf AND cardigan… FOR FREE! After the associate confirmed that the store was our oyster, we hit the aisles to find our perfect look.

Here are some of the items we tried on during the visit:

If you are interested in joining Crowdtap, just click on the link below. I have been a member since May and on top of the awesome sampling opportunities, I have earned $75 in Amazon giftcards. Not too shabby for a few minutes every day!

http://bit.ly/xOLnE9