Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Running for a Cause

On March 17, 2012, Chris and I, along with my brother, Will, are running in DC's inaugural Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. Each of us have run many races for ourselves - I did the DC Half Marathon last year, Chris has run countless full marathons, and Will ran for his college cross country and track teams (Buzzzz, go Hornets! Right?) - but this time we have decided that we wanted to run to benefit others. We have chosen to run this race to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and are hoping that you all can help us reach our goal of raising $1500 for the organization.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides a college education to every child who has lost a parent serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps during an operational or training mission under the U.S. Special Operations Command. They also provide cash grants to personnel seriously wounded in the line of duty so that their families can travel and be at their sides during their recovery without financial worries. This foundation hits close to home for Chris and I because as you might remember we lost a good friend last summer, SSG Jeremy Katzenberger, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. His now 1-year-old son will hopefully get to benefit from an organization like this one day. On top of that though, there are also so many of our family members and friends that have put themselves on the line for our country and this is just one way we can honor and support them.

$1500 might seem like a lot of money, but in reality it's only $500 per person. Or, only $38 per mile we run on race day. $38 a mile is nothing compared to the sacrifice the men and women in our military and their families make every single day.

Please help us honor and support our armed forces and their families by visiting our First Giving site for this event and donating to this cause. As everyone always says, every little bit counts.

Visit our First Giving site!

Thank you!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thrift Store Therapy

First of all, I got my snow day. Except, it happened on a Saturday, boo. So, not only did I not get a day off from work, but I had to do my long run of 7 miles on our treadmill because the roads were too icy for my clumsy butt. (I'm particular about my snow-day parameters!) Keep your fingers crossed for me that we get another one, this time on a weekday . . .

Anywho, you know the phrase "retail therapy"? Well, Chris and I definitely love some "thrift store therapy." After a disappointing trip to Michael's for some craft stuff (they didn't have the framing mat board color I needed), we decided to stop by a Goodwill and, one of our local favorites, Value Village, for some cheering-up. As I'm sure you know, sometimes thrift store shopping is fruitless and other times you hit the jackpot. Today was a jackpot kind of day.

I nabbed some cute brass cut-out tea lights. I think I'll spray paint them a fun turquoise color and add them to our guest bath or bedroom.


I also spotted a small glass serving dish for $1ish that I couldn't wait to use as a tray for some of my chunkier jewelry. (And, I forgot to dust, sorry!)


We couldn't resist these tall silver candlesticks that were $4/piece. They'll go great with the shorter candlesticks my Aunt gave us!


I've been thinking I needed a little bowl to put smaller bathroom items like chapstick and nail clippers and then I saw this dark wood bowl, for $1. Yes, please.


Chris spotted this gem - a "United States of America" mug. Definitely a perfect social-studies-teacher mug, no? I can totally picture myself drinking some tea out of it while teaching my future students about Ameri-cuh. Now, I just need to get the job!


I couldn't pass up these wall-mounted candle holders either. They look a little grandma-y, but I think with a little spray paint and some crisp white candles they will look fresh and fun! I just can't decide what room to hang them in . . .


And, lastly, we scored this AWESOME Budweiser mirrored-clock. Even Chris, the AB-hater, lit up with excitement when I showed it to him. For some reason it reminds me of my parents' basement too (did they have something similar?).


Chris also bought a statistics book for $2.50 that apparently was a "steal." The book didn't even make it out of the car because he's going to take it to work. Dork. :)

I know these probably seem like a misfit of knick-knacks, but I'm really excited about using these new, and cheap, treasures to decorate our house! Now, it just has to warm back up so that I can spray paint some of it. Well, it has to warm up after my snow day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, PLEASE!

Who would have imagined that living out here on the East Coast would bring us the most extreme weather conditions? In the 3 and half years that we've lived out here, we've experienced blizzards (3!), a hurricane, tropical storms (2), a micro-burst (small tornado), thunder-snow, and even earthquakes (one that was too small for us to feel and, of course, the one this past summer).

Microburst Damage in Alexandria, VA

Snowmagedon, or the Snowpocalypse. Either way, that's a lot of snow!

Growing up, I thought that extreme weather only happened in the Midwest, more specifically, Missouri, but that's definitely not the case. Sure, our summers aren't as hot as Missouri's, but they're still too humid for my taste, and my hair. And, yes the winters here are definitely not as cold as Missouri's, but sometimes, when the wind is a-blowing, I do feel like I'm back on the frozen tundra that is northeast Missouri (yea, Kirksville!). Either way, we're currently experiencing another weather-extreme here in the DC area - an unseasonably warm winter.

I don't remember what the winter was like when we first moved out here, but the second winter brought us 3 blizzards and almost 2 weeks worth of snow days from work and our third winter (last year) we got a decent amount of snow ice which caused a few early-closings and late-starts at work. Now I may be spoiled, but I want my snow! Correction - I want my snow DAY! (Picture me stomping my foot and pouting. That's how much I want a snow day.) If you don't know already, I work for a local university here in DC, one that actually deems some days as "snow days." (We NEVER had a snow day during undergrad, and trust me, I remember at least 1 day that should've been snow day in my 4 years there!) So, I want my snow day!

Yes, it's lovely to have had a hardly-cold winter so far. Sure, I love 60-degree weather, especially in January. But is enough snow or ice to allow me to sleep in, go home early, or be at home all day too much to ask? Hm, Mother Nature? Hm? We've only had one good snow fall, but it didn't stick and there wasn't much accumulation anyway! Boo!

Now, I know that I'm probably acting like a 5-year old, but I don't care. I want my snow day! Cross your fingers, shake your rain stick, pray, whatever you do, but help me get a snow day! Thank you.

(And, thank you for letting me rant!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Operation Finish Bathrooms: Part 2

Before the holidays I shared with all of you the fact that we had almost finished all of our bathroom projects and that we had completely  finished Part 1 of Operation Finish Bathrooms: Our Not-So-Tiny-Anymore Basement Bathroom! Well (drumroll, please!), now I am ready to share with you Part 2 of Operation Finish Bathrooms: Our Semi-Sophisticated Master Bathroom!

When we first moved into our house, our master bathroom was the least of my concerns and definitely wasn't on my "design radar." I knew that I would eventually want to paint it, and maybe switch up some hardware or something, but other than that it was pushed out of our minds. That is, until we started working on our basement bathroom.

See, our basement bath vanity was small. Think, 17 inches wide small (which is smaller than my half size desk calendar at work!). But, since we were making the basement bathroom bigger, we wanted a bigger vanity too. Luckily, our master bathroom vanity was the perfect size for our bigger basement bath, so we decided to move it downstairs and buy a nicer vanity for our master bath! Of course, shopping for a new master bath vanity got my design juices flowing and now our master bath is much nicer, or semi-sophisticated!

Here's where I pretty much left our master bathroom soon after we moved in . . . (and my apologies for the yellow-ish lighting.)


We bought a cabinet to put over the toilet and that was about it. Bor-ring. But functional and, most importantly, clean.

Like I said though, my designer-brain was working up a storm on this bathroom and I decided I wanted to do subtle horizontal think stripes on the walls. Stripes on walls seems to be pretty popular out in the design-world, so I figured I would jump in too. (Plus, they'd match the chevron stripes in our guest bedroom!) Now, when I say subtle, I mean sub-tle. See . . .


Really, do you see them? Hint - look for a stripe right above the shower tiles . . .

I did the stripes in a flat and a semi-gloss of the same light blue paint (Ice Folly by Behr to be exact), so while it's really hard to capture on camera the flat vs. shiney-ness of the blue is just subtle enough in person. And, just for your information, I didn't do different colored stripes because I really wanted a subtle look and our bathroom is so tiny that I was afraid that too much color contrast would make it seem like a fun house instead of a sophisticated bathroom. (Any synonyms for "subtle"?)

Anyway, on top of painting stripes on the walls, Chris and I changed the cabinetry. While we were moving the vanity to the basement, we also moved the toilet cabinet to the basement too. Then, I bought wooden corbels and shelves from Home Depot, spray painted them white, and Chris threw them up on the wall. Ok, so he didn't throw them up on the wall - it wasn't that easy - but I'm not going to go into those boring and messy details . . . see, see, aren't our new shelves pretty!


I'm still trying to organize our "stuff," but I really like how it still gives us me room to store lotions, face wash, etc. and yet feels so much more open!


Like our new vanity too? It's still not too fancy, but definitely more our style than the basic white one.

So, that's it. That's Part 2 of Operation Finish Bathrooms!! And, I've saved the best for last, our guest bathroom, so stay posted!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bring it on, 2012!

When I started this blog (way back in February) I shared with you all a list of my 2011 resolutions, or goals, as I wanted to call them. With 2012 now upon us, I wanted to share with you my new goals. But, before I do, I want to quickly review what I wanted to do in 2011 . . .
  • Keep in touch with family and friends better. I don't know really how well I've done with this one, but Facebook has definitely helped!
  • Blog. Done, obviously.
  • Get certified to teach secondary social studies. So, I haven't technically gotten certified yet, but I am this close . . .
  • Run a Half Marathon. Done! 
  • Skydive. Nope . . . but I'm keeping it on my to-do list!
  • Do genealogical research. Not as much as I wanted.
  • Learn to sew. Not really this one either . . . but I'm asking for a cheap sewing machine for my birthday, hear that Mom and Chris?
  • Learn some photography skills. Again, not really. I think I need to upgrade my camera first.
  • Eat healthy/Perhaps learn to cook healthy-ish things. Most definitely. Yay us!
  • Read more. Yes, definitely!
  • Decorate my/our new house. I owned this goal!
Looking back, I kinda sorta completed my goals. Five goals I definitely accomplished, three I kinda did, and three I pretty much completely forgot about. I still want to continue all of them, but I think I have bigger and better goals for 2012. So without further adieu . . .

Here are my 2012 Goals:
  • Blog at least once a week. Let's be honest, I need to make a more consistent effort. (And, I've posted twice this week already, go me!)
  • Continue to make our house, our home. This shouldn't be hard. We already have some big projects in mind and I might try to do one Pinterest project a month. We'll see ; )
  • Continue to teach myself how to live healthier through good foods and exercise! Chris and I say all the time how far we've come in what we eat and how we think about food, but we definitely need to keep getting better at watching what we eat and getting more consistent on the exercise-front.
  • Do one DC-ey thing every month. There are still a TON of things we haven't done in this town and besides, this will give me more to blog about on Tourist Tuesdays and Washington Wednesdays.
  • Travel the East Coast. Chris and I love traveling, but we haven't really explored the East Coast yet. So, I'm hoping for an east coast-beach trip, another visit to NYC, and a trip to either Philly or Boston. Let's start planning! 
  • Read at least 12 books. I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but with school keeping me busy 3/4 of the year reading for fun definitely gets pushed to the side. I figure a book a month would be manageable. I have already made a list of books which includes Don Quixote, Two Towers, the Hunger Games series, Mindy Kaling's new book . . . and some dorky history books, like a Medieval England guide. So exciting!
  •  See how long I can go without buying clothes. Yup, that's right. I am going on a clothes "diet." I finally came to the realization that I have a closet FULL of clothes and do NOT need to buy anymore. (That doesn't mean I didn't take advantage of shopping before Jan. 1 though. Good thing too, because I got a $140 silk dress at Banana for $20!!) I'm really curious on how long I can last. I am already on day 4 and going strong, so that's a start!
  • And . . .Get a teaching job for the 2012-2013 academic year! This is a big one. The biggest one. If this goal wish comes true, so many other wishes for 2012 will come true (perhaps I might buy a car!). Cross your fingers, pray, whatever you do, and wait for the pieces to fall in to place!
These 2012 goals definitely have me super SUPER excited. I mean, I don't think I have been more excited for a particular year since 2008, the year I knew we'd be moving out here and I'd start grad school. I am really really excited about what this new year has in store for us!

So 2012, BRING IT ON!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    2011 In Review

    2011 was an interesting year for us - full of plenty of ups, and plenty of downs - so let's review some of it, shall we?

    I started this blog back in February with a list of New Year's resolutions goals. Some of those goals were accomplished, some weren't, but more on that later because I have some new and exciting 2012 goals!

    In February, we also started work on our basement bathroom, which, if you remember correctly, we just finished in December. Nothing like the usual 11-month home project . . .

    In March, I ran my first half marathon, which was also one of my goals for the year! This year, that same marathon series is going to be a Rock N' Roll Marathon, so of course I am running it again, but this time Chris and my brother will be joining me. Can't wait!! Although, I really need to get in training mode . .. .

    In April, Chris and I tackled the jungle of our front yard, tearing out ivy and planting some grass in its place. We're still going to have more gardening work to do in the front this spring, but I am so thankful that we squashed that ivy. Those original photos of it still make me shudder!

    In May, while we were finishing up school for the semester, I expanded my baking repertoire by making some Mint Julep cupcakes (they were ok) and we decided to compete with one another in our own version of a Book It challenge (and in case you are wondering, we are still in the process of reading the books . . .)!

    June seemed to be the epitome of highs and lows for the year - we celebrated our babies 5th birthdays and our 2nd anniversary, but also received the devastating news that one of our good friends was killed in Afghanistan. It was a rough month, but it changed us and has given us a better perspective on life.

    July was pretty uneventful, except that Chris took me to the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 midnight premiere, on a work night! (I have such a great hubby!)

    August was a booming-blogging month for me with a total of 11 posts! I got a little crazy :) Anyway, I started on a few painting projects around the house, such as the chevron wall and the guest bathroom. I also started my Tourist Tuesdays and Washington Wednesday posts, since this blog is supposed to be about our Washington life and all. Lastly, we experienced the momentous Washington Quake, which was crazy crazy stuff! Oh, and we celebrated our 1-year anniversary in our home, with messy house photos!

    September through December were marked by travel and home projects, which were nice distractions from school work. Between Chris and I, we traveled to St. Louis three times (here, here, and here), Kansas City, Florida, Milwaukee, and, last but definitely not least, MEXICO! We had fun putting up new art in the house, getting my chalkboard-paint on, and finally finishing a bathroom too. And, my beloved Cardinals won their 11th World Series!

    On top of all of the things that I blogged about in 2011, Chris and I were also blessed with making new friends, even more travel opportunities, great adventures around DC, and more home headaches and accomplishments that I can count. 2011 has truly been a great year, despite the heartaches, but I am SO ready for 2012. Bring. it. on. :)
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