memoriae per diem

Latin: memories each day.

On April 1, I'm going to try something new.  I am going to keep a daily log of something that happened each day.  It can be big ("I won a huge trial!) or small ("I ate Indian food for lunch") or anything in between.  It can be happy, sad, mundane or downright boring.  I don't want to put the kind of pressure on myself that writing in a journal would.  So this single memory per day sounds like a fun idea.  I figure even if I am away from home, I can jot something down in my phone and then put it in the book later.  

Here is the book.  I bought it because it's pretty and it has enough pages. OK and because it's white. 

I'll be sure to let you know how the project went -- these little snapshots of each day.  It reminds me of something Karl Lagerfeld once said:  "What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that's gone forever, impossible to reproduce."  Yes.  

Have a great weekend! And a very happy Easter for those who celebrate it. 

See you swoon,

Painterly Projects

Hello hello! Good morning.  I'm so ready for Spring. So.Ready.For.Spring.  Don't get me wrong, I *love* Winter and cold weather and snow and all that good stuff.  But the moment Spring arrives, I am over it and ready for warmer temps, pretty flowers, green trees and grass and new beginnings.  I also love Spring because it means I can start painting again.  I have amassed a ton of painting projects over these last few cold months, and I am chomping at the bit to get started.  Here's a round-up of what I have planned.

1.  Kitchen Chairs.

I bought the black kitchen chairs at IKEA last year.  I got them because they look nice and were about $15 each.  I have always wanted to paint and upholster them, and I can't wait to get to it.  I'll paint them white. As for the upholstery, I have some cool greyish blue fabric but I'm worried about durability and stains with the kids.  I may see what oil-cloth fabric is available instead.  

2.  Dining Room Table.

This cherry colored dining table has long been a thorn in my side. I want to paint it as soon as possible. I can't decide how though - I could do a sort of seaglass green or white or a two-toned wood top with white legs.  Any suggestions? 

3.  Big's Dresser & Mirror.

Poor Big.  His dresser is a child's size dresser and while he is still a child, I think the drawers are made for a two-year old's clothes.  I have plans to buy him a larger dresser ASAP (probably the IKEA Malm dresser in brown-black).  I'm going to move his dresser into the playroom to hold a TV and Wii and move the mirror to Little's room.  I'll paint the dresser a bright color - I'm thinking turquoise.  As for the mirror, I'd like to paint it either white or pink and add some detail to it. 

4.  IKEA Rast Chest & Jewelry Box.

I love my little IKEA chest - it holds most of my workout clothes.  But it is a wee bit small.  I think I am going to move it to Big's room as a nightstand and move his current nightstand into the playroom for a side table.  I want to do a two-tone treatment on this chest for Big: paint the drawers white and the sides and top a dark stain to match his furniture. And I'll replace this chest with a larger one for my room (see 7 below).

My jewelry box needs a change.  I want to silver leaf it. I can't handle the dark wood any longer.  

5.  Living Room Side Table.

It's hard to see in this picture (look by the arm of the couch) but I bought a cute little side table at Target back in the Fall.  It's black.  It's also metal and has intricate detail so spray paint is the way to go.  I have the paint ... I just need to spray it. I'm going to paint it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... antique white. 

6.  Adirondacks.

It pains me to say this, and Jamie knows why, but I want to repaint the Adirondack chairs a bright color.  Jamie and I bought them years ago and spent an insanely hot July afternoon spray painting them in the yard.  It took forever and was pretty miserable - we were high on fumes and heat. haha. I love the white, but I think I want to paint them something fun and bright.  Emerald green? Teal? Turquoise? Sky Blue?  Something like that. They need a fresh coat of paint anyway, so it must be done. 

7.  New IKEA Chest. 

I have a trip to IKEA planned this weekend, and I want to pick up the Tarva chest to replace my Rast.  It's a bit larger all around and I think it will look amazing painted like the inspiration piece, from Ethan Allen, below.  I'm going to add some molding to the drawers and possibly around the bottom.  

8.  IKEA Step Stool.

I love this little wooden stool (see it next to my old trash can?). I keep it in the kitchen for me to reach the top of the upper cabinets and for the kids to help me cook. I bought it when I moved in and it's been in its unfinished wood state since then.  I've been mulling over color choices and am ready to commit: it's going yellow.

I cannot wait to get started!  I have a bunch of other small projects on the horizon too.  Tis the season!

See you swoon,

What I Wore {part iii}

Tuesday is here.  Tuesday, for me, is the worst day of the week.  Monday feels like I still have my big toe dipped in the weekend, and I can sort of map out my to do list for the week.  Wednesday is Hump Day.  Thursday is omg-one-more-day-til-Friday.  Friday is Friday!  But Tuesday is far from the last weekend, far from the next weekend and well-entrenched in the work week.  Blerg.

How about some fun fashion today?  Yes?  Yes.  Here is a round-up of some recent outfits I wore.

* Brown Cardi-Jacket & Cream Pants *

I have had this brown funky sweater/cardigan/jacket thing for close to ten years now.  I bought it at Anthropologie and it has served me well!  I wore it with a pale pink long sleeve tee (from the j.crew factory), cream pants, nude heels and a brown leather belt.  The fringe along the sweater and sleeves reminds me of a Fry Guy at McDonalds.  

* Polka Dot Blouse & Color block Skirt *

This is one of my new favorite outfits.  I found the polka dot blouse at Forever 21 for about $20.  It's sweet and chic at the same time.  I wore it with a color block skirt that I got at TJ Maxx over the summer for about $9.  I wore a thick black belt and nude patent heels.  

* Black Button-down, Tan Pencil Skirt & Red Pumps *

I can't remember when I bought this black button-down shirt from Banana Republic.  It has to be 5 years now.  I love it because of the crisp collar and the 3/4 sleeves, but the length is a bit wonky: it's way too short to tuck in, but it is kind of shapeless if left out.  I had the idea to wear it with my skinny red belt and added my red pumps to go with it.  I love how it turned out. It was a super fun outfit.  These pumps are from the Ann Taylor outlet and were on sale for $15.  My nude pumps in the above pictures are from the Ann Taylor outlet too and were the same price.  I wish I had bought every pair in every color in my size. They are amazing.  AT sells them at the stores, but they're over $100.  Worth every penny, in my opinion, because they are great looking and truly comfortable.  But I'm kicking myself for passing up such a steal! 

Have a terrific day.

See you swoon,

A Little Saturday TCB

Happy Monday!  This is a short week - Friday is Good Friday and the kids are off from school, so I'm taking the day off and going to my parents' for the night.  I'm looking forward to seeing them and to sneaking in a nice long run where I grew up.  

This past Saturday the kids and I went to Home Depot.  They like it there almost as much as I do.  I had a list of things I needed but of course always end up with more.  The purpose of this trip was to get the stuff necessary to TCB (i.e., take care of business) with several tiny projects around the house - projects that would make my life immeasurably better.  And here they are!

1.  Trash Can/Recycling Can Combo.

I brought this white trash can from the old house.  I have never liked it in the kitchen, but just haven't gotten around to replacing it (sidebar: see that stool? I am dying to paint it.  I need the weather to warm up so I can do it).  

I also hated my recycling situation: as in, I hated that I didn't have a recycling situation.  I didn't have an extra trash can for recyclables, so I would just pile them on the counter near the sink and move them outside in the morning.  Like so - see them stacked by the toaster?

I started researching dual-chamber trash cans and found that Simple Human has one: the rectangular recycler.  It's pricey, but I had a Simple Human trash can before and loved it.  I found Bed Bath and Beyond sells it, so I grabbed a 20% coupon and was able to buy it for about $150 (was $180 but then $36 off).  Yes.  Expensive for a trash can but the functionality is worth it to me.  Now I can put my recyclables out of sight!  

2.  Cord Cover for the Dining Room Buffet Lamps.

I just, as in maybe a week ago, realized that the light switch in the living room controls the one outlet near my dining room buffet.  I have two lamps on that buffet, so I jumped at the chance to have the switch turn them on. The only problem ... the extension cord.

You know I hate this.  So I bought some plastic cord covers at Home Depot and hid the cord along the baseboard.  Ooohhhh ... look how much better.

3.  Longer Chain for the Laundry Closet Light.

Chalk this one up to supreme laziness.  The little pull chain in my laundry room closet was way too tall for me to reach comfortably.  I'd have to get up on my tip toes and stretch my arms as far up as possible.  I am surprised I didn't pull a muscle.  

So in the lighting aisle at Home Depot, I just bought another pull chain and extended it.  Now I can reach!  And the end has a little circular medallion so it is super easy to grab.  Oh so much better.

4.  Tray for Cookies & Coffee Grinder.

This one was more about appearances than function.  See the cookie jar, toaster and coffee grinder before?  They were fine but it felt kind of like Appliance Row or something.

I found this wooden tray at Home Goods for $9.  I think it adds a bit of charm to that area of the counter - kind of breaks things up a bit.

Sometimes a slew of tiny projects with a big, helpful impact are as gratifying as finishing a really big one.  I have soooooo many painting projects waiting in the wings.  Mother Nature has decided she is ready for Winter now that it's Spring.  Gah.  The paint will have to wait a bit longer.  

See you swoon,

Melissa Manchester Was Right

You know, her song "Don't Cry Out Loud"?  I'm not sure that anyone knows (or would admit to knowing) much more than the song's main chorus.  Come on ... you know it:

 don't cry out loud, just keep it inside, and learn how to hide your feelings
fly high and proud and if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

When I have a day like today (note: I wrote this yesterday March 21), the only thing that keeps me strong is repeating the Melissa Manchester Mantra and biting my lip until I can go home and cry in peace.  What is most frustrating about the whole process of divorce is the sheer unpredictability of emotions and not knowing whether or when a comment, a song, a scent, a sight or even nothing in particular can take you from normal to oh-so-sad in a split second.  Like today.  It was a normal day.  I got in a good, hard tempo run in the [completely unwelcome] early Spring snow in the morning.  It was a "working" run, not an enjoyable run, but I felt great nonetheless.  My workday was normal.  And then a comment - a completely unknowing, unintentional, casual comment - took my day from normal to not.  After work I went to Trader Joe's to do some grocery shopping and was, I felt, surrounded by families and couples picking out their dinner and hugging and laughing and having a grand old time together.  So, like Melissa Manchester says, I didn't cry out loud, I kept it inside, I hid my feelings.  Nobody wants to see someone crying in Trader Joe's, right?  

Fact is, I miss normal.  I have a new normal and I'm getting used to it.  But it's still so new.  Everything is still so new and so different.  I still feel weird not wearing a wedding ring.  I still don't know how to grocery shop for just me and the kids.  I don't know what do to about my last name.  I get scared - terrified- when I wake up in the middle of the night alone.  I still catch my breath when I wake up on mornings that the kids aren't here and pass their rooms with their beds made.  When they were born, I never, ever -- ever -- imagined I would spend a day apart from them.  And now, well, now is now.  

So, today was hard.  Thankfully, the hard days are not as frequent.  Most days, I am fine.  Wonderful.  Great.  Happy.  Cheerful.  Optimistic.  Hopeful.  And then ... and then there are days when I am not, like today.  I debated whether to share, but something in me wanted to do it.  Maybe to show that behind the hopeful optimism and the distractions of decorating and accomplishments in running, at my core, I am honestly a little scared.  Of what, I don't know.  Being alone? Being hurt? Making mistakes again and again? I don't know.    

Oddly enough, I keep thinking a lot about the sermon from a wedding I attended a few years ago.  The pastor (who was married) said to the happy couple something to the effect of: "This is your wedding day.  Today is easy.  It is the easiest day you will have.  You're in love, you're young, you're happy.  But marriage ... marriage is hard work.  It is one of the most difficult things in life to balance 'you' with 'we' and maintaining a sense of 'you' when you become a 'we.'  The people in this church are your nearest and dearest and they are here to help you when you need them.  Lean on them."  And while the pastor was talking about building a marriage, his words are so apropos for when a marriage falls apart,  too.  It is, likewise, so hard to figure out who "you" are when you're no longer a "we."  And my God, do I lean on my friends and family.  

All this to say, today was a hard day.  But tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be better.    

See you swoon,

Kitchen Dreaming

Good morning!  

I've been thinking more and more about buying my townhome.  It was on the market before it went up for rent, so I am hopeful that my landlords might consider selling to me.  That's a ways away, but of course that won't stop me from daydreaming about what I would do if this home becomes mine.  I thought I could share some of my musings with you.  Up today is the kitchen.

The kitchen is a great size with plenty of cabinets, a functional layout, room for a table and chairs and lots and lots of potential.  Here are some pictures of the kitchen from when i first moved in.  

Good bones, but there is so much I would do to this space.

First and foremost, I would paint those cabinets white. I would paint them white so fast it would be shocking.  And I would add gorgeous hardware.  Like this kitchen.  I like the mix of glass front and regular front doors.  But I'm not sold on that.  Oh and see that gorgeous gooseneck faucet? I want that too.   

Another thing that needs to go is the floor, which is currently a white ceramic tile.  I-hate-it.  It is impossible to keep clean. And it's just a little too white (ha! I know! this coming from me!).  I think I'd like dark wood floors to run through the entire first floor. I love the tone in this picture.  

Next up: appliances.  White/black out; stainless in. Look how pretty.

The counters need to go, too. They are a plastic laminate and just, well, boring.  I looooove marble but know that's not practical.  So I am thinking maybe a corian type material or butcher block.  I've heard mixed reviews about butcher block though.  I also love the subway tile backsplash in these pictures.  I think I'd love that as well. 


Finally, I'd like to add some custom plantation blinds to the windows.  I love how this looks.

So there you go!  A little round-up of where my mind is on my kitchen.  I've also got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Sorry, couldn't resist.  

See you swoon,

Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon: I shamrocked it.

On Saturday, St. Patricks Day Eve (ha!), I ran the Rock n' Roll USA Half Marathon in Washington DC.  This was the same race that I had to drop out of last year at mile 4 because I was super sick.  In what I thought was a good, and somewhat ironic, omen, the course was moved around a bit from last year, and the start was in the exact  spot on Constitution Avenue where I bagged the race last year.  As my friend Patti put it, "well you're running 17 miles!"  Yes.

I wanted to run this race in 1:53, which would be a PR (personal record/personal best) for me.  My best official half marathon time was around 1:57 at the Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in September 2012.  My half marathon split at the Philly full marathon this past November was around 1:55.  I have been picking up the pace a bit this year and thought I could do a 1:53.  I was wrong.  I ran the half in 1:51:34.  I ... am still on cloud 9.    

About an hour before the race - cold and all smiles
The conditions on race day were just about perfect:  cool but not cold, overcast but not rainy and just a tiny bit humid but not so humid that it affected breathing.  The weather forecasters called for a 70% chance of showers, so, much to my dismay, I wore my running hat.  I normally don't like to wear it, but I hate getting rain in my eyes, so I wore the hat. Meh.

In addition to my time goal, I wanted to try -- try as hard as I could -- to do negative split running and conserve my energy to finish strong.  Negative splits simply means you run slower in the first half of a race than the second.  I have known this is a great concept, but when I am at a race and excited and pumped up I tend to run fast in the beginning.  It is so hard to make myself slow down.  But I decided to really try hard.  I did, and it worked. It really worked.  there isn't a dramatic difference between my times at the end of the race and my times at the beginning, but I felt really strong.  I reminded myself of a friend's advice: "when you think you're going slow, go slower."  

Here is a mile by mile breakdown. 

The first mile of the race is down Constitution Avenue and around some city streets.  I was happy with my first mile time (though there was part of me freaking! out! because I worried I was going too slow).

Mile 1:  8:27

Annnnnnnd ... there's mile 2.  Hello speedy.  I have no idea what I was doing, but I'm thinking this may have been nice and down hill and easy.  I remember getting my split after mile 2 and saying to myself that I needed to slow it down.  

Mile 2:  8:06

Miles 3-6 were near the Lincoln Memorial Center, Georgetown, the Kennedy Center and then on the Rock Creek Parkway. It was lovely and flat.  I knew at mile 6 there was a huge huge hill that went up from Rock Creek Parkway to Adams Morgan.  I conserved my energy and ran smart.  

Mile 3:  8:20
Mile 4:  8:13
Mile 5:  8:38
Mile 6:  8:18

Mile 6-7 were really tough.  The hill up to Adams Morgan was super tough.  Very steep and pretty long.  But I made it.  And right at the top of the hill was the 10K split.  Beep!  Mile 7 was my slowest mile and with good reason: the big hill, recovery from the big hill and a bunch of subsequent hills in Adams Morgan -- most going up.  Ouch.   

Mile 7:  9:19

Once I got out of Adams Morgan, I started feeling really good and strong.  My legs were moving, my breathing was in sync, everything felt good.  I pushed.  I don't remember much about these miles.  They ticked off very fast.  The only thing I do remember is I passed the free Gu table around mile 9 and thought about grabbing one but decided not to since I had my own.  Which I ate.  And then later in the race, around Mile 11, I really needed one.  Agh.  Lesson learned: always take the free Gu.  Unless it is peanut butter Gu.  Then pass right on by.  

Mile 8:  8:19
Mile 9:  8:13
Mile 10:  8:12
Mile 11:  8:11

Mile 12 was hard.  I think I was getting tired and the finish seemed kind of far away.  I really wanted some Gu - something to give me a little boost.  I drank all my Gatorade on this mile, which I never do but I needed some sugar.  

Mile 12:  8:29

Mile 13 was a good one - all down hill baby!  The push to the finish was up a hill to RFK Stadium but at that point, you are running on adrenaline and the end is in sight.  I was happy to finish strong.  

Mile 13:  8:11

Final official time:  1:51:34; 8:30 pace.  I was thrilled! I am thrilled!  I celebrated at the end with my friend and an ice cold free beer!  Ooh, and the crazy aluminum foil wrappy things that somehow magically keep you super warm.  

So that's the end!  I am glad the race was so good and so fun.  Next up on my calendar is a 5K in April and then a "Half-Lite" triathlon in early May: .8 mile swim, 39 mile bike and 8 mile run.  I have to more sprint triathlons in mid-May and mid-June.  So I will be training a ton these next couple of months.  Yippie!

See you swoon,

Slice O'Life: 10 Things About Me

Hello Happy Friday!  I am en route to Washington DC for the USA Rock N' Roll Half Marathon.  Here's hoping I wrangle a PR!  I'll be sure to post a race recap for you when I get back.  

Here's some fun for a Friday ... I've seen a bunch of bloggers post things like these, and I like them a lot.  How better to get to know someone than by reading random bits and factoids about someone.  The following list of 10 things about me will tell you both everything, and nothing, about me that you need to know.  

1. I don't like horses and ponies. Except My Little Pony ... but I like them only because they are scented. 

2. I really like cold weather. I would much rather have Winter than Summer. 

3. I love weddings, still.  (how gorgeous is this picture?  it makes my heart swell)

Image courtesy Doug Burns, Candid Moments Photography
4. I have finally learned, after more than 35 but less than 40 years on this planet, that hey I don't tan. Pass the spf 50 please.  Or the spray tan. 

5. If there is nothing on TV, I will happily watch an old Sex & the City episode. Any one really - I don't discriminate.  Cheers, friends.  Cheers. 

6. I find it incredibly hard to "relax" - I need to be doing something at all times. 

7. Both of my grandmothers are still with us, and I find that amazing. I aspire to be like both of them. 

8. It's just this simple: if I stay out of Target, I save money. If I go in, I spend it. Target is, as my friend Dana says, the vortex of consumerism. Word. 

Image courtesy of Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
9. I cannot sleep in socks. But I must wear socks to bed because my feet get cold and I cannot sleep if my feet are cold. So I wear them to bed and after 5 minutes, I slowly kick them off and slide them out of the bed. It's quite a process, but a necessary one. 

10.  One of my favorite things to do on a Summer afternoon is kick back with friends outside while drinking a cold beer.  Victory Hop Devil is my absolute favorite.  I like my beers rich and hoppy, and while I have tried (and will continue to try) lots and lots of IPAs, my heart belongs to Hop Devil.   

There you go! Ten little things about me.  What about you? Let's get all random up in this piece today.  Share some random factoids and thoughts.  What's a Friday for? 

See you swoon,

none of the above companies have paid or comped me for today's post.  all thoughts are my own.