Recap of 2014 Home Resolutions - What I Accomplished

I love this time of year!  The cozy warmth of Christmas is still hanging on, the new year is right around the corner, and the doldrums of Winter haven't quite arrived yet.  I always make resolutions for myself and for my home.  I will continue this tradition on the blog next week when I will share what's on tap for 2015 for me.  But today I want to recap how I made out with my 2014 Home Resolutions.  

1. Blue bathroom - amount completed: 200%!

Done!  All I had to do was to take out the broken shower doors and replace them with a curtain. I did this and it looked great.  I also redecorated the space and brought in some pops of red, pink and other bright colors (and lots of white) to minimize the blue fixtures.  I really love how this room turned out.   Here's the post about everything.  

2. Master bedroom - amount completed: 100%

Done!  My plan for my room was to finish it up: hang pictures, hang a mirror, make it feel like a more finished space, refinish my jewelry box and hang something over the television.  I got it all done.  

3. Playroom - amount completed: 80%

I got the big stuff done - organized the space, made TV and play zones, organized the toys and kept it that way.  When the weather got warmer (and Ironman training got more intense), I ran out of steam and interest in working in the playroom.  So I still have a few things left to do, and those things are on my 2015 resolution list.  But here's the space.  

4. Laundry closet - amount completed:  95%

The little things make such a difference! I love my little laundry room closet.  I posted about what I've done to get it in shape.  I am toying with the idea of painting the walls and adding some art.  

5. Basement Storage Room - amount completed: 90%

After Ironman, I kicked this room's butt and took its name.  It took an entire weekend, but I cleaned up and organized this space and now I absolutely love it.  I want to take advantage of the Winter weather and finish up the room by labeling the bins and drawers for even more glorious OCD organization.  I have the labels ready to go.  I can't wait to do this!  I'm also toying with the idea of painting the walls and floor ... but that isn't likely to happen.

6. Little Kid's room and closet - amount completed: 100%

Done done done!  Little Kid's room is done!  I have a few minor tweaks to make to the space, but that's normal for me.  Here's the post where I revealed most of the work I did in Little's room.

7. Stairwell  - amount completed: 100%

And once again, I amaze myself with the power of art on the walls.  Adding a ton of framed art, photos and prints to my stairwell has made my formerly cavernous stairwell feel cozy and homey.  It has also minimized the ugliness of the current wall color. I love it.

8. Half Bath  - amount completed: 65%

I wanted to refresh my half bath.  I've gotten a good start.  I brought in a little stool/table that I painted white and gold.  I also changed up the artwork in here - I bought a new print for the wall in  happy coral and yellow colors.  All that's left is to add some more accessories and a new hand towel and possibly create a removable frame for the builder-basic mirror.

9.  Dining Room  - amount completed: 90%

The dining room is looking good!  I have done a bunch of little tweaks and added a bunch of new art, which really finishes off the space.   All that's left is to refinish/paint my dining room table.  That's top o' the list for 2015.  I'd love to add a natural fiber rug under the table too (to minimize the grey carpet).  That's a maybe.

10. Painting Projects  - amount completed: 90%

On my list of furniture to paint was: Big Kid's Rast nightstand (done), Little Kid's and my mirrors (done), bathroom stool and kitchen stool (done), my jewelry box (done) and dining room table (not done - see above).  Well done me!

11. Paint the House  - amount completed: 0.00%

Yeah, this is a big LOL.  I've decided to take this one off the list.  It would take forever, and now that I've redone the stairwell and added art throughout my home, I don't feel the overwhelming need to paint the whole place.  I'm also not sure how much longer I will stay here, so I don't want to waste my time.

So hey hey - there you go!  I am super pleased with my progress in 2014, especially since a little thing called Ironman took up a crazy amount of time.

Stay tuned for what's on tap for 2015! And happy new year to you!  

See you swoon,

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!  

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been really busy working, merry making and soaking up the joy of the season with my children.  I'll be back in 2015 with a recap of my races/running/training in 2014, a recap of what I accomplished among my 2014 home resolutions, my 2015 home resolutions and much, much more.  One super exciting thing is I'm planning a major redesign of the blog!

I could not let 2014 pass without a huge thank you to all of you for taking the time out of your day to read my little blog. 

Wishing you joy and happiness and laughter in the new year.  And kittens.  I wish the softest kittens for all.

See you swoon,

What I Wore {post 59}

Hey hey Happy Friday!  Time for a what I wore!  

* Bold Print Shirt & Navy Pencil Skirt *

Hellooooo outlets!  I bought this bold printed blouse at a clearance sale at the NY & Co. outlet a few months ago.  I loved the print and I loved the under $10 price.  It looked super cute with a navy suit skirt I already owned.

* Emerald Printed Top, White Cardigan, Black Pants *

Here's another outlet find.  I got this top (which is an emerald sleeveless shirt with white pictures of Parisian scenes) from the Banana Republic Outlet for about $7.  I paired it with a lightweight white cardigan and black pants.  And a new Dalmatian print belt (banana outlet $11).

* Black Peplum Top & Burberry Skirt *

You've seen these pieces in prior What I Wore posts.  I wore them together recently.  This skirt is my favorite.  Amy has one very similar so I either text her that I'm wearing it or clench my teeth and hope she doesn't show up wearing the same thing when I wear it.  I paired it with my black peplum top for a feminine look.  And my black patent mary janes topped off the outfit.

Have a great weekend of merry making and yuletide cheer!  I'll be with my kiddos ice skating, watching the Nutcracker and soaking up as much holiday magic as possible.

See you swoon,

Stairwell Gallery: Done!

Another project in the books! This one is my stairwell gallery.  I am so happy with the end result!  I started this project a few months ago and posted about my initial progress here.  I had all of my frames in place and needed to fill them with photos, prints and kids' artwork.  It took a little while, but I finally did it.

Normally I gravitate toward black and white photos, but in this case I felt color photos and prints was important because of the wall color.  The wall color in my house is white but with very prominent blue undertones.  So, the walls look almost blue.  But a sad depressing blue.  It *kills* me that this awful color is all over the house.  And rather than spend the time and money repainting it, I figured I would try to work with it and at least minimize it.  I knew if I used black and white photos, the blue would look even bluer.  But if I added pops of color, it might make the wall read a bit more white than blue.  I think it worked!

I apologize for the iPhone photos, but that's how I am rolling lately.  Here are some of the other walls. 

First, the lower wall.  I used a mix of photos, paintings, prints and kids' artwork.  I tried to keep a unified color scheme, and coral, yellow and pink seemed best.  

I even made my own new art.  Just some simple brushstrokes on canvas. Easy and inexpensive. 

This is the lowest wall.  I had my Ironman medal, race number and photos professionally framed. I am so glad I did (but wow it was a splurge).  I also have a multi-photo frame and a framed picture that Little Girl made.  I love it all.  

Finally, the upstairs wall is a mix of more coral, gold, turquoise and pink.  I did another mix of photos, prints, art and in this case mirrors.  I love walking up the stairs and checking out my hard work.  

Yes! Done!  And with that, I've completed almost all of my 2014 Home Resolutions!  A big recap post is on the way soon.  

See you swoon

Happy Birthday Dear Shanna ...

Happy Birthday to me.

Today is my 39th birthday.!?!!..

I'm not really sure how to punctuate the sentence, so I struck it all out.  A lot of attention is paid to the milestone birthdays: 30, 40, 50, etc., but I think the 9s are much more emotional.  There is something about knowing that you are in your last year of a decade that is a mix of bittersweet, excitement, anxiety and trepidation.  You have not yet left the decade so there is still time to accomplish whatever you think you need to accomplish before moving on to the next phase of life.  That is a hell of a lot of pressure.  And when I look back at my 30s and what has gone down in the last decade, I can't say I didn't squeeze every last bit of life out of my 30s:  I birthed two beautiful, amazing children; I became an Ironman; I qualified for the Boston Marathon; I came into my own at work; I turned a corner in my life toward true happiness.  What more can I do in one year to cap off the 30s?

Honestly, I don't know. And for the first time in my life, I'm not going to try to guess.  Instead, I'm going to take lessons from my little kid self and make her proud in my last year of my 30s.

Try New Things

I'd like to try something new in 2015 before I turn 40.  Yoga? Hiking? Snowboarding? Hip Hop dance lessons? Disco? Tango? Sailing?  I don't know.  But I want to open myself up to a new experience and new adventure.  Much like I was doing with my little plastic rolling horse.  Giddy yup. 

Laugh More Belly Laughs

Need I say more?  I look at these pictures of myself having real, true belly laughs and honest to goodness smiles and it's contagious.  I want to laugh more, laugh harder and laugh longer.  And try really hard not to pee my pants while doing so.  

Do Not Settle

I like who I am and I'm not going to settle.  That is so easy to say.  But I've come to realize (and it's been reinforced by friends who love me), that I should never, ever, settle in life.  Much like I didn't like the blue dress or the white purse in these pictures, I promise that I'm not going to settle for second rate anything in my life.  

Feel all of the Feels

I have a predilection for minimizing my own feelings at times.  When I'm upset or mad or sad or angry, I tend to hide that and put on a smile and motor on and let the world and those around me think that everything! is! awesome! when it is really not awesome at all.  I want to be more real with how I am feeling, ask for help and let more people in when things are not awesome or wonderful.  


I need more rest.  More down time.  I tend to GO GO GO GO GO until I crash and burn and the crashing and burning is pretty epic. I'd like to just take it easy a bit more.  There is part of me that needs to be doing something productive at all times, and frankly, it is a big part of who I am.  But I also think I need to take some time where I just don't do a darn thing and enjoy the blissful experience of rest and doing nothing.  

Be Bold

I want to make my inner Wonder Woman proud and to speak up and be bold and ask for what I want and do what I want.  Life is way too short to sit by idly waiting for things to happen.  I'll rustle up my golden lasso and invisible jet and make things happen for myself.  

Dance and Be Joyful

I grew up dancing to ABBA and other similarly awesome music, and I continue to do so.  Life can be hard and challenging and sad and rough, but through it all, I want to remember the joy in it.  I want to remember what it felt like to twirl around in ballet shoes to "Chiquitita" or to run in a circle to "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)".  And while I can't say I'll be donning my ballet shoes and leotard and jamming out to ABBA in my living room (though, if I'm being honest, that sounds pretty amazing), I can recall that joy I felt when I used to dance around and be mindful of incorporating that kind of emotion in my life.  Joy should not be left to children alone.  I want to experience more joy in my life. 

So there it is - a happy birthday wish to myself.  I have plans with friends, dinner with my babies at the hibachi grill (their choice) and definitely some cake.  Life keeps getting better and sweeter with each passing year.  Here's to another! 

See you swoon,

Race Recap: 2014 Philadelphia Marathon

Hello!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And week before Thanksgiving.  Today I'm recapping the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon!  I paced my friend of 33 years - Heather.  She did it!  

I wanted to recap this race last week.  I hadn't planned on taking a week off of the blog, but a funny thing happened after I ran the Philadelphia Marathon last Sunday: my body completely shut down.  As in ... shut the heck down.  Over and out.  No fighting.  Just shut down.  I am usually the Energizer Bunny, but this is what happened:

I guess once I crossed that finish line, I knew that all my goals were met and I could finally rest. Ironman? Check.  BQ? Check.  Pace Heather at Philly? Check.  A few days at home with my family made me feel so much better.

And now I can recap the race!

I've watched Heather as she began running years ago.  She started with the couch to 5k program.  And then ran her 5k.  She decided at that 5k that the next year she would do the half marathon at that same race.  And she did.  She's gotten faster and stronger and has fallen more and more in love with running as the years went on.  She and I talk often (and a bunch about running of course) and she was toying with the idea of doing a full marathon. We agreed that for her first full, I would run with her on race day.  I helped her develop a training plan that was about 4-5 days of running per week: one long run, one day of speedwork and some other runs in between.  We also decided to adopt the Ironman marathon training plan that my coach used: rather than run the whole thing, we would do 9 minutes running/1 minute walking repeat.  Heather trained for months and come race day, she was ready.  And so was I!

Race day weather was picture perfect, especially for late November. It was in the upper 30s at the start at 7:00 am, and gradually warmed to the mid-50s later in the race.  Sunny but not hot.  No wind.  No rain.  A runner's dream.  

We got to the start pretty early (but that's better than the alternative) and used the bathroom in the Four Seasons for a bit.  Around 6, we worked our way to the start and found our corral.  We had some time to kill, so we do what runners do: we found the porta-potties and got in line.  The porta-potties said to make a line in front of each unit, but the people in line did not do that and had created this long snakelike line.  The women next to us decided to go rogue and start our own line, arguing (with good reason) that if we actually paid attention to the signs and made lines in front of each unit, the lines would move faster.  We followed those rogue women and used the porta-potty after them.  Yes. 

We got in our corral and waited and waited and waited.  Finally, the gun went off at 7:00 am.  We finally hit the starting mat around 7:15.  And we were off!  

The first few miles were pretty non-eventful.  We took it nice and easy and controlled in the beginning, which is always difficult.  We agreed to stop at the second sets of porta-potties,  Unfortunately, the line for these was pretty long, but it moved quickly.

With that out of the way, we ran/walk/repeated for a few more miles.  On South Street, some guy with an enormous American flag passed us. It was surreal because the flag was waving all over us.  We were like ok dude, it's cool that you're running with a flag, but the flag is invading our personal running space.

We were really looking forward to mile 7 on 16th & Chestnut Street, as Heather's family was there.  Unfortunately, we were looking on the wrong side of the street for them and because of how busy that area is with spectators, we missed them entirely.  We were both pretty bummed, but my boss/friend Sandy was waiting at 19th & Chestnut Street, and we easily spotted him.  His high five gave Heather a huge boost.

After Chestnut Street, we hit 34th, which is around Drexel University. This area is a lot of fun: tons of college kids are out cheering (and drinking ... and offering drinks to runners).  It's also a pretty prolonged but not too steep hill.  And it is also the scene of what I like to refer to as Bonk Breaker Gate.

Heather's choice of fuel for her long runs is a Bonk Breaker, which is a bar.  Heather had cut her Bonk Breaker into small pieces and had cut just enough for the race.  I could use words, but I like pictures.  Here's what went down. 

First, I heard Heather say "ARE YOU SERIOUS."

I turn around and see what happened.  The Bonk Breaker was in the middle of 34th Street because some dumb woman bumped into Heather and knocked it from her hand.  Imagine the below is on the street.  

The woman who bumped into Heather was all ...

And Heather was like ...

And I was like ... 

The offender ran away but Heather really wanted to do this.  

Snafu aside, we had a real problem.  Heather had just enough food for the run, and when the woman knocked that piece out of her hand, she was one 100 calorie bite short.  Not good.  We agreed that she should keep eating and at the end, we would deal with the nutrition. We said bad things about the woman who knocked the bar out of her hand too.

We knew at this point that at mile 10, once we got to the top of the huge hill by the Please Touch Museum, that we would see Amy and Bill, who were volunteering at the water stop up there.  We saw them ... and they were another huge boost to Heather.  Amy jumped up and down so we could see them, and Bill ran along side of us for a little bit and it was funny and fun.  Bill and Amy later showed up at the finish line with Sprites for us.  Yes! And thank you - we didn't even ask for the Sprites.  I am blessed with great friends.

After the water stop, we were nearing the half way point.  We found Heather's family, which she absolutely needed. Her kids were so excited to see her and she was so excited to see them.  We stopped a moment and then ran past and headed out on Kelly Drive for the second half of the race.  About a mile on Kelly, her dad and step-mom were there cheering for us, which was a huge surprise!

We saw some amazingly funny signs at this race.  My absolute favorite was this one:

I saw it and was like ZOMG I LOVE IT.  It literally took all of my self-control not to steal that sign.  So clever. So cute.  So kitten.  There were also a ton of pictures of just cats.  I liked them too.  Some other signs that I enjoyed:

* You're my heroine. And by heroine I mean inspiring woman, not that I want to inject you and then listen to jazz

* Smile if you're not wearing underwear (with a pair of enormous cheetah print underwear tacked to the sign)

* Tired? Blame Obama.

The miles on Kelly ticked off pretty fast, just as they always do.  We hit my least favorite part of the race - the weird out and back on the Falls Bridge. Heather didn't mind it that much.  I did.  The best part of this segment was the music that was playing - Will Smith and House of Pain.  Thank you!

Heather and I headed into Manayunk and she was struggling a bit.  We talked about what was happening, and I suspected she needed some food.  As usual, the folks in Manayunk were handing out oranges.  Heather took one and instantly perked up.  We grabbed more and she felt a lot better.  The oranges gave her fuel and boosted her blood sugar a bit.  That was just what she needed.  

Once we got out of Manayunk, it was the usual four mile slog back to the end.  I have to say - this went so fast!  I was really surprised.  We were walking a bit more, so I made up for it by having us run longer intervals.  When Heather was running, she was nice and strong, so I rationalized that the running would be fine.  

At some point around mile 24, a woman was there alone with a cow bell.  A little down the road, a group of women were cheering.  One said, "You get a medal! You get a medal! You get a medal!" a la Oprah and the cars:

On an otherwise very quiet part of the course, this was such a huge boost.  We finally hit mile 25.  I knew at that point that things would turn around fast.  Heather was feeling just like you should at mile 25: tired.  She said she just wanted to finish strong and happy.  I knew she would ... we just had to get closer.  We saw Boathouse Row and then the crowds picked up.  We finally hit the Art Museum and then could hear and then see the finish line.   

Heather's entire face changed and the tears started.  She increased her pace to the mid 9:00s and beamed and smiled through that finish line.   Our final time was 5:28:19.  

Her family was so proud.

With good reason!  She did it! 

Running by her side for 26.2 miles was amazing.  It was truly inspiring and wonderful to be with someone as she reached her dreams and did something that she once thought was impossible.  I was, and am, so proud.  

We went through so many emotions and moments on that race - highs like the start and the finish, lows like Bonk Breaker Gate and Manayunk ... and every mile and every step in between.  We laughed and cried together.  We yelled at each other (in an encouraging way).  We struggled and persevered.  And in the end, we did it and crossed the finish line side by side.

Heather is still on a high from the race and is super happy and proud of her experience there.  I hope that whenever life gets lifey and hard, she can look back to that day and remember that she can, and will, do anything.  I am so, so proud of my friend.  

See you swoon,