What I Wore {post 64}

Friday! This was a fun week with a bunch of snow and a lot of cold temps on the way.  I like weekends (um, of course) in general, but in particular because in the Winter I can wear my super soft Uggs.  Yay.  Here are some non-Ugg outfits.  

* Skinny Jeans, Black Top, White Striped Scarf *

I wore this out to dinner with Amy on a super cold night.  I wore my favorite skinny jeans (the jegging style by American Eagle) with a black v-neck top and a brand new white/cream/sparkle scarf that was a gift from Loft, from my work assistant.  I liked the outfit.

* Orange Cardigan, Multi Colored Top, Navy Pencil Skirt *

The top was the inspiration for this outfit.  I was in Target (LOL! of course! like every weekend!) and decided to check out the women's clothes.  I found this printed top and fell in love and could not walk away, especially for $20.  I threw it in my cart and took it home with my other Target treasures.  I wore it with my navy pencil skirt (Banana Republic) and orange cardigan (Banana Republic outlet).  I also wore my chunky gold necklace.  I think it would have looked better with a darker brown leather heel.  That's on my list of something to get soon!

* Black & White Optic Print Wrap Dress *

I found this sucker at an after-Christmas clearance sale online at Banana Republic.  I think I paid about $30 for it.  I liked the print and figured it would be either really cool or really awful when I got it.  Thankfully it was really cool.  This dress doesn't need much: just boots or heels and a necklace and that's it.  The print is very me me me look at me! 

Ahh, another week in the books.  See you on the other side of January. It's February next week, ya'll!

See you swoon,

Living Room and Dining Room: A Softer Color Palette

I look at my ever-present "to do" list much like I look at my shopping list at Target - it's not an exhaustive list of what I will get or do, but more of a reminder of the things I actually need so that I don't forget.  Every year, I share my resolutions for the next year, and that list basically serves as my "to do" list for the following year.  Every year, I add new projects as I go along.  Today's project is one of them.

I really liked my living room/dining room and how it evolved.  Here's the space awhile ago:

I've enjoyed the color palette for the past two and a half years ... but lately, I've been itching to change it up a little.  Maybe it's the change in seasons and the cooler temps.  Maybe it's the gold and soft peachy art that I made.  Whatever it is, I decided to take the plunge and make some changes.  The good thing is, all of these changes are easy and pretty inexpensive: just new pillows and pillow covers.  

The first step was a new rug.  I blogged about that before the holidays.  That alone has made a big difference!  It's so soft!  Like the softest lambs and kittens.  

The pillows were next.  I've noticed in the rooms that I've been loving on blogs and Pinterest that the colors are much more subdued and subtle, and there's a lot more texture.  My current coral-pink-yellow-seaglass blue color combo was lovely, but I was due for a change.  So I measured my pillows and went searching for new pillow covers.  I wanted lots of gold, pale pink/peach, creams and whites and lots and lots of cozy textures.

First, all I needed to do was remove the patterned covers on my large sofa pillows.  I bought the champagne and white striped covers at IKEA years ago and I've brought those suckers back.  Perfect.  Next, I bought these pale pink pillow covers from Bead and Reel on Etsy.  They replaced the old pink and white chain link print pillows.  I absolutely love them.  I found the gold and white patterned pillows at Target, which conveniently came in a set of two.  Finally, the silver and cream linen covers are clearance buys from Ballard Designs. 

On the sofa, I used some of the same pillows.  I also kept my cream textured pillow from Target.  The oversized pillow on the right is from Ballard Designs and is a soft wool.  It, too, was a clearance buy. 

I am loving the new look. It's a subtle change, but has a huge impact.

Of course, as is often the case, this snowballed into more unexpected projects ... this softer palette made me look at my dining room with a kind of critical eye.  So, I took care of the shelves and the buffet top in the dining room.

I love my dining room shelves.  They were a much needed addition to the side of the room and are both pretty ...

and functional!  Check out all of that storage.

When I bought the shelves a few years ago, I painted the backs coral. And now I painted them back to their original cream.  Funny, too, because before I did this, Bill asked "what unsuspecting piece of furniture will you paint white this weekend?"  The answer, Bill and internet, is the shelves.  I realize how insane it was that I painted them back to their original color ... but it's my house and I'll paint if I want to.

Once the backs were returned to their original white (color is Cream Delight by Valspar - a close match to the Ikea white), I had to fill them.  Some of the things stayed, while I added new or different things.  The only thing I purchased was the rope & glass lantern in the top shelf.  Everything else I had in my decor stash.  Look at how beautiful and neutral and white!

The buffet was next.  Another "unsuspecting piece of furniture" was about to get a whole bunch of white!  Before, I had a turquoise runner with a coral urn.  It worked with the former color palate.

But not so much with the current one.  I took those off and added some frames and decor.  As with the shelves, I had everything on hand except the cream/gold/glitter! vase in the middle.

That vase was a $7 clearance find at TJ Maxx.  I wish I could say I acted completely normally when I found it, but this is what happened.

And here's some final shots!

So what's left?  I bought fabric to recover my cane back dining chairs - this lovely neutral (read: LOTS OF WHITE) floral fabric.

I want to recover the chairs, get a new pillow cover to replace the yellow one, get a rug for under the table and figure out something fun and new for the top of the table.  And then ... at long last I can cross the dining room and living room off my list!  For now! Until it's time to change things up again! 

See you swoon,

2015 Training Recap: weeks 3-4

Hello! Happy Monday! Happy gonna get some snow day!  

So, the past few weeks have been rough, only because of the weather.  I mostly kept to my training plan but had some bumps along the way.  Winter training is just a tough slog ... you not only have to figure out how you'll fit your workout in in your schedule, but you also have to contend with conditions: snow, ice, wind, cold.  [insert horizontal smile here].  But like the post office, "neither snow, nor rain, nor heat [ha ha ha], nor gloom of night", stays this runner from swift completion of her appointed workout.

I apologize for the lack of post workout selfies.  I did my best.  And I promise I will take more.  I know.  You're like this cat.

Jan. 12-18:  3:59:09 hours

Swim: 0 hours/miles
Bike:  0 hours/miles
Run: 3:59:09 hours/25.4 miles

Yah. This week was a pattern that I'm getting used to: Monday-easy 30 minute run; Tuesday-walk and run; Wednesday-speedwork; Thursday-rest/swim/bike; Friday-long run; Saturday-rest/swim/bike; Sunday: longish run with speedy intervals.

I ended up taking rest days on both Thursday and Saturday, which I don't like to do at all. The weather was a variable, as was my kid and work schedule.  Just not easy to fit it all in.  

Sunday's run was in my hometown.  It was a rainy, soggy mess, but I got it done! Look at this ...

1991 gas prices aside, this was the weather on my run.  8 miles in the rain! I did it!  Nothing makes me feel more badass than a hard run in the rain. 

Jan. 19-25: 4:28:46 hours

Swim: 40:15 minutes/1800 yards
Bike: 30 min (on trainer)
Run: 3:18:30 hours/22.1 miles

My workouts this week were the same as the week before.  I had to work late on Tuesday, so I took an unintended (and much anger-inducing) rest day.  So for Thursday I biked and Saturday I made sure to swim.  I actually asked my coach to schedule a day of swimming for me, so I would be sure to do it.  

Wednesday's track day was a bust.  Because the track was iced over.  So I stomped on the track, called it a bad name, and drove myself to the Y where I did my speedwork on the treadmill.  Gotta do what I gotta do.  I ended up switching my Friday long run with my Sunday run/speedwork because I was at a conference for work.  See how exciting?

Unfortunately, I had to cut the Friday treadmill at the hotel workout short because the hotel bed was HORRIFIC (all caps) and jacked up my neck and back.  But by Sunday, I rallied and ran an amazingly wonderful 11.5 mile run with a 8:51 average pace.  Yes!  

Austin Half Marathon is just a few weeks away.  I can't wait! Yee haw! 

See you swoon,

What I Wore {post 63}

Friday! Again! What I Wore! Again!  Looks like everything is pretty black and white with these outfits. 

* Black Skinny Pants, Black Fitted Cardigan, Polka Dot Shell *

I wore this to work on a day when I knew I'd be heading out for a happy hour with colleagues.  So the black skinny pants may have been pushing it just a bit.  I maintain that the outfit was work appropriate.

* Black Turtleneck, White Mini, Black Heels *

I channeled my inner mod girl for this look.  I wore my $11 Eddie Bauer black turtleneck with my wool white mini and black tights & heels.  

* Cream Blouse & Tan Pants *

I've had this cream blouse from Ann Taylor for years.  It's very feminine - it has bands of silk with a silk tie at the top.  I love the fit and the draping effect.  I wore it with my tan pants and taupe patent heels.  

Enjoy your weekend, friends! See you back here next week.

See you swoon,

Organizing the Workshop & Storage Space


I am just rolling through my 2015 Home Resolution list like a runaway freight train!  Up today is a little project I tackled over the long weekend: putting the finishing touches on my workshop/storage room in the house.  

Back in the early Fall, I finally organized my three storage spaces in my house - the outdoor closets and my huge downstairs storage room (which was the room that needed it most of all).  I did the lions share of the work back then, but knew I had some final details to attend to - namely, to label all of the drawers and bins so that I could easily find what I was searching for when it was project or decorating time.

Here's how the room looked before I started:

As you can see, I have managed to keep it neat and organized since September.  I bought a Christmas tree bag for my tree, which is a lot larger than the original box it came in and in which I stored the tree before. The box was shot, so I had to toss it.  I've also brought in the outdoor furniture, so that's taking up some floor space.  It will all go back outside in the Spring.

I am in love with how organized and tidy this room is.  But it needed a little more.  I wanted to label all of the bins and drawers so that I could quickly and easily find exactly what I was looking for.  And because it's me and my room and I am a little OCD about these things, I wanted those labels to be kind of pretty.  My storage containers are mostly red, so in order to stick with that, I bought some red labels from Paper Source.   

I first made a list of the contents of every drawer and bin so I could make the appropriate label.  Once I had my list, I took the labels to my printer and printed them out.  I used Helvetica font for the labels.  I wanted something easy to read, but also easy on the eyes.  You know I am a font snob.

Unfortunately, I didn't count the number of bins when I bought my labels, and I fell way short.  As in I could only do half the room.  Meh!  Lucky for me, I live super close to a Paper Source (danger) so I will just run out soon and buy a few more packs to finish off the space.  Anyhow, labels on and ... here are the (even more) organized bins and drawers now!

For the plastic bins and drawers, it was easy enough to stick the label right on the front.  But for the mesh drawers, I used On Command to fasten the label to the drawers.  I stuck the label on a piece of card stock and then affixed it that way.

This space is almost done!  I would love to paint the floor and the walls/pegboard, but I doubt I will get around to that.  I've got a lot of other projects in the house to attend to first.  

Have a great day and a great week! 

See you swoon,

What I Wore {post 62}

Dudes.  It is mid January.  I cannot even believe it.  And a long weekend! Here are a handful of recent outfits that I wore to work.  If I am being honest, if I did a weekend What I Wore, those posts would involve all forms of yoga pants, leggings, UGG boots and very soft long-sleeved cotton tee shirts.  :)

* Fuchsia Knit Dress *

I stumbled upon this dress thanks to a fellow blogger, Cassie at Hi Sugarplum!, who posted about its grey sister.  The pink was perfect for me and I absolutely love it.  I wore it with black hose and my black patent Mary Janes.  I love the "fit and flare" style.  It is super comfortable too, and even though Junior sizing, I found it true to size.

* Maroon Top & Charcoal Pants *

Ahhh, another Anthropologie find.  This is a lovely little peasanty top from Anthropologie.  The top is sheer and it's nice and flowy.  I wore it to work with my charcoal pants and black heels.  Very simple.

* Cream & Black Tunic & Skinny Jeans *

I blogged about this top awhile ago. It's a nice and long tunic that I got from Nordstrom last year.  I wore it with a cream cami and my skinny jeans and brown riding boots.  Unfortunately, I spilled a little orange juice on my shirt so it's at the cleaners where I hope hope hope she is working her magic and getting the stain out. 

Avast me hearties!  Weekend ahead!  Enjoy.  Not sure why I turned into a pirate, but there you go.

See you swoon,

Redone Dining Room Table

Hello! Good morning!  I feel like this blog post needs a little fanfare and trumpets!  I redid my dining room table!  I know!  Every sentence in this paragraph is punctuated by an exclamation point so you know this one is good!  I'm going to show you the finished product right now because no one can wait!

Calming down ... this was another one of those why didn't I do this sooner, this completely changed the look of the room with very little time and money things.  My dining room table is about 10 years old.  The original chairs are long gone, but I really do like the size and design of the table itself.  It has a leaf, which I keep in it all the time, and a farmhouse-table kind of look.  The thing I do not like about it was the finish, as seen in this older picture:

In fact, I've never liked the finish.  It was a compromise on my part and it's just never been my taste at all and ended up being, well, compromising.  Every time I looked at it I would instantly think "gah - red wood - don't like - gah".  So now's the time to fix it.  

I was inspired by an Ethan Allen table.  I loved the two tone - the distressed wood top and the white legs.  It really got my heart racing.

My initial plan was to strip the top, stain it a weathered oak, and then poly the top.  Then once the top was done, I'd paint the legs white.  Things, as usual, did not quite go according to plan.

I started off with the stripper (that's what she said).  I used Citristrip and followed the package instructions.  I let it sit for about 45 minutes and then stripped off the varnish with the little stripper bucket tools.

I ended up having to do two coats of the Citristrip.  Once that was done, I used an orbital sander (on loan from Bill - thanks Bill!) to strip off the rest of the finish.  The sides were very tricky.  For whatever reason, they were coated in some really funky stuff that was impossible to get off. I finally was able to strip them nice and smooth by using mineral spirits applied with steel wool.

I did not enjoy this process.  It was messy and disgusting and tedious and difficult. But once I was done, it looked pretty darn beautiful.

Even with the red legs, I was pleased with the top.   So, a few days later, it was time to tackle the finish on top.  I used one final swipe of really fine sandpaper and then used some tack cloth to get the top super clean.  And then I applied my stain: Minwax's Weathered Oak finish.  I was so excited and applied a kind of small spot and then ... THE TABLE TOP TURNED RED AGAIN.   The table top turned red.  Again.  I said some really bad words and may have thrown the stain rag down hard and then said more bad words.  It was pretty clear that stain wasn't going to work, and any stain applied to the top would just bring out that red wood.  So ... I sanded again and got all of the new stain off.

I needed to make the finish more grey in order to get the distressed l wanted.  I decided to try a liming wax for the finish, which was the perfect distressed wood look that I had in mind.  I saw the finish on I Heart Organizing, which is a blog that I follow and loooooooove, and I figured I would use that same product on the table and it just might work.   It did!  The liming wax made the finish more grey and muted.  It was a bit too grey and too muted, but I knew as soon as I applied the Poly, it would be the exact look I wanted.  And it was!

Once the wax was done, I applied my Polycrilic to seal.  I used a satin finish for a more matte look.  It took four coats, which I thought was a good call given the use the table would get.  While I did that, I started the legs.  I got out my oil based primer and brushed on two coats over the legs.

Once the primer was dry, we added two coats of white latex.  I went with my favorite Dover White (Sherwin Williams) that I often use.  Once the paint was dry, I added  two coats of Poly to them to protect.

And here she is!

Yes and yay and all of those things!  I'll add a natural fiber rug under the table soon - something like a jute or a sisal.  I want to break up the [horrible] grey carpet and make the room look more neutral.  And I would love new chairs, but that's not in the budget.  However, recovering the current chairs *is* in the budget.  Now I just need an excuse to host a fun, yummy dinner party to break in the space!  hmmmmm.

See you swoon,