Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rock N Roll Half Marathon, St. Louis

Sunday I ran the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis with my Father-in-law!

Pat and I before the race.  It was early!

My father-in-law and I run together whenever Ryan and I are visiting.  We're solid running buddies-he pushes me just enough pace wise, and the conversation is fabulous!  So when he wanted to sign up to run his longest distance to date, the Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I was IN!

I've done a couple of half's before, but never one that was this big of a production.  The expo alone was insanely big, and having bands along the way and so many other people running was really neat.  The spectators were amazing, and had some hysterical signs-I loved "Run faster I just farted" and "Worst Parade Ever."  We also ran through parts of St. Louis I didn't know existed, and I got to ogle some pretty neighborhoods.

My sister Mary and I after the race.  She showed up at mile 4 and took our jackets, which ROCKED.

Anyway, it was a great race, we had a great time, and I'm so glad I got to do this with my father-in-law!  Also Ryan showed up after we finished with coffee, and clinched the title for husband of the year.

We also had a wonderful brunch afterwards, and the waitress didn't mind my needy substitution of a blueberry pancake instead of an English muffin and bacon.  My motrher-in-law and her sister walked the half, and Ryan's cousin Jessie joined us for brunch too.

My medal hanging up on my bulletin board at work.

 The best part about this half marathon was that it got me back into a working out groove.  I feel so much better all around when I'm active on a regular basis, and this got me back into that habit, which rocks!

Are you training for anything right now?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our Deluxe Porch Swing

Ryan built me this amazing over-sized porch swing for our first anniversary, and it was my job to get cushions for it sewn...which took me about 8 months longer than it should've.  I originally was going to sew box cushions with a zipper-I really wanted to be able to take the cushions off to wash them-but that's above my sewing ability.  Like way above.  And the whole project was intimidating the hell out of me.  We'd had the fabric/foam for months (purchased when it was half off at Hancocks), but it took a serious strategic session with my mom, grandma, Aunt Noelle and Ryan to get me moving.

Do you ever do that?  Something is hard, you don't really know what you're doing, so you just put it off for months and stress out about it daily.  Plus the fabric wasn't cheap (even though we got it 1/2 off) and I really didn't want to mess it up.

Anyway....thanks to lots of heads being put together, they are done, and I LOVE how it all turned out!

Ryan has been screening in the deck all around the swing this summer so I don't get eaten up by mosquitoes!

The pillows I sewed using a basic envelope pillow tutorial.  We went with bigger pillows than planned, so I was short on fabric, and it gaps in the back and you can see the pillow form.  I'm going to get some gray ribbons to disguise that, so that's an easy fix.  (Ruthie has the same pillow covers!)

The back/bottom gray cushions were what gave me such headaches.  We started with a rectangular piece of foam, then glued this mildew-resistant layer to one side, forming a thicker rectangle.  I used 60" wide home decor fabric, and had the fold of the fabric hitting the front (so you just see smooth and no seams) and saved all of the seams/velcro for the back and the sides.  The sides of the cushions I wrapped like a present and hand stitched.  The back I hemmed then added velcro so I can remove the cushions.

That is super unscientific and probably not in the least helpful, but we really just winged was a lot of finagling, tacking this bit of fabric here, etc etc.  The back doesn't look perfect, but the cushions are removable, which was the goal-and no one's looking at the back anyway!

The swing is big enough that I can really stretch out and get comfy.  The dogs LOVE it!  I love sitting out here before work while the dogs play in the yard.  Overall, a killer anniversary present, and a sizable project crossed off my list.

Now I have a half finished skirt sitting in my sewing room; the invisible zipper has stopped me in my tracks.  I need to bring it to my grandma this weekend to get it finished up!

What have you been working on lately?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Surprise! And Crafting.

My wonderful Grandma turned 88 last Friday, and we'd be scheming for a while as to how to make her feel loved, appreciated and warm and fuzzy inside in honor of the occasion.  So we threw her a surprise birthday party!  I called her church office, and they generously gave me a list of people to call, and everyone really helped us rally the troops.  I also started a big Facebook message with all of my family, and my dad did some e-mailing...we ended up with 40-50 family and friends at a lovely drop in reception last Saturday afternoon in a room we rented in the church basement.

She had NO CLUE!  It was amazing.

My sister Alli and I had wayyyyy too much fun crafting.  We decided on pink and orange and went from there.  We found this scrap book paper booklet at Hobby Lobby for $10 in the right colors and grabbed that.  Alli made this cute scalloped bunting that we hung up:

Alli also bought fat quarters and made this adorable rag wreath that was actually her gift to grandma.

I had 2 vintage sewing patterns, and we drew 4-petal flowers, cut out 20ish layers at a time then stacked them on top of each other, folded in half then stapled.  Then we stuck a white floral stem through the staple and we had vintage sewing pattern flowers!  The fat quarters used in the wreath also acted as part of the centerpiece (we just cut the edges with pinking shears).  Parchment paper was on top of the tables and guests were encouraged to write Grandma notes, which we saved and are making into a book for her with the left over scrapbook paper.  Milk glass vases were left over from my wedding, and I snagged the orange pens from work, and then returned them.  The fat quarters were also given to Grandma to use for future quilts/projects.

Parchment paper also went on the dessert table, where we set out easy snacks purchased from Sam's that morning on more left over wedding milk glass.

My dad picked out the cake.  The circle bunting you see was made from scrapbook paper scraps that I traced circles onto with the bottom of a glass and cut out while watching Netflix.  I then sewed the circles together using pale pink thread and my widest zig zag stich.  Everything was sewing related, since Grandma is an avid quilter and an exceptional seamstress.  I don't think we spent more than $35 on decorations total!

Here's my surprised Grandma.  Isn't she sweet?

It all could not possibly have gone better.  It was so nice to meet Grandma's friends, and her friends were thrilled to meet some of her family that they've heard so much about.  The priest she speaks of in glowing terms made the time to be there too.  A huge success!  She is such a gift to us.

Not telling her was grueling, I'm so glad I don't have to keep this secret anymore!  Her quilting friends joked that she "doesn't get up to go to the bathroom enough!", as they'd scheme and visit about the party when she got up!

Thrown any parties lately?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Instagram Dump

I decided to DIY clean my wedding dress....which has been hanging dirty, half bustled in a closet for 2 years.  No judging here.  It somewhat worked!  I'll do a whole post on this later.

We finally had a weekend at's been wedding after wedding after wedding this summer.  Ryan and I were each in one, so we also had showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc.  We loved it, but it was so nice to not be traveling this past weekend!  We hit up the farmer's market on Saturday morning, and I got a blueberry lemonade with a fun pink umbrella.

We're doing a CSA this summer (a bi-weekly share), and our last box included this mind-blowing heirloom watermelon.  So we high-tailed it to the farmer's market where our farmers have a booth as soon as they opened and bought them out of these glorious Sugar Baby watermelons.  I can't tell you how sweet, juicy and wonderful these are.  We are saving the seeds so we can have dozens upon dozens of these next year.  

Then I made cheesy kale chips.  I like these MUCH better just barely not-crispy.  Yum.

Then I made these zucchini fries with marinara sauce to dip it in.  They didn't have a ton of flavor on these own, I think I'll add more seasonings next time....because there will be a next time.  It might happen tonight.  Here's where I found the recipe.

Then we went to this winery with a badass pizza oven yesterday to celebrate our 2 year anniversary.  We pretty much went just for the pizza.  We've wanted to go for a while but it's 45 minutes away.  Our pizza was AWESOME--mine had pesto, grilled chicken and feta and Ryan's had sun dried tomatoes and sausage.  

Wanna guess how many pictures it took to get this one good one?





There was more, I just didn't feel like uploading all of them.  We only got the good one because the winery dude offered to take one for us.  

And then we worked on getting stuff together for the garage sale we're having next month.  I miss living with Alli, and I'm sad we're selling this couch we bought together at a junk store for $40.

How was your week?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today is our 2nd anniversary.  It's gone by so fast, yet so slowly at the same time, somehow.  Thankfully I do feel like I'm getting better at this being married thing...I feel like I know Ryan better and better, and that helps enormously.

He still makes me laugh, every day.

It still takes my breath away when he looks at me like this.

We still hear about how much fun people had.

I still love to hold his hand.

It's still HOT, just like it was 2 years ago!

I still do, and firmly intend to always do so.

We're heading to a winery with a pizza oven this weekend to celebrate...mostly for the pizza as opposed to booze!

I love seeing everyone's anniversary posts....and I love staying in the loop on your lives!  In a non-creepy way.  I'm basically glad we're still wedding-blog-buddies :).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wedding Season

You guys it is wedding SEASON!  I was in my sister-in-law Erin's wedding on July 14th, and then this past weekend Ryan was in his friend Jason's wedding.  WHEW--I have a feeling baby shower season is next!

I got my nails all done up for Erin's wedding....and I got my engagement ring re-dipped.  I had never done that before; it looked like a new ring, so shiny and pretty!

Erin picked out the prettiest dresses, all from J Crew in a pretty dove gray color, and everyone's dress was just a little bit different.  Definitely a wear-again dress.  She gave us all pearls; it was lovely all together.  Here's Ashely, one of the other bmaids and I.

Erin's photographer, Forever Yours Images out of STL, already posted some preview pictures on Facebook.  Doesn't Erin look stunning?  

I love this picture of Ryan and I at Erin's wedding, we look so happy :)

Ryan's cousin John's fiance Megan and I-she's getting married in September!  I LOVE her.  I think we were making fun of how short I am here?  Obviously it was fun.

Then in between the weddings, I walked the dogs with my sister at our riverfront.  4 dogs + 2 girls trying to eat ice cream?  Not well planned, but very entertaining.  

 While Ryan was off doing his groomsmen thing I went shopping!  Almost bought this dress at American Eagle...the color was gorgeous, and I loved everything about it except for the flutter sleeves and the price tag.  It was $45 full price, I just couldn't do it...I have a pretty similar dress from here and didn't feel like I needed it.  Do you have a hard time buying stuff full price?  I will do it if I really need it and it's perfect, but that's about it!

I flew Cape Air to STL, since the rehearsal dinner was Thursday night at 4, and I had just taken vacation for Erin's rehearsal dinner (also on a Thursday night) the week before.  Ryan drove up Thursday, and I flew up Saturday, then we drove back down together.  Flight seated 9, and was only $50, including taxes, so it was actually cheaper for me to fly.  It was hysterical...the restaurant in the airport wasn't open at 6:30 (my flight left at 6:45 a.m.), so they had free coffee and pastries set out.  They called you up for security by name...and you had to verify your weight, for balance reasons.  I only had to get there 20 minutes before the flight.  It was amazing, must've been what flying was like before things got so crazy.  I would definitely do it again, especially for business trips since it'd be cheaper than parking/gas reimbursement.

Oh and they sell the co-pilot's seat, so you can sit up there if you want

Then Ryan was in our dear friends Jason and Kristin's wedding on Saturday.  It was beautiful, I can't wait to show you more pictures!  And he looks so handsome in a suit.  

They had a really cool polaroid picture deal set up, and they had painted a silver tray with chalkboard paint so you could write messages to them.  We did a cheesetastic one, of course.

 We had a great time seeing some of Ryan's old Fleet Feet friends (he met Jason working at a specialty running store).  We've visited Jason and Kristin in Chicago, where Jason works for Fleet Feet again, so some Chicago Fleet Feeters were also at the wedding.  Then there was a Fleet Feet STL vs. Fleet Feet Chicago dance off, which was priceless.  We ended up at the after party until 2 a.m., it was such a blast.

We have a break in weddings until September 21 when Ryan's friend Jessica is getting hitched and September 28, when his cousin John marries Megan.  Then we have another wedding in December.  We're lucky to have such a great group of friends.

What have you been up to lately, wedding-it up?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rock N Roll

A few weeks ago, I signed up to run my 4th half marathon on October 21--the St. Louis Rock N Roll Half Marathon!

My father-in-law was signed up, and he wanted some company.  We run together whenever Ryan and I visit St. Charles, and we are very well suited running buddies.  We have some great conversations, so I'm excited.  He's wanting to run about 9 minute miles, and it'd be nice to break 2 hours; right in line with what I'm good with!

It's the biggest and priciest race I'll have ever done.  The other 3 half marathons I've ran were not dinky or anything, just smaller, more community based affairs put on my local running groups or a locally-owned running store.  So while it cost a chunk of change ($86 prior to June 30th, includes processing fee and a $10/coupon code I found), I think running a big race with crowds and all kinds of fancy things will be fun, and a cool experience.  It felt WASTEFUL signing up for it, isn't it funny how it can be hard to spend $ on yourself like that?  For some reason the smaller amounts don't feel that way to me.

Since my hubs is a cross country coach, I lucked out training schedule-wise.  He worked in my weekly Zumba classes and my beloved elliptical (I can watch Toddlers and Tiaras while on that thing, it's beautiful), which was very sweet of him.  I'm on week 3 of the training schedule, and so far have only slacked off on not doing 1 40-min elliptical session, which I plan to make up...sometime.  When I started this training stuff, I was working out maybe 3 times a week, so getting back to a regular schedule has been an adjustment.  This weekend, my appetite caught up-and then some-with all this increased activity...all I want to do is sit around and EAT, which doesn't defeat the purpose, but it's lame.

This was my first 1/2, part of the Frostbite Series in St. Louis' Forest Park.  I didn't own any hardcore tech running stuff, and I froze my ass off.  Now I have tights and a zip up top lined in cozy fleece that get me through chilly days.

And here's one 1/2 marathon I did with my mom last September.  I hadn't trained at all and I still have no idea how I finished.

And the other one went completely undocumented.  It was 3 weeks after the 1st one, and it was so cold the water in the cups at the water stops was frozen solid.

I'm a much better spectator.  This looks so much more comfortable!

Nerd alert:  I printed off my training schedule, hung it up on my office wall and cross my completed work outs off in red ink.

Are you training for anything?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The American Queen Docks

Today the American Queen, an old-school paddlewheeler docked at Cape's riverfront!  Since I work in tourism here, I've been going back and forth with them to get them what they need, set stuff up, etc...seeing it all happen was really exciting.

Here she is approaching our riverfront...with the Mississippi being so low right now thanks to this severe drought we're in, their schedule was all wacky.  They were supposed to get here at noon and showed up at 10:15.  Better early than late!

We had a few small hiccups, but nothing major.  For the most part everything went smoothly (whew!).  The director was nice enough to take me on board and give me a tour.  They have a 24/7 soft serve machine....yum!  I am really good at locating ice cream.

They had a Mark Twain impersonator on board.  I just started reading Life on the Mississippi this weekend to get ready for a "Mississippi Mondays" series I am doing for my work's social media (I manage Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr and Foursquare for VisitCape), so when I saw this guy walking towards me, it gave me goosebumps!

And I'm wearing my skirt!  I got lots of compliments, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I wanted to wear something professional that was comfy AND wouldn't make me sweat to death.  Though running around on the riverfront from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in 104 temps pretty much did that anyway-hence the red face in the ice cream picture!

Such a cool day!  Not temp wise-you know what I mean.  They dock 2 more times, and we also have 2 dockings with another boat.  Can't wait--and hoping next time it isn't 104.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I made a skirt

I made a skirt--one that I can actually WEAR!  I normally pick something way too complicated, get overwhelmed by the amount of steps, convince myself I'm going to screw it all up...or cut out a size too small/too big or make an un-wearable practice version then hate it and never make a real version.  Yeah.  Psyche myself out every time!

I used this tutorial that I found on Pinterest, and the directions were good.  The skirt ended up fuller than I would've liked-though my sister told me it was fine-so the next time I make it, I might decrease the width on the main body piece.  I picked out gray seersucker at Hobby Lobby, and it was half off $8/yard.  They only had a yard and a half left on the bolt, so I bought it hoping I could get the whole skirt cut out (the pattern says 2 yards) and I had plenty of leftovers!  I decreased the waist size by 1/2 an inch.  I made a pattern out of some butcher paper, and I'm really glad I did...measuring/cutting large pieces of fabric w/o intimidates me.  All total, the skirt cost my $7, with $6 in fabric and $1 in a zipper.  I didn't sew the sash to the that point I was just rejoicing it had worked out!

Ta Da!  In the bathroom mirror at work.

It's wonky.  And there are spots where I would be mortified if my Grandma wanted a closer look.  Because the part where you attached the gathered skirt to the waistband....I was sweating, it was nerveracking, and it's a touch sloppy.  But I was NOT going to let my anal-retentiveness-when-it-comes-to-sewing stand between me and this skirt...I just went with it and told myself the sash would hide it.  And it did :)

I'm thinking the same skirt, but in a jewel tone...maybe a bright green, with a 3-4 inch band of another color at the bottom for round 2!

I also got the supplies and got started on a book to house all of our wedding cards....2 year anniversary is coming up next month, and I thought it'd be nice to actually organize them and get them out of the card box they arrived in.  No judging here you guys...which is why I can also tell you that Ryan and I haven't printed off a single picture from our wedding.  Despite having the CD with high res images and printing rights.  Now I know why people pay a premium to have the photog do it for them....

Have you crossed any projects off of your to-do list lately?