3.28.2011

My Medifast Progress

I'm starting week 9 of Medifast.  So far, it is going well, with a few bumps in the road.  Check out my progess here!


Calories and cookies n cream,
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3.24.2011

Decisions, decisions...C's first birthday party plans!

Thanks to all who voted on their favorite birthday theme for C's first birthday!  I tallied up the votes, and the flamingo fans were the most vocal!  I think it will be the perfect theme for next year's party - kind of tea party meets Alice in Wonderland meets croquet meets PINK FLAMINGOS everywhere!  C is still a little unsure about the whole ordeal.  She thinks I'm making a big fuss.


Even though were are waiting another year to do the Flamingos, if you interested in this theme for your own big or little person party...here is a touch more inspiration:
Real life tea party inspiration (author won't allow copying of photos, but check them out...they are cute!)


 
Bridal Alice in Wonderland Tea Party!


Okay - how awesome would this be? 
5 Piece Pink Flamingo Tea Set
This year, however, C will be having one WHALE of a party! 

So why didn't I go with the voters' choice?  Because there is one voter's opinion who matters to me most...C's daddy.  The Knight rarely shows interest in things that have to do with decor or parties, and just lets me do what I want, the way I want (he is a smart boy).  But, when he does speak up and act interested, then I stop and listen. 

He was so cute looking over both themes, going back and forth.  Finally, after he had carefully studied both, he looked at me and shyly said..."I vote for whales."

How can I say flaming-no after that? 

So, we're going with the whales.  I am super excited...so glad to have some direction with my planning.  Of course now, I see flamingo stuff EVERYWHERE.  Figures.

Now that I have settled on a theme, the next thing is to pick a color scheme...I'm thinking that I really like the Vineyard Vines color scheme - soft pink, light blue, navy blue, with white accents (and maybe a little gray here and there?), lots of grograin, pink polka dots, and some pinstripes.  Doesn't that just sound lovely?

I just ordered a few precious items from Sweet Lulu to get me inspired.  Can't wait till they arrive!
(Pink and white candles, fancy labels, and gray and pink polka dotted tape...don't know what I'll use it for, but I couldn't resist the cuteness!)
(Special cupcakey liners)
 (Pink striped and multi-colored polka dot straws - everything has to taste better when drinking through such sweet delights!)

anchors away and under the sea,
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3.23.2011

AFS Approved!


Here are a list of recent pretties that have found their way into our home lately...

Just Browsing Dress in Dotty
Just browing dress (Modcloth)

Yellow-So-Cute CoatYellow-So-Cute Coat
Yellow so cute coat (Modcloth).  Love the lining!

SALE The single sprinkled- Taylor- stretch headband
Some colors on SALE The single sprinkled- Julie- stretch headbandSweet little headbands for Caroline (the Julie and the Taylor from Sprinkles for Sprouts on Etsy)


Precious baby blankets for the "gift closet" (Sari Bari)

Saucy and sweet aprons, also for the "gift closet" (Flirty Aprons)

Other cool stuff:

Holly Becker's book, Decorate, is out at Anthropologie, and should be released on Amazon on April 20th!

I recently joined Thred UP, an online "swapmeet" for moms with kids. The first box I received ROCKED! It was chock full of quality fall and winter (think lots of corduroy and felt applique) dress clothes for C for next year! Wanna join AND get $5 off your first order? Email me at curtsies (at) gmail (dot) com, and I can send you a special link!


Also, our church recently hosted a Pajama Program/ PJ photo shoot for all the little ones. Basically, parents were asked to bring new books and PJs for kids to be donated to the Pajama Program. As a thank you, several talented members of our church who are also professional photographers took pictures of all the kids in their PJs! It was a really cute idea, and I love, love, love how C's pictures turned out:

Frugal finds with fashionista flair,
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3.21.2011

I Survived: Natchez Trace Adventure Race

My typing these words is proof that a) I survived the adventure race, b) I did not paralyze myself and still have complete control over my limbs and fingers (Thank goodness!), c) Caroline still has a mommy! (Super shout-out to my amazing parents for watching her this weekend while we raced at the Trace!)


This adventure race was hard.  Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.The Knight did this thing in 2009, and even he said that this year's race was way tougher. 
(the handsome devil who got me into this mess. (:  )

Miraculously, my fabulous team, Steeltoe Stilettos, finished.  Even more miraculously, we were not last! 

The race was actually pretty cool overall.  We started off at a lodge in the Natchez Trace State Park...at the beginning of the race, we were told to tie ourselves together and run to a point about 350 meters away.  We got there and were given a "Passport", a set of instructions, and a topographical map with holes punched out at the locations that we were supposed to check off on our Passport. 

Our instructions were broken up into three phases: 1) trek/run, 2) mountain bike, 3) canoe.  Each phase had multiple checkpoints that we were supposed to find using our compass, maps, and orienteering abilities.  I am so thankful for having such a great team.  We worked together really well.  The Knight's sister was our captain and instructions giver, Aqua Sha'naqua was the map reader and fearless trailblazer, and I was the compass coordinator and Passport checker offer (basically, when we found each checkpoint, I would run ahead and get the Passport "stamped" so that we could move to the next spot).  I was definitely the weakest link on the team, but my teammates were very gracious, encouraging, and didn't leave me (although at times, I really wished they would have...I would have happily curled up into the fetal position and waited for a helicopter to take me home.)


(photo credit here)

Our first phase was the trek/run portion...it was actually pretty fun, and a great way to see the state park.  We quickly got all of our checkpoints, and were staying with the other teams pretty well.  After finishing our first set, we headed back to the transition area to get ready to begin the biking portion of our race.  We were surprised with a "mystery event" which consisted of one person telling a blindfolded teammate how to arrange all the states on a U.S. map puzzle.  We finished our mystery event with blazing speed and got ready to begin biking.

This is where my misadventures began.  First, as we were grabbing our bikes to get on the trail, I panicked and decided I need to add a little more air in my back tire.  Unfortunately, in my panic, I also managed to pull out the valve stem of my bike, which completely deflated and ruined the tube inside my tire. 

But wait.  There was a bigger problem. 

The BIGGER problem was that I had no idea how to change the tire on my bike.  I had watched a youTube video, but let's be honest here, watching a video and actually doing something yourself are very, very different things.  So, of course, I did what any rational person in my position would do...I panicked some more, hopped around freaking out, and then ran and asked one of the officials for help.


(photo credit here)

First guardian angel of the day was a very cute official named Daniel....he quickly replaced the inner tube, made sure both of my tires had the proper amount of air, and was completely gracious about the entire thing.  As we pedalled away, he wished us "good luck!" and then I'm pretty sure I heard him chuckle and mutter under his breath "you are going to need it."

Daniel was dead on.  Oh, how I wish I would have just stayed with cutie pie Daniel.

About 10 minutes into the wood on our mountain bikes, and I realized I was WAY over my head.  Did I mention that I have never actually mountain biked before?  Because the only experience that I had mountain biking 10 minutes in, was the 10 minutes that I had just finished.  Riding a bike on the road is completely different.  I'm sure you are thinking "duh," but I did not actually think about what it mean to bike through a trail until I was literally in the thick of it.  The trail was rugged, loaded with tree roots, ditches, loose leaves, and lots and lots of trees.  Those trees, roots, hills and ditches nearly were the death of me. 

Within the first 30 minutes, I wrecked my bike not once, not twice, but THREE times.  The last wreck literally flung my entire body in a brier patch, with my bike on top of me.  Ow. 
(photo credit here)

I have to admit, by that time, my morale was so low, I really wanted to quit.  I was scared, the realization that we weren't even 1/2 through was setting in, and I kept thinking "I am a mother, I have a child, I cannot die."  Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but I could see how one bad wreck could really do some damage, and I was afraid I was really going to get hurt.  Plus, I was feeling guilty slowing my teammates down with all of my wrecking, and I was really wondering how much longer I could go on (and how many more wrecks my body and soul could endure).

I said a lot of prayers, probably even more curse words, and apologized a million times for my delaying us by pulling out the valve stem, the serial wrecking, and just generally being a complete cycling psycho. Thankfully, I managed to rally, and didn't wreck any more the rest of the day.  I would also like to mention that the mountain bike portion should have been termed "mountain bike pushing portion."  Everyone, including my team, spent an inordinate amount of time pushing the bikes up and down the major hills on the trail.  I don't understand why the coordinators picked such a hill intensive trail for the biking portion...it would have been difficult just walking it, but pushing the bikes up the hills really was exhausting.  Major kudos to Aqua Sha'naqua and the Knight's sister...they were fearless on the trails. 


(holding our passport and checkpoint marker no. 6 - this one we really worked for!)

Finally...gloriously...we finished the biking portion and got all of our checkpoints.  Unfortunately, it had already been 5.5 hours, and the race was ending in 6 hours.  We really didn't have enough time to get all the canoe checkpoints, but we figured "we're here, we rented the canoe, we might as well try to get one."

The canoing was challenging, but in a funny way.  First, we had a hard time figuring out how to row in a straight line, especially with three enthusiastic rowers.  Also, Aqua Sha'naqua was initially in the front of the canoe, with the Knight's sister in the back, acting as the rudder (i, in my pitiful state, sat in the middle).  After about, oh, 2 minutes, it became obvious that A.S. needed to be the rudder.  Soooo, what better place to switch places in the canoe than in the middle of the lake?  That's right, they literally switched places climbing over me in the canoe. Guardian Angel number two must have been there because we did not tip over.  I am sad that no one saw our Three Stooges-esque transition.  It was hysterical.  We were laughing so much, we really should have taken a plunge in that freezing water.

After making the switch and deciding that two rowers really works better than three, we got one checkpoint and headed back to shore.  After lugging our canoe up the hill and putting it back on the stand, we learn that, oh yes, more miles on the bike!

boo.

The official told us that it was a 4.5 mile uphill bike back to the finish line.  I'm thinking it was more like 6 or 7.  Each time a truck passed us, I wanted nothing more than to blow my whistle (required gear, thank you very much), and hop aboard.  I was physically and mentally spent, hungry, and out of water.  Steeltoe Stilettos was ready to be done.

Almost 7 hours after beginning, we finally rounded the corner and saw the end.  I nearly teared up.  Relief washed over me, and I was so so so glad to be done.  Also, I was a little amazed that I actually finished.  I never doubted that my teammates would do a great job, but at times I really wondered how I would complete the race.  And there I was - actually completing the race!



Seeing all of our friends and family waiting was pretty awesome, too.  A bunch of our Memphis friends raced as well (of course, they all finished way before us), and it was great knowing that we had all completed this race together.


Also, check out the 1st and 2nd place teams in the female 3 person, 4-6 hour division.  See anyone familiar? :)

(For the sake of full-disclosure, I have to state that there were only 2 teams in our division, but still...we got 2nd, and Three Chicks and a Compass got first! Plus we got prizes!)

Two days post-race, my arms and legs are bruised, scabbed over, and scratched.  My muscles are a tad bit sore, but my spirit is quite strong.  Sure, I might have been a complete disaster on the mountain bike.  Yes, I may have said enough swear words to cause my precious Pentecostal great-grandmother to plug her ears in her grave.  But you know what?  I had a baby 7.5 months ago, who still gets up nearly every night between 2 and 3:30 a.m. to eat.  I am working full-time as a lawyer.  I do not sleep much.  I barely did any physical activity leading up to this event.  Yet, I finished.  Smiling.  I didn't quit.  My heart did not burst.  My lungs did not explode.  I did not suffer any sort of concussion.  My bike is intact.

Will I ever do an adventure race again?  The craziness and pain of this one is still too close, too raw for me imagine electively going through it again.  But then, they say time heals all wounds.  Perhaps I will again feel the need to "get out of my comfort zone" but doing something that I did not train for, and is in no way, shape or form, comfortable.  Perhaps I will forget the fear I had as I launched myself into that danged brier patch. Perhaps I will "disremember" the pain in my lungs and shoulders as I pushed my bike up yet another hill.  Perhaps.

Not likely, but perhaps.

Currently preferring petals over pedals,
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3.17.2011

Do or Die: Natchez Trace Adventure Race

So, several months ago, there must have been a moment where I had a lapse in judgment.  Perhaps I was suffering from low blood sugar.  Or sleep deprivation.  Or the Knight hypnotized me.  Whatever the cause, at that moment, I let the Knight convince me to participate in something that, at this moment, sounds completely and utterly insane.

I speak of the Natchez Trace Adventure Race.  It is staring me in the eye, taunting me, laughing at me, cruelly rubbing it in that IT IS THIS WEEKEND.  Funny how the last time I talked about this I was actually excited.  Now, I am just terrified.

Here is what I, along with the my hotty totty friends and husband (go Team Steeltoed Stilettos and Three Girls and a Compass),

 (Team Steeltoed Stilettos + plus another lovely cousin!)
(don't worry, none of us are preggo anymore. 
the 3 lovely ladies to my left are Team Three Girls and a Compass)

will be doing this weekend (all info copied from this website):

Orienteering


Teams will navigate/orienteer through the entire race using 1:24,000 topo maps (Yikes, I do not even know what this means!) with points plotted (points?  plotted?  oh boy, I am in trouble) by race management. Supplemental maps may be provided if necessary. No outside maps or GPS systems allowed. (yep, seriously in trouble.  be on the lookout for lots of yelling and smoke signals when we get lost!)

Special Events

Be prepared for anything. (hopefully champagne and manicures?!?)  Rope HangSpecial events are geared toward teamwork and problem solving. (i'm wishing that our problem is that we are going to be hungry and have to follow a recipe to make brownies.  something tells me that is not the kind of problem-solving we'll be doing, though)  We have some of the old favorites and a couple new ones for you this year. Emphasis is on having fun and doing something different.

Paddling

Canoes, paddles, & PFD’s will be provided. (PFD?  anyone? anyone?) There will be multiple paddling legs this year so be prepared for anything on or near the water. (please let this mean sunbathing and volleyball!)

Trekking/Running

There will be 4-6 miles of trekking/running through dense undergrowth, fire roads, trails, and paved roads. (okay, other than the reference regarding the dense undergrowth, I think I can handle this part)

Mountain Bike

The mountain bike will be approximately 10-12 miles on paved roads, fire roads, and trails. (again, I think I can handle this part too.  Although I'm really hoping fire trails are a lot less scary than they sound.  what is this...the circus?  I did not sign up to ride through fiery hoops).

So, um, GULP.  We shall see how I survive this weekend.  At least my camelpak will be nicely outfitted for all kinds of emergencies.  This is all the gear we have to bring:

Final Mandatory TEAM Gear List:


•15’ string/chord (probably will be used for hanging myself.  OR tying my bike to the back of the Knight's so he can pull me along)

•waterproof map case (zip locks not recommended)

•1:24,000 plotting tool (again, what is with this thing?  with the colon?  and the commas?  I just don't know what I think about this)

•pen or pencil

•first aid kit - 3 pr of latex gloves, 6 large band-aids, 3 blood absorbing pads, 1 roll of gauze, iodine swabs, 1 ace bandage. Please add to this kit any items your team feels they need. The kit listed above along with your other gear is designed to do very basic first aid/stabilization. (thankfully, one of my team members is a licensed PT.  I hope that also means she knows what to do with all of this stuff)

Final Individual Gear List:

•6’ duct tape (to be used on all the mouths of the bears so they won't growl at me)

•(1) green chem light

•waterproof lighter or matches (too bad i don't even have the first inclination of understanding of how to actually start a fire...but I have waterproof matches!)

•Whistle (1) (i do know how to do this, also i have one)

•Knife (1) (the Knight let me borrow one of his eleventy hundred knives he has all over the house)

•compass (got a lesson last night about how this works.  Seriously, would you believe that at one time I was actually a Girl Scout.  I have gotten WAY too city-fied.  sheesh)

•watch (watch what?)

•drink system, 70 oz. minimum

•headlamp or flashlight with batteries (this race claims to be 4-6 hours.  why in the world do I need a flashlight?)

•space blanket (wait, I thought we were going to the woods, not the moon)

•Waterproof jacket & pants

•Wool/synthetic headgear

•Full finger or mitten gloves

•Wool/synthetic long-sleeve top (fleece is ok)

•Wool/synthetic socks

•Picture I.D. (probably to identify my body, after I have been savagely attacked and ravaged by rattlesnakes and poisonous beetles)

Other Required Gear: (oh yes, there is more...)

•Mountain bike (no cyclocross or road bikes) - Individual (i confirmed that I still do know how to ride a bike)

•Bike helmet - Individual (i will actually be bring full body armor)

•Red blinking light, with batteries, attached to the rear of your bike - Individual (i'm glad that they specified it is to be on the rear of my bike.  I really don't want to attract more attention to my booty)

•3 spare bike tubes per team (minimum) - 1 per Individual (minimum)

•1 pump system (hand pump or CO2) per Individual

•tire changing tools - Individual
•multi-purpose bike tool kit or equivalent - Individual

•tube patches (glue or glue less ok) - Individual (all of these things assume I would actually know how to replace a tube on my bike.  off to YouTube I go for yet another lesson!)

So, there you have it...that is what I will attempting to be doing with myself this weekend.  Adventure Racing it up at Natchez Trace State Park.  My parents are coming to watch the Coco Bean.  This will be my first night away from her (and probably my last night ever...just joking), so that should be interesting.  I am so thankful that they are coming all the way from Oklahoma just to watch her...seriously.  Best. Parents. Ever. 

Wish us luck, safety, and, heck, even a decent finish time!

Divas and dense undergrowth,
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3.14.2011

AFS Kitchen remodel plans!

Why does it always seem like the moment I decide to start "budgeting" is the same exact moment that I get a MAJOR itch to do a huge home renovation?  I don't know why, but I am definitely noticing a pattern.

Anyway, the home we live in now, while nice, is not our forever home.  Although I would LOVE to do a complete revamp of our kitchen, the more likely plan is install new countertops, paint the current cabinets, and add some pendant lighting over a remodeled island.

Here are some photos of the kitchen as it is now.  Sorry for the random party pics, but apparently Flickr ate all my photos of the house when we first bought it, so I only have current ones :(


As you can see, I would like to remove the drywall above the island.  That drywall really closes in that room, and we would use a more open feeling in that dark, little room.  Once we remove the drywall, I would like to add some pendant lighting to brighten the space.  

While I am really attracted to these fixtures, 

two of these are probably more likely to fit in with the fixtures in the rest of the house.
Thomas Lighting - SL8238-63 - Rockford Mini Pendant in Painted Bronze with Worn Highlights

Here's one real life kitchen that went from looking like this (eerily familiar to me...looks a LOT like my kitchen):

To this (I couldn't find any updated photos, but already what a transformation!)


And now, for some beautiful kitchen inspiration!


Remodeling dreams and kitchens supreme,
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