Porter’s Quiet Book

One of the best things to come from Porter’s birth, other than the kid himself, was the fact that I met so many amazing mom’s through Kaiser’s Baby & Me support group. A few of those moms and I got together to make some Quiet Books. I’d never heard of them until last February when we were visiting Eric’s aunt, and his cousin had just made one. There’s this amazing lady in Bakersfield called the Quiet Book Queen, and she gets groups of women together to make these amazing books. One of our moms, Hanna, is extremely creative and she took up the lead. We threw out our suggestions of pages we wanted to make, and she finalized it and bought all of the supplies. Here are some of the ideas she was working off of:

So then we picked which one we wanted to do. Of course, I chose the dog. When we got together for our first workday, she had a huge gallon Ziploc for us with all of the supplies and patterns. And we brought our own scissors, needles, and glue.

And then we had about two months to put 14 copies of our pages together. Hanna told us to do one all the way through first so that we could make mistakes and figure out the correct order, and from there, do them all step by step. That was a good idea because on my first copy I did the yellow collar last, and then for every other one, I did it first. I kind of thought of it like a from the bottom layer up process. My mom and I had some fun with the felt arrangements before I started really sewing them.

 

Before we met to exchange our pages, I also had to make a front and back cover. I went round and round on what to do but really liked the idea of curiosity. I finally decided on hot air balloons. I actually found a felt mobile tutorial that I repurposed for my cover. I think I overstuffed the clouds a bit.

 

It was so excited to finally get together to exchange! Here’s the table where we laid them all out. Then we decided the order we wanted and sewed the backs together. Then we punched holes and put in grommets. And Voila!

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Nearly a year later, and the book is still going strong. Here’s a rundown:

  1. cover / back cover
  2. textures / alphabet beads
  3. clock / zipper rainbow
  4. Peek-a-boo dinosaur with crinkle grass / dog with buckle collar
  5. mirror and taggies / weaving
  6. snail maze (there’s a small ball that you can move through the shell) / shoelace
  7. button flowers (put in pot pocket too) / counting with buttons below flaps
  8. Camera with family photo / shape matching
  9. apple puzzle / pocket with additional train puzzle

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It was A LOT of work, but I am so happy that I got to give Porter something I made and that I got to share this experience with my mom friends. They are all so amazing and a joy to be around.

Bathroom Remodel

One night in June of 2015, I was sitting on the couch downstairs and noticed a darker spot on our ceiling above the TV. I pointed it out to Eric, and when he went to touch it, it was wet. This spot was directly below our master bathtub/shower. Rather than turn our ceiling into swiss cheese looking for the location of the leak, we decided to do an entire master bathroom remodel. And while we were at it, we redid the other upstairs bathroom. We saved a lot of money on materials that way. And really, what’s two bathroom remodels compared to one?

Of course, we forgot to take before pictures. So use your imagination here. The master bathroom is set up galley style. It’s light yellow with blue 2″x2″ tiling all over the vanity and the shower. The bathtub is large, but it has several patches. And the vanity drawers are shallow and barely work. The carpet is gross and there is linoleum in the toilet room. All three windows leak. The other bathroom has a terrible light green paint with huge holes in the wall, a tiny replacement mirror (after the previous owners took their bigger one when they moved), a vanity that’s falling apart, and is covered in the same gross linoleum.

July 25, 2015: We went to Lowes and picked out all of our materials and officially put in our order. We decided to finance the remodel through Lowes, and that saved us a lot of money. Materials included (clockwise): shower floor tiles, shower tile (these are 12×12 and we did 18×18 for the bathroom floors), Tranquil Tan paint color, Sammamish quartz for countertops, cherry cabinets, and ledge stone shower surround accent.

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September 2015: We had both our other bathroom and our downstairs guest bathrooms resurfaced by Rudy’s Fantastic Shine. Once again, no comparison pictures, but you can see the nice quality from the other photos.

October 1, 2015: Materials arrive and demo begins (that washing machine wasn’t for us, but everything else was). I LOVED demoing. Using the sledgehammer to bust up the shower tile felt amazing! The vanity was not as fun since it had cement/chickenwire backing below the tile. The contractor said we did some of the best demo work he’s seen from homeowners. Not a bad way to save some $$$.

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October 8, 2015: Contractors arrive. They papered/plastic-sheeted their walkway and removed the lighting recess and started work on plumbing the drain and 2nd shower head in the master bath.

October 13, 2015: Tile goes into the other bathroom, cabinets are installed in both bathrooms, the plywood floor of the shower goes in. New windows installed.

October 19, 2015: Hot mop (tar) goes in the master shower. It leaked through the floor and almost landed on our cream microfiber couch downstairs. Whoops!

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October 23-26, 2015: Hardiebacker goes in the master shower and tile work starts on the master floor

October 27, 2015: Master floor finished and grouted, shower tile started

October 29-30, 2015: Holes patched in other bathroom walls, shower tile completed up to the ceiling, including accent ledgestone

November 1, 2015: We paint the other bathroom.

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November 2, 2015: The quartz countertops and copper sinks are installed. The sinks were a little small to us at first, but we don’t mind it now, and it’s really nice to have ALL OF THAT COUNTER SPACE.

November 5, 2015: Medicine cabinet, faucets, shower hardware, can lights installed. Additional spray texture added. Also, you can see where we made them move the hole for the light and the medicine cabinet and switches in the other bathroom.

November 11, 2015: We tape off the whole master bath (took me 2 hours) and give it two coats.

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November 12, 2015: Showerheads are moved up and cabinet hardware is installed

At this point, everything was done except for the shower door. The company had to come and measure it and then fabricate it. It was finally installed on December 17, 2015.

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And with that, our bathrooms were 100% complete. In the master, we kept the old mirror, just framed it with the same cherry wood. We also installed new white doors, toilets, and baseboards and oil rubbed bronze towel holders, toilet paper holders, and door handles. The shower curtain in the other bathroom is from Target and the mirror is from Pier 1. You can’t tell, but we blocked the floor ducts and added overhead ducting and ventilation in both bathrooms as well.

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Lowes actually sent a professional photographer out to photograph our bathrooms, but I didn’t save the images. Quite the compliment.

New Years PDFs 2013-2018

While I still harbor a small glimmer of hope that I will one day send out family holiday cards, I have accepted that sending our New Years PDF is a way more cost-effective way of reaching out to family and friends every winter.

I like to harken back to my yearbook days and pick a palette and fonts and all the fun stuff every year. Though, I can’t help it that teal and navy creep in almost every year.

Stitch Fix #2 Review

After getting my first box in early June 2015, I was super excited for the next one at the end of June 2015, but it was a huge letdown. So much of a letdown, in fact, that I didn’t even post it, and I stopped ordering Stitch Fixes, coming to the realization that it’s not the right program for me.

I tried to be fancy and take lots of artistic pictures, with good lighting, but none of them included the card with the details on it! Of course.

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The jeans were totally not my style — I don’t like bleaching/ripping/distressing, and they were too tight (the picture with my muffin top is the only one that came out in focus). I really wanted to like the three shirts, but the navy/white/peach one and the blue floral one were both too tight on my hips and I didn’t like the cut of the teal one. Though, looking back on these three years later, maybe I should have kept that blue floral one. It looks so pretty. I ended up only keeping the Renee C maxi dress, which, let me tell you, I’ve worn A LOT in the last three years. It was especially helpful during my pregnancy, and first few months postpartum.

I’m actually deeply considering doing another box in a few months. It’s been a really rough year for me, and a little retail therapy is starting to sound more and more appealing. I’m actually still on the hunt for some cute floral tops — which I was trying to achieve from this box haha.

R4R Fall 2015 Training Season

Yesterday (10/18) I ran my sixth half marathon and my second Folsom Blues Breakout.

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This training season was very difficult for me. There were some really awesome parts about it, but also some big challenges to overcome. I didn’t have my training partner, Paula, to run with for the first time since I joined Runnin’ for Rhett in January 2013. Not having her to consistently train with was a huge change for me, as I really enjoyed our mutual struggles and triumphs. I also managed to gain 10 pounds since March (my last half). I don’t know how much this affected me physically, but it was constantly on my mind, and I’m sure I psyched myself out about it A LOT. This season also brought a new coach, Jenn, a new workout day (Thursdays) and a new crop of people to the Folsom training! I love seeing it grow and getting to meet new people. We had fresh conversations and really had a great family feeling.

In terms of the actual running, I continued to consistently follow the training plan – working out six days a week and resting on Fridays. I don’t think I missed a single day this season — always nice to stay on track. We did a test at the beginning of the season called the “Magic Mile” and the time of that mile was used to decide our pace for the season. My time of 9:55 resulted in a pace of 90 seconds run and 30 seconds walk, going with the mentality that you only need 30 seconds to recover between each interval (as opposed to the 2 minute run and 2 minute walk I did for the last three seasons). I must say, I like the idea of the 90/30 pace, but on those long runs, I just never felt like I could catch my breath. I’m confident that if I continue to practice this pace, I’ll get better at it and be able to own it as MY PACE as opposed to a pace I’m TRYING to make work.

The race yesterday was hard but very rewarding. I ran with my friends Savannah, and Ragan & Cindy. I’ve trained consistently with Cindy, and we have a great running dynamic that I was happy to have yesterday. Savannah is new to distance running, and she did great during her first half — it was fun to see the half marathon experience through her eyes. Ragan normally trains at and paces a faster pace (used to be 4:1, then became 2:30 this season), but he hurt his leg last week and decided to back off it a little and run with us. I was going strong until about 8 miles, when I started suffering. Somehow, I paused my watch for 30 seconds, and that threw me off the interval, so I asked Ragan to pace the group. His inner coach came out and he took on the task. For the last five miles of the race, I felt like I could not catch my breath. It’s the hillier section of the course, which I have run many times before. Ragan just kept telling me to pump my arms on the hills, breath through my nose and drink water on the breaks, and he basically did that for the last hour of the race, repeatedly. He joked that “an angel put me here to get you your PR today.” And that’s exactly what happened. I had run a 2:53 on this course last year and a 2:47 on my half in the spring. I ended up finishing (up hill, mind you) with a chip time of 2:42:07! After getting my medal, all I wanted to do was go pee and sit down. It took about 10 minutes and some chocolate milk from Donna to get me back to my happy place.

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Photo by Crystal: Around mile 11ish, Ragan kept pushing me!
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Ragan, Cindy, Eric, Me, Savannah at the finish line with our medals!

Anyways, it’s the things we work hardest for that mean the most to us. And I would never have been able to get such a slammin’ PR without the support of my team and my group yesterday! I LOVE THE R4R FAMILY and am so lucky to be a part of it!

Stitch Fix #1 Review

I am super excited to have finally jumped onto the Stitch Fix bandwagon!

Growing up, I was never too into fashion. Who knows if it’s because I spent all my time with my dad, or because after I hit puberty, I became overweight, but as I graduated college and started the professional Jewelry Wall Organizationstage of my life, I started to work on my wardrobe. My interest ebbed and flowed with my weight. When I was 165 in 2009, I bought TONS of clothes, but as I began to put weight on over the next few years, I rarely purchased anything, and just squeezed into what I had. I did manage to develop a bit of a jewelry habit though, thanks to my friend Kelly getting into Stella & Dot. Here’s most of my jewelry back in 2013, and I’ve only expanded my collection since.

So as I committed to my weight loss in 2013, I had to get a completely new wardrobe. First of all, I accumulated tech fabric like crazy! Who knew I’d one day have a completely separate load of laundry dedicated to workout clothes? And then I had to get rid of all of my size 14’s, 12’s, Larges, etc. I spent a lot of time at my favorite consignment store, Belle Mode. I was able to take all of my nicer clothes into them and put them on consignment. And then the profits from that helped as I shopped for new clothes. My favorite visit was one where I got three really nice dresses (two from White House | Black Market) for only $87, and all of them were SIZE 4! A lot of trips to Good Will as well.

The past six months have been a fashion drought, though. Since accepting my job with Runnin’ for Rhett, I don’t really have too many occasions to get dressed up. If I even leave the house, chances are I’m wearing a baby blue polo or tech shirt and some jeans. But what really got this ball rolling was when our friends invited us out to a few birthday parties, and all of my “going out” shirts that I had left were too big (we’re talking potential for side boob big)! After I got home from the second party, I resolved that I was going to get my act together. Enter Stitch Fix.

I was SO EXCITED to get my first shipment on Monday! I did A LOT of prep work on it. I was pretty specific in my note to the stylist, asking for dresses for two summer weddings (with details of the locations, temperatures, and indoor vs. outdoor) as well as some “going out” clothes, and I really tried to refine my Style Board on Pinterest. And yes, it now occurs to me that maybe 1,000+ pins isn’t “refined” haha.

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The Box!
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Lovely note from Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item #1: Renee C – Shelton Split Back Top – size S – $48

Stitch Fix Renee C – Shelton Split Back Top

I like the idea of this shirt. The pattern and colors are adorable, but oh man, it looked so bad on me! It was too tight around my chest, and the way the back opens up makes my butt look huge! I’m also not a stripe person, and those stripes hit me at my widest point, so it was a no go.

 

 

Item #2: Just Black – Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean – size 8 – $78

I couldn’t even get these on to photograph them. I don’t know what it is about me and skinnies. My calves and my hips are just too big for them. Maybe I could have gotten a size 12 on, but that’s not my regular jean size, so who knows? I do like black pants though, so maybe a different pair of black jeans are in my future?

Item #3: Pixley – Laurel Geo Print Maxi Dress – size M – $78

Stitch Fix Pixley – Laurel Geo Print Maxi DressThis is my first maxi dress ever! I loved it from the second I put it on. The fabric is so soft, and I absolutely love the pattern. I have a minor obsession with Grecian things, and the pattern is a perfect nod to that culture! Great pick by Jen for the indoor church/hotel wedding I’m headed to this month. Not to be too critical of myself, but I’m thinking I’ll wear some Spanx with this to the wedding, just to smooth things out…

Item #4: Bay to Baubles – Adria Shell Pendant Necklace – $34

Stitch Fix Bay to Baubles – Adria Shell Pendant NecklaceIt’s not a secret that I have too many necklaces, but I could not resist this! I don’t have a circle pendant necklace yet, right?! I’m keeping this because of my aforementioned Greece obsession. I have requested no more jewelry in my future fixes though, because that’s not what I need!

 

 

 

Item #5: Andrew Marc – Brodee Dress – size 6 – $128

Stitch Fix Andrew Marc – Brodee DressBy far the best item in the box! Jen picked this dress for me for the outdoor/indoor wedding I’m headed to next month. It is gorgeous! I’ve been crushing on cobalt for the last year, and I’m so excited to have this wonderful color in my closet! While the price tag is a bit steep, I definitely appreciate the tailoring that allows this dress to really hug my curves. Can’t wait to play this up with some heels and jewelry!

While I would have loved to keep all 5 pieces and get the 25% discount ($91.50!!!), the price of the two items I didn’t want was more, so I’m shifting my hopes to the next box. In summary, I LOVE STITCH FIX! Having someone else pick out clothes for me is the way I should have gone all along! =)

March 7 & 8: Busiest Weekend Ever

I thrive under the pressure of having a lot of things to do, and the past month has been a shining example of that. Three of Runnin’ for Rhett‘s biggest components all converged this past week. We have our Youth Fitness Program about to start up. We had our target race for the winter/spring training on Saturday. And, we had our biggest fundraiser, Capitol Beer Fest on Sunday. Can I just say that all three went great!?!?!

On Monday I went to my first liaison training! One of the coolest parts about our Youth Fitness Program is that we provide liaisons to all of the schools that participate. Liaisons help the coach out by administering the pre and post tests as well as giving a few nutrition lessons during the weeks in the middle. Liaisons also know and convey Rhett’s story to the kids, inspiring them to run and walk when he couldn’t. Until this season, I didn’t have the time in my schedule to be a liaison, but I now finally do, and I can’t wait. Training for my school starts on Monday, March 16! =) On another note, my responsibility on the Youth Fitness Program Committee is to market to and enlist schools in our program. Through past seasons’ success and some awesome word of mouth, we have FORTY-FIVE schools participating this season. That’s ELEVEN more than the fall, and we are poised to grow even more next fall!

 

IMG_6844Saturday was my third Lucky Run and fifth overall half marathon. Despite the uneven trail where half of my group fell at one point or another during the run, we had a great time, and several of us walked away with a PR. When I first did the Lucky Run in 2013, I had a time of 3:30:59. Saturday I got a 2:47:11 — almost 45 minutes faster! I am planning to start training at a 2:1 pace starting on Saturday as our Stay Fit season starts. I’m also shooting for 300 miles this season! (I got around 215 last year.)

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And finally Sunday was Capitol Beer Fest! When Randy asked me to sit on this committee in November 2013, I had no idea what I was getting into. Last year, my responsibilities were marketing and social media, which I absolutely loved. Check out the Facebook page archives for fun beer facts haha. And then this year, I added on Brewer Relations and ultimately co-chair responsibilities with Randy and Rebecca. Those two are so good at what they do, and we each rocked it when it came to our individual responsibilities. We expanded this year’s event to have one more block, almost triple the bathrooms, 10 more brewers, 8 more food trucks, several more vendors, and about 1,500 more people! Through the hard work of our 16 person committee and our 300 day-of volunteers we pulled off an extremely successful event! All of the proceeds will go back to our Youth Fitness Program — and we’re gonna need ’em if we keep growing by 10 schools every season! On a sappy note, I want to say that I have so much love for the craft beer community of Sacramento, of California, and of the U.S. These brewers are always willing to support us during our fundraisers, and they are some of the nicest men and women you will ever meet!

With all of the kindness and support that was heaped out this week, I feel like the quote “If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up,” by Booker T. Washington couldn’t be more applicable! We’re all better because of the amazing people we surround ourselves with!