Monday, October 31, 2011

Road Races

At the Jack-o-Lantern Jog yesterday, I met a man who's been running for 37 years, has completed 1600+ road races, and upon his 2nd place finish in his age group, has collected 1400 age group awards.

I hope I'm that healthy at 60!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Grandma Stool

(This title is in no reference to my actual grandmothers' houses, it just looked so stereotypically movie-setting for an old house that it just fit. So, hence the name the grandma stool)

So, feeling inspired by Pinterest (if you haven't checked it out, stopped reading immediately and go see for yourself!) and a number of home decor, DIY blogs found via Pinterest, I went shopping on this past Saturday morning, all inspired and motivated to find some cool, old pieces that needed a little attention and an addition of Megan-ness to them. Mission accomplished - a few times over! This piece, of course, is the first I finished and promptly displayed on Facebook because I'm just SO FREAKING EXCITED and proud of it!

My first trip on Saturday was to the Athens Habitat for Humanity ReStore - it's a local thrift shop and all the proceeds go to the local HfH chapter, so it's a cool thing to see go straight back to the community too. I went there last week as well, with no luck. All I was really looking for at this point was a dresser (I'm still living out of suitcases in some parts of my bedroom). This store is HUGE - and has everything you could ever want... except a dresser. It had huge pieces that come with huge tri-fold  mirrors that I just couldn't see fitting (aesthetically or otherwise) into my room! So on to the next place. I searched thrift stores in Athens and lo and behold, at least a dozen showed up! Success! I was nearest the Salvation Army Family Store, which was on the way to the biggest store I knew of in town, so I figured why not? The Salvation Army store in town is itty bitty, but unlike most thrift stores or Goodwills I've been into, quite organized and not at all overwhelming. I walked straight back towards the furniture and found this little guy:

It's obviously been primed and then given up on; was totally streaky and had ridges formed just from the paint. But that's okay! For $9.99, who couldn't pass it up? Not I! Excited about this find, I kept scouring the aisles trying to see what other excitement I could uncover. And then... there it was... I had just read about recovering chairs on a number of blogs and nearly jumped for joy after finding such an easy piece I could makeover. What luck!
I was so excited to find these both, for $9.99 a piece (and a dress for $2.99) that I almost wanted to go straight home and get to work on seeing what I could recreate with these guys. But something told me to continue and go to America's Thrift Stores and see if anything good had shown up since the last time I was there (during which I was fairly disappointed). So... I did. And man, I'm sure glad I did! But that's another story because that's going to be a major piece of work for this first-timer. Because I know y'all are just waiting for the story of the stool, that's what we'll get to today! Here goes!

So, thankfully, as I said, this was probably the easiest piece to be able to recover for someone who has never even attempted to do any reupholstery, recovering of anything in her entire life. So, thankfully, this piece found its way into my life. Photo directions below for the whole adventure! Yay!
So it's not that this fabric is ugly, it's just not me. And doesn't fit my house. And it just needed some help. The legs themselves were this really pretty dark red wood that probably could have been left, but also didn't fit the idea I had in mind. So, off to Hobby Lobby and Lowe's for a little fabric and paint fun!

See? Not horrendous. Just not Megan.
First up, removing the seat from the frame itself. Thankfully, not complicated and lucky for me I had a screwdriver that was long enough to fit into the frame to get the screwdrivers out. Easy peasy.
Molly had a great day because we spent it all on the patio! It was so nice out!
Next up, recovering this seat. I picked this fabulous black and white damask print because it goes for the whole general feel of my bedroom (black and white and ____ some color to be determined). I absolutely love it and was sure to get a thicker fabric meant for upholstery and drapes and such so this guy could last forever. Because the fabric that was on top was in actually really good shape, I decided not to remove it entirely and just recovered the entire thing. Which also made for one less step but also a little extra cushion.
Wrapping a seat is a lot like wrapping a present (something that I've also never been able to master), especially the corners. Also keep in mind that I didn't feel the need to use a staple gun, as most folks do, because well... who wants to buy a staple gun when they don't regulary do this stuff anyway? Not me! So I went to the next best thing, the savior of all arts and crafts... the hot glue gun! Works just as well, and still gets hidden by the frame once it's reassembled so who cares anyway? So after I figured out how to get the corners done, voila! No problem.
She's done! All pretty!

Who's excited? ME!

So, step one is done and I'm riding high on accomplishment at this point, super pumped. So on to the frame. Like I said, the wood was actually pretty. But with the dark print and the feel of my room, I just didn't think it suited what I was going for. So, haul out the black paint, we went darker.
After the first coat.
After the second coat.

After letting it dry for about three hours (thankfully I had a few other projects work on to kill time), it was time to finally put her back together! I can't even tell you how excited I was to see my first whole piece come back to life. What fun! And now... the final piece!

Because more than one angle is totally necessary.
And so you can compare without scrolling all the way back up, the before and after:

I'm so pumped about this and though this project was so easy, it's given me the encouragement and motivation to keep going on my other projects, like that table you saw earlier (and two other pieces that will eventually make their debut too!). I've already got big plans for this chair, but I can't show you until the next piece is done!

Enjoy! Go find a chair at your thrift shop and see what you can do too!


Part of  my hopes with this blog is that it will also become a running journal -- a place to track, pay attention, and hold myself accountable for the running I am hoping to be doing. I've been running on and off since I moved here, but am hoping for truly being able to train, run, and complete the Publix Atlanta Half Marathon in March.

Many of you know that I had attempted to train and run a full marathon last October. I mark that as a fail in my book -- I did about 15 miles, just over half, and collected for myself my first half-marathon medal. While I DO recognize that that is something to still be crazy proud of, I also now know how much I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. Training wasn't what it should have been, I should have been more serious, and could have made it count (aside from the sleeping issues I was still suffering from at that point, which was a whole 'nother challenge). So, with that, I know now what it's really going to take and know that, once I'm on track, I can totally handle a half-marathon. For real.

First Athens 5K - check!
So for now, as an attempt to get serious, but also to learn new areas of Athens, I'm picking up 5 and 10Ks around town. What better way, right? So my first Athens 5K was held at Timothy Elementary School, out on the west side of town, and the 5K took us all through the winding, HILLY neighborhoods all around the school. The streets were gorgeous though, trees everywhere that are just starting to turn, and a beautiful morning overall. At this point, I hadn't been running super seriously -- an occasional 2-3 times a week, usually a 5K each time, but allowing myself to slack off whenever I felt just tired enough. What an excuse.

I have the mentality, especially when I'm paying for a race (because I hate paying $20 to go run 3 miles that I could just be running down my street) is that I've paid for it, I want to earn it, and I want to do well. Earlier that week, I had gotten back down to close to my 5K PR and clocked a time of 28:45 which I was SUPER happy with. This 5K, hills included, was brutal -- but I ran the entire thing, save for maybe 50 yards of it, and had a great sprint to the finish with a guy that I had been playing tag with the entire race. My hard work paid off for this one, as I clocked a 30:57finish AND finished 2nd in my age group, which I've never done before! Super exciting! See it all below.

This race helped boost me a little. Last week was rough, and I only ran once, but have started this week (Tuesday) with a great 4-mile run this morning. I'm feeling motivated and encouraged, I just need to get back in the habit of making it a morning ritual. Wish me luck!
Blurry - but you can tell I'm excited! And this was almost at the finish!

Had an awesome sprint to the finish with this guy.

BAM! Second in my age group!

First Visitor!

We're just going to fly through October here, one weekend at a time, cool? The weekend after my birthday, Doug came to visit! It was his bye week from football, and he had Columbus Day off that Monday, so we got to squeeze in a quick Friday-Monday visit. Excitement!

The roof says "Georgia Mascot." Oh yes, you better believe it!
Friday he flew in around 5:30 to Atlanta but we didin't make it back to Athens until after 8. What traffic, ew. So we pretty much grabbed dinner and came home. Saturday I got to take him on a tour of the (little) I know about Athens -- lemme tell you, it's hard giving a tour of a city you don't know much about yet. (Hint to self that I need to get exploring!). But showed him around town, walked through the historic North end of campus, saw a few weddings go by the chapel on campus (that's a separate explanation!), and walked through downtown and had some Ben and Jerry's (I'm SO excited there's a B&J store here!). And, of course, took him by the notable Sanford Stadium.

Everyone's favorite -- the Coke bear!
Sunday we hit the road fairly early, dropped of Molly at Pawtropolis (cute, I know) for her stay overnight. We had a really busy day. Finally hit my first Waffle House, after going on four years in the south, it was about time (I would like to note, however, that while I've been told WH is only intended for late-night hours after some adult beverages, we went for a normal-timed breakfast and it was still quite delicious). Anyway, we hit the road to Atlanta and hit the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium all before 4. What a day!

I had been to Coke before (three times, to be precise) but haven't been in three years, so it was cool seeing some different displays and new additions. Obviously Doug hadn't been before so it was all kinds of exciting.I got to have a little fun, of course, in the taste room since I knew what some of the absolutely horrendous beverages are (sorry love, but Beverly is just one you HAVE to try). It was super fun!

Sea otter tricks.
The aquarium is also fascinating. Doug and I tend to be a little bit of nerds at times (I know, hard to believe) and I think aquariums just satisfy that nerdiness. I think we spent close to two hours there (Coke was hardly an hour). The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world (aside from, you know, the oceans) and definitely provides some amazing views. They have two whale sharks (world's largest fish, you know), that were the source of much of our entertainment. Sea otters have been, and always will be, some of my favorites and we got to see them get fed and do a few tricks for us as well. Awesome. That was probably the coolest part of the day, the aquarium, partially because I haven't been before, but just for some new creatures and discoveries we got to make too -- and who doesn't love petting the sting rays?!

After that, we raced to our hotel, checked in, napped, grabbed dinner at the Atlanta Hard Rock Cafe (woo!) and headed in the opposite direction for the Atlanta Falcons & Green Bay Packers game. Yes, you heard me. We figured it would be a once in a lifetime thing (maybe not a LIFEtime anymore for me) but that it would be a good game and cool to do. So here we are! (Sorry for the dark photo, it was post-game). The Georgia Dome is MASSIVE and clearly pretty impressive; given that this was my first NFL game (Andi beat me to it in New York!), I think I was a little awestruck anyway! Turned out to be a great game, with Atlanta surprisingly picking up the game first, but in the end a Packers win so no playoff revenge for Atlanta. Oh well -- we didn't care, we had a great time anyway!

Monday morning came and unfortunately meant the end of Doug's visit already. I hope he'll get to be back soon so that I can show off a little more of the city I live in, with the hopes of me having explored a lot more by then! All in all, a great visit though. Hope he enjoyed it too. :)


(So like I said, I'm just going to catch you up on life... so sorry for all the severe back-dating) I'm officially past the quarter-of-a-century mark! Shenanigans, I tell ya. Being in a new town is difficult, especially having only been here for six weeks by the time my birthday rolled around. But, lucky for me, it turned out alright!

My actual birthday was Saturday, but we'll go in order of the weekend's events. Friday I invited some co-workers to go out to dinner, truthfully uncertain of how many and who would actually go, but there were about ten of us in total, which was awesome. We went to this awesome local pizza chain, Mellow Mushroom (yummm) and had a fabulous LASAGNA PIZZA. That's right, lasagna pizza. Amazing. This place is delicious and I will MOST certainly be back. So I had the intentions of hanging with a new friend, Roxy, and checking out the downtown Athens scene but by the time we got out of dinner (11:30!), I was already so tired that I didn't really care. Happy birthday to me, old lady!

Saturday was what turned out to be my sorority's local District Rally. Much like I did in Texas, I'm serving as a regional advisor, if you will, for the chapters of my sorority out here (at Auburn University, Kennesaw State, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern). Each year, they're required to have a district retreat, which this year happened to be how I got to spend my birthday. Truth be told, it was great. We went camping up at Lake Lanier (feel free to MapQuest, or search Flowery Branch, Georgia; also home of the Atlanta Falcons' training center) and had a great afternoon and morning of s'mores, camping adventures, and sisterly fun. Molly came with me, for her first official camping trip (I mostly brought her because of the lake, truth be told) and we had a great time! I think Molly was really confused with all that was going on, but saw the water and felt right at home... you know how she is.

I mean.. you can't beat this for a birthday view, right?
Happy camper at the lake!

Cuddle time with the pupster.

She initially was VERY uncertain about this whole tent thing.
So all in all, had a great weekend. Met some new sisters, had some s'mores, and they had even made me a cake and sang happy birthday to me! Love. It was good times. Got home late Sunday morning, crashed, cleaned, grocery shopped... you know, the super exciting things 26-year-olds do on their birthday weekends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Silent Type

If you read that headline at all, and if you know me... I am anything but silent! But I apologize for the delayed absence. I'd like to say it's because Molly and I are on lengthy adventures all around our new area, but that's a lie. But we HAVE been busy!

Long awaited update to come in awhile. I'm shooting for later this week. Much love anyway!