"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: The Help

I had heard a lot about this book on TV lately and from a few friends, mainly because the movie is coming out soon.  I gave it a shot because I absolutely hate seeing the movie before the book anytime both of them exist.  Basically, if I was ever going to see the movie, I had to read the book first, and the previews were pretty intriguing...I want to see that movie.



It was different, witty, clever, and had me wrapped up in the story from the first page.  The writing style was very unique and at times the grammar was not "correct" but it was all a part of helping you see the characters and hear their different dialects.  The character development was intense, using both descriptions, and anecdotes to draw you in.  

On the whole, I was impressed.  I thought it would be alright, considering everyone was talking about it, but I really didn't expect it to be as good as it was.  If you haven't tried it, I recommend it.  Overall, a very fun, easy summer read.

The only thing I wish it would have included is more character development with some of the male characters.  They were in the story, but they were not detailed.  It was almost as if they are these blurry images off to the sides of the scene.  

Has anyone else read it?  What did you think?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fab Friday

This was obviously a big week and I've discovered that I have a lot to be thankful for...here goes...

1.  My incredibly supportive family and friends.  - I'm going from a very stable career to a slightly different situation...it's not unstable, it's just not teaching.  I can't tell you how many times people have told me "good for you", "I just want you to be happy", or "this is an incredible opportunity".  The comments, encouragement, smiles, and well-wishes have been huge!

2.  My wonderful boyfriend.  - In addition to being supportive of my career change...last night I had a flat tire and didn't realize it until after I had gotten home.  Guess who came over after a long day of work to put on my spare and help me out?  yep.  Did I mention he was sick?  He is pretty amazing.

3.  The wonderful weather.  Yes, we are in a heat wave, or a heat month, but I am bound and determined to enjoy it.  When I start whining I do my best to remember those Chicago winters, and I'm all good!

4.  My sister and brother-in-law.  They are coming to visit me!!  Only two more weeks!!!

5. BJ's.  Yep, I said it.  I saved a ton of money on food there yesterday.  I probably don't have to go to the grocery store for a month, but that's ok.  No more eating out, I can cook!

6.  My phone and free long distance.  I think I've used it more this week to talk than I have in months.  It was pretty nice, too.

7. My car.  Let's face it - whenever it breaks down, gets a flat, becomes a money pit, etc., I am always thankful for those times when it is running, just as happy as a clam.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Big Things are Happening

Change - to make the form, the nature, future course, etc., of something different from what it is or what it would be if left alone. source

Change is scary, it is exhilarating, it is exciting, and its happening in my life big-time right now.  I am making a huge career change.  I've been thinking about this for a few years and a few weeks ago, an opportunity presented itself, I applied, and last week I jumped right in, head first, and accepted a new job.

I haven't mentioned anything because in the past few days I've been talking to my previous employers, wrapping up the loose ends, and making sure that I get to thank the people I've worked with who have supported me and made an impact in my life over the past few years.  There are a lot of them, and for that I am thankful and, of course, I am also a little emotional.  I have been blessed with some of the greatest co-workers I could ever imagine (there were a few not so great ones stuck in there too, don't you worry).  I wanted to make sure they heard it from me before anyone else, and I wanted to make sure they knew what a big part they played in my life; whether it be teaching me, supporting me, mentoring me, or challenging me.  I think I've gotten around to most of them by now and I can tell you that there were a few tears, lots of hugs, many smiles, and lots of well-wishers.

The new job is everything I have been hoping for and I am really excited to get started.  For the sake of privacy, I'm not going to divulge everything here, but I can tell you that I will no longer be teaching, but coaching.  When you look at the two careers, they are very similar, but also very different.  I realized a long time ago that coaching was my passion and this is my chance to pursue it.  I am so excited!!  There are some great new coworkers for me to get to know and learn from and the environment is very conducive to learning, growing, and challenging myself.

With all that being said, I am feeling a ton of emotions right now: happiness, excitement, hope, curiosity, and a little bit of fear of the unknown.  But I know that change can be good, and it can be great.  I know that this  is a risk I need to take for myself and I am ready to get started.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mini-cation in South Carolina

Last week I had a coaching clinic in Greensboro on Wednesday, so I took that as a great opportunity to continue on down the road to Greenville, South Carolina to see Sarah!

It was so good to see Sarah and talk to her about everything that was going on in my life, and hers.  It's so nice to catch up and have that honest opinion that someone who's known you for 15 years can give you.

I also got to meet Aubie, Sarah's puppy!!  He's not so much a puppy, as he is over a year old, but this is the first time I've gotten to meet him.  He is adorable!!

We took a walk on Thursday and it was soooo HOT!  Aubie felt it too, and he found a way to cool off.

By the way, if you notice, he is not on a leash.  Sarah lives in downtown Greenville and we took him on walks without a leash!  He is so well trained.  He stopped at each corner to wait and he stayed right with us (except when he detoured into the fountain).  I was amazed!

I didn't have a single allergic reaction to him - it must be true that labradoodles really are hypo-allergenic.  I kept waiting for the sniffles to come, but they didn't!  It kind of made me want a dog...  hmmm.... :)

Greenville with Sarah was a blast and I always love seeing her, but I wish I had taken more pictures.  Thanks for letting me come hang out and relax!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Childs Play

I think I forgot how much fun swinging is.

The other day I got to work a little early, had some down time, and spotted a swing at the playground nearby.  I had to do it.  I couldn't resist.  I just went over, and swang (is that the correct past-tense use?) for about 20 minutes.  It was fabulous!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and embracing your inner 5 year old!  We all know I am.  :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DIY: Headboard

I was a little bored last week.  I only coach in the afternoons, and I am used to being busy.  Really busy.  Lately I've had quite a bit of free time and a girl can only workout and shop so much.  My bank account is not loving the shopping and I put a stop to it pretty quickly.

This past week I decided to make a headboard.  My bedroom is a great cozy little place, but it is a mishmash of furniture, meaning that I don't have an actual headboard, but rather just a mattress and box spring next to a wall. I was noticing last week that it resembles the room of a much "younger" person.  And yes, I was in the mood for a grown-up looking room.  Anyway, I decided to make my own headboard to remedy the situation...

I googled it a little and found out that it would not be that difficult or that expensive.

Plywood board 3ft x 2.5 ft.
Quilting batting
3 yards of Fabric (I was going to go with burlap because I wanted the natural look, but it smelled so bad! so I went with a tan linen fabric.)
Staple gun and staples
Bronze tacs (400 of them!)

The batting and the fabric.
First I took the quilting batting, folded it over to make it more cushy, and stapled it to cover one side of the wood, including the edges.

After that, I laid the fabric down, flipped the wood over so that the batting was next to the fabric and pulled the fabric tight around the board.  I stapled the fabric down.

 After that, I flipped it over again and it was time for the finishing touches.  I had to hammer the tacs around three edges of the board.

Here is the finished product.  I put it on two 1x2's to help prop it up behind the bed.

Its not perfect, but I like it.  Here are the before and after's of my bedroom...



I took down the hanging wall art, took the duvet cover off my white comforter and just left it like that.  I would eventually like to find something to put above the bed (sunburst mirror?) and get a new duvet cover, but for now, I like it a lot!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

It All Begins Again

Today I ran 10 miles.

It was my test for myself to see if I think I can get ready for a marathon in October.

I did it.  I felt great!  And I think I'm ready to go.

The marathon is the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 16, 2011.  I have 13 weeks to get myself in tip-top shape.  During that time, I may very well hate that I've chosen to do this again, but for the most part, I am excited!

Last year I ran my first marathon and it was hard, it was inspiring, and yes, it was awful at times, but it gave me confidence.  I realized that my body can do crazy things.  Things that I would never imagine possible.  26.2 miles.  You go crazy by about mile 22...but it's a good kind of crazy (ha, I say that now).

I've been thinking about this for a while because my sister will be running this marathon and I would love to do this with her.  I haven't really been sure if I'm ready, so today was a big test for me.  I got up early this morning and rummaged around in my very dirty closet in my very messy room and I found my water belt.  I had to have it with me for a confidence booster today.  I washed it out and headed off.  The weather was nice, about 75 degrees and sunny, but I stayed in the shade.

Cath and I.
I planned on going 9 miles, as it says on my training plan.  I moved it to today and headed out.  I got 4.5 miles out and said, "What the H-?".  I felt good and kept going to mile 5.  Believe it or not, I was actually picking up the pace on the way back and I probably looked pretty goofy because I had a huge grin on my face.

I haven't run that far since the last marathon.  Since getting sick, I have still been working to build my mileage back up and I've been scared to push myself.  I know I'm fine now and I'm so excited.  It felt so good to do a long run again (don't get me wrong - it still hurt a lot too!).  Hopefully I can stay on track and be able to run in October.

Oh, by the way, I came right home, showered and cleaned my room.  I had to.  It was so bad!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flea Market Adventures

I went to the Raleigh flea market this past weekend to look for a mirror for my house (more on that later) and I saw some very interesting people, got a few finds, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

The flea market never fails to amaze me, and there are always some fun treasures to fine (translation:  I end up spending my money on old stuff).

This guy was got my attention by saying "Take me home...take me home..."  How cute is that little puppy?!

If I'd of had a few more (hundred) dollars on me, I would have a new pet for sure.  Adorable.

 I got a really old mason jar and another old Cheerwine bottle.  I know, I know, they need to be cleaned up, but I was pretty excited about them!  I might use them as vases or for something else decorative.  Suggestions?

I want to go back :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Green Thumb?

I know that I am a little bit late on this, but I want to plant some flowers in my front "yard".  I have a little mulch area about 3 x 3 feet, and I bought a little copper planter to use (about 1 foot diameter).   I went to Lowe's yesterday to pick out some plants, and to say the least, I was overwhelmed.

I don't know much about flowers except for the usual...I like the roses, tulips, daisies, etc. but I'm not super attached to any of them.  I know that I like peonies, but I don't think that's very realistic for my project.  I want something with a punch of color!  It doesn't matter what kind it is really, except that it should be pretty resilient.  I am not known for keeping plants alive.  I have actually killed every plant ever given to me and I am somewhat scared to take on this project in full view of all my neighbors and any passerby's.

In a nutshell, please help me find something with some color that will be difficult to kill.

I did take some pictures of some plants that caught my eye...here ya go...

I kept coming back to these gerber daisies.  Are they easy to keep alive?  Come on people, help please!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Holiday Weekend: Take 2

Sunday we went to Garner for the Third of July fireworks!!  Have I mentioned before that I LOVE FIREWORKS?!  I got red-white-and-blued out for the holiday thanks to my new shades :)

This family brought a CAGE for their children.  What?!  and I thought leashes were bad.

The place was packed.
Derek made friends with Uncle Sam.

They had a flash mob.  See the umbrellas?  It wasn't raining.

Group picture.

On the actual 4th, it was insanely hot.  We caught a movie during the day - Bad Teacher - I thought it was pretty funny considering my profession.  It was definitely amazing to be inside in the cool temperatures.  I wore a sweater!!  I was also shocked to see how crowded the theatre was; apparently everyone else had the same idea as us!  It stormed all night, but we did manage to see a bunch of fireworks on our way home!

Fireworks 2 days in a row.  Now, that's a good Independence Day.