Monday, December 31, 2012

My twelve notable things from 2012

Today many are looking back at 2012 and reflecting on what the year has brought. I had a great year and now I’m looking forward to what’s in store for lucky number 2013. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I have set some personal goals for 2013. I also decided to make a list of 12 notable things that happened in 2012. Turns out, 12 things is a lot. So forewarning, the list gets more ridiculous as it progresses.

1. Helped encourage Chicagoland women to be a part of the inaugural Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 5K by being one of the faces of the race.

2. Completed my third half marathon after developing a running injury.

3. Learned to swim, the proper way.
4. Completed my first triathlon.

5. Celebrated 5 years living in Chicago and working with my company.
6. Got a promotion at work.
7. Learned to sew. This is something I have always wanted to do and now I can’t stop.

8. Celebrated the 1st year anniversary of Black Girls RUN! Chicago running group, and attended the inaugural Black Girls RUN! race in Atlanta.

9. Invested in a DSLR camera to capture all the even better things to come in 2013!

10. Stepped into the modern age and upgraded my flip phone to a smartphone. Thank you Google Maps App, I will never be lost in the city again.
11. Got out of 4 pricey parking tickets through the fine art of letter writing.
12. Avoided buzz cutting my hair with the help of box braids.

Ok, the last few are really a stretch. But the list wouldn’t make much sense with 8 things, now would it? Make a list of your 12 notable things from 2012 to reflect on all that the year has brought you! Have a happy and safe new year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wow, it's Christmas! Let's celebrate

Well, there was no Apocalypse on Friday. Thanks for the let down, Mayans! Though I am happy that Christmas is only a few days away and that there will be a New Year! I gifted all handmade Christmas presents this year, and even handmade some Christmas cards . . . albeit this one turned out a little crooked.

After much turmoil in deciding my first race of 2013, I decided to run the Commitment Day 5K on New Year's Day. This will be my first official race since my triathlon in June and my first winter race. I'm really hoping for decent weather!

I haven't yet decided how to celebrate and welcome in 2013. Do you already have a New Year's Eve party planned? Get creative and make your own mini party hats! Here's wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

5K fever - Back to where it all started

I had pretty much abandoned running 5K races officially. The last 5K race I actually registered for and ran was the St. Paddy’s Day 5K in 2010 (I walked my favorite fundraiser, the Chicago Lung Run 5K in 2011). The idea of going through all the prep, getting there, parking, checking gear, and not to mention paying $35 bucks or more to run such a short distance wasn’t really appealing to me anymore. My thoughts were that if I were going to pay to run a race, it would be a distance longer than 5K.

It may be that it’s been so long since I’ve registered to run a 5K, the distance has become interesting to me again. I planned to run a 5K last weekend, the Schiller Chiller, but ended up double booking my schedule and did not participate. Now I’m looking at running a 5K in January. Kind of a wild idea.

I would love to participate in the Commitment Day 5K on New Year’s Day 2013. It’s a neat idea to run with thousands around the county making a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. But again, it will be in January . . in Chicago. I’m not exactly thrilled about running outdoors during that time of year. The high on New Year’s Day 2012 was unseasonably warm (44 degrees), so it is possible there will be tolerable weather conditions. It’s also possible there will be a blizzard! Is it worth the risk of being completely miserable on race day?

There is another option to race a few days later, the Warm Your Heart 5K on January 6, 2013. It’s indoors! I’ve never run an indoor race. I wonder if it will it feel like a P.E. class in a high school gym? I’ve run on a small indoor loop track once as a last resort. It turns out that running in a small circle is not that enjoyable. But this race is a single loop through a massive convention center, so it might not be so bad. Either race will be a different 5K experience than I’ve had in the past. It will be nice to run a 5K again for fun! I can enjoy a race without dedicating training time needed for a longer distance. I have to make a decision soon; the New Year is right around the corner!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft workshop: Crafty Night Out

I’m so excited to host a craft workshop on February 1, 2013 in Chicago. We are going to be making Valentine's Day themed bow ties and painted wine glasses. If you love being creative or want to improve your craft game, please join me. Or gift a ticket to your crafty friend for Christmas! There are only 30 spots available. You can register by visiting the Eventbrite page. I’d love to see you there!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving holiday wrap-up

Thanksgiving holiday weekend has come to a close. Monday, it's back to reality. I enjoyed a couple of days away from work and spending time with family and friends. This is what the holidays are all about!

I worked on shaking a terrible cold the week leading up to the holiday. I did not do my traditional Thanksgiving Day 5K run on Thursday because I couldn't breath. Instead it was slightly delayed to this afternoon where I also mastered the fine art of blowing snot rockets to clear my nose and keep my breathing steady.

My holiday craft party took place on Saturday. Instead of buying Christmas gifts at traditional Black Friday sales, I wanted to create an opportunity for guests to craft unique gifts made with love!
All these photos were taken with my sister's new Nikon D5100. I'm ready to take out a second mortgage to own one of these cameras. Ok, they are not quite that expensive, but definitely an investment. I love pictures so much, I would make good use of one of these for sure!
My guests successfully finished all the projects; fabric button earrings, fabric magnetic boards, and magazine page coasters. I really enjoy watching others discover their creativity!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

DIY chevron striped sweatshirt

Thanksgiving is in t-minus 7 days! I’m looking forward to a tasty meal, spending time with my family, and a couple of days of relaxation! Here's is a simple way to jazz up your turkey day lounging around look.

Materials used:
Men’s sweatshirt
Rust-Oleum specialty metallic spray paint in gold
1” 3M painters tape

1.Cut the neck and sleeves at the seams.
2.Tape out a chevron pattern. I measured 2 inches between tape stips, so the stripes are 2 inches wide with a 1 inch gap in between.

3.Tape the remaining areas you want to avoid spray painting. I also taped newspaper at the shoulder seams and at the neck to avoid getting paint on those areas.

4.Spray as much paint as you want for the look you desire. I wanted a softer look, so I sprayed the entire area twice, lightly.

5.Peel off the tape. I failed to tape the bottom of my sweatshirt, so some paint got on the seam. I didn't like the way it looked, so I cut the bottom off just below the seam.

6.*Roll up the sleeves, and it’s done! I think it’s a cute alternative to succumbing to tryptophan in just a plain old sweatshirt!

*The shirt was pretty much dry to the touch in about 20 minutes, but I allowed my shirt to dry overnight before wearing it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gym hopping

I haven’t weighed myself in almost a month. I’ve fallen off with tracking my calories. My clothes still fit the same, so I don’t think I’m gaining. But, I definitely have not been as diligent the last few weeks with trying to lose another ten pounds. I’m going to blame it on the weather cooling off, and the time change. Yes, that’s it. I have been trying some new things to try to get back in the groove of working out more regularly and to stay on track over the holidays.

Running: There is one word to describe my running lately, leisurely. The cold discourages me from going in the morning, and its super dark when I leave work in the evening. I’m going to again attempt lunch time runs again to fit in more miles each week.

Core Power Yoga: I love this place. The location near me offers two free community workouts per week. I’ve been doing a short run first, and then practicing yoga for an hour afterwards. The class is ‘warm’ not hot, like Bikram. The class moves fast and there are couple of moves I’m not very good at: Chatarunga (push-up) and Baksana (crow) pose.

My Chatarunga is getting better each time. Baksana is another story. I usually just hold Child’s pose waiting for the next position. The class also incorporates ab work, hence the studio name.

Charter Fitness: I received a postcard in the mail for a free trail at this new gym near my home. I never heard of this place before. What caught my attention was the $10 per month membership fee they advertised, so I checked it out. Hmm, it’s ok. I filled out a waiver for a male employee to start my trial, then sort of stood there waiting for him to show me around. I finally asked, “So . . . where is everything”? He pointed to the ladies locker room at the back of the gym. "Um, ok". I changed and ran on the treadmill for half an hour all the time checking out the clientele and the traffic level. It’s a basic gym, cardio machines, free weights, and personal training available for an additional cost. There were always open machines, and everyone pretty much came in, worked out, and went on about their business. It was really a no hassle environment. There is of course no pool, which I would prefer if I decide to join a gym again.

It’s time to get back on track or I will surely gain over Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY bow tie tutorial

In my quest for the perfect projects for my upcoming craft party, I came across the cutest bow tie ideas. I just had to try this project for myself. I used some scrap fabric I had lying around. Here's an easy tutorial to make one for yourself!

Main fabric: 5 in. x 9 in.
Fusible interfacing: 5 in. x 9 in.
Contrast fabric: 3 in. x 3 in.
Needle and thread or sewing machine

Cut the main fabric and interfacing (I used a cardboard template). Iron the interfacing to the main fabric.

Fold the edges of main fabric lengthwise to meet, iron the folds. Fold the edges to meet in the middle, iron the folds.

Cut the contrast fabric. Fold the edges of contrast fabric lengthwise, this time overlapping the edges. Iron the folds.

Stitch or sew the edges together to form a loop. I left about a ¼ inch seam.

Pinch the middle of the main fabric together to form a bow shape. Slide the contrast fabric onto the main fabric.

Voila, such an easy to make bow-tie!

I used a bobby pin to pin to may hair. You can hot glue or sew on a clip permanently, but I like the idea of switching it up. I may use a safety pin to wear as a brooch or an actual bow tie!


New hair & new crafts

It's extension time! I'm taking a much needed break from dealing with my hair. Styling, detangling and trying new hair products has taken a toll on my patience. I dread sitting in a salon chair all day, but I bit the bullet and had my hair braided last weekend. Braids was the first style I thought of when I contemplated what to do with my hair. I'm happy with how they turned out. They're ridiculously long, and I love it. I hope to keep my hair braided through the holidays. I'll start swimming again starting in January in prep for an indoor triathlon I plan to do March, so the braids will definitely come down before then.

I've been busy preparing to host a craft party for the Thanksgiving holiday. I've shopped so much at the Joann's and Micheal's near my work building the staff there probably think I'm casing the place. I've scoured the Internet for some fun projects to make. I found so many great ideas, I asked my guest to vote to choose which we would make. We'll make these three:

Fabric covered magnetic board

Upcylcle coasters made of magazine paper

I can't wait to try them all!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Three: Hair, a talk show, and a wedding

Oh, hey there. I have some random bloggy stuff to blog about. I’ll call them the Thursday Three.

1. I was in Kansas City a couple of weekends ago for a wedding. I had a lovely time catching up with sorority sisters and old college friends. This is the first time I've been “in” a wedding. It’s an experience being part of the wedding party rather than a guest. All the running around and last minute prepping put me in ultra-planner/organizer mode. And I was only a hostess. Fifteen women getting dressed, and having their hair and makeup done in a cozy hotel suite is definitely an experience. It all came together beautifully in the end. I can only imagine what people go through planning an entire wedding. Can you say stressful?

In mid-September I set a goal to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks, just in time for the wedding. I wanted to look my best in my ultra mini cocktail hostess dress. My total loss was 5.5 pounds. I did not reach my goal, but I am happy with my progress so far. My dress didn't fit much differently than when I originally tried it on, but the weight loss helped me feel more comfortable. I’m still aiming to reach my 10 pound goal before Thanksgiving. I woke up early the day of the wedding to run on the hotel gym treadmill and lift some weights. I'm determined to reach my goal!

It rained the entire day of the wedding, so the Bantu knot out style I had planned for my hair got a little puffy. Gotta love natural hair. I absolutely loved my makeup, though. When I grow up, I will have a personal makeup artist on call at all times.

2. After the wedding, I was itching to do this to my hair.

I love my pink streak. After two weeks, it’s already fading. I’m considering adding more. It’s Manic Panic which is non-permanent, and washes out very easily. Blogger Curly Nikki was in Chicago last weekend.

I rocked the pink streak at a very nice event she hosted promoting Motions new Naturally You hair care line. The pink hair got a few awkward looks, not surprising. Then, my sister directed me to Curly Nikki’s blog post the following Wednesday where she’s rocking a blue streak in her hair! Really cute! I also met one of my favorite bloggers at the event, Cassidy Blackwell.

Like me, she has a super coily texture so I admire the different cuts and styles she’s rocked with her natural hair. Her haircut is fierce in person. I walked away with the entire Naturally You product line. I washed, conditioned, deep conditioned, and styled with all the products over the weekend. I love the way it smells, and my hair feels very moisturized. I think I’ll write a full review soon.

3. I again co-hosted the Nappturalite Radio Show last week. The show topic was Detoxing 101-Benefits for Physical & Mental Health. I shared my experience with the Master Cleanser. I finished the 10 day cleanse way back in 2006, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Check out the replay of the show here! Singer Leela James was on the show and Raw Food Goddess, Nwenna Kai chatted with us about her raw lifestyle and recipe book.

I think that about sums up my Thursday Three!

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