Marathon Recap & My Running Story

A little over two years ago, I was the girl who didn't run. I considered a good workout to be one of those "under 30 minutes to tone your ____ insert body part here" YouTube videos, maybe done 2-3 times a week, on a good week. I didn't really enjoy working out and I certainly never went on a run. Fast forward to one month ago today, and I have completed my first marathon. (!!!) I'm so proud to say that I am now a runner, for better or for worse. 


So how does a lazy girl run a marathon? With a sister, how else?!

In early 2016 my older sister Michelle and her husband Lance had been in the international adoption process for several months. When she told me she was running the local Garden Spot Village Marathon and Half Marathon as a way to raise funds, I think I cried. Shocking, I know. I know this is just what mothers do, but there is just something so beautiful about a mother who will sweat and bleed and sacrifice for her still-unknown child. No shade to GoFundMe's, but running a marathon is the most special fundraiser I've ever heard of. 

So that is when I started running. I committed to running the half marathon with her, and started training the next day. At this point it was February, and the race was begining of April. Not impossible to get into running shape in about 6 weeks, but very close to it. I remember my very first training run SO clearly. My brother was staying with us for a week over this time, and I begged him to come along with me. I bundled up and we ran/walked 1.63 miles that afternoon. I was huffing like the Big Bad Wolf by the end but I was SO proud.  Over the next few weeks, My BFF Jess (who actually liked running, bless her) ran with me often. We would run together Saturday mornings, every week going about 2 miles farther than the week before. 

The day of the race was cold and, if you can believe it, snowing. In April. In Pennsylvania. THANKS LORD YEP I NEEDED A LITTLE MORE RESISTANCE. To be honest, it didn't faze me that much. I was so ready to do this thing. Jess even came to see us off, and we away we went! The first half was SO FUN. Even in the snow, spectators would cheer and make me smile every time. Highlights of the first half include an encouraging sign that said "If Trump can run than so can you!" Michelle and I ran for the first half of the half marathon, i.e. the first 7 miles or so. Then the courses split, and she informed me she was gonna pick up the pace now. Thanks, lady. The second half of the race was the true test for me. I turned on the music, put my head down, and got to work. Even though I had to run up the biggest hill in Lancaster county, and stopped for a few walking breaks, those last 6 miles were probably the most empowering miles of my life. I was doing this! Just me, myself, my soggy shoes, and the Good Lord. I've never felt a high quite like this running high, and that day was my first taste. I can't tell you how good it felt to slowly slog in the final stretch. My oldest sister Tonya was crying, Brandon was videoing, my besties Jess and Vcitoria (and Vic's husband Cam) were all there cheering. You guys! It doesn't get much better than that! Except the hot oatmeal in the runner's tent. And gettting my medal. And wathcing my sister cross the finish line a little while later. 


I recently listened to a podcast all about succeeding by not giving yourself a way out, and I struck me that that is exactly what I did here. The hosts called this mentality "burning your boats" -- if you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats, and make that your only option. Because when you're only option is to succeed or to die, most people are gonna find a way to succeed. And you guys, I did that! For maybe the first time in my life, I committed to something without giving myself the option of backing out. I don't like to say I was a quitter, but it's true. I didn't like hard things. I didn't like to push myself. I think that is part of the reason why I was (and still am) so indecisive, but that's a soul issue for another time. Looking back, those weeks of training changed me in so many ways. God used something as ordinary as putting one foot in front of the other to mold me and change me. And it didn't stop there.

Remember BFF Jess? Well she finally decided that if she was going to run the long training runs with me, she may as well get a medal out of it. Atta girl! We signed up for another local run that fall. I thought it would be better weather in September, but oh I was wrong again! The Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon was 90* and humid and it felt like the hottest day of my life. But we did it together! I tell ya what, if you ever want to be better friends with someone, just run 13.1 miles with them. We finished and we were so proud. 


As a Christmas gift that year, one of my friends gifted me Shauna Niequist's book "Present Over Perfect" and I dove into it. I told Victoria later that this book is super casually just changing my life. It is filled with truth so raw that when you read it, you say, oh yes, there you've been. That's exactly right. I guess a good book will do that to you. The rest of the book aside, in one chapter Shauna writes about how she signed up for and ran a full marathon, after being a non-runner like me. It challenged me and inspired me at the same time, and I started researching cool marathons in the area. It was early spring of 2017 when I first learned about the Coastal Delaware Running Festival, and I was sold. Running on the boardwalk? A course that takes you through the beach town I've been going to my whole life? Free pizza?! Where do I sign! Unfortunately it was too late to sign up in 2017, so I kept this little dream in my heart for a while and signed up for 2018. I had been talking to Sister Michelle about this the whole time and convinced her to sign up too. Sisters who run together, stay together. I started training in earnest around Christmas time. Honestly, because of running, the first part of this year feels like a blur. Let's just say that working full time and logging miles every week and small group and making supper and moving and renovating a house all serve to make one a busy girl. I made it, though. Thank God and thanks, Brandon, for picking up my slack! Somehow, winter was over and April was almost here.

Two weeks before the marathon (the weekend after my birthday!) I got sick and was knocked out the whole weekend. I was planning to do my longest training run, 21 miles, that Saturday. When I woke up Saturday morning I knew there was no way I could do that. I was so discouraged and I let this set back really mess with me. I panicked and Googled how far do you have to run before running a marathon and the results were actually not terrifying! One site said that the distance of your run doesn't matter so much, as long as you are consistently training, and that the actual time on your feet is what benefits you during those longest runs. At that point I already had a few 3+ hours runs under my belt, so I tried to make the best of it. Those last two weeks before the marathon were a real turning point for me. Since I never got in my confidence-boosting 20-miler, I started concentrating and training my mind with as much attention as I had given my body. The Boston marathon was a week before mine, and this year the conditions were absolutely horrible! I'm talking monsoon weather the entire day. I stalked runner's instagrams and cried reading their lengthy captions. One account in particular (MotherRunnerMel) shared her positive attitude in a really inspiring way, saying stuff like you can't control the weather but you can control your attitude. I decided that this was my one and only 1st marathon, and I was going to enjoy this thing. 

The morning of the marathon was an early one. It was cool but the forecast was calling for sun and 60 degree temps. My dad and Brandon drove Michelle and I to the boardwalk, we waited in a rediculously long bathroom line, and then it was show time. 

The first miles were FUN. We started in the back of the corrals, so it felt pretty good to be able to start out passing a bunch of people. There were a ton of spectators lining the boardwalk, lots of homemade signs and the energy was so HIGH! I was smiling as we started and I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time. We ran through the streets of Rehoboth Beach to Cape Henlopen State Park. We ran on trails and paved paths until we got to the park's campground. We ran right past the campsite we camped at the year before! We were in the middle of the campground when Mile 9 happened. Up until this point, we both felt great. I was having so much fun and we were making good time (for me, this was around 10 minute miles) when Michelle's knee threw a fit. During the weeks leading up to the race, she had been having a lot of trouble with it twinging and giving her pain. She tried a new brace a week or two prior and we hoped this would be the ticket. And it was, until Mile 9. We walked it out for a while, and a sweet angel who was running in front of us gave Michelle some Advil. We started running again, with a revised goal: let's just finish. 


Soon enough we were out of the woods (literally, the course finally left the campground) and we ran again. The miles from 13-15 were fun ones. We stopped every so often to stretch out Michelle's knee, but we made it to the turn around point, and to the best water stop. The volunteers called us each by name (thanks to our bibs) and that felt so amazing. Also this water stop had M&M's and I didn't know I needed those until I had them! Mile 17 brought us to the beautiful and charming town of Lewes, and if I had to pinpoint a place where things got tough, this would be it. This was around the time I asked Michelle to tell me her birth story of giving birth to Luca just to give my mind another pain to concentrate on. We kept pushing though, and made it to mile 20. I smiled big at Michelle and said, this is it! This is officially the farthest I've ever run! Soon after, we ran through the most beautiful neighborhood I have ever seen. I'm not sure if it was the mileage taking it's toll or the incredible houses, but we ran slow and admired. Right after that, we ran through the last bit of trails before the end! Running down the main street of Rehoboth was amazing. Fellow runners, people driving & honking, even police men standing by the route, I loved them all. We took a few more stretching and walking breaks, but we were determined to finish strong. We came up on the boardwalk and I felt like I couldn't breath. I was crying, but that didn't last long because have you tried to run and cry at the same time? It's hard! Our whole family was lined up on the boardwalk, cheering and waving and waiting for us. I can remember that feeling so clearly, and honestly I don't know how you can be happier than that right now. We crossed the finish line together, two sisters, in 5 hours 21 minutes. Michelle's longest marathon yet but a PR for me! Also an OR (only record). 

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When I started running two years ago for that fundraiser race, I never expected to keep at it. I certainly never expected to enjoy it and one day run a marathon. But life is funny and God has a sense of humor, this I firmly believe. Running has turned into medicine and dessert, all in one. I am so thankful to have this - hobby? passion? relief? in my life. Maybe one day that will evolve and change into something else, but for now, it's here. And I'm runnning. 

One Room Challenge: Week 6 The Big Reveal!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but you guys, I MADE IT! Happy ORC reveal day, one and all! The past six weeks have been a blur as the hundreds of guest participants and myself all worked like crazy to finish one room of their choosing, from start to finish. The featured designers revealed their rooms yesterday and, WOW. Clicking through all the before and afters made me even more excited to share my own. So, I will let the photos take it away and chat more down below!





Oh dining room. I think I love you now! We had my late grandmother's table and the curtain rod when we started, but so much has happened since then! We added all the trim and window casings, replaced the chandelier, hemmed the curtains, painted the chairs, and then added a little bling. I'm a simple, sentimental girl, and no where is that more true than in my decorating. The antique gold mirror is something I bought for our wedding reception and I love it just as much today as I did almost three years ago! The wilting tulips are from sweet Anna from church, who had a trunk full of flowers and told me to help myself. Will do, Anna, will do. <3 The fern in the corner is something I bought a few weeks ago for some much-needed life and greenery. My mother has the MOST amazing green thumb, and she still has a fern that someone gave her for a wedding present...OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO. Goals, mom. Please stay with me even an 1/16th of that time, little fern. 

Now, onto the living room! This combined space is not large, so the living and dining room really run together. Just for reference - the front door opens up right into the living room. The wall with the long couch is on your right and the wall the divides the kitchen is right in front of you. If you walk in and make your self at home, you go between the new TV stand and the love seat to get to the dining room, which in turn is open to the kitchen. Make sense? Here, take a look.




In here, phew, what didn't we do? First up is trim - duh. I really cannot believe how much of a difference it makes. We hung a curtain rod and curatins, got rid of the old wrap around curtains, made and hung art, and calmed down with all the all the throw pillows on the couch! Trust me, it was excessive. One of the biggest accomplishments was getting a real piece of furniture to hold our TV instead of two dining room chairs. College frat house, no more!


So far our little set up has been working great! The round basket on the top shelf holds allll the remotes. Seriously, why does one TV require 4 remotes? The bottom shelf holds the books we read and use everyday like my bible, and my current novel from the library. The bottom baskets are actually mostly empty right now! That doesn't bother me a bit, though. I'm sure we'll fill them up soon enough, with either DVDs or toys for the nieces and nephews or more blankets or maybe snacks or... you see. :)


Woof. I am tired but also so, so happy with our space! It was not without it's hiccups, and to be honest I am still grappling with the thought is it worth it when thinking of the canceled plans and late night bickering. But it truly feels AMAZING to be able to cross a huge thing off our list with one big, 6-week stroke! So, that's my one room challenge. It's not the most dramatic transformation - not the worst before, not the best after. But it's ours and I feel so happy and peaceful here at home. And THAT is definitely worth it.

OH! And here's the deets if you are interested:

Wall color - Bruton White by Benjamin Moore
Curtains - IKEA VIVAN
Rug - Rugs USA
handelier - Lowe's
Print in floating frame - Etsy


One Room Challenge: Week 5 & feelin' alive

Unsolicited pro tip: if you want time to go even faster than it already does, sign yourself up for a 6-week challenge. If this is the shortest update post ever, know it is because I gots things to do!

The One Room Challenge is a blogging challenge hosted twice a year in which the participants make over one room entirely in 6 weeks. Next week is the big reveal, which I’m so excited about! But also, send all the prayers.


We got so much done this week which feels amazing! But for some reason my to-do list is growing instead of shrinking. Let’s recap the progress so I feel better about myself, ‘kay?



Hemmed and (mostly) hung! Check. A big thank you to my mom for measuring and hemming and ironing the curtains. She came over to deliver the dining room curtains and they look beautiful. She just texted me yesterday to say the living room curtains are finished, so now we can do what I've been dying to do since we moved in - take down that yucky green curtain on a track. 




Painted and (mostly) hung! The door to the garage was finished on Saturday and looks so nice with the new trim. *heart eyes* The closet doors are finished and one is still drying in the basement. Last night Brandon hung the finished and dried door, so our view doesn't look exactly like this anymore!



Almost completely installed! Saturday was a glorious day of work here, and most of Brandon’s family came over to help! Along with his dad and brother in law, Brandon was able to install almost all of the baseboard and most of the door casings. Brandon’s sister, mom and I spent some of the day painting the trim. Like I mentioned last week, we bought primed trim and are painting before we install. As of last night, we just need to install trim along the wall that divides the kitchen and living room. And of course, patch and caulk and paint. I am praying this doesn’t take too long!



I finally got up the courage to paint our dining room chairs! So far I have one completely finished. Only 4 to go! Yes, we only have a set of 5 chairs. I guess that's what happens when you buy them at a yard sale. But oh well, without the extender leaves in our table, it only seats 4 comfortably anyway. We'll probably keep the 5th chair in the office for now, and pull it out for extra seating as needed.


This week, I also started getting together our accessories and finishing touches. I practiced styling the shelf, make a Home Goods run, and finally brought our pretty antique mirror up from the basement. I can’t wait to see it all together! A quick side note, though: I am no longer in love with this shelf idea. I am proud of Brandon and I for whipping this up, but I don’t think the stained wood fit in with my slightly traditional, slightly modern, slightly clean and minimal vision. Would a plain white shelf be better? Should I go back to a big picture frame? Ugh.

Besides stewing about that little conundrum, here’s what we need to finish for next Thursday, deep breaths, deep breaths everyone:

- get and assemble TV stand (Brandon and I have a date to IKEA tomorrow night!)
- install final peice of trim
- patch, caulk, paint trim
- hang 2nd closet door
- get prints for frames
- decide on shelf vs. picture??
- get rug for entry
- style and photograph
- finish library book (you absolutely CANNOT renew that one more time!)

So, there’s the scoop. See you next week and wish me luck!

One Room Challenge: Week 4. Wait, already?!

I don’t want to jinx myself here, but I feel like we might, maybe, just be hitting our stride with the One Room Challenge! And good thing too. At week 4, we only have one more week of progress and then it’s reveal week!
And that’s not a sarcastic yay, by the way. I really think we’re gonna make it and that feels good!

Just for a refresher - the One Room Challenge is a blogging challenge where 20 featured designers make over a room in 6 weeks. Guest participants are invited, too! That’s me!


I can’t believe it’s time again for another update. What with being out of town this weekend, and plans in the evenings, this week has flown by. Let’s get into to the progress we’ve made this week, and what I hope to accomplish in the next couple of days. Oh - and here's my formal apology for the quality of pictures in this post! Sometimes you don't have your camera and your iPhone just doesn't cut it. #liveandlearn


As I mentioned last week, my angel of a mother hemmed our dining room curtains for me! Thanks, Ma. <3
Brandon hung our living room curtain rod last night, so tonight I am hoping to pin up these curtains and then drop them off for the same treatment. You guys, if you can learn anything from me, learn this: we need our moms.



The Door - This door that leads to the garage had been sanded and painted months ago, before we moved in. I always knew it would need at least one more coat of paint, and that finally happened Tuesday night! I painted one coat then, but unfortunately it got too late and too dark to do a additional coat. I’m planning to finish this on Saturday.


The Trim - Since the trim we purchased was primed, we opted to paint all our trim before making any cuts or installing. This way there will be minimal patching and touch up work after it's installed. Or that is the plan, anyway. I don’t know if this is the “normal” or suggested way to do things, but it makes sense on paper.  Fingers crossed doing it this way actually saves us time down the road! Brandon’s sister (another angel, btw) came over yesterday when we were at work and painted it all for us. WE HAVE THE BEST FAM, FAM!


This Saturday will be the first Saturday since starting the ORC that I will be home and free to work till my heart’s content!
(OK to be honest, I was home the first weekend in April. But I was sick and lying on the couch for almost three days straight. Needless to say no work was done that day - not even dishes!)
I have fun breakfast plans with my mom and sisters to celebrate my sister’s and my birthdays, but after that I’m all yours, house. Here’s what I hope to accomplish:

  • Final sanding/coat of paint on door to garage

  • Assemble/install shelf

  • Start installing trim!

  • Assemble TV stand (if we pick it up by then)

  • Start on painting closet doors

Closet doors, you may ask? Closet doors, I say. I haven't mentioned them, because they are not actually on the closet but rather sitting in our basement, waiting to be painted.
The main coat closet in our house is right inside the front door. When sitting on the couch, you get a pretty great view into the inside of the closet. Which, for the past 4 months, has looked something like this:


NOT. GREAT. I didn’t officially include the closet doors as part of our ORC to do list because, quite honestly, I wasn’t sure if it feasible to get that done in addition to all our other work. But now that we’re finally checking some things off I think it’s time to make it happen. Here is the master list of everything left to do in this One Room Challenge:

  • Install/patch/touch up trim

  • Hang dining room curtains

  • Hem and hang living room curtains

  • Buy/assemble TV stand

  • Paint chairs

  • Buy small entry rug

  • Paint closet doors

  • Hang shelf

  • Style, decorate and photograph

I enjoy making lists and it’s much easier to stay motivated when I have my goals staring back at me. I’m not gonna lie though, this list makes me nervous! But I have high hopes for a good day of work on Saturday and I’m itching to get started. Plus! My marathon is over and I am taking rest week very seriously. Let’s put this old treadmill time to good use!


One Room Challenge: Week 3. Decision time is coming.

Believe it it or not, it’s week three of the One Room Challenge, which means we are halfway to the reveal. Are you stress-sweating? No, just me? OK then. 


The magical and stress-sweat-inducing One Room Challenge is a blogging challenge hosted twice a year. I'm joining for the first time as a guest participant. Check out the other guest bloggers and the featured designers here!

What progress we’ve make in the living/dining room has been stolen in bits and pieces of time. Everyone’s busy - I get that! I can’t complain. So, while we’re not as far as I’d like to be, I want to share the milestones from this week!



The main project for this space is installing new baseboard and window & door casings. When we first bought the house, I immediately wanted to replace the trim. It was short, dinky trim that smelled, I don't know, a bit cheap to me. No offense, little trim.



Then we decided to rip up the existing carpet and install hardwood flooring (BEST decision ever, by the way!). To do so, we had to remove part of the baseboards. I think this is called the shoe? Feel free to check our garage, it's all just hanging out in there since it's been torn up. :) Since we were already faced with the task of installing, caulking, sanding, and painting, we decided just to do it right and replace it all for something better. If we are in fact "doing it right" remains to be seen. But I have high hopes. I mean, after living with naked and flaking walls like these, anything is an improvement!


On Monday night, Brandon and I headed to Lowe's to buy the trim. We decided on a simple, taller baseboard and shorter but more detailed casings. Whaddya think?


Now to be honest, the trim is just sitting in our garage. We are hoping to start installing next week, but it is a relief to at least check "gather materials" off the to-do list. That's the hardest part, right? I've never installed trim before, so the plan is to learn on the trim in this room, and then pack up that new found knowledge & expertise and zoom through the rest of the house, replacing trim like it's nobody's business. What can I say, I match my favorite shade of Essie nail polish -- ETERNAL OPTIMIST. 


The curtains in the dining room are gone! I bought extra long curtains from IKEA when we first moved in, knowing they would have to be hemmed one day. I didn't think that one day would be 4 months later, but whatever. The problem with curtains is that I can't seem to find the perfect length in a nice white that's cheap, so I thought this would be the best option. I had every intention of hemming them all by myself, but with a deadline, it was time to call in reinforcements. AKA my dear mama. My mom is an incredibly talented seamstress (I mean, she made my wedding dress!) so hemming curtains is a breeze for her. She stopped in last evening actually and picked them up. This week, I am hoping to hang the curtain rod for the living room windows that way I can measure those curtains as well. 



The hardest part of the One Room Challenge for me so far has been the decision making! I've had ideas swirling in my heads for months now, but this is when the rubber hits the road and I've just gotta go with something. I actually think a deadline like this is good for me. I have always been a dreamer and ideas come easy. It's the starting and the doing that's difficult. That being said, I am proud to say I nailed down most of the final decisions for this space!

Shelf vs. big picture


One of my goals for this space is to deal with the blank wall above the couch. My original plan was to find a frame roughly the same size as the framed cut-out, to balance the other side of that wall. But then I saw this post from the DIY Playbook and it clicked for me! An art ledge! I have been a long-time fan and reader of Chris Loves Julia and always admired the beautiful art ledge they have above their sofa. This inspired me to build my own. My plan is to make the shelf about 3' long (the same width as the cut-out) and fill it with a few framed prints and maybe one of my plant babies. I made the mood board below from Olioboard and got excited. 

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Currently, my shelf if still in pieces in the basement. I started staining today and hope to have it assembled and installed by the weekend! 


TV Table

This decision I swear gave me grey hairs this week! We got a coupon from Wayfair in the mail, so I was combing through their site looking for the perfect console table/TV stand/piece of furniture to put our TV on. All my favorites were either sold out, not long enough, or not wide enough. WHOMP WHOMP. I was feeling pretty down about it all until I put two and two together and got IKEA. Just last night I hopped on the website and we decided on this little guy. We can't wait for you to join our family, Brimnes! It's not a fancy piece and definately not a show-stopper, but it's the right dimensions and it has some storage. What more could a girl ask for? I am planning to buy some new pull handles to (hopefully) make it look a little less IKEA and a little more special. 

Again, I feel like there is not a lot to show for our progress this week! But I can honestly say we are moving forward and decisions are being made. That's cause for celebration! I'm hoping to get a lot of work done this next week, but we have quite the busy weekend ahead, so wish me luck! Next time you hear from me I'll be a MARATHONER!


One Room Challenge: Week 2, here we go

Here we are at week 2 of the One Room Challenge! Quick recap - the One Room Challenge is a 6-week design challenge put on by Linda at Calling it Home. Every Wednesday, 20 featured designers share updates on the one room they are transforming in the 6-week time frame. Every Thursday the guest participants (including ya girl!) update until the reveal week! I am pretty tickled to be joining as a guest participant on this rodeo.


I shared last week that I will be make over-ing our joined living and dining room. Click here to read all about that.

But on to the update!


Replace dining room light - DONE! I picked out this light from Lowe's a month or so ago, when we had a coupon for a discount on all lighting. I scoured their website for several days to make a decision. This was one of the first chandeliers that caught my eye, and I must say I'm glad I went with my gut. It might not look like much now, but I really think it will look so good one day! You know, like in 5 weeks. Imagine with me. We also added a ceiling medallion, just because I think it looks fancy. Our house was built in 1960, and there is not a lot of charming character. I don't want to be adding details that look out of place, but I have been chomping at the bit to add something special to this space, AND to get that old light outta here. 


Brandon took care of replacing the light one night after dinner last week. I didn't do too much to help, aside from holding it in the air as he did something with wires, for long enough to leave me with sore shoulders the next day. I went to the basement to run on the treadmill (marathon in 9 days!!!!! It's OK I'm just freaking out.) and came upstairs to an almost-completed project.


THANKS BBY LUV YA. See ya, candles with fake drips.


As far as progress, this light is the only thing I have to show for myself! I've done of a lot of internet work, ya know? Still on the hunt for a slim table for the TV and art for the wall above the sofa. I thought today I'd share some of the furniture and things that we won't be replacing.


The sofa and love seat. I'm gonna say it - I think this space would look better with a sofa and two chairs. But that just doesn’t seem practical for us. Aside from the additional seating, we use these guys for lounging, napping, and watching movies. All things that, to us, are more comfortable on sofas. I mean, our Sunday-Night-Movie-Night tradition with my brother is so established that he always gets the love seat (feet hanging off the end of it. Over 6’ tall probs) while Brandon lets me drape over him to find the perfect comfy spot on the long sofa. How can you mess with that?


Besides all that, we just purchased this furniture in December when we moved in. So our thrifty inner-Scrooge's wouldn't allow ourselves to buy new furniture to replace perfectly good sofas anyway. But for the sake of dreaming, wouldn’t this Article sofa look dreamy? I have been seeing Article pop up on social media more and more, and with good reason! Stunning stuff!


Side and coffee table. This cute marble topped table is from Target. I visited it every time I was in the store (so, once a week at least) and my stalking paid off when it went on sale!

The coffee table was a lucky Craigslist find for about $150, if I remember correctly. This is not a bad price AT ALL for a sturdy coffee table, but it seemed like a lot at the time. This was right around the time we moved in, and so we had just spent the last several weeks tearing our new house apart and putting it back together. It felt like we were throwing money everywhere!

The lamps, or at least one of them, are staying as well. I really like both of them, and I think it’s cool how the styles contrast. However I’m not sure two standing lamps look great here. Since we don’t have any overhead lighting in the living room, simply getting rid of one isn’t an option. However I am open to getting a small table lamp for the marble table and moving one of the lamps elsewhere.


The table. I mentioned this is last week’s post, but this table belonged to my grandma. After my oldest sister (and my grandma’s first grandchild) got married, she gave it to her. My sister Tonya has had it ever since, but recently has become disenchanted with it. It’s beautiful old wood top, while stunning and full of character, is not the most kid friendly. Food can be hard to clean due to the ridges and bumps in the top. It’s also a bit wobbly, but hopefully we can remedy that. When we moved and needed a table, Tonya graciously offered it to us. Brandon and I are kid-free and so we can deal with the imperfections with a lot less worry than she can. I was (and still am) thrilled! It’s so incredibly special to have this actual, physical thing of my grandma’s. Especially since she passed away in January. I am sure this table will always stay in the family.


So that's where we are after one week! Here's to hoping I can conquer my indecision and buy some important pieces this next week. Including my sister's birthday gift, which might be the hardest decision of them all.


One Room Challenge: Week 1! Welcome to the jungle.

Happy one room challenge day, everyone!
The One Room Challenge is a blogging challenge hosted twice a year by Linda of Calling it Home. I am excited to be a guest participant. Make sure to check on Wednesdays for updates from the 20 insanely talented featured designers and on Thursdays for the updates from the also insanely talented guest participants (and me).
As someone who has been reading blogs for years, this feels like quite the occasion! I am psyched to be here. But wait, let’s ask my husband how he feels about bringing a room to completion in six weeks time…*chirp chirp*

Spoiler alert, he’s not as excited as I am. But that’s nothing new. I, as usual, have enough emotions for both of us. But onto the reason we’re here-the room! Let me to introduce you to my small, connected living and dining room.

 Yes our TV is resting on two chairs. Cute, I know.

Yes our TV is resting on two chairs. Cute, I know.



When we first bought our house in the fall of last year, I took to calling this space the “Big Room.” But after we moved in in December and put in furniture, I quickly stopped. Hah. Although small, this space is the main hub of our house

The main entrance opens up right into what is our living room. This is our entertaining space and our relaxing (read: movie-watching) space. As such, I want it to feel and look as cozy and beautiful as possible.


The area between the door to the garage and the entrance to the kitchen is our dining room. We only recently got a table in here so even though we are currently only using two chairs and the table now houses my plant collection, I am feeling pretty fancy!


These pictures were mostly taken a few days ago, but it already has seen changes since we first bought the place. We already painted, ripped out the carpet, laid hardwood flooring, installed curtains, and set up some furniture. When I write it all out, it seems like we did so much. And all those late nights and Saturdays were so much! But even though it’s an improvement from where we were, we still have a long way to go.

 We removed the upper and lower cabinets that divided the kitchen and dining room.

We removed the upper and lower cabinets that divided the kitchen and dining room.


Woof. A reminder that you're making progress is always nice. I know that as a whole, our combined living space isn’t horrible. But it’s not great either. I long to bring some style and, dare I say, sophistication to this space. I’m ready for our central space, the place all our family and friends see and enjoy, to reflect my style.

So what’s on the agenda for the next 6 weeks? (You mean aside from running a marathon, celebrating family birthdays, having a yard sale, and remembering to feed myself and my husband?) Here’s the skinny:

TRIM - When we ripped up the carpet in this space and the hallway, we were hoping to find old hardwood floors. Unfortunately, no dice. We decided to lay new hardwood and refinish the bedrooms (which did have existing hardwood under carpet) to all match. We have yet to lay transitions to the kitchen vinyl flooring (a WHOLE NOTHA STORY) and install all the trim, door casings, and window trim. This is going to be the main task and a big one, too! We have never installed trim so we are depending a lot on both of our fathers, and maybe an uncle too. Thank God for family.

PAINT CHAIRS - The table we currently have is one that sat in my grandmother’s kitchen years ago. It is incredibly special for me to be able to have it in my house, especially since she passed away in January. That being said, I wasn’t crazy about the matching chairs. I found the current chairs at a yard sale this summer and bought them with the intention of painting them. Something to keep me busy until closing day when we can work in the house, I said. Oh past Bethany. What an optimist. Needless to say, the chairs have not been painted and they need it.

We would love to renovate the basement and turn a room down there into the media/lounging/TV room. But that is still a long way off (if it ever happens) so for now the TV stays here. I am open to a new furniture arrangement, but so far the current situation is what seems to work best. But even if it stays in roughly the same place, THE CHAIRS THAT ARE HOLDING IT HAVE GOTS TO GO. This set-up is looking extremely ghetto and so a new media center (ugh, doesn’t that just sound ugly?) is on the list. I am hoping to score a slim console table with closed storage on Craigslist for cheap. This is how the law of attraction works, right? All jokes aside, I am really interested in installing a Fauxdenza like Yellow Brick Home did (I’ve also seen DIY Playbook and Chris Loves Julia do similar things). However I am not sure if Brandon or I will feel up to this within the 6 week timeline, so we will keep our eyes peeled for the perfect piece.

The curtains on the big bay windows on the front of our house are still the same short, granny-style curtains that were here when we moved in. Yucky. I have a curtain rod and curtains here, somewhere (#moving) I just have to hem to the correct length and hang.  Easy peasy, right? The other big decor decision is the blank wall above our couch. You might have noticed the framed inset box back here? Yeah I don’t know what that is about. My family guessed that at one point the owners had a window into the garage. My plan is to get a similar sized piece of art to hopefully balance the space above the couch.

Here's a very amatuer Olioboard of the direction we are headed...

big room.jpg


And just because I love a good list, here is the mother load:
Trim (install, sand, paint, caulk)
Paint door to garage
Paint chairs
Install new dining room light
Buy or make TV console table
Buy or make big art for back wall
Install curtains and curtain rod
Hem curtains
Style and make pretty :)

That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Let’s do this thing!

* The One Room Challenge is a blogging challenge hosted twice a year by Linda of Calling it Home. I am excited to be a guest participant. Make sure to check on Wednesdays for updates from the 20 insanely talented featured designers and on Thursdays for the updates from the also insanely talented guest participants (and me).