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A case of the DIYs

It is no secret that Paul and I are moving in less than 2 months (yay!), and I have been in full on type-A mode prepping for our new apartment. I feel that it is time to do away with all of my used and loved college furniture and get a fresher look for our home.

Enter new couch, new rug, new comforters, and new desk… oh wait, I’m poor; so that was the end of our new stuff. Time to get creative.

For years I have had an orange couch, a burgundy recliner, and an overall “fall theme” in my living room.  it is time to lighten things up.  Not being able to afford a new recliner, and truly loving the one I have, I decided to take it into my own hands, along with a staple gun and some fabric, to create a new look:

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I started out with this bad boy.  Paul just left me to my own devices in the 3-season room and said “don’t staple yourself”.  An hour and a half later:

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Voila! 

It wasn’t without its struggles, oh no, but from the front it is extremely presentable.

Advice to others:

1. If you read a blog and they say “I just got 5 yards of fabric to redo my chair”, get 6.  Just trust me, get 6…. and don’t look at the back of my chair which is currently still burgundy.

2. I know buying a staple gun is exciting, but make sure that you buy the right size staples.  I knew there were different lengths, but surprise! There are also different widths.

3. Read the instructions before attempting to load the staple gun.

My next project was redoing the top half of a desk that has been in my family for 20 years.  I have decided to keep the top half to use as a book shelf in the new apartment.  I figured “how hard could it be to paint over wood?”.  Paul, the voice of reason and experience, my own personal Yoda, suggested that I sand it down first so the paint sticks. I figured paint would just stick to wood anyway, but ok. 

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After finding extra paint in the basement, I realized that I didn’t have a paint brush.  This was divine intervention because I figured while I was out, I should get some fabric to cover inside and make it really cool!

I went out, got my brush, got my fabric, and settled down in the living room to get to work. “Did you get primer?”

The F&$K?!?!

Why does Paul insist on interrupting my “shoot and holler shit” methodology of life with practicality and legitimate questions?

“Um….” glancing quickly at my bucket of paint, modern invention is on my side.”PAINT AND PRIMER IN ONE!!!” I yell at him, as if saying “Boom! I already thought of that”. Nope, I just got lucky.

2 coats of paint later, I was ready to put on some fabric.  Not to sound like a kindergarten drop-out, but I am AWFUL at cutting straight lines. It was not pretty, but after a number of attempts, my master piece was finished:

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Now I kind of want to keep the  bottom half of the desk and just repaint that too.  

I have never been much of a DIY person, but I am having some fun 🙂 

t-minus 57 days until the move!

 

Running the Chicago Marathon in Pink!

My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2011 and it made me realize 2 things.

1. I was even more in love with the city of Chicago than I had previously thought; and

2. I couldn’t wait to run another marathon.

Two and a half years later I have finally signed up for my second marathon, and I will be returning to the streets of Chicago (soon to be my new hometown) to run for one of my favorite non-profits, Bright Pink

For those readers who don’t know, I lost my mom to breast cancer almost 16 years ago and know far too many amazing women who have been affected by this disease.  This fall, I will run for them!  

Bright Pink is an amazing organization that offers education, support and is leading the charge for early detection and prevention for not only breast cancer, but ovarian cancer as well.  They really have an empowering message, and I couldn’t be more excited to run on their fund raising team.

I have 6 months to raise $1000, so please feel free to stop by my fundraising page: http://www.stayclassy.org/stephanieericson 

Have you been touched by breast cancer somehow? Share your story with me and I would love to add you or your loved one’s name to my list of reasons I am running.  

We are almost to spring, and I hope everyone is surviving the weather wherever you are!

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My mom, brother and me from back in the day (Dad got cropped for icon usage purposes… sorry, Dad ❤ !)

Dabbling in DIY and Redecorating

I love decorating.  It is probably my favorite part about moving or reorganizing… redecorating!

I am in super decoration mode for our impending move, which is ridiculous seeing as we don’t even have our apartment guaranteed yet. This does not detour my Type A personality…I have that place 90% decorated in my head (the power of positive thinking goes a long way).

Today, we have a new couch being delivered (moving or not, we needed a new couch), I have ordered new rugs, bed spreads, and have started collecting decorative things that will fit with my new design palette, which I can see in my head, but have yet to define very well. (All of this is thanks to my tax return… and sales).

Paul bought me our first new piece for our guest bedroom/office this weekend. An early birthday present in the form of a new writing desk/makeup station that we found at an antique store.

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I am madly in love with it already, and plan on loving it more in our new place surrounded by these, and other choice items: 

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I have also been in a search for an old ladder that I could use to hang blankets on in our living room.  I think I found the idea on http://www.livecreatingyourself.com/ , a blog that I absolutely love. I feel as if we have extremely similar taste (and she loves her dogs), but I would be ecstatic to live in her apartment.  

Anywho, I get so sick of our blankets just hanging off of our couch (or on the floor where Max likes them), so I was giddy when I finally found an antique ladder last weekend.

It started out kind of gross (and smelled like horses, Paul thought), but when you are antiquing or DIY-ing, you have to look at potential, not what you are presented with.  Bless Paul’s heart because I was just going to take it home and put some old sand paper to it, but he escorted me to the hardware store to buy me 3 kinds of sand paper, a mask, and blocks to wrap the sand paper around (who knew?!?).

An hour later, I had results that were beyond my expectation:

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A little grungy… definitely loved by someone

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Voila!!! I love the color!

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Now we just need to get some classier blankets…

I suppose my need to decorate a new apartment that we aren’t even in yet stems from the fact that things are still so up in the air about our move.  We will hopefully find our exact move date this weekend, school starts in September, but it is still to early to find jobs and have other things fall into place.

One thing I can control is our home, so that is where all my energy is going.  Call it the anxiety-control freak side of me.

Damn is it fun!

Is there something in your house that you particularly love or did yourself?

And the Winter Fun Continues

I was woken up from a deep sleep in the early hours of the morning by a massive snapping and crashing noise.  

I shot straight up out of bed, smacking Paul in the chest yelling, “what was that?!”.

I scramble out of bed and go flying down the stairs like a bat out of hell, as fast as I can without falling in the dark, and dart from window to window to see what the culprit of this noise was. 

When I get to the fourth window, and still see nothing, I am starting to question whether or not I was dreaming.  I don’t hear Paul getting out of bed yet either, so I start to think, “oh God, it must have been part of my dream.  I look like a complete fucking lunatic right now!”. 

Determined to prove my sanity, I race to the back door. Imagine my relief to find this waiting for me: *pictures were taken in the light of day*

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the poor patio chair never had a chance…

Paul finally lumbered down, took a look, and said, “huh…thankfully it didn’t hit a car or come through the roof.  I’m going back to bed,” and with his signature kiss to the top of my head, made his way back up stairs. 

This morning, I was able to investigate more.  We had been his by a huge ice storm, coating our whole world in ice. While walking around the house taking pictures, I could hear limbs and trees crashing all over our neighborhood. For as awful as the fallen trees and damage is, there is a beauty to everything being covered in ice.

Hope everyone getting strange weather is safe!

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Back/side of our house

 

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P.S. Our snowman was murdered 😦 He lived a mere 24 hours. 

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

It has been a snowy few weeks here in Mid-Michigan, and the temps have been sub-zero for a number of days. So imagine the joy and surprise of the people when it hit a balmy 40 degrees yesterday.

Annually, whenever the temperature dips below 50 degrees for the first time in “winter”, I sternly declare, “Michigan is too cold! I will never survive another winter!”… yet any Michigander will tell you that in the depths of winter, if the temp rises anywhere near 35 degrees or higher, you mine as well declare it a heat wave.

Enter this gentleman:

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I get it, it’s 37 degrees out and feels like spring break, but sir, this is just inappropriate.

Luckily for my Christmas loving significant other, the balmy weather did not melt all of our snow.  There was still plenty left over for us to make a snow man, an activity I have not partaken in for years!

Making a snow man is harder than it looks!  Snow is heavy, and molding a perfect or even presentable “ball” of snow is damn near impossible.  Alas, after a few failed lifts to give him a mid-section, a number of facial reconstructive surgeries to take him from looking like a bunny to the predator then ET, we finally sort of made a lawn ornament we can be proud of:

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Spartan pride and Detroit represented

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It is kind of hard to tell, but he is smiling

And the puppy helped of course:

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He’s so handsome!

Then, we retreated to our living room to sit by the Christmas tree and drink home-made Baileys, compliments of our dear friends. (We didn’t actually just sit by the tree, mind you. You just burned through our DVR then ended up watching Wheel of Fortune.  I know what you are thinking; we are one hot couple).

At this point in the story I need to tell you about what has been haunting me this Christmas.  A little, professionally wrapped box that was placed in my stocking.  Any girl will probably know what I am referring to when I say “a little box”. Oh yeah, that kind of box:

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Paul put this in my stocking about 2 weeks ago, and I am convinced it has been just to mess with my head.  He is NOT a Christmas engagement person; it is just not his style, but a girl (especially me) just has to wonder.

I have been bugging him since the first present went under our tree to start opening them.  I am a child, I just don’t wait well.  Finally, last night, whilst watching Wheel of Fortune, Paul says that I can open one gift.  I completely froze.  He had this ethereal, loving, can’t-live-without-you, could-never-love-anyone-more, how-are-you-mine? look on his face.  

Was this it? Was he thinking that it had been such a great night that it would be the perfect moment to propose? 

My heart started racing. Beads of sweat started to form on my nose. It was as if my parents had just caught me drinking and I was trying to hide the fact that I was drunk… Play it cool, just play it cool.

“Which one?” I ask… totally normal and level-toned I’m sure.

“The little one in your stocking.”

I sort of turned down the TV thinking, “I don’t want to be a brat about it, but are Pat Sajak and Vanna White going to be the witnesses to my engagement?”  Don’t get me wrong, I would say yes to him any where, but part of me just felt like the situation was off… or maybe it was just the heaviness of the situation.  I have never dealt with this kind of thing before.  Was this the moment that I was going to be telling people about for the rest of my life? The moment I would call all of my friends about and have to repeat over and over in the coming months? Was I about to throw up? Did I look at all calm and unsuspecting?

“Steph, it is not an engagement ring, this is not Paul’s style”… I kept reassuring myself as I took the 6 foot walk from the couch to my stocking where the little box was resting.

“I’m in pajamas… I really wanted to be in a cute outfit…. Christ that could not matter less” I can argue a lot in my head in 6 feet.

I finally pull it out and make my way back to the couch when Paul says, “I really wanted to get this for you last year, so I am so happy I can give it to you this year.”

Female over-analyze activated: What the f**k does that mean?… Just open the present you weirdo. But my hands are sort of trembling (sort of = a lot), and I still can’t really breath.  Would it be wrong to hit my inhaler real quick? As if that wouldn’t be a give away that I wasn’t completely emotionally collected.

Slowly tearing through the gold paper, I unveil a beautiful little white box with a very reassuring and fabulous little word embossed in the top of it: Pandora. All levels returned to normal, breathing again was possible. 

All was clear, all was safe; it was a beautiful Michigan State Pandora bead for me to put on my ever naked yet daily worn Pandora bracelet.

I couldn’t love it more.  Sorry, Pat and Vanna, you will not be witness to my engagement 🙂

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It’s so perfect!!!!! He wanted me to have extra Spartan pride before the Rose Bowl game.

 

P.S Congrats, Paul, you officially made me squirm and I know you loved it.

The Rebuild

One of the greatest facets to taking a break from running is starting back up again. 

Those first few steps during your first official “training” run, or rebuilding your base run, feel so light and easy (for me at least).  Then you hit the wall of “OMG, I have lost all of my conditioning”, only to be soon followed by the victories of every longer run from there on out.  

Sometimes, I can’t help but see the parallelisms between running and life.  I love running because each run is an opportunity for victory (or defeat).  The outcome is more dependent on my attitude about it rather than the actual run itself, kind of how you can treat your day.  

Each new day offers an opportunity for victory or defeat. Whether you are conquering that pile of laundry, getting a promotion or bombing a presentation. Whatever it is, YOU decide whether you rocked your day or failed at it, and your attitude, not the checks marks on your to-do list, can determine that.

I don’t know how we just went from running to my soap box of positive thinking, but there you have it. I guess what I set out to say was that my efforts to get my base back and prep for a spring marathon are working 🙂

I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday season so far! I know this guy is:

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He’s so mad!

The Oddity of Human Nature

Humans are a funny species, and sometimes not in the “ha-ha” way.  I am often surprised by the hurtful things that people can say and the terrible things that people are capable of doing. I just sit back in shock thinking, “how can someone be so disgusting?”. 

Call me naive, but I still find it hard to believe that some people can be so evil and thoughtless.

I am no saint. I make mistakes, I put my foot in my  mouth, but I never act with the intent to hurt.  I have always said that I want to live my life like my mother did: with grace and humor.  I may not always succeed, but I do my best.

Times like this, I try to focus on the good that people do. Good deeds with no agenda, no want for reward, and no need for recognition.

Without the negative we wouldn’t know the beauty that this world is capable of, and I try to do what I can to add to it.

I pray that you all get daily reminders of all the good in this world and that you are able to flush away negativity that comes your way.

Happy Thanksgiving, and love to all ❤

This photo always makes me smile 🙂

An arthritic 19-year-old dog named Schoep is cradled by his owner, John, in the waters of Lake Superior, where the buoyancy eases the dog's pain, allowing him to fall asleep comfortably in his owner's arms.