Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rings and Things

Well, it's certainly been a while since I updated my blog. I've thought about it often, but haven't had the motivation to get consistent about it... until now.  

It's been a busy year full of excitement, but nothing that really sparked me to get back onto my blog, until I got engaged last Friday, October 25.  Not one to leave any details behind, I quickly began my wedding planning, and thought it might be neat to document the excitement, hopefully-not-too-much-stress, and fun of planning my own wedding, as well as the other worthwhile happenings along the way.

So, if I'm going to start blogging about my wedding plans, I should probably start at the beginning... and I mean the beginning. :) 

Kenny and I met and started dating our senior year of high school.  We went to rival schools and met through a mutual friend.

On our way to Skyline High School's prom in 2006.
After some changes in decisions, we both ended up in Spokane for college, and decided to try to stick out the high school-to-college transition in our relationship.  

At the Davenport Hoel in Spokane before running Bloomsday.
We lived in Spokane for about four years, during which I ended up transferring schools, and we graduated together in 2010.

Graduation photos in the backyard at Kenny's college house.
After graduation, we moved back to Seattle for post-college life and work.  

This past summer, we got a puppy.

This past summer, we went to four weddings.  He caught 3 garters.  I caught 4 bouquets...

Now, the details.  From my end of the story, I have to start at last Thursday, the 24th of October.   I am in a team-teaching position this year, so my friend Quinn and I share three classrooms and fifty kids that we teach all. at. once.  It's amazing.  That Thursday, Quinn was acting particularly strange- there was something she wasn't telling me.  I, being the worry wart that I am, was concerned that I had done something or that something bad had happened, but that concern quickly turned to irritation when Quinn gave me an unconvincing smile and said, "No, everything's fine."  I knew it wasn't, and I felt hurt that she wouldn't tell me what the issue was.  Things just felt strange all day on Thursday, but I couldn't put my finger on it!

Fast-forward to Friday.  I was sick with a terrible cold and contemplated staying home for the day, but just didn't have the heart to do that to Quinn.  I went to school and things felt a bit more "normal" with her. Great.  During second recess at the end of the day, Natalie, our principal, called me down to her office to chat.  I headed down, and as she closed the door behind me, she asked if things had been feeling a little "strange" lately.  I told her that they had, and she admitted that she had a confession.  Quinn had wanted to hide it, but just wasn't a good enough secret-keeper.  "One of your students entered you and Quinn into a radio contest for a teacher of the week deal," Natalie confessed.  "Your name got drawn, and you get a surprise party, along with a gift card and some other small things."  It was all making sense.  Natalie informed me that they had wanted to do the surprise, but it was just too logistically difficult.  "After all," she laughed, "It would be pretty hard to sneak my giant camera down to your classroom if I didn't tell you about the party."  

Natalie and I had to wait in her office for 15 minutes while they prepared the party.  During this time, I told Natalie, in detail, how hard it is to surprise me, due to my keen observation skills.  I told her all about how I surprised Kenny with our trip to Denver last summer.  After some time, Natalie called down to our classrooms, got the "okay" from Quinn, and, as Natalie grabbed her giant camera, we headed down to the surprise party.  Just before we got to the door, Natalie whispered to me, "Remember- act surprised!"  I laughed, suddenly feeling nervous about my ability to feign a look of shock, and headed inside.

We had to walk through a center room to get to the classroom where all fifty of my students, along with several camera-yielding teachers, were standing.  Each student held a rose, and I was momentarily impressed by the detail in this radio contest surprise party.  This impression was fleeting; as soon as I gained my bearings in front of the class, Kenny came walking in behind me, dressed up and looking as sharp as ever.

I started to back up and asked if he was there to learn some math...  nope.  In what's now a haze of a memory, he got down on a knee, said something [really- I was in SHOCK- I don't remember what he said, and neither does he], and asked me to marry him as the students buzzed excitedly.  I cannot believe I didn't cry- I am the biggest cryer I know - but I was in so much shock, it really didn't hit me even until the next day on my way to a haircut!

Of course, I was somehow able to get a "yes" out of my blissfully shocked state, and a celebration followed.  Quinn made 50+ cupcakes: chocolate frosting plus peppermint patties (my favorite) on top, each decorated with heart- and diamond-shaped die cuts.  It was so sweet and fun to get to celebrate with our whole class.  The kids were so excited, and loved getting to talk with Kenny.  We all got to laugh about my irritation with Quinn the previous day, and she kindly emphasized that it was all worth it.  :)  

A special aspect of the day was that it was Kenny's birthday, so after school, we went home and got ready for an already-planned dinner at his parents house with his family, my family, and a close friend of ours.   They all knew what the day had in store, so it was great to get to celebrate with all of them.  We had an amazing dinner and drinks, Kenny opened birthday gifts, and we got our first wedding planning books- yay!  

Jason (one of Kenny's -and my- best friends since high school), me, Ken, and Courtney (Kenny's sister)

An amazing first day of our engagement.  Needless to say, I'm glad I didn't stay home sick on Friday... :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Checking back in...

Clearly, I fell off the blogging bandwagon.  You know, life and all that.  Too many Pinterest crafts, not enough time to blog about them, etc. :)

Life hasn't changed a whole lot, it's only gotten better (and busier!) in the past 9 months.  Teaching ten year olds, doing crafts, running, and staying busy in my new home.

Last spring, I became a certified barre3 instructor (read back to my very first post to learn more about how I became absolutely addicted to this amazing fitness form) and teach a few days a week.  Teaching these classes and helping people to work toward their fitness and lifestyle goals is such a special thing.  Even though days where I teach kids AND adults can get busy, I am always so thankful for the balance that barre3 provides my life.  It is such a positive community.  If you've ever considered trying it, touch base with me and I'd love to have you in a class to check it out.  You will be hooked!

Also along the same fitness goals, I decided last spring to sign up for the New York Marathon.  I signed up in April, when the race felt forever away, and I'm now only 20 days away.  This will be my 3rd full marathon, but the nerves and excitement are still as real as ever.  One special thing that I chose to do this time around was to run for charity.  I did a lot of resarch about the charities available for this race, and as soon as I found out that I could run for Autism Speaks, my search was over.  I committed to raising $3,000 for this charity and it has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I have raised money in myriad ways and have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received.  I honed my sewing skills and started making and selling scarves, I coordinated an event at glassybaby in Madrona, I collected hundreds of dollars worth of donation items for silent auctions, and I reached out to as many people as possible.  I love sharing the message of this special organization.  Plus, one great thing about this fundraising is that some organizations include travel expenses or races registration in their fees, but I paid for all of that, so 100% of the money I raise goes directly to the organization.  Pretty awesome!
My first scarf that I made.  I've made a lot of these ones!
Me and some dear friends enjoying the glassybaby event.
Me and Kenny at the glassybaby event.  He and my dad were great man supporters. :)

I'm also excited about this marathon because I'm running it with my dad.  He's a speed demon and could likely lap me on a marathon, but he is a great supporter and "coach" (he made my whole training schedule that's proudly hanging on my fridge), and we have such a great time running together.  This is my first out-of-state marathon and I can't imagine a more exciting race venue.  When I very first got interested in running, my dad gave me a book called A Race Like No Other, which walks the reader through all 26.2 miles of the NY Marathon.  This race, then, clearly has special sentimental meaning to me.  I can't wait to experience the real deal.   My sister ran the Nike Women's Marathon this past weekend and my pride in her has only increased my excitement about my own upcoming race.  I just love having such a healthy and fitness-oriented family these days.

I've also begun working on my Master's Degree (I'm getting my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction), so that's keeping me on my toes, too.  I love going to my night class once a week and having relevant discussions with other professionals.  I'm in my second quarter and really enjoying the whole experience.  Currently, I am taking a course in social justice, and, for lack of a better phrase it is a mind trip.  Our professor is very unconventional and pushes us well beyond our cumfort levels to a lot of deep personal and cultural reflection.  It is a great, albeit often cognitively uncomfortable, course.  I've come to crave that internal conflict that the topics in this course are able to find.

Well, exciting.  I am looking forward to becoming consistent in sharing crafts, cooking endeavors, race experiences, and everything in between.  Now, more than ever, I really am running around...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pinspiration: Magnetic Makeup Board

Weekends have become a great time for me to unwind and try out one or two of my favorite crafty ideas from Pinterest.  This weekend, I felt especially ambitious, and did two! The first project I started was a magnetic makeup board.  I saw the pin a long time ago and thought it was a cute idea.  Pinterest is especially useful for me right now as I continue to settle into my new home.  I've found that I don't really like storing my makeup in the drawers in my bathroom (they're very small), so I decided to give this a shot!

Here is the original pin that I found:

And here's a link to the original blog.  It's really interesting!

As always, I tweaked the project for my own needs.

I started with a metal sheet (12" by 24") that I got at a hardware store.  Then, I mod podged on some sheets of scrapbook paper that I got at Michael's.  In hindsight, the paper got a little bit wrinkly, but I think it adds nice character.  I also added some ribbon for the borders (and to hide the page breaks of the scrapbook paper).

I also got a frame from Michael's for a nice finishing touch (and to make the whole thing stay on a wall).  Due to the unique size of my metal sheet, I ended up getting an album frame (I just got rid of the glass), but they have some fun backless frames there, too (and on sale right now).

Paper is mod podged on!

After I had the paper and ribbon on, I also sprayed a high-gloss finish to complete the look.  

Next, I glued some small black magnets onto the backs of my makeup.  I got some of those and some magnetic tape, but I found that the tape didn't hold the makeup to the board.  I'm going to grab some more of the circular ones later tonight.  The makeup board looks awesome and is so convenient!  

My completed frame!  I just need to get the rest of my makeup up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pinspiration: Painted Scarf

Needless to say, snow days are conducive to some great pinning on Pinterest!  I always love pinning and browsing, but rarely have the time to make the ones I love.  

Here is the original pin from which I was inspired:

And, interestingly, this scarf was inspired by a scarf by We Are Owls (here's the link on Polyvore: for a pretty penny!  I'm all for splurging on the necessities of a wardrobe, but I'm not sure that this scarf counts.  

I thought this looked easy and fun, so I decided to load up on craft supplies at Michael's (love the teacher discount!) and hunker down on my first project.  

- One scarf in a solid color.  [My fabric was 100% viscose- you just want something you can paint on!  I found mine at Target.]
- Fabric or acrylic paint in a contrasting color.  [I tried using a fabric paint pen as the original pin suggests, but didn't have much luck.  Since I was planning on using that, I only had grey acrylic paint.  It ended up working out great!]
-Thin paintbrush (if not using a paint pen)
-Favorite quote, song lyric, or meaningful words to write on scarf

I put out a bunch of cardboard in order to protect my floor.  Then, I spread out the scarf.  You may want to wash and/or iron it.  I didn't, but probably could have.  

Then, I just started writing my quote!  I chose one by Marilyn Monroe (ended up having to adjust slightly due to space issues, but that's okay).  You might want to use a pencil or light pen to sketch out your letters, but I just went for it.  I think cursive gives a nice, fluid look when the scarf is on, but I think you can play around with the fonts!  At first, I was nervous about keeping straight or proportionate letters, but remembered that it really doesn't matter once the scarf is on.  Have fun with it!  Maybe play with shading or other colors if you feel up to it.  

I did vary the distance from the edges of the scarf with each line (see the picture below).  Not sure if it made a huge difference, but I thought it would add a little bit of variety.  

I'm so excited with the result!  I love it, and am excited to make some more.  It took me a few hours to make (I often severely underestimate the time needed to do projects like these), so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  The result is well-worth it, though!  This project is great because it allows for a lot of personal interpretation.  

I will post more as I get them done!  

Snow, Challenges, and Detoxes

Well, I have been meaning to get back into blogging but have been putting it aside for a while.  We're going on three snow days in a row (preceded by MLK Day on Monday), though, so I thought now was the perfect time to get back to blogging!

I recently moved into a great new home, so I'm eager to share my decorating and crafting tips as I continue to get settled in!

At the beginning of this year, I decided to sign up for a 25-Day Challenge at my local barre3 studio. 

[Background info- Barre3 is a recent workout obsession of mine: it's a whole-body workout that incorporates pilates, yoga, and ballet.  Its objective is to lengthen and tone, rather than to bulk up.  I went several times off-and-on since they opened in August, but had a hard time being consistent about it.  The Issaquah studio is very close to my new place, though, and I found myself there a lot starting in December.]  

The "Challenge," as it's come to be called amongst barre frequenters, involves completing at least 20 classes within 25 days.  Two of my cousins and my aunt signed up for it, so I was eager to jump on board!  It started on January 2 and ends on the 26th.  So far, I've either gone to class or done the barre3 DVD at home every day!  I've only had to do the DVD when class was full (one Sunday), or when it was cancelled (a couple of days this week).  I can feel a huge improvement in my muscles and overall body.  My core is already feeling so strong, and it's only been a couple of weeks.  

I will admit, it's sometimes hard to complete the classes every day in a row.  My muscles are often a bit fatigued, especially when I do an evening class one day, and then an early morning class the next.  Even so, I've found it to be a wonderful experience.  I've become comfortable and confident in the studio, and am going to continue trying to go 4-5 times a week after the challenge is over.

Along with the challenge came a detox.  Barre3 is based out of Portland, and there's a gal down there named Andrea Nakayama who runs a company called Replenish PDX.  I'm always skeptical of the words "detox," or "cleanse," as I often associate those terms with maple syrup fasts and a quick return of any weight lost.  However, I did a lot of research and discovered that this detox looked like a pretty good decision.  It was a 10-day detox that focused on whole, organic, healthy foods.  We got a protocol book, recipes, grocery list, online seminars, and message board supports for the whole time.  I'm on day 10 right now, and all I can say is WOW!  

Going in, I assumed it would be another diet of deprivation- feeling hungry, antsy, and irritable with the hopes of developing some healthy habits.  Boy, was I wrong.  Andrea encouraged us to read labels and to make sure that we were putting whole foods into our bodies.  Amongst other guidelines, the detox was gluten-free and dairy-free.  Andrea wanted us to focus on our guts for this detox, and to work to reduce the inflammation that often comes from putting highly processed foods into our bodies.  If you've met me (or my dad), you know we are a bread family!   I've taught myself to believe that bread is the only thing I can eat before a long run.  Needless to say, I was apprehensive about removing gluten from my diet.  Let me tell you- I've been away from it for 10 days, and I do not miss it one bit!  I really opened myself up to the experience and amazed myself at the unique foods I never would have even looked at had it not been for the detox: mung beans, sunflower seed butter (I'm allergic to nuts), beets, cabbage, flax seeds... the list goes on!  I was able to eat delicious, satisfying, full meals while helping to gently clean out my insides.  

Some people had a hard time with the detox, which included kicking coffee.  I'm not a coffee drinker, so this was no issue for me.  Thankfully, my body didn't go through any major withdrawals.  I feel wide awake, energized, and healthy with these eating habits.  Even though the official "detox" is over, I plan on continuing on the same eating plan.  Of course, I will allow myself to eat things like beef and pork occasionally (Andrea didn't want us eating those while on the specific detox), and a glass of wine from time to time, but I have had such success that I plan on incorporating these skills into my daily life.  I love that I can be healthy, yet enjoy all sorts of delicious foods (yesterday, I made chocolate covered brownie bites that are to die for).

Okay- now, the kicker of it all.  One of the big reasons that I decided to do the challenge and the detox was, of course, for weight loss.  I've never been overweight.  I'm a runner, so I've generally been able to eat what I want and stay relatively thin.  Of course, as I'm now seeing, diet plays a huge role in getting to the ideal body.  However, with my first year of teaching, running and working out has taken a back seat in my life the past several months.  I watched my weight creep up and up, and it hit a lifetime high over the holidays this year.  This took a toll on my own self-confidence, and I had a hard time getting back in that healthy groove.  However, my dad helped me map out a marathon training schedule, which I started at the beginning of the year, as well.  

Going into the challenge and the detox, I was hoping to lose 2-3 pounds in the couple of weeks.  That's a LOT for someone who's relatively small.  If you can believe it, I've lost 10 pounds over the past two and a half weeks.  I've been running 3x a week, barre3 everyday, and doing some hot yoga a couple of times a week.  The working out, paired with the eating well, has been amazing for me.   The great part is that I've lost all this weight healthily- by eating plenty of - tasty - food several times a day (three big meals and two snacks).  I have not once been hungry or irritable.  Plus, by eliminating those inflammatory foods, my belly has absolutely dissolved.  It's a great cycle- I feel better, I want to eat better, I want to work out more, etc.  I finally feel like I'm back to where I need and want to be!  I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes that I've come up with on this blog.  

It looks like I've joined the "resolutioners" club.  I can't say I ever thought I'd even need to be here, but, to be honest, I'm glad I am.  

Find a local barre3 or check out the DVD (online workouts coming next week):
Check out Andrea and Replenish PDX: