Beach Bathroom Inspiration

I mentioned a bit ago that I was almost done giving one of our bathrooms a makeover. Well, I am still “almost” done, but after this weekend, I should be showing you the finished product! For now, I thought it’d be fun to show you my inspiration…

It all started in Carillon Beach, Florida.

Carillon Beach, Florida

Carillon Beach, Florida

My older sister & her husband had their destination wedding there a couple years ago. It’s a private, gated beach community and we had rented a 12-person home RIGHT on the beach…

Carillon Beach, Florida Permanent Vacation Home

All the houses are named, and ours was called “Permanent Vacation.” Seriously, we all wanted to make it our permanent vacation.

Carillon Beach, Florida Permanent Vacation Home

But, the best we could do was plan to come back for another vacation two years later, and that’s how we came back to Carillon this past June.

My fiancé and I had only been living in our new house for a month at that point, so we still had some major redecorating to do there, including the upstairs bathroom:

Our old, not-so-pretty bathroom.

That’s a hand-painted ivy stencil border on the walls you can see, folks. The other walls were white with gold sponge painting. Just fabulous. But really not our style…

With that in mind, you can see why it was so easy to be inspired by all the gorgeous beach houses in Florida! A lot of them were really fun colors and beautifully landscaped on the outside.

Carillon Beach houses

On the inside, I could imagine their wide-open floor plans full of fun and quirky beach accents, pictures, and colors, just like the house we were in. I loved this octopus triptych so much.


One day, I was literally standing at the sink in one of the beach house bathrooms, looking into a seashell encrusted mirror at the bright seafoam green walls and thought, I have to have this! At home, we’re quite close to Lake Michigan, so I figured, why not make our bathroom have a beach theme?

Lake Michigan, Gulf of Mexico—practically the same thing.

I started out on Pinterest (duh) looking for inspiration. A few months back, I had been inspired by the palette of colors in these Anthropologie bowls.

Anthropologie sea-inspired bowls

I know. Bathrooms, bowls—I find inspiration in strange places.

But for some reason, this year I have been loving the rich jade green shades, so when I picked up a paint sample for what I thought I should want (a lighter, quasi seafoam green), I wasn’t surprised when it just didn’t look quite right.

On a whim, I didn’t even buy a new sample, I just found the paint chip closest to the color I had been obsessed with for months and bought the paint.

Luckily, it was perfect! I loved it so much on the walls, I considered painting the entire bathroom green. To which Matt shook his head and said, “Uhhhh…I think that might be too much…”

Okay, I conceded. Probably true. I didn’t want it to look like the Hulk puked all over our nice new bathroom.

Then the fun part—decorations. We don’t have money to get a new vanity (though the current one seems a foot shorter than normal, what’s with that?); and no new toilet, shower, tile, etc. They are all in fairly decent shape, anyway. So I decided to go all out with the decorations, to take away from some of my not-so-favorite parts of the bathroom.

I again started with Pinterest, and found a barrage of beachy bathroom-inspired images to waste time looking at research.

Over the next weekend, we hit up some garage sales, and at one of them I was lucky enough to come across a huge chunk of coral for $3! I was pretty stoked.

For the rest of my needs, I visited Hobby Lobby and—oh lucky day—pretty much EVERYthing I picked up was 50% off. Spectacular. I kind of went crazy, but I found a ton of great items and can’t wait to see them in place.

beach bathroom decorations

Is it weird if I decide to hang out in the bathroom all the time, once this is done?

Watch for the “after” post of our new bathroom this weekend!

Where do you get inspiration? Do you have any “themed” rooms? 

I am usually not a theme person, but I guess the inspiration just struck me so hard that I had to do it. Plus, I think themes in small doses aren’t so bad…especially if they make you feel like you’re on vacation. 🙂


Sunday RunDay

After a busy weekend in Chicago at BlogHer ’13 (more on that coming later this week) I was anxious to get my long run in on Sunday. I slept in quite late, since I knew the temperatures were supposed to stay in the cool 60’s all day. I needed some extra zzz’s for sure…I conked out for almost 11 hours!

I figured that meant I was well rested and ready to run, so I took off in the early afternoon for my 9-miler. I was grateful it was a step-back week, as I did still pretty drained mentally from a crazy busy workweek & conferencing all weekend.

I took my run to a nearby trail. Two miles on the road and I arrived at the shady, pretty path. I don’t think I could have asked for a better day to run. I love the scenery, and the sky was so blue.

running path

On days this beautiful, I never want to stop!

About 3 miles in, my right knee started to have some pain in it. UGH. I had already stopped to stretch, so I took my run to the grassy sides of the trail. It felt like it slowed me down a bit (the long grass needed mowed!) but it DID make the pain go away.

Note to self: Find more soft surfaces to run on.


(No, that’s not a tan, just a massive amount of freckles.) 

I ended up close to home at 9 miles, so I stopped at that point and walked several minutes ‘til I was back to home sweet home.

My splits were kind of all over the place, but I felt good at the end, as you can clearly see:


While a lot of my 20-something friends would be blowing up Facebook with their Sunday Funday pictures of drinks and shenanigans, I guess I have to nerd out and call this my version…Sunday RunDay. 🙂

I did, however, finish the run with two very important things at the top of mind:

1. Start doing some PT for the knee / overall strengthening ASAP. I was glad my knee stopped hurting during the run, but I kind of felt like that was a miracle. I probably shouldn’t push my luck.

2. We were ordering pizza for dinner.


It’s back to normal this week with a full work schedule & healthy eating (I’m still trying to drop some pounds, but obviously relax those restrictions on the weekend…with pizza). Also, if you checked out my training recap with the upcoming week’s schedule, you’ll see my mileage hikes up a bit. I will complete my longest run ever on Saturday: 14 MILES. Eek!

Tonight, I’m meeting with a biking group for around 18 miles, and we’re having food + a bonfire afterwards. I love when my workouts turn into something social. It makes working out so much more enjoyable!

I think I need to start getting some additional fuel for these longer runs, besides the gummy deliciousness that is Shot Blocks. Any recommendations? 

And, what kind of overall strengthening do you do in addition to your running or workout routine?

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 6 Recap

After five weeks of stellar training, I had my first week inadequate training, to say the least. But, I’ll look for a positive: The slight pain in my knee is gone (for now) so I guess the unplanned rest was good for that…

Sunday, July 21st: Rest day

Monday: 3 miles • DNR
I tried really hard to get this run in, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you plan. I was at work at 6:30am to finish an important project that day. I hoped to run over lunch, then ended up having to work through lunch. No problem, I thought, I’ll just leave at 4pm and get in three miles before my evening plans.

…Then I got booked into a meeting until almost 5 o’clock. I had to meet my friends at 5:15 for a trip we planned to a running store about an hour away, so there was no wiggle room there. So, no run, despite all my good intentions. This whole work thing sure gets in the way of running! 😉 I did have an awesome trip to the running store, though, where I was evaluated and fit for new shoes (post to come on that sometime soon!).

Tuesday: 60 minutes cross train • DNR
My fiancé had come down with something a few days earlier and had to go to the doctor for antibiotics. I felt nauseous, had a headache and was so tired all day. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and go to sleep. Obviously no workout was happening that day, and I just crossed my fingers my body was fighting off whatever was attacking it.

Wednesday: 6 miles 3 miles • no pace recorded
Yay—I felt 90% back to normal. I only ran 3 miles because I didn’t want to push it (and my knee felt weird the whole run). My Garmin was dead so I just ran for 30 minutes at what felt like a fairly hard pace. It felt glorious to sweat.

Thursday: 3 miles •  DNR
Again—time was not on my side this day. I was prepping to go to the BlogHer conference, plus had to finish up not one but THREE “first priority” projects before I left work that day…which meant I was in early and stayed as late as possible. When I got home, I only had time to pack and then had to hop on a train to Chicago. I guess at least I walked a few miles once I got into Chicago?

Friday: Rest
I was up at 5am to get ready & leave for the BlogHer conference, and didn’t get home until about 10pm that night. Yawn.

Saturday: 9 miles  
The conference went all day, so there was no time to get in my long run. Planning to get the 9 miles in on Sunday (today) to make up for it!

This week’s schedule takes it up a notch:

  • Sunday: 9 miles easy
  • Monday: 4 miles
  • Tuesday: 60 minutes cross train
  • Wednesday: 7 miles
  • Thursday: 4 miles
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 14 miles

FYI: 14 miles will be my longest run…EVER! Wish me luck!

Let me know:
How do you deal with crappy training weeks? Do they get to you mentally, or do you just move on and not let them drag you down? 

I’m usually pretty good at moving forward & focusing on what I can do better this week, but there’s a small nagging in the back of my mind that says, I wish I could have at least gotten in a few more miles somewhere in there… But, I’ll just make sure this is a kick-ass week!

BlogHer13, here I come!

I definitely don’t have as far to travel as most BlogHer attendees, but I made it! I took a train south to stay with my sister in Chicago last night, and after an early 5am wake-up call this morning, I am excited to be here. (Bring on the coffee!)

I spent last night looking over the tracks again, and it was tough to pick which ones to attend…there are so many good ones! As I’m fairly new to this blogging thing, I decided on ones that I thought would help me the most as I get my blog up & running:

  • Turning Your Blog into Published Essays
  • The Anatomy of Humor Writing
  • Running Contests on Social
  • Sponsored Posts
  • The Unmarketing Manifesto
  • Make Your Words Work For You
  • 21 Steps to a Rocking Social Media Presence
  • Into the Niche
  • Hopefully these tracks will help me to make more thoughtful, interesting & fun posts for YOU to read! Can’t wait to share my recap and what I’ve learned with you all soon. 🙂

    For now – I will keep my ears open, let down my guard, talk to lots of strangers (sorry, Mom), and have fun!

    Are you at BlogHer13? What tracks are you looking forward to?

    Weekend Fun: Shopping, Art & a Wedding Venue

    I noticed that my posts have been pretty focused on running & food lately, so I thought it’d be fun to give you a recap of my weekend since I DO partake in more than just those two things…

    On Friday, I got out of work around 1:30 (yay for summer hours) but had to hang around the house for several hours because we had Sears come clean our carpets. Now that we have those cleaned + had our vents cleaned, our new house is smelling nice & fresh! I’ve been waiting for those two things to happen before I unpack my office and make over our two guest rooms, so over the next several weeks (or, probably months) you will get to see some fun progress pictures on those.

    I’m almost done making over our upstairs bathroom, so hopefully I can post about that soon! Think tropical beach… 🙂

    beachy bathroom decorations

    After our cleaning, I went to Marshall’s because a friend tipped me off that they had hydration belts. Who knew they carried sport equipment there?! These normally go for about $50, but I picked one up for $25. Woo.


    And don’t worry, I donated another $50 to Marshall’s via four new neon tanks. So fun! I also browsed the summer dresses, but sadly couldn’t find anything I liked. My wallet secretly rejoiced.

    Saturday morning I had my long run, which left me pretty tired out for the rest of the day. I kept trying, but I wasn’t able to take a nap to recharge. Even still, I managed to do a lot. My bro-in-law, Mike, came to visit, because my sister abandoned him for New York for the weekend to see her friend, who BTW just helped launch a new accessories company, Lipstick Rose. Their jewelry is so cute & original!

    Of course, the boys went to play golf. After they were done, we all went for a beer & late lunch. I love drinking a cold beer outside on a warm day, don’t you?

    In the evening, I went to see a best friend’s art show in a small gallery. Sarah Starling Art is amazing!

    I love Sarah’s paintings, they are so full of color, and the texture and touches of metallic paint make them so interesting. Pictures don’t do her art justice, because the textures and light’s reflections on the metallic paints really bring them to life. I was eyeing this one and trying to think of where it could fit in my living room…

    072313 Sound Waves

    She even sold a painting while we were there. Isn’t it pretty?

    072313 sedona sunset

    Afterwards, we went with a few of her friends and celebrated with a drink. It was a fun way to spend my Saturday night & I was so happy I finally got to see Sarah. But, I was still dragging from the early morning 12-mile run, so by 11 o’clock I was quite happy to be heading home for bed.

    On Sunday, Matt and I went to a wedding location we had scouted out last week. We got to talk to the owner and asked a gazillion questions. Then I took a gazillion+1 pictures.




    The place is rustic and charming, and with all my decorating ideas & craftiness (thanks, Pinterest) I think it will be perfect. We’re soooo excited to say this is where we’ll be married next summer! Cross that off the to-do list. Yay!

    How was your weekend? Did you do anything new, fun & exciting?

    Chicago Marathon Training, Week 5 Recap

    Week 5 of training is in the books. Despite a hot & humid week, I felt like I did a good job on all of my runs. I’m starting to feel stronger overall everyday. The only downside: I feel a small twinge of pain in my left knee. I have had IT band problems plague me for the last year or so, and I’ve been dreading this happening. I do foam roll after every run, but I don’t think I do enough core & hip strengthening, so that’s on my list this week to work on improving.

    Sunday, July 14th: Rest day

    Monday: 3 miles • 9:44/mile
    This was the first day of heat for the long inferno of a week ahead. It was over 85 degrees when I went for my run, so I was glad it was a short and sweet 3 miles. My legs felt great, even after Saturday’s long run, and the heat must not have been bothering me too much, because I ran much faster than my typical paces. I guess I just wanted to get it over with & hop back into the sweet, sweet air conditioning at home!

    Tuesday: 70 minutes cross training • bike ride
    I joined up with a group of women who bike Tuesday nights for about 2 hours. This is a little excessive for my cross-training day as I only need 60 minutes, so I met up with them along the route partway through the ride. I ended up going about 70 minutes total, and it was a fun ride.

    Wednesday: 3 miles • no pace recorded
    I had one of those days where I got home late, so I was tired, hungry, and did not want to run in the 90+ degree temps. But then I thought, what else am I going to do with myself all night?! I ate a snack and then drove to a shaded path to run, so it was much more bearable & felt about 10 degrees cooler there.

    run on a shaded trail if it is hot and humid out, it will feel so much better!

    In the end I was very glad I ran, and besides, I couldn’t bear to tell you all I had skipped out. Accountability sure helps! For some reason my Garmin randomly didn’t record the run (?!) so I have no pace for ya.

    Thursday: 6 miles • 10:46/mile
    I had been trying to get up in the mornings to run all week, to no avail. But, Thursday evening was supposed to hit mid-90s again and I knew there was no way I’d get a 6-miler done in that without passing out, so I made plans with a neighbor runner to meet at 5:30am to get the run in. It was still very warm and humid when we started (I think about 75 degrees & 90% humidity), and I was definitely ready to be done by mile four, but we got ‘em in.

    Friday: Rest day

    Saturday: 12 miles • 10:50/mile
    12 miles! It has been so long since I’ve done such a long run. It went by quickly, with the pretty lakefront scenery distracting me for a while. I may or may not have daydreamed about one of these boats being my own…

    boats along my running route

    Dreaming aside, I was smart and carried a water bottle with me the entire way. I made sure to keep filling it up and drink from it as we powered through the miles. I think this had a huge impact, because even though it was in the upper 60’s when we began (positively cool compared to the rest of the week) I did sweat a whole lot…but I felt great the entire time. I also popped some shot blox fuel starting around mile 6, 1 block at each mile (or as I remembered). This works for these runs, but now that the runs will get longer, I’ll need to find some alternative fuel choices.

    This week’s schedule:
    • Sunday: rest
    • Monday: 60 minutes cross train
    • Tuesday: 3 miles
    • Wednesday: 6 miles
    • Thursday: 3 miles
    • Friday: rest
    • Saturday: 9 miles (step back week!)

    Let me know:
    How were your runs or workouts this week?
    How do you like to fuel during long runs—what do you eat & drink, and how often?
    What are your favorite core & hip exercises?

    Tips for Running in the Heat & Humidity

    WHEW, it’s been one hot week! The temps have been in the upper 80’s/lower 90’s here this week, much warmer than I’m used to running in.

    With the heat wave going on pretty much across the entire country, I’ve seen a lot of tips for running in the heat and humidity that’s descending on us all. Here are some of the most useful tips I’ve come across, and a few of my own. Stay cool, my friends!

    Tips for running in the heat and humidity.

    Eat & drink cool before you run.
    Instead of toast with peanut butter, eat cooler foods as your pre-run fuel: Think watermelon (bonus: helps with hydration!), apple sauce, peaches, or try a smoothie. And make sure to sip some cold water, or better yet, eat some ice. Ingesting these cooler foods & drinks can help keep your core body temperature down, giving you a little boost before you even step out the door.

    Don’t warm up.
    On very hot and humid days, you need to do just enough to loosen your limbs and activate your muscles. This won’t be much compared to your normal routine. Stay out of the sun while you stretch and get ready to go. Or, if you’re just going on a training run, take the first mile easy, and then stop to stretch to loosen up.

    Wear as little clothing as possible!
    Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to rock the shorts + sport bra combo (something I’ve always dreamed of since my high school days), but if you are—breeze on, friend. (And men—I will forever be jealous that you get to lose the top half altogether.) If you must be clothed, like most of us, stick to light-colored and airy, moisture wicking tanks and shorts. Wear a hat and sunglasses to shield your eyes and face from the sun. And don’t forget that sunscreen!

    Good hydrations.
    Before, during & after you run—staying hydrated is the most important tip here! If you don’t drink water before your run, you risk starting your workout already dehydrated. If you wait ‘til you feel thirsty, you’re already too late. Don’t make yourself play catch-up with hydration—you’re working hard enough catching up with your running buddies. Drink all day before your run, bring water with you or stash it along your route if you’re going 40 minutes or more, and make sure to rehydrate completely when you’re done.

    Run with a buddy.
    Heat exhaustion can happen quicker than you think. If you have a good friend who will slog out the hot run with you, keep an eye on each other to make sure you’re doing and feeling okay. If one of you feels the other begin to push the pace too much, help reign it back in. You’ll be glad in the long run. (Pun intended, I guess.)

    Take your time.
    You WILL need to slow your pace down, and it WILL take time to acclimate your body to the heat. Eventually, you’ll be able to get your pace somewhere back to ‘normal’ in the heat & humidity, but it may take you a few weeks, so be patient. If you find it’s too hard or frustrating to slow yourself down, leave your watch at home so it’s not ticking away & taunting you. You’ll be happier when you’re not feeling nauseous or faint at the end of your run. Or, wear a heart monitor and you’ll see that you’re not slacking—your heart is working just as hard (or harder).

    Opt for cooler workouts.
    We obviously think running is the coolest sport out there, but you can find some ways to work out in ways that are less stressful on your body. Run in the early morning, or on the treadmill in air conditioning. Find a shaded route, or run by a lake or other large body of water to benefit from the extra breeze. Or, just cross-train with some biking, or better yet, swimming.

    Run multiple, short loops.
    Break up your run into shorter loops of 1-2 miles. Start from your house or car, and end each loop back there. You can take a minute to stretch, catch your breath, and most importantly grab that cold water bottle for a few sips. Then go on your way for the next loop, and repeat as many times as necessary. If you find yourself in the middle of a loop feeling nauseous, overheating, or just unable to handle the heat, the benefit of these short loops is you can stop and make a quick, safe walk back home.

    Walking isn’t for sissies.
    We all walked before we ran. Don’t forget your roots, kid. Take walk breaks when you need them. After all, everyone else is inside in the air conditioning—if they see you walking by, I don’t think they’ll mock you.

    Ice, ice baby.
    Freeze some sponges (or simply take ice cubes) and put them in the top of your hat on your head, or in your sports bra.

    Run through the neighborhood & don’t dodge those sprinkler systems that encroach on your sidewalk. Embrace them! Just don’t bark and chase your tail in circles around them.

    Cool down after your run.
    I already said you don’t need to warm up before a run, but post-run, it might be a good idea to take five minutes to walk and get your heart rate back to normal. You don’t want to shock your body with that sweet, sweet air conditioning. Or do you?

    Eat ice cream.
    Okay, I wish this were a real tip. But if we’re running in 90 degree heat, I think we all deserve a little ice cream, darn it. In all reality, a healthier option of a frozen fruit popsicle could be a smart way to help your internal body temps cool back down post-run, and even help to rehydrate you a bit.

    Let me know:
    Do YOU have any more tips for running in the heat & humidity? Please share!