DIY: Jewelry

Let me begin by trying to convince you all that I AM NOT the artsy type. Honestly, I have the handwriting of a 3rd grader, the painting skills of a toddler, and the drawing skills of an average cat. So this DIY necklace project is one that anyone can handle.

I took a trip to Michael’s Craft store (tools and products can also be found at Joann’s and Hobby Lobby), and picked up the following:  assorted beads, bead stringing wire (gold), and 72 inches of gold chain. I already had flat head pliers and wire cutters at home. photo

To begin, I picked out which beads I wanted to string, and set them aside.image_2

Next, I measured out about 21 inches of chain, and cut it with the pliers (yes, I probably should have used the wire cutters, but I picked up the pliers instead and they worked fine – so if you don’t have wire cutters, don’t worry). Because I wasn’t using a clasp with this necklace, I had to make sure that I could fit the necklace over my head – make sure to do the same before cutting your chain! This project works great without jewelry clasps, but I also tried a few necklaces this weekend WITH clasps and that worked great also. If you can spare an extra $4, I’d get the clasps!

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I also cut about 5 inches of the wire using the pliers, and tied one end of the wire to the last link of the chain. I made 2 or 3 knots, and then cut off the remaining short part of the wire that stuck out past the knot.

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After tying the knot, I thread the beads onto the wire, and attached the end of the beaded wire to the other side of the chain to make the circle complete. I also double-knotted this end, and trimmed off the excess wire past the knot as best as I could.

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If you give this necklace project a try, please share pics of your beautiful new jewelry!

(Before you go to the craft store, make sure to search the internet for coupons! I found 40% off coupons for both Michael’s and Joann’s)

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It’s Official

It’s official. We registered for our first half marathon yesterday. Derek and I are running in the OUC Orlando Half Marathon in early December, and to say I’m excited is an understatement. As soon as I filled out the registration form and clicked “Register”, I felt a second of that rush you get the morning of a big race. I can only imagine how I’m going to feel when the day actually arrives!

The race website offers a suggested training plan to prepare for the race, and we started the plan this week. It starts off with a lot of 3 mile runs, which I’m happy about because it will help me with a 5K I’m running in 3 weeks. Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

In other news, I did one of the most artsy things of my life yesterday. I made these:

image_1I was always the least talented child in art class, so this is a major accomplishment for me. I’ll walk you through the steps I took to complete it in another post!

And to celebrate our anniversary yesterday, Derek and I played tennis (naturally), and went to a new-to-us wine bar/restaurant, called The Wine Studio.

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The Wine Studio was very cozy, and almost gave the feeling that we were drinking wine and eating apps in a friends living room. The food was delicious (we had the salmon carpaccio and the warm spinach and artichoke dip, both prepared in-house), and the service was friendly, so we’ll definitely return!

I’m a little sore this morning from Pure Barre yesterday and Bodypump the day before, so perhaps today will just be a run day. I’ve been focusing so hard on varying my fitness routine that I think I’ve gotten slower the past couple of weeks. Maybe one day the “Fast feets” part of my blog name will come true!

Happy Friday and happy weekend, friends!

Reno (vation… Not Nevada)

Hi party people! I mentioned in another post how I recently re-did a piece of furniture, and I wanted to share with you all how I did it, because it was easy as pie!

In decorating our new house, I’ve realized that I can’t go to Z Gallerie, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel etc. and just buy every piece of furniture that my little heart desires. This realization has been great for me, because it’s taught me to be more resourceful in using pieces we already have, or finding pieces at consignment stores or Salvation Army, and making them our own.

This one particular piece falls into the category of random furniture in random closets of my parents house. This dresser has been taken for granted for years, stuffed in the back of a closet. I noticed it a year ago, and have been meaning to give it some love ever since. I think it had great bones, and had potential to be a unique piece!

In renovating this beauty, I used my favorite product on the body of the dresser – Annie Sloan Chalk paint (In Paris Grey). With Annie Sloan paint, no sanding, prepping, priming, sealing is necessary, and each coat of paint dries in under 30 minutes. This turns a furniture renovation project into a 2-4 hour time commitment, rather than a several day-long commitment. Annie Sloan’s website offers several video tutorials which demonstrate just how easy it is to paint on almost any surface. After painting 2 coats of the Paris Grey paint, I took a clean rag and spread Annie Sloan Soft Wax (in clear) over the body of the furniture. This isn’t a necessary step, but I’ve done it on all my Annie Sloan projects, and have been happy with the results so I will continue to do so.

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For the hardware, I picked up a container of “Baroque Art Gilder’s Paste” (in Inca Gold). This was my first experience with the product, and I was very pleased. After a trip to Lowe’s, I realized that in order to get the pulls I really wanted, I would have to spend $12+ for each pull. As this was supposed to be a cost effective project, $50 on pulls wasn’t going to cut it. The container of gilder’s paste costed $8, and, with a paint brush, I transformed the existing pulls into more snazzy pieces.  I also used the gilder’s paste on the corners of the drawers and body of the dresser, to help the contrasting colors blend together more naturally.

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If any of you are interested in renovating a piece of furniture, but are hesitant because of the intimidation factor, please just go for it! I PROMISE that I was the least-crafty person on earth 1 year ago, but impressed myself with every project I undertook. If I can do it, anyone can!

Happy 6 Year Dating Anniversary to Us! + Minestrone Alla Mally

Today is a super-exciting day in my neck of the woods because it marks 6 years since Derek and I started dating. I hate to get all sappy on you guys, but I’m so excited to have spent 6 years with my best friend, and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!

In honor of today, I’ll share some cute/comical pictures of us from high school and on, that you’re sure to love or at least get a good laugh from. 181_1006549839776_5426_n

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17039_1218092368207_3320542_nSome oldies but goodies – hope you enjoyed a laugh at our expense!

My hump day was pretty all over the place. I began the day with my furniture renovation project. In a random closet in our house has been living a shabby chic dresser from my mom’s teenage bedroom set. It was a little out-dated (white paint faded to a yuck yellow), but had good bones and I wanted to give it new life. With the help of some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Paris Grey, I transformed it!

image_2After finishing up on the dresser, I headed to the gym for a 3 miler at an easy pace and a Bodypump class. The class was harder than usual for me, and I’m thinking I overestimated my strength when picking my weights. Or the instructor was just taking things to another level. No one will ever know.

In the afternoon I ran some errands and picked up my nephew from school. Louie came too. He couldn’t contain himself. image

And for dinner we had leftover minestrone soup from the night before, along with a quesadilla I made by spreading a laughing cow cheese on one tortilla, topping it with grilled chicken, tomatoes , feta cheese and another tortilla, and cooking it in a frying pan. My minestrone recipe wasn’t as simple as the quesadilla, so I’ll refrain from describing it in one run-onn sentence.

Minestrone Alla Mally

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)

1 cup ditalini pasta (or other small noodle)

1 14-oz can kidney beans

1/3 lb green beans, ends removed

1 celery stalk, diced

1/2 cup diced carrots

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp oregano

2 tsp pepper

Directions

Heat olive oil in a deep pot, and toss in red onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Next add in garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Next add celery, carrots, green beans, and spices, and cook for 10 minutes. Now add in canned tomatoes (both crushed and diced) and chicken broth, and increase heat until soup begins to boil. Once soup boils, reduce heat to low and let soup simmer for 10 minutes. Add in kidney beans, and uncooked pasta, and cook until all vegetables are cooked and pasta is al dente. Serve in bowls with fresh basil and parmesan cheese, or freeze in a sealed container.

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I hope you all have the loveliest day – make it a happy and healthy one! God Bless 🙂

Italian Frittata + An Overdue Reunion

Weekends call for something special for breakfast, right? Why settle for a basic bowl of generic Raisin Bran when you have time to get fancy shmancy? This Saturday, as we were getting ready to kick off the 2013 college football season by watching College Gameday, I decided I wanted to make something different for our morning meal. I checked the fridge and, based on what we had on hand, came up with this recipe for an Italian Frittata:

Italian Frittata

6 eggs or egg whites

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 of a red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup of fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 of a red onion, chopped

1/3 cup part skim mozzarella

fresh garlic or garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to “broil” setting. Combine eggs or egg whites in a large bowl and beat. Add cheese to mixture, and whisk until combined. In a large oven-safe frying pan, heat olive oil and cook onion and pepper for 5 minutes. Add egg mixture and spinach to frying pan, and sprinkle with garlic and salt and pepper. Let stand on stovetop until the bottom is completely settled, and top is almost settled. Remove from stove and place in oven until golden, about 7-9 minutes.

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It hit the spot and made the day feel a little more weekend-like. The good thing about this frittata is that you can store and reheat and eat leftover slices the next day. Hello Sunday Breakfast!

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While I REALLY enjoyed eating this frittata on Saturday morning, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed breakfast on Monday. One of my best friends from college, who also happens to be a part of our wedding party, moved to Virginia after graduation in 2012 to work at the National Headquarters for his fraternity. Dan and I met as sophomores at FSU, when we realized, by chance, we were in all of each others classes one semester. From then on, we took every other class until graduation together (on purpose), and he’s remained one of my closest friends.

After seeing Dan almost every day for 3 years, I couldn’t believe that we had gone almost 16 months without seeing each other. This weekend, when Dan came to visit his family in Orlando, we were able to make time to meet half way for breakfast at Chick Fil A. Since it was the last day of the weekend, it sort of felt like Sunday, which basically means that Chick Fil A opened up for us on a Sunday. How nice of them 🙂

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Hanging with Dan was really so special to me, and I hope to never go that long without seeing him, or any dear friend, ever again! (Also, note my gameday shirt. I’m thinking it was good luck, because FSU won 41-13 against Pitt last night).

In other news, remember when I told you all I was gym shopping? Well, I took the plunge and joined a gym! I’m really excited with my decision, as it’s given me the opportunity to vary my fitness routine and take so many classes that I would otherwise be unable to take. This weekend I’ve been able to take a cycling class, a CX WORX class, and I even accidentally took a boot camp class. I’m hoping that working out in new ways will help me become a better runner, and make me stronger for the half-marathon I plan to run before the end of 2013!

Now I am off to take a class at the gym, run some errands and attend a meeting. Yes, I know how lucky I am to have a couple more weeks of a schedule so easy. Real life will soon be knocking at my door!

DIY Mood

I am officially in the biggest DIY mood ever. Ever since we painted our entertainment center find (from Salvation Army)

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and painted this antique family heirloom bed to match the master bedroom

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I just haven’t had any time for more projects. But this is changing next week, and here are some of the ideas I have in mind:

Cupcakes and Cashmere Delicate Necklace

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Framed Scrapbook Paper from Belle Maison 23

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Patterned Votive Holders and Bud Vases

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I’m still on the lookout for many more projects, let me know if you guys have good ideas!

Happy Friday, everyone!

A New Week

This weekend was go-go-go to the max. We woke up at 7 each morning and headed out the door to get things done. Saturday a.m. started with a crazy sale at our local Sports Authority. The location underwent a renovation, and the store held a grand re-opening. In the end, I saved $115 on two pairs of running shoes (one for me, one for my dad’s birthday). I went with a pair that I didn’t even consider in my recent shoe post. I got the Asics Gel Cumulus 15 and I’m so happy with my purchase. I’ve started to break them in (on the first wear I was a little iffy about them, but they quickly adapted to my foot), and I think they’ll be my new favorites by the end of the week!

Painting took up at least 7 hours of my Saturday. Luckily, I think we’re almost through painting the interior of Derek’s new house.. It’s looking great and I can’t wait until all the other renovations are complete. Not only did we paint walls, baseboards, and door frames this weekend, we also painted this beauty: photo

We found her at our local Salvation Army last month, and I’ve been debating whether or not to get it professionally re-painted, as I knew a piece this big could take several days with the standard painting process. Thank God for my friend Sara who introduced me to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This paint requires no prep work on your furniture. I REPEAT: NO PREP WORK. No sanding, priming, nada…. Also, each coat dries within 15-20 minutes. So, I got to work on Saturday night and finished this thing in under 3 hours..

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 I don’t meant to boast, but I’m pretty proud..

In other news, yesterday began week 2 of Fitnessista’s Summer Shape Up!

SSUWeek2JPG1Per the schedule, Sunday was supposed to be Off Day, but I knew I couldn’t fit a real work out in Monday, so I switched Sunday and Monday. Although today is an off day, I’m still keeping up with Runner’s World Summer Run Streak, so I made sure to log my mile around 6:30 this morning. Needless to say, it was a slow one at that early hour.

It’s now time for me to get back to work.. Happy Monday Y’all!