Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year, A New You?

  Every year at this time, people make resolutions on what they are going to do in the coming year and where they want to be in a year from now.  I've joined the ranks of people making resolutions, time and time again, often with them failing within a week!  This year, however, I've decided not to do that... sure I have a few resolutions in my head but they are more long term goals. But I've learned that you can't figure out where you are going if you don't think of where you've been!  So here is a recap of my life within the past year!  A lot has happened!
   The year started out pretty average, with me still living at home, running and just living life one day at a time.  As usual the year started to pick up in the spring and I'm pretty sure it hasn't slowed down since!  I had my first race of the year in April, when my family and I made the trek down to STL to run in a 1/2 marathon and visit my sister Katie who was living there at the time! 

It ended up being an amazing trip, filled with family, fun and running!  For me it wasn't one of my best races, because I had landed wrong on a training run and hurt my ankle pretty bad.  But you know me... I still ran it!

   Frustration was beginning to set in with all my knee problems and my parents had been suggesting for a while that I should get into triathlons.  I had talked about wanting to do one for a long time but had no idea where to start.  Somehow the triathlon concept scared me way more than running a marathon ever did.  But I thought, maybe they were right and so, I went and bought myself a road bike... big purchase I know!  If I was going to get into tris my Mountain Bike, just wasn't going to cut it!

I'm pretty much obsessed with the color!  Definitely not your standard color for a bike!

  Then one day my Dad got an email from the local bike shop saying that they were going to get a Triathlon Team together.  Naturally my Dad told me about it, and so I figured I might as well check it out!  It ended up being the best thing for me!!! (more on that in a second)

  In May, I took a trip to visit my brother in Arizona, he had moved out there in April to do BMW training.  He was more than a little nervous and so my friend Jenna and I decided we should go visit him for Memorial Day weekend!  It was a short trip but so much fun!

So many great sites to see! Sedona is beautiful, if you haven't been there, I highly recommend it!  Minus the sun burn, it was awesome!

  Now, onto June, my favorite month of the year, partly because it is my birthday month and partly because I just LOVE the weather!  My new found tri team managed to convince me to do the Naperville Women's triathlon... AHHH... I literally decided on Wednesday to participate in the race, without any "formal" training.  I had obviously been running, riding my new bike as much as I possibly could and then getting myself to the pool.  I definitely underestimated the swim, and was pretty spent by the end of it.  But I pushed through and couldn't have been more ecstatic when I finished my first triathlon!
Little did I know, a new obsession was beginning to take hold of me!

  Next thing I knew July was upon me.  I wiped out for the first time on my bike, scraped up my elbow pretty bad (which I still don't think it's back to normal, shh... don't tell my Mom!) but worst of all, my new sparkling bike was no longer in mint condition! I was devestated!  But I became a chicken and was terrified of my bike... I mean literally afraid to get on the thing!  I had my Jewels in July event with Architreasures, which was a blast!  August came and again my Tri team was trying hard to convince me to do another triathlon.  How about Chicago?  I again waited until the last minute to register and so noone from my family could make it out to cheer me on.  It was brutally hot and a disaster of a race for me! I had to wait about 5 hours before I even could start my race.  I didn't drink anything in that time, didn't eat anything before my swim and forgot a waterbottle for my bike! How did I do that?!  Luckily I ran into some or my teammates and got an extra waterbottle.  But still hadn't managed to figure out how to properly put my waterbottle back and as a result dropped it in the first 5 minutes of the bike!  My time wasn't very good, I was dehydrated and physically spent, but somehow managed to finish my first Olympic distance race!
   My next race was supposed to be the Lake Geneva Triathlon in September, ironically enough, this race was the only triathlon I was thinking of doing at all!  My cousin Michael said he would do it with me and my Dad quickly jumped on the Bandwagon! Man I'm persuasive!  The day was nasty, pouring rain, cold for september and the entire time, I just kept praying that they would cancel the race.  My fear for the bike is intensified when wet, since that was why I wiped out earlier in the summer!  Crap, the race started.  I got a bunch of funny looks since I didn't have a wet suit, but whatever!  My Dad had decided that he would swim the supersprint distance and then bike and run the Olympic distance with me.  I swam and was back before my Dad even got close to setting foot in the water!  So he just scrapped the entire swim portion.  My swim was faster than my cousins, so I had a few minutes head start on him with the bike, but he, unlike me isn't terrified of falling.  Within the first 5 minutes of the bike someone had already wiped out bad enough that an ambulance was on the way!  AWW CRAP! That'd be my luck... I certainly didn't push my bike time, at all, and thankfully it wasn't raining for the majority of the bike, just was pretty wet.  My run was nothing remarkable but somehow I managed to shave off 40 minutes from my Chicago Olympic distance time! Booyah!

    October... Chicago Marathon month... I'd be lying if I said that I properly trained for this race.  I didn't, not even close!  The most I had run was 15 miles, I had been focusing so much on my triathlons, because they were so new to me.  But I couldn't back out because I was doing it with Sabrina!  It was my slowest marathon time but it was also such a great experience!
Plus it was 10.10.10... Doesn't get much cooler than that!!!

   October brought another HUGE change in my life!  I finally found my own place! 

Talk about a busy month!  I moved in, painted, ran the marathon all within 3 weeks! Needless to say, I was exhausted and very drained by the end of the month. 

   Naturally the marathon ended with more knee pain and me becoming desperate to fix it!  So I joined a gym, my first real gym membership (college doesn't count).  I started working with a trainer to strenthen my knee and work out some muscular imbalances that could be contributing factors to my knee.  When he gave me the news that I couldn't run in my Thanksgiving Day 1/2 marathon in Atlanta with my family I was devestated!  I must be going crazy if I was that upset at not being allowed to run 13 miles!  But after being pretty persuasive, I managed to convince him to let me run!  It was a blast, definite knee pain that probably set me back a little for my full recovery but an experience I will never forget!

I close out the year with my Thanksgiving 1/2 marathon being my last race of the year.  I am focusing on my knee to make sure that I am still running when I'm 100!

Just remember, you can't make any New Year's resolutions unless you take a while to look back and see where you have come!  I am so thankful for the blessings that have been given to me in this past year and I look forward to a new year and the new experiences I will face... to name a few on the list so far: becoming an Aunt, running the Indy Mini Marathon in May, hopefully a 70.3 race in Racine this summer and a 2 week trip to Spain!  It's gonna be a year to remember!

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 1/2 Marathon - Atlanta Style!

    This year my family and I made the trek down to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with my Mom's twin sister and her family.  We haven't been down to Atlanta for a Holiday in approximately 16 years, so this was a BIG DEAL!  My cousin, who ran the STL 1/2 marathon with us back in April informed all of us that not only were there the typical "turkey trots" around Georgia but there was also a 1/2 marathon Thanksgiving morning!  Naturally, my Dad and I signed up along with 4 of my cousins and one of my cousin's friends!  My family and I left after work on tuesday night and drove all night long and got into Atlanta around 8am their time.  After managing to get only about 3 hours of sleep, I was exhausted to say the least!  We all hung out for a few hours and then went to the 1/2 marathon expo to get our bib numbers and goodie bags!  It was a lot of fun!

    Thanksgiving morning arrives, and I was up by 5:30am, which meant 4:30am here!  So, as you can imagine, I was really tired!  Luckily I managed to squeeze in a nap the day before so I atleast was able to function.  We couldn't have asked for a better day, it was about 55 degrees at start time, and a little overcast with fog around us.  We all started the race together but my cousins Michael and Steve quickly broke off from the group because of their faster pace.  I planned on taking it easy and not really pushing it because the most I had run at one time since the marathon was 4 miles, because my PT and I are trying to get my knee back in a good and strong condition!  So the rest of us stayed together for the first 5-6 miles.  By mile 3 I was already aware of my knee and by mile 9, I was in some significant pain.  Unfortunately that meant that I needed to walk.  My Dad and cousin Greg stayed back and walked with me.  My Dad has been recovering from a pulled muscle and my cousin Greg has an intense knee brace (we call it his bionic knee!) from all the soccer and football he played in highschool and college.  Our one and only spectator, my pregnant sister Amanda, was waiting for us around mile 7 to give us hugs, high fives, snap some pictures and give us a little motivation to keep us going!  As we continued on my cousin Greg, who lives in Atlanta, so he played tour guide as we covered the course!  Greg, my Dad and I ended up coming in last out of all of us running, but we crossed the finish line together holding hands.  We gave each other a big hug and a high five and made our way to meet up with the rest of the group!  I must have looked like I was in pain, because a medical volunteer saw me and immediately asked me if I needed ice and to have my knee wrapped! Uhh, I think yes!

   All in all it was a great race that was so much fun to share the experience with my entire family! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!
Makes me realize how thankful I am to have such an amazing family who is always there to support me!  I love you all!!!


Monday, November 1, 2010

The Boston Marathon Debate

   As all serious runners know, the Boston Marathon is the race of all races.  Every marathoner wants to get a qualifying time that will allow them to compete in Boston, the race known for being full of elite runners!  The qualifying times are challenging and many runners will never even get a glimpse of a time that's even remotely close enough.  There is a HUGE debate going on about changing the qualifying times required of women.  As it currently stands, a woman can run 30 minutes slower than a male her same age.  In some ways it is very comical to me, in that I need a 3:40 marathon as a 23 yr old Female and my Dad needs a qualifying time of 3:35 as a 54 yr old male!  He has to run faster than me!!! Logically this seems kind of crazy!  True, men are naturally more athletically built than women but the debate comes in wondering if there really is about a 30 minute gap between men and women of the same age category.  Results are showing that more and more the difference is closer to 20 minutes rather than the 30 minutes.

    Since I am trying to train for Boston this difference can have a HUGE affect on my pace.  As of now, my goal is to train faster than right at the Boston qualifying time so that no matter what I can qualify!  Personally I think, go ahead and change the qualifying times.  Somehow they really think that this will deter the number of people that qualify for the marathon.  But my thinking is, if someone really wants to qualify, they will work their butts off so that no matter what they will qualify. 

But that's just my 2 cents... Thoughts?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gauntlet

     I sometimes think I need to go to AA (athletes anonymous). Hi, My name is Emily and I have an addiction to sports! Haha, just kidding... but seriously though... I have a tendency to be competitive, at least a little. I blame it back on my soccer days and sports as a younger kid, well that and having 8 siblings, makes you have to fight a little to get what you want! Not quite that drastic, we were always very well provided for.
    But my competitiveness seems to come out with my family, especially where running is concerned. Pretty silly since I seem to be chronically injured... But my cousin Michael (who is one of my inspirations for running my first marathon, since he had already done one) and I are constantly challenging each other to the next athletic event. He is unbelievably supportive and is constantly emailing me about races and articles about different events. Our first event together was this past Spring for the STL 1/2 marathon, followed by the Lake Geneva Triathlon, finishing this season off with the Thanksgiving 1/2 marathon in Atlanta (a few separate posts will be coming on that shortly...
    The Gauntlet: The other day, I got an email from him with a link to an article about the Boston marathon and how the qualifying times might need to change from women. His message was clear, that if we were gonna do Boston we have to hurry up and do it! Wait, what?! Was he serious? I mean, Boston has always been on the horizon for me, a goal that I truly do hope to attain. But unlike many runners, who run it with a charity just so they can have a slot, I refuse to run it unless I truly qualify for it, not that I won't run it for a charity, but that I have to qualify time wise. Suddenly it was on, we have challenged each other to a race to Boston! WAHH.... Whether or not he was truly serious and will do it, I have no idea, but I do know a few things:
1. I am going to try my HARDEST to qualify for Boston in next year's Chicago Marathon!
2. I am not going to listen to all the people who tell me I can't do it. My Dad who is extremely supportive, did remind me that that means I need to shave off exactly 2 hrs from this year's marathon time... I am well aware, but I think, no I KNOW I can do it!
3. It is ON! Michael, be prepared to be schooled!
Moral of this Story? Don't let the fear of failure keep you from aiming for your dreams!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Personal Trainer...

     I caved.... sort of...  my friend and I always said that when we were rich the first thing we would get would be a personal trainer, I know probably a funny thing to want but we have always said that... Now I am certainly not rich, not even close, but I got a trainer... Well really it kind of landed in my lap, and I'm definitely not complaining...

      One day when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, it was raining like crazy and I needed to get a long run in, thankfully I had just gotten my gym membership that week.  So I went over to the gym and proceeded to run 14 miles on the treadmill, definitely not my ideal long run situation but I had to make do with what I had.  While I was running, one of the Personal Trainers came up to me and asked me about my knee brace he saw me in earlier (it was bothering me so I took it off mid-run).  I told him that I hurt my knee in my first marathon and that it hadn't been the same since.  He asked if I would be willing to do some assessments and tests with him to see if he could figure out my problems, so naturally I said yes!  So based on the quick assessment he told me what he thought, and since I had just become a member at the gym, I got 2 free sessions.

     I met with him the other day and he did some more assessments, all coming up with the same conclusions as the first time (I think I posted on this before in The Hot Mess that is my Knee).  Then we did some easy exercises, because he was trying to gage what I could do that didn't cause knee pain.  The overall goal is strengthen my knee and make me into a stronger runner all around.    My Trainer, Jose, is really nice but has been blunt with me from the beginning.  He told me that I have to constantly look straight ahead when I do the exercises otherwise I have to drop and and give him pushups!  Ok, fine, I can listen to the rules... ehhh WRONG!  All of a sudden out of nowhere he told me to drop and give him pushups!  I didn't even realize that I had looked anywhere but straight ahead.  But hey I can be a good sport, so I did.  I was pretty happy at the end of the work out and look forward to my next session with him this week!

    As I was leaving the gym, he shouted to me to look up, which is kind of funny because I was about to go down the stairs and didn't want to trip.  So I smiled and laughed, and had a guy tell me that I should be in the gym promo videos because I was smiling and laughing and looked like I had a good workout.  I guess I will take that as a compliment! 

    Overall, I just really look forward to becoming a stronger athlete because of my trainer than just through my own trial and error.  This way I know what I am doing and why I am doing it!  Jose, has been great and has been good about giving me information to read about to help me understand why I am doing the exercises I am!  Sounds good to me, the more I can learn the better!

Lesson: Sometimes it is better to "bite the bullet" and spend a little money to get some good instruction rather than going about it blindly!  I sincerely hope that this has a HUGE impact on my running and overall fitness!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "Scary Room"

   As most of you know, I just recently got an apartment and am in the process of moving out of my parent's house.  It has been quite the process!  Here are the before pictures.  My family has been helping me move and paint the place, I am so thankful for all of their help, especially the hours my Mom put in with me this weekend!  On Sunday my little brothers came over to check it out and see where I am moving too.  When I asked them what they thought about it, they said that it was pretty cool but that the laundry room is scary!  Ohh NO!!  They compared it to the basement!  Now there is something about basements that often make them creepy, but my laundry room?  This is a HUGE problem since my laundry room is easily accessible and on the same floor. In fact, it is connected to my garage and so therefore it is the entrance into my apartment that I will use most often! 
It is by far the most un-glamorous part of the apartment but I can't complain since I am lucky to have a washer and dryer in my apartment, so I am grateful!  Here's what it looks like:
As you can see, it's not very glamorous... the door on the left goes to the garage and the door on the right goes into my kitchen and living room area.  So far I have been keeping the door open, but I think it will be closed after I finish all the painting!

Just another view, not much shelving.

   Any ideas how to make it less scary?  I  don't want my little brother to be afraid of my laundry room or, any room in my apartment for that matter!  HELP!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Caution: Wet Paint!!

   As many of you know, I recently moved into my own place and have been working very hard to get it all homey and wonderful.  Some people think it is taking me forever, and maybe it is, but since getting the keys, I have painted, worked 40 hr work weeks, ran a marathon, went back to my Alma Mater for Homecoming and moved in!  You can imagine how exhausted I have been, hence why I haven't updated you all on the status of my place.
    So... here goes!  I got the keys on a Friday, cleaned friday night and by Saturday morning was ready to start painting!  I wanted to go with colors that were warm and inviting but at the same time, toned down and more neutral so that hopefully my Landlord doesn't have to paint the moment I move out (which hopefully won't be for a LONG time).
      So here they are:
This is a blue-green color that I used in the living room as an accent color as well as in the kitchen!  I think it provides a nice splash of color without being too over the top and bold.

This is a corner in the kitchen, the kitchen and the living room share a wall, so the neutral tan color is on the main wall of the living room and carried through the hallway to the bedrooms.

This is the spare room, and it is a little hard to see because it is a cloudy, cold, overcast day and therefore no beautiful natural sunlight!  Anyways, this is another neutral color but it has a pink base tone to it.  What is so GREAT about this color is that it was a Lowes OOPS! can of paint and cost $5 for a whole gallon!  If you have never looked at the OOPS paint, think again!

    Now here comes the Master bedroom, now up until this point I was so excited how all of the paint was looking, it really has had a huge affect on my place.  Originally, if you remember back to some of the before pictures, the room was a lilac color, which was quite pretty and being purple is my favorite color, I loved it!  But it still needed to be painted, so I decided to stay in the purple category, something a little brighter but nothing crazy!  When my Mom and I were out shopping and getting items for the apartment, I bought a Bed in a Bag.  Never heard of it?  Basically it is a Bed comforter, 2 pillow shams, bed skirt and a set of sheets for my awesome Queen size bed - courtesy of my Aunt and Uncle!  But we saw it and it was purple black and silver, so I bought it... now it was a matter of figuring out the color for the room.  The Bed in a Bag was really bold, deep rich colors, so we grabbed the pillow case and marched into Lowes to find some paint that could work... We found one called Plink... Memo to self: If it has all the letters for Pink, BE CAREFUL!  You can see why below!

I went over one night after work and decided to tackle my room, how could I move in without a room to sleep in?!  So I started trimming out the wall around the window and began to panic!  CRAP!  It doesn't look like the purple shade I picked out!!  It looks like Pepto Bismol exploded all over my walls!  Especially compared to the lilac color, can you see the difference in the top left corner?  But it was too late to stop and I figured I could somehow make it work...  My parents came over to drop off some furniture and they agreed with me! So much for some encouraging words that it wasn't as bad as I thought!  They tried but... kind of failed!

See what I mean?! OHH MAN!  So I stuck with it and proceeded to paint the whole thing.  Thankfully, I think it ended up drying darker than it looked when wet! WOOHOO!! 
    Lesson #1:  Don't be afraid to use the OOPS paint, just because it wasn't what someone else was looking for doesn't mean that it won't be perfect for you!  

    Lesson #2:  Don't panic when a color doesn't seem to be what you were expecting until it dries.  Paint dries darker and will look more like you expected once it is dry!

    Lesson #3:  Don't be afraid of color!  Color is a great way to brighten up a space and will change the entire look of it!  Be BOLD!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicago Marathon: Third Time is a Charm!

   Each marathon has specific memories and moments that are forever ingrained in my mind.  Obviously my first marathon will forever be a huge part of my mind and even who I am as a person, with great memories of doing it the same year as my brother in law and my Uncle!

     My second Marathon will forever be in my mind as the marathon that I ran with my Dad and my sister!  The entire training through the summer was a great bonding experience with my Dad and I loved every second of it!  My sister was in STL but we regularly chatted and shared music for motivation!

   This third marathon will forever be in my mind as the marathon that I ran with one of my best friends, Sabrina!  We always wanted to run a marathon together, and we always said that we would do our first together.  But for whatever reason, I signed up and she did not, so I did my first one without her.  So when she said she wanted to run this year, I refused to sign up until she had already done it.  So through out the summer we both trained, she followed a training program religiously, with a few hang ups here and there... I on the other hand... well let's just say I had a more non-traditional training program... in fact I focused more on the triathlons I was competing in this summer than the marathon and the longest run I was able to squeeze in was a 16 miler!  But I was determined and I was still going to do it!  I knew I was in great shape, so it was just a matter of mentally getting there.
  So the day before the marathon, we met and went to the Expo together.  I LOVE the Expo, I think it is a great way to get pumped before the race!  We took a few pictures there and enjoyed all of the booths!

    Marathon morning, came bright and early, like it always does, and we got to my Dad's office around 6am. 
     By 6:30 we were ready to go and Sabrina and I made the trek to the starting line!  The energy in the air was amazing, everyone was so excited to embark on this challenge.  At 7:15, they sang the national anthem and it was super exciting to listen to the crowd go crazy at the end!  At 7:30 the race officially started but we didn't even cross the starting line until almost 8am.  Right past the starting line were Sabrina's cousin Olivia and Olivia's parents to cheer her on!  It was awesome!  They were screaming so loudly!

    We came up to the 1 mile marker and saw my Dad and her parents!  They were cheering like crazy and snapping pictures!  Here's the one from my camera that my Dad managed to get...

   So we kept on our way, saw our parents again at 3 miles. Saw my cousins at about 8 miles in Boys town. but apparently missed my Dad there, missed her parents at mile 12 but ran into her brothers and their families at the 13.1 mile marker.  It was great to see them!  They had made shirts for her and everything!  All super supportive and gave us huge hugs and we were off again!  At mile 16.5, Sabrina's boyfriend Matt found us and jumped in to run a little with us! 

    Right before 17, disaster struck for me... WORST NIGHTMARE!  I suddenly had a horrible cramp seize my right leg, to the point that I couldn't put any weight on my foot at all.  I hobbled off to the side and Matt and Sabrina immediately came over.  Matt helped me off of the street to a nearby fence so that I could try and stretch it out.  Suddenly out of nowhere came a water bottle, bag of ice and a salt pack.  Matt grabbed the ice and held it to my leg while I opened the water bottle and chugged some water.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity my cramp finally relaxed and we were on our way again.  The cramping never fully went away, and I can certainly feel it today, but oh well.  We found my Dad at 17 where he gave me a GU pack, and some powerade as I attempted to stretch out a little more.  We found him again at 20, while the entire time Matt ran with the ice bag in his hand in case my leg started to cramp again.  At mile 24 or so, Matt jumped out so that Sabrina and I could finish together, we also ran into my Dad around that time so he rode his bike on the side walk cheering us on!  Then we ran into our friend Dawn who hopped in and ran a little with us just talking and keeping us going.  It was a great distraction at that point!  Finally we reached the curve right before the last hill and .2 keeping us from the finish line. Right at the curve was her family again, so we swung wide on the curve and gave them high fives and continued the trek.  All of a sudden I heard a loud "EMILY" and I looked to see my friend Sid from my Tri team holding this poster:

   I gave him a High Five and continued on!  Once we came in sight of the finish line, my leg cramped really bad again - go figure... I doubled over and tried to massage it a little as people were shouting it's OK you can do it!  I grabbed Sabrina's hand and we crossed at the EXACT SAME TIME!!! 5:39:53 is our official time!!!
We are obviously thrilled to have finished and have gotten our medals!!!

Our Supporters (at least some of them):

Mr. and Mrs. Giannelli

My Daddy!!!

Jenna, Rachel and Bri, all decided to take a break from their shopping to see us at the finish! Such a GREAT surprise!

Matt - the best on course support we could have had, carrying our supplies and giving us encouragement at those tough miles!

   Most importantly: a BIG, HUGE, GINORMOUS congratulations to SABRINA!!!!! I am SOOO Proud of you, overcoming everything that you did this summer in training! I am so glad we could do it together!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Condo Floorplan

   I didn't really have time to work on my post for today... but based on popular demand. Here is the layout of my Condo:
I think this is a good way to be able to see the layout of the space!  I am pretty excited about it atleast!  I will update you all on the color selections tomorrow!  I finally finished painting last night!  So I was waiting to take some pictures until the paint was dry! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Painting 101: Do NOT paint electrical outlets!

    Growing up, my Mom always painted everything... in fact I don't know that I have ever seen my dad hold a paint brush (unless of course, it is his cooking paint brush to lather on some more of his marinade).  But as a result of my Mother's savy interior painting skills, I have learned a thing or two that I just assumed (which you know what they say about that) everyone knew... Yeah... Apparently not!  So in case you already know this important tip, bear with me!
     While I was painting my new place this weekend, we wanted to take the electrical plates off of the wall to make sure that we didn't get any paint on them... only to find out that every SINGLE one had been painted over... and I don't just mean one coat, I mean layers upon layers!  So much so, that some outlets couldn't even be used anymore because the plugs wouldn't fit!  My mom and I literally stared in disbelief!  How is this possible?!  So we had a choice to make, either paint over them again or replace them all... so we replaced them all.  Now some of you might not see why replacing them was really the only option... YOU NEVER EVER paint an electrical outlet... EVER!

     Here are a few of my personal reasons:
        1.  Paint is a conductor, therefore painting an outlet can cause a fire, very easily just based off of a spark!  Better have renter's and/or homeowner's insurance if you are going to paint over them!

        2.  If you ever have an electrical problem and need to replace the outlet for whatever reason, or check the wiring, you will have to ruin your paint job when you try to get the cover off the wall...

        3.  Just like the outlets in my condo, layers upon layers build up causing the outlet to become blocked, making it impossible to actually use the outlet.  What's the point in even having an outlet if you can't use it?  You would be better off taking it out and patching the hole!
        4.  It looks like Crap - honestly, it does!  The beauty of the cover plates is that you can hide the hole and the paint job behind them... it gives it such a cleaner look...

   Here are a few pics of the outlets, we were working with:

Exhibit A: This outlet, while it is white and the walls are painted purple, has in fact been painted over numerous times... Can you tell?

In order to get the outlets and the outlet covers off the wall and to replace them, we literally had to cut them off and chip away at the paint.  Even with the screw, that holds the outlet cover to the wall, removed the cover plate which should normally fall off the wall is still attached... My mom even ended up bending an old metal one...

Can you see the painted caked on?  Pretty Crazy!

Here is an outlet that we pried off the wall and that literally fell apart.  When we got the outlet over off, part of the outlet came with it because it was painted together... yet another example of why not to paint your electrical outlets!!!

   Lesson of the Day:  DO NOT paint electrical outlets!  It takes two seconds to unscrew an electrical cover and it could literally save your life!  Why not do the job the right way, the first time!? 

Rocking Out to: King of Anything by Sara Bareillis (I absolutely love it.... can't listen to it enough!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Beginnings! :)

    As many of you know, I graduated in May of '09 and then moved back home with my 6 younger siblings and my parents.  While I love my parents and my family very much I was ready to move out and be on my own, the day I moved home!  I am proud to announce that after 16 months of living at home, I have FINALLY moved out... well atleast I am in the process of moving out! 

    It is quite the process because I am painting the whole thing and moving everything in slowly, basically as I get it... but I am super excited!  Here are a few pictures of the condo before I started the changes!  More pictures as the painting is complete, etc....

Here is the kitchen - This condo was previously owned by an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair.  So my friend (whom I'm renting from) lowered the upper cabinets so that her Aunt would have access to the cabinets and be able to use them.

Another view of the kitchen, all oak cabinets.  The sink is not centered on the back wall because originally to the left of it was a dishwasher.  But it was broken so they put cabinets in, instead of putting in a dishwasher.  Fine by me, I don't mind handwashing... but then again I say that now... that might change!

This is obviously the laundry room, as of now I'm not going to really do anything to it.  I'm very excited that it has a stationary tub/sink, it has been very helpful in all the painting I have done so far!

This is part of the living room area, obviously I was trying to capture the flooring.  I am not a huge fan of the flooring.  The carpet was taken out in order to accomodate my Landlord's Aunt in her wheelchair, obviously it is WAY easier to roll around in a wheelchair on the vinyl tile flooring, but I am going to do my best to use areas rugs and make it more home-like.

This is the spare bedroom/ office space - atleast that is what I am going to use it as!  It's a pretty good size... Can't wait to show the before and after pictures!

This is the Master Bedroom... I love the color purple, so it's nice to know that the previous owner liked it too!

This is the bathroom, as you can see, the shower - is just that, no bath tub.  This obviously allowed her Aunt to be able to shower properly while being in a wheelchair.  The sink, on the right previously had a cabinet under the counter but it was too difficult for her Aunt to be able to wash her hands and so it was removed.  It has been put back for me though...

     Ok, that's it for now!  More pictures and tips to come!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I've hit the Wall

   Well let's be honest... I hit the wall a LONG time ago... Actually I am pretty sure I started up against the wall from the very beginning! It's getting so close to the marathon, less than 2 weeks and I am feeling utterly unprepared!  Yes I know, you are all probably thinking, how is that possible... But my training this season had a few flaws.  I never seemed to figure out a rhythmn and have a consistent work out time.  I hate making excuses for myself but these are the valid reasons:

    1.Work -  At the beginning of the summer right when training was starting, work got crazy busy, so much so that I was given "unlimited" overtime.  While that sounds exciting when you are getting paid hourly, it ended up sucking up my summer.  For almost 2 whole months I worked from 6am until 7 or 7:30 each night.  The one night I got home at almost 8pm, ate dinner and cried... I know, I know pathetic, but when you are at work more than not and can't even see a ray of sunshine other than the 30 minute lunch break, it begins to wear on you.  By friday I was exhausted and it became the big joke in the family that I would come home, take a nap, eat dinner and then go back to bed by 9pm!  I'm 23 years old, I shouldn't be going to bed at 9pm on a friday night.  Saturdays became my bust your butt workout because I rarely could manage the energy to crank out a 3 mile run during the week.  And bust my butt I did!  Then Sundays I would head back to work and put in atleast a 4 hour work day! 

    2. My Triathlons - While training for the triathlons has been AWESOME and a great way for me to break up the monotony of running.  The races on the weekends often cut in to the long training runs on the weekends.  I raced in three triathlons this season,  with 2 of them just 2 weeks apart.  It was fine though, I planned the training around the races.  What I didn't take into account was #3...

    3.  Getting Sick! - Everything I have read, says that athletes, especially runners and triathletes are more likely to get sick after a race than not to.  After my Chicago Triathlon, I was extremely drained, probably because of my stupid water debacle (Don't remember?  Relive my disaster here).  But I got a horrible head coldand by the following weekend I was out of commission, I even skipped out on a family party and laid on the couch all day!  I think I even had a fever, but I was too comfy on the couch to care enough to take it.  I was concerned, so I took care of myself as best I could and then I raced in the Lake Geneva Tri, and it rained for the whole thing!  Yeah... so much for getting better...  So needless to say I have been fighting off another pretty bad cold... its amazing how a cold can really knock you on your butt like that!

     4.  Other Obligations -  I swear every time I was going to do a long run, something would unexpectedly come up that I have no control over and I wouldn't get a long run in.  Or even the rain!  Last weekend I wanted to get in my 20 mile run and so I started running with my Dad outside, three miles in and it was lightening and thundering... yeah I want to run but I also want to LIVE!  Thank goodness I have a gym membership, I went to the gym and ended up running 13 miles on the treadmill... Any runner knows how horrible it is to run that distance on a treadmill.  But I was on a strict timeline and so 16 miles is all that I managed to get in...

   So 16 miles is the farthest I have made it in my marathon training.  And I just got back from a training run... 3 miles and I felt like CRAP!  I'm sincerely hoping that it just happened to be a bad running day...I know I can do it... Just not feeling it today...  I'm hoping that my overall fitness will carry me through!

Unmotivated and Concerned but Determined and Stubborn!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Hot Mess that is my knee!!

  It's no secret that I struggle with some pretty serious knee pain fairly often.  It all started on that fateful Chicago marathon day 2 years ago.  About mile 16 or 17, I suddenly had excruiating knee pain.  It hurt to walk, let alone run.  I was in tears, crying while runners all around me kept treking on! How was this possible? I did all the training, my pace was perfect, I was on target to finish in about 4 hours, pretty impressive since I was new to the whole running thing.  The last 10 miles was a pathetic attempt at finishing the race, thankfully I got a huge boost when I finally saw my family at mile 23!  My little sister jumped in and basically dragged me across the finish line!  I was exstatic that I finished but devestated when I discovered my time was 5:18!  I hobbled around for months!  I went to 2 different Drs, had xrays and MRIs and the Doctors couldn't figure out what was the problem.  I was crushed!  How could they not find something, I wasn't making it up, the pain was real!  So instead they gave me this horrific knee brace and pain killers.  I HATE meds unless absolutely necessary, so I took them for about a day and just dealt with the pain.  THe internet is an amazing thing and so after doing some research my parents and I decided that I hurt my IT Band, seems pretty dang common in runners.  So now I was on a mission to get my knee stronger, a PT (Personal Trainer) at my Mom's gym suggested a foam roll. So I started using that regularly and was ecstatic when I could finally start running again.

  Marathon 2 came around with me having every intention of dominating Chicago without an injury and getting that time I deserve!  But as fate would have it... my knee and lower back were killing me through training.  I wasn't even going to run but My Dad was running it and we had trained a lot together so i toughed it out.  Bad call on my part, while I didn't end in as much pain, the pain started much earlier in the race, causing my finish time to be about 30 seconds faster! CRAP!  Again I was devestated and cried a LOT when I saw my Dad past the finish line.  It wasn't that he had finished before me, because I really don't care about that but it was more that I was in a TON of pain again.  I told my parents that they could not allow or let me register for the Chicago Marathon this year... and here we are again... yeah they did a really good job! ;)
   This year, I have been determined to stay injury free, no matter how long/slow this marathon takes... yeah.. easier said than done!  I got into triathlons hoping that it would be a good way to do some cross training and keep me strong!  So far I have been feeling pretty strong, there is still the knee pain but not as bad as it has been.   This week I joined the gym and it's the first time I have run on a treadmill in over a year.  My knee was slightly bothering me but no big deal.  On Saturday I had to do my long run, I wanted to do 18-20 miles.  The morning was overcast, three miles in and it started rhundering and lightening! NOOO! What was I going to do? What a second....I now have a gym membership, that's the solution! 
   Since I had to do such a long run, I decided to grab my knee brace (which I am "supposed" to wear whenever I run) and I hopped on the treadmill.  About an hour in to my run on the treadmill, a PT came up to me and we started chatting.  He said that he had noticed that I came up with a knee brace on... great... I was hoping people wouldn't notice...  He asked about my knee pain so I told him a very little bit about it.  So he said he'd bet his life that I have Patellofemoral Syndrome... Say what?!  Or commonly known as Runner's knee.  I have no idea what that means but Runner's knee.. ok sure... So he said he didn't want to disrupt my run, as I awkwardly just kept running while he was chatting with me, but that he would like to do an assessment on me after I was done running.  Ok... sure...

  So I finished my run, I was sort of on a time crunch because I was going down to ISU for Saturday night and I was picking up a friend, so I only was able to crank out 15 miles.  But I found the PT and all he wanted me to do was squats... how squats would show him anything, I had no idea!  But I did the first squat and my bad knee gave out and I almost fell on my butt... yeah, pretty embarassing!  I tried correcting it and he told me to just let my body do what it wants while doing the squat, not to try to correct it..  So I did a grand total of 15 - 20 squats. 

    Here comes the shocking part:  He said that I was absolutely correct that IT Band is SUPER tight.  He said that I have a muscular imbalance, that my calves and my IT Band is really tight but my adductors (inner thighs) and my tear drop muscle is really weak.  Because my tear drop muscle is so weak and my ITB is so strong when I run my knee collapses and causes the pain.    He also said that he thinks I have weak inner lower core muscles which can often cause lower back pain... yep, by this time I was speachless... I hadn't even told him about my back problems! What is he doing, reading my mind!?  He also said that my shoulder muscles are really tight which causes me to slouch, especially after a long workout, run or a long day! What is the world?! How could he possibly have figured this out from 20 squats!?!?
    Needless to say I am ecstatic to be able to get to the bottom of these problems, probably too late to salvage this marathon but... if I fix these problem areas.. Hello Ironman!

   Sorry for the ramblings, Im just ecstatic that after multiple Drs, xrays, MRIs, Chiropractic care, etc I might have found someone who can give me solid answers to my problems and help me fix them! WOOHOO!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parting is such Sweet Sorrow...

  Well I guess in this case, it isn't real parting as much as an ending... An ending to my first season of Triathlons!  Sure I could continue to do some tris through the winter months, but that would require me to head out to other States.  So here's my summary of my tris and what I have learned and need to improve for next season.

    My three tris were The Naperville Women's triathlon, the Chicago triathlon and the Lake Geneva triathlon.  Each one was different in its own way and a great experience.  The Women's Tri was a perfect first triathlon because I was in a wave of the youngest group of girls, most of us had never done a triathlon yet and so we were told that we are the "Future" of triathlons!  Pretty sweet to think about!  I was also truly inspired by all the Women that competed in this event, especially the Women in the Triumph category, they are the women who were either survivors of Ovarian Cancer or were still fighting for their lives.  They were truly amazing to watch, showing that they were not about to give up and that this is something that they are going to conquer!

   The Chicago Triathlon was amazing just because of the sheer number of triathletes!  All different skill levels, all in Chicago to challenge themselves physically and mentally.  There is something so cool about doing a race in Chicago, being able to swim in Lake Michigan and having the skyline constantly in your view.  It was also pretty sweet to be able to ride on Lake Shore Drive!

   The Lake Geneva Triathlon was tons of fun because being able to do it with my Dad and all of the VCS Tri team representation!  It is nice knowing that there are people around constantly cheering each other on.  It was an extremely hilly course and rainy but all in all, a great experience! 

 So what have I learned in my first triathlon season?
    1.  I am I terrified of my bike, especially when it is wet... definitely something I need to work on... and in my defense I have only had a road bike for a dew months.  Its a big difference from my previous Mountain bike!
    2. I love to swim!  As a kid, I always enjoyed swimming, but it is only this past summer that I really realized how much I enjoy swimming distances!  I look forward to being able to work on my swim in the future!
   3. I can conquer anything with determination, perseverance and most importantly the support of my family and friends!

  I'd like to say a Special Thanks to my VCS Tri-team for being so supportive and putting up with my silly newbie questions.  I know that had I not joined the team, I would not have completed any tris this year, so I am so grateful for their camaraderie and support! I look forward to many more seasons!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lake Geneva Triathlon!

    Saturday was my last triathlon of the season, and I have to say I am quite distraught! :(  I had no idea that I would enjoy triathlons so much!!!  This triathlon was in Lake Geneva, and originally it was going to be my first triathlon ever.  My cousin and I were going to do it together, but once I joined the VCS Tri Team, I was quickly encouraged to have more than one race on my tri radar for the season, and I am SO glad I did.  My first one, the Naperville Women's Tri (which is a perfect first tri for any woman getting into Tris), followed by the Chicago Triathlon 2 weeks ago and then Lake Geneva on Saturday. 
    After doing the Chicago Triathlon I very seriously contemplated going backwards and going back down to the Sprint distance, as opposed to doing another Olympic Distance.  But it just didn't seem right to do that, so I signed up for the Olympic, knowing that I could atleast complete it, even if I didn't get close to my time goal!  The weather forcast all week long predicted rain and Thunderstorms and I kept my fingers crossed hoping that the Weathermen were all wrong.  So on Friday my Dad (who also raced), my brother (who was a great spectator) and I all made the trek up to Lake Geneva and met up with my Cousin Michael, his wife and their adorable Baby.  We went to the Expo, which is probably the smallest "expo" I have ever been to, we listened to the Course talk and at no point did they even discuss the horrible weather our way, kind of odd...  Then we went back to my grandparents cottage in Pell Lake to spend the night rather than coming back to Chicago or getting a Hotel room.  I was definitely in semi-panic mode because it wasn't even 70 degrees on Friday, it was windy and overcast... the storm was on it's way!
   Saturday morning, of course came WAY earlier than I ever like, but that's how these races go!  We made our way over to transition at about 5am.  We were standing in line waiting to get into transition and get our body markings when it started pouring rain!  NOOOO.... Of course the Sharpie markers do not work in the rain, so we didn't even end up getting our body markings, so instead we were told "Just don't loose any body parts!" Ha! I certainly didn't plan to!
   We quickly ran into transition and threw on some rain gear to try and stay as dry as possible.  At this point I am already shivering and my teeth are chattering! Great...already a bad omen since I didn't have a wetsuit.  Thankfully it only poured for a little bit.  It was getting close to the start time, so my cousin and I who were doing the Olympic distance quickly got ready and bid goodbye to my Dad (he registered for the Supersprint and was going to do the Supersprint swim and then join me and do the Olympic Bike and Run with me) and my Cousin's friend who was doing the Sprint distance.
   I think I could count on one hand the number of people that weren't in wetsuits, of course I was one of them!  So I gritted my teeth and prepared to enter the water!  HOLY COW!  The water was way warmer than standing on the shore waiting to go in.  I had a great swim and felt very strong, by the time I got back, my Dad was still standing in transition by our bikes with his poncho still on!  I was shocked that he was already done and waiting for me... ohh but wait, he still hadn't even gone for a swim!  So he decided to blow off the swim and head out on the bike with me.  Thankfully it wasn't really raining at this point, just drizzling.  My cousin showed up in transition about 2 minutes after I finished my swim.
   Now anyone that knows me, knows that I am terrified of the bike, especially when it is slick out.  All because of my wipeout a few months ago... boo!   Within the first few miles, we had to cross train tracks, but by the time we had gotten there, someone had already wiped out and was laying on the side holding his head in the grass.  They had called an ambulance and there was a nurse on a bike behind me, who hopped off to see if she could help at all.  Because of this man's wipeout, they were making all of us dismount and walk over the tracks, I was fine with doing that!  The rest of the bike course was really hilly and it never failed there was always a turn at the bottom of a downhill!  Talk about tricky, considering our bikes were really wet and the breaks don't work so well when wet!  My Dad LOVED the downhills and did whatever he could to really get going, I on the other had was a little more reserved... About 1 mile out, from transition, it started to downpour and I mean DOWNPOUR!  Now naturally the last leg of the bike course is this really large downhill, under normal circumstances it would have been an awesome down hill... yeah not the case!  At the bottom of the downhill, we had to turn into a single car lane to get into transition.  No matter how hard I gripped my breaks, I wasn't slowing down, people are shouting for all of us to slow down.  I wanted to shout right back and tell them to try it and then let me know how it goes for them, but I refrained! :) In order to avoid a crash at the bottom, I had to swerve into the other lane, where cars could technically be... but I survived!  I do have to say, my wrists really hurt today and the only think I can think it that I was holding onto my bike so tightly thinking that the tighter I held on, the less likely I was to fall... I know, weird logic...
   Then we got into transition, dropped off our bike and headed out on the run.  The run was by far the hilliest course I have EVER run!  It was crazy!  There is one hill that they call "Killer Hill", umm... yeah I understand why it get's its name!  But we survived the run... As a rule, I always sprint into the finish line, whatever that means at the end of any race!  However, I failed to mention that to my Dad, and I just took off!  My Dad, quickly matched my pace so that we were right there next to each other crossing the finish line!  Right by the finish line, were members of my Tri team who cheered me on! I gave them a High Five and ran through the finish! Another successful triathlon completed!
   My official time was 3:15:10, which means I shaved off 30 minutes from my Chicago Triathlon time! YAY!!! I'm pretty excited about that!

Monday, August 30, 2010

"What's worth doing, is worth doing wrong!"

   My mom always uses that phrase and I used to think that it didn't make any sense... until the Chicago Triathlon.  So MANY things went wrong!

   I started the day at 3:45am, packed up the car and thenwas on my way by 4:30, I wanted to be in transition by 5am, giving me 45 minutes to set up, naturallly it doesn't even take that long, but you know, better to be safe than sorry!  But as I was driving into the city, I suddenly got this sinking feeling that I had forgotten something... So I started racking my brain, going through everything when it dawned on me... No waterbottle!  When they said the temp would be in the 90s I knew this was a big problem!  but what could I do?!  So I continued on my journey and just figured I'd be fine... So I set up my transition and went to find my triathlon team.  Thankfully I quickly ran into them!  One of the guys had an extra waterbottle and gave it to me... it was 5:40!  We had to be out of the transition area at 5:45 and weren't allowed back in until we were in the transition phase of the race.  So I sprinted back, put it on my bike and was good to go!  But then... I couldn't find my team!  I wandered around for close to an hour!  Thankfully I was able to run into my co-worker Pam who was doing the Sprint Distance!  I wished her Good Luck and then set off to find my team again!  Luckily I was able to reconnect with them!

   So the race started and I watched as wave, after wave, after wave of triathletes jumped into the water.  I naturally procrastinated on doing this race for so long that I was put into the "Overflow" category which meant that I was the last wave to go into the water!  So while the race started at 6am with the Sprint distance, I didn't get into the water until 9:52! So I finally got into the water and felt great, minus the fact that I was now hungry since I ate at 4am!  I was swimming along when suddenly I heard some crazy cheering and "Go Emily!" So I looked up towards the wall and saw my co-worker Pam, who had since finished the Sprint distance and came back to cheer me on!  It was extra special since I was without a cheering section for this race!

   I finally finished the swim, and unlike other triathlons, we had to climb up some stairs.  So basically we swam straight into the stairs, where volunteers were waiting to pull us out.. I definitely had swim legs, because I made it to the top step and stepped sideways and some nice Volunteer gentlemen caught me before I tumbled down the stairs and wouldn't let go until I said I was ok!   Hopefully, the photographer that was taking pictures as we got out didn't get a picture of that! So then I booked it to transition and put on my clothes for the bike.

    I grabbed my powerbar and helmet and I was off!  The powerbar was wonderful for my growling stomach, what can I say I was nervous before and didn't eat a ton - BIG MISTAKE!  Then I grabbed the waterbottle and finally felt some of my thirst quenched... but then trouble hit!  I didn't properly put the water bottle back into my holder and it fell out.  Now naturally the first thought would be to stop and pick it up... well that couldn't happen since I was on lakeshore drive going down a hill!  AWESOME!  Literally this was the first 2 minutes of the bike!  So I proceeded to bike, dying of thirst, and naturally there are 0 aid stations along the 25 mile bike course! Talk about brutal! Finally I got back to transition and was on to the run.  I grabbed another powerbar from my bag... But here was another mistake... I didn't pay attention to the fact that it was a chocolate covered powerbar!  In 90 degree weather, you can pretty much guess the state of my powerbar!  So I managed one bite!  Then I was on my way out of transition  I immediately asked a volunteer where the water was, I think she thought I was crazy... and maybe I was or just delirious! J/K.. sorta... So at almost every aid/water station I grabbed numerous cups of water... It was now a little after noon and the sun was beating down, but I made it that far I wasn't about to stop!  So my run was horrific... I mean if you can even call it a run.. It was definitely more of a run/walk with more walking than running!  But I met this nice woman named Pam and we finished the run together about 5 miles, or so!

    As always the finish line was a glorious site!  Pam and I crossed around the same time and gave each other a big High Five... It was fun!

   My Big Triathlon Lessons:
      1. Make sure to leave an empty waterbottle in my car at all times.. would have solved my panic from the beginning!
      2.  Make sure to properly put the waterbottle into my waterbottle holder!
      3.  Be sure to pick the appropriate power bars!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update: Training is Winding Down-ish..

   So it's been quite awhile since I have been able to post and I apologize to all my readers who have been anxiously awaiting a new post!  What can I say?  I've been busy!  Not only do I have my (at least) 40 hr work week, but training takes a lot of time.  But I certainly wouldn't change the it for anything! 
   The crazy training is on the downward climb!  Pretty weird to think of, since it has been a part of my life since I don't know, March? April?  I mean I workout all the time, with or without "official training", but it isn't quite the same! 
   On a whim, I registered for the Chicago Triathlon, International distance aka Olympic, the last possible day to register!  Now up until this point I have only done the Sprint distance and have only done one triathlon...EEK! Somehow the triathlon I did (Naperville Women's Triathlon) seems so minor compared to the Chicago Triathlon.  I feel like I am going to "play with the big kids"!  The Open water swim in Lake Michigan is intimidating as well as the bike, especially since I am hesitant since wiping out.  But I have to say I am proud of myself for taking the next step and registering for it! 
   I know that I couldn't do any of these triathlons without the support of my family, friends and my VCS Triteam!  They all have supported and encouraged me in ways I never dreamed possible.  Every single person on my tri-team is such a HUGE inspiration for me!

Good Luck to Everyone competing in any race in the next few weeks!  I hope to update after a few of mine coming up! Stay Tuned!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Caution: Construction Zone!

   To add to yesterday's post on my problem figuring out the correct type of towel hangers for our bathroom, I figured I should back track a little and explain this bathroom in more detail.  Our house was built 40 years ago and this is the original bathroom.  Somehow the people that built it thought that pink was the perfect color to go with!  It looks like Pepto Bismol exploded in the bathroom... The shower is pink, along with the counter top, the toilet, the white floor with pink swirls, the tile for the shower... EVERYTHING IS PINK!

See what I mean?!

    My mom did her best to tone down the pink and as a result we ended up with a fish bathroom, with quotes and sayings up on the wall.  But it needed a make over, badly!  Not only was the color horrendous, but the shower head was leaking and would lead out the side of the shower onto the floor, causing the floor to begin to rot out, the caulk in the shower had mildew and mold (I know it sounds like we never clean, but it was like that when we moved in, now 8 years later it is now unbearable!)

So finally we got to remodel!  It isn't quite finished yet, but here are some pictures from the work in progress...

Day 1:
Shower and Drywall is removed, along with the flooring!

These are the ceiling rafters...apparently at one time there was a raccoon that got into the attic and was eating it's way through the ceiling rafters to get above the shower where it was nice and warm!  GROSS!

Goodbye to the sink and cabinets!

Every Day after Day 1:

Hello new Bathtub and Drywall!

Some Taping and Mudding, and preparation for a new toilet and sinks!

Installing the Shower Tile and preparing to paint!

Walls painted, flooring down and the shower are all ready to go...

    That's all that is done so far, but I promise to show you completed pictures once it is all done!  Doesn't it look amazing so far!?  I've been so excited to work on this project, my mom and given me pretty much free range to design it however I'd like, obviously I consult her before I make a decision since she is the "client", but it has been a lot of fun!  Can't wait to finally be able to use it!

   Need some help on a space of your own? Feel free to email me @ or post on this blog!