Two Years Ago Today....

....I married my best friend. 


Two years ago today....

....was the most beautiful....emotional....magical......wonderful day of my life


Two years ago today....

....we stood before my brother (ordained on the internet) and said our vows 


Two years ago today....

....we were surrounded by all of the people that we love in the world (well...almost all of them)


Two years ago today....

....we danced the night away

Go MOM!!


Two years ago today....

....the weather was absolutely perfect in Bar Harbor (which is rare at this time of year)


Two years ago today....

....we smiled more than ever before (and not just for the cameras)


And two years ago today....

....we looked into each other's eyes and knew that this was the start of something AMAZING

I feel so lucky to be in this relationship; no...in this life, with my soul mate, my best friend.  You inspire me to push my limits, you encourage me to follow my dreams, you make me smile when all hope it lost, you make me laugh so hard that I double over, you make simple things seem exciting and new and you surprise me more and more every day with your love and wit and charm and intelligence.  I am the luckiest woman in the world and I don't know how I deserved that.  I'm sure I will have to pay for it in another life....

But I just wanted you to know that the last two years have been purely magical.  Through ups and downs, successes and failures, heartbreaks and joys....you were the one by my side.  And I couldn't ask for a better partner!  You are my one and only and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Babe!


Hittin' the Links...and an update!!

I've linked up the kitchen renovation to a few parties this week.  Go check them out....there are a TON of really great renovations, DIY projects and ideas all in one place.  Well, I guess two place, if you want to get technical.  Thanks for hosting Remodelaholic and Shabby Chic Cottage.....so much fun!!

Oh, and I just heard this morning from Lindsey at Better After that she is going to be featuring our kitchen transformation on her blog soon!!  YAY!  So exciting.  I'll keep you posted when that actually happens.  I really love her blog, so this is an honor.  Go check it out!

Photo Credit: Here

And on a similar kitchen-related note....I've decided (as of last night) that we are not going through with the previously planned backsplash idea.  After laying out all of the tiles and assessing the design, I realized that cutting almost EVERY tile to conform to the pattern that I wanted (white porcelin tiles in a diamond shape) was not worth all of the effort.  The height between the countertops and the cabinets would leave me with only two full diamond-shaped tiles between and then two cut pieces on the top and bottom (different sizes).  That would not only be a pain to cut, but it would also make it more difficult to go off of a set point while tiling.  For most tiling projects, you select a corner or a center-point (depending on the pattern) and work out from there.  With the diamond pattern, I would have to draw out the whole design and try to place the tiles exactly right or else they will ALL be crooked.  I suppose you run that risk with any pattern, but I feel less comfortable DIYing something of that caliber. 

So now we are back to one of my other plans.  Early on in the design phase, I dreamt of using white subway tiles in a brick pattern.  I've seen this done so many times in magazines and on design websites....even in movies!  It is gorgeous!  In fact, I was watching Something's Gotta Give on Wednesday night on Lifetime and saw the infamous beach house, styled by Beth Rubino and designed by Nancy Meyers.  It's a coincidence that the movie was on that night, since YoungHouseLove did a post on Nancy Meyers designs earlier that day.  Weird, right?  I'm pretty sure EVERYONE is in love with Diane Keaton's Hampton's house from that movie, though.  It's hard not to love. 

Photo Credit: Here

Although a plain white subway tile backsplash may sound boring, I think it will be MUCH easier to accomplish by myself AND will still convey the simple, classic look I was going for.  At least I hope.....

Now I just need to find the receipt for the old tiles and see if Home Depot will take them back!!  They are usually good about that, so I hope I will be able to do that.  Ultimately, it will be the same price, maybe even a little cheaper to go the subway tile route.  AND...now that the project is a little easier and a little more at my level of skill....I'm actually EXCITED to do it!!  :)  So hopefully that means that I will be able to get it done sooner than I thought! 

Photo Credit: Unknown

Photo Credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo Credit: Southern Living

What do you think about the switch??


Painted Doors

While browsing Sarah's blog Leaf House this morning (which I love), I was reminded of ANOTHER project that is still lingering on my list....painting the doors.  When we first moved into the house in February, my instincts were to paint all of the interior doors white.  I knew that we needed to clean and brighten up the space, and what better way to do that than with a fresh coat of white paint  -- or in our case, THREE coats...ugh!! 

Here is where we began.

This is the upstairs hallway when we first looked at the house.  Not terrible, but definitely not our style!  First order of business was the carpet.  We actually ripped it up about 30 minutes after signing the closing documents.  Talk about impatience.  And, thankfully, there were hardwoods underneath!!  We assumed so, since the rest of the house has them, but we were definitely playing a little russian roulette by purchasing without knowing the details first.  Sometimes gambling pays off!!!

So, looking back at this image, the space just needed some freshening up.  I realize that you can't see the doors in this photo, but just transfer the same color from the walls and trim onto the doors and you will have a little mental picture!  There must have been a sale on pale yellow paint in 1964....because the previous owners LOVED it!!  My initial plan was to paint the hallway a very light grey blue to add some color to the palette, which would ultimately balance and appropriately contrast the white trim and doors.

But after a suggestion, from none other than my design-averse hubby, I began rethinking the plan.  I already knew that I loved the crisp, clean look of white molding and trim...and I've always had white doors growing up.  But what if we changed it up a bit?  What about black?  My first reaction to his suggestion was, "what are you talking about, you know nothing about design"....and then I started to visualize it in the space......and it ACTUALLY sounded kind of perfect!  The black would pop against the white trim and the grey walls and provide an interesting dimension and dynamic in the otherwise narrow, mundane hallway. 

So we tried it.

Please excuse the nail gun cord hanging over the railing....oops!

What do you think?  I wish I would have taken step-by-step photos so that you could see the transformation come together, but alas, I forgot!  But here's a recap.  Since the earlier photo, we ripped up the carpet, had the floors sanded and refinished, replaced the railings (which is another post altogether), changed out the light fixtures, painted the walls, the trim and even the heater covers....and of course, painted the doors BLACK!  I was a little hesitant to go for it, but now I absolutely love it.  And the best part is...if I change my mind in 6 months, I can just paint them white again!  Well...maybe a little sanding will need to be done, but you get the idea.

We still need to hang up some photos and art on the walls and add a valance or maybe some bottom-half white shutters on the window.  But that will all come together soon!  I'll keep you updated as we make progress!

Upstairs hallway, facing the bathroom and guest bedroom

Downstairs hallway facing the front door

So....that brings me back to my list of things to do.  Although the interior doors have all been painted (except for the inside of the bathroom one....oops I forgot about that), we have to focus on the exterior.  I have already painted the front door black (both inside and out), but since we replaced the side door during the kitchen renovation, I need to decide if I'm going to match it to the front as well.  Here is my dilemma.....the slider is directly across from it in the kitchen and it is white. 

Can I just paint the exterior part of the door black and keep the interior white?  Decisions, decisions.....what are your thoughts on painted doors?


Best laid plans...

I had unrealistic high hopes of working on the backsplash this weekend, and it just didn't happen.  I'm not necessarily upset about it, just a little worried that we are going to keep finding reasons (however valid) to put it off for the foreseeable future.  I really just need to set aside a full weekend and stick with it.

Easier said than done.

But, although we didn't accomplish one of our big projects, we did have time to take on a few smaller ones.  Yesterday, B moved a lot of pictures from our computer to the external hard drive while I went through another 40 or so boxes from the basement and the garage.  I know what you are thinking....what could be left to unpack if you have been living there for 7 months....but we have just accumulated so much STUFF over the years!  To be fair, a lot of the boxes were 75% newspaper and bubble wrap and 25% items, but it's still crazy!!  The worst part is that we still have about 30 more boxes to go.  Argh!!!  But looking on the bright side, I have started a huge pile of yard sale and donation stuff, so we are weeding out while we unpack and put things away.

This is the inside of our garage....or what will eventually be our garage once we finish clearing out the rest of these boxes!!  This is the first time I've seen the floor since we moved in.  I suppose that means we're making progress, right?

I am a huge proponent of a simple and uncluttered world.  I haven't been able to truly live like that since my studio apartment a few years back (when I lived ALONE without someone else's STUFF messing things up...hehe only kidding honey)....but a girl can dream.  And we are really not too far from that either.  In fact, while I was knee-deep in boxes yesterday, I actually came up with a game to help me decide what to keep and what to throw away.  I suppose it's not really a game, but calling it that made it more fun!!  So....I would open up a box and as soon as I pulled something out, I would have 10 seconds to decide where I would put it in the house or what I would use it for.  If the 10 seconds passed and I had no real use for it, then off to goodwill or the yard sale pile it went! 

Here are some of the boxes that we rifled through yesterday.  The sad part is....that the empty ones went right back into the garage to be recycled.  At the end of the day, I know that we made progress, but it's hard to see the forest through the trees.....or however the saying goes.

Normally I would go through this process while I'm packing up things to move out, but we didn't have a lot of time to pack in December and with both of our parents helping, it was easier to delegate everyone to a task than it was to micro-manage and walk around grabbing items for a yard sale down the road.  Efficiency was the name of the game at that point. 

So here were are in our "unpack or purge" phase and I'm loving it.  I feel like the house is actually starting to fill up with the things that we need or the things that we love.  Organization is one of my favorite things to do, so this process is probably the most rewarding for me....besides the renovations, of course.  I can't wait until we are all settled in and have a place for everything and everything in its place......not too much longer!!

After unpacking everything, the kitchen is back to normal.  Still no backsplash.  Instead, I added some pretty flowers from Whole Foods.  Definitely not the same thing, but it definitely adds a little life to the room.  I think they are gladiolas or magnolias.  I'm so bad at flower names.  All I know if that they were $4....enough said!!!
Now that I'm thinking about our to-do list....and looking at this picture....I realize that we also have to work on installing the magnets on the inside of the cabinet doors.  A majority of the cabinets don't really need it, but as you can see from the picture above, some of them do (mainly the upper doors to the left of the sink).  It's really not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but its definitely something that needs to be done sooner rather than later.  I guess that's the price you pay for refinishing older cabinets.  In the end, though, its a pretty small price. 

I'll keep you posted on the kitchen as we make more progress.


Link Love

There are so many great blogs out there.  Seriously....the inspiration is endless!  I tend to visit a lot of the same blogs on a daily basis (those listed on the right), but I definitely love to branch out and explore when I have more time.  So, I had a little extra time on my hands this morning while I was patiently waiting at the doctor's office, and I came across a few "link parties."  And wow.  These are my new favorite things now.  Honestly, it is the best way to find great ideas, inspiration and some fun new blogs to follow.  On this particular occasion, I happened upon three blogs that were having their weekly link parties, and after checking out almost ALL of the linked projects, I decided to include my own.  So far, the only project that is really "done" in my house is the half bath, so that's that one I chose.

Definitely go check these blogs out, though, and all of the links too!

Warning:  The only problem with these kinds of parties is that you end up with a TON of new projects/ideas on your to-do list......which is probably already too long!!!


The Romantic Home
I love her shabby chic style.  Her home is filled with beautiful, crisp white and cream touches! 
She has been blogging for years and is truly inspiring!  Go check it out!


The Shabby Nest
Beautiful style, beautiful ideas and a beautiful home.  I love reading her blog
and have recently become a follower!!

Home is Where My Story Begins
I just came upon this blog today and it is really lovely!  I haven't had a chance to browse her entire blog, but she seems to have a lot of great home-related posts, as well as some yummy recipes!! 
Check it out!

And I would not have come across this last link party, or had the courage to link up to ANY of them, had I not read Jolie's post today at Shopping Candy for My First Home.  I am a new follower of her blog and she totally inspired me.  I'm not sure why I was always afraid to link up to these parties....maybe I just felt like my projects weren't worthy of being included yet.  I'm kind of the newbie around here.  Some of these women have been blogging or doing DIY/crafty things for YEARS now and I just feel a little behind.  I'll get there though.  I guess you have to start somewhere, right?

Oh, and before I forget.......another blog that has been doing a lot of link parties lately is The Lettered Cottage (which I L.O.V.E).  Layla has been showcasing some before and afters in the last week or two and has opened up the forum to post your own related renovations.  She has covered guest bedrooms, nurseries and mudrooms...oh my!  Go check it out, and link up if you have your own updates to share!  And even if you don't have any projects of your own to share, it would be difficult to leave her blog without ideas pouring out of your head!!! 

Happy Friday!!


Like a Rock

Ok.  This is REALLY REALLY my last west-coast-related post.  I think. 

So, on our last day in San Fran, we decided to do the tourist-y thing and take the ABA-sponsored tour of Alcatraz (a) because it was free, and (b) because it saved me the trouble of heading over early to try and snag same-day tickets on my own.  B had already done the tour years ago, but he deemed my enthusiasm worthy of a repeat trip.  The best part is that they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the prison so they had some of the guards (now in their 80s) and some of the children of the guards (who grew up on the island) there to speak to us about their experience "on the rock!"  Can you imagine growing up there???  Crazy, right?  "Hey Johnny, go long.  Oh wait, not that long!!!"  Splash!  And if the freezing cold water wouldn't startle them enough, being in such close proximity to the most hardened criminals in the country definitely would!  Seriously!

I loved every minute of it though.  The history is unbelievable, escape attempts and all!  Even better than that, though, was the sky-high creepy factor.  For some reason it felt like ghosts were going to pop out at every corner.  Perhaps I conjured that whole idea/fear in my head, but it sure made the experience a lot more interesting! 

And as I mentioned before, I have this really great setting on my camera which lets you color-block the photo as you take it.  Basically, you can choose the color you want to enhance my metering on it (or focusing on it) and then taking the photo.  Or you can even pre-select a color that you want the camera to recognize and it will convert the rest of the photo to black and white!  So much fun!  In this case, there was a lot of yellow from the flourescent lights and chipping exterior paint, which totally enhanced the creepy factor. 

Can you imagine spending all of your time locked in a cell with nothing to do but think?  On the tour (which is self-guided with headphones), it explained that certain prisoners would take up hobbies like singing or playing an instrument....others would knit.  It is a little hard to imagine these high-risk prisoners sitting around and chatting in a circle while they knit themselves sweaters......hm......but they did it!  It's like the Friday Night Knitting Club but with weapons!  My only question is, why were they allowed to have sharp objects to play with?  That must be why there were so many escape attempts. 

Overall it was an AWESOME little excursion though.  If you are ever out in the San Fran area, you should definitely check it out!  Bring a jacket though, it gets cold out there.....like 35-40 degrees cold.  EEEK!  I am wearing a winter jacket in this photo.....in August....in CALIFORNIA!  Crazy I tell ya!  (The jacket, by the way, was purchased the day before because I packed SUNDRESSES on this trip.  Way to look at the weather before you leave, Heather!  Nice work!)

Side note: The only down-side to the whole color recognition technology for the camera is that it also picks up on the yellow in your TEETH!  Yikes.  This photo isn't too bad, but that is because it was carefully chosen.  The rest of them look like we just ate a carton of Lemon Drops!!!

And I know what you are thinking, how did you NOT take a photo of yourself behind bars??  Well, we did, but it came out really weird with the yellow enhancement, so I wasn't sure that it would be a good one to share.  So....I'll just show B instead.  Haha..

Oh, and its also little weird that he is smiling.  Not the typical reaction when you get locked up, I'm sure.  But, I suppose its hard to role play when you have 500 people milling around you trying to take the same photo!  You know what I mean, right.  Those exaggerated sighs from the lady who left her patience back in her hotel room that morning.  Or the guy that is standing so close that he is virtually in your shot.  He is the reason that photoshop was invented.  Humpphh!!  Chillax dude, if you don't calm down, you will be taking a REAL mugshot soon!!!  

Oooh.  A few hours in the slammer and I'm feeling all tough!  Life on the rock is hard, man.  It takes its toll...... 


Life is a Highway....

After careful deliberation, endless research and some pretty savvy haggling (thanks to B)....we FINALLY bought a car last night!!  We quickly realized after moving to the suburbs in February that our schedules were not conducive to being a one-car family.  The whole commuting-together-to-work thing sounded better on paper than it did in reality!  I pictured us holding hands and cuddling in the seats while we read the morning paper together.....ha!  B works ungodly hours and it just didn't make sense for me to drive him to the train really early in the morning, then drive back a few hours later (when I have to be in the office), and repeat the same song and dance after work.  I was going back and forth to the train station so many times a day that I felt like I could do it in my sleep - and sometimes I did!  Well...not exactly...but I wasn't far from it! 

We also decided that it would be beneficial to get a bigger vehicle that we could use for taking trash to the dump (yes, Hingham is a no-trash-pick-up-town..crazy, huh?) and for our multiple trips to/from Home Depot (which is every weekend, and often multiple times at that).  We used to have a Chevy Silverado, which we loved, but it was not very good on gas mileage.  Ok, it was down right bad!  But we loved it nonetheless.  The size was right, but we also needed to consider how the car would function as a baby-transporter....and as much as I love trucks, they tend to sit a little higher off the ground (with 20+ in. wheels) which means that it would be a pain to try and lift a baby in and out everyday. 

So...that brought us to SUVs.

Our first look was the Toyota 4Runner.  Perfect size, good gas mileage (17 city/23 hwy)...for an SUV.... and nice looking to boot!  We test drove the different models; Trail, SR5 and Limited and they were all pretty smooth.  Great turning ratio too.  I can't believe I just said that.  The Trail had a slightly rougher ride since it is an off-road vehicle, but the rugged feel was kind of cool!  Overall, we liked them all, though. 

Next, we checked out the Nissan Pathfinders.  They are a similar size to the 4Runner, but they have a 3rd row seat (which is awesome)!  They actually have a lot of leg room and head room inside as well...more so than the 4Runner, but they are lacking in the mileage department (15 city/22 hwy).  It's not a huge difference, but that was definitely important to us since we left poor truck a few years back for that very reason -- although, I must say that the truck was only getting an average of 13 miles to the gallon when we sold it...EEK!  So, this was definitely in the running as well.

Finally, we turned to the Honda Pilot.  Friends of ours (and our neighbors) each own one and have raved about them!  We took one for a test drive and were pretty impressed.  Leather and a moonroof come standard on the model that we were looking at (the one that was comparable to the Pathfinder and the SR5 4Runner), plus they had ones available with RES (Rear-Entertainment-Systems).....WOHOOO!!  My thinking was that it would be great for kids down the road....but all B could think of is lying in the backseat on long drives to watch movies while I man the helm.....Um, no dice honey!  And on top of all that, it came in at 18 city/23 hwy for gas mileage.  Definitely on par with the 4Runner, but the price was a little lower.  Which is the most important part, really.  Other than safety, that is.  And thankfully, the Pilot has great crash test ratings and a full package of front and side airbags!  Perfect for our (hopefully) budding family!

So....we swindled our way into a brand new 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L.....EEEE!!!!  And for a great price too!!
Photo Credit
(Side note: Please ignore the creepy man in the car....)

Isn't it cute??  There is a third row seat and a 6-disc CD changer....oh yea, and did I mention the RES system??  L.O.V.E it!  I have never owned a brand new car and I feel like a kid on Christmas.  I can't tell you how excited I am.  We pick her up on Friday!  Oh, and get this....the dealership does the registration, license plate and handles contacting our insurance company it to our existing policy....WHAT!!??  I know.  That's what I said.  I mean, obviously you still have to pay for those things, but wow.  I am happy to pay someone to do that and not wait in the 4 hr line at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Any day.  Thank you!

At the end of the day, we were able to get the best, most affordable deal with the Honda Pilot.  We loved the other options too, but it just didn't work out for us.  This car was definitely the best way to go for our current budget, lifestyle and, we think, our future budget and lifestyle.  Plus, Honda has really great coverage for their vehicles, so we shouldn't have to worry about any repairs on it for the next 7 years!!  YAY.  I'll update you more as I can acquainted with her though....  :)

Oh, and I'm not sure if the photo above is the exact year and model, but it looks pretty similar to that....especially the color (which honestly, was all that mattered to me......well, other than the safety part).  While B negotiated the price, I spent my time debating whether it would be too boring to have two cars the same color.  And....what if they weren't EXACTLY the same color.  That would be WORSE!  Right?  Can you imagine if they were just a shade or two off....oh boy.  Haha.  At one point, B and the sales guy looked over at me in disgust as I stared at the two vehicles parked next to each other (yes, I made B drive our car over to the new one to compare)!!  Ok, I might be a little crazy, but these two cars need to live in harmony in our driveway for a loooooong time now, so I thought we should at least check them out side-by-side first.  Good news, though, they match!!  Originally I was going for the black one but since they didn't have one in stock, I thought that the gunmetal color would do.  "It's sharp," though, as my mom would say!  :)


Kitchen Update

189 days after we began this madness, er, kitchen renovation project we are FINALLY moving into the last stage.  All that is left to do now is install the backsplash and we are D.O.N.E!  EEEE.  I honestly cannot believe we have come this far.  Here's a little reminder of where we started....

And - surprisingly - as rough as it has been over the last 7 months, I feel like the time has flown by.  Weird, right?  Perhaps that is just my own way of coping with all of it.  I imagine that it is common for people to compartmentalize their "trauma" in order to remain a fully functioning individual (or close enough to it).  That must be why women have more than one child!  Haha, only kidding.  I heard a friend of mine say that the other day and I thought that it would fall somewhere around the same category of trauma.  I'll report back on that after the birth of my first child though...... 

But, honestly, the best part about all of this is that we can finally USE the kitchen!  The plus side of that being, obviously, that we can cook and entertain, but the down side is that I have lost all momentum to finish the final stage.  Now that it is an officially "functioning" kitchen, who needs a backsplash?  Right?  Well.... I suppose no one ever really NEEDS a backsplash, but it would definitely help to cover up the mess of wall-board patching that we made while installing the range hood (more on that later). Yikes!  It is really just the act of FINISHING the project that it important. 

So, I purchased the tiles and have planned out the pattern that I want....but I just haven't had a full day lately to devote to this project.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  If I have had any free time, I have tended towards sleeping and/or hanging out with friends and family.  Plus we have been travelling a little the last few weekends.  So much more fun.  Seriously.  So, I haven't "technically" had enough consecutive time to get started on this.  And, although I am no expert at tiling backsplashes (or anything for that matter), I think that it is important to lay them all in one day and then grout the next day.  I am just assuming that if I am using Quickset mortar to adhere the tiles, that is would set quickly....but I'm no rocket scientist.  Hopefully I will get to it this weekend though.  We are pretty wide open so far, which means that I have NO excuses.  Yet.

Like I said yesterday though, I just need to psych myself up and throw in a few little promises.  Like.....if I finish it, then I can get a Snickers Blizzard later!!!  I'm sure Dr. Phil would have a few opinions on that kind of reward motivation, but hey....it works!

So, here we are now, before the tiling project begins.....

See, it's not so bad right?  We can live with it!!  Haha.  The picture is far enough away that you can't see how bad the patching job is around the hood.  Look closely and you can see a box cutout of the wall.  Lovely!  It's really less of a concern that other people can see the behind-the-scenes work of our hood installation, but more of the fact that I KNOW it's there and it will bother me until I cover it up.  I mean, with this whole blog thing, the cats out of the bag....so to speak.  I'm kind of exposing the whole cover-up thing anyway.  But hey, that's the whole point of this thing, right?  Full disclosure, my friends.

I will update you with a progress report early next week....hopefully!  Wish me luck! 

For a look back at the earlier stages of the Kitchen renovation process, check out here, here....oh, and here too!  And for all of the before and afters so far, go here!!
Update: The backsplash is finished!!!  Check it out here.  We have also changed our plan for the backsplash along the way....so for more information on that, go here.

I've also linked up to Layla's Room Re-do party over at the Lettered Cottage.  Check it out!!

The Lettered Cottage


A Swift Kick in the.....

So......I survived the Falmouth Road Race.  YAY!  Some of you may not know what that means, but to me, it means VICTORY!  Not necessarily over anyone else, but just a victory for myself.  Notice that I didn't say that I won the race or finished the race.  I have never run that far, 7.2 miles (at least not consecutively) in my life.  I suppose I may have run around a field hockey field or a basketball court for a solid hour at some point in my life, but there were always time outs and penalties, etc., etc. where you could take a quick breather.  This, however, was a solid hour and ten minutes of running until my legs were tingling and my brain was urging me to stop and have a beer with the cheering fans on the sidelines.  It is definitely not an amazing feat, I realize that.  I'm sure people run 10k races all the time, but it was definitely a personal goal for me.  And with only 2 weeks of training under my belt, I feel pretty good about the outcome. 

But the reason that I bring this up on my DIY-home-renovation-related blog is because I went through a lot of the same emotions during the race as I did during the renovation process.  The biggest correlation that I found was when I started to give myself small attainable goals.  I would look down the road and say, "I just need to make it to that next turn" or "once I get over this next hill, it will be all flat the rest of the way."  All of these were fake deadlines (even lies, in certain circumstances..) that just pushed me through the next mile.  Once I got to the halfway point, I kept saying, "you are less than halfway done....you can do this!!!"  I never really thought of myself as a glass half-full person, but after the race, I know I am.  In fact, if I look back at the bathroom and kitchen renovation, it's funny how many of those "mantras" I would adopt to get from one project to the next.  Especially with painting.  I would always say, "as soon as I finish this wall, I will take a little break," but when I finished with that wall it made more sense to just keep going and finish the whole room.  Even though I knew that I probably wouldn't take that break, having the option available was what got me through painting the ENTIRE house from top to bottom without crumbling. 

I even find myself doing that at my day job.  I tell myself that if I finish this one project, then I will take a break and get some hot chocolate or go and catch up with a co-worker.  But when I finish the project, I am on a roll so I tend to just keep going until I get everything done.  It is almost like a reward system, except that I rarely take advantage of the reward.  Honestly, it sounds depressing to continually make false promises to yourself, but it definitely works for me.  And it especially worked during the race yesterday.  Every time that I felt like I couldn't take another step, I made a deal....."go around that corner, and you can have a water break, or once you go up the hill its only 2 more miles left".  I'm sure everyone has their own little system that gets them through life.  And maybe this isn't the best way to do it, but it certainly comes in handy when my motivation lags (whether it be during a run or during a DIY project)

What do you do when you are running on empty or lose motivation?

My Life in Black & White...

I promise that this will be one of the last San Fran related posts on here (and I say one of the last since I hope to include a full Alcatraz post soon since the photos came out super creepy....love it!).  I just can't resist sharing some of these fun sights from our trip though....

Hope you enjoy the eye candy.

Castello Di Amorosa
An authentic Tuscan castle in the middle of Napa Valley.  Truly breathtaking.....Joe Sattui of V.Sattui Wineries began building this as a retirement home for himself.  11 years and $40 million dollars later....he ended up with this MASSIVE structure.  And what is more impressive is that it was built in true Tuscan style; real limestone, stones flown over from Italy, Italian masons and contractors as well.  He certainly spared no expense. 

Here are a few more images from this "estate"

We drove by this and just couldn't resist taking a peak.  So glad that we did!!

For the rest of our wine-tasting adventure, we tended towards the smaller, family-owned and operated shops; Bremer Family, Laird, Elyse and Bennessere.  We checked out Cakebread and Beringer as well, but those are all commercially distributed so it wasn't as exciting.  The thing that we loved most about the smaller places was that there was no pressure to buy or join their wine club.  It felt like we were sitting down with old friends to have a glass of wine (or 10).  It was a very personal experience.  In fact, we ended up taking home quite a few bottles of the non-distributed labels since they are harden to obtain from home (especially since we live in MA and have arcane prohibition laws that make it difficult to import wine from other states...BOOO).  If you haven't been out there, I highly recommend it for a little romantic weekend getaway (or longer, if you can take the time off).  We stayed at a little B&B called the Old World Inn in downtown Napa and it was so gorgeous!  Again, highly recommended......

Here are some photos of the room....

So cute.  I loved the decor and colors.  I probably would have done different light fixtures in the bathroom and added some sort of painting or large-scale photograph on the wall above the jacuzzi tub, but I can dig the less-is-more feel too!  My favorite (which you can't tell from the pictures) is the white penny tiles on the floor in the bathroom.  Perfect!!  Everything was so well-planned in there.  They even used the window (to the left of the photo above) as a mirror.  They replaced the bottom panes with mirrors and left the top panes (since they were really tall Victorian windows) open at the top to let light in.  That was they were able to utilize the space in that corner for the vanity.  BRILLIANT!!