On My Mind: August Edition

1. OMG there’s only two super long runs left until the marathon! Where did August go? Granted, I have to run 12 miles today (because that’s not long at all… who am I?) and then 18 and 20 the next two weekends, but after that I begin tapering for the BIG DAY (Oct. 12). How can that be? I feel like I’m getting there physically, but I’m not sure I’m mentally ready for this!

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2. After the marathon, I’m hoping to take some time off and travel somewhere warm. I don’t want to sight see; I just want to lay on the beach, eat/drink whatever my heart desires and not set an alarm for an entire week! I’m lucky enough to have a job with a decent PTO allotment and a boss that encourages me to take it, but I feel like there’s been a lot of chatter lately about how Americans don’t use their vacation time, which is just plain stupid. I especially liked Gawker’s take:

That job don’t love you. That job is not your friend. That job is not looking out for you. That job is a machine in which you are a cog. That job has no human feelings. That job is interested only in sucking you for every last ounce of labor that you are physically capable of producing before you pass out. It is not the job’s fault; it is in the job’s nature. Therefore it is up to you to look out for yourself. You gotta love yourself in this world. Take that time off. Nobody else is going to take it for you. Take it. Take it all.

Touché, Gawker. Touché. Now where should I go? Suggestions?

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3. Um, so I woke up today and decided that I hate my bathroom. I hate the stupid black and white checkered floor, I REALLY hate the old-school mirror/light combo, I hate the cheap over-the-toliet storage cabinet, I hate the color of the green accents. OK, I can really only do something about that last one (maybe two), but I’ve decided it’s time to revisit this space. It’s pretty much been the same since I moved in two years ago so… Here. we. go.

Opening Ceremony And 'Birdman' - Premiere - 71st Venice Film Festival

4. I’m really excited to get my hair cut tonight. I have not had many good hair days lately. The truth is I was on a medication for awhile that started to make my hair fall out! It was awful. And it still kind of is because now I have all these new hairs sticking out like a baby bird. But I’m hoping my stylist can work some magic. I’m thinking I should cut a couple inches off to help the little hairs “catch up” to the longer ones faster, and I think I’m going to use Emma Stone’s new do as inspiration. I kind of have a girl crush on Emma. She was hilarious in the Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon.

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5. I’ve totally been slacking in the cooking department. I got the new stove/oven weeks ago, and I think I’ve only used it once—to warm up leftover pizza. That’s just sad. But now that my grad class is over (and I’m taking the fall off), I might be able to get back in the kitchen. First recipe I want to tackle? Spicy beer shrimp sounds pretty damn good. Or maybe jalapeño cheddar scones. Guess I’m all about the heat right now!

(Images: 1. National Geographic, 3. The Gloss, 4. Chocolate Moosey)

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(Long) Weekend Rewind: Pure Michigan

Vacations are hard to come by when you’re training for a marathon—building in a couple hours a day for runs and watching your diet isn’t exactly fun while traveling. But you can find a sweet spot if you combine the two…

On Sunday, I did the Vineyard to Bay 25K (roughly 15.5 miles) in Traverse City, Michigan. This was the first time the race has ever been held, and there are definitely some kinks to be worked out, but I was just happy to use it as an excuse to get out of town for a few days. I’m getting tired of pounding out miles on the Lakefront Path!

We rented a house in Sutton Bay (more on that next week). It was a overcast most of the trip, so we didn’t spend much time sitting on the beach. Instead, we drove out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, shopped in Charlevoix, ate LOTS of ice cream and even kissed a moose. Don’t ask…

There’s no way this trip would’ve been possible without my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! They are pretty great travel companions. We already have another trip in the works, too—Scottsdale for Spring Training!

New! Nate Berkus Fabrics at Jo-Ann

So I’ve kinda sorta maybe become obsessed with finding the right throw pillows for my living room sofa… #sorrynotsorry

I have a ton of inspiration pinned to a secret board that I’ll unleash one day, but I have to say that I’m not really finding exactly what I’m looking for in stores or online—or I am, but it’s prohibitively expensive. It’s essentially two pieces of fabric, people!

So I think I may go the DIY route and make ’em myself. Or in an ideal world, I’d find a friend with a sewing machine who will make me some pillow covers in exchange for a few cocktails… Any takers?

The good news is that Nate Berkus just came out with a new line of (budget-friendly, $20-$55/yard) home decor fabrics at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I love his high-end stuff and his Target collection, so I expect more of the same at Jo-Ann.fabricsAnd I’m liking what I see so far! Especially that mint one with the flowers. Drool.

Check out the full line here.

(Images: Jo-Ann Fabrics)

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Weekend Rewind: Feeling 28

I celebrated my birthday last weekend with some friends at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. We always plan one camping trip each summer, but this was a new venue for us because we wanted to throw tubing into the mix.

By tubing, I mean floating down the river (in this case, Sugar Creek) in a big intertube with a bunch of friends and usually beers. Unfortunately, when you float down the river absolutely everything gets wet, so I wasn’t able to bring my phone or camera. But you can get an idea of our shenanigans from the rest of the pics.

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For the record: The campsite left something to be desired, but tubing was fun and the hiking was what was really impressive. I was shocked by all the cool rock formations and waterfalls. It was hard to believe we were in Indiana! But again, my camera was at the campsite, so no photos. FAIL.

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But after a weekend of sleeping on the ground, drinking whiskey and dealing with the rain (yes, it rained again—second year in a row!), I’m definitely feeling all of my 28 years, if not more. I hope I’m not getting to old for this!

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Liebster Award: Bending the Rules

I don’t usually partake in chains (emails, themed blog posts, restaurants… just kidding on that last one!), but I’ve been so stressed with grad homework, board commitments, travel plans and the like that I’ve warmed to the idea of having prompts for a post—because god knows, I’ve been slacking on the home front. My apartment is a complete and utter disaster at the moment…

So thank you, Ali from My Closet is Full, for nominating me for a Liebster Award! (Check out her blog: She’s vowed not to buy a new item of clothing for a full year! I don’t think I could do it.) I figure this is a quick and easy way for people to get to know more about me outside of just adventures in DIY, design, cooking, etc. Below are Ali’s questions.

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Spain, 1933, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

What’s something that you are proud of accomplishing? I’m proud that I was able to power through the recession. I graduated college in May 2008, which was right when the economy started to go to shit. A lot of people I know ended up living with their parents, working in bars or going back to school simply because they didn’t know what else to do. Sure, I may have been a “professional intern” for awhile, but I had some amazing experiences. (Hello, Wrigley Field!) I wouldn’t trade those opportunities for the world.

If you travel to one place, where would it be? India would be pretty amazing. I want to go before I’m old and cranky and can’t deal with the down-and-dirty-ness of a trip like that. It just seems like a place that can change your life. The colors, the food, the rituals—I want to experience it all.

Who is a hero in your life? As silly as it sounds, my high school yearbook teacher is one of my heroes. She introduced me to journalism and photography, both of which I continue to love today. She also taught me the importance of good work ethic and pushed me to try new things. I had her for a handful of tech classes as well, and she was teaching us Dreamweaver in 2002! Pretty impressive for a group of 16 year olds.

Why did you start blogging? I started blogging, in part, for my grandfather. Pop couldn’t make the trip up to my apartment because of health reasons, but he did have internet access so I set out to show him what kind of projects I was working on and how the place was coming together. Plus, a bunch of items in my apartment are originally his and my grandmother’s, and I thought they’d like the reminder of home.

liebster-awardNail polish or lipstick? Neither really. I like nail polish, but I’m too lazy to keep up with it. I’m pretty rough on my hands so manis don’t last very long. Lipstick I like, too, but I feel like I can’t pull it off. I’ve always been a lip gloss gal. In high school, I worked at the Western Open, and one of the sponsors was Chapstick… I used to hoard that stuff like a drug addict!

What is the best food you’ve ever eaten? Oh man, this is a tough one. Probably the tuna spring rolls at Café Des Artistes in Ubud, Bali. So. Amazing. It’s been almost six years, but my mouth still waters just thinking about them. I’ll return one day…

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? I’d like to meet Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was one of the early photojournalists, and he traveled the world shooting all kinds of people and events. I’d love to know how we was able to capture the “decisive moment” with the limitations of technology in the first half of the 20th century. Plus, I’d ask to buy one of his prints for my apartment!

What is your favorite store and what do you buy when you go there? Macy’s. I am such a lazy shopper, so I love that Macy’s has just about everything and all in one place. The days of me going store-to-store for hours on end are over. I’m lucky enough to work just down the street from Macy’s on State (RIP Marshall Field’s), so I have access to an amazing collection of clothing, shoes, outerwear, jewelry, home goods—they even have a wine cellar!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I’d learn carpentry so I could start flipping houses!

How do you spend your free time? I’m training for the marathon and working toward my masters, but in my true free time, I like to make Old Fashioneds, explore the great outdoors and watch college basketball. Go Hoosiers!

So here’s where I deviate from the rules… the next requirement is that you nominate other bloggers with less than 200 followers for the award and give them questions to answer. But so many blogs don’t have the number of followers visible! So instead, I’m just going to give you a list of blog that I like (in no particular order, and of all sizes), and you can feel free to explore them on your own:

Found this Painted That
Copy Cat Chic
Life with a Dash of Whimsy
Home for Now
Live Creating Yourself
Style by Emily Henderson
Better After
Vintage Revivals
Young House Love
Bright Bazaar

Hope this gave you some insight, and if you like Urban Nesting, I’d definitely suggest checking out the other blogs listed!

(Image: Magnum Photos)

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I Want That Wednesday: Blue (Not Suede) Shoes

I feel like poor navy is underestimated in the home and fashion worlds. I’ve always been a big fan! I mean, what’s not to like? It’s like jeans—it can pair with everything! I recently made my love somewhat permanent, not by getting a heart tattoo with Navy in the middle (though I’d consider it), but by painting a wall in my living room Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. I sometimes just stare in awe. #navycrush

But it seems navy’s momentum has been picking up over the past year or so, and I’m happy it’s finally getting some time in the spotlight. Who knows how long it’ll stay “on trend” though, so I might as well snatch up all the navy I can…

My latest crush? Navy booties. I know we haven’t really had a summer here in Chicago, but I’m still looking forward to fall anyway—and sporting a pair of these would only make it all the better. Here are my favs in the blue hue:

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1. Merona Jill, $35, Target
2. Romy, $90, Sole Society
3. Kork-Ease Natalya, $189, Nordstrom
4. Eric Michael London, $175, Zappos

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.