Friday, February 24, 2012

Wheezy: Week Four

Amazingly I haven't given up on this half marathon thing. That may be because I haven't actually done any running yet.  I'm in week four of "conditioning", phase 1, which is five weeks of just walking. So far, so good.

I can begin to see small differences.  It's amazing what just about an hour of walking most days of the week will do for you. I know, I know, scientists have known this for ages. But, I tell you,  it's true. I feel stronger, I'm carrying myself a little bit taller. I feel better. I swear my butt has gotten better--baby's got getting back! Oh, TMI?  Sorry...

The one thing that hasn't changed is the number display on the scale. I choose to blame that on all the muscle I'm gaining, and not on the really tasty Seattle food that we eat on the weekends. We all have our delusions, you know.

This really has been a lifestyle change. Before, I would come home from work, flop on the couch and be done for the night. Now I come home from work, change clothes, and Mr. Goodlaff and I head out for a walk. Almost every day.  I even invested in a hooded, waterproof jacket just so we could continue our training in the rain--no excuses.

I feel pretty proud at how far I've come, but I'm still a bit scared at how far I have to go. Wish me luck with this whole running thing...I have a feeling I'm gonna need it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tutorial Twosday: Sweets

Is a sweet tooth genetic?  Daddy Goodlaff is practically the cookie monster, and I seem to have inherited the same sugar obsession. I have a terrible sweet tooth.  Really, it's just awful. 

I see the most amazing, delicious confections on Pinterest every day, and though I want to make all of them, I think that would be massively unwise and unhelpful given my current goal of running a half marathon in August.  Still, it doesn't mean that I can't look...

You want to know one of my biggest weaknesses?  Those damn Lofthouse cookies.  So soft, so fluffy--frosting, sprinkles, tastiness.  Oh man, I could eat a whole package.

Now, thanks to the Authentic Suburban Gourmet, I can make them in my own kitchen.  I'm pretty sure this could be a really, really bad idea...

Valentine's Day is barely over, St. Patrick's Day merely a blip on the radar, and the stores are full of Easter, Easter, Easter.  So, when this darling cupcake came across my feed, I had to pin it:

Just look at it!  Easter.  In a cupcake.  I kind of want to head in the kitchen right now and get started....

Happy crafting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hello Hydrangeas

Okay, so it's not officially Spring yet--in fact, our weather is doing a pretty good rendition of "winter," right now--but our front door needed a change and I was inspired by all the pretty spring flowers on sale at the craft store. 

Ah, the craft store: a place where you can walk in with one idea in your head, fill your basket, change your mind, fill your basket again, and walk out with supplies for something completely new.  Like a hydrangea wreath. Story of my life.

I was inspired by V and Co's Hydrangea wreath:

But I decided to do things a little differently.

First off, I wanted hydrangeas in a few different colors; I chose white and green for a bright, springy feel.  I was all set to pick up a round wreath, but I spotted a few square wreaths on sale for just $2.97--sold!

After cutting the stems and arranging the blooms the way I wanted to, I glued them down, turned the wreath on its side, and ended up with this:

I used six bunches of hydrangeas, and definitely could have gone with about two more (one in each color) for a fuller, fluffier look. I wasn't thrilled with my ribbon choice (I should have used a wider, darker ribbon), but other than that, I love the way my wreath turned out. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile, and because its made of hydrangeas, reminds me of Mama Goodlaff (she loves hydrangeas).

It really brightened up our dreary front door, and it's the first thing I see at the end of the hallway after I get out of the elevator.  I've never experienced Spring in the Pacific Northwest, but if nothing else, I will get to see hydrangeas every day!

How are you preparing for Spring?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tutorial Twosday: Lunch Bag Revolution

I've been carrying the same lunch bag for a few years now, and though I am madly in love with the fabric, I kind of threw it together without a pattern.  As I've done more and more sewing projects, I've learned more about construction and patterning, and now I look at my lunch bag with a mix of pity and shame. 

I've been looking for a new lunch bag for a while now, and this one has been on my radar:

Okay, so I'm kind of cheating here.  You have to pay for the PDF pattern, but it's only $5 dollars and technically, it is a tutorial.  Plus, it's adorable. How can you resist it?  You'll be seeing the Goodlaff version soon...

Do you ever feel guilty throwing away plastic Ziploc bags?  'Cause I do.  I came across these on Pinterest the other day, and I nearly died from cleverness overload:

Why, yes, those are fabric covered, plastic-lined, reusable lunch bags.  I'm going to do a set (maybe five?), and stop buying so many plastic bags. Major points for eco-friendliness...

Lunch is about to get a makeover!

Happy crafting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wheezy: Starting Gun

Did I tell you the race I'm running is called the Sea Wheeze? The word "wheeze" is in the title, and wheezing is exactly what I'll be doing if I don't get it together.

I started last Monday.  Well, I should say that we started last Monday--Mr. Goodlaff is my local training partner. Misery loves company, after all.  So, last Monday we laced up our shoes and headed out the door into the fast approaching darkness. Our walk wasn't notable in its length or scenery, but I did suffer my first training-related injury.

Low light, plus a large stick, combined with my clumsiness made a perfect recipe for my first training-related injury.  I fell, bruised my shin, banged my elbow, bashed my hip, and although the gloves I was wearing stopped any bad road rash on my palms, I still suffered pretty bad rug burn (glove burn?). Really, Universe? On the first day? A few seconds later I picked myself back up and we kept going--suck it up, buttercup.

I'm pretty happy that my training plan (if we can call it that), involves about five weeks of just walking.  No set time limit, no set distance, just getting used to moving and getting my blood pumping. We tend to walk between two and three miles or about an hour most days, and it's been fun exploring our neighborhood on foot.  I have a feeling I will look back on these weeks and wish for the good old days....

Once my five weeks is up, I'll take about 20 weeks to slowly work up to being able to run for several minutes at a time--I know, it sounds scary to me too.  I haven't run since high school, and only then begrudgingly.  After my 20 weeks of conditioning, I start a 12 week half marathon training program, which means running almost every day.

How did I come up with all of this? Google.

My main sources of information came from here and here.  Are they good?  I have no idea.  But they seem doable, and it was free advice.

If you have any advice (besides quitting while I'm ahead), feel free to pass it along.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tutorial Twosday: Quilts

When I was trying to decide what kind of blanket I should make for my newest niece, H, I combed through dozens and dozens of prospective quilt patterns before deciding on the bunting flag quilt. Here are a few that made the short list.

First up, the McKinley Quilt:

What I loved about this quilt was the simplicity and the fun details.  Fabric, fabric, and more fabric coming together in one happy little blanket!  I also really loved the name embroidered right on the quilt, especially useful (and special) for a kid who has two older siblings and will probably be the recipient of many hand-me-downs. The fabric flowers are adorable, but maybe wouldn't be the best thing for a five month old. 

My initial plans actually were to do a hybrid of the bunting quilt and this quilt, the Modern Monogram Quilt:

Again with the simplicity. This quilt is all about the baby's name, and again, is super simple.  No piecing, very little cutting, big impact. This quilt is something you could throw together in a day, making it perfect for a last-minute (and very impressive) baby gift. 

Like I said, I thought of combining the name idea of this quilt with the bunting flags, but eventually decided that the front would be too busy.  I think I made the right choice.  

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Quarter

Well, The Goodlaffs have officially lived in Seattle for three months--that's a quarter of the year! It's been a crazy, crazy time, but I think that we've finally begun settling in to our new home and new life in the Emerald City.

I've decided to commemorate our three monthiversary with some notable highs and lows:

High:  We now live in a place where things are open past 6 PM and we have an abundance of choices in everything from restaurants to grocery stores. 
 Living in a city means we have options.  There's an Indian restaurant down the street that stays open until 3AM.  I can't say I've ever wanted Indian food at 3AM (I didn't really discover it until after college), but if I did, Seattle's got me covered.  If we feel like Greek food, we have it.  Pizza? Right down the street. Teriyaki, Tempura, or Thai? Check, check, check.  It's a lovely little Mecca of choice. 

Low: We now live in a place with traffic and city drivers.
Confession: I hate traffic.  Traffic in Northern California consisted of letting another driver go at a stop sign intersection or being stopped while school children boarded a bus on a country road. Traffic in Seattle is cutthroat, and the drivers here (while not as bad as drivers in L.A.) are--forgive my language--assholes.  Luckily, my commute has very little traffic--a few long stoplights and a some 18-wheelers to pass--but what I have discovered is that most of these city drivers are flat-out crazy.  A few days ago we sat on a bridge for an hour and a half because of construction--I was ready to kill someone by the time we finally got out of it (and I wasn't the one driving). City drivers are selfish, mean, and stupid.  Check back with me in another few months: I'm learning to be a shark.  And to swear.  Colorfully.

High: We have places to go and things to do!
A few weeks ago, we saw West Side Story in Downtown Seattle.  One week after that, we took a road trip to Portland to see the Mythbusters: Behind The Myths Tour. Every week I get notifications in my email about a cool show or band coming to town.  There are hundreds of options for our entertainment and exploration--so exciting!

Low: We get lost--a lot.
A new city is fun, but the problem is about 99% of the time, we have no idea how to get to where we are wanting to go.  Our GPS unit and Google Maps have become our new best friends. Even with instructions, we get lost or end up getting detoured through the ghetto.  What I miss the most is knowing the back roads, the ways around, and the shortcuts from here to there. I know the getting lost helps us learn those things, but after making the same loop seven times and still not being able to turn, while the GPS is yelling "recalculating" can get a little old.  And I'm not the best navigator, even with the help of the GPS. Oops.

High: We've learnt a lot about ourselves. 
Let's face it: moving sucks.  Being jobless sucks.  But going through that with Mr. Goodlaff has been illuminating.  We've done a lot of soul-searching and come out the better for it. We're making life plans and working toward common goals. I guess we're real grown-ups now.

Low: We miss our family and friends.
I won't lie.  I'm a little homesick sometimes.  I miss my parents and Mr. Goodlaff's family.  I'm bummed that we have to watch our nieces and nephews grow up via Facebook.  I really wish I had a few friends to call up and hang out with.  We are lucky to have one of Mr. Goodlaff's cousins and his sister here to connect with, but we left a lot of people behind when we moved, and chatting over Skype just isn't the same. Was it the right decision for us to come here?  Absolutely. But I really miss girl time with Mama Goodlaff.  And I miss having friends.  We have no friends.  Being of a shy, somewhat unsocial nature doesn't help us in that respect either (so, if you live in Seattle, give me a holler--I'm normal, I swear).

All in all, it's been a great start here in Seattle.  We are starting to acclimate to the weather--we knew there would be rain, but it's really freaking cold here sometimes. We have favorite restaurants and stores, have our preferred routes to locations, and are learning our way around.  Life is settling down.  And life is good.

I can't wait to see what the next few months bring!