Sentimental DIYs

Last week I had my 3rd wedding anniversary. We're at a point in our lives where 1) we've given each other a LOT of gifts so coming up with something original is hard, and 2) we don't have a lot of extra money laying around.

A few months ago I was reading Spoonflower's blog, which gave me the idea to write my vows out by hand and turn them into a pocket square for my husband. I loved this idea because it was unique (literally no one else will give him this) and I hadn't yet given him a pocket square. It was also surprisingly affordable. I ordered two fat quarters of high quality, custom fabric for under $30.

For the side with the handwritten vows, I just used a dark black sharpie pen and carefully wrote them out, then scanned them into my computer. For the patterned side, I found some fun Doctor Who fabric (because I will be making him a TARDIS blazer at some point in the next few months!). I ordered each printed on the Organic Cotton Sateen, but you could get silk if you want something fancier, or I'd imagine you could use other fabrics they offer, too.

I followed the instructions laid out in this blog, and opted for the top-stitched finish for my project. The actual cutting and sewing took less than 45 minutes (I wanted it to be perfect), and I couldn't be happier with out this turned out. 😍

The uncut yard of fabric used to make 4 custom tea towels

Because I subscribe to Spoonflower's blog, I get a lot of fun DIY emails from them, and another project I ended up doing semi-recently is actually quite similar to the pocket square. For Christmas I made tea towels for my parents and my mother-in-law.

For my parents, I found a couple fractals (my dad makes them using a computer program he wrote, I've posted about making scarves with them in the past) and put a black border around them, and for my mother-in-law, I scanned hand-written recipes from her mom, and put a brown border on them (the brown complimented the color of the recipe cards). The borders on each were 1.5 inches, which worked great with the thicker linen and double fold hem.

I ordered just one yard of Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra and uploaded one image with two fractals and two recipes, which fit perfectly! That means that 4 towels cost me less than $30, and as far as sewing skill goes here, it's nice and easy - lots of straight lines. The most challenging part was the corners, because they got pretty thick with the double fold hem on each side.

What I love about both these DIY's is that they're both nice and simple, but have the potential to be extremely meaningful. I could just buy "normal" fabric and create the same projects without the sentimentality attached, and I'm sure people would still be happy to receive these as gifts. The handwritten notes, recipes, and works of art are the cherry on top, making these creations unique and meaningful.

I've used Spoonflower several times over the past few years, and am always pleased with the quality of the fabric and with the artwork available to browse through. I look forward to more projects yet to come using their services!

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runDisney & My First Half Marathon

If you’re looking do do a race, runDisney is a great place to start. I only speak from experience of my first half marathon last month and a 10k a few years ago, but I’m almost positive you don’t get to run through Disney with any other race organization.

They have upped their race photo game since the 10k (top)

In the days leading up to the race you need to go to the Expo at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. They have lots of great vendors with clothes, energy food, accessories, etc. I got a non-slip headband from Sparkly Soul which works great, but I opted for official runDisney merchandise otherwise. I figured I could go online and get the other vendors’ items if I was still dreaming about it. The runDisney clothing, accessories and pins are more exclusive, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to get them online later (without paying a ton on eBay).

Now for race day! First off, you get to see tons of people in super fun outfits. What would be crazy and over-the-top in other races is subdued at a runDisney race. I was Minnie Mouse, but so were a ton of others, and it didn’t even compare to how decked out some people were in tutus, onesies, etc., and they were ALL DISNEY THEMED! What a dream!

Along the course are cute mile markers for selfie opportunities, and characters where Disney PhotoPass photographers will take your picture. If you don’t mind waiting in these lines, I bet you can get a lot of fun pictures. I opted to not do any of these, and instead just be as conscious as possible to smile at the photographers along the course for my race photos. I’m sure they try to get people through as quickly as possible, but I didn’t want to wait for 2 dozen others to get their picture taken before me. But no matter if you stop or not, all the pictures taken on the course are attached to your race bib, so just make sure it’s visible!

If it’s going to be cold (and you know that with enough heads up), you can bring clothes or blankets you don’t mind throwing off the side of the track. They donate all of these clothes, too! The forecast when I left Boulder didn’t include the bomb cyclone… which meant waiting for my wave made me super duper cold. (That’s a great reason to submit proof of time - so you’re waiting less time for your wave to start) Luckily, my outfit included long sleeves and long pants to begin with (I was even worried about being to warm! Hah!), plus I layered a tank top under, and added a cute running skirt I bought at the expo! I also had a beanie and gloves, which I tucked into my running belt as soon as I warmed up a bit. Made the race photos a bit lumpy, but I couldn’t bear to throw away things I actually love. Anyway - that’s the thing about Florida. It’s usually warm, but you just never know. At least it wasn’t raining that morning, too! (The previous year they had cancelled the race due to weather!)

The lumps on my tummy are my hat and gloves 😂

They start you with fireworks and play music all over the course - my favorite was when they played “Aquarium” from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals under the boat bridge by the Contemporary, and paired it with ripply blue lights to mimic being underwater. Friends and family can also come watch at certain points - some set up lawn chairs by the roads by the hotels, others went to Main Street USA, Future World in Epcot, or the finish line. Marching bands from local schools come, and people you don’t know want to encourage you and high five you the whole way. I even got to high five a fellow Hufflepuff just outside the Magic Kingdom. Plus, my hubby was stuck in bag check around Epcot at the perfect time to yell my name and give me some encouragement, which gave me a little boost. We then met up just outside Epcot.

There are also lots of port-a-potties, water/powerade stations, and medical tents along the way. I grabbed a drink about every other water station, and I got some energy jelly beans around mile 8.5 - it’s super important to stay hydrated and energized, especially when it’s cold and you don’t realize how much you might be sweating. It is nice being at sea level, too - you don’t have the added component of elevation, no matter where you’ve been training. Any brief walking I did had more to do with the stupid blisters on my toes. And having to pee 🙈

A huge thanks to this guy who went to Disney for over a week just to celebrate me and cheer me on ❤️

Disney seems to make their races accessible to all levels - you’ve still got the super-elite type runners, but you’ve also got a lot of walkers and joggers. The races are expensive, but you get a sweet medal, a shirt, a space blanket, food, water, powerade, and fun photo-ops. Getting there and staying can be expensive, too (believe me), but if it’s something important to cross off your bucket list, I do recommend runDisney races. I look forward to the next one I do, whenever that might be!

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This is 30

It’s not like you feel different all of a sudden, but one day you just are 30. Your 20s are behind you, but you still feel young, able, and eager to keep exploring the world.

For my 30th, I went to my favorite place: Disney World. I dressed up as Minnie Mouse, and somehow convinced my sweet husband to be my Mickey. I bought ridiculously huge mylar balloons just because I thought they were cute. I had a cocktail in Epcot and got free bubbles at dinner. I watched fireworks go off all around me as I stood next to Cinderella’s Castle. 

And my festivities didn’t end there. I stayed for a whole week. My family was there. My in-laws even celebrated with us. Two lovely friends flew across the country and walked miles and miles in crappy “bomb cyclone” weather. We watched New Years fireworks from our beautiful balcony. We went to Hogsmeade, and my wand chose me. We rode bikes with ET and went on adventures with Spiderman.

I wore ridiculous outfits everyday, including several hand-made pieces. I found a handful of souvenirs, including a super soft Eeyore to snuggle with.

My amazing hubby slept in a tent for four nights in surprisingly cold Florida weather, just so I could run my first half marathon one week after my birthday. In total I walked or ran 102 miles. Maybe more - my watch ran out of batteries a couple evenings.

 The greatest guy celebrating me finishing the race, even though I wear ridiculous homemade Haunted Mansion skirts

The greatest guy celebrating me finishing the race, even though I wear ridiculous homemade Haunted Mansion skirts

We drove home through New Orleans, ate delicious food and walked down Bourbon Street in the rain.

Lots of people seem to think it might be bad to have your birthday so near the holidays. It’s never bothered me, though. It’s always felt like a special day, and I also like that it’s so close to the New Year. Any goals for 2018 can easily just be my goals for 30. 

I started off 30 the best way I know how. I feel strong, and I know I can do even more. Here’s to 2018 everything my 30s have in store.