Throw Back Thursday – San Francisco Then and Now

When my parents got married in 1975 they went on a cross-country road trip honeymoon. I have seen pictures before of a few places they visited like the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and San Francisco. I had only seen one of two photos they had gotten printed, but after my most recent PhotoBin shipment I have so many more!

When we visited San Francisco in March my mom kept mentioning things she remembered from when she was there in 1975. Now I have pictures to compare and contrast how different, but also the same it was. The craziest thing is how many pictures we had taken in almost the exact same spots that my dad did in 1975!

San Francisco Then and Now

San Francisco Then and Now

My parents didn’t walk across the Golden Gate Bridge like we did, but they did venture to both sides.

San Francisco Then and Now

Seriously though…how adorable is my mom!

San Francisco Then and Now

They went to the top of Lombard Street. I love seeing the street in 1975 with all the old cars compared to recently.

San Francisco Then and Now

If anyone ever wondered if the infamous cable cars were the same, they are. Except maybe the billboards on the side have changed a little.

San Francisco Then and Now

Chinatown looks the same too.

San Francisco Then and Now

One thing I knew my parents had done was visit Alcatraz. It was number one on our list of things to do, but I wish I had seen some of the photos beforehand. I would have gotten a picture of the three of us on the top of the boat! Especially since we also traveled there on the Eureka!

San Francisco Then and Now

Alcatraz did not become a national recreation area until 1972. It wasn’t considered a national historic landmark until 1986. When my parents were there it had yet to be completely renovated for tourism, so they got to see the grittier Alcatraz.

San Francisco Then and Now

San Francisco Then and Now

My parents also got to visit parts of the prison that are off limits to tourists now. My mom had mentioned that when we were there. She got to go pretty much anywhere she wanted in 1975. In the next picture it looks like she is in some kind of basement, but I love the lighting. Cheryl took a similar picture with the lighting in March.

San Francisco Then and Now

Even the view outside is relatively the same.

San Francisco Then and Now

One thing I noticed is the condition of the buildings.

San Francisco Then and Now 13

They used to be a nice white color, and there used to be a lot more to them. The preservation of the area is amazing, but with time things get older looking.

San Francisco Then and Now

And lastly the ONE picture of my dad in San Francisco. He was always behind the camera.

I’m not young, but I am also not old. I remember taking pictures when I was younger. You took a photo not knowing what it was going to look like. You didn’t see until you got the film developed. I cannot imagine my parents. They took everything and then they were made into slides. Then you had to load them into a projector to see the pictures. My dad was pretty great at taking pictures. All these came out amazing!

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

When I got this Whimseybox kit a few months ago I was so excited to make it, but life got in the way and it fell to the wayside.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

The kit was full of all the essentials I needed. I was surprised how much clay I got. I also loved how they packaged the razor blade. I recently (accidentally) cut myself with a razor so yes it’s SHARP! The kit also includes a step-by-step guide, or you can follow along online.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Now to start you need to warm up the clay you want to use. The clay blockers were perforated into 3 sections, so I just took one section of each color. I kneaded it until it was warm and pliable. Then I rolled it into balls. Once I had one white one and one purple one I split each. Then I rolled each section into its own ball. Make sure to wipe your hands between the colors. I had purple on my hands and it got all over the white clay.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Now I rolled the one with both colors into a colorful ball. I pulled it a little and mushed the colors together until I liked the pattern that was happening.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Next I had to roll each into a long roll. Kind of like dough for cookies (but itty bitty cookies).

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Now I took all three rolls next to each other and made a giant S shape with the clay. From there I kneaded the clay all together until I got an awesome marble look. Then I rolled that into and even bigger ball.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Next we make the jewelry. I tore off a part to make the earrings and the rest I formed into a thin square shape. You don’t need to make it completely square (that is what the razor is for). Then I split the piece I tore off into two smaller sections for the earrings. I cut the top and sides of the necklace piece with the razor and made the bottom a rounder shape.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

I decided I didn’t want round circle earrings, so I shaped them into triangles. Then I put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and baked them for 10 minutes at 275 degrees.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Once the clay was finished baking I let it cool off for a little while. Now it was time to decorate! I used the glue provided and covered the bottom of the necklace, then I poured the glitter on the bottom to give it some sparkle.

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

Then I used the glue to attach the earring backs and the back of the necklace clasp. This you had to attach then leave to dry for a few hours. Then I was done!

Whimseybox Faux Agate Jewelry

I am definitely going to try this again with other fun color combinations! I want to make some cool clay shapes that I have seen in the store.

If you want to try this project out yourself you can buy the kit online.

Where is Fall?

I think Fall forgot it was supposed to be around for a few weeks…

It has been FREEZING here and it makes me sad. Even though it was cold we still headed to Rutgers for the last home game of the season. It was cold, but at least it was sunny. It has rained the last few games and that is even more miserable. I made friends with a tailgate next to us. They were playing stumps…aka throwing a hammer then catching it and trying to hammer a nail into a tree stump. It was interesting and also fun. I even won one game!

Weekends in November

We bundled up and headed into the game a little late. Cheryl and I also had to leave early to go pick up my cousin in New York. We left at half time, but luckily Rutgers won!

The following day was a local run for our city. I did it a few years ago and it was completely unorganized, but they have gotten their act together. Cheryl and I had 8 miles on the schedule so we did 5 before the run and then included the 3 for the run.

Weekends in November

We were originally all going to run together, but runs make me competitive so I pulled ahead and Jill kept up. I think I made her run faster than she is used to, but she kept pace with me and we finished in 30 minutes.

Weekends in November

Spencer, Cheryl and Kristen did not come in too long after us. Cheryl and Kristen had an all out sprint to the finish!

After the run we decided to go to the Original Pancake House for breakfast…because I mean after you run 3 miles you get to treat yourself right?

Weekends in November

They had tons of specialty pancakes as well as waffles, omelets and sandwiches. I went with a California omelette which also came with 3 buttermilk pancakes. IT WAS MASSIVE! It was also delicious and I almost ate all of it. The pancakes were delicious too and I finished those off. I counted it as breakfast and lunch because they must have used 10-12 eggs in that thing.

Now it’s Wednesday and it’s even colder than it has been…thanks Polar Vortex! Let’s hope it warms up before the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend!

Gearing Up for the Holidays

Happy Friday everyone!

I swear the holiday season happens earlier and earlier every year. As soon as Halloween was over BAM it’s Christmas time. Whatever happened to celebrating Thanksgiving?!?

Christmas before Thanksgiving

With the holiday season also comes holiday shopping and spending lots of $$$ which I really don’t have.

Shut Up and Take My Money

So in that spirit I decided to dedicate this Friday post to what I want for Christmas! Hint Hint ;)

Op Art Duvet Cover

Op Art Duvet Cover + Shams - Slate

Every year it seems I change out my duvet cover. I LOVE this block pattern from West Elm

Techno Be Free Knicker

Techno Be Free Knicker

Lately I have fallen in love with Athleta. Everything I buy from there is just so comfortable! I love the design on these pants and the best part is they have a drawstring….I NEED one in my running pants

Rebel Runner Jacket

Rebel Runner Jacket

Running in the winter is tough. Not only because it’s freezing, but also because it always seems like the times I can run it’s dark out. This jacket from Lululemon has reflective cuffs so I can be seen in the dark. I would also wear it just because it’s so cute!

Full Finger Crossfit Glove

Full Finger Glove

Right now I use fingerless Crossfit gloves, but I noticed a few people with full finger gloves and I want to see if that will help me on the pull up bar (I always slip!)

Dalek Ugly Sweater

Dalek Ugly Sweater

I personally don’t think this sweater is ugly….I think it’s cool! Seriously though a Dalek Christmas sweater? I need this!

Last but not least I NEED a car starter this year. I bought my 2013 RAV4 last year and I got through the winter somehow, but this year I need a warm car to get into.

Happy Holidays!! Anything else I should add to my list?

Holiday Season Entertaining with Kahlúa and Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess

So even though it’s Thursday there is no way I can do a Throwback Thursday post because I am just too excited to recap my night last night!

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

So yesterday Cheryl emailed me saying that she got invited to an event that night in New York. It was being sponsored by Kahlúa Holiday and Elsie and Emma from my favorite blog A Beautiful Mess were going to be there! I rearranged my second job and after work headed into the city. Cheryl was also going to attend, but she had a prior commitment to another event that didn’t end until 7:30 and this started at 7:00. She asked if  I could go to the event so that we could cover the whole thing and they said yes! Before I left I whipped up some blogger business cards just in case.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

The event was being held at Haven’s Kitchen in New York City. I got there a little early so I walked around for a few minutes since most New Yorkers are always late. I got there at 7:00 and headed upstairs.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

The space was very open and bright. They had a bar set up and two signature drinks for us to try out.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

I honestly didn’t even realize Kahlúa came in different flavors! I tried the Spiced Russian first because I am still on a pumpkin kick. It was delicious! Later in the night I also tried the Peppermint Mocha Espresso Martini. It was a lot lighter than the Spiced Russian, but equally delicious.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

They also had a spread of some hors d’oeuvres. I tried the ricotta crostini and squash fritter. They were so good! I had to stop myself because I knew I would eat way too much.

I am not the most outgoing person, but since I was there alone I sucked it up and tried connecting with some of the other guests there. There were people from a bunch of magazines and websites. I even struck up the courage to go and talk to Elsie and Emma. I felt like such a fangirl at the event. I read their blog EVERY DAY so to meet them was like meeting a celebrity to me. Most of the DIYs I attempt I either got from their blog or got inspired by something they did. I really don’t know how they come up with such awesome ideas day after day!

After a little while we all went to tables set up with a lot of drink ingredients. Emma told us about some quick and easy entertaining favors you can give guests during the holidays. The Kahlúa hot cocoa (with marshmallows) and mug idea is definitely something to try.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

The first drink we made was the Peppermint White Russian. First we dipped the top of the glass in honey and then swirled it in crushed peppermint to make a peppermint rim. Then we added ice to the glass. Next we added 1 oz. Kahlúa, 2 oz. vodka, 1 oz. cream and then stirred it together. It was a regular White Russian, but the peppermint rim really made an awesome taste experience. The spiced russian I had when I got there was made the same way, but instead of regular Kahlúa they used the Pumpkin Spice Kahlúa and no peppermint rim obviously.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

Next we made a fun tropical/winter drink thought up by Elsie and Emma called Cinnamon Girl. In a shaker we added 1 oz. Kahlúa, 1 oz. coconut rum, 1/2 tsp. cream of coconut, juice from 1/2 an orange (or 1/2 oz. orange juice), 5-6 oz. pineapple juice and an 1/8 tsp. of cinnamon. Add ice and use a glass to shake it all together. Then I poured it into a glass over ice and garnished with an orange and cinnamon stick. OMG it was so delicious! It was like a tropical drink you would get on vacation, but something you could also drink for Thanksgiving with the cinnamon flavor.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

They were all so good I didn’t know which Kahlúa drink to have. I kept rotating between them, but my favorite was the Cinnamon Girl because it wasn’t as strong.

After the Kahlúa Holiday portion they cleaned up the tables and I got a chance to chat with Elsie and Emma about the blog and their Habitat for Humanity house construction. I’m not sure, but I think I might have been the only one there that reads their blog religiously (or at least freaking out inside that I got to meet them). I told them how much I loved their new store and how I ironically just did one of the DIYs the day before (post coming soon). Elsie even grabbed my business card! FYI both the gifs above were made using their Party Party app, which I use all the time.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

The next potion was crafting and I mean crafting with the two people who I daily get crafting inspiration from….mind=blown! We were going to learn how to make our own designed napkins/tea towels.

First we used foam and cut out shapes we wanted to use. Then we attached the shaped to another piece of foam to make a stamp. Next we used puff paint to stamp our napkins. I put a little bit on paint onto the stamp and then used another piece of foam to spread it out and coat the stamp evenly. My original idea was a herringbone pattern, but that would have taken forever, so I decided to just do two edges.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

Cheryl was a lot more ambitious and did a chevron pattern. It came out so good! She is a perfectionist like me. I did my second napkin with diamonds and triangles in red and gold.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

The whole time we were crafting Elsie and Emma kept walking around to talk to everyone and see how we were doing. They are just so nice. I seriously felt like a crazy stalker because I kept bringing up their blog, but then I thought “who cares” I am a fan and I am going to get as much out of this experience as I can. I hope I wasn’t too crazy chatty.

Kahlua and A Beautiful Mess Event

Ta-da! My finished products! It was so simple to make these I might have to try more and be a little more ambitious like Cheryl was. Once they dry they are machine washable and such a cute accent to any home.

Thank you to Kahlúa and Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess for hosting such a great event and letting me go! Maybe one day (a long time from now) I will have a successful blog like they do! I would recommend both of the drinks I made and if you don’t read their blog you should definitley check it out!

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Please drink responsibly this holiday season! You must be 21 years old to enjoy Kahlúa.

Whimseybox Calligraphy Kit

Wow I have not done a Whimseybox post in a while! And let me tell you, they were starting to stack up!

Whimseybox Calligraphy

A few months ago Whimseybox sent me an online survey about their subscription box. I love surveys so of course I filled it out and I won a gift certificate! I decided to choose a kit on the website that seemed interesting and useful and I came across the calligraphy one.

Whimseybox Calligraphy

I was very excited when this came in the mail. I always love the outside of the card designs. This one I might have to tear off and frame.

Whimseybox Calligraphy

The kit came with all the essentials that I would need. It came with A LOT of extra paper, just in case you mess up, which is easy to do. I messed up in the first minute! I attached the nib to the pen holder like instructed, but didn’t realize they gave me two at different sizes. I could not figure out why it would not fit into the pen holder until I realized I only needed one!

Whimseybox Calligraphy

I started making lines and shapes like instructed, but the upstroke was really difficult for me. Not sure if it was the way I was holding the pen or maybe I didn’t have enough ink….Harry Potter made it look so easy!

Harry Potter Quill

Oh well! After the random scribbles I decided to attempt letters from the letter guide they gave me. I think I did a little bit better with that, but still not spectacular.

Whimseybox Calligraphy

After practicing for about an hour I decided to finally attempt a sign they had given me to replicate. I mean the “ain’t nobody got time for that” phrase is one of my favorite! I really need to work on the thicker down strokes, but I kept running out of in or it pooled.

I have a lot of paper left over so I am definitely going to keep practicing and try it again. It is definitely a useful skill for a designer to know how to write calligraphy!

Goodbye Oasis

So it is now officially fall/winter. Why now? This past weekend we had to finally take down the backyard oasis we built.

Backyard Gazebo

It was so nice while it lasted. It took a while to put up, but not very long to take down.

Goodbye Backyard Oasis

We took it down systematically so hopefully it will be a snap to put back up next year. Since the metal is so thin we don’t think the winter or snow will effect it much….fingers crossed!

Goodbye Backyard Oasis

After we took down the gazebo we realized we should really do the leaves. It’s still early in the season, but our horrible neighbor next door never cleans hers up so we always have SO MANY since they all blow into our yard.

Goodbye Backyard Oasis

It took a good 3 hours to take down the gazebo, clean up the leaves and mow the lawn for the last time this year…goodbye summer!

Caroline’s Stars

Cancer sucks….but cancer in children is probably the worst. This is the story of an amazing little girl named Caroline. Please donate!

In college I became friends with an amazing girl named Erin. She is probably one of the sweetest people I know and goes out of her way for other people more than even me! (which is saying a lot)

I remember in college when her sister was in labor she didn’t have a car and she sat outside my sister’s room crying because she didn’t want to wake her up to ask her to take her back to Philly so she could be there. We yelled at her for waiting so long and rushed there and she made it! She will do anything for her family, especially her nieces and nephews.

Last October I got a text message from Erin to let me know that her youngest niece Caroline was in the hospital. The day before she had stopped breathing and her mom (who is a nurse) gave her CPR and then rushed her to the hospital. The reason she stopped breathing was because of a cancerous tumor in her neck. She was diagnose with Neuroblastoma at just 6 months old. For the next 5 weeks she was in PICU at CHOP in Philadelphia and then for the following 6 months she received outpatient chemotherapy. She couldn’t be around most people, for fear that she would get sick. She received her last round of chemotherapy the week of her first birthday. I am happy to say that after 7 long months of battle Caroline BEAT cancer!

Lemon Run 2014

Last November my friend Erin wanted to DO something for Caroline. She felt helpless. While researching the cancer she came across Alex’s Lemonade Stand. A little girl named Alexandra Scott was also diagnosed with Neuroblastoma before her first birthday. The day after her 4th birthday she received a stem cell transplant and told her mom “when I get out of the hospital I want to have a lemonade stand.” She said she wanted to give the money to doctors to allow them to “help other kids, like they helped me.” True to her word, she held her first lemonade stand later that year with the help of her older brother and raised an amazing $2,000 for “her hospital.” Sadly in August 2004 Alex passed away at the age of 8. With the help of others who were inspired by her story, she raised more than $1 million to help fund the cure for the disease that took her life. Alex was also from Philadelphia.

Lemon Run 2014

Last year Erin and a team of friends and family participated in the Lemon Run for Caroline, who was still in the hospital. Their team raised the 3rd most amount of money. Last year I was unable to go, but I made sure I could attend this year and it seriously was an amazing experience.

We got to the event around 8:00am (just as the kids races were starting) and it was a little bit of mass hysteria. Erin’s family is HUGE and because her and her family are just so awesome, they also have a lot of friends. Over 140 showed up just on Caroline’s Stars!

Lemon Run 2014

Caroline is just one of hundreds of kids diagnosed with childhood cancer. She was able to meet a bunch of other kids just like her.

Lemon Run 2014

The Lemon Run is a 5K run/walk. The runners start first, and then the walkers. The course is beautiful in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. Cheryl and I ran the race (a pre-cursor to our 11 miles we had to run for training).

Lemon Run 2014

I have met a lot of Erin’s family and friends over the years, and even though I don’t know each one by name they know Cheryl and I as the twins. They cheered us on as we crossed the finish and then we went to wait for everyone else and cheer them on.

Lemon Run 2014

Erin walked with her sister-in-law and Caroline (and a lot of other family and friends) during the event. It is remarkable that just a year before this amazing little girl was in a hospital bed battling cancer. The whole thing was pretty emotional and I had to turn away from Erin’s mom as they passed by because she was crying and I was tearing up!

Lemon Run 2014

Caroline even crossed the finish line all by herself!

I can’t imagine being diagnosed with cancer as an adult, but being a parent and having your child endure that at such a young age is unimaginable. Caroline’s parents are amazing and Caroline is such an inspiration! After the event Alex’s parents talked to everyone about Alex and how overwhelmed they were with all the support they have received and the amount of money these events have made. I could no longer hold back the tears. All of these kids are superheros.

After the run Cheryl and I were planning on heading over to the Schuylkill to do 8 more miles to train for our upcoming Philadelphia Marathon. We said to each other….why don’t we do the marathon for Caroline? So we grabbed some ALS tech shirts to wear the day of the race and even though I solicited for people to donate for the Lemon Run I now want to see if they can raise even more money! Donations are not over until November 20th! Please DONATE what you can. No one fights alone.

Lemon Run 2014

Project Life September

Happy Friday!

This week has REALLY sucked. It’s cold and now dark when I get out of work (I need sunlight people!) and I just had a really bad/stressful week at work. So glad for the weekend!

I have been slacking on my Project Life pages. October was just so hectic it was hard to find time to design them, but here is September at least!

Project Life September

September started off great! Memorial Day weekend I was able to start a bunch of projects that I have been neglecting and we had just gotten back from a trip to see family in Wisconsin AND our run in Vancouver. That first weekend was our first Rutgers game of the year!

Project Life September

The following week highlight was the announcement of the new iPhone and soon to be released Apple Watch! I can’t wait! That weekend we did the R.O.C. race and then headed to a rainy Rutgers game.

Project Life September

Our annual show in New Brunswick was tiring, but fun. I even got my ass out of bed a few days to run! I did a lot of running in September. Training for my marathon and also for the Philadelphia Rock and Roll 5K and Half Marathon.

Project Life September

The Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon was just as fun as ever. We got VIP treatment again this year and unfortunately I don’t know if I can race this one anymore without it! The triplets turned 9! Where has the time gone! We spent the weekend in the Catskills for Cindy’s birthday. It was so pretty there and a fun time with all her friends. We went hiking and kayaking on the Delaware.

Project Life September

The final week of September was tame. We went to see the Maze Runner and I worked a Thursday night wedding (need to make that extra $$). I got myself a new Alex and Ani bracelet with a running shoe on it. The Rutgers game that weekend was a blackout game against Michigan. My cousins came and we all had a great time! When Rutgers won the students even rushed the field. It was crazy!!

Dining Room Makeover Ideas

So a few months ago I posted about my dream living room space.

Looking around my house there are a lot of rooms I would love to revamp. I am especially into vintage looks now and I can’t wait to finish my Singer sewing table. I plan on putting it in the dining room along one of the blank walls. While thinking the dining room I realized there are a lot of things I would love to change about it. I recently discovered a website called Chairish that has amazing vintage furniture and decor. So I got to planning.

Chairish Dining Room

So I decided my color scheme would be grays with hints of color. I am thinking mainly yellows with a few blue green accents thrown in.

First I would start with a cool rug like this one by Issac Mizrahi. I love the great geometric shapes and the colors. We already have a dining room table like this Jensen Lewis table. It’s a dark wood with 6 chairs. The bottoms of the chairs need a huge revamp. They are a blue and white flower pattern right now. I would probably choose a subtle yellow blend like this. Next I have always wanted a bar cart. We have most of our alcohol all over the house, so it would be nice to have it set up when company comes over. I would probably add some wallpaper to the bottom of the cart to make the top look nicer. This metallic leaf wallpaper is gorgeous! Next would be lighting. The room is set up with overhead lighting and we have a pretty old chandelier right now. I would change it out for something more modern. Lastly I have always wanted a hoosier. My friend Lauren got one from her parents and I think it is so cool! This one is in really great shape, but I would probably paint it a bright color to make it the centerpiece of the room. I love yellow!

Chairish has a lot of amazing vintage pieces. If you have time to browse the site you definitely need to. Just make sure you have enough time. I found myself on it for hours drooling over everything.