Framing Bathroom Mirror – Easy DIY

Both of my bathrooms were gifted with enormous, beautiful mirrors held up by clips. I knew I wanted to frame them and looked up a couple of online tutorials to see how I wanted to do it.

I opted not to do a miter joint because I’m not all that handy with a saw and I thought a more casual frame would go nicer with my style and decor.

I picked up my materials at Lowe’s. In all, I used 6 (4 were needed, but I miscalculated and wasted two) 8-foot molding strips plus 2 8-foot sections of paneling for the sides of the mirrors to keep the mirror edges from being visible. If my mirrors were sandwiched between walls I wouldn’t have bothered.

Plus, a caulking gun (no idea where mine went), some Liquid Nails, some paintable caulk, and I still had plenty of high gloss white trim paint leftover. I didn’t buy a saw because we have something like 3, but they had little miter saws for sale for about $20 that would get the job done.

I used the miter saw to cut the edges and then used blue painters tape to tape the pieces up on the mirror to make sure I liked how it looked before I committed. That’s how I figured out I needed the center pieces to be about and inch longer – back to the store for more molding.


I tend to hang my swimsuits in this bathroom to dry.

The backs of the molding was primed light so I just glued them on with the Liquid Nails and let dry. I had to tape some pieces up and brace them to make sure they wouldn’t wiggle out of place as they dried.

Once dried, I caulked up the seams and smoothed them as best as I could. Once that had dried, I painted two coats of Sherwin Williams high gloss Ultra White before removing the painters tape and using a razor to scrape off any paint spatters on the mirrors.


No swimsuits, just microfiber towels for drying the cars.

You can see some of the Liquid Nails if you peer into the corners, but overall the mirrors look great and I’m happy with how much fresher the bathroom looks with this easy update.


Playing it by Ear

Around this time each year is when I start planning my race season for the following year. Mainly because it’s fun but also because it keeps me motivated through the winter (which was really important living in Alaska’s Golden Heart of Darkness). I started doing the same thing again recently when I got a shot of reality from a fitness and pregnancy group I follow.

Namely, I may not be able to bounce right back like I naively think I can. What if I have a c-section? That’s six weeks at least just to be able to heal not to mention the lack of sleep and if I’m able to breastfeed, having to feed her frequently.

And if there’s other factors as well, I have to take that time off to let my body heal without straining it or injuring it further by trying to push it too soon. I’ve recovered from marathons but this is something totally different. I’ve never recovered from birth before, plus I have no idea how different my life is going to be. It’s sort of like traveling – even though I can read all the guidebooks, it’s still going to be different experiencing something for the first time.

It’s hard to hold back from registering for a bunch of races, but even if I lose out on early bird discounts, it’s still better than having to choose to not start and feeling like a failure for it. I registered for a lot of races this fall and winter because I didn’t really think I would get pregnant and now even though it’s dumb, I feel like I’m failing myself by not doing the races.

So instead, I’m going to focus my efforts on keeping myself active and healthy through pregnancy, taking the time and put in the work to recover safely, and stay involved in sports through volunteering. That way I can still be a part of the race and honestly, races and events rely so much on volunteer support.

Holiday Gift Guide – Active Pregnant Ladies

I thought it’d be fun to do sort of a different take on holiday gift guides than most of what I’ve seen. Now that I’m in the third trimester (holy cow, already?) I’m looking forward to our baby getting here, getting to know her, getting used to our new life, and also getting back into shape and racing next summer. I work full-time and I like being active so I thought it’d be good to share some of the things I’ve found that really work for me.

PicMonkey Image-2

  1. BaoBei Belly Support Band// $64 // The one pictured is mesh but mine is solid all the way around. The best way I can describe it is like a sports bra (but a comfortable one) for your bump. It doesn’t relieve back pain but it does help keep me feeling like I’m more put together and not just hanging out. Plus it keeps you from showing more skin that you’d like if your shirt rides up.
  2. Oiselle Lux Track Pants// $84 // These are currently on sale for 20% off with the code BOOMBOOM. These are a pre-pregnancy favorite that I now love even more, which I didn’t think possible. They are warm, soft and the coziest thing you can wear. I love Oiselle’s lux line and am thankful that these have been able to transition through pregnancy with me with their wonderful waistband.
  3. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan// $116 // These were on Oprah’s list of favorites last year and I have to say Oprah has really good taste (or at least her shoppers do). Hoodies and most sweaters don’t fit anymore and the weather down here is chilly in the mornings but warm in the afternoons, so an open cardigan is perfect for the weather. This one, although pricey, is so flexible with so many different styles that it’s become a staple.
  4. Blanqi Tights // $64 // So these are currently sold out but the postpartum ones are still available at the same price. They were selling them at 50% off the week of Thanksgiving so I bought a pair, they came, and I bought a second pair. I likely would have bought more but two pairs of black leggings seems like enough. They fit like a firm, warm hug and I like that they come up over the bump and amazingly, do not slip down unlike every other pair of maternity bottoms out there. The way the fabric is knit reminds me a little of Spanx, but these are definitely nicer-looking and you can wear them alone (I am one of those people who wears leggings as pants; I don’t care).
  5. GlowBodyPT 12-week Post Pregnancy Plan // $99 // I got into GlowBodyPT during my month of yoga because I started getting a little bored of the prenatal yoga plans out there and saw she had a prenatal yoga designed to strengthen the muscles used for labor. She offers a completely free prenatal routine as well. Although I’ve still got a few months left being pregnant, I’m already looking forward to being able to get back into work. I liked that the prenatal program really only requires a set of dumbbells, which I have at home, and that there’s videos for every workout in case you need to see the movement performed.
  6. SOAS Racing Biggie Tanks // $45 // I admit I liked their Kona design this year because of the pineapples because pineapples are a thing here in the South, but I’m a big fan of their biggie tank because not only is it cute and comfortable to wear, it’s loose enough that I’m still wearing it. I also like that the front doesn’t go super low and that it covers all the important pieces.
  7. Ashley Horner Losing The Bump // $50 // I’ve been a huge fan of Ashley Horner’s programs since I discovered them while deployed. Not only did I get stronger and faster, but I was able to do my very first pull ups ever. Also, I met Ashley last fall and she is super nice and warm in person which just makes me admire her even more. Her programs are challenging and tough, but get results. Most of them need a training facility to complete the workouts, though, so I may hold off on getting into this until we have our baby in childcare and she’s a little older so I can workout more easily.



November Yoga Challenge

Well, it’s December which means my self challenge of 30 days of yoga is over. So how did it go? For starters, I am so glad I didn’t promise myself that I’d do full practices or even commit to a set amount of time because freeing myself up meant I was free to do as much or as little as I wanted or needed.

I started off doing full workouts from Youtube prenatal yoga videos. Then I looked for the shortest ones. Then I modified even further and just did the poses I felt like I needed. About halfway through the month I started having a lot of back pain. It wasn’t very severe, but it was uncomfortable and I felt like I was out of alignment so I did a lot of cat and cow and thread the needle poses to try to relieve some of the pressure.

This span of doing a few poses was most of the month, honestly. Towards the end I did feel up to lengthier work and videos, but if I’d tried to do 30 days of yoga that way I’d definitely have failed.

As it is I could have done better, but I could have done worse. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because most of the time I was either raggedy from just waking up or raggedy from a full day of work.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite yoga videos from the month.

I liked this one because it focused on back and shoulders, which is where I’m sorest lately.

I love, love, loved this one because it was challenging but also just fun to do.


So what’s up for December? Pretty much just getting through the holidays still working on working out and walking my dogs and trying really hard not to eat all the cookies I’m offered.


I went to a baby shower

I typically maintain low expectations for most things Army, that way I’m seldom disappointed and can be pleasantly surprised when things are better than expected. As I mentioned before, I’m also pretty laid back which couples well with the first. So far, though, I have been beyond pleased with all my experiences with the New Parent Support Program and also the Cradle Club classes offered at my local hospital.


The NPSP hosted an educational baby shower for us recently for a few hours on a Saturday morning. We had speakers and demonstrations on baby wearing, breastfeeding, and an informational session on WIC. We also played games and won prizes and were treated to a healthy cooking session (plus lunch!) by a chef who works on post for the Child and Youth Services.


Finally, they gave us all a gift bag to take home filled with useful things for a new parents, plus tons of information to read through.


It was a really good experience and I got even more information on groups and resources in the area that I’m looking forward to putting to good use.

On My Mind

For some reason this week was just unending to me. Partly because I’ve been having some back pain that has made it hard for me to sleep. I’m already a light sleeper but this has been enough to just make me get up so there’s been a few morning when my day has started around 2 a.m. So much for sleeping while I can.


I read this story this past weekend and got pretty teary-eyed at how sweet and amazing what a love story it is.


Although I’m having trouble sleeping, I also bought a memory foam mattress topper recently and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I had one while I was in Afghanistan and loved it so when my bed started feeling less comfortable I was pretty sure a mattress topper would help (and it does, I just can’t seem to stay asleep). Even P likes it and he usually likes firmer mattresses. It’s amazing and at only $70 I wish I had done this sooner.

Williams Sonoma Gift Guide.

Okay, so I love Williams Sonoma. I love their store, I love how it smells, how it sells devices that are good at doing only one thing and all their expensive things, but also I love what good quality everything is. I splurged on a really nice Le Creuset deep saucepan when I moved back here because I knew I’d be without my kitchen tools and wanted to buy something I could still use. I got it on clearance and we use it all the time.

Anyway, this guy writes a hater’s guide to their catalog every year. The 2017 one isn’t out yet but his from 2016 is still hilarious.


This comic from 1111 Animals.


Doe, a deer, a FEMALE, dear

I was so disappointed with my last ultrasound that I thought I’d see about going to one of the boutique places. The ones near Augusta were all booked up but there was plenty of availability for appointments in and around Atlanta. Since I was heading up for the Atlanta 10-miler, it was easy enough to stop off in Covington and go to Stork Vision.

The front office was really pretty and cozy. I did filled out the same paperwork as I had done online and a family came out of the room and after briefly dickering with the front desk over how much a disc of images was, they left and took a bazillion pics in front of the store.

The ultrasound room was darker and reminded me of a spa. The tech at the first ultrasound had a hard time getting pictures but she was very cooperative this time. Well, mainly. She was lying with her feet by her face and wasn’t interested in changing that position for anything. The first tech told me she couldn’t tell me the gender because it could be a lawsuit, which is ridiculous. I actually can’t sue my medical care-she could punch me in the face and I couldn’t sue her for anything. Anyway, second tech had no problems confirming that Zoya is indeed a Zoya and not a Vladimir the Destroyer.

I always thought it odd when people would post their baby’s bits online and now here I am

Also she got some nice pictures in 3D which was really cool. I didn’t think she’d look like much since she’s only half-naked but she definitely has some obvious facial features already. To me, she looks more like P.

I’m leaning towards going back in a few weeks for a more full 3D session once she’s put on some more weight and developed some more to see what she looks like then.


On my mind

I’m in a class for the next couple of weeks which has been nice because I have a “normal” schedule instead of my rotating shifts and got to spend Halloween handing out candy to kids (and dog treats to Zane because we’re working on positive associations with strangers and kids especially) but has also been a pain because now I have to drive in traffic and parking has been much harder to find.

Staying awake.

You’d also think that a normal schedule would help me stay awake more easily. Nope. Instead, now I’m suckered into the post-lunch coma every afternoon and since I’m also pregnant, I can’t suck down coffee like I would otherwise. Instead, I’ve been using a blend of essential oils this week called En-R-Gee to keep me awake when the briefer starts to drone. I have it in a roller bottle so I can just dab it on my wrists and my neck for a quick pick-me-up. I don’t love the smell like I do some other oils, but I’m also a lot more sensitive to smells due to pregnancy.


I know I said I was limited on coffee, and that’s true, so it also means that the coffee I do get to have is extra valuable to me and I don’t want to waste it on a crappy cup that I won’t enjoy. Back in Alaska, some friends moved out and gifted us the remainder of the food in their pantry that they couldn’t eat or take with them. One of the things was a half-empty bag of ground coffee from the Alaska Coffee Roasting Co. You guys. This is seriously the most amazing coffee in the entire world. Embarrassingly, Alaska Coffee Roasting Co. is maybe half a mile from where I lived in Alaska and walkable in both seasons (deep winter and preparing for winter) and I didn’t visit it until my last year there and discovered that not only is their coffee amazing, but their food and pastries are also delicious.

When I left Alaska I took a bag of beans with me and with my manual grinder, French press, and JetBoil, I had hot, delicious coffee every day of my trip. They also ship (thank goodness) so everyone can try their wonderful blends. My favorite is the Milan San Remo blend and what I’ve been treating myself to every morning.


Next week I also get to go to the first of my five birthing classes offered by my hospital. I’m looking forward to it because it also has a tour of the labor and delivery section and it will be nice to meet other to-be-parents who are due around the same time. I’ve been having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions and it’s really neat that even though I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing, my body is already working on preparing itself.


I really, really like podcasts. I like them in the car and also while lifting. Apparently that second one is a little unusual. I got hooked on The Longest Shortest Time on my cross-continent move and it’s still one of my favorites because the episodes are always so varied but always interesting. Last week I listened to one about the importance, or whether it was important, of afro-centric schooling for kids and how identity with their ethnicity affects their future. The podcast is about parenthood, but really interesting no matter what stage of life you’re in. I definitely wasn’t planning on being pregnant when I first started listening and found the podcast captivating even then.

The Army’s most attractive uniform.

I know I wrote about my feeling on the Army’s maternity uniform a little while ago, but another thing that bothered me, among all the rest of the things that bother me about the uniform, is that while the front is button-up to allow for ease of pumping and/or breastfeeding (like, zippers aren’t faster?) the undershirt is just a regular t-shirt. So imagine this with me – I can unbeaten my shirt to pump BUT I still have to either lift my t-shirt to fit the pump in there or else try to wrangle it under my shirt like some sort of breastmilk snake. Yeah.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Miss Military Mom created a regulation shirt that also has a flap that can be used for nursing or pumping. They even made a long-sleeve version. Thank goodness, because I was going to attempt to make something and I am not good at sewing or anything like that.

The first pregnancy.

I found this video a few weeks ago and showed it to P and while it was pretty funny,  I really identify more with the second-time mom than the first and I’ve also noticed that in our classes and at our appointments. I’ve barely taken any pictures, the baby room is mostly a bunch of boxes stacked in a way that doesn’t make me feel crazy when I walk by but the closet is holding all my Army gear, pictures, and overflow winter jackets – nothing like what I’ve seen other people have in their baby rooms. I don’t even remember to take my prenatal vitamin every day. I think a big part of it is that I’m working a pretty involved full time job and when I’m not I have a lot of other things on my to-do list so I haven’t really had much time to sit around like the first-time mom in the video and document the journey. Also, sushi, lunch meat, and coffee are all still part of my life. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Kitchen Table and Chairs Makeover

I’ve had the same kitchen table and chairs for eight years now, bought all together for $130 from IKEA in Washington. They’ve moved multiple times with me with little complaints but the past couple of moves have left the chair bottoms mostly screw-less and wobbly and require constant tightening. Plus, they’re pine which is pretty but soft, and jean rivets and cat and dog paws have scratched them. I wanted a new table set and I wanted something pretty, durable, and that I could fit more people at than my tiny IKEA table. In short, what I wanted was not going to cost me $130, more like $1,300 at least. I couldn’t pay that much when my table and chairs were still functional so I just kept looking. I really loved the look of farm tables with the white aprons and wood tops, but I also wanted something that I could expand for special occasions.

A couple of months ago, someone advertised a dining room table with a leaf and EIGHT chairs all for the princely sum of $300. I jumped on that the way my cat jumps on wet food. They were moving to Germany and needed to cut weight and wanted a new table anyway. The table had been a gift from their parents as it was a table they’d grown up with as kids, but they just didn’t have the room, weight allowance, or need eight chairs. I don’t need eight chairs, either, but I’m not passing up free stuff. We packed it all up in the back of our pickup truck and drove it home.


The original color of the chairs and table

The first project I took on was the chairs.  I liked the look of chalk paint so I used Dixie Belle in Buttercream and for the chairs and Haint Blue for the captains chairs. I (foolishly) assumed they were pine and not oak and was slightly horrified when the tannins bled through the paint.

I bought some spray primer from Rustoleum and gave the chairs a quick spray with a little extra attention to areas where the tannins were still struggling to come through. I liked the chalk paint a lot. I tend to be heavy-handed in painting so I did have to temper it down a bit, but I found the paint to be VERY forgiving. I topped the chairs with Dixie Belle Clear Coat in a satin finish.


The table was a huge pain. I had this vision of a stained top with a white apron and P gallantly took this on almost entirely but that table top would.not.stain. We used Minwax in Jacobean for the stain and every time he’d put it on, it would wipe right off, like a dry erase marker. We tried letting it dry. We tried conditioning the wood. As it turns out, Minwax, despite being available at nearly every store, also has a bit of a reputation for being absolute garbage to work with. He wanted to paint it but I really wanted the stained top finish. I found something that talked about staining over paint and he agreed to try that. I kept researching other options.


In searching for stain over paint, I saw some images of tables and other furniture that had been dry brushed with multiple colors of chalk paint. I already knew I liked chalk paint, and also that stain was an enormous pain. I watched some video guides and decided to try it out.

My local Ace Hardware had started selling Dixie Belle so I bought containers of Driftwood and Hurricane Gray and in a wistful fit, also a container of Voodoo Gel Stain in Up In Smoke. I tried out the gel stain…nope.It was a pretty color, but the table took the stain unevenly. I think the top was just made of too many different woods to take an even stain. Next, I tried just painting it in Driftwood and it felt pretty blah, so I tried dry brushing and water washing the Hurricane Gray and liked the look of the dry brush.


Top left – Driftwood. Top right – color of raw table. Bottom – gel stain 

I did a solid coat of Driftwood over the entire table, let it dry, and then dry brushed Hurricane Gray over it. Some areas were still a little too dark or concentrated for me, so I dry brushed a second light coat of Driftwood over top of it and then sealed the table with several layers of Gator Hide.


Left is a first coat of dry brushing over the Driftwood, center is attempting wet wash and right is a little bit of the gel stain left

I like the look of it. So much so I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner and making P go through a stain, wipe, stain, sanding purgatory. I’m so happy with how these turned out overall and I learned a lot in the process, namely, that furniture refinishing is a huge pain and that I’m in no hurry to experience it again.


The mostly-finished look. The side chairs are Buttercream and the captain’s chairs on the ends are Haint Blue.


A better look at the dry brush technique on top of the table.

November Project

Have you heard of the November Project? It was created in Boston as a way to encourage people to stay active during the cold, dreary winter months (and through the holiday season when a lot of us, okay, me, slack off on workouts). It’s expanded worldwide to different locations now. Sadly, there’s no location near me but I was inspired by its message to make my own November Project challenge for myself.

For November, I’m committing to doing yoga every day. Why yoga? Because I always feel good after doing it, I’m really bad about stretching and mobility, and also because it’s easy to do no matter the weather. I’m not stretching myself to committing to X amount of time each day, just to do it every day for the month of November. Some days might be as simple as just going through a few asanas and others I might feel more up to following a video or going to a class. I like open-ended challenges.