It’s Raining in December

We are ten days away from Christmas Eve and it is raining in Minneapolis, MN. And no, not freezing rain or just slushy snow. Legitimate grab your umbrella, unpack your rain boots, the old man is snoring kind of rain. Evidence of snowfall has melted away and I am constantly feeling overdressed in my pink hat and delightfully warm mittens. It feels as though Fall is approaching, rather than Christmas.

Hot Pink Hat: non-traditional rain gear.

Last year at this time we were recovering from a crazy blizzard. People were snowed in, roads were closed, and the only way to redeem the coveted Qdoba “Snow Day BOGO” was to walk there through several feet of snow. And this year it’s raining.

December 2010 causes Metrodome roof to collapse. Photo credit: http://www.eurweb.com/2010/12/video-watch-roof-of-minn-metrodome-collapse/

It just goes to show that life is filled with unexpected surprises. Some are seemingly insignificant. Some are wonderful. Some are scary, some are terrifying, and some are life changing. But each and everyone is a reminder that we must take each opportunity to be thankful for our blessings (like an unseasonably warm morning wait at the bus stop), to grow, and to embrace this crazy/wonderful/scary/terrifying/beautiful life.

P.S. Oh yeah, I’m back to blogging! Which is a feat almost as shocking as rain in December.

Be a Do-Gooder: No-Shave November

Every day we are given the opportunity to give back to others, the question is, will we take it?

Tonight I’d like to feature an easy/quick/fun way to give back: No-Shave November. For those of you who don’t know, traditionally No-Shave November is the time of year when guys put away their razors and try to grow out their facial hair. I know what you are thinking, kind of weird, right? Well that’s why I said traditionally it’s something guys do. (Kidding, guys, I’m just giving you a hard time!). Anyway, this year those of you participating have the chance to make this event about more than just your impressive hair growth by giving back to the South Dakota Charity BackPack Program, which is a wonderful program that helps fight hunger in South Dakota. So check out No-Shave November, register, and give back, you know you want to! This is a great excuse to have a little fun so encourage your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or charitable strangers to participate too!

P.S. You don’t actually have to participate in the No-Shave part in order to be a part of giving back to South Dakota through supporting BackPack Program, you can also sponsor an individual, give a general donation or sponsor the event.

Addiction: Shoes.

I am a girl with an addiction to diet coke, Qdoba veggie burritos, and, you guessed it as the title notes, shoes. Sneakers, flats, sandals, high heels (that I will NEVER be coordinated enough to wear), boots…I simply can’t get enough of them. So, when I came across this tutorial (via this blog via Craftgawker), I was instantly sold. Not only was it an excuse to craft (oh yeah, we can add that to the addiction list), it was the perfect excuse for a new pair of shoes. So here goes my little shoe tutorial, just for you!

First things first, I needed a POA. While I loved the Missoni-inspired kicks, I decided to come up with a different design for my first foray into painted shoes: zebra print. Why zebra print, you ask? Why not (and I recently saw Lion King 3D…three times, so animal print is on the brain). The great part about this project is that you get to be the designer, which I love. So once I had an idea in place, I got the supplies together.

Supplies:

-$9 Target white shoes (the cheaper the shoe, the bigger the score, in my opinion!)

-Fabric pens

-Pencil

-Stencil**

Supplies

**Unfortunately the JoAnn Fabrics that I frequent is not a super store, meaning they don’t sell stencils. I know, I also thought that was totally silly, so I made my own. All you need is an exacto/retractable blade, cutting board, thick paper, and 911 on speed dial. That last part is a joke, a steady hand will do just fine. I simply attached a sheet of paper with the zebra print design of my choice on top of a thicker/sturdier piece of paper and use the retractable knife to cut out the designs.

Making a stencil...

Proof that the stencil does NOT need to look impressive...

Once all of my supplies were in order, and stencil ready, I unlaced my shoes and started tracing. I thought this process was going to take much longer, and I am sure depending on your choice of design the time will change, but it was actually quite painless and quick.

Stenciled shoes.

After my design was drawn on, I went to town with the fabric marker. Again, this was a quick and easy process! I picked a fairly simple design, and lucky zebra print allows you to go out of the lines and reconfigure the shape, which was nice. Confession: It is a good idea to test the marker out before you put it to fabric…I was a little bummed out by the color at first. I did not follow this tip to test the color first and should have. The fabric pen’s top was reading a lighter teal/turquoise vibe, which I was totally digging, and this blue screamed Stripes gum to me. In hindsight, I probably would have done a robin’s egg blue color and smaller, more intricate zebra print (maybe next time!). But in the end, I think the shoes look totally rad. Plus, you can’t go wrong with blue!

One down, one to go!

Once I finished coloring in the first shoe, I began the process all over with the second. I decided not to make the shoes look absolutely identical, but I think it would look great either way. Confession: I chose this route because I am extremely impatient and really, really wanted to see a colored shoe completed.

Done-zo.

Voilá, finished product!

Remember.

We are the 9/11 generation. We are the ones who will always remember where we were the moment when we heard the towers went down. We are the ones who witnessed the destruction—to infrastructures, to families, to communities, to our nation. We are the ones who continue to confront the casualties that are a result of the 2001 attacks. We know what it means to be truly shaken, to have reality turned upside down by the power of violence. We know the somber reality of a post 9/11 world.

“Those in this building that day knew what they were witnessing. It was a declaration of war by stateless actors bent on changing our way of life, who believed these horrible acts, these horrible acts of terror directed against innocents could buckle our knees, could bend our will, could begin to break us and break our resolve. But they did not know us. Instead, that same American instinct that send all of you into the breach between the fourth and fifth corridors galvanized a new generation of patriots, the 9/11 generation” -Joe Biden

 

We also know what the power that hope has. With all the tragedy, sadness, anger, and fear, we have had the opportunity to be a part of something amazing: a part of a generation, a community, and a nation that has shown resiliency in the face of terror and despair. We have seen people come together in spite of our differences. We have seen a nation full of people who are willing to sacrifice themselves—people who sacrifice their lives, their loved ones, their everything—for the sake of others. We have seen people step up to risk it all, simply because that was the right thing to do. Because it was their job, their duty. It is these actions that are truly unbelievable.

“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming, but I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save.” -Abraham Lincoln

And it is with the privilege of being safe-guarded and protected by these people, that I have the opportunity to thank them for all they have done. I will always remember walking into my classroom in seventh grade to see the smoke rising from one of the Twin Towers. I will always remember the jolting feeling that coincides with the reality behind that image. But I will also remember all of those who gave their lives and continue to fight for our nation. I will always remember to be grateful for what those sacrifices mean to my country, my family, and me.

997 to go!

I really had planned to have this post be up on Friday, but apparently I repel technology. My apartment is still without internet (two days until I feel like I’m back in the 21st century!), but I was dog-sitting the little Magster and had planned to spend all of my time watching movies on Netflix (yes, I am now just realizing how amazing Netflix is!) and posting blogs. But things did not go as planned, and though Netflix eventually started working, no matter what I did, the internet kept rejecting me! Anyway, on to the post…

Two weekends ago, while bumming free laundry and waiting for my sheets to dry, I decided to take some time and flip through Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. The good news: I’ve actually been to some of the places!! The bad news: I have only been to three, which means I still have 997 places to see. This is quite a task, and so instead I decided to make my own little travel bucket list…which turned out to almost rival Ms. Schultz’s as I apparently want to visit every place ever. But I decided to pull out a few of my current favorites and share them with you. Enjoy!

6. New York City, New York

"Concrete Jungle where dreams are made"

I think NYC speaks for itself–it’s iconic, it’s cool, and I can’t wait to go! The plan is to visit and then become Carrie Bradshaw, we’ll see how that goes.

5. Paris, France

Home of the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and about a billion other amazing things, this is a must-see! Plus, I am really good at using a french accent on local street names and other french-origin words and sounding authentic, so I really feel like I’ll belong 🙂

4. Hotel Arctic

Fjord where all the icebergs float by...

Okay, so I read this book in one of my environmental lit classes called Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change written by Elizabeth Kolbert, and while it was mainly a bleak look at reality, it offered some pretty stunning imagery about the wonderful and beautiful natural locale here on earth. Including the Hotel Arctic, which is the “most northerly 4-star hotel in the world”!  Kolbert says this: “to the tourists who vist the Hotel Arctic, the icebergs are a thrilling sight: beautiful and terrible in equal measure. They are a reminder of the immensity of nature and the smallness of man”. It’s easy to forget about the natural when it’s competing with the bright lights and fanfare of places like NYC, but I want to make sure I’m not one of those people who lets that opportunity slip away! Plus, I am hoping to spot some Polar Bears while I’m up in an igloo in Greenland.

Side note: speaking of igloos–how fabulous does this place look? It’s the Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland.

I better add this to the bucket list, too!

3. London, England

Jolly old England!

Like the other cities I have listed, London is iconic and is a go-to for the world traveler. It is also the home of Harry Potter and Queen , so it has some other great things going for it too (mostly Harry Potter).

2. Patagonia

Again, this is my obsession with nature and glaciers shining through. Plus, I think it would pretty cool to just swing by Machu Picchu afterward!

1. Serengeti

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Two words: Lion King. A few more words: I think it would so cool to see the great migration. Mainly because of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM **

**If you have eight minutes, you should watch the video–it blows my mind every time.

So those are just some of the fun and fantastic places I want to go to. What’s on your travel bucket list?

Warrior Dash: where the weak go to die

Tomorrow’s to-do list: visit little Maggie!

As yesterday’s post promised, today I’ll be telling you a little bit about my experience doing the Warrior Dash. Fair warning, this was an EPIC experience, and therefore requires a bit of my long-winded story telling!

For those of you who don’t know, the Warrior Dash is a 5k race that takes place in different locations around the country. However, it isn’t your normal 5k, it also includes several obstacles…and for those of us lucky enough to do it in Minnesota, it also included a killer hill. Basically, it’s more of an obstacle course where you run in between each obstacle–it’s deadly. Really only in the sense that it killed any image I had of myself as in-shape and somewhat athletic. Despite the warning on the website (and the insane training it suggested, the one I found about twelve weeks too late), I, along with Maren (who, now that it’s over, I can thank for brilliantly suggesting we try it out), Brian, and Elise signed up for the race and together we decided to test our physical and mental endurance.

You gotta love the enthusiasm!

I started out thinking this was going to be completely doable, albeit difficult. And the fact I am slightly traumatized is due to my own mistake of running a combined 2.8 miles during June and July. Needless to say by the time race week approached, I was starting to freak out.

This is me freaking out

Luckily, however, we made shirts. And for some reason, painted shirts make everything seem better.

 

Plus they said team Lamb Famb…you see, we’re all part of the Lamb family (pronounced like the animal) so we added a b to the end of Fam…get it? Be thankful this was our name, because we came up with a lot of duds before we were able to reach this gem.

So anyway, after the four of us arrived at the race site and ensured our numbers and racing chips were secured, we stood in line waiting for the race to start. At this point, I start to panic a little. Mostly because we are surrounded by very physically fit people, my cohorts included, but I am still feeling optimistic. I do some stretches (mostly making a mockery of myself and anyone else who has ever stretched ever) and I’m ready to go. Now at this point I know it’s going to be bad, but I still think it’s going to be bearable, despite the fact I hate running and it’s hot out. In my mind I have myself keeping up a steady but slow jog (with incremental walking), by the end I would feel refreshed from the exercise and proud. I should have known, because it seems I too often have unrealistic expectations, that this would not be the case.

The first part of the course was a steep incline, and by the time I had reached about a third of the way up I knew I wasn’t going to finish strong. Instead of Usain Bolt, I was going to be the Michael Scott of the race. I was going to be the one who misguidedly carbed up, trash talked, and then dramatically finished…long after everyone else.

 

Michel Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure

Michel Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure. Photo C/O: http://www.ededition.com/the-office-season-4-premier-review/

 

Thankfully, out of the 25,000 people who competed in the race that weekend, I would guess that about 8,000 of us were Michael Scotts. I was in good company. Plus, they really do make it worth it by giving you these awesome hats at the end:

 

I'm still not sure I'm a hat person...

 

This is us after we showered…or should I say, after Elise, Brian, and Maren showered:

We are awesome!

Climbing walls, jumping over fire, dodging barbwire, sinking and swimming through mud turned out to be an awesomely fun time.  I especially enjoyed the mud splashing and throwing we partook in after the race (yay, Lamb Famb—BAAA!). Thankfully, next year I’ll be a little more prepared and it will probably be me that beats the 16.00 time (yep, some insane individual completed a 5k—and a bunch of obstacles—in a mere 16 minutes)! Anyone else brave enough to become a Warrior?

Back By Popular Demand…

Tomorrow’s to-do list: Blog!

The masses (aka my three dedicated readers) have spoken and I am back to blogging! I am sorry for the prolonged absence…I wish I could tell you there was some extreme (and exciting) reason for the lack of postings…but really, I’m just a girl who is currently leading a moderately boring life and wants to refrain from blogging about watching way too many shows on DVD (it’s better to not blog at all,than blog about that, right?). But in between watching Grey’s Anatomy and working, I have actually managed to check several adventures off of the summer to-do list:

Twins Game

Not only was it a treat to watch the Twins win, but it was made even better by the fact that I was able to skip out of work and use my boss’ Champion’s Club tickets. This meant that my sister and I were a mere eight rows away from home plate–and we were served gourmet food and ice cold drinks! But I must say, while this is always a fun experience, I think nothing really beats the traditional baseball experience.

Warrior Dash

Warriors

I basically cheated death–more on this tomorrow!

Hannah’s Hockey Game

HP!

Zamboni

Only in good ol’ Minnesota would people be playing ice hockey in July! I was able to watch my rock-star of a cousin, Hannah, take the ice rink by storm! I also took an obnoxious amount of photos…I believe some people were embarrassed to claim me.

Revamped our new digs

Kitchen

Pillows

Some of our new additions, courtesy of my aunt!

DIY

You would never guess, but this became a clock!

Apparently my new motto is “I can make that!”, so that’s what I’ve started to do!

Okay, so hopefully this post (and all the pictures) will hold you over until tomorrow, when the real posting begins!

Happy Wednesday, all!

Well HP, we had a good run!

To-do list: DIY!

We are still without internet at La Casa de Carla! Who is Carla you ask? She is a ceramic pig who lives in our kitchen. (Don’t judge too harshly, I don’t have Maggie, internet, or cable). So that means that posting has been scarce, but hopefully we get it settled soon! Though I must admit not much has happened between my last post and now. I did a little bit of organizing (a little that needed to be a lot). But one really big thing happened…basically my childhood (and possibly all things good) ended last night as the last Harry Potter movie was released.

Alright…maybe I am being a little dramatic. Not all good things ended, but it was bittersweet. Both exciting and devastating (yes, there I go again with the dramatics). But you have to understand, I started reading the Harry Potter series when I was a fifth grader, which was probably the year or the second year it was released in America. I grew up with the series. So that, combined with my tendency to become attached to fictional characters (it’s the occupational hazard of being a bookworm) meant that this franchise was a BIG deal. And now, many years later, it’s over.

So anyway, last night I went to one of my favorite theatres  with Maren and Jeanette to soak in the excitement of midnight releases and a bunch of nerds dressed up in Harry Potter costumes. It was fantastically nerdy! As you may imagine the theatre was packed and some of our waiting time highlights included me drinking Windex pop that tasted like Windex and having Maren’s pop spilled on me and all over the floor. But don’t worry, nothing, not even the woman sleeping next to me, could take away the awesomeness of the event! The movie was great, though I am still trying to process it. I will probably have to go soon so I can re-evaluate it without the critical eye of Harry Potter fanaticism. (Why yes, I do think I am a pretentious movie viewer, how did you guess? Was it all the great cinematic treasures I reference?).  All-in-all, it was a highlight of the season!

Now really I should be evaluating is that the most exciting thing to happen to me this summer (sorry Katie and Josh, you made for a really close second. Alright, alright, your wedding can tie for first) was the release of the last Harry Potter film. It may actually be the most momentous thing to happen in 2011. Now do you understand why blogging about my life adventures may be a bit difficult at times? May need to rethink some things…

But seriously, for all of you readers out there who have never read Harry Potter: do it. You will not regret it, and while the movies cannot begin to touch the genius that is J.K. Rowling, they are also quite enjoyable!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, I hope to get a post up sometime before Monday evening, and hopefully it will be showcasing the beginnings of our new apartment’s transformation. Wish me luck!

Back to reality…

To-do list: unpack!

…And sadly without internet! I apologize for being MIA for the past week and a half! I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July.

I spent mine lighting smoke bombs:

We may or may not be dancing to Aladdin's "Arabian Nights". Photo courtesy: Stjernholm

Learning “Thriller”:

What can I say? Dancing is in my blood. Photo courtesy: Stjernholm

And blowing things up:

Photo courtesy: Stjernholm

It was a genuinely good time!

The rest of my week was spent preparing for my sister’s wedding that took place on Saturday. I now have a brother-in-law (and permanent nerve damage from helping making favor bags). It was an absolutely beautiful wedding day and I had so much fun spending time with my family getting ready, attending, and then the attending the after party of the big day.

One of the most daunting projects: Pomander balls. Photo Courtesy: Megan Johnson

My sister said it best in her speech: Katie is the best protector, best sister, and best friend anyone could ask for (coincidently, the same sentiments also apply to Allison). I couldn’t be happier that she and Josh have found each other! And I am oh so happy to finally officially welcome Josh and Kylie into the family. Now instead of apologizing to Josh that our family is so loud, he is now part of the of problem 🙂

My AMAZING siblings and me! Photo Courtesy: Megan Johnson

Mr. & Mrs. Schorzmann! Photo Courtesy: Megan Johnson

It has been so fun looking back on the pictures and seeing how happy Katie looks—she’s simply glowing. I didn’t know how I would handle my first sibling wedding, and the answer was apparently not well. I basically bawled (and possibly laughed) at the altar as I watched my Dad bring my sister down the aisle. All the love and happiness was just too much to take!

One of my favorite shots! Photo Courtesy: Megan Johnson

On other news, I am starting to get more situated in the new apartment and hopefully we’ll soon have internet and blog posts will finally be a regular, rather than a rare, thing. Happy Tuesday!

Love: Creativity

Tomorrow’s to-do list: move-in!

First off, I would like to apologize for my atrocious editing skills in my previous posts. I must admit that I have never been a fabulous self-editor. First off,  I am a procrastinator by nature and so doing a thorough editing job is a bit of a luxury when you have to print your paper and get to campus in fifteen minutes…and most likely also get ready for the day and pack your bag. Old habits die hard, it seems, as I still feel rushed to publish a blog right before bed. But also I admittedly dread looking back on my writing because I become quite persnickety about what I want to say. So it shall be my goal to adopt more meticulous editing habits for posts going forward!

…who wants to bet I have a glaringly obvious mistake in this post?

Second of all, this morning we said goodbye to apartment 403. I know it may seem silly to be so sad about an apartment, but I’ve been known to be overly sentimental about inanimate objects (or I may have borderline hoarder tendencies) so it was sad nonetheless. It’s an odd feeling seeing everything that makes your apartment a home packed into a fourteen foot truck—my life suddenly appeared to be very small. But then I stopped being overly dramatic and was thankful that my life was not actually defined by the possessions packed into the truck and that I was not moving to Antarctica, but rather across town and would still have access to all modes of communication. Let’s just say yesterday was a roller coaster of emotions—Uhaul did not want to give us the truck for our entire reservation time, which would have meant our belongings had nowhere to go while we waited for the new apartment to be flipped. And then I was yet again reminded why I don’t like moving and also why I will never have a show on HGTV about organization…unless of course it is a series based on people trying to teach me how to become organized. Oh, and I thought I packed away my keys in the truck. Too much excitement for one moving night, but we survived (by the way, HUGE THANKS to Michael, Joel, and Alanna!!).

But now to the actual post…

Creativity is infectious. Creating even more so. It is not only extremely satisfying, but totally fun to create something of your own. On the other hand, it can also be tirelessly frustrating, especially if you have unrealistic expectations about time and your own abilities…(but, I don’t know anything about that ). As I get ready to move into the new apartment tomorrow, I can’t help but be consumed by DIY ideas I want to test out for the new digs! I mainly blame my sister Katie for this; if she wasn’t getting married (and if I wasn’t caught up in decorations and little details for her wedding) I probably wouldn’t be obsessed creating and art right now! But much like the rest of my life, I do not confine creativity simply to arts and crafts. Instead I am all over the place, and love how important creativity is in ALL facets of life. So today I thought I would share with you a list of my favorite (and free) methods of inspiration for creativity!

Craftgawker

This website will satiate all of your crafting needs—if it doesn’t have a project, it will most likely link you to a site that does. Every time I visit this site I think I bookmark at least 5 projects that I am dying to test out! Since discovering the site I have embarked on the following: glitter flats, paint chip art, pomanders, and wrapping paper.

Tissue Paper I made for my sister's Bridal Shower!

It is not only a great place to find projects, it’s also a great place for inspiration. Part of crafting and creating is making something that is uniquely individual, but it never hurts to have help on the infrastructure (or even the whole project), this site is a great starting point.

Little Green Notebook 

This blog is put on by a Jenny, the interior designer behind Pearl Street Interiors. This sight is for the more hardcore, I have yet to create anything because most of the projects require a little more time, patience, and funds than I have at the moment, but it certainly provides a wealth of beautiful ideas. And seriously, how can you not want to make this Sputnik Chandelier?

Library or Used/Rare bookstore

I’m not sure if I’ve made this obvious enough, but I love literature and I love books! If you picked out any given book in my personal library you would be most definitely find at least one or two pages dog eared (yes, I dog ear my pages, don’t think badly of me) where I found a line, a quote, or a passage to be particularly moving. But beyond the actual literature, I love losing myself in used bookstores because there is an infinite amount of character to be found and explored. Whether it is finding little notes by previous book owners, or beautiful and detailed old covers, there is something about a book with history that makes me want to be creative and contribute.

And I may or may not be a bit of a sappy romantic.

Megan’s blog

Megan is an up and coming photographer, who also happens to be my cousin, and I love looking at her blog. First off, because she’s seriously great! But also, because you can tell how much she loves it and that is seriously infectious! Plus, her latest post made me want to write about my own means of inspiration. So check out her blog and I know you’ll love it.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Now this one is dictated by a specific location, so I apologize for any readers out there who do not reside in MSP, but if you are in the area I encourage you to visit. MIA is free, though donations are welcome and appreciated, and it features beautiful pieces of art that span all different kinds of mediums, periods, and movements. They also feature some pretty impressive pieces and often time have special exhibits (which may have a fee) that will not disappoint.

Stumbleupon

I must warn those of you who have never “stumbled” it is extremely addicting and once you start it’s hard to stop. There are several different categories, but I love to go to the art and photography categories and drool over all of the fantastic pictures and beautiful places on earth. Needless to say my ambitions for visiting Africa increased infinitely after perusing some nature photographs.

This seriously makes me want to live in the Arctic! And take pretty pictures while stargazing.

 

Surround yourself with creative (and supportive) people!

Working with and off of others is an important part of creativity. Plus, it’s also important to have some encouragement and support along the way. Luckily, I am surrounded by a boundless amount of creative people, and I LOVE it! Also, I think I wouldn’t have finished several of my favorite projects, or would have possibly ripped up several papier-mâché balls that I spent hours working on, if people wouldn’t have stepped in when I felt (and at times, was) completely overwhelmed.

So what are some of your favorite ways to stir up creativity and/or some of your favorite creations?