Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trying the Tri: Three Events, Three Women, One Mission

In my life, when it comes to empowering female role models, there are three women in particular who stick out the most. My mother (Therese), and two aunts (Joyce and Lisa) have always been the most loving, selfless, hilarious, kind, and wonderful examples of sisterhood I know.

One evening in April, Mom told me that the three of them had signed up for the Mason Triathlon happening at the end of July.

After I got over how absolutely IMPRESSED I was, I asked why they had decided to do this? They wanted to raise money for my cousin’s oldest son Carter, and thought this would be a unique way to spread awareness, and get people to sponsor them.

In May of 2012, Carter was diagnosed with MPS II (Hunter Syndrome). He is approaching his 6th birthday, and has been undergoing gene therapy treatments for over 3 years. Gene therapy is potentially life saving for MPS II patients; and could lead to permanent treatment for the neurological and physical advancement of the disease.
Clockwise from top: Lisa, Therese, Carter, and Joyce
Three women, all mothers, all over (or almost) 50 years old, all dedicated to help raise money for this little boy while also pushing their own physical limits in the process.

Now THAT is strong and sexy.

Before the race I sat down with the terrific trio, and discussed the importance of staying active, their training, and what exactly sparked the flame to sign up for a triathlon and raise money for gene therapy research. To read the FULL INTERVIEW please click the link and visit Strong Is Our Sexy.

After months and months of training, the morning of the Tri-umphant Triathlon arrived, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Nice cloud coverage, still decent humidity, but zero wind. Decked out in MPS Purple, and waving our hand made signs, we were definitely the most spirited support group there.
A 400 meter swim, 12 miles on a bike, and finishing up with a 5K run. All that, and these ladies didn't stop smiling the entire time. 
With hands locked tight; Joyce, Therese, and Lisa crossed the finish line in just over 1 hour and 35 minutes.
It was an inspirational morning bursting with encouragement, determination, and an immeasurable amount of love for one special little boy.

Team "Caring for Carter" raised over $10,000 dollars, and 100% of the money is going towards MPS II (Hunter Syndrome) gene therapy research. To learn more about Carter’s story, please visit www.cartermps2.com. You can also make a donation today at Carter’s National MPS Society Inc. Donor Page, or with Go Fund Me.

Giving back, staying strong, and inspiring others at any age, THAT is what being STRONG and SEXY is all about.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

MAB Update - The Magical Powers of Paint

Last post I discussed the plan of attack to update our Mini-Awkward-Bathroom, or MAB for short. There really wasn't a whole lot going on in this space to begin with, so I kind of went into it with the attitude of "anything will be an improvement to this". 
With an entire weekend of nothing stretched out before me, I grabbed my paint brush, cranked some Pandora, had myself an adult beverage, and got to it! 

Friday: 
Hit up Menards after work to get paint for the bathroom. It was already past 7pm and I hadn't had dinner yet, felt super hungry, and accidentally walked into the men's restroom. 
Yup. That happened...let's blame low blood sugar. 
Got my paint though! We're going deep and dark with Dutch Boy's Crayola Black

First things first, the trim and door needed to be primed. Since I knew I wanted to paint the walls, I only needed to tape off the floor and shower so that saved me some time. 
Next up was the actual paint. We've been painting our trim and doors Simply White by Benjamin Moore, and since beginning the process of updating everything in the house white, we constantly have a gallon of this in the basement. A few coats later and I was in business. 
Saturday:
Let's get some color on those walls! 
Black paint is kind of crazy, you open the can and instantly think "WOW, that is a stunning shade of purple", and then pray to the decorating gods that it'll actually dry darker. 
Patience is key when painting a bathroom. 
That and a clean toilet. You'll find yourself lying on the ground, face pressed against the lid of your john, attempting to paint behind the tank, and that is NOT the moment to realize you haven't scrubbed it in a week. 

It was a pleasant surprise how well the black covered. I had heard horror stories about dark paint taking coat after coat, but this only took two, with the third just being for touch ups. 

As Saturday came to and end, this is where I left off: 
Not to shabby! The dark walls turned out to be such a beautiful contrast compared to the crisp white trim. A nice little burst of interesting when you open the door. 

OK, on to the exciting part.
Wednesday: 
I really REALLY wanted to have an accent wall in here. But as I stared at the space behind the toilet (the original location in my plan), I just wasn't sure. Is this really the most interesting wall in here? I stuck the shower curtain up for a sec, stepped out, opened the door once more, and took note to where my eye went first. 
Above the shower, right to the window. 
THAT is where my beautiful gold wall belongs. 
With the above inspiration in my head, and a couple Gold Sharpie paint pens in hand, I first did some practice doodles. Once I felt fairly confident, there was nothing left to do but hop up on the ladder and begin!
I broke the design down into three separate parts; big flowers, medium vines, tiny leaves, and lastly little dots. It took me maybe an hour-and-a-half to two hours from start to finish, you can see the sun going down in the pictures below. 
I am OBSESSED with how this turned out!!! It's seriously SO MUCH BETTER than anything I ever envisioned, and if I had the time (or it wouldn't be WAY too in your face) I'd do the entire bathroom. 
The gold and black are absolutely sick together! I love how it has all the beauty of wallpaper, but without the messy glue, and I can just paint over the design if I ever get tired of looking at it. 
Sooooo close to being done! All that's left is to finalize the light fixture, hang some shelves, and of course decorate. Then it's time for lots and LOTS of before and after shots! 
Bring it on!