Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Through the Years

Last week, CNN.com posted a story about five friends who had been taking the same picture for 30 years.

 I was immediately drawn to the story since every year my girlfriends and I take self-timer group photos. (Which I'm sure you've seen either on this blog, my Facebook, around my apartment, or hanging in my office.) After sharing the article with my friends and asking for their permission, I submitted our story and photos as an iReport to the original story.

As far as I know, they post everyone's iReport with no approval process, but I'm still happy to have our friendship on display at CNN.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I Learned This (Olympic) Weekend

The Olympics never fail to make me happy. 
Even with a less-than-stellar Opening Ceremony and inane announcer commentary, they still make me very happy. All day I looked forward to it and all week the roommate and I planned to snack on international fare and watch it in its entirety. Which we did. (Along with Brandie, who was allowed to come even though she didn't realize they started that night.) This was our spread, with something to represent each of the rings: 
  • Africa: Moroccan hummus and African hot sauce 
  • The Americas: Southern Caviar 
  • Asia: Dry-roasted Edamame and a spicy snack mix 
  • Europe: Sangria 
  • Oceania: Chocolate cookies from Australia 
  • Host city: Cookies and napkins with the Queen on them 

Sitting by the pool in the rain is lovely.
I hung out with my friend Shana on Saturday, starting with a couple hours at her rooftop pool. It started to rain but instead of racing for cover we waited it out, appreciating the cool water on such a hot day. 

Handball might be my new favorite sport.
After the pool we went to a bar for a drink and apps and to watch some more of the Olympics. They were showing a handball game and somehow this is a sport that I've never seen. 

The boats used in rowing are called "sculls," not toothpicks.
After the bar and before dinner, we watched more Olympics, including what we like to call the toothpick boat races. 

There's no such thing as watching too much Olympics.
After a restaurant week dinner, we went back to her place to watch, you guessed it, more Olympics. We caught USA in beach volleyball, but missed the Lochte/Phelps match but that's ok because I love Phelps too much to watch him lose. 

"Gone with the Wind" is an amazing and intense book.
After two weeks of reading the 1,000 page tome, I finally finished on Sunday morning. And all I can say is, "Wow."

I read so much faster when reading by the pool. 
On Sunday I spent a few hours lying out and reading at my pool. I don't know if it's the fresh air or just being away from technological distractions, but I get so much more read when I'm outside.

The Olympics make Sunday nights more tolerable.
I know, shocking, but I watched more Olympics on Sunday. Water polo, synchronized diving, swimming, and gymnastics.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Take Four. I made a quilt!

I am again linking up with my favorites, Young House Love and Bower Power, for a Pinterest Challenge. (Past challenges were a necklace in August, a skirt in November, and a nail polish shelf in March.)

Even though I frequently tackle projects I’ve pinned, there was one particularly big project I completed last month: A t-shirt quilt! (Select any of the pictures in this post and you should be able to view them bigger.)

First, I pinned 10 different inspiration quilts.

And after lots of thought, of course, I drew the most inspiration and help from four of them.
Top left: I ordered interfacing and got great tips from this site.
Top right: This was a UNC one that I first found years ago and it was good inspiration.
Bottom left: Another UNC one that was good for inspiration.
Bottom right: Good instructions on this one.

I'd been wanting to make a t-shirt quilt for a long time. But just the thought of cutting up any of my UNC shirts made me very uncomfortable. However, since so many of these were just sitting in a bag in a closet in North Carolina, I thought it would be so much better to get some use out of them.
Rules for the quilt:
  • Shirts had to come from when I was in college, none of the shirts I've bought after.
  • With the exception of the one in the center.
  • I wanted to represent the most important things to me about college: my classes, basketball, BSU, and Chapel Hill itself.
  • Some 2005 National Championship shirts had to be included. I included three of the six I bought. (Perhaps excessive, but I only bought two in 2009.)
  • I needed to leave enough that are meaningful, for any potential dogs or children to wear one day.
All in all, it was easier than I thought it was going to be. Though it did take a lot longer than I thought.

All the ironing of the interfacing was incredibly time consuming. And very, very boring.

Then it was time for one of the fun parts: cutting out the shirts. I took the plastic from a picture frame I was donating and cut two squares, one for the shirts and one for the pockets. This worked really well and helped me be more precise.

The cut stack was nearly 2 inches high.

Finally it was time to lay it out. And it only took me two tries! I'm mainly just glad that all the colors go so well together, even though there are at least four different shades of Carolina blue. I was worried the pocket pieces would look too messy, but I really like them.

It's a square, which wasn't my first choice, but it ended up working out the best.

Then it was time for the first round of pinning. First of many rounds. I did nearly as much pinning as I did sewing, which I know was smart in the long run, but also very boring.

I sewed into rows and then columns. I thought I was precise in my measurements, but sometimes this happened.

Sometimes I could fix it and sometimes I couldn’t. But that just means it’s definitely homemade!

Time to sew to the backing! The fabric is anti-pill microfleece from Joanns that I ordered online. It was just wide enough that I didn't have to piece anything. And what's more Carolina than argyle?

It's not perfect, and that's ok. (No, really, it's ok, get off my back!) I'll show you a glimpse of the worst not-perfect part: the back. But, I mean, no one wants to look at the back anyway.

It was a bit unwieldy to quilt all the rows and columns. I actually weighed it and it weighs...2.5 pounds! It kind of surprised me because it's just t-shirts, lightweight interfacing, and fleece.

And this is the final product. I'm not going to lie, I'm really quite proud of this quilt, and every time I look at it I smile. Crooked sewing and wonky backing and all.

And for size, it’s the width of my queen-size bed. A little too short for my tallness, but I just love it.

Here are a few of my most favorite squares, though really, they are all my favorite.
The shirt in the  top left of this picture, and in the center of the quilt, was my Poppa’s. I got it after he died and used to sleep in it all the time. But then I got a hole in the arm and stopped wearing it so it wouldn’t fall apart. I completely forgot about it until I found it in the bag. This one was the hardest to cut up, but I'm so glad I did. It’s a lot better than having it sit in my closet.

And that’s my quilt! I know this is quite wordy but I spent all that time making it and documenting it, so I wanted to share, even if just with me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacation all I ever wanted...

Today I'm headed south. Whew. I need to not be here. There is too much work and heat and too many people. Oh, the people. Why so many?

I've never taken a week to do anything, much less just lie on the beach. Since I decided to go a little voice in my head has been saying, "Ooh, a week-long beach vacation! How extravagant! When did we win the lottery?" (One of my inner voices is a vindictive little bitch. I know you're shocked.)

Of course, I'm taking the train down, staying in a house with tons of family, and sleeping in a bunk bed, so lottery winnings weren't necessary. But I still feel weird even calling it a "vacation." I don't take vacations. I take long weekends to go home or to explore a city. Two days in Chicago or three days in San Francisco are amazing, wonderful, and exactly what I love doing. But I never call them vacations, they're just trips.

So, here are some Things I Plan On Doing While On Vacation:
  • Taking work email off phone.
  • Spending no more than 30 minutes a day on laptop or iPhone.
  • (Possibly) not brushing my hair or wearing makeup.
  • Drinking tons of Cherry Lemon Sun Drop.
  • Eating tons of biscuits, barbecue, shrimp, etc.
  • Sleeping late.
  • Reading tons.
  • Writing for me.
  • Spending lots of time with family.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Mid-Week Fourth

First of all, I think it should be illegal for the Fourth of July to fall on a weekday. Take a few more days from February, add a few to June, I don't care, just make it so it's on a weekend. Or at the least, not a Wednesday, smack in the middle of the week.

However, that being said, I would definitely be ok with having more Wednesdays off; it's a great way to break up the work week.

Tuesday I was frantically trying to get things done, and every few minutes I'd remember that I didn't have to work the next day. Yay! I stayed up late and slept in some before starting my day of relaxation. My friend, Shana, and I had vague plans which ended up being perfect.

As I've said before, the Fourth is one of my favorite holidays. I just love it. And as much as I prefer to be in North Carolina for it, I'm happy with the way mine turned out this year.

We started on her apartment's rooftop pool, which was wonderful. It was a HOT but clear day. We laid out, talked, read, and took many dunks in the pool.

We had a late lunch at a seafood restaurant where I had very refreshing sweet tea vodka lemonade...in a mason jar! (Which I really wanted to steal but had no purse to put it in.)

I went home after that to shower, clean a little, and take a very quick nap. Then it was time to go back out, in the opposite direction of the hoards of people, and meet S in Friendship Heights for more food.

We went to Clyde's, which has several locations around D.C., but we realized we'd never been to any. It was decorated like an old train car, and had a model train track hanging from the ceiling, which was a lot of fun.

We were still too full from our lunch and opted for splitting a few appetizers, then desert and a few drinks. All whilst wearing our most patriotic attire, of course.

As we left, we could hear fireworks in the distance, but all in all were happy we chose the activities we did.

Especially when you consider that at 9 p.m. it was still 98 degrees.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Things I Learned This Weekend

(It's too late for this but it was such an out-of-the-ordinary weekend, for so many reasons, I can't not write about it. Even if it's longer and vaguer than usual.)

To stop. Drinking. Sangria.
I should count how many times I've "learned" this. (And should also probably note I had it again Sunday.)

There are not enough words for how great it is to have the company of a good friend after a bad night.
Have I mentioned how awesome my friends are? Oh, I have? And I should shut up about it? Yeah, not going to happen.

And a nice stranger lady in the ladies room is really great, too.
Long story, not that interesting, but if you work in the same place for 4.5 years and frequent the same places, people remember you. And care.

Sometimes it's worth it to spring for the long cab ride.
No explanation needed.

Especially when you arrive at a restaurant minutes before a crazy storm hits.
For real.

That a "derecho" is a crazy, scary, out-of-nowhere storm I hope to never experience again. 
I'd rather have a hurricane any day. (No jinx.)

Tree on car at end of my street.
Sometimes it's also worth it to spring for a cab ride when the power at the metro station is out and there are port-a-potties in the middle of the road.
Also no explanation needed.

Blessed: Living in a building with power when all the buildings around you are without.
And there are power lines tangled in the tree in front of your building. But still there was power. BLESSED!

Power lines tangled in tree.
Spending a Saturday at the pool alone is fine, but spending it with a friend is even more fine. 
As is eating veggies and chatting in the AC afterward.

These are from my book club dinner
I made last week, but I wanted to share.
Aren't they pretty?
Forget running errands, even walking errands in 100 degree heat is too much.
Especially if your usual, shaded route is closed due to damage.

Favorite route: closed
My tendency to get ready too early comes in handy when a fire alarm forces you out of your building.
Random fire alarm at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Grr...

Fire trucks!
Channing Tatum is an amazing dancer.And as odd as it was, I'm grateful for two wonderful girlfriends to have seen "Magic Mike" with.

The U.S.A. women's (and probably men's) gymnastics team is going to be amazing.
And my new favorite is Gabby Douglas. But I still love Nastia and will remember her for all her previous accomplishments, not that last stumble.