??? Hours of Art!

It’s New Years Eve! Even though I failed to update regularly, I’m pleased to say that I definitely went over my goal of 100 hours of art this year. Well over. Here are some pictures of some of the stuff I accomplished this year!












This was actually a project for work – hence the text. This is not something I would have ever done on my own!



C25k Running Update!

True to form, I haven’t updated this blog since June🙂

But, I wanted to write out the progress I have made since my original C25k post back in May. I was just getting ready to start the Couch to 5k interval training program. In reality, after that first jog, I didn’t actually start the running program until mid-June. I did it with a friend of mine. I would run the first two workouts of each week on my own, and we would run the third together on Thursday evenings. It was great, because in order to keep up with him, I really needed to do those other two workouts on my own – I couldn’t just wing it! So we did that for 9 weeks, and we “graduated” the program in August. That month, we both ran our very first 5k race!

It was hot, sticky, dusty and all around miserable, and took me around 40 minutes to finish. I was disappointed because in practice, I averaged about 11-12 minute miles, and I was convinced that I would have finished in under 35 minutes. Oh well! I decided that I wouldn’t be discouraged, and I was going to do at least one race every month as a motivator!

So in September, I signed up for another 5k in a park. This was a road race, rather than a trail race, which I am much more comfortable with. The temperature was around 60, which is pretty perfect, and I ran it in just over 31 minutes! I averaged about a 10 minute mile!

October came, and so did the race I was the most nervous about, but also the most excited. It was time for the Six Flags Zombie Fright Run 5k! For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s a 5k run combined with an obstacle course and flag football. You start off with three flags, which zombies throughout the course chase you and try to steal. There aren’t just zombies chasing you though; there are zombies chasing you through water, over walls, under ropes, you name it! Unfortunately, a large stack of hay bales and one zombie claimed me as victim – I ended up re-injuring my knee. Luckily (and stupidly), it was cold enough out (around 30 degrees) and I was wading through waste-deep freezing water so that the swelling in my knee was kept to a minimum, and with the help of my friend and my knee brace I was able to finish the race and even keep jogging parts of it! I paid for the next couples days though when I discovered I could hardly walk.

That set me back, since I couldn’t run for at least two weeks after that incident. So I gave myself plenty of time, and my next race was a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning! That was a cold one, but I ran it in about 32 minutes and didn’t feel too badly about stuffing my face later that day.

A week and a half later was a Hot Chocolate run, and the race sold out with 5500 participants! I ran it in just over 31 minutes and beat about 1200 people🙂

To sum it up, running has been going well! For the first time in my life, I actually LIKE running, and I am already signed up for a St. Patrick’s Day 10k (6.2 miles). My goal in 2013 is to run a minimum of 500 miles, and potentially a lot more, and to get my 5k time down to 28 minutes. I am also signed up for Warrior Dash in September! Eek!


P.S. I did end up getting a pair of Vibram Bikilas – they’re WONDERFUL! Best shoes I have ever run in! I will be getting another pair in the spring since I’ve worn my current pair down pretty good!

My Top 15 Most Listened to Albums of Spring 2012

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and I realized how much music I have been listening to this year, especially with Spotify and the 10k miles of driving I’ve done. Here’s what I have been listening to this spring! No reasoning, no reviews, just a list.

15. NeedtoBreathe – The Reckoning

14. fun. – Some Nights

13. Sigur Ros – Valtari

I love this album artwork

12. Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

11. Caravan Palace – Caravan Palace

10. Imagine Dragons – Continued Silence EP

9. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

8. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix

7. The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You

6. Ben Rector – Into The Morning

5. mewithoutYou – Ten Stories

4. The Shins – Port of Morrow

3. M83 – Saturdays=Youth

2. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

1. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

I can't stop listening....

Who needs wallpaper when you’ve got a sharpie

Can’t decide on a paint color or wallpaper? Grab a marker and go to town. That’s what British artist Charlotte Mann does for a living – and it’s awesome.

Check it out!


In light of my recent “get in shape” kick, I thought now would be the perfect time to attempt running again! I went for my first jog in probably 5 years (since my knee injury) this morning. My knee was only slightly wobbly – I was happy about that, especially since I was not wearing a knee brace. Even though I’ve lost a decent amount of weight this past year, I’m still very out of shape, so I am starting slow. I was never a good runner to begin with, my shortest mile time being around 8.5min. I’m just not built for it. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try!

So I am going to attempt a Couch 2 5k program (C25K) to get myself back on track. I got up at 5:45, splashed some cold water on my face, laced up my sneaks and was out the door by 5:55 (this is VERY impressive for me!). I decided to run for time instead of distance, so at least 3x a week, more if possible, I am going to train a minimum of 30 minutes. Today was the first workout, so I just wanted to test the waters a bit rather than jump right into the interval training in the program. I was able to jog 1/2 mile without stopping, which may not sound like much, but it was better than I expected. I walked for 1-2 minutes, and jogged the second 1/2 mile. Less than a 15 minute workout, but I was pleased nonetheless, especially since I wasn’t sure what to expect from my knee. I’m going to keep track of my miles run, too. Because I like tracking things🙂 And hopefully come fall I will be ready to run my first 5k since high school!

Part of me really wants to get a pair of these…  They just look like they would make running so much more fun!


On a less positive note, I think I might need to get my wisdom teeth (tooth?) out. Yesterday my jaw was aching a little bit on the left side, but I assumed this was because of grinding my teeth (stress habit). This morning however, as I was washing my face, I noticed that the left side of my jaw felt and looked swollen, and was still feeling sore. It feels like a wisdom tooth thing, which isn’t good because I don’t have dental insurance and not much in the way of money to pay for the surgery. I wonder if they will let me pay in monthly installments or something…worth looking into.

I’ve also done 10 more hours of my 100 hours of art project, so I will be posting on that sometime this week!

I like bullet points

Here is a quick bullet point summary of the last few weeks:

  • Working lots of overtime (which I don’t get paid for because I’m on stinkin’ SALARY)
  • Lamest Easter ever
  • Athol River Rat Race (my friend got 2nd place out of 272 canoes! Also, the linked site is one of the worst designed websites I’ve ever seen…cringe-worthy)
  • Lost 5 more lbs (down 30 since last June!)
  • NeedtoBreathe at the House of Blues in Boston
  • Co-worker had her baby 6 weeks early (5lb 4oz Jaxson Harley is doing great! So is mama)
  • Results of this was even more overtime and more craziness at work to prepare for…
  • …our program in Chicago! (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) – I ate a ridiculously awesome Chicago Deep Dish pizza. Well, I ate two pieces of it.
  • Wedding shower on Saturday
  • Made some Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls for housechurch (recipe to come)
  • Slept through housechurch on Sunday

Which brings me to a quick bullet point summary of what’s to come:

  • Seeing a good friend on Thursday whom I haven’t seen in a long while (he is in the Air Force and is in the midst of transferring from Alaska to Hawaii…I know, shock to the system for sure!)
  • Taking the day off Friday to drive down to Maryland to see another friend whom I haven’t seen since his wedding last year
  • During said trip to Maryland, I will be seeing the new Avengers movie (eeeeeeeeek!….or, more like geeeeeeeeeeek!)
  • On the drive back, I have marked off two locations of one of my favorite stores in towns I will be passing straight through. Sounds lame, but I am excited because the closest one to me is over an hour away at Mohegan Sun, and I will finally be able to pick up some stuff I need (and want)

That’s all for now!🙂

Miniature Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing


I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while now on Pinterest and have been dying to try it, but didn’t have any vanilla beans. The other day I happened to see some for pretty cheap on Amazon and ordered them after reading the good reviews. So today, I made mini cupcakes! I used Melanie’s recipe from her blog The Sweet Life (there are tons of great recipes on her blog!) Here is the recipe:

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (recipe from The Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes)

yield: 12 cupcakes (or about 36 mini cupcakes)


  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean I actually used a whole vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and add the egg; beat until combined.  Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Scrape the seeds of 1/4 of a the vanilla bean; add them to the milk.  Add the milk mixture and flour mixture to the butter mixture alternatively in three steps, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix on medium-low until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners; bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean I used a whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the butter and shortening on high until smooth and creamy.  Scrape the seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean; add the seeds and the confectioners sugar to the butter mixture.  Start the mixer on low until the sugar starts to incorporate, then beat on medium for about 30 seconds.  Add the vanilla extract and beat on high 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.

The specks of vanilla look awesome

I made a few regular size cupcakes for my family