A humbling moment

Last weekend we had a garage sale before our upcoming move. It wasn’t too much work in general. I’d been gathering things to send off to Goodwill for a while, since we knew we were moving. However, there were several things that I knew were still so new or hardly used/worn, that we could make a little bit of money from selling them. I really didn’t have time to worry about doing a lot of extra advertising, so I just placed an ad in the paper and bought a few signs from Home Depot to put out. I’d noticed that once the weather got warmer around here in late May, the garage sales starting popping up every weekend. So, I knew that we would get a crowd if we placed our signs correctly. Saturday morning came, and we had plenty of shoppers (or “rummagers”).

Up here, people often use the term “rummage sale” instead of “garage sale”, which you do also hear, but not as much. Have you ever thought about how many words there are for these kinds of things? Seriously, think about it… we have rummage, yard, garage, tag and thrift sales. I’m sure there are more words that I don’t even know, but I found it interesting to think about all the terms we use and how they differ, depending on where you are geographically. Yes, I am a nerd and I work with words… I digress.

So, we had a good crowd of people come to our sale, and we sold quite a bit. Our main goal was to get rid of things we don’t use/need/want anymore, and whatever money we made, we’d be happy. We had at least 5 people comment on how unique our items were. I think that helped, as we ended up selling a lot of home decor items. In fact, that was the majority of our revenue that day. At one point around 1 pm, a young girl stopped by. She was with an older woman (her grandmother, perhaps?), who waited in their van while she looked around. I tried to greet everyone who came by, and perhaps it’s my southern self talking here, but I enjoy talking to people, even strangers. So, I asked if she was looking for anything in particular. She said she was moving into a new apartment. I told her that I remember moving into my first apartment and piecing together different items to make it feel more like a home. I pointed out a few things she might like, and she mentioned that she liked some of them. At one point, she started to seem a little uncomfortable. So, I stopped talking and let her look for herself. After looking at everything, she said she might come back later and quickly walked back to her van.

I mentioned to my husband that I doubted she’d be back, as it was already close to the end of our sale. Since there were so many sales in our area that day, I figured she was going to browse around other sales and see if she could find something more her style or in her price range. Honestly, these were my assumptions, because our items were priced very low, but you never know what people are looking to spend. I thought very little about it after that, since plenty of people stop by garage sales and don’t find something to buy. At 3 pm, we started to bring what was left inside and take apart our tables. My husband grabbed our signs from the road, and we started to gather what was left to donate.

Then, I heard a car stop close to our drive and I looked up. It was the same girl that stopped by earlier in the afternoon. I walked over to their van and asked her if there was anything she’d like to see again, because we were just starting to put things away and she was more than welcome to still look and buy whatever she liked. She came back to the garage with me and said she would like to buy a few items she’d seen the first time she was there. I started to pull things out for her from the piles we’d gathered, and she picked a few things. Remembering how I just really wanted to get rid of these items, I decided to give her a few items, too. I asked what else she might need and she picked out a basket. After filling two bags, she asked what she owed. $3.50. She looked at me in shock. “Really? That’s all?” she asked me. “Yep, that’s it.” I could tell she didn’t have the means to pay much, and she couldn’t have been more than 18 years old. I knew she needed these things and that she was being very careful about how much money she should spend.

As we were picking up the bags to help her put them in her van, I asked her if she needed a kitchen cart for her kitchen. I told her I’d give it to her for free if she wanted it. Again, a look of shock. “Yes, really. We are happy to give it to you if you can use it,” I told her.  She admitted that her kitchen was very small and a kitchen cart would help a lot with storage.

In fact, that’s why we bought the cart in the first place. When we had a smaller apartment with a small kitchen and little storage, it came in very handy. We simply didn’t need it anymore. I could tell she was excited to have it, so we brought it over to the van, too. When she opened the sliding door, I saw a little guy in the back seat. He looked like he was about 2 years old. She told us he was her son. Immediately I felt like this was supposed to happen. She came back to get these few extra items to start putting together their home. And then, as soon as they drove away, I felt an immediate sense of guilt. I really did not think she would have come back for anything after she left the first time. I wished I had thought to give her more. After all, we were going to donate the rest anyhow. I know that she chose what she wanted from what we had left, but I still had a twinge of guilt the rest of the day, thinking that I could have done more.

All this to say, it’s important to remember that we don’t know what others are dealing with in life. This humbling experience made me stop for a while after what has been an incredibly hectic and stressful month and think about how quickly we can judge a situation without considering someone else’s struggles. It makes our everyday annoyances and complaints seem silly in comparison. I don’t usually share these types of things on my blog, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. Kind of wordy… I know. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Miscellaneous


Half Marathon Training has begun!

It’s finally time to start training! I may or may not have been checking my e-mail obsessively today, waiting on the training information to arrive in my inbox. I’ve never had a coach for a training cycle, so I’m pretty excited about it this time. Once I set up my virtual training page, I’ll be all set.

That e-mail with log-in information showed up in my inbox late this morning. Remember the “You’ve got mail” voice and the little red flag? Sometimes I wish we could go back to that. These days, the sound of another e-mail hitting my inbox can be cringe-worthy, depending on the day. This was an e-mail I was happy to get. I logged in for a few minutes to see how the page works, but I haven’t really looked too much further yet. I also wanted to check out the different training plans, since I’ve been running consistently for some time and wasn’t sure how they would start off the training cycle.

I’ve always created my own training cycles and stuck to them pretty well for upcoming races. This time, since someone else has set it all up for me, I am curious where I fall in the mix. I’ve heard the couch-to-5k plans are great if you’re looking to start from the beginning, but as I’ve consistently been logging 15-20 miles a week, I figured I’d fall into the intermediate category. I was surprised to see that my mileage actually places me in the advanced group, running about 14 miles in Week 1. The cross-training days look like fun, and I’m really happy to see that it allows for two or three “off” days per week, at least in the beginning. Some schedules do not, and I always wonder how people can put themselves through so many days of back-to-back intensive workouts.

Tonight is the first virtual training session. I’ll start meeting up with the Orange County group in a few weeks for Saturday training runs. So, I’m really excited to meet the OC coach and make some new running friends in our area. I’ll fill you in when I start dedicating training weeks to the pets of those who have donated, which will be soon!

Speaking of donations, thanks to some awesome friends and family, I’ve already raised 20% of my goal. Amazing! If you’d like to donate (any amount will helps), please visit my fundraising page. I’m enjoying all the supportive messages everyone has left with their donations, too. Talk about motivation!

And for those who enjoy info graphics, check this out. Not only are more people running, but more people are running for a cause. There are so many out there, so find something that means a lot to you and go for it! Keep on rocking the runs, friends! xo



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Project 365: Week 35

Only 16 weeks left in my Project 365. Time really is flying, but it’s fun to look back and see how much my photos have changed (hopefully for the better). Here is Week 35.

Day 239 (June 27, 2014): Veins. I absolutely love this shot. I found this leaf the other day when I was finishing up a run. Without even thinking, I immediately reached down to pick it up, because it’s so rare to find a leaf this color in the middle of summer. I hadn’t touched my macro filters in a while, so I pulled out my 4x filter and took a few shots during the golden hour. If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I love texture in photos.

Day239_VeinsDay 240 (June 28, 2014): Fire escape shadows. The rusted doors, lines in the windows and the shadows created by the fire escape caught my eye on the side of this building.

Day240_Fire EscapeDay 241 (June 29, 2014): Girl time. While walking around downtown, I saw this group of girls hanging out together, laughing and having a fun time. They all struck me as being so different from one another, but there was a common thread of real friendship there that was so obvious in the way they interacted with one another. It just worked out that they were walking in a staggered pattern like this, so you can see them all quite clearly.

Day241_Girl timeDay 242 (June 30, 2014): Order Here. This is at The Pearl in downtown La Crosse. One half of the store is a coffee shop and the other half is an old fashioned ice cream and sweets shop. Really… some of the best ice cream you’ll ever have. All hail to Wisconsin dairy. ;)

Day242_Order hereDay 243 (July 1, 2014): Carriage House. This old carriage house is next to a quaint B&B here in town. I really like that they’ve kept it preserved and you can see in this shot (and the next), how they’ve kept the original doors and windows. Carriage houses were used to store carriages and often housed the horses that pulled them.

Day243_Carriage HouseDay 244 (July 2, 2014): Carriage House doors

Day244_Carriage house doorsDay 245 (July 3, 2014): What’s wrong here? If you guessed that the “IIII” should be”IV”, you’re right. However, after sharing this shot with my photography group, a friend pointed out that some clocks are purposely made this way due to very inconsistent use of subtractive numerals. What??! Sad, but I suppose, true. I still remember having to learn Roman numerals. Come on, people.

Day245_Clock errorHope you have a fun weekend planned. I have a lot of packing to do before our move, so I’ve taken today off from work to get some of it done. It’s also our anniversary, so we have dinner plans tonight at our favorite restaurant downtown.

Any fun plans for the weekend? Have you seen any fall colors (leaves) this early? Do you have any carriage houses that have been preserved in your area?



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One week until training begins

I have one week left before my training begins for the Los Angeles Half Marathon. I decided to join Team ASPCA this year, which I’m really excited about! I’ve never run on a team as an adult, so I’m looking forward to this new experience. I will start with virtual training next week and will be keeping up with it throughout the training period, but in a few weeks, I’ll get to join the team members in Orange County for weekly runs and meet-ups. Yep, we’re moving to California! Very exciting!! :) No, not moving there just for this…  haha. And I’m really looking forward to running with a team again–it’s been a long time since I’ve been on a team.

I grew up playing soccer on co-ed and all girls teams for 10 years, running cross country in high school and just being mostly a tomboy, constantly playing outside with my brothers and friends. In college I started running more on my own and really enjoyed the solitude and me-time aspects of it. I still do. In fact, I get so much thinking time and enjoyment out of my running, that I am usually itching to get outside to pound out a few miles several times a week. I’ll still be running a good bit on my own for this training cycle, but I think the Saturday team runs will be a nice addition for me. A big difference with this team is the fact that we’ll all be running for a cause together. A very important cause.

The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass legislation for humane causes that affect animals and share resources with shelters across the country. It was founded in 1866 and was the first organization of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. I’m lucky to be running for such an incredible cause, and I’m excited about all the good it will mean for the furry ones who cannot help themselves.

Another thing I’m lucky to have? Amazing friends and family who have already donated to my fundraising page. I’m so touched that people have already started giving, and I am really motivated by the progress toward reaching my goal of raising $1,500 for the organization. So far, I’ve raised about 16%… yes, before training has even begun! I am really blessed to have such generous friends and family, so thank you! I still need to raise a good bit of money, though, so if you’re able and feel like this is a cause you wish to support, please do! {Click here.} I would be forever grateful, and I’ll dedicate a training week to your pet. ;) I plan to update my dedicated training weeks here, so stay tuned!

I realize that not everyone has the money to give, so your virtual support is also appreciated. Running is a tough sport, and no run is the same as the last. Some days are definitely harder than others for different reasons. {Maybe that’s a future post… hmm.} Thanks for your support, whether financial or virtual. I truly appreciate it, friends! xo


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Project 365: Week 34

I’m finally caught up here with my weekly 365 posts! Now, I’m still behind on my daily shots for the week, but I’m getting there. ;) Feel free to offer any CC (constructive criticism), as always. Have a great week, friends!

Day 232 (June 20, 2014): Summer afternoon stroll

Day232_Summer afternoon strollDay 233 (June 21, 2014): Tea shop window. This little cat’s arm waves back and forth. haha

Day233_Tea shopDay 234 (June 22, 2014): Window art. This set of windows is boarded and painted on one of the Old Towne streets in La Crosse. It’s easy to miss, because of the light blue shades, but there are lots of little details if you look closely.

Day234_Window artDay 235 (June 23, 2014) Maid-Rite since 1926

Day235_Maid-RiteDay 236 (June 24, 2014): Cal. Street Parking

Day236_Cal. Street ParkingDay 237 (June 25, 2014): Old Towne North

Day237_Old Towne NorthDay 238 (June 26, 2014): Bright door

Day238_Bright door



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Project 365: Week 33

Slowly, but surely, I’m catching up on my Project 365. I have another week ready for you here. Hope you enjoy!

Day 225 (June 13, 2014): EspressoDay225_BrewingDay 226 (June 14, 2014): Latte. This is my typical order at a coffee shop. Yum!Day226_Pouring foamDay 227 (June 15, 2014): Taking a break Day227_Taking a breakDay 228 (June 16, 2014): The view down the street Day228_The view down the streetDay 229 (June 17, 2014): Flamingo plungers. Why not, right?? Haha. This view on the sidewalk took me by surprise, and immediately, I started laughing. Someone actually took the time to add a decorative flamingo head to a pink plunger. And now they are selling it for $30! What won’t people buy?! Day229_Flamingo plungersDay 230 (June 18, 2014): Waiting for the light to change Day230_Waiting for the light to changeDay 231 (June 19, 2014): Ice cream chalk art. I feel lucky to have gotten to see this piece of artwork. It has rained a lot  lately, but luckily, the art was not washed away. So glad I had a chance to capture it. It reminds me of the graffiti I was lucky to shoot in Rapid City on Day 202 of my Project.Day231_Ice cream chalk art

Have you come across any fun artwork in your city now that the weather is warmer? What’s your coffee drink of choice?


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Industrial Style in the Kitchen

This weekend I found quite a gem while browsing Pinterest. I liked it so much that I decided to make it yesterday. I had half of the supplies already in my craft closet, so all I had to do was pick up a few more items at Home Depot.

I’ve been on the lookout for a new paper towel holder for some time. I know…does a paper towel holder really make much difference? Probably not… but I just never really liked the one we have. It was purely functional, but it seemed like the piece that wraps around the middle made it seem too bulky. You know what part I mean, right?

orbitpapertowel.jpgI also never found another paper towel holder that was nice enough that would make buying a new one worth it. Let’s face it… they’re functional, not really aesthetically pleasing. Until now. I found this post by Taryn to be really easy to follow. In fact, it’s so easy, I’m not even going to post the steps here. Check hers out… it’s genius! And it was incredibly simple.

I already had the block of wood on hand for another project I wanted to do, but never got around to making. I also had the Minwax stain in Dark Walnut and the polyurethane sealant. So, I picked up the screws, floor flange, tee fitting and pipe. I chose to get the black steel, because it looks more galvanized, which I preferred.

At first I wasn’t so sure about the black steel pipe, because the “black” was coming off on my hands. I gave it a quick scrub with some steel wool, and it’s perfect now. No residue at all. After sanding, staining, sanding again and sealing the wood block, I added some adhesive felt pieces to the bottom so that I don’t have to ever worry about the wood scratching any surface. I don’t think Taryn did this with hers, so clearly, it’s an optional extra step and a matter of preference.

So, here is my finished industrial paper towel holder. I love it. I really like modern industrial touches in kitchens {think, thick butcher block counters and industrial style pendant light fixtures}, and this is a really easy way of doing that. I think the tee fitting at the top really makes it, and it serves as a nice handle for picking up the holder, too. Sorry about the lighting in these photos. I took these in the evening, so it’s all artificial lighting.

DSC_3502_edited-1 DSC_3501_edited-1

I like how Taryn’s looks in her kitchen with the stainless steel appliances and touches of wood. I think that the modern farmhouse kitchen style is one of my favorites.

So, what do you think? Would you use this in your home?


Posted by on June 24, 2014 in DIY, Interior Design


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