The Ultimate Summer Dress

May 20, 2015
Seeing how I'm pregnant right now, I'm definitely not spending much money on clothes for summer.  That being said...I still want to look cute despite my growing belly, and I think I've found the perfect item that will keep me both cute and sane as the temperature rises: the Old Navy (non-maternity) Jersey Shift Dress.  

They have a little bit of stretch in them so they won't lose their shape, and they come 6 different colors and patterns.  Here is a picture of the dress in a different pattern on a non-pregnant person:

I may or may not have stocked up on 4 different shift dresses on my last trip to Old Navy...they're just too good to pass up!  I know they will grow with me for a few more months, but they will also look cute next summer when I'm (hopefully) back to my normal size.  The best part is that everything is on sale right now, so you can snag them for about $20 each.

Happy shopping!

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Home Crush: Krista Ewark's House Beautiful Feature

May 18, 2015

I don't normally just share a whole bunch of photos that aren't mine, but I cannot resist sharing this gorgeous house with you all.  This is probably my favorite home ever featured in House Beautiful Magazine (May 2015), which is why I had to share so many of the pictures here.  The colors, the faux bamboo, the's all just amazing and so cheerful!  I honestly keep finding myself flipping back to these pages in the magazine because it makes me so happy.  The designer and home owner, Krista Ewark, has such fun style and her home definitely inspires me to incorporate more white in with all my bright colors.  It just looks so crisp and fresh.  You can bet that I'll definitely be painting my thrift store Chinese Chippendale chairs white now.

I've included just a few of my favorite photos, but if you want the whole tour go buy the latest copy of the magazine or you can see it here.

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Weekly Workout Recap

May 17, 2015
This is the first of what I hope to be a weekly recap of the workouts I did from Monday thru Sunday.  I always enjoy getting a glimpse into the workout routines of others, so I figured I'd share what I do to keep fit (especially as I have to adapt and improvise during my pregnancy).  

I've had to shorten my runs a good bit because of some pain that I've been experiencing lately.  During college I was diagnosed with osteolysis of the pelvis (the front of my pelvic bone is disintegrating a little bit), and once I quit playing rugby my senior year most of the pain went away.  Since then, I've only experience soreness occasionally after completing runs over 15 miles when training for a marathon.  Now that I'm carrying more weight in this area I feel the soreness after most 5+ mile runs, and it's compounded if I do anything longer two days in a row.  I've never really been an elliptical kind of person, but I've been using it more often lately because there is less impact.  I plan on running as long as possible during my pregnancy, I'm just listening to my body and adapting as needed.  Plus I'm taking a lot more bathroom breaks...

Ok so here's a recap of the my workouts this past week:

Monday.  3.38 mile run in 31:00 along Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa, FL.  20 leg step-ups on each leg and 20 dips half way through the run, and 10 leg step-ups on each leg and 10 dips three quarters of the way through the run.*  This was a shorter run than originally planned because I slept late and had to squeeze in the run before I caught a plane back home to Maryland.   

Tuesday.  1 hour of Body Pump followed by 2.56 miles in 30 minutes on the elliptical.  If you've never tried body pump I highly recommend it.  It's an hour-long class where you use free weights/barbells to complete a full-body workout.  It's a high rep., low weight type of class (so you won't bulk just helps you get nice, lean, toned muscles), and it's all to music and lots of fun.  Most gyms offer it so give it a shot if you've been wanting to incorporate some weight lifting into your workout routine.  I try to do Body Pump once or twice a week.

Wednesday.  5 mile run in 48:00 in the early morning with Tom.  1 hour of yoga in the evening.  I try to go to yoga once or twice a week.  It helps stretch out my muscles that get tight from running, and it helps me chill out because sometimes I can be rather tightly wound...

Thursday.  Did not work out.

Friday.  Did not work out.  I worked in the office today and find that if I don't work out in the morning then I likely can't motivate myself to do anything after work.

Saturday.  Did not work out.  Tom and I went to Lucketts Spring Flea Market and left the house early to try to beat the crowds.  We cleaned out the garage in the afternoon though so we did do some manual labor. 

Sunday.  3.34 mile run in 30:46.  20 leg step-ups on each leg and 20 dips half way through the run, and 15 leg step-ups on each leg and 15 dips three quarters of the way through the run.*  This was a quick run near my home that I had to squeeze in before heading to a friend's child's birthday party.  

*(On shorter runs I like to add leg step-ups and dips throughout the run to switch things up and keep my body guessing.  I just find a bench or a high step and complete these.  For the leg step-ups I put one leg up on the step and keep it firmly planted there as I go up and down, then I switch to the other side after completing the total number of repetitions.)

Overall, this wasn't a fantastic week of workouts but every little bit helps keep me sane and fit!  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and get your week off to a great start tomorrow!  

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Thrift Store Find: Chinese Chippendale Chairs

May 11, 2015
Guys, it finally happened.  I found a set of Chinese Chippendale dining chairs!  I've been looking for a set of chairs for about 2 years now, and I wrote about my love of these chairs last year.  I didn't think I'd ever find an affordable set, but last week I found a set for a steal!  

Every week I make the rounds to three local thrift stores.  I didn't find anything in the first store, but as I was walking back to my car I caught a glimpse of some chairs behind a fence.  I started nosing around behind the fence and realized that these had recently been donated but hadn't been priced yet.  There were 7 chairs (1 with arms, 6 without), and despite being dirty and a bit beat up I knew they were exactly what I had been looking for!  I walked back into the store and asked if I could buy them.  The supervisor walked outside with me to take a look, and he told me I could have the set for $49.49. Yes...7 Chinese Chippendale chairs for $49.49!  The best part is that they have a military discount so I end up paying less than $40 for the entire set.

After a bit of online research I realized that these chairs are likely made by Ballard.

Image via Ballard.
These chairs retail for $279 per chair with arms and $215 per armless chair...that means I got $1569 worth of chairs for under $40!

I'm thinking I'll paint the chairs gold.  I'm tempted to paint them some crazy color like turquoise, but I already have so much color in our home that I think I need to go more neutral...and gold is a neutral, right?  The cushions have definitely got to go (they're sticky and gross feeling), but the seat caning is in great shape so I may not even replace them.  

Stay tuned for updates!

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On My Mind...Lately

May 8, 2015
Happy Friday everyone!  I'm down in Florida (Tampa and Naples) right now because Dimitri's brother is graduating from college!  (Congrats Andres!)  I haven't had the opportunity to see the entire del Castillo family since Dimitri's sister Anna graduated from Notre Dame 3 years ago, and I'm really glad I'm able to celebrate a happy occasion with them.  Time with my late husband's family is always full of funny stories about our sweet Dimitri even though it is emotionally difficult to stir up old memories sometimes.

Quick question for y'all...would there be any interest in me doing a weekly post on my workouts of the week?  I've been thinking about this for a while because I think it's always interesting to get a glimpse into someone else's workout routine (plus it would be a good way to hold myself accountable as I get more and more pregnant).  Let me know what you think!

As for things that have been on my mind lately, here's a roundup of some fun, pretty and yummy things I've been thinking about lately.  Enjoy!

1.  DIY Succulent Garden.

Isn't this the prettiest little succulent garden?  I love the addition of the crystals and I think planting the garden in a pretty bowl is such a great idea.

2.  Chinese Chippendale Chair Update.

I found a set of 7 Chinese Chippendale chairs this week!!  Hooray!  I've been hunting for these chairs for years now, and I finally found an affordable set at a thrift store that hadn't even been priced yet (I talked them down to $39 for all 7...can you believe it?).  They are in HORRIBLE shape which means I have a lot of work in my future, but I'm ok with that.  Sarah M. Dorsey shared her Chinese Chippendale chair update on her blog (the "after" photo is above (so pretty!)), and her tutorial is definitely a helpful resource that I'll be using as I tackle my one Chinese Chippendale chair project. 

3.  One-Piece Anchor Swimsuit.

I'm in a funky place right now where I have outgrown most of my current swimsuits (hello cleavage, nice to finally meet you!), but I'm not even close to filling out a maternity swimsuit yet.  I found this cute one-piece swimsuit at J.Crew Factory last week and decided to get it even though I'm not sure how long I'll be able to wear it this summer.  It's suuuuper comfortable and the anchors are such a fun nautical touch!  

4.  Bamboo Motif Flatware.

When I graduated from West Point I owned practically nothing for an apartment.  (Living in a barracks room for 4 years makes it pretty much impossible to decorate.)  The summer after graduation was full of stocking up on home essentials before I moved to Hawaii, because I knew things would be much more expensive once I got over there.  I bought flatware from TJ Maxx that served me well for 6 years, but the spoons were oddly shaped and I've been itching to replace them for a while now.  I was recently browsing World Market for nothing in particular when I found this fun bamboo motif flatware.  It's a great price and incorporates the faux bamboo look that I love so much!

5.  Honey-Balsamic-Blueberry Pie.

Anyone else love to bake fruity desserts in the summertime?  Cobblers are normally my go-to because they are so darn easy, but this honey-balsamic-blueberry pie recipe from Southern Living looks AMAZING and I can't wait to try it out this summer.  I love the tangy-sweetness of balsamic vinegar, so the idea of using it in a dessert is intriguing to me.

Are you following me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Bloglovin' yet?  I'd love for you to join me there!

Have a great weekend everyone!
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"NYC Trash Chairs" Makeover Reveal

May 6, 2015
Ok y'all remember the chairs I found in the trash in NYC back in January?  (You can read the story here if you missed it.)  Well, I finally got them back from the upholsterers and I'm in love!

Just to recap, they are from the 1960's or 1970's and the same pair is selling for $3,600 on Chairish.  I found these on the street in NYC (in a trash pile) and here is the lovely photo of me finding them...before our mile-long trek back to our hotel with chairs on our heads.  Needless to say I was sore the next day because these chairs are so solid and heavy!

Here is what they looked like before:

And here is what they look like now!  Amazing transformation, huh?  Someone on instagram said they were "Beetlejuice-chic" and that made me laugh because I definitely agree.  Once they have cute, colorful pillows on them I think they will look a little less Beetlejuice-y though :)  That's my hope anyway!  

Please excuse the mess surrounding the chairs...they are in our garage at the moment, which is where we store all the stuff that doesn't fit into this apartment.  They will soon make their way down to my family's beach cottage, and I can't wait to see how they look in their new home!

If you're in the DC area and looking for an affordable and talented upholsterer, look no further than Interiors Upholstering.  I was quoted ~$700 per chair by another company, but Interiors Upholstering did them for a reasonably priced $380 per chair (plus fabric).

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1st Trimester Surprises

May 4, 2015
For the past 4-5 years I've been a fairly strong-willed person that can easily maintain my discipline when it comes to fitness, food and overall well-being.  Well, my first trimester of pregnancy has proven otherwise.  This is probably just me being inexperienced, but I figured/hoped I'd glide through pregnancy without gaining any unnecessary weight and would maintain a healthy diet (with no fatty cravings) that would provide the nourishment that this grown babe needs.  That plan was all well and good until I hit week 5 and my body realized it was pregnant.  Here are the symptoms that have surprised me the most (I wrote this at week 7 and I'm now at week 14, just fyi):

1.  So Sleepy.  I'm so darn tired and it's driving me crazy!  Morning workouts have become much more difficult because I'd rather sleep than wake up at 4:45 for a 5:30 class.  Tom has definitely left me at home more than once because I just could not get out of bed.

2.  Vegetable Aversion.  I LOVE vegetables and eating healthy things.  But now the thought of a vegetable turns my stomach.  I can't even think about lettuce or broccoli without almost gagging.  This makes eating healthy much more difficult...especially when coupled with symptom 3.

3.  Unrelenting Carnivore.   I can't get enough meat.  Yesterday, for example: I had a cheeseburger for lunch and ribs for dinner.  What is going on with me?  I never eat like this!  (Well I do on occasion, but not often two meals in a row.)  Plus my favorite staples of French bread, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, avocado, eggplant and eggs all sound like horrible, nasty ideas right now.  I don't know what's going on with me!

4.  Lack of Morning Sickness.  Here's a good surprise!  I expected to struggle with true morning sickness, but I actually feel fine most of the time.  The only time my stomach truly bothers me is if I have to think about what I want to eat, and the rest of the time I just have this little knot-feeling in my stomach that just feels a bit more sensitive than it normally does.

5.  Motivation to Exercise is Waning.  I struggle with lack of motivation from time to time, but never like this.  I still manage to get to the gym a few times a week, but it's a bigger battle than I'm used to.  Naturally, I feel so much better after working out, but it's hard to convince myself to go.  I had hoped I'd be the pregnant lady killing it on the treadmill or at spin class day after day, but at this point I'm just not that girl.  Maybe 2nd trimester will be better!  I'm hoping to get the energy boost I hear so much about.

It's still quite surreal that we are expecting a baby.  I've always wanted to be a mom and it's something I've thought about constantly since I was a child, so now that this whole pregnancy thing is finally here I just can't quite wrap my head around it.  Am I going to be a good mom?  Do I want to cloth diaper?  Will I know what to do?  How will I love something as much as they say you're supposed to love your baby?  I've always been a shy and private person and I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was almost 18 years old.  I didn't know how to show emotion and I felt that outwardly showing love and feelings made you vulnerable so I kept myself closed off because I didn't want people to see me open up.  Will I be able to love this child so fully that I won't care who sees it?  I'm sure that as I start getting a "bump" and once I actually see the ultrasound things will start feeling real, but at this point it's such an abstract thought.  All of that being said, I'm so happy to be on this journey with my husband, and I feel very blessed that God has given me the opportunity to be a mother!

Note: I'm now at week 14 and in my second trimester (hooray!).  I'm almost back to my healthy pre-pregnancy diet (minus the booze, of course), although a few certain veggies still make me want to gag.  I feel great exercising again too, praise the Lord!

Feeling great at 13 weeks pregnant!  I managed to run a sub-2 hour half marathon and felt fabulous the whole time.  I'm so happy to have my energy and motivation back!

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