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So it's no surprise that I love coffee, or that I have several recipes and gadgets around my house solely devoted to coffee, and tod...

DIY Coffee Trivet

So it's no surprise that I love coffee, or that I have several recipes and gadgets around my house solely devoted to coffee, and today's post is no different.

I had a coffee trivet. Only it didn't stand up to the daily abuse it received. Dana actually gave me this tile trivet several Christmases ago, and I loved it. It was just a simple 'B' on the tile with felt pads underneath. It did the job as spoon rest, mug rest, and counter beautifier.  Until it didn't do the last very well. The 'B' started wearing off, and then the trivet just looked kind of sad.

I knew that I was going to attack it with an oil-based sharpie and some kind of coffee hand lettered art, but there were so many choices! How was a girl to choose?

Enter the snarky throwback to my youth and my early introduction to rap. How could I not choose this quote?

Then there was the matter of designing the image. Luckily, I'd found this wonderful tutorial {HERE} on how to hand letter within a circle, and then everything clicked and fell into place.

I actually used one of my larger mugs as my circle guide, and then went from there.

The next time I do a project like this, I will have 2 oil-based sharpies on hand, because the one started running out towards the very end of my project. It was quite annoying, but cest' le vie.

After I let the tile dry for about 24 hours, I baked it in the oven and then let it cool inside the oven, and now several weeks later, my trivet looks as good as new, and it brings a smile to my face every morning.

I do only hand wash the trivet, but it has survived that and coffee stains, and compliments both of my coffee makers. Now I think it's time for another latte. If only I could get my orange sugar syrup right....

That is a post for another day though. Thanks for stopping by!

Can you believe that Independence Day is next week?!?! What?!?! Where the heck has the year gone? Luckily, I was on the ball this year...

DIY Patriotic Shirts

Can you believe that Independence Day is next week?!?! What?!?!

Where the heck has the year gone?

Luckily, I was on the ball this year, and made our patriotic shirts early enough to actually wear on the 4th. Go me!

I did some searching on the googles, and found some patriotic phrases I liked for the fam and then set about drawing out the images for the shirts.

I created rough drafts and then final drafts on paper, and then used them as guides for the shirts. I lettered the shirts with a combination of sharpies and fabric paint. Each person got a personalized shirt to fit their interests or personalities.

I must say I'm pretty proud of each of these creations, although the hubs shirt was a pain. Apparently his shirt was cut much smaller than the advertised size, and so needed a bit more customization, but I wasn't about to redo my artwork, so I cut out around my original artwork, staying about 1/4" away from the painted edge, and then stitched it down to a shirt that was in fact the same size as was advertised. So his shirt officially takes the cake as the most involved shirt.

My shirt was a close second, because I wanted to create a watercolor affect for the flag, and that took a bit of planning and prayer, but luckily it turned out well on the first try, from there it was just a matter of lettering everything with my trusty black sharpie.

The kids shirts were all fairly straightforward, the only one that had a bit more done to it was Baby Girl's because I sewed some star rhinestones to it to add a bit more sparkle. A girl can never have too much sparkle.

Thank so much for stopping by!

Dana here.  Time for another coffee recipe!  Because who doesn't like choices?  My gingered dark chocolate mocha is one of my all tim...

Mason Jar Lattes - Gingered Dark Chocolate Mocha

Dana here.  Time for another coffee recipe!  Because who doesn't like choices?  My gingered dark chocolate mocha is one of my all time favorites.  Mmmmm, it's dark and complicated and a little spicy...wait, am I talking about coffee or a fictional romantic interest?  Well, I did first feature this recipe on my own blog when I reviewed Hell's Teeth by James Fahy, and that description definitely fits a character in the book called Alessandro.  Spoiler alert: he's a vampire and he's as delicious as this drink. 😈

Gingered Dark Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 of a teaspoon salt
1/2 ounce ginger root, grated or sliced very thinly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Drop all the ingredients except the vanilla extract into a small saucepot.  Stir occasionally and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble.  This shouldn't take more than about five or ten minutes.  Make sure all the sugar is dissolved and then remove from the heat.  Let sit for fifteen to twenty minutes to allow the flavor of the ginger to really infuse into the syrup.  Then add vanilla extract and stir to combine.  You can strain the mixture now if you want, but I leave my ginger bits in so that they can continue to give off flavor.  You'll just have to either avoid or deal with ginger bits down the road if you do this.  You can then use the syrup to flavor your coffee, make hot chocolate, drizzle over ice cream, eat it off the spoon...hey, no judgement.  What you do with your syrup is your business.  And it can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

I only used half an ounce of ginger, which creates a syrup that has a undertone of gingery spiciness when I add just a tablespoon of it to my morning cuppa.  If you weren't paying attention, you might not notice it, so use more if you want a stronger flavor.

Also, I haven't tried this with ginger powder, so I'm afraid I don't know exactly how that conversion works.  A quick Google search, however, recommends about 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger to 1 tablespoon of fresh.  I personally don't find that ground ginger has quite the same sharpness as fresh, but ground is certainly more convenient.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Why did I tell you to add the vanilla at the end?  In short, because too much heat will kill your vanilla flavor.  A lot of recipes will have you wait until the last possible moment to add extracts to your dish, batter, whatever because extracts are rather more delicate than other flavor-giving ingredients.  So don't get ahead of yourself when assembling your syrup.  As Alton Brown would say, your patience will be rewarded.

Mmmmm, look at that chocolatey goodness.  Don't mind the Dalek, he just wants his fix.  Like I said, I only do a tablespoon, but you do up your mocha however you want.  Oh, and for instructions on how to steam your milk in the microwave and the general latte recipe, you can find the original post here.

You can also find previous Mason Jar Latte recipes here:

So delicious!  If you decide to give this one a go, let us know what you think of it down in the comments section.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!

What!?!? There's a Monday Report? There hasn't been one of these in ages, and part of that is because I seem to have misplaced ...

The Monday Report - 1 week down, 16 to go

What!?!? There's a Monday Report? There hasn't been one of these in ages, and part of that is because I seem to have misplaced my discipline. If my discipline were near the snacks, I'd be certain to find it, but it's not there. I've checked. Many times. 

So last Monday started a 16 week half training program that will hopefully keep my butt in gear and running. I even put it in my bujo, because that seems to help with my motivation. I like checking things off and coloring. I'm really not much older than my children. 

I adjusted the plan to my schedule, and moved my long runs to Friday so that I wouldn't have to juggle work schedules over the weekend. The first Friday went great. My oldest even gave me a little bit of flak over the length of it. I am going to have to share this conversation, because it's so telling about how my running has impacted my family. 
Big Guy - "Mom, you need to go running."
"I know. Do you see that I'm dressed. I'm going as soon as I wolf down this eggo PBJ."
"Mom. Go. For. Your. Run."
"I am. Thank you for being such a good bully. I'm going up and down Carver by the way."
"How long is your run today?"
"4 miles."
"Really? That's your long run? That'll take you what an hour?"
"I know it's not a 'long' run, but it's what the plan calls for, and yes, about an hour with cool down."
"Go run. Love you."
These types of conversations are fairly common with my family. They know running is an outlet for me, and that it's good for me, and I'm so thankful that I have their support, even when I may not want it. 

So the first week called for 13 miles with 1 day of cross training. No, cross training got done, but 10 miles of running with a 1.5 mile hike on Sunday got done. Overall, I felt pretty good on the runs. Summer has already descended on us, so they were hot and slowish runs, but I got out there and did them. The hike was a lot of fun, because I took out the Big Guy and Baby Girl, and we walked the Stone Bridge Loop at Manassas Battlefield. For it being in the low 90's, my kids were awesome, and really didn't complain. I also didn't have to carry the small one, and her only complaint was when rocks made it into her shoes. 

I am trying to not focus on the times of my runs, and how I feel, and how my body is reacting. The first takeaway from this week is that I need to get back into a better sleep schedule! Summer is not a reason to let my sleep habits suffer. If only Baby Girl would get that memo. 

Here's to a great 2nd week, and thanks for stopping by!

You know how there are just some phrases that stick with you? I saw this quote while surfing the interwebs for inspirational quotes for gi...

Peacocks and Flamingos

You know how there are just some phrases that stick with you? I saw this quote while surfing the interwebs for inspirational quotes for girls, and it really struck a note. Not because it's true, because it's totally true, but it applies to everyone.

So the inspiration was this image. I'm sorry that I don't have the proper web credit, but it was a google image search. I could totally do the text, but I'm no good at watercolors, even though I love them. So how could I achieve the same effect as this gorgeous inspiration piece?

Go tribal. I knew that there were tons of examples of tribal peacocks so I found one that would work and then used that as my guide, but what about the flamingo? I couldn't find any tribal flamingos that I liked or thought that I could draw, so I ended up drawing that flamingo from scratch.

I think it worked out pretty well, and after many, many, many sketches I was finally to a place where I liked my pencil drawing.

Then I sat on it. I didn't do anything with the sketch for a few days. Then I decided that Baby Girl needed a new shirt, but I also wanted a hard copy of my art. So I decided that I'd work on the hard copy of the art first. The hard copy still isn't done to my liking. Moving on.

Next was Baby Girl's  new shirt. Target has some really adorable plain white tee's for the kids right now. The sleeves are cuffed and it's got a cute silhouette. I like this shirt so much that I bought another shirt for her 4th of July shirt.

So I started with my sharpies. Love my sharpies! I gently outlined all the text and the main bits of the birds. I used a light hand so that the sharpie didn't snag on the material of the shirt. I then went back and added thicker strokes to the first lines I'd made. I was definitely following the "You can always add more" rule.

So after the sharpie was on and I was happy with it, I heat set it with the iron. I turned my iron up to the wool setting and then using a press cloth ran over the drawing for about 30ish seconds.

Next I prepped my paint. I wanted to water down my paints to create a watercolor effect with my fabric paint. I added a bit of water to each color until it looked right. I then gently went over each line of the birds, adding color as I saw fit. I finished up the birds with some hits of glitter or pearl paint. The bits of glitter are just the thing to make each bird stand out.

You can see that how the color spread on the dry shirt, creating this kind of abstract watercolor effect. I really like how it all came together, and Baby Girl was very happy with her new shirt!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

You know how you have those projects that you will get to someday? And you just make do with what you have until someday arrives? I am so ...

Gilded French Provincial Dressers

You know how you have those projects that you will get to someday? And you just make do with what you have until someday arrives? I am so excited to say that I've knocked another project off my 'someday' list!

Man, it feels so good to say that. These dressers have been on the someday list for 7 years. 7 YEARS! Since I first decorated our room, I've known that I wanted to paint or change our very traditional and ugly dressers.

Now there's nothing wrong with their styling. We found these dressers in a consignment shop up in Jersey years ago, and it was love at first sight. I loved their curves and details, but I have always hated their color. Ugh. it was a tired and old looking pecan-ish color.

So when the hubs was out of town last week, it was time to make them pretty. I had a great plan. A grand plan. I had an incomplete plan, and it became a problem when I got the bodies of the dressers painted and then didn't know how to finish.

If y'all follow me on Instagram, then you maybe remember seeing this:
Yep, I got almost done, and then didn't know where to go from there. Luckily Pinterest was there to save the day. I spent an hour or so combing through their treasure troves, and then I finally knew what I was going to do.

Let  me back up a bit, because, as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself. I painted the bodies of the dressers in Arctic White by Valspar, and I used my fave DIY Chalk paint recipe {HERE}. I actually bought the quart of white back when we painted our room in January. The one part of my plan was that I knew the dressers were going to go white. With our room being such a strong, dark blue, I wanted the dressers to stand out, and what better way of making that happen than with a stark contrast.

So I haven't been quite honest, I did have a plan, but I was afraid it would look awful. Scouring pinterest really just reassured me that my plan might look good good. I'm going to veer a little off course here, because the following story just needs to be shared.

I head to Target, because I know they have gold paint. Target sells Devine Paint by Valspar, and they have some lovely and trendy colors. The gold I picked up was $20 for the quart, and called karat. Its an old looking gold, that looked to be just about the shade I'd used in my room for some of the other accents. I wasn't thrilled about the price tag, but the color was right, and if I found a better deal somewhere else then I could always return it.

Next on my trip was Lowe's, and I figure that while I'm there I'll ask about their gold paint. So after I pick up some kilz primer, sand paper, and chip brushes, I head over to the paint counter to ask about gold paint. The gent behind the counter is nice and asks what I'm doing. I tell him I'm painting the drawer fronts on my dressers and I'd like them to have a gilded look. He asks if I have gold paint already. I say that I do, but I wanted to check out what they have. The gent looks me dead in the eye and says that the gold paint that Valspar makes is only sold by the gallon and it's quite expensive, so that if I already have my paint and I'm happy with it, then I should stick with it. Well alrighty then. I thank the gent for his honesty and input and then continue on to the checkouts. I never did find out how much that other paint was.

So I sand and prime the drawer fronts. Then I roll on the first coat of the gold paint. I've made a mistake. I know I've made a mistake. This is not going to look like I want it to at all. I will not be deterred so easily though so at 11:30 pm on Friday, I decide to brush on the next coat of gold paint, and it is everything I hoped it be and more!

The paint is so thick. Almost like it's got glue in it, and it doesn't spread well. I'm putting on a heavier coat than I normally would simply because of how thick this paint is, but OHMIGOSH it looks fabulous. I don't know if its just the fact that its the 2nd coat, or that it's the fact that I'm brushing it on. I finish the 2nd coat on all the drawer fronts about 12:30 am, and I can't wait to wake up and see the morning sun hit my gloriously beautiful drawers.

I was not disappointed. This was the view of my dresser when I woke up. I wasn't done, with them, but the finish line was in sight. I still needed to paint all of the handles. So many handles between our two dressers, and I needed to clean up the top row of drawers on my dresser. Stupid faux double drawers. Do you know how hard it is to paint a clean line with chalk paint and a chip brush!? It's difficult.

I enlisted the kids to help me with the handles. They helped me carry them all down and arrange them on the drop cloth. Then they very happily told me when I missed a spot. So helpful. After getting all 24 handles painted in a similar, if a little lighter color gold, these beauties were done!

 I am so happy with how this project turned out. The 7 years it took me to decide on what to do with them was almost totally worth it. Completing this project also bring my master bedroom one step closer to being perfect!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

So I know we've all see those derby hats that cost upwards of $150, and while they're gorgeous - who is really going to get th...

A $25 Derby Hat

So I know we've all see those derby hats that cost upwards of $150, and while they're gorgeous - who is really going to get their money's worth out of that hat?

Not me!

Now, I could've gotten away with my hat costing $3.44 + tax, but that hat was boring and I had big plans for my Gold Cup outfit. A boring hat was not in those plans. 

So Walmart had floppy hats for $3.44, and I immediately snatched up a white one, because I would never in a million years find a better deal on a hat. So the hat was exactly as advertised, a standard white paper/mesh floppy hat with no decorations, but with the help of some turquoise duct tape that matched my buttons exactly, and some super large peonies and turkey quills, I was going to turn this hat into something. The total cost for my decorations cost $21.95

Unfortunately, I stared at all of these supplies for 3 days, and then finally it was Friday and I needed to do something with this hat! So the only real plan I had was shaping the turkey quills and painting them red, so Friday morning, I trimmed the quills into this diamond shape, and recruited the boys to help me paint my 9 feathers before school. I grabbed some red acrylic crafts paint I had lying around and the 3 of us went to town painting the feathers. We were racing the clock a bit, as the boys needed to catch the school bus, but we knocked out all those feathers with plenty of time. 

I knew the weather called for rain, or at least some showers, so I hoping to make this hat stand up against the wet weather, and in that department my hat did marvelously well. It was truly a "floppy" hat by the end of the day. I was also worried about the paint running, but there was nothing to be done about that now. So an hour before I needed to get ready for work, I sat down in my kitchen with my glue gun at the ready, and starting gluing the flowers down. I placed the three flowers in a row right along the brim. 

Then I started at the hat. Looked at the clock, and then decided that I'd make bias tape out of my turquoise duct tape. Even if the flowers and feathers didn't stand up to the rain, my duct tape ribbon would! So I measured off about a yard of tape, and folded the tape in thirds lengthwise. I had planned on doing quarters and then folding that in half, but the tape didn't want to cooperate. Either way the duct tape now had the body I wanted. I was trying to go for a poor man's sinamay. 

I then decided that loops were the way to go for my duct tape. I created a couple of loops to fit between the flowers, and then I gathered up a bunch of loops and glued them at one end to lie against the brim underneath each end flower. I glued all that in place, being very generous with the glue. I didn't want any of these things moving. 

The last addition were the feathers. I had no idea how I wanted to arrange them, but in the end I decided that an arc of feathers was the way to go. So I generously glued the feathers down and positioned them how I wanted. 

In the end this hat was amazing. it withstood an all day rainstorm, umbrellas to the head, and wind gusts. I may have looked like a drowned rat, but my hat is as good as new now that it's had a week to dry. 

If you follow my instagram feed, then you'll have seen my Gold Cup posts. It was a perfectly wonderful day of cold rain and wind. Des...

Pattern Review - Simplicity D0545

If you follow my instagram feed, then you'll have seen my Gold Cup posts. It was a perfectly wonderful day of cold rain and wind. Despite the less than stellar weather, I still had a blast with my hubs and neighbors.

Our theme this year was Stepford Wives, which was awesome, because if you've read this blog for a while then you know I have a favorite style of dress, and a "Stepford" wife dress would definitely fall into that category. Not to mention, who doesn't look good in a fitted bodice and full skirt?

Finding a dress pattern was easy, deciding on a dress pattern was more difficult. There are so many! Not to mention that any number of my already completed dresses would have fit the bill, but wearing an old frock just isn't as fun. So after debating for some time about which pattern I should make, I decided on this little wrap number from Simplicity.

I love the neckline and the straightforwardness of the dress. There are no frills, and the details in the dress add so much personality to it, that I knew this dress would be the perfect jumping off point for an over-the-top hat. I didn't want the two pieces to compete, I wanted the dress to compliment the hat.

Even better still was that I didn't need to purchase fabric! Remember my stash-busting mission statement from a few months ago? Well I heeded it, and dug through some of my bins and came across a super fun suiting from ages ago, and had more than enough for the dress, and I may even be able to knock out another skirt or at least a pair of capris, for another fun outfit. Mom helped me out in the lining department by giving me 5 yards of buff colored lining that she had! Score! The only thing I purchased for this dress were the buttons, and those cost me a whooping $3 at Walmart. Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

So the pattern has a lot of pieces, but it's fairly simple to see how everything is constructed and the guide sheet is really clear about how and where the pieces fit together. The construction of this dress is straightforward, and the stitching lines for the curved areas are very helpful,  at least so far as being a visual reminder for how the arcs should be shaped. Oh and this dress has pockets! That are deep and encased between the lining and the dress. The entire dress is lined, which makes it that much more couture, and definitely helps with the fit of the dress, because most of the lining pieces are also interfaced which adds not only stability to the curves of the dress, but structure to the rest of the bodice. The added layer also felt nice with all of that rain falling.

I did pull a bonehead move, and bought the wrong size pattern. Or maybe I didn't buy the wrong pattern, because I span 4 sizes, it's sometimes a pain to buy patterns, because my sizes aren't always on the same pattern, and who wants to buy two patterns? I don't. So my fix for buying a pattern on the small end of my size range, was to take 3/8" seam allowances all over the dress. I cut out a size 16, which fits my shoulders perfectly. I'm a triangle shaped person, so my shoulders are the smallest size on the size scale. I planned this out really well....

Luckily, having years of experience and running my plan by Mom worked out exceptionally well. I wouldn't advise taking this route. Ever. It was nerve wracking, and with all of the curves it could have gone much differently. I did make sure to clearing mark all of the pattern markings. Those things are super important on a pattern like this!

In my opinion, this dress is not for a beginner sewer or even a newly intermediate sewer. Having a bit of sewing experience definitely helps with the construction  of this dress, and the curves around the neckline add to the difficulty of this dress. I would say an advanced intermediate sewer would be comfortable tackling this pattern.

I'll be writing about the hat I created for Gold Cup later this week, so be sure to stop back by!

Hello, friends!  Dana here!  It's been a while.  Did you miss me?  Well, if you've read Heather's RnR Half Marathon blog post...

Cosplay and Expos and Races, Oh My!

Hello, friends!  Dana here!  It's been a while.  Did you miss me?  Well, if you've read Heather's RnR Half Marathon blog post here, you know she lived through our horrendous heat.  Raise a cheer and/or a glass to all of those that got out there and stuck it out in what may have been a very specific circle of hell.  I'm not trying to be snotty, but I have to say I am so pleased it wasn't like that for us 5k runners, though we did have to get started so early.  I was finished earlier than I'm usually awake in the morning.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The weekend fun actually started on Thursday when Heather and I attended the Adventure Science Center's DC vs. Marvel Way Late Play Date.  These are quarterly events where a bunch of 21 and up adults dress up and are given alcohol and get let loose on the children's science center after hours.  It's the best!  There are science demonstrations and exhibits and a planetarium show, so you're basically combining three of my favorite things - wine, cosplay, and learning - into one package.  Oh, and we get tacos beforehand at Taco Mamacita.  Did I mention it's the best?!
Here are Heather and I looking so fierce as Loki and Black Widow.

And here is the hubs demonstrating one of the science demonstrations: bat vision!  The mask was rigged up with echolocation tech, and he had to find us (in a controlled space) using only that.  It totally worked!  See what I mean?  So cool!  And you can bet your batarang he was doing the voice as he said things like, "I'm batman" and "I am the hero Gotham deserves!"

Finally, here are Heather and I at the very top of the jungle gym in the science center.  It's about four stories high and goes up through the center of the building.  We climbed all the way to the top!

The next day, there was the Health and Fitness Expo.  I was a little disappointed, and I think Heather was too, that there weren't as many vendors there this year as there were last.  The big guys were all there, of course - Toyota, Garmin, Publix - but I didn't see any of the same jewelry vendors, and the snarky tee-shirt people were absent too.  Heather and I did, however, see our favorite purveyor of headbands, Sparkly Soul, and made sure to get a couple from her.
Here are Heather and I at the expo, ready to spend some money!

I also got myself a new armband because I wanted one that made it easy for me to take my phone in and out, which I took on the course with me, thereby committing one of the cardinal sins of racing: don't use brand new, untested gear at a race.  The new armband worked great, though!  Still, don't be like me.
The St. Jude area always has a big wall participants can sign as well.  This is always hard for me, being a survivor of childhood cancer, but it also makes me thankful for the opportunity.
After the expo, there was just the race to get ready for, which meant an early, early night.

I won't repeat what Heather (and I) already said in her aforementioned post, so I'm going to start at...well, the start line.  We started out in front of the Music City Center, which is basically a big convention center, and the energy was already palpable even at that early hour.  We were slated to start at 6:15am, but I think we started a little after that actually.  I was actually really excited about waiting because there was a picture I had been planning to take for a 6-word story challenge I was participating in/hosting on Instagram.  Here's what I ended up with:
If you like bookish and creative content like this on your IG feed, you should follow me @danafraedrich .
That's the 5k starting line, as you probably figured.  I absolutely love the energy at races.  It's so positive! :D  And don't you know, I very nearly forgot to take a picture of myself there.  I only just remembered as we were released, though we were still walking to the start line when I took this.
I'm so happy!  Which was sort of weird because I was dressed as Darth Vader.  Well, my sports bra and shorts were Darth Vader-y anyway.

And we were off!  The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville's gorgeous art museum, was one of the first things we passed.  I wish I had a picture, but I was, you know, busy running.  And after that was M Street, home of some really great restaurants.  Seeing them made me wish I had some of their delicious food.  This should surprise no one.  I think with my stomach.  Unfortunately, there was something else on my mind too: I needed to pee.
Heather here - I was along Broadway in the chute for the half, and I was desperately searching for Dae in the throng of runners, but there were so many of them that I missed her. I was actually very upset about this. 

Don't you hate that?  I'd had a bunch of water before the race since we knew the heat was coming.  Too bad.  Have to keep going.  I'll admit, I was tempted during mile 2 when I saw the port-a-loos standing off on the side of the road.  "I bet they've barely been used at this point" I reasoned with myself.  I will go to great lengths to avoid using port-a-potties because eeeewwwwwww!  Have you seen those things?  Especially during a race.  I told myself to suck it up and press on, though.

The sun showed up pretty early into the race, and some lovely angels along the course had sprayers.  I ran through those things with my arms up in the air like I just did not care. :)  Between miles 2 and 3, we ran through downtown, which is such a cool experience every time I do it.  The buildings tower over you like the sides of a steep steel and glass gulley.  The city looks so different from that perspective, as opposed to when it's full of traffic and you're driving through.

Since the course was the same as it was last year, I knew what to expect.  I knew once I was on the Woodland Street bridge, I was in the home stretch.  I wanted to sprint as soon as I saw the finish line.  Oh, and by the way, I'm so glad I remembered this part for Heather when she was finishing up hers.  I was able to encourage her because her race ended along the same stretch that mine did.  And I was worried she was going to drop dead, but I knew where I would have to run if she did.  As I came around the last bend, I saw it.  The finish line glowing like the pearly gates with angels singing in the background.  Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but I was really excited.  I turned the speed up to 11.  I'm really glad the outside path was clear because I didn't want to risk running anyone over as I ran like I was being chased by zombies - Heather has seen what this looks like in real life.
There I go!  All Darth Vader-y and happy!

I was a little confused when I got a phone call from her and she was still huffing and puffing. She had just crossed the finish line and called me. I was so proud of her, because she was pretty certain she PR'd. 
Too bad there's no rest for little sisters whose older sisters have a half marathon to run.  As soon as my race was done, I called up Heather.  She was already at her start line, so I grabbed a chocolate milk and booked it about a mile back to where she was.  Along the way, I saw an old friend I haven't seen in years, which was pretty cool and then got to see Heather off.  Whew!  And you know what the first thing I did after I saw Heather off?  I headed back to First Baptist and used their facilities!

In the end, I ran my best 5k yet!

34:35 and better than the field as a whole.  I feel pretty good about that.  And afterward, I was able to tour my city a little bit.  See?

This is the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, where the Nashville Symphony plays.  It's gorgeous inside and out.  I ran through the courtyard on my way to see Heather and then strolled back through on my way back.

 And here is our pedestrian bridge right across from another bridge (sorry, I don't know the name).  The river really is beautiful, as is my city. 

Look at that fantastic skyline!  Granted, this isn't the best angle - panoramic shots always look a bit funny to me - but you get the idea.  Nashville is great place to visit. 

And here are Heather and I after she'd finished.  I can't believe she looks that good after her race!  Wait, that sounded bad.  I just mean she sounded terrible on the phone.  I think that sounds bad too.  Anyway, she's amazing, and I was spending a lot of this time trying to get her to eat bananas and whatever else we had on hand.  Thankfully, there was sushi to be had later.
So, so, so, so tired. She fussed at me for not being able to eat an entire banana, but I ate half. Getting up off the grass was very difficult as well. Thank goodness she has a strong arm to help me up. 
I love this race weekend we do.  It's so fun!  I just hope next year isn't as hot.  They actually cut the races off early due to the heat since there were so many people suffering from heatstroke.  Finger's crossed for cooler weather next year!  And great job racers!  Thanks for reading!