Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trying the Tri: Three Events, Three Women, One Mission

In my life, when it comes to empowering female role models, there are three women in particular who stick out the most. My mother (Therese), and two aunts (Joyce and Lisa) have always been the most loving, selfless, hilarious, kind, and wonderful examples of sisterhood I know.

One evening in April, Mom told me that the three of them had signed up for the Mason Triathlon happening at the end of July.

After I got over how absolutely IMPRESSED I was, I asked why they had decided to do this? They wanted to raise money for my cousin’s oldest son Carter, and thought this would be a unique way to spread awareness, and get people to sponsor them.

In May of 2012, Carter was diagnosed with MPS II (Hunter Syndrome). He is approaching his 6th birthday, and has been undergoing gene therapy treatments for over 3 years. Gene therapy is potentially life saving for MPS II patients; and could lead to permanent treatment for the neurological and physical advancement of the disease.
Clockwise from top: Lisa, Therese, Carter, and Joyce
Three women, all mothers, all over (or almost) 50 years old, all dedicated to help raise money for this little boy while also pushing their own physical limits in the process.

Now THAT is strong and sexy.

Before the race I sat down with the terrific trio, and discussed the importance of staying active, their training, and what exactly sparked the flame to sign up for a triathlon and raise money for gene therapy research. To read the FULL INTERVIEW please click the link and visit Strong Is Our Sexy.

After months and months of training, the morning of the Tri-umphant Triathlon arrived, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Nice cloud coverage, still decent humidity, but zero wind. Decked out in MPS Purple, and waving our hand made signs, we were definitely the most spirited support group there.
A 400 meter swim, 12 miles on a bike, and finishing up with a 5K run. All that, and these ladies didn't stop smiling the entire time. 
With hands locked tight; Joyce, Therese, and Lisa crossed the finish line in just over 1 hour and 35 minutes.
It was an inspirational morning bursting with encouragement, determination, and an immeasurable amount of love for one special little boy.

Team "Caring for Carter" raised over $15,000 dollars, and 100% of the money is going towards MPS II (Hunter Syndrome) gene therapy research. To learn more about Carter’s story, please visit You can also make a donation today at Carter’s National MPS Society Inc. Donor Page, or with Go Fund Me.

Giving back, staying strong, and inspiring others at any age, THAT is what being STRONG and SEXY is all about.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

MAB Update - The Magical Powers of Paint

Last post I discussed the plan of attack to update our Mini-Awkward-Bathroom, or MAB for short. There really wasn't a whole lot going on in this space to begin with, so I kind of went into it with the attitude of "anything will be an improvement to this". 
With an entire weekend of nothing stretched out before me, I grabbed my paint brush, cranked some Pandora, had myself an adult beverage, and got to it! 

Hit up Menards after work to get paint for the bathroom. It was already past 7pm and I hadn't had dinner yet, felt super hungry, and accidentally walked into the men's restroom. 
Yup. That happened...let's blame low blood sugar. 
Got my paint though! We're going deep and dark with Dutch Boy's Crayola Black

First things first, the trim and door needed to be primed. Since I knew I wanted to paint the walls, I only needed to tape off the floor and shower so that saved me some time. 
Next up was the actual paint. We've been painting our trim and doors Simply White by Benjamin Moore, and since beginning the process of updating everything in the house white, we constantly have a gallon of this in the basement. A few coats later and I was in business. 
Let's get some color on those walls! 
Black paint is kind of crazy, you open the can and instantly think "WOW, that is a stunning shade of purple", and then pray to the decorating gods that it'll actually dry darker. 
Patience is key when painting a bathroom. 
That and a clean toilet. You'll find yourself lying on the ground, face pressed against the lid of your john, attempting to paint behind the tank, and that is NOT the moment to realize you haven't scrubbed it in a week. 

It was a pleasant surprise how well the black covered. I had heard horror stories about dark paint taking coat after coat, but this only took two, with the third just being for touch ups. 

As Saturday came to and end, this is where I left off: 
Not to shabby! The dark walls turned out to be such a beautiful contrast compared to the crisp white trim. A nice little burst of interesting when you open the door. 

OK, on to the exciting part.
I really REALLY wanted to have an accent wall in here. But as I stared at the space behind the toilet (the original location in my plan), I just wasn't sure. Is this really the most interesting wall in here? I stuck the shower curtain up for a sec, stepped out, opened the door once more, and took note to where my eye went first. 
Above the shower, right to the window. 
THAT is where my beautiful gold wall belongs. 
With the above inspiration in my head, and a couple Gold Sharpie paint pens in hand, I first did some practice doodles. Once I felt fairly confident, there was nothing left to do but hop up on the ladder and begin!
I broke the design down into three separate parts; big flowers, medium vines, tiny leaves, and lastly little dots. It took me maybe an hour-and-a-half to two hours from start to finish, you can see the sun going down in the pictures below. 
I am OBSESSED with how this turned out!!! It's seriously SO MUCH BETTER than anything I ever envisioned, and if I had the time (or it wouldn't be WAY too in your face) I'd do the entire bathroom. 
The gold and black are absolutely sick together! I love how it has all the beauty of wallpaper, but without the messy glue, and I can just paint over the design if I ever get tired of looking at it. 
Sooooo close to being done! All that's left is to finalize the light fixture, hang some shelves, and of course decorate. Then it's time for lots and LOTS of before and after shots! 
Bring it on! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mini-Awkward-Bathroom Makeover

Off of our kitchen there is a door. 
When touring our home for the first time, most people exclaim "this must be the pantry!" only to be surprised when they find a bathroom...with a shower. 

Yup, we have a shower 5 feet away from the oven. 

If you're already super turned off by the idea of a naked body in such close proximity to food, then I won't mention that this bathroom doesn't have a sink. 

That's right, we have a toilet and a shower...but no sink. So if you're visiting, and feel the urge to bath while eating dinner, we've gotcha covered! 

We do have full intentions to remove the shower and replace it with a vanity, but that's probably not going to happen in the near future. Until then, this teeny tiny wash closet (literally, it's a closet) will have to settle for a face-lift. 

OK, game plan! 
Eric is gone all week, and my goal is to finish before he gets back. Not because I want to surprise him, more so because the plan I have may not be exactly what he had in mind. My strategy = ask for forgiveness, not permission. 

I don't know about you, but I've seriously been crushing on black bathrooms. Black? Yes black. These moody rooms have been stealing my heart, and our bathroom actually gets a lot of sunlight, so I think the dark paint color will work without feeling too goth.
Source / Source 
The contrast between the white and dark is so dramatic. Gah! I love it! 

Below is what I have to work with.
Not a whole lot of room to do your business, and yet another boob light to replace. 
The trim will need to be painted white, and then of course the walls black. I'm also toying with the idea to make the wall behind the toilet an accent wall. I've been obsessing hard-core with these hand drawn patterns that replicate wallpaper.
Source / Source 
I'm fairly confident I could pull this off with a few hours, and half-a-dozen paint pens.
Below is what I'm envisioning: gold accessories, a new light fixture, dark paint, some plant life, and a bitch'n focal wall to really make it unique.

See! Beautiful.
Eric's going to come home, open the door, and BAM! Get smacked square in the face with a bathroom bursting with style.

It's gonna be great.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Whazzup!?....The Ceiling.

I'd first like to cyber hug everyone who read my last post about getting in shape, and thank you for all the incredibly kind words and support. You sure know how to make a girl feel special. It made me realize how truly blessed I am to have such positive forces in my life, and I hope someday to reciprocate that love. 
Again, thank you. 

So! We have FINALLY done something to the house! Summer is almost halfway through, but it also feels like it's JUST starting. How is this possible? But in these past few weeks, Eric has been crushing it during his time off. 

Side note; have you heard this song? Hilarious video, Brad is the best, and apparently quite the animator. 

Anywhoo, one of the items on our giant Summer to-do is to give the ceilings a fresh coat of paint. Things were looking a bit dingy, and a few of the rooms had more of an ivory color than white. So up the ladder Eric went with his handy dandy brush, and nifty covered roller so no paint would drip. 
One of the areas where you could tell the biggest difference was the dining room. Once a tired beige, is now crisp white!
So much better from when we first moved in. 
I think we can safely say that all the painting has been officially completed in this room. 
Heading upstairs, the ceiling in the hallway was still that depressing brown that covered the walls and doors. We painted said walls and doors real quick, but the ceiling color still lingered. 
Isn't that refreshing!? It really brightens up the space, and gives it a nice modern look. 
Next on my list? Get rid of that dang boob light.
Things are really picking up, I just hope we can keep the momentum going. 

And even though I don't feel like we've accomplished much with our house lately, Austin delivered this note to us, and obviously feels much differently. 
Apparently we deserve an award! 
Well played little man, well played :) 

Now on to the next task! If anyone has experience laying backyard pavers, or building a pergola we'd love to hear from you. Also any other teachers bored during Summer vaca, come on over to Camp Wellman for a few days, we'll keep you plenty busy. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Fitness Journey

I first published this article at Strong Is Our Sexy, and since July marks the anniversary of when my journey began, I thought I'd share it on the blog as well. This is one of those get-down-and-dirty personal post where I spend 80% of the writing time enthusiastic...and the other 20% questioning my insanity.

But this story is important to me, and if I'm lucky, maybe it'll even inspire someone during their own journey. 
There is a time period in my life I deem “The Dark Ages”. Prime pubescent years between the ages of 10 and 15 where braces, horrible hair styles, a chubby figure, and unfortunate makeup decisions make me cringe whenever pictures happen to surface. While most kids hung all of their yearbook portraits up at their high school graduation party...I hid mine under the bed.

The refusal of letting anyone view photos during these said  “dark ages”, sort of became a running joke in my family. And although I can laugh about it now, those moments planted a seed that would soon grown into many years of feeling "just ok” about my appearance and self-worth.

So why then am I broadcasting this incredibly private (and uber embarrassing) part of my life on the interweb?????

Well as they say; without the past, there is no future.

Growing up, I always considered myself a “bigger” girl. Compared to the rest of my grade there were thinner girls, and then there were heavier girls, so I was somewhere in the middle. I was active enough for my weight to remain consistent, but running was NOT in my vocabulary, and the closest thing I came to sport-ing was being on the bowling team.
High School 
Fast forward to college, and that small amount of activity pretty much diminished to non-existent. Having to prepare my own meals lead to A LOT of pasta dinners, frozen chicken nuggets, processed cereal bars for breakfast, and late night ice cream runs just for the hell of it. Not to mention the beauty of drinking before noon without judgement and ending the night with drunk food!
Oh memories.
College 2008 - 2011
Pssh yeah memories, all my waste remembers is getting bigger.
Those years I became the heaviest I’ve ever been. I knew it too, I just didn’t know what to do about it. I’d walk for 15 minutes on the treadmill, lift some weights, and then compensate my “good behavior” with an extra helping of bread at dinner.

Then on the day I graduated from college, my boyfriend of 7 years proposed.

At this time I’d like to pause the story for a hot second, and talk about that wonderful boyfriend (now husband). You did read correctly, we have been together since Sophomore year in high school. And through all those years of any extra weight gain, he was by my side. Never judging, always there to see the beauty, and loving me more than I loved myself most days. Looking back, I think I used him as an excuse. Why put in the extra effort to change myself when I have this incredible guy who loves me the way I am?
After he popped the question, this is what flashed through my mind;
First thought: “I’m getting married!!!!”
Second thought: “There is no WAY I’m going to walk down the aisle looking like this.”
The only problem was I was clueless how to change my behavior on my own, every method I tried in the past gave no results. I needed guidance, I needed a plan.

In July of 2011 I landed a real-world job, moved to Cincinnati, and used my first paycheck to join Weight Watchers. That moment was a key stepping stone to my journey towards a healthy lifestyle, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the program.

Now this isn’t an advertising plug for Weight Watchers, but for me, it just made sense. Tracking what I ate and giving points to food, helped me realize I could be satisfied with the suggested portion size. I didn’t want to eat more, because then I would use up my points quicker. Exercise also became more of a priority, because after a workout I would gain activity points, which then I could later eat.
May 2011 - October 2011
For the first time in my life, after attempting to be proactive about my weight, I was actually seeing results.

This. Was. HUGE!

My thought process about food had completely shifted. No longer did I mindlessly eat whatever was around, I made conscious decisions about the food I put into my body. The amount of fruits and vegetables I consumed skyrocketed, protein and lean meats were always in my fridge, and I constantly measured my portions sizes while cooking.

By March of 2012, I had lost almost 20 lbs and was feeling great. That was when I stumbled upon a Groupon for pole fitness at Bella Forza Fitness. After the first class I was completely hooked. Not only were the pole classes a blast, I loved the other workouts the gym offered as well. BFF very quickly became my second home, and from that moment on not only was I losing weight, but I was gaining muscle as well.
2012 - Present!
My fitness journey has been just that, a JOURNEY. There have been challenges, plateaus, setbacks, and a couple intense discoveries of self-love and acceptance. I had to face the fact that I am a woman built with curves, and although my thighs are big they are STRONG. My butt sticks out a little more, but that’s from all the squats I do. My arms may be thick, but that’s because my biceps are no joke. Strong is MY SEXY. Living an active lifestyle, and having a healthy and toned figure has become much more important to me than the number on the scale.

This summer will mark 4 years since my first Weight Watchers meeting, and I can confidently say I’ve LOST the weight and have no intention of finding it again. That confidence comes from having a fantastic support system, and staying true to myself. If you’d have asked “Beth circa 2010” if she could ever see herself as a pole-fitness instructor, she would’ve laughed in your face. But now I can’t even fathom going back to my old habits, it’s truly been a lifestyle change.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

But had I known that hiding inside of this girl...
I would’ve started a LOT sooner!