Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, DIY Style (Part 2)

Sometimes it helps to have friends who have an unnatural affinity for making things. And yes, I am unapologetically referring to myself here. In this case, it helped my friend Danielle who otherwise would have gone sans costume on Saturday night. Since my roommate was dressing as Pocahontas (a half-Peruvian version, no less), we decided to go ahead and make two versions of the costume so that Pocahontas could have a blonde friend for the evening.

This costume really takes me back to my elementary school days as I am sure it does for you  - I mean, who wasn't a stereotypical version of a Native American at some point in grade school? Regardless, this is a very easy costume to make and, besides the dying part that was done a night before, only took about an hour.

Adding salt to the dye bath for cotton

End result of the dye job

Cut, cut, cut

Some leather cord for a simple bracelet

No waste around these parts - used the collar to make a headband...just add feathers!

See what I did there?

Accessorize with your most obviously "Native American" jewelry (er, South African) and viola!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not Impressed

For the record I am wearing tights, people

Believe it or not, McKayla Maroney was in not one but TWO Atlanta-area places at once last night: the Gwinnett Arena for the Kellogg's Tour AND a certain Halloween party in Sandy Springs. While I can't be sure, I like to think she would be most impressed by my DIY costume.

Happy Halloween, y'all.

Very important finishing touch: all-over glitter

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween, DIY Style (Part 1)

If you can believe it, Halloween isn't normally my thing. Sure, costumes are fun...but they're also daunting. It's a lot of work to make a really killer 'stume and takes a lot of planning, a weakness of mine I've documented on several occasions here on Flowers are Lovely.

Last Halloween was really the first year in a while that I put together a costume - and I'm not talking "put together" like my college years where I would grab a pair of leggings, something sparkly and maybe some feline ears on a headband if I was feeling creative. Last year I assembled a tutu and went as a star of Toddlers and Tiaras, which by the way is awful and I've only watched enough clips to understand the premise of the show for the sole purpose that I could rightfully wear my costume.

Anyway. It could be that I rarely have Halloween plans and find it hard to motivate myself to dress up, but this year is different. Not only do I have a costume party to attend, but I have an idea. An idea, y'all! And it's culturally relevant!

Have you guessed it yet? I think the glitter spray is the real kicker.

An Olympic gymnast! Specifically probably McKayla Maroney so that I can make this face all night (some things never get old).

I picked up a bodysuit from the only place one buys bodysuits (American Apparel, duh), then grabbed rhinestones, fabric glue, glittery spray and purple ribbon for my medal ("my" medal...?).

This process was understandably painstakingly slow and meticulous. I placed the rhinestones on the suit first and then went back and brushed on the glue with a thin hard/dried out paintbrush.

I was looking at this picture of Aly Raisman and while I'm clearly taking a few liberties with the design, I wanted to keep the star shape. The cutout above actually served no purpose and did not help whatsoever.

I still have some rhinestone work on the sleeves and possibly more on the front and then I need to make my gold medal, but for now I sleep.

P.S. Why is red so hard to photograph?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Marathon Monday: Week Four (and a bump in the road)

I really love the side of this chicken coup at my sister's house - it's basically ombre, right?

Well, week four happened and came with two twists. For the first, I'll just go ahead and get it out there: I have to pick a new marathon. Eek! Gasp! The horror!

Before you call me a quitter and go judging my A, you might remember that I originally signed up for the Disney Marathon because I had a good friend who was also running the race. Unfortunately, she is no longer able to run it and that left me going to the race alone.

I thought long and hard about my options. I could go alone and run the race, which in the end really wasn't an option because I did a half alone in March and it was miserable, or tempt a friend into going with me to watch (and cheer!) me on, but ultimately it just doesn't make sense. For one, I've said maybe a thousand times how much I hate running alone. This entire training process (all three weeks of it) has been solo runs, minus maybe two with my roommate, because my friend lives in Athens and even coordinating weekend runs is hard when at least an hour of driving is involved. Secondly, the timing of the Disney Marathon just wasn't great for me - not only will it be dark all the time in a few weeks, but I have several trips throughout the next few months that will heavily interfere with training (I'm looking at you, Amsterdam and NYC).

Don't get me wrong: I still want to do a marathon. It's been on my list for almost a year now (along with nameless other things). I just think I need to do a little more research and planning next time.

Anyone want to do one with me next year?

The other twist came in the form of an early 8 lb. 6 oz bundle of adorable. Little Ramsey Thomas was slated to arrive on Thursday, which meant I'd get 2-3 runs in before heading up to help babysit my niece, but the little man arrived unannounced at 4:19 PM on Tuesday, which meant I had to drop everything and go.

What I'm saying is, I did zero runs last week. That's right: zero. But I mentioned after week three that I was getting shin splints, so the rest has helped. Shin splints are the worst! I could literally touch my shins lightly and was in pain. I did a lot of icing and that seemed to help, but I'll go ahead and attribute my recovery primarily to rest.

To summarize, I'm looking for a new marathon in 2013 and a marathon buddy in Atlanta. In the meantime, I'll just be here enjoying the fall weather, visiting the babies as much as possible and probably baking and crafting a lot in preparation for Christmas.

Joined my Buckhead Church gathering group for pumpkin carving, but in true Flowers are Lovely fashion, opted for paint and glitter instead

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Greek-ish Couscous Salad

Sometimes (most times) I just get tired of salads. This could be due to the fact that I rarely stray from my usual ingredients and as a result make the same salad over and over again, but it could also come from a struggle I seem to have with my lettuce-to-ingredients-ratio. I tend to use too much lettuce and end up with a giant bowl of green that isn't exactly the ideal lunch.

I made this couscous salad recently, based loosely on a dish my aunt brought to a family cookout a few weeks back. I was missing several of the ingredients she used, but what I did have came together quite nicely if I do say so myself. It kept well in the fridge and I was able to take it for lunch more than once, which is already a win in my book. Lunch is the worst, am I right?

Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 cups couscous, cooked and cooled (about 3 cups once cooked)
1/2 cup chickpeas (I soaked mine in water the night before then rinsed)
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (any color pepper would work here)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Baby tomatoes, however many you see fit
Feta cheese, however much you like
1-1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
1-2 drizzles olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
Garlic powder to taste, probably around 1/2 teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste

*Note: For the record, none of those measurements are valid save for the couscous. I just used what seemed appropriate for the size of the salad. But as I mentioned, my ratios tend to be off. Go crazy! I also think artichokes would be good in this, as my aunt used those in hers...I just didn't have any.

Mix all ingredients and spices/seasonings into cooled couscous. Refrigerate until served; salad is even better the next day once the flavors have a little time to sit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marathon Monday: Week Three

Does the gal in turquoise on the far left look familiar? Circa 2002
Photo borrowed from an old Irish dance friend

After a week of fevers and coughing, a few runs will do the body good. I may be getting shin splints and might have a very sore left hamstring (what gives?), but I made it through all my runs! Well, give or take a mile on the long run (oops/ouch). But enough about running. I'd like to discuss something very near and dear to my heart: dancing.

I realized this week that I really miss dance. For those that aren't aware (and how could you not be - I only drop this into conversations any chance I get), I used to be an Irish Dancer. There's not a drop of Irish in my blood, but for a hyperactive child in the 4th grade, it seemed like a good idea to my mom to get me involved in something so high-energy.

I danced and competed for a little over six years before hanging up my ghillies and hard shoes to pursue high school cross country. Truthfully, Irish dance seemed to be more of a social activity for me and I rarely practiced outside of class, so subbing it with running made sense and was a better trade: where I only had two dance classes with my friends each week, cross country was every afternoon, most weekends and I got to run with my high school friends. What I didn't realize was how much I love dance and movement and music and choreography, and now in "adulthood," 99% of my runs are solo so I'm not even getting the social aspect of it anymore.

Senior year of high school, I took a partner dance class with an incredible group of fellow seniors. Ballroom dancing, if you've never tried it, is insanely fun and I loved it. If I could take partner/theatre/ballroom dance for the rest of my life, I would jump at the chance.

Cut to today, and as ridiculous as it may sound, I've been watching Dancing with the Stars fairly regularly the past few seasons and it reminds me how much fun can be had on a dance floor and just pulls at my heart strings how much I miss dance.

I digress. I started Googling this week and found a dance studio in Atlanta that is exactly what I was looking for to feed my dancing needs. It's called Dance101 and they offer 110 classes each week, covering any type of dance you can imagine and they even have beginner "Discovery" classes where you learn the basics and get a great workout all at the same time.

Point of this story: I've decided to not sit around missing something I love when I have the chance to pick it up so easily. I'm done thinking I missed out on an opportunity - who says you can't learn dance in your [mid-]twenties? It can be done and it will be done.

Running (and workout) breakdown:
Monday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 miles + "Jazzitude" dance class
Friday: 3.5 miles
Saturday: 5.5 miles
Sunday: Hip Hop dance class

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Big Fat Greek Weekend

The Atlanta Greek Festival happened last weekend and I got my gyro fix (among other Greek delicacies), watched some dancing and went home with more Loukoumades and lamb in my stomach than I'd care to admit. And then made a blog post with possibly the most cliché of titles and I'm ok with it, really.

Greeks sure do know how to celebrate, although I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what we were celebrating (if anything, honestly). Side note, this made me miss Irish dancing while also reminding me that I still know mostly nothing about photography. (Help?)

That is all. Opa!

Teeny (and excited) Greek!

Mesmerized Greek!

 Swish swish

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