DIY: Making An Entrance


Ever since I came across the Hello Sunshine Pallet Art by Holly at Life as a Thrifter on Pinterest, I've been in love with the idea of incorporating it in our home (which, fittingly, is nicknamed The Sunset House). With two dogs always running in and out and the beautiful San Diego weather year round, we almost always have our front door open. And as someone who is obsessed with color, having that much unused white wall space inside the living room was starting to bug me. I decided it would be the perfect place to paint a replica of the giant sun Holly created (and Michael before her).

Materials Needed

The list of materials above is not quite the list that I used, but rather the list I would have used if I could do it over again. For instance, instead of using a lead pencil to stencil out the lines, I used a charcoal pencil, which kept getting picked up by and mixing in with the paint. I bought two yellows, which were indiscernible when finished, so one sample size of yellow would have been enough. All in all, you can purchase the necessary materials for under $40. 

The first step was to protect the fixtures with Frog Tape. Then I stenciled the design using Holly's sun as a guide. Having read Michael's post, I remembered that he'd made a good point about painting the dark lines last, instead of painting them first and putting tape on them to protect them. I made sure to do the same, painting the stencil with the lightest colors first. 

When it was time to paint the darker lines, I asked Ryan for his help. He is not only taller than I am, but infinitely more patient, in projects like this and in life in general. He finished the project with beautiful, perfectly straight lines. :)

The whole mural took about 3 hours to complete from start to finish. It was such a cheap, easy Sunday project and it has made a huge difference in our home already! For the past couple of days, seeing the door when I pull into the driveway puts such a huge smile on my face. Most importantly, it's welcoming and happy, which is exactly how I want our guests to feel when they stop by!

Motivation Monday: One Month Down!


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I was actually supposed to be in Week 4 of marathon training. Well, at the risk of confusing things, yesterday I finally finished Week 4 of actual training.

Do I notice a difference? Yes, but it's very small. My legs are definitely stronger and more toned. I've lost a couple of pounds and my pace time is dropping. But that's about it. Which means it's time to step it up.

During cross country and track in high school, the first month was about getting back into shape and getting used to the routine of running. Around the beginning of the second month, we started cross training and strength training, trying to bring pace times down, and competing. Seeing as how I haven't even been completing my official workouts (I only ran 22 of the 36 miles I was supposed to run this week), it will be tough to try and fit more into my week, but it's got to happen for me to be prepared come marathon morning!

This week I hope to go register for bikram again and to start doing stairs (ick) once a week. Since Coachella is in 2.5 weeks, my goal is to try and drop 3-5 more pounds and to get my pace time consistently below 11'00" miles. One month down, two to go!

3/18/13 - 3/24/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • ran 4 days for a total of 22.5 miles
  • ran my fastest 5K yet at 32:16
  • average pace: 11'00" per mile
  • lost 3.5 lbs in total so far
  • forgot to track my LoseIt Calories this week

Aloha Friday!


You know what makes a hangover worth it? A night like last night. We went to see Wavves and FIDLAR at The Casbah and then met our neighbors for a night cap (which obviously turned into closing the bar). The whole night was too much fun and on top of that, it ended with being welcomed home by our two furry spazzes. Which is always the perfect way to end a night.

But I'm paying for it right now. My brain is barely functioning at the most basic levels. I can't wait to get home and take a longggggg nap. In the meantime, I'm smiling just thinking about what an awesome and surprisingly productive week this has been, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that I've been sick for most of it.

1. WE HAVE A WASHER AND DRYER!!! This week we finally had a handyman come to install the washer and dryer we bought from our neighbors in January. I still have to clean them out before they're functional but I can't even tell you how happy I am. No more laundromats! No more laundromats! NO MORE LAUNDROMATS!

2. Our Coachella tickets are here! I went and picked up our wristbands and camping pass on Wednesday. Less than three weeks! Only three little weeks are between me and my favorite time of year. :)

3. I registered for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 60 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer here in San Diego this November. I'm a big fan of fellow San Diegan Devon's blog The Mermaid Chronicles and ever since she shared her cousin Michelle's blog Killer Boobies, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Michelle is only two years younger than me and she is currently fighting a battle against breast cancer. My grandmother and my great grandmother both lost their lives to breast cancer and one day it may be something that I face too. My friend Marisa did the 3-Day last year and invited me to do it with her this year and I'm happy to say that after reading Michelle's most recent blog post I finally decided to sign up.Time to get started fundraising!

4. How awesome was this week's episode of New Girl? There is seriously no other show that can put me in a better mood. Sidenote: if you need a dose of New Girl giggles today, watch this gag reel from Season 1.

5. Tomorrow is the Indian engagement ceremony for one of my best friends/one of my favorite couples and I can't wait. I've never been to any type of cultural wedding event so I'm really interested to learn what's involved. Plus, I'm looking forward to some deeeelicious Indian food tomorrow. :)

Stay Golden


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I make no apologies for how much I love Ke$ha. I've loved her since the moment she was born in an explosion of glitter and whiskey. In fact, I've never been able to understand the Ke$ha hate. Girlfriend writes amazingly catchy (and sometimes truly beautiful) songs, parties hard without making headlines for DUIs or rehab, is an animal activist, and she generally DNGAF. She's funny and gorgeous and she seems to have stayed fairly humble. So what if she occasionally has sex with ghosts or drank her own pee to see what it tasted like? 

Ke$ha's style is similarly appealing to me. Mainly because we more or less have the same messy blonde afro waves hair style. It makes it easy to imagine wearing the same makeup and accessories that she does. Gold foil eye makeup is a trend that saw it's heyday two years ago, but I think it could still work for Coachella. Plus, it's only $5 at! Have you ever tried gold leaf makeup? 

Motivation Monday: Just Put Your Shoes On


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My high school cross country coach was a saint. Five days a week he corralled 20 TEENAGE GIRLS and somehow motivated them to go running. 20 girls with boy problems, girls with girl problems, girls with money problems, college problems, eating problems, health problems. 20 girls with synchronized cramps and in turn, synchronized whining about why they didn't want to practice that day. And 5 days a week, sometimes 20 times a day, he patiently responded with, "Well, just put your shoes on and go stretch and if you want to go home after that, then go home." Rarely did someone actually go home after stretching.

Getting motivated to train last week was hard. Things have been super stressful at work and on top of that I was coming down with tonsillitis for the last half of the week. As a result, I skipped one of my easy 3 mile runs and I only made it to mile 11 out of my long 16 mile run scheduled for Saturday. In fact, I probably wouldn't have made it on any of my runs last week if it wasn't for Ryan reminding me that I would feel better after I ran or that he believed I could do it.

Which brings me to my point. If you're training for something or just trying to get back in shape, I don't think there is anything more important than having a coach or someone to help motivate you, especially on the days when you just want to curl up on the couch and sleep after work. Whether it's your significant other, a friend, family member, or an online community like the group of ladies over at Tone It Up, it makes all the difference if you have someone telling you to just put your shoes on.

So. Go put your shoes on. :)

3/11/13 - 3/17/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • ran 4 days for a total of 24 miles
  • walked 1.65 miles after my long run Saturday
  • average pace: 11'67" per mile
  • only 600 calories over my calorie budget - best week yet!

Traditional Irish Soda Bread


Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Whether your're celebrating it with Guinness, whiskey or wine, I thought I'd share a recipe that will go with any St. Patrick's Day-themed meal you're having, even if it's just a liquid one. ;)

I grew up in a very Irish American family. After all, my last name is Kennedy, my first name is Celtic for "The Strong" and I was born with Catholic guilt in my veins. When I was a kid, my mom used to make Irish Soda Bread with us for St. Patrick's Day and at my insistence, it had to be green. So the leprechauns would recognize it, obviously. 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is a St. Patrick's Day staple for me and is far more basic that 95% of the recipes you'll find when you Google it. It requires 4 simple ingredients: all-purpose or wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. And if you make the SanBriego version, it requires a special fifth ingredient: green food coloring.

  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose or wheat flour (I used all-purpose) 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
  • 15 drops of green food coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Lightly grease and flour a 8" round cake pan.
3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in 2-2 1/2 cups of buttermilk and finally, the food coloring.
4. Flour your hands and the kneading surface and lightly knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
5. Form the dough into the cake pan and cut a cross on top with a knife. Make sure to cut the cross all the way through to the bottom of the pan, not just on the surface of the dough. 
6. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees for an additional 30-35 minutes. 

A lot of recipes will suggest adding currants, raisins or orange zest to your bread. Traditional Irish Soda Bread doesn't contain any of these things, but it probably wasn't green either. :) Enjoy a slice with melted butter or serve it as a side to some Shepherd's Pie like we did last night. Sláinte!

Aloha Friday!


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Unfortunately for me, I will not be celebrating this Friday with a beer... or any alcohol for that matter. What I had hoped were allergy symptoms are really just plain old sick symptoms. It should be fun attempting my 16-miler tomorrow with a fever. #notgonnahappen

It has been a pretty foggy, dreary week here in San Diego. I can't even tell you how badly I want it to just be summer when it's warm and sunny all the time! We haven't even made it through April Showers, May Gray or June Gloom yet, so I'm just going to have to hang in there and be grateful for the cool training weather.

1. Happy month anniversary to this little blog! I had the nice anniversary surprise of being awarded a Liebster by Rosy at A Joyful Kind of Life. Thanks, Rosy!

2. Bye bye Google Reader and GFC! I feel bad for all the bloggers who spent so much time building up their GFC count, but I do love the format of bloglovin'. You can follow on bloglovin' here.

3. Daylight Savings. Having the extra sun at night (especially with all the fog taking up the mornings) has been wonderful. With my fever last night, the only motivation I had to run was the fact that Ryan and the dogs were going to be waiting for me at a froyo place in Little Italy. After work I ran 4 miles to them, we ordered, ate, and walked back all before the sunset. Evening walks to Little Italy haven't been possible in months and oh, how I've missed them.

4. The sunglasses that I bought on etsy didn't turn out to be what I was hoping for after all. But these TOMS are pretty close. In fact, there are like 10 pairs of TOMS sunglasses that I'm tempted to buy.

5. St. Patrick's day is this weekend! Having grown up with a lot of Irish Catholic traditions, this holiday is always a fun one for me. I'm on the hunt for a good Irish Soda Bread recipe to go with my Shepherd's Pie.

Tin Play Launch Party


When I first met the good-looking, tattooed gentleman pictured above, he was standing in roughly the same spot asking me to see some ID. It was 2009 and I was spending the summer in San Diego "working on my master's thesis" and sleeping on the living room floor of what would eventually be my home for 2 years. But I didn't know that back then, nor did I know how many hours I would log in that bar, or how I would meet some of my best friends there, or that I would move next door to it three years later. All I knew was that I wanted a Coors Light, because at that point, I don't think I had ever had craft beer.

Chad commented on my Connecticut ID and told me that he was from the east coast as well. Over the course of the night, we chatted about the neighborhood and ourselves and I learned that he was working on patenting a product he'd invented with his business partner. He told me all about the products, which were bar tools, and explained how they would be used and how he imagined them finding a place in the market. It was the first time I had ever met someone doing something like that, inventing a product and taking it through the patent stage to market, and all I could think was how it sounded like too much work for too high a risk. I wished him luck, completely unaware how many more times I would order drinks from him and talk to him about the business over the coming years.

Which is why I could not be more excited that last night Ryan and I had the chance to head downtown to La Puerta and finally celebrate the launch of Tin Play, the products that Chad had co-invented way back when. I have to say: I am so proud of him. Chad's a really great guy and he worked so hard to take something from concept to finished product. He took a huge risk in investing so much in his idea and it has come back to reward him in a big way. More importantly, even though it took a long time, years even, he stuck with it. Very few people have that type of perseverance and it always inspires me when I see it.

So the next time you go to a bar that uses Tin Play flair products to make your drink, you'll know where they came from! And soon enough, you will see them everywhere. Because that is the result of Chad and Jeremy's hard work. The question is: what ideas or goals do you have that you've put off because of a fear of failure or because of  how intimidating they seemed? A year from now, will you wish you'd started them today?

Happy Adoption Day, Brewer!


Exactly one year and two days ago, a shy, gentle little stray pup found his way into our home forever. But our story together starts about a month before that, in February of 2012. After getting picked up by animal control in San Bernadino, this stray had four days to get adopted or face euthanasia. Luckily for him, he had a cute face that won over the hearts of a dozen animal rescue workers who pooled their resources together to pull him out of the high-kill Devore shelter and transport him all the way down to a foster home in San Diego. He was a little over 20lbs underweight when he arrived and his foster parents slowly started nursing him back to health through mange and fleas and a few wounds from his life as a stray.

After several weeks in their care, they posted his photo and story on Craigslist. At that point, I was obsessively searching for a dog. Having lost my furry best friend of 11 years, Coal, to cancer that past January, two months proved too much time for me to be without a pup. But finding the right dog was a PROCESS. And there were a few missteps. I fostered an 11-week-old puppy for a night, thinking that I wanted to raise my next dog from puppyhood. Many sleepless hours later, I knew that a puppy wasn't the quite the right fit. I met a few adult dogs off Craigslist and PetFinder, but I didn't really connect with any of them. That's when I saw Brewer, who back then was named Charlie. The moment I saw his picture, I knew.

Brewer's foster mom (who happened to leave 5 blocks away!) left him with us for a few hours for a trial run later that night. Ryan and I took him on a walk around the neighborhood and we were surprised by how well he did on the leash. He was calm and sweet and reserved, but friendly. When his foster mom came to pick him up, she was shocked to hear that he hadn't whined or freaked out when she left - we were the first people he'd been alone with that he'd seemed to like. I told her I wanted to adopt him and me and Ryan headed to PetSmart to pick up his things.

The night before Brewer came home for good is a great memory. We stayed home drinking Bud Light Limes and brainstorming up a name for him. 'Ranger' and 'Sawyer' were both on the list, but we weren't sold. By Saturday, the day I was going to pick Brewer up and bring him home, we still didn't have a name. Ryan went to work and we texted suggestions back and forth all morning. The name 'Brewer' came to me out of nowhere and just as I was texting it to Ryan, a text message from him appeared on my screen: "What about Brewer?" I couldn't have been more shocked or more convinced that we had named him.

Brewer's first month at home wasn't exactly smooth sailing. His health still wasn't great: he was 15lbs underweight and had giardia. When he finally let me touch his stomach, I discovered that the shelter had left his stitches in after he was neutered and the skin around them was infected and scarred. He also had terrible, terrible separation anxiety. One day I came home on my lunch break to find that he had eaten the doorframe and clawed his way through the stucco wall next to the front door. I was still living with one of my best friends at the time and he owned the house. I called Ryan shaking when I found Brewer amidst the debris and he rushed right over from work because I was too scared to go upstairs and see if there was damage elsewhere. Luckily, there wasn't. It wasn't the best start. But I had faith.

Now I can't believe it's been over a year since we've had Brewer in our lives! He's healthy and happy and really bonding with his new little brother, Banjo. He is endlessly gentle with other dogs and people, especially kids. In the year since he came home, he's gotten all the way up to a healthy 50lbs, gotten a yard of his very own, traveled with us to Big Sur, and been the main attraction at every dog-friendly bar we go to. I still get choked up every time I think about what his life must have been like before we got him and how grateful I am for the people who work to rescue dogs like him every day. I can't wait to get home and give him a (belated) adoption day hug. :)

Do you have rescue dogs? I'd love to know your rescue story!

Motivation Monday: Here Comes the Sun!


In the middle of pre-training Week 2, I got some pretty bad news: I was actually in the middle of training Week 4.

Math has never been my strong suit. Apparently, neither is reading calendars. So when I backed out a 16-week marathon training plan from the race day, I somehow had it starting March 10th. I was wrong. I finally downloaded the plan from to prepare for this week and when I did I realized how very far behind I was. The fear that I might not be as prepared as I was hoping to be come race day is stressful to say the least.

The good news is that my body is not as far behind as I thought. All of the major aches and pains that I was experiencing for my first few runs seem to have actually been the result of custom insoles. When I signed up for the marathon, I thought that I'd get all fancy and have custom insoles fitted at Road Runner Sports. For whatever reason, they ended up causing me major pain in my right tensor and both my hamstrings instead. Not to mention some lower back pain and ankle problems. Halfway through last week I switched them out for the insoles that came with the shoe and thankfully, it has made all the difference.

Overall, week FOUR was pretty good: I learned that in order to beat the lazy voices in my head, I have to have my shoes on and be out the door within 20 minutes of getting home from work. I generally felt better on the runs, especially after switching the insoles. I went for my first long run (10 miles!) on Saturday which was intimidating. I'm completely on track with the training plan now. Oh! And I discovered a really fun track to add to your workout playlist: check out "Romance" by Wild Flag. :)

3/4/13 - 3/10/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • ran 5 days for a total of 26 miles
  • average pace: 11'20" per mile
  • lost 1.4lbs
  • 1000 calories over the LoseIt! budget :(

Aloha Friday!


Back in Connecticut, during my sophomore year of college, I went through a Hawaii phase. I blame Iz, that Hawaiian singer who covered "Over the Rainbow." They played it nonstop at work and something about that song temporarily convinced me that Hawaii's version of a laid back lifestyle was much more my speed (or lack thereof) than Southern California's, where I had planned to move after graduating. I watched "Blue Crush" about a dozen times during this phase, bought a ukulele off eBay, and started wearing flowers in my hair and more puka shells than a 90s frat boy. I also researched grad schools in Hawaii and decided I was going to move there and do my Master's in Hawaiian at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

We all know how this turned out.

Needless to say Hawaiian living still appeals to me. I don't think I'd ever want to move there, but I like some aspects of their culture. There, casual Fridays are called Aloha Fridays which is just more fun. It's their way of welcoming the weekend and it originated because businessmen wanted to wear aloha shirts in the office on Fridays. So that's where the recurring title for my 'Friday Five' posts comes from. Without further adieu:

1. Everything is blooming! My amazing boyfriend has the greenest thumb I know. In our backyard alone, he's got a beautiful vegetable garden starting to sprout, a thriving succulent garden, a wall of cacti and all sorts of flowers, including some beautiful morning glories, are blossoming.

2. Even more exciting: last year, under the cover of darkness, we ran across the street and did some guerrilla gardening by the side of the highway. We didn't think it took, but this week, more than a year later, a bunch of poppies popped up!

3. My super adorable Colette Headband from oh, sweet joy! arrived this week! I bought it in Lemon Drop and it is SO perfect for spring. :) oh sweet joy!, $13

4. Foam's 'Escape' issue finally made it to my mailbox. It's been a while since I did the smart thing and subscribed to Foam instead of just buying every issue as it came out. This one is gorgeous with plenty of destinations to add to my travel wishlist.

5. Ryan and I finally started watching 'Happy Endings' this week. I am hooked. Go rent the first season. Now.

Happy Aloha Friday to all of you! :)

Chalk Dirrty To Me


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Confession: When I was a freshman in high school HALF MY LIFE AGO (ugh), Christina Aguilera released the video for "Come On Over". The one where she totally worked some hot pink highlights? Yeah, I was obsessed with that song and that hair. Almost immediately after watching it debut on TRL my best friend and I walked to the mall and bought some Manic Panic at Hot Topic. Yeah. True story. For like 5 minutes I had super rebellious pink highlights. Then they washed out and I had split ends. So.

My inner 14-year-old is obviously intrigued by this hair chalking trend. I've seen a few tutorials on the web, including this one by Forever 21 and it's too simple: spray water on strands to dampen them, use soft pastel chalk to color them, and a flat iron to seal in the look for 1-7 days. You can get the chalk at any art or craft store and of course, the ever-ahead-of-the-game marketing geniuses at Free People have already packaged up some cute ombre sets for $14/palette.

Basically, I'm sold. I think it will be really fun for Coachella / a weekend in Vegas. Plus, it seems a lot less harmful than temporary dye. Maybe I'll even dig up some butterfly clips for old time's sake (OMGJK).

Motivation Monday: Marathon Pre-Training


original source: 1

When I first started running in high school, I decided that I eventually wanted to run a marathon. At the start of this year, I finally made the commitment. No more excuses! I'm registered to run the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon on June 2nd.

Registering was the easy part. Training is what's going to kill me.

With my miserable track record for training for races, I know that I have to really discipline myself for a race this serious. So I've downloaded a 16-week plan and training officially starts on March 10th. Which meant that pre-training had to start last week. 

The training plan requires me to run 5-6 times a week with the shortest runs being 4 miles long. I kind of abandoned my exercise routine when I took my Jan/Feb MBA class (which is thankfully, officially OVER!), and now I have to work to get to a place where I can run 4 miles without dying. Last week was my first week back on the road and it was tough. 

I'm also using the marathon as a goal to get back into shape and shed some of my winter weight. Because of that I've started using the LoseIt! app again and staying within those weekly calories budgets while trying to maintain my rockstar lifestyle is hard. Bar nights have a way of devolving into midnight pizza and In N Out for breakfast...

But if I've learned one thing about goals like this, it's that transparency and accountability are a big help. So:

2/25/13 - 3/3/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • ran 3 days for a total of 9 miles
  • average pace: 11'20" per mile
  • didn't stay under my weekly calorie budget :(
  • started drinking more water everyday!
  • 1 Tracy Anderson Ab workout from Abcentric Metamorphosis

What fitness goals do you have this year? What workouts are you doing?

Aloha Friday!


It's Friday, Friday, Friday.... and it's March! Which means that a lot of amazing things are ahead and a lot of stressful things, like my MBA class, are (almost) behind me! Class ends Saturday night when I submit my final project and then it's really time to relax. Or, you know, do some spring cleaning. One and the same really. :)

Despite all the last-week-of-school stress, this has been a pretty great week overall: 

1. I have been looking FOREVER for a pair of vintage, white cat eye sunglasses after seeing this pin from a British magazine. It's been really hard to find the exact same size and look, but I finally bought some that I hope will be close! bread by kira, $15

2. Run run run. I started running again this week and boy is my body mad at me. More about that on Monday, but for me, the first 3 weeks are the hardest part, so I'm happy to have my first full week of pre-training almost behind me. 

3. Making a lot of progress on barefoot sandals for the store. I should have a bunch of styles ready to order by the end of next week. Look for a giveaway on the blog too.

4. New friends! I stumbled upon a lot of great blogs this week and even purchased some sponsorship for March at Sincerely, Kinsey and Beauty and the Feast. I'm looking forward to meeting some of their readers!

5. I have a new house project that I am REALLY excited about! All of the supplies are purchased and I hope to get started on it (and maybe even finish it) this weekend. I can't wait to post the results!

Happy Friday everyone!