Remember that one Labor Day morning when we got up super early and it was raining like crazy, and we dressed up crazy and then piled into the car with all our friends to go run? I do. :)
All dressed in white from our heads to our toes. Janel was our fearless driver for team "Runbow Brites", navigating through rain and traffic, weaving us into prime positioning. It still took us an hour to get there! But perhaps that made the anticipation more fun.
Leslie, LaDonna, Nichole, myself & Janel all became lifelong friends in that fun little hour of driving. We also learned that Janel fits right into the Barber Motorsports Speedway! hah!
I'm all in when an event involves getting dressed up. Costumes are so fun - bandana do-rag, a cheek tattoo, tall socks, and an armband (to hold my phone, which was safely protected by a zip-lock baggie). Ben made fun of me, but I fit RIGHT in!
Across town, the rest of our team was getting ready too. Say hi to Tom & Kortney:
And the lovely Deb (and her boy Wesley--who was a spectator this time):
Amazingly, we ended up parking right next to Zach, Ben, and Jonathan (who took a shorter route and got there at the same time as us...even though they left 30 minutes later).
Here we are...already getting wet, but still sparkly white:
Once we all finally arrived, and managed to find each other (we hooked up with Tom & Kortney and Deb once we got to the race), we hopped into the starting line, and were on our way!
I managed to catch sight of Ben, Zach and the kids as we were running by toward the start of the race -- cold, shivering and wet little color watchers:
The 5K race went pretty quickly. It rained the whole time, we got pelted with color several times along the way, and we arrived at the finish line about 30 minutes later, completely soaked -- and mostly colorful.
Just to make sure, we got an extra dose of color as we unloaded our own color packets at the finish line.
We tried hard to locate all our team members and get a team "after" photo, but this conglomerate will have to do.
There were just too many people, too much rain, and the kids (and dad's) were not so interested in sticking around in the rain much longer.
In some ways, the rain was wonderful. We kept cool, and the water felt great while we were running. But, since the rain made it hard for our spectator families to enjoy themselves thoroughly (or take many photos) it did make the whole event feel a little rushed.
It was lots of fun, but I would have liked to savor a little more of it, dance to the music, and take more photos (of course). Thank goodness for husbands, facebook, and smart phones! In the midst of the rain and powder, we managed to get some pretty good shots...without breaking any cameras.
I'd totally do it again. But I think I'd hope for better weather next time! ;) Thanks girls for coming on this crazy ride with me!
Brezina Refinishing Review - Birmingham, AL
My grandparents bought a beautiful set of maple furniture for my mom and aunt when they were young. A dresser & mirror, two secretary desks, a lingerie chest and a set of bunk beds. If there were night stands, I'm not aware of it!
Anyhow, my mom inherited the bunk beds, dresser and one of the secretary desks when she moved out on her own (or sometime in her young adult life), which means that for most of my life, *I* used them as my bedroom furniture.
They'd been beat up, scratched, stained, dented, and even had a LOT of stickers put all over them. But still, they remained sturdy pieces of furniture. We had the dresser refinished as a wedding present when Ben and I got married 11 years ago, and it now resides in Ayla's room. As does one of the twin beds, which has since been painted with white laquer paint.
But the secretary desk that I love so dearly has unfortunately sat in our garage taking up space and collecting dust for 11 years until we were ready to spend the money to have it refinished. We waited and waited and discussed it and stewed over it every time we cleaned out the garage. Finally, this year, I decided it was time to either fix it up and use it somewhere in the house or let it go.
Well, I couldn't let it go.
I knew it would look so great in our kitchen and help keep all the mail and papers at bay that seem to collect on the island. But...I'd only like it *IF* it was painted, not stained. With all the red wood floors in our kitchen, the wood finish just didn't look quite right. But imagine it all painted black...now THAT would be sharp!
Originally I was going to try and paint it myself. That illusion lasted about 10 minutes when I told Ben about my big revelation and he said "you're not doing this yourself." He was right. This desk has an insane amount of nooks and crannies and I'm not known for my detailed precision when it comes to stuff like this. Oh, and I've never done any refinishing before so I have zero experience.
So off to the professionals I went. Brezina Refinishing was recommended to me by a local friend, so I called for an estimate, was not completely shocked by the price, and decided to just go for it.
Brezina Refinishing (Tony Lee)
4915 5th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35222
(Be sure to tell Tony that Andrea Steed sent you!)
I asked Tony for a black satin finish with slight distressing. I was VERY pleased!
He did just the perfect amount of distressing around the edges so that the original wood peeks through. Plus, check out that shiny brass hardware all spiffed up!
He finished every piece of it, inside & out, front and back (since the back is open to our playroom downstairs). It even got three new knobs for the inside drawers (since I was so resourcefully using a paper clip - yikes.
Even the inside shelves have some neat distressing marks that almost make it look like it's *actually* worn down that way.
And the chair looks just as good! Check it out:
Ahh...love it. Working with Tony at Brezina Refinishing was a joy. I would absolutely recommend him for any wood refinishing work. I even got to see some samples of cool furniture he's restored and re-vamped in his workshop and home. He does fantastic work. Plus, I caught him during a slow season, so he was able to have my desk delivered to me only a week and a half after I brought it to him. Unbelievable!
I'm so glad to finally have this desk out of the garage and into the house! Yay!
Next on the bedroom furniture refinishing list -- turning that other twin headboard and footboard into a bench for the entryway. Something along these lines...maybe in a color this time though! I think I'll probably let Brezina Furniture tackle that project too. :)
We woke up this morning to power flickering and major winds, saw branches and leaves down all over the roads on our drive to Ayla's school this morning, and heard about trees and power lines down all over the city. Evidently that was just a preview of the massive destruction caused by tornadoes in Alabama today and this evening. Check out some of these pictures:
Thankfully (for us), the storms missed us by only about 10 miles north & south of us, hitting Tuscaloosa to the west, Cullman & Fultondale north of us and Alabaster to the south. Hoover somehow managed to be a storm-proof area -- today at least. We even managed to keep power all day long.
This afternoon Ben and I made a mad dash to move all our stuff in the garage around so that we could fit our new car inside it (c'mon...it's only 2 days old and we'd heard about falling trees and golf-ball sized hail) and then spent most of the evening down in our den and even set up temporary beds for Ayla & Paxton. However...other than some ominous skies and a little bit of wind, we were spared all of the storms as we watched several areas around us being torn to shreds.
We're thankful today for our blessings and safety and praying for those who were in the eye of the storm. The damage leaves you speechless.
Julie Schwarz makes these great watercolor-looking photograph prints. Turns out, they're made from "smushing" Polaroid prints before they dry. Very cool technique. And this picture caught my eye right away...because I have that beach chair!
Then of course, my favorite every year is Michael Cole's typeset collages. So cool...
Yesterday afternoon I took Paxton on a hike through the Preserve and ended up at the Moss Rock Art Festival (on purpose...it wasn't a coincidence). I love going to these art shows and always come home so inspired to make all kinds of fun things (even if I can't do it quite as well as these artists.).
I picked up a few business cards for a few of my favorite booths and thought share them here:
100% Cool - Efi Designs - recycled handmade in style...bags, wallets, bracelets, necklaces & more!
ConnorClaire Frames - specializing in custom hand-crafted frames
The Swan Art by Susan B Dennis - paintings & ceramics
Amy Wilburn - photographer and photo art design (magnets, jewelry, etc)
Hale Fire Glass - hand blown beads and jewelry
There were several other artists I liked, but they didn't have business cards or web sites...so I guess you'll have to go to the festival today to check them out! :)
This morning we got up bright and early to head to the Pepper Place Farmer's Market downtown. We've been wanting to go since we found out about it last year. Not only is it a great little farmer's market, full of locally grown fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers, but it's also on site of an old Dr. Pepper bottling building, so there are tons of Dr. Pepper signs everywhere, which of course Ben loves.
They have live music, chef demonstrations, and artists selling their material. It was hot, crowded, and full of gorgeous colors, hand made signs, and all sorts of fabulous eye candies for me to take photos of. Here are a few of my favorites:
Even better than the photos, we came home with peaches, tomatoes, red peppers, blackberries, and honey. Great way to start the day. We were home by 10:20 am and still had a whole day left to enjoy!
Is this weather for REAL???
It feels like September. Or maybe October, but definitely not November. I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week. After living in Minnesota for the past five years, we're used to enjoying fall from about the second week of September until the middle of October. Then winter comes full-force. We've barely taken out our long-sleeved shirts this year.
So it's been a strange shock to our system when fall doesn't arrive until November here in Birmingham. But boy has it been beautiful. We were all worried that the leaves wouldn't be changing much since we've suffered from a serious drought all summer. Thankfully, God decided to bless us anyway with gorgeous fall colors. Since Birmingham is so hilly and mountainous, you get peeks of color across the horizon all the time when you're driving around.
I haven't been good about getting out and photographing it like I'd like to, but I did snatch a couple of pictures this week. One is from the plane as I was landing in Birmingham on Friday afternoon. I've never had the pleasure of flying into fall colors. After landing in a very very brown Arizona earlier in the week, this was quite a treat.
The other picture is from the top of the mountain at a little hot dog stand in Hoover where you can see the whole valley of colors. We stopped there briefly on Saturday while driving around with some friends. Richard and Jennifer took on a tour of Birmingham and showed us some great little shopping areas, museums, places to eat, and things to do. I highly recommend finding people like them who are willing to show you the sights--not each individual sight necessarily, but just to show you where everything is, and give you a taste of what you can enjoy in the city. It was really fun to hear all about the city and see some beautiful areas that we can go back and enjoy.