Monthly Archives: February 2013

Making a Road Bike a Tri Bike, Part I

As I mentioned Sunday, I met with Ann Marie Miller (who is super legit!)—one Full Throttle Endurance’s cycling coaches—for a saddle installation and bike re-fit this past weekend.  If reading about biking isn’t your thing (which I totally understand), here’s the SparkNotes version:  overhauled my bike in terms of fit and installed a new stem, saddle, and seat post.

road-bike-parts2

See ya, road bike parts!

However, if you’re interested, keep reading.

First, since having aerobars installed in January, I’ve been experiencing some major saddle pain.  This apparatus moves your body into a more aerodynamic position, which alters how you sit.  I have a road bike (Trek Lexa SL), and its saddle was obviously designed for road riding.  Long story short, things downstairs hurt a lot during my rides; I’d consider it a good workout if I made it to the 40-minute mark without experiencing pain, and then I’d push through for the last 30 minutes or so.  Triathletes spend a ton of time in the saddle (it’s the longest part of a triathlon), so you want it to be as comfortable as possible.

Anyway, Andrew put me in touch with Ann Marie, and we set up an appointment for Saturday morning at the Performance Center at Chelsea Piers (aka The Room of Doom if you’re taking a CompuTrainer class—ha!).  First, we talked about my cycling background and primary concerns, and then Ann Marie performed a series of body tests and measurements.  She discovered my right hip sits slightly higher than my left, and she also said I’m quite flexible (thank you, yoga!), which will make riding in an aggressive aero position easier.  My hamstrings, back, and neck are quite flexible, too.  Who knew?  Annie Marie also said I have a long torso (no surprise there), and she was happy to see that my bike frame fits me perfectly.  I obviously need to credit my friends at Syracuse Bicycle—who were also just named Best Retailer 2012 by Quality Bike Parts.

syracuse-bicycle-best-retailer-2012-quality-bike-parts

Woohoo!

Anyway, Ann Marie completely rehauled my bike.

The first part of the appointment was dedicated to fixing the height of my saddle.  Ann Marie determined it was a little too high, which was causing me to reach too far with my legs and sacrifice power; she lowered it 1.5 centimeters, and I immediately felt a huge difference.  It’s crazy how slight changes can affect your ride!

Next, we moved to the saddle.  Even with the height adjustment, the road one still hurt, so she put on an Adamo one.

adamo-triathlon-saddles

[source]

As some of you know, I’ve put out several calls to Twitter to talk about saddles and consulted my teammates and other triathletes, so I hoped the Adamo would be “the one.”  It’s highly regarded, especially by women, but once I plopped myself down, I knew it was a no-go.  Although it alleviated the pain, it had too much padding for me, and as you can see from the picture above, the nose separates, which felt super awkward.

The next saddle I tested—and ultimately went with—was the Selle Italia SLR.

selle-italia-sl-saddle2

Prior to my appointment, I hadn’t heard of this brand, so it was definitely a wildcard.  The nose felt much better, and since it contains gel, it felt much more comfortable.  Honestly, though, I wasn’t 100 percent sure about it, but I ended up getting it.

For the next few hours, Ann Marie worked on overhauling my bike.  She installed a new seat post, the EA70 Zero, which helps move me forward into a more aggressive aero position.

selle-italia-sl-saddle3

She also added a new steam to help drop my aerobars and adjusted the actual position of the aerobars.  However, she recommended getting new ones:  Profile Design T1 Plus and T4 Plus because both models can be attached closer to the handlebars and can be adjusted in terms of width. (The ones I have now are too wide for me.)

So what’s next?  I’m meeting Ann Marie again this weekend to finish up my fit; she tracked down a 70mm stem, and I bought the T1 aerobars, so both need to be installed.  She took some before and after pictures of the setup, so I’ll be sure to share those once everything is complete.  I’ve also logged two rides in the new saddle for a total of 1:45, and I’m getting used to it.  I don’t love it yet, but it felts so much better than the road saddle.

What’s the most recent piece of fitness equipment you bought?

What I Ate Wednesday – The New Normal

Hiya–happy hump day, friends!  Thankfully, this week seems to be flying by—I can’t wait for Saturday’s indoor triathlon!

downton-abbey-cousin-matthew-meme

[source]

This Downton Abbey hipster meme cracks me up!  Not related to this post at all, but I know some of you are obsessed with the show like me.

Anyway, I’m linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons today for What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW).

what-i-ate-wednesday-love-your-veggies-month

The blog has lacked food pictures lately, so I figured there’s no time like the present to reintroduce meal photography.  Here we go!

Pre-workout Fuel – 5:30 a.m.

Should I even say that 5:30 a.m. is a late morning for me?  Nope?  OK—moving on.

2:26-pre-workout

This is what I eat before every morning workout:  half of a Kashi granola bar, one cup of coffee (with almond milk), and a ton of water.  The run itself didn’t go so great–after Monday’s a.m. team run and a 45-minute p.m. spin on the indoor bike trainer, my legs were spent.  Guess that’s why you need a recovery week, right?

Breakfast – 7:30 a.m.

Standard spinach and egg white breakfast sandwich on Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread.

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With another cup of coffee and lots of water.

Lunch – 12:40 p.m.

Spicy black bean quinoa topped with avocado, plus some carrots.

2:26-lunch

I could eat this quinoa every single day and never get sick of it!

Mid-Afternoon Snacks – 3:30 p.m.

One of my coworkers was eating something crunchy, which triggered a craving for something similar.

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I snacked on some almonds to keep hunger at bay, and a little while later, I ate a vanilla Chobani.

2:26-snack-chobani

Love this stuff!

Dinner – 7:15 p.m.

No surprise here—baked salmon with roasted veggies and sweet potatoes.

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Since I meal prep on Sundays, the fish just had to bake for 20 minutes, and the sides went in the microwave.  Easy peasy.

2:26-frozen-grapes

Huzzah!  Frozen grapes for dessert!

What are some of your go-to healthy snacks?

Banana ‘Cookies’

Good morning, everyone!  I’m glad you enjoyed hearing about my Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.  Cupcakes are always a good idea, right?

Speaking of sweets, I have a quick and simple recipe to share today.  Actually, it’s barely a recipe with only two ingredients:  Banana “Cookies.”

banana-cookies

I hoard bananas, so I had quite a few that needed to be used before they became too brown.  And when I saw Skinnytaste’s original recipe, I knew I had to give it a shot.

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I stayed true to the basic concept of oats and recipe bananas, but altered it based on the contents of my cupboard.

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Chewy like normal cookies, these banana alternatives taste best eaten straight from the oven—and topped with a drizzle of peanut or almond butter.  They’d also make for tasty pre-workout energy bites.  Just try not to eat five in one sitting like I did!

banana-cookies3

Banana Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats

Cinnamon to taste, optional

1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice, optional (I’ve used peanuts and omitted the nuts–both ways taste great!)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray.

3.  Combine mashed bananas and oats in a bowl.

4.  Add chopped nuts and cinnamon.

5.  Place a tablespoon-sized of each on cookie sheet.

6.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until oats become crisp.

Brooklyn Hijinx, Part Two

On Saturday afternoon, I met up with my friend Gabby for more Brooklyn hijinx. (As a side note, doesn’t “Brooklyn hijix” sound cool?  Manhattan hijinx just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Katie, our friend from college, came to the city for the weekend, so we got to see her and her mom for a few hours filled with … food!  First, we hit up Brooklyn Cupcake—standard.

brooklyn-cupcake-dumbo

Our previous cupcake run occurred at its flagship shop in Williamsburg, but we visited its new location in DUMBO (“down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass”).  The actual mixing, baking, and frosting takes place at the main store, but I will support BK Cupcake anywhere and everywhere it goes.   Anyway, it took me for-ev-er to make a decision, and I eventually choice the Guava con Queso, which is inspired by a traditional Columbian dessert.

brooklyn-cupcake-quava

Blurry picture due to the rain, but holy yum!  Thanks to the cream cheese, it tasted like fruity cheesecake.  The cake itself was perfectly moist and absolutely delicious.  I also split a chocolate Nutella cupcake with Gabby.

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Friends and cupcakes!

For our second stop, we went to Rico’s Tacos in Sunset Park.

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I was so thankful to have Gabby there to help me navigate the menu—so many options!

brooklyn-ricos-tacos-menu

Again, it took me forever to make a selection, and I finally went with the pollo asado taquito—a “pocket-friend” chicken taco.

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Rico’s makes their tortillas in-house, which I definitely noticed, and I loved the spicy avocado cream sauce.

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It was such a fun—and filling!—afternoon!

If you could create any flavor of cupcake, what would you make?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of Feb. 24

Friends!  Long time no speak!  I’ve had a busy few days, so blogging moved to the backburner, but I’m back.

out-of-order

Someone in my building busting the lat pulldown machine!  I feel both peeved because I can’t use it and curious because I want to know who broke it.

Anyway, yesterday morning, I went to a Full Throttle Endurance team swim with another training group, and it was great.  For those who’ve been reading for a while, you may remember when I observed Danny’s practice when I was in the city apartment hunting, and this was the same session I attended.  I love having two coached swim practices back-to-back, and Andrew and Danny have very different coaching styles, which works nicely too.  Case in point:  yours truly struggled through did the butterfly for 50 yards!

After the swim, I had a bike/saddle fitting with one of our team’s cycling coaches.  There will be a full-fledged post on the three-hour appointment (yes, three hours of assessing and making adjusting), and it was definitely needed.  For my fellow trigeeks, my new saddle is the triathlon-specific Selle Italia SLR. (I’ll go into more detail in the post, but I also tried an Adamo model and absolutely hated it!) Right now, I’m not crazy about it, but it does feel a lot better than my old road saddle.

I also owe you a post on Brooklyn Hijinks, Part Two—Gabby, our friend Katie, and Katie’s mom explored the area yesterday afternoon and obviously ended up here.

brooklyn-cupcake-dumbo

Brooklyn Cupcake for the win!

[Insert seamless transition from cupcakes to workouts.]

Hello, recovery week!  Can I get an amen?  Just like week four, we’ll be maintaining volume and backing off intensity this for the next seven days, which I’m also considering an active taper of sorts for Saturday’s indoor triathlon.  This means it’s basically race week, yes?  This training day won’t be a full-fledged race obviously, but I’m excited to push myself and see how much I’ve improved so far.  Time for Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE); p.m. bike?

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Wednesday – a.m. bike with FTE; a.m. run

Thursday – off

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE; a.m. run

Saturday – “super sprint” indoor triathlon (500-yard swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run)

Sunday – a.m. bike and strength train

How was your weekend?

MuckFest MS Mud Run

Good morning, friends!  I have some exciting news to share today:  I officially registered for the MuckFest MS Mud Run!

muck-fest-ms-registration

That’s right—on April 27, I’ll be crawling, scrambling, and technically running through mud and other obstacles.  Sounds like a good time, right?

Doing a mud run has been on my fitness bucket list for a while—I almost did a Warrior Dash this past summer—and when my aunt emailed my sisters, cousins, and me about getting a team together for the Boston-based event (races take place throughout the country), I was totally on board.  She has attended so many of my high school field-hockey, basketball, and softball games over the years, and she and my uncle even visited me in London when I studied abroad during my junior year.

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Eating our way though Camden Market in London–typical!

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Grabbing a quick lunch in Bath, England.

And she helped throw me a belated 21st birthday back stateside.

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Limo time!

Both my aunt and uncle came to my college graduation, too—like the actual four-hour long ceremony.  They are champs.

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Oh, and remember when they cheered me on during my first triathlon?

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Who can forget the sign and cowbell?!

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Well, before that event, my aunt actually rode the bike course with me.

caz-bike-course-with-aunt

Yes, she has MS, but she clearly doesn’t let that limit her in any way. (If you’re unfamiliar with multiple sclerosis, it’s a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.  Symptoms vary from numbness in the limbs and fatigue to blindness and challenges walking.  There’s been progress in treating the disease, but right now, there’s no known cure.)

I’m extremely blessed to have such a supportive and close-knit family, so if I can use my passion for running and doing endurance events to support my aunt and the National MS Society, then I’m all for it.  When I signed up for the 5-mile race, I also pledged to raise $200 for the National MS Society.

I’ve never fundraised this way for an athletic event (for college basketball, we swapped pink t-shirts for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for $20 donations), so hopefully, I can reach this goal.  We’re also looking for more teammates, so let me know if you want to join us!

Have you completed a mud run?  Any tips/words of wisdom?  Do you have any fundraising experience?

What’s Your Archetype?

Good morning!  Back to the grind today, right?  Le sigh.  Oh well—can’t complain about a three-day weekend.

Workout #1 – Running

After yesterday’s tough team workout, I was happy the training schedule called for an easy run.  Even though it wasn’t freezing outside (around 34 degrees Farenheit), it took me longer than usual to fully warm-up.  On the bright side, that ensured my pace remained in the steady ballpark for 35 minutes.

Workout #2 – Strength Training

Immediately after running, I went to my building’s fitness center for a full-body strength training workout.  I’ve been upping the weight recently, and it’s crazy to think that for some of the exercises I’m lifting heavier than I was during my college basketball days, yet I’m not “blowing up” and gaining weight; I’m actually leaning out and developing some definition.  Moral of the story:  don’t be afraid to lift heavy, ladies!

Breakfast

My tummy has been acting up (I totally blame the Whole Foods pizza dough—never again!), so I went with my classic spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich this morning.

2:19-breakfast-spinach-egg-whites

I’m off to the office shortly, but first, I want to share an interesting quiz:  ArchetypeMe.  While doing work-y things on Friday, I popped over to The Fit Stop (my company’s blog) and found a post that featured this survey—Find Your Archetype, Reach Your Goals.

For most of us, it’s been a while since high school English class, so here’s a refresher:

archetype-definition

And the available archetypes:

list-of-archetypes

Onto the two-minute quiz.

archetype-quiz

It takes literally two minutes, and the results are quite telling.

archetype-results

Quite an interesting combo, right?  Not that I’m surprised.  My top three archetypes included athlete, intellectual, and caregiver.  Like my Chinese horoscope, my archetype results are so accurate it’s scary.

Athlete: tomboy, adventurer, outdoorswoman, competitor

“… you love being in touch with your body and love to push yourself to see what you can achieve … athletes are forward-looking …”

Intellectual: scholar, professional, sage, thinker

“If you’re an intellectual, you’re always seeking knowledge and wisdom. Rational, well-read, and deliberative, you tend to think before you talk … While intellectuals enjoy giving answers, they delight most in asking questions, either of others or of the universe. They are rational in their quest to figure things out, methodical too.”

Caregiver: nurturer, mother, sister, best friend, teacher, heroine

“… someone who lives to give and needs to be useful … you throw yourself into all kinds of supportive efforts …”

As the percentages indicate, I definitely identify more as an athlete and intellectual, but I do have a fair amount of caregiver qualities.

What’s your archetype?

(Sort of) Trending

Hey, hey—happy Monday!  And Happy Presidents’ Day!

someecards-presidents-day

Because everything comes back to chocolate, right?

Last night, Jen and I hosted our third #TriChat, and it went really well!  We welcomed ENERGYbits as a sponsor and guest host—which fit perfectly with our theme of pre-/during/post-workout nutrition and fueling strategies—and three lucky participants won samples.  The highpoint of the night occurred toward the end of the Q&A session when I glanced to the left of my newsfeed.

#trichat-trending

Trending for the win!  Technically, though, this is in terms of Twitter’s “tailored trend” algorithm. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter, its “tailored trend” shows hot topics based on your location and who you follow; its old system showed hashtags in reference to the wider-world of Twitter.) So even though #TriChat didn’t trend on a global scale (yet!), it still made its mark in triathlon and fitness circles.  Very cool!

Shameless plug:  Feel free to join us Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. EST for the next #TriChat!

Workout #1 – Running

Let week seven begin!  There were only 10 of us at our Full Throttle Endurance practice this morning (a bunch of guys went on a ski trip), which changed the group dynamic, but still lead to a great workout.  Like our previous sessions, we started with technique drills and barefoot running before doing tempo work on the track and tempo/hills on the treadmill.  On paper, this was the most challenging workout to date (our ‘mill incline values increased from 3.0 to 3.5 to 4.0), and it was also the strongest I’ve felt mentally and physically.  As you know, I read Chrissie Wellington’s book yesterday, and one idea that resonated with me was turning your brain on “autopilot,” which I did during this workout.  I’ll definitely talk about this concept more in the book review, but basically, even though it’s important to have a constant stream of assessment and feedback during training and races, it’s also crucial to know when to override your brain, shift into “autopilot,” and somewhat disconnect your head from your body.

Workout #2 – Swimming

Although tempted to call it a day after the running workout, I knew I needed to spend some quality time in the pool.  It was only 40 minutes, and nothing groundbreaking to report—except for the really cute (and obviously legit) guy wearing a TEAM USA swim cap.  Uh, what?!  He definitely wasn’t Vince Vaughn or Michael Phelps … I need to get to the bottom of this!

Breakfast

Breakfast started off with a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich, plus coffee.

2:18-breakfast-spinach-egg-whites

And about an hour later, I also ate an unpictured banana with some PB.  Swimming revs my appetite big time!

Lunch

I ran some errands this morning and heated up a piece of leftover pizza for lunch.

2:18-lunch-whole-wheat-pizza

Yes, I totally impulse-bought whole-wheat pizza dough at Whole Foods yesterday.  They saw me coming!  I also had a peach for dessert.

Later this afternoon, I multitasked–doing laundry and baking.

banana-cookies

Seeing as how I’ve eaten five of these banana “cookies” already, this recipe is a keeper—and coming your way later this week!

Are you guilty of impulse buying while grocery shopping?  What items typically find their way into your cart?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of Feb. 10

Hiya—happy Sunday, friends!  How was your weekend?  I found the perfect balance of activity and laziness.  On Saturday morning, I went to the pool and completed the same workout from Friday’s team practice.

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Recently, swimming has been pushed to the backburner—aside from the team workout on Friday, it’s always my second session of the day, so I’m never 100 percent fresh—so I decided to change my schedule:  looking forward, I plan to swim on Saturdays.

Going to Chelsea Piers yesterday ended my several month-long weekend hiatus from the facility, so I was pleasantly surprised to see three of my teammates working out and getting after it.  Oh, and there was also a masters swim team practicing, and I had to literally pick my jaw up off the flow.  Watching those athletes pulling and kicking so crisply and cutting through the water (not to mention executing perfect flip turns) proved to be a very inspirational and humbling experience.  I hesitate to say that I swim now—basically, I kick and pull (sometimes simultaneously) and float and try to move my body forward.  There’s also definitely something to be said for the training philosophy of swimming with the swimmers, biking with the bikers, and running with the runners.

Yesterday afternoon, I met up with Jen and Abby for a run in Central Park after a terrible commute thanks to subway construction.  It was my fist time meeting Abby, who grew up 15 minutes away from me (small world!), and it was great to see Jen again.  Both are training for half-marathons, so I just tagged along for the run—and completed my first full lap of Central Park, which was long overdue because I’ll have to tackle that course during the NYC Triathlon.  Anyway, Abby stayed with us for a bit (she had her long run scheduled for today), and then Jen and I headed to Riverside Park and the West Side Highway so she could complete her 10 miles.  We had so much fun chatting away—and she totally picked up on my gossip-hound tendencies—and the miles passed so quickly!  I finished with 8.3 for the day, which obviously wasn’t on my training plan (shhh, don’t tell my coach!), but it was such a fun run and totally worth it.

Aside from running errands and prepping food for the week, I took today totally off and spent the afternoon reading Chrissie Wellington’s A Life Without Limits:  A World Champion’s Journey.

a-life-without-limits-chrissie-wellington

I’m almost done, and it’s so good!  It’s also the next read for Jamie’s virtual book club, and since this will probably be my last time participating for a while, I want to write a thorough review.

OK, time to talk workouts.  I completed all but two sessions last week, which is pretty good.  This week’s big event will be an indoor triathlon on Saturday that Andrew briefly mentioned last week:  500-yd. swim, 12-mile bike (on spin bikes), and a three-mile run, so a super-sprint of sorts.  I’ve never done an indoor triathlon, so it will be an exciting training day for sure.  Time for Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE); a.m. swim

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Wednesday – a.m. bike with FTE; a.m. run (plus two fitness events for work)

Thursday – off

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE; a.m. run

Saturday – indoor triathlon or a.m. swim; p.m. bike and strength train

Sunday – off

How did your workouts go this week?  And who’s racing this weekend?!  Have you completed an indoor triathlon?

Take a Turn About the Room, Part II

Good morning!  TGIF!  I completed a Full Throttle Endurance team swim workout this morning before our head coach held an informal clinic on how to change a flat tire/tube.  I sort of know how to do it, but I don’t exactly feel confident; it’s definitely a process you need to practice, so our head coach suggested the following:  “Go home, pour yourself a glass of wine, and practice.”  Why didn’t I think of adding vino to the equation before?  If there’s wine involved, then count me in!

Anyway, I promised another “tour” of my apartment since my mom and dad helped me find some big-girl apartment birthday décor.  I enlisted my parents because first, I don’t trust myself when it comes to home decoration; college posters aren’t exactly appropriate anymore, and the limited experience I do have equated to an area rug searching and purchasing nightmare.  Second—which shouldn’t surprise anyone—I don’t have tools in my apartment like a hammer, nails, etc.  But I do have a foam roller and bike pump, so it all evens out, right?  We found everything at Bed Bath & Beyond, except the clock, which came from TJ Maxx.  Let’s take a turn about the room!

First, we hung a mirror in the entryway. (And by “we,” I mean my mom and dad.)

mirror

It adds some depth to the area, and it lets me do a quick teeth/hair/makeup check before leaving.

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In fact, I used this mirror when I took a picture of my new haircut. (Not that you can tell, but still.)

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To the right of the entryway sits the dining table/work center, and we placed a clock up above.

clock

It’s been temperamental at times—its hands stop on 7:20—but it looks really nice.

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Although I might have to buy a new one if its hands continue to refuse to work.

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Next up is the most important piece:  This painting hangs above the couch and essentially connects the central theme of the room. (Although my original idea was to hang my bike there!)

living-room-with-painting

Perfect size and perfect color scheme—what a clutch find!

painting

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Between the windows sits this unique metal piece.

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Again, perfect size and colors.

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Finally, we found two flower paintings for my bedroom.

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Very pretty, right?

bedroom-flower-paintings-close-up

So that’s what I have so far.  I still want to get a few more pieces, but my apartment feels much more homey now.

What was your favorite room/area to decorate in your home/apartment?  Did you decorate it immediately after moving in, or did you wait and buy one item at a time?