Office complete!

Well, my fabulous yellow Salvation Army chair finally made it’s way from Charlotte to Charleston and so the office is now officially complete. And just in time for graduate school to start in about a week – eeeek (that’s a squeal of nervous excitement, fyi)! I’m excited about how everything came together. The chair looks a bit orangey in the pictures, but it’s more yellow in person. What do y’all think?!

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Here’s a closer look at the wall candy:

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The prints on the right are lyrics from Forever Young by Bob Dylan. It’s a very special song for me and my dad (we even danced to it at my wedding), so I ordered him a set from this fabulous Etsy shop and I couldn’t resist getting myself a set. I got the mirrors for cheap at a local auction and spray painted them, as seen here. I just love old pictures, especially when they mean something to me. The top picture is from my great-great grandmother’s graduation day (on my mom’s side) and the bottom one is a family portrait of my great-grandfather and his brothers and sisters (on my dad’s side). It’s so fascinating to see the outfits they wore and the way they styled their hair. WinnieJane probably wouldn’t exist without the people in those pictures!

Of course, when I say that the office is complete, I mean that it’s mostly complete. I still want to put up some kind of window treatment. I just need to decide on a valance or panels? Hmmmm.

Here’s a quick little reminder of what the room looked like before:

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ImageNo need to dwell, though.

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Ah, much better. I love the little button details on the chair!

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Happy Monday! xoxo, p

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Matt was super sweet and got me Mother’s Day card from Bentleigh. Dog moms count on Mother’s day, right?

I wanted to give a shout out especially to my momma. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her and I owe just about everything I have and everything I am to her. She’s a great woman, mentor, teacher, mother and wife and I am so grateful that I had the ideal role model as I grew up. Thank you for all that you do for brother Matt and I and for husband Matt and I. Thank you for teaching me just about all of life’s most important lessons, but the most important ones have to do with kindness, compassion, patience, loyalty, perseverance and respect for others. Oh, and how can I forget about all those domestic lessons you’ve taught me, especially my cooking and baking skills 😉

I love you, Mom! We headed to the Joe on Saturday night to celebrate and it was so much fun. Go Riverdogs! 

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Surgery: Week 1

The first week after my surgery is blurry and difficult to remember. This is probably for the best. I remember being in pain pretty much always, but the memories are vague and fleeting. So, as you’re laying in your hospital bed for those first few days thinking that things will just never get better, know that it’s really not as bad as it seems in retrospect.

As I mentioned in my previous surgery posts, I was in the hospital for about 4.5 days. During that time I did the following: sleep, nap, watch TV. Rinse and repeat.

Seriously though, you’re in no state to be doing anything else. My mom and I went through almost the entire first season of Friends while I was there and I don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember conversations I had or books I tried to read. That being said, reading was basically impossible with all of the drugs running through my blood. It was very difficult to concentrate on the individual words, and I usually gave up after a page or two.

Things that I do remember: the physical therapist coming to get me out of bed and walking, residents coming to check on me, hospital nutritionists forcing me to eat, nurses pouring Miralax down my throat (yuck. seriously).

The hospital physical therapist came by my room about noon the day after my surgery … so pretty much 24 hours after operating. I remember wanting to get up so badly and not lie down anymore but also thinking that attempting to move so much may kill me. But it’s super important to start moving as soon as possible and as often as possible. It’s incredibly painful and uncomfortable at the time, but it encourages your body to heal faster.

PT has you do what they call a “log roll” where you roll either to your left or right until you are laying on your side. You would have thought they were asking me to roll an entire marathon by the amount of moaning and groaning I did while trying to roll myself over. I remember feeling like my whole back was on fire and I could feel the two sides of my incision pulling against each other feeling like the whole thing was going to come apart. It won’t. I promise. It seems that I have an affinity for drama in certain situations…

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It probably took me about 10 minutes to finally get onto my side. Then, while they’re guiding you, they have you push yourself up on your shoulder. Here is where it would have been so crucial to have some killer ab muscles. Do some pilates, y’all! Seriously. So yeah, that part sucked, too.

Once I was finally sitting up, I immediately started to feel funny. I got really, really hot and started to sweat. The room started to spin, and I was certain I was going to throw up. This is all happening while the nurses are trying to change the sheets on my bed while they have a quick chance, so I’m roaming around panicking that I’m about to faint. The PT and nurses are telling me to breath and finally I go sit on the closest thing possible (just so happens to be the toilet) while they finish. So it took about 10 minutes for all that craziness to pass. This actually happened to me every time I got up to walk/use the bathroom while in the hospital. It was definitely annoying and made the task feel even more difficult, but apparently this is common when A) you are taking a bajillion medicines at once and B) you’ve been laying down for long periods of time and then change position abruptly. Makes sense. Once your actually standing up, walking is a breeze. It doesn’t hurt to walk, but it’s a slow process. Your body has been through a lot and it doesn’t want to move faster than it needs to. I was moving at a pretty glacial pace for the first week post-op, probably even longer.

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Besides walking around, I also remember the nurses checking my stats a lot, like more often than usual. I had an usually low blood pressure for most of the time I was in the hospital and they also had various reasons for checking my blood counts often which meant I was constantly having blood drawn. Not fun.

I didn’t really eat much the entire time I was in the hospital or even for the first week post-op. I drank a little bit of water here and there and I nibbled on some Fruit Loops because the nutrition lady at the hospital forced me to. The medicine messed with me, and it completely killed my appetite. This was unfortunate because ultimately, they will not let you leave the hospital until you, ya know,  go #2 – but that’s kind of hard to do when you’re not eating anything. The nurses will be giving you Miralax to drink a couple of times a day to help you go, but the closer I got to leaving the hospital, the more nervous I got about being able to leave. So they upped it to Miralax every hour. Not even kidding, y’all. But my alternative was a suppository and that was just not gonna happen. So, I drank Miralax every hour and it was disgusting. But it worked, eventually.

I also experienced a lot of naseau during my first week, so the nurses gave me an anti-naseau medicine called Phenergan which was awesome. I had one experience late at night where I threw up shortly after taking one of pills, which wasn’t fun. I would say this was my ultimate low-point through out the whole experience. The good news is that Phenergan also helps you sleep, so I literally spent most of that night and the next day sleeping. This was good for my mom and my husband because they were both able to go home, shower and get some sleep of their own.

At day 4.5, I was able to leave the hospital and I was nervous, but soo ready to get out of there! I was seriously smelly at this point. I guess going that long without a shower will do that to a girl. The nurses helped clean me off with a wash cloth before I changed into my own PJs. They also took out all my IVs and the drain pump from my back. This was all a breeze, not painful at all. I was wheeled down to the pick-up zone while my mom went to get the car. The ride home was not very much fun but we made it slowly, but surely.

There are a few things I recommend to make yourself as comfortable as possible once you get home. If at all possible, try to get your hands on a recliner chair. I spent about two months after my surgery basically living in a recliner. It was the most comfortable place for me to sit and to sleep. I’m not sure what I would have done without it, but I have read that body pillows or foam pillows can be helpful as well. I was never able to get comfortable for long periods of time on a bed or couch, though. Small, gray guard dog pictured below is optional.

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I also recommend getting a potty chair. The hospital arranged for us to buy one, I think it was about 20 bucks. It attaches to your toilet so that you don’t have to lower yourself all the way down to the seat to go. Seriously, a life saver.

The best part of going home was being able to “bathe.” You’re not allowed to get the bandages/incision wet, so it’s a bit of a process, but it was still magical. It took my mom and I a bit to figure out the best way to go about the whole process but here’s what we came up with. Mom put a chair in the bathtub. I wrapped a towel around my torso and then put a poncho on and held it tight around my neck to make sure no water could drip through. Then mom used a cup/spray nozzle to get my hair wet and wash it for me. It’s obviously not very comfortable to sit in the chair and lean back for very long, but seriously, clean hair has never felt so amazing! It was 100% worth the 30 minute process to achieve it!

So that was pretty much week one. Like I said, sleep, nap, watch TV. Also, no judging for how completely creepy and weird I look in all these pics. Remember that whole no-showering thing? It’s quite evident if you look closely barely glance at the pictures.

Quick shout out to my blog friend and fellow spinal fusion survivor, Pang for motivating me to finally get this post up. Better late the never, I suppose. You can read all about her story on her blog!

Weekend Things

Fabulous, wonderful things happened at the Tomsic household this past weekend. The Cooper River Bridge Run was on Saturday, which is pretty much opening day for tourist season here in the Low Country. Every year, 40,000 people flood into the city from all over to run 6.2 miles across the Cooper River into downtown. This year, a few of those 40,000 included one of my dear friends from college and her boyfriend, as well as my parents.

So when Jordan and Roy got here on Friday night, we did what any great Charleston host would do and shoved them in the car, drove straight to Taco Boy and poured margaritas down their throats. Eat tacos and drink margaritas: It’s what all the professional runners do the night before a big race. Also, they typically go out to another bar after tacos to drink beer and watch a country cover band, so we did that too. Just to be as professional as possible. 

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the start line. Jordan was the most ambitious of us all and actually ran the entire race in like an hour, so amazing! Matt and I originally planned to train for the run after sitting on the sidelines last year drinking mimosas and eating waffles while thousands of fit, dedicated individuals ran by us. Unfortunately, my spinal fusion ruined all chances of that so my parents said they would walk the course with us as a consolation. So, it sort became my post-surgery goal to be able to walk the full 10k. So, about 2.5 hours after we started, Matt, Dad and I sprinted through the finish line (we started our sprint about 10 yards before the finish). Stops along the way include:

  • photo op at the start line
  • photo op in front of Shem Creek
  • photo op halfway up the bridge
  • Dollar store downtown for bug spray and shorts (yep.)
  • photo op just in front of the finish line

All completely necessary (and time consuming) stops. But in the end, we all survived. My feet and shins are still sore three days later, but it was worth it! It was such a beautiful day and we had a great time walkin’ and talkin’.

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We closed out the day with a few celebratory beers in Marion Square, and a few more down the street at Boone’s Bar on King Street. Yummy food, delicious drinks and great service. Best part of the day: realizing that it’s officially Bell’s Oberon season, y’all! I love spring and summer beers. 

Sunday was an even more beautiful day than Saturday was, so we spent most of it sleeping in eating brunch and walking around downtown. A few drinks on the rooftop of Vendue Inn was just about the best way to round out this fantastic weekend. Mmmmmmm yess, this really happened. Completely normal.

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ImageSuch a fun, crazy, sleepless, food-filled weekend with great friends! 

 

DIY Dog Bed

We’ve been dealing with a rebellious pup around here lately and it hasn’t been much fun. For the past few weeks, Bentleigh’s been sleeping on the couch while we aren’t home and trying to jump on the bed in the middle of the night. Not cool. I figure she’s two years old now, which is 14 in people years, and when I think about how I acted at 14 years old, it kind of makes sense. Sorry, mom.

But then it occurred to me that part of our problem might be Bentleigh’s bed downstairs that she lounges on while we’re hanging out in the den or when we’re not home. We’ve had it for about a year and a half and it was looking more than a little shabby. Poor baby was probably better off sleeping on the hardwood floor.

So, I decided to put Pinterest to work and sew Bentleigh a new bed. Surprisingly, I only found one tutorial that had the look I was going for. Luckily, it was a good tutorial and very easy. So I went out to Hobby Lobby and got 2 yards of the fabric I wanted for my main pieces and one yard of a coordinating fabric to go on the sides.

I did make a slight change to the tutorial I used. Since I was using this for pet bed, and not just a floor pillow, I wanted to make the bottom piece with an envelope opening so I could take out the pillows inside and wash the cover when I needed to.

So, here’s how I did it.

Materials:

  • 2 yards main fabric, 1 yard coordinating fabric
  • Two pillows (or pillow forms, extra blankets, stuffing, etc.) Whatever you want to use to fill your bed.
  • Sewing machine, measuring tape, scissors, all that jazz

Step 1: Decide how big you want your bed and choose your measurements. I drew this beautiful, professional sketch to help me visualize. LOLZ Jk, it’s totally an amateur sketch. Hence the water stains. IMG_2457I decided that two pillows lying vertically side by side was the perfect size for Bentleigh. That left me with 32″ x 24″. I added two inches to each for seam allowances. The pillows were about three inches thick, so I went with 5″ with allowance.

Step 2: Measure and cut your fabric. Ugh, this part is always so hard for me. I’m just terrible at cutting. If you want to make the envelope fold, try not to forget you are doing this. Like I might have done. I cut my two main pieces the exact same size and then cursed loudly when I realized I needed to cut separate pieces for my envelope on the bottom. Luckily, I had some extra fabric. So for the envelope fold, essentially you will be cutting two pieces of fabric that, when they overlap, will still equal 34″. I think mine overlapped by about 5″.

You should end up with – TWO: 5″ by 26″ rectangles TWO: 5″ by 34″ rectangles TWO: 34″ x 26″ rectangles (one of them being the envelope piece, if wanted)

Step 3: Take your two fabrics for your envelope and sew them together where they overlap. I don’t know the exact seam allowance I used, but I tried to get as close to the edge as possible so that this seam would end up inside the seam I would create when sewing the edge piece to the top later on. You probably could skip this step and just sew it all together at once, but I felt more comfortable having it secure at the beginning.

Step 4: Place your first 34″ x 26″ piece and lay it face up on your table. Take one of your 34″ x 5″ rectangles and place it on top of the 34″ side of your main piece so they are lined up together. Your pieces will be right sides facing. Pin and sew. I used a 1/2″-ish (don’t you love how precise I am?) seam allowance. I think a picture of this part might be helpful, so refer to the original tutorial to see.

{Make sure to be very particular and cautious about how your sides are facing before you sew. I may or may not have sewed my first pieces together right side facing wrong side. I have no clue what I was thinking but I spent about 30 minutes after that becoming best friends with my seam ripper. Amateur hour up in here}

Step 5: Repeat step four with your remaining rectangle pieces.

Step 6: Press your pieces out. This is where you should be now:

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Step 7: Place your second 34″ x 26″ piece (the one with the envelope opening) right side up on your table. Line up one of your 34″ rectangles (that is already sewed to your other main piece) with an edge, pin and sew. Just like you did before.

Step 8: Do the same with your other 34″ rectangle so that you make a big circle. Now repeat with your shorter rectangle pieces.

Step 9: Pin and sew your corners. This may be a little tricky. It was for me because my edges didn’t line up perfectly but the most important thing is that there are no holes so just be sure you sew it all shut snuggly.

Step 10: Stuff in your pillows! I added a little bit of pillow stuffing in mine around the edges because my case ended up being a little too big.

Sidnote on the extra pillow stuffing: If your dog is one to eat/chew you want to avoid this because this stuffing is not good for dogs (especially puppies) or their digestive tracts. Luckily, Bentleigh has never been a chewer so I was perfectly comfortable using it. And just to be safe, I put it on the ends where it would be impossible for her to get to.

Y’all this was such an easy project and if you are a beginner sewer, do not be intimidated. Seriously, if I could do it, so can you. The best part was that Bentleigh absolutely loved it. She was on top of that thing ASAP. She snuggled on it all night without hopping up on the bed and has been staying off the couch ever since. Problem solved? For now at least!

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Easter Things

First off, a quick, haphazard project. I had a canvas drop cloth leftover from when I painted the office and for some reason I kept trying to think of some way to reuse it besides the obvious. And then I started thinking about how I needed new place mates for all the visitors we would be having for Easter weekend and that’s where I got the idea for chalkboard place mates. I googled/pinterested the idea to see if anyone else had tried it but came up with nothing. Everything out there used a hardsurface as their base, which is certainly more practical, but I was set on using what I had already. So I winged it. Wang it? Wung it? Winged it.

I cut my drop cloth into 12″x18″ rectangles and thought about hemming the edges for about 3 seconds and then I was like, nope, too much work. So I got out my chalkboard paint and gave each rectangle a coat. I was too impatient to do multiple coats and I wasn’t sure the cloth could put up with much more. Since I only did one coat, this pretty much means that I can’t erase the chalk on the placemat, but that’s fine because I had a design in mind that I liked and I can’t image doing much else with them.
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I just gave each one a nice little border and then drew an outline of a plate and the fork, knife and spoon. Btw, forks are really hard to draw with chalk. Thank God you can’t see the full-on fork drawing because it’s just laughable. Most of them ended up looking like pitchforks. Oh well. Here’s the table all set for our weekend visitors:

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We had a great Easter weekend and got plenty of use of the new place mats. Matt’s dad, stepmom and brother all came to visit and it was great because my brother and dad were in town as well. Family weekend! Once Matt’s parents got here on Friday night, we headed to The Boathouse on Isle of Palms for Randy’s first birthday celebration and had fabulous meal #1 of the weekend. Between all of us we had oysters, crab cakes, fish, sirloin and gouda mac & cheese. Delish! I topped my meal off with a glass of really delicious champagne, Freixenet. All you locals out there, head out to the Boat House for a great view of the water, great service and a great meal. On Saturday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and had lunch at Vickery’s on Shem Creek. It was a little windy to sit outside, but we enjoyed a drink on the deck while we waited for our table. How beautiful is this city? We are so blessed!


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A mere four hours later I was back at our house setting the table for a gigantic combined birthday dinner for Randy and my dad. Matt grilled some delicious Filet Mignons for us. That boy can grill, y’all. Yum yum. And it’s not a birthday without cake so I used this recipe for a delicious dessert. It truly was the most amazing chocolate cake ever. If I do say so myself. It was a great night with family and we had so many laughs together. God is good.

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Our church had a beautiful outdoor mass for Easter Sunday and it was so nice to share it with Matt’s dad and stepmom, as well as Matt’s brother who is Catholic, too. We had a beautiful weekend that involved lots of eating and laughing. Can you ask for much else?

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xoxo, p