Thursday, October 31, 2013


Warning to my fan base of one: this post has tons of pictures. It has to in order to capture the true essence of the event.

What event you ask? The USMC Mudrun. One of the most popular mudruns in the southeast. I've done this race twice before on their old course but never done the new one (well new for me, it's been at this site for a few years but I was rather occupied having babies during that time). So a few weekends ago I took on the challenge.

I apparently had a moment of insanity back in the spring and asked if anyone wanted to join me (you have to have a team of 4). We signed up...we paid...I was locked in.

The race is 6 miles with 40+ obstacles. I was locked in and panicked.

Why the panic? Well we happened to be going through a renovation, have two toddlers, work full-time, have what seemed like a 1,000 cold viruses hit our house (I was on a Z-pack just 1 week prior to the race) and life was just plain busy. I was convinced I couldn't do the race but am too competitive to back out.

We did have one original team member have to back out due to an injury so I begged asked Lisa to join us (she trains with Daniel and I knew would be the anchor to our team). Thanks, Lisa, for caving saying yes!

Before we proceed to the main event, I must call out Missey. In fact all of us called her out on race morning. Of all the people to have a little make-up on before the race, you'd think it'd be me. Nope. It was Missey.

We might have teased her for a few minutes.

And as you go along viewing these pictures, please note Dana. She will ALWAYS have this cute little smile on her face. Never left. Me? Not so much.

So let's get started, shall we? Here we are happy at the venue, nice and clean.

Perhaps even feeling a little spunky. Go team "14 kids and counting" AKA #662

I distinctly remember at the start line shaking. Perhaps some would call it a tremble. Asking myself "why did I sign up for this!?" If you're asking for words of encouragement at the beginning of a race, don't ask me to be on your team. The six mile distance was what was intimidating me. I had been so busy it was all I could do to make it to the gym 2-3x per week much less fit in any runs. 

Off the races we go, ladies and gentleman. Well we weren't really racing, we signed up for the "just want to finish" category, but you know what I mean.  

My sweet husband volunteered to come take pictures. He worked his way back to the middle of the course and literally ran beside us the rest of the way (sans muddy obstacles). Husband of the day week. He caught up with us just after we had come from a thick, muddy obstacle where you climbed under logs in a pit. (Thanks, Lisa, for suggesting the side that was the thickest, nastiest pit) Can't even tell I have a pink shirt on can you? Yep. We were covered. So much so that we all felt we had at least 10 extra lbs on us.

Thankfully several obstacles later we came to a more watery obstacle to rinse off.

Lisa was our pacer. Can you tell?

There were plenty of difficult obstacles and some fun ones. It took lots of team work the entire time, especially for a team of all girls who don't have the upper body strength to pull ourselves over most of the obstacles. And teams helped teams as well. At one point I was on my hands and knees helping a team of guys over a wall (I was their step ladder)  #GIJane.

The inverted wall:

More tall walls (as in really tall):

The rope ladder:

Over/Under Logs:

A disgusting black tar mud pit. Pretty sure it had more than just mud in it:

 The tires:

There was a long (and I mean long) creek we had to walk through with tons of logs, stumps, etc. to trip over. Just ask Lisa. Her face says it all. 


We did have fun, despite what my face may say in this picture...

And a few hiccups along the way. The tall sets of logs were troublesome until we figured out the best team approach. At first it went like this...

"Just step on my leg and hop over."

"Wait I can't get all the way over! It's slippery. Can I get a hand!?"

(screaming) "I'm stuck!"


She wasn't the only one to have a spill...

But way to get back on that horse, Missey!

In the end we figured out a system and were able to fly over the rest. Figuratively. Not literally. We're not that good people.

At each obstacle there were Marines who monitored. If you didn't complete the obstacle you could take a time penalty or their penalty. There was one obstacle we didn't even try, the Tarzan Swing. So instead we had to do all sorts of fun things (squats, burpies, push-ups, etc.) until they said otherwise.

At one point I'm thinking "like, can we be done?!"

And Dana's still smiling...or perhaps laughing at me. I'm not sure which.

Perhaps one of the tougher obstacles was the rope over the water. You had to climb on and cross the huge pit of water just on a small, wet, muddy rope. Here's me thinking "Now how in the heck am I going to do this?"

I did manage to get myself up on the ropes and go a short distance (that's me on the second rope and Lisa is closest to you). But then I fell because my ankle was stuck and it happened to be on my bad knee. Wasn't worth the injury so I dropped to the pit.

This picture gives you better perspective (this is Dana in the pic).

Towards the end the obstacles are created just to torture you. One in particular only I seemed to hate, were the hills. You had to run up, run down, run up, run down. The following pictures say it all. Words are not necessary.


Proof positive that pictures speak a thousand words.

The last obstacle was the fireman's carry. Essentially two team members had to carry the other two team members. Because you know, carrying your own body weight wasn't enough.

I have never been so excited to see a finish line! I was so tired I could barely even smile.
We were battered and bruised but in the end we were proud of our accomplishment. And a few of us might have been shaking from exhaustion.

I swore on the course I wasn't doing it again, but I've already been trying to persuade my friend, Jaime, and her sister, Mandy, to come down and do it with me. Come on girls!

Monday, October 21, 2013

If auctions were a drug I'd sell it by the gram.

No seriously. I would totally be a dealer. If you're at all familiar with Vanilla Ice you'll get that little reference in the title of this post, only I'm talking auctions not rhymes.

Let me start from the beginning. My friend, Anna Majure (hereby known as Anna #2), texted Friday if I (Anna #1) wanted to go to an estate sale on Saturday morning. She loves going to estate sales and I've just become addicted to them considering the only one I've gone to I scored awesome dining chairs. I, of course, said yes and would figure out childcare in the next 12 hours.

Off we go to the estate sale the next morning. When we arrived it happened to be an auction. I'm not going to lie...I was a little intimidated. Anna #2 was thrilled but she said to beware of FOMO (fear of missing out). She was totally right.

We grabbed our #12 and she #11. Because the SC State Fair was still going on plus it was a USC football game at noon, there were very few people there (maybe 30). There were two big warehouse rooms and essentially they said if we wanted something to bring it up front and they would put it up in the auction line. Off we went...timidly at first...then it was game on.

I wish I could describe the teamwork. I'm rummaging, she's rummaging. We're flying back and forth between the rooms pulling things out or asking one of the guys to pull it out. At one point we were so crazy we almost lost out on one of our items because we were rummaging (thank you Mr. Auction Helper for telling us to come up front or our item was going to be gone! I might have jogged sprinted to the front leaving my purse behind.)

Some things we lucked out on...some we did not. I might have mentioned a few times wanting to take out a certain bidder who kept bidding on all my items! Apparently we had good eyes because she surely liked a lot of what we found. Restraint. It took restraint.

I have to admit Anna #2 has a great eye. She scored an AWESOME mirror - huge mirror with gold frame in perfect condition - for $20. This mirror would have sold for $200 in any retail store. She saw it in a back room on the side buried behind some other things. That was the key. You had to look past the dust, dirt and neglect and see the potential in most pieces, which is exactly what we both love doing.

I'm a little sad I let a beautiful dresser go. I capped myself at $40 and planned to use it for a buffet in the dining room and someone else stole it from me out bid me at $50. Should have gone up to $60. It was solid wood, gorgeous detailing and probably over 100 yrs old. I'm the one who saw the potential and put it in the line for auction people!

Our creative minds were on overload. At one point our make-up may have begun dripping with the sweat pouring from us. I'm not sure if it was from the rummaging or from us throwing our bidder numbers up so fast. Crack. It was like crack. I'm just now coming down from the high.

So let's review my loot shall we?

First up, my "pottery barn shelves" as I call them. Don't know if they are really from PB but they are certainly just like them and in perfect condition. I scored both for $20 total. One is now living in the kitchen, perfect for my cookbooks...

and the other one is in the boys room (which is why I bought them) housing their books. I still need to finish decorating it so disregard the sparseness.

Then there were these cute little wooden boxes covered in dust. I bought both for $5. One I plan to put jewelry in on my dresser and who knows what will end up in the second one. For $5 I couldn't resist.

Then there was this lamp. Technically I didn't buy this because I didn't have a good vision for it. Thankfully Anna #2 did see it's potential and snagged the lamp and shade (she bought them separately) for a total of $17.50. After the auction, I totally begged for her to give it to me...and she did. Score. Don't worry. I traded her some curtains from my old house for it.

I also got the magazine rack seen below. It was super dusty and needed a little TLC but I knew I could make it work. I needed something to put all my "to read" magazines in besides putting them in a pile on my side table. For $5, you can't beat it.  You'll also notice the table in the's my old dining table with the sides pulled up...more on that next.

Perhaps my biggest steal deal was the dining room table. I have been scouting tables but all the ones I liked were $500-900 at retail stores. Way out of my budget. Then there was this...

Wondering how much it was? $20. You just fainted, right? I'll wait for you to get back in your chair.

crickets. crickets. crickets.

I know right! Deal of a century. I might be talking about it too much to anyone who will listen because Daniel just told me tonight I needed to find another accomplishment to talk about. No appreciation whatsoever.

Ignore the painted chairs. More on those later.

I also found this cute little wrought iron bench for the porch for $22.50. Someone almost stole it from me but I hung in there. It needs a fresh coat of paint but then it will be super cute. And I already have the paint.

I'm not sure what drew me to this cute little planter but I thought it would look cute on a wall in the house with a little plant in it. For $4 why not?

I'm a sucker for bookends. And I stole bought these brass pineapple bookends for only $2.

I have no idea what I'll do with these glass compotes. Maybe put a candle in them...maybe create a flower arrangement in them for the mantle...or use them to lift weights (these suckers are heavy!). I bought two for only $5.

This next item is the one thing Anna #2 still wants and Daniel finds creepy. An antique birdcage. But it had so much character that I had to have it. Right now it's in it's original state but I could also see painting it a fun color to add some pop. Only 20 bucks people.

I kid you not I just told my mom this summer that her old bread box might go missing one day. And viola! I bought this one for only $5! It was dingy and covered in dirt but a little soap and it's good as new!

Anna #2 made me buy this next item. I admit I couldn't see the potential until she told me what to use it for and I immediately bid on it. Perfect and unique umbrella stand for only $6.

I also bought a big, heavy weight white mixing bowl for $2, a kitchen stool (like the kind my grandma used to have) for $5 and 5 wrought iron tiki torches. The tiki torches we looked up online before putting them up for bid. Six of them retail for $244. I scored 5 for $5. One of them even still has the tags on them!

So if you've been keeping track, that's a total of $131.50. Add in the tax and 10% buyers premium and I only spent $154. I couldn't contain my excitement. No really. The auction team was laughing at me. We now wish we had stayed longer and bought more. But let's face it. We left because A) we couldn't fit it all in a mini van (it took 3 trips) and B) we thought for sure our husbands were going to KILL us! Not only did they tell us not to buy anything but we also told them we'd be home by 12:30pm. Good thing they love us!

Perhaps the biggest compliment came when several people asked us if we had our own shop. One person swore we were from out of town buying up items to re-sell. Thanks. We wish. Maybe one day!

I had to tell myself "There will be more". We're on the mailing list. If you're in Columbia, check out C.H. Livingston Estate Services & Auctioneering. We'll be going to their events on a regular basis for sure.

Anyone else seeing past neglect and finding treasures for the home?