Since we moved into our new house not a weekend’s gone by without a trip or two (. . . or three!) to a home improvement store. At first it seemed like each night we spent unpacking was just another chance to lengthen Ye Ole To-Do List but after completing this project we’ve really been enjoying the fruits of our labor. Our previous apartment was tiny and made of cinder blocks so bike storage was tricky. We kept tools on she shelves of a built-in unit, spare parts under the bed, and since we couldn’t drill into the walls, Nick built two bike racks to hold all our rides. They press against the ceiling and floor to hold in place and avoid any wall blemishes, like so: Since the ceiling here is vaulted (awesome!) we needed a new approach. A pegboard seemed like the best option for us: simple to keep organized, easy access, less furniture/shelves to buy. But of course we couldn’t stand the thought of hanging a white square with holes in it on the already white walls, so we did the cool thing and spray painted it! Cut your pegboard down to the size you need, tape off your design, and spray away! We bought a 8×12 pegboard and cut it down in 3 pieces to fit 3 different projects. After a couple coats of paint and a few beers, voila! Although most of the pegboard is covered in tools and bike gear, it’s nice to have some fun color involved. After we hung the board, we took the hooks off the old bike rack and simply drilled them into the wall. I don’t think I could be happier with how our little “dining nook” turned out. Having everything out and in one place is so convenient. And mounting the bikes upwards really takes advantage of all the wall space created by the super high ceilings. It also prevents scuffs on the walls from just leaning all our bikes in a pile. It also prevents the bike pile in the first place! It’s so wonderful to watch each space come together and see how it transforms a rental house into an actual home that’s perfect for us. If you can’t be out riding, where’s your favorite place to park your bike?
When I woke up at 4:30 am last Saturday it wasn’t my intention to end the day sweaty, tired, and in disbelief from learning that I can bike 36 miles per hour.
It all started off when Nick and I packed up our bikes and drove to Nashville for some fun with friends. I’ve always had a soft spot for Music City, but I really fell hard this time around. We spent the whole day on bikes: in Centennial Park, seeking out food, cruising the Art Crawl, and then finally attending the Saturday Night Sprints.
I’m pretty much the least competitive person I know, but after seeing my friends and peers consistently bike upwards of 30mph, I just couldn’t leave without testing my own limits. So I signed up and soon found myself perched on a bicycle trainer, waiting to pedal as fast as I could to go absolutely nowhere.
As I waited for the sprint to start, I thought about where I was this time last year: bruised up and hobbling around the house after being hit by a truck while cycling.
That was when my anxiety about biking fast had started. I was always a cautious cyclist, but after that collision, well, let’s just say I rarely biked hard enough to even break a sweat. For the last year I have cruised around town as the slowest cyclist I know— continuously alert and perpetually trying to anticipate every terrible driver’s unpredictable move.
But here I was: alive, healthy, happy, and far away from any moving cars. I was surrounded by my best friends and finally prepared to face my fears. The countdown started and 3. . . 2. . 1! I was off! I have never moved so fast in my life! My legs burned. My chest tightened. My body was covered in sweat. But I was alive. And I was biking. And that’s all that mattered during those 18 seconds.I didn’t think about how I sat on the pavement the night I was hit, screaming about the fact that I couldn’t move my leg. Or how angry I was at the driver who turned left into me. I just looked down at my legs— amazed with each rapid pedal stroke at how many miles they have carried me the last year. Amazed by how freeing it is to be able to depend on your body to get you where you’re going. I just pedaled my heart out, amazed by the fact that I was even alive.
After high-fiving all my friends and drinking about a gallon of water, I climbed on my own bike and headed towards the car. I reveled in the nearly empty city streets and let the evening air cool my face as I pedaled through Nashville as fast as I wanted.
Cycling through Music City that day revived my love for bikes. I let go of my fear of going as fast as I wanted, my automatic grudge against every driver, and my resentment towards each road that wasn’t paved with bikes in mind. It all weighed too much and it was literally slowing me down. I cycled happily through the brisk night and envisioned myself actually living in Nashville someday: learning the streets by bike and navigating on my own. I fell asleep that night with a sense of peace and woke up the next day with a mega crush on Music City and a desire to just pick up and move.
I have some news! This is the first edition of what I am calling The Cat’s Meow: A Collection of Things to Purr Over. I really enjoyed the last two times I shared lists of little treasures that are making me happy, so I decided to make a regular feature out these posts from now on. So here is a little glimpse of what is inspiring me in February:
1. These diy Valentine’s Day cake stands make such a delightful tablescape! I would love to create a little dessert bar someday.
2. I am dying to make this simple + sweet chain collar necklace
3. I highly recommend reading The Styling Dutchman’s post: Feminism as Extremism; here is one part I loved:
“I’m here to raise awareness, to make you think about your position in life. Next time feminism comes up in a conversation, I urge you to keep things simple. Tell them that yes, you are a feminist, and ask your detractors why they are against equal opportunity for every individual, regardless of the contents of their underpants. More broadly: please, don’t be afraid to fight for your beliefs, to educate yourself, to think. Our ancestors fought hard to give us those opportunities. And don’t forget: we are ancestors to be, and our decisions have consequences.”
4. Speaking of feminism, I am dying to read the book Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way):
5. Speaking of bikes, I can’t even explain how happy this photo from Bike Fancy makes me!
I have a really hard time staying chic in the cold and when that’s coupled with biking then I just end up feeling like a hot mess (which I don’t really mind, but apparently being a fashion consultant comes with certain expectations!). Luckily this winter has been extremely mild, but since I am working on improving my style in general, learning to be as cute is this girl (is that even possible?) would be pretty handy.
6. Speaking of fashion, I am obsessed with wedges lately! I’m not personally ready for some of the more extreme ones out there, but I can really appreciate a timeless wedge done right. For me: clean lines, classic details, and versatility come first, like so:
7. And lastly . . . my blog’s facelift! I wasn’t happy with the previous changes, so I tried again. I have been a bit preoccupied with my job recently because I got a promotion (yay!) so I haven’t been able to document as many things as I want. Also, I maybe misplaced my camera for a while there…
So rather than working on content, I have been working behind the scenes on the appearance of my blog— new header, color scheme, background, and sidebar! If you are not familiar with the old layout, you can see it here. I really think these changes were much needed. Now I can’t wait to keep posting and sharing little peaks into my life.
What’s inspiring you lately?
This summer while I was in Gatlinburg, I was searching around for a new bike. I found this vintage Motobecane and instantly fell in love. Since I was 215 miles away, Nick went to check it out for me because we couldn’t tell much about it from the pictures. *The plan* was to go see if it was my size and then call me so we could talk about it, but next thing I know he sent me a picture message of a gorgeous bicycle that said, “Say hello to your new bike! It’s in great condition, rides well, and is the perfect size for you.” It was very romantic . . . except I had to wait like 2 weeks to ride it! Just kidding, it was well worth the wait =]
Meet Nessie! Besides the mismatched tires and the (not my taste) grip tape, she was perfect. I planned to keep her all original, but I soon discovered that I felt clumsy and awkward with gears after riding fixed for so long. Although incredibly fast and smooth, I absolutely could not ride comfortably since it was setup as a racing bike. So after much debate, I decided to convert ole Nessie.
A new stem (the old one was way too long for me), my old risers, & one wheel set later, and she is looking & riding pretty fine! After checking the frame and doing some research, I am positive she is a 1982 model. I found a few twin bikes around the web— even another conversion. I also got excited when someone on a forum described the color as, “a light bluish green color–I’d call it toothpaste.” How perfect is that?
Nessie originally came from Chicago, where the previous owner used her as a racing bike. She is now used for my work commutes and also for lots of fun. If anyone out there has a 1982 Motobecane Jubile Sport please contact me! I’d love to see your setup or link to your photos. Happy riding everyone, stay warm this winter!
Ever have one of those days when you realize a month has gone by and you have crossed mostly nothing off your to-do lists? That’s what today has been for me. I keep wondering where this time warp came from, but I can definitely think of a few culprits. Let me share the wonderful things I have been spending all my time on lately:
1. Watching Dexter
If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know this television series has taken over my life! My partner and I watched the entire first season in 4 days! We could not stop. I heard a lot of hype about this show (already in it’s 6th season) but kept telling myself it wasn’t something I could get into. Now I am about to start the 4th season and I don’t regret a single second of time spent obsessing over these characters. Why are you still reading this? Go watch Dexter!
2. Bonfires with Friends
Carissa is a pro at campfire building! She is LITERALLY one of my favorite people in Murfreesboro. She taught us how to make hobo campfire dinners!
3. Cake Decorating Classes
I still have a long way to go, but I am learning a lot about beautifying tasty treats. The best part? I can’t wait to learn more! Now I just gotta brush up on my photography skills and I will just be the happiest-little-kitten-lady!
4. Riding Bikes
We have been having such beautiful weather in Tennessee (until today, that is). It’s been perfect for long rides on the greenway or just meeting up on campus to goof around. I managed to snap this photo of Nick in action on one of my favorite days of the season so far.
Maybe now that it’s colder out I will catch up on some of the crafts and treats I have been wanting to make. Or maybe I will just snuggle up and watch more Dexter and play old Nintendo games on the emulator Nick is working on and never do anything productive again. . . A girl can dream!