Recap: Seattle to Portland 2015 by bike (Part 1)

by thedemuremuse on July 14, 2015

Real life was pretty much put on hold last week as I tried to squeeze in a bunch of last minute training before the big ride on the weekend (200+ miles from Seattle to Portland!!)! I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to ride on Saturday morning because of a handful of poorly timed things that happened during the week. On Monday, I had a pinched nerve in my upper back which lead to an inflamed rib on Wednesday. Went to go see a few medical professionals between Wednesday and Thursday and made sure to get okay-ed to ride before Saturday. On top of the medical stuff, I had ordered a couple of jerseys online to wear for the weekend (I only had one jersey previously) and the package never showed up! According to UPS, it was delivered but there was no package in sight at my apartment… riding topless wasn’t really an option either and REI’s jersey section had been pretty much cleaned out by Thursday night. Had to make a last minute pit stop to Velo Bikes and paid a few very pretty pennies for jerseys that I ordered online for more than 50% of the retail price.

On Friday night, one of my friends also doing the ride hosted a sleepover at his place so we could all head to the starting point together as a group (instead of trying to navigate through a crowd of 12,000 people to find each other). With my streak of luck, my back tire went flat as I was about to head out to the sleepover and another friend came over to help change out the inner-tube.

Once we were all set up for the sleepover, we headed up to the kitchen and had a huge carb-loading party!! This was the best idea, ever. Not pictured: way too many chocolate chip cookies and mega-sized red velvet cupcakes. We take carb-loading seriously! ;)

stp dinner prep

We all went to bed around 10pm because we had an early morning wake-up call at 5:30am!! Our goal was to be packed up and ready to go at the starting line by 6am. This meant biking a couple miles over to the UW campus and trying to find a couple friends who opted out of the sleepover. The size of the crowd waiting to start the ride was HUGE! We were let through the starting line in batches of ~100 riders:

stp start line

The first few miles of the ride were really slow. With such a huge crowd of folks all trying to squish into a single traffic lane, it was hard to pick up the pace. Around the 10 mile mark, the crowd started to thin out a bit and we were able to start riding faster. It was really interesting to see all the different types of riders on the road. In our starting pack, there were a few couples on tandem bikes, someone dressed as a pirate (with an accompanying rider dressed as an octopus), and a group in tutus! Made me wish that the group I rode with had a cute matching uniform– maybe next time? ;)

After a couple hours on the road, we made it to our first pit stop at 25 miles. At every pit stop, there were some snacks (protein bars, sometimes fruits and/or cookies) and water. Since I have a handful of food allergies, I was carrying about a pound of extra weight in protein bars in case I was allergic to any of the snacks at the stops. If you’re following me on Instagram and also have peanut/almond/hazelnut allergies, I posted some of the bars that I carry for rides in this pic.

stp 25 miles

Around 11am, we made it to the 50 mile mark, which was located at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord base. There were bikes on the ground in every direction possible!! Never in my life have I seen so many bikes and so much spandex in a contained space! We stopped here for about an hour to fuel up on sandwiches (I avoided the PB&J like the plague), fruits, and lots of cookies, before heading back on the road for the last 56 miles of our day.

stp 50 mile mark

My friends always make fun of me because of how much grease is on my bike chain. I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was doing when I first started (trying to) maintaining my bike, so I may have gone a little overboard on the grease. Every time I ride, I end up with a “leg tattoo” from accidentally leaning my leg on the drive. Oops! Somehow, this leg grease made it up my calf to my thighs and eventually onto my elbows. How this happened is still a mystery to me…

stp-legtattoo

The second half of our ride wasn’t particularly challenging, but the distance was definitely starting to take a toll on my body. I could feel my legs starting to get cramped and my butt was sore from being on the seat for so long. It didn’t help that the last 10 miles of our ride was in the rain. I’d take rain over 95F heat any day, but rain was the last thing we wanted to set up camp in.

stp chehalis stop

There are a couple of options and locations to stop at for STP. Before even starting the ride, you have to pick a stop and commit to the distance between the starting point and the stopping location by dropping all of your camping and overnight gear into a semi-truck that unloads at the specific destination. My group picked Chehalis, which is 106 miles from the starting point as our stopping point for day 1. Welcome to our cute tent city… home for the night! We arrived here around 5:30pm, set up our tents, showered, and then headed to get dinner.

stp-spaghetti

This is going to sound insane, but this plate of spaghetti was the best thing I had tasted all week! After biking for 100+ miles, I was exhausted and super excited to hear that there was all-you-can-eat pasta at the Chehalis stop. I may or may not have had 3 plates of pasta and two slices of cake for dinner… which also meant I may or may not have eaten more than some of the guys in my group that night. Burning ~8000 calories in a single day apparently makes me food crazy!

It was around 8pm that we finished dinner and then called it a night. I don’t know when the last time I slept before the sun set, but I was so tired that as soon as my body was zipped into the sleeping bag, I was out like a light. Waking up at 4:30am the next morning was a good motivator to be in bed asap!

Day 2 of STP to come!

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Feeling fancy

by thedemuremuse on July 6, 2015

Wedding season is back in full swing and I’ve been working with what’s in my closet, trying my very best to avoid shopping for the next few months. This dress makes me feel extra fancy and is the first piece that I ever bought from Lulu’s. It was originally purchased for a wedding last year and I was super excited to break it out of the closet a couple weeks ago. From the front, it looks like an understated maxi dress, but the backless design kicks it up about a million notches, in my mind. To dress it up, I paired it with my current favourite statement necklace from Happiness Boutique, shoes, and clutch.

Feeling fancy @ thedemuremuse.com with Lulu's Garden Party dress
Happiness Boutique vintage flower inspired necklace
thedemuremuse.com Feeling Fancy, wedding wear outfit
outfit details:
maxi dress: Lulu’s (similar)
nude wedges: c/o Shoe Dazzle
statement necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique (exact)
clutch: Tory Burch (similar)

korbata bow tie

Just like the statement necklace, this handmade Korbata bow tie was the key piece to my friend’s outfit that I couldn’t help but snap some photos of. These amazing bow ties are hand woven by women in Guatemala who preserve the beautiful tradition of this textile craft. His bow tie also came with a cute matching pocket square (with a slightly different, but complimentary pattern) which I thought was genius! It’s the little things that make a huge difference in an outfit!

P.S. If you’re a fan of the statement necklace, Happiness Boutique is currently offering free shipping and the ability to earn free jewelry or clothing through their customer reward program.

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WEEKEND DIY: Vintage trunk coffee table

by thedemuremuse on July 3, 2015

To date, this is my favourite DIY and I am really excited to share it here today! This project has been 2 years in the making. I knew I wanted a new coffee table and envisioned the design a lot time ago, but finding the perfect trunk proved to be a lot harder than expected.

thedemuremuse.com Steampunk Coffee Table DIY

This trunk is a beaut, isn’t she? My criteria for the perfect trunk was that it had to be under $80 (this was actually quite hard, especially since antique stores with the most beautiful trunks started at $100), had all the original markings (many that I came across over the years had been repainted), and the inside didn’t smell like mothballs. Was I being too picky? Maybe. Holding out for the perfect trunk was worth the wait, though! These were photos that I snapped at Goodwill when we walked by the trunk the first time:

steampunk trunk goodwill

The most immaculate conditioned and beautifully designed piece at only $35?!? YES, I’LL TAKE IT! This trunk belonged to a senior lieutenant and is addressed from being shipped in October 1960 from California to Brooklyn. Prior to seeing this gem, I had never encountered another trunk with the shipping details stenciled directly onto the surfaces (always just a sticker), so it felt like striking gold when this was uncovered in the furniture section of the biggest Goodwill in Seattle!

Supplies for this project
vintage trunk (thrifted from Goodwill for $35)
4 x 6″ raw steel hairpin legs (bought these exact ones)
12 x 5/16″ washers
12 x M6 size screws
12 x M6 size nuts
power drill + phillip-head attachment

Keep reading for assembly instructions

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Golden hour

by thedemuremuse on July 1, 2015

What do you do when you’re in a rut, frustrated with plateauing in bike training, and your bestie down the street calls you to hang out? Put on the prettiest, most sparkly dress in your closet and twirl around in the forest at golden hour!

Faviana dress
Faviana Bling Jewelry headband
outfit details:
dress: c/o Faviana (exact)
headband: c/o Bling Jewelry (exact)

faviana-park2
faviana-flow

Can we talk about this dress real quick?!? Holy wow! *heart eyes emoji x 100* I gushed so hard when saw this hanging and it felt like being in a dream while twirling around in it. If you want to feel like a princess and live in a dream world, go outside as the sun is just about to set, put this dress on, and bask in the beautiful light with your blogging bestie. All of your worries will be forgotten… at least for that hour.

Back to reality: I’m not going to sugar coat it… I’ve been bummed out for the last few days. Apologies that this post is getting a little bipolar, as it’s pretty much exactly what I felt like the other night while shooting these photos. Being in dreamy, La-La-Land with Kim at the forest for an hour and then coming home to the realization that STP is only 9 days away made me panic. The Seattle heat has been insanely gnarly and it makes me so nervous for the STP ride next weekend. Not only do I feel extremely unprepared, but the thought of passing out mid-ride shakes me at least every few days.

Positive vibes for next weekend, please! :)

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Smile Brilliant update #1

by thedemuremuse on June 29, 2015

At the beginning of the month, I received a complimentary kit from Smile Brilliant to try their teeth whitening system. If you’re curious to know how this at-home kit works, I outlines the process that I had to take to have my trays made in this first post. I’ve tried whitening my teeth in the past through a procedure at the dentist’s office which was almost 1:1 to the process that Smile Brilliant offers, but stopped after a couple of treatments because of the inconvenience of having to travel to the dentist between treatments.

Here’s where my teeth started before the treatments. You can see the calcium deposits (the white spots) really well on my front teeth, but there are a few pockets of these throughout all of my teeth. They’ve been there for as long as I can remember– one of the many “perks” of teeth being allergic to fluoride ;)

Smile Brilliant before

For this whitening update, I only did my top teeth. I had originally planned on doing the tops and bottoms separately due to known teeth sensitivity from my previous treatments at the dentist, but I was also forced to only do the top teeth because I didn’t receive the trays for my bottom teeth. I actually got 2 top trays (my own, and someone else’s top teeth?) and couldn’t make a new set of bottom trays in time for this post. Usually if this shipment error happens, a new tray can be created right away and be reshipped, but since my molds were sent to me along with the trays, I will be redoing the impressions for my bottom teeth.

smilebrilliant.com desensitizing gel

Even before whitening, I used the desensitizing gel and let it sit on my teeth for 15 minutes. The desensitizing gel is necessary and really helps to prime the teeth for the whitening gel. Each of the desensitizing gel and whitening syringes are good for about 5-6 uses. As you can see below, only a small amount is needed in the trays for each treatment:

smilebrilliant.com desensitizing gel

Keep reading to see the results

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