• Collectively Colleen

I've always been a crafty, DIY type of gal for as long as I can remember. If I had a dollar for every time I said, "Oh I could do that". Ultimately, that has led me to refurbishing and redoing a lot of our own furniture!

It started in college, after my grandfather passed away I inherited two wood end tables from his living room. At the time I wasn't really into dark woods, so I decided to sand them down, paint them white and slap some new knobs on them. That was the beginning of my refurbishing habit. Since then we've redone quite a few things, tables mostly!

We've been in need of a new dresser and bed and nightstand and a whole new bedroom for awhile now. We had been using a collective of Peter and I's college furniture and it was quite literally falling apart. But we hadn't found anything we were in love with so we kept putting it off. That is until my friend, Anastasia announced she was moving from Baltimore to Seattle and had tons to get rid of. As you may have guessed a few of those things were a nightstand and dresser. They were beautiful, solid wood and pink! Instantly my mind went into refurb mode. I took to Pinterest and made a plan.

The Originals

I envisioned these beautiful light gray pieces with rose gold pulls on them. It would be easy. Just strip the paint off, sand it down, repaint it, add new hardware and voila! Needless to say it was not that easy and was definitely hard work but doable! If you're interesting in doing the same, I'm listing out all of our steps and specific items we used below. Overall I'm obsessed with how they came out! It even forced us to finally get a new bed to tie the whole room together.

Step One: Sand

We spent six hours on one Saturday hand sanding both the nightstand and dresser. Originally with the intention to get off all of the paint and then resorting to getting just enough off that the new paint will stick. If we had realized a power sander was only $20-30, we would have done that! Learn from us haha. Below is what they looked like after Day One. We also had originally bought some spray paint primer for both the nightstand and dresser. Turns out one can could only cover the nightstand so we just primed that one. Ultimately, you can't tell the difference in the two. Save yourself the step and don't prime.

We also took out all of the old hardware and spackled the holes since we knew we'd be adding new hardware that would attach in different spots. Here's the spackle we used.

Step Two: Paint!

Now for the exciting part. First we wiped down all surfaces to make sure there wasn't any sawdust still hanging around then took to painting. Peter used a paint roller to cover the larger surfaces while I used a combination of a foam brush and regular paint brush for smaller surfaces and details. We ultimately put on three coats of paint to really make sure it was covered. We waited a few hours in between coats to make sure they were dry. We used paint color Gravity from Valspar and we got a Semi-Gloss Interior Paint.

Step Three: Hardware

I had this vision in my head of beautiful rose gold or copper drawer pulls on this light colored dresser. Needless to say I was disappointed when I went on Home Depot's website to see that they were $10/piece! Luckily Amazon exists and we were able to find exactly what we wanted for a bit cheaper. Peter then drilled the holes and attached all the new hardware, gorgeous!

I'm so obsessed with how our bedroom looks now and I hope this inspires you to refurbish some furniture for yourself! If you do, be sure to share it with me.

xoxo Colleen

  • Collectively Colleen

Updated: Jan 24

Picture this, you're standing in the card aisle of Target trying to find the perfect invitation, thank you card, etc and you're stumped. All of the actually cute ones are outrageously expensive ($6 for a single card?!) and all of the decently priced ones are too cheesy or too plain. But you have no other choice right?!

Trust me I've been there between wedding invitations and thank you cards to holiday cards and friends' baby shower invitations I've hit a wall. That was until I found Basic Invite. They're an online invitation company that allows you to create truly custom cards for every occasion in your life. They have wedding invites, graduation cards, baby shower games and more!

I love Basic Invite for a few reasons. First off, they allow you to create custom samples of the ACTUAL card you want so that you can see it in person before you order like 100 of them. There are few sites that do this and it's so important to me to see the quality of the paper and exactly how the colors will print. Second, they offer like a million color options. They allow you to select almost unlimited color options so you can get exactly what you want unlike other online stationery companies. They also offer beautiful foil options which is great because you guys know how much I adore rose gold!

Lastly, Basic Invite can save you literally SO MUCH time with their address capturing service. What does that mean? So you design your card and you're ready to send it out but you realize you don't have like half the party recipients addresses. Instead of wasting your time trying to chase down your best friend's Aunt to get her address for your friend's baby shower, Basic Invite creates a link you can share on social media that allows your friends and family to submit their address. The addresses are then stored to your account so when you're finished designing your card Basic Invite can print all the recipient addresses (for free) without any stress.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 and I can't recommend them enough! I'm sure, just like me, you have tons of weddings, showers and graduations coming up. Get ahead of the game and wow everyone with the perfect cards without the stress!

xoxo Colleen

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Basic Invite but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Collectively Colleen

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

"I'll Never Be a Runner"

In middle school gym class we were always required to run the half mile test and I remembered DREADING it. I would build up my anxiety all day until it was time and whine throughout the entire experience. I hated running. I didn't understand why anyone would put themselves through that torture.

Simultaneously, I have vivid memories from my childhood of my Dad running. He would put me in the jogging stroller as a kid and we would run around our neighborhood. Sometimes with his friends, sometimes alone. He was part of a running club in our area and would also volunteer at races. My siblings and I would tag along some times and help hand out water to runners on the course.

But still, I hated running. Many times I have said "I'll never be a runner" or even, "I can't run".

"But It'll Be Easy"

You may remember in April of 2018 I published a blog post about how I had decided I was going to run a half marathon (I laugh now as I read back through that post). In the beginning of 2018, I had come across a Buzzfeed article about the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, something that as a proclaimed Disney-fan I had surprisingly never heard of. I instantly became intrigued. The author made this race sound like a fun experience that everyone (including non-runners) would enjoy. So in the midst of planning a wedding and being swamped at work I thought "I'll just start training and run this in 2019, it'll be fun".

Spoiler alert: It didn't happen.

I thought it was going to be easy. The very first week of the training plan I found online had me running 3 miles three times that week. "I can run 3 miles no problem". Turns out, I couldn't run 3 miles at all. So instead of trying to work through it and build up my endurance, I gave up. I was bogged down by the stress of planning a wedding that I couldn't motivate myself to try and accomplish this strange running goal.

Fast forward to January of 2018. I was hanging out with Peter and some of his friends and we somehow ended up on the topic of running. In this conversation Peter had mentioned how I had once tried running, even went and bought shoes, but gave up. And after that the fire inside me started burning.

I got angry with myself. I had spent time and money on this goal to only give up. I had gone about trying to run the entirely wrong way. So what if, I trained properly and did my research? Would I actually be able to run 13.1 miles?

So I started training again but this time a bit differently. I started out by run-walking. I was embarrassed. I was unable to even run a mile without stopping. But I persisted. I kept run-walking, changing my time intervals until one day I realized I could run 3 miles without walking.

As I was building up my endurance, I started doing more "running research". Listening to running podcasts (I'll share my favorites below), reading books on running and trying to retain as much information as I could. I started to become not only obsessed with running but with the running culture as well. But in my head I still was not a runner.

runDisney Wine & Dine

So of course during all this time training I had the idea that I would just want to run one runDisney race to say I did it and then I could move on. As I mentioned, my original goal was to run the runDisney Princess Half Marathon. But after talking with my parents and Peter, we thought it would be fun to do the runDisney Half Marathon that takes place during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in November. We would make it into a whole trip. My mom who has been a treadmill runner for years also decided that she would run the race too. So in March, I officially registered for my first Half Marathon.

I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it. At that point, I was barely running. How could I run 13.1 miles in just 8 months? But at that point there was no going back. At that time I set a goal for myself, to finish in 2 hours and 30 mins.

The Summer of Running

I spent the entire summer running and cross-training and lifting. I was focused on my nutrition. I was listening to every podcast under the sun related to running, reading every book I could get my hands on about running and becoming fully obsessed with running.

I could now run almost 10 miles without stopping and I actually liked it. Running quickly became my therapy. When I was running, I wasn't thinking about anything else. I was focused on my feet hitting the ground. I would look forward to my runs most days. Of course, there were days I didn't want to run but I never regretted a run.

I remember at one point during the summer I was talking to Peter about running in general and I said something along the lines of "Well at my next race..." to which he responded "I thought you were only going to do this race and then be done". In that moment I realized that running had become something much bigger to me. I wouldn't be even close to being done once I crossed that finish lines. I had goals now, big ones.

Finally Here

Fast forward a few months and miles later, our trip was finally here. All of the training and preparation was leading up to this weekend. There are so many things I could share about our trip and our experience but I will try to keep this short as I know this blog post is already so long!

We arrived in Disney World late Thursday night and the race would be EARLY Sunday Morning. We spent all day Friday walking around Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Saturday we headed over to the ESPN Center to pick up our bibs and t shirts.

I wanted to keep it chill on Saturday as to not tire our legs out too much. Plus we would have to wake up at 2:45 am the next morning. We spent the rest of Saturday walking around Disney Springs and hanging out by our hotel pool.

When Sunday morning arrived I wasn't the least bit tired, I was excited. We got up, ate some breakfast, got ready and went over to the starting area.

In true Disney fashion, there was a lot of waiting. Since neither my mom or I had run a race previously, we were in one of the later corrals (or groups) to start the race.

Right at 6:00 am, we started our runDisney Half Marathon. The wine and dine course starts in the Magic Kingdom Parking Lot goes through Animal Kingdom, along lots of highway to dip through Hollywood Studios then over to Epcot through the World Showcase and ending in the Epcot Parking Lot.

How It Went

Leading up to the race I had a few long training runs that were 13 or 14 miles. I shared that originally my goal was to run the race under 2 hours and 30 minutes. In the midst of my training I realized that was more than possible. My goal constantly changed.

From 2:30 it went to 2:16 then 2:05.

My last long training run that I completed on my own, I had run the half marathon distance in 1:58. A 9 min pace. I was in tears. I went from not being able to run a mile to running 13 miles in under 2 hours.

Going into race day I didn't want to hold myself to this sub-2 hour standard too hard. I knew that the runDisney races were not meant for fast runners. I knew that we would be doing a lot of walking in the days leading up. I knew that being in a later corral meant that we would be surrounded by runners slower than us.

I ultimately finished the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2:04:28. I was not disappointed.

Would You Run It Again?

While I had a great time running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, I won't be doing another runDisney race again. They are definitely fun races meant for Disney fanatics. They have characters scattered along the course, Disney music playing and other exciting elements. But they are not geared as much towards serious runners.

When I first decided to do a runDisney race it was for fun. But during my training my goals shifted. I wanted to run my best time possible but this wasn't the race to do it.

The first three miles I spent dodging walkers. I was constantly bobbing and weaving around others. No one kept to one side of the course and there were many run-walkers that would just stop in front of you. I understand that this was more prominent for me because of my later corral position but it was still frustrating.

What I also realized a few miles into the race was that we had done way too much walking during the past two days and my legs were TIRED. I could feel it but I knew I had to push on.

Was it my best run? No. But it was still fun and I was still so proud of my time and how far I have come.

What's Next?

As I said, I'm definitely not done with running. I think that with my current time it puts me at a great spot to be able to smash my goals.

In April I will be running the Sole of the City 10K in Baltimore hosted by Charm City Run. I've heard so many great things about this race and can't wait to take it on.

I'm also planning to run a spring half marathon, possibly the Shape Women's Half Marathon in NYC or the Fredrick, MD Half Marathon.

After that I plan to run a fall half marathon.

Will you ever run a Full Marathon?

Yes! I'm very intrigued by the marathon and my goal right now is to possibly run the Chicago Marathon in 2021.

Favorite Running Podcasts?

Ali on the Run


I'll Have Another

Favorite Running Books?

26 Marathons: What I've Learned About Faith, Identity, Running and Life From Each Marathon I've Run by Meb Keflezighi

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

And so that's it in a nutshell. If you've read this far, kudos and thank you! Let me know if you guys want to see more running content from me. It's become such an integral part of my life and I want to keep sharing. Also send me any running questions or advice!

xoxo Colleen

About Me

Hi there! My name is Colleen and I’m the author and creator of Collectively Colleen.This blog is a place where I’ll be sharing everything about my life! From favorites to career tips, outfits I’m loving and places to travel, I’m going to be sharing it all here!


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