Sugar Free

Lately I’ve been feeling a little off. I hesitated to mention it on the blog because I wasn’t exactly sure of the problem. I’ve been having headaches and generally feeling weak similar to having the flu. For a bit I thought I might have a sinus infection and even tracked down a new doctor in my are to make an appointment. However, after speaking with a friend who studies alternative medicine, he suggested I try giving up sugar.


WHAT! I can’t give up sugar! I’m apparently more than a little addicted to the stuff.

He launched into a long monologue about how sugar affects the body, including how much it triggers inflammation. This reminded me of a lot of the information Kris Carr shares in her book Crazy, Sexy, Diet.

Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr: Book Cover


Truth be told, it all made a lot of sense. Sugar could be a big factor of my afternoon headaches, mood swings, the reason why I always feel like I have a head cold, and the fact that I toss and turn at night lately.


So I’m giving up Sugar!


To be clear, I’m not giving up sugar for the rest of my life. I just have an unnatural affinity for the stuff and eat more than most throughout the day. I moved out my doctors appointment a bit to give this a chance to work. I know myself well enough that I can’t ease my way off of it, so I’m going cold turkey, beginning tomorrow. Technically I’m starting right now, but I’ve already eaten quite a bit of sugar today so it’s a scratch day. Tomorrow will be the official first day off sugar.

The plan is to officially cut out refined sugar as much as possible for the next 30 days (I’m shaking already). I will still continue to eat any natural occurring sugar found in fruit, etc. I will also, most likely, eat a few grams in other traditional products, but I will try to minimize it as much as possible. I was amazed to find out how much sugar is in our everyday items, like bread, it’s crazy!

I do expect to have some withdrawal symptoms over the next few days, but the long term benefits should be well worth it. I’ll share the progress after I’ve been off the ‘juice’ for a few days.


This is about to get interesting.

PB Bar Knock Off

Over a year ago, I fell in love with this bar from PB. It really is a stunning piece of furniture. I love everything about it and may have even swooned over one that was already sold at the PB Outlet near my house.

Markham Console Bar & Hutch


Here’s the problem…it’s $1500 when purchased online. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend that kind of money on a bar. So I did some sweet talking to my dad, since he has a full garage of building equipment. Lucky for me, he recently retired and had plenty of time on his hands in between golf games.

I must say, I was incredibly impressed!

Pottery Barn Knock Off - Bar

Since I wasn’t the one to build the bar, I don’t have any pictures. I also don’t have the itemized costs, since my dad purchased additional items without me but I know it cost less than $200 for everything. Not bad to have a pretty decent recreation for $1300 less than retail.

Now, the table is not an exact replica for the PB bar, but it’s close and exactly what I wanted. We left out the indented shelf in the back, we swapped the front so that I can install the towel bar on the right instead of the left (which hasn’t been done yet), and the top is a solid piece of wood instead of planks. I’d love to add the bottle opener, but I’m not sure where to find that piece of hardware yet.

We used these plans from Ana White, because she’s a genius. We made a few tweaks to the plans, but they gave us a great start.


Since taking the above pictures I’ve updated the inspiration board and removed the wine (it was really old, and not in an elegant aged kind of way). I replaced the wine with all my cookbooks. Later I’m thinking of covering them with white craft paper to give them a more uniform look so they don’t distract from the rest of the room design, but for now I love the color.


Total Project Cost: $200

This project went so well that my dad is currently working on a few other projects for me, including some planters that will hold grass on my cement patio and shelves/mouldings for the foyer.

Have you ever recreated furniture before?


Linking To: Very Merry Vintage Style, Ohh Baby Designs, Miss Mustard Seed

Where is Home?

A few weeks back I visited Orange County for the first time in over a year. I didn’t realize I missed it as much as I did. I really love my house, but I sacrificed location in place of square footage and price. I can’t afford to buy in Orange County right now, but regardless of where I live, Orange County is my home.


On the last visit I spent most of my time near the beach, cruising down PCH. This time I started in Newport Beach (for my appointment) and headed north and inland to South Coast Plaza.

Where I ran across IKEA!!



It’s probably lucky for me that I have a small car, since that means I couldn’t bring the whole store home with me. But I did find a few things that will work in the house (and easily fit in the car), including new drapes for the dining room.

On the way back home I stopped at the Borders in Mission Viejo, because I’m in mourning, and almost everything was 60% off.


I bought a book all about Puppy Love, because the puppy on the cover reminded me my little pup, and who doesn’t love puppies.


My last stop before heading home was Starbucks because I’m addicted to the Mocha Coconut Frap. I also have no AC in my car, so I was dehydrated and melting in the heat, trust me, the Frap was necessary for the 2 hour drive home.


I thought about making a run for the Border…but I was too lazy and hot.

It’s about 105 here right now so I’m staying in tonight. I toyed with the idea of going to the movies, but alas, so did everyone else. Plus, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of new reading material to flip through.

Inspiration Page Storage

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

I have a lovely three day weekend since I took a vacation day from work to take care of a few appointments in Orange County. I can’t wait to be driving back down PCH, I miss home so much sometimes. I especially miss their weather, I’d take a breezy 70 degrees over a still 100 any day!


Over the past few days, I’ve heard from several of you via Twitter, Email, and Comments that you liked the Inspiration Board I created for my dining room. I’m thrilled that you liked the board, they are such a passion of mine.


As you can imagine I collect a huge amount of magazine cutouts in preparations of the boards/books. I used to keep them in a stack on my ottoman, but it was a total disaster. Then for a while I kept them in a straw basket in a cupboard, but the straw stuck to the pictures and made them difficult to work with.


So a few months back I went looking for a more permanent storage option, and was lucky to find these stunning white filing cabinets at the Container Store. I’ve been eyeing them for a while, but was able to get them at a great deal during a big Tax Time/Office sale.


They work perfectly for sorting all the different cut outs I keep, along with supplies.


Eventually I’ll get organized enough to add labels to each drawer, but for now it works perfectly.



I’ll be back later with some pics from my trip towards the beach, including all the fun finds that I can fit in my car from IKEA!!

Pinterest Craft DIY Project – Paint Chip Keychain

I’m a little late to the game, but a few weeks back, several home design bloggers hosted a Pinterest DIY challenge. The point was to use pictures you had pinned on Pinterest to inspire a home project. I love Pinterest, and I love a challenge, but due to home & work related emergencies I wasn’t able to get everything done and posted to be part of the actual challenge, but that didn’t stop me from creating a very cool craft.

Addicted 2 Decorating created these incredibly awesome Paint Chips that can be carried with you. They are so much cooler than keeping paper paint chips in your pocket.


So I set out and purchased my own supplies.

Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

I purchased everything at Michael’s, on sale and with coupons. All in all, it cost me less than $10.

Now, before I go any further,I have to say that what you are about to see should be done on a proper work surface. I was restricted to my kitchen due to some house construction work so I had to make due. In all honesty, I’m lucky I didn’t damage my kitchen countertops. This is one of the few times where I’ll say, do as I say, not as I do (for the safety of you and your countertops).

Use a workbench or other solid wood work surface. You may be drilling into this surface, so make sure it’s something you don’t mind damaging.

Indoor Temporary Workbench

Open up the wood discs that you purchased.

Wooden Discs, Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

Mark a dot near the top with marker…

Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

…then drill a hole in each disc.

Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

Sting up the drilled discs…these are your blank paint chips

Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

Next you’ll need to break out your paint.

My tip is to grab a piece of cardboard and some masking tape. You can tape the discs to the board and have a steady place to paint the chips. Once dry you’ll flip the discs and paint the other side.

Paint Chip Keychain Supplies

I used some of my beading supplies to cut down the chain and secured it with a safety-pin. This was my fastener of choice, but another option is to use the fan chain shown above.

Paint Chip Key Chain, Keychain

After you paint all the chips, you’ll have a beautiful key chain with your paint colors that you can keep with you while shopping for furniture or any other reason.

Paint Chip Key Chain, Keychain

On the back of each chip I’ve written the paint type, color, and room it was used.

Paint Chip Key Chain, Keychain

Have you attempted any DIY projects you saw on Pinterest?


Linking to: Polly Want a Crafter, Ohh Baby Designs, 5 Minutes Just For Me

Heat Wave

Hope everyone is having a great afternoon so far, it’s a beautiful day in Southern California.

This is the view from my office. I built the office into a spare bedroom on the third floor of the house, it’s nice to be able to see above all the rooftops throughout the day. 


As beautiful as it is outside, it’s crazy hot, hitting 100 early in the day. We’re also under multiple hot weather advisories for the rest of the week. The only plus is that humidity is down to 19% so I don’t drip sweat just by opening a window. However, it also means we are under fire watch. This type of weather is the perfect storm for wildfires and I live in an area that is surrounded by undeveloped land and brush.

In 2007 we had the severe wild fires in Southern California, and those are always in the back of our minds on days like this. My parents were lucky that time, they were fully evacuated for several days, but the fire did not reach their homes. For the rest of us, we lived with bad air quality and blankets of ash 24/7. It was a tough time for everyone.


Source: Healthline

Satellite images were incredibly awful.

wildfire_news cnet com

Source: CNet

Right now, I’m making good use of my air conditioner and enjoying a sweet green smoothie.


Luckily I got up early and took Bubba out for his walk this morning and also did a Treadmill workout before my first conference call. Now I don’t have to worry about leaving my AC house for the rest of the day.

Remembering NYC

I don’t know about you, but today has been a whirlwind! By the time I looked at the clock it was already 3pm and I hadn’t even considered lunch. Tuesday’s are by far the busiest day at work for me, so today’s post will be a little short on words.

This past June I visited NYC for the first time, and love every second of it.

We flew into Boston, then took the train into NYC for a few days. You can see a few snapshots from Boston, here. I also share how I got a roundtrip plane ticket from San Diego to Boston for $62 over Memorial Day weekend. No lie and no tricks, it really only cost me $62.

Since it was my first trip we did an all day tour that included a boat tour; and a night lights tour. It was a great way to get an overview of the city so that next time I can spend time in places that I loved most.

NYC Skyline


I absolutely loved the NY Public Library, it was architecturally stunning.





New York Stock Exchange


Living in California, we don’t have the historical buildings and churches like this. It was incredible to imagine attending services here or at any of the amazing churches. 


Breathtaking! I had to be literally dragged away.



The night tour guide sucked, big time. He spent a lot of time making very very bad racial jokes; but getting to drive all over the city at night was incredible.








We also visited several other New England states and fell in love with the Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frap, but those are stories for another day.



Bring It On – Athleta Iron Girl Del Mar, CA 10K Run

It’s official! I’ll be running the Athleta Iron Girl Del Mark 10K. I’m excited, giddy, jumping for joy!


That’s a lie…I’m scared out of my mind! And I probably shouldn’t say I’ll be running, it’ll be more of a walk/jog sad wog. But who cares, I’m doing it anyway, even if I have to bob and weave to dodge the sweep van…I’m going to FINISH!

I’m not a runner (which should be apparent if I’m threatening to dodge the sweepers), but I do enjoy running. I’ve started many times over the years, but usually stop since my favorite form of cardio is dancing. Running/Walking is excellent cardio but I never seem to stick with it long term.

The last race I ran in was in October 2009, the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco.


It was an incredible experience, and such a beautiful course. Although sadly the raffle hates me and 2009 is the only year I’ve even been accepted.

Here’s the thing, running in a race has never been a great incentive for me. Back in 2009 when I was running more often, I only chose a few races a year, instead of dozens. I then turned each one into a mini vacation. For San Francisco, I planned a week long road trip that let me drive up and down the California coast, it was an incredible week.

Stunning views in Carmel, along the 17 mile scenic route on our way home after the race.

Carmel Coastline

Since I live in Southern California, I won’t need a road trip. However, I enjoy my sleep too much to drive 2+ hours to a race. So I’ll be staying at The Marriott Del Mar. As a bonus, it will help me meet my nightly quota so I can get to the next membership level with Marriott. I [heart] Marriott, even though they don’t know I’m alive.

Outdoor Patio Lounge

I have 11 weeks to get ready. In all honesty, I really am very excited about this race, it should be a lot of fun!


Have you ever run an Iron Girl Event?

Inspiration Boards – Custom Artwork

While I do consider myself a writer, in some aspects, I’ve never really considered myself an artist. My art is in creating inspiration boards/Look Books, not painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. Ever since high school I have been pulling magazine cutouts and filling sketchbooks with collections. I call these my Look Books and they are primarily for my own fun and enjoyment.

Recently I purchased two large bulletin boards from HomeGoods, and I’ve placed one in the dining room and one in the workout room. My intention was to create some inspiration collections for both rooms in place of standard art.

It all started with two beautiful bulletin boards, each with large grey moulding. They were an excellent deal at Homegoods.

grey bulletin board

Then I started laying out some of my favorite kitchen/food cutouts for the dining room board. There really is no magic to this step, I just lay them out in a way that I find beautiful.

Inspiration Boards, Look Books

Inspiration Boards, Look Books

When crafting the books, I glue everything down. However, I wanted the opportunity to change out pictures over time and over holidays so everything on these boards is held in place with pushpins.

Bulletin Boards, Pushpins

Tip – Be a little selective with the pushpins, use just enough to hold everything in place, but you don’t want to fill the board with them. You want the focus on the pictures not the shiny little tacks.

 Inspiration Boards, Look Books

I couldn’t be happier with the finished product, I love it! From far away it looks like an interesting piece of art, but up close you have plenty of beautiful pictures to look at. It’s also a good conversation starter as well. This same method is also a great way to display your children’s artwork and everything can be changed out over the the year.

 Inspiration Boards, Look Books


Cost Breakdown:

Framed Bulletin Board – $25 @ Homegoods

Pushpins – $2

Magazine cutouts – Free

* if you are ever looking for cheap magazines to tear apart, check your library store. Friends of the Library stores will typically sell magazines for a dime, usually no more than a quarter.

Total Project Cost – $27

Painting French Doors & Installing Window Films

I purchased my home as a Foreclosure, which from a design perspective, is a fancy way of saying ‘As Is’. Luckily there was no major damage like other foreclosure properties in the area. However, there were a lot of smallish projects on the to do list that I’ve been tackling over the past year. Up next on the list are the French Doors.

The white wooden blinds were battered and broken, especially on the left door. Every time my dog would come in and out, he’d hit the blinds and break them further. It was tragic.


The whole process took a few days, but the change was well worth it.


Step One… Cut down the old blinds and remove hardware.


Step Two… Fill holes with white wood filler. Sand down the finish once dry.

French Doors - Before

Step Three…Apply Painters Tape. The best tip I can share is to use a Paint Key to apply the tape.


It allows you to get into the crevices without totally destroying your nails( ya hear me ladies!).



Step Four…Apply eight million coats of paint (it just didn’t want to stick) while shouting obscenities at the doors (it made me feel better).


Step Five…Use a Razor Blade to remove disgusting glue that has yellowed since the doors were originally installed.



After…(this alone took well over and hour to complete)


From here the doors looked pretty good, I liked the color. I used a gray instead of a black because I thought the black would be a bit too harsh. Pictures are dark since I had no backlighting, but you get the point.


The problem is that it was a little too open for me. At night the a house behind me could see right into the house and I didn’t like that at all. However, I needed a way to keep the room light since there are no light fixtures.

Instant Fix…Window Films!

The installation was tricky since i was doing it by myself, so no pictures, but the outcome was perfect.

I get all the light, and all the privacy. I was planning on using white paint markers to create a design on the films, but for now I love the clean look.These doors tend to stay open all day for the dog, and our random rainstorms may damage the film, but I’ll fight that battle when it happens. For now, I absolutely love the look and it all cost under $50.


Cost Breakdown:

Paint – Valspar Cooled Lava in Semi Gloss – Quart $14

Window Film – 1 Large Window Package $19

Window Film Installation Tools – $9

Total Cost = $42


Linking To: Addicted 2 Decorating