I’m Feeling Inspired – Chevron

I’m a little late to the whole Chevron trend. In fact, I don’t have a single Chevron thing in my home or wardrobe. However, the art I plan on painting for the Spare Bedroom is inspired by Chevron so I’ve been doing a little research lately. These are some of my favorite finds so far.

If you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for bombarding you yesterday with Chevrons!

 

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A Day of Eats

So after my recent weight loss update post, I had quite a few emails asking me about what I’ve been eating lately. How I eat always make the biggest impact on my weight loss, but I (like a lot of people) don’t like ‘diet’ food. I don’t like air crisped snack bars that taste like packing Styrofoam and I’m just not satisfied by prepackaged freezer meals; I’m hungry an hour later.

I don’t ever want to feel like I’m on a diet. Even while I’m trying to lose weight, I feel it’s important to eat for the body I want and in a way that I can maintain long term. What I eat changes on a daily basis, I eat similar meals everyday, but I don’t usually eat the same thing each day.

For fun, I took pictures of everything I ate on yesterday. 

Better Oats Chai Spiced Oatmeal with 1 Cup Blueberries, Flax Meal, and Walnuts

In general I like oatmeal, but I like it plain and dry. Plain to me is without sugar, butter, or milk. Prepackaged oats are easy, but so many of them come in flavors like Maple, Brown Sugar, or Apple Cinnamon. These are always too sweet for me. If I’m not making my own oatmeal, I use Better Oats. They are prepackaged and only take minutes in the microwave. The other brand I like is Trader Joe’s frozen Steel Cut oats.

Blueberry Oatmeal

LOTS of baby spinach & half a container Trader Joe’s Rosemary Chicken & Wild Rice

I eat a lot of Spinach each day, this salad had about 4 cups chopped up. I found the Chicken & Rice meal at Trader Joe’s and they are delicious (they are fresh made in their deli section). There are two servings per container and cook up easy in the Microwave or Oven. If I put it over spinach then I use the rice flavor as a dressing.

Rosemary Chicken & Rice over Spinach

Sometime between Lunch and Dinner I snacked on a serving of Hershey Dark Kisses. I refuse to give up all sweets, it’s not realistic for me. If I do, I’ll end up eating a whole cake in a few weeks and gaining all the weight back. Moderation.

Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses

Dinner was Fish Tacos, without the avocado (I didn’t have any in the house).

I had some cabbage that was going bad so I decided to make my favorite fish tacos. They are easy, fast, and delicious.

Fish Tacos 

So that’s it, a typical day of eats for me. I’m not a big snacker at night and I keep a mason jar full of water next to me all day, usually drinking between 10-14 glasses a day. Luckily I like my water plain and I prefer water over other beverages.

 

A few other questions I got after the weight loss post.

 

Are you still following the Tracey Anderson Metamorphosis program?

Yes! I have restarted the program since I had to take a few weeks off around Christmas. Technically it’s a 90 day program, but I’m using it as a cardio/muscle program so I’m not very concerned about whether I finish it in 3 months as long as I keep at it.

 

Do you track calories? How?

Yes, I do track calories. Usually I wear a Bodybugg because it gives me an accurate overview of my calories burned so that I can fuel properly. However, over the past few weeks I’ve been testing out the My Fitness Pal website and Android app. The phone app has a bar code scanner that allows you to scan the bar code of foods you eat and it automatically brings up the nutrition info for you. I’ve been pretty impressed so far.

 

Do you have any Before/After pictures?

Yes, I did take before pictures, and I plan to take new pictures every month as I lose more. I don’t plan on posting them until I’ve made significantly more progress. At some point I may feel comfortable sharing them, but not yet.

 

In Other News…

The tile is up on the fireplace!

My dad came over today and help me with it, then we went out for lunch. It was actually a really fun day. I’ll wait to share which style I chose and a final picture until we get the grout finished on Monday. However, it looks amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Fireplace Progress: Tile Dilemma

I have run into a little design dilemma.

 

For the past two months I’ve been slowly working on redesigning the fireplace in my living room. When I purchased the house, it was a simple black & brass gas insert and 8 inch tile surround.

K10036663_7_0

In the first year, I painted the walls a medium grey (which I still think looks purple) and dreamed about the day in which my fireplace would have a mantle.

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So in an effort to make some progress, I painted the fireplace screen to remove all traces of brass.

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Then I started chipping away at the tile in November.

Fireplace Remodel - X

That quickly morphed into a complete demolition and rebuild…with a Mantle!

Fireplace Remodel

I was even able to decorate for Christmas.

Fireplace Remodel

However, here’s where I’ve stalled. Back when I moved in, I found the perfect tile for the fireplace. The plan was to use the trim I found at Lowes (on clearance) and some larger, standard tiles. However, after installing the surround and Mantle, the dimensions did allow for my original plan. I suddenly found myself at a loss for what to do. Did I want larger 4 inch tiles? 1 x 1 mosaic glass? 1 x 1 mosaic stone? Specialty size cuts?

I spent a few hours wandering the tile aisles at my local hardware stores and didn’t find myself with a clear idea of what I wanted to do. The employees even stopped asking me if I needed help. They’d ask if I needed some help and I’d say “I don’t know which tile to buy”. When they realized I meant I didn’t know what design to pick, they gave up on me. So last weekend, I broke down and bought a single sheet of about 8 different types of tiles.

Option 1: Mosaic Mixed stones. These are slightly larger than 1 x 1 and a nice mix of neutral glass and stone. They are thinner than traditional mosaics and on sale (which is a big reason these might be the ones).

Firepalce Tile Options

Option 2: Tiny Tiny mosaics. These are about 1/2 x 1/2 and really pretty. Colors are light blue, light browns and light green. Up close it’s probably my favorite mosaic tile ever. However, I think it will be a little too busy between the small stone and the lines of the mantle.

Fireplace Tile Options

Option 3: Oh how I love these! The glass is a mix of gloss and frosted and not nearly as brown as they appear in the picture. This is the closest the ones I fell in love with at first, that were later discontinued before I could snatch them up. This is in a tie with Option 1, but the price for option 1 give it an advantage. I’m also slightly worried that it will be too much action, simpler might be better.

Fireplace Tile Options

Option 4: 4 x 4 tumbled marble tiles. These would be both the easiest and hardest to install. Easiest because they’d be a cinch to keep level during installation (which will be a challenge with the mosaics), but the hardest because I don’t have the ability to cut them to size unless I rent a wet saw. Between the cost of the wet saw and the tiles, this would be quite expensive.

Fireplace Tile Options

So that’s where I sit. I’m suppose to install the tiles this weekend with my dad, yet I still have to make up my mind about which ones to use. Hmmm, decisions decisions.

What do you guys think? Which is your favorite?

Weight Loss Reward: 20 lb

Usually Tuesdays are a tough day for me. I have some important calls at work that take a lot of prep every week and they stress me out. No matter how long I’ve been doing this, it still makes me nervous to talk to smart people. Lucky thing, I’m pretty good at making people think I know what I’m talking about.

 

Other lucky thing…

I’ve lost 20 lbs!!

 

Wow…terrible transition…but let’s keep going.

I’ve been working really hard to clean up my diet since the holidays are over, and I’ve also been slowly getting back into a workout routine since the back injury. Turns out it’s all paying off! I’ve been steadily dropping and last week I finally hit a total of 20lbs down. Actually I’m down 24.7 as of this morning, and it feels so good.

Since losing weight is slow, tiring, boring, exhausting, and sometimes depressing…I have to give myself a goal. Every 5 lb loss gets a reward and the 20 lb reward was a shopping spree at Aaron Brothers for Art Supplies.

Art Supplies - Reward

I’ve been wanting to get back into painting for a while and I have a great idea for a series in the Spare Bedroom so this was perfect. It was too much fun to wander through AB and pick out new paints, brushes, canvases, and a few sketch books. The added bonus was that AB is doing their Penny Sale right now so I every second item only cost me a penny. The few that weren’t on the sale were on clearance and marked 50% off.

Technically I get another reward at 25 lbs, but the next reward I want is some art that is pretty expensive, so I’m focused on losing 10lbs for that one.

 

Do you ever use a reward as motivation when trying to get healthy? Do they work for you? If not, how do you stay motivated?

DIY: Succulent Terrarium

I feel like I should point out early on, that this is DIY for a succulent terrarium that I made recently. However, this is not a tutorial on how to keep them alive. My gardening skills are a little hit or miss and I usually learn how to grow something by following the method of watching something die, then thinking… “Ok, next time water the plant!” Doh!

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Step 1:

Collect your supplies.

  • Cactus Soil (although I have succulents growing in the dirt in my backyard, so I’m not entirely sure this was necessary)
  • Pebbles/Small Rocks
  • Small Succulents
  • Large Glass Vase

DIY Succulent Terrarium

I found the glass vase at (surprise surprise) Homegoods a few months back. I’ve mentioned before that they own my soul, right? I’ve been using it to hold my K-Cups, but this is a far prettier vase filler. Another great option would be a Apothecary Jar. If these survive, I plan on making a few more for around the house.

Step 2:

Pour in a layer of small pebbles to help with drainage.

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Step 3:

Fill the vase with some Cactus Dirt then start adding your succulents. After they are in place, add some more dirt to ensure the roots are covered. I recommend picking small plants so they have room to grown. However, if you’re like me, you’ll expect them to die soon and want to enjoy them at a larger size. What? I’m preparing for the future!

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Ok, in all seriousness, I really do care if these plants live and I will take care of them.

I promise.

DIY Succulent Terrarium

DIY Succulent Terrarium

I’m actually kind of loving them right now…so I decided to use a few more to make a little succulent vignette in my kitchen.

DIY Succulent Terrarium

DIY Succulent Terrarium

DIY Succulent Terrarium

It is surprisingly difficult to get a good photograph of all three since they are next to 2 windows. Sorry for the glare.

Project Cost Breakdown (for the Terrarium):

Glass Vase (Already Owned) = $0

Small Bag of Cactus Soil (Lowes)  = $4

Bag of Small Pebbles (Home Depot) = $3

1 Small Succulent (Home Depot) = $2

2 Medium Succulents (Home Depot) = $6

Total Project Cost: $15

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Linking To: Between Naps On The Porch, Craft-O-Maniac, The Girl Creative, Making the World Cuter, Everything Under the MoonToday’s CreativeGinger Snap Crafts, Very Merry Vintage Style, Savvy Southern Style, The Shabby Creek CottageBeyond The Picket FenceThe Artsy Girl ConnectionBetween U & MeAddicted 2 Decorating, Funky Junk Interiors, The Craft Nest, The Shabby Nest, Dear Creatives, Ohh Baby Designs, 5 Minutes Just For Me, The Not So Functional Housewife, Positively Splendid

I’m Feeling Inspired: Word Art

I’m been really into word art lately and typography in general. I used to be drawn to simple black/white and grey designs; however, recently I’ve really found a love for colors again. Here are a few of my favorites lately…

 
 

Source: etsy.com via Addison on Pinterest

 
 
 
 

Source: etsy.com via Addison on Pinterest

 
 
 
 
 
 

Source: etsy.com via Addison on Pinterest

 
 

Source: etsy.com via Addison on Pinterest

 
 

Source: etsy.com via Addison on Pinterest

 
 
 
 
 
 

Ok, this is really more of a warning…

 

Source: imgfave.com via Addison on Pinterest

Balsamic Pork Sandwich With Cilantro Cabbage

This has quickly become one of my favorite meals, and I’m not much of a sandwich person. The pork is juicy with a sweet balsamic glaze and the cabbage is dressed with a cool, spicy dressing that is addictive. [Seriously Trader Joe’s what do you put in this dressing!]

Balsamic Pork Sandwich with Cilantro Cabbage

It’s also incredibly easy because I used a Crock Pot to cook the Pork Loin. Even though the pork takes about 6-8 hours to cook, it only takes minutes to make the sandwich. Super Fast!

Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Loin

Serves: 5 (4 oz each)

1 (2 pound) Pork Loin

3/4 Cup Water

1/2 t Salt

1/2 t Pepper

1 T Dried Italian Seasonings

Sprinkle the pork loin with the salt, pepper, and dried Italian seasonings. Place in the Crock Pot with the water. Set to low and forget it for the next 5 hours. After about 5 hours, pop the heat up to High and let it cook another 2-3 hours. In the last hour of cooking, use a turkey baster to remove some of the water from the Crock Pot. Make the glaze below and brush it on the pork several time during that last 60 minutes. You can use the extra glaze on the side for however you choose to serve the pork.

Crock Pot Pork Loin

Now, you can mix some balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, etc to make a balsamic glaze, but the point of this is to be super easy so I went with the bottled stuff. You can buy Balsamic Glaze at most grocery stores near the balsamic vinegar. My favorite kind is house brand balsamic glaze from Fresh & Easy, but they all taste nearly the same.

Balsamic Glaze

4 T Balsamic Glaze

Dash Low Sodium Soy Sauce (optional)

Score the pork loin in several places and brush the glaze directly onto the pork several times while cooking. If you want to cut the sweetness, mix a bit of glaze with a dash of low sodium soy sauce.

Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Loin

Cilantro Cabbage

Serves: 1 (multiply by the number you need to make enough)

1 Cup Shredded Cabbage

2 T Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing (found in the refrigerated veggie section)

Combine the cabbage and dressing, mix until all cabbage is covered.

Serve on a Whole Grain Bun and Enjoy!

Balsamic Pork Sandwich with Cilantro Cabbage

While my favorite way to eat the pork is the sandwich, I also really like shredding the pork and tossing it with some spinach, quinoa, and more of that crack dressing Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing.

How else have I used the dressing? Check out the 5 Ingredient Fish Tacos!

Fish Tacos with Avocado

Linking ToCraft-O-Maniac, The Girl CreativeMaking the World CuterEverything Under the Moon, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative, Remodelaholic, Ginger Snap CraftsVery Merry Vintage Style, Savvy Southern StyleThe Shabby Creek Cottage, Beyond The Picket Fence, The Artsy Girl Connection, Between U & Me, Addicted 2 DecoratingFunky Junk InteriorsThe Craft NestThe Shabby NestDear CreativesOhh Baby DesignsThe Not So Functional HousewifePositively Splendid

Simplify Life – Getting A Library Card

When I was growing up, my mom taught me all about the joys of the local library. I LOVED reading and trips to the library were a little like being let loose in the kids version of ‘Supermarket Sweep’. In fact, I still wish I could just run through with a cart, sweeping things off the shelf. I could (and often would) spend hours sitting on the floor, among the stacks of books, barely able to make it out of the building before finishing the first one.

Through High School and College, I burned out. Reading turned into a chore. I never found time to read the things I really wanted, when stacks of Psychology and Statistic books loomed nearby.

After college, work took over and life just got busier. I have stacks of books all over my house and filling up my Kindle, but it’s a struggle to make the time. However, since this journey is all about starting over, living a life you love…I decided to go back to my roots.

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I LOVE you Public Library!

The other evening I tracked down a library nearby and got my new library card. Since it was a brand new card, I was limited to just a few items this trip, but next time I can check out up to 30 books!

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The greatest thing about the library is that it’s FREE. If my closest branch doesn’t have what I want then I can order it from another branch for as little as 25 cents. No more expensive book purchases for me this year, and I can browse almost any book or magazine I want.

This also got me thinking about how much I would like a library in my own home someday; although that contradicts the concept of simplifying a bit.

This is dream home material. :::Sigh:::

Someday…

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Introducing – The Garage!

Now that we got that cleaning post out of the way yesterday, let me show you a mess.

Welcome to my Garage!

This is one side of a two car garage.

Garage - Before

The other side has my car and trash cans and will remain unchanged. Since I only have one car, I would like to turn the other side of the garage in a workshop of sorts. Right now it’s just a mish mash of random crap.

Let’s take a little tour of randomness, shall we?

Garage 01 copy

Highlights:

  • I’ve been using the cardboard box from my BBQ as my workbench for the past 6 months.
  • The dog food container is front and center since ants invaded the indoor stash and with my back I wasn’t able to reach the spot on the floor where I normally keep it.
  • The dresser is a hand me down that has been through my parents, then to my brother, then over to me. It’s currently holding a whole bunch of smaller stuff, like towels, drill bits, and paint trays.
  • I don’t know why I have a rug in my garage right now. It’s really too dirty to stand on, I’d rather stand on the garage floor.
  • I had such hope for that tomato cage…

The shelving unit holds a little bit of everything:

  • Paint, Grass Seed, Extra Water/Ice Tea, etc.

Garage - Before

I spy one of my Christmas presents!

[Ok, I didn’t notice the pizza box until after I took the picture. It’s now in the trash.]

One of my Christmas presents was a Ryobi Tool set that includes a Drill, Charger, Flashlight, and Circular Saw. I didn’t actually put it on my Christmas list because they are expensive, but I ask my dad questions about them every time we walk into Lowes.

I can’t imagine where Santa got the idea. 😉

Garage 02 copy

I spy my other Christmas Present!

I think my dad took pity on my poor little BBQ box workbench. So I got a very cool workbench that actually folds up and flips over into scaffolding. Very Cool!

Garage 03 copy

Another shameful angle of the hot mess Garage.

Garage - Before

Garage - Before

Garage - Before

Ok, it’s grossing me out now.

I expect the garage to be a work in progress, probably all year long. Each thing in the garage is pretty expensive so I’ll be working on it bit by bit. However, I do plan on doing a lot of organization this month. I want to set up the workbench, clear out the unnecessary items, sweep up all the dog hair (I swear I could make a second dog out of all the hair Bubba sheds).

Here’s a little eye candy to get my pictures out of your brain…

My favorite!!

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Great storage options.

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Developing A Whole House Cleaning Plan

It’s that time of year again. The time when we decide that our houses are far too messy to be considered a home and we get the overwhelming urge to throw everything away and start fresh.

Just me? Oh, okay.

I am not a ‘neat freak’, not even close. I like my home to look lived in, but clutter overwhelms me and stresses me out. On the flip side, I don’t like cleaning in general…so the concept of having to constantly clean the entire house stresses me out. It’s a no win situation. So to improve my stress level and keep me sane, one of my goals this year to keep things clutter free and develop a cleaning strategy. (You’ll eventually pick up on the fact that by day I work in project management if I continue to refer to strategies in cleaning. Sounds about as exciting as budgets, business plans, and proposals). 

Yes, I could probably hire a maid. But I would be embarrassed to have them come over to a dirty house, which defeats the point when I feel the need to clean for the maid. I also don’t want to pay someone else to do something that I’m completely capable of doing myself.

As a 2012 Goal, I’m launching…

Operation Clean House Banner

Maybe that should read, Operation ‘Maintain’ Clean House since that is actually the hardest part. Either way this is a big one on this years goal list. As usual I have several steps to the process that should make it as painless as possible.

  • Create Attack Plan
  • Deep Clean each room
  • Purge unwanted/unnecessary things
  • Yard Sale
  • Donation additional items
  • Maintenance

(You see the whole project management thing now, don’t you?)

So here we go…

Attack Plan Banner

Making big goals achievable is all about breaking them into smaller tasks, so in this case, I’ll break everying down by room. I have broken my house into 15 areas, so that each area can be repeated twice a month.

To make the plan even easier, I start from bottom top. I have a three level condo and by going bottom to top means I don’t have to drag the vacuum or supplies up and down the stairs as much.

Day of the Month Room to be cleaned
Day 1/Day 16 Foyer
Day 2/Day 17 Den/Cardio Room
Day 3/Day 18 1st Floor Bathroom
Day 4/Day 19 Backyard/Porch
Day 5/Day 20 Garage
Day 6/Day 21 Dining Room
Day 7/Day 22 Powder Room
Day 8/Day 23 Living Room
Day 9/Day 24 Kitchen
Day 10/Day 25 Office
Day 11/Day 26 Spare Bedroom/Hallway
Day 12/Day 27 Spare Bathroom
Day 13/Day 28 Laundry
Day 14/Day 29 Master Bedroom
Day 15/Day 30 Master Bathroom

 

For the fist 15 days, each room gets deep cleaned. Meaning in about 2 weeks my house should be completely deep cleaned from top to bottom (or in my case, bottom to top).

What is involved with Deep Cleaning?

The first time around it may take a while to finish the room. My trick is to set a timer for no more than an hour and push to finish in the allotted time. It will force you to make quick decisions. Ask yourself if you really love something or really need it, otherwise trash it or donate it. Start the general sweep, and get all the things off the floor. Continue by wiping down all surfaces, vacuum, dust (don’t forget fan blades and tops of tall furniture), sort through drawers/closest/cabinets, and clean mirrors/windows. (Tip: Speed cleaning burns crazy calories which will benefit that ‘Get In Shape’ resolution nearly everyone has on their list).

What happens to the room on the assigned day?

After the first 15 days, the house should be in maintenance mode. Now each day I should have to spend only 20 minutes or less to dust, vacuum, straighten and clean the mirrors/windows. The cycle will continue each month in the maintenance phase unless I have the extra time to dedicate to a space (like when I need to purge the fridge/pantry periodically, etc).

 

It seems complicated when I type it out, but it really is quite easy. Aside from some light straightening in the evenings, each day focus on only one room and the whole house should stay in order. Hopefully this will help me maintain my sanity, and stop the constant stress cycle of walking into a messy house.

 

What tricks/tips do you have for keeping your home organized/clean on a daily basis?