Month : February 2010

bedroom progress

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Page has been in Lake Tahoe most of the week on his annual ski getaway…poor guy has no idea what he's coming home to. His little workshop in the garage is about to become décor central! I've had these wall-mounted votive holders circled in the CB2 catalog for quite some time now, but I would like a series of three, and just can't bring myself to spend nearly 200 bucks. Plus, they're no longer available. Honey, are you listening? I need you to make me something like this. 🙂

A throw pillow in this color is proving VERY difficult to find. I relented on my "I will not sew" stubborn streak and took myself to two fabric stores…with no luck. If I DO find the right color, it's completely the wrong fabric, and if it's the right fabric, it doesn't come in the right color. I've searched online at fabric sites and countless retailers of throw pillows. I find things that are okay but for some of the prices I'm seeing, I better flippin' LOVE it! I hit my favorite fabric manufacturer, Amy Butler, and while the fabrics aren't quite the color I need, I am loving these glass vases (and the model's shirt!) in one of her catalog photos. Yes, Amy? I don't really want any of your fabric this time around…but can you tell me where to buy your catalog props? Thanks! 🙂

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art date!

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My friend Megan (you know…Megan who took our fabulous one-year pics??) and I had a long overdue art date this afternoon. Thank you, Megan, for your inspiration and patience with me! We are so completely opposite in our approach to things. She is so go-with-the-flow, "whoops, made a mistake I'll just roll with it and see what turns out" kind of girl. A true artist.

I, on the other hand, have to space out my letters, have the same margins between each element, and overall am much more calculated. I have a plan in my head and if it turns out differently than expected, the world is over. I am so used to the world of graphic design – "undo" commands solve all problems, and I can re-color or re-position anything with the stroke of a key…painting requires so much more attention and patience…virtues I have yet to work on. 🙂

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So here's what I came up with in the end…a favorite line of lyrics by Ben Folds. In an effort to make our upstairs bath more zen and spa-like, I'm going all white with towels, bath mats, etc and getting away from the nautical look we had before (thus, painting over the "sail" canvas I had in there before..see this post from when we moved in). I wanted a piece that was white with a light grey for the font, but Megan had the great idea of incorporating different/darker shades to give it some interest. Nice work, Clausen! 😉

The measurement-obsessed girl in me can see that no, it's not perfectly spaced, and I'm still wrestling internally with splitting up the word "and"…but I'll get there. I do love how it turned out, and I always love when there's a fun memory attached to the process of making something…like an art date with a fun friend!

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restful retreat: part one

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When Page and I were married almost three years ago, some of the very first things we purchased as "Mr. and Mrs." were a king size bed (the key to any happy marriage!) and this hotel-inspired bedding from Restoration Hardware. I still love this bedding as much as the day we bought it, which is a big deal for me (I change my mind all the time). It's clean, crisp, and for a first attempt at trying to pick bedding that works for a girl AND a GUY, I think this fits the bill. We have always loved hotels, and this became the inspiration for the look and feel of our master bedroom.

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A year later, on a budget, we bought furniture from IKEA (it's our five year tide-us-over set for now) and kept the clean lines/modern look going. In photos the furniture always looks black – in reality, it's a very dark brown. Lamps, frames, drapes, a dark brown accent wall and a ceiling fan completed the room, for the time being.

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My favorite thing in this room is a canvas that my mom painted as a wedding gift (see second photo above) that includes a decoupaged copy of our wedding invitation and a recreation of the monogram that I put on the front of our programs. I love, love, love this canvas, and at the time, she incorporated a meadow shade of green – a color that I originally told her I would work into the room. It was a "safe" color, gender-neutral….and BLAH. Finally this year, I came across a bedroom article that inspired me. The room featured lots of brown and white, and bedding almost identical to ours. It featured pops of a bright turquoise/aqua blue around the room, and I was instantly hooked. I didn't want the exact same blue – it was VERY blue for my taste, and maybe a little too girly – so I played around in that section of the color wheel and came up with a deeper, greener, teal/jade color, referred to by Benjamin Moore as "Albuquerque Teal".Turns out it is MUCH harder to find accessories in this color than its bluer counterpart, but I think the extra work will be worth it – the color just makes me so darn happy!

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My friend, Natalie, is in the middle of a master bedroom redo right now as well, and is chronicling the changes on her blog. I love the way she has been building the suspense, showing "clues" as to the finished design in various posts. I've already given away much more than she has (I never could keep a secret!) but I am going to take a cue from her, and feature a couple "sneak peeks" here as progress is made.

With paint swatch in hand, my wonderful mother is painting out the previously light green square in the canvas with this sassier color…she is still in progress and I can't wait to see the finished product. As she said in a recent email, "It just sort of ends up having a life of its own. I never know for sure how it will end up". She brought up the idea of incorporating a big number "29" into the square – an idea I love. The number is not only our wedding date, but our lucky Vegas number as well. 🙂 Here is a quick peek at what she emailed to me last night…makes me giddy with excitement!

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Inspired to see how it was coming together, I hit TJMaxx on a whim last night, with a few spare minutes to kill before a yoga class. It was fate…this color is SO hard to find (everything is that blue turquoise color) and yet here was this frame in the exact color I'm after! It looks a little teal-ish in this photo, but it's a brilliant jade green in real life – almost identical to my paint swatch!

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That's all I have for now…I don't have a deadline for this project, but I have a little checklist of to-dos to keep me on track. Stay tuned for the big reveal…and much better room photos the second time around! 🙂

up next…

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Swimming. 

Tomorrow I'll start some water workouts and lap swimming.

It's been a rough few days in the ongoing quest for weight loss. I had an especially good week last week – I got three good runs in, mixed in with elliptical and bike workouts, and I didn't miss a day. My only food slip up all week was a delicious cupcake on Pager's birthday (you have to indulge for special occasions). Alas, I hit the scale for my weekly weigh-in on Saturday and the number was EXACTLY the same. What's up with that? Not even a measly half pound difference. I figured I had at LEAST earned that, if not my hopeful pound, or even two, goal. Last Friday, I noticed my knees and shins were especially achey, so I gave myself Saturday off and kept the elliptical workout on Sunday to a short 20 minutes. Monday and Tuesday, I ran again. More pain, and a bit more intense. Yesterday, I took off altogether in hopes of just getting over it already and hit the track again today. I've never had shin splints, but from what I've heard, I seem to have them, or at least I'm in the beginning stages.

And so my frustration continues, although I'm trying to look at this as a positive. I've been at this almost seven weeks, which I in part blame for the lack of loss last week. I may have hit some sort of plateau (although BELIEVE me, there is still plenty here to lose!) but regardless, a switch-up in routine should be good to jump start the scale decline again. I've also done some tweaking to my Livestrong stats, resulting in a cut of about 100 calories consumed per day. I certainly have a spare 100 calories to let go of, especially if it means getting back on track and into a bridesmaid dress come June. 🙂

Wish me luck and stay tuned!

what to eat?

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This is always my biggest fear when I try and jump start the whole "get healthy again" plan. I go from eating whatever I like (in whatever amounts I like!) to suddenly freezing in fear of putting something bad into my mouth. So where is the middle-of-the-road safety zone without going too crazy dieting, or too crazy indulging?

I'm proud to say I've gained some weight-loss momentum now that I am a few weeks into this, and am so grateful for the support from friends, who, consequently, have asked this question I have so many times asked others who've successfully lost…what are you eating??

I like to think I am being much smarter this time around when it comes to food. I have taken a new interest in where our food actually comes from (thanks to a career in the ag world!) and I really took the time to research and plan before I even started cutting back on the calories. I wanted to do the eating thing right this time, and make it a way of life, not a diet. My goal was to make sure I had done enough groundwork that once I was ready to start, there were no surprises, and I had a game plan to get me through any bumps in the road.

I know that many people rely on Lean Cuisines, special shakes, Nutri-System, etc to get their diet going. For me, I knew I couldn't rely on pre-packaged "diet" meals going into this, because at SOME point, you have to re-join the world and eat real food, go to restaurants, etc. If you have no concept of what's going into those pre-made meals, how will you ever know how to compose a meal or choose something from a menu, all while staying on track? No, this type of plan was not for me. I knew it was going to require a little more time in the kitchen, and a good deal more planning prior to grocery store trips. I am happy to say though, more than a month later, I am very happy with the progress and feel good knowing that I am in control and not relying on someone else to figure out what I should be eating. I feel so much HEALTHIER and while I can't say I don't miss indulging in some favorites, I also can't say I feel deprived. The biggest success of this plan so far? I'm never hungry.

Before I took a single step or cut a single calorie, I spent the better part of December researching gyms, reading up on nutrition, and devising a plan that would work for me. Not even really a hard and fast plan, but a list of several pointers, possible workouts, meals, etc that I could go to when I needed to stay on track or shake things up to stay motivated. One piece of my preparation was to read The Biggest Loser cookbooks
cover to cover. I cannot recommend these enough – they are full of helpful nutrition advice as well as motivational success stories and
amazing recipes that are inspired by "normal" things you would be
eating, but seriously lightened up. Earlier, I posted about my "loser sundae" inspired by a recipe from these books. I am also a fan of the oh-so-simple, portable and low calorie snack/small lunch of a baked sweet potato (get a good sized one if this is to count as a meal) and mash up a wedge of light laughing cow cheese into the middle. So simple, but so yum. I had no idea I loved sweet potatoes so much. They fill you up and are high on nutrients, low in cals.

Another favorite I have been eating at breakfast: two frozen flaxseed waffles with a little spray butter, a dollop of whipped cream (sugar-free reddi whip, we don't use cool whip anymore) and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. This satisfies my sweet tooth with the tiny bit of chocolate, and the flaxseed waffles are so much more filling and substantial than the traditional Eggos we used to buy. So much healthier, full of fiber, and tasty – not at all the "cardboard" I was expecting.

A favorite dinner – even for my "selective eater" of a husband – is the parmesan pork chop. This recipe was voted as a favorite healthy meal on Good Morning America a few years ago, and it remains a fave of ours, with shockingly few calories. Combine a couple slices of whole grain bread with a 1/4 cup parmesan, and a teaspoon each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, parsley, and a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a food processor. Dip your pork chops in flour, (shake excess), then egg beaters, then the bread crumb mix and bake in a greased pyrex dish for 45 mins at 375. Serve with some veggies/potatoes (we love fresh green beans) and you have a delicious and filling dinner for under 400 calories.

This last meal brings me to a big change we are making in our household. After incorporating organic dairy this last year, we have recently made the transition to all-natural meat. This means grass-fed beef (no feedlot meat), free-range chicken, and no hormones, anitibiotics, etc added to anything. Yes, this means spending a bit more in the checkout lane, but after a combination of watching Food, Inc., attending a work conference last fall where I was introduced to Michael Pollon's books (check him out!), and of course listening to Dr. Oz :), our mindset is that we can more than afford to invest a bit more of our budget into food – the most basic of necessities – in the interest of improving our health, now, and down the road. This has been a very interesting change, and it's been actually fun to learn more about the issues, and shopping together actually generates discussion. It's oddly reassuring to see that we're actively assessing what goes into the cart, rather than going down the aisles on auto-pilot, not giving anything a second thought. We have so much more control over our health than we exercise.

I would love to find a local Iowa producer from whom we can purchase our grass-fed beef directly. This is on my list of to-dos for the spring. I never would have expected either of us to take such a sudden and strong interest in all of this – the whole "go natural, organic rules" mantra seems a little hippy-ish for our style haha, but the difference in taste is amazing, the health benefits are proven, and we are always about supporting the local "little guy". Okay, soapbox over for now. 🙂 If you have any healthy recipes to share, please do so! I am always looking for new "okay to eat!" meals to add to my rotation.

it’s nomination day!!!

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  I love love LOVE the Oscars.

I love the movies, the tribute to the world of cinema, the music, the hosts, the celebrities, the dresses, ALL of it. LOVE. Every year, I strive to see all of the nominated best pictures before the big night, so I can feel "in the know" about each one. This year I will finally have done it…only one more to go!

From watching the Golden Globes not too long ago, I don't think the nominees will be any big secret, but I love this day nonetheless. Have you heard there will be 10 nominees for best picture this year, rather than the traditional 5?? Any guesses on which film will win? Let's take a moment and look at some of my past favorite winners through the years, shall we? It's on my "to do" list to watch these all again at some point in 2010 – it's been WAY too long since I've seen some of them!

1939
(1939)

1961
(1961)

1965
(1965)

1979
(1979)

1983
(1983)

1988
(1988)

1994
(1994)

2002
(2002)

2005
(2005)

2008
(2008)

The world of movies certainly has been good to us as viewers over the years, hasn't it?

Set your Tivo — March 7th is the big night!!