Month : June 2012

June of Doom: The Wrap-Up

All in all, it’s been a pretty quick 30 days. Can it really be the end of June already?

Overall, I’m really happy with the effort I made to get my workouts in and keep my meals reasonable. I stuck with most of my goals, most days, with the exception of a couple of cocktails already this weekend (I was celebrating the end of June!).  Oh and yes, there was a slice of graduation cake, a slice of birthday cake, and another birthday cupcake somewhere in there along the way as well. What can you do? You have to live and celebrate. 🙂

 

RESULTS SO FAR:
While my weight hasn’t moved much (I’m down about three to four pounds), my body fat percentage is down almost a full 1% and my muscle mass is up almost as much. This doesn’t seem like much, but after a little research, I learned that for women in particular, it takes a significant effort to lose 1% fat, even if we have excess to shed, because our bodies are just wired to store it. So in short, I’m chalking this one up to success. Hopefully my body will gain a little momentum in this area over the NEXT four weeks.

As far as other measurements I’m tracking, I’ve lost about an inch off my hips and a half-inch in my waist. Again, nothing monumental, but it’s progress in the right direction and I’ll take it. More so than any numbers can show, I just FEEL better and my clothes fit more comfortably, so I know changes are taking place, even if oh-so-slowly.

So from here, we begin July. It really seems to work for me to set goals one month at a time. I can stick with just about anything for a mere four weeks. For this month, I have a few new goals and some modifications to the old ones.

 

FOOD:
Alcohol is allowed back in, in moderation – and just in time! Whose idea was it to forego delicious cool cocktails in June?! 🙂 For me, alcohol means “skinny” cocktails only, the occasional lite beer, and ideally I’ll keep drinks only to the weekend. I’m going to continue to keep white starches to a minimum and skip excess carbs when I can (i.e. eat a burger with a fork, minus the top side of the bun). I won’t feel guilty about an occasional dessert, but I am going to try and keep substituting it with fruit and a little whipped cream as I did several times this past month. I’ve been learning a lot about subsitutions in recipes to save on calories and fat, and want to continue to cook favorite meals we skipped on the past several weeks, but in a lightened-up way.

 

WORKOUTS
I’m really enjoying my workouts right now and nothing is boring (yet) so for now, I’m going with the flow and not changing much. I did a very minor amount of strength training in June, just trying to guage where I was, and could definitely do more with that this month. My goal is to get two lower body and two upper body/ab sessions in every week. Even if the whole session is a mere ten minutes, I just want to get in the habit of working muscle groups in addition to the cardio I’m currently doing.

 

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

 

And if the above is true, I’m hopefully right on track. I can see and feel the most subtle of changes right now, but I’m hoping with another month of progress, they can seem more “legit”. By the end of the summer, here’s hoping someone other than me might be able to see a difference (fingers crossed)!

bedroom color.

I would have named this post, “A touch of …” but I couldn’t decide what this color is officially called. In some products, it’s citron, in others, it’s mustard.

The paint chip I used when matching items was called parakeet. I think of chartreuse as being much more green, but I’ve seen things in this hue labeled that color as well.

Whatever you want to call it, I like the edginess of it for an accent color in our bedroom. A little goes a long way, and I don’t want to be overly invested in it. So, I picked up the bowl above from Marshall’s for a whopping seven bucks, and found these pillows from CB2. Mixing patterns is a step out of my comfort zone (I’m never certain if something “works” together or not) but I love these with the pattern of our duvet. Plus, I can flip them from the grey honeycomb pattern to solid if the mood strikes me.

Finally, to offset the geometric print, I love the more feminine flair in this sweet Etsy pillow from dedeetsyshop. And while I’m still planning to DIY a headboard in the hopefully-near future (maybe in that same pillow’s same dark grey linen?), for now I’m coloring this room done!

Linking up today with My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia!

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

June of Doom check-in: Workouts and Foods I Love

We are nearing the end of June of Doom, and I’m excited to keep it up with “July of Try” as we’re calling it – or, as Page is calling it… “July: Come on Guy!” Whatever we call it, the point is to keep up healthy habits, adjust the rules and goals we set for ourselves in June either to step it up a bit, or be more flexible, depending on what’s working and what’s not.

For me, I’ve cut way back on sugary snacks and sweets, and have been consciously getting 1-2 servings of fruit a day (this is big for me, not a fruit person). I’ve also been consistently getting 5-6 SWEATY workouts in every week. In the past, I would log a 30 minute elliptical “jog” as a workout, but could have gone on to the grocery store in my gym clothes without embarassment if need be. This time around, I’ve amped up the intensity and every time I leave the gym, I am drenched through my clothes and my hair is plastered to my head. I love working out on this level, especially when for the other 23 hours of the day I sit. Sit at a desk. Sit at a computer. Sit in the car. Sit on the couch. I’ve learned that I owe it to myself to make the hour of activity I do really count. Even though I was doing some regular workouts before, I feel so much better, both physically and mentally in recent weeks, and I definitely feel less stress, so it’s never hard to get motivated to go break a sweat.

I try to keep it mixed up in terms of workouts and I rely equally on group fitness stuff that I don’t have to think about and can just follow along with, as well as individual workouts that I can do on my own schedule. Between two runs a week (I’m a wuss in the heat, so I’ve taken these indoors to the treadmill) two step aerobics classes a week, and two of this elliptical “Brazilian Butt” workout per week, I’ve had no trouble getting my daily sweat on.

 

 

The other half of this effort is diet. For me, this part is always a bit harder because I do love food and flavors and planning healthy versions of everything requires time and effort ahead of time that is sometimes scarce. I’ve tried to set aside time each weekend to get a grip on what’s on hand and plan out dinners, making enough to use as leftovers for lunch. Between ingredients for lightening dishes up, and some favorite on-the-go foods, these are a couple of my favorite things setting up shop in my pantry and fridge right now.

First up, the oh-so-popular Chobani yogurt. The plain, non-fat flavor is pretty much awful on its own, but amazing when added to all kinds of recipes. Until recently, I had used it in place of sour cream and cream cheese ingredients, but found this chart and learned it can be used for so many more things, replacing high fat ingredients with low fat, added protein.

 

 

My new love for breakfast is oatmeal. After reading an article about oats being one of the best foods for burning fat in the belly area, I was all for trying it. In the mornings, I need quick and I need convenient. I’m not one to COOK my breakfasts – no time. So these little OatFit pouches are perfect, and great for taking to the office. Once you tear open the packet and put the oats in a bowl, the pouch doubles as an ad-hoc measuring cup to add the right amount of water. There are several kinds of oatmeal is this company’s line-up but the OatFit kind comes in both Maple & Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon Roll, both delish, and both only 100 calories per serving (as opposed to others that are 170 or higher).

I layer these hot in the bottom of a bowl, add a layer of cool Chobani yogurt with fruit (black cherry, pineapple, mango) and then a few fresh tart cherries on top. The hot and cool and tart together are awesome and make oatmeal “work” for me in warm summer months. Plus it sticks with me all morning.

Finally, we went without booze in June (for the most part…there were a couple of cocktails that managed to be consumed) but in July, it’s back on the “okay” list in moderation. And moderation means using the new Voli vodka – lower calorie vodka that comes in several flavors. It also has a lower alcohol content than most vodkas, but we figure after a month without, our tolerance is lower anyway, right? 🙂

While I know I haven’t dropped much weight according to the scale, there are definitely some changes I’m starting to note, almost four weeks in. I’ll be back to share those as well as the new short “July checklist” of goals and things to strive for and keep me on track. One month at a time!

 

the basement diaries: volume 1

We are officially ready to start Operation: Finish the Basement.

The basement that started off the whole building experience for us back in September…

…Progressed to this in October…

…and by November had come just about as far as it was going to, remaining unfinished 🙂

From December until now, this area has served as storage and staging area during the move-in and decorating process, then became Page’s workshop while he built the bookcases upstairs.

Now that we’ve swept up the sawdust, sold a massive pile of garage sale items, and kept only the necessary tools down here to get started, the basement looks like this as you come down the stairs to the lower level…

You turn around at the bottom and in this cove to the left is where we would like a mini bar area to go. (Yes, still have a few things to get moved out of here.)

And straight on ahead will be come a short hallway of sorts as we close in everything to the left to be closet/storage that will give us access to our HVAC…

…And a half bath (fortunately a bathroom was stubbed down here) will go to the left of the doors that head out to the patio. We would like to put a hot tub out there, so having a tiled entry and bathroom right inside will be convenient.

If you turn to the right, away from where the storage closet/bath will be, you can see the future TV/living room in all its “before” glory. How do you like our decorating down here? The exquisite window coverings are compliments of Goodwill’s “linen” department…until we have actual walls to hang window treatments from, we thought it felt a little exposed being on the ground level with a jackpot of tools just inside.

I have been pinning like a madwoman to my “Finishing the Basement” board as I try and figure out which direction to go in when it comes to decorating. We both want to do something different than what’s in the rest of the house – a little more drama and a little more modern. The word “industrial” keeps popping up. In short, we want to have a little fun on this level. 🙂 Thankfully, I think we have a little time before any of those decisions need to be made!

In the meantime, we’ll be referring to this book as our bible, and our first steps are to measure and map out exactly where walls and any insets to the walls will go, apply for our permit, and order our lumber to start framing (Page is stoked for this step). We will hire out the drywall and painting, as well as electrical and plumbing (since it’s not only required that we hire this to obtain our permit, but it’s well beyond our knowledge!). Beyond that point, I think we’ll decide on a case-by-case basis what we can/want to do ourselves – I wouldn’t mind trying to install tile ourselves, and Page has already declared he can install the countertops, but other things like carpet and cabinets we might leave to the pros. It’s a lot to coordinate, but we’re looking forward to working on this over the coming months (our goal is end of the year) and taking a little more time to weigh options and make decisions than we had the rest of the house. Stay tuned… 🙂

Arrange and rearrange.

With the bookcases completed, the next step was to unpack the last few boxes from our move in December, which housed our collection of books, photo albums, and scrapbooks. It’s so nice to have our stuff easily accessible again, and to be able to plug in a couple of lamps… I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have light on this end of the room!

I also had a collection of treasures, some old and some new, that I was anxious to display as well. I can’t stand the look of bookcases that are just CRAMMED with stuff, so there was a good bit of loading these up, paring things back, standing back with my head tilted to one side, and then repeating all over again until I got it all in an order I liked.

One of my favorite new additions to the bookcase was this greeting card that jumped out at me at World Market because of the colors. Especially with no kids, you can only frame so many photos of yourselves, so I like mixing up what goes in some of our frames. This one in particular I love because it ties in perfectly with our the wood of our hutch and kitchen table across the room.

I also had fun adding some color with these funky bookends. I purposely didn’t want them all to match, so I bought two different sets from TJ Maxx, both of which were an antiqued white to begin with.

A couple coats of spray paint followed by a coat of gloss and I was loving the color upgrade.

I’m a little OCD when it comes to organization, so of course the books had to be grouped into genres: Business, political, religion, fiction, food and fitness, and memories.

Like my mom says, bookcases are constantly evolving (you obtain new books or treasures, you sell some, the seasons/holidays change…) so I’m happy with where they are, for now. Looking forward to playing around with them from time to time!

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