Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Whole30...1/3 Of The Way There!

I've been chronicling my days doing Whole30 here, but since I reached a little bit of a milestone yesterday, I thought I'd go further in depth in case you guys are interested.  For those of you who couldn't give a hoot about anything non-decor-home-related, my apologies...and feel free to skip this super wordy post. ;)

The end of day 10 meant I'm 1/3 of the way through this process!  When I thought about starting this program, I thought there would be NO WAY I could resist certain sweets and foods.  I thought I'd surely fail within the first couple days, but here I cheats and 11 days in.

Taking on this program certainly isn't an easy task, but in all honesty, it hasn't been crazy hard either.  I thought my cravings would be the toughest part, but so far, I've been able to get through those by venting to hubby and other supportive people...or just eating something that's "approved".  After all, the program doesn't restrict how much you eat, but WHAT you eat.  I've realized if I put myself in the right state of mind, then I can make it through the cravings.  I remind myself that I'm not doing this to deprive myself...rather to heal my body.  I want to give it a break from any abuse it's gotten, and restore it's proper function.  Rather than harping on what I canNOT eat, I think about the beneficial foods I can eat.  I change my focus from the craving to finding new recipes or foods to try...even a hot cup of tea or taking on some sort of task is enough to distract me from the nagging pull of unapproved foods.

Since the cravings haven't been too difficult {yet....I know this can change, eeek!}, I'd have to say the hardest part was meal planning.  Having 3 solid meals a day, with go-to snacks, that are all approved....well, that was super overwhelming for me, especially before I even started the program.  To solve that, I did a large shopping trip and purchased a bunch of "approved" items off of the shopping list they provide. Good meats, fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs and oils all went into my cart.  If I could freeze certain things, they went in the freezer to stay good....and then I just dove in head first.

I knew eggs were my go-to breakfast.  I also knew I liked I started buy cutting up a bunch of them.  I'd wrap them in a paper towel and place them into a zip lock baggie.  Every day I need breakfast, I go into my pepper stash, and dump some out into the pan.  Then I wrap the peppers up in a FRESH paper towel and back into the baggie they go.  I learned this trick from my mom, and it keeps the cut-up peppers nice and fresh for quite a few days.

For my lunches, my and hubby have gotten into the habit of grilling a bunch of chicken on Sunday night. Then I always have a good protein source for my lunch, and I can supplement that with a salad or leftover veggies from the previous night's dinner.  Also, another fab time saver is to make a ton of dinner.  Hubby usually eats what I eat for dinner, although I add a rice or couscous side for him, and then I put the leftovers into containers for my lunch.  That way, all I have to do is grab the container, some fruit, some nuts...and head out the door to work.  I love it!

I haven't noticed any of the "magic" they talk about in the book, but I'm also not at that point in the program yet.  Just because I haven't seen any of this "magic" doesn't mean I haven't had some awesome results though.  So far, I'm down 4-5 lbs, and my pants fit so. much. better.  I also don't have a crazy bloated feeling after every meal anymore.  It's amazing to lose the bloated 24-7 feeling.  I'm falling asleep quicker and I wake up earlier, without my alarm clock.  My energy has been a little "eh", but I hear that happens in the beginning because your body is changing from being a carb-for-energy fuel system, to burning fat for energy. Hopefully my energy levels rebound soon because I have a lengthy to-do list for our house! ;)

Any questions...just ask! :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Next Month of My Life...

For anyone interested, I'm keeping a short journal for each day of my Whole30 experience.  You can check it out here.  I'll try and update it daily! :)

Happy Hump Day!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

So Fab.

It is no secret that I love fabric.  It can transform a room, tie elements of design together or add a much needed pop to any space. Thankfully, in this age of technology, our fabric options are endless thanks to online fabric stores.

One of these awesome fabric stores is U-Fab, a locally owned place in Richmond that just launched their own e-store.

They have a great selection of fabric and trim, and their site is super easy to navigate. Sometimes I find it overwhelming to hunt down a fabric I have in mind, but not on their site.  There you have the option of searching by 1) color, 2) fabric use or 3) pattern.  I was able to zero in on exactly what I was looking for. {And if you aren't sure what you want, you can view all fabrics and take a look at everything they have to offer!}

I've been smitten with this gorgeous geometric print fabric for quite some time, so it was about time I brought it into my home.  I knew it'd be perfect for some pillow covers for our master bedroom.  I love that the beautiful pattern is reversible!

 I made my envelope pillow covers using this tutorial.  First, I cut my pieces to size.

Then I pinned and sewed my end seams.

Then I pinned and sewed my side seams.

And then I was done!  Easy-peasy.  I just had to flip my pillows right-side-out, and use something pointy {I had a screw driver laying around} to fully pop the corners out.  I love the bold statement in makes in our room!

Anyone else have a pattern obsession that you just can't forget about!  That means only one should head over to U-Fab and bite the bullet.  You won't regret it! :)


Major side note...I'm starting the Whole30 program today.  I know I rarely talk about personal stuff here on the blog, but I'm mentioning this as a way to hold myself accountable.  Let's hope I survive the next month! ;)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Modern & Glam Fall Wreath.

I took on quite a few DIY projects to prep for the Modern & Fresh Fall Tour.  I was nervous about how they'd all turn out, but thankfully, most were a success.  {Love it when that happens!!}  My painted acorns seemed to be a reader favorite, and while I definitely love them, I have a soft spot in my heart for the modern and glam fall wreath I made.

This is the second time I've DIY'ed my own wreath.  My first was a success, even if it did take me a little bit of time. This one took no more than 15 minutes, and I'm super smitten with the finished product.

All of the supplies I used were purchased from Michael's {wreath form, ribbon, peacock feathers, jewel embellishments and hot glue/glue gun.}

I hot glued the end of the ribbon to the wreath form, and once it cooled {and therefore was securely held in place}, I tightly wrapped  the entire form.  Then I cut my ribbon and glued the end to the "back" of the wreath.  {This piece won't be seen because of the ribbon that the wreath hangs on.}

Now it's time to decorate!  I took my stem of peacock feathers and gently pulled each feather away from the stem.  Once the feathers were separated, I played around with different arrangements until I figured out what look I was going for.  Then I began to glue my individual feathers on.  I ran a small line of hot glue in two separate areas on each feather and stuck them in place.

Once the feathers were done, it was time to play around with my jewel embellishments.

Same as the feathers, once I figured out the arrangement I liked, I hot glued the jewels to my wreath.  Done-zo!  To hang it, I simply cut a strip of black ribbon, looped it around my wreath and tucked the ends behind my mirror so it hung at the right height.

I love the statement it makes in front of the crisp white mirror.  Anyone else love anything and everything shiny?!?! I just can't help myself!!

PS - Head over here to check out a little Q&A I did with a the super inspirational Sarah from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs.


Linked up to Liz Marie Blog

Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 Cost-Effective Bathroom Updates

Raise your hand if you have an unlimited budget to freshen up your home and revamp outdated spaces...

Anyone out there raising your hand?!  Yea, I'm not either.  In fact, I don't know anyone who has a ton of cash stocked away to update important areas of their home, like a kitchen or bathroom. That's why I jumped at the chance for Tali Wee of Zillow to put together a guest post for us today about 5 cost-effective bathroom updates.

Take it away, Tali!

Many homeowners purchase their homes with the intention of remodeling or upgrading at least a few features throughout their years of ownership. Although it’s nearly impossible to find the dream home with exactly the desired finishes, buyers still spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase homes, accepting the burden of remodeling. Buying a home is an expensive process and when the monthly costs are calculated, the total typically doesn’t leave much excess to finance home upgrades.

If the financial burdens of becoming a homeowner have depleted remodeling funds, consider these five tips to improve an outdated bathroom on a budget.

1. Refresh Caulk and Grout (each <$25)

A crisp white line of new caulk is easy to apply and refreshes the appearance of an older bathroom. Re-caulk around the sink and bathtub to replace the dingy, old or stained caulking. Remove the tattered caulk with a utility knife and patience, squeeze a new bead of caulk along the gap and wipe smooth with a finishing tool. Single-use caulk costs less than $5 and a finishing tool is about $5. A caulking gun ranges in price but averages about $15 and a large tube of caulk is less than $10.

Another way to make the bathroom look anew is to re-grout the cracked, crumbling tile. The process takes longer than caulking, but is simple to complete. Scrap and score the existing joints with a utility knife, wipe with a dry cloth, re-grout, wipe with a damp sponge, let dry and wipe with a dry cloth once more. Grout is inexpensive at $15 per box, and a grout float and sponge cost less than $10 combined.

Image Source, Digs

2. Repaint (<$55)

One inexpensive way to update any room is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Consider changing up the color of the room to add personality and flair. In smaller bathrooms be sure to select lighter hues to open up the space and reflect more light. A gallon of paint ranges in quality and price from $20-$40. Painters tape and a paintbrush for a nonprofessional shouldn’t cost more than $15 combined.

Image Source, Digs

3. Redecorate (<$120)

With new paint, homeowners might select a new color theme. Consider shopping for a new shower curtain, bathmat or towels to coordinate with the new look. Replace the window curtain to tie the room together. Snag a shower curtain for less than $20, a bathmat for about $20 and a set of bath towels for about $40-$60. Depending on the style, size and material of curtain selected, it could range in price dramatically, but an average curtain might cost $20.

Image Source, Digs
4. Revamp Accessories (<$135)

Add extra details such as fragrant candles or colorful artwork for a minor bathroom upgrade. A few candles or a piece of bathroom art might cost $30. Include reading materials from around the house to stack near the commode. Spend $15 to buy a stylish basket for extra rolls of toilet tissues. Add a soap pump near the sink for $10; it provides both fashion and function. Or place a house plant in a decorative pot somewhere in the room, which may cost $30 combined. Another popular finishing touch is to hang monogramed towel hooks for the members of the family that run about $10 per hook.

Image Source, Digs

5. Replace Hardware ($150 - $230)

A great way to modernize an outdated bathroom is to swap the old fixtures and hardware with updated replacements. Visit a hardware store or antique shop to find the perfectly fitting style of knobs, pulls and light fixtures for the space. Typically door knobs cost $20 or less while drawer pulls and handles range around $5 each. Costs for light fixtures vary significantly but an average fixture might run about $70. A new sink or shower faucet with handles dramatically updates the space and usually costs around $80.

Image Source, Digs

Although purchasing a home comes with many upfront and monthly charges, homeowners shouldn’t feel stuck in an outdated home while they save up for a professional remodel. Follow these five affordable, do-it-yourself upgrades to spruce up bathrooms on a budget. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Look.

If you haven't noticed...things may look a smidge different around here.  The changes aren't major, but I'm still pretty proud of the tweaks I made.  I have no technical knowledge about any blog stuff, so while customizing a hovering "pin it" button and making your own social media buttons may be second nature to some, I was all "uhhhhhhhh, what?"  So consider me proud to have tackled some customization!

I hope you guys enjoy the new look, and please let me know if things aren't functioning as they should be!

Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Painted Acorns.

One of my favorite DIY projects I tackled when getting our house ready for the amazing Modern & Fresh Fall series, was painting acorns to use as vase/tray filler.

I simply headed out the back door of our house and collected acorns of all shapes and sizes.

Then I hopped onto the computer and Google'ed the best way to kill any bugs or creepy crawlies that might live in the acorns.  {Yuck.}  I came across a couple different ways to make the acorns "indoor-safe"...the two most common were baking and freezing.

I opted for baking.  There were many opinions on the best amount of time and temperature to bake at. Some of the higher temperature/shorter time methods seemed to have issues with exploding or burning acorns.  I definitely didn't want to have either of those issues, but I also wanted to make sure that anything that could possibly be living in the acorns were I decided to go with a lower temperature/longer baking time method.

I placed all my acorns in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  I pre-heated my oven to 200 degrees, and then I let the acorns bake for two hours.

After the first hour, I took the sheet out and gently shook things around so the acorns moved around a bit.  I wanted to make sure nothing was burning to the pan.  Then after the second hour, I took the pan out and let them cool.

{FYI - most directions talk about washing the acorns off and cleaning them thoroughly before baking them. I did this with a handful of acorns {see the couple clean ones in the lower right-hand corner of the photo above}, and then realized how ridiculously tedious of a process it'd be.  Since I wasn't eating the acorns, I did not deal with washing them.  I will admit that the ones I did wash were very pretty and polished.  So if you are going for a "natural" look with your acorns, definitely do this step!!!}

Once the acorns were cool, I got out my hot glue gun and glued the tops on all the acorns.  Most of them didn't have tops on already, so I just used a mix-and-match approach to this.  Again, this step is tedious, but super easy.  One dab of glue on the top of the acorn, and then put a top on it.  It helps to try a top before you put the glue on to make sure it "fits" the acorn.

After all my acorns had tops securely glued to them, it was time to paint!  I knew I wanted mustard, plum and teal acorns, so I separated my acorns into three equal piles.  For the teal and mustard colors, I used craft paint from my supplies, and for the plum I used Rustoleum's Aubergine spray paint.  To get it "paintable", I just sprayed a generous amount into a paper cup, and then dipped my paint brush into the cup.

WARNING - do not use a cheap plastic cup to spray into.  The spray paint will eat through the bottom of it and then you'll have spray paint EVERYWHERE.  This may or may not have happened to me while painting my acorns and pumpkins. Eeeeek!  Also, just to be safe, put a drop cloth or something similar under whatever cup you are using. :)

I held the acorns by the tops while I painted, and luckily the paint dried pretty fast on these guys.  I tried to prop them up by their tops, so none of the painted surface touched anything while they dried, but not all of them would stay standing. For those who fell over, and then had some of the paint come off, I simply touched up those spots and let them dry on the side that was already dried.

The painting was pretty tedious, but nothing terrible...just a few seconds per acorn.  And I think the results are totally worth it! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Modern & Fresh Fall Home Tour

I truly love warm weather and sandy beaches, but when fall rolls around, my heart swells.  There is just something about the crisp air and pumpkin-apple-cinnamon-scented-everything that makes me crave a warm and cozy home.

I have always equated fall with a certain color palette…orange, amber, yellow, red and brown.  This year I wanted to push myself outside of that traditional take on fall and come up with a new scheme that still felt “fall” to me.  The Modern & Fresh Fall series that Lindsay and Kristen created gave me the perfect opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. 

I found my inspiration in fabric.  I was drawn to a combination of rich colors…dark teal, plum, mustard yellow, charcoal gray and black.  And since every girl needs a little sparkle in her life, I knew I’d be adding some metallics into the mix, as well. ;)

I used my inspiration fabrics and ribbon to DIY new curtains {which, forgive me, are still not hemmed because I am installing new curtain rods in the very near future}, new table runners and envelope pillow covers.  Then I brought in a bunch of décor that screams fall to me…lots of candles, snuggly blankets and textured pillows.  I painted pumpkins, acorns and branches…and added some peacock feathers and pine cones, too.

So, enough with all the words…time for some pictures!!

I hope you guys enjoyed taking a peak into our Modern & Fresh Fall home!  I really enjoyed the challenge, and am so grateful that I could be a part of such a talent-filled series!

Don’t forget to check out Lindsay, Kristen and Sarah’s homes from days 1 and 2 of the tour.  You won't want to miss any of their awesomeness.

And head on over to Brittany from Brittany Makes tomorrow to see her fantastic home and style!


Full Tour Schedule
1 – Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co. and Kristen from KFD Designs
2 – Sarah from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs 
3 – Gabbi from Retro Ranch Reno 
4 – Brittany from Brittany Makes
5 – Jesse from Scout & Nimble
6 – Julia from Cuckoo 4 Design
7 – Carolyn from Sweet Chaos Home
8 – Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home
9 – Bethany from Dwellings by Devore
10 – Carmel from Our Fifth House
11 – Kristin from The Hunted Interior
12 – Anneke from This That & Life 
13 – Michelle from Décor and the Dog
14 – Cassie from Primitive & Proper
15 – Ally from From the Right Bank
16 – Shannon from Shannon Berrey Designs
17 – Danika from Gorgeous Shiny Things
18 – Kristin from Bliss at Home
19 – Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof
20 – Jessica from Dear Emmeline
21 – Kelly from View Along the Way
22 – Sarah from Lacquer and Linen
23 – Eileen from A Creative Day Blog
24 – Sarah from Royal Marigold
25 – Lori from Lori May Interiors
26 – Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles
27 – Caitlin from Desert Domicile
28 – Sherry from Design Indulgence
29 – Lakeitha from Lakeitha Duncan Lifestyle Blog
30 – Shavonda from A Home Full of Color and Whitney from The Curtis Casa
31 – Angela from Number Fifty-three and Jennifer from Brave New Home