March 29, 2010

Decorating for Dummies

Now that Jonathan Adler is my Facebook friend he sent me this article he wrote on MSN.com about arranging items for your home.  I like this mix of symmetry and asymmetry (his words, not mine, duh).  Since I am only slightly left brained compared to other engineers, I like how it is asymmetric yet organized.  Decorating dressers, tables, etc are always hard for me.  And, if you so desire, there is a 10% discount code in the article for jonathanadler.com.  Let me know if you buy anything!  I want that mirror.  Or this one.  Either would work in black for my "new" bathroom but at $595 - way out of my price range, even after the discount.  A girl can dream...

March 28, 2010

Smidgebox

M'Oprah a.k.a. Marija blogged about this Etsy shop awhile back and like a good little minion, I had to order one of these fabric buckets. Here is mine, so cute!  Hurry up UPS.

Buy one of your very own at Smidgebox

March 23, 2010

Week 12 - drumroll please!

So today our little contest ends.  Seeing such great results was really inspiring.  As a group we lost 188lbs in just 12 weeks!!!  Give yourself a pat on the back.  And most impressive of all - even though some of us didn't do as well as we would have liked (self included), not a single person gained weight over the 12 week period.  For me this was less about the 12 week contest and more about living a balanced life.  So, I didn't rush out and eat a burger and fries today after my weigh-in, instead I scheduled a workout with my trainer at lunch.  And I went to a 90 minute hot yoga class after work.  And I made all of my meals.  All the things we have to do on a daily basis to reach our goals.  I hope we can all celebrate our successes but continue to stay on track - for some that means losing more weight and for others that means maintenance.

So, who is the Biggest Loser????

LORI!!!!

Below is the FINAL percentage of weight loss after Week 12 (this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 1.01%
Marija 3.05%
Karin 8.56%
Carolina 3.85%
Kristy 1.69%
Auntie Ann 4.52%
Jennifer 6.29%
Tracy 6.06%
Danielle 0.47%
Claire 10.03% - THIRD PLACE exceeded her goal by 1lb!
LaVerne 3.87%
Jamie 2.63%
Amy S-C 1.28%
Chelsea 4.07%
Marcy 10.28% - SECOND PLACE came within a few lbs of her goal while raising 3 young daughters!
Lori 13.94% - FIRST PLACE exceeded her goal by over 3lbs!
Shannon 4.46%
Amy G-S 9.38% - FOURTH PLACE came within a few lbs of her goal, also while raising 3 very young daughters!
Amanda 6.99%
Michelle 7.78%

Marcy was in the lead for a good long time but Lori came from behind and never looked back.  Can you believe 3 people lost more than 10%?  That is so amazing!  Lori won our secondary contest too (who lost the highest percentage of weight in the last four weeks) but girl can't win all the props so the honor goes to Claire who lost 3.81% in the last month!  Way to go Claire.  No prize though other than your skinny ass.

Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:

  • Michelle: Down 1 whole dress size!
  • Claire: today i spent 30mins and $75 at the drycleaner- totally worth it to have my pants taken in several inches
  • Amy G-S: I have a donation truck coming: All Maternity and post-maternity (ie: fat) clothes are leaving the house. I'm only 2 lbs above Wedding & Pre-Baby weight (all three babies, that is).  My fat jeans are being demoted to the top shelf of the closet and although I have some "firming up" to do, I'm officially back into my "normal" clothing. Thanks, Keri for holding me accountable!!!
  • And how did Lori do it you ask?  No surprises here people - she ate right and worked out, a lot!  Duh!  5-6 meals per day - all prepared ahead of time so she could take them to work.  Lori did the Body for Life workouts - for those who aren't familiar they consist of 3 weight workouts and 3 cardio workouts a week - which Lori supplemented with spinning, pilates, aerobics and yoga classes.  Lori said her proudest moment was when she could zip up her skinny jeans, and now they are loose!!!  Way to go Lori! (Lori also said losing almost 30lbs was prize enough for her, so she's humble too - but please send her your congratulations).
Is it too soon to ask who's ready for Round 2?  Summer is right around the corner ladies.  Several of you expressed interest when you sent me your final weights.  Let me know when you might want to start-up, and if you have any creative ideas to keep everyone motivated.  Hopefully we'll get some new peeps too.  Warning - I'll shoot you quite a look if you weigh-in to Round 2 higher than you left Round 1 (uh hum, Claire).  For those of you who thanked me for the weight that you lost - I wasn't the one that did the work, you get all of the credit!  Personally I think the accountability is this biggest benefit that this group was able to provide, that and the buddy system.  So, good job ladies!  I'm so proud!!!  Congratulations to everyone!!!

March 21, 2010

Basement Bath Redux

Here are the results of our basement bath reno!  So much work for such a little space!  In the end I tried three different colors and ended up having to prime the walls.  Then I decided to paint the ceiling and trim which weren't part of my initial plan but I'm glad I took that extra step.  Bernie had to patch walls and remount the light and oh yeah, remove the toilet.  Which had a bad valve.  Isn't that always the case?

Before: 3/4 bath.  Blah creme color on walls and ceiling.

During: I wanted to paint the bathroom a pearlescent color for a hint of sheen.  Not only was this an expensive exercise (a quart cost about as much as a gallon of paint) but I just couldn't get it to cover well.  I used Benjamin Moore's Metallic/Pearelscent glazes.  The first color I tried was "stillness" which turned out to be very green and did not cover well at all. 


I thought I would give it another try with "shyness" (it is painted on the left of the picture below).  The color was a perfect champagne silver, but I wasn't confident that I could get an even application so I cut my losses and primed over the whole mess.  This color went on better than stillness and I switched from a semi-smooth roller to a micro fine roller which made a big difference.  Also, I don't think your walls can be super smooth - I may have had better results going over a primer vs. the slick walls I started with.

The final color is AC-28 "Smoky Embers" by Benj M.  I love it.  It's on the warmer side of gray with a hint of brown.  It goes well with the black built in shelves, brushed nickle hardware, and newly white trim and ceiling (BenjM Chantilly Lace).

A couple of things I learned on this project - one, green Frog tape is worth every penny.  I had zero bleed through and it didn't pull the paint off my trim work.  I'll never buy the blue stuff again.  Second, don't waste your time painting around a toilet - pull it off and get a good paint job.  Same goes for light fixtures, towel holders, etc.

Now, on to the stencil.  I bought a Virginia Creeper stencil and used the Shyness glaze mentioned above.  It turned out exactly how I wanted!  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  For details on where I got the stencil, see my Etsy blog post from last week.  I taped the stencil to the wall, the instructions that came with it strongly suggested NOT using adhesive spray.  Use a foam roller with rounded edges, get paint on your roller then roll it onto a paper towel so there isn't a lot of paint, use medium pressure and off you go!

Once the room was basically done I decided one more stencil was in order.  After I got my main stencils on the wall I pretty much hacked the thing to pieces so I could fit it in tighter spots.  Notice the cute little frames did you?  Last night I picked up some inexpensive frames and lucite boxes from Target's new Liberty of London line.  I wanted to buy them last week, but figured I would never find a use for them.  I was totally Wrong.
Drum roll please!  Here it is, the big reveal.  The metallic paint really gave a barely-there finish that you can't see in all the pictures.  I filled the frames with pictures from Todd and Anne Marie's wedding including the family tradition - "jump" pictures.  I want to replace the mirror and the glass shades on the light fixture but all in all the room is done and I LOVE it.  Big time.  Voila!

On to the next project!

March 19, 2010

Blogs I Dig...


I've seen this done on other blogs - a little shout out to the bloggers who I love to read.  And since we are getting a shitstorm of snow, I figured the locals might need a little something to keep them busy this weekend.  Here it goes, in no particular order:

Written by Bernie's cousin Nipper's wife Marija.  Actress, wife, mom, crafty woman extrordinaire.  When I started reading this blog I was all, what the hell is a blog?  Now look at me.

I read about Raina in Elle Decor last year - an inerior designer recently transplanted to Denver.  All in all I would call it a design blog.  Anyone who puts a Happy Effin Birthday hat on their kid is okay in my book.  Hilarious.  Raina introduced me to my interior designer Jamie Foley.  Thanks!  And her blog roll led me to the next two blogs on my list, I just had to check them out based on name alone.  Double thanks!

The Claw
Sherri has a wicked sick sense of humor which I'm totally into.  It cracks my shit up the way she inserts herself and others into photos next to celebs and rockers.  Want to have a par-tay with Ryan Gossling?  Sherri is your girl.  She loves the Rock and the Roll.  And don't get me started on the movie reviews, 4 and a half Claws up!

The name alone brought me in.  This is the first W&M blogpost I ever read and I thought it was laugh out loud funny.  She had me at "what-the-fuckery."

Bernie's new blog about starting his own business.  Much success honey!  Blog on with your bad ass.

So there you have it, my Top 5.  So what's your favorite blog?  Are there any lurkers hanging out here at My Year Started Tuesday Night?  Introduce yourselves - the more the merrier!

March 18, 2010

Out with the old

After an unfortunate trip to Breckenridge, my baby had seen better days...R.I.P.
I know I should have gotten something greener but I have a 110lb dog to haul around, plus 1,000 home improvement projects.  You can take the girl out of Michigan...but you can't take the (big American truck lovin) Michigan out of the girl.  It's true, I bought the exact same truck I've had for the last 8 years.  Those that know me I'm sure are not surprised....

As disappointed as I was to have a car payment again, the remote start, heated seats, satellite radio, and blue tooth have made the transition a little easier.  The third row seat, however, was promptly put in the attic.

March 17, 2010

Week 11 - who's in it to win it?

ONLY 1 WEEK LEFT!!!! Don't forget we still have a secondary contest.

11 weeks in and still making progress!  You ladies are awesome.  Are you checking in with your buddies and keeping them motivated in the home stretch?  Will Lori win?  Will Marcy pull ahead in this final week?  Will there be a dark horse that comes from behind? Stay tuned for next week and the announcement of winners.  Any ideas on what the prize should be?

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 11 (this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 0.51%
Marija 1.53%
Karin 7.18%
Carolina 3.08%
Kristy 2.33%
Auntie Ann 4.52%
Jennifer 6.29%
Tracy 5.30%
Danielle 0.31%
Claire 8.41%
LaVerne 3.87%
Jamie 2.63%
Amy S-C 1.92%
Chelsea 3.75%
Marcy 10.28%
Lori 11.92%
Shannon 3.72%
Amy G-S 7.99%
Amanda 7.53%
Michelle 7.22%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals and antioxidants to keep you healthy, young, and free of cancer. The goal is "five a day," but to lose weight, keep serving sizes in mind. Many whole fruits are two servings, like a large apple or a banana. "Eat both and you've already had four servings," warns Schmidt. Sugar snap peas and baby carrots are two good snacks. Bolognese sauce on spaghetti squash is a great pasta alternative, says Apovian. But beware of what you put on your produce. Hummus adds fat; a better alternative is low-fat dip or salad dressing. Peanut butter on apple slices tastes great, but adds 100 calories per spoonful.
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
This one comes from me again this week.  Yesterday I started reading The Complete Beck Diet for Life by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.  I've told most of you about this already so I won't go into details, but it was an eye opener to say the least.  I recommend this book for anyone who knows what to do, but makes bad choices anyway.  Are you a self saboteur?  This is the book for you.  If you don't want to do the work (cognitive therapy exercises), this is not the book for you.  If you end up reading it, please let me know your thoughts/results.

March 15, 2010

Grow Dammit, Grow!

So it begins, our first garden.  The lovely Mrs. Anne Marie Hoffman was in Denver for a brief stay at our house Friday night...just long enough to help get our seeds started.  I did not twist her arm and put her to work mind you, she was thrilled at the thought of working in the "garden" after two years in a Brooklyn walk-up. Pictures don't lie, girl was giddy.  See for yourself.  Todd, buy that woman some land, she needs green space.

And did you know Dr. AM worked at a Botanical Garden once?  Very helpful in planning what to start, where to put it, etc.  We got the lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, and brussels sprouts started.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Denver and I'm glad we got everything seeded because it snowed the very next day.  If all my seeds grow, I will be handing plants and veggies over to friends. 

I used 72 cell flats.  We planted nine cells of each variety, more for salad greens.  I tried to get two seeds into every cell but those buggers are hard to handle and some times I may have put five in there.  I bought all of my seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  I very much recommend this company, and even if you don't buy their seeds they have a great blog with lots of good information on seed starting, seed collecting, gardening, etc.  In addition to what we bought, Bernie's Auntie Ann and Uncle John sent us a house warming gift of seeds - how great was that?  HVSL has great artists packs of seeds that might be fun to frame (bad pic, but it was so sunny I couldn't tell), my favs are Bridge to Paris Peppers and New Yorker Tomatoes.  All in all I have 25+ varieties to plant, overly ambitious for a first time gardener to say the least.

Anne Marie did all of the dirty work, I somehow managed to take pictures and drop the seeds into the holes she made me.  The lettuces are in the cold frame a.k.a. the front porch and everything else is in the heated green house a.k.a. the back porch.  And now we wait.  And plan next steps.  And build our raised beds.  More to come...but I will say, if all goes well, this will be very rewarding.  p.s. I had a great time getting to know the other Mrs. Hoffman better, can you come visit again soon?  Maybe around transplant time? 

Ta-Da!!!

March 14, 2010

My Etsy

When I first heard about Etsy I was like, what the hell is Etsy?  Basically it is a market place for creative people who make things.  At first it was totally overwhelming but once you know what you are looking for, you can narrow your search down.  Here are a few of the fabulous things I've purchased:

Merci cards from Sweet Bella Cards.  Pricey, but very lovely and I love any thank you card in French.

Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  Hoping to transform the basement bath with this project.  I've asked this seller to design a stencil based on the Imperial Trellis wallpaper that I want for our first floor bath.  Fingers crossed!

Fabric bucket from Smidgebox.  I didn't come across this lovely shop, Marija gets credit for the find.  This seller was awesome to work with and sent me loads of fabric pictures so I could design my own custom bucket.  I should get it next week made from the two bottom fabrics on the right side of the picture below.



Do you have any awesome Etsy finds?

March 9, 2010

Week 10 - you can do this, I know you can

ONLY 2 WEEKS LEFT!!!!  Remember our secondary contest.

Some new milestones this week - Carolina is over halfway to her goal!  Claire is 1lb from her goal and still strongly in 3rd place!  Marcy is only 4lbs from her goal and still in second place!  I don't remember if I wrote about it last week but Amanda and Michelle have been over the half way point for at least two weeks now!  And, finally, drumroll please....Lori met her goal and is running away with this contest!!!!!    I'm actually excited to report the final results in a couple of weeks, we have at least 6 people on track to meet their entire goal - how awesome is that???

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 10 this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 0.51%
Marija 1.91%
Karin 6.63%
Carolina 3.08%
Kristy 2.33%
Auntie Ann 5.16%
Jennifer 5.41%
Tracy 5.30%
Danielle 0.94%
Claire 8.74%
LaVerne 3.50%
Jamie 2.63%
Amy S-C 2.56%
Chelsea 3.44%
Marcy 10.28%
Lori 12.63%
Shannon 2.60%
Amy G-S 7.99%
Amanda 6.99%
Michelle 6.67%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Eat a Better Breakfast
It's advice we know — and usually ignore! Not only does skipping breakfast keep you from getting vital nutrients, it can lead to your grabbing tasteless, empty-calorie foods, like that stale Danish from the office coffee cart. "Breakfast stokes up your furnace and gets your metabolism going for the entire day," says Schmidt. And the best breakfast choices are fast and easy:

• Fresh fruit & yogurt
• High-fiber cereal with skim milk and fruit
• Oatmeal
• Smoothie made with nonfat yogurt, frozen blueberries, and avocado
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
Okay, this one comes from yours truly.  I totally killed Claire and myself Sunday with 30 minutes of high intensity weights followed by a 30 minute walk in the park. The plan was I was going to train my friends Claire and Chelsea then take a walk in the park, but then my trainer cancelled on me on Saturday and Chelsea cancelled so I had to do the damn workout with Claire. I had already designed it several days earlier with the thought that I would NOT be doing it with them, but would put them thru the ringer (insert evil laugh)…so it was brutal!
I used step ups with high knee, three sets of jump squats with a hold at the end, and running to the end of the block and back as a way to get our heart rates up in between set blocks. We kept the weights light and we did all our sets back to back which also keeps the heart pumping. I was pretty proud actually. We did the entire workout in my entry way.  You really only need about 30 square feet of space and two sets of weights for a really great workout.  Then we did a 30min walk in the park. I never push myself like that when I work myself out.  I really should - now I know I can.    p.s. have you checked in with your buddy this week?

March 8, 2010

It's perplexing, I know

Have you ever had to explain to your husband why you bought bedding for a bed you don't yet own?  Below is the bedding I bought for our second guest room.  It's true, we don't own said bed.  But I found this bedding, and thought, I love that.  But then I thought it silly to buy bedding with no bed.  So I looked over my shoulder at the display bed as I rode the escalator down.  Regret.  I went back the next day.  Good Choice.  Now I need to pick a paint color - which will be in a total different direction than where I was heading.  The duvet is called "rings" by the Hotel Collection.  It was on sale and I had a coupon.  It's a creamy silvery color they call oyster, almost a champagne color, and has the slightest bit of blue in the rings.  I'm envisioning something dramatic.  Exciting.

So sometimes, bedding comes first, then paint, then the bed.  Crazy but true.  My designer suggested I find bedding first and I was all, no way, I want to pick paint first.  Yep, ate those words.  As usual.  Once the basement bath is done this will be the next room on the DIY list.

If I can bribe a few of you to visit at the same time I will have a valid reason to buy the second guest bed sooner rather than later.  Any takers?  Girls weekend? 

March 2, 2010

Week 9

After a bad Week 8 most people have gotten back on the wagon...or better yet, they are running in front of the damn wagon and burning a few extra calories (a 150lb woman running 5.2mph for 30 minutes burns 300+ calories).

I'm like a broken record here but Lori is still in the lead followed by Marcy. Claire is only 3lbs from her goal!  Lori is only 3.4lbs from her goal!  Marcy is 5lbs from her goal!  Do you remember what your goals are?  It's still entirely possible for all of us to lose at least 5% and for at least 4+ peoplel to lose 10%+.  Keep it up, 3 weeks left!!!

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 9 this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 0.51%
Marija 2.29%
Karin 6.08%
Carolina 2.31%
Kristy 2.12%
Auntie Ann 5.16%
Jennifer 4.24%
Tracy 5.30%
Danielle 0.63%
Claire 7.44%
LaVerne 3.34%
Jamie 2.63%
Amy S-C 1.92%
Chelsea 3.13%
Marcy 9.66%
Lori 10.91%
Shannon 1.12%
Amy G-S 6.60%
Amanda 6.18%
Michelle 6.11%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Get More Sleep to Lose Weight
"We all should sleep eight hours a night," stresses Apovian. Studies show that people who don't get enough rest eat more when they're awake. If you find yourself dragging in the afternoon, you might think, I'm tired, so I'll eat. "But you feel tired because you're dehydrated and need to drink more water," explains Schmidt. Speaking of fluids, if you sip a lot of coffee and caffeinated sodas throughout the day, you might have trouble sleeping at night — plus caffeine further dehydrates you, requiring you to drink even more water.
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
1) If it is a weakness, then don't have it in the house!!!!!! Our weakness used to be BBQ chips, soda, and ice cream. I would buy it at the grocery store, and then tell myself that I have enough self-control not to binge on it. Well, at 10pm at night, I would get hungry and binge.

2) Choices - Learn the better option!!! You have a choice of brands for every single item you purchase at the grocery store. Read the ingredients and learn which brand is better.  Some times you have to lean into eating better...ease yourself in so to speak.

Taco Shells - Ortega (bad) vs. Ole Del Paso (better) The reason is the partially hydrogenated oils that are in Ortega. The price is the same, but one won't give me heart disease.

Butter - Country Crock (bad) vs. Olivio (good) and Smart Balance (good). Butters made with olive oil are wayyy better for you.

Lettuce - ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC!!! There is no skin to protect you from the pesticides, and you can't wash every single leaf. Just switch to organic lettuce and be done with it.

Potato Chips - we only buy organic tortilla chips or Food Should Taste Good chips. No other kinds are allowed in our house anymore.  Still high calories though.

Bread - switch to whole wheat bread immediately. Make this a habit when ordering out too. Once you are comfortable with wheat bread, then switch to Ezekiel bread.

Sweeteners - Switch to a stevia-based sweetener such a PureVia or Truvia. This will not mess with your cravings like NutraSweet or Equal.
Jelly and Peanut Butter - switch to an 'all-fruit' jelly (no added sugar) and to a natural peanut butter. Start off with a no-stir natural peanut butter like Skippy Natural. When you get more brave, then switch to the one that you have to stir.
 Pasta - first switch to Barilla (yellow-box). When you are comfortable with that switch, then try quinoa and rice pasta.

March 1, 2010

OMFG I Heart This

Even though I'm in the middle of a bad bathroom project, the fabulous designer that I am working with sent me a link of a D.I.Y. stencil project.  I have to do it.  This is the coolest most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time.  I'm sure it will turn out like complete shit and I'll be cursing the day I ever tried it but I don't care.  Does anyone want to join me in the madness?  Pickel?  Marija?  This seems right up your alley ladies.  Something about the level of difficulty of this project brings out the DIY'er devil in me.  Let's turn our bad small bathrooms into beautiful masterpieces, shall we?  Sorry Bernie.  Sorry Nipper.  Sorry Moseli.

DIY Imperial Trellis Stencil by Hello Gorgeous


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