April Recap and Favorites


Recap on April Goals:I almost didn’t want to recap my goals for this month because I fell somewhat short in more than one area.  However, I think it’s important to reflect on the bad as well as the good. So, for better or worse, here we go!

1) Wake up early to enjoy the mornings: I thought this was going to be my most challenging goal, and it kind of turned out that it was and it wasn’t.  6 days out of the month (yes, I counted!) I rolled out of bed before 5:30am.  And . . . I LOVED it!  I was more energized for the better part of the day and I got to start my day with working on projects.  So, why didn’t it last?  I got so tired at the end of the week.  So tired that I was in actual physical pain.  Instead of pushing through that and keeping it as my new schedule I fell back to the temptation of sleeping just a little later (more like an hour later). Waking up extra early is definitely something I will continue to challenge myself to do.  I’m sure sooner or later it’s just going to be a normal feeling habit.

2) Paint Something on a Large Canvas- Yes, complete!

3) Finish Painting Backyard patio furniture- It was a painful test of patience, but I finished! I’ll be posting a before and after photos next month along with some tips on how you can transform your patio furniture just in time for summer lounging and backyard barbecues :-)

4) Journal after Wednesday Experience bible study: Epic fail on this one.  I loved every Wednesday night bible study, but nothing got transferred to paper.  Once I figure out how I can wake up at 5:15 every morning, I’ll dedicate the first 30 minutes of Thursday morning to doing this.
5)  Lose 5 lbs. :  I think I should have made this goal a little more positive instead of putting such a finite number down.  I did lose 3 pounds, which I think was due to an increased amount of running I did, but I watched the number go up and down all month and became obsessive over it . . . not a good thing.  Next month I’m going to have a health goal, but it’s going to be much more positive!  Image

And now for the Favorites! :-)

Food: O cooked some amazingly delicious steaks this month.  I wish I had photos! They were perfectly grilled and seasoned.  I’m definitely going share his grilling tips the next time we have a cookout.

Home project: Slowly bringing more color into our home.  O and I definitely have different styles.  Though we both like to keep things on the simple/minimalistic side, he leans towards a modern style while I’m kind of on the shabby chic side . . . and girly, definitely girly.  So, I’ve made my office as girly as it can possibly be and for the other areas of the home I’ve started adding pops of color- whether it’s through artwork or pillows- even the smallest changes can make a huge difference!

Makeup product: It’s all about lip color for me in the spring.  I love the Revlon Lip butters and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stains (favorite colors: lovesick and adore.

Movie/Show: I rediscovered my love for Big Bang Theory this month.  That show is hilarious.  If you’re in love with Big Bang too, I recommend watching this.

Favorite Read: Whenever I find a blog that I absolutely love and admire, I always do something kind of odd . . . I search the archives section for some of the oldest posts.  I think its so interesting to see how people started and how their outlook transformed into something successful.  I loved this post about learning from the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ January 2013 archives.

Workout Routine:  I posted a very in-depth overview of my current routine and workout favorites here.

Song: I’m loving everything by Florence and the Machine right now.  I have the station set to repeat on Pandora :-)

Saying/Quote: “It feels good to be lost in the right direction”

I hope April was an amazing month for you!

2014 Project Life: Weeks 15-16


Happy Monday!  I’ve decided to continue uploading my Project Life spreads since I’ve been thoroughly enjoying seeing what others have created for their albums.  Yesterday I saw this post and it really got me thinking about the possibilities of what changes I could make for my album next year.  I’ve been enjoying doing a weekly spread, but I’m sure I’m going to want to have some options for other formats when January hits.  Change is good :-)


For Week 15 I focused mainly on a Saturday trip to the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area where our (or should I say O’s) main goal was to get me to eat sushi.  I’ve always been very hesitant to try raw fish, and in general I didn’t grow up eating any kind of fish, so eating sushi was not something that was at the top of my goals list (actually, it wasn’t on there at all!).  However, I know how much O loves food, and especially sushi, so it seemed only right to give it a try after all this time of us being together.  Before we went I knew I was gong to give it a fair try.  I wasn’t going to pick at my food . . . I was going to take full bites and try to not think about what I was eating, but more about how it tasted.  To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  For now, it falls pretty low in my preferred food choices, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to eating sushi again.  In fact, those spicy albacore chips were pretty darn good!


I found the quote “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” here .  I’m absolutely loving this quote and have it installed as my desktop wallpaper.


This artwork for “The World is your Oyster” is from a desktop calendar I have at work.  Occasionally I’ll hold onto the quotes that I want to use in my PL album or just pin up for future inspiration.  It seemed to fit quite well for this week’s spread :-)


Easter fell in Week 16, so I knew I would be using a lot of photos from that day.  I love the photo of O with his mom from when we went out to breakfast after church.  So much sunshine and happiness from spending time with family on that day.

PL_April 19-25 Closeup2

I’m so crazy about that Dear Lizzy bunny sticker!

PL_April 19-25 Closeup3

Again, the “Life is a beautiful ride” is another desktop calendar pick- definitely getting another one of these calendars next year!


Friday => With Love

Be Amazing Quote** . . . Wow, what if these two words were in everyone’s daily mantra? Love this! And love that this artwork is a free printable that can be downloaded here.

** I need to carve out some time to carve out some of these for my mom, sister, and closest girlfriends . . . and maybe 5 for me! :-)

** Lately I’ve been trashing/donating things left and right . . . I’ve caught the Spring Cleaning bug for sure!  This article has me wanting to do a whole lifestyle transformation.  New weekend projects?
** I’m obsessed with breakfast.  Isn’t it seriously the best meal of the day?  This recipe is reason enough to start a weekend morning with some cooking!
** Ingrid’s videos are seriously my favorite. I love the versatility she brings to her channel . . . beauty, fashion, health/recipes, DIY, and her cheeriness always puts me in a good mood!
I’m so ready for this weekend.  No big plans for the next couple of days, but I’m pretty sure that relaxation will trump all things on the list.  Hoping to spend some time on the Skillshare classes I signed up for a few weeks ago, catching up on project life (yes, I fell a little behind) and testing out some recipes I recently bookmarked.  This laid back weekend will be awesome :-) Happy Friday!


A Colorful Painting Project

ImageWhen I decided I was finally going to paint the very large canvas I bought over 2 years ago, I knew right away that it was going to be abstract.  I wanted to play around with colors just enough to get a nice color combination going, but not too much that I was going to make a mess of mixing the colors together.  I’ve been loving the yellow, blue, grey color combination for awhile and it seemed to be a combination that would add the right pop of color to any of our downstairs rooms.  Currently this painting is hanging in our family room in a corner that doesn’t get too much light and I love that it adds a colorful vibrancy to the rest of the neutral tones we have in the room.  The painting is one of the first things I see when I walk through the door, and it makes me so happy every time I see it- I don’t know if its the pop of color or just the fact that it represents me tackling a project that initially made me very nervous, but I usually don’t fight the things that make me happy . . . which is why I eat chocolate every day (but that’s another story ;-)
ImageP.S. Michael’s occasionally has great deals on large canvases.  I can’t remember how much this canvas was, but I believe it was 60% off last black Friday.  It’s definitely worth the wait to save lots of money on those big ticket items.  Image



Well, there’s no turning back now . . . I am officially registered for my sixth half marathon!  This will be my first time running the same half marathon twice and I’m pretty excited about the fact that I already know what to expect from the course :-)  I’ve been contemplating registering for for the last month, and after a great run that beat all of my pace records I thought to myself .  . . let’s do this ;-)   At the beginning of the year I was pretty sure that my long distance running was over.  I was completely out of running shape and struggled to finish even a 1 mile run without walking on the treadmill, but the worst part was that I lacked the motivation to get over that hurdle.  I would run, but it would be for the physical product, not the enjoyment.  Finally, in early March I went for a run outside and rediscovered the many things I had forgotten I love about running.  There’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you can cover so much ground on your own two feet.  So, when the “spring forward” change happened last month, I started going for runs after work, and that increased to doing some weekend runs, and eventually it kind of felt like I was back into a running routine.

So, where does all of this leave me with my running?  To be honest, I’m not quite sure.  Running takes its toll and long runs are especially exhausting, but the feeling afterward (if you don’t overdo it too much) is wonderful.  Right now, I’m about 75% sure I’ll be doing a full marathon in October . . .  maybe I’ll know for sure after I run this half.  However, all I’m focusing on right now is training hard enough to beat my 2012 time.  That feels like a big enough goal for the moment!


Favorites: All About Fitness!

Since one of my goals this month is to lose 5 pounds,  I’ve had fitness and eating on the brain quite a bit.  So, to celebrate reaching the halfway point of this month (oh yeah!) I wanted to take some time to talk about my fitness routines and share a few of my favorite fitness apps, workouts, and tips for staying motivated.
First, a disclaimer: I am not a trainer or a doctor.  I have not always been a fitness enthusiast, but after losing 30 pounds over 3 years ago and seeing the multitude of ways that changed my life, I finally realized the deep meaning of being an active and healthy person.  Nowadays I enjoy working out and trying new things.  So, if you’re in need inspiration to either get started or get going again, I hope this post gets that ball rolling.  Here we go!
Favorite Workouts:
My routine mainly consists of 3-4 days cardio, 1 day arms and core, 1 day legs, 1 day yoga, 1 day rest.  Sometimes I slip in some extra arm and leg workouts when I do bootcamp style workouts. This has not always been my schedule, and occasionally I miss a day, but for the most part this is what I’m currently sticking to, and what I’m hoping is going to help me achieve my fitness goal this month!
Running: I used to hate running but when I took on the goal of running a 10K and eventually training for and running half marathons I saw just how effective this workout can be.  I typically do a 3-4 mile jog on a cardio day.  Occasionally, I’ll slip in longer runs on the weekend, especially if I’m training.

Workout Classes: I’ve found some awesome class deals on Groupon (be sure to check the reviews and the websites/yelp before signing up!).  I’ve enrolled in Zumba and Yoga classes for great prices.  Even though classes are offered at my gym, I like visiting new studios, seeing new people, and working out with new instructors.  Its just another way of switching things up.

‘Pinned’ Exercises: I love some of the Pinterest workouts out there! It reminds me of the days when I used to work out with a trainer and he would show up with a little piece of paper with written down exercises and then call them out to me.  The main difference here is that I have to power through the exercises and can’t rely on a trainer to motivate me.

Outdoor Exercise: This one is probably my favorite.  Working out without feeling like I’m working out :-)  Usually these don’t burn as many calories as one of my hard core cardio workouts (unless its running), but its definitely something!  I like to go on hikes when we travel, or evening walks on the weekends.  I’ve even sported my roller skates in a park and really felt the burn (how did I not notice how much of a workout that was when I was 13?!)

For arms, core, and legs I usually do 3 sets of 8-10 reps for a variety of basic exercises that range from pushups (the girl version), crunches, lunges, squats, barbell lifts, deadlifts, etc.  Sometimes when I don’t want to think up a routine I’ll just walk around the gym and hit up a variety of machines.  We have a set of dumbells at home so occasionally I’ll open up a magazine or pull up one of those Pinterest workouts and go through the exercises.  As you can probably tell, strength training is definitely not as fun for me as cardio. However, it is crucial for continued weight loss so you don’t hit that dreaded plateau, and it’s also so wonderful for going the extra step to tone and feel more fit!
ImageFavorite Fitness Apps: 
Nike Run: This is my favorite app to track my indoor and outdoor runs.  Its very accurate for outdoor runs and it works pretty well for the treadmill too. You can sync it with your music so you don’t have to toggle back and forth between the apps, and you can share your runs with friends and even set up challenges.  It also gives you a specific training schedule if you’re planning to sign up for a run.
MapMyRun: This was my go-to app before NikeRun.  I used it on all of my half marathons, trail runs, and hikes.  The only place it didn’t work was on the treadmill (although the new update includes that feature).  My main problem with this app was that the mileage wasn’t quite accurate.  If I went the same distance as a couple of friends we’d all end up with a different distance on the app.  I do like that the app has options for things like cycling, but since the primary activity I like to track is running, I use Nike Run for the accuracy and simple look.
Nike Training: Love this for cross training.  You can select the type of workout you want (i.e. upper/lower body) then select the level (beginner/intermediate/advanced).  It goes through each exercise and even keeps time for you. Bonus: There are pictures of the moves so you know how to do them properly :-)
Pinterest: More specifically, the “fitness” section of Pinterest.  There are many recipes, workout routines, etc. from multiple sources that are pinned to Pinterest.  Taking a look at that section is an awesome way to stay motivated and find new and fun workouts.
Fitness Buddy: I haven’t spent a lot of time using this app, but it’s one that I’d really like to consistently use to track my workouts.  Not only can you find great workouts for target areas, but you can track your progress . . . multitasking, I like it!
My Fitness Pal: This app is a fantastic calorie intake tracker!  If I’m ever curious about what my typical calorie intake is, I’ll log my meals.  I don’t do this frequently, but it’s nice to have it in my pocket :-)
Favorite ways for staying motivated:
1) When I was just starting to lose weight I had an amazing workout buddy who had similar goals.  Although it’s not necessary to have someone go to the gym with you, it really does make things so much easier, and more fun!  Having someone cheer you on to go to the gym on the days when you don’t feel like it is sometimes a life saver!
2) I dedicate a specific time of day for my workout.  This keeps me from using excuses like “things came up” or “I ran out of time” too often :-)
3) I like to post my goals so can see them easily.  Making goals visible helps keep you accountable
More than anything else, remind yourself how important it is to put your health first and how good you’ll feel after a great workout.
Happy Working Out :-)

2014 Project Life: Weeks 13-14


Every week it feels more and more important to me to capture moments with my camera and then journal my thoughts.  Sometimes I try to coordinate the papers and style of the layouts, but actually, the inconsistency doesn’t bother me- I feel like this is how my creative life journal should look- bits and pieces that come together to tell a story.  The point for me right now is to just get it all down.  Some weeks I have more time then others to work on the layouts, but thankfully I haven’t had to leave any spreads unfinished . . . yay for completion!





Layouts Share

Happy Monday!  There’s been a lot of early morning crafting going on in my office lately . . . I’m talking 5:30am early. . . which in case you don’t know me well, is completely out of the norm! It turns out early mornings have actually been a great time to get some work and play done.  It was one of my goals this month to wake up early to enjoy the mornings and though my body has had some serious adjusting to do, it actually hasn’t been as tough as I thought.

One of my favorite morning routines has become making a cup of tea and heading into my office to piece together some layouts.  Here are a few that came about!



Designing Easter Eggs with Sharpies

ImageI will admit that I haven’t decorated Easter Eggs for at least 10 years, possibly longer.  Yet I still remember the experience from when I was a little girl . . . we’d get out the tea cups, fill them with water, and watch the water turn color as the tablets dissolved (probably the only type of chemistry I enjoyed as a kid :-).  Then we’d stand at the kitchen counter dipping the eggs in as many colors as we could.  That magic crayon was not my favorite as I could never seem to get my designs right, but adding the color? . . . oh yes, that was my favorite!

ImageA couple of weeks ago my sister held a crafty get together and one of her plans was to revisit this tradition of painting Easter Eggs.  Once she mentioned designing with sharpies instead of paint, I was fully on board.  Using sharpies is such a great way to design eggs if you’re not really the “dye dipping” kind of person, or if you’re looking for a tool that lets you have more control over the design. I’m not always enthusiastic about working on something where I know the product will be disposed of within a week, but the process was so much fun.  I had a great conversation with family all while revisiting this simple craft.

Who says you can’t enjoy kids crafts when you’re in your 20s?


Happy Easter Egg coloring! :-)Image