Our Kitchen Inspiration

09.1.2016 | Thursday
This the current design direction for the kitchen. Nothing is 100%, but more of an idea on where I’m headed. I’ve already gone through a variety of design concepts and my husband nixed a bunch of them, all of which has helped us land here.  His feedback is “he doesn’t want to live in a Pinterest photo, doesn’t want too much of a statement, and wants it to be feel homey and comfortable”. He tends to love more masculine colors and textures, loves clean lines and minimalism, and lots of plants.  
My goals with the space are: 1. I need some sort of element of surprise or some sort of statement in the space (this is going to be a weird/fun challenge given the above about him not wanting a statement) 2. I don’t want a white kitchen that looks like every other white kitchens. 3. I don’t want it to be overly trendy. I want our decisions to last through selling the house, or at least transcend current style. 
Below is our current kitchen for reference.
before-kitchen

Below is our design inspiration. 
1---inspiration

CABINETS: I’m going to leave all the cabinets the way they are (except two little shelf ones) and just paint them white.  I will also be adding in two wood shelves on either side of the range.

2---cabinets-+-shelves

COUNTERS: Currently my concept for the counters is a white stone or quartz with a small amount of grey. My two favorites at the moment are “Caesarstone Fresh Concrete” and “Caesarstone Frosty Carrina”. I LOVE the idea of a wood accent like the top left photo below. If that doesn’t cost too much, I would love to do something like that.
4---counter-tps

BACKSPLASH: My plan for the backsplash is to do a white tile with a white grout. Currently my favorites are Calcite or White Gloss by Clayfire Tile. The biggest decision is going to be which pattern to choose. My husband likes the herringbone the best, and I’m partial to the hexagons. Part me wants to do something different that hasn’t been so done in the past like the triangles or something.

3---tile-options

ISLAND: At first I wanted to do an interesting tile pattern with a black grout for the island cabinets, but that got vetoed pretty quick. I switched gears a bit and decided on painting the island a light gray with a light wood butcher block for the countertop. I don’t love the combination of dark colors with the wood counters, so thinking of doing something along the lines of the top left image.

5---island

LIGHTING: I love the idea of this style of lighting but haven’t done too much research into other options. My favorite are the black options but my husband likes the gold with clear glass option best. I’m not married to this concept, so there is room to go in a completely different direction.

lighting

STOOLS: I love the white stools best, and think those would pair well with the gray paint on the island, but I’m definitely open to other ideas.

stools

There you go! Next I get to visit all the tile places, pick the paint colors and get everything lined up to ACTUALLY get this done. Should be a fun next couple of months.

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Home Vibes

08.24.2016 | Wednesday
The time has officially come to start working on designing and styling our house! So far it has been far more overwhelming than it has been fun, but I’m hoping getting a really good grasp on my style, what I want, and how to achieve it will help ease some of the nerves! 
Currently my style is minimal and modern with eclectic accents. White and bright are huge for us – and of course, TONS of plants! Here is my first go at creating my home vibes mood board! 
house-vibes

More to come as we move, measure and work out all the kinks until we can call our home “done”. Oh and I will definitely have one of those hanging pod chairs. I’m really obsessed!
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WHOLE 30 – My Story

07.18.2016 | Monday

8 months ago I hit a point in my life that can only be described as my personal rock bottom. Among other things, I was binge eating, drinking too much too often, and generally trying really hard to act like everything was ok.

My mental health was suffering and it was deeply affecting my personal life, my marriage, my friendships, and finally, it was starting to creep into my work. I saw Whole 30 as a way to control something in my life. Anything. I just needed something to hold on to.

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It all started on one of audio book binges when I discovered “Why We Get Fat“. It was extremely eye-opening and changed many of my eating habits overnight. Then a friend recommended “It Starts With Food” (the Whole 30 book), and after reading it, I knew I needed to try it. I didn’t plan in advance, wait until a certain date, or until I had a free social calendar. I read the book and I started.

books

I wasn’t 100% compliant. I had a few dates on the calendar (dinners/birthday parties) that I decided I would give an exception to (I was mindful of what I ate, but not compliant). Also, I didn’t stop putting cream in my coffee. I know this isn’t Whole 30, and that was ok for me at that time in my journey. I don’t regret it at all. I simply needed to start changing my life and my habits despite anything else. I wouldn’t recommend going this route, unless you are about to explode (which I was). These were the results:

Non-Scale Victories:

  • Clearer Skin – I’ve always been acne-prone and still struggle with annoying skin but noticed 15 days in that my skin was smooth, I had no blemishes and the redness was drastically better. And it hasn’t changed since, still totally clear!
  • Better Sleep- I used to get 12+ hours of sleep, wake up late, and still not have much energy. On Whole 30 I started noticing I was waking up earlier with more energy. Now I consistently wake up around 7am with a lot of energy and it lasts through the day. My sleep patterns have been so different, and I never even tried to change anything!
  • Way more energy - Like I’m talking so much energy to workout, get more done, take on hobbies, go walking and then some.
  • Excitement about life + things again – This one is a whole subject in and of itself. After a slump into some deep depression and anxiety related issues, I finally found a small glimpse at excitement for life again.
  • And the biggest of all (this might be TMI!) zero cramps. Once a month for the last 10 years I spent the day in bed throwing up every hour and take about 15 advils just to manage said pain. On Whole 30…..I felt nothing. NOTHING. Anything that can cure the torture of that wins big in my book.
  • There were many other small victories throughout the 42 days (not craving carbs or sugar, losing weight, etc.) but these ones were the most notable.

My Before & After:

6 Weeks

After  6 weeks of psuedo-Whole 30 and a couple of completely off diet vacations, I started my second round of 100% compliant Whole 30 (goodbye cream in my coffee!) mid-May. My goal this time was 100% compliance and a full food reintroduction after the 30 days. (THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT PEOPLE!)

I became obsessed with reading ingredients (I literally can not believe how many things have sugar in them!), I read and participate in many online forums, am constantly searching out new Whole 30 recipes, and even created a spreadsheet to track compliant brands, recipes, and just about everything else Whole 30. I’ve fully enveloped myself in clean eating, learned so much about myself and food in the process, and loved every minute of it.

I didn’t have as much physical progress, but mentally, my entire relationship with food changed. I did a full re-introduction after this round and have a much better idea of what and how much of any food is good for my body. A month after completing this and I still follow the rules about 90%. I’ve found a balance but am still very aware of exactly what I am eating. The first round was what I needed at the time, but this round actually changed everything for me in terms of creating a lifestyle.

Before + After – Whole 30 Round 2:

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I get asked about about Whole 30 or my weight loss journey daily. Some people have been encouraging and others…well, I learned not to care what people think and just do what makes me feel good. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Making the decision: This program has really worked  for me. It actually changed my life, and that is not an exaggeration. That being said, no amount of inspiration or progress pics could have made me do it before I was ready. You truly have to make the decision for yourself. I wasn’t ready for a long time (I could never have imagined I’d EVER put my health first), until one day I was.

I was able to acknowledge my own reality, and only then was I ready to make actual changes to my diet and lifestyle with determination. The “one bite won’t kill you” thought process is more detrimental than you might think and won’t work with this program. That decision, the one to change your life, that is always always always the first step.

2. Read The Book: The first thing out of my mouth when someone asks me about it is “READ THE BOOK” (It Starts With Food). There is seriously no substitution for it. Without it I never would have understood WHY I was doing what I was doing. This is the biggest key to it all for me.

2. Community: I’ve actually learned not to talk about my progress because of the remarks, comments, eye-rolling,etc. that come when mentioning a diet. The judgement used to drive me nuts, but I’ve learned to tune that out and focus on making the best decisions for my body. I turned to blogs, facebook groups, and other online resources for help and inspiration.  I’ve found that friends/family can actually be incredibly unsupportive for whatever reason, but that might not be the case for everyone. Find whatever community works best for you!

salad-prep

3. Prepare! The best way to do Whole 30 is to make it work with your lifestyle. Keep things as simple as possible by finding easy recipes, sticking to the same salad every day (change up the dressing if you need a change), and prepare some on-the-go meals when needed. Before heading to the grocery store, do a little research on ingredients and prepare a list. Before going to a restaurant, look over the menu or call the restaurant. It can be very hard to “be that person” special ordering everything, but you are worth it.

At the beginning of every week I spend a little time working on a weekly meal plan, taking a look at the calendar to see which days I need to prepare extra for (tons of meetings, not at home, etc.). I don’t stick to it completely, but it helps to have something to fall back on. Planning is so important in the success of this program, don’t underestimate how much it can help!

4. You Can Do It: Don’t underestimate yourself. You have full control over the decisions that you make. It is 30 days, it isn’t that hard. Change your thought process, stop making excuses and just start. Oh and check that “one bite won’t kill you” attitude at the door and commit 100%. Restart if you eat something you aren’t supposed to, do the re-intro. It is worth it.

My Go-To Foods:

Breakfast: Every morning I have 2 scrambled eggs and about a 1/2 cup of breakfast sausage (I make my own – this recipe is delish!). To help with my vegetable intake, I have raw carrots/cucumbers on the side. (I never liked eating anything before noon so this whole eat breakfast thing is HUGE for me.) If you are one of those people that can eat dinner for breakfast or have leftovers, this is a great way to switch things up a bit.

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Lunch: Salad. Salad. Salad. I prep the basics of my salads at the beginning of the week (lettuce, cut carrots, cucumber, and green beans) and place the tupperware in the fridge for the week. At lunch I cut up whatever leftover meat I have or grill a chicken breast, cut up some avocado and a little fruit and top it with TesseMae’s Lemonette dressing and a little salt! Easy. Sometimes I will have dinner leftovers for lunch, but for the most part it is salad central!

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Dinner: This is where things vary most. I have a Pinterest board of recipes and I now spend some time finding, prepping and making completely new recipes at least twice a week. But if I am short on time, didn’t prep properly, etc. I BBQ or grill some sort of meat, steam veggies and call it a day! I have watched a couple YouTube videos on how to grill, some simple stove techniques, etc. which has helped improve my cooking game. Since I have to eat this food every day, I might as well stop overcooking things!

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DISHES: Chicken with Masala Spices, green beans + sliced cucumber | Roasted Salmon with steamed brussel sprouts + salad | Chicken Piccata with steamed brussel sprouts

Some Favorites: 

Here are some of my favorite online resources, recipes, and staple items that helped me with Whole 30. Everyone has different tastes so it is wroth doing a little research of your own to at least find some recipes that sound interesting. There is a ton of great inspiration out there that will help make Whole 30 anything but boring!

Online Resources:

Dinners:

Staples:

 

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