Fitbit Update: Six Weeks In

 To read the beginning of this “take better care of myself” series click here.wpid-img_20150202_110453.jpg

Well I am six weeks in:

#1. My clothes fit better.

#2. I gained 3 lbs.

#3. I generally have more energy.

#4. My back pain is almost non-existent now, as long as I do at least one Pilates/yoga workout a week.

I will be honest. When I weighed-in for the first time in 6 weeks, I was REALLY disappointed that after all the work I had done I had GAINED weight rather than losing.

But I am starting to see a lot more muscle definition in my legs and arms.

Plus that means that I made it through most of the holidays only gaining 3 lb most of which I am going to guess is muscle.

as

I like the Fitbit as much now as I did 5 weeks ago. It really does make me SO aware of how little or how much I am moving.

Honestly, I almost didn’t give an update because it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to put this information on the web.

But as Brené Brown says,

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

wpid-img_20150131_213159.jpg
Anytime Fitness, Pilates/Yoga Room

Old Door to Desk Tutorial

Door-to-Desk Tutorial- thedomesticlady.com

My husband and I created this DIY project because of a need to provide a handicap accessible desk for Mitchell’s Project (part 1 and part 2).

Because Mitchell already had so much special equipment to make his life easier, I wanted a masculine, sleek but yet rustic desk that also happened to be handicap accessible rather than just going out and buying a handicap desk.

We considered using plexiglass or traditional glass as the top, but both were extremely heavy and very hard to transport.

So instead we decided to go with a clear epoxy finish.

While it was a multi-step process, the finished project was well worth it!

 The first thing you need to know is that this is not a quickie 1 hr DIY project.

Take your time, thoroughly read the epoxy instructions, don’t rush.

The process is not difficult; you just need to understand it before you get started.

Because of some user error, it took about 2 weeks from beginning to end.

Partly because we used several coats of poly on the trim and because we had to reorder more epoxy halfway through.

Here is what you will need:

The door we used was very “rustic.” It had quite a few worn places in it that epoxy would be able to leak through so my husband started by making sure the desk was leak proof. He simply filled the holes with wood filler.

Then we went to the hardware store to purchase 2″ trim to give the desk a nice smooth finished edge.

(depending on the thickness of the door you choose to may need different trim width)

We wanted to have 1/8″ lip above the door so that the epoxy would cover the door entirely.

wpid-img_20141218_194940_431.jpg

He then attached the trim to all four sides of the door with wood screws.

After the trim was in place, he used more wood filler and sandpaper to make it smooth.

Next he carefully stained the trim with Minwax Ebony stain.

Once the stain was dry, he gave the trim four coats of polyurethane.

 After the poly was dry, he removed all the dust and debris from the door top.

And then it was FINALLY time for the epoxy.

wpid-img_20141217_182301.jpg

I could give you the detailed play-by-play of the epoxy process, but the videos on bestbartopepoxy.com are so thorough that I suggest you watch them instead.

*****Follow all the instructions for the best results*****

as

wpid-17980.jpeg

wpid-img_20150120_201159.jpg

Once all the layers of epoxy were complete we allowed it to cure for 72 hours at 75°F by using a space heater in our basement.

wpid-wp-1422278534746.jpeg

Then we simply attached the workbench legs.

wpid-wp-1422464188178.jpeg

The finished product was better than we even imagined.

I highly recommend this process. The results are amazing!

Back Problems, My Undiet, and Fitbit

I started working out again on a semi-consistent basis back in May 2014.

Since then I fell off the bandwagon twice and changed gyms once.

Mid September I hurt my lower back (because I just overdid it at work) but ignored it which is never a good plan.

By mid October, I was in so much pain. I could barely walk for two days, and I missed several days at work.

I am not a wimp when it comes to pain, but it was SO BAD. I cried as I tried to get off the sofa.

After about 5 weeks of therapy I am pretty much back to normal.  (Thank you, Dr. Shride!)

But it was a huge wake up call. I need to take better care of myself.

And at this point it’s not really about losing weight, I just want to feel healthy again.

So since December I have been working out 4x to 5x a week (usually only 30 min).  I mix yoga, Pilates, cardio, and weight machines so I don’t get bored during the week.

And eating wise I am not on any sort of “diet.”

I am simply watching my calorie intake, increasing plant based foods, and reducing animal fats in my diet (dairy and meat).

Some days I do really well and other days we go out to eat for dinner and all the calorie counting goes out the window.

But for the first time in my life I am not stressing about it.

And the reason why is because I am using FitBit.

314xSphvUfL

It has been life changing.

Instagram: Christmas arm candy #fitbit #citizenecodrive #baublebar

Seriously.

I have used pedometers in the past, but I was never really happy with the ones I owned.

Tracking food/water consumption and exercise has never been easier. All the info downloads to my phone.

And it makes me SUPER aware of how much (or how little) I am moving which I have found is really important when you sit at a desk all day.

I am actually excited to to grocery shopping because I know I will be able to get more steps in:)

It even tracks my sleep habits.

If you are looking for assistance at getting healthier this year, I highly recommend it.

Kudos to my husband for gifting it to me for Christmas!

41nDniI3rEL

I will try to give a monthly update for at least a couple months to let you know how I am doing.

Retail Therapy: Books for Christmas Gifts 2014

Christmas 2014

Happy day after Thanksgiving.

I hope you were thankful and are still full of turkey and cranberry sauce.

I rounded up a few of my favorite books from this year that are unique and make perfect Christmas gifts.

(click each photo for the link)
download (9)

 

Consider this a little girl’s devotional book. The illustrations are gorgeous!

 

download (8)

 

If you are on facebook, I am sure you have heard of Humans of New York .

Well Brandon, the photographer, put out two books in the last two years, and one of them is for children.

Little Humans of New York is GORGEOUS. Full of different nationalities and religions. It’s the best picture book I have seen in while.

download (6)

The idea behind this book is so unique. See the video below to watch BJ Novak (Ryan from The OFFICE) reading the book at a school. The laughter is contagious.

download (3)

The illustrations in this book are amazing. And the writing is so beautiful!

“Light glared and it glimmered. It flared and sparked. And wherever the light shined, dark stopped being dark.”

download

While this cookbook maybe a little wacky, it is FULL of clean eating recipes. Perfect for beginners.

I also this one would be great for someone living on their own.


download (1)

I love that this has ALL THE MEATS. It is perfect for any cook, novice or chef. You can’t go wrong with an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.

Also the ATC Cook’s Illustrated magazine is another great gift. I LOVE the reviews of kitchen products and packaged foods.

download (4)

 

This is just an all around great decorating book. I need one on my coffee table!

download (2)

 

If you are offended by a few bad words this book is not for you, but it is HILARIOUS. Love me some Amy Poehler.

download (5)

 Annie Downs has written several Bible study books for teens and young women. I love her Grace story and this book does not disappoint.

Also her instagram is super fun to follow. Makes me want to live in Nashville.

download (7)

 I am a huge Garden and Gun fan. I LOVE their magazine. And the dog stories are some of my favorites. This makes a great gift for men or woman. If you are a male on my Christmas list expect to receive this.

download (10)

 

I am a pretty big Dave Ramsey fan. We are in fact working on getting out of debt. 7k down and 5k to go.

This is a great book for any age or gender. Great business advice with a honest approach.

How to Turn a Hand Written Recipe Into a Tea Towel

How To Turn A Family Recipe Into a Tea Towel

Most families have recipes that become traditions.

And that’s what I love about food. It brings people together like nothing else.

Well in my family, my maternal grandmother always made peppernuts with my siblings and me for Christmas Eve just as her mother had made with her when she was a child.

The Danish treat is a cross between a spiced cookie and shortbread.

And while some family members don’t have an “appreciation” for the taste of these unique little cookies, I don’t consider that I have fully celebrated Christmas until I have eaten a couple.

And this past Christmas, I think I calculated that the sixth generation in my family was using a form of the original recipe.

(sorry, Grandma Deuink, if I calculated incorrectly)

1499633_619648138082934_797257507_n
My niece Bailee, the sixth generation making peppernuts, 2013

So this past Christmas, I had the idea to turn my great-great grandmother’s handwritten recipe into tea towels as gifts.

I had seen it done at a great display at Greenville, SC’s Indie Craft Parade by a company called Spoonflower.

It’s an incredible website FULL of amazing fabric designs by artists all over the world plus you can create your own design and have custom fabric printed.

So I simply scanned the written recipe on a good scanner (you can even do this at Fedex Kinkos if you don’t have access to a high quality scanner).

Recipe

And then uploaded it to the Spoonflower create page.

spoon flower graphic upload

I used the orientation and repeat button to center the design and then repeat it all over the fabric.

This took some patience until I got it exactly how I wanted it.

spoonflower tea towel

Once I was finished with the design, I simply saved it, selected the cotton/linen blend and the fat quarter size (the perfect size for a tea towel).

Spoonflower printed my design on their high quality fabric and shipped it to me VERY promptly.

Once I received the fabric I simply hemmed the edges and….

Viola!

And in case you are curious, this custom sentimental gift cost $14 total.

Tea Towel Collage

PS. I need to brag on my mom. See the old silver flatware on my refrigerator?

My mom turned my great-grandma’s few random silver pieces into magnets. I LOVE the little pickle fork!

Chic Unique Gift Guide for 2013- under $50 plus two gifts with charities in mind

Present Collage 2013

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

1. I actually saw this jewelry stand in the store and almost bought in on the spot for myself. I think it would also be great to use as displays for food at parties etc. It is BEAUTIFUL!

2.  I have blogged about Old Money Corp jewelry before, but because I am still in love with their products I am featuring them again. I just can’t get enough!

 3. I am always a fan of monogrammed bags as gifts, but these stylized burlap bags personalized with last names are so chic. If you are staying in someone else’s home for the holidays, I think this is the perfect host gift for the family.

4. My niece may or may not be getting several Melissa and Doug puzzles for Christmas this year. This dress-up bear family puzzle is like sturdy paper dolls:)

5. I mean I can’t imagine how many more peas your kids would eat if their fork was designed like a bulldozer!

6. Like I said, I am a sucker for monogrammed gifts. And 24 oz Tervis tumblers perfectly hold ice and one can of my current drink of choice, grapefruit sparkling water with one sweet ‘n low. :) I think these would make perfect teacher/friend gifts.

7. This guitar pick punch is a fun gift for music lovers. You can turn any old credit cards or membership cards into a pick.

8.  My husband spotted these belts at Mast General Store a few weeks ago. He really liked them. We aren’t cool people, but I thought they seemed pretty cool. :) He is probably going to get one in his stocking.

9. (not pictured) Olganna etsy.com shop has tons of beautiful things. I have ordered from her in the past and am never disappointed.

Two additional ideas:

10. A few years ago my extended family gave eachother a card for Christmas. In each card was a note stating that money was given to a charity in their name. I love that idea because we really don’t need anything. And it was neat to see all the different charities that were given too.

11. If you do like the idea of giving to a charity as a gift, purchasing gifts/gift cards to charity businesses is a great idea as well. And this does not only include thrift stores.

There are lots of new businesses trying to make a positive difference by employing people and giving them hope.

noonday-collection-logo

_CWP6688-s
Dewdrop Necklace

Noonday supports entrepreneurship internationally and by doing so helps alleviate poverty in especially poor nations, and their products are gorgeous!

img_7001eb

The Open Arms Shop employs refugee women in America a living wage (the baseline hourly income necessary for food and shelter [including housing and incidentals such as clothing and other basic needs]) which typically runs $3-$7 above the federal minimum wage.

And to top it off, all the fabric used in their products is recycled or donated.

Fall-Chevron-2T
Napkins Fall Chevron

Home Improvement: Kid Bathroom Complete and Tips for Finishing Home Improvement Projects

Tips for finishing home improvement projects: 

#1. The key to finishing these more expensive projects is the spread out the cost over several months. I started buying supplies for this project back in July which meant that we did not have to pay $1000 out of pocket once we were ready to start working on the bathroom because I had already purchased over half the supplies in July and August. And it keeps you from having to stop a project midway through to save up more money. Plan ahead! 

#2. When working on these larger projects be willing to change your game plan. We actually selected two other kinds of tile before we ended up with the blue penny tile. And I changed my mind on vanities three times. But ultimately I am VERY happy with the products we purchased.

#3. Plan to take time-off during the middle of the project. In other words, plan for interruptions. Don’t expect to complete the project in one weekend. That’s one of my pet peeves with HGTV, the time lines they create on their shows are really unrealistic, especially if you have kids, work full time etc. 

#4. If you work on projects with your spouse, roommate etc, plan out who will do what. My husband and I have our own strengths and weaknesses. Trading off on tasks gives each person a break and also keeps the peace, particularly when you are working in tight spaces. 


Kid Bathroom ProgressThe last time I blogged about this project we were in the pre-tile phase as you can tell from this collage.

Here is the progression since then.

Phase 2 kid bathroom

After getting lots of feedback over Facebook and the blog from you all in regards to the paint color we decided to leave the paint as is. The vanity is installed in a way that it can be removed pretty easily making repainting not such a big deal now.

Tada! The finished project.

The Domestic Lady -Penny Tile Bathroom Makeover

Kid Bath Penny Tile

Project Totals:

  1. $262.76 SomerTile 12.25×12-in Penny 3/4-in Lite Blue Porcelain Mosaic Tile (10% off coupon, plus 5% back via ebates.com)
  2. $50.99 Restoration Chrome 4-inch Center Bathroom Faucet (10% off coupon, plus 5% back via ebates.com)
  3. $250.99 Ceramic-top 24-inch Single Sink Bathroom Vanity and Basket ($300 off price match thanks to wayfair, plus 5% back via ebates.com)
  4. $99.73 Pine baseboard and shoe molding 
  5. $40.00 Concrete board (installed under the tile)
  6. $40.00 Grout, thinset, and mixer
  7. $200 Chrome plumbing, tile laying tools, toilet seat, toilet wax seal, etc
  8. $20 white Silicone caulk

Grand total: $964.47 (minus $30 rebate from ebates.com)

I asked my husband, who really gets ALL the credit for this makeover, if he would lay penny tile again. He said,”Yes, I would. It was not nearly as hard as I though it would be.”

The shower curtain is from West Elm and the map art is by Off the Map.

And thanks to Young House Love; their Penny Tile Tutorial really was helpful for this project.

Thrifty Finds: Two Cool Weather Staples on the Cheap

Thrifty Fall Finds

Today’s post will be quick but I just wanted to share a few great finds recently.

I have discussed my dislike of skinny pants in this post but I found a winner in these NYDJ skinny cords(they are made for women with curves). LOVE THEM.

They are the most comfortable pair of pants I have ever owned. I am now scouring Ebay and Twice to find a couple more pairs at a deal.

And for the boots, I have been looking and looking for a new pair of brown leather boots that didn’t break the bank.

Thankfully, I finally found these on Ebay. I am super pleased with them.

And for both purchases I didn’t have to drive all over town searching which saved me $ and time.

If you want tips about successfully buying clothes online, this old post of mine is helpful.

Happy Wednesday!

Retail Therapy: New Makeup Finds from Avon

I have a phobia of drug stores.

I would rather die than go in one.

I don’t know why.

I just can’t stand them.

So I am one of those weirdos that orders toiletries and stuff online.

Hey, if amazon will ship toilet paper and deodorant to me for free and I don’t have to step foot in a drug store that makes my life that much easier.

Anyway, I have seen several great reviews on Avon makeup recently and since I discovered you can order it online I thought I would give it a try even though I have not used any Avon products since Skin So Soft was all the rage circa 1990.

So I ordered a solid blush, eyeliner and concealer.

And I was so impressed by the quality of these products!

And I can honestly say that the concealer (in light) and eyeliner (in plumful and blackout) and are the best I have ever used.

The Domestic Lady- Has Avon Make Up Gotten Better

1, 2, 3

All three products apply SO smoothly and stay on ALL day.

And as someone with VERY dark circles under my eyes, the all day coverage for the concealer is mandatory or people start asking me if I am sick or tired which is never flattering.

My grand total was $31.80 with free shipping, and considering I usually spend $20 on just concealer I think that’s a pretty cheap chic deal!

Happy Friday!