Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Healthy things I'm currently loving

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm using the New Year as an excuse to recalibrate my health and wellness goals. I know most resolutions don't stick, but if you don't have goals, what do you have? Or whatever.

So far, the no-sugar thing is going extremely well. I knew once I got over the hump, it would be so much easier. The first week was very hard, and I had headaches almost every day. But now, the cravings are gone, and I just don't need that sweetness at the end of every meal to feel like my life is complete. Honestly, I don't even think about it. I'm sure there will be lots of temptations, but so far, so good.

Here are a few other health-related things that are changing my life as of late.

Kayla Itsines

My co-worker introduced me to this lovely and terribly mean woman. Check out her blog and follow her on Instagram, and you'll see why I'm doing her 12-week Bikini Body Guide. The transformations are incredible, and the workouts are SO FUN! I mean, they're actually terrible because they're hard, but it's exactly the type of workout I love. It's efficient, you change your routine every day, and you sweat like you've never sweat before. I love how I feel after each workout, and I think this routine is very sustainable, even for a working mother of two.

I agree with her entire approach to health and fitness. I love that she doesn't even try to act like there's some secret to looking and feeling good. You work hard and you eat clean. It's that's simple. Love her.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Have you ever read about the health benefits of this stuff? I add a teaspoon of it to hot water 3x a day, and I'm addicted. You have to buy the raw organic kind (they sell Bragg's on Amazon), and for $6 and no negative side effects (because it's made from apples, not chemicals), how could you not give it a try? The reviews had me convinced.

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

 Foam Roller

How have I gone this long without using one of these? This weird little cylinder is amazing. It really helps stretch out my muscles and it kinda feels like I'm giving myself a massage.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream

No, this isn't going to make me skinny, but in thinking about overall health and wellness, I have to remember that I'm 30 now.I need to be using sunscreen every single day (I really should have been all along, but it's never too late to start) and I love the way this stuff makes my skin look and feel.

What healthy things are you doing this year?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

We finished finishing our basement!!!

We're done!

What started as a wild idea to finish an "unfinishable" basement turned into an amazing space for our whole family to hang out. 

Here is a little glimpse into what it looked like before. Dark, junk-filled, maybe even a little creepy?

The house was built in 1987, and though people learned by then to make the ceiling height higher than 6 feet (unlike our old house), basements weren't really designed to be finished. They're designed to hold all of the mechanicals of your home, hide all of the pipes, and serve as a place to store your crap.

But not anymore!

Here it is today!

The most incredible part about this transformation is that my husband did it completely on his own. Well, obviously the carpet folks installed the carpet, and the countertop man installed the countertop, and I painted, but seriously. The framing, the drywall, the electrical, the plumbing, the trim, the baseboards, the railing, the insets, the wood wall, the cabinets, the door - I mean, honestly??? Who can do all that (and do it REALLY well) unless they actually work as a general contractor? Well, apparently Jon can, and I can't stop telling him how amazed I am. He's done some pretty incredible things to the houses we've owned, but this is the most extensive project we've taken on from start to finish, and I can't get over how gorgeous it turned out.

A place for all of the toys! This has been life changing. 

Jon's new office space. Yep, I've relegated him to the basement. Sorry honey!

I cannot get over how well this wet bar turned out. This spot was where our washer & dryer and utility sink were when we moved in. And now it's a gorgeous place to store all of our glasses, and it helps separate the adult space from the kid space. 

I am obsessed with this backsplash. I now want to re-tile our kitchen backsplash, but I'm going to give Jon a break... for now ;-)

It was Jon's idea to build these inset things. It was alot of extra work and effort, but I love the character it brings to the basement. We stained the back walls to match the beam that runs through the middle of the room.

For Jon's birthday, I found a giant (but sadly empty) bottle of Silver Oak (one of our favorite wineries in Napa) and it came in this awesome case.

Back in March, this area:

Looked like this:

Big upgrade. Big. Huge.

My favorite! A wine crate coffee table (DIY instructions found here) that costs less than $50? Sold!

I want to fill this handy little cubby with corks from every time we drink a bottle of wine together. Every cork a memory, right? Looks like we have some work to do! ;-)

I love this little TV nook for the girls. They sit/lay down next to each other and cuddle up watching movies, and my heart melts.

Every day when we get home, Anna wants to immediately "Go Dow Sares" to have her "Cup" at the table. <3

Ruler: Hobby Lobby; Kid's Table: Amazon
I half-joked with Holly that I should start renting Jon out for side projects. As I mentioned in my 2014 recap post, I am amazed that Jon was able to do all of this with the schedules that we have. Sure, it may have taken us 11 months (a lifetime according to HGTV standards), but we got the basement finished for a fraction of what a contractor would have charged. Plus, we got to design everything, and make our own choices. 

I know it was incredibly difficult for Jon to get home from a long day of work and go down to the basement to work on this project, but it was so worth it. I couldn't be more grateful for his expertise, and now that it's all said and done, I keep telling him it was kind of fun. Right??? RIGHT??

Now, on to the next project! ;-)

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Monday, January 5, 2015

"Veggie Spaghetti" and a 2015 Challenge

I, like probably 30% of the population or more, have committed to eating healthier in the new year.

Once again, I am committing to removing as many added sugars from my diet as possible. It's the way I feel the best, and has had proven results on my health (i.e. my triglycerides dropping by 50 points!)

I recently watched the documentary Fed Upand it only reinforced my feeling that sugar is the devil and it's killing us. 

One thing with eliminating added sugars is that is incredibly difficult to give up processed food. I'm not a big chip/cookie eater, but I LIVE for pasta. I may or may not have eaten an entire box of spaghetti in one setting once. Or twice. Or more than that. I don't keep count. It's embarrassing. Let's just say I can eat a metric ton of spaghetti and not even bat an eyelash (or barf for that matter).

Even when I eat whole wheat pasta, I just cannot eat the recommended portion size. I always go back for a second (or let's be honest, third) bowl. So I knew I had to find a good substitute for pasta, otherwise I'd fail at this. It was through Googling that I found the Veggetti.

This thing may look a little crazy but it was seriously the best $12 I've spent this year. (It's only January 5th, but you get the idea).
I took one large zuchinni, spiraled it out (which was SO easy!)

Threw some garlic and olive oil in a pan. And then added more garlic because garlic is awesome and wards off vampires.

Sauteed the zucchini,  added some sea salt and cracked pepper, and then a generous tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

Note: I am not a food blogger, so this doesn't look that fancy, but 



I immediately texted my best friend and told her I was never eating pasta again! And then she immediately ordered her own because we are co-dependent and we like to be the same.

While it may be too early to say I'll never eat real pasta again, this zucchini substitute was seriously SOOOOOO good. It completely removed any craving I had for pasta, and I will now be eating it several times a week, without feeling guilty.

Good luck to all those getting started with eating healthy! 2015 is your year!

And seriously, go watch  Fed Up - that's a swift kick to making a good choice.

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