Thursday, March 31, 2011

Craigslist scores again!!!

Let me just say that I think craigslist is fantastic. To date, I have spent $745 dollars and have bought the following:

Mid-century couch - oak (it weighs like 4 bagillion pounds)
Mid-century dresser - solid wood body and dovetail joints in the drawers
Mid-century end table - teak
Oak dining set
West Elm parsons desk - not so much real wood as ORANGE :)

Isn't that awesome? That's a crazy amount of furniture for under $800...especially since I like the mid-century vintage look, which seems to be popular these days, carried at designer type stores, and WAY out of my budget (at least for the solid, real wood pieces that I prefer).

I have been searching for almost a year for a 42" round pedestal table for my breakfast nook. It has to be 42" because well, otherwise people would need to sit around it without chairs and that's just not very comfortable. And it had to be white. I looked at buying a new one, but 1) the legs were too skinny 2) the table tops were too thin and 3) all the reviews said they were more off-white than white, so I would still have to paint it.

I'd been emailing this gal for two weeks to try and pick up her table, but our schedules never aligned...and then voila! earlier this week I found a different one (thanks Lord!)...10 minutes away and for HALF the cost of the other one! And it only came with 3 chairs, which was good because I really just wanted the table...I'd already bought chairs like a year ago :)...which means less room to take up in the garage with 3 instead of 4 of them. Handy for emergency seating uses though...

So, $75 oak pedestal table + $15 of paint and some elbow grease instead of $219.00-$499 off-white table +$15 of paint and elbow use a YHL phrase, "Yes please!" :)

Here's the before...we'll see how motivated I am this weekend to sand it and paint it white...

A REAL table...I've been using a card table for the last year...I'm pretty sure my generous and gracious friend Lindsey has forgotten that it actually belongs to her and not me ;-).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cricut 101

A year and a half ago, my friends Erin and Lisa and I waited at Walmart for 3 hours on Black Friday to score awesome deals on a Cricut machine.

Cricuts are basically personal die-cut machines- you buy software cartridges to cut out specific shapes- they are incredibly handy for scrapbooking, invitation making, decorations etc. They also have quirks/tips/inside scoops that none of us have quite figured out - what's the best way to make this design or do that? So our friend, Cassaundra, who is a Cricut/scrapbooking/card making extraordinaire, came over for a Cricut 101 lesson this morning.

Great info and a great time with these ladies- my head's already full of new ideas on how to use the Cricut for some home decorating projects... stay tuned!!!

Our "teacher", Cassaundra, Lisa, and Erin


Apparently Pottery Barn had the same idea as me...just came across this today. Mine's has 6 props... ;-)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

GU is gluten free!!!!!

Random, I know, but I seriously did a happy dance in front of some coworkers when I discovered that GU is gluten free. I wasn't looking forward to making my own energy gels. Go GU!!!!

There is something on my wall...

A picture!!!! of a Convair B-36 Peacemaker.

Yes, I have finally hung something on the wall of my living room.

There's a saga to it...of course there is, it's me who's typing this right?

It started when I took a picture at the Pima Air and Space Museum over a year ago. I decided I wanted to put it on canvas and put it over my couch. After editing the photo, I sent it to a canvas place. They emailed me back and said that the resolution wasn't high enough for the size I had requested, so I had them send it out anyways...yeah it was too small and got swallowed up by the wall. Yay for 100% money back guarantee and no shipping costs for returns!

I was bummed about the resolution, I must have had my camera settings on something different. So this past Christmas, I meant to go back out to PASM and take another picture with the right settings. I never got around to it.

See, saga right? A few weeks ago, I pulled up the photo file and was thinking "this resolution really should be sufficient...I am getting a second opinion". So I sent it off to Canvas Pop...and they had no issues with the custom size I wanted! And a couple of weeks later...voila! Wall art! :)
I am thrilled with how it looks, the resolution is great - the only slight graininess is what I put there via editing. Highly recommend this company.

Yes, I know that ceiling fan is hideous. It's being replaced hopefully soon. Apparently, I am very particular ( read: picky) about ceiling fans.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm continuing to make progress with my health and my back. My stomach and inner ear are handling the new dosage of the immunosuppressives well (they initially made me super queasy and my head all foggy). I'm definitely starting to stabilize- a long-sought answer to prayer!

This past week I completed 4 workouts:

Tuesday- run 0.75 miles, walk 2.1 miles, run 0.25 miles
Thursday- walk 1 mile, run 1 mile
Saturday- 800m swim workout
Sunday- 10 mile bike ride

The back handled it all pretty well. I definitely could tell it was getting used to the activity. I woke up this morning with sharper than my new normal pain, which made leaning over to eat my awesome flax cereal a bit of a challenge, but I spent some time stretching it out and over the course of the day, it feels back to "normal". I don't think it liked the "back-to-back" (is that a pun?) workouts, so that was a good thing to learn. I'll be careful to space out my workouts for awhile...gotta give the body time to adjust.

I am planning on signing up for a super sprint tri the first week of May. The distances are 200yd swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Before I do that though, I want to do a short brick (bike, then run) workout to see how the back handles the loading. I'm a few weeks away from attempting that though...

In the meantime, I've signed up to volunteer at two upcoming triathlons. I'm doing body-marking (writing folks' race numbers on their arms and legs) at the Kemah tri in April (I raced this last year) and my training buddy, Lisa, and I signed up to help out at one of the bike aid stations at the Texas Ironman in May.

I am really excited about volunteering at the Texas Ironman. I figure watching an Ironman in person will just make me want to do it more. Oh yeah, I have the heart of an Ironman...not sure about the body, yet, but we'll see what it will let me do. It and God of course. Anything that I can accomplish physically is a direct testament of God's grace in my life, because my doctor says "you really shouldn't be able to do that" (when it comes to running and triathlons). So to Him be the glory. And I will be thankful for whatever progress I make, remembering the past 8 months and how walking without grimacing is a victory in itself.

Food bits

Food bit #1

Mashed cauliflower yumminess.

I steamed a medium head of cauliflower (using my rice steamer and the veggie tray that came with it)- made about two cups of cauliflower (roughly, I forgot to measure). I threw that in the blender with a 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (a tip from either Runners World or Triathlete magazine), about 1.5 tsp of butter (I use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter...), some sea salt, a healthy dose of coarse black pepper, and some freshly chopped chives, blended and voila! Creamy yumminess with a bit of tang from the yogurt...very similar to mashed potatoes. Add a side of roasted brussel sprouts and that was my dinner for tonight. My tummy is happy. :) (and only 30 minutes from start to eat!)

Food bit #2

Several of my sweet friends blessed me with these for my birthday! My goal this week is to pick out a recipe from each to try next week...

Food bit #3:

Whole grain quota solved! This cereal provides your entire day's worth (FDA recommends 3) of whole ONE seving. 3/4 cup. It's decently tasty...definitely "whole grainy". I've paired it with 1/2 cup skim milk and sliced banana. This morning, I zapped the milk and cereal, and then added the banana for a warmer breakfast. Tasty!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tales of Veggies

I was going to say "Veggie Adventures" but I thought that would really be pushing the whole "adventure" theme :)...and "Veggie Tales"...well, self-explanatory.

For the month of February I made it an unofficial goal to make sure I ate at least 3 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables a day. I've never really paid a lot of attention, because I do eat a fair amount of fruits and veggies (this happens when you don't eat a lot of meat), but I wanted to see how I measured up. I didn't do too badly...especially after I looked up what counted as a "serving" and realized I was eating about 1.5 times that for each of my "servings" :). I'm definitely more deliberate to include fruits and veggies now when planning out my lunches and dinners.

The veggies in my fridge right now: cauliflower, red cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, mixed greens, red kale, green kale, and asparagus (I usually have zucchini and sweet potatoes too). Did you know that brussell sprouts have more vitamin C in them than oranges? I use fresh vegetables mostly and eat them raw or braised/baked/roasted...boiling leeches out a lot (but not all, so it's definitely better than not eating veggies at all!) of the nutrients.

For fruits, it's mostly tomatoes, apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges, with some blueberries thrown in (picked from last summer!), and the best snack food invention, Clif Kids Fruit Twists (no sugar added, all natural, and it's one serving of fruit!). I'm looking forward to spring/summer fruits!

Next up is working on the whole grains. Before gf, this was definitely not a problem. I LOVE whole grains...but now I can't eat a lot of them, so I need to balance that part of my diet a bit more.

What are your favorite fruits and veggies to eat?

Red and green kale salad with red cabbage and roasted asaparagus and brussel sprouts
(both the salad and roasted veggies were tossed around in about 1tsp olive oil, a bunch of apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and coarse black pepper)

CA Adventures - Part 2

Angie dropped me off at my cousin, Shannon's, place in Hollywood. I haven't seen her in four years!!! She was at work, so I hung out with her boyfriend, Miles, during the afternoon. We had fun "shopping"...going to this store called Opening Ceremony (literally clothing worn for movie openings) and making fun of the outrageous clothing. I was ::this:: close to buying this crazy construction cone orange wool coat that was worn for the movie TRON....really... ;-).

Both Miles and Shannon work in the entertainment was fascinating hearing about their jobs (record label company, reality TV shows, etc) very different from the world I live in. They have a super cute apartment right off of Melrose Place and they were kind to let me crash on their couch for a night. We went out for dinner and got an odd look from the waitress as I was asking questions about what was gluten free, Shannon was asking questions about what was vegetarian, and Miles was all about the meat :). Good times. Of course, I completely forgot to take any pictures.

On Sunday morning, they drove me to Irvine to meet up with a couple, Nate and Anne, who used to attend my church. They currently go to one of our sister churches, so it was a lot of fun worshiping with "family". Afterward, we hit up Trader Joes to take some food over to one of the church member's homes for lunch. Nate is a fellow gluten-freer- and Anne has been a huge help to me, recommending foods and recipes via email, so it was great having them point out new foods that I could eat.

I couldn't go to CA without seeing the Pacific at least once, so we drove down to Huntington Beach. I actually saw Catalina Island from the shore- it's never been clear enough for me to see it, so that was a treat.

Even more of a treat (since my world centers around food I can eat these days :) )- going over to Nate's parents house and his aunt having made a smorgasbord of gluten free treats. Including cake pops. I ate...A LOT.

Nate and Anne have a cozy little apartment (a "back-house" to a main house) and they are doing a great job of making it into a home (they have only been there a few months). Anne has done some pretty brilliant stuff with an old trunk she found. Again, another great couple who allowed me to crash at their place and enjoy their hospitality.

Nate and Anne

All in all, a great, wonderful, laid back trip.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CA Adventures - part 1

After meeting lil Brady, I headed west...far west, like...7 hour flight sunny...and by sunny, I mean cold-rainy-freezing, California.

Again, for some reason I booked a flight that had a stop in February...but thankfully good weather prevailed and there were no delays.

I landed at LAX and my friend Angie (remember her, she and her husband housed me during all my hurricane evacuations thus far) picked me up and we noshed on some amazing healthy CA fare:

It looked prettier before I started eating it, but it's a kale and red cabbage salad with blackened tempeh. Tempeh is the amazingly delicious result of culturing and control-fermenting soybeans until it makes a solid "cake". This is thin cut into strips and cooked. Pretty much tasted like a soybean cake. Super yummy.

We grabbed a hotel in Anaheim (since Angie and Andrew live pretty far from our intended destination the next day and Angie's mom had a free hotel stay that she kindly gave to us) and woke up early to go to...


I love love LOVE this place. And it's becoming sort of a tradition with Angie and I (this was our third time going together). I was a bit nervous about how the back would hold up with all the walking and rides, but it did phenomenally well! Thank you God! We alternated motion-y rides (like Indiana Jones) with non-motion-y rides (Pirates of the Caribbean). Angie and Andrew birthday-surprised me by having already purchased my ticket! And it included a park hopper pass to California Adventures! I had never been there before and there were two things I was told I "must see": Soarin' California and the musical of Aladdin (my ALL TIME favorite Disney cartoon). Both were awesome (the musical was really impressive- about 45 minutes long, hilarious, and awesome special effects).

The library from Beauty and the Beast in California Adventures. You can determine which Disney character you are most like. Apparently, Angie is like Mulan and I am like Jane (from Tarzan). Interesting.

Warming our hands at the Disney fireplace :)

It was downright chilly the entire time we were there, interspersed with rain, which always abated...mostly. We didn't have when the rain decided to downpour at 9pm...we called it quits...but still managed to get in a solid 13 hours of the Happiest Place on Earth :)

Posing like Buzz and Woody (except the camera was zoomed in too much and you really can see what THEY were posing like, but believe, me, we look JUST like them)

(I did avoid Space Mountain and the roller coaster in California Adventures, but the back did great on the Thunder Mountain coaster- love that ride).

Mad as a Hatter :)

Disneyland has a 4 page, front and back printed, gluten free menu. It was awesome! I could eat so much stuff there and everyone was really helpful (although Angie started calling me high-matinenance every time a manager stepped out to speak with me before preparing my food). But seriously, I had a grilled chicken sandwich and a BUN (gf of course!) for lunch and an awesome veggie enchiladas for dinner. And ice cream. But not for breakfast, because apparently Disneyland doesn't believe in selling ice cream at breakfast time. Odd, no? Oh well :)

PA Adventures

Last week I traveled to PA to visit my friends Jana and Scott. Their first kiddo, Brady, arrived in December and this was my first time meeting him.

For some reason, I booked a flight with a layover in February. Not sure what I was thinking, but even though it was snowing in Chicago, I had no issues with my flights, thank you Lord!

It was a lazy two days of hanging out and enjoying their new addition :)

I'm a big fan of his shirt :)

The little cutie-pie talking to his mama after a feeding