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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting Fit for the Wedding

I've shared a few tips in the past about how I try to eat healthy and stay fit - see here, here, and here. The truth is that I normally don't expend too much energy in keeping fit. I can't really explain it, but I think I just kind of do it intuitively. I don't own a scale. I'm kind of used to not pigging out on too much junk food, and I've consciously cut out a lot of things in my diet and don't really crave them anymore. I haven't eaten meat since I was a kid, I don't drink pop anymore...and I don't miss them. So it's kind of easy for me to eat fairly healthy.

With our wedding coming up in August though, I've began to make an effort this year to get in shape by having a nightly work out routine and sticking to it. One thing that is harder for me is to try to keep active and stay motivated to work out. Sitting at a desk in an office all day doesn't really help. I know a lot of people are like me in that respect.

I've found that in order to stay motivated to work out, it has to become a habit. Everyday, just working out a little bit - for 10 or 15 minutes, helps. Everyone can find that amount of time to work in a quick routine.

My nightly work out is really simple, and consists of: crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, lunges, squat thrusts, and light weights. I just do a little bit of each while watching TV, just enough to "feel the burn." Crunches have been a regular for me for a while so those have not been bad at all. I started the push-ups to get some definition in my upper body - gotta look good in my strapless dress for the wedding! I made it to 10 and am working my way up slowly from there. Lunges aren't too bad for me, but the squat thrusts made my leg muscles hurt for a couple of days at first! I just recently started working those in. I have just two little 5 lb weights that I'm using to keep my arms defined. So that's my simple wedding workout! Even though I'm already small, I'm hoping that by working out every night I'll gain a little more muscle tone and some strength that will at least make my body look toned for the wedding and honeymoon.

In terms of eating healthy, I still stick to my same diet. And I still track my food daily on This was my late lunch on Sunday:

I felt particularly healthy that day because I was able to stay home and get a lot of working out in, and I ate really healthy, too. I'm trying to get Trent to work out and eat healthier, but he's a hard egg to crack! Hoping he at least makes an effort for the wedding...we'll see. Lol.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quiz: What Kind of House Should You Live In?

The other day, Trent found this Playbuzz quiz via Facebook: "What kind of house should you live in?" I'm sure it is super technical and scientific. :)

But we both took it to see what our results would be.

Well, we each got different results, but they weren't really that surprising for either one of us. Quite accurate, actually! Trent's result was Beach House. That is completely accurate for him. He loves the beach and the ocean, and if he could live anywhere, it would probably be somewhere like The Outer Banks...some island where we are surrounded by the beach and the ocean, and the weather is beautiful almost all year round.

I guess I'm a little more traditional when it comes to the house that I've always dreamed of. Don't get me wrong, I love the beach and the ocean too, and it is the perfect vacation spot for me, but a Beach House to me would be more like a vacation home. So it's no surprise that my result was a House in the Suburbs.

What can I say, the American Dream sounds pretty nice to me. :) And I've always wanted a nice, new home. I guess I will settle right now for an old house that needs a lot of work, and a lot of love, in a small town. It's not the end of the world! Maybe one day we will live in a house in the suburbs and own a nice little vacation home by the beach. We're still young, and one can dream, right...

Here is that quiz if you would like to take it for yourself!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thrift Store Additions

In the last few years, I have really become a fan of antiquing and thrifting. (check out all of my antiquing adventures here, including this one) It kind of started with my collecting of pretty vintage plates, and then my owl and ceramic/brass animal obsession...and then with the wedding planning this past year, I've been scouring yard sales, thrift shops, antique stores, and flea markets looking for vintage milk glass vases and other items for the wedding.

Last weekend we had some time to do a little shopping while in the cities, so we decided to stop at the local Goodwill to see if there were any good deals or anything we could use for the wedding. One thing I was looking for was a cake stand, or any platters or candlesticks or other materials to DIY one. I didn't really find those, but I did find a couple of really cheap decor items for the house, so it wasn't a total loss!

This basket of pinecones was $3.88. I've been kind of obsessed with pinecones this winter, especially for Christmas decor. I was originally just going to use the pine cones and put them in a big vase or bowl or something, but I actually ended up liking them the way they were in this basket. So I'm leaving them this way for now.

I also found this little gold decorative bowl for only $1.88. You know how I've been loving gold in our living room lately! So I was pretty excited about this little find. I think I'm going to put some potpourri or something inside.

So for a little over $5, I was able to add a little to the living room decor...not bad, right?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Years of Blogging

Today marks two years that I've been blogging regularly here on my little blogspace of the world. Just recently, I shared my favorite posts from this past year. And last year I shared 2013's posts here. It is crazy to me that I've posted a total of 376 blog posts since I've started! And I hope to post hundreds more.

Of course I actually started this blog in 2010, when the reality and excitement of moving into this house began to set in. I wanted to share my thoughts about moving in and share all of the renovations that we were so ready and excited to take on. But I was still in school and was busy with that, work, and everything else, so I didn't blog much! Only two to three times a year, in fact. But two years ago, I made it my goal to post about all of the renovation projects, the DIY projects, crafts, decor ideas, and all of the other random thoughts I have along the way! And I am so glad I did.

I have really come to enjoy blogging as a way to get all my thoughts "on paper", or on the web I suppose! Whether people read it or not is not my main goal, though of course I love hearing from people when they do. I think I just enjoy coming up with post ideas, and being creative. And although the focus of my blog is our home and decor, it definitely strays sometimes to crafts, recipes, wedding planning, travel, and just random life events, which is perfectly fine to me. I love the flexibility I have with this blog being my own little piece of the web. Life happens all the time and there's always something new going on, so why not share those moments?

I've been a fan of a lot of home blogs since I was in college, Young House Love being my first and favorite blog I followed. It was definitely a huge inspiration, and I was sad and a little disappointed to see them stop blogging this year, along with several other blogs recently, I've heard. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, though. I have a lot more to blog about in the years ahead.

Not only have I been able to document all of the little and big changes with our house, but in the past year, I've gotten engaged, my little sister got married, I've gotten to travel to several new places, and I've been able to blog all about it here. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend In

It snowed this morning. This is currently the view outside:

It's not too much snow...but it could stop for the rest of the winter :) This January actually hasn't been bad. There was one week where it was below zero everyday and the roads were pretty bad from the snow. The rest of the month has been like a January thaw. I even had a dream last night that we were outside having a big picnic / get together in January and it literally felt like spring it was so nice out.

I woke up hoping that was really the case. Unfortunately it just got colder and snow fell while we were sleeping. I guess we'll have to live with it for another month or two...

On the bright side, this weekend has been really laid back. We really haven't done too much, and I've stayed home almost the entire weekend, watching movies and sipping on this wonderful hot cocoa.

Friday night we just got some groceries and I had a hair appointment after work. Last night Trent went to his friends' house for a little get together for his buddy's birthday. I decided to stay home and watch the Whitney Houston movie on Lifetime. Priorities.

Today I did much of the same. I have been working out a little off and on for my new wedding workout, which I'm hoping to blog about this week. In the mean time, I think I'll finish some more movies to end this snowy but cozy weekend in. What do you think?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Popular Pinterest Pins

Like that alliteration in the title there? Say that 3 times fast.

If you're an active Pinterest user like I am, you might see those emails come in all the time that say, "so-and-so repinned your pin...", and then it shows the image that they repinned of yours? Everyday when I am going through my emails I see these pop up and just kind of glance them over and don't pay much attention to them. The other day I got to thinking that many of these notification emails that I get have the same pinned images over and over. Popular pins tend to get more and more popular the more they're repinned. I don't know how it happens, but there are some pins that just get a ton more repins than others.

I pin a variety of things that catch my eye. From home decor ideas, to recipes, to fashion ideas, and fitness articles. Lately I've also been pinning a ton of wedding ideas, and vacation ideas (honeymoon coming up, woot!) I thought today that I would share just a few pins from my Pinterest that seem to get repinned a lot (i.e. my most popular pins). Since I don't have a Pinterest business account, I don't technically have a way to view my analytics (Pinterest just recently came out with that feature for businesses - read more here). But these links are just a few that I've noticed seem to be pretty popular. And I love them too!

This one is funny to me, but this pin of mine gets pinned over and over! This was one of my first pins EVER. I pinned it because I thought it was such a clever and cute way to store remotes. And guess what - I actually used it for inspiration for my own cigar box-remote storage. And alluded to this pin in the post. How crazy is that.

I love Katie Bower and her blog and have been reading it for years. And I love this cute hand towel idea. I have never attempted it myself, mainly because I don't own a sewing machine, or sew, for that matter. But I have dreams that one day I might....

I have noticed that lately this is getting lots of repins. The moment I read this post I was in love with this project that John and Sherry at YHL so bravely took on for their daughter, Clara. Oh, how I miss the Petersik family! I was a loyal YHL reader and even met them on their book tour. These two are so creative, and I love this play kitchen that they put together. It reminded me of the one I got on Christmas morning when I was a young tot. Too fun!

Another pin-worthy post from Ms. Bower Power. I don't own a DSLR camera...yet. I pinned this for the day that I finally break down and spend the money to get one. I've been pining over the Canon Rebel for years now. Katie is an amazing photographer and has gotten better and better even since this post was written, in my opinion! These tips are great and I can't wait to use them someday.

I kinda hate doing it, but I pin most of my DIY projects. Surprisingly, my post about my painted wine bottles and mason jars is one of the most repinned projects from my blog. Pretty cool, and such an easy project. It's even in my Popular Posts section over on my sidebar. It's probably one of my favorites, too.

So that's my short little list for ya. Who else is still obsessed with Pinterest? It's really taken off in the last few years, and I don't think it will go away any time soon. It's become the go-to search engine for some things for me, especially for recipes and wedding stuff. Anywho, that was fun! Have a good Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Cozy Day Essentials

Do you have any items that you absolutely cannot live without on those lazy, stay at home days during the winter? One of my favorite things to do when I'm stuck inside all day is watch movies at home. But there are a few necessary items that go along with that to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :) I've created a little list of them for you today!

1. Cozy blankets - I'm always wrapped up in a big blanket when I'm chilling at home. These cashmere throws from Parachute Home are to die for and would definitely be a beautiful and cozy edition to your sofa or bed for those lazy days! Parachute Home also offers other cozy bedding essentials.
2. Comfy slippers - I wear my slippers around the house 24/7 in the winter. Target slippers like these are cute, inexpensive and super cozy.
3. My laptop - Of course I need my computer to blog and search Pinterest endlessly. Who doesn't? I love my Mac laptop that I got a few months back. I'm on it more than I care to admit.
4. Hot cocoa - I would sip hot cocoa everyday if I could. I'm obsessed with the different flavors right now after getting them for Christmas. White Chocolate, caramel, dark chocolate...more please!
5. Yummy-smelling candles - I've been loving the 3-wick candles from Bath & Body Works. They smell AMAZING.
6. Cute mugs - This past fall I picked up these monogram mugs from Anthropologie for Trent and I. I love how simple and classic they are, and they keep my hot cocoa nice and toasty!

So those are my cozy essentials for a winter day! What's on your list?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Obsessed: Gold and Bronze Decor

It's Friday! Time for a fun post. I've been loving gold and bronze decor this past year. I've even been adding little gold touches to the living room recently and cannot get enough. It looks super stylish and elegant. And, it's a neutral! So you can incorporate pops of color with it, too. Here are just a few pretty gold and bronze accessories from the web to peak your interest. Sources below.

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

Is gold your jam, too? What other trends have you been loving in your home?
Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Honeymoon is Booked!

Well, it took a while and may have been the most difficult decision during our wedding planning so far, but we finally have our honeymoon destination and are all booked! We'll be going to JAMAICA!

We'll be staying 6 nights at the end of August at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay. It has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and it's an all-inclusive resort. Neither of us have been to the Caribbean before, so we could not be more excited. (It sounds even better right now with those chilly temperatures outside) Let the countdown begin!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More Cold Weather and a Fun Concert

Winter has really come in full force with the new year. December was cake - then January rolled around, and we've had several inches of snow and negative temperatures! Tomorrow's projected high temperature is -6 F! Not sure if I will be going to work...we'll see. Yesterday we started an hour late; today two hours late. Oh how I love winter in Illinois....

In other news, we saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert for the second time this past weekend. We saw them last December for the first time. This time was a little different - Instead of performing songs from The Lost Christmas Eve, their show this year was The Christmas Attic. And it was in January this year, so it was after Christmas! But we still had a good time.

It was really cool how they opened the show. This year they had a giant old trunk on stage, and the musicians were inside this huge trunk. They told the story about a little girl exploring an attic on Christmas Eve, and finding lots of old things in this trunk, like old toys and handwritten letters.

I thought some of the songs were a little slower this year, and I didn't know as many. Toward the end though, it started to pick up quite a bit, and the second half was much more lively with lots of fire and pyrotechnics.

My parents got us the tickets and we sat with them. They've seen them several times before. It was a good end to a very busy weekend! I just wish the weather had been a little better! It was windy and freezing - below zero temperatures.

Overall we had a good time! Even in the high-up seats, you still get a good view of the whole stage and all of the cool lights and fire and all that good stuff. And the musicians are amazing. Wish I could play an instrument even half as good as those people! Maybe in my later years in life I can pick something up. ;)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Wedding Day Hairstyle Ideas

Time for another wedding planning update. Saturday I got to pick up my dress! It arrived in my size, and it actually fit almost perfectly as is. I will have to schedule an alterations appt. soon though, to get the bottom hemmed since it's a little too long. There are a few other small changes I'll need too - since we're having an August wedding outside, I really want to make sure there's not too much excess fabric or crinoline. No major changes though. I'm excited to finally have my dress in my own hands!

Along with picking up my dress, I also ordered my veil. I plan on having a simple veil along with a simple, white flower in my hair. I've been looking at various hairstyle ideas for the big day and am gathering them up here. Most of them I found via Pinterest.

source: 1 2

source: 1  2

source: 1 2

I really want to keep it simple and maybe add some nice earrings, too. The only question - real flower or faux flower? I've seen some cute ones on Etsy, like this one. I don't want something too blingy or feathery, or something so huge it overwhelms me! The search is on...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So This is Winter...

So I know this isn't exactly a 'weather blog', but I had to share with you my view today. Ya know how around Christmas time I was saying we have barely gotten any snow yet and the temperatures were so much more mild this winter? Well, it looks like winter has finally arrived! December was so mild compared to last year, but January is coming in at full force. We got our first measurable, lasting snowfall overnight. And we woke up to this:

It's almost noon, and it's still coming down! Also - check out the temperatures for the next few days:

Yes, Wednesday has a HIGH of -3 degrees! I guess winter is finally here! 

Trent and I are still planning on meeting Mom and Dad in the cities this afternoon to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra live. I'm hoping the roads aren't too bad. We'll see!

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