Thursday, December 13, 2018

Boho Roses

The last time I featured this cardigan on the blog was back in 2014 when I was pregnant with Carson. It's technically a "maternity" cardigan, but I am a believer that any cardigan can be a "maternity" cardigan if you wear it open. I love it just as much as I did 4+ years ago. When I bought it, it reminded me of a much more expensive Free People sweater and even just this season I saw a similar coat at Anthropologie.
When I wore it pregnant, it was with blue jeans and a black tank. Nowadays I like to wear it with black jeans and pull out the green with the tank and booties. And a pop of pink with my necklace!
Cardigan : Motherhood Maternity
Rock & Republic Jeans, Sonoma Tank and Booties : Kohl's
Anthro Necklace via TJ Maxx
Sunglasses : Target

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Second Chances

I recently got this cute dress at Anthropologie during an extra 40% off sale prices deal, and even though it's colors are Spring/Summer I had to wear it anyway. I wore it last week with tights and boots (see second set of pics), and had a belt on at the beginning of the day, but felt the length of the dress with tights was a bit dowdy. Maybe it's just me but when I don't like an outfit, I feel like I need to redo it fairly soon. So it got it's second chance this week. I went with bare legs, which I don't usually do in the Winter, and a cropped jean jacket helped give waist definition (and warmth). What's going to be even better is some strappy sandals in the warmer seasons!


ett:twa Coreyell Turtleneck Dress - Anthropologie
Lenora Dame Necklace - TJ Maxx

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Sweater

 I don't know if people would consider this a Christmas sweater, and I hope to wear it all Winter long, but it's the closest thing I have. I have long admired fair isle style sweaters, and with the addition of roses on this one it felt most like "me".
 I paired this oversized cozy beauty with black jeans and green suede booties. All of my items are old (sorry) but you could certainly search eBay or Poshmark!
 Mossimo Sweater - Target
Sunglasses - Target
Rock & Republic High Roller Jeans - Kohl's
Sonoma Booties - Kohl's

Friday, November 30, 2018

November Reads

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas
Coming off of Halloween, I wanted to read something haunting and The Good Demon fit the bill. I didn't realize, until I was into reading it, that it could be considered Young Adult (YA). I typically don't go for YA, but I liked this one because it wasn't "drama" filled. The main character, Clare, has a demon exorcized from her and is fighting to get it back. As the story unfolds, she discovers plans in place that were bigger than she could have ever realized. It was dark and interesting without being too scary. Highly recommend!
The House Girl by Tara Conklin
This is one of those stories that flashes between past and present. Lina Sparrow is a lawyer who has been tasked with finding a key descendant (plaintiff) to benefit from a history making case on slavery. The art world winds itself into the story a couple of ways..... Lina's father is an artist who is opening a show based on Lina's deceased mother, and she struggles to get him to talk about the past. As she dives deeper into her case, she discovers artwork credited to a pre-war artist that might have actually been created by her slave Josephine. A very rich story which I truly enjoyed!
The Adults by Caroline Hulse
I was anxious to read this to get into the holiday spirit. It's the story of two ex's who, for the sake of their daughter, decide to spend the holidays together at a resort along with their now significant others. What could go wrong? This was a fun read with good character development, and I was pleased with how it ended after the climax event.
The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
to be released March 5, 2019
Another selection to get into the Winter season, I could hardly put this book down! Marian moves where her job takes her. She works with rescue dogs on projects to track endangered species. The work requires long hours in remote places with very little comforts. She becomes involved with a man in the same program, and they are soon parted by different assignments. Unfortunately, Tate dies tragically and as Marian grieves she soon starts to question things about the man she loved. Is he responsible for a series of unsolved murders? Did she really know him at all? Was she his next victim? This is the perfect book to cozy up with!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Master Bedroom Refresh

 The latest room we've finished refreshing is our master bedroom. Back in May, we got a new bedroom set and mattress which required us to move the bed from the wall with the door on it to where it is now (we upgraded from a Queen to a King). It hasn't been until this past month that we've had time to paint and redecorate. You can purchase the furniture from Macy's (Avondale Collection) or from Art Van (Meadowbrook Collection). We bought from Art Van. I took a risk on one of those "mattresses in a box" based on some recommendations and am very pleased. Ours is from Amazon and at the time I got it delivered for under $400! I think mattress prices are such a scam and after sleeping on this one for 6 months now I can honestly say I would recommend it to anyone! The other item that was updated at that time was the ceiling fan, as we moved the existing one into the spare bedroom when we did that redo. You can find our new fan at Menards. I'm glad Biscuit cooperated being in the pictures, as the bed is his favorite place to be (although, under the covers).
We had 4 can lights in the tray ceiling but they were small and didn't work very well. When we started the project this month Jon replaced those as well as added 4 more. This has made a huge difference, especially to a reader like me who can turn them off with a remote control from bed (that's the little white box on the headboard)! Yes, it does bother my OCD personality to have it there, but as I age convenience wins over perfection sometimes! Since we needed all new bedding for the new size, we decided to go all white to give the feel of a modern hotel. All of the bedding is from Kohl's - sheets by
Vera Wang, pillows by Columbia, comforter by Cuddle Duds. I had intended on using these DIY throw pillows on the bed (which is a good post to get an idea of what the bedroom looked like before), but they looked too bright to me. The bed looks boring, I know, but in all honesty I never really make it daily so additional fluff is unnecessary I guess. Keep it clean and simple! After installing the lights, we painted the ceiling white. Then painted the walls and portion of the tray ceiling (I believe the bluish grey color is "master matte" or something like that). We planned to paint the portion of the tray a lighter blue, but it didn't look right so we went over it with the same wall color. Next was painting all of the trim white and we got new blinds as the existing ones were broken and dingy. We selected a very simple white fabric honeycomb style.
On to the barn door!!! We replaced the door to our bathroom (please excuse any mess you see in there) with a barn door. We got both the track, and door, at Menards. We stained the door to match the furniture. 
With the bed moving to the other wall we were able to do this and even though we gave up wall space, we love it! It makes our bathroom feel so much more open too as the traditional door opened up and covered a good half of another opening that went into our toilet and shower as you can see in this pic.

The handle was found at Home Depot.
I made this canvas (scrapbook paper, paint, stamps, etc...) many years ago at our old house, as it matched our kitchen (hung over the eat in table). I am glad we were able to use it again in this space as it goes perfectly! Jon's closet is on the left (my walk-in is off the bathroom) and the entry door is on the right.
The decor is mementos from our travels as well as my globe obsession/collection (all thrifted). This little cubbie shelf I posted a DIY about in 2014 is still in the mix. 
The gallery above the bed (and art on other walls) was all used before, just in different configurations over the years. It was in our living room at our old house, but then was already in our bedroom when we moved and before we started the refresh. Jon made the pipe shelves to hold the alebrijes figures from our honeymoon in Mexico. Maps, pictures and masks are from Mexico, St. Lucia, and Belize. I had a hard time with some of the bright colors as I didn't think they went with the more subdued blue and deep brown, but I'm really liking how it all came together now.
As much as I hate things being is disarray and having chaos, it is so rewarding when these projects are done!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Oldie but Goodie

 I found this Anthropologie sweater at my favorite consignment store (where I buy and sell) last year. Finding pieces like this is what the thrill of secondhand shopping is all about. I love everything about this...... it's pink and green (my fav combo), it's peplum style, it's big buttons and fluttery collar. It's the Guinevere "Kirklees" Wool Sweater Coat if you want to try your own luck on secondhand websites. Everything I paired it with is old too....... Mossimo pants from Target and Sonoma booties from Kohl's.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Snowbird, Part Two

 It's been almost 2 years now since I picked up this "snowbird" print at The Loft. The dress is in this post. All of the pieces were so deeply discounted that I had no problem buying a blouse with the same print but in a different color way. I love the pinks and purples of the dress, and all the variations of teal in the blouse. The blouse also has some cute pleats in the back and a high-low hem.
 Hey Heather, is that another chenille sweater? Yep! How could I resist this gorgeous peacock color! And being chenille, it really shimmers like their infamous feathers. This one has some cute bomber jacket style pockets. I usually like to wear sleeveless tops under sweaters because I don't like the feel of bulky arms. But in this cold weather, these thin blouses can be chilly so I made an exception.
 Favorite jeans...... favorite booties........
 I decided to throw in some rhinestones with the upcoming holidays. This statement necklace from Target (old) is one of my favs!
Snowbird Blouse : Loft (old)
Mossimo High Rise Jeans : Target
Sunglasses : Target
Necklace : Target

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Finally! The right program for me...

I am so excited to tell you about some changes I've made in my life this past month or two! After trying (and failing) other programs, I have finally found what works for my best health. Here's a little background first. For the past few years I have struggled with putting on some weight and feeling like crap. I have basically been in "survival mode", not taking the time to take care of myself. I was constantly tired, constantly bloated, irritable, depressed, anxiety ridden and started having joint pain and skin issues I'd never had before. Of course when you feel like that, the last thing you want to do is workout. So the vicious cycle starts of beating yourself up because you are sitting on the couch eating cupcakes. But the cupcakes make you feel good for a few minutes. I no longer wanted to chalk it up to being a busy working mom of 2, or being in my 40's. I knew I should not be feeling like this. Yes, I joked around about it on a daily basis but I never let anyone know what a truly bad place I was in. Sure, I'd had down days here and there but the depression and anxiety I was having was scaring me. And, I did not just want to throw pills at the problem. I knew I wanted to start at the root of the problem which was what I was already putting into my body. Sugar addiction should be treated as any other serious addiction!

A typical day for me would start out with swigging some kind of juice to down a few pills in the morning. I wouldn't eat or drink anything else until I got to work almost 2 hours later. I would either get a mocha from Biggby, have some sort of bottled mocha, or make tea with sweetener in it. If I did eat anything it was usually carby - a bagel, muffin, etc..... I might have a mid-morning snack (I did try to eat some kind of fruit every day). For lunch, it would either be drive thru or a frozen meal. If it was drive thru it would usually be a burger, cheese curds or fries, and malt for instance - I was always trying to get something sweet to get me through the afternoon. If it was a frozen meal, then I would be cruising the break room for dessert (I work at a bakery manufacturing company) or raiding a co-workers candy bowl. When I got home, I was usually starving so I'd wolf down the easiest thing I could find - crackers or something. I will say that my hubby and I had already implemented pretty healthy dinners so that was good. But then I'd always need some sort of snack or sweet when we finally settled down on the couch. I would also have a small glass of wine to unwind. The amount of sugar I was eating (or drinking) every day was insane! But, my body was so used to it that I craved it and I also rationalized that I was treating myself because I was always so stressed and busy. So let me tell you about the programs I have tried and why they didn't work for me.

I bought and read The Fast Metabolism book in 2014 (this was after some weight gain from a miscarriage and before my second full term pregnancy). The premise of the program is that you eat different things during a week cycle (and then repeat). For instance there are 2 days of low carb, 2 days of high carb, and then 3 days of a mixture (all healthy carbs of course). There are different physical activities for each section as well. It makes sense - you keep your metabolism guessing so it is always "working". Like the program I am doing now, it promoted eating every 2-3 hours. Even though meal plans and recipes were provided, it was just too much to keep up with. I was always worried about not having the right foods on the right days.

After having my second baby, I found MuTu (short for Mummy Tummy). Since this plan focuses on Moms, I bought in. With lots of online support and workouts, this plan helps you learn the right exercises to repair your stretched out stomach muscles along with the right nutrition. Where this program lost me was lots of emphasis on posture to the point of wearing only completely flat shoes (I don't wear stiletto heels, but I sure as hell was not giving up what I wanted to wear on my feet) and bone broth soup to rebuilt collagen (ummm, I have no effing time to make bone broth soup - you can get collagen with supplements). So when a program gets a little too far out there, I am turned off and again on this one I worried about not having the "right" foods all of the time. Plus no time or motivation to do the exercises.

The last program I tried was The 21 Day Fix. This was the one I stuck with the longest. I did a challenge month with my friend in her online group. The plan comes with little color coded containers, so it is easy to see how many of each you can eat each day. I liked this very much. However, again, I felt like I was always struggling to fill the little suckers! I would either buy too much produce and it would go bad, or I wouldn't have enough and I would stress about failing the plan. Also, I will admit I never once used the workout DVDs.

So here I was armed with all of this information - good information - on how to eat correctly but I just couldn't implement it! Honestly, by the time I keep up with my family's grocery list, family meal planning and packing lunches the last thing I want to do is meal plan for myself for the meals/snacks I am not eating with them. If you've been reading a while, you know that I try to make things as easy as possible for our busy lives by using grocery delivery service (Shipt) and meal delivery service (Blue Apron). Even with these helpers, it is hard to stay on top of it all! At the end of Summer my hubby started seeing our local chiropractor and I met his wife through our kiddos. She told me about a program they were trying at the practice with the hopes of rolling it out to the community. So in September I went to an informational meeting about Optavia. After meeting and talking to several people who were doing the program I made the decision to try it. Many Moms who were going through exactly what I was going through! The program you start out with is called the 5&1 which means you eat 5 Optavia "fuelings" and 1 lean & green meal a day. Drink the recommended amount of water and eat every 2-3 hours. Limited caffeine with nothing added. Since I was already basically making a lean & green meal for dinner every night, the "fuelings" took care of the rest of my day when I was eating so poorly!

These pictures show what I need for a day. With all of them fitting into one hand, there is no excuse for me NOT to have these in my bag daily. So easy to grab and go! Some require water and a microwave, but if you know you won't have access to that you can plan accordingly. Typical day example: I start drinking my water as soon as I get up and I eat the bar while I am getting the kids ready. Later that morning at work I make the oatmeal. For lunch at work I make the pasta. Afternoon snack at work is the crunchers. Home to make our lean & green. Night time snack is pudding. Besides water all day I may drink hot or iced tea (unsweetened). Your lean & green does NOT have to be dinner either. If I go out to lunch I eat accordingly and then eat a "fueling" for dinner. If I know we are going to have a late dinner due to kid activities, I'll eat all 5 of my "fuelings" during the day and have the late lean & green. It is so flexible and so easy!!!
Of course I had reservations about the plan. Here are my 3 and the answers:

1. What if I hate the taste of the "fuelings"? Honestly, 6 weeks in now and there are only 3 that I don't really care for. They are not inedible to me, I just don't look forward to eating them. There are some solutions though..... we have an online support group where we can swap "fuelings". AND, there are Optavia approved recipes you can make with the "fuelings" that won't mess with their nutritional content. For instance I don't care for the peanut butter shake, but I can add a few things to it to make cookies (which I am going to try this week as our group is having a meeting where everyone is bringing a holiday recipe to try)! ALSO, your taste buds will change!!! There was a bar that I didn't really like during my first week, but by my fourth week I loved it!

2. What if I am hungry and miserable all the time? My first 2 days were a mix of excitement of getting on a routine/trying the "fuelings" as well as being a bit hungry. My 3rd day was the worst, which from what I am hearing is normal. I was tired and depressed, but I pushed on. If you think about it, your body is detoxing just like it would with anything else. After that hump, OMG! I can not believe how awesome I feel!

3. It's expensive! True, on average a month worth of "fuelings" is about $350-$400. I decided I would go through a months worth of bank statements to find out what I was spending on Biggby, drive thru, etc...... as I hadn't really kept track of that before. It was $280!!! If I add in what I was buying/eating from the grocery store for meals/snacks for just myself, the amount adds up to the cost of the plan.

So now I will go into why I love Optavia!

1. Just like the ease of Shipt or Blue Apron, I go online to order for the month and it comes right to my door! Now, I have a month worth of meals/snacks at hand for myself! It's actually made me detest grocery shopping for everyone else even more, LOL!

2. We have a great online support system both nation wide and local, and we like to focus not so much on the scale but on "non-scale victories" (NSV). Things like, I haven't been able to wear this ring in years....... I need to buy new pants.........

3. I do not feel deprived because there truly is a "fueling" for every craving. Hot drinks, ice cream, cookies, brownies, pasta, salty/crunchy snacks, shakes, bars, etc...... In the time that I've been on the plan I've been to a wedding, gone out to eat, made it through Halloween - all without going off track. I am gearing up for a weekend in Chicago and the holidays, all with the confidence that I know what to do to not overindulge. And speaking of cravings, as I mentioned before the plan changes you so that you don't have your old cravings. Honestly, I no longer think about Biggby! And this is from someone who would invent errands on the weekend just so I could go out and get a mocha.

4. I cannot believe how good I feel! Losing weight seems like a bonus on this plan because feeling better is so much more overwhelming! I wake up every morning ready to tackle the day. I have energy ALL DAY. I have better focus and clarity. My belly no longer feels like I could pop it like a balloon at the end of the day. Most all of my aches have gone away. I'm actually..... happy. It's a bit emotional to feel like I've come out of this "fog" that I've been in for so long. On weekends I used to take naps both days and I'd be annoyed if I couldn't. Doing one task would tire me out and I NEEDED it. Now on the weekends I am go, go, go! It feels good to get so much done.

5. You don't have to be on the plan forever. I've lost about 15 pounds so far, but I didn't really set out any specific goals. Feeling better and kicking my habits were the most important things. When ready, you can start to transition into more of your own meals/snacks while still incorporating the "fuelings". I'm not sure when I am going to do this, but I know I will probably always purchase some amount of the "fuelings" to have in my routine since they are just so easy and I know they are better choices for me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Chenille Crush

Last Winter, I was thrilled to see that chenille had made a comeback and I bought the pink (Loft) and red (Target) cardigan (two pink looks shown here). I am happy to report that Loft and Target are carrying similar sweaters again this year. When I find pieces I like, I tend to buy them in multiples - case in point : the silky tanks and long cardi's from this post. I thought I would round up some of the looks I've been creating with these dreamy pieces!
A New Day Chenille Cardigan in gold - Target
LuLaRoe "Christy" Tee in city print
Rock & Republic High Roller Jeans - Kohl's (old)
necklace - Anthropologie (old)
Close up! Loving this city print!
Chenille Cardigan - Target (last year)
Peacock Blouse - Loft (but I found the same one here)
Mossimo High Rise Cargo Pants - Target (old)
Sonoma "Sonya" booties - Kohl's (last year)
Close up! Loving these rich jewel colors together..... olive, navy, burgundy.
Chenille Cardigan - Loft (last year)
High Rise Jeggings - American Eagle (old)
Sonoma Tank - Kohl's (old)
Since I previously wore this pink sweater with blue & black jeans, I wanted to try a monochromatic look with maroon jeans.
Liberty Garden Tank - Anthropologie (old)
Rock & Republic High Roller Jeans - Kohl's (old)
necklace - Anthropologie (last year)
dv booties - Target (last year)
I've been loving several "neutrals" mixed together, so I really liked experimenting with this olive, gray and black combo!