Short and Sweet Fitness

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I have a fairly lazy attitude towards fitness. I do it but I hate the time it takes. After many years of wasted gymn memberships and wasted time working out I’ve settled on this fact – quick intense workouts are most effective. I’ve seen my muscles tone up more than ever after reducing my workouts to 20-30 minutes a day. Here are the three fitness routines I use and love and feel have actually made a difference in my body:

1) I love these workouts by Ali Kamenova (that’s her in the picture) and try to do at least a 30 minute video every day.

2) If it’s nice out I will go for a quick run or walk. When I get home I usually do a little yoga routine to stretch and incorporate some strength training.

3) These HIIT workouts are great. I have her app and love it. I like to do a 20-30mn yoga routine and then one of these.

That’s it – hope that might help someone out there who has struggled to find something that is actually effective without costing a lot of time or money.

My sister’s bridal shower

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This past February we threw a bridal shower for my lovely and sweet sister Amy (she is the third from the right in the picture below). It was right after valentine’s day so we decided to incorporate lots of hearts – plus they kinda go with the whole love and marriage theme. Here are pictures of the day for those of you who like that kind of thing. Continue reading

How to Organize Papers

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Organizing papers is probably one of the worst jobs there is in the home. It’s boring, tedious, time consuming and mildly unrewarding because you don’t see the results too much. BUT is is oh so necessary for mental health and peace of mind and ease of organizing in the future. It is one of those tasks that hangs like a heavy burden on any home-keeper. Let’s get rid of it! Continue reading

A Sofa Story

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We sold our giant couch the other day. It is super exciting because we needed to sell it before we moved but it is also a smidge sad because we had so many good memories that included that couch :( I get really sentimental about everything. Thanks for all the good times couch. I hope your new home and family like you as much as we did! I’m edspecially sad to see it go because i made the slip cover for this beast…

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Winter Cures – dry skin brushing

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So I am a little behind schedule in posting this but seeing as how there is STILL SNOW ON THE GROUND it probably is still appropriate. grrrrrrrr. If anyone is reading this from a sunny and warmer climate count yourself extremely lucky. So on the menu for today is some tidbits on dry skin brushing. It is great for the yucky winter skin we all get but is also just a good habit to get into because it is always good for your skin any time of year. To do it you need one supply…..a brush! These are as varied as there are stores. There are big and small and firmer and softer bristles and synthetic and natural bristles etc. After you read how it’s done find a brush that you like the feel of and then try it on yourself. (I just looked out the window and it is snowing fyi, I feel as though the sun will never shine again) Ok so here is the deal there are all kinds of fancy claims about dry-brushing like it is good for your lymphatic system, it removes toxins, cuts down on cellulite etc. etc. I don’t know what is true or not. All I know is that from my own experience; it feels good, it exfoliates my skin and seems to keep it looking smoother and I would imagine it also is stimulating some blood flow which is probably good for the way the skin looks. Those are enough reasons for me to keep doing it.  The way you do it is super duper simple. Get your brush and your body and stand somewhere easy to clean up the skin you shed (like maybe in your shower) It is probably best to do this before a shower which also makes it an easier habit to get into (if you have a showering habit that is). Work from your feet up your body, legs, arms, torso, back, neck. You can brush in longer strokes or small circular strokes – whatever feels good to you and seems to work good for your skin. Once you are done set your brush aside and shower. Yay! you did it!!!! Isn’t that the easiest thing ever! You don’t need any fancy scrubs or loofahs anymore. I love little rituals like this because they feel so pampering and relaxing and yet they literally only take like three minutes. Hope you find a brush and try it and love it!

Winter Cures – a hair treatment

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Well we are in the midst of the winter blues here in the midwest. Dry flaky hair and scalp. Pale pasty skin. Dry scaly skin. Antsy and irritable attitudes. Gah! How much longer until spring? This week and next I’m gonna put a few posts out there about little treatments for winter blues. Todays is for the hair.

Here is a little hair and scalp treatment that I have been doing since beauty school that I find pretty effective and simple.

Here is what you need:

A boar bristle brush or some sort of firm but not too firm bristle brush (if it’s too firm it will hurt you).

Some hair oil. I like this weleda one but you could use straight argan, avocado, almond, coconut or even olive oil. If you have none of those conditioner is alright.

Here is how you do it:

1) Section your hair (btw hair doesn’t have to be clean by any means). I usually start by parting my hair into four sections – two in the front and two in the back and then working through each of those sections in smaller segments.

2) Brush firmly against the scalp and out to the ends of the hair numerous times. The idea is that the brush will exfoliate the scalp a bit and remove all the dry skin built up there. Do this throughout the whole head. It feels really relaxing too :)

3) Massage oil onto scalp. Take a small amount of your hair oil in your palms and massage it thoroughly all over focusing mostly on the scalp. Use more oil as needed until scalp is evenly covered. Use what is left on your hands to apply to the ends.

4) Wait. Let it sit for as long as you have time for, five minutes – one hour.

5) Wash it out (depending on what oil you used it may take a couple shampoos). You probably don’t need conditioner afterwards either especially if you are using a more natural shampoo because they aren’t as stripping of the oils.

6) Comb it out and you are done! Make sure when you are combing out freshly washed hair that you do it section by section STARTING AT THE ENDS with a wide toothed COMB!! People always just charge right in at the roots with a brush and they get lots more breakage and damage that way. Brushes are only for blow dry styling and for brushing dry hair. ALWAYS on wet hair work from the ends up with a comb folks.

You can do this as often in a week as you want. It’s almost like washing your hair backwards (conditioner first shampoo second) which is supposedly good for your hair because it is less stripping of the hairs natural oils. This little treatment should help a lot with winter flakiness and itchiness. Let me know how it works for you.

P.S. This is my favorite natural shampoo, and this is my all time favorite comb (so worth the money)!

The end.

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Thoughts on Downsizing

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We are planning to move for a whole bunch or reasons but one of the bigger ones is to carve out a more mobile and care free lifestyle. Right now we are tied down and weighed down by a mortgage, home repairs that we don’t want to do, home projects that we do want to do because we live here but that cost more money than we have to spend, and loads of yard work (which I love doing but it takes up so much time). Our lives have come to revolve around working to pay for our house and working to care for our house. So in our next phase of life a landlord can do the work and we will work less to pay less money for rent. Annnnnd that means more dinners with friends, more trips, more going, giving, living and doing what we actually want to do and what we actually should do. Don’t get me wrong our house is frickin awesome and we love, love, love it and we have maximally enjoyed the years we have been blessed to live here.  And the day we pack that last box and walk out that door for the last time I am going to be quite a bit less than emotionally pulled together :)

What we have now is a large living space – about twenty-eight hundred square feet of living and sleeping and working space. What we will have next is a big enough living space for us and for entertaining friends, a room to sleep in and keep our clothes, a little storage space, and a little space for some flowers and herbs ( about seven hundred square feet or less). That is quite a bit less space but more than enough for our actual needs.

A lot of times we forget to step back, to think about what we really need to live. We also forget to think about how we are living and why. That is what I want to remember. Especially as we are making this transition. What do I actually need for living well? Am I living my life to the best and fullest of my abilities – using the talents, time and resources that I’ve been given?

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Who to Follow on Pinterest

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Yo peeps. This post goes out to a pal who asked who she should follow on pinterest. So these are my favorites for various reasons or you can just follow me and I will make sure I sift out the good stuff for all of you. :)

For Recipes and health:

fig+sage

well+good

green kitchen stories

tina jeffers

elenore zahn

For a little bit of everything (aka the lifestyle categories)

eat.sleep.wear

luizabo

kate arends

maia mcdonald

anne louise

If you go to who I follow you can explore more in depth there because these are just a few of them. It will at least get you started. Pin on Pinners!

How to Use and Love Pinterest

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Everybody is kind of hooked on Pinterest and I mean everybody! Unfortunately I don’t think most people know how to maximize their feed (that page you see when you log in) so that they can see what they really want to see. Here is a quickie beginners course on how to use Pinterest. ( Just so you know I am no expert this is just what I’ve figured out through my own trial and error.)

Step One is to set up an account. Like all the other social media you make a name, password, can put a picture of yourself etc. Then Pinterest will ask if you want to connect with pals through facebook and/or email etc. So do all that.

Step Two is managing your boards. These are what you ‘pin’ to. When you are on your feed page if you hover on a picture it will say ‘repin’ or ‘like’. If you click ‘repin’ then it will ask what board you want it on. It is nice to keep your boards organized so when you want a recipe or whatever you can find it easily. Btw if you click ‘like’ it will save that image to a smorgasboard of all the pins you have ever liked under the ‘likes’ tab.

Step Three is deciding who to follow, and again who you follow is whose pins show up in your feed (like your friends status’ on facebook and the pics of people you follow on instagram etc). Here are some guidelines for following people that will make Pinterest the best for you:

1) Don’t just follow all your friends that it suggests you follow. Pick the ones who actually pin and the ones whose pins you actually like. Unfollow the rest. No big deal, no one’s feelings get hurt. Some people have Pinterest accounts but don’t really use them. You don’t need to follow them. Following and unfollowing is super easy you click ‘follow’ or ‘unfollow’. Hopefully you got that.

2) if you are keen on any particular blogs see if they have a pinterest, see of they pin a lot and if they are pins that you like.

Guidelines for following someone:

My system when I think about following someone new is to look at all their pins, then all their boards. If I like all of it I will click ‘follow all’ (on the pins page, or boards page) If I only like particular boards I will click ‘follow’ at the bottom or top of that board depending on what way you are looking at it (in the particular boards’ pins page or at the ‘boards’ page). Sounds confusing but it is not. Also another tip is that if you see that a pinnner has only pinned 10 pins then odds are they are not worth following. Most of the good pinners are well into the hundreds and thousands.

3) Any magazines or websites you like might also have pinterest accounts so see who does and if you want to follow.

4)After a while once you see how your feed changes check out who your favorite pinners follow. This is how I started following a lot of people. Odds are if someone has good taste in pins than they have good taste in who they follow. To do that click on the name of a pinner and then at the top right it says something like ‘following’ and ‘followers’. Click on ‘following’ and then peruse all those people using the same guidelines I described before about following someone new.

Have fun seeing all the creative and pretty and inspiring and yummy things out there! Happy Pinning!

Making an Art Piece / Jewelry Box

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This is the jewelry box that I dreamed up (literally), my husband built, i painted, we hung, and courtney photographed! I love it because it hides all my jewels, saves space and looks great (even though the painting is hardly finished yet).

I know I am not the only one who has a lack of dresser space, a surplus of jewels, and a desire to keep my space looking stylish and neat all at the same time. I know a lot of people are interested in how to make a box themselves so here are some simple but hopefully helpful instructions on what we did.  Continue reading

The Sisters Special

My sisters and I made up this drink combo to order then mix and share when we are at Starbucks together. It’s the perfect combo of caffeine and not too sweet. The real beauty of the drink though is that is meant only for sharing and that makes it extra special.
How to order and share a ‘Sister’s Special’
Step One: Order an americano, a peppermint mocha and an extra cup.
Step Two: Pour half the americano in the extra cup
Step Three: Pour half the Mocha over each half of the divided americano (If you are careful you can even divide the whipped cream).
Step Four: Toss the now empty mocha cup and put lids on your drinks.
Step Five: Sit and enjoy!!!!!

Living Room Makeover

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from dining room looking into living room (before)

linseed oiling the floor

AFTER

I don’t have the best pictures but these give you an idea of the differences. The room wasn’t horrible it was just in need of some TLC. We patched and painted a lot, pulled up carpet, sanded, stained and polyeurathaned the floor. Then we filled it with a variety of items from thifting, flea markets, travels, gifts etc.

Simplifying Gift Wrapping

I have two drawers and a rubbermaid full of gift wrap stuff; bags, ribbons, boxes, tissue, stuffing, tinsel, toppers etc. Since we have been cleaning out our house in order to down size i was trying to think of a simpler more organized way to store and use my gift giving stock. I don’t like to be wasteful so I’m also trying to think of things that are at least slightly reusable as well. What about cultivating a trademark gift giving style that fits you? I think everyone should have one, it would make the mess of gift giving supplies more minimal and it would eliminate the stress of figuring how to wrap or package things every time you gave a gift. I need to figure mine our but here are some ideas I had.

Ideas for styles:

  • Buy a big roll of brown craft paper and embellish as needed – string, yarn, paint etc. The paper could be used over again or used for drawing paper for kids.
  • Bags all the way. Or how about buying plain white or brown bags and fancy them up with some pom poms or tasells. Bags can be reused for quite a while.
  • If you sew well maybe reusable fabric bags with draw string that you make and then add a cool tag.
  • Or the japanese art of fabric gift wrap, as seen in the video. Super reusable. Fabric could be from thrifted scarves, clearanced fabric pieces, old clothes cut up and hemmed, tablecloths and so on.

I hope you are inspired to find your perfect gift wrap style!