1 Cakes & Louie: January 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Brain

Alright, it's time for me to come clean. I have baby brain. And I know of exactly two people that read this blog that will be excited to read this (Hi mom! Helllllo Lauren!). But don't get too excited ladies, it's more like I have baby STUFF brain, not exactly I-want-a-little-bundle-of-joy-of-my-own brain. Yet.

Here's the thing. Since people I know have been having babies for awhile now, I've had a pretty constant stream of excuses to head into the baby department when I'm out shopping and squeal at the little bitty clothes and shoes and things. The stuff for babies is just SO darned cute! And don't even get me started on all the miniature hats and fleece jumpsuits with animal ears on the hoods. I canNOT walk away from those things. Ever.

Then there's Pinterest. The never ending feed of gorgeous nurseries and adorable toddlers in preppy clothes that are clearly styled for the camera and probably never actually look so perfect in real life. But they make a 30-year old woman dream. Can you blame me?

And then you add in comments like "You know, once you hit 35 it's waaaaay more likely you'll have pregnancy complications" (thanks Dr. Aris) and "I'm so proud of you for joining a gym... and next, you can get pregnant!" (love you Gramma), and it's tough not to think about how someday in the not too far away future, we'll probably have a little one of our own.

And then I have a panic attack.

And then I remember all the cute stuff that babies require, and I calm down. A little.

So, full disclosure - over the last year or so I've picked up a few little baby items that are stashed in a drawer for later. Just a few. You know, for my non-existent baby. And since the most recent purchase was just this weekend, I figured it was about time to share.

Raised by Elves Onesie from Old Navy - This was clearanced after Christmas for less than $2 and the movie Elf is a total favorite in our house for more than one reason. Had to have it. (Considering this is an article of clothing, I felt like this was the purchase that solidified that I have baby brain).

Snail dresser knob from Anthropologie - Another clearance find that's going to look perfect on a little side table or nightstand someday.

Rotating Constellation Light from Ikea - I saw this was being discontinued this weekend so I grabbed one for $12. Then I found one lone box in the as-is department for $7 and swapped for that one. Score.

Round Owl Containers from Ikea - These adorable boxes were my very first baby buy. And my mom was with me and agreed that I had to have them, so I feel like that justifies it.

Anyone else planning for family members that aren't even in the plans yet? Or is it just me?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Making My Day Since 2006

When the hubs is off on a retreat away from home and something like this randomly
pops up on my screen at work during an especially crazy busy day...
well, it just doesn't really get any better than that.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting Healthy

WARNING: This post is going to be long and rambling.

I promise not every post I write from here on out is going to refer to my gym membership and how much I love it, but plain and simple - it's making a huge, positive change in my life, and that is really really awesome and refreshing for me. Something I'm quickly noticing is a change in my diet and the way I want to eat. I've always kind of just eaten whatever I want, and up until a couple of years ago that was ok because I was blessed with an incredible metabolism and could literally feel my body digesting my food while I was still eating. This could have something to do with the fact that I am ALWAYS hungry, but regardless, I never really thought much of it.

Then I gained 25 pounds in a matter of about a year and a half.

Now I know what everyone that knows me is saying/thinking right now, and I imagine it's something along the lines of "But you are SO skinny! And tiny!!" or "25 pounds huh? So you must weigh what now, like 90 pounds?" or "Oh please. You have NOT gained 25 pounds. There's no way." or "Well you must have been really unhealthy before that." or... you get the point. I've heard every last possible variation of all of the comments above from pretty much everyone, and I've got to be honest - I'm sick of it.

Here's the deal - I may be small-framed and I may be still considered thin by any standards (truth be told, those 25 pounds are the only reason I am considered a "normal" weight for my age and height), but I'm not in shape, and I'm not healthy, and I don't feel great about my body with all this "extra" weight I've put on. I've talked a lot about my health here in the past (here and here) but what I don't think I've really gotten into is the issues I have with my stomach and how positively weak it is. I've mentioned that alcohol and caffeine are no-no's for me now, but I haven't admitted the whole truth - and the whole truth is that I throw up a lot. Like a couple times a month or more, simply from not listening to my body and pigging out on greasy food and then eating dessert and then maybe having a late night snack... and then I spend half the night in the bathroom, sometimes sleeping on the floor in there, and I'm exhausted and unable to eat the next day.

So why didn't I make a change a long time ago? Honestly, I'm not sure. I guess because I was always scared that it wouldn't make a difference even if I did eat super healthy and exercise and all that. This pessimism comes from my issues with my skin - I've had moderate to severe acne for THIRTEEN years now, with no end in sight no matter what I use/try/take/buy. So, I tend to think that's how everything with my body will go. If I eat really well and take care of myself, what if I still get sick all the time and what if I still feel like throwing up most nights and what if I just keep gaining weight and what if...

But here I am. I forced myself to join a gym and I've stuck with it for a whopping 2 weeks, which is already way longer than I thought I would last. The good news is that I LOVE it, so I can actually see it being a long-term thing for me, which is awesome. I talked to a trainer the other day about getting into a routine and she taught me about a bunch of the weight machines that will help me tone without dropping a ton of pounds (which is what I want, and what's best for my body type). I've fallen head over heels in love with zumba (even though I am terrible at it). I'm comfortable jumping on a machine right next to someone else that looks like they really know what they're doing (I'm learning. Slowly). As noted above, my diet is naturally changing because I feel good about eating things that are good for me, and understand that eating crap is just going to counter all the calories I just burned at the gym on the treadmill (and probably make me throw up). And the very very best part? I haven't felt sick since it all started (knock on wood). Here's hoping this all continues well into 2013 and beyond. I'm thinking it will.

Happy three-day weekend friends!

Monday, January 14, 2013

In-sta-sanely Easy

Ok ok, so my Instagram play on one of my most overused favorite words (that'd be 'insanely') didn't really work. Forgive me. It's Monday and I've been up since long before the sun.

Regardless of my mediocre subject line, I'm excited to share two quick little projects I whipped up over the last couple weeks using some of my favorite Instagram photos from last year!

First up are some fun little magnets that I made in literally 10 minutes by arranging a ton of my favorite pics in a grid, printing it out and spray mounting the paper to a couple sheets of magnet "paper" that I had laying around from a vendor. A few minutes trimming with an exacto knife left me with enough magnets to cover nearly the entire freezer and brought a fun burst of color into the kitchen.

The magnets aren't actually strong enough to hold anything up, but I'm in love with them nonetheless. I think I'll move some of them to the side of the fridge and take them out of my very specific grid eventually, but for now the orderly fashion that they're in helps keep my minor OCD at bay.

Next up is my DIY 2013 calendar, which is proudly hanging at my desk today. I figured since January is already half over it was about time I take down the sad looking December calendar sheet that was still hanging at my desk, so I threw this little guy together last week and finally printed it at home last night on some white cardstock. The lack of big squares to write appointments and the like in obviously makes this calendar more about form than function, but I'm ok with that since I rarely actually write dates down anyways. 

For the calendar, I went with all types of scenery and detail pictures, rather than fun and goofy people shots from over the months so that it would look appropriate at my desk. You can spot one of my very favorite photos on the July page (bottom left) - a teen spotted these huge letters on a fence in Detroit when we were there doing service work last summer and it's been such a powerful image for me since that trip.

So there you have it - two super quick DIY's that finally got some pictures off my phone/camera and printed out to actually be enjoyed! It's so odd that in this digital age pictures circulate all over Facebook and other social networks, but are rarely actually printed out anymore for people to see. I remember being in college and taking the bus to Walmart to develop our pictures from a weekend out and about and being giddy with excitement over flipping through them and reliving those moments for the first time. Now, pictures are uploaded to my computer and I rarely even get around to sharing them. Maybe I should add "print some pictures!!" to my 2013 resolutions?

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grown Up Bedroom

When we first bought our house, I got a little crazy with the paintbrush and decided that every room we painted had to have color. Then over the last few years I've started to hone in on what I really like, and I've learned to stop looking at the little free brochures at the paint store for inspiration and instead use my surroundings and what I'm drawn to (ok, and blogs and pinterest) as guides.

The kitchen was the first place where I realized I made a huge mistake and needed change. For whatever reason, I wanted a dark red kitchen for YEARS. When I lived with my brother in my parents' two-flat we sort of painted our kitchen dark red, but truth be told we never did as many coats of paint as were necessary so it was a really pitiful job. So, when the hubs and I fixed up our kitchen the first time (starting before we even moved in to our house), I talked him into a dark red wall, and while I loved it for awhile, I was aching for lighter and brighter colors overall and was thrilled when we painted everything the same light gray that's in our hallway.

Now I'm on to our bedroom, which has been on my projects list for months but has sat untouched because I'm indecisive. I know I want a dark-ish gray on the walls, but I had no idea how many shades of gray are out there (hehehe, shades of gray), and it's been impossible to find one that I am willing to commit to. Currently, there's 5 or 6 different swatches on the walls and I'm not sold on a single one of them. Sigh. Regardless, the bedroom is definitely in need of change - thanks to another one of my color explosions when we moved in, it's currently baby blue with a chocolate brown accent wall and saying I hate it would be an understatement. I consistently refer to it as "colors that belong in a traditional baby boy nursery", which is a far stretch from the calming, serene, romantic and moody look I'm actually going for.

Since Home Depot is our go-to for house projects, I've really only been looking at Martha Stewart and Behr paint swatches, and I think that's my problem. I'm planning to get somewhere this weekend with Benjamin Moore paint and grab every paint chip they have available in a gray shade. If all goes as planned, I'll settle on a color this weekend and we can actually paint sometime in the near future.

Here's some grays I definitely want to check out in person -

Benjamin Moore Charcoal - as seen in Jess Lively's home tour on Design Sponge -

Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray from Running from the Law -

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal from a broken link on Pinterest -

Benjamin Moore Plymouth Rock in Alexandra Kaehler of Things that Sparkle's bedroom -

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Go Green

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   
Words I never thought I would say, #247:
I made a smoothie with a crap ton of spinach in it, and it was absolutely delicious.
.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   

That's right - I made a "green" smoothie, otherwise known as a "green monster" among blogs and pinterest. And seriously people, it was GOOD.

With 2 cups of spinach plus banana, strawberries, an orange and some greek yogurt, this thing is insanely healthy and one serving packs in more fruits and veggies than I usually consume in a day. I followed a recipe from "Two Peas & Their Pod" because it was the simplest one I found online and I figured that was a good place to start, and I could not be happier with the results. Maria's proportions filled 2 mason jars - I put one in the fridge overnight and it was perfect for breakfast on the go this morning, and the other is in the freezer waiting to be popped in the fridge for the next day. I think I'll make another batch tonight before my strawberries go bad, and freeze both servings for after workout classes this weekend. Based on looking at the comments of Maria's post, it looks like playing around with ingredients is fairly foolproof, and would likely help keep me from getting bored with the same thing day after day. Regardless, the base of a mild green like spinach brings in a crazy amount of nutrients and I promise that besides the color you would never even know that's what's in there. It genuinely just tastes like a great, refreshing smoothie! And, potentially the best part? I had my smoothie at 8:30 this morning and now at just 5 minutes til noon I am NOT completely starving already like I usually am from about 10:30 on.

In other food news, this is my lunch (and snacks) for today:

Full disclosure - I pigged out on a bacon cheeseburger and a few teriyaki chicken wings with my father in law last night, so I'm obviously not depriving myself of indulging in delicious unhealthy food or anything. But, I feel good about eating much better overall and it's incredible how much more energy I have throughout the day when I'm not wolfing down potato chips or french fries at lunch.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweetness from the Weekend

He's going to be such an awesome father someday.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

How was your weekend? Mine was great from a workout standpoint - I went to a kickboxing class on Saturday morning that appropriately kicked my butt, and a Zumba class Sunday that was so SO much fun. Seriously. I never thought I'd be cracking up at the same time as getting a phenomenal workout, but there I was with 30 or so other women laughing hysterically while trying to learn how to shake our butts as well as the instructor. I chatted with one girl in the locker room after class and she put it perfectly - "Hey, laughing while working out? I'll take it. Extra calories burned!" If it's not already clear, I am LOVING my new gym membership, and I'm excited to continue to learn about different classes and exercises that will help me get in shape.

We also did lots of errand running and a little shopping this weekend. I got a couple workout tanks and compression capris from Old Navy and Gap, both of whom have all their activewear on super sale right now. And, I ordered the gym bag I was wishing for! Dan actually found the smaller one I was thinking about at Target, and after we packed it all up with my gym shoes, a change of clothes and a sweatshirt, we confirmed that it's just a little too small so I went ahead and ordered the larger one. It looks like it'll be a good week or more before I have it, but I'm already excited about it.

And, as illustrated above, we squeezed in some time with our adorable nieces Saturday evening. It's so crazy to me that in just a matter of a couple of weeks between visits the girls change so much as they continue to grow. Mayah has gone from being shy and taking hours to warm up to us to hyper and goofy when we walk in the door over the last few months. Kadence practically tackled me with a hug and a huge "Auntie Kelly!!!!" when I walked in the door (melt my heart), and has morphed into an independent little girl with a huge personality. And then there's Neyome, who everyone says looks just like Dan as a baby and is becoming more and more smiley every time we see her. I've been telling her lately that if my babies look anything like her (which they very well might because she really does look JUST like Dan), then I'll be happy because that means my babies will be absolutely adorable.

Happy Monday friends! And, Go IRISH!

Friday, January 4, 2013

If I had a Million Dollars: Work It Out

As mentioned in my little 2013 goals list, I joined a gym! So naturally, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time online in the last few days browsing around for the perfect gym bag and all kinds of other workout accessories that I may "need". I already have lots of fun and cute workout clothing, thanks to my generally casual style and times in the past where I've sworn I was going to get in shape and bought a bunch of gear to get ready for exercise that inevitably never happened, so I'm pretty much all set in the clothing category. But my very first workout yesterday quickly taught me that I need to get organized and have one place that I can keep all my stuff so I don't look like a bag lady running to and from the gym, and so I don't leave my glasses in my locker when I leave and have to go back for them like I did right away last night... oops.

So, here's a few things I'm hoping to snag over the next several months as I turn working out into a part of my routine -

Victoria's Secret Sport Headbands ($12.50) - I kind of sort of sweat like a man (no "glistening" here folks), and these have that snazzy body-wicking technology that's supposed to make sweating a little more bearable.

Jawbone UP Band ($129.99) - This is obviously way in the future and not a "need" at all, but my boss got one for Christmas so I looked it up and I'm intrigued. It tracks your sleep and your movement, works with your iPhone to add in things like meals and your mood, and then takes all of that information to help you maintain a better you. It even has an alarm that can track your sleep cycles and wake you up during the ideal timeframe so you feel refreshed. Very cool.

Contigo Addison Water Bottle ($16.24) - I got this water bottle for Dan for Christmas, and I'm a little jealous I didn't get myself one too. It has a pop-up straw spout which is perfect for someone like me who manages to spill almost every time a drink doesn't involve a straw. A 3-pack of these water bottles is currently on sale at Costco for $15, so I'm hoping to grab them this weekend.

Baggu Small Zipper Bags ($8 for 3-pack) - The different sizes here would be perfect for all the little things I need to corral in my bag. One for face wash, deodorant and moisturizer, one for my glasses, and the smallest for my jewelry that I don't want to wear while working out. And, they're nylon, so any toiletry spills would be contained and easily cleaned up.

Inspire for Women Yurbuds ($29.99) - I've always had an issue with headphones not staying in my apparently small ears, and while I did find a pair about a year ago that I love and stay in better than the standard shape, that unfortunately was not the case once I was moving at a more rapid pace last night. These are supposedly perfect for women and working out, and the nylon cord helps them to not tangle.

Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag ($48) - The one actual necessity on this list - the perfect gym bag! This bag gets rave reviews across the board, and my favorite feature is the separate mesh pocket for your smelly gym shoes. I haven't gone ahead and purchased this yet because I'm not totally sold that I need something quite this size considering I am obviously very new to this whole working out thing, but the same brand also offers a smaller and simpler designed Metro gym bag for $20 that I'll go for if I decide against the larger one. Either way, I'm excited to get my hands on one of these bags soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Better Late Than Never

I realized that I never posted an image of our 2012 Christmas card here, and although the holidays are over, it's a good 5-second recap of our year that I still thought would be fun to share. And, it's just about the only picture we have where Louie happens to look as happy-go-lucky as he actually is instead of looking angry like he usually does in photos, so that's fun too!

(you can click on the image to read it larger if you'd like)

I went back and forth for weeks about the design on the card (shocker, I know), and stressed myself out over not having a professional photo of us for it. In the end, I loved that we got a picture in our house, with Louie, looking (mostly) normal at our Ugly Christmas Sweater party. It's much more "us" than any professional photo would ever be, and I'll save complicated photo shoots like that for things like babies and major anniversaries :). While I originally just had a cute little holiday greeting on the side, I threw together the quick year in review on a whim late the night before I HAD to print these, and I'm so glad I decided to go this route instead. I don't ever want to send people super long letters that go on and on about everything we've done in the past year, but I figured some quick tidbits were fun and I absolutely love the little "headlines" we came up with for it. 

So, a happy belated holidays from Dan, Louie and I! I'm excited to see what our 2013 recap may look like 12 months from now...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013. Let's Do This.

Happy New Year! 

I'm back at work after nearly a week and a half off for the holidays, and believe it or not, I'm happy to be back. Christmas was mediocre this year, and I took a massive fall down the stairs (my second in about a week) before New Years and spent a couple days in a lot of pain, so I'm kind of ready to just get back to my "normal" and have high hopes for 2013. I'm not a usual resolutions person, but this year I'm going to give it a shot because there's some things I'm excited about and some things that I need to stick with for the sake of my health. Below, my goals for the upcoming year. Yay!

NO caffeine - Seriously. I barely drink caffeine as it is because it's always kind of had a negative effect on me, but I can't seem to get myself to stop drinking iced tea and unfortunately even the tiny bit of caffeine in that really gets to me. I spent the evening last night curled up in bed with stomach pains and couldn't fall asleep until 2am thanks to ONE glass of iced tea with brunch. So not worth it. I found a decaf chai concentrate at the grocery store over break, and with lactose-free milk it's probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it's a delicious substitute and at least it doesn't make me sick!

Very very VERY little alcohol - My body is extremely sensitive in general, and in the last several months just a couple of glasses of wine at a girl's night sends me into a full-on hangover the next day. It's kind of pitiful and again, not worth it. I know better than to say I'm never going to drink anything (we have 3 exciting weddings for great friends and family coming up later this year), but since I'm well past the whole getting wasted on the weekends with my friends phase anyways, there's no reason not to cut down on it even a little further - especially knowing that if I do drink it will make me feel like garbage anyways.

Work it (out, that is) - One of the major highlights of my break? I joined a gym! A kinda fancy-pants one I might add, and I am pumped about it. Bridget and Aris (among a ton of other people I know) are members, so I have built-in workout buddies ready to go. It's convenient, really nice, totally community-feeling (unlike places like Bally's where everyone looks like a body builder and I feel super out of place), AND they have a rock climbing wall. Unfortunately I officially joined about 20 minutes after my not-so-graceful fall down the stairs, so I have yet to actually be able to utilize my new membership, but I feel back to about 90% today so I'm planning to get there before the weekend.

Create routine - Joining a gym is a big part of this for me, along with other things like setting out clothes for the next day before going to bed, eating breakfast at home (or grabbing something to take with to work), bringing my lunch instead of eating out, meal planning for dinners and going to bed around the same time each evening. While it's not my favorite thing about myself, I don't do well with spontaneity - especially during the week when there's lots going on - so starting to make routines and actually sticking with them will really go a long way for me. I'll obviously have to find a balance here as things will inevitably come up and plans will change, but overall I'm just hoping to structure my days a little better - which will hopefully lead to more productivity and energy!

Budget - The amount of money that we spend on food in the form of going out instead of cooking at home or bringing our lunches to work is more than a little ridiculous, and we're making a major effort to turn a lot of that into savings instead this year. Then there's this little shopping habit of mine that certainly doesn't help either. Dan has all of our budgeting set up on mint.com and has worked really hard to help me understand how it all works, so we're starting the new year with a new budget and big plans for saving as much as we can. 

Keep in touch - I absolutely positively SUCK at keeping in touch with people out of town. It's one of my greatest downfalls, and I plan to make a serious effort at changing that this year. I kind of despise chatting on the phone (except for with my brother for some reason), and while skype is sometimes fun I also find it really awkward. I'm decent about emailing, but we all know that's not the same as actual contact with someone. I have amazing friends out of state (hi Ames!!) with kids (!!!) that I've barely even seen pictures of because I am that bad at keeping tabs on what's going on in people's lives. Not cool.

I'm sure I'll add to this list as the year goes on, but I think for now it's a good way to start the new year. Here's to making lots of new memories in 2013!