DIY: Turn Ugly Art into a Statement Piece

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My mom got me a subscription to HGTV magazine last year and the jury is still out on whether or not this is a sign of unconditional mom love or a hint that my house could use some work. Either way, it’s a welcome arrival among a sea of bills every month.

When it comes to the cover, I find HGTV’s work in the magazine to be way too over the top and annoying–”cutesy” and “colorful” comes to mind–but every once in a while there’s a real gem once you get inside. Last month they had a piece on how to update a discarded painting and it got me thinking about that ugly carnaval clown piece I’ve been lugging around for years (which, for the record, I actually really love but no one else does).

So here’s what I did…

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Friday Things | Let It Be Good

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Let’s cut straight to the chase: I woke myself up at 5am with an unshakeable desire to mop my floors.

I’ve been crawling Craigslist and Pinterest for affordable ways to outfit my home, and shortly before bed I stumbled upon Live Love DIY. This girl is a Pinterest NINJA and has basically designed the exact house I want to live in from the ground up using  cheap thrifted items and extreme refinishing (read: spray painting) skills.

Look at her before and after:

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Wear It: WINTER GEAR (and straight hair!)

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I keep forgetting that Wednesday is my “fashion” day so here’s a quick little look at my uniform for the next four months…

Last weekend my sister and I went shopping with my mom and both bought this hooded vest at Banana Republic. I don’t know about her, but I haven’t taken it off since. Since both my winter coats are (STILL) sitting in a garbage bag full of dry cleaning (for the last three months), this is currently my only defense against the elements.

And it doesn’t even defend my arms.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

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Last night in my winter depression-induced insomnia I decided I needed a treat. No Sugar November is going well enough so far. Save for a handful of weak moments of whining and that one night I had a dream about a French silk pie, the cravings have been minimal. I think right now all I really want the most is: sweet coconut chips on my oatmeal, jelly on my peanut butter roll-ups, and the ability to grab a latte from a cafe. Eleven more days…

So things are pretty good on my end. Here are some comments from others:

  • So many things I didn’t realize had sugar in them, like jarred tomato sauce and some of the boxed soups from Trader Joes…and apparently potato chips!. Also, I’m finding how seriously dependent I am on stevia. I didn’t realize that the 3 drops I needed in my coffee had slowly turned into 5, and then into 10! Instead of cutting it out completely, I’ve just gone back to using 1-3 drops in tea and coffee which will hopefully tame my sweet tooth a bit. I’ve also got to say that my skin is a lot clearer! Could be coincidence, but either way it’s not a bad thing.”
  • The thing I’ve noticed the most is my energy! I don’t crash on the couch when I get home and this week I’ve started a new running program. I feel fantastic and am going to try Crossfit for the first time next week (thanks, Nick!). I didn’t think I would notice changes so quickly!
  • For me, the purpose is primarily to practice self-control, which I am notoriously bad at. I’m a sucker for office treats, and it was getting OOC. So far, it has actually been a confidence booster to remind myself that I have turned down desserts, including a 4-layer homemade birthday cake I made my husband. At this point, it’s about keeping the streak alive.”
  • “Sugar was/is one of my safety blankets. Fond memories of baking with family, always gathering around the kitchen, noshing on bread sticks late at night and brownies mid-day, planning gatherings with desserts accounted for far before anyone offered to roast vegetables or lay out a fruit platter. But I also have memories of a lot of people dying and being sick in my family. Like, too many. And watching people die is really, really scary. For some reason, though, all those individual instances of illness & death didn’t prompt me to make any changes. Until yoga. And, until this challenge. Maybe all that motive had to build up? Like the sugar in my body – ha ha ha! So after just FIVE days of this challenge (because I’m lame & started late): I’m down an inch in my waist OR, in other words… I’ve lost 5 lbs – could also be because I’m drinking more water and able to work out more due to —> Sleeping better, more energy, skin clearing up, digestive system operating better, I can do a plethora of yoga poses I couldn’t before (my core was too sugarcoated, I think!) AND… Honestly, for real for real, I’m saving money. Is that not evidence or what?!”

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Surviving Winter

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Fall and winter seasonal affective disorder is the official way to classify those who, like me, are sad during the colder, darker, shorter months of the year, which (if you ask me) should be everyone on the earth. In fact, I think there’s something wrong with people who don’t fling themselves off the hopeless cliff of frigid winter despair every single day for several months on end. There’s a reason animals hibernate in the winter and that reason is that winter is only tolerable in a semi-vegetative state. There are those who disagree, and for these lunatics I have a new diagnosis… SDD: seasonal delusional disorder, a subset of reality classified by:

  • an affinity for snow
  • early onset Christmas decorations
  • no concept whatsoever of the temperature
  • excessive use of the word “cozy”
  • the ability to dress in clothes other than sweatpants
  • Ugg boots

Today all 50 states were below freezing, and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt greater despair. No one is safe. Not even Florida, which is where I planned to go this afternoon when I lost my mind and considered taking a “sabbatical” somewhere warm for a couple months because that’s a totally logical thing to do right now. False.

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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie Dip

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I like to play this game where I see how many things I can accomplish in the time it takes my coffee to brew. For me with a French press this includes about 5 minutes to boil water and 5 minutes to steep. This neurotic little game is usually of greater importance on the weekdays when I’m in a rush to get to work but also don’t want my house to be in shambles (or all my little chores to be waiting for me) when I get home at night. But since I’ve been waking up at 6a on the weekends too (oh, the humanity), I’ve been playing along anyway.

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#SUGARNOPE: Pancake with Blackberry Sauce and Coconut Cream

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I am having a shit week so I decided to make a pancake for breakfast. Now you get to have a pancake too. How about that?

This giant pancake with fresh blackberry sauce and vanilla coconut cream abides by all No Sugar November rules as it is sweetened with no more than one banana and a handful of blackberries. Rejoice. It’s also easy enough to pull off on a weekday but authentic enough to be something of a slow sleepy weekend spectacle. I made mine with whole wheat flour, but you can adjust to your needs or preferences by using a 1:1 substitution with gluten-free flour, white flour (if you’re dying for it), or even protein powder.

It’s worth pointing out that this is not a vegan pancake. My heavy consumption of mostly vegan items tends to confuse people into thinking that is how I eat all the time, but it’s not. So I just want to throw that out there. However, there are plenty of single vegan pancake recipes out there if you want to make the swap.

Anyway, here’s how to do it…

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Mixing prints is an excellent life choice but is also arguably a little on the tricky side. Stripes are a good place to start because they (like leopard print) are basically a neutral.

While mixed prints should look effortlessly undone (in a polished totally-meant-to-do-that kind of way), there are some tricks to the trade. I’m no expert or anything, but that’s what the internet is for, my friends.

Here are some tips…

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What I Ate Today: #SUGARNOPE Edition

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I got a request for a play-by-play on what I’m eating sans sugar this month so here is what today looked like… starting with this giant coffee with (unsweetened) almond milk.

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Chia Pudding

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Hello and happy Monday! If you’re off for Veteran’s Day (which is tomorrow but a lot of places seem to have off today), I envy your life.

I had grand plans to get up and go to boot camp but the 5am alarm came too soon so I opted to sleep until 7:30 instead. I had one of those every-second-planned weekends, which is for some reason (read: introversion) mentally and physically taxing for me so I’m just a little slow to roll today.

Since I didn’t have time to meal prep yesterday, I figured I needed at least one meal of interest to share today so I whipped up my first ever attempt at chia pudding. The result is acceptable but not this-is-so-good-give-me-MORE. So here we go…

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