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Posts Tagged ‘nesting’

Last Wednesday I decided that I wasn’t going to make the trip down to LA, and I was disappointed, but there was a bright side. I now had some extra money to “play” with. I put most of it away for Christmas presents, but I decided to take just a bit of it and order something I’d been wanting for quite some time.

I can’t even remember how I first came across the artwork of Aimee Dolich, but as soon as I did, I was drawn to it.  I even made her “Moxie” saying my email signature.  And I more recently used her art on a blog post (with her copyright intact).  I loved her whole esthetic – the loops, the colors, the motivational words.  I knew that I was going to have to find out more about her and her wonderful artwork.  I was thrilled to find that Aimee had an Etsy Shop, and had her “doodle art” prints for sale.

I chose three prints that had the most meaning to me:

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This is the one that started it all. The Moxie!

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I find so much motivation from this one - the sentiment is so true for my weight loss journey.

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This one helps to remind me that I am SO CLOSE!

I knew that I wanted to put these beautiful prints in my living room and display them properly, so I set out on a hunt for the perfect frame.  Something that would hold all three prints in one.  I finally found it at Kohls, and I love the swirls and bronzed metal of the frame.  (On a side note, I really love Kohls entire home department – they have amazing prices on some very interesting and unique items.  I’ve found lots of my fall and holiday decorations there).

I was so happy with the prints arrived in the mail yesterday.  So fast!  I immediately put them in the frame so that I could display them on my side table.  (This also meant that I “had” to rearrange and organize all of the other photo frames I have in the living room.  I love the way they all turned out, and it made me feel really good to give my mantle an update).

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The frame with artwork in the kitchen (better lighting).

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On the side table. (Bonus: cameos from Minnie (background) and Sofi (foreground).

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This photo shows how well they go with the other decor I have in the room.

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I love the way this looks!

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Sofi approves of the new artwork, too.

Sometimes it just take a little spark to change an entire mood – of a person or of a room, or both.  I can say that these 3 prints really gave me an added pep in my step yesterday, which made my Saturday all the better.  A huge thank you to Aimee for her amazing artwork, her professionalism, and her speedy delivery.  I will definitely shop Artsyville again, and I hope you guys check it out, too.

What small change have you made recently that has lifted your spirits?  Have you given yourself a little treat that really made a big impact?  If nothing comes to mind, maybe it’s time to do something nice for yourself today.

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This pic was just too cute not to share.

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 19 – Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

This question is a bit “new agey” for me, but yet I can relate to it.  Interesting how that works, right?  Moving out of that terrible living situation that I was in has  completely transformed me – I’m happier, healthier, and feel so much safer.  I’m one step closer to living the life I was meant to have.  Living in this great place makes me feel so positive, so vibrant, and alive.  I finally feel content.  I can’t wait to have lots of people over to this house because I want to show it off.  I’m actually looking for excuses to have small gatherings (which, if you have any fun themed ideas for parties, let me know).

In 2011, I’m hoping to heal my body by losing a significant amount of weight.  First on my own and then via lap band surgery.  As I sit here today I know I won’t be able to imagine all the ways that my life will be improved by this, but I am so excited to find out.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Things are going really well for me in the world of weight loss, and since I’ll update you more on that on  Friday with my Countdown to Christmas/NYE Challenge update, I thought I’d let you in on some other VERY exciting things that are going on.

As you know, I’ve been taking part in Reverb 10 (look for that post later today), and I really encourage you to join in.  I love how it’s allowed me to strut my writing skills and reflect on 2010.  It’s been a really positive experience that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Today has been the best day in recent memory, which is saying a lot, because life has been great!! So much good stuff in one day. I think I’m going to burst with happiness!!”
~~ My Facebook status yesterday afternoon

The reason for such exuberance? I’m going to make you wait for the main reason, but one of the other reasons was that I took yesterday off to finish up Christmas decorations.

I have lots of sick days, so I figured why not?  Plus two of the classes I teach on “B” days are really challenging this year – not in a good way.  About half of the students are extremely rude, disrespectful, and disruptive.  They’re also failing.  There are a myriad of reasons why that I won’t get into here, and I’m not alone – the other teachers at my level are also experiencing this with this group of kids.  Still, they wear me out, so I figured I could use a bit of a break.

I spent the day decorating for Christmas and going back to Pier 1 for a few more items.  My mom came with me, and we had a great time.  I’m happy that I finally have it all set up.  Now I need to invite a few people over so that I can share it with them.  🙂

A few of the photos you’re about to see are repeats from yesterday, but since I rearranged things I figured I’d show them again. (Click on any of the photos to make them larger).

Yes, I will change the “Days left ’till Christmas” every single day.  I do it when I get up in the morning and retrieve the newspaper.

When I showed my student what I’d done with the bowl of pine cones that I bought from her for the orchestra fundraiser, she was impressed.

Full view of living room.

I was afraid this looked too busy, but my mom said she thought it was festive.

You know spoiled little Lulu had to have her own stocking!

The photo is a bit blurry, but this looks really pretty at night, when the candles are lit.

The rest of the living room.

Instead of a full-fledged Christmas tree.

Ditto.

Love the whimsy of this table.  The candles are the exact color of the ornaments and balls.

All that decorating just puts me in such a happy mood.  This is the season when everything sparkles.  Glitter abounds, and it makes January seem so dull in comparison, doesn’t it?  I’ve decided that I’m going to decorate for each season, when appropriate, so that the house never gets that “worn in” look.  I want my decoration to reflect my attitude – happy and bright.

And now, without further ado, the main reason I’m so excited is:

DRUMROLL, please………..

My sister is moving into the duplex next to me!!!

She has finally made the decision to leave her husband (they’ve been talking about separating for more than 6 months, but he’s been unwilling to leave) and move back home to the city where we grew up.  Not only will we share a garage wall and be able to look out our bedroom windows at each other, but my parents are also only 5 minutes away, and most of my sister’s friends live here, too.  She’s going to have such a strong support system in place, and I know that it will mean such a positive change for her and my nieces.

It will mean a lot of change for me, too.  I’ve committed to staying home after school with the girls three days a week (my mom will cover the other two).  Which will mean a lifestyle change for me.  My life won’t be as free and easy as it has been, and my schedule won’t be as open.  But it will be nice to have someone else to care for  besides Lulu and myself.  (Plus Lulu is really excited that she’s going to have Minnie to play with all day). This is going to be a great opportunity to bond even more with my nieces, which will be so special.  I love them so much, and I’ve missed not being physically close to them.  (Even though an hour away isn’t that far compared to some people’s distance, it isn’t just across the street or down the road).  I am completely embracing  this new change.

LC is going to move the week after Christmas, so she and the girls will be able to start the new year off right – with a fresh start, renewed hope, and a new lease on life.  Sounds like the BEST way to start the new year to me!!

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 6Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

A few months ago, I would’ve shown you some photos of a new recipe I tried, but I haven’t been cooking much lately because I’m trying this whole pre-portioned frozen entree thing to help with my calorie counting, and it’s working.  I’m losing!  I do miss cooking – the planning, the shopping, the chopping, the cooking, the creative aspect, and the feeling of completion of a job well done.  What I don’t miss – the cleaning, the time, and the hassle.  I love cooking too much to let it  go forever, so I know that I’ll be back to it before too long.

But for today, the thing I’ve been “making” lately is my house into a home.  I love decorating (I got that bug from my mom, who should be an interior designer) and since it’s the season, I’ve been concentrating on sprucing up the house for Christmas. In fact, after I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom yesterday, I began to decorate, only to realize that so many of my previous decorations were so blah.  I think I didn’t notice it as much in years past because my old place didn’t get a lot of light.  Here, in the full light, they looked dingy.  So much so that I was feeling a bit down.  Until I put out the newer things I’d purchased, did a bit of sprucing up of the older things, and decided to spend a bit more money and go back to Pier 1 to buy the other decorations I really wanted.  So I took today off of work and my mom and I are going later this morning.

But I do have a few items that I’d love to share:

I bought the doormat at Kohl’s weeks ago, and then on a recent trip to Michael’s I found the snowman “calendar.”  The wreath was originally really plain, until I borrowed my dad’s hot glue gun and added the striped ornaments.  Now I think it looks really festive and welcoming.

This is still a bit of a work in progress. I need to buy colorful votives to put in the candleholders on the black metal piece.  I love the bowlful of whimsical ornaments(Michael’s), and how perfectly those colors go with the rest of my room.  And I found that card tree and knew I had to have it.

I love swirls, so this card tree holder (Pier 1) was an instant hit with me.  I added the Christmas card I made of Lulu & me, and then two fun ornaments (Pier 1) continuing the swirl theme.

This next item is either brilliantly creative or the worst, most ridiculous thing ever.  You decide:

I purchased the bowl of pine cones from one of my students for an orchestra fundraiser.  I added the gold and silver ornaments that I had from years past.  And then I added the “branches,” which I used to put in my two huge vases, but I didn’t like that look this year.  So instead of throwing them out (which I was this close to doing), I thought they might be a nice way to add some height to my dining room table arrangement.  I liked how the silver and gold balls on the branches reinforced the balls in the bowl and I also liked the pop of color the red berries add.

So while I didn’t “make” anything from scratch, I do think there is an art to home decorating, and I’m going to continue to do it, because I enjoy it so much.  So far I’ve decorated for each holiday/season, and I’m going to continue that throughout 2011.

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Last night one of my cousin’s came over to my house for the first time, and he was truly impressed with it. He couldn’t get over how large it was, the size of my yard (not that it’s THAT big, but for a rental), how great the “flow” is for entertaining, and how I’ve decorated it. He made me feel so good about it. I’m really proud of where I live and how I’ve decorated. Which makes me feel like the extra money I spend every month in rent (compared to my last place) is totally and completely worth it.

Today I woke up late, and decided to honor this sense of gratitude I feel for how lucky I am to live here. So today I’m doing a photo “essay” post, filled with all the things that are making me smile on this gorgeous Sunday.

I bought these mums yesterday and they are so vibrant and firey. A perfect addition to my outdoor table. I love seeing them as I look out the window.

I bought this fall bouquet yesterday, since I knew I was having people over. Plus, I haven’t bought fresh flowers for myself in a long time, and I thought it was about time.

Lulu always makes me smile. Even with her recent naughtiness, Lulu is such a joy in my life and I feel like she’s the best thing that’s happened to me in the past year.

Naughty #1 came Friday, when Lulu decided to use my power cord as a chew toy. Luckily I avoided having to spend $80 to replace it because my dad can literally fix anything.

Naughty #2 came last night, after I had been out for about 4 hours. Lulu was so excited to see me, and we were playing. Then I went into my room to get changed and she jumped on the bed and we played a bit more. Suddenly she was getting into this strange pose. Before I knew what was going on, I realized she was peeing! On my silk duvet!! So I sopped up the pee with a towel, treated the duvet with Zout (before reading that it wasn’t recommended for silk), and washed it on the delicate, cool water cycle. Then I put it in the dryer on no-heat fluff. I closed the garage door, went to bed, and hoped for the best.

How could I ever be upset with that face?

Having lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand makes me happy.

Being stocked up on food makes me feel ready for the week. Safeway had a sale on Healthy Choice entrees this week, so that’s what I got. Nothing makes me smile more than being organized.

Sunday morning ritual, part 1.

Sunday morning ritual, part 2. Although who am I kidding, I drink coffee every day.

I have an actual garden that I can play around in at this new house. These roses have been here a long time, but I’m hoping that I can learn how to care for them so that they thrive. This photo also reminds me that this spring and summer I’m going to be able to make this yard look amazing with a little money, lots of effort, and some gardening luck!

This is what I saw when I walked out of my front door this morning. It’s a gorgeous day here today: sunny, bright, slightly windy, with clear skies. Oh and lots of leaves falling from those huge trees in the center island on my street. Luckily they should all be gone within a few weeks.

These are the bulbs my dad and I planted last weekend. It doesn’t look like anything more than a box of dirt, but by the spring, they’ll be gorgeous. It’s been fun trying something as new as planting bulbs and hoping for the best.

I am so thankful to have a garage at this house. With an automatic door opener (when I lived here before, it hadn’t been installed yet and it was a pain opening the door manually, let me tell you. On these weekday mornings when the roofs have been covered with frost, it’s so nice to be able to get in a car that isn’t freezing cold.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate this hutch, but I knew I wanted a wine theme in the room. So after my recent trip to Napa I decided that I’d fill it with bottles of wine. BevMo, World Market, and Trader Joe’s – here I come for some inexpensive, quirky bottles to go along with the more expensive ones I bought in wine country.

Back to the scene of the crime!

Luckily for her (and me!), the duvet came out just fine.

No stains, no shrinking, and other than being a bit wrinkled, no damage at all. It looks just as vibrant and happy as it did before “the midnight incident.”

While I’m not thrilled at the prospect of spending the day grading all of these essays and tests, I am so grateful that I get to do what I love – teach English. Every job comes with a downside, and grading is it for me. But every now and then I read a truly inspired essay and it makes me proud.

This playlist featuring Joshua Radin and Ari Hest has been the soundtrack to my Sunday, which I needed to get through the household chores and grading that I had going on today.  I learned about Joshua Radin from an episode of The Bachelorette (she says sheepishly), and FatGirlvsWorld told me about Ari Hest.  Both are mellow, singer-songwriters who add a nice bit of background music without being overbearing.

Speaking of music…

I cannot wait for this soundtrack to come out!  I have a whole playlist of Christmas music that I start listening to as soon as Thanksgiving is over.  Over 120 songs by my favorite artists.  Whenever I play the music it reminds me of the reason for the season, as they say.  And I can’t wait to add this album to the mix.

These two are the definition of adorable, aren’t they? Today LC and my mom are getting my niece’s ears pierced (she’s 8 yrs old), while my dad takes the 3-year-old niece to the park.  Wanting to do my part to make the day fun, I told my sister that she could bring Minnie over so that Minnie and Lulu could play.  These two have been great pals since they first met, and neither one plays with other dogs as well as they play with each other.  It’s the cutest thing to watch them have fun.  The added bonus is that Lulu is so tired when Minnie leaves.

LoseIt makes it so easy for me to keep track of what I’m eating.  Changing from points to calories worried me at first, but as soon as I started tracking everything in LoseIt, I wasn’t worried anymore.  It makes it so easy to know exactly where I am with my eating.

A snapshot of my iCal for the week ahead – working out, minimum days, professional development, and ending with inexpensive (but delicious) wine tasting aka Passport Weekend. We’ll see if my budget allows for me to stock up on more wine from some of these wineries.

Just a few images and words that show how truly fortunate I am.  No fancy vacation or shopping spree needed – just a camera and an appreciation for all the things that make me smile.  🙂

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