Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weathering the Storms

First, an earthquake in New Jersey. No kidding.

At work on Tuesday I had just finished the dishes and sat down to eat lunch and read. The first thing I noticed was the chimes on the front door going crazy, and then everything - EVERYTHING - was shaking like mad. My first thought was that our gas line was about to explode. I dashed outside, still holding my book and cell phone, completely and utterly freaked out.

Now, this was not a major earthquake. In fact, the epicenter was in Virginia, no where near South Jersey, so there wasn't even any damage around here. (And very little in Virginia.) However, having never experienced an earthquake before, I was sufficiently spooked. And to make matters worse, my husband and good friend were both down south in Maryland and Virginia, respectively.

Since us east coasters are new to the earthquake phenomenon, we naturally all turned to our cell phones to check on loved ones. And because of this, no one could get through with the overworked lines. I couldn't get John, no answer from Jess and I couldn't even check in with my mom and or mother-in-law, who are both in-state. After a bit I was able to confirm everyone's safety, but man... it was scary!

So that was Tuesday. And now, Thursday night, the state is preparing for the onslaught that is Hurricane Irene, set to hit New Jersey early Sunday morning. Cape May County (my old stomping grounds) is under a mandatory evacuation beginning tomorrow at 8 a.m. The whole state is under emergency, and basically... it's terrifying. I'm so worried about those who live at the shore, both for their safety and the safety of their homes, businesses, etc.

And while I sit and listen to intense thunderstorms right now (completely unrelated to the hurricane), all I can keep thinking is that I hope Irene goes off track and heads back to sea, dissipates and, at worse, sends some rain and a little wind our way. Some rain and wind - maybe even some minor flood - I can deal with.

Total devastation? I can't deal with that.

Edited to add: Everything turned out okay!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Snapshot: Autumn

This was the backyard last autumn. It's my favorite season - I can't wait!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Over the past couple of months, I've lost 16.2 pounds.

The main reason behind my weight loss is Weight Watchers. I had been planning to rejoin for months, and finally I just bit the bullet. My dear friend, Renee, has lost over 100 pounds on Weight Watchers and by becoming a Zumba fanatic, and she's a huge inspiration to me. In fact, she's my Weight Watchers leader now. (She's also my Zumba teacher, but that's a post for another day.)

I've also curbed a lot of my unhealthy behaviors. For instance, instead of laying on the couch day after day, I'm going to the gym or taking Zumba several days a week. I try to play with Piper more, although our walks have been limited because of the heat. Instead of snacking, I try to focus on something else, like reading, crafting or even cooking a healthy and elaborate meal that will take a while and keep my mind away from chocolate chip cookies.

Now, don't get me wrong - I certainly indulge. I'm just trying to be smarter about it. And I've come up with quite a few tricks of my own to help me along.

For instance, John and I love water ice. At Rita's, there is usually a small selection of their sugar-free variety. It is just as delicious as the regular water ice, save for the fact that there aren't as many flavors. Luckily, they always have sugar-free cherry, and cherry is my favorite, anyway. I get a kid's size cup - a feat in and of itself, because I was never a small-portion girl - and I also eat it with a sample spoon. Aside from the fact that the employee serving me usually thinks this is weird, I love doing this - it makes me eat the water ice so much slower and savor it, and by the time John is finished his regular size cup, I'm just about finishing my kid's cup.

Another thing I've been trying to do is just not keep my weaknesses in the house. And if I'm baking something, I give away any leftovers or make sure John eats them pronto. I have willpower (I suppose that's obvious), but I don't always have that much willpower. If the temptation isn't there, I'm much better off. This goes for mealtimes, too. If I'm making dinner for John and I, I have usually not been making enough for leftovers because I will undoubtedly end up eating much more than I should for one meal. In this way, I portion out my plate and John's plate, and there is nothing left for me to eat afterwards.

Of course, I love to cook, and honestly this makes things so, so much easier. I can't imagine how difficult it is to eat healthy if you hate the kitchen. I've been trying to incorporate a lot of vegetarian dishes into my weekly meals, too, like the above veggie wraps. (So delicious, and only 10 points for both - and they were large.) And since I like to cook and am halfway decent at it, I am finding creative ways to adapt tasty recipes to a lower cal version.

It's not always easy, and I've still got a long way to go. It's a rewarding experience, though. I feel better overall - not just in the I'm-fitting-in-my-clothes kind of way, but in the all around healthier, happier and more alert kind of way. My skin has been better, my headaches have curbed... I love junk food. I always will love junk food. But knowing how much better I feel without all that stuff in my system, it's certainly enough to keep me motivated.

I will reach goal and I will maintain my goal.

Well, at least until I get pregnant.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Guest Room

John and I finally got around to finishing the guest room, at least to the point that we can actually host guests in it. We purchased a new comforter set and a basic bed frame, but as far as the more fun things - painting the room, getting artwork and window treatments and a cool bed frame - all of that is going to have to wait.

Of course, even though we have to wait, it's still fun to plan!

First off, this is the comforter set we went with:

I really enjoy the red accents with the overall neutral palette - it will be easy to work with. I don't think it's overly feminine or masculine, either, which was what we were aiming for.

Now, artwork. I'd love, love, love to get this right here, from Etsy seller birdAve. John loves the Philadelphia skyline, and I think this print is super fun but sophisticated, too. Maybe a red background would work better - or even blue.

It would actually be neat to do a series - maybe of cities John and/or I have visited, or just cool cities we'd like to visit. (Portland, anyone?) birdAve has a ton to choose from. Okay, and if we wanted to stick with just a Philadelphia theme, we would have to get this print, too...

The Philadelphia Destination Print is by 7thHouse on Etsy. (I could probably decorate my entire house with Etsy finds, honestly.) This print is pretty large, at 12x36 inches, so it would be a nice statement piece. As I write this, I'm liking the Philly idea more and more!

I love this new trend of wall decals, like these by LanaKole, another Etsy artist. I think they look adorable in the photo, although since our guest room is a bit small, I'd probably break them apart, putting a few here and there between furniture. It would be a nice little surprise addition for our visitors.

I'm pretty much obsessed with this lamp:

Although I've got to admit, I'm not sure it would go with the bedding. I'm an adequate decorator, but I don't think I've perfected the way to tie odds and ends together when they're so different. Of course, this point is moot because I won't be spending $175 on a lamp anytime in the near future, anyway.

But again... it's still fun to plan.