Tuesday, March 15, 2016

DIY Closet Makeover

Hello from the other side!  (Thanks Adele!)

I know it has been a long time since I last blogged.  In fact, I wondered if I would ever blog again.  It was just so nice to free up all that time to do other things.  I’ve been continuing with my life makeover.  I’ve also been super-busy at work.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I was just tired of being surrounded by clutter and things I don’t love anymore.  Everywhere I looked in our house, there were just a bunch of things that I no longer used or loved.  It was time for a de-clutter, re-organization, and makeover.  First on the list was my master bedroom closet.  We have two closets in our master bedroom.  I have the walk-in closet, while Todd has the long reach-in closet.  I had SO MANY clothes that I was no longer wearing.  They didn’t fit, were out of style, or were worn and shabby.  WHY were they still in my closet??  I was so tired of just wearing 1/4 to 1/3 of all my clothes.  Time for a major purge!  But because I am an over-achiever, simple purging my clothes wasn’t good enough.  I had to totally re-do my closet, ha ha!  I bought this closet organizer for under $100 off Amazon.  I had looked at different systems such as the Elfa at the Container Store, the Algot from IKEA, etc.  But I didn’t want to plan out a major system, when I planned to get rid of half my clothes.  It was just easier to purchase this sub-$100 system and add to it or modify it later if I wished.

This was my closet before the makeover.

We hadn’t done anything to the closet since we bought the house in 2001!  Seriously!  It was just a very simple closet with some brackets holding up two long rods with a shelf on top.  The white drawer & shelf unit was there when we moved in.

I had some storage bins on the top shelf for things that were memento/nostalgia types of clothing (sweatshirts from college, sports team championship shirts, etc.) that we never wore.  However, the bins were designed with holes for handles and on top of the lid, so the contents inside got really gross and dusty from the openings.  Yuck.

 So the first thing I did was move EVERYTHING out of the closet.  I took every single thing out.

 Our entire master bedroom and the hallway was lined with my clothes and shoes.

Todd helped me take off the existing closet structure, except for the white drawer unit, which we kept.  He put a fresh coat of paint on and it looked much better!

Meanwhile, I went through every piece of clothing and decided whether to trash, keep, or give away.  I also went through my clothes in the other closets upstairs and got rid of some of those clothes.  I freed up a lot of hangers!

The next day, after the paint dried, Todd helped me install the closet system.  It was fairly easy and straight-forward.  The main thing is to install the horizontal bar totally level, and at the height that you want your high shelves to be.  Then install the verticals.  Todd did up to this much for me.

I decided the rest of the closet configuration by installing the brackets where I saw fit.  I wanted two hanging rods on top of each other for shorter tops.  Then a smaller hanging rod on the right side for longer dresses.  And I wanted shelving!  Now I have more shelves for shoes and handbags and things.

When I put the clothes I’m keeping back into my NEW and IMPROVED closet, I had all the shelves in the white drawer unit empty!  There was so much more room for my hanging clothes, even though my rods were shorter after the change.

Shelves for some shoes and purses. No, those aren’t all my shoes, ha ha.  The majority of my shoes are downstairs in the laundry room on a wheeled rack.

Light & airy!  Hooray!

I’m so happy and satisfied with my closet makeover!  And the fact that it cost only $100 is a huge bonus for me.  Now I have room for the clothes that I know I will want to buy, when I reach my goal weight!  (You know, part of the life makeover.)

I spent a couple of hours the next day organizing the clothes that I gave away.  I know that most people just throw them into trash bags and drive them to the donation center.  We itemize our tax deductions and I wanted really good records of what I donated so I can itemize them for the maximum amount of deduction possible.  So I always organize the giveaway clothing into similar types and then label how many of each I gave away and take photos of them.

Then I just tag the photos “giveaway” in Lightroom and have the records I need when it comes to tax time.

Yes, I know that’s very detailed.  That’s how I roll.  :-p

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my closet makeover!  I’m on a mission over the next few months to completely de-clutter my entire house and make it look nicer and refreshed.  I will share here on the blog if the changes are share-worthy. 

Thanks for stopping by!  I know it’s been a while!
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

What I Cooked | Cooking Light Diet

This month Todd & I signed up for the Cooking Light Diet (CLD).  Cooking Light Diet is an online membership diet meal-planning program by Cooking Light.  Since Todd and I have subscribed to Cooking Light magazine for years and have cooked many many Cooking Light meals, we thought this would fit into our current lifestyle just fine.  I signed up for three months and it was $29.95.  Each week you get a meal plan for all seven days which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  Breakfast is usually 300 calories.  Lunch is usually 400 calories, and dinner 500 calories.  The snacks usually add up to 200 calories.  For my weight-loss goals, it aims for 1400 calories per day.  You can click on which meals you want to make, and the website will generate a shopping list for you.  Also, most of the meals take 30 minutes or less to make.  Todd & I cook together and it comes together really fast.

Our first week with the CLD meal planning, I realized that I don’t need the breakfast, lunch, and snack planning.  The reason is, your shopping list becomes HUGE because you’re eating a little bit of many different things.  This promotes wasted food.  I didn’t like that.  I don’t mind eating the same basic things for breakfast and snacks everyday.  Since there are only two of us, our lunch everyday consists of leftovers from the night before.  So really, I only need dinner planning!  Realizing that has made the shopping list much easier to handle. 

Here are some of the dishes we have cooked so far.  I’ve also added them to my “Stuff I Cooked” Pinterest board. 


Linguini with Basil Pea Cream

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This one was not my favorite.  This dish has too much peas and basil, making it really sickly sweet. If I make it again, I would use a lot less peas and somewhat less basil.  More garlic!


Superfast Chicken Posole

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It really was fast, and actually quite good. The bitterness of the radishes compliments the sourness of the tomatillos and lime juice.


Pan-Roasted Chicken Cutlets with Maple-Mustard Dill Sauce

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The chicken sauce was slightly too sweet, but it was pretty good.  We served it with green beans instead of rice.


Tofu Curry with Bok Choy and Peanuts

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This was probably my favorite out of the Cooking Light Diet dishes I’ve cooked so far.  It was super-fast and easy. Used regular bok choy instead of baby bok choy. Great vegetarian meal.


Loaded Mashed Potato Soup

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This dish sounded good but didn’t really taste good.  The potato soup tasted too sour to me.  Plus, my soup looked nothing like the one pictured on their website.  Their soup looks like it has cream in it, since it’s so white. 


Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta

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We’ve actually made this dish before, but since it showed up in our menu this past week, we decided to make it again.  We hadn’t had it in years.  This was super-fast and so yummy. 


I just wanted to share my personal experience so far with the Cooking Light Diet.  I like that you get to pick from its suggestions and that meals are planning for you each week.  But I’ve found that we only use it for dinners, which is fine.  Even though I’ve been on a “diet” for two months, I haven’t really felt hungry, which is good.  I’ve lost about 5 lbs, with a goal to lose a total of 15 lbs.  But diet is just one part of being healthy.  I am also exercising quite a bit, and getting over 10k steps in each day.  Making progress!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Inspired By: The Long-Form Interview

As I said in my last blog post, I have been taking walking breaks at work every day.  Every couple of hours, I get up out of my chair and head outside to walk for 15 minutes.  It has done wonders to clear my head.  Taking in the fresh air and just have some time to step away and think.  I’ve added listening to podcasts to the repertoire now.  I can’t listen to podcasts while I work, because my work demands a lot of thinking, so I can’t even listen to music with words most of the time.  But podcast + walking has been my jam the last two months.  It has made my walking breaks something I REALLY look forward to.  What could be better than getting some steps in while being entertained or learning something?

I listen to different types of podcasts, but the one type that has been really inspiring me right now is the long-form interview.  It’s one where the guest sits down with the host and talk for a long time (40 min to 1.5 hours) about his/her work, how they became who they are today, what lessons they’ve learned, etc.  I find the long-form interview absolutely fascinating and inspiring.

Here are a few specific podcast episodes that I just love:

  • Off Camera – Episode 17 Matt Damon – I found this interview completely riveting.  Some people don’t know what they want to do with their life until they are in their 30’s.  Some people know as a kid/teenager what they want to do, and they doggedly pursue it.  I found it fascinating how Matt Damon basically willed himself into an acting career by not having a Plan B and never giving up.  I also learned a lot about what it’s like to be in movie productions, and what it’s like working with great directors. 
  • The Nerdist – Episode 610 Benedict Cumberbatch – The Nerdist is one of my favorite podcasts.  I’m always entertained by it, and learn a lot from famous actors, musicians, writers, etc.  This episode with Benedict Cumberbatch was just a fantastically fun episode! Plus, you get to hear Benedict Cumberbatch say, "Enjoy your burrito", and make various fart noises.  What could be better?
  • WTF with Marc Maron – Episode 652 James Cordan – James Cordan is my new favorite late night TV host.  I love his fresh take on late night TV, including singing and dancing skits, and having all his guests appear at the beginning of the show and sit on the couch together so they can all chat together.  I also loved him in the movie “Into the Woods”.  He is a breath of fresh air in late night TV.  In this episode he talks about how he came to be the host of the Late Late Show with James Cordan on CBS.  If you haven’t seen James Cordan’s carpool karaoke with Stevie Wonder, or his skit Matt Damon Acts Out His Film Career with James Cordan, you’re really missing out on some fun stuff.
  • The Nerdist – Episode 732 Shirley Manson – I was a big Garbage fan from the mid-90’s to the mid-2000’s, so this interview with Shirley Manson was quite awesome.  The coolest thing she said was that we need to “engineer adventures”.  She said when you're young, everything is like an adventure and you tend to say "yes" to everything.  When you get older, you get comfortable and you start saying "no" to things that might make you uncomfortable.  She said she you get older you need to engineer adventures for yourself.  Basically say yes to adventures and make them happen.
  • Fresh Air – Interview with Shonda Rhimes – I’m always fascinated to see how someone in a field different than mine works.  Shonda Rhimes is the creator of the shows “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, and “How To Get Away With Murder”.  I enjoyed her take on leaving work at work, and how she said “yes” for a year to everything that scared her.

Some of these above podcasts have swearing in them.  If you are easily offended by swearing, they may not be for you.  I found all these interviews really eye-opening and educational.  Even though they are mostly in the entertainment field, I was able to glean lessons that apply to my own life.  My own re-invention of myself.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Re-Inventing Myself

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The last few months have flown by and now it is the beginning of November.  I’m not going to apologize for not blogging, because it’s my blog and nobody is paying me to blog, so I can blog or not blog whenever I feel like it.  (Not trying to be rude.  It is what it is.  I do appreciate that anyone reads this blog.)  Life has been so full the last few months.  Last week I FINALLY got my braces off, after 21 awful months with them on.  My teeth are now free!  (See photo above.)

I’ve been taking a break from scrapbooking since mid-July.  I did one project in September and that was about it.  I’m done with all my design team responsibilities except for One Little Bird, where I am still the hybrid blog coordinator.  (I can’t really quit Peppermint since she’s one of my very best friends, ha ha.)  My scrapbooking hiatus has been especially refreshing.  I’ve been scrapbooking non-stop since 2008 and I just really needed a break.  This is especially true since the last 3-4 years I have been creating for design teams.  I was spending most of my weekend free time making pages for other people.  I woke up one day and realized they don’t pay me except with product that I can afford myself.  Why am I doing this??  Unless it gives me great joy, I’m not doing it.  This is not to say I’ll never join a design team again, but my focus will be creating for myself and what I want to create and document, rather than doing it for a team.  If a team is a good fit for me, I would certainly consider it.  But for now, I’m still on my break.

During the time that I wasn’t scrapbooking or blogging, a TON of my time was freed up to do other things.  I really couldn’t believe how MUCH of my time was spent on scrapbooking assignments and blogging about them.  Like, much of my week nights and weekends were freed up!  It allowed me time to read books, to go to the library, to enjoy more social time with friends, to get off the internet, to watch movies and TV, and to generally think and evaluate on my life.  I really enjoyed doing all of those things.  But guess what?  When I really thought about my life as it currently stands, I didn’t like some aspects of it.  I decided that it’s never too late to re-invent myself, so I wrote down some plans to do so. 

For instance… my plans for my career were to eek out the next 10 years in my financial analyst job, retire early, and then find a part-time job for social interaction and some income.  In my life evaluation I decided that’s not the way to live my working life.  It is NEVER too late to make a change.  Either I can change the way I feel about my current job and love it again and be re-invigorated by it, or I can go find myself another job.  There’s no rule that says I have to stay in this same job.  It really freed me up mentally.  Like, I can choose to love my current job, or I can find something else.  Financially I am not trapped.  I can even quit and not work for a while and we can get by.  So this mental shift really helped me to clarify that.  Funny how you can love your job a lot more, just knowing that you have other options!

I’m also concentrating on eating well and daily exercising.  You wouldn’t think it, but this actually takes up a lot of my time every day and takes quite a bit of mental energy.  I decided that I am worth it.  I am worth the hard work to be in good physical shape in my mid-40’s!  I had gained about 10 lbs and I didn’t like how I was feeling physically and emotionally about myself.  That’s not to say I hate my body.  But my mental shift is that I feel that it is my privilege and my duty to take care of my body and be the best that I can be.  Both for myself and for those that love me.  I am treating this like a job, as if someone is paying me to do it.  As if I am an actor, getting in shape for the role of my life.  And in a way, I am.  I don’t want to be the middle-aged person who gained a few pounds and just let it go.  Then gained a few more pounds.  Then gained a few more.  And suddenly realize I’m way overweight and it’s even tougher to do something about it then.  I’ve lost about 3 lbs in the last few weeks by eating well and eating a bit less.  I’ve also been consistently getting 10,000 steps in each day.  I used to sit at my desk all day while working.  Now I get up 3-4 times a day and walk a mile each time.  I also try to get about 30 minutes of real exercise in the morning before going to work.  It’s my life, it’s my body, I’m committed to this.

There has been so many things that have been revelations once I opened up my mind about what it is I wanted more in my life and what I want less of.  The main core of my life hasn’t changed, obviously.  I still love my family and Todd and Noodle.  But I’ve realized that just because I am 45 doesn’t mean that my life is set for the rest of the way.  I CAN change what I don’t like about it.  For instance, I CAN be a more positive person and go into things with better attitudes.  Just trying this out has made everyone react more positively towards me.  And it has made all my social interactions way more fun!  Another one of my goals is to make more friends, and also cultivate deeper, more meaningful relationships with the friends I do have. 

Now you can see why I have been away from the internet for a while.  I am in the process of re-inventing myself.  I will share more as time allows.  And funnily enough, the life re-invention was kicked off by my obsession with the book “The Martian”, and now the movie too.  (I’ve seen it twice in the theater.)   It’s weird how when you are ready for a life lesson, something like “The Martian” can trigger it.  My new motto is “What would Matt Damon do?”.  But that a story for another time.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One Little Bird | Traveler’s Notebook Scrapbooking


Hi everyone!  I was on the One Little Bird blog yesterday with a hybrid scrapbooking project in my Midori traveler’s notebook!  I love documenting life on a smaller scale like this notebook.  I find this type of scrapbooking easy to do and not at all intimidating.  Today I'm documenting a day off with my husband Todd to have lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Going to lunch there has been a summer tradition for us for quite a few years now.

My first spread is about our tradition of going to lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado.  I used 2x2 photos so that I didn't overwhelm the page.


I used a 4x6 journal card from Agenda journaling cards as my background for the photo and my diecuts and stamping.  I also used various embellishments from the Agenda Elements to sprinkle around the page.  Since this was a notebook, I wanted to keep my scrapbooking relatively flat, so using printable One Little Bird elements was the perfect touch for my page.  I also used various elements from Ready Set Go and Scoop.




My second spread was all about the food we had at lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado.  I kept it very simple with the photos and journaling as the focal points on the page.  I love the journal card from Nosh so much, it was perfect for my page.


I added in two drink stamps from the Summer Vacation stamp set that Peppermint designed for Studio Calico.


Chicken sandwich, and three types of tacos.  Yum yum!


Per our tradition, we had ice cream from Moo Time Creamery after our meal.  Moo Time is probably my favorite ice cream in San Diego.  Peppermint's Scoop journaling cards and Scoop elements were perfect for my spread in my notebook!




I hope you enjoyed a look at my approach to stress-free smaller-scale scrapbooking!

Products Used:  Agenda journaling cards, Agenda Elements, Ready Set Go elements, Nosh journaling cards, Nosh digital kit, Scoop journaling cards, Scoop elements.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Cocoa Daisy | Summer Fun Pocket Pages


I’m the September guest designer at the Cocoa Daisy kit club, and I’m excited to show you a few pocket pages that I created with the September main scrapbook kit “Daydream”!  As you recall, I am documenting my summer fun with a Project Life 6x8 album this year.  I started the album in July and I’ve added a few pages.

This was a fantastic event we went to in July.  It was during the San Diego Comic Con and we rode the trolley into downtown.  We saw some awesome costumes!  We attended a concert by the San Diego Symphony Pops.  They showed the movie "Star Trek Into Darkness" and all the music score was played live by the symphony, coordinated with the movie!  It was really awesome and one of my favorite things we did this year.


The "San Diego Symphony" 6x8 page was a simple page with a stunning photo of the stage at sunset.  I layered two paper strips under the top and bottom of the photo. The flair button added dimension.


On the other two pocket pages, I included some patterned papers and Simple Stories phrase stickers.


I also stamped directly onto one of my photos using the OA roller stamps.  I'm a huge fan of those OA roller stamps!  I have several and they are just the right size and so convenient to add that little word art touch.


So now I’ve added a few more pages to my Summer Fun 2015 album!


Thanks for stopping by this week and taking a look at the projects that I created with the September Cocoa Daisy main scrapbook kit!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cocoa Daisy Scrapbook Page | Sun Kissed


I’m excited to be the September guest designer at Cocoa Daisy kit club!  Today I’m showing you another 12x12 scrapbook page I created using their September main scrapbook kit “Daydream”!

One of my favorite things to do, regardless of season, is to run at the beach.  I live in San Diego so I can do this any time of the year, although these photos were taken this summer. 


The sky was particularly blue that day, as was the ocean.


I cut up the triangular color blocks from the October Afternoon Heat Wave paper.  I thought that by cutting them up and placing them separately onto the page, it would create more visual interest.


I really liked the combination of the Simple Stories phrase stickers and the October Afternoon roller stamp to create words here and there that are at the same angle as the cut up papers.  Playing with angles is one of my favorite design tricks.



Thanks for stopping by!  I have three 6x8 pocket pages to show you later this week, using the Sept Cocoa Daisy kit.

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