Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dieting Faith Restored

Let me just start off by saying, I am not being paid to give this testimonial in any way shape or form. With that being said I think I will start at the beginning and bring you up to speed. 

The majority of my life I have struggled with my weight, from probably second or third grade on. In high school I wanted to turn over a new leaf so I became a vegetarian and started running 4-5 miles a day. Even with that much cardio the smallest I ever got down to was a size 6. After high school I got a desk job so running, and then eventually being a vegetarian took a back seat. Gradually the weight came back on. 

Then...


Now...



Through the years I've tried tons of different ways to lose weight-- Nutrisystem, shakes, counting calories, being a vegetarian (again), Adkins, B-12 shots. I even went to a weight loss clinic all to no avail. I remember consuming 1200 calories a day and running for 45 a day and after two months I was down 2 pounds. 

Let me just say I'm not the most exercise obsessed person either. If were being honest I seriously hate working out, running is the most tolerable exercise I can manage because you can burn a lot of calories in the shortest amount of time and even then I still have to coax myself into it. As a photographer, on wedding days I walk upwards of 6-8 miles, so when I come home going for a run is the last thing I want to do.

I think I just reached a point where I gave up and focused on my career and decided this was my situation and it wasn't going to change. I think you just get tired of dealing with sorting through the nonsense. 

About a month and half ago I stumbled across an ad on Pinterest and everything changed. I seriously have no idea why I clicked on the ad it was probably her slogan of 'Peace and Happiness through Clean Eating', but I did click and the more I watched Isabel's video the more my issues made sense. The video itself is a little cheesy, but the facts she provides are very true and made a lot of sense to me.

I think the thing that was most appealing to me was that I didn't have to spend a ton of money buying specialty snack packs or ordering a pre-made food system. Honestly with her approach all I could think was, what have I got to lose? 

The meal plan itself costs around $40 and I ordered the three recipe books for an additional $70. I even managed to get my husband on board. Once we got started following the meal plans we were seriously in heaven. There's no counting calories on this diet, and apart from processed food being cut out we still eat gourmet meals every night. I don't think there's been one time I've been hungry on this meal plan, or felt deprived of something. Once a week you are allowed a cheat day, which helps to get those cravings out if you do have them, it really is the diet that allows you to have your cake and eat it too. 

Today we will have been on the diet for exactly one month and I am down 16lbs. 

Two of those weeks I managed to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, the last two weeks between travel and work I haven't exercised once and I still average 1-2 lbs a week gone. I can't remember the last diet I tried where I lost weight doing no exercise. My husband is losing weight much slower than I am on this plan, but he feels so much better that he doesn't mind as much. 

My skin which I used to have to take extra care with various products is clear now and doesn't really require them any more. I feel better and have more energy and for the first time in a long time I'm feeling positive I'm on the right track. And for me that's a big deal. 


Thursday, June 04, 2015

To Barnwood or Not to Barnwood?

As my architect nears the completion of the exterior design I'm starting to seriously consider my siding options on the new house. I was so excited when I cam across a reclaim store in Durham (30 miles south of the new property) that sells barnwood... well everything. This place seriously has it all, from hand hewn beams, barnwood planks to raw edge tree cuts. Seriously everything.


For a long while now I've been in love with homes that have barnwood exteriors like these... 

great swimming hole idea for back acre

Antique Barn Wood Siding - Reclaimed Barn Wood: Elmwood Reclaimed Timber 

Barn Houses - 11 Converted Barns - Bob Vila

I'm not too worried about this barnwood fad going out, mainly because I grew up with barnwood stuff. My mother really loved the look of it and included it in most things in our home. I do wonder how it will hold up against bugs and elements over time, as well as how often or even how to clean the exterior of the house. It's not really a commonly used material so there aren't too many specialists I can call upon, at least not in our area. 

Not to mention barnwood averages between 4-7 dollars per foot, with mid grade vinyl coming in at about $1.60 and cedar clapboard at about $4 a foot. 

So I guess with all of these factors coming into play is it worth all the fuss or should I turn to something more conventional and save my pennies for something more exciting?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Moving Along.

Life is still crazy here in the Major house. I've actually enrolled in three classes on top of my already busy photography business. Apart from having no time for much else other than class and work, I've been loving it. I've been especially excited for our blue prints since it's looking like we should have the final draft in hand sometime in late June, early July. We've managed to swing an amazing architect, who really listens to every crazy idea we have and manages to work it in to the design. 



I think the hardest part about this whole project so far has been putting a hold on basically every DIY project I dream up or want in that moment. Mainly because I ask myself if it's something I want to keep in the next house, how will it fit in and so forth. I pacify myself with dreaming up designs for each room and find myself weekly planning on all of the items I am going to get rid of. I think we will need a much smaller moving truck than when we arrived in NC. 

I will admit that we did break down and bump up the square footage to 1500 square feet. I still love the compact house idea, but since both my husband and I work from home, and we are planning on having children a 4 bedroom 800 square foot home just wasn't what I envisioned. 1500 square feet is still a modest sized home, but allows for the upgrades I really love-- like a walk-in pantry! 

Rustic farmhouse pantry door...always wanted a door in our house with some character! How to organize your pantry in 6 easy steps: 1. Wipe down shelves with soap and water to capture any dust or crumbs. 2. Take inventory and throw away expired products. 3. Label the front of the shelf to remind you where items are. 4. Invest in a large set of clear glass or plastic jars for storage. 5. Shop for extra storage items like bins and baskets for small items. 6. Reload the pantry. Remember to group like items together: flour and sugar with baking supplies; pasta and grains with oats.

Now that we have approved the floor plan we've been hashing out the finer details like exterior siding, stair design, fireplace design and my personal favorite kitchen design!

Alastair Hendy's Kitchen from the Remodelista book, Photographed by Matthew Williams | Remodelista Eco House in Herzelya / Sharon Neuman Architects

I still really love the industrial look, after 6 years of it I'm still not sick of it and I don't think it will change anytime soon. Planning for children we don't have yet has been tricky, but I have put some thought into those alternatives that make a difference. We've managed to catch some flack from our family for having a master suite upstairs and the children rooms downstairs, but ultimately I still loved the idea of having a personal oasis to climb up to at the end of the day. Would you rather have your children upstairs or down? 

Sliding Barn Doors for the Home - outer doors close to secure windowed doors off the bedroom, which is a brilliant idea! These doors are gorgeous! Via Canadian Log Homes

Living in a state where there's an old barn on every farm, makes it easy to get our hands on barn wood siding which is something I have always dreamed of having the exterior of my home done in. I've been talking with several dealers who disassemble barns and preserve the wood for just this purpose. This type of stuff comes at a pretty penny but its something I'm working hard to fit into the budget. Somethings are just worth the extra dollar. 

lovely . a sunny dutch door . Rustic barn door

I've got big plans for extra features like sliding doors, lighting and custom sink vanity's. 

DIY DECOR:: 12 Absolutely Beautiful Bathrooms ! Full of Inspiration, Tips, & Do it yourself Ideas ! Like this Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover ! Amazing ! If I put stairs in my dream house (thinking about my Granny & my Mom's knees when they get older).

I was at a loss for the type of kitchen I wanted, I mean there are so many types to choose from! It wasn't until I was flipping through a Martha Stewart magazine that it clicked for me. She apparently has paired up with Home Depot to offer a custom Martha Stewart kitchen design, cabinets, back splash the works and I seriously love every piece (well maybe not the stools!). It was my dream kitchen on paper and even having Home Depot install it will allow extra room in the budget for that coveted siding. Score!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Just a little Nervous.

The preliminary blueprints came in, and I'm already nervous. I always watched those HG TV shows and wondered how people could be so indecisive when it came to choosing stuff for their home. Now that I'm on the receiving end of it I totally get it. These plans are just the rough draft and I went from loving them to 5 minutes later, well, this... 


I've added 10 more notes since I took that photo and I will probably add another 10 before bed. My poor architect, he really is a saint for taking me on as a client. Here's to getting this sorted out tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

DIY Faux Rust Project


I've been itching to update the front porch for the last few weeks. About a week ago I got fed up with the old wreath on my door and threw it away. Of course after it had left the curb, I felt bad. It wasn't the wreaths fault I've been neglecting my front stoop. It was collateral damage I suppose. 

Now with a guilty blank spot on my door winking at me every time I entered I was pondering and dreaming night and day trying to figure out what I could replace it with when I remembered a metal tin I bought from a flea market a while back (and by a while I mean 2 years-- this is the depths of my craft depravity). I was drawn to it because my mother originally had the same tin but in a different color, I must have been thinking on how cool my moms was when I bought it because honestly the white version wasn't cutting it for me now. 

I had a client a few weeks back who came prepared for her photo shoot with props in hand. One of which was a rusty lantern which she proudly declared she had made. I probably looked at her like she was nuts, until she explained how she made the 'rust' all over the lantern. It had seriously fooled me and so I carefully filed it away for some future project and it wasn't until I was staring at this boring white tin that it hit me! 

I swear when you see how easy it is to make faux rust you will be dusting everything in your house-- er... or maybe that's just me. Either way it's a fun tid bit you will no doubt need at some point in time, a little rust never hurt anyone. 


You can really spend a whole dollar or two on this project by picking up some cinnamon at your local dollar tree and some mod podge or glue. A brush will come in handy as well but you can just as easily blot it on with a paper towel for a different texture. 

I picked up my flowers on sale at Michael's for around $18, all of their spring flowers are on sale so get them while the gettin's good. I had a dry foam round for sticking them into but it's not necessary. Oh and you will also need your item to be 'rustified'


Paint your glue on in your desired areas, I painted mine going down like drips but you can do yours however you like. 


Dust with cinnamon and tap excess off. 


And shazam! You got yourself one rusty bucket. I seriously love cinnamon about 10x more than I did before which is saying something. I sanded mine down a little too, I think eventually I might just coat the whole thing in cinnamon and then seal it. I seriously love it that much. 

Once the flowers were in my porch was looking better already!









Friday, March 20, 2015

Ethereal Weekend

It's been another crazy week, and I'm beginning to sense a pattern. I actually flew down to Florida this past weekend to photograph a wedding. Word ended up getting out I was in town and I some how managed to get scheduled for a maternity, engagement and boudoir sessions as well. No rest for the weary. Even though the photo shoots went well, pretty much everything else took a que to fall apart. From the clouds of mosquitoes, droves of traffic, lack of sleep and expensive equipment dropping-- lets just say I was so excited to get home that it wasn't until I was pulling in the drive way that I realized my next day off wouldn't be until the following Monday. 

No rest for the weary indeed. 

I'm not complaining though, I really do love what I do. 

I finally wrapped up editing the maternity session photos and I have to admit I am in love with all of them. I don't think I could pick a favorite, so I will show you my top picks. 








Isn't she lovely? 

Monday, March 09, 2015

Martha Stewart Inspired Sunroom

I was recently asked to help design a room inspired by Martha Stewart for the super fun blog Cut Out and Keep. It was tough choosing from all of the amazing DIY projects but I managed to find some cool picks for a eco inspired Martha sunroom. 



Be sure to check out the post here! 

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