Thursday, March 31, 2011

A DIY Daily Journal

A few months ago, I saw this amazing idea at Design*Sponge. I immediately fell in love with the idea of this journal. There is one card per day of the year and each day you write something short and sweet about what you did. In a few years, you can look back on what you were doing on the exact same day years before. I liked the look of theirs, but I wanted to make one that was slightly more sturdy and permanent. So, I've been searching for the perfect recipe card box. As luck would have it, my sister in law got an extra bamboo one from Crate & Barrel and it was gorgeous. She donated it to my cause, cause she's awesome like that. I spent one night stamping while I watched Toy Story 3 with Jake and voila! I love it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{We Are Cave People} - Week One

As of yesterday, Monday, March 28th, we have been on our Paleo diet for one week, so I thought you might like an update. Read about our start here.

Things are going very well and we have definitely not reconsidered our commitment to a strict 30 days. If anything, our results have encouraged us. Of course there are challenges, but overall, I think the transition has been easier than we thought it was going to be. Here are some questions we wanted to answer:

No bread, no pasta, no candy... What have you been eating?
It might seem like there is nothing left after carbs and sugar, but you won't find any complaining in the Curtis household. This week we had steak and salmon... more than once. I discovered that I love asparagus and pears and you might be surprised, but we haven't gone hungry one single day... I swear.

What about the preparation? How do you find the time?
If there is one thing I don't have in spades, it's spare time. We wouldn't be able to do this diet if it was something that took a lot of extra hours. Surprisingly, Paleo doesn't require a ton of prep or even that much thought if you're doing it like us. You see, we cleared out everything we couldn't eat from our apartment, remember? So, when we pack a lunch or come home from work, everything in the fridge and pantry is fair game, there is no considering what's allowed and what isn't and there is no counting calories.

One thing I'm really excited about is that we are learning to cook real food. Before, we were sucked into the Stouffer's and Bertolli trap WAY too often and we ended up just warming a bunch of over processed pasta meals or going out to pick something up. I always thought cooking fresh food required a strict recipe and a lot of time. Two invaluable lessons we've learned this week: "Almost anything goes on chicken." and "Broiling a steak takes less than 10 minutes." Throw a big tasty salad on the side and you are good to go.

I will caution a little bit about lunches. Since we aren't home for lunches, we found that we needed to be a little bit more prepared. You can always go out for a chicken salad, but that gets old pretty quick and we prefer something hot mid-day. Our solution is to make a big batch of chili (a recipe we used before that we have just modified a little) a couple times a week and do that for lunches. We also pack some fruits, veggies and nuts for snacks throughout the day and drink lots of water.

Do you ever get to go out anymore?
Yes! There are things we can eat pretty much everywhere. I had lunch with one friend this week where I ate mango salmon (yum!) and steamed veggies and happy hour with another friend where I sipped on a delicious house Cabernet (totally allowed). Of course, we can't forget about our favorite places... Jake tried his first protein burger at In N' Out (still good) and we can still have modified burrito bowls at Chipotle.

Has anything been tempting you?
The first couple of days, I had a little bit of a withdrawal from Coca-Cola. My sugar fix was satisfied with fruit and a few Paleo chocolate chip cookies (made with almond flour, honey and dark chocolate) from our friend Mandi. I randomly wanted a milk chocolate and almond Haagen Dazs bar, which is something I don't normally eat. A co-worker brought in my favorite kind of donuts (another thing I hardly ever eat). I actually was a little sad because donuts are so rare, but I just took a long whiff of their sugary goodness and walked away. Surprisingly, I haven't craved rice or pasta one single time. I think it's because I've been enjoying life without that bloated, have-to-unbutton-my-pants feeling. Nope, haven't felt that once this week.

Have you seen any results?
YES!!! I have actually been really surprised. Everyone knows dieting takes time and dedication, but Paleo has showed us results right away. I started losing pounds steadily after day one. In one week, I've lost 8-10 pounds! No joke. I swear. I am not selling anything. I already had to exchange some new jeans I bought last week for a smaller size. We are feeling great and can't wait to see what the next three weeks brings!

So, that's all for right now, but I'll be sure to check in next week and let you know how it is going!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{Friday Favorites}

The weather is pretty awful here in San Jose. It has been raining hard for at least a week with no end in site. I was forced to cancel my birthday picnic, but Sunday ended up being a really great day anyways. This week has been exhausting, with school getting in some good punches right before spring break. But it's here now, so I'm planning on using it to recover and catch up on some things. Here are some great things I saw this week:

Drag Race Photo Shoot at Style Me Pretty
Creative Mail at Swoon
Carnival Engagement Photos at Style Me Pretty

Pallet Coasters at Design Boom
Pallet Headboard at Re-Nest
Illustrated Recipe Cards at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
Ribbon Room at Ohdeedoh
Family Tree Wall Art at Craftiness is Not Optional

Art Party at Hostess with the Mostess
Mexico Wedding Inspiration at Style Me Pretty
Rocky Mountain Wedding at Style Me Pretty
Ojai Wedding at Style Me Pretty
Bubble Baby Shower at Hostess with the Mostess
North Carolina Wedding at Style Me Pretty
Magical Unicorn Birthday at Hostess with the Mostess

Keyboard Shortcuts Art at Unplggd
Twig USB at Unplggd
Free Backgrounds at Unplggd

Pantone Chip Magnets at How About Orange

Easter Advent at Lolly Jane Boutique

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Secret to Living in 310 Square Feet

When people find out how small our apartment is, the first question they ask is, "How do you both live here without killing each other?"

Honestly, I think they question is a little silly.

"I dunno." I answer, "I guess we just really like each other."

The second question they ask is, "How do you fit all your stuff in?"

This, my friends, is the secret to living in 310 square feet:

You learn to edit.

Everything you own falls somewhere on a scale. The more useful it is or the more you love it, the higher it is on the scale. You start filling your place from the top of the scale and when your home is full (and I mean reasonably full in an organized fashion), that's it. That gives some people the heebie jeebies, but I have to say... there is nothing you HAVE TO HAVE that doesn't fit in 310 square feet... unless you have kids, then other rules apply.

It certainly doesn't mean you can't keep things that you love, you just have to love them A LOT. To prove my point, I'll tell you that our apartment holds several treasured items that are hardly necessities: a cricut, a surfboard and enough dishes to serve 12 guests stylishly.

We also have a rule in our house... sometimes it is mentioned, but mostly it is just known and assumed; For everything that comes in, something has to go out. Almost every time we set out to buy something new (furniture, clothes, gadgets), we have something to drop off at Salvation Army.

So thats that. Love it or leave it... it's our secret to living in 310 square feet.

New clothes bought on a shopping trip with friends this weekend.

Old clothes that I no longer wear in a stack to go to Salvation Army.

Monday, March 21, 2011

{We Are Cave People} - Day One

Last night I got emotional over cheese. That's right... cheese.

Back up. Let me explain. About two months ago, some friends (3) from our church small group announced that they were going on a new diet. They were giving up carbs, dairy and sugar. Essentially, they would just be eating meat, vegetables and fruit for 30 days. After that, they would consider what else they wanted to add back in. They told us it was called Paleo... basically eating what a hunter/gatherer could. The rest of us pretty much thought they were crazy.

Now it's two months later and they are seeming a lot less crazy. All of them look and feel great and at least two of them have lost over 20 lbs each.

So what does this have to do with me feeling sad about cheese?

This part is really hard for me to share with the world wide web. I never EVER had to watch what I ate growing up. When I came to college, I was tiny. I inadvertently staved off the "Freshman Fifteen" for the first couple years by rock climbing 2-6 hours a day 4-6 days a week, though I did gain quite a bit of muscle. Then I stopped. I was putting more energy into school and extracurriculars, and I met Jake. Soon I was in student government and community service and Greek life and planning a wedding and being in charge of everything. I don't regret a single second, because I've learned so much in the past three years, but I never took time to take care of myself.

Some people lose weight when they are under stress... I'm not one of them. Some people notice every pound that goes on or off... I'm not one of them either. I just realized a few months ago that my body isn't the same as it used to be and I don't like it. I don't feel my best or look my best and I started to get really down about it. The little changes I was making weren't doing anything and that made me feel even worse.

Before you start thinking that I've being too extreme, I just want to say: I'm not some tiny girl trying to get attention by saying she needs to lose 5 lbs. I've looked at a BMI chart... I REALISTICALLY need to lose a double digit amount of pounds... and the first digit is not a one.

Hubby on the other hand, is a stick figure... always has been. He used to play soccer and run a lot and he is a MAJOR snacker. I am talking about starting with a candy bar, moving on to potato chips and ending with cheese its and peanut butter... in one night. He is very slender, but now that he's working full time and not working out, even he has started to notice a tiny bit of muscle turning to fat and he doesn't feel as good.

So we're looking around trying to figure out how we can change up our lifestyle and here are our friends who are real people that we know and see every week and their results are so real and they say it's worth it. So, we're doing it. Yup, we're all in.

We are going meat, nuts, veggies and fruits only for 30 days. Today is day one.

Let's get to the cheese...

In order to be able to make such a big commitment for 30 whole days, we needed to eliminate temptation. We needed to make it normal to only have meat, vegetables and fruit in the house by taking everything else out. That was the hard part. We had talked about starting on Monday for a while, but when Sunday afternoon rolled around, it was time to walk the walk.

We started with the fridge. We hadn't done groceries in about a week as preparation, but about 30% of what we pulled out was cheese. Beautiful, tasty, comforting cheese. Here's what else we got rid of:

orange juice, salad dressing, mayonaise, cream cheese, shredded cheese, cheddar cheese, baby cheddar cheese, carmel apple dip, apple sauce, butter and colby-jack cheese

Then it was on to the cabinets. The top one wasn't so hard... just peanut butter and a couple other things... but the bottom one... PASTA, RICE & POTATOES. Ouch. It hurt. Take a look (this isn't all of it):

rice, crackers, beans, beans, beans, reese's peanut butter cups, soup, cornbread mix, minute rice, instant potatoes, panko break crumbs, rice, pasta, pasta, pasta, rice

When we were done, this is what our fridge looked like:

We donated all the food to our favorite "charity", a poor college friend who never seems to have a budget for food. She and her roommate were overjoyed when we brought over six huge bags of food (including two beers and a carton of ice cream). I felt good that the food wasn't going to waste and that a friend would be enjoying it, but for a second as we were leaving I felt a panic. Like just for a minute, I wanted to run back and grab my cheese and pasta. Horrible right?

So we went to Whole Foods to replace our comfort foods with lean mean greens. I have to say, shopping on this diet is a breeze... I usually dread finding ANYTHING at Whole Foods, but I didn't have to look for a box of this or a can of that. It was so easy and quick. We had a cart full of fruits and veggies, an expensive chunk of salmon, chicken breasts, ground turkey, a few nice cuts of grass fed beef and eggs. Plain and simple.

I love the way our fridge looks now. Like it feels fresher and cleaner and I can grab whatever I want.

That's all the typing I can do for right now, but I'll be reporting back weekly to let you know how everything goes. The next month promises to be an adventure and a challenge, but we're hoping to look and feel better at the end. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

{For Japan With Love}

Today is a blogger's day of silence for Japan. Please pray for the people of Japan and donate if you are able. All my love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

What we are doing at 12:26pm...

It's after midnight on Sunday night after a exciting, but exhausting wedding weekend. Since we came home this afternoon, we've taken naps, caught up on Facebook and email, reorganized my desktop (like this), gone out to pick up burgers at In-N-Out and watched five episodes of That 70's Show. Productive night, I know.

Then, at 12:20pm, we started talking about how our old mattress has been bothering us and how we need a new one. Then we went on the Tempurpedic website, compared some mattresses and at 12:26pm, we purchased a Tempurpedic ClassicBed. Should we be shopping for big ticket items online in the middle of the night? Probably not. Are we looking forward to a fantastic new mattress? You bet 'cha. Some things in life just don't have to be complicated.

Now, for a hot shower and a good night of sleep in our own (outgoing) bed...

P.S. Everyone out there who is impressed by us having a stack of cash to drop on a mattress, I don't want to mislead you. It's called financing with 0% interest for two years... and having a husband with immaculate credit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Blog If I Want To

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! I'm 23. Couldn't avoid it. Had a fantastic day. Birthday presents from my hubs at midnight, breakfast with my best friend in the morning, lunch with my bosses, then rehearsal and dinner for my sister-in-laws wedding. As my present to myself this year, I've written down my 25 by 25 list. Here are the things I hope to accomplish in the next two years.

Already in Progress:
1. Graduate from SJSU with a degree in advertising.
2. Travel to Europe. We're booked for Italy and Greece in August.
3. Improve my credit score.
4. Complete the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I'm signed up for the Bay Area Walk in September. Now all I have to do is raise $2,300! Want to help? Check here.
5. Learn another language. We're learning conversational Italian for our trip.

Haven't Started Yet:
6. Get pregnant.
7. Start my own small business.
8. Buy a car.
9. Get a puppy.
10. Take a sewing class.
11. Get a bicycle.
12. Visit Mexico.
13. Get a credit card that earns airline miles.
14. Build my first real craft room.

15. Add at least 24 new recipes to my cooking repertoire.
16. Buy many many more pairs of wedges.
17. Learn to read the scriptures more.
18. Go to Cambria as often as possible.
19. Lose the weight I've gained in college.
20. Be better at journaling and scrapbooking.
21. Build my big girl wardrobe.
22. Be a better sister to my siblings.
23. Write more.
24. Drink much more water.
25. ... This one's personal and not for sharing on the internet, but it's a good one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being In-Between

Lately, I've been feeling the effects of being in-between. In-between finishing school and starting a career and a family. In-between being the president, chair and organizer of everything and being in charge of nothing but myself. I'm somewhere in-between wanting to stay up all night drinking and dancing and needing to go to bed early on a Friday night so I can get a jump start on errands the next day. In the morning I want a house and a baby and by the afternoon I'm nostalgic for the days when Jake and I had just met and we would walk to Jack in the Box with friends in the middle of the night and we didn't own any furniture that wasn't second hand. I hope we never forget those times.

The in-between makes me act so strangely sometimes. I'll say something and immediately want to take it back, thinking that it's been years since I felt like that, talked like that, acted like that. At first it feels gratifying, but then it seems played out and finished, like a kid testing out swear words. It's been a while since I've had to reconcile with multiple mes or try so hard to be who I want to be. The plateau was nice and comforting, but I think the re-building is important too.

Only God knows the plan and only he can see the results ahead. I've been praying for him to show it to me, but I know that 99% of the battle is just trusting that it's good like he promises.

Besides that, I've been busy...

Last week, I had four midterms and two sick days. I'm planning two events for Alpha Xi Delta, plus my birthday party. My birthday is in four days and my sister-in-law's wedding is in five. On Saturday, Jake and I set a personal record in errand running when we visited Costco, Walmart, Kaiser, Pruneyard Custom Tailor, Office Max, Oakridge Mall and Michael's all in one go, then got called up to help with wedding projects until 2am. Between meetings and errands and trying to remember to eat, it's been a wild ride lately. Our apartment is destroyed. On the up side, I've ordered so many things online lately that everyday is like Christmas! There is always a package on the doorstep and I never have any clue what it will be until I open it. I'm hoping to catch up the blog with projects and planning soon, but until I can catch a breather, here are some iPhone photos documenting the last couple weeks. Enjoy!

Bridesmaid's Shoes

New Rain Boots
...and it hasn't rained a day since.

A Late Night Trip to Target
Jake was very impressed with the new cart boy's work.
The man loves order and symmetry.

New Couch Pillows from CB2

A Friday Night Craving
Cookie Sundae at Ben & Jerry's.

Flattered to be Featured on OPT Again

Invitations for AXiD Family Day
I designed, printed, addressed, sorted, licked and stamped 72 of these babies.

Back at Work