Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

My Introduction to the Circut Explore Air

Back in September when I attended BlogPodium in Toronto, I was able to attend a workshop sponsored by Cricut to learn about the Cricut Explore Air.  Having heard of Cricut but never had a chance to try one out, I was excited to be able to have a hands-on experience with the machine.  I really didn’t know too much about the machine going in, all I really knew is that it was a crafter’s dream machine. I was even more excited when at the end of the workshop to find out that I had won one of my very own machines to take home with me.

As soon as I got it home, my head swirled with ideas of what I could possibly use this machine.  I knew from the take home we were able to make at BlogPodium, that I would be able to personalize all kinds of cups, mugs and drinking paraphernalia.  These would make great gift ideas for family and friends year round.

I knew right away I would need to check out some of the Cricut tutorials as well as Pinterest boards and Facebook pages dedicated to all things Cricut.  Talk about information overload.  I was shocked and very pleasantly surprised to see all the amazing things that the Cricut could be used for; all sorts of apparel, jewelry, cards of all sorts were just the beginning.

Once I got my Cricut Explore Air home and out of the box, I unexpectedly noticed a few days later that they have such a great little hidden pocket area to hold all the little tools you can use with your projects.  I love this idea so that things are scattered everywhere considering I don’t really have a designated crafting area in my home at this time.

Another big plus in my opinion is they now have their own Cricut software that you can log into online (from either your computer or the iOs version)called Cricut Design Space.  This is where you can design your own project and cut/print it from there.   I know in previous versions of the Cricut, you had cartridges that you had to install and work with.  This new design seems much less cumbersome and I can’t wait to “explore” it more.

I have so many plans for putting this Cricut to good use.  I can’t wait to share them with you.  I just need to figure out where to start.  Any ideas for me? Check back soon for more Cricut related posts.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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DIY

My Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen always seems to be the hub of activity in my home so when it looked like it was fresh out of the 70’s, I knew it was time for a drastic makeover.  I wanted to make a huge impact but didn’t have the huge budget.  Thanks to the people at Home Depot, they were able to point me in right direction to make the most of my limited resources.  I showed them a few of my “before” photos so they could get an idea of what we were working with.

We determined based on my budget that painting the walls and cupboards would make the most impact.  I had already decided that I wanted a clean and fresh look to the kitchen and had white cupboards and grey walls in mind for the color scheme.  After looking at some paint samples and decided on the perfect shade of grey, it was time to get my shopping cart and load up on supplies.

The Home Depot Associate determined that we would need to prime the cupboards first due to the color and age of the doors to ensure the actual paint color adhered properly and didn’t have any issues.  With a few more pointers and words of wisdom to ensure everything turned out the way we wanted it to from the Associate, I was ready to go.

Before I go any further I must say that none of this project would have been possible without the assistance of my Mom.  There was no way I was going to be able to tackle this project and finish it in the weekend time frame allotted without her help.  Thanks Mom!

Our game plan was to get the doors primed on Friday evening, give the cupboards 2 coats of paint and the first coat of paint on the walls on Saturday and the second coat of pain on the walls Sunday morning and have everything back into place by Sunday afternoon  The first step,  once we had all the supplies ready to go was to remove the handles off the cupboards and attack them with some SOS pads.  I swear there was 20+ years of dirt and grime built up on them.  With a bit of elbow grease, it was astonishing to see the difference.

Being that the cupboards were so dark to begin with, I was glad it was suggested to prime them first.  The last thing that I wanted to have to do was give them coat after coat of paint just to get the right coverage.  I was glad it was a fairly mild evening as the primer was oil based and we needed to open up a few windows to give the area some ventilation.

By the end of Friday night, we were on track.  Cupboards were primed and we were ready to hit the ground running on Saturday morning.  I am not going to lie, when I first walked into the kitchen on Saturday morning, I had no idea how were going to stay on track and get it all done in a day.  But we plugged along and although when we finished that evening, we were completely exhausted and paint covered, the kitchen already looked completely different.

With the second coat of wall paint completed on Sunday morning by lunch time  we were able to get things back into place and I was astonished how great everything looked.

It was goodbye  70’s dark and dreary and hello bright and modern looking.  I felt even more accomplished when my son saw the new kitchen for the first time, his reaction was “Mommy, it looks AMAZING.  You and Nana did an awesome job.”

So next time you have a home renovation or makeover idea and aren’t sure of where to start, head over to your local Home Depot.  Their Associates are more than willing to point you in the right direction and  you’d be surprised what you can make happen in your home.

Disclosure:  Although products were provide to me from Home Depot, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

 

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Motivation Monday – Making life better

The other day I saw a quote that really resonated with me, “It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday.”   I think it makes a very valid point.  You should never reach your “best”, you should always be striving to be just a little bit better.  And besides, what is really the best version of you?

By no means, do I mean that if you reach a weight loss goal, you should keep trying to lose more weight.  I refer to the best version of yourself as a whole, definitely not just one aspect of yourself.   And you don’t need to be focusing on ALL aspects at once, break it down and focus on a few at a time.  Even with a single aspect, for example, my weight loss/fitness goals, have been broken up into smaller areas that I want to make better.

Right now, I have 3 areas that I am focusing on.

Being accountable to someone

Recently one of my besties indicated that she wanted to step up her fitness and weight loss game.  We decided that we would try and make “gym dates” as often as we could with each other.  I don’t know about you, but I find that having someone to talk to and workout with pushes me to workout a bit harder and longer.  As well, if we are feeling weak and wanting to totally indulge and throw the good eating habits totally off the rails, we told each other we could text each other for some words of support.  Knowing that there is someone else out there with the same struggles that I can rely on for support makes things a whole lot easier for me.  It is also a lot more motivating for me.

Make my goal visible.

I have always been a visual person.  I do much better when I can see things and the results.  This past weekend as I was cleaning out my pantry, I came across a bowl containing some little colored rocks.  At one point, I think they sat at the bottom of the fish tank we had.  Not sure how they ended up in the pantry though.  When I saw them, I remembered something I had seen on Pinterest when looking at some other fitness/weightloss ideas.  I went to my local Dollarama and picked up 2 small glass jars.  In one jar I would put a stone in for each pound I want to lose and in the other jar, I would transfer over a stone each week for each pound I have lost. This would make my goal a much more quantitative number.  If I could see where I have to get, it seems more real to me, instead of just a number on a scale.  Now I just need to make up some nice labels to make the jars a little prettier.

Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan

I have always said that I could not follow any sort of diet plan that told me what I had to eat and when I had to eat it.  My life just doesn’t work that way.  And although I still somewhat believe this about myself, I know that I need to meal plan in some shape or form in order to keep myself on track.  What works more for me, is to make a list of meals for the week and then plot them into place as the week falls.  Basically crossing them off the list as we eat them.  This allows me to have some flexibility in our eating schedule but ensures I have the ingredients on hand to make the meals.  I find if I don’t have the ingredients on hand, it’s a lot easier to turn to other less healthy meals.  This is all great in theory, I just need to be much better at actually making the meal lists.  One of my favorite Mom bloggers, Mrs.Bishop has just started a Meal Plan Monday segment on her blog that I am SO excited about.  I really struggle with coming up with new and exciting meal plan ideas.  It seems like I recycle the same old meals over and over again.  Having a new meal plan to reference each week is going to give me a bunch of new ideas to add to my meal plan.  I have looked at her first post and there are a bunch of great ideas that I will be trying out in the next few weeks.

So hopefully starting with these 3 items to focus on will push me ahead in my journey.  Small steps add up to a better over all result.  Good luck in your journey and we will catch up next time.  If you don’t want to miss a post, be sure to subscribe to my blog!

DIY · Uncategorized

Making changes with the help of Home Depot

I decided that this year I was going to make a bunch of changes in my life.  I am turning 45 and want to make this year count.  It’s not only going to be personal changes but other life changes as well.  One of the first projects I want to take on is making my home feel more like a home.  I moved into this home when I was in a very dark place in my life and it seemed at the time to be a temporary stop.  But now 8 years later it is our home and does not appear to be changing anytime soon.

Ever since I moved in, I have hated the kitchen.  It is practically a step back to the decade I was born.  The cupboards are just awful.  So this is the first room I wanted to start with.  Obviously, as a rental home, I don’t want to invest a lot of my own funds to update things but I am happy to make some investment to make it more mine.  What do I do and where do I start?

I decided to run over to my local Home Depot and talk to some of the experts there. I took some “Before” photos along with me to give them a better idea of what I had to work with.  After speaking to a very lovely and knowledgeable associate in the Kitchen department, we decided that simply painting would make a world of difference for the smallest amount of investment.

 

I then headed to the Paint department and was again greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable Associate.  As a single female, let’s be honest, I am not the most knowledgeable about anything to do with home renovations.  Obviously, I know the basics and my parents are amazing resources as well but being able to walk into the Home Depot and being able to ask question and not feel judged or intimidated is amazing.  They Associate was able to point me in the right direction as to which type of paint I would need and well as the best types of paint brushes/rollers to use and give me a few tips on how to make the whole job easier.

They also have monthly DIY seminars at each location that I am dying to try out.  I have seen topics from installing tiles and hardwood, how to use and choose power tools to outdoor/yard maintenance.  Once this project is done, I am going to check out a few of these seminars and see what I can do next! They even offer monthly make and take workshops for kids that my son has enjoyed a number of times.  If you have any upcoming DIY projects and are looking for a little guidance, this is the place to go.

For now, I need to pick out my paint colors and start the project.  Luckily I have been able to enlist the help of my Mom with this project, so stay tuned for my upcoming blog post with my before and after photos of my kitchen paint project, thanks to the help of Home Depot. 

**Although items were provided to me, all comments, thoughts and photos are strictly mine.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Monday Motivation – It’s a whole new year

I decided that with a new year starting, it was time to change things up a bit here on the blog.  Instead of my Friday Fitness posts, I felt that Motivation Mondays were the new year to do things around here.  As much as my fitness and healthy eating are a big priority still, I felt that my journey was more a reflection of my motivation to be a better “me” overall.

I also decided that this will not be a weekly post, but bi-weekly.  I found that trying to post a weekly Fitness Friday a little bit stressful.  I didn’t want to just post for the sake of posting and not have any real, worthy content.  Every other week is probably a little more manageable to get decent, readable content out there.

2017 is a biggie for me, as I will be turning 45.  Eeeks!!!  It’s about time I really focus on what I want in life and how I can achieve it, as I am not getting any younger and it won’t get any easier.  I want to make 45 my best year yet and this is giving me the motivation to eat better, continue my fitness routine (or even step it up a bit) and see what else there is out there for me to improve.

Like 90% of the population, I started 2017 with my “got to eat better and workout more” resolution.  I have been doing okay so far.  Not the best, but not completely horrible.  But today, with the boy back to school and I am starting to get into the groove of working from home full time, I can really move forward and get things going.

I am a creature of habit and when my day to day routine goes off track, so do I.  So hopefully this week with routine returning, my motivation and success will return as well.  One of the biggest ways for me to keep on track is to put my workout clothes on as early as possible in the day so that when the time comes for me to workout, there is no excuses, I am ready to go!   I also need to ensure I am wearing my Fitbit.  I have been really, really bad about getting my steps in since way before the holidays, so I need step it up.  Pun intended.

 

I talk about my Fitbit a lot, and if you don’t have an activity tracker, I totally suggest you look into getting one.  They are so motivating and it really shows you how active or inactive you are each day.  If you don’t know much about trackers, you can check out this article that compares and rates some of the more well know trackers out there.  They can be a bit of an investment, but again, totally worth it you are looking to get moving and motivated.

There is that age old saying “you are what you eat”.   As much as one exercises, if you are eating way more calories then you are exerting, there is no way you are going to ever lose any weight.  I decided to try following the 21 Day fix program.  I started following it loosely last week and this week I am really trying to really stick to it.  It has been a total eye opener in that I truly do not have a well balance diet.  I am way to carb heavy and never get enough protein. I am really trying to change this and hoping it will be a huge help in my weight loss journey.

I know that eating well and exercising rank highly on a lot of peoples New Years Resolution list, and I hope that if you are one of those people, that you are staying on track and keeping motivated.