Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The 3 things that currently keep me Active

Before switching to working from home, I had been dreaming up grand visions of how my days would change. Me time would be more available since I no longer needed to drive to and from work, including dropping off and picking up my girls. I would look like a supermodel ;) , since I would of course have more time to exercise and eat healthy lunches. I would sew outfits galore for me and my girls with all the additional time.

Right...

So after a good start, our family traveled to Hilton Head for an exciting vacation with my parents, where I considered our hours of biking each day exercise, especially after the first day where my bike seat kept falling and my legs were sore!!!

Then I had plenty of excuses I used beyond that:

  • Olivia started kindergarten and we were adapting to the schedule
  • I don't enjoy waking up super early to exercise
  • I don't like exercising after dinner cuz I get all jittery
  • I don't like showering in a rush after exercising because I end up still sweaty even after a cold shower 
  • Juliet and Olivia no longer had syncing nap schedules, and they love watching me exercise. I'm always nervous about hurting one of them while using weights or jumping around
  • I was helping more with Isaac's company
  • We were hosting dinners more often since both Isaac and I needed adult conversations
  • ...I'm sure I can think of more :)
I know I am a much better mother when I exercised because I have more energy and I know that I'm taken care of, so I can then take care of my family. I know, but I keep using 

3 things finally kick-started prioritizing exercising:

Isaac and I traveled to Orlando mid-September (without kids) for a work conference, and we always enjoy visiting Disney Springs and the Lego store located there. This set sat at the entrance to the store and I was immediately smitten. I love Lego and I love Harry Potter, and thought that miniature versions of epic things similar to their architecture collection would be awesome. I needed that Hogwarts set, and if it hadn't required us bringing the box back on the plane (we traveled carry-on only as Isaac reminded me), I would have purchased it on the spot. 


I waited 72 hours (as Mrs. Frugalwoods recommends) and still really badly wanted the set. I typically don't spend that much money on physical stuff, so I thought this would be the perfect reward for an exercise bet. I have used exercise bets before to keep myself motivated to work out consistently with rewards, but never for such a large reward. 
Isaac said it needed to be a pretty significant bet, so we nailed down that I would come up with a workout schedule, and would be required to do 4 workouts a week for months (totaling 104 workouts). I finished up week 7 today, with one extra credit workout stored up in case I get too sick one week to workout (as I did last winter). I'll divulge more details on the workout schedule in a different post. As of now, the Lego set is setting unopened in our office as a reminder of what I'm working towards (besides looking hot :)



Walktober 
My friend Brooke set up this wonderful walking challenge in October. The goal was 250,000 in the month, with some prizes for most steps in a day and most in the month. 250,000 in October comes to a bit more than 8,000 steps per day, which I thought was feasible. Last year I went from September 15th to November 21st with at least 10,000 steps every day except one. It was amazing to have such a clear goal, and made me carve parts of my day out for walking (like during lunch, before watching TV, while watching TV :) I was able to make the goal and did 399,216 steps (about 13,300 each day). I loved arranging time during the day for my extra walking. I then set up another challenge in November (currently have 55 participants :) and am so glad to be able to continue my walking streak!

Yes.Fit

I normally don't click on Facebook ads, but I saw this ad for a "Beauty and the Beast" virtual race. They offered a cool looking t-shirt and/or medal and I was realizing as I switched to fall clothes, that my t-shirts were starting to get a bit raggedy. I'm not one for medals (I don't need extra bling around my walls), but the shirts are awesome. I've already completed 3 races (Beauty and the Beast, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and It's Fall Y'all). Also signed up for the Turkey Trot (free if you don't want any swag) and am waiting on Olivia to get her pedometer to start up the Unicorn race cuz she would love the shirt). You can do the races on your own timetable by walking, running or cycling, and don't need to complete the entire distance in a day. Definitely pushed me to walk farther each than I normally would to get to the next Mile Marker.  If you're new to Yes.Fit and want to try a race, use the Promo Code LJ35aVWr during check-out, and you get a discount.



What is everyone else doing to keep themselves active as it gets darker and colder?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

November Step Challenge!!


As many of my friends know, I love walking! So I was so thrilled when Brooke started up her Walktober Challenge!

I've been purposely scheduling times to walk throughout the day: after dropping off Juliet at Playtime, a loop of the neighborhood before Olivia's bus arrives, quick shopping trips to Target, and meals at restaurants in walking distance. We had a glorious Saturday where the 4 of us walked to lunch and discovered a splash pad in our local strip mall. I spent a gratifying 5 hours walking to and from Georgia Tech and conversing with my Dad along the way.


As October draws to an end, I realized how much I've been enjoying the cool breezes, changing leaves, and just quiet time to myself to think or listen to a book. And without a challenge to keep me motivated, I will definitely revert to my lazy ways and not plan for walks as I have.

So the plan is, November walking challenge with prizes! I was gonna call it Movemeber but guys already appropriated that name for something else :)

The prizes will be for:

  1. Most steps in a day
  2. Most steps in the entire month
  3. Reaching 10,000 each day for entire 30 days

Please message me if you would like to join in and I'll invite you to the spreadsheet!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Getting Olivia prepped for Kindergarten (or the Hair-in-the-Eyes Saga)

My big girl is starting Kindergarten in August (I was gonna say the fall, but that is right in the middle of summer) and I've been reading up on how to be sure she is ready for school. Most things are about how they need to be able to recognize their letters, put on jackets by themselves, being able to listen, and playing well with others. I feel like she is very ready for kindergarten, except in one way.

Her solution for breakfast hair
She dressed herself in all Purple
Hairbow and still in her eyes

Her hair! It is constantly in her eyes and she doesn't mind it at all. Sometimes I find her coloring, and I'm not sure how she can even see what she is doing. We have tried hairbows, headbands, ponytails and her favorite, tiaras. I instated a rule that her hair has to always be out of her eyes, especially while eating, but she doesn't seem to mind it at all! 



Her beautiful soft hair is gorgeous, but I am so lost on how to style it for when she goes to school so that it will:
A. stay out of her eyes all day so that she can see and learn
B. will stay put all day as she is so active
C. is something she can easily fix if it does fall out so someone else doesn't need to fix it for her
Ladies out there, what can I do? Please help, I've got two of these little straight-haired girls and I'm lost! I'm trying to avoid bangs because I'm sure they would grow out and once again be in her eyes.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Fresh Blackberry Muffins (from our garden!)

This spring we have been enjoying the fruits of our berry planting from last year. We decided we wanted some plants along the side of our driveway between our neighbors and I thought that berries would be the perfect solution, even though they are deciduous (not super good cover in the winter). We planted 6 raspberry plants and 5 blackberry plants!

Last year we were lucky enough to get two rounds of raspberries, but the blackberries never flowered.


Not so, this year, we have so many blackberries! For a while, they weren't turning black quicker than my girls could pick and eat them. We go and pick berries generally every other day because that gives the plants long enough to make fully ripe berries.

But this morning after letting the blackberries go two days, we had more than a cup of blackberries! Enough to make blackberry muffins!!






Here is the recipe I adapted from Simply Recipes. I always love how blogs say adapted, but in my case it was definitely adapted because I had to use greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I don't have any in the house :)

Blackberry Muffins (makes 8)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 4 Tbsp warm melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Combine dry ingredients except sugar.
  3. Mix together wet ingredients and sugar.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Slice the berries in half and then add them to the mix!
  5. Spray the muffin pans and then add batter. Cook for 15-20 minutes. 
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blonde Ambition - The Search for a Dolores Wig

Hey everyone - it's Christina (Rebecca's college BFF who now lives in DC).  I am working on some cosplays for upcoming cons near me and Rebecca was gracious enough to let me use her blog to share some behind-the-scenes of my prep.

A little about my cosplay style -
  • Have always loved dressing up but just starting cosplaying for cons this year
  • Goal is to have fun and make something I feel happy in
  • Not going for screen realism
  • Want to be recognizable
  • Want to minimize sewing
  • Love finding items at the thrift store and converting them into a costume
  • Willing to buy the items that are really hard to make or I can't find the right thing

I recently discovered Westworld on HBO and am *mildy* obsessed now.  I binged all 10 episodes of Season 1 in April while I was on fun-employment, and HBO is airing Season 2 now. If you also watch, I highly recommend this podcast to help unravel what is happening and the crazy timelines.

One of the main characters is Dolores, an android host in a western themed 'vacation on steroids'. (Don't worry - no spoilers in the description that follows) In Season 1, she is a sweet but confused character.  In Season 2 she has much more grit and determination, as evidenced when she makes her first appearance with her jacket removed and sporting a bad-ass bandolier.  When I saw that on screen I knew I wanted to make this costume.

      Image result for season 1 dolores westworld
Season 1 Dolores           
Season 2 Dolores

This costume seemed relatively easy as I would only need:
  1. White chemise with blue ribbon trim
  2. Blue skirt
  3. Brown boots
  4. Brown leather belt
  5. Brown leather hip satchel
  6. Bad-ass bandolier
  7. Blonde hair
I felt SUPER confident about this costume as I already owned/had made items 1-4.  The blonde hair is the real kicker for me as I am a dark brunette and dying my hair honey blonde was not a viable option.  Therefore a wig would definitely be required.

I know nothing about wigs, so I watched some tutorials and asked around on my cosplay Instagram handle to get recommendations. Wanting to get the look, without a large investment, I ordered two blonde wigs from Amazon with good reviews that were ~$35 each.

Wig 1 was very well made, easy to wear, and the tresses were the *perfect* color, but the roots were just too dark for the look I needed.  In Season 1, her roots are a bit darker than Season 2, but this was still too much.

      Zenith Dark Brown Rooted Light Blonde Lace Front Wigs for Women Best Synthetic Hair Wavy Wig with Flawless Hairline 24 inches Heat Safe      
             
Note - ignore the lace on my forehead in all these pics - that gets trimmed shorter and then glued down to hold the wig in place

Wig 2 was also well made and easy to wear, and had no problems with the roots, but the tresses were a bit too pale for the look - wrong shade of blonde. Of note, this wig came in its own silky bag and not only included wig caps (standard for most wig orders) but also included 2 freebies - false eyelashes and a wig comb.

     Fashion Lace Wig With Platinum Blonde Wavy for Women Dark Brown Root Ash Blonde Ombre Lace Wigs with 2 Tone Color       
                                 
Back to the square one, I took the advice of some fellow cosplayers and checked out the sale happening at Pose Wigs. I narrowed it down to two options, one of which was on sale for $40 instead of the $80 full price one I thought was slightly better, so I took a chance on the sale wig. Although high quality and reliable, the downside of Pose Wigs is that unlike Amazon there are no returns (for hygiene reasons), therefore I have to make what I order work for me (this costume or something else in the future).

 
                                        
I am thrilled that it turned out to be perfect!! It looks a little strawberry in this photo, but is a good shade of dirty/honey blonde. The length is to my elbows, rather than to my waist like the first two wigs, but its actually more manageable so I like it better. Will get some wig glue and will do a full hair and makeup test this weekend to make sure I have everything ready by the con on the 15th.

If you need a wig for anything, Pose Wigs has a sample sale going on where samples are 50% off.  Use code "cherrycos10" for 10% off any order. Shipping was fast.

More posts to follow soon on making the bad-ass bandolier and pulling it all together.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

5 Things that cost more to Work from Home (and 5 that cost less)

Day 1 attire, my favorite Jurassic Park
Shirt and Ellie Sattler's earrings
Today is the first day of my fully remote job and it is new and exciting! I'm going to try my best to not spend everyday in pajamas, but it is the first day and I have the best of intentions so we'll see :)

And while working from home has so many advantages, there are some things that I will be spending more money on.

1. Coffee 
I drank the coffee at work that everyone else complained about, but really I just like a little coffee in my milk :) I still need my coffee fix, so I'll spend more on that. 
2. Toilet Paper 
Because I'm home more... 
3. Dishwasher detergent 
Because I'll be eating lunch and breakfast here. I usually had a breakfast bar when travelling to work, and I was eating out way more frequently than brown bagging it, so didn't have dishes to wash. 
4. Air Conditioning 
Since I'll be at home during the hottest part of the day when I normally leave the house temperature higher, we'll be running the AC earlier. 
5. Craft Supplies 
Now that I'm working entirely from home, my girls will be with me more frequently and will need more distractions while I do my work. We have already done a DollarTree run and filled our Amazon shopping cart with supplies to keep them occupied.


But there are some things I'm likely to save money on:


1. Lunch Out 
I was eating out almost every lunch that I was going into the office (only twice a week but still) and it was glorious! My co-workers pick out some amazing restaurants and led me to try new things (Pho, Korean BBQ, Jamaican, Indian, Laotian) and I will definitely miss it. Maybe I can sneak out sometimes and catch a meal with them :) 
2. Gas 
Not only did I have the commute to work, but I also was dropping off my girls with the grandparents (which my girls adore) which extended my drive. 
3. Clothes 
Not that I was spending much on that to begin with, but since I can wear more casual clothes, I won't need to spend as much 
4. Disposable Diapers 
Ok, how does working from home save money on diapers? We use cloth diapers at home and are in the process of getting Juliet potty trained because I'm home to train her!
5. Takeout 
When I had to go in to work, there were days when I came home with the best intentions to cook, but ended up too tired. Hopefully now I can do more prep and be able to cook more dinners from home!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rocket Shoes for Ms. Frizzle

DragonCon Countdown: 7 days!! Only a week away!!

For my original Ms. Frizzle Outfit, I purchased some cheap shoes from Goodwill to attach rockets to, which was a terrible idea. Cheap shoes for multiple hours at DragonCon meant I quickly acquired blisters and had to find bandaids which only slightly helped. This year, I decided to wear my heels that I've been practicing wearing all August and somehow attach the rockets without damaging the shoes.

My amazing co-worker Liz suggested I use some kind of clip to attach them to my shoes and I knew that Olivia's rubber covered hair clips would be perfect!


I quickly made some rockets out of construction paper and super glue, and can quickly clip them to my shoes!! 


I'm pretty sure at this point that the Ms. Frizzle costume is all ready for wearing next Friday at DragonCon! The schedule came out already on the app to all my fellow attendees, can't wait to see everyone there! Even if you aren't going to the Convention, consider going to the Parade Saturday morning at 10am, Olivia loved it last year! 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Light Blue Clever Girl Shirt

DragonCon Countdown: 10 days!!

With this shirt I have used up the last of my fat quarters from Spoonflower and my favorite "Clever Girl" fabric. I had a hard time figuring out how to add this to a shirt, but I think it turned out very well!! The clever girl fabric is a silky faille and the navy blue is a stretchy thick Polyester. 


I was initially afraid that the faille would not be stretchy enough for the top and that I would have a hard time getting it over my head, but the navy stretches in all the right places and works together with it perfectly.



Final outfit for DragonCon during the day done and another classy shirt for work!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dying my hair red

DragonCon Countdown: 11 days!!

So for DragonCon 2014, I came up with the idea of being Ms. Frizzle because of my frizzy hair, but had never dyed my hair before. I figured with my DIY mentality, I could dye it myself with box hair color, so I did.

These are some of the colors I've tried.

Very red! Using the Feria Deep Copper

Mellowed Copper

Some dark red color



Olia Light Auburn
             

 
Blonde, not a good luck especially cuz I didn't let it go long enough.

  
Loreal Light Amber Brown





















I think this time for DragonCon I'm going to go with something a bit warmer than the Light Amber Brown (my current go to color) but not as insane red as the Feria.

Nice N Easy Born Red 6R
Hair before coloring
During, it always looks crazy red during



A bit darker than usual, but it's red!! So ready for DragonCon!!