We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 31, 2010

Makeover Monday: The Real Deal 5/31/2010

So, it's Monday and in honor of the Makeover Monday theme (which I should get better at sticking to) I wanted to share my desire to makeover..... myself! I've decided to try getting healthy. I've been happily plus sized for some time but ever since about 6 months after Baby Boy was born, I've been steadily gaining more weight and yo yo exercising. I'm committing to take an active part in my health and you may have noticed little bits of that decision in my cooking vegetarian meals once a week or my daily walks with Baby Boy. I still like to enjoy my food (no carrot sticks, please) but I'm focusing on being active at least 30 minutes a day, choosing healthier food when I do eat, and also counting calories. So far, I'm 3 weeks into my new routine of working out every day and I'm feeling great! I usually end up working out for about an hour and a half to two hours a day because I'm finding that I love to walk. Because of the positive effects of exercise, I want to give myself a plan so I can be more focused. So, today I've started day one week one of the Couch to 5K program. I'm excited! I've never ever enjoyed running or walking for that matter. I love the accomplishment of a hike (like seeing the awesome view) but getting there was always like pulling teeth. Now that we walk to the store out of necessity, walking a mile is easy and I really enjoy it! In fact, I feel like I could go farther. Which brings me back to C25k training. I'm hoping to stick to it and am really pumped about completing today's training. It was tough! But it was a challenge, which is just what I was looking for. Anyway, I'm also doing strength training on my off days. C25K training is set up for Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays. So the other days I can take easy walks and work with light weights. I've already seen a 3 inch loss from my non scheduled walking and working out, so I hope to get some great results from this structured program. It's all a part of making my life more peaceful. I find my mind is much more at ease and my body feels better when I get my exercise in! I hope, if you've been considering making healthy changes, that you find a little encouragement in this. And maybe soon you'll be ready to get started on your own journey to a healthier and more peaceful you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Inspiration

So, I admit I'm addicted to DIY blogs. There are so many inspiring people writing about how they are making their spaces more functional/beautiful.So here are some posts I found inspiring this week:

Centsational Girl just finished a fabulous redo of her laundry room. The colors are beautiful, clean and spa like. I want to achieve this feel in the master bedroom.

Little Apartment on the Prairie is sewing her very first slip covers for her furniture. My furniture are thrift shop finds as well and are in sore need of  looking clean updating. I adore her and many times reading her posts parallel my own life, as we're in very similar situations. She is inspiring, and a reminder that no matter how tough life is, I want to search for beauty and make my life an inspirational place to be.

An older post of Nester's has got my wheels turning about our master bedroom. I've mentioned how I want it to have a resort spa feel. A place where we can go to relax and get away from the stress of it all. Reading her tips will help me get one step closer to making our hideaway a reality.

The CSI Project reaffirmed my belief in giving longer life to things you love by updating them! I believe I shall be hoarding Rub n' Buff from now on....

And as always, looking at photos of my beloved island inspired me to slow down and be thankful for what I have. A beautiful heritage, a loving husband and a wonderfully imaginative little boy. What else could a girl ask for?
One of the many beaches in American Samoa where I grew up

Wedding day with my love.... almost 4 years ago

My other love....our little man

Find what inspires you and never let go of it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spa Night: Cucumber Water 5/27/2010

One of my favorite couponing blogs, Hip2Save, posted ideas for an at home Spa Day! Great minds, y'all. Head on over here to read the complete post and get some delicious sounding recipes to add to your Home Spa experience. I've included the one recipe from Hip2Save that I'm especially dying to try. I just need to pick up some cucumbers the next time I'm at the store. Then hello, relaxation!

Cucumber Water

In order for the cucumber to fully release its juice, you need to prepare it the day before your event.
1 cucumber, sliced and unpeeled + 6-7 cucumber slices for decoration
1 1/2 to 2 liters of water
3 mint sprigs + 2 mint sprigs for decoration
Half a lemon, sliced and unpeeled
Ice cubes
In a pitcher, mix the water, cucumber, 3 mint sprigs and lemon. Let it rest on the fridge for 24 hours. If you prepare the water at the last minute, cut the first cucumber in three or four pieces. Then, squeeze the cucumber pieces to release all the juice. Before serving remove the cucumber slices used to flavor the water. Then stir with a wooden spoon, add some ice cubes,  6 or 7 fresh cucumber slices and the remaining 2 mint sprigs.

If you haven't taken the time to consciously relax this week, what are you waiting for? Your peace of mind will thank you. Happy Pampering!

Relaxing Things...

In keeping with the fact that tonight is Spa Night, I'll be doing a pedicure once Baby Boy goes to bed :) Aahhh... I really need it too after all the painting this week. My toes are sprinkled with black and green paint! Not pretty. But a wonderful excuse to pamper my feet.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few projects I've been working on:
Remember this shelf/ hand towel bar I picked up at a thrift shop?

My loving man got rid of that scrolly thing that had lost its mate and sanded it all down for me. So yesterday when the mood hit, this mild mannered piece of metal was ready for painting.

The newly painted shelf turned recipe book holder will complement our sconces that go above the dining table. This still needs to go up on the wall in our new place. My kingdom for a stud finder!

And now it will tie the kitchen in with the eat-in dining nook :)

Oh, I love it. I'm working on some type of shelf to lay on the flat part. Aahhh... dreaming about the many recipes I will make using my handy recipe book holder. Remember, the original glass shelf is gone and this is upside down from how it was meant to be used. A few picture hanging hooks helped to stabilize the new position.

Between coats of paint, these babies got a good scrub down.

Please tell me you can see a difference! Most of the discoloration turned out to be permanent. I mean, I love that we got them for free, but I'd like them to look nice.  Hmmmm... perhaps another paint session is in order.....

After all that, I was ready to get off my feet for a bit. Ah, enter the gorgeous silk I found yesterday. Cut out four rough circles. After a bit of hand sewing....

Oo la la! I love it! So I made another one. And am a little obsessed because I'm in the process of making more.

I just had to put the first ones up in the guest bathroom. Oh no, I've unleashed the girly monster within me. Is it sad that I'm totally looking forward to girling it up in this room?

Walking around almost nekked after the dreaded kool aid incident of 2010. Which shall remain untold.

Saying the most beguiling please he can muster. No way, kid. I'm scared of you. And kool aid.

Take time to pamper yourself this week! Whether it's a homemade spa treatment or rearranging a few things to make your space a little more peaceful. Happy pampering :)

UPDATE 8/05/2010 I'm linking to:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Would While Away the Hours....

I am in full project mode today and things are going well. Nothing major, but I haven't been in a project-ish mood for a while, so I'm just going with the energy while I've got it.

I've been helping a friend clean up our apartment complex's poolside furnishings this week to get ready for the grand opening. We'll be having a luau for Memorial Day weekend and I can't wait for the pool to be ready! I'll be able to teach Baby Boy how to swim! I always thought I'd teach any children I had to swim early in life but until we moved here, it didn't seem like it was going to happen. I just love that we will have access to a pool!

Earlier today, I worked again on pool furniture until I ran out of paint, so nothing more to do there until tomorrow when the supplies are refreshed. While Baby Boy snoozes, I'm trying my hand at my favorite type of project: reusing things we already have. I love the creativity aspect, even if it's something small. Today it's turning cereal/cookie boxes into some type of storage. We'll see how that goes! It may be great, it may be bad, but hey, it passes the time. We were blessed with two lawn chairs that aren't needed at the poolside anymore (yay!), so while the revamped boxes are drying, I'll be scrubbing down our 'new' outdoor seats. I'm excited to have somewhere to sit outside! And the spot in front of our apartment is perfect for relaxing in the cool evenings. Well, I'd better get going. Have a wonderfully wacky day!

The 'before' of the chairs I've been working on. There are also matching metal tables that need to be repainted. I was only able to do two chairs and a table before the paint was gone.
Obviously, several of them are stacked here, but you can see the chipped paint and rust on the edges. There are even a few splatters of white paint from when someone used them as a step stool to paint a room.

And the reveal. This is after being sanded, primed and given a glorious new shiny coat of green paint. I hope you can see the difference. They look wonderful! Only 5 more chairs and 3 more tables to go!

Found this gorgeous piece of maroon and black silk in my scraps. One of my best friends sent it as part of a bundle of Thailand silks for my wedding gift. I had forgotten all about it for 4 years! Perfect to use in the guest bath for the Feminine Powder Room look, huh? Now I have to figure out how I can get the most use out of this half a yard of fabric.

Harharhar... one of the poor unsuspecting boxes I'm demolishing to scratch my crafty itch. Results to be shown later.

And my wonderful little man. Such a sweetheart! Hiding behind throw pillows and whispering 'I love yous' has been a favorite thing for a few days.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mark it off the List!: Curtain Rods

Hubby put the last of the curtain rods up a few weeks ago. We have three windows in this new place, so we didn't have to worry about too many curtain rods. Still, it's nice to have the fabric softening the frame of the windows.
Living Room

Master bedroom. I couldn't get a good shot of this. Too much sunshine. But I did want to show my lovely turtle wind chime next to our teal curtain :)

Baby Boy's room. His good old bamboo curtain rod is finally up. Yay! Which the procrastination was totally my fault since all it took was a couple of nails to hang it, but that's another story. The dresser in front of the window was not my first choice, but after a few scares finding Baby Boy playing with the sliding window frame (once he had gotten it open! yikes!), I thought it was the best place.

It feels good to have something to link that item on the list to.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mark it off the List!: Plastic Bag Dispenser

I finally have a place for the many plastic bags from shopping trips! We try to take our sturdy reusable bags to the store, but we still end up with plastic bags from last minute trips. We have way less disposable bags now, and I like to think we're reducing the amount of plastic waste in the world. But the ones we inevitably bring home are given a longer life span in craft projects or to line bathroom waste baskets, which I know is something everybody does. So until they are reused, we can stuff 'em in this handy dispenser and free up another cupboard for kitchen stuff! More storage space is a good thing.

My mom always had a few of these in the house and I always thought it was a great idea. I really like how this project turned out! Using an old tea towel, I saved myself from having to hem each side. Ah, yes, I love easy projects. All that was left was to sew the long ends together, add elastic to the bottom edge, and a ribbon loop to the top one. Et voila....

Elastic end, keeping the bags in place, but stretchy enough to let you pull one out when needed.

Loop of ribbon so it can hang instead of taking up space on a shelf.

 Until the next project then...

UPDATE: 8/8/2010 I'm linking to:
The Girl Creative

Project List

So, I've had this list of projects for a while, but have only now decided to post them here on the blog sidebar. I have a few completed and will post photos of those projects as the days go by. I'll be linking the items in the list to their respective posts as I get them done. I actually have one to post today. Yay! Here's to learning and bettering myself, my home and family throughout 2010!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peaceful Space Inspiration

Now that I am no longer surrounded by the clutter that comes with moving from a house to a little apartment, I can focus on making our rooms conducive to relaxing. It's going to take lots of planning and a little ingenuity, but I'm excited about it! I'm hoping to have at least the beginning of projects to show for it when next week rolls around. Here's a little peek, though:

Living room inspiration: Peacock color palette with Polynesian patterns.
I have a vague idea of how to implement this, and I really hope it all comes together! I'm nervous about it though because everything might not work as a whole, but oh well. There's only one way to find out, right?
Tapa designs. I love the traditional designs of my culture, but I'd like to create my personal interpretation of them using traditional shapes and one of my favorite palettes: peacock colors.

Guest bathroom inspiration: Maroon powder room. Elegant and feminine. I'm thinking luxury and velvet like these drapes below. The femininity will hopefully be balanced with the deep strong maroon color. That's what I want, anyway. We shall see what we can come up with.

The cottage look above isn't me, but I adore the idea of personalizing the area around the mirror by draping some fabric. It adds a feminine touch too, I think. I don't know how I would do this, but I love it.

Master bedroom inspiration: Resort Spa. I imagine teal like the ocean and tan like the South Pacific sand; a peaceful, light space with soft colors of the ocean incorporated throughout the room. I want to feel like I'm on a getaway at a fabulous, relaxing spa resort while staying away from nautical or overdone seashell themes.

I love the thought of sheer curtains at every corner of the bed. So luxurious and resort-ish, isn't it? And it also makes me think of the sea breeze playing with the sheer fabric and the tropical sunlight shining through. We don't own a canopy or four poster bed, but I would like to use this somehow.

The combination of bamboo runner and candles is so lovely and relaxing.

These baskets remind me of honey colored wood that I saw everywhere on the island where I grew up. The gorgeous natural polished wood was crafted into supporting pillars in family meeting houses, or traditional tiny wooden benches that were used as pillows by the older generations of islanders. It just makes me think of home.

Master bath inspiration: Spa massage room. 
I see bamboo, tropical flowers and aromatherapy. 

I doubt I'll be able to afford a bamboo piece like this, let alone have the space to put it up in our little bathroom, but the clean lines and beautiful bamboo wood grain is inspiring. And I do need some sort of storage. Right now the only place to put things is in the double cabinet beneath the small sink.
Our master bath suffers from lack of towel storage as well. I like this idea...maybe not in a basket, though.

This, as well as the other candle/bamboo runner photo in the bedroom inspiration is the sense of calm and pampering and tropics that I would like to have in the bed and bathroom.

Whew! I love having all this together so I'll have a visual reference as I work on adding these touches to each room. Our toddler's room is the only one that is on track with it's theme, which is Learning Playroom. It definitely needs tweaking, but it has everything he needs, unlike the rest of the rooms. So, I decided to focus on slowly bringing the rest of the apartment along before I do anymore to the nursery. After all, the adult spaces need to be inviting too! We are not allowed to paint, which makes it even harder to add personality on a budget. At least I can look back at this and refocus once I get going. It's easy to get lost in a redesign, no matter how small it is, but now I'll have my inspiration post to help me get back on track. Don't forget to check out tonight's Spa Night post on a homemade acne spot treatment!

Spa Night: Acne Spot Treatment 5/20/2010

I'm so ready for spa night! Hubby and I worked so hard on Tuesday, cleaning our apartment from top to bottom and doing the huge pile of laundry. It was a long day, but so worth it because our new home is finally organized! Yesterday, I only had to do every day cleaning to maintain the place the way I like it. I had so much free time it was ridiculous. All the extra time got me thinking about tonight's spa treatment as well as starting on designing a more peaceful space in which to do spa treatments. But more on that later.

I am in need of a homemade spa treatment because I am breaking out like crazy. Tea tree oil applied with a qtip has been great for me, but I want to learn to make use of different ingredients I always have in the kitchen. I'm really interested in finding a leave on night treatment. A quick search brought up a popular homemade acne spot treatment that I had never heard about: Cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. This is such great news to me because it makes use of ingredients I almost always have in my cabinets.
I'm naming my version:

 Holiday Spice Acne Spot Treatment

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

-In a small container, mix well cinnamon and nutmeg
-Add and mix honey drop by drop, until a very thick paste is formed.
-Spot apply onto blemishes after cleansing and patting dry.
-Leave overnight and rinse off in the morning.

Here's a bonus recipe for you as well, which is rumored to heal blemishes quickly, leaving smooth skin with no scarring! We'll see if it works :)

Miracle Acne Spot Treatment

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

-In a small container, add milk drop by drop to nutmeg, mixing to form a thick paste.
-Spot apply onto blemishes after cleansing and patting dry.
-Leave overnight and rinse off in the morning.

Neither of these treatments had specified measurements, but recommended only making enough for one or two uses. That way you would be sure to use fresh treatments to ensure great results. I've used honey in many homemade spa recipes, but after researching the benefits of the new ingredients, I've estimated the amounts needed.

Stay tuned for my Peaceful Space Design Inspiration post. Happy Pampering!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Honey Lemon Bars 5/18/2010

I used this recipe to make this supposedly healthier version of lemon bars. Didn't really turn out the way I thought it would, and I don't think I'll be making this again, but hey, a tutorial it is and so you get photos : ).

Honey Lemon Bars
Cream butter and honey.

Add egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ricotta cheese. Mix well.
I used yogurt that had been hanging for 2 hours in place of ricotta cheese as an experiment. The whole thing's gross looking, I know! And I accidentally added the baking powder in this step when it wasn't supposed to be added until the last step. Oops :)

Add flour and baking powder. Mix lightly, until just combined.

Pour into greased baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Tada! Enjoy your slightly lemon flavored non cake but not bread either thingy. 

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