Guest Write

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Reading: The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

I haven’t done much reading in the past few years. I find it so hard to stay focused and really get into a story. Most of the books I end up reading are non-fiction. If I find a book on a subject that I am interested in like gardening or crafting I will read the whole thing cover to cover in no time flat. I want to start reading more and my husband bought me a Kindle a few months ago. While searching on Amazon for some interesting books to download I stumbled upon The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. 

I knew that Cameron had written a book (we don’t have T.V. just Netflix so I can get very behind in pop culture happenings and celebrity business) and I knew it had something to do with the human body which is kind of random because I only have known her as an actress. I didn't really know much at all about the book but I decided to download it. She has an amazing looking body so I figured I might have something to learn from her! 

I was pleasantly surprised that The Body Book isn’t really a diet book or a how-to book with instructions with  special meal plans or exercise routines. It’s actually a science based guidebook to your body. Cameron really goes into detail about how your body works biologically. There are three main parts to the book, food, exercise and mental health. It’s all about the mind body connection. This is a great book to learn about what’s going on in your body or a refresher for those of us who haven’t given much thought about it since high school science class. 

There was so much I learned from this book. I wish it was around for me to read about 10 years ago when I was 20. If there is a teenage girl in your life I highly recommend you purchase this book for them immediately.  There is really an emphasis on listening to your body. What is it telling you? So many of the ailments and pain we feel can be cured with proper nutrition and exercise. 

Cameron’s writing style is down to earth and she simplifies all the science jargon so it’s easy to understand. It’s an easy, interesting read and I love that it is based on scientific facts and she worked with medical experts to give accurate information. The best part of this book is that it’s not an instruction manual telling you why you aren’t good enough and how to transform into a different, better person. It’s a book celebrating your amazing body that is perfect just the way it is and why you should love yourself just the way you are. 

Some main things I learned from the book that I am putting into practice working into my daily routine:

  • ·         Start every day with a glass of water. Literally chug it upon waking and feel all your organs begin to wake up.

  • ·         Feed your hunger: When you feel hungry feed yourself with the most nutritious food you can. Don’t worry about counting calories just fuel your body with nutrients and not garbage.

  • ·         Exercise is essential. Get moving in some capacity everyday

  • ·         Sleep is so important and getting a good night’s sleep needs to be a priority

Have you read the Body Book by Cameron Diaz? What did you think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My New Online Shop

Hey friends, I just wanted to share my new online shop I set up with Go Daddy's new My Simple Store software. I am still selling on Etsy and a few other places online but this new storefront doesn't charge fees or commission.

You can accept payments using Pay Pal or Credit Card. The payment system does charge a small fee but it's convenient and deposits the money directly to your bank account.

There are lots of different shop templates and options to customize your shop.
I'd love it if you checked out mine and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Indoor Plant Guide

Decorate with plants to detoxify the air in your home and add some nature to your space! 




Adding plants to your indoor space can do so much more than just enhance your d├ęcor. I am trying to go more natural in all aspects of my life from personal care products and cleaning supplies and everything in between. Adding plants that will help detoxify the air in my home is another way that I can help keep a healthy home for my family. No matter what kind of space you live in there is a plant that will work for your lifestyle and look great.

Press a few tacks into your wall and let your vines trail up the walls!

Let’s start with improving the air quality of your home.  Most of us spend the majority of our day indoors, which makes improving the air quality of your home that much more important.  Everything from chemical cleaners and artificial air fresheners can emit toxic fumes. Even furniture and vinyl flooring can emit gases that pollute your indoor air. Here is a list of some of the best plants that will help clean the air in your home:

  • ·         Purple Waffle Plant

  • ·         English Ivy

  • ·         Asparagus Fern

  • ·         Areca Palm

  • ·         Mother in Law Tongue

  • ·         Money Plant

  • ·         Varigated Wax Plant

  • ·         Purple Heart Plant

A study by NASA concluded that certain indoor plans can provide a natural way of removing toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. NASA recommends to add one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. For more information on this study and a larger list of beneficial plants check out the study here.

If you live in the Sydney area check out Gaddy’s, one of Sydney's leading interior plant service companies. They offer stylish indoor plants & containers at affordable prices.

Jade hangs in a unique planter on the wall

Low Light Plants

Plants need sunshine in order to grow. You may remember learning about photosynthesis in elementary school. Unfortunately not all the rooms in our homes have large windows that shine beautiful light so our plants will grow. Luckily there are plants that require little to no light in order to live. Here are some of the best plants for low light areas:

  • ·         Pothos

  • ·         Jade

  • ·         Spider Plant

  • ·         ZZ Plant

  • ·         Snake Plant

Double Duty Plants

If you are going to grow plants in your home you might as well get as much out of them as you possibly can.

  • ·         Why not consider planting an herb garden on your window sill for access to fresh flavoring for you meals?

  • ·         You can grow wheatgrass or greens like chard to add to your smoothies.

  • ·         If you have a back porch or balcony this is the perfect place for containers growing fresh herbs and veggies.

  • ·         Your feline friends would love it if you planted some cat grass or cat mint for them to enjoy.

  • ·         There are other plants that do double duty like Aloe Vera. It’s convenient to grow in a small pot and it great to have in the kitchen to help treat burns.

No Water No Problem! 

If you are like me and constantly forget to water your plants you may want to consider ones that do not require much care. Here are a list of plants that are pretty much impossible to kill.
Impossible to kill Plants

  • ·         Cacti

  • ·         Succulents

  • ·         Bamboo

  • ·         Spider Plant

  • ·         Chinese Evergreen

Air plants like tillandsia do not need soil in order to grow. You only need to spray them with water occasionally and they will still thrive. These are great low maintenance plants for anyone. Check out my guide to air plants and a tutorial on how to make this cute terrarium. 

Don’t forget to fertilizer your house plants a couple of times per year. Check out my homemade fertilizer recipe here. Remember, as your plants grow bigger you will need to re-pot them in order for them to grow and thrive! What are your favorite house plants? Let us know your favorite indoor plants and care tips in the comments!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Don't Try This At Home... Unless You Want Blue Hair

My hair tinged bluish gray :(

I have always been someone who enjoys learning new things and taking on new DIY projects. I have been dying my own hair monthly since I was about 13. I get bored and I enjoy the process of trying out new hair colors. I 'm not even 100% sure what my natural hair color is. Last time I got my hair cut there were two stylists chatting with me and when one asked the other what my natural hair color was the lady cutting my hair replied,
 "It looks like a dirty dishwater blond"
...and now you know why I dye it monthly. I believe the correct term for my shade is dark ash blonde but hey if you want to compare my hair to the shade of dirty dishwater that's fine but don't expect me to return to your salon for you to insult me. HA!

Well this time I have really done it with my DIY adventures. My hair was a nice shade of red several months ago when I decided that maybe blondes do have more fun and I should slowly lighten it. I tried adding a few streaks and then added more and more until my hair was an interesting shade of yellow. Not blonde. Yellow. The underneath part was still fairly orange because it just doesn't want to lighten for some reason.

Strange Yellow Hair

 I decided to leave it alone for a while and not bleach it, not heat style it and just let it heal a bit. I spent this time doing research on You Tube and purchased professional products online. I discovered that what was missing from my regiem is toner.Toner is is not hair color but it corrects the brassy tones in blondes. If you look at the color wheel, the opposite of orange and yellow is blue and violet. Toner uses small amounts of these colors to correct orange and yellow brassy hair.

First I applied the blonde hair dye. I used a 9N Very Light Blonde color. It completely lightened my dark roots and brightened everything else up but there were some parts underneath that were still orange-y. Next, I applied the toner in an attempt to get rid of the brassiness. The package said to let it sit on the hair for up to 30 minutes until you reach your desired result. It also came with a warning. For professional use only. Use by non professionals may result in undesireable results. Yeah, no shit.

Luckily I knew that I should only let the toner sit on my hair for a few minutes and not the full 30. When I washed it out the lightest parts were now stained greyish blue. So horrible. I can't even imagine what it would have looked like if I left  the toner on for half an hour. I'm thinking Marge Simpson.

So now I am left with nasty colored hair and a sore scalp from chemical irritaion. My hair is so fragile I am not going to do anything with it for a few weeks. No heat styling, nothing.
Then I will return to using red henna and going back to natural color from now on.

Hopefully going to get back to this red shade!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day Craft

Okay, I realize that Father's Day was a couple days ago but I couldn't share this yet because my husband reads most of my blog posts. Chloe and I made this little art project for him last week.

Rob loves penguins so I decided that some penguin art would be greatly appreciated. Rob nicknamed Chloe "Grumpin" so that is how the picture is signed.

Painting her feet black without making a huge mess was really difficult. She was giggling and wiggling and I had to use a ton of baby wipes to clean off her feet before she got black paint EVERYWHERE!

Just a little paint and some markers and you have a really easy art project for little ones. There are lots of animals that you can transform cute little footprints into. 

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

12 Week Fitness Challenge: Completed

Way back in February I started my 12 week fitness challenge. I took part in the Labrada Lean Body 12 Week Challenge. I am happy to report that I finally completed the challenge a couple weeks ago! Basically it was just a weight lifting program and nutrition plan. I followed it as best I could over the course of the 3 months and I have lost about 10 pounds of FAT! I am so proud of myself for following though with the program and not giving up.

It's not easy making time for exercise when you have a job, a baby and a life but basically my fitness philosophy is this: There are 24 hours in a day. Do I really not have 1 hour out of those 24 to spend on exercise? It's worth it for my health, mentally and physically. Sure there are days where I am absolutely exhausted and I take a break but as long as I spend at least 1 hour most days of the week exercising then I am satisfied.

I think the trick to making exercise a habit and integrating it into your daily life is to find something you really enjoy doing. If you like running or playing sports that's great. I hate both of those things, but I do enjoy lifting weights and running sprints on the treadmill. You are not likely to find me out running marathons or riding my bike for 2 hours a day to work but I enjoy yoga, walking the dogs, resistance and strength exercises and light cardio. The key is to find something you enjoy and if you can find someone to do it with then you are even more likely to keep up with it.

I have read that when it comes to weight loss your success is determined 80% by nutrition and 20% by exercise. I find  this interesting and motivating because basically as long as I am eating healthy then I really don't have to focus on exercise as much. How awesome is that? If you have a lot of weight to loose you don't even have to spend hours in the gym. Just change your eating habits and you will have success. 

I have always had a love of carbs and sugar and I have changed my eating habits so I eat much less of both of those foods now. Here is what I eat on an average day

8 am Breakfast:
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon and stevia
1 hard boiled egg or egg white omelet
1 cup of coffee with low fat milk and stevia

 10:30 am Morning snack
1 cup Greek yogurt with 1 scoop of protein powder and 10 almonds

12:30pm Lunch
Turkey burger cooked on George Foreman grill (no bun) with 1 serving of veggies (usually broccoli) or salad

 3:30pm Late afternoon meal
1 serving of chicken with a side salad or apple

 6:30- 7:00 pm Dinner
One serving of meat ( chicken, turkey or fish) with 3 oz of sweet potato and a serving of veggies ( asparagus or Brussels sprouts)

10:00pm  After Dinner snack
Cottage cheese and a few nuts

I usually work out after work at night around 9pm. I will have a protein shake after I work out and then my after dinner snack if I am still hungry after that. 

I don't count calories because I truly can't be bothered. Ain't nobody got time for that! I do try to make sure I don't go crazy with huge portions though.

Basically I cut out most sugar and extra carbs and eat more protein. Combine that with exercise and it's hard not to loose weight. I also don't drink alcohol or sugary drinks.I try to drink a gallon of water everyday. I find I feel so much better when I am drinking enough water

Am I perfect? Hardly. I still love diet soda although I try not to drink too much of it and if there are chips in the cupboard I will sneak them sometimes. I'm human and I cannot resist chocolate when someone literally shoves it in front of me on my desk at work. It's what you eat most of the time that counts. 

I also take the following supplements:
Fish oil
Green tea extract
Vitamin D and Calcium 

About 10 months ago when my daughter was first born I had over 30 pounds of weight to loose and it was such a negative feeling not having the body that I used to have and feeling overweight and out of shape for the first time. I vowed that I would get back in my old jeans and loose the weight by the time Chloe was a year old. I did it and I am so proud of myself. I know that if I can do it you can too!