Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hitting a Wall

This wall. I have struggled with what to do with this wall from the beginning. Currently it makes absolutely no sense. The layout and the size of the artwork and pictures are just all wrong.  The picture collage is off in its own world and the two pieces of artwork are too small for the space. What goes on here? I have no idea. Certainly not my finest decorating moment.

 Enter this crazy piece of artwork that Greg’s grandmother gave us. Her name is Despina, she is 100% Greek and speaks very little English. She is awesome. It is her tradition to make these crochet artwork pieces whenever a grandchild gets married. We actually had another one bestowed upon us at my bridal shower which pictures a husband and wife. This one we snagged another time while visiting at their house. We have other plans for the husband/wife piece. I think this scenery design would work great on that wall. It is a generous size and the colors work well with the room. 

It's pretty crazy, right? 
Then I started thinking. Why not create a whole frame wall? You can read about the one I created in our stairwell here. These frame walls have become super trendy and probably overdone but I think it’s a great solution for such a huge, oddly shaped wall. We already have some other pieces in mind that we want to incorporate. Some have been sitting around this house for quite some time waiting for a home to be hung.  I may purchase a couple others to fill in the space.  This print from Etsy (mentioned in this post) would make a great addition. I love the juxtaposition of this simple black and white print with the more traditional piece from Greg’s grandma. Plus it ties back to the black and white elements in the room.
I am envisioning an eclectic frame wall. A very different feel from the all-white frame wall upstairs. Here are some of my inspirations. 

image from here

image from here

image from here

image from here

I am hoping this will be the solution I have been looking for and bring this room closer to what I envision it being. In reality it could end up looking like a hot mess. I’ll be sure to share all the details once it starts to take shape.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How I eat

A year and half ago I set out to experiment eating Paleo, you can read about that here. I was definitely skeptical going in to it but had read enough about it that I was intrigued to see if all the hype was really true.  This all came about after a few months of doing CrossFit. It’s hard to do CrossFit without coming across people who are laying claim that this is the best and only way to eat. I had some serious doubts about a diet that did not involve cheese and pasta as I stated at the outset.
Right off the bat I went all in and dragged Greg along with me. We eliminated everything that wasn’t Paleo- no dairy, no grains/wheat/bread/pasta, etc, no sugar, no processed foods.  Was it hard? Yeah, sometimes.  But it wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought it was going to be. Of course there were times we cheated but we were pretty strict in the beginning, even drinking ciders instead of beer.
In general I really don’t believe in diets. I think that if you eat real food most of the time you should be ok.  Just don’t eat crap. This was one of the big draws of Paleo for me.  I had believed for a long time that putting processed and junk food into your body was not the way to go so this really became the element that I latched on to. 

Probably the best diet advice I’ve ever read.  So simple, right?

6 months or so in Greg and I were having a tough time not having any sort of grain or starch to fill our bellies. There is only so much broccoli and spinach you can eat. At that point we started to reintroduce white rice and white potatoes.  From our own research it seemed these were the best options as they are very easily digestible and don’t disrupt your system the way whole grains can. I know what you’re thinking. This goes against everything you’ve been taught- that you should always eat brown rice over white rice. I totally get it because I thought the same way for a long time. I think it’s something you need to research on your own and observe how you feel after eating each one. Then you can decide what is right for you. That is the thing about diet. What is right for one person isn’t right for another.  I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers.  I really try not to inflict my own eating beliefs upon people but I do like to share what I have learned so that maybe they can make more informed decisions or be inspired to find out what works for them.  Greg tends to eat more rice because he CrossFits like crazy and he needs the extra calories. Lately I have been cutting back on rice and starches because I have found that I feel better without them. So it’s really what works for each person.

After all this time I think Greg and I have obtained a nice middle ground that definitely skews more Paleo.  Many items have been replaced that I don’t even give a second thought to now--Almond or Coconut Milk instead of cow’s Milk, Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter, Coconut, Walnut, Avocado Oil instead of Olive Oil (for cooking). For me the key to maintaining healthy eating has been to keep it simple. A majority of the time I have to cook because it is really difficult to get healthy food from an outside source, especially something quick and cheap. The problem is that as much as I enjoy cooking I really don’t have a lot of time to devote to it. During the week I normally start cooking dinner around 8:30 by the time I get home from work and get my workout in. There are no gourmet meals being made at this time of night. Not when I have to get up at 6am the next day and do it all over again. Over the past year I have devised ways to be as efficient as possible and that has really enabled me to successfully maintain this lifestyle. I go food shopping once a week on Saturday or Sunday. I basically buy the same or similar items every week. This makes food shopping really easy and quick. My best advice for starting out would be to make a list and group like items together. I list all of my fruit and produce together, all of my meat and poultry, and then eggs, milk, etc. These items are all located on the perimeter of the store so all I have to do is make one big loop and I’m done. I start in produce and end in dairy. Easy peasy.  Sometimes I might have to venture to the middle aisles if I need almond butter, rice, sauce, oil, etc. but I normally stock up on these items and only buy them every so often. I also tend to buy non-perishables such as these at different locations other than the normal food store. For example- I order organic rice online in bulk from and special oils (walnut, coconut, etc) I get from Home Goods because for whatever reason they have them for about half the price that Whole Foods does.

I think in the end we have both stayed with this way of eating because we just feel better. I never have that sick full feeling after eating a meal. I find that my energy levels are more even keeled. I sleep better. I’m not hungry all the time. I eat when I want to eat.  It doesn’t even feel like a diet, it feels totally natural. And of course I indulge from time to time but I try to make them worthwhile indulgences- for example flourless chocolate cake at my favorite restaurant versus bakery cake at a party that I don’t even enjoy.  Most of my “cheats” are when we go out to dinner.  I consider going out to dinner an experience and I love to enjoy something delicious. It makes it that much more special. I don’t ever feel like I am depriving myself and I think that is crucial. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I love creating little design clusters in each room. They provide a place to display our favorite objects- gifts, souvenirs, pictures, etc. I used this opportunity to practice with my new camera. Going from room to room I tried to capture these areas in different lights using various settings.

A skull from our honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico paired with a chevron vase from Target and coral from our trip to Hawaii with our best friends. 

Gold sea urchin from Nate Berkus for Target. I love his collections, so awesome and affordable. 

Statue from Dominican Republic and shell from Hawaii. 

Glass bottles that my Dad got me from Italy. 

I had such a hard time trying to photograph this area of our dining room. Any tips for photographing in front of a window?

Dresser in our bedroom- a picture from our engagement shoot and a drumstick from the one and only Carter Beauford of DMB that Greg caught at a concert. 

Buffet in our dining
room- mostly items from Target and Home Goods. 

I need a lot of help with my photography as well as some type of photo editing program. It all seems really overwhelming but I am enjoying the practice.  I have been reading some online tutorials regarding aperture and shutter speed which have really helped but clearly I have a long way to go.

How do you display your favorite things? I love mixing Target finds with items we've brought back from trips or from a special occasion. I think these areas are what make a home special and surround you with happy memories.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Journey to OM

I’ve been doing yoga for about 9 years or so but have really been practicing consistently during the last 3 years. Last year I started looking into getting certified as an instructor but the timing never really worked out. Earlier this year I finally decided that now was the time to do it. For some reason it felt like a now or never kind of thing even though that really wasn’t true. It turned out to be the perfect time to do it and it was exactly what I needed in my life at that moment. If it were ever true that something was “meant to be” this was one of those times for me. I think after you go through a rough time in life you look for something to help pull you out of it. At least I do. At first I grabbed onto my husband with all I had.  He carried me through the worst of it. But I knew that this was partly a journey I had to take on my own.  I bring this up because for me yoga was one of the ways I began to put the pieces of my life back together.  When a hope, a dream, is taken from you so suddenly you have to find a way to accept it. People talk about this concept of acceptance. We need to accept what life gives us. We need to find acceptance when bad things happen to us. Except that when something awful really does happen to you the last thing you want to do is accept it. If fact you want to deny it and probably spend a lot of time and energy doing just that.
I went into this yoga training hoping it would help me find this “acceptance” or at the very least give me something else to focus on since it would be taking up so much of my free time. Well it did all that and a whole lot more than I ever expected. For 6 weeks I spent my nights and weekends in a small studio on 29th St in NYC with an amazing group of yogis that were some of the most inspiring, compassionate and loving people I’ve ever met. We were put through grueling practices, long meditations and had thousands of years of yogic history and practice summarized and taught to us by brilliant teachers for 30 hours a week. It was magnificent.  The connection that you make with people when going through an experience like this together is hard to put into words.  You are bonded together in your shared passion and trepidation.  

It is said in The Bhagavad Gita that yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. This didn’t have much meaning to me until I took this training. In your practice you are forced to get to know yourself. Whether you are running through a few rounds of sun salutations, doing a morning meditation or holding downward dog for 12 minutes (yes, we actually did that), you are forced to come face to face with who you are. It is only you on that mat, alone with yourself.  You take a breath, you are mindful. You quiet the stirring of the mind. You are your true self.
There are moments now where I will catch myself going to a dark place, a place of non-acceptance, without awareness of self. It is so easy to let your mind carry you away to these places. Yoga has taught me how to come back. Breathe. Let it go. I am in the here and now and I am at peace.