• Summer Goals

    By Lauren on June 23, 2014
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    summer

    Now that we are officially into summer, it feels like the perfect time to share my new goals for the future. We have been living in our new house for two months and I am ready to wipe the slate clean and start fresh again.

    1. Stick to a healthy diet- For the last few years I have been struggling the most with my weight and my diet. I let my self go when I stopped exercising and eating healthy and have not felt good about the way I look or feel. As the years crept up I have gained weight and am at a weight that I am not comfortable with. I don’t weigh myself because I think that scales can lead to obsession. But I have a size 6 dress that no longer fits and will use that as my measure. When I can fit into it comfortably again I will feel very happy. My goal is not to be supper skinny but to look healthy, toned, curvy, and in shape. I am also not looking to diet but to switch my lifestle and way of eating. When I am feeling upset, stressed out, sad, even happy I usually compensate by eating something unhealthy for me. My go to meal would be greasy thai food or a burger and fries. And I would then always tell myself that I will be better tomorrow and the cycle has continued for years. Now that I am 32 and hope to have a baby one day I realize that I can no longer live this way. Eating poorly does not make me happy or make me feel good about myself. I want to get to a healthy weight and shape before I think about having kids so that I can be my best self. Eat and crave the right foods so I can be a good role model for my future children and teach them healthy eating habits as well.

    2. Cook breakfast, lunch and dinner at least 5 to 6 days a week- I got into the bad habit of never wanting to cook and making excuses as to why we needed to grab takeout. And the takeout would never be healthy options like a salad. I just craved the junk and when you go out for most of your meals you have no idea about the quality of your food and where it is coming from. For the past two weeks I have really made an effort to cook our own lunches and dinners. It took me so long to get to this point but I am really proud of myself for finally making the change to stop the take out and cook the majority of our food. I am trying to get into a schedule of cooking healthy dinners sunday through thursday and then allowing friday and saturday to indulge in Craigs homemade pizza and maybe a healthier burger on a saturday night. We started doing most of our food shopping at Whole Foods market because we are trying to cook all organic as much as we can find. I also buy all of our turkey, chicken, and eggs from there because I think the quality is just better then our regular supermarkets in Cedar Park. We always look for brown organic free range eggs, organic chicken, and ground Turkey that is treated humanly and without antibiotics and hormones. I love that Whole Foods cares about the way the animals are treated and won’t sell any food that is contaminated with that stuff. All of our fruit and produce is organic too. I have gotten into the habit of always reading labels when out food shopping trying to pick options that have healthy ingredients in it and are also non GMO.

    I have given up eating processed snacks like cookies from Subway because they are just terrible and have no nutritional value at all. I was craving those cookies every day but it has been two weeks since I had one and am soo proud of myself for giving it up cold turkey. Instead I will have a homemade smoothie with frozen fruit, spinach, almond milk, coconut water, almond butter, chia seeds, and cacao chips. I am not a smoothie lover but am hoping I will be soon. It is definitely a much better option for me then a cookie. I also started reading the book Eat Pretty and I could not recommend it more. It is opening my eyes and making me crave healthy whole food that will make me beautiful from the inside out. It literally lists all of the foods you need that will enhance your beauty and give you better hair and skin. And then explains why they are good for you and also which foods to stay away from which are beauty betrayers. My skin has been red and broken out for so long and I am excited to see it improve and hopefully glow sometime soon.

    In the past I never liked food shopping and cooking. It always stressed me out. Now that we are shopping at a smaller market I take my time in there, look around, and get inspired by the healthy food I can switch into my diet. Like Chia seeds and cacao nibs something I never would have grabbed before. Craig and I created a shopping list that is printed with all of the healthy foods we generally buy. It makes meal planning so much easier and then I bring a fresh list every time we go to the market. We also got into the habit of cooking together, playing music while we work, dancing, and just having fun. It does not feel like a chore when you have someone working in the kitchen with you. Our favorite lunch to cook is a spinach omelet with some sliced raw tomato, a slice or two of  100 % whole grain sprouted Ezekiel Bread, and some hummus on top. For dinner we have chicken with some roasted veggies or a salad, sometimes soup or turkey chili which lasts for two dinners, and we are trying to bring some fish into our diet as well.

    3. Go for a night walk 5 days a week- I am not a big exercise lover and usually come up with excuses to avoid it. But not anymore. This weekend Craig and I started a new nightly ritual of going for a 40 minute walk after we have dinner around our neighborhood. We are so happy that the streets have safe sidewalks for us to walk on. If we are lucky we catch a nice breeze, talk a lot, and surprisingly I am not hating it at all. i am actually having fun and sweating while I walk so I feel like I am getting a work out.

    4. Wash My Face- This seems like such a silly goal but I need a little motivation to wash my face well day and night. I will go into my skin care routine in another post. But instead of dreading the work I am trying to change my mind set and realize that washing and using my products will enhance my beauty from the outside and make me feel more confident.

    5. Find a cleaning schedule for the house I can stick to- As much as I dislike exercise I dislike cleaning just as much. In the past i have procrastinated when it comes to cleaning to the point where I would get completely stressed when I finally cleaned. I would also do all of the cleaning in one day and it just ended up being too much and a very negative experience. Craig suggested that I take an hour a day and clean one specific area so that is what I have been doing in the new house. I am going to go a step further and write a cleaning schedule for the week monday through friday. That way I can stay on track with my chores and check them off one by one. My favorite chore is vacuuming which i am trying to do twice a week. I find it relaxing and it is also a great work out as well!

    6. Brush the cats everyday- The cat hair is starting to drive me crazy. They shed so much and especially all over the bedding in my boudoir. The cats love to be brushed too so it is a win win for both of us.

    7. Spend less money- I have always had a little shopping problem and the older I am getting the more I want to fix it. Now that we have a new mortgage and more bills I need to curb my spending. So far I have been much better. I have not bought new clothes or shoes since March and I am trying to only buy things that I need rather then things I want. Like if I run out of a beauty product that I need I will replace it but I won’t be going out of my way to buy new products that I want. I used to love collecting things for my home and now that we are home owners I have not wanted to have as much clutter. Which leads to much less shopping. I am also trying to look at money in a different way. It is perfectly ok to not spend it all and save it and watch it grow. I want to start to save for the things I want and spend money on experiences and travel and not on only material things. With this new house we have incurred some new debts that we both want to work on decreasing the amounts until they are gone. That is a huge life goal for us that will take alot of work but I know it is doable and will lead to greater happiness and less stress.

    8. Spend more quality time at home- In the past I never liked to spend much time at home. I always wanted to be outside shopping, exploring, etc. which lead to bad habits like over spending and not cooking and eating healthy. I want to slow down more and enjoy time at home reading, relaxing, and working on fun house projects. Right now we are decorating my office with all of my favorite art and i am loving the way it is coming out.

    These are just a few of my new goals. What goals do you have for the summer and into the future?

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    Lauren

  • Home Sweet Home

    By Lauren on June 20, 2014
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    vintage_house

    Wow, it feels like forever since I have posted and truth be told I miss writing. It has officially been two months since we closed and moved into our house. I did not intend to stay away from the blog this long but this new house has been taking up all of my time. But no more, I feel ready to share new blog content with you and excited to get back to work again. For my first post back, I wanted to share my house buying/living experience with you and what I have learned along the way. I am just going to dive right in.

    Buying a house is a stressful and time consuming process. There is a lot of work involved, rejection, and at different times through out the process it just sucks. But it is also exciting, fun, and probably the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life so take your time with it. Do your research, find a realtor, meet with many banks and mortgage lenders before hand to see what type of loans and dollar amount you qualify for. That way when you start looking you have a much better idea of what you can actually afford and won’t get your heart set on houses way out of your price range. And just because a lender may say you can afford a 300,000 dollar house, if you believe it is out of your price range look for something less expensive. You will be much happier in the long run if you trust your gut when it comes to your personal finances.

    From start to finish it took us about a year to buy a house. We started looking at resale houses last April and after seeing a few that were out dated and out of our price range decided that we wanted to go with a new build. We then spent every day after work and on the weekends driving to different neighborhoods around Austin and its suburbs. Met with a ton of builders and saw many a model home. Got our heart set on a few and then lost out on them because we got out priced. So that definitely sucked and was very hard and discouraging for us. It seemed like every week builders were rising the prices on the houses we were interested in and that maybe we would not be able to buy after all. But then one day we found a new builder in Cedar Park in an area that we never thought we could afford and found a house we loved. Since we were building our own house we did not have to compete with other buyers. We then met with their preferred lender who gave us a pre approval for a loan and were able to go to contract on our house. We chose our lot and went to the design center a few weeks later to choose all of the finishes we wanted on the interior and exterior of the house. Choosing our finishes was great because we really were able to build the house of our dreams and pick out all of our favorite granite, tile, hard wood, etc. etc. We went to contract the end of June 2013 and closed April 17th. The entire process took around 10 months and the house was also late by two months which was very frustrating. But in the end we got to buy a house that we loved and that was brand new so it was well worth the wait and the stress.

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    Closing on our new home was one of the best days of our life. It felt like such an accomplishment because we never would have been able to buy a house let alone apt in NYC. And proved to us that we made the right decision to move to Austin two years ago. I wanted to share some things I learned after moving in as well.

    1. Don’t furnish your new home all at once. It will cost way too much money and you do not want to go into debt furniture and appliance shopping. All of the big purchases we bought we paid cash for and financed two things, our bed, and a water conditioner for the home.

    2. We only bought a few new items of furniture since or house was 2500 sq ft. Two couches, a coffee table, bed, dining table and chairs, a couple etagers, lighting, and a washer/dryer and fridge. The rest of the furniture we have had for years and have no plans to replace them any time soon.

    3. We decided not to paint any of the rooms to save money and are adding color to the home with pillows, accessories, and art.

    4. Unpacking is a really stressful and time consuming process so try not to get down about it. Focus on one project at a time and when you finish treat yourself to something sweet like a Starbucks. Unpacking is also not a race so don’t feel upset if it takes too long and you don’t finish in a weekend. It has taken us about two months to truly unpack everything and we still have a ton of art work to hang. But as the weeks and the months go by the house is starting to come together and feel like home.

    5. Remember that decorating is supposed to be fun and take your time with it. Buy pieces you truly love and somehow everything will work together.

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    Have a great weekend,
    Lauren

  • Happy Home

    By Lauren on April 17, 2014
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    champagne After a year of house hunting and building we finally closed on our house today and are officially home owners. Craig and I are so excited for this next chapter in our lives. And of course I can’t wait to decorate. I am going to be spending the next week or two away from the blog getting the house in order. There is so much to unpack. But feel free to follow along on instagram.

    Image Via Talk to you soon, Lauren

  • Flower Jewels

    By Lauren on April 17, 2014
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    Even though I am not much of a flower lover at home, I love me some beautiful flower jewels any day of the year. I am always on the hunt for colorful vintage  flower brooches when shopping for my jewelry business. I love to turn them into pendants. My favorite pieces to shop for usually have alot of colorful faux stones and enamel. And I love the pins to be fairly large in size. I always find some inspiration in fine jewelry before I head out in search of costume versions more in my price range.

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    1. CARTIER 1930s Diamond Gold Platinum Coral Hand Flower Brooch

    2. Emerald Diamond Flowers Brooch

    3. French 1950s Gold Gem-Set Flower Pin

    4. Diamond Black Onyx Gold Flower Floral Design Earclips Earrings

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    1. 1960′s BOUCHERON Paris Carved Coral Diamond Gold Flower Pin

    2. David Webb Turquoise Diamond Flower Brooch

    3. VAN CLEEF & ARPELS ‘Frivole’ Diamond Flower Ring

    4. Emerald, Lapis Lazuli, Rock Crystal and Diamond ‘Flower Basket’ Brooch

    Lauren