Friday, May 31, 2013

dukan : month 4

Ah month 4, how I hated you. Month 4 was all about plateaus and getting sick of eating-Dukan approved food. Those two things probably weren't mutually exclusive but a girl's gotta eat regular food once in a while! I think the weight is also having a harder time coming off since I'm getting closer to my target weigh.  Mark is definitely over this whole Dukan thing and honestly I am too except I'm still 14 pounds shy of my target. I don't know why but my target weight is a big deal to me. I think that's the tension for me now: I really want to reach my goal but my determination is fading as I've eaten Dukan food for 4 months now. Whenever we cheat it tastes so good but I always regret it when I look at the scale. I guess I should be thankful that I'm not gaining weight back but it's just as frustrating to not lose anything. When I started this journey my target date to reach my goal weight was the end of June. I don't think it's reasonable to think I will lose 14 pounds in a month but I think getting there by July is doable.

My month 4 breakdown:
Week 1 (only 3 days): 0 pounds lost
Week 2: 0 pounds lost
Week 3, pre-menstrual: 3 pounds lost
Week 4, menstrual: 0 pounds lost
Week 5, post-menstrual: 1 pound lost
Overall weight lost: 26 pounds. I'm able to fit in even older pants and some of the pants that I fit in last month look more baggy. Still trying to coerce more of the back fat to go away by doing weights with some progress but some old dresses still won't zip up all the way. :/

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

diy project : ribbon sticks

When I was buying materials for the wedding two years ago in CA I went to LA and bought a handful of colorful satin ribbons. I bought them mainly to make our flower girl ribbon wands but I had a lot left over after the wedding. Since our anniversary was this week I thought I'd do a little decorating in our apt using our wedding ribbon. 

1. I just happen to have a couple of large dried out branches from the winter (I'm telling you - hoarder tendencies) that I had used for winter decor. First thing I did was use a stiff brush to take off any dust or dirt from the branches. Since we rent our apt I really didn't want to risk getting paint anywhere inside so I used a big box as a drying rack/splatter guard for the paint outside. 

2. I used plain ol' white acrylic paint and an old brush. I went for the solid white look but if you add a touch of water to the acrylic paint you could also achieve a whitewashed look too. If you need to walk away mid-painting wrap your paint and brushes in plastic wrap so they don't dry out. Spray paint would work for this project too. Just remember to spray in a continuous stream if you use spray paint.

3. Check out the box in action! After the first coat dries do some touch ups and a second coat if needed. 

4. While the paint dried I cut my ribbon to the length I wanted. I used satin ribbon but you could use strips of fabric too. After the branches are completely dry knot your ribbon along the branches. I always do the thicker ribbons first and do all of one color at the same time. This way it's easier to get color and size balance between your branches. 

5. Be creative with how you use the ribbon sticks. I decided to hang mine from the ceiling using twine. Our apt doesn't get a lot of natural light so having some color inside is kind of nice. That's it, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

two years ago today

Time flies when you're having fun. Hard to believe that it's already been two years since Mark and I got married and I wouldn't have it any other way. We've already had our share of difficulties and joys and through it all we had each other. Thank you for loving me, my sweet hubby, and letting me love you.

(I wish I had known about the Dukan Diet before the wedding. Keekee I just had to say that.)

Photo by Love & Lemonade

Friday, May 3, 2013

singing in the rain umbrella

This week has been overcast and drizzly which reminds me of the movie, "Singin' in the Rain." I love Gene Kelly. In honor of the movie and because the weather inspired it I thought I'd transform a plain red umbrella into something more personalized and unique. 

First thing I had to do was remove the branding on the umbrella. Luckily there wasn't too much to remove and it all peeled nicely off the nylon. 

Next, I wrote a short portion from the "Singin' in the Rain" song lyrics and repeated it around the bottom portion of the umbrella using black permanent marker.

Last, I drew raindrops on the top portion of the umbrella using metallic silver permanent marker. That was it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

omd : kate spade saturday

Current OMD (object of my desire) is the Kate Spade Saturday Weekender Bag in Stripe. It's beautiful and functional. I love the zippered shoe compartment on the bottom. If only I went places over the weekend. If only I didn't already have bags this size. If only I have $180 laying around. If only ...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

dukan : month 3


Month 3 really put the Dukan Diet and my mind to the test. I was home alone for a week while Mark was out of town for work and then we had Mark's parent's in town for a week. I cheated a bit while Mark was gone. Convenience of drive-thru got the better of me. This made me realize two things: 1. Having Mark doing Dukan with me really keeps me on track.  2. I have zero will power. During the week of the in-laws Dukan basically went out the door. I really didn't want to hinder them or myself from enjoying the visit including enjoying the meals. Mark and I would try to make healthier decisions without being hard on ourselves if we indulged ourselves too.

In terms of walking it was much easier for me to stay on track when Mark was gone versus when the in-laws were in town. I think I only got the chance to walk twice during the week. Even with all the cheating I didn't see too much change at the scale. I could definitely tell that I was retaining a lot of water from the normal food I was eating but my menstrual cycle also played a part in water retention.

After 3 months of Dukan I have noticed that my menstrual cramps have intensified. I don't know why but that's just what I've noticed. Even with eating oat bran everyday I have also been constipated since I started the Dukan Diet. I tried buying gummy fiber supplements but they didn't really help although I do enjoy eating them because they're tasty. Last week I tried eating prunes even though they're not "Dukan approved" since they're fruit. I eat 5 prunes a day and they have been helping and I will continue to eat them. I have also decided to keep walking 45-50 min instead of the 30 min recommended by the diet. Since I'm in the second half of my weight-loss journey I know that the body has a tendency to plateau as it gets used to the program. Next month I'm going to try to target losing more of my back/bra fat! ;P

My month 3 breakdown:
Week 1: lost 2 pounds
Week 2, pre-menstrual and Mark out of town: lost 3 pounds
Week 3, menstrual and in-laws in town: lost 1 pound
Week 4, post-menstrual: lost 2 pounds
Week 5 (just two days): lost 2 pounds
Overall weight-lost: 24 pounds and I feel really comfortable in my old pants. My waist isn't screaming when I sit down and I don't immediately change to stretchy pants when I come home. I'm able to force my even smaller pants to zip-up but there's definitely muffin top action.  Haha, next goal!

Monday, April 29, 2013

monday sketchbook illustration

Illustration by Hannah Yoon
Lamy Safari fountain pen with 1.1 nib
Waterman ink in Serenity Blue

Friday, April 12, 2013

washing the dog

Instagram shot

One of the "joys" of owning Eemoy, our Yorkie, is bath day. Every several months we get him professionally groomed for the big things, like hair and nail cutting, but the day to day washing is done at home. The water part is not so bad for Eemoy but the part he dreads is the hair dryer. He hates the blast of air in his face and ears and honestly I do feel bad for the guy but on the other hand I've got to dry him somehow! But suddenly the clouds parted and a lightening bolt of inspiration hit my brain: "Use the diffuser." Oh my goodness, of course! Here's what a diffuser looks like for those of you who don't know:

The diffuser is an attachment for hair dryers and if you bought yours recently chances are that yours came with one along with the narrow concentrator nozzle. If you've never used a diffuser before it diffuses the air out of the dryer so it feels more like a really hot day surrounding you indirectly rather than a tornado of air blasting at you directly. Using the diffuser seemed to be a much more pleasant experience for Eemoy but I did notice that the drying time took a tad bit longer. I will note that Eemoy's fur is very short and he is a very small dog so I'm not sure this idea would work for larger, long-haired dogs. :/

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

dukan : month 2

 Month 2 of doing the Dukan Diet had its ups and downs. I feel like we ate out more often in month 2 with friends. While my hubby and I didn't always cheat when we ate out there were a few times that we did. I didn't notice a huge increase on the scale after we would cheat but I didn't see huge change either. Hence, some weeks I lost nothing or only a pound. In order to combat the plateau I creased the amount of time walking from 30 min to 45-50 min for a few days per the book's recommendation. This seemed to help (see Week 3). As with last month the biggest battle with the scale was because of my menstrual cycle. I could literally feel my fingers begin to bloat with water retention while walking during the post-menstrual week.

Now it's April and I'm starting month 3 and I'm currently 5 pounds away from my half-way point. Mentally I've noticed that it's really easy for me to feel good about the 15 pounds that I've lost and not be as committed to losing the next 25 pounds. Even in the book Dukan warns against this. Even though I still crave carbs, the biggest struggle now is with my mind. I need to forget the last 2 months and pretend like today is Day 1 so I can push to reach my "true weight." So far I am very pleased with the Dukan Diet and for my body what I eat is 75% of the key to weight loss and weight gain. I never saw results like this when I would kill myself at the gym and still eat "healthy."

My two month breakdown:
Week 1: lost 3 pounds
Week 2, pre-menstural: lost 0 pounds
Week 3, menstrual: lost 5 pounds
Week 4, post-menstrual: lost 1 pound
Week 5: lost 0 pounds
Overall weight lost: 15 pounds and I am able to fit into my normal jeans.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

you are my wild

For adorable, beautiful, and inspiring photos of kids check out, You Are My WildYou Are My Wild is a weekly portrait project that brings together 14 photographers to document how they see their children.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : cost plus world market

Man, when I was growing up Cost Plus World Market was not as cool as it is now. I always thought of it as a poor man's Pier 1 Imports but kind of dingier. It's definitely not the case now and I would have to say that if you're prop styling your wedding reception or shower this is definitely a place to stop by. Check out these goodies:

Row 1: 2-Tier Wire Basket (there are other finishes), 3-Tier Wire Stand (there are other finishes)
Row 6: Global Place Card Holders (set of 4), White Glass Cake Stands (multiple sizes)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

book review : breakfast for dinner

Full disclosure, I received a free copy of Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth's new book pushlished by Quirk Books, "Breakfast for Dinner" in order to do this review. You can purchase it here. Many, many thanks once again to Eric at Quirk Books for graciously sending me a copy. 

Lindsay Landis' name might sound familiar because last year I reviewed her other book, "The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook," here and here. Or you might know Lindsay from her wonderful website, Love & Olive Oil. This time Lindsay is co-author with her husband to bring us the wonderful world of breakfast for dinner. Personally, I love breakfast so this was right up my alley. Once again, the cookbook is filled with beautifully photographed and designed recipes that are sure to tempt your taste buds. Unfortunately, as I posted yesterday I am doing the Dukan Diet so I was pretty limited in terms of what recipes I could test for this review. However, I did find one that could easily be made Dukan-friendly (I'm in the Cruse Phase and today is my lean protein + veggie day).

I made Shakshuka, a Middle Eastern breakfast of poached eggs (my fav!) in tomato sauce (I never met a tomato sauce I didn't like). In order to make it Dukan-friendly I had to omit the feta and pita (noooooo!). To be honest, I also omitted the parsley but because I forgot to get it at the market.  :/ The recipe calls for mild peppers and suggests Anaheim but I couldn't find any so I used Poblano peppers which were still delicious. If you're never cooked with peppers before, fear not. The mild peppers truly are mild and even the JalapeƱo that the recipe calls for will mellow out as it is cooked. The recipe was easy to follow and turned out wonderfully. I love a runny egg! Today, I made breakfast for lunch and it just goes to show that breakfast is truly a meal to be enjoyed any time of the day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

dukan diet : month 1

I've been on the Dukan Diet for a month now and I wanted to wait before I posted about it because I wasn't sure if I would still be doing it after a month. The idea to go on the Dukan Diet started last year when I went to a new doctor after moving to IL for my yearly check up. She was a Chinese-American woman who was very friendly but direct. She told me I needed to lose weight. I knew I had gained quite a bit of weight during my first year of marriage and honestly I was embarrassed by the amount that I weighed. She was very forthcoming and told me about her own weight issues although I could hardly tell because she was a very normal weight now. She told me that she always had struggled with her weight because of her busy lifestyle, the type of food she gravitated towards, and her general propensity to be more buxom. Her story resonated with me because ever since I was 18 I had struggled with my weight. She told me that she had tried different diets like South Beach but long term results never stuck and she always rebounded back to her old weight and then some. In her experience the only diet that had worked for her was Dukan and she told me to think about trying it to. Fast forward to 2013, Mark and I decided we had had our fun eating and gaining weight during our first 1.5 years of marriage and we decided our resolution would be to lose weight. Since we both were finally serious about losing the newlywed weight I thought back to the Dukan Diet and the Monday after the Super Bowl we started.

The Dukan Diet is divided into 4 phases. Phase 1: "Attack" is a short period of time to jump start the body by eating lean protein only with 20 min of walk everyday. Phase 2: "Cruise" is alternating between lean protein only days and lean protein AND vegetable days with 30 min of walking everyday. This lasts until you reach your goal weight. Phase 3: "Consolidation" is to combat the rebound effect. Certain previously restricted foods are slowly reintroduced and this phase lasts for 5 days for every pound lost with 24 min of walking everyday. Phase 4: "Permanent Stabilization" is your new lifestyle. Everything is permissible but one day every week is devoted to only lean protein.

If you're thinking about trying Dukan I would definitely suggest reading the book. Some websites and blogs might give accurate information but they don't give you all the information. To me doing Dukan without reading the book would be like trying to bake a cake without a specific recipe.  If the diet fails without following the precise recipe how can you blame the diet for not working?

Things I can share from my own experience one month in with Dukan:
  • If you're a woman, your menstrual cycle will totally mess with you. Pre-menstrual and post-menstrual for me made my body totally wonky. I got really frustrated because of what the scale was telling me during this time but despair not, push forward. Unfortunately, pre-menstrual + post-menstural = nearly half of the month. This is why I started weighing myself weekly instead of daily.
  • If you think you'll just guesstimate 20-30 min of walking, don't. At first I would just walk extra long at the market but then I decided to time myself on a treadmill and the difference was huge. I hadn't been walking long enough and uninterrupted 30 min of walking was way different from walking and stopping in the market aisle.
  • If you're married or dating your experience will be more positive if your partner is in it with you. Conversely, if your partner is not then you'd better prepare yourself to battle temptation daily.
  • If you know yourself well enough to know that you don't like eating the same things for an extended period of time then do yourself a favor and buy the Dukan Diet Cookbook. Personally, I don't trust non-official recipes because some of the permitted ingredients seem iffy.
  • Calculate your "True Weight" on the Dukan website, here. This was uber helpful for me because it gave me affirmation for my goal and it gave me a timeline to work towards.
  • Honestly, for me the weight isn't melting off like some testimonials or even as the book said and I still struggle with cravings but I am seeing results and I will stay the course, one day at at a time.
My one month breakdown:
Week 1, pre-menstural: lost 4 pounds
Week 2, menstural: lost 6 pounds
Week 3, post-menstrual: gained back 4 pounds
Week 4: lost 3 pounds
Overall weight lost: 9 pounds and clothing has become more loose.

Friday, March 1, 2013

fountain pen

I love fountain pens. I have limited knowledge concerning them but with my recent purchase I have learned a lot about the world of fountain pens. I think I was first introduced to them by my father who has several consumer fountain pens. He only buys affordable pens but unless you have a lot of expendable income (which I do not) there is no reason to buy expensive fountain pens. I appreciate the tactile relationship between pen and writer. It's a relationship that needs to be nurtured otherwise your investment will go to ruin. As in, you'll ruin the pen and will need to buy a new one.

In the past I had only used pens that had modern disposable ink cartridges that need to be refilled with a syringe or replaced. My newest fountain pen, a Lamy Safari (Lamy is the brand and Safari is the model type), can be outfitted with a converter that is a self-contained refillable ink cartridge (see below). The converter has a red end that when twisted becomes a piston that can push out or pull in ink/water into the chamber. This is wonderful option and in my opinion is the only way to go. However, the converter must be purchased separately.  The converter makes cleaning and filling the cartridge a breeze. Oh, and this also means you need to buy a bottle of ink.  ;P

When I bought my Lamy Safari pen online it said that it was coming with a 1.5mm Calligraphy nib (the nib is the tip of the pen where the ink actually comes out). I wasn't sure what kind of line the calligraphy nib would produce. There are so many different styles of calligraphy, you know? Well, I can tell you now that I have received my pen that a "calligraphy or italic nib" is the kind of nib that is used to produce the Italic, Blackletter, Gothic, Roman, or Unical style calligraphy (think Renaissance or old style English taverns), see below.

The calligraphy nib for a fountain pen will not produce the flourished, flowy Copperplate style that is so popular now (think calligraphy used for weddings nowadays). I know, I should've made the connection between Italic nib and Italic calligraphy but my mind is slow.

For many fountain pens the nib is a part that can be removed and interchanged with different nibs to produce a different style line. This is a great feature for a pen and is the case with the Lamy Safari. My pen came with a 1.5mm Calligraphy nib (it doesn't always come with this nib) but I bought a Steel Extra-Fine (EF) nib separately for regular writing purposes. The Extra-Fine nib is great, it produces a line that resembles something between a normal .5mm–.7mm pen might give depending on how much pressure the nib is given. The 1.5mm Calligraphy nib is also great but a little on the thick side for me. The 1.1mm Calligraphy nib will probably be my next purchase in the future.

If you're interested in fountain pens the The Goulet Pen Company is a wonderful resource. I love this site! Their interactive "Nib Nook" is awesome for comparing different nibs and their site also has a wonderful "Swab Shop" to compare different inks.

Here are some other links that were helpful to me in this educational process:
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review
Inks: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Fountain Pen Care & Maintenance

Thursday, February 21, 2013

screaming goats

A little silliness for a Thursday. The hubby and I were crying when we watched this.

And another funny video as Shelby suggested.  :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

cleaning sterling sliver

Take a look at the right most earring above.  That's what sterling sliver is supposed to look like and the other 3 on the left are tarnished and dark. It's weird. Sometimes my sterling sliver earrings stay nice and shiny and other ones get tarnished super quick. I use a polishing cloth for bigger sterling silver accessories like rings but for delicate earrings it could take a long time and potentially bend the pieces. To clean your tarnished sterling silver jewelry at once use the following method. (**Disclaimer: make sure your pieces are really sterling sliver and that the other chichis on them can withstand boiling water.)

1. Gather your tarnished rings, earrings, necklaces, whatever. Line a heat proof container with foil while you boil some water (I used my electric kettle). I used a plastic bowl. Place your jewelry on top of the foil.

2. Lightly cover your jewelry with baking soda.

3. Pour the boiling water to cover the jewelry. Use plastic or wooden chopsticks to move the jewelry around so that all the silver touches the foil. (The sulfur smell of rotten eggs is normal) 

4. Rinse your jewelry and dry. All done!

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