504 Main by Holly Lefevre: January 2010

1.30.2010

Rethink...Your Environment

 This week's discussion topic at Rethink What Matters is
RETHINK YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
To catch up, read Rethink and Grow, the first post in this series.
The house you grew up in....
the road you walk to school...
the mountains your camp in...
the ocean you swim in...
the air you breathe...
This is your environment.
How has it impacted you?
How have you impacted it?
On a large scale - the largest scale - we must all think about our Earth and what we can do to relieve the stress on our planet...even simple gestures help. I conserve energy {seriously it has to fall below 55 in the house for the heater to be turned on}, I repurpose, I reuse, and I try to find homes for my own unnecessary items. I bring my own bags to the grocery store, the drug store, the craft store...or skip the bags altogether. I buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste, purchase locally grown and/or organic products, and we have pretty much weaned ourselves from bottled water.

And, you may notice that I have saved probably the easiest, most obvious one for last...recycle. I am proud to say our recycle bin {which is the same size as the trash bin} is fuller than the trash bin. I have been recycling forever. True, it may have started by high-tailing it to the redemption machine outside the grocery store to get 3 cents per bottle...and it may have been mainly a way to get the empty wine cooler bottles out of the house before Mom and Dad found them...but it counts!

On the other hand, I do not drive a hybrid, nor do I have solar power, and I will admit I do drive sometimes when I could walk {Ed Begley Jr. will not be asking me to be a part of his show anytime soon}.
In my home, I surround myself with memories...the old Victrola, the beveled mirror that hung in my Granny's house, the gumball machines, family photos, homemade artwork. I once wanted my house to look like a page in the Pottery Barn catalog, and, I am not knocking Pottery Barn, but I am so much happier with the way it looks now...it reflects us. We have made it our own. Of course, it could have less dog hair...fresher paint, fluffier pillows, and a lot less toys...but all in all it is the place my children can play and be kids. It is a place my friends can hang out with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and be comfortable, it is the place I am the happiest and most serene. When my children are grown and come "home," if they can feel they way I do when I go "home" to my childhood home, I will have done my job.
In the less physical sense, I have tried to create a stimulating {in a non-video game sense, of course!}, safe, secure, creative, and loving environment for my children and my family, no matter where we may be physically. I want their lives to be filled with wonderful memories. I want them to know what it is like to be loved, and cared for, and nurtured. I want them to have a glorious sense of who they are, and the ability to be whatever they choose to be. I want to foster independence and responsibility.  And the best way I can do that is by being an example of all that I expect from them.

I know that I am a product of my environment. Are you?

So, do it, go visit Rethink What Matters,
answer the five questions,
and come back and tell me if you learned anything!
OR just let me now how you are rethinking your environment,
how you are helping the environment, or
how you make your environment special?
Then come back next week for some more!
Happy Weekend!
Holly
Rethink What Matters is a campaign by Bare Escentuals that challenged me...challenges all of us to Rethink What Matters. Each Friday through March 26, 2010, Bare Escentuals will pose a new topic for us to consider, to ponder, and to discuss. It is not just about makeup...it is about living your life and what is truly important. So gather your girlfriends...you never know what you'll discover! 

Want to join in on the discussion...
There are prizes and free products to be had..and more importantly thought provoking topics coming your way. Just visit Rethink What Matters to answer 5 simple questions. Then you can see how your answers compare with others. Seriously it takes no time at all to do this...and you may learn a little something about yourself or your friends! And if you are lucky enough to live in San Fransisco, New York, or Chicago the Quickie Van could be coming your way!
DISCLAIMER: So, here's the back story and legal who-ha I must include. I was contacted via email about this campaign and checked it out myself. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking. I was not paid for this review/post or compensated in any way (products or otherwise).

1.28.2010

Giveaways, Follows, and Thank You's

This is my random, crazy, taking care of business post for Friday.
I'll be back later with my second installment of
Check out the first post, Rethink and Grow if you missed it.
But until then....
Don't miss out on the fantastic giveaway
{that I am beyond thrilled to be hosting}.
There is still time to enter to win the
Lisa Leonard Illuminate Necklace, just click HERE.
Go visit Lisa's store and stop by her blog while you are at it...
she is amazing!

If you are here for Friday Follow,
{BIG thanks to Midday Escapades, Hearts Make Families,
and One 2 Try for hosting this}
THANKS for stopping by.
I hope you find something you like.
We cover cooking, crafts, designing, kids, families, health,
and every now and then, a little creative writing.
It's not too late ot join in!
Click the button below to take you to the Mr. Linky!
Friday Follow

The Trendy Treehouse

...........
Finally, I have been a lucky girl...
From Show Me The Mom, the book below...
I am looking forward to sharing it with
some friends who have older girls.


From Half Crazy Mommie,
I won a 3 month subscription to Zoodles,
"a safe online service that makes learning fun for kids."
The kids are so excited!

From Designing dna

I won a design consultation for my family room...
the one room where I cannot seem to get it together.
I am excited to see what she does with my big white room
{and as much as I love black and white, this room should not be white}

From Black Eyed Susan's Kitchen, I won this book...
and I know just who to share it with
shhh...I cannot tell yet...she may be reading.


Thank you everyone!
Looking forward to meeting new friends today!
I bit off a little more than I can chew this week...
so if you have stope dby before, I promise...
I am coming to visit!
Holly

Writers Workshop...You Knew It When You "Bought" It

Yes...TWO POSTS TODAY!
I am not really sure what has gotten into me!
So, if your are looking for the Tablescape Thursday post, click HERE.
Otherwise, Welcome to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
This week, prompt #1 is my selection,
Share one piece of great advice you’ve received
from someone who knows stuff...

You Knew It When You "Bought" It
So this true gem was not a advice given to me, but rather to my future hubby. My Hubby and I had been dating for 1 1/2 years when we got engaged. I certainly wasn't expecting a ring that December, nor was my family. I think my parents figured I wouldn't get married for a long while. As a matter of fact, I thought the same thing. I am the first person to admit, I am not easy...I have my ideas about things, I am independent, and I have a few idiosyncrasies.

A few weeks after we announced our engagement, my Future Hubby and I were at my parents house for a BBQ. I was helping mom out in the kitchen. Future Hubby was with Dad outside. Well, Dad found this to be a good time to take Future Hubby aside and give him a little piece of advice...

Dad: "Are you sue you want to do this?"
Fiance: "Do what?'
Dad: "Marry my daughter."
Fiance:"Yes, I am pretty sure. That is why I proposed."
Dad: "Well, I just need to warn you...she can be a B*itch."

Fiance: {crickets chirping...speechless}
 

Yep, that is is the piece of advice my hubby received from someone older, who thinks he knows a lot (and really he does...about cars and sports and a few other things).


By the time I heard this story, Future Hubby had become Hubby. The story of this little convo comes up often. If ever hubby thinks I am crazy or being a little difficult...I just remind him...HE WAS WARNED!...He Knew It When He "Bought" It!

Cheers!
Holly

Lisa Leonard Illuminate Necklace Giveaway goes on until 2/1/2010.
Click HERE to enter!

1.27.2010

Tablescape Thursday...Blame It On The Blackout!

I survived last weeks venture into tablescapes
(thanks to everyone for dropping by!)...and I am back!
For this week no professional photography,
no ocean view estates, no very cool rentals...
just me and a simple tablescape inspired by the recent blackouts
we have had due to the rain, wind, and falling trees!

My "Blame It On The Blackout" tablescape is based on the pure
fantasy that during the blackouts, hubby and I were home alone
{or at least the kids were quietly in bed - HA!}
and we enjoyed a quiet meal by the roaring fire...
without kids screaming that it was too dark,
asking when the TV was going to come back on,
or flashing the flash lights in our faces...
but then again, what fun would that be?

When I design anything, I like to mix it up...
elegant paired with and thrift stores finds...rustic with a little glam.
That is my overall design philosophy for my entire house,
for the events I plan, and for my tablescapes.

We have a small chest that I use as a coffee table
in our living room, and it is the perfect place to enjoy
a candlelight dinner by a roaring fire.
{imagine a roaring fire in the photo, OK.}

I used a monochromatic color scheme,
trying to keep all with warm to glowing yellows.
I used a trio of dishes because I like layers
and simply liked the way the plates all stacked up.
I pulled out my wedding crystal...
it is always fun to drink from a beautiful glass!
The napkin treatment is a strand of beads
{from Tuesday Morning Clearance}
and a sprig of rosemary from my {very wet} garden.

I don't have a large collection of plates or flatware,
so I "made it work" with what I had
{and some really great plates from the Goodwill}.

For the rest of the decor, I scavengered around the house...
a copper bucket {probably left over from Christmas goodies},
filled with more rosemary, a few grocery store flowers, and some lemons.

I finished it all off with my Tiffany candlesticks {another wedding present}
and a few golden votives {we needed light right...it was a blackout!}
There you go...hope you enjoyed it.
For the record, we did have a candlelight dinner...
with the kids...spaghetti for all and s'mores!

See you next week!

Holly
Lisa Leonard Illuminate Necklace Giveaway goes on until 2/1/2010.
Click HERE to enter!


Resources: Tablecloth and napkins, Target clearance {5 years ago!}; Plates {$1.00 a piece at Goodwill}; Votives, Big Lots; Flatware, Target; Candlesticks, Tiffany; Crystal, Mikasa

1.26.2010

Mind, Body, Food...A Quest for Pantry Perfection and a Homemade Ketchup Recipe!

Hey all! I am seriously dragging my feet when it
comes to posting these Healthy Happy Hour Post Updates {sorry!}.
It is so much to take in…
overhauling your entire way of thinking and eating
{because that’s the plan we are on here!}
is overwhelming, and quite frankly
I am in a BIG ‘OLE January blah mood!
I have done an overhaul before but I was 23ish and single…
that was easy-peasy, now I am doing it for 4!
OK, that was my excuse
{which I am not supposed to make any more…so sue me!}.
Now for some quick housekeeping…
Lisa Leonard Illuminate Necklace Giveaway goes on until 2/1/2010.
Click HERE to enter!
As a follow up for the Friday Follow up…
If for some reason I missed the re-follow,
please leave me a comment and let me know…
I do not want to be a slacker.

Now on to the info {drum roll please}…
If you are new or need a refresher on
the Healthy Happy Hour Posts…
There is evil lurking in my cupboards…and frig…and freezer. Yes, I am talking about all those ingredients I cannot pronounce…which ultimately means I shouldn’t be eating them. Now, I won’t lie…I have not made a complete sweep of it all. Most of it wasn’t too bad to begin with, but it is not perfect by any means. I am certainly not the picture of “pantry perfection.” This is a journey for me and for my family to get back on track. There is still evil hiding in there, but going forward I am more conscious of it. I will admit I did get a little lazy...but wholly cow! And, you know what is really scary...the evil was in places I never expected!
CASE #1…I was the BIGGEST FAN of these great little frozen minced garlic squares {store to not be named}. Seriously, I thought they were the best invention EVER! I had them stockpiled…Then when I was cooking for the healthy happy hour, I looked at the ingredients…S-U-P-R-I-S-E…it wasn’t just garlic. There were three ingredients in my garlic – NOT necessary. It must have been a sign because that was actually my last package of the garlic…this garlic is no longer welcome in my house.  I have been buying whole heads of garlic and mincing them myself and guess what…it tastes better anyway!

CASE #2…Hubby loves chicken soup. We were having a go-around about the chicken stock….the free range organic broth didn’t have the junk but the sodium {which he needs to watch} was 3 times as much. The free range reduced sodium chicken broth has some junk (MSG), but a fraction of the sodium…what is a wife to do? Solution…I cook a whole chicken at least once a week…and make my own broth! I throw the carcass {yeah, I love that word!} into a big pot, some water, some veggies, and we just boil it for a couple of hours. It is better for us, tastes better and it is like 2 for 1. I seriously, not in one trillion years would have ever thought I would do this…but it is not hard and costs less.

Fresh, frozen, or canned?: I know there are arguments for and against canned and frozen foods. I will always choose fresh if it is available, but I still, and probably always will accept frozen and canned {or better yet jarred} food into my house provided they are organic or at least not full of junk. I am not getting into the argument here over canned foods – if you don’t like it pick something else - I know some cans have BPA. You can reference my “go to” source on this one…click HERE and visit the discussion board or search for "canned food."

Now let’s chat about costs: Based on my current grocery shopping and the swaps I am making, I believe it will all be a wash…although it may not seem like it now. Case in point the double duty chicken/broth. I have priced a few things…
  • Organic butter at the grocery store it is $7.00 at Whole Foods, $4.99 (I think it was a special). I do not always buy the organic butter but I do buy the “no rbst” butter at $2.99/lb. - I can get butter at the grocery store for $2.50/lb. most of the time – so there is a little price difference.
  • I am buying bulk (and I do not mean Costco bulk)…brown rice flour, quinoa, granola, oatmeal, etc. can all be purchased in bulk…you don’t pay for the packaging (which is “green” too) and you save some cash.
  • The frozen food and the canned food for the most part was pretty comparable.
  • The one thing that is killing me is the meat….I have yet to buy an organic whole chicken…I hear they say one you go organic chicken you never go back…but that needs to be a lot of bang for my buck.
  • I go to the Farmer’s Market for produce and try to make a good list of what I really need. I also go without the kids if possible…so without kettle korn, snow cones, and a gourmet cupcake…the cost is pretty good. Now I am also fortunate to live in a place known as “The Salad Bowl of the World,” so I won’t lie…that helps! I can also drive to a local organic farm, Earthbound Farms, and shop. 
  • Shoot me an email if you want to chat about this more!
So after all of that…what the heck am I talking about? 
As I go about cleaning our pantry...
  • I am removing items that are full of chemicals, MSG, and plain old crap.
  • I will quit buying "backup/just in case" boxes of macaroni and cheese and nasty soups {I swear, I will}.
  • I will be resourceful, using what is on hand, what is in season, and what is affordably priced.
  • I will make what I can…yes, I even made my own ketchup! (see recipe below)
  • A little preparation goes a long way…I make my own tortilla chips…and the kids help. It is not that hard to cut some tortillas like a pizza {did I just say pizza?} and toss them around in some sea salt or other quality seasoning {works for pitas too}.
HOMEMADE KETCHUP
My buddy Kelli at Sustaining Creativity in a Busy Mom’s World posted this recipe awhile back and I was soooo intrigued...have you read the back of a ketchup bottle..ick! So, I finally did it! I made ketchup! I did make a goof on my shopping trip for a couple of the spices, so my recipe varied a little. Go visit Kelli’s post to see the original, but here is mine. By the way everyone liked it…but next time I am cutting back on the crushed red pepper for the little ones.
Ingredients
4 whole cloves  
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
2 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons Molasses (for sweetness and thickness)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic - can be less…I {heart} garlic!

Directions
  • Wrap cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, celery seeds, crushed red pepper, and allspice in a layer of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle and put into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat along with tomatoes, salt, vinegar, molasses, and onion.
  • Smash and add the garlic to the pot.
  • Cook, stirring, until onions are very soft, 40-60 minutes…watch it.
  • Remove spice bundle
  • Purée sauce in a food processor until smooth. I made sure it was really smooth!
  • Transfer ketchup to a glass jar. Set aside; let cool.
  • Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.MAKES 2 1⁄2 CUPS(The original recipe calls for this, but I did not do these last steps) Strain sauce through a mesh strainer into a qt. saucepan over medium heat; Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes; Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like. This recipe was altered from a recipe first published in Saveur in Issue #117
Ultimately it is about what works for each person/family
at a particular time and is cost effective or efficient.
Even a few changes here and there can greatly impact your health.
So, are you still here?

Do you think I am crazy?
Sound like too much work?
What are you doing to improve your health or your families health?

Happy Eating!
Holly

{Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or health professional. I am a mom on a journey and these are my steps and my opinions. I have no serious health issues so I am free to do what I feel is right. Consult a doctor if you need help...aka…don’t sue me!}

1.25.2010

It's Illuminating...It's a Lisa Leonard Giveaway!

*********GIVEAWAY CLOSED*********
What illuminates your life...your day...a moment in time?
I admit I do not stop to think about it often enough...
to give thanks for the wonderful things in my life
and the promise each day holds.
My day, my life, is illuminated by many things...
My children - their laughter, the curiosity, their words.
My husband (on most days!).
My parents.
My friends, new and old.
Sunlight...and moonlight.
The sound, sight, and smell of the ocean.
A good Mocha on a cold crisp morning.
A good glass on wine while watching the sunset. 
..............................

A great piece of jewelry also illuminates my day -
I am a girl after all!
Back before I began my own blogs,
I was cruising around the Internet and found a
handful of blogs that I was simply in awe of.
One of those was Lisa Leonard's.
Her words are inspiring...
Her photography amazing...
(she even made Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo look beautiful)
But mostly the love for her family is heartwarming.

Well, Lisa also designs amazing jewelry!
I have been in LOVE with her unique designs since I first saw her site.
There are all so fabulous, that at first,
I couldn't even wrap my head around which one to choose...
and then I saw the Family Crest necklace...
and better yet, my hubby gave it to me on our wedding anniversary.
(I also bought my mom the  
Petite Family Crest necklace for Christmas)
And you should see my current wish list! 

So being a big fan already,
I just about fell over when I received the email...
I was beyond excited...I had made it...
I was going to host a Lisa Leonard giveaway
(yes, that is my over-the-top fan moment).

Lisa has just revealed her newest creation...
and I have one for a lucky reader!
Lisa sent me one, and I have been wearing it proudly.
My necklace says "sparkle,"
but the winner can have the necklace personalized
with up to 18 characters. 
I hope you are as excited as I am!
Here's the scoop:
Giveaway runs through Monday, 2/1/10 at midnight PST.
ONE winner will be notified by email and
will have 48 hours to claim their prize.
LEAVE ONE COMMENT PER ENTRY
Contest open to US and Canada

entry #1: MANDATORY...you must be a follower of 504 Main. If you already follow, just say so! AND You MUST leave me a comment telling me one thing that illuminates your day/life. If your email is not linked to your profile...you must leave it in the comment section. (1 entry)
OPTIONAL ENTRIES
entry #2: Follow Lisa on Twitter (leave your Twitter name in the comment) (1 entry)
entry #3: Follow 504 Main on Twitter (leave your Twitter name in the comment) (1 entry)
entry #4: Tweet about the giveaway...must include link to 504 main (1 entry...may be done once a day for a separate entry each day). Leave url in comment.
entry #5: Facebook about the giveaway. (1 entry)
entry #6: Blog about the giveaway...leave your link in the comment (3 entries).
entry #7: Add my 504 Main to your blog roll (2 entries)...Leave the link in the comment.
entry #8: Add 504 Main button to your site (2 entries)...Leave the link in the comment.
entry #9: Follow my wedding blog (1 entry). If you already follow...just say so! 

Good Luck!
Holly

Photo Credits
top photo: istockphoto.com; middle photo: Lisa Leonard; bottom photo: Lisa Leonard

DISCLAIMER: I was given one necklace from Lisa Leonard. No other compensation was received to host this giveaway or for this post.

******************GIVEAWAY CLOSED*****************

1.23.2010

Rethink and Grow

Life is about rethinking.
If you don't rethink, you will never grow.
Only as a 30-something woman can I say I finally get that.
When I was in college, or even high school for that matter, it was easy to imagine what my life was going to be...I had it all planned out. I was not going to get married or have kids. I wanted to go to design school in New York (which I did...but in L.A.) and be the next Donna Karan. That was it - end of story - I was going to be fabulous and successful and never look back. Since then I have had to rethink...and rethink...and rethink my plans.

In my early 20's I had to rethink...
what it meant to be an adult.
what responsibility really was.
how I was going to make it on my own.

In my mid 20's I had to rethink...
what it was to be a married woman.
what it meant to be a friend.
changing careers.
forging my own path...what was it going to be...really?

In my 30's I had to rethink...
what it meant to be a mother.
what it meant to be a family.
what it meant to be a good daughter.
what it meant to be successful.
what it meant to love unconditionally.

In my mid 30's (and a little beyond) I had to rethink...
what it means to be a true friend.
my priorities.
my vanity.
my place in this world.
what makes me truly happy, what makes me tick that is mine and mine alone, and that this would not make me a
selfish mother/wife/person.

So what made me rethink about all of this today...
...a small, impromptu get-together with two girlfriends yesterday, and the simple, meaningful, honest discussion we shared...and the pleasure and sense of peace it brought me.

...a campaign by Bare Escentuals that challenged me...challenges all of us to Rethink What Matters. Each Friday through March 26, 2010, Bare Escentuals will pose a new topic for us to consider, to ponder, and to discuss. It is not just about makeup...it is about living your life and what is truly important. So gather your girlfriends...you never know what you'll discover!
This weeks topic: Rethink Going Bare in Public
I would never parade around in the nude (no matter how much 30 Day Shredding I had done!) but I also never leave the house without makeup. I am a makeup lover - did you see my profile, "Mochas, makeup and "I love you Mama" get me through my day!!!!! I have been buying and playing with makeup since I was 10 (although I was not allowed to wear it publicly until I was in 8th grade) I can admit even though I have rethought my vanity...I am still vain.

When I had my son, I vowed that even though I may have that extra baby weight hanging on, and on occasion I may leave the house in yoga pants and possibly a wind breaker (don't judge!) but my makeup will be done and my hair colored, cut, and styled. This was and is my coping mechanism...it makes me feel normal. It makes me happy. It makes me feel good on the inside to look good on the outside.
Want to join in on the discussion...
There are prizes and free products to be had..and more importantly thought provoking topics coming your way. Just visit Rethink What Matters to answer 5 simple questions. Then you can see how your answers compare with others. Seriously it takes no time at all to do this...and you may learn a little something about yourself or your friends! And if you are lucky enough to live in San Fransisco, New York, or Chicago the Quickie Van could be coming your way!

So, do it, go visit Rethink What Matters and come back and tell me if you learned anything! OR just let me now if you are rethinking anything right now! Then come back next week for some more!

Holly

DISCLAIMER: So, here's the back story and legal who-ha I must include. I was contacted via email about this campaign and checked it out myself. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking. I was not paid for this review/post or compensated in any way (products or otherwise).

1.20.2010

Tablescape Thursday...Bold Black and White for Winter

I did it!
I finally got up the nerve to join in with
Tablescape Thursday
at Between Naps on the Porch.

I have admired (OK, you can say lurked) over there for awhile now...but yes, this week I am jumping in. This set up was done a couple of years ago as part of a photo shoot. So, yes, there was a little help in pulling this together, but I chose to share it because...I have this obsession with black and white right now, I still LOVE this look, and it may provide a little inspiration for others.

Now, of course, it is January, and I am thinking winter..
but I am a coastal Southern California girl - born and bred
(currently spending some time on the coast in Central California).
So, to me, winter is not about snow and ice.
It is about clear days where the sun glows...
beautiful winter sunsets that make me smile...
and a crisp tingle on your nose as you walk along the ocean.

Bold Black and White for Winter
Sit back and imagine yourself sipping martinis
and dancing to Frank Sinatra
with the California Coast as your backdrop.

Embrace the clean lines of a vintage-inspired, slightly art deco influenced design married to the striking contrast of black and white for a look that is unexpected.

Stunning and simple, an arrangement of Parrot Merlot
and white tulips, with a hint - here and there- of simple white carnations (I love carnations) is perfect in a simple glossy black vase.

Sleek black china "pops" on the polka dot linen -
a little whimsy...a little modern!

A gorgeous peacock feather adds sophistication and texture.

Sleek vintage-inspired flatware.

One sweet carnation hiding...

Hope you enjoyed the little bit of eye candy.
This is one of my favorite things about being a wedding planner!
Holly

Sources...
Linens: BBJ Linens, Polka Dot Lamour table linen and white lamour napkins.
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, Chairs (Arcus Stainless Steel and Black), China (Simply Black), Flatware (Mondrian), Stemware (Delano)
Florals: Bobbe Vagel
Photography: Epic Imagery
Location: Rancho del Cielo

1.18.2010

Chalk It Up...A DIY Quickie

Well, I had a brilliant post written about healthy ingredients
and cleaning out the pantry..blah, blah, blah...and then...
I erased it...B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T, I know!
So, as I am still recovering from way too much wine
on Saturday night (BIG thaks to the MIL for the babysitting!),
I thought I'd share a fun, chic, and way too easy craft...
seriously, if you are crafty, you'll love it...
and if you are not crafty...you can do it, really!
I have seen versions of this on a number of blogs,
but hey, this is my blog...my version.

Chalkboard Tray DIY
Really, how cute is this chalkboard tray! I use it for writing messages when we have guests over. I also make them for hostess gifts (you will look brilliant!). They are just fun...what more can I say...and my kids think they are pretty cool too!

Supplies
  • Metal Tray (you could use wood), but I prefer metal - nice old metal and silver-plated trays found at thrift stores or Goodwill. Super cheap...I paid between $1.00 and $3.50.
  • Chalkboard Paint (not the spray paint version).
  • Paint or Foam brush (I prefer the foam brush).
How To
  • Clean the tray...if you want...I prefer the patina. I clean it, but I do not "clean it up." You could take some polish to it...your choice!
  • Paint the inside of the tray with the chalkboard paint. I suggest two coats of paint...wait until dry before applying the second coat.
  • Let dry.
  • D-O-N-E!...See..I told you it was simple!
Here is one other sign I made...You see, the littlesest person in the house likes to play in her brothers bedroom and sneak into the bathroom to brush her teeth (20 times a day!) and wash her arms (yes, I said arms, not hands), so all of our doors are shut, and if you have not been here before, finding the bathroom can be challenging,
but not anymore!

So, before I go, I know I have some (OK, a lot!) of catching up to do on my commenting and visiting...I am getting there, and looking forward to "seeing" you all tomorrow!
Happy Crafting!
Holly

1.15.2010

Mind, Body, Food (Chapter 2)...A Chicken Chili Recipe for You!

Hey All! First, can I just say “WOW.” I was really overwhelmed and inspired by the responses to my last "healthy" post, Mind…Body…Food…The Road to Complete Nutrition.
As I mentioned, I was hesitant to talk about my own issues…but I did it and survived. I have a lot more info to share – maybe I can get Renee to guest post. In the next weeks, I am going to cover journaling…but not just your food, reading labels, pantry items, sugars, and one of my main things that I need to concentrate on…building up my adrenal system.
(again, not from the perspective of a doctor or
health professional, but from the mom prospective.)
If you want to catch up, check out these posts:
Getting Healthy (November 2009)

1.13.2010

We Could Have Named You Dual Quads

Head on over to Mama Kat's place to join in.
This week, I chose prompt #3:
What’s in YOUR name? What does it mean? Why was it given to you?

"We Could Have Named You Dual Quads"
I always wanted to be named Jennifer.
It makes sense - I am a product of the 70's where
pretty much every other girl was named Jennifer.
It is still one of my favorite names.
I never loved or hated my name.
I only knew one other Holly throughout my school years...
so at least the name was kind of original.

So, how did I end up a "Holly?"...My parents were young- fresh out of high school and no cash to spare - when I was born (gotta give them credit though...they have been married for a long, long time - I am not saying how long...it would give away my age!). So, anyway, time was ticking away...there was going to be a baby (me..of course!), and they had no name...but they had a car.

(I borrowed this photo from carsforsale.com.)
Not my Dad's Car....I believe his was blue.
Somewhere there is a photo of my pregnant mom and my dad in the car.

My Dad was the proud owner had a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle with a "500 hp 327 cubic inch" (whatever that means). Well, sadly, it was determined there was no way that car was going to work with a baby...so he had to sell it. Just before the dreaded S-day (that would be sale day) came, my parents were discussing  the name situation. As legend has it, my Dad, who was working on his car,  looked down and saw "Holley" on he carburetor. He said "Let's name her Holley." Mom didn't disagree. She dropped the "e" and my middle name starts with a "C" so we don't ever forget the carburetor.

This story proved to be quite entertaining throughout my school years. My mom would come to school every year on my birthday - with treats -  and tell the story (she may have only told the story once, but to me, it seemed like every year!). It really wasn't so bad now that I think of it...later the guys thought it was kind of cool and it is way better than her telling a story that had to do with where I was conceived or what they were drinking when it happened.

So, there ya go...
Pre-Holly Hobbie,
Pre-Holly Madison,
There was Holley Carburetors.
And then there was me!

My Dad has always said,
"Don't ever complain, we could have named you Dual Quads."
Now that would be something!

This was the "new" family car. It was no Chevelle!

1.12.2010

Mind, Body, Food...The Road to Complete Nutrition

Honestly I have struggled with how to approach this. I try to keep my content light and happy or entertaining (I hope!) and not go too personal, but every time I sat down, this post got personal. I have used every excuse in the book to begin this series of posts, including “I don’t have any pretty pictures to include.” Yes, I know L-A-M-E! This post is long...you have been warned.
PROLOGUE:
Have you seen the Slimquick commercials? You know the ones where the husband quits drinking soda and drops 10 lbs....that is my house. My hubby who considered potatoes to be his vegetable source, started eating salads and dropped white flour from his diet and lost a ton of weight without exercising in a matter of months. I however workout everyday, eat lots of veggies and NADA! Complete frustration. I began talking to my friend Renee, a Holistic Health and NLP Practitioner, AADP, about what the heck to do.

PART I
Here is the back story…I have a love/hate relationship with food and it is probably safe to say a mild (to severe) addiction to sugar. In my very early 20’s I would exercise and then justify eating ½ gallon of Thrifty Mint Chip ice cream. Then I met a much older man (who I thought was also much wiser) and we dated. He suggested I eat healthier…duh (for now we shall leave alone the idea that he just wanted to date a really hot 20-something chick)! Additionally, I was moving out on my own at the time and had no idea how to cook. So the timing was perfect, he suggested a book and a way of eating that I loved and embraced for 4 years – no dairy, no meat, no oil, no sugar, no salt – Vegetarian+. I looked H-O-T and felt great. Eventually we broke up, I started dating future-hubby (who never met a meat or potato he didn’t like) and I fell off the wagon…just a little.

Fast forward…I battled with 5-10 pounds after this. Good or bad, I am tall, 5’11”, and can hide the extra pounds so that it doesn’t seem like so much. Then I got pregnant. And I ate and ate…chocolate chip pancakes…more mint chip ice cream…and pickled green beans (yum). I gained a staggering amount of weight. I was really appalled and surprised – I just didn’t think for a second it was that bad…until it was that bad. Over the course of the next few years I yo-yo’ed with my weight.

I have been to Weight Watchers, I have seen a nutritionist, I have the South Beach Diet book (never used it), the Atkins Book (NEVER used it), and the Six Week Body Makeover system (sort of used it). I also have just about every BeachBody exercise system (Yoga Booty Ballet, Power 90, Slim in Six) – and I have used them all, Winsor Pilates, The Firm – do you see a pattern…I used to stay up late watching infomercials…just fascinated by them!

I eventually got to within 10 pounds of pre-baby weight…and then I was “knocked on my butt”…we moved from So Cal (I am a native So Cal girl…boo-hoo!). I compensated for the move, the lack of friends, and the 55 straight days of foggy weather that summer with a lot of wine and chocolate chip cookies and gained back some weight.

I got pregnant again and vowed I would not do to my body what I did the first time…and I didn’t. I walked 3-4 times a week…long walks, and ate really well, and only gained 15 pounds. So technically, I have lost the second baby weight, but still have the first baby weight. And, I have not been able to make real and lasting dent in the number on the scale since….but I refuse to accept this.

PART II
Fast forward again to 2009…it is high school reunion time and I reconnect with Renee on Facebook. She talks about nutrition and has a way of approaching and accepting food that I understand, that I want to be able to adopt fully. We talk a lot about body image and I realize that even when I was thinner, I was still self-conscious…so while losing weight is important, so is fixing the negative body image issues, not just for me, but so that they are not passed on to my kiddos. I also have an “A-ha!” moment…

I was at the beach with Joe. A friend and her daughter joined us. Joe just wanted to play in the water, but no one wanted to do it with him. I had my bathing suit on, but not really for that purpose…more for necessity (like in case I had to rescue him from the sea). He kept asking and he was sad…and bored. And finally it hit me…how do I want my kids to remember me…the mom sitting on the beach who won’t get in the water (of course they don’t know the reasons…yet) or as the mom who was willing to jump in and play. I chose the “play.” A HUGE step for me, and the moment when I realized what I needed to do for me and for my kids.

All of this leads me to asking Renee to come visit for the weekend and talk to a group of ladies that have similar concerns. I was not really sure what to expect, and the evening turned out to be quite emotional. I, in fact, was emotional for weeks after. I was finally realizing some of my issues and preparing to tackle them.

PART III
One of the most important things I realized is that, as a mom I am responsible for the little nuggets of wisdom I put into the kiddos heads. They also pick up on everything I do – how I act and react, what I say and how I say it. To be a good mom, I need to be happy with me. I need to be able to take some time for me…even if it is just 20 minutes here and there. I need to sleep. I need to move and exercise and be a positive example. It is true, when I am sleeping, eating better, working out and taking time to “work on me,” I am happier and a better, more patient mom.

These are some other thoughts I walked away with that night. I KNEW MOST OF THEM, JUST NEEDED TO HEAR THEM AGAIN. I will elaborate on them in future posts (if anyone is still reading after this long-winded one).
1. Food is not the enemy. It is a source of nutrition, energy, and power…if it is the right food.
2. Pure, natural (organic, if possible) food in it’s original state is the best source of nutrition.
3. There is a physiological and emotional connection to food and always will be. It is about learning how to tame it.
4. You do not have to give anything up (except for health reasons), but you must realize when it is OK to have a smaller serving of that special thing and make sure it is not frequently eaten.
5. Stay away from low-fat and non-fat processed foods.
6. We need the right kind of fats in our diet – olive oil, avocado, etc.
7. Good carbs are not the enemy. 

IN CONCLUSION:
My family already eats pretty healthy...of course, there is always room for improvement, but for the most part, I would give us an A-. I know what is good and bad for me...for us. I know how to cook it. Now I just need to find that "something" that is missing to make me really get the connection.

Now, of course I also realize there are many ways of thinking and many ways to approach a healthier lifestyle. Each person has to find that approach that works for them. This is what I am hoping will work for me and my family. I am open to hearing ideas and learning more. In the coming weeks I will be sharing some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G recipes that are healthy and delicious.

Do you have any issue that you feel like sharing? A story? Something that has worked for you? An "A-Ha" moment?

Happy Eating!
Holly

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or food expert. I am simply sharing my thoughts and ideas. A doctor should check you out before you begin a new eating or lifestyle plan.