Monday, March 31, 2014

Casey Gets Fit: Week 5

Current Weight: 161.2 (down 3.8 overall!)
BMI: 25.2

I was so shocked to see 161 on the scale Sunday morning (I always weigh myself Sunday morning for consistency). That means I lost over 2 lbs since my last weigh in. I'm not sure if it is a fluke fluctuation, but I was showing in the 162s all week so I know I am down regardless. And now I am back to my pre-Mexico weight! Sigh, one week to put it on, 2 weeks to get it off. Losing weight is hard.

My eating was definitely tested this week! Up until now I have been controlling my own food by not eating out. However on Monday of this week we had a big meeting and ordered thai for lunch from a restaurant with no nutritional information. I ordered two small appetizers instead of my normal Pai Thai and I ate it for two meals (I snack a lot so I can get away with small meals!). Then on Sunday we ordered Chinese food for dinner at my Dad's so I researched "better" options and only took tiny portions of the junk food. Still added up to 1000 cals for dinner!! Thankfully I had been under my calorie count the previous day due to a good workout, so I wasn't worried about being ~200 over. Life is all about balance!

On Friday Cam came over and we made pizza for dinner!

Nothing about this pizza was healthy- I used white flour, real cheese, lots of meat etc. And it was delicious! However I calculated the calories in the whole pie and added up how many pieces I could have and I stuck to that and had veggies as a side. It helps to have someone around to take all the leftovers home!

Finally on Saturday night I headed out to dinner at Pickle Barrel with a friend. I looked up the nutritional information and picked a meal that I was comfortable with (chicken lettuce wraps! mmm). I also worked out that day so I knew I had a bit more wiggle room in the calorie count. Eating out with friends is really more about the company than the food to me- plus there are yummy options that won't cost you a day's calories if you look.

All in all, what I am trying to say here is that a diet does not mean giving up everything you love, it just means smaller portions, better choices, and sticking to a workout plan! I partook in all the deliciousness this past week and I am still down over 2 pounds! And trust me when I say I am not one of those women who loses weight easily. I know there are plateaus in my future, but I am excited now to see this consistent drop. Calculating every calorie that goes into your mouth isn't fun or easy, but I am finding it is sooo worth it!

Today's Pump You Up Song: Krewella- Alive

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Sunshine Award

I know sometimes blogger awards are silly, but it is Friday and I feel like talking about myself because I am narcissistic. Hahaha. Just kidding (maybe)! But Jennie at The Canadian Housewife nominated me for the Sunshine Award and I figured it would be fun to share some things about myself!

The Sunshine Award is given to blogger who brightens your day (aw thanks Jennie!) and you answer 10 questions that the nominator gave you, then you pass on the love by nominating 10 others and asking them 10 new questions!

Without further ado, here are the questions Jennie posed to me:

1. What is your favourite colour?
Blue! No, yell----Ohhhhhh!!!!
Haha just kidding. It is most often turquoise. Although sometimes it is pink. Other times yellow. Depends on my mood.

2. What country are you from and what country are you currently living in?
Southern Ontario, born and raised. In Canada is where I spend most of my days.

3. What is the #1 destination on your bucket list?
I'd love to spend a few months in New Zealand and Australia. My mom and stepdad did a trip like that about 7 or 8 years ago and I've been jealous ever since!

4. Favourite movie?
Basically anything Disney. Or Harry Potter. Or Lord of the Rings. But if I am watching TV, I always stop for Grease.

5. Most embarrassing moment?
Hmm...I can't really think of any. I have a terrible memory and poor listening skills so sometimes that can suck when I forget someone's name or something. I don't get embarrassed too easily- I am fairly good at laughing at myself!

6. Least favourite actor and why?
I'm not sure I have one! But I hate potty humor, so if you make fart jokes in a movie I don't like you.

7. Food that you couldn't live without?
It used to be potatoes, but I haven't had potatoes in a long time so maybe not. I guess candy? Is candy a food? Or Coke Zero.

8. What is your worst habit?
I interrupt people. It is horrible!!!

9. What time do you normally go to bed?
Usually I climb in around 10-10:30pm and read for 20 minutes. On weekends I go to about 12:00pm. I have gotten super lame in my old age.

10. Why did you start blogging?
It seemed like a fun hobby, but the community of it really reeled me in and now I can't imagine stopping!

Now for who I nominate...that is hard because I kind of love everyone. But I will pass on the award to

Lindsay at Happy or Hungry (she is in Cuba right now... I am jealous)
Alex at Let Life be Like Music
Melanie at Mailbox Journey
Single.Simple.Studio (have you ever told me your name?? hahah)
Michelle at Sweet Suite 10
Thalita at The Learner Observer
Jeanette at This Dusty House
Danica at Country Chic Renovator
Shanondoah at Twenty-Something in Toronto
Emily-Jane at Not a House, But a Home

If you guys don't want to write a post, that is a-ok with me! But I do demand you leave your answers to my questions in the comments. Or I will never forgive you :). And if you aren't on my nominated list, please feel free to chime in too! Because I love everyone.

1. Cheeseburger or hot dog?
2. What is the best vacation you ever took and why?
3. Do you work outside of blogging and if so, why do you do (don't need specifics, I ain't looking to stalk you)?
4. What is your opinion on socks?
5. Do you like Pina Coladas? Getting caught in the rain?
6. Have you ever tried something way out of your comfort zone? How did it go?
7. Favourite restaurant? What do you usually order?
8. Are you a dog person or a cat person? (or an iguana person?)
9. What are you craving right at this moment?
10. How many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

White Bedding= Yay!

I got a new duvet cover!

Wait a minute, you say, isn't this the same duvet cover you've always had?

Yes. Yes it is. I bought an identical duvet cover :). I didn't even bother taking a new photo. I am lazy.

Three years ago I decided to invest in the West Elm Pintuck duvet cover in white. It is organic cotton, which is soft and nice on the skin. It also makes my bed feel (and look) like a giant fluffy marshmallow! But after THREE years of sleeping in it daily I noticed that the upper corner where I slept was starting to be a little...less-white and bleach wasn't aiding it. Also, recently I've noticed the pin stitching starting to tear and there were a few holes appearing on top and it was getting worse.

I loved this duvet cover and I have nothing bad to say against it, because it did last three years before it started to give up the ghost. So when West Elm had a 20% off bedding sale I swooped in this week and got another cover for $95. Not cheap, but I am sure it will last me another three years!


I know a lot of people are against white bedding, but I really have not had any major issues with it. I am not a fan of white sheets and pillow cases because I sweat a bit when sleeping and sweat discolours sheets over time. To protect the duvet cover I use a flat sheet most of the time and I wash it often. I also almost never eat or drink in my bed. On rare occasion I do it is often crackers and water. Not really consciously thinking about the bed...I just love crackers. When I catsit I often cover the duvet in a blanket until the cat cleans itself (they seem to piss on themselves in the carrier...piss covered cat + white duvet is a bad mix). When I have guests I set up extra seating in the living room so I don't often have people sit on my bed, but if it happens I don't stress out. The best part about a duvet cover is you can always just pop it in the wash if something happens!


What I am trying to say here is give white bedding a chance! It might be just what your room is looking for!

PS- I need to learn to style my bed better. I think a headboard would help but I have been delaying that project for 5 years :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Humble Penguin Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is....

Stephanie K.!!!

Steph, I will email you The Humble Penguin's information so you can get in contact. Congrats!!

Thank you to everyone who entered, and do not be sad- you can still get 15% off with the code WDB2014 until April 10th!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Alang Light Redo

You might not remember this, but last January I installed a motion-activated light under and Alang shade in my bedroom area. Well, I am not sure if I ever updated you on it, but you may have noticed it disappeared sometime last year. I had issues with the light randomly being activated when I was tossing and turning in bed or getting up to use the washroom. Blasts of light at 1am are very unwelcome!! And then one day it just wouldn't turn off at all. Grrr...

So down the whole thing came! I can't even remember when this was but I think it was before the winter (when a light it most needed!!). I spent another winter in the dark!

Then one day earlier this year I got an email from one of those Deal Find sites for a light with a switch (instead of motion activated), for about $20 and I ordered it! Then I promptly sat on the project for a month of so because the switch needed some fancy battery that I couldn't be bothered to go find. I finally picked up the battery in Feb and finally this weekend got around to installing everything!

The light has a mounting plate, which I hung up with 3 tiny screws AND a command picture hanging strip. The ceiling here is just drywall and can't support much so I didn't trust just using screws and anchors!

Now the only problem was how in the world to attach the shade! I used command picture hanging strips last time, but it wasn't really very secure. The Alang shade just has three little tables at the top that are inset a bit from the ridge of the shade- and one of the tabs is more inset than the other two. It wasn't designed to be hung like this at all (it is supposed to be magnetically attached to their lighting system that it comes with).

I didn't take a photo of it, but here is the diagram from the assembly instructions.

I tried a bunch of things (all fails), but then remembered I had this cord wrangling hooks that I had never used!

I hot glued them to the tabs on the shade, so now my shade had three even tabs that were level with the shade! I used command strips again because the shade is very light and with the new tabs it was a much more secure contact with the ceiling.

Oh- and as for covering up the hole I had cut in the shade (for when the light was motion activated), I just cut out a big circle of bristol board and laid it over top, and then kept the fabric cover for the bottom- the old hole can't be seen at all!

Yay to having light again! of course, now it is light in the mornings again...haha. But still, this will be handy for the evenings. The light isn't as bright as the old one, but it does the trick. I haven't decided where to put the switch yet (it can be wall mounted). I might just leave it lying around the area so I can access it from bed.

Let's hope Alang lamp round 2 is a success!

PS: my giveaway for a Humble Penguin bow clutch ends TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT!! If you haven't entered yet, please go over to the page and enter!! Winner will be announced tomorrow!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Casey Gets Fit: Week 4

I think it is week 4. I'm not very good at counting weeks. :)

Weight: 163.6 (down 1.4 lbs overall- up 2.2 from before Mexico)
BMI: 25.7

I gained a couple pounds in Mexico, as was to be expected (unlimited nachos and margaritas!). This actually doesn't bother me because it meant instead of eating only salads in Mexico I was enjoying this:

Totally worth it. And yes, I did try to put some veggies on my plate now and then :)

But now I am back and getting back into the swing of eating healthy and working out! Actually my eating has been totally on track this week and my weight is down a pound from what it measured on Sunday morning when I got back! Hurray! I've actually gotten into a good groove of eating smaller portions and being under my calorie goal each day (except Saturday night when I partook in nachos and beer. But I wasn't that over!)

I think a lot of losing weight is figuring out what your weaknesses are and understanding where you will slip up. For instance, I simply love to snack. I don't think this is going to change. I want a snack whether I have had a 1000 calorie meal an hour before, or a 300 calorie meal. So this week I tried eating low calorie meals and allowing myself to snack every couple hours- and I was just fine!

I have also gotten back into my running and I had started using a new app- RunKeeper! I love it because it uses GPS to track my distance and pace and I have it set to tell me every 5 minutes how far I have gone and what my pace is- very useful for figuring out when I am slowing down or speeding up too much! You can also manually enter other workouts like the treadmill or swimming and it calculates the calories burnt based on your height and weight.

Here are my splits from the first run of the season that I took outside! PS- on the pace chart the spikes are where I took walking breaks. It was super cold and windy on the way back home!!

The best part about this app is that it links to MyFitnessPal- where I track my calories! So whenever I complete a workout it automatically feeds into my daily calorie count. Neat, right? You can also schedule it to remind you of workouts and it has a bunch of run training plans for free. So far I have been using the free app, but there is a paid option that has a few more options- like comparing your runs and stuff like that. I might end up upgrading, but for now I am just playing around with the app to see what it offers. 

And on that note- I should probably get out and do a workout now! :) I shall leave you with this weeks Pump It Up song to get you motivated!!

Timber by Pitbull

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Mexican Souvenir

I am not much on buying souvenirs usually- I often just pick up a magnet for my dad, a shot glass for my brother and his wife, and something for my niece. I don't always get something for me because frankly I got to go on the trip and have the photos and memories! However, once and awhile something strikes my fancy when I am traveling and it needs to come home with me. This apparently happens most often in Mexico- I seriously have so many things from my trip to Mexico City in 2012.

When we were shopping San Jose Del Cabo last week I felt that I probably wouldn't pick anything up because the prices were kind of unfavourable. I kept ogling the handpainted plates, but I kept my hands off my wallet!! However we then ended up in a cute little shop with all sorts of goods and fell in love with the hand-embroidered fabrics. So I got one :)

They actually had all sorts of colours, but I liked the rainbow one best and there was a choice between bird eating a snake and demon llama ( was frightening), so I picked the bird! PS- there is an eagle eating a snake on the Mexican flag. This looks more like a quail to me, but still- cool! It cost $20 US, so certainly not cheap, but I didn't buy too much in town so I was OK with that. I ended up finding way more like this in another store about an hour later that I think would have given me a better deal, but live and learn.

I thought it would look spiffy under the print of the sugar skull in my living room. Kind of like an ode to Mexico on that wall! I wanted to frame it with the same frame as the skull without the matting, but I don't know when I will get to Ikea for that, so I rummaged in my locker and found a similar-sized black frame! I wasn't feeling the black, so I painted it navy to match the matting in the skull frame. And I like it!

And yes, I do have pillows lying all over my floor- thank you for noticing :)

I hung it up after it dried and I think it looks pretty amazing! The navy frame looks darker than the navy matting (probably because I didn't prime the frame, but I still think it ties in well). I also think I may have hung them too high. Is there a rule of thumb when hanging two pieces vertically?

I wasn't comfortable cutting the fabric, because hopefully I can pick up a bigger frame another time, so I just folded it. My condo is full of secrets :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Humble Penguin Giveaway!

Did you know that it is Fashion Week in Toronto this week? I don't tend to get too much into high fashion because that stuff is just crazy, but I do enjoy regular people fashion and getting all glammed up. I also like to support handmade goods for their one-of-a-kind look and the artistry that goes into them. And what better way to celebrate being fashionable ladies this week than with a giveaway!!

Ashley at The Humble Penguin sent me this adorable clutch from her line of bow clutches. She let me pick any design I liked (so hard!) and I ended up going with this snazzy Dr. Who inspired look- tweed, red bow tie, and a tardis blue lining! I don't watch the show (nothing against Dr. Who, but I am just terrible at watching any TV shows), but I loved the colour combo!

I am such an accessories girl, and I cannot resist a cute clutch. I love this style because there is a wrist strap (who likes to actually clutch a clutch?) and plenty of room for all my needs inside! I hate when clutches are so small you can't even fit your phone or camera in them. Plus it easily dresses up or down depending on the event! I even went all "fashion blogger" for you and showed how it works for day or evening! Awkwardness all around, but you get the idea. How do the fashion bloggers do this every day??

As an FYI- these were the two runner up styles that I coveted:

So cute, right? But she has tons more to choose from that would suit anyone's tastes! See them all here. Ashley also makes camera straps, wallets, passport covers, scarves, and wristlets! If you have a hard to shop for lady on your list, or even need bridal shower/wedding party gifts (wedding season is coming up!), you will definitely be able to find something in her store!

And as a special gift for my readers, Ashley has generously offered up a bow clutch from her shop for FREE for one lucky winner!! I cannot speak enough about how cute and well made this purse is in person. I even asked Ashley for advice on zippers because it looks so darn smooth.

If you win a purse, you can get one like mine and we can be twinsies!! And if you don't win, that is ok too because she is also offering everyone 15% off with the code WDB2014 until April 10th!

All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter below! The contest will run until next Wednesday so there is plenty of time to enter and let other people know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest is only open to residents of Canada and the USA

Monday, March 17, 2014

Los Cabos!

I am baaaaack from Los Cabos! I tried to pack some heat in my suitcase but Canada Border officials confiscated it. Sigh.

We had SUCH a great time! I went with my friends Allie and Veronica and they were great travel buddies. The trip got off to a rough start when we couldn't be sat together on the plane (you couldn't check in online so it was first come first serve for seats), but we all managed through the 5 hours flight with books and terrible movies. PS- I read FIVE books and about 10 magazines this past week. Nothing heavy. Very fun!

We arrived at our hotel (Melia Cabo Real) late in the evening and moved into our room, which was awesome! It even had a view, which we definitely didn't pay for. Originally the hotel booked us for a king sized bed so the clerk switched it to two doubles and I think that got us an upgrade, I also got a bed to myself all week. I had a throat infection coming roaring in the Wednesday before we left and even though I was feeling a LOT better after being on antibiotics, we weren't too sure if I was contagious. I also had this weird symptom where I coughed all night that lasted until Wednesday or Thursday. It was pretty awful so no one wanted to share my bed and then we were too lazy to switch it up (I offered!).
Our room!

The view!!!
Our days typically looked like this:
7:30am- someone wakes up early and runs down to the pool and claims seats with towels (there were usually chairs available, but the best, comfiest, best location ones went fast!). The towel person would bring coffee and tea back to the room
8:00am- we were usually all up by now and started sunscreening and dressing!
9:00am- breakfast with mimosas overlooking the ocean (mmmm)
10:00am- pool and bar opened!
11:00am- snack time at the snack bar (nachos!!)
2:00pm- lunch time!
5:00pm- sun starts to set so we pack it in and go chill in the room as it gets cool in evenings
6:00pm- nap time
8:00pm- dinner!
10:00pm- drinks at the lobby bar and then bed

The buffet was pretty amazing- it was down by the pool and overlooked the ocean. The area we were in often had whales swimming by so some days you would be sitting out there and treated to a show of whales breaching!! We also went to dinner at the Mediterranean and Japanese restaurants, which with both amazing. Really extensive menu options, making it so hard to choose what to get! The buffet food was always good too- even with my shrimp allergy (sad to miss so many yummy things on seafood night), Veronica's gluten allergy, and Allie's aversion to spicy foods. The only complaint we had is that the food never seemed to be HOT, only warm. But it was all delicious and there are definitely a few extra pounds on me now :)

At the buffet one morning

Mexican night at the buffet!

The resort did have a beach, but the beaches are public so the resort didn't keep much down there. Also, Los Cabos is not a good area for swimming because of a strong undertow. Our resort did have a small area roped off that was safe for swimming, but we only went down there for a dip on our last day. We were quite happy to sit up at the pool where there was a bar and unlimited nachos! The weather was hot hot hot each day and we only had a couple overcast afternoons.

Down at the beach

We had planned to go into town to go dancing a lot of nights because the resort night life was kind of lame. Our lazy butts didn't make it out until the Monday night. We had to take a $30 cab from the hotel (we were in between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo), and then we found a crazy nightlife in San Lucas. Apparently it was spring break in the states and the place was crawling with drunk 20 year olds!! Plus, the drinks were really expensive- $8 US! We bar hopped a bit and finally ended up at a place with pitchers on Long Island Ice Teas for $20 and we shared a few of those while dancing. Then some how we ended up at a bar where they lit the bar on fire. It was a strange, fun fun night. We got home around 3am (5-6am Toronto time!!) and missed most of the day on Tuesday due to hangovers. We decided that was enough partying for one week!!

Most of the week was spent on the resort soaking in all the sun we could (through many layers of sun screen!). But on Thursday we headed out in the evening to San Jose for their evening ArtWalk. We walked around looking at the art on display, and then ended up shopping for all sorts of cute things. It was pretty pricy, so we sadly put a lot back, but it was a treat for the eyes to look through so many handmade goods. We then capped off our evening at a great Mexican restaurant that got us to come in by offering free margaritas. The food was soooo good, but we ate way too much!

On Friday we headed into San Lucas again to go to Lover's Beach. We took the bus into town this time to save money as the bus was only $2 each (but only runs until 10pm). We charted ourselves a glass bottom boat for $15 each, and we ended up being the only people on it! We were glad we did it our way versus going with a tour group as the tour groups (sold through your agent at the hotel) were expensive and their boats looked packed! If you ever go to Lover's Beach, the Mexican Nemo (our boat) is awesome and the driver is a lot of fun. We went to a bunch of sites before he dropped us off at Lover's Beach for an hour.

On the beach you could buy beers and we wished we had asked the driver to let us stay longer as it was a gorgeous day and you could swim in the ocean there. So relaxing! There is also snorkeling nearby, which would have been fun if we had more time- there were so many fish!

Friday night we just relaxed and packed. But as I was packing I heard fireworks! The resort next door was having a HUGE (like 300 guests) wedding on the beach and they had fireworks! We had a perfect view from our balcony and we all agreed it was a nice end to our vacation to stand out there and enjoy them.

Saturday was our last day :(. So we got up extra early to fit in as much pool time as possible, but at 12pm we had to wrap it up! Allie and I ran down for a quick dip in the ocean by the pool and then we packed up, ate a quick lunch, and headed out! The line at the airport to check into the flight was SO LONG. I thought I might die. Somehow we managed to get seats together this time, but then on the flight the guy beside me was telling me his wife was terrified of flying and they couldn't get seats together so I ended up switching with her. I was glad I did because Allie and Veronica told me the poor girl was praying the whole flight!

We landed at 1am and I didn't make it home until after 3am!! A looong night, but it was an awesome trip and I have very few complaints! The resort was amazing and the staff was so friendly. The food was good, the drink list at the pool bar was crazy extensive, the sun was hot, and everything was perfect! Happy to be home, but my goodness it is too cold up here! Now I need to get back to the gym to lose my nacho and margarita weight. PS- the resort reportedly has a fitness centre, but it was a small resort and we never saw the thing so we assumed it didn't exist and never went :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

30 Day Shred: A Review

Guess what I did- I actually finished Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred!! I started on Feb 8th and I finished on Mar 8th! Now, technically that is 28 days due to Feb being an itty bitty month, but a certain trip to Mexico got in the way! Terrible, I know.

In those 28 days, I missed 7 workouts (3 in Florida, 3 while sick, and 1 while lazy). Only ONE workout skipped due to being lazy is pretty amazing. Although, it is hard to believe I only did 21 workouts because I felt like I was working my butt off day after day for weeks upon weeks! Ah well.

And did you know I was tracking my measurements through all that? Oh yes. I am one organized Casey. I basically kept a notebook with all my major measurements, except weight. These workouts to me were more about toning than losing weight (there is a lot of strength so I am sure I gained muscle).

Inches lost:
Bust: 1.5"
Natural Waist: 0.5"
Belly Button: 1"
Hips/Butt: 0.5"
Legs and Arms: No Change

Overall, I didn't lose a TON of inches, but I definitely feel stronger and more toned! Plus I wasn't really watching my food for the first few weeks, and food is oh so important when trying to lose a flabby tummy! As for all that lost bust, do not worry- I am convinced it was evil back fat that disappeared! There is so much plank in Level 2 & 3 that it had no choice but to disappear.

As for the workouts themselves, they were TOUGH. After the first workout I thought my body would never heal. However I toughed it out and keep at it and I felt my body getting stronger and I wasn't in pain after anymore after just a couple days! The workouts are each 20ish minutes and they have 3 cycles of: 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs. There are also 3 levels and I tried to move up every 7-8 days (since I knew I didn't have 30 days). Level 2 is the root of all evil. That is all I have to say on that.

Now, you may think a 20 minute workout is nothing but trust me when I tell you they are hard. I often needed to stop for 5 seconds (there are no breaks in the workout), or drop down to the "easy modification". And sweat would be dripping from my head still. Sexy.

My overall review: They are a great mini workout, but you should really do a few more workouts outside of them (like running!) and really watch your food if you want lose weight on it. However, you will definitely get stronger. I can last way longer at the strength exercises now, and when I go back and do level 1 it feels like a walk in the park!

Now that I am done I plan to get back into my running (10K race in a couple of months!) and then supplement with doing a Shred workout a few times a week to keep my strength up.

Have you ever done the 30 Day Shred or another DVD? Please share your stories!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Indoor Plant Update

I thought today I would share how my plants have been doing since moving indoors for the winter! I have a total black thumb, so I wasn't sure how the move would go and it has been...well..up and down? I seriously always forget to water my plants. Even as I write this I can't remember when I last watered them. Bad Casey.

So- let's begin!

Big Tree Plant Thing- Before and After!

This plant has been VERY happy indoors this winter! It has a bad lean, which I need to figure out what to do about, but otherwise it has been growing like a happy weed!

Succulents- Before and After

There are no words to describe these plants. Just laughter. Obviously they have lost a lot of soil (or been pushed upwards) somehow since I originally planted them, so they are sticking out. And dying. Actually the green one seems ok, but the purple one is barely hanging one and the blue one has morphed into some sort of crazy mutant. Note to self- buy new ones this summer :)

Plant in Purple Bucket- Before and After

Some of the plants in this pot were obviously not wintering plants and naturally died off. Overall it is not doing badly, but I am not sure if I will keep it around. I might just repot the smaller green plant and keep that since it seems pretty easy going.

Mysterious Flower- Before and After

Oh so very dead. Funny story- I thought this plant was a peony, but I wasn't sure. And then I was reading the most recent issue of HGTV magazine and they had a section on plants and I finally found what is was!! However, I have misplaced the issue and now I have forgotten again. SIGH. But I do remember this plant is in fact an annual. Which means it is dead and not my fault. Hurrah! Need to find a new non-dead plant once things warm up.

Update- I found the magazine and the flower was a cosmos. However, upon googling these flowers, the leaves don't look right. Back to square one!

So there you are, one happy plant, one mutant plant, and a whole lot of dead ones. Overall, I consider my first foray into indoor plant care a success- though the living plants have been living in spite of my care so I am not quite patting myself on the back.

Now I must go water them before I forget again!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guest Post: Gluten-Free Living: Surviving a Weekend Away From Home

I am off for a week of fun in the sun! In the meantime, Jenn from the Canadian Housewife is here today writing about traveling while eating gluten free. I am not GF, but I have lots of friends who are and I find it very useful advice- even for people with other food allergies.

Hello there! My name is Jenn and I blog over on The Canadian Housewife about life in the country, gardening, keeping chickens, making crafts and living with food allergies.

When Casey (who I met in the line for the Young House Love book) asked me to share today a little about gluten-free living, I jumped at the chance. You see, I haven’t always been gluten-free and I know that when I first started down this confusing road of avoiding certain foods, I felt overwhelmed and discouraged. So I am hoping to help encourage those of you who are new on this journey or help support others who are already gluten-free.

At first I toyed with the idea  of writing a general post about living gluten-free but felt too overwhelmed by that thought, since I wouldn’t be able to fit it all into one post without boring you all to death and taking up way too much of your precious time. So I opted to choose a specific angle and go with that. 

Before I was gluten-free, traveling didn’t seem like that big of a deal. All I would do is throw some clothes and toiletries in a bag, book a hotel and hit the road. Okay, so there was usually a little more effort than that but you get the picture.  Food wasn’t really thought of much since we normally just ate out at restaurants and chose them according to what we were craving at the time.  Life was easy back then. 

When I first went gluten-free, the idea of leaving the comfort and safety of my home and kitchen was terrifying. What would I eat? Would I get sick from eating something wrong? How long would we be gone for? How many meals would need to be organized? The list went on and on. It was too much to think about and so we didn’t do much traveling at first.  But over time and becoming a little more accustomed to my new diet, it became easier.

That being said, it still takes a heck of a lot more thought than it did before. Now when we plan a weekend away I have to know ahead of time so that I can do the appropriate amount of research. I need to know where we are going, how long we will be there for, what sorts of restaurants are near by, is there a grocery store, a fridge or microwave where we are staying, etc. It takes thought and careful planning so that I know I will be able to eat. 

Luckily, a lot of restaurants are now offering gluten-free menu items so it makes eating out a lot easier than it was before. You can usually find out if you can eat somewhere by checking the restaurants menu online or making a quick phone call. I have also discovered that while some places don’t advertise it, they are usually more than willing to accommodate me. 

I also like to pack lots of snacks when we travel. There is usually a bag dedicated completely to food where I bring things that I can eat, like muffins, bread, crackers, applesauce, peanut butter, rice cakes, cereal and almond milk. We try really hard to only book hotel rooms that have a fridge and a microwave so that I can at least have breakfast and possibly lunch in the room. While many restaurants do offer gluten-free items, I usually feel safer eating foods that I bring and know for sure are safe for me to eat. Not to mention it saves us money to not have to eat out for every single meal.

Going away for the weekend is entirely possible when you are gluten-free, it just usually takes more preparation. It also becomes easier the more you do it and the longer you are gluten-free, since you become more comfortable with your restrictions and aren’t so easily overwhelmed. 

So my advice to you would be to just stay calm and plan ahead. You won’t starve, you just might get a little hungry and grumpy if you do spontaneous trips. But over time, you will get used to it and one day it will be second nature to you. 

I do feel like I should add that traveling is a little bit trickier for me now, since I am now gluten/dairy/corn free, but it is still entirely possible. Feel free to join me over on my blog for gluten-free recipes and stories about living life with food restrictions.

I shall leave you with a quote that I find quite inspiring and hopefully encourages you as well. 

“After I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I said yes to food, with great enthusiasm. . . . I vowed to taste everything I could eat, rather than focusing on what I could not.” ― Shauna James Ahern
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