How To: Quit the Gym

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Hey Cats!

 Happy Wednesday! This week has gotten off to an interesting start. Sunday night and early Monday morning, Houston and the surrounding areas flooded, so Monday I worked from home. Fortunately, it wasn’t terrible in the area I live in, but I have teacher friends who may not be able to go to work at all this week- yikes! We are expecting more rain this week, so please keep Houston and the surrounding areas in your prayers!

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For those of you who are a bit confused by the title of this blog post, let me explain. My last year of college, I was obsessed with going to the gym. I went every day and it  became my favorite pastime, stress relief, and way to avoid homework. I was convinced that it would be a lasting habit. Well, then I started working full time and no longer had the spacious, free rec center filled with courteous individuals, and working out got to be really difficult.

After searching for a gym with an indoor track for weeks, I found none. I refused to use the treadmill in my apartment and after a few weeks without doing my ab circuit or lifting weights, I started to notice a change in my appearance, my energy level, and my mood. So I hastily bought a membership to what I deemed the best replacement, a large local gym that was affordable and close to my office.

And I hated it. It was so crowded at 6 pm that I rarely was able to finish a workout. People were rude and literally told me I was in their way. And don’t get me started on the creepy men that stared all the time. I missed the rec center, the indoor track, and boys that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I cried about it, not a joke.

I toughed it out for a while, but ended up going to the gym only once or twice a week. I tried Pure Barre but I decided it was for wimps (sorry if you like, love it.). I was so frustrated with how my level of fitness had fallen in the past few months, but I didn’t know what to do. I was tired of paying for a gym I didn’t use, but I didn’t want to have zero options.

My mom had been suggesting for months that I try to find workout videos and use the gym in my apartment complex. I kept telling her that workout videos were for wimpy girls and I only liked to run on the actual ground and lift real weights, so no thank you. But out of desperation, I started searching one day, and came across the Nike Training Club app. I was skeptical, but I perused the workouts and they looked really great! They incorporated cardio and strength training which was perfect. So I did it. I quit the gym. No more monthly fees, no more frustration over unfinished workouts, no more excuses for not getting a workout in.

As much as I loved the gym, it just doesn’t fit into my life anymore. It was a strange transition, but I’m so glad I quit the gym. Here are some tips for those of you who are in a similar situation:

  1. Find a program you love. Whether it’s the Nike Training Club, Blogilates, or a routine from a personal trainer, the possibilities are endless! Actually, since I have someone telling me what to do, I’ve noticed more consistent results, as opposed to when I would just wander around the weight room and say, “oh this looks like something I can do without embarrassing myself!”. Switch it up when you get bored, that’s the beauty of quitting the gym!
  2. Invest in equipment. You’ll have to choose your program first, but I would suggest starting with a yoga mat and a pair of hand weights at the very least. I use the mat for all floor exercises, and the hand weights for a variety of exercises, like lunges, arm presses, and abs. You can expand into a medicine ball and resistance bands, too! At first, I didn’t want to spend the money on these things, but compared to a gym membership it’s pretty reasonable. Plus, they do not have to be expensive- both of mine are from Marshall’s!
  3. Use your resources. Earlier I mentioned that I did not want to use the treadmill in my apartment complex. Well. I had to get over that. Obviously, I can’t go for a run inside my apartment. If your apartment complex has a treadmill, use it-you pay for it! I only use it when it rains or when I want a quick run, because I feel like a hamster on treadmills. I found a small neighborhood behind my apartment complex that I’ve been running through when the weather is nice. It’s full of old people, so it seems pretty safe. But always be mindful of your surroundings!
  4. Do not stop with the coordinated workout outfits. Hi, sometimes the only reason I could convince myself to go to the gym was by wearing my LuluLemon tights. Not a joke. So I still like to look cutie, even if I’m by myself.
  5. Break it up. If you can’t stand the thought of working out at home all the time, consider attending a workout class once a week or so.
  6. Stick to it. It can be difficult to keep yourself accountable to a workout plan when you can literally walk two steps and plant yourself on the couch for the evening. But if I can do it, so can you! I like to make it a challenge for myself. I never turn on the TV until I’ve finished my workout. I also like to have a set time to start. I come home, eat a snack and am ready to go at 5:45. Trying to get back into the routine is extremely difficult, but once you’re used to it again, you start looking forward to it!

So there you have it. Did I convince you to quit the gym? It’s definitely easier than I thought! I don’t think this will be a forever fitness routine for me, but it’s working right now! Do you exercise at home or go to a gym? Which do you prefer? Let me know!

Home Decor How-To: Gallery Wall

Hey Cats!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend! On Saturday, I volunteered with the Junior League and then cleaned my apartment, which was much needed, and on Sunday, I went to the Mumford and Sons concert with my friends Ashley & Biz. It was great! I’m not so sure I’m ready for this busy week ahead, but it’s here whether I want it to be or not.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things I was most excited about when moving into my own apartment was decorating it. I actually had most of it planned out before I even chose my apartment, my living room gallery wall included. Since then, I have added another in my bedroom above my dresser, and I am obsessed.

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This wall in my living room is a combination of literally every single piece of art I had hanging in my house in college, plus one or two more. I actually painted the cat, the bird, and the Gatsby quote myself!

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My newest gallery wall is above my dresser in my bedroom. I’ve had the prints since Christmas, but I was waiting for the perfect addition (the rhino) before hanging everything!

Before I created the gallery above my couch, I was under the impression that it was a difficult process and you basically had to be an interior decorator for it to look halfway decent. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is! So today, I’m sharing with you my tips on how to make the perfect gallery wall:

  1. There are no rules. Seriously. It’s like abstract art, so you can basically do whatever you want, and as long as nothing is crooked, it will probably look good. So keep that in mind.
  2. A mixture of size and shape can add interest, but a few pieces of similar size and shape can give some balance. On my living room wall, nothing is the same size, but most pieces are a horizontal rectangle. The straight lines draw the eye up and down from one piece to the next. In my bedroom I have some unique shapes, but the four prints of equal size and shape anchor the collage.
  3. Try to have a general color scheme or theme. For my living room wall, I drew inspiration from the two colorful paintings with the cat and the bird. They gave me lots of options, and while nothing “matches”, they don’t just look like a hodge-podge. In my living room, I went with a more concentrated color scheme of pink, gold, white, and gray.
  4. Play around with layouts before getting hammer happy. A simple way to do this is to just lay everything out on the floor! That way you can be sure you like how it looks before it’s on the wall and get the spacing correct. Once it’s how you want it, snap a picture with your phone for reference. I hung my bedroom wall by myself, and I left each item in the layout on the floor and hung them one-by-one so I could have a good idea of the spacing as I hung everything.
  5. Leave room to grow! As you can see on both of my walls, there is room to expand, but it doesn’t look incomplete. You never know when you may find the perfect addition, and you don’t want to have to take it all down and start from scratch.
  6. Have fun with it! I mean seriously, I have a marble rhinoceros head, a painting of a cat, a painting of a bird, and a glitter quote about partying on my wall. But neither one of those things looks too bizarre because they’re surrounded by normal things. Remember, “in the Southern home, there’s room to display all manner of elegance & eccentricity”. So there: do what you want.

If you have a gallery wall of your own, I would love to see it! I’m always looking for inspiration (even though I’m running out of walls).

That’s all for meow!

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I’ve Got A Blank Space, Baby…

Hey Cats!

I hope everyone’s Monday was great! Mine was kind of a Monday, not in the sense that it was bad, but it was super busy with lots of things emerging out of the blue. I didn’t even finish my morning reports until after lunch, which really stressed me out. But by the end of the day, things had definitely calmed down, and after a workout and a night of blogging (for both work and fun…yay!) , I’m ready to go today!

Decorating my apartment was something I had looked forward to long before I knew where I would be living. I had most of my wall space planned out: collage wall above my couch, big mirror in the dining room, Audrey Hepburn print surrounded by my antique hat collection above my bed, and a couple of oddly-shaped prints and collage frames to squeeze into the tiny slivers of wall wherever I could find. That pretty much covered everything, except for a few gaping expanses of wall over my TV, my dresser, and in my hallway.

So what to put in these blank spaces? Well I don’t have anybody’s name to write, that’s for sure. But I have been considering a few options, and  maybe you could help me out! I think that all of these options would look great, but the trouble is deciding on only two or three! Here are my options:

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A Prada Marfa canvas is the perfect chic and sleek addition to my apartment. I am 100% sure I’m getting one of these, but I haven’t decided what room I’m going to put it in! There are a lot of options on Etsy, in many different sizes. I’m wanting one that’s fairly large so it will cover a lot of wall space.

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I’m also considering a sunburst mirror for above my dresser. I found this one on Wayfair, but I bet you could also find one at Home Goods (my favorite place ever) or Hobby Lobby!

wall-monogram

Obviously I’m considering a wall monogram, like this big one from Marley Lilly. It comes unfinished, but I would probably paint it gold, gray, or black! I thought about doing a design but I do not have that type of talent, so one color it is. But glitter is also an option, per usual.

Watercolor-canvas

I also love the idea of a watercolor canvas. This one from Pottery Barn is beautiful, but it wouldn’t really match the rest of my decor. I have my eye on one at HomeGoods, it’s navy, gray, pink and gold and would look perfect on any of my blank spaces- plus it’s a lot cheaper!

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Finally, I’m considering another collage wall, because it’s perfect for those of us who can’t decide. I also have a couple of small art pieces that need a home, so this is looking like a good option. And obviously I would love to find quite a few more!

So now that you’ve seen my options, which ones are your favorite? Let me know!

That’s all for meow!

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Love My Bedroom

Hey Cats!

I’m back! I’m alive! I’m done with college! These past few weeks have been quite the whirlwind, but in the best way. I’ve been finishing up final assignments for classes, studying for finals, and squeezing in time with friends in every open window. Also, I have BIG NEWS. I have a big girl job! It’s been such a long process, but I’m happy to say that I have something in the field I want, and in the area I want! But more on that later.

One thing I have really enjoyed about my house that I’ve lived in the past two years in college is having my own space. My room is pretty big, and I have my own bathroom, which is the best. I spend a lot of time in my room, whether I’m studying, supposed to be studying, sleeping, or just having some time to myself, so it’s a space I’ve come to love! I’ve also had the same color scheme all four years of college, so I’ve grown a bit attached to my blue, purple and gray furniture and decorations, and will be a little sad to give it up once I move! But I am excited to decorate my new place using some of the things I already have!

It was a little difficult to pick a favorite thing in my room, simply because a lot of my furniture and decorations have a special story behind them. But, one Sunday afternoon as I was preparing to take my Sunday nap (because hi, I’m a grandma and literally cannot function all week without one), it hit me. The one thing I would grab in a fire, the thing that brings me the most comfort on a crappy day, the thing that may have inspired my color scheme: my nap blanket.

My nap blanket is a chenille throw that I’ve had since about the 5th grade. Not a joke. My mom had a similar one in her room and I just loooooved it, so I begged for one for quite some time, and when I finally got it, it was a  Big Deal because it was kind of expensive. Because of that, I was a little afraid to use it, so I only used it for Sunday naps. (Sunday naps are just a thing in my family, and they’re great). From then on, I only used it for naps, hence the name “nap blanket”. I even left it at home my freshman year in college, because I didn’t want it to smell like the dorm- because let’s be honest, some of my clothes STILL smell like the dorm and I can’t even wear them. But when I moved into a house my sophomore year, I brought it along. It then transitioned to my all-the-time blanket. When I was upset, I’d curl up in it and have a good cry, I’d wrap it around me when I was doing homework, and of course, I used it when I took naps. This blanket will always be one of my favorite things about my bedroom, and will always have a place of honor in my room, no matter where I go. Everyone should have a nap blanket in my opinion, and unfortunately, this one is really old, so I can’t even remember where it came from. But I found a few great options from Parachute, a luxury bedding company: this cashmere throw looks like it has all the qualities of a great nap blanket: large, soft, and lightweight. And it’s available in both solid and stripes, and neutral colors to match whatever your taste is!

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Since I’m packing up my room, I won’t have time to use my nap blanket much in the next few days, but I can guarantee that it will be one of the first things I reach for when I move into my new home! What’s your favorite part of your bedroom?

That’s all for meow!

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Apartment Inspiration- Living Area

Hey Cats!

Today is my last first day of school…maybe forever! When did I get so old? Honestly, I’m a little bit sad. The first few days of classes are always so exciting, you get to see what all you’ll be learning about that semester, and maybe make new friends! It also makes me really nervous, because I see everything that I have to do during the semester- I have a tendency to not take things one step at a time and get unnecessarily overwhelmed. I actually did that this weekend, before classes even started, so hopefully I will have calmed down by the time I actually get in the classroom.

Anyways, over the past month or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about my “big girl” apartment that I’m going to get when I graduate and move to an unknown city, which I will pay for with a job I do not yet have. Some may call this counting your chickens before they hatch, but I call it being excited. In my room at school, I have a blue, gray, and dark purple color scheme that I really love, but I would like to shake it up a little. I have a picture in my mind of a gray or neutral
couch with black and gold end tables and other furniture, and bright jewel tones as accents. I want it to be a colorful, fun, and cheerful place! It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ve found endless inspiration on Pinterest. This isn’t my entire Home board, but a few of my favorites that capture what I’m going for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for meow!

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Power Couples

Hey Cats!

There’s just something about winter that makes people want to announce that they’ve found themselves in a perfect match. Maybe it’s the dawn of a new year, maybe it’s because people get bored when they have time off, maybe it’s because they’re tired of people thinking that asking about their future direction in life is an appropriate smalltalk topic- who knows, really (definitely not me). All I know is that new and surprising couples are popping up all over the place, and I’m all about it. Here are a few new relationships that have caught my attention:

1. Lilly Pulitzer for Target:

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This is like that time your friend that knows literally everyone on campus dated that guy that also knows literally everyone and they became The Favorite Couple in all circles. Both Lilly Pulitzer and Target are powerhouses in their own right, so put them together and people (read: college girls across America) are LOSING THEIR MINDS. The combination of country club chic with Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less” mantra seems a little counter-intuitive at first: how is this high-end brand with a very specific target audience going to fly at a major discount retailer? But it’s like the first time you dip your french fries in your milkshake- you’re a little skeptical, but crap, that’s good and you’re not really sure why. I’ve never super loved any of Target’s designer collaborations- the products always appear to be noticeably different than the original designs. Which could very well happen again with this Lilly Pulitzer partnership- but I’m holding out hope. Also, whoever negotiated this deal is my hero, and I hope you get a bonus or extra vacation time or something, because you’ve done a great job.

2. Kate Spade Saturday + West Elm

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This is the couple that was set up through a mutual friend because they’re both “so chill”, and the girl is real cute, but also a little quirky and awkward so she has a hard time talking to boys, but somehow it worked this time. Kate Spade Saturday is one of my favorite brands because of their bright-colored patterns and unique pieces, and West Elm offers a wide variety of modern, quality pieces for the home, with a commitment to Fair Trade and socially-conscious business practices. Together, they bring us a fun collection of sleek and chic decor that would be perfect for your first apartment.  I like how both brands are clearly apparent in each piece- classic West Elm shapes with eye-catching Saturday prints. A few of my favorites? The Anders Chair, this wool rug, and this geometric garment rack.

3. Kate Spade Saturday + New Balance

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This is like when your best friend starts dating someone and you just know they’re going to get married because it’s simply a perfect match. I saw this while scrolling through Instagram the other day, and basically lost my mind. Mostly because I just bought new tennis shoes to wear to class, or I totally would pre-order some ASAP. Kate Spade Saturday is really putting herself out there this year! The shoes have classic New Balance sneaker shape, with fun Saturday style. I love this couple because it gives you both a colorful, trendy look without sacrificing comfort and support that we’re all looking for in a sneaker. My favorite pair is definitely the Freestyle– how cute would these be strolling to class or in the gym? Okay, I’ll probably have a pair in the next couple of months.

What’s your favorite collaboration for Spring 2015? Let me know!

That’s all for meow!

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Queen Bee

Hey Cats!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week!  I would say that it’s because of my online class, but it’s actually because I stayed out late on Monday and I’ve been super tired…I’m such a grandma. But I plan to get back on track!

One of my favorite parts of my townhome is my bathroom-it’s actually the reason I chose my room! That sounds really weird, but I just love it. There’s copious amounts of counterspace, a large linen closet for all of my unnecessary toiletries I can’t live without, and there’s a walk-in closet. So obviously, I had to have it. It’s actually been my favorite room to decorate, (I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect painting for inside my closet) and today I’m going to share my jewelry tray that I keep on my counter.

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So it’s maybe not the most organized system (and this is after I cleaned it up a bit), but I love having my everyday jewelry on display.(Also, this isn’t even close to all of my jewelry- I store the rest in a dresser drawer, but it’s kind of a mess.)  I’m obsessed with this Sarah Hansen Annapolis Queen Bee tray. It just really speaks to me on a personal level, since I like to think I’m the Queen Bee. Before I got the tray, I had everything on a glitter plate I crafted, but it was too small. I love the size of this tray, and that it keeps everything in its place while also making a statement itself.

The jewelry tree was my grandmother’s, which makes it extra special. I’ve had it for years, but never quite used it to its full potential until this year! I like the different levels, it makes storing both necklaces and bracelets easy. You could probably find one similar to mine at an antique store, or there’s this interesting piece from Anthropologie, and this one from ModCloth.

Keeping with the royalty theme, I have a little ceramic crown that I use as a catchall for my rings, studs, hairties, and bobby pins. I like it because it allows me to keep even more things out on my counter without looking like too much of a mess. I love this Giraffe Dish and this (mildly creepy but still cute) “Lend Me a Hand” ring holder.

I also keep my Aggie ring box here, so I can tuck my little piece of gold away safely each night, and my many lipsticks, perfumes, and current nail color. I love it when storage can double as decoration, and that’s exactly what this tray does! It’s a great way to keep my everyday baubles at my fingers while adding some character to my bathroom.

Also, have you entered the giveaway for a pair of earrings from The Beautiful Fools? DO IT, and you can put them on your jewelry tray!

That’s all for meow!

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DIY-Glitter Quote Canvas

Hey Cats!

Every Tuesday, my friends and I get together to watch Pretty Little Liars. These past few weeks, we have baked cookies or done some other activity before we watch, since our only other chance to hang out with each other is on the weekends! Yesterday, we decided to craft for our college houses, and we all ended up painting something. My friend Kinsey painted a cross for the cross wall she and her roommates are going to have, and my friend Joy re-painted a canvas with a C.S. Lewis quote to hang in her room. I chose a little different approach, and painted a canvas with a quote from my latest favorite movie- The Great Gatsby. This idea popped into my head a few months ago, but I haven’t had the desire opportunity to paint until yesterday! It totally doesn’t match the colors my roommates and I chose, but they approved anyways!

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Isn’t it fabulous?  Kinsey helped me with the lettering, which brought back memories of painting spirit signs in high school for cheerleading (we were true artists, let me tell you!). I LOVE that “party” is in glitter, I think it turned out really well, and it pops exactly how I wanted it to! I painted over the pencil outline in the gold paint, then spread the glitter on with a paintbrush. Next, I went outside and shook the excess off the canvas. Once the letters were dry, I coated the entire painting in ModPodge, leaving the glitter letters for last. I was terrified that it was going to dry white, but it dried clear and gives the painting a nice, glossy finish! This is one of my favorite quotes from Gatsby, and it basically sums up how I feel about college and life in general-a little fun is good for you! I love making decorations for my college house, and I have a few more up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

What’s your favorite DIY decoration?

That’s all for meow!