One to Watch

The Artist has been recently featured on Saatchi as “One to Watch”!  Check out a short write up and some awesome photos of him in his studio here: http://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/one-to-watch/steve-byrnes

He was also on the cover of Art Voices, you can go to their website to see where the magazine circulates.  You can also check out The Artist’s website: http://www.stevebyrnes.org

I just wanted to do a little shameless bragging, I am so proud of him.  He works so hard and continues to follow his dreams, no matter what.  I advocate for taking a little risk in life….you think you can’t afford to move?  You can.  You think you can’t go back to school?  You can.  You think you can’t get a different job?  You can.  And so on, you get the idea.  If you want something- do it.  You only get one life, don’t waste it being only half-happy, or not happy at all.  There is always a way to achieve your goals.  To quote Jan from The Office, “there will always be a million reasons to NOT do something”.

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Living Room- Before and After.

We love thrift stores, antiques, anything with a story behind it (not to mention the deals ad good prices!).  I am fascinated to think about what an item has “seen” in it’s life thus far, and where it has been.  Over out time in this apartment, we have accumulated treasures, engaged in DIY projects and crafts, and transformed our space into one that is more “us”, one that is cozy and warm.  The Artist also loves interiors, he loves hunting for items for our living space and has the most amazing eye for it too.

Here is our living room when we first moved in, in 2012.  Followed by some photos on Halloween night.  What a difference, eh?

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2012

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Halloween 2015

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A breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we just need some fresh air.  There is something about spending time with nature that is soothing, and helps you find peace with whatever you are struggling with.  We really wanted to go camping (secluded style, not in a massive field full of tents), and although it is a cheap thing to do, we just couldn’t afford it.  I was really upset, annoyed, etc. but tried my best to stay positive and come up with an alternative.  We decided to take a walk at Castlewood State Park, and then a drive through Lone Elk Park instead.  Our walk was very beautiful, and the air was very crisp- just the way we like it.  There was a bench on one of the bluffs, so we sat down and just enjoyed the view for a bit.  We breathed in that beautiful fresh air and just talked, and although I still want to go camping, I didn’t seem to mind as much anymore.  It was very calming.  Afterwards, we drove through Lone Elk Park, and briefly got to seek some elk and even a bison in the distance!

I often find myself craving to spend time outside or be with nature in some way, which I take as a sign that I am carrying around too much stress and need to take care of myself.  So, take care of myself I did.

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Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe, Courtesy of Alton Brown

I love ice cream, especially chocolate.  So when I saw Alton Brown’s recipe on Good Eats, I HAD to try it.  Alton has never steered me wrong, if I am looking for a recipe for absolutely anything, I check and see if he has one, because I know it will turn out amazing.  His chocolate ice cream recipe is just to die for.  It makes the creamiest, richest, smoothest, most chocolatey ice cream ever, so I wanted to share it.

Tip: Do NOT skip any of the steps, change or sub any of the ingredients (especially don’t sub regular cocoa powder for the Dutch kind! Use Dutch cocoa powder!), take any short cuts, or try to skimp on the cream and use milk.  Follow his recipe EXACTLY.  You have been warned.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chocolate-ice-cream-recipe.html

I can never seem to get a half decent picture when I make this ice cream, this is the best I could do haha!

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What if I don’t want razor abs or a “thigh gap”?

As a woman, I feel like we are expected to strive for flat stomachs, thigh gaps, and a sleek physique.  I have always hated my love handles and “muffin top”, something that I have struggled with my entire life.  I have always felt like I jiggled a little too much in too many places, and yearned for that flat stomach.  I thought that eating less food, and taking up jogging/running was the answer.  But my problem was, I thought that was the only answer.  And I thought that this was the only body that was “acceptable” and that this is what I should be striving for.  So when I would try running, and hated it, I felt doomed to ever feel good about myself, because no matter what routine, style, etc. that I tried, I hated it.  I didn’t realize that there are many types of people and many types of bodies.  I also have Hashimoto’s Disease.  I have been living with it for over a decade, and although it presents challenges, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.

I have been feeling displeased with my body, and one day, out of the blue, thought “well, what if I don’t want a six pack?!”.  And I got to thinking…….What if I don’t want a perfectly sculpted body?  What if I don’t mind if my thighs touch, or my stomach jiggles a little?  What if I don’t want to be a runner?!  Now, I am not suggesting unhealthy lifestyles, but rather, the expectations I had been carrying around for myself were unrealistic, and not very well thought out.  I didn’t ever truly think about what I ACTUALLY wanted for myself, I just thought about what I felt I SHOULD be wanting.  I just assumed that is what I should look like, and being a runner with razor abs is what I should be striving for.  It was like a switch flipped in my brain.  After some reflecting and long conversations with the Artist, my goals and aspirations became more clear….

I want to…

  • exercise regularly doing a variety of activities, and lift even heavier weights then I already do
  • improve my yoga practice
  • get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night, 9 is actually my preferred amount for me to feel well rested
  • eat a clean, whole foods diet

I DO NOT want to…

  • rely on meal replacements or other “diet” products
  • be a runner/jogger, because that is not me or where my interests are, nor do I not enjoy it…kudos to all you runners out there!  Doing what you love is the most important thing!
  • wake up at 4am every morning to work out
  • want to work out in my living room (I know this works well for others, and that is awesome, but this is not for me.  My living room is my special relaxing space, where I read, listen to music and spend time with my Artist, and I do not want it associated with working out.)

I want to aim to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life, and NOT the reverse- trying to fit some “life” into my exercise schedule.  But mainly, I want to feel healthy, energetic, and most importantly: STRONG.  As I said above, there are different types of people and different types of bodies- we are all different!  And if we are all different we should have a variety of goals, and I should not be comparing myself or my goals to others.  I consider myself as “thick” and “dense”, and for the first time, I am perfectly ok with that.

The Artist and I are 2 months into our new workout routine.  To simplify, our routine goes as follows: lift often (3 times a week for us), and left heavy.  That is all (with the occasional walk or bike ride thrown in there).  When I started dabbling in weight lifting about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I doing, and I was more experimenting to find what kinds of exercise I enjoyed.  I wasn’t really lifting anything heavy, I wast just trying to figure myself out.  I thought it would be pretty cool, if one day, I could put 25lb plates on the squat bar (95lbs total) and do all of my sets that way.  This was my “dream goal” that I 100% thought I might never actually achieve.

Here I am, 2 months into our “lift often, and lift heavy” regimen, squatting 25lb and 10lb weights on the bar, for a total of 115lbs, above and beyond what I thought I might never be able to do!

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And I also wanted to share a video of me doing deadlifts.  My “dream goal” on this was 45lb plates on the bar (135lbs total), and again, I 100% thought I would NEVER be able to do this.  I could barely do a 40lb barbell 2 months ago, so I am really proud of myself on this one:)

When watching these videos and viewing these photos of myself, I was kind of disappointed at first.  I don’t look nearly as strong or good as I feel, but then I realized that is the most important thing right?- how I FEEL!  So although I am still working on changes and improvements, and as I feel discouraged when things aren’t happening “fast enough”, I just remember that me going to the gym, or taking that bike ride, or going on that walk, is better then me sitting on the couch.  Everyone knows that famous quote, that every journey starts with a single step, and it is very true.  I am just trying to make healthy choices for myself, one day at a time.

DIY Dreamcatcher.

I love to make things.  There is something so soothing to my soul about making things with my own two hands.  The Artist and I are in the middle of glazing a bunch of items that we made on the wheel with clay, and I will post about that when they are done.  I also love knitting, weaving, working with beads, clay, and so many other things, as I am sure is evident in this blog.  My latest project was making a dreamcatcher.  I got some supplies and had at it.  I loved it so much, I made another, and still have supplies for one more!  These cost me between $2-$2.50 a piece to make, a great bargain.  They are super easy to make, and incredibly customizable, with no right or wrong way to make them.

To make them, I just looked at some pictures I found on the internet and read a few quick tutorials about the weaving part, and got started.  After you see how to start the weaving part, you are good to go.  It is very easy, and fun to make.  I used metal rings and wrapped suede-like cord around them, then used hemp string to weave, leaving a space/circle in the middle.  I used beads and feathers to decorate, and just tied everything in place.  You would also use glue I would imagine, but I didn’t have any and just tied double knots for he beads and feathers.  Note that in these photos there are shadows of the string, so it looks “doubled”.

I am in love with these!

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Alton Brown’s Recipe for Ribs- AMAZING.

One of our favourite cooking shows is Good Eats.  Alton Brown is hilarious, and his recipes are amazing.  Every recipe of his that we have tried has been stellar.  I highly recommend these ribs, the flavour is amazing!  And the Artist is amazing at executing this recipe.  We have his Good Eats cookbooks and got the recipe fro there, but you can watch a video of this, and see the recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/who-loves-ya-baby-back-recipe.html

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How delicious do these look?!  The flavour is just incredible, and this is my favourite way to make ribs.  I want to take a moment and give a shout out to my fellow blogger “The Old Fellow Goes Running”…http://theoldfellowgoesrunning.com for nominating me for a blogger award!  His blog is really inspiring and motivating, not to mention what a great read!  I am not a runner, yet his posts are always enjoyable to me.  Check him out!

Until next time.

P.S. The Artist just saw me typing and saw the photo of the ribs, and decided we are going to the store to get some and make ASAP.  They are that delicious😀