Designed by | Gooyaabi

When we got married, we didn't have the option of buying new furniture and trying to make our apartments look cute.  We just combined the things we had and made it work.

One example are these tables Brandon had in his bedroom before we got married.   Awful right?

Well somehow the long one ended up being our TV stand and the square one was an end table. (You can imagine I was more than thrilled to get rid of these when we moved. We just sold them on KSL and my shoulders are lifted!!)  The openness of the TV area with this table made for a daily battle with a one year old. He would pull on every cord, stuff anything he could into the VCR, and push every button he saw. He would open all our DVDs and scratch them. Needless to say, we knew we needed something more baby proof and we wanted a more sleek look.

Family room when we first moved in.. Feb. 2012

We shopped a bit at Ikea and loved their options of making your own TV stand. We opted for ALL closed doors.. and no drawers. That way Jack couldn't open anything! We put together all the pieces, then drilled a few small holes in the back for our cords to come through.

Back of TV stand

We then installed some baby proof latches so Jack couldn't open the cabinet doors.
Option of having them on or off without having to remove them completely.
Baby Proofing
*If you're looking into baby-proofing or hate the latches you have, we HIGHLY suggest these ones. They have been amazing! It gives you the option to have them "locked" or "unlocked." So if you don't need them, you can simply "unlock" them! So when Jack is old enough and we don't need things baby proofed anymore, we can simply "unlock" these ones until our next baby comes. No removing! We also unlock them after Jack goes to sleep so we don't have to deal with them at night.

Safety 1st Pivot Position Baby Proof Latches

Here is the family room with the new TV stand.
With new TV stand
But we didn't like having the TV so low. Jack would touch it and it was so low when we watched it. We decided we wanted it mounted. But we felt like it being mounted on the wall would be kind of plain looking. So Brandon came up with the great idea to mount it on wood!

We bought the wood from Home Depot and stained it ourselves.

Ready to be stained
We got this rub on stain from my grandparents and the color was perfect. We rubbed the stain with a rag and gave the wood several coats.

Staining TV Mount

 We then mounted the wood to the wall using two 2 x 4 wood planks.

Wood planks for mounting

Then we mounted the wood to the planks.  We also cut a hole in the wood for our TV cords to go through so the cords weren't showing from the front.

TV Mount

And vuala! The TV is mounted!

 And all our electronics and DVDs are covered and out of harms way!

Walmart frame, Apple TV, and Ikea plant

Our simple but sleek TV set up is complete in our new family room! We added a plant from Ikea (atop an Apple TV!), and a framed photo of our favorite little boy (frame from Walmart). We plan on putting these decorations on some shelves soon. So those will also be out of harms way!
Family Room

Now let's remind you what it looked like before we moved in. Here is a picture of the family room and dining room (view from the kitchen) after we tore out the carpet.
Family Room/Dining Room before we painted

And here is a before and after since we have lived here.

BEFORE                                                                                          AFTER

We still have some work to do. We plan on making some shelves to the left of the TV to help with the empty space, so stay tuned! Those should be completed in the next few weeks!

I've been asked a lot lately what I've been doing to lose weight, so I thought I would share info on our blog to help anyone out that is interested. I don't usually talk about myself like this, so this is awkward for me. But if it motivated someone else to get up and get healthy, then it's worth it.

Let's start off with a little bit of History 101 on Steph's past :) Some might want to skip this section, and by all means, go ahead.

I have never been a thin person. I'm naturally "big boned" as some say. (And I am a true believer of that saying.) I have been very thin at points in my life, but it was never done healthily. I would crash diet and sometimes eat a very small amount of calories during the day. Please don't try this! It doesn't work.  For about 4 years of my life, my profession revolved around my appearance, and I did everything I could think of to be in top-notch shape. But then I realized that during those 4 years, I was very unhappy. So I stopped trying to be thin and rid myself of those appearance-based jobs.  I became happier and life was good. But then I got pregnant. And I gained 40 pounds. In my eyes, I was enormous. And my self-confidence went down the drain.  I tried to lose weight, but it just didn't happen. This is when I realized all my crash dieting from that time period actually damaged my body and it has never been the same. It's much harder for me to lose weight now that for others. My body automatically goes into starvation mode when I cut calories and it tends to hold on to everything I eat.  With all that said, I knew I needed to make healthy changes to my daily food intake, and to my lifestyle. I needed to lose weight in a healthy way. I put my foot down and prepared myself for a long journey. 

Now to give you some uplifting news, here are my results.


Important Note #1:   I'VE LOST 20 POUNDS!!!!

-It's kind of sad to think that I had 20 pounds to lose, but I don't focus on that. I LOST 20 POUNDS!!! 20 pounds was my goal, and I finally reached it.  The first month I lost 10 pounds. The second month I lost 4 pounds. And the third month I've lost 6 pounds. 

In three months:
I have lost 20 pounds
I have gone down two sizes in pants (almost 3!)
I have gone down two bra sizes.
I have gone down half a size in shoes (crazy I know)
I have gone down one size in shirts.
Important Note #2: I have been dieting for 13 1/2 weeks. That's a total of 3 months.

Now for the DETAILS:

I've been on a diet for the past 13 weeks. And it doesn't even seem like I'm on a diet anymore. When I started this, I was told that same thing and it angered me. How could anyone say they didn't feel like they were dieting?!  But now I understand. I've made lifetime changes, and they are here to stay. So I'm very used to the "new" way that I eat, and it doesn't seem like a diet.

My diet is technically called Carb Rotating. It's very simple to follow, and allows you to make it your own diet to make it work just for you.

But my weight loss is not 100% contributed to eating healthy. I have been very active as well. I work out on average 5 times a week. I try to go 6 times a week, but sometime life gets too busy.  If you want details on what workouts I do exactly, then keep reading!

I try to do cardio and weight training every other day. (Key note: the more muscle you have, the less cardio you have to do to burn calories. You're body will just do it on its own.. exciting!) And I am not a very good motivator for myself at the gym. I get lazy and make up excuses why I can quit early. So I go to classes at the gym. It forces me to get out of the house, it forces me to work out for an entire hour, and it forces me to keep going. Now that's motivation! Plus they have daycare which means uninterrupted workouts!

I started going to Zumba classes and WOW!!! It's an amazing workout. Literally every strand of hair on my head is soaked when I get done. That may sound gross to you, but it sounds motivating to me! haha. I also rotate Zumba with either Pump (weight training class) or R.I.P.P.E.D (weight training intervals combined with cardio intervals) classes. Once in a while after a Zumba class I will go lift for a bit on my own, but once again, I'm not too successful on my own! Zumba has transformed working out for me to being fun and motivating rather than awful, unbearable, and slow. In fact, I got certified to be an instructor for Zumba and just love it!

For those of you who are totally bored, I thought I would give you some photos to just show you the weight I've lost. I took official before and after photos, but those are for my eyes only :)  here are some random pictures of me before.


March 2012 (3 weeks prior to beginning of diet)
August 2011
March 2012
August 2011

 AFTER (These were taken 3 weeks ago, when I was 3 pounds from my goal)
Jeans I wore in March (picture above)
Jeans I wore in March

A tank top I wore regularly before weight loss.

Today (after 2 back to back Zumba classes.. don't judge how nasty I look.)

 Now a combined before and after.. do you see a difference?
Before                                            After
Now if you want more details on the carb rotating diet, you can continue reading here:

The basics of Carb Rotating:

One day I would eat a high number of carbs. (Around 250)
The next day I would eat a low number of carbs. (Around 50)
The next day I would eat no carbs.
Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat!
Then once a week, I would allow myself to have a meal off which consisted of whatever I wanted!

Carb Rotating in Details:

My cousin mentioned this diet to me, so I googled carb rotating and didn't really find that much information. I found the basics as I mentioned above, and I've kind of made it my own diet. There were a few ways to do the rotating that I found, but I chose to follow the one with the ability to eat one meal off a week.

Dieting and eating is completely emotional for me. At first when I started this diet, it was very difficult to watch people eat really yummy food when I couldn't have any of it. I would get frustrated. But that's why the one meal off is so good! I would see that yummy food, or if I was craving some type of food that week, I would look forward to eating it later on that week. So instead of dwelling on not being able to eat the ice cream at all, I would look forward to eating ice cream that weekend. I work well with things to look forward to (ie: vacations!).  Just make sure your day off in one week isn't too close to the next weeks day off. For instance, if Saturday is your day off for week one, don't have a Monday be your day off with week two. Let your body have time to adjust.  When you eat healthy, then all of a sudden eat unhealthy food, your body isn't used to it. So it makes your body work harder to process it. It boosts your metabolism and actually does positive things instead of negative. Try not to stuff yourself silly. You'll just end up stretching out your stomach and it won't benefit you when you're extremely hungry the next few days. And remember NEVER to have your meal off on a no carb day. It is best to have it on a high carb day. If I know I have an event coming up that I want to have as my meal off, I will sometimes switch around my days during the week so that meal will be on a high carb day. Just make sure you have all three of your days spaced out. Don't have high carb, low carb, high carb, low carb for instance.

There are a few things I feel are important to mention:
1. The key to this diet is eating healthy. When you eat carbs, they need to be healthy carbs. I only eat sprouted wheat bread. It isn't processed, so there's no preservatives being put in my body. I never eat chips, or crackers, or cookies. I only eat lean meat (turkey burgers, or 98% lean ground beef, tilapia, chicken, or sirloin steaks, or freshly sliced deli meat).
2. Be cautious of nutrition value in everything that you're eating. For instance, beans and corn and all fruit have carbs in it. These things you CANNOT eat on your no carb day. Don't eat russet potatoes (eat sweet potatoes or even red potatoes). Eat as little sugar as you can. Reduce the amount of salt you intake and when you do consume salt, only use Real Salt. Switch up the type of carbs you have. Eat nuts, fruits, veggies, beans, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice.
3. Measure everything you eat. Once you get the hang of things you don't have to measure each time, but measure so you know exactly how much you're eating in every meal.
4. Eat 6 times a day, approximately every 2 hours. But these are small meals. For me, I eat a total of 1200 calories a day, so I eat six 200 calorie meals a day.
5. Eat protein in each meal. I've heard people say it's bad to eat too much protein. But if you're active, it's not!
6. Work out! Get off your butt! A 5-10 minute run probably won't give you the results you want. Push yourself. My thing is going to classes at the gym so I am "in the zone," and someone is pushing me so I won't quit. I try to workout anywhere between 4 to 6 times a week. 4 times a week is when I have a busy week.. or a sick kid who always wants to be held!
7. Drink lots of water. I was addicted to Diet Coke since Jack was born. I had a really bad experience with my epidural during labor, and had spinal headaches. The only thing I found to cure some of the pain was Diet Coke. So I quickly became addicted. I quit drinking pop, but water tasted so gross! So I started to drink Crystal Light Pure (naturally sweetened) to help the transition.
8. Do cardio AND weight lifting. The more muscle mass your body has, the less cardio you have to do. I rotate days of pure cardio and lifting. For instance, Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will do Zumba (or go running), and Tuesday and Thursday I will either go to a RIPPED or Power Pump class. Saturday I will do a workout video, the elliptical and stair stepper, Zumba, or go on a run.
9. Don't eat too much dairy. Limit the amount of yogurt and cheese you have.
10. Don't get frustrated if you don't see pounds falling off. At first your body need to adjust. It also is changing, so it will take a while to see those changes. I remember losing one pound the first week and getting frustrated. Also remember muscle weighs more than fat. So you are possibly replacing fat with muscle and it will weigh more. So even though the scale doesn't say you have lost wieght, I am sure your body looks and feels smaller.

Let me know if your interested in recipes, tricks, or any more details. I want to help in any way!

Thanks for reading.

When we first looked at our house, we didn't notice a lot of the small things. When we came to look at the house right before we accepted the counter offer, we started to look a little closer. We noticed things that were gonna need fixin'. Some of those things are our sinks and faucets. Let's just say our sinks are a bit of an eye soar. And we're embarrassed by them. 

So we did a little bit of fixing up on the sinks as a temporary fix right now. But we have decided that new sinks and faucets are in the near future. WE CAN'T WAIT!!

First check out our kitchen sink. From afar, it doesn't look that bad. A white cast iron sink could be a nice addition to someone's home. But from our experience, it will never be an addition to one of our homes again. 

Kitchen sink
When we moved into our house, the sink looked completely white and wasn't that bad. Then we started painting (adding some paint to the sink.. oops) and using it frequently, and the sinks true colors started to show. Literally.

Now take a closer look. See all that discoloring? That isn't rust, nor stains. That's the porcelain coating that's come off and is showing the under layers of the sink. You can even see a few black spots where the white coating has chipped off and the black cast iron is exposed.

And that faucet is gross too. And don't even get me started on how inconvenient it is to do dishes with a faucet that is only 4 inches away from the sink wall.

People comment about our sink when they use it.. and it's very embarrassing. I noticed I do dishes with a grossed out look on my face every time. 

Left side BEFORE
Right side BEFORE

So I googled some remedies I could do to help our sink look like it did when we moved in.  I first tried baking soda.

Do you see a difference? It worked well to get the paint off as well as dirt and soap scum. But the discoloring didn't change.
After Baking Soda

Left side after baking soda

Right side after baking soda

Next I tried a bleach water bath. I filled each side of the sink with 16 parts water, 1 part bleach. I let it sit in the sink for at least an hour. This worked! I'm pretty sure this was done right before we moved in.

After bleach water

Left side after bleach water

Right side after bleach water

 Overall, the kitchen sink looks a lot better. But it still isn't good enough for us. We've made room in our budget for a new sink, new faucet, and new disposal. We've been researching and will purchase them this week! Check back next week to see our NEW KITCHEN SINK!!!!


 A small fix to our bathroom sinks happened as well. All the sinks weren't sealed well, and it was ugly.. and again embarrassing.

So we removed the caulk from the sink, and re-caulked around the sink.  Now it looks a lot better! What do you think?

AFTER re-caulk

Thanks for reading!

Our half bathroom is not exactly complete, but it does have new paint, new floors, and new baseboards. We decided to tackle these things before we moved in, and still haven't touched the room since.  Yikes! Time to get movin'. 

Here are before photos of the bathroom. Before, the bathroom had the generic baseboards installed by the builders of the home. Please also notice the awesome linoleum on the floors. I sure miss that stuff...
Brandon being the awesome handy man that he is, installed every single plank of hard floors! Wow I am glad I didn't have to do that!  In order to put the floors in the bathroom, he had to remove the toilet and the sink.  Yum. I'm sure he was thirsty during this process.  (Oops..Was that going too far?)
Closing up the toilet hole.


Before we installed the floors, we decided to paint the half bath. We considered waiting to do this after we moved in , but reconsidered.

We scored some discontinued Martha Stewart paint at Home Depot while we were shopping for other paint, and we're very happy with how it turned out. We ended up buying two quarts, and only paid $15! We still have about half of one left, for any touch ups and future painting necessary in that tiny space.  We chose Walmart's paint color, "First Morning Dew." We had it color matched to the Martha Stewart paint.

First Morning Dew. A light, sea-foam greenish color.
 We really wanted a fresh, cool feel to the bathroom. This is the bathroom that is used the most by our guests, so we wanted to make sure they felt comfortable. We're VERY happy with the color. 

After we painted, we put the original, boring baseboards back on. We decided they were washed out in this tiny room. They didn't do anything for it. So we removed them once again, and decided to put the new baseboards we installed in our new living room throughout the entire first floor of the house. BEST DECISION EVER!!

I then added a white hand towel (Target), white trash can (Walmart), white toilet brush (99 cents from Ikea) and some coconut hand soap (The Body Shop). A bunch of white, but a bunch of clean and subtle additions to not overwhelm this tiny room.

I also transformed our old paper towel holder into a toilet paper holder! Pretty proud of myself here. There's no storage for this bathroom, and we've already experienced too many times running out of toilet paper while on the toilet! haha. 

One of the awesome perks of owning your own home is making holes and permanent changes to things. I've always wanted a paper towel holder that hung from our cupboards. It's the simple things in life that matter most right?! We've never been allowed to make holes in the cupboards, so we've had this awesome paper towel holder sitting on our counter for almost 4 years now.

It's gotten worn out from water and let's face it, it was never really an attractive piece in our kitchen. We removed the smaller metal piece, and with some white paint (leftover from our table in our living room ), this paper towel holder is now a toilet paper holder!

What do you think?

Now for the full reveal of the bathroom:

Sea Foam Green paint, new 4 1/2 inch tall baseboards, and dark alder wood floors.

A fresh feel with white accents and clean, simple lines.

Clean, fresh feel for all those who will visit this little corner in our home!
And for all those who love a before and after like I do:

Ok so maybe saying half completed is belittling our work a bit. But we need some help people. This is where your comments are needed!

We need something to put on the wall above the toilet, but just haven't found what that is yet. Since the bathroom door is in the middle of the room, that seems to be the only place we can put something. What do you suggest?