Making My House a Home

All this time stuck in my house due to the hurricane, and all of the stories of friends, and friends of friends, losing their homes has made me realize that I should be taking better care of my own home (among other things…).

Currently, at Casa de Julia (and Tom) we have started by de-cluttering and dusting.  But now, I’d like to really start doing some projects around the house to make it reflect my style a bit more.  To help cultivate this style I have been pinning things on Pinterest like a mad women for the last 24 hours or so. (check out my Pinterest here if you like).  My place has great bones (and hardwood floors!), but is in serious need of a face lift but, we only have a botox budget.  So here are a few of the projects I want to do around the house to make it look fresh and new.

There are a whole lot of updates I have in mind, but these are the main things I’d like to get done, the first of which is creating a bar area in my “dining room” with a buffet table.  I really like the idea of a sixties style bar to house all our liquor and wine as well as our nice glasses and stem-ware.  Plus, it just gives such a cute and put together look if done right.

I love this bar styling guide from a fellow blogger at landofnams.com

Another project I would like to do, is fix my awful, awful bathroom.  It’s small and a hot old mess…the tiles and all of the fixtures (i.e.: sink, tub, toilet) are Pepto pink and our vanity is maroon and falling apart.  The walls have poorly filled holes and an array of other issues that need to be spackled over and sanded.  I am not a DIY type of gal, although I’d love to be, but in this case due to my lack of funds I really have no other way of getting it done by anyone but myself.  So I came up with a few ideas I want to try; since I can’t afford to gut or really change much in the bathroom, I am going to focus on what can be done.

Bathroom issue #1: Replace the vanity.  I’d like something a but more modern, with some wood and metal accents and in an ideal design I could find a way to fit our kitty litter box under/in it so that I can work on my 3rd project which I’ll explain below.

Bathroom issue #2: Fix the walls – I plan on spackling and sanding away all of the (many) imperfections our walls have and then adding a fresh coat of paint.  The main design aspect of this would be the paint…since I can’t change out the pink I’m thinking that should actually tie it in.  My idea is to add a horizontally striped wall with pink, light grey and white stripes in different sizes….maybe if I’m feeling extra saucy I’ll do it in chevron stripes, yowza.  Anyway, I think it would add a modern and playful touch.

Kind of like this but with pink, white and grey.

The third big-ish project in my house that I would like to start working on is our spare bedroom.  Currently, it’s a storage/closet/jewelry vanity/treadmill/cat litter room that still has a Pooh Bear border from wayyy before we moved in and really ugly grey carpeting.  We just finished cleaning it out and now I’d like to turn it into a nice office type space where I can get ready in the morning – and I want the kitty litter OUT.  I refuse to put any of my makeup in that room because I don’t want to chance getting pink eye.  I constantly have to dust my perfume bottles because they are always getting covered with litter dust – gross!  I am not really sure what I want to do in there just yet, but my mind is working overtime to figure it out (thank goodness for Pinterest ha!).

Lastly, I want to spruce up our insanely outdated kitchen (we have a canary yellow oven and stovetop…ek!).  I’d like rip the entire kitchen out and start over again but I have resigned to painting the cabinets and adding some modern hardware to the doors as well as pulling up our hideous green and white vinyl tiles and adding something in a neutral tone that resembles stone or ceramic tile.  Also, if we can find something affordable I would LOVE to change out our marble patterned formica countertop/backsplash with something a little nicer and more stylish but, we’ll see.

I found this nifty guide to painting my own kitchen cabinets over at diy-guides.com

I’ll keep you guys updated on these projects as I start doing them and I’ll post some before and after pics as well.  Ah! I can’t wait to get started! 🙂

The Storm

As the sky darkened and the wind picked up on Sunday morning, I was headed to brunch with my boyfriend and a few friends.  No one realized what the next few days would hold for our city, and everyone in the surrounding areas that would be affected by this storm.

I actually joked about the moniker the media had given the large storm barreling toward us.  “Frankenstorm” they said, and it made me feel like they (the media) must have been having a field day with this.  It made it seem like a joke, I mean how can I take something called Frankenstorm seriously?

Hours later, sitting in the darkness with only the faint glow of a few candles, all I could hear were sirens and the wind whipping the trees outside my house.   Our power was out and the only connection to the outside world was Facebook, where I was reading horrifying things about the neighborhoods in surrounding areas.  Anxiety filled me as I worried about all of the people who I know and care about.  The air smelled of fire and I read that Breezy Point was flooded and burning.  People in southern Staten Island were fleeing their homes as the surge washed away homes, cars and sadly people, though I didn’t find that out until the next day.  So many neighborhoods and people have been affected.

It ripped houses from their foundations and trees from their roots.  The path of devastation that Sandy has caused is absolutely heart wrenching.

I can say that I am lucky.  Me, my family and most of my close friends were left relativity undamaged.  Yes, we were without power for a few days, but that is barely a worry when some of our neighbors have nothing left.  Lives were lost.  Homes were irreparably damaged.  Cars floated away.  Entire neighborhoods destroyed by flooding and fires.  One of the largest cities in the world was left at a stand still.  And yet once again, we are still standing.

New Yorkers are nothing if not strong.

There are so many people who now need help and support so please be sure to lend a helping hand where you can.  Donations are being set up all over to help the people who lost their homes and/or belongings.  Please make sure to keep everyone here in NY and NJ in you thoughts and prayers as we piece together what we have lost.

If you have been personally affected by this storm and are in the need of assistance, please go to these websites to file a claim:

http://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance 

http://www.disasterassistance.gov/

For donations or to volunteer please use the info below:

Volenteers:

NYC Mayor’s Office:https://twitter.com/NYCMayorsOffice/status/263293376592502784

New Jersey relief:

Contact: 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397) or 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471

Donations:

Community Food Bank of New Jerseyhttp://www.njfoodbank.org/

Contact: (908) 355- FOOD (3663), ext. 243

NYC Mayor’s Fundhttps://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/donate/donate.shtml

American Red Cross:http://www.redcross.org/

Contact: 1-800-RED-CROSS or 1-800-733-2767

Texting: REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10

Food Bank for New York City:http://www.foodbanknyc.org/ 

Texting: FBNYC to 50555

Habitat for Humanityhttp://www.habitat.org/

Contact: 1-800-HABITAT (422-4828)

Humane Society of the United Stateshttp://www.americanhumane.org/about-us/donate/

Contact: 866-242-1877

Texting: HUMANE to 80888

Run For Your Life!!!…My Love/Hate Relationship With Running

So, I’m sitting here at my computer in full workout garb fully intending on going for a run….you know, after I’m done procrastinating by writing and editing this post.  Not to mention that I got up at 8 AM with the best of intentions but sat on Pinterest and Facebook “for a few” and it is now 12 in the afternoon.

Running is the one excersize that I love AND hate the most.  When I’m running it’s like I am the fiercest, strongest, baddest bitch in the world…I can go forever, and then I hit my second mile and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die.

I will say running the best therapy.  Pounding the pavement, or the rubber track on the treadmil in my case, clears my mind and gives me one of the best endorphin highs I have experienced, and I feel so damn accomplished when I run a full 3 miles.  It’s like I can outrun all the zombies and Kenyans in the world.

Not only is it good for my mental health, but (DUH!) it’s good for my waistline and overall healthy too!!  Out of all of the workouts I have done over the years – running flattens out my tummy faster and more effectively than anything else (I haven’t tried swimming, but I’m sure that would be pretty good too) I just feel good when I am running on the regular.  So why don’t I keep it up you ask?

The downside for me is that it’s hard.  It’s hard and I’m lazy…that’s not an excuse, it’s just the sad truth.  If I could just buckle down and keep it up – even if I’m tired or lazy, then I know it would be a piece of cake (maybe I shouldn’t use the word cake….mmm), so I’m going to give it a try…I’m going to challenge myself – I promise, I Julia will run AT LEAST 2 miles 4 times a week.  That’s not a lot so I should be able to pull it off.  Wish me luck people!! I’ll need it!

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Fall Outfits

Just a couple of outfits I put together for the fall season to keep warm and stay fashionable.

Oktoberfest…mmmm bier

Fall is a season filled with fun and wholesome things to do.  There’s apple picking, pumpkin picking, corn mazes and haunted houses just to name a few.  So far this year I haven’t done ANY of those thing so when I got the chance to do something fun and fall related last weekend I jumped at the chance.

This past Saturday me and a few friends headed an hour and a half upstate to Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain.  Not only is this a fun fall activity, but it involves one of my favorite pastimes – drinking beer!  And drink beer we did…a lot!  My right arm is actually sore from lifting my liter-sized glass again and again.  But hey, at least I got some kind of workout in, right?

Aside from the beer there we all kinds of other German treats.  There were  yummy sausages, pretzels and potato pancakes…mmmm.  People were dressed in lederhosen and there was a band playing festive music and there was even a traditional dance done by a group of kids.  To top it all off the fun atmosphere, the weather and the scenery were perfect.  The foliage was in full swing up in the mountains and the colors were outrageous.  Bright oranges and yellows and reds, it was just beautiful.

It was a wonderful day and a good time was definitely had by all.

What’s on My Mind

I’d really like to write today.  It’s been a few days and I feel like I’ve got to put something out there, so here it goes.  I apologize in advance because this is likely going to end up a rambled mess since I don’t have a clear idea of what I am even writing about.  Also, I just chugged a cup of coffee and my fingers are trembling as I type.

I guess I should just sort out what’s on my mind…

I have now been unemployed for 10 months

Let that one sink in for a sec.  10 months.  That’s 2 short months away from a year.  Wow.  And what have I accomplished?  Well, aside from an amazing tan and starting a blog?  Nothing.   And for the first time in my adult life, I don’t have a plan.  No “this is what’s next” or “this is what I’d like to be doing”, I haven’t got a clue.

When I was first laid off, I thought “Wonderful, now I can finally focus on what I really want to do with my life!”  But now, I’ve come to realize that you must first know what it is that you want to be doing.  Talk about a quarter life crisis people… I honestly thought that now that I didn’t have a job, I would suddenly figure out my niche in life – as if because I don’t have all the distractions of commuting and meetings and clients, it would just fall into place, right before my eyes.

I thought going back to school was my solution, and maybe it was, but I got spooked once my bill was due and decided not to go through with it.  I’m at the point now where I feel hopelessly lost and filled with anxiety over this entire situation.  I am applying for jobs that I don’t really want, but am amply qualified, if not over-qualified for, and even that is getting me nowhere.  Apparently, no one wants to hire someone that’s been out of work for 10 months.  It’s true; check it out here.

I am lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive boyfriend, who hasn’t once made me feel inadequate or pressured about not finding a job.  I’m in a very fortunate position financially as well, since I did have a good paying job for the last 4 years and not many overhead expenses I was able to save a decent amount to keep me afloat.  For me, thankfully, this is only an existential crisis, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like a complete failure.

Seriously…

My insomnia is back with a vengeance

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know I have an issue with falling asleep (read this, it’s good for a laugh…).  And while I like catching up on late night TV, and reading, and contemplating the mysteries of the universe, I like sleep a whole lot more.  I’m a more productive and well-adjusted member of society when I’ve gotten at least 6 solid hours in.  The fact that my boyfriend happens to work for a reputable mattress company that’s focused on “selling sleep” is just the ironic icing on the f*ck you cake.

The fact that I have a sleep disorder is not the only issue.  An equally annoying problem is all of the good-intentioned folks who think they can cure me by giving me the most obvious advice.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand that they’re just trying to help.  Besides, we’ve all done it.  We just want people to feel better.  Most human beings don’t find it sufficient to just say, “wow, that sucks” and call it a day.  Most people, in my experience, want to kiss your boo-boo and make it all better; but let’s be real – I have had problems sleeping for almost half my life, if you think I haven’t tried just about anything to fix it you’ve got to be delusional.  If I hear, “maybe you should take melatonin” or “you should try staying away from caffeine” one more time, I just might snap.

“Maybe you should just close your eyes” is another gem that makes me want to punch your lights out.

On the plus side, there has been a few nights I was glad to be awake during the wee hours of the morning.  Like 2 weeks ago when one of my friends got in at 4:30 AM and decided to drunk-skype with me.  I mean, to think I could’ve missed out on that because of sleep?!  Ah, who am I kidding, sleep would have been fantastic (it was pretty entertaining for about 30 minutes though…).

When I have been sleeping, I’ve been having the craziest and realistic feeling dreams.  Last night, it was that I owned a jaguar (the cat, not the car) and I was worried that if I left my door open while I slept, it would eat my face.  That was the most normal dream I’ve had in a month.

Fortunately, I know that my sleep “issues” come in cycles, and it seems that it’s winding down.  I have actually gotten a decent nights’ sleep for 6 days in a row now.  For now, I’ll take that as a win, but nonetheless it’s something that has been on my mind.

I’m not nearly as “fit” as I’d like to be

This is one of those issues that I’m sure many of you out there can relate to.  It’s also one of the most self-deprecating areas of my life.  I am a very confident person. I know I have a fun personality, I know I’m reasonably good-looking and I know I’m relatively smart.  When it comes to my body however, well, there I am just full of insecurities and self-hate.

I blame myself, I always have.  Starting as a pre-teen, and up until I was about 19 or so I struggled with bulimia; and though that is a much longer and more complicated story than I am prepared to go into a the moment, I will say, that I still struggle with the same thoughts and feelings about my weight and body as I did then, even if I don’t go through the process of bingeing and purging.

I am currently the heaviest I have ever been in my life.  I feel ashamed and disgusted by this fact.

Even though my I tend to put the full blame on myself, I know this is not entirely in my control.  Right around the time I was laid off, I was diagnosed with PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  I had never gotten a consistent period without the use of birth control, and once I went off of it, I quickly put on 15 pounds that I have been unable to lose, despite my calorie tracking and work outs.

I know if I really put all of my effort into my workouts and diet I can achieve success, but sometimes it’s hard to push through when I just want to give up.  It’s beyond frustrating to feel like my body just won’t work with me and to know that this will likely be a life-long struggle.

The scale says, “nope”

So there you have it.  These are the 3 things that have been plaguing my thoughts lately and steadily driving me into crisis mode.  I know this wasn’t the most cheerful of posts and I’m sorry if I came off as a complaining, unmotivated, mess – but right now, that’s kind of where I’m at and I just needed to vent it out. These problems may seem insignificant to some of you, and you’re probably right – It could definitely be worse and I’m thankful that it’s not.  I just have to keep one foot in front of the other and try not to get seduced by laziness to get though this.  I’ll get there someday, I’m sure of it.

Starting My Day (and month) Off Right.

Yesterday was finally the day I decided to stop moping around and jump back on the workout wagon.  I woke up and realized that it was not only a Monday, but the first of the month – what better time to start achieving some goals?

I restarted Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution, and boy, am I sore today!  I guess that’s what I get for taking an entire month off.  Fortunately, with this program she does different muscle groups each day, so my sore muscles shouldn’t be an issue.  Since my body is hurting I decided to give myself a real power breakfast, and since I’m getting tired of eggs, this is what I came up with.

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Om nom nom…..

Greek Yogurt Parfait

– 1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt

-1/4 cup Blueberries

-1/4 cup Blackberries

-100 calorie pack of Raw Almonds and Walnuts

-1 Tbsp Natural Honey

This was filling and absolutely delicious, and thanks to myfitnesspal.com (my username is julial84 – let’s encourage each other if your a member!), I know that this meal is only 213 calories!

Now, time for my workout 🙂