Wednesday, March 6, 2013

eat this much

I dabble in using MyFitnessPal to monitor the foods I'm eating and the exercise I'm doing, but sometimes I struggle with allotting myself food over the course of the day. There have been many times when I have a bigger than usual lunch and find that I'm left with only 300 calories for dinner, and as luck may have it, it's pasta night. eliminates a lot of these issues in a seriously easy way. Tell the generator how many calories you want to eat and in how many meals and it comes up with a simple, straightforward answer. In this case I put 1500 calories in 3 meals (jokes!) and was given the image below.
You can save a meal so that it comes up again next time it generates, or banish a meal that has yucky things in it. There's a special feature that generates by diet (Atkins/Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian), and you can also specify how much preparation you want to go into each meal. 

This site is pretty bare bones, but extremely useful and gave me some really great inspiration as to what I should be eating. I figure 1500 calories was a decent amount plus 200 give or take calories to put towards things that the site doesn't have programmed in (aka I work at a bakery so cupcakes and other yummies). You can also add recipes of things you cook and have them shuffled into the mix. 

Overall this was really cool, and definitely worth checking out!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

selling things on etsy, or: how i ended up making a bunch of crafts for myself

I love love love hand painting wooden letters, boards, and frames with various prints and patterns. I have branched out to canvases, and even small jewelry boxes, all of which I sell on Etsy... but something is still not clicking.
I've tried sponsoring my items, I promote the heck out of stuff to my 200+ fans on Facebook, and I have even done a few giveaways on various other blogs. Etsy seems to have blown up lately, and handcrafted items are a dime a dozen. People seem to pick and choose items based on price rather than quality, and I'm coming to find that in order to sell items, I would have to not even pay myself for the time spent.

I enjoy painting so much that I find myself making things even when I don't have orders (this seems to be a decent amount of the time), and I am starting to run out of wall space. I have crafted for my friends' birthdays that are months away to photograph them as prototypes, and I have also taken to giving random gifts to people for the same reasons.

Something is still not working. So much so that I wonder why I bother posting things onto my Facebook brand page if the only people who like my photos and posts are my mom, my boyfriend's mom, and my college roommate. I mean, they practically have to ;)

Has anyone had a great Etsy epiphany that I might be missing? I sometimes feel like there's some sort of magical thing that I need to figure out and everything will finally click.

I'd love the hear what you think, if anyone is reading this! :)

Nashville trip!

After a few weeks of planning, Brendan and I will officially be leaving for our vacation to Nashville next Wednesday! I'm taking two days off work at the end of Brendan's spring break and we are driving down from Chicago, which is surprisingly not too long of a trip. I usually obsessively plan everything out, but Nashville seems like such a go with the flow city that I can't help but take a laid back approach to the vacation. Here are some places we have in mind to visit:

Whiskey and Tennessee seem to go hand in hand, so how could we not? There is a cute historical village in town and a lot of free things to do, which we're all about! The funny thing about this distillery is that you can't buy anything when you're finished with your tasting and tour, because it is in a dry county. Brendan and I both appreciate a decent whiskey, so we're really looking forward to this part of the trip!

The Parthenon, Nashville
This just seems to funny to pass up! I have been to the actual Parthenon in Athens, but being half Greek, I feel it is my obligation to visit this replica and see the homage paid to my ancestors. There's apparently an art museum inside and a large park system around the building as well. Fingers are crossed that it's nice enough weather to enjoy the outdoors while we're there.

Opryland Hotel
My mom stayed here for a convention and told ten-year old Denise how cool it was and I have been fixated for the last twelve years. There's a river indoors, a giant atrium, and a ton of things to do inside this beautiful hotel. Sadly, our budget does not permit us to sleep here, but we are going to do a special dinner at one of the restaurants on the property on Friday night. 

Jack's BBQ & Broadway Street
I've heard from a few people that this is THE place to go in Nashville, in fact I've been told that we'll probably end up going there multiple times. I am more than okay with this, and I absolutely cannot wait for some delicious BBQ! My attempt at healthy eating habits are going by the wayside on this trip, in case that wasn't obvious. As for going out, I've heard Broadway Street is the place to be as well. Can't wait!

I feel like a visit to Nashville isn't complete without a visit here either! Really excited for all there will be to see here, as well as to learn more about my favorite genre!

I'm thinking a trip to Belle Meade or the Hermitage if we have time, and maybe a visit to the Vanderbilt campus. Of course we're also excited to swim at the hotel pool, and I can't wait to shop! Any other suggestions and places we must see? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

arms & abs

Holy soreness!

As part of my recent attempts to get stronger and leaner, I'm trying to isolate muscle groups into separate workout days. Instead of trying to pile my upper body workouts into one day (and a lot of sore days after), I split up back and shoulders into one day, and arms and chest into another.

It was so bright and sunny today that I was especially motivated to tone my arms (and the fleshy part where my arms meet my torso that every girl seems to hate) for when the time comes to break out the sleeveless dresses! Give this workout a try next time you want to work arms and let me know what you think!

Any of these exercises can be recreated with just dumbbells if you prefer, instead of a Boku ball just do push ups on the floor; instead of a yoga ball use a bench or the floor to lay on. I do tricep pull downs on a Matrix universal structure, but you can do them with just weights and gravity as well. 

I finished up by combining the Lower Abs Trifecta and Upper Abs Trifecta from and was DYING at the end. Definitely a good one to work into my arms and chest days in the future

*I'm not a doctor or a personal trainer, so please do not try any of these exercises if you are not comfortable with them, experienced, or in the condition to do so. Be safe! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

apothecary jars and bathroom plans

Lately I've been pin pin pinning away lots of creative DIYs for around the house, but haven't had much time or inspiration of my own to get to creating. Yesterday morning I woke up at 7am for no apparent reason, and immediately started behaving like an over-caffeinated Martha Stewart. I've been wanting to redo my beach-themed bathroom into something slightly more subdued (right now there is actual sand on the walls and fishing net draped over the shower). I want to take a more minimalist approach, especially in terms of the clutter that is on the counter. By the time I'm finished with the redo I plan to streamline my makeup collection, install PVC pipes under the sink to store my hot tools, as well as paint the walls.

Making these apothecary-style jars was ridiculously easy, and even cheaper to do. I went to Dollar Tree and snagged three glass candlesticks from their housewares section ($3 total). They're the same height, but the different size jars give the look some variety which I really like. Check out the rest of their glasswares to see if they have lidded jars- in my case they didn't so I went to Hobby Lobby. HL had a glass sale, so I paid about $2 each for the jars and there was a lot of variety.

Head over to the model building section, and pick up E6000 bonding agent, which is pretty much an all-purpose type of glue. THIS STUFF IS STRONG! This is really important because my jars will be in a bathroom, where it gets pretty warm and steamy from the shower, and I would hate for them to start coming apart. Fix the candlestick to the bottom of the jar, and turn right side up so they can dry.

I made these in less time than it took me to walk from my car to the front door of the store, and I think they will be a nice start to staying organized in my bathroom.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

follow through: 1, denise: 0

I've always been one to have a million brilliant ideas running through my head at any given time. Sadly, the follow through and commitment to all one million ideas is slightly exhausting, and sometimes I get frustrated and give up easily. Case in point: the previous Post Greek Grad blog that I started over on WordPress. I had the best intentions and then gave up because, let's face it, WordPress was a nightmare.

Blogger seems to be waaaay more user friendly and I was able to get everything looking how I wanted tonight in less time than it took me to spend a ton of money yesterday at the mall! In the meantime while I prepare more content and photo heavy posts,  enjoy a photo of my recent crafting endeavors! A monogrammed jewelry tray, currently being sold on my Etsy page!

xoxox Denise