Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coffee Cozies

By now, I think we are all striving to be more green, but as I mentioned before, there's just something magical about those disposable Starbucks coffee cups. Although I don't have a solution for that yet, I do have a solution to cut down on cardboard consumption by making your own coffee cozie out of recycled items!
I've been eyeballing these cuties on Pinterest for a while, and after researching all the ways people have come up with making them, I decided to take a sewing-machine-free route, with plenty of room left for uniqueness and versatility.

To start, stop by your local Goodwill (or raid a man's closet, hopefully without breaking any laws) and pick out some neckties that catch your eye while keeping in mind quality and width (these cost <$1!!!).


Empty coffee cup and cardboard sleeve for template (now you have an excuse to go get a cup of Jo from your favorite coffee shop)
Buttons or Material Flower/rossette or whatever else you'd like to use as an accent peice (keep in mind, the flatter, the better)
Needle and thread (color to coordinate with tie color)
Straight Pins
Felt (color to coordinate with tie color)
Fabric Tac
E6000 glue


Drink your coffee. Smile. Take a deep breath; when you release it, make sure you don't blow it in anyone's face before brushing your teeth.
Remove the cardboard sleeve from the cup and gently take it apart (making it one long flat piece).
Lay out the necktie on a flat surface, place cardboard sleeve on top (pretending the pointy tip of the tie does not exist), and cut the tie about two inches longer than the cardboard sleeve.
Separate the layers of the end of the tie (the newly cut end), and cut out about 1/4-1/2 inch of the inside material.
Fold the edge over (towards the back of the tie, where the other seems and tags are), secure in place with a couple of pins and sew along the edges to secure (now you have a hem without any extra bulky fabric).
Pick out your accent peice and sew at the pointy end of the tie until secure.
 (Don't worry about how your stitching looks on the back of the tie, it wont matter.)
Lay the tie on the sheet of felt and cut to size (again, pretending the pointy tip of the tie doesn't exist).
Secure felt on back of tie (side with all the seems and sloppy sewing evidence) with fabric tack. 
(We use Fabric Tac for this part because it will dry soft and is machine washable.)
Then cut a square of velcro (hook side) and glue to inside of the pointy tip of tie with E6000 glue. Allow time to dry.
(We use E6000 for this part because it's super strong and resilant. Be sure not to get it on anything else, or you'll never get it off!)
Measure where to put the loop side of velcro on the pretty side of the tie by wrapping the tie around the coffee cup until it fits snuggly, slide the velcro in place to mark the spot (this part takes some coordination, experimentaion, and patience), then secure in place with E6000 glue.
Allow time to dry.
You're done!!!
Time to celebrate with another cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I've Missed You....(Project Pretty Week 4)

(Project pretty is a personal commitment to share my weekly journey of keeping my non-New-Year's-Resolution: staying fit to improve quality of life while inspiring others to do the same. Let's all jump on the endorphin wagon!)

My entire body had really been missing yoga for the last few months, ever since I've been trying to save money on gym fees and quit my beloved gym. But being a member at a pricey yoga studio was out of the question....until I realized these deals for really great specialty classes were floating around the metroplex like hot cakes.
I became a member of Groupon and Living Social forever and a year ago, but never got serious about actively looking to purchase anything until a few weeks ago when I found 2 deals I couldn't pass up. The first being one of those fancy-shmancy ProSonic facial cleansing contraptions (which my skin absolutely loves). The second being 25 yoga classes for $25 (that's 93% off the the normal cost of $375), which I also absolutely love.
A couple of weeks ago I showed up late for my first class (barging in at what I thought was 10 minutes early, after trying to be 20 minutes early, but almost giving up on finding the place because it was hidden, and then finding out I showed up on the only day of the entire week that class starts at a different time). Turns out I went to the one and only beginners class of the week, and although it wasn't what I expected or thought I was in need of, turned out to be a really good learning experience. When all you've ever attended are people packed fast moving vinyassa classes, the instructor really doesn't have enough allotted time to critique each individual to perfection, but the beginner class is made just for this.
Carlos (the owner and instructor) is not what I'd describe as the stereotypical instructor. He's a long eyebrow'd squatty man, from some sort of Spanish decent, with a rounded belly and burly legs bared by his short cotton shorts. His accent is thick, but his passion for yoga is stronger. His standards for each pose and movement are high and I've always thought I had pretty good posture until now. 
 Apparently I lack body awareness, and require manual correction. I've always been direction-ally dyslexic when it comes to following moves in classes (thank goodness for the lady one mat over who mother-hen'd me during the regular class, gently hinting each time I adjusted the wrong extremity or moved the wrong way), but now I'm becoming more conscious of  the bad compensating habits that have managed to work their way into my practice. After I was corrected, my muscles started tremoring so badly I thought I was going to collapse; by midway through the class I couldn't see for the constant river of sweat pouring into my eyes.
Needless to say after of couple of those classes, my muscles are S-O-R-E, but with great satisfaction! Yoga just makes everything better; it's like a meditation, stretch, detox, and workout, all at the same time.  
......Did I mention you can't beat $1 a class?

What's your all time favorite type of workout?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lost On Why, So Let's Dance

I forgot to talk about our very last christmas......and the legal crap I promised to explain.
Let's start with a baffling one sided conversation about how I can make the most complicated recipes in the world, but have never made a successful batch of rice crispy treats, and was far from successful with this supposedly "easy" candy idea. I let the Rollos melt too much, resulting in a sticky, broken, caramel mess.....and those kisses were suppose to be melted, not browned and crystallized!!! I guess if it's not "real" cooking, it's over my head. 
We took the successful dishes, along with my failed ones, and headed 4 hours south, to the Brenham family get together.
We played with some cute puppies, had a few drinks by the outdoor fireplace, enjoyed a good ol' fashioned time at White Elephant Christmas, and broke a sweat in the living room to the Nintendo Wii game, Dance Off, with the kids.
Now I'm convinced that we need a Wii, since I have the rationalization that rotting my brain with Super Mario Bros is nutralized by following it up with a healthy exercising competition disguised as dancing.
But before we got to do all that........something else happened.
Ever since we got our iPhone's we've had navigational issues, which contributed to missing a crucial turn on this trip, which snowballed into being flagged down by the patriotic lights of a small town officer with nothing else better to do than read the microscopic inspection expiration date on our windshield.........on probably the only day in the last year we were super conscious about not breaking any traffic laws. Go figure.  It didn't help our case when Patrick admitted to not having an up-to-date address on his driver's license, as I frantically searched through the pile of 20 expired insurance slips, promising that we pay for insurance but just can't find the current form.
I started having flash back's to last summer when I got a warning for not having my lights on at night, and having a very out of date home address on my DL. The officer gave me 30 days to fix it, and luckily didn't notice the registration was expired. I thought about how I've yet to fixed any of those things and just knew karma was catching up with me now.  Patrick and I looked at each other, took a deep breath, and braced ourselves for the shameful ticket coming our way. 
"I'm going to let you off with a warning. But you need to get these things taken care of," said the officer who will now go down in kpLove Blog history as one of the most character trusting good-faith-filled officer's in the state of Texas. Hallelujah, that day was saved! Sunlight transformed into beams from heaven shining down on us. 
I decided I better not try my luck again, which is why I got everything taken care of!

If you know how to make good rice-krsipy treats, what's your secret? How diligent are you about keeping all your legal requirements up-to-date?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Almost Ate Concrete (Project Pretty Week 3)

(Project pretty is a personal commitment to share my weekly journey of keeping my non-New-Year's-Resolution: staying fit to improve quality of life while inspiring others to do the same. Let's all jump on the endorphin wagon!)

My runner friends are getting ready for the Dallas Rock 'n Run (I'm still riding the fence), so I've been taking advantage of their frequent running schedules to have a little company for my workouts. Everyone's been such a good sport about pretending to be happy to slow down to a tortoise pace for a run/chat with ol' pokey (me)......
Kelly Jo's lived in North Dallas her entire life and never knew about Oak Point Nature Preserve, so we bundled to brave the 20-30 degree temps and squeezed in a 4-miler. I had us a nice little scenic sidewalk map completely mapped out, but of course we got off track somewhere along the way and ended up winging it.
Everything was all fun and games until I stepped on what I thought was a melted puddle and almost ate concrete. Time stood still in that moment, and skating over 1 foot of ice literally felt like 400 meters. It caused such a dramatic scene, we decided only a reenactment would serve it justice.
A couple days later, Missy was looking for someone to cover 5 miles with. Neither of us had ever been to Russel Creek Park, and the 2.5 mile loop halfway between both our homes sounded like the perfect place to meet up.
It literally felt like I gained 300 pounds overnight and had to drag my butt the whole way (even my heart rate was higher than usual), so she did most of the talking, but it felt great to burn those 700 calories in the crisp morning air with new was just one of those days I don't think I would have finished without someone cheering me on.
I got so overheated by the end, I was down to just a Tshirt while munching on my cup of ice during our cool down walk around the pond in the 40 degree weather......surely everyone there thought I was a crazy loon (but not as crazy as this fish thinking it was a good idea to sunbathe).
I'm super happy to report my knees have handled the pounding a lot better this week, though there's always some ailment to be dealt with, like sore second toes (probably due to their freakishly long nature), mild shin splints, and my first ever running induced blister. Oh the aches and pains of getting back into long distance running shape.......
My favorite moment this week was post omelet being cozy on the couch in front of my space heater, ice packs on my knees, catching up on American Idol and texting Patrick at work, "I really need you to fill up my tea glass."
"On my way," he replies.
"No." (He was suppose to work out during lunch.)
I became desperately disappointed I was actually going to have to momentarily abandon my perfect set up to fulfill this task solo, but before becoming dehydrated enough to talk myself in to getting up, he walked in the door to the rescue!!! How lucky am I?

How often do you ice post workout?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Holy Moly

(Did anyone ever watch the acapella singing show called The Sing Off??? I loved it before it got cancelled, and discovered Pentatonix during one of the seasons. They are amazing, and from Texas, and I just found out they are starting a tour soon!!)

Time has slipped from my finger tips. I know what happened; I've been so exhausted lately trying to catch up with regular life that the life itself has been drained from my body like water through a colander......I had a lot of catching up sleep to do......and I was reading a book which always monopolizes my free existing moments. 
The Time Traveler's Wife....such a tragically romantic love story. It wasn't just the heavy feeling of the word content that imaged tragedy though, the book's physical presence was looking pretty dismalled after I got finished with it. I used to think there was a certain charm about a real life book.......but what a chore it was to flip pages, a pain to hold it in awkward ways while trying to use the flash-light app on my phone in bed to avoid waking a sleeping husband, and an inconvenience to not have a built in dictionary at my disposal. My Kindle has ruined me for life.
Operation tuck-away-Christmas-decorations has been postponed yet again (as long as they're up before Easter, right?) for more urgently important technicalities like grocery shopping, getting the battery replaced in my Polar watch (God forbid I workout blindly, without knowing my heart rate or how many calories I burned), letting Robbins Brothers shine my rings back to sparkling new, having the inspection done on our car and other important things that apparently the state portrays as "important", but is actually just a conspiracy conjured up for money stealing (.......pppssshhhtt, legal crap.....I'll explain later....).
Thank goodness I'm blessed with a wonderful husband who comes home from a long day of work to make me dinner while I take an afternoon nap on the couch for moments like these, and cleans the entire house while I'm away at work, and stays up all night long to write a song to make me happy, and goes to the grocery store to purchase all the ingredients to make me the elaborate breakfast I was craving a day prior, and gets everything all laid out in the kitchen to have it all made by the time I get home from work........but accidently over sleeps and wakes up to a dog licking his face and yells out "OH CRAP!" and falls in the process of sprinting down the stairs as soon as possible to see his wife already made the extravagant breakfast (but she's happy anyway because it's the super sweet thought that really counts).
I wasn't the only tired one.....
In other words, this month is flashing before my eyes.....which only means one thing: the closer we are getting to going on a much needed vacation!!!

How fast do you take down your seasonal decor? When it comes to reading which do you prefer: digital or old school? Why?

Monday, January 21, 2013

No One's Perfect

Source: via Powell's on Pinterest

As a friend, sometimes we have to put on a strong face.
It's an unscripted duty to be happy for others in their shining moment, even when it hurts our own hearts, because it's the reputable thing to do.

As a friend, sometimes we cry together, but more frequently laugh.
Gut wrenching stitches are derived from both ends of the spectrum, an inevitable part of living.

As a friend, we have volunteered to be a support system.
The simple offering of oneself, even if in mere silence, may help keep someone else from falling apart.
Source: via Mandy on Pinterest

As a friend, sometimes I feel guilty for struggling to do these things, but I know that only makes me human.
All I can do is strive each day for reclaimed nobility.

We all stumble.
But that's why we have eachother, as friends, for balance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The D is Silent (Project Pretty Week 2)

(Project pretty is a personal commitment to share my weekly journey of keeping my non-New-Year's-Resolution: staying fit to improve quality of life while inspiring others to do the same. Let's all jump on the endorphin wagon!)

Back when Callie was an only dog-child, I always wanted to get another so she could have a canine companion to play with and keep her company for those times when Patrick or myself couldn't be around. When Sumo first came along, Callie despised having to share. She snubbed him in every way. But that boy is a born lover with perseverance and eventually wedged his way into her stubbornly selfish little heart. Now they're a conniving team, combining their individual strengths, weaknesses, and cute-factors to get whatever it is they want. You know that term "two is better than one"? Well, sometimes it's true, and sometimes it's just a pain in the ass. 
You see, my dogs know the difference between regular shoes and running shoes, work clothes and work-out clothes. They know what a damn sports bra is. They even have telepathic powers that can detect when I so much as think the words "outside, walk, or run". They're also full size, athletic yorkies, leaving me with no excuse to leave them behind if I know I'm only going a few miles.
And as much as I enjoy their adorable passion for smelling their way through the world while pretending they're on a mission to hunt down anything that moves, sometimes it's nice to just go out by my lonesome. Liberating is actually a more acutely accurate word. 
So I pushed my guilt aside, had Patrick distract the fur babies, and snuck out to hit the pavement; just me and my Black Keys Radio for the next 45 minutes. Those 4 miles were all about feeling focused (ya, I'm a bit pokey), and I loved every minute of it. (My knees however, did not, and I was forced to walk backwards down the stairs for the next 2 days, despite my prophalactic icing.)
I followed up that me-time with going to the movies for the first time in ages, accompanied by my lil bro to see Django Unchained (the "D" is silent......which I didn't know, and must have sounded like a fool when I bought our tickets) and ate my weight in popcorn smothered with delectable liquid cholesterol.  Quentin Tarantino might have outdone himself on this one; I can't even remember the last time I watched a movie so good. It literally was so captivating, I didn't even notice it was 3 hours long until we got in the car and I had to ask Dusty if his truck clock was correct.

What's the last best movie you saw??

Monday, January 14, 2013

I was Right! I was Right!!

Remember that time Patrick made me feel completely foolish and ashamed for throwing a "hook'em" sign instead of a "rock on" sign? We debated on which hand gesture meant what, my argument being his idea of the "rock on" sign actually meant "I love you". 
Being wrong continued to torment me, so I began to research the subject; I don't know why it didn't don on me before. As it turns out, I was indeed, correct. And although used by Texas University for their slogan of "hook'em horns", Patrick was just as much wrong as he was correct. The gesture is called the "sign of horns" or "corna" or "devil horns", a superstitious sign in some cultures, a satanic sign in others, but has been used in pop culture in association with rock and heavy metal dating all the way back to the later 60's early 70's. 
Ronnie James Dio with the band Black Sabbith, was the first to establish the now traditional association. (If Black Sabbith is on my side, I must be right......right?)

Patrick wasn't the first to get the 2 confused though. When The Beatles album Yellow Submarines came out, people thought maybe John Lennon got befuddled and meant to pose with the hand gesture "I love you". And if you search images on the web, you'll find the two different gestures harmoniously mingling together. 
But for us now better educated folks, we can be sure of 2 things: 
1. There's is a difference between the "I love you" sign and "Rock on" sign.
2. There is NOT a difference between the "Rock on" sign and "Hook'em" sign. 

(If you're still stupefied, the very last image is the "I love you" sign, all the rest meaning "rock on"......or for that fraction of the population out there that wish to cheer on the Texas Longhorns, "hook'em")

Ahhh......the sweet taste of victory. Feels good to be right. 

P.S. I wont hold it against you, Hunny, for calling me out. After all, it's a common misconception.
P.P.S. Na-na na-na boo boo!!! Go stick your head in doo doo!  

Sources: here, here, and here

How easily will you bow your head in defeat when someone tells you you're wrong?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Project Pretty (Week 1)

Whether or not it classifies me as a certified snob, I don't make New Year resolutions because I find it severely clique. Oh ya.......also because 99% of the population never follows through with them and the last thing I need is another statistic to fall into. But I was thinking it would be fun and self propelling to start a new project (agh-humm.....fake cough.....NOT a resolution) for 2013. 
I shall call it Project Pretty. 
No matter how I actually appear on the outside, I feel much more confident, when I do something to get my body moving. On the inside I feel accomplished; on the outside my image in the mirror shrinks from a size 9 to a size 6 (not that size matters, but perception is everything). A smile comes more easily when floating through a sea of endorphins, and although I know all of these things, sometimes I still need a little motivation to steer clear of a rut.
So from now on, I'm going to dedicate one post a week to physical activity and see where it leads.......hopefully no where dreadfully mundane. 
 This week I bundled up the dogs and took cousin A to a running trail nestled in the Spring Creek Natural Area. It's right down the road from our home and walking distance from Patrick's work. Pretty corporate buildings on the outskirts, beautiful outdoor scenery on the inside. In other words, the best of both worlds, minus the road noise.....but who hears road noise when they're jamming to their favorite motivating tunes?
On a random note, I'm stoked to find this place, since it means I now have a pretty park close by with lots of shade to run in when the dreaded summer months inevitably make their appearance this year.

Do you listen to different styles of music depending on what kind of workout you're doing? Pandora or playlist? 


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