Friday, September 12, 2014

WEAR | Washi Dress

I finally made a Washi Dress!  I think this dress has been on my "Selfish Sewing" list longer than anything else.  Rae's blog is one of the first I discovered when I started sewing (along with Dana and Caroline) and I've loved this dress since the pattern was released.  Of course, at that time, I hadn't really ventured much into apparel sewing for myself besides the occasional elastic waist skirt, so it seemed a little bit beyond my skill set.


 This dress took me about one nap time and one after bed time sewing session to complete.  The pattern was easy to follow and straightforward.  And pockets for the win.  Always.


I've had this fabric in my stash for a while and I don't think it's available any longer.  I actually think I bought it with the intention of making a Washi, but for some reason only had 2 yards of it.  The pattern calls for 2.5, preferably 3 for my size, so this definitely took some creative cutting.  I had a mild panic attack when I realized that I had somehow missed cutting the back neckline facing and didn't know if I had a scrap big enough for it (I did!).  


 I made the pattern exactly as written with no modifications.  I considered not cutting out the little U because I was worried it would be lower cut than I like to wear.  I shared the dress on Instagram when I was working on it and the consensus was that it looked fine, so thanks ladies!  I do think that next time I'll omit the U or do just a little slit instead.  I did take a few inches off the hem when I was done.  I'm a shorty!  

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 I definitely have plans for more of these and will be purchasing the expansion pack soon.  I adore the peter pan collar!


 This was also my first time using elastic thread.  Rae gives clear instructions on how to do this and after a few test stitches, I was good to go!


 I love that this fabric looks a little fallish and I think this will adorable styled with boots and a boyfriend cardigan if the weather ever cools off a little!  It also reminds me of our time spent in New Mexico last year and I love that!  I can see myself wearing this on a weekend trip to Santa Fe!


And of course, Gabe approves!



Friday, August 15, 2014

LIFE | Whole30 Week 2 Recap

Whoo-hoo!  Another week done!  Truly, with a little planning, this isn't that difficult.  I'm definitely missing the convenience of convenience meals.  There have been a few nights where we have eaten later than I would have liked or where it sure would have been nice to just go through the drive thru.

My only major cheats this week were some wine and accidentally eating a Lara Bar that wasn't compliant.  Oops.  I am having dinner at a friends tomorrow and I know the plan is to order pizza.  I am considering bringing my own food.  I mean, I have done so well, and it's not like pizza is a little cheat!  More than chocolate or anything sugary, I really miss cheese.  That's the one thing I can't wait to have again.  Most of the meals I make I think would be that much better with just a touch of cheese.


I am going to do at least one more week.  I don't know that I'll continue to be strict for the entire 30 days (I have my birthday and some travel coming up in week 4), but I'd like to finish out this next week.  For the record, I've lost about 4 pounds.  I know that may not seem like a lot, but considering I'm pretty petite to begin with, it is for me!  I have been exercising more days than not, so I'm sure that's a factor with the weight loss as well.  The goal of the Whole30 is not weight loss, but it seems like it would be almost inevitable.  Basically all I ate before were grains, dairy, and sugar, so how could I not lose a little weight since cutting those out???

I do think that a good take away from all this is having a few new healthy lunch options.  I literally eat a sandwich for lunch every single day.  I haven't had a sandwich in 2 weeks!  Whole30 lunches may take a few minutes longer to prepare, but they've been good and and I feel good eating them!  I'm also the kind of person that can eat the same thing over and over (see the salad I've been having this week), and that's probably a good thing with this kind of diet.



Ok, here's the recap of everything I've eaten this week.  I've included links to the recipes where applicable.

Day 8
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Scrambled eggs
Strawberries and blueberries
Lunch
Leftover spaghetti squash with ground beef and spaghetti sauce
Grapes
Dinner
Chicken Divan - I didn't love this and won't make it again.  I found it on several blogs and lots of people do like it, so maybe you will.
Snacks
Lara Bar
Cherries
Trail Mix
Apple
Exercise
Barre Class

Day 9
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Scrambled eggs
Strawberries
Lunch
Salad with strawberries, egg, dill, pecans, and turkey
Dinner
Dinner out - Grilled trout with zucchini and squash (I think this was as close to compliant as I could get.  The veggies were probably cooked in butter though.  And I had a few drinks.  And 2 french fries.
Snacks
Grapes
Banana
Exercise
2.5 mile "wog"

Day 10
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Hard-boiled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Ham, spinach, avocado, and tomato roll ups
Blueberries
Trail mix
Dinner
Leftover chicken divan
Snacks
Cherries
Trail Mix

Day 11
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Hard-boiled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Salad with strawberries, egg, cucumbers, dill, pecans, and turkey
Dinner
Shrimp cocktail
Homemade cocktail sauce - omitted honey, horseradish was not compliant but I decided it wasn't enough for me to care (dairy and sugar)
Cucumber salad - subbed coconut sugar for sugar
Peach
Wine - Believe me, after the day I had I had earned it.  You would have done it, too.
Snacks
Lara Bar
Grapes
Exercise
Barre Class

Day 12
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
Scrambled eggs
Strawberries
Lunch
Leftover shrimp cocktail
Cucumber salad
Dinner
Zesty Ranch Porkchops - I used the Southwest Ranch dressing because that's what I had.  It was yummy!
Baked Japanese sweet potato - I'd never had these before.  I think I like it better than a regular sweet potato!
Snacks
Banana
Almonds
Cherries
Exercise
Barre Class
2.7 mile "wog" (It was hot and slow, but DONE!)

Day 13
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
Scrambled eggs
Grapes
Lunch
Salad with strawberries, egg, cucumbers, dill, pecans, and turkey
Dinner
Leftover Zesty Ranch Porkchops
Baked Japanese sweet potato
Peach
Snacks
Lara Bar - Chocolate chip flavor, I didn't realize until I was halfway done with this that it was an accidental cheat.  There's sugar in the chocolate chips!  I finished it anyway and it was DIVINE!
Cherries
Grapes
Exercise
Does walking around the zoo for an hour count?

Day 14
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
Hard-boiled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Bacon, tomato, avocado, and egg salad
Dinner
Salad with strawberries, egg, cucumbers, dill, pecans, and turkey
Snacks
Kale chips
Cherries
Exercise
I went shopping.  :)



Friday, August 8, 2014

LIFE | Whole30 Week 1 Recap

(GASP!  A post with no pictures!  I know this a total blogging faux pas, but if I had taken pictures of my food, I promise that most of it would have just looked like mashed avocados.  Speaking of avocados, I think I've eaten more this week than in my entire life!)

I survived week 1 of my Whole30!  I have to say, it wasn't too bad!  I planned out all my meals for the week and sort of stuck to it.  Having a plan definitely helped!  I've included a rundown of what I ate every day for anyone that's curious and I included links to the recipes I followed.

I definitely think that I'm probably eating more fruit than I should, but I think it's still an improvement over all the cheese and crackers or processed snacks (oh, how I miss you Smartfood Popcorn) that I was having before.  I haven't had any serious cravings which I've been thankful for.  I've been able to stay pretty full by snacking on fruits and nuts during the day.  I think day 1 and 2 were definitely the hardest as far as hunger and snacking.  Naptime is usually my time to have a treat, something that I don't want to share with a 2 year old, and I could tell my body (or mind) was craving something during that time those first few days.

 The Whole30 website gives you a timeline of what to expect during your Whole30.  I didn't experience the anger or sleepiness during the first week that it mentioned, but I did have some bloating and had a headache on day 3 and 4.  Maybe that means that I wasn't eating that bad to begin with after all.

I thought that taking the creamer out of my coffee would be tough and I told myself that if I needed that "cheat", I would be ok with that.  Thankfully, I've been ok with just coconut milk and some cinnamon.  I don't like a super sweet coffee to begin with, so I know that may be harder for other people.  I have had a few glasses of wine, but not nearly as much as I usually have.  I know that isn't Whole30 compliant, but my husband is deployed so I decided to make an exception.  :)  I've also been drinking all the water!  I'm surprised I haven't floated away!

Overall, I feel good.  I definitely feel a little leaner and I've lost 3 pounds.  Week 2, lets do this!

Day 1
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
3 hard boiled eggs (tip: boil extra, you're going to need them)
Banana
Lunch
Bacon, Egg, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
Dinner
Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles (omitted cheese)
Snacks
Cherries
Walnuts
Grapes
Exercise
Barre Class

Day 2
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
Scrambled eggs with spinach and ham
Lunch
Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and turkey, Tessamae's dressing
Dinner
Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa - So, so good!
Roasted Carrots
Salad
Snacks
Grapes
Banana
Almonds
Apple with Almond Butter
Exercise
3 mile "wog" (running with walk breaks)

Day 3
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk
3 hard boiled eggs
Strawberries
Lunch
Leftover Salad from yesterday, added a hardboiled egg
Cherries
Dinner
Burrito Bowl - this would have been a lot better in a tortilla with cheese and sour cream, but pretty good!
Snacks
Watermelon
Walnuts
Grapes


Day 4
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon <-- SOOO much better!
Scrambled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Leftover burrito bowl
Dinner
Left over salmon and roasted carrots
Strawberries
Snacks
Lara Bar
Cherries
Exercise
Barre Class

Day 5
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Scrambled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Salad with strawberries, cucumbers, egg, dill, pecans, and turkey
Dinner
Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole (used ground turkey instead)
Snacks
Macadamia Nuts
Blueberries
Lara Bar
Exercise
Barre Class
2 mile "wog"

Day 6
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Hard boiled eggs
Banana
Lunch
Bacon, egg, avocado, and tomato salad
Dinner
Leftover jalapeño turkey burgers and guacamole
Cherries
Snacks
Apple
Almonds
Grapes

Day 7
Breakfast
Coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon
Scrambled eggs
Pineapple
Lunch
Salad with strawberries, egg, dill, pecans, and turkey
Dinner
Spaghetti squash with ground beef and spaghetti sauce
Snacks
Macadamia nuts
Banana
Kale chips
Grapes
Exercise
Barre Class








Monday, August 4, 2014

SHOP | Ship, ship, hooray!


I recently purchased a necklace during an Instagram sale.  When it came, the address had been handwritten and it had clearly been taken to the post office to be weighed and mailed.  Y'all, this girl sold at least 50 necklaces.  All paid through PayPal invoices.  That she hand addressed.  And then took to the post office.  And she has 2 little kids.  Why???  

When I started DFD, I figured out pretty quickly that I did not have time to hand address packages or go to the post office every time I needed to ship an order and knew there had to be a better way.  I thought I would take a few minutes to share my process and hopefully help some other shop owners streamline their process.  I know there are a few different ways to ship orders from home, but this is what works best for me.  I only accept payment through PayPal and I typically ship 5-15 orders at a time.  

First of all, I don't ship every day.  I typically ship orders out 2-3 times a week depending on volume.  My ready to ship listings include 1-3 days of processing time since I know I don't ship every day.  I have found that is much more efficient to prepare several orders for shipping all at once rather than just a couple at a time.

Here's how it goes!

Package up the order and weigh it!  I actually use a food scale that I already owned since it tells me ounces, but you can buy a postage scale at the post office, office supply stores, or on Amazon.  Trust me, it is $20 well spent to save yourself trips to the post office.  If you're always shipping the same 1 or 2 items, you can take them to the post office and have them weighed there and then you'll know!  


All of my payments come through PayPal, so I use PayPals' Multi-order Shipping Tool.


When I open it up, all of my orders are automatically imported.  There are drop down menus to select how you're shipping (First Class, Priority, etc.) and weight.  


Once you've entered all the information for the orders you're shipping, select "Pay and Print."  PayPal purchases the labels from USPS using your PayPal balance.


Then you're able to print the labels right at home!  I know there are sticky labels you can purchase for this, but I have always printed mine on paper and then taped them on the package.


All packaged up and ready to go!


 Bonus: If you have a Priority mail package going out, you can schedule a pickup with USPS!  This is easy to do on their website.  If I'm really busy and know that I won't have time to take the packages to the post office and I don't have anything going out Priority, I'll sometimes give a customer a shipping upgrade just so I can get them picked up!  Totally worth the extra dollar or two that it costs me to have one less errand.  And even if I do take them to the post office, I'm able to just drop them in the package drop and be on my way!  No standing in line!

Also, the rates are cheaper online!  So you're saving money and time.  Those pennies add up!  Win-win, right?  And all shipping labels come with tracking, so it's easy to help customers that are trying to track down a package or make sure that something was delivered.


PayPal's shipping tool also gives you the option to create address labels.  This is great for when I have a giveaway or sample item to send or if I'm shipping a gift for someone.  It takes a few extra minutes for me to enter the address manually, but it's still faster than handwriting it and going to the post office!

You can still add a personalized touch to your package with a cute sticker, stamp, washi tape, or include a handwritten thank you inside the package.  

Any questions?  Do you have a small business?  How do you ship your orders?  Please share your tips and tricks in the comments!

(I don't ship international, but if you, here's a great post on how to do that from home using Stamps.com)
  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

LIFE | Whole30

I shared on Instagram yesterday that I'm going to start Whole30 today.  I had a few people interested in following along, so I thought I would share some updates here on the blog (since I'm not using it for anything else anyway.  Ha!).



You can read all about Whole30 HERE.
You can follow my Whole30 Pinterest board HERE.
You can get daily updates on Instagram HERE.

My reasoning for starting Whole30:  Primarily just to be healthier.  I've gained a few pounds since we've moved to Arizona and I definitely wouldn't be sad to say bye to those.  A handful of pounds isn't much for some people, but when you're only 5'2", they show up quickly!  When my husband is deployed, it's easy to fall into eating a lot of "convenience food" since there's no one here to hold me accountable.  Gabe will happily eat frozen chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese all day long, so he's no help.  I can tell that a summer of not eating enough REAL food has left me feeling bloated, sluggish, and heavy.  I don't like that.

I have to admit, I've been excited about this but when I went shopping, I started to feel nervous!  I have all my meals planned for the next week and a variety of snacks on hand, so hopefully I can stick to it.  My plan is to just take it a week at a time and if I'm being honest, I don't expect to make it the full 30 days.  I would be happy with 2 or 3 weeks.

Here are the things I'm nervous about:
I don't really like vegetables.
I don't really like avocados. (I bought 6 today!)
I like wine.  (I actually plan to still have the occasional glass of wine.  My husband is deployed after all!)
I like chocolate.
I like cheese.
Other food will still be in the house.  I have a 2 year old to feed and while his meals will definitely be healthier, he'll still get grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes.  I hope I'm not too tempted to eat off his plate!

I'll be updating my progress on Instagram during the week and I plan to share a weekly recap here if you want to follow along!

Have you done Whole30?  Any tips or favorite recipes???  Anything you'd like me to be sure to share with you about my experience?  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LIFE | The Ocean

Last week Gabe and I loaded up the car and took an impromptu trip to the beach.  We met some friends, stayed in a cottage on the sand, skipped nap to play in the ocean, and had an all around wonderful time.  I know we were only 2 weeks into this deployment, but I think Gabe and I were both needing a change of scenery.  I don't know what it is about the beach that's so refreshing, but I think we both came home in a better mood and and with a better outlook for the next few months.








I had told Gabe about our beach trip a few days in advance (MISTAKE- do not tell a toddler anything in advance!) and he was upset anytime we went somewhere in the car that didn't end at the ocean.  I don't think he anticipated how long the drive to the ocean would be, but he was a little road warrior.  As we got into San Diego, he looked out the window and said, "I see California!"  Even though he spent the first 18 months of his life living very close the beach, he never really enjoyed it and I knew he didn't remember it, so I was anxious to see what he would think of the ocean when it wasn't just something we read about in books.  His sea life books are some of his favorites, so I think he was well prepared.  Good news, he LOVED it and was upset anytime we weren't able to be right at the water.

It was such a relaxing couple of days.  We hung out at our cottage, cooked out with our friends, played in the waves, and went on a run along the beach.  

Scenes from our run.




  
Playtime at the beach.





Bye, Ocean.  Until next time...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

OBSESSION | Pineapples

Every once in a while I get fixated on something and I can't get enough of it.  This summer, it's pineapples.  They seem to be everywhere and I want them all!  I want to eat them, I want to wear them, I want to accessorize with them!  It's been a few years since I've been to Hawaii and am hoping to make a trip this summer.  I think that's why the pineapples are calling my name!

Here are a few of my favorites!


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

1// Sadly, the pineapple print it sold out, but the other summer prints are super cute!
2// Also available as a tank in store!  (I may own both versions...  I couldn't resist!)