10/23/13

Lifestyle Post

Very rarely do I get personal on my blog but I’ve made a few changes recently that have felt really good and I wanted to share and inspire others.

A few weeks ago I bought a brand new car. I had a used BMW and although it was a fun ride, I was realizing that it was turning into a money pit so I traded it in for a Honda CRV and I can’t even tell you how happy I am. First off, gas alone is is saving me about $100 a month but that being said, I am financing it so I have a monthly bill that I have to be responsible for. This month in particular, I decided to really become in control of my finances so I can be ready for my payments and also pay off my credit cards. This mean cutting back a whole lot. I could do it in phases and not be so tight on my budget but as some of you in my life may know, I am probably the most impatient person.

photo-33

The main thing I focused on was my personal spending. I am as social as a social butterfly can get! I love going out to dinners and drinks and catching up with friends but ladies and gentlemen… surprise! It adds up! So my main goal was seeing if I could cook as many meals as possible at home. It’s a commitment on time and energy but I can’t even begin to express how much better my body and my pocket feels. I am limiting the amount I go out so this means that if my friends want to meet up for dinner and drinks then I eat my dinner at home and meet them for drinks later. I do all my grocery shopping on Sundays and get prepped for the week. Here’s my shopping guide:

1. Quinoa- I usually cook a giant amount on Sunday and have that as my grain/carb for most of my meals.

quinoa

2. Protein comes in the form of eggs, chicken sausage, shrimp skewers, and canned tuna

poached-eggs-a

3. My go to fruits and veggies are: spinach, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, butter lettuce, baby carrots, mushrooms and berries. (All organic of course but like I always say- this is a personal choice).

4. My yummy extras: Part skim shredded mozzarella cheese, avocados, 70% dark chocolate, blue corn tortilla chips and salsa, greek nonfat yogurt, steel cut oats, hummus and trader joes chai mix.

51kWqcLpufL._SL500_AA300_

One of my addictions is the chai latte at my local coffee shop but I once found out that their secret was buying their mix at Trader Joes. Boom! Winning!

So my meals vary but stay pretty consistent. Here are a few examples of some meals I have cooked up:

1. Butter lettuce salad with canned tuna and vegonaise (tuna salad) with toasted pine nuts dressed in grapeseed oil and ground lemon pepper.

butter-lettuce-salad

2. Quinoa with 2 poached eggs, spinach, sliced mushrooms and shredded cheese. Topped of with some avocado slices. Sometimes I’ll add some Siracha if I need to spiciness in my life.

poachedeggbreakfast

3. Quinoa with sautéed zucchini and onion and diced chicken sausage.

DSC_0024

4. Berries with greek yogurt topped with flax and chia seeds and agave nectar.

yogurt-berries

5. Stuffed bellpeppers with quinoa, chicken sausage, spinach, onions and shredded cheese.

photo-4-1024x1024

6. Steel cut oats with skim milk, berries and agave nectar.

Unknown

7. Thai Lime shrimp skewers with a veggies medley and quinoa.

IMG_3793

Those are a few of my fave dishes. Of course some chips and salsa when I need to nosh and a bite of dark chocolate holds me over for my sweet craving.

slideshow_954928_darkchocolate

The only outside purchasing I have been doing is my random coffee stops for $2.25.

Not only do I feel amazing because my spending has gone down significantly but I can’t even tell you how amazing my body and energy feels. I’ve been enjoying cooking for myself for the last year or so but never to this level and consistency. Knowing every ingredient that goes into my body and filling it up with energizing and fresh foods has given me a level of health I haven’t felt in a long time. I have also significantly cut back on drinking (not that I was ever a heavy drinker) and this has also reduced my sudden cravings. Also, because I am so prepared with my foods, I never go so long without eating that I get ravaged by the end of the day. This has happened all too much for me in the past.

So without blabbing on and on about how amazing I am feeling, I will leave you with this. It takes motivation and a whole lot of commitment to prepare every meal but give yourself maybe one week to try it out to feel the significant changes in your life.  I can’t say this is a change I will 100% stay committed to because life happens and family happens and friends happen and they are a huge joy but now I know what I need to do to get to this place and it’s awesome.

So try it out! One week of cooking your own meals. Find meals that work for you and get in a rhythm and then share your recipes with me!

Love you all to pieces!

Screen Shot 2012-08-31 at 1.42.55 PM

08/10/12

Home Invasion… the Aftermath

Hey all… Hope you’re liking the new site so far. There is still more to be done but we are getting there!

Today I wanted to share with you another set of “after” photos from a client and dear friend. I posted the progress of making tables here and painting the mural for the baby’s room here. Finally today I got some nice looking for reals “after shots.”

They already had a dining table in the dining room so I felt that behind the sofa was the perfect place to set up a work station.

This is where the bulk of the budget went to and the main changes happened. You can see how I made the desk here. The curtains prior were a satin beige and I changed them up with a linen fabric which lent a hand in continuing the beach cottage traditional yet casual look.

I really love the way the desk came out. It’s crazy that altogether that desk cost $70 with all the materials.

Rustic.

The project was mainly a diy scramble to fit the budget and it was fun.

Here is the art piece that I made. I LOVE old windows. I found this one at the local thrift store. The original idea was that I would have a mirror behind it and place it over the fireplace to let light bounce around the room. Soooo… the mirror thing… it didn’t work out. Cutting mirrors= not fun and a little scary.

Finally my little bambino’s room. Her little owl who watches over her at night.

Happy Thursday!

04/13/12

Ikea Stockholm Rand Rug

The Ikea Stockholm Rand Rug has made its way into many homes in the last few years. The best part is that it’s only $199 for a 5 x 7.

Check out all the homes that this magic rug made its way into:

This room looks great with the rug. I like the color scheme of back, white and splashes of green.

 Another well played room. They keep the black and white theme going but the reason why it looks so beautiful is because there are no two things alike and I like that a lot! Think less matching.

These guys show us how to make a retro masculine room look right.

Another great vintage room.

 I love the chalkboard walls in this play room.

Mega charm and they did a great job at pairing the rug with other fancy ones.

 I just wanted to show you guys that you don’t need to compromise your design style if you are on a budget. There are so many budget friendly choices whether its going to places like Ikea or a thrift store or putting in a little bit more leg work to make it work in your space.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It’s supposed to be sunny and blue skies here all weekend after a whole week of rain. Yay!

www.arielanajman.com

www.sweetnectardesigns.com

www.etsy.com/people/ArielaN

04/10/12

Stair Railing

A few months back I blogged about staircases. I think they are a weak spot for a lot of on-a-budget home owners or renters so I supplied some great inspirational sources to help out but I mostly focused on the stairs themselves. Today, I want to talk about railings. Here we go:

Apartment Therapy once again shows us how it’s done. If you have wooden baluster then you can paint them. There are so many ways you can paint them but I like this image because it keeps the eye moving and all the colors are close to one another so it doesn’t look like a circus.

I love this look. It’s a found oak log used as a hand railing. Brilliant! It has the look of a log cabin but it stays fresh and funky with the taupe/beige wall paint and the pops of yellow.

Look at that great piece of driftwood. Another brilliant idea for stair railings.

Here we have a rope for a hand rail. It goes great with this place because the circular window and whitewashed floors keep this place looking nautical.

Here goes another nautical hand rail. Watch out for rope burn though!

I’ll tell you why I absolutely love this. This iron stair rail is a typical manufactured kind that come in most homes. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Adding the planks of wood are not only budget friendly but immediately make this old, tired look become fresh and modern. And the mix between the wood and the metal is one of my favorites- it’s an industrial natural look that I love.

Yes, another rope idea but this time they come on the balusters. I wouldn’t get so caught up it what the entire decor is in this picture. You can use the same idea for the rope railing but make it your own flavor. You can keep it modern, casual, funky, etc. Whatever you choose.

Use these images to inspire your own creativity.

Have a wonderful Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by :)

www.arielanajman.com

www.sweetnectardesigns.com

www.etsy.com/people/ArielaN