Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I'm completely smitten like I've never been smitten before.  Moved to tears and completely overtaken with emotion and fantastical feeling.

This happened because of Sam Smith.

Until Sam, there was only one other person who could touch my soul as deeply and that was Glen Hansard. Yes, only musicians have this power over me.

It's hard to convey the force of this music on my soul. I'm not one to use the word "soul" and be serious about it; until we start talking music and then "soul" is the only word I know of that accurately describes the place in which I feel touched.

There are certain songs in which I want to crawl inside and make a cozy nest and just stay there forever. The emotion it evokes is so overwhelming, my body doesn't even know how to handle it. It's like wanting to cry, laugh, scream with joy, and hug someone all at one time. It's powerful and I LOVE it. It sends me to places of joy I can access through no other means. I become completely raptured.

Sam's album, "The Lonely Hour" hasn't even been released in full, but the songs that have been released I've fallen in love with one at a time. And just when I thought I would have to wait for more of these wondrous waves of passion to wash over me, I discovered Sam's acoustic version of "Latch."

I was painting my dining room and had all Sam's songs on shuffle. Having just rounded out my collection with songs from his EP "Nirvana" last night, I didn't know what gem awaited me in "Latch." I've had it on repeat for the last hour and it's not getting old.

When I heard part of the chorus, "...got you shackled in my embrace, I'm latching on to you..." I realized I knew those lyrics. But from where? After some thinking I realized Meryl and Maks danced their stunning and emotional freestyle dance to this song on the Dancing With The Stars Final this year. Sure, they didn't get to use the Sam Smith acoustic version, but it was still devastatingly beautiful.

Sam. HE'S devastating. His voice surfaces emotions in me that are buried deeply due to depression, unemployment, loneliness, self-doubt, and general unhappiness. I have no explanation for why but the break in the sadness is welcome and perhaps why I put these songs on repeat for days on end.

Now I've got you in my space, I won't let go of you
Got you shackled in my embrace, I'm latching on to you

Typing those lyrics does NOTHING to convey their impassioned weight.

Here. This should help.



So if you know me AT ALL, you know I moved into our house with umpteen different ideas about how to change it, better it, PERFECT it. At perhaps the tip top of my list even before we moved in and had to live with it was replacing the horrible blue carpet in the master bedroom.

It's nice carpet and all, but it's blue. So very blue. It's dark and it's thick and I just feel like I'm wading through mud when I walk around in there. Not only is it DARK (have I mentioned that?), it's soft and squish and I just feel like I'm sinking. We've only got 8 foot ceilings, too, so that makes the whole room feel very .... squat.

This photo was from the listing and does the room WAY too much justice. It's not that bright and the carpet is much much darker than this photo would lead you to believe.

These photos were taken by me and they are more true to life. Yes, the second one is quite dark, but honestly, not too far off from reality.

So, now that you're feeling good and sorry for us, let me brighten your day with pics of the floors I want to install in our entire house (well, just the upstairs first because we are not made of money).

I found the floor inspiration by browsing Pinterest and came across the first picture. I loved the floors so much I contacted Melissa over at The Inspired Room and she pointed me to her blog post that gave the full details on where and what kind/brand of floors she had in her home.

As you know, we have a 1986 contemporary and it's pre-open floor plans so we don't have wide open airy spaces. I want to put hardwood because I really dislike carpet. I want to have surfaces that are easy to clean and dust. I think these floors are so beautiful. They are light and bright without being boring and they are a lovely contemporary look.

We also plan on slowly replacing the boring hollow-core doors that remain in the house with single panel doors that are WHITE. I'm already busy painting some of our trim here and there with a nice, fresh coat of glossy white. We won't paint any baseboards, but will instead replace them with larger, white ones in order to kill two birds with one stone. I hate whimpy baseboards.


Lifetime Fitness D.Tox Program Experience

Hello everyone. Today is my last day of detox and I feel compelled to jot down what my experience was like in case I ever find myself wanting to this again. So here goes...

A little background first. I am a member at Lifetime Fitness. Love it. Mean it. This is a super-great and fancy gym and the only one I've ever been able to go to consistently for more than a few months. I've been a member for a year an a couple months and I've now lost 25.8 pounds.

It helped that I've enlisted the assistance of a personal trainer twice a week for the last year and a couple of months (so expensive, but we've been blessed financially this year, enough so that I'm able to indulge in a trainer although I know these days are limited).

My trainer is effing awesome. 

Please read about her here. She has helped me get in to the best shape of my life and helped me lose 20 pounds. I was lucky to be randomly placed with her as she has experienced anxiety and panic in her life as well and understands (somehow) what I need. She pushes me, but not too hard, and in just the right way. I've overcome so many fears and we're still working on more!

Additionally, I have been seeing a dietician there although my long-time one just took a new job so I'm getting to know a new one. Both are great and super-knowledgeable. I've learned to listen to my body as well as incorporating their suggestions because I've also learned that not every body responds the same to the same diet. Some are intolerant or sensitive to certain foods and that can slow down or even totally hinder weight loss.

SO. We arrive at D.Tox. This program is 14 days and $220 worth of product. So you see why I put it off. But after mannnnny months of a weight loss plateau despite a huge change in diet, I just stopped burning fat. It was sad and horrible and frustrating. I kept working out to stay in shape, but all that work and no weight loss was a roller coaster ride of sadness and frustration with a side of determination to keep. going.

So. D.Tox. 

Yeah, it's been quite the challenge. I had to cut out all dairy, all gluten, peanuts, peanut butter, eggs, condiments, coffee, soda, butter, sugars (except a few natural ones) and any added caffeine (naturally occurring caffeine in green tea and yerba mate was OK thank goodness) just to name a few. I had to stop all my supplements and prescription medications (except birth control and Lexapro - they let me stay on those) although I could continue to take my omega 3s and multivitamins (which I also buy from Lifetime).

I could pretty much eat vegetables endlessly. I couldn't have corn, canned veggies, or creamed veggies, but other than that I was free to eat vegetables all the livelong day. I can't do the approved/non-approved list justice so here's it is. You do the math. Yeah, I couldn't eat much.

In addition to the foods I could and couldn't eat, I also took supplements and detoxifiers twice a day along with 2 scoops of FastFuel and 1 scoop of Fibermend. The supplements had a liver cleanse and I can't remember what the other 2 did. They smelled like popcorn and were brightly colored.

I'm not going to lie - the FastFuel and Fibermend were not enjoyable. Even when I added almond milk, almond butter, and frozen fruit. It SMELLED like cake batter, tasted NOT like cake batter. It was doable - but let's just say I won't be craving those two anytime soon.

So after the 2 FF and Fibermind shakes a day, 2 packets of "nutrients" a day, I could eat meals as needed. The good thing about D.Tox was that I didn't have to count calories. I didn't have to keep a food record. It was a 2 week vacay from caring about that stuff. Mostly everything on the approved list is a reasonable number of calories on its own so you really won't over do it. You could, but you'd feel like ass and be stuffed.

I had some of the expected tummy gurgling and upset and yes it was EXTREMELY hard to watch others eat what I perceived to be delicious food I was being deprived of (think a family meal at Mellow Mushroom on day TWO of detox. Nice, amirite?). So yes, I got a little angry inside, but whatever, I persisted through it and have arrived on day 14 having not cheated ONE. SINGLE. TIME. Despite dinners out to restaurants not catering to d.tox patients.

I've not kept up my workouts this week because I've had a nagging feeling of indigestion and lots of bloating and bubbly-ness and just didn't feel good. Between last Friday and today I've worked out once. Boo.

D.Tox RESULTS: Lost 5.8 pounds in 14 days and 2% body fat. 

I'm pretty jazzed about that. My weight no longer starts with a 19. It starts with a 18 and my goal is to stay out of those 19s AFTER D.tox.

Tomorrow I can begin to incorporate dairy, coffee, and bananas back into my diet. I'm suspicious of a dairy sensitivity because I've read a lot online that suggests that you can have a hidden sensitivity to dairy and it can keep you from being able to lose weight even with great effort. So we add it back FIRST and see what happens. Still no gluten, still no sugar, still no peanut butterrrrrr. So sad.

Overall, I'm glad I did it and I'm super-glad it's coming to an end. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. I think the fact that I was already eating pretty clean helped minimize the digestive upset, fatigue, and crankiness. I found no loss of energy which is helpful for those of us who work full time and mostly sit in a chair staring a computer all day.

It's an expensive endeavor and you have to be dedicated to doing it right in order to get the results - at least that's been my mind set and experience. I'm sure I could've eaten better, but it's amazing how much stuff you can't have when you cut out major categories so I just lost steam and desire to prepare dinner and lunches and all that. I ate at Whole Foods a lot. I ate lots of protein and fruits and veggies and I think that's pretty successful. And as much as I didn't enjoy the FF and Fibermend shakes, they saved the day in terms of managing my hunger and filling in when regular meals just wouldn't do it for me.

Would I recommend this program? Yeah, I think so. Again, it's hard and you have to WANT to do it. My main reason for doing it was to see if it could give my body a weight loss kick start and it did that so I'm happy. Plus, I feel like I've cleaned my body inside and out and that I've got a blank slate on which to build a new way of seeing foods and diet. I'm ready to live life after d.tox and see what happens.


More House Pics

I realized that I didn't have many great shots of the kitchen as a whole and some other rooms as well. Since I haven't finished cleaning up and putting away, I'm sharing pictures from the listing which are pretty dang good. Again, not our furnishing, so be nice.

Here's a full shot of our lovely kitchen. It's pretty awesome. There are lights galore - ceiling, above cabinets, below cabinets, IN the glass cabinets. Everywhere.

This is the small, but helpful dining area in the kitchen. We've not had an eat-in kitchen since 2 houses ago. If we could ever stop using our current table as a dumping ground for stuff, it'll be an adorable place to sit for a quick dinner. And within eye shot of the TV!

Dining room again. I seriously wanted their table.

Rear family room. This picture doesn't do it's length justice (that's what she said).

Front living and dining room. This will be a great space "for entertaining" if I'm being as HGTV as possible.

The master bedroom from another angle. Don't let the picture fool you, this carpet is even BETTER in person. Also, the room is NOT this bright. Not even close. Ever.

Master shower. It's lovely.

Our three-season porch. We will love this one day. Right now, we have no furniture for this room so it's pretty much empty.

Backyard. We'll most likely add more grass one day. Neither of us see much use of a horseshoe shaped walking path around a floating patio, but that's just us.


Contemplating Contemporary

I've gotten some requests for pics of the new house and because it still looks like something blew up, I'm going to post pics I took during one of our first showings. So keep in mind these are the former owner's furnishings so don't judge! 

These are in a massively random order because I'm too lazy to put them in order at the moment. Take what you can get, folks. 

Welcome to our 1986 Contemporary! 

This is a corner in our front living room. We currently have a much smaller TV where their giant one sat, but I enjoy the view to the upstairs hallway.

This is a handy built in bookshelf and cabinet in our rear family room. It's a bit dark, but I will paint that sucker white in the semi-near future (when I paint the brick fireplace).

This is a view down into the front living room from the upstairs hallway shown in the first pic. It's a lovely large room with a vaulted ceiling.

This is the downstairs half bath. Over-improve much? I love indulgence in a half bath.

This is our foyer as seen from the front living room. Oh how I wish it had those beautiful hardwoods rather than tile, but each is well done and well maintained so I'll take it.

This is the master bedroom. Complete with blue carpet, yes. Like I said, don't judge.

This is the garage. It was immaculate. Freshly painted floor and lawn mower parked on plastic sheeting to keep it clean.

This is the dining room. I wanted to ask for their table, but didn't have the nerve. Also, that's a stocked wine fridge over in the corner. It didn't come with the house. Bummer.

This is the make-up counter in the master bath. The husband lets me use it from time to time.

This is the master bath. You can't see it, but there's a motorized skylight in the middle of the ceiling. We are loving the creative use of space that gives us so much cabinet storage!

This is our GAS STOVE in our new kitchen. Complete with granite slab backsplash. I've fried an egg or two on the stove, but have yet to cook a whole meal on this baby. It came with a griddle insert, too. #pancakesssss

This is the laundry room. To the right of the rug is the door from the garage into the house so this is like a mudroom. We have front loaders on pedestals so this room looks a lot fuller with our machines in them. I will paint those cabinets white one day.

This is the decorative cabinet above the gas stove. I don't have anything inside the glass cabinets yet, but I have some blue glass pieces in the spotlit area above.

Pardon their mess. This is the only walk-in attic space. It's off the master bath which is kind of convenient and also tucked away. It sits over the garage and it's plenty large without being so huge that we think we can accumulate a bunch of crap.

This is the view down the upstairs hallway from the bed in the master bedroom. Picture a sea of light hardwood floors and white trim. That's what's in this hallway's future.

This is the stairwell photographed while I was standing in the upstairs hallway. This railing is going to be redone because it's only up to 1986 code, not 2013. Also, our Westie fits through the slats so picture this railing with tons of moving boxes flattened and leaned up against the rail. That's where we're at now.

This is the shower in the master bath. It's lovely and I love it. I only get to shower in it three times a week because I'm at the gym showering the other four.

This is another part of the kitchen. We have fancy high-end appliances by Dacor. I have yet to use either of them.

This is the only other full bath other than the master. This one is upstairs and is small, but gets the job done. I am not a fan of the tile and may use my $1500 in free tile from The Tile Shop to redo this baby. Just the tile, the rest is spotless and lovely.

This is the foyer as seen from outside the half bath downstairs. There's a hallway from the front door to the kitchen which passes by the laundry room and the half bath so that's where this pic was taken. The door frame on the far right is a lovely coat closet that's HUUUUGE compared to what we had in our last house.

This is the half bath! Told you about over-improvement. I can't figure out what to fill those cabinets with!

Another shot of the stairs.

This is also in the master bath. Across from the shower is the toilet and more lovely cabinets. We keep sheets and towels up in there. The bottom cube has a pull out laundry hamper basket thingy.

The dining room. The wall with the large painting was the perfect spot for my beloved china cabinet and one of the reasons I knew this house was perfect!

And lastly, here's the fun little fountain that sits outside the front door. It's all clean and lovely and functioning here, but right now, in reality, it's full of those nasty wormy things that fall out of oak trees in the spring. Also, the plants are in need of severe pruning. However, this is a gem at night - see the landscape light? They are all around the front of our house and I love it.

Hope you've enjoyed the scattered tour!!!


New Beginnings

I feel like a broken record when I sit down to compose a new post. "I've been MIA .... It's been a long time since I last posted.... Long time, no write" and so on and so forth. Let's just skip the obvious and get to the good stuff.

Lots of stuff has happened since 1.22.13 - the date of my last post.

For one, we sold our house! YAY! We finally went under contract on March 21st and while it still feels so fragile, we've made it past the point where everything fell apart with our last buyer. In fact, the week we went under contract we most interesting. We received a LOOOOOW offer on Tuesday and were in verbal (email) negotiations with these buyers when ANOTHER offer came in on Thursday for full price. We took the no-brainer and accepted their offer pronto. Too bad so sad for those other buyers. That's what happens when you offer $37,500 under list price when list price is virtually spot-on with what market value seems to be.

Last Thursday they had the inspection and we were so nervous that once again, that day would be the day they'd back out. Last time, the day of the inspection, no inspection happened and no one told us. It wasn't until we got home and felt that no one had been there and we checked into it that we were told she was cancelling the contract. Grr. But whatever, it happened last week and these buyers seems to be serious about going through with it. Next up, the appraisal and we don't know when that is scheduled for yet. After that (if we get a satisfactory appraisal) we may feel like we can breathe and perhaps start packing!

Which leads me to the next bit of news - we're under contract on a new house of our own! YAY! After we went under contract on our house, we scheduled a full Saturday (my birthday, actually) to see homes. I think we went to 8-10 homes. It was a FULL day. Turns out, the first one was the best one and we made an offer a couple of days later. They accepted our price ($20k under) and we were shocked. Great news for us, though! I am very excited. The inspection is tomorrow and hopefully we don't find any deal breakers. These sellers are so meticulous so hopefully they've maintained everything to the nines and nothing major will need to be repaired. Still, we have the appraisal for that house to wait on and that's just nerve-wracking for us after what we went through last time.

Here's a pic of the exterior -it's a 1986 contemporary - very different from our 2007 bungalow! I don't want to push my luck so photos of the rest will come after we close!


I'm Such A Dork

But I have to point out that my photo of my YHL book is part of the collage of reader photos in today's YHL post about their book bid-ness.

We were in the car. Hubs pulled over to the mailbox and there is was in a little book-sized cardboard mailer (you can see that underneath the book in the pic). Aww, I feel spay-shull.