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Design School.

26 Sep

I started design school this fall and now that I’m about a month in, I’ve decided it’s time to return to blogging about awesome design stuff! I’ve spent the past five weeks sketching, sketching, writing, sketching, and learning how to sketch, but we’re starting to move towards building models and learning more about designers, so the fodder is getting pretty delicious. ūüôā

So stay tuned – Ima ’bout to geek out about all kinds of stuff… like chairs. And curvilinear lines. And parti’s. And maybe some stuff everybody cares about. ha.



I Quit Sugar | Week 7

13 Feb

“Recovering From Lapses.”

This week focus is recovering from last week’s challenge to let a little sugar back in my life… The crazy thing is, I was totally restrained! I had a salad with bleu cheese and a few slices of green apple. I had a beer at a German restaurant. And I had a packet of Sugar in the Raw in a latte. That’s it!

My massive cravings have subsided after last week’s brightly-colored dreams (I’ll allow a permanent macaron weakness because they’re so hard to get very often), and my cravings can be satisfied by significantly less now. A single packet of Sugar in the Raw makes my coffee taste sweet??? That’s exciting.

So I’m thinking this thing is working. There’s been some mental turmoil over denying myself, but overall my moods have balanced out, ¬†and most importantly I haven’t gone into a shaky, angry, hypoglycemic rage for weeks and weeks…Less headaches + less anxiety = happy Esther.

As far as weight loss, I’ve lost about 10 pounds total but fluctuate about 2 or 3 depending on the day. Considering I haven’t been working out or doing anything differently, other than not consuming buckets of sugary beverages… not too shabby! And I feel good!

Overall it’s become clear to me that I was addicted to sugar and I don’t want to be addicted anymore. I am really looking forward to the 8 weeks being up so that I can eat a whole piece of fruit or chocolate if I want to/without feeling bad, but my perception of food has permanently changed.

From here on I will pay attention to what I’m eating, buying the tomato sauce with less sugar, drinking lattes with one packet of natural sweetener, eating savory breakfast items instead of cereal… Etc.

So I’ll follow David Gillespie‘s rule that party food is for parties, and Sarah Wilson‘s rule to be kind and gentle¬†with myself.¬†It’s almost impossible to avoid sugar entirely, but it’s too easy for me to change a few bad habits to¬†not¬†do it.

I’m feeling good about this.

Week 5 | Sugarless Veteran, Needs Workout.

30 Jan

Rolling into Week 5 of the I Quit Sugar program, and apart from some incidental consumption (smoked ham? really?) we’re just not really even thinking about eating sugar. Well, okay, not seriously considering it. I think about chocolate at least 5 times a day, I won’t lie. But I’m feeling pretty good about making it this far and am not about to give in now. *Cue Rocky Theme*

But I think I’ve plateaued as far as weight loss and feeling “better,” so starting this week I’ll be incorporating brisk outdoor walks into my daily regimen. The thing is: I just hate working out. I have a 20 minute Jillian Michaels workout dvd called 30 Day Shred¬†that is a totally reasonable and satisfying workout… but I hate working out. I really just need to start by getting my body moving, with intention, for at least 20 minutes at a time each day.

So I’ll start with that and see how the next few weeks go…

Week 4 | Sugar Crash

26 Jan

Halfway through Week 4 of Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar¬†program and I’m really starting to crave the delicious nectar.

I’ve been pretty cool and collected about the whole detox up until this week. In three days I have pulled myself back from the precipice numerous times – I even broke down and drank a diet Dr. Pepper yesterday. I can’t stand the taste of aspartame but I really didn’t think I could hold it together without something sweet. (Fake sugar tricks your body into thinking it’s real sugar, so it’s pretty much the same plus chemicals. Although technically it’s not cheating.)

I’ve been alternating stress dreams and boulangerie dreams as well. As long as I don’t wake up chewing on my pillow, I guess…¬†

But today is a new day and I am resolute in kicking my tasty habit. Anybody have any ideas for a “sweet” treat to nurse the cravings? So far I have tried and rated the following:

1. Cacao Nibs – Terrible. Absolutely awful. They taste like I imagine stag poop might.

2. Plain Greek Yogurt – Totally not a “sweet treat,” what are these people talking about? Guh!

3. Coconut Water – Not bad.

4. Peanut Butter – On crackers and celery, which I think is kind of gross but the crunch is pretty satisfying.

5. Mint Tea Lattes – Heat milk and steep teabag for a tasty, creamy treat that almost hits the spot. ha. This is my favorite so far.

Side note: Charlie, husband and co-detoxer, is doing better than I am at this point. I attribute this mostly to his impressive stubbornness and the fact that he’s seeing results. We have both lost some weight and are noticing improvements in digestion, but as far as I am aware, he hasn’t wavered. So I’m not about to let him win. ūüôā¬†

I’ll be soldiering on now.

I Quit Sugar | Week 3

17 Jan

Rolling into week three here and feeling pretty good still, except, man! Sometimes you just want a little something sweet! We had Indian food for lunch the other day and I happily traipsed all the way back up to the buffet to get some of those awesome sugar syrup donuts before I realized what I was doing… So I stopped myself but I can’t help but think they would have really hit the spot!

Week 3 is No Sugar Whatsoever i.e. sauces, drinks, juice, fruit etc. We’ve been off those since Week 1 except for a few slip-ups, so this is a pretty seamless transition. I’ve been following Sarah Wilson’s advice to “stuff yourself with spinach and you won’t get around to eating chocolate.” I bought a giant bag of Kale, which we’ve had four times this week and are only about half way through. Also eating tons of eggs.

(Kale with Tahini, Red Beans and Rice, Soft-Boiled Egg; Kale and Shrimp Risotto; Sriracha Kale with Poached Egg and Leftover Risotto.)

If that’s the worst of it, though, it’s going easily. I started back on coffee this week and now drinking it with just cream isn’t nasty to me, so that’s a WIN. As a treat I am allowing myself two lattes a week with cinnamon. Wow. But I’ve definitely been losing weight and feeling good.

Here’s the recipe I got from a gal at work for Tahini Kale, which is super tasty!!!

Tahini Kale Recipe


Kale – about 1 lb

Tahini – about 2 TBSP

Red Pepper Flakes (or Sriracha sauce) – to taste

Garlic – 3 cloves

Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp

Lemon – wedge/to taste

Salt and pepper Рto taste

Optional: Chia seeds, sesame seeds…

Saute the garlic in olive oil on medium heat for about three minutes. Add red pepper flakes at the end. Toss in your kale and cover, steaming for about 3 minutes more. Remove lid and add tahini and salt and pepper. Stir to coat. (You may need to add a little water at this point if your tahini is really thick.) Once tahini is distributed, remove from heat and douse with lemon, and add chia/sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy immediately.


Merry Holiday Christmas Yuletide Festival to you…

24 Dec

Wow, it’s Christmas Eve, y’all!!!

If your December has been anything like mine, the past few weeks have gone by in a frenzied haze — Work. Travel! Shopping!! Wrapping!!! Now that it’s finally Christmas Eve we can all relax a little, enjoy the heat (ha), and start working on our New Year’s Resolutions, because, as my dad used to always say: “Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” Or maybe the Marine Corps said that and my dad used to say “Be Proactive!” Either way, it’s a big commitment.

Last year I resolved to wear more red lipstick (I did!), work out more (I didn’t!), and Conquer Life (arguable outcome). As this Christmas rolls around and you relax with your friends, family and loved ones (pets count, as do plants or rocks if you’re hard up), I hope that you will really commit to positively congratulating yourself for a year well done and enjoy the down time. Because with the New Year comes Stuff To Do!!!

I can tell you already that my first resolution will be to blog more. Ha.

Here’s a bunch of cats wearing sweaters, Ryan Gosling and Jim Carrey being funny, if a little explicit, and some Awkward Holiday Photos to give you ideas for next year’s Christmas card (what did I tell you earlier about being proactive??!)…

And, hey, Happy Holidays you awesome person you. You totally deserve the awesome gift you’re gonna get for yourself.

Enough of That | Back to Blogging

15 Nov

I’ve been a terrible blogger, I really have. I interviewed for an interior design program and then went radio silent for three weeks – that’s called “recovery” from all the emotional energy I’d been putting into getting things figured out! I really have spent the past few weeks thoroughly unencumbered by design inspiration, excepting researching Day of the Dead makeup for Halloween, see above photo. Otherwise… I’ve been working, traveling, and having an especially lengthy cold.

But now the holidays are upon us and with the looming scope of DIY projects, baking and decorating I think it’s time to get back in the swing of things.

Life | Gluten-Free: Day One

3 Oct

Gluten-Free: Day One

Followed up Saturday’s trek to Whole Foods with trek to local health food store for gluten-free all-purpose flour, xanthan gum, GF soy sauce, and ginger after reading Gluten-Free on a Shoestring¬†from cover to cover.¬†Refrigerator, freezer, and cabinet emptied of all glutens. Non-perishable items stored neatly in hall closet, the rest donated or disposed of.

Thought of the Day: Sweet mercy, this crap is expensive! 

Life | Blog Changes and Going Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

2 Oct

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been a little absent lately due to a significant increase in my work schedule… Whether or not I continue doing daily blog posts, I’ll be steadily pinning all the inspirational design images I find on the internets if you’d like to follow me on Pinterest. I’ll keep posting updates on Facebook as well, so “like” that page for updates and interesting links.¬†I haven’t had the chance to sit down and decide what my new blogging schedule/format is going to be but I’ll get to that soon!

In the meanwhile, the hubs and I are embarking on a new project for this, my favorite month: We are going gluten-free! Starting tomorrow, the next month of meals will be, as much as possible, free of wheat, barley, oats, rye and on the minimal side of processed. As neither of us suffer from Celiac disease, I’m not overly concerned if it turns out that some ingredient might have crossed the same threshold as a grain of wheat, but I am particularly interested in omitting the majority of processed foods.

I read an article in the New York Times saying that Americans eat 31% more packaged food than fresh food, and as a whole, we eat more packaged food per person than our counterparts in nearly all countries. We are also widely known to be the most obese country in the world. I wonder if any of this is connected…

Even if we’re non-Celiac sufferers, which apparently 1 in every 133 healthy American adults happens to be, the odds of anyone being sensitive to gluten are really high. Either way, the possible benefits of a gluten-free diet, as gleaned from the interwebs: Better digestion, deeper and more restful sleep, improved skin and energy levels, weight loss, and relief from gluten sensitivity-related issues. I think it’s worth a go, so I’ll chronicle the next few weeks and see how we do.

Which brings me to Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, the cookbook I’ve just purchased from Amazon, written by Nicole Hunn.¬†She’s got a really great website¬†and also post recipes and updates on her Facebook page. Getting any criticism out of the way I’ll say that there aren’t a ton of photos in the cookbook… but the easy recipes and tips for switching to a gluten-free diet plan totally make up for the lack of visual aid. I really like her emphasis on doing gluten-free on a budget, from tips on where to buy ingredients and sign-up for coupons to advice on how to “piggyback” meals and maximize any fresh produce. She also has a bonus feature on many of the recipes letting you know how much the recipe costs to make v.s. purchasing the pre-packaged version. It’s really an excellent purchase and I’m looking forward to the next month of experimentation.

So, before kicking off this gastronomic journey I think I’ll go for some Indian food today and satisfy my craving for delicious naan…

Life | Mad Men Casting Call

31 Aug

I’ve decided to take a few days off from blogging because dedicating so much time to culling votes for the Mad Men Casting Call has resulted in my being online for the majority of the past three days. I need sunlight! To work! To play! So I’ll be back in a few days, and in the meanwhile… Please go to my profile¬†and vote for me, once a day, until September 9th!!!¬†¬†Mwah!