A Very Vickers Holiday Card

Every year I do something a little different for our family holiday card. I love getting photo cards from friends and family far and near, so I always like to incorporate our pictures somehow. However, since I’m a designer, I physically can’t bring myself to send a pre-designed card. Ever. So, I do my own.

This year, I was running a little behind, so I made it a New Year card. We’ve had a pretty stellar year: moved into our dream house, have a great daycare, work is going great, so the image that popped to mind when reminiscing about last year was Santa riding a unicorn. This thought would not leave my head, and so I had to go with it. Presenting this year’s card:

Family holiday card

Technically, we sent this in 2014.

The trick is to use normal-looking images of us, with a little something extra going on (that you may not notice right away.)

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Makeover Monday: Flip the Switch on Switchplates

Paint your switchplates

For about 11 bucks and 2 hours, you can freshen up a room.

One of my favorite inexpensive makeovers to do for a room is to paint the switchplates. You know, the ugly, yellowing plastic covers for your plugs and light switches? I got this idea because when I touched up our basement, I found that we had like a THOUSAND different switchplates: aluminum, yellowing plastic, grayish plastic, whitish plastic. All of them were beat up and, well, hideous. Replacing all of them would have been pricey and unjustifiable to my husband, who, bless his heart, couldn’t care less about a little detail like that. I like the look of the oil-rubbed bronze, plus we have several light fixtures around the house in that finish. When I looked at buying new ones, the 2-plug covers and light switches were about $3 each, and the specialty multiple plug/light switch combos were $8 or more. Yeah, dumb to pay that much.

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Free DIY Advent Calendar for Kids

Now that the holidays are over and we’re deep into January gloom, I can reflect on our first Advent-ure with an advent calendar. (See how I did that?) I wish I could tell you that I had a deep understanding of the advent tradition. In my family, it was just a countdown to Christmas. Some years my great aunt would send us a calendar with a little chocolate behind each day, and most years, we’d move a small teddy bear around an advent quilt. Since I didn’t want to get the kiddo all sugared up every night before bedtime, and I don’t have the skills to make an advent quilt, I decided to go with what I know: Post-Its and doodles.

DIY Advent Calendar

All you need is some poster board, Post-It notes, and markers (maybe stickers too, if you’re feeling crafty)

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Makeover Monday: Coffee Table

Some people like to rescue stray puppies, I rescue stray furniture. I see it on the street, “FREE” sign hanging limply to the side, waiting for a loving home. So I bring it home, I clean it up, feed it well, love it, and turn it into part of our family.

Because I tend to rescue LOTS of things, I received the edict from my husband not to rescue anything else until I’d rehabilitated what I’d already accumulated. That was incentive enough to get started.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I found this coffee table on the curb. It had cool lines, was in fine structural shape aside from the cracked marble top, and just needed some refinishing. So we hauled it home. I had a while to think about it, and when I pulled out the marble, it occurred to me to make an upholstered seat and turn it into a bench for the end of our bed.

Furniture makeover: bench

A stray coffee table on the street becomes a beloved bench in our home.

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Maintain, Don’t Gain: Wrap-Up (a Guest Post!)

Hey everyone, I’m excited to have my very first guest post. And I’m even more excited that it’s by my very own sister!

Since she was a more diligent MDG-er than me, I asked her to write about her experience with the Challenge. Her account is inspiring me to continue on!

jump for joy

Challenge COMPLETE!

As for my experience, I’m proud to say that it worked for me–with some pitfalls in the middle. I was up SIX pounds right after Christmas, but thanks to her encouragement, and my new FitBit, I was able to turn things around and get active and healthy again. Sidenote: while the measure for success was weight, I realize there are so many other factors to good health. I’ll probably be talking more about those in another post.

Here’s my favorite quote form her account: “Any time I’d tried to change my habits I tried to go all out all at once and would feel better, but would give up after a week. Taking things one week at a time and changing everything each week appealed to my need for variety.” You can read her whole experience below.

From Heather:

It has been so much fun to join the challenge this year. This was my first year joining the Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge and the payoff was far greater than I expected. I had plans to spend two weeks in Seattle with my sister so I thought it would be fun to be on track with her when I arrive. Plus my weight was higher than I’m really comfortable with and the holiday treats were already arriving at work, adding temptation to already bad habits. Maintaining sounded realistic. I had no idea how much I would learn along the way.

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Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 6—This is the End?!?

Week #5 of the Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge was total redemption for all my shortcomings to this point. I’d like to thank my sister for taking the challenge seriously (more so than me) and being my partner this week. I was lucky enough to get a fitbit one for Christmas, and it’s already had an impact on how I spend my day. While I’d often take my exercise class and household chores/errands as “enough activity” — aka — “I really need to catch up on the DVR, so let’s count this as good,” I’m seeing that I’m not active enough throughout the day. So it was our guide. We also ate tons of fruits and veggies, picked up juicing, watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (free on hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix: WATCH IT! SERIOUSLY.), ran and walked more than I ever would, took functional fitness classes, and even did this:

Aerial silks class

Aerial silks: much tougher and less graceful than I thought.

The warmup and conditioning were tough, and I thought I wouldn’t have the strength to actually learn tricks! This picture is how I’d like to remember the class, but I felt more like a sweaty belly-flopper who hadn’t stretched her hammies for 20 years.

So even though it was just an exercise and water challenge for the week, we took it to the next level and made it an exercise-10,000 steps-strength-water-juice-veg-clean-eating challenge week. It wasn’t super strict, after all, there are some delightful goodies in our neighborhood. But, being focused and feeling good about our choices made it easier to stay the course. For the most part.

Goodies are ok in moderation

To be fair, our yoga-long walk day included chocolate and beer tasting. Chocolate photo via Eli Duke on flickr.

I’ll admit, the detoxing of it all made me pretty tired and headache-y for a couple of days, but I definitely feel BETTER, if that makes any sense. My mood is improved, I have more energy during the day, and it’s feeling easier to make better food choices. Hell, we actually skipped a trip to the French bakery in favor of making some juice, so that says something. Which brings me to…

This week’s challenge: You pick TWO challenges you’d like to complete this week.

Maintain, Don't Gain Challenge 6

What challenges made you feel the BEST?

By now, trying each challenge one at a time should have given you some idea of what works best for you. I’ll admit, I didn’t make the full challenge any week except for fruit and veggies and exercise/water. I didn’t feel like it was a battle royale to stay on track, and I felt better at the end of each of those weeks. Where I struggled was when I needed to restrict something. Funny thing was, when nothing was restricted, I did it naturally. The minute it was verboten, I blew it.

So this week, my challenges are:

  • 3 days of fitness classes and 3 runs
  • 8-10 servings of veggies and fruits (especially juice)
  • Get my 10,000 steps every day

Since it’s the final stretch and there may be some holiday damage to undo, pick what works best for YOU. What will make you feel great this week?

I hope you’ll join me this week and try to have a healthier holiday new year.

So, if you haven’t already, Print out your pdf and keep track of your challenges for the week.

Feel free to comment here, tweet, or pin your progress!

Cheers!

Please note: I am not a health professional. I am not a trainer or dietician. I am a fitness enthusiast. If you embark on a new fitness or diet regimen, please consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and health. This is a social challenge to encourage health and fitness through the holidays. Your choice to participate is not the responsibility of Committed LLC.