Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quick and Easy Paint Transformations Giveaway!

I thought I would be able to show another awesome Chalk Paint® project before this giveaway ended, but alas, the weekend got away from me so I will be showing it later this week. In the meantime, you should enter my giveaway for Annie Sloan's Book: Quick and Easy Paint Transformations. 

I should let you in on a secret: I kind of suck at all projects I try. I am a super-amateur and mistakes happen and I just have to laugh it off and learn from it. I Google all sorts of tutorials before I even attempt something. If you are nervous about painting furniture or trying a new paint technique on something in your home, this book is for you. It covers everything from tools needed and how to choose them to fancy techniques like hand-painting and gilding.

It has lots of pictures accompanying the various tutorials, so you should be able to get a good handle on the techniques they describe. I find it really handy for learning about how to properly distress furniture or how to paint a floor! There really are all sorts of options, so I would recommend checking it out.

To enter the giveaway, just head on over to my post on my newly painted table  and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! All I want to know is what you would like to try painting in your home and in what colour! I sure have started to go a bit crazy with painting things, now that I've got a bit of a handle on technique.

The contest ends tomorrow at midnight so head on over and enter now!

Disclaimer: The copy of this book was provided by Annie Sloan Unfolded. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Casey Gets Fit: Week 21

Weight: 151.2 lbs (13.8 lbs lost overall)
BMI: 23.6

Oh hello, Mr. Plateau. It seems we meet again! Though, I am not surprised to be here as I ate out THREE times this week, and one of those times was Mandarin followed by ice cream cake #worthit. Eating out is the worst possible thing to do when trying to lose weight because everything is higher calories than you would eat at home. Even salad is cray-cray at a restaurant.

However, my workouts were pretty good this week so the "fit" part of my plan is going along swimmingly. Tuesday I went to free yoga in my building, Thursday I ran a bit with the "Blogger Joggers" group (though I am considering switching the name to "Bloggers drinking Lagers", because we seem to do more of that than jogging)! Friday I ran a fast 5km (27 minutes y'all!). Saturday I did an hour of strength work in the gym to make sure I keep my muscles from boot camp and Sunday I ran 13.8km!

Fun fact about my long run on Sunday, I actually managed to run from my condo to the bridge over the Humber River. That has been a goal of mine for SO long and even though I was only supposed to run 13km, I realized I was close to the bridge and kept going! I felt so awesome hitting that goal!

It was a foggy morning, but that's the city skyline
I think the biggest hurdle to overcome in running is the idea that you can't take walking breaks. My legs were sore from my workout on Saturday so I did "run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute" for this whole run. I felt pretty good the whole time! No shame in taking my time when my goal for the day is purely distance.

I have been thinking lately that I am doing this fit-blogging thing all wrong in that I haven't been taking progress pics. But I am just so lazy, people!! I never even took a "before" picture. I somehow found myself alone in the gym on Saturday (I love that), so I took some embarrassing selfies so I could show you guys how my body is looking after 5 months of hard work! I haven't lost much weight recently, but I am definitely starting to get comments on how much thinner I am looking :).

For the record, I'm 5'7

And since I don't really have a "before" picture (I am usually behind the camera), here is a shot of me running the Terry Fox Run in 2013, when I was probably about 165lbs.

Today's Get Pumped Track: Meghan Trainor- All About that Bass

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Outdoor Table Upgrade with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan

I have been talking for awhile about updating the table out on my balcony. It is a discontinued Ikea table that once had two matching chairs, but one got smashed during a party a few years ago (and I think I am going to just toss the other chair because I never use it). It is a great gateleg table, but it has definitely being looking a little worse for wear after 4 years outdoors.

The top of the table also got ruined by the melting wax candle incident of last summer. See the big dark spot? Does not come out.

Therefore, when I was contacted to try out Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, I jumped on the chance to update this table! It has a lot of pieces and is a pretty time-consuming project so I knew a good quality paint that would eliminate the primer stage was in order. Plus Chalk Paint® is good for indoor and outdoor use so I knew it would hold up on the balcony.

The colour I picked out was Provence, because I have an undying love of all things turquoise.

Chalk Paint® does not need much prep before applying, but I did have to wash the table down as it was covered in Toronto grime. However, when scrubbing it, the old stain started to peel up so I ended up having to sand it all down to ensure a smooth finish.

Then I dragged it back inside to paint! I chose to paint inside because Toronto is crazy humid and I knew the paint would cure better indoors. Luckily the paint is lead-free, EG-free, odor-free and low-VOC, so it was quite comfortable and safe painting inside. Plus I had the TV to entertain me.

I first painted the legs and bottom. I had to paint the underside because a lot of it is visible when the sides of the table are down. The paint went on great- very smooth and thick, yet dried fast so I could whip out 2 coats in a short amount of time. The paint is interesting to work with, in that you can add water to thin it out, or leave the can open overnight to thicken it up- this allows you to do all sort of finishing techniques. I wanted a nice, smooth finish so I just used it as is. I didn't worry to much about painting over any hinges because this paint sticks to metal too! I like how the visible hinges blend right in when painted.

After I flipped it over, I quickly sanded down any drips that got through the gaps and then painted the top. I used a good-quality brush for the first layer, but then switched to a small roller to get a smooth finish.

The most annoying and time consuming part was painting between all the slats! Took me about one hour to complete and I only did one coat since it isn't a super-visible spot. I did it between coats on the top so the final top coat would be smooth.

Then I let it sit inside for a few days to cure as much as possible. It takes a full 30 days for the paint to cure, but it is perfectly usable after just a few hours of drying! Usually with Chalk Paint® you would finish it with with the Soft Wax, but the wax is not good for outdoor use so I skipped this step. I have another project in the works where I will show the wax!

I moved the table outside after a few days of indoor curing (simply no space in the condo for a big table!), but I am just being careful with placing things on it and wiping up any water until the paint has fully cured (which will probably take longer with the humidity). One day, about a week or two after it went outside, it poured and the table got soaked, but it all wiped right up and the table looked good as new! FYI- the plants are only on here for the photos :)

I'm not going to lie- I love love love how the table turned out! It is a million times better than the weather-beaten wood! I also love the chalky finish- usually people use this type of paint for a distressed look, but I think it really comes off as modern with a clean, smooth finish.

I even set up the table for a meal. I really want to eat out here now that I have such a pretty table to eat off of! Especially with my new plates (which I got after taking these photos). Though I will be careful with the candles to avoid another wax incident!

If you are interested in Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, check out www.anniesloanunfolded.com and go to the retailers tab. Some retailers offer online shopping, so you should be able to get it from wherever you are in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, or the UK. It isn't a discount paint, but it goes a long way- I used only about 2/3 of a quart to do the whole table.

In the meantime, you should check out the book Quick and Easy Paint Transformations by Annie Sloan. It gives all sorts of tips on painting furniture and different techniques to try- you don't even need Chalk Paint® to try them (though it is recommended)!

And for one lucky reader, you can enter here for a FREE copy of Quick and Easy Paint Transformations! Just enter in the Rafflecopter box below and tell me what project you would tackle first and with which colour from the Chalk Paint® collection!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest is open to residents of Canada and the United States and will run until end of day on Wednesday, July 23rd.

Disclaimer: The paint for this project was provided by Annie Sloan Unfolded. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Casey Gets Fit: Week 20

Current Weight: 151.0 lbs (14 lbs lost overall)
BMI: 23.6

I know this shows a 1lbs increase from last week, but I really thought last week was a crazy drop that wasn't accurate. So I am not mad at all at 151! I also had a couple cheat days this week #shh.

So in big news- boot camp ended! I went for 6 weeks and all 12 classes (there was one rain day that we made up at the end too). Going to be kind of weird not going this week as I really enjoyed getting my butt kicked at boot camp, but alas, I need more time to focus on my running because my 15km race is only a month away!

Now a couple weeks ago I got some comments that I should be doing measurements to really see the changes in my body (vs weight, which can fluctuate a lot). I totally agree, I just forget to measure myself a lot! However I do have a few measurements that I will share today- the beginning, about a month before boot camp, and after boot camp!

  Feb 20th Apr 28th July 12th
Weight 165 157.8 151
Bust 38.5 36.5 36.5
Ribs 34 32 31
Natural Waist 32.5 30.5 30
Waist at Belly Button 39 37 35
Hips 40 39 38
Butt 42 40.5 39
Thigh 22 22 21
Calf 14 14 13.5
Upper Arms 12 12 11.5

I think the biggest difference is in my belly- 4 inches of flab gone! I 100% can notice this in the mirror too! I'm also excited to see my thighs are finally starting to shrink- I think boot camp is to thank for that. Especially last class, which seemed especially devoted to my thighs and butt.

So what am I going to do now with boot camp over? Well I have a plan! I am going to be running 3-4 days a week to get myself ready for my 15km (adding 1km every week to my long run at this point. I am currently up to 12km). And my building is starting up free yoga classes on Tuesdays, so I am going to hit that up. And then I hope to fit in one good strength workout every week so I don't lose all the progress I made at boot camp. I can actually do 5-10 real push ups, which was unheard of 6 weeks ago. I can also hold plank pretty easily for a full minute. I think my once a week workout will look like this:
- 25 push ups
- 50 crunches
- 25 lunge jumps (on each leg)
- 25 squat jumps
- 10 burpees
- 25 bicep curls (on each arm)
- 1 min plank

Though, I will probably switch up the moves every now and again!

Now, of course, the biggest problem I have to deal with is the ol' body shrinking is clothing- so many of my clothes are baggy on me now! And I have nice clothes, that I spent good money on :(. However, it is pretty fun to slowly replace all those size 12/14s with size 10s! And it is fun to put on the shorts that were a little tight last year and find them sliding off my hips. 

I should say- the other day I bought a skirt that was a little too small on me, which is usually a HUGE no-no, but I am pretty confident that after 5 months of sticking to this diet & exercise plan fitting into that skirt is not a matter of "if", but "when"!

Friday, July 11, 2014

New Plates!

I have discussed many times on here that I have a recent obsession with buying pretty bowls. What I don't think I have mentioned is that I keep finding pretty bowls to buy when I am in fact looking for pretty plates.

Back up to January 2009 for a minute. I was moving into an apartment with my friend Ginny and we needed basically everything for a kitchen. We hit up a Kitchen Stuff Plus Outlet and bought a whole whack of things, including a set of white dishes with black roses on them. I think we got the whole set for $60 (big plates, side plates, pasta bowls, teacups, and saucers). I have had those plates ever since.

They were okay, but quite a few had chips and the flower was fading and honestly I got bored of them. Hence why I have been slowly transitioning out of them with new bowls and plates! I thought it would be fun to have non-matching plates for once and I have really enjoyed hunting down new pieces. Kind of sad that I am almost done (you're next, pasta bowls!).

I am almost done with my great plate hunt because on Thursday I hit up HomeSense and scored me some new plates! I had often been looking for colourful, patterned plates like my bowls, but realized that a plainer white plate would probably be better suited to making my food look good and coordinating with my older dishes. Except I can't resist a little pattern, so I was happy to find these large white plates with a subtle silver flower design on them for $5 each! Plus they are bone china (which I just googled and found out is actually made of bones. Just lovely...).

But then, as I was about to leave feeling victorious in my plate-finding abilities, I stumbled across these beautiful aqua salad plates. I love salad plates because they are somewhere between a large dinner plate and a side plate and usually all the plate I need for 80% of my meals. For some reason this size (8"-9") is hard to track down. I loved these plates and they remind me simultaneously of the beach, geodes, and all things pretty. They all seem slightly different from each other too, which is fun. $15 for 4!!

They look great layered together too, if I ever got around to hosting a fancy dinner party with layered plates. See what I mean about how white plates can be a good idea? They go with everything!

So now I have completed my plate collection as I have 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, and 4 side plates (and about a million bowls). I can't wait to eat off these puppies! Somehow I feel like will make my food taste better.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pannier in my Neck

Now, I often show a clean home on the blog. But people who know me in real life know that I am kind of messy. They also know that upon entering my condo there is usually stuff lining the front hall- bags of donation clothes, things to go to the locker, random shopping bags...my hallway is basically my junk closet. Recently, I also got some pannier bags (or saddle bags, whatever you call them), for my bike.

They are great for toting around a change of clothes and my purse on the rare days I bike to the office (boot camp has basically eliminated my butts & legs ability to bike much lately!). However you cannot leave panniers attached to your bike 24/7 because they will probably get stolen #torontoproblems. Interesting side note- my building has indoor bike lock-up area in our visitors parking area and someone recently had their tire stolen- from inside our building!!!

Since I remove the bags when not in use, they have joined the hallway clutter. Not cool. There really isn't a good spot in the front hall closet either so I needed to get a little creative in getting them off the ground- I hung them from my yellow shelving unit!

Now, I do apologize for the lighting in this photo- my front hall light needs some bulbs replaced and I have been a lazy Casey :)

Setting it up was very easy- I bought some cheap one-armed drunk octopus hooks from Canadian Tire and measured it out so they would be centered and level. It does look a little bit like one bag sits higher in the above photo, but that is because one bag's handle lost it's comfort grip.

The stool that used to sit to one side of this shelving unit has been relegated to the locker for now (truthfully, it is in the "go to the locker" pile in the hall out of range of this shot- shhh). The stool was only being used to hold my purse, however, so I think it was time to get rid of it. With only 400 sq ft in this place I can't afford to have furniture designated solely for purse-holding.

Overall, this shelving unit is pulling a lot of the load for storage in the front hall, but I use it constantly and I really like having my stuff handy! If only I could figure out how to make the actual closet more useful...
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