Exciting times, people.

We're grownups.
We finally purchased - get ready for it - a dining room table and chairs. For dining. And sitting. Didn't I tell you? Exciting.

I'm almost embarrassed to show you what we were working with, but everyone's gotta start from somewhere, and that place for us was Ikea. An Ikea trip so long ago, in fact, that I'm not even sure I'd met Nate yet.
The chairs don't even match. Ouch.
Looking in from the living room, kitchen on the left.
But a random Craisglist search led me to a local furniture shop and the table of our dreams. Solid acacia wood, the table has two leaves that make it look like a more traditional farm table (which I love):
When the leaves come off, the table is a great size for our everyday use, and still has enough inlaid detail and texture that it's still interesting and pretty.
You may have noticed the bench disappears and the four chairs take over when the leaves are off. There's an empty corner in the living room...
And it proved to be just the spot for that bench when it's off dining duty:
Can you believe the difference from move-in two years ago to now?
Sometimes it takes a little longer, but so far every test of patience has been worth the wait. So excited to have this table host meals for years and years to come!


Random Round Up: Relax

Some weekends just fly by. I don't even have much to show for this one, which doesn't sit very well with my list-checking brain... But like the hubs reminded me: Everyone needs some downtime sometimes.
...In that case: Check!
A little light happy hour for a sunny Friday.
A Pacific Northwest Legend
Adventures in furniture shopping.
Backyard Bleeding Heart
We made a pretty major purchase this weekend... More to come!
Cheers guys!


Oil Pulling: The Basics

I've been wanting to tell you more about my mention of oil pulling a little while back, and I think I've finally gotten my thoughts organized enough to share. I've been doing it every day for about a month and a half now, and have had some great results. But I'll let the rest of this post speak to that. Ready? Well then here we go...!

What is it?
Oil pulling is the practice of popping a spoonful of high quality extra virgin organic coconut oil (or sesame or sunflower oils of the same quality) into your mouth and swishing it around vigorously for fifteen to twenty minutes, pulling it between your teeth and just generally hitting all areas of your mouth.
When did this trend start?
Believe it or not, oil pulling is ancient. As in, a 5,000-year-old-Indian-practice-called-Ayurveda old. Ayurvedic medicine is one of natural healing, rooted in the idea of balance and body-mind-environment integration.

What does it do?
To get technical, the lipids in the oil are pulling toxins from the saliva/teeth/mouth/toungue/gums. Vegetable fats are a natural emulsifier, so as the oil swishes and gets foamy, an almost soap-like effect takes place in your mouth (Note: Not the same soap-like effect as when your mom caught you swearing as a child. Just FYI.).
In essence, oil pulling is sopping up all the bacteria in your mouth - one of the dirtiest spots on your body - and allowing you to get rid of all of that when you spit the oil out after your twenty minutes. This allows your body to use it's energy resources to work on other problem areas, be it acne or stuffy sinuses or whatever. In turn, those problems are improved or mitigated over time.
There are sources all across the internet that will give you a laundry list of potential benefits, from better skin to a hangover cure to fewer cavities in your teeth. Whether or not they're true, well, who knows. But the betterment I was most interested in was the idea of my sinuses being improved (mine are terrible and I get a LOT of headaches that can lead into migraines), skin improvement (clarification and moisturization), and teeth whitening. There's a whole lot of science that relates mouth-health to heart-health out there too, so the principles are sound for overall body health improvements.

When do you do it?
Most sources recommend you start the rinsing first thing in the morning, when your mouth is dirtiest from 8 or so hours of bacteria brewing in there. I have a bit of a morning gag reflex, so decided to start out doing it at night, as part of my wash-face-brush-teeth-go-to-sleep routine. Once I was used to the feeling, I started doing it in the morning while getting ready for the day and I must say, I like the morning better. The time passes faster as I'm busily getting dressed and fixing my face and hair, and I just spit my mouthful out in the yard when I take the pup out for his morning duties. It's the easiest flow for me, and it really makes my sinuses feel better first thing. No more of that puffy morning head feeling.
Once I've rinsed and spit, my teeth get brushed and I'm done for the day with no "extra" time added to my morning routine.
What have the results been so far?
I can only speak for myself on this one, but I'll tell ya, my sinuses have been MUCH better since beginning to oil pull. When I begin to swish, I can almost immediately feel the draining start (sorry, gross, I know), especially if I pause the swishing and tip my head back slightly. Since my migraines usually begin with a sinus headache, and my sinus headaches are usually triggered by barometric pressure swings, spring is a really tough time for my head. I've only had two headaches since starting my oil pulling regiment, which is a massive improvement from the norm this time of year (sorry, Tylenol Sinus, for the dip in sales this season) I've also noticed my skin is clearer with a nice glow, and generally more moisturized since I've been pulling.
My teeth are slightly whiter, but it's a very slow change. Coconut oil is no Crest Whitestrips, BUT. I'll take a slow whitening if it means my teeth won't ache and be hyper-sensitive like they are when I use those strips. A friend of mine who started oil pulling at the same time I did has seen marked improvement during her dental visits, with a reduction in plaque that the dentist actually commented on.
As for the multitude of other benefit claims, I can't speak to those. Maybe the longer I participate the more benefits I'll notice, but for now, sinuses, skin, and teeth are pretty darn wonderful improvements in my book.

What should you know?
* Make sure the oil you purchase is as pure and organic as you can possibly get. There's no point in putting more impurities IN when that's what you're trying to REMOVE. Makes sense, right?
* DO NOT swallow your oil. Same theory as above: You're getting toxins OUT here, not internalizing them.
* However, DO NOT spit your oil down the drain. You wouldn't pour cooking grease into your sink, so, same thing. I spit mine outside or directly into our trash since we use plastic trash bags. If you use paper bags and can't get outside, I recommend spitting into a bottle or container of some sort, then trashing.
* Coconut oil, the oil I use, is easily purchesed (I got mine on Amazon.com) and useful for so many, many things. I use mine not only for pulling, but for body lotion, cooking, and even about a half teaspoon in my coffee in the mornings for, shall we say, regularity and bloat reduction. We're gettin' real here, guys.

So there in a coconutshell are your oil pulling basics. It's all natural and has so many benefits - What's there to lose? Give it a try and let me know what you find out for yourself!

Here are a few resources if you want to learn more about a few of the things discussed here - Like I said, there are a zillion, but at least these come from pretty reputable sources:


Random Round Up: Easter Weekend

We headed out to my parents' house in the country for Easter weekend: A literal breath of fresh air.
My buddy and me.
Neon Nature
Pile o' Shiloh Paws
Shiloh & Tucker - I love this picture.
Hope you had a great holiday!


Simple Inspiration

They called her scrawny, so she worked on doing pushups for 100 days.
 She purchased nothing, perhaps even told no one, and can create this much simple inspiration in about a one minute video.

Makes you want to DO something, eh?  I love it.


Hack It: Leather & Lace Crew Neck Sweatshirt

I don't know about you, but I find it really hard to pass up a great deal. So when I spotted a crew neck sweatshirt on super sale while browsing OldNavy.com with a 30% off coupon next to me that made it a whopping $2.80... YES. The issue? The only size left was an extra large.

I waffle between a medium or large at Old Navy usually, but for under three bucks I was willing to take the risk and hope I could tailor it. It arrived a few days later, in all it's frumpy, boxy, deliciously comfy glory:
First step: Knocking it down to size. I tried it on, and eyeballed how much would need to be shaved off the sides. I popped it onto my dress form (God bless the dress form) and pinned what I thought would work.
After a try-on and narrowing the sleeve a little bit more, I ran the sewing machine down my line. Then again for good measure, about 1/8" away from my first line. I don't have a serger, so two stitch lines offers a little more security. Since sweatshirt material doesn't really ravel, I was good to go.

Lace time! There are a couple ways you could go about this: Since the lace is fairly see through, I chose to just drape a big hunk over the area of the shirt I wanted to add it to, pin it in place, then carefully (oh. so. carefully) trim along the already-there seam line of the sweatshirt with some sharp scissors. You could also use something like parchment paper (we're looking for a sheer quality here), sketch out the area, then cut it out and trace it onto the lace lying flat.
Then, well, stitch 'er on. Machine (my choice) or by hand would work just as well if getting the area into your machine is too tricky. I decided to do that little triangular piece that's always on the front of sweatshirts too for good measure. 
So now we've gone from here to here:
And, tada!
Selfies are not my forté, but I tried (dude, it's hard to take a picture of your own back!!):
You could do this with any crew neck sweatshirt in any color (if there isn't already one in your closet, there's a link to the Old Navy options up at the top of this post), and lace is sold at any fabric store. If you like the idea of the faux leather lace, I picked mine up at JoAnn Fabrics a few months back (they don't seem to offer it on their website). Online, google "lace by the yard" and you'll get roughly a billion results for your web-shopping pleasure. 
Happy hacking kids!


Random Round Up: Spring Fling

Spring is bustin' out all over - In the mid-60's Sunday and today, dreamy!  ...We'll just ignore the fact that it's slated to rain the next 9 in a row...
Lawn Ornaments
Have you tried this candy? Look for it. Buy it. We're obsessed.
Emily has the knack for finding the most perfect greeting cards for me.
The dogwood in full bloom in the backyard.
Have a great week ahead!


Hook 'Em

Call it a friday fix: I've got a quick upgrade to show.
When we moved in, I tacked an Ikea row of knobs next to the door, thinking it was a temporary fix.
Puggle photo bomb!
We all know how things turn out when I think that.
Two years later, my thoughtful mother-in-law gifted us two fun and lovely metal hooks, and I knew just what to do with 'em.
On the to-do list: Patching the old nail hole.
Yes, that is indeed a dog-sized UW Husky jersey. Accept it.

She picked these beauties up at a local florist's shop, but I found a few similar here and all kinds of super fun ones here. Happy weekend!

Side Note: Silver screws and an oil rubbed bronze finish? No prob: Just touch 'em up with a black Sharpie once they're all tightened down. They'll blend right in.


Pillow Talk

Now that our anniversary has come and gone, I can show you what I whipped up for one of my gifts to the hubs. We've been nerdily following (and by following, I mean twice now) the traditional wedding gift list for each year. Have you seen it?
So since this year is cotton, I knew a great t-shirt was on the list. But it wasn't enough. A search of 'vintage ski' on Amazon and I found just the thing: A 25x25 piece of fabric printed with a vintage ski poster advertising Norway. I can sew, 20's and 30's style art is just my jam, and my husband's family is Norwegian.

We have a winner.
I won't bore you with a pillow making step-by-step, but here's a great tutorial all set to be learned from. I ordered a 24x24 pillow from Amazon as well (a little smaller than the fabric for seam allowances), and for the back of this pillow, I used a nubby upholstery fabric I had a remnant of from another project years ago (funnily enough, it was making pillows for my parents' house).
 I like the art on the pillow front even more than I expected to, and another pleasant surprise was how great the colors work with the rest of the family room. And Nate? He loved it. Which was really the best part of all.



Two years married today.
I can't even begin to put into words how lucky I am. We're headed towards eight  years together, and yet I can hardly contain myself for the next eight times eight.
Bring it on - The best is yet to come!