Rose: DIY Bookcase

Moving always incites a slew of household repairs and fix-it projects. One thing I always love to do – when time permits – is repurpose old furniture and materials into something new. I’m not exactly a handy (wo)man, but to get the best bang for your buck, as they say, you sometimes have to go outside of your comfort zone. Which is exactly what I did with this old bookcase:

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I was in need of a new TV stand and thought this bookcase might serve me well. I spent a while sanding this puppy down, and then M spent several evenings painting it this vibrant blue. My new living room includes shades of blue, orange, maroon, and sage green, so this blue seemed to match well. I was ecstatic about how this turned out in the end. I even bought vases to go next to it with beautiful Japanese lantern flowers (these cost a pretty penny – totally worth it).


I’m in love with the new look. AND this piece holds all the DVDS, too. Beautiful AND functional. What more could a girl want?

PS: I realize this post isn’t about health or fitness, but this is how I balance. I create. I make things. I enjoy art, and it brings the right kind of balance to my busy life.


Jenna: Cloudy

As Rose mentioned, life has been a little nutty around here later. I apologize for the lack of posts, but unfortunately when things get busy my extracurricular enjoyments get put to the back burner.

I have done my best these last few crazy weeks to still fit in workouts. Now that I am at a point where I actually ENJOY working out, that makes things a lot easier. (If you happen to have found our blog because you are trying to balance working a full time crazy job with a healthy lifestyle, I promise that it does get easier.) I fit in free yoga last Saturday and a couple of long bike rides. I even managed to run 5 miles last Friday night.

Currently, I’m sitting on a plane flying back from a work trip. This trip took me to a different time zone, which always throws me off. I am pretty exhausted. When I get exhausted, I don’t handle stress well. Things feel extremely overwhelming. I’m not eating as good, so I tend to not feel very well. It’s really hard to fit in workouts. Work seems 10 times harder because it takes a lot of energy to do things right when you’re super tired. There have been lots of tears the last week or so. Things just seem a little out of whack for me.

I re read Rose’s post here which helped. I think when trying to achieve balance, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Pressure to be the best at work, the best at meeting out goals, the best at being there for each of our friends/family. Making sure we drink enough water, eat clean food, and getting in a workout. It’s just a lot. (I forgot my parents anniversary yesterday. That is SO not like me). I’m trying to remember that giving 110% to everything is not always possible. Something often has to give. Balance can sometimes be the realignment of priorities. This flight has been really cloudy and bumpy. Kind of like how I’ve been feeling lately. 1761

I am going to spend this weekend catching up, relaxing, and hopefully spending some time recharging. Spending some time with myself, and figuring out how I can make myself a bit happier. I get really wrapped up in being everything to other people (friends, family, colleagues) and can some times forget about myself.

Here’s to knowing that “courage doesn’t always roar, but is often that voice inside your head that says ‘We will get up and try again tomorrow’.”

Rose: Seasonal Squash

It seems time and blogging have gotten away from both Jenna and me. I can’t speak for her, but I am completely inundated with work. A new job, a new apartment, a new life. It’s a lot to take in. But for the first time in my life, I am handling this transition with as much fortitude as I can muster. I’m confident that this place is where I’m supposed to be. After all, look at how lovely it is:


I still can’t believe that’s my backyard. Seriously. I haven’t lived this close to nature since I was a kid. I’m in heaven.

I’ve officially been here 1.5 weeks, and I’m settling in. I used the first couple of days to unpack and work on house projects. I’m pleased to say there is finally a home for all those wine bottles. The idea was M’s – we saw it in a movie once. I love the way the light cascades across the room now.


Eats have been pretty good. I had a couple days of Chipotle and rushed eating, but I put that behind me now. It’s fall, and you know what that means! Squash! I love all things gourd-related and have been making good use of stuffed and spaghetti squash over the past couple of days.


One of the biggest projects to tackle is transforming this ordinary bookcase into a vibrant showcase piece for the living room. A TV stand it is! But you’ll have to stay tuned to see the final product. For now, here’s the original:


Other than that I’ve been focusing on the new job and trying to work some hobbies back into the fold. I went to a trivia night on Tuesday, so that’s something! And last weekend I saw a randomly good band over in New Hope, PA.

Looking forward to exploring my new town a bit more soon!

Rose: In Transition

I’ve been a little off the radar this week. It’s understandable, considering this is the current state of my living room:


At this point everything that could be boxed has been. I’m living out of a laundry basket and box of toiletries. My refrigerator is in sorry condition. But thankfully I’ve continued to push play on my T25 workout DVDs. I even managed to sneak in a hip hop class last evening.

This week has been bittersweet. As I packed up my belongings, I was reminded of all that I’ve gained by living in Pittsburgh. A closeness with my family. A tight knit circle of friends. A professional background that prepared me for the next step.

And while I’m sad to say goodbye to what’s been my home of three years, I’m also ready for a new journey. I look forward to seeing how I thrive (and survive) in a new, smaller town. I’m curious how I’ll change or how new life will be. What will I get into? What hobbies will I pursue? What events will I attend? When will I make friends, and who will they be?

For now, I anticipate many evenings spent slowly next to the lake (yes, I’m going to be living near a lake!) and the peace it will bring me. I look forward to being close to my boyfriend. I am eager to start my work at the University. And though I’m sad to be creating some distance between me and the ones I love, I can’t help but think this is the start of something big.

For months I’ve been desperate for a change, but I didn’t know what. I didn’t think it’d come in this form, but I’m glad it did. Right here is exactly where I want to be. Here’s to handling the transition with grace and fortitude.

Jenna: Tackling Excuses

Whenever I take a much needed break from my routine, I’ve noticed something that happens when I’m trying to get back on track: excuses. I’ve also noticed throughout my journey for balance that it is SO mental.

Excuses pop up constantly. I try to rationalize that I’m “just really busy”, and why it’s ok to not get back to my healthy habits immediately. Thankfully, I’ve done a great job of getting back on the wagon this week after a crazy Labor Day weekend. However, I put a call out on our Facebook page for excuses that pop up. Here’s my response to them, as well as a few of my own. Read these next time your mind is trying to take you out.

“Tomorrow”…: Next time this pops in your head, remember that YESTERDAY you said “Tomorrow’. If not today, then when?
Tip for tackling: Make a meal plan and workout schedule. A work out doesn’t have to be listed each day, but when you make the schedule, commit and stick to it. Put it in your planner. Consider it a very important meeting with yourself.

“Happy Hour”: What’s better than Happy Hour, especially after a really long and stressful day? I’ll tell you: a work out that won’t make you feel like crap the next day. You know why Happy Hour is evil? Because its never just Happy Hour. It’s Happy two or three hours, which leads to getting the alcohol munchies. You ALWAYS eat at the bar. You get home around 8:30p, slightly buzzed and ready for bed. You’re busy; you don’t have that precious time to waste.
Tip for tackling: Just say no. Skip it. OR Schedule it, and commit to your workouts and hydration the rest of the week. You can also make a deal with yourself. i.e. “I will have only one glass of wine, followed by two glasses of water and a short workout when I get home”.

“Cause I am tired from the work day or I don’t want to change”: When you first start exercising regularly, you will be super tired. Your body will adjust. I know that work can be exhausting, but if you use this as an excuse each day it will never happy. A 25 minute circuit workout or two-mile run works great on those days when you are feeling extra run down. Besides, working out gives your energy!
Tip for tackling: Change into your work out clothes as soon as you get home. If you’re still too tired to make it happen, don’t. Chances are this extra step will take some of the guess work out and you’ll get it done.

“I don’t have time”: Life is crazy. Really crazy. And this is where priorities have to come in. Taking care of yourself HAS to be a priority. No one can do it for you. If you can’t fit it in after work, wake up 30 minutes early. Stay up 30 minutes later. Make it happen.

Tip for tackling: A lot of the tips above apply here as well. Schedule. Change when you get home. Just DO it.

What excuses pop into your head?