BITE SIZED TWINKIE & COOKING CLEAN

It’s Wednesday – BUT instead of feeling like ‘uh it’s half way there.’ Let’s mix it up a bit and get excited about our health instead! My dear friend just started a blog with the most adorable name ever. Bite Sized Twinkie. It’s in the foundational/beginning stages so stay tuned for big great fun things from her!

Also I recently became an admin for a wonderful paleo-inspired facebook page called Cooking Clean. There are four of us gals who contribute with mostly paleo recipes, workout tips, and motivation to eat, live, and love clean.

click on the pic to visit the facebook page!
click on the pic to visit the facebook page!

Since I technically am still doing the February Health Challenge, it is super important to remember that clean eating is key in any healthy lifestyle. We tend as a society to get hung up on calories, but really the most important idea should be quality of nutrients not quantity. No better example of this serves than diet soda vs. all organic fruit smoothie. Believe it or not a low-cal (i.e. not processed) fruit smoothie is easier and better for your body to digest than that evil zero calorie diet soda that actually tricks your body and causes huge disasters in blood sugar levels. (diet soda rant*)

i know a 'paleo' diet of an absolute minimum 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.
i know a ‘paleo’ diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.

Obviously, everyone has their own preferences and eating styles that makes them feel best. For me, staying away from anything processed and limiting starches/complex carbohydrates is how I stay lean as well as prevent lethargy, bloating (cute!), and mood fluctuation. That means that overall, I do in fact eat a Paleo diet. I really enjoy almond milk as a substitute for traditional milk, and I find myself trying alternative flours all the time in baking. Don’t get me wrong I’ll still sample traditional candies and sweets, but it’s not at the levels/rates I used to. My mind and body mean way too much to me to ruin with overly-processed and refined ‘nutrients.’ It took a long time for me to accept that what I eat really does affect me mentally. Not in a ‘control’ way but in a basic chemical reaction – I still find new things that work and don’t everyday.

my 'shamrock shake' with high protein powder, fage greek yogurt, mint extract, almond milk, and green food coloring.
my ‘shamrock shake’ with high protein powder, fage greek yogurt, mint extract, almond milk, and green food coloring.

One way to get into the habit of food nutrient monitoring is by keeping a good old diary! There are tons of apps that make it easy to count/review nutrients/compositions/calories.

But remember! Quality of nutrients over quantity of calories is ALWAYS BEST.

xxx
GFK

Together

Well it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s always a day full of such great expectations. If you have a typical Valentine good for you. I’m flying solo, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have awesome family, friends, and the tribe to send me love all year long. Plus…. Motley Crue.

Happy V Day. Whatever it means to you.

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Love yourself the most.

xxxx
GFK

Fair Isle Goat Pillow DONE

Well, it’s done. It only took total 10-11 hours which is not that bad considering it was my first real Fair Isle project. I’m really pleased that I did NOT try this as the glove. I think it would have turned into a AMF knitting project (angry mofo), if I had tried DPNs with my first time Fair Isle. Anyways, there’s a few mistakes – it happens. I really dig this as a pillow and will be doing more pillow/tapestry designs in the future. I will however go a step further and knit in the round next time. All my mistakes were on the purl side (WS) so being able to see the knit side the entire time would aid in banishing those little flubs.

Finished pillow front being 'blocked' it's acrylic so it's not like that did anything.
Finished pillow front being ‘blocked’ it’s acrylic so it’s not like that did anything.
added some 'french knots' to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
added some ‘french knots’ to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
i really like the split in the goat.
i really like the split in the goat.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
new sweater blaster - embroidered 'B" for the baby boris.
new sweater blaster – embroidered ‘B” for the baby boris.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.

Adventures in Fair Isle

Before the holidays, we had a secret santa at my work. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Mastering Colored Knitting book for my gift. I still in fact have no idea who gave this book to me! They won’t fess up, but when I finish my more intricate pattern I’ll send an email thanking/inquiring again. Anyways, I’ve been just practicing a few little projects and I love it. Just like most knitting techniques, I’m mad I didn’t learn this sooner. SO FUN.

Just a simple one peeries for practice.
Just a simple one peeries for practice.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Gloves have inspired a pillow 'flat/larger' project.
Gloves have inspired a pillow ‘flat/larger’ project.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go - adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go – adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too. I’m hoping some of the gathering goes away with blocking/pressing. Damn you tension.
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
This is for a child. I'm thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves - especially for my ape like arms)
This is for a child. I’m thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves – especially for my ape like arms)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great day of new beginnings. I woke up with some congestion that has been upsetting my asthma and driving me insane. I’m going to grab some Mucinex for later, but any respiratory ailment scares me, because it can get so out of control so fast for someone with asthma. Bleh – woe is me!

Other than that, I embroidered (which is fast becoming addictive) and knitted on a little surprise gift for someone. I’m determined to get the pattern out of my Harry Potter book and start on the ‘Luna’ vest I love from there too this week. Anyways here is a few photos from my lazy 2013/2014 switchover.

Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
First Project of 2014 Complete - Cowboy Pup.
First Project of 2014 Complete – Cowboy Pup.
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Cowboy Pup the Robber.
Cowboy Pup the Robber.

2013 In Picture Collages

Let’s see… 2013 was a HUGE transformation year for me. From weightloss, to choosing a clear path, embracing my hobbies, adding to the tribe, ditching booze, finding a job, and traveling to Thailand – it was a year full of experiences and fun too.

Here are some picture collages to show case a very very few of the THOUSANDS of moments I caught on camera.

select crafts of 2013 (all from december)
select crafts of 2013 (all from december)
Knits/Sews from the last half of 2013
Knits/Sews from the last half of 2013
Tattoos of 2013. Josh Howard, Arajan Bpom, Artbrutis, Alisha Rice, Dusty Neal.
Tattoos of 2013. Josh Howard, Arajan Bpom, Artbrutis, Alisha Rice, Dusty Neal.
The new addition (his first two days with me)
The new addition (his first two days with me)

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4th Day of Xmas Post: Goals.

Five goals you wish to achieve this Christmas vacation

1. Fill in that empty dragon on my arm.
2. Knit a few cowls/projects.
3. Go on a mini-adventure (more on that later)
4. Drink five million Americanos with Peppermint/Chocolate flavors (it’s my holiday drink since 99% of places don’t have almond milk as a ‘dairy’ option)
5. Eat at Las Cazeulas – I miss green chili so effing much.

Those are all entirely attainable goals. Well maybe 5 million Americanos is a bit much, adjust that to 1 million.

I’m off to Denver tonight through Christmas Day and I cannot wait to see friends/family! Last night I had to run over to the DHL that is by O’Hare (approx. 30 minute drive) to pick up a package that they would not leave at my house. I spotted a super cute window santa on my way there and decided to stop for a soda water/picture of him on the way back.

Then I finished a fun cowl I just started on my lunch break – it only took about 1.5hrs to make! I haven’t ever really done a quick/simple project like this so I was over the moon about it. The pattern is free on Ravelry here.

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12 Days of Xmas – The Short List.

Five Christmas presents you want to receive.

1. Options Interchangeable Harmony Wood Circular Knitting Needle Set
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2. MOAR TATTOOS!


3. All the Holiday Nog – from Califia

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4. COLD HARD CASH.

5. NUT BREAD.

That’s pretty much the short list. Not too hard. I’m excited I get to go home to Denver and celebrate with family and close friends. I also get my arm worked on by Miss Alisha Rice. I also plan on drinking 3 jugs of the almond nog. SAY SOMETHING.

12 Days of Christmas Challenge


Okay so I needed a small challenge to get back in the saddle of daily blogging. Mary over at Secret Obsession (from the October Daily Challenge I did) was smart and creative enough to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogging challenge. I think since there is a few more than 12 days left in the month I’ll go ahead and just start this challenge now!


6 THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR THIS CHRISTMAS:

1. Being able to go to Denver and spend Christmas with my friends and family.
2. My job – I am one of the few that is actually doing what I went to school to do.
3. An uncompromised future – I’m gonna keep doing what makes me that authentic self.
4. Sobriety – the BEST gift I ever gave myself.
5. The Ugly Tribe.
6. Yarn.

Blizzards, Tattoos, and Christmas.

Jeez. Let me start by saying sorry that I have been the worst blog owner ever in December. I’ll briefly just mention jet lag, knitting/making holiday gifts, and life as why I’ve been MIA here. I don’t like it. I’m thinking I’ll finish up the November challenge I never finished (because of Thailand) and get back in the daily blogger groove.

Let’s see what’s new? Well I have been knitting like a fool and I have so much to show you all – except it’s all gifts for people who read my blog so…. you’ll have to wait. (*stomps foot*)

I’ll recap the weekend for you a little since I had a wonderful time. Friday afternoon we had our work Holiday party at Maggiano’s Little Italy. The food was alright, the dessert was AMAZING. I decided after the official party to go out with a few co-workers to mingle and be social. It was great getting to talk to some people I don’t get to interact with on a daily basis. Also I really enjoy being sober at social gatherings – I never have that moment of ‘oh shouldn’t have said that’ or ‘wait what???’ I did have a hard time getting home during rush hour on Friday night though – after all that I ended up home at 7:30ish and decided to prep for my BIG DAY on Saturday and knit/cuddle with animals.

My body the animal mattress.
My body the animal mattress.

Saturday: Well a few months ago I scheduled an appointment with Dusty Neal at Black Anvil Tattoo in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Now a few months ago it was not winter, there was no snow, and the mild last winter we had made me forget it even snowed here in Chicago. Fast forward to Saturday December 14th – there is a winter storm warning for my entire drive. Wonderful. I briefly thought about re-scheduling, but I just am stubborn so I pretended like a winter storm was not happening. I left Chicago at 5:30am to moderate flurries/snow fall and proceeded to drive the 208 miles to Ft. Wayne for my 11am appointment. I will say that the snow driving was not ‘that’ bad. However, people in the midwest (forgive me midwest followers) have NO IDEA HOW TO DRIVE IN THE GODFORSAKEN SNOW. Being a Colorado-girl, I guess I was forced to figure out scary snow driving from the start. I also understand my car in the snow and was able to make it to Ft. Wayne only 15 minutes behind schedule. Travel Advised in Case of Emergency? Tattoos by Dusty Neal are emergencies in my life.

Saw this on my phone at 12:30AM as I tossed and turned and knew I had to go to Ft. Wayne Despite the Weather.
Saw this on my phone at 12:30AM as I tossed and turned and knew I had to go to Ft. Wayne Despite the Weather. Copyright @dustyneal

When I got to Black Anvil in Ft. Wayne I can say I was beyond impressed. Dusty Neal is not only an amazing amazing amazing artist and tattooer, but he is a great and inspiring human being. I had a blast being tattooed for about three hours. As time went on more friends of the shop started showing up and the commentary and tom-foolery happening was a hilarious and pleasant distraction. I just can’t say enough wonderful things about Dusty Neal and his shop. The entire experience was professional, relaxed (although I’m hardly intimidated in a shop these days), spacious, clean, gorgeous, and perfect. I will most assuredly go back (in the spring/summer haha).

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Right after finishing.
Right after finishing.
Close up - that eye is INSANE! So gorgeous and so much detail.
Close up – that eye is INSANE! So gorgeous and so much detail.

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For size reference - also a swollen arm lol.
For size reference – also a swollen arm lol.

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I left Ft. Wayne at about 3:30pm and by the time I hit South Bend, Indiana, the roads were no longer wet so the drive home jammed by. Pure stubborn ideals, 6.5 hours of intense snow driving, 3 hours of tattooing and conversation, and one epically beautiful tattoo = the best day.

My lesson this weekend was to value safety and your responsibilities by being prepared, but don’t stop living life because you might have to white knuckle drive for 200+ miles.

Oh and Vladimir helped me Sunday prep to ship gifts to Denver and Friends.

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