Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The ME Resolution for 2014

I am home today because Atlanta has been hit with a second winter storm that has simply paralyzed the city.  Southern snows and ice are a much bigger deal than northern snow and ice.  We put a nice layer of southern drama and umph on our weather systems.  So I am home with the kids, buckled down, prepared for the worst with blankets, extra batteries, candles, water, bread and milk waiting for the world to end for the next two days...and am looking forward to a sunny 50 degree forecast on Friday and this weekend.  Again, it's a southern bi-polar weather pattern thing.  It's the way it's done in the south!!

In going back and reading previous posts from previous New Year's declarations and resolutions, it is clear that I am really good at setting goals.  I am awesome at declaring what it is that I want to do...the execution part is the part that seems to always fall to the wayside.  It's human nature.  I get caught up in my day-to-day responsibilities that I end up putting off what I really want and need to do to make the overall quality of my life and my family's life a little better.

Well, as usual, I declared change for my family in 2014.  My first post in 2014 was about getting ready for our big change when Andie graduates.  On purpose however, I didn't go into any personal "me" goals as I didn't want to start declaring changes for me and not following through with them, only to feel like I had failed yet again at a New Years Resolution.  So I didn't publicly declare anything about what I personally wanted to do.  But I did have plans brewing.  When I told my family what my plans were, eyes rolled...there were a bunch of "yeah okay's" and "good luck with that".  I don't mean to make my family sound mean as they are not at all.  They are the most wonderful and supportive people you could ever want on your side.  It's just that my kids and Mr. Handy have heard for years the things I am "going" to do that just never really materialize.  This year is different.  I couldn't be more excited about what I am about to share.

This is officially the year that I turn 40.  I will be 40 in August and I wanted to make sure that I don't hit the next decade without knowing that I can be the very best ME I can be.  Thirty one days ago I had an ah-ha moment about my diet, my fitness routine and the time I didn't spend moving. I purchased a book called "The Abs Diet for Women" by David Zinczenko.  In this book he talks about how strong core muscles are really the strength that your body needs to maintain an overall healthy and strong physical being. Health starts and ends with a strong core.  He also talks about "power foods" and how the combination of these foods in each meal will increase your metabolism, which of course leads to weight loss.  The book provides different exercise combinations you can do on a daily basis that helps with strength and muscle growth.  I am now five weeks into this program and I truly feel awesome.  I have also added two additional factors into my regime that have really assisted me in my motivation and progress.  Mr. Handy bought me the Zumba Core XBox game (yes a video game) for Christmas.  And there are two apps that I have incorporated into my process that I highly recommend.  My Fitness Pal and RunKeeper.







My routine includes:

EARLY WORKOUT SESSION.  I get up at 5:00 am anyway for work so this was an easy process for me.  I don't get up any earlier, I am just more efficient in the morning so I can work 30-45 mins of weight training into my schedule.  I do the suggested workout that are listed in the book during the mornings.

I PACK MY FOOD FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.  This is a big one. My Fitness Pal app is a food log that you keep on your SmartPhone.   I log every single thing that I put in my mouth.  This app has a caloric count along with nutritional values for just about everything you eat.  It also has a function where you can scan the item code on food packaging and it will load in the nutritional information.  It allows you to track your calories, set weight goals and know where you are during the day for each meal and snack for how many calories are used and what is left for the day.  You also log in your exercise and the calories you burned and it off-sets those burned calories against what you have eaten for the day.  With all of that said, I monitor what I am eating through this app.  You learn quickly what a fast food meal adds up to.  One milkshake from McDonald's could absorb your entire calorie allotment for the entire day.  It teaches you how to eat, couple that with the foods in the book and I realized quickly that I needed to pack my food in advance for the whole day.  I don't go out to eat.  Period.  I control what goes in my mouth, and I have really learned the power of saying no!  And folks, I FEEL GREAT!  I eat six times a day.  I eat a lot of food. And I am losing weight doing that!  I leave my house with a lovely Thirty One Thermal Tote, full of the foods that I will be eating for the day.  I am never hungry either.  The book provides a shopping list for items that you will want to keep in your pantry.  I didn't buy everything on the list, but I did buy most of what is recommended and I incorporate these foods into each meal.

I DO CARDIO SIX DAYS A  WEEK.  This is an imperative piece to weight loss.  I am not a weight loss expert so I am not 100% sure why this works, but Cardio is a key factor in the entire process.  If you miss anything, you don't want to miss your Cardio workout.  This is where Zumba Core comes into my mix.  What a fun game - you can get it on Xbox or for Wii.  It is an interactive cardio/core game that tracks calories (that you later log into your My Fitness Pal app) in single songs, short, medium or full-length classes.  A full length class is about 60 minutes and equals about 900 calories burned.  AND IT'S FUN!  My daughter and I do it almost every single night.  My first week of doing these classes, I could hardly even breath much less keep up with the routines.  Five weeks later, I am dancing away my calories.  I am doing things that I never thought my old knees could do! Two nights a week, I walk at a local park where my son practices LaCrosse.  I use the RunKeeper app for these nights.  This app is a GPS system that will log where you go, how far you go and the amount of calories burned during that walk/run.  I do this the entire duration of his practice which is an hour in a half.  I average five miles during this time and burn on average 460-500 calories depending on my speed.



I HAVE ONE CHEAT MEAL EACH WEEK.  Once a week I can go a little crazy.  One meal only.  I thought initially this would be my girl gone wild meal and I would be gorging myself.  But it turns out, I am working so hard, I usually still stay pretty conservative.  Now I did enjoy a huge crab leg dinner for my daughter's birthday and Valentine's Day is Friday and Mr. Handy and I have a hot date so I will be indulging there.  But overall, I find myself still wanting to stay true to my mission and I don't go crazy.  BUT YOU CAN ONCE A WEEK!!

I TAKE ONE DAY OFF A WEEK FOR MY MUSCLES TO REST.  This is imperative.  According to the book, you have to let your body rest and recoup from the physical activity you did during the week.  My rest day is Friday.  That way if we have a family night at the movies or Mr. Handy and I have a date, I am not thinking about my work out.  It's a free night to enjoy my hard work for the week.

I INVESTED IN SOME GOOD WORK OUT CLOTHES THAT I LIKE TO WEAR.  I'm not going to lie, at first they really didn't fit.  I still felt fat.  But over the last five weeks, I have watched my body begin to change and I feel like I look great in these clothes.  I change into my work out gear right when I get home from work so as to not get distracting and miss my evening cardio routine.  I think Mr. Handy likes them too. I feel sexy when I wear them as I know he notices the muscle tones that are hiding underneath the fabric.


My results are really incredible for me.  Everyone will be different.  So here are my stats of where I started - I am 5'8 1/2 - weighed in at 142.6 lbs.  I had a flabby stomach.  I had flabby arms.  I had no definition in my legs.  None of my clothes fit me.  I had pant marks around my belly each night when I got home from work because my pants were too tight.  I didn't go "number two" regularly and I was bloated.  My stomach just hurt overall.  I had terrible headaches, I felt sleepy all the time.  My skin looked drab.  My energy was low. I couldn't even do five sit-ups in a row.  I was out of breath going up my flight of stairs.  I craved sugar - craved sweet tea, craved sweetened coffee.  I had no energy and felt like I was 39 going on 60.  My joints hurt, my knees stayed swollen almost all the time.  It was time for a change.

Five weeks later I weigh 135 lbs (as of this morning).  I have defined muscles in my stomach.  I am starting to get a six pack!  I don't have a gut.  I am very, very regular with my bowel movements.  My legs are strong.  I have calf muscles that I have never had before.  Oh and my butt...my butt is a lot smaller and firm! I am not tired.  My joints are not sore.  I haven't had a sweet tea in a month.  I weaned myself off of coffee all together.  I drink 8-10 cups of water every day and my skin looks great.  I have energy.  I feel great.  My clothes fit and as a matter of fact, are a little too big for me.  I am not 100% where I want to be.  I want to build a little more definition and muscle.  And I am aiming for some Carrie Underwood legs, But I am astounded by how much my body has changed in such a short period of time.  I am so glad I did this and I have surprised even myself with how disciplined and focused I have been.  I have discovered that I am worth it.  I deserved to love how I look and not feel ashamed to be naked in front of my husband.  He has never, ever said anything other than I am beautiful.  My shame is totally self inflicted.  I feel healthy.  I can't say I have ever felt this healthy as an adult.

Whew - that's a lot for one blog post!  But I wanted to share with you all.  I am proud of myself.  I still have a ways to go.  But this is a lifestyle change and one that I won't regret long-term.  Please share with me what you have going on for fitness success in the New Year.  I would love to know and support and celebrate your WINS as well!!

Until next time...

~Amanda

Progress on the Great Purge of 2014

So far so good on my project purge that I blogged about last month.  Quick update, as you all are truly my accountability partners in this thing...

I have successfully gotten my pantry cleaned out and completely reorganized. With a quick trip to the Dollar Store, and a whole bunch of baskets later, this was the end result!






And then came my bedroom closet.  As I had mentioned before, this was going to be a project for sure.  I did a massive purge of clothing, shoes and items that I just haven't touched in the seven years of occupying this space as my closet.  Twelve garbage bags later and a hearty trip to Goodwill in McDonough, I was finally done. The result was pretty impressive if I do say so myself.  It's been several weeks and surprisingly it has remained organized and clean.  That's an easy task when it's set up the way you want it to look. Everything is where I need it to be and it is ORGANIZED!





Two closets down...three major closets in the house to go.  This is an on-going project and one that I will update on the blog pretty regularly.  So thank you in advance for helping me to have some accountability to my blog post last month and any organizing ideas you would like to share with me, please do so as I am certainly not an expert in anyway and always looking to learn!

Until next time...

~Amanda

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Great Purge of 2014!

It's been several months since I have last blogged.  It is now the second week in January and it's officially 2014!  As I am looking at the upcoming year, I know deep down that this is going to be an over-haul year.  I am sure all of you have experienced what I call the filler years, where not a whole lot of change happens, things seem to stay in the status-quo and then you have some years that are filled with change...that's an OVER HAUL YEAR!  2013 was a filler year for myself and my family.  The kids moved up in school, no major change in our home life and work primarily stayed the same for my husband and myself.  I think I purposefully kept 2013 as a low-key as possible because I have known, for 17 years, that 2014 was going to be a big year of change for me as a Mom and the dynamics of our family.  You see, 2014 is the year that my oldest daughter graduates from high school and starts the next phase of her life into college.  It's been a long standing dread that I have felt coming and growing stronger and stronger as the days have gotten closer and closer to 2014.  Her countdown is totally different than mine too...a parents countdown is that of immense change of the energy of the house.  The dinner table will feel different, the distance, the security of knowing where she is and what she's doing at all times...all of that changes.  She on the other hand is counting down the moment of becoming an adult, saying goodbye to us and moving into her first apartment, and having days that are ruled and managed by her and not her parents.  She is a wonderful kid.  She's level-headed, smart, talented and makes really good decisions with what she does with her time, who she hangs out with and what direction she is taking with her future.  I couldn't be more proud of her if I tried.  So knowing that she is moving out, my husband and I decided that we would be making a major life-simplification process in 2014.



Early last year, I wrote a post about my vision board.  In this post, I talked about how much we love being at the lake, and I talked about and loving what I have...and enjoying what I have.  Well this year, we have decided to take this one step further.  We have decided as a family when our daughter graduates and moves out, we will be moving as well.  We are simplifying our world and moving to the lake!  We have a ridiculously large home right now...it is filled with wonderful and beautiful things that for the most part we just walk by every day.  2014 is going to be a year of purging these things and simplifying our world.  We will be down-sizing to a house that will be perfect for myself, my husband and our son.  We will have a room for our daughter, but our prayer for her is that she enjoys this next phase and really steps into her own "self" and uses this as her first step into adulthood. 

I have decided, in an effort to NOT be overwhelmed by a move after living in this house for almost 8 years, and selling almost everything we own to break this change and over-haul down into 8 easy steps.  Here is how I am going to be getting ready to our move in June from an almost 6,000 square foot home to a 1,500 square foot home:

1.  Start the purge early!  I started first by taking down the Christmas decorations and actually boxing them up and taping them for the move in six months.  Every bit of decoration for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas is boxed up and ready for the movers to put them in their truck and move to the lake.

2.  Closets will be next.  It is amazing...embarrasing...unbelievable and embarrasing (again) by how much stuff has accumlated in our closets.  I mean really??  I am not sure which is worse...the over accumulation jackets that don't get worn or the stuff that I don't even know what it is that has grown roots on the floors.  How did this happen??  I mean seriously...HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??  We will be moving into a much smaller home, so all of this nonsense has got to go!!  I am really opening myself up here, so please don't judge me!!  I am not a hoarder, and my main living area does not look like this...just behind closed doors!!  HA!


 



3.  After our closets will come our clothes and shoes.  Don't even get me started on this one, as every single person in my house has a clothes and shoe problem.  And the ironic thing is, when I really start to notice, we all only wear maybe 5 or 6 pairs of shoes each.  And we have a pretty regular round-robin of outfits that we wear.  If a garment hasn't been worn in the last 9 months (to cover both winter and summer) it will be purged.  If a purse hasn't been carried in the last 6 months, it will be purged.  I will be ridding our house of all of the prom dresses from days gone by (and will gladly post them for sale in a future blog post) along with all of the shoes and accessories that were only worn ONCE! 

4.  Next we will tackle the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.  If it is not a necesity, it will need to go...I have more kitchen utensils than one person without a restaurant would ever need.  I mean why does anyone need four crockpots??  I will be paring down the kitchen to only what we need.  I will post on that as well...I would love some feedback on what that perfect balance of a kitchen will need to be!!

5.  I am a craft-a-holic!!  I live for pinterest projects, sewing, painting, modge-podge, etc!!  I have way too much stuff to carry with us to a 1,500 square foot home.  In the new house, I will get a closet to keep my craft supplies.  Therefore, I will need to clean out what I currently have and create the perfect balance of crafting items that will allow me the outlet of creating without taking over an entire house.  I will be blogging about this as well.  I am looking to create the perfect collection of necesity crafting items.  The good news is, I do see a large donation of crafting stuff to our local elementary schools.  I know it will go to folks who will truly enjoy it!

6.  Next will come the decluttering and simplification of my decor.  My decoration style has always been to decorate in a merchandising format.  I have groupings that are all staged on the shelves, and walls.  it's beautiful, and I have always enjoyed decorating this way.  But I have too much stuff.  At the delight of my realtor, I will be paring down my decorations as well.  I will removing all of the non-essential items and creating a much cleaner and sleeker look.  I will post pictures of each room as I make my way through.  It's going to be a big change for me...but one that will be so cleansing to my soul!!

7.  I have accumulated artwork and drawings from my children over the last 10+ years.  I have always felt guilt over throwing their beautiful little drawings away.  I will be doing something special with each one.  I learned this from Pinterest.  I will be taking these pictures and photographing them and creating photobooks as a memory book for each of my kids years in school.  I can then keep them neatly stored on a shelf and NOT feel guilty for throwing away their perfect little works of art!  I will blog about this process as well and gladly share the end result of their special books.

8.  Office overhaul.  I am sure I am like the rest of you, where I have managed to save every tax return from the 90's  through today for what ever reason.  I have files of old bank statements, closing documents on homes that we have bought and sold, cars that we bought and sold, insurance documents, check registers, property tax info...oh my goodness I could go on and on.  Well this will all be cleaned out too.  I will be blogging about what you need to keep on file and for how long.  When to purge, shred and what to be okay just throwing away.  I see me making a purchase of either a burn barrel (which our HOA would LOVE) or a good sturdy shredder in my future!!

This is going to be the start of something good!  Life is interesting in that we work so hard to get so much stuff, then somewhere along the way there is a realization that the stuff isn't what makes you happy.  What makes you happy is the time spent together as a family, memories that are made along the way and the love that is shared in-between.  The "stuff" is a lie.  It doesn't do a darn thing to make you a better person.  I am excited about moving into this next chapter in our story as a family.  It's going to be interesting as I know there will be an internal battle on what should stay and what should go.  But I also know that this is going to be a process that will be so awesome to go through.  Living simply is the theme for 2014.  Living honestly and loving deeply is the goal!!  I look forward to sharing this journey with you as we move into the direction of change this year!  Happy New Year to you and your family and as always...thank you for reading!!

Until next time...

~Amanda
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Be the GOOD!!


It's been a strange week for sure. There has been a tremendous amount of tragedy and negative happenings globally in the news this week. Monday was a tough one not only because of the tragedy in the news but a friend of mine suddenly lost his life at age 46. It had been a couple of years since I had seen him or spoken to him. But during the time where we interacted in each others lives, he made a huge impression on me and I always admired him. And he passed away on Monday and that made me tremendously sad.   I found myself going to a dark place and focusing on negative things. And for me that is NOT who I am. I AM THE SUNSHINE TOKER for goodness sake! So I started looking for things to help remind me where I am at my best. That is in a world of celebrating the good; and in a state of gratitude and belief. So that's exactly what I did. And I came across an awesome Etsy store listing that just summarized what I needed to focus on. And it helped me tremendously. That store is JackandJillyDesigns. They had a beautiful printed sign that summed up where I needed to be mentally to get past all of the negative in the news and honor my sweet friend who lost his life. 

 
Something about this very simple statement seemed to to just really help me create some clarity.  What I have come to realize is that while there will always be negative things in this life...a true belief in the good will quickly make the bad seem so small.  And if you take a moment to really open your eyes to see the good, it is amazing how quickly the good things start to mount up and the good will always far out-weigh the bad.  My friend was good.  He was honorable, and kind...one of our friends described him as one of the "good-guys".  The sign describes him through and through.  I choose to celebrate the good that he brought into this world.  Katie Ryan at JackandJillyDesigns did an incredible job reminding me this week where my focus needs to be. Thank you Katie, you didn't even realize the impact you were making!!
 
I also purchased a book recently, that I finally opened up today that was a great measure to put Katie's quote to the test.  I bought this book from Anthropologie called "One Good Deed a Day".  I thought it was pretty and I thought it would be a fun experiment to try and make tiny impactful moments in people's day while doing a little good along the way. And honestly there are some great ideas in here. 






They also suggested: cooking dinner for your roommate, or neighbor or friend.  Add money to an expired meter.  Talk about what you are grateful for...that's a powerful one!!  Become an organ donor.  Leave a BIG tip.  Leave your change in the vending machine for the next person to find.  Leave a nice comment on your friend's blog, Facebook wall, or Twitter feed.  These are just a few of MANY to choose from.  But I can't help but think that doing just one of these things ties us back to Katie's sign..BE THE GOOD!  When you are the GOOD...you impact people.  When you are the GOOD...you help to erase the bad.  When you are the GOOD...you create, and ultimately leave a legacy.  

Katie at JackandJillyDesigns would like to invite you to "LIKE" her Facebook Page. And when you do, you will be entered in to win a *FREE PRINTABLE*!! She will announce the winner on her Facebook Page! Thank you Katie for sharing this with The Sunshine Toker readers!!  And to tie that in with all of the GOOD we are celebrating today, if you like my Sunshine Toker Facebook Page or leave a comment I will do a drawing for a copy of the book "One Good Deed a Day" for you to pay it forward and do some GOOD too!!

P.S. - I did want to share a quick article about my friend so you too can see what made him so special to everyone he met...Remembering Scott Adams.  A Memorial Tribute to Scott Adams
 
Be the Good!

Until next time...
 
~Amanda

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tupperware and Pyrex!

They old saying goes "everything old is new again"...I can say I have seen this cycle come around several times in my life.  Examples of this that I am sure you all can relate too would be Converse All-Stars.  Hand's down one of my favorite shoes ever.  I got my first pair in the 7th grade.  They were royal blue high tops.  I loved them.  I kissed Andrew Donaldson behind the bus at Booker T. Washington 7th grade center and he and I BOTH were wearing out Chuck Taylor's.  His were canary yellow.  Today, I still have a pair and so does my 17 year old daughter!!  As a matter of fact, she has three or four pairs.  Here's another fun one...Volkswagen Beetles.  My parents had one in the 1970's that they nicknamed Bo-Bo.  My daughter's first car was a Volkswagen Beetle convertible (affectionately renamed Bo-Bo), and now my husband has one that he just purchased we have named Beetle Bailey.  What is old is new again! 

 


As I have shared with everyone, I have recently opened up an Etsy store, The Sunshine Toker, and my major focus is items that are old...but seen as new again.  There are two items specifically that I am the most tickled about people loving, collecting and using again in their kitchens.  Who can't forget the wonderful world of Tupperware and Pyrex for the authentically vintage kitchen??  Well, folks, for those of you that may not know it...vintage Tupperware AND vintage Pyrex dishes are not only a raging hot listing on Etsy.com, but they are also very, very collectible!  There are people that collect large quantities of each of these and use them and display them for all of their vintage beauty.

Here are just a few examples of some vintage Pyrex and Tupperware items I have listed in my store and some items you may want to check out from other Etsy sellers, fellow bloggers and Pinterest Posts:







All of the above are listed for sale on The Sunshine Toker's Etsy Store. 

Check out these awesome pictures of people's Pyrex and Tupperware Collections pulled from Etsy sellers and Pinterest:

 

 
 
 

 
 

Would you ever believe that you could have such an awesome collection of pretty from vintage Tupperware and Pyrex dishes??  They are just gorgeous to display and folks they hold some value as well!  So take a minute, go through your cupboards, go through your mommas cabinets, your mother in law's kitchen drawers and see what you can come up with.  You may just find that you have your OWN little collection of these awesome little gems to display in your vintage kitchen!! 

Until next time...

~Amanda




Monday, September 16, 2013

Cheese rolls that make me cry!

By day I am a sale manager covering the middle part if Atlanta all the way down to Alabama. So I am sure you can guess that I spend a lot of time on the road and a lot of time in and out of different southern small towns. My sales rep that covers Macon, GA had been telling me about this secret little hole in the wall restaurant located off of Mulberry Street in downtown Macon, called Tokyo Alley. She said that I would never see Asian food the same. Now in my head I am totally thinking of food court Asian food and how it's only good if I'm in the mood for some salt and MSG. After some convincing, i finally said okay lets go. All i can say is was I WRONG.



The walk to the restaurant was fun in itself as downtown in Macon, GA is a treat anyway.  When you park, you are simply stepping back in time to a day where things were a little less fast paced and the downtown existence was everything for this part of middle Georgia. 

You know you are somewhere special when you see this place. Nestled away in an old brick building the outside is inviting  you in with an awning and flowers adorning the front entrance. And when you come inside, it is a tiny little place, brimming with mid-day breakers enjoying a bit of Asian cuisine and getting away from the office. And there seems to be two items specifically that everyone has come for. For starters you can't leave without trying the Cheese Rolls. I have never had anything like this before. Cream cheese, fresh herbs and crab all wrapped up in a fried shell. These are not Crab Rangoon's by any means. They are sweet and tangy. And served with a red pepper flake sweet and sour sauce. They made me want to cry. They made me want to order ten more and eat them by myself. They made me apologize to my friend Stacey for ever doubting her lunch recommendation. They were amazing. 



But wait there's more. The second item them seemed to be a staple on each diners plate was the noodle salad. I ordered orange chicken with a double order of noodle salad. I did this because Stacey did...and it turns out she knew what she was doing. This was old hat to her.  You order double noodles because who needs rice when this pile of yummy is on your plate!  



This noodle salad is served cold. It has a sweet dressing with fresh celery and pepper. I have no idea how they made the dressing. All I can say is oh my word is it good. Coupled with the cheese role I was in heaven. This place is reasonably priced, great service, well known with the locals and worth the time and money to visit. I will be making it a requirement to stop and eat here when I am in the field with Stacey moving forward. And I will consider it a treat when I get to go again!   Please share with me if you have ever been here. What is YOUR favorite menu item?

P.S. Tokyo Alley is located at 574 Mulberry Street Lane, Macon, GA 31201 
(478)743-9449 www.tokyoalley.com

Until next time...

~Amanda


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Perfect Patio on a Shoestring Budget

I had a complete DESIGN MELTDOWN a couple of weeks ago when we are at our lake house at Lake Sinclair. You see we have spent the last year working so hard on the inside of our perfect little cabin that we have kind of neglected the outside.  There is really pretty covered gazebo that is to the left of our deck.  It really is the gathering place when we all want to sit around and enjoy the serenity of the lake.  I have not however, done a great job accessorizing this outdoor space.  So while it is structurally perfect, it is not filled in with the little details that I like to add into my surroundings.

It just didn't look good at all.  I needed accessories, so I went on a mission to pull together the perfect patio look on a shoe string budget.  First off, I had to decide what my overall look was going to be, if I didn't know that piece, I wouldn't have any idea what type of accessories to buy, or make-over.  For me, I wanted something bright, cheery and fun.  It is the lake, so what better look to go with?  

I had a small black meshed table that was donated to us by my father-in-law.  I decided I wanted to make that a fun butter-yellow color.  So I took some spray paint to it and voila a brand-new look for an old table!  All for about $8.00 for the two cans of spray paint.

I also did a quick Target run and decided on some fun colorful ceramic pots to plant some succulents.  I am going with succulents because we aren't at the lake house every single weekend.  This type of plant works really, really well with extended periods of time without water...perfect if you are going away OR if you don't have a green thumb.  Either way they make for a great addition to my patio/gazebo make-over.  My total cost on these were about $17.00 for the pots and $20.00 for the soil and plants to go in them.

I then hit up my favorite Goodwill in my hometown and came away with some really great goodies.  I found a big bundle of green and yellow napkins.  There were twelve total.  So I pulled four of them out and set the rest aside for a future project.  I also purchase a set of four blue, green and yellow cloth napkins.  I sewed the napkins together to make throw pillows for the wicker furniture.  They made four total between the two types of fabrics.  I found a fun reddish striped shower curtain that I knew I could incorporate into my design.  I added in some candles (the mosquito's are really bad at the lake) and of course some of my favorite magazines.  I also added a wonderful bag from Thirty One, called a large utility tote for extra storage.  And I found an inexpensive rug to tie it all together. 

Grand total I spent a little over $50.00 on my complete redo!  What do you think??

Here are my before pictures...


 
Pretty Boring and DRAB!!
 
 
And here is after...
 From DRAB TO FAB!!














We have enjoyed the spruced up gazebo so far this summer and look forward to using this space well into the fall!  All of this on a shoestring budget!

Until next time...

~Amanda