a pretty cool life.: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012


printable available from Joy's Hope.

And, well, that's all I'm going to say about resolutions.

2012 was a wonderful year.
A happy, healthy, full year.
I hope to repeat all that.


In 2013 I'm going to get more done.

And I guess it extends past pinning.


Buying supplies.


My mind is bubbling over with ideas and lists of things to do.

I've got projects I never started.
I've got projects I never finished.
I've got a whole mess in between.
(emphasis on whole mess--ha!)

And not much to show for myself.

So this year I'm going to get stuff done.
Big. Little. Whatever.
Make like Nike and just do it.

For Christmas this year I did actually get quite a bit done...now I need to follow through and share. :)

Consider this your warning that my little corner of the internet is going to look like the Christmas clearance aisle at Target...

Nothing particularly useful right now.
Still fun to look at, though.
And maybe even something to save for next year. ;)


find me!
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: : twitter

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop: my take

I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.

I didn't really know what to expect when I agreed to go to the Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop.
I knew it promised to be an enjoyable and informative experience.
Dietitians, personal trainers, professional chefs...good stuff...

Well, after I confessed I needed to conquer my fear of being in a big group of strangers... 
But I got over that. (Of course.)
And I drove on the highway!
And in downtown Chicago!
I didn't get lost!
I even parked without the valet!
And was responsible enough not to lose my keys!!
Ha. What a wimp.
Being a grown up isn't so bad after all. 

I also kind of (and based on comments last time and on facebook...lots of you did too!) wondered if it was going to be a big Coke propaganda session.
I promise it wasn't.
We really did focus on healthier living.

I left full of ideas and full inspiration.

On Tuesday, one of the activities was to meet with a dietitian one on one to discuss changes I could make for myself and for my family.
That was good.
Lately I've felt food has been a big struggle for us.  I've felt really out of control.
My eating, my children's eating, snacking, shopping, eating carry out...not where I want to be.
I learned how even baby steps are going to make a big impact in our lives.
Music to my ears.
Because really, it's the only way I could tackle it.  Had she suggested a huge overhaul to our eating, I doubt I would've even tried.

Meal planning once a week.
Eating at the table instead of standing in the kitchen.
Snacking at specific snack times.

Nothing crazy hard or confusing. But all of them will make a difference.

I also got to meet with a personal trainer who developed a fitness plan just for me.
It was also really good.
Guess what.  I don't have to run miles and miles and workout at a gym for hours to see a big difference.
Um, loved hearing that!!
He had a plan to squeeze in 20 minutes here and there.
If I have more time, I can do it over again.
Nothing fancy. No machines. No gym.
Made just for a girl like me.
A girl with creaky knees when she walks up the stairs or bends down.
A girl who is usually carrying a tiny human around on her hip.
A girl who would rather take a nap than work out.
A girl who wants to get back to her college volleyball days.

He even went through all the exercises with me.
In front of everyone.
But I survived the embarrassment. (Actually everyone else was doing it too!)
I got to leave knowing exactly what to do.  No excuses.
And now, after following his plan for a week, I'm already less creaky.

Possibly the coolest part of the day was a workout session we had.
With Harley Pasternak.
Harley Pasternak!
Celebrity trainer!
Totally awesome.
He reinforced what I heard earlier.
You don't need a gym. You don't need fancy machines. You don't need $200 running shoes.
A simple pedometer and 10,000 steps a day.
Super easy to do a few super easy (but intense!) things at home.
In front of the TV, even.
Hello entire season of Project Runway All-stars I have DVRed and need to watch.
Hearing these things was reassuring.
Two trainers both saying that I don't need to make a huge commitment to still make a huge difference on my fitness.
So great to hear.

On Wednesday we switched gears from fitness to nutrition.
We started the day by touring a local grocery store with a dietitian.

She walked us through the aisles and talked a lot about making the best choices in what seems like an overwhelming number of products and choices.
Not focusing on what we should avoid...but what are better choices.
Bread vs. bread (pick the one with low calories and high fiber)
Veggie vs. veggie (the darker the color the more nutrient rich)
Snack vs. snack (pick the highest in fiber and lowest in calories again)
Even bacon vs. bacon! (go for the center cut)
It was really great to hear, especially at this time of year.  Yummy, not so good for you food all around.
A focus on healthy indulgence was really refreshing (and helpful!) to hear.

Busted Diet Coke drinking and instagramming!

We ended the workshop with what I looked most forward to...and what I loved the most.
A lesson from a professional chef!

Apparently I have a really intense carrot peeling face.  Ha!

We put into action what we'd been hearing about all along.
The best way to eat is by filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.
So we made a delicious lunch...
without adding a ton of butter.
with plenty of veggies.
without frying anything.
only using simple methods and techniques.
And it didn't take that long.
No reason not to do it at home.

thank you Coca Cola!
I loved the experience.
I had such a good time.
I learned a TON.
And I'm already trying a lot of what I learned, which is really the test.
2013 is going to be a better year for my family and me.  I just know it. :)

Big thanks to the paparazzi film/camera crew for all the awesome pictures of the event!
all photo credit in this post: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Happy birthday donut for my sweet 4 year old boy.

Crazy late night toy searching.

Lots of technology.

Birthday Legos and McDonald's breakfast.

Pretty floor.

Cooking with a professional chef.

Lots of pictures being taken.

Loved it there.

The paparazzi.

A wee bit of crafting.

Find me on instagram!  I' @aprettycoollife.

find me!
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: : pinterest
: : instagram
: : twitter

Monday, December 17, 2012

My diy Anthropologie owl vase

Not gonna lie.
It feels a little weird posting a pretty little project today.
Acting like nothing happened.
Like I didn't spend the weekend bursting into tears.
Like I didn't avoid tv/facebook/twitter/instagram.
Like Christmas shopping for my own littles didn't choke me up.
Thinking of the families whose Christmas joy was stolen from them.

A little bit of happiness and creativity does some of us good.
Especially girls like me that had a hard time saying goodbye at school drop off this morning.
It's like the first time we had to fly after 9/11.
Not easy.
Here goes.

I found little owl glasses at the thrift a while back.
Immediately I thought of this vase at Anthro. (I saw an email about free shipping today if you're interested!)

So a couple of coats of primer and spray paint later, I have my own little owl vase/pencil holder/generally cute little doodad.

And this.
This is just funny.
Miss ya handmade Ryan G.

And hug your babies tight.

find me!
: : facebook
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: : instagram
: : twitter

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Torn knees.

I know every blogger is writing about this.
I will too.

My heart is so broken for all of those hurt by the tragedy in Connecticut. 
So broken.
Big, ugly cry after big, ugly cry broken.

I spent the day yesterday blissfully unaware.

Running from errand to errand.
School drop off.
School pick up.

My kindergardener running into my arms with scuffed and torn knees on his uniform pants.
Scolding him for ruining yet another pair.
Scolding him for playing too roughly with his friends at recess.
Echoing my own mother, telling him money doesn't grow on trees.
Irritated that I'd have to replace another pair.
Him mumbling I'm sorries.
Carrying on with our day.

Christmas card pictures.
Running around the playplace at the mall.
Happy Meals for smiling big and cooperating with the photographer.
A few episodes of Phineas and Ferb before bedtime.

A day too full of odds and ends to be bothered checking in on facebook, twitter, instagram.

Then bedtime.
My three babies safely tucked and snuggled in.
And I had the time to check my social media.

Ugly, ugly cries.

Suddenly grateful to have to replace torn uniform pants.
Grateful for the little boy who came running into my arms at the end of the school day, unaware of events far, far away.
Grateful for the three littles that I stare at while they sleep.
Guilty for anger over a ruined uniform.
Crushed for all those other parents far away wishing for a worry as simple as buying new pants.

Hug your babies extra tight.
Not just today, but every day.

I am so sorry for those affected by the day's events.
There are no words.

Sending love.
And prayers.


find me!
: : facebook
: : pinterest
: : instagram
: : twitter

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A tiny peek into the past (few!) weeks of our lives, through filtered iphone photos.


Gingerbread houses.

Teeny trees.

Red nail polish disasters.

Count downs.

Iphone bokeh.

New (to me) Santas.

Greenery love.

Gingerbread houses.

 Martha mail.


Candy making.

Party decorations.

Lego head jars.

Candy minifigs.

Berry goodies.

Bokeh addict.

Diet Coke addict.

Christmas tree love.


Thrift store.

Late night crafting.

If you'd like to follow along, I'm @aprettycoollife on instagram :)


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