Friday, January 31, 2014

Weight loss thoughts...

I've had a few emails recently asking for some tips on how I lost weight and I have been thinking of what to say and wondering if I am the right person to ask as I am not an expert on the subject.
After all I went to the "experts on weight loss" after years of trying many diets.

I am happy that I did because this week I weighed in at half a pound under my goal weight.
I start maintenance for 6 weeks and if all goes well I'll get the golden key and can be a lifetime member of WW.

Weight Loss Thoughts...

You have to REALLY WANT to lose weight. You need to commit wholeheartedly if you want to succeed.
When my doctor told me that I HAD to lose AT LEAST 10 pounds for my high blood pressure or else!
He mentioned that my chronic hip pain was because I was carrying too much weight and it was putting too much stress and pressure on the joints.  (No pain sounded quite attractive.)

Do some research on the science behind how one loses weight.
Get informed on the options and look at all your options.
Weigh the pros and the cons and ask yourself what works for you. If you are super disciplined you can probably do it by yourself, if on the other hand you need help being accountable and benefit from support and encouragement like Weight Watchers offer perhaps you'll be more successful if you join.

I chose Weight Watchers because I had read so many success stories from women just like me who lost weight and it changed their lives. I asked myself if a 300 pound woman can lose 150 pounds then why can't I can lose 30-35?

Eating plans (diets) that you start and then give up simply don't work.
You need to make a permanent lifestyle change or you will gain it all back when you start eating "normally" again.
I like the support that the meetings offer and the weekly weigh in keeps me on track and accountable.
The scales at WW are more accurate than many on the market and they record ounces as well as pounds.
I only recently bought s scale because I knew that I would be attending fewer meeting once I hit my goal.
(I opted for a digital model that measures both pounds and ounces)

Homemade soup made with fresh veggies and low sodium vegetable broth helps to fill me up.
I frequently will enjoy two bowls of soup.

Exercise... I know that I am personally not a fan of gyms and as much as I dislike sweating I HAD to do something.
I also wanted to do it on the cheap so I took up walking.
I started slow at 20 minutes a day and have worked up to an hour most days and 2 hours twice a week.
It was surprising to me how easy it was to add distance and the IPhone app Walk Meter is the best investment to motivate and record the routes and walking times. It also records the calories used!

Clean out your cupboards and fridge and get rid of everything that tempts you to overeat or binge on.
For me it was potato chips and cheeses.

Stock a few things in the fridge that you can heat up in a hurry for times when you are hungry and tired.
Those are the times when you are weak and might just grab something high in fat and calories.

Leftover soup is great in the fridge or freezer if you have a microwave.
Janet's Carrot Soup is quick and easy to make and I have memorized her recipe.
Salsa is tasty and very low in points I eat it on everything from scrambled eggs to fish. 

Stock your fridge with LOTS of fresh fruit and a variety of vegetables.
If you eat meat buy only the leanest cuts and remove any skin or fat before cooking.
Use vegetable stock or water instead of oil when sauteing
Try to eat at least 2 dinners a week that are meatless....more is better if you can do it.

Sit down to eat at the table and make your table look pretty.
Use nice dishes and cutlery, a tablecloth or place mats and napkins.
Enjoy your Perrier or water in a crystal flute.
Try adding a candle or some fresh flowers.

Eat with intention...savour the flavours and do not get distracted by the TV, telephone or your computer!
Slow down your eating...put your knife and fork down periodically.
If you have a spouse, partner or roommate this is a great time to strike up a conversation...
you can pretend you are on a date!

Use bright colourful vegetables and think of it as "art on a plate."
It is more satisfying if it is visually appealing.
You are feeding your soul as well as your stomach.

Allow yourself a few small treats each week so that you do not feel deprived because that's when you'll get discouraged and throw in the towel.
Celebrate your successes and accept your failures ~ get right "back on track" after a slip up.

Drink lots of water!
I opted for Perrier and buy it by the case. If you like tap water add a slice of lemon or lime and serve it in a pretty glass. If you like it cold buy a beautiful jug and fill it with slices of lemons and limes and keep in in the fridge so it's handy.

For snacks opt for fresh fruit...add a bit of protein.
A bit of yogurt, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a wedge or two of Laughing Cow Cheese.

I keep sliced carrots, celery and peppers in a bag for when the munchies strike...I will use a tablespoon of Lighthouse lite Dilly Dip as a dip and it takes awhile to chew through a handful of veggies so by the time I am finished I feel satisfied.

I love balsamic vinegar on steamed veggies.

Baby Bok Choy steamed in water topped with balsamic vinegar.
Baked trout marinated in lemon juice, herbs and garlic.
Sweet potato wedges oven baked with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

When dining out look for things that are steamed over fried and things that are not cooked in cheesy or creamy sauces and stay clear of the bread basket!
I avoided dinners out for several months because I just didn't trust myself to behave!
Lunch was easy because I would order a salad with some protein and ask for the dressing on the side...dip the tines of your fork in the dressing with each bite and when you have finished your salad look and see how much remains...and think about all the calories (points) that you've saved!

If you are going out to an event like a buffet or cocktail party it is a good idea to have a low calorie healthy snack before you leave home.
This works for me I do not arrive utterly ravenous and then I want to eat handfuls of salty nuts and naughty high fat appetizers!

You might like to get in the habit of keeping a sensible snack in your purse for emergencies.
Keeping the blood sugar levels in check is important or you might feel light headed and shaky.

It might sound silly but brushing my teeth regularly helps me keep my mind off food.

I am sure that I am forgetting some things...
so now it's your turn to share a few of your tips.

We can support each other by sharing what works as it might be just the thing that helps another woman who is on the same journey.

Think healthy thoughts and get positive about your future.
I wish you success.

Thank you for popping by The Humble Bungalow blog.
I am grateful that you spent some time here.
I hope you have enjoyed this post that was written as a response to several emails.
Should you like to suggest a topic for a future post please email me.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with a few bloggers for tea this weekend.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Mette from Finland wrote an interesting blog called metscan.
She was a refreshing unique voice on Blogger and her savvy decor and fashion posts were always a thrill to read.
She showed us a glimpse of what life was like on her horse farm just outside of Helsinki.
I followed her and read every post that she wrote and commented frequently.
I miss her.

When our 18 year old cat Stickley died, we got a new kitten, Pepper.
Mette was so thoughtful and she graciously sent a card and a pottery bowl.

In the past few months mette stopped writing and has made her blog available for invited readers only.
I have been unable to contact her since she has gone private.

I understand why some people stop blogging and writers cite various reasons...
everything from a new job to the birth of a child or to the death of a loved one or even worse, a personal illness.

If memory serves me mette mentioned that she was not sure that she had much left to say or perhaps she was bored with it all. I sensed a very intelligent accomplished woman behind the scene.
Recently she became a grand mother and has a beautiful grand daughter M and her world has changed immensely.
Perhaps she has become much more active in her role of nurturing her family.

Did you read mette's blog?
Do you miss her posts and comments as much as I do?

Tabitha of Bourbon and Pearls was going to pack it in and then her blog was inundated with traffic in the thousands and she realized how many people were going to miss her and now happily she is back in action.

I just want you to know mette, if you are reading this post just how very much I miss your voice.
Thank you for all your posts and comments over the years they meant a great deal to me.

Here are some archival photos and I chose Red as the theme as it is the language of love and Valentine's Day is only a few weeks away.

This is how we used to communicate...a payphone or a landline.
We still have a landline in our Humble Bungalow.

It's a vintage phone and it works.
I love the clicking sound as one dials the numbers.

Solitary rose hip.

Julie's delicious dessert!
The Valentine's dinner from a few years ago.

Jelly beans for a sweet treat.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"

Come and sit awhile...

Primula's perking up a grey winter's day.

A wee grand daughter's toes and a grandmother's bangles.
(a recipe for some fun)

Mette commented on "what's in my handbag" on November 12, 2012
a post that is getting a lot of visitors on my blog.
I attribute the increased interest in that post by the fact that readers are searching far and wide to find mette and the metscan blog.

Hope that you are having a great week.

Our hot water tank is on it's last legs and the plumber will be here today.
Outside it is still dark and there is a torrential downpour so I am going to cocoon with my cup of tea and stay cozy
under the duvet for just a few more minutes. I think I need the warmth of a second cup to help me face the day.

"Keep Calm and Carry On"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Styling my new shirt...

The recent purchase of the Tencel Cloth and Stone shirt is a bit of a splurge and was not on my "need list."
I didn't know that I'd buy it, but I knew I liked how it looked on the hanger.
It was not until I tried it on...the soft worn in feel of the fabric and the fit totally won me over.

I can already see a variety of ways to wear and style it.

Shown here as a layering piece over the Linen Eileen Fisher top.
Imagine this paired with skinny white jeans or Linen capri's for summer.

I can see it buttoned up and tucked into jeans.
I'd also wear it as a swimsuit cover up.

I like it with pearls and labradorite beads.

The JCrew Venus fly trap necklace kicks it up a notch.

I could layer it over a jersey dress...
and this is just the beginning!
 I plan to have fun styling this newbie.

It's kind of funny how we can be so energized and enthusiastic about something new and unexpected.
It feels as if my creative juices were lying dormant just waiting.

Similar to the feeling I get when I am in front of a blank canvas and the brush is in my hand.

What have you bought to wear that has felt like a game changer?

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

~ Coco Chanel ~

Monday, January 27, 2014

Two gals on the loose in South Granville, shopping and ethnic cuisine.

Cheryl met me at Cafe Artigiano on Robson Street for coffee bright and early Saturday morning.
The skies were blue and the sun was shining. We sipped a couple of espresso for her, a decaf Americano pour moi. Their coffee is delicious and we snagged a table in the window a great place to people watch and a fun start our adventure.
Banana Republic across the street was having a big sale and Cheryl scored a few great pants embossed with an aubergine floral pattern in what I think was cut velvet and a cozy black V neck angora and wool sweater.
Nothing for me although I did try a few things on...I really don't NEED anything.

We boarded a bus at Granville and crossed the bridge to the fabulous area of serious hostess style shopping...
Have you ever been to South Granville? It's a mecca of small boutiques punctuated with a few chain stores...Williams Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, L'Occitane, Chapters, Pottery Barn...well you get the idea.
Lots of variety and shops that we do not have here in sleepy old Victoria.

It is a shop that has a huge array of fancy and different shoes.
If you ever are looking for shoes encrusted with crystals this is THE place!
Shoes for the girly girl in you.

Clothes, handbags, shoes, boots and accessories.
I looked but I did not find.

Hi there I'm having a bad hair day
(The blow dryer in the hotel was not up to snuff)
but who really cares?
Gosh I hope that I am not THAT self absorbed.

Snapping a "selfie" in the dressing room at Anthropologie.
Love their distressed walls.
Love the store and this could be trouble.
Where is my resolve?

I think the merchandising, displays and floor plan design are so very sexy and sumptuous.
How can they fail to sell us their wares?
I am smitten and wooed by it all ~"pure putty."
The bad news is there are two floors to browse!
Wish I was a better navigator!
I went willy nilly through the store...

So very tactile and with those scented candles and books juxtaposed with the clothes...well Hello Hostess!
 I am definitely in trouble!

Oh I almost forgot...
before we walked into Anthropologie we went into Eileen Fisher.
We do not have one in Victoria.
 I found a crisp white organic linen tank top.
I love it!
It fits so well and looks good.
The price point was a bit of a shock but I knew if I did not buy it I would regret it.
It's a desert island top.
One that I will wear until it is in tatters!

I am able to balance a splurge with those recent thrifty finds.
Mixing luxe with thrift makes total sense to me.
Am I justifying this purchase?
You bet!
Besides une femme recommends Eileen Fisher's clothing regularly and she always looks chic.

Cheryl and I perused the sales racks and tried on many garments.
we kept coming out to show each other how they looked and would give each other feedback and honest opinions.

This Tencel shirt came home with me.
I used to have a denim version of this shirt that I layered over white tank tops.
Wore it out and if memory serves me I had it for about 7 years.
This shirt can be dressed up or down.
I can wear it with pearls or my JCrew Venus Fly Trap necklace.

Shopping like we did until mid afternoon meant that we worked up an appetite.

Vij's restaurant is on my list of favourite spots to dine.
We go there as often as we can but they are not open for lunch so Cheryl and I did the next best thing...

Rangoli is their other restaurant conveniently located right next door.
It has a much more casual vibe and the food is exceptional!

Mosaic wall in Rangoli

Hostess's lunch

Cheryl's lunch

The pond outside with floating candles and apricot roses.

Lovely and unexpected...
thank you Vij!

In the afternoon we went for a refreshing walk along Spanish Banks.
The fog rolled in and blanketed the city in a cool mist that chilled us to the core.
Mr. HB and I went back to our hotel to get changed for dinner.

Wonderful authentic French fare.
John and Cheryl go to France for several months each year so they are in the know!

Cheryl and I opted for French 75's as our aperitif, the men had martini's.
I chose beet salad with shaved Parmesan to start followed by grilled salmon on a bed of white beans.
I shared dessert with Mr. HB...rice pudding with caramel sauce.
(I usually do not like sweets but I loved this and the sauce elevated the simple pudding to gourmet status)
Sancerre wine from Chateau Sancerre rounded out the meal quite nicely.

That about wraps up our excitement and now I need to get serious about cleaning The Humble Bungalow.
There is also some laundry in the hamper and I doubt it will get washed by itself.

Take care and thanks for popping by...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend in the fog...OOTD

Southern Vancouver Island and Vancouver were blanketed in a thick cold fog for most of the weekend.
We sailed across the strait of Georgia aboard a BC Ferry to spend the weekend with our friends John and Cheryl. Cheryl was celebrating her birthday and the Boat Show was on at BC Place so we decided it was a perfect excuse for a getaway.
Fortunately there were some snippets of sunshine but it really didn't matter all that much as Cheryl and I set out to shop while the fellows perused the boats and all the related marine paraphernalia.

The ferry we were on passed a sister ship in Active Pass.

Here's the first indication that there would be fog...
after we left Active Pass it was as it someone turned the lights out!
Nothing could be seen out the windows until after we docked at the Tsawwassen terminal.

We arrived in downtown Vancouver to glorious sunshine!
The "views" or glimpses of the North shore from the 11th floor of The Blue Horizon Hotel.

Mitsouko's first weekend away from The Humble Bungalow.

The displays for Holt Renfrew...Chinese New Year.

Love those Ferragamo's.

Here's a bright handbag that would perk up a rainy day.

I'd never be able to navigate the streets with these killer heels.
Yes they are gorgeous.

I wore skinny jeans, polka dot socks, my Timberland booties and this French inspired Evan Picone top.

I dug the Georg Jensen pendant out of the recesses of my jewel box 
and decided to wear it as it seemed like a simpler accessory than pearls.
I wore my new men's wear scarf and brown Nygaard jacket.
Ralph Lauren gloves came in so handy with the chilly wet fog.

Robson Street is so pretty with all the white lights at night.

The Blue Horizon Hotel has affordable clean corner rooms with balconies and great views.
(If it is not shrouded in fog!)

I've got to close for now and prepare some dinner for Mr. HB and myself.
In case you were curious the cats were glad to see us return,
 but fear not, they were well taken care of (spoiled) by our house and cat sitter.

I'll write a follow up post in the next day or two and share some of the shopping and dining highlights.