State of the Brain, 2014

My best friend is a therapist (score, right?). She says she can "hear it in my voice" when I'm about to go off the rails. 100% of the time she's right. She doesn't say anything until I call her and vent for an hour. She is constantly telling me to stop trying to be everything to everyone. I know I take on too much, try and take care of everyone and inevitably, end up completely depleted and a total mess.

Lord knows why I go through this cycle of being fine and content for months before getting restless and feeling the need to blow up my life in a big way. Best friend says I'm not self destructive so to speak, just....restless. I am constantly feeling the need for more, more, more and change and "what's next?!"

Why can't I just sit the heck down and be happy in my current surroundings? I think a big part of it is the fact that my life blew up at 11 and ever since then it's been a whirlwind of change, taking care of myself and worrying about others (my family mostly). I've always felt that I had to be the glue that held everything together, the "easy" child, and the one who got away from the train wreck unscathed.

Now that my life IS good and easy and happy...I just...don't know what to do with myself. Everything turned out okay. Brothers and mama are happy and settled. I found someone who not only tolerates my crazy, but loves and nurtures me in the middle of all of it. My family and friends are blooming in amazing ways and I haven't felt this happy in a long freaking time. But, (always a but) the need for something else still lingers.

So, on weeks like these, where my husband is away and I am left to my own devices, I think and I reflect and I think some more.

The above picture is the face of someone who is exhausted but content. I have been planning my future sister-in-law's bridal shower and bachelorette party with a one month lead time and although it's been hectic, I have been thriving on it. I love, love, love to plan parties. From the food to the decorations to the music and the day of bustling around, it's when I'm most in my element. So, after some long and hard thinking and some strong encouragement from friends, I'm doing something for myself. I'm fulfilling that need for more and finally taking the leap of faith that I've been sitting on for a long time. I'm starting my own business. I've had the website made for a while and last night I made it public. Business cards are ordered. Vendors are being contacted. And I feel like I might barf (kidding ;-)) I feel like I need to make some sort of disclaimer that I am completely, 100% equally terrified and excited at the prospect of this either dissipating into "that one time I thought I could be an event planner" or "holy shit, that took off". Only time will tell. Either way, I can't NOT do this for myself. SPREAD THE WORD!

Oh, and website here!

Everything you want is on the other side of fear. - Jack Canfield


when dad's away . . .

We play with glitter. 

We eat fish every night.

We watch "Bridezillas: Where Are They Now" (surprisingly still together for the most part!)

But mostly . . . we mope.  

Alas! I have three girls' nights in a row lined up until my man gets home on Friday. I love my ladies :-)

we're greasy and a bit tipsy, but this is one of my all time favorite pictures of me and my soon to be SISTER!

this cutie and her husband just moved back to the area and we're all pretty darn stoked about it;-)

me and my mon-ton soup <3
See you girlies tonight :-)


A New Challenge // Whole30

I've been eating primarily plant-based for a couple weeks now. The decision wasn't something that came on suddenly and it wasn't an a-ha moment or anything dramatic, I just felt like we had so much produce at our fingertips that it made sense to make the most of it and that developed organically into a spurt of vegetarianism.

When I saw Amber was doing another Whole30 I felt bummed because my original impression of the Paleo lifestyle was meat, meat, meat and I didn't want to give up my new way of thinking.  But upon further research, I decided to give the Whole30 a go. It's just as much focused on produce as it is on animal-based protein.  With that being said, I am making sure to source all of my meat and eggs organically and locally and I'm still piling my plate high with seasonal vegetables. I think the summer is prime time for me to try this challenge because all of our farms (both meat / dairy and produce) are booming, and not to mention we've got Ben's brothers wedding in two (!!) months.  Yes, they got engaged this past weekend. We. Are. Thrilled!!!!!!!

Any who! You might be asking yourself what is the Whole30 and Paleo? And that's where I direct you to Amber's blog and The Whole30 Program Guidelines. I think it's important for me to address a few things before I jump into this adventure:

I do not believe legumes, grains and dairy are the devil.
I do not have a gluten or dairy sensitivity.
I simple just want to try something new after hearing rave reviews from one of my closest friends. And selfishly,  I want to look smokin' as a matron of honor to my best friend ;-)

I learned from A that meal planning is the key to success so tonight I loaded my grocery cart high with everything I'll need for the following week. (I'll be shopping on a weekly basis so nothing goes bad). Here's what we've got on the menu:

Breakfasts: fruit, coffee/tea, and some form of eggs (pan fried, hard boiled, scrambled with veggies)
Lunches: leftovers from dinner the night before
  • Tonight's Dinner . . .
  • Wednesday -- fajita bowls (grilled steak, peppers and onion with a side of homemade guacamole)
  • Thursday -- grilled chicken and mango lettuce wraps
  • Friday -- family wedding, good thing I ordered steak!
  • Saturday -- grilled shrimp skewers and roasted asparagus over greens
  • Sunday -- spinach and mushroom stuffed eggplant 
Wish me luck!


As of Late

Lately, I've been feeling a strong urge to pull back.  This resulted in a weird, spur-of-the-moment cyber cleanse (deleting my Facebook, making old blogs private, wiping my virtual footprint if you will...) and of course, being quiet on here.

I love writing and I love sharing my life. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm pretty much an open book. So, why the sudden urge to be private? To be completely honest, I'm not sure.. I know for one thing, I find myself enjoying day to day life so much more when I'm not constantly checking social media apps, thinking about writing and taking pictures for content, and keeping up with the circle jerk that is blogging.

With that being said, through blogging I've met an amazing group of women from all over the world who I love following and corresponding with. They are real and funny and compassionate and I don't plan on losing touch with any of them anytime soon, but I think pulling back right now and writing only when the moment hits me is what's best. It feels more real that way.

SO, what have I been up to in real life?

// Writing 

I've been writing everyday just for myself. It's been extremely therapeutic to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I look forward to that alone time every day. Subsequently, I've also been praying more and feeling really connected and grateful these days.

// Nourishing

We've been eating a plant-based diet and I am still alcohol and simple-carb free. My caffeine intake is still limited, but let's be honest - mama needs some coffee in the morning. My heart and blood sugar feel stable and I feel genuinely healthy. I've also been drinking a gallon+ of water each day along with exercising regularly.

// Gardening:

My garden is booming so I've been drying my herbs as fast as I can to not lose any. Our peppers are also starting to come in and I'm excited to start jarring hot sauce and tomato sauce.

// Photography 

My mom dropped off her old Yashika Electro 35, and even had some extra film laying around so I practiced loading it last night (it's been awhile) and took some test shots. I love the focus that is required for a film camera. You can't just snap away because you have to pay for each shot. Once I get the hang of it, I have dreams of making a dark room in our basement to develop my own film. 

We are so looking forward to this long holiday weekend. We're kicking it off by heading to a Styx and Foreigner concert tonight with friends who just moved back into the area and then spending as much of the weekend outside as possible with friends and family.

As always, you can follow me on Instagram @heather_kulp08 and to follow the lovely ladies I mentioned above, follow these links:

Marie-Pier @ Four Seasons at Home (Canada)
Jana @ Tea Time Blog (Germany)
Joanna @ Another House Blog (Norway)


Elimination Diet + Mood Disorders (?)

Last night, something really scary happened. I took Ivy outside and while I was picking a flower off my tomato plant, Ben got home and Ivy went to run towards him, pulling the leash I was holding and causing me to stand up really fast. The second my heart started pounding I knew what was happening. Ben handed me some flowers and everything around me went really hazy. I vaguely remember saying something about putting them in water and walking towards the house. I stood in the kitchen, shaking and trying to drink a glass of water and regain my composure when he came in. I told him I was having a tachycardia episode and didn't want to scare him, but I put his hand to my chest where my heart was visibly beating a mile a minute. I was pouring sweat through my shirt, despite the AC being on, and he told me to take deep breaths. It took a few minutes, but my heart finally slowed to a normal pace.

This isn't the first time this has happened and it's all related to blood pressure, sugar levels and my heart. Scared and quite honestly, frustrated with my body, I woke up this morning deciding enough is enough. I've really made a conscious effort to clean up our diets by adding in a ton more vegetables and buying everything organic, but maybe that's not enough.

I've dealt with anxiety for years and I've noticed a trend. My anxiety can be fueled by spikes in my blood sugar, which coincidentally comes from alcohol, caffeinated drinks and simple carbs. With that being said, through some research I've decided to give a somewhat kooky idea a chance. I am eliminating caffeine, alcohol and simple carbohydrates from my diet to even about my blood sugar levels and watch how it affects my energy, mood and general health.

Today, I drank nearly a gallon of water (oh my gosh, so hard!) and even though the coffee smelled amazing, being ridiculously hydrated actually really helped with any caffeine cravings I experience throughout the day. Wish me luck!

Mind Body Green
The Great Fitness Experiment


Bathroom Renovation // Befores

I could smack myself for saying this, but I'm already SO excited for this fall. I intent to absorb every last ounce of this summer just like the rest of you, but come cooler weather, we are doing our first big reno project-- gutting our bathroom!

So....kind of a weird thing about us. We're both super conservative with money and try and put money into our savings every month, but when we want to save for "special" things (like a weekend getaway or a big house project) we find the quickest way is to stack cash is to do it "piggy bank style". We have a couple of these piggy banks hidden around our house and it's so fun watching the money pile up until we've saved enough to splurge. Okay, back to the bathroom...

Currently, the bathroom is paneled in floral wallpaper, with floral laminate flooring and some really dated fixtures.

had to throw in one of my little shadow ;-)
As it stands for budgetary reasons we are not replacing the shower yet. It's in good working condition and when we first moved in, the first thing we did was get a new shower head.

We are, however, taking out this shelving.

This weird toilet paper holder.

And the sink, medicine cabinet, and lighting.

We'll also be updating all the towel racks and possible moving some outlets around. 

Since the walls aren't simply wallpapered, but paneled wallpaper, we're going to have to replace all the drywall. We're hoping we can lay new flooring on top of the existing stuff but that's a bridge we'll have to cross when we get to it. 

Space is limited in here, so we're leaning towards a pedestal sink.
White-painted beadboard ties together the trim and acts as a backsplash for the pedestal sink. Moisture-resistant MDF with 2-inch bead, similar to shown, about $2.35 per sq. ft., Nantucket Beadboard

I'd also love to do some sort of board and batten but that all depends on how the wall tear down and rebuild goes. 

 Pikes Peak Gray - Benjamin Moore. Traditional Powder Room by Larchmont Interior Designers & Decorators

We're definitely going the route of waterproof laminate flooring, but picking a color and grain has been a struggle. We could try and color match our hardwoods, or we could go completely different route and go for something lighter and beachier like this.

Bathroom tile that resembles old wood. Did this in Bruce's moms basement but darker! Love these tiles! 
I want to stick with two sconces since we're already wired for it and I love the way these industrial outdoor lights break up the theme a little bit to toughen up an otherwise girly bathroom.

Portfolio Ellicott 13.12-in H Galvanized Dark Sky Outdoor Wall Light 

I'm at a complete loss for wall paint so any and all suggestions are welcome! 



Happy birthday, Sarah! 

Looking at these pictures, I can't believe how fast time has gone. Do you remember that first night you came over for dinner and met my family? It was like the stars aligned because you and my big brother Matt instantly connected and now look...married almost four years with three little ones!!

We've been through so much together and through it all, you've been my rock, my constant source of guidance, and such an amazing example of what a wife, mama and sister in Christ should look like. You deserve the happiest of birthdays and I'm absolutely positive this year is going to rock for our families. Let's keep adding babies, shall we? ;-)


Disqus for Year Two (and beyond)

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