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A New Year & New Me


Remember to check out my Zeo Sleep Manager post from yesterday and see how this little gadget can help you get a better night’s sleep.  And enter to win a free one for yourself!

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I know, this is a crafting blog. And an idea blog. And a very occasional recipe blog. But sometimes I blog about our little life. And what’s currently taking up the most space in my thoughts.


So, remember how I was going to tell you a little more about some of my lifestyle changes and whipping this body of mine back into shape? (Its resolution time, remember?) Yeah, well here’s the deal. Like I mentioned yesterday, I am participating in a campaign with BlogHer for Best Buy’s “New Year, New You” program (which you can always find if you roll over the Best Buy image at the top of my blog). And thank goodness I found out about it. And thank goodness they have allowed me to participate. (Because, yeah, testing out new things and following along publicly is nice and fun and encouraging…….but I have been needing a real change. And a motivator. So, with or without this campaign, I needed a fresh start this year.)


I have tried like, oh, 75 times in the last 10 months to get on a regular exercise schedule and stick to a regular healthy eating plan. (Don’t call it a diet, got it? That word doesn’t hang around me for long. I always rebel. Ha.) And yeah, my 3rd baby is 10 months old now and directly relates to the amount of time that I have been trying to get on track. Babies are totally and completely worth it and I wouldn’t trade any of them for any one of my squishy spots………..but they sure have done a number on my body. But it just forces me to work extra hard (grrr!) to get my body healthy/fit again……and that’s good for me. But having babies is only an excuse for my body getting a little (or a lot) squishy. And so is being busy. Or having a bad day. Or getting married. Or hearing bad news. Or moving across the country a few times. Etc, etc. They’re all excuses. And I have used them all. And eventually, we have to come to the realization that taking care of our bodies is a choice. (And so is saying yes or no to a whole bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs. ) So, I’ve had to make a choice to stop letting my mind bully my body. And tell my mind that, “sorry sucker, you CAN’T buy another milkshake at 10pm like you did the night before” and “YES, you have to go to bed before 1:00 am”, and yep, “you NEED to visit the gym or do a workout video of some kind more than once a month”, etc. (Oh wow, I never knew I would publicly share my bad habits.) And I’m sure I won’t be perfect this time around either……but I’m ready to try, try again. My body recently told me that even though I have tried 2,963 times during my life, it’s time to try again.


And enjoy life. And family. And feel good all around.

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And by the way, it doesn’t matter your body shape, size, or wiggle. We could probably all do a little more for our health. I remember a few years ago when a darn skinny friend of mine (in my eyes) told me that she was unhappy with her body and that she needed to lose weight. I laughed at her (kindly). But she then told me she didn’t feel healthy, wasn’t making good choices, knew she could be doing better, and wanted to firm up and feel her best. I totally got it.  And realize now that we all struggle. Because we’re all human. And imperfect. And we all need to work at just doing our best and then looking in the mirror each day and saying, “wow, I look beautiful today!” No matter what.


Anyway, I know, lots of thoughts. But if you have been thinking about some of the same things lately (because of the traditional “goal setting” time of year) and are ready to try, try again……..join me. And decide that you don’t need to wait for the perfect situation to get back on track. (We’ll never find it. Moving to France, buying a bigger home, having a baby, marrying the perfect man, finding a better job, upgrading our kitchen, etc…….won’t make us happy. We should decide to be happy now and find joy in our current deck of cards.)


So, my “New Me” mantra all began…….when I pulled these out of the back of the closet.




I decided to join this “New Year New You” campaign and Inspiration to Fitness and was asked by BlogHer to follow the advice of Alysa Bajenaru (a personal trainer and registered dietician), who is participating as an expert in this campaign. Her focus is “Getting Your Heart Health on Track” and she will be posting her advice and words of encouragement, as well as homework assignments over at to help us begin making some changes. Her first post can be found here. So follow along with me. I would love some company. (And email me, comment, or whatever……and tell me how it’s going. Even if it means you chose to park at the furthest parking spot away at Target so you could healthy up that heart of yours. That’s a success!)


Alysa has asked that we work out 6 days a week. 3 days of cardio and 3 days of strength. She mentions picking with my favorite cardio exercise and stick with it. Well, I have exercise induced ADD (not really!) and can’t stick with one thing. Some days I like to go for a jog around the neighborhood while other days I head to the gym for a cardio class (biking, step, kickboxing, etc.). But that gets pricey so I also like to stay right in my home and workout to some DVDs.


Here are my current faves. I like movement and changing things up and following routines (which keeps my brain busy and speeds up the workout). 



Another thing that gets me going (especially while running or doing the eliptical)………is new music.  So I buy a new song here or there and add it to the WORKOUT list. 



Alysa’s assignment for this week is to track your exercise intensity. You could be exercising all day and not seeing the results you want or you can really over do it and cause injury. Neither are good. So I have starting tracking my target heart rate to be sure my body is working hard enough to burn calories. She explains 3 really great ways to track your intensity……so I have been working on all three: Target Heart Rate, Rate of Perceived Exertion, and the Talk Test. They only take a second to monitor and make my workouts more worthwhile.


Alysa wants me (and you!) to start slowly and work up to your exercise goals. We don’t have to work out for 7 hours a day. Nope, because we all know we wouldn’t do it. The exercise for this week is to do a 5 minute warm up, a 10 minute work out, and then a 5 minute cool down…….all within a certain intensity. And then she lists certain static stretches (pictures included) that work great for your cool down.


Keep me posted. Let me know how you’re doing. And if you have a bad day, try again the next.


We all need a little motivation so hopefully this will help some of you, like it’s helped me. I can’t wait to keep this discussion going for the next few weeks. And don’t worry, this won’t interfere with any of my normal posts. Plenty of those are on their way too!



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Gabriel says:

    You do have a wonderful web site. Will you revgise this usually?
    Would you mind if I write about the site with buddies in facebook?

  2. mary says:

    Great! I love this post! Encouraging and mildly humorous.

  3. Alysa (InspiredRD) says:

    I love this post because it shows you have the right attitude. You are going to do great!

  4. Cheree says:

    Thanks for your post. I just had my 4th baby around Thanksgiving time and I’m needing something to kick me in the pants and get started. I’ll join you…thanks for the motivator!

  5. Anna says:

    I’m making no promises and no resolutions but yesterday I went for a run for the first time in 18 months. My Treacle is 9 months old now, and I just felt too sick to run from the moment I fell pregnant! This week she finally managed to sleep through two nights and I managed to sneak in a non-stop one mile between revision and collecting the kids from nursery. I feel great for it!

  6. Rachel says:

    Great post! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Lydia Joy says:

    Oh my gosh, Turbo Jam!!! LOVE IT! I used to do that with my room mate, and we would be so achy the next day! You inspire me.

    Love your blog!

  8. Christy, momMADE says:

    Just today I’ve gotten really excited about the scale again. I mean I hate/love it anyways but I’m just 10lbs away from leaving the 200s behind for good. I love new material and am heading over now to check this out. My youngest of 4 is 15mos so I feel a bit behind but this is the year!!!! Healthy is the goal :)

  9. Rachel B says:

    Two things…I thought I would let you know that your blog is finally working with Google Chrome. Usually I have to go to your archives to find your new post, but today it brought it up on its own, yay! Second, thanks for your post–especially the finding joy in our deck of cards. We recently moved and it has been a little rough for me and so this was just what I needed to hear. Thanks! I love keeping up with your blog!

  10. Tia says:

    I just started trying to get in shape too! I just had my first baby and while I was pregnant, I realized that I’m not in the shape that I want to be in. So after I recovered, I started taking this seriously. One thing that helped me is that I wrote a letter of motivation to myself that I try to read every morning. I list the reasons that I want to be healthy and get in shape and it really helps me. I want to be the best ME that I can be for my husband and new son, and I want to do it for me too! Try writing a letter to yourself when you’re feeling motivated, it might help later when you want to give up!

  11. Amy says:

    I {heart} Turbo Jam :)

  12. jennifer earle says:

    I love Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. Just a 20 minute workout and you SEE results!! Its crazy!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I hear ya! What a wonderful way to start off the new year. A few weeks ago I started the Insanity program and although it kicks my tail and often makes me question my own sanity, I have stuck with it and am so proud of myself. I have always been a great starter but a horrible finisher. I have vowed to stick with the program since it guarantees results. I have already noticed small changes in my body and that is what pushes me to workout 6 days a week. Like many women I struggle with a less than tone tummy and want to get to where I feel comfortable in everything I wear.

    Also, @ anonymous, I am so happy to hear that I am not the only thin person who struggles with their self image. I am weigh 129 but have felt out of shape and “soft” for some time. My friends never seem to understand when i say something and I just want to say “but you don’t understand! I have flab and I want it gone! And I love food! Please understand!”. I have been called skinny my whole life but have never really felt it.

    Thanks for doing this. I have felt like I am on track to a better me for a few weeks now but this is great motivation to stay on course.

  14. Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE says:

    I had been back on track and doing great until right after I found out I was pregnant. I just picked up a heart rate monitor watch though and I intend to get back into the gym… can’t really start a new program when you’re pregnant but you can sure as heck keep one going! Plus I totally signed up for a year membership… and then found out a week after the ‘two week back-out period’ that I was pregnant. RIGHT?! man….!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    UGHHH. I just shoved a piece of kinder surprise as I sat down to read your post. I’m so with you. I really wish I could find that “button” that made me go from destroying my body to enjoying my body! I used to love the way I look, now I hide my nakedness from myself and my husband! I lay in bed each night saying “ok, tomorrow I start” but all I seem to start the next day are more excuses. The baby didn’t sleep through the night so I’m too tired, I think I might be getting a cold, the cat’s litter box needs changing (although I leave that to hubby, but it’s a good excuse at the time!) LOL I know what I need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. I need to schedule myself better, i.e. meal plan on Sunday, get groceries on Monday. Then I have no excuses not to eat right…as for the exercise. I love turbo jam, running, and I’m dying to try, but seriously, I can hear the laundry calling, it needs to be folded. Here’s hoping 2012 allows me to pull my head out of …well you know… and get going! I need to put on all those awesome LuLu pants and Nikes I’ve collected over the past year in anticipation of getting going! Thanks for the inspiration and letting me know I’m not the only one! Power to you, all of you girls! Can’t wait to read the posts at the end of the year!

    1. Julie says:

      BodyRock.TV is awesome! Right now they’re hosting a 30 day plan to kick the year into gear… you can start from the beginning whenever you want! 12 minutes of total sweat and total hard work each day, plus adding in whatever else you may happen to do in the day… TOTALLY doable! My 3 bubs like watching me and my husband sweat it out and they even count our reps for us (I totally give credit to BodyRock for my daughter being able to count to 20 before she was 2!)

      I’ve been doing BodyRock and walking/jogging for over a year and have maintained a healthy weight…. This year I plan on keeping my eating clean and working on portion control…. so far I’m right on track and feeling good, feeling healthy!

      I highly recommend trying BodyRock, they’re really great about giving beginner options, it’s a very fun and supportive community… Good luck to everyone!

  16. Kerrin says:

    Can I just say how much I LOVE your site?! I am in complete awe of you! I have found so many gorgeous little projects on here that I can’t wait to try out, I just wish I had more time on my hands, ha! With two babies, working a job and holding down a calling I’m lucky to find time to brush my hair, hehe. But, you have given me the inspiration to do it and I wanted to say thanks – you’re fabulous.

    And, good luck with your getting back into shape, I know all too well how it feels to be ready for a much needed change x

  17. Nicki says:

    This is a great post. My second baby is due in less than 8 weeks, and I am more than ready to get myself back in shape again. I wasn’t so great about it after the first one, but I really want to try much better (and feel much better!) after this one. Thanks for the motivation!

  18. Abigail says:

    Us mommies need the time to ourselves and taking care of ourselves. I use and their mobile app to track my exercise (including desk work, driving, shopping time…etc.) plus everything I put into my mouth and it has helped me tons!! I started March of 2010 and have dropped 40 pounds since then. You can do it!!! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us. If anyone’s interested, my journey is on my blog as well. ;) We could use all the support we can get to bring back the mommy-sexiness that we all hold within!!

  19. Jennifer says:

    Good for you Ashley! You deserve to do something good for yourself. And if you take a few steps back, don’t get discouraged. I will never forget something my mom told me years ago. “Every second is chance to start over.” Don’t worry if you make a mistake. You can do it!!! Thanks for sharing your goals with us! :0)

    – jen

  20. Lindsey Wells says:

    I am so glad that you are posting this stuff. I had my third baby in August (from your recent posts I have learned that my 3 kiddos and yours are all about the same age I even think that our middle kids might have the same birthday) and I am totally feeling the need to give my body some attention. I would really love to feel more comfortable in a swim suit before the weather warms up. Some advice I heard last year sometime is to start a new habit by doing it for 30 days. Once the 30 days are over you can then re-evaluate. Make changes or keep it going for another 30 days. It is easier with anything to break it into smaller chunks. We can do anything for 30 days. It feels a little less over whelming. Anyway I have been looking for a work out buddy and not having much luck so the next best thing are virtual work out buddies! Thank you for all the information that you post and share with us.

  21. star says:

    Do you have any tutorials here for appliques? I’d really like to learn how to make a shirt with an appliqued tie on it for a little guy.

  22. Julie says:

    Go Ashley! You can do it! Don’t look at the scale because it’s a big fat liar. I’ve been working hard at my body now for two years and the scale has only dropped about 20 pounds, HOWEVER I take photos every few months to track my progress (something I started when I did P90X), and you would be amazed at how well photos track your actual progress. Also I like to measure myself every 60 days or so!

    I ate REALLY bad through the Holidays, but it was the Holidays! I jumped back on the bandwagon this week and I’m training for a 10K in march by jogging, also doing boot camp, Zumba and mixing in some P90X for strength training. I’m feeling better than I have in a LONG time. You WILL feel great about yourself and you will love it.

    Proud of you girl and cheering you on!

  23. Susan says:

    This is the year I turn 40. I also have 3 kids, all under age 6. So they’ve done a number on my body, too. Back after my husband and I got engaged, we hiked Mt. leConte in the Smokies. I haven’t been up for it since, so I told him that I want to hike it with him again for my 40th birthday. Depending on the route we take it will be 10-15 miles round trip. If I’m going to do this, I need to join you!

  24. Anonymous says:

    LOVE turbo jam. Also, now that we’re somewhat caught up to the rest of the country as far as technology, the c25K app (free) for my phone is awesome. An we just got Wii and I got the Zumba Fitness. I LOVE IT. It’s really fun. All the things in the world can’t get you up or out TW doœ but once you do, they sure make things more fun!! Good luck!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Gosto de vir aqui. Tudo lindo!!! beijos

  26. Anonymous says:

    I love seeing realistic posts like this! Not “I am going to look fabulous in a bikini by February!” but real goals – get healthier, get fitter, feel better about yourself no matter what you look like – awesome post! Thanks for the inspiration!

    … I have to add, I am 5’11 and pretty lean looking but soooo out of shape – I gained 20lbs over grad school and it was really upsetting for me to go up a few sizes and feel so unhealthy and uncomfortable. My shape didn’t change so much tho, since I am good at hiding problem areas, so my friends were really unsuporitve and even sometimes rude if I mentioned any of my worries. It definitely makes you feel sad and alone and more burdened by your issues. I agree completely with what you said – we can all get healthier, fitter, and feel better about ourselves – no matter if we are size 2 or 20 – and it is up to us as friends to support eachother in that and not give the usual “o shut up I wish I was as skinny as you!” comments.

  27. Lynette says:

    Good luck in reaching your goals! I am currently pregnant with my first, and have never been really into working out. I do enjoy walking though, so I’m sticking with that! I am walking about 4 days a week on the wii fit while I watch a show (20 minutes) , and it’s working well. I eat my lunch and watch a show, and then watch a 20 minute show while I walk to it. It keeps me entertained ,and I am feeling better overall because my muscles are getting some use!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am also trying for a “new me” this new year! I know I won’t be perfect, but I am going to try to get myself back into shape! Good luck!

  29. Anonymous says:

    2012 is going to be the year for a new me also. In Sept i will turn 40 and I want to be in the best shape of my life. Last year I hit two of my goals– I competed in my 1 sprint TRI and ran a marathon. But I also gained 10 lbs. This year I want to be leaner and meaner! We CAN do it!!!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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