Recently I visited John Newcombe Tennis ranch in New Braunfels, Texas on a girls trip. The legendary John Newcombe graced us with his presence. In the 70’s he was the Australian tennis star winning 26 grand slams. Our weekend was complete with the most amazing group of people ever, tennis all weekend long and beautiful weather. Five of us loaded up a car with all of our gear for the weekend and make a 3 hour trip to one of my favorite places in Texas, New Braunsfels. We stopped for lunch at the iconic Gristmill in Gruene, TX which overlooks the Comal River. The Gristmill has been around since 1977 and features an indoor outdoor environment. This is the first time I’ve sat on the yellow jacket side where we were visited by many bees that wanted to sip on frozen sangria. The steak is the best at this restaurant!
The tennis ranch is old, although they have made some improvements. The tennis courts of course are in top shape. We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with a loft and a kitchen, dining and living room area. I was in the loft which is accessible by a ladder (reminds me of my college days where I stayed on the cheap for a semester).
All meals were served buffet style and surprisingly I was able to stay keto with the options. Something I thought was interesting at the buffet is that the plates provided were more of a salad plate size. You could return for more. As hungry as you are, you fill the plate up and eat all of it and that is really all you need. I’ve been watching portion sizes and making estimates of calories based on choices. If I stick to about 400 calories per meal and take in a few snacks in between I’m able to maintain a steady flow of energy and keep satiated.
We enjoyed an evening by the fire pit with music and drinks and started the next day early. We drilled from 8:30-12 took a break for lunch and then 1:30-5PM, then we had dinner and a costume party with Karoke and a “boat race” which is a relay chug beer game…not for me. We had split into team USA and team Australia with an exhibition game inclusive of pros from both sides and the best guest. It was so much fun!
I absolutely love my tennis friends. My best friends have no drama and fun all of the time. I have found my people.
Two weeks down and onto the third with Keto. I’m still not sure if there is a metabolic advantage by cutting carbs, increasing fats and eating the same amount of calories normally consumed. It might be the actual documenting versus guessing calorie consumption and expense of calories (exercise) that shows a net reduction of 500 calories per day that is really what works. By the end of the week it is a pound of weight loss. Again, really hard to tell when water weight can be a factor. Sadly the key to any diet seems to be to consume less. With that said, the planning and documenting food consumed seems to help. With Keto everything you consume is nutritious. There is no wasting calories with pointless nutrition like refined sugar and refined carbohydrates, you could do that anyway on any diet. Keto is basically flipping the recommended percentage of carb to fat intake leaving protein recommended consumption percentages the same. For me, this is a 30 day experiment. I am a little concerned about the idea of being in ketosis to force the body to break down stored fat for energy. I haven’t been documenting the fat intake to see if I’m actually getting the 70% range recommended.
It’s hard not to laugh at the Keto recipes that try to come up with substitutes for bread and desserts. This week I made cloud bread. Cloud bread is made from eggs, cream cheese and cream of tartar. It’s like a meringue because you separate the egg yolk and whip the egg white then fold it back in and bake it. I was surprised at the texture and it tasted somewhat like Brazilian cheese bread (Pão de Queijo). I made Philly cheese steak and topped the “bread” with it.
For sweets, I have made this brownie recipe twice and experimented with almond flour. The last time I used coconut flour. The texture is really interesting using almond or coconut flour. Coconut flour results in a powdery result and almond flour is kind of spongy. Neither versions turn out like brownies made with regular flour. It’s edible enough to satisfy the sweet tooth if you are not a picky eater.
Pumpkin pancakes were interesting too, it’s the consistency and texture that are so different from all purpose flour. I made a pumpkin cheese cake which was more like a thick mousse.
I’m obsessed with trying to get my clothes to fit. I have an upcoming business function and want to wear this red dress that fits snug. So to check my real progress on this diet I put it on, with no one around to help zip the back I used a wire hanger to pull the zipper up and then took the hanger off to examine the fit of the dress. The good news was the dress was on and I could breathe. I need more room, because I couldn’t get out of it! I spent the next 30 minutes trying to get that wire hanger back into the zipper so that I could take it off!
Does a week make a difference ? Not really according to the scale. The Keto recipes on the Internet are really good. The salads are filling. There are some really good tasting recipes like chicken enchilada bowl, substitute cauliflower “rice” for rice. I swear you can’t tell, it’s got enough texture to fool you. Egg roll in a bowl is another really tasty meal. I bought the ketosis test strips and on day 4 I was already in ketosis. Consuming less than 50 grams of carbs is not hard. I even manage to cover my sweet tooth with peanut butter bars and brownies, all sugar free and enough to satisfy that craving. If you like a little cocktail, vodka has zero carbs and can be mixed with sugar free drinks like ICE Peach Nectar.
This week was exercise like crazy week. Not on purpose, it just so happens that I had matches every day, sometimes twice and then one crazy long one on Friday. Easily you burn 500+ calories in tennis. The net difference between calories consumed and exercise averaged definitely 500 cal difference daily for me. I was down about a pound and it was a LOT of work for that. And who knows if it is even accurate. You can only guess at your calories and energy burned. Where is that metabolic advantage you get with Keto? Also, water can really skew things. Being so active, you consume a lot of fluids. I did notice one particular day I was really dehydrated.
I guess I blew it with a Keto cauliflower pizza. I think it was the portion that did it. However, the pizza looked like a personal size to me. I estimate it was about 581 calories for cauliflower and cheese basically and 29 Grams of carbs is a lot for one meal. The meal pushed over my daily intake above the 50G carb limit. Hopefully it will become easier to figure out meals that work. So far I haven’t seen the drop in weight people are raving about. It is a lot of work to cook every meal fresh. You do feel good about what you eat though. I’m not sure it is worth it yet.
The cauliflower pizza…it’s about a 9 inch round pizza. I burned the edges because I got distracted. It tastes great, just not worth almost 2/3 of your carb intake for the day.
Last night I went out with some friends to celebrate one of my bestie’s birthday. After looking at a photo snapped of our group and the issues I had selecting an outfit to wear, I determined it’s time to loose a little weight. Some pictures just aren’t flattering, however the clothing fit doesn’t lie! A few years ago I lost a lot of weight on Medifast. Now with increased physical activity, that diet won’t work for me (too little calories and no plan to adjust). A lot of my friends are believers of low carbing. Medifast was really the same thing. Keto seems to be a buzz word and a popular trend in the diet world so I thought I would try it for 30 days. The idea is to consume your calories low in carbs so your body burns fat not sugar which carbs turn into. It has been proven that if you consume less calories than you burn, you should loose weight. And of course if you consume more calories than you burn you gain. I really don’t want to consume less calories. So lets see if I can burn fat by putting my body in ketosis and eat about the same amount of calories, around 1700 at least. Ketosis can be checked by test strips to test urine. The diet may shock the body for the short term. I did a little online research and people say calories are what count, Keto just helps you feel satisfied. We will see.
Since I dropped my scale a year ago and it shattered, I purchased a scale today. To my surprise, I’m still about the same weight that I have been for a year when I’ve checked. I’m 147lbs at 5 foot 5 inches. It’s just that clothes are starting to fit tighter and I really don’t want to buy bigger clothes. It’s a balance, being happy with how you feel and how you look. I’m going for a 7 lb reduction, that’s not a lot, but if I really loose that amount and not just water weight, it will make a significant difference in the way clothes fit.
Day One, I blew it already with coffee cream. The tablespoon of creamer I had in each of my two cups of coffee, had 5 grams of carbs. So I will start Day one with a 10 G carb screw up. The goal is to consume no more than 50 g of carbs per day. I love to cook, the challenge will be to figure out how many carbs I’m consuming and to scale down recipes for one. My family will not be participating LOL! My husband just walked in with fast food and out of curiosity I checked the carb content. Wow! over 100G. He probably won’t eat more calories than me today and he remains slim with little activity.
I began a journal . For breakfast I had eggs/spinach/bacon/cheese frittata. Lunch a steak salad. Snack Jerky and a Keto shake (the shake was disgusting) I made and sampled a Peanut Butter Bar….sugar free chocolate is NASTY. And tonight will be spaghetti squash with buffalo chicken. I’m not super hungry, I did have bits of hunger but not the starvation I feel sometimes. The prep is time consuming, I’m hoping for good results in 30 days.
I have never been so excited to make a bed. I am obsessed with the tucked style right now. Ever since we went to Boston and stayed at the Hyatt, I have wanted to recreate the feel of the room. The hotel designers really did their job. It was so nice. I felt like it was clean and comfortable, no fuss.
I knew I wanted white, gray and gold. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and found a gold coverlet. I have a duvet that is white and added some cheap white sheets from Walmart. Not all golds and grays are equal. You really have to look at it in person. They had some pillows at BB&B and I thought if I mixed the white, gold and grey that would work.
I found a nice piece of art and purchased it from the At Home store.
Way too much thought has been put into the window treatment for this room. I considered blinds, custom drapes local and online. It comes down to cost and room flow. From the street there are no blinds on the front which is a nice change. And the pleat style drapery is in several rooms. For the size needed, 50 wide by 108 long in a solid grey with the ability to hang them from loops, Pottery Barn has several choices including light diffusion (black out or filtered). They have very nice rods that are very pricey too, so to cut cost I found a traverse rod at JCPenney. I wanted to see the drapes in person and stopped by the store. They were so busy I couldn’t find anyone that could help. From what I could see they didn’t have all of the online options available to look at in the store. I gave up and walked out, it looks like you get a better deal online anyway. If it doesn’t work, it’s easy to take it back.
I spied an amazing lamp and an email promotion made that purchase decision easier. The results will be posted next!
The kitchen cabinet knobs were delivered! One thing about a DIY project that I’ve noticed at least for me is that there is always something to learn. There is some way to make do with what you have and figure out a way to make it work. I was looking for a template to help line up the knobs and did some searching online. It’s helpful when people leave feedback. I purchased a template which did a good job on the cabinet knobs but my drawer pulls were too long for the template. The tool I needed, a jig, no one had and I didn’t want to order an expensive one. So I used a level, measure, tape and string to do the alignment. I spent a great deal of time checking and rechecking the lines. It took me 8 hours! Most of that was stressing about drilling permanent holes accurately.
The result is good. I messed up on one drawer on the 3rd install. The drilled holes didn’t line up. I called the one person I know that knows how to fix things, my father-in-law. He gave me two options. The mistake is fixable and the nice thing is that if we had to, we could get a replacement. The cabinets are new and the builder is still around. The cabinet finish is mounted on the drawer so it’s easy to remove and replace if necessary. From the mistake I learned how to perfect the process so that it didn’t happen again. I am shocked my husband let me continue.
The cost for the knobs and pulls (53 pieces in total) $100. The template was $8.
We have been in the house for a little over 3 months now. It seems like it is taking a very long time to make the house feel like home. The projects are overwhelming. You want to make it feel like home so bad that you start one place and then get distracted and start working on another place.
We were able to get the drapes for two rooms made and have to wait for funds and fabric for the other two.
For a long time we have had a theme-less guestroom. That is unless you can call the style we had eclectic. My daughter needed a bed and a desk which left us with two pieces of completely mismatched furniture and no bed. With the holidays around the corner and my daughter in need of a place to stay when she visits, it’s time to put together a guest room. I was hoping to continue with the modern/contemporary style. I didn’t want to spend a lot and ended up finding something nice at Rooms to Go. I didn’t want the pieces to be too matchy. When you take your husband shopping you end up with three matching pieces. I didn’t get an upholstered headboard that I really wanted. However, the matching headboard is tall which is good for that room. The room looks unbalanced with the furniture on one side. It’s the only way the furniture would fit. (A good reason to measure prior to buying!!!) Maybe the fact that it looks spacious when you walk in because the furniture is tucked behind is good? I wish I had some design education. Maybe an accent chair will balance it? The room remains unfinished and needs bedding, window coverings, and art.
Switching to the kitchen, we need knobs. The drawers are hard to open because they have the soft close. I picked stainless steel T-bars out after many searches of kitchen hardware designs online. The samples came in this week and I will now be placing that order. I’m a little nervous about installing them myself because it is really noticeable if you don’t measure correctly and they are uneven. I am motivated by the savings though!
And then you can’t ignore the empty bedroom. The room is larger than what we had before. Model homes around here have some kind of seating arrangement. I wonder how many people actually use the seating space? In Boston, I really liked a settee they had in the hotel room. The seating space was comfortable to watch TV and look up stuff on the laptop without having to be in bed. Going with the same idea, we are going to add two chairs and a round ottoman. I even moved some chairs into the space to get a better idea of how it would feel. At some point we’ll put a TV in there and if anything the space can be used for reading (which we don’t have time for).
It just can’t all be done at once! Finding a balance between taking our time and getting rooms finished is frustrating.