Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Diet of the Month

So you are probably trying to lose some weight. Everybody wants to look their best, especially with summer coming. So I thought I would share my latest, favorite diet. I have tried them all, and I know that most of them will probably work for you, it’s just a matter of sticking with something…. even when it’s really hard. But the key to sticking it out, is being able to get through the day and not feel completely deprived. Life is hard enough! So here is the Extreme Soup Diet from an issue of Woman’s World Magazine from this past February. The soup is really delicious and the diet is not hard to follow. I also liked having a “mini meal” every 4 hours, because I really never got hungry. Good luck!

Eat 4 meals a day, spaced 4 hours apart. 2 of these meals is a serving of soup, and then choose 2 of the mini meals listed below.

Extreme Diet Soup (eat twice a day)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 large white onions, very thinly sliced
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast, diced
1 large carrot – finely shredded
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalopeno pepper with seeds, minced
2 tsp minced fresh thyme or oregano (or 1 tsp dried thyme or oregano)
8 cups fat free natural chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
6 packed cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 large tomato finely diced
salt and pepper, to taste
7 tbs. Grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
lemon wedges (optional)
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add chicken, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through and onions are lightly browned. Add carrot, garlic, jalapeno and thyme; cook another 2 mins. Stir in broth and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Add beans, spinach, and tomato. Bring back to boil, then turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tbs parmesan cheese. If desired, add a squirt of lemon
Servings: 7
calories: 270
protein: 27 grams
Fat 8 g, Carbs 20g
Sodium 880 mg, fiber 6g, sugar 6 g


Mini meal options (enjoy two daily)

1 egg cooked in 1 tsp olive oil or butter
1 slice whole-grain toast or ½ English muffin, 2 tsp jam
1 cup melon
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1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 small diced apple or peach
1 tbs sliced almonds
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1 veggie burger
1 slice swiss cheese
veggies to taste
2 tsp each ketchup and mustard
1 whole wheat bun
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1 oz lean deli meat
¾ oz sliced cheese
baby spinach
mustard to taste
2 slices whole-grain bread
1/3 cup fruit
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1 cup whole-wheat pasta
1 diced tomato
1 oz mozzarella
fresh basil and
garlic salt to taste
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3 oz fish baked with lemon and herbs
2 cups green beans or asparagus,
1 tsp butter or oil
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½ cup hummus
1 cup sliced cucumber
½ cup red grapes
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3 cups mixed salad greens
2 tbs parmersan cheese
2 tbs Caesar dressing
2/3 cup fruit

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flower of the month – May – Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley has small bell-shaped flowers that grow on fragile stems, with thick green leaves. Its botanical name is "Convallaria majalis" , and is also known by the names, "May Bells" or "Our Lady’s Tears". It is a fragrant little flower that even grows quite well in shade, and I have several of these beautiful plants in my own garden. They are a wonderful choice for bouquets giving a little splash of solid color amongst thick greens. If you choose your bouquet for the meaning that each of the flowers has, this is also a wonderful choice for a wedding as its meaning is, “sweetness, you complete my life, return of happiness”.




Here are some quick sketches of lily of the valley. Can you picture it painted on your aisle runner?



I am picturing the runner itself in light green. The art will be large and done with darker green leaves and white flowers and placed at the center of the runner. It will be placed next to your names and date. It will have a dark green border painted along the entire edge on both sides, and small paintings of the same art (or just a little flower) throughout the length of the runner done in white. Can you picture it?

Gorgeous!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Custom Aisle Runners and Accessories

Everybody wants their wedding to be unique and very special.
At Starry Night Design Studio, you can do just that. We offer a completely custom service. All you have to do is let us know your colors and flowers or theme, and we can custom design artwork for you. This artwork can then be used on just about every accessory in your wedding! If you don’t have your flowers, theme or colors picked yet, you can start with one of our own designs, and style the rest of your accessories around it. Either way, it will be truly extraordinary!
Here’s the process:

Step 1: Choose one of our artwork designs, or we will custom design one for you
Step 2: Choose your colors for paint and the runner itself
Step 3: Add monogram, initials, poem or verse if you like
Step 4: Approved artwork is applied to your accessories



Please note that in addition to your runner, this design can also be painted on almost anything. We can do the design on your invitations, wedding programs, table cards, votive holders, guest book, champagne glasses, etc. There are just too many accessories to list, but we can paint your design on almost anything!
Truly special!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Process

I love the process of turning your wedding theme into a custom hand painted aisle runner. I am always so thrilled to watch it go from concept stage to completed runner.
My current project is a beautiful runner for a client that wanted to match the flowers in the bride's bouquet. The bouquet was composed of roses, peonies, and hydrangeas, and she wanted to surprise her daughter (the bride) with this wonderful gift for the ceremony. I immediately sent her a few drawings of these flowers in a bouquet, and she selected the one that she wanted. From there, we discussed placement, and color, and finalized the artwork. Then the fun began, and the design moved from paper to the runner itself. My client had total control over the look of the runner, and I believe it will make a beautiful statement at the wedding. You can add whatever details you want to make it perfect your wedding. I will send you as many drawings as necessary until you are happy with the artwork, after all I want this to be the perfect pathway for you to start on your new journey!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

There is something very special about the father-daughter relationship. My sisters and I all had a very special bond with our dad, and I see it developing now too between my 8 month old daughter and her daddy. Daddy is the first hero in your life – the first one with big strong arms that tells you everything is going to be all right – and you really believe him. He may as well be wearing a cape.
Be sure to honor this special relationship on your wedding day with a special dance, special song, or special photographs. There is so much to plan and do in preparation for your wedding day, that it’s easy to forget a little detail like this. But as the years pass, this will be one of the special moments from your wedding day that you really treasure.


As the sad anniversary of my father’s passing comes up this week, I glance at the photos taken of he and I together at my wedding. I think of how proud and happy he must have been, and I am glad that I had him to walk me down the aisle. Even as a grown woman with my own family, I still wish that I could ask him for his advice, to listen to his humor in dealing with the world, and just to chat with him. Being on the other side now, as a parent, I truly appreciate even more everything that he did for me, and how wise he really was.

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