My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

Origami Meditation

You don’t have to be sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed to meditate. There are many forms of meditation. For example, active meditation uses an action (often repetitive) to encourage meditation. Think of meditation as anything that moves you beyond your physical self into a state of quiet reflection. Some people use exercise or walking to meditate. I like to use origami. I learned how to make tiny paper stars and I find making them very calming.

Here are the instructions I used to learn how to make paper stars.

Here are the instructions I used to learn how to make paper stars.

I have made enough of them now that I’ve started putting them in little jars. I like how they look all lined up in my office. You don’t need special origami paper either. Grab some scrap paper and cut it into long 1cm wide strips. They you can try it too!



30 Trainer Check-In

Have you had your 30 Day Trainer Check-In yet? Every West London CrossFit member has an assigned trainer and can have 30 day check ins. I have started mine with Jesse and I like the process. He checks my measurements and weight. We review my goals from the past 30 days and set new ones accordingly. It gives me a chance to review my progress with another person to help me brainstorm and problem-solve. If you are looking for another way to track your progress, see one of the trainers to get set up!

Fire Up the Grill!

BBQ season is here and this year I got a brand new BBQ. I took the old one and put it in front of my house with a free sign on it. It was gone in a day. I’m not sure why someone would want it…maybe just for scrap? Either way, that cleared a space in my backyard for this beauty:


I managed to hook up and preheat the BBQ and not lose any of my eyebrows.


For our first BBQ on the new Q, we went with steak (obviously), corn on the cob, and broccolini (longer broccoli stalks).


Just check out those grill marks!


For dessert I decided to grill some pineapple.


I added a little ice cream and our meal was complete!


It’s amazing how a meal cooked on the grill and eaten with my husband really brought my day together.

Art in Unexpected Places

When I was in Toronto for World Pride, my friend Julie and I walked by Hermes.

IMG_0333They had a very interesting window display.

IMG_0330 IMG_0329 IMG_0331

I know the images are a bit hard to see but I sort of like the way these photos turned out, with my ghostly figure imposed over top. I also like the convention-bending and whimsical juxtaposition of the mundane and the fantastical. I enjoy finding creativity in unexpected places and I wanted to share my latest find with you.


Rumaki Recipe

So for Sun’s Out, Guns Out I made my friend Julie’s amazing rumaki recipe. The serving disk was empty in about three minutes so I think they were a success. Traditional rumaki is made with chicken livers but this healthier version is made with chicken breast instead.

Here's the recipe Julie sent me.

Here’s the recipe Julie sent me.


Here are my finished rumaki.

Here are my finished rumaki.

Yum, yum, yum!

Yum, yum, yum!



Hey folks, I’m taking a one week break from the blog for my vacation. Everyone needs a break now and again. Not to worry, I will still be tweeting so follow me @JenMcAwesome. See you all in a week!

Art Assignment 11: Under the Influence

This assignment took me back to high school. I attended an arts intensive high school and many of our assignments were to present something in the style of another author. I have created works echoing Degas, Monet, Dali, Lorne Harris, and Chagall, just to name a few. I suppose that’s why I felt a pull to do something different here. I wanted to capture the style of some not-so-famous art.

The first time I ever heard of people going to school for art was when I was in the third or fourth grade, and I came across this ad in my Archie comics:

Drawing contest

Does anyone else remember these contests? You could draw any of the characters on the poster and win scholarships or cash prizes by mail. Now the Art Instruction Schools is a real place and it is still operating. I took a little tour of their current website but I didn’t see any sign of these contests. I never entered this contest as a kid so I thought I’d take a crack at it now. I put the iconic Tippy, Tiny and Pirate on some iPhone cases to update it a bit. I just have a feeling that is where these characters are mostly likely to end up in 2014. What do you think? Should I mail it to Minneapolis? I won’t be holding my breath for the $995.00 scholarship, I think. 🙂


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