Monday, August 20, 2012

The gift of self love (get your mind out of the gutter!)

I’ve shared before about the progress I’ve made on my weight-loss journey. I’m so close to the end that if I were a horse, I’d be smelling the barn. Standing here, nearly a year after kicking off my diet and nearly a hundred pounds lighter of body (and about a million times lighter in spirit), my imagination has ignited and I’ve started to wonder what this mysterious thing called “maintenance” will look like.

I expect it will look a lot like “diet” only with the occasional glass of wine or peanut butter and chocolate milkshake thrown in: Salads, soups, and food made at home.

Food made at home. Hmm… I’m not a lover of cooking and never have been. My mom is a genius in the kitchen, as was her mom before her. Me, I tend stick to the few things I know how to make, unless I’m feeling adventurous – which means calling Mom, reciting the contents of my fridge and asking, “Now what?” Thankfully, she’s always come through like aces for me.

But seasons change and so do people, right? And now feels like the right time to make another change, another step on the self love journey. Now is the time to make my nest more suitable for the next stage of my life. How so? Two words. NEW KITCHEN, BABY! Well, technically three words and an exclamation point, but still. New Kitchen!

I have now a galley style kitchen with 50 year old cabinets, a pantry of wasted space and a stove top with gas pilot lights permanently lit (no click-click-click noise for me, those suckers are on. Trust me, I learned the hard way when the handle of one of my knives melted. Can we say safety hazard?). The kitchen works well enough, don’t get me wrong. I’ve turned out very good food in its cramped quarters. But even this non-cook knows I’m making due.

I’m in the fortunate position where I can knock down a wall to open up the kitchen to the rest of my condo, put in a breakfast bar and extra counter space, design more efficient storage and generally make a space that welcomes me. One might argue I’m putting the cart before the horse (to use another equine metaphor). Learn how to cook first, then worry about a new kitchen. I counter with the classic baseball movie quote: If you build it, they will come. My own spin? If I build it, I have-a-greater-chance-of-cooking-more-frequently-than-if-I-keep-my-pokey-dark-ancient-kitchen. Whew. Not quite as catchy. Still, works for me.

Below are pictures of my “inspiration” kitchen. I’m going with this layout but different cabinets, colors, counters, etc.

What do you think? Do you have remodeling advice? Recipes to share? What major undertaking have you taken in your own self love journey?


  1. New kitchens make me happy! Actually, renovations of any room make me happy. And you're lucky you can do it. I'm still renting my apt and I can't even paint the walls. Boring-sauce!

    Keely - I'm sooooo thrilled for you and this entire journey. You've really inspired so many of us and I couldn't be happier for you! Big smoochies. ;-)

  2. Hi Kerri!! I feel pretty blessed to be in a position where I can do this, absolutely. I'm nervous and excited and can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

  3. I love new kitchens and recently re-did my 1968 kitchen. The best piece of advice I can give is to pick a budget before you start looking and stick to it no matter what. It's too tempting to go overboard in the showrooms and little "additions" add up fast. Good luck!

  4. Hi Sharon!! That is *very* timely advice. I know what my budget is and what I've planned for those pesky contingenices that can arise, but no Mrs. Blandings "oh, I didn't think it would add too much" last minute decisions. Check!

  5. But I think you should go for what you ideally want. Don't scrimp in major ways. Get the best of what you can afford.

    I also think that you don't need to cook in order to deserve a good kitchen. No matter if you never do anything in your kitchen but your "usual," you deserve to be in a kitchen that makes you smile and feel happy. That's what it's about. Being happy!

  6. Being happy, now that is a must-have regardless of the budget!

    There are a few things I'm not willing to skimp on - good lighting is a biggie. But I can do without a fancy back-splash to start with b/c that's something I can add later.

    I can live with my current fridge...but it would sure be nice to get one with an ice-maker. Anything is possible today - before we start crunching the numbers, right? Whatever I do...yup, already happy just thinking about it...

  7. I love it, Keely. Kitchens are the heart of a home and something to be shared. My old kitchen was dark and lonely. There was nowhere for a friend to sit and chat while I whipped up a meal. We opened a wall to the dining room. Put in a high bar and now I can chat and cook at the same time. The kitchen's figurative and literal warmth permeates the first floor my 1928 colonial.

    Everytime I redo a room in our house, my nervous-nellie husband asks if we're moving. No, I say. I'm improving our space to enhance our quality of life. Why wait to do what you've always wanted to for the nxt buyer? Do it for yourself.

    You deserve it.


  8. At first, I thought those photos were your current kitchen, and I kept asking why are you redoing it. It's lovely now! We may have to compare notes as I may be redoing my kitchen in the next 6 months. Good luck with your redo!

  9. Hi Keely! I cannot cook. I try, but it does not work out so well. That being said, I think a kitchen is one of those rooms you end up spending time in. I mean, there's the sink and the fridge and the dishwasher, oh and the microwave. So you absolutely are doing the right thing by building a "you" kitchen. Very cool! Sorry, no advice from me but wanted to say how much I enjoyed your horse-isms!

  10. It's goregous, Keely. Can't wait to see it when it's done. And, yes, if you build it you will use it--whether to cook, entertain, or to write.

    Good luck with the renovations!

  11. Shellie - that is exactly the wisdom I received from my dad, "Why wait to improve your space, enjoy it now!" What not indeed?

    Michelle - I'm happy to pass along anything salient I learn as this goes along. Yes, that kitchen IS gorgeous, isn't it? I can't wait to see how mine turns out!

    Carlene!! Microwave = best friend ever! Save a horse, build a kitchen...(or something like that!)...

    Candy - you'll definitely be seeing the kitchen when it's done, cuz, you know, if I build it...we're going to hang out! :-)

  12. Even if we're not Cordon Bleu chefs, a great kitchen can perk up the whole home. And perk us up, too! I myself am itching for more cabinet space.

    I hope you'll post again and show us your kitchen transformation! And don't forget to tell us how the remodel affects the rest of your outlook!

  13. I can't wait to see your new kitchen either, Keely! LOL. And I completely agree with what Diane said about deserving a happy kitchen whether you intend to cook in it or not!

  14. Hey Nic! Just thinking about the new pantry with pull out shelving makes my mouth drool. And the idea that I can gather up my kitchen linens from the three scattered locations in my condo and use one drawer for them? Nirvana!

    Evie - Yay! I know that things aren't supposed to make us happy. But...they do, don't they? And maybe it isn't the new stuff so much as the path that brought me to the point where new stuff was possible. Oh, heck. Why argue? Things, stuff, the journey. They ALL make me happy. Hooray!

  15. Good for you, Keely, for committing to doing something that will make you so happy! And that will help celebrate the new you! :-) I add my plea for before and after pictures. Best wishes--you picked a lovely design!