Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

3 inspiring things

I'm inspired! By something new to this blog.

I'll deviate from my most typical sewing, food, or decorating content today to talk about another thing I'm really passionate about. Another kind of DIY project, I guess--something I've been working on in earnest since April 2014, which I'll continue to pursue in 2015.

It was never a "New Year's resolution," but instead an ongoing goal for my whole life. I've had a LOT of big changes in how I eat, move, and supplement over the past two years, and eventually I decided to begin a regular, recorded strength training routine.

(Feel free to skip over this post if this isn't something that interests you. But I hope you'll read along, since I love sharing my excitement. Today I want to talk about strength. Not weight loss, or getting as lean as possible, but overall fitness and strength.)

Working on a consistent strength training program was totally new for me. For many years I "exercised" regularly (spending 30-60 minutes on an elliptical or treadmill or taking spin, kickboxing, "aerobic," yoga, Pilates, or other classes--and never seeing any results or changes in my body composition), but I never "trained" toward progress. But I'd been listening to body image/strength/training role models like Molly Galbraith and others on my nutrition podcasts, and I realized I could do what they do. I could go to the weight room 3x/week. I could find a beginning strength training routine and track my progress (I started with this one by Nia Shanks for 8 weeks, each session either increasing reps, increasing weight, or improving form).

Turned out, I LOVED IT. And it's gotten better and more challenging from there, and I'm amazed at the strength and muscle I've built, like I've never had in my life.

All of that above is the Cliff's Notes version, just enough to introduce this topic I'm excited about. Check out these videos and image and I bet you'll be inspired to build strength, too! New Year's resolution or not, many of us are thinking about health and habits this time of year--I love how more often nowadays, that conversation goes beyond "losing weight" and "dieting." How about we focus on health and strength for life??

1. Non-practicing athletes using learned skills

This inspiration came from an unlikely place: the Instagram feed of a wedding planner blogger I've followed forever. Rhiannon of Hey Gorg Events does ridiculously beautiful weddings and styling, and has quite the eye as well as great entrepreneur skills. She also used to be a gymnast.

This video is an Instagram video, so I can't embed it and you'll have to go over to Instagram to watch it. It's worth the extra clicks, I promise. Read Rhiannon's description of what she's doing, too. Then try it yourself on your living room floor, and feel even more impressed.

I was never a very strong child myself (I did ballet for many years, but I don't think it benefited me much physically) and I still struggle with handstands and supporting myself with my hands. But it's inspiring to see someone who's not a practicing athlete (I would expect that a current gymnast or CrossFit pro could do this kind of thing) be so strong and in control with practice fit into her current lifestyle. Here's to "regular people" accomplishing physical goals!

2. Strength at any age

I know none of this history behind this video, but I can tell from watching that it is a very strong woman in her 80's performing some gymnastics bar work I can't even begin to imagine doing myself! Watch it, it's short. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be that physically capable [ever, much less in old age]???

I originally saw this video on the Girls Gone Strong Facebook page. (They're a great source of resources for strength without injury, as well as positive encouragement.)

3. More strength at any age, and training

This photo came from another blogger I've been following on Instagram for years. This is a photo of her mom, and I don't know much about the back story on this one, either, but clearly this is a woman much older than me or the athletes you see in magazines or videos, apparently doing a pull-up (a personal goal of mine) and looking hardcore. Seriously, it is HARD to do a pull-up! I'm working toward it with resistance bands, and have made serious progress, but I am impressed whenever I see anyone (literally anyone) do one. I hope that when I'm her age and have had kids and lived through more life challenges, I can rock some strict pull-ups at the gym.

I also just love seeing positive images like this one in less-than-likely places, like this lifestyle blogger's Instagram feed. The blogger who shared this pic of her mom isn't a fitness blogger or anything, just a fashion/mom blogger, so her audience is probably not used to seeing strength messages everywhere they look on social media. I appreciate the inspiration!

Don't take my word for it

Strength, mobility, health, self-confidence, dedication, and body image all go hand in hand to me, and of course that's a LOT to talk about. But today I wanted to just share these three snippets--I hope you're as inspired as I am, and hope we all continue to learn and better ourselves. I've learned a lot about training from these resources, and searching "Molly Galbraith" in the Podcasts store on iTunes! Listening to her interviewed on various shows.

Check out (all web/blogs except the last one):

Hope you're inspired, too. This post was so different for me to write! Even had husband look it over. I'd love to hear your stories about strength and health inspiration!


  1. Great post! Strength training is something I need to work on...I've done it in the past, but never consistently. I am (today, in fact) starting a home workout resistance program and I am going to try to stick with this particular thing for 4 weeks, and then I'll figure out what to do next.

  2. I love that you are finding inspiration for your own health from all sorts of places! It is so great to see someone work hard, see results and be inspired to share their joy with others- thanks for sharing!

  3. Love this post! I've been working on strength training as well, and although I'm not focused on it, I have noticed that incorporating it more into my workouts has made a nice difference. The last photo is especially inspiring. I love her smile as she's doing the pull up!

  4. Yes to all of this!!! I've been Crossfitting for three years straight, and it's been amazing to see how much strength and endurance I've gained from such short workouts. It's empowering to be able to deadlift more than most guys I know, as well as do more pushups and pullups with proper form!

  5. this is awesome to read and something i really think i need to get inspiration from - i definitely have never been a very strong person.

  6. A little tip for your pull-ups: get up on the bar as if you're at the top of a pull-up (use a chair or a partner for help) and work on lowering yourself into a dead hang as slowly as possible. Working on that helped me get to my first real pull-up and now I can rip them out! Beating out dudes in pull-ups feels awesome :) Good luck!

  7. Strength training is something I should incorporate into my routine but its more pseudo strength training. It's is great to be so inspired and passionate about something; it really shows through in your post. Congratulations and Happy New Year to you.

  8. Good luck with the new strength training routine!

  9. Thanks for this post. Although I am not strength training right now, I am a big believer, it's the only way I've every really had success with weight loss and management. Plus you're right, it is so inspiring to accomplish physical goals.

  10. I love weights and strength training. Sadly, my struggles with depression often win the battle for time. Now that I'm feeling a bit better, both mentally and physically (the kids brought home a cold for winter break) I need to get into it like I want. Muscles are sexy! Besides, with more muscle mass you need to eat more, and yay for yummy food!
    I'm going to check out the blog links now...

  11. Negative pull-ups! Yes, I should work on those! I got several sizes of resistance bands for Christmas I can use for assistance but would be great to work with full body weight even going down. Thanks for inspiring me with your story!!!

  12. I'm not sure if this has already been asked, but how would you wash this rug? Hand wash, spot wash, or could it be put in the washer on a gentle cycle?
    Thanks for the tutorial, awesome idea!

  13. I did wash it in the machine, but the paint got a little brushed-looking afterwards. If you use waterproof craft paint or fabric paint it should be fine! And pre-washing the fabric is a good idea before you start, so it doesn't shrink with the paint with a first washing.



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