Month: May 2014


The continuing saga of the band van…My weekend was jam-packed with trying to finish this project before Joel comes home on Wednesday from his trip to Europe. The next modification was to build a giant box in the cargo area of the van that would serve two purposes. First, this box would serve as a more secure storage space for the band’s gear. By creating the box, which would end up being an inch and a half thick, we would make it nearly impossible to to get to the gear in the event that a window was broken. Also it would hide the gear from sight, deterring someone from breaking in in the first place. The box would also serve as a platform for a queen sized bed so that the guys could take turns driving and sleeping. So with design help from our good friend, Treb, and actual build help from another friend, Tim, Tim and I spent a beautiful Saturday making this modification a reality. Tim is so incredibly talented, he can literally build or fix ANYTHING!!!! If you need any home improvement projects done please contact him via Facebook here. This is just one photo from one of his amazing projects

Tim sent me the shopping list for The Home Depot, and I got the supplies the night before heading out to his house. Note to self, don’t go shopping at The Home Depot when you are too tired to see straight, you will forget something. Like the piece of lumber that will be the top of the box, you know something small (epic facepalm)…Luckily we needed a couple of other things from The Home Depot, so I didn’t feel completely stupid having to go back to the store. Ok, I lied, I felt completely stupid…Moving on, I learned a few things about building along the way: measure and re-measure to make sure that things are perfect. It’s not very easy to fix a miscalculated cut, and you don’t want to have to make another trip to The Home Depot. We were persistent and this wasn’t Tim’s first rodeo, so we luckily didn’t run into that issue. Also, complete strangers will help you load ridiculously heavy pieces of lumber into your rad van just for the opportunity to have a look inside 😉 Another really important lesson I learned was that your project is going to turn out as good as your tools. If you have the wrong tool for the job, you are going to be fighting the design the whole way which could cause mistakes. This leads me to another point, power tools are sexy…And make sure to wear eye protection, and close your mouth around the table saw, ahem (still spitting out sawdust). Finally, I have an unhealthy phobia of splinters, please don’t judge me 😉









After: We all signed the back of the box with well wishes







Here you can see the storage space for all the gear, which includes: guitars, amps, stands, full drum kit, upright bass, full size keyboard, effects pedals and more. On top is 1 1/8″ thick douglas fir that can support several hundred pounds. When the van is backed up to a wall or garage it will essentially be impenetrable. The box is secured to the floor of the van in case of a rollover accident it won’t crush the person on top. I will be outfitting the bed tomorrow with 4″ thick euro foam which is much lighter, and longer lasting than a traditional mattress. We are kicking around ideas for how to safely secure the sleeper to the bed in case of sudden stops or being rear-ended, and so far the best idea, from Tim, is to anchor a wide mesh cargo net to the top of the bed to keep the sleeper from shooting out the front window. You can also see the finished blackout curtains in place making it pretty swanky inside.

In order to have enough cargo space we took out the third row bench seat, taking the carrying capacity down from 12 passenger to 8 passengers. I can’t wait to go on tour, or camping, or travel across the country as a gypsy…

So, $300 in lumber, a perfect afternoon hanging out with some amazing friends, building a surprise project, topped off with a rewarding dinner of margaritas and fajitas sitting under the stars is definitely one version of a perfect weekend in my books. I think that Joel will be very pleased and surprised with the finished product, plus he gets to go out to Campo, my favorite Reno restaurant, for a thank you dinner for Tim and Lori who built this for me as a gift.

I’m still looking for names for “The Band Van” so leave a comment below!


The Epic Transformation of “The Band Van” Part 1

I’m going to stray a little off topic from my own personal “epic transformation” and share with you a project I have been planning for a long time. As you all know by now, my husband, Joel, is in the touring band The Novelists. A few months ago he acquired his dream touring vehicle, a Mercedes Sprinter. A few of the most awesome features include 20 MPG fully loaded this thing is as big as some RV’s, it has seating for 12, it runs for 250,000 miles before any major scheduled maintenance, it’s easy to drive, you can easily tow a trailer and it looks super cool. There is actually an up-and-coming company that converts these vans into tour vehicles for bands. Bandago is the company and you can check them out here. Fuel efficiency and low maintenance make these vehicles a top pick for touring artists.

Since the Novelists tour all over the country they needed to modify the van in a few ways. Me, being the planner that I am had been planning to surprise Joel with the modifications complete when he came back from his trip to Europe. So I recruited the helpful assistance of my mom to make the first set of modifications. I had the idea of making it impossible to see inside the van from the outside, obviously to keep prying eyes from spotting thousands of dollars of musical equipment and breaking into the van, as well as creating a dark and more temperature controlled environment for sleeping. I perused the vast internet for curtain and blind ideas, but came up short either due to cost restrictions or having to do a lot of work to attach the curtains to the structure of the van. So I decided to make blackout curtains that could be easily attached to the van without damaging the structure of the van and were affordable.

2014-05-23 14.20.39

Free labor!!!

The van has six 54″ windows, and two 22″ windows in the back. I was able to find blackout curtains by Martha Stewart that were 54″ wide by 80″ long, which made it amazingly easy to make two curtains for the Sprinter out of one panel. At $19.56 a panel at The Home Depot this made the curtains very affordable. I wanted the curtains to be easy to install and remove so I figured I’d use industrial strength velcro to attach the curtains to the window frames. 25′ by 2″ wide industrial strength velcro cost about $25 and I sliced the velcro in half width wise to get a total of 50′ by 1″ wide. I got my mom to be my sweatshop labor and we spent the afternoon measuring, cutting, ironing, and sewing. I think we also shared a few moments of cursing too after we realized that sewing through adhesive backed velcro will make your needle sticky and eventually break and cause damage to your sewing machine, oops. We endured and completed the project in about 4 hours and around $110. Much better than $70 each from the British company, Van-X.

I think it turned out wonderfully, and my mom and I were ecstatic at how perfectly we calculated out our materials. We were within inches of velcro and had a perfect fit on all the windows. Stay tuned for the Epic Transformation of “The Band Van” Part 2, for pictures of the completed curtain project. I’m also taking suggestions for the name of “The Band Van”. The rules that apply are: German name, since it’s a Mercedes, and female since I have a hoard of drooling men ask me if they can check out the van anytime I go somewhere. I’m thinking, Zelda which means “grey battle maid” and because Zelda the video game character was an explorer. Leave me a comment with your suggestions!!!

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Motivation

Motivation well-springs are not everlasting, unfortunately. But I have found a few things to be true: momentum begets momentum, once you start the ball rolling it is easier to keep it moving, rather that starting and stopping and hopefully starting again. So the initial motivation is important to nurture and cultivate, in order to get that ball rolling. Next, it is easy to become distracted by things that we claim to be more important, but in reality are not as important than our goals. When we start to make excuses for why we are not working toward or accomplishing our goals, it is important to regroup and find a way to focus on the original goal. Sometimes this is a good stopping point for that goal, and instead of feeling guilty about not working on it, you can reevaluate the situation and say that it needs to be put aside for now, and it will be revisited when the current situation changes. Now you have made a conscious decision about the goal, rather than letting it slip away, neglected and unfinished and feeling guilty.

Sometimes having too big of a goal, either in scope or unrealistic expectations due to money, time or other resources, can quickly kill any motivation. Biting off more that you can chew can be so damaging to motivation, that it blind-sides any possibility of reevaluating and downsizing the goal to a more attainable level. It’s the mentality of believing that if you couldn’t accomplish the “huge” goal, then anything less will never be satisfying, rather that the “shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars” idea of going for the big goal, but achieving anything at all toward the goal is also productive. I’ve compiled a list of common excuses and their solutions of why we can’t accomplish our goals.

  • I don’t have time

Ok this may be a valid excuse, but in the idea of setting a goal, you need to evaluate what the time commitment will be. So, make the time available to work toward your goal, just like you make time to go to work or eat or sleep. If your goal is important it should be part of your daily routine

  • I don’t have money/resources

In the case of a fitness goal, this excuse is thrown right out the window. You don’t need money to join a gym and get a personal trainer. If you have two feet and two arms and access to the internet you can plan a workout that is just as effective as one you’d get in an expensive gym. It doesn’t cost anything to run around the block or do pushups in your living room. Heck there are countless blogs devoted to fitness on a budget, both money and time budgets.

  • I don’t know how

This is also easily debunked. With information so readily available there is no excuse for not being able to learn. If you don’t have the drive to learn how to achieve your goal, you may want to reconsider your goal.

  • This isn’t working as fast or in the direction that I wanted, I’m just wasting my time

Being impatient with the results of your goal can kill it prematurely. It’s like throwing a temper-tantrum that halts any further progression. You remember the rolling ball from earlier, well this type of attitude is equivalent to trying to push a giant boulder uphill, and then crossing your arms in disgust because it’s hard, and “you’ll never get to the top”. Then the boulder starts to roll backward, smashing you and your goal. Don’t give up, make adjustments, find smarter ways to do things but don’t go backwards.

I hope you found a few good tips on how to stay motivated, as well as some helpful ways to debunk excuses. We all need to nurture our motivation, no one else is going to do it for us. How do you stay motivated, I’m always looking for new tricks and perspectives on motivation. Leave me a comment below or follow me on twitter @julesackerson

30 Day Activity Challenge

Hello loyal followers! I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks finishing up finals and projects for my first semester as a graduate student. Woo-hoo, I’m glad to report all went well, and I am still alive, and as inspired as ever to continue my transformation! Every once in a while it is good to step back, evaluate, and adjust your goals, or the route by which you wish to achieve them. My results after evaluating my original goals were this:

  • I still want to continue my original goal of total body transformation and hope to see major results by the end of the summer.
  • I am going to take a break from waking up at 5:30 am to go to boot camp classes
  • I am going to continue a mostly paleo diet
  • I am going to start preparing for my first 5k, The Color Run on June 28th
  • I am going to do something active (and mostly dog friendly) every day, for the next 30 days
  • I am going to increase my water intake to at least 1 liter a day

My goals have remained the same, but the path on how I get there has changed. I really liked my boot camp classes, and I will incorporate a lot of what I learned into my running/training routine, but I need a break from waking up so early. As far as my diet goes, it seems to be working for me and I seem to like the routine of meal prep. It has proven to be more cost effective and I get to come home for lunch and relax from work for a little while. I chose to set the goal of the Color Run since it is a little over a month out, and I want to have a goal to keep me motivated to do something active every day for a month. Since I have been so busy with work, school, and personal fitness I have been an awful dog Mom. I owe it to Emmy to show her that I didn’t forget about her and that I still love her. There’s only so much homework a dog can stand, so we’re going to get active together. I’ve always struggled with drinking water, so I’ve added lemons and limes to my shopping list and will be making fruit-infused water to drink each day in hopes of increasing my water intake.

As for my 30 day activity challenge some of the activities will include:

  • Running
  • Walking the marina
  • Biking
  • Swimming (Emmy doesn’t care for this one, but she loves to go to the beach!)
  • Hiking
  • Softball (Emmy will have to sit this one out too)
  • Yoga
  • and others

Mainly I will be using the Couch to 5K app to train for the Color Run, so I will be doing lots of walking, jogging, and running. I plan to include my plyometric exercises into my running training to help break up the repetitive nature. I also plan on doing basic arm strengthening exercises to balance out my top and bottom halves. 30 push-up challenge anyone?

This is the guideline for the pushup challenge I’ll be doing, and no, I won’t count the pushups as my “daily activity”. Who wants to join me? The 30 day challenge will run from May 17-June 15th. Leave a comment below and let me know if you want to join in on the fun, we can stay motivated together!