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The Final Countdown… and a Whole30.

26 Jun

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It’s the final countdown to the end of the law school journey, culminating in the finale of the California Bar Exam, which is scheduled for July 25 and 26! What better way to change your world, than to close out an epic era by making some massive changes and adding loads of positive vibes in the middle of it? The thing we’ve been waiting for for 5  years, is in 30 days… so I’m choosing not to eat a pint of ice cream every night from now until then and instead I am “fasting” from all the crap in my life and embracing new health, wellness and success.

Here are some of the highlights that will be happening between now and then:

  1. I turn 41 (6/28)
  2. I leave the agency world as I know it (7/7)
  3. My baby turns 2 (7/8)
  4. My husband takes the Bar (7/25-26)

In light of the changes, I felt like it was a real opportunity to do another Whole30, forcing my hand to be and do better.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole 30, it’s a pretty remarkable journey of eating clean (like, super duper clean) for 30 days.

Several people have asked me why I’m doing this over my birthday, and the answer is simple. Turning 41 (!!!) does not need to be an excuse to misuse my body for indulgent purposes. I’ve been on the weight-loss journey for several months now, and there’s nothing about eating steaks and grilled artichokes on my bday that sounds like I’ll be missing out on anything, so why not? Birthdays may be associated with binge eating, lapping up cake, and for me, smearing spaghetti all over my face, for my annual spaghetti splurge, but not this year. This year is different and I’m letting go of stigmas and habits, for a new me.

As hard as it may be at times to not eat my feelings, the bottom line is that my life is GOOD. We’ve worked hard to make it this way, and my kids are healthy, happy and thriving humans. To quote the founders of Whole30, “my kids are not sick. This is not hard.” But, the reward of 30 days of effort can be great, not just for weight loss, but for mental stamina, digestive health and overall a sense of balance. I need that.

I’ve done the Whole30 before too, so I know what to expect. This is not hard. Making changes won’t always be the easiest, but I’ll be damned if I allow myself to think that this is actually hard.

So, here it is. Day 1. I will survive!

7 Quick Takes: People of Interest (MY interest, anyway)

16 Apr

1. PinterestFail.com

Ever geeked out on Pinterest, then immediately added new things to your weekly shopping list, so you could recreate the magic in your own home? After frustrations and contemplation at your own sanity, ever wondered how on earth the original pinner was able to accomplish their “thing” without it looking like a tragedy struck your kitchen? I mean, HOW do they get those beautiful pictures? Well, I joined the club this week.  In fact, my experiment was such a mess (it TASTED good, but was not 1/2 as pretty a process as it looked online and took over an hour to clean up after), that I went to work the next day blabbing my story and my frustrations all over the place. I even decided to start a new website called “F-Pinterest.com”. While talking to my co-workers about my awesome idea, one of the guys said, “It already exists. It’s called PinterestFail.com”, a much better name than my idea was. After discovering this bit of magic, I spent way too much time laughing at messes FAR worse than mine. The site was started by a girl named Jenna Cole, who tried (just like me) to get pretty crafty thanks to all of the DIY picture/blogs on Pinterest. She (and many, many others) succeeded about an many times as I did. Be entertained.

2. Wild Flowers Photography

Long, long ago, Joy and I worked with high school kids at a church together. She was a really great person, whom I adored, but I had no idea then how much more I’d adore her as we grew up. Joy has turned into the most inspirational and talented photographers/story tellers, I’ve seen. Her simplicity and passions show in every photo. Her family (mama of four) is a perfect picture of the love between her and her husband, Donny. They’ve been through a lot and have come out the other side smiling. There’s a calm and patient light that exudes not only from her photos, but from her person. She’s beautiful and wonderful, and her story is full of transparent humility and desire for only producing the best in her work, her family and herself. If you follow her Instagram, you’ll be inspired on a daily basis. Check out her amazing blog/website as well.

3. A Little Vintage Life

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this family, but the Wests are a traveling “nomad” family. Melissa and her husband run a cute little family business, traveling all over the place in their RV, with their 3 kiddos in tow. What makes them awesome? They travel around and search out thrifted goods, then sell them on Instagram. Their InstaSales are AWESOME. I’ve bought 2 blankets from them, and both did not disappoint me (one quilt and one afghan). Not only that, but Melissa adds a really special touch in the form of hand written thank you notes, that are included in each package and her packages are called “Happy Mail”. She also throws in some cute little vintage goodies here and there. I know it’s silly, and no, I don’t need the thank you note and extra goodies, but it makes me feel good to support someone who’s grateful for the business and who cares about her work. Plus, she’s a cool mama.

4. Blythe Fike

Blythe and I have known each other for what seems like a lifetime. Once upon a time, we were bandmates, and now, she’s the proud mom of FIVE kids… under 7. What (else) makes Blythe unique? She’s a blogger who talks about her faith as a Catholic, yes, but more importantly, she’s a real life mom who doesn’t sugar coat her challenges. And, she’s hilarious. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud while reading her blog. Mud covered, nakey babies just add to the perfect storm that encompasses their sweet family.

5. The Professor from this Story

As I sat at work today, I was just about to request the monday of my husband’s birthday off of work, so I looked ahead to my calendar for that day. Uh oh. I saw a calendar event from my boss; first day lunch with our new Producer. I actually thought “Crap. I can’t take that day off.” I asked my friend (and lucky me, my co-worker) about what she thought I should do and she sent me this. Thank you for the perspective, Trisha. Momentary lapses in judgement are easily remedied by friends who care. Thankfully, my boss supports my decision (best boss in the world).

6. The Law Student’s Wife

I’ve mentioned Erin before, but it’s time to check out her blog, and if you like food the way I do, sign up for her daily recipes. A kindred spirit, she’s the wife of a law student and she understands the “joys” and challenges that brings. What I love about her blog, is that it’s set up to delivery daily recipes that she’s created herself. There’s some unique flavor represented in her work, and many of the items are not very time consuming, which makes this busy mama happy. Her Pinterest is also really beautifully done.

7. Button Therapy

Two of our best friends are Eric and Haley Sanchez. They stood with us in our wedding ceremony and have been champion friends over the years, ever committed to their marriage and their daughter. They’re also committed to being ridiculously good at making things. Haley started Button Therapy some time ago, as her creative streak married her glue gun and old buttons together to form some great (and fashionable) jewelry. I love this stuff. The rings are probably my favorite, but she also makes so fantastic earrings, barrettes, headbands, and other stuff. She’s always posting sales on Instagram, so follow her there.

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread….

20 Mar

… Is sliced bread with Chia seeds.

If you haven’t tried this yet, please add this to your shopping list for your next Trader Joe’s run.

Chia seeds are these little, amazing seeds that expand in moisture to create a gelatinous type of bubble. I use them to make banana chia pudding, and instant oaty breakfast cups, but TJ’s used them to make bread softer. Who would have thought! Typically, “good for you breads” are non-existent or taste like cardboard. Not this one!

Try it. It will change your bready life.

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Adventures in Breakfast

4 Jun

I’ve got a new obsession. It’s called “Whole Living” and it’s a lifestyle magazine that comes in both print and an interactive iPad version. Of course, I have both the print and the iPad version, so like I said, I’m obsessed. What I love about the magazine is that it’s just hippie enough to feature the organic, hormone-free, all-natural type of cooking and products I love, but not so hippie that the articles make me feel goofy when reading them. It’s like the perfect balance of healthy eating, meets gourmet, meets really fun things to make in the kitchen, meets organic face/body products.

That said, I’ve decided to challenge my culinary adventures by broadening my horizons into the recipes featured in Whole Living, while making some of my own adjustments to suit my own foodie interests, likes and creative prowess.

This is what I made for breakfast this past Saturday. I got a couple “oohs” and “ahs” from Grant and our roommate, but I didn’t think they were sincere until I took my first bite.

RECIPE – Baked Eggs in Whole Roasted Tomatoes, by Whole Living.

I followed the recipe for the most part, but made a few additions to make it “me”.

  1. Add Polenta
    • I buy my Polenta from Trader Joe’s.
    • Cut into cubes and add to Step 1 from the above Recipe.
    • Baking the Polenta with the Tomatoes gives it a nice crisp, toasted-ish flavor/texture
  2. Add Truffle Salt
    • When salting the eggs with coarse sea salt, add a little Truffle Salt to give it an even more dynamic flavor
  3. Add Goat Cheese
    • Towards the end of the cooking process, add a little Goat Cheese to the top of each tomato
    • I also think this would be great with freshly shaved Parmesan, or Gorgonzola
  4. Crisp the Top
    • If you’re not getting the crisp you want, add change the temperature from 400* to Broil and let the dish sit until it gets a very quick and nice crisp to the top
  5. Don’t be afraid to let the eggs spill over onto the Polenta
  6. I served this with an organic multi-grain toast from Wholefoods, but I think this would also be great with a side of bacon. 🙂
Here’s the work in progress: 
Here’s my final product:
If you try this recipe, I’d love to see your pictures! Also, let me know if there are any other ways you’ve found to broaden the horizons of this delish dish. 🙂
Enjoy!

Happy Birthday to My Grant.

1 May

A few weeks ago, I flew to Los Angeles to surprise my man for his birthday. Wow. What an adventure.

First things first, I learned that “lying” to Grant – even in the name of keeping something a surprise – is incredibly hard for me.

The weather in The Ark was awful when I left. I drove through 2 hours of torrential rain (complete with earthquake-like thunder and lightning bright enough to think it’s fake) to get to my brother’s house in Muskogee, OK, so I could fly out of Tulsa at 6:00AM. The drive was so bad, I actually thought I may have to pull over and sleep in a stranger’s barn, ruining the entire surprise. That didn’t happen. I love flying out of Tulsa, because it gives me a great excuse to see my brother and his wife Lindsey, but the drive there can be pretty rough at times.

Before I went to bed that night, I talked to Grant. After having just watched a movie that we mutually love, he told me repeatedly how much he missed me. He thought I was at home in AR and didn’t realize that I had such a sneaky plan up my sleeve for the next morning. In his mind, we were still 6 weeks away our next scheduled visit.

Adam drove me to the airport at 4:00AM for a flight at 6:00… that’s Standard Time, so in Pacific Time, it was horribly early. For the first time ever, I sat next to someone I actually liked on the plane. She reminded me a lot of my friend Blythe, but she was almost my same age. She even had 3 kids (2 girls, 1 boy) just like B, and her husband had a Kirby-ish beard. It was almost too weird how familiar it felt to hang out with her and her fam bam. She and her husband were on their way to OC for her brother’s wedding and we chatted the entire trip home, while trying not to fall asleep.

I got in at 7:30AM (PST) and my sister Amanda picked me up from the airport. It was great to see her. I hadn’t seen her in 5 months!

We drove to Grant’s house, picking up a tray of cinnamon rolls and candles, on the way. His roommate let us in the house, where we lit the candles and I walked in to my sleeping boy’s room.

It was the best surprise I’ve ever pulled off.

After the immediate shock and confused words, he stared long and hard at me with an expression that said “I’m waiting to wake up”. Haha. How fun. When he realized that I was really there and that it wasn’t a dream, the happiness began and the exhaustion of keeping secrets became overwhelming. I was home. I was happy. I was tired, but totally high on my happy.

That weekend was full of “bests” and was action packed with memories. We got to spend time with Eric and Haley at The Grove, Chrissy, Doug, little Magnolia, Nina, Sean and Eiko at Disneyland (also saw Amber and little Tessa in the parking lot!), Grant’s parents and Hillary, my family at the beach, Blythe and Kirby and lots and lots of old friends at the Troubador, where The Head and the Heart were playing a sold-out show (thanks to Blythe for the impromptu tickets… and her brother being in the band). I also got all of my bridesmaids fitted into their dresses, spent some extra quality time with Christiana and Maggie, and even managed to hike good ole’ Fryman, twice!

From eating at Griddle Cafe, to Blue Jam, to Joan’s on Third, to Disneyland, to the Observatory, to Fogo de Chao, to Trader Joe’s, to Cherry on Top, to the Blue Plate Oysterette, to the beach with my family, to good bottles of wine, to spicy salami, Manchengo and olives, the entire weekend was amazing. The best part? I got to be with the love of my life for 4 1/2 days of sunshine and bliss.

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