Silver Lining

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The car I was driving before it was totaled on Tuesday night was kind of on its last leg and we were going to look at getting a newer one this fall. This silver lining in this past week’s unfortunate events is that we got a bit more money for the car than if we would have traded it in and that I get a new car now instead of waiting for the fall.

Today’s goal was to browse for cars and hopefully pick a few out in order to narrow down a winner. My mom drove down this morning to help me since Hubs had to work. The first thing I had her do when she arrived was to get my hair off my shoulders! I can only just brush my hair with my right hand. I sat down and handed her the hairbrush and asked her to put it in a pony tail. She hasn’t done this since I was in elementary school! She got very nostalgic and turned my pony tail into a french braid. All I cared about was getting my hair out of my face and off my shoulders. Mission accomplished! Then we went on tending to the yet unaccomplished mission of car shopping….

After a few discouraging visits, we went to lunch where I called my husband to whine and pout about how I hated car shopping and how I needed him with me. I wanted to stop and go home but my mom convinced me to go to a few more places. Luckily we did because the next place we went ended up being our last place! I found my car!

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A 2013 Mazda CX-5 with less than 20,000 miles on it for the same price as a 2011 Honda CRV with 48,000 miles on it that I was initially looking at. I was pretty specific with wanting a CRV, but once I saw this pearly white gem right next to one, I knew it was mine! Dan and Lady approved as well.

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Car browsing isn’t the most fun idea of “shopping” I can think of. Fortunately, we lucked out. I am looking forward to settling into my new car tomorrow. I will need to run a few errands tomorrow…especially because I still need to buy a strainer for my bone broth! I meant to get one while out in town this afternoon, but then I bought a car so….yeah.

I ended my afternoon with a celebratory “sparkling” Kombucha. My husband drank a pale ale. I love how I can sip on a Kombucha with my husband sipping on a beer and not feel like I’m missing out on anything.

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It’s been a great Saturday!

Evergreen Salad

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After such a beautiful and sunny day yesterday, this Sunday has been gray, rainy, and cold. II am so grateful I spent most of the day outside yesterday after seeing the rain fall all day. The rain has made a great day for watching movies with Hubs and Lady. I am trying to fill as much Irish culture as I can into today since St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow. We have watched “Waking Ned Divine” and “Far and Away” so far. That is my paleo version of “Irish culture” since I am choosing not to drink Guinness with my husband. I’ve also gotten some quality prep time in the kitchen as well. I have been roasting, slicing, peeling, and dicing! I also became inspired to throw in every green colored edible item I found in my kitchen to make a luscious lucky leprechaun loot of a salad.

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I had about 6 kiwis in my fridge. I peeled and diced them and tossed them into a bowl (which was also conveniently green-colored).

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I then diced some celery stalks and threw those in.

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Next came the avocados. I peeled and diced two avocados. They were the perfect ripeness too which made me super happy!

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I then poured a half cup of pistachios. These have been my go-to nut recently. I purchased these that already come un-shelled at Trader Joe’s for a great price. I hate fidgeting with the pistachios trying to get them out of their shells. I always have to end up using my teeth and then the cracklings of the shell fly everywhere and then I cuss out loud.

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To top it off, I added some mint flakes and squeezed some lime juice onto it. I also threw in a bit of fresh kale to give it a crispy texture and stirred it all up. I put some plastic wrap over the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let all the flavors meld together.

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I wasn’t sure how this salad was going to taste, but I figured it’d be fun to make. Surprisingly, it has the perfect variety of flavors and texture. The pistachios, celery and kale really help balance the mushiness of the avocado and kiwi. If you aren’t taming a sugar dragon, it would be divine with honey drizzled on it. I think I will put some chicken breast on it and eat it for lunch tomorrow!

I received a St. Patty’s Day present from a leprechaun this morning. I am so glad he knows me so well!

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I received beautiful wavy fresh red lettuce, scallions, dried apple chips, a green bell pepper and a chayote. I’ve never eaten or cooked a chayote. In fact, I had to look up what in the world it is. According to Wikipidia, a Chayote is in the gourd family closely related to melons, squashes and cucumbers. Fun! It kind of looks like a hybrid between a pepper and a pear. f anyone out there has any good ideas for ways to cook it, please let me know. My leprechaun received Guinness and a Mint Cookie Chocolate Bar. I’m not kidding when I say we love holidays. Happy St. Patty’s Day Eve!

Top O’ The Morning

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Happy March!!! I love the first day of a new month. A blank canvas with new holidays and changing seasons. Hopefully Spring will peer its head out of its shell sometime by the end of this month. It also means I get to put the V-Day themed decor (in my case, pink-colored beer bottles I use as flower vases) and bring out anything shamrock-shaped or somewhat green tinted. I married a Bostonian, so I have become exponentially more Irish in the past 6 months just by changing my last name. Although in my defense, my mom has always told me I have a mix of German and Scotch-Irish in me (I just described myself like a dog breed, didn’t I?)….so there! Plus, I hosted the Irish Staff Luncheon last March before I married. I’m hosting it again next week, so get ready for some sweet-potato-filled Irish recipes.

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I busted out the new kitchen digs. I’m still working on some classy beer bottle decor. Rogue has an awesome Irish Lager we used to have a long time ago, but it lost its way when we moved last year (maybe back to the homeland?). Anyway, just looking at that cute little leprechaun-belted mug of coffee made me want some right away. I grounded my current favorite coffee beans and waited patiently for it to brew.

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I found a jar of Artisana Coconut Butter for a steal in my favorite section of a T.J. Maxx store a few weeks ago-the gourmet food and kitchen aisles! I put a tablespoon of delicious flakey coconut butter and stirred until it dissolved. And then I sipped and savored.

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See, now you can tell from the bed head how much I needed it. I promise I have washed and brushed my hair since drinking this coffee. 🙂 I don’t usually fancy up my coffee since starting the Whole30; I have just been drinking it black. I never thought I’d enjoy the taste of black coffee, but I’ve really come to love it. However, it was a nice treat adding a little something-something to it this morning. Happy March!

Date Night

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I’d be happier it was Friday if I knew I got to relax this weekend. After such a crazy week, I am happy it ended well but this weekend is going to be a whirlwind as well! Tomorrow morning I am waking up early to drive to the Piedmont for a UNC reunion with some of my very best friends from college. We usually do this every other month or so, but we haven’t met up since my wedding back in September, and I really wasn’t able to hang out with everyone then because I was doing other things (like getting married)! It will be so awesome to see everyone.

After Saturday’s festivities which will include a brewery tour and paintball (hopefully in that order too!), I’m going to drive back down to the coast (but about an hour north of home) to visit my parents. It is my mom’s birthday on Monday so I will spend Sunday with her. I’m hoping we can go to a yoga class early in the morning since she is on a yoga kick right now and then I can finally watch the season finale of Downton Abbey. She has it recorded and I have had absolutely no time this week to watch it. It will be better watching it with her anyway since she is the one who got me into it! Maybe we can even fit in a pedicure or a chic flick that day too. But I want to make sure I give myself plenty of time to get home Sunday and start prepping for the week ahead.

I’m a little nervous about how traveling will go without being as prepared as I was during Whole30. I thought about cooking some chicken salad or burger patties to take with me on the ride, but 1) I don’t feel like adding it on to what I’ve already got on the to-do list tonight: laundry, dishwasher, dinner, pack, blog! and 2) I want to start letting myself become more intuitive with balancing how to eat the way I want off plan. Besides, I will have some handy dandy on-the-go Paleo-approved goodies with me just in case. And once I make it to my parents house, I should be able to keep on course.

In spite of all the busyness this week has brought, it has been a great one! And honestly, I’d rather be busy than not. I finished my last day of Whole30 on Monday. Tuesday was business as usual, so I guess that means I completed a Whole31….actually, a Whole31.5 since I didn’t actually off-road until Wednesday night, right? 😉

Before we went out for dinner, Hubs and I split a beer from one of our favorite breweries, Rogue. Rogue actually inspired our Honeymoon plans to do brewery tours around the Pacific Northwest. We flew into Seattle, rented a car, drove across the Columbia River and spent the night in Astoria and then finished the drive to Portland where we flew home out of. It was perfect!

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Oh my god. It was so, so, so, so good! It was the most I’ve ever enjoyed drinking a beer….it was an experience! Thank you Whole30, for giving me the renewed sense of taste and the in depth appreciation of everything I now consume. Besides, look at that beautiful frothy head in that glass!

After we sampled our beer, we went out to dinner at a tapas bar. I thought it would be super easy to stay on track there, but the only thing that was kind of friendly was the $25 steak dinner with green beans and whipped potatoes. Plus, you could tell our waitress was new so she didn’t know the answers to any questions about the food and when I asked her if she could bring out the smoked salmon without the cream sauce cooked with it she looked like I pointed a gun to her head and said “Um, I don’t know-I’ll have to ask.” Never mind, I’ll get the steak. It was so delicious. I went ahead and ate the white potatoes too. I didn’t have any of Hubby’s pizza bites or crab dip because I honestly didn’t want any. This balancing thing may just work itself out!

After dinner, we headed downtown to the concert venue. It was such a great night! The Carolina Chocolate Drops played such an amazing live show. After we got home, I went straight to bed. Before I fell asleep, I wondered how I would feel the next morning after waking up. Would the dark ale I drank give me headaches from Hell? Would the whipped potatoes whip my stomach with knots and churns? Would my face break out into red patches that I’ve never experienced? No, no, and no. And better yet, I woke up feeling pretty damn great. I brewed my coffee and made myself one of my favorite breakfast meals  from the past 30 days: ground turkey, butternut squash, and onions sauteed in coconut oil with two fried eggs!

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It was a perfectly balanced post-Whole30 date night. And hopefully this upcoming girl/birthday weekend will be too!

Whole30 Results!

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I feel like I say this every damn time I start a blog post, but man it has been a crazy week….and it’s only Wednesday! Good thing I’ve got tons of stored energy to get me through this week (and next…because I’m already managing my time for when it arrives)! I’m happy to be writing right now. It has become such a huge stress reliever for all the built up craziness that ensues throughout my day. Well, lets jump right in, shall we? Mama’s got a hot date night downtown with her Valentine from two weeks ago. I am curling the hair and putting the lipstick on and going all out since our date nights for the past 30 days have consisted of me cooking us dinner in leggings and t-shirts.

I don’t even know where to begin. If you’ve been following along with me, then you know that the most important change that has occurred has been my psychological relationship with food. I feel like I’ve taken back the reigns of my life in some sort of way. I don’t feel powerless and afraid anymore. I feel like I’ve come back to myself. I’m more me; the best of me if there is such a thing. After having such an emotional roller coaster of a year, feeling this way means so much to me.

With that said, I also reaped some other pretty awesome benefits like:

  • Hair: My hair is shiny and healthy! I’ve had 3 different people in the last week positively comment on my hair-blog post coming in the near future on this!
  • Nails: My nails are hard and thick now! And I am a biter! But, I was always led to bite my nails usually because they always chipped and cracked. My nails are strong! I even scratched my inner thigh in the shower when I was using my hand to scrub with a loofah. I am not used to such sharp talons!
  • Definition: Now that all of the initial bloat and inflammation is out of the way, I’ve got my abs resurfacing, my quads shaping, and my arms toning!
  • Inflammation: Gone! My ankle’s swelling and throbbing went away right in the first week and has held up since, even with all of the high impact workouts and running. I haven’t even used my ankle brace! I would also always get back pain as well after running or doing a lot of jumping. I had to spend a lot of time stretching before and after workouts…and I have not had any at all. It is pretty awesome to not feel like your an old and decrepit  woman when you’re still in your 20’s….Plus, my engagement ring and wedding band have been much looser since. I love this feeling, because it was really starting to tighten up toward the end of last year.
  • Sleep: I’ve recapped on sleep pretty often. It’s great! An interesting side note though-this past Monday and Tuesday night I have not been able to sleep in due to my hectic schedule and I can definitely tell when I’m not getting enough sleep now throughout the day. Will fix this immediately!
  • Attitude: Happy! I’ve got a pep in my step. I’m extra friendly and bubbly. Like I said, I feel like myself and this is worth everything!
  • Energy: No more ups and downs throughout the day. My husband said to me the other day “slow down and pretend like you wanna be by me.” I felt so bad! I was just walking so much faster than I usually do. It feels like I have all these stores of energy that I can tap into whenever I want.
  • Fitness: Not only do I feel like I am able to push myself more with workouts, but I also feel much more in tune with my body. I am learning how to let myself rest and recover when my body needs it. I can definitely tell an improvement in my fitness because I recover much faster from workouts without the pain of soreness bothering me all day. I also ran every Sunday during my 30 days and my runs improved with longer mileage and faster pace each time. My first Sunday run was 2.57 miles at a 12:05 min/mile pace and this past Sunday was a 3.91 mile run at a 10:35 min/mile pace. Now, I gotta get a sub 10 pace and I’ll be good for the 5K I’m scheduled to run in March!
  • Cravings: Gone, nada, zilch! I am still not going to test out any unleashing of a sugar dragon. I have a pretty nasty addiction with the stuff so even though I am happy to report I don’t crave any sugar, I am not going to risk it for a while.
  • Skin: I’ve luckily always had pretty clear skin. I had a few blemishes throughout the second week and afterwards my skin looked better than ever. Today in the mirror while washing my hands I couldn’t believe how clear and healthy my face looked. It looks “fresher” if that makes any sense.
  • Libido: This is pretty self-explanatory. It was an unexpected but welcomed side affect.
  • Relationships: Not only has my relationship with food changed, but also with my husband. I eat to eat now. This past weekend I forgot to eat lunch! I quickly scarfed something down when I realized I went on a run and had been doing yard work for an hour on Sunday–not because I was hungry but because I knew that I needed to give my body nutrients and energy quickly since I missed out on lunch AND a post-workout meal (woops!). I enjoy cooking meals for Hubs and I. We get to spend that time at home and eat dinner together which was something we never really did. I’m a happier person and now I get to share myself more with my husband because I am present!
  • Weight: Unfortunately, I did not take any before measurements. I wish I did, but it was something I just simply forgot to do. I did take measurements on my 30th day so that I can now keep track from here on out. However, I did lose 16.4 lbs! I’m pretty psyched about this. It is a great start.

So, what now? Now, I plan to follow a Whole9 lifestyle. My 30th day was Monday and I have stayed compliant. I plan to take it day by day and stay on course as close as I possibly can and only straying when it is absolutely worth it, and only absolutely worth it!  I’m sure I won’t be perfect at this right away, but I hope to get better and better at it with time as I not only build my confidence up but the trust I have with myself. I am definitely a work in progress. The Whole30 has already given me an amazing head start on my whole-kind-of-life plan. I will elaborate more on some personal goals I have for the Whole 9 Factors. Now, I must go get ready for our date! And, just for the record, I am sampling a beer tonight. And I do think this one is absolutely worth it.

Saturday’s Seven

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Once today is in the books I will be finished with my first week! OMG, time out: “My 600 lb Life” is on my TV right now (I put it on as background noise) and I am slightly disturbed by what is going on with “Penny.” I usually can’t watch these shows because the images can be kind of graphic and the stories can be deeply sad. Let me just say, I don’t feel so fat anymore after hearing what Penny just said. No, I’m not going to repeat it.

And, we’re back! Last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I felt really tired but it took me much longer than normal to actually fall asleep. I also woke up a few times in the middle of the night. This usually happens at the end of my first week, which I was anticipating this time around but hoping it could maybe skip me this time. During my last Whole30, it only lasted 2 or 3 nights and then I entered sleep haven every night after that. It’s not like I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I feel really well rested too. I just love it when I fall right asleep after hitting the pillow. It could be worse! I could suffer from insomnia-so I am definitely not complaining.

This morning I made an omelet with some left over pork that I made in the crock pot earlier this week. I topped it off with some avocados. That reminds me, that I need to buy some more avocados because I finished them!

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I finally went to a gym class, which I wasn’t able to do most days this week because of the snow. It was a great sweat-fest. I felt so energized afterwards that I did 30 minutes of cardio afterwards. When I got home I immediately made a post-workout meal: sweet potato and turkey burger cooked in coconut oil.

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My post-WO meal was right around lunch time, but I didn’t want to wait too long to make a big lunch meal since Whole30 recommends eating right after working out. So, I thought I’d eat lunch afterwards whenever I felt hunger pains again. I took a nice long hot bath, made the bed, watched some Netflix, got some Valentines Day decorations out and never got hungry. I needed to make some errands so I figured I’d be out for a jiffy and come home and then I’d make a meal.

I think everyone was out shopping today! This was the first real day that all the roads were clear of ice and the grocery stores were packed with Superbowl shoppers. I picked up some red candles for my “Valentines Day” decor.

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I also probably spent way too much money on beer as well. I wanted to get some chocolate flavored beer for my hubs for V-Day but then I found some amazing picks that I couldn’t wait to try after my 30 days. That is the one thing I probably really miss is sipping on a beer with my husband. It’s not even the taste of beer I miss, but enjoying the different types and the different flavors with my Hubs is such a fun experience. I will probably try to stick to Whole30 as much as I can after my 30 days but include beer from time to time!

Anyway, I picked up this find for my Valentine:

Atwater‘s Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. I love the word “decadent”! There is 6 of them, so he better save me one at the end of the month! I also found this gem:

I KNOW, RIGHT?!?! I couldn’t pass it up! I love Wells’ Banana Bread Beer. It seriously tastes just like it sounds, so I am hoping this one will too. You all will have to wait to hear how it tastes though….20-something more days!

Anyway, after spending too much money on beer that I’m not even going to get to drink I braved Whole Foods to see what “whole” goodies I could find. I came across lots and lots of chicken wings. So many, in fact, that I not only bought one package of wings, but I bought two! Seriously, I bought way too many wings. But, they were on sale! And I figured we wouldn’t eat all of them on Superbowl Sunday so they would make great leftovers. I think I brought home over 6 lbs of chicken wings.

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See, the big yellow “On Sale” sticker?!

The wings on the left are already seasoned with garlic, paprika, celery seed, sea salt and pepper. I’m planning on using this Chili-Spiced Mango recipe for the naked wings. Note to self: buy more avocados and buy some mangoes! I had to buy a little plastic container of celery and baby carrots while checking out because by then my hunger pains were churning my stomach inside out. I didn’t time this whole meal planning thing out very well today. I gnawed on the veggies on the way home and instantly felt better. Once I got home, I added some almond butter to them and cooked a turkey burger. I got my protein, fat, and veggies all in….just not at the same time! Now it’s past 5 o’ clock and I have no idea if I will be hungry again today or if I’ll become ravenous at any moment.

I hope I fall asleep more easily tonight than I did last night. Tomorrow is going to be a fun cooking day for me in the kitchen. I’m making everything Whole30 compliant. And then, when I am finished, I will watch Downton Abbey while my husband yells at the TV in the other room. Life is good!