Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Things worth noting...

... I'm nearly done with my Christmas shopping. And the crazy thing is that I've been nearly done for a solid week. Given that I'm always the crazy lady scrambling to finish up on Christmas Eve, this is fairly significant. I even remembered to pick up gifts for the people I generally forget (Grace's teachers, people at work, etc.), so I'm basically feeling like a rock star.

... except for the fact I'm still sick. I got prescriptions for a Z-Pak, a steroid, and cough pearls last week and was told that I have bronchitis. Here's hoping I start feeling like a human again soon. The gym feels like a distant memory, and I can already feel my muscles disappearing.

... We went to my firm's Christmas party this weekend.

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It was a spectacle, as usual, and we had a great time catching up with people I hadn't seen in awhile.

... Also, did you notice that my hair looks significantly different? I colored it a dark red color last week for the party (my roots had grown out to an embarrassing length). I'm still getting used to how dark it is, particularly given that it was lighter than it had been in a LONG time before I colored it, but it's a fun change.

... Grace has been particularly adorable the last day or so. After the hell that was last week, I've been so thankful she seems to be back to her sweet, little self again. Last night as Micah was getting her out of her car seat, she kept insistently saying "buuu-fly," and he finally realized that she was demanding butterfly kisses.  She has also been requesting that we watch Frozen and Brave at night before bed, and she sings along with "Let It Go" any time it comes on.

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... Some days I just want to press the pause button and revel forever in these sweet moments with my little one.

And that's what we've been up to. How about you guys?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Whole30: pantry list

Eeeek! We've got just a couple of weeks before we start the Whole30 together, friends. I can tell you that I am REALLY in need of a fresh start. I've been eating like crap the last two weeks, and I'm so very ready to get back on the wagon. 

So I thought I'd do a few posts before we start with tips/tricks/recipes that worked for me last time. One of the first things you'll need to do before you start your Whole30 is clean out and re-stock your pantry. A lot of your go-tos will be off-limits, and you'll want to be prepared with other alternatives for food preparation, or else you're likely to get frustrated and give up. 

Below is a list of things that are off-limits, along with a Whole30 approved alternative. Make a trip to your closest health food store, or Amazon (lifesaver!) sometime in the next couple of weeks and stock up on some new staples for your pantry.

You can't have vegetable or canola oil, but you can have coconut oil and olive oil 

You can't have traditional cooking sprays, but you can have 100% olive oil cooking spray (just read the label to make sure there is no added soy)

You can't have flour, but you can have almond flour (not for baking, but for thickening sauces, etc.)

You can't have butter, but you can have ghee

You can't have milk, but you can have coconut milk (full-fat, unsweetened) and almond milk (unsweetened)

You can't have soy sauce, but you can have coconut aminos

You can't have ketchup, but you can have hot sauce (I love Louisiana Hot Sauce and Chalula)

You can't have breadcrumbs, but you can have unsweetened shredded coconut

You can't have pre-made sauces, but you can make your own with curry powder or curry paste or canned tomatoes

You can't have nitrite-containing hot dogs, but you can have Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage (this isn't technically for your pantry, but find some and keep it on hand for the nights you don't feel like cooking!)

You can't have sugary snacks, but you can have unsweetened applesauce and unsweetened dried fruit and Larabars (read the labels - not all are Whole30 compliant; I prefer Apple Pie and Blueberry Muffin)

You can't have peanut butter, but you can have almond butter (again, read the label - must be sugar- and soy-free)

You can't have chips or other salty cracker snacks, but you can have olives and nuts (raw or dry-roasted; must be sugar-free)

You can't have gum, but you can have mint leaves and/or mouthwash 

You can't have regular BBQ sauce, but you can have Caveman Bob's BBQ Sauce (it's pricey but WORTH IT - you won't be able to tell that it's sugar-free!).

You can find even more pantry ideas on the Whole30 website.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Real life...

I'm pretty sure I caught Gracie's virus Sunday night, and I still feel like death.

I haven't stepped foot in the gym in a week.

Breakfast this morning was approximately two cookies.

I last washed my hair three days ago (though I promise I have bathed since then).

My kid gave Grumpy Cat a run for his money yesterday morning, and I officially lost my patience around meltdown number 4. I feel guilty for being so thankful to be able to drop her off at school (where she apparently behaved like an angel).

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(last week at the doctor's office)

My company's Christmas party is in three days, and I still need to buy jewelry, get a spray tan, get my hair colored, and get a pedicure. (Who wants to bet that most of these things won't happen?)

I am already craving another vacation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Stuff and things...

It's Thursday. Thus, here are some stuff and some things.

–    I'm really cheap about jewelry. I basically refuse to spend more than $20 on any one piece, and that significantly limits my purchasing options. (It also means that I occasionally get green skin from the cheap, crappy stuff I buy. Micah freaked me out the other day when he told me my neck was green. I guess that means it's time to retire my favorite gold chain necklace that I bought on clearance at New York and Company a few years ago...)

So imagine my delight when I went to the mall with my sister-in-law and found this cool Cleopatra-esque statement necklace on the clearance rack at Dillards for $12.

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sweater (in orange penny) / similar shoes

Also, if you don't have a pair of matte nude pumps, I highly recommend them. I have eleventy billion pair of patent leather nude pumps, but I bought a matte pair after one of the girls at work wore them, and I wear them with everything now. I think they look especially polished with skinny slacks. (And praise the Lord for shoes that make my legs look much longer than they really are.) 

–    Gracie's sick. She's had a slight cough for a couple of days, but this morning she woke up with a 101 degree fever and snot all over her face, so Micah's staying home with her and stealing all my snuggles.

–    Did you see Mockingjay yet??? I caught it on the evening of Black Friday and really loved it. But... if you read the books, you know that there's really only one logical place for them to split the story to create two separate movies. Unfortunately, that means that the first movie must necessarily be super slow and drawn out, while they'll have to have to cram all the action that happens in the second half into the next movie. You're left wanting more, which is probably what the producers want,

–    I broke down and bought some Younique maskara (or Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes, as they call them). I didn't think to mention it on here because I figured everyone had already heard about it, but maybe you haven't. It's not something I wear every day, particularly because I think the mascara that's currently in my makeup bag does a pretty great job. But sometimes it's fun to switch things up.

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What a real blogger would do is show you a comparison picture with Younique on one eye and their regular mascara on the other. But we all know I'm not a real blogger, so you'll just have to settle for an early morning selfie with brows that need plucking and hair that needs combing.

If you've got stuff and/or things that need sharing, link up with Kristin and Joey!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

StitchFix Review...

I may or may not have already explained how obsessed I am with StitchFix.* You've probably already heard all about it, but just in case: it's basically a fashion subscription service. You fill out a very detailed style profile, and StitchFix sends you a "Fix" each month (you can adjust the frequency if you want) containing five pieces of clothing/accessories that have been handpicked by a stylist based upon your profile, comments, and any Pinterest boards you direct them to. You pay a $20 styling fee for each Fix, and that is applied to any purchase you make. (I've purchased something from each Fix I've gotten.) You get a 25% discount if you buy all five pieces. (I've only done this once.) They send you a pre-paid envelope to ship whatever you don't want back.

I've gotten four or five Fixes, and they're getting better and better. I'm currently in a size 14, so I'm at the tail end of their size range, but they've been able to provide a LOT of things that fit me well and flatter my body type.

Pros:
–    It's super fun. Every time I see the box arrive in the mail, I do a little happy dance. 
–    It's convenient. I love that I don't have to go back to a store to return the things I don't want. I just drop it in the mailbox at work and call it a day.
–    It pushes me outside my comfort zone. The stylists do a great job, in my opinion, of getting a good feel for what you like but also including pieces that you may not have picked for yourself.

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For instance, I would NEVER have purchased maroon pants for myself, but my stylist included these in my Fix a couple of months ago. When I put them on, they were super comfortable and really fun for fall, so I went for it, and I wear them all the time now. (The navy cardigan is from StitchFix, too.)

Cons:
–    The prices are Nordstrom-ish. You can specify a desired price range for your items, but I'd say that each piece in my Fix has been about $70 bucks on average, with the tops being closer to $50, and the pants being closer to $80.
–    You may not love a single thing in your Fix. I haven't had that happen yet, and I think it's because I make a point to be VERY specific when reviewing the items I receive. But it could, and then I'd lose my $20 fee if I don't purchase anything. To me, the fun of the whole thing is worth it, but it's something to consider.
–    They don't offer plus sizes. To me, this is ridiculous, but apparently, they're currently working to offer additional sizes. We'll see...

With all that in mind, here's what I got this month.

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(sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures)

Herringbone Vest: Y'all, isn't it insane that I put this J. Crew herringbone vest on my Christmas wish list, and then a nearly identical version (but cheaper!) arrives in the mail just days later? Unfortunately, I just didn't like the way this fit me. I think puffer vests aren't flattering on me. But, in theory, this was a perfect pick.
Eggplant Skinny Jeans: I big, puffy-heart love these jeans and want them in a ridiculously bad way. They were just too small, and I don't think this designer makes them in a bigger size.

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Cardigan:  When I pulled this out of the box, I fell in LOVE! The fabric was thick and soft and so cozy for winter. But I just didn't love the batwing look the Dolman fit gave me, so I'm sending it back.
Black Wrap dress:  If I didn't have almost this exact dress from Banana Republic already hanging in my closet, I would have bought this in a heartbeat. High-quality fabric, excellent fit and length, and super flattering.

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(sorry for the photobomber)

Teal Top: I definitely kept this. It'll be perfect for work, and the fit was great. Plus, teal is always fun.

If you're in the mood to shake your closet up a bit, check the whole thing out for yourself.* It's a fun way to add some new pieces to your wardrobe in the laziest way possible. 

* Note that these links are referral links. I'll get a small credit it you join, but you guys know me. I won't share something unless I really and truly love it. And if the referral things freaks you out, just go to the StitchFix website to give it a try.
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