Wednesday, December 31, 2014


As I had hoped it would be, 2014 was a year of intention. We really dug in and lived this year on purpose, and the result was a year that I'm really proud of.

Micah and I went to Vegas.
We welcomed my niece, Blakely, into the world.
I struggled to figure out how to balance work and motherhood.
And then we celebrated her first birthday.
We said goodbye to my Mimi.
I explored New York with my mom.
I finished my first Whole30 and began a transition to a whole new way of life.
We added another dog to the family.
We got the diagnosis of my Uncle Clay's cancer and later rejoiced in his healing and remission!
I joined the gym and began consistently working out.
We went to Micah's ten year high school reunion.
I celebrated losing 100 pounds.
Micah and I had a long weekend in Austin.
We celebrated a simple Christmas.

And of course, there were millions of small, sweet moments with Grace and Micah that will forever be etched into my heart.

As for 2015...


I'm lucky that I'm naturally inclined to be content. It's part of my nature, and I'm thankful for it. But my tendency to be happy wherever I am often means I am unmotivated to move. This is true in all parts of life and particularly in my spiritual life.

So this year, I'm going to grow. I'm going to overcome my inertia and seek to be better/kinder/Godlier each day. I will be deliberate in my prayer and Bible study and let Him draw my heart closer to His.

What are you hoping to do better in 2015?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Whole30 Meal Plan: Week One

As I've said before, you'll find sticking to the Whole30 so much easier if you plan out your meals and do the prep work as much in advance as possible. Because I don't know about you guys, but my family is busy. Weeknights are a scramble to get dinner cooked and eaten, baths taken, and the little girl put to bed. The more shortcuts I can manage, the happier I am.

Here's what we'll be eating these first few days of the Whole30. I'll get a full meal-planning post up for next week on Monday, and that will kick off the first of our Whole30 link-ups. That's where you guys can either link up your own Whole30-related posts or post your thoughts/meal ideas in the comments. And in case you haven't joined us over on Facebook, we're already having a great time connecting and supporting one another there.

Prep: hard-boil eggs, roast cauliflower, make two batches of olive oil mayo, slow cook chicken, mix up Caesar dressing

Dinner: Roasted Cauliflower Soup (The Paleo Kitchen) with bacon and Paleo Caesar salad
Prep: Trim chicken, slice onion and carrot

Prep: Trim and slice chicken, julienne carrots, chop green onions and cilantro

Prep: Peel and dice sweet potatoes, make mango salsa (if Kroger doesn't have it)

Dinner: Turkey burgers with mango salsa and sweet potato hash

2-3 hard-boiled eggs with Louisiana Hot Sauce, cherry tomatoes, and a handful of kale

Chicken Salad on spinach with cherry tomatoes

Fresh fruit
Almonds dusted with cocoa and cinnamon
Sliced bananas with a spoonful of almond butter melted on top, sprinkled with cinnamon
Deviled eggs


Christmas came and went in a flash, y'all.

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Our family celebrations seemed refreshingly simple this year.

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We had fewer ridiculously huge piles of gifts and more heartfelt moments spent enjoying one another's company. Over plates full of soul-warming food.

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There were loud giggles erupting from sweet little girls.

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And cozy cuddles on couches.

It was a magical few days.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Whole30: Recipe Roundup

I had donuts for breakfast yesterday morning. And then dessert with dinner last night. 

Y'all, I NEED this Whole30 in a bad way.

The great thing is that, because I've done one before, I know what to expect, and I know that I'm capable of finishing. If this is your first Whole30, let me just put your mind at ease: you are also capable of doing it and finishing it. If you slip up, don't give up. Just keep going, and I promise you won't regret it.

I've been promising to get you guys a list of my go-to, Whole30-approved recipes for months, and I'm finally delivering. I'll do one more tips and tricks post, and then I think we'll be ready to go for Thursday. Eeek!

We mostly make these for dinner and then I take the leftovers for lunch at work. A lot of people have asked what I do about Micah and Grace. Mostly, they eat what I eat, even if I have to modify it a bit. Grace is picky about vegetables, so I usually supplement her meal with some organic yogurt, cheese, or fruit. But some nights, Micah's not in the mood to eat the healthy stuff, so he makes himself a hot dog or grilled cheese. Ain't no shame in letting the husbands/kids fend for themselves sometimes, y'all.

And also? Make extras. If you're lazy like me, you'll appreciate being able to cook once and have meals for a few days. :) 

Main-Dish Recipes I've Tried and Loved:
Beef and Bacon Casserole (this one is one of my very favorites and makes a lot, but it's time-consuming)
Chicken Curry (recipe found in It Starts with Food, similar here)
Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry (this one was pretty good, not amazing)
Roasted Cauliflower Soup (recipe found in The Paleo Kitchen is PHENOMENAL, similar here)
Turkey burgers with sauteed sweet potatoes and mango or strawberry-mango salsa
"Tacos" with homemade taco seasoning and guacamole in iceberg or romaine lettuce wraps
Cilantro and Lime Salmon (use olive or coconut oil to make it Whole30 approved)
Grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus
"Fried" Cauliflower Rice (add chicken to create a main dish, or serve alone as a side dish)
Avocado and Tomato Salad (great, simple, and easy side dish) 
Chicken Salad (recipe below)

Recipes I've Been Wanting to Try

Chicken Salad
1/2 lb. chicken | 1 cup grapes, halved | 1/2 cup onion, diced | 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional) | 3 T. flat-leaf Italian parsley | 1 T. fresh or freeze-dried dill (don't leave this out!!) | 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil mayo | 3-4 dashes hot sauce (I like Lousiana Hot Sauce) | salt and pepper to taste | Mix everything together and stir to combine. If you have time, let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

Have you done a Whole30? What were your favorite recipes?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Stitchfix Review

Time for another StitchFix* review, friends! (For a rundown on StitchFix and how it works, see this post.)

My stylist was ON POINT this month.

First, she sent this gorgeous wine-colored sleeveless top. (Did you guys know that Pantone's Color of the Year is Marsala? I think it's just so, so pretty.)

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(Sorry, you guys. My mirror is filthy and I didn't even notice until I uploaded these pictures.)

I paired it with this black, lapel-less blazer they sent a couple of months back and wore it with black skinny slacks to court last week. So I'm obviously keeping it. It drapes in a really pretty, flattering way, and the cowl neck is fun, too.

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Y'all. If I could marry this shirt, I totally would. It's black with 3/4-length sleeves and has the most fabulous brass, studded detail. And it's long enough to cover my derriere, which is always a plus. Definitely keeping this.

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I'm also keeping this sweater. So cozy, decent length, and a flirty fit.

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Unfortunately, they sent me this chevron shirt in an extra-small. Ha. I'm tempted to point out their error to them, but in all honesty, I probably wouldn't have kept it anyway. I'm not in love with the fabric, and it's sheer, which can be annoying.

The jeans were fine, just a little snug, but at $80, I'd rather them fit perfectly. So they're going back.

I'm still loving the fun and convenience of StitchFix. I'm also loving doing these posts for you guys. How do you guys feel about them? Fun? Annoying? Meh?

* These are referral links. I'll get a small credit if you sign up, but I love StitchFix, and you should check them out even if you'd rather not use a referral link. It's just :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope you guys are warm and cozy with the ones you hold dear. We are soaking up these moments together and thanking Him for loving us enough to come.

Merry Christmas, friends!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Whole30: the details

Um, you guys. We've got 10 days until we start our Whole30.


I've been thinking a lot about why it worked so well for me last time, and a huge component was the fact that deliberate cheating was just never an option. Period. But the reason that cheating was never an option was that I always, always gave myself the opportunity to make the healthy choice. I planned out our meals. I carried a Whole30-approved Larabar in my purse at all times. And I kept the fridge stocked with healthy snacks so I'd have no excuse to venture into the pantry.

In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be sharing a little more about my go-to recipes, tips, and tricks. But first I wanted to talk about how we can connect with one another as we are going through this together. Because I think that'll honestly be such a fantastic motivation for all of us to stick with it. 

Facebook Group:  First of all, I created a Facebook group that you guys are all welcome to join. Click here, or search "Loved & Lovely Whole30 Group," and you should find it. It's closed because I wanted us to all feel completely safe to share whatever we want without worrying what our Facebook friends might see, so you'll have to request permission to join. But don't worry... I promise I'll approve it. ;)

Instagram:  I'll be posting as usual at @MrsHargrave on Instagram, so feel free to follow there. I'm also going to use this #lovelywhole30 hashtag for anything Whole30 related, and you should, too. That way, we can all find one another.

Blog Linkup:  I'm going to plan out my meals as I did before, and I'll be posting them here on Mondays. You guys can use that day to link up any of your Whole30 posts. Meal ideas, successes/failures, etc. Anything goes, as long as it's Whole30-related. Cool?

Dinner in Dallas:  For you local folks (or anyone who may want to venture to Dallas soon!), I thought it'd be really fun to plan a dinner at one of my very favorite restaurants. We'll all have ZERO problem finding Whole30-approved meals there, and it's so ridiculously delicious. I'm thinking that first or second week in January to start us off strong. Sound good to you guys?

I'm so excited, you guys. It's going to be hard, but we're going to be so thankful we did it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Target and leopard print nails...

Hello there, mates! (Sorry, I'm feeling extra British. Micah and I are currently on Day 1 of our Harry Potter marathon. I'll probably be a little obnoxious until we finish.)

Since I've seen this movie about a hundred times (that's probably not much of an exaggeration), I thought I'd drop in for a chat.

I was home with Grace today because her school is closed for the entire week, and Micah's mom couldn't watch her as planned. I won't pretend to have been bummed. We had a fun day of coloring, puzzles, bubble baths, and an extra-long four hour nap (which allowed mommy to get about a half-day of work in!).

I ordered some Jamberry nail wraps from a friend a couple of weeks ago, and they finally came in. 

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Aren't these glitter leopard print wraps fun? If you haven't tried Jamberry yet, here is my two cents*: they don't stay on for me as long as advertised. A week max before they start lifting up, but that's longer than polish lasts, and I get bored and ready for something new around that time anyway. They take longer to apply than polish, but they aren't super difficult to get on. And the design thing is super fun for an accent nail or two. I obviously couldn't paint this print myself.

All in all, I'll probably buy more at some point.

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I managed a solo Target trip this weekend while Grace was napping, and it was INSANE. I had finished the bulk of my shopping a few weeks back, but I had a few things I needed to grab. Note to self: avoid Target like the plague in the week before Christmas. Yeesh.

We tried to take Grace this afternoon to Bass Pro Shops to get her picture taken with Santa.


The last time slot for pictures -- at 7:30 p.m., mind you -- was gone by lunch time! So it looks like the Santa picture may not happen this year. I'm feeling like the worst mom on the planet for dropping the ball, but whatever. You do the best you can and then give yourself some grace. Am I right, mamas?

* I totally had to google whether it shoud be "here is my two cents" or "here are my two cents." The consensus is that it should be "here is." I don't know why I felt obligated to share that.

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.

–    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.)

–    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.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What we've been up to...

Man, guys. Is there anything better than disappearing for a little while to spend some time with the ones you love? Here's what has been happening around here:

–   I was off from work for nine glorious days and soaked up every bit of that time with Micah and Grace.  If we're Instagram friends (we should be), you know that the first couple of days, Micah and I had a ball in Austin. I'll definitely do a full recap soon, but suffice it to say that many delicious (non-Paleo) things were eaten, and much relaxation was had.

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–   And then we got back from Austin, got the house decorated for Christmas, and cooked up more delicious (non-Paleo) things for Thanksgiving.

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(I think I need some sort of garland hanging from the mirror. Don't y'all?)

–    Grace discovered our Christmas tree, and it was fairly magical.

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–   Thanksgiving was delicious (we had two meals with each of my parents the day of, and then leftovers with Micah's family the next day).

–    I'm paying for all the indulging I did (which was very fun and very deliberate). I basically had a headache for the entire week last week, and it was a great reminder that there is a reason I don't eat this way very often anymore. My workout on Sunday was awful, and my legs feel like they were run over by a truck every time I move (pretty sure I went a little too heavy on the weights). I'll be eating extra clean this week for sure.

–    There are a LOT of you that are going to join with me and do a Whole30 starting on January 1st. And I'm getting REALLY excited about it. I'll have more details about how it'll all shake out, but for now, start getting familiar with the program rules on the website or by purchasing the book. If you're local, I'm going to organize a meet-up at one of my favorite Paleo-friendly restaurants in the Dallas area, so be looking for details on that, as well.

I'll be back again soon with an Austin post and a review of my latest obsession: StitchFix!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mama's Christmas wish list...

I know I said that Micah and I weren't all the great at giving gifts. And we aren't. Nor do we care too much about receiving them. But the poor guy gets slapped with Christmas and our anniversary being two days apart, so I figured I'd throw him a bone and make a wish list of sorts. 

Christmas 2014

The only thing I actually need on this list is the laptop bag, given that my cheap as dirt bag has a huge hole in the bottom of it and isn't the most professional thing I could carry into a courtroom.

And while I don't technically need the scarf, I really, really want it.

What are you guys hoping to see under the tree this year?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let's do this together...

It has been overwhelming -- in the best way possible -- how many of you have joined me on my journey to better health. When I started the Whole30 in June, I never imagined that I'd stick with it as long as I have. And I definitely never imagined how life-changing it would be for me. 

Or for many of you. I honestly can't even keep track anymore of the number of you guys that have started your own Whole30 after I've been preaching about it these last few months. And I know several of you finished and are feeling amazing!

Given that the holidays are fast-approaching, it occurred to me that I probably need to do another Whole30 sometime soon. While I truly have begun to see food and health in a new light, I know that Thanksgiving and Christmas (and our trip to Austin this weekend!) will involve some decidedly non-Paleo food, and I want to have a plan in place for giving my body and brain a good reset when the new year comes.

So I'm going to start another Whole30 on January 1st.

And I want you to join me.

I don't know where you're at in terms of health. Maybe you work out consistently but need a way to focus on eating things that will improve your health, rather than things that negate all your hard work in the gym. Maybe you're like I was and are morbidly obese and in need of something -- ANYTHING -- to help you make a change.

Or maybe you just want to drop your holiday weight quickly and like the idea of doing it in the healthiest way possible. Either way, I think we can all agree that misery loves company, and that's why I thought that we could do this together.

So we'll attempt 30 days of completely whole foods. No sugar (in any form, apart from fruit). No grains. No dairy. No legumes. No alcohol.

It's hard. Oh, friends, it's hard

But I really can't explain how amazing you'll feel when you're finished. It's unlike anything I've ever felt in my life.

I haven't quite figured out how I want to do it, from a logistics standpoint. Part of me wants to organize a DietBet simply because it's an excellent way to get all of us together in one place and facilitate a feeling of community, but weighing during the Whole30 is expressly contrary to the Whole30 rules, so I feel like that may not be the best option. If any of you have ideas, I'm all ears. Maybe a Facebook group? I'll spend more time thinking about how we can organize it all and report back soon.

For now, be thinking about whether or not it might be the right step for you. One of the reasons I'm posting about this so early (and clearly before I've thought it all through) is because I wanted to give you time to learn about the plan and get prepared. I would obviously recommend buying the book It Starts with Food, but you can also find nearly all the information you'll need on the Whole30 website. If you're in particular need of some tough love, read this (scroll down to the section titled "It's For Your Own Good"). 

And also, can I just mention that I stand to gain NOTHING from you joining me in this endeavor, apart from your camaraderie and support? None of the links here are affiliate links, and the Whole30 is completely free to do. I do think the book really helps explain everything and is WELL worth the money, but you don't necessarily have to buy it to successfully complete a Whole30, and I won't make a dime whether you do or don't.

I just believe in the Paleo lifestyle and think you will too if you give it a chance.

If you think you might be interested, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at I just want to get an idea of how many people we're looking at so that I can figure out what kind of structure, if any, we might need.

I'm so excited, you guys! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gracie's Christmas wish list...

'Tis the season, friends. Like it or not, the holidays are coming for us, and it's time to get in the spirit!

We're not huge gift people around our house. Neither Micah nor I seem to express or receive love very well through gift-giving, but it's always fun to shop for an adorable toddler. So I made up a little list of things Gracie would include on her wish list if she could.

BabyLit books.

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We've already got most of the books shown above and adore them a ridiculous amount, but we still need Wizard of Oz, Anna Karenina, and Wuthering Heights.

These adorable things.

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This amazing vintage play kitchen.

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via (although mom and dad Santa may already be working on this one)

(And she obviously needs the pots and pans to go with it.)

These hot pink moccs.

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This dress.

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... aaaaand I can feel myself getting carried away here. So I'm going to stop while I can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I love you because...

I love you because you are kind.

I love you because you make a fantastic pancake.

I love you because your stubble is so very George Clooney.

I love you because you are, without a doubt, the world's best father.

I love you because you are selfless.

I love you because you're hilarious in a very unexpected way.

I love you because you are meticulous.

I love you because you seek Christ.

I love you because you have fantastic hair.

I love you because of shroons. And chimichangas.

I love you because you told me I was beautiful when I weighed 300 pounds.

I love you because you put us first.

I love you because you speak your heart.

I love you because you're the most handsome thing I've ever seen.

I love you because you respect your parents.

I love you because you take your time.

I love you because you believe in me.

I love you because we make a fantastic team.

I love you because you've got style.

I love you because I know that you will adore your wife and your daughter with every fiber of your being until the very end of time.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our next vacation...

... is unfortunately not to the Outer Banks.

When my most recent hearing got pushed back a bit, I checked the weather for North Carolina for late November, and it was cooler than I'd like for a beach trip. So we're saving that trip for later and will probably take Gracie with us.

Instead, we decided that we would head to...

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... Austin, Texas!

I know, I know... it's a little anti-climactic given how much I love to travel that we're only heading south about three hours.

But I really wanted to stay somewhere nice and relaxing without breaking the bank, and the only way to do that was to nix the airfare costs so that we could splurge on the hotel.

And splurge we will.

We're staying at the Travaasa, which is a spa resort located just outside of Austin. We upgraded to a canyon room, which is supposed to have incredible views of the Texas Hill Country, so I'll be excited to share pictures with y'all.

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But what I'm really excited about is exploring this cool city in a way I haven't done before. I've been to Austin several times for work and then once for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party. But none of the trips was longer than a day, and I was always there for very specific purposes, so I never really got to see more than the airport, my firm's conference room, or 6th Street. 

We don't have anything really planned out yet, but there are a few things we might try and do/see/eat while we're there. Most of these involve delicious food. (Spoiler alert: I will be throwing the Paleo guidelines to the wind this weekend. Expect many pictures of really unhealthy food on my Instagram.)

Donuts at Round Rock Donuts (we've had these; they're amazing)
Donuts at Gordough's
Dinner at Oasis
See the bats fly on S. Congress
Breakfast tacos
Hike Mount Bonnell
Check out a Texas winery
Lunch at a food truck
Enjoy some live music
Black's BBQ in Lockhart

If I'm missing something significant or if these things are lame, please let me know. We're really open to doing anything. It's crazy that Texas is so big that I have lived here my whole life and still haven't even scratched the surface.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Things that have happened...

First thing's first. 

In case you missed it last week, I got a new blog design courtesy of Heart & Arrow Design! Whitney and I (let's be honest, it was all Whitney) spent several months creating a look that I'm really, really in love with. I wasn't planning to fall in love with this color scheme the way I did, but man. Every time I made up my mind to go with the other color scheme I had in mind, I kept coming back to these gorgeous purples and pinks. So now it's done, and it feels great to be settled in around here. Whitney also submitted my blog for re-indexing, which I hope will fix my search engine problems.

Other things that have happened:

- I went to Charleston last Sunday for a hearing where I got to argue in court again. I love my job so very much, and it feels like a huge blessing to have found the thing I feel like I'm truly meant to be doing. And even though I was only in Charleston for a day, I managed to find a couple of hours to stroll around downtown and be reminded of what a fantastic city it is. Seriously, if you've never been there and are at all inclined to appreciate charming Southern cities with fantastic food, you should make a point to visit sometime. 

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(These three were playing live music on King Street for the city's Second Sunday celebration. Unsurprisingly, their violin case had way more money in it than any of the other performers'. They were pretty much the most adorable thing I'd ever seen. And really good, too!)

- I got a hankering for something sweet last night, so I went to make my favorite Paleo mug cake (I sort of made it up and definitely need to post the recipe here soon). I put the coconut oil in my coffee mug and put it in the microwave to melt and heard a funny noise, so I ended up taking the mug out after about fifteen seconds. Everything seemed fine except that the oil hadn't melted yet, so I put it back in for another 20 seconds.  Took it out again, and it was still solid. So our microwave is officially not heating things, which put a significant damper on my need for a sweet treat. 

And because I'm highly logical and do things that make total sense, I decided to make a Paleo milkshake even though we had a fire going because it was 35 degrees outside.

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Whatever. It was amazing and had the PERFECT milkshake consistency and chocolate flavor. Check out the recipe here. I swear, you would never know it wasn't the real thing.

- We took Grace for her first dentist appointment this morning. It was a much a disaster as you might expect. We waited over an hour, and then as soon as the dentist came in and tried to look at her teeth, she started screaming and didn't stop until we walked out of the room ten minutes later.

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(This was obviously taken before the dentist appeared.)

That's what we've been up to. I've got a few other posts coming your way this week to make up for the fact that I was a terrible blogger last week, including an update on where we decided to go for our vacation (which we leave for on Saturday!) and an opportunity for us to do something really cool together in the near future.

Happy Monday, friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If you're reading on a feed...

... click on over to the blog to see my new look!

Whitney from Heart & Arrow Design created the most beautiful look for this little space I adore so much, and she is a saint for having spent the last several months putting up with me and my ridiculously specific vision.

I would highly recommend Whitney and can definitely say that the lengthy process we went through to get it looking perfect was well worth it.

Thanks again, Whitney!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stuff and things...

It's Thursday, so I'm linking up with Stuff and Things again. I love this linkup. It gives a sense of legitimacy to my very random and scattered posts. Thanks again for hosting, Kristin and Joey!

Can we talk first about how obsessed I am with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush? I bought the Luminous Flush shade, and it's so gorgeous. I even took a car selfie for you guys so you can see what it looks like on real people (albeit very pale) skin.

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Hourglass calls it a champagne rose color, and I'd agree. It's pricey, but it's a pretty big compact and will last me approximately one zillion years. Give or take.

And while I'm shamelessly sharing selfies, let's go ahead and get these out of the way, too.

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After my workout the other night, I took a flex break and saw just the teensiest, little bicep poking out. You probably can't even tell that it's there, but don't harsh my buzz by telling me otherwise.  I've been working out fairly consistently for about two months now, and I'm still doing a combination of HIIT cardio (usually sprints on the treadmill) and strength training with heavy weights (heavy for me, at least). My arms are one of my least favorite things, so it's nice to see progress, even if it's really really subtle.

I had to travel to Austin again yesterday (another day trip), and I'm leaving for Charleston on Sunday for work. It's only one night, but the traveling is hard on this mama. I hate missing moments with Grace and Micah, even if I do adore Charleston.

Lastly, I have to tell y'all what happened to me on Monday. I was cruising down the highway (jamming to the new Taylor Swift album, obviously), and this guy in a big SUV pulled up beside me and started gesticulating wildly at me. I had to get a new car battery on Sunday (the freaking thing died overnight at the hotel valet), and for some reason I can no longer roll down the passenger side window, so I couldn't hear what he was trying to say. He gave up, pulled in front of me, and another car took his place. This time, it was a female, and she was also trying to get me to roll down my window to no avail, but I read her lips and gathered that I must have a flat tire.

So I took the next exit, pulled into a parking lot, and called Micah, who was just about five minutes ahead of me with Grace. As I'm on the phone with him, someone knocks on my passenger side window, and it's the guy. I freaked for a second but opened the door anyway (I'm that idiot you scream at in the horror movie), and he was just making sure I knew that I had a flat tire. As I opened my door to look out at the tire on the driver's side, the lady pulled up to make sure I had understood her. They both offered their assistance and directed me to a tire shop that was just down the street. The guy was actually going to follow me there until I told him that my husband was on his way. I was seriously blown away at the kindness of these people who had no obligation to even tell me I needed to pull over, much less pull over themselves to make sure I'd be okay.

So there's a little reason to restore your faith in the goodness of the human race.

Happy Thursday!

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