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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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

100 pounds later...

When you begin any sort of journey -- your education, planning for a significant occasion, a quest for better health or weight loss -- you peer through the tunnel and look for the light at the end. You imagine the way you'll feel when you finally arrive at your final destination, and that feeling compels you to continue on in the direction you are traveling because you know that the hard work will be worth it in the end.

As I was standing on the stage to be hooded at my law school graduation, I felt the light all around me. And I felt the very same way as Micah and I climbed into his truck and headed to our hotel the night we got married.

While I certainly cannot say that I've arrived at my final destination with respect to this particular journey, I did catch a glimpse of the light last week when I stepped on the scale and saw this.

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I can't remember seeing a sub-200 number on the scale since my wedding day in 2008. And so, for a really long time, I've wondered what it would be like to be "below the big chunk," as my sweet friend likes to say. (If you've ever stood on a mechanical scale at the doctor's office while they nudge the big weight over to 150 and then try and adjust the small weight, and you have to tell them, "no, just go ahead and move the big chunk over to 200," you totally feel me.)

Standing on the scale and seeing these numbers flashing at me, I felt bathed in light, and it was a beautiful thing.

This number probably still seems ridiculously high to most of you, and I will certainly agree that I've still got a long way to go. My body mass index is still way too high, and I would love to be in jeans several sizes smaller than those that are currently hanging in my closet. So it's fairly mortifying to post this number here for the entire internet to see.

But the fact that I weigh less than 200 hundred pounds today is really significant because 18 months ago, I weighed 300 pounds exactly.

300 pounds, friends.

Yes, I was pregnant. And yes, it was totally worth it. And yes, I loved myself even then.

But I can't begin to describe to you the shame I felt when I stepped onto the scale at the hospital as I checked in to deliver Grace and watched the nurse slide that big weight all the way over to 300. In that moment, I recognized how out of control things had gotten, and I promised myself that I would figure out to get myself back on track.
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And so I did.

Today, I'm making myself vulnerable to you all because I remember how desperately I clung to hope when I was struggling to figure out how to make a change. I made myself read the stories of those who had traveled this path successfully, even when I didn't want to, because it was irrefutable evidence that I was capable of doing the same.

And so are you.

Whatever journey you're on, know this. There IS light at the end of the tunnel. Heck, there's light in the middle of the tunnel. Just set your feet on the path and take that first step. You'll be surrounded in light in no time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Swish and flick...

So Halloween came and went in a flash.

You probably already saw this on Instagram, but just in case...

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Isn't Grace the cutest little Hermione you ever saw?

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I seriously cannot handle how big she's looking these days. Trick or treating with her was the most surreal thing. She didn't totally get what it was all about, but her cousin Stella definitely showed her the ropes, and Grace discovered the wonders of the Tootsie Roll Pop. She threw a legitimate fit when we finally had to take it from her. 

Stella and Grace were the cutest things bundled up in their little wagon.

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Tell me that Stella's "Elsa hair" isn't the most hilarious thing ever.

And because I'm in the mood to torture myself today, let's ponder last year's Halloween for a second.

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I die. I think I'm going to go read her birth story again and just do myself in.
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