fall reads : october 2016

Fall books

I've been reading & listening quite a bit this month. I've still got titles from my Summer reading list waiting for attention...but I chose to simply go where my attention led me. 

French Kids Eat Everything - I picked up the Kindle edition on sale after a few conversations about our frustrations with the Littles' eating habits. Too much snacking, too much complaining, too much whining. French customs around food are fascinating! We've started to incorporate a few of the practices from the book...less snacking, more real food. 

Love Warrior - So much YES to this. Spoiler alert: Glennon & her husband separated again just as this book launched. They continue to practice forgiveness, grace, and authenticity. I'd really like to have a coffee with her. Y'know, when she's not hanging out with Oprah & all...

Present Over Perfect - I adore Shauna's writing, and I adore listening to her voice...so this audio book was definitely a fave. “I'm learning that both body and soul require more tenderness and attentiveness than I had imagined.” A hearty HELLS YES to that. 

In addition to books, I've been listening to a new-to-me podcast - The Living Experiment. So good!! 

What's the last book that you read or listened to? 

the littles.

Totally borrowing this idea from Ali....

These Littles have been in my life for 2+ years. Many people have asked me what it's like to "start over again." My answer? It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun...


name: McCartney

age: 5 years & 8ish months

totally into: Horses. Different foods that she wants to discover. 

likes: Ice cream. Being silly. Kindergarten. 

dislikes: Throwing up. Tomatoes. When Wilder is annoying. Caramel.

wants to be: a horse trainer.

name: Wilder

age: 3 years & 6ish months.

totally into: Going to the playground. Daddy's truck. Candy.

likes: Cars. Chocolate milk. His police officer costume. Our house. 

dislikes: Naps. Being quiet. 

wants to be: a knight.

hello october 2016

Leaf on pebbles unsplash

Oh hey y'all! I'm kicking off October in Texas & Oklahoma...combining a visit with my family and some work appts. Facing down the last quarter of the year seems impossible! Let's start with a few hellos...

hello vacation planning. Fall & winter trips on the calendar...need flights, hotels, and details sorted. 

hello paleo eating (sort of. sometimes.). I do well with fairly black & white guidelines around eating (ie...I don't eat meat. There's nothing to interpret there). Post-Whole 30, I'm trying to figure out what 80/20 Paleo looks like in a functional way. 

hello 20. Austin leaves his teenage years behind tomorrow. What??

hello fall routines. Dan & I got a little dizzy looking at our calendars for the next few months. Time for a few routines to balance the chaos. I'm so grateful that he is a true partner...always the first to say "let me handle that, babe." 

hello new capsule wardrobe. I picked up a new pair of boots, refreshed all my black leggings, and added a new sweater. I need to round out with a few additional items. I've taken a break from Stitch Fix for a bit, mostly b/c the selections were hit & miss for me. 

hello family. I'm often able to combine business & pleasure when I travel. I spent this past weekend in OK/TX visiting with my brother, parents, aunt & uncle, and cousins. Tomorrow night, I'll have dinner with two of my oldest & dearest friends. Good stuff. 

hello details. Changing banks has to be one of the most annoying parts of adulting. Switching auto-payments, direct deposits, saved accounts, etc. Ugh. 

What are you saying hello to this month? 




i survived Whole 30® (& lived to tell about it)


I finished up Whole 30® last week, and gave myself a few days to recover before writing about it. Mostly b/c an earlier post might have included all the swear words, and my Mom gets cranky with me over that. Thoughts from the other side...

  • I have little tolerance/patience for people who don't do the work. I wandered about the online forum on the official site, and joined a Whole 30® Facebook group, and was constantly irritated by people who clearly hadn't read a single free PDF about the program. Why would you attempt a program that you clearly know nothing about?? Sigh. I was SO relieved when my friend Melanie added me to a private FB group of Whole 30® folks. They were informed, supportive, and doing the work.
  • I found very few obstacles with eating in restaurants. Calling ahead, asking questions, and being willing to compromise created pleasant experiences with business dinners and travel. 
  • I fast-tracked adding eggs back in, primarily due to travel. As I mentioned in a previous post, my naturopath had recommended eliminating eggs for 6 weeks based on food intolerance results. Not particularly surprising, given that I had an intolerance to eggs as a child. After facing down breakfast in the Concierge Lounge...I chose to add eggs back in. I've certainly reduced the amount that I'm eating, and haven't had any issues.
  • I'm not being systematic about reintroduction, but I am being mindful. Corn is not my friend. Rice is fine (thank god! I would miss sushi!). I haven't added dairy (other than butter). I've had some gluten, but not enough to really determine if it's an issue. 
  • Final results? I lost a few lbs (literally only a few), likely lost some inches through a combo of Whole 30® & weight lifting, started sleeping more soundly, and definitely turned the corner on some digestive annoyances. 

So, what now? 

  • I'm basically adopting an 80/20 Paleo approach. 
  • I'm continuing with weight lifting, adding intervals, and plan to get back to a regular yoga practice. 
  • I'm going back to practicing intermittent fasting b/c I feel good when I do it.
  • I'll continue to take collagen, probiotics, L-glutamin, and digestive enzymes. I'm sporadic about all of them except collagen. 

Thank you to all who texted/emailed, cheered me on, and were understanding throughout this experience. I appreciate you!!


the universe has your back : gabrielle bernstein

UniversehasyourbackI've been a Gabby Bernstein fan since I read her first book, Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness. I've even traveled to see her speak & had one of her books signed. It's fair to say that her books were instrumental in me surviving the first few pre-&-post divorce years. Her latest book releases today. I was fortunate to receive an advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review, so here goes...

what I loved: I have Gabby quotes tucked pretty much everywhere. I added to that collection with this book. Quick mantras to repeat either while sitting or while simply taking a few deep breaths...

The miracle isn't how well we avoid fear; the miracle is how quickly we return to love.

I focus my attention on the love that is around me, and I expect miracles.

I am love and miracles are natural. I welcome healing of the highest good.

Thank you, Universe, for transforming limitation and doubt into creative possibilities. 

Overall, this is classic Gabby - reminders & exercises to choose love over fear, and to accept the guidance of the Universe. There's a hint of older & wiser woven into her stories. She continues to make the teachings of A Course in Miracles accessible and more modern, which is awesome.

what I left: I've gotten a sense that Gabby has become a tad bit diva-ish as she has become more successful. I'm thrilled for her success, but found the vibe of privilege a bit off-putting at times. Along with a hint of older & wiser, I got a hint of contrived this time around. Perhaps that's b/c I'm much older (albeit not much wiser) than Gabby? Anyway, it's a minor "complaint." 

The Universe has Your Back on Amazon.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this post.

2 years...


2 years ago, I met a guy with a fresh tattoo (who took his shirt off 30 seconds after intros...to show me said tattoo) at a dinner arranged by mutual friends. I could tell you, in exacting detail, about that dinner...Dan laughs that I remember so much. It's easier to sum it up with this...

We met. And in an instant...we knew

He is my best friend. He knows how to make me laugh. He knows when I need comfort. He knows what drives me crazy (and yet STILL insists on scraping the fork with his teeth). He appreciates me. He acknowledges me. He is smarter than me, for sure, which is a challenge that I had long craved. He teaches me, and learns from me. We both brought our whole lives into this relationship...the "messy middle" as Brene Brown calls it...and we've endured the chaos & struggle that sometimes comes along with that. And two years later, we understand that this is it, and it is perfect

So much love for this guy. He's definitely my favorite.


hello (mid) september 2016


(insert some cliched comment about time moving quickly here)

Hello to one more week of Whole 30. Absolutely counting the days. 

Hello travel. After taking a break from travel in August, I'm back at it. Although I love travel, being in California for less than 24hrs between flights this week was not my favorite. 

Hello celebrations. Dan celebrates 42, and my Dad celebrates...how old are you Dad?? Dan & I celebrate 2 years together.

Hello fall weather (sometimes). We're still needing to turn the AC on now & then, but it's definitely leaning towards fall. The morning light has such a different feel. Yes, I feel light...don't you?

Hello audio books. Listening to Love Warrior now, with Present over Perfect on deck. I still have more to finish from my summer reading list, and that's okay with me.

Hello stillness. As life keeps life-ing, I crave quiet & stillness. Sitting in meditation more. Noticing my breathing more. 

What have you already said hello to this month?



Whole 30® - more than halfway through!


Thoughts from Day 18 of Whole 30®...

  • Even though I was eating fairly clean before...the strict rules of this program are no joke. Sneaky sugar is EVERYWHERE. Why in the world does dried fruit needed added sugar??
  • Commercially available salmon jerky is hard to find. Trader Joe's jerky has brown sugar, and Epic Bars are way too peppery. 
  • NSVs (non-scale victories)...I'm sleeping better, I bought size 0 jeans, and I haven't killed anyone yet. 
  • I miss wine.
  • A lot of the social media around Whole 30® bugs the crap out of me. I cringe when I read "dump ranch"- which is a Paleo version of ranch dressing. I also cringe when people cheer over how much "dump ranch" they are using. Gross. 
  • I eliminated eggs, almonds, and radishes about a week ago, after receiving some food intolerance test results. As a pescetarian, doing Whole 30® without eggs feels extra challenging. 
  • I've survived 3 dinners out (called ahead to discuss specific restrictions), and will be taking Whole 30® on the road at the end of the weekend.
  • I'm starting to think about post-Whole 30® plans, and leaning toward a Paleo-at-home mindset.

Happy weekend, y'all!

so long, #summer2016...

It's the un-official last weekend of summer, and our house seems very quiet. We've had a steady stream of houseguests, travel, bigs, and littles over the past few months. It's all added up to be a season of love, light, and so much fun.


I got to spend time with two of my very best friends in California in June. Love these girls.


We used our #partyatthepalace hashtag for co-worker get-togethers, a neighborhood Lake Ladies night, and a couple of summer wine-downs.


We went to parades, ate burgers on the deck, and laughed over mojitos during Iris's July visit. 


We ate breakfast at The Spot often.


Barb came to visit!!


We had all four Bigs & Littles together for the first time ever!


Hope took a break from tree-planting to come home for a visit, then headed back to Canada with Noah.


We met up with Nick & Kathy for a little Vegas fun. 


Yay for another Bubbe visit!


The Littles soaked up time with Austin (who spent much of his summer recovering from micro-fractures in his shoulder...ouch).


We welcomed Emily and Nate, and then sent all three back to British Columbia to start their 2nd year of university.


And we had ridiculous amounts of laughter with my brother. 

Hey #summer2016...you were pretty awesome.


changing it up with Whole30®...

Veg cutting board

I have experimented with a handful of eating "programs" over the last few years. I've done vegan challenges, raw challenges, no-alcohol challenges, and even (believe it or not), a no-coffee challenge. I find that challenges are the best way to mix things up for me, and to keep me out of wacky thinking when it comes to food. For example...I came into August counting macros, and instead ended up somewhat obsessed with numbers instead of real food (and consuming WAY TOO MUCH protein powder as a result). I think macros (& protein) are SUPER important...the counting of them just makes me a little/lot nutty. I also had a recent discussion with my naturopath about food intolerances. Austin has removed dairy from his diet due to food intolerance test results, and Dan has a short list of foods that he avoids for the same reason (that was not a short joke, babe). 

I had heard about the Whole30® a few times before...likely through social media. To be honest, my first impression of the program was that it was a diet and that it was unnecessarily restrictive (and thus unsustainable). I also knew that it resembled Paleo eating, and thought that it wouldn't "work" for me b/c I don't eat meat. 

I was wrong on almost all accounts  (only "right" about it resembling Paleo eating). When it popped back up on my radar recently, I decided to actually read about the program. Y'know, instead of assuming that I knew all about it from an Instagram or two. 

Rather than explaining the program to you, please click here to read the official information. The website offers the program, and tons of resources, for FREE. 

I started my Whole30® yesterday. A few co-workers (+ Dan's mom!) will join me next week. I am committed to being in integrity for 30 days...no dairy, no added sugars (of any kind), no grains, no legumes, no alcohol, no "faked foods" made with approved ingredients. I don't eat meat, but I do eat seafood, so I'll focus on fish & eggs for protein. 

I've gotten some interesting reactions (resistance) from folks when I've talked about program. Lots of "but I can't give up _____!" Yes, you probably can. Lots of reactions to no alcohol. Uhm, if you can't give up alcohol for 30 days, you might want to find a meeting. Lots of "but I really like bread/cheese/wine/ice cream." Yeah, me too! And, the standard disclaimer...if you have some medical issue/medication that might be impacted by a program like this, please just talk your doctor. Or better yet, a naturopath. 

Thoughts on day two of the program (still totally a beginner!)....

  • I like ghee. Since dairy is not allowed, butter is out...but ghee (clarified butter) is A-ok. I buy mine at Trader Joe's.
  • Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Some people haven't really read the program in full. Some people have, and just ignore parts of it. Some people think that 2 florets of broccoli make a serving. Sigh.
  • The internet IS a good source of ideas. I'm looking to Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs for inspiration...but I'm still fact checking back to the main site (and the Whole30® book).
  • I am not doing this to lose weight. It's possible that I will, and that's cool. I'm really doing this for the elimination aspect. Particularly heading into fall/winter/SAD season. I should have blood tests results back in the next week or so, and I'm really curious to see what food intolerances pop up.
  • Prep is key. All the chopping of vegetables takes time. I'm grateful that Dan is doing the bulk of it for me. Love that guy. I also splurged a little on things like mini-guacamole cups from Costco, just to make prep a bit easier.

So, now you know what I'm up to for the next 30 days! I blew it on that whole "blog 3x per week" thing, but I do promise that I'll pop back here to let you know how it's going. For reals. 

Oh, and this paper-loving girl was THRILLED to discover The Paleo Pep-talk after sweet Chelsea commented on one of my Instagrams. I love the idea of these mini-pep-talks, and have not only signed up for the FREE newsletter, but also ordered the cards (use code WHOLE30 to save 20%). #paleopeptalk  (ps. those aren't affiliate links...I just think that what's she's doing is rad.)