Friday, December 18, 2015

Five Things on Friday 12/18

I haven't done one of these in a while (well, let alone any post) It's been a fun week so I thought I'd recap.

-one- We had secret pals at work this week and our annual holiday potluck this morning. My secret pal was our music teacher and she gave me this awesome coffee mug amongst many other thoughtful gifts, including one for our kitties!

-two- My christmas sweater has cats on it. Nothing like wearing a giant sweatshirt, leggings, and boots to work. It's so comfortable that it almost makes up for having school until the 22nd. Almost.

-three- I love this time of year with my students and it's been so much fun lately. But this week, one of my third graders brought a bag of hair to school. Seriously, kids do the weirdest things. She had collected her rabbit's fur as it shed. She asked me if I wanted to touch it. I said, "no, but I'll take a picture of it to share with the internet."

-four- Last night Cody went to a florist and got real mistletoe. He was acting all weird and asking me to come out to the sunroom to look at something. I was being impatient and wanting to leave for dinner. But he was really standing under the mistletoe, waiting to steal a smooch. He's the cutest.

I didn't know this is actually what it looks like

-five- We might actually have a snowless Christmas in Minnesota which is so weird. Last weekend my parents, Cody and I visited the Hollidazzle village in Minneapolis which was full of vendors selling crafts, food, and tasty beverages. It didn't seem very hollidazzl-y without snow but we explored for a while and had some snacks. But this was probably the most worthwhile part :)

Cody and Dad as Nordic winter monsters

Linking up here and here!

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Whole 30 Journey - Where I Am Now

I spent September and October doing my second and third rounds of Whole 30. I did my first back in June and blogged about it regularly in several parts (1234). The first round was very powerful for me and showed me what a huge impact the foods I chose had on my physically and mentally. It also showed me that I could do it. While I was completely self motivated, I was really apprehensive about my ability to stick to it for 30 long days.

For those who aren't familiar with the program, Whole 30 is similar to a 'Paleo', but is more strict and meant to be a temporary (30 day) span. It eliminates all grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and many other additives found in many foods we regularly consume. While this may seem really restrictive, for me it was more of a refocus on nourishing clean foods. Vegetables, meat, healthy fats, and some fruits become everything you consume.

So, after completing my first Whole 30, I knew immediately I wanted to do it again. However, I was also excited to have some drinks and treats that I had missed for 30 days. It was summer, we were busy with fun activities, and suddenly two months of eating nowhere near Whole 30 had passed. And not surprisingly, all of the weight I'd dropped in June was back. However, I was excited to dive back in, knowing I had the knowledge of what foods made me feel good. I had heard that the second round of Whole 30 could be even harder than the first but I didn't find that was the case for me. I was still counting the days and making a conscious effort but I felt I settled into it pretty well. At the end of September, I finished my second round, we went out for tacos and beers, and I dove into my third round the next day. I 'slipped up' or 'cheated' a couple times in October with a glass of wine, piece of candy, or taste of something Cody was eating but it didn't feel detrimental to how I felt or my process. And it felt like October was over in no time. Completing nearly 60 days of Whole 30 taught me that it could definitely be a lifestyle for me.

Next, November came. We moved to a new place, celebrated our first anniversary, and then Thanksgiving. I definitely didn't fall as far as I had in July and August, but I was letting some old habits creep back in. I was still making healthy meals but I was having more drinks and treats. After Thanksgiving I was feeling like crud and to me, it seems the more I have these foods out of my system, the greater effect they have on me.

What do I mean by effect? When I consume gluten, dairy, and sugar I physically bloat, I get headaches, my acne worsens, my pre-menstrual symptoms increase, and sorry about the TMI, but my gastrointestinal issues get bad. Mentally, I get down on myself, become much more moody and sensitive, and feel like I'm in a fog.

I have been seeing a doctor to sort of these food sensitivities and it seems it might be due to a Leaky Gut, possibly a result of antibiotics taken over the course of my life. So I am taking action to correct some of that with dietary supplements. I don't think that gluten, dairy, and sugar are evil. But I do think that they have effects on everyone. It just seems they take a stronger hold on me and have more negative effects than some people. Sometimes this makes me mad and I feel alone in the battle. I get resentful that I have to be mindful of what I eat. And these feelings might come up for a while.

So, six months into this, I'm now at a place where I know I need to see this as more of a lifestyle than a 'challenge'. I don't want to be counting the days that I eat healthily, up or down. But I also need to make the parameters more livable. With Whole 30, it's difficult to ever eat out or be a part of social engagements. I also have to drive all over town to find compliant foods. Moving forward, I'm going to take the Whole 30 parameters and make them work for my life. So, I'm going to purchase almond milk that may have some carageenan in it. I'm going to make grain free pancakes, and I'm going to have the occasional drink.

I'm really proud of all of the knowledge I have gained about food and the new approach I have to eating. Years ago I was counting calories down to every piece of gum I chewed, guzzling diet soda, and eating everything 'lite' and low-fat. I would skip meals in order to stay within my count for the day. I chastised myself for lack of self control and resticted myself to a diet out of self-disgust. I feel so much better eating whole foods and feeding my body when I'm hungry, knowing that I'm consuming things that don't make me crazed without control. It's still a journey, but making food choices from a place of self-love seems like a much better path to be on.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful 2015

I guess this is just a requisite cheesy Thanksgiving post. I'm writing this on Wednesday to post on Thursday and this morning was a doozy. This seems like a good exercise right now.

I'm (reluctantly) thankful for my job. Beyond the financial resource for us, I'm thankful for the kids I get to see and help grow every day. I'm not going to lie, my job is really, really hard. And there is a lot of the time I don't like it for reasons I won't get into. However, the kids I work with are amazing and I'm glad I'm never bored at work. It's lucky to be in a position to continue to grow and be challenged in my profession.

I'm thankful for our financial situation. We definitely don't make a lot of money but I know we are fortunate to have what we do. And I'm proud that we've made so much progress in our first year of marriage that we're in a much more comfortable place financially than one year ago.

I'm thankful for our new home. I love it so much that I don't even mind my extended commute.

I'm thankful for the cats. They comfort me and make me laugh every day. I think our little home would be kind of sad without them. And I'm thankful that they didn't kill each other when we got Bruce and they now tolerate like each other.

I'm thankful for my family and especially that we live near enough to them to see them on the holidays.

I'm thankful for my husband. He's my best friend and the person I like spending the time with most. I'm thankful that we are able to spend many evenings and weekends together and truly enjoy each other's company. I'm thankful that he's endlessly patient (even when I slam the door because the zipper on my dress broke - possible true Wednesday morning story).

I'm interested to see what good fortune the next year brings us and what I'll be thankful for next year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our Second Home

We hosted Friendsgiving on Friday so when we cleaned up the whole place, I thought it was a great opportunity to finally snap some pictures of our new home. It's come together well and we absolutely LOVE it and the neighborhood. I get kind of emotional when I think about all of the amazing memories we will have here. It was so wonderful to have the space to host 15 friends last night. I can't wait to have family over for Thanksgiving and have many more holidays in this space. Who knows, this might even be the home where we bring home a baby!

Living Room

View walking in the front door


Cody also hopes to put a kegerator/keezer out here

Dining Room

Our new table that I am obsessed with




Second Bedroom

Currently a grooming/gaming room

Requisite dozing cat picture (with second cat photo bombing)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Anniversary Gifts: Paper

For Cody, I made a mosaic of all of our wedding photos and had it printed as a 20"x30" poster. I used a program called Mazaika to make it.

 Cody's gift for me was this menu. He recreated our wedding dinner, down to every detail!

I think it's fun that anniversary gifts can follow a theme and it was cool to see how Cody and I interpreted it for each other. Second anniversary is Cotton!

Monday, November 23, 2015

First Anniversary Celebration

We were lucky to be able to spend the whole weekend celebrating our anniversary!

Friday 11/13

Cody told me he had something planned but wouldn't reveal what. When I finished my workout he even asked me to kill some time at a coffee shop to finish preparations. I came home to candlelight, my favorite wines, music from our favorite movie playing, and an exact replica of our wedding dinner being prepared by Cody!

We had a lovely dinner and watched our favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally.

Saturday 11/14

While our actual anniversary is the 15th, we had our big date planned for Saturday night.

Stop #1 - We drove into downtown St. Paul and walked around Rice Park and past our wedding venue. There was another wedding happening that night, almost 50 degrees warmer than last year!

We went across the street to the St. Paul Hotel where the girls and I got ready on the wedding day and Cody and I stayed that night. We had a cocktail at the St. Paul Grill where we hung out after the wedding.

Stop #2 - Dinner at Heartland in Lowertown St. Paul. 

We had an INCREDIBLE dinner that lasted about three hours.

Stop #3 - We made our way back toward home with the help of Uber and had some final cocktails.

Then back at home I gave Cody his gifts.

Sunday 11/15

We went out for dinner with my parents at Patrick McGovern's, where we had our rehearsal dinner. Then we came home and watched our ceremony and speeches video and had some wedding cake! Our bakery advised against freezing our cake and instead made us a complimentary one this year for our anniversary!

It was an amazing weekend full of love!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

First Anniversary

November 15, 2014, the best day of our lives, was one year ago today. 

Last year this weekend my feeling was of completely overwhelming joy. It was so touching to have so many people come together to support us. The beauty of our surroundings was breath taking. The words people spoke brought tears to my eyes over and over again. My face ached from smiling so much. And I got to say "I do" to the most caring man I have ever met.

This year I feel a sense of deep contentment and security that I thought I felt last year but has deepened tremendously. I love you so much, Cody and I love our life together.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Five Things on Friday 11/13

-one- We moved into our new place on November 1st and have no been able to have our internet hooked up yet. Yesterday we finally had an appointment to have it set up and guess what?! No show. So we are now on day 13 with no internet. I know that this is not an actual problem and that it has actually helped us settle our new home much more quickly but I do feel a little like we've regressed into the dark ages :)

-two- We got our first Blue Apron box yesterday! I used a discount code from NPR and got three meals for $39.95. It's obviously more expensive than if you just grocery shopped yourself but less expensive than going out to eat. They ship all of the ingredients to your door, portioned out, with all of the recipes and you just have to get cooking. I love cooking and this is a way for me to try recipes I wouldn't think of myself. Here's what we got:

Chicken Khao Soi Soup

Lentil Bolognese

Crispy Cod and Spiced Couscous with Acorn Squash

-three- We have a dining room for the first time and we have had so much fun putting it together. I'm going to write a whole post on how we scored an amazing farmhouse table and bench for a totally affordable price. But has been great for finding chairs.

We got two of these chairs for the ends of the table for only $155.00

And we got four of these metal chairs for one side for only $75.00! We'll have a wooden bench on the other side of the table.

-four- This week Cody started working part time at a brand new brewery in Minneapolis. He has been studying to become a cicerone (fancy name for a beer expert) and recently passed the first step as a Certified Beer Server. While he's still working full time in politics, this is a really enjoyable thing to do on the side and a great way to earn some extra money for all of our upcoming travels. They opened their doors for the first time on Wednesday and I went in for a beer and to check it out last night. The taproom is amazing and it looks like it will be so much fun!

-five- Sunday is our first anniversary! I can't for a weekend of celebrations!

Linking up here and here for Friday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Moving Tips for Lazy People

We moved this last weekend and Cody and I both on several occasions shouted "I hate moving!!" Luckily, we don't plan to do it again any time soon. (Well, last year we weren't planning to move this year so we'll see what happens). Moving can be a great opportunity to get organized and downsize your number of belongings. But I think that's much more necessary if you've been in your home for a long time and have way too many things. We have only been in our place a year and we don't have much stuff. In fact, if we hadn't gotten wedding gifts last fall, we'd have almost nothing. Many of these tips don't work if you're hiring movers. They have rules about how things need to be packed. We rented a UHaul and Cody and his friend Ryan moved everything. We know that once we have a house, doing everything ourselves won't be as feasible. So I guess these are moving tips for cheap people, too.


  • Sell as many things as you can. If you sell it you don't have to move it. Better yet, make the buyers pick it up from your place. We sold our giant bookcase, a sound system, and two chairs. We also made a couple hundred bucks! If you're going to buy new things, wait until after you've moved.

  • Minimize the amount of actual packing you have to do. 

  • Leave all of your clothes on the hangers. This can get tricky if they start falling off while moving. So then you can just slip a garbage bag over the clothes and strings around the top of the hanger. We put all of our hanging clothes in my car instead of the truck. But then we could just lift them out, then into the new closets.

  • Leave all of your other clothes in the drawers. They can remove the drawers from the dressers and just carry them into the truck, full of already folded clothes.

  • Pad breakables with clothing to maximize packing space and kill two birds with one stone.

  • Pack spices/other foods in slow cooker or baking pans.

  • Wrap things like picture frames and larger art in blankets and tape it up.

  • Eat all of your food. We put any food we were moving into coolers. But I didn't do any grocery shopping for about 10 days before we moved so that we were forced to finish things.

  • Throw things away. If you can't sell it, chuck it. If you don't you're just going to have to move it again next time when you inevitably don't use it again.

  • One more tip for the cheap people: Don't buy boxes. They're expensive. We've shared some with friends, gotten some from liquor stores, and I've gotten them from work (paper boxes from the copy room). You can also buy and resell moving materials on Craigslist.

We're almost settled in so I can't wait to post some pictures of the new place!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Little Inspiration

When I'm scrolling through Instagram and I see something that inspires me I always screen shot it. Over time I've collected quite a few so I need to purge my iphone photo library. Here are some of my favorites:

For encouragement:

For inspiration:

On marriage:

On self love:

On principle:

On teaching:

On running:

And just for laughs: