high five for friday

h54f1. I got to hang out with my friend Emily three times in the last week! We lived together for a couple of years in college so it’s been great getting to spend more time with her and our other college buddy, Leslie.

2. Bri-muscle turned 31 on Monday! I love being married to an old man. 😉 He asked if I would go for a jog with him and I couldn’t say no since it was his b-day.

3. Another college buddy. Carrie sent this awesome card (she always does) with one of Bri’s college friends circa 2002. Crazy.

4. I figured out how to use liquid eyeliner! TRIUMPH. I had to raise my eyebrows for you to see the wing. Another reason I love my bangs — they hide my forehead “surprise lines.”

5. Emily and I saw a show choir concert last night at the SAS campus. We were probably the youngest in the audience by about 40 years, but it was fun nonetheless.

Paleo Update

We’re in the home stretch of our 30 day Paleo diet and I have a few thoughts.

Fiber. It’s tough to get your daily fiber when there are no grains allowed (no oats, rice, corn, bran, etc). There is so much meat in this diet that you really have to make sure you’re getting lots of fiber and eating your sauerkraut. My digestion hasn’t been as good as usual this past week so we’re switching back to white meat and fish for a while.

Fruit. There isn’t any fruit in the meal plan that we’re following. We have oj every morning and I made some apple muffins (here’s the recipe) but that’s about it. I would usually have fruit and yogurt with breakfast or lunch, but since we’re not having dairy I don’t get those berries.

Weight. I don’t think I’ve lost a significant amount of weight but I do feel like my clothes are fitting better (i.e. not so snug around the middle). It was not my intention to lose any weight. Actually, it was never my intention to go on any sort of diet. But since I’m not a short-order cook, I won’t be cooking two separate meals for Bri and me. I’m not an expert, but I feel like cutting out the gluten is what really caused my body to change (maybe because I’ve been sneaking dairy 😉 but no cheese).

Sustainability. At first I didn’t feel like this was a sustainable way to live, especially traveling as much as we do. But it’s getting easier, it just took a little change in how I plan my meals. I used to automatically reach for oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, sandwiches and chips for lunch, and meat + veggie + something white for dinner. Here’s what a typical meal looked like:

IMG_0046Not nearly enough protein, especially when I would make a sandwich… unless you’re making mega-sandwich with about 2 inches of turkey meat. Here is what each of our meals look like now:

IMG_0048Not perfect; I definitely need more fruit and, in my opinion, dairy. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I need more protein at each meal. Protein is so important for blood sugar regulation (which also means for avoiding the grumpies). It’s amazing. I can go for hours without eating. No snacks. And I don’t even get hungry for lunch until after 12 or 1. Unheard of. Surprisingly I don’t miss cheese as much as I thought I would. I do miss salty goodies like scones (I know they’re not terribly salty, but they’re fluffy and buttery and now my stomach is growling) and chips and biscuits. So maybe it’s more sustainable than I thought. And if you’re on the Paleo diet and have any pointers on getting more fiber, please share.

Some Joy for Your Day

I made a wee picture for my iPad background and thought I’d share it. Feel free to use it if it makes you happy. 🙂

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And one for you portrait-orientation types.

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something about how I’m a hooker

I’ve been going to a Pilates class for a few weeks now and I love it. Not just like it, but love it. As in I’m willing to get up at 5:15 twice a week for it. The only problem is, I can’t sit up (without flailing my arms or hooking my feet) to save my life. Thankfully the mats have straps for people like me.

Here’s what we we do at least 50 times each class. Step 1) Lie flat on your back, arms raised to the ceilings, heels anchored to the mat.

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Step 2) Slowly raise your head, then shoulders, rolling all the way up.IMG_0038

Step 3) Sit up tall.IMG_0037

And here’s me after step 2.IMG_0036

I get stuck.

The thing is, I’ve never been able to do a sit up without hooking my feet for as long as I can remember (and I can remember what I wore on the first day of school in first grade — Mrs. Hill’s class, pink shirt and plaid jumper. I cried and she let me sit on her lap in circle time). I thought maybe something was wrong with my lower back, like my lumbar just doesn’t curve that way… Therefore I cannot slouch very well either. But I digress.

I don’t think anything is wrong with me, I just have weak, tight hip flexors. Check out this post about “ending your lower belly pooch.”

So in an attempt to actually be able to sit up some day, I’ve been doing these quick and easy stretches and really paying attention to my lumbar position. No more hooking my foot under the coffee table to get up when I’m reclined on the couch. No more poking my butt out subconsciously when I’m just standing around. It’s hard.

I wonder how long it will take me to be able to sit up. Or maybe I’m just destined to have to hook.

Favorites for the Lips

Let’s start with a moment of silence for Downton Abbey. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here for those who are still catching up.)

*Sniff*

Alright, moving on. A few weeks ago I posted this picture on Instagram:

IMG_4488Those all came out of my “lip gloss pocket” in my purse. No wonder it weighs a ton! But I must say that I’ve gotten good use out of each of these lip products, plus a few more. So here are my favorites in order of color-ness. (I didn’t include the reds that I’ve been wearing, found in this post.)

LIPS

1. I never leave the house without my Burts. Seriously, I have them tucked away all over. My purse, jacket pocket, coffee table, night stand, B-money’s back pack. (No, that last one is not a joke, there is a Burts tucked into the second pocket of his back pack.)

2. Fresh’s Sugar Rose is a great because it has a hint of color and SPF 15. Also, side note, the lid twists off. Let me save you from feeling like a momo (like me) and thinking you’re just not strong enough to get the lid off.

3. I love the smell and formula of Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Baby Doll. There isn’t much color, mostly shine and shimmer. But it’s not sticky and doesn’t do that funky clumpy thing on your lips or the corner of your mouth.

4. I LOVE BUTTER LONDON! I have several of their nail polishes and got this lippy in Trout Pout for my b-day. It is quite thick, so there is a reason it’s called liquid lipstick. This is a nice pale pink, more opaque than you would think for a lip gloss, and is a great color for this spring with rosy cheeks and floral prints.

5. This is one of my favorite glosses. It is Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Child. Jessica Alba wore Hourglass lip gloss with her amazing coral dress at the Golden Globes this year. This actually has a little bit of color, but it’s nude and smooth and lasts way longer than most other glosses (so it’s great if your a talker like me). I like this when I just want some shine and not much color. Also, I got a mini size and so didn’t pay out the wazoo for it.

6. Tarte LipSurgence matte lip tint in Hope. I really like this one. It looks kind of purple, but is a very natural color. I think there must be mint in the formula because it is refreshing like Burts. It’s just enough color that no one would know you had it on, but you look put together. Plus no one can tell when it starts to wear off. Keep in mind that it is matte, so you may want a gloss over it.

7. Maybelline Color Whisper in Pin-up Peach. This is another one that Kate at The Small Things Blog shared. It is like a shimmery tinted balm. And I think it’s more pink than peach. This is the one I reach for when I’m in a hurry and can’t find or don’t have time to stand in front of a mirror. It’s also one that still looks good when it’s wearing off.

8. Lastly, the Sonia Kashuk lipstick in Pink Punch. I LOVE THIS. It goes on super smooth and creamy and feels like a step up from Revlon but not quite MAC. I like the pink when I want a good pop of color but red is too much or doesn’t go with what I’m wearing. (How much do I sound like I would be Cher on Clueless?) It does wear off with too much talking, but girls go to the bathroom a lot so just keep it in your pocket and you’re good to go.

Do you have any favorites right now? Are you ready to put some color on your lips?! I challenge you to try some color on your lips this week!

The Power of a Red Lipstick

In the last month or so I’ve started wearing colors on my lips. It’s not a completely novel concept, I know. But to me, that area of the beauty department was overwhelming and a little bit scary. Don’t get me wrong, I had lip gloss and chapsticks a plenty, but nothing with substantial color.

Then one night, at my friend’s birthday celebration (at the Melting Pot!), I tried on some red lipstick.

redlips1(Pre-bangs)

It automatically makes you purse your lips. 😉 No, jk. But I think the best time to try new things like this is with a group of your fun girlfriends so even if you feel like a clown (or a sassy harlot in my case), it doesn’t matter. This was a MAC Sheen Supreme lipstick in a dark pink/red color. I liked it.

Then a little while later I started reading The Small Things Blog and Kate had quite a few helpful posts about lipstick so I felt a little less silly going to the drug store and buying one. I ended up going to Walgreens with my husband (who did not need much convincing that I should buy some red lipstick after this picture) and got two Revlon shades, the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic and the Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red.

I got home and put on the lipstick. So. much. color! It is creamy and a little bit goes a long way. For my everyday look, I definitely don’t swipe it on, but rather dab it and rub it in until I get the amount of color I want.

I feel like wearing some color on my lips just makes my face look more alive. Not that I’m going to be cast as a walker on the Walking Dead anytime soon, but I realize just how much they blend in with my face when I don’t have anything on them. This is my daytime look with the lipstick.

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I don’t feel over-done. Imagine my face without any color on my lips, I think you’d barely be able to tell I was smiling. While at first I thought this color was a little too orange for me, I gave it some time and decided I like it. Maybe I’ll get more of a blue-red soon. (Any recommendations? If so, what’s the price range?) The lip stain was also a good amount of color, but not nearly as pigmented as the lipstick. I think if you’re looking for something with color, go with the lipstick. You can use as much or as little as you want. Also, the stain dries out over time.

Another great reason to have a colored lipstick in your purse, photographs. Even if you’re not taking family portraits, I bet you’re taking pictures several times a week! (Hello, Instagram.) And if your lips were colored, I bet your pretty face would be in more of those pictures. Even if you’re feeling frumpy and don’t love the way you look but want to document the occasion, you can fake creativity and give it a black and white filter.

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Red lips look great in black and white.

An important thing I learned, though, exfoliate your lips a bit before you put on a richly colored lipstick. I usually just take a damp wash cloth and scrub away. That way your color goes on smoothly and your lips will just look nicer and you won’t be like me, trying to figure out if it’s leftover damage from your braces 10 years ago.

Honestly, if you don’t have a go-to lipstick or at least a tinted lip gloss or lip balm, get yourself some! All I’ve been thinking lately is, why didn’t I try this sooner?

I have a few other favorite balms, stains, and glosses that I’ve been using lately, not quite so bright, I’ll do another post on them.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you’ve been told how much you are loved today, because you are. 🙂

My love brought me a lovely bunch of tulips today. Rather than taking a picture and instagramming them (which I will probably do anyway), I decided to draw!

photo-1I really am enjoying FiftyThree’s Paper app.
Rather than buying B-Money a present, I decided to make something that would speak straight to his heart, these gluten-free and dairy-free cookies from the Tasty Kitchen Blog. He’s a traditionalist at heart and always wants chocolate chip cookies, but a good chocolate peanut butter cookie has to taste yummy when you haven’t had many treats in over a week. 😉

Maybe I’ll be crazy and have dessert before dinner tonight! But I’m definitely saving room for the short ribs that have been cooking away in the crock pot…

Paleo Diet for Allergy Relief

As soon as we got home from our anniversary trip to Blowing Rock, B-money and I started the Paleo diet. If you haven’t heard of it, the Paleo diet is gluten, dairy, and processed foods-free. It’s based on the paleolithic diet — meats, eggs, and veggies that don’t require much work (i.e. no legumes that have to be soaked).

I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, so I got Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo ($9.99 on iBooks and Kindle, but I ended up buying the hard copy, too.) It is THE BEST book on this whole subject, in my opinion. The first half is incredibly informational and educational. The second half is filled with multiple 30-day meal plans and all of the coordinating recipes with notes on food exceptions for those avoiding FODMAPS, nightshades, nuts, etc. You can even find a grocery shopping list for each meal plan on their blog, Balanced Bites. (She has a chapter devoted to your digestion, including a pretty awesome Guide to Your Poop chart. Did you know you can test your “transit” time? Swallow 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds after a meal — watch your eliminations, you should see the bulk of them appear together. A healthy transit time is 18-24 hours. Sorry, is that gross?)

We had already been eating this way 2-3 meals per week, but I wanted to give it a try full time to see if it helps B-mucous and his allergies. (Sorry, is that gross?) Since moving back to NC, his seasonal and environmental allergies have been significantly worse, so much so that he had to get an inhaler.

The idea is that if gluten is attacking your small intestine and allowing food and other particles to leak into your blood stream and other innards (check out this article on Leaky Gut for a better explanation), it will trigger an autoimmune reaction, using 60-80% of your immune system. Essentially, most of your body’s autoimmune attackers are going to work in your gut because of your latest meal, leaving a small percentage of your immune system to fight the actual invaders like germs and allergens.

So. No gluten and no dairy for 30 days for us. No pasta, rice, quinoa, or oats of any sort. No milk chocolate, chocolate ice cream, Chickfila, tacos, granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, or egg in a hole.

We’re on day 8. So far so good.

The hardest part for me has been figuring out what to eat for a snack. But to be honest, with this plan, I’m eating so much protein at every meal that I don’t usually need a snack. I could set my clock by my stomach rumbling every day at 3:55, signaling that if I didn’t get a snack soon, Grumpy Becca would be here in full force.

"Who's gonna be the grumpus?"

“Who’s gonna be the grumpus?”

I also didn’t realize two people could run the dishwasher so often. Since we’re cooking and eating every single meal at home, we’re using lots of pots, pans, dishes, and utensils. So if you hate cooking, this might not be the best plan for you. And yes, our grocery bill is higher, but we’re saving money by not eating out. Like, at all.

I know for some people, being gluten-free isn’t a choice like it has been for us. I’m sorry and I’ll pray for you. (I’m being sarcastic, it’s not that terrible, you just have to change how you think.) I think for others, it’s another diet to try to help you lose weight. I may have lost 2-3 pounds so far, but my weight fluctuates that much in a day. B-muscle thinks his cookie pooch is getting smaller. Of course he never had a cookie pooch (aka gut) to begin with, but he’s been working hard with Tony doing P90X again, so I’ll let him think that. (I said no thank you, I’ll stick to my slow jogs.)

But I don’t think this diet is sustainable for me. I think a bowl of oatmeal is healthy, especially when you make it yourself and add lots of goodies to it like berries and nut butters. I also think yogurt is incredibly good for me. My intestines need it.

Everything in moderation.

I must say, though, I never paid attention to how much gluten I was eating before. And really, it’s all just fillers. Bread, pasta, cereal, oats, crackers, chips, breading on your chicken. Imagine going just one week without any of that. You’d be forcing yourself to eat foods that are whole, straight from the earth or the animal, and not processed in a factory. (If it has to go through a factory to be made into food, it’s not food.)

I am looking forward to seeing my husband go for a hard run outside in the cold and not need an inhaler. I’m looking forward to not feeling those grumpies every afternoon. (As is my husband.) I’m also looking forward to trying new foods and adding new recipes to my list of go-to’s.

If you have any gluten-free and dairy free recipes that you love, please send them my way!

drawing apps

Just before American Thanksgiving I got myself an iPad. One of my favorite apps so far has been Paper by FiftyThree. It turns your iPad into a sketch book of sorts. I haven’t paid for any of the add-ons, still debating that one. But I’ve had fun with the plain ‘ol doodle part, including making myself some seasonal backgrounds for my iPad.

photoI discovered that I love drawing ribbons.

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Another app that I have loved is iFontMaker by 2TTF. It’s an app that allows you to make your own font, one character at a time. So far I’ve made 2 fonts.

fonts

You can download them and use them! (I wish it could go without saying, but please do not use them for profit or try to sell them as your own work.) If you end up using them elsewhere on the internet, share a link with me so I can check it out. 🙂

FirstHand

FancyPants

I think it would be cool to have my Grandma write each letter so I can capture her handwriting. Or anyone from my family for that matter. If you have a quirky, unique handwriting or just have fun drawing doodles and wingdings, you should get this app, too!

update

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for months now. Seriously, months. As I’ve pondered this whole blogging thing, I’ve asked myself why I want to blog. People have different reasons, but for me, it comes down to chronicling my life. There are so many funny, crazy, overwhelming things that happen that I want to remember.

So I’m back.

Since we last met, quite a bit has happened. But I’ll just give you the highlights. (That’s not a promise to be short, just that I’m leaving out lots.)

We moved to a new apartment. Not stressful at all. :/ Who knew it could be 85* at the end of October?

We moved to a new apartment. Not stressful at all. :/ Who knew it could be 85* at the end of October?

We did the Color Run 5K in Charlotte! It was SO fun. Everyone needs to do it at some point.

We did the Color Run 5K in Charlotte! It was SO fun. Everyone needs to do it at some point.

My brother and sister were there along with a bunch of our friends.

My brother and sister were there along with a bunch of our friends.

Seriously, so fun.

Seriously, so fun.

I did a photo shoot for my cute nephews. They already look bigger.

I did a photo shoot for my cute nephews. They already look bigger.

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And I did a photo shoot for this cute family.

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I got to hang out with some cool kids when my bff came into town for a week.

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We celebrated Christmas with lots of these dark chocolate covered peppermint jo jo’s. I loved them so much that I wanted to document them. Don’t judge.

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We also celebrated Christmas in style.

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I had a merry birthday with a wee party in our new place.

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Even my photos got in the spirit of things!

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We rang in the New Year with games and friends. 5 hours can fly by when you have Mexican Train.

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We finally got some snow. This snow bunny loved it. Don’t let her face fool you.

I got bangs! Maybe you're unaware, but this is a monumental occasion in a woman's life. And apparently they are butt holes when it comes time to grow them out. There's your PSA.

I got bangs! Maybe you’re unaware, but this is a monumental occasion in a woman’s life. And apparently they are butt holes when it comes time to grow them out. There’s your PSA.

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We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in Boone and Blowing Rock. We got to play in some snow there, too.

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You can never really get the mountains out of your blood. They’re always calling.

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We had an AMAZING dinner at the same restaurant, in the same table (!) where we had our first date 9 years ago. I would’ve taken a picture of my ahi tuna steak, creamed kale, and jasmine rice and Brian’s meat loaf with Cheerwine barbecue sauce, creamed potatoes, and asparagus but the lights were too dim. Besides, some memories are best left tucked away in your heart. (I’m talking about the meal. Seriously, so good.)

So there you have it. Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. 🙂