Winter Style Challenge – Day Seven // Bright Color

Hooray! Ten days of inspirational style prompts. God knows I need some! Check out Kayla’s post explaining the challenge here if you would like to play along.

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I took the easy way out today and I will totally admit it. I went for monochrome with a pop of color. (Sidebar: Pop of Color is quickly becoming an expression that really makes me want to roll my eyes when I hear it.)

Anyway, I took the easy way out because I wasn’t feeling super hot this morning, slept in late, had to work and was freeeeeeeeeeezing. So…in the end, we have this:

I have to say, as plain jane as this outfit is though, I still really love this headband, which was a total impulse buy at Target ages ago. Impulse buys, for the win! It’s the perfect way to glam up second day hair in a ponytail. ha!

I just may have to head over to Target on Sunday and make some impulse buys when the Jason Wu for Target line comes out. Have you looked at some of the cute stuff?

Get in my closet!!!

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January Progress Report + February Intentions

How has the first month of the year gone by already? I feel like we were all just sitting around making plans for what this new year would bring and now tomorrow is FEBRUARY. Insanity!

In an effort to remain accountable to my annual goals while also celebrating the journey (AKA not being too focused on the outcome — enjoying the act of making PROGRESS) I’m going to do a monthly Progress Report for my 10 Major Goal Categories and then try to re-focus for the upcoming month. Hope you don’t mind my thinking out loud? :)

(2012 Goals are listed here)

Personal

Most of these are wedding/pregnancy/baby related so I probably won’t address too much here until later on this year, but hey I downloaded a Fertility App, so hey — Baby Steps (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? BAHAHAHHA, I KILL ME.)

In all seriousness though, “Moving Toward My Professional Goals” is an important one in this category and Garrett and I did lay down some ground work on a professional endeavor. I’m not ready to talk too much about it, but I will tell you this: THAT SHIT IS EXHAUSTING. On top of working full time, doing some freelance stuff, working out, cooking and sleeping it has been ALL BUSINESS IDEAS ALL THE TIME. Creative overload. And honestly, we have a long way to go. But also? It’s exciting! It’s something we’re passionate about! And we get to do it together! So, you know WIN. With a side of HOLY MOSES WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?

Intentions for February: Keeping up the good (hard) work!

Relationship

We did have a fun date night. Actually, we had two! But we didn’t get to have dinner with friends this month I don’t think.
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Intentions for February: Multiple dinners with friends! Our first will be this weekend for sure, to celebrate my friend Sarah turning 30!

Travel

While we didn’t GO anywhere in January, we solidified the weekend for our trip to Portland and I am scheming to get myself to the midwest to hang with AndreAnna in August so we can do this. OHMYGOD, hold me!

Intentions for February: We’re hitting up the Central Coast, which is a bonus trip I didn’t even bargain for. HOORAY!

Style

Currently working on it. And I have a running list in my purse of items I would like to purchase. I actually haven’t purchased too much yet this year, but I will definitely be adding some things to the wardrobe!

Intentions for February: Hot Pink Pants! Ha…I don’t know just yet. But I will definitely be finding some patterned stuff for sure, since it’s totally lacking in the wardrobe.

Finances
Nada

Home Improvement
Nada

Listen, we can’t all be good at everything. And I may continue to avoid these categories in February too. :)

Fitness

I’ve been working super hard on my goal to get an unassisted pullup and I am making GREAT progress. I’m pretty sure I will get there by June. As for getting to my goal weight. I’ve got about 40 lbs to go. That seems like such a small number to me, so I know I can get there. But I’m also in the throes of a major plateau despite lots of clean eating/working.

Intentions for February: Well I’m doing something new. And I’ll be talking about it next week.

Nutrition
Weekly Meal Plans – Check
Eating More Greans – Check
Game? Not so much yet. Fish Oil? Still not in the habit. Garrett’s PWO? Nothing yet.

February Intentions: All of the above.

Documentation


Well we have talked about Project Life Progressalready, and I think this weekend’s adventure down to the Central Coast may end up being my first Mini-book of the year. We’ll see. It’s been harder and easier than I thought all at once.

Keep it all up!

Blog

So many goals, so little time! :)
I’ve posted 3 recipes so far this year, so I’m chugging along towards my goal of 52 this year. What are you guys interested in? Breakfast Recipes? Lunches? What’s on your mind, I will post it!

I’ve been actually pretty good at sticking to my editorial calendar, which has been kind of nice because it’s allowed me to post just about every day this month. I like having this space as a daily touchstone. It keeps me motivated!

The Paleo e-book is coming. It will be FREE, it’s just going to be a whole metric ton of info in one space. If you have questions I could answer in it, let me know!

February Intentions: Start thinking about a redesign for functionality.

Books
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Well, my goal to read 75 books and take a bite out of my bookshelf is definitely a streeeeeeeeetch goal. I’ll be talking about what I read this month later on this week so we’ll get into the actual number then, but let’s just say this is already proving to be tough with all of the other things I’m juggling.

I did participate in Blog Her Bookclub this month though, and Garrett did start his own little project here in this space so that’s been fun.

February Intentions: MAKE MORE TIME TO READ. It’s my one little pleasure and I need to carve out time to read like I carve out time to workout. It can be done, and I need to make it happen.

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I’m making some progress, but there’s a long way to go. One month down, eleven to go. I’m still excited about 2012 — are you?

Winter Style Challenge – Day Six // Decade or Region

Hooray! Ten days of inspirational style prompts. God knows I need some! Check out Kayla’s post explaining the challenge here if you would like to play along.

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Well we have passed the summit! This is the last week of style challenges and honestly, this week is a little bit harder for me. I’m already feeling intimidated by the prompts but hey — that’s the point, right? Get a little creative.

Today’s prompt was to get inspired by a decade or region, and about 10 minutes before I ran out the door I still had no idea what I was going to wear. I had planned to wear a dress that would work for a 70s vibe in my mind, but then I tried it on and what do you know…it no longer fits. UGH. I mean…score! It’s too big! But you know…bad news since it was kind of my option.

I looked at the pair of boots sitting in my closet and thought: I have to be able to create something a little 60s/mod with these, right? (But you know, also work appropriate as well as WARM!) so here is what I came up with:

On short notice, I’m pretty happy with it.

Dress/Tights and Bracelet are from (shocker) Target. :)

Crappy iphone pic courtesy of me being in a rush. Ratty Chuck Taylors in the background are because I peeled off my shoes last night and practically crawled into my bed. Basically, it’s a Monday.

Discomfort and The Oboe Principle

I heard a little gem of wisdom the other day that made me laugh and it started a thought train that I felt the need to share. I spent last week in a 3-day long sales seminar, and if I could emphasize any word from this sentence it would be the word LONG. It was a LONG week, that last one, and I’m sure you are sick of hearing about it as much as I was sick of living it, but it was during this seminar (a seminar where the expression Always Be Closing was used multiple times un-ironically :::sigh:::) that one of the instructors told a story about her son who plays the oboe. One day he was complaining to his music teacher that playing the oboe was so hard, and whyyyyyyyyyyyy, why was it so hard? And the teacher replied, “If it wasn’t hard, the wrong kind of people would be playing it.” And it just made me chuckle. Apparently the oboe has a Natural Selection process.
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I followed up that long week by inviting a group of strangers over to my house on Saturday to ask me questions. Questions that I would have to answer on camera. While trying to look natural. Easy peasy, right?
Just an average Saturday afternoon "acting natural" in front of a film crew. NBD.
HA! My awkwardness knows no bounds.

The backstory of this film is right here, but I want to tell you why I did it, because I hope that you know that the genesis behind participating had nothing to do with how fabulous I think I look on camera. Is there anything more nerve-racking than picking out an outfit to wear when you are being filmed? GAH! I would submit, no. I AM NO RACHEL ZOE!

Anyway, I did it because the thought of speaking on camera about Paleo and CrossFit (and how they have both changed my life) like, for OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE (OMG!) made me feel super uncomfortable. And as much as I hate to be uncomfortable, I’ve found that most often, doing things that make me feel uncomfortable generally get me closer to my goals. Life is weird that way. Comfortable is easy. I like comfortable, and the act of keeping myself comfortable is a part of my major routine. But every once in a while if you want to grow, I think you have to push.

T.S. Eliot sums up this philosophy so much better:

I know I post this quote here a lot, but it is such a good reminder to always find your edge (to borrow a yoga term) — It’s in the edge that you find your progress.
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So that was Saturday. Then on Sunday we got up at an ungodly hour and took a road trip down to the bay area to watch our first CrossFit competiton: The Nor Cal 40s.

The event was for athletes 40 and over, and we went out to support some of the rock stars from our box who were competing, and I can’t tell you how inspired I was when we left. (Okay okay, I also left feeling tired — sympathy tired clearly, as the most work I did yesterday was pouring a mimosa– and having a serious craving for In-n-Out Burger. But both of those feelings were easily overcome.) I actually left yesterday having some clarity about why I love CrossFit so much. And it totally has to do with discomfort and The Oboe Principle.

You always hear about how competitive CrossFit is — your times are monitored, your number of reps are tracked, the workouts have benchmarks. Sometimes when people hear about CrossFit they say the competitive atmosphere wouldn’t appeal to them. They don’t want to compare themselves to these super fit people, that doesn’t motivate them. But the thing is, CrossFit has nothing to do with comparing to others. In fact, it is about pushing YOURSELF to your limits — whatever those limits are. It’s about finding your own personal PRs, not beating the PRs of others. And all of the athletes I watched yesterday were doing just that — pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and giving it their own personal best! Every person out there, no matter how they ended up finishing was an inspiration because they had the guts to try.

I understand that people think CrossFit sounds hard, but honestly, its elements aren’t any harder to do than that treadmill or that yoga class. What it requires, however, is a commitment to feeling uncomfortable most of the time in the name of bettering yourself. And the truth is, that does not appeal to all people. I’m not making a judgment about it being good or bad, so please don’t take it like that — CrossFit isn’t for everyone, full stop. I get that. But yesterday I left that event thinking, THIS. THIS is actually the exact reason why I love it. I love the butterflies and the rush of adrenaline. I love the fear and I love the success. I love to truly push myself to the edge and support others who are doing the same. Those are my people.

And Yes, it gets hard. But if it wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it. And if everyone was doing it, then it wouldn’t cause discomfort. It would be a comfortable thing that I could motivate myself to do regularly. But I left yesterday feeling more inspired than ever. I left feeling excited about finding that next thing that I want to do that would make me feel uncomfortable. I left ready to push my limits and reach toward my own edge. And tired as I am from a long, busy weekend, I can’t wait to get back in the box tonight. I think TS Eliot would have been a CrossFitter. Or maybe he would have played the oboe. Either way he is a champion of pushing yourself and that — is totally something I can get behind.

What are you going to do this week to push yourself? Can you find something small that will make you step out of your comfort zone?

What’s For Dinner?

Last January Garrett and I headed down to the central coast and spent a long weekend looking at a lot of this:

Avila Beach

This coming weekend we are headed down again to celebrate one of my besties’ 30th birthday and her recent engagement! I’m hoping the weather will give us a repeat performance.

Buddies

What does this mean to you? Well, it means my menu post is a little bit light. But here is what we are eating all the same:

Monday
Lunch: Taco Salad (I know, same old! But it’s easy AND delicious.)
Dinner: Slow Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken over Cauli Rice

Tuesday
Lunch: Chile Rellenos Casserole (I’m making this ahead of time)
Dinner: Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara + Garlic Sauteed Zucchini + Salad

Wednesday
Lunch: Sonoma Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups (or leftovers for Garrett since he hates Chicken Salad like a crazy person.)
Dinner: Spinach Stuffed Turkey Burgers (a riff on this recipe) + Kale Chips + Salad

Thursday
Lunch: Leftover Spinach Burgers + Veggie Mustgo
Dinner: Cajun Turkey Chili (This recipe is my own. If it’s good, I will post it.)

Friday through Sunday

The Pier on Avila Beach

PEACE OUT SACRAMENTO!

Saturday Snapshots: January Project Life Edition

This is not a scrap booking blog, and I do not pretend to be an expert in anything of the sort. But with my 2012 Goal to document more, I’m spending significantly more time take photos and figuring out what to do with them. I thought I’d share some of progress I have made on Project Life since that has been an integral part of the strategy. I’ll probably only check in about this once per month because I know scrapbooking is not everyone’s bag, but I am really enjoying the process and you know I like to talk about stuff I love, so let’s get started!

If you haven’t heard of it before, Project Life is a simple system that comes ready-made to allow you to document a period of time. You can keep it as fussy or simple as your heart desires — which is what REALLY appealed to me. Because my heart? Desires very little fuss, but I want a memory book of 2012!

Let’s Talk About What’s Been Great:

*The Materials

I purchased the Clementine Core Kit and Binder along with various designs of photo pocket pages and it really is a plug and play version of a scrapbook. If I wanted to embellish nothing at all, and just insert pictures I printed, it would turn out super nice looking. You have no idea how great this is for someone like me who doesn’t really think like a crafter.

*The Inspiration on the Web

Since I don’t think like a crafter, all of the people doing this and talking about it on the web and sharing tutorials has really helped me out! People share free printables all over, and talk about their process and I have found all of it infinitely valuable, even if I am not going to do the same things. My project will ultimately be pretty simple, since I do not have a lot of time to devote to it, but I still would like it to be an accurate depiction of our lives and to look pretty.

Sites that have helped me do that include:

Becky’s Blog (obviously)
Kelly Purkey
Amy Tangerine
Elise Blaha
Jamaica Makes
Marcy Penner
Plucky Momo
Nettio Designs
Jessica Sprague
The Mom Creative

There is also so much inspiration on Pinterest it is a little overwhelming. This is no surprise though, because that’s kind of Pinterest’s thing, right? OVERSTIMULATION! It’s why we love and hate it, yes? I created a Project Life Pinboard for some of the things that caught my eye, like free printables or pages that are organized well or tell a great story and it’s been fun to reference that for brainstorming my own pages.

Speaking of, here is the start of mine:



Some of the journal cards I’m keeping private because it mentions some professional-life related things and well…you know about blogging and talking about your job. So I’m just going to keep that to myself. But you get the idea, right?

Let’s Talk About What’s Been Challenging:

*Taking Pictures

First of all, I was going to try and not use any Instagram pictures in this and just have it all be pictures that I really thought about and took. But OMG…HA! After the first week, that left me with about 3 usable shots.

So A) I need to take more pictures, in general and
B) I ended up loving the silly Instagram pics I had taken because HELLO those are full of every day life. I think I will be so happy to be able to look back on those mundane little snapshots of our days and have those memories. So Instagram, you’re totally in!

*Telling A Story
So I’ve been printing my photos just about every week via a combination of Costco and PostalPix — I don’t have a photo printer so this has been so easy to do, even though I can see it getting kind of expensive. (I will probably come up with an alternative solution shortly.) But the hardest part for me has been taking those photos and telling a cohesive, visual story. I did not anticipate this problem at all! See, that shows you how green I am at this memory keeping stuff! I’m actually contemplating taking Ali Edwards’ Storyology class because apparently this stuff can be taught for the bargain price of $14. :)

*Getting Organized

I’m not sure if I will continue to organize this monthly, or by event, or by vignette (like the “books we’ve been reading” etc up above) but I will tell you this exercises a part of my creative brain that DOES NOT GET EXERCISED. And I kind of love that, even though it’s been a challenge. I think it will get easier as I get a better flow, but for now I’m just trucking along. Slowly.

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I have much more photos to include for this month, and I hope to get a chance to do that next week. Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a project I have a lot of time for — I’m not working on it every day — but I think what will be the key to making it an accurate reflection of our lives is to keep it up regularly and talk about the silly, small moments. Adding our grocery lists, talking about what we ate for dinner, journaling our dreams for the year. And if I can get it peppered with some personal snapshots too, all the better!

Project Life 2012 is underway! And I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Winter Style Challenge – Day Five // Pattern Mixing

Hooray! Ten days of inspirational style prompts. God knows I need some! Check out Kayla’s post explaining the challenge here if you would like to play along.

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So as I mentioned when we talked about embracing trends the other day, I don’t have A LOT of items of clothing with patterns to mix. Actually the truth is, I just don’t really have a lot of items of clothing. What happens when you lose 100 lbs is that you must REPLACE YOUR ENTIRE WARDROBE. While this sounds like fun in theory, it gets a tad expensive and so you learn to be efficient without being boring. My closet right now – it’s efficient. But efficiently full of only solids and stripes, really. Don’t believe me? This is it, friends:

And every single item has been purchased in the last 12 months. I do have another rack of outerwear and a couple dresses, but besides what you see the only other thing you’re missing is some dressers full of workout clothes, underwear and socks. And no one needs to see my sock drawer, okay?

That was a lengthy intro to let you know that I’m not trying to take the easy way out with today’s challenge, but that my options are limited. So the only patterned things I have, I’m wearing (and mixing) today!
Winter Style Challenge

Stripes and Polka Dots! It will have to do :)
Winter Style Challenge

(Along with a GIANT PICTURE OF MY HEAD!)

Scarf: Gap Outlet
Jacket: Jones New York via Ross
Shirt: Banana Republic
Jeans: Old Navy The Flirt
Heels: Target
Bracelet: Banana Republic Outlet

So that was my valiant effort! More patterns are on my list because it is clearly a place that my wardrobe needs to grow. Noted. But I can’t wait to get inspiration from everyone else participating today because pattern mixing sort of scares me.

I’m off to go check it out in the flickr pool.

Winter Style Challenge – Day Four // Channel Someone

Hooray! Ten days of inspirational style prompts. God knows I need some! Check out Kayla’s post explaining the challenge here if you would like to play along.

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I give myself a hard time quite a bit for what I consider very simple style tastes. I’m not super trendy, rarely flashy and don’t have a closet full of hot little numbers to don at a moments notice. So when thinking of someone to channel for today’s prompt, I immediately starting feeling like I wouldn’t measure up. And how stupid is that?

I kept thinking to myself:

“I want to channel someone who is comfortable when they have to sit through a 4 hour sales seminar in the afternoon.”

“I want to channel someone who can throw on pieces in their closet they look like they would be cozy, but also chic.”

“I want to channel someone who looks classic, but not boring.”

And then I had an A-ha Moment that involved a sweater:

Winter Style Challenge

I have so much love for this sweater. It’s from Gap Body so OBVIOUSLY it feels like pajamas! Overall I am super comfortable, but the gold and turquoise jewelry, combined with some comfy and stylish boots make me feel like I’m not leaving the house looking like a total trainwreck.

Do you know what I call this sweater?

My Ralph Lauren Sweater.

Every time I put it on I feel like I should be sitting by a fire drinking hot tea at the wood paneled Lauren Family Compound. I mean, right????

So this channeling exercise was a nice reminder that comfortable and classic can be stylish all at the same time. I mean HELLO isn’t that what The World of Ralph Lauren is based on? And no one’s calling him a slouch!

Kitchen Inspiration: 5 Recipes I’m Dying To Try Right Now

Sometimes there is just too much inspiration and not enough meals! Here are some fun things on my recipe radar that I thought you might like too.
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1. Braised Brisket Stew

Sizzle posted about this recipe recently and I thought to myself: Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. PIN THIS RECIPE IMMEDIATELY. And I did. I’ll be substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes and enjoying every delicious looking bite!

2. Slow Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken

I looooooove Thai flavors almost as much as I love my Crockpot, so this recipe is definitely going to make an appearance in an upcoming meal plan soon. I will use a different thickener, but I think the spice blend looks divine!

3. Lime Infused Honey Crusted Chicken

This recipe comes originally from Sunset magazine, which HELLO, is basically my bible. Gone are the days of Cosmo! It’s such a simple marinade that will impart a ton of flavor, I’m sure of it. And as soon as Garrett gets us some more propane (HINT HINT, babe!) these puppies will be hitting the grill!

4. Orange Peel Shrimp

This recipe will take some tweaking (arrowroot for cornstarch, maybe sub OJ and honey for store bought marmalade??) but it just made me crave some citrus-y shrimp. Layered over a heaping pile of cauliflower rice, I can almost taste the sweet heat!

5. Paleo Brownies

AndreAnna posted this on Facebook earlier this week and it looked like a fun sweet treat — perhaps for Valentine’s Day? I have high hopes for this recipe because I would love a little grain free chocolate indulgence.

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If you don’t follow me already, I keep all of my Paleo inspiration over here on Pinterest.

Any new recipes that you are just waiting for the opportunity to cook???

The Difference Between Men and Women: Current Events Edition

Actual conversation in our house tonight:

Garrett: Hey did you hear Seal Team 6 rescued some kidnapping victims in Somalia today?

Holly: No. God, how awful.

Garrett: Awful? You mean AWESOME? They got dropped by parachute in the middle of the night!

Holly: Exactly, that sounds awful. Think about how those people must have felt. First, they were over in Somalia, which um…last time I checked wasn’t like spending a week at the Ritz in Maui. Then they get kidnapped, probably by some drugged up teenagers carrying automatic weapons, and held hostage in a “Pirate’s Lair” which is not high on my list of things to experience. And in the middle of ALL OF THAT, sometime in the middle of the night more men with weapons get dropped down in their compound and kill almost everyone. I mean, that has to be terrifying in the moment.

Garrett: Yeah, but they are being RESCUED BY SEAL TEAM SIX. That is a totally surreal experience.

Holly: Surreal???? Garrett — surreal is walking down the street in Vegas and seeing your first girlfriend from junior high. Surreal is going to the grocery store in the town you live in now, but running in to your neighbor from the town you grew up in. Surreal is doesn’t have anything to do with automatic weapons.

Garrett: Man, I bet it went down just like in the movies.

Past Conversations:
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