Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old Wife to Garrett, Mom to Holden and a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what we are currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
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Monthly Archives: June 2013
Hey, Wednesday Bullets when it’s almost Thursday. That’s just how I’m rolling this week. I know this is a liiiiiiiiiittle late, but I still wanted to pop in and talk about some (completely Un-) important things.
*First: This is how you walk a white dog who has just had a bath up a dirt path. Just in case you were curious. Buster doesn’t mind!
*If you didn’t win, I apologize times one million. But it is on sale at Amazon right now for $11 — which is ALMOST FREE.
*The really unimportant, but totally important thing I am dying to tell you: I FOUND A MAXI DRESS! Sweet Baby Jesus, I’m excited! And what made it even more exciting was that it was on clearance at Gap for 12.99. (It looks like this in style, but like this in color. And uh…NOT $70!)
*I was in love with it when I tried it on (so flattering, so comfy!) but it was oddly long. Oddly, because my whole problem with finding a maxi dress has been that I’m practically 6 feet tall and they all end up looking awkwardly short. But this one ended up being almost 3 inches too long. What’s even more curious is that it is a size Large. I mean, how tall is the target audience at GAP if a Large doesn’t fit someone who is 6 feet tall?
*Anyway, I took it to a tailor and it made me happy that I bought it on clearance because to hem it 3 inches and to fix the tank area (arm holes were also oddly large) it was $28. CRIMONY. Anyway, I’ll show it to you eventually when it doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a blanket wrapped around me and dragging it on the floor. 🙂
*Here’s a dress I can show you though. Please buy it immediately because it is comfy as hell and when I wear it I want to shout “THIS IS WHAT SUMMER LOOKS LIKE!” But then people would probably look at me funny. It’s way more neon in real life than it is in the picture. Which makes it BETTER in my opinion.
PS – It looks cuter if you put a belt on it. OBVIOUSLY. 🙂
*Speaking of neon, Garrett & I both bought some pretty hideously obnoxious new neon workout shoes. Mine are these awesome New Balances and I am a little bit in love with them.
*Now I need to take the plunge and pony up for some lifting shoes. Recommendations please and thank you.
*Do you know what I DO NOT LOVE right now? The concept of “Guilt Free” Dining. It’s everywhere. Seriously. TV Commercials, magazine articles, food blogs. EVERYWHERE. I find it especially irksome when it is on a restaurant menu. It doesn’t matter whether I want a bucket of lettuce on my plate, a giant steak, or a brownie covered in hot fudge — none of these require a moral judgment. It bugs me when companies use condescending (or even sometimes offensive) marketing but spin it like they are doing you a favor. Oh hey, see this here menu item? You can eat this without guilt because I have labeled it as such. Um, thank you but no. I do not need your approval Menu Magistrate. I eat what I want without guilt because I know how to think critically. Also: I AM AN ADULT AND I DO WHAT I WANT.
*No idea why this is rubbing me the wrong way so much lately. ::::checks calendar::::::: Ah, ok.
*It rained all day Monday and Tuesday and I wore a sweatshirt. It is going to be over 100 degrees for the next 5 days. Sacramento, YOU MAKE NO SENSE.
So hey, remember that Partner Competition at our gym that I was bitching about on Friday? The one that Garrett signed us up for?
Dude, you guys, WE WON OUR DIVISION. I mean, what? Who the hell was judging and how did THAT happen?
We competed in the scaled division (I STILL CAN’T DO PULL UPS AND GOD DAMN IT, IT HOLDS ME BACK EVERY TIME) but we had fun working together as a team, coming up with a strategy that embraced our strengths, supporting one another, and I really can’t believe we ended up winning. I was secretly hoping that we would come in 3rd, because all the teams had to compete in 3 workouts, but only the top 2 teams in Rx and Scaled competed in one final head to head workout for all the marbles. So, you know, call me lazy but a 3rd place would have suited me juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust just fine! 🙂
The energy at the gym was super fun, as usual, and it was great to see so many people I like putting it all out there. I don’t have any desire to be a real competitor, but it’s definitely nice to do stuff like this in a safe environment every once in a while because you really do push yourself a little harder. Both Garrett and I PR’d our squat clean 1 Rep Maxes, and I really think we just didn’t want to let each other down, so we just did the best we could.
I’ve been pretty down on myself, fitness-wise, as of late because I haven’t been working out as often as I’d like, or by the time I get to the gym at the end of a long work day I’m zonked. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last 3 years and these days my performance hasn’t been particularly newsworthy. But this weekend reminded me of how good it feels to have fitness goals and how fun it is when you reach them. I don’t know what that means for the rest of the summer, but I feel like both Garrett were reminded again this weekend about why we like our gym so much. And the fact that we all got to hang out and celebrate at the annual anniverary party BBQ afterward was just icing on the cake!
The world does not lack “Paleo” Cookbooks and lately I have one of two feelings about this:
For one, I think it is so exciting to see awesome glossy photos as inspiration for this way of eating that has truly changed my life. Three years ago when I started down this path, the inspiration was a little bit lackluster. It didn’t feel like having a shelf full of beautiful cookbooks could overlap with a Paleo diet. That has truly changed.
But as with all good things, there comes a bit of a saturation tipping point. And sometimes when I see the Next! Best! Paleo! Cookbook! I’m going to be honest — I get that cynical feeling like “Oh great, another book telling me to wrap bacon around something and pretending it’s a mind blowing idea.”
This is probably not a popular thing to say, and who knows, maybe the cookbooks I receive from publishers may slow down because I say it — but I have to think some of you may feel the same way. I think we are sort of in this tenuous time where the QUANTITY of books available is slightly disproportionate to the QUALITY. This isn’t something I’m losing sleep over, and I’m certainly not the arbiter of good Paleo taste, so in the big scheme of things, who cares what I think. But I do think it is important to mention because I want you to know when I talk about a cookbook on this website, I am doing it because I appreciate the QUALITY of a cookbook, and not just because I just want to say HEY LOOK, I GOT THIS COOKBOOK TOO!
Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. I feel like we are all friends here, so I want you to know when I tell you about a cookbook I really enjoy (or anything else for that matter) I want you to know that I mean it.
Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry just recently came out, and it is blowing up the internet right now. But here’s the thing: Elana Amsterdam has been making Paleo Cooking look cool even before it was cool. In fact, the first grain free cookbook I ever bought was her Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook and when it showed up at my house I just remember sighing with relief. I could enjoy a slice of bread still! I could bake a tart! Gorgeous birthday cakes were at my fingertips without being full of crappy gluten and ridiculous amounts of sugar.
That sigh, of course, was because back then I thought Paleo was 100% or NOTHING, and while I have loosened up on those percentages, I still so appreciate the idea of gorgeous food inspiration and dishes you once loved — without the grains.
This is why, when I heard Elana was writing a Paleo cookbook I was ECSTATIC and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, instead of furrowing my brow and thinking “ho-hum, will these be more bacon wrapped recipes?” She makes very simple, delicious food that is incredibly accessible. And on a completely superficial note – I just love the way her cookbooks look and feel in my hands. They are square-ish, soft covered and with clean design and nice photos. It’s a cookbook you want to look at and use and it fits neatly in any kitchen cupboard. Also, her ice cream recipes are what helped me rationalize my recent ice cream maker purchase. Thanks, Elana! 🙂
OBVIOUSLY I was game to talk about it on the blog but I just want to be clear with my disclosure: I was provided a free copy and one to giveaway, but was in no way obligated to write post about it. All opinions are my own and no one is compensating me to give them (although the Amazon link to her cookbook is an affiliate one. Thank you contributing to the coconut milk fund in our household. You are singlehandedly fueling our Paleo Ice Cream addiction. OHMAHGAWD YUM!)
If you are interested in owning this cookbook (and as you can tell, I think you should be:)) Ten Speed Press is giving away one copy to one of my readers.
- This giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents 18 and older.
- Enter by leaving a comment on this post telling me what your favorite flavor of ice cream is — or anything else you feel like, frankly.
- One entry per person
- The giveaway begins today June 20, 2013 and ends on June 24, 2013 at 12:00 am pacific time.
No purchase is necessary. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries. The winners will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.
The Paleo Bread Recipe
Serves: Makes 1 Loaf (12 slices)
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup golden flax meal
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 7 by 3-inch loaf pan with coconut oil.
- In a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the eggs, coconut oil, honey, and vinegar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve.
There is nothing better than summer zucchini. Nothing, I tell ya.
I mentioned on my Summer Bucket List that I need to work on not being depressed about our lack of garden this year, so part of my solution to that is buying COPIOUS amounts of zucchini at our farmers market.
And here is what I’m planning to do with it:
1. Make a Lasagna
I love a good zucchini noodle, and it is surprisingly delicious to make a lasagna without pasta! If you do well with dairy, you can DEFINITELY work in some cheesiness. If not, it is still really really awesome. And the smugness you get from eating a mostly vegetable dinner? AMAZING. 🙂
2. Make Zucchini Boats with Bacon Gremolata
I’ve avoided making a gremolata mostly because the name bugs me. Look, I don’t always make sense, ok? But gremolata just sounds a little bit gross. But bacon makes everything better, yes? Gremolata included, I think.
3. Make Chocolate Muffins Healthier
This looks way more fun than your standard zucchini bread, right????
4. Make Zucchini Ribbon Pasta
Vegetable noodles are THE BOMB, you guys. I mean look, no one is ever going to convince me that spaghetti squash tastes like pasta, so I’m not trying to tell you that zucchini tastes just like spaghetti — but zucchini is freaking delicious! And throwing some other fun stuff together in a bowl completely increases both the yum and comfort factor.
5. Make Pancakes
We at these ALL. SUMMER. LONG. last year and as a matter of fact, I don’t know why we stopped. I am going to rectify this soon.
Need even more inspiration?
So tell me…what is YOUR favorite way to use up zucchini?
I like how summer just snuck right in this weekend. I was contemplating not making a bucket list this year because work is still taking up a ridiculous amount of time and brain space, but I just can’t. do. it. I had to make one!
This year’s bucket list is decidedly short and mostly superficial but I think that is just what I need. Work is taking up a lot of time, so I want to make sure my time outside of work is full of silly, superficial pleasures. To me, that will make this summer a success!
1. Get tan. Stay tan.
Oooh, I am already working on this in the best way and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Sometimes I don’t mind being super pale. Sometimes I like a little color on my skin. This summer — will be the SUMMER OF COLOR!
2. Prioritize manicures + pedicures.
Iowa realization: it brings me great pleasure to look at my fingernails and have them look nice. It’s really not that difficult and I like it a lot. GET IT DONE.
3. Get at least 2 more massages.
Secondary Iowa realization: getting a massage after a crazy week of workouts feels amazing, and I’m worth it.
4. Learn the words to some really awful cheesy pop songs. Sing them incessantly while driving.
When the sun’s blazing and the air conditioner is blowing — the only thing that makes running errands fun is belting out a little Justin Timberlake. Or Daft Punk. Or Selena Gomez. Or Taylor Swift. Sorry, it’s a fact. 🙂
5. Smell like summer ALL THE DAMN TIME.
My shower is stocked with coconut conditioner. My lotion smells like the beach. My skin is tan, my house is clean and smells like a sea breeze. Summer – 24:7.
6. Find a maxi dress you love FOR REAL this summer.
This is like searching for Bigfoot. But dammit, I am COMING FOR YOU!
7. Eat on the patio at least once per week.
Icy beverage, paper plates, the smell of BBQ in the air? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
8. Don’t be too sad about the garden.
I didn’t plant a summer garden this year and really, it’s depressing the crap out of me. But I need to snap out of it and start to plan fall. YOU ARE STILL ALLOWED TO ENJOY ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES, HOLLY. EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T GROWN THEM YOURSELF.
9. Workout a few mornings per week.
Afternoon workouts are harder these days for two reasons: 1) it’s a million degrees out and 2) I have a lot less mental tenacity after work these days. I want to squeeze in some AM Sweat Sessions.
10. Drink a lot of iced coffee. (Ok, not too much. But, still.)
Iced Coffee is THE BOMB. But I’m usually too lazy to prepare a batch. This summer, I will rectify that.
What’s on YOUR summer bucket list?
The short story is we eat nachos 3 times in 2.5 days and I wanted to make a bad pun out of it. The longer story is that we had an amazing weekend, and I really didn’t want to leave on Sunday!
You know how sometimes vacations are fun, but you are happy to be home? Well this was a super-fun-I-wish-we-were-still-there kind of weekend and we are now (as we do every time we are on the Central Coast) making grand plans to move down there in the next five years. Of course there is a possibility that this will never happen, but every single time we leave we spend the drive home planning the move, so you never know.
We drove down Friday morning and really took our time. It’s a 5 hour drive but we probably stretched it out to about 7 hours by the time we did our traditional road trip stop at In-n-Out Burger for lettuce wraps and then a little perusal at our favorite bookstore in the Bay Area. We rolled into town at about 5ish and after stretching our legs and unpacking our stuff in the apartment we had rented, we headed downtown to get some coffee. Afterward we drove about 10 minutes south and met up with the bride and groom at the Avila Beach Farmers Market.
This time Garrett got his wish because we saw a fisherman catch a Tiger Shark.
Um, obviously IT WAS NOT RELAXING AT ALL TO ME TO SEE A SHARK BEING PULLED OUT OF THE OCEAN.
After that we had some drinks, and obviously some ice cream — this is what you must do in Avila, have ice cream on the promenade — and then Garrett and I let the bride and groom go get their beauty rest and we headed over to Sycamore Mineral Springs to soak in one of their hot tubs.
This is also something you MUST do. There are a ton of private springs nestled on the side of a hill and you get to sit and soak all of your stresses away for over an hour. It feels amazing when you are through and we do it every single time!
On the way home we may have picked up some nachos. 🙂 FOURTH MEAL!
Saturday was the wedding, and we spent the morning relaxing and heading out to breakfast. I ordered Breakfast Nachos, and I’m just going to tell you right now that the best food concept ever invented EVER is the breakfast nacho. You heard it here first. On our way home to get ready we did a little shopping downtown and because I am crazy, I impulse bought a dress that I ended up wearing to the wedding that afternoon. Yay for new dresses! Here it is (see also: THE BRIDE! YAY!):
The bride’s sister approved…as you would.
Reluctantly on Sunday we headed home, although not before stopping at our favorite donut place. Look, I am not made of wood and these donuts are REALLY FREAKING AWESOME. We weren’t really hungry, but we picked up a box because we thought they might sound good on the (FIVE HOUR) drive home. I had kind of forgotten about them when we stopped to get gas. Garrett looked at me when we pulled into the station and said “Hey, do YOU mind pumping gas?” which seemed kind of weird because he was driving. But when I got back into the car, I realized why:
We rode that sugar high home the entire way. 🙂
I guess I am a little glad to be back to my real life — we decided to start a Whole 30 Lite yesterday. We are basically Whole 30-ing all of our meals that we eat for the next 30 days except for the ones that we are eating at the homes of others. We have a few things planned over the next month and I just didn’t want to be Those People — too much stress right now — but we are going to Whole 30 it at home. I’m anticipating it will feel great, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. You know I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
So here is the absolute truth as I see it:
*Right now, life is pretty dang good. Aside, of course, from wishing I was slightly less busy with work though it is trending in the right direction. So really, all is good.
*Concurrently, I am not at all happy with my body. But I’m not sure how riled up I feel like getting about this.
One of the great things I took away from the Everyday Paleo Seminar was the idea that if you aren’t managing stress, nothing else you manage is going to be super effective. I am a living breathing example of this right now, and while my stress management is also trending in the right direction, I can’t help but feel annoyed by the fact that I’m still exercising, still eating fairly well, and stock piling ALL OF THE FAT, EVERYWHERE. 🙂 Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but only slight.
My natural tendency is to write down some goals, make a plan of how to get there and then execute at all costs. But something about that just feels like it might be…well, a little stressful, right? I am not dying to put another thing on my plate, but I keep thinking about the other thing I took away from the Everyday Paleo Seminar and that was the idea that we should base our eating (and drinking, for that matter) on things that help us look, feel and perform at our best. I am pretty damn happy with my bodies performance in life right now (I’m alive! I’m still PRing at the gym! I’m sleeping well! My stress level is getting back to normal!). But the look and feel part — well, those definitely needs some improvement.
I wish I could remember where I read this recently (I’m sure it was on a blog) but the jist was that when it comes to food, focus on addition and not subtraction. Don’t focus so much on avoiding everything awful, but rather make it a priority to focus on adding in the good stuff first. I thought that was such a great way to frame things. And for the past few months I have been doing just that: if I can squeeze some kale into my smoothie, I’m doing it. If I can have 3 vegetables with dinner instead of two — I’m on it! Water instead of coffee? BOOM. I’ve got the “addition” pretty dialed in, and yet I am still unhappy with look and feel. (Back Fat — seriously needs to EFF OFF!) So now I want to think a little bit about subtraction.
My first instinct was to do a Whole 30, but I certainly don’t want to make a habit of saying “I feel fat! Do a Whole 30!” That sounds a little yo-yo diet to me, right? Also, I have written about my experiences of doing a Whole 30 and there is no doubt that it is a challenge. Am I in the right mind frame to take on this challenge?
But here are the other facts: I am the type of person who actually finds relief in some rules/framework. Part of my stress lately comes from that fact that I am not making the time to take care of myself. And usually when I am in the midst of a Whole 30, I not only end up prioritizing cooking in a way that I love, but I also feel really free from the whole “Should I be make a bad decision and have this ice cream tonight?” type of anxiety because there are really only two choices during the Whole 30: Commit or Quit. Committing is more challenging, yes — but also in many ways, so much simpler.
Anyway…no resolution just yet, and definitely no commitment. My biggest takeaway from the Whole 30 has always been that it is the little things that make such a huge difference, and I would like to see some huge differences here shortly. But we are out of town this weekend (and coincidentally staying in walking distance from the best donuts in California) so something tells me I may feel a bit more passionate about when we return? Maybe I’ll take my copy of It Starts With Food with me for a little light vacation reading. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.
Any of you doing a Whole 30 soon?