Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm 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: August 2013
It always surprises me that with the arrival of fall I always feel pulled to get back into the kitchen. Probably the fact that it’s no longer 900 degrees outside and the oven is no longer the enemy has a little something to do with it — Guess that’s no surprise! 🙂 But lately I’ve been pinning up a storm of food inspiration because I’m ready to get back to cooking for pleasure AND for health. WOOT!
Also, Garrett and I have decided to embark on another Whole 30 in September. We’ve been wanting to do one for a while and my friend Karie mentioned doing one recently and September seemed like a month that would work for us. Then of course there was that whole Circus Animal Ice Cream Situation so, you know, it’s probably time. Doing another Whole 30 could be (gasp) FUN!
The Whole 30 always requires planning so the other day I set out to reorganize my Pinterest boards. This is what I do when I have a week off of work…how sad is that? ha! It was so much fun though the entire time I was doing that I just kept thinking “OH DELICIOUS TIME SUCK, I LOVE YOU!” ha
The things we come to think of as luxuries. 🙂
Anyway, I did a little reshuffling and now my food Pinterest boards are nice and organized! Within them you will find Paleo recipes that fall in three camps:
*Strict Paleo recipes
*Primal recipes that include dairy (we eat dairy on occasion, though obviously not when we are doing a Whole 30) and
*Un-Paleo recipes that are very easy to adapt (ie: I’ll pin a recipe with soy sauce and call it paleo since coconut aminos are a super simple swap.)
******************Also, completely separate, if you are looking for a SUPER strict Paleo board I do have a Whole 30 board full of recipes and inspiration for completing a Whole 30. I plan to keep updating it as I prepare for September’s challenge.*************************
I was so pleased with them when I was finished (Organization FTW!) but I also wanted to share them here because when I deleted my old, giant, disorganized “Tasty Paleo Things” board I noticed there were thousands more people that followed that board than who are now follow the individual board. Maybe you were one of them? If so, or if you are just interested in some fun food inspiration, check out the boards I put together below:
*Paleo Recipes – Chicken
*Paleo Recipes – Beef + Bison
*Paleo Recipes – Pork
*Paleo Recipes – Turkey
*Paleo Recipes – Seafood
*Paleo Recipes – Treats
*Paleo Recipes – Breakfast
*Paleo Recipes – Vegetables
*Paleo Recipes – Soups + Stews
*Paleo Recipes – Bread Like Things
*Paleo Recipes – Condiments, Dressings + Sauces
*Paleo Recipes – Superfoods
*Paleo Recipes – Round Ups
Then let’s get cooking!
PS — You can follow any and all my Pinterest boards here.
Have you ever been in a situation at work doing an icebreaker where you are forced to purposely come up with an interesting fact about yourself? When I was hired at my company 8 years ago I started in a training program with about 10 other people. Over and over as we were introduced to each other, to our new department or to the executives within the company we kept being told to “Prepare an interesting fact to share.”
Man, THAT IS TORTURE!
It’s like someone walking up to you and demanding you say something funny. All day long I have funny commentary going on in my head, but the second I have to be funny I can’t think of a single joke!
Eventually I got my interesting fact down pat, but these days — since I’m no longer a new hire — no one really asks. But today I wanted to share my interesting fact as a part of a partnership with BlogHer and the NFL.
I have lived in California my whole life but I was actually born in Detroit, Michigan. I was born in October because at the time my dad was playing football for the Detroit Lions. That’s probably interesting enough, but it gets even more fun. You see, I was the first grandchild on my mom’s side of the family and the third on my dad’s side so all of my extended family were awaiting my arrival. But this was 1978 and since the internet didn’t exist and my parents lived so far away – no one was receiving texts of new born baby pics like we all do these days. So the first time that many of my family members saw me was on Thanksgiving Day during the annual Detroit Lions football game (they play every Thanksgiving Day — it’s tradition) when the commentators showed my picture as a sidebar when talking about my dad.
Pretty neat birth announcement, right?
Eventually he went on to play for the San Diego Chargers (my mom was ever grateful to move AWAY from the snow!) and he retired right as I started Kindergarten so we wouldn’t have to move anymore.
I don’t know about you all, but around our house the beginning of football season is a pretty big deal. Garrett is practically addicted, and just about every Sunday you can find us hunkered down on the couch checking out the action. I’d like to tell you it’s because I love football as much as he does, but these days I have to admit I get just as excited about game day menu planning as I do about the game.(I think my dad would understand.)
As you can imagine, in my family football is definitely more than just some seasonal entertainment — the NFL is part of the fabric of who we are. Garrett comes from a football family too (HUGE fans of The Ohio State, by the way) and as we get closer and closer to having kids I wonder about whether or not they will play football. After all, it is in our blood. (And of course my linebacker shoulders which — Man dad…couldn’t you have passed on your nice eyes, or pearly white smile? Did you have to give your daughter YOUR LINEBACKER SHOULDERS??? But I digress…)
It’s no secret that football is a PHYSICAL sport, and whether or not I will encourage my children to play isn’t something I can speculate about right now. But I have good friends with who are right at that age so I have heard quite a bit about the concerns. Knowing what I know about my dad’s experience and hearing the concerns of friends made me really excited to share the following information that I recently learned through a campaign that I am working on with BlogHer + the NFL about the importance of player health and safety, especially as it pertains to kids. If you are deciding whether or not to let your kids play, here is some interesting information:
*Through Heads Up Football, the NFL and USA Football are working to educate youth football leagues across the country on proper tackling technique. More than 900 youth football players nationwide will be learning Heads Up tackling during the 2013 season. It is the future of the game. Heads Up Football was developed with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation. Ask your youth football player’s coach if they are Heads Up Certified. They can get certified right now. And make sure your child’s league is a Heads Up league for 2014. Learn more by visiting www.usafootball.com/headsup.
*The NFL works with parents to make sure they understand how to help their kids stay safe on the playing field. Through the NFL’s partnership with the CDC on their Heads Up curriculum, parents, coaches, clinicians and youth athletes can all access the resources they need to learn more about concussion signs and symptoms. To learn more, visit http://www.cdcheadsup.org.
Allowing your child to play football is a very personal decision, but I was happy to hear the NFL acknowledge that kids look up to professional athletes and emulate them. They embrace their leadership role on the important issue of sports safety which is why, in the last year alone, they have committed more than $60 million to medical research on new ways to protect the brain and to address head injuries. For more information visit the following:
Well Jesus, it sure has been an emo couple of weeks around this blog, YIKES! Hoping to put that all to bed this week. I feel like these last two weeks have been a complete blur, but I’m coming out of the fog.
I was in Iowa last week again for work for like a split second (literally in the air longer than I was in meetings) (Sorry we couldn’t meet up for lunch Jess! Next time!) and while that would normally be a quick and easy trip, it ended up being really exhausting. I was up at 4am to catch my flight Wednesday morning, spent a long day travelling (WHY, OH WHY CAN THEIR BE NO DIRECT FLIGHTS TO DES MOINES!) and when I got to my hotel on Wednesday evening ready to change my clothes, unpack, hell, JUST WASH MY HANDS IN A NON PUBLIC BATHROOM FTLOG, they were like “Sorry, we overbooked we don’t have a room for you.”
It was like the straw the broke the camel’s back for me and I basically had a mini breakdown in the lobby of the hotel. I wasn’t crying because there was no hotel room, or because I’d had a long travel day, or because I hadn’t eaten yet that day after making the rookie mistake of forgetting to pack a breakfast and having connecting flights were so close together that I couldn’t stop for food, or because my dog was at home and had been sick for a few days and now I was anxiously leaving him behind, or because I also hadn’t had time for coffee and after 12 hours of being awake the headache I had going made me sure I had a brain tumor, or because my grandma had just died and I was not well with that news just yet. I was crying because of all of it. All of that together in the span of less than a week just made this sudden hotel snafu when I was thousands of miles away from home just feel like too much.
The poor 20 year old kid who was the “supervisor on duty” just kept looking at me with a shocked and confused face and kept saying “I’m so sorry! This is the worst part of my job.”
Yeah, you and me both — kid. 🙂
I also cried again on the phone with my mom when they dropped me off at the super nasty “replacement hotel” after I found cigarette butts in the toilet and realized that the TV would have to be on all night to drown out the noise of the freeway outside my FIRST FLOOR WINDOW. But after a good pep talk I was able to get myself together enough to call the hotel supervisor back again and tell him the room wasn’t going to work and I would need to stay somewhere else. Somewhere within actual walking distance of my workplace since I did not rent a car. Somewhere where people didn’t smoke INSIDE THE HOTEL ROOMS. Somewhere that I could walk to find a place to eat dinner because ZOMG MUST EAT RIGHT NOW OR I WILL EAT YOUR ARM OFF, HOTEL SUPERVISOR BOY.
Luckily he was able to work it out.
I think he was just afraid I was going to come back to the lobby and cry again, and who knows, I just might have.
It all worked out in the end, but I came home Friday evening (the 15th anniversary of my dad’s passing) with bags under my eyes and a little more world weary than I had left and I just sleeeeeeeeeeeeept. There was a lot of sleeping this weekend and beyond unpacking my suitcase, not a lot else. WHAT A MONTH!
But the fog is lifting. And (THANKFULLY) I took this week off of work so my plan is just to get back to my life. I read a ton this last week (the upside of spending 12+ hours on planes) and flipped through a bunch of magazines, and got in touch with that tiny little creative spark inside of me that needs to be stoked regularly in order to stay lit. I have lots to say and share and write and do, so I feel like I am back. In life and in this space.
I’ve missed you all. How are ya?
Well, you guys, I have been eating A LOT of ice cream.
I realize the answers to life are not at the bottom of a half gallon container, but I have done my darndest over and over during the past week to just make sure they aren’t down there. I’m not even eating like really hip small batch ice cream with bourbon in it or other gourmet ingredients that I can rationalize. “Oh Yes, it’s ice cream, but it’s Organic Blackberry and Lavender in Grass Fed Cream. It’s AH-MAY-ZING.” No, no no. I haven’t gone that route at all. I’ve actually been quite into Circus Animal Cookie ice cream, which is $2.99 per half gallon and the ingredients completely reflect that. But as disgusting as it sounds (and I will acknowledge that it sounds a little questionable) I have enjoyed every single bite I’ve eaten over the last week.
It’s been a weird week. I wish I could find an acceptable thesaurus entry that could give me a new word to use when people ask me how I am feeling, but the reality is I just feel weird. Life just feels…not quite normal. We are all waiting for The New Normal to get settled, and as such I am just doing my best to stay in the moment and get things done. There is never a great time for the death of a loved one, but the fact that it happened during a really busy time at work (I’m back in Iowa for two and a half days this week. Yay! //sarcasm) and life just seems to be the crap icing on the crap cake.
See — ice cream is such a better alternative, right? 🙂
Anyway, WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING WITH THIS POST. Ah yes, right here. I was listening to a recent episode of the Balanced Bites Podcast — while eating ice cream, actually, which felt sort of criminal. It’s sort of like watching The Biggest Loser while eating Taco Bell (Not that I’ve done that or anything) — and on the episode which happened to be a rapid fire type Q&A with the show’s hosts, someone asked what inspires Liz and Diane. Diane gave a lengthy answer that I sort of tuned out on because she mentioned that reading people’s Amazon reviews of her book inspired her, and I thought REALLY? That seems like a half hidden way of asking people to review your book, which rubbed me the wrong way. But honestly? I’m crabby and overly sensitive right now, and so that might be where that came from. But when it came time for Liz to answer she said something that I found profoundly relatable.
She said her life was currently full of stuff: her job, writing her book, keeping her homestead running, etc — and that right now she feels mostly inspired by duty. Day in and day out she is just going through the motions to get the things done that need to be done. Duty. What an interesting thing to say. But I really loved that particular word choice. I’ve been floating around for months trying to find a balance between work and life and every time I get to feeling like I have things under control, something else pops up. It’s never something unmanageable, but it is SOMETHING ELSE — you know? On the upside, I feel very capable right now. BRING IT ON, LIFE! But on the downside I feel sort of uninspired. And after a few years of being really focused on my own health, wellness, happiness and goals, this feels a little weird. (Again, with the weirdness. Maybe I should flip through that thesaurus.)
Right now I am definitely going through the motions in life. I am eating good food (sometimes). I am working out (sometimes). I am keeping work and life balanced (sometimes). And I am taking care of others who have taken care of me (sometimes). There is a way in which that can start to feel rote, unaccopmlished and uninspired. But also, it is my duty. And what is not rote or unaccomplished is that there is intention behind it. There is the intention to love and care for myself in the best way I can, in the moment. (It doesn’t always *look* perfect, but it is all I can give at the moment. There is the intention to love and care for others. (I’m sure that doesn’t always *look* perfect either, but I am giving the things I know best how to give.) All of that doesn’t always make for a nice list, or exciting photos, or amazing stories. But I’ll tell you what it does do: It gives me a nudge to keep going. It forces me to get up and start doing. It keeps me learning — about myself, and about others — and it helps me understand more about how we all connect. It may not sound very glamorous when you look at the 30,000 foot view, but when you break it down I think there is nothing more inspiring than growing and learning.
This is me taking notes.
Last week I lost my grandma. Her passing was sudden and unexpected and in the wake of all of this I can’t quite figure out what to say here.
When you lose someone, especially someone you are close to, there is a natural tendency to spend a lot of time thinking about big picture things. For me, this has meant being here in this space and talking about the minutiae of my everyday life feels a bit…weird right now.
I’ll be back soon — maybe with grand philosophical ideas or maybe with just a workout update. I don’t know. For now I am just keeping up with everyday life, supporting my family, and making my way through that in-between space that loss brings.
Thanks for your support.
It’s been another one of those weeks where it’s already Wednesday and I’m like, “Oh, right. I have a blog.” 🙂 If it’s any indication, I spent about 5 minutes on Tuesday morning going at my eyes with eye makeup remover to try and get all the mascara off before I realized that I wasn’t even wearing makeup. WHOOPS — JUST DARK CIRCLES. So all I have in me today is bullets, but I have some very important questions for you — so can we chat?
Ok, here we go:
*Speaking of mascara, I need a makeup intervention. Here’s the deal: I have been wearing Bare Minerals foundation, oh for basically as long as I’ve been alive. Ok, maybe not that long but at least 10 years? And all of a sudden about a year and a half ago I started to feel like my normal color just wasn’t matching my skin. (And for the record, I wear a different color in summer and winter. Don’t worry I’m not a crazy person who gets a tan and then is like “Why doesn’t my foundation look right?”) Anyway — so over the last year I have spent a small fortune trying to find The Right Color — even going in multiple times and having the Very Makeup-y Sales People put makeup on me — and it appears that The Right Color just doesn’t exist anymore. “Just blend two colors” the sales girls always say, as if I have time, money or desire to be my own beauty apothecary. I DO NOT! But I very much enjoy the texture and coverage of mineral makeup and have zero desire to go back to the god awful Mac Studio Fix shit I used years ago, and liquid foundation just ain’t my bag. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAALP! What do I do? What do you do? Or have liquid/Stuido Fix options improved in the last 10 years. What do you use on your face? Ready, go!
*Part of the reason I woke up with bags under my eyes on Tuesday was because we had our Book Club meeting on Monday night and OHMYGOD IT WAS SO FUN! First, it involved discussing our chosen book, Julia Child’s My Life In France — and you guys, I just loooooooooooooooooooved that book! It was about two things I had really only mildly been interested in up until that point: Julia Child and France, uh obviously. 🙂 But it was so delightfully charming, she was so inspiring to read about, the entire book made me hungry and want to drink bottles and bottles of wine, and I was ready to get on the first plane to Paris. (So yeah, HIGHLY RECOMMEND, anyway.) But what was so fun was our fabulous themed dinner — Pate, Brie, French 75s, Beef Bourguignon, Green Salads and the most delectable little Orange Cardamom Madelines. And if you think we ignored the wine, well you thought wrong. So yeah, Tuesday morning? A bit rough. But totally worth it!
*So I finally got my Fit Bit One and it’s pretty rad. I hear if you have one we can like…be friends. HOW DOES ONE DO THAT? What do we, uh…do when we are friends? Do we like high five and look at each other’s steps. Tell me more about this! 🙂 I wore mine yesterday and had what felt like a completely sedentary day (I didn’t take a walk at work, etc) and still managed to get in about 7000 steps. I felt like that was pretty eye opening. Unfortunately I didn’t set it correctly when I slept last night because it didn’t track any data which made me sad. My two big reasons for wanting one was to track the restfulness of my sleep as well as to motivate me to get up and move around more at work. I CAN’T WAIT FOR GRAPHS AND CHARTS YOU GUYS!!! (And friends, maybe? I don’t know. Still need help with that. Here is my profile — does that help? It’s a bit, uh, sparse.)
*The only problem with walking today is that my legs no longer work after 3 crazy CrossFit workouts this wee. OUCH! 🙂
*These zebra-ish pants from Old Navy are basically my favorite things ever right now and if you have Quadzilla Pride, I think you should own them. They are highly flattering in a way that most “Printed Pants On Ladies With Large Thighs” are not. So, take that for what it’s worth. 🙂
*I loved this Huffington Post piece about 3 Reasons to Get Upset About CrossFit. I know I could have saved it for Friday links, but it’s Hump Day and I think we could all use a little more awesome in our lives to get us through the week, right?
Ok, that’s all I got peeps. What’s new in your neck of the woods. Tell me a good story, would ya? I am tiiiiiiiiiiiiired. I got up early to squeeze in my workout this morning so that tonight my only responsibilities would be to catch up on bad reality television. WIN!!!
I’ve been switching up my fitness, so I thought I’d pop in on Sundays and share what my workouts have looked like each week. I’m on a mission to find a balance of things I love, that make me healthier, and that overall just feel right.
Here’s what happened last week:
So this Sunday/4:30 Bikram class is really becoming my jam, I’ll tell ya. The people are cool and un-douchey and it’s just a great wind down in the afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get there because I had been farting around my house working on my standing head to knee situation and I finally made some progress. It’s so much harder to do when you’re sweaty. 🙂
Had the day off on Monday and woke up planning to go to CrossFit but I didn’t because I didn’t love what was programmed. It was a bunch of skill work for skills that I am terrible at (strict pull ups, handstand push ups and toes to bar.) I know that seems like a cop out, right? But here’s how I’m feeling lately — I’m not trying to be The Best CrossFitter Ever, I’m trying to get a good workout. So when I see a class that is going to be me standing around for 30 minutes flailing doing things I’m terrible at…well, I’d rather do something else that will be 30 minutes of work and call it a day. So I went to a Bikram class that morning. 90 minutes of sweat-tastic-ness. Good times. Also around lunch Buster and I met up with Garrett and took a long walk around the Capitol.
Holy crap, here’s where I’m going to tell you I did 3 days in a row of yoga. WHO AM I? Haha. Don’t worry, I got back into the box on Wednesday.
Today’s wod was perfection! Challenging, but things I enjoy, and a super good workout.
5×3 behind the neck, snatch grip shoulder press (45-50-55-60-65)
Seriously, that is SO FREAKING HARD!
Every 2 minutes for 20 minutes:
250m sprint row
4 Hang Cleans (95 lbs)
2 Split Jerks (95lbs)
The idea was to try and keep the row sub 1:00 so it was an all out sprint. This workout was difficult and felt really long, but I really loved it!
Oh Friday. On Friday I did my first ever Vinyasa Flow class and it was….uh….different. Like, when they started playing Rihanna I thought it was a joke. I’m not sure if it was just that I had no idea what to expect that made it seem so jarring, but it was just not my thing. A good workout, for sure, but just…I don’t know. I’m gonna give it another try for sure now that I know people will be like, chanting and shit. 🙂
All in all, a good week but I definitely missed the barbell. More of that this coming week I hope!
Oh! I also took the plunge and ordered a FitBit One this week. I’ve been TERRIBLE at getting away from my desk at work lately and when I read my friend Amy’s ringing endorsement I thought the idea of being able to set up some daily goals around walking that I could actually track might be helpful towards getting me to prioritize getting some fresh air during my workday. (Hooray for data gathering and de-stressing!) I’m also REALLY interested in the sleep tracking. Regardless, I’ll let you know how I like it!
Any exciting PRs for your this week?
Last year I was very diligent about tracking my progress on monthly goals. It fed my brain to think about all the things that I had accomplished the previous month and gave me great pleasure to carve out a (mostly) manageable list of things I wanted to accomplish that following month. For the most part, I loved the entire process. I don’t know if it was amazing blog fodder, but since I do use this space for personal reflection I kept it up all year long.
At the beginning of this year I purposefully decided to stop doing that. The part of my brain that enjoyed that itch being scratched was a little bit afraid about quitting that regular check in. How would I get anything done? But I had come to realize, at the end of last year, that the process had become less brain scratching, and more ego feeding. It wasn’t that I was puffing myself up with accomplishments and patting myself on the back, but rather the act of making plans and then checking things off lists all month was a crutch that I used to help me feel in control. And my ego reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted to be in control. If I had a list and I used it, all would be ok.
The problem was that despite the process being the same, the results were mixed. Sometimes my brilliant little plans worked and I felt that all was right in the world. Other times I would put forth the same amount of planning and effort and things wouldn’t come to fruition. Over time it would wear on me — the Trying Hard but Not Achieving. If I wanted to wrap this up in a neat little bow, I’d say that focused too much on the destination and not enough of the journey. I decided this year that I wanted to focus on being flexible and being less attached to “My Plans.” I figured I’d ease into that shift, but practically the second I made the decision, The Universe showed up with this new professional opportunity that seemed to be The Flexibility Fast Lane. How’s that for manifesting? 🙂
I’ve been struggling with this situation for months, but now that I can see it through the lens of — Hey, I asked for this — I actually feel a little bit grateful that my hand was forced, or I may still be “easing in.” One of the major shifts for me — me, being a proudly obsessive list-maker (the “proud” part should have been the first tip off that this was an ego-feeding situation, ha!) — has been to stop setting specific goals. OMG THE HORROR! This goes against every piece of goal advice you’ll ever here, but I’ve found it more conducive to flexibility to just focus on an idea or theme. I’m looking at the root of a situation that I want to change, instead of trying to micromanage all of the outcomes.
For example I used to set a goal to workout a certain number of days per week. If I set it for 5 and only worked out 4, it was very easy for me to feel like I had missed the mark instead of just saying “Rock and Roll — 4 days was all you could give this week.” So I tried something a bit different in July:
I started the month with a blank calendar and the intention to switch up my fitness routine. I didn’t want to give myself a numeric goal, I wanted to workout because it would help me feel better, which I though called for different fitness options on different days. My hypothesis was that if I focused on a few varied options, instead of just trying to get into the CrossFit box on an arbitrary number of days, I would have more overall success and enjoyment.
Because I do still like to track data (I just don’t want to have preconceived notions of what that data should look like) I started to write down each day what I did for physical activity — and I purposely gave “Rest” it’s own label and color because I wanted to look at rest as a choice and not as “being lazy.” I also I added a weekly tracking roundup on the blog because I wanted to be conscious of what I was getting out of each workout. I knew if I had to itemize it in writing later, it would help me be more “In the Moment” while I was doing it, rather than just checking off a line item.
So far it has worked swimmingly, and last night when I counted everything up I realized that I had worked out a ton:
*CrossFit: 9 Days
*Spin/Miscellaneous: 4 Days
*Yoga: 8 Days
*Rest: 7 Days
And all of that included 4 days on the road, which I didn’t really count at all since it was so willy nilly.
If I wanted to puff my chest out about accomplishments, it would be warranted! This is a good looking month! But what I feel more excited about was that these results came specifically from focusing on the journey portion or fitness, rather than the preconceived destinations. And I feel really excited about that! I think that I am a data oriented person, so I do enjoy being able to quantify — but there is a difference between understanding the overall vibe of what you eat and counting calories, right? And this, for me, has been my way of giving the finger to that calorie counting type ideology that I seemed to have let overtake many areas of my life. And I’m surprised to say that letting go and being a bit more flexible actually feels really good.