Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fun Things To Read On A Friday

Stop working! It's the weekend! #INYOFACE

Buster would like to remind you all that it is Friday, and that NO ONE should be working on Friday. ๐Ÿ™‚

How are you all this week? Over here things were pretty mellow until yesterday when I ended up at the vet with Buster. I think that dog gets antsy if he doesn’t see the vet once a month. He must like the treats there or something, because MAN — THE FREQUENCY! He’s on the mend we think, so nothing to worry about, but that sure threw a wrench in my Thursday.

Anyway, what are you up to this weekend? Are you watching the Super Bowl? I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch it — the 49ers loss still feels SO RAW. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll see. Beyond that I’m thinking some workouts, some cooking, some reading — you know, the stuff weekends should ALWAYS be made of!

In the meantime, let’s get to the links, shall we?


*The LA Times ran a nice feature on Sacramento as a vacation destination this week and I was like “HEY! That’s my town!” Also, one of my most favorite Mexican restaurants!

*Do you all know about glutamine’s super powers? This explanation is so clear and concise. I can totally vouch for the part about sugar cravings.

*This week PaleOMG did a round up of 48 Paleo Super Bowl Snacks. They look pretty delicious! And speaking of delicious, this week I made her Overnight Coffee Chia Breakfast Pudding (with Chameleon Cold Brew, SCHWING!) and it was a totally fun morning treat.

*OHMYGOD Did I just say Schwing? I think I did.

*Did you read this Yahoo! article on the Best/Worst health trends of 2013? It ruffled a lot of feathers because it included Whole 30 on the worst list. Since I love the Whole 30 I just rolled my eyes at it, but this eloquent rebuttal was definitely worth a read. I especially loved this:

We have got to stop equating weight loss to health because they may be connected, but they are not one and the same.

*100% validation for my unapologetic crush on Pitbull.

*Speaking of unapologetic love: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chipotle. It’s like a rabbit hole of awesome!

*I’m intrigued by the topics of this book. What are you reading right now, by the way. My library queue is low.

*This article about two twins, one who gave up sugar and one who gave up fat was awesome!

*Last weekend I used this recipe to make Garrett some cioppino and he said he had died and gone to heaven. Ringing endorsement, I’d say!


Hope whatever is on your weekend agenda is awesome!!!

Embracing The Suck

8 mile run with @homesweetsarah -- there was, ahem, a lot of embracing.

Tough work out at the gym last night.

For my ego.

The first 15 minutes? Pull up practice.

There was a time in the recent past where I was actually close to figuring out how to do an actual, legit, unassisted pullup. Last night I had to use the heaviest band and it was a complete struggle to do them strict.

The metcon? One I used to love:

15 Minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
10 Box Jump Overs (20 inch box)
15 Kettlebell Swings (53 lb KB)
25 Double Unders

For the record, these are some of my favorite exercises that don’t involve lifting.

Ok then.

I started the box jump overs on my 20 inch box and on the fourth rep I almost bit it. Like shin-goudging screw up. Luckily I was able to move in a way that saved me from that uglyness, but it was a really close call. The fifth rep I missed again. The 6th rep I barely got up there. I looked up at the clock and less than a minute had passed. I knew this was only going to get harder, so I made the call to scale it and do step ups for the box jump overs.


Onto the Kettlebell swings. I LOVE A HEAVY KETTLEBELL!!! 53 is a good weight for me, but with the lower back stuff I’ve had going on in the last two weeks I wanted to play things conservative. I had grabbed a 45lb Kettlebell and figured I would bang out all the swings for recovery in this workout. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WRONG. I did the first 10 and they were sort of exhausting. Then I finished the last 5 and moved over to my jump rope.

For some reason double unders are my thing. It took me a while to get them, but once I finally did I’ve just really never lost the rhythm. I think they are super fun and man, what a great exercise! Great cardio with all of the jumping, a great leg workout (and if you don’t believe that, just try jumping rope after 150 wall balls, OY! Clearly I’m having CrossFit Games Open PTSD. :)) And they are also an awesome shoulder burner. You don’t realize what a great shoulder workout jumping rope is until you do double unders, I don’t think. So these are my jam! I was ready to go! And then I could hardly string 5 together. The other fun thing about double unders worth mentioning of course, is that when you miss — you actually whip yourself.

So there I was, minutes in, totally failing and continuing to just whip myself over and over. And honest to god I have never seen 15 minutes move slower. The workout just went on forever and ever, and it felt like I was moving from one Station of Suck to the next. Each one was this painful reminder of what I *used to* be able to do. And it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked.

The upside? I still got a good workout (OBVIOUSLY.) And I made it home with shins and lower back in tact (albeit with a few jump rope whip marks on my arms and legs.) But I spent most of the night trying to shake this ghost of Fitness Levels Past. I’m still not sure how to shake it. And it’s nagging at me like toddler. So I need your advice. Probably everyone who reads this has been through something like this. Whether you have gotten injured or had a baby. Whether you’ve put on a few pounds, or taken a break from your physical activity. I know that collectively, there is a lot of motivation out there about getting back on the horse. How do you do it? What works? How do you keep your ego at bay? WHAAAAAAT IS YOUR SEEEEEEEEECRET?

Will you share? For me, and for anyone else who may need some advice on this topic today? Because I am needing a good pep talk, friends.

On Big Leaps + My Own Upper Limit + Changing the Story

I read an incredibly eye opening book a couple of weekends ago. It was called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. ย  While it didn’t immediately dazzle me with life changing epiphanies, I have been thinking about it so much over the past two weeks I wanted to mention it.

The Book

The Big Leap
I will start by warning you it is very self-helpy (WAIT WAIT — DON’T GO!) but since I knew that going in (it was a Cynthia Pasquella recommendation when she was on the Underground Wellness Podcast and it was a “Transform Your Life” episode, so you know — self help was sort of a theme) I found it pretty easy to tolerate. You don’t have to be a self help enthusiast to enjoy this book, but I do think, at the very least, you have to be the kind of person who can suspend judgment of self help books long enough to parse out the good bits for your own use. These days I don’t read “Improve Yourself!” books as much as I did in my early 20s, but I do like to find new ways of thinking about things, and I’m always open to at least hearing about a new perspective. If I don’t think it works for me, I don’t use it. But every once in a while, as with this book, I find the new perspectives refreshing.

On the off chanceย  are NOT one of those people I wanted to share a couple of ideas that had the most impact.ย  When I finished this book I wasn’t really over or underwhelmed. But now that I have marinated on it for a few weeks, I have not stopped thinking about some of these ideas.

The Premise – We All Have Upper Limits

To give you a quick bit of context, the book mostly deals with the topic of self sabotage and why we do it.ย  Yes “we” — because everyone does it. Whether you enjoy touchy feely books or not, I think most people can admit there are times in life when we really WANT to do something, or achieve something, yet inevitably things keep happening to get in our own way. Hendricks makes the assumption that we all have the capability to achieve all of our great desires, but calls this space of self sabotage between wanting to do something and actually doing it, an “Upper Limit Problem.” Here’s a little excerpt to clarify:

When things are going well for us, our Upper Limit mechanism kicks in and we suddenly start worrying about things going wrong in some way. We start to justify those worry-thoughts with more worry-thoughts, and soon weโ€™re manufacturing scenarios of things falling apart, coming ungluedโ€ฆ Worry is an addiction.

So, like I said: Self Helpy. I can read through that and find reason to roll my eyes, and sort of discard the generality of it. HOWEVER, later on in the book he gets a little more detailed about how we manufacture these Upper Limits Problems for ourselves because we have false beliefs (mostly based in fear) about who we are or how we see the world, and that those hidden barriers are what actually stand in our way. Identify the hidden barriers, reframe them, and then get to accomplishing!

I know, we are dangerously close to joining a cult and singing kumbaya — hold tight for a few more paragraphs.

The Hidden Barriers

He details the most common “hidden barriers” to overcoming your Upper Limits and honestly that is where I clearly saw some of my own patterns of behavior. Here they are in cliffs notes form. I found it helpful to think of a particular Upper Limit Problem I have in my life (eg: my struggle to just do the things I know I need to do to lose the weight I want to lose. More on THAT later.)

Hidden Barrier One: Feeling Fundamentally Flawed โ€“ You feel that something is wrong with you.

Hidden Barrier Two: Disloyalty and Abandonment โ€“ You refuse to expand and embrace true success because you feel that if you do, you will have to leave your friends and family behind and you do not want to be alone.

Hidden Barrier Three: Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden โ€“ If you have feelings that somehow you are a burden to others, those feeling will immobilize you and prevent you from rising to your true potential.

Hidden Barrier Four: The Crime of Outshining โ€“ You believe that if you become too successful you will make others look bad. It appears that Hidden Barrier Four is prevalent among gifted and talented children, and often continue to play out in their adult lives.

The Solution + My Own Example

So hey — that’s A LOT of inner child stuff AMIRIGHT?

But as I mentioned earlier, the idea is to find areas in your life where you have an Upper Limit Problem — and then make yourself aware of when you are using one of those hidden barriers above as a crutch or a reason why your desire just can’t come to fruition. And then, of course, reframe the story in your mind and make that Upper Limit Problem your bitch. Hendricks doesn’t say that, but I’m sure he means that.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

I have found this stuff fun to chew on in the last couple weeks. Full disclosure, my Upper Limit Problem has really been making my weight loss journey my bitch. I have succeeded before, I know exactly what to do over time, I just continue to find speed bumps that keep from doing what I need to do consistently. And guess what? I’ve been using ALL FOUR of those hidden barriers in a variety of ways.

The biggest crutch that I’ve been using over the last year is that I can’t have great career success at the same time as having great weight loss success.ย  And I’ve done a really good job of talking myself into that being a FACT. Like somehow I am (lightbulb) FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED and career success and weight loss success both together is just too much at once. I have honestly thought to myself (many times, sadly) that juggling these two things together just are not for me. That other people can succeed like that but I can’t. HOW LAME IS THAT?

I don’t think I would have connected the dots on how obviously I was doing that had I not read this book. Sure, I had to sift through a lot of touchy feely stuff, but to finish this book and realize — hey Holly, your thinking is SUPER flawed on this subject and you actually CAN do both at once and it is a fearful part of your brain that is holding you back — is a large enough epiphany for me to think that it was worth it.

Over the past few weeks I can’t tell you how many times I have been about to make a decision that completely undermines my own weight loss goal (a goal I am completely capable of achieving — hell I’ve lost 100+ lbs before. I KNOW I can lose weight) by rationalizing it with this weird career/health dichotomy thing that I have made up in my brain. As if the two just can not co-exist. It’s been empowering to look at that thought pattern and make a different decision. One that actually pushes me toward my goals. Being aware of the hidden barriers, and acknowledging their falseness has allowed me to change my own story. And so far it is making a world of difference.


Fun Things To Read On A Friday

New office "decor" โ˜•๏ธ

Friday: I LOVE YOU.

This week, while a short one, has definitely suffered from the “squeezing five days of work into four days” syndrome. I’ve been hustling at about a hundred miles an hour since Tuesday so I’m definitely ready to hit the pause button.

Good news from the week? I did my first CrossFit work out since I hurt my back, and it was pain free. I’m going back again tonight to pick up the barbell a little and see how it goes. Chiropractors are just gifts! Beyond that, not too much exciting to report. The weather has been amazing lately, and it’s supposed to be in the mid 70s this weekend so we cleaned off all our patio furniture and I think we are going to eat dinner out back. Not sure what I’m going to cook — my brain is still in soup/stew mode, but Mother Nature has apparently decided it is spring.

Fear not, I will adapt. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you have a great weekend, let’s kick it off by reading some fun links!


*17 Signs You Were An English Major. I was — and # 6 and # 12 — YESSSSSSSSSS!

*Are you doing the CrossFit Games Open this year? I can’t imagine NOT doing it, but physically I just don’t know if I’m up for it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, trust me it’s FUN! Read this.

*I thought this was useful info: How To Shop for Clothes Online and Get A Perfect Fit.

*Nice roundup of the 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014.

*I always enjoy reading what inspires other bloggers.

*Raise your hand if you have a massive to do list that you’re avoiding by reading this blog post? Now go read this.

*Awesome beauty products at Whole Foods? YEP.

*Are we all scrambling our eggs wrong? THE HORROR!

*You know what you should MAKE this weekend? This Mustard Balsamic Baked Chicken. Also I’m feeling really pulled toward this recipe which is super random since I don’t do a lot of salmon experimenting in my house. But I think I’m going to take the plunge. (The champagne pairing got me!)

*And you know what you should DO: Sprint.

*And you know what you should EAT: salt.

*We’ve been thinking about doing a little redecoration around our house and I loved all of this Easy Wall Hanging Inspiration.

*I absolutely loved this: Fat Is Not A Feeling. (BECAUSE IT’S NOT!)


Enjoy your weekend peeps, whatever you do!

What We’re Watching Now

Garrett + I both have the day off of work and plan to do some serious recharging today. After a lot of scrolling, reviewing, and comparing we finally settled on a new streaming tv show to replace the hole Dawson’s Creek left work our way through together.

We wanted something smart, funny, maybe a little nostalgic, and perhaps with a coming of age element to it. In the end, here’s what we decided on:

Veronica Mars

Have you watched it?


Seems to be a bit of a cult classic, and we worked our way through almost half of the first season this weekend and it is totally scratching the itch. The soundtrack alone (Pete Yorn! The Streets!) has us feeling super nostalgic. And while I’m not quite sure yet that I’d call it coming of age, we both just have a real soft spot for witty shoes that are set during high school.

Anyway, if you need us today we’ll be curled up on the couch solving mysteries eating the plantain nachos from Primal Cravings.

Back to normal life tomorrow!

A Very Long Post About My Updated Skin Care Routine

Updated Skin Care Routine

I’ve written so much about my skin care struggles here and it continues to be a work in progress. In an effort to improve what has been a 15+ year struggle I have tried many things — medications, antibiotics, expensive facials, and even Accutane (CLIFFS NOTES: DO NOT RECOMMEND!) — but since about 2010 I’ve taken a different approach.

The History

I changed my diet to a Paleo template and as most most people know, many folks in the Paleo community have a real shared love for finding the root cause of health issues instead of just trying to make the symptom go away — myself included. I firmly believe acne is a symptom of an underlying health problem, and more specifically an underlying gut problem. I don’t think it’s just something that happens as a fluke, it’s absolutely an indicator of something going on inside your body.

With that in mind, over the last few years I’ve tried many different things in order to uncover a solution. I have experimented with eliminating foods, learned a ton about digestion and it’s relation to skin, I’ve added helpful supplements (Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide has some great advice here) and then in the middle of 2012 I made a marked effort to move all of my products toward the “natural” side of the spectrum. I know “natural” doesn’t mean a whole lot these days, but essentially I decided I was going to simplify the sheer amount of products I was using, and leave as much of the chemical skin care stuff behind as I could.

I focused on gut health and how it relates to skin for about a year and in many ways my health got better. But my skin results were always inconsistent. I’d go through periods of time where it was great, and periods of time where it was only ok with no rhyme or reason, but even at its best, my skin was still so very far from where I wanted my skin to be. Also not to state the obvious, but I’ve continued to get older. Prevention is still important with respect to skin, but also I would like to UNDO some of the damage, scarring and pigment issues I’ve got going on as well.

Recent Developments

In October of last year, I decided go back to a few “more traditional” skin care items. I did it in response to giving nutritional ketosis a try (man I still have to blog about my Keto experiment)ย  because among manyย  developments, my face was overtaken by SUPER SEVERE acne. So bad it felt equivalent to the time in my life when I decided I should try Accutane.ย  I was literally having some mini panic attacks about it and my coconut oil and baking soda face wash was basically laughing at me on the sidelines. I was fretting about the potential for scars (I already have enough!) feeling sad about the additional pigmentation problems (I’ve had freckles since I was born and breakouts don’t make it better!) and so one day I just impulsively made a bee-line into some retailers who sold my old tried and true skin products from my back in the day.

Probably two weeks later I was ASTOUNDED by the change in my skin. But truth be told, I was also conflicted about the positive results.

The Conflict

Day after day my skin was improving — the look, the spots, and the texture were all getting better. Consistently. All of the things that I had hoped to attain by moving toward more natural solutions were happening — except natural skincare lovers would certainly say my products had “questionable” ingredients in them. I wrestled with this for a while, and then one day I woke up, shook myself, and said “Save your stress for the things that matter, Holly! You can’t win every battle at the same time.”

The facts are: I am really happy with my current results. Do I wish I was accomplishing these results with only coconut oil, baking soda and the sweet breath of unicorns? YES! Absolutely! And someday I might get there. I aspire to get there, actually. But I also have a lot going on in my life right now, and a finite amount of resources in the problem solving department. I believe in allowing yourself some evolution (Paleo Joke!) and in my opinion, the people who are the best example of this Paleo LIFESTYLE (gag) are the people who interpret all the ancestral wisdom through a modern lens. And right now, I’m happy that in these modern times I have a Clarisonic and a Sephora.

I know this has been a lot of words so far and I haven’t even talked products, but I wanted to give you some context. If you have any other questions about why I turned on a dime and went running back to retinol — feel free to leave them in the comments. But for now, here are the things that are just rocking my world lately when it comes to taking care of my face.


The Game Changer: Clarisonic Mia 2
Clarisonic Mia 2

At the beginning of last year I finally ponied up $100+ for a Clarisonic because I couldn’t go five feet without hearing someone rave about it. I used it for a few months and was only mildly impressed. Then I found out IT WAS A FAKE! A fake that I had purchased on Amazon from an unreputable retailer. (Be ye not so stupid. Only buy on Amazon from legit places!) I went most of the rest of the year without it but when I had my skin care scare that I mentioned above in October I decided that the next time I saw a good deal from a legitimate retailer, I would pounce. And on Black Friday I did just that. I purchased a kit from QVC, that included a cleanser that I didn’t care about at all and a travel case, and from the first week on I’ve been absolutely in love. If you need additional endorsement? I got Garrett to use it (“Hey babe, try this vibrating hot pink face washer the next time you’re in the shower, ok?” HA! You should have heard his response) and even HE is an evangelizing devotee now. Masculinity be damned. It is worth it.

The AM/PM Everyday Cleanser: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Fresh Soy Face CleanserRemember the cleanser I got with the Clarisonic that I couldn’t have cared less about? It was this! And I was shocked by how much I loved it. It’s incredibly gentle, has only a few ingredients, a very light cucumber scent and it makes my face feel wonderful. When I first purchased it I was just using my Clarisonic with Cetaphil thinking the cleanser you used didn’t really matter, but the difference was remarkable. I’ve already repurchased a second bottle. It’s pricy, but it’s so worth it.

The Wild Card: Acure Unscented Argan Oil Facial Cleansing Towelettes

Sometimes on days when I am wearing a lot of makeup I like to do a little pre-wash before I use the Clarisonic. These work great to get a ton of makeup off. Also, these are awesome in my gym bag. They don’t dry out my skin, are very gentle, and have a non existent scent.

The 3 Nights Per Week Cleanser: Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Wash
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

I used this years ago when the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion was all the rage and I didn’t even have a hint of a reason to use anything glycolic (For the record, the drying lotion does NOTHING for me.) I picked this up on a whim at Ulta around Thanksgiving and it’s just an awesome AHA exfoliating face wash. I only use it 2, maybe 3 times a week (usually at night) — depending on if my skin is feeling dull and it brightens it right up. This is also one that Garrett rolled his eyes at and is now using religiously. It’s a really great product that makes a noticeable difference in my face.

The Toner: Dermalogica Multi Active Toner or Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist
DermalogicaPost washing, I like to use a light toner, but I don’t have the patience for liquids and cotton rounds and all of that. Dermalogica makes, HANDS DOWN, the best toners out there in my opinion. I’ve been a long time user of the Multi Active Toner, but decided to try the Antioxidant Hydramist because it is a part of their Anti Aging Line and I am VERY. ANTI. AGING. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Not sure which one I like better, but I will always keep at least one in the rotation. I love that Dermalogica makes travel sized products, and it is a great way to try out their line without breaking the bank. I think it is worth every penny, but it’s always nice to try a small size if you’ve never used something.

The Everyday Moisturizers: CeraVe AM Lotion with SPF 30 + CeraVe PM Lotion
CeraVeAbsolute Drug Store STEALS, and really amazing moisturizers. I like the separation of AM and PM because of the sunscreen issue, and they are really hydrating without using a lot of product or making you feel greasy. I find the bottles last a long time too, which makes a $10 purchase feel like even MORE of a deal.

The (2-3x per week) Night Cream/Tip Toe Into Retinol Products: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Roc RetinolThis was an impulse purchase (what isn’t in my life, JEEZ!) and honestly I am not that up to speed on Retinol type products so I’m still sort of researching my holy grail version of this or if I even want to continue using it. But I got it in a 2 pack, and I’m going to use it all up. Mostly because it is gentle (probably because it doesn’t have a large percentage of retinol? retinoids? See? I’m still researching) but when I use this a couple of nights a week, I wake up with the tiniest pores in the morning. It’s actually kind of weird. But good weird, you know? Plus it doesn’t smell too chemically.

The Spot Treatment: Bremenn Clinical Zit Stick
Zit StickI’ve already raved about this. Seriously, do yourself a favor and go get it.

The Occasional Nightime Dry Skin Reliever: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum
Julep Luxe Repair Skin SerumThis is a little too oily for me to use on a daily basis, especially as part of my morning routine, but we’ve had a couple of weeks this winter where it was really cold (For California! I know!) and the first thing to revolt was my skin. Those days when I was feeling a bit parched, I would just slather on this serum and be right as rain the following day. And despite it’s viscosity, no breakouts at all. I’m on the hunt for a better serum, but I do like this one in the meantime and will happily use it all.

The Once Per Week Anti Aging Treatment: Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel
Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple Acid Brightening PeelHands down this is my favorite skin discovery in probably the past five years. It is an at home chemical peel that I use once per week (I do some juggling with my skin care schedule to use all of the products for sure!) and usually once I put it on my face and neck there is enough to use on my chest and hands. It’s amazing, feels luxurious, and in is far, far better than similar products like this that I’ve tried by Bliss and Peter Thomas Roth. The best price around is at QVC and while it seems spendy, it last forever because and remember it is only a once per week treatment that you will make a NOTICEABLE difference.ย  $4 each is a steal and I’ll skip a latte in favor of this brightening peel any day.

The 2x Per Week Spa Solution: Karuna Masks
Karuna MasksI have always been a sucker for masks, and I find that as well as they work for my skin, they also work for my LIFE — because to sit down (on my couch or in a bathtub) twice per week for 20 minutes to do a mask on myself is such a great stress reliever! I love these Karuna masks but you can always find fun ones at TJ Maxx or Ulta to stock your collection.



What I’m Still On The Hunt For: A “worth it” Vitamin C Serum. Haven’t found one yet — any suggestions?ย  Anything surprise you? Any questions for me?


Four Cheap Thrills You Totally Need

I’ve mentioned before that I think January is the perfect month for cheap thrills. We’re all having a little money hangover after December, but if you’re anything like me you miiiiiiiiight have gotten used to being a little bit indulgent at the end of last year and who wants to just quit that cold turkey? (Related: Can somebody come over here and delete the QVC app off of my iPhone, please. My credit card thanks you!)

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few fun things that I am absolute loving lately because they are making me feel all special and luxurious and stuff but they are super duper inexpensive. In fact, they can all probably be impulse purchased at a drugstore near you! (PS — this post is not sponsored by anyone except my wallet and my need to have a shower overflowing with awesomeness.) So let’s get to it, shall we?


1. Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shampoo + Conditioner with Argan Oil


I picked these babies up on impulse at Target (WHERE ELSE?) and at under $4 per bottle I thought to myself “Moroccan Oil? This is probably more like Canola Oil at that price.” But every once in a while I like to add a little drugstore shampoo combo into my rotation. My second concern was when I first smelled them. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them because they were a little bit perfumey, and I’m usually a more “natural smells” kind of person. That just made me sound like I like the smell of body odor. For the record: I DO NOT!

So hey, this is a ringing endorsement so far, right? WOW.

But here’s the thing, when I got them home and start using them, they made my hair SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO soft and silky. And while the fragrance was outside of my fruity/citrusy scent comfort zone, I thought that it made my hair smell super clean and delicious all day long. It was sort of the hair equivalent of having your clothes smell like clean laundry detergent. So if you are someone who likes that (and soft hair) then you need this! (Trust me. Even if you do think it smells strong and perfumey at first!)

I figured because it was a cheapy relatively inexpensive shampoo/conditioner it would eventually weigh my hair down and stop working, but I am about to be done with my first bottles and I am literally chomping at the bit to pick another couple of bottles up. Suave Professionals, you have stepped up your game! I’m even considering buying this 4 Piece Gift Set on Amazon because it’s only TEN BUCKS! And on Prime! Which means it will show up at my house in two days and I won’t have to go to Target where I can’t be trusted not to make impulse purchases. And THAT, in itself, is priceless!

2. St. Ives Revitalizing Pear and Soy Body Wash
St Ives

This is probably the most non-natural, non-hippie body wash you could possibly buy (and for only $4! WOOT!) but hot damn does it lather well, smell edible, and probably the most surprising — moisturizes like a boss! I’ve been so exceptionally dry skinned this winter and I find the difference notable when I DON’T use this product. And it’s a $4 product. I mean — what the heck?

If you are a fruity/citrusy fragrance lover, hightail it to your nearest retailer and get your hands on this. You won’t regret it. And if you use it on a little puffy loofah spongy thing (the technical term, I’m sure) BONUS POINTS! You’ll practically be taking a bubble bath in your shower.

3. Spongeables Pedi Scrub Foot Buffer


Listen, it’s January. I’m not actively getting pedicures. My feet are all mashed up in boots. Real Talks: they need a little TLC. And these old school foot scrubbers have been a totally fun addition to my shower. I have the Tea Tree Oil version, and whenever I use it I just want to shout “Treat Yo Self” but I can’t really do that without gesticulating wildly, and since I’m in the shower and also clumsy, that’s an unnecessary danger. But this little foot spongy thing? DEFINITELY necessary.

4. Bremmen Clinical Zit Stick

zit stick

This easy to use salicylic acid based cream treatment has totally helped me out of a pinch in the last month since I purchased it. (At Costco, in a 2 pack, for $8, so try that if you’re a member.) It dries clear, doesn’t irritate, and most importantly: TOTALLY WORKS. I feel like I will never be without this again, it has worked that well for me. The applicator is gentle, it hasn’t dried my face, and I’m just so happy with it! Highly recommend! Oh but wait, YOU don’t have any zits. Nevermind. ๐Ÿ™‚


So there ya have it. If you bought everything on this list it’d cost ya a little over thirty bucks, but I swear it’d make you feel like a million! Tell me about your newest cheap thrill discovery, because I do have a Target trip in my future… ๐Ÿ™‚

First Quarter – State of the Union

Evening walk with the Dogfather.

In 2012 I did regular progress reports each month outlining my goals for the current month and my accomplishments for the previous. While that was somewhat useful for me, something about the format wasn’t exactly what I wanted and rather than fix it in 2013, I just sort of skipped it altogether. Good thing too, because I’m sure I didn’t have time to accomplish much outside of work and probably would have felt super de-motivated. In the end, skipping it was a win.

But I miss doing a bit of regular life inventory around here, so I’ve racked my brain for some kind of solution and decided that maybe a Quarterly State of the Union could be helpful. I’m going to pick a few areas (the ones that are the biggest pieces of my life), discuss what’s going well, what could be going better, give you some links to people or resources that are influencing me in those areas, and then list my short term quarterly goals if I have any. (And hell, I may not!) I’m going to try this format this year and see what happens. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Business + Career

What’s Going Well: With respect to the day job, I’m about 3 weeks out from my 1 year anniversary of this new role I took on at work. Upside? I’ve sort of been through everything once. Does that make sense? Last year in addition to just learning a new job I had some serious extra curricular assignments on my desk that were temporary. Most of those are wrapping up at the beginning of this year. TIME TO EXHALE….WOOO HOOO!! Downside: Last Friday at 4pm I was assigned a new little project that may or may not be a big commitment since I had some “extra capacity.” haha

I can’t talk about business + career without talking about blogging. 2013 was the first year that I made a legit part time income off of this blog. It’s not an income that will support our household, but it was enough to have me fretting about taxes this year. (Hi, I am financially unorganized when it comes to blogging. WHOOPS.) And it was also enough for me to want to figure out an actual plan for that in 2014. I feel enormously grateful to everyone who has supported this site by reading, commenting, and allowing me to figure out this “Business of Blogging” as I go.

What Could Be Going Better: For fun, I printed out this free time tracking worksheet from Nicole over at Life Less Bullshit. Her suggestion was to track your time for 72 hours to see where you are really spending it, obviously in the hopes of finding places to maximize your efficiency. I went into it thinking “You know, there is probably some dicking around time that I could be using better. This will illuminate where I have some pockets of free time that I could use more effectively.”

Um, wrong.

It became very clear, very quick that I am currently operating at max efficiency, which includes only about 3.5 hours each weekday evening of “free time.” (No wonder I’m so damn excited for the weekends!) So yes, I could be scheduling those 3.5 hours of time more productively, for sure. But sometimes I like to use them to do extravagant things like showering after hot yoga, washing dinner dishes, doing a load or two of laundry, and singing Kanye West to my dog in a very obnoxious voice. (All things I like to do but don’t have a set schedule for. I need a little spontaneity in my life!)

And here’s the other kicker, sometimes I need to have an unscheduled minute to not talking to anyone, or be working on something. Frankly that’s allowed. And that’s no bullshit. Soooooooo. That whole exercise sort of depressed me because I’m past the point of small, smart fixes. But could be useful if you wonder where all your time is going. What it helped me realize was that at this point in my life juggling act, if I need more time (AND I DO), I’m going to have to make some largeR scale changes that are frankly a bit murky and scary.

Short term goals: Figure out some of the bigger needle movers in this time management situation. Get comfortable saying no at work. 2014 Blog Business Plan! Pay your taxes. OUCH. Make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2014. Open a bank account or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

Health + Fitness

What’s going well: Well, I am still alive. SCORE. I have reduced my caffeine intake by a large amount and it has been really helpful. Apparently all I had to do was stock my work stash with DECAF K-Cups and then I wouldn’t feel like I was going to have a heart attack everyday at 2pm. NOVEL IDEA! ๐Ÿ™‚ My skin is looking better than it has in at least a decade and I am consistently getting 7+ hours of sleep every night. (If I want to get 9 hours of sleep every night then I would only have 1.5 hours OF unscheduled time to myself on weekdays. So right now I’m good with 7.)

What Could Be Going Better: Just about everything. When I visualize my immune system it looks like a piece of swiss cheese. (mmmm…cheese.) I have been sick so much of the last 2 months (and it’s still lingering!) that I only logged 10 days in the gym total. TEN DAYS. This is a problem on so many levels for me. I mean you guys, the amount of work it takes to squeeze my ass into my VERY TIGHT pants in the morning should probably count as a workout. I have gotten woefully out of shape, and while it is completely understandable (use it or lose it) that doesn’t make it less frustrating.

I am also dealing with a back injury that has been going on (off and on, which is super irritating) since I did a wonky back bend in a Bikram class in November. I finally made an appointment with a chiropractor last week when I got up from my desk to walk to the bathroom and couldn’t stand up straight. Not normal. (Love this Myth Busters: Chiropractic Edition. A good read if you don’t have a lot of experience with Chiropractors.)

Of course when I feel frustrated about my inability to workout, or when the cabin fever insanity of no gym time gets to me — I begin to hallucinate that kettle cooked potato chips at the grocery store are calling my name. Tell me this happens to you too. It’s not that I’m eating terribly, but I’m just not really eating to support my goals, ya know? I don’t feel any sort of good/bad moral judgment about it but it’s just dumb. And I’m starting to feel a sort of low grade depression about it.

Short Term Goals: Walk More. It’s easy to do, even in my current sick/injured/depressed state and it’s so important. I loved Mark’s Daily Apple’s list of 17 Reasons To Walk More This Year. It was like a beacon of light when I was feeling really bad about my ability to workout. Get to the chiropractor and get to healing. Ease back into your workouts when the time is right. And stop eating chips every time you feel like it.

Family + Relationships

What’s going well: I saw a lot of my family in the last month! My mom and I have had a lot of quality time together recently. I love Garrett to pieces and our relationship right now is in such a good flow. I’ve already been good about birthday cards, thank you notes, and email correspondence so far this year (I know, it’s only been 2 weeks, but there have been quite a few things to send!) and that has been a very purposeful effort. I’m happy with that.

What Could Be Going Better: If you are a friend of mine and you have tried to make plans with me in the last, ooooh — 6 months — I have been super hesitant to commit. I’m guarding my “free time” like a lunatic because I’m never sure if when I have *time* I will also have *energy*. You know how this goes right? (See above about sometimes just wanting to singing Kanye to Buster/not talk to anyone.) So, what I’m saying is, this could be better. I haven’t thought of a great solution to this, but hey, that’s what the next section is for.

Short Term Goals: Go easy on yourself. Make spontaneous plans when the mood strikes. Get rid of the guilt, but also don’t be an inconsiderate dick.


And that’s where I’m at at the beginning of the first quarter of the year, and also where I want to go. Any wild and crazy goals on your list? Give me a little update on YOUR State of the Union? Come on! It’ll be fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fun Things to Read On A Friday

Sweaty. Happy. Broke In my new Oly shoes. Overhead Squat PR. #success #imbaaaaaaaack

Oh you guys, this has been A WEEK! A week of highs and lows, that is.

Up there is my face after my first awesome workout in weeks. God, I just felt like myself again! So darn happy. I had a great workout, Overhead Squated 130 lbs (a new PR for me!) and felt human for the first time in weeks. But that was on Monday and it’s just sort of devolved from there. I hate how that happens sometimes.

I don’t know if it is the fact that this was the first 5 day work week I’ve done for a while or what, but I felt like I was walking uphill all. week. long. Compounding that, I started to feel sick again on Wednesday (NOOOOOOOOOO. NO. NO. NO.), and I’m dealing with some mystery back pain that has me making a bee line to the chiropractor next week because I’m feeling a little concerned.

2014 has sort of come in like a hurricane.

On the upside, this weekend I get to see some family, spend a little time with my mom, and mostly just relax. It is much needed and while my usual tendency when I have free time is to plan all of the fun! things! This weekend, I’m just going to see how it all unfolds. (And also sleep, because OMG I CAN NOT SPEND MORE TIME SICK. I JUST CAN’T. UGH.) So with that said, let’s talk about all the fun stuff floating around the internet this week. After a brief hiatus, I feel like all my favorite bloggers are back to posting regularly so there is so much to share!


*Exercising the Courage Muscle — this may be the hardest (but most worth it) muscle to exercise!

*Here are some great resources for Plus Size Workout Clothes.

*My friend Diana posted a delicious looking recipe for Sea Salted Rosemary Chive Crackers that are grain free and delicious looking! May have to try those soon.

*Speaking of recipes — I am intrigued by the concept of Mini Mexi Meatloaves. I am totally Team Mealoaf.

*It’s the beginning of the year — are you thinking about trying CrossFit in 2014? Then you must read 5 Tips On How To Know You Are In A Good CrossFit Box. All boxes are definitely NOT created equal.

*This list of the 100 Most Influential People in Health + Fitness is full of good blog inspiration.

*I am 100% in love with this Not To Do List. (And it’s a free printable!)

*This post about emoji gave me a chuckle.

*I was inspired by these tips on how to document your life in less than 20 minutes per week.

*Love this book list for people needing creative inspiration. And this list of 50 Fiction Books That Might Just Change Your Life.

*25 Websites that Make You Smarter — who needs an excuse to read that?

*Fear Choice vs. Love Choice. WHOA.

*I am the queen of knowing what’s good for me and then doing something different. As such, this post spoke to me.


Hope you have a great weekend, whatever you choose to do!

Nom Nom Paleo Launch Party Weekend

Heading to SF to celebrate the @nomnompaleo book release. Excited to see old friends and say cheers to all Michelle and Henry's hard work!!! (But first, COFFEE!)

We spent the weekend in San Francisco celebrating the launch of our friends Michelle + Henry’s gorgeous cookbook Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans. And if you can believe it, I am simultaneously more tired yet more refreshed than I was when we left.

The tired part is based solely on logistics. We dropped Buster off at Grandma’s Friday night so he could stay the weekend (and if you know anything about my mother, you know she fully spoils her “grand-dog” as she would a grandchild) so it was basically a trip to the Dog Spa. He spent lots of quality time getting massages, playing with toys, and cuddling up in his (ASPCA Approved!) dog blanket with his favorite Incredible Hulk toy. I think he may have been a bit sad to leave her house last night, and frankly I can’t blame him.


Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed down to San Francisco to enjoy the big launch party and hang out with some of our favorite paleo pals. I’d give you a whole play by play of the adorably detailed (and ridiculously delicious) launch party, but Michelle’s post about it does such a good job there’s just no point rehashing. Seriously, you should totally go right over there to read it.

I have a lot of thoughts about what a great weekend this was, but I am staring down the barrel of a 5 day work week today (ugh, the first one in over a month! Way to go Christmas and New Years, screwing up my ability to be able to tolerate a 5 day work week!) and so I’m a bit pressed for time, but the cliffs notes are this: Beyond the glossy photos of a fun event, the Instagram opportunities, the novelty that is a whole room full of passionate Paleo lovers, and the opportunity to meet other like minded bloggers who love this hobby like I do — the thing that I think I am most grateful for about this weekend was the opportunity to connect with old friends and new. (So many good eggs in one room!)

He is one

I came home with a belly full of eats and drinks, memories of wonderful conversations, sage advice to chew on, funny stories to retell, and that wonderful warm feeling that comes with the perfect intersection of familiar and brand new. I came home grateful for everything that I have welcomed into my life since I started documenting my Paleo journey on this site and continue to feel excited about all the things to come in the future. Though I wasn’t curled up with an Incredible Hulk toy, when my head hit the pillow last night I was blissfully exhausted.

The bar has been set high for weekends in 2014.

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