Things I’m Thinking About AKA Bullets About Why We’re Doing A February Whole 30

Asian Pork Salads #yum #leftovers #hollydoesdinner

*We’re doing a February Whole 30. I know I told you that in the title, but you know — I thought I’d just reiterate for clarity. :)

*Well, a Whole 30+. We are going to start in February and go until March 9. What is March 9, you ask? Our engagement photos. And the second we set the date Garrett was like “Hey, let’s Whole 30!” ha! He says he feels chubby. He is NOT chubby.

*Upside though, is I like the idea of feeling bright eyed and being clear skinned in those photos and all, so I agreed. Knowing my luck I’ll still wake up the day of with a giant, visible blemish.

*Sidebar: Do you think there is a wedding planning gene? If so, mine clearly has a mutation. My mom said to me the other day that this wedding I am planning almost seemed like a second job. And YES, MOTHER YOU ARE CORRECT! It totally is! Except instead of getting paid I get to PAY OTHER PEOPLE. #grumble

*So, I know there are people out there who use Whole 30 as a diet (ahem, Garrett – YOU’RE BUSTED!) which is all controversial and stuff, but I promise you I am not doing that. What I am making no secret of doing though, is using the Whole 30 as a budgeting tool. We always spend SO MUCH LESS on groceries when we do a Whole 30 and since groceries are one of our biggest expenses it’s always something that shows a noticeable return. After making deposits on all sorts of wedding related crap and a MUCHO EXPENSIVO trip to the vet with Buster, February seemed like a GREAT time to just Whole 30 that shit up! YAY. More money to spend on a wedding! #grumblegrumble

*Tangentially related: I’m thinking about jumping on the What I Ate Wednesday bandwagon. I actually don’t think it is a bandwagon at all, but you know what I mean — sharing some everyday photos of what I’ve been eating. I like the idea for accountability (this is where people who don’t blog are like — YOU TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR FOOD? whut? WHY?) But also to inspire a little creativity in the kitchen.

*Oh! Oh! And this is my other reason for doing a Whole 30 — I find when I have parameters to work within, I am SO MUCH MORE creative. This makes me sound RULL SQUARE. But alas, it is true! Right now I’m in a bit of a cooking rut. We’re having good meals, but I’m not like, excited or jazzed about too many of them. It’s just kind of the Greatest Hits on repeat. I am someone who likes cooking to be a creative outlet and usually when I do a Whole 30 I get jazz-hands-obnoxious about recipes and trying new things. Also there’s the added bonus that about 15 days in even super boring/plain food tastes AMAZEBALLS (yeah, I just used that word) because my taste buds are back to normal.

*But let’s be honest, some weeks it is hard enough for me to even just get here and post bullet pointed lists of my thoughts. So to remember to be creative in the kitchen, take pictures and post them once a week may be a tad ambitious. We shall see.

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Anyone else doing a February Whole 30?

Thursday Things

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*Well I have joined the rest of popular culture and begun playing Trivia Crack. And just like that — there goes many potentially productive hours of my life because holy hell, that is F-U-N! (P.S. Come find me – Let’s Play!)

*What are we all watching on Netflix lately? I have an entire Sunday ahead of me with not a thing to do. I think I may stay in my PJs all day and watch movies (not sure if I can commit to starting a new TV show.) Any suggestions?

*We hired a wedding photographer! I’m so excited. We’re totally going to be those obnoxious people who take engagement photos with their dog. The more vendors we nail down the more I feel like this party is actually going to happen. Now, onto a caterer.

*We have also purchased ALL THE BOOZE from Costco in the recent past, so we are on point for having a good wedding bar, ha! They have had some amazing post-holiday markdowns lately and we’ve just kept pouncing.
Prosecco for days! The wedding stockpiling has begun. If you need a drink, come to my garage.

*Buster’s cuddle quotient is so high in the winter. It’s like all he wants to do is lay all over Garrett and I and I’ll tell you what I am not complaining.

Mid-day snuggles!

*If you’ve been reading for any length of time you know that I always cut my hair (because I like the way it looks short) and then complain incessantly because I can’t put it up into a ponytail when I work out. Short hair for me is awesome, yet un-functional. So I’m in a non-snipping phase lately and the other day I pulled my hair up into a ponytail and the ponytail itself measured 6.5 inches. (Yes I did make Garrett pull out a tape measure. It was a totally useful way to spend time. ha) This blows my mind for some reason.

*We’re going to a “Roaring 20s” Crab Feed this weekend so I think I may have to resurrect my 50 Cent Flapper costume. Man that turned out to be useful Amazon purchase. Who knew?
Any fun plans for YOU this weekend?

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Happy “Baby Friday” Y’all!

What We’re Eating This Week: Freezer Food Ideas

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This week’s highlight: Blurry Football Selfie Celebrating the Buckeye win! WOOT!

Garrett was out of town last weekend and instead of relaxing and just enjoying my alone time I ran 900 million errands and cooked enough food for an entire town. Our freezer is overflowing. I have a tendency to do things like that when I have a long stretch of free time ahead of me, and then I get to Sunday night and I’m like “Wait what, I have to go back to work? BUT WHERE WAS MY BUBBLE BATHING AND COUCH LAYING TIME?”

It turns out this week has been (somewhat unexpectedly) busy, so even though I didn’t relax a ton this weekend I am so freaking happy to have so much ready to eat food in my fridge. I made some yummy stuff and thought I would share because most of them are good recipes for batch cooking and popping in the freezer or for just enjoying throughout the week – ALREADY COOKED!

***I made a batch of Mel’s Persian Spiced Winter Vegetable Soup and it might be the thing that made my kitchen smell the best all weekend! Onions, garlic and butternut squash softening in ghee is about the most blissful thing ever. And that’s before you add in all the spice deliciousness.
Persian Soup

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The only change I made was upping the Aleppo Pepper to 4 teaspoons because we are crazy people who love spicy/hot food. We ate this for dinner on Monday night with some crisped up kielbasa chunks on top to make it a meal. This recipe is a 10 and would freeze beautifully and we ate it while watching Ohio State trounce Oregon. Besides tasting good this soup might also be a good luck charm! :) (A few people have asked me why we Californians love Ohio State so much. It’s a family thing – this is Garrett’s grandpa’s brother so his family has a lot of OSU pride that has rubbed off on me.)

***I also had 4 lbs of stew meat on hand so I used half of it to make AndreAnna’s Asian Orange Beef. I’ve sung the praises of this recipe so many times (it’s an all time favorite of Garrett’s) and we usually either make cauliflower rice or roast cauliflower like we did last night because it pairs so well. I add an extra yellow onion to the simmer, use mandarin oranges in a jar from Costco as well as add a few Tablespoons of red pepper flakes because, again WE LOVE THE HEAT. It’s bomb diggity!

asian beef

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***With the other 2 lbs of stew meat I tried a new (to me) recipe for Slow Cooker Garlic and Rosemary Beef Stew. I was stranded at home for a bit on Saturday because I had to wait for AAA to come replace my VERY DEAD battery in my car so while I was waiting I browned the meat and got it all crockpot ready.

Rosemary-Garlic-Beef-Stew-front

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It was a quick assembly but when it was finished cooking it was a little bit…gray? The flavor was SUPER good though so I salvaged it by adding some Kitchen Boquet. I feel like the fact that I own (and occasionally use) this product is some sort of culinary crime, but we’re all friends here so I’m just going to tell you I sprinkled a few drops in and it turned my stew the perfect brown. I obviously prefer a stovetop/oven but desperate times, you know. Like I said, the flavor was great!

***Lastly, I made a completely unhealthy, completely comfort food dish which I know is just so not a “January” thing to do but I could not resist. On Christmas Eve my aunt makes this really delicious (completely non-paleo) lasagna that everyone just dies over. She sent me the recipe in the mail and I happened to grab the mail on my way to the grocery store on Sunday. When I opened the envelope, my impulsive nature reared its head and I was like “I’m making a gluten free version of this IMMEDIATELY.” And I did.
Lasagna

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I would actually call myself someone who DISLIKES lasagna. It’s just never all that great to me, but for some reason this lasagna recipe is life changing. Now I wouldn’t call it nutritious at all, but sometimes you just have to live a little. I gave some to Garrett in his lunch on Monday and right about noon he sent me this:
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*As the icing on the cake I baked this Ground Beef and Spinach Egg Casserole but I used pork because we had some on hand. Still delightful!

I also mixed up some smoked salmon salad with tons of celery and Sir Kensington’s Chipotle Mayo. Yeah, you need to run out and pick some of THAT up, lemme tell ya. I am also not a fan of mayonnaise (unless it’s homemade) so we rarely have it in our fridge but I picked this up on a whim at Whole Foods since Juli is always raving about it and I feel like it doesn’t even taste like mayonnaise. It’s more like a chipotle sauce and now I want it ON EVERYTHING. #WORTHTHEHYPE #AMAZEBALLSWITHSALMON

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So that’s a wintery little dose of the freezer food we’ve got cooking up lately.

What kind of hearty dishes are happening in your kitchen?

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Meme?

Tamara tagged me in a meme (how awesomely retro….YES!!!!!) so I’m going to answer some questions and then tag all of you who want to do this. See? It’ll be like 1997 up in here.

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1. What is my current health related goal?

Managing my stress levels. Last night Garrett and I made a wedding related decision right as we were getting into bed and then I lied awake for two hours listening the the hamster wheel in my brain. That was dumb and today I am tired. I need to be proactive about how I manage some of the stressors in my life right now and in doing that I will positively impact my health.

2. What is my biggest irrational fear?

Dropping my keys into a drainage grate. If I have to walk in even a three foot radius of any kind of parking lot drainage grate and I have keys in my hands I always have THE DEATH GRIP on them. I’m so afraid that it will magnetically suck them out of my hand into some evil Pennywise vortex and I will be stranded at Target or something.

The fear is REAL, yo.

3. Do I enjoy wrapping presents?

No. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy wrapping paper, or bows, or fancy looking gifts or anything. It’s more that once I decide on a gift for someone and then actually have it in my possession, I just want to give it to them RIGHT THIS INSTANT. I cannot keep a secret and my impulse control is low, so if you get a present from me and it is wrapped, know that it took all the fight I could muster to not just throw it in your lap the second I bought it.

4. What is my favorite cross-training activity?

I like all training, whether it is grumpy, happy, sleepy OR cross.

5. If you came to visit me, what would we do?

Well I live in Sacramento where our city motto is “An hour from the ocean, and hour from the mountains” so I guess it would depend on what you like to do. If I had my way we’d indulge in the motto that *I’ve* given Sacramento which is “An hour from Napa, so let’s go have some wine and then come home and watch Netflix on the couch.”

I think we’d have fun though. :)

6. I have two weeks off work and two round trip tickets to anywhere. Where would I go and who would I take with me?

On someone else’s dime? Hmmm…I think Garrett and I would hop on a plane to New Zealand. Or else maybe go to Monaco during the Formula One race. But then I would have to figure out a way to hook up with someone who has yacht. Or a hotel room with a good view. So maybe New Zealand then, just because the only thing that keeps us from doing that is because plane tickets are so freaking expensive. Ok, I am analyzing this question too much.

7. What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to me during a run or a race?

I mean, have you seen me “run?” It’s all sort of embarrassing.

8. Three best days of my life. Or at least the top three that come to mind.

Yesterday, because it taught me something. Today, because I woke up and got to try again. And tomorrow because it’s full of opportunity. Awwwwwww yeah, I just got super philosophy-douche on that one, didn’t I? I don’t know, I’m not really a “THIS WAS THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE” kind of person.

9. Okay, so I HAVE to eat a fast food meal. Which restaurant do I choose and what do I order?

Taco Bell. No question. And it doesn’t matter what I order because it will surely be full of fake meat and be totally disgusting-licious. No shame.

10. Have I ever met a celebrity?

Many. I lived in LA for 5 years. They’re on every street corner just like Starbucks. Hey, most of them I met in Starbucks. Well, “met” is sort of a weird word to use here. If we’re really talking about meeting celebrities this is the best story I’ve got. (That’s an old blog post, PS, and I drop a lot of F-Bombs in it. Apologies in advance for the fact that I don’t feel like editing it.)

11. Share a picture of myself in non-workout clothes.

I post Outfit of the Day pictures on Instagram sometimes. You can follow me there if you are into that business.
TGIF and an #ootd

12. If I could choose to have a “do over” and switch careers, what would I choose and why?

Are you saying insurance isn’t a sexy “first choice” type of career. WELL THAT’S WEIRD. I don’t know, my secret fantasy has always been to work in the fitness industry because who wouldn’t want to get paid to stay in shape and inspire others to do the same? But alas, I am still working on my fitness (Fergie Style, of course) so people aren’t really throwing money at me to do that. Really anything entrepreneurial appeals to me. But not in that creepy Jim Bellino kind of way.

13. If I won and Olympic gold medal how would I react?

By making out with Ryan Lochte in Olympic Village, obviously.

Juuuuuust kidding. By ugly crying, obviously. I am a reasonable person with reasonable emotions.

14. What do I want for Christmas?

A post-wedding vacation on a beach somewhere. I think I can make that happen.

15. What skill do I lack?

The ability to put up with bullshit without showing my disdain for it all over my face. My poker face is terrible, basically.

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Ok, so who else wants to do this? Leave me a link if you do!

2015 Goals

2015 Goals

This year it took me quite a while to get my list of goals posted. It wasn’t that I was feeling uninspired about what I want to accomplish — in fact, quite the opposite. When I did my first pass of goal setting the list looked like a novel. If I banged out an item a day I might still not finish — and I had stuff like “Plan Wedding” counting as just one item.

Clearly I needed a different approach. :)

There are lots of things I want to do this year, but the truth is I still have a job, I still have a life, and yep – I am definitely planning a September wedding that suddenly feels like a big ol’ project with a little ol’ timeline. And I’m trying very, very hard to curb my inner-expectation setter so I had to start by not setting 300 goals for the year.

With all that in mind I put together a list of random things on my mind for this year and where it was needed, a little explanation. Some are practical, some are silly, some are aspirational, and surely not all of them will get done. But if I have fun in the process, we’ll call it a win.

Things I Want To Do:


*Have Wedding/Stay Sane/Pay Cash

This goal sort of goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway so I can (hopefully) cross it off of my list.
*Stay in touch with family and friends
I’ve been bad at balancing this with work responsibilities over the last couple of years so it’s at the front of my mind and I’m recommitting to nurturing those relationships this year.
*Make 2015 the year of THE PURGE
We used to always say our house was a small house but that it fit us perfectly. Now it is feeling a little bit…full? We’re going to remedy that this year. I also want this to carry over into all areas of my life. If it’s not working for me, it’s going to get trashed – no matter what it is.
*Make the time I have with my own little family unit (Garrett + Buster) count
I spend a lot of time with Garrett + Buster (because they’re so cute, obvs) but we do sometimes get in a habit of sitting on the couch next to each other staring at our phones. I know we aren’t the only ones. TELL ME WE’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES. So I want to be mindful about quality time with my family.
*Commit to an 80/20 situation with food
My natural tendency is to be 100% or 0% — let’s work on that, Holly. You’re not getting a grade on this so aiming for average is just fine. And probably better in the long run.
*Challenge yourself physically + give 100%
I like to be challenging myself in the fitness arena because both my body and brain appreciate it. This will include some fitness sub-goals along the way I’m sure, but for now keeping myself consistently challenged and NOT phoning it in is a good enough direction to get started.
*Prioritize personal upkeep
Look, you can call me a girly girl, but damn if I am not so much happier when I make time to get my nails done or get a massage or sit in a pedicure chair reading about how “Stars! They’re Just Like Us.” I’ve gone so far as to make appointments ahead of time and WRITE THEM ON MY CALENDAR lately. I want to keep it up.
*Learn a new skill
Because I enjoy being a beginner and trying new things.
*Play golf somewhere fun
I should also add “while not making a fool of yourself.” AKA Driving Range, here I come.

Places I Want To Go:

*Scottsdale, AZ
My cousin Jenny is also getting married this year. We are doing up Scottsdale for her Bachelorette Party.
*Mother Daughter Weekender – Location TBD
We can’t start calling it an annual tradition if we don’t do it every year, right?
*My Bachelorette Party – Location TBD
I’m open to suggestions that aren’t Vegas because, no.
*Central Coast
Because it is my geographic spirit animal and I have to go down there once a year and harass one of my besties who lives down there.
*Maui
Because we were supposed to go in December but we cancelled our trip until we got our wedding budget in order. WELL IT’S IN ORDER NOW, SO… :)
*Des Moines, Iowa
I always end up in Iowa for work, and usually it means I get to hang with AndreAnna, so YAY!
*Honeymoon – Location TBD
Also open to suggestions.

Things I Want To Let Go Of

*Feeling like my worth is based on what I accomplish
*Feeling like “being in control” is better than “being open to what happens”
*Pleasing anyone by myself + Garrett while planning our wedding
*A weight loss goal

Big Ticket Purchases

*A headboard for our bed
*A Smoker
The people doing the Traeger road shows at Costco are starting to think I’m a stalker.
*A Refrigerator
Our “apartment style” refrigerator is just really, really getting old.
*A dSLR
*A Closet Organization System
ELFA, Closet Doctor — just SOMETHING. If you have suggestions, I am all ears.
*Um…A Wedding
Cuz this TOTALLY counts as a purchase, y’all. OOF

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This is still a pretty long list but I think if I get to the end of the year and I’ve made some good attempts I will be pleased. What’s on your list for 2015?

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