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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You know how this goes — you open up your feed reader in the morning and hope that your favorite bloggers have posted? You always look forward to seeing what they are going to share their perspective on next or what awesome tidbit they will discuss.
We all have them, so today I thought I’d share a few of mine. Here are 5 blogs I just can’t get enough of:
First of all Beth is adorable. Always a plus for a style blog, right? (Best Hair on The Internet! Hands Down.) But I love how well she mixes upscale fashion with Chuck Taylors. It’s a great mix of aspirational and approachable fashion, and her southern backdrops are always so vivid and delightful!
Laura is a great writer who has a blog, not a blogger who sometimes likes to write. You know the difference, right? She does a fantastic job mixing up bits of Hollywood life, stories of parenthood, thoughts on faith and also makeup in a way that totally makes sense. What strings them all together as cohesive content is her brilliant voice. A must read.
If you are in need of a good, dry sense of humor – please, please read this. Mimi Smartypants is an old school blogger, and that’s exactly what her website reads and feels like — and it is still such a breath of fresh air. Her take on pop culture, family and everyday life is always told in a snort-laughing type way AND I LOVE HER!
Lauren sums up what she writes about as: real food, living a chemical free lifestyle and mind-body medicine, and I always find her posts interesting and informative. She is healing her Ulcerative Colitis through food and lifestyle changes and it is inspiring to see. I always know her posts will be thought provoking, make me want to run out and do research or try something new.
Jenni has a gorgeous aesthetic and a knack for putting together amazing looking, paleo-friendly recipes. Her website makes me want to eat delicious, good for me food — and I love that in a food blog. I think the internet is overrun with pin-worthy indulgent food, so it’s such a refreshing treat to see such beautiful photos of nourishing food.
Ok, now YOU have to drop some knowledge in the comments. Tell me a blog that you can’t get enough of. Need more blog recommendations? Head over here.
I have made no secret about the fact that I think about style a lot. Part of that is losing 100 lbs and being forced to buy clothes constantly. When you are forced to spend money on something, you usually spend a little more time thinking about getting a more bang for you buck, right? (Hate that expression, can we come up with a good alternative?) But seriously, if I have to buy something, I want to buy something that will be flattering, fun and that will make me look freaking FABULOUS, hello?!?!
The other part (as I’ve told you before) is that being stylish doesn’t come naturally to me. If I want to look put together I have to think about it: look for inspiration, think about what I’m buying, make an effort when I get dressed.
DUDE, WHEN WILL IT BE EFFORTLESS?????
I’m not sure it ever will for me, since it’s not something I come by naturally, but I’ve decided to combine my love of blogs with my desire to be um — NOT dressed like a schlep? — and share with you some of my favorite inspiration. And these people aren’t like wearing super fabulous couture or shopping at Beverly Hills “thrift stores.” They are just real chicks, who dress REALLY cute or talk about fashion in a way I find fun and relatable. So check them out!
1. Wardrobe Oxygen
Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen is inspiring to me because she shops at stores in THE ACTUAL MALL, looks like a normal girl (aka not a 7 foot tall supermodel — NOT HELPFUL!) and puts together looks that appeal to me. It’s a fashionable breath of fresh air, actually, which is just how she intended it to be, I’m sure. She posts a daily outfit as well as an Ask Allie section where she talks style advice plus she’s not afraid to say that Style Books generally suck. She also talks fun beauty products and I can never get enough of that!
J’s Everyday Fashion is probably a blog you are already reading, but if not definitely stop by. I enjoy reading style blogs by people who actually buy things from stores where I shop. While I do read a few sites where thrifting is a major theme, I don’t find it super helpful when someone says “I put together a great outfit with this one of a kind vintage item you will never be able to find yourself.” See also: “I sewed this fabulous outfit, don’t you feel inspired?” I guess I need some Fashion Training Wheels. Training wheels that I can find at Banana Republic or something. She sets a reasonable clothing budget each month, takes inspiration from magazines and elsewhere and recreates fun looks. Sure, I don’t want to wear every single one, and yes she has the kind of figure where EVERYTHING looks good, but I still find her approachability and interpretation of style so helpful!
Caity at Moi Contre La Vie says the she celebrates Fashion, Food & Fitness — you know these are my very favorite things, right? Her Style Files are ALWAYS fun read, she gives great blog recommendations and if you want to know what is going to be on trend and fashionable, she will tell you! Isn’t that nice of her? 🙂 Her website is just an all around fun read, but she is especially fun to gab about clothes with. Lucky me, I get to chat with her in real life — but you should definitely stop by and say hi on the blog. She’s open, approachable and fashionable. I don’t think those 3 adjectives always go together so she is a gem for being just that.
Tanesha at Girl With Curves might be the most photogenic person ever. So basically my exact opposite! I love that she embraces her body type and looks fabulous while doing it! She mixes high and low end pieces, always looks put together and if nothing else her photos are always beautiful. I mean the scenery, the clothing, the light? You can’t feel UN-inpsired when you leave her site.
Kayla at Freckles in April is a blog I found a while back through Janssen at Everyday Reading. Kayla’s blog is focused on modest fashion, which while not my number one priority, is something that I can appreciate. She is a busy mom and wife and bonus – she always looks pulled together! Gives me hope it can be done, someday. She coordinates style challenges where she gives prompts, loves to talk clothes and does a weekly feature called Open to Interpretation that is a great way to find inspiration in your own wardrobe. Gotta love that, right?
I read a million more, but these are my favorite Real Life folks — women I can relate to looking fantastic on a daily basis. Do you read any Real Life Style Blogs? I’m always open to suggestions!
So I was asked this question on twitter last night and the truth is, the answer is not one that can be summed up in 140 characters or less. At least not by me because I LOVE FOOD BLOGS. Exhibit: A — THIS GINORMOUS POST. Brace yourselves! I read many. Some are specifically Paleo, some are not, but all have massive amounts of food porn and cooking inspiration and I will take that wherever I can get it. I’ve never sat down and made a list, but the time has come for me to at least attempt an abbreviated list. Yes, this is abbreviated. No, I am not ready to admit I have a problem.
I mentioned in the post title “clean eating” which, you know, sounds kind of a douchey, right? I mean, who reads “dirty” food blogs? Gross. I thought about saying “healthy” but man, if that word isn’t becoming totally meaningless and subjective. So to clarify a little, the following sources of food inspiration generally have all of the following things in common:
*Use of Real Food — so probably not a lot of ideas of how you can just mix up some fat free cool whip and some fat free jello and make an orgazmo, weight watchers approved dessert that will curb your late night cravings! Sorry. (Except not really.) There will be a lack of food like products on most of these websites.
*Most are gluten/grain free — generally when I cook at home all of our meals are both. I tend to fill our plates with lean meats, vegetables, fruits, good quality fats and some nuts/seeds. Strangely you can make quite a bit of food with those *few* ingredients.
*The food is FREAKING delicious — I’m only posting food blogs here that I have actually used. I am not into pretty food that is hard to make. Or delicious food that looks disgusting. Though I would always choose the latter over the former. These are Garrett & Holly tested and weight loss approved. The two of us have dropped 140 lbs together eating from recipes from these very sites!
*Not necessarily vegetarian friendly — So most of the sites I read are not vegetarian friendly, it’s just a fact. And for that I am a little bit sorry. I hate excluding folks! Unless of course you only want to eat Cool Whip and Fat Free Jello Pudding. I mean yes there are lots of vegetables, but after years of trying to thrive as a vegetarian I have come to terms with my (and my body’s) love for animal protein. Though as I have done this I have become EVEN MORE committed to getting animals from reputable sources. I think Vegetarians/Vegans and Paleo eaters have a lot more in common than it appears from the outside. There’s just that pesky animal protein difference. haha. Anyway, that is the direction I’m going today — just as a heads up. No food judgment! We are a judgment free zone here! But I just thought I’d give you warning.
Ok, have we sang kumbaya and qualified enough? Let’s get to the food!
(Longest Intro Ever!)
Chowstalker– Chowstalker is a great aggregator of Paleo-ish recipes from around the net. I’ve found a number of great recipes and new blogs from Chowstalker!
Dessertstalker – This is Chowstalker’s charming, sweet sister. Treats for those who don’t want to give up eating well just to have dessert.
Foodee – This is another aggregator which I enjoy even if I’m seeing recipes I have already seen on another blog. It’s a great repository for food porn. Enough said, really.
The Clothes Make The Girl – Mel is coming out with a cookbook soon, and honestly if I could line up right now like a crazed Star Wars fan or something, I would. Her recipes are AMAZING. And I’m not being hyperbolic in the least. This post alone has over 50 inspiring meals — many of which I’ve eaten and enjoyed!
Balanced Bites – Diane writes a lot of technical information about nutrition, but every once in a while throws up a great recipe. Her zucchini pancakes inspired me and I think we ate those for weeks this summer when my garden was overflowing. Worth a look around.
Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations – Even though it references cavemen (argh!) give it a chance! What I like about this site is that all the recipes let you know up front how much equipment you’ll need. I like to know that, because weeknight recipes need not have 10 million pots and pans — even though Garrett does the dishes! His recipes are easy and tasty — Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes is one of our faves.
Elena’s Pantry – Elena’s pantry helped me get over my fear of giving up bread. I resisted Paleo for a long time because I just thought the quality of my life would decline without bread. Truly, this is no joke. I was THAT attached. I learned so many great techniques for bread making, baked goods, snacks and even delicious savory meals. This is good one all around. And her cookbook was LITERALLY life changing.
Life As A Plate – Obviously AndreAnna is MY PEOPLE, but also she is a fantastically creative cook! She takes really simple ingredients and makes them taste awesomely gourmet. She is like a Gluten/Grain Free Barefoot Contessa but cuter and with a Jersey accent and no pretentious blow-hard-like tendencies. Also, her pizza crust changed my life. She’s a winner, folks!
Everyday Paleo – Sarah’s recipes are really family friendly, convenient weeknight food. Nothing too complicated and everything I’ve made has been pretty delicious.
Food Renegade — I will say that this is a pretty hardcore Real Food website. Think, like, Make Your Own Kombucha hardcore. That said, she has featured some great recipes here (Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich anyone?) so it’s worth perusing.
Health-Bent – I love this website. Plain and simple. We’ve made so many of Megan’s recipes it would be stupid to link to them all. Just look at all the pretty pictures and then pick your poison.
Jen’s Gone Paleo – Jen doesn’t update super often but her recipes are super tasty.
Nom Nom Paleo – Food porn to the max. If this doesn’t make you realize clean eating can absolutely be an exercise in pleasure then you, my friend, are a lost cause. Great recipes, meal ideas, cookbook reviews, etc.
Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary – Family friendly food inspiration. I particularly love her lunch combos for inspiration. Lunch can be hard, yo! Good food, good info.
Stuff I Make My Husband – So many tasty things here. Desserts! Appetizers! Crock Pot recipes that have saved my booty. I haven’t made a bad thing yet. Plus, she introduced me to Protein Powder Cookie Dough, which — honestly, is so damn good. It’s not an every day treat, but when you NEED it (and you know you sometimes NEED it) it comes in handy. Never would have known if not for this site.
The Food Lover’s Primal Palate – Pretty pictures. Recipes for every occasion. Sometimes they use things I don’t readily have on hand, but for special food I would be willing to go out and get some of them. I very much want to bake this Carrot Cake. Too bad I hate baking. 😉
That is probably enough for now, yes? Are you over stimulated? Did any of you even make it to the bottom of this post?
If so, tell me — what have I left out? What are your favorite clean eating food blogs?