Thursday, October 27, 2016

Some Friday Truths

I'm struggling.

There. I said it.

After months of silence and reading and re-reading Kelly’s post on an all too similar topic, I felt that final nudge to finally face my computer screen and write. Just get it all out there.. because, well, it’s time.

It’s been a particularly wild last few months with packing, selling, buying, moving to my parent’s house, managing a partial but pretty massive (for us reno-newbies) renovation of our new house and coordinating our upcoming move in a few days finally into our new home.. all while trying desperately to stay on track. "On track" in my world means avoiding carbs at all costs, trying to stay active and pushing forward with my health journey and y’all, I’ve been failing, falling down, picking myself back up and falling even further. Over. And. Over. Again.

Coming back from a 2 week vacation is one thing— but trying to come back each new day and to move past stupid, thoughtless food decisions week after week is quite another. And I’m tired of feeling so tired of it. A year ago, I had it in the bag and I felt pretty confident that at this exact moment I’d be nearing (or close to) the finish line of this giant struggle that has been the story of 25 of my 30 years.. and then despite what great, low carb food I was fueling my body with, I stalled. I pushed through and gave it my all until I couldn’t stand the sight of the scale reading the same number week after week, month after month. And then one evening in May, Ben and I had a conversation that would change everything— his sometimes 2 hour commute was getting harder and harder to bear— and we ultimately decided to sell our beautiful first home to move across the metroplex closer to the job he loves so much to begin our third chapter. And while I feel so blessed that we sold our home in 11 days, found a house we LOVE in our dream neighborhood with a pretty sweet little 15 minute commute for my husband, and the knowledge of this being the place we will be putting actual roots down and starting our family, it’s been quite the summer of transition and “in-betweens” with a little fun and random adventures mixed in. (Hey, it hasn’t all been stressful. Let's be serious.)

But if you know me at all, you know that change is hard for me and I’m nothing if not sticky in the transitions. I feel unsettled having our belongings scattered from McKinney to Dallas in storage units and the entire top floor of my parent's house, projects not yet finished and deadlines and dates looming-- it's all just a lot for this Type A who's obsessed with the details. The millions of little tiny details that all need to happen to make this transition as easy as possible and less sticky than it really is. And while I know this is temporary, I also know that we are surrounded by such an amazing circle of support who we are SO consistently blessed by. All that to be said, there is no excuse for not pushing through for myself because this transition has just required more energy and time than I ever imagined. And then somewhere in the middle of all of that, I learned that sometimes street tacos tend to make everything better. Or at least for a little while.

Close friends keep asking when my next post is, all excited to see how I'm transforming cauliflower all day every day, what I’m adding to my meals to mask the fact that there are no starches in sight and I should have been real with them. That response would have looked something like this: I have nothing to blog about because I’m kind of tired of avoiding bread like the plague so I had some Chick Fil-A today while picking up MORE moving materials because we’re on our third storage unit and I went to this pretty sweet little taco joint a few months ago and have yet to go a day without thinking about their al pastor tacos because it seriously hit the spot and I’m kind of tired of cauliflower anyway. And makeup? I'm just using the same ol' same ol' day in and day out (for the most part) because it's easy, it works and I haven't had 2 seconds to follow my favorite bloggers, Youtubers or peruse Sephora for hours per my normal pre-moving, pre-total craziness life.

So I never really had an answer. I kept telling the people close to me that I needed to fill up my own cup before I could share the encouragement with everyone else, and that should have been my first tip off that I was in a disaster zone. That was my biggest mistake. This is real life. Real, messy, chaotic life, and not every waking moment of this journey is blog-perfect. Actually, almost none of it is. And that's okay. And so, I’m sorry for not being more forthcoming in sharing my struggle because my guess is, we’ve all been there. You’ve been there. Maybe you are there. With me. And together we eat good, then eat a little bad, then eat SUPER good and then maybe go a little off plan for days on end as we convince ourselves that we don’t have a problem. That we’re just a little off track, that it’s no big deal, we’ll swear off the food we should be avoiding tomorrow--and for a whole week this time! And then we feel guilty and disgusting. And then super good. And then deprived. And the cycle continues.

Don’t get me wrong, not every day is a gorge fest filled with something deliciously not on plan. I have days and even weeks of strength and success.. and then something happens and I get a little bit too excited about the new, fancy bread section at Central Market and at that point, I can pretty much convince myself that I do actually eat bread.. and that there’s nothing wrong with it. People eat bread all the time and they're fine. And those are the days that I can somehow completely ignore and/or forget what I set out to do and how I’m going to finish what I started all those months ago. How can that be? Thirty years on this earth and even still.. sometimes I lose track of myself and my journey to the point where I think if my clothes still fit, it’s not a problem and that I’m just like everyone else. But I’m not. I’m not everyone else. I’m me. Bloated to the max after pieces of the best rustic, crusty bread. Loathing exercise more often than I care to share because I absolutely HATE it. Lover of good food. A little wine. Some cheese. Some crackers. Maybe some sushi if I’m feeling fancy. All of that pairs perfectly well with a gorgeous view or amazing company or a fun night out. Social food, ya know? At the end of the day, I'm really just a girl trying to get healthy and manage emotional eating in a world of deliciously fancy grocery stores, quaint, incredible restaurants and pumpkin everything EVERY.WHERE. I turn.

In any case, if you’ve made it this far in this post, bless you. I’m not even sure who I’m writing this to or for other than my soul.. because I just needed to send this message out into the universe. And while I don’t have a detailed plan as to how exactly I’m going to tackle the second leg of this journey, I know that living this life where I avoid entire food groups 99% of the time just isn’t going to work because that 1% is where it counts. It can nearly ruin everything if you feel deprived. If you lose sight of your goal, that measly 1% of the wrong food can perpetuate weeks and weeks of being off and on track. For me anyways. I know in my heart of hearts that not only do I need to rethink how I look at food and the emotions tied to it, I also need something with just the tiniest bit more flexibility. I want to live somewhere between diligently counting my carbs and also giving myself some good, old fashioned grace and just enough freedom to not feel the constant pressure of "you can't eat that, or that.. ever. It's meat, cheese, veggies all day every day!" Because sometimes, life happens. Tacos will happen. I’m not looking for a quick fix nor have I ever.

I know full and well that this will be the biggest, messiest, ugliest struggle of my life.. for the rest of my life, long past the day I reach my goal. And I'm determined to see that day come once and for all sooner rather than later! I have goals to reach and a journey to continue and I feel pretty confident that if you go at something for so long with the same tools and the same formula day in and day out, you’re bound to get stuck. At least in my experience. Bodies are funny that way and that’s where I failed. And that’s exactly the point I want to go back and revisit. I'm excited, albeit a little nervous, to try out some new tools in my toolbox and a fresh approach as I wade back in to the dark, murky water of my journey's restart. I don’t have the same body or the same restarting weight I did at the beginning of this journey--thank goodness--and so things need to be different and should have been switched up and tweaked long ago. I just know that trying the same thing over and over with no results is pretty much the definition of insanity and who has time for that? #notme

So if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. I’ve been with you silently for the last few months on that struggle bus and I say it’s time we start the second leg of this journey where we continue what we started. You’re going to be okay. Your struggles do not define you. This little story of your life is messy and chaotic but ya know what? You’re here. I’m here. And we somehow made it. It’s nice to meet you all over again.. We can do this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Best Little Greek-Inspired Summer Salad

How in the world are we already mid-way through June? It's hot and sticky outside and I'm deep in the bowels of coming into our busy season at work. That means none other than two things: quick, easy and refreshing summer food is happening a lot in my kitchen and with the days lasting longer with the sun out well past 8 p.m., we have been out enjoying the evenings for nice, long walks through the neighborhood. And can I just say how much I'm loving winding down from my day with fresh air and doing my best at not getting sucked into the temptation of the routine of the DVR and the couch? I'm really, really enjoying it a lot more than I figured I would. Sometimes that couch REALLY calls my name come 7:30 but I just find that I feel better when I'm out being active and being couped up in a cold office 8 hours a day makes me really want to get out there and soak up some vitamin D. Oh, the pastyness, y'all! These legs are blinding. #whiteonwhiteonwhite

In other news, think I've finally gotten through the sticky phase of getting used to my new position at work and although that means that I'm still no expert in balance, I am excited to spend a little more of my time on here sharing new recipes, new (to me) beauty favorites (there are so, SO many!) and getting back to the heart of what this little space was created for. 

While summer is in full swing, so is outdoor dining and pool time and barbecues and swim suits and sun tan lotion and sun dresses and SO necessary summertime side dishes that are crisp and refreshing and don't leave you with guilt, bloat and feeling just, well, gross. For me, summertime eating is always a little more fresh and I'm always a little more conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth when it's 1,000 degrees outside. Maybe it's the fact that my knees are showing or that my bare arms make an appearance from time to time, I don't know. Big, heavy meals even before this lifestyle change didn't sound as appealing in the summer months-- except tacos.. because Texas. Come summer, I am just all about fresh ingredients, trips to the farmer's market, crispy vegetables with healthy dips, I find that I'm drinking my water, and everything just seems to be a little more alive in the summer. Am I right? #imright

One night after work, I stared at a bag of my trusty ol' favorite Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower and some produce and odds and ends in the fridge that I needed to use up and before I knew it, this refreshing, incredible picnic-friendly side dish was born and I just absolutely love it. Add some chicken breast or shrimp and you have yourself a meal, it's just that versatile. 

Greek Cauliflower Salad 

2 bags of Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2-3/4 cup fresh olive salad (I picked up a jar from the local farmer's market)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced 
3/4- 1 cup Greek salad dressing (Maybe more depending on your taste)

1. Place contents of 2 bags of cauliflower rice in a skillet over medium high heat and let cook until slightly browned on the bottom. About 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently
2. While cauliflower is cooking, wash and halve cherry tomatoes
3. Wash, peel and dice cucumber
4. Add cut up vegetables to the cauliflower
5. Add in olive salad and stir the contents of the salad
6. Measure out about 3/4 cup of salad dressing to start, mix and add more to taste if needed
7. Heat the salad for 8-10 minutes to let all of the flavors meld and stir frequently.
8. Turn off heat and let cool

*Can be served hot, cold or lukewarm. I prefer cold and store it in the fridge to keep it fresh.*

This dish would be so wonderful poolside or at a barbecue or potluck with friends and I hated to even write a recipe because it was just TOO simple to whip up. But y'all. You NEED this in your life! The crisp cucumbers, the juicy tomatoes, the bite that the olives add.. it's absolutely perfect summer food and I know you will love it. 

Happy Wednesday, my beauties! Make it count. 


Friday, April 29, 2016

When the Going Gets Tough

It's not new news to my little blog world that things have been unusually quiet around these parts in the last month or two. My posting schedule has been virtually nonexistent and my postings have been so random and erratic that I have that overwhelming, icky feeling when even signing on to my account to start a post because I know it's just been too long.

I had the dream of creating this little outlet years ago. I ignored it, pushed it off, ignored it some more until in typical Liz-fashion, I just bit the bullet and dove in deep and just did it. I always envisioned this giving me such peace and happiness- connecting with the world over subjects that are very much my life and talking about the surface level things that I love- eyeliner, dry shampoo, the sweater that every woman in the world should own.. and also sharing the not so easy parts of my life: PCOS, my lifelong weight loss struggle, food addiction and emotional eating, etc. The more I share, the more I'm able to connect with all of you, and the better I feel. The more grounded I feel.

Starting this blog in October was one of the best decisions of my life and I've always taken this virtual space of mine very seriously in only wanting to put out content that I feel is my absolute best. Content that gets to the heart of what I'm going through in an effort to connect with all of you. Content that I feel is worthwhile and informative. In the beginning. I posted regularly, I had creative ideas for blog posts, I had infinite ideas for recipes and spent hours a day dreaming up my plans for Bluebonnets & Bacon, and with that, this space became everything I ever wished it to be and more. 

And then I got a new job at the college where I work at the beginning of March! My little part-time gig turned into a full time position where I am now adult-ing every day and if you need me, I'm busy being lost in a sea of a growing to do list between home and work and exhausted at the end of the day from trying to balance it all. Trying to do it all. Trying to know it all. Trying to be it all. It's been two months since the promotion and while I absolutely love it and am so grateful that all of my hard work paid off and undoubtedly led me to this position, it has been a challenge, to say the least, in finding some balance in this new phase of my life. But, like most things, every day gets a little easier, the stress of the newness of my job has died down a little and I just feel so grateful to serve my students in a way that I always felt called to. For better or for worse, I really, really love higher education.

A little peek at the new digs! Boy, do I have plans for this little space to make it even more "my own".. but for now, I'm love love loving my new office and having a place to call my own and at the end of the day, hang my degrees. #becauseoutofstatetuition 

In the meantime, the last two months or so this little blog space has been pushed aside to create more brain space for the other growing compartments of my life and I can't say enough how much I HATE that. However, when the going gets tough, I usually eat. Carbs in particular, but eat nonetheless. And I'm so proud to say that I've been so busy that eating hasn't been on the forefront of my mind and that has been so weird for me.  Even typing that feels weird. I am a eater out of stress. Out of emotion. Out of boredom. Out of rewarding myself. Out of any excuse. Don't get me wrong, I have treated myself with a glass of wine at the end of the weekend at a winery and enjoyed a little miniature size dessert over Easter.. But it's just different. 

I felt a bit like a fish out of water the first month or so as I adjusted to my new normal and am so thankful for the patience of my friends and family, and especially my husband, who has been my constant encouragement and supporter, and dinner chef, and sweet lunch note writer, and teammate.. But to all of you, just know that I'm still here. Still low-carbing, still learning my body, still continuing my journey- even when it seems at a snail's pace. (Updates on that soon!)

So what happens when the going gets tough? The tough take care of themselves. The tough ask for help. The tough lean on their past experiences of overcoming to prove to themselves that they will be okay. That they can continue to persevere. That they can do anything. The tough take some time out to find that balance before moving forward. And most importantly, they never give up on their dreams. For me, self care is everything. If I'm stressed in one area of my life- I can't help but have that chaos trickle into every compartment of my brain until I'm 100% focused on just the task at hand while the rest of my life is hanging by a thread. Awesome way to go through life, huh? Ha. But it takes time. And like clockwork, I come back to the surface for air realizing all that I've missed out on and armed with a plan to get 'er done. So consider me coming back up for air finally!

Taking care of myself is writing. Sharing. Connecting. Regrouping. Savoring. Reflecting. And doing things that I love, which blogging falls naturally into. And sometimes I forget the importance of stepping away and doing the things that make me happy and give me so much joy-- so that I can go out into the world and be a happier, funnier member of society. So, y'all, take care of yourselves! When the going gets tough, take it from me and just breathe. Know that you can handle whatever life is throwing at you, and be confident in doing the best you can with what you have.. and everything else will fall into place in time. This is me taking my own advice. 

So while it's been forever since we've chatted, thank you for being patient. For still following and cheering me on via social media. For allowing me into your little world. And for giving me that time to re-charge so that I can come back up for air and give y'all my best- even if parts of my life are messy, my journey rocky or slow. In every sense of the phrase, I'm learning as I go. Just THANK YOU. I'm working on new content, new recipes and exciting posts for the future- so just continue to be patient with me as I learn my new posting schedule and this new balance in my life. 

In other news, after finally going through my closet and sorting through all of the clothes that no longer fit (helllooooo, new wardrobe!) I came across my beloved red striped shirt. I think I'll keep this gem forever because it's one of the only artifacts I have left from the beginning of my journey that also was accompanied by a real, live full body shot. #whatthewhat And what a difference 14 months makes! 2016 has started with a bang and I have big plans in motion to make this year the best year yet. So let's just do this, y'all!

Happy Friday, friends! I've missed you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trip Report: Breckenridge, Colorado

We recently returned from a wonderful, relaxing & so much fun vacation in beautiful, freeeeeeezing Breckinridge, Colorado! While there, I wanted to share my experiences of what a non-skier could possibly do in a ski town. Because, let's face it, this chick ain't flying down a mountain at rocket speed. 

While the rest of the world happily empties themselves on the side of the mountain to “shred some gnar”, I’m here to let you know that there is actual life (and so much fun) in a mountain town when you go sans-skis! That’s right. I’m one of the few who looks at a week in the mountains at a gorgeous condo as an excuse to over-fill my suitcase with 2 different kinds of boots, the cutest little boot socks I ever did see, 7 scarves, 5 hats, 2 pairs of gloves and a partridge in a pear tree. 

While I am too terrified of heights to bring myself to ski down a mountain with nothing between me and my death but 2 skis on ice, Ben was on the mountain snowboarding each day, my dad loved the cross country skiing and my mom couldn't read enough books by the fire. Meanwhile, I couldn't stop myself from heading out to Main Street in 3 different patterns of plaid and taking pictures of the beautiful mountains, the snow everywhere and without staring at my beautiful Juicy Couture Duck Boots as they walk through snow, ice and slush and imagining that they feel all too much at home in the mountains.
So if you’re like me and couldn’t be LESS interested in skiing or snow sports, take a page out of my book, do yourself a favor, and accessorize. Half the fun in winter-y trips is coordinating scarves, puffy vests and hats.. and I can tell you I was enjoying it far too much.

Head down to downtown to shop and have a delicious lunch with your people and mosey in and out of little stores as you breathe in the crisp, poorly oxygenated air. Note to self: pack Rolaids next time. And Excedrin. And maybe don’t drink the Breck Mule on your first night when you’re already gasping like a hooked tuna.

Head out to dinner with friends at a fun, delicious little local joint! We had too much fun walking through town looking at the menus for all the most popular restaurants on Main Street and every meal we ate (minus one) were both a) on plan! And b) AMAZING. We absolutely adored the Breckenridge Brew Pub. Delicious meal, great drinks, even better company. The place was hoppin' and the food was incredible.

Catch up on some light reading.. I can never go wrong with Jane Green. Home girl just gets me.

Meet up with your ski loving people at the top of the mountain for lunch and some serious people watching and maybe take that gondola around and around 3 or 4 times because it just couldn’t be more gorgeous or peaceful. It’ll end up being a lot more fun when you make the trips with your mom who looks as it as a free amusement park ride. Note that.

 Truth: This was probably her favorite afternoon. Until we had to share it with an actual skier. Who actually needed it to get to the top of the mountain. 

This guy was SO happy to be in his happy place: scaling down that mountain on his snowboard. And I was that wife who stood at the bottom taking videos of him coming down said mountain. My jeans and I looked incredibly out of place but it was so wonderful to see my hubby so happy. You can take the boy outta Colorado but you can't take the Colorado out of the boy. 

That chilly mountain air, hats, scarves, duck boots... paradise. 

For cardio, enjoy that walk back to the condo up the largest hill known to mankind 39393939393 feet above sea level every time you head out or come home. #thatlldopig #thatlldo

Make trips to the store in the snow to get all the fixins for a healthy, delicious, homemade cozy dinner at the condo by the fire! We so enjoy cooking together. And the eating. Ohhhh, the eating! It was hard to feel like I was depriving myself when we ate tons of fresh veggies, lean meat and truly getting down to the heart of simple, clean, low-carb eating. I made a point of it to order salads each day at lunch in lieu of typical mountain fare: burgers, fresh cut fries, carbs, carbs, carbs. And I felt SO much better because of it. 

Dinner time and the eatin' was goooood

Take a day trip to Vail for the sheer fact that your best friend, Ree Drummond, posted about the best lunch she’s ever had the week before! Celebrity stalking at its finest. But really, if the Pioneer Woman was there within the same week and said it was life changing, it had to be worth the trip. And it SO was.

We spent the day strolling through the little shops and took a ton of pictures of the beautiful views. And then.. there was lunch. 

Up there with one of the best lunches of my life. #mybestiewasright 

Y'all. This salad was everything. I ordered the grilled chicken salad & it was topped with grilled chicken, butternut squash, Honeycrisp apple, miso brown butter and granola on a bed of arugula. 

And the best crispy shrimp and calamari of my life. With a sweet chili sauce. 
#couldalickedtheplate #notlowcarb #sorrynotsorry

Happy hour? You betcha. Hearthstone had the most wonderful little happy hour in town with the most breathtaking view of the mountains from our second floor table. The floor to ceiling windows had a glorious mountain view and the place filled up lightening fast. We enjoyed it so much that round 2 even happened! 

Travel tip: get there right at 4 p.m. when happy hour starts and thank me later. 

These two put the happy in happy hour. Little bites and yummy drinks? They're all about it. 

And walking through town to get there was refreshing and gorgeous. 

Cutest little yellow chapel. 

Spend time with the love of your life and your favorite travel companion and head on a little day trip to Buena Vista, CO. The drive was absolutely breathtaking. 

Not a bad view, am I right?

Once you're back in Breck, make sure you stop in for dinner at The Canteen. Oh my word, the salmon with the hoisin glaze was too. die. for. Ben and I loved taking time away to just be together and soak up every bit of our little week away. 

Any little restaurant with string lights outside and a delicious meal?! Yes. 
Without a doubt one of the best meals of our trip. 
And it was so packed that I think everyone in that town would agree. 

And most importantly, spend ample amounts of time getting all kinds of cozy in the comfiest sweater to ever exist and sit in front of that fire chatting, laughing, watching movies and relaxing with your favorite people and just love. Your. Life. 

That's it for this trip. I hope to do more of these posts in the future as half the fun in going on a trip is seeing the places and things that other travelers love so much about where you're going and things to definitely not miss out on. With some exciting trips booked in these next few months, I'm excited to share more trip reports with y'all soon! 

Happy Tuesday, friends! Any places you've been and loved? I'd love to hear about them. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

The First Year

I can hardly believe that it's been a whole year since that doctor's appointment where I decided to fight to get my life back and start this journey to a healthier and happier me. Where in the world has the time gone? 

I know it sounds so cliche, but I can honestly remember that day like it was yesterday and I remember feeling like I had the longest, most impossible road ahead of me. There are days that I STILL feel that way. Days that despite my hard work, I look in the mirror and see the same girl staring back at me- big tummy, bloated face, extra little half chin, thighs that have never seen the light of day in between them, and let's be serious, probably never will. Days where I can only vaguely see a difference because I am and have always been short and wide and weight comes off, at least for me, in the funniest of places. Ear lobes? You betcha. Feet? You have no idea. 

But then I have moments where I will feel more confident in taking a picture of my whole body, where I'm not hiding behind someone or some giant purse. Moments when I notice I have to scoot the driver's seat of my car forward. Or the moment when, for the first time since college, I finally tossed my airplane seat belt extender because I could fasten it around me without it. Or the time a few weeks ago where I went pants shopping for jeans in a size 20 from a size 28 twelve months ago. It's been the funniest little journey. It's been hard, it's been vindicating, it's been wonderful, it's been messy.. But it's really just been my own.

A year ago, my Endocrinologist did a pretty thorough panel of blood work to see what exactly my hormone, glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and other levels looked like as a base line and as per usual, I was hesitant to let anyone take my blood for fear that they'd tell me that the damage I'd done to my body for years had led to Diabetes or that my PCOS was insanely out of control. All truths and facts that I never wanted to hear and so I avoided it all together. And to my surprise (and delight) I found that I was not diabetic, that I still had insulin resistance, my PCOS was effecting ALL of my hormone levels- namely testosterone in particular, making them all high- my TSH was a little high.. pretty much everything pertaining to my PCOS and lipids were high. I left that appointment a little disappointed but armed with a plan to be proactive and finally put my health on the forefront of my focus.

A few weeks ago, I met with another doctor for my PCOS and to even my OWN surprise, I told her I wanted to take another panel to see if my body and levels were progressing (who AM I?) And would you believe that everything was ENTIRELY in the normal range regarding my PCOS and the only areas that were slightly elevated were my cholesterol and triglycerides- which I was expecting because they've always been high-- but even those numbers were lower. We had an honest, real conversation and I know that I still have a long road ahead of me and in every way possible, this is really only the beginning for me. 

I left thankful to have armed myself with facts and the knowledge of a good doctor and thankful that this new woman I've become is one who has started to think proactively and look ahead.. even when it's scary and even if it means giving viles of my blood only to have doctors possibly tell me that nothing is changing. That every level is still high. And "good luck having a baby because it ain't ever gonna happen with your hormone levels and PCOS." I tell ya, waiting for the shoe to drop is no way to go into a doctor's office calmly! But I did it. And there was no such news. And I felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I left! 

In every way possible this is just the beginning of my journey and I am still figuring it out as I go. Always listening to my body and making adjustments and constantly tweaking. While I'm not as strict as I was in the "induction" phase of this lifestyle change, I am still very much avoiding sugar, carbs, fruit (with the exception of my once a week treat of berries or watermelon) milk, juice, etc. It's been over a year since I've had pasta (what the what?) but I can't lie and say that I don't occasionally have a treat because I do. It happens. Life happens. Sushi has happened. But the important thing is that it stops there. It's a treat. I enjoy it and then I don't let it continue into days and weeks of tumbling off the wagon because it's simply not fair to me and what I've worked so hard for. 

While I am on this journey, it has truly been a process in avoiding viewing myself as merely the number that comes up on the scale. Nearly all my life has consisted of moments where the scale is telling me so much more than numbers. Those numbers have dictated how I feel, how my day goes, how I should be feeling, what my worth is, and so many other nasty little lies. There have been days and weeks of absolutely NO difference in the scale whatsoever and those times are especially difficult because I am results-driven in every way possible, but especially with weight loss. In my mind, A + B should = C, am I right? #fattoskinnyin5weeks #daretodream But if I'm putting in the time and effort, I should be reaping rewards. But bodies are funny and complex and it's not just that simple. So learning to be patient with myself and to not fall off the wagon into a sea of sushi and potatoes during those times has been a crucial lesson that I am still learning. 

To avoid me totally rambling on and boring you with every last detail of this journey, I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at what this year has looked like for me. It has in NO way been a cake walk..quite literally..  #seehwhatididthere? But when I think about last February and today, I am just so grateful I took that first step. 

The difference between my very first day and in January. "Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement!" #namethatmovie #andthenwecanbebesties

Same shirt nearly 6 months apart. I took this a while ago and posted it on my Instagram. Once a UNT super fan, always a UNT super fan! This was in the beginning of my journey about 3 months in. 

I can't say enough how much I adore being able to hold this guy closer than ever before. It's something so small and insignificant to others who don't know what it's like to be big and a bigger couple.

Exactly one year's difference in my face back in October

The difference of exactly a year back in January.

Hello, blue eyes! So happy you've decided to make an appearance. 

Can we talk about that one time I hiked a mountain? That was quite the day but this picture says it all. #andthenihadtoclimbdown #oyyy

My first annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k! 

I can't even begin to tell you how much more confident that girl on the right is from one year ago. That was me on Valentine's Day feeling extra sassy in a little leather, leopard and a bright, bold red lip. #yesyesyes

And, Lord help me.. I somehow thought it'd be a good idea to blast a picture of myself sans makeup and very much feeling every bit of the early morning on the internet! Ha. #fortheloveoftheblog 
But this is me TODAY.

And last but not least: funny story behind the picture on the right (a week before I started my health journey). My very dear friend came to visit before moving to Italy with her husband and she has always been such a healthy, mindful eater as long as I've known her. At the time, she came to visit and we'd go out for TexMex and she'd get veggies instead of rice, or we'd have Texas BBQ and she'd order a salad.. and the entire weekend in my head I kept thinking how STRANGE it was that she wasn't eating the rice and loving the chips and queso and why on earth she was at a BBQ place eating a salad instead of the mac and cheese and potato salad. 

And not 5 days later, I was handed my eating plan from my doctor that was pretty much word for word how she and most "normal" eaters eat every day without even thinking twice. I like to think that God was preparing me for what was next. 
The sheer fact that I've seen this journey through-- the ups, the downs and haven't given up over the last 13 months-- is because of Him and His grace. Along with my amazing family and all of the friends both near and far that have supported me, loved me, encouraged me, listened to me and helped me along the way. 

And without bragging TOO terribly much about this guy.. 

I just have to hand it to him. Not a day has gone by over the last year (or the 6 we've been together) that he hasn't made me feel like the most special, beautiful, luckiest girl in the world regardless of what the scale has said.
 From the beginning, we have approached this new lifestyle together and are tackling it as a team. On my worst days, he manages to handle my crazy and become my rock in every sense of the word. He is such an encouragement, the best listener, my truest friend and my partner in everything life throws at us and everything that has come with this journey. 
I could not/would not be successful in anything I do if it weren't for his unfailing support and love- all while losing an incredible amount of weight himself. His transformation has been INSANE and I swear, you wouldn't even know he ever ate carbs before this because he's so dang dedicated. 
If there was ever a truer testament of why the Lord put us together, we've seen it in action throughout this journey. I am so blessed by him and realize more every day how thankful I am for that sweet, sweet man of mine. 


I just couldn't be more thankful for this sweet man..

And last but certainly not least, my year-end post wouldn't be complete without somehow squeezing in how thankful I am to have this woman as my mama. Remember when I tooted my own horn at the beginning of this post about going finally to the doctor-- both times? It's because she reminded me and wouldn't let me forget to make my health a priority every. single. day leading up to both appointments. And even on the day of- she dropped everything to go with me and support me in all my crazy. I love you, ma! And thank you for introducing me to my first serving of mashed cauliflower through my tears and sadness over missing potatoes all those months ago. Because now it's love. And I can't seem to love another veggie more. 

And with all of that, year 2 has already begun. 

Have a wonderful weekend, my beauties! Be good to yourself. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Favorites

It's Friday! Which means I'm linking up with Erika, Narci & Andrea to share our Friday Favorites. 

Is it me or are the weeks flying by? Before you know it, it'll be 1,000 degrees and summertime but for now I am LOVING these warmer than usual Spring temps! Dallas has skipped straight over Winter and this girl is loving it. Bring out the floral and the coral lipstick, it's been so refreshing!


We started the week/ended last week by hosting a super fun Super Bowl party with a few friends and it was such a fun way to enjoy not watch the game. The guys enjoyed the game in the media room upstairs and the girls did what we do best- chat and laugh- downstairs near all the food and drinks. It was a win-win and we had the best time throwing this little party together. 

Mr. Football and the spread. Not pictured is the ridiculous/amazing blow up palm tree cooler for the drinks. When in doubt, always go for a palm tree cooler with an island for icy cold drinks.  #becausewereclassy

Some of the group! 

And 2 of my favorites. 


On Saturday my parents, husband and I went out to my NEW FAVORITE restaurant in all the world to celebrate my new job. The food was incredible, the ambiance was perfect, the drinks were divine (why yes, I celebrated with a little cocktail!) and it was such a fun time with my very favorite people celebrating this next chapter in my life. I love them more than I'll ever be able to say and I am truly the luckiest girl in the world to have them by my side. 

 In other news, for all you Dallas folks, you have GOT to try out Hibiscus if you haven't already. You will love it.

Everything we had was incredible from beginning to end and I loved that they had such delicious seasonal low-carb sides. Like the best spaghetti squash known to man. And the most incredible root vegetable mash of LIFE. Like, that's a thing? It is. And I was losing my mind over it more than one probably should.


I found these perfect little mozzarella babies at Sprouts and they are wonderful! I brought this little pack of three to work one day this week for a little snack and I loved them. 
I'm having visions of a caprese salad on a stick. And that may or may not be coming to the blog soon! 


Flowers sent to my work from my sweet husband are always a favorite! They were absolutely beautiful and I was reminded for the millionth time how much I just love doing life with him. 

And speaking of my handsome man, on Wednesday we went to another one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate his new job! He accepted a position that day, gave his company his 2 weeks notice and we celebrated his promotion, an awesome raise and the excitement of this new chapter for him, his career and our little family. 
 Words cannot express just how proud I am to be his wife. Not just on the days where he's accepting job offers and getting rewarded for all of his hard work. I truly feel like the luckiest person on earth to get to walk through life with him as we take on all of the challenges and triumphs the Lord brings us to and through.

I love him more and more every single day. He fills my life with so much joy and laughter and ugggggh, is he cute or what?


I posted on my Instagram about a week ago after I tried the most amazing low carb wrap known to mankind. This is serious, y'all! And no, I'm not getting paid to tell you that you NEED to run (not walk) to the store nearest you to get yourself a pack. 
You. will. die. 
I found these at Central Market and they were going like hot cakes. So, without even trying them, I took 2 bags. And BOY am I glad I did! 
The wraps are big and you can totally cut them in half and make a burrito or a wrap and be just fine. 

A friend mentioned he's made pizza with these and I am all kinds of excited to try that out! I figure it has to be amazing. 
And for 8 net carbs.. are you JOKING? 
On Thursday, I had time to actually make a real, live breakfast (weird, right?) so I whipped up the easiest, quickest breakfast burrito using one of the wraps. 
Bacon, egg, cheese and my favorite green salsa.. it was heaven. 


This last one is very near and dear to my heart. My mom sent me this video this week of my great aunt Mary receiving an award (one of many) for all of the amazing work that she does through volunteering at a nursing home. That's right. At 88 years-old she volunteers at a nursing home- not where she lives-but as she puts it, "to take care of the old people."

She is so giving of her time in truly serving others and is such a great example of what we should all strive to follow. She is hilarious, so witty and quick & will have you literally in tears laughing so hard with her stories if you spend any time with her. She is just truly the sassiest, sweetest, funniest woman I've had the pleasure of knowing and I am so beyond proud to call her family.

So, if you have 5 minutes today, watch the video. It was literally the best thing I saw all week and I promise you, will fill your day with so much joy and make you want to go out there into the world and do something wonderful because she always does.

Happy Valentine's weekend, y'all & have a very happy Friday! Make it as wonderful as you!


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