It was a good day… really.

So today I got to clean up a child’s vomit, and a man asked me if I was pregnant.

Seriously, people? I haven’t had a carb in 30 days! I’m feeling kind of awesome at the moment. I AM NOT PREGNANT AND PLEASE STOP ASKING ME BECAUSE YOU’RE GIVING ME A COMPLEX.
My husband says I should just throw away this shirt. But I love this shirt, so instead I’ve resigned myself to grabbing the offending person’s hand, holding it up to my baby-less belly, and reminding them that I HAVE NOT HAD A CARB IN 30 DAYS AND I’M DOING CROSS FIT LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN. And that I’m not pregnant.

Whew. Must. Take. A. Deep. Breath.

But anyway, other than those two things, I actually had a quite wonderful day.
Did I mention I cleaned up puke? If you know me, you’ll know why this is particularly laughable.
My evening is going to be even better, because I’m coming home to a box of freshly picked peaches from my in-law’s neighbor’s peach tree, and I am going to attempt to make my very first peach cobbler.
My chef husband will probably supervise. And stand there looking all cute and stuff.  
I can’t wait. 

The big reveal: backyard edition

Since the moment we got married and my house became our house, we knew we wanted to extend our patio. But there’s just something about owning two homes, working your hiney off to get one ready to sell, and having 9 months of two mortgages that can kill your appetite for a big project. So instead we sat on our existing back porch and dreamed up what we would do someday to make our backyard our little dream spot.
And then one day we saved enough money, Mr. Right made a few phone calls, and a few days later we had our new patio! I’m in love.
In March 2008 my dad and I built the stone patio you see closer to the house. Here’s a throw-back picture so you can see our process. Don’t I look sporty holding that… (um, is that an axe? I’m not really sure what it’s called.)
And as you can see, my sweet dad did a little bit most of the work himself. On that patio I’ve hosted big parties, studied long hours, and enjoyed romantic dinners with that man of mine.
But anyway, fast-forward four years, and we decided that it would be worth it to hire someone to build the patio for us. Mr. Right drew up the plans, marked everything off in the backyard, and then Jesus and his assistant Abraham (I promise I’m not making that up) poured the concrete and laid the bricks, which had been collecting dust in my garage ever since I built my house.
Those poles you see sticking up will soon be a pergola, and we’ll be draping lights between them. I’m a such a sucker for twinkle lights – I will probably sit out there and just gaze at them every night. We’re also going to put in climbing vines on the poles to add some texture and we have some landscaping plans with the yard to the left. I think the goal is to have nothing left to mow when we finish.
The patio furniture has special sentimental meaning – that same table and chairs used to live on Mr. Right’s grandparents’ patio and he he has special memories of sitting on their patio as a child, soaking in all of their stories. We may be adding another larger table, but that one will probably always be our favorite.
My husband surprised me with a sweet love note in the form of my very own vegetable garden, right off the patio and directly in front of my sewing studio window. We have an inside connection with the greatest soil/fertilizer known to man– there’s perks to having in-laws who own cows (unlimited free fertilizer) and a giant compost pile. Of course, I worriedly asked Mr. Right “Are you putting all that compost (ahem… cow poop) in your SUV?” 
He just laughed at me. This happens a lot when I ask city slicker questions like that.
Of course not. (I bet you would have wondered the same thing.)
In the meantime I’m busy researching fall vegetable gardens. To my uber cool, livin off the land, vegetable gardening blogosphere friends (ahem, Stephanie), I welcome any tips for this vegetable planting newbie. Because I really have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve already christened my porch with a few quiet mornings and evenings spent gazing at our handiwork. Last week, while Mr. Right was working late at the church, I enjoyed a Paleo dinner alone on our patio, where I propped my feet up in a chair, leaned back and enjoyed an episode of The Bachelorette on my laptop.
It was magical. So was the watermelon. And for the record, that’s low fat chicken sausage. And while we’re clarifying things, I must confess that that’s store-bought zucchini, since my zucchini plants had to be sacrificed to put in the porch.
It was worth it.

Paleo update – more than 1/3 of the way there!

First of all, I want to start with a hearty THANK YOU to Tipnut for featuring my meal planning guide on their website. It made me blush a bit to see so many new visitors. Welcome!

Okay, now for the good stuff. Today is Day 11 of our 30 Day Paleo Challenge and I am proud to report that…

(drum roll please)

I have lost FOUR POUNDS!

I’m so happy I could spit. And for the record, my spit would be carb-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free.

After just a few days my cravings relaxed and I have stopped almost stopped dreaming about bread. I did have another food dream last night, but it was after I stayed strong and didn’t partake in a CHOCOLATE BUFFET offered at church.

That, my dear friends, is a whole new level of discipline that I have never achieved before. In all seriousness, I have been a total slave to food for my whole life, and it’s empowering to know that I have the ability to say no. It’s getting so much easier.

Now, I almost broke down and stuffed my face in that chocolate buffet, if not for the swift intervention of a friend who knew about my diet and who talked me off of the cliff out of the buffet line. Thanks Kelly.

So, what have I been eating?

For breakfast: banana and almond butter (the stuff I thought was like, well, butter, but turns out it’s in the peanut butter family); eggs; more eggs; almond flour pancakes; hard-boiled eggs; scrambled eggs; eggs with tomatoes. I’m a little tired of eggs. Oh – but I’ve developed a strange love affair with bacon.

For lunch and dinner: barbecue (no bread), chinese food (no rice), taco salads, or any other type of salad you can think of with olive oil and basalmic for dressing. I ate so much grilled chicken last week that I can’t look at it right now.
Barbecue is my new food passion. I could eat it every day. I practically do. I admit that I do splurge and use barbecue sauce, which has sugar in it. But otherwise I wouldn’t make it, and someone on the internet wrote, “If you do Paleo 95%, you’ll get 95% results. And heck, I’d be over the moon with 95% results, so pass me the barbecue sauce.

Snacks are the easiest part – I eat tons of fruit and nuts. I had to learn to eat grapefruit without added sugar, but it’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts. Oh, and watermelon will cure any sugar craving, as will grapes. 
As for drinks, I drink a ton of water, plus coffee in the morning and decaf ice tea if I’m craving something more interesting. That part hasn’t been as tough since I went a year without drinking any carbonated beverages because of all my health problems – recently I had added them back in, but they were so infrequent it wasn’t a huge deal.
The only other hard part is staying strong during work and social events. Like the chocolate buffet at church (it was a fundraiser, that chocolate was for a very good cause). Or yesterday’s chamber luncheon that didn’t have a SINGLE THING I could eat. Not a single piece of lettuce or vegetable that wasn’t smothered in cheese. So I sat there hungry for an hour, and then headed straight to my new favorite barbecue joint and ate 1/3 lb. of brisket and some green beans. It was glorious.
Mr. Right and I are not only losing weight, but we just feel better. I’m sleeping well, my energy is up, and I don’t have that crazy bloated feeling I get after eating a big lunch or dinner. Being full from meat is just different than being full from bread and cheese.
And so, we’ve decided that after our 30 days are up, we’re going to continue with an almost-no-carb/almost-no-sweets diet. We’ll work in a few cheat meals, but honestly now that I’ve detoxed from all the things I was addicted to, I don’t want to dip my toe back in that water again.
Unless that water is really a chocolate fountain. 

Look at me – I’m still alive!

Yesterday I hit a total paleo wall – they say the third day is one of the toughest (probably made worse because this is officially the first diet I’ve ever been on). My body is addicted to flour and sugar and cheese, and I spent most of yesterday obsessing about all the things I can’t eat, and frantically worrying about how I would possibly manage to feed myself for another 27 days with so few options.

I may have, as my husband likes to say, “fractured from reality.”

I can only describe the feeling as being similar to that feeling girls get when their hormones are out of control, they’re exhausted, hungry, and not thinking straight. Very silly things become GIANT things.

That was my yesterday, as evidenced by my near-meltdown in the baking aisle of an upscale grocery store when I couldn’t find almond flour and coconut flour. And then the butter aisle didn’t carry almond butter.

All I wanted was to make paleo-friendly almond flour pancakes. I salivated just thinking about them ALL DAY LONG. And now it was useless – there would be no almost-floury goodness in my mouth.

God bless the sweet grocery store worker who graciously told me that almond butter is not, in fact, kept with the regular butter. I thought I was buying butter… turns out I was in the market for a peanut butter substitute.

I’m so bad at this hippie thing.

And then she introduced me to the gluten-free specialty aisle, filled with almond flour ($10 for a tiny bag) and coconut flour (so obscure you just scoop it out of a bin yourself – like the real health nuts do).

And then the heavens opened up and the sun shown down on these things.

Kale chips. Vegan, gluten-free, made with organic carrot powder (who knew there was such a thing?), at $5 for a 2-oz bag. Let me tell you, those Kale Chips may be the most wonderful thing I’ve ever eaten. They’re horribly ugly to look at, but they’re crunchy and if you close your eyes, you almost feel like you’re snacking on chips.

It’s amazing. And ironic because I don’t normally eat chips.

And this morning I was able to whip up my almond pancakes and while they really didn’t taste much like a pancake, it still helped sooth the cravings I’ve battled in my had and in my stomach for the past few days. I can keep going.

My wise and incredibly good-looking husband said something profound this morning. He told me that I have to stop obsessing about all of the things I can’t eat on this diet, and focus on all of the things I CAN eat. Like, as many fruits and vegetables as I want. And any kind of meat I want. I can eat steak on this diet.

So why obsess about a missed bowl of frosted mini wheats?

I’m pretty sure there’s a life lesson buried in there, underneath all of those homemade biscuits I’ve been dreaming about.

No kidding. I really did dream about bread.

And here is Paleo Plan’s recipe for almond flour pancakes so you too can indulge your inner hippie Martha Stewart.


  • 1 cup almond flour (I found this on a gluten-free specialty aisle)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour (I found this on a gluten-free specialty aisle)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water (they said soda water makes fluffier pancakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (I found this near the olive oil)


  1. Combine almond flour, coconut flour, applesauce, eggs, water, nutmeg and sea salt in a bowl with a fork. The batter will appear a little thicker than normal mix.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat with 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  3. Drop 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan once it is fully heated. Flip like a normal pancake.
  4. Top with fresh berries.

Again – mine were a lot denser than regular pancakes (sort of reminded me of buckwheat pancakes) and they crumbled when I flipped them (they’ve very crumbly). I topped mine with strawberries and peach slices.

Bon appetit!

Hitting the Paleo wall

My husband assures me that Day 3 and Day 7 are the hardest days for the Paleo diet. Today is Day 3 and I’m already sick of eggs and salad and grilled chicken. My ears perked up when Mr. Right mentioned that barbecue is an acceptable food. I may go smother myself in brisket tonight before our dinner party that will be filled with all sorts of splendid goodies that I’m not allowed to touch.
But I’ve been assured that if I’ll plug through that I’m going to feel AWESOME very soon. Very, very soon… (said between clenched teeth). And, I’m happy to report I’ve lost two pounds in the past two days. You may think it’s just water weight, but I’m going to celebrate and use that as incentive to go another two days. And then two more… and you get the picture.
My low point was when I was standing in the cafeteria, amidst the chaos of the noon lunch hour, googling to see if I’m allowed to eat cottage cheese. Please, Lord, let me have cottage cheese.
Not Paleo. So none for me. It’s so silly the things I’ve crave when I’m told I can’t have something. I become a strong-willed teenager when I’m denied bread. Bread smothered in melted cheese, dipped in marina sauce and washed down with a cold Diet Coke.
In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be googling new Paleo recipes because I heard a rumor there’s a Paleo-friendly banana bread somewhere out there in the universe. And banana bread may be just what I need to make it another day.


Summer Bucket List – Month One Completed

Before we get into my summer bucket list, I need to share with you what’s going on in my world right now. Today, May 29, I begin my 30-Day Paleo Challenge. I’m doing it with Mr. Right and my sweet mother-in-law. 
30 Days of no sugar. No chocolate. No bread. No potatoes. No cheese. No cereal. NO SUGAR!
Have I mentioned that I’ve never in my life gone more than a day without bread or sugar? That is, if you don’t count the days I’ve spent lying on my bathroom floor with the stomach flu. Otherwise, I’m a sugar-loving, bread-eating girl.
So say a little prayer for me. And maybe keep your distance as my body adjusts. It might not be pretty with two people in the same house going through sugar withdrawals together. For better or for worse, right?
Ahh, life as a grown-up. But I haven’t felt awesome lately – maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been on antibiotics non-stop for the past 17 months (my new normal after last year’s health issues). Or maybe it’s because I’ve been eating more indulgently since marrying my chef husband. But folks have promised that once you ween yourself off of the bread and sugar (and cheese… oh how I adore cheese), you start to feel really good. 
We’ll see. 
Besides, the real reason is because I popped the button off of my biggest pair of work pants. If I don’t do something I’m going to have to go shopping again. And that’s just silly.
But back to the bucket list – here’s an update on where I stand after my first month. Remember – I chose to begin summer on May 1 because soon it will be too hot to do most of my favorite outdoor activities. I’m pretty proud of the progress – and I have had a blast crossing things off. This is so much better than New Year’s Resolutions – maybe I need to start a new movement toward lists of fun things instead of lists like “Make my bed every day.” That’s so overrated. (Just kidding mom.)
First… my completed items:
Take a moonlit walk with Mr. Right on the beach
Wear shorts and heels 
I’ve done this several times but haven’t snagged a picture of it yet – I promise I’ll take one soon, for documentation purposes. Just be proud of me – every time I do this I feel kind of silly. And loud. But I’m starting to get used to the silliness and have been assured that the look is still age appropriate for this 30-ahem-something girl.
Learn to sew something new
I finally got around to making the ruffle pillow (there’s a great tutorial here) I’ve been swooning over for about a year. It took less than an hour and is now proudly displayed on our bed. I am obsessed with ruffles right now – at the rate I’m going, poor Mr. Right may end up living in a house that looks like a giant ruffle threw up. It’s a good thing he’s a patient man. And at least they’re not pink.
Host a dinner party

I was too busy enjoying my guests to get pictures of the folks who came to our dinner party – but here’s a picture of our table before they arrived. You can see my ruffle obsession has also attacked my table runner. We served Mr. Right’s famous Argentine soup (he spent a summer there in 2009), a big salad, and his famous pear and almond cream tarts.
I can’t think about those tarts right now… they’re not paleo-compatible. But oh man, are they good.

Dip my toes in the ocean

Do something spontaneous

We found a sign for an estate sale on the side of the road and decided to take a detour. We found all sorts of wonderful treasures – you can read about it here.
But we weren’t just spontaneous once. No, Mr. Right and I have been delightfully spontaneous for weeks now. Just Sunday night we decided at the very last minute to go see a late movie. I felt like I was 16 again. And just like when I was 16, I still made it home before curfew.

I love this picture because I kind of feel like a secret agent. And I was having a really good hair day. Can’t you tell in the super-dark photo we took right before the 3D movie began? Yeah, I thought so.
Imagine how good my hair will look after 30 days of no sugar. 

Get a mentor

Cook with vegetables from our garden
I should point out that only the tomatoes were grown in our garden – the rest were grown at the garden down the street called Target. That garden seems to flourish a lot more than my own. And since this pictures was taken, one of my tomato plants has been completely eaten by a caterpillar and another has been eaten by some bug that I’ve yet to catch in the act. I’m heartbroken over the untimely demise of my beloved vegetable garden. When I went to work this morning I still had several tomato plants left – along with some peppers, squash, and herbs that have yet to yield anything worth talking about – but who knows what I will find when I get home. 
Stupid, stupid, very hungry caterpillar indeed.
Get a pedicure 
I don’t have a picture of this, but know that it was absolute bliss. I went after a particularly crummy day and it was just what I needed. At least, it was the low-calorie version of what I REALLY needed – ice cream. But the pedicure was better for my waistline.
Oh my word – 12 hours without sugar and it’s all I can think about. Can you tell?

Eat a sno-cone
Gasp. More talk about sugar. We went last night with my in-laws as part of our “last supper” before Paleo. Confession – the sno cone run was AFTER we carb-loaded at dinner. Think twice-baked potatoes and giant rolls. We decided to go out big.

Finish writing Chapter 1 of my book 
I talked about that here. And I’ve been diligently adding it to it. Such a fun adventure.

Visit a state park

 Still left on my list:

Eat dinner on a patio
Have a picnic on Trinity Trail
Learn to bake a pie (this obviously won’t be happening in the next 30 days… maybe July)
Take a photography class
Ride my bike
Plan a secret date for Mr. Right (happening this Saturday)
Go to a museum
Hold my new nephew (he’s due in one week)
Go to a Rangers Game
Kiss Mr. Right while watching fireworks
Finish my husband’s quilt (almost done – I worked on it this weekend)
Pre-plan all my meals for one week
Marry off my dear friend Katie
Go to a festival
Dance with Mr. Right in the kitchen
Take a road trip
Make one of the recipes from my Pinterest board
Eat a candlelit dinner at home
Get a new dog
Have a fish fry (with chicken strips for me, since I don’t eat fish)
And there you have it – my summer continues.