Weekend FOODIE Recap… and What’s in Store This Week!

Gooood afternoon, fair people of the interweb! Can you even believe it’s already Monday again?! The weekend flew by, as usual.

This happened to be one of three weekends we’ve been able to enjoy alone as a couple since moving into our new house mid-March (hard to believe!). Between visitors and travel, we really needed a weekend of quality time to ourselves, and this weekend delivered.

Since Tim was out of town almost all of last week, we enjoyed a much needed date night (Whaaaat?! Remember those!?!!) at a new-to-us and sort-of-new-to-Sullivan’s-Island restaurant called The Obstinate Daughter. It. Was. Awesome. First of all, they had me at atmosphere – from the nautical rope light fixtures to raw wood, rustic-industrial accents with plush seating and perfectly out-of-place Steve Miller Band and other classic rock playing at a volume high enough to make patrons have to speak up to hear each other… it was pretty perfect.  Custom creative cocktails (in which I did not partake, but I did sip Tim’s) and a simple but SUPER TASTY menu loaded with local ingredients and foodie hot-items like ramps, sorghum, and farm fresh eggs (runny), made this local gem rocket to the top of my new favorite restaurants list. We had the Local Lettuce, Clammer Dave’s Baked Clams, and the Old Danger pizza (which rivals a favorite back home – the Sunnyside at Bar Cento in Cleveland – NOTHING will ever replace you, Sunnyside, but Old Danger was preeeetty good). Love, love, LOVED it. YUM.

photo courtesy of Yelp.com

photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link.

Side note: get a reservation – we lucked out somehow and snagged a table… they were supposedly booked up til 10pm when we arrived around 7:30. I secretly think the sweet sorority sister hostesses felt sorry for making the pregnant chick stand… umm, totally fine with using the bump to get seated faster.

Saturday we spent painting the nursery, transforming it from its old, dingy, yellow-orangey tan, to bright and breezy Sherwin Williams “Sprout”. I’m not totally done with the transformation, obviously (hellooo, I need a crib in that crib, a not-hideous light fixture [not pictured], and some stuff on the walls!), but here’s a sneak peek. In case you’re curious, find my inspiration for color scheme here.

Orangey-tan walls... gag.  Also, don't you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a "real" before pic.

Orangey-tan walls… gag. Also, don’t you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a “real” before pic.

 

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I love me a good side note: I’m transforming that chair into a rocker courtesy of a tutorial I found on Pinterest… and also, sorry for the sort of dark pic… that window was messing with me.

I had brined some pork chops for the grill that night (still haven’t perfected my pork chop technique, but they were pretty tasty), and served them up alongside an heirloom carrot and parsnip puree, and some lemony creamed chard (easily my new favorite side… I will share the recipe soon!). Tim was so impressed with my plating that he asked if I was going to take a picture, to which I replied, “I probably should” and then promptly dove in fork-first. Bad blogger.

Sunday, we tested out a new church which turned out to be a pleasant surprise aside from our initial reaction to the crowd requiring traffic direction, and followed up the service with brunch at our favorite dive-y spot on the beach, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. They are super slow when it comes to putting out the food, but the fried green tomato eggs benedict (sans English muffin for me) is seriously worth the wait. I don’t know how, but their poached eggs are PER. FECT. Every. Time. I need to take lessons from the chef. And their fried green tomatoes are probably the best I’ve had since we’ve been in Charleston… and believe me, I’ve been trying them nearly everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com - click for link

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link

This week is going to be a good one. I’ve got some great posts in store for you, some inspired by re-visiting books on my bookshelf, some inspired by questions and suggestions of friends, and ALL of them inspired by my favorite thing ever: FOOD! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store:

  • Revisiting the Primal Blueprint – why I’m regrouping and and why you should consider giving it a shot, too.
  • What to Eat – how to look at your meals from a nutritional standpoint to make sure you’re getting what you need, along with some quick and easily customizable meal options.
  • The 21-Day Sugar Detox – we’ve been there before and you know I love it… let me share a few ways it might benefit you and how to set yourself up for success.

So pull up a laptop or a tablet, get comfy, and stay tuned for the good stuff!

xx

e

 

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2014: Living Intentionally

2014-01-07 10.23.46

Hi friends, we’re a week into resolutions… how’s it going?  I’m only one day behind on my gym schedule, so I consider that a win. ;)

If you read my last post on setting goals for the year, you’re familiar with the concept of a 30-day-challenge-a-month-challenge, as inspired by Danne from Twelve Months of Lent.  As a former employee of lululemon athletica, the concept and structure of setting goals is now second nature to me, but what I realized on December 31, 2013 when looking back over the year is that I need a little boost when it comes to accomplishing those goals, particularly now that I’m no longer surrounded almost 24/7 by a support group of people whose culture deep down to their bones consists of setting goals and crushing them… basically killing it at life left and right. 

Let’s back up for a minute.  I did some amazing things in 2013.  In January, I completed 30 consecutive days of yoga in various studios back at the beginning of the year; my head was clear and I seriously felt more aware than I ever had (not to mention my shoulders were lookin’ preeeetty hot).  In June, I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training… an experience I will never forget and one which gave me my first true sense of community and acceptance and belonging as an adult… wow, I mean, if I had to have a Groundhog Day experience and could choose 3 months to live on repeat for eternity, it would be those!  I rode my bike 17 miles through the Everglades in the middle of the night under a full moon, something I was terrified to do but felt safe and adventurous surrounded by some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and STILL talk about what a cool experience it was – a reminder that getting outside of my comfort zone once in a while is, well… where it’s at.  (P.S. Yes, we saw alligators up close and personal.)  In September, I bit the bullet and finally decided to get certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner after looking at the program for over a year, one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Over the course of the year, I made trips to California and Connecticut, and took long road trips to Ohio and North Carolina… all of which served to show me the beauty of other parts of the country and to scratch my ever-present itch to explore.

I’m proud of all of these things and know that I can do even better.  That is why, this year, I’m choosing to live with more intention than I ever have before.  There are things I want to accomplish, places I want to see and things I want to do, and BIG goals toward which I want to start working… starting this month.

I sat down this past weekend with my trusty goal sheet and revised my 10-year vision and my 1- and 5- and 10-year goals (a process I revisit once every few months or more often as necessary).  Then, I opened up excel and got to work creating a calendar for the months of 2014, breaking down my longer-term goals into mini-goals, personal, health and career-related, which I will accomplish each month to make progress toward the BHAGs (ahem, that’s short for Big Hairy Ass Goals – and no, I did not come up with that on my own, people).

So what are a few of these goals and mini-goals I plan on accomplishing in 2014? I thought you’d never ask.

  • I work my way up to meditating 30 minutes every day.
  • I fill in the holes on my website and work up to blogging 5x/week.
  • I complete a 21-day Sugar Detox.
  • I take a month of minimalism – I get rid of 5 things every day and wear the same 6 pieces of clothing for 30 days
  • I become a morning person by sticking to a new evening/morning routine every day for a month.
  • I grow a scoby and make my own homemade kombucha on the reg.

scoby

  • I learn how to climb and take two trips to the mountains with Tim to actually do it.
  • I learn to make my own homemade skincare and household cleaning products.
  • I practice yoga in various studios in our new city (when we move) every day for 30 consecutive days.
  • I take a trip with Tim to Acapulco and teach yoga there at an all-inclusive resort.

las brisas

  • I ride my bike every day for a month.
  • I learn how to operate my camera and use it every day for a monthly challenge.
  • I build a raised bed in my backyard and cultivate an organic vegetable and herb garden.

how to grow a garden

  • I combine and put my creative writing degree and background in wellness to good use and submit articles to Mind Body Green.
  • I re-learn to play the piano.

Seem like a lot?  This is just the beginning.  That’s only 15 things, and if I begin by tackling one a month (hence my spreadsheet mapping it all out), that means I only have to double up on three months.  Besides, setting goals doesn’t mean you have to accomplish every single one.  I like to imagine how great I am going to feel at the end of the year looking back at this list (which I will probably revise, add to and subtract from, more than once over the course of 12 months) and seeing that I accomplished a LOT of the things I said I was going to accomplish.  As for getting started, there’s no time like the present!

I hope this inspires you to get organized with your resolutions goals so that you can set yourself up for success and live 2014 with intention!  Tell me, what will you accomplish this year?

What I Learned From Failure

Good morning, people.

I love the days when Tim does a little work from home.  He makes important phone calls and taps away at his keyboard while I quietly go about my morning routine, which, as this morning would have it, included prepping a beef chuck roast and veggies to dump into the crock pot (a recipe from my new paleo cookbook, Against All Grain), making a quick visit to the chiropractor, doing a few loads of laundry, and whipping up a quick breakfast of poached eggs in marinara sauce over leftover delicata squash rings for us (YUM!) before sitting down to type up a blog post for your leisure-reading pleasure.

A slow-cooker pot roast and poached eggs in (sugar-free) Rao’s Homemade marinara over roasted delicata squash rings?  I must be the queen of the sugar detox, am I right?  Wrong.  Don’t let today’s menu pull the wool over your eyes, my friends – things were not so perfect just days ago.  Let me paint a picture for you…

Four days into the 21DSD (because I’m a cool kid now, I can use the acronym), we had friends visiting from out of town, friends we hadn’t seen in over a month since their wedding in another state, friends who (like us) really enjoy drinking wine and when the four of us get together, well, let’s just say, with all the talking and laughing and losing track of time, we’ve been known to polish off a bottle or… seven.  Luckily, this past weekend, we only made it to six.  While I feel like I held it together somewhat on the food front, passing on dessert and steering clear of starchy carbs, the aftermath of the wine the following day left me not wanting to cook and weak enough to give into the temptation of Sunday afternoon NFL advertising…

Pizza.

Sure it was delicious.  But was it worth the cold sweats, body aches, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal distress, and poor sleep that followed that night?  Or the sore throat and headache in the morning?  No. Freaking. Way. I had to take a cold (and I mean cold) shower that night before going to bed I felt so sick.

So there you have it.  And my reason for sharing this slip-up in today’s post is threefold.

FIRST, to express to the world that I am not perfect, and I’m okay with that.  As a yogi, and a yoga instructor, it is  often  assumed that I must have it all under control, that my life is rainbows and butterflies and that nothing bothers me because I am breathing, I am calm, I am yoga.  Well, that’s just ridiculous.  I NEED YOGA because it helps me stay balanced.  Of course, I would love to be in a yogic state of mind 24/7, but for me, that’s just not realistic (not yet, at least… there’s always room for improvement, which is why it’s called a yoga practice!).  Life is always going to be crazy, some people are always going to drive me crazy, and I’m probably going to get the urge to lay on my horn in (Miami) traffic from time to time.  But having a regular yoga practice helps me to keep my mind clear so that I’m better able to deal with situations as they arise that would normally throw me for a loop.  AND, when I DO get thrown for a loop, I know better than to beat myself up about it – I’m only human, and the only way to treat myself, especially when I’ve experienced what most would consider failure, is with loving care.  So in that aspect, failure teaches me to love myself.

Which brings me to my second point, which is: when I stumble and fall flat on my face, I don’t just lie face down in a puddle of self-loathing and self-pity and misery.  No.  I get up, I brush myself off, and I move forward… maybe just keeping a closer eye on the path and watching out for those potholes… because Lord knows they sneak up on you!  Failure not only teaches us to love and be gentle with ourselves but to learn from the failure itself.  It had been so long since we indulged in pizza, I could only remember how glorious it tasted and had no concept of what it would do to my body after eating a clean diet for so long.  After the way I felt Sunday night and Monday morning, there will be no forgetting!  After I got myself together on Monday, I immediately planned our clean, paleo (sugar-free!) meals for the rest of the week and made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and protein.  Twenty-four hours later, my crazy flu-like symptoms have subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again, not to mention savoring every delicious morsel of clean, nutritious food with which I’m fueling my body and nursing it back to health.  I’m so grateful for the slip-up so that I could be reminded of how amazing a clean diet can make you feel!

THIRD, this weekend also indirectly brought something else up for me, and that is that only I can control what I put into my body.  The same way I choose the clothes I put on in the morning, what I eat is my own decision, and no one else’s.  If it is socially acceptable for a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet to make special requests at restaurants and to make their diet known to their friends and family so that meals can be enjoyed together as they are meant to be and not become a cause of conflict, then why should it be any different for someone following a paleo diet?  This is the diet on which I feel my absolute best, and, as I am learning in my Nutritional Therapy coursework, the diet we are designed to consume for optimum health! I shouldn’t feel obligated to eat something that I know will make me feel less than my best, and I’m ready to make that commitment… to myself, my family, and my future children.

And, as I expected… it feels so good!

Stay tuned for some recipe reviews… these cookbooks are preeeeetty awesome.

Let’s Detox!

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a field day earlier this week exploring a bunch of paleo-foodie blogs in search of inspiration to kick it up a notch in the kitchen.  What I wasn’t expecting was repeatedly coming across bloggers mentioning a mysterious code: 21DSD.  In the cases of PaleOMG and Against All Grain, even devoting whole pages to this mystery.  After a quick google search of 21DSD, I came across a million other posts from other blogs and websites, Pinterest boards and pins.  What does it stand for?  The 21-day Sugar Detox, created by Diane Sanfilippo, author and holistic nutritional consultant.  How timely, since I am studying blood sugar regulation!

21-DSD

As I mentioned, I try to stick to Paleo at least 80% of the time, but I’d be lying if I said my diet hasn’t been including more treats lately in the form of fresh and dried fruits, natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, and even the occasional (ahem – nightly) few squares of 90% dark chocolate.  I KNOW, it doesn’t sound bad – all of that stuff qualifies as Paleo, it’s natural and fine for you, right?  Well, yes, but when it gets to the point that you’re craving something sweet at any given time of day, that’s when you know you might have a problem.  And I’ll admit it, I have a problem.

I’m ready for a change and that change starts today (well, yesterday).  I thought it would be a piece of (sugar-free) cake, but as I experienced yesterday, wow, it’s going to be a challenge.  I’m committed, though, and I’m armed and ready with the arrival of my new cookbooks.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and if you’re interested in joining me on the detox, head over to Diane’s site Balanced Bites, where you can load up on information about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, get one of her books, and even sign up for daily emails throughout the 21-day stretch!

If you’re thinking ahead about Thanksgiving (Um, what? I would like to enjoy a slice of Paleo pumpkin pie, thank you very much!), don’t sweat it.  If you start your 21DSD today, you’ll be done JUST in time to enjoy a Paleo holiday treat without wrecking your progress, and you’ll be much less likely to trip down the slippery slope of the dessert table temptations because your sugar craving will be virtually nonexistent by then!

Let’s do it!

xx

e