I didn't want to be this way but I am. It's crunch time to get healthy/lose weight/have killer arms/drop 10 lbs from my FACE (in case you're wondering, I did extensive research google searches and there are no face-specific workouts, you just gotta exercise and eat right) in about 9 weeks when I walk down the aisle.

My goal for the next 9 weeks (i.e. until the wedding) is to really focus on switching up my workouts. Running at least once/week, HIIT at least twice/week, yoga 3 times/week, incorporating weights 2xweek (either through HIIT or a weights routine) then sprinkling in some barre or other stuff I'm in the mood for. No real reason in particular for choosing these workouts except that when I'm in a regular routine with yoga/running/HIIT I feel so freakin good.

The New Year is a great time to focus on this because everyone and their mother is doing it too and everyone and their mother is releasing all kinds of resources. Here are some that I'm excited to tag along with:

Fitness Blender's new year highlights:
  • New workout videos every single weekday all throughout January
  • A new, 100% free, fully customizable online workout calendar to track your workouts & progress all year long
  • Real time tools to track your time spent exercising, the difficulty of your workouts, calorie burn & more
  • The 8 Week Programs are moving online to fitnessblender.com & we're making them even better + you'll have at least FIVE brand new workout programs to choose from starting January 1st, including new rounds of our popular 8 Week Fat Loss Programs, 30 Minute "Busy People" programs + all new low impact, & mass building plans & more
  • A community forum exclusively for the Fitness Blender family so that you can find support in Blenders around the world who are working through the same programs as you are
  • See their video announcement here

New yoga obsession: Fightmaster Yoga

  • About a zillion videos for every level and everything you could possibly want to work on. 
  • Plus a focus on the reflection/being in the moment/all that good stuff you need to be reminded about while planning a wedding that is quickly spinning out of control into a 3-ring circus.

Millionaire Hoy's New Challenges:

  • Every type of challenge from 30 days to 90 days to 2-a-days
  • Dumbbell routines
  • 1000 calorie routines
  • Different body part focuses
  • Sidenote: just because Mil posts a short workout does NOT mean it is easier. In fact, shorter just means you will want to puke about 7 minutes in instead of 30 minutes in. 
What are you doing to stay in shape this new year? Any good resources to share?

Wednesday Workout: Good News for New Resources in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The last couple months have been a little nutso- between dog training, small group and volunteering I didn't get home until 9:00 most nights and still had to exercise, walk the dogs and...oh yeah cook dinner! The only way to survive this and stick with paleo (because let me tell you, every single night as I walked home I just wanted to order a pizza) was to set aside a few hours on Sunday to meal prep. Here's what my meal prep usually looks like:

1. Fill out my meal planner template + grocery list, print it and stick it on the fridge (my fav excuse to cheat: I forgot what I was going to make...I didn't have the groceries I need...and of course Harrison not knowing what we had planned and ordering something. This eliminates all those things). So for this example, this is my meal plan for the week:

2. Grocery store run- Wal-Mart generally has the best prices on groceries around here, and our Wal-Mart has a variety of organic veggies and cage-free meats (surprise!). I go to Trader Joe's after work on Mondays for whatever I couldn't get at Wal-Mart.

3. Eat a snack - prepping 10 meals in 2 hours, something WILL go wrong and the hangrier I am the worse it will go.

4. Put a marathon-worthy show on (right now I'm on Good Wife, just finished Revenge. Any other suggestions?).

5. Load up the crockpot with chili (for paleo chili I like this recipe without the beans + a few more veggies) or soup and cut it on.

6.  Make breakfast casserole for the week and pop it in the oven.

7.  Prep anything else that is preppable (hint: everything is prep-able).

  • Chicken wings: cut/separate the wings. Since we're eating this tonight I set this aside to cook last so they're fresh when we eat them.
  • Shrimp scampi: make the cashew sauce and store in a tupperware in the fridge, place the shrimps in the fridge to thaw, cook the spaghetti squash and get all the spaghetti'd squash out, put the "spaghetti" in a tupperware and store in the fridge.
  • Tacos: cook the taco meat, slice up the veggies, cook any peppers/onions I want to add, separate giant lettuce leaves to use in place of tortillas/taco shells
  • Stir fry: slice the chicken, make the cauliflower rice. Store in separate tupperware.
  • Salmon + cauliflower mash: make the cauliflower mash, store in tupperware in the fridge. Set a phone reminder to either thaw the salmon or pick up fresh salmon at TJ's on Thursday.
  • Chicken strips w/sweet potato fries: slice up sweet potatoes to be used later. I keep my chicken frozen or pick some up from TJ's on the way home from work- not sure how long chicken stays good in the fridge? Anyone know the answer to this? 
8. Pour a glass of wine and pat self on the back.

I really like this blog post from Empowered Sustenance on batch cooking. I'm dying to try this beet salad she's talking about!

Do you meal prep? 

Getting It Togetha - Paleo Edition

Monday, December 29, 2014

Soo it's been QUITE a week - Thursday Harrison and I flew to Memphis for my brother's SURPRISE wedding (which I've known about since October and have never kept such a big secret for so long and it was TORTURE) which was great and will get a photo dump further down.

For now though, let's talk paleo snacking. When I switched over to eating clean about a year ago, the snacks were the hardest part. Not being able to just grab a bag of chips or fruit snacks suuucked (that's right I'm 27 and still crave Welch's Fruit snacks- DA BOMB). I've kind of figured it out since (you can read about my snacking adventures here), and now I've found a new favorite refreshing snack. I prep a bunch of these little turkey rolls on Sundays and grab them on my way out the door.


  • 2 cucumbers, sliced thin longways (I always use my $17 NoPro Mandolin for this)
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb deli turkey meat
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Place the tomatoes, turkey, seasoning, and a dab of mustard on top of the cucumber slice and roll it up. That's it. Make a lot for the week and store in a tupperware so you can grab and go all week!

And now for the surprise wedding! My brother and his fiance are not into doing things the traditional way, so they invited everyone to their new house for an "engagement party". When everyone showed up one of the friends gathered everyone for what appeared to be a toast- talked about how they are spontaneous and break the mold and said "A good example is today. While you all think you're here for an engagement party, it's actually their wedding!" Everyone cheered. I cried. It was beautiful. Here's my photo dump: 

I found an amazing deal on a PENTHOUSE downtown on AirBnB - this view!! And it was big enough for us to host everyone for an after party and a brunch the next morning:

Thursday night we went out to see some live blues on Beale Street (if you ever make it to Memphis, Beale Street is a lot of fun!)

Ate some famous Memphis dry rub at Rendezvous:

Then went to the "Engagement Party" where they found a good use for the bathtub they ripped out of the old house:

This is when we all thought we were gathered for a toast- my brother's 2 best friends found out they were groomsmen about 5 minutes before this picture:

The happy married couple:

My MARRIED brother and me!

Have you ever been to a surprise wedding? Do you HATE KEEPING SECRETS like me? What is your favorite healthy snack??

Paleo Snack + Weekend Recap (late is better than never right?)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Budget bridesmaids. LOL LOL LOL LOLLLLLL. Budget + bridesmaid don't really go together, especially once you add up travel + bachelorette parties + bridesmaids dresses + rehearsal dinner outfit + showers + more travel + gifts + hotels + booze + checking luggage because you're hauling decor/gag gifts/embarrassing photos/booze across the country. Even though being a bridesmaid is expensive I think it is such a great honor and I have love love loved being a part of my friends' weddings and wouldn't have spent one less penny to do it. It's worth every single penny. Here are some things I've learned along the way:

For the bridesmaids:

Reselling your bridesmaids dresses/buying used bridesmaid dresses: Racked has an article of everywhere you could possibly buy or sell bridesmaid dresses, plus a few friends of mine have made some dollars back selling used bridesmaid dresses on ebay! Who knew.

Budget Traveling: Kayak alerts (flights), VRBO (accommodations with KITCHENS- hello not eating out for every meal), AirBnB, and Hotwire (car rentals) are my wedding season BFFs. Also I finally got an airline credit card where I get a mile for every dollar spent- looking forward to cashing in and flying to EVERY WEDDING FO FREE next wedding season.

Youtube can show you how to do everything a hair stylist can do: Granted, I have curly hair and most stylists straighten my hair and it turns into a disaster in .5 seconds so my situation is pretty different. Here are some of my favorite tutorials that I have used for every wedding I've been in (I calculated- by not getting my hair and makeup done for each wedding I saved $500 this summer!)

Remember to bring your dress with you to the wedding. It is a lot less expensive to NOT be in your car halfway to South Carolina, realize you left the dress at home, and having to turn around and drive halfway back where your brother has agreed to meet you after breaking into your apartment and finding it in your closet (also saves a lot of headache- explaining to a brother which dress is the mint green gown is extremely difficult). Yes, this was me. After this incident I started making checklists of everything to bring with me which has saved a few dollars along the way by not having to go buy a toothbrush and new makeup with every trip.

Photobooks on shutterfly make great gifts: These are such special gifts and you can always find a code (thanks retailmenot.com!) for at least 10000% off. Plus Shutterfly does 80% of the heavy lifting for you (read: I am not creative or artistic at all. You should see my high school scrapbooks- paragraph long captions, random pictures, and times new roman titles for every page).

For the Bride (hi I'm still working on this one PLEASE HELP):

Find beauty school students/recent grads to do hair and makeup: One night, amidst a panic attack involving back to back emails stating Check out our great deal! Just $100 for bridesmaid hair and additional $100 for bridesmaid makeup and we only require you to have 6 sign up!, I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions. Lo and behold, a friend who recently graduated beauty school commented and I now have a much less expensive hair and makeup sitch. (this is the one time I'm not doing my own hair and makeup). Lessons learned: find beauty school students, always seek Facebook.

Bridesmaid dress options: 
  • Etsy: I was in a wedding where we wore Etsy skirts. They were $60. It was magically inexpensive and magically different and we got approximately 90000000 compliments on how original and cute the skirts were.
  • Rental Dresses: Rent The Runway isn't just for the wedding guests.
  • Non Bridesmaid Bridesmaid Dresses: I went with this dress from Nordstrom (sleeves OR no sleeves). If you search their Bridesmaid dresses prices are about $100 higher. Mine were not as inexpensive as I was hoping for, but it's still $100 less than $250...
  • Modcloth: Vintage, different, inexpensive options.
  • PS can we all just post our bridesmaid dresses ahead of time so everyone can avoid the nightmare of showing up in the bridesmaid dress? It happens at every wedding!
Advice From My Brother's BFF Who is Also a Red Carpet Dress Designer (hi Christine THANK YOU for all your help!)
  • Never ask for bridesmaid dresses. This adds ~$100 to the pricetag.
  • Shop juniors departments! Juniors dresses are WAY cheaper and you just have to buy bigger sizes (and check the length)!
  • If you have all your bridesmaids dress sizes, go find them yourself on a major sale days
  • Convertible Tie Dresses: everyone can tie it up however they want. They can cost as low as $30. Helloo. 
  • Make sure b-maids have the dresses at LEAST 5 months in advance to allow for alterations and mishaps
  • Find out when/if the store plans to discontinue the dress you choose. This is so easy- I livechatted someone at Nordstrom.com to ask this and it took all of 5.5 minutes. (confession: I won worst bridesmaid of the year for an upcoming wedding when I put off purchasing the dress a few months (I'm going to lose at LEAST 15 lbs by that wedding...) and it got discontinued. Thank you J. Crew for your lovely customer service reps, your search & rescue team, and your rural Texas warehouse that had one dress in the right color that had been returned).
What tips do you have for bridesmaids/brides? Any adivce for cutting costs?

The Budget Bridesmaid Conundrum

Friday, December 12, 2014

I just realized that I've had this ole blog here for about a year now and I kind of feel like a piece of sh*t because I've never acknowledged all the people whose advice I've highjacked borrowed for myself. SO here are some of my favorite blog tutorials, how-tos, and advice:

Creating a Custom Blogger Header Using PicMonkey by 21RosemaryLane

Why I'm Not Commenting On Your Blog from Run Eat Repeat - this changed the way I thought about commenting PLUS there is a blog I read about how NOT commenting back aka returning the favor is bad blog etiquette that I can't remember who you are (if it was you- thank you!). After reading this I went the commentluv route which did not end well for me (bye bye hundreds of comments)- anyone have advice for using commentluv on blogger and NOT having it randomly delete all your comments every few days? Anway, Courtney has great tutorials and advice every Tuesday!

How to Make a Custom Thumbnail Gallery in Blogger

My Blogger Lab - This has a tutorial for everything you could possibly need to do in Blogger, plus everything you never even knew you could DIY. My favs: How to embed a PDF, How to style labels . This is one of the few blogs I subscribe to via email because every time I get an e-mail from them I'm like wait what! I can DO that?!?

Blogging Tips for Beginners from Wine & Glue. Even if you're not a beginner, there is some great advice in here!

Pinterest and Blogging 101: How to Create a Pin It Button by Anchors Aweigh (also check out Getting Verified on Pinterest)

What are your favorite blog tutorials? Do you leave Leave them in the comments!

Blog Tip Tuesday: All the tips.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mondaaaayy. Is it just me or are December Monday the WORST. The weekends are so jam packed and Monday comes along and ruins everything.

I tried out this crockpot soup a few weeks ago when I had friends coming over for dinner and zero time to prepare a dinner. It was super easy, super delicious, and different! My recipe is adapted from Caramel Potatoes. I was suuuper skeptical about using coconut milk, but it added a creaminess and the coconut taste really complemented the rest of the soup.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 8 hours (in the crockpot)
Servings: 6-8


  • 3 lbs breasts, thawed ($12)
  • 1 cup chopped celery ($1.00)
  • 1 cup shaved carrots ($.50)
  • 1 onion, diced ($.80)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk ($1.50)
  • 1 14 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ($2.00)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning

Throw everything into the crockpot and cook over medium for 6-8 hours. After 6 hours you should be able to shred the chicken (I waited until 8.5 because that's when I got home from work) using 2 forks. Pull out the chicken, shred it, and put it back into the crockpot. Let it cook another 30 minutes with the shredded chicken. Whenever I crockpot meals I let them sit out for 30 mins to let everything set. Is that a thing or did I make that up?

This weekend was packed and SO fun. Friday we celebrated a friend's birthday with karaoke which I have no quality pictures from. Blessings in disguise right there.

Saturday I bottomless-mimosa-brunched at Vinoteca for another friend's birthday. The food. was. perfect. My friend got the steak and eggs and that was the first time I've ever thought steak and eggs looks appetizing.

I can't hang after day drinking anymore so I went home, took a nap, woke up, watched Love Actually. No complaints here.

Sunday morning I got up to run the Jingle All the Way 5k. There were so many creative costumes and great views, we even ran by THE nation's Christmas tree!

Andi, Ziggy and I went on a playdate with the neighbor and she took the coolest videos with her new iphone, I've watched this at least 10 times today:

Then we went for a walk and found a boundary stone right in our neighborhood! Apparently these used to surround the city, this one was hundreds of years old. Crazy! I DO live 2 blocks from the DC/Maryland line, so I don't know why I was so surprised. It's funny because on one side of this street, the license plates are DC and on the other side they are Maryland. What a pain.

Do you ever go exploring in your own neighborhood? Do you cook with coconut milk?

Paleo Crockpot Creamy Chicken Soup + Weekend Recap

Monday, December 8, 2014

I've found it really difficult to come up with light-hearted content, witty commentary, recipes, and anything along the lines of creativity when so many horrifying things are happening right here in our backyard. When I get online, open a newspaper, or turn on the TV the things I see seem like they can't be happening here. When it comes to situations that I am extremely passionate/emotional about I pretty much lose all ability to articulate feelings and break into uncontrollable angry tears (angry crying = my worst quality). Maybe this is why I keep so many lawyer friends who share my feelings around- they went to school to argue. Or because they're really awesome. Or both.

BUT. Lawyer friends aside, I'm really worked up by recent events and pretty worked up by some people's reactions, or lack of reactions.

So. I don't know what to say. When disaster strikes my reaction is to gather as much information as possible. Read everything out there on both sides of the argument, try to understand why and how these things go on and why and how we are where we are. So here are a few of the interesting pieces:


10 Images

Please Stop Telling Me All Lives Matter

17 Examples of White Privelege

It's Past the Point of No Return: What Went Wrong According to an NYPD Police Officer

New Orleans Saints' Benjamin Watson Reacts to Ferguson

Chris Rock on Race in America

Self Segregation: Why It's So Hard for White People to Understand ...

. . .

Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm all kinds of thrown off right now and really need to get my life (and this blog) together! #HotMessExpress up in here! First thing's first: giveaway winner issss....drumroll pleaseeee.... Cindy! Check your e-mail, Cindy! Congratulations- YOU get a mascara!

Next: paleo update.

Um. Can we skip this? Harrison and I dominated the 1st 3 weeks, then Thanksgiving week happened and that was that. By the end of week 3 I was down 8 lbs (whoa!) and he was down 10. We haven't had the strength to weigh in this week. Liiiike:

Next: bomb recipe.

I got this lifetime supply of shrimp at Costco for $17 so we are gettin fishy around here. This is cleaned up version of shrimp scampi- confession: I despise creamy sauces so I actually have never tried shrimp scampi but this LOOKS like the dish I've seen in restaurants (and it smells like it too).

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Servings: 2


  • Cashew Sauce
  • Frozen shrimp (I got a bag of raw, tail off, un-cooked shrimps and used about 2/3 of the bag for this recipe. We only used half the spaghetti squash and half the sauce so you could probably cook the whole bag and have this meal for 4)
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
Cook your spaghetti squash- I tried out D's method  this time and actually really liked how it came out!

When the spaghetti squash has about 10 minutes left in the oven, put your shrimp in a collander and run some cold water over it- JUST until some of the ice crystals have come off. 

Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat, then add the sprimps and cook for 5-7 minutes. These puppies don't take much to get cooked- even if they're frozen!

Scoop out your "spaghetti" and top with shrimps, tomatoes, and cashew sauce. Enjoy!

Taking Care of Business- Shrimp Scampi(ish) + Giveaway winner

Thursday, December 4, 2014