Friday, February 27, 2015

A recipe for the best chimichurri ever

I made my own chimichurri sauce during my Whole30 and it was quite possibly the best thing ever. I somehow managed to not inhale the entire thing, even though I definitely wanted to. It's sort of like pesto (but pesto is basil) and this is spicy and delicious (so is pesto--delicious that is, not spicy). It's the perfect pair for steak and fajitas and tacos and chips and even if you got a spoon and ate this right out of the jar, I wouldn't judge you at all. Promise.

Here's the recipe:
/Handful of parsley (I used about a cup)
/Smaller handful of cilantro (I used about 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup)
/Lots of fresh garlic
/1/2 teaspoon of salt
/1/2 teaspoon of pepper
/1 (+++) teaspoon of crushed red pepper
/1/4 teaspoon of cumin
/1/2 cup of olive oil
/1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
/Fresh Squeezed Lime

Put everything in your food processor and blend, blend, blend. I assess the situation after a few pulses and add more herbs or more salt, probably more red pepper and garlic. For most people, I probably put about six-times too much red pepper and garlic but we are big fans of that over here. If I make before a meal, I make it an hour + early so that it can sit and marinate and then add more salt or probably red pepper.

The only person who doesn't like this in our house is Maddox. And sorry for him, really. But not really because this just means that there's plenty for Evan and I. Also, this steak. Let's talk about that for a minute. It's from Costco, this pre-cooked sliced prime rib. All you do is throw it in the oven to reheat it and it's delicious. I definitely recommend the chimichurri with it though, obviously.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I did a thing

I did a thing to my hair this week.

I guess that's not entirely true because the first thing I did to my hair was way back in December. I got it cut but it was more of a hack job that looked like a blind person sawed it off with a plastic knife. Oh boy, it was bad. I had originally asked for probably 4 inches to be cut off, to take my hair just below my shoulder. It's the look this year and I was like "YES. I will have that and I will be cool with my cool hair and when I get home I will bleach the tips and dye them turquoise."

But then the girl did not listen to one word I said or look at one picture I showed her or pay attention when I was explaining it to her because she actually cut my hair up to my chin. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. It was a student at a beauty school, so I get that she's learning but completely disregarding the request of your client? Okay. Cool. The haircut resulted in the mother of all meltdowns. Like, standing in my kitchen, shaking, screaming my head off and bawling my eyes out. Evan was holding my arms and kept saying, "It doesn't look bad! I like it! It's not that short!" And other lies and I was just like, "We haven't taken Christmas card pictures yet! It is SO short. I hate it. It makes my shoulders look wide. All the emotions. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Etc." And every time I looked in the mirror? Bawled. So. It was a rough few days while I tried to figure out how to make my hair not a triangle. I was unsuccessful in that regard.

So, I gave it a few months. It grew. It's still not to where I want it but it's almost there. I can wrap it around the curling wand again. Small victories my friends. Small victories.

But I have this thing where I get super bored with my hair and make snap decisions that have to happen immediately or I might melt. So, I saw an ombre and was like, "Yep. When my hair grows some more, gonna do that." But then I kept thinking about it. And talked to some people about it. And my roots were growing out. So. I just went ahead and made an appointment to dye it and re-cut it to even it out and take some weight off.

And so that's what happened. I dyed some hairs blonde. Which I've never really done besides baby highlights years and years and years ago. It's not as light as I wanted it, but it's as light as it can be without it breaking off if you even just think about it. Because, I've also done that and I mean, I don't exactly need to go any shorter.

I also have not had my hair my natural color in so many years. Actually, lie. When I had Maddox I had a faux-ombre because I didn't dye my hair for a super long time and my roots had grown out an inappropriate amount. Here's proof of that mess. (Uh, that link just made me want to weep over how long my hair was and how short it is now. WAAAAH. Hair is annoying. Let's all be bald.) (And I also want to weep over how small Maddox was. Six weeks? HOW THOUGH. He's like less than six weeks from being two. Time. We're fighting.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

02/12 [round 2]

Yes, you did see this picture on yesterday's post. That's okay. It was the only good one we got of the three of us. It was windy. So windy. And that teenager I'm holding on my hip? he only wanted to play with this stick he found in the alley and hit the building with it. My hair was doing its thing, which was mostly to get stuck in my lipstick and then drag my lipstick across my face. Evan spit-shined my cheeks several times, bless him.

But. You know. It was a good day, that one. We had rootbeer floats and got lost on a road for a while on purpose. And Evan said, "It's nice not having anything to do. Usually I'd be a little stressed out about all this wasting time. But it's nice." I agree, handsome husband. I agree.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was a good one this year. There's something sweet about having a low key love day. I mean, of course Evan did buy me flowers and wrote me a sweet love note and of course there was chocolate (those balloons were for Mad who absolutely LOVES balloons). But we didn't go out for fancy dinner (stayed in and had pizza) and our house was kind of a disaster and I think my bouquet of flowers might have been partially hidden behind some dirty dishes. Maddox had a very mini nap in the car and we stopped by our friends' house to see how their renovations are going. It was kind of like, this is our life now. Home projects and dirty dishes, a kid who misses his nap but is mostly in good spirits. Pizza because we are too fancy for steak and lobster and paying lots of money to be fed in public. Wine with strawberries and chocolate ice cream for dessert because I remembered at the last minute that I was going to make a chocolate cake or something. A portrait of our family done by the most talented lady and a letter to my husband telling him much I love him.

These are the things that make it special. And I'm thankful for a guy who told me I was beautiful in my jeans and tee. Who fixed my lipstick when I smeared it across my face and all over my teeth. These everyday things that didn't get sugar coated in heaps of heart-shaped candy and excessive flowers and dressing up and going out. Celebrating the everyday because I do, I do love him everyday but thanks for the reminder, Hallmark.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Maddox and I hung out in the most beautiful 60 degree sunshine this morning to paint together. I've tried to give him watercolors before but he's more interested in smashing the paintbrush into all the colors than he is drawing on paper with it. So, I found him a $1 watercolor set at Target and broke out the gigantic roll of kraft paper and thought he would just go to town on it. He's a big fan of chalk + his chalk board desk that my mom made him. He's a big fan of coloring on every surface of my house with chalk, too. So, I thought that it would be fairly obvious that watercolors would be like the most amazing thing for him.

I mean, he was actually like YOU KNOW WHAT IS BETTER THAN PAINTING, MOM? SMASHING THE COLORS TOGETHER. So. I was wrong. And I tried to show him how much fun it is to paint on paper but he was more interested in painting the other colors and then figured out that he could also paint the rocks and also paint the patio. So. He enjoyed it. Just differently than I envisioned.

While Maddox "painted" I decorated the wrapping paper for Evan's gift. Just a few x's and o's because, you know, hugs and kisses or whatever. I am obsessed with brown kraft paper as wrapping paper and this spring weather in the middle of winter and sunshine and kisses from my peanut butter face baby.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Whole30 finale

We finished our first Whole30 the last weekend of January, just in time for the Superbowl, and just in time for me to research how to introduce foods back into your diet, only to learn that you should do them one at a time, and one every few days. Well. We didn't do that. I am super picky about my snack foods and in situations like that where there are dips and random meats and crackers, I'm never a big snacker. I had already decided I wouldn't be drinking and I had guacamole in the fridge, ready to go with my giant, Costco-sized bag of carrots. Evan ordered a few pizzas though, and I did have a bite. ONLY to realize that it wasn't as good as I expected it to be. I knew it wouldn't be. That even though pizza is my boyfriend--and not in the sense that it's my comfort food, just that I love pizza more than probably any other kind of food--it wasn't as great as I remembered it to be. And for whatever reason, I didn't even care. I ate a few pieces because it was good, sure, but it wasn't like, YOU WENT AN ENTIRE MONTH WITHOUT PIZZA AND YOU'LL NEVER GET THOSE 30 DAYS BACK, LOSER.

Also, perhaps it was because Evan and I weighed and measured ourselves the day before and when I saw the numbers and then when I tried on a shirt that had previously been too small for me, only to realize that it fit!, I was pretty sold on this lifestyle.

I lost 11 pounds; Evan lost 15. I lost 2 inches off my chest, waist and hips. I didn't measure my legs or arms but I can definitely tell a difference with all of my clothes fitting looser, even a pair of my boots. And, I didn't exercise one single time. In fact, I did the opposite of exercise for most of January while my body flushed out toxins and I spend the month being sick and sleeping. And I still managed to lose 11 pounds.

In addition to the weight, I totally killed three of my worst eating habits: //I stopped snacking out of boredom. When Maddox wakes up from his nap, he usually has something small and I might grab a handful of carrots. I'm not searching for chocolate or sugar to give me an afternoon pick-me-up like I was in the past. \\I also totally kicked my dessert-after-dinner habit that was totally killing me. I picked that up somewhere along the way. Even when I was grocery shopping I would say, "No, I don't need to buy any dessert." Then dinner would roll around and Evan and I would decide that, yeah, dessert sounds pretty good. Off he'd go to the store to grab us ice cream or cookies or cinnamon bears or whatever to satisfy that sweet tooth. I did have some fruit after dinner a few times and Evan and I were pretty into dried mango from our natural grocery store that has no added sugar (hashtag high five!), but at some point we just stopped wanting anything. //And I also kicked my bad habit of eating late/snacking before bed. This was just a bad combination of eating dinner too early depending on Evan's evening plans and Maddox wanting dinner at exactly five o'clock. And then nine or ten would roll around and my stomach would be like, "Hey, haven't eaten in five hours. Let's fix that." And so I would. With whatever I wanted. Before bed. Like, no. I totally felt like I had no self control over it either; like, if I didn't give in to my stomach telling me I was hungry, that I might starve. I don't even know where that mindset came from but eating whole foods and not filling up on empty carbs or sugars left me fuller longer and not like I was dying of hunger before bed. And, the few times I have gone to bed feeling hungry, I've not been tempted to eat.

So, I want to continue this lifestyle change. I didn't know where Whole30 would take us when I started this in January and although I can't say that I "feel good" because I think my body was detoxing so much crap that it made me physically sick 90-percent of the month, I want to feel good and I think my body has finally caught up and I can now eat good and really feel it. I'm not going to call this Whole30 anymore because I want it to just be how we eat; but, I also am planning on allowing myself to have restricted items in moderation. And by "in moderation," I mean that I'm going on a girl date with my bestie for Moscow Mules and Evan is taking me to a fancy dinner for Valentine's day. I'm not going to have a piece of candy every day because that's moderation. I'm not going to put some cheese on one meal or have a coffee once a week. It's going to be a rare moderation--a treat.

Because in addition to the pizza I did have a fairly good amount of sugar, especially considering I hadn't actually eating sugar in a month. A few bites of oreo ice cream and a rice crispy or two and I was hyped out of my mind and my hands were shaking. My brain has felt fuzzy ever since and I can't maintain a conversation with anyone without getting so sidetracked and off-topic. I did have a 100% uncompliant dinner on Monday night, shared between the three of us (because I was busy watching that crazy episode of The Bach and live texting with my girlfriend Jamie and not eating or even planning on making dinner) and I felt a weird sense of gross after it. I felt like I could physically feel the food in my stomach, and like my body was working extra, extra hard to digest it. I never felt that way with any of my whole food meals and I never felt that disgusting full you sometimes get when you can't stop eating and your stomach might actually explode.

So. I like these changes. I'm pretty proud of us for getting through the whole month and for seeing a difference (ps, Evan looks so good and I'm so proud of him) and wanting to continue. Because a month ago I would have told you it was a one month only thing and I'd be back to pizza and coffee and cookies in no time at all. I can tell you that unless we make a plan to stick with this, we'll head right back into our old way of eating, like being too lazy to cook dinner because Evan worked all day and I chased after a wild toddler. But, seeing changes in yourself and when your friends and family members tell you how good you look, it FEELS GOOD and it makes me want to continue this. I'll be quiet about it now, maybe popping in to share more results or good meals that I make but my weekly updates will end here and this will now be a lifestyle, not a diet.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A new mantel

It was high time for a new mantel even though I was still madly in love with my fall mantel (see it here). And as I look through those pictures I'm still impressed that I was able to throw that together. My mantel is now my favorite place to decorate in my house, which is funny because it's in a room that has absolutely no idea what is going on at all. I hate the layout of the room, the couches, the weird ledge thing on the other wall. But the mantel. The fireplace. It has got it going on.

So, here's my new mantel! The one and only reason I changed it up was because my amazing and generous parents got us a gas fireplace for Christmas and it was installed this week! Thanks mom and dad! I took everything down so that the guys could work without worry about all my precious glass and breakable things and decided that I'd switch it up. Also, tragic but my glass apothecary jar broke a few months ago. We came home to find it shattered on the ground and I have no idea how the heck it fell. So, now I have to obviously find a new jar (Tj Maxx, duh) and replace it.

How cool are those vintage mason jars? They were all gifts from my parents and brother and I love them. I'm reusing most of the decorations from my old mantel, but I hung up the mirror (which is probably too small for this space but it's what I got and was a thrift store score so it stays) and added the wood spice rack to hold my vintage bottles. I didn't want to use the books in stacks again but I was at a loss for what else would serve this purpose. I'm going to be on the hunt for mantel decorations at every estate sale I hit up this spring.

We're planning on painting the wood around the fireplace (including the mantel) black this weekend. So, I'm not sure why I even set the mantel up, but I did because I guess I enjoy making a lot of work for myself. You can also see a small space about the fireplace that needs to be painted white since the old fireplace was bigger and covered that area and there's a small spot right below the mantel that was missed when we painted, so that's a quick project that'll happen this weekend. I probably can't explain the OCD I have towards the line above the fireplace and how irritated it makes me. But. I'm holding strong until this weekend when I have an extra set of hands that don't belong to a toddler.

The room still has a long way to go but I'm learning to be patient and change things up little by little. I have a lot of hatred for the leather couches for some reason, even though they're extremely nice. Perhaps it's those awful pillows that need to be recovered yesterday. The pillows and the cushions on that chair are all getting makeovers in the near future, as well as the coffee table I hid from you all because I scratched the heck out of it with a piece of wood on accident and then promptly spilled acetone on it. I may or may not have done it on purpose to create a necessary project. I'll never say.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

a love like this [in sickness and in health]

Every morning he woke up with our son at seven thirty while I rolled over in bed and felt my aching body and stuffy nose and puffy, red eyes beg for more sleep and an entire bed to sprawl out in and our small twin comforter all to myself because we have yet to go pick out new bedding even though we say that it's on The List. And I would sleep for two or three or four more hours and wake up not rested and not better but there would be lunch and hot tea or half a pot of coffee and a baby who was ready for his nap which meant that I could go back to sleep for an hour and a half. And there were parents called for backup duty when my body could not possibly care for another and accommodations made for college group so that he could be here with me instead and there were the quiet whispering prayers of the ten college students who come into our home on Wednesday nights to do life together. There were three trips to the Target Pharmacy and one ailing trip to the eye doctor which resulted in more tears in our kitchen with the sticky dye running down my face and shaking hands and a fearful heart. There were two trips to the tea store to bring back the ten dollar tea filled with herbs and voodoo magic. There weren't grumbles or complaints about the constant coming and going and the neediness of my sickness. There weren't sighs about my sleeping habits or a morning of pretend sleeping while a child screamed for a fresh diaper and breakfast from the next room. There weren't complaints about the five showers I took every day or the three I took throughout the nights and the lack of towels for everyone else in the household. And when not even Nyquil could keep me asleep at night and hot showers didn't clear the stuffiness and the rice bags cooled down too quickly and I tossed and turned and kicked and pulled all of the covers to my side of the bed and threw my pillows off only to get out of bed and pick them up again and when the three hundred ounces of water I was drinking each day to clear my body of all the toxins had me up every hour, there was no scolding or requests for less movement and less noise and suggestions to just up my Nyquil dose to comatose level four and maybe try the couch instead.

And I repaid him by being upset with him that I hadn't eaten dinner on Friday. It was a culmination of everything: being sick, being tired, cabin fever, a constant chill, et cetera. And instead of defending himself with the list of things he had done for me all week, proclaiming my ignorance and rudeness and opening the fridge to reveal the endless options of dinner I could have made for myself, he felt guilt and inadequacy, which was the last thing I wanted him to feel even though I was being unreasonable in a way that didn't make any sense.

And it's not about keeping score of who does what for who when and how often and I know that he would never list these things back to me one Saturday morning when our bed is just the right temperature and the pillows are perfectly indented for his head and his eyes are heavy with sleep because I undoubtedly kept him up late talking the night before, asking me to please go get the babe and let him sleep in. It would be quite the opposite and I would most likely be the one rolling out of bed two hours later while he has read the same book fifteen times in a row and spent 80-percent of the morning negotiating with a toddler about why fruit snacks are not actually a valid breakfast option.

We made vows to love each other in sickness and in health and I'm sure in that moment neither of us gave this a second thought. You rarely give anything a second thought when you're standing before your closest friends and family and all you can think over and over again is that you're finally marrying your best friend and that rings so loudly in your mind that you hear nothing else. But there it was, this vow that you made on your wedding day to love each other in sickness. And in health. And here it is now. It's not cancer or death or a stroke. It's not a missing limb or a brain injury or surgery. But it could be and if it is, I know that he will love me through it and beyond it and forever and ever because he heard that promise and he took it to heart. I can only hope that given the chance, I can prove to him that I did, too.