Weekend links 10.17.14

Oct 17, 2014

Oh man, what a week! I feel like I'm a broken record every Friday, but the weekend always seems to arrive just when I need it most. I'm looking forward to unwinding and shutting my brain off for a few days.

Waking up is hard to do.

Which brings me to.... I need this alarm clock.

A fall reading list.

These 27 copywriting formulas would work well for blog posts.

How parenting has changed since we were kids. This is so, so true!

After writing about our experience with Whole30 this week, I came across this post on Design For Mankind. I'm a bit obsessed with reading about other people's experience with Whole30 now.

These caramel apple slices are definitely not Whole30, but I've added them to the list of things to try in November!

Friends is coming to Netflix!

The secret to learning a foreign language as an adult. I guess this means I need to buy those plane tickets to Spain.

Hashtag Favorites / v.2

Oct 15, 2014

I'm back with some more favorite hashtags to share! You can see the first post here. What cool hashtags do you follow on Instagram?

Adding a fake sunbeam to your photos is an easy thing to do these days, but Instagrammer Mauren Sarrow Kennedy is on a mission to photograph #realraysfordays. She both photographs and curates photographs of "the most beautiful, interesting, unique -- and totally real -- sunrays that Intagrammers could catch on their phones." If you want to join along with the hashtag, Mauren offers some great tips on how to catch the perfect rays with your phone.

How could I leave our own wedding hashtag out of this series? Every month or so, I'll type that hashtag into the search bar on Instagram and relive some favorite memories from our day. A wedding hashtag seemed so trivial to me at the time, as a non-Instagram user, but now I think it's the greatest thing ever. Everyone should have one!

This hashtag was created by one of my favorite bloggers, Laicie. #30daystobalance is simply "a daily reminder to take a break and do at least one thing each day for the next 30 days that feeds my body or soul." I love Instagram challenges like this, although I am terrible at following through with them. I still have the 30 tasks for this one jotted down in a note in my phone and I hope to do it one day!

What I'm Reading, Vol. Twenty-Six

Oct 14, 2014

Buy Experiences, Not Things (via The Atlantic)
Looking back on purchases made, experiences make people happier than do possessions. It's kind of counter to the logic that if you pay for an experience, like a vacation, it will be over and gone; but if you buy a tangible thing, a couch, at least you'll have it for a long time. Actually most of us have a pretty intense capacity for tolerance, or hedonic adaptation, where we stop appreciating things to which we're constantly exposed. iPhones, clothes, couches, et cetera, just become background. They deteriorate or become obsolete. It's the fleetingness of experiential purchases that endears us to them. Either they're not around long enough to become imperfect, or they are imperfect, but our memories and stories of them get sweet with time. Even a bad experience becomes a good story.

The Limits of Friendship (via The New Yorker)
With social media, we can easily keep up with the lives and interests of far more than a hundred and fifty people. But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones. We may widen our network to two, three, or four hundred people that we see as friends, not just acquaintances, but keeping up an actual friendship requires resources.

Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity (via Harvard Business Review)
Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It's the essence of engagement. And it's energy-begetting, not energy-consuming. The mistake most people make is to assume it's stressful and exhausting -- all this thinking. But what's stressful is all the mindless negative evaluations we make and the worry that we'll find problems and not be able to solve them.

Some thoughts on Whole30

Oct 13, 2014

Since we're entering our third week of Whole30 now, I figured it was about time to jot down some thoughts on this crazy challenge Mark and I are doing: no sugar, no dairy, and no grains for 30 days. Ooof. 

That face you're doing right now, the one where your head jerks back and your brow creases in a "Are you CRAZY?!" kind-of-way, that's the same face that I made when I heard about Whole30. Deprive myself of all the good-tasting things in life? No thanks. If you know me at all, you know that I am a HUGE fan of bread of any kind -- pastries, cinnamon buns, rolls, buttered toast, TEXAS TOAST, donuts, etc. The thought of nixing those things from my diet was just ludicrous. 

But that ludicrous thought stayed in the back of my mind for a few weeks. I mentioned it to Mark in a "This might be good for us, but we could never do it" kind of way and he responded with a "Why not?"

Well okay then.

I read about Anna's experience doing Whole30 and was almost convinced. I clicked over to the Whole30 website and spent days reading up on the do's/don'ts. Before I knew it, October 1st had arrived and we were grocery shopping for our first week of Whole30 meals (with a caramel apple spice in my hand, if I'm being completely honest). For me, the final tipping point was that I simply didn't feel good. I mostly attributed that to grabbing fast food on busy days when I needed something quick and easy for lunch. Eventually, it got to the point where no matter what I ate, my stomach was not happy. Surely cutting out processed, sugary foods for 30 days would help with this? I was ready to give it a shot. 

You can find all the details about Whole30 on their website, but for a quick summary: Whole30 is a program that challenges people to eat real food with pronounceable ingredients for 30 days, while omitting certain options like sugar, grains, alcohol, and dairy. From their website: "Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don't need to weigh or measure, you don't need to count calories, you don't need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress...for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food."

Here are a few things I've learned since we started:

You need more food than you think you do. Cutting out a large portion of snacking during the day makes a big difference in how much food you need at regular meals. Before Whole30, I would fix something for dinner and take the leftovers for work. When we started Whole30, I quickly realized that there was going to be no leftovers! We were much more hungry at meal times than before. That first week, I was in the grocery store almost every other day. It took a little while to figure out what we needed on hand and how much of it we needed.

Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. It's almost impossible to wing Whole30, just ask Ed Stark. Without an idea of what to cook for dinner, I would immediately enter the dark abyss of "This is too hard. There's nothing to eat. I'm starving. Why the heck are we doing this?!" 

Switch it up. There is actually a wide variety of food you can eat while doing Whole30. It definitely surprised me, but that being said it's still very easy to fall into a cooking rut. This past week, we had some form of chicken and sweet potatoes for almost every meal. It got to the point where I didn't even want to eat because I was so sick of eating chicken. Then one night we made a version of Cuban Picadillo (following this recipe) with lots of seasoning and spices. It was such a detour from what we had been eating and we were both saying "Omigosh, this tastes awesome!" between every bite. (Okay, I was the one saying that. Mark would die before "omigosh" came out of his mouth.) My point is there is a lot of food (and good food) that you can eat on Whole30, so don't limit yourself.

Don't be afraid of long recipes. Before Whole30, if a recipe had more than 10 ingredients, I was out. Or I would just skip over certain ingredients that I didn't think were that important. Since starting Whole30, I have tackled some of the longest recipes and have made food that I've never tried cooking before. Mostly because I want to eat food that tastes good and not just skimp by for 30 days. If anything, I've got more comfortable in our kitchen. I'm hoping this change sticks around for awhile once we finish.

As far as results, I haven't seen a huge shift in energy. Maybe that will come later or maybe it won't. The big thing for me is that I feel good after I eat. Mark and I have also dropped a few pounds in the past two weeks, which seems inevitable once you completely rid all forms of sugar from your diet. Whole30 makes a big point of stating that the program is not a diet and if you follow the rules strictly, you are not allowed to step on a scale for the duration of the 30 days. We have cheated with that part a little bit and I would probably go as far to encourage people to use this as a form of diet, if that is your goal. Hopefully the Whole30 police won't come after me for saying that. I like that you are encouraged to eat until you are full, though, and not starve yourself. 

Overall, it has been a good experience, but in case I've given the impression of ease and bliss, let me just say, it is not easy. This timeline has pretty much summed up my thought process throughout the program thus far. You can go into it with the best of intentions and the strongest determination, but chewing on your sad little apple while the rest of the office dives into a box of fresh Krispy Kreme is never easy. Or when a coworker brings in homemade peach cobbler on Day 10. Or when every picture on Pinterest seems to be of pumpkin pie and apple cinnamon donuts. But if I (probably one of the most unhealthy eaters ever) can do this crazy challenge, then you can. 

I know a lot of people have turned the program into a lifestyle and taken it way past the 30 days. We are not that ambitious. I need some dairy and bread back in my life, but I am glad for the learning experience. My only hope is that November 1st doesn't turn into a donut/cookies/bagel binge.

If you're interested in Whole30, I'd recommend checking out these few links:

Weekend links 10.10.14

Oct 10, 2014

Didja notice my snazzy new circle photo over there? I've been trying to figure out how to do that for ages and, thanks to this post I was able to! Go forth and circle-ify your photos!

I'm a big fan of winter dresses that I can throw on with a pair of boots and be done. Here are two favorites: one and two.

Great post that I wholeheartedly agree with: 6 of the Worst Marriage Cliches/Sayings.

10 ways to make your home super cozy.

I just stumbled on this blog series My Sister, My Sidekick and love it!

10 Reasons Why I'm Ironic. (Not all bloggers are picture-perfect.)

Elise is in the process of sharing her business story on her blog. I really liked this post about the creation of her blog.

Some helpful tips as we move into boot season: 3 Different Boot Styles and How to Wear Them

How to wear black and brown together (P.S. Follow this blog if you're not already. Her tips are so helpful!)

Questionable baby gear from the past. This made me laugh, especially no. #3!
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