Look who came to Des Moines!!!  I had an incredible visit with my amazing sister.  This is pretty much what we do when we’re together – take lots of pictures and laugh like fools.  (That’s my Scentsy car freshener in the center of Rachel’s forehead.)  I can’t wait to tell you about our time together or show you all the pictures of my week with Rach.  We went to Ikea, the Mall of America (hooray Minneapolis!) and pretty much ate our way from here to there.



Breakfast2 FrenchPress









I did it!  I made it 30 days on the Whole30.  I remember right after I started I marked 30 days out on my calendar at work and I thought to myself ‘there’s no way I can make it to the end of March – that’s so far away.’  Now here I am, done with 30 days, feeling good and ready to continue some of the better life choices I’ve been making.

A lot of things have been going on in my life and when I think about that, I consider that I started the Whole30 at just the right time.  While most everything in my personal life has been choppy waters lately, I managed to maintain total control over what I ate and how what I put in my body made me feel.  I planned, I prepared, I chopped, washed and cooked; I ate leftovers and veggies and meat in new ways; I ate less out of convenience and was happily inconvenienced to make everything homemade.

All in all, I’d recommend this to anyone.  I’ll definitely plan on doing it again and continuing to implement the Paleo way of eating (allowing room for occasional indulgences).  I’ve felt centered and energized.  It’s kind of been my anchor of sorts.  Moving to DSM, while exciting, has also been a bit different than I’d anticipated.  I’m writing this post from my brand new couch in my very first apartment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had apartments before but I’ve always had roommates.  I’d scamper about those former living spaces, trying to stay out of the way and go unnoticed so I didn’t cause annoyance; essentially for the last 10 years or so I’ve been living in a space the size of a bedroom.  That would explain my lack of adult furniture and kitchen essentials.  I’ve carefully picked out each piece I’ve acquired thus far (with some helpful consulting here and there); each piece has purpose in this new space I’m building.  It’s helping me carve out who I am.  I’m discovering what makes me happy and (yes, family) I’m learning some responsibility for myself too.

I’m sure we’ll chat more about my new space.  Let me end on some super exciting news: MY SISTER IS COMING!  Next Tuesday she’ll arrive here in Des Moines!  She’ll spend the week with me shopping and being a tourist.  I’m so excited to show her around the city.  There will absolutely be some pics to come!  The photos above (not in an organized fashion in ANY way despite my trying) are of a few of the Whole30 meals lovingly prepared in the last 30 days.

whole30 surprises

The following is a list of things I didn’t expect to feel/see/happen while on the Whole30 (or as I like to call it, Paleo on steroids).

1. My skin actually is clear and glowing – and it’s obvious to other people.

2. I have a new appreciation for leftovers.  In a prior life, leftovers were my arch-nemesis.  Not so much anymore.

3. I totally CRASH at 9:30pm and sleep like a baby till about 5 a.m.

4. They weren’t kidding when they said it cuts down on the bloat.  I am not wearing NEAR as many layers as I usually do to hide in my clothes.

5. I miss beer more than I thought I would… and I’m not even a super drinker.  I just realized that some circumstances call for a nice, cool, refreshing beer and I have to go the sparkling water route.

6. I’ve grown rather fond of red and yellow peppers (not raw though – gross).

7. A lot of people are doing it.  Mostly a niche of adorable bloggers that enjoy running; I aspire to be like them.

8. I realized that a lot of things I ate were merely out of convenience.  I haven’t cooked like this for myself in about four years.  Bread was a filler and I didn’t eat nearly enough veggies.

9. I have actually completely changed how I eat and how I look at food.  Testament to that statement was the food day we had here at work recently.  My sense of smell was in overdrive, and I was whiffing all the chocolate, mint, cookies and other delicious sugary goodies.  While I wanted them so bad, I really didn’t.  My memory told me I did but my body was plenty happy from the fruit and protein I’d already had.  I have eaten these past 19 days for fuel and it’s felt great!

10. I feel amazing.  Truly.  The scale hasn’t reflected that so much but I have felt more energized, more focused, less moody – I’ve even felt stronger physically.  I didn’t believe the testimonials (cause at the time it seemed kind of fad-ish) but after battling headaches for the first few days, it’s been energy central since.  My clothes, you guys – my clothes, fit so much better.

11. I love meat.

12. I am starting to like plain tea (“plain” as in no milk and no sugar).

13. This is looking like a real-life lifestyle change, guys.


For about as long as I can remember, in my adult life, I’ve struggled with honesty and transparency.  I know I want to be an honest person and be seen for who I am and I know that I’m more than capable to do that for others.  I’ve read countless books on the subjects of vulnerability, living a whole-hearted life, honesty and its consequences and how all those topics apply to all sorts of relationships.  I’ve learned the lesson many times: honesty is important.  With my big move 10 hours away from my “safety net” of family and friends, it’s been a challenge for me to pick up the phone and have honest conversations with these people I love; even just to catch up.  And for what reason?  I honestly can’t think of one that’s important enough.  It’s become clear to me that my safety net is more important now than it ever has been (you know, since I’m blazing my own trail and all).

Beyond just picking up the phone and talking candidly about the everyday, I want to talk about secrets.  My mother, my father, my step-mother (collectively: my parents) have always encouraged openness and honesty and I’ve carried that with me throughout my life.  Somewhere along the way, it became okay for me to close off parts of myself that I was maybe less proud of.  Is it just the business of becoming an adult?  Probably.  I realize that not every single thing of one’s past is meant to see the light of day.  Despite knowing all that, I still find myself shocked when I meet a secret of someone else’s.  Especially since I go out of my way to preach honesty.  I’m pretty sure it’s a fatal flaw of mine and I have no idea why.

Honesty is dangerous, vulnerability is dangerous – it’s (in the wise words of a friend) a risk.  And I’m not strictly speaking of love here either, it’s being vulnerable in a friendship or letting your family see who you are (even the bad bits).  Why go through life cloaked in only the good stuff and leave out the messy parts?  It’s the messy stuff that makes us all real anyway.  Connection is so incredibly powerful and it’s worth all the tough stuff that makes up who we are.

Alright… I’ll stop rambling on now.  I’m trying to find the balance of personal but not too personal on this blog.  You guys get it.

And cheer up, it was either this entry or one all about my cat.  I’m not ready for you all to think I’m a crazy cat lady so that post will wait till another day.