Thrifty Office Organization

After moving into our house over a year ago there are 2 rooms that need some serious organizational help!

First, we are tackling the office.

After we moved last year I was given a good quality, solid wood desk that just needed a little TLC.  So, last fall I sanded, and sanded, and SANDED , applied a coat of one of my favorite Minwax Stains (Dark Walnut) and a couple coats of polyurethane.  IMG_0840

And yes, I still have not finished the drawers. But believe me, it is on my to do list!

Setting up the desk is as far as we got in office organization until now. The next step is setting up a “Command Center”, thriftily I might add!!  Using garage sale and Goodwill finds we will set up an area to organize my mail, bills, to do list and calendar.  Stay tuned for the next post!




fitness pizzaSince Allie and I are no longer doing the Whole 30 (which, can I say, is an understatement because today we had chickfila and then went and got fro-yo- no judgement!), we decided we did want to highlight some of our efforts of living somewhat healthfully.

One of the ways we both do that is by working out.

In fact, one of the ways we bonded when we first met was through a Monday night Hip Hop class at our gym. When we lived together we often would go workout together, grab dinner at Jason’s Deli, and then go get a spray tan. We were so hip back then (and boy did we love getting our spray tans!).

Neither one of us are “gym rats” and like to keep it simple. We both prefer group fitness classes that get our heart rates pumping. My favorite class of all time (it’s up there with our Taylor Geeee hip hop class) is BodyPump because I feel like I’ve accomplished a LOT in an hour. I also enjoy yoga and Zumba.

Beyond my BodyPump classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don’t really have a set schedule for the workouts I do. I know I should probably do more cardio workouts, but I really REALLY hate cardio. Please don’t make me run. But if I must do some form of cardio, I usually prefer the elliptical. Preferably when Seinfeld or Frasier or Friends is on. And when I’m not at the gym and it isn’t 105 degrees with massive amounts of humidity, I love to take Clara on walks while listening to audiobooks. That was our tradition almost every day when the weather was nice.

So we are going to use this blog to help keep us accountable! The next few weeks you may see some fitness themed posts from both Allie and I.

Let’s end this post with some questions for YOU about fitness:

  1. What are some ways that YOU like to workout?
  2. Am I the only one who struggles with wanting to do cardio?
  3. What are some cardio workouts that you enjoy doing?
  4. What kinds of fitness posts would you like to see?

Allie’s Wrap Up To Whole 30

I did Whole 30 to reset unhealthy eating habits, binging on sugar and lots of eating out, and lose some weight. Basically a jump start to better health and fitness.  Here are some pluses and negatives on the program.

Positives of Whole 30

  • I lost about 3 inches off of my waist and shed 10-15 pounds.
  • I broke my sugar addiction.
  • Incorporated into my diet fruits and vegetables that I normally would not eat.
  • Only ate out once a week.
  • Overall felt healthier and satisfaction of knowing the foods I ate were nourishing my body.
  • I am more conscious of the foods that I am eating and what ingredients are in them.
  • After such a restrictive diet, it has been “easy” for me to just cut out a few things from my current diet.

Drawbacks of Whole 30

  • I was in love with sweet potatoes before Whole 30, I ate so many that now they make me a little queazy. I can also say the same for brussel sprouts and baked chicken.
  • I never felt full.
  • Meal prep was time consuming.

Overall it was a good experience and even though I will not follow the whole program in every day life, I will be eating less sugar and more fruits and vegetables!


Lauren’s Whole 30 Experience

finished-the-w30-fb-coverIt’s been over a month since Allie and I finished our Whole 30.

I’ve had more than enough time to process my thoughts on the whole experience and although it was a great experiment in healthy eating habits and I saw pretty great results, I have not continued the habits I learned during those 30 days of extreme Paleo.

Hear out my excuses:
1. My best friend and her husband were in town when I finished up. They were here and I wanted to celebrate them, so I did. With homemade GLUTEN FILLED pizza.
2. The 4th of July! I made homemade peach ice cream and a blackberry cobbler. We had ridiculously tender ribs and I didn’t feel bad about the amounts of non-compliant foods and drinks (I also made a homemade sangria).
3. VBS and all of it’s fantastic craziness meant that for almost an entire week we were eating sandwiches for dinner. Glorious sandwiches.
4. It was Patrick’s birthday. He wanted to go out to a nice sushi dinner. At a buffet. That also had a chocolate fountain.
5. It was MY birthday. I wanted to get a greasy Nicky D’s cheeseburger. And lots of fries.

And after all that, I just wanted to cook and bake my favorite things and didn’t care about the consequences.

And there have been consequences:
1. I’m back to my pre Whole 30 weight. I wasn’t really doing it to lose weight, but it was nice to see some of the results of my BodyPump work. Now that I’m up to my “normal” weight, I don’t see near the results I did when I was eating healthfully.
2. My stomach issues have come back. I had GREAT digestions (TMI?) during my Whole 30. Mostly (I believe) because I wasn’t eating lactose. Dairy and I have never really gotten along, and so when I cut it out, I noticed a huge difference. Yeah, my minor tummy woes are back.
3. I don’t have near the amounts of energy I had when I was on the Whole 30. I can tell I’m a little more sluggish.

Overall, Allie and I have decided we would like to do another Whole 30, but maybe next year some time. In the meantime, we both just want to be more health conscious about our food choices.

We are planning to do a lot more with this little blog, so be on the lookout for more projects and more plans in the next week!


Dear Today Show

today_280pxAs an avid watcher of your show, I have noticed that you have decided to cut out sugar for 10 days. I’m on day 18 of my Whole 30 and haven’t had any added sugar in as many days. I’m here to tell you: YOU CAN DO IT!

And it’s totally going to be worth it.

I used to be a sugar addict myself. I am a stay-at-home mom who loves to bake and loved to bake sweet treats to end my day with. And start my day with. And middle my day with…

A week ago, I made brownies for my husband to take to work. I didn’t even want any. They looked and smelled awesome, but I was able to say no easily.

The first couple of days suck, but once you get the hang of it, your cravings will subside and you’ll feel better. Your body will thank you later. I promise.

So your chins up! At least you can have bread…


PS- I was playing a game with friends yesterday and someone asked what my favorite food is. I answered “anything with gluten.” Because Whole 30.

THE WHOLE 30 2 Week’s Results and Stomach Virus

Very excited to report that I have seen some weight loss results within the first two weeks! My tummy has noticeably flattened and I have been able to fit into some pants that were previously too tight. YES!!

I have really only missed my Starbucks drink and pastry but my cravings have significantly decreased. I really LOVE cold coffee drinks ( you know, the kind that have waaay more sugar and chocolate than coffee) but since starting the Whole 30 I’ve been drinking it straight and black.  I started looking through the Starbucks menu to see what options they have that are compliant. To my delight they offer coconut milk, Iced Latte with coconut milk?!? But on further investigation their coconut milk contains a preservative, so I will stick with regular coffee.

Everything was going really well until  this past weekend when I came down the dreaded stomach virus, yuck! 

Let me just say that it was not easy staying compliant when ALL food sounds disgusting! Although I did not want to,I did cheat. When I was finally able to eat I stuck with crackers and broth.

I  read about the benefits of bone broth and had a beef soup bone in the freezer but, since the stomach bug hits without warning I didn’t have the time to make homemade broth. I researched staying hydrated when you are losing fluids and decided to drink coconut water instead of Gatorade or other sports drinks that have loads of sugar and artificial ingredients. From what I read, for prolonged periods of fluid loss it is better to drink Gatorade because of the sugar to sodium ratio. Thankfully I was only sick for a couple of days and the coconut water did the job of helping with rehydration.

If you happen to get the stomach bug I would suggest doing your own research and going with what makes sense to you even if that means consuming food or drinks that are not compliant.

I am on the mend and back on track! I’m exited for our day 16 18 celebration and my family trip to Utah!


Whole 30 at a Wedding: 3 Tips!

Little Girl is not a fan of Whole 30 at weddings...
Little Girl is not a fan of Whole 30 at weddings…

Yesterday (Sunday) my younger brother got married! It was a wonderful day- lots of fun and so many sweet sweet moments. My new sister-in-law looked absolutely stunning and my brother looked so handsome and happy. It really was a super fun weekend filled with lots of family and lots of food (of course).

The weekend was incredibly busy (all of us were in the wedding- I was a bridesmaid, Little Girl was a flower girl, and Patrick was a groomsmen) and when we got home this afternoon, Patrick and I both talked about how we were TIRED.

Before Allie and I started the Whole 30, we talked about the timing of doing it in June. I knew my brother would be getting married and she knew that she would be traveling to Utah. We decided to do the Whole 30 in June anyway, knowing that there probably wouldn’t be a perfect time to do it.

So my first tip would be…

I knew I was going to this wedding. I knew it before I started and I began thinking and planning for it from June 1st. I asked questions about the menu for the rehearsal dinner and reception (here’s a bonus tip- I didn’t talk to the bride about this at all! She had plenty on her plate and didn’t need to know I was doing this crazy diet thingy during her wedding- my parents were a wealth of information!). I knew we would be eating fajitas at the rehearsal dinner and I would have the option of grilled chicken at the reception.

We met my parents for breakfast on Saturday morning before the rehearsal dinner that evening and I did research about places we could eat. Thankfully, one of our favorite restaurants in Houston is VERY compliant (Hobbit Cafe near Rice University!). I asked the waiter some questions and made a few requests and he was super nice about it. Was I drooling over the coconut pancakes and homemade tortillas? Yes. Did I cheat? Nope! Was my breakfast ridiculously delicious? YOU BETCHA!

Since I was a bridesmaid, I also knew there would be mimosas and Shipley donuts (my absolute favorite donuts of all time- I had them at my wedding!) while we were getting ready. I made sure I came prepared with a Lara bar and some kombucha to enjoy while everyone else was enjoying their alcohol and fried dough. 🙂

I also tried to stay busy while everyone was eating cake. It wasn’t hard with a toddler!


Kombucha in a wine glass is so much tastier (and healthier) than mimosas, right?!
Kombucha in a wine glass is so much tastier (and healthier) than mimosas, right?!

This may seem ridiculous to some, but this was something that I was so glad I did. One of the things that motivates me most, is little rewards.

I’ve done this for as long as I can remember: I reward myself throughout the day with the chores that I do. I mean, it’s not like I pay myself or even give myself anything, but I will say to myself, “you can sit down and read blogs AFTER you clean up the kitchen from lunch.” It helps me get things done throughout the day and it’s a great feeling to sit and treat yourself for a moment before moving on to the next task.

How did I do this for the wedding? I told myself that I would enjoy kombucha (I love me some “moldy water) while everyone else was enjoying their mimosas. I don’t buy it very often (it’s ridiculously expensive) so it’s a real treat when I do get some. I seriously looked forward to it all week, so when Sunday morning came, I couldn’t wait to drink it and I wasn’t tempted by the mimosas.

So here’s the deal… I asked a lot of questions. I requested certain things like no milk in my scrambled eggs. I ate my own snacks and had a several conversations about how sugar and soy are in EVERYTHING. I was proactive and prepared. But at the end of the day, this weekend was not about me and what I was eating. I knew I wouldn’t be able to control everything I ate like I am when I prepare our food and that was okay! I tried my best to stay compliant. I didn’t eat anything that I wasn’t supposed to and I’m proud of saying “no” several times!

Those are what helped me be successful at my brother’s wedding. Any suggestions for Allie before she goes to Utah on vacation!? Leave us a comment below!

Family photo at Hobbit Cafe
Family photo at Hobbit Cafe