I would never imagine to put nail polish and food together but Ainsley does it and it’s one of my favorite beauty products. Palate Polish is the hybrid of Ainsley’s love for food, and getting her nails done. With names like Beet Juice, Avocado, and Black Coffee, Palate Polish has cheeky names to match your Instagram foodie pics. Plus It's 5-free (no toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin and camphor). PP is vegan, never tested on animals, made in the US. I remember when Ainsley began working on the project months ago and she took the time to choose the bottles, design her logo, and as a regular customer of PP, I can say it was worth the wait. I’m supporting a friend, a business growing in the US, and I love the product. My favorite color is Gold Gumdrop, I can add a couple coats for a subtle look or layer it to make it look like glitter grows on me instead of nails.
We went to the Orange Circle, walked for five minutes and I said "My foot hurts, let's go back". By the time I got the car, I felt fine again, so I said "I'm fine, let's walk back". This kept happening every few steps and I realized my foot has this phantom pain. As soon as I was away from my "safe" area (like home or the car), it began to get sore. I don't want to discredit the real pain I feel, but there's this underlying fear of falling, or just the pain I used to feel. It still hurts but it's bearable. I know there's something metaphorical there- I'm so used to pain and fear, it's scary to let myself go and feel anything else because that's all I knew. It feels good to keep walking forward. The worst happened, I fell, I survived and I'm okay. I keep walking forward.
Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling.
+ Let's Just Have A Therapy Sesh About It- the rise and fall of the creativity of a blogger
+ Ironic and awesome- the tattoos inspired by A Clockwork Orange and the history behind the design.
Have a great weekend!
Well, it's not every piece in my closet. And I'm not the one selling it directly. I'm selling some of my items through ThredUp. I've never had a bad experience with them when I've shopped there and I trust them with selling my items. Instead of going through Instagram and shipping them myself, I shipped the items to ThredUp and they take care of everything for me.
I've sold a couple items but the ones still available are a Splendid cardigan in XL, a pair of ASOS faux leather leggings in size 22 (I bought them after I saw them on Tanesha but I ended up getting another size and I never got around to returning), Ann Taylor cardigan in XL, and J.crew cardigan in XL. If you use this link and you've never signed up, you get $10 off your purchase! If these items sell, then it'll push me to sell more things on ThredUp. Thanks for virtual shopping my (mini) closet!
There are thousands of photos on my phone but my favorite ones make it to Instagram. I usually end up digging through those thousands just to find the one I edited or email it to myself, save it, and even then it sits on my desktop for weeks before I organize it. I discovered Instaport last year and on the last day of every month, iCal reminds me to take a few minutes from browsing Pinterest and do something productive- save and organize my photos from Instagram.
I use Google Drive, but this will work with any storage. I trust Google with my email, why wouldn't I trust them with my photos? Plus with Drive you can buy more storage if needed. I made a folder specifically for Instaport. I made mine for each month and individually titled the folders by year. I remember when things happen in seasons and it's easier for me to go back to. Do whatever you want! Instaport will download photos with specific hashtags, photos by date, videos, all of your photos. This comes in handy when deleting an Instagram account but still save your photos.
Once the folder downloads to your computer (find it in desktop or under downloads), drag and drop it to the folder you want. That's it! You've saved yourself time and a headache and hopefully storage space from your computer and phone. I'm not working with Instaport, I just really love their service!
I'm in a Whole30 Facebook group and the question is Whole30 a yo-yo diet was brought up. I remember when I began seeing changes in my body at day 15, I had so much anxiety on going back to old diet. It's like the 30 days would cap the only chance I had to change my way of eating and that is another mind game to deal with along with your body telling you sugar is what you need instead of spinach. As soon as I began introducing sugar and gluten in my body, I was shocked at how quickly it wanted to change back. I started up another Whole30, but this time instead of calling it that, I just want to call it "EATING". If I put a number on what I limit myself to eat, at day 31, I'm going back to the donuts and whatever else I think I want. This is the second round of elimination dieting (for those that are curious what Whole30 is, check it out here). The first time was harder, more emotional, and I saw the effects of food on my body, my spirit, and my all well being. Now when I have a bad day, instead of leaning on food to make it better, I deal with it. I never ran away from problems but I sweetened it with pan dulce, or other sweets. Now I'm feeling like a real adult when I deal with my issues. Yes, it sucks but the emotional resolution I have is worth giving up the donuts for. I feel stable, I don't cry as much, I just feel fine.
If you do whole30, Eat to Live, or any elimination diet, the only thing I can say is yes it's life changing but you can't unlearn bad habits, emotional hurdles, and food issues in 30 days. The majority of friends who have done this for 30 days kept going and made big changes in their lifestyle. This is why yo-yo dieting happens. I chose to eat healthy those 30 days and I'm going to keep choosing to eat healthy. A part of me whines about prepping food, and eating more salads than usual but I don't want to complain about stomach pains, swelling in my joints, hair loss, and inflammation. I also don't want to go through my blog archives and see myself go up and down in weight. It's getting old. You may see the occasional donut now and then but I know I'll be able to enjoy that donut, and not lean on it when I've had a bad day. That's my biggest non-scale victory.
I was given the OK to wear regular shoes finally. No more boot cast or orthopedic shoe! I've been waiting to wear my Kate Spade booties for some time and as soon as a Gwynnie Bee dress arrived, it's a good reason to break them in, swelling and all! I noticed my right (injured) leg leans a little out and my legs look weird but I'm not complaining, I can stand on my two legs without screaming bloody murder, so I'll take the weird looking leg.
I'm trying out Gwynnie Bee, it's another rental service I'm using for my wardrobe while I'm in the process of weight loss. So far I've switched sizing twice, meaning I have to delete each item in my digital closet (I have over 100!) and re-add them in my size. Not a bad problem to have but kind of annoying.
I've always wanted to try a body-con dress (and one in a crazy giraffe print) and I can try it out and send it back when I'm done with it. Gwynnie Bee launders and sanitizes all the clothing sent and shipping is free! Exchange as much as you want. More exchanges means never wearing the same thing twice (unless I really love it and keep it for longer) and that means more outfit posts! Sorry not sorry!
The genius rental service from the popular Rent the Runway we all know and love for their designer dresses at not designer prices launched Unlimited. Instead of renting individual accessories, you pay a monthly fee and rent 3 pieces as long as you’d like and swap them out as much as you’d like for $49. RTR Unlimited only applies to accessories added to a queue (like Netflix but you don’t get to choose the order), some jackets, but not the dresses or Chanel. I’ve always wanted to try trendy accessories but I don’t want to pay the trendy prices, it seems like a great deal. I signed up in August when it was in beta and I just got my first shipment, in January. There’s a waiting list and after a few grouchy emails, I’ll admit it was worth the wait.
I got the Annabel Ingal Isabella bag in Zinc worth $415. It goes with everything in the gray. I also got the AV Max necklace, worth $70, and a pair of Kendra Scott Corley earrings worth $85 I’d normally lust after but never pay for them. What I like best about RTR Unlimited is I don’t have to store them, and once I’m done wearing them, I send it back and I know I’m guaranteed something I’ll love I added to queue. I love RTR Unlimited, besides the longer wait, which it worked out in my favor because I wasn’t able to go out much from my injury, it’s great. I can dress up a simple dress and instead of splurging on the accessory that I’ll wear once, I can get mulitple ones. I love this idea. I can wear all the Moschino, Kate Spade, and Lulu Frost I want for $50. If you love the item, buy it for a discounted price. Sign up here!
*I'm an affiliated partner with Rent the Runway.
My goal was one DIY a month and I read koala’s needing mittens for care after brush fires in Australia. I followed this pattern and they currently don't need any more but I still wanted to help! The mittens help them heal and protect the burn creams when rubbed on their burnt paws. One of the supplies needed was 100% cotton fabric. The only 100% cotton I have is one of Max’s onesie and it’s the first thing that came to mind. Did I want to go all the way to Joann’s to limp around to find it or do I use what I have? Do I really want to use what I have? Something told me to do it and so happy I followed that conviction.
I know it’s a onesie and it doesn’t seem like a big deal , but it’s not just a cotton onesie- This onesie represents so much and I keep telling myself it is nothing but a piece of fabric. But if I’m being honest with myself and my grief, it’s not just a piece of fabric, it’s a lifetime of planning, dirty diapers, baby detergent, night feedings, first steps, a first birthday, junior high graduation, a first girlfriend- my mind goes on and on to what could have been. And I could let this one go and just put it back in his closet and pretend to hold on to something that will never be. Or I could do something in his honor.
I kept giving myself pep talks as I cut it.
“It’s a dumb onesie and he was too fat for it anyways”
And I even bartered with myself “Do koala’s really need these?”
Seriously. The things a crazy grieving mother will say is hilarious and sad.
It would take me longer to set up my sewing machine than it would to do it by hand. When I was done I looked at the stitches it represented all of my grief. Cheesy but this is what it was. That tiny mitten told my story. Some stitches were so messy I didn’t want to look at them, some of them were so perfectly aligned and unexpectedly got crooked. Regardless of what the lines looked like, they held together something that was important that had nothing to do with me. And giving my grief to that means so much more.
I want to set a standard for this blog for 2015 and instead of just throwing the "resolutions" label on it, I'm going to really work on things I'd love to achieve.
+ Blog- That one seems too easy but I put off blogging due to the injury I had in the beginning of fall. I could barely move and the chronic pain killed my creativity. Blogging is an outlet for me and I would love to make it part of my day again.
+ Combat fear- The word "combat" is a little dramatic but that's how I feel when fear creeps up. I'm afraid of sharing too much, not enough, or just sharing in general. I want to imagine I'm writing for myself and not an audience that will criticize at the smallest typo or won't agree with something I write about. I'd love to write, post outfits, my health, my weight loss, life after baby loss, and hope. There is so much hope I have, I feel it's my responsibility to share it and not to keep it to myself and fear tends to tell me to shut up about it.
+ DIY- I want to do 12 DIY's this year. That's one DIY per month. I'm bookmarking books, blogs, and pins. I am terrible at DIY's but that's only because I rarely do them. Of course my glue and painting are going to be messy, am I really expecting it to look magazine ready in one try? This one will be a fun challenge!
+ Film! Every year I say I'm going to take more photos but I use my iPhone instead. This year I want to get back to the root of why I began this blog- to share film photography! I'm dusting off my film cameras and using the manual mode.
Looking forward to 2015!
Yay! A whole year of favorites! Let's take a look back at December.
Favorite Instagram feed is simply_walden. Christina has been a favorite blogger for years under the former moniker “city girl rides” about a blog dedicated to female bicyclists in cities. I love her story- she moved from LA to NYC to live the fabulous busy life and during the transition realized it wasn't for her. Her discipline for simple living shows through her instagram posts and it encourages me to let go of STUFF. I think she’s an appropriate favorite for December, right before a new year to purge what holds us back.
Favorite moment was finishing Whole30. Cutting back on sweets was probably a terrible idea during Christmas but if I could get through that, I feel my other choices from now on will be easier. I learned a lot, let go of sugar as a crutch and feel so much better physically, mentally and emotionally.
Favorite Christmas gift was my Hello Kitty Instax. Hello Kitty and instant film is my proof (fluffy) dreams come true.
Favorite TV Show was Black Mirror on Netflix. It’s very Twilight Zone meets X-Files. It’s dark, creepy and just leaves you wondering more of the story. It’s a British show so the “seasons” are short, the only bad part of the show.
Whole30 is hard. When you've had a diet of sugar, bread and fast food and going cold turkey to healthy is hard. But just like anything else, practice makes perfect. To help you get through the bitchy days when you just want to spiralize your head, here are some tips that helped me and hope they help you too!
- Prep, prep, prep. And prep some more. Get a gallon ziplock bags and fill them with shredded sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and basically anything through the food processor/spiralizer for one day to make enough for the week. Make a lot. You'll go through phases of constant hunger and you'll wonder how you finished so much (whole, fresh) food. Dice tomatoes, cube butternut squash, cute beets, do it all in one day. I also slow cooked a chicken for one day and at the end of the day, I would shred it to last for the week (I used this recipe). Add them to salads, eggs, hash browns. Make hard boiled eggs for the week. Do this all in one day, call it prep day, and have your family help out. It's so easy and saves so much time.
- Read the labels. Did you know most bacon has sugar in it? Because I didn't. I was so sad most of the nitrate-free bacon I purchased had almost as much sugar as soda. There was nowhere on the package that said "maple" or anything sugary, so watch out. I also learned my favorite organic guacamole from Costco also had sugar. Read the labels!
- Get encouragement. Have a friend do it with you, or befriend someone online who is doing it too and text each other (I did the bold move of asking a girl for her number and we went from IG friends to texting buddies, no shame!) I texted friends who were doing it with me and I can't imagine my journey without them.
- Follow Whole30 Instagram accounts. I followed Teamwhole, Whole30recipes, and littlecoconutty. In between everyone posting beautiful photos of burgers, pizza and donuts, you'll need all the motivation you can get.
- Stop watching so much TV, and unfollow Pinterest boards that will discourage you. Obviously watch as much TV as you want, but I'm suggesting it because when I gave up TV for lent last year I remember how much weight I lost and how much weight I gained back when I watched it regularly. I slowed down on TV time. While I love Pinterest, if a dessert I saw put me in a spiral of bad moods, it wasn't worth it so I would unfollow for the time.
- Tessamae's. I wish I learned of these earlier. Tessamae's is an American company offering whole30 compliant dressings. I added them to everything and I plan on using them from now on.
- Apps. The Eating Whole app was a big help. It had a countdown and helped me see where I was. It also had recipes I used often.
- Track what ailments you have. When I realized I still had allergic-like reactions even halfway into eating these fresh foods, I went to an allergist and am taking care of things that needed a little more than whole30.
- Trader Joe's and Costco. They will be your second (and third) home away from home. We go through one Double Roasted Salsa from TJ's a week, and the two of the 5 pounds a spinach a week from Costco.
- Mason jar lids to poach eggs. Thank you, Pinterest!
- Coconut Milk. I get this kind when TJ's is sold out (they both have guar gum, fyi but it's not a sugar). Most of them have sugar, so make sure to read the labels. Add it to your coffee, to soups, to make anything creamy and awesome.
- Most importantly, read the book! I can't imagine just jumping into the deep end of the pool without learning how to swim. You have a right to know why you are you eating this way and it will give you a better understanding.
Have fun, and good luck!
During the summer I lost about 15 lbs, and then in August I had a bad ankle sprain that turned into Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)- when your nerves become highly sensitive to pain. I gained back weight plus more and the pain seriously hurt worse than labor. The root cause is inflammation in the nerves. I wanted to start Whole30 because I was desperate. I remember reading about it when I sitting in my wheelchair, with tears, wondering what I can do to stop the pain after months of dealing with it. I didn’t want to live with this chronic pain, temporary or not, and what attracted me to Whole30 was how Mandy talked about inflammation going down. I researched it and everyone praised the lack of inflammation they had with the whole30 diet. I tried it. I loved it. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought since I loved Eat to Live. I loved doing Whole30. It gave me back my motivation for taking care of myself. THIRTY DAYS. That's a small start to something huge.
I was okay with eating bad food for awhile before my injury. I really was. I needed to hold on that crutch to help me in my grief. I admit defeat and I’m not strong enough to deal with grief without therapy, a good donut, and lots of crying. That’s where I was at that point in my life, I needed to hit rock bottom for my health. If losing Max wasn’t enough, I needed to fall a little harder.
It didn’t matter how many healthy instagram accounts I followed, how many healthy recipes were pinned, how many motivational tweets were favorited, it had to be up to me. I was left exhausted counted calories, struggled with physical pain from inflammation, pancreatitis, muscle pain, and always looked at my FitBit to see where was by numbers, not how I healthy I felt.
I had to stop comparing myself to my beautiful friends who ran marathons, can eat tofu out of the box, and can live off water. They trained their bodies to do this. And just like that works for them, I had to do what worked for me. Just like they began somewhere, I had begin somewhere too, even if it was from the beginning. I had to train my mind just like I have trained my body. Instead of thinking where I was starting from the bottom (sorry, Drake) I had to think I was just starting.
The excuses I made-
- I just got my hair blown out and I don’t want to ruin it!
- I have to blog!
- I’m TIRED!
- I have to clean/do laundry/do this/do that!
- I’m sad, and wiping my tears are my cardio for the day, ok??
and so many more.
The thing that's different this time around than last time is I was happy with how I looked. I have a cute wardrobe, everything fit to my size and I loved the body I have. But I wasn’t happy with how i was treating my body. And I was paying for it in daily ailments that could’ve been prevented with food. There was no secret to losing weight and getting healthier. I can’t tell you how to love your veggies. I can’t tell you how to squeeze in a work out after a long day. But I can tell I just started. I fight with my body daily not with weight but everything i had to process with Max. I found comfort in laying in bed and not moving. I found comfort in sadness, I found comfort in everything that was miles away from joy. Then I got up one day and started cooking. That was it. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t dwell on the excuses, I just did it. Don't wait for a new year to begin, just do it now. The only thing I recommend is read the book first. Pinterest and Instagram can be overwhelming!
I still can't walk without a cane, but going from wheelchair to cane is life changing for me. I was told I'd be in a wheelchair until June, maybe longer. I tried crutches but it was so painful, I could only do it for ten minutes a day. Within the FIRST week of Whole30, I went from wheelchair, to crutches to cane. Next week we’ll be going to Disneyland (and yeah, in a wheelchair because I can’t walk for too long) but we’re going to enjoy ourselves without going overboard. When we get back, we’ll be doing Whole30 Vegetarian plus incorporating everything from Eat to Live. I'll never forget what my OB said years ago- she prescribed me food (Eat to Live book to be exact) over prescription medication. I'll never forget that and doing Whole30 stirred up the passion I have to take care of myself and my future. Thanks so much for following along on Instagram, My Fitness Pal, my Snapchat pals who keep me motivated (you know who you are- love you!) and reading this blog. I’m hoping to post more healthy living for my blog 2015! Happy New Year!
The holidays are here and it's time to get sad. Just kidding. Kind of.
When I read back at posts from last year about Max, I almost want to add a disclaimer before each posts. This isn’t where I am anymore. Yes, there’s still sadness, but those crying spells are gone. I'm not fighting the sadness, the anger, the confusion. I'm accepting it. The more I accept it, the happier I become.
Yes, I'm happy, I'm grateful. I'm excited for life and I'm tired of apologizing for it. Or even worse, explaining why.
I’ve prayed to be angrier with Max’s death. It sounds crazy, but I did. I wanted to find that anger deep down that would bring justice to my son’s death. It never came like I wanted. I would occasionally find anger in other people's behavior but ultimately, I can't be angry with them, either. I give them grace and pray I find wisdom to use my words wisely. I wanted to be passionate and angry about Max like other mom’s were about their children and their unfair death. I couldn’t find it in anger but I found it in joy. I found that passion in gratitude. I was so confused and struggled with guilt.
Does being grateful and finding happiness mean I didn’t want my son enough? Should I be angrier? Sadder? Does the joy I found in his death make me a terrible mom? The best thing about grieving is the grief is mine. 100% mine. I’m not “dealing” with it. I’m living it. I'm okay with it. I'm not angry, I'm not bitter. Finding happiness in Max's death without guilt is another grief in itself.
Having a broken heart was the best and worst gift I’ve ever received. This is what Max's legacy has left me and it feels like the holidays aren't going to be that bad.
I found the perfect holiday dress for Christmas, New Year's Eve and I found a way to even dress it down to wear it all year. The Lace Bridesmaid Alice Dress by Shabby Apple (don't let the "bridesmaid" part throw you off) is my favorite dress for the season. I go from physical therapy to physiotherapy 5 times a week, for 3-5 hours a day, I am looking forward to the day I can dress up and get out of these work out clothes. I'm planning on wearing it all year and it can be dressed down with a chambray. It's lace, black and a classic cut I can wear and Shabby Apple has come a long way in terms of quality and styles.
Every year I have fun making a wish list on items I don't have any need for.
1. Twice or ThredUp gift cards. I'm in between sizes right now and thrift stores are a great idea. But, ever since I read the David Sedaris story about finding crabs in his thrifted pants, I'm a little scared of thrift shops. I don't want to spend full price on items I know won't fit me in a couple weeks. Twice and ThredUp are a great option. It's used clothing in great condition. It saves time in trips, the environment and some money.
3. Every color in Bite Beauty in Luminous Creme. Every color? Yes, remember this is a greedy wishlist. I recently picked up a couple colors and I am in love with the texture and quality. This is my favorite new lipstick brand and I want all of them.
4. Lomography Petzval Canon Lens. Sure, it's $500, but it's also one of the most talked about pieces for photography this year. It has an amazing sharp bokeh effect, not a sentence you'd see together.
5. Mini Lego Camera by Powerpig. This isn't a real camera, it's a camera built from LEGO's. Powerpig shop is awesome. The designer sends out instructions on how to built items and the LEGO pieces are included. Camera and LEGO's? I'm a fan.
6. Paint Plan Play by Ashley G. I've been getting really into scrapbooking lately and yes, my first page was a little embarrassing, I'm getting the hang of it. I would love to take Studio Calico's Paint Plan Play by Ashley Goldberg. I love everything she does, especially her scrapbook pages, and I'd love to be schooled by her.
7. Marc by Marc Jacobs Gold Mouse Flats. Ever since my ankle sprain, I'm a little sad I can't wear my wedges and heels but I love these flats. They're glitter gold, so they go with everything in my wardrobe. I've never been disappointed by the mouse flats from MBMJ. I thought they'd be a trend that goes away, but 7 years later, they are just as fun as the first day they came out.
Thanks for letting me share my wishlist!
I’m not in a position to take take cute Christmas photos, but I really wanted to send something out this year. Minted always nails it with their designs (I loved last year’s) and I found the perfect card. First, I chose one of my favorite photos of 2014, from The Felt Flower Shop, an etsy shop store run by Nicole. When she contacted me to work with her, I imagined the hours I would spend to take the photos and edit them and couldn’t imagine doing them for free. Something tugged at me to say yes and I’m so happy I followed that pull. It’s one of my favorites and one of my most popular posts.
"Love, Scott, Diana and Baby M in our hearts"
The more I watch this video from Jetty Rae, the more I want to say "THIS! THIS!" It's sad, it's beautiful, and it really moved me. Jetty Rae, a new up and coming artist, lost her daughter and wrote this beautiful song in her honor. It inspires me and I hope one day I can honor Max in such a touching and creative way, too. You can listen to her music on iTunes or download it for free for a limited time on Noisetrade.
Let's take a look back at favorites for November
Favorite Instagram feed is ondressingup. I've known Ana for a few years. We had photo project 5 years ago, 6748 Miles Apart, where we documented our mornings together. I love Ana's photography, she has amazing travel adventures, and now I get to see them daily, along with her cheeky captions.
Favorite music is Jessie Pitts. Yes, as in the contestant that was voted off this season's The Voice. I've never watched one of these voice competitions (seriously) and I wanted to watch The Voice because Gwen Stefani was one of the judges. I'm so happy I did, I discovered Jessie's beautiful and haunting voice. I hope she comes out with an album, I would fangirl out over it. (photo from her IG feed)
Favorite moment was walking. Well, it was with crutches but I wasn't able to walk and was stuck in a wheelchair since August. I have so much empathy now for people with chronic pain and others that have legit problems with their limbs. I'm hoping I can be walking by next month. That would be a Christmas miracle.
Favorite purchase was the Kitchenaid Pour Over Coffee Brewer. Scott and I make our coffee every morning via single cup Koziol. We love it but we don't love coffee enough to wait 20 minutes for one cup. When we have people over, my personal nightmare is when they ask for coffee. I end up spending more time with the coffee than with them. We love our KitchenAid coffee maker. It's SCAA approved, has a timer and it's ready to go with delicous pour over coffee.
Here's to December 2014!