December 18, 2013


AZ --> DAY --> CHI  next stop, MKE!

November 30, 2013


^ Walking J Farm ^
For the last two or so years my diet has mostly consisted of whole foods and has been plant based.  Recently, my family and I have been doing some research and have been experimenting with dietary changes and I am excited to share!

It is so important to listen to and know your body.  I have been feeling tired for some time now and have been feeling consistently sick - occasional and increasing dull stomach aches and feeling sluggish.  It's never been so severe to have me worried about a serious health issue or even to ruin a day and I suppose I thought it was normal to feel this way - I had grown used to it.  Finally, after doing a bit of research, I decided to do some experimenting - I could always go back to the way I was eating if it didn't help.  It's only been a few weeks but I already feel an increase in energy and no stomach aches or bloating.  I'm thrilled.

So, what did I start (and more importantly, stop) eating?  
After reading Salt, Sugar, Fat...
I completely removed any processed foods.  This means no tortilla chips, no crackers, no packaged cakes (even if they're labeled 'vegan'), no cookies etc etc etc. Well, this wasn't really a new change but it helped me to finally eliminate these things completely.  This book is important and I wish everyone would read it.
After reading Wheat Belly...
I reduced (practically cut out) wheat from my normal diet.  This means no more toast in the mornings, no more buns, no more croutons, no more pie, no more whole wheat pancakes for breakfast, no more beer.  After eating these things during open meals (ie. Thanksgiving), I can feel my body yelling at me.
After researching the Paleo diet (mostly in Practical Paleo)...
I reintroduced eggs (free range, organic).  Just one or two in the mornings and my energy has heightened.
I reintroduced seafood (wild or wild caught).
I reintroduced meat (very occasionally) from a local farm.  I drive to the farm to purchase the meat from the farmer himself.  It is all grass fed, sustainable, and farm raised (obviously).  I have never really enjoyed most meats (beef, bacon, chicken etc) but there are some (ie brats, I am from Wisconsin....) that I enjoy.
I still eat no dairy.

I really want to stress that I don't label how I eat.  I have never considered myself a pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan, or Paleo and I probably never will.  I have been experimenting with how I eat for the last five years and am planning on continuing to discover new ways of eating that will most benefit me.  I have found that it is important to eat natural, local if possible, 'organic' or pesticide free, non-gmo etc etc foods.  In other words, eat real food.  It is also important to listen to your body.  What is right for me may not be right for you.

And the best part and the reason I truly believe that this way of living works: open meals.  On Thanksgiving I ate all of the (probably gmo stuffed) turkey, (gluten filled) stuffing and pumpkin pie, (pesticide and buttery) corn and mashed potatoes that I wanted.  And on Christmas you bet I'll be stuffing my face with brie cheese (and probably a million other kinds of cheese - we are going back to Wisconsin for Christmas after all....)
^ leftover pumpkin pie ^

November 17, 2013


geeking over my newest find (a big thanks to the town too tough to die).

November 15, 2013


lots of exciting changes going on over here.  some dietary changes which have helped boost my energy along with a road bike purchase.  i've been traveling a lot (mostly to see this guy), applying to schools, and spending time in the mountains.  i am so captured and mystified by nature lately and i'm not sure how i'm going to handle not living next to the mountains if i move out east for graduate school.  but for now i'm captivated by the mountains whether its staring at them over my morning coffee or an afternoon spent hiking in them.  mountains, you are wonderful and i think i love you more than (dare i say?) the ocean.

October 24, 2013


a couple of weeks over a month (i swear time is moving faster everyday) ago my mom and cody and i road tripped.  road trips are my favorite and the cali mountains were calling us.  it was a much needed weekend in nature.  cold (see: freezing) nights were accompanied by tea and chocolates (i was on vaca....) and the days were spent hiking, exploring some beautiful historical areas, admiring our family friend's stunning horses, and attending inspiring film festivals.  and cody was in dog heaven, i think he's mad at us for leaving.  big bear, you are wonderful.  maybe ill be back this winter....

October 6, 2013


I picked up a can of pumpkin puree at Trader Joe's the other day, not really sure what I was going to make with it.  This morning, it finally felt a little like fall so I decided to open the can of pumpkin goodness and experiment.  I scooped a little into my pancake mix and a little into my coffee.  It was the BEST pumpkiny morning.

and why has nobody told me about pumpkin pie spice before?  it's completely changing my fall and I love it.

October 2, 2013


                Filled with cupcakes, massages, wine, and yummy italian food, it was a birthday to remember. 

(and breakfast the next morning :) )

September 25, 2013


I've been in the mountains, searching for my soul. It feels good to be lost in the right direction.

September 10, 2013


It's so nice having some leisure time to relax and reflect and start creating again and brainstorm for my future.  I've mentioned before the importance of breakfast and have shared my thoughts on living a positive life and I think that it's important to have a thoughtful and reflective morning in order to start each day on a good note.  
I often find myself turning to my phone first thing in the morning because that's what I use for my alarm and it is so easy to click through instagram or check my twitter feed. So, in order to avoid this effortless habit, I started a new routine to inspire a reflective morning.  Each morning when I wake up I go to my quotes board on pinterest and click through new quotes in order to find one that resonates with me.  I write it down, artistically if time allows, and place it somewhere in my room that I can see it as I move in and out throughout the day.  I've found that this is a good way to avoid social media in the morning but give myself some time to wake up and get my brain to slowly register the new day.  I have also been enjoying my breakfast outside and taking in the beautiful view.  Starting my days in a more thoughtful and calm way has given them more focus, and I love it.

and of course Cody is always there to share my breakfast ;)

August 30, 2013


Sorry for the hiatus, we've been busy moving into a beautiful new home.  I promise some updates on life soon but for now here are some recently captured moments I've enjoyed....

August 19, 2013


Two weekends ago (I'm really off my blogging game) we ventured to Coronado Vinyards for a grape stomp.  It was a perfect day with more eating and drinking going on than stomping.  The wine was incredible, we even brought a few bottles home, and the views were stunning.  I am shocked by the many vineyards surrounding us in Arizona (and loving it).  It's going to be another busy week with a juice cleanse, a house closing, a little bit of work, and some training for volunteer work.  Happy Monday!

August 9, 2013


{the view from a morning hike}
After a packed and successful week, we have a relaxing dinner with friends planned for this evening.  But tomorrow we're heading to Coronado Vinyards to participate in their annual grape stomp complete with wine tasting and tapas!  I'm a huge vino fan so tomorrow will be like a dream, I'm so excited.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, here are some of my favorite links from this week.....

Do you eat any of these banned foods?

Live a happy life.

I love you, Netflix.

What women wore under their skirts.

I want to try this tasty morning cocktail.

I'm more of a dog person but this cat fashion show is pretty funny.

I can't wait to make these with my new popsicle molds!

 In case you were afraid that I've been going hungry.

August 7, 2013


As promised and in the spirit of my new home in Arizona, I made a cacti planter for my very first DIY.  I was inspired by this post on one of my all time favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess.  It was so simple and fairly inexpensive.  I am so excited to have some beautiful cacti on display in my home rather than just outside of it.
I used a variety of cacti, an aloe plant, and a succulent.  Of course, you can get any plants you want to make your mini garden unique!  Then, put a layer of rocks on the bottom of the bowl followed by a layer of soil.  Plant the cacti and add a top layer of rocks for visual effect.  

I'm hoping that this is an easy mini garden to care for--typically you only need to water every 7-9 days or when the soil becomes dry.  So cute and simple!

August 6, 2013


I've been searching for an energizing and healthy smoothie to start my mornings with and a slightly modified version of  this one from Annaliisa's Organic Kitchen is even more than I could have asked for.  Just mix the ingredients in a blender and serve over ice.  It is filled with natural vitamins and tastes amazing--the perfect way to begin a new day!

August 2, 2013


I've spent three days in the desert and I already have a favorite cactus, the saguaro.  There are so many different shapes and sizes--some have grown to be towering, some are just fuzzy babies, some have grown sideways, and some have what seems like a million little arms popping out from all over.  All of the different cacti are so fun to explore--I even saw one start to bloom today!  Other than visiting my new home and stopping by a farmers market, this weekend is simply for settling into a new lifestyle... that I love already!  Some links for you this weekend.....

I'm planning on making this spray for my hair.

Such a great, helpful tip for making cooking easier.

I made cauliflower mashed potatoes for a barbeque a few weeks ago and it was delicious.  I can't wait to try this eggplant version.

I am on the hunt for a light summer robe similar to this one.

I can't wait to have my very own at-home bar one day.

I am sad to report that I am not very hip, at least according to this quiz.

Happy birthday, Harry!  And now I feel old....

It's good to fall in love.

August 1, 2013


{leftover fourth of july celebration}

{red wine and eggplant pizza}

{scary movies at the drive-in}

{rainy saturdays spent in bed}

{flowy open windows and root beer floats in bed}

July 29, 2013


We spent my last weekend in the Midwest this summer playing with adorable little puppies, spending time with friends, and constantly cooking (I actually ate a piece of bacon!).  A final farewell of sushi and champagne tonight and Kurt is sending me off to the mountains tomorrow!  I hope everyone had a fun weekend.