staycation, all i ever needed

Hey there, whatcha doing? Sounds fun! Me? I just finished doing stress-relief yoga and now am sitting in my living room, in front of my beautiful Christmas tree, blogging on my new MacBook Air (thanks Husband!), and drinking a green smoothie. I took the day off to spend some alone time with my husband. (singing: Staycation, all I ever seeded, staycation, time to (not) get away!) We went to the early matinee of American Hustle ($6 a ticket!), puttered around Target, grabbed some lunch, then went produce shopping at the H-Mart before heading home. In addition to the MacBook Air (which I desperately needed as my MacBook Pro from 2006 was dying and I am responsible for managing the digital history of my family) my husband got me a Ninja Master Prep for Christmas. Yep, this bad boy now resides in my kitchen:



I have rekindled my love affair with green smoothies after trying Laura’s green smoothie for beginners. This smoothie is so delicious, I literally skip down the stairs in the morning because I’m so excited to get into the kitchen and kick-start my day with one. My 7-year old son loves them and drinks about 8 oz along with whatever he’s having for breakfast, and I’m so happy to send him to school with extra protein and vitamins in his body. My 3-year old son declares they are gross and he won’t touch them. We’re still working on him.

Anyway, my husband heard me bickering with the Osterizer about why couldn’t it just crush all the ice, and how hard is it really to blend a frozen banana, and lo the Ninja showed up on Christmas morning. I love it love it love it love it love it.


watercress, pineapple, lime, water


He also got me two smoothie books which I have been devouring. I immediately ran out and bought ingredients for a smoothie from one of the books that called for aloe juice, celery, apples, and blueberries (and greens of course!) and made it, and my kid and brother-in-law really liked it. Husband said it was “okay” (am working on him too). So anyway, today’s trip to the H-Mart was for more produce to try some new recipes. Tonight’s concoction is made of pineapple, lime, and watercress, and it’s just delicious!


My two kitchen loves, Ninja and Keurig

It’s not as desserty creamy as Laura’s smoothie, but more tangy and lighter. I also got ingredients for a strawberry kiwi bok choi smoothie (trying to win over the husband) and orange banana bok choi for the boys. 

I usually make my green smoothies with spinach or romaine, but both books I got talk about the necessity to rotate greens. Who knew? (you, probably) So I got bok choi and watercress this time around. No negative chelation here!


I drink my green smoothies at night, cause I can, cause I can.

My day of staycation is winding down. I’m finishing up my green smoothie and heading out to pick up the boys. Have a good one!

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Gluten Free Eating

The elimination diet, such as it is, has been going pretty well. I haven’t given up anything but gluten at this point, and I just feel like this is an awful time to try it, with Thanksgiving being next week. My mother in law cooks our Thanksgiving feast, and I don’t want to show up at her house refusing to eat everything. Maybe I’ll do the elimination between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I get sick around Christmas every year, so I really don’t want to push it out until after Christmas.

On Monday morning, I had Udi’s gluten free bread with almond butter. It was a great breakfast that filled me up for hours. Later that day I stumbled upon the  Paleo bread recipe from Elena’s Pantry and made that. Now I’m completely obsessed. It’s so nutty and delicious.

IMG_1016I’ve eaten it with almond butter, jam, and avocado, and it’s good any way you slice it. (yes, I just said that.)

This morning, I made a smoothie that rocked my world. It was a mishmash of things that miraculously didn’t come out tasting like poop (or even looking like it). In the mix was almond milk, frozen blueberries, a banana, half an avocado, a scoop of Amazing Grass, and two scoops of Arbonne chocolate protein powder. The smoothie was so thick, I ate it from a bowl.


My smoothie looks better next to my preschooler’s cute little arms.

My son was jealous of me taking pictures of my smoothie, so he asked to take one. He kept telling me to smile bigger as he took this picture.


In other news, eating on an elimination diet requires some planning. Last night, I forgot to think ahead about dinner, so while my kids ate delicious leftovers that I couldn’t have, I nibbled on Paleo bread and avocado. I need to plan some dinners so that I’m eating more well-balanced meals.

Also, it’s hard to stay GF/Paleo when eating out. I went out for Vietnamese pho yesterday, which I thought seemed pretty safe, but it turns out that peanut sauce is made with soy sauce. Gluten lurks everywhere.

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Food Sensitivity

I’ve struggled with different health issues for years, and after years of denial, I am beginning to realize that most – if not all – of them could be caused by a food sensitivity. I realize I am late to the party here, but I honestly didn’t realize that a food sensitivity could be causing the myriad health issues I experience on a regular basis, such as:

  • brain fog
  • anxiety
  • keratosis pilaris
  • fatigue
  • anemia
  • fainting
  • horrible skin rashes
  • joint pain
  • migraine headaches
  • nasal congestion
  • bloating and gas

It was actually my ENT that suggested I try an elimination diet. I have chronic nasal congestion, and my nose is so swollen inside that he said I don’t breathe in nearly as much oxygen as I should during the day (could account for the brain fog). He wanted to do surgery on my nose to remove the swollen tissue. I’d rather figure out why the tissue is swollen and treat the root cause. I was tested for eleventy hundred different allergens, and showed as significantly allergic to mold and one or two grasses or trees, but that’s it. I was also tested for food allergies and passed with flying colors. BUT after the allergy testing, my skin broke out like whoa, and that’s when he said the systemic reaction I experienced pointed to a possible food sensitivity. He suggested giving up gluten and dairy for a few weeks (easy as that) then reintroducing them to magically find out what was causing my distress.

You can see I wasn’t convinced.

I gave them up and did pretty well for a couple of weeks then decided that was enough and went cray at dinner one night. Two days later I was laid up on the couch with food poisoning. Testing confirmed I had  campylobacter. Coincidence? Well I can tell you this much. Two rounds of antibiotics and two weeks later (plus a short round of Cipro which I turned out to be allergic to – irony?) I was back on my feet, and fully back on gluten and dairy.

That was in May. It’s now November, and flu season is coming. Flu season scares me. Last year I got the flu. (notice how great my immune system is?) My kids get colds and because I am constantly kissing them and licking their faces, I get their colds. When I get colds, my nasal congestion is even worse and takes weeks to recover from (just enough to breathe at night). Needless to say, I’m on edge, and I want to make sure I am as healthy as I can be.

I recently gave up gluten a few weeks a go, for about two weeks. I felt really good on the diet. Not gonna lie and say I felt like I was a kid again, but the bloating and gas were gone at least, and I felt a little more pep in my step. Of course, going back on wheat meant I ate pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese and other crap, so it’s no wonder that as soon as I did, I felt bloated again. What did surprise me, though, is that I got a skin rash at the same time I went back on wheat. I get enough of them that it could totally be a coincidence, but I found it interesting anyway. Last night I had a couple of beers while I watched the Broncos hand it to the Chiefs, and I felt congested, bloated, and generally awful.

I’m not convinced that gluten is my problem, but I’m not convinced it’s not either. I am, however, very confident that my problem lies with a food sensitivity (or even more than one). Now I just have to figure out what it is.

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Focus on one thing at a time

The first of my should vs. must list is “Focus on one thing at a time”. This seems so obvious, and even simple, but is one of the hardest things that I try to do to simplify my life and what’s going on inside my head.

At work, I am constantly distracted by coworkers, emails, and instant messages, not to mention non-work-related things like Facebook and Pinterest. During meetings, I often find myself browsing online or catching up with email instead of focusing on the meeting itself. (Note: I work remotely so call into meetings, therefore I am always in front of my computer, never in a conference room.)

Home isn’t much better. With two small kids, laundry to do, meals to cook, rooms to clean, etc., it can be really tough to focus on any one thing. It’s not uncommon for me to sit down to play with one of my kids only to hear the dryer beep and next thing you know, I’m running off to fold clothes, asking my child to wait “just one more minute” (<- always a lie).

There’s no doubt in my mind that in order to clear up physical and mental clutter, I have to learn to focus on one thing at a time. I’ve come up with a few strategies that I’ll try to implement over the next week.


  1. Use my to-do lists: Select the one thing that needs to be done at any given time and do only that one thing. Cross it off when done!
  2. When I think of something else I need to be doing (oh, Old Navy is having a sale and I wonder if they have any cute trench coats!!!), write it down immediately and add it to my to-do list once I’m done with what I’m doing.
  3. Schedule time during the day to accomplish certain tasks.
  4. Select one to-do to accomplish each morning with no distractions.
  5. Close laptop during meetings to reduce temptation.


  1. No iPhone/iPad at the kitchen table. Meals are for eating and talking.
  2. No iPhone/iPad while playing with kids. Focus just on playing with them. (unless we are playing on the iPad, haha!)
  3. Use routines lists to make sure I’m getting things done.

Well, my children are awake and ready to start their day, so let me go focus on them now. 😉

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The Minimalists Day 2: Planning

On Day 2, the minimalists basically say to get out a calendar and plan out the 21 day journey. So… why not? I used my Google Calendar to do this and just put their 21-day schedule in. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do this, since I don’t know if I’ll follow the plan every day, and I don’t want to find myself spending time in Google Calendar shifting things around. I’m trying to simplify my life here! So I created a two-month recurring event called “21 Days to Minimalism” and copied the 21-day plan into it.  Each time I finish one, I’ll remove it from the list, and hopefully by the time two months have gone by I’ll be done.

You know, truth be told, I’ve never been much of a planner. The word “plan” makes my palms sweat. I feel like I don’t have enough time to plan. I’m lucky I get through the day as it is. At the same time, I totally realize that if you don’t know where you’re going, you will have a harder time getting there.

Part of me feels that planning is complicated, and I’m trying to simplify my life. The other part of me realizes that if I plan things out, I can be more conscious about how I spend my time and it will actually help me to simplify and pare down. Having some plans might also help me take those things out of my mind and free up some room upstairs.

So in addition to putting the 21 day journey into my calendar, I am also going to commit to doing more planning. For example:

  • Planning my commitments: Review my calendar weekly.
  • Planning my meals: Create weekly meal plan, schedule grocery shopping days, plan when I will cook each meal, remember to defrost meat in time.
  • Planning my routines: Use my printables to ensure I stick to my daily/weekly/monthly routines. Add items to Remember the Milk app.
  • Planning my wardrobe: Ensure I have clothes picked out for the next few days, outfits planned, clothes ironed, etc.
  • Planning my chores: Use Google Calendar or Remember the Milk to ensure chores are scheduled in advance.

Of course, a plan is nothing if you don’t take action, so I’ll need to track to be sure I’m doing the necessary planning to stay on top of everything. I see little checklists with pretty stickers dancing in my mind. 🙂

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Living Room Decluttering

Following my must list, I decided to tackle my living room following some of the guidance of Miss Minimalist. I didn’t completely tear it apart because I share my home with my husband and children so am not really free to discard a bunch of things without their approval. But I got rid of one useless candle/rock dish. It doesn’t make my room any more beautiful, nor do I use it, so it had to go. I also moved a bunch of things to their proper places and cleared out a box of junk.

The room is not perfect. I still have a secretary that takes up space and serves no purpose. I still have a bookcase full of books we never look at. But it’s better and I can still improve on it moving forward.

Living Room Before:


My boys always kick this cinnamon-filled vase so I moved it from that location to the cube shelf top. It is also not amazing looking so I may end up chucking it.

This guy has been kicking around my house(s) since I was 20. It was one of my first “crafty” pieces that made me feel like I lived in a Pottery Barn catalog (Pier 1, actually), and I felt very mature when I bought it. But I don’t light the candle (no candles for me because I forget to blow them out) and it’s not even that nice looking, plus it takes up a lot of space.


So after more than a decade, I’m finally getting rid of it. I replaced it with the sparkly gold thingy that really does make me happy and deserves to be front and center.


Now, we bought these cube shelves to keep the kids’ toys, and they serve their purpose well. I have trouble figuring out what to do with puzzles, though. The kids do their puzzles in this room, so I want them in here, but I don’t have a great place for them. I decided to put their boxes of puzzles on the cube shelves, and the puzzle rack and extra large puzzle will just have to stay out on the floor (yuk).



After (with relocated cinnamon vase):


All said and done, here is my living room now:


I do think it looks a lot better, but there is still so much I can do. I don’t need that secretary in the corner. It serves no purpose whatsoever, but my parents gave it to me which was very thoughtful of them. I can also get rid or at least declutter the extra bookcase:


and the CD shelves:


because they take up wall space and don’t serve much of a purpose. I’ve already cleared my CDs from the CD shelf but need to get my husband to buy into boxing his up as well. When the CD shelf is moved, we’ll be able to see the pretty staircase better.

But for now, I’m very happy with the progress. It just makes me want to do more!

Next up, The Minimalists Day 2.

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The Minimalists Day 1: Should vs. Must

This is day 1 of The Minimalists’ 21 days to minimalism. Today’s task is to think about all the things I keep saying I *should* do and figure out which ones I *must* do. Their example is to take this list:

I should change.
I should stop wasting my money.
I should work less.
I should get rid of all this junk.
I should eat healthier food.
I should exercise.
I should write more.
I should read more.
I should watch less TV.
I should, I should, I should.

and turn it into this list:

I must change.
I must stop wasting my money.
I must work less.
I must get rid of all this junk.
I must eat healthier food.
I must exercise.
I must write more.
I must read more.
I must watch less TV (or no TV at all).
I must, I must, I must.

Here is my fairly short list:

I must focus on one thing at a time.
I must eat and feed my family more real food.
I must eat and drink healthier.
I must exercise.
I must stop shopping.
I must keep up with kids papers and appointments.

That seems like a good list for now, but I’ll be flexible and update it as necessary.

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