wellness: whole30 week one update.

Hey babes!

So I decided not to track my entire Whole30 experience here on GML just for the sake of not inundating you with it, but I do want to check in with updates here and there. So here’s a recap of my first week doing the Whole30 challenge.

First up – the food!

breakfast: been keeping it pretty similar each day – usually some version of eggs + sweet potato.

lunch: I try to make a double batch of something that I can have for lunch AND dinner – either a meat + veggie combo or my Whole30 Approved Chili.

dinner: usually same as lunch! With the exception of my girls’ night (where I did some snacking on Bacon Wrapped Dates and fruit/veggies).

Whole30 meals || girl meets life.

(Visit my Tumblr for larger photos/descriptions of the meals)

How I’m feeling:

The first few days were a little rough – I felt really low on energy and had very little motivation. Oh, and I wanted something SWEET. But deep down I knew how awesome I’d feel the longer I could stick to it, and now each day that goes by leaves me feeling more and more motivated.

Physically the only changes I’ve noticed are more energy and clarity, and feeling a bit lighter than usual. I haven’t really noticed any weight loss yet, but I haven’t weighed myself so I’m not sure.

Other observations:

I’ve definitely noticed my overall mindset toward food changing. First of all, I’m really enjoying having three square meals instead of snacking all day – it leaves me feeling much more satisfied, and I pay attention to my meals instead of mindlessly grazing.

Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for getting through a whole week. I know that’s not a huge deal to a lot of people, but I don’t have much willpower – especially when it comes to the social aspect of food/eating. I didn’t realize that this challenge would be such a mental achievement as much as it is health-wise!

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Have you ever done Whole30 or a similar challenge? How do you stay motivated to stick to it?

style: slip into fall.

A few weeks back when I was having a little staycation with Marriott Hotels, I couldn’t help but wander into the massive Forever 21 in the middle of Times Square. Five floors of diverse, inexpensive clothes are great for one thing and one thing only – impulsive buying.

I left with a few new items in hand, including this hot pink slip dress with black lace detailing.

A few days later I realized that I’m in fact not “forever 21,” and should probably find a way to make this slip dress a bit less slip-like if I actually wanted to wear it in public. Nothing a little blazer and tights can’t fix, right?

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

gold cuff

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Oh, and did I mention that I got this dress for just about twenty bucks? That’s what I like to call #TrendyNotSpendy.

The whole look:

Slip Dress – Forever21
Blazer – Top Shop
Handbag – Dolce Vita Isabella Bucket
Watch – Nixon
Tights and boots – H&M
Cuff and rings – Forever 21
Necklace – Speakable

 

(Thanks to my friend/photographer Samy Ruby – if you’re in NYC and looking for a photographer, I couldn’t recommend her more! You can check out her work here.)

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When you shop are you more impulsive, or on a mission to find certain pieces?

beauty: halloween makeup ideas.

Let’s be real – going to the Halloween store and picking up a slutty French maid costume for $75 is so 2007.

I’m not saying you can’t look hot on Halloween…let’s not pendulum swing here. But we can at least try to be a bit more creative, yes?

There are so many ways to put together a fun and creative costume without breaking the bank, and this year I’m all about focusing on makeup. What’s great about focusing on makeup as the star of your costume is that you can really keep your actual outfit pretty simple, so you can either a) wear clothes you already own or b) if you do have to buy something, make it clothes you can at least wear again.

These days with Pinterest and YouTube, you can find some great tutorials for how to do fun and creative makeup for Halloween. Some of my favorite looks this year are:

doll face

Halloween makeup idea

pop art

Halloween pop art makeup

Queen of Hearts

Halloween makeup Queen of Hearts

mermaid

Halloween makeup mermaid

cat

Cat makeup for Halloween

dummy

dummy makeup

Maleficent

Maleficent makeup

broken porcelain doll

Twiggy

Twiggy halloween makeup

And then of course, if you want to keep it REALLY simple, you can do a simple vampire look (like I did the other day for a Red Carpet Manicure photo). All you need is some fake blood and a steady hand.

The key is to apply a glob to let the fake blood naturally drip, rather than trying to paint it on.

Vampire Makeup for Halloween Gracie Gordon

Matching mani optional ;)

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What Halloween makeup/costumes are you loving for this year?

eats: whole30 approved chili.

I’m now on day 5 of the Whole30 challenge, and so far it’s being going great! I’m already feeling some changes in my body/energy, and I just keep getting more and more motivated to stick to it as the days go on.

…That’s not to say it’s been easy, though ;) Turning down pumpkin whoopie pies last night was not my defining moment.

The first couple of days were particularly tough because I was eating boring food (i.e. plain grilled chicken and veggies). So on day 3 I decided to get creative and experiment with making chili, and I was VERY happy with how it turned out.

 

 

Whole30 approved Chili

(Recipe can easily be doubled to serve more. I used all organic ingredients, but obviously not necessary!)

ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
2 bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
coconut oil

directions:

First cook the ground beef in a stovetop pan with coconut oil and seasonings of your choice (I used salt, pepper, and a bit of extra chili powder). Set aside.

In a large pot, sauté the peppers and onions in coconut oil. Once they’re softened (about 10 minutes) add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked beef, and seasonings. Mix all together and let simmer for another 6-10 minutes uncovered.

It’s that simple! It might not be the real deal slow cooking chili, but it tastes pretty darn close. The tiny bit of cinnamon makes a HUGE (delicious) difference. Not to mention it’s QUICK, and Whole30 approved!

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Anyone else doing (or have done) Whole30?  Would love any tips/suggestions you might have!

stories of strength: amy.

This Story Of Strength is from my blog friend Alyssa’s sister, Amy. Alyssa previously shared some of her sister’s story here, but I wanted to catch up learn more about her journey and where she’s at today.

Stories of Strength || www.speakable.co

I am a very spiritual person, and I have to tell you that I think God has given me this opportunity to share with you to remind me of how very blessed I am.  Let me explain…

I am a 5th grade teacher at an elementary school. I also serve on the PTO. A fellow PTO member and local pediatrician was diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing treatment. The PTO called her, and asked her what we could to do help – meals, babysitting, etc. Her only request was to spread awareness. She asked that we have the local mammogram van visit the school for teachers and mothers to get their mammogram. So I was given the task of filling the van.

At first, no one would get on. Teachers claimed that it was hard to find the time. I panicked, because I needed to fill 10 spots. So I took the first appointment on the van and challenged the teachers to fill other spots. I told them they needed to do it for the PTO member that sent the van. I was 36 at the time. I had one aunt with breast cancer, but I had 7 aunts, so that wasn’t a big deal. We filled the van. We had teachers and mothers that were volunteering – it was awesome – a great way to honor our friend.

So, a week later, I find out that the test was abnormal, and I needed another “just to get a good baseline.” Then I went in for my biopsy a week after that. It was horrible…all the appointments, all the waiting.

So the day comes when I had to get my biopsy report. My husband and I waited in the waiting room for what seemed like years. When they finally opened to door to let us in, we knew. I turned to Eric and said, “baby…this is happening.” The doctor was amazing. He cried with us, he told us our options. He had already called my OBGYN, and she had recommended a surgeon. We left the office in shock, and then drove straight to our 6 year old twin daughters’ soccer game that my husband had to coach. Life goes on…you can’t dwell…you move on for your kids.

My initial reaction was absolute fear and shock. My husband had a sister who passed away from a brain tumor at 17, so we had been through this before. I didn’t sleep – I spent too much time searching the internet for things I shouldn’t read. Finally, after a late night talk with my father, he convinced me that I should NOT be on the internet. That was good advice. I cried all the time, but held it together around our children where were then 6, 6, and 2. All girls.

After meeting with the surgeon a few days later, all was put into perspective. She told me that I dodged a bullet. She believed that my cancer could be removed by surgery. I would need to have a mastectomy on my left breast. The cancer was completely throughout my ducts in my left breast. It had broken out of the duct in one part, which only put me at Stage 1, but there was no way to save the breast. I chose with no hesitation to have both breasts removed – there was no way I was going to go through this again.

This is the part I want you to remember:  She told me that had I waited until I was 40 (AS IS RECOMMENDED BY DOCTORS) to get my first mammogram, it would have been really bad.  I may not have made it. My 40th birthday has now just passed – my children are 10, 10, and 6 – and I am on my knees in thankful prayers that our PTO member sent that mammogram van to our school.

Overall, I think we handled the diagnosis and the surgery well. We were just so thankful that it was caught, and there was no feeling of pity or anger. My husband is such an amazing man. If he was upset about the loss of my breasts, he never once showed it. He was a rock. You know, people forget about the husbands when women are going through breast cancer.  One night I woke up to find him downstairs crying. He never would show me his fear – he hid it from all of us.

My friends and I rallied after my surgery. We found contacts at EVERY school in our county and had the mammogram visit every school for two years. It was so awesome. We know of one person that was diagnosed from visiting the van! We had such a feeling of accomplishment. We were giving back!  Unfortunately, the van broke down, and the hospital did not fix it. I am not sure why. We were crushed that this VERY effective means to get women their mammograms was gone.

I was blessed that I didn’t need chemo or radiation. In 8 weeks I was back on my feet and trying to have a normal life. I am on tamoxifen, which has been a struggle for me for 3 years, but I only have 2 years left. I can deal with moodiness, weight gain, hot flashes, memory loss, and night sweats if it means that I am going to see my amazing husband dance with his beautiful daughters at their weddings. We are blessed. Life is good. We can do this.

My top takeaways: Once again – 40 is WAY too late for your first mammogram.  We like to say that “36 is the new 40.” So many women my age put their families and their jobs ahead of their own care – we put off appointments because we are all so busy with our kids. We need to take care of ourselves so we can be here for our kids.

And lastly, life is short, so don’t  sweat the small stuff. Trust in God, love your family. The phrase “live, laugh, love” kind of sums it all up.

Stories of Strength: Amy

Thanks Amy for sharing your story! xx