eats: whole30 approved mayo + bang bang shrimp.

You guys. I have to make a PSA.

If doing the Whole30 challenge, you must make the homemade mayo from the Whole30 website.

It’s not the mayo you’re used to – it’s much creamier, milder, and can very easily be made into different sauces and dressings!

Before I even started Whole30, my friend Emily insisted that I made sure to make this mayo. My first time around was a complete failure because I used extra virgin olive oil (later seeing that that’s a no-no). It was disgusting.

BUT – when made correctly – it’s a game changer.

I used it in this bang bang shrimp, which you can find the recipe for here.

Whole30 approved Bang Bang Shrimp

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Do you ever make usually-store bought food(s) from scratch?

life: tmi survey.

It’s been a while since I emotionally vomited all over GML, hasn’t it?

Oh wait – I did last week. Whatever.

Anyway, here’s a fun little survey I snagged from my blogger crush Katie, which eerily acted as a self therapy session.

Lately I’ve been…

Making: plans on plans on plans. ‘Tis the season to be busy every day/night.

Cooking: more Whole30 approved chili, also Whole30 buffalo chicken. Have I mentioned I’m doing Whole30?

Drinking: lots of Perrier and Pellegrino because bubblesss. Basically I’m too snobby for regular water now.

Reading: Good to Great

Wanting: a camel trench, L.L. Bean rain boots, an elevator in my building.

Looking: like a tween with a streak of pink hair. One day I’ll become a grown up. Maybe tomorrow.

pink hair chalk

Playing: nothing currently, but when I do I play FreeCell on my iPad.

Wasting: there’s an old bag of carrots in the fridge that I refuse to throw out because I hate wasting food.

Sewing: This seems very out of place in this survey. I don’t sew ever since I made a quilt in 4H and only got “honorable mention.”

Wishing: don’t wish, do. JK I totally wish for a free vacation. And shopping spree. Preferably combined.

Enjoying: working from home. It’s been years and I still get giddy when I realize how lucky I am.

Waiting: I’m not really waiting for anything. Maybe Halloween this Friday? That will be fun.

Liking: well, I like a lot of things. I guess I’ll go with this Banks remix because I’m listening to it right now.

Wondering: I think I wonder too much, actually. Mostly about the future, which I know is normal, but I’m working on focusing more on the present.

Loving: my sister Katie. Even though she lives in Florida now, she still gives me the best advice and is an amazing big sister.

Hoping: for certain breakthroughs professionally/financially. I’m doing the work, but some things I’m aiming for require a bit of luck.

Marveling: Over this season. No matter how old I get, autumn still feels…magical.

autumn in Brooklyn

Needing: new sneakers + workout clothes. And draino for our shower. Life in NYC is so glamorous.

Smelling: Lavender. I put a little bit on my wrists throughout the day for the calming effects or whatever.

Wearing: pajama shorts + knee socks + a big flannel shirt. But here’s a pic of what I wore yesterday because it’s much more impressive. #diditfortheinsta

ripped jeans with tights

Following: I started following all of the big fashion bloggers on Instagram. I didn’t for a long time because their lives made me jealous, and…well, they still do. Especially Peace Love Shea – I kind of want to be her.

Noticing: how God’s plan is starting to unfold in certain areas of my life. It’s exciting.

Knowing: I need to cut certain things out of my life.

Thinking: what am I not thinking about? Right now, though, I’m thinking about how I need to prep outfits for tomorrow’s shoot.

Feeling: Expectant. Thankful. A little overwhelmed. But happy.

Bookmarking: who needs a bookmark anymore when you’ve got BlogLovin? (You can follow me here, by the way – shameless plug)

Opening: so many tabs it’s kind of ridiculous. Multitasking is my biggest strength, but sometimes weakness.

Giggling: I giggle a lot, and very easily. I’ll watch YouTube videos throughout the day for that sole purpose.

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Speaking of – any funny YouTube videos you’ve seen lately? I need more!

stories of strength: janelle.

This last Story of Strength is from my good friend Janelle. Her mom, who bravely fought cancer, passed away a few years ago. Janelle is one of the strongest women I know, so I’m so happy to have her share her story with you.

Stories of Strength || breast cancer awareness month || girl meets life.

March 15, 2012 is a day I remember vividly in my mind. My grandmother woke me up at 5:30am, saying my mom was cool and clammy. When I went in to check on her I found that she was right, but what she didn’t realize was that she was in her last few hours of life. She had battled breast cancer for so long, but it spread to a point that couldn’t be cured. I laid next to my mom for the next five hours as her breathing became more labored and her skin more pale. I told her I loved her over and over and that it was ok to let go. At exactly 10am that Sunday morning, she took her last breath.

Cancer. It is such an ugly word. It is not only something that consumes  one’s body, but also one’s life and the lives of one’s family. When my mom told me for the first time that she has cancer, I thought my world would collapse. After asking what seemed like a million questions, I finally realized things weren’t as bad as I had made them out to be in my head. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. That was the answer – that would make her better, the doctors said.

Over the following eight months I saw my mom fight like never before. She wanted to live, not just be around for me, but for her as well. She endured long drives to radiation, incredible nausea, and several minor surgeries due to complications. She endured it all while remaining a mom to me. There were good days and bad days, but she made the most of them all.  She reassured me she wasn’t going to go anywhere and I honestly believed her.

When the last of her treatment was over, we held our breath and waited for test results to come back to let us know if she was all clear. The results came back all clear, and I felt like I could now live life without being afraid of losing my mom. After this we seemed to bond in a way that we never had before.  My mom became a best friend to me, someone that was not only a parent, but someone that I could share life with.

About five years after the “all clear,” my mom began to experience extreme pain in her lower back and she was diagnosed with a tumor resting on her sciatic nerve. The doctors told us that the cancer was now in stage four, but that it could be contained with chemo. For a time it was able to be contained with chemo, but eventually the symptoms of the chemo were too much for her.

This was the point where I really had to wrestle with the fact that I was going to lose my mom. I couldn’t fathom living with out her. I didn’t want to get married without her, have babies without her, travel without her. I just didn’t want to do life without her. A friend once told me that I would know when it was time to let go and would be able to let her go. I didn’t think this was going to ever be possible. At one point my mom told me that she didn’t want to continue with chemo, and that she wanted to switch back to a medication that I was sure would kill her. I remember having a very heated conversation and trying to describe how I needed her around and needed her to fight for me. I had no idea the pain she was actually enduring, and the quality of life she was living. I very selfishly wanted her around because I needed my mom.

When I was told that I needed to go home because it was the last days, I got on a plane and flew immediately. We found out our time was short (only ended up being 24 hours), and that we needed to make the most of every moment. When I found out that there was no more hope, and that she was indeed going to graduate into heaven, I prayed for God to take her quickly. I couldn’t bear to watch her suffer any more, and I knew that it was time to let her go. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I just knew and had peace about it.

While this has really shaped who I am, it has also made me more realize that I have to love passionately those who are around me because we never know how long we have left on this earth. Yes, I did grieve the loss of my mom, and in some ways I think I still am, but I have also made a choice to celebrate her whenever I can. To celebrate birthdays, anniversaries of her death, her love for travel and her love for family. While tears are still shed and I still miss having her around, I know that she is always with me that that because I am her daughter, I will forever carry a piece of her with me.

To those reading this that have a loved one battling cancer, I can say that I know where you are and what you are feeling. And if I could tell you anything, I would tell you to spend time doing everything and nothing all at the same time…have the hard conversations if they need to be had, forgive, and be forgiven, but most of all to love with all you have, and cherish each and every moment.

celebrating halloween with cheetos bag of bones snacks.

October has always been my favorite month of the year. I love how the cold weather rolls in, the leaves change, and everyone starts getting excited for the upcoming holiday season.

But the best part about October? Halloween, of course!

No matter how old I get, Halloween still makes me feel like a kid at heart. It’s the perfect holiday to channel your inner kid and have a fun and playful time with family and friends.

I’ll be enjoying more “adult” Halloween parties with my friends in NYC, but I’ll also be having fun Halloween festivities with my family back at home. I’m excited to bring along the new, limited-edition CHEETOS® Bag of Bones Snacks as the perfect Halloween snack for my family.

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks
They are great for entertaining at home and bringing family together! Plus, they add a new level of excitement to Halloween entertaining as the perfect centerpiece to a Halloween tablescape.

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks

CHEETOS Bag of Bones Snacks comes in four skeleton-shaped sizes that features skulls, ribcages, bones, and paws in white cheddar seasoning. My family can play with their food and build their own edible skeleton too!

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks
CHEETOS Bag of Bones Snacks are a fun, light-hearted, and slightly mischievous snack that’s fun for the entire family.

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks

I can’t wait to put a bowl of CHEETOS Bag of Bones Snacks on my living room table – or maybe lay them out on the table! – for friends and family to gather around.

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks

Celebrating Halloween with Cheetos Bag of Bones Snacks

This post is brought to you by a partnership with Frito-Lay & Girl Meets Life. All opinions are my own.

style: shaggy chic.

Although I do love getting dressed up and being girly, most of the time I’m just your simple jeans and a t-shirt chick.

One of the reasons I love fall (and sometimes even winter) so much is because I can take an average jeans & t-shirt outfit and add my personal style with fun accessories and outerwear.

I’ve been on the lookout for a new faux fur jacket, and this cream-colored Free People one I found is all sorts of shaggy chic.

 

faux fur shaggy coat | gracie gordon | girl meets life.

faux fur shaggy coat | gracie gordon | girl meets life.

shaggy chic || speakable necklace || girl meets life.

ripped black skinnies || girl meets life.

faux fur shaggy coat | gracie gordon | girl meets life.

street style NYC | gracie gordon |  girl meets life.

The whole look:

Shaggy Faux Fur Cropped Jacket – Free People/Revolve
black skinnies – H&M
t-shirt – Urban Outfitters
booties – DSW
handbag – Target
necklace – Speakable

{photos by Sam Ruby}

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Do you prefer dressing girly/feminine, or are you typically more casual?

wellness: whole30 week two update.

I can’t believe I’m almost halfway through the Whole30 challenge!

The second week definitely had its ups and downs. In some ways the challenge got easier, but I did find myself becoming less motivated than I was during week one. Thankfully I didn’t slip up, however I did implement snacking more than I would like to (not that snacks are bad, but Whole30 emphasizes that having full meals are better than snacking throughout the day, which is my natural tendency).

Thankfully I’m back to being super motivated to finish these last two weeks the best I can! Here’s a look at this past week.

{the food}

Whole30 - week two update || girl meets life.

* Like I said, I snacked a bit more than I would have liked, so I’m going to work on getting back on track with that going into week three.

* I also wasn’t as well-prepared during week two (and ate out a handful of times), but that’s also because I was out of town for a few days. Thankfully even when I ate at restaurants I kept it Whole30!

* I’ll be much more prepared this week – I already have a huge grocery order coming and a meal plan for the week.

(I’m tracking all of my meals over on my Tumblr)

{how I’ve been feeling}

Other than the slight lack of motivation, I really did feel awesome this week. I have a ton of energy and just feel…happier. Before Whole30 I’d hit a slump (energy-wise but also mentally and emotionally) at least every day, but I’ve noticed that hasn’t happened pretty much at all since I’ve been doing the challenge.

I’m also starting to notice my pants fitting a bit looser and my stomach looking flatter. Nothing crazy noticeable, but definitely a welcome change. I still haven’t weighed myself.

{other thoughts/observations}

The longer I eat the Whole30 way, the more I think I’m likely to stick to a Paleo way of eating when the challenge is over, for a few reasons. Not only have I been feeling physically better, but (as I just mentioned) I just have more of a sense of clarity – no more mental/emotional fog. Not to sound cheesy but I feel more…alive! I never realized how my food choices were affecting my overall quality of life until now, and I don’t want to go back to how I felt before.

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I’d love to try some new Whole30/Paleo recipes – any suggestions for recipes or websites I should check out?

link love | 10.23.14.

What I’ve been loving lately from the interwebs (most of which is from Refinery29. Oh well) …

Your Next Big Life-Changing Breakthrough Is Already Happening

Stop People From Wasting Your Time

I Have 4 Jobs – Is This The New Normal?

Hold That Thought (podcast)

BILLY ON THE STREETS!

Don’t Say Goodbye – Just Ghost.

Lower Your Expectations: Why Dating Should Be A Clean Slate

Please Stop Misinterpreting “The Road Not Taken”

There’s Nothing Wrong With Wearing A lot Of Makeup

5 Things You’re Doing That Keep You From Feeling You Are Good Enough

Is Time Saving Technology Making Us Lazy And Incompetent?

Dudes In Startup Shirts

Learning To Fall

Bradley Cooper and Jimmy Fallon Lose It On “The Tonight Show”

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Anything you’ve seen/read lately worth sharing?