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!

**********

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

life: how social media is making us terrible daters.

You know me – I LOVE all things social media. I decided to even make a living out of it, in fact.

I also love chatting about dating and relationships because…well I’m a girl, and that’s what we do.

So you can understand my disappointment when I realized that two of my favorite things didn’t exactly mesh well together. They CAN, but they often don’t.

social media

Instead of straight up dissing the glorious channel of virtual communication that is social media, though, I’d like to give us all (myself included) a few thoughts on why social media could potentially be harmful to our dating lives. Cool? Cool.


1. the curse of the alternative.

With Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, and all of these other social apps, there are literally thousands of members of the opposite sex at our fingertips that we would have never known existed otherwise. And hey – that could be a great thing. I’m the first to admit that YES it’s 2014, and social media is how people are connecting. BUT, I’m noticing that this influx of new people that we’re being introduced to on a constant basis is causing confusion and non-committal attitudes toward dating. I’ve definitely been guilty of this – the whole “but what if option b, c, or d is better?” sort of mentality. That’s where I think it’s so important to be self aware and know what we actually want.

2. stalking made easy.

Ohh yes, the joys of Internet stalking. I obviously can’t let this one bother me much because HELLO I basically have my life laid out for you right here and now. What I do pride myself in, though, is keeping certain things very private from GML and social media. It must’ve been quite nice, though, in the days where you literally would have no idea where people were, who they were with, or what they were doing/listening to/wearing 24/7.

3. we’re always looking down.

This is more of an overall cell phone issue, but social media definitely plays a huge part. We’ve been programed to use any pass time, travel time, or basically any time we’re not actively engaged in something else to be staring down at our phones. There’s no denying that this is taking away from human interaction (and not just when it comes to dating). And, some of these places we’re glued to our phones at are actually the places you can meet the most new people. So whether on the subway, at the grocery store, or waiting for friends at the bar – just look UP!

4. we’re getting lazy.

This is probably what I find to be most unfortunate, just because I’m your typical girl who has been overexposed to more romantic comedies than I care to admit. But I feel like meet cutes in “real life” don’t happen quite like they used to.

I think the reason is twofold: 1) it’s straight up easier and more convenient to communicate via an app/social media and 2) with the decline of face to face interaction comes a rise in fearing rejection. It’s almost like we’re no longer cut out for being turned down in person because instead we’re being “swiped left” or scrolled past without ever even knowing it.

With all of that being said, let me revert to my hopeful romantic self and say that nothing will keep me from being optimistic about dating and relationships. Pardon the cheesiness, but I do trust that love is a stronger force than any selfie, status, or app. Yes I just used the L word. Gasp.

Like I said before, the takeaway from all of this isn’t that social media is the arch enemy of dating, but more so to be aware and use it wisely. So the next time you’re liking his photo or sending her a wink, just remember that there’s an actual person on the other end of the screen.

**********

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think social media does more harm or good when it comes to dating/relationships?

here’s what | 10.13.14.

Bonjour and happy (1:45am on) Monday, hotties. Here’s what have been a few things happening in this life I’ve met.

1. Thanks to the rain on Saturday I spent a good deal of time in bed with my hot dates Barney Stinson and Jake Johnson.

Netflix, people. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Jake Johnson

2. The rain/bed situation also resulted in THIS situation – hair full of secrets, and not the good kind.

Gracie Gordon

3. I managed to pull myself together for a night out. Don’t let the jacket deceive you – I haven’t played a non-leisurely sport since 2003.

Gracie Gordon

4. Pardon me for sounding like a crazy person…but I think I might be a crazy person. When I shook people’s hands over the weekend I found myself thinking EBOLA EBOLA EBOLA.

5. Sooo I’ve decided to do the famous (infamous?) Whole 30 challenge. I started it yesterday. My good friend Emily has been doing it and suggesting it to me, and over the course of the past week I went from being adamantly opposed, to considering it, to reading It Starts With Food. I realized that I’ve been complaining about feeling BLAH lately but not actually doing anything to change it. So not anymore. I need accountability so will be posting meals + updates over on my Tumblr (as to not inundate my Instagram or GML with ugly food pictures ;)). You can go ahead and follow along if you’d like!

Oh, and as much as I’m doing this to FEEL my best, I’m also doing it look as smokin’ hot as possible. Sorry I’m most certainly not sorry.

6. I have a crush on someone, and it might be you. (insert monkey covering its mouth emoji)

7. Probably the most productive part of my weekend was cleaning the whole apartment. It always starts by just wiping down the counter, then I find myself in full out Danny Tanner mode, on the brink of washing the cleaning products themselves.

8. The decision process for what I’m going to be for Halloween is getting REAL. So far I’ve narrowed it down to not wanting to look “cute.” Not to mention I refuse to wear the same costume two night in a row because I’m a brat like that.

9. This is a really interesting article about the downside of living in New York. I can definitely relate to this:

“The greatest thing about Manhattan is the worst thing about Manhattan: self-actualization. Here you will be free to stretch yourself to your limit, to find the beach that is yours alone. But sooner or later you will be sitting on that beach wondering what comes next.”

What the article doesn’t address, though, is how having friends, family, and a sense of community here in the city makes all the difference in the world. I definitely wouldn’t be able to continue living here without that.

10. To end things on a lighter note, here’s a bunch of cute animals wrapped up like burritos.

**********

Have you decided on a Halloween costume yet?

style remix with no nonsense.

It seems like just yesterday it was all about the cut-offs and tank tops, but now the cool weather of fall is definitely upon us. I must say that fall is my favorite season as far as my wardrobe goes because I love layering and just experimenting with different styles.

Living in New York City, I’m always looking for stylish ways to switch up my look while also remaining comfortable – especially on those days I know I’m going to be walking (or dancing ;)) a lot. That’s why tights have always been a go-to of mine in the fall and winter seasons.

So when No nonsense reached out to let me try their line of tights and legwear, I was definitely excited to check it out!

Style Remix with No nonsense

No nonsense offers a full line of legwear including tights, leggings and shapewear – all with the same high quality the brand has been known for over the past 40 years. No nonsense is all about ‘Style made easy’ – making it easier for women to look and feel stylish with on-trend legwear that is available both online and at most mass stores. This fall, No nonsense has designed a curated collection featuring new fabrications and patterns, including Denim and Ponte Knit Leggings, Sweater Tights and Fashion Tights in bold prints.

Since the new No nonsense collection is so versatile, I thought it would be fun to show a little bit of a ‘Style Remix’ – how I took the same pair of tights to create two different looks for fall. First up – I actually took one of my favorite jumpers from summer and added my No nonsense Great Shapes Blackout Shaping Tights underneath.

Before:

 Style Remix with No nonsense - Gracie Gordon

Remixed: I’m really excited about this look because it allows me to utilize my summer wardrobe straight into the colder seasons. It also dresses up the look more, so I can take this outfit from day right into nighttime.

  "Winterizing" Your Summer Romper - Gracie Gordon

I did the same thing with another favorite jumper of mine. This time I paired it with fun No nonsense Dot Tights and a leather bomber jacket.

Before:

Style Remix with No nonsense - Gracie Gordon

Remixed:

"Winterizing" Your Summer Romper - Gracie Gordon

Lastly I remixed my go-to summer outfit of jean shorts and a t-shirt.

Before:

 Style Remix with No nonsense - Gracie Gordon

Remixed: Instead of shorts, I swapped in my new red No nonsense Denim Leggings – but still tied in some blue denim with a jean jacket.

Style Remix with No nonsense - Gracie Gordon

I love these leggings because they look stylish (like red denim) but have the comfort and versatility of leggings.  Learn more about No nonsense by visiting their website and follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Want to try No nonsense for yourself? Enter below to win a $100 No nonsense gift card!

Leave a reply in the comments section saying how you’d style your No nonsense legwear this fall. You can also enter by visiting No nonsense on Pinterest, checking out more Style Remixes and re-pinning a look you love, see below for full sweepstakes rules.

Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

    1. Leave a comment in response to the Promotion prompt on this post.*
  • Tweet (public message) about this Promotion, including a disclosure that your tweet is a sweepstakes entry (e.g., using a hashtag such as #SweepstakesEntry or #SweepsEntry); and leave the URL to that Tweet in a comment on this post.*
  • Re-pin (publicly) a pin from the client’s Pinterest page here: URL including exactly the following unique term in your pin’s description: “#nononsensestyleremix” and a disclosure that your pin is a sweepstakes entry (e.g., “I am entering the #nononsensestyleremix sweepstakes” or using a hashtag such as #SweepstakesEntry or #SweepsEntry); and leave the URL to that Re-pin in a comment on this post.
  • Purchase a pair of No nonsense Leggings at www.nononsense.com and create your own Style Remix. Share a link to the public image in the comment section on this post.
  • Blog about this Promotion (including a disclosure that you have received a sweepstakes entry in exchange for blogging about this Promotion), and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.*

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 10/8/14 – 10/27/14. Be sure to visit the No nonsense brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

inspire: on mistakes.

Right now I’m reading Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer, and I’ve been meaning to share this acrostic of sorts she references in the first chapter.

Mistakes

In this section of the book she talks about how “we are no surprise to God.” In other words, we need to stop dwelling on our mistakes because God loves and forgives us unconditionally. Period. That really resonated with me because I often take far too long to actually forgive myself.  But instead of getting caught up in guilt/shame over the mistakes we’ve made, we should reflect on them in a positive light in order to move on and truly learn from them.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you say you usually learn from your mistakes?

life: behind the tweet.

So I recently started using Twitter again, or at least I’m trying to.

(I’m talking other than my Instagram shares + blog post announcements. Those don’t count.)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder what motivates people to tweet what they do. So here’s a look into the story behind my recent tweets.

Just your standard verbal processing (slash) death explanation.

On my mind because my girl friends and I had a day long group text about achieving this look, complete with photos of our lined lips and all.

I wish I was kidding.

Kylie Jenner's lips

Because looks fade, hearts break, but pizza is forever.

I take my emoji usage very seriously.

And also that my “K” is “I,” my “nope” is “mood,” and my “bahahah” is “Bahamas.” I can’t blame autocorrect for that last one, but still.

AKA the reason most girls probably have extremely unrealistic views of what life should be. And why we post those annoying inspirational quotes all the time.

I’m referring to The What’s Underneath Project. Highly suggest you check it out (especially Melanie Gaydos – beautiful).

**********

Your turn! Give me the story behind one of your recent tweets :)