I guess it’s fall (Whole30, Day 26)

September 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

It’s still been super hot and humid here in Tampa Bay, so it sure doesn’t feel like it, but apparently Sunday was the first day of fall. So happy fall ya’ll! And just like every year, I would like to share my favorite piece about fall. It gives me the warm fuzzies every time I read it. Click on the following image to enjoy this delightful little essay yourself:

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I have actually started with a little bit of fall decorating…just a couple of things in the dining room. I’ll do a “fall décor” post after the first of October maybe, once I have more fall things out. We have our eye on a big grim reaper to hang from the front porch. In the meantime, I do have some new flowers in the living room.

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Chad brought these home from the grocery store on Saturday. He notices when my vases are empty.

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And then I took a bunch more photos of the living room even though I know I’ve already put quite a few on the blog. This room feels so comfortable to me. I love it.

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Most of these photos are not so great because I have been doing pretty much all of my photo-taking with my phone lately. These were all shot indoors with relatively low light and no flash. So not so great. But I can hardly be bothered with the camera lately.

So I took this series of photos…

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(and one more that I must have since deleted)…and Google+ automatically created this “auto awesome” panoramic:

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That is more what the room looks like to me (except the mantle is level and the floor lamp is not split down the middle). Like I said previously, I am obsessed with auto awesome. Look for an auto awesome GIF later in this post.

The boys received a tin full of muffins in the mail from Grandma Viv on Saturday. The note said, “Cody made these.”

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Cody did a pretty good job! Thanks Grandma. Excuse Cal’s hair…he had just gotten out of the pool.

Saturday night we got a babysitter and headed out to the beach for a friends’ 40th birthday party.

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We never turn down an invitation to go to a party at this beautiful location:

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It was a lovely night.

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“Papa” the puppy (a Spanish water dog) kind of stole the show at the party.

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I have disguised the birthday boy so as not to jeopardize his WitSec status:

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I will love these two forever…

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Good party, even without any alcohol for me.

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Sunday breakfast:

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Sweet Potato Hash Browns: Grate 1/2 a sweet potato. Chop 1/2 an onion. Mix both in a bowl with one egg, and about 2 teaspoons of coconut flour. Season with salt/pepper/whatever you like. Add the coconut flour slowly until the mixture will hold together in a patty. Sauté small patties in coconut oil until both sides are brown and crispy.

Early in the afternoon on Sunday I went over to my friend Crystal’s house for a Benefit Cosmetics Lash Bash party.

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Playing with make-up with a bunch of cool girls? Sign me up.

Crystal had so much delicious-looking food laid out for us.

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OMG. These were cocktail sausages wrapped in prosciutto and sprinkled with brown sugar, and blood orange chocolate truffles:

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Here’s what I ate at the party:

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Ah well. I ate lunch before I went, so I was fine.

Also laid out for us were goodie bags full of samples of fabulous Benefit Cosmetics, and other sample Benefit products for us to play with.

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We ate and chatted, and then got down to the business of beautification. We were told to come with “naked eyes” so that we could do them there.

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Before and after:

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Throughout the party I kept trying to get a photo of Tequila, Crystal’s chihuahua, but he wanted nothing to do with me.

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Got you anyway Tequila! (best name ever for a chihuahua)

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Thanks for inviting me Crystal! It was lots of fun.

When I got home I became obsessed with trying to get a good photo of my eyelashes with my cell phone. This resulted in many cross-eyed, wall-eyed, fish-eyed, and crazy-eyed photos.

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Chad found this whole spectacle highly amusing.

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After the Lash Bash party on Sunday afternoon, I picked up the boys and we ran all over north Pinellas County. We went to Old Navy to get hoodies for the boys and went into Barnes & Noble. Mack talked me into buying this book for him, although it is not for children and probably has inappropriate content.

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After our errands the boys and I went to Chipotle for dinner.

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This is probably my favorite Whole30 restaurant meal ever. It is a carnitas salad with salsa and guac (double meat).

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No sugar, no grains! The carnitas (pork) is the only meat at Chipotle that is not cooked in soybean oil. So good.

On Monday I volunteered at Mack’s school. Here’s my OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day)..GIF alert:

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Yes, that’s a very summery dress. Whatever. It still feels like summer here. Plus, you are allowed to dress like this year round in Florida. So shut up.

Homework packet preparation:

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Lunch with the sweet potato:

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My lunch, after I got home:

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Kind of sad, but yummy. Those are Applegate Farms organic hot dogs. #NSNG and whole30 compliant! At this point I really needed to do some food prep. Since I was running around all day on Sunday I didn’t have time to do it over the weekend.

Monday dinner:

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Tuesday morning I cooked a pan-full of beef bacon from U.S. Wellness Meats.

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They have all kinds of high-quality meat products, but they are pretty pricey. They also have a seven pound minimum order, so when I did order from them I got a variety of items. I had never had beef bacon before. It’s very different from pork bacon, but not bad.

Tuesday breakfast:

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The boys seemed to like the beef bacon more than me, especially Mack. I still have half of a package to cook, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again. Give me pork bacon!

Tuesday night for dinner I made another recipe out of Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed.

Moroccan Meatballs:

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This was so amazingly delicious.

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I even had it for breakfast on Wednesday (yesterday):

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It rained and rained and rained on Tuesday and Wednesday. I thought the house might float away.

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Our pool overflowed on its lower side. That’s one continuous plain of water across the lower pool deck and the pool. It wasn’t threatening the house, though, which is a couple of feet above that. We are actually at a very high point in the county now and not in a flood zone at all, so the chances of our house ever flooding are pretty slim. Of course the whole county could be under water if “the big one” ever hits.

Last night, in my apparent quest to make everything in the Well Fed cookbook, I made “The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat.”

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The recipe is here and that link includes the recipe for the delicious Moroccan dipping sauce that I drizzled over the chicken and my sweet potatoes.

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For the record, this was the second time in a week that my kids had Brussels sprouts and liked them (here I steamed them then sautéed them in a little bit of ghee with garlic salt). Winning.

Finally the sun came out this morning so Mack and Chewie and I walked to school.

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His school has a “walking school bus”.

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Love it. Other than having to cross two relatively busy streets, I am really growing to like our new walk-to-school route.

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Breakfast this morning included Moroccan meatballs once again and leftover Brussels sprouts.

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I know that my breakfasts are elaborate and beautiful. That’s why I love to photograph them. And eat them. I still have one serving of meatballs left and I’m going to kill them at lunch. That recipe is so good. We got a family dinner (not including Chad) and two breakfasts and two lunches for me out of it.

Now my stomach is growling. Need to go warm up some meatballs.

Cya.

p.s. Is it obvious that I have jumped on board the “No Sugar, No Grains” bandwagon big time? Here’s one reason why. This guy did a 21 day experiment eating 5,000 calories a day on a high fat, low carb diet. His weight stayed fairly stable and his waist got smaller! Now he’s doing to the same experiment on a low fat, high carb diet (eating many processed foods, very much like the SAD…fitting acronym for the Standard American Diet). He’s on day 9 and has gained over 7 pounds!

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I am following his experiment daily. So fascinating. Check out the Smash the Fat Facebook Page here to find out more. In January he plans to do the experiment with a high carb, low fat diet but eating only natural carbs and no processed foods.

Basically I feel like my world has been turned upside down with regards to nutrition knowledge since I did the Whole30 the first time. Fat is good. Grains are bad. Even whole grains. Sugar is the devil. It is inflammatory and inflammation is the root of all evil. As far as cholesterol goes, I’m being re-educated in that regard too thanks to Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and The Great Cholesterol Myth by Sinatra and Bowden. The scales have fallen from my eyes.

What I did on my summer break: Part 3, July

September 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Yes, I’m still doing this. Part 4 will be the last one (August). Blogging is hard, ya’ll. I’m thinking of maybe doing a “blog every day” challenge for myself in October to really try to get back in the habit. I was wrong about July having less photos, however. This will be much, much too long. Just skip this one, as fascinating as it may be. I’m sorry if it locked up your computer trying to load.

Stuff that happened in July (not necessarily in the order in which it happened):

I finally got the dining room cleaned out enough that we could have our first family meal in there together.

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We had a Fourth of July party at our house.

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I hosted a girls night in.

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My friend Paula gave me this adorable dolphin wind chime as a housewarming gift:

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My neighbors have a gorgeous house with a gorgeous pool and cabana. After describing it to my friends they had to climb our barbecue grill and check it out for themselves.

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My neighbors totally busted them and were looking out the window at the ladies spying on them. I guess they weren’t offended because they have still been nice to me.

The boys and I went to Linger Lodge with our friends Ali and Molly.

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Do not visit Linger Lodge if you hate taxidermy.

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We went to the beach with a bunch of friends, stopping at a bait store first to buy Mack a new net.

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Around the house, we finally got the blinds installed in the living room.

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I made curtains for our living room window. This is probably my largest sewing project to date. I am very proud of these curtains.

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I had the grout and tile in our kitchen professionally cleaned, and they did an amazing job (Groutworks…highly recommend). Before being cleaned, this grout was a dark grey color and the tile was also dark grey in all of it’s textured spots. It’s over 20 years old but it honestly looks brand new now.

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Chad had the pool table refurbished. Chewie supervised.

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I’m kind of obsessed with these GIFs that Google+ automatically creates when you take several photos of a similar scene.

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I did a bunch of antiquing and shopping for the house and had fun decorating.

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The house continues to be a work in progress but the living room is now my favorite room and where I hang out most of the time.

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We had a couple of swim meets.

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I finally decided to sign up for Gwynnie Bee. It’s like Netflix for clothes (sizes 10 and up). Check it out. Tell them I sent you.

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The boys and I went to the Cool Art Show at the coliseum (wearing a Gwynnie Bee dress).

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We got to meet Mark Noll, the artist who did Chewie’s portrait, in person. He was displaying some of his amazing carvings and sculpture. Why didn’t I take a photo of that? Click here to see more of his work.

The boys went to Eckerd College All Sports camp.

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They got their free Slurpees on 7/11.

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Cal went to sleep-away camp for a week with his buddies.

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We got Mack registered at his new school. When we moved we changed elementary school districts. Cal’s school program is a county-wide magnet, so he didn’t have to change schools.

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The boys and I had a little photo shoot at Coffee Pot Bayou park.

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I had a fun night out with my friend Ali. We started off with sushi at Ichiban.

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Then we hit up Beaks Old Florida for a drink. Don’t forget to always check in on Yelp.

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Finally we went to a fashion show at ARTpool. This time it was Trashion Fashion, where all of the ensembles were created from upcycled materials. My friend Charlotte (of Charlotte Smiled) and her daughter were both artists and models at this show.

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Good job ladies!

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The models were all spread out throughout ARTpool giving us a preview of the show.

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Ali’s daughter had a dress that she created on display in the store.

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Of course we had VIP tickets…

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with seats right at the end of the runway. That’s how we roll.

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And now wayyyyy too many photos from the fashion show. Start speed-scrolling now.

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Charlotte and her daughter take the runway…

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There were so many artists at this show! It went on quite a long while. Just keep scrolling.

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Whew. And that wasn’t even all of them! It was a great show. Afterwards we hung out in the ARTpool courtyard for a while.

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Fun night.

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Holy cow. That took forever. Here’s hoping that I didn’t take so many photos in August.

Cya.