Week In Review – Stopping the Self-Sabotage


38cd1d317a7fd04f55d424d60951525d Yesterday, I buckled Hayden in his carseat and headed out at 8 am to tackle some things I had been putting off for far too long. For just over a year now, I had been driving around with an expired driver’s license, so our first stop was the DMV. I was terrified to find out what my fine would be, and even worse, how long we would be stuck there. But there ended up being zero fine, and we were there for just under an hour, and in that time I took a test, got my picture taken and even completed the eye exam. I was feeling so ambitious, proud of what I had conquered by 9:30 am, that we drove deeper into the OC to finally pick up Hayden’s official birth certificate from the County Clerk’s office. By 10:30 we were already on our way to swim lessons, shiny new birth certificate in hand.

Why had I been putting these things off for so long I wondered? Especially considering if I had been pulled over with that expired license, my car would have been impounded and I’d have to pay a hefty ticket. It’s a move no functioning adult should have really pulled, and yet I look back over the past year and countless times I’ve put myself in these situations of self-sabotage. Failing to meet deadlines on silly things, from paying a bill to responding to an email. Silly not because they weren’t important, but because they’re things that aren’t nearly as big of a deal as I’d made them out to be in my head.

My health issues in the grand scheme of things were and are pretty minor, but they were enough to knock me off my game for the past year, and made life seem way more overwhelming than it really was. Yesterday’s accomplishments were a step in the right direction, lifting huge weights off my shoulders, and reminding myself that tasks aren’t big scary obstacles, but just that, tasks to be done and checked off the list. My period of self-sabotaging myself is over. I’m moving forward, so this is me shrugging it off, shaking it up, and damn it feels good. Happy weekend folks!

My Newsletter Is Alive & Kicking!

I launched my newsletter a couple of weeks ago, but the second issue has the kinks worked out and in it I share my first real life meal plan just for newsletter subscribers. You can see past issues here (of which there are only 2, so you’ll catch up real quick), and subscribe to the newsletter here, which is super easy!

Great links around the web:

How One Weird Trick Conquered the Internet – c’mon admit it, you’ve been tempted to click on those link, haven’t you? I know I have!

Gwyneth Paltrow Is on Food Stamps This Week. Stop Making Fun of Her. I think the title says it all.

7 Things Good Mothers Do That I’m Not Going To Do Anymore. #5 is my favorite.

Young Women’s Hearts Are At Risk. I already linked to this article in my last post for Rainbow Juice, but it’s worth relinking here.

Skip the Crunches, Here’s How To Really Work You’re Core. Happy to see the program I’m doing, MuTu, mentioned in here! Promise to have an update for you on that soon, btw!

Currently Reading:

Just finished The The Paying Guests, and I was so not ready for the twists and turns that book took! Definitely worth a read!

Now reading One Plus One by Jojo Moyes and it’s so great, can’t put it down, in fact gonna go read it right when I’m done here!

Current Obsessions:

My Arizona Birkenstocks and my faux leather fringe purse are going everywhere with me these days.

Beautycounter Tint Skin & Retractable brush are my jam, may never wear another foundation again.

Fresh Pressed Rainbow Juice


rainbow-juice-4 I recently read an article in the NY Times about the importance of cardiovascular health for women, and that the hearts of young women are especially at risk. And while many women fear cancer, more women in the United States die from heart attacks or strokes, than all cancers combined. I couldn’t help but think of my own grandma Mildred, who had an excessive fear of cancer, referring to it only as “the big C” but in the end, it was a heart attack that killed her.  My what a morbid way to start off such a pretty post! rainbow-juice I bring up that article, because all day yesterday after reading it, I kept going back to how simple the basic tenants of health really are, if we have just a bit of knowledge and of course the right resources. The major takeaways from that article was to 1. eat plenty of fruit and vegetables 2. stay active 3. get plenty of sleep and 4. stress less and laugh more. Pretty simple and basic principles, right? I always appreciate articles like this not for their doom and gloom, but for this simple reminder of the basics. While in the food & wellness world, debates may go back and forth between  the benefits of a vegan versus Paleo diet or yoga versus Pilates, in the real world, many still struggle to just eat enough fruits & veggies and find time to exercise. IMG_4775 Things have gotten weird in the food & wellness world the last few months, and now more than ever it seems people are skeptical of some of the over the top health claims key players are making. I don’t blame them, not only because some of the claims are suspect, but also because it’s near impossible to eat a saintly diet day in and day out, especially if you have a family and you don’t live in a bubble. So what is one to do? My groundbreaking advice is to just do the best you can.
IMG_4786 Fruit and vegetable juices like this one here won’t cure all that ails you; it won’t eliminate cancer and I’m not sure it can even really “detox” you, whatever that truly means. But it can help you get your daily dose of recommended fruits and veggies in one sitting, bringing with it all those wonderful vitamins, minerals and antioxidant power. It can help with digestion, and if you’ve ever enjoyed yourself a few servings of beets, you’ll know that all on your own, without the benefit of a peer reviewed scientific study. Although if you do like scientific evidence, I’ll have you know that several studies, including one conducted at a fancy place like Harvard, has confirmed that the biggest payoff from eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is for the heart. That’s right friends, fruits and veggies can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. While there may not be concrete scientific evidence that juicing your veggies are inherently better than just eating them straight away, there’s no doubt that juicing (and blending) help the average person increase their normal daily intake of fruits and veggies, since the average person isn’t sitting around eating several beets and carrots, handfuls of spinach and sticks upon endless sticks of cucumbers and celery.
rainbow-juice-6 Now, if you asked me to decide between juicing and blending, I couldn’t do it. Both have their own individual great tastes and health benefits, and on different days I crave different things. On days where I’m rushed and also feeling hungry, I go for a smoothie as a quick way to get nutrients and proteins, since I can add in wonderful things like hemp seeds, a complete protein, hydrating coconut water, and maybe even protein powder if I’m heading into a workout. Because smoothies include the pulp and therefore fiber, you’re bound to feel more full drinking a smoothie than a juice. Clean up is also much easier

However, on days where I have a bit more time and I need a little zing, I’ll go for a juice because nothing beats the refreshing taste of fresh pressed apples, spinach and any other wonderful things I have hanging around my produce drawer. Because the pulp, and therefore fiber, is extracted, some claim it allows for 100% nutrient absorption. Science is iffy on that statement, so I’ll withhold judgement on that topic, but without a doubt you’re still getting all the wonderful benefits of consuming all those fruits and veggies in its most raw form.

rainbow-juice-2 So speaking of raw fruits and veggies, here’s the point in the post where I’d be remiss to not mention that too much of a good thing can be true when it comes to consuming fresh pressed juices and even smoothies. Consuming too many raw dark leafy greens can pose a risk for those with a history of kidney stones, and even those with thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism should be careful, all thanks to the oxalates found in cruciferous veggies. My friend Linda over at The Organic Kitchen had a recent bout with kidney stones thanks to too many oxalate rich foods. Take note that for most, the benefits of consuming all these wonderfully oxalate rich foods far outweigh the negatives, but for some you may want to be careful as to not consume raw juices and/or smoothies on a daily basis. If you’re not used to consuming a lot of fruits and veggies, especially raw, you may also notice a bit of digestive trouble, so scale back. But I’ve been juicing consistently now for almost two years, and it has done wonders for my bowels, and even my endocrinologist didn’t think I need be worried about scaling back on my dark leafy greens.  rainbow-juice-3 So I guess that’s enough blabbering from me. This juice is awesome, tastes fantastic, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is just plain gorgeous. I ended up shaking mine all up after I took these pictures, but if you’d like to create the same rainbow effect at home, make sure you leave some pulp in your orange juice so it’s “heavier” and then strain your beet juice if need be to make it “lighter.” Pour in your orange juice first, then slowly add in your beet, and watch the two magically float on top of each other. Then add in your green juice on top, and grow sad that you can’t create the same cool layering effect with the green juice, and then get over it. Shake or stir, drink and enjoy! This here is one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time, a great blend of sweet and earthy, the starch from the beets also helps it to seem a bit more filling than a straight green juice made up of lots of water.

Toasting you in good health and balanced living! Enjoy.


Rainbow Juice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This flavorful fruit and vegetable juice is packed with vitamins and minerals and tastes fantastic!
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 2 8 ounce glasses
  • 2 small beets or 1 large beet
  • 2 small oranges or 1 medium sized orange, any variety
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • ½ English cucumber
  • 1 small apple
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  1. Wash and prep all fruits and vegetables, making sure to peel the beets and orange, and core the apple. No need to peel the apple or cucumber. Cut up to fit in your juicer, and prepare each juice separately if you'd like to achieve the rainbow effect, or combine all ingredients together to create a single juice. Strain if necessary, and serve chilled.


Daily Style – Peplum Empire


IMG_4714 Peplum empire top – Anthropologie, Fishing line pants – Anthropologie, Fringe bag – Nordstrom for $28(!), Shoes – old ShoeMint but similar here & here, Lip color – Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Twig
IMG_4716 You may have caught notice on Instagram that it was my birthday this past Friday, and I entered my last year in my thirties. I whined quite a bit about this turn of events, and proclaimed how old I felt several times throughout the weekend, and it got to the point that my sweet husband very kindly told me to shut up. While I know age is just a number and blah blah blah, and I do in fact feel like life is just really getting started, I also can’t help but notice the subtleties of age creeping in. Too much wine affects my sleep, too late of a night renders me useless the next day, I wake with back aches that need to be worked out with some “morning stretching” and each day more and more gray hairs seem to pop up. When added up, they don’t really mean much, I know this, but they are just reminders that I am of course aging. And even as I type this out, it all sounds so ridiculous, I know. So ridiculous in fact that I’m just going to stop right here and move on.

I may have been busy feeling sorry for myself on Friday, I did however, manage to find some time to partake in a little retail therapy. On Friday morning I woke to the loveliest email from Anthropologie, titled “A gift for you!” My mother and mother in law had both bought me gift certificates, so I carted all three kids down to the mall, shoved some electronic devices in their hands and browsed for as long as they allowed. An hour later, I had scoured the store and tried on about 30 pieces, leaving with these 2 favorites, and a couple more which I’ll share later.

I made sure to try on these pants with several different tops to make ensure they’d work with things I already had in my wardrobe. I did the same for the blouse, pairing it back to boyfriend jeans, shorts and even a wide leather belt. Both looked fabulous and I left there feeling giddy. The blouse will especially be in heavy rotation, as I love a crisp white blouse. This one though feels both dressy and casual at the same time, making it perfect for just about any occasion. Seriously, if you want a great white blouse to add to your wardrobe, this one is PERFECT in all sorts of ways.

I wore this outfit exactly as styled to my birthday dinner Friday night, and got compliments all around. I can’t remember the last time I shopped full price at Anthropologie, usually I only allow myself to scour the sale racks, but it was a fun indulgence considering my birthday discount and gift certificates, and I can’t wait to wear these pieces in many different ways in the year ahead. Here’s to birthday indulgences, and feeling great at any age. The more I say it, the more I’ll believe it ha!
IMG_4710 IMG_4721 IMG_4724 IMG_4730 IMG_4747 IMG_4756

Food Processor vs Blender, Which One Is Better?


FTLO-44 The question has been raised  many times on Instagram, as to whether a Vitamix, or some other type of powerful blender like a Blendtec, can truly replace several other gadgets in your kitchen, including a juicer and Cuisinart food processor. With some fussing and straining, you can sorta get the same juice experience with a blender as you can with an actual juicer, but after many attempts, my verdict is that a blender can in no way replace the awesomeness of a food processor. Here’s my verdict on the food processor vs blender conundrum.

I didn’t start religiously using a food processor until very recently, and after my first experience using one I quickly begged the question, “How did I live without one for so long?!” I have a pretty basic Cuisinart and it has proven itself so useful that it secured itself a permanent place on the kitchen counter.

Here are just a few ways I use my Cuisinart food processor on a weekly basis:

  • Shredding a block of cheese for taco night or lasagna (block cheese is cheaper than shredded so I usually skip on the pre-shredded packages unless I’m in a real hurry, and go for the block instead).
  • Slicing potatoes for potato nachos or to make baked sweet potato fries.
  • Shredding raw veggies like beets and carrots for beautiful and colorful, salad bar worthy salads.
  • Chopping up veggies for braises.
  • Chopping up cauliflower to make cauliflower rice.
  • Grinding nuts, nut butters and dates to make everything from cashew cream to macaroon balls.
  • I could go on but I’ll stop now.

slicing-in-the-food-processor The slicing blade makes quick work of slicing veggies into thin slices, not paper thin like a mandolin, but much thinner and more consistent than you’d be able to slicing on your own. shreddiing-in-the-food-processor The shredding disc allows you to shred just about any fruit or veggie, and even cheese. I love raw beet shreds for salad toppings by the way. making-cauliflower-rice-in-the-food-processor And of course the standard chopping blade is what will quickly chop up any number of foods and make quick purees as well.

So you see, I use my food processor a lot. And I’ve gotten so accustomed to using it that I make quick work of the set up and clean up, and usually just throw all the parts in the dishwasher on the top rack for easy clean up. In fact a couple of weeks back when my mom was over to help prep our St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I encouraged her to use the food processor to shred the cabbage, instead of shredding it by hand with the damn cheese grater. She was stubborn and refused, saying it would lead to more clean up. Well, 25 minutes later when she was still shredding cabbage by hand, I pointed out to her that she could have had the cabbage shredded and the processor cleaned up by now. She shot me daggers.

How does this all relate to a blender you ask? Well, one of the main selling points that the charismatic Vitamix dude at Costco sold me on, was that this powerful blender could do the work of several other kitchen appliances, including a food processor. Having never used a food processor before, I naively believed him, and $500 poorer, took my Vitamix home. It wasn’t until I visited a friend and actually got to see a food processor in action, that I realized I had been sold a bill of goods. FTLO-84 FTLO-86

The Vitamix can indeed chop and puree things very well, but it cannot slice or shred. And unless what you’re pureeing is of a somewhat liquid consistency, it does a very inefficient job. You see, a good portion of what you puree, from dips to gooey power balls, gets trapped in the bottom of the Vitamix and is extremely hard to get out from between the blades, especially since the bottom is not removable.  You will find yourself wasting many precious minutes in the kitchen trying to scrape out every last bit while avoiding the sharp blades. FTLO-87

As you can see, you have to wedge your hand in the bottom there and try to scoop out as much as possible from between the blades, but a good amount inevitably gets left behind. This isn’t only annoying and a waste of time, but costly, especially when you’re using high priced ingredients like organic raw cashews. With a food processor, you can easily scrape the bowl clean and get out every precious last crumb.

I love my Vitamix and don’t have a single regret with my purchase. I just wish I would have known that it wasn’t as “all-purpose” as it’s often made out to be. I also wish some cookbooks, including It’s All Good, would stop implying that a “high power blender” can do the job of a food processor just as well. I continually read recipes instruct cooks to make everything from nut butters to dense dips in a blender, when they should really be made in a food processor. For smoothies, pureed soups and even frozen desserts, it does an incredible job, but its longevity stops there. Trying to use it for sticky, gooey, dense jobs in the kitchen will waste your time and leave you frustrated.

Bottom line, if you’re an avid cook, you probably already have a food processor and know the full extent of its usefulness in the kitchen. But if you’re like me and are still fine tuning your home cooking skills and looking to expand your kitchen tools, you may be wondering what you should buy first, or if you can skip the food processor and just buy the fancy blender.

My answer is, you’ll eventually want both, and what comes first is up to you.

If you have a growing family and they all enjoy smoothies on an almost daily basis, by all means go with the Vitamix. You can sneak in an unusually high amount of healthy veggies in a smoothie made in a Vitamix because it blends everything up so well.

If you don’t think you’ll make smoothies more than once or twice a week, but cook almost every day, then go with the food processor.

I hope this helps, and clears up any questions about which appliance is more useful. In our house, they’re both very useful, but they each have their own separate, unique purpose.


Daily Style – Scarf Print Maxi


IMG_4281 Dress – Eliza J via Nordstrom, Wedges – old ShoeMint but similarly cute and affordable pairs here and here, Ruffle Leather Clutch – old St. John

IMG_4291 IMG_4329 IMG_4324 IMG_4277 IMG_4302 I picked up this dress a few weeks back, knowing I’d get a ton of wear out of it over the spring and summer months, and I broke it in for Easter Sunday. It makes a bold statement and moves in the prettiest of ways, especially when you’re standing in a wind tunnel like the photos above. While it may appear to just be another ol’ maxi dress, the defined waist, flowy skirt and cut-in top make it really flattering on as well. While I was originally afraid it may be a lot of fabric for warmer days, I quickly found out yesterday that it breathes really well and in fact, I had to change into something warmer when we got home from church. I love the heck out of this dress and I’ll surely be wearing it quite a bit in the coming months ahead.

Hoping you all had a wonderful Easter weekend, whether you celebrate it or not. We hosted brunch for my family and I shared most of the menu on Instagram, including the cutest strawberry shortcake desserts for the kids, and a grapefruit sage mimosa for the grown ups. Have a good week friends!

Finding Success on Instagram


Growing-a-successful-Instagram-Account-2 It’s almost the two year anniversary of the inception of Gwyneth Made Me Do It, and it’s strange to think I started the account on a silly whim, never thinking it would grow to what it has become. Sure, at close to 14,000 followers, I’m nowhere near the chart topping success of many other accounts which feature everything from cute dogs to hot workout girls, but for a side project that was mainly tongue in cheek from the very beginning, I’m proud of the success and opportunities I’ve found through it.

But what exactly are the gauges of success for the various forms of social media? I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but a few of the notable ways I’ve defined success for myself and the growth of Gwyneth Made Me Do It, are as follows:

  • Engaged and genuine following: for the most part, I can post on almost any particular subject in the scope of food and wellness, and I can expect genuine interaction from those who follow along. I can ask a question, pose an alternate point of view, or even question the relevance of certain issues, and I’m blown away by the great feedback and true sense of community that certain discussions can invoke. Conversely, I sometimes wonder why certain subjects, like baby carrots, can get folks so riled up, but in the end, it’s all good and it’s the most important mark of success I can recite. Also, when the great Instagram rapture occurred a few months back, I lost about 30 followers, whereas some lost thousands, therefore my follows were real and genuine.
  • Employment opportunities: alternately, we can label this category “financial” success, but bottom line, through the early success and growth of GMMDI, I was able to secure steady and consistent work (my Babble column), as well as land a few freelance and sponsored opps. For some, this would be the number 1 gauge of success, but among the hundreds of thousands of IG food accounts, I believe my engaged following is what helped set me apart from the very beginning, eventually leading to some sort of financial success.
  • Positive influence: Many of the changes in my own life have undoubtedly been a result of the upkeep of the account, since in some strange way, it has held me accountable. I often said in that first year of changing our eating habits, if I wasn’t sort of “documenting” it for all to see, I may have reverted into our old ways long, long ago. Alternately, I know through many emails and comments left on the over 2000 posts now, that the account and some of the things I post has helped make a positive change in other people’s lives as well. This is pretty freaking gratifying, and is another priceless measurement of success. IMG_1854

So now that you are familiar with how I define success for myself, let’s talk a bit about how I got here. In the beginning, I had no expectations for this account, and never set out to make it “popular” or even surpass the following of my existing account (which it did in just a couple of months), so I wasn’t too focused on creating the “perfect shot” or pining after followers. I literally just posted our journey and the inevitable ups and downs that came along with overhauling our whole family’s diet. I was brutally honest and humble, and from the get go, it seemed to work. People appreciated my honesty and alternate voice in the all too often perfect world of healthy eating. So let me lay out a few bullet points for you, in no particular order of importance.

  • Be honest, open and humble. While this approach may not work for every niche out there, for instance getting really raw and honest about a pair of jeans just seems silly, but when it comes to food and the incredible importance it plays in our lives and culture, it worked. I posted plenty of recipe fails, but also posted about the genuine successes I experienced, where the family unexpectedly loved a super healthy meal or when I physically felt better shortly after changing my diet. It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, so I think our success stories were then more believable. Don’t try to be perfect, don’t attest to knowing it all, and don’t apply a glossy filter to everything, hiding the fails and mess, only to let the perfectness shine through. I think the current catch phrase that’s become sorely overused is, “be authentic.”
  • Have an opinion. Being opinionated on everything gets tiresome for you and the reader, but on key subjects, it’s important to stand for something, or as the saying goes, fall for everything. Speaking your mind and inviting discussion and even criticism, allows your followers to get to know you better, and in turn allows your posts to get some pretty engaging commentary going. While it’s vital that this interaction and engagement be truly genuine, as a positive aside, it’s also worth noting that the more people who interact on your post thread, the more likely your account is to get noticed in the “following” activity section. I always notice a nice bump in followers after I post on an engaging or even controversial topic that elicits a lot of interaction.
  • Do your research and offer your knowledge. There’s a lot of confusing subject matters out there, but none so overwhelming as how to feed your family right. People get bogged down in the conflicting nature of online reporting and the minutia of healthy eating. I know because I was in the same exact boat. Thanks in part to a paying job which allowed me to spend a bit more time on the subject, I did a lot of research from the very beginning, and then regurgitated my findings to my followers, something many appreciated a lot, a lot 😉 I never claimed to be an expert and in many areas I’m still a novice and would never feel comfortable guiding people down a certain path, but in many, many areas of health and nutrition, the information is out there for the taking and is relatively easy to understand, if you just take the time to dig around. My followers appreciated that in many areas, I had done the leg work for them.
  • Be a voice of reason, not of extremism. There are a lot of bloggers and Instagrammers out there that will freak you the hell out and make you scared to eat just about everything you haven’t grown, harvested and made yourself. Fortunately for my family, I’m not one of those people. Again, it’s been one of the things most noted that my followers appreciate about my account.
  • Keep it fresh and always try new things. My account would get pretty stale if I always made the same 5 meals week after week, so in order to keep it fresh and engaging, I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and techniques to try, new avenues to explore.
  • Post genuine product feedback. You want your audience to trust you, so with that in mind, be careful and considerate when posting product reviews. Be upfront when the post is sponsored or if you were gifted it so the readers know the distinction, and only post products you either purchase yourself and truly love, or would use regardless of receiving it for free. Trust is key here.
  • Be consistent about something so you can be known for something. Yes, my account is a food account, but in the last few months one new addition that has helped my audience grow, is my daily lunch posts. Now, when other people ask for kid’s lunch ideas or accounts to follow for healthy school lunches, my account is often referred. Pick one or two things that set may set you apart in a sea of millions of users.
  • Offer something of value. Whether it be quick and easy recipes or mini DIY tutorials or tips on styling your hair or great beauty products, don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with your followers right there on your account. If you are a blogger or sell a product, the end goal is to get people to your site or blog, but by offering valuable information right there on IG, you create a reason and almost a need for followers to keep on following, and for new followers to find you, especially when you give followers a reason to tag you on posts. Of course you don’t want to only post your best content directly on IG, you still want to give them a reason to come to your site, but offering tidbits of info in the convenient form of IG, you keep followers engaged and attract new ones.
  • But what about pictures??? Yes, beautiful pictures are a definite plus, but realize that they aren’t everything. Don’t be afraid to post an ugly picture every now and then if it tells an important story or is an important piece of your journey. But overall, you do want to focus on posting decent looking pictures, the prettier the better. But this isn’t really a post about how to take and style the perfect Instagram (because I’m far from the expert IG’er),  rather a study in the many other factors that play into Instagram success that allow your pictures, pretty or not, to stand out among the rest.
  • Get familiar with and use hashtags, but don’t live and breathe by them. At least 70% of the time I don’t post a grouping of keyword hashtags in my pictures, and it’s something I could definitely improve on, yet I’ve still experienced a modicum of success despite my laziness. With that being said though, they do help so post them as often as you can, or as often as you remember to.
  • Timing and frequency matter. I notice the most engagement when I post in the evening, as folks are winding down and scrolling through their phone. I’ve never gotten too caught up in collecting likes, but if that sort of thing is important to you, then late afternoons and evenings are prime time for IG, just like Facebook. Weekend are hit and miss for me, but Saturday mornings always do pretty well. And whether you track number of likes or not, it is important to note that timing and likes is an indication of how many active eyes you have on your posts, and the more active eyes you have, the better chance those eyes will transfer to your blog post or website. Frequency is important too, and I try to not post more than 3-4 times throughout the day, unless I’m at a really key event that I know my followers are interested in, or I have something really important to share.

So that’s about all I have to say on the matter of Instagram. Again, I’m not claiming to be some outrageously huge IG success, but I think I’ve done pretty well considering the account was a complete departure from what I had been writing about for years (DIY and personal style). While some of my bits of advice were specific to food writing, I hope much of the information is practical enough it can crossover and be meaningful in a wide range of niches. Please let me know if you have any questions! Peace out and happy gramming!


Daily Style – Light Spring Layers


IMG_4165 Jacket – Trouve via Nordstrom; Camisole – Nordstrom; Dark Wash Skinnies – Paige Denim; Shoes – ShoeMint (old); Clutch – St. John (old)

I picked up this lightweight layering jacket before I headed to Expo West, with the intent of wearing it to interview Tyler Florence at Expo West. At the last minute though, I changed into this vest combo with the best tank ever, knowing from experience that the convention center gets HOT with 50,000+ people inside, so I didn’t want to have to worry about messing up this jacket by lugging it around in my bag all day. The vest look worked out great and I felt perfectly dressed for the weather and the occasion. But I couldn’t let go of this little jacket, loving the color, lightweight feel of it, and of course the asymmetrical detail. IMG_4163  I originally went in with the intent of trying on this oversized moto jacket, but when the salesgirl showed me this option, I loved it much more because it was cheaper and it just fit better. You can zip it up and the lines get straight and even, but I’m loving the diagonal look lately, as last seen here and here. IMG_4185

IMG_4186  It works great to a lightweight cami, but I’ve also worn it over a simple shift dress to go to church, although the kids said I looked like I was very professional that way. Definitely not a bad thing, making this a great option for work wear because of its versatility.


And I’m still loving my Paige jeans. I hadn’t really invested in a new pair of higher end denim since well before Hayden was born, wanting to wait till I was steady at my post-baby body. Feeling good and happy about where I’m out, so I decided now was the time to invest in a pair that would stand up to multiple wears and washings. I love my LOFT jeans, but I wanted a really dark rich rinse, and I also wanted a quality pair that wouldn’t bag and stretch out after just a couple of wears. So far these are fitting the bill perfectly and I’ve been wearing them a ton of different ways. I think it may be time to update one of my most popular posts and do a new review on Skinny Jeans for Women?

Happy Monday all, and hoping your weekend was wonderful!


Leek, White Bean & Tuna Spring Salad


leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad7 We have Taylor to thank for this salad. Last week when she made this dinner, she added it to the menu at the last minute and it may have been my favorite part of the whole meal, I loved it so much I practically licked the bowl clean. The original recipe is from The Silver Spoon for Children cookbook, and I adapted it just a bit because the only thing lacking in this salad were some salty kalamata olives, which I remedied with this version.
leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad2 What I love most about this cookbook is the use of simple yet ingenious techniques that children can fully complete, which yield great results. Case in point being the way the dressing comes together; by rubbing the salad bowl in garlic, then adding the olive oil to the bottom along with the pine nuts, and then adding all other ingredients on top. So simple, yet something I had never thought of.  leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad4 Another great technique they have the kids use is for de-seeding tomatoes. Simple cut in half and scoop out with a teaspoon. I’ve been using that great little tip everyday since learning it; and to think I’ve taken several fancy cooking classes and never once learned to de-seed a tomato that way.
leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad5 Raw leeks may seem like an odd addition for a child friendly salad, but I can assure you they’re on the super mild side, and are much less pungent than standard onions, and even small green onions. They really add an unexpected hint of sweetness. leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad9 Once all your ingredients are placed in the bowl, you simply squeeze your lemon juice on top, and then toss to combine. Believe it or not, but you definitely get a hint of garlic. leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad The leeks add the prettiest bit of interest to the plate when tossed and separated all about, almost like teeny tiny onion rings. And the tuna is an easy and affordable way to add in protein, allowing this salad main dish status when eating in its entirety, or serves as a satisfying appetizer when divided into smaller portions.   leek-white-bean-and-tuna-spring-salad8 I couldn’t think of a tastier way to welcome the arrival of Spring, and the wonderful bounty we have to look forward to in the coming months. Enjoy, and as always, please let me know if you give this a try. Print out the recipe below.

Leek, White Bean & Tuna Spring Salad
Prep time
Total time
A refreshing yet satisfying salad to welcome in Spring. Adapted from The Silver Spoon for Children cookbook
Recipe type: Appetiser
Serves: 1-2
  • 1 small head of baby lettuce like bib or green leaf, shredded
  • 1 small leek, thinly sliced white part only
  • 1 can of tuna packed in water, drained and broken in chunks
  • 1 Roma tomato de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cannelini beans or great northern beans
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½-1 lemon, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rub garlic all along sides and bottom of salad bowl.
  2. Pour olive oil and pine nuts in bottom of salad bowl and toss to combine
  3. Place all other ingredients in the salad bowl, and squeeze lemon juice on top, and toss to combine.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.


Daily Style – Vested Interest


IMG_0624 Vest – Halogen from Nordstrom; Tank – Free People from Nordstrom; Jeans – Paige Denim; Booties – Sole Society; Clutch – DIY by me

I’ve loved the look of vests ever since I was in junior high and Molly Ringwald wore one in half the scenes of Pretty In Pink. I had a whole collection of them back then, most of them oversized menswear vests I thrifted from the local Salvation Army. Now, only a couple of basic vests in pinstripe and black linen hang in my closet, so I was thrilled to find this updated longer basic black vest to add to my collection.

The longer length and simple lapel collar make it a classic that will remain in style, even when vests themselves seem to go in and out of fashion. The fabric is dark and rich, and works well back to a simple pair of black denim. While it would look good back to a simple collared blouse for office wear, I love it as is with the tank, or also a simple white tee.  IMG_0617




You probably recognize the tank as the one I’ve been going on and on about. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve worn it almost nonstop for the past two weeks. Nordstrom also had it on sale for 20% off this past weekend, so I picked it up in army green and black. That’s me giving you fare warning that you’ll be seeing a lot more of this tank in the upcoming months.

It does have a slight racerback, so I don’t like wearing it with a regular bra with wider straps. Worn with a thin strapped bralette though, and it looks fine and the stripes don’t bother me. But that racerback, along with the cut in arms and high neck are what make it so flattering, especially in the arm and shoulder area. And the trapeze style which flares at the waist also makes it a lot more forging in the midsection area. With a permanent mom pooch, I always hate super tight tanks that just accentuate that area, so this one is perfect in that it just floats right over the tummy.   IMG_0656

IMG_0678 Hoping you all had a wonderful weekend and are gearing up for a good week ahead. This is our  last week of school before our 2 week spring break, and we all can’t wait! Have a great week all. XO



Week In Review – Must Have Tank & Weekly Meal Plan


2A6A1177-copy                                               photo credit Wildflowers Blog

It’s been a good and busy week around here, and between a Jason Mraz concert, a trip to see Cinderella at the El Capitan theater, and two St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in a row, I’m pooped. The good news though is my Calm PRT and TravaCor supplement routine each night has been helping me sleep better than I have in awhile, and my new coffee shop writing routine is helping me be the most productive I’ve been in quite some time. So I may be tired, but I have some solid work and a few good times with family and friends to show for it, so I’ll take it.

We’re looking forward to our school’s fundraiser night, where the theme is diamonds and denim. I think I much preferred last year’s 80’s theme, and think I’ll skip on the cowboy boots. What are you all up to this weekend? How was your week? I hope it was good, and if not, I hope it looks up just in time for the weekend. Have a good one y’all, and I’ll leave you with some good little morsels of this and that.

Current Obsessions:

Trust me, this Free People Long Beach tank is the tank you’ll want to wear all day everyday, and for $20, you can pick it up in a few different colors. IMG_1790

We went on a double date with my friend Mary and her husband, and she was carrying the most adorable fringe crossbody purse from Nordstrom. Turns out it’s another winner from the Brass Plum department and although currently sold out at my local store and online, it’s coming back in stock the first week of April, so place an order and soon you’ll be the owner of this stupendously cute $28 purse.

Hey oh Kate Spade Saturday is really getting down to brass tacks and everything is now 50% off (and final sale). There’s still some letters of the alphabet left in that cute initial sweatshirt.

Currently In the Kitchen:

I made my own gummies yesterday and I can’t get over how dang easy they were to make! I ordered the Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin (buy the red, not the green, as the green doesn’t gel up), and it arrived in the mail Thursday afternoon at about 3:30. By 4 pm I had already made a batch of perfectly gelled up heart shaped orange gummies. The recipe couldn’t be easier: 10 tbsp citrus juice of some kind – orange, lemon, grapefruit + 3 tbsp honey + 3 tbsp Great Lakes gelatin. Whisk together in a small sauce pan on low heat until combined. Pour into molds and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove from the molds and enjoy. Store in an airtight container/bag in the fridge. Taylor and I were already discussing future flavor combinations and I’m planning on buying all of the cute molds on Amazon, including this Lego Building Bricks and Minifigure Mold set.homemade-gummies (buy the red, not the green, as the green doesn’t gel up), and it arrived in the mail Thursday afternoon at about 3:30. By 4 pm I had already made a batch of perfectly gelled up heart shaped orange gummies. The recipe couldn’t be easier: 10 tbsp citrus juice of some kind – orange, lemon, grapefruit + 3 tbsp honey + 3 tbsp Great Lakes gelatin. Whisk together in a small sauce pan on low heat until combined. Pour into molds and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove from the molds and enjoy. Store in an airtight container/bag in the fridge. Taylor and I were already discussing future flavor combinations and I’m planning on buying all of the cute molds on Amazon, including this Lego Building Bricks and Minifigure Mold set.

After all that gummy making we’ll surely do this weekend, I’m thinking this grapefruit sage mimosa will be a nice way to unwind.

Current Good Reads:

Diet doesn’t cure disease, and it’s irresponsible to say otherwise. All the yeses. Diet can help manage disease, but it does not cure terminal diseases like cancer or autoimmune diseases like T1 diabetes. Essential oils don’t cure diseases either, but surely you’ve gotta know that someone suggested to my friend Sara that she may want to consider using some to help cure her son of T1D. SMH.

I have to admit I have become freakishly transfixed by this crazy mess that is Belle Gibson, and my only consolation for not feeling like a complete moron for buying into her bullshit lies (I purchased the app, said a prayer for her when she was diagnosed with multiple cancers), is that without question, the geniuses at Apple did too. How the hell did this happen though? Is it because she was young and pretty? This piece brings up some good points, and as an aside, doesn’t even touch on the whole “lying about charitable donations” part of the story too, which is almost as disturbing as “lying about having cancer.”

Annoyed with the recent changes in your Pinterest feed and all the “picked for you” pins automatically populating your feed? Here’s a great article from Cool Mom Picks with tips on how to fix your feed.

Do you have any of these 12 Empowering Children’s Books on your little girls bookshelf?

Speaking of good kids books, the reviews on Wonder are off the charts. Any of your children read it yet?

Finally finished All the Light We Cannot See and I give it a 4 stars. Did you read it?

Oh! I finally joined goodreads and I’m still figuring out how it all works. Any suggestions on navigating that place and my email subscriptions? So far I’ve made friends with a few contacts I didn’t know I had on my contact list and I got a weird email that said some strange liked my friendship??? What is that all about?!?

FTLO-7 Our meal plan for the week looked something like this:

Monday: Homemade corned beef & traditional colecannon, an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Recipe for corned beef is from America’s Test Kitchen. 

Tuesday: Baked potato bar with lots of good fixings including leftover corned beef, turkey bacon, steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and cabbage, chili, cheddar cheese, sour cream and sauerkraut, plus a simple garden salad. 

Wednesday: Leftover baked potatoes, steamed broccoli on the side and Aidell’s chicken apple sausages.

Thursday: Meatloaf, leftover colecannon and steamed green beans. Basic meatloaf recipe from the Joy of Cooking.

Friday: Seafood kabobs with cod & shrimp, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, $1 oysters from Whole Foods and some simple steamed rice. Seafood kabob recipe via The Silver Spoon for Children, although no real recipe required, just slide on the seafood & veggies, brush with olive oil, lemon & salt and pepper, and grill up.

Saturday: Order in pizza or Chinese food for the kids; it’s our school’s fundraiser

Sunday: Chicken risotto with kale & mushrooms, plus a simple garden salad. Recipe is from Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh

For lunch, I of course ate this salad about three times over. 

You can see what the kids ate for lunch each day by following the #GMMDILunches tag on Instagram, and of course by following me on Instagram.