WHOLE 30: The Next 30 Days

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

Happy New Year, everyone! Clearly I am late to this post, but I think better late than never! David and I had an amazing, quiet, and wonderful holiday season in Dallas. I was planning on getting some great posts up and running on the blog while I took some time off during New Years but God had other plans. Our internet was out ALL week! I mean really though, what did we do before the internet? I took it as a sign that I needed to focus my attention on other things, but I am SO glad we finally have internet (I mean a week without Apple TV, horrible).

I really debated on whether or not I wanted to write this post because I think food, diet, and wellness really is such a person choice, but I have had such a positive experience and discovering the Whole 30 has really changed my life that I couldn’t NOT share it with you all. Like so many people, I over indulged during the holidays and was definitely ready to press the reset button come New Years Day. So I decided to embark on my first TRUE Whole 30 (I have tried and completed 2 other fake Whole 30s were I did not give up alcohol, but I can’t count those because its not really true to the program)

To give some background The Whole 30 is a program where you eliminate all the processed food and chemicals from your diet, you also eliminate alcohol, sugar (not natural sugars, but refined sugars), dairy, legumes, and grains, its a more strict version of the Paleo diet. Your body learns to stop getting its energy from refined carbohydrates and sugar and start finding energy in fat (the natural source of energy our body is suppose to run on) The whole process, dos and don’ts are in the book It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. 

Whole30 and It Starts With Food is really about how food plays an HUGE role to our health; obesity and inflammation that lead to other serious illnesses. But also how the food we eat can effect other conditions like asthma, allergies, eczema, and other skin disorders. The whole idea is that the food we choose should promote a healthy hormonal response in the body. The book explains why it is so difficult to give up certain foods, why we feel cravings, and how the Whole30 can help you live a craving free life with a truly healthy mindset on food.

In this post I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the Whole30, I just really want to share this experience! So far the experience has been nothing but positive and I have nothing but wonderful things to say. I have more energy, I feel better, and my relationship with food as come a LONG way. I of course will be sharing more about this crazy adventure in the next 30 days!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

HOLIDAY: Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas to all! I hope your day is filled with love, happiness, great food, and even better memories. December is my busiest time of year, at work and of course at home getting ready for the holidays. I planned out my Christmas preparations so that yesterday (I had the day off work) and really  had no errands to run or gifts to wrap. I spent the day relaxing, primping for mine and David’s Christmas Eve dinner out, and really reflecting on the amazing blessings God has brought in to my life this past year. I’m grateful to get another chance to celebrate all of God’s goodness in my life and in the world. This year has been full of so many ups, downs, and everything in between. I got married and learned the joy of sharing my life fully and completely with my best friend. I mourned the loss of a beautiful and fierce soul who I am lucky to call my Grandma. We created new traditions in our newlywed home, and carried out old ones. I embraced, and many times clung to God’s endless and bountiful grace. I will keep it short and sweet today, but I really am grateful to have so much to celebrate this Christmas. May we find new ways to adore this life, and new ways to honor God’s love for us this Christmas.

 

HAPPY HOUR: Tequila Toddy

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This past weekend I was down and out with a huge cold. Thankfully I had little to do and a sweet husband that made me Hot Toddy’s every night. About 2 years ago I discovered The Hot Toddy and I wrote this great post about my Hot Toddy essentials. Why it took me so long to discover this amazing drink I have no idea? My husband would probably answer this question by saying ‘because you never try anything new’ and he would be so right. Thursday night we went out to dinner for my dear Mother In Law’s birthday at Clark Food and Wine on Lower Greenville. It was amazing food but what stood out to me (with my cold and all) were the cocktails. The bartender made me 2 different toddies! The first a twist on the traditional, spiked with jalapeño agave syrup (to wake up the sinuses) and a lemon tequila toddy! I mean I was blown away, who knew that so many warm alcoholic drinks could be made! Here is a great little recipe from The Kitchn Seven Days, Seven Hot Toddies: Part 1 project!

Tequila Hot Toddy

serves 1

1 teaspoon honey
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole anise star
1 1/2 ounce reposado tequila
1/2 cup boiling water
Slice of lime

Add honey and spices to the bottom of a heat-proof snifter or mug. Add the boiling water and then tequila. Squeeze the lime, drop it in, and stir until the honey is melted.

I just love these Hot Toddy Diagram mugs (set of 2 for $30) from Uncommon Goods

I just love these Hot Toddy Diagram mugs (set of 2 for $30) from Uncommon Goods

In case you're in the mood to get crazy, try this guide to mixing and matching your own Toddy recipe.

In case you’re in the mood to get crazy, try this guide to mixing and matching your own Toddy recipe.

 

HOLIDAY: Artifact Uprising

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If you know me, you really know how much I love photos. Out house is covered in them, from canvas prints, framed photos, to fridge magnets. Our latest edition is a hanging ornament engraved with ‘2015’ and a photo of David and me on our wedding day. That is why I love finding websites who make super high quality photo products, and I was so glad when my friend recommended I check out Artifact Uprising. I do love that all sorts of ways to print and share your photos have come about in the last few years, but for me simplicity is best. I am not a huge fan of overly done picture books with wacky themes, and that is why I fell in love with Artifact Uprising. Their layouts and products are simple, beautiful, and really let the photos be the focus. For our one year anniversary I gave David a photo book from Artifact Uprising, and not only did he really love it but it was such good quality I know it will be a keepsake for years to come. Coming from design school, I am really weirdly particular about paper. Their paper quality is seriously to die for!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

So of course the Holiday season is upon us, and there is no doubt that I have wedding photos burning a hole in my hard drive. I have been itching to do our holiday card, and of course I am turning to Artifact Uprising. Here are some of my favorite cards from their site as well as a great holiday deal for all my readers.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

I'm dying at their 3-for-1 cards where you can actually detach the photo!

I’m dying at their 3-for-1 cards where you can actually detach the photo! Because of course my favorite part of a holiday card is the photo, but no one can keep their Christmas cards up year round!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

I am so excited to share a great deal with you all! Use the code LOVELETTERS at checkout to get 10% off your order today!

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

HOLIDAY: Give Thanks

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 I think gratitude makes the world a more beautiful place, and what is better than a holiday about gratitude and amazing food. Life could not get any better! I always love the tradition of going around the table to express what everyone is thankful for that year. This year I really have so much to be thankful for. Of course I am thankful for my friends and family, and their continued love and support.

 I am thankful to be a newly wed. We have learned so much about each other in the six months we have been married, and I am so excited to see what our journey together will be. I think the beauty of being a newly wed is that there really is so much potential, so much love, and so much learning still to do.

 I am so thankful for my journey with health and fitness this year. I have always worked out here or there but I have never really committed to a fitness journey until this year. I started off by wanting to get in shape and feel great for my wedding and it has turned in to this huge passion of mine. I’m so grateful to have found motivation and inspiration to lead a healthier life.

I am thankful for this blog. I’m grateful for the time I took away, and I am grateful that people are still interested when I came back! I love keeping a living document of my life, hopes, dreams, and inspiration. It has been such a fun experiment and I can’t wait to see what is to come.

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving, full of family, football, and good food!

WEDDING WEDNESDAY: Getting Ready

For me, preparing for a special occasion is just as fun as the actual event itself. There is the anticipation of what is to come, the joy of the moment, and the thrill of the unexpected. I am so excited to share some of my favorite photos of David and I getting ready for our walk down the aisle. I love candid wedding shots and we chose our wedding photographer based on his ability to snap amazing candids and moments you wouldn’t normally capture on film. These photos are really an intimate portrayal of all of us getting ready, the love, tears, happiness, and excitement. Trust me there was plenty of all of that! Our wedding was at the end of May, a normally dry and hot time in Dallas, TX. This past year there were torrential rains that flooded so many parts of Texas! When we booked the outdoor venue I was worried about having brown grass at our outdoor Texas wedding, and come our wedding weekend we were both worried about where the wedding would actually take place! Thankfully the wedding venue (The Belmont Hotel) had a perfect back up spot and we had an amazing team of people helping pull off our big day. So many unexpected things happened that weekend, torrential down pours and leaking patio roofs, that I literally sat in my wedding coordinators office at 8am the morning of our wedding and re-planned the whole event! Remaining calm in crisis really was a characteristic I never knew I had (and I can’t say I really want to test again!). Prepping for our big day was really almost as fun as the event itself, even with all of the craziness. Our wedding day really was a testimony to marriage, you have to expect the unexpected and remain calm, it will all be okay. I hope you all enjoy all of your Thanksgiving preparations today and a special look at our wedding photos.

LOVE LETTERS TO HOME.

REINCARNATION: Breakfast In Bed Essentials

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If you know me at all, you know that I love spending time snuggled in bed. I will read books in bed, eat dinner in bed, watch football games in bed, its just my comfort place and definitely my most favorite piece of furniture in our home! David plays golf on Saturdays and I usually work out and run errands and we meet up for drinks and dinner. Its a great tradition and gives us both a little “me” time and something great to look forward to that night. I do have to say that I never really mind when my Saturday morning ritual is changed (usually due to bad golfing weather) and we are able to do a breakfast in bed! Its just the all time luxury (for me at least, hey! I am a simple girl to please) Here are some of my favorite home good times for the perfect breakfast in bed!

First you have to start off with the basics, some great lounge wear. (I only say lounge wear because this implies you can wear it all day long, and I encourage this!) This is my new favorite site to day dream about Plum Pretty Sugar. This is their Shortie Set in Darling Jardin Bleu for $52. They also sell those amazing eye masks for $12! I just love a good match-match outfit!

First you have to start off with the basics, some great lounge wear. (I only say lounge wear because this implies you can wear it all day long, and I encourage this!) This is my new favorite site to day dream about Plum Pretty Sugar. This is their Shortie Set in Darling Jardin Bleu for $52. They also sell those amazing eye masks for $12! I just love a good match-match outfit!

 

You have to be able to carry all the essentials to your room, so this Threshold Acadia Bed Tray is perfect, and rustically adorable for only $34.99

You have to be able to carry all the essentials to your room, so this Threshold Acadia Bed Tray is perfect, and rustically adorable for only $34.99

David and I are coffee lovers and we really do love our french press, This amazing little Le Creuset french press is only sale at William Sonoma for $65 (we may need to upgrade soon because it is just too cute!)

David and I are coffee lovers and we really do love our french press, This amazing little Le Creuset french press is only sale at William Sonoma for $65 (we may need to upgrade soon because it is just too cute!)

To avoid coffee spillage (which I am notorious for) use these amazing little Anthropologie Travel mugs for only $20.

To avoid coffee spillage (which I am notorious for) use these amazing little Anthropologie Travel mugs for only $20.

I mean I love all of these items, but these might be on the top of my wish list! The UGG Women’s SCUFFETTE II on the UGG official website for only $85. You have to have the proper slippers to keep your toes warm from kitchen to the bedroom!

Last but not least, an amazing candle (so your room doesn't end up smelling like bacon all day) This is our newest bedroom scent (yes each room in my house has a different scent, don't get me started on great smells) White Barn Eucalyptus Mint smells so fresh and deep I just love it! Try their 3 wick candles that are now on sale 2 for $24 (originally each $22.50)

Last but not least, an amazing candle (so your room doesn’t end up smelling like bacon all day) This is our newest bedroom scent (yes each room in my house has a different scent, don’t get me started on great smells) White Barn Eucalyptus Mint smells so fresh and deep I just love it! Try their 3 wick candles that are now on sale 2 for $24 (originally each $22.50)