2.25.2015

Whole30 // My Results!

whole30-1
Hi friends! It's been a while, hmm? I took some time over the past couple weeks to recharge and get things in order in other areas of my life, and unfortunately with that, blogging was put on the back burner. Breaks can be a good thing, though, and now I am back feeling refreshed with new ideas! I have a few life updates and adventures to share, but first I want to share something I've been meaning to for over a week now: my Whole30 results!
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So, as most of you know, in January I took the leap and committed to doing a round of Whole30. I was definitely nervous and unsure if I was going to be able to actually stick to a strict eating plan for 30 days. After doing a lot of research though, I decided I was ready and made the commitment to myself that I would complete the program with no cheating, slip-ups, or excuses. I am proud to say that my official 30 days ended on February 13th and that I kept that promise to myself! (You can read my starting Whole30 post here & my halfway check-in post here)

For those of you who don't know what Whole30 is, it is a 30 day eating program that is designed to change your relationship with food and give you loads of health benefits, such as better sleep, more energy, and weight loss! You strip your diet of things like dairy, legumes, grains, soy, and added sugar of any kind. Instead, you eat simple, whole foods; You get your nutrition through 3 large meals filled with meat protein or eggs, loads of veggies, some fruit, and healthy fats from good oils, nuts, and avocados. Those are just the basics of the program, but I really encourage you to check out the Whole30 site to make a bit more sense of it if you are interested!
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I don't even know where to begin to describe what it is like to be on the other side of my first Whole30! I am feeling great! I have been sleeping better, I don't wake up groggy anymore, I believe my skin is more radiant, pains I had have completely gone away, I am more alert and clear headed, I have loads more energy, and my body definitely made some noticeable physical changes.

Most evenings and weekends, Dai would want us to go for a long walk with Marly, but I would usually drag my heels about it because I wasn't feeling up for it. Now, I have the energy to take walks whenever we want and we have been walking multiple miles at a time. I feel like a new person!

Going back to physical changes, I thought I would share some before and after photos, even though it can be totally embarrassing to put myself out there like that! BUT, I think it is important to see the changes that occurred in just 30 days and to show what the Whole30 program is really capable of! So, here it goes...
whole30-4-2 Can you see the difference? I definitely can! And I feel it too! Overall, I lost 9 pounds and several inches from throughout my body. I am definitely less bloated looking and I feel a lot slimmer.
whole30-5- I didn't think that there would be much of a difference with the before and after of the back view, but I was really pleasantly surprised to see that things are much more "smoothed" out.

Isn't it kind of crazy what just 30 days can do? Sure, it isn't always easy to stick to a program like this, but is it doable? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Is it worth it? OF COURSE!

I strongly believe that anyone can be successful with Whole30 if they make the committment to themselves. Really, if I can do it, anyone can do it. Before Whole30, I was that girl that would grab a handful of cookies on my way out the door in the morning because I was too l-a-z-y to figure out something actually nutritious to take with me or plan the time to eat breakfast. Of course, I am a pretty busy girl and am constantly on the go, but there are no excuses for fueling my body with such junk! These days, my meals do require a bit more planning and prepping, but it is definitely worth it knowing that I am doing something good for myself. You are what you eat!

Honestly, there is so much I could say about Whole30 and I could shout from rooftops my love for it. The program claims to change lives, and I am definitely a believer in that now because it is changing my life. I want to keep going and keep changing my body for the better. I want to give it the good stuff it needs, and do my best to avoid the bad things. I want everyone to do Whole30 and will talk your ear off about it if you let me. I am even already planning my next round of it, which I may turn into a Whole60! (Maybe some of you would be interested in doing 30 days together???)

There is still a lot of work to be done for me to get my body to where I would like it to be, but so far I have been loving this journey and hope that I can maybe be an inspiration to some of you who are wanting to embark on their own journey!


2.10.2015

Adventures with Leah

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You know what the best thing about blogging is? Getting to meet wonderful people in real life because one day they commented on your post or you theirs, and a friendship was born. Like, that is truly what makes me happiest about this crazy blogging thing! On Saturday, I had the pleasure of officially meeting Leah in person. When I learned that she was going to be moving to the Bay Area, I was thrilled! I didn't have a single blogging friend who lived here, which was a real bummer. But now, that has all changed and I am really happy about it! leah-2
We met at a little breakfast place I had never been to in the Excelsior neighborhood, and spent the entire time catching up learning new things about each other. She is almost exactly how I pictured her! She is tall, well spoken, funny, and all around a really sweet person with a great sense of style. We were able to bond over having Japanese guys in our lives, growing up in CA, and blogging of course!
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After breakfast, we headed to Noe Valley to get some fresh juice (you know, Whole30 "dessert") and walk around the neighborhood there. I had seen the Fresh Juicery shops around the city, but had never actually purchased anything before. I got a nice citrus juice, which was pretty refreshing. I used to think that I could do a juice cleanse/fast, but I knocked that crazy out of my head real fast. Plus, I'm more of a smoothie gal anyway!leah-4
I had never been to this part of the city before, so it was really nice to get to explore someplace new with Leah! It was a pretty bustling Saturday morning around these parts, with dogs and babies with their humans everywhere. The streets were cutely lined with unique shops and restaurants, and a pretty dress or two definitely caught my eye. Despite the awful parking situation, I will for sure be coming back here for a coffee date and a bit of shopping in the near future!leah-5
One thing that is also great about Leah is that we both have a love for photography. We don't bore each other by talking about cameras, lenses, and the like. Plus, we don't have to feel awkward whipping out our cameras at any time! It is also always nice when you have a friend that can take good photos for you, like the one above that Leah snapped for me.

All in all, like I said before, I'm happy to have a blogging friend who lives nearby and that I can do things with as often as we'd like! It is always nice to have another gal pal to spend time with. We also just discovered that we are both The Bachelor fans, so who knows what kind of craziness we will get into with that ;)

Here's to blogging friendships, the most beautiful thing to come out of this community!

Be sure to check out Leah's post about our morning together to see her lovely photos as well!


2.06.2015

Happy Weekend // Life + Links

happy-weekend
Happy Friday!! I love weekends so much. They are the best. Lucky for me, my weekends basically start Friday morning. You wouldn't believe how windy and rainy it has been all morning. I can hear it howling and zipping so loudly, which makes me not look forward to driving to work this afternoon. Despite the grey weather, it has been a mellow, yet somewhat productive morning. I did some blog reading, showered, got ready, took an online quiz for school, ordered some things I needed online, wrote some e-mails, and here I am with a little time to blog before I head to work.

This post has no specific purpose or point, other than to share things that have been on my mind or been going on in life and some things I have been loving around the internet :)

Random things:
+ I'm making plans for Valentine's Day! I never really cared much about Valentine's Day until being with Dai. He just makes me feel special and loved and I will take any holiday to celebrate that. I think we have decided that he will handle the plans second portion of the day and I will handle the first. I can't say too much about my plans just in case he reads this, but I will share our day here after :)

+ I've been trying to have the TV on less. Whenever I am home, I always have it on just for background noise so I don't feel alone, and while it can be entertaining, it can also sometimes be distracting. Instead, I've been trying to just turn on music and play it through my awesome Mini Jambox that Dai got me for my birthday! It sounds amazing and is also much more calming than the TV. Plus, I feel like I can really get things done with music on and like I haven't been wasting time as each TV show ends.

+ I've been considering cutting my hair and this post is such nice inspiration! I love this short, wavy style, but am not so sure I could pull it off. Hair is hard, guys.

+ I'm really excited to be meeting for the first time/having breakfast with Leah tomorrow now that she lives in the Bay Area! I don't have many girl friends around, so it will be nice to have another one to do things with and get some girl time in. As I've gotten a bit older, I have really started to appreciate friendships with other girls more and feel the need for them in my life. Blogging has actually really sparked that in me I think!

+ I LOVE this article about Shalyn + Drew Nelson. They are seriously the most adorable, funniest, crazy-in-love couple I know of. That's the life dream, I tell you.

+ I'm still on the hunt for an additional job, but I do have an interview with a family for a morning nanny/family assistant position, so wish me luck!

+ I really want to make this fresh mint iced coffee when I'm done with Whole30! It looks amaaazing!

+ Truth moment: our artificial Christmas tree is still up. Yep, you read that correctly. I bought the display tree from Target, but it didn't come with a box. We have been putting off figuring out what to do with it, so it is just standing there in the living room, naked. I'm thinking about decorating it for Valentine's Day though, because at this point what is one more week?

+ This list of ways to spend Valentine's Day at home is so great! Chelsea has some nice ideas.

+ Since the weather is pretty crazy, we are planning to make these Whole30 nachos (YUMMY!) and get all cuddled up on the couch to watch The Interview on Netflix. Isn't it kind of funny how it was released on Netflix so quickly after all the controversy about it? I guess we just have to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about.

+ This DIY almond milk made in a French press is brilliant! I've been missing almond milk since being on Whole30, but don't really want to buy any at the store because it is hard to find ones that are 100% compliant. Off to Amazon to order a French press!

+ I've been having fun crafting together a 2014 scrapbook. Creating a modern scrapbook has been on my to-do list for literally months. It will be so nice to have little memories from throughout the year all in one place to look at. I'm starting with a 2014 book, but then want to start an ongoing book of our travels! I think I will just keep adding "volumes" to that theme. We have so many photos from New York, Japan, Seattle, and more that are just sitting on my computer,  waiting to be printed. I think I will also try to tackle 2015 by making pages every month so I don't have to do it all at the end of the year!

Well, I'm off to work now! Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies!


2.05.2015

What's In My Bag

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Seeing what is in a gal's purse is kind of like taking a peek into their condensed, portable bedroom. I personally always love getting to see what someone carries in their bag because I guess I am just nosy the curious type! So, I thought I would share what is in my bag, for those other curious types out there ;) Plus, isn't talking about purses and things in them such a girly thing to do that only other girls would understand why it is fun? I thought so, too :)whats-in-my-bag-1 whats-in-my-bag-2
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Here's what's in my bag:
+ Kate Spade wallet - Totally love my Tiffany blue wallet. It is the perfect size & adds a girly pop of color!
+ Keys - You know, not gonna get far without those babies... I definitely often lose track of them though!
+ iPhone 5s - My lifeline!
+ Ray Ban sunglasses - For those sunny CA days! These are by far my most favorite sunglasses I have ever owned.
+ Flashlight - For when I'm walking to my car or house at night, just to be on the safe side.
+ Purse Hook - I love how this hooks onto a table & holds my purse so I don't have to put it on the floor or hold it on my lap!
+ Lots of Lipgloss - I constantly misplaces these, but they somehow all end up in my purse. More choices at least! I love the Stila twist ones.
+ 3 Types of Lip balm - I'm rather indecisive. I've always loved Burt's Bees, but recently got a lovely Sugar Rosé tinted lip balm for Christmas & Dai got me my first EOS egg thing the other day.
+ Book - I've been trying to read more, so I keep a book with me all the time!
+ Loose Change - It always ends up floating around at the bottom until I dig it out & put it in a jar.
+ Lucky Brand Gift Card - This somehow never made it into my wallet, but was just thrown in my bag. Oops!
+ Money Budgeting Envelopes - I've been using envelopes lately to keep track of my money & it has been going pretty well!
+ Target Receipt - From a trip to the store the other night! One of those things that just float around.

What are must-haves in your bag?


2.04.2015

Whole 30 // Pineapple Chicken Bake

recipe, whole30, clean eating, DIY, little city adventures
Today I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from one of my best blogging friends, Abby of Little City Adventures. She is a wife and new mama, and happens to be awesome in the kitchen. I thought she would be the perfect person to share inspiration for a Whole30 approved recipe! Enjoy!
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Hello! I'm Abby, blogger and creator of Little City Adventures, a lifestyle blog about motherhood, food, daily life, and my favorite spots in Lancaster & Lititz, Pennsylvania. I've shared a recipe on Foreign Room in the past and Jess and I have collaborated a few times as well. And we have become great blogging buddies which inspired us to start Blog Buddies Network, a private Facebook group for female bloggers to support each other and meet up in real life! 

I was so excited when Jess texted me and asked me to create a recipe to go along with her Whole30 challenge. I think it's an awesome challenge and I'm proud of her for sticking to it! Once my family and I are settled into our new home I would like to do something similar, providing I can convince my husband to participate as well (ha). 
recipe, whole30, clean eating, DIY, little city adventuresJess sent me a long text listing all of the guidelines for Whole30 and said she was looking for a creative recipe, since she said she felt like she was basically making the same thing for dinner every night. So I started thinking.

Which I do sometimes.

And decided that I wanted to make a dish that was versatile but full of flavor and easy to make. I chose chicken as the protein in the dish as it tends to be cheaper than other meats and I happen to have a nice stock of frozen chicken in my freezer at the moment. Let's be honest, the latter is the real reason that I used it in the dish. To keep the chicken moist and to add lots of flavor I decided to make a tropical-ish dish by baking it with pineapple. Delicious. I packed in few of my favorite bright ingredients and created what I think is a fun and yummy dish.

The best part...

You can eat this as is for a low calorie, Whole30 approved meal or you could go crazy and serve it over rice or stuffed in a tortilla with some sour cream and cheese. You could even get really crazy and rub some taco seasoning on the chicken before baking. There are endless possibilities with this dish, which is kind of the best part.
recipe, whole30, clean eating, DIY, little city adventures
recipe, whole30, clean eating, DIY, little city adventures
Pineapple Chicken Bake
Yields: 2-4 servings      Prep Time: 15 minutes     Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:
+ 2 chicken breasts
+ olive oil
+ sea salt 
+ freshly cracked pepper
+ 1 Vidalia (sweet) onion, sliced into rings
+ 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
+ 1 red bell pepper, diced
+ 1 orange bell pepper, diced
+ 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare an 8 or 9 inch baking dish by drizzle olive oil on the bottom.

2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on both of the chicken breasts and then rub with sea salt and pepper.

3. Toss all of the ingredients in the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with parchment paper*, tucking it inside the dish so no edges are sticking out. Bake for 20 minutes. 

4. After 20 minutes, remove the parchment paper and toss the ingredients. Place the dish back into the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. 

*the parchment paper helps keep the moisture in the chicken

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I hope you enjoy this Whole30-friendly recipe! If you cook it up or put your own spin on it, share it using #littlecitykitchen so that I can see it too. And thanks Jess, for thinking of me to share on your blog, it's always a pleasure to work with you. See you guys soon!

Abby
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2.03.2015

Outfit // More Like Spring

outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry
We are already a full month into the new year, but this is actually my first outfit post of 2015! I definitely enjoy putting together and brainstorming style posts, but things have been feeling a bit "blah" lately when it comes to my wardrobe. I think winter can do that to a girl. Although, I would say that I'm pretty lucky because it has been starting to feel more like spring in California. I know--it's only the beginning of February! We don't really like the cold much here haha. Dai, Marly, and I even went on a 3 mile hike next to the beach on Saturday, and you would have thought it were a clear, sunny day in May, rather than January. I'll take it :)outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry
I think I will have to take apart my wardrobe and do my best to create new outfits to get myself out of my style rut, but for now I have been loving this coral top I got majorly on sale (less than $10!) at Express a few weeks ago. Coral has and probably forever will be one of my favorite colors, and a color that I think looks particularly nice on me. When I put on this color, I instantly feel brighter and happier. It is a nice little pick me up and I'm happy to add a new piece in this color to my wardrobe!
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2014 was a year of building up a small collection of statement necklaces, and this multicolor one has been my most recent favorite addition! Like my new shirt, I also got this necklace majorly on sale from Francesca's. I have always admired the jewelry from Francesca's, but never wanted to spend the money on any of their pretty necklaces. When I went shopping with my aunt recently and saw this one on sale for only $9, I knew I had to have it! I love that it is multiple shades of pink and yellow and really goes with so much. The shape is also very feminine and delicate.outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry
I'm still here, lovin' my Kate Spade bag. How I lived so long without here, I do not know. I practically treat this special bag like my little baby haha just ask Dai. But for real, I am so happy I snagged this baby up when I did! And I am glad that I went with something black and classy.outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry
I'm really not much of a heel wearer in my day to day life and tend to only pull them out for very special occasions, but these Mary Jane wedges I got in the fall from Cathy Jean have been a game changer! They are so lovely and simple, yet comfortable and go with so much! They look great with my retro/vintage dresses and can also easily be paired with my favorite jeans to step up my look a bit.outfit, style, ootd, express, cathy jean, francesca's, jewelry
One thing I forgot to mention is how I have been starting to feel better in some of my clothes since starting Whole30. I definitely notice things feeling looser on me, and that is great motivation to keep going! I'm hoping that by Valentines Day, the day after my Whole30 officially "ends," I'll be able to fit into one of my favorite dresses that I've actually never fit into. I got it on sale at Anthro over a year and a half ago and it wouldn't quite zip up, but I just had to have it. It was only $20, so I told myself that I would work on being able to fit into it to justify buying a dress that didn't actually fit me. So, hopefully I will be able to pull it out on Valentine's Day and it will fit me so I can celebrate my Whole30 in it with a Valentine's date with my Dai :)

What do you do when you are in a style rut? Have you ever bought something that didn't fit you as motivation?

I hope everyone is having a great week so far! I've just been working, going to school, looking for an additional job, and sticking to Whole30! It should be a pretty good rest of the week :)


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Top // Express
Cardigan // Old Navy
Jeans // Lucky Brand
Shoes // Cathy Jean
Bag // Kate Spade
Necklace // Francesca's
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2.02.2015

New Month // February Goals

february-goals
A new month has arrived once again! Believe it or not, January actually felt quite long. I have a feeling, though, that this month is going to fly by! Besides already being shorter than the rest, there are a lot of things going on for me. I will be finishing my first round of Whole30, celebrating Valentine's Day with my love, and going out of town for the weekend with friends! It is definitely going to be a great month filled with fun and a bit of relaxation :)

Though it will be a busy, shorter month, I still have some goals I would like to achieve!

+ Make good use of my extra time.
I am blessed this semester with only having to take one class, which means I have a lot of free time. It is definitely nice, but I need to make sure I am making the most of that time and am using it to develop other areas of my life. I have found that I am a bit slow to get started with things in the morning, so I need to be more disciplined and have a plan going in to each day.

+ Read two books.
I don't know how many times I have made reading a book a monthly goal and how many times it has never been accomplished. Sigh. I absolutely love reading, but I always tend to turn to other things when I have a few moments that I could spend reading. I am going to commit myself to reading two books this month though and make sure that it actually happens! I'm thinking of making it a routine to end my evening with reading before bed :)

+ Finish Whole30!
Woohoo! February 13th is my official "last day" of Whole30, although I am really not sure yet what my plan is beyond that. I don't want to un-do all of the hard work I have put in! I can notice my body feeling and looking better, so I don't want to ruin that. Regardless, I will celebrate my 30 day mark in some way and am committed to finishing strong!

+ Find an extra job.
Since I have all this free time during the week and I live on my own, I would really like to find an additional job to make some extra money. It is expensive to live here in the Bay Area and while I am getting by, I would like to have some more income to be able to put money away into savings and to not have to live on such a tight budget. Send some happy thoughts my way regarding this!

+ Take more photos.
Photography is one of my biggest passions in life, yet I have found that I haven't been taking very many photos lately. I always feel so great and fulfilled when I am fueling this creative part of me, so it is time to make it a priority and be more intentional about it. I'm hoping to have a photo adventure soon! Anyone want to join me?

Do you have any goals for February?

Happy new month, friends!