Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alanna & Josh | Engagements | The Welcome Center | Lutcher, LA

A couple weeks ago, I headed out to Lutcher, Louisiana to do an engagement shoot for Alanna. Alanna was a student at Aveda while I was working there, and i always loved her great attitude & fun personality. She is a pretty cool chic! She also does great hair. ;)

Alanna is getting married this Saturday evening! So excited for her. She and her fiance have a son, who is ADORABLE... i took a few family shots as well.

We took the pics at Lutcher Welcome Center....after they closed. We kind of snuck in. Yep, we actually had to step over (or under) a gate to get in. Haha! (I probably would have been too chicken to do this, if not for the fact that Alanna's fiance is a fireman in Lutcher, and knows the cops, so he wasn't really worried about them catching us!)

It was supposed to rain all day, but we were just determined not to cancel. The sky was full of thunderclouds on my way to meet them.  But once i got there, it cleared up & it was the perfect lighting for pics!

I fell in love with the place. I would love to keep doing shoots there, but it's almost an hour away. Not too far, but not likely to be a first choice of my clients, unless they live there!

Here are a few of the pics from that day!


Congrats, Alanna & Josh! :)

Whole30: Days 17 & 18

Okay, so I am still on track! Just didn't get to blog it last night.

Day 17 (yesterday): 

Breakfast: 2 eggs

Lunch: Chicken breast & oven roasted broccoli (but i could only eat half of it! Score! Lunch for tomorrow!) & a pear

Snack: an apple

Dinner: a delicious salad at The Salad Shop (quite possibly my new favorite place!). You build your own salad. Mine was romaine, boiled egg, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots & extra virgin olive oil - DELISH!)

Snack: lara bar

Day 18 (today): 
Breakfast: smoothie (spinach leaves, frozen strawberries & peaches, 1/2 banana, 1/4 apple, chia seeds & coconut milk)

Lunch: a pear & the rest of my chicken & broccoli from Day 18.

Snack: apple

Dinner: Chicken fajitas - chicken, green & red bell pepper, garlic & onion - yum!

Today was hard. I don't know why. There is a "Day 21 interlude" that goes like this, according to The Timeline: 

(Interlude) Day 21: I am so over this.
You’ve solidly settled into week three of the program at this point. Your clothes fit better; your skin is clearer; your inner awesomeness is shining through. But despite the many benefits you’re seeing, you went to bed last night dreading the thought of breakfast. You weren’t much more excited about it this morning, either. Come to think of it, you’re not thrilled with any of your meal options right now.  In fact, if Iron Chef Bobby Flay were to walk into your kitchen right now and offer to cook you any Whole30 compliant meal you wanted, you’re not even sure you could think of one. Just about anything sounds like more fun than sitting down to a big plate of Whole30 grub.  You’re loving the way your body is responding to the program, but you’re just not sure if you can make it through 9 more days. And if you see even one more egg, you are going to scream.

Somewhere in the third week of the program, serious food boredom sets in. For some folks, it gets so overwhelming that they lose their appetite altogether for a few days.

(After that they tell you to plan ahead in order to avoid this, to get some interesting recipes, etc. Clearly i didn't do that!)

Um, yeah. I mean, I'm actually okay with eggs. I got REAL sick of them in week 2, but after a short break from them, i am back loving them again. Haha. Today wasn't boredom, though. I was STARVING. (Actually now that i think about it. I was bored, too. Not one patient from 4 to 6 pm due to halloween, i guess. But i was actually truly about-to-eat-my-arm-off type of starving.) I realized it is because they asked me to take my lunch at noon, instead of my usual 1 or 1:30. By 5, i was STARVING and i don't get off til 6. And i had eaten my apple but it wasn't enough!). (Side note: My recently bought Honeycrisp apples aren't that delicious. Y'all know i have RAVED about them in the past. This recent batch i got... not as sweet. Sad-face.)

Anyway, i really really wanted a chocolate chip cookie or something from next door.  But it wasn't an actual temptation. As in, there was no way i was actually going to go get one. I've made it to day 18, y'all! I'm not quitting now!

But yeah. I am in the mood for something I shouldn't have. And i'm hungry.

Hopefully that was just the Day 21 interlude (even on Day 18 - it's still week 3!).  Hopefully tomorrow will be much better! :)

P.S. Trader Joe's opened today in Baton Rouge!!! Woohoo!! I can't wait to check it out! :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whole30: Day 16 (!!!!) & the no-reply blogger

Day 16, y'all. DAY SIXTEEN!!! I am so freaking proud of myself! Haha.

This is what "the timeline" says about Day 16 (& beyond!):

Days 16-27: Tiger Blood

Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about!
You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.

There’s not much more to say about this phase – go forth and enjoy!

Yeah!!!! :) And i have to tell you. I have kicked the cravings, I am experimenting with new delicious food, my clothes are definitely fitting better, and... yeah... I guess I am generally more awesome! Haha.

My energy today has been pretty good, I haven't felt tired or anything at all (until just now... but it is almost 10pm). But i don't know that i would say my energy is through the roof. They say that sometime during week 3 (now), your energy skyrockets, like a switch was flipped. I am waiting for that moment. I hope that moment really comes! It should be this week! ;)

And my workouts aren't stronger because i still haven't worked out. But i WILL!


Breakfast: 2 eggs

Lunch: chicken fajitas (chicken, bell pepper, onion)

Snack: apple

Snack: pecan pie lara bar (2)

Dinner: hamburger (no bun)

I definitely should've had some veggies with dinner, but i didn't and probably won't!

Other than that - i did great today!

*  *  *  *  *  * 

Now... a little bone to pick with some of you! ;) (Just kidding...kind of)

I recently took disqus off of my blog & went back to the blogger commenting system. I personally was having no problems with disqus, but discovered that a lot of people didn't like it & wouldn't even comment on it! So I decided to take it off. (Even though i don't know why they don't like disqus? All you do is put your name & email & sign in as guest if you don't have a disqus account...right?)

I haven't really minded that at all. Until now - now that I have been doing the Whole30, I am getting a lot more comments than usual. Which is great!! Only... I try to reply to the commenters & it seems like a LOT of you are no-reply bloggers. If you have commented on a post & i haven't replied to you - that is likely why!

This never ever happened with disqus because it requires you to put in an email address when you comment. (At least the way I had mine set up did.)

So i am going to need all my no-reply bloggers to fix this issue for me! The reason you want this is because when you comment on my blog & ask me a question or something, i can reply to your comment and it will go straight to your email inbox!

If you don't know if you are a no-reply blogger, than you probably are. Follow these steps to fix it.
-Go to your blogger dashboard
-Click your name in the top right corner
-Click "blogger profile"
-Click "edit profile"
-Where it says "show my email address" (left-hand side) - CHECK THAT BOX!
-Scroll to the bottom & click "save profile"

Done! :) Now that wasn't so hard, was it?! :)

And by the way - if you don't want to do this - or if you don't have a blogger account - you could leave your email address in the comment itself! I would be able to reply to you that way too.

Okay... real exciting post today. I know. ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Whole30: Day 15

This will be short & sweet, because i am ready for bed! (It's 8:30. But i am so tired!)

I have made the halfway point!!! Day 15 of the Whole30! :) 

Breakfast: eggs
Snack: apple
Lunch: a mix of ground beef, onions & cauliflower rice - yum!
Snack: a few pecans
Dinner: eggs & a smoothie (strawberry, peaches, apple, spinach leaves, chia seeds)

And that's it! My pants are really loose today, y'all! Woohoo!!

Sorry this is the shortest & most boring post ever. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Whole30: Day 14 {& my thoughts so far}

I did well today. I also prepared OODLES of food for the next week & my feet are killing me.

I may have cooked more during the last 15 days than in our entire marriage. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But definitely in the last year or two?!?! Haha.

But I'm not complaining. Yes, eating this way is harder. NOT craving-wise... you definitely get used to that part of it. I no longer really crave sugar at all. No joke. But in other ways it is harder. Meal-planning, food prep, cooking cooking cooking!

And it's more expensive, at least we think it is? Everyone says it is. But we are seeing that it seems to even out in some ways. First of all, we haven't eaten out since we started Whole30. Of course we will at some point, that is inevitable, but it won't be an every week or every weekend thing. Secondly, we are not wasting food anymore. I used to buy produce but it would just go bad because i would eat other stuff (read: JUNK) and not be in the mood for produce that you actually have to prepare. Now EVERYTHING gets eaten, which i love (i used to get SO MAD when i would realize i let yet another thing go bad!). Our grocery trips have averaged about the same as before, and I thought we were going too often because we were running out of food, but it seems it is more because i am getting meat at one store and produce at another. And random things at another. Which is another pain, but if it's more expensive to eat this way, i am going to the cheapest place that still has quality food.

The other thing that is hard is preparing food for the whole week. It's just a pain. BUT you can do it. You can. If i can, trust me, anyone can. Not because of any reason except my personality...I am a procrastinator with a capital P; i never pick out outfits the day before, i pack a suitcase the day i leave for the trip (or maybe the night before), i leave for work at the very last possible second to get me there in time. I do not want to cook and prepare meals for the week, I would rather just fly by the seat of my pants for dinner.

However, if you want to eat clean you HAVE TO PREP YOUR FOOD. You can do it the lazy way, like me (it's still preparing ahead of time but more based on what we have in the house and on recipes i find at the last minute), or you can do it the Type A way (meal plan, pick out your recipes, grocery shop, then prep your meals). But YOU HAVE TO DO IT.

I never would do something like this for that reason. Meal Planning. (And the thought of giving up sugar cold turkey for that long!) But there comes a point when you are like, "I have to do this." Where you believe in it & know that you just are going to do what it takes. I decided to do Whole30, and was so determined to do it, that the other things fell into place. If i didn't meal plan, or prep food, or start cooking eggs for breakfast, then i wouldn't be able to stick with Whole30 for all 30 days. So you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Now, I am heading into week 3. I have to tell you. For me, Week 1 was the week of sugar withdrawal, terrible headaches, zero energy, and all of that fun. Week 2, however, wasn't so bad. Some people continue all of that for Week 2. I didn't really. My cravings were gone, i have only really had headaches when i didn't eat enough protein for a meal or something, and my energy has at times been low but not TERRIBLY low like the first week.

Week 3 is supposed to be when i have energy through the rough, clearer skin, etc etc etc. By the way... my pants were falling off today. WOOT!

Anyway, enough rambling. Today's eats: 

  • breakfast: 2 eggs
  • snack: carrot cake lara bar
  • lunch: leftover cabbage rolls
  • snack: a pear
  • snack: black coffee with a little coconut milk
  • dinner: smoothie (spinach, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, banana, apple, coconut milk & chia seeds)

Whole30: Day 13

I forgot to blog what I ate yesterday. Oops!

Actually, i remembered after I had already shut down my laptop for the night. And i really didn't want to blog from my phone. So, I decided to do it today. :)

Breakfast: 2 eggs & tomato

Snack: Banana

Lunch: ??? This is why i should write it each day!

Supper: I made these. Paleo Stuffed Cabbage. OMG. DELICIOUS.  CONGRATS to me for finally making an actual paleo dish - you know, besides baked chicken/sauteed shrimp/roasted veggies. That was getting old!

Snack: apple & almond butter

Snack: Blueberry Lara Bar

And, wow. I cannot for the life of me remember what I had for lunch! I do know that i didn't have breakfast until almost 11, so maybe i only had a snack until dinner? I don't remember having an actual meal. Oops.

BUT! I didn't cheat!!! :) I can tell you that for sure! :) I am still right on track! Woohoo! Day 13 is done! I am now on Day 14, and so far so good!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Whole30: Day 12

Today was a pretty fantastic day. We were both off of work and spent the whole day together. I wore my new earrings that my friend Laura sent me. I love them so much, I didn't want to take them off!

This pic is really awkward... it didn't seem awkward on instagram... but aren't my earrings cute?!
We had some things to take care of this morning, and then we had lunch together at a new place in town called The Salad Shop. It was delish! It just opened 2 days ago, the owner is only 19 years old. He was there working hard with a huge smile on his face! I seriously wanted to hug him. I know he is thrilled with the good business he has been having. Place was busy, busy! 

Then we ran to Whole Foods for a few Whole30 friendly things that I have been wanting but couldn't find at other stores: coconut milk, almond butter, a few lara bars, bacon that doesn't have sugar haha, and cauliflower (don't ask me why i have not been able to find cauliflower lately!). And i got some flowers too. It's become a thing when we go there, because they're SO pretty but not so expensive. :)

The coconut milk is a suggestion Whole30 people make to put in your coffee instead of creamer. I am going to try it. I tasted it by itself and was pleasantly surprised, it is really pretty good! Has a natural sweetness to it. (And yes, i got the unsweetened kind.) I don't know if it will do the trick in coffee, though. May have bought it for nothing. What else would i use it for? No cereal in this house, so... i don't know. Brad tried it, and was like, "no...that'll never do!" Haha. Poor thing. He is DYING without his coffee! He said if we do a Whole30 again, he is doing Whole30 with coffee. LOL. He is just so sad without it. I'm really fine, although i do love it. But neither of us CRAVE it anymore. We just miss it, because it's more of a Saturday morning thing. :) Especially with the weather being cooler. Anyway, if he does the next Whole30 with coffee that is fine but he does NOT have permission to do it with this one! I mean, i want to see what benefits he will get from doing it their way 100%, you know? 

After that we picked up Fievel from the groomer. He was so cute and happy to see us!  But he would NOT look at me for a picture... he was too busy looking out the window. :)

The rest of today has been relaxing - editing a little tiny bit, catching up on Grey's & Parenthood, and taking a nap. Ahhhh. And i keep thinking tomorrow is Sunday, but it's Saturday! :)

So today. Day 12. So excited about that!! :) We should definitely be past the really hard part now! Although the next few days should contain LOTS of bad cravings. This is what The Timeline says about Days 12-15 (after that we are supposed to be golden): 

Days 12-15: Boundless energy! Now give me a Twinkie.

Hurray! The slump is over! Your pants fit again! Your energy levels are better than normal – you’re downright Tigger the bouncing tiger! But something weird is happening. You’re dreaming. Not crazy nightmare or strange surrealist dreams, either. Incredibly normal and realistic dreams – about donuts. Or Twinkies. Or Snickers.* In your mind, sometimes you get caught and feel guilty. Sometimes you just brazenly eat the contraband. But then, the feelings start following you into the waking hours. Suddenly, you’re craving things you don’t even like. (For me, it’s Diet Coke and Twinkies, for Melissa Hartwig, it was fast-food cheeseburgers!) Your co-workers’ heads transform into giant Girl Scout Cookies as you gaze on in disbelief. Seriously, you’ve almost hit the halfway mark, and now this?!

All joking aside, though, this phase gets really intense and for some people. This is the part of the program where our minds try to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to know. Our food relationships are deeply rooted and strongly reinforced throughout the course of our lives and breaking through them is really big deal. Journaling can be especially enlightening and helpful during this phase, and helpful for reflection later. Take some time to jot down what you’re craving, how you’re feeling and what tools you’re using to work through the cravings.

*The cravings people get, and the dreams they often have, rival those of pregnancy. One person told me they craved pickles and Doritos (together) during this phase!

Alright, so. I have been warned! But i am determined!!! Today: 

Breakfast: a green smoothie (frozen peaches, frozen strawberries, apple, banana, chia seeds, lots of spinach)

Lunch: Salad from The Salad Shop (romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, grilled chicken, carrots, and evoo)

Snack: Blueberry Lara Bar

Dinner: Brad cooked again and it was delish!!! Baked chicken with Roasted onions & carrots. So good!

Snack: A pear

Really good day today. Oh, and P.S. I have been to the doctor 4 times in the past 2 weeks, and today was the first time that my blood pressure was normal. The other times it was high. The diet, maybe???? :)

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Whole30: Day 11!!

Today was kind of a rotten day. A really tough day. AND it's supposed to be the hardest day of Whole30 (that and Day 10, according to The Timeline). But I did it!!

I mentioned before that i am sick of eggs. This morning I made myself a smoothie. Now, i had heard that smoothies are not really Whole30 compliant, although it doesn't say that in my rules. I googled it and found some forums where people were discussing why. Reasons why were as follows:

a) You put milk or stevia or other things that are not whole30 compliant in it, thus making it NOT okay.
b) It doesn't have any protein in it, and you are supposed to eat protein, healthy carbs & healthy fat with each meal.
c) People have smoothies to fulfill a sweet tooth.
d) It's mostly fruit, which is too much sugar (even though it's natural sugar). 

Something like that. So, I wasn't planning on putting anything in the blender that is NOT whole30 compliant, we are okay there. And i'm not having a smoothie to satisfy my sweet tooth. I'm having one because if i see another egg in the near future I am going to barf.

I kind of understand the the other two, though... like maybe if i had a small smoothie with a small chicken breast on the side that would be okay??? And, yeah. It had a lot of fruit in it. Maybe not the best thing. Either way. I had a smoothie for breakfast. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! All of the ingredients were all Whole30 approved, so i am okay with it!

Breakfast: Smoothie (frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, 1/4 apple, 1/2 banana, chia seeds & a lot of spinach leaves (Had to get some veggies in! It's good in a smoothie. Promise!)

Lunch: Salad at work (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bacon, and evoo)

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Chicken breast & roasted carrots (which hubby did because i was having a tough day and was STARVING because i forgot to pack a snack for work!). He did an awesome job!!

Snack: Apple

I am kicking Whole30's tail!! Haha. So thankful.

Thanks for all of your comments on these posts! They really motivate me & encourage me to keep going.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whole 30: Day 10 (& other stuff)

Whole 30 Day 10 = COMPLETE!!!!! :)

I feel pretty awesome.

Days 10 & 11 the hardest? Nah. ;) (Tomorrow is Day 11, so... knock on wood! Haha! Just kidding. I'm really pretty sure i am past the hardest part.)

How did i do today? Well...
Breakfast: egg (I am really getting sick of eggs. Gonna have to come up with something else or at least make a casserole or those egg muffin things!)

Snack: pecans

Lunch: Ground beef/onions/lettuce/salsa (YUM!)

Snack: apple

Honeycrisp apples from Fresh Market are HUGE!!! Big as my face. And I prefer apple slices but I forgot a knife at home and had nothing to cut it with. I may have broken my jaw. ;)

Dinner: Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, bacon & extra virgin olive oil)

Snack: banana


Very very happy. Very ready to adopt this way of eating... forever! 

Today i have a lot of strong emotions going on inside me. My heart feels VERY VERY FULL. For those of you who  have gone through infertility, you know that sometimes our fertile friends can be AWESOME or they can be, well, less than sensitive to what we are going through. I have had some friends here at home become just... i don't know. They have loved me so deeply and it is so evident by their actions and words. They have such compassion on me without "feeling sorry" for me. They just really care. They care deeply. I feel absolutely overwhelmed, in a good way. In a way that i have never felt it before, at least not in many years. It is kind of awesome, but also kind of makes me want to just cry. A lot. (A happy cry? Or a thankful cry? Or maybe just a hormonal cry. I don't know.) ;)

A lot has been happening with the fertility stuff. I struggle with how much to say on the blog, but i will tell you that the 2 1/2 years of trying naturally are over, we are now moving into meds and doctor visits and lots of expenses and labwork and procedures. We are just at the very beginning, and i pray it won't be a long journey. But who knows?

Tonight my worship pastor asked me to lead worship in a few weeks at our church. He is going to be out of town. He mentioned that I should do Healer because i did that one last time i led worship and he thought it sounded good. Anyway, i got in the car and popped my Kari Jobe cd in the car and listened to Healer. The words... so powerful...

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You.
I trust in You. 

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all i need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me

Jesus You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossbile for You
You hold the world in your hands

Please please please pray for me. My emotions are so strong. I am happy, I am afraid, I am excited, I am at peace, I am worried, I am happy, I am afraid. I need peace. I need prayer. And i need babies.

Prayer request: I just tonight found this blog through another blogger. Has a long infertility journey, finally pregnant with twins but her water broke at 17 weeks. Please read her latest post and lift up her name in prayer!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Whole30: Day 9

Today is Day 9 & I am still doing well! Woohoo!

Breakfast - Eggs! I actually made it, threw it in a container, and ate it at work. I was running late but i got it done. :) I am getting quite sick of eggs though. So is Brad which he didn't think possible. We will still eat them though, haha! They are good for you!

Lunch - Sauteed shrimp and mixed veggies (squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli & cauliflower)

Snack - Banana
Snack - Handful of pecans

Dinner - We went to Fresh Market & Southeast Produce after my doctor's appointment, and stocked up. I came home and was so hungry putting away groceries, that i just threw some ground chuck in a pan, added some chopped onion, and let it cook. I threw it on top of some lettuce and added some salsa. OMG. Totally hit the spot, y'all. Exactly what i needed!

Really did well today. Thankful!! And look at this!

The basket on our table (top left) used to be filled with medicine. The basket with the bananas and tomatoes was filled with ziplocs and other things. The basket on the bottom used to hold nothing but BREAD. I am liking this!! We are running out of space for all our healthy stuff! ;)

The timeline says that days 10 & 11 are the hardest. I am glad to know this ahead of time so i am prepared! I WILL NOT GIVE IN! I WILL NOT! I've made it this far. I can continue!!!! :) So thankful Brad & my girlfriends are still in this with me. WOOHOO!

I have to add something. I really believe in this diet. Not diet as in a DIET, but diet as in the way that I eat. I have always believed in it as being a good healthy way to eat, but it sounded too unrealistic for me. Not unrealistic, but IMPOSSIBLE. But now that i am doing it, even though I feel like i am cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping or preparing food ALL THE TIME, i feel like it is worth it. I have, for 9 days now, put only good healthy things in my body. Only things that come from an animal or a plant. I mean... that is awesome! It's incredible! It's a miracle.

I don't think I've lost weight yet. I don't feel like I've lost anything. But in the third week, it's supposed to be like a switch was flipped and i am supposed to feel amazing! Lots of energy and happy and sleeping better and all that stuff. i am already sleeping a lot better. Very deeply.  I also really do not crave sugar or anything anymore. Very rarely now.

I told Brad the other day that if we get to the end of this and i have not lost any weight... or have only lost 4 pounds or something... then that is okay with me. I am done dieting. I am done going from one diet to another. THIS is how i want to eat. THIS is what makes sense to me, eating things like fruit, veggies, meat, healthy fats, and not eating things like sugar, flour, processed junk.

I don't mean i won't have cake again. I don't mean i won't go back to drinking coffee. I may not want coffee again when it's over, or I may not want it as much. But i am okay with going back to coffee with stevia, which is compliant with paleo. Whole30 is a little stricter than paleo because it's only meant to be a 30-day reboot. But the creators of Whole30 do eat the paleo way in their day-to-day life. And I would want to eat that way, too, in my day-to-day life.

And if it brings weightloss? Wonderful! But if it doesn't? FINE. I'm still doing it. And to heck with dieting and weighing and praying and hoping. To heck with tracking food. I'm just going to eat what i should eat & stay away from what i shouldn't and exercise. I know that sounds really simple and like something i never could do before, but right now i am on a cleanse to get those cravings out of my system. ;)

i'm just not going to get hung up on the scale anymore. Or what size I wear. That's all beside the point. The point is that i need to be getting healthy & I believe this will get me there. i hope this diet does bring weightloss, and i believe it will. But I'm just saying - if it doesn't? Dieting is out the window. :) My body has gotten more nutrients in than it has in a very long time, maybe ever. And that is what matters to me. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Whole30: Day 8!

Moving right along...

Today, I had to be at work for 7 am. Meaning i would need something i could grab & go for breakfast (I wake up as late as possible when i have to be at work that early!). Brad had boiled us some eggs the night before, i grabbed 2 of those, a banana, and stuff for lunch and afternoon snack & headed out.

Trouble is, i just did NOT want the eggs. So i ate the banana. By 10 am i was SUFFERING. I had the WORST headache, and i know it's because i hadn't eaten enough. And no protein. Just a banana. (Which is like the highest sugar fruit! Ugh!) Anyway, i took an excedrin and had some almonds, and then later finally got to go to lunch where i had hamburger (no bun) & steamed veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, squash, zucchini & carrots). It was DELISH! My head still throbbed until after i got home around 7pm. Geez. On my way home from work, i had an apple. And for dinner, i had eggs and a plum.

That's it! And lots of water!

I am so excited & happy it's day 8! Woohoo! We've got this! ;)

By the way... just so you know, I will not be weighing for this entire month. Whole30 asks that you not weigh & really, I want to follow their rules exactly! I will say that my husband did weigh on Saturday, after 5 1/2 days of the program and had lost EIGHT POUNDS! What the heck!? I said, "I'm definitely not weighing now! I probably lost two and i would be so mad at you!" Haha. MEN!

Y'all have a great week!

You are my Sunshine...

I got nominated for The Sunshine Award by Aubrey at Two Hearts & One Dream and by Nina at Body Shop Girl. It's been awhile since I've just answered random questions in a blog post. So i am excited! Haha. Thanks, ladies! :) (Psst. Check out their blogs if you never have before!)

So there are rules to this but I'm not really a rule follower, so... I'm just gonna answer the questions. ;)

Here are my questions from Aubrey:

1) Why do you blog, and will you continue to blog when (I'm being positive for ALL of you!!) you get pregnant/have a baby(ies)?
I blog to chronicle my life and all that it entails: my marriage, my faith, my photography, family gatherings, get-togethers with friends, and yes, infertility. I started this blog just a few months after we got married, before I knew we would be dealing with infertility. And even when we started dealing with it, I wouldn't blog about it for the longest time. So yes, i will definitely continue to blog WHEN we have babies. :) 

2) What do you do for work (I'm always curious to know what everyone does all day long!)?
I work at a hospital, in radiology, where they do the mammograms. Oh, yes, people love to come see us! :) Basically i'm the girl you give your insurance card to and sign papers for. I really like my job, i started working there in May & it's a great place to work.  We are also very busy, so most days go by fast. 

3) What would you say is the best piece of advice for someone who is just beginning their journey in the land of infertility?
Find a support group and go to it. At one point, I got so low that I thought i had to go see someone or i would lose my MIND. Then i remembered a support group in my area, and I went. I was scared to death but that was the best decision I could have made for myself. I have now been four or five times in a row and really do not know what i would do without that group. It is such good therapy just to be in a room where everyone gets it, 100%. There is an instant understanding with people you have just met because they are all going through it, too. Seriously.

If you can't find a support group (and even if you can), get to blogging & find some ladies through blogging that are going through it. I have done that, too, and am so thankful! 

4) What would you say is the best piece of advice for someone who is not going through infertility, but who doesn't know what to say to someone who is?
Just be a friend to them. Let them know that you care, that you are so sorry they are having to go through this. That you love them and are praying for them. Hug them, if they are a huggy person! But whatever you do, DON'T say things along these lines:

-God has a plan. (They know that. But right now, to them, His plan sucks. And what if His plan doesn't include babies? Just... don't say that.)
-Just relax. (Seriously, if you say this to me I will punch you in the face! Everybody knows at least one person who relaxed and got pregnant. People who relax & get pregnant are not dealing with infertility. They just needed to relax. Infertility is a medical condition.)
-Y'all better hurry up!! Your chance at conceiving will decrease at 35! (REALLY, Einstein?!?! Thank you for that.)(Yes, i actually had someone tell me we better hurry up. As if we had not been doing just that for the last couple of years! ACK!!!)

I would also say to please have patience and love us through this journey. If we back away for awhile, try to understand. If we don't come to your baby shower, be okay with that. In fact, something someone said to me was, "Melissa, I totally understand if you cannot make my baby shower. I really do. If you can't be there, if you are having a bad day that day and it's too hard, please know that I won't be offended if you can't make it." This was from a close friend, who in any other circumstances of COURSE i would have been at her shower. It meant the world to me for her to say that. Of course it came from a friend who had dealt with infertility, so she knew just what to say. 

Side note: I am so blessed in that i do have a couple of friends who haven't been through infertility but who have said the right things and done the right things to help me. They are TRUE friends, who are there through thick and thin, and i just love them so much for being so kind to me during this season.

5) What is the item of clothing you want to buy most for this fall season? 
 I could really use some new sweaters. Or long sleeved shirts. I got boots last year & i have plenty of scarves! 

6) What is your biggest pet peeve?
I really hate it when people get offended easily or complain about stupid things. It's annoying. Grow up!

7) If you won the lottery, what would be the FIRST thing you'd do?
Pay off debt. Buy a house. Go on vacation! And you know... pay for fertility treatments &/or adoption.

8) What is your middle name?

9) Where would you live if you could move to anywhere you wanted in the whole wide world?
Santa Monica, California is BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn't hate it. I have also had this desire for a long time to move to Charlotte NC or Savannah GA. But you said WHOLE WIDE WORLD? Gah. Somewhere in Europe. I don't know where, though, I've never been. 

10) How many siblings do you have - are you the youngest, middle child, oldest or an only child?
1 sister; i am the youngest.

And here are my questions from Nina:

1. What was your favorite cartoon as a child?
I loved Garfield & Friends.

2. How much did you weigh at birth? What was your length?
I think it was 7pounds, 6 ounces. Or 6 pounds, 7 ounces? I don't remember my length!

3. Tell us a random fact about yourself.

I get reallllll crazy at night. It doesn't matter how exhausted i am, the moment we get in the bed to go to sleep, i get really hyper and silly. Brad doesn't find this very amusing. 

4. Are you a dog or a cat person?
DOGS! :)

5. Would you rather live in a world where huge gummy bears walked freely or in a world where hover-boards existed?
Um? Huge gummy bears walking around sounds really scary, so I'm going to go with option 2.

6. Name a character from literature that you aspire to be like and why (you can’t choose from the bible).
I am having a really tough time with this one. I don't know!

 7. Aside from infertility, is your life as you imagined it?
Yes. I like my job, i LOVE my husband, i have a great church & family & friends. I thought we'd have a house by now, but you know... I'd live in this trailer for the rest of my life if it meant we could have kids. Geez.

8. What is your favorite part of your job?

I know this is bizarre, but there's a lot of paperwork. And i like paperwork. There's also a lot of people. And i like people too. :)

9. iPhone or Android?


10. Name one thing that you are looking forward to during motherhood and why.
 Oh, so many things. Where would I begin? Just, EVERYTHING.

That's it, guys!! Hope you enjoyed it. :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Whole30: Day 7

This will be short because, well, it's 10:15 and i have to be at work at 7am. And normally I have to be there at 9:30. Yikes!! (I also took a LONG nap...big mistake because now i am not tired!)

Today i ate too much fruit. We need more meat in this house, haha. I did prepare lunches for Monday & Tuesday, though. :)

I had an apple for breakfast before church. No protein, which isn't ideal, but at least they are filling! We were LATE, so i had to get something I didn't have to cook and could take with me. And we didn't have any boiled eggs ready to go!

We came home and i got to cooking meals for the week (er, first part of the week). I had some eggs & cashews for lunch (not together).

After that i had fruit. A plum, a banana, some grapes. Gah! I need to cut back on the fruit.

Oh, and lara bars. I bought blueberry lara bars & had two of them. That's too many, ESPECIALLY because of all that fruit! I have to say - it's better than a candy bar! But with insulin resistance you cannot just have unlimited fruit.

So anyway. Not a perfect day, but i still haven't cheated. :)

I told you this would be short. And no pics. Sorry!

Hope you all have a great week!

Brittany K | Headshots | Downtown Baton Rouge

A few weekends ago (I'm so behind!), I met my good friend Brittany downtown for a photo shoot! Brittany is a health & wellness coach, and she wanted a new headshot for her business cards.

Brittany & I met in the funniest way. We were both involved in our local theater, but we kind of missed each other. She was in a show called Annie Get Your Gun before I began my involvement there. I was in the audience for it, and so desired to be a part of it that I decided to audition for their next show, Beauty & the Beast. I was cast in it, but she didn't audition.

After that, we just never crossed paths again, not for the longest time. But because of our involvement in that theatre, we had many mutual friends. And people ALWAYS talked about her. In a good way! Her name would come up & somehow people would find out i didn't know her & they would say, "You don't know Brittany Kriger? Mel, you HAVE to meet Brittany Kriger! You would LOVE HER!" I must have heard that 100 times before I actually met her.

What i did not know was that the same thing was happening to her, about me. "You don't know MEL PERRY!??!?!" (My maiden name.) "Brittany! You would LOVE Mel Perry! You have to meet her!" Haha! So one day I went with my friend Ronald to see a play at another theatre. Brittany was in it. At the end of it, as we were meeting the actors (lots of theaters here do "meet & greet" after, where you shake the actor's hand on your way out), I met her. And i told her everyone had told me i HAD to meet her. She was all nodding & smiling, and then suddenly stopped, as it dawned on her. "WAIT A MINUTE!" she said, "You're MEL PERRY!?!? Like, THE mel perry?!?!" Hahahaha.

Friends ever since. Good friends. I absolutely LOVE her!

She moved to Missouri, and later to NYC, but she is FINALLY BACK HERE, with us. :)

That was really long, but i thought it was too good of a story not to share. :)

Here are some pics from our session! Some are outtakes, obviously, and not for her business cards. I included them anyway. Isn't she adorable? I just love this girl! (Check out her website!)




Love her! She was so much fun to photograph!

Whole30: Day 6

Six days! Six days, people!! A miracle. So thankful to God and the people He's put in my life to do this with me! Loving it! 

Today was weird. I woke up with ZERO appetite. (There are all kinda of side effects from detoxing like this, and loss of appetite for a day or so is one of them). I thought I should eat anyway, so Brad made eggs for me and I only ate a couple of bites. Then I had some (black) coffee. Next thing I know, it is noon and I'm not feeling hungry but I am WEAK and shaky. Felt awful. Yuck!! I ate a banana, which helped. 

I made some yummy burgers for lunch (no bun!), and they were really good! 

I went grocery shopping and got a little tempted to get some juice or something. I finally did get one of those Naked juices.  I read the ingredients and it was Whole30 compliant. Problem? It was NASTY!! I took one sip and threw the whole thing away! 

Tonight we had a girl's night at my friend Amanda's house. She had me, Ashley and Mandy over for dinner and to help her with a craft for her son's playroom. Anyway, Amanda is doing Whole30 with us but it's actually her 3rd time to do it and she eats paleo anyway. So she has gotten to where she has great recipes she uses regularly. She made us a DELICIOUS meal that was Whole30 approved! So good! Maybe the pic isn't that pretty, but trust me. It's veggies like eggplant, onions, tomatoes, etc! So good! And the other is a pesto spaghetti squash thing with chicken and bacon!! So yum!!!

Later she let me try some almond butter. Omg. YUM!! See!? This diet isn't so bad! (Now I need to try some recipes! Instead of doing baked chicken all the time!) 

(We are holding up #1's to say week one of whole30 was a success! Haha!)

When I got home I had a Lara bar. Target sells them! The only one I could have though is the blueberry one (out of the ones available at Target). 

All in all, a GREAT day!! And I feel awesome.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sandifer Reunion 2013

I just realized that I have not yet blogger the reunion we went to last weekend. So much fun. :)

Every year, my husband's mom's side of the family has a family reunion. It is always a really great time. I absolutely LOVE the people in Brad's family - they're so warm and funny and just easy people to be around (well, you know... MOST of them!).

This reunion was started by Brad's great grandparents & continues today, every year in October. It's been going on about 46 years now, I think. This was my 7th reunion. I went in 1997 (when me & brad dated the first time), and then again in 2008 (when we were engaged), and then every year since we've been married: October 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012. (Apparently I didn't blog the reunion in 2009, even though I had this blog then!)

This year's reunion was a good time, too. I will say that it was HOT! It's normally cooled off a bit by mid-October. My hair being up in pics? Because of the heat. I couldn't get it up fast enough! Haha.

I have to say it was the smallest group we have had (but not too small! Just not as big as usual), and the party ended earlier than usual. I actually was feeling really crappy (that time of month had arrived), so we only stayed until 2. Still, it was a good time, and I'm so glad we got to see some family we hadn't seen in awhile. 

We always have these reunions at my husband's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Annette's house. THIS is their backyard. I mean. Yeah.

Brad's Uncle Lon & Aunt Margie. Aren't they the cutest?!?

These two used to be the youngest at our reunions! Sweet Tucker & Audaleigh. LOVE THEM!

But they are no longer the youngest! Tucker is now the proud big brother of baby sister TWINS!

See? Here they are (one with her Aunt, one with her cousin (my sis-in-law)).

Of course, I grabbed one of them IMMEDIATELY upon their arrival and held her for a good long while. She never complained.

Here is the lucky (& beautiful!) mama! (Also pictured, Amanda, the photo bomber!)

I love these people. Here are some more pics.

 Trina & Shira (sisters), Jaimie (my sis-in-law) & moi

 Siblings Brittany & Rene

 Brothers Hayden & Zachary

 Brittany & her grandpa, Rene Sr. 

 Me & my love! 

 Matt, his sons & his beautiful bride-to-be!

 Isn't she a beauty!? :)

 Haha. Brad loves this pic. He says she looks like Aunt Jemima LOL

 I had everyone in LSU gear to take a pic, because there were just so many of them! 

 Me with Stacia & Jaimie

And last but not least... lots of fun with Brittany, one of Brad's many cousins. Love this girl. LOVE HER! She is so beautiful, loves Jesus & is totally & completely just who she is. She has a passion for the Lord and she is so funny & carefree. I was definitely not this amazing in high school, y'all. 

She also loves to be really really goofy. And so do i. Which is why we get along so well! Ha!


Ready for Sandifer Reunion 2014! ;)