Let’s talk about food. *A collective cheer rises from my captivated reading audience.* 

Specifically, let’s talk about diets. *My once captivated reading audience quietly starts putting on their jackets and backing towards the exit.*

I’m not a huge fan of diets for a few reasons:
1.) I have a history of restrictive eating and my up and down relationship with food doesn’t lend itself to dieting.
2.) I’ve had personal success by just making sure I eat a generally healthy diet (i.e. choosing healthy foods more often than not).
3.) I eat cake at least once a week and I’ve yet to find a diet that says, “Day 5: Eat all the cake you want. Eat cake until you throw up.”

If other people want to try Atkins, Whole 30, etc.—more power to you! Do what makes you happy and healthy. It’s just not for me.

That being said, Clayton is doing the Paleo diet and I love it ... for him.

I love it because Clayton has put a lot of time and research into the diet (i.e. the science of why it works) and he really knows his stuff. He could easily tell you that while the diet encourages lots of fresh fruits and veggies, legumes are not on the Paleo list. Why? I don’t know, I forgot. But he can tell you!

Clayton decided to try the Paleo diet not only as a way to maybe shed a few pounds (that’s just been a happy side effect), but to see if clean eating could clear up some of the sinus issues he’s been quite literally suffering with for YEARS. My husband is a 7-day a week pill popper and if he forgets his Claritin D for just one day, he can’t breathe and has to sleep on the couch because he tosses and turns all night.

Paleo is simple (enough): Lots of meat, fruits, and veggies. Nothing processed. No refined sugars. No dairy. No bread. No alcohol (basically no to any of the things that could actually make America great again). Just eat like a caveman.

In short: You can’t eat any of the things your wife loves and she would be a total jerk for buying it and keeping it in the house when you’re trying to be good.

What would surely result in an immediate and tragic end for ME has proven to be quite successful for Clayton. He has so much willpower! I’m honestly insanely jealous of his resolve. He allows himself one cheat day a week (because … pizza), but every other day of the week he’s a Paleo rock star. Whereas I think not eating an entire bag of Twizzlers in one sitting is an accomplishment. 

Even though I’m not choosing the Paleo diet for myself, I’m trying champion his decision by getting on board for Paleo-friendly dinners. He and I are on our own for breakfast and lunch (the times of day when I get to eat all of the cheese and all the grains and all the peanut butter), but I’ve agreed to be a willing participant for supper.

Mostly.

This is a chicken, asparagus, and sweet potato skillet I made last week. Normally I would dissolve a bouillon cube or add some kind of sauce, but in an effort to stay compliant, I simmered everything in organic free range chicken broth. (When we were grocery shopping last week I had the sudden realization that we’re now “those” people.)


Right after this picture was taken, I doused my plate in soy sauce. Why? Because I’m like, 65% committed to this.

I also tried my hand at some kind of Paleo chicken, broccoli, and mushroom concoction, but it looked like cow cud and was mostly flavorless (aside from the heaping spoonful of nutmeg I added). We won’t be making that one again.

Honestly, the best Paleo meals have been simple plates of grilled meat and veggies. I used to eat steak once or twice a year, but now we’re having it every week. My iron levels are on the low side of normal, so I think my body will be pleased.



Our Paleo meals don’t take any extra prep time, but they do take some extra ingredients and we had a slight spike in our grocery bill. I now sauté everything in either olive or coconut oil, and we have this thing in our pantry called almond butter that tastes like crushed almonds and disappointment.


For the most part, Paleo meals aren’t too far off from how we normally cook. We never really cook with butter. Neither of us loves pasta. We always have steamed veggies. It’s just the absence of the ungodly amounts of cheese I use in most recipes.

And that’s the real reason why I can’t fully subscribe to this diet with Clayton: CHEESE.

And ice cream.

And cookies.

And toast.

And bagels.

And cereal.

And for the love of all things sacred and holy, FROSTING.

Watching Clayton do the Paleo diet is really shining a light on how bad of a sweet tooth I have. I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater who never turns down a vegetable, but getting a fun-sized Snickers bar this week was an embarrassingly euphoric experience for me. I didn't realize how much I loved junk food until I stopped bringing it into the house. 

But hey, my hubby has a sweet tooth as well and he is royally committed to finding a treat option that fits the Paleo guidelines and doesn’t taste like cardboard. We invited Dan and Emily over a few weeks ago for burgers and sweet potato fries (bunless burgers for Clayton) and he whipped up a pan of Paleo brownies for dessert. The brownies were made from overly ripe bananas, that damn almond butter, and raw organic cocoa powder (rolls eyes). But they were fabulous! So fudgey!

I don’t know how long Clayton will do the Paleo diet and really, I don’t care. That’s up for him to decide and I support him either way. If anything, he’s giving himself some really fantastic tools to make better food choices for the rest of his life. I can’t say enough how proud I am of his dedication. He dragged me out of bed early on a Saturday to go to the Farmer’s Market because he wanted grass fed beef and free range eggs. The man who struggles to wake up before 10am on the weekends woke ME up. 

And his energy levels have been so good that HE RUNS now. I’ve been begging him to run with me for the past 6 years, but it was always too painful for him. Now he’s out there running laps like a champ. (It figures that he would start busting out the miles right as I'm riding the running struggle bus. I’m not bitter or anything. Not really, anyway. I love my husband. The turd.)


If you have a favorite Paleo recipe that actually tastes like more than random whole foods thrown together, please let me know!
I ordered a rug and cancelled that same rug three different times this weekend. I’m not sure what Clayton means when he says I’m “indecisive” and that I’m “annoying”.

I just want things to be done right the first time. I’m notorious for changing my mind so in order to prevent myself from getting the rug and eventually changing my mind and ultimately buying something else, I changed my mind like 50 times upfront. You know, to save myself the hassle later. Surely this makes sense to someone, right?

Clayton already thinks that I’m going to change the name of our child before it gets to preschool. I wanted to be mad when he said it, but he’s probably right.

But this rug is like, a cool brown and most of our stuff is warm brown and I’m not sure if it will go together and I hate the fact that I obsess over color tones to the point that I made a tiny 3'x3' rug a major life decision. And it’s not even an exciting color; it’s BROWN. I was positive that the explosive popularity of the color “greige” would make my life easier because hey, it can be cool or warm! But it just made everything WORSE. Now my home décor is having a major identity crisis.

I decided to take an entire week off of running and strenuous exercise, so in case you can’t tell, I’m trying to focus my energy on something else … like rugs.

^^At least I'm not getting a rug made from the butt of a skunk. A skunk butt rug. 

See, I attempted to run on Sunday morning and it was disastrous, yet again. Since I'm to the point where I can no longer tell if this kind of disappointment makes me feel incredibly sad or incredibly angry, I prescribed myself some mandatory rest. I’m taking the next week to reset and hopefully recharge my batteries, limiting myself to only walking and light core strength to continue protect my back. How I feel after this week will be the barometer for whether or not I’ll sign up for the Monumental Marathon in November.

You have no idea how upsetting it is to admit that I might not do my favorite race. Every runner has a favorite race, one that they consider “theirs” and the Monumental Marathon is mine. I seriously can’t even stomach it. If push comes to shove, I’ll at least sign up for the 5k and hobble my way through the course because I can’t miss it.

I think my biggest fear is that nothing will change, even after a week of rest. I’m fearful that my best running is behind me. Yes, I know that sounds dramatic, but if you had the same past 8 months I've had, you'd be worried about it, too.

Regardless, I don’t wanna be a Debbie Downer today. I get a full week of extra rest and the excuse to put my feet up.

But boy was I in a MOOD on Friday afternoon, so I asked Clayton to take a sunset walk with me along Lake Monroe. Watching the sun slide behind the trees dotting the lake was both refreshing and relaxing. I grew up in a city with large lakes (and several other lakes nearby) and sitting by the water is one of my very favorite things.




After our evening stroll, we went for ice cream and I ordered a sundae with a giant dinosaur sugar cookie sticking out of the top because I’m five. It's the small things that brighten your day, am I right?

Then I woke up this morning to the sound of wind whipping against the side of the house. As I walked on the treadmill (why yes, I will get up early to exercise if I only have to walk), I could barely hear the news over the gusts of wind blowing outside. A massive storm was rolling in and I was EXCITED.

I love gray clouds. I love storms. Even though I got completely soaked running into the building from the parking lot (despite having an umbrella), I felt hopeful. Though slightly inconvenient when driving in to work, I felt like like this morning’s downpour was God’s way of telling me that it was all going to be okay.

It may be stormy, but it’ll pass.

^^That was a metaphor. Did you get it?

No really, did you get it?

This week was one of those weeks where I felt like if someone just looked at me funny, I was going to burst into tears.

Work was rough and then my vulnerability was only magnified when I went to my appointment at the vein clinic on Monday.

Let me back up for a sec: Ya’ll know I’ve been struggling with these hamstring/back issues since November and blah blah blah. Well, one thing that no medical professional has been able to explain to me is why my legs feel so HEAVY when I run. My energy for cross-training is off the charts (and I actually look forward to those more than my running workouts right now), but when I try to run, it’s like trying to wade through a pool of marshmallow fluff.

It could be the heat. It could be my stride. It could be a mental barrier.

It could be lots of things.

BUT, the symptom that’s most concerning is the appearance of bright green veins on my legs that literally popped up overnight. Two decent sized veins are now visible on one of my shins and on a few on the backs of my knees. I'm not sure what the situation is with the veins on the back of my legs since it’s an area of my body I don't see (or would want to see) every day. But I know for a fact these little squiggly veins on my shin are a brand new development.

Heavy legs. Big, meaty veins. I wanted to talk to someone about it.

The vein doctor doesn’t know what caused it. Could be fat loss (I wish). Could be from weight lifting. Could be from hormones.

It could be a lot of things.

BUT, in order to get insurance to kick in for yet another ultrasound (I seriously don’t know how many times I told the folks at the vein clinic that my GP ordered an ultrasound in February to check for blood clots) and subsequent treatment, we have to prove that non-invasive methods won’t fix the problem.

Enter the ever-sexy, always fashionable COMPRESSION STOCKINGS.

They don’t even have the dignity to refer to them as socks.

They're STOCKINGS.

I think I just aged 40 years with a single prescription.

Rx COMPRESSION STOCKINGS.

I’m already embarrassed to wear shorts because I think my legs are disgusting from these veins, but now I REALLY can’t wear shorts because I’ll be rocking compression STOCKINGS for the next 6 weeks.

It’s the middle of July.

I think laughing about it is seriously the only thing that’s keeping me from crying.

This year has been rough, man. 30 has not been kind to me.

The vein doctor led me to believe that this particular health store sold several colors and styles and had the very best to offer in the world of fashionable compression stockings.

False. The health store had only black, white, or tan. And guess what? The only color they had in stock and in my size was nude. 

But I did have my choice of the ever-alluring sheer or the very mysterious opaque.

When I was getting measured for my special prescription stockings, I felt the need to apologize for the girth of my calves (I feel like I need to forever apologize for my body, as if saying something about my insecurities upfront will magically protect me from any possible judgement. Like, if I say it first then they can't hurt me. Which is hilarious because no one thinks or cares about my body as much as I do.) So as you can imagine, my compression stocking size is size large. "Ya know, it's not enough that I have to wearing compression stockings in the first place, so please give me the biggest ones you have."

Doing everything I could to maintain some semblance of my former self-esteem, I made a plea with the customer service rep to please, pretty please give me a third pair that I can run and workout in without looking like an idiot (because who wants to see me sweating in tan thigh-high stockings? Everyone. No one.). Surely my insurance company will take pity on me and cover the cost.

Thank goodness for prescription athletic compression SOCKS (yes, actual socks). They had a small display with several pairs of compression running socks and THANK HEAVENS they had one more pair in my size. In hot pink. But the color didn’t bother me. They could have been covered in swastikas and gang signs for all I cared. Just getting an actual pair of socks was a welcome reprieve.

Three pairs of compression socks for $200.

Merry Christmas, everyone. 
Happy Monday Tuesday!

I get so thrown off by 3-day weekends. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that it's already Tuesday but my internal schedule feels off.


Plus, I'm wore polka dot pants today. I never thought I'd wear polka dot pants, but it happened. See what I mean? IT'S A TOPSY-TURVY KIND OF DAY.

(If anyone can give me advice on what kinds of shirts go with black polka dot pants, I'd really appreciate it. I mentioned wearing a striped blouse with them and Clayton said I'd made people go cross-eyed.)

As I mentioned last week, I took a half day on Friday so I could go home and repaint our kitchen (because what would my life be if I wasn't forever needing to paint something!?). In case you missed my last post our kitchen is in need of a facelift because the cheap-o paint slapped on the walls a few years ago is wiping right off.

As much as we liked having the light custardy-yellow color in our kitchen (I think Wal-Mart called it Banana Froth or something equally dreamy), we figured we should change things up since we had the opportunity.

I'm not a huge fan of oak and would never choose it if I was building my own house, but it admittedly looks really nice with the new blue. Having cooler walls (bother literally and figuratively) makes for a better contrast and keeps everything from looking too "warm". We just need to update our flooring and change out the hardware on the cupboards to make it a complete transformation!

But you must remember who's blog your reading because of course painting didn't go smoothly. I selected my desired color at the home improvement store, but something about the swatch didn't translate properly into the paint can because when I got home and started smearing paint on the wall, it was about 5 shades darker than what I wanted. In stubborn disbelief that there was something wrong with the color I so lovingly selected, I kept painting. Hot tears filled the corners of my eyes because I'd been planning this project for months and didn't want to admit I got the wrong color.

Three hours later, Clayton came home from work to find his wife sobbing and moving a paintbrush along the wall. "It's too dark. It's not what I wanted," I moaned.

"Well, then stop," he said so matter-of-factly.

But I was almost done and was very adamant that I make the color work. I have no idea why. I didn't want to make the paint mixer guy at the store feel bad for making the wrong color? I didn't want to admit that I don't understand how colors work? I have no idea why the color was wrong or why I was so dead-set on keeping it.

Clayton eventually pulled the brush from my hand and insisted we take the now almost-empty paint can back to the store and exchange it. He said that he and I could correct the job in just a few hours if he and I both repainted it together. (I think he's afraid of my meltdowns because we originally approached the painting project with the understanding that if he taped everything off the night before, I had to paint it myself.)


So we got the color switched (they were SO NICE about it) and Clay helped me repaint the kitchen that same night. It only took us about 3 hours and we ordered pizza and listened to stand-up comedy on Spotify while we worked. We made a night out of it and you know what? It looks great.

Despite being tired and sore from painting all night, we managed to get up early enough to go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday. I bought obscenely large zucchinis for only $.50 (and forgot to bring a shopping bag so I was forced to shove the massive veggies in my purse like a weirdo) and we got a pound of grass fed beef for a great price.


And if you thought I bought that sweet onion to eat raw until my eyes were practically crying blood, you'd be right. It took 2 solid days for that taste to leave my mouth but holy cow, it was worth it.

It was a pretty rainy weekend, so I only made it outside for a run once. Luckily it was my long run and I ran 6 or so miles in a cool drizzle. I went out sans Garmin once again and I know it was slow, but I made it through and had energy to burn.


Since the weather was mostly crappy for the rest of the weekend, I took advantage of my time indoors and did some baking. First was a berry pie for a 4th of July cookout and my inspiration was a video one of Clayton's relatives shared on Facebook several weeks ago. For some reason I'm super into cutting shapes in pie crust dough and was beyond thrilled to try my hand at replicating an American flag.




Some of the stars sank into the blueberries during the baking process and I'm sure that's some kind of metaphor for the decline of our once great nation, but the pie was yummers!

I also made another batch of what very well may be the world's greatest cookie. Remember Oreo Pudding Cookies? They're the fanastical chocolate chip cookie stuffed with Oreo pudding and chunks of cookies n' cream candy bars. They are, in a word, amazeballs.

Clayton used the rest of my semi-sweet chocolate chips to make brownies (he makes some killer mocha brownies), so I had to use white chocolate chips instead and it was a happy change.

Seriously, if you haven't made these cookies yet, then I'm afraid you may never know true happiness.


I think that Oreo pudding should be a requirement in all recipes forever and ever. Even spaghetti.

I was a good girl and managed to make two dozen cookies without scarfing the dough. As a reward, I baked one ball of dough only halfway and treated myself to an ooey gooey half-cookie/half-cook-dough treat and a glass of wine. #treatyoself

Our neighbors set off fireworks every night of the weekend (during the rain no less. I admire their tenacity), but thankfully they all abided by the rules and finished by 11pm. Joey got a little nervous and refused to go outside for a walk until it was quiet, but he didn't pace and cry like he has in years past. I was just grateful I was able to get some sleep and that bottle rockets didn't hit my house.

So in all we had another low key weekend and were once again incredibly productive. At this rate, we might have most of our project list completed by this fall!

I'm just kidding. Home improvement is never-ending. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Though it will no longer be the case by the time I get around to actually posting this: I’m writing this on a plane. I decided to get a leg up on my blogging for the week since I’ve already exhausted all of my “airplane mode” phone options including beating 5 levels of Candy Crush and going through my entire camera roll to delete unflattering photos.

I’m currently flying back to Indiana from New Jersey. I’ve never been to New Jersey until today. We flew into Newark this morning and made the 2-minute drive to a nearby Marriott for our meetings. Then we hopped right back in the van to go right back to the airport.

I’ve officially seen enough of New Jersey.

Charlotte, North Carolina is on deck for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Traveling for work is super fun for me. It can be tiring, yes, but I really enjoy the experience of being in new places and learning about areas of the company I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see. I've feel really lucky. 

It’s just really unfortunate that I can’t be cool about it.

All of my coworkers have been cool as cucumbers when it comes to waking up early to board a plane and fly off to another state for the day. They’re sitting quietly, compiling notes and preparing for the next set of meetings. They’re used to these travels. They're pros. 

But me? I’m staring out the airplane window thinking, “I’m closer to the sun than Clayton right now.”

I’m so ready for the long weekend. Partially because I love summer weekends and mostly because last weekend didn’t feel like a relaxing weekend at all.

Clayton and I spent the majority of last weekend cleaning out our garage which I know sounds super sexy and fun, but was actually quite labor intensive and annoying. We had to complete the chore in small increments over two days because we had other obligations and commitments.

And to honest, I’m embarrassed by how messy and cluttered our garage was! I’m a huge fan of “before and after” pics, but the state of our garage in the “before” picture was so horrendous, I was worried my mom would disown me if she saw it. She raised me tidier than that.

I don’t know how you all deal with your garage spaces, but we never really thought of our garage as anything more than a dumping ground for rusted tools and old shoes. And I think at one point we must have been offering it up as a bed and breakfast to bugs because the number of dead spiders I found in there was alarming.

I blame the clutter on having too much stuff. Our house isn’t exactly a mansion and when it comes to storage space, “Just put it in the garage!” was always the easiest answer. As we went through boxes of stuff I found 2 paintings, an antique lamp, and like 50 vases I never knew I had.

We even had our old mattress pushed up against one wall because after replacing it a few months ago (tax return! Holla!), we couldn’t get anyone to come pick it up. We scheduled a pick-up time with a local charity organization TWICE and they failed to show up both times. I was tired of my neighbors thinking that we thought it was okay to have a mattress laying in our yard, so we dragged it into the garage until we could figure out what to do with it. (We ultimately bungeed it to the top of a van that resulted in the mattress flying into the road and then I accidentally bungeeing the mattress to the door and had to get back into the van Dukes of Hazzard-style.)

Needless to say, we ended up with a huge haul for Goodwill. I didn’t even bother to keep any of it. We’ve lived in our house for almost three years and if I didn’t need over the past three years, I definitely don’t need it now. (Though I still can’t find the set of soup crocks I bought at the flea market several years ago and I want to SCREAM.)

Once the garage was finally empty, we swept it out and borrowed my in-law’s power washer to blast oil and other mysterious stains off the concrete floor. (And while we had the washer, we thought it would be worthwhile to spray down the outside of our house, which more or less resulted in Clayton and I blasting each other’s butts with the sprayer.) 


But we now have a happy, clean garage that has much more room for activities. I don’t even think it was this empty when we moved in! I can finally get out of the passenger side of my car without getting pinned to a wall!

Next on our summer honey-do list: Repaint our kitchen. I’m taking tomorrow afternoon off to paint because this is how adults spend their free time. Now, you may be wondering why we need to repaint our kitchen after painting it only a few years ago. That’s a perfectly valid question and one that I am more than happy to answer: Don’t buy paint from Wal-Mart. Just don’t. I've advocated for this before. If the paint is $12 a gallon, it will go on your wall like it’s worth $12 a gallon. Any sauce or oil that gets flung onto it will then become part of the wall and if you dare try to wipe it off, you will instantly wipe off a coat of paint and expose the disgusting school-bus-yellow color the old homeowners originally selected because I’m pretty sure one or both of them was colorblind.

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend! Be safe and please don't be jerks and launch bottle rockets in your neighborhood all night. It terrifies dogs.