You know what I did this summer?

Guys… Did you know that it’s September already? The END of September? Who signed off on this craziness?

Because I’ve been a total slacker at blogging all summer, I thought I’d give a quick recap of what I’ve been up to.

1. We painted 2/3 of our condo.

2. We got into a war with ikea over our furniture delivery.

3. My sister got married!

4. Gill and I took the train from Michigan to Chicago.

5. We B-Cycled around town.

6. Roxy had  a minor biopsy (she’s fine!).

7. I learned the secret to curling my hair!

8. We spent a weekend at the most charming cottage in the mountains ever.

9. I had Chik-fil-a for the first time.

10. We went to the AC Milan vs Liverpool game (that’s soccer, fyi).

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Update: No Sweets for Two Weeks

Even though I only made it 12 days (ok, fine. 11.5 days) I would still call my No Sweets for Two Weeks challenge a success.

Not gonna lie, I was kind of expecting it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it actually wasn’t that bad. I’ll be completely honest and say that the first three days I might have killed someone for a piece of cake, but after that my cravings pretty much subsided. Until the last two days, anyway. Once I knew I was close, I may or may not have started eating Kashi GoLean cereal like it was candy. May or may not…

And here’s the real kicker –  the two weeks I chose were stupidly ‘that time of the month’ two weeks and I still survived!

One thing I did do, however, was chew a lot more gum. Not sure that it’s the healthiest habit on the planet, but I feel like most of times that I get sucked into sweets is because I want to get the taste of whatever I’ve just eaten out of my mouth. While a brownie might seem a whole lot better, we all know that gum probably makes the better breath freshener.

While it wasn’t really a motivation for going the no-sugar route, I was sort of hoping that I could report back to you all that I lost a ton more weight in the last few weeks. I didn’t. I lost two pounds. Exactly the normal amount. I’ll still take it!

The biggest surprise out of this whole experience is that I actually want to get back to it. It’s probably not a shock to most of you that this week I have binged the crap outta some sugar. And I feel pretty crappy about it. As much as I’d like to eat my weight in mint chocolate chip ice cream, I’d rather have my cravings under control. So it’s back on the wagon I go.

I do plan to be a little less strict about the rules this time around. I’m going to let myself continue to have sweetener in my tea, though I find I only need half a packet now, and I won’t feel guilty if I want to stir a little honey into my yogurt with my fruit. My main goal now is to reserve sweets for what they really are: treats. Celebrating a coworker’s birthday is an excellent reason to enjoy vanilla ice cream with sprinkles, but I don’t need to eat half a dozen cookies just because it’s after dinner and I want to. For the next few weeks,  I’m going to try to limit myself to one treat a week and see how it goes. The crazy thing is, I think it will actually be harder!

All things in moderation, right?!

Stitch Fix #2

 

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It came! It came! My second Stitch Fix has finally arrived! My plan was to wait a bit longer until I had lost a little more weight before I requested another Stitch Fix, buuuuut…I had a $25 dollar credit and it’s a new season and gosh darnit it’s just so much fun I couldn’t wait any longer!

For those of you that haven’t heard of this service or need a reminder of what it’s all about, feel free to check out my first Fix. For those of you that remember, my first time was a little “meh”. It wasn’t really appropriate for the season in North Carolina and a lot of it didn’t fit quite right. I ended up keeping the green cardigan, but I actually haven’t warn it yet.

As soon as I opened this box, I knew I was going to like it much more. The colors are great, and I love the prints that were included! Even the sail boats.

Without further ado… the clothes!

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Because I am still losing weight, I specifically requested no pants this time. Tops, shirts and dresses tend to be able to span a few more sizes. I was very happy to see that they listened to my request and sent a bunch of great options!

1. Trish Abstract Chevron Button-Up Tank –  Loved the print and color of this tank, but sadly it was a tent on me. I’m not even sure if going down a size would have helped. It also had an almost-razorback situation going on, which makes the bra thing challenging. I hate not being able to wear a real bra. Verdict: Return

2. Thisbe Colorblocked Open Draped Cardigan – I have seen this sweater in other people’s fixes in black, white and grey, so I was thrilled to see it in these bright corals in my box! When I pulled it out, my first thought was “this thing is stupid long” and I immediately disregarded it. When I put it back on to snap a picture, I was surprised to hear Gill say it was his favorite piece out of them all. Now, the more I look at it, the more I like it. Here’s the thing, though: Let’s be real. It was almost 90 degrees today (no comments from the peanut gallery!) and the heat isn’t going to let up any time soon. How much wear am I really going to get out of a sweater, even a very light weight one like this, until the fall? I might be crazy skinny by fall (or at least skinnier?). Verdict: Undecided

3. Evah Crochet Detail 3/4 Blouse – Love. This. Blouse. Hands down my favorite piece in the box. It’s hard to see the detail in the photo, but it’s super cute. Great with shorts as pictured, jeans or black ankle pants for work. Might wear it tomorrow. Verdict: Keep! Keep! Keep!

IMG_07494. Tammi Sailboat Print Fit & Flare Dress – Many of you can probably imagine the eye roll that happened in my head when I read that I would be getting a sailboat print dress in my fix, but it’s actually pretty cute. It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but this thing was also a freakin’ tent. Even cinched as tight as I could get it, it was hard to get it to stay where I wanted it. Both dresses I’ve gotten from Stitch Fix have been too big, so I think it might be worthwhile to adjust my size preference next time. Also, halter top = strapless bra = yuck in my book. Verdict: Return

5. Arden Keyhole Detail Embroidered Trim Tank – This tank top was alright. The trim (which is orange, yellow, pink and green) was cute, and I loved that it kept bra straps under wraps, but the front was super low cut and looked awkward with a cami underneath. It also had a hook and eye in both the front and back to keep the “keyholes” closed that didn’t do a great job. I couldn’t make an outfit with this one that I really loved. If it had been the blue chevron print, it might have been a different story. Verdict: Return

I’ve got 2 more days until my return items have to go back in the mail, so please comment with your thoughts! IS that cardigan stupidly long? Am I making any huge mistakes? Have I convinced you to try it yet?!

Foodie Friday: Super Easy Chicken Dinner

Imagine, if you will, that it’s Thursday in the Gill & Kristin household. It’s been a busy week for both of us, I’m on the edge of imploding after 4 days with no sweets and we’ve yet to have a proper home-cooked dinner all week. What’s a girl to do?

Pinterest to the rescue!

Any of you who are on Pinterest (and who’s not, really?) have probably seen approximately 1.5 million versions of this pin:

Capture2I’ve had this little guy on my radar for a while now, but today was finally the day! Of course, I had to add my own little twist to it, so I thought I’d share.

Super Easy Chicken Dinner: Kristin Style

photo3(1)What you need:

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 12 or so baby red potatoes
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (I split mine in half)
  • 1 packet of Grill Mates Garlic, Herb and Wine marinade (or similar)
  • Butter – about half a stick
  • 1 lemon

I decided to go with the marinade because every packet of Italian dressing mix at my local Harris Teeter had sugar as the first or second ingredient. Yuck. This Grill Mates stuff seemed slightly better.

What to do:

  1. photo2(2)Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
  3. Rinse your asparagus and snap the woody ends off (do this instead of chopping and they’ll break off in the perfect spot every time!). Chop into roughly 1 inch pieces and place on one side of the pan.
  4. Wash and halve your potatoes. Plop those babies down the other side. Throw the chicken down in the middle while you’re at it.
  5. photo1(3)Dot the pan with butter, then sprinkle the packet of seasoning over everything.
  6. Finally, thinly slice your lemon and lay artfully on top of the dish. Delicious and fancy.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. It might be a challenge to wait that long because your home will smell amazing.

Like a dummy, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I will say, though, that there was a lot of liquid in the bottom of the pan and my asparagus got a little soggy. Next time I make it, I might consider baking uncovered for the last 30 minutes. You could also use a little flour or cornstarch and thicken the liquid on the stove top when it’s done baking, but that would require actual effort.

All in all, I was really pleased with how this turned out. You could easily prep everything the night before and then just have to pop it in the oven when you got home from work. As my high school Biology teacher would say – Easy-peasy Lemon-squeezy!

What’s your favorite easy dinner recipe? Are there any other Pinterest gems I’m missing out on?

No Sweets for Two Weeks

The”no sweets for two weeks” challenge from my 14 in 2014 list starts today. Or yesterday, since you’re reading this tomorrow. Monday. It started on Monday.

I spent the weekend in Illinois with family and let’s just say that I ate a lot of stuff that I normally wouldn’t. Like, a lot.

To my surprise, when I got back there were no sweets in the house (I’m just going to pretend those last few truffles in the candy dish aren’t there) and I had finished my desk treats last week. So, what the heck? I was going to put this task off until later in the year, but there’s no time like the present, right?!

Now, before you think I’m going all crazy over here, I am not on a mission to ban all added sugar from my life. That would require way too much work. All I want to do is cut out the sweets and treats, at least for now. This includes most obviously chocolate, candy and baked goods, but I’m also cutting out sweetened beverages including the Splenda in my tea and anything that is basically dessert even though it isn’t. I’m looking at you, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

photo1I see a lot of fruit in my future. Like these delicous freeze-dried pineapple slices from Trader Joe’s. And frozen grapes. Yum!

Man, I could go for some chocolate right now…

Product Review: Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner

Who here has seen the infomercial for Wen, the miraculous shampoo-free “healthy hair care system” that costs an arm and a leg per month to use? I certainly have, and I always wondered if it would really do miracles for my fine, straight, flat hair. In Michigan, I had a coworker with very similar hair to mine who used to swear by the stuff. It was always very tempting, but the price kept me from ever pulling the trigger.

Enter, Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner. Finally, it seems that there is a drugstore alternative to the elusive Wen, and you can bet money that I was going to try it.

Spoiler alert: I wanted to love this product. I really, really did. But I don’t, and it makes me really sad.

BUT before you write this off as a total loss, hear me out! I think this product might work well for some people, it’s just not right for me.

Pros: It was easy to use, and not terribly hard to rinse out. It is sulfate and paraben free. It smells amazing and the scent lasts all day in your hair. It made my hair incredibly silky and shiny. It did not leave my scalp greasy (which is a somewhat common complaint with Wen). My hair felt clean, even without shampoo.

Cons: It sucked the life right out of my hair. My hair felt amazing, but it was flat as a pancake.

Sigh. Maybe I should have used it a few more times before I gave up on this product, but I’m pretty sure it just wasn’t meant to be. I love the scent of it so much that I even used it as a deep conditioner after I swam last Wednesday. I used it after my normal shampoo (didn’t fully trust it to get all the chlorine out of my hair) and it did work well for that, but I hate to clutter up my shower with another product when my regular conditioner + spray leave in conditioner seems to be doing just fine.

In the end, back to Target it went. I’m still a little sad about it, especially for the smells. I had every intention of buying the “regular” conditioner in the same scent, but then when I got back to the store, the massive 1LB bottle of my usual blue stuff was on sale for nearly the same price. Moneys > Smells.

If anyone one else tries this product, please let me know how it works for you! I’m really rooting for this one!