En Vogue…. In Vogue??

Some generous soul mistakenly sent me a Vogue magazine. It’s never been one of my go-to periodicals – I usually opt for Real Simple or Texas Monthly on those rare occasions I have time to sit and flip through the pages. Anyway, fashionista I am not. Ads like this don’t really speak to me. 

Why would I want to buy your clothes/accessories? Y’all look kinda miserable! And you dragged a poor calf onto your boat and who is the captain and why all the gasoline tanks errywhere and for goodness’ sake your $$$$ purse is getting wet! Do you even care?!

At least the models are smiling in this one, but still: I ain’t buying what you’re selling.

Now that I’m all kinds of hyper-aware about what ingredients are going into our products, I found this ad rather interesting:

Page 1:blah blah Natalie Portman you’re gorgeous blah blah sure I’d like skin like yours blah blah OH FANCY! “with skin-caring hydration**” – that sounds… caring! What do those asterisks mean? Kinda REALLY hard to read the shimmery shirt and mirror overlaid by white print, but some of what it says is:

“Dior Forever: The new 24 Hour* wear foundation” (fine print: “*instrument test on 20 women” TWENTY?! My lame high school science experiments and even worse college research projects had more subjects than 20! I’d just take a guess that if I wore this for 24 hours straight my skin would hate me.)

“For the 1st time, longwear full protection with skin-caring hydration**” (“fine print: **at Dior, hydration measured by instrument test, 20 women, Dior Forever Skin Glow.” Ok, you’re just making up things at this point. I need more info, please.)

And the second page:

  • “97% of women who tested it love and recommended Dior Forever***
  • 97% of women who tested it attest to Dior Forever’s longwear result***
  • 98% of women who tested it affirm that Dior Forever improves complexion quality***”

For goodness’ sake, what does *** mean? The fine print: “*** test on 66 women, after 1 week of use, on Dior Forever / “Love” refers to satisfaction level.”

Ok whatever that’s a stretch to define love like that, but let’s go to dior.com to get the ingredients of this foundation that’s caring and will make me look like Natalie Portman:

#13117/B AQUA (WATER) ● METHYL TRIMETHICONE ● ISODODECANE ● ALCOHOL ● DIMETHICONE ● PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE ● SILICA ● ACRYLATES/DIMETHICONE COPOLYMER ● ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE ● DIPHENYL DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIPHENYL DIMETHICONE/SILSESQUIOXANE CROSSPOLYMER ● TITANIUM DIOXIDE [NANO] ● METHYL METHACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER ● DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE ● BUTYLENE GLYCOL ● SODIUM MYRISTOYL GLUTAMATE ● PHENOXYETHANOL ● GLYCERYL UNDECYL DIMETHICONE ● ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE ● PROPYLENE CARBONATE ● VP/VA COPOLYMER ● STEARIC ACID ● PARFUM (FRAGRANCE) ● TETRASODIUM EDTA ● VIOLA TRICOLOR EXTRACT ● ROSA MULTIFLORA FRUIT EXTRACT ● LINALOOL ● LIMONENE ● BHT ● CITRONELLOL ● ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN ● TOCOPHEROL ● [+/- :CI 77163 (BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE) ● CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (IRON OXIDES) ● CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE) ● ].

I’ll just take four of these because my eyes are glazing over. I’ve cross-referenced these four ingredients with Beautycounter’s Never List and have added Beautycounter’s comments for each ingredient.

  1. TETRASODIUM EDTA = Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is achelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs.
  2. METHYL TRIMETHICONE = (paraben) A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies.
  3. PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE = PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens.
  4. PARFUM (FRAGRANCE) = An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

You do you – you go buy the Dior foundation and look all cute like Natalie Portman and more power to you. That might be great for you. But I can’t unlearn what I’m learning over here, and it is ALARMING that companies that we’ve grown to trust (because why – because they’re there? Because they pay big bucks to have celebrities in their nice ads that make us think they care about us and our skin?) ….sell us products that have known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and allergens.

ENOUGH.

I’m a mom of small children. When I’m at the store with the aforementioned ticking time bombs, I don’t have the luxury of taking the time to review the ingredients on whatever products I need to purchase. I trust that the companies selling the products, the stores housing these products, aren’t feeding me junk. Well, that’s not the case. I need to do my research before I’m even at the store. And that research time is a luxury, too, but dangit if my family isn’t worth it.

ENOUGH.

More to come on this.

Knowing Better….

In the latest installment of Things I Didn’t Know But Now Know And You Should, Too….. y’all. The skincare and cosmetics industry is regulated at the federal level by 1.5 pages of legislation that was passed back in ye olde 1938.

That might be all well and good, rah rah low regulation and pro business and whatnot, but you can see the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (read it here) and clearly it could use some updating.  Allow me to summarize: there’s lots of FDA regulation authority in various chapters that often end with a cute little clause noting that the chapter doesn’t apply to cosmetics. On the aforementioned 1.5 pages, the FDA kind of has authority on some adulterated and mis-branded cosmetics issues and exempts some things. The FDA can’t even authorize a recall of a product. They leave that to the companies at their leisure. This is Special Interest Abuse 101.

(We interrupt this blog post to alert you that in the Ease of Navigating Statutes competition between Texas and the Feds, Texas wins again. One of my favorite parts of working at the Texas Capitol was diving into statute, but this federal stuff is insane! So hard to understand and navigate! #whyarewenotsurprisedbythis)

Ahem.

In 1938, this was undoubtedly awesome – I don’t know, they didn’t have Instagram so how can we be sure? The FD&C Act came on the heels of a pharmaceutical drug that went on the market and killed a bunch of people because it hadn’t been properly vetted. They realized they needed to rein in companies in this market. Fast forward to present day. The United States regulates or bans a whopping 30 chemicals in the cosmetics industry. Thirty. Canada bans around 600+. The European Union bans 1,400. Shout out to Beautycounter for voluntarily banning over 1,500 potentially harmful chemicals: see more about our Never List here.

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A crazy exemption allows companies to mask THOUSANDS of chemicals – many potentially harmful – behind the word “fragrance.” They’ll say it’s a proprietary concoction that’s a trade secret. Others could easily argue that it’s a concoction of harmful chemicals that are not safe for consumers, but allow companies to use subpar ingredients on the cheap. So if you really want to see what’s up, go check your makeup, skincare, and household products for “fragrance” listed in the ingredients, then do a massive purge, for the love.

And it’s hard enough to know what chemicals to look out for on the ingredients they DO share! I do try to be an informed buyer, but my eyes glaze over when I start reading all the ingredients in many household products. I took Chemistry in high school. The teacher was a male, so we called him “Coach” even though he wasn’t a coach. Because Shiner, Texas. And I broke the beaker several times when I tried to move the experiment so then I didn’t get to do experiments with hot liquids anymore.

Ahem.

Here’s the deal, folks. The goal is not to eliminate the competition. The goal is that all skincare and makeup companies would have higher standards for the products they promote. Life’s too short. The exponential increase in developmental disorders, infertility, cancer, hormone disruptors… it’s nuts.

So what do we do? Thankfully, there are organizations like the Environmental Working Group who are dedicated to helping move the needle toward safer products. They have a Cosmetics Database that goes in depth and ranks many products for safety – check it out! They also have an app. They also have a Children’s Health Initiative that’ll get you all kinds of fired up – I hope to post more on this another time. There are companies like Beautycounter that work hard to get safer products into the hands of everyone – so check us out. And you can swap products that are questionable and use harsh chemicals for products that are safe for you and your family – I’m currently loving Young Living’s Thieves line of cleaning products, not to mention their amazing essential oils… a post for another day, but here’s the link to my site with YL.

We have choices, but it’s not always clear what the right choice is. This is something I’m hoping to help with as I sit at home and do nothing all day as a SAHM ;). Thanks for reading.

 

Homemade Mascara…or, Know Better, Do Better.

Y’all. You don’t have to go far before you learn some fascinating things about household items and cosmetics. Hearken back to my last post about homemade laundry detergent. I was so fed up with all the unnecessary junk that’s put in products, longing for those pioneer day camp days. I threw out the Meyer’s liquid dish/hand soap that’s supposedly all natural (whatever that means) but shreds my digits after I do dishes or wash my hands. Got Zum Bar goat’s milk soap. Bar soap, y’all. Every bathroom. Know better, do better.

Next up: makeup and skin. I’ve made a concerted effort to appear low-maintenance over the years, having purchased most of cosmetic products at Target – nothing fancy…. then will occasionally treat ma-self at Nordstrom, only to have my skin break out, dry up, and my eyes get all irritated regardless of where I shop. What the what.

Enter the googling of things like homemade/DIY mascara. I’d link for you, but naw. It requires things like simmering your ingredients on the stove. And I think drugstore mascara is clumpy? This is going to be a REAL treat.

Cue my What. Is. The. Point. Of. It. All. moment. No makeup! No skin care! Fight the man!

Good for me and you and for pretty much the rest of humanity, I discovered Beautycounter.  They say beauty should be good for you.

EUREKA!

Pull up a chair and get this: there are over 80,000 chemicals on the cosmetics market today, many of which don’t have any safety data. In the past 20 years, the EU has banned nearly 1,400 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and have restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. Guess how many have been banned in the good ol’ US of A? Thirty. How droll.

Beautycounter is the leader in the clean and safe cosmetic category. Their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. They are committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by US law and have prohibited over 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through their never list, all while ensuring the products actually perform and are actually fabulous (ie: legit mascara that works better than what I used from Target and infinitely better than my sauteed DIY mascara would…).

I’m personally more excited about their advocacy efforts, but what a bonus that they don’t just advocate – they’ve actually created products that are awesome. Like I am HOOKED. (and my past skin care regimen consisted of washing my face with hand/dish soap and maybe using coconut oil now and then…)

Here’s a short video you can watch to explain more of what Beautycounter is all about:

I’ll still be posting the usual tomfoolery here and on Instagram at @whatemilyposts, and I’ll also be over at @thecolliercompany posting about health and wellness because I’m all sorts of fired up these days. My middle name is Collier and I’ll be sharing more about choosing that name for my company in later posts, but for now, please follow me at @thecolliercompany if you’re interested, and reach out if you’d like to learn more about Beautycounter! (For you guys out there, fear not: there’s a line of men’s products – this new venture won’t all be about girly makeup and crash diets. Puhlease. And Sherpa Tim (the husband) is on board and eagerly awaiting this next shipment. I know, right!?)

El Naturale

(Easy there. I know it’s au naturale – I had a sweet friend in college who would proclaim she was going “el naturale” (“AY-ull NATCHER-ahyl”) all drawled out, when she wasn’t wearing makeup. Funny memory.)

After years of fighting the incessant Austin hippie magnetic force, I’m caving. In small ways. (And I’m talking about the old school Austin magnetic force, not the newer, more obnoxious “OMG I caved and bought the YSL bag when my Barre3 class was over before brunching with my tribe at this new gourmet restaurant you’ve never heard of. So ghetto” hogwash.)

While I love the idea of going all pioneer woman (the legit kind, what with the making of lard soap and churning of butter and casting of our own bullets for muskets – yes, this and more I learned how to do when I was at Pioneer Day Camp in Houston…) … I do greatly appreciate and enjoy things like dishwashers and climate controlled homes and non-dirt-floors and not having to sew my own clothes…so there’s some compromise here.

(There’s a photo of me circa 1993 living my best life at Pioneer Day Camp. I’ll dig for it and share it in a later post.)

If you just think about it, it’s pretty strange: all the random ingredients that are added to products that serve purposes that are already easily covered by other, more simple, things. We make things more complicated, for what? Increased shelf life? Convenience? Mass production? Case in point: laundry detergent. What is even in it? Companies aren’t required to disclose what all they put on the bottle. Tide lists these ingredients on their website but helllooooo I didn’t pay attention in high school Chemistry (honors, thankyouverymuch) and why male models, there are so many ingredients! And some of them could be responsible for things like skin rashes, respiratory irritants, oh and it contains carcinogens, no big deal.

Enter the googling of “homemade clothes detergent” and voila! You can make your own, using borax and essential oil and baking soda and some other stuff and (cue Paula Cole’s fist in the air)…. girl, yes I did. I just made my own laundry detergent.

‘Cept it’s not really in powder form. It looks more like poorly chopped cauliflower in an overstuffed snowglobe. The instructions say to just add some hot water to it before putting it in the machine to help dissolve the soap (oh boy this is getting complicated… making a note to make this about saving gobs of money to keep Tim from marching over to Costco and (becoming a member and) buying a car-sized container of Tide. Back to the food processor. Whew. We’re good.

And don’t worry. Lots of lavender essential oil added and first two loads of laundry have been a success and we still smell nice. I’m probably saving like $9,384 a year or something awesome like that, using legit pioneer ingredients like 20 mule team borax, because that’s a thing and every fledgling pioneer needs the strength of a 20 mule team in her arsenal. I’m practically using a washboard and a bar of lye soap outside my log cabin. Yeehaw! I need a battle cry for these pioneer ways. Suggestions??

Advent

Advent. The attempt to slow. things. down. just as the insane Christmas season is ramping up. Why does the month of December always seem to go at warp speed till Christmas?

In committing to focus on slowing down and be more intentional about how I spend my time, I entered Advent season as I typically do with new beginnings: with a list. Of rules. These things I’ll do, these things I’ll refrain from doing.

Advent devotional to read with Tim. Advent devotional to read by myself. Advent cards to go over twice daily with Annelise. Go through the Daily Office every day for Morning Prayer. Compline with Tim? Light the advent wreath. Buy all Christmas presents early. Have great Christmas music playing in the background 24/7. Invite people over for dinner. Really make sure Annelise gets the Christmas story (hi, shes 2). Restart the gratitude journal. Start a new book on hoopla: Emily P. Freeman’s Simply Tuesday but the narrator sure talks slow – can we speed up her voice? I miraculously refrained, using even this as a discipline.

With my headphones on, we went out for a walk.

And saw this:

You know those times where nature is just gorgeous and you can’t help but just. slow. down. and maybe even stop and maybe even take a deep breath and maybe even snap a photo to remind yourself for later that life is really, actually, good?

Then when Tim got home from work we took a little walk to the school playground near our house, and I looked up and saw this:

As my Aunt Catherine said,when pointing at the gorgeous sky, “it’s like the WHOLE WORLD! Right there!” Those moments we’re reminded how small we are and how great it is to be alive and how many sunsets have I missed when I’m scurrying around the house instead of taking a little break to play on the playground.

I’m searching for this balance, I’m veering away from the rat race, I’m snapping those photos because my memory is pretty foggy these days, and I’m whittling down that ironically long to do list as I keep up the fight to simplify and be present.

How’s your advent going thus far?

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

-from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

Things DST stands for…

giphytired baby

(source)

Do you hear that collective groan that’s been low grade non-stop since last Sunday? The one often audible early in the morning, again when it gets dark, and oh – ALL THE TIME when there are kids in the house?

Yes, it’s that time of year:

DST.

Dang Sick of This.

Delirious Stress Tantrums.

Daylight Saving Time.

I’ve talked about it before. It’s still an issue lo these 6 months later, so in case you weren’t drinking coffee at all hours like I am, just trying to stay awake because it’s noon, I thought I’d fill you in on life the past week. See, kids who can’t even tell time yet don’t know the difference when we scramble around the house updating our analog clocks like a bunch of pilgrims.

Thank you, iPhone, for telling me exactly what time it is so I don’t have to call Time and Temperature a la circa 1994 to know the time. And temperature.

Anyway. When we’ve finally adjusted to the time change shenanigans from six months ago, we have to start all over. My toddler who was waking up at 7:30am? Now that’s 6:30am and there goes my morning quiet time because honey badger…..

And that 5:30am feeding with my 5 month old is now at 4:30, which just. ain’t. right.

#firstworldproblems my life has turned upside down. I (whom I shall humbly admit has a decently accurate grasp on what time it is, give 10-15 minutes), I have no clue what time it is. It may be 3:00pm, which used to be 4:00pm, but danged if it doesn’t feel like 12:30am and I need to be in bed NOW. And I feel the same all day long.

DON’T MESS WITH MY CONCEPT OF TIME!! (Seriously, go read my old blog post linked above – it’s insane that we aren’t doing this to help farmers out, the thinking I’d employed to console myself during these trying times in years past.)

And I’m still serious about being one of those dear souls who camps out at the Texas Capitol next session in full-on patriot mode when the bill to do away with DST is heard in committee. Anyone else want to join?!?!?!?! I’m so serious.

Avoiding Halloween

Y’all. I don’t like Halloween. Come at me, bro. Call it brainwashing from an early age. And THESE ARE SCARY TIMES. And I can’t watch scary movies without being traumatized for the next 7+ years. And my grandmother passed away on 10/31 seven years ago. And it was a little weird that the Catholic school and a church I attended when I was a kid both had haunted houses (going into a dark room, feeling “eyeballs” (peeled grapes) and “guts” (spaghetti noodles) WHAT THE HELL). And maybe I was left out of some dumb high school Halloween party so I associate the day with being left out (I don’t know – I’m just grasping at straws at this point).

So, given all that, I’m not exactly thrilled about celebrating with my kids. POINT FOR EMILY: this year, neither kid dressed up for Halloween*. This is a true statement. But to elaborate (and give reason for showing off my two perfect children), Annelise dressed up for “costume day” at her preschool on 10/30, and Pace dressed up for “document that he had a Halloween costume” on 11/2. My mom bought the costumes (so I didn’t have to contribute $$ to this lame holiday) and BONUS: they are really just pajamas with hats.

We weren’t total Scrooges: we put out a bucket filled with candy with a note that the baby is sleeping and to please take some candy and leave some for the other kids. It was rainy and we didn’t hear much activity outside, but after a decently short amount of time, Tim checked and all the candy was gone. WE WILL SHOW YOU, GREEDY LITTLE CHILDREN. Light off, sign gone, bucket back in house, and oh yeah, we still have a ton of candy we were going to refill the bucket with, so please come over and you can take some. Please.

Without further ado (it’s ado, people. Not adieu. I digress), may I present my aforementioned perfect children!

Pace’s best impression of a roaring lion:

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Pace the more mild-mannered lion:

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Annelise as Little Miss Sunshine. The tutu is because it helps her twirl better, she says.

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The sun hat was not as fun to wear, so it lasted a total of 2 minutes the entire day.

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So for all my apathy/dislike for Halloween, I totally make up for it in the Christmas holiday, SO GET READY. Annelise is already learning Christmas carols. It’s gonna be LIT.

 

Inconveniencing Jeff Bezos

Y’all. I’ve spent a good portion of life thinking I could make a decent dent in not being an inconvenience to other people. Lessening my footprint, if you will. Being I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean, man. Yeah, yeah, if you’re a human you’re automatically an inconvenience to at least one other person, and yeah, yeah I’ve been to counseling more than once to deal with this and other things over the years, but this has been a theme that repeatedly rears its ugly head in the strangest of ways. I’m weaving this in with some thoughts on Amazon, so I ask for your patience.

Before I get into the trying-not-to-be-a-burden bit, let’s ask ourselves a question: are you truly living your best life if you do not have an Amazon Prime membership? It started innocent: free shipping all year if you pay the membership fee. I was a grad student so I got 50% off the fee the first year. And I ordered my required reading/books/textbooks.

Then they automatically renewed my membership. No longer able to prove I was a student, I was charged the full amount. But it was so worth it, because #freeshipping. Now I’m buying other things. Because there’s free shipping on gifts for out of town relatives and such.

Next thing you know I’m walking the aisles of Target with my Amazon app opened up, comparing prices on fun things like diapers and eye contact solution. Amazon is consistently just a liiiiiiitle cheaper, so I opt for the latter – look at me SAVING MONEY.

Then there are the movies and shows to watch for free. And my umpteen stations I’ve carefully curated (gosh I feel so artsy when I use that phrase) on Amazon Music.

Now I’m purchasing things through Amazon on ibotta (you can too! Click here!) to get some extra cash back (once I hit $20 then they’ll release the money to me, so please sign up so you and I both get referral rewards! Yay! What does this even mean!? What are you doing with my information??)

Most recently, I caved and bought the cheaper option of trash bags. Amazon brand trash bags. Two cents less per bag than Hefty (Hefty Hefty Cinch Sack! Does anyone else have this old commercial playing in their head when you opt for a Hefty brand pantry item?). Haven’t tried them yet…. will review the purchase later this year.

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And this is what Scott Galloway who wrote The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (thanks, Amazon, for selling this) mentioned when he was interviewed on NPR earlier this year. Amazon, by offering their products at a just sliiiiightly lower cost than competitors, will eliminate the competition and be all that’s left. How droll. How Atlas Shrugged of you.

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(thanks for sharing this epic tweet with me, Tabatha. Had me rolling.)

And I thought about that NPR interview as I clicked “buy” on the slightly less expensive trash bags. And I think about that when given the choice between #supportingsmallbusinesses for a lot of money or #spendingless through Amazon. It’s like Amazon is the beans and rice that Dave Ramsey talks about! Following my logic? Alas, I should have divided this post into a few different ones, but we’re running with it.

Aaaannnnd scene.

Now here’s the part about the inconveniencing of Amazon.

There’s the decision to choose shipping speeds. Pay $5.99 or so for same day? Bought so much stuff you can get free next day shipping? Free two day shipping? Choose no rush and get a $5 credit toward your next Whole Foods purchase?

I chose the no rush option – not because I wanted the Whole Foods credit (because I’m more of an HEB/Central Market shopper), but because I didn’t want to be a bother.

To Amazon.

To the delivery folks who, though gainfully employed, seem to be frantically in a hurry every time they drop something off on our doorstep.

To Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.

With my $40ish purchase of Amazon trash bags and diaper pail refills and dishwasher detergent.

Let that sink in, would you?

[Cue awkward, self-conscious laughter.]

Let’s spin it this way: I am disciplining myself to not go for the instant gratification of next day deliveries. That’s it! I am exercising delayed gratification and becoming a model citizen in the process. So non-millennial. YES. Reframing is a specialty of mine.

Now back to my Primehouse cleaning and Primemeal cooking…..

 

 

Fat flapjacks.

A_fat_flapjack_flapper_capWould you prefer a cop’s cap or a cupcake cook’s cap or a fat flapjack flapper cap?
(Dr. Seuss)

I’ve been feeling a tad like that sad bloke on the far right. I see a bit of my reflection in his sad, tired eyes (yes we read O Say Can You Say all the time and I’m getting REALLY good at the bit about Pinner Blinn’s shinbone pins, but I digress). Thus, healthy eating has been my focus for the month of October. It’s all kinds of Whole30-ish over here. Now before you say there’s no such thing as Whole30-ISH and start lecturing me on the required purity of the Whole30 regimen, just kindly sit down: you’re not the boss of me.

Due in part to the slums of postpartumness and gobs and gobs of cookie dough, after never ever having a single SCINTILLA of a cavity my entire life, I had a whopping FIVE cavities by the time I had Pace. Got three fillings yesterday. I don’t want to talk about it.

Ok maybe I do.

But just for a minute.

So there’s the whole my-mouth-is-rotting-wow-that’s-really-gross aspect that does wonders for motivating me to kick it in gear. Sugar and alcohol and over-processed foods make up wayyyy too much of the Standard American Diet (it’s legit referred to as SAD) as well as My nEglected Healthiness (MEH – start using this acronym in daily conversation and attribute it to me please) so I’m making changes. Not being crazy dogmatic about it, but am trying to make healthy eating the norm.

And I’m not going to get all crazy with this. It’s fall, y’all. It probably won’t be this chilly at Christmas. This is my one wild and precious life. It’s not going to destroy me if I enjoy some homemade pumpkin bread. Just not the whole loaf. EMILY, STEP AWAY FROM THE LOAF PAN.

So this month I’ve added some new dishes to the repertoire and have made orange chicken with cauliflower rice; meatballs and chimichurri sauce with sweet potato spirals; tom kha gai; buffalo chicken wings; buffalo potato salad; and even a Whole30 compliant latte. I would share photos of these epic dishes, but I lack the forethought and am often quite hungry.

Here’s the kicker, folks. Following a recipe is EASY. There are a bajillion blogs and websites that are dedicated to this sort of thing. They lay it all out there and you just do what it says. Who knew? Cooking is actually fun! A creative outlet. Therapeutic, even. And it’s cool to know what’s going on/in the food I’m consuming. Funny how there’s a marked difference in how I feel after eating it, too.

SPEAKING OF EINKORN, anybody heard of this grain before?! I “discovered” it at the farmers market a few weeks ago – it’s an ancient wheat grain that doesn’t have the pathetic composition of the all-purpose flour or the enriched wheat flour that seems to be in everything.  And it’s low gluten. And it’s TASTY. And it’s the “only wheat never hybridized.” More to come on this. I want to take a trip out to the Barton Springs Mill in Dripping Springs and have a looksee.

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AND as if things couldn’t get any better, there’s hebtoyou.com – we’ve finally jumped onto this bandwagon and it’s amazing. No need to drag two small children through a massive store with a long list – then forgetting that one ingredient crucial to your meal that night on the other side of the store while holding the baby and pushing the cart with one hand and accidentally almost running over the toddler’s toes and wiping away tears and by the time you get home all you want to do is order a pizza and… just me?

You consult your list. You order ahead. You wait in the parking spot for 15 minutes or so, max. You may happen to judge the other people who are also waiting for their groceries, noticing that they look able-bodied and don’t have screaming children in the backseat.  Whatever. I have a two month free trial of sirius XM in my car and am rocking out to the 90’s station like it’s my job. PARTY IN OUR CAR!!

SO yeah, these days I’m grateful for good food, motivation to get healthy, HEB curbside pickup, and my uncanny ability to remember lyrics of songs I haven’t heard in ages.

And I still do love cookie dough.

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