Day lilies 

The first spring after we moved into our house I came home to a box of bulbs sitting on my front porch.  It was shipped from a nursery with no ‘from’ label.  One year later my backyard looks like this:


Thanks Dad 😊

My first week on Whole30

Thoughts from my first week on Whole30:

  • It’s easy to eat good whole food when you plan ahead and prepare it yourself.  Meal planning and recipe prep are a must.
  • It’s HARD to resist donut holes when your coworker brings in two boxes and they stare you in the face whenever you pass the printer (I eventually shut the box so I couldn’t see them anymore).
  • The only ‘withdrawal’ I have had was a mild headache for a few days.  Not sure if it’s from sugar or sinuses pressure though.
  • I didn’t cut out dairy.  I know it’s ‘cheating’ but my doctor says I need the calcium.  That being said I am sticking to minimally processed ‘clean’ dairy.  Milk, half and half, plain greek yogurt, minimally processed cheese.
  • I miss dessert.
  • I was hungry before bed  the first few nights (my stomach is used to dessert/snacking I think!) but I haven’t let myself snack much after dinner yet.
  • The biggest difference is in how I feel throughout the day.  Very consistent energy, no afternoon crashing, no weird upset stomach pain.  This part has been awesome!

Monday – Day 1

B – two egg, tomato, & mushroom omelette, fried in olive oil (topped with mozzarella cheese), black unsweet iced tea, cashews, water.

Lunch – Chipotle salad bowl with chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, & guacamole (plus sour cream), dried apples & plantain chips from Trader Joe’s, water.

Dinner – banana with Trader Joe’s almond butter, bacon, sliced tomato, Trader Joe’s sweet potato chips, (mozzarella cheese), water

Tuesday – Day 2

B – two eggs fried in coconut oil, banana, cashews, cup of milk with coffee.

L – tuna salad (dill relish & mustard) over romaine lettuce, sliced strawberries, dried apples & cashews, water.

D – sweet potato ‘not-fries’, grilled chicken (marinated in olive oil & ranch mix), roasted broccoli (olive oil & salt), water.

chicken, brocoli, sweet potatoes

You have to try these ‘not-fries’.  They are AMAZING!

Wednesday – Day 3

B – two eggs fried in coconut oil, cup of milk with coffee.

L – salad: romaine lettuce, leftover grilled chicken, ranch dressing (ranch mix + greek yogurt)

D – crockpot pork roast (rubbed w/ paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme), mashed cauliflower

pulled pork, mashe cauliflower

I made a huge pork roast and froze at least two more meals worth of shredded pork for later.

Thursday – Day 4

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk (can use unsweetened almond milk if you’re following the rules ;-).  I roughly followed this recipe)

L – Chipotle salad bowl with chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, & guacamole (plus sour cream), dried apples & cashews, water.

D – bacon & scrambled eggs, sliced strawberries & grapes, OJ.

Friday – Day 5

B – smoothie: similar to above, this time with strawberries instead of cocoa.

L – leftover pork roast & cauliflower, sliced strawberries & grapes, water.

D – grilled Greek chicken salad w/ cucumbers, tomatoes, feta & Greek dressing (out at local restaurant.  places that make their own house dressing are much more likely to be compliant)

Saturday – Day 6

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk (this is my new favorite breakfast!)

L – Chick-fil-a grilled chicken salad w/out dressing (we didn’t plan to be out for lunch.  the chicken wasn’t compliant but I did forego dressing for just mustard), water.

D – grilled steaks, side salad w/ homemade Greek dressing, sauteed zucchini and baby carrots. (this by far was my favorite dinner of the week!)

Sunday – Day 7

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk & I added my coffee brewed double strength and chilled.  It was almost like a Starbucks frappuccino!

L – leftover salad w/ greek dressing, apple, cashews, water.

D – lettuce wrapped burgers with tomato & fried egg, french style green beans, pineapple spears, La Croix sparkling water (totally compliant!).

lettuce burgers

I hope this gives you some ideas to help you with your Whole30 journey.  Plan ahead: keep it simple & eat things multiple times in a week to make it easier on yourself (leftovers!).  And most importantly focus on all the delicious things you can have instead of what you’re doing without.

Good luck!

Why Whole 30?

I’m starting the Whole 30 program today.  When I first heard about this program from a coworker I really thought he must be crazy.  I was so focused on the things you can’t eat that I dismissed it as impossible.  Sure I would like to lose weight and be healthy but I could never do something that extreme.  So I kept on doing nothing.

Then my church went through a new study called Body Matters and I began to see some really wrong views I was assuming when it came to my body and how I was caring for it.  It began to expose some real sin (hellooooo laziness) in my unwillingness to care & steward properly for what I began to realize was God’s already.  It’s a pretty foreign idea, especially in western culture, that our bodies don’t really belong to us but rather to God.  And that if I choose to neglect exercise and overindulge in food I am not just hurting myself but actually choosing to be a poor steward of God’s creation.

Being really convicted I started doing research on Whole 30 and on clean eating in general.  I have talked to people who have done it personally and seen how it affected them in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways  Now I am motivated to begin my own journey.  I fully expect this to be hard.  Dying to self always is.  And this program isn’t for everyone, I understand that, but I need clean break and a fresh start.  So here we go!

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most. #CheBrown

And to remind myself when I want to quit – this is why whole 30.

Because my body is not my own.  It is God’s temple.

Because twenty pounds in four years.

Because new bigger jeans bought six months ago are already too tight.

Because holy hormones (batman).

Because thirty years.

Because strength.

Because willpower.

Because health and wellness.

Because healing.

Because friends’ testimonies & journeys.

Because a supportive husband.

Because I’m ready.

Pinterest Fail: Iron Cleaning

I’m wise enough to know that if something seems to good to be true then it probably is.  Especially when it comes to cleaning.  There is no magical product that instantly eliminates stains, magically vanquishes mold, and also folds your laundry for you.

However there is still a little part of me that thinks ‘well what if this is the one this that does work and I’m missing out!!!’ (albeit a very lazy part).

And so I still save all kinds of ‘home remedies’ and ‘miracle cleaning tips’ when I see them on Pinterest.  And while I have had varied success with some of them, this is a tale of one that failed.

I have this dirty iron:



I bought this iron before we got married because it was cheap and I needed one.  I don’t iron that often and this one gets me through those few times when Matt needs a nice work shirt (hooray for casual offices!).  I’m not even sure what causes the gunk buildup on the plate but it hasn’t bothered me in all the years I’ve had it.

However the last two times I’ve tried to iron something the first pass has left a gunky stain on the item being pressed.  Not much is worse for this lazy-girl-who-hates-ironing than creating more work by now having to wash, dry, and iron a shirt all over again. (especially when that shirt was one you picked out for your hubby to wear to his sister’s wedding so that he would look good in family photos and now everything is ruined… yes I like to panic)

So I decided to try a tip I found on Pinterest and see what happened.  The tutorial I found was originally from Bargain Hoot and seemed very promising.  Just baking soda, water, and time should magically clean my iron.

So I made my paste using baking soda and a little water…



Propped up my iron on a dish towel and spread the paste on…



And let it sit for the recommended 45 minutes.

Then you were supposed to just wipe the paste off and the gunk should come with it… instead mine looked exactly the same.  I even tried scrubbing a little bit but that gunk wasn’t budging.

I decided to try another tip I had read in the comments to add vinegar for extra cleaning power…



So I filled a pie tin with vinegar, dunked the baking soda-covered iron in, and left it to soak (oooh bubbles!).  By bedtime a few hours later that gunk was still stuck.   I decided to let it sit overnight just to see what would happen.

In the morning I gave the iron a good scrubbing and it still looked like this:



A teeny bit of the gunk came off but not nearly enough to trust the iron on any of our clothes again.

So I’m ready to chalk this one up to a Pinterest Fail.  I’m not saying this tutorial doesn’t work, or that it won’t work for you, but it certainly wasn’t magical for me.

So now I’m on the hunt for a better cleaning tutorial.  If you have any recommendations let me know! (Matt recommended that I buy a new iron, but what fun would that be?)


Has anyone else tried any miracle cleaning tips that failed miserably?  Tried any that actually worked?  Do tell!



Thanks for stopping by!

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Boston withdrawal…

Sorry for the lack of house-related posts lately.  Matt and I took an extended vacation over the Forth of July and it was blissfully rejuvenating.

We stayed in a condo in the Belle Isle Yacht Club in Georgetown, SC (yes, yacht club, we’re fancy like that ;-)) and spent most of our days either at the community beach house in Pawleys Island or at the pool overlooking Winyah Bay.  I apparently was so relaxed I forgot to take any pictures to share except this sunset view off our balcony.  I LOVED the giant live oak trees, the spanish moss, the beautiful water.   We even saw gators in the pond one morning!  The view from the pool was more of this with palm trees.  It was so nice to spend the day at the beach and then come home to relax in the pool with this view.  Truly heaven!



My mom and dad watched the pups for us and they are still hanging out with them as we haven’t had a chance to make the drive up to get them yet.  I missed them a bit on vacation but now that we’re home I miss them like crazy!  I told Matt it was too quiet, peaceful, and clean in our house without them 🙂  Luckily we are meeting my dad halfway tonight to get them back AND getting to keep their Boston Terrier Dixie (Chloe’s sister) and Jack Russel Bandit for the weekend.

Luckily my mom sent me lots of pictures of their shenanigans while away to get me through…

V__5464 V__4CB0 V__F539 V__CF68 V__3801 V__47AC V__86BA  V__EF60 V__54ED

As you can see they had a great time going for walks, swimming, sunning, playing, sleeping, destroying, and general being Boston Terribles.  Major props to my parents for taking on all three for two weeks!

‘Falling for’ Fridays & #HELPZOE

This edition of ‘Falling for’ Fridays is dedicated to a sweet little girl named Zoe Tipping.

Matt and I belonged to Midtown Fellowship church when we lived in Columbia, SC.  We loved the family & community we had there and still miss it greatly.

A  couple of weeks ago at my sister-in-law’s wedding we ran into a friend who still attends Midtown and he told Matt of some terrible news.

Our former pastor Allen Tipping & his wife Courtney’s three-year old little girl Zoe has cancer.  Specifically Wilm’s tumor, an embryonic kidney cancer.  Zoe’s cancer is stage four and has spread to her lungs.

Read her story here.

I can’t tell you how much my heart has ached over sweet Zoe these past few weeks.  Life isn’t fair, not when a precious little girl has to suffer like this.  Not when a wonderful family who has been through so much pain has to endure so much more.  But in the same breath I am reminded that although not fair, life is a gift, and a gift we neither earn nor deserve.  As the Tippings say: “Zoe means life, and life is exactly what we are begging God for.”

Visit  for more information and on how you can #helpzoe.