Four Years in Dallas!!!!

Last week marked FOUR YEARS since I moved to Dallas! Which is crazy! How has it been FOUR years already?!?!?!? I feel like so much has changed and happened since I first moved here in 2015.

I actually have friends now (which it isn’t easy to make new friends when you move to a brand new city and know zero people there)!

My sister and her family live in Dallas now, too!

I like my job now (it took a while and it wasn’t great for a long time, but now it’s seems amazing)!

I finally found a church that I LOVE and got really plugged in there!

I’ve had lots of friends come visit – I love showing people around and giving my world-famous Kelly tour of downtown Dallas!

I’ve lived in 2 apartments that were 1 street apart!

Here’s some of my favorite snapshots from the last 4 years – I’m so excited to see what year 5 has in store! I’ve explored so much of the DFW area already, but there is still so much more that I need to see and do and try!

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10 Tips and Tricks to Complete and ENJOY Your Next Whole30!

You guys! I did it! I’m done! I completed another round of Whole30!! I started this year wanting to commit to 30 days of eating healthy foods and eating food that would fuel my body (tho Whole30 does take it a bit far at times…) and I ended up going for 52 days!!! So would I call that a Whole52? Sure! Why not?!? I was just feeling so great after the first 30 days that I decided to be a crazy person and just keep going. So I did.

But why did I stop at such a random number? Did I just fall off the wagon or make a mistake or get sick of not eating dairy? Nope- it just worked out that way with my schedule. I’m currently at my company’s annual user conference where ALL our meals are provided, which is great on the budget, but less great when trying to control what foods you do and don’t eat. So I stopped at 52 days and I feel great about it!

This was without a doubt my MOST SUCCESSFUL round of Whole30 EVER. I’ve completed two before (you can read about my first one here!) but I didn’t super enjoy the process and the “during” for them. But I wanted this one to be different. I wanted to LOVE the “during” and thankfully this time, I honestly did. I feel like there were a few key things I did this go-round that made it wildly successful, and I wanted to share them so YOU can have your best Whole30 ever, too!

1 | Plan, plan, plan. When you think that you’ve planned enough, go ahead and plan some more. Having everything mapped out BEFORE I started was probably the main reason that I was able to complete it without going crazy. I planned out my meals FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH from the very beginning which does sound a bit intense, yes, but knowing what I’d be eating and what groceries I’d need to get and what days I’d need to shop and what days I needed to cook helped me stay on top of things without making last-minute 10pm trips to the grocery store because oops, I have nothing to eat for the next day.

2 | Mentally prepare for all the cooking. Maybe you’re already used to cooking every day, but if you’re not, you need to mentally prepare for spending a LOT more time in the kitchen. I thought I cooked a lot before, but during Whole30 I REALLY cook a lot. There’s no “I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll just grab Chick-Fil-A” option here! Create an environment where you ENJOY cooking and this will become something you start looking forward to. I listen to podcasts while cooking and it really helps the time fly by!

3 | Buy what you need to and don’t feel bad about it. Whole30 is super popular now, which means that there are a lot of products that you can buy instead of make yourself. And that can be SO helpful. There are some things that I do make myself (like mayonnaise) but there are other things that I’ve learned I’d rather spend a little more money and just purchase (like sugar-free ketchup and bbq sauce). Trust me, I’ve tried making my own Whole30 bbq sauce and it did NOT go well! I’ll have another post about my favorite Whole30 products in a few days, so stay tuned for that!

4 | Know your restaurant options ahead of time. Which pretty much means don’t eat at restaurants unless you can 100% guarantee that they cook things in a Whole30 compliant way. Which is so hard. Unless you’re going somewhere like Snap Kitchen that specifies which meals are included in Whole30!

5 | Keep your “why” in mind constantly. Most likely, there’s a reason why you wanted to do a Whole30 in the first place. Maybe you wanted to lose some holiday pounds. Maybe you have a dress you really want to have fit a little better. Maybe you are having stomach issues that you want to try and figure out. Maybe you just want to see if you can commit to something for an entire month. Whatever it is, keep your “why” in mind ALWAYS. Remembering why you decided to do this will help the days pass by quickly and get you excited to make it to the end.

6 | Keep track of recipes you loved. I’ve been keeping a DETAILED list (does that surprise you, tho?!? You know I love a good list!) of all the meals I’ve had during this Whole30 and I’ve been making notes like “took twice as long to cook” or “this actually makes 6 servings not 4.” It’s been helpful to know what recipes I enjoyed so I can make them again – and I’ve repeated a few of them already!

7 | Don’t get burned out on eggs too early. During my first Whole30, I was lost when it came to breakfast. I couldn’t wrap my head around eating broccoli and ground beef or leftovers so early in the morning, and I just assumed I’d have omelettes or scrambled eggs every morning. Which is what I did. And after about 9 days, I great SO TIRED of eggs and couldn’t stand to see them anymore (and I didn’t eat eggs for probably 4 months after that!) So don’t overdo it with the eggs.

8 | Listen to your body. It can be easy to feel like you have to stick to certain rules while doing a Whole30 – if you’re going to be strict about one area of your life, it can be easy to get strict about other areas, too. But seriously, listen to your body and do what you need to do. If you’re still starving after your planned meal, have a little snack. If you’re feeling stuffed after eating only half your meal, evaluate and maybe save the rest for later in the day. If you think you should skip the gym and get caught up on sleep instead, then by all means SKIP THE GYM AND SLEEP. This is a strange 30 days where your body is very confused, so just try to take care of yourself and listen to what your body needs. (Unless your body says it needs chocolate. You can ignore that.)

9 | Ease back into working out. Speaking of skipping the gym… as a general rule, I don’t workout for the first 2 weeks of a Whole30. If you feel up for it, then go ahead, but just maybe take it easy. Your body is going through a lot and trying to get used to the sudden lack of bread and sugar and things and I just like to give myself some time to get used to the new “normal” before going back to the gym. You do you, but again, listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard at the beginning.

10 | Keep track of little wins. This right here is what really kept me going and kept me excited during this round. Some of the little wins that I noticed were: I fell asleep SO FAST! Like, crazy fast. My pants fit a lot better (and a pair of workout leggings are now “too big”) which is always nice. I’m so much less bloated all the time. I haven’t had as many breakouts over the last 6 weeks. My willpower has gotten stronger. And more!


There you have it – my top 10 tips and tricks to help you complete and enjoy your next Whole30! I enjoyed this round so much that I’m already planning on doing it again in a few months!

Have you been curious about trying the Whole30? Do you have any questions you’ve been dying to ask before you give it a try? If you have completed a Whole30, let me know what YOUR best tips and tricks are!

My 2019 Resolutions

Are you one of those people that pick a “word” for their year? A word to really embody everything that you want to focus on for the rest of 2019? I am DEFINITELY one of those people. I’ve chosen a word to represent my year for the past few years and loved it. When I was starting to think about what I wanted my word for 2019 to be, I really took a good hard look at how 2018 had gone and what I could improve on. And then it came to me immediately. My word for 2019 is: consistency.

I feel like I made so many great plans and goals for 2018 and then followed through with approximately 2 of them. It was bad. So looking into 2019 I wanted to focus on consistency and actually following through with the things I set out to do. So with that word in mind, I started to make my 2019 resolutions. I started with one. Then I added another. Then another. Then I added a LOT more and threw them on a bingo board because it seemed like a lot more fun that way!

I feel like I have a really good mix of practical and goal-oriented resolutions this year! Yes, I did pepper in a lot of things I was going to do anyway, like getting my hair cut and taking a fun trip with a friend… but it’s fun to cross things off of a bingo board so I just left them on there, anyway! I also wanted to make sure I had a good mix of specific resolutions (like reading 25 books) and kind of generic ones (like drinking less alcohol and soda. There’s no real way to measure that except to get to the end of the year and say yup I did that or nope my body is now made of 92% Dr. Pepper).

But back to my word for the year, consistency. Now that I made a lot of resolutions for the year, how on earth was I going to make sure I didn’t abandon them in March like last year? I was talking to a friend on the phone a few weeks ago and he suggested that I keep all of my 2019 resolutions on the desktop of my computer to look at often. And that’s exactly what I’m doing! I have the resolution bingo board as a PDF file on my desktop, and that’s the first thing I look at when I get to work on Monday. I go through all the goals one by one, and see what I can be doing to accomplish them and have the best year ever.

As another way to keep myself accountable and remain consistent this year, I made a 2019 resolutions page for the blog! I’ll update there when I cross something off, so you can follow along with me and make sure I’m actually being consistent! You can find it up in the banner at the top of the page!

And GUESS WHAT? I have a BLANK resolution bingo board just for YOU! So if you have been waiting for the year to get into a good rhythm to decide what you want to accomplish, then print this out and use it to crush all your goals for the year! Or hey – even if you hate resolutions or even if you already made yours in January like a normal person, it’s still fun and you should probably still use it.

 

You Complete Me, Hot Pink Rug

I’ll be the first person to admit it – I don’t live in the *nicest* of apartments (technically it’s a townhouse, but you get it). And people are so nice when they come over and they say things like “No, it’s great!” and “This is not that bad!” and bless their hearts they are trying to hard to be nice but I know that it just isn’t an amazing place. Which to be honest, is 100% ok with me! It is nice enough that I don’t feel like my entire life is falling apart, but it is crappy enough that it is in my budget for the part of town I wanted to live in. Actually, forget the neighborhood, it was in my budget for all of Dallas. Because all of Dallas is crazy expensive and I just can’t spend $1,300 a month for a 500 square foot studio apartment with no closets. Nope. I’ll take an outdated kitchen at a good price any day. I’m trying to save up money to buy a place, and I can’t do that if ALL of my money is going to rent. #priorities

Because I knew that I wasn’t going to live in this townhouse forever, I didn’t really put in a lot of effort with decorating the place. I hung up a gallery wall over my couch, and I put up some pictures here and there, but I didn’t really feel like spending money on something for one rental that might not go well or fit into another future rental. So my apartment felt kind of sad and empty for a while. But then I got a new TV stand, and that added a cute item to a weird corner of my place. And then I got a headboard, which finally made it seem like I wanted to sleep there on purpose and not just because I had to. One other big item that seemed to be missing – a rug.

Getting a rug, for some reason, felt like the BIGGEST deal, because it is a BIG item! I had put it off for so long, but was finally ready to make that purchase and actually make it seem like I was living in a fun, homey place. I was constantly searching for the perfect piece (my friend Allison can attest to this as she was usually the person I’d send links to with corresponding “is this ugly?” or “why do I love this?” or “is this worth the price?” messages.) But then, I FOUND THE BEST RUG ON THE PLANET! And I BOUGHT IT!

If there was a rug that was custom made just for me, then this would definitely be it. Yes, it is extremely bright and some might find that obnoxious, but I LOVE it! It has brightened up my entire living room and it makes my apartment feel 1,483% cozier. Please excuse these pictures with terrible lighting and my lumpy couch and the fact that part of the rug still rolling up on one side, but I just think it fits so well!

I feel like that was a really long intro to basically say “hey look I bought this pink rug” but I needed you to go on that journey with me. Aren’t you so glad you did? So much fun, I know. I am just so thrilled with this purchase and I can’t wait to enjoy my living room even more now. I refused to sit on my living room floors previously because the “wood” flooring just always seemed dirty no matter how much I used my Swiffer Wet Jet and stick vac, and I’ve been sitting on this rug pretty much NONSTOP since it arrived last week! It’s my new favorite thing, I love the bright and happy colors, and I hope you love it as much as I do!

So tell me, what’s YOUR favorite thing in your living space right now?

There’s Still Time!

Let me echo every other person in your life by saying WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?!?!?! I swear, it was March like, 3 days ago. Did June actually happen? Do I even remember August? September lasted approximately 4 years for me… but here we are in October and I just can’t believe it! Since we’re now down to the last quarter of the year, I thought now would be a great time to talk about… our new year’s resolutions.

Yes, those little things that we were so eager and excited to make back in December and January and then promptly forgot about by January 14th. Or at least I did. Was that just me? Please tell me it wasn’t just me! So did I actually accomplish any of the resolutions I set out to? Ummm…. no not really…

When I really think about it, I think I can pinpoint one of the main reasons I haven’t kept with a lot of my resolutions. One thing I have come to know about myself, is that I am great at procrastinating, and I relate this to time A LOT.

“I told myself I would start studying at 7:30, but now it’s 7:36… guess I’ll just wait to start studying till 8:00.”

“I was going to start that jogging schedule on Monday but I skipped a day… guess I’ll just stop and start over next Monday.”

“I was doing the whole30 but I had some birthday cake yesterday… guess I’ll just wait till the 1st of next month and start over.”

“I was going to read the entire bible in one year, but it’s month 3 and I’m already so far behind… guess I’ll just read randomly here and there and start again next January.”

“I was trying to accomplish XYZ but I haven’t started yet… guess I’ll wait till 2019.”

Does this sound familiar? Call it laziness or fear or whatever you want, it’s all too common and it’s so not a great mindset! When you really think about it and type it out, it just doesn’t make any sense! Start studying now!! Go for a jog now!! Do the whole30 now!! Read the bible now!! ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING YOU WANT NOW!! But gosh, it is just so easy to push things off. To say that you’ll totally do it… just not this second. To wait till “later” which in all honestly, will probably not happen. And then you’ll find yourself in the last quarter of the year realizing you haven’t been making your bed every day, you haven’t trained for that 5k like you wanted, you haven’t gotten better at that hobby and opened up an Etsy shop, or you name it. It hasn’t happened.

But. Guess what?

IT’S NOT TOO LATE!!!

Let’s change our mindset and instead of waiting three months for a new year and a new set of resolutions, let’s pick ours back up and CRUSH THEM for the last 3 months of the year! What do you say?!? It’ll be easy – let’s do it together!

I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and I’ve come up with a game plan for how we can stop waiting, stop procrastinating, and revive and ACHIEVE our new year’s resolutions.

Step 1: Revisit Your Resolutions

This should be obvious. You can’t plan for success if you don’t know the things you want to succeed at! Go find the list you made at the beginning of the year (or think of and write down some of the resolutions you can remember) and take a good hard look at that list. If you’re like me, you maybe had a LOT of lofty goals for your year (and maybe you’re feeling a little bad/guilty/embarrassed at just how many things you abandoned – but don’t because you’re totally not alone!) so now that it’s crunch time, we need to look over our once-important goals and see which ones we want to focus on for the remainder of 2018.

Step 2: Write Out Your Goals (Again)

Having your list from the beginning of the year really isn’t going to do us any good, right? It’s just going to remind us of the fact that oops we spent 9 months not doing all the things that we hoped and dreamed we would. And I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life! So now that we’ve picked out the goals we want to focus on for the next quarter, it’s time to write them down nice and fresh. You can do this however you’d like – just make sure it’s in a way that will keep you inspired for the next few months!

Step 3: Make A Game Plan

This is the MOST IMPORTANT STEP! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail, so it’s time to plan out how we’re going to take our goals and resolutions and make them actually attainable and achievable. I think one of the most important things here is to remember to stay realistic and even revise your goal if necessary. If your original goal was to run a 5k without stopping to walk (aka one of the things that was on my resolutions list) but you want to keep that goal as something to focus on, maybe it just needs to be changed a little bit to run a mile without stopping or jog X miles before the end of 2018.

Back to making a plan. Here is when we decide how to keep track of our goals for the next three months. Will that be a daily calendar that you can mark off days for completing a task? Will that be writing out your goal in GIGANTIC LETTERS and putting it someplace you’ll see every day? Will it be setting aside some time each weekend to work toward getting something done? There are so many options!

Step 4: Follow Up With Yourself

It’s one thing to just have a goal and make a plan… but that doesn’t mean that anything will actually happen. I think one of the reasons that I didn’t accomplish my resolutions to the level that I had hoped was that I wasn’t checking back on them regularly. I made my (gigantic) list, got all excited for the awesome new life I was going to live in the new year, and then put that list away and literally never looked at it again. What?!?! This step goes hand-in-hand with the one above. If we’re going to make a plan, we have to follow up on it! There are many ways to do this as well, and it does depend on what kind of goal you want to accomplish, but I’m going to set an alarm on my phone to go off every Sunday so I can “check in” and see how my progress is going. That will also ensure that I’m thinking about my goals and looking at the game plan I made at least once a week!

Step 5: Evaluate

The very last step! This one gets saved for the veeeeeeeeery end, aka when the year is over, aka when hopefully all of our goals have been completed! Evaluating how we did (celebrating victories and not being too hard on ourselves if it didn’t go as well as planned) will be helpful we make resolutions while going into 2019. What worked? What didn’t? Did you stick to your plan? Why or why not?


I’m going back through my 2018 resolutions right now, and I think I’m going to pick out 3 to focus on over the next few months. I’ll be making my game plan tonight and I’m actually really excited to accomplish some of the things I set out to as the new year began! I’m definitely going to keep myself accountable and I’ll be evaluating how I did at the end of the year. So now let’s go and finally crush some resolutions!