Checking In

Checking In

It’s Friday!!! Each week kind of seems long when I’m in it, but then it’s Friday, and I’m like, where did the week go?

For me, I had a slow go to the week: recovering from the stomach flu, being gentle to my body, but still keeping busy. Towards the end of the week, my energy was back up and I’m ready to dive into this weekend, which will be a perfect balance of busy and fun. I can just feel it!

Speaking of energy, let me share the smoothie I had this morning:

BLEND:

1 cup fresh or frozen spinach

1 cup frozen medium banana

1/2 cup blueberries

2 T Flaxseed Meal

1 cup of Flaxseed Milk (any milk will do, this is just what I have at the moment)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ya’ll! SO good! SO energizing! I finished this smoothie feeling satisfied and energized. All the things smoothie dreams are made of, right? Will definitely be re-creating and sharing this one soon, maybe tomorrow? I’ll also include more pics too.

So, as I’ve mentioned, I’m back on Weight Watchers, for like the fifth time in a decade, and have completed my first week. This week was kind of weird because my appetite was not quite to par, and certain foods were actually making me nauseous. I guess this makes for an easy first Weight Watchers week?!

I’ve been tracking every little thing I’ve eaten. I’ve found that if I make myself track the food, I feel better about what I ate. Sweets, indulgences, weak points, etc. Tracking it all has made me feel better about myself. I’m telling myself the truth, moving on, and feeling in control.

One thing this go round with WW that I will try to do, is really listen to my body, and not just stick to my plan. For example, if I pre-tracked breakfast for the next morning, but woke up and decided I wanted a hard-boiled egg with my smoothie instead of oatmeal, I’m having the egg. I really did just that one morning this week, and it felt great. I listened to my body and didn’t just go by plan. When cravings or circumstances change, you just have to go with it, while still holding yourself accountable.

Another thing that I’m craving is SUMMER! Or maybe I just want to get away? Both! Perhaps my mini day trip to a winery this weekend will help satisfy that? Follow along on my Insta stories to see what I’m up too! It’s going to be colder here this weekend, maybe one last chance to bundle up before Spring?!

Have a great weekend!

Xo,

Ellen

 

 

 

Revisiting Food With Weight Watchers

Revisiting Food With Weight Watchers

Having recently recovered from a three-day-long stomach virus, I am really appreciating food for what it is! Nourishing, energizing, and satiating. I was literally planning to return to the Weight Watchers meetings on Saturday morning when the icky stuff hit me on Friday night.

I’m still a little rusty with trying certain foods just yet, but I do know, that from here on out, no matter what, I am going to choose foods that I like and choose the ones that digest well for me. I bring the digestive thing up because sometimes I go on different benders, influenced by the vegan and gluten free chefs out there, mostly from their Instagram accounts, only to realize that certain “foodie” and “raw” foods just do not agree with me.

For example, while I feel that I caught the stomach virus from one of the sweet little girls I nanny for, the week prior, I was eating incredibly fibrous vegetables on repeat. Sometimes I get on kicks like having frozen spinach in my smoothies for breakfast and then broccoli/cauliflower quinoa bowls for lunch, and sweet potatoes for dinner, or something similar to that menu. Days later, I am wondering WHY do I feel so bloated?! Probably from all the fiber in those veggies I’ve been eating, that for me, are not easily digest-able.

You see, ever since I was a kid, my digestive tract has been slow moving. What I mean by that, is if I ate something that didn’t agree with me at breakfast, I probably wouldn’t know it until dinner time, if ya know what I mean (without being too graphic here, you get the picture?). I actually wasn’t eating solid, whole foods until about age 3, because of this digestive condition. Hard to believe, right? I have certainly made up for lost time, like 10 x over!

So, my thought of getting back into Weight Watchers came from recently feel out of control with food and having low energy. Since becoming a full time nanny this year, I’ll find myself eating a Ritz Bit here or a chocolate candy there, or a handful of gummy worms, and feel SO BAD about it. It’s crazy how busy the mind is; you wouldn’t believe my thought process when I eat one of these kid snacks. It goes something like this: will eating these make my skin break out? I am planning on exercising this afternoon, so I don’t want to feel bloated after eating those Ritz Bitz full of cheese or the sugar alcohols in the chocolate candies will slow me down, etc, etc, etc.

I need to learn how to accept what I eat and move on, and hold myself accountable for it. And the biggest thing is to not over-indulge.

I believe Weight Watchers will help me learn to eat the foods I truly love again, without feeling crazy guilty around my decisions. WW will also help reign in the appropriate portions of all foods, believe me, I can even go overboard on some homemade sweet potato wedges!

And most importantly, if successful this time with Weight Watchers, which I am confident and have faith that I will be, I know I will feel so accomplished and proud of myself. Each time I go over-board or binge, I feel so bad about myself, which has exuded in my relationships with family, friends, and especially in the dating world.

And it’s kinda cool that Oprah is on WW too!!

In deciding to join Weight Watchers again, I’m still going to pay careful attention to buying organic when it’s available, and be mindful of the ingredients. Healthy ingredients are absolutely worth higher point value.

I’ll officially start tracking this Saturday, since that is when I plan to go to my first meeting and by then I will surely be on the up and up from this lingering stomach bug 😦  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress, downfalls, and all the in between!

Xo,

Ellen

 

Trusting Your Gut & Why I’m 98% sure I’ll Never Do Online Dating Again

Trusting Your Gut & Why I’m 98% sure I’ll Never Do Online Dating Again

So the other night, I was on my fifth date with a guy who I met on Match. Leading up to this date, we had some great times together, and he was so sweet and treated me with up-most respect. He seemed like he was very close with his family and we had several things in common. Seems too good to be true, right? Well it was.

After our fifth date, and we had gone out to dinner, he asked me, what do I think about firearms? I said, I was not comfortable around them and have not known anyone who carries them. I mean, come on, not in the Richmond bubble I live in! He told me a story about when a few years ago, he and his friend were in North Carolina, and were held at gunpoint by passersby or whomever, and ever since then, he has had in his possession firearms. Seems proactive and cautious, but get this: he’s certified and has a concealed handgun permit (CHP), which means that he can carry them, if concealed, in his car, and even on his body, legally in Virginia. My next question was did he have a gun on him during the pleasant day we had spent together (with my friends, no less), and while we were at dinner. He said that he had.

I froze. I couldn’t process it. I felt very unsafe. If I had known this guy a little better, and if he had a more happy-go-lucky personality (hey, I was giving him a chance), maybe I would have felt differently, but for the most part, I was stunned, stopped in my tracks.

I let him drive me home, but shortly after, once I called my mom and sister crying/telling them what happened, I called the guy and told him we couldn’t see each other anymore.

After I told him, he didn’t push back or ask me why or put up a fight. He said that he understood and just wanted to be honest with me. The fact that he didn’t seem angry, made me feel a little reassured and not in danger. I guess he was used to this?

Nevertheless, my gut was really talking to me here, and I had to listen. I mean, there was no question about it.

When I told my friends about this, some said, so what, did you feel safe or unsafe? I can understand where some people would feel safe, given all the crazy sh*t that has happened in our world, but right off the bat, I felt unsafe.

Had I known this guy a little more, and if he gave me all the warm and fuzzies, and was more sociable, I may have given him another chance, but you just can’t be too trusting.

I guess I was wanting it to work out there for a bit, but really, after he met my friends and I sensed that he wasn’t engaging well with them, I probably would have ended things soon enough anyway.

The world of Online Dating has never, ever worked for me. And I’m convinced that it might never will.

I feel like The Universe Has My Back, even though I haven’t read that book by Gabby Bernstein (it’s on my list!), I have a feeling that my person is out there and we will meet when the time is right.

So I guess my point is that I’ve exhausted the online dating game, and ready to trust in the whole “You’ll meet him when you least expect it” advise or even fate?

I left the 2% up for grabs, because often when I’m feeling good and everything is flowing and in alignment (buzz words from Jess Lively), I’ll get an itch to start swiping right again, but I hope I’ll listen to my gut a little closer this time.

Has anyone else had crazy dating stories like this?! I urge my fellow single ladies to trust their gut in the dating world! It is SO important that you do.

Xo,

Ellen

 

 

 

 

Do It While You Have Time

Do It While You Have Time

No, I’m not going any where or God forbid I have an issue with my health or anything. I’m not traveling to Fiji or France or the San Francisco Bay. I’m just here in my fresh, clean apartment on a Friday night. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The title of this post came to me while I was taking a long, luxurious shower (I really just had to shave). I was done with nannying early this afternoon, so I decided to take advantage of the blustery cold afternoon and just bang out a cleaning session.

This is why I could never work from home, because while I love nesting here in my apartment, I often jump from one thing to another and easily get distracted from the task at hand, even though it’s not for long until I come back to what needs to be done. The idea of working from home would not be good for me.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was in the mood to clean, dust, and throw out things that have been piling up. At times during my afternoon cleaning marathon, I thought, oh, I’ll clean the bathroom tomorrow, but then a little voice said, “just do it now, while you have time.” Same thing for vacuuming. My point is, that I really enjoyed honoring all that I have, even though it may not be much to some people, I took care in dusting off pieces that I use every day, and giving them new life.

Now onto another form of cleaning, today is also Day 1 of my 21 Day Detox, created by Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple. Amie is a remarkable human, who literally nursed her way back to health with real, organic, clean foods and a host of holistic practices.

I’ve had her cookbook, Eating Clean for nearly a year, and I’ve referenced a handful of recipes in it, but haven’t fully embraced all the knowledge that Amie shares about eating clean, real, organic foods, including this 21 Day Detox plan. In the book she declares how critical it is to listen to your body for cues that go against your regular bodily function for YOU.

So far, the first day has been good! I’m allowing myself coffee on this plan, but hope to reduce my quantity to just 1-2 cups a day, versus my usual 3-4. I will probably be naturally more alert in the mornings, since I will be hydrating more and staving off my after-dinner treat. Oh yeah, AND not having wine, or any alcohol for that matter.

I’ll be sharing each day of my detox journey here, so stay tuned! For now, I just wanted to share how important it is to take time for yourself and for your living space, because a happy home is a happy you. Now go clean if you have the time!!

 

Xo,

Ellen

 

January Mood Board

January Mood Board

How is it the end of January already?!? I thought these winter months were supposed to be slow moving? Before you know it it will be Spring, and I’m very okay with that! But for now, we are still in the throws of winter, so here are a few cozy items I’m loving right now:

January Mood Board

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Original Lancaster Sofa – Restoration Hardware 

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Hampshire Plaid Lambswool Throw in Shale Blue – Pendleton

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Moroccan Leather Pouf – Etsyil_570xn-1089000182_d2g3

Rose Gold Table Lamp – Candle and Blue

 

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Clara Swivel Chair- Crate & Barrel

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Copper Floor Lamp – The Home Depot

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Mohair Arlequin Rug in Natural – Restoration Hardware

 

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Moroccan Cactus Silk Pillows – Furbish Studio

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Antiqued Empire Coffee Table- Theodore Alexander

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Cow Hide Chair – source unknown?!?

Does anyone know where this is from? I fell in love with it a few months ago, and cannot for the LIFE of me remember where it’s from!!

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Happy shopping!

Xo,

Ellen

Just Do It

Just Do It

Good Sunday evening! I’m waiting for my cauliflower to finish cooking (roasting) as I write tonight. I’ve been thinking about this whole blog thing, and I’ve decided that I’m just gonna write whenever I want to write. I have SO MANY thoughts running through my brain; some I write down to use later on this blog, and never do, some do actually make it onto the blog, but could seem out of context, and some just never leave my journal.

Anyway, I’ve decided I’m just gonna start writing on here about anything and everything.

As a blogger, there is SO much pressure on the timeliness of posts, when to schedule, when to schedule social media, WHICH social media platform is better?! I think the pressure, at least for me, has somewhat deterred me away from doing what blogging is all about: writing.

And the whole follower thing – Surprisingly I’ve actually seen a rise in my followers since the first of the year, which is flattering, but not the #1 reason I do this! I blog because I have things to get off my chest. Maybe this will influence others, maybe it won’t. But, it’s like the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.”

So let’s start with this weekend. This weekend was very quiet, compared to last weekend. Last weekend was one those where I spent approx. $200 on food and drinks and felt like I had NOTHING to show for it but a bottle of Brick House red blend from Gauthier Vineyard. Do you know those weekends? Yeah. So this weekend was heavily focused on regrouping, recharging, and rejuvenating myself for the new week. I got two solid nights sleep – Saturday night I was in bed by 10 PM and slept nine hours – NINE HOURS!! 🙂  That’s the magic right there – a good night’s sleep.

One of the highlights this weekend was making most, if not all, of my meals right here at home. I’ve been super impressed and inspired by Laura Lea Goldberg, of LL Balanced. Her Instagram stories are addicting (she is flawless!!), and she makes most all of her recipes look easy and seamless, which most really are. Laura Lea likes to emphasize using whatever ingredients you have in your pantry to make your meals delicious and eating all of those leftovers too. They are not yet on her website, but I’ve made her sweet potato fries with a tahini-dijon-honey dip two times now, and you might not want to order sweet potato fries from a restaurant again! OK, you will order sweet potato fries from a restaurant again, but making your own is so satisfying!

I’ve also had fun this weekend being more experimental with my meals, like this bowl I cooked up tonight. I roasted the cauliflower with EVOO, Italian seasoning, and lemon zest. While the cauliflower was roasting, I made up a little dressing. I didn’t go by exact measurements, but the dressing goes something like this:

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1 TBP. Tahini

1/2 TBP. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. Curry seasoning

1 TBP. Coconut oil

1 tsp. Maple Syrup (honey could be even more delicious here)

1/2 Lemon juiced

I must say, the dressing MAKES this bowl! I sauteed some greens with garlic and mixed it all up with some quinoa and chickpeas and tossed a few pumpkin seeds in there too.

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SO GOOD!!

There’s just something so rewarding about making your own meal.

I also made these EASY ‘Fuel Up’ bars for the week from Amie Valpone over at The Healthy Apple. The recipe is in her new cook book, Eating Clean. Let’s be honest here, these probably won’t last past Wednesday!!

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As you can see, I’m no food photographer, but I hope you will make a few more meals for yourself in the kitchen this week! Trust me, you’re worth it.

Xo,

Ellen

Winter Ramblings

Winter Ramblings

This past weekend Richmond got hit/blessed? with the first snow of 2017. We got about 6 inches here in the city, but it was a great consistency; light, powdery, fluffy, etc. All that you winter lovers’snow dreams are made of. Someone’s caption on Instagram deemed it “magical”. It kind of was, because the bulk of the accumulation happened over night.

The night before the snow came, I got together with my SGHS (high school) friends for a low-key dinner from Zoe’s Kitchen and wine. It was great catching up as always with these ladies! Thank you Liz, for being the fabulous coordinator and hostess!

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The next morning, as I said, the snow was here, and coffee and eggs were calling my name. I enjoyed looking out of my balcony at the albeit, pretty snow.

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If there was a contest where someone had to occupy themselves for 24-hrs without opening their apartment door, I would win. I can’t recount all the little things I did, but my day went something like this: breakfast, savored coffee, watched the weather, called my mom, called my sister, Face Timed with my bro and family, snacked on lots of hummus, put away my Christmas ornaments and decorations, cleaned apartment, made avocado pesto, and probably my most important activity: making sweet potato fries from scratch!!

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Lastly, I ate said fries, accompanied by GF penne with sauteed onions and mushrooms and my avocado-pesto sauce. After dinner, I curled up to watch a new movie; Bridget Jones’ Baby, which was so funny, and had an amazing soundtrack!

So, you see how I can keep myself busy?

Sunday morning, I knew was going to be the day to venture out, but still enjoyed “sleeping in” until 7:45am, and styled this yummy bowl of strawberry, coconut oatmeal, accompanied by Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut spread and chia seeds. DE-licious!

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After breakfast, I spent about two hours painfully searching for a new background for the blog. I knew all along the look I wanted, but kept searching and getting caught in the rabbit hole of looking at other gorgeous images.

Before I knew it, it was almost Noon! Time flies when you’re not doing anything 😉 I suited up in my snow uniform, which consisted of two pairs of leggings, two long sleeved shirts, my new Patagonia pullover fleece that I bought at Clementine for $45!, my plaid infinity scarf, and my Mako Builders wool/cotton hat. Phew! That’s a lot of layers. Oh, and two pairs of socks AND gloves, and my 12-year old Uggs. Yes, you read that right. Twelve years old!

Enough about my snow uniform. I brushed the snow off my car, which was pretty easy , then headed over to my sister’s. My thought was to play with my nieces in the snow, but they had their next door neighbor friend over, so that didn’t happen. But I did help them make Snow Cream, which tasted pretty much like ice cream! Here’s the recipe that we got from my sister’s mother-in-law:

Snow Cream

Serves 3

  • 4-cups snow
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla “abstract” as my niece called it, lol)
  • Drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional)

Beat all above ingredients together, and enjoy!

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So there’s my little snow weekend in a nutshell. Now I’m going to cook dinner, enjoy some red wine and popcorn, and watch the Golden Globes!

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Stay warm!

Xo,

Ellen