A Day in the Life


imageA day in the life:
6:45: ugh – already?

7:15: in the shower, to myself – rehearsing can’t-be-beat legal argument for my hearing this morning. I love being a lawyer. I’m gonna totally rock this.
7:30: hurryhurryhurry where are your shoes? Did the dogs both go outside?
7:47: donuts in the car. Powdered sugar on previously pristine back-from-dry-cleaner black dress (and also – dog hair. Why do I have dogs, again?) where is the lint roller and where are the baby wipes? I hate my job. Why can’t I have a job where I wear scrubs? Or jeans all the time?
8:30: all kids are finally where they are supposed to be. My coffee is cold. I drink it anyway. And continue to try to remove the powdered sugar…
8:46: meet client at courthouse, look at her text message trail, talk to opposing counsel, negotiate – think at least 101 times before calendar call at 9 “why do people ever become lawyers… Really, why?”
9:03: mischief managed, case settled (temporarily) no need for a hearing, relief, I can finish my coffee (and half eaten powdered donut) I’m living the dream, really.
9:19: check voicemail – I can’t give you advice about whether or not to do this that or the other. No. No. Of course. Yes, can you come in tomorrow? No I’m not here at 7am or 7pm. Yes, I do understand that exes can be jerks. What are her charges? When is the court date… What day were you served? 29 DAYS AGO?!?!? (Why do people become lawyers, seriously, ever?)
10:02: client meeting, despite the worry about her reaction to the recommendation, she is relieved she isn’t going to jail and thinks I’m the best lawyer ever. (Man, I love being a lawyer…)

And so on…
2:02: run to Rome Little Theater (on foot, in heels) to pick up child from theater camp.
2:11: get talked into a smoothie at Swift & Finch for kid (and iced coffee for me) on the walk back – glad I walked but my feet hurt
2:21: “MOOOMMMMM, how much longer are we gonna have to be here. I’m so bored.”
2:35: OH NO! Oh, ok. Phew. You didn’t actually shoot your eye out with that stapler, you just got the eyelid. Ok yes I will take you home now. You’re totally old enough to be alone at home. And clearly not a danger to yourself…
3:20: leave office – yes, child, we do, in fact *have* to go to the bank, and the police station for a report, and the courthouse to file these pleadings. Before I take you home and drive back across town to the doctor at 4. (why in the world did I sign up for this? Why??? I can’t be a lawyer and a mom today. Or any day. I’m failing. Eventually, One or the other (lawyer? Mom? One will have to win. But I can’t afford for the other to lose…)
4:00: dermatologist – first real quiet time of the day
4:37: pick up other (sunburned bc I forgot the sunscreen – for the 3rd day in a row) kid at soccer camp. My feet hurt in these heels. I took my Spanx off at the doctor and didn’t put them back on.  Vanity be damned. I never finished that donut and apparently sat on it in the car at some point. I have no idea what we will have for supper or how I will find clean underwear for everyone tomorrow and I really need to prep for that mediation tonight because I have court all morning tomorrow and I have to go straight from soccer camp to soccer tryouts tomorrow after work. Until 8pm.
4:38: Boy man-child says “mommy (yes he said mommy), you look so pretty today. how did your hearing go? Did the judge grant your motion? Did you help your client? …And thanks for driving all the way out here twice a day so I can do soccer…” (Silent choked up tears from me.)

“I’m proud of you, mom. People would be in big trouble without you. Especially me.”

Out of the mouths of babes, y’all! (well, or a man-child of almost-12 in this case…)

Today’s lesson learned for me:

Every day is worth it. Even when it’s long. Especially when it’s hard. Even when you cry from frustration. Even on the crazy cocktail roller-coaster of tween mothering and solo lawyering combined. I can do hard things. Hard work reaps a bountiful harvest. I am an example for my children. I am living my calling even if it would be easier to stay home in bed. I need to be reminded sometimes that I’m actually doing ok. Even with powdered donut on my dress and even when we eat meals from convenience stores and Chickfila entirely too often, and especially when I feel like I’m not quite making it all work and I realize I do, in fact, have it all.



JJ’s Whole 30 – Round 2


(NOTE – to see Round 1 posts – click here: week 1, week 2, week 3, and results…)  And also, if you are interested in the Whole 30 – please check out Whole30.com and the book It Starts With Food (invaluable resource).

I did it!!!  I completed 19.3 magical miles in Disney! (I did the Enchanted 10k on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday to complete The Glass Slipper Challenge) – I will do a whole Disney post later (or you can check out my Instagram feed) but for now I’ll share the bling!  It was worth getting up at 3am two days in a row on vacation!


I didn’t eat terribly.  And also, I spent over 72 miles on my feet in less than 7 days between running and walking around the parks and the resort.  This was at the airport when we were leaving…IMG_0543

Despite all the walking, I did indulge in some yummy NON Whole 30 food.  I paid for it a little but for the most part I still ate pretty well – the sugar and grains seemed to give me the most problem.

As such, I’ve decided to do round 2 of Whole 30 for the month of March.  My husband and kids are on board and requested their favorite Whole 30 recipes.  I made a meal plan and went shopping yesterday.

meal plan round 2 week 1


My meal plan is mostly centered around our family evening meal – but I shopped for the whole week including breakfast, lunch and snacks:

For breakfast, I do eat a lot of eggs.  I’ve had a lot of discussion with folks that want to do the Whole 30 but they can’t eat that many eggs.  Eggs are NOT required.  I eat eggs because 1) I like them 2) they’re quick 3) they fit the protein needs easily and I can adjust portion as needed 4) they’re relatively inexpensive, even for pastured cage free eggs.  At my store, it’s $4 for a dozen cage-free, hormone free, pastured eggs but that’s 33 cents each.  So, not such a bad deal to have 3 eggs for $1. Yes?  But eggs are not necessary.

For lunches, I usually have leftovers.  Most of my recipes are enough for all of us to eat plenty at dinner and have enough for a good portion leftover for my lunch and sometimes for Will’s too.  I use these round containers, rectangles and bento-style boxes from Amazon to prep & pack food.  They are all BPA free, microwaveable, dishwasher safe, not 100% leakproof, but pretty tight sealed, and if I need to toss one it wasn’t terribly expensive.

SNACKS:  The Whole 30 premise suggests avoiding unnecessary snacking and trying to get enough protein and sustenance in your meals so that you are not hungry.  However, as a practical matter, we all get hungry sometimes and need a snack.  I eat fruit (berries, apple with almond butter, banana), raw veggies, almonds/cashews, Lara Bars, and homemade lara balls for snacks.  I also eat avocados right out of the skin with a spoon and whatever else I can find.

Here are the specific links to the recipes:

Sunday – Whole chicken w/carrots and red potatoes and a salad: Crock Pot Whole Chicken (I use this occassionally just to cook a chicken to use in other recipes) but I LOVE to roast a chicken in my cast iron skillet 

Monday – Cole has his first real 6th grade band concert on Monday at 6.  Since we’ll be getting home a little late, I’m pre-prepping Buffalo Chicken Casserole today (Sunday) to pop in the oven when we get home.

Tuesday – Carson has dance on Tuesdays from 5:45-6:45 and Cole has Scouts at 7 (and we pick up our buddy Reese, too…) so my Tuesdays start with my awesome sitter bringing the kiddos to me at 5:15 and us all loading in the car and driving to dance to drop Carson off.  Then Cole and I have about 30-40 minutes to eat together.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the week because I get to spend serious quality time with my 11 year old boy, which is rare.  SO, we’ll probably eat at Schroeder’s and I’ll have this salad (spinach with tomatoes and chicken and artichokes and avocado with vinegar & oil.)


Wednesday – Grass fed beef burgers and my #1 favorite Whole 30 food – Sweet Potato Fries!  I don’t have a specific recipe for these – I preheat oven to 415 and then peel and cut potatoes pretty thin (1/4″ thick), spray them with a mist of olive oil (or toss them in it if you don’t have a mister) – you can also toss them in just a little tapioca meal/flour – it has the consistency of corn starch and makes them less floppy… And then I bake on my dark baking sheet or pizza stone for 10-12 mintues, flip them and pop them back in for a few more minutes until they’re done.  I like them *almost * burnt on the edges.  It’s important to spread them out to get them crispy so if you’re making a lot you may need to do 2 pans or 2 batches.  I like to dip them in Dump Ranch, and I sometimes drizzle this on my burgers that I eat between giant lettuce leaves instead of a bun.

Thursday – This is another busy night for us – Cole has soccer practice at 5:30 and Carson has dance from 5:30-7:30 so we’re usually not home until almost 8.  So, I’ll be prepping a new recipe for us – Broccoli Chicken Casserole – to make it an easy one stop meal.

Friday – My kids LOVE this Chocolate Chili.  I didn’t know if I would like chili without beans, but I do!  I do put cheese and sour cream on the kids’ and Will’s chili and they can have crackers if they want – but I just slice up some avocado on mine and have a salad.

Saturday – I’ve posted these Salt & Vinegar wings before.  But, they’re a big hit with the family.  Add some carrots and celery with Dump Ranch and some sweet potato fries and you’re covered!



So, that’s all I got for today!  If you have questions, I’m happy to answer – I’m NOT an expert at all and I’m NOT a nutritionist.  I only know that this program worked for me and I feel better eating this way.  Check back for updates!

JJ’s Whole 30 – final week & results


If you missed the first 3 posts re: my Whole 30 go back and read them here, here, and here – I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this post up.  I HAVE decided to make my #Whole30 a #Whole45 (and I’m on Day 37 so that’s really only another week.  Wow.)

First (PICTURE HEAVY!) – What I ate in Week 4 (and beyond): Shrimp & Spinach salad with viniagrette (Applebee’s), Mediterranean Salad with oil & vinegar, Sashimi plate with no rice and salad, my “random skillet” (chicken apple sausage, baby bella mushrooms, zucchini & sweet potato with Rancher Steak Rub), Ahi Tuna Sesame Salad with oil & vinegar (Outback Steakhouse), eggs over medium with avocado and berries, grilled chicken tenders and sweet potato fries, buffalo chicken stuffed zucchini, egg veggie scramble with tomato, avocado and mushroom, homemade Lara bars (Cashews, Dates & cinnamon with unsweetened coconut), eggs again with avocado, grassfed beef burger, delicious steak (sirloin) seared in cast iron skillet and broiled in oven with roasted asparagus; company pot roast with carrots and potatoes, paleo meatballs, sweet potato fries and…more eggs.

Anything I have a recipe for is pinned on my Whole 30 Pinterest Board.

Without further delay – here are my number results:

WEIGHT – Lost 14 pounds as of day 30 (15.5 as of day 37)

INCHES – 4.75 inches off waist, 4.25 off hips.  That’s all I measured.  I know I’ve lost inches elsewhere in my neck and upper arms and chest because 1) I can see it and 2) my shirts fit better (as does everything else…)

Here is a list – in no particular order – of other things that I LOVE about how I feel and what I got out of the Whole 30:

I sleep well.  I get in bed and go to sleep, get up with the alarm… rested.  Yes, I’m still tired – I’m a full time lawyer/business owner who runs 30 miles a week and has two kids with activities and dogs and I cook every night.  Yes, I’m tired.  But it’s a regular satisfied “I got the most out of my day” tired – not a “I need a chocolate chip cookie and a double espresso at 3pm to make it through this day” kind of tired.

I run faster!!! I have taken about a minute to a minute and a half off my per mile pace.  This may mean nothing to you if you are not a runner.  If you are a runner, you know that is HUGE in a 30 day period.  Part of it is the weight loss.  A lot of it is that I FEEL great and have energy and my body is working properly.

My skin is clearer and my hair is shiny.

I don’t feel achy like I did every morning, no creaky bones anymore.  Only the standard runner pains if I overdo it but mostly even those pains are minor – I feel great after my workouts – hardly ever super sore anymore.

My kids are eating well.  And my husband, too.  No they aren’t 100% whole like I have been, but since we have SO MUCH whole food (and almost only whole food) in the house that’s what they eat.  They haven’t complained.  They LOVED most the recipes.  My husband does not like butternut squash soup.  That was his only say in this whole thing.

I have before and after photos.  I preach confidence and being brave but even though I’m confident and brave, I’m just NOT where I feel I can post those photos yet on the public internet for all to see as my belly is bared.  IF you would like to see them, I’m happy to share them via email or FB message – so feel free to send me a message and I’ll send them along.

I also ran the Hot Chocolate (ATL) 15k race on DAY 29 of my Whole 30.  Which means I had no chocolate (other than the chocolate bar shaped medal) after the race.  That was determination, y’all!

Now – for the MOST IMPORTANT THING right now – it’s 17 days until we go to Disney again!  I do not plan to be doing strict Whole 30 in Disney – but since I HAVE been eating so clean, I KNOW it will be punishment if I go completely rogue – I will post food and fun photos on Instagram and I’ll update with photos from the races (with costumes) while I’m there if you want to follow my Instagram posts.


I’m open to any questions but being on the back end – here are my suggestions if you want to do this.

  1. PLEASE read the book It Starts With Food.  I cannot emphasize enough how much the book really makes the difference in understanding WHY you are doing this and WHY it works and helping you remain committed.  And also to help you reintroduce the eliminated foods after your whole 30.
  2. Make a plan for the first 2 weeks and go shop for the first one before your first day.  You’ll have a better grip on it then and if you can make it through the first week-10 days you’ll be good to go!
  3. It’s only 30 days.  It’s not hard.  The hardest part is getting your brain wrapped around committing to it and the first week or 10 days.  After that it’s cake, I mean, it’s…. Larabars.
  4. Take pictures of your food.  Post them on instagram.  Follow other Whole 30 and Paleo folks on Instagram.  Build a pinterest board (or copy mine!) and get inspired.  My food was/is delicious.  So much so that I have decided to keep on going for now.  I don’t want to eat crap again.
  5. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.


JJ’s Whole 30: Week 3


OK – so here I am.  It’s day 23. (You can see Week 1 here, and Week 2 here…) 3+ weeks of absolutely no sugar, no grains, no alcohol, no dairy, no legumes (including soy) and no artificial sweetners and a WHOLE LOT OF EGGS.

Here’s a little sampling of my breakfasts.  All told I ate 27 eggs in the last 9 days. Wow.

Fried eggs with sweet potato home fries and berries, soft boiled eggs with spinach, artichoke & fire roasted tomatoes, eggs on sweet potato hash with sausasge and avocado.

So, what’s the deal with eggs?  Well, eggs are perfect for whole 30 and paleo diets.  They pack a powerful protein punch and they can be portable if hardboiled, they go with a lot of stuff, etc etc etc.  And I read a lot about “egg fatigue” prior to my Whole 30 and I thought “Well, I’ll just find other things to eat for breakfast…” So, no.  I just have been eating a crapton of eggs.  I didn’t feel burnt out on eggs.  Until day 20. On Day 20, which was Friday, I woke up hungry (which is what is supposed to happen, if you read the book – my leptin levels are normal again!) but we were feeling a little under the gun with time, and I didn’t have time to cook the darn eggs and we didn’t have any hardboiled ones and I just didn’t want eggs.  I wanted a chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A.  Really.  Though the thought of what that heaviness would actually do to my currently very clean gut makes me queasy, my brain wanted the convenience, the fried-ness, the CHICK-FIL-A-ness of that biscuit.

Anyway, the good news is I stopped at my favorite local coffee place Swift & Finch and got a medium coffee (black) and a LaraBar and moved on with my life.  I ate my leftover soup for lunch.  I drank a lot of water and had an apple with some almond butter when I was still hungry.  And life was good.  But it was a rocky start that morning and this whole project has been as much about mentally learning to deal with that and resist the temptation to go back to what seemed “easy” – because it’s really not easier once it makes you sick, right?  Also, Friday morning was hard because I think it might very well be the first time I’ve been REALLY HUNGRY in 21 days.

So, here’s some more food porn. Salt & vinegar wings with crispy sweet potato fries, chipotle lime fajitas (huge hit), a grilled chicken, artichoke, tomato, avocado and spinach salad from Schroeder’s New Deli (with vinaigrette), spinach salad with boiled eggs, vinaigrette and fruit for lunch at my desk, leftover chipotle lime chicken with avocado, fajitas on Tucker Farms lettuce, grass fed beef burger with avocado, homemade mayo, cherry tomatoes and carrots, 15 minute teryaki shrimp stirfry (big hit!), and carrot/butternut squash crockpot soup.  DELICIOUS.  I’ll make all these things still after the Whole 30.

One of the rules on the Whole 30 program is that you aren’t supposed to weigh yourself – it’s part of the Whole 30 philosophy – that your actual weight is not indicative of your healthy choices for this 30 days.  And you know, I’m pretty much a rule follower (See above – 3 weeks of no….sugar, etc.) – but, well, I cheated.  And I’ve lost weight.  I’ll save the amount for the wrap at the end of 30 days but Oh my holy oats – wait, not oats, no grains – oh my holy… avocado? Anyway, the number on the scale was way lower than what I was expecting.  My clothes are DEFINITELY looser.  (That said, they were pretty tight right there around Christmas….so….it’s more accurate to say they fit again.)  I have been sleeping well.  Really well.  I’ve had some weird dreams about food choices, like i force fed an office mate celery one day.  And I don’t even like celery… Our subconscious is so odd.

What else – hmmmm.  I thought grocery shopping would be harder and more expensive since I’m supposed to buy high quality meat and produce – actually, it’s easier and cheaper.  This is hard to believe.  I concede…  The truth is though – when you only buy meat, produce and eggs, you can pretty much buy a lot of it.  I’ve had to shop every 5-6 days, yes – because, well, food that spoils (that is – WHOLE FOOD) needs to be eaten quickly and replaced.  But, it’s still been cheaper on the whole and I’m not eating out at all (well, rarely) so I’m saving that $$$, too.


I did not expect Will & the children to go on this journey with me – but they actually have eaten every whole 30 meal (dinner meal) happily and had seconds.  We are eating all the leftovers.  Usually we end up throwing out leftovers a week or so later… but Seriously.  And they haven’t asked for Little Debbies or Cheese Nips or anything.  There are a few things still around – hot dogs & wheat bread and lunch meat and cheese – but on the whole they are eating a lot better (not that our diets were ever awful) and don’t seem to actually notice that much (brussels sprouts excepted…they didn’t like them.)

So, I’ve been posting a lot (like all) of my meals on Instagram.  You can go look at them here: JJ’s Instagram – but people keep telling me “I don’t know how you are doing this” –  “I couldn’t live without cream in my coffee.””I have too much of a sweet tooth to give up sugar.” “I’m too busy to plan my meals out/shop that much/cook every day.” “My kids and husband won’t do this with me and it will be too hard to make multiple meals.”  I know.  I said the same things.  This is actually not my first attempt at Whole 30.

OK – here’s some tough love.  Yes.  You can do all that.  But it has to be a serious conscious choice because it can be a little hard to tough it out some days – BUT it is worth it and it is valuable and it ISN’T IMPOSSIBLE.  I feel awesome, I’m running faster and I’ve lost 9+ pounds (oops let the cat out of the bag there, eh?) in 23 days.  And also, the food has been delicious and I’m somehow despite my perception otherwise, saving money and time. (PS, I see you rolling your eyes at my optimism here, because I also did that with every other Whole 30 blog I read before I started… it’s ok.  I understand.)

For kicks, here are some other fun photos of my week: (Me in front of my Faces of Hope photo; some pictures of my 9.7 mile trail run over the weekend at Berry; me and my #1 boy at Schroeder’s, the kids having ice cream (I bought a banana and a water!); mother-daughter pedicures; tea at Swift & Finch after a 5.5 mile run with friends; my knife in the floorboards while chopping – there’s lots of chopping… at least it missed my bare foot?; Carson Claire loving her Whole 30 breakfast; everyone scraped their bowls of the butternut carrot soup; and finally – 30 DAYS UNTIL DISNEY!

I have 7 more days before I hit 30.  Frankly, I’m afraid.  I’m afraid to eat cheese. (GASP!) And bread and fried things and sugar.  I’m afraid because I don’t want to go back down that slippery slope.  I don’t want to crave donuts and feel like crap at 3pm.  I want to keep running faster and not worry about my skin problems and whether I can fit into those pants anymore. I want to buy smaller pants – heck yeah – I like cream in my coffee (*and chick-fil-a biscuits*), but I much prefer feeling awesome, sleeping well, having stable moods,  having all-day energy, and running fast.

So – I’m thinking these things might lead to a Whole 45 and a modified way of eating, like, forever.  Wow.

JJ’s Whole 30: Week 2


First of all, I interrupt this blog post (which hasn’t even started) to share the CRAZY EXCITING NEWS that we will be in Walt Disney World in 39 days!  This is our 3rd trip in the last 3 years.  We went in October 2014 and I got to run the Tower of Terror 10-miler – my first Run Disney Race –

Aren’t we cute?  That’s me at the expo, me just before the race, with my family who LOVES me enough to wait until after 12:30am for me to finish a race, and then our fabulous Disney New Balance Shoes – Carson and Cole got Sorcerer Mickey and I got Cinderella and Will got Goofy…  (Looking at these photos makes me super excited for our return trip next month because I am going to run the Glass Slipper Challenge!  This is a back to back race a 10k on Saturday, February 20, and a half marathon on Sunday, February 21.  Check out the medals!  I’ll get the 3 in the middle (Not doing the 5k or the kids’ races…)


Fun, right? so this leads me to my Whole 30 Week 2 review, (You can see Week 1 here…) – what’s gone well (and what’s been a challenge), and facing my biggest fear, which was running without bagels and pasta.

I’m the Chapter Leader of our local chapter of Moms Run This Town – and since I’ve been sharing a lot on social media a lot of my Mother Runner friends have asked me how it’s affecting my running.  Not gonna lie – I was afraid.  And the first 8-9 days of the program, I struggled some with feeling a little tired.  BUT, then on day 10 I suddenly realized I wasn’t tired anymore and I ran FASTER.  Plus, I’ve been lucky enough to go to Barre class with my friend Crystal at Wright Athletic.  Crystal offers “express” lunch classes during the week of both Jillian Michaels’s BodyShred and Barre and if you’re in Rome and get a lunch hour I highly recommend it.  I went to Barre on Tuesday AND Thursday and also ran on Sunday (6.5 miles), Monday (3 miles), Thursday (3.2 miles) and Saturday (6.2 miles – a 10k).  And I feel great.  I was worried, like I said, about the running – but on our longer runs instead of GUs which I usually use for energy I made these delicious Lara “Balls” (which my running partner nicknamed Schwetty Balls… from dates and cashews and some unsweetened cocount with a little cinnamon.  They are amazing and great replacement fuel for my runs. (Recipe – 2 c. lightly salted cashews, 2.5 (or more) cups chopped medjool dates, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 handful unsweetened coconut – throw in blender or food processor until it clumps.  You can roll out into bars and cut – but mine wasn’t sticky enough (needed more dates) and so I made balls and they were perfect.)

IMG_9592Another thing I have noticed is that my running time is speeding up.  My pace the last several months has been 13-14 minute miles – especially on runs over 3 miles.  Well, yesterday we ran our 10k at 12:30/mile.  That’s not “fast” on a lot of runner radars but it is my “base” running rate and since I’ve gained a little weight and been eating awful, I had slowed down so I look forward to continued speed increase!  (It is also worth noting that I run Galloway-style intervals.  This started after my neck surgery last summer when the doctor said I could “ease” back into running with 1:1 intervals…I was frustrated with that limitation until I got used to it and now I pretty much love it.  So, I ran a 10k at 12:30 miles using 1:1 intervals of run/walk…and I’m happy with that.  I may never drop intervals.)

OK – moving on to other non-running related stuff.  This week was a little hard because I kinda started to run out of groceries.  Since I have to make pretty much everything I eat, I have to have my fridge stocked.  But, I made it work.  I ran to the grocery after my Thursday run during Carson’s dance class and got a cart of goodness:


Fruit (bananas, apples, limes), avocado, carrots, pickles, pre-minced garlic, sugar free sausage, sweet potatoes, a bunch of chicken, grass fed ground beef, a crapton of chicken breasts (on sale!), and 2 dozen cage free eggs (of which I’ve eaten half in the last 3 days)…

This is a summary and highlights (in photos) of what I ate with appropriate recipe links if I have them:

BREAKFAST – mostly eggs.  With avocado and fruit or with sweet potato hash.  (I don’t have a link to the sweet potato hash but have a lot of requests for it – an onion chopped and sauteed in a little coconut oil, browned Bob Evans sausage (it’s bob evans because it’s the only one I’ve found without added sugar), and 2-3 chopped up sweet potatoes thrown in and stirred around until soft.  I haven’t had to add any extra spices because of the seasoning in the sausage.  My WHOLE FAMILY loves sweet potato hash.



The salad is a cobb salad (no bacon (not sure if it’s sugar cured) and no bleu cheese with balsamic vinaigrette from Doug’s Downtown Deli.  I’ve also made a salad with my delicious lettuces from Tucker Farms (local, organic, hydroponic – check it out!) – Also, I had more than 2 lunches, I took leftovers most days from dinner.



You can click on these photos for captions and links for recipes but basically, spaghetti squash, paleo meatballs & homemade marinara, (that’s my 11 year old giving his thumbs up to this meal – I put a little mozarella on his plate, too); sausage and sweet potato soup (my new favorite – though I just used ground turkey sausage from publix not in casings and we didn’t make it in the crockpot – just on the stove in about 20-30 minutes), roasted salmon with garlic and brussels sprouts – we all agreed the salmon was delicious but the brussels sprouts (we ate them) weren’t the best; and my standard in-a-hurry comfort food: grassfed beef burger with homemade mayo, mustard and cherry tomatoes on a Tucker Farms lettuce “bun” with homemade fresh guacamole and veggie chips.


And then last night we made steaks and roasted asparagus – there was no special recipe for this – we planned to grill them but it was pouring rain and our grill is on the back deck (not covered) so I looked up on pinterest how to make them in the oven while still having that seared edge.  I drizzled with olive oil and used Wildtree’s Rancher Steak Rub (which is Whole 30 compliant) and let them come to room temp.  I heated a cast iron frying pan in the oven until hot, then removed it to the stove on high heat and threw the steaks on to sear on each side for 30-45 seconds.  Then put the pan back in the oven (on high broil) for about 2 minutes on each side and covered with foil 5 minutes to rest.  They came out PERFECT – like we might just make them like that from now on.

For the asparagus I just cut the ends off, threw in a little pan, tossed with olive oil and a Wildtree Garlic Pepper seasoning and squeezed half a lime’s worth of lime juice over it, tossed it and roasted at 450 for 15 minutes.  They also came out perfect and we ate it ALL.

So there’s the food.  Now, for how I’m feeling.  Generally great.  I have a headache today and I had one on Friday but I’m 90% sure it’s related to the rain and barometric pressure.  I’m sleeping great, I’m not tired during the day, I am generally in a good mood, like, most of the time anyway – even considering I was maybe a little hormonal this week for certain reasons, it wasn’t nearly the anxiety teary heap of a mess that usually happens…so maybe my hormones are leveling out, too?

Weird things that happened:
1) I saw a Taco Bell commercial.  Taco Bell is one of my favorite places to eat.  I know it’s trash.  I know it’s not real food.  I understand.  But I was raised on Taco Bell bean burritos and it’s a hard thing to think of Taco Bell as bad.  (Though I know it is…) Anyway, this commercial came on for the breakfast crunch wrap, with it’s toasty hashbrown and crispy bacon and eggs and then drizzled liquid (fake) salty cheese on it… and normally my mouth would have watered and I’d have had to change the channel.  But, instead, I kind of gagged a little.  GROSS was my reaction.  Uh, something is happening to my head, y’all.  I love Taco Bell?!?!?!  But I can’t stomach the thought of taking one bite of that.

2) I haven’t been tempted to cheat except for Thursday night.  It was really a long long day and night and I was tired and it was 8:30 or later when I got home *and* I had picked up Chickfila for the rest of the family – I didn’t want to cook something for myself and I’d already eaten the leftovers and other easy pop-in-the-microwave or eat cold stuff (chicken salad, etc.)…but, I stuck with it and did it anyway. (this was the hamburger night) – I’m glad I did.  I would have regretted it big time…

3) Even though I have no discernable cravings (Though I did want a cold fountain Coke with shaved ice last night to combat my headache??? And I don’t even drink Coke normally?) I had the most intense crazy (SCARY!) dream on Wednesday or Thursday night (Day 12? 13?) where I was at a Sports Bar with my husband watching a big game and I somehow didn’t have anything compliant to eat so I said – oh well – and ordered a giant pimento cheese sandwich with bacon on grilled sourdough bread – AND we split a 72 oz (72?!!?) Newcastle beer in a frosty mug with straws.  Subconscious dreams are crazy and it turns out – completely normal at this stage – http://whole30.com/2013/08/revised-timeline/

So – my skin is clearing up and just, like “brighter” I guess? even though I had a blemish from aforementioned hormones.  My digestion is amazing.  I’m not hungry.  *I eat A LOT of protein at my meals and that helps!* I have had to be a little creative with pre-run/workout and during-run fueling but it hasn’t been nearly the worrisome thing I thought it would be.  I feel amazing, my clothes are looser, I’ve lost all the bloaty floppy stomach (I still have a “gut” but it’s flatter and my face is less puffy, too…), 3 people asked if I had my hair colored (which I didn’t and it’s evidenced by my “glitter” in the roots but apparently it’s super shiny?

If you’re still on the fence about the Whole 30 – just do it.  It’s been SOOOO worth it so far and I’m at the halfway mark.  I have been amazed at the things I’ve found to eat – and that I can basically eat as much as I feel like I want/need to feel satisfied.  Cravings are none.  Don’t want cookies or cake or anything.  Want fruit or guacamole or nuts or fish, usually.

I’m happy to answer any questions – don’t be afraid to leave a comment or send me an email!  Or find me on Facebook!

JJ’s Whole 30 – Week 1


I have to go to the oncologist every 3-4 months.  STILL. Just for checkups and blood work and to make sure my lymphoma does not return…

Apparently sometime around finishing radiation treatment in 2012 my thyroid also stopped working.  It’s kind of a pain and there’s a TON of stuff you can read about on the internet – but my biggest issues are energy (lack of) and not being able to lose weight no matter what I do.  I mean, I ran 6 half marathons in 2015 and I weigh 10 more pounds now than I did before all that.  According the the “charts” I am almost morbidly obese.  No.  Really.  I wear a (currently snug) size 12 in women’s clothing and I am  5′ 6″.  Here’s a picture of me (credit: Kelly Moore, Rome, GA, November 2015)

Family Card photo

Yeah, I’m not skinny, but I’ve never really thought I was OBESE, much less MORBIDLY OBESE.  Wrong.  The charts aren’t good science (based on my reading and opinion and according to my trusted healthcare professionals…) and while yes, I’d like my pants to fit better and to be more comfortable in a bathing suit, all I can REALLY think about is HOW MUCH FASTER I could run if I lost pounds!

In any event, in talking to my oncologist, she referred me to a nutritionist and my nutritionist immediately suggested the Whole 30 as a nutritional/metabolic reset.  So, I got the book It Starts With Food (which I cannot recommend highly enough) – the book explains how your body uses food, and what all the processed unhealthy food we eat does to your digestive system, and how we become insulin resistant and unable to properly manage our relationship with food.

So – Step 1) read the book.  It is really worth the time and not boring.

I kind of knew I wouldn’t be able to get my husband (and kids – 10 & 11 now!) on board with a full on no-bread-no-sugar-no-dairy, etc. eating plan, so I started talking to them about how *I* wanted to do it.  My husband was very supportive and I knew if I was going to do it I would need to get really prepared mentally and by cleaning out the cabinets and pre-planning.  So here are the results of that:

I spent the week before Christmas getting my ideas together.  I pinned a bunch of things on my Whole 30 Pinterest board, I read a lot of “first week” blogs (which inspired me to do this one) and I publicly committed by sharing on social media, etc.

Then I made a meal plan, and a shopping list from the meal plan.  I got this handy dandy pad at Amazon, and it makes meal planning and grocery-list making a lot easier.  (I also use the AnyList app on my phone…highly recommended.  Auto-sorts ingredients by category (aisle)):

IMG_9514After I made my plan and my shopping list I knew I’d have to go to a couple stores to get everything.  I wanted to go to Sam’s Club to get my produce and some other things (meat if they had what I needed)… but I knew a lot of things would be hard to find at Sam’s in normal quantities so I also went to Publix (we don’t have a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s or anything like that.  We have Kroger, Walmart and Publix…oh and now we have Aldi which I love but sometimes is hit or miss…)

So this was my cart at Sam’s:

IMG_9511And when I got back home I started to prep.  I made spaghetti squash and Whole 30 spaghetti sauce (in the crockpot) and doubled a batch of easy paleo meatballs and made lunches for me and for my husband for the week:


So, we were prepared.  And here’s how it went the first week:

Sunday – Day 1- PREP DAY – this was the day I shopped and prepped.  It was a fairly easy day because I was busy and committed after spending hundreds between Sam’s and Walmart.  I drank a lot of water.  I had chicken salad on lettuce wraps with homemade paleo mayo and melon wrapped with proscuitto.  Life was good.

Monday – Day 2 – HANGOVER DAY 1 – the Whole 30 site gives you a timeline of what to expect.  HEED THIS WARNING.  I woke up a little queasy and headachy and just could NOT get it together but I had to go to work and do the work things and ugh.  I don’t know why I felt so bad?  By the end of the day I was tired but ok.  It was pouring, and LATE by the time I left the office and my aunt was in town so we went to Longhorn (testing myself early, eh?) and I had a steak salad – literally just sirloin on greens with vinegar and oil, water with lime.  I resisted the bread and the beer and every other NON-COMPLIANT thing there.

Tuesday – Day 3 – HANGOVER DAY 2 – I was less hung over, still mostly just tired.  And THIRSTY.  I wasn’t hungry.  I got up and ran 3.5 miles with my friend Julie and came home and had fried eggs with avocado and some fruit.  The rest of the day passed without much incident.


Wednesday – Day 4 – feeling better.  A little tired, but generally more together.  I had my leftovers packed for lunch, I got a TON of stuff done at the office (December 30 = end of year crunch for all business owners!), and I headed home a little early to clean up the kitchen from all the mess I’d been making in there (didn’t happen, the kitchen cleaning… but still.)  We made a boat load of salt & vinegar wings (we were a little off on our schedule….)

Mid week – here’s some of the things I ate the first half of the week – eggs with sugar free bacon and banana, that steak salad from Longhorn, eggs with avocado and berries, hamburger with homemade guac on romaine bun and sweet potato hashbrowns, eggs with guacamole and mandarin orange, salt & vinegar wings and green salad.


Thursday – Day 5 – New Year’s Eve – lots of folks asked didn’t I want to wait until the first of the year to start this radical eating thing? Well 1) I’ve realized it’s not THAT radical, really, I haven’t been hungry at all. and when I am, I eat… and 2) No.  I wanted to get a jump start.  I didn’t want to dread it.  I was excited and the sooner I started the sooner I’d feel better.  We rarely go out on new year’s so I drank Perrier and lime and we had burgers on romaine buns, and it was fine!  Plus I got a 5 mile run in with my friend Julie and was feeling pretty great.  After my run I did come home with every intention of cleaning the kitchen (still) but I took a 3 hour nap.  Yep.  THREE HOURS.  It’s not like I’d been staying up late, but this must be the I NEED A NAP phase in the timeline.  That’s ok because it was fabulous to rest.

Friday – Day 6 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m feeling awesome by Day 6.  A little trepidatious about the children coming home on Sunday but – still feeling great about almost finishing a whole week of this Whole 30.  I ran the Resolution Run 4 mile Race at Jackson Hill here in Rome.  I finished in an hour, which was my goal.  (Normally my goal for 4 miles would be faster but I ran the day before AND Jackson Hill is literally, well, a hill, which makes it hard – but I got to run with my good friend Molly who came to Rome to run…


Saturday – Day 7 – A FULL WEEK!  I’m doing this thing.  I feel better already, my skin is clearing up, I’ve slept well the last two nights, my run yesterday was fun and not miserable (though it was slow I’m ok with that…)  Tonight I will plan another week’s worth of meals.  I didn’t get to the salmon or the sausage/sweet potato soup this week so we will move those to next week and add some more fun.  Stay tuned for Week 2!

And here’s some other things I ate this week: Another burger with paleo homemade mayo, mustard, dill relish (sugar free of course) and tomatoes on lettuce bun and whole 30 compliant veggie chips; gala apple with organic almond butter (OH MY HOLY OATS THIS WAS DELICIOUS); Grilled chicken with tarragon mushroom cream sauce and broccoli, leftover salt & vinegar wings with guac and carrots; sweet potato hash with onions and sugar free sausage and 2 fried eggs and berries; dessert craving fix – mashed ripe banana, GoGo organic apple sauce, and cinnamon – yum.

IMG_9588So here is my wrap up and some thoughts on the Whole 30 so far:

  1. I like knowing how food works in my body and I like choosing food that makes me healthier, not food that makes me less healthy.
  2. If you are thinking of doing this do your due diligence and take the time to PLAN IT OUT… that has been the one saving grace when I’ve been tempted is that I had a plan and I had things I COULD eat when I was hungry.
  3. While you should take the time to plan – if you’re thinking about doing it – JUST DO IT – don’t wait until next week or next month or next season – I started on Sunday after Christmas because my kids were gone and I had time to plan and get my life together for this adventure and I also had a week (they’re with their dad in Alabama this week) to kind of play around without having to be tempted by things THEY want to eat.
  4. This isn’t hard, but it is a challenge.  They say that on the website – that cancer is hard (check, done that), that childbirth is hard (double check), that losing a loved one is hard (check) – but that drinking black coffee isn’t hard – well, that part is debatable, but I found whole 30 compliant (Blue Diamond unsweetened) almond milk that I splash in my coffee and it’s bearable.  (Pro tip – if you have to have coffee during this BUY GOOD COFFEE that you can drink without cream or sugar or splenda)…
  5. The challenge is worth it.  I can’t wait to see how it goes the rest of the 30 days!

It’s the Fair!


Fall is my favorite.  And of all the fall months, there is so much GOODNESS in October.  The weather changes, the time changes (I’ll take an extra hour anywhere I can get it) and it begins the season-of-festivals! First up, The Coosa Valley Fair!!!  LOVE the fair.  Love the smells of funnel cakes and corndogs and livestock.  Love the sights of the lights and the ferris wheel, the sounds of the screams and the carnival barkers.  Love love love.  I take my kids to the fair every year.  Post from 2008 – – Post from 2009

Here is some uber cuteness…


This year – Carson Claire is a contestant in the Petite Miss Coosa Valley Fair pageant.  I have wobbled over whether to post a photo of her dress here and have decided against it!  (SORRY!) We bought it at Another Child’s Treasure – one of our local twice yearly consignment sales.  We got to try it on (in the bathroom in bad light) and while the photo I got in the bathroom was still gorgeous, I’d rather save the surprise for when she is all gussied up. 🙂

And she looks SO grown up, even at age 7…when she used to be 3 and my kids USED to look like this:



They were so little.  And the crazy party was how BIG I thought they were.  I specifically remember that I was AMAZED that Carson could wear Cole’s old cowboy boots.  

Incidentally.  This is exactly what my kids looked like when we met our Will.  3 & 4.  

So.  My sweet momma (and everyone else I know) has been ON me to put some things in the fair for judging for, like, a million years.  These are the things I have decided on:

Cadence Socks – knitted – silk & wool.  Cranberry.  


Caroline’s rainbow quilt – HST zig-zag with improv spectrum back – 





I also made a quilt for a precious Ballentine baby – so if I can enter more than one (?) I may put that one in, too.  





I wish this one was going to be done (There are actually 2 of these identical…)  But I just don’t think it’ll happen!



And then there’s this one that is done – just needs to be finished quilting and bound!!!



Oh – and while I was browsing the pictures, I found this one, too!  I MUST finish all these!!!


And one final one – this one is my Will’s – he LOVES Charlie brown – and this is Charlie Brown Christmas fabric!!!



OK – MUST get to work – off to the jail.  Ball game tonight, steak night tomorrow, pageant rehearsal Friday!!!  Have a super week peeps.