Saturday, December 28, 2013

Revelations and Resolutions

Hey everyone. The holidays have come and gone so I guess it is time to check back in. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday in whatever way you celebrate. We went out to dinner in the city for Christmas Eve and had a relaxing day at my brother's house for Christmas day. My brother took video of Delilah coming down and seeing all of her gifts under the tree and it was so adorable. She's so big now, I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. She was thoroughly spoiled by Santa and she was a happy camper. Now we can finally go back to normal, though with the new year creeping up on us I'm sure a lot of people have been making their resolutions and figuring out what they can do to improve their lives in the coming year. I'll get to all of that in a second, I just want to show you guys two catch up pics before I start get into all of that.

This is the only baking I did for the holidays. These are birthday cake truffles... basically funfetti cake pops (chocolate frosting) minus the pop. They have a thick chocolate coating that has a very satisfying *snap* when you bite into it. They are very rich but oh so good. I made one batch for my friend as a birthday/holiday combo gift. Otherwise I did no baking at all other than a batch of brownies for my office.

How awesome is this guy?! I was driving with my mom (well she was driving I was taking the pic) and we saw this guy driving around in his sweet ride waving to everyone! It wasn't snowing even though it looks like it was... dirty windshield plus instagram filter equals snowy looking pic. I thought this guy was too cool not to share.

That's all I have. The pics I have of Delilah aren't great (blurry) so sadly I have none of those to show you.

So... I'm NOT a resolution kind of girl. In fact, the only reason I titled the post Revelations and Resolutions is because it sounds good. I feel like resolutions are doomed for failure and I'm at a point right now where failure is not an option. I'm talking about my physical and emotional health and I have basically been working on a plan to improve both in the coming months.

As background, let me fill you in a little on my last few months. As you know, I've found out from my Allergist that I've developed quite a few environmental allergies that are pretty severe. We are well past the second frost (it's snowed several times for heaven's sake!) so my allergy symptoms should be gone but they are just as bad if not worse. In addition, I've been experiencing some symptoms that have led me to believe that I'm starting to develop chemical sensitivities which is pretty alarming. For example, I've been dying my hair since I was 16 years old. I have sensitive skin so once in a while I would have minor skin irritation during the process but otherwise nothing too bad. I've been going to the same salon for years and the last couple of times I've used a supposedly natural hair dye (I really don't think it is completely natural) and I've had a HORRIBLE reaction to it. Within hours of the treatment my scalp is unbearably itchy and continues to be itchy for WEEKS. I have bumps on my scalp and hairline and all I wanted to do for at least 2 weeks after the treatment was sit in the shower to soothe it. Similarly, I get random skin irritation that seems odd to me but perhaps it is from soap or detergent? Also, I won't get into the details because it's gross and upsetting, but cryptically I'll say I've had to sit in a room all day for two days that was sprayed with chemicals and I was SICK... massive headache and nausea and whatnot. Every time I clean with commercial cleaning products I get a headache within minutes. And my nausea is always at its worst when I eat processed, yucky foods.

Moral of the story is I'm exhausted, I'm uncomfortable in my own skin and I feel sick all the time. I'm an emotional wreck from all of this and I feel pretty lost and yucky. And I've decided to do something about it. I'm a pretty open book but my reasoning for sharing this plan is more for accountability. I need a place to check in and share what I've found and what I've accomplished.. what works and what doesn't. So I'm here today in what is already proving to be an epic post to share my plan with you and to put it out into the universe.

80/10/10 21 Day Challenge

I've tried the 80/10/10 diet once before and didn't even get through a whole day because I was overwhelmed and unprepared. As a refresher, the 80/10/10 diet is basically a low fat, raw vegan diet where you eat tons of fruit throughout the day and feast on a huge green salad or veggie meal for dinner. Obviously all is organic (read: chemical free for me) and it is supposed to be great for the digestive system and flushing out your body. I won't sit here and tell you that it is something that I think is a feasible diet for me for the long term, but I think a 21 day challenge will be perfect. I can detox, reset my digestion and fill my body with chemical free food as a complete system reset. 

I've mentioned before that I get most of my information from Megan Elizabeth and Fully Raw Kristina and I decided to do this challenge based on a video posted by Kristina. I'll be following along with her from January 5-25. I'm walking into this with a better understanding of what it will take and also knowing that I need to cut myself some slack. If I feel like all of that fruit is getting too sweet for me I'll switch out my afternoon fruit meal for another salad or veggie meal when necessary. After the challenge I'll probably transition back to a more Crazy Sexy Diet/Kris Carr way of eating (all organic of course). I'll be checking in with my progress for accountability and moral support ;)

Live Chemical Free/Form Holistic Habits

It became very clear to me that even if my inclination is incorrect, the dependence on chemical laden products is really unhealthy and can't be contributing anything useful to my life. Therefore, I've decided to completely get rid of products that contain chemicals and start to explore more all natural options as well as practices. I've been watching a lot of videos on the Holistic Habits YouTube channel and have found a lot of really easy ways to make simple changes. My biggest takeaways from her so far are the DIY deodorant (a reliable source told me it works really well!) and her hair tips. My hair has been a sad casualty of this health situation and my once thick head of hair has become noticeably (to me) thinner and it has been bothering me for a while. After watching her videos I've decided to use no heat on my hair for a while as well as employ some of her other strategies (check out the first video she ever posted for the rest). 

Getting rid of the chemicals may not help solve all of my problems but I can't imagine that it could in any way make anything worse. If anyone has any tips for all natural brands of soaps, detergents, shampoos/conditioners, etc. I'd be very grateful!

De-clutter My Life and Mind

I'm not a hoarder or anything but I definitely hold on to things that I don't need. I have so much crap in my room and it drives me crazy but I just never get rid of it. Well, this year my "spring cleaning" is about to get a lot more intense because I'm going to get rid of EVERYTHING that I don't need. The stuff, the clutter... it all causes chaos in my head and it is driving me nuts. The Virgo in me craves organization but I was never able to really commit to getting rid of all of the extra nonsense... until now. Living a minimalist life has always been appealing to me and I think that this overhaul is exactly what I need right now to get back on track. I know I'm making it seem way worse than it is... I'm not reaching hoarder status by any means... but I don't need to take up 3 shelves of my bookcase with grad school books that I will never read again. 

So there you have it, my major goals for the rest of the Winter and the Spring. I think it is unrealistic to plan any further than that until I see where I stand  with these three goals. I think they are definitely attainable and like I mentioned before I'll be coming here for accountability and to share what I've learned that I think you may like (products, etc.). You guys have always been amazingly supportive of me and I appreciate that so much! Sorry if this became a woe is me post as it was not the intention... I just wanted you guys to be prepared for what's coming your way over the next few months ;)

Do you guys have resolutions (or goals) for the upcoming months? Any plans for New Year's Eve? I'm just going to be hanging out since I'm not really a NYE party kind of gal so I'll be laying low.

If you've made it through this epic post thank you so much! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pretty in Red

Hey everyone. Been a while, eh? I'm not going to offer any excuses... the long and short of it is that I basically didn't feel like blogging. Thanksgiving/Hanukkah were nice and quiet and now we are heading into the holiday season. I could definitely do without the cold but this is the beauty of living in NY I suppose... we get all 4 seasons.

Anyway, Delilah came into the studio last week and I took her annual holiday portraits and I couldn't in good conscience hold them back from you :) I can't believe how much she has grown up! We got some really cute shots so I figured I'd pop in and share them with you.

Being nice...

And being naughty ;)

Can you deal with how adorable she is? And I'm not just saying it because she's my niece :) I love her dress, she looks so freaking cute.

Anyway, there you have Delilah's 2013 Holiday Portraits. It's so fun to see her grow from year to year. 

I will do my best to come back and show you some holiday treats at some point when I stop being too lazy to make them. I think I'm going with a candy theme this year and will be making homemade chocolates and candy to give away. I guess we'll see how that works out.

Hope you have all been well!