Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ch-ch-changes

I don't even remember the last time I wrote a blog post. Somewhere between December and May, I completed a thesis and graduated with my master's. Usually during semesters, I know what week of the semester it is. This last semester, I had no clue.

There were a lot of late nights, lots of caffeine, some tears and lots of screaming.

But, I'm dooone!

And, I would like the last year of my life back, please.

Seriously. I can't believe I've almost been married a year. I'm so excited to finally be a wife, foremost, and not a student.

This has been my first week not having to travel to Stillwater for class, and it has been amazing. I'll admit that I've been a little lazy, but I've also cleaned up the apartment and I had two job interviews today. Fingers crossed!

Jobs? Eh, not so sure. Is it so terrible that I still don't know what exactly it is I want to do? I love to write; I know that much. Other than that, it's just whatever. Thankfully, I have a pretty good part-time job, so I can afford to be a little more picky.

I'm so excited for the next chapter in my life, whatever that may be. I have an amazing family and husband, and I'm excited to be Brittany again, not Brittany the graduate student. I love Tulsa and hope Chase and I never have to leave. My mom says she's moving here after my brother graduates high school, so I'm crossing my fingers. My mom is one of my best friends, and I would love to be able to grab coffee with her or do things like go to the farmer's market.

Anyways, I'm excited to get back to blogging! I've missed creative writing, and I've had about as much of the academic stuff that I can take!

I still don't know what to do with myself since I don't have school to worry about.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out! :)

Brittany

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A push to get healthy and drop the "bad" stuff

Spring break is finally here. I worked my butt off on Monday to finish some writing assignments. I looked for jobs for a few hours yesterday. I have plans to work on my thesis at some point, but I plan on enjoying the next couple of days. My younger cousins are visiting their dad in Tulsa, so I'm going to pick them up today and see what we can get into. Tomorrow, my mom, brother and sis are coming to visit and I'm super excited!

Anyways.

For quite awhile, I've had this weird back pain that only happens when I press on the lower part of my back. For the longest time, I stuck with the "well, if it hurts, don't do it!" mentality. One night, I decided to google my symptoms (MISTAKE) and freaked out. I made a doctor's appointment for the next day.

The doctor seemed perplexed, because I have full mobility and can bend, stretch, turn, whatever. But, when he pressed on my lower back, it hurt. X-rays didn't show anything, so he ordered some blood work. Initial testing showed that I had antinuclear antibodies in my blood, which basically means that something in my body is causing it to attack itself, leading to inflammation.

After a second round of blood work, he told me there's a possibility I have ankylosing spondylitis (spelling may be wrong!) and referred me to a rheumatologist. I looked up the condition and freaked out. In extreme cases, bones can fuse together and it can cause people to hunch over. Needless to say, I'm scared and need to make an appointment, even though I would rather just ignore it and not see a doctor. (Because that will totally solve the issue!)

AS is an autoimmune disease. The funny part is, is that I've always known I felt better on a low starch, gluten free diet, but I continued to eat those foods for the most part. I've done so much reading about nutrition and know that people with autoimmune conditions (and inflammation) are advised to steer clear of gluten and high glycemic carbs. I read stuff online about people with AS that have been able to lessen their symptoms or even reverse AS with a good diet.

Sooo...bye, bye carbs and sugar. I'd rather completely change my diet than have to take medication or shots. It's just so weird to me because I feel fine and I'm not hurting at all. I'm not going to say I have it until I speak to a specialist, but for now, no sugar or starchy carbs.

One of my favorite quotes from "It Starts with Food," a book by the Whole30 program creators, is that the food you eat can either make you more healthy or less healthy. (not verbatim)

I'm nervous, but I am going to completely shift my diet and try to give my body what it needs, and stay away from the things that are going to harm it. Although I usually try to eat a paleo-ish diet, I have way too many things with gluten and sugar. Meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, minimal dairy...I mean, I'm kind of excited because now it's no longer "oh, I really want that, but I can't eat it!" Now, I'm genuinely scared of fake processed crap. Regardless of my diagnosis, the diet change will be good for me.

Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food. — Hippocrates


Monday, February 17, 2014

When I grow up, I want to be a....

This was written for a class assignment. It's so hard to know exactly what we want to do and how to get there. This was a fun and enlightening assignment though.


When I was five, I wanted to be a princess. I played with Barbies incessantly and loved dress up. I had a few baby dolls, but I was never the baby doll type. My friends could push the stroller and play in the toy kitchen. I had more important things to do, such as dance in front of the mirror and watch Snow White.

When I was seven, I wanted to be an astronaut. I checked out every book about space that I could from the school library and day dreamed about soaring through the stars and planets. I even wrote and illustrated a book in fourth grade that detailed my class's trip to the great beyond.

When I was a junior in high school, I watched China's Lost Girls, a National Geographic documentary featuring Lisa Ling that chronicled the plight of baby girls born in China under the country's one child policy. I also wrote my first essay and bam, there it was. I wanted to be a journalist.

I have worked for two newspapers, written for a few magazines and am almost done with my master's in mass communications.


But, I’m still confused. I have a wonderful life with an amazing husband, and I know that I like my coffee black and my eggs poached. What I don’t know is what I want to be when I grow up. 

When I was an undergrad, I changed my major a few times, eventually settling on my first choice of journalism. I knew I loved to write, I loved seeing my name in print, and I loved hearing the impact that my writing had on others.
 
 Then I graduated. Unfortunately, dreams don’t always translate into financial stability. I was stuck at a small town newspaper, wasn’t making much money, and I had no clue how to get out of it. 

Not being content with being a “starving artist,” I was desperate for change and felt as though my life was stuck at a standstill.
             
Enter grad school. It took me awhile to decide what program to pursue. I first thought I wanted to get my MBA since I could complete it online, but when I found out I would have to take leveling courses, I changed my mind. 

I was scared of leaving the town that had been home to me for four years, but something had to give. The words of my favorite journalism professor saying, “You need to go to grad school — you need to be writing” haunted me, as well as the adulation I received from newspaper readers.
 
Maybe I should be writing, I thought to myself. Maybe I need more education to further my job opportunities.
 
I applied to OSU and the rest, as they say, is history. I told my boyfriend I was leaving, and I packed up my stuff and moved to Stillwater. Much to my surprise, my boyfriend of two years, now my husband, quit his job and also moved to Stillwater. He now has a great job in Tulsa and thanks me for giving him the push he needed to get out of Durant. I, on the other hand, am terrified. 

Daily, the thought of What the heck am I going to do when I graduate? crosses my mind. Since I am graduating in May, I had better hurry up and decide, huh?
            
I was hoping that graduate school would give me the direction I needed, but I’m just as confused as ever. I freelance write, which I love, but freelancing won’t pay the bills. My husband has a great job, but I wouldn’t be content sitting at home. 

Writing makes me happy; writing is my passion. I guess my very vague professional goals are to find a job that I enjoy that either focuses on writing or allows me to continue freelancing. 

I would love to spend a year writing a novel that I’ve been mentally working on in a quaint house on a beach somewhere, but I’m smart enough to know that’s definitely not in my immediate future.
   
I would love to be a magazine editor. Tulsa has a few local magazines; I plan on applying to work at them, either as a staff member or freelancer. Being an editor would allow me to use both my management skills and mass communications knowledge that I have amassed since being at OSU. 

Is it bad to say that I’m open to a variety of occupations? I just want to find one that I enjoy, that pays well and that allows me to use my skills and education. Basically, I plan on applying to jobs that interest me and that I’m qualified for.

 I hope that the arrows will point the right way and I will find what I was meant to do. I’m not one to rely completely on fate. I mean, I asked my husband out on our first date. But, things have worked out pretty well for me so far, and I hope that they continue to do so.
 
Why am I so confused? I’m not sure — I always have been. It might be because I’m interested in a lot of things and struggle to recognize what my strengths are. Despite being told I’m a good writer, I can’t help but feel as though I will never be as good as other writers. I often read articles that make me wonder if I should even be writing. 

I’m also interested in nutrition. My parents encouraged me to become a nutritionist, but I’ve struggled with my weight and food for as long as I can remember. I didn’t feel like I could tell someone else how to eat. 

I also love anything beauty related. I wanted to go to beauty school after high school, but my parents told their straight-A daughter that college wasn’t an option; it was mandatory. As my mother put it, “You can get a psychology degree and be a psychologist that cuts hair.”
 
My personal goals? I want to be an amazing wife and someday a mother. I am 26 years old and am not yet ready to have kids. I realize that balancing a career and motherhood is going to be extremely difficult. 

That is the woman’s dilemma: do we pursue a career, have kids or attempt to do both? 

I would like to work for a year or two after graduating and save money, so that when my husband and I do decide to have children, I can stay home with them during their early years and my husband won’t feel the pressure of having to completely provide for the family. 

I would also like to expand my freelancing jobs to enable me to continue contributing to the income of our family while staying home with my children.
       
 I would like to have two kids, a year or two apart. Once they’re old enough to go to school, I would like to find a flexible job that would allow me to be mom first, employee second. I realize this is the dream and not always possible, but I enjoy working and I want to be a great mom. If working full time hinders me from being the kind of mom I want to be, I will work part time or even teach. 

I will have my alternative certification to teach journalism in Oklahoma by the time I graduate; a teaching job would be great because I would have days off with my kids. I want to be able to be there for my children when they’re sick, attend class parties and take snacks to games and practices.
 
In my personal personal life, I am trying to focus on a healthy lifestyle. After getting married in July and commuting to Stillwater four times a week for graduate school, I am tired. After a long day, I struggle to workout and eat healthily. I believe making a healthy lifestyle a priority will also help me in my professional life, especially as I begin looking for jobs in a couple of months.
 
The things that are most important to me are my husband, my family, my health and my career, in that order. 

My expectations for my life are that I will be a great partner for my husband and a good mom when the time comes. I expect that I will start a career after I graduate and work for a couple years, further building my skills and expertise and helping my husband prepare financially for a family. 

When we decide to have children, I will devote a few years to being a mother and continue to freelance and possibly work part time or teach part time. When my children go to school, I will reenter the workforce and continue to be a great wife and mother.
 
I don’t want to be rich or famous. OK, well the rich part would be nice, but I really just want to have fun and enjoy life because I’ve seen firsthand how short life really is. 

I want to work to live, not live to work. I just want to have a successful career doing something that I enjoy and be the best person that I can be for my family. I want my husband and kids to know that I loved them unconditionally and did everything I could to make sure that they had the best life possible.
 
And if I ever get to spend a year on the beach writing a novel, that would be great too.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whipped Body Butter

Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with healthy eating (not that I always do it) and natural stuff. I've already spoken about my love of coconut oil. I am also obsessed with beauty and anti-aging products. I religiously apply eye cream and anti-aging moisturizer every night. I'm scared of wrinkles and am doing my best to prevent them.

Anyways, I love to moisturize. I love my skin to feel soft and smooth. I also discovered through self-diagnosis that I have skin writing disease. It's not really a big deal, just very annoying. Basically, whenever I scratch my skin, I'm left with red welts that itch/hurt like crazy. I've figured out that I can lessen the symptoms by keeping my diet in check and keeping my skin soft.

The long list of ingredients in most lotions scare me.

For example, here is a list of ingredients in Vaseline Intensive Rescue Repairing Hypoallergenic Lotion.

      Water, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glycol Stearate, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, Tapioca Starch, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Stearamide AMP, Carbomer, Ethylene Brassylate, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Titanium Dioxide

Ew. Our skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it is absorbed into our body. We really shouldn't be putting stuff on our skin that we wouldn't, ideally, eat. I realize that's unrealistic, but we can definitely do the best we can to limit our exposure to chemicals and fake products.

I'm really not down with putting all of those chemicals on my skin and have been exploring natural skincare products. Unfortunately, a lot of the natural skincare lines can be quite pricey. Are they worth is? Yes, but there's really no need to buy them when you can whip up simple amazing products in your very own kitchen.

The recipe I used is a combination of recipes I found after perusing Google and Pinterest. I already had raw shea butter (learn why it helps African women here), but they stuff was so thick that I wasn't sure how to use it. I would try to warm it between my hands, but it would leave a thick sticky layer on my skin. I wasn't sure if I was using it right.

I also had coconut oil (why it's good for skin) and olive oil (other uses for olive oil), which have both been shown to be very beneficial for skin. I love moisturizing with both, but I've found that sometimes the oils sit on the skin, rather than absorb like a lotion purchased at a drugstore would do.

So, I combined all three of these ingredients and after some trial and error, the finished product was the fluffy looking body butter pictured above. It's not greasy, absorbs well and only has three ingredients.

Britni's Whipped Body Butter
Ingredients:
1/2 cup shea butter (I found mine here)
1/2 cup coconut oil (always use organic virgin)
1/2 cup olive oil (try to use a higher quality oil)
A few drops of essential oils, optional for scent (I didn't have any)

Combine all three ingredients in a double broiler (or in my case, a glass bowl over a pot of water). Heat until all three ingredients are melted. Place in refrigerator for an hour to two hours. The oils should start solidifying, but still be soft. It will be a light yellow color. Take out of the fridge and beat with a hand mixer for about 10 minutes, until fluffy. Place back in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes, to let the mixture set. Take out and place in Mason jars, or your choice of container. If you keep your house warm, you may need to keep this in the refrigerator or else it will liquefy. Enjoy!

A few notes: Make sure that it is ready to take out of the fridge before you begin whipping it. I waited an hour and took it out while it was still a liquid. One of the recipes I read said an hour, but the mixture was not ready. I tried whipping it, but nothing happened. I put it back in for about 45 minutes and I knew it was ready when it was starting to become a solid. Use essential oils if you don't like the smell of shea butter. It doesn't bother me, but my husband told me it smelled weird. 

Let me know if you get a chance to make this! I am planning on making more of my beauty products in the future and will keep you posted if I make anything spectacular. 




Friday, January 17, 2014

*Friday Favorites*

It's finally Friday!!

I love Fridays, because it's the only weekday that I don't have to travel to Stillwater. It gives me a chance to clean the apartment, work on my thesis, get caught up on laundry, and Chase and I usually have a date night.

I also had my hair done today, which I always enjoy. I just touched up the red-black ombré thing that I have going on and had her cut some bangs.

              Photo: Obligatory #newhair #selfie #bangs

I usually never stray too far from black, but when I do, it's never too long before I return to the dark side. I've always wanted to dye my hair platinum blonde, but I'm afraid my locks would break off in protest if I did. And since Chase loves long, dark hair, I would hate to break his heart :).

Anyways, in the spirit of blogging, I am going to try something new. I love theme days (such as What I Ate Wednesday) and I think Friday Favorites would be lots of fun to do. I am always trying new things, so every Friday, I will highlight a few of Britni's Favorite Things. (if you care!)


1. Urban Decay Cannonball mascara
I came in like a Caaaaaannonbaaaalll...   
     Sorry about the cheesy caption — I couldn't resist. I.love.this.stuff. First of all, it's a waterproof mascara. Usually I am very opposed to waterproof mascaras, because they tend to become dry and flaky and are a pain in the butt to take off. This one is none of those things. It also provides a crazy amount of length and for those of you who are like me and enjoy piling on the makeup, you can layer this stuff on without it becoming cakey or losing a curl. Unlike Benefit's They're Real mascara, it doesn't bring down your curl. I can curl my lashes (I use a blow dryer to heat up my curler first) and pile on this mascara, and my curl stays all day. I've tried a ton of mascaras and this one has been my favorite for awhile. The brush is great, because it's small, allowing you to grasp even the smallest hairs when applying. It's definitely a lengthening mascara, but I've also cocktailed it with L'Oreal's Voluminous, and that worked out well. And yes, it's amazing at being waterproof, but it also comes off very easily for me. I use coconut oil to remove my makeup.
This is my eye before mascara (please excuse my eyebrows, which are in severe need of a wax)



With mascara


2. Perfect Fit protein powder

Perfect Fit
 
  I really enjoy this protein powder. I've been making a shake everyday, especially during the week. It's so easy for me to throw stuff in a blender for a quick breakfast or lunch when I'm running out the door. I usually choose whey protein, but this stuff is brown rice protein and is organic, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and free of allergens. It's also sweetened with stevia, so it's low carb, which I love.  It has 15 grams of protein and only 3 grams of carbs. I like it best with almond milk, half of a frozen banana, a handful of spinach and raw almond butter. It tastes like a milkshake!
    
3. Bananas

B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
  Usually, I'm all about low carb stuff, only because I know that my body responds extremely well to less carbs. I used to never eat bananas because of their high sugar/carb content, but lately, I just can't get enough of them. They're amazing with almond butter, dipped in dark chocolate and frozen, tastes like ice cream when they're frozen then put in a food processor, and they make protein shakes taste so good. I do try to limit myself to half of a banana a day, but I'm obsessed with their sweet creaminess as of late. If loving bananas is wrong, I don't want to be right.              

4. Coconut Oil

My Love
  OMG, y'all. I'm just obsessed. Chase teases me because I keep a tub in the bathroom and in the kitchen. I use it to cook my eggs and veggies, I put it in coffee, mix it with cocoa, put it in shakes, eat it straight off the spoon, use it for oil pulling, I cleanse my face with it, moisturize with it, use it as a shaving cream, put it in my hair, use it for flyaways....the list could go on. If you've never tried coconut oil for anything, you're missing out. I've noticed such a change in my skin and hair since using this stuff religiously. (I'm really a fan of all coconut products...coconut butter, coconut water and unsweetened coconut flakes are great with almonds and dark chocolate chips).

101 uses for coconut oil

 Seriously. Go get you some.                             

5. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred
30 Day Shred
           Well, I don't know if this is really a favorite, but I'll admit it. I hate working out. As much as I love yoga, I don't consider it to be a heart-pumping workout (even though Bikram is quite challenging). I bought this DVD because the workouts are only 30 minutes, so I have no excuses not to do it. There are 3 levels, and you do each level for 10 days before moving on to the next. I'm only 5 days in to Level 1, but it's definitely challenging! Some of the before and afters of this DVD that you can find by googling are pretty amazing. She does so a lot of squats and lunges, so if you have bad knees, you might want to steer clear of it. I like how she uses intervals, since I hate working out, I don't get a chance to get bored before moving on to the next exercise. Some of the stuff she says is quite comical (If you've got it, flaunt it! No shame, ladies!), but overall, I enjoy her workout DVDs.

Those are some of the things I'm loving this week! What are you currently loving?



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIAW #3: Back to the Grind

I enjoyed my break. Like really enjoyed it.

School started back up this week, and I have to admit that I'm less than thrilled about it.

It's my last semester of grad school, yay, but the thought of getting back out in the "real world" is a little daunting! I'm a little scared — what if I can't find a job? what if no one wants me?

Anyways, I have plenty of time to worry about that. After all, I have 16 (!!) weeks from Friday until I graduate.

Now, to the important stuff...like FOOD! I'm trying really hard to keep things healthy this semester. Last semester, I ate my feelings and every scone that I came in contact with (absolutely LOVE scones). My tastebuds were happy, but my waistline was not and I spent the semester feeling cranky, emotional and sluggish.

Aren't you jealous of my husband?

My What I Ate Wednesday is actually Tuesday's day of eats. This week isn't much more interesting than last week's Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down WIAW (but I did lose 9 pounds last week!!), and I failed because I forgot to take pictures of everything. Ugh.
My day started out with coffee while writing in bed.



After a quick workout, I had scrambled eggs and hot sauce, and sauteed spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and mushrooms. I also had half of a grapefruit. I ate this while watching Downton Abbey. Did anyone else watch this??? Poor Anna! I may have cried. I just can't...


For a snack, I had a Kashi Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt bar. These are so yummy, and this flavor is exclusive to Target. I also had a Diet Coke. I am working on cutting out grains, so once these are gone, no more! Same for the Diet Coke :(

On the way to school, I had a shake that consisted of Perfect Fit protein (dairy free, gluten free and organic...I really like it so far!), frozen mixed berries, kale, coconut oil and almond milk. It was OK...I prefer to use spinach in my smoothies, because kale has such a strong flavor. 

Aaaaaand then I forgot to take pictures.

I had a hard boiled egg and some mini sweet peppers for a snack.

For dinner, I picked up Chipotle for Chase and me on the way home. Even though I usually get a burrito bowl loaded with everything, I had a salad with chicken, peppers, salsa and guacamole. So good — I've been wanting another one all day today.

I also had some dark chocolate almonds and a cup of sleepytime tea.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week!! 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIAW 2: TIU 7 Day Slim Down

First of all, thank you everyone for your kind words about my last blog! It's so refreshing to know that I'm not the only one that struggles with guilt, especially wedding related, as silly as that might be.

So, in the spirit if the new year and the fact that I have been stuffing my face since my wedding, I have been doing Tone It Up's 7 Day Slim Down. If you don't know what Tone It Up is, look it up! I'm notorious for trying out different diets. I'm weird, but I actually enjoy trying out different types of eating. The creators of this program have rockin' bods, so I thought why not give their plan a shot?
Karena and Katrina!

A little bit of motivation for Lindsey and me. Our heads on the TIU girls' bodies. I don't have Photoshop, so I did the bet I could!
 Today's eats are from yesterday, Day 5. The diet is a little extreme and gets worse as the week progresses. The food is kind of boring, but I'm loving how light I'm feeling after one too many pieces of my mom's famous fudge.

The program focuses on 5 meals throughout the day. My bestie Lindsey has been following their plan also and has had great results. I'm doing OK so far, but I'm looking forward to jumping on their "normal" plan, rather than this extreme one.

Anyways, here we go!



A necessity
When I first woke up, I had coffee with almond milk...while working on my writing job...in bed. Before you think I'm lazy (and you'd most certainly be right), I had already woken up with my husband, ironed his clothes, started his truck (because Oklahoma is absolutely frigid right now) and sent him off to work with a thermos full of hot coffee and some Cuties clementines. Can I just say that I love taking care of my husband and want to be a writer who works from home when I grow up?

Recycled (blurry) picture, but I also had a Meta-D drink, which is another tenet of the plan.


M1
My first meal of the day was egg whites, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. They should be scrambled together, but I've been eating this every morning and was tiring of the combo. Usually, there would be hot sauce on this (Louisiana Hot Sauce FTW!), but I'm not allowed any salt the last three days, so sadly I had to eat my egg whites and veggies sans sauce. I ate while watching the new episode of Downton Abbey (!!!), so I didn't pay too much attention to breakfast anyways. Can I just say that I'm tired of all the sadness at Downton — I hope this is a happy season!

M2
Meal 2 was half a grapefruit and it was super yummy. The plan allows stevia on your grapefruit, but I think it's silly to add sweetener to fruit. Fruit is nature's candy! :p

M3
Meal 3 was just OK. Chicken, spinach, cucumbers...I could have added balsamic vinegar to it, but I've already had so much of it this week. Even though I love me some BV, I just couldn't, so I ate it dry.

M4
Meal 4 was my favorite! I know it looks gross, so let me explain. They're unsweetened frozen berries, but I heated them up in the microwave for 30 seconds. It makes them taste like pie filling, all sweet and syrupy. Try it!

M5
Meal 5 was OK. I made my husband sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon (my FAVE), broccoli and baked ranch chicken; I had chicken with Mrs. Dash and kale. No salt, no olive oil...it actually wasn't that terrible, but my husband raved about his meal and I was jealous of the cinnamony goodness on his plate.

I'm so excited that I have 2 more days of this plan! I know it's considered a "crash" diet, but I've always had success with crash diets in the past. I really don't see how they are "bad," as long as you know that you have to continue to eat healthily after. Trust me, a period of restricted eating is perfectly OK after all of the things I consumed during the holidays! 

I swear if I lived closer to my mom, I would be huge! I joked with my husband that when we know we're going to be visiting, we need to diet beforehand. The woman knows how to cook. While visiting my family during Christmastime, she made homemade buttermilk waffles with homemade buttermilk syrup (move over, maple!), her famous hashbrown potatoes, my dad cooked his amazing steaks, Mom made other hors d'oeuvres, and my family had a Mexican potluck for our Christmas dinner. 

Wow! I have driven this train straight off of the tracks! Haha. Can you tell I'm hungry?

The things I would do for one of her waffles right now...

Anyways, "crash diets" work for me, especially after periods of terrible eating. They help me get my eating in check and make me realize that I really don't need the amount of food that I had been eating. 

I'm very excited because I get to replace 30 ounces of my water today with coffee or green tea. I'm gonna be PUMPED!

And, tomorrow's my last day. :)  I'm not going to jump into how I have been eating; I'm going to follow the TIU plan for the rest of this month to see how it works for me. But, I've already planned Friday night's dinner: chicken taco salad and Chipotle guacamole (attempting a copycat recipe). Dinners are the plan are "lean, mean and green": protein, green veggies and healthy fat.

How do you handle holiday eating? How do you get back on track after one too many treats?