Scenes: My One…er…Two Words for 2015

The middle of January is long gone, and I can’t believe it.


Time just flies, doesn’t it?


My posting has been hit or miss lately. Between the new job and my health issues life has become busier than usual, but not too busy to work through Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year Ahead, and choosing my One Word.


I love picking just One Word for so many reasons. The most important being “no pressure”. For years lists of resolutions would be the monkey on my back all year, and it would weigh on me. In the end I would accomplish nothing.


This is year number four, for my One Word.


Choosing a word can be simple and complicated all at the same time.


For a few of my words, the decision was quick and easy – Grow and Harmony.


Harmony Alphabet Photography


Intentional, last year’s word posed a challenge, and while a complicated decision the word itself led me through an interesting year.

Intentional One Word 2014

Now I’ve arrived at year number four.


Complications have arose within the last year. Concerning mainly my health, between the antidepressants and the crazy rash, my body and mind have been in an unhealthy state.


It was time to Heal myself, but how, and will I be strong enough to do what it takes?


That’s when another word presented itself – Brave.


Could I really have TWO words as my One Word?


They seemed to fit together like yin and yang or peanut butter and chocolate. I tried to focus on just one, but always, always, always came back to the two.


I asked some close friends “is it greedy to have two words for the year?”


Their response was an overwhelming “No, of course not.”


Choosing my One Word is such a personal experience, if two words are speaking to me there must be a reason.


And so I went with it.




Hello 2015, I’m ready.


Girls Night in



Follow my #BraveHealing journey on Instagram, and share your One Word journey with me.

Mom Style Files: It Begins with the Coat

Why hello there.


I haven’t forgotten our Cold Weather Cute Mom Style Files Challenge.


Cold Weather Cute


How could I?


The weather here dropped to a balmy -25 {yes you read that right} It was like Antarctica out there. Without the penguins and polar bears of course.


In these frigid temperatures it became obvious that the key to Cold Weather Cute must revolve around the coat.


Without a proper coat, you might just end up a human icicle frozen to the sidewalk for eternity.


This winter, I switched jobs and went from climate controlled garage parking to public parking ramp with a three-block walk. It didn’t take long to realize my cute vintage pea coat wasn’t going to cut it.


Cue search for the perfect, cute and cozy winter coat that could withstand the Polar Vortex’s wrath.


I looked at a few department stores and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for – a down parka-length coat with fur hood. There were loads of coats, but either they weren’t in my size, or didn’t have all the elements I was looking for.


Then I opened my mailbox, and found the answer I was looking for – my Land’s End catalog was featuring winter coats and the perfect coat was on the cover.


But would it keep me warm.


There are three elements a winter coat needs to be cute and functional.


Down vs. Synthetic

Down is great at keeping you warm, but if you are planning skiing or sledding with the kids Synthetic will keep it’s shape better. Down has a tendency to bunch up and hold moisture.


A Hood

Sure you can wear a stocking cap, or beanie, but when it comes to keeping out the Iowa wind, nothing beats a fur trimmed hood.



There are three general lengths when it comes to coats, and the longer the coat the warmer you are.

There’s the jacket which hits at the hip.

Lands End Jacket


The parka, which hits around the knee or thigh.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 6.33.55 PM


The full-length, which falls around the calf.

Lands End Full Length Coat


After looking at coat after coat in the Land’s End catalog and online, I checked fill type, temperature recommendations, length, hood styles and of course color and cuteness factor.


And finally decided on this …


Lands Coat Mine

The tulip-hem down coat in black.


For a split second I pondered the antique spruce color {like the one above}, but thought a neutral black would stand the test of time better, and I could always brighten it up with fun scarf or hat.


The coat is the perfect length, short enough to show off my cute skinny jeans and long enough to cover my tush.


Combining the unique tulip hem and the simple belt created a slimming silhouette, in what could have easily become a bulky shapeless lump under all that down.


Of course the hood was a necessity and it has come in handy during those sub-zero temps.

Land End Coat Mine

My Land’s End coat is the perfect mix of cute and cuddly.


Now it’s time to accessorize.


Check in next week {and I promise it will be next week} when I introduce accessories.

Give it a TRI: Why I’m doing the Whole 30 & Beginner Tips

It’s no secret I’ve had my issues with food.


For half my life food was the enemy, the other half an annoying necessity. Years of dieting had tainted me on food programs, and fads {can we say Atkins}. Plans that are never for the long term, and are more about eating weird thing with extreme limitations than about creating a lifestyle.


A healthy lifestyle – that’s what I was looking for.


I stuck to my workout schedule, tried to eat clean, but really my eating habits were still pathetic. Cereal became a food group, and spoonfuls of peanut butter were justified “protein” fixes. I had read about Paleo and the Whole 30, but quickly dismissed it as another fad, and the same with being gluten-free. “Oh, I can’t eliminate whole food groups,” I lamented. “That would truly trigger my anorexia again.”


Life went on, and I didn’t think about it again. Until…


October, the night before we had went to a haunted house. I remember that evening my scalp and chest were horribly itchy. I attributed it heat rash, and tried not to scratch it. By mid November, it had snowed and I soon realized my rash, which was still very prevalent, wasn’t just a seasonal allergy.


Whole 30

On top of the rash, I was experiencing extreme swelling in my fingers, ankles and face, my weight began to shoot up. I gained at least 5 – 7 pounds in a week, and went from 130 to 150 from October to December even with a bout of stomach flu. Something was very wrong.


A doctor’s visit ruled out RA and an autoimmune disorder, so I was sent to dermatology. They were kind of concerned about rash, especially when I showed them the large bruise I had acquired from scratching so fiercely. Biopsies were taken and more blood work done, and still nothing.


“It’s just an allergic reaction,” said the doctor. “Take two Zyrtec a day, and eventually it will go away.” They also attributed the weight gain to my antidepressant.


After a month of taking Zyrtec and falling asleep at my desk, I said “screw this”, and decided to take matters into my own hands.


It was time to heal my body and the first place to start was with my diet.


Enter the Whole 30.


I’m on day 9, and have seen miracles happen, on a physical, mental and emotional level. {more on that later}


I’ve also learned a thing or two.


As a newbie starting the Whole 30 wasn’t without its challenges.


Here’s a few of Whole 30 Newbie Lessons you need know before you begin your journey.



1. Don’t start the Whole 30 right before a big event, like a tailgate party or Christmas with your family.

I did and it was hell. Sitting in a restaurant while everyone else ate pizza was a type of torture I never want to experience again.


2. Planning makes everything better.

I scoffed taking a day on the weekend to meal prep, but I soon realized that the more I did on the weekend the less likely I was to stray from the plan. Also, my crockpot has been my new best friend.


3. Eating real food is expensive.

It took a $250 grocery bill for me to realize that shopping around and buying meat on sale is how you can afford to eat healthy. Also, buy a Costco membership and then split groceries with a friend, you will thank me when stock your fridge for two weeks on only $100.


4. Speaking of friends, you will need one.

I couldn’t do this plan without the help and support of my friend Ashli. She’s like my Whole 30 sponsor. When I almost made Paleo pancakes she talked me off the edge and made sure I didn’t have SWMPO. We’ve also been trading recipes, which helps with the meal planning and boredom.


5. A positive attitude is everything.

Vegetables are my nemesis, and eating anything green even ice cream gives me the creeps. However, I went into the Whole 30 with a goal to heal my body, and with that positive attitude and open-mindedness I’ve been successful so far. If you are fighting it too hard, then maybe you aren’t ready. I compare it to an alcoholic who is going to AA, you have to WANT to help yourself or you’re not going to be successful.


As I mentioned, day 9 is here and it’s been good so far {see that positive attitude}.


There are good days and bad days.


Good days are energy filled, sleep filled and peace filled.


Bad days are sleepy, grouchy and anxious.


However, I’m hoping as I continue there will be more good and less bad in store for me.


Only 21 days left to go.






Favorite recipes so far include:

Sweet Potato, Apple, Pancetta Hash from Gutsy by Nature
{modified with compliant bacon, and nutmeg instead of sage}


Smokey Bacon Chicken Thighs from Our Paleo Life


Mocha Rubbed Pot Roast from Stupid Easy Paleo


Have you done the Whole 30?

Do you want to try?

I’d love to hear your story.

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