If you are not a fan of Gossip Girl, I highly suggest you queue it up on Netflix.  It’s a lifestyle, y’all.  Unless you’re my Daddy—you’re absolutely NOT allowed to watch Gossip Girl.  

Today I came to the realization that I am not Serena van der Woodsen.  I’ve been masquerading for quite some time with an ombre hairstyle and poor attempts at her effortless boho-chic style.  My frustration with my closet full of Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and J. Crew was palpable each morning…I wanted fringe and leather and maxi-everything!  I wanted to be free-spirited, spontaneous, and irresistible.  What I only just realized was this:  I was fighting against my own nature.  I mean, I nearly bought a straw fedora…

…just not me.

Everyone wants to be the Serena van der Woodsen’s or the Marilyn Monroe’s, or even the post-Joel Madden Nicole Richie’s.   They all exude charm and effortless boho-chic.  They’re the girls who will spontaneously jet off to Rio or dance in a fountain.  And you know what?  If that works for you, great.  Some deep crevice of my psyche will always be jealous of you and your carefree ways.  But I’ve got to be true to myself.

I’ll admit, pretending to be Serena has been fun.  I’ve nixed the uncomfortable undergarments like pantyhose and it’s been nice just rolling out of bed and slipping into a maxi-dress.  There’s a definite ease to it.  I even tried to learn to love jeans, but I just couldn’t do it.  I much prefer dresses or skirts with structure.  It’s time to embrace my preppy style a la Blair Waldorf.  WWBWD=What Would Blair Waldorf Do?

1.  Structure is key.  It’s rare to see Queen B in anything shapeless or poorly made.  Along with definite structure, B’s clothes are also impeccably tailored.

2.  Embrace your femininity.  Blair softens up her brittle personality with loose curls, delicate ruffles, and demure makeup.

3.  Don’t be afraid of color.  Blair always adds a pop of color into her ensembles.

4.  Rock a headpiece.

5.  Modest is hottest.  I’ll be the first to admit that Blair made some pretty terrible decisions {a la Chuck Bass in the back of a limo}, but you rarely see Queen B wearing anything particularly scandalous.  If she sports a shorter hemline, Blair typically covers up her décolletage.  If she favors a plunging neckline, she pairs the dress or blouse with opaque tights.

*Bonus*  When in doubt, channel Audrey.

Dieting & Transparency & Eating Crow

1Me at a happier time with a hand-battered corndog in my hand and a Romney sticker on my blouse.  Though, for the record, I still have my Ron Paul sign proudly displayed in my front yard.  That’s another post for another day.

Please let me preface this post by saying that Josh has a goal to lose 20 pounds this month.  Coupled with the 25 pounds that he has already lost, he’ll finally be at his desired weight.  Also, I’ve been having very painful, very random allergic reactions to some mystery food item that I cannot quite pinpoint.  I’ve considered allergy testing, but I’ve read over and over again that the testing is often inconclusive and to be honest, I have to lay down to even get a flu shot.  Needles and I are not pals.

On Sunday, Josh and I began a no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no red meat diet.  For him, it’s all about weight loss.  For me, it was all about avoiding dairy {for my eczema} and possibly pinpointing grain as the culprit of my allergic reactions.  Josh surprised me with Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook, “It’s All Good,” as a way to have tasty, gluten-free alternatives in our diets.  The book is beautiful and I’ve found multiple recipes I’ll use for many years to come.

I’ve tried the vegetarian thing before.  I gave up meat for Lent one year and then my iron levels went all wonky and my doctor advised against continuing my fast.  So I went to Firehouse Subs and ordered the most delicious, most horrific sandwich laden with every possible Italian meat and it was glorious.  Then, I got sick.

Last year after watching Forks Over Knives, Josh and I gave up all meat, meat by-products, and all dairy.  Cold turkey.  We lasted four days.  On the fifth day, I drove straight to the market after work, bought the most expensive, thickest bacon I could find, and I fried up the whole lot.  Then I ate it.  Again, it was glorious.  Again, I got sick.

Fast forward to last night, merely a few days into this month-long experiment.  It was late and I was hungry.  Our fridge was stocked full of healthy snack options like watermelon, citrus fruits, and cherries.  I had the option of Ezekiel toast with avocado or even a fruit smoothie with coconut milk and Kefir.  Instead, I threw a massive temper tantrum and begged Mr. C to drive me to McDonalds.  I purchased a Big Mac, fries, and a large Dr. Pepper and I devoured it.  I attacked that food like Rosemary attacks that raw beef in Rosemary’s Baby.  I was unstoppable.  I nearly had tears running down my cheeks.  It was magnificent and disgusting and completely glorious.  And then…once again…I got sick.

Mr. C, in his supreme wisdom, very gently said that we needed to talk.  He was right.  He’s always right.  So we talked.  We talked about moderation and my cravings and how it’s okay to indulge every once in a while.  We also talked about how it’s okay to have a Dr. Pepper every once in a while and how using three Chick-fil-a sauces for my waffle fries is probably not something to feel guilty about.

Together, we developed a few ground rules that will offer really healthy options while allowing for the occasional craving.

1.  All meat should be free of hormones and antibiotics.  Poultry should be free-range and all beef should be grass-fed.  When in doubt, cook venison.

2.  All eggs should be free of hormones and antibiotics.  Eggs should be free-range.

3.  Unsweetened almond milk is perfectly fine for day-to-day consumption, but if a recipe calls for cow’s milk {or even heavy cream!}, it’s okay.

4.  Most vegetables should be locally grown.  Out of season vegetables will be avoided.

5.  Salad Sundays, Meatless Mondays, and Soup Saturdays will be respected.

6.  Ezekiel bread is the only bread for us {barring the occasional loaf of French bread}.

7.   MSG should be avoided.

8.  Cookies are okay in moderation.  Like, once a week.  The same goes for Dr. Pepper.  Baking a pound cake is not the end of the world.

In essence, Josh stressed the importance of whole foods, lean meats, and minimal junk.  Moderation has never been my strong suit…I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal.  But the rules we developed will allow for the flexibility this free spirit needs while still adhering to Mr. C’s desire for law & order.

I felt like I needed to share my breakdown because I desire true transparency in my life.  On Saturday, we went from Trader Joe’s to the Fresh Market, and then we ran to Wal-Mart in order to stock our pantry.  I silently judged everyone I saw reaching for those Cool-Ranch Doritos or a package of terrible-horrible-no good-very bad Purdue Chicken {seriously guys, don’t eat that crap}.  To the people I judged, I’m sorry.  To everyone that received my YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE, HOW DARE YOU PUT EVIL GLUTEN {OR MSG, OR CORN-FED BEEF} INTO IT?!? speech, I’m sorry.  

This is me, eating crow.  And I’ve wrapped that crow in the most gloriously buttered crust you can imagine.

Life is for living, bacon is for frying, butter is for eating.  Amen.



It’s Not About the BBQ

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Independence Day is not about the BBQ.  It’s not about the fireworks, your boat, or even finding that perfect American Flag crop top {which, FYI, is against the Flag Code}.  It’s not about gathering with friends, corn hole, or parades.  It’s not about pool floats, beer, or using that fancy shutter-speed trick on your Nikon to get that perfect sparkler picture.

Independence Day is about taking chances.

It wasn’t beer or pork or fireworks that got us here.  It was 56 men who were willing to take a chance on a grand experiment.  They gambled with everything–their families, their places of business…their very lives, all for the chance at building a country governed by the people, for the people.  They risked everything and they risked it all for the sake of an experiment.  They had everything to lose but they had faith in what could be gained.

While signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin remarked, “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”  Dr. Jack Shepherd of Lost fame said something similar– “Live together, die alone.”    Both Franklin and the fictitious Dr. Jack were right:  either we’re in this together or we’re going to fail.

So tomorrow as you wave your flags, gnaw on your ribs, and light up your mortars, remember that Independence Day is about a group of conservative men who risked being drawn and quartered in the name of an experimental Republic.  And maybe ask yourself–would you have what it takes to do the same?


Want to spice up your Independence Day BBQ?  Read this to your guests.  I promise, they’ll be impressed.