Whole 30 Reflections

So last week Tanner and I finished our first round of Whole 30. For those who aren’t familiar, Whole 30 is a 30 day clean eating plan aiming to cleanse your body and reprogram your relationship with food. This means cutting out sugars, grains, dairy, and legumes, and focusing on eating meats, vegetables, and fruits. (You can find out more about it on their website here) While we normally try to eat healthy, after the holidays we felt that we needed a reset. I had heard of others following the plan and loving how they felt as a result so we decided to give it a shot. 

One of the biggest adjustments right off the bat was planning. To remove temptations We had to clean out the fridge and the cabinets, so we couldn’t just grab something easy to fix for a meal. I tried to plan the first week but I think I ended up running to the store after work for one thing or another like four times that week. Week 2 was a bit easier, and by week 3 I had a better idea of how much food we would eat and how many meals to prepare so it didn’t take as much time or energy. 

The second biggest adjustment was the amount of time I had to spend in the kitchen. Everything had to be prepared in the evening because of work during the day, so my evening usually consisted of cooking dinner, washing dishes, fixing lunches, washing dishes, and preparing something for breakfast (oh, and then washing dishes again 😵 did I mention we don’t have a dishwasher?). Most of the time we could eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, though that just meant we wouldn’t have them for dinner and I would have to fix another meal. Breakfast was harder though, since my usual breakfast plan was to grab instant oatmeal to eat once I got to school and Tanner always ate cereal. 

Eggs, eggs, eggs. That is what we ate for breakfast, plain or accompanied by chicken sausage and wilted kale. Until I stumbled upon grainless “oatmeal” over at Something Swanky (recipe here). This was a lifesaver. Sweet and filling and easy to make? Done. I omitted the dates, sliced a banana on top, and used coconut milk instead of cashew, but I am indebted to this blog for providing a yummy eggless option for whole 30. 

Our favorite dinner option was buffalo ranch stuffed peppers (recipe from Primarily Inspired here). Normally I am not a spicy food person at all, but something about the combination of the hot sauce and butter on the chicken, topped with cool guacamole, was just so good. 

Results? Honestly I didn’t feel that different. Tanner lost a few pounds but other than that neither of us saw drastic differences in the way we looked or felt. Probably because we weren’t eating that badly to begin with. However, it was nice knowing that everything we were putting into our bodies was good for us and that we didn’t need all of that other stuff to eat well. Would we recommend it? Absolutely! At times it was tough to be disciplined but it was worth it to reset the way we think about the food that we are putting into our bodies. Actually, we are unofficially continuing to eat this way even though the 30 days are up. We decided that the meals we eat at home will be whole 30, and then if we decide to go out to eat or are with other people we will eat “normally”. Why not?

  

Nothing could be finer…

Than to be in Carolina for Christmas! Even if it’s 75 degrees there 😉 I feel SO delayed in finally posting about our holiday travels, but we have been so busy trying to catch up on life and settle back into our normal schedule since we got back. Better late than never right?

We got to Tanner’s parents’ house late Tuesday night, the 22nd. Our first full day there, Wednesday, we had the sweet opportunity to spend some quality time with our good friends Ronnie and Allison. Ronnie and Tanner are longtime friends, ex-roommates, and really more like brothers. Alison and I became friends after she and Ronnie began dating, and they have walked with us through the good and bad times in our relationship. A few months ago they had their first child and we finally got to meet sweet baby Tripp. Needless to say if you know me at all I basically didn’t put him down the whole time. We love the Morrises!

 
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were pretty laid back. We spent time with Tanner’s parents at their home and on Christmas Day were able to make a short visit to Brevard to see his Gramps. On Saturday Tanner’s sisters, Brooke and Karis, and their families came to the house. His mom is always apologizing for how crazy things are when our nieces and nephew are there, but when you come from a family where you have twenty-four first cousins and most of them have children and everyone comes to Thanksgiving, eight adults and five kids doesn’t feel crazy at all. I love when everyone is all together, and feel blessed that I am now a part of two wonderful families. 

   
 
Sunday we traveled down to Charleston to spend a few days with my family. That evening we had Christmas with my parents and my sister, Julia, and her husband Bryan. Though unseasonably warm, the weather was nice while we were there, and we were all able to get out and enjoy Charleston together–whether it was walking downtown, riding bikes on Kiawah Island, or visiting the gardens at Magnolia plantation.  I love that city! I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I moved away, but I am proud to say I am from Charleston and love that it is the place I get to call home. 

   
   
It was definitely harder to say goodbye when we left this time. Each time we leave SC it feels more permanent that we live in New Haven. Don’t get me wrong, we love it here. We have met the best people; are part of an awesome church; and have enjoyed exploring the Northeast. But since we are here indefinitely sometimes it’s hard to be so far from family and not know if we will be returning there anytime soon. BUT we know the Lord is faithful and sovereign, and He will give us discernment when the time comes to move back (if it ever does) just as He did when we decided to move here. 

Home

Since Tanner and I finally put the last piece of our apartment puzzle (the dining table) into place, I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of our home now. This is the second apartment we’ve lived in since moving to CT, though the move was only two doors down in our building to a bigger space 🙂 By Southern standards it’s still very small, but having lived in roughly 500 square feet for the past year, it feels very spacious!

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The front door of the apartment opens into the living/dining space, where we spend most of our time. The door to the left goes into our bedroom, and to the right is the office.

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BEDROOM

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OFFICE

As you can see, the bedroom and office are so small you can’t even get one picture of the whole room, but we don’t spend much time in either room and the space is sufficient. Living in such tight quarters has definitely taught us to evaluate what is important to keep and how to most efficiently store all of our belongings.

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KITCHEN

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BATH

Not pictured is the walk-through closet that leads into the bathroom. I’ll spare you of our organized chaos, but suffice it to say that this is where most of our clothes, towels, sheets, and other miscellaneous belongings reside due to the fact that it is the only storage space we have other than a tiny coat closet by the front door.

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LIVING 

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I’ve loved using this tray on our coffee table as a way to stretch my decorating muscles for each season. I am not as naturally stylish as my architect husband, but I love taking things I see on Pinterest or in other people’s blogs and using those ideas as a starting point for my own.

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DINING

This has quickly become my favorite part of our home. Since we put in the table about a week ago, the whole space feels complete. I love having a place to sit and eat (that’s not the couch) and the ability to have people over now. The main reason Tanner and I decided to upgrade to a larger apartment was so that we would have space to have others into our home. Hospitality is something we desire to cultivate in our marriage as a way to share the gospel and the love of Christ with our coworkers and new friends. While it’s easy to get busy with the day to day and selfishly only use our space for ourselves, we pray that the Lord would help us to have an open door and open hearts to those in our community.

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We had the opportunity to have our first dinner guests this week: Alex and Steve, two of Tanner’s coworkers. We fed them butternut squash lasagna, salad, and bread, and just spent the evening getting to know one another better. It was so nice to finally be able to open our home up to those we are building friendships with. I admit I can be quick to become the Martha: frantically running around trying to make everything perfect, wanting our guests not to see what goes on behind the scenes and to see me as the perfect hostess. But once I reminded myself that the point of the evening was to build relationships, I didn’t think about the dishes in the sink, or that I didn’t have real salad tongs, or the fact that I failed to butter the bread beforehand. I would rather our home feel relaxed and inviting, than look like the showroom for a home living magazine.

We also love out of town guests also! Though our space is limited, we have blow-up mattresses and enjoy people coming to visit 🙂 If you ever want to come visit the Northeast, give us a call!

One Year

Two weeks ago Tanner and I celebrated our first year anniversary. We can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by! It has been a crazy year: we got married; moved to Connecticut; started new jobs; joined a new church; and are now looking at buying a house! It seems like this second year will be uneventful in comparison to the first, but we are looking forward to settling into a normal routine and putting down roots in our new home.

For our anniversary, we traveled to Cape Cod for a four day weekend. It was so beautiful! The weather was perfect, the scenery so picturesque. We loved the quaintness of the small towns (or villages as they call them). Driving along 6A on the northern side of Cape Cod on Thursday, we couldn’t stop oohing and ahhing over the cute houses and gorgeous landscape.

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On Friday, we took the ferry to Nantucket for the day. We barely made it on time to the ferry, but thank goodness we had bicycles from the airbnb host we stayed with. I almost ate the pavement on the way there: Tanner was riding behind me listening to the gps and I looked over my shoulder to check on him. When I looked forward, my bike went off the sidewalk and I had to jump over it to keep from being taken down into the road. We were short on time so I got back on my bike and we kept going, but once we got to the ferry and were safely on board, we had a good laugh about it! And the craziness getting there was worth it, because Nantucket is beautiful! We had fun dreaming about what it would be like to actually vacation on Nantucket (not that we will ever, ever be able to afford it). We rode our bikes from one end of the island to the other and, after riding back, got coffee and then ate burgers and fries in an old English pub style restaurant called The Brotherhood of Thieves.

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Saturday was a day of exploring the parts of Cape Cod that we had not seen yet. We started in Chatham (pronounced Chat-um) a wealthier section of Cape Cod that has a cute downtown. We originally just stopped to get some coffee, but ended up getting sidetracked in a bookstore for an hour. Tanner and I are both suckers for old books, and have been looking for good ones to stock our bookshelves with. We scoured the shelves and found a few we liked, and by the time we got the register the lady commented “You guys are still here?!” Haha I had no other answer than “We just really like books.” After spending a few more hours in Chatham, we made our way north to the hook of the Cape into Provincetown. Most people don’t realize it, but Provincetown is actually where the Pilgrims first landed when they came to America. Their plan was to sail down to Virginia from there, but when the water was too rough they headed back up and around to Plymouth, which is where most people associate with the Pilgrims landing. While we were there we visited the Pilgrims’ Monument and walked along the commercial street, buzzing with shops and restaurants and tourists. Since Saturday was our actual anniversary we ended with a nice dinner at a sushi restaurant, where the overly-friendly drunk couple beside us kept talking loudly about the pumpkin pie they had at home and their plans to have dinner with their son the next night.

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Overall our anniversary trip was everything we wanted it to be. The weather couldn’t have been better; the scenery was all gorgeous; we had so much fun; and we really got quality time to reconnect as a couple. We ended by listening to the recording of our wedding ceremony in the car on the way home. While this first year of marriage has been great, it hasn’t always been easy, so it was good to get away and be reminded of the covenant we cut before the Lord on that day a year ago. Now we’re ready for round two!