We haven’t actually spoken in 4 months, but can I vent for a minute?

I’ve made it no secret that living far away from my family and friends I grew up with is not easy.

Being married and having children can be, shall we say “Trying”? at times, and for some reason, most of us are afraid to share these difficult moments, days, weeks, MONTHS with each other.

Living in the south, I have found this especially true. There’s a certain level of politeness and there’s a façade of happiness wherever you go and whomever you may speak to.

Sure, anyone who’s married and/or has children will chuckle and say something along the lines of “motherhood isn’t easy!” Or “being married has its challenges!”

But what I’m looking for is more along the lines of “I think I might murder my cocky-ass husband in his sleep tonight unless someone gives me a Xanax.” Or “Is it normal for a 6 month old to scream like her crib is on fire when there’s NOTHING wrong? Someone help me!”

Why are we afraid to say what’s really going on?

I was sitting down in the break room at my old job shortly after I got married and just said quite plainly “I hate him. I really just HATE him” and everyone just kind of looked at me with either judgement or pity, I couldn’t quite make out there expressions. All I knew was, I was alone.

“No?” I asked. “No one else? We all love our husbands?” Ok. Noted. No further outbursts from me.

All I wanted was someone else to look at me and say “Girl, me too”. That’s it.

Which is why I rely on about 3 or 4 friends I have back home who have known me and been through growing pains with me who I can call or text out of nowhere and just VENT. No judgement.

I can say things like “Remind me why we got married?” And I’ll get something back like “I’ve been wondering the same F-ing thing all week”. Or “You’re asking ME? I just told him to jump out of a moving car.” Simple. Honest. Real.

Some days, I have no patience and no more fucks left to give. Moments where if I didn’t have children, I’d walk out the front door and do whatever the hell I wanted for a week until I missed my life and drove back.

But I do have babies and responsibilities and I can’t just walk out and find a Blues Traveler concert tour to follow.

Thank God for the girls I can text with any amount of momentary meltdowns and thank God they all share the same thoughts and feelings I have.

If you feel like venting right this second, feel free to comment below and say whatever the hell you want! The more, the merrier.

If you’re too embarrassed to share, that’s fine too, just know you’re not alone. You’re doing a great job and the genuinely happy moments, days, months are there too. We all have them! The good, the bad, the trying.

Even the most polite people with good hair and well-blended makeup have thoughts of running away (and some actually WILL when they’re 47 and can’t stand the façade that they’re feet don’t hurt in those BCBG heels).

Don’t be that girl. Wear your Toms. Text your girls. Have a glass of Prosecco.

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chicken Carbonara

So, as you probably know by now, I LOVE to eat! If food is involved, I’m there. If I ate the way I want to eat, I’d be extremely unhealthy and I’d be concerned with my blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s why I re-create these recipes so I can enjoy everything I WANT to eat without consuming an absurd amount of calories and fat.

I was so completely satisfied with this dish, even without the pasta! I poured the cabonara over mashed cauliflower and thin zucchini noodles, which turned out to be the perfect combo.

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No dish is complete without a glass (or bottle) of wine, in my professional wine-drinking opinion, which is why I decided on the chardonnay, pinot grigio blend. I wanted the buttery flavor of the chardonnay with the light/crisp taste of the pinot grigio.  Let me tell you, Villa Cerrina knows their stuff!

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Here’s What I Did:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 tsp. oil (I used grape seed oil, but you can use olive oil or other)
  • 1/4 Cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. arrow root
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • S&P to taste
  • 3/4 Cup steamed, cut green beans

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, chopped. Allow it to cook alone for a couple minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the onion begins to soften, slice the turkey bacon into small, 1/4 inch pieces and add to the onion. Let this combo cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, cut into cubes, and sprinkle all seasonings including S&P.

Once the chicken has cooked 1/2 way through, add the chicken broth and lemon juice and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the half and half, butter and arrow root, mixing well. Turn heat to medium/low, cover, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and sauce has thickened.

I cut and steamed the green beans at the end and tossed them into the mixture so they were a little crisp.

For the cauliflower, I literally just steamed the crowns, drained and pulsed on high in my food processor. You really don’t need any seasonings or fillers in this because you want to enjoy the flavor and sauce from the carbonara.

For the zucchini noodles, I peeled the zucchini with a potato peeler on 4 sides until I hit the seeds. I put the noodles in a small skillet with a tiny bit of oil and tossed around frequently with a little salt and pepper. These noodles cooked very briefly because you don’t want them to get soggy, which they will very quickly.

Pour your mixture over the cauliflower and place the zucchini around the outside. Pour yourself a MUCH deserved glass of wine WHILE you cook AND while enjoying this delicious light version of a favorite dish!

 

Lip Service

I’m not usually one for a bold lip, but this cream crayon by Glo Minerals looked pretty good, I thought! It felt good, too! The color lasted a while and I actually liked the look when it faded, because my lips are naturally pretty light, which I hate, so this gave them a “bitten” look!

Glo Minerals Cream Crayon in Dahlia

The “Gluten-Free/Paleo” Life

Ok, so I say “gluten-free” and “paleo” BUT I don’t always eat this way. I try to eat mostly whole foods and stay away from breads, pastas and rice. TRY. Sometimes, like last night, I make a delicious dish that has rice in it and you just can’t substitute, like rice noodles for pad thai. I mean, zucchini noodles aren’t gonna cut it!

I drink wine. A lot. I love wine, I’ve been drinking wine since I was a little girl at my Nonna and Papa’s kitchen table. It’s not paleo and I could care less. These pictures were taken in Punta Cana for our wedding in November and you can bet your bottom I was drinking wine before the wedding…that shit was stressful.

When I do cut back on all the yummy things like pastas and breads, I don’t substitute them with gluten-free versions. I don’t have celiac disease, forcing me to improvise. I just feel less bloated and more toned when I avoid those simple carbohydrates.

Any advice I might give a future bride or anyone trying to get a bit more fit is to cut out the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating and replace them with whole foods that fill you up and satisfy your palate. Add weights into your workout routine. I was always a cardio queen. Give me an In Touch magazine, a stair-master and Rhianna radio on my Pandora and I’ll sweat my butt off and feel like I accomplished something, BUT it never toned my body. Adding Body Pump class (moderate weights with lots of repetition/total body workout) was what got me tighter and smaller. I always thought weights would make me bulky, but they did NOT. I didn’t drink soda or juices either. Ever. I’d rather have stevia in my coffee in the morning and wine during the week than a soda or glass of juice any day. I heard recently that one serving of soda has more sugar in it than you need for the entire week!

My go to substitutions to cut cravings and fill/satisfy me:

  • Avocado! I put this in salads, added it to veggies for side dishes or under a meat/protein
  • Beans! Especially black beans, I eat these in place of pasta or rice.
  • Zucchini! I made noodles under a sauce, diced and added to ground turkey for meatballs, cut up and sautéed to add to veggies to help fill me up
  • Mango! I know there’s a lot of sugar, so I would eat it early in the day and make ceviche with it, which included avocado, shrimp and lots of lemon and cilantro. I also ate it alone as long as I wasn’t going to have any other sugar for the day. It’s like candy!
  • Spicy sauces and seasonings! When you’re trying to eat well, you get bored after a while (or at least I do!) and start craving other food. Adding a lot of spice (if that’s your thing) REALLY helped me, and is actually great for your metabolism. I added siracha to eggs, cayenne pepper to bean salads and Frank’s Red Hot to pretty much anything, especially chicken tenders (a paleo version, found in my recipes) for a “buffalo chicken” dish with celery and carrots.
  • Protein muffins and paleo pancakes were perfect every morning with my cup of coffee (which I would rather cut off a limb than take away) and filled me up. (Both found in my recipes, as well)
  • Sparkling water with lemon and lime, MAYBE a splash of cranberry. This “mocktail” was my go-to when I was cutting back on the wine. I still put it in a fancy glass:)

Kind of regretting the 2 Hershey Kisses I had before this post:/ Oh well, no Nature’s Path cereal for dessert tonight! (something else I do).

 

Modified Jessner Peel Day 1

During the winter months, I like to do at least one, more aggressive chemical peel to rid my skin of dead skin cells, generate newer skin growth and treat any imperfections such as hyperpigmentation and fine lines/wrinkles. I really like the Modified Jessner peel by Glo Therapeutics with their Enzyme added to the treatment.

I use this service in my treatment room at the salon and my clients’ love the results. Some see more flaking afterwards than others and if you have an event or vacation coming up, I usually tell people to wait because you don’t know how your skin will react in down time and how long it will have that dry, peeling appearance. (If you do have an event, I recommend the Pro 5 Exfoliant, which doesn’t require any down time).

This is a picture of my skin right after the treatment this morning and I will post pictures in the upcoming days to see how my skin reacts and the final results in about a week.

  1. In the Modified Jessner Treatment I did today, I first used the Glo Therapeutics Enzyme, which is a 5% Salicylic Acid, 3% Bromelain, 1% Papain, Pomegranate and Cranberry blend (Great for aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne). I left that on for 5 minutes and rinsed off with water (this enzyme DOES heat up!)
  2.  I dried my skin completely and applied the Peel Prep, (kind of an “itchy” feeling) which preps the skin for the chemical exfoliation.
  3. After that dried, I applied the fist layer of the Modified Jessner, which is also great for aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne (this also heats up quite a bit, but I found the longer it stays on, it starts to subside, which is why you can add layers). This has 14% lactic Acid, 14% Salicylic Acid, 14% Resorcinol, Raspberry and Lycopene
  4. After 2 minutes, I added the Lightening Serum, which aids in diminishing any hyperpigmentation more thoroughly (this has 2% Hydroquinone, 2% Salicylic Acid, 5% Lactic Acid, Kojic Acid, Azelaic Acid, and L Ascorbic Acid).
  5. After 2 more minutes, I added another layer of the Modified Jessner and let it sit for 4 minutes.
  6. I finally neutralized the chemical with Glo Therapeutics Neutralizer (Calcium Carbonate, EGCG ((derived from green tea)), and Shea Butter). This actually burned significantly at first, which is due to adding anything damp to the chemical but calmed down after the 2nd application. The calcium carbonate (better known to us as baking soda) is what neutralizes the chemical and makes it stop working, kind of like throwing baking soda on a fire!

My skin was immediately re-texturized! It felt SO smooth and plump. I am really excited to see if I have any peeling and how my skin looks and feels after about a week. This is an AWESOME treatment to do before your wedding!! I recommend it at least a week before the big day so your skin has time to heal completely.

 

My wedding “diet”

Our wedding in Punta Cana was the best day of my life so far! I have never had so much fun and I got to come home married to the best guy I’ve ever known.

Like any bride, I stressed and wanted to make sure I looked my best and felt good about myself for the big day. I wanted to look back on our pictures with confidence and reflect how happy I am. I think a huge fear was that I would see pictures of myself and focus on my insecurities and wish I had tried harder to become my healthiest self. I knew I had the skill to create great recipes, I knew I had the determination and drive to get to the gym, but who doesn’t want a glass of wine or 2 at the end of the day?

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a glass of wine while I cook! Who doesn’t want to skip a day or 2 at the gym during the week? I do, and I did! Let me also just say, I am NOT a gym rat! I go to the gym on a regular basis about 3-4 times a week, max. I take Body Pump, which is a Les Mills program and also do the stair master for cardio. I like to sweat, it makes me feel productive.

I ate really well before the wedding, but got creative and looked forward to making these dishes because they were full of flavor. I discovered how to eat healthy food high in fiber and protein and low in sugar, salt and fat WHILE making sure I was full and satisfied. I did drink wine. Not every single day, but I did. I ate dessert, but it was usually a cup of Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax granola or a protein mini muffin and a cup of sleepy-time tea as opposed to something more fattening.

I will post as many recipes as I can and will happily answer ANY questions you have! I’ll try to give you any advice I can and tell you what worked/didn’t work for me. Just ask!