Weekend Snapshots 22

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope ya'll had a nice Memorial Day weekend!  We had a low-key, relaxing weekend brought to you by our barbeque grill because Memorial Day weekend = grilling and remembering the fallen soldiers who served our country (I'm sure they would want to be remembered with fire and meat).  Make sure to share your Weekend Snapshots with us at the end of the post - Ariana and I will love you for it!!!

Saturday:  We got together with a bunch of other local Enlightened Ingress players to celebrate the Aegis Nova anomaly.  It was a huge potluck, there were kids there for Jack to play with (even though it got a little Lord of the Flies), and raffle prizes (spoiler, I didn't win).  One of the things I really love about Ingress is the community of Enlightened players here in Houston.  I'm not as active in the community as I would like to be, but when they have big get togethers I always try to go so I can stay connected and put faces to player names.  Oh, and Dennis and Jack saw a snake in the wild - very exciting.  When we got home, Jack needed to do some work on his car and then decided to crawl into the cat trap for some reason.

Sunday:  Lazy chore day around the house.  As evidenced by all the pictures I took of the lazy cats.  They knew what's up.  Jack's new thing is to sleep in one of my shirts instead of his pajamas (and I think it's just about the cutest thing ever).  When he woke up on Sunday morning, he came shuffling out of his room with only one sock on - I didn't quite capture it on film, but I think you get the idea.  Dennis needed to finish the sheetrock in the bathroom and with Jack and Squeek's help, that took most of the day (and by help, I mean distraction).  We had to go back to Home Depot - our home away from home, and Jack insisted on wearing not only my t-shirt he slept in, but also the tank top I had worn yesterday fashioned as a forward cape - he's quite the fashion forward toddler.  That Tabasco Sauce there isn't actually Tabasco Sauce - #accordingtojack that's a bottle of root beard.  And of course, it wouldn't be Memorial Day weekend without fire and meat.

Monday:  Dennis woke up with a not-quite-migraine.  Jack was concerned and had Dr. Big Bear help take care of Daddy.  That's the only picture I took yesterday.  I had clients most of the day and didn't do much else.  I did listen to some really amazing stories on NPR (I love you, NPR) about veterans and their experiences in the different wars.

And that's about it!  What were you up to on this long weekend?  Any grilling or cookouts?  Did you get together with friends?  Tell us all about it and make sure to link up your posts!!

Day in the Life, May 1, 2016

photo an hour, day in the life, sciport discovery center, shreveport, strawn's eat shop, strawn's strawberry pie

As we near the end of May, I realised that while I shared my Day in the Life for April, I haven't yet gotten around to writing my post for May - and since we're still in May, I figured now would be a great time to get that done.  May 1st I was in Shreveport visiting my Mom.  I already shared a little from that day in my Weekend Snapshots post, so here's the rest of what went on.

For several years now, I've been working on my Day in the Life project.  On the first of every month, I take one photo an hour of whatever is going on.  I don't specifically plan anything special just for the sake of a good picture - I simply document whatever it is we're doing that day.  I take all my pics with Instagram (are you following me?  well, you should).  It's been such a wonderful way to document the everyday (and to watch Jack grow - I started this project when he was only three and a half months old!).

Sunday Confessions 22

The United States of Becky

I confess:  Dennis and I are celebrating our 15 year anniversary today (not our wedding anniversary, but the anniversary of us starting to date).  And by celebrating, I mean doing chores and home improvement projects around the house (while Jack runs around the house like a wild man in nothing but underwear - I think he needs a cape).

I confess:  I'm totally okay with not doing anything special for our anniversary - we've never been big on this anniversary anyway - probably because I had a boyfriend when we met, so the exact timing of us being an item and me breaking up with the boyfriend *might* overlap a bit.

I confess:  The Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend in 2001 is the night I broke up with said boyfriend, so that's kinda unofficially our anniversary.  That night, Dennis and I had been down at the waterfalls that run through the campground at Scarborough Faire and got caught in a huge torrential tornado producing thunderstorm on the way back to our respective booths.  When Dennis was kissing me goodnight outside where I was staying (and my douchbag boyfriend was waiting for me - scandalous in so many ways), lightning struck the ground about 50 yards from where we were standing.  It.  Was.  So.  Epic.

Linking up with United States of Becky

April 2016 Blog Traffic (and Income) Report

blog traffic and income report, blog traffic, income report, blog stats, blog numbers, blog pageviews, small blogger, small blog numbers, new blog numbers, new blogger stats

I've been putting off writing this month's blog traffic and income report for a while now.  April was a tough month for me - I suffered some blogger burnout, and about a ton of stuff happened in real life that prevented me from putting much of any focus on this little space of mine.  While I realize all things in life have ups and downs, it's still discouraging to go through a down period after you've worked so hard to go up.  But instead of trying to pretend April didn't happen and just not write a traffic report, I want to maintain full transparency and show the realities of life and blogging.

For those of you who may be new around here, I've been blogging for a loooooong time, but have only recently made the decision to look at my blog as a business and try to earn a little money from my online endeavours.  At the beginning of 2016, I buckled down, hashed out a plan (sorta) and have been sharing my traffic an income reports for those bloggers out there who aren't earning six figures or who don't have tons of page views.  We all start somewhere, ya know, and I found it very discouraging to read traffic reports from well established blogs because I was in no position to compare myself to them.  So little blogs, this traffic and income report goes out to you!!!

April saw another decline in my stats overall - I only wrote ten posts, down five posts from March and half of my goal of twenty posts.  My Instagram following increased from 529 to 572, an increase of 43 followers.  Less than March, and not stellar compared to those who grow their followings by that number per day, but not too shabby considering I only focus on using #hashtags and liking photos and wasn't as active across all of my social media accounts in April.

April 2016 Blog Traffic

In April, I only had 977 pageviews, a decrease of 273.  Dismal, I know.  But when you combine a healthy dose of blogger burnout, a stomach virus that everyone in your family gets, and having your plumbing back up throughout your entire house that's what happens.  You can see in the middle of the month where all three of those things caused a perfect storm of blog neglect, but by the end of April, I was starting to recover (and the plumbing was working again!).  I had 578 users over 735 sessions - again, not great numbers, but totally to be expected.  My bounce rate increased again this month, up 2.43% from 78.93% in March to 81.36% in April and my time spent per session took a nosedive from 1:07 to 0:44.  My pages per session also decreased, but not significantly.  Overall, my April numbers suck.  

Top 5 Posts in April

What Did I Earn?

In April, I earned $25 from ModCloth {afilliate} and I received those awesome yoga pants from YogaOutlet.com for free.  I spent $1.99 on my InLinkz {affiliate}, so I definitely came out ahead, but $23.01 does not a living make.  I really need to figure out this affiliate marketing thing (and apparently come up with a course to sell to you - that seems to be all the rage - not sure what you want to learn about, though - let me know in the comments, lol).

Social Stats

Facebook from 408 to 431 - 23 new likes
Instagram from 529 to 572 - 43 new followers
Pinterest not sure - I didn't track my month's end
Twitter 17 new followers (not bad considering I pay almost zero attention to Twitter)

And there you have it, my April Blog Traffic (and Income) Report.  I know we all have our ups and downs, but hopefully I won't have another April this year.  I think the important thing is that these numbers didn't discourage me so much that I gave up, which is something I struggle with.

Have you had blogger burnout or had a mountain of real life things get in the way of your blogging?  How did you recover?  What did you learn from the experience?  I'd love to hear your stories!!

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Treat Yo'self! The Paper Files Giveaway with 3twentysix

Hi, my name is Jessica and I'm addicted to paper products and I'm super excited to be teaming up with Ariana over at 3twentysix (of Weekend Snapshots fame) to give away a bunch of fun paper goods to one lucky reader this month!

If you don't already know Ariana, shes a super cool chick that I met way back when at the inaugural Blog Elevated Conference.  We instantly clicked and although it was years between seeing each other in person, we stayed in touch and are making efforts to actually hang out more (yay for IRL friends!!!).  Our latest meet up was at Paper Source* to comb through the glorious aisles of paper stuffs to pick out some sweets themed paper treats.  Here's what we picked:

Weekend Snapshots 21

Holy Home Improvement Projects, Batman!  Dennis and I were super busy this past weekend with home improvement stuff, but we still managed to sneak in a little fun, too.  This edition of Weekend Snapshots is brought to you by Jack and Dennis working on putting down the new floors in our bathroom - yes, the same bathroom floor we had to rip up back in April because of a horrible, very bad, no good plumbing clog.  As always, this weekend recap link-up is hosted by yours truly and Ariana at 3twentysix.  Make sure to link-up with us and share your weekend happenings!

Saturday:  Because of Den's weird work schedule, this was the first weekend since the clog that we've really been able to dedicate to working on the bathroom.  Den has been slowly repairing the subfloors in preparation for laying the new tiles and this weekend was tile weekend!!!  Yay!!!  Jack was super ready to help.  After Dennis got the subfloors done, we headed to Lowe's to pick up the vanity and sink that we'll be installing.  It was early enough in the day that we thought we could just run in, get the vanity, and come home, but that one simple thing turned into an all day ordeal.  Getting the vanity was the easy part - it was in stock and all we had to do was go and get it, but when we got home, we unboxed it to discover the sink and counter were broken!!!  Whomp-whomp.  Lowe's was very nice and helpful and let us exchange it (I mean, we had it all of half an hour before we discovered the crack), but we still had to drive all the way back to the store and then home again.  Dennis and Jack spent the rest of the afternoon/evening laying out all the tile and snipping the pieces that needed to be snipped.  I finally decided on a color to paint the living room fireplace and I got busy tackling that project.  I tried to Facebok Live the painting, but my internet got all wonky and decided to cut out on me.  No matter, I used the timelapse feature on my iPhone and like that result a lot better.  What do ya'll think of the end result?

Sunday:  Sunday was Tile Day!!!  What-what!!!  We got a little bit of a late start on Sunday because Jack is a late sleeper and Den didn't want to use any power tools to mix the thinset mortar while Jack was still sleeping.  Jack went from asleep straight to help Daddy mode - I even had to feed him his breakfast while he was helping mix the mortar.  Our original plan was to lay the tiles, get cleaned up, and then join Ariana for Sunday Streets, but putting the tile down took a lot longer than we expected.  But that's okay because beautiful new bathroom floors!!!  Post tiling, we headed to Den's sister's new house for a housewarming party and since we were already on the east side of town decided to do a little urban exploring of Baytown.  They have a very cute downtown main street and town square park.  Plus a super cool downtown coffee shop - we'll definitely be spending some time in Baytown soon to do more exploring.

What were you up to this weekend?  Did you get any projects around the house done?  Done any urban exploring lately?  We'd love to hear about it!  Make sure to link up your posts and have an awesome week!!

Sunday Confessions 21

The United States of Becky

I confess:  My running shoes stink.  Like teenage boy gym locker nasty sweat stink.  I love to run in the rain and I guess they got wet too many times (and I don't think there's anything I can do to bring them back).  They now live outside my backdoor for two reasons - so they don't stink up my closet and so hopefully the sun will help get the funk out.

I confess:  I've had a plantar wart on my foot for years now - it's big and ugly and nasty, but doesn't cause me any issues except embarrassment so I haven't done anything about it.  Also, even though I have insurance, co-pays etc. are too expensive for me to justify going to the doctor.  But the damn thing is so big I think I should really have something done about it.

I confess:  I think I need a digital detox a la the one Angie at Chasing My Halo did.  I found the idea challenging (but totally doable - I mean, what did we do in the '90's and '00's), and also a little scary.  I spend way too much time on my phone and computer and need a reset - kinda like what I'm doing with my diet and Whole30.

Linking up with United States of Becky

Rent the Runway Review

I have a confession to make:  I have more clothes than I know what to do with, but I never seem to have anything I want to wear.  Despite practically always being in yoga pants and a t-shirt (#momuniform), I really do love fashion and I almost never pass up the opportunity to doll myself up.  The only problem?  I feel like I've worn all my fun clothes and constantly want to try new looks (I also hate it when someone sees me in the same dolled up outfit more than once - it's a problem I'm working on) - this leaves me feeling frustrated because I can't constantly buy clothes to wear only once or twice (my closet and drawers are literally overflowing).  The solution?  Rent the Runway (click that link for 20% off your first order), ya'll!!!

I recently partnered with Rent the Runway (we're affiliates, yo - I get a commission - at no charge to you - if you decided to take advantage of their awesomeness) and they provided me the chance to test their service and write a review and I can tell you, the next time I need a special outfit, I am 100% using Rent the Runway.  My experience was a-maz-ing!

Weekend Snapshots 20

Welcome to this edition of Weekend Snapshots link-up brought to you by Jack conquering the bounce house obstacle course like a boss at the Houston Zoo's Zoobilee.  Zoobilee is an annual party thrown for all zoo members and is totally awesome!  We went last year and had a blast so there was no way we were missing it this year (threat of rain or not!).  The rest of the weekend was kinda meh, but at least Zoobilee was awesome.

Thursday:  Jack and I got to the zoo early to make sure we didn't miss any part of the Zoobilee festivities.  Even though it's a members only party it can still get pretty crowded and crazy and I'm just not that good at dealing with crowds.  I'll definitely show up early next year, too - Jack got to enjoy the bounce houses without too much of a line and we didn't have to wait at all for the free ice cream or carousel ride.  Jack and I got matching green tiger airbrush tattoos (and Dennis got one, too, after he got off work).  The bounce house obstacle course was the big winner of the night - Jack must've done it about 1000 times, then decided the cornhole game volunteer needed his help.  Thankfully, she was a sweet and understanding grandma who was 100% okay with Jack gathering all the beanbags after they were thrown.  I promise I didn't dress Jack up in the volunteer colors on purpose.

Friday:  My MIL got back from being out of town for a week and wanted to see Jack, so I dropped him off at her house for the afternoon.  I did some stuff around the house that is impossible to do with a toddler and he helped her in the garden.  Win-win!  His hair is finally starting to really grow and was just too cute sticking out of the back of his hat when I went to pick him up.

Saturday:  Saturday was a huge flop.  It was a lazy pajama day, but not in the planned let's laze around and watch TV kinda way and more of the my ADD is overwhelming me and I feel lost and am not sure where to start or what to do kind of way.  I didn't accomplish much of anything and am pretty sure I spent most of the day distractedly wandering around the house trying to figure out what housework to do while checking my phone too much.  I did manage to make Jack and I some really yummy smoothies, though.  When Den got home that evening, I needed to make sure to hack a portal (that's Ingress talk, yo), so I got some much needed alone time for the 15 minutes I was out playing.  Things were awfully quiet when I got home - I figured the boys were up to something and left them to their evil plans.  After a while, Jack came running out of the bathroom babbling about something excitedly.  He dragged me into the bathroom where poor Dennis was sitting on the floor with shaving cream all over him #lifewithatoddler  We decided that since the day had been so blah, we needed to camp in the living room to have a little fun.

Sunday:  Sunday was another lazy pajama day, but this time a little more deliberately so.  Both times we've camped in the living room, Jack insisted in wearing one of my t-shirts for pajamas and this morning kept pretending he was a turtle by pulling his arms, legs, and head inside my shirt - so funny!  I fixed a really great Whole30 breakfast and Jack insisted on having his picture taken with my plate - he seems to be getting used to my new habit of taking pics of my food before I eat it, lol.  Jack also helped me blow dry my hair and then spent some time on his hair, too.  It took forever to get out of the house to go grocery shopping and as soon as we got to the store, he fell asleep in my lap (he rides in a car seat, just so you know, but was throwing a fit and fell asleep in my lap after we parked and I got him out of his seat to calm him down #safetyfirst).  He was "super hungry" when he woke up and my picky eater actually ate some steak they were sampling at the store.

How was your weekend?  We'd love to know all about it, so make sure to link up your snapshots and recaps with me and Ariana!  The link-up is open until Friday!  Have a great week, ya'll!

Sunday Confessions 20

The United States of Becky

I confess:  I have so many clothes that if I do laundry too often and most of them are clean I don't have enough room to put them all away in my closets (yes, plural) and drawers.  I donated A TON of stuff before we moved three and a half years ago, but things are getting out of hand again.  And I just don't feel like dealing with it.

I confess:  This Whole30 thing is easier than I thought it would be, but I would shank a bitch for a slice of pineapple upsidedown cake and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.

I confess:  I hate that saying that we all have as many hours in the day as Beyonce and that there's no excuse for not getting everything done that she does.  Hello, she has an entire staff to take care of all the mundane things in her life that most of us peasants have to take care of ourselves, so, no, we don't have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.  When was the last time she did laundry or dishes?  Does she have to go to the grocery store (or even take her kid to school)?  I'm betting the answer is no, so shut the fuck up with that every woman can have it all and do it all and should be able to do it all shaming shit.  Srsly.

Confessing with United States of Becky

Beginners Guide to Your First 5k

So you're thinking about doing a 5k, but maybe aren't sure if you can do it (you totally can - it's only 3.1 miles).  Maybe you've never run before or maybe you used to be active but life got in the way and you're out of shape now.  Maybe you think running is for runners and you think you're just not a runner so races aren't for you (not true).  Whatever the reason that's keeping you from doing it, I'm here to tell you that you absolutely can (and should) do a 5k race.  Even if you walk the whole thing.

I've participated in several 5k races in the last few years, and even though I'm a back of the pack kind of runner (or rather walk/runner, run/walker)  I think I've figured out a few things about the best ways to prepare for and participate in a 5k.  Especially as a beginner.  I feel like I'm forever a beginner, so I guess that kinda makes me an expert by now.  That's why I decided to put together this guide to finishing your first 5kK.  Now, this guide isn't a running plan - there are so many of those online that I just didn't feel like I would have anything to add - this is more of a "hell yes you can do it!" kinda guide.  And I hope it helps you out!  I know I sure wish someone had told me some of these things when I got started.

Weekend Snapshots 19

It's Monday, ya'll and time for this week's edition of Weekend Snapshots!  You know, that fun link-up I have going on with Ariana from 3TwentySix!!  Make sure you're linking your weekend posts with us - the link-up stays open till Friday, yo!  This week's wrap-up is brought to you by my very windblown new hairdo for Mother's Day.  I decided to go ahead and cut my hair this week - but not too drastically - I was thinking pixie, but went for bob instead (and finally got the cut I was looking for!).

Despite being Mother's Day weekend, this weekend was rather uneventful.  I did a bit of adulting by way of working on Saturday.  I sometimes fill in at a local day spa and they had me do massages at a 5K race on Saturday morning.  It was pretty fun getting to work on all the runners after the race.  I had to be there by 7:30 am (ugh, so early), and Jack woke up before I had to leave - he must've sensed a disturbance in the force - I was just going to try to sneak out of the house and let him sleep.  But it was a good thing he woke up.  He did not want me to go, and I was able to take the time to calm him down and make it okay.  He ended up on the couch watching Mighty Machines with Dennis when I left the house.

When I got home, Den was super tired (he'd hardly slept the night before and had to get up with Jack), so he took a power nap while I got things ready to see clients at my office.  Of course, the cats were all over him.  Crash never cuddles with us, but he was right next to Dennis as soon as he laid down, and of course, Squeak couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit on Den.  I'm really surprised there weren't more cats around - they usually don't get access to us when we're sleeping.  After Den's power nap, he took Jack with him to run some errands so I could work.  Jack passed out in the car about a block from the house (not surprisingly - he was up hours earlier than normal).

That evening, Dennis dyed my hair purple, pink, and blue as part of my Mother's Day gift.  I went to the salon for a cut and to have my roots bleached, but doing the fun colors at home is something Den and I can handle ourselves.  I have to say, it was weird walking around as a blond for 3 days.  Blond is definitely not my color.  I felt so washed out!  While we were letting the dye sit on my hair, Jack absolutely had to make melon balls on the kitchen floor with his special headlamp on.  #sillykid

Mother's Day was a mostly laid back  Most of the day was spent lounging around the house in our pajamas.  We ended up watching music videos on YouTube while we ate breakfast, and Jack made us move all the chairs out of the office so he  could dance around.  I'm so glad I managed to get that on video!

I partnered with Rent the Runway (click that link for $20 off your first order and I get $20, too!) and picked out an awesome skirt to wear for Mother's Day, so we finally got off our butts to go out to lunch and then to the Galleria to look for a sunglasses case for those RayBans I found at the State Capitol.  Jack ended up falling asleep in the car on the way to lunch and instead of waking him up, we went through the drive through of Beck's Prime Rib and ate our lunch in the car.  #parenthood  I was too hungry to get a pic of the salad I ordered, lol.  

Post Galleria shopping, we stopped by the Waterwall Park to take some pics of said awesome skirt.  It was super windy, so getting pics where it didn't look like I was in a tornado was difficult, but I think we managed to get some decent shots.  Look for that review post coming soon.  Dennis tried teaching Jack how to play tic-tac-toe, but I don't think Jack quite understood the concept.  He just wanted to put a leaf and a twig on each square.  Oh well.

And that sums up our weekend!  I have to say it was just what I needed - a little fun, a little laziness, and a little work.  The perfect balance!  How was your weekend?  Did you do anything special for Mother's Day?  Make sure to link-up with us and to share the love by visiting the other links!!  Have a great week!!

Sunday Confessions 19

The United States of Becky

I confess:  If I know I have to wake up early in the morning, I don't pee before I go to bed.  I know I'll probably sleep through the night and when my alarm goes off in the morning, I'll have to pee just badly enough to actually get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button.  #lifehack  #youcanthankmelater

I confess:  I'm so not a morning person that when that alarm goes off early and I do have to pee, for just a moment, I weigh the options of just wetting the bed instead of waking up.  Like, we have a waterproof mattress cover - how bad could it be?  Is waking up better than sleeping in my own pee for another hour or two?  Yes, waking up is always better than wetting the bed.  Always.

I confess:  Dennis has been off all week and we haven't watched a single episode of The Walking Dead.  We usually watch episodes late at night on the days he's off because neither of us has to wake up super early, but for some reason I have been unable to stay awake past Jack's bedtime the whole week.  And now Dennis is going to be working for the next 7 days, so we probably won't be watching any episodes for the next week - I'm dying over here for my Walking Dead fix!!!

Confessing with The United States of Becky

March 2016 Blog Traffic (and Income) Report

blog traffic and income report, blog traffic, blog income, traffic report, income report, the reinvention of jessica, the reinvention of jessica income report, the reinvention of jessica traffic report

March was a pretty great month for The Reinvention of Jessica.  Pretty great until I suffered from blogger burnout at the end of the month and on into April.  In an effort to grow my blog, I've been going balls to the wall since the beginning of the year without enough of a plan or direction to sustain me.  I still don't have much of a plan, but I feel like I've at least worked through some of the burnout, so I'm playing a bit of catch up around here.  I started publishing my blog traffic and income reports back in January and even though I missed publishing March's report last month, I decided to go ahead and write up March's report for you now (it's my blog - I'll do what I want {read that in Cartman's voice}).

I had better traffic in February than I did in March (and that may be part of what led to my burnout), but I still think I had decent numbers for March.  In March, I wrote 15 new blog posts, down 2 from February (which was down 2 from January - not a great trend), and although I started an email list, I still haven't sent out a newsletter.  I saw an increase in my Instagram followers from 466 to 529, an increase of 63 followers.  I've been putting a lot of focus on Instagram (or at least as much focus as my ADD will allow) and I can tell it's paying off.  Now for March's hard numbers:

Day in the Life, April 1, 2016

Last month was a really weird month for me.  Things were going great with the blog, but then I lost some steam and a ton of crap happened in real life that totally derailed me.  I completely skipped posting my Day in the Life post for April, so I'm going to take this chance to play make-up and post my belated April post.  For those of you who may be new around here, for the last several years I've been doing my Day in the Life project where on the first of every month, I take one photo every hour for the entire day.  I don't stage my photos or plan anything special for the day - I just take a picture of whatever happens to be going on in my everyday life on the first of the month.  If you follow me on Instagram (and really you should), you can see me posting the pictures in real time.

Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30

Last month, on a whim, I decided to start the Whole30 diet.  I hardly had enough approved food in my pantry/fridge and had several days to go before grocery day, but it wasn't as tough a diet to follow as I thought it was going to be.  I made it through the first few days and it wasn't so bad - aside from eating chicken and broccoli for practically every meal - and things got much more delicious and easy after going to the grocery store.  Ten days in, Jack and I got super sick, and I had to forego the diet for saltines and gatorade.  Fast forward to today and I've decided to give the Whole30 thing another try.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase something through one of these links, I'll receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.  Help keep the dream alive and support small business, yo!

In case you don't know what Whole30 is, here's the tl;dr:  for 30 days you only eat meat, veggies and fruit.  No added sugar (real or fake) including honey and agave nectar, no grains including wheat, rice, quinoa, corn, or any other grain you can think of, no beans, no dairy, and no alcohol.  But potatoes are ok (that may be what finally sold me on the program).  Read the official overview of approved foods here.  The first time I looked up Whole30 my reaction was, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!!!"  But I read enough about it and followed enough bloggers/IGers that the idea slowly steeped into my subconscious and before I knew it, I was starting the Whole30.  And you know what?  It really isn't that hard.  Since I'm starting the Whole30 again today, I thought I'd share a few tips I figured out the first time around.

Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30

1.  Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat.  Whole30 isn't really all that difficult.  It sounds horrible and impossible when you only think of what you can't have, but when you shift that focus to what you can eat, the program starts to sound feasible and even delicious.  Also, keep some approved Larabars on hand in case you're caught in a pinch and need something to eat!

2.  Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time for 30 days.  Thirty days isn't a very long time, but when facing down such a restrictive diet it sounds like a lifetime.  Twenty-four hours, on the other hand, is a much more manageable amount of time that simply contains three meals and a snack.  That's all you have to think about at one time - three meals and a snack.  Easy.

3.  Make a plan (or don't).  I'm terrible at meal planning.  One of my big hang ups to starting the Whole30 was the idea that I needed to plan all three of my meals and all my snacks for 30 days.  This is just not how I operate and was almost more overwhelming than the idea of cutting out all those foods from my diet.  Instead, I just made sure to have approved Whole30 foods on hand and ate as I went along.  If you're more of a planner, then do that!  

4.  Pick a start date and tell someone.  If you tell someone your plans in a very specific way, you're more likely to see them through, and if you give yourself a specific start date, you're less likely to put off starting.

5.  Have a support network - do the Whole30 with someone.  Doing Whole30 alone is much more difficult than doing Whole30 with someone.  It's easier to commiserate on the tough parts and celebrate the successes with someone who is going through the same thing.  If you can't find someone to do Whole30 with you, find a support network.  Dennis decided not to do Whole30 with me, but the entire time he's been encouraging me and applauding my efforts.

Getting through a Whole30 isn't really that difficult if you break it down and don't psych yourself out.  If you're thinking of trying the Whole30, I say go for it!  It's really not that bad, I promise!  Have you done a Whole30 and have any tips to add?  I'd love to hear them!  And if you haven't done a Whole30 yet, what's holding you back?  Let's support and encourage each other - we can get through this together!!!


I got all the way through my Whole30 and I survived!!!  Check out my results post here to see what I learned and whether or not I'd do it again.  Spoiler alert:  I'm totally going to do this again!

Weekend Snapshots 18

It's Monday, so that means it's Weekend Snapshots time again, and I'm happy to report there was NO ADULTING at all this weekend!!!  In fact, this weekend really started on Thursday for me and included a trip to the zoo, an amazing Houston Bloggers meeting, a trip to visit my Mom and more!  This week's edition of Weekend Snapshots link-up is brought to you by Dapper Jack and is being brought to you courtesy of yours truly and Ariana at 3twentysix.  Make sure to link up your weekend recap posts with us and add the code to your post, too - it's all about sharing the love!

This weekend really got started for me on Thursday.  Jack and I spent some time at the Houston Zoo.  He stole my favorite hat and wouldn't give it back (but that's okay because he looked so good in it).  We saw some animals, ate some ice cream, and got way too hot - seriously Houston, it wasn't yet May, no need for the heat and humidity already.  That evening, I went to the April Houston Blogger's meeting (if you're Houston local and a blogger you're missing out if you don't come to these meetings) and had cannoli for dinner - because I'm an adult.

The next day, Dennis and Jack made sure my truck was ready to drive to my Mom's for the weekend.  We drove straight to the bookstore where she works and Jack immediately wanted to start helping her shelve books and read to me.  He's such a great helper!  That night we went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and I did the annoying mom thing of letting Jack watch shows on my phone so Mom and I could actually have a conversation over dinner (#youdowhatyoudo #atleastheatehisdinner).  When we got back to Mom's she gave Jack a Thor's hammer which is now his favorite new toy.

On Saturday, Jack and I had lunch with my Grandma (Waffle House if you're curious), and I left my phone at Grandma's when I was picking her up and go no pics of lunch #shameful.  After lunch, we headed over to Mom's work so Grandma could pick out some books.  The Air Force base in town was having an air show and we kept seeing the jets flying over us, so we pulled over to watch the end of the show.  I tried to get a shot of Grandma, Mom, and Jack all in the same picture, but Jack is just too quick for me.  When it was time to take Grandma home, Jack really (and I mean really) wanted to stay and help Mom work.  When I got back to the bookstore, Jack had helped Mom put some books away and was helping her coworker, Marcus, price some books.  Then Jack helped at the cash register.  #hediditall

Dinner that night was at Crawdaddy's Kitchen for some delish Cajun food.  Jack was super tired (he fell asleep on the way and we had to wake him up), but he was well behaved even if he didn't eat much.  My jambalaya was on point and I found the King of all Crawfish - he was delicious, too.

Sunday was the first of the month and when I do my Day in the Life photo project, so I'm not going to share many pics from Sunday - you'll just have to come back soon for my Day in the Life post.  We went to the SciPort Discovery Center for some science fun.  Jack saw his first movie there and then ran around the riverfront like a wild man.  That evening, we went to dinner, then home and to bed - we were all so exhausted!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend.  Fun was had, adulting was not (yay!), and I'm still worn out from all the fun.  How was your weekend?  Were you responsible, or did you throw caution to the wind and have an all in fun weekend?  Did you take a road trip or just stay home?  Share your posts with us in the linkup  and be sure to visit everyone else to share the love!!!

Sunday Confessions 18

The United States of Becky

I confess:  My hair  has been long enough to put in a ponytail/bun for a few months now, and that's pretty much how I've been wearing my hair exclusively.  I'm now thinking of cutting off all my hair again because the whole reason I chopped my hair in the first place was to get into the habit of having to actually do something with my hair and not just put it in a bun or ponytail.  But I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to go in for the Big Chop again - do I really  want to go through that awkward growing out stage again???  Also, I miss my long hair.

I confess:  I'm kinda afraid if I cut my hair again that I'm just going to keep going from pixie to lob and then never growing my hair all the way out again.  Can I please just have a magic wand to wave around that allows me to have whatever hair length and style I feel like at any given moment?  Can we make that happen?  Pretty please?  I promise to use my powers for good and not evil.

I confess:  I think I might be wanting to cut my hair again because I've still never really gotten any of the haircuts I actually wanted.  This is the closest I got to a haircut I wanted and it ended up being from a barber shop instead of a salon.  I think that's mostly my fault because I have no idea how to accurately describe what I want (even when I bring pictures).

Linking up with United States of Becky
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