It's not you. It's me.

06/28/2012 at 1:30 pm | Posted in me, weight loss | 13 Comments
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Dear MyFitnessPal,

I think it’s time we take a break. We’ve been hot and heavy for SEVEN STRAIGHT MONTHS, but I just can’t take any more logging. Deconstructing of meals. Trying to figure out fractions, ounces, grams.

It’s not you. It’s me.

I’ve lost more than 30 pounds. I’m healthy, happy and accustomed to a new lifestyle. I couldn’t have done it without you, of course. You kept me on my toes. Challenged me to log every single piece of food I’ve put in my mouth since December. Taught me everything I know about calories — how many I can eat without gaining weight, how many actually are in that restaurant salad I used to think was so healthy.

You encouraged me. Announced my victories. Made me so much more aware.

Like a little personal dietician tucked in my back pocket.

But it’s time for me to try this on my own.

I know I can do it. I went on vacation without you last week and managed to splurge without suffering for it. I ate fried shrimp, homemade pimento cheese and ice cream (not in one sitting!), but I knew to take it easy on other meals. And I exercised. It felt amazing to step on the scale a week later and discover that I hadn’t gained an ounce.

I’m ready to try this on my own.

But I know you’ll be there. Ready to welcome me back with open arms if I slip up. I might especially need you to be my date to the State Fair this fall. And I might booty call you as the holidays approach, because it’s difficult for me to avoid these or these.

Stay strong, MyFitnessPal. You won’t miss me for long. Millions of others are counting on you.


What I Wore (to work) Wednesday

06/27/2012 at 3:30 pm | Posted in look good feel good | 12 Comments
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top ::: Old Navy
jeans ::: Gap
crazy huge earrings ::: Hot Pink and Sequins

(here’s a closer look, from Instagram)

These earrings are some of my favorites. They’re made from upcycled leather by the talented Erin DeLargy of Hot Pink and Sequins.

Thursday is my Friday, so I wear jeans to work. Unless I have a meeting or interview. Casual Thursday rules.

Sophie really wanted to be part of this next photo, and how could I resist? Also: this is what my hair does on low-humidity days. Which we get, like, three times a year in the South.

top ::: Banana Republic Outlet
skirt ::: Loft
necklace ::: Anthropologie clearance closet

I’m not sure if this next outfit works. You’ll have to tell me (be honest). The black top is an old standby, and I did the frat-boy tuck because my pants were driving me crazy. I used to go to work in blacks and browns all the time. And I still do, when the mood strikes. But today I wanted a little splash of color. Enter the trusty Target beads.

top ::: Loft (you cant’ see it, but it has raw-edge pleats down the front)
pants ::: Gap
necklace ::: Target

And look! It’s a Suzanne fashion miracle. I wore something besides flats to work! Glory be. I bought these wedges at Target last season and had never worn them, until today. For shame.

pleated poppy

Best $15 we ever spent

06/27/2012 at 9:41 am | Posted in baby sunshine | 2 Comments
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BUSA play tunnel. Genius.

Happiness is: peaches in the summertime

06/26/2012 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 4 Comments
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Aren’t these so pretty?

The girls and I picked them out yesterday at the farmers market. It’s one of our favorite things to do. They love all the samples. And the cookie lady. I love supporting local farmers (and the prices, of course).

Lily “skips” (on one leg … it’s pretty awesome) down the aisles, pointing out each type of fruit and vegetable she knows. I always get her help picking out what we need, in hopes it’ll make a difference when she encounters the veggies on her plate that week at dinner. It seemed to work with green beans last night. Not holding my breath on the funky squash for tonight, though.

Peaches, to me, are the ultimate harbinger of summer. More so than watermelon or corn on the cob. Maybe it’s because they really don’t taste good any other time of the year, or because of the way the juice runs down your chin no matter how carefully you try to eat it. I don’t know. I just can’t get enough of them from June to August.

My new favorite breakfast is vanilla greek yogurt with peaches and a smattering of honey nut cheerios. I’m thinking of attempting a peach pie this summer, too. Emphasis on the word “attempt.”

What is your all-time favorite summer food? Any good peach recipes to share? I’m all ears.

p.s. Check out Sophie’s first impression of watermelon. Priceless.


06/25/2012 at 9:28 pm | Posted in oh the places we go | 6 Comments

I always have the hardest time describing beach vacations without rambling.

Each little memory seems precious, from Sophie’s sandy bottom to Lily’s shriek when she discovered a hermit crab scuttling along in the shallow water. Not to mention outdoor showers, boat rides, a sleeping baby in my lap, sunset walks, ice cream on the pier, sun in my face, floating in the ocean, fried shrimp and sweet tea, a late-night walk with Marc and Bella, reading a whole book e-cover to e-cover, coming in from the heat, afternoon naps with my babies, fresh fish just off the boat, Lily’s seashell collection, the smell of sunscreen on sweet baby skin, my mother-in-law’s homemade pimento cheese. And on and on.

Every single minute was wonderful, even the mundane. But is there really such a thing as mundane at the beach?

So on the eve of my return to work, to the chaos of our weekday routine, I’m sad that vacation is over. But so happy (and so much richer) for the memories.

To keep this from being the longest photo post ever, I dumped my favorites into a slideshow. If you’d like to enlarge it, just click on the little arrow thingy in the bottom right corner (after you click play).

[ichc-flickr-slide width=”400″ height=”300″ username=”prettyswell” set_id=”72157630291114166″ player_r=”109615″]

Home again home again jiggity jig

06/24/2012 at 8:41 pm | Posted in oh the places we go | 9 Comments

My camera tells me that I took 262 pictures at the beach last week.

I’m too tired to even begin to try to narrow them down for a blog post. I just want to curl up on the couch with Marc and watch TV.

But I missed you guys! And I promise photos are coming soon, along with plenty of details about our vacation. Which included a huge milestone for Miss Sophie (hint: her new mode of transport involves jazz hands and lots of falling down).

Until then, I’ll leave you with a shot of Sophie’s other new trick:


06/16/2012 at 12:08 pm | Posted in just plain fun | Leave a comment

Finallyyyyyyy. Vacation.

It feels like I’ve been packing for 100 years! I think I even packed in my sleep because when I woke up this morning I found a piece of paper on the floor beside the bed with the word “sneakers” scrawled across it.

Lily’s top items, when asked what she should bring to the beach? Toothbrush, toothpaste and toys. Kid is serious about dental hygiene. Or the letter T. Who knows.

And holy crap I’d forgotten HOW MUCH STUFF babies require. Sophie needs her own car. Seriously.

I am ridiculously excited at the prospect of getting away. Of watching Sophie dig her toes in the sand. Squealing with Lily as we catch that first glimpse of ocean from the top of the bridge. And slowing down. To sit on a deck, beer in hand, enjoying the silence almost feels too good to be true. I’m going to try my best to soak it all up.

And the blog? She’s taking a break for the week too. Something about being exhausted by all my rambling.

We’ll still be hanging out on Instagram (@prettyswell) so check it out if you’re jonesing for some baby thighs or smiley 4-year-old pics.

See you soon!


Because dessert doesn't have to bust the calorie-meter

06/14/2012 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Bloggy, mangia! | Leave a comment
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We are a dessert family.

Marc and I both have a sweet tooth, and it seems that Lily has inherited it. I simply can’t finish a meal without something sweet. My usual line-up used to include cookies, ice cream or cupcakes. Since we’ve radically changed our lifestyle, we had to re-think dessert.

Notice I didn’t say “desserts had to go.” Because I don’t believe in depriving myself, and sweets are something I really enjoy. We just had to get creative. And you know what? It wasn’t that difficult.

One of our new favorite desserts is really quite simple. We call it “fruit parfait” to make it exciting for Lily, and it’s basically fruit layered with Lite COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (which has only 20 calories per serving!). Lily’s version also includes a smattering of rainbow sprinkles. She especially loves banana parfait. My favorite parfait is made with fresh local peaches or berries. I like crunchies in my desserts, so I’ll occasionally top my parfait with granola or almonds.

This spring we also made strawberry shortcakes with angel food cake (which is surprisingly low in calories and fat), fresh local berries and Lite COOL WHIP. Yum.

So, we’ve essentially been eating a lot more fruit. And dressing it up a bit. Dessert doesn’t have to be fancy or reserved for special occasions. We’ve learned that it is possible to enjoy dessert most every day and maintain our new lifestyle.

Even chocolate. Really!

Lily and I had a blast making Chocolate Chunk and Marshmallow Sundaes from our Food & Family magazine. I loved that the recipe was kid-friendly; Lily loved licking the spoon. And it also proved to be a neat science experiment, as the pudding thickened when stirred together with the cold milk.

We cut calories and fat by using skim milk and Lite COOL WHIP. And, unbeknownst to Lily, I reduced the amount of marshmallows and chocolate chips the recipe calls for.

This dessert was delicious, easy to make, and one batch lasted a while in the freezer. Lily loved “making ice cream,” and we plan to do it often this summer, switching up the pudding flavors and add-ins.

Dessert is a treat. But it doesn’t have to break the bank (or your waistband). We’re having the best fun coming up with low-cal options for everyday desserts that make everyone happy. Even Sophie is getting in on the action. Baby loooooves anything sweet.

What are some of your favorite summer desserts? We’d especially love more ideas for our low-cal recipe box!

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own. #FMcoolwhipmoms #spon

Eating healthy: chicken pesto pizza

06/14/2012 at 9:05 am | Posted in mangia!, weight loss | 2 Comments
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Remember when I went basil-bonkers at the farmers market?

We made a couple of chicken dishes with it and tossed it with tomatoes on the side a few times. But then it started to go bad because, really, how much basil can one person eat in a week? When it started to emanate from my pores, I had to take a break.

So I rescued the undamaged leaves and blended them into a pesto with a little olive oil, grated parmesan and walnuts (because the Food Lion doesn’t carry pine nuts). YUM.

One of our favorite ways to eat pesto is on pizza. I usually just throw on top whatever’s in the fridge. In this particular case, we had fresh part-skim mozzerella, tomatoes and leftover grilled chicken. On a whole-wheat thin crust slathered with pesto. Perfection. Other favorite toppings are roasted red peppers, gorgonzola crumbles and bacon. Or prosciutto, if you’re fancy.

I’m not sure of the calorie count, but if you’re going to splurge on pizza, this is a pretty healthy way to go. I ate two slices with fresh veggies and light ranch on the side.

The best part of this meal? Lily’s face when she walked into the kitchen and said, “What IS that smell?” She covered her nose through most of the meal. It seems pesto isn’t her thing.

What I Wore (to work) Wednesday

06/13/2012 at 9:52 am | Posted in look good feel good | 8 Comments

tank and cardi ::: Old Navy
pants ::: Gap
necklace ::: Banana Republic clearance bin

Yup, that’s me taking a picture of myself in a public restroom. One that, at any moment, several readers of this blog (and plenty of other women who don’t read it) could walk into and bust me.

But I’m starting a little experiment. Lucky you!

Every week, I’m going to try to link up with Lindsey at the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. My friend Beth Anne, who is most certainly not afraid of photographing herself in public spaces, inspired me to jump in. She has a great sense of style and an even better sense of humor.

Why do this, you ask? Good question.

I don’t know if it’s the weight loss, or the fact that I’ve had two babies and am finally reclaiming my body, but I want to start taking better care of myself and putting more energy into my appearance.

I am as low-maintenance as they come. I don’t own hair products, and I only wear make-up on special occasions. Mostly because I don’t really know how to put it on, but that’s a post for another day. I have a bunch of cute clothes in my closet, but I have this habit of wearing the exact same pieces over and over again. I’m one of those people who sees something really cute in the store (usually Target or Old Navy), takes it home, hangs it up and NEVER WEARS IT.

I’m weird, I know.

As crazy as this sounds, especially because I write a blog, I don’t like to draw attention to myself. I’ve practiced a top-knot in the bathroom at home (thanks to Jess’s tutorial), but I continue to do the same things to my hair every single day. I own a bunch of cute accessories — H&M bangles, funky Anthropologie necklaces, pretty scarves — but I’d rather just smile at them in my closet than actually walk out the door wearing them. WEIRDO.

Sooooooo. Since the three days I work each week are my best opportunity to wear something other than sweats, I’m going to start documenting my outfits. I want to be braver about my fashion choices. I want to make more of an effort. Mostly, I want to feel better about myself.

And knowing that you guys are part of Operation: Look Good Feel Good really helps.

I love fashion. I’m a Vogue subscriber, and I seriously look at every single page, especially the crazy ads and anything that Grace Coddington styles. One of my favorite websites is What I Wore, and you guys know I love to link up with Mandy for Steppin’ Out. I don’t thrift (yet) and I’ll probably never wear a sock on my head, but I want to take more risks. Have a little more fun, especially with the pieces I already own.

So, here goes!

Yesterday (pictured above), I boldly wore a necklace that’s been hanging in my closet for years (this reminds me, I’ll have to show you guys the awesome jewelry hanger that Laura made me). And I tried not to match! On purpose!

Today, I’m wearing my new orange maxi skirt, which I bought for a wedding rehearsal dinner and never thought I’d wear to work. But it’s so comfy and pretty. And it’s like a blanket for my legs, which are usually freezing in the office A/C during the summer. Fashion and practicality? I’m onto something here.

tank ::: Target
skirt ::: Loft
necklace ::: Anthropologie (clearance closet — holler)

And here is what I usually do with my hair from the months of April to October. Someone needs to make special hair products for women who live in the South. Seriously.

pleated poppy

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