Whole 30 is making me a better cook.

I'm a good cook. Just ask the Golfer. He'll be the first one to tell you what a good cook his wife is. I come from a long line of good cooks, so it stands to reason that I would be pretty good at it too.

Whole 30 is making me a BETTER cook.

Why better? Because it is forcing me out of my comfort zone. It is forcing me to try lots and lots of new recipes. In the last 26 days, I've had to really pay attention to what I am buying and what I should never buy again. I've made recipes that normally wouldn't have been my first choice. But I've noticed that my taste buds have definitely changed and things that I didn't care for before I have really grown to love.

Here are some favorites. (Actually, there were many favorites. These were just the ones that I remembered to take photos of before I scarfed it down.)

Spinach salad with baked chicken breast, strawberries, almond silvers, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Fresh, simple, and quick. I've kept baked chicken breasts in the fridge for just this sort of meal.

Hamburger patty topped with guacamole, baked sweet potato "fries" and cucumbers with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Didn't miss the cheese or bun at all. Seriously.

Seared scallops with mango salsa. Delicious and nutritious. Is now a Freeman staple.


Meat sauce (ground beef, organic tomato sauce, organic diced tomatoes, onions and garlic) with zucchini ribbons sauteed in olive oil. Didn't miss spaghetti noodles for one second.

Baked salmon with a Dijon mustard glaze, peppers and onions with Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. Such a quick and easy meal. Have even had it for lunch because, let's face it, salads get old. Salmon is not just for dinner. (Who knew?)

Snacks. We are snackers. Apparently there are PLENTY of healthy "snacks" to get you through. That's if you even need a snack.

Kale chips (a new favorite of the golfer's). This is the before pic. Toss kale with 1 T. melted coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, pepper, and a little cayenne if you like spicy. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350.

Fruit. by itself. enough said. Especially love this combo of mangoes and kiwi.

Love hint water. having been buying this way before Whole 30. gives you the taste of something sweet without any guilt.

After Day 15, the Whole 30 daily emails encourage you to do something to reward yourself for making it half way through the program. Take a hike. Go for a long bike ride. Do some yoga. That sort of thing.

I treated myself to a trip to Williams-Sonoma.

Actually went with a purpose in mind. Had been wanting this vegetable slicer (hence the zucchini ribbons) and who doesn't need a new cookbook?  Especially one that is filled with things that are good for you.

And here are some of the new things that I've bought and will continue to buy:

Ghee. Will be using this from now on.

Nut butters. No need for me to eat peanut butter and all of it's sugars. I especially like Sunflower butter. Yum.

Had a sample of this at Whole Foods. Tastes just like regular mayo instead it's better for you.

Avocado oil is a great sub for olive oil.

Has my grocery bill gone up with all of these new additions? My first reaction is to say yes. But honestly, I think because I am buying less junk food and eating out a lot less (like, hardly at all) our grocery bill/food bill is probably about even. (I mean, we all know how expensive it is to eat out. And gigantic boxes of Goldfish certainly aren't free.) All of this to say, regardless of it costing more it has all been worth it.

26 days down. 4 to go.


Today is Day 24. This time next week, I will be on Day 31. You thought Whole 30 was only for 30 days? Yes it is. But I have seen so much improvement in so many areas on my life, Whole 30 isn't stopping for me.

Last week, a switch was flipped. I've been waiting for that switch flipping for YEARS. I've prayed and prayed for God to help me with my food issues, to guide me to what I needed to do, to show me the right choices I needed to make. Now, I realize that it probably took years because He knew I wasn't ready. He knew that to do this, I needed to be FULLY COMMITTED to the change. And apparently I wasn't ready for the change prior to 24 days ago.

The magic started to happen last week. The magic that Whole 30 promises you will feel if you stick to the program. I noticed that I wasn't sleepy in the afternoons. I noticed that I had been in a good mood, for like, several days. Happy actually. I haven't had a single headache since that horrible one on Day 2. I noticed that I wasn't craving something sweet after every meal. I noticed that I wasn't having to eat as much to feel full and I wasn't so focused on food.

I've also noticed my body changing. I've been dying to jump on the scale but I haven't allowed myself to cheat. I have noticed (and so have other people) that my face looks slimmer. I have also noticed that my boobs (sorry for any guys that might be reading this, not that there are any) are deflating. This is not a bad thing for me. I could stand to deflate a little. My stomach is also flatter (haven't done a single crunch or sit up) and my clothes are fitting better.

This is called WINNING, people.

And these changes really are all about the food. Yes, I have gone on a couple of hikes with the Golfer and taken some long (and short) walks. But I haven't done any major working out. This only proves what I've been reading over and over: weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise.

Why didn't someone tell me this sooner??? I yelled to no one in particular.

I've worked out, religiously, with trainers before. They would ask, "Are you changing your diet?" And I would say, "Sure!" because that was the correct thing to say. But the truth was, I was still eating the same way that I always had. Maybe I had cut out some of the fast food, but I was the exerciser that still enjoyed her ice cream at night and then complained about the scale not moving.

Yes the blame is on me, not on the trainers. However, I wish they had grabbed me by my puffy face and told me that all of the working out in the world wouldn't matter if I didn't drastically change my eating habits.

Maybe I wasn't ready to hear that.

Programs like Whole 30 often talk about lifestyle change. I've heard that a lot. "It's a lifestyle change, not a diet." I would shake my head and say, "Yes, I get it." I understood, but honestly wasn't ready for that change. Change is hard. I didn't need anything else hard in my life.

With this change, each day has gotten a little easier. So easy in fact, that I have no intention of ever going back to my old ways of eating. Will I enjoy an alcoholic beverage? Uh, yeah. Will I eat a cupcake ever again? Yes, on a special occasion. I will eat cheese every once in a while and yogurt only a couple times a week instead of every morning. I will eat bread again, but carefully and cautiously. Sugar? Nope. Can't do it. It's my drug. And now that I'm clean of my drug I don't want ever to return.

You want proof? I made homemade chocolate chip cookies for the boys last week. The beautiful smell filled my entire house. But I didn't have one lick. Not one bite. Do you know how hard it is not to eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven?!?

Damn hard.

But I did it. And no I'm not lying.

Winning, people. Winning.

Lola Lane: Formal living, study, and all things eclectic.

My design for this house was simple. Almost too simple. So simple that I was afraid that I was entering the "stark and boring" zone of decorating. But I knew the look that I wanted and it required simple.

Eclectic is the best way to describe my decorating style. It's a miss-match. It's putting my favorite things together and making them work. Nowhere is my eclectic style more evident than in our formal living room, entry way, and study.

Here are some pictures before we purchased the house (i.e., the decor is from the previous owner.) This is the formal living room...

 The front door...

This is standing in the formal living, looking into the formal dining...

Another view, this time looking towards the staircase...

Yet another view from the formal living...

So here's where we started to get our hands on things. I told you that I only had about 15 minutes to take pictures before all of the demo started, hence the reason for the totally dark picture. This one was taken standing in the formal dining, looking toward the formal living.

I want you to take a good look at the tile floors. Within minutes of taking this picture, the contractors had moved in with sledge hammers to take out the floor. Not any pictures of the demo I'm afraid.

Speaks for itself...

This pic was around Day 3 of the demo. All of the tile is gone and so is the "bench" that separated the formal living and dining. 

Here's a better look...

Once the demo was done on this side of the house, the painters moved in. When I said before that I wanted simple, I was mostly talking about the paint color. I wanted everything white. I wanted the walls white and the trim white. I wanted it all to be the same color. Radical idea I know.

For a lot of people, having walls and trim the same color doesn't make any sense. Usually you want some contrast between the walls and the trim. Usually, I've always had my trim Swiss Coffee and the walls all sorts of different colors. In my last house, almost every room was a different color. But this time, the color was reserved for only a few spaces (laundry room, boys' bedrooms.) The painter thought I was nuts:
Rafel the Painter: "You want everything Swiss Coffee?"

Me: "Yes, everything. I want it all white."

Rafel: "All white. Everything. No contrast? No color?"

Me: "No color. White. Paint it all white."

My contrast would come from my new floors. We replaced all of the tile with a dark gray 12" laminate. Here's a pic that I quickly took after the floors first went down. They are covered in dust, but you get the idea.

It's amazing how much a clean coat of white paint brightens up a room. We also put in brand new baseboards that were very clean and very...simple.

And here's the same room today...

The white works, doesn't it? White walls shows off all of my favorite things so nicely!

The art above the mantel is by an artist from my hometown of Lawton, Oklahoma. It was a gift from my mom for my 40th, after I prompted her by saying, "I want a Jack Bryan original."

Speaking of art and artists, here's another one of my favorite, newly acquired, pieces. The fabulous Rita Ortloff, a sorority sister, friend, and fellow Oklahoman, recently became an artist. And I'm so glad she did. She has amazing talent and I hope she continues to paint for years to come! (Go visit her Etsy shop. You won't be disappointed.)

More favorite things...

A buckets of Instgram pics...

 Art by my oldest, a hand-blown glass fish from the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach...

Books and other treasures. The "3" basket and table in the background were both Home Goods finds. Gotta love Home Goods.

Remember that bench that we took out? Well, we took that out as well as the formal dining. We don't need a formal dining room (you'll see why when I get to pics of the kitchen.) We needed a study a lot more.

See the art over the funky armoire? I bought that from an art student at OU. He was having a garage sale and sold it to me for 15 bucks. Its huge and cool and an absolute favorite. I also love telling people I bought it at a garage sale. Makes for good dinner conversation.

And  yes, those are golf clubs you see. Specially, putters. It's a special collection of the Golfers that was beginning to take over our closet at one point in time. So to fix the problem, I decided to display them. Also makes for good conversation.

Every study needs a reading nook...

Up the staircase...

Funky black light fixture from IKEA perfectly compliments our collection of favorite family photos...

And finally, the entry way...

It's simple. Just the way I wanted it.

More home tours to come...

Staying Whole30 Strong

breakfast that's delicious and nutritious

Technically, I have fallen off the Whole 30 wagon. I say "technically" because the things I ate are not on the "yes" list for the Whole 30 wagon because they can possibly cause some people issues. What did I eat? A few soy beans and a little quinoa.

Yeah, I'm not concerned.

This weekend I avoided Hot Tamales, Twizzlers, and chocolate cupcakes, but I scummed to a soy bean and a "psudeo grain" called quinoa. For 18 days, I've been awesome. It has NOT been easy. So the fact that I allowed myself to eat a few soy beans and a little quinoa (in a salad, no less) doesn't worry me one bit.

Honestly, I didn't eat much of either. Soy beans and quinoa aren't my problem. Sugar and carbs are my problem. The whole reason I started this process was to feel better and lose weight. To see what would happened if I eliminated those things in my diet that dominated. I never wanted to admit it out loud, but I knew what my problem was. What I was eating that was making me fat and tired and grumpy and moody. Sugar and carbs dominated my diet, not soy beans and quinoa. Soy beans and quinoa are not making me sick or fat or tired or moody. It's the sugar and the sugar and the sugar and the carbs that I would eat in between the sugar.

This past Saturday we had a pool party for B's birthday. He's our boy that loves to eat hot and spicy things, so along with burger and dogs, we served Hot Tamales, chips and salsa, Twizzlers and Hot Cheetos. If we had served pizza, he would have wanted jalapenos. It was a pool party, so we had plenty of junk food which of course included a dozen delicious, over-priced cupcakes.

Prime example of the way I used to do things before the Whole 30:

I would have mindlessly snacked on the Hot Tamales and the Twizzlers while getting the party ready. I would have had a cheeseburger with a bun, along with some chips and salsa. Would have washed it down with a Diet Coke. Of course, I would have had a chocolate cupcake after all of the kids had been served, and then later that night after the kids were in bed, I would have helped myself to another cupcake because it had been a long day and by damn I deserved another cupcake.

Now the way I do things:

I avoided snacking on ANYTHING while getting ready for the party. Not even a single, tiny Hot Tamale made its way to my lips. The Golfer and I ate a hamburger patty without cheese or the bun. Instead, we mashed up some avocado on top and instead of chips and salsa on the side we enjoyed the fresh fruit that I had served and the kids weren't eating. When it came time to serve the cupcakes things got hard, but Whole 30 has taken out the option so I didn't even allow myself to think about it. I made it through the whole day without so much as a lick of the chocolate icing. This is HUGE, people. Huge.

I didn't eat them or lick them, but I smelled them a lot. The Golfer caught me with my head in the bakery box just...smelling.

I know that Heaven will smell like chocolate cupcakes when I get there.

I desperately want to step on a scale. I'm not sure if I was just puffy from eating so much crap all of the time or if I had truly lost pounds, but either way I am telling a difference in the way I look. I would love to know what the scale would say if I got on it this morning, but it's a big no-no so I have refrained.

Shockingly, I've gotten really good at refraining. Before this, I was not a good refrainer. This too is HUGE.

The Golfer mindlessly got on the scale after less than a week on the program. He had already dropped 5 pounds. So typical of a man. Drops a quick 5 without really trying. And he doesn't even need to lose 5 pounds! He's only doing this to support me. Well, that and to get healthy too. Of course it irritated the crap out of me because I was fairly certain if I had gotten on the scale right after him, I would have lost like...only 1 pound...if that.

Here in 12 days I will allow myself to step on the scale. I have no expectations of what the number will be. I really don't want to set myself up for disappointment by putting a number out there. I just want it to be lower that where I started from.

And if those soy beans and quinoa caused me to retain any weight, I'll really be pissed.

Lola Lane: Back to the remodel.

demo is always fun, especially when you're an eleven year old boy who is handed a hammer and told it's okay to punch a hole in the wall.

As much as I'm sure you have loved hearing all about my Whole 30 adventures (Day 12, by the way) I know a lot of you are anxious for me to show more pictures of our recent home remodel.

So much was done in such a crazy, short about of time (emphasis on the word crazy, double emphasis on the word short) that my pictures are hit and miss. I really wanted to take as many pictures of each step of the progress, showing step by step of what we did, but I wasn't very successful.

Mostly I was just trying to stay out of the way of the construction. When your contractors are under the gun, the last thing they need is a housewife getting in their way to take pictures.

One room that I definitely don't have pictures for is the utility room. And it's too bad because there was quite a bit of work done in there for such a small space.

There was nothing fun or special about the utility room when we moved in. Most people wouldn't care about a utility room being either of those things, but it was important to me. Moms spend a lot of time in utility rooms. More time than any of us actual want. All the more reason for it to be a room with a little bit of personality. And if you can make it feel less like a horrible dungeon, all the better.

Here are the before pictures:

There's nothing wrong with this space. Very functional. But the cabinets were old. The granite counter top was small and totally out of place. The light fixture was missing its globe. And the water line was totally out in the open for everyone to see.

Here's what I wanted:
  • to be able to stack my front loading machines
  • more cabinets next to the sink since we would be losing the cabinets above
  • move the water line
  • move the dryer vent
  • a new light fixture
  • paint
  • leave the tile (wood floors in the utility didn't make a lot of sense)
Compared to the rest of the house, this was an extremely short punch list. To be able to stack the machines they would have to move all of the lines. And if they moved all of the lines, it was necessary to build out the wall a little bit which would mean I would lose a couple of inches of floor space. Fine with me. Totally worth it to get this outcome:

Isn't this a fun and exciting place to do your laundry? I think so!

The artwork makes the space I think. It's a mixture, some of the boys, even some plates that the Golfer colored when he was a little boy. There's a watercolor of our first home, a frame-less oil painting that the Golfer bought me for Mother's Day one year, and a wood plaque with a picture of our home state with the word "Home" on it. I love mixing pieces like this.

And yes, that is a mini fridge in the middle of the cabinets. Just in case I need a cold beer while folding laundry. (Seriously though, this was from our old house. We loved it and used it a ton. Since the utility is right off of the kitchen, this was the only best place for it.)

This light fixture from Stray Dog Designs is a favorite. I saved it from our last home. It used to reside over our kitchen table, but I love it here just as much. 

This orange pig is another one of my favorites. He hasn't always been orange, but I love him this bright color. He was given to us at a wedding shower and I was so happy to see him when I opened the box. I think I even shouted, "My pig!" He will be with me always.

Here is my other new favorite thing. This print from 3 Fish Studios up in the Bay area is the perfect addition to the space. Artwork of all kinds is a way to express who you are and what you love. I think this piece does that nicely. Showin' some equal love for both of my home states in the laundry room.