Fashion Forward for Fifteen

Some of you who follow me on social media were less interested in the juice part of my juice-fast photos and more interested in my hair.  Some of you were loving the bangs, a few of you thought the new dark color looked great and the majority wanted to know….had I cut it? or was it just pulled back?  No one could be sure.  So I’m taking to the blog to set the record straight, and bring you a fashion-related post for 2015.

I’m still rocking the bangs I got cut almost 2 years ago, I didn’t add any color to my hair (to be fair…I think the Instagram filter made it look extra dark), but YES….I did cut it.  I big time cut it.

The juice-fast photo that sparked the haircut discussion.

The juice-fast photo that sparked the haircut discussion.

I am not in the least bit the girl who spends time on her hair or makeup.  I attempt to look somewhat cute and up-to-date, but only if it isn’t difficult and doesn’t take a whole lot of time or effort.  About 5 years ago, I found a hair stylist I really liked and started getting haircuts on a somewhat regular schedule which was a pretty big deal in my world.  And then, in March of 2013…I took a big step and cut bangs…coincidentally on the same day that Mary-Hall got bangs as well.  Great minds, and long-time friends, think alike, apparently, even 7 hours apart.

I don’t know quite what got into me, but I went for a regularly scheduled haircut appointment the other day and decided I wanted some thing a little bit different.  I’d kind of fallen in love with the look that Taylor Swift has been sporting lately (no matter your opinions on her music, her dating life, or her recent move to New York, you gotta admit, she always looks fantastic.) and wondered if I could pull off something similar.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 1.07.52 PM

Recently, Taylor has been hopping around sporting this cute haircut styled a variety of ways…sometimes curly, sometimes bangs to the side….

But as tends to happen when I hop in the chair, I got a case of hair-fright.  I got a cut, but just a slightly shorter version of what I had.  Still cute, but in my mind, it kind of looked like I went half-way.  So I made another appointment 4 days later and went in and Got. It. Cut.  My stylist was armed with a file of Pinterest hair photos and assured me that the “Lob” (thats the “long bob”) was totally what was coming in for 2015.  And it’s true.  Everywhere I look, I’m seeing images like this of varying lengths.  On commercials, on internet clothing-store websites, in my neighborhood coffee shops.

IMG_0174 IMG_0177 IMG_0176

This photo is the one that made me say, "can you make me look like her?"

This photo is the one that made me say, “can you make me look like her?”

As I scrolled through her photos, I came across the last one above that totally sealed the deal.  “Yes, please, can you make me look like that?”  All in all, I took off about about 8 inches.  The floor of the salon looked like a small herd of guinea pigs had gathered at my feet.  I had that same “I love it, I hate it, I love it again” reaction that I experienced when I cut my bangs.  All my family and close friends seemed to be of the opinion that “it’s super cute but it’s drastic and weird to see it on you” which was how I felt too.  But the more I wear it, the more I love it.  It’s more labor – intensive styling – wise than my old haircut, BUT…that’s not really a deal breaker.  Besides, I never really “fixed” my old hairstyle, and when I did….it certainly didn’t “keep” well.  This new style takes a little time after I wash it, but then it basically holds it’s style until I wash it again which is HUGE.  No more throwing my hair on top of my head in a half-ponytail, half bun and pinning my bangs back with 80 bobby pins.  I feel put-together even if I’ve got on pjs which is nice….because, well, I like wearing pjs.  So here’s to short hair and looking sassy in 2015.

My new hair for 2015.  Showing off my "Lob" on a date night with Keith.

My new hair for 2015. Showing off my “Lob” on a date night with Keith.

Also, for anyone interested in doing a similar cut, here’s a peek at my styling-routine.  I wash my hair, towel dry and spray with a generous amount of Bumble and Bumble’s  “Tonic Lotion Primer.”  Then I work through a nickle sized blob of B&B “Grooming Creme” and brush my hair straight to make sure all the product is worked in.  I blowdry my bangs first using a brush and pushing from one side to the other to give some body.  Then I blowdry the rest of my hair…I divide it into locks and twist each lock into a tight strand and dry it.  (At this length, it really doesn’t take that long.)  Once my hair is mostly dry (with a hint of wave to it) I twist the locks again, spray each with surf spray, fluff it out and blowdry on low anything that isn’t already completely dry.  If you want a stronger curl/wave, I’d suggest following up with a one inch barrel curling iron or curling with a flat iron afterwards.

IMG_0200

Tools of the trade. Bumble and Bumble’s “Tonic Lotion Primer” “Grooming Creme” & “Surf Spray.”

 

 

 

Circling the Wagons

– A Bandwagon Roundup –

I suppose we can thank social media for keeping us informed about what’s trending and what everyone else is doing. All these little ideas come floating into my world – try this diet! roll your jeans like this! here’s the perfect 365-day cleaning schedule!  And I like to throw my own bandwagon experiments onto this blog, mainly to add my two cents to the collective knowledge. So, there are a healthy handful of bandwagons described here, and I was curious how many we’ve kept up.  I did some reviewing of the blog archives, and here is the resulting status update.

1) Running. Bethany did a handful of half marathons. I did a 10K and kept up a jogging habit up for a year or so. Running/biking/racing in general is totally the exercise fad of the times, is it not? (Think of all the exercise fads! pilates, yoga, rollerblading, step aerobics, sweatin to the oldies, jazzercise. I digress.) For me, the move got in the way of my routine, and then pregnancy totally squashed my interest. The baby is now 9 months old, and I still haven’t put on any running shoes. I think about it occasionally but yeah, I probably won’t bother until the weather perks up, the hours of daylight get a little bit longer, and swimsuit season is on the horizon.

2) Bangs! Bethany’s still rocking hers. Mine are gone, but I need a haircut, big time.  Jump back on? I think I’m gonna get a LOB.

3) Paleo. Bethany and Keith are still in on a casual basis, as evidenced by the numerous Paleo recipes she posts here.

4) Whole30. I tried this once (and blogged about it). I actually went for Round #2 recently and my husband even joined me. The second time, I was a little bit too lenient I guess, because I didn’t really feel all that much ‘better’ per se.  I did drop a few lbs of babyweight so #winning. And in general, I think my cooking style has expanded to include more vegetables, coconut oil, and actual made-from-scratch recipes, so yeah.  More #winning.

5) Oil pulling. Yuck, Bethany: how long did that last?

6) No ‘poo.  Here we have our first bandwagon->lifestyle conversion!! Two years later, there is still no shampoo in my shower. This is saving us at least like $20 a year. Seriously though, my life is simpler this way, and my hair is still happier than it was in previous decades. Baking soda for me.

7) Juicing. Bethany – what is your game plan here? My take on juicing: I will continue to refuse to watch “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”. Will not. That show must be the most compelling documentary on the planet, and I just really don’t want a juicer. Actually I like juice though. Hmm.

8) Blogging. I think blogging is going to be one of those things you look back on and go “oh wow that was so millenial.”  Like how I feel about hotmail – so 90s. (Another aside: what will this particular decade go by?  The Tens?) But here we are, 3 posts into our FOURTH year of twogirlsblog.

So, what am I missing here? I know a few I haven’t tried: essential oils. StitchFix. Chalkboard paint. I bet chalkboard paint is almost done by now.

My Juice Fast: A Full Report

On January 6th, I announced via an Instagram photo that I was on day one of a juice fast.  I honestly didn’t even think anyone would care about my juice fast. But turns out you guys are SUPER interested in juice fasts.  I’ve completely lost track of the number of texts, Facebook messages, Instagram comments, etc. that I’ve gotten in the past few days wanting to know what program I’m following, is it working, do I like it, how long am I doing this?   So I figured the best way to answer everyone’s questions was through a blog post since we’ve sort of fired up the blog again anyway.  I’ve done sort of an “interview” with myself using all the questions I’ve gotten over the past week…and then at the bottom posted a link to another page with more info in case you are hungry for more juicy details.  (See what I did there? Juicy….)

The Instagram photo that started it all.  Day One.  #juicing #juicefast

The Instagram photo that started it all. Day One. #juicing #juicefast

“What made you want to do this?”  Keith and I enjoy watching documentaries on rare nights when we’re both home and have nothing to do.  We’ve watched lots of them on a plethora of topics over the years, but last Monday, January 5th, as we perused the documentary options, we decided to watch one we’d scrolled past a few times before, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  The movie chronicles the story of Joe Cross, and Australian battling an autoimmune disorder and obesity who goes on a 60 day juice fast, loses a large amount of weight, cures his disease and is able to get off all prescriptions, and in the process travels around inspiring others and ultimately forming his own juicing-plan empire.  Neither Keith nor I are obese and neither of us battle any chronic diseases, but we both were feeling sluggish and like we each wanted to just “lose 5 pounds.”  As I mentioned in last Monday’s recipe post, we were determined to get back on our Paleo/healthy eating plans and maybe even start working out again.  It seems like a million years ago when I went all exercise crazy and did two half marathons and a triathalon in the space of three months.  (check out our running adventures here).  I’m kind of a sucker for an inspirational story, so after the show was over I turned to Keith and said, “I’m doing that.  A juice fast.  I don’t know for how long, or what it looks like, but I’m doing that.”  And because he’s the best husband on the face of the planet, he VOLUNTARILY decided to join me.

Day Two: #juicing #juicefast

Day Two: #juicing #juicefast

“Are you following a certain plan?  Where do you get your recipes?”  The answer to this is No, I’m not following any specific plan.  Since Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead was where I got the idea, Keith and I both did a good bit of reading on Joe’s website and have taken lots of cues from the info that he provides…tips on how to prepare certain fruits and veggies for juicing, a few recipes, some basic advice.  This wasn’t my first experience with juicing.  We’d had a brief fling with it after we ended up scoring a free juicer with purchase of some large appliances at Sears a few years ago (gotta love random incentives on items you’re already planning on buying).  Back then I’d also bought The Juicing Bible (2nd edition) and so I pulled that out and grabbed a few recipes from that as well.   But then most of the time, I just throw in what I’m feeling like and go for it.

Day Four: #juicing #juicefast  Oranges, Grapefruit, Carrots, Rasberries

Day Four: #juicing #juicefast Oranges, Grapefruit, Carrots, Rasberries

“How long are you going to do this?  Have you cheated yet?”  When I first started, I said my minimum was 3 days.  I’d read that that’s about how long it takes for your body to “cleanse.”  Because I knew it would be a very difficult to sustain this fast while on the road like I am, I decided the longest I would do it would be 10 days, because that was how many days I had in town before hitting the road again.  I decided I’d see how things went after day 3 and figure it out from there.  Days 1, 2 and 3 I juiced like a champ drinking about 16 ounces of juice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any time in-between that I was hungry.  Day 2, around dinner time, I missed chewing.  I know that sounds weird.  But I was making a juice and had all these veggies on the counter-top and I just wanted to EAT, not drink.  So I ate an entire pomegranate-worth of seeds, and a bowl of plain, raw spinach leaves.  I refuse to count this as a cheat because it was stuff that would have gone in my juice…I just ate it instead of drinking it.

But then Day 4 was a little tough and so I’m going to say that this was the day I ended my official “juice fast” and entered a healthy eating phase.  I was feeling weak and a little headachy, and after Keith spent some time on Google searching for info, we decided I was feeling a little sodium deficient.   A text conversation with Mary-Hall ensued and she suggested salting the rim of my juice glass like you would a margarita, which was positively genius, but Keith and I decided we both probably needed some salt and some protein.  So we went to one of our favorite restaurants right down the street that we know uses all local and organic fixin’s and doesn’t cook everything in 6 pounds of butter and we each got a meal: a grilled chicken breast on top of their “local salad” of mixed greens, butternut squash and pecans.  And for “dessert” we split an order of sweet potato fries…(they make their own, fry them in peanut oil and salt them.) So I guess technically my “fast” is broken and now I’m just on a juicing-heavy diet, but I don’t feel a bit bad about myself if a grilled chicken breast on a salad of mixed greens is a “cheat.”

Since then, I’ve been doing juice most of the day, and then incorporating one healthy meal.  Day 5 I had an appetizer-size portion seared ahi tuna with avocado along with a small portion of chicken and mushrooms.  Day 6 was a plate of okra sauteed in olive oil and seasoned only with salt and pepper as well as a small bowl of homemade turkey, kale and cannelloni bean soup.  I’m still feeling great, loving the vitamins and minerals I’m getting through the juice, and loving that my meals are small portions of very healthy foods so when I do eat, I don’t feel too full…or guilty.

Okra.  One of my favorites!  Cut the stem-ends off 1 pound of small okra pods.  Sautee on high medium-high heat for 6 or 7 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with ground red & black peppers and salt to taste.  Delish!

Okra. One of my favorites! Cut the stem-ends off 1 pound of small okra pods. Sautee on high medium-high heat for 6 or 7 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with ground red & black peppers and salt to taste. Delish!

“Are you seeing any results?”  Yes!  Since starting the juice fast I’ve lost an average of a pound a day and I feel like my mood, productivity at work and energy levels have all improved.  (Except once or twice apparently I’ve teetered on the edge of grumpy because Keith has said, “I think you need to make a juice.”) I think my stomach has shrunk as I could barely finish my chicken breast and greens on Friday night.  Also….and this has been the biggest thing….my cravings have changed.  I no longer want cupcakes and fast food.  If I crave something to eat its more like I really want to eat the fruits and veggies I’m putting in my juice instead of drinking them.  Or for instance, on day 4, for whatever reason I was DYING for a grilled chicken breast.

“I want to try.  Can you tell me what to do?” I love getting to inspire and encourage others to be healthy, so my answer is yes and no.  Disclaimer time: First of all, for full disclosure, while I do have a Masters degree in Health Education, I’m not a doctor or a certified nutritionist or anything like that.  So while I would never knowingly make a risky health decision for myself or others, I’m also not in any place, particularly not knowing your specific health status and circumstances, to advise you on what you should or shouldn’t do from a diet standpoint.  However, I do know enough that I can safely advise you that particularly if you have any health issues, it would be best for you to talk to your doctor before beginning any drastic diet or exercise regimen. Also that barring particular allergies or diseases that might be directly linked to sugar intake or intake of specific vitamins, adding in a few servings of fruits or veggies generally serves to promote overall good health.  So with that being said,  I’ve actually put together a whole page of recipes, tips, suggestions, etc. for you to peruse if you’re thinking of doing your own juice-fast.  You can click the link below to read more!

CLICK HERE for juice recipes, tips on choosing and prepping fruits and veggies and more.

The Last Paw Paw Muffin

Oh yeah hey blog! Its 2015, time for my annual post. Actually when Bethany posted her paleo recipe earlier week, she reminded me of this half-written post from last summer. Since 1/1/15, our paleo posts have been seeing an uptick in traffic, which I can only assume is due to new years resolutions.  Meanwhile, I am trying a diet called “eat all the sugar and drink all the soda” (don’t recommended). So sorry to disappoint, but much like my diet, there’s nothing healthy for the remainder of this post. Womp womp. But there is a reference to the Jungle Book movie.

—–Written in August 2014—-

Well, its an exciting time over here in Johnson land.  Having been here just over a year now, we’ve made it through all the seasons at least once and yet are still discovering new plants here and there.  Since spring we’ve found a sizeable stand of wild blackberries, a mulberry tree, and two pawpaw trees.

Pawpaw, you ask?

Why yes, apparently they are the largest indigenous fruit in North America.  I had never heard of such, outside of the Jungle Book song Bare Necessities.

bear necessities

Here’s the youtube if you’re craving some Baloo now. So good. Anyway.

One afternoon earlier this summer, Ransom’s Pawpaw (no joke) was walking through our yard and asked August about a tree bearing some unusual fruit.  We had never even noticed it.  I don’t think the trees had much fruit last year, or if they did, we missed it completely.  A few google searches later, we learned that we were proud owners of two pawpaw trees.

As I learned from wikipedia, pears, apples, citrus, etc. were all brought from elsewhere. Besides pawpaws, the only actual indigenous fruits are basically berries and grapes.

That was in May and now, after much anticipation, the paw paws are ripening. The internet will tell you that they taste like a mixture of banana and mango. In my opinion, they are in the same genre as a mango, banana, or papaya (i.e. mushy) but really have a flavor all their own. Honestly to me they taste kind of like a starburst candy.  And that being said, if a mango and a pawpaw were sitting next to each other on the shelf at a grocery store, I’d definitely grab the mango.

pawpaw1However, we’re not talking about grocery stores here.  These are in the yard, and so obviously we’re going to eat them.  And so what did we do first?

Pawpaw Sherbet

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pawpaw puree
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk

1) Mix it all up, and then freeze in your ice maker.

pawpaw2

———– end of old text, resume Jan 2015 ——

Step 2) would be:

2) Leave the sherbet in said freezer and then throw 90% of it out a month later when you need the container for a new batch of non-pawpaw ice cream.

The ice cream was fine but I like my ice cream to be AWESOME. We barely ate it.

I also made some pawpaw muffins and in fact, I am consuming the LAST one right now, in honor of this post. I made a big batch for the freezer in August and we’ve been working our way through them. They are kinda awesome with a unique flavor that’s closest to…. strawberry cake, maybe? They even turned faintly pink inside.

I just took my favorite banana bread recipe and substituted paw paw and slivered almonds for bananas and pecans, respectively. Most reviewers agreed that they were awesome, although in to be fair, all the reviewers were related to me (mother, father, sister-in-law, brother, husband, sons). Husband actually said he’d rather have banana bread.

And now, The World’s First Pawpaw Muffin Selfie
pawpawselfie

The end!

Mini Paleo Pear-Date Bakes

It’s the new year and everyone is making resolutions to work out, get organized, spend more time doing one thing, or less time doing another, ahem, BLOG MORE? and of course, eat healthier foods.  Keith and I have sadly gotten way off the Paleo bandwagon, but are determined to do better in 2015.  This past weekend after whipping up a giant batch of Caveman Chili….still a Bordeaux family favorite…Keith decided he wanted something sweet.  And then he got specific about it.  He wanted something sweet that involved “pears, and maybe dates and nuts that was like a cobbler.”  So of course I took that as a challenge….not to hunt through my cookbooks for a recipe…but to make up one myself.  And then this old familiar feeling crept in and I knew I wanted to make something up and then blog about it.  Because frankly, sharing is more fun and I miss you people.

So I did a trial run Saturday night and it was absolutely amazing and precisely what Keith was hoping for.  And we ate all of it, which meant Sunday night involved a trip to the grocery store and then the making of batch #2…this time carefully writing down how much I used of what, tweaking a few things that didn’t go super easy the first time, etc.  And it was just as delicious.  So behold, I bring you an original, pretty much healthy (minus some sugar naturally contained in fruit and honey) and absolutely tasty desert.

“Mini Paleo Pear-Date Bake”

Like a mini-cobbler or a slice of pie, with a fraction of the sugar, and yummy Paleo-friendly ingredients.

Like a mini-cobbler or a slice of pie, with a fraction of the sugar, and yummy Paleo-friendly ingredients.

Time: about 15 minutes prep time & 15 minutes bake time

Makes: 6 individual portions….so feeds 6 people, or 3 hungry people, or 2 super-hungry people….

Ingredients

*2 Bartlett pears

*2 cups pitted dates

*1 Tablespoon honey

*1/4 cup water

*1 teaspoon coconut oil  (plus additional for topping….see instructions below)

*1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

*1/4 to 1/2 cups crushed walnuts

*Food Processor

*6, 4-oz Ramekins (dishes)

*cookie sheet

*apple corer

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).

2. Slice both pears using an apple corer.  Set aside 6 slices of pear (we’ll get to those later) and throw the rest of the pear slices in the food processor and blend until chopped finely.  (A minute or two) (note: I actually tried to make this in the blender the first night and while it tasted excellent it took about twice as long and was kind of a pain.  I recommend a food processor if you have one, but if you don’t, a high power blender like a Ninja or something will do the trick if you have patience.)

3. Add the 2 cups of pitted dates, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the food processor.  Blend as long as needed to achieve a puree about the consistency of baby food or applesauce.

4. Fill each ramekin with about 3 ounces of puree (I grabbed a spoon from my everyday silverware to spoon it into the ramekins and it was about two heaping spoon-fulls per ramekin.).  No need to grease or butter or line the ramekins.  Just spoon the puree on in there.

5. Slice the remaining 6 pear slices thinly and then cut them in half so that they (roughly) make small triangular slices.  Insert the slices around the edges of the ramekins standing up and then one in the center. (see photos below to see how it should look).

6. Using either pre-crushed walnuts from a package or crushing your own (Keith crushed our walnuts in a mortar and pestle and they were perfect) sprinkle them over the top of each ramekin to cover the entire surface of the puree.  I used approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed nuts per ramekin….use more or less to taste.

7. The last step before baking is to put a thin layer of coconut oil over the nut topping.  After trying it several different ways over the course of two evenings, I think there’s no real exact science to this.  I used a butter knife to scrape tiny bits off and put about four small pieces in sort of a circle on the nut topping of each Ramekin so that when it melts, it would cover the entire top.  (again, see photos below for some clarification.)

8. Line up the 6 ramekins on a cookie sheet (this makes it easier than trying to get the individual ones in and out of the oven) and bake on 325 for 15 minutes.

9. Best enjoyed when hot as it tastes like a cobbler!  But, if you want to save some for the next day, just cover over with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  They reheat well in the microwave on high for 40 seconds.  Also, never-mind if the pears turn brown.  They still taste fantastic.

Clockwise from Top Left corner.... 1. spooning in the puree 2. adding the apple slices 3. adding the nut topping 4. adding the un-melted coconut oil clumps.

Clockwise from Top Left corner….
1. spooning in the puree
2. adding the apple slices
3. adding the nut topping
4. adding the coconut oil clumps. (They melt in in the oven!)

Close-ups of pear slices and crushing the walnuts.

Close-ups of pear slices and crushing the walnuts.

Start to finish!!!  Ingredients lined up and ready to go....and then 6 Mini Paleo Pear-Date Bakes hot and fresh out the oven!

Start to finish!!! Ingredients lined up and ready to go….and then 6 Mini Paleo Pear-Date Bakes hot and fresh out the oven!

Variations:  While I haven’t tried making variations yet because I was trying to get this one right…but here are a few ideas that I have for down the road or that might be fun…

*substitute dried apricots for pitted dates as they have less amounts of sugar.

*substitute 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

*substitute apples for pears.

I’d LOVE to know what you think if you try this recipe out…and if you make any variations, I’d love to know about that too!  Leave a comment below!

Bethany turned 32…. too.

Well, some years you go all out for birthdays (see: 30th) and some years you don’t.  Apparently this year Bethany and I are exchanging .jpg files on the internet.

Its a new thing.

Bethany, I loved the chicken graphic as much as anyone possibly could.  For your gift, I’m pulling something out of my back pocket that I’ve been sitting on for a while, probably good enough for a chuckle or too.  Its that random blog comment you got ages ago from an extra-poetic spam bot.  Enjoy!

bloggingsoulmates

Happy 32th old friend!

May we forever be blogging soul-mates.

*wink*

Mary-Hall Turned 32……

…….and all I got her was this lousy blog post.

I had totally planned for the chickens to pose for some elaborate birthday themed photo sesh, but life has been so frenetic lately, that all she gets is the this birthday chicken graphic I stole from the interwebs.

BirthdayChicken

 

Love you MH and hope your day was lovely!  You have five days to report back and tell me if I should bother turning 32 or not.  :)

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