whole 30: week 1

Sometime in the last six or so weeks, Josh got the harebrained idea that we should do a Whole 30. No sugar. No grains. No dairy. You know the drill.

Now mind you, I've asked this man no less than three times over the course of the past TWO YEARS to do this with me, and he has refused each and every time. *insert eye roll* BUT, since he had finally agreed (now that it was his idea), I decided to go along with it. The only requirement was that we absolutely could NOT start until after our trip to New Orleans the first weekend of August (because CAFE DU MONDE BEIGNETS, Y'ALL). So last Monday(ish), we embarked on our Whole 30(ish) journey. The first ish being due to the face that someone (me) forgot that corn is a grain (yeah, yeah... I know it's listed right there in the main rules... GIMME A BREAK), and the second ish because I'm going on a Bachelorette weekend to Nashville Labor Day weekend to celebrate my friend Megan AND LIFE IS JUST TO SHORT TO BE HEALTHY LIVING AT A TIME LIKE THAT.

Quite honestly, the eating hasn't been so bad. Our meals have actually been quite delicious for the most part. The main changes/impacts I've noticed so far have been:

  • INTENSE sugar cravings for the first three or so days. Like wanting all the sugary, junky treats within a five mile radius.
  • Almost immediate loss of water weight/bloating... my clothes suddenly fit much better. Not complaining about that.
  • Dizzy/shaky feeling between meals - even though I'm not hungry at all. I haven't exactly pinpointed the cause of this, but it seems to be helped by having a smaller meal/snack in-between the main meals. I have this happen normally even when I'm not on this special eating plan, but usually only if I'm actually ravenously hungry. If anyone else who has experienced this on Whole 30 has any insight here, I'm all ears.
  • Increased energy, especially in the afternoon when I typically crash. This is definitely a win with a toddler in the house.

While eating on the plan during the week proved to be fairly easy, Josh and I both agreed that following it on the weekend was much harder. We'll often pick up a treat (like the amazing seasonal watermelon milkshake from CookOut that is only sold THROUGH THE MONTHS OF JULY AND AUGUST... hold me) or decide to go out to dinner on a whim on weekends when we're already out and about, and that's just not as feasible on Whole 30.

If you're interested, here's what we ate this week:


Monday: Baked salmon with an AMAZING mango salsa (and the forbidden corn... oops)

Tuesday: leftovers from Monday, with a baked sweet potato instead of the bad corn

Wednesday: Dinner out at Zoe's. They have several Whole 30 approved menu items. I had the shrimp skewers with harissa sauce and potato salad.

Thursday: Threw together a dinner of turkey burgers that I already had in the freezer from Trader Joe's topped with guacamole and a fried egg, served with roasted sweet potatoes

Friday: Instant Pot beef and broccoli over cauliflower rice

Weekend: Rao's Marinara with ground beef and butternut squash noodles served with a side salad with Primal Kitchen caesar dressing

Salad with carnitas, fresh salsa, tomatillo salsa, and guacamole from Chipotle

Pork chops marinated in coconut aminos and Montreal steak seasoning served with herb roasted red onion, carrots, and apples.

For lunches last week, I made up a big batch of chicken salad with Primal Kitchen Mayo, Guilden's Spicy Brown Mustard, grapes, and celery and had it over spinach topped with pecans, tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


Now, we're onto week two. Have you done a Whole 30? If so, what are your best tips and favorite recipes? 

our first family beach vacation

This past weekend, we took our first real beach vacation as a family. We've been once to the beach on the coast of Holland when Miles was a baby and then to Charleston last year, but we barely did more than just see the ocean on either trip. Josh and I have never been huge beach-goers as a couple, but I managed to snag a condo for Memorial Day weekend and just knew that Miles would love it. On Friday, we packed the car to the gills and set off for the Carolina coast.

 Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

The first morning went something like this:

3 AM - One certain toddler climbs out of his bed and walks to the door. Realizes that we're in the room with him when Josh tells him to get back in bed. Proclaims he is "all done with his nap" and wants to go the beach. 

After refusing to get back in his own bed, put him in our bed in an attempt to get him to go back to sleep. He lays on my pillow and proceeds to whisper in my ear about collecting shells and playing in the sand. Does NOT go back to sleep.

Turn on cartoons in an attempt to keep him still so that we can get more sleep. Lasts approximately 20 minutes before he climbs down and says he wants breakfast.

5 AM - Give up and get up with toddler. Make oatmeal. Brainstorm your sleep-deprived, uncaffeinated mind for solutions to the bright room that don't involve driving 20 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart. Load child in car and drive to Food Lion. Buy the largest black garbage bags available. Go back and put those bad boys on the window with shipping tape. Problem solved, and we didn't have any more sleep issues for the remainder of the trip. Parenthood makes you industrious in all new ways.

The early wakeup call threw off our plans for the day, so we headed down to the infamous Britt's Donuts around 8 a.m. for our breakfast fix. The line was long, but boy is this place worth it. Truly, the best (and most unhealthy) donuts ever. After an early nap for me and the toddler and quick lunch at the condo, we headed to the beach in the afternoon.

 Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

I had been once to Carolina Beach with friends in the off-season while I was pregnant, so going when all the businesses on the island were open was a completely different experience. We enjoyed the best seafood dinners at Surf House (where Miles tried and LOVED crab and oysters) and The Shuckin' Shack, awesome Irish ice cream from Celtic Creamery, and a great lunch at Hang Ten Grill on the way out of town after visiting the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Having visited beaches in the Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach, Emerald Isle, Charleston, and Beaufort, I can say that CB is probably my favorite family beach town in the Carolinas, if for nothing more than the ability to walk almost anywhere you want to go.

 Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

I don't know if it's my newfound level of organization since having a kid, but I will say that this was the most seamless beach trip in terms of gear and preparedness that I've ever experienced. I like to travel fairly minimally but with things that are going to make my life easy. For example, we left the stroller at home knowing that Miles could always ride on Daddy's shoulders if he got tired of walking.

 Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

These are my vacation necessities that made beachin' it with a toddler so much easier:

Travel bed- Miles just moved from a crib last week and did really well in this Intex inflatable bed. I liked it better than other options because it has the bumper on all sides. Bonus that a regular-size crib sheet fits perfectly.

Tent- I had being eyeing these pop-up tents on Amazon and happened to find this exact one for about half the price at TJ Maxx. It was the perfect size for the three of us plus all of our stuff, and the window in the back kept a breeze flowing through. Easy to set up, and we had absolutely no issues with it trying to blow away with the stakes in.

Beach toys - I got this simple set, and one of Miles's aunts had bought him this dump truck a few months back that we took along. He literally was entertained for hours!

Cooler- I have a tote like this one that I love for beach trips. It's small, but fit enough drinks and snacks for the three of us for a few hours.

Beach chairs- I replaced our old metal frame folding chairs with this pair of lounge chairs from Amazon. Since they sit flat on the ground, they easily fit in the tent, and it was easy to still play with Miles while sitting on them.

Collapsible wagon- You NEED something to haul all this beach crap without looking like a pack mule. Also doubles as a child hauler. I found a great one at Academy Sports that worked just fine. There are lots of similar ones on Amazon - this wagon looks most like the one we found

Good beach attire for kids - bright colored swimwear for easily spotting a toddler: orange sun hat and long-sleeved rash guard from Amazon, pineapple swim trunks from Target, and sand and water-friendly sandals from Plae

 Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

Taken with nikon d700 and sigma 85 1.4. ©2018 elizabeth glessner.

I also love these water safety tips from Miles's swim teacher, and we definitely put them to use while at the beach: http://triadmomsonmain.com/my-blog/water-safety-summer/

Needless to say (the pictures say it all) - Miles is a total beach bum. We're always looking for new adventures... Where is your favorite beach (or other destination) to vacation with young kids? Comment below!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission on anything purchased through those links at no extra cost to you. For more info, see my complete disclosure.

looking back at 2017

Wow. You guys. I can't believe it's been over six months since I filled this space with fresh words. Getting back to writing is at the top of my goals for 2018, so watch out.

In the spirit of the new year, I really just wanted to recap 2017 because IT WAS SUCH A CRAZY YEAR. In some ways, it seems like it didn't even happen or like I've been in a time warp. We started the year in Europe and ended it back in our North Carolina home just as we'd left it.


Here goes...

My mom visited, and I turned 30 in Italy cooking and drinking Chianti in a Tuscan villa.

Celebrated German Carnival with crazy parades right outside our door and a costume party.

Fell in love with San Sebastian on a Spanish adventure with our friends from London.

Twirled through Mirabell Gardens reenacting The Sound of Music with a lifelong best friend.

Returned permanently to our home in North Carolina, where we discovered our new rhythm that involved having to get in a car to go everywhere, American playgrounds, and shopping carts in grocery stores.

After sicknesses and adjusting to living in a new place, FINALLY got Miles back to sleeping through the night in his own crib in his own room. All the thanks to the Sleep Lady and her amazing book for this precious miracle.

Traveled to Charleston for a sweet little family vacay where Miles fell in love with the aquarium.

Had our first adults-only weekend away as we celebrated our friends' wedding in Maryland.

Surprised one of my best friends by showing up at her house for the weekend in Cleveland.

Our baby boy turned TWO. Just HOW?!?!

Read a total of 15+ books for the year, which is no small feat with a toddler!

Celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families, saw dear friends (and got to meet their sweet new babies), laughed, loved, cried, and just overall lived the hell out of 2017. There'll certainly never be another year like it.

2017YearInReview-Elizabeth Glessner

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission on anything purchased through those links at no extra cost to you. For more info, see my complete disclosure.