7/27/2016

HOME TOUR: A MODERN 1930's ART DECO...

Y'all... I need to borrow about a cool million dollars. Maybe even two or three. I need it so I can forever live in this gorgeous home with the family that I hope to one day have. It would be so perfect! This recently renovated 1930s home is believed to be the only Art Deco style home in Atlanta. Art Deco style homes are typically not my thing, but this home might be an exception for me. The modern lines are perfectly balanced with warm woods, colors, and fabrics. It has steel doors and windows. If you've been following me for a while, then you know I have a thing for those. The moldings and millwork on the walls are stunning. The kitchen looks open and functional, yet simple at the same time. The master bedroom is softly done and the adjoining bathroom is spa-like. The landscaping is picturesque. I'm totally ready to move in. I just need that cool million dollars - or two or three. :)



Images by Erica George Dines for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Interiors by Nancy Duffy at Scout For Home.
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7/25/2016

A LITTLE HEALTH UPDATE...


Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start. Thank you so much for comments and e-mails regarding Max! Losing a pet is so hard, but having support from people who truly understand what that's like makes things better, so thank you!

So I owe you a health update! In case you are just tuning in, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroidis four months ago. You can read about how it all started and why I'm disclosing all of this here. Hashimoto's (i.e. Hashi's) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakingly identifies the thyroid as a foreign invader to the body and attacks it. In March I had a high thyroid antibody count, which is the main indicator of Hashi's. Even though my thyroid itself was operating at normal levels, I was experiencing several hypothyroid symptoms, including anxiety, hair loss, fatigue, constipation, heart palpitations, brain fog, insomnia, etc. The experience of all of those symptoms together is called a "flare up" in medical terms. Once my doctor established the diagnosis, the goal was to reduce my antibody count, which in turn would protect my thyroid and extinguish the flare up. We planned to do that through diet, elimination of food sensitivities, supplements, and lifestyle changes. Even though I'm not opposed to taking prescription medication when necessary, my doctor and I wanted to take these steps first without medication to see if they alone would make a difference.

A few weeks ago, I had my first follow-up thyroid panel done (TSH, T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and TPO Antibodies) and I am super happy to report that my antibody count has dropped by almost half - in just a four month period of time! I am literally 5 points away from it being within normal range. I am so thrilled!! My thyroid itself is still operating at normal levels. I am still not out of the woods yet, though. I still experience some symptoms and my antibody level is still considered to be high, but at least I know that all of this really hard work is paying off. Many of you have sent me e-mails asking me exactly what I'm doing to tackle this issue, so I thought I would outline those things below - things that are clearly working!

1. Diet: I have listed this first because I truly think this is the #1 thing that is healing me. However, making these dietary changes easily qualifies as one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life! I am on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP), which means I basically only eat organic poultry, grass-fed beef, wild seafood, organic vegetables, and organic fruit. That's it. I've eliminated all processed foods and refined sugar, dairy, eggs, gluten, grains, soy, and legumes. I've also eliminated foods that I am personally sensitive to like nightshades (tomatoes, white potatoes, and peppers), pears, chia seeds, spinach, and walnuts. I was/am a huge foodie, so this has been quite challenging and downright depressing at times. But changing my mindset helps. I am now eating to live as opposed to living to eat and that's just the way it has to be if I want to feel good most of the time. I make a meal plan every week and pretty much cook all of my meals and make all of my drinks (i.e. fresh juices and smoothies) myself. That process can be so time-consuming and exhausting at times - especially since I have a full-time job - but I am teaching myself to get really creative with food in terms of how it tastes, how it's made, and even how it looks. I'll do anything to make it remotely exciting... Once my antibody levels get within normal range, I will add back in some foods, but gluten, soy, eggs, and probably dairy are still pretty much out for life. While this blog will not become an AIP food blog - or a blog about Hashi's - I do plan to share some of my food prep tips and recipes I have been making. They are healthy, easy to make recipes that I think anyone would love no matter what, so stay tuned!

2. Supplements: I have been taking supplements to replenish my vitamin levels, and provide support to my immune system and thyroid. Those include Vitamin D3, selenium, probiotics, zinc, and magnesium, just to name a few. Most of my deficient vitamin levels have been restored just within these last few months, which I'm sure has contributed to a reduction in my symptoms.

3. Stress Management: Stress and high adrenal levels fuel this disease, so keeping them in check is key. Meditation has helped me with that a lot. I did a full post on my routine here, and I still love it. The only thing that has changed a bit is my night time meditation. I can now fall asleep at the drop of a hat at night (staying asleep is sometimes an issue), so I sometimes skip it at night. But I still do it first thing every morning! I don't get anxious as much these days and I know I owe a lot of that to meditation. Mild exercise (mainly Pilates and walking) and getting adequate rest is also extremely important. I'm in bed my 10PM most nights - after I do my nighttime routine - which is also a big stress reliever. I also sometimes delegate errands and household activities so that I can dedicate that time to resting. I actually love to clean, but I now have a housekeeper on call in case I need her. She's a godsend I tell ya...

4. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is my life. I have only been to three sessions and I totally feel comfortable making that statement. Several studies have shown that acupuncture can restore immunity and fix a whole host of other issues, so I decided to explore it. I did it inconsistently many years ago for my migraines and I remember how incredibly calming the experience was. Well, it's still amazing. I feel an incredible sense of calm even before all of the tiny little needles have been inserted. I always leave my session feeling very euphoric, yet energized at the same time. This time around I am partaking in acupuncture on a consistent basis - at least for a few months.

5. Chiropractic Care: I had read and heard that chiropractic care was a great thing to do in my case. Chiropractors tend to be very knowledgable about autoimmune diseases and how imbalances in the body can contribute to symptoms. I had no intention of exploring chiropractors at this stage of the process, but I developed a nagging issue with my left shoulder a few months after my diagnosis. So I decided to go to a chiropractor and I'm so thankful I did. My initial chiropractic tests revealed that the left side of my body along with my neck were really out of line. That meant my body was using large amounts of energy just to keep certain things in place, which was causing inflammation, discomfort, and tightness - especially on the left side of my neck and back. I'm on a plan to receive a certain number of adjustments over the next few months to correct the issues. I can say that I've only had TWO adjustments so far and my shoulder already feels much better and the consistent tightness in my neck is subsiding. So excited about that!

Like I said, I am not 100% better, but I'm a LOT better than I was this time last year.  In spite of all of those things I listed above, I still have random bouts of insomnia, fatigue, and moments where I just feel off, which are the main reasons I'm still not blogging as much these days. I opt for rest instead on those days. And in case you are wondering if I'm spending a small fortune on all of this - the answer is unequivocally yes. Unfortunately, health insurance doesn't always cover these natural, yet effective forms of treatment - or housekeepers for that matter. And unfortunately high-quality food doesn't come cheap. But you know how they always say to save for a rainy day?? Well it's raining. I was prepared and I just have to be thankful for that. I'm thinking of this as an investment in my health and my life. I'm also thinking I'm spending less money now than I would later if I didn't work on tackling the root causes of this disease now - as opposed to later. Even though Hashi's requires life-long attention, I have no doubt that all of this is totally worth it. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress!

P.S. I've purchased several books on Hashi's, but my favorite is "The Root Cause" by Izabella Wentz. It's in the photo above. It was recommended to me by Lauren (she's such a sweetheart) and it's honestly the only book I feel like I will use consistently in the whole universe of books on Hashi's. It's easy to dissect, not intimidating, credible, and extremely helpful. I highly recommend it for people who are experiencing this issue and need help getting down to the bottom of it.

Let me know if you have any questions!!

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any medical issues.

Image by me
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7/13/2016

LIFE LATELY...


Hi peeps... How's it going?? Well, in my last post I mentioned I was going to take the weekend to get lots of rest. That's just when life happened and rest was the last thing I got. My sweet baby you see there passed away on July 3rd. It was sort of sudden and it sort of wasn't. He had a severe case of a genetic type of heart disease, which we just discovered in May. I notice EVERYTHING, so he was obviously good at hiding his feelings from me for all these years. Thanks to heart meds, the good days started to outweigh the few bad days. I was so hoping that I would have a lot more time with him. But July 3rd was his last bad day. He's no longer uncomfortable and I have to be grateful for that. The companionship and unconditional love he gave me will be unforgettable, and I'm grateful for that, too. Anyway, that's the main reason for the silence here last week. To say that I was obsessed with my little guy is an understatement, so I was hysterical when it happened and for a few days after that. Then I was exhausted from being hysterical. Then I spent some time with my family and finally got some much needed rest. I've only needed a few tissues while writing this (as opposed to half a box of tissues in one sitting), so things are slowly getting easier. I'm just taking it a day at time. But life goes on and here are a few moments from life lately...


These are my mom's fiddle fig trees! Aren't they amazing?? They are easily the biggest real ones I've ever seen. I asked her how she got them to grow that big and here is what she said...

  • Re-pot them as soon as you buy them in a pot that is double the size of the original pot. Be sure the pot can drain.
  • They need to be in bright light most of the day.
  • Water larger plans with 1/2 gallon of water once a week. Water smaller plants with 1/4 gallon of water once a week. 
  • Feed it Miracle Grow once a month. No feeding is required during the winter months. 
  • Give them a half-turn once every other week to ensure they grow evenly and get even exposure to the sun. 


These slides have been my go-to shoes on the weekends as of late. They are SO comfortable and they go with so many things... 


I'm still on my crazy strict diet, which means I cook a lot, which means I'm always thankful when someone else does the cooking! My mom made this shrimp bowl for me and it was delish! She just sautéed some organic squash, zucchini, onion, Brussels sprouts, and garlic in olive oil. She seasoned it with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. She added some wild shrimp to the pot at the end. I put the vegetables and shrimp on top of some sweet potato noodles that were sautéed in garlic oil - and done! So good. 

Also, I got some really great news regarding my Hashimoto's diagnosis earlier this week, so the diet and lifestyle changes are working!!! THANK GOD because this has been so tough... I'll share more soon!
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7/01/2016

A BIG LIST OF LINKS...


It's Friday! How it's already the first day of July is beyond me... Anyway, I hope you had a great week! What's up for the long weekend?? Mine will be a mix of exercise, cooking out with a good friend of mine who has a similar diet (yay!!), catching up on reading, and rest - LOTS of rest. I'll post a little update on my health progress soon! Anyway, I have been majorly slacking on my links posts (your fave I know) as of late, so I thought I would end the week of with a big long list of them to make up for lost times. Enjoy and I hope you have a great weekend!


Good Things
My new comfy summer work shoes. I wear them almost every day!
And I've got my eye on dresses for work from this sale and this sale...
How cute are these - and the whole shop for that matter???
Wouldn't this be a great gift for a new bride?? So pretty.
This would be a great gift, too. Total girl power...
I can't wait to learn more about this couple...
Totally worth making these instead of buying them...


Good Spaces 
They are too cute! Looking forward to keeping up with this little series...
An interesting read on the popularity of all-white design...
She makes living on a budget in NYC look fabulous...
Workdays in their new space are gonna be fun...
A stunning 6-day kitchen makeover...
400 sq ft. I could totally live in...
Her apartments are always fabulous...


Good To Know
Stop worrying... So good.
Has anyone tried these?? I'm quite curious!!
What happens when women speak up for themselves... LOVE her.
How to be happier. So cliche, but I thought this was good.
Things to do before you turn in... (see what I do here...)
I've always wondered this... Do you agree?


Good Summer Food & Drinks
These all-natural pops really do look magical...
12 good-looking no-bake summer desserts...
Put a hand mixer inside of a watermelon and get this...
The perfect super easy cake for your BBQ...
This has to be good - spiked or not...
The spa on a stick...


Image via AD Magazine
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