I am not a little fish.

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I have been in and out of the blogging world a few times over the last 5 years. My first blog was a family/parenting blog and for the longest time, I loved it. A lot of things happened within our family,health struggles with the kids,stress,etc and I really had nothing positive to write about (at least thats how I felt) so I stopped writing. When things calmed down a bit I decided I wanted to start again, only to discover my domain was sold because it came up for renewal and I never got notified. A few failed attempts with different blogs and here I am with She Lives.

It seems like every time I stepped away from blogging everything changed. New platforms, new apps and tools for blogs, PR companies looking for new stats and a million new “rules” would pop up. I always felt like I was behind the eight ball with everything and starting from scratch things felt almost unattainable. I have always struggled with the thought that I am not “good enough” in the blogging world. I don’t have the numbers, I don’t have the page views.. brands won’t notice me, I’m a small fish. This was my way of thinking before I attended #LetsGoRama and up until a few days ago I still had a tiny bit of this negativity in my head.

How did the retreat change my way of thinking? Well imagine being in a room with over 40 Social media influencers,some you have looked up to and admired,some you didn’t know until moments ago.. but all so friendly and willing to offer help and guidance whenever it was needed. Hearing some of my blogging idols (yes I am a blog fan girl!) telling me that I am enough, my numbers are enough and that I am perfect was a big moment for me and really made me see myself in a new light.

I may still doubt myself from time to time but that is normal. All I have to do is keep on moving forward and focus on where I want to go in my blogging career. Luckily I have a great support group in the community to look to for guidance when I need it.

~Jennifer

*Check back soon for a full post about my experience attending #LetsGoRama at Casino Rama Resort.

DIY Pallet Mug Holder

There are thousands of DIY pallet projects all over the internet. From a simple sign to a bed frame or couch. If you want to you can find instructions on making just about anything from a shipping pallet.

I have been pinning ideas for well over a year and have even had a pallet sitting in my garage for just as long. After seeing a post on a local free/cheap group on Facebook where a woman was offering up some pallets I decided it was about time to do some projects.

These are the supplies we needed to complete the project:

Pallet
Sand Paper
Stain (I chose “Weathered Grey”)
Varathane clear sealer
Hooks (I used 8)
Paint brushes
An old cloth
Crow bar
Letters (or paint if you want to paint them on)
Professional french cleat (to hang it)
Super glue

Luckily for me my hubby broke down the pallet for this project. It took way longer than expected. We decided to remove some of the bottom boards because it would stick out 5 inches from the wall if we left it as is. Once that was complete it was time to sand the wood and stain it. The staining process was super easy and quick, just make sure you follow the directions on the can. I only needed one coat of the stain and then sealed it with  Varathane clear sealer.

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My original plan was to paint a witty coffee quote along the top but was having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to transfer my quote to paint it. I tried the freezer paper method and my printer didn’t like that so I decided to buy the letters and found the amazing metal ones at Walmart for $1.97 each. To attach them to the wood I just used a bit of super glue. After I had the letters on I realized it needed a little something more so I painted a coffee mug on the one side.

The next step was to attach the hooks. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where I wanted to place them. Once I had them in place out my hubby screwed them in. All that was left was figuring out how we were going to hang it up. I sent my husband to the hardware store for that task and he came home with a “Professional French Cleat”. It was very easy to install and even has a built in level to make sure it goes on nice and straight.

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I can’t tell you how excited I was to see it up on the wall. I chose some of my favourite mugs to display over our coffee bar. I have an ever growing collection so I am sure there will be a mug rotation😉.

~Jennifer

Why the guilt?

For my friends birthday this year we met up at a local rib fest. I was right in the middle of my Whole30 journey and had it in my head what I would eat while I was there. I should have had a snack or even ate dinner at home but I wanted to be with my friends for supper so I waited. The year prior I had seen people wandering around with turkey legs that appeared to be smoked with some seasoning on them. I had it in my mind that this is what I was going to get.. no sugary BBQ sauces for this gal! My friends and I were off to find the Turkey leg vendor and once I opened my take out container I was shocked to see this BBQ sauce smothered turkey leg staring at me. I found myself feeling upset. I was starving and everyone around me was enjoying all the things that I couldn’t. At first I tried to scrape off and pick around the sauce but I eventually just gave up and ate as much as I could. Something happened to me at that moment.. I felt an extreme sense of guilt and was disappointed in myself.

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I know it seems a little silly but for me it felt like a huge fail. I was doing so well and was on plan 100% and here it was.. in this moment with a turkey leg I felt defeated. It took me awhile to realize that this is going to be my reality when it comes to food. It may not be the issue with sugar but something else next time. I just need to learn to not be so hard on myself and keep moving forward. One delicious turkey leg smothered in BBQ sauce should not be the thing that defeats me.

This journey has taught me a lot about myself, my relationship with food and how it affects my every day life. So many people feel trapped by food, like they have no control over their choices. I can tell you that I am defiantly an emotional and stress eater and if you knew me outside of internet land you would know exactly why. Over the last few months I have realized that as much as I want to lose weight that isn’t the motivating factor of this journey. It is actually learning how to live a less stressful life so that I can be a happier, healthier person in all aspects.

~Jennifer

I did it! Whole 30 complete

Hello everyone!

So I did it! (whoop whoo!). I completed the Whole30.. well sorta.

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Let me explain the “sorta”. After you have completed your 30 days of eliminating added sugars,alcohol,dairy,grains and legumes you are to reintroduce each category of foods one at a time. I already know that gluten and dairy give me the most troubles so I have decided to keep to a gluten free and dairy light diet. I love me some cheese so I don’t think I could survive without it from time to time.

You are probably wondering if I ever caved.. did I slip up? Well before last weekend my answer would be absolutely NOT.. NEVER! However, last weekend was my brother in laws wedding, it was quite a far drive and consisted of sleeping in a cottage one night and a tent the other. Being at the cottage wasn’t bad because we had a fridge and stove so eating on program was easy. The next day was the wedding and I didn’t have much of a choice, I either ate or I starved. Did I go all bananas and gorge myself? No! Did I enjoy a couple of drinks during the celebrations? yes.. and I had a headache only an hour after consuming them and I felt horrid.

Other than the wedding I was able to stay on plan. I will not beat myself up over having a couple drinks and a couple little squares of desert. I need to be able to control my eating habits for the long run. I am a very social person and it just isn’t realistic that I will NEVER have a glass of wine again. Learning to control my portions and make better food choices is always going to be a struggle. This is just my reality.

What do I do now? Well I am going to continue to eat the Whole30 way. I don’t miss all the sugary snacks,the grains or legumes so they will be easy to keep out of my meals. I will continue on my journey to my best self and I will continue to blog about it here so you can all share in my struggles and my triumphs.

In 30 days I was able to:

Kick my sugar cravings
Sleep better
Improve my moods
Learn to experiment in the kitchen
Lose 11 pounds
Feel more confident in myself

If you are considering starting down the road of a healthier lifestyle I would 100% suggest you start with Whole30. If you haven’t seen my “Helpful Links” post you can check it out here.

~Jenn

DIY Watercolor mug

If you have seen any of my Whole30 posts you will notice a common theme in my breakfast pictures. MUGS! I am a collector of awesome mugs..I can’t help myself, I have a serious problem lol.

I have seen this DIY watercolour mug tutorial all over Pinterest and wondered if it really worked as easily as they say. I decided to give it a go myself, what’s one more mug right?

What you will need:
*A white mug (I got mine at the dollar store)
*Nail polish, 2 colors if you want an awesome look
*Toothpick
*A deep plastic container
*Lukewarm water
*Paper towel

What Now?
Fill your container with lukewarm water, you need enough to cover the mug without completely submerging it. Take your nail polish and pour a little bit of the first color into the water and allow it to spread out a bit. Do the same with your second color. Swirl the two colors a bit with your toothpick and then dunk your mug into the water. The nail polish will stick to the mug and when you pull it out of the water you will have an awesome,one of a kind mug! I turned my mug upside down and placed on some paper towel.Let it dry 2-3 hours and pat with a paper towel (do NOT wipe!). The design will not hold up in a dishwasher so make sure you wash it gently by hand.

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Last but not least fill with coffee.. become human (that’s what I do!)

~Jenn

Whole30-Helpful Links

Hello again!

I have been asked quite a bit over the last few weeks about Whole30 and where to get more information on the program. First off if you haven’t bought the book “Whole30” then I would definitely suggest you buy it! You can purchase it at Amazon.ca or your local bookstore. The book is filled with all the information you need to successfully complete the program along with lots of yummy looking recipes.

Pinterest is another amazing resource for Whole30 information. From shopping lists to meal plans and recipes. You can view my Pinterest board dedicated to the program here.

Just to give you an example of a typical day for me (food wise) I have listed some of my favourites below.

Breakfast

Every morning breakfast consists of two eggs.. fried,in a scramble or omelette. Along with the eggs I will have some fruit (whatever I have on hand) and a cup of coffee. Lately I have been adding some fried prosciutto because I LOVE bacon and it is hard to find bacon with zero sugar in it😦.

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Lunch

Normally for lunch I will have leftovers from the night before or a salad. My favourite salad is baby arugula and a friese/endive mix with veggies and some sort of protein (normally chicken). I always use a homemade oil/balsamic dressing and will sometimes add a bit of dijon mustard or some berries for additional flavor.

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Dinner

Always consists of a protein and LOTS of veggies. Sometimes a salad with sweet potato on the side or might be a mix of veggies.

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Snacks

I try to not snack TOO much during the day but sometimes you have to give in when a craving strikes! Luckily my cravings have switched from ice cream bars or chips to watermelon and cherries or some nuts like cashews or almonds (unsalted).

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Drinks

The only things I drink are water,coffee,fresh juices from my vitamix and this amazing concoction that my husband made. You take pure apple cider and add carbonated water to it. You get that fizzy drink without the added sugars.. it defiantly hits the spot!

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This is just a little snippet into a day of foods for me. I find this program really easy to follow and have noticed a significant change in how I feel both physically and mentally. Make sure to rid your house of any trigger foods and load up on fruits,vegetables and meats. Telling your friends and family about your decison to start Whole30 is so important. Having people in your corner to cheer you on will help keep you accountable. Luckily I have my husband joining me in this (he is responsible for most of my amazing meals) and he has done amazingly well so far.

Hopefully this post gives you a little idea of the program and what it entails. If you are considering Whole30 definitely get the book and read through it to prepare yourself. I was prepping for almost two weeks before my start date.

~Jenn

*I do not receive any compensation for Whole30 books through the amazon link

Whole30-The halfway mark

Yesterday officially marked 15 days on the Whole30 program. I must say I LOVE this way of eating! I have never once felt hungry or deprived like I thought I would. My meals are full of healthy ingredients and I have not fallen off the program once (which is HUGE for me).

This is what I have noticed in the first half of my Whole30 journey.

  1. No more stomach aches! I use to wake up every day feeling just crummy. I felt like I had something stuck in the pit of my stomach constantly before starting this.
  2. My mood is better! Those who know me outside of internet land know how stressful my day to day life is. I will admit I don’t handle stress well at times. Since being on this program though I have noticed that I am not as snippy and let things go easier. This is an awesome “side effect”, nobody wants to feel annoyed all day long.
  3. Refined sugar..alcohol.. who needs it? Not this girl!  Although I have had moments where I was really craving ice cream (it was HOT out!) or times when I would be BBQ’ing and find myself daydreaming of sipping on a nice cold cider, I haven’t missed sugar much.
  4. Things don’t fit!  My gym pants for example don’t fit me anymore. Having to pull them up every 5 seconds isn’t very fun.
  5. Things DO fit! Today I slipped into a pair of shorts that I have not been able to wear in almost 2 years. SCORE.
  6. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or bland! I have loved every single dishes we have made since starting this and have never felt deprived or yumminess.

Check out a few of my favourite dishes from the last 5 days. You will notice that many of them are breakfast and usually consist of eggs,meat and fruit. I use to skip breakfast a lot (I know shame on me!) but I have learned it is really one of my favourite meals of the day.

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If you want to learn how to make the Butter Chicken seen above click HERE for the recipe!

~Jenn