Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My First Experience at Painting with a Twist

A few weeks ago, a brand new company came to town that had my little friend group buzzing. We often look for fun things to do in our quaint town, and having another activity to add to the list is always refreshing. Plus it's summer and light until 9 freaking 30pm so what else are we going to do after work? Go home? I think not.

So anyway, there's this company called Painting with a Twist. The whole basis of the company was to host events where people can relax, drink wine and learn to paint. They started in Louisiana but have since expanded to literally every sort-of big city across the country. When they opened in Abilene at the end of June, a friend suggested we try it.

Now look here, I am not an artist. I cannot draw to save the life of anyone I love, and my only claim to fame in the whole art department is being able to color in the lines, a skill I didn't possess until well into the 3rd or 4th grade. Suffice it to say, it'd been a while since I'd held an actual paintbrush.

Look how scared I look of the canvas.
I went with a friend on Monday night, and ohmygoshyouguys it was so much fun! Here's something I especially enjoyed on Monday night that I didn't have as a child in art class: WINE. But apart from that, they give you just the right amount of instruction without being overbearing, and emphasize having Fun while you're there. Holding a paintbrush, though somewhat alien, felt a little bit like opening a beloved children's book long after childhood. I found I was excited to rediscover it. The instructor also gave us plenty of time to just paint, and my friend and I were able to catch up on life. And you know what? My painting didn't even suck that badly.

See? Well, they're supposed to be bluebonnets but whatever.

I kind of love how everyone's looks a little bit different.

I definitely recommend going to a Painting with a Twist class, if just to have something different to do on a Monday (or any!) night. Plus, you walk away with a piece of artwork that no one but you could have created.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lessons from Whole30

I'll be honest, I haven't been a very good Whole30 graduate. At midnight on the last day I had a glass of wine and I wasn't even sorry. I've had wine since then, and not just a little bit. I was at a wedding after all, followed by Fourth of July weekend...

However, everything I heard from friends and Pinterest is true. Here are a few things I learned during 30 days of what I thought were going to be hell.

First things first: get the cookbook. It's easy to reference and has great tips and motivation to keep you going.
1. Cravings subside -- The Whole30 people say this a lot, but the program really is not that hard! It's 30 days, a tiny little smudge of the year that you will not regret. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, my cravings were more for diet dr. peppers and chicken salad sandwiches with a side of fries from United. They say that cravings subside in 3-5 minutes so for the first few weeks, I downed a glass of water or ate a handful of cashews if I was really feeling it. I just tried to think of how good I'd feel after.

2. I feel better without dairy and bread -- This is different for everyone. You may decide that alcohol doesn't need to come back in to your diet, or legumes or all grains. For me, I didn't really even miss dairy or a ton of bread. I think I will continue to keep these things to a minimum. I do love vanilla creamer in my coffee, but not enough to make me feel bloated and gross all day. I'm not saying I'm going to swear off cheese boards, because #letsbereal that's never going to happen, but I don't think I need it at every single meal.

3. I can survive without alcohol for 30 days -- Especially during summer, when all I want to do is sit on a porch drinking margaritas, I thought this part of the plan was going to be brutal. It's really not fun to drink water at the new Mexican food place, or the great wine bar, when all your friends have drinks and seem to be celebrating the passing of another work day. BUT, psyching myself up for this month made it easier and I was able to tell myself "just a few more weeks; just another week; just a few more days" until it was time to crack open a bottle of wine and really celebrate. Though I do love wine, I was so happy with this aspect of Whole30. I learned the benefits of not drinking every night, and how much more I enjoy those yummy glasses of wine when they are fewer in between.

4. I look at food differently now -- Sometime in the third week something clicked. I was no longer seeing all the things I couldn't eat; I was able to look at a salad and think about the energy that I'd have for the rest of the day, or the hot water with lemon that I drank at night to help digest and detox, and know how good I'd feel the next morning. I'm not saying I will be a saint of healthy eating from this day forth. I'm positive there will be slip-ups occasionally, but this gave me confidence and a new attitude about food and eating. Now I know exactly how to get back on track when I do derail.

5. A 30-day commitment is just good for the soul -- The thing I love about this is that it isn't a diet. It's a fundamental reevaluation of how you look at food and how it makes you feel. There's a section in the cookbook that talks about whether or not 28 days is just as good as 30. They argue that it isn't. They say that 30 days is the commitment you make, and breaking it is the same as saying that you are not worth keeping promises to yourself. It is nice to reaffirm that I have the discipline and will-power to commit to something and follow through. Yes I lost weight, and yes I'm happy to be in clothes that haven't fit quite right for a while, but the emotional and mental benefits of this experiment far outweigh the physical.

I really couldn't recommend this enough, it's a great way to jumpstart healthy eating and focusing on the foods that really make you feel good.

PS. What Lanie learned on Whole30, and a favorite recipe from the girls at Donuts and Denim.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Destin-ation Wedding

I'm no expert, but I think Destin may be Florida's finest beach.

I am a little biased though because I just spent a fantastic weekend on its sugar-white beaches for my cousin's wedding. I always love spending time with family, but this felt different somehow. Maybe because destination weddings are meant to be closer-knit and more personal. So our already tight family seemed even more connected as we wished the best for my cousin and his new bride. The weekend involved lots of sitting around on the beach, a night or two out at some Destin bars, food, wine, and fellowship. I even got to play a round of golf with my mom and two aunts.

A little closest-to-the-pin action.

Rehearsal dinner at Tommy Bahamas.
It rained right before the ceremony and then that rainbow came out. I couldn't even make this up.

These moments with family seem more poignant to me since I know I'll be moving soon. Everything this summer is special: lunch with friends, nights out in Abilene, trips across Texas. Though I'm very excited to go to London, I'm also focused on relishing the next few months and being thankful for what I have. This weekend in Destin was a good place to start practicing that credo.