Blurry Bliss - Dana Chirps

How on Earth has it been so long since I posted? Well, to be honest, that’s an easy question for me to answer. Life has been busy! It’s mostly been very good things…

February 22-March 19th: Brett and I had our 3-year anniversary, his 35th birthday, and my 33rd (saaay whaaaat!?). We also celebrated my cancer-free day (19 years!).

March 8th: My parents were in my neck of the woods for a hockey tournament (which my dad’s team won!), so we got to show them our home in Newburyport during this brief but wonderful visit. It was so nice to get to have a birthday dinner with my parents.

March 24th: Brett and I got to go to one of his friends wedding in Monteray, CA. It was an Indian wedding, which is something I have ALWAYS hoped to get to experience. We wore the traditional attire, ate tons of Indian food, and loved every aspect of it. It was the most spectacular and over-the-top (in the BEST way) wedding I’ve been to. The groom went to college with Brett, so it was all of his Purdue friends. It was so fun meeting them.

March 30th: My good friend from Fort Lauderdale, Angelica, visited me! It was SO nice to see her and we had a blast catching up. I’m hoping I can convince her to come up to Newburyport in the summer months someday because she saw it when it was pretty dead. Now that it’s summer, the town is vibrant and lively.

April 6th: Brett and I got together with my Nana in early April and took her to see the musical, A Bronx Tale. I had never heard of it, but Brett and Nana had! It was a really good play. I still think I prefer the classic heavy hitters, but it was nice to change it up with something less mainstream. Honestly, I was just thrilled to spend the day with Nana.

April 12th: My family suffered an unexpected and devastating loss of my “Uncle Nick”. He was technically my dad’s cousin and was his best friend in the world. It rocked our entire family. I can’t remember which family member said it, but Uncle Nick was “the best parts of Podgurski”. It was absolutely heartbreaking. And to know how sad my dad was to lose his very best life-long friend was unbearable. There is definitely a piece missing in our family, but I know he is looking down on us - especially my cousins.

April 24th: I chopped my hair off!!!!! This is something I’ve been debating literally for YEARS. I finally pulled the trigger, and did so in a bold way - I went to a different salon with a new-to-me stylist. I’m really glad I did it. I keep going back and forth on keeping or growing it back out. I like both!

May 2nd: I took a public speaking course. Normally, I feel very confident giving presentations but I had gone through a funk where I just couldn’t deliver the way I had in the past. I knew it was all in my head and I had to do something or it was going to eat me alive. I essentially used the course as a “reset button.” The instructor essentially said that I have zero issues speaking in front of people, but that I should focus on everything that happens as I am waiting to speak. He offered realistic and helpful tips. It was a good experience for me and I left feeling like my old self again.

May 4th-5th: Brett and I took a weekend trip to Providence and we both LOVED it (we hadn’t been before). PVD is a city that has been gentrifying. There are still some seedy parts, like any city, but overall we thought it was beautiful. The food scene is unreal. It’s common for chefs to graduate from Johnston and Wales and open restaurants in town. There’s also more Italians per capita than anywhere else in the country - so the restaurants in Federal Hill (think Little Italy) are as authentic (and delicious) as they come. The art scene is thriving with RISD being right there. Scenic canals run through the city. It’s a city that is funky, weird, enthusiastic, energetic, and packs a lot of punch for a small city.

May 17th: Brett got me an ebike! I had vowed to never ride a bike again after using one as a primary mode of transportation in Bermuda. But electric bikes are FUN since they provide assistance (mine has three levels of assistance). It’s still quite a workout though! I love that we can go on rides together.

June 2nd: Brett and I took another trip to Providence. Because we had such a great time when we went in May we went into this trip with a “could we live here?” mindset. We also went to a really cool rooftop bar and restaurant called Mare that I had found on “the gram”. We loved everything about it. My favorite part (other than the food itself) was that the rooftop (and killer views) is accessible all year round, too!

Weekend of June 8th: Brett and I attended a wedding in Philly! It was for our friends Kieran and Sam. They visited us while we were living in Bermuda. We had such a blast exploring city and then celebrating their marriage. It was my first time in that city and I really wanted to hate Philly (b/c I hate the Flyers). But I seriously thought Philly (the city, not their sports) was awesome. The foooooood. The walkability was topnotch too.

The Rest of June: It was a CRAZY but AWESOME month. I was gone the whole second half of it. First, I went to South Florida for a few days where I stayed with my friend Angelica (the one who came to visit me in NBPT back in March). I worked during the day and caught up with more friends at night. Then Angelica, myself, and two other girls took a long weekend to Panama. Angelica is Panamanian and graciously offered to host us - I’ll write a separate post about that trip! But we had an incredible time! After that weekend was over, we flew back into Miami and I spent a day working there before I then flew to Denver for a work conference.

Mondays and Tuesdays: I (still) take painting class twice a week. It is the highlight of my week, every week. I love both my instructor and my classmates. They’re all so brilliantly talented. It’s like a family at this point.

Bermy: He is 85lbs and about 8 months old, ha! When Brett and I both have work trips we send him to get formal training (since we’d be boarding him anyways, might as well!). He is so much more obedient! He’s really transformed into this dog that is just fun to have around. He makes Brett and I laugh on a daily basis. We’re so lucky to have such a sweet and lovable pup.

Work: It’s going great. Although the honeymoon phase is over, I still feel like my decision to join this company was a really good one. I seriously love the team I’m on - such good people, and we each carry our weight in our respective roles - no weak links in this group. One of my teammates and I went to a conference in May. It was a blast to hang with her and be back in the multifamily scene, as it was my first industry conference since moving to Bermuda! It was like a reunion in many ways. The best speaker was the CEO of Travelocity and the best “fun” part was going to event at Tom Tom and meeting both of the Toms from Vanderpump Rules. At the end of June I had another conference which was pretty good. The highlight speaker was our CEO (it was my first time hearing her speak and she was really compelling) and Mindy Kalig. The “fun” part was that one of my vendors rented out The Filmore and had The Struts and Keith Urban perform just for us! Right now I am in busy-season with a whirlwind of quick trips, but I live for the chaos.

So there you have it! I’m alive! Ha! So many more updates and news to share, but that is all for now.

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Wait, it's February?

In some ways it feels like wrote my last blog post ten years ago (it was a month ago), and in other ways I feel like I just wrote it. The emotions of time sure are complicated.

So much has happened since January 1. For the month of January, I did a ton of work travel. The marketing team I’m on went to numerous regions to conduct trainings. Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Washington DC, Boston, Houston, Austin, and Dallas. It was a grind, but well worth it. And thankfully, I really enjoy the team I’m on so we had a blast. In the midst of my work travels, I also got to squeeze in time with my friends in Fort Lauderdale. I can’t even begin to describe how much I miss(ed) them and Laudy.

In January I also completed my third round of Whole30. Each round has had its own unique challenges. This time the challenge was remaining compliant with all that work travel I was doing! It took some will power at times (Root Beer Kombucha in the Denver Whole Foods - I’m looking at you!), and I packed a lot of my own snacks, but I did it. What was awesome about this round was that Brett did it with me! He made it 25 days, which is something to be very proud of! Not to mention, it meant a lot to me that he tried something that I’m “into”.

BERMY. Oh my goodness, Bermy. On January 5th Brett and I brought home a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppy who we named Bermy (“Bermy” is short for Bermuda). He’s sleeping through the night, has no qualms when we tell to “go to your castle” when it’s bedtime (his crate), and is a really chill dog to be around 70% of the time. The other 30%? He’s a complete maniac. We are going to be sending him to what I call “puppy cotillion” (training) to learn some manners. But I’m starting to really love this pup… even if he makes me cuss a little.

I have yet to pick up a workout routine. I tried Crossfit several months ago, and while I absolutely loved the people, the times weren’t really fitting with my schedule. There’s another gym nearby that is tempting, and I’m willing and able to spend more than average on a fitness facility because it’s priority for me… but even I have my limits! However, in an effort to meet people, I might bite the bullet and just give it a shot. Plus, I’m just not feeling as good as I know I can when I work out. I feel very skinny-fat.

Like I alluded to in the paragraph above, my social life is total shit here. I miss having a pack of girlfriends to do things with. I understand why I don’t. It’s a culmination of living in a challenging environment to meet people around my age, not being a huge drinker, and having a demanding job and work schedule. We pretty much only hang out with Brett’s friends, who I very much like, but I wish I had my own. This was also a contributing factor in getting a puppy - to combat the loneliness.

Last week I signed up for painting classes (to meet people and to do something I enjoy). I went to my first one on Monday and loved it. It was a small class, less than 10 people or so. I was the youngest one by at least two decades, but I didn’t mind. I was so happy to be around friendly people who also enjoy painting. The instructor is incredibly talented, and one of the nicest humans I’ve met since moving to New England. The warmth she gives freely to everyone is such a breath of fresh air.

Brett and I are now approaching holiday season. Today is Valentine’s Day… we are 0/3 in spending Valentine’s (physically) together… but he still made me feel extra special today while he was in Austin, TX. He sent me beautiful roses, chocolate, and a really sweet note (that I’ll probably keep forever). February 22 is our 3 year anniversary. March 1st is Brett’s birthday. March 9th is my birthday. March 19th is my cancer-free day. Good golly. Lots to celebrate.

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

My Third Whole30 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

I am so relieved to be doing Whole30 again. My healthy habits had been complete garbage since September. What’s even more exciting to me is that BRETT IS DOING IT WITH ME! It took some coaxing, but he’s committed! I told him if he did it once, that I’d never ask him to do it again. Having him be a part of it makes it way easier (and more fun!), and it means a lot to me that he is actively participating in "my world.”

A quick recap… Whole30 means not consuming legumes, dairy, added sugar, alcohol, or grains for 30 days. Once the 30 days is up, you reintroduce a food from each category so that you can determine what foods make your body perform the best. Whole30 also acts as a great reset into healthy habits. One thing I’d like to point out is that it isn’t a diet, nor is it meant to be sustained - that is why it’s Whole30 instead of Whole365. But even when I’m not doing a Whole30, the majority of the meals I cook are W30 compliant - they are that tasty.

My number one goal for this Whole30 is to do everything I can to help Brett be successful in his first round. I did a ton of advance meal prepping and have been trying to focus on making foods he’s excited to eat. My hope is that when he finishes that he will not only benefit from Whole30, but to also appreciate what this program can do for people as a whole.

My secondary goals are more me-specific. My goal is to do a better job at making and eating breakfast and to try to diversify what I eat more. Brett has been making most of the breakfasts which has helped a ton. I also ordered a new Whole30 cookbook to help stay motivated. But If I am being totally honest, if Brett had not committed to giving W30 a shot, I would have pushed this round of Whole30 into a different date range because I have had (and still have) a ton of work travel this month.

We are on Day 12 and so far no problems. Brett has a 6-day trip next week which will be his biggest challenge so far. But he usually stays at fancy hotels that are obliged to customizing room service orders.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

New Year Resolutions - 2019 - Dana Chirps

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When I think of 2018, I can’t help but think of the lyrics “thank you, next” by Ariana Grande. I had a lot of major life changes this year and although many of them are exciting, there was a lottt of stress behind some of them. Not to mention there were also intense moments of fear, sadness, and loneliness this year. Here are some of the changes that occurred:

  • Declined a great opportunity to try something different by working at an agency as a writer.

  • Left the agency to go back to doing marketing for luxury real estate.

  • Bought a condo in Newburyport.

  • Moved into said condo and immediately went to work on it - painting, fixing, furnishing.

  • Bought a new car.

  • Bought a puppy.

  • Did I mention this was my most expensive year to date?

Although I’m very much #byefelecia towards 2018, I did have some incredible experiences that I am so very thankful for. The 2018 highlight reel:

  • I made some dear friends in Portsmouth through a boutique gym called Mission. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through this year without them (or that gym!). Each of us is so different from one another… in terms of personality, you really couldn’t have assembled a more wonderfully diverse group of gal pals.

  • I completed two rounds of Whole30! (And learned how to make some DELICIOUS food from doing so!).

  • I went to two weddings and had an absolute blast celebrating the marriages of such wonderful friends.

  • I created “The Lady Den” in our condo. I absolutely love this space and use it almost daily.

  • I had one of my all time favorite Christmas’ with my family. It was also extra special because Brett joined and so did my brother’s girlfriend (who I absolutely adore). My favorite part was when we all played Cards Against Humanity with my parents - it was HYSTERICAL and so much fun.

  • Brett and I crossed off a bucket list concert - Elton John!

  • I spent time with my niece, nephew, and sister. Those kids are remarkable and my sister has done such a good job raising them.

  • Brett and I took an amazing trip to Spain. We went to Tenerife and experienced the black sand beaches and the most over the top resort. Then we went to Madrid which I would consider my favorite culinary experience in Europe thanks to the jamon de iberico, octopus, coffee, and rioja! It was our first major vacation together and I am so thankful that we got to spend such quality time together.

  • When I went from the agency back to real estate, the people at the agency through me a goodbye party and that was one of the funnest nights I’ve had since moving back to the states.

  • I went to Portland, Maine, Hilton Head Island, Burlington, Vermont for the first time.

  • I went skiing for the first time! And I liked it!

Now for resolutions! Before I get to my resolutions for 2019, I wanted to review my resolutions from last year. My thoughts are in bold.

  1. Fitness - I just need to get back into my routine groove. I was doing a good job for a while, and then the whirlwind of the move and interviews and transitional craziness took over. But now that Brett and I are moved in, game on. I am also going to try some local fitness spots... cycle studios, yoga (you read that right), etc. It will be a great way to meet people. Nailed it! At least until around September. Then I fell off the workout wagon! BIG TIME.

  2. Make NH my own - Brett is from here, so it's all "his." His hometown, his family (who all live nearby), his friends, his spots, etc. My goal is to make my own friends, and find my own spots. This was a challenge. Ultimately, I learned that I needed to be closer to the city and that I really didn’t like living in Portsmouth. (It’s worth mentioning that I have a fantastic time spending the day in Portsmouth, I just didn’t like living there.) Moving to Newburyport has proven to be a positive change and it makes more sense for our jobs, as well.

  3. Diet - Clean.it.up. Whole 30, here we come. I have a lot more on this coming, so I'll keep it at that for now. Welllll I did great while on Whole30, and I still kept up with some of the healthy habits I developed. But starting this fall my diet and fitness went to complete garbage.

  4. Work - Contract work has been a blessing, but I am switching gears and looking for a marketing position within a company. I miss being a part of a team, and the level of work that can only be accomplished with the resources and manpower that stems from working for a company. Added bonus: this will also help with goal number 2. Fingers crossed my next endeavor involves a bit of traveling, too. This was also accomplished. Although I’m still in what I call the “honeymoon phase” of a new job - I am really happy so far. It’s challenging, involves travel, and it’s getting to market what I really love - luxury products.

  5. DanaChirps - Continue to write. Continue to photograph. Share more. I also feel ok about this. I took a hiatus from writing in this blog to some degree, but I was still using my creativity through photography and painting.

Ok! 2019 Resolutions:

  1. Get back into a fitness routine. As I mentioned above, I fell off the wagon around September. I don’t feel as good, and am grumpier and lumpier when I don’t workout. For Christmas, I asked Brett for an Apple Watch since having a fitness tracker is extremely motivating for me. My Apple Watch has already helped and I love using it!

  2. Diet. I’ve got to stop buying junk. If we don’t buy it, we don’t eat it. Brett and I are on Day 1 of Whole30 (more on this later) to hopefully reset our habits.

  3. Creative. I’ve picked up my brushes again and my goal is to paint regularly. I also want to keep up with photography and writing. Now that we are “settled” I finally feel like I have enough mental space where I can do these things again.

  4. Go to Boston more. Newburyport has a train that takes you right to North Station and Brett and I need to take advantage of this and get to really know our city.

  5. Go outside more. I think this will naturally resolve itself once we get Bermy (our puppy) on Saturday. Brett also got me a sleeping bag of a warm winter jacket to make this possible. Brett also got me skis, so I’ll be able to do that occasionally, too! Have I mentioned that I am beyond blessed to be with such a giving person that is willing to do anything to make me happy?

  6. Make new friends. This is my most challenging resolution. Most people my age are busy chasing their adorable babies, Newburyport is small, I have a demanding job and a hard time relating to your stereotypical New Englander. Making friends has never in my life been an issue, but here we are.

4 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

The Lady Den - DanaChirps

In my last post, I told you about the process of Brett and I buying a condo and moving to Newburyport. Although we aren’t done with our projects just yet, I’m excited to show you my favorite room in the house.

Our condo has a small, 10x10’ room at the end of the hallway on the main floor. The moment I saw it I became excited by the potential to have a dedicated room that would allow for me to do all the things I love: write, paint, and work on photos. To be fair, I told Brett he could decorate and design the living room however his heart desired as long as I could have the freedom to do whatever I wanted to this small room. It was a deal. In fact, Brett chummed that he was going to have “the greatest man cave of all time.” Little did he know that I had plans of a lady den up my sleeve. ;)

It is worth mentioning that I (recently) accepted a job offer that is a WFH (work from home) with travel arrangement. Like my passions, my job is creative in nature. I’ll be doing marketing for luxury apartments (which is what I did in South Florida) while also acting as the point person for content (aka writing). So, when there is a special project that requires a higher level of writing, I’ll lead that particular aspect of the project. All of this to say that I needed to make sure this space was designed to inspire creativity while giving me the environment to act like the #bossbabe I am on a client call.

Here is the “before” photo with the former owner’s stuff in it.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

Although the green didn’t offend me, it wasn’t my style at all. I also wanted to make the space feel bigger so I opted for a bright white. Every piece of furniture was selected with the mentality of “what is the biggest size I can get away with that won’t dwarf the room size?” I chose a rug the shape of the room–again, to give the illusion the room is larger than it is.

I purchased the rug on sale for $70 on Overstock. The white center of it has colorful specks stitched throughout, which is perfect for camouflaging when (not “if”) I drop paint on it.

Lady Den Rug - DanaChirps

Like most people that paint, I have loads of supplies and tubes of paint. I searched online for creative storage ideas and stumbled upon this example. Then I went on the hunt for wood to use and was mostly looking at already finished wood signs. I saw the bull at Hobby Lobby but wasn’t sure if the wood would be strong enough so I ended up going to two other stores. But I kept thinking about that bull and Brett was confident he could make it work. So we went back so I could get it (50% off, for $30 total). Brett was kind enough to drill the hooks and set it up for me since I don’t quite have tool skills (yet). I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

At Home Goods I bought the desk ($150) and the black drawers ($120). I bought the art cart online at Target for about $100 and painted it grey (we had paint leftover from our living room) to soften it up. The chair was a Pier 1 splurge at $173 due to shipping and surcharge fees (eye roll), but would have been $130 otherwise. It is mega comfy and I love the bowed mid-century modern legs.

Overall, I am so delighted with how this room has turned out. I am still on the hunt for a couple more pieces, the light fixture being the most significant. But I have already begun to do more of the things I enjoy the most, now that I have the space.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.










Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Three Month Whirldwind - DanaChirps

Has it really been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post? That’s easily the longest I’ve gone without hitting “publish.” Weird, but explainable…

After Brett and I moved back to the states from Bermuda late last fall, we moved into his condo in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It’s a grey, beer-drinking town with a funky art scene that I’m pretty sure boasts more plaid shirts per capital than anywhere else in the world. The restaurants there are top notch and you can literally walk to Maine or drive a traffic-free 20 minutes to Massachusetts. Brett had renovated his condo just before we moved to Bermuda so it was fun to finally get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

But there were several reasons why we ultimately decided to move out of Portsmouth. Although we were completely fine with the amount of living space, Brett’s condo didn’t have the storage space that we both wanted. I was working as a writer in Amesbury, MA, about a 30 minute drive each way. Brett flew and continues to fly in and out of Bedford, MA. Even with logistics aside, I felt “trapped” in Portsmouth and too far away from the city life that makes my soul come alive. And the independent woman in me (cue the Z-snap) loathed living in a place that was Brett’s - his town, his condo, his friends, etc. It’s hard to not feel like a guest in your own home/town with that set up. That’s not to say that he didn’t do everything he could to make me feel like it was “ours” - because he did and I love him for that. I just happen to be deeply passionate about living in a place I can make my own, that we can make our own.

We started looking for new places early on, initially out of curiosity. Thankfully, Brett’s best friend since forever is a (wonderful) local realtor and was happy to show us options. At first this process stressed me out beyond belief because I was already forced to leave Bermuda and move somewhere that wasn’t my top choice (though, it’s far from my bottom pick), I had never bought a home before and was terrified of the idea of planting roots (regardless of location), and I didn’t know the area well enough to know if I was formulating smart opinions. However, looking back, even as hard as it was, I am glad we did this because it helped me get to know the different towns quickly. As soon as I saw Newburyport, I loved it. (For the Richmonders reading this, imagine Monument Ave + The Fan but with a nautical New England vibe.)

Last March, Brett had dropped me off at an appointment and he went to tour a condo in Newburyport to kill time. When he came back to pick me up, he blurted out, “I found our place!” I told him to call the realtor to see if I can go see it since we were in the area. She didn’t answer. So he called his best friend (our realtor), who connected with the realtor representing the condo. It’s after hours. There were already four offers. So in true New England real estate fashion, we offered well above the asking price (so did the others) but sweetened the pot by offering a move-in date that we knew would appeal to the owners. And we got it. Yes, we put an offer on a house before I had laid eyes on it. I know, I know. Such a classic Dana move. But I trusted that Brett would never take the chance on being wrong with something as big as buying a home.

So we moved into our condo early July. It’s 2/2 and about three times the size of our condo in Portsmouth (which we rented out). We have been doing house projects ever since. So much painting. Pealing paint. Painting paint. Hiring painters to paint. So many coats of paint. Sanding. Patching. Ordering furniture. Sending furniture back. Hanging things on walls. There is a sense of urgency because it’s impossible to do stuff during winter and because living in a place that feels incomplete drives.me.batshit.crazy. We’re THIS close to having the place be presentable enough to have people over.

Although we are in the midst of approximately 12,000 house projects, it feels so good to live here. We have plenty of space, plenty of storage. We both love living in Newburyport. We are two blocks from the water and appreciate how it’s such a focal point in this town. The downtown is smaller than Portsmouth’s, but Newburyport is more open. There are tons of parks, trails, and paths which we take advantage of regularly. We are a five minute drive from the beach, Plum Island. There is a train in town that takes you to North Station in Boston. If we wanted to drive into the city, we can easily do so, too.

I have the space to do the things I love. The space to walk and explore. The space to think and write and paint. For the first time since moving back to the states, I finally feel like I can breathe.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

My Second Whole30 - DanaChirps

I recently finished up my second round of Whole30. This round was a BREEZE in comparison to my first. For 30 days I did not consume any added sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, or alcohol. It really went off without a hitch. If anything, it was a bit anticlimactic because it felt like less of an accomplishment because it was easier! I knew how to shop, where to shop, and had designated go-to recipes for busy evenings. 

Looking back, I feel as though I had done another round of Whole30 too soon. My last round was in January. My motivation and enthusiasm just weren't the same this time. But I was committed to completing a goal I set for myself and so I did. Although, if I ever again want to quickly get good habits rolling (which was my main motivator to do another round), I would do a 10-14 day reset. 

One of my secondary goals for this round of Whole30 was to get better about eating breakfast. I started off strong, muscling egg cups down every morning. But by the end, I ended up not eating breakfast or eating an Rx bar. There's still quite a bit of room for improvement there. I also developed a bad habit during Round 2. I was consuming TONS of dried mango. Dried mango is one of the sweetest things you can eat on Whole30, but it's not meant to be consumed the way I was eating it! I finally had to cut myself (and Brett who did another round of "Whole30ish") from it. If I don't buy it, I have no problems.

The good news is that I still love Whole30 food, and am an advocate of the program. The food is absolutely delicious and the program works. For this round, I purchased Whole30 Fast and Easy. This recipe book was so handy and the food I made from it was a lot faster and easier than the food I made from the other two cookbooks I have. This was an ideal book to use during the workweek. However, I have the time and energy to cool, I still love relishing in the process of cooking recipes from the other ones. 

My three favorite recipes this round:

Roast Root Veggies in Curry Sauce with Ground Pork - If you like Indian food, this is the BEST Indian dish I've tried on Whole30. I'll be eating this again!

Cod with Citrus Glazed - Simple and delicious. Plus, who doesn't like balsamic reduction?

Chicken Satay Salad - This was my favorite recipe I made out of the Fast and Easy cookbook. That dressing was UNREAL.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Overdue Book Update - Review - Dana Chirps

Here is a brief recap on some of the other books I've read in 2017 and 2018 (so far!)

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Book Review - Dana Chirps

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Book Review - Dana Chirps

3.5/5 stars

I was really excited to read "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay as I thought highly of her book, "Hunger." I liked "Bad Feminist," but I liked "Hunger" a lot more. In "Bad Feminist" each chapter is its own essay, and I think that made it harder for me to get on a roll with reading the book. However, just like her other pieces, I appreciated her literary brilliance. I am always left in awe of her writing. She is gifted! In this book she uses tons of pop culture references to address feminism. I'd recommend any female OR male to read this book. I actually think that men will find this book to be particularly fascinating. The nice thing about the essay format is that you can read a chapter sporadically, as they stand on their own. So if you have limited time, and this subject matter is interesting or important to you, I'd give it a go.

The Couple Next Door.jpg

5/5 stars.

Oh. My. Gosh. This book was sooooooo good! I had been reading a lot of books about social injustice (to conduct brand research for a client), so it was great to read something for pure entertainment. "The Couple Next Door" is an easy read, and the story has a bunch of twists and turns. Basically a baby is kidnapped, and it turns into this juicy mystery of who, how and why. But the best part is the very end. It was the kind of book you're so excited about that you tell everyone you know about it, in hopes that they read it so you have someone to freak out with. That being said, if you read it, please tell me so I can proceed to freak out with you! ;) 

Stranger In The House - Dana Chirps.jpg

4.5/5 stars.

I loved "The Couple Next Door" so much that I bought another book written by Shari Lapena. Like "The Couple Next Door," "Stranger in the House" was a can't-put-down type of book. I like how Lapena uses very few characters but is still able to build suspense and drama. "Stranger in the House," also had SUCH a twisted ending which I lovvvved. I definitely recommend this easy, entertaining read!

The Win Without Pitching - Dana Chirps

5/5 stars.

"The Win Without Pitching Manifesto" was recommended to me by my boss. It's a short 137 page read. I would recommend EVERY creative or marketing person that owns their own business/contractor/side hustler to read this book. Every sentence in this book could have been highlighted. However, the most impactful thing for me was reading about the concept of "The Difficult Business Decision" which is choosing your focus. "We are hired for our expertise and not our service," is the end result of positioning one's business. But it was one revelation after another.

Hillbilly Elegy - Dana Chirps

4/5 stars.

Hillbilly Elegy was written by a 30-something year old guy that graduated law school from the prestigious Yale University. But that wasn't the story. The story was about J.D. Vance's experience in upward mobility as a dirt-poor hillbilly kid from the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. His anecdotes were a mixture of eye-opening, amusing, and disturbing (because they were real). There were affairs. Drug addictions. Constant conflicts. Screaming. His story really highlights how difficult (and often unrealistic) it is for people who grow up in that environment to better their situation. Eye opening read.

 

 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Year 31 - Dana Chirps

below is a glimpse of year 31 

below is a glimpse of year 31 

Another trip around the sun, and another year in the books! Year 31 was surreal. It's funny to look back each year and reflect. Never would I have or could I have predicted the events that occurred. Here are my highlights, in no particular order:

  • Went to a Bruins game at TD Garden. I had seen them play in other rinks, but it was my first time to see them play on their home turf. The atmosphere was awesome.
  • Moved to another country. This was a major bucket list item of mine. I'm not surprised that I moved to another country, but I never would have guessed it was going to be Bermuda! And I never would have anticipated that it would happen when it did.
  • I lived Bermuda. This bullet point could be it's own blog post, but I'll highlight some of the bigger events and things I got to participate in while living there! I can look back on my experience there knowing that I did not sit back and let that experience pass me by. I took full advantage of getting to live in such a spectacular place.
  • Used a pedal-bike as primary mode of transportation. I pedaled all over the eastern side of Bermuda. I hated grocery day, because I was lugging the extra weight of food in my backpack up those crazy hills. But there was something special about pedal-biking home late at night with Brett. With very few cars on the road, hardly any street lights, and the tree frogs singing their hearts out - it felt like we were the only two people on the island. I look back and feel proud to have experienced and adapted to that lifestyle change, even if I don't miss depending on a pedal-bike. 
  • Went to Punta Cana. This was a work trip, but I had time to have some fun. I'm thankful I got to go to another country (on someone else's dime!) and experience it, but I don't have any desire to go back.
  • I learned to drive a scooter, sorta. So motorized scooters, aka "bikes," are the main mode of transportation in Bermuda. I zipped around on various bikes of various sizes, and I'm pleased to say I survived. lol.
  • Attended the Good Friday Festival. This is a big event in Bermuda. And I'm SO glad I went because that was the first day I made friends on the island - and they ended up being some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. (Shout out to Bios peeps and Kickboxing peeps!)
  • Hosted friends and family in Bermuda! I pretty much singlehandedly increased Bermuda tourism with all of my visitors. It was such a treat to have them come visit, and was so much fun showing them around the island!
  • Hosted my parents in Bermuda! They get their own bullet point. It was my dad's very first trip out of the states, and it was a BIG deal. This ended up being one of my favorite weekends, ever, as in, in my whole life. I can't even begin to describe the joy I felt when I watched my parents see Horseshoe Bay for the first time. 
  • Connected with friends who were visiting. Oh my gosh, was this fun! Blast from the past type of reunions went down when my friend Meredith was visiting, and then when my friend Jaime was on the island. Nothing quite like rekindling a childhood friendship.
  • Made the MOST INCREDIBLE FRIENDS while living in Bermuda. I know I've said this like 100 times on this blog, and I'll probably say it 50000 more times, but it's true. The friendships I made on the island were unlike anything else I've ever experienced. I miss them so much, and am so appreciative of how welcoming they were. I don't know if I've ever been so quickly embraced before. 
  • Attended America's Cup. THIS was one of the best times this past year, and we were so lucky to get to experience it! 
  • Saw tall ships!
  • Went to a Cub's game.
  • Went to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit with my mom. 
  • Took a tour of Bermuda from the sky. Such a spectacular way to see the island.
  • Represented the East side while attending Cup Match!
  • Went to Non-Mariners on a catamaran cruise.
  • Saw the glow-worms. (It's a Bermuda thing, and I totally geek out over this!)
  • Took tons of photos with my Nikon. Taking more photos with that camera was a goal of mine, so I'm glad to have accomplished this!
  • Swam in caves. 
  • Heard the tinkling at Seaglass Beach.
  • The last weekend we were in Bermuda. So during the last weekend in Bermuda, Brett and I did enjoyed all our favorite things "one last time." This ended up being one of my favorite times while we lived there because we literally did EVERYTHING over the course of a couple days. Loved every second.
  • Flew private with Brett as the pilot! 
  • Visited Charlottesville with Brett. I lived there for a year, and Brett lived there for 3-4 years. We just missed each other. Although Charlottesville is not where I'd EVER want to live again, it was really fun to go back there with Brett and reminisce and visit places we both liked.
  • Moved back to the states, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I can't quite say this was a "highlight," but it was significant. Portsmouth wasn't the first place on my list, but I'm definitely glad we didn't end up near the last place on my list! Living up here is extremely different than the lifestyle I had in Bermuda and South Florida. But it's getting better, and I think it will continue to do so. But I'll always be a sunshine girl.
  • Wedding dress shopping for Mamie in Georgetown! 
  • Going to a UNH hockey game with my parents. 
  • Having Nana for Christmas. I loved that she decided to spend Christmas at my parent's house in VA. It was so much fun having her, and showing her some of our Christmas traditions.
  • Completed my first round of Whole30!
  • Made my own friends in Portsmouth. This is so important to me. I love and adore Brett's friends, but for the sake of nuturing my independent spirit, I knew I needed to make my own ASAP. I joined an amazing gym (Mission Portsmouth), and completed a challenge in January that essentially involved me taking 40ish classes in 3 weeks. I became tight with a few of the girls who also did this challenge. It feels so good to have girlfriends to chat with and to hang out with.
  • Went to my first Patriots game. It was insanely cold, but what a cool experience. Patriots fans are pretty hysterical, and we sat next to some wildly entertaining ones!
  • Went skiing for the first time! This is the only redeeming thing about winter. Brett took me on a "warmer" day (40 or so degrees), and I started off with a lesson. I had a pretty lame instructor. I had envisioned a 19 year old hottie that uses the word "gnarly" regularly, and ended up with a woman with the personality of a stapler. Luckily, it was only a 60 minute lesson. When it was done, Brett took me up on the chairlift, and I had a BLAST. He was a really good instructor, too. I hope I can get good enough to hold my own on wussy hills soon.

I love doing this post every year, as it lets me reflect on how much can happen in 365 days. I'm excited to see what Year 32 holds, and can't wait to begin that journey tomorrow.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Most Helpful Kitchen Items - Whole30 - DanaChirps

A Whole30 compliant meal at Chipotle. I clearly hated it.

A Whole30 compliant meal at Chipotle. I clearly hated it.

So before I get to my list, know that these are just items that helped me. Everyone's list is going to be slightly different, and they're certainly not a requirement. Many of them are kitchen/food staples, that you'll probably have! 

  1. Instant Pot Duo - Upon moving to Bermuda, I donated my beloved crockpot. So around the time I was looking to replace it, I had heard a ton of positive feedback about the Instant Pot and asked for one for Christmas. In case you don't know what I'm talking about it's a pot that has several different functions (the model I got, has seven): slow cook, pressure cook, yogurt maker, rice maker, steam, saute, and food warmer. If you decide to get one, I do recommending getting the biggest size. This comes in handy when you're cooking large food items like spaghetti squash, or chicken! 
  2. Immersion Blender - This device I used for things like making my own dressings, sauces, mayos, and soup. You might not need it often, but when you do, you're so glad to have it.
  3. Garlic Mincer - Get one. Trust.
  4. Ninja Duo - Smoothies are a no-go during Whole30, so I didn't use the blender component as much that month. But I used the food processor quite a bit!
  5. Good Knives - I'm so glad Brett already had really good kitchen knives. This can make or break you. lol. If you're on a tight budget, I'd say make sure you have one really awesome knife that can cut #allthethings.
  6. Multiple Cutting Boards - By chance, I had just gotten a three pack with different sized (hard plastic) boards. They ended up being far more helpful than I anticipated.
  7. Stackable Mixing Bowls - My stack of bowls all came with lids. The stacking feature really helps save space (a big issue in our "cozy" downtown condo). I use different sized bowls for different purposes - mixing up spices and meat, tossing and serving salad, holding grapes, using as a regular piece of tupperware, etc. 
  8. Ladle - Somehow we didn't have one. Had to get one!
  9. Zester - We didn't have a zester in the beginning so I was scraping citrus fruits with a regular knife. It's a miracle I have all of my fingers. The zester makes it so easy and fast, and it works WAY better than doing it the way I had been (shocker, I know).

The one thing I didn't have that I wish I had during Whole30 was a cast iron skillet. This is a skillet that you can use on the stove and in the oven. Many of the yummy looking breakfast hashes require one. But I've asked for one for my birthday, so hopefully I have one soon! :)  

Learn more about my first Whole30 here.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Favorite New Things - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Doing Whole30 exposed me to a whole bunch of new foods, recipes, spices, liquids, powders, etc.! It was like tapping into a world I never knew existed. Here's a list of my favorite new things I tried and loved during my Whole30 experience. These are all things I have continued to use after I completed my round of Whole30.

  1. Nutpods - This is the coffee creamer solution for Whole30. They are why I was able to 100% commit to this program.
  2. Ghee - It's like butter, but better. I didn't even know a such thing could exist - a butter that tastes better than regular butter. But it does. And I LOVE using it to cook with. Different brands of ghee have slightly different textures. I really like the Organic Valley brand, and Trader Joe's brand.
  3. Sesame Tahini - When I tried it on its own it tasted like a really thick sesame paste - no bueno. But when I used it as the main ingredient to create a lemony garlic tahini sauce - it was outstanding. This is a great alternative to hummus. 
  4. Coconut Milk and Cream - This is one of those things I always saw at the store, but never knew what people used it for. It's now a staple in my pantry, and I've used it mixed into sweet potatoes, as the base of red curry, in pumpkin custards... it's such a versatile ingredient. I love the Thai Kitchen brand so much that I'm scared to try another brand! 
  5. Dates - Dates became my quick go-to if I felt like I was crashing from low blood sugar. I usually only needed one or two. I've also used them in recipes to sweeten a sauce. They're quite handy! I absolutely LOVE Thrive's brand.
  6. Larabars - When I needed something more than dates, I'd eat a compliant (not all of the flavors are) Lara Bar. The bars were sweet in taste, as they all had dates as a main ingredient. But they are pretty small - like 3 bites.
  7. RX Bars - And when I needed something more than a Lara Bar, I'd eat a compliant (not all of the flavors are) RX bar. These bars are dense, and reallllllly chewy. I liked the Mixed Berry flavor the best. I also liked that they had a good amount of protein in each bar too. But these I eat for a purpose versus enjoyment. 
  8. Thrive Market - Ok, so this is not a consumable per say, but it needs to be on this list! It's an online store that offers (major) discounted prices on healthy and clean foods. They often run deals (right now they have one where you get 20% off your first three orders, plus their standard free shipping for orders $49 and higher). You pay an annual membership fee of $59.95, but you'll easily save more than that if you purchase these types of foods.

Recipe Rundown:

Jamaican Jerk Raspberry Chicken with Plantains - I loved the chicken, but wasn't crazy about the fried plantains. This has everything to do with the fact that when I typically order fried plantains, they are covered in cinnamon and honey and butter.

Spicy Cacao Orange Almonds - These were a tasty snack! 

Sesame Chicken - This is definitely one of my new favorites!!! The sauce is unreal. 

Chipotle - THEY HAVE A COMPLIANT OPTION!!!! I wish I had discovered this sooner! Pork carnitas over lettuce with green salsa and guacamole. I thought it was going to be "meh" because it was substantially less extravagant than what I used to get (pre-Whole30), but it was actually delicious. To the point where it is going to be my go-to from now on. YUM!!!

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Reintroduction Observations - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Cheese on cheese with a side of cheese - reintroduction - whole30 - danachirps

Cheese on cheese with a side of cheese - reintroduction - whole30 - danachirps

I survived the reintroduction phase! Whoo hoo! I'm a free woman! I thought it might be interesting to share what observations I made when I began to reintroduce certain foods back into my diet. 

Legumes

  • Ate: Chickpea pasta and soy sauce (in cauliflower rice).
  • Results: I'd consider this category to be neutral. It didn't make me feel bad at all, and I also didn't feel like Wonder Woman. I don't typically go out of my way to eat legumes (except if we are going out for sushi - edamame and soy sauce!), so I feel fine with this result. I don't intend on making any changes to my legume eating habits. 

Gluten-Free Grains:

  • Ate: GF Quinoa flakes (similar to oatmeal), and brown rice cakes.
  • Results: I already knew I had a serious corn and popcorn sensitivity, so I did not feel the need to test that out (note: corn byproducts seem to be ok... probably because it's not really corn at that point). After eating a serving of quinoa flakes, I felt fine, but a little too full/bloated. I was pretty surprised because I wasn't expecting a noticeable difference. I certainly didn't feel "bad" eating them, but I think this is a category of food that I'm going to be mindful of consuming in the future. 

Dairy:

  • Ate: Cheese wrapped in prosciutto, and whole milk. 
  • Results: Let me just say I seriously PRAYED for no issues on this one. I.love.cheese. Back when I lived in Richmond, I even used to attend a monthly cheese class. My mom and I LOVE to make charcuterie boards with a massive variety of cheeses. Blue cheese, brie cheese, goat cheese cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese... I love it all. So thank-you-sweet-baby-Jesus, my prayers were answered... cheese didn't give me any issues after eating it. However, I didn't feel like a million bucks either. In the future, I know I need to eat limited (rather than excessive) amounts of cheese. What I found to be interesting is that although cheese played nice... milk was a whole other story. I had a glass of whole milk and it wasn't long after that when my stomach began to do those apocalyptical gurgles, and I felt nauseous. It's worth mentioning that prior to Whole30 I rarely drank regular milk (and instead consumed almond, cashew or coconut milk). I also recalled how before Whole30 whenever I ordered a latte or a cappuccino that my stomach would get very upset - I now know why. After Whole30, I certainly plan to continue to drink alternative milks, and will limit how much regular milk I drink. I think in small amounts, I'd probably be ok. But ideally, I'd like to avoid it.

Gluten Grains

  • Ate: Bread, and whole wheat pasta.
  • Results: So this one was a BIG surprise to me. I thought I'd have zero issues with gluten. Shortly after I ate it (and similar to gluten-free grains) I didn't feel "bad," but did not feel as lean as I do when I eat meat and veggies. I also felt a little sluggish afterwards. Then the next day (within 12 hours of consumption) my stomach was in knots. This is another food type I'm going to be quite mindful of in the future. 

So, now that reintroduction is over, now what? Well, I personally have enjoyed eating Whole30 foods. I have benefitted in so many ways from this program, and I'd hate to stop feeling as fantastic as I do. So my goal is to maintain as close to Whole30 as possible. I'll loosen the reigns a little with added sugar to give myself some more options. And when I go "out of bounds" my goal is to make those choices deliberate. Meaning, if I'm going to indulge in a decadent dessert, it's going to be worth it. 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Results Recap - Whole30 - DanaChirps

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I did it! I survived Whole30! No alcohol, no added sugar, no legumes, no dairy, and no grains for 30 days! And now I'm in the reintroduction process. But I figured I'd go ahead and share my results with you! 

  • I feel way more empowered when I'm grocery shopping for food. I read every ingredient on every label of every product. I've also gotten financially savvier with grocery shopping for clean food.
  • I know how to make insanely tasty healthy meals! Seriously though... I've been exposed to, and have made so many foods I never would have tried otherwise. I now have an inventory of go-to meals to make.
  • My energy has increased which is crazy, because I thought I was pretty high octane before... but now I feel like my energy levels are evenly sustained all day.
  • I fall asleep -and stay asleep- so much easier now.
  • My skin looks awesome - I literally had an 18 year old ask what products I use after she complimented my skin. (She thought I was younger. And she's essentially my new favorite person on planet earth now.)
  • Digestion has improved.
  • I feel less anxious and less stressed. 
  • It's not that I was against fat before, but I feel like I really have experienced the benefit of consuming good fats and am a full fledged fat lover now. 
  • Unhealthy food cravings have decreased, and are much more manageable.
  • Did not get sick or catch a cold during this experience. Considering I had a hectic work trip where I was in airports, and around hundreds of people during flu season - I'm going to take this as a positive indicator with regards to my immune system!
  • My weight dropped 2-3 pounds. I wasn't big to begin with, but I had sort of mysteriously gained a few pounds that weren't muscle. So although it wasn't a concern, I wanted the extra to be GONE - and it is, and I feel great. 

These were my goals when I first started. I think it's safe to say I cleaned house on the benefits of eating this way.

It's also worth mentioning that when I started this program, I had also started a challenge at the gym I had just joined and have been going very frequently. I would say that the one-two punch of healthy eating, and endorphins has been really powerful and played a large factor in the mental/mood related benefits I've experienced.

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2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Reintroduction - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whoo hoo! I'm on my last day of Whole30! But the program is not quite over yet. The next phase of Whole30 is called the "reintroduction phase." This is where you slowly add back foods from the no-go list to see how your body reacts. This part of the Whole30 program is essentially the whole point of doing it. It teaches you which foods your body may have a sensitivity to. By the end of it, you should have an understanding of what foods make you feel awesome, and what foods make you feel not so great. The way reintroduction works is that you add a food from the no-go list back to your diet for one day, and then go back to eating strict Whole30 for two days... those two days will give you time to decipher how your body reacts (if it does at all). You can't have foods from multiple categories (like peanut butter and jelly on bread) until the entire reintroduction phase is completed.

Reintroduction - Whole30 - DanaChirps

My reintroduction plan:

  1. Legumes (peanut butter, black beans, hummus, soy sauce, edamame, peas)
  2. Whole30 for two days
  3. Gluten-Free Grains (quinoa, oats, corn, popcorn, rice)
  4. Whole30 for two days
  5. Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, froyo, sour cream, butter, coffee creamer)
  6. Whole30 for two days
  7. Gluten Grains (bread, bagels, pretzels, pasta, crackers, muffins)
  8. Whole30 for two days
  9. Alcohol
  10. Whole30 for two days
  11. Sugar (honey, maple syrup, cane sugar)

There's are couple of categories that have foods that I might break up - I might do a variety of legumes, and then peanut butter separately at the very end of my reintroduction phase. I'm also considering breaking up alcohol into wine, cider, and vodka (that's what I drink 90% of the time). For some reason I find the reintroduction plan to be more nerve-wracking than full throttle Whole30! Wish me luck! 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 25-29 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Whole30 - DanaChirps

I'm at the last stretch of Whole30, and I can't believe it is almost over! Overall, this program has been much easier to implement than I ever could have imagined. Below are my thoughts on the process of doing Whole30... I have a separate post coming to discuss results.

The hardest parts:

  • Traveling for work - I had to really plan and pack a tonnnnn of compliant food. But by doing so, I successfully avoided eating noncompliant food. However, I was glad the trip was a short 3 days. Had it been longer, I'm not sure if it would have been feasible. 
  • Going out to eat - This was tough. We barely went out to eat because most restaurants didn't have compliant options. The few times we went out, I hated having to spend money (or have Brett spend money) on something bland/compliant. On the plus side, I'm sure we have not spent nearly as much as we typically do wining and dining out.
  • Time - You spend a lot of time dealing with food. Reading labels, researching recipes, meal planning, grocery store trips, cooking, and Lord have mercy - the dishes - SO many dishes! But this does get easier as time goes on because you naturally learn which recipes are going to be a bigger time investment.

The best parts:

  • I feel way more competent in selecting the food I buy. I read every label!
  • The food. It is SO.STINKIN.GOOD! I tell people that even if they aren't doing Whole30 to buy a Whole30 cookbook just for the sake of having awesome recipes. I have sincerely loved nearly everything I've made. 
  • I've learned to appreciate and enjoy cooking. This is the first time I've really been adventurous in the kitchen, and I've really gotten into it. 
  • Picking recipes. Even though it takes a little time, I love meal planning. I think it is fun to select the yummy foods I'm going to make. Brett and I tag-team grocery shopping, and I actually enjoy this process more than I thought I would. I typically plan 5 days at a time. This is largely due to the fact we have a smaller fridge/freezer, so space is limited. 
Cherry Chipotle Chicken Thighs - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Thighs - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Recipe Rundown:

Asian Sesame Meatballs Over Zoodles - This one was ok. I think I would have really liked this one more with less zoodles. 

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Um, yes x1000. The scallops with the sauce... so flavorful!

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Thighs - This was a giant hell yes kind of recipe! It has a little kick to it, but the cherries are seriously like these flavor bombs that are so scrumptious.

Spicy Pineapple Steak and Chicken Kebab - I think we just love all things kebab'd... another winner!

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 18 - 24 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Bison Burger - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Bison Burger - Whole30 - DanaChirps

It is Day 24, and I'm coasting now! At this point, the key is to not get burnt out. I'm countering this by making and planning a mix of of simple recipes that I've made before, plus new/exciting recipes. 

Our friends Alex and Amanda came over to watch the Patriots game last weekend. It was my first time cooking Whole30 food for friends. We did veggies, and plantain chips to dip in guacamole, and buffalo chicken sweet potatos with a homemade "dilly dilly ranch." I whipped up a buffalo cauliflower rice version for Amanda because she's a vegetarian. I also made compliant chili lime drumsticks, and offered a few noncompliant foods (and drinks!) for our guests as well. It was a ton of fun to cook for other people, and they seemed enthusiastic (or REALLY polite) about the food I made them.

Another noteworthy recipe was one I made for Brett and I - Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kebabs. This is easily one of our new favorites, and will likely become a regular meal here!

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Whole30 - DanaChirps

This week I had a major challenge of juggling a three day work trip while remaining on Whole30. With a lot of determination, and preparation, I managed to succeed in staying compliant! I packed a ton of food, and thank goodness I did because there was next to nothing at the hotel that was compliant. I packed: bananas, grapes, boiled eggs, sardines (yes, really), dried mango, pistachios, almond butter, prosciutto, RX bars, chomps, and Lara bars. Although what I packed was delicious, I'm glad I only had to do it for three days. By the time I got home last night I was so ready for some real food. 

And although I was able to remain compliant at the event I worked, I had an accidental slip up at the airport on the way there. I consumed the Bare brand of toasted coconut thinking they were compliant because I had looked at the "Contains" list instead of the ingredients. I was pretty pissed to have fallen for lackluster labeling, and tossed the bag out immediately. I probably had about a half cup total, and it is likely I will never buy their products again. It turns out there have been quite a few other folks who have been fooled by this, meaning, it's not just me.

Deceptive Marketing - Whole30 - DanaChirps

A Whole30 purist would say that a breach of any kind means you have to start all over. I don't think I'm going to go with that plan mostly because I know I have stuff coming up in the next 30 days that would not make Whole30 feasible. But I may reintroduce sugar last - more on that later.

Recipe Rundown:

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Sweet baby Jesus. SO good... and maybe my favorite recipe I've made. It's definitely Brett's favorite! 

Chili Lime Drumsticks - These were pretty good... the chicken was more moist than I was expecting, but I wish I had been able to marinate them a bit longer. I also think I'd like to try wings next time instead of drumsticks because I feel like you could get more of the chili lime flavor. But Brett really liked the drumsticks because they're (obviously) more meaty! 

Bison Burgers - Ohhhh were these tasty! I wasn't sure if I was going to like bison because I really dislike how beef tastes and makes me feel. But This recipe was a definite hit!

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 10 - 17 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Veggies - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Veggies - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whew! I'm over halfway through my first (ever) round of Whole30! I'm still going strong, and have stuck to the plan rigidly. I think I've been successful at doing so because of my meal planning, and some good old fashioned will power.

I spend a good amount of time picking out recipes for the upcoming week that I think Brett and I will enjoy. This has been a key element of my success because I genuinely look forward to the food I make! Once I select what I'm going to make, I write a shopping list of everything needed for the recipes, plus any other staple items that may need replenishing. Generally, it takes 2 or 3 grocery stores to get everything we need. It seems like a lot, but it's honestly not that bad. I only get a few items from the local natural grocery store because they're the only ones that carry them - so I'm in and out of there fast. Then it takes one or two stores to get everything else. I'm finding that I stick to the list a lot more when I shop this way, too. With each week and meal plan, it gets easier and faster. I also now know to look at a recipe and assess how many pots/pans/mess it will make (see my note about the enchiladas below).

Recipe Rundown is below! You'll notice I didn't take as many photos of my food this time... that has to do with either the fact the meal was not photogenic, or because it was so tasty I ate it before I could even turn my camera on. 

Melissa's Chicken Hash - So I had high expectations for this meal... sweet potato noodles, chicken, apple, walnuts... not sure what happened but I did NOT like it. This is the first thing I've made since starting Whole30 that I haven't not enjoyed eating. Brett liked it enough to eat the leftovers, but it's not something I intend on making again. 

Sardines - YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. I was a BIT apprehensive to try them... but they're honestly just a food with a bad rep. I ended up enjoying my sardines, right out of the can quite a bit! I actually like that I can eat them straight without adding anything, whereas with canned tuna, I have to add mayo or avocado. Brett thought he was going to die by the scent of them... luckily he survived, but I'll have to be mindful of when and where I eat those salty delights! ;)

Buffalo Sweet Potatoes with Homemade Ranch - OH.EM.GEE. This was a phenomenal meal, and it was also crazy easy/fast to put together, too. This is definitely a keeper!

Enchiladas Wrapped in Cabbage with Cashew Cream Drizzle - So these were very tasty, but I practically had to use every appliance I own, and every heating method known to man. They were good, but I'm not sure if they were worth the time and the clean up! The cashew cream I was sort of "meh" about when I tasted it on its own, but loved it once I put it over top of my enchilada... sort of has a ricotta vibe to it.

Pork Butt a La Crock Pot - I put a 2lb pork butt in the crockpot for 10 hours, and the flavor was outstanding! The meat itself was unsurprisingly fatty (as it should be). Next time I may try to find a leaner cut. I lovvvved the seasoning though, and it smelled sooooo good.

Banger Sausage Patties and Sweet Potato Mash with Caramelized Onions - This recipe caught me off-guard because I can be pretty picky with meat, and I didn't have high hopes. But those bangers were UNBELIEVABLY good. As in, no condiments needed. As in I'm making them again this week. As in, there were no leftovers. Same with the sweet potatoes... this is a major feat because I'm not a huge potato person, and have been just sort of forcing myself to eat them in this program for sustenance. But I actually ENJOYED them.  

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 6 - 9 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whole30 - DanaChirps

So I survived the first full week of doing Whole30! I am shocked at how much I am enjoying this experience. I thought it was going to be a dietary form of torture.

It's been extremely eye-opening to read the ingredients of every single thing we buy. It was cumbersome at first, but it's getting pretty easy. At times I have to look up a foreign sounding ingredient, and if I can't find the answer I err on the side of caution. It's shocking to realize the sugar and junk that companies sneak into our foods!

The hardest part of doing Whole30 isn't the diet, it's the social aspect. It is hard to go out to eat because most foods are prepared with off-limits ingredients. The good news is that because I'm new to Portsmouth, I'm not exactly getting a ton of invites just yet, so it's perfect timing to do this program.

And honestly, it's not impossible to go out. For example, when Brett and I went on a last minute double date at The Library, I was able to quickly look up the menu prior to figure out what I could eat. I ended up having shrimp cocktail with lemon for an appetizer, and ordered the lump crab meat (which is technically an appetizer) and put it on top of my house salad that I dressed with balsamic vinegar. It wasn't what I would have eaten otherwise, but it was still pretty good! And more importantly, Whole30 didn't prevent me from attending a fun dinner with wonderful people.

The social situations Whole30 brings are actually quite fun. I recently met these two friendly girls through my neighbor and one of them hosted us for a ladies' brunch. She knew from social media I had started Whole30, and was so thoughtful to let me know that there would definitely be food I could eat. I was so excited to cook something to share, too. I made a breakfast pumpkin custard recommended to me from a pal in my Whole30 group. Yummy! There was also fresh fruit, and sweet potato hash with eggs over top! The only thing I had to pass on was the bacon because I wasn't sure what the ingredients were, but I was plenty full anyways. Regardless, high five to my will power for turning down bacon! But the three of us had such a fun time discussing Whole30 vs. Paleo (one of the girls follows that diet) vs. too much ice-cream. Food, and "diets" are such a fantastic topic of conversation!

Below are my food highlights. I don't have as many to share because Brett's been out of town, so I've been eating a LOT of leftovers!

Basil-Avocado Baked Salmon - This is a HOMERUN meal, and hands down my favorite quick and easy recipe. Loads of healthy fat to help me stay fuller longer! 

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce - Holy cow. This stuff is good on pretty much any/everything, but I love it on top of veggies.

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Black Truffle Salt + Black Pepper - This was pretty good, but now I need to take a break from squash because I had so much of it!

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 1-5 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

So I started Whole30 on January 3rd. It's an interesting date for me personally. It's the same date that as a 13 year old, I went "in-house" (term for staying overnight) for a longgg time at MCV to get my stem cell transplant. Perhaps it is the Big Man's way of reminding me when I'm whining about not eating cheese, that it pales in comparison to what I've already been through. Really, it's a joke comparatively. Perspective. 

The biggest gripe I had with the Whole30 program was giving up my beloved flavored creamer for my morning coffee. I've tried on numerous occasions to take it black or with almond milk, but drinking it that way literally make me gag. By chance, I saw on social media a person who was using nutpods as their compliant creamer. I checked them out, and was able to get some at my local health food store. When I got home, I made Brett bear witness to my ceremonious pouring of what was left of my Bailey's White Russian Truffle flavored noncompliant creamer down the drain. RIP dutiful creamer. That was the moment I became fully committed. As for the nutpods, I can say that it ain't flavored creamer, but it ain't bad either! Victory is mine.

I'm still finding the need to eat in between meals. Whole30 encourages eating just at meals, but says if you need to have a snack, then do so. Per the suggestion of Jeanne who is leading the Whole30 group I'm in, I am going to try to incorporate more healthy fats within my meals to see if that helps hold me over longer. As snacks I've had Chomps (compliant beef jerky that is de-friggin-licious), compliant flavored Lara/Rx bars, or if my blood sugar is too low, I'll eat one or two dates for a fast pick-me-up. 

Now let's talk about the food. People act like Whole30 is some horrible and depriving experience. But I am honestly loving it! I am making the best (as in delicious) meals I've ever made, meals I'd make regardless of being on Whole30 or not. I'm being way more adventurous than I ever have been in the kitchen - this is what is making it so fun for me.

Quick rundown on some of the food I've had:

The Stuffed Peppers - This recipe was from the Whole30 guidebook, and one of the best meals I've ever made, EVER! I subbed the beef out for turkey (I don't eat red meat), and it was outstanding!

Balsamic Pear-Peach Chicken via Crockpot - Brett loved this one. It is such a cozy, savory meal.

Roasted Veggies with Chicken Sausage - An easy but satisfying meal to throw together. Loved the roasted beets in particular.

Orange Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice - I liked the "rice" way more than I thought I would. The chicken was very flavorful, despite not nailing the thickening agent for the sauce (arrowroot powder - the Whole30 compliant corn starch).

Breakfast Pumpkin Custard - It tastes just like pumpkin pie sans the sugar and crust! Yum.  

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

First Grocery Haul - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Produce from my grocery haul - whole30 - danachirps

Produce from my grocery haul - whole30 - danachirps

Ok, so before I get to the point of the post I have to say that Brett is the most amazingly patient human I know. We ended up going to four different grocery stores, and then one restaurant because I got hungry (typical). Seriously though, having support while doing Whole30 is KEY. For those of you who are getting up to speed - I am doing my very first round of Whole30! Check out why I'm doing this to myself here

I thought it may be helpful to share with everyone what I did to prepare, and what I ended up getting at the store. Before I did anything, I read the Whole30 Guide by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. This book explains #allthethings. It took a few days, but once I had a decent understanding of how it works, the real fun began!

In addition to the guidebook (which also includes helpful basic recipes in there), Brett had gotten me a Whole30 cookbook for Christmas. I started picking out recipes that excited me, and narrowed it down from there. Here's what I chose: Orange Chicken with Cauliflower Rice, Turkey Stuffed Peppers, Balsamic Peach and Pear Chicken, Cabbage Rolls with Turkey, and Roasted Veggies with Chicken Sausage. These selections came from Whole30 cookbooks, bloggers, and Pinterest. From there, I listed out all of the ingredients, and cross-referenced with what I already had to make sure I didn't buy something I didn't need. I also added some Whole30 staple items to the grocery list.

Below is a breakdown of my haul by grocery store! I starred things that I didn't need at this time, but are pantry staples.

Portsmouth Health Food

  • Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Vinaigrette - Doh! I made a derpy mistake here. No honey allowed on Whole30! Luckily I am in walking distance to this place, and they graciously let me trade for another flavor that is compliant.
  • (2) Nutpods - Coffee creamer substitute
  • *Sesame Oil - It was on sale, and it's something I'll most certainly use!

Trader Joe's

  • (2) Organic Coconut Aminos - Complaint soy sauce substitute. I grabbed two because I know how much I enjoy that flavor!
  • Crunchy Raw Almond Butter
  • Butternut Squash
  • (2) Cauliflower Rice Bags
  • *(2) Chomps - Grass fed beef jerky
  • 1 pack Organic Chicken Thighs
  • (2) packs Ground Turkey
  • *Organic Tahini
  • Dozen Cage-free Brown Eggs
  • Organic Peeled and Cut Carrots
  • 1 package Chicken Sausage
  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bag Organic Kle
  • (3) Bell Peppers
  • 1lb Green Beans
  • 1lb Brussel Sprouts
  • Organic Orange Juice - Only small amounts can be added for cooking, but it is not to be consumed as a drink. 
  • *(2) Bottles Kombucha - We were thirsty on the spot.

Market Basket

  • *5lb Box of Clementines
  • (4) Beets
  • *(2) Lemons
  • (1) Sweet Potato
  • (1) Head of Cabbage
  • *(4) Different Cold Medications for Brett - Listing it because it impacts total price!
  • *Box of Tissues - With aloe, duh.
  • *Ground Mustard (spice)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Large Can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Small Can of Tomato Paste
  • Italian Seasoning (spice)
  • *French's Mustard - This classic is compliant!
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar

Hannaford

  • *Nutritional Yeast - It's supposed to have a cheese-like flavor. I can't wait to try it!
  • Ghee - Compliant butter substitute. 
  • *Pickles - They were the only ones I found that were compliant!
  • (4) Peaches
  • (3) Pears

Can you guess my total? $200! And if you subtract Brett's cold meds, it was roughly $170! I feel like I got a TON of food for this amount of money. In Bermuda, this would have been probably $500. What's awesome is that there is definitely going to be leftovers with each meal. Especially the veggies! I'm already daydreaming what I'm going to do with the leftover squash and kale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.