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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Here we go! Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Today is Day 1 for my first ever round of Whole30! For 30 days there is absolutely NO: added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. ::cue panic music::

Nah, I'm actually really excited to do this. I've been wanting to try this diet for a while, but hadn't started due to the timing. It is a full 30 day commitment, and sort of an all-or-nothing mindset. My motivations for doing this are: 

  • To see if this helps improve my immune system. Ever since moving to NH, I've been sick or with some nasty cold easily 80% of the time. I had no health issues in Bermuda, and was only sick once in the four years I lived in South Florida. I do think the dry air and brutal cold weather is playing a role. But I see this as an opportunity to do more. 
  • I have randomly gained 4-5lbs. And it ain't muscle. So those need to go.
  • To learn to make more healthy and DELICIOUS recipes. It's cold here. Cooking is a fun and indoor hobby, why not? This is the reason that makes me most excited.

Throughout this dietary challenge, I'm participating in a really lively Whole30 Facebook group with other Whole30'ers. The person leading the charge is my dear friend from JMU (Go Dukes!), Jeanne! Jeanne has been at this Whole30 game for a good while, and is formally educated on the subject. She is an amazing resource, and has a blog of her own that is insanely helpful with breaking some of the harder concepts down. So if you have questions beyond the basics, I'd send you to her at this point since I am still learning. But the support in the Facebook group has been incredible, and is making it really social and fun. 

Have any of you ever done Whole30? I'd love to hear your experience! Or have any of you thought of doing it before - what's stopping you? 

 

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.

My Favorite Food and Drinks in Bermuda - Review - Dana Chirps

Ok, so let me be the first person to tell you that you don't go to Bermuda for the culinary experience. You go for the beaches, and natural beauty. However, I have acquired some favorite food and drinks on the island since moving there!

Swizzle at Beach House

Tropical Drinks - Rum Swizzle and Dark n' Stormy at Beach House - Bermuda

Tropical Drinks - Rum Swizzle and Dark n' Stormy at Beach House - Bermuda

The swizzle at Beach House is my favorite on the island - which are fighting words, but I am standing my ground on this one. I like that their recipe does not taste syrupy, or like you're drinking fruit concentrate over ice. It's refreshing, light, and is guaranteed to brighten your day. Bonus: Beach House overlooks the clear blue water of Achilles Bay. For food, I recommend sticking to sandwiches (avoid the salads, unless they bring back their nicoise salad). It’s worth mentioning that they have seasonal hours, so be sure to call. But when they’re open, it’s well worth the trip. 

Harvest Bowl at Devil’s Isle

Harvest Bowl - Devil's Isle - Hamilton, Bermuda

Harvest Bowl - Devil's Isle - Hamilton, Bermuda

Devil's Isle is smack dab in the middle of town. It has a trendy vibe, and a robust menu. I swear by the Harvest Bowl. You can customize your bowl with your preferred grain, protein, and dressing… they also give you the option of serving the salad warm or chilled. I order my bowl the way people order their Starbucks. My go-to customizations are: quinoa, grilled octopus (SO good), garlic dressing, added avocado (yes, I know it's extra) - served WARM so that the kale is nice and soft. It is also worth noting that this place has the best iced coffee on the island. And the truffle fries. Mother of God, they are good.

Anything at Coconut’s

Food with a view - Bermuda

Food with a view - Bermuda

You know when you meet a guy and he’s not a total hottie, but decent looking… but then his personality makes him the sexiest man on earth? That’s basically what lunch at Coconut’s is like. I’ve had lunch here several times, and each time it has been good. But the view is what makes this place downright sexy. You FEEL like you’re in Bermuda when you eat here.

Avocado “Egg Rolls” at White Horse

Avocado Rolls at White Horse - Bermuda

Avocado Rolls at White Horse - Bermuda

Calling all avo lovers! Stop what you’re doing right now, and go to White Horse in St. George’s and order these. They are much bigger than the egg rolls from a Chinese restaurant in America. These bad boys are served up with this soy-based dipping sauce that is unreeeeeal. This is the only place where I have ever ordered “another” of a food time. And ya know what? I ain’t sorry. Not one bit. 

Curried Fish Cake Sandwich at Bonefish

Curried fish cake sandwich - Bonefish - Bermuda

Curried fish cake sandwich - Bonefish - Bermuda

This is not to be confused with the “fish sandwich.” This fish cake is packed with curry flavor which I LOVE. Oddly, they pair this fish cake with fried banana… I don’t understand it either, but it WORKS. I inhaled this sandwich at Bonefish which is a casual spot in Dockyard. If you have room after your meal, you can meander around, and get a Bermuda rum cake (I like the swizzle flavor best).

NOT PHOTOGRAPHED, BUT WORTH MENTIONING:

Artmel’s Fish Sandwich

Seriously, don’t even waste your breath in trying to convince me that there is a better fish sandwich on the island. I don’t have any photographic evidence of this sandwich because I ate it too fast. This Bermudian classic is exactly what you need when you’re craving fried food, are hungover, sober, hungry, or just feel like eating. 

Nachos at Swizzle Inn (near Grotto Bay)

I know everyone likes to hype the swizzle there, but I think the real highlight are Swizzle Inn's BBQ chicken nachos. Worth. every. calorie. They are not photogenic. In fact, they look like a messy volcano of all things good and unhealthy. So you should order them. And probably some swizzle, too.

The Sammy Roll at Beluga Bar

For those who know me, know that sushi basically takes up 68% of my personal food pyramid. The Sammy Roll is the best sushi roll on that 20(ish) square mile island, and one of the best rolls I've ever had, ever. I don't want to spoil it, and tell you why (they intentionally keep what makes this roll special off the description on their menu, too!). So you'll have to go into town (this joint is inside of the mall) and try it yourself! 

Savory Kernels

I don’t even eat popcorn. In fact, I have some pretty adverse reactions when I eat the stuff. But I will pay that price for their rosemary garlic flavored popcorn EVERY TIME. The ketchup flavor is also yummy. If you like a little spice, try the jalapeno cheddar. 

Visiting Bermuda? See what my first visitor had to say, and recommended!

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.

The Greatest Onion of Them All

Garlic. It is the greatest onion of them all. If I had to choose between chocolate and garlic - I'm choosing my stinky bulb of deliciousness. And if I had to choose between garlic and red wine... well, let's just pray to the taste bud heavens that I won't ever have to make that choice. ;) Recently I met a couple of cool cats who share my obsession enthusiasm for garlic. One of them was kind enough to send me a recipe that uses elephant garlic, which is essentially the mac daddy of garlic because it's about the size of an orange. After reading the rest of the short list of ingredients, I was pretty stoked to make this with my mom who is in town visiting.

Recipe Source: Herb-Grilled Elephant Garlic, from the "Cooking on the Weekends" blog by Valentina.

This was my interpretation:

The ingredients
The ingredients
Mt. Garlic
Mt. Garlic
Mix everything.
Mix everything.
Add S&P to both sides. Strike a pose.
Add S&P to both sides. Strike a pose.
Cook em'
Cook em'
Make a snack
Make a snack
Eat at least 12 of said snack.
Eat at least 12 of said snack.

I ended up taking a cracker, spreading some goat cheese on it, and then topping it off with the garlic (and some thyme to garnish). It took brute will power to not eat the entire batch of garlic. I will absolutely be making this again. This is a perfect snack to eat while watching hockey! (BTW - is it October yet?!)

In the meantime... I'll be sweating garlic out at the gym... but I'm pretty ok with that. :)

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.

A Dessert Like No Other

A couple of my girlfriends and I wanted to get dessert somewhere, so we walked around the corner from my apartment, and went to Steak 954. I saw a picture of their baked alaska on their instagram, and knew that was what I wanted to order. This was one of the best desserts I've ever had in.my.life. It's a light key lime flavored ice-cream that is surrounded by porcupine looking meringue. All of that goodness swims in a pool of berry blended amazingness. Also worth noting - this was the only time EVER that my girlfriends and I have been silent while together, because we were too busy inhaling this masterpiece.

Key lime baked alaska
Key lime baked alaska

We also ordered the chocolate souffle. Of course Steak 954 has to go over the top with it (in a good way). A server breaks the souffle open in front of us, which in turn fills the air around us with a chocolatey scent. Then he pours this hot chocolate sauce INTO the souffle, which is what you see in the picture below. Oh, and it is served with salted caramel ice-cream. I think I just found the cure to PMS.

Chocolate souffle
Chocolate souffle

With it being a "cool" 70 something degrees (oh how I love south Florida weather), I wanted a warm drink to wash down my dessert. I opted for their Vietnamese coffee. The bottom layer is condensed milk, then coffee in the middle, and foam on top. Once you mix it, it's like a light and sweet coffee.

Vietnamese coffee
Vietnamese coffee

I don't know for sure, but I'm convinced there is some sort of sugar genius in the kitchen of Steak 954. Also - shout out to our server, Kevin! He had such a friendly, and accommodating personality - we'll be asking for him whenever we go.

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.

Coconut Banana Smoothie

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So lately I've picked up running again. With South Florida's glorious sunny weather it takes me all of 11 seconds to sweat my metaphorical balls tail off. But in the name of bikini season, I truck through it anyways. The second I make it back to my condo, I victoriously collapse onto the tile floor to cool down, catch my breath, and fully appreciate the AC. But my latest post-run obsession has been smoothies. I've always loved frozen delights, but I swear they taste even better in South Florida! I make an effort to keep them healthy, which is pretty easy. My new favorite is my Coconut Banana Smoothie which I enjoyed drinking out of one of my copper Moscow Mule mugs (they keep drinks/smoothies extra cold) today.Coconut Banana SmoothieIngredients:

    • 1 Frozen Banana (potassium, huzzah!)
    • 1 Plain Greek Yogurt (I used the Fresh Market Brand which has 18g of protein, bam!)
    • 1/2 cup of Coconut Milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
    • 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut

Blend (I swear by my Oster Blender). Adjust the amount of milk to your preference of smoothie thickness. Enjoy.

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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.

Taste of Venice

...Venice, Florida, that is. This past weekend I took a little weekend trip to the "other coast" of Florida - the west coast. It was a great time had by all (met up with some pretty awesome people).

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In comparison to Fort Lauderdale Beach, Venice Beach had lighter colored sand, clearer water, a larger shore, and more of a "low key, vacation" vibe to it. It was kind of nice getting out of the hustle and bustle my neck of the woods for the weekend.

On Saturday, we grabbed some brunch at a charming place called Nokomis Breakfast House. It's a tiny little yellow house converted into a tiny little restaurant. The interior was simple, but bright. Every table had a white tablecloth, and painted chairs - green, orange, pink, blue, purple, yellow, etc. We were sat at the "purple table," which matched the nail color on my toes perfectly, might I add! Aside from my table, I would estimate that the average age was 72, and I honestly would not have it any other way. I loved it. I ordered Eggs Florentine (seen below). But I'd have to say that the chocolate chip pancakes that my friend ordered stole the show! (But only if you REALLY like chocolate ;) ).

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The highlight of the trip was when my buddies and I went to the beach during sunset. At first I wasn't going to go in the water since it had gotten a little breezy. But I ended up getting thrown over someone's shoulder and chucked playfully into the water. Not gonna lie though - I'm glad I was. :)

The ocean itself looked like a sea of gold. It was just spectacular.

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I also snapped this picture of a fellow swimming in the ocean solo. It's nice to have those moments of solidarity with ol' Mother Nature. Whenever I have those moments, I feel like a tiny fleck in this gigantic world of ours. It's humbling but still incredibly gratifying each time I get the chance to feel this way.

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It was also refreshing to see so many people come out to just watch the sunset, and appreciate the magnitude of its beauty.

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This trip made me realize a few things though:

  1. I love going to quieter places to "re-charge." But I could never live in a quiet place.
  2. I have a moderate obsession with pretty skies. So I am considering getting a "real" camera instead of my 5s (iphone) to better capture them.
  3. I have awesome people in my life.
  4. Road trips are always a good idea.

I'm already ready to go back again.

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.

S3 (Sun Surf Sand) Review

I have a new favorite restaurant, and it is right around the corner from me! It's attached to the Hilton Hotel, right on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and called "S3" which sands for "Sun Surf Sand." My girlfriends and I went to this tapas style restaurant on Friday, and we all loved it! First up, the almond crusted Goat Cheese Croquettes, served over a red chili guava sauce. I can't even begin to describe how delicious these balls of holy goodness were. The sauce it was served with was unlike anything I've ever had before. Also, it was not spicy (I'm a huge wuss with spicy things, so I get scared when I see the word "chili" in the description). Absolutely fantastic.

                                    Goat Cheese Croquettes ~ Almond Crusted ~ Red Chili Guava

                                    Goat Cheese Croquettes ~ Almond Crusted ~ Red Chili Guava

Next came the Rosemary Fittes, served with a parmesan aioli.  They were "good." But I've had better fries elsewhere. I liked the aioli more than the fries. 

                                                           Rosemary Frittes ~ Parmesan Aioli

                                                           Rosemary Frittes ~ Parmesan Aioli

One of the girls that was at dinner, LT, truly cannot turn down an opportunity to order deviled eggs. So she selected the Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs which are served with smoked sea salt, and espelette (yea I don't know what that is either). I didn't try any, but Lauren said that they were very good. And unlike most deviled eggs, she said these were light, and had a good pickled flavor.

                                            Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs ~ Smoked Sea Salt ~ Espelette

                                            Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs ~ Smoked Sea Salt ~ Espelette

Then we had some mac & cheese with smoked gouda and crispy prosciutto. There was a lot of fuss made on yelp about how good the macaroni is here. I can see where a lot of people would like this dish, but it was not for me. Joy pointed out that the "crispy prosciutto" tasted just like bacon bits - we all agreed. But if you are someone who likes really "hearty" meals and flavors, you would probably enjoy this better than we did.

                                               Mac & Cheese ~ Smoked Gouda ~ Crispy Prosciutto

                                               Mac & Cheese ~ Smoked Gouda ~ Crispy Prosciutto

Last but not least, was my favorite dish of the night! Grilled octopus! It was served with gigande bean, tomatoes, and a salsa verde.  Hands down, this is the best grilled octopus I've ever consumed. It was not rubbery at all, and all of the flavors went beautifully together.

                                                    Grilled Octopus ~ Gigande Bean ~ Salsa Verde

                                                    Grilled Octopus ~ Gigande Bean ~ Salsa Verde

All in all, I'd give S3 a 4.5/5 . The dishes that we liked best were phenomenal, and the ones that we didn't like as much were still quite good. The service was good (Shout out to Dylan who wasn't our server, but stopped by our table and had such an awesome personality that we are going to request him next time!). They offer indoor/outdoor seating.

I'd order the goat cheese, and octopus again for sure, but also can't wait to try some of the other menu items!

                                                                               The view.

                                                                               The view.

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.

Rok Burger Review

Recently, I went to Rok Burger, which is a "burger bar and gastropub" in Fort Lauderdale.  I went with my friend Lauren, as we had both been wanting to try it for quite some time. It was funny because once I got there, I had realized I had actually been there before, back when I had first moved to Fort Lauderdale in May, 2013. Luckily, I remembered that both my mom and I had enjoyed it quite a bit when we went. So I was  excited to be back! Lauren and I were craving some fried appetizers. So we ordered three appetizers to share. We selected the truffle fries, fried pickles, and lobster corn dogs.

                                               Fried pickles on the left, lobster corn dogs on the right.

                                               Fried pickles on the left, lobster corn dogs on the right.

Out of the three, my favorite was the fried pickles! I LOVE pickles in general, so it was a treat to devour the thick fried slices dipped in the smoked ranch dip. The lobster corn dogs were good... both the breading, and the meat was bit on the sweet side. The dipping sauce they paired it with was a spicy mustard, which I'd compare to a smoother Goldens. They were good... but I wouldn't order them again.

                                                                                  Truffle Fries

                                                                                  Truffle Fries

I'll be honest. I'm not a huge potato person (weird, I know). But these fries were fantastic. They also had parmesan cheese all over them, which was awesome. The serving was huge, and enough for 3 people to share.

I'd give Rok Burger 4/5 stars. The service was great. The decor was really cool with lots of exposed brick, and lots of variety of seating arrangements (inside, outside, bar, regular booths, huge booths, etc.). The food was fantastic, but I just wish those lobster corn dogs were paired with a different sauce. But Rok Burger is definitely a place to go back to!

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.