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Posts tagged “healthy

The Whole 30: The End

This week I said adieu to The Whole 30 after four long weeks of clean, healthy eating. While I did a “lite” version of this paleo-inspired program which included some additional vegetables & beans since I was excluding meat, I feel as though I was still able to get a good feel for the program.

Pros:

As with my juice cleanse in 2012, I found that one of the major challenges for me at the beginning of The Whole 30 was to think before eating. That may sound like a simple task, but a lot of snacking & munching throughout the day is habit or boredom or automatic rather than actual hunger.

Since this program excludes certain things I was forced to think about what I put into my body more consciously than I do on a regular basis. And that can’t be anything but good! Really listening to my body and asking the right questions was key – Am I really hungry? What is my body asking for? – I was also forced to plan my meals in advance to ensure I was receiving the necessary nutrients.

MacNCheesePlatedE

{Vegan, gluten-free mac n’ cheese & sautéed garlic vegetables}

Cons:

While I did miss some things {namely sweetener in my morning tea & Diet Coke}, I knew I could survive without them for a month. The real con about this program is that it’s not sustainable. It’s a cleanse and intended to be followed only for a short period of time. Living without alllllll fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, beans, and nuts isn’t conceivable if I want to live a full & healthy life.

Physical Benefits:

I already follow a fairly healthy diet, I do most of my own cooking and stay away from synthetic & processed foods, but overall in January I felt even healthier than usual. I woke up easily & was filled with energy, my days were productive and by planning out healthy, protein-rich meals in advance I avoided blood sugar spikes over the course of the day, and – best of all – I slept exceptionally well most nights.

Biggest Benefit:

I spent a great deal of 2012 in the kitchen but I have to admit that I was mostly baking. This month I tried more new recipes than I can remember trying all of last year! I made stew, paella, sautées, stir frys, mac n’ cheese, BBQ Baked Beans, and a couple other tasty new dishes. It was fun to put some real effort into being creative in the kitchen and I really hope to continue with that now that the challenge is over.

Have you ever tried a clean eating program like The Whole 30? What were the worst & best parts?

If you’d like to read about my entire experience with The Whole 30 you can catch up at the following links: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two, The Whole 30: Week Three & The Whole 30: Week Four.


{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

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However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?


The Whole 30: Week Four

In this, the fourth and final full week of The Whole 30 challenge, I started to realize just how great I’m feeling. While this clean eating plan isn’t terribly far off from my usual way of eating, it excludes the few synthetic, processed & sweet things that I usually consume. Mostly Diet Coke on weekends, Stevia in my morning green tea, the baked goods that I prepare a few times a month, and the red wine or whiskey I indulge in every once in a while.

And I’m not sure if it’s excluding these things that’s making me feel so much better or just the consistency of my diet lately, but I have been feeling great.

Snacks:

Same old, same old. Fresh veggies, smoothies, and sweet potatoes.

Part of the consistency that I mentioned above is a major reduction in my overall snacking – By consciously filling my meals with substantial amounts of fiber & protein I’m staying full and satiated for longer which means less snacking.

Meals:

My favorite new dish this week was one that I made for brunch last weekend – OhSheGlow’s Maple Baked Lentils w/ Sweet Potatoes. I made a few Whole 30-approved changed and the end result was absolutely delicious. Savory and filling with a hint of sweetness. I was thrilled that I’d made enough for brunch as well as a few mid-week meals for myself.

BakedLentils

Thoughts So Far:

While many things about this way of eating seem like smart ideas that should be extended beyond the 30 days – Such as reduced consumption of alcohol, processed foods, synthetics ingredients – I don’t believe that this is a sustainable all-the-time diet. I’m hoping to continue on when it comes to certain aspects, but such an austere eating plan just plain isn’t fun when it comes to eating out or social events.

How I Feel:

As I said above this cleanse is having quite beneficial results for me. I’m sleeping really well, but more than that, I’m even – Emotionally and physically – Through out the day. Part of that is that I’m not going from starving to overly full because I’m planning my meals out in advance, and part of it is that my blood sugar is stable throughout the day so that there are no highs & lows.

Even = GOOD! 🙂

If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this series here they are: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two & The Whole 30: Week Three.

Follow my daily struggles, thoughts, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Three

Here we are at Week Three of The Whole 30 Challenge, which could also be called “I can almost taste the coconut squares.” Yes, I’m already planning my first “non-Whole 30” treat. Judge away.

Snacks:

There was some serious sweet potato-age this week! I barely touched them the first two weeks but this week, in addition to craving them, I was also reading about the positive health benefits of potatoes in Kathleen DesMaisons’s Potatoes Not Prozac {book report to come!}. So this week I ended up eating baked potatoes as snacks and even adding chunks of them to my mornings smoothies.

Yum!

Meals:

A friend came over for dinner Tuesday and I was excited to finally try a recipe that I had printed out the week before – Carrie On Vegan’s BBQ Baked Beans. They turned out great as the entree for our little dinner party with sauteed green beans & asparagus and curried cauliflower on the side.

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I’m loving cauliflower right now so if you’re like me and just can’t get enough you should check out Holly Would If She Could’s 5 Things To Do With: CAULIFLOWER and get some new inspiration!

Thoughts So Far:

I had the strangest cravings this week! If someone mentioned a food or if I read about a meal or saw food on TV it as immediately the only thing I could think about. Which is especially odd since I don’t even eat most of those things in the first place. My subconscious clearly just doesn’t like being told “no!”

How I Feel:

Fantastic! I’m sleeping really well, I’m waking up easily and without caffeine, I have energy and concentration throughout the day, and I feel really satiated after my meals. And that smugness Holly promised is really starting to kick in… 🙂

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of my experience with The Whole 30 – You can read about Week One here.

The main difference for this second week – and the first full week – was the addition of a weekend. During a standard week I have routines and I plan everything out in advance, however I tend to approach my weekends with a much more lackadaisical attitude. There are more social engagements, meals at restaurants, traveling & events, and during the weekends I’m not as regimented with food & fitness. I like to bake, I drink wine, I allow myself treats at the Farmers Market…

Snacks:

Adammame beans, roasted beet chips, baby carrots, and vegetable based smoothies were all on the docket this week. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was pretty thrilled when I came across the container of ready-to-eat edammame at a health food store in Sacramento.

Meals:

I was still working through my batch of crockpot cauliflower & sweet potato stew this week and I supplemented my meals with coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflower & zucchini. The other main dish that I made for this week was a delicious Quinoa Vegetable Paella – I substituted lentils for the quinoa – Feeling really proud of myself – And emphasized the veggies I had on hand.

PaellaPan

You know I really enjoy a dish when there isn’t a single picture of it plated – I enjoyed it too much to slow down long enough to take a picture of it!

Thoughts So Far:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and cart snacks/meals around with you – Whether it’s going to the office or traveling over the weekends. During this full week it became apparent how important it was for me to bring healthy, satisfying alternatives into the office for midday consumption – Otherwise I binged on the readily available nuts when the snacking urge hit me.

How I felt:

Despite having similar meals each day how much I ate and how often varied from day-to-day. I was surprised to find that some days I was starving in the mornings, while on others I barely ate until the afternoon. This eating plan is alllll about listening to your body & giving it what it needs!

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:


Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Jackets and blazers and coats – Oh My! Chic jackets, blazers, and coats in brilliant jewel tones, soft velvets & corduroy, fun patterns, formal tweeds & brocades, and freshly pressed trenches will all make appearances this Fall, so get a head start with WhoWhatWear’s Street Style with Adam Katz Sinding: Chic Outerwear.

Sweatshirts don’t have to be boring or gym-worthy, this season you’ll want to find a sweatshirt with a cute patterned or retro design to pair with your separates. Bright colors, fun nostalgia-inducing graphics, even highschool letterman-style sweatshirts will be hitting the streets – Trend: Sweat Chic.

There’s nothing quite like seeing what one of your fashion idols has their closet to get you in the mood to revamp your own wardrobe! Luckily for us Harper’s Bazaar is taking you on a tour of DJ, model, and Chanel ambassador Leigh Lezark’s fashion collection – Closet of the Month: Leigh Lezark.

When you’re fashion-obsessed the passion for fashion doesn’t stop with clothing and accessories, it extends to ever facet of your life. Like Tom Ford said: “Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time, and that’s what excites me.” So let’s enjoy this tour of a fabulous, fashionable, organized home – The Brunette’s My home, my essentials.

One of the reasons that I love doing Style File posts is that you get to recreate and put a fun, fresh spin on an outfit that someone you admire has worn. Whether it’s a celebrity, a model, a blogger, or a fashion editor, you’re taking the time to really look at their personal style and try to recreate a look that you love. Smile For Style agrees and has shared her picks for this killer look from Revenge start Ashley Madekwe – Get Her Look: Ashley Madekwe.

Health & Fitness:

If you could make some small changes in your life and boost your mood and ultimately your happiness, wouldn’t you? Best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein shares her tips – From simple things like starting the day with positivity to practicing self-love. Happiness 101: 6 Ways To Be In A Good Mood All The Time.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold onto Halloween for as long as possible, and that means making Halloween-style treats wellllll after the holiday itself passes – Sweet Vegan Treats For a Happy Halloween.

Taking some time for a calming yoga routine each day could not only help you cope with everyday stress, it could also give you a great energy boost – Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up from Women’s Health.

The ladies over at Tone It Up! are known for their great outdoor & beach workouts that you can do with little to no equipment and their latest, Halloween inspired workout is another fab example filled with bridges, planks, and cardio – Your Tone It Up Tuesday SpOokTacULaR Workout!

Pizza is the ultimate comfort food but unfortunately it’s not usually on the approved foods list for the conscientious, healthy eater. But what if it could be? Check out these killer veggie-filled recipes and get cooking! Green Garden Pizza, Garlic Flatbread/Pizza Crust, Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizza & Swiss Chard Pizza from Gluten Free, Soy Free Vegan.


Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

There’s a new “It” beauty blog in town brought to us by the fashionable French “It” girls the Courtin-Clarins. So if you’re in the mood for some tips, ideas, and/or product reviews head over to Beauty Flash Blog for more!

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Project time! Want to create your own chic sunglasses rack? Frassy Life has you covered with this fun and oh-so-easy version that you can do with simple things you’ve probably already got on hand.

Rachel Zoe’s jewelry line is full of fun, funky, retro-inspired pieces that can work with just about any look or destination. Don’t believe me? The stylist put together some killer looks for her pieces just to prove it – Day, Night & Workwear.

Sometimes a fashionista’s gotta do what a fashionista’s gotta do! Essential Indulgences for Fashion Bloggers – What are your indulgences and must haves?

dean quinn

I love discovering designers or an exciting new esthetic that suits my personal style to perfection. And with Fashion Week Month just starting, now’s the time to keep your eyes peeled! Check out The Ones To Watch from Harper’s Bazaar or Olivia Palermo’s Lines We Love: Chinti and Parker or Lines We Love: Anndra Neen.

If you’re starting to think about your Fall 2012 wardrobe why not get some recommendations from the fashionable editors over at Harper’s Bazaar? Smart Shopoing – Cheap Designer Clothes & Accessories.

Health & Fitness:

You know me, I’m a smoothie girl through and through. So was I ever excited when I heard that it was recently International Green Smoothie Day! PARADE! TICKER TAPE! Top 10 Green Smoothie Recipes: International Green Smoothie Day.

Sweet Strawberry Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Desserts can be healthy. Or, just not as bad. So why not try something new and exciting like Persian Ice Cream, Sweet Strawberry Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce, or  – Go Cuckoo For Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

Snacking is a crucial part of my daily life. Making sure that my blood sugar doesn’t drop so I don’t end up cranky OR binging and falling into a food coma is important. Need some fun new ideas to shake things up? The Hungry Hungry Hippie has you covered – Vegetarian Snack Ideas.

I love going to the farmer’s market but we all know the tragedy of fruits & veggies going bad before we get the chance to use them. Well, it turns out there are some tricks of the trade to help keep your Farmer’s Market fare from turning too quickly! 13 Tricks and Tips For Keeping Produce Fresh Longer.

Getting in shape isn’t just about hitting the gym and getting enough walking in, it’s about how you’re fueling your body. Afterall, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Don’t believe me? Take it from Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser – Why Nutrition Is Number One For Weight Loss.


Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

Adding some healthy recipes to your repertoire is a great way to stay in shape and make sure that you’re getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Here are some great options to try out:

Interested in the benefits of a raw diet and how eating high raw can help your health and digestion? Why Raw? Revisiting the Question from Choosing Raw.

Staying  hydrated while you’re working out during the summer is key, whether you’re hitting the gym or going for a long run, it’s something that you need to be sure that you’re considering – 5 Tips for Staying Hydrated in the Heat.

omg vegan desserts header TOP 25 OMG Vegan Desserts

And what’s life without a little dessert? 25 Vegan Desserts – Including every delicious thing from Coconut Tiramisu to Fudge Daddy Brownies to Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread to Caramel Peach Sticky Buns.

You can eat it or you can take it in a pill, but you should be sure that you’re getting enough! Enough what? Garlic, of course. Read Organice Your Life’s Garlic health benefits.

Fashion:

Here’s a fun, quick project that will help you entertain fashionably at your next dinner or cocktail party – Cupcakes & Cashmere’s Sparkly Rustic Tray DIY.

Need some new nail art ideas? Check out Refinery 29’s Nail Art’s New Wave: How To Get The Bubbly, Beautiful “Pop Fizz” Look.

I’m a fan of Fashion Vibe’s Zina Charkoplia’s personal style so it’s great to see her showing up on others radar as well – Looks of the Week & Looks of the Week. Check out some of her best looks on WhoWhatWear’s Style Stalker piece.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


List Girl

My June Listing post was such a success that I thought I’d make it a semi-regular offender, so get ready for some information about me and details about what I’ve been doing lately.

What I’ve been eating:

I can’t seem to get out of the kitchen actually, something which I blame this new 11-Cup Cuisinart Food Processor for. I was thrilled to upgrade from the 4-cup to the 11-cup but I haven’t stopped baking since it arrived, and that’s rough on the jeans!

I’m still eating tons of veggies, cooking healthy meals for Arianna at least once a week, and eating my body weight in fruit every day, but everything I eat seems to come with a side of baked goods these days…

{JL Goes Vegan’s Cherry-Oat Ice Cream BarsPeanut Butter Protein Balls & OhSheGlow’s Oil-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins}

The boy has been thrilled by this little development and no one in my office is complaining about the abundance of cookies and zucchini muffins, I can assure you!

What I’ve been reading:

It seems like lately I’ve spent a lot of time on the train or in the car, so reading materials have been a must. The benefit is that I’m all caught up on my favorite magazines now, which is a relief, and I’ve read a handful of books over the last few weeks.

Recently I’ve gotten through the too cute Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Martin Cruz Smith’s Russian crime novel Stalin’s Ghost, and the international espionage novel Moscow Vector by Patrick Larkin. Now it’s on to Robin Maxwell’s Signora da Vinci and Lucrezia Borgia by Sara Bradford, both of which have been gathering dust on my bedside table.

What I’ve been writing:

Um… I take the 5th. I swear I’ll have an answer in my next Listing post. I swear!

What I’ve been wearing:

I’ve been making an effort to trade in my easy-to-wear dresses for fun separates and that’s given me a chance to be more creative with colors and prints and accessories so far this Summer.

Hopefully I can keep this up through the end of Summer and start Fall off right with lots of great skirts and pants paired with fabulous tops and all the cold weather accessories I’ve been missing!

Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me:

  • I spend most of my waking time thinking about food – I love to cook and eat, and trying a new recipe is one of my favorite parts of the day.
  • I compulsively double lock my front door whenever I walk inside my apartment. Even when Sean’s just walked out to drop off the garbage. I can’t help it!
  • I love swimming and spending my vacations in the water, but I’m afraid of lake monsters. Don’t ask.

How have you been spending your time lately? Have you eaten anything great? Read anything new? Worn anything fabulous that you’d like to share?