The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 15

Week 15 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

Hey now!  15 weeks, huh?  That’s a long time.  You know what would make this more interesting?  If I was all in it to win it.  I feel like my goals are too big, I’m too hard on myself when I mess up, and then I pamper myself too much after I’m too hard on myself.  I need closer goals.  Like maybe if I can lose these next 3 pounds, I’ll get a pedicure or something.  I need smaller goals.  These big goals are hard to swallow.  Anyone else feelin’ that way today?  What do you do to tackle the big stuff?

Weigh in:

I’m down 1.4 pounds.

Don’t you hate it when you step on the scale and it says one thing and you’re all like that’s awesome and then you just HAVE to get on the scale to double check and in the 2.4 seconds in between stepping off and on the scale again you miraculously gained over half a pound?  If I hadn’t stepped back on, we would be celebrating  a loss of 2 whole pounds, but whatever.  Hey!  It went down.  Yea me.  Grand total loss on the #cbdiet = 3ish pounds.  It’s not you, it’s me.


  • None.  How I went down {almost} 2 pounds, I don’t know.

Success stories:

Being social is apparently pretty good for my portion control.  I’ve had many more shared meals this week and have done pretty well on just eating enough.  Whether it’s because I’m self-conscious or because I’m too busy talking or hosting or carrying my baby niece around, WHO CARES.  I’m eating less and that’s awesome.


Beer bread.  But who wouldn’t?


Here’s a little back story first.  2 weeks ago at home group, we were talking about love and how it is translated in the Greek.  There are four types of love:  storge {eg: Man I love that pizza}, philia {brotherly love}, eros {bow chicka bow wow}, and agape {a love for which you give your whole self over}.  In the explanation, someone further brought clarity to the matter by saying, “You don’t agape pizza, you stoge pizza.”  To which a couple of my roommates replied, “Wait.  Are we talking about Nicole’s Thai Chicken Pizza?” “Yeah, because that might actually be agape.”

This week, the potluck theme for our homegroup was Pan-Asian.  So, I made my Thai Chicken Pizza. Pizza crust {I used this one and did it up in the bread maker, it made two ginormo pizza crusts}, peanut sauce {I used this one, but I would cut down the honey significantly because it’s way too sweet for this use}, chicken breast {cooked, I grilled some on a George Foreman and stuck them in the freezer for later use. I used one per pizza, cut up after they thawed, then heated it back up a bit in the microwave}, broccoli slaw mix or shredded carrots {I microwave it for a couple of minutes so that I don’t end up with uncooked broccoli or carrots on my pizza}, pizza cheese, and cilantro.  I slather just enough peanut sauce on the cooked crust then sprinkle a thin layer of cheese.  I mix a tablespoon or so of the peanut sauce in a bowl with the chicken breast then distribute the sauced chicken on top of the cheese.  I sprinkle a handful or so of the broccoli mix or shredded carrots next.  I top it with another handful of cheese.  Pop it in a hot oven until the cheese melts.  After I take it out of the oven, I drizzled a few small dollups of peanut sauce on top, just to make sure the flavor was all throughout, then topped it with freshly chopped cilantro.  Salivate and serve.

Voila! Thai Chicken Pizza: much prettier when it hasn’t been sitting in tupperware for 3 days.

The nice thing about is that if you cut the honey down in the sauce, it really isn’t that bad for calorie counting.  Plus, broccoli slaw mix on a pizza?  Brownie points for creative veggie stealthiness.


LfT was totally spot on. These things are amazing. I ate an entire container in a matter of days. By myself.

Trying to pack more calcium into my mornings with parfaits, which are apparently only pretty on Pinterest.

Warm beverages keep me full longer.  Eternally grateful that my friend Erin posted a picture of this savvy trick of her mother’s: keeping coffee warm on a candle warmer. I immediately bought this one and it has been a LIFE SAVER. The coffee is always PERFECTLY between warm and hot. I even use it to just hold hot water so I can warm my hands occasionally on cooler mornings in the office.  It even has an automatic shut-off, too.

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The Patchwork Quilt of Post-College Community

December 15th will mark 5 years since I was whisked across a stage, shook hands with people I didn’t know who in turn gave me a cardboard tube with nothing inside. It seems so insignificant, if not a little strange, but that walk across that stage on the day of my graduation from college symbolized the walk into adulthood for me. I was in my 20s, but it appeared life was just beginning or perhaps beginning all over again, just as it had years earlier when I walked across another similar stage wearing similar garb.

5 years ago, the job market for college grads wasn’t so bleak as it is now. Back then, you walked across that stage with confidence, a cheerful boldness, resting in the hope of a bright and promising future. Current economic disenchantment aside, I think there is a largely unaddressed tribulation lurking on the other side of that stage: community.

When I walked across that stage into post-college, career life, I found myself alone. I live in a college town. This transient town isn’t a final destination of choice, but a stepping stone for most. The vast majority of people don’t seem to have roots, things that keep them invested, things that keep them in it for the long haul. And sure, there were actual people surrounding me, but walking across that stage changed me. College seemed to me to be some sort of dam that held back the oppressively crushing weight of adulthood. Walking across that stage released it. And what was worse yet was there were few I knew around me who were going through it with me. And by few I mean none. For the first time in my life, I was going through such a significant experience utterly alone.

But what do I mean by alone? Carl Jung said it best. “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.” That’s what I’m talking about. Sure, there were people around, but no one was going through what I was going through. In a town of constant turnovers, college graduates leave as fast as they can. The ones who stay behind marry and raise families. I fit into neither category and no one else around me stood where I stood.

The first couple of years after I graduated were the worst. I’d never felt so completely surrounded and so completely alone. I longed for a community of people who were going through this with me. Though none were to be found, somehow I made it.

In fact, it had been years since I really even thought about it. That is, until a friend of mine recently graduated and much to his disappointment felt called to stay.

We had coffee on a Sunday. As I sipped, he spilt. The frustration and fears he expressed were the exact same ones I had nearly 5 years earlier. Hearing them come from another person made me realize I wasn’t alone. Not now, at least. And neither was he.

At the end of it all, he apologized profusely for being a downer on an otherwise beautiful day. I assured him it was no trouble at all.

He paused. Then,

“How do you do it, Nicole?”

I was hoping he wouldn’t ask me. I had spent the last few minutes trying to remember how I got to where I was today.

It’s hard to say, really. I told him everything I could think of: how I learned to be alone, how it all boiled down to a simple obedience to a calling on my heart.

Then, suddenly, an image came to mind.

“What’s more valuable: a comforter or a quilt?” I asked him. A quilt, of course.

I think community in college is kinda like a comforter. You’re all cut from the same cloth. You’re all in the same boat. At a moment’s notice, 15 of your best buds can grab some outdoor tables at Starbucks and share your school-inflicted woes. You can stay up until the sun rises and sleep through your first class the next morning and do it all again in a whim. Community in college is so effortless, it’s like breathing.

But post-college community is so different. To me, it’s more like a patchwork quilt.

Each piece of fabric is from a different cut of cloth. Some are scraps, some are repurposed, all are a little older and worse for the wear {at least they are in the good quilts my granny used to make}. If you just look at a pile of these little fabric remnants, there’s no way you’d see how it could possibly fit together, but a quilter would know. They get trimmed and arranged and pieced together. Painstakingly. Slowly. With much work and much effort. So much time. And in the end, you get something with such value.

That’s what post-college community has been like for me. Each person with the paisley print or plaid pattern of their pasts, coming together with great sacrifice and intentionality to make something where they feel they belong. To make a new home.

You’re not together because you’re alike. You’re together because you’ve made a choice and you’ve seen it through.

It’s never easy. We all have different jobs, different lives, different passions. So much works to tear us apart, but our common thread is Christ. He binds us to bear one another’s burdens, delight in one another’s delights.

This town is tough. It’s hard learning to love in a town that leaves. But with a community like this, it makes it easier to open up and love again. Because you know in the end, it’s just a matter of choice.

I gave an interview recently about the community-oriented coffeehouse I help run. We talked about community and they repeated back, “Yeah… like unity”. It caught me. “No,” I told the interviewer. “I don’t think community and unity are the same thing.” In community, you’re not always all the same. What makes community great is the diversity. It’s the fact that we look, act, think nothing alike, but we come together anyway. We love each other anyway. We live together anyway.

Community, to me, is stronger than unity. A patchwork quilt is more valuable than a comforter.

After coffee, my friend and I threw together an evening in the front yard around a chiminea.

As we cleaned up in the kitchen, I suddenly remembered our conversation from earlier that day.

“You know how I do it?” I asked him. “How I make it living in a town without people who are going through what I’m going through?”


“This. This is how.” I told him. Pizza, blankets, fireworks, friends and friends of friends, and fire. Intentionality. Piecing together what doesn’t seem to make sense to make something valuable. To make a new home.

Community. Tattered and torn, but together. This is how you make it.

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Three Things {take 2}

Again, not too much rhyme or reason.  Just things I’ve been thinking about.

  1. This little brush with autumn has revived my spirits like true love’s kiss to Sleeping Beauty’s lips.  In the last week, I’ve spent three evenings outside with friends.  Last night, we foraged our neighbors’ yards for spare limbs to make a fire.  There was something so special about gathering wood this way.  No one had to pay and everybody wins.  It was a magical evening.

    pizza, americano, jazz, pipe, guitar, fireworks, fire — Such an eclectic mix. Such an amazing night.

  2. I’m remembering how much of a visual learner I am.  I need checklists and calendars and organized thoughts on flow charts.  I’m also remembering how lazy I am.  I think that I’ll write it all down later and I don’t and then I forget.  This week, I sat down and actually visually represented ways in which I’m inclined to grow spiritually and examined areas where I don’t actively pursue growth.  I then worked out a schedule to make room for growth in those areas with practical applications and exercises.  I’m not trying to be pharisaic and all rules rules rules about it, but the truth is that discipline doesn’t just happen.  You have to set aside time for it.  You have to have a plan.  Same with physically healthy living, you know?  I have to plan to make better choices or else I’ll default to habit.  Unfortunately, I’m great about making plans.  Now I gotta actually do it.  So we’ll see how that goes.  Can I plan “getting my butt in gear”?
  3. After several months clean, I’m back on the caffeine habit.
    It’s just so gosh darn inviting when it’s chilly.  What’s really got me hooked is I’ve finally experienced an americano with just some cream, no sugar.  So smooth.  Right now, I long to weave my fingers around a hot porcelain mug, steam my face above its exhaust… GOTTAGOBYE.
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The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 14: The Social Life Edition

Week 14 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

This week, I was not really focused on my fitness.  The last 3 weeks had been busy but this week was supposed to be different.  But instead of waking up every morning at 5:30 AM, I was staying up a couple of hours later hanging out with friends.

Those who know me might be thinking that sounds normal.  But those who REEEEEEALLY know me know that the whole tour-guide Barbie personality I put on is just a facade.  That most nights I just want to lay around in a tank top and athletic shorts, watching Netflix alone.  In fact, I’ve been so good at convincing people I’m so busy, which granted I am quite busy many times during the year with work, that most people assume I’m too busy to hang out.  And I let them.

This week a friend of mine, who is MUCH busier than I am {60+ hours of work a week plus a grad student}, has initiated some hanging out time that is much more my speed.  Instead of lounging at home, I’ve been lounging under the stars with vodka or on a back porch with wine.  Basically, offer me alcohol and conversation and you’ve got my attention.  I know I need to get back into the swing of things, but I need to explore having a social life, too.  Balance, right?

Weigh in:

I’m up 2.4 pounds.

So down 2.4 pounds last week and up 2.4 pounds this week.  That might disappoint some, but what that tells me is I DEFINITELY don’t weigh more than where I’m measuring today.  I have such a high sodium diet {I like muh salt} that my weight fluctuates, but at least it’s fluctuating around a weight lower than it did a few months ago, you know?  Like my new median is lower than my old median and that makes me happy.


  • Run – 2 x – I went back to week 3 day 3 on C25K.  I’d rather complete something than try try try and fail.  I should have done more running this week, and starting next week I’ll be on the road all the time, but you can only do what you can do and this week I could do one run so there.

Success stories:

I ate an apple once.  {This hasn’t exactly been the best week}


I’ve eaten out for dinner or lunch around 4 times in the last week.   That’s not good.  Then there were two separate frozen yogurt runs when I probably didn’t need it.  But whoever really neeeeeeeeds yogurt?  The important thing is I did AWESOME on portion control.


I have done some cookin’, but not really anything that a good #cbdieter needs to know about unless they are planning a splurge.


Proof of Apple — Handpicked by a friend of mine in Vermont. It was more delicious than magic.


To be fair, I HAD just mowed our jungle of a front yard.


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The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 13

Week 13 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

Weigh in:

I’m down 2.4 pounds! 

So 2.8 pounds last week and 2.4 pounds this week.  Looks like I’m finally starting to burn off my vacation.  That’s a total of 4.3 pounds on the #cbdiet {since I gained a bit back somewhere in there}.


  • Run – 2 x – I’m on week 4 of c25K.  I’m sorry, but going from alternating 1.5 minute runs and 3 minute runs to alternating 3 minute runs and 5 minute runs is bull crap.  I’ve yet to successfully complete week 4 day 1.  BUT, I have been able to run the 3 minutes and then the 5 minutes, it’s the whole can you do that twice in one morning before 7 AM bit that I haven’t been able to complete.  There’s the whole matter of my heart rate still registering really high.  To be honest, it’s pretty frustrating right now but the simply truth is that someone of my size can not run this fast for this long without almost dying.  I’ll keep trying, but until I start losing more weight I really don’t see how I’ll ever make it through week 4 day 1.

Follow up to the follow up on my quest for music — Wednesday morning I was feeling really discouraged so I decided to run to Phil Wickham radio on Pandora. Good idea.  I still didn’t finish, but there were some really good come to Jesus moments there and at least I walked away remembering that my failure at C25K means nothing to God. I’m so much more than my failed attempts at C25K.  You know?

Success stories:

I DID run 5 minutes solid at 6 mph.  And when you’re a larger person, this is quite the accomplishment.  Also, I have been staying under my calorie goals, not quite too splurgy on the weekends.  I’ve even gone to bed a little hungry a couple of times.


One night, I went to Walgreens, CVS, and then a gas station across town looking for a danish to eat at ridiculously late o clock at night.  Good news?  I got home with it, popped in the movie we were going to watch, and never touched the danish.  In fact, it’s still in its packaging in the bag I bought it in.  Self control: 1.  Cheese Danish: 0.


A friend of mine drove to a nearby town that houses a huge commercial mushroom farm.  They sell out of their surplus for stinkin’ cheap and the quality is much better than grocery store fungus.  I ended up with 3 pounds of white button mushrooms  and 3 pounds of the largest portobellos I’ve ever seen.  So this week, I bring to you the week of mushroom recipes!  First off, we have Mushroom Barley Soup.  I made a pot of this so I could eat off of it all week at work.  For 4, 2 cup servings, it is:

Notice the ungodly amounts of sodium.  I already had the mushroom broth in the pantry, but I’ve really tried to look for low-sodium options since then.  It is quite good, though.  I first sauteed the mushrooms whole with some salt {probably would have skipped this step} in the bacon grease {because I had just cooked some bacon for something else, but you could just saute it or skip this step all together}.  Then I add the broth and let those mushrooms boil a bit.  Then I took the mushrooms out and blended them with my immersion blender.  Then I added them back to the broth, brought it to a boil and added the barley.  Once the barley was cooked, I turned it down, added the fresh thyme, stirred it a bit and it was done.   These servings are hearty and FILLING.

I also made Portobello Pesto Pizza.  Homemade pizza dough with some homemade pesto sauce from a friend, sauteed portobello slices, a little mozarella, and a pinch of red pepper flake.  Definitely my new favorite pizza.  So good, I’m making it for dinner tonight, too.


Proof that I actually ran for 5 minutes in a row. Little victories, right?

Found this quote and scrawled it onto one of the chalkboard walls at the coffeehouse I run. Good little reminder there.

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Three Things {take 1}

How about I write about something other than The Cardboard Box Diet?  Good?  Good.

Here’s just a few things on my mind… maybe all week, maybe all of the last 5 minutes.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s fodder and this blog needs some.

1.  I think I chemically burned the my skin on the outer corners of my skin.  It looks like botox gone bad.  Actually, it was at-home-teeth-whitening gone bad.  If I’ve had something sugary and my teeth feel… gritty… I become unglued.  So I mixed together a solution of peroxide and baking soda and scrub scrub scrubbed.  I must have gotten some on the outer corners of my mouth because today my lips are swollen on the outside edges and my skin is splotchy and itchy.  I may have applied 13 coats of chapstick today and a thin film of lotion around my mouth. Buuuuuuut at least my teeth feel squeaky clean again.

2.  There’s a group of ladies at my church who host a monthly “Ladies Tea”.  It’s like a legit tea party.  They’re studying a book written in 1850 called “How to be a Lady”.  I feel like I should be a part of this.  And then Saturday happens and Netflix wins.  This Saturday, they are discussing “agreeable and profitable conversations”.  I really think I could benefit from that.  But.  Netflix.

3.  I’m expecting 6 pounds of mushrooms today from a local mushroom farm.  So, soup.  But what else?  If you have 3 lbs. each of white and portabella mushrooms, what would you make?

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The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 12

Week 12 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

Here we are about 3 months into the #cbdiet.  I may not have a lot of weight loss to show for it, but I really am learning a lot about myself.  For one, I haven’t quit yet.  And that’s a pretty dang  big deal.  Secondly, I’m realizing that it took years to put this weight on, and if it takes years to take it back off, so be it.  I’m in it for the long haul.  I’m staying committed to my health.

This week in particularly started with a meltdown.  It wasn’t a #cbdiet meltdown, but the factors that have caused the meltdown have also affected this week.

The coffeehouse that I direct closes every summer and winter break to allow volunteers to recharge.  Every semester, then, we have a reopening week.  And every reopening week, I normally break down in tears by Wednesday.  This year, I didn’t.

It was Friday.

My weekdays have started at 5:30 without hope for rest or relaxation until about 10:30 each night since September 10th.  There’s just something about every single spare moment of your life being devoted to something besides watching Netflix with a bottle of red wine and pjs that results in crying and internal pity parties since you don’t actually have time to throw a dignified pity party.

I’ve made a few meals during this time and have been eating off of them for 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, they haven’t been the most healthy {as both of them have actually been meals I have made for potlucks with ingredients I already had since I haven’t had time to shop and I’ve just lived off of the leftovers}.  If I never eat gnocchi again, I’ll be fine.  Probably.

I haven’t had the time to really make something good for myself.  At this point, I’m literally weighing responsibilities in order to carve out time to shower.  True story.  So healthy eating may have to wait until next week.  I’m still working on portion control and that will just have to do for now.

I’ve kept up with exercising, too.  I missed two “walking days” for 6 AM meetings.  I wasn’t kidding about how busy the week has been.  I skipped the run on Wednesday for sleep.  I regret nothing.

Weigh in:

I’m down 2.8 pounds SUCKAS.

I’m sorry.  You’re not suckas.  It just seemed like the right thing to say.

So 2.8 pounds in the last week, and I’m inclined to actually believe it because I weighed myself twice this week.  That’s a total of 1.9 pounds on the #cbdiet.  But don’t forget that I practically restart this “way of life” almost every Monday.  Almost.


  • Run – 2 x – I’m on week 4 of c25K.  3 minute runs.  It feels a bit like I’m dying by the last 3 minute run.  But, at the beginning of the week, it felt like I was dying by the middle of the 1st 3 minute run… So there’s that.

Follow up on my quest for music — Lauren suggested Pop Fitness Radio on Pandora for the gym.  OH MY YES.  It has been great.  Except the morning when it started off with Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places”… Wasn’t exactly following then.  It’s a shared station, though so who knows who thumbed that one up.  COUGH COUGH LAUREN COUGH COUGH.

Success stories:

I haven’t quit.  Still haven’t given up on going to the gym and still tracking calories.


APPARENTLY one teeny tiny clone of a Girl Scout Caramel Delite cookie from Keebler is a splurge.  It may be the size of a half dollar, but it pays the full price.  140 calories.  I ate three before I knew this.


I’ve really only cooked two things in the last week {as mentioned earlier}.  The first was from Stephanie O’Dea’s website  If you’re never checked her page out, you are wasting your life.  I made her Cranberry Dijon Roast.  3 or 4 lbs. of meat, can of cranberry sauce, small onion, cloves of garlic, 2 T mustard, 2 T soy sauce, all mixed together, crockpot, high 4 hours.  Done.  Oh my gosh.  So good I made it twice.  The first with a beef pot roast and the second with pork spare ribs.  The other thing I made this week was Sweet Potato Gnocchi.  It was a recipe I got from a recipe exchange.  Pretty dang good.  Essentially just a couple of sweet potatoes cooked up and mashed {about 2 cups worth} with enough flour added to make it like a dough.  That’s it.  Only, I had too many sweet potatoes and it ended up making 12 cups of cooked gnocchi.  About half way through adding practically half a bag of flour to my hands covered in orange goo, I realized something.  I don’t love anybody enough to make gnocchi ever again.


In 2030, I want to be the minority.  This is seriously the biggest inspiration right now.


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The Cardboard Box Diet – Weeks 9, 10, and oh why not 11, too…

Weeks 9 – 11 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

The last post really got me thinking about what keeps me the way that I am. We will always have a lot of excuses to choose from, you know? So what are we gonna do about it?

Well, for me, I needed a week “off” – Week 9. I ate what I wanted, but in moderation. I stayed lightly active instead of watching “The Office” all day {And OH MY GOSH that was so tempting}. I didn’t really keep up with calorie counting or anything like that. I just needed my last week of vacation to BE vacation. And I think it paid off the next week…

Week 10, there were a lot of transitions. Not only was I adjusting to work again {after nearly 3 weeks off}, but we had our first volunteer meeting for the non-profit coffeehouse I run {in the hours I don’t work my more-than-full-time job}, the first meeting for an accountability group I’m in that took a summer sabbatical, and I tracked calories and tried to stay near my goal range. But exercise? Let’s not get crazy. That would have to wait another week. Overall, I did pretty well and I can honestly say I am proud of myself. In THIS GAME, that’s a big deal. And just that little bit of confidence bled into the next week…

So here we are now, recapping Week 11. There are still a lot of transitions right now. I started running again on Friday, Monday was the first homegroup to take place in my house since the summer sabbatical, Tuesday was the first night for the coffeehouse to be open {and my “Oh I’ll just run up there and check on things for a minute” turned into 3 hours of nonstop “work”. Like always}, Wednesday was the first night for me to run a shift at the coffeehouse in like 2 years {I took a more administrative role after I became director and we had tons of volunteers then, so I let them take the shift slots}.

But guess what folks? I’m not finna build up all of these excuses so that you empathize with me when I say I failed this week.


That’s right. I rocked it. So there.

Despite all of these transitions, I continued my runs {both on Monday & Wednesday} & stayed under my calorie goals.


Weigh in:
Soooo I’m actually up .9 pounds from where I started 11 weeks ago, but I’ve gained so much more {pun sorta intended}. It could be water weight. I’ve only had a few days of exercise and eating well under my belt this week but I think there is a bigger problem here: there’s a little too much “Weeeeeee!” in my weekends. I am making plans to be good this weekend… And then the next… And then the next. If I want to change my whole life, I have to die to myself and give it all I’ve got.


  • Run – 3 x – I’m creepin’ up in endurance with C25K. I find that being in front of the two tvs that have E! True Hollywood Stories & VH1 Jump Start are quite helpful.

P.S. I “run” at about 6 mph.  Does anyone out there have a good mix for running  with some faster paced songs?  I’ve noticed that it the beat of the music is slower than the pounding of my feet on the treadmill, I lose interest really quickly and skip it.  Suggestions?  I don’t reeeeeeeeally like country, but other than that, I’m not too sure I even care what they are singing about.

Success stories:

I think the greatest success story of all is that I have more success stories than splurges this week. I was crazy CRAZY busy, got up & got to the gym before 6 in the mornings, got home around 9 every night, and STILL ate well.


If you wanna get technical, during week 10, I ate really well one day and followed it up with a bizarre sugar craving. I was at my sister’s house who has a plethora of baked desserts {on account of all the people bringing over things since she just had a baby}. I think I ate a slice of red velvet cake, 2 chocolate chip cookies, a Blue Bell chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream bar, and a glass of chocolate milk. I may have also had some banana bread. I honestly can not remember. I wasn’t quite in my right mind by that point.

It was a lot like this. You should probably click-thru and read this post by hyperboleandahalf… and then spend the next several hours reading every single post.

But I ended up going to the gym the next morning and that’s what really got me back in gear.


I haven’t been home so much to do a lot of the cooking, so here’s the greatest recipe I can give you when you’re busy.

  1. Go to Subway.
  2. Order a footlong oven roasted chicken sandwich.
  3. Don’t get cheese. Get all the veggies.
  4. Get lite mayo or honey mustard on one half, nothing on the other half.
  5. Eat the half with lite mayo or honey mustard or whatever. Save the other half for later.
  6. You just spent $5 for two healthy, hearty sandwiches.
  7. You’re welcome.

{for the month of September, the oven-roasted chicken, turkey, and Spicy BMT are $5 for footlongs. Just sayin’.}


Snack Drawer at the office.

Categories: The Cardboard Box Diet | Tags: | 10 Comments

The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 8

Week 8 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

This is not going to be good.  If you’re looking for some inspirational post about how I dropped 4 pounds by glistening sweat and celery stalks, you should probably check out somebody else’s post on the #cbdiet.  If you’re cool with reading about how I caved under stress and it just snowballed from there, read on. : )

This week was a failure, all around.  Part of me wanted to just skip this week.  Just close my eyes to the whole thing.  But if I just skip this week, what’s keeping me from skipping next week?  I can’t close my eyes now, I’ve only just opened them.

The reason this week was a failure came down to two things:  stress & vacation.  one thing:  me.  Yes, my sister went through an agonizing 36 hours of labor and got an emergency c section and the cafeteria in the hospital had cheeseburgers and fried okra.  But they also had salad.  Yes, I went on vacation afterward and explored the tastes of Austin, but I could have had less.  The quicker I realize that the reason I don’t lose weight or the reason I gain weight is the same reason I lose weight, the sooner I will.

Weigh in: I’m up like 7 pounds.  Seriously.  I’m not kidding.  A lot of it has to be water weight because there is NO.WAY. I ate an additional 24,500 calories above my calories burned.  Plus, you saw how I dropped 4 pounds over night.  So there.  Still, I don’t like it.  So that will hopefully give me the motivation I need for this week.


  • Toobing the River – 1 x – Yes.  This counts.  The water was so low that we had to walk half the time and so slow that we actually ended up floating up stream with the slight breeze.  I spent a lot of time paddling with my hands or sitting up right on the edge of my toob while Cio held down the other side so I wouldn’t tip out, just pedaling my feet like I was on a bike.  It totally worked and I definitely wore myself out.

Success stories:

Despite this mess, I was able to put on a pair of jeans on Sunday that I haven’t been able to wear in maybe 9 months.  I was also able to put on a shirt that I haven’t been able to wear comfortably in a year or so.


I dread this part because there was soooooooo much.  But here we go:  hospital cheeseburgers, fried okra, spicy chicken sandwiches, creamy chicken pot pies, La Madeleines, breakfast tacos.  I had an all access pass to spurge-a-palooza.  This week?  ACCESS DENIED.


The things I cooked this week were for my sister, brother-in-law, and his mother.  They weren’t exactly healthy, so nothing good to report here.  I did have a bit of a revelation while traveling about simplicity, so we’ll see what I come up with this week.


 So I dropped my iPhone in the toilet on Saturday.  I haven’t posted a single picture since because my phone is drying out.  So here’s a few good reminders.
Categories: The Cardboard Box Diet | Tags: | 8 Comments

The Cardboard Box Diet – Week 7

Week 7 here on The Cardboard Box Diet. {The What?! – Go here or you can check out how I’ve been doing here.}

I’m writing this a little early because by the time you read this I’ll be acting as bouncer in my younger sister’s labor & delivery room! Speaking of bouncers, did you guys know this?

Couldn’t resist. Anywho. I’m pumped. It’s been ten years since my first niece was born to my older sister. MAN a lot has changed since then. I’m all like hey I wanna see Ice Age 3 when you come visit remember when I took you to see Happy Feet and you fell asleep in my lap and she’s all like I just saw the Katy Perry movie oh em gee I LOVED it LOL. As one niece is well on her way to tweenhood, it’s crazy to think I’ve got another coming into… justoutofthewombhood..(?) {Scroll to bottom for an explosion of newborn pictures!}

This past week has been all about recuperating from the exertion of last week and preparing for my new little niece’s birthday. After this week, I begin my TWO. WEEK. VACATION. Oh my gosh, you guys. You have no idea. NO IDEA.

I was planning a trip out of state, but that fell through, so I went with my first thought. Staycation.

Now I know that sounds awful to a lot of people, but the truth is I don’t spend a lot of time in the town in which I live. Work takes me all over the Southern states and my office isn’t in town. I want to be able to go to a restaurant for lunch, read a book in a coffee shop, take a dog on a walk. Pick up and drive to the beach if I feel like it or spend the afternoon in a hammock at the state park if I’d like. My life is so planned, I’d like to be able to just do whatever I want on a whim. THAT is vacation to me… Even if I just lay on a couch and drink wine and watch Netflix for 14 days.

I AM planning on working out the kinks in my daily routine, like regular exercise, even through my vacation. That will allow for the aforementioned wine. : )

So don’t worry about me. I’m going to be awesome.

As for this week, here we go…

Weigh in: I’m down 0.6 pounds! Trust me. This is a victory. Yesterday, I weighed myself and I had actually GAINED 3.4 POUNDS. I about lost it. But I didn’t. I drank a TON of water to flush my kidneys {which actually helps if you are retaining water} and then exercised last night and this morning. So, technically, I lost 4 pounds yesterday. And that’s awesome.


  • “Running” Running– 2 x – Yes, my friends, I’m taking away the quotation marks. Even though it’s in spurts because I’m doing the C25K program, my speed is up to a 9 minute mile (6.7 mph) which means that MFP counts it as running instead of a very, very brisk pace. It’s not a sprint, but I could probably outrun SOME fast zombies. Some. I may go down next week, though, because my maximum heart rate for my age is like 195 and my heart rate was 191 this morning… Heart explosion much?.
  • Yoga – 1x – It was really good this week. I was kinda trembling during it which is maybe a good sign that I’m stretching myself…?

Success stories:

I’ve been doing well at not splurging too much {except for the cake incident hinted at above and mentioned in detail below}. Last week, I talked about needing to go to bed a little earlier so that I CAN get up to work out in the morning. This week, I stuck to it! My body still does not understand why I’m getting out of bed at 6 AM, but I’m doin’ it!


So one of my roommates had a surprise birthday party {but his birthday is actually today, Happy Birthday Jon Paul!} and he ended up with an Italian Cream Cake. Then he went out of town. So it’s just been sitting there… staring at me. So what happened was I saw one of my other roommates grab a slice with his bare hand and eat it, without a plate, a fork, a napkin, NOTHING. And it looked so… inviting. Like when is the last time you ate cake with your bare hands? I threw caution to the wind and joined him. I felt WONDERFUL & FREE! A little too wonderful and free. I ended up eating 3 slices over the last week. Okay, maybe 4. I lost count.


I’ve made two things this week that I was really pleased with. The first is a new breakfast stable for me, Black Rice and Quinoa Pudding.

Yes, it looks like gloop. But it’s awesome.

Essentially, it is a rice pudding recipe, only the only rice I had was black rice and sushi rice and I didn’t want to use my sushi rice. So I subbed some quinoa in there and there you go! 1/2 cup each black rice and quinoa, 2 cups water. Cook it. Add a 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk and a splash of vanilla and you are good to go! It makes 6, 1/2 cup servings, but they are FILLING. Each serving is under 200 calories, but then I added some crushed walnuts and it took it up to 250. I ate some for breakfast and wasn’t hungry for lunch until 1:30. THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

The second thing I made is a modified version of something I got off of the back of a bag of frozen tuna filets, Curry Rice with Tuna. Mix 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 T orange marmalade, some curry and cayenne. Cook up some rice. Mix the yogurt mixture into it while it’s on the stove so everything gets all hot and such. Brush your tuna steak with a mixture of curry powder, salt, cayenne, and oil. Broil it. It’s awesome and pretty reasonable in calories {I think around 400}.


REALLY GOOD #CBDIET TYPE POST. The writer calls it the Anti-Diet and it’s pretty good stuff. You should check it out by clicking on the image above.

30 something hours of labor and one emergency c-section later, we welcomed little Hannah Elizabeth to the world!

NOT a fan of Aunt Cici’s papparazzi flash.

MUCH happier with mom & dad around. P.S. BUTTON NOSE.

The whole crew ready to welcome little Hannah Elizabeth to the world! Mom, Dad, ‘Uela, Aunt Nicki, and Tia CiCi {not pictured because she was taking a skillion pictures like the rest of us}



30 minutes of sleep in 33 hours, but she lit my face right back up!

And now, time for a restful staycation. See you guys next week!

Categories: The Cardboard Box Diet | Tags: | 2 Comments

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