Thursday, November 21, 2013

Secret Santa Blog Swap!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Christmasttime turns me into Buddy the Elf. I'm not even remotely kidding about this.
Smiling's my favorite. I've got no shame.
Which is why I am so excited to announce that I'll be teaming up with one of my very favorite blogger-turned-internet-friends, Carolyn, to host a blog secret santa swap this holiday season! And get this: Carolyn and I actually found each other's blogs through a secret santa swap that I hosted a few years ago. She was my secret santa, and got me the most incredible etsy print that still hangs on my walls to this day. Internet friendship, you guys. It's a great thing. 

Interested in joining us? Here are the deets:
We'll be accepting the first 20-30 people who email us at marychristmascarol@gmail.com. I expect we'll likely fill up quickly, so if you're interested, email us ASAP! Then we'll email you to let you know you're in & send you a quick questionnaire to fill out about your interests, wish lists, likes/dislikes as well as your contact info and details of the swap. 

After we've gotten everyone's questionnaires, we'll be splitting the group in two and sending out emails telling you who you'll be gifting to-- but who will be sending your gift to you will stay a surprise until you receive it, of course! Secret Santas will be assigned no later than 12/5, we ask that you send your gifts by 12/12.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll post pictures, share tweets and give fun gift ideas for everyone involved. Carolyn and I might blog about different things overall (side note: go read her blog, she's lost a ton of weight and is insanely inspirational/fantastic and just TRUST ME), but we know our readers are all cut from the same polka-dot-spirited, sunny-side-of-the-street, all around fabulous cloth. So it's not only a great way to put on your sneaky holiday elf shoes and get into the holiday spirit, but a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers and blog-readers just like yourselves, you gorgeous popsicles. 

Best part: anyone can join-- you don't need to have a blog to participate! We really just love these blogging communities we've found on the internet and wanted to do something fun to bring everyone together around the holidays. At the end of the swap, however, Carolyn and I will be putting together some fun recaps on our blogs of what everyone has received-- so whether you blog, instagram, tweet, facebook, etc, about your experience, make sure to let us know. We'll pull all the links together, highlight some of our favorite parts of the swap and share for everyone to see!

PLUS! (Is it obvious that I can't contain my excitement?) Share sneak peeks of your secret santa shopping, sending, receiving, etc. on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #MCSecretSanta so everyone can see what you're up to! We'll be checking in, commenting and retweeting everyone's posts all throughout the month. 

Go ahead & grab our button and share it on your blog or other social media outlets & let others know what fun, Christmas-sy goodness you're up to! Or just because it's cute, because for real--isn't it adorable? Clearly, made by Carolyn, because yours truly couldn't MS-Paint my way out of a box if my life depended on it. 



What are you waiting for? Go ahead and email us to claim your space! 
Questions? Let us know & we'll be happy to answer them! In the meantime-- let's get swapping! :)



Friday, November 1, 2013

Review: 21 Day Sugar Detox Book

Way back in January, I decided to shake things up a little bit and try something new. If you've been around for a while, you know what's coming-- my first sugar detox. I'm not going to get into the specifics here, but if you'd like a recap of my first experience, check it here! If you want the long and short of it, the 21 Day Sugar Detox (created by Diane Sanfillippo, paleo nutritional rockstar) was a serious game-changer for me. For the first time in my 24 years, I actually felt like I wasn't being controlled by food-- it was the healthiest, happiest, and most nourished I've ever felt by the food I was putting into my body.

Since then, I've done a few sugar detoxes. It shouldn't come as a surprise any longer, but every single time I'm amazed by what fantastic results I gain from cutting the sugary crap and just focusing on real, hearty foods. So when the 21 DSD team contacted me asking if I'd like to review Diane's new in-print book on the detox, you can imagine my enthusiastic response. (hint: it may have involved some kitchen dancing. don't judge.) As always, even though this book was provided for me to review, everything I tell you is 100% honest & my for-real opinion, dudes.

Unfortunately, my book is already food-stained from excessive use.
I call this the mark of a winning cookbook.
This book is a veritable goldmine of good stuff, friends. Let's break down my favorite parts, list-style. Cool? Cool.

1. Diane has created ninety insanely delicious recipes for this book. This is, how shall I say-- a big deal. I love to cook, and I love to eat good food. Every single recipe in the book is simple, tasty, and 100% sugar-free. Having really excellent food on hand, without having to worry about whether or not it's detox-friendly is the first & most important step. So far, I've made the chicken with artichoke & olives (insanely delicious), granny smith apple crumble (what, you thought no desserts? think again), carrot pumpkin spice muffins (are you sensing a theme?), asian-style meatballs (might have eaten them all in two days), and have about five new recipes in the queue for this next week alone. This food is insanely good, you guys. Not a single recipe has been a dud, and many have even fooled my non-sugar-detoxing friends into healthy eating. I'm so sneaky. 

ignore my poorly-lit kitchen. this artichoke-olive chicken is LEGIT.

2. Whenever I convince a friend to give the program a try with me, I usually end up inundating their inboxes with endless emails about my favorite recipes, resources, tips, tricks, and most importantly, information about the hows and whys of sugar-- what it does to your body, why it's harmful to your diet, etc. The book's got all of that and more, and much more eloquently than I could ever say it. Above all else, having a tangible resource that explains the process so clearly is vital. Do you have questions about how to replace foods? Concerns about fats? It's in there. Want a place to log your experience? Meal plans? Got 'em. Want information on modifications for pescatarians? Breastfeeding mothers? Athletes? It's all in the book, baby. 

3. On my first sugar detox, I was mostly just focused on staying at least fifty feet away from cheesecake at any given moment. But by the second or third time, I was really interested in optimizing my experience-- what types of supplements could I be taking? How much should I be exercising? What about sleep? In my opinion, on your first go-around, these aren't necessarily the questions you need to tackle. While they're important, just finding comfort with the basics and orienting yourself to the process is priority number one. But for someone with their business together far better than I have mine, or a program veteran, the book covers all of these topics with great care. 

shameless plug: whose blog is that? MY BLOG! I geeked over this for a half hour.
Above all else, here's the bottom-line (or TL;DR for all of you internet nerds like myself)-- this book is fantastic. A tangible resource for all things optimum health, and I'd recommend to anyone looking to make positive dietary changes, paleo or not-- it's no gimmicks, no junk, accessible and all-inclusive. Just real food the way your body is supposed to be nourished. 

Even if I hadn't been sent the book for review, I would've gotten myself a copy right off the bat-- and you can absolutely believe that I'll be ordering my copy ASAP of the companion cookbook being released in December. As always, if you're looking to give the detox a try for yourself but are feeling a little overwhelmed or have questions, shoot me an email. I'm always happy to chat. And if you're super motivated, join me in my fourth detox starting this month! If there's enough interest, we can all band together via email and discuss the merits of bacon and avocado in detail :)

Happy detoxing!