Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oregon/Washington Road Trip: Day 1

Who says you get to sleep in on vacation??  Our alarm went off at 4:30 this morning...yikes!  

We got up, grabbed a cup {or 6} of coffee, had breakfast and did all sort of last minute things, so we could leave by 7am.

Then we realized that our car is tiny and may not hold all of our luggage.  After some strategic planning, we packed the car {even the back seat}.

Yeah, we didn't actually hit the road until closer to 8.

But I was on vacation, so NO STRESSING {hubby told me that was a new rule...I never agreed to it, but I am playing along for now}.

About 2 hours in we stopped at Starbucks to get some caffeine in our systems.  Since I am determined to be healthy, even on vacation, I opted for an passion iced tea, and added my own Stevia.  


I am now one of those people that carry around their own sweetener.  Thanks for still being my friend!

It was delicious.  It had a spicy kick to it that I LOVED!!  

After another hour we were halfway there but Gary needed some more caffeine, so we stopped off at an AM/PM to buy him "cheapy" coffee. was freaking yummy!  He got an XL cookies 'n' cream cappuccino for under $2.00.  We know where we are going when we want flavored coffee now.  It has the same crap in it that Starbucks has, and for half the price!!

We stopped at a rest area a little after noon and had the lunch I had packed for us - tri tip wraps.  I also made homemade mayo the day before for us to enjoy with the wraps....I'm such a domestic goddess...I know!  ;-)

See what happens when I take the wheel??  Gangsta Gary comes out!

After that, we made one more rest stop before heading to our hotel in Medford, Or. We stayed at Rodeway Inn, which is a smaller hotel chain for the frugal traveler {such as myself}, and the last time we stayed at one, it was horrible!  But, if you check it out on Trip Advisor it's rated #2 out of 30 hotels in Medford and gets 4.5 stars out of 169 reviews.  The room is somewhat small, but we are only staying here one night, and it is clean and quiet.

We checked into the hotel after 4 and wanted to have an early dinner, so I check out Yelp for some ideas.  We decided on Jaspers Cafe, where they make these gourmet burgers....yum!  I had the Hotel California with blue cheese in a lettuce wrap and split an order of sweet potato fries with Gary.

It's time to change into my sweats and go relax with my hubby a bit while it rains outside!

~~What's the best burger you ever had?~~

Friday, June 29, 2012

All My Bags Are Packed....

...I'm ready to go!  

{Anyone else having flashback to Armageddon?  Ben Affleck in his prime....yum!} 

Tomorrow morning, Gary & I leave for our 2 week long road trip along the Pacific Northwest!  Can you believe it was in January that I started talking about this trip?

Well, it's here!  I'm excited and nervous at the same time...I look forward to our time away together {we really need this getaway} but I'm such a homebody that sometimes 2 weeks seems like ages.

I am so excited about the adventures that await us {fingers crossed they are mostly good}!

As for Organically Mo, I might stop in here and there to post some pictures and update you on our trip...or I may not....I really don't have a plan {my husband would be THRILLED to hear this}.

Hopefully you'll check in with me on Twitter, where I know I'll be tweeting and posting lots of pictures!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keeping It In Check On The Road

Gary & I leave for our road trip this Saturday!  While I want to enjoy myself tremendously {especially when it comes to food - Oregon has soooo many cheese shops & wineries} I do NOT want to undo all the hard work I've put toward my health the past 7 weeks!

To accomplish this, I've come up with some guidelines for me to follow while on vacation.
  • Stay active.  Sightseeing can burn lots of calories when you are doing a majority of it on foot!  On the days we will be doing more driving than exploring I will either hit up the hotel gym or do some cardio in our hotel room {I am bringing my workout clothes and some easy workout equipment}.  Even 20-30 minutes is better than nothing!
  • Eat a hearty breakfast.  Personally, I do better throughout the day once I've eaten a good breakfast.  All the hotels we're staying at offer a free breakfast, hopefully offering more than just waffles & pastries.  Which leads to.....
  • Bring our own food. All our hotels offer mini fridges & microwaves, so we are loading up a cooler full of healthy snacks to bring with us.  If all else fails and the breakfast sucks, we can enjoy a waffle with our own boiled eggs and kale chips.
  • Limit Indulgences.  Yes, I want to try VooDoo Doughnut.  But I don't need to load the cooler full of them, so I can enjoy one for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!
  • At times, just IGNORE my guidelines. I think this is the one I will struggle with the most because I tend to have a "do or die" attitude.  I need to remember that we are on vacation for 2 weeks.  I don't need to have a salad or a side of steamed broccoli for every meal {even though these are 2 things I truly love}.  I can stick to my food rules 100% of the time when I get back from vacation.  

***How do you handle eating when on vacation?  Do you stick to normal eating or have the belief "I'm on vacation; I deserve to eat what I want?"***

And The Winner Is....

The winner of the OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker is:

Nancy W!

Nancy - you have 48 hours to contact me at OrganicallyMo{at}gmail{dot}com with your address so I can send you your cool new OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker!

Thanks to all who entered!  :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh, Vacation!

I know I normally get a post out first thing Monday morning, but guess what??  I completely forgot to get something together this weekend. I guess my brain is on vacation already!

I don't have any pictures from this weekend, but it was a GREAT one nonetheless! 

On Saturday my Aunt in Jackson hosted family BBQ so everyone could meet the family visiting from Holland.  It was so nice to get together with everyone that I haven't seen in ages.  We all keep up on Facebook, so that's nice, but there is nothing like seeing family face to face!  

BBQ + Family = 2 of my favorite things!

Yesterday morning I woke up before 5:30 with a very upset stomach {I think I enjoyed the BBQ a little too much - I seriously had 4-5 ribs and 2 chicken drumsticks}.  By 10:30 my stomach calmed down enough for me to run some errands.  Once I came home, I was in full cleaning mode!

I did a few loads of laundry, then I finally went through my wall closet, where I house all my pants and tried on EVERY SINGLE PAIR!  Now it is super organized by shorts, capris, jeans & dress pants.  I also have 2 shelves of pants to try on in a month or two.  They were just a bit snug to wear right now, but if I keep my weight loss up, I can fit into them soon!

This morning I woke up at 7, had breakfast, then headed for the GYM!!!  It's been a long time since I went there.  All my exercise lately has been walking and jogging on my own, but I want to get back into the habit of switching up my outside runs with some inside workouts.

Oh, fancy action shot!
 I was a bit excited and tried to do too many different things in one workout...walk/run, hills, sprints.  By 30 minutes in I was pooped, but I just kept walking.  Next time I am going to stick to one workout plan!
Not bad for my first time back!
 I packed small container of the following for a post workout snack:
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries
1/2 packet of stevia
It was the perfect snack since I had to head down the street to Costco.

I LOVE shopping at Costco when it is empty...I can just explore every aisle that I want to!

So now I am home, doing more laundry and about to get my lunch ready {leftover chicken wraps} - YUM!

**What's your favorite machine at the gym?**

**Do you have a go to post workout snack?**

Friday, June 22, 2012

Top 5 Friday {Summer Loving}

Top 5 {+1} Things I LOVE about Summer:

1. Flip Flops - for home, the pool, the's prefectly acceptable to wear flip flops all day long!  {Just have a cute #2 to show off}

2. Pedicures - I rarely get pedicures during the cold months, but once I start showing my piggies off to the public, you KNOW I'm going to keep them looking cute!

3. BBQ - Whether we're BBQing with friend, family or just the 2 of us, BBQing is an event for Gary & I. 

4. LIGHT - Gone are the dreary winter months.  We're enjoying the sun from 5:30am - 9:30pm for the next month!

5. Vacation - Doesn't matter if it's a day trip, a weekend trip, or a 2 week road trip {yay!}, this is THE time to hit the road and enjoy the scenery outside of your city.

6. Adult Beverages- A mo-garita at noon?  Sure!  Some wine with dinner?  Okay.  Even though we've pushed pause with alcohol recently {which I KNOW helped us lose weight}, it's still fun to indulge in a few drinks over the summer months.  Anyway, the heat burns off all alcohol calories - Mo Law.

***What's on your Summer Loving list??***

Thursday, June 21, 2012

OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker {Recipe & Giveaway}

I was given an opportunity by the OXO Blogger Outreach Program to try one of their new "OXO Healthy Eating Tools."  I was given the choice between a few different items and #1 on my list was the OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker.

Last summer I "discovered" homemade salad  FOREVER!

You no longer see bottles of store bought salad dressing that last for a ridiculous amount of time in my fridge.  

When I received the "Shaker" in the mail, I was impressed right off the bat.  It's big enough to hold 1.5 cups of dressing, but it's not bulky at all.  Also, it's very sturdy, yet not too heavy.

A few more things I LOVE about my "shaker:"

  • It's BPA Free - Don't know what BPA is?  Check here.  Just trust me when I say you want it nowhere near you!
  • It's Dishwasher Safe - If a product isn't Dishwasher Safe, it's not in my kitchen!  My passion is cooking, NOT cleaning!
  • It has a one-handed open/close seal - Seriously, yo!  I could hold my salad bowl in one hand and OPEN this in the other the immediately pour...perfect for a family gathering!
Here is the first salad dressing recipe I made using my OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette 

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 TB honey
1 TB mustard {I like spicy brown}
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
3/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients to the shaker in the order listed.  Close lid & shake away.  DONE!
Pour on the nearest salad and enjoy!

See, I was not kidding when I said it's easy to make your own dressing!

What's even cooler than getting a free salad dressing recipe from me?!?!

Winning your own OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker!!


Here's a few ways to enter {leave a separate comment for each one you do}:

1. Tell me your FAVORITE salad toppings.
2. Like OXO on Facebook.
3. Like Organically Mo on Facebook.
4. Follow OXO on Twitter.
5. Follow Organically Mo on Twitter.
6. Tweet the following: "I want to win an @OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker from @OrganicallyMo so I can dress my salads with homemade goodness!"
7. "Subscribe" to Organically Mo by e-mail or RSS feed {upper right hand corner}

This Giveaway will close at 9pm EST on Tuesday, June 26 and I will announce a winner on June 27.

                        ***THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***

***Disclaimer: I was sent a free Salad Dressing Shaker from OXO to review and blog about.  All opinions are my own.  OXO also supplied me with an extra shaker to send to a lucky Organically Mo reader.***

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Road Trippin' Food

We're a few weeks away from hitting the road to Oregon & Washington.  YAY!!

My plan for the first few days is for us to only eat out at dinner.  Most of our hotels will provide a decent breakfast, but I want lunch & snacks to be on our own.  Healthier for our bodies AND our wallet!

I've already thought to bring the following:

  • boiled eggs
  • beef jerky
  • chicken salad with celery sticks
  • lunch meats with mustard and homemade mayo in lettuce wraps
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • water
  • coconut water
**What are some road trip snacks that I missed?**

**What are some MUST-SEE ideas for Oregon & Washington?**

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fly For Dessert?!?!

This evening Gary & I went to dinner at Mama & Papa's to meet and visit with some of the family from Papa's side, who were visiting from Holland!

It's always so cool meeting people from other countries....especially when they are related to you!

We joked about how everything restaurant, bar, etc. here in America is "World Famous," when my Dutch relatives knew nothing about these places!  American advertising at its finest!

Before dinner, Gary & I gave Papa his Father's Day gift {and made him do this silly pose}:

Besides my "World Famous" Strawberry Feta Salad {with homemade dressing} there was LOTS to eat!

I chowed down on some tri-tip and my salad {I added a few pieces of honeydew after this picture was taken}

Also, guess who got the short chair??  I felt like a kid again!

Now onto to fly vlaai dessert.  Vlaai {pronounced "fly" in English} is a Dutch pie or tart consisting of a pastry and filling {according to Wikipedia}.

What I really liked about it was that is wasn't so full of sugar like normal "American" pies.  I could taste the crust and the cherries inside without getting a sugar rush!!

So now when I tell people I've eaten "fly" they'll give me a weird look for a different reason than usual!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sloppy Joe Wraps {Recipe}

Since we are in BBQ season, I wanted to create my own, healthy BBQ Sauce.  There are BBQ sauces you can find at the store that are pretty healthy, but I am all about controlling what ingredients go into my food.

As I was in the kitchen creating, I thought "Damn!  This would be a GREAT sauce for Sloppy Joes."

Guess what??

I was RIGHT!!


1/2 onion
2 6oz. cans organic tomato paste
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. liquid smoke {hickory flavor worked GREAT}
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
Stevia to taste {I used one small packet}
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup organic chicken broth

Chop 1/2 onion into small pieces {I just threw into my mini food processor and pulsed a few times}.  Throw onion into a medium sauce pot and a splash of water or chicken broth.  Saute onion on med-high heat for a few minutes until soft.  Turn heat down to low while you add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the chicken broth to the pot.  Mix together, then turn heat back up to med-high.  Bring to a boil, while stirring every minute or so.  Lower heat, add chicken broth and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Turn heat off and remove pot from heat source.  Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then pour into a glass jar to keep in your refrigerator.

If you want to make this a little more BBQ saucy, add another 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth.

I let it sit in the fridge for 2 days for the flavor to strengthen.

When you are ready to make your Sloppy Joes, here's what to do.

Brown 1 - 1.5 pounds of ground beef with some chopped onions.  When meat is about halfway cooked, pour in the Sloppy Joe Sauce and mix well.  Let cook for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once meat is cooked, take a clean lettuce leaf... 

...and spoon some of the mix into it.

Enjoy every bite, because these will not last long if you need to share with others.

                         But I guess it IS nice to share with others!


Please tell me you have David Bowie singing in your head now!  If you have ME singing in your head...I'm sooo sorry!

The past few months I have felt terribly lost inside.  No matter what I did, I was gaining weight fast due to my hormones being out of whack and not-so-great eating or exercising habits. That led to a horrible hit on my self esteem, which made me lash out in different ways.

Finally, I had enough.  I sat down with Gary and outlined a plan for us to follow to finally make a REAL change in our lives.

I feel like we're deep enough into our plan {4 weeks} for me to tell you about it.


Except for 4 meals this whole month {including our Anniversary Dinner}, I have cooked every meal we eat, including breakfast at 5am.  It's HARD working full time, then coming home and making dinner, but 3 things have really helped.

  1. Prep - I've been making 2 week meal plans, the spending the weekend chopping as many veggies up as I can so I am not so overwhelmed when I get home.
  2. GARY - Misery loves company {especially in the kitchen}.  Instead of complaining about eating clean and begging for In-N-Out, Gary has stepped up and helped in any way he can.  He is now a MASTER of making a Cucumber Salad, which has been a side dish quite a bit lately.  He even makes up some for a snack at work.  
  3. KISS - Not the band.  Keep It Simple, Stupid!!  Our dinners have not been very exciting lately.  Only a few ingredients, focusing on lean protein and veggies galore. Snacks are easy, too - cucumber salad, boiled eggs, etc.


Gary & I have come to the realization that there IS so much room for our daily schedule.

Can we dedicate 2-3 hours a day?  No way.  But we CAN take a 2-mile walk or a 5-mile bike ride.  30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week is what we have been achieving.


Taking control of your health can be hard and stressful, to say the least, but having PCOS makes it a million times worse.  I've had 2 doctors tell me that in order to lose weight I'll have to work twice as hard as a woman my age with no hormonal issues.  It used to make me want to have a fit, but what good does that do me?  Instead of focusing on weight loss directly I am now focusing on changing my attitude to reflect my need for fueling my body.

Healthy, REAL food = 90% of the time
Desserts & treats {planned} = 10% of the time with no guilt!

Saying "no" to a free Starbucks or a deli sandwich SUCKS when you have the attitude that you are turning down delicious treats.  But when you turn it around and realize that neither of these will fuel you in the same way homemade food will, it's empowering!  

Saying "no" to these spur of the moment treats lets me say yes to treats that I know are coming up, like this delicious homemade chocolate cake with strawberries that one of our staff members daughter made for us.

I knew this was coming for 2 days, so when I craved chocolate the night before it was easy to tell myself that I only had to wait a few hours before I got to indulge.


Poor Gary has gone through so many food changes with me over the past 12 years. There was my Weight Watchers stage, where I bought all the pre-packaged food they told me was so good for me.  There was the Atkins Diet, where I are NO carbs.  Now it's focusing on lean proteins and oodles of veggies.  He has been a trooper through it all, but this is the first time he is REALLY on board and being a part of the change.  

It's not just Gary though.

My mom now know that when we come over for dinner, there does not always have to be dessert.  And if she wants to serve dessert, we are fine with fruit.

It's the support of my co-workers, who know I bring my own lunch to work, so they don't tempt me with Chinese takeout.  

Signing up to run 5k's and trying to train as often as possible with my friends gives me support AND keeps me accountable!

And definitely, it's the support of all my amazing blog friends!  Bloggers are a unique bunch, I am finding out, because you all want to gain readers and have a following {drink the Kool-Aid...mine's organic!}, but we all "get" each other in a way no one else can.  Am I struggling to find the motivation to workout?  All I need to do is log on Twitter or read the comments in previous blog posts and I see how much my "Blends" mean to me!

So what does clean eating, activity, attitude and support lead to??

Besides a positive outlook on life, it means a 14 pound weight loss for Gary and a little over 8 pound weight loss for me!!  

There's still a ways to go in my journey, but I didn't gain this weight overnight, so I sure as heck will not lose it overnight.

Thanks for sticking around as I document my journey to a healthy life!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Influenster Spring Beauty VoxBox {review}

If you are a blogger and do not know what Influenster is, you are missing out!  

I had heard about it in December and signed up right after they sent out their holiday VoxBox, so I had to wait until last month to get the Spring Beauty VoxBox.

Of course it came the day I was packing Gary & I up for the Senior Trip and my life was crazy from then until last week, when I was FINALLY able to open it up and see what I had been sent.

I was pretty happy with the contents inside, but let's start with the 2 items I was not crazy about.

I have actually been wanting to try these polish strips out, but the design I was sent was NOT my style!

As you can see below, there are a ton of really cute styles that I would love to buy.  I do plan on trying my nail strips once I have a few days where I know I'll be around the house.

Item #2 I did not try - SoyJoy bar.  Because of my PCOS, my doctor has suggested I stay away from soy {not good for those of us with this condition}.  I plan on giving it to a coworker and seeing what they think about it, since I don't want it to go to waste!

Now we can move on to the good stuff!!

This Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash was a perfect fit for me!  It has a light fragrance, so I can use it before I put on any of my perfumes {I like a different scent everyday}.  It's also soap free, dye free and hypoallergenic.  Next time you're at the store, find this and take a whiff.  You will not be disappointed!

The Dr. Scholl's For Her Ball of Foot cushion is something I have actually tried before.  I am lucky that I get to wear jeans & sneakers to work most days, but when I do dress up, these have saved my feet time & time again!

Did Influenster contact my family about this next item?  I never leave home without my ChapStick! It is possible for me to have a few of these open at a time.  Before I got this sample I was using the regular blue tube, but this Lip Shield 365 provides 50+ SPF AND defends your lips from UVA/UVB rays!  Double bonus!

This Sheer Cover Duo Concealer is a nice addition to my makeup routine.  It gives just enough coverage without being too thick.

 When I saw this Moonlight Path Fragrance Mist from bath & Body Works, I was taken back at least 10 years ago.  When Gary & I were dating, I would wear this all the time and it never failed that this was on my Christmas & Birthday List.  It's light and subtle, but stands out at the same time.  You'll have to stop by a B&B Works to see what I am talking about!

I was so excited that I FINALLY got a VoxBox from Influenster and overall very pleased with my goodies inside!

Thank you to Influenster and all the companies above for coming up with such a great concept!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lavender Hollow Farm

While eating dinner with my parents last week, they told us about a lavender farm about 30 minutes from where we live. They also surprised me with my own lavender plant and a lavender sachet.  I love how they still get me gifts for no reason!

I am a sucker for anything lavender.

Lavender lotion, lavender soap, lavender sachets, lavender COOKIES, I could go on.....

Gary I decided to take a small trip to Lavender Hollow Farms this past Saturday.

What a beautiful view

I wanted to run through the fields....

...until I saw this bee and all his friends

I'm a sucker for classic cars

This is meant for the truck, NOT Gary!

I'm rethinking my dreams about retiring and running a B&B...maybe opening a lavender farm??

I even came home with some goodies...ground lavender to use in my baking and some lavender honey soap.

Lavender Hollow Farm was beautiful and I was glad Gary & I had the chance to check it out!