MANDI’S MOST WANTED: Modern Classics

modern fashion classicsmodern fashion classics

Over the past couple of years (or, actually, since I first experienced motherhood), my every day fashion choices have become much simpler. These days I gravitate towards neutrals and classic looks that are rooted in vintage style, but feel fresh and quite at home with my modern lifestyle. My style icons have expanded beyond vintage film and magazines to chic women my age I’ve found on Instagram. I thought I’d share a few of them with you, as well as my favorite pieces I’ve been working on adding to my own wardrobe. Click the links below to shop!

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Who are your favorite Instagrammers to follow for fashion inspiration? I’d love to find new favorites, and hope these ladies below will give you some fresh inspiration as well!

Elora Joshi @eloraaaaaElora Joshi @eloraaaaa

Elora (@eloraaaaa) is my most recent Instagram fashion crush. She does minimalism so well! I love seeing how she mixes up just a few pieces to create new elegant outfits every day. Her feed inspires me to cut down my wardrobe to just several things I love to wear, all of which coordinate so well together. Plus— those orange pants from last year (Zara) caused my to stalk the internet until I finally found a pair in my size! I might have a problem. (BUT— ORANGE PANTS!) You can also find her eye for fashion put to use with the brand she co-created: Still. — a collection of ethically sourced minimalist pieces made in LA.

Haley Boyd @haleboydHaley Boyd @haleboyd

Haley (@haleboyd) is the creative director behind the classic minimalist shoe brand Marais USA. She excudes Grace Kelly charm with her wavy blond bob and her penchant for fifties-inspired separates. She does the off-the-shoulders-ruffle like no one I’ve ever seen, but mostly I’m inspired by the way she masterfully mixes a wardrobe of mostly neutral classics in a way that feels fresh and incredibly chic.

Haley Boyd @haleboyd

Courtney Halverson @prettylittlefawnCourtney Halverson @prettylittlefawn

I found Courtney (@prettylittlefawn) a couple of years ago, and didn’t think twice before immediately giving her a follow. What struck me first about Courtney was her unique beauty, but also her clear commitment to vintage-inspired denim looks. Her wardrobe is mostly neutral with lots of ’70s inspired high waisted jeans and logo tees. In addition to fashion blogging, Courtney is an up-and-coming actress, though her lifestyle and wardrobe feels completely accessible and inspires me to take adopt more casual vibe in my own sartorial choices.

Courtney Halverson @prettylittlefawn

Meals Made Easy with Terra’s Kitchen

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

I remember ten years ago when the internet had already completely changed our ways of life. People were doing more and more shopping online (especially me!), and there was talk of one day people even doing their grocery shopping online. I thought, no way. But here I am, ten years later, not only ordering groceries online, but actually receiving prepped ingredients for fresh meals with recipes that I don’t have to hunt down (and read reviews for) myself. Healthy food delivery— I could get used to this modern life!

Recently I tried a meal delivery service for the first time, ordering three dinners from Terra’s Kitchen, along with some snacks, ready-made salads, and cold pressed juice. It was fun, we felt fancy, and we really liked the experience! Let me tell you more about it.

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

The kids were thrilled when the Terra’s Kitchen box arrived at our door and there was FOOD inside that they could eat! Ha! (I was thrilled too.) The insulated box had shelves with each meal kit neatly stacked alongside ice packs to keep everything refrigerated until they were transferred to our own refrigerator. After we emptied the container, we switched out the shipping label and left it on our front door, where it was picked up the next day to be reused.

One thing I really enjoyed about the meals I selected was that while I had selected meals according to my fitness goals (high protein, low-fat, low-carbs), the organic meals Terra’s Kitchen had created have much more interesting flavors and variety than I would normally choose when left to my own devices. I tend to do a lot of plain grilled chicken, plain green beans, and plain sweet potatoes for meals. But I was able to get similar nutrients with much more exciting dishes with what I selected from Terra’s Kitchen, which was:

  • Chicken Schnitzel with Sweet and Sour Apple Cabbage
  • Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Salad
  • Thai Grilled Chicken Salad

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

The first meal I made was the chicken schnitzel with sweet and sour apple cabbage, and from beginning to end, the meal came together in literally eleven minutes! This was a huge deal for me, because normally after church our family is scrambling to make something healthy and quick, because we’re all starved and the kids need naps.

I just rubbed the provided mayo onto the chicken tenders, dredged them in the panko crumbs, and placed them in the oven. During that time, I cooked the apples and cabbage on the stove and finished the combo off with the provided dressing and seasonings. I plated the apple cabage just as the chicken came out of the oven, and our family was seated at the table ready to eat. Eleven minutes. I love it.

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

We enjoyed all of the meals we tried, and I really loved not having to slice and portion out all of the ingredients before making the meals. I also loved cutting out the waste that often happens when buying an entire item when only a portion is needed for the recipe. For instance, I needed pepitas for the broccoli apple salad, but didn’t need to buy a whole package from the store, because the small portion I needed was provided. The same goes for coriander (a spice I’d never use often enough to justify buying and entire container of), diced red onion, red cabbage, and other ingredients that I usually never use all of when I purchase the whole piece in the produce section.

It was also so nice to be able to pull out fresh and delicious fruit for the kids to snack on, which had already been sliced and prepared for me. I get anxious about selecting a good watermelon at the store, and then find slicing and dicing it to be such a tedious and messy task. So, having prepped slices off the rind was such a treat for us!

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

Over all, my favorite aspect of doing a food subscription through Terra’s Kitchen was the time it saved me. I saved time planning meals and grocery lists, time shopping for meal ingredients, and time prepping the meals before cooking them. It was also fun to try new recipes for fresh meals I might not have chosen if left to my own devices.

This is such a new and fun way to do family meals— I highly recommend Terra’s Kitchen after our experience. What do you think? Would you give a meal delivery service a try? 

Terra's Kitchen Meal delivery service

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Terra’s Kitchen. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

My Fitness Journey Part 3: Goals + Guilt

making nice in the midwest fitness journey

Whew! January is halfway over, and I still haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions! Have you? I tend to shy away from January resolutions because I figure if something is important enough to me, I wouldn’t have waited until the new year to make a change. But last January I was so inspired by friends’ journeys to becoming healthier (including losing weight for aesthetic purposes), that I decided to get a YMCA membership and work on my own fitness. One year later, and I’m still actually using that membership. Go me! But I have a little confession. I fell off the fitness wagon for a few months in the Summer and Fall. But I learned some things! I picked myself back up. And now I want to offer you some advice and encouragement in case you need it. (And don’t we all?)

I told myself that my fitness journey didn’t have an end date. This is a lifestyle. Blah, blah, blah… everybody says it. I shied away from setting goals and dates because I was worried I’d become so focused on the goals and dates that I would view the entire endeavor as a short-term project that should be completely full-steam ahead. I told myself it wasn’t a race, but I still burned myself out! I was working out too much and being too strict with my nutritional intentions that I made myself feel like I failure when I slipped up or took a week off. One week off turned into three, which turned into four, and then I sort of just quit working out at all, which in turn made me much less likely to make good choices at the grocery store.

From July-November I did pop into the gym once or twice a month out of guilt. But I also engaged in quite a bit of overindulging in junk food and sweets to deal with my YOLO feelings when I thought perhaps my cancer had returned with a vengeance. (I had received bad results from a follow-up scan, which ended up being nothing to worry about, but that’s a story for another day.) I became reacquainted with bad habits during this time, and in five months, I had gained back 10 of the 20 pounds I lost from January-June, and a decent amount of muscle mass. And, of course, I felt like a failure. Feeling like a failure isn’t very motivating, turns out. Feeling like a failure kept me reaching for the Double Stuffed Golden Oreos.

After a while of being disappointed in myself, and frustrated with how my clothes were fitting, I figured the best thing to do was to pick myself back up and start up again where I had left off! I actually felt weird going into the gym again, like the regulars would judge me for my time off, or like they would actually notice I had to decrease the weight I had been using before. Ha! What a thought. I had to shake off those weird insecurities and shame and get back into beast mode where I didn’t care about what anyone thought, and focus on my own goals.

Wait, goals? What goals? I thought unrealistic goals were what had knocked me down in the first place? It’s difficult to say what happened, really. Maybe it was that I had achieved success to a certain degree, found it easier to back off, and then felt like I had backed off so far, it would be too difficult to get back into it. Or maybe it was that I thought my goals were unrealistic. Feelings of self-doubt told me I’d always have a big belly, I’d never be able to run that fast, or I’d never be able to squat like that one girl… I think it was a combination of a lot of things. But it came down to just settling for who I was, instead of who I could be.

I have decided to quit focusing on what I could look like in a year, and start thinking about what I can DO in a month. I’ve decided goal setting IS for me after all, but only when it comes to what I can achieve. Achievements don’t define me, but they do empower me. The scale doesn’t empower me. Looser pants don’t empower me. Sure, those things can make me feel nice in the moment. But that doesn’t hold up over time. So for 2017, I have decided to set one goal for each month which will encourage me to challenge myself with my fitness in a way that is attainable, but also requires me to be consistent with my workouts and push myself a little (not a lot).

January’s goal is to run 80 miles. I decided this is achievable, because on good weeks, I’ve been able to run 20 miles. Multiply that by four, and I could get in 80 miles if I put in the work every week, even when I don’t feel like it. So far I have ran 56 miles and am easily on target to reach my goal by the end of the month! I’ve also decided what February’s goal will be. I’ll still be running, though not as much (and I won’t be tracking my mileage), because I’m aiming to do 2 leg days a week in addition to one day of biceps/triceps/shoulders and one day of back/chest. This is a big deal, because I work really hard on leg days in the weight room, and I usually have trouble walking and sitting down the next day. Two leg days a week would be a lot to stick to for a whole year, but I could do it for the shortest month of the year, right?!

Feeling successful by hitting smaller, achievable goals helps set me up to make good choices with my nutrition (allowing indulgences more than once a week), and in general gives me so much confidence! My body is continuing to change, which is wonderful to see, but more importantly I am proud of myself for what I can do, rather than how I look.

(P.S. The top photo is from last Summer. I’m finally back at that weight and feeling stronger than ever!)

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