Friday, December 4, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WHOLE 30 :recap

WOW! What a journey these past 30 days have been!

I want to start by saying I've learned so much about myself this past month. I've learned that REAL food makes a HUGE difference in how I feel, how I sleep, what I look like and even though it was HARD, it was completely worth it.

It was so helpful having a countdown. I love crossing each day off.
I lost 11 inches, dropped a pant size and shirt size, and I'm not sure how much weight I lost since I didn't weigh before hand. No more double chin! Hallelujer!

What now? Well, I'll slowly reintroduce foods by category so I can identify any target inflammation foods.Then I plan to eat pretty clean most of the time.

It makes me glad that I didn't decide to use some costly program to feel this way either.
For example,
  • plexus
  • my it works
  • thrive
  • 21 day fix
  • shakeology
  • metabolic
  • weight watchers
  • jenny craig
  • nutrisystem
All these programs promise and provide the ever-coveted energy and weight loss, but they cost A LOT and you have to keep purchasing them to receive the benefits. I think what I love most about Whole30 is that the only cost was my time and grocery bill. But in turn by being faithful to the program, I do have energy and have experienced weight loss. Disclaimer: If you use or sell these products, I am, in no way, trying to discredit your business. I just want to share that Whole30 is QUITE effective and cost-efficient.

Hard to find and expensive, but worth it! 

Things I've learned since reintroduction SO FAR:

-Sugar is OBNOXIOUSLY couldn't even enjoy Blue Bell ice cream because it was so nauseatingly sweet. Womp,Womp. I think this will be a good thing in terms of keeping weight off.

-Dairy doesn't bother me, but I'm sure nervous about trying gluten tomorrow. Think I'll be saying hello to bloat.

I plan on doing another round in January, but eating relatively clean until then. My appetite has shrunk and so therefore, I eat less naturally because I stop once I'm full.

I've somehow retrained my brain to think about food differently and I'm still checking labels even after its been over. I started experimenting with food more in the last few days since my options were so limited. I was surprised at how much fun I had trying out new things. Balsamic vinegar grilled chicken marinade? YES please!! Eggs with everything but the kitchen sink? Yummmmmm! Roasted Veggies? Love love love.

A Quick Synopsis of Whole 30 for you

I also tried adding milk to my coffee this morning and my reaction was "Meh, this tastes alright, but I like it black better" WHO HAVE I BECOME?  hahaha.  

MMMMMM, Black Coffee!!! 


If you decide to try it, join the "Whole 30 first timers" group on facebook. (so helpful and encouraging!)
 Also, pinterest is great for finding recipes but be leary of SWYPO ones. 

Also, my apologies if I know you in real life and I talked about whole30 too much. It changed my life and the way I think about food. I even told the cashier at Wal-Mart about it.

Hope this post encourages you and makes you realize that this isn't that hard! Just takes some determination and self-control! You may even surprise yourself. Be sure to let me know if you do give a go.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

whole 30 :: HALFWAY THERE

So many of you have asked me about Whole30 recently and I feel like it warranted a blog post to explain it all. It is TRULY amazing what you'll try when your choices are so limited. I'm so thankful for trying new things and finding that I love them.

Things I've learned about myself:

1) I can say no. - I never thought it would be easy. Strangely though, once I committed to this, I've said no a lot and often times it isn't hard. I just remind myself of my purpose for doing this.

2) I always have a choice. - I never have to feel obligated to eat something just because it is there. No more eating to eat or because its convenient or social.

A photo posted by Emilee (@thebirdandthebicycle) on
3) Eating out is POSSIBLE. Hard, but possible. Last weekend, we went to Pizza King, the best pizza around and I said no to pizza. I ate my salad with homemade dressing (I brought it in a small mason jar) and it was so hard. But I have found that I can eat compliant at restaurants we frequent (ie: bunless burger, fajita meat w/ veggies, grilled chicken & steamed veggies)

4) Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Oh my lanta! I just didn't realize this before.  Definitely aware of what goes in my body now. So much sugar. I recommend watching "Fed Up" on Netflix. It is truly eye-opening to the sugar epidemic.

5) Surprisingly, I like black coffee and unsweet tea. Its also amazing what you will try when its your choice. I hated coconut milk in coffee, so that wasn't going to work. But I like it black. I'm so shocked by this.

6) I don't need to try TOO MUCH new. As in new recipes... Last week, I did that and ended up making things I hated. I need to rely on faithful good recipes and try 1-2 new ones a week.

Recipes I've loved on this journey:

-our spaghetti is compliant (i just swap noodles for spaghetti squash)
-paleo chili (so so so good)
-pulled pork carnitas (slow cooker//from the book)
-sweet potato hash
-roasted veggies (seasoned with mrs. dash)

7) This book is SUPER helpful. I refer to it all the time and it has great recipes too.

8) The DREAMS are real. On the website and in the book, they give you a timeline of what you may experience and days 12-15 are dreams about non-compliant food. I've dreamed that I've eaten a cookie and had to start over. Last night, I dreamed about milk and cereal. It's crazy, y'all!

You'll hear back from me once I finish this round and start reintroducing foods into my diet to see how they make me feel. Overall, this is the best thing I could've done for myself. I only wish I had challenged myself sooner.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

when church becomes messy & hard

photo credit: Lisa Leonard 

I don't have a degree in theology. I can't read in Greek. I never went to seminary. But I've witnessed struggle in church. I've dealt with struggle in church. At one point, I even felt like church owed me something and if it didn't measure up to my standards, I didn't need to be a part. 

Church isn't about me at all. It's not about my comfort or convenience.

I've watched many run when things got hard. I don't always agree with how things are handled. I get frustrated at surface level conversation. I crave something deeper. I would've loved to be a part of the first church in Acts. 

The Lord is breaking me, y'all. He's showing me who He is and how He didn't run when things got hard. How steady He was. How He refines in the fire. How He wants to use me to help build a church that is more like Him, despite its current condition. 

In church,
-disunity bothers me- what are we doing to reconcile with one another?
-trendiness concerns me- how are we setting ourselves apart?
-each one of us is accountable to the Lord, ourselves and others- how are we being intentional with one another? how are we being intentional in our time with the Lord? 

Our spiritual growth is our responsibility, not the pastor's. 

The Gospel is enough. The Lord doesn't need our cliches, trends or convenience to make His truth cool. Others will be drawn to our love for another, our authenticity, our joy in the sorrow and hard times. What does it mean to look like Jesus? And how are we striving for that daily? 

So please stop pointing fingers and blaming others for the way things are... The power is ultimately within us to make our churches a place where "awe comes upon every soul." (Acts 2:43) 

It’s the broken hearts that find the haunting loveliness of a new beat — it’s the broken hearts that make a song that echoes God’s. -Ann Voskamp 

Brokenness brings people together. Hard times tend to create community. But maintaining community takes work and effort. So let's start having these messy conversations about our brokenness, the things that make us uncomfortable, the things we like to keep hidden. And since when did church become competition? Us vs. them, him against her...

Helloooooo,.. We are all on the same team.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Let us be kind.
Let us be gentle.
Let us be real. 
Let us be Jesus to those around us.

Struggle well and carry one another. Rejoice in how the Lord is faithful. 
Perhaps if we strive for these things, we will then begin to see glimpses of His kingdom come. 

side note: I've been listening to this song on repeat. Enjoy! (thanks Julielle for sharing it with me!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

becoming home

So we've been in our home almost 2 weeks and the projects continue on. It's nice to start settling but hard to find where we've made any noticeable dents in our efforts. Disclaimer: the pictures may look lovely, but behind the scenes, we've ran into an array of setbacks: a loose toilet, broken sprinkler heads, corroded garbage disposal, dryer vent adjustments etc. normal homeownership stuff --so even though I've made it appear so ideal, it hasn't been that way.
Before we moved in

Needless to say, we are thrilled (and exhausted) to be homeowners. It is so fun to see dreams become reality. 
We looked like the Beverly hillbillies driving down the road. It took us 4 days to move everything IN the TEXAS SUMMER HEAT! What the heck were we thinkin?! 

I have a secret Pinterest board for inspiration but thought I'd share some with you. Our fireplace is in serious need of an update and hoping to get that done soon. I'm also super obsessed with upholstered headboards. 

Also after adding beadboard wallpaper to our built-in shelves, I've decided everything needs more beadboard. Love love love.
Our kitchen is about the only room that is mostly settled. Working on getting the rest of the house that way.

Our laundry "room" is right by our kitchen.. I kinda love it because I don't forget about the laundry this way! 

Some sweet details above the kitchen sink ;) love that my mom brings me fresh zinnias from her garden

We took out the cabinets by the fridge because they were made for a smaller fridge. I was going to paint the shelf I put there, but I'm digging the wood contrast.
I love this open shelf by the fridge. I was originally going to paint it, but I kinda like it au naturale. 
Our 2nd home as of late --Good thing its one of my favorite places to go! 

Huge difference was made in the foyer! It's amazing what some paint and new flooring can do to transform a place. :) 

Love our front foyer! 
I spray painted all the knobs a polished silver color for the dining room and kitchen. Spray painting hardware is a great way to update and save money!

Another update I did was to hide the handicap bars in our bathroom. We didn't want to get rid of them, but I wanted to definitely conceal them.  These cute curtains did the trick! When one needs to shower, there is a hidden hook to push curtain back so it doesn't get caught in the door.

I'm pretty sure my favorite thing is the different reactions I get from changing our address. Yes, Emilee lives on Emily street.

That's all folks! Will plan to update you again in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

our house story

This blog is full of inconsistencies. I'm faithful and then life happens. Sorry readers. I guess the best thing I like it for is TELLING STORIES... namely of God's faithfulness. Here's a fine example. Lemmetellya, WAITING is hard to do....Ugh, it's so hard. The waiting can feel like ages of not knowing or understanding why.

We've been looking for a house for 6 months. . .but nothing ever felt quite right. I kept asking myself, Shea, and our realtor if we were crazy picky or something. We didn't feel like we were being unrealistic. Nothing was the right fit. We looked in several towns too, hoping that we would find something to call home. We scoured We have experienced every emotion there is from excitement (its perfect!) to sadness (house already under contract) to disagreement (love/hate). I guess in the midst of it all, I honestly tried not to get my hopes up anymore.

Then things changed with our rental situation and it became apparent that we needed to find something soon and maybe not be so "picky"... We had discussed me possibly changing jobs and this is where I literally felt like a giant toddler throwing a fit to God and asking him why. I wrestled with thoughts for 3 days as we began looking for houses in another town. On Monday, I had a sobfest with my boss letting her know I may have to leave BUT that I didn't want to and I wasn't happy about it.

And here is where things get interesting...

I had already prepped myself for something that dissatisfied me, but I was asking the Lord to make me willing if it was His will.

That same Monday afternoon I was washing dishes after school and received a text from our realtor. It confused me because she told me she was at a house and there was something about it she just couldn't shake. I didn't know what she was talking about since we weren't looking at houses in our hometown...I thought maybe it was fluke or she meant to send it to someone else. Finally, I realized she wanted me to come see this house and I didn't get my hopes up because it needed some work, but it had a ton of potential. I was anxious to see if Shea would even like it.

Turns out he did like the house! And our families loved it! By Wednesday, we made an offer and we had a contract Friday. It was inspected and now we went through the entire loan process. But towards the end, there was a possibility we wouldn't close on time. This was an issue, and honestly it was really frustrating. I was so anxious to have a place of our own. Well actually, we have some work to do before we move in and so I guess I was feeling the time crunch of getting all of that done. The Lord is so faithful though, even in such small ways. He worked it out and we closed on time. So tonight we began our renovations. I love that I can't even tell this story without giving Him all the credit.

I've heard someone say "When God's in it, it flows. When He's not, it's forced." The waiting was worth it. We are so pumped about our new home. I am so glad I get to stay at my job that I love! I told our realtor I'm so glad she listened to the Holy Spirit prompting her to contact me about this home. Speaking of our realtor, Kim Buettner is fabulous. She was patient and honest after we looked at 100's of homes (no lie). We never felt obligated or forced to go with a home. I tell everyone that she has made the difference during this process and we are truly grateful to her. Even until the very end, she answered every silly question that I emailed, texted, or called about. I'm truly going to miss working with her because she became a great friend.

Stay tuned:: I've got big plans for this house and I can't make any promises, but I feel like this may become a home renovation and design blog for a few years if ya'll don't mind. My heart is full because making a house a home is life giving to me.

The part that makes me smile the most:
We live on Emily street. [I find that quite adorable]

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Friday, March 13, 2015

the "YOU MATTER" project


The Lord has been stirring my heart for quite some time ... to encourage others who have impacted my life in big and small ways. This may be writing a card, sending some happy mail, visiting with no agenda, or just sharing in person the value they have added to my life. 

I've reflected a lot on people who poured into me during Jr. High "the awkward years." I remember specific compliments I received when learning how to become a teacher in college. One professor said, "I love your voice when you teach." This has always stuck with me. I think about older women who have poured into my life and impacted me spiritually. One has to be intentional about encouragement. Its not something that just happens. 

I want to let these women know how much I appreciate the truth they have spoken into my life. That when I didn't believe I was good enough or couldn't see my purpose, they reminded me of how the Lord views me and how He has gifted me. Everyone forgets their value at times-- its so easy to get caught up in the lies that satan wants us to believe. 

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

The goal is simple: to let individuals know how they have impacted my life and return the favor. This will be a gradual process because it will take a while to reach out to that many people in meaningful ways. The important thing is that I am going to begin this journey. Hopefully whether I contact 5 or 50 people, they are encouraged by the good work the Lord is doing through them. Sometimes we view our efforts as small or they go unrecognized, this is about shedding light on mundane faithfulness. 

I'm sharing this because I want to encourage each of you to think about the people who helped shape you, those who saw your greatness when you didn't... and maybe, just maybe tell them how wonderful they are and the difference they have made in your life.

Keep fighting the good fight. You are making a difference. Live in His grace. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

things i'd like to tell those learning to sew

I'm not an expert at sewing, but I've learned a lot in the last 10 years.  Here's what I'd tell those who are learning to sew.

1) Most importantly, DON'T GIVE UP!  You will run into problems. You will mess up. You will sew a crooked line. It's okay. All of this helps you become better. I used to get so frustrated (sometimes I still do) when things didn't go as plan. Honestly, tonight I spent an hour sewing and I'm not completely satisfied with the end result. Did I learn a thing or 2 about knit fabric (yet again)? yes.. a thousand times yes. (btw knit fabric is tricky, but I still like to use it)

2) The seam ripper is your friend. Don't feel like a failure because you need to bust out the seam ripper for every project. (raises hand) The seam ripper has saved many a project for me and I'm grateful for its usefulness.

3) Know your machine. Its critical that you know how to troubleshoot your sewing machine. I could probably thread my machine with my eyes closed at this point. Does that tell you how many times I've had to re-thread that bad boy? Sometimes the issue is your bobbin or tension.  You must know how to adjust and fix each of those problems.

4) Buy good thread. Cheap or old thread breaks easily. A good way to test thread is to pull it with both hands. IF you can break it, its not strong enough.

5) Challenge yourself. Try something new that may be out of your comfort zone. Thread that serger  and learn how to use it! (it was so intimidating at first, but its a fantastic tool!) Buy a pattern and make that dress. You will feel so accomplished. Some of my favorite things I've made were scary challenges I chose to push through.

6) The internet is full of great tutorials and videos. Utilize it. Sure you can buy a book with patterns and ideas, but really the internet/Pinterest has great ideas too. Most of them are FREE. Read the directions several times before you begin. Sometimes I have to write them myself to understand.
More often than not, I have to figure out how something is going to work for me. So much inspiration from so many creative individuals. Happy hunting!

I could go on, but I think I've shared the most important tips. Have fun! I hope this has encouraged you and that you sew many beautiful things!  #sewersgonnasew

How cute is this tee?! Who wants to buy it for me? (lol)

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Friday, February 20, 2015

try something NEW

via popsugar

So maybe I won't ever be able to commit to Paleo or cut out all processed foods... and maybe one day I will.  I have definitely tried to reduce the amount I consume and be more intentional about healthy, clean foods. By far, the best decision I made in 2014 was to start drinking diluted Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water. I was able to stop taking Zantac because I began doing that and overall, I just feel better.

The gym membership is being used. Some weeks I'm better than others. I don't always get 10,000 steps in, but I'm being more intentional about my movement. I was thinking the other day about all the vegetables I have never really tried.  I would be terrible if I bought a bunch of produce to try all in one week, but I think I can try something new once a week and be successful.

As I began to research this (aka Pinterest), I realized there are quite a few vegetables that are intriguing and I can't deny that I love a good challenge. I really do. Planning to try some challenging things sewing-wise over spring break!! (can't wait)

Another tidbit: I love vegetables, so its not like I'm forcing myself to eat something I don't think I'll like. I just want to expand my options and know what I can make when I am standing in the produce section. I've researched CSA produce boxes, but I don't think there are any too conveniently located right now.  Maybe one day!

This looks interesting :Alphabet of Vegetables

via ohio state university

Vegetables I love and eat on a regular basis:  

  • sweet potatoes - kinda addicted to slicing these bad boys up and baking them for 30 min to make a delicious treat
  • avocados -makes everything better...firm believer! 
  • spinach -in salad and smoothie form
  • carrots -love crunchy things
  • snap peas - my FAVE snack
  • green beans
I really like these and eat these sometimes:
  • bell peppers sauteed with onions
  • cucumbers 
  • broccoli
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • beans
  • pumpkin (seasonally)
Vegetables that I want to TRY:
  • beets -hopefully they taste as good as they look
  • mushrooms - branching out here
  • spaghetti squash -it just looks fun
  • eggplant 
  • kale
  • artichoke
  • cauliflower
  • turnips
  • brussel sprouts 
  • arugula

What vegetables do you like? Have you tried some new ones lately? Wish me luck!  I'll post my favorite recipes and anything that surprises me along the way.  

Follow Emilee Harborth's board try something NEW on Pinterest.
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Friday, January 30, 2015

our coffee bar

A few weeks ago, our dishwasher stopped working. Dad took a look at it and we thought it was fixed, but alas it stopped working again. It was the kind you hook up to your sink.  (gotta love rent houses!) Anyway, we decided to not invest in another and so we had this awkward space between the stove and the cabinets.  I miss our dishwasher, but I decided if I had to wash dishes, then it’d be super fun to fill that space with a coffee bar instead.
So I started planning and dreaming and then there was that time I went to Hobby Lobby with Shea to pick up this beauty and I had to explain my grand plans. He got on board and thus began the search for the perfect little table. My parents go to estate sales often, and I told them to keep their eyes peeled. Mom mentioned a wicker table they had picked up and something about a yardstick top. To be honest,  I was having a hard time envisioning it. Once she sent a photo of yardsticks laid on top, I was completely sold.
  • cleaning the table up
  • gluing the yardsticks on
  • clamping it down
Dad using the router to cut around the top and then painting the edge.
  • sanding and sealing the top
Dad re-sanding and sealing. He also spray painted a nifty little tray as a shelf below. Moral of the story: it’s a major perk to have a talented dad and he did most of the work. Thanks Dad! 
I got to bring home this glorious table today and I couldn’t wait to get to work styling it. Shea hung up the shelf and I began shopping the house for things I could use in there. (I learned all about what fun shopping the house can be from
Now I just want to hang out in the kitchen all the time and it kinda makes me ridiculously happy.

Come over for a cuppa joe or hot beverage sometime! Its ready Smile 
Also check out natalie creates or tweet potato pie for more lovely coffee bar inspiration!  This free print came from here. (go getcha one!)