Welcome!

Hello and welcome to Jillian Loves!  You may have found me from Finishing is Winning, or you may be new to me all together…either way, I am glad you are here!

If you want to learn more about me, there are two very easy ways…

  • Read the Who is Jillian? tab above
  • Head over to Finishing is Winning and read the 100 and 101 things

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

❤ Jillian

Discriminate, It Does Not

Robin Williams committed suicide.

Everyone is talking about it.  And that is only a good thing if we are talking about it for the right reasons.

Addiction is so personal to me and I am working on a post that goes much deeper than this, in hopes that if even one person changes their attitude when it comes to how we treat those who are suffering from mental illness or addiction, it will have been worth it to open up about my personal story.  I have so much I want to say and I feel like it needs to be said right now, while people are still listening.

But for now…I will leave you with what I posted on my Facebook this morning:

I am having a hard time being on Facebook today.

Earlier this year it was Phillip Seymour Hoffman and before that, Corey Montieth, and not too long ago, it was Heath Ledger. Before that…Monroe, Joplin, Hendrix, Belushi, Farley, Houston, Jackson…the list is seemingly endless.

Robin Williams isn’t the only face of those suffering from mental illness and addiction; he is just the most recent famous one. Robin Williams has always been one of my favorite actors and the news of his untimely death saddens me greatly. But I am not shocked. The devil of mental illness and addiction will take people and swallow them whole. It robs them of reason and logic. It tells them that they are broken beyond repair.

And it does not discriminate.

We have so much sympathy when a celebrity dies. My Facebook is flooded with posts encouraging people not to judge others, reminding us that we don’t know what battles others are facing and to remember that it can happen to anyone. If only we had the same amount of compassion when it came to those suffering in our own backyards, as we do when it is a famous person. Because celebrities aren’t the only ones dying. Far too often, I see people chalk up a loss to drug use as another selfish life wasted. They are judged. Their inner struggles and battles are ignored and it is quickly forgotten that it can happen to anyone. But it can happen to anyone.

There is so much opportunity for us to educate ourselves about addiction and mental illness and more importantly, about why lives are ending far too soon. But we have to stop living under the notion that it can’t happen to us. It’s easier to think that drug addiction happens to other people; not your spouse, your kids, your siblings or your friends. No one you know. And certainly, not you. But that is a false sense of security. Here is the reality- it happens far more often than we want to believe. Chances are, that someone you know is suffering from mental illness or addicted to drugs right now. Chances are, someone you know is struggling to live.

Oh, and if you have been lucky enough to not been affected by addiction, be careful where you throw your stones because there are only two groups of people. Those who have been and those who will be.

 

<3Jillian

New Food Friday- August 8, 2014

New Food Friday is a weekly post that coincides with one of the items on my bucket list; that is, to try one new food or recipe a week for a whole year.

Recently, I went on a date to Atlantic City for the day, and at night we decided to try a new (to us) restaurant.  I really do consider myself pretty adventurous with food and I am generally willing to at least try something.  However, in Atlantic City, things aren’t cheap and I worried that I would get something I didn’t like when we decided on Cuba Libre.  I will admit, I played it a little safe but still went with something I had never had.  That’s right…I never had skirt steak before.  Actually, I only started eating steak in the last year.  For so long, I didn’t eat any red meat, so I am still figuring out what I like and don’t like when it comes to meat.  I love filet, and it’s pretty much the only steak I eat, so this was definitely new for me.  Plus, it came with cooked mushrooms.  Mushrooms weird me out.  It was a “no” food until that night, and low and behold…I liked them!  It’s always fun to surprises oneself!

cuba

Grilled skirt steak, roasted garlic boniato-potato mash, lemon and onion sauce. watercress and rosemary mushroom escabèche salad.

 

Cuba Libre has a great vibe.  We walked in looking for a reservation for about an hour later and they were more than accommodating when we ended up calling after realizing we needed more time.  Upon arriving for our reservation, we were greeted warmly and seated promptly.  The booth was a little funky; my legs were too short and I had a hard time getting comfortable.  I ended up sitting cross legged because my feet were either hitting the middle bar or uncomfortably not reaching the ground.  Besides that small complaint, everything was great.  Our table was small and intimate and our server was knowledgeable and attentive.

I ordered our waiters suggestion of a vodka mojito (I don’t drink rum) and it was delicious!  Their bread was warm and the butter was so good!  It is a sugar butter and so ridiculously good.  Next up came the main course and I was very excited.  However, my knife was defective and I legit could not cut a single piece of the steak!  I was worried because I am used to melt in your mouth type filet, but once I had a new knife, I was good to go!  Everything about the meal was delicious and it was perfect with my glass of Pinot Noir.  The seasoning was done just right and everything went together perfectly.  I probably could have done without the greens, only because they felt a little out of place, but this was definitely a meal I would get again.  And the best part of all, is that I am looking forward to cooking with mushrooms now!

Cuba Libre has quite a few locations; if you live near one, I highly recommend you check it out!

❤ Jillian

Totally Random Thursday

No, no, no….it’s not a new weekly post thing, just the only title I could think of for today.  Let’s face it, weekly posts aren’t really my thing, especially in the summer!  I just wanted to share with you a bunch of randomness without having to think of a catchy title.  I am lazy like that.

1- SHINGLES IS NO JOKE

That’s right.  I had Shingles.  What I thought was a few bug bites, multiplied itself over 48 hours and I was freaked out enough to go to Urgent Care.  Thank God I did too, because I had a really mild case and got on medication fast enough for it to still work.  That’s the thing with shingles; there is no cure and it has to run it’s course.  The course SUCKS in a way I cannot explain.  It took every ounce of self-control I had not to itch my leg.  That is also where I lucked out…location, leg.  This can show up on your face, torso, back or chest.  For me, I could at least keep it hidden.

Facts about shingles:

If you had chicken pox at any point in your life, ever, you can get shingles.

It is not an “old people” illness.

It is serious and needs to closely monitored, especially if you have a low immune system.  Again, I was really lucky to get a mild case and they are still monitoring me.

It is not an airborne contagion.  It is only contagious if it is directly touched while in the blister faze.  And the only people that can catch it, are those who have had chicken pox.  You cannot get shingles from shingles.  If you catch the virus from a person with shingles, you will get the chicken pox.  This is only if you never had the chicken pox.

It’s not a pretty sight and I was really embarrassed about it, until I started telling people and it seems everyone knew someone who had it.  No one talks about it because the think it is embarrassing.  It’s not.

2- Windows 8 is not the devil.

I finally got my new laptop and here is how I felt the first day:

windows 8

But then, I went to the Windows 7 interface and all is right with the world!

3- The coolest drink I’ve ever had!

Went to a cool little bar spot and they had the most awesome drinks.  I have to imagine if the place is busy, this is a pain in the ass to make but you can tell by the one photo how much fun the bartender had making it.  The pictures don’t even do it justice; it is a whole show!  And the drink is only $15.  I say only because it is coffee, espresso and alcohol.  And it is HUGE.  And delicious.  It had an awesome sugar rim and was topped with amazing homemade whipped cream.  It was the best dessert drink I have ever had.  I have paid more than that for drinks that sucks.  Not this one…it was worth every sip!

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cool drink

cool drink2

4- Too much vodka on an empty stomach is a bad idea.

I was in my friends wedding last weekend.  I made the mistake of not eating and then there was no food until about 5pm.  By then, I had downed two vodka tonics and they just kept coming.  That, on top of the fried food I devoured during the cocktail hour and my stomach was not friends with me on Sunday morning.  I can’t even remember the last time I had anything fried (other than french fries) and I was seriously paying for it.  So the lesson is, don’t eat friend food and drink a lot of vodka on the same night.

Here are some pics from the wedding:

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jessicawedding

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Oh, and sidebar…I caught the bouquet😉

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5- I NEED more summer!

I want more of this….

pool

I feel like I say this every week.  But legit- HOW IS SUMMER GOING SO FAST?!?!?!?  I don’s understand how it just goes in the blink of an eye!  I am looking very forward to my vacation next week, but once I get back, I know it is grind time and then BAM the school year starts!

 

How has your week been?

New Food Friday- July 25, 2014

New Food Friday is a weekly post that coincides with one of the items on my bucket list; that is, to try one new food or recipe a week for a whole year.

I totally missed last two weeks of New Food Friday, thanks  my laptop crapping the bed.  It is super difficult (think 10 on a scale of 1-10) to blog from my IPad, so I really haven’t been doing to much updating.  However, I picked up my new one last night and now everything is right again in blog world🙂

Just because I am not blogging about them, doesn’t mean I haven’t been trying new things!

One of the things I made for my birthday was my very first homemade cheesecake.

I decided to make a baked cheesecake because a no bake cheesecake it not even a real thing because it is my favorite dessert.

Now, as you all know, I have been working really hard to eat clean and be healthy.  I definitely made a healthier version, but also kept some of what makes a cheesecake a cheesecake.  I also got close to 16 slices out of it, which made it a pretty good choice, but it is definitely still a treat!

birhday5

 

This was the most perfect dessert!  I was so impressed with myself!  Everyone loved it and it was devoured within 20 minutes!  I have already been requested to make it again!

Recipe-

For the cheesecake:

2 eight ounce bars of cream cheese (I did one regular and one 1/3 fat)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1 tbsp of vanilla

*Make sure ALL ingredients are room temperature before making the batter.  This includes the eggs!  First, blend only the cream cheese.  Then, add the sour cream, yogurt and vanilla.  Then, when blended, add in the eggs one at a time.  Do not over mix the batter; you want to avoid getting too much air into it, which will keep it from baking correctly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Take out and let cool to room temperature for approx. 30 minutes.

For the topping:1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup strawberries; halved.

After the cake has cooled, apply the icing and then bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cool for one hour at room temperature.

Add strawberries before serving.

Refrigerate until ready to eat.  (Should be refrigerated for at least 4 hours.)

Nutritional stats: (per slice; 8 slices per cake)
Calories- 370.4
Fat- 21.5, Sugar- 28.5, Carbs- 28.5mg, Protein- 9g, Fiber-0, Sodium- 268.9mg

Please Note: Nutritional information estimated based on brands I use and/or calculations using nutriondata.com and sparkpeople.com. Data may not be completely accurate and yours may differ. You should not refer to this data as being exact but as a figure. I do not take responsibility for the inadequacies of the nutrition calculator used. This data is provided for general reference.

 

❤ Jillian

Why Yes, I Do Have A Blog!

You know what happens when you don’t have a computer?  You can’t blog!

Today, I am at work, hosting a soccer camp, so I have some time to get you all caught up!  Hopefully, my new laptop will be ready by the weekend and I can return to my regular scheduled blogging!  Meanwhile, I’ll just say, blogging on the Ipad is TERRIBLE!  Ugh!  Times ten!

Summer is going to be over in the blink of an eye!  I cannot believe we are almost through July!  The other day someone said something about how long until Christmas and all I can say is they are lucky they didn’t get punched square in the face.  I DO NOT want to talk about snow, cold weather or anything that involves being back at school yet!  Don’t get me started on the Back to School section of Target!

Let’s talk about fun stuff!

July is my birth month.  Summer birthdays are the absolute best and I have been living it up for sure!  In the past two weeks, I ate lots of yummy food and had WAY more beer than I should have.  I celebrated for a solid two weeks, which is what everyone should do on their birthday, and I had a blast!

Here is what 33 looks like….

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A few from my birthday party.  You are never too old to have one of those!

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Snapped this one of my new favorite summer activity…tubing down the river.

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And from my visit to Reboboth Beach.

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And here are all my cakes!

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Left is an ice cream cake (my mom is known for them!), then the cake and goodies from my friend Theresa in Delaware and finally, on the bottom is my cheesecake.  The cheesecake will be featured in this weeks New Food Friday.

Overall, I am having such a great summer.  I really don’t want it to end!  I have a few late summer races, two vacations and a lot more fun planned for August, but I don’t want to rush it!  If only it were summer all year!

What has been the best part of your summer?

Summer Vacation & A Birthday

I’m officially on Summer vacation for one month🙂

I am working a one week soccer program but it still feels like vacation.  I get to sleep past 5am, work out in the morning, spend afternoons at the pool, go out any day of the week and stay up past 10pm.  I love it!

I had a most excellent 4th of July weekend. Spent some time at the pool and went tubing over the weekend. So much fun!!

Today begins my birthday celebrations.  I’m officially 33. I like celebrating birthdays because it is the one day you get to celebrate yourself. I’ve accomplished a lot in 33 years and have a lot to celebrate. Especially this year when I feel like things are finally coming together!

I am working on a “letter to myself” post that I was hoping to have done today but it’s not looking that way! You’ll have to stay tuned for that one!

I’m off to run 3.3 miles…I think that’s a good number for today!

Do you enjoy celebrating birthdays?

❤ Jillian

New Food Friday- July 4, 2014

New Food Friday is a weekly post that coincides with one of the items on my bucket list; that is, to try one new food or recipe a week for a whole year.

Last night I was craving something salty/sweet, so it was the perfect time to make the nut butter cookies I had been wanting to try.  The only recipes I could fine were for either almond or peanut butter and I was looking for a mix.  So I took a peanut butter cookie recipe I have had for years and changed it up.

First, I mixed together the peanut butter and almond butter.

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I could seriously eat this by the spoonful!

Then, I added in the rest of the ingredients and mixed it up.

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And viola!

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I reallllly need to work on the food photos!

Recipe:

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1tsp honey

Nutritional stats: per cookie (makes 12 small cookies)
Calories- 117
Fat- 6, Sugar- 10.3, Carbs- 14.1mg, Protein- 3.4g, Fiber-1, Sodium- 40mg

Please Note: Nutritional information estimated based on brands I use and/or calculations using nutriondata.com and sparkpeople.com. Data may not be completely accurate and yours may differ. You should not refer to this data as being exact but as a figure. I do not take responsibility for the inadequacies of the nutrition calculator used. This data is provided for general reference.

These were really good, but they need to be tweaked. I blindly decided how much of what to put it and while they are good, I feel like the ingredients are competing instead of meshing. I’m definitely going to make these again. Less sugar maybe and I’m thinking a mashed banana instead of the egg (which makes them vegan).

In addition to be yummy, these were the perfect start to my day as a quick pre-workout snack. They are pretty darn healthy…you know, for a cookie🙂

PS- Happy Birthday America!!!!

 

Book Review- Basketball Junkie By Chris Herren

I read a lot of books about addiction.  Beautiful Boy, Lit, Smashed and The Basketball Diaries are among my favorite.  I loved The Basketball Diaries, both the book and the movie.  Intense.

Not as intense, but definitely a great read, was Basketball Junkie by Chris Herren.

herren

Last November, Chris Herren came to speak at a local high school close to where I live.  I had read about him plenty; I had watched him play when I was younger and read plenty of articles about his drug use.  I had heard his methods during speaking engagements were different (in a good way) and I was really excited to hear him speak.  He did not disappoint.  He was candid and compelling.  As is his book.  An honest portrayal of an addict.  A kid who had every opportunity to be a big star but whose addiction was so controlling, he lost everything.  Just when you think he has hit rock bottom, you realize he still has deeper places to go.  If I hadn’t known he lived, I would have been sure he had died.

Every addict starts out like Chris.  Addicts come in all colors, shapes and sizes.  They live in big houses, small houses, in cars and on the streets.  They have all different degrees, professions and hobbies.  They don’t all get to live to tell their stories.  Chris did and now he is using what he went through and what he learned to tell his story.  If he saves even one person.  Judging by what I have read, he has saved many.  He says it was all worth it.  I am sure if he had the chance to do it again, he wouldn’t have taken the path he did (would anyone?) but I admire him for turning something horrific into something worthy.

If you know someone fighting addiction and want an inside look and the life of an addict, this is a good place to start.  I was touched by addiction late in my teen years, when my best friend died of an accidental overdose.  That was almost 14 years ago and that never gets easier to say.  I didn’t grow up around drugs, I wasn’t a part of that crowd and I was so naive, I didn’t even know my friend was doing it.  It was a huge shock.  Sometimes, it still shocks me.  Only because I never could have imagined how the war on drugs would personally affect me, how out of control it would get and I could never have imagined how insensitive some people could be about addiction.  No one grows up wanting to be an addict.  For me, reading this book and other books like this, helps me to understand where my friend was and what he was going through during his addiction.  I am working on a post all about addiction and my friend, that closely ties to this post.

 

Are you drawn to books about anything specific?  Do you feel like you identify with any specific genre?

This Or That?

I had one of those days yesterday that seriously made me re-think home ownership.  The day started well and ended with my thumb slammed in my front door (who needs a thumbnail though, really?), my lawnmower shitting the bed and best of all, I noticed some unwanted friends had made a home in my grill.  Yellow jackets.  Just about 100 of them.  Awesome.  Except, not awesome.  Especially because I am so highly allergic.  Of course I did what any girl does when everything seems to be going wrong.  I called my parents to vent, created a list of everything that is wrong or not quite right with my house, decided I am a life failure because my lawn is half-mowed and I no longer have a working grill, drank a few glasses of wine and went to bed.  Then I woke up (and hour late) and started fixing all this shit.  And by that I mean, I went to work and my dad found an exterminator and met him at my house.  My parents are awesome!  I keep reminding myself that 90% of the time, owning a home is totally awesome even if it means I’ll be broke for the rest of my life.

I love my house.  I love my house.  I love my house.  

Anyway…I needed something light for today!  Saw this on a blog I started recently reading and it was exactly the type of post I needed for today!

 

this or that

 

1. This or that: 5k or a marathon?
They are both mentally tough for entirely different reasons.  I actually prefer longer distance runs…if I had to choose…the 5k, only because the training for a marathon is so taxing.  

2. This or that: flat race in the heat or hilly race in the cold?
Flat + heat!  Truthfully, I run better in the cold, but I HATE the cold and I HATE hills!

3. This or that: new running shoes or a new running outfit?
Outfit, for sure.  I love finding new running clothes!

4. This or that: run a marathon without headphones or Garmin?
Without headphones.

5. This or that: race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?
I would say convenience, although I love to travel for races.  Although I fully intend to travel to D.C. next spring to get myself some Tiffany’s swag🙂

6. This or that: PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?
I have spent way too much time injured.  Miss the PR and finish strong!

7. This or that: 100 squats or 100 push ups? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)]
Pushups.  I HATE squats.

8. This or that: run without socks or without sports bra?
Wow.  Both would be incredibly uncomfortable.  I think though, without a bra.  Hopefully my tank is tight enough!

9. This or that: treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour?
Treadmill. 

10. This or that: Ragnar Relay or Marathon Relay team?
Ragnar all the way!!!

11. This or that: Naked run or naked yoga?
Both of these sound like they would be terrible for me.

12. This or that: Come in 4th in the Olympics or 1st in NYC marathon?
1st in NYC!!

13. This or that: give up running for a 3 years to get a BQ or never BQ but run as much as you want?
Never BQ and run as much as I want!  That IS my reality and I am solidly okay with it!

 

❤ Jillian

Clean Eating Challenge; Days 11-14

It’s a funny thing, making a lifestyle change.  For me, it always takes a challenge to start something new.  It gives me something to focus on…something to strive for and be held accountable to stick with for a specific time.  Now that the time has ended though, I very much realize the challenge continues.  Every day.

Days 11-14 were both the easiest and hardest.  There was no in between.  Some days it just felt natural and other days, I wanted to eat the entire ice cream cake!

I was going to give the day by day, play by play, as I had been; but I would rather focus on how I feel overall after the two weeks.

The Clean Eating Challenge was HARD.  I definitely slipped up here and there but I am SO glad I did it!

Here some of the positive changes that have taken place:

1- I have cooked more at home in the last two weeks, than I have in the last two years!  I tried new foods, experimented with recipes and best of all, so much of it is from scratch.  I never would have made my own taco seasoning or salad dressing before.  Simple little changes are adding up to a lot in the kitchen!

2- I bought a Vitamix and it is as life changing as everyone says.  I totally plan to continue my morning smoothie routine and I find myself half way through a long run thinking about my post-run smoothie.

3- I am more alert, relaxed and I have slept so much better.  My skin has cleared up, my energy level is up and overall, I just feel better.  Okay, so this might all be related to summer, but regardless, I like it!

4- My cravings for starchy, carb-y, sugary foods is much lower.  The cravings aren’t gone by any stretch, but they are definitely changing.

5- I enjoy food more.  I am not eating just to eat.  I am really focusing on how the foods I eat will affect my body.  It has really made me want to dive into the world of nutrition further.  I am thinking about taking some classes.  Not sure which direction I want to go, but I have always loved working with kids.  If I could somehow incorporate my knowledge of food/nutrition with love of kids, that would be awesome.

6- I am walking the walk.  Sure, if I want the occasional beer or cookie, I am going to have it.  But for the most part, I am practicing what I preach.  I have always been relatively healthy but I had no idea how much I had to learn.  Now I know I still have so much to learn.  I am ready though!  I just have a whole new energy about everything.

7- Food prepping is SUCH a time saver!  Having things ready to go makes it so easy to choose them!  Grabbing pre-cut veggies is as easy as grabbing something packaged.  Food prep takes time, but it is so worth it!

8- I went from drinking close to 50 ounces (50!!!!) of coffee a day, to 12 ounces.  I am shocked at how little this change has bothered me.  The first week was tough and I felt really sluggish my mid-day, but it kept getting easier.  Now, I have my one cup of coffee and feel good for the day!  This is probably the single best change I made.

9- Through all my research, I have found so many awesome recipes.  I am looking so forward to trying all the new, healthier versions, of foods.

10- My workouts are so much stronger.  I feel better running, I am lifting heavier and best of all, I recover faster.  This has been one of the best changes!

 

Here is what made it hard:

1- Look, healthy food is expensive.  Yes, there are ways to save and if you work at it hard enough, you can definitely budget, but it was hard.  Building my pantry up is a process and it is nowhere near finished.  I am working really hard to fit my food budget into my life.  It comes at a cost; something else has to get cut, but at the end of the day, I am doing it for my health, so it is worth it.

2- I really like dining out.  Over the two week challenge, I dined out three times. I did really well and in each case I ordered something I normally wouldn’t have, but it was really hard to pass up some of my old favorites.  I will continue to work hard at balancing my love of dining out with my new found way to live healthy.

3- Food planning is so not my thing.  I keep trying but I just cannot decide weeks in advance what I will want to eat.  For one, my schedule changes too often and for two, I need to think about what I want.  It frustrates me, but at the same time, I don’t put a ton of stock into it as long as I am not wasting the food I bought or prepped.

 

Overall, I am really proud of how I did these last two weeks.  I definitely tried new things, decided to remove some foods for good and still enjoyed life!  That is why the beer, or the cookie, or the piece of bread with dinner weren’t deal breakers for me.  That is just life.  90% of the time, I ate better than I had been eating in years.  I focused on what I was eating, made conscious choices and paid attention to how it made me feel.  THAT in and of itself makes having done the challenge worth it.  I am really focused on being the healthiest version of myself, with the understanding that doing so also means enjoying dessert sometimes, too!

I kept thinking about what would change between yesterday when the challenge ended, and today.  The answer is, nothing changes.  Like I said, the challenge continues…the challenge is every day.  To continue to do what is best for myself, try new foods, cook at home, eliminate the bad and create more good and stay on this great path I have started paving for myself.

But, I am not going to start eating avocados or give up ranch dressing.  Let’s not get carried away!

 

❤ Jillian