Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Celebration Continues

Hi, guys!

Quinn’s birthday celebration continued well into the weekend! 🙂


Saturday morning was our usual CrossFit + Coffee Shack routine —> fun partner workout followed by donuts and iced coffee, which, of course, is the best way to start the day! 🙂

After that, we ran some errands, ate lunch, and then Quinn went down for his nap, which included baking Funfetti cupcakes and assembling goodie bags for his party the next day.

After Quinn’s nap, we took an epic family walk with Murphy around the neighborhood. We ended up bumping into a few neighbors, so we did quite a lot of chatting in addition to walking.

When we return home, we ate dinner on the porch and then hung out there for the rest of the night. In the photo below, Mal and Quinn are telling each other “YOU are funny” over and over again. Haha!

After we put Quinn to bed, Mal and I hung out on the porch well into the evening – chatting, laughing, and enjoying the fire pit and amazing weather. Summer is just about here!

The pug is allowed on the outdoor couch, and he thought it was glorious.


Sunday morning started with a trip to Lucky Finn Cafe, which is becoming one of our favorite family traditions. It’s such an adorable spot and the view can’t be beat! I only wish it was a little closer to where we live, but it’s definitely worth the drive!

Please note the “tiny tape measure” in Quinn’s hand. It’s still one of his favorite “toys.”

Breakfast was so delicious! Mal and I got iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches, his on a bagel, mine on sourdough, and Qman had a croissant and milk from home. Mmm!

After that, it was time for Quinn’s party at My Gym, a nearby fitness center for kids. Quinn and I used to take classes there when he was younger, but we hadn’t visited since a friend’s recent birthday party. It was such a great idea for a younger kid’s birthday celebration, so we totally stole the idea! It gives the kids something to do, and My Gym takes care of almost all of the planning (i.e. food, decorating), which definitely made our life easier!

There were 22 kids (+ parents) ranging from 8 months to 5 years old, so it was quite the PARTY! Quinn seriously had THE BEST time ever! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy!

I wasn’t sure how’d he’d feel about the extra attention (he’s kind of shy), but he rolled with it and actually seemed to like it! 🙂

What a weekend. Celebrating our sweet boy was absolutely wonderful – so many warm fuzzies! <3

Brooks Running Glycerin 15 Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a pair of the new Glycerin 15! Here’s your winner:


I love Brooks -I have been wearing them for over 5 years! I signed up!

Congrats, Joanna! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your shoe size, preferred color, and mailing address to claim your new kicks!


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Cool Things You Notice Happening Once You Start to Lose Weight

Inline_Side_Effects_Weight_LossMost people come to the Primal Blueprint because they want to lose weight. Ask any purveyor of a specific diet and they’ll say much the same thing. The majority of people are interested in dropping body fat, looking good naked, and fitting into their clothes. The interest in overall health, fitness, and lifestyle tends to develop organically out of that. Come for the weight loss, stay for the blue-blocking goggles.

There’s a tendency to view weight loss as superficial compared to the other stuff. That’s a mistake. Weight loss isn’t just about belt notches and positive experiences with mirrors. It confers measurable and, most importantly, tangible benefits to health, happiness, and daily functionality almost immediately. Fat loss, it turns out, isn’t a flighty pursuit. It solves a lot of serious problems and makes some really cool things happen.

Like what?

Your Joints Stop Hurting So Much

Crippling osteoarthritis is relatively rare, but almost everyone has a joint that creaks, pops, aches, or occasionally flares up in pain. Weight loss improves that pain by reducing the forces acting on the joints when you walk (though increasing your walking speed attenuates this, somewhat), with each lost pound reducing forces acting on the knee joint by a factor of four. Patients with psoriatic arthritis who lose weight report less inflammation and more activity; same goes for osteoarthritis patients. All that said, people with joint hypermobility may experience increased pain with weight loss.

You’re Not So Hungry (Hopefully)

This one depends on the manner in which you lose weight. If you’re starving yourself, forcing a low-fat, high-carb diet, willing yourself to reduce calories despite your physiology clamoring for more food, you’ll be hungry—maybe hungrier than you can even handle. If you go Primal on the other hand—higher fat, lower carb, plenty of protein, a focus on nutrient density—you probably won’t be very hungry. You’ll become fat-adapted, which lets you coast effortlessly for hours between meals. Instead of snacking on whatever garbage they put out in the office, you snack on your adipose tissue.

You Sleep Better

Weight loss seems to improve sleep quality, whether it’s from diet alone or exercise and diet, especially if the weight comes off the belly. Even moderate weight loss remains the best treatment (and preventive measure) for sleep apnea, in many cases outright curing it.

Exercise Suddenly Appeals to You

That’s the real secret about exercise and weight loss: The relationship is reversed. While the right kinds of exercise can certainly make fat loss more effective and help you retain lean mass during dieting, most people are surprised to discover that losing weight makes them want to move. One reason is that a lighter body makes movement less onerous. You can do more things without those extra 40 pounds. You can climb higher, hike longer, do more pullups and pushups, jump farther, run faster. Physical exertion is more fun and rewarding when you’re not lugging around extra weight. As we all know, intrinsic reward makes you more likely to stick to a workout plan.

Your Groove Returns

There are many reasons why being overweight or obese impairs the libido. You lose self-confidence. You feel less attractive than you used to. There may even be logistical difficulties. And on a physiological level, the biological mechanisms that make sex happen don’t work as well when you’re overweight or obese. Testosterone (which affects libido in both men and women) plummets. Endothelial function suffers, impairing necessary blood flow to certain erogenous regions of the body. When you start losing weight, your sex hormones normalize. Blood flows once again. Your libido returns. And let’s be blunt here. You’ll feel lustier (and attract it in return) when you’re at a healthier body weight—not “skinny,” but healthy.

You Think More Clearly

Obese adults with mild cognitive impairment who lose weight enjoy better cognitive function. This may not hold true in all situations. College wrestlers who drop weight quickly, for example, suffer (temporary) cognitive impairments (mood and memory), and older adults who lose weight in the later years are at a greater risk for mild cognitive impairment; in that population, weight loss tracks with Alzheimer’s progression. I suspect these older adults developing Alzheimer’s are losing more lean mass than fat mass. By and large, studies show that fat loss improves your brain health.

You Have More Energy

You’re suddenly tapping into a virtually inexhaustible reservoir of energy—your own body fat. When your insulin is controlled, and you can release and burn fat as needed, your energy levels are remarkably consistent. If you’re losing body fat, you’re burning body fat for energy, and it’s a nice clean burn. The steady release of energy you experience with fat loss is a far superior experience to the ups-and-downs of regular glucose infusions.

You’re More Productive

Studies show, with some equivocation, that weight loss improves employee productivity. Part of this is psychological. You look better, feel healthier, and that overall improved mood translates into more confidence and better output at work. But it’s also physiological. You’re sleeping better. You have more energy. You think more clearly.

Your Doctor’s Visits Go More Smoothly

Research consistently shows that weight loss improves biomarkers across the boardYou may not feel your blood pressure improving, your LDL becoming less oxidized, the dimming of your inflammatory status, or the large number of HDL particles coursing through your veins, but you’ll notice your health markers improving on lab tests and doctor visits.

You might notice a common thread running through all these changes: Many of them both perpetuate and are perpetuated by weight loss. You lose weight, and exercise is more fun and your joints don’t hurt as much, so you exercise more, and lose more fat and gain more muscle. You lose weight and suddenly your sex life improves, so you stop satisfying your pleasure centers with junk food, and you lose even more fat. Better sleep begets a lower desire for junk food, better insulin sensitivity, and faster workout recovery, allowing further fat loss.

Fat loss gets the ball rolling. Everything begins improving downstream of those first few pounds lost. Losing weight makes all the other positive changes to your healthy lifestyle easier, more effective, and more sustainable.

What are your favorite “side” symptoms of losing weight? What benefits weren’t mentioned in today’s article? Let me know down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.


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Blue Apron vs. Plated

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

Thomas and I made Blue Apron’s Curry-Spiced Cod & Summer Squash with Ginger-Lime Raisins and Garlic Naan together the other night.

We always divide the tasks so that one person does the “entree” part (the fish or meat usually) and the other works on the sauces and sides. When we sat down to eat, we remarked that this was one of the more exotic dishes we’d made from Blue Apron, but that was also what we loved about it. We would never have chosen these flavor combinations or put in as much effort as we did if we’d just gone to the grocery store and prepared some cod and rice.

The dinner was delicious, and one of my favorites to date. (This Sumac-Spiced Barramundi was my all-time favorite Blue Apron dish!) I always love the seafood dishes the most.

When I first met Thomas, he had a subscription to Plated that we cooked together every other week or so at his house. The Blue Apron team asked if I’d like to do a compare and contrast post, since I have had a lot of experience with Blue Apron but have tried a few other similar companies too. (I have also tried Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, but did the most with Plated.)

Let me start by saying that I have really not had any bad experiences with any of the food box companies. So really, I think that the biggest differences between them are based on what goals you have for your own meal planning and cooking style. What is a pro for one person might be a con for another! That said, here are the main similarities and differences from both Blue Apron and Plated.

Blue Apron

+Offers 2-person (3 recipes for two people) and Family Plans (2 recipes for four people)

+Plans accommodating to vegetarians, pescatarians, or if you don’t eat red meat, fish, shellfish, pork, or lamb

+Ranges from $8.99  $9.99 per serving, depending on your box choice

-Less choice of recipe options each week  up to 6

+Focus on sustainable seafood, pastured meat, working with small farms and non-GMO

+Full recipes available online to make favorites again

+Offers wine option!

We found the Blue Apron meals to be a bit more exotic and restaurant-like with new-to-us ingredients and techniques. Generally, there were more ingredients in each recipe, which made it more complicated but also more delicious in the end. The Blue Apron meals took a little longer to prepare and were more involved, but they tasted better because they felt like extra special meals we couldn’t have come up with on our own. A bit more suited to date nights and weekends.


+Offers 2, 3, and 4 serving plans for 2,3, and 4 recipes a week (=a lot of options!)

+Meat, seafood, vegetarian plans

+Ranges from $9.95  $11.95 per serving, depending on your box choice

+Offers a lot of recipes to choose from, 13 each week, plus Encore recipes that stay up all month

-Free shipping not offered on smallest serving options for the 2 and 3 day plans

+/-Poultry without antibiotics, sustainable seafood efforts, sometimes organic

+Offers dessert option!

We found the Plated meals to be very tasty and a bit quicker and easier to prepare because they were less focused on gourmet ingredients and techniques. This might be a pro or a con, depending on what kind of cook you are! They were still very tasty though, and a bit more appropriate for weeknights, when time is of the essence.

As always, Blue Apron provided me with a code for 25 of you new to Blue Apron to get your first three meals free. Just click here.

Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post! All food photos were of Blue Apron meals : ) 

*All notes were taken from the Plated website, so don’t quote me if I got something a little wrong! 

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Clean Eating Sheet Pan Pineapple Shrimp Recipe

Clean Eating Sheet Pan Pineapple Shrimp Recipe

If you’ve followed me here over the years, you know I have a serious love affair with shrimp. Packed with lean protein, these nuggets of sea gold are a wonderfully tasty addition to just about any… Read more →

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