I don’t want children, and it has nothing to do with you. 

I don’t want children. Now, I don’t say this with 100% certainty because I also thought I would never like a Justin Bieber song and then “what do you mean” AND “sorry” came along, proving that opinions made with whole hearted conviction can change with the drop of a single. But like being a Bieliber, the lack of desire to procreate is VERY controversial. I can see the judgement in people’s eyes when I tell them (after they ask me of course, I don’t just go around volunteering this taboo information) “I don’t actually think that I want to have children”. I’ve never had a maternal drive to have kids. When I would think about my future growing up I would imagine my job, what kind of animals I would have, and the kind of person I would want to marry. When I would play house baby dolls were rarely involved, and if they were, they were students, patients or someone else’s. So on behalf of women everywhere who have decided that they don’t want children, here are the things we want you to know. 

1. I hate when people tell me “You’ll change your mind.” You know what, that is very possible. One day I might wake up and decide that I actually do want children. But I doubt it. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, as I am aware the decision does eventually have a “no turning back” date, and I just don’t think I’m going to change my mind. However, if I do change my mind and have a child, this does not mean all women who don’t want children will change their minds, or wait too long and eventually regret not having any. 

2. I don’t hate kids. I have a niece and I love her more than I thought was ever possible to love anything. I love other kids too, except when they’re out of control assholes, then chances are I dislike that kid, and their parents. I was actually a nanny for two years and I loved every minute, even the rough days. I love their innocence, I love watching them learn new things, I love their wonder with every little thing, and I think the world would be a better place if we held on to a lot of the qualities they have, that adults let go of. My decision to not have children isn’t based on my feelings for them, I also love sloths but I don’t have one. 

3. My lack of desire to procreate is not judgement for your desire to be a mother. Most women with children get VERY defensive when I tell them I’m not planning on having any of my own. Their reaction is unparalleled by anything else I’ve experienced. I’ve never been called “selfish” by someone who for example has a roommate living with them when I would never have a roommate now that I’m married. But it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone who doesn’t want kids “Don’t you think you’re being a little selfish?”. Just because I don’t want kids, does not mean that I think negatively about people who do. I’m not judging or attacking their decision by not wanting them. It actually might surprise you that my decision had nothing to do with you. Which brings me to the next point…

4. My husband is cool with it. I’m not exaggerating, 95% of the time when I tell someone I don’t want kids, their next question is “Well what does your husband think of that?”. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize he married me to be a vessel to carry his future child. My husband loves me very much, if I want kids, he wants kids, if I don’t, he doesn’t. Did it ever occur to you that this was a private conversation we had before we even got engaged? I would tell you to ask him yourself, but no one really ever asks the guy when he plans on knocking his wife up, do they? Meanwhile I get asked several times a week. 

5. It is none of your business. It is astounding to me that no one seems to consider “So when are you guys going to have kids?” A rude question. Being someone who has endometriosis, the leading cause of infertility in women, I have met a lot of women in support groups who want children, but are physically unable to have them. My heart breaks for them, I can’t even imagine the pain of wanting something so badly without results. That struggle should remain private, it is the woman, her partner and their doctor’s business. What if you asked a woman that question and she just had a miscarriage? Or she has been trying to get pregnant for years with no results or hope? 
So think before you ask someone when they’re going to have a baby. And feel free to judge away if you feel the need, when I tell you I know I don’t want children. I’ll just be here, sleeping in as long as I want, with all my extra free time, and money. 

The Unspoken Side Effect

Since March is Endometriosis Awareness Month I thought would shed light on a side effect that rarely crosses the mind of someone without endometriosis: depression.

  
Conspiracy theories aside, many biographers think that Marilyn Monroe’s life long battle with depression was caused by her endometriosis, and that her eventual suicide was an accident from her merely trying to escape the pain of the disease that night. People around me generally consider me a positive, upbeat person, but even I can’t escape this side effect of my illness. For me personally there are a few reasons why I occasionally struggle with depression from endometriosis.

1. You can’t escape it. You can leave a shitty job or a bad relationship when you’re unhappy, but there’s no escaping your own physical body. There’s no cure for endometriosis and very few effective treatments, you have good days, you have annoying days, but when it’s bad, it’s bad and there isn’t a pain killer strong enough or a heating pad hot enough to give you relief. 

2. People don’t believe you. You don’t look sick on the outside (totally exhausted, yes, but “sick” no.) As someone who hates to dwell on my illness and downplays my symptoms anyways, people just don’t get it. My first experience with depression came after my original gynecologist flat out did not believe that there was anything wrong with me. (You can read about my struggle to find a diagnosis here) I felt crazy, and the depression from that lasted nearly a year. When I think that the average length of time for a proper diagnosis is 7 years, I wonder if I personally could have made it that long, and am in awe of the women who do.

3. It’s isolating. One in ten women have endometriosis, and although I am grateful for the support I receive from my fellow EndoSisters, it isn’t the same as your loved ones around you just “getting it”. You have thoughts like “Why me?” and “Did I somehow cause this?” but you don’t want to say them outloud and there have been times I’ve completely shut down to the people around me, which as you can guess is not good for relationships. There is a jealousy that happens when you see your loved ones living their unaltered lives, pushing themselves and eating junk with no immediate consequences. Not to mention all the social occasions you miss out on from not feeling well enough to go to. 

4. You feel like you’ll never reach your full potential. I’ve accomplished a lot in my young life, more than some totally healthy people, which begs the question “What could I do if I were totally healthy?”. I have a body that occasionally likes to hold me back, and no matter how hard I push it, it will catch up and knock me down for a few rounds. You can’t rule the world plugged into a heating pad on the couch in the middle of your messy living room you’ve been too exhausted to clean. For the overachiever in me, this is the worst part. 

This is a much more complicated disease to cover in one blog post, but with all things considered how do you keep yourself going? I have a few ways I personally try to deal with it. 

1. I give my body it’s best chance for success, between my diet, the lifestyle changes I have made, and my work with a holistic practitioner, and I hope that my body returns the favor.

2. I treat myself. If I have to spend some downtime with a heating pad in my bed, you can bet it’s going to be the nicest damn heating pad, in Egyptian cotton sheets and the softest pillows money can buy. If I feel like crap I can at least feel that way in clothes and makeup that make me happy too! And if I want an occasional chocolate milkshake, I’m going to get one.

3. I do things that make me feel good. I get a massage every month and a reiki treatment when I feel especially drained. I take baths several times a week while I enjoy a glass of wine, and I turn the music up and sing along in the car to and from work because it makes me happy. I recently did a pin up shoot with photographer Laura Dark, just because it sounded fun. I have to say a few hours of ladies pampering you, doing your hair, makeup and dressing you up does wonders for your attitude. It also helps that when I feel like crap I can look at the pictures and think “Yeah but look how hot you are”. I highly recommend it. (If you’re ok with seeing a little skin my shoot it here!) As long as something makes you feel good at the time, don’t feel guilty for indulging a little. 

4. I surround myself with people who love me. I don’t have time for negativity, if you’re not good for me you have no place in my life. The people around me motivate me to keep going. It makes a huge difference when I can go over to my sister’s house to watch Golden Girls with no expectations from her to be in a wonderful mood. Don’t even get me started on when my husband hands me a cup of bone broth, my heating pad and turns my favorite show on Neflix. That’s what real love looks like. 

5. I allow myself to feel sad. I have a chronic illness, every day isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows and I’m not going to be hard on myself for not being happy all of the time. If I need to take some time to sleep too much and feel sorry for myself, I will. Life is hard, it’s ok if it gets to you, just don’t unpack your bags and live in that feeling.

If you ever get to the point where you are considering doing something drastic, I urge you to get help. You have survived 100% of your worst days up to now, there is no reason to ruin that perfect track record. 

My IUD Insertion Story

After two months of research, and my gynecologist’s advice, I decided to get an IUD to try to help manage the symptoms of my endometriosis (Along with continuing the work with my holistic doctor; which I’ve promised you all I would write about! I know I’ve been slacking, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write more, so stick with me!).  We went with Mirena, which has been increasingly used to treat the symptoms of endometriosis within the last few years. Although more research is needed (only a few studies have been published, and the longest only followed it’s research subjects around for three years) it is thought to have something to do with the progesterone the IUD releases into your uterus over the course of 5 years. The progesterone thins the lining of the uterus, theoretically suppressing the growth of endometrial tissue, and reduces inflammation in the pelvic cavity. Now that you’ve had your little dose of reproductive organ education today, let me tell you about my IUD insertion experience. 

First, when you schedule the appointment, they ask that you be on your period, which for me was a very small window of time, because like clockwork I start on Friday afternoon and finish Sunday night. I scheduled it for Friday afternoon and hoped my body wouldn’t let me down. Honestly, I didn’t do much research into the actual insertion procedure, besides reading a post somewhere titled something like “Preparing for your IUD insertion” that recommended “relaxing….take calming breaths…and take 800 mg of ibuprofen and hour before your appointment.”, the article also said not to worry, the procedure was basically an uncomfortable pinch, no different than a Pap smear. 

I drove myself to the appointment, and thinking 800 mg of ibuprofen sounded like a bit much, I took 400 mg before leaving the house. I had convinced myself the “pressure/pain” I had read about would in no way compare to the pain I feel during an endo flare, and did some yoga breathing until the doctor came into the room. She explained the procedure in full detail, so I would know exactly what to expect every step of the way, and this put me totally at ease. “First I will insert the speculum, no different than in a Pap smear. Then I’ll swab the area and make sure your cervix is totally clean so that there’s no risk of infection. After that I’ll insert what is called a “sound” which measures your cervix so I know where to place the IUD, at this point you will feel three seconds of cramping, just remember to breathe. Then you’ll hear me opening the sterile packaging the IUD comes in, when you’re ready I will place the IUD and you’ll feel 10 seconds of heavy cramping, much like a contraction, again, just remember to breathe. Any questions?”

“Nope!” This was going to be a piece of cake! Famous last thought….

Before I move on, allow me to brag a bit about my high pain tolerance. I have nearly 8 hours of tattoo work on my body, 6 of those hours were on my rib cages, and I sat like a champ through every second; laughing with the tattoo artist when he would tell me about the grown men who had cried and passed out getting tattoos in the same spots. I’m no whimp. Anyways, back to the office…

She inserts the speculum, nothing out of the ordinary, just a little pressure, and then she lets me know she’s about to insert the sound. “I know it seems strange, but if you cough really hard as I insert it, that will make the pain less severe.” My cough went a little something like this “cough, COUGH, AHH! OUCCCCHH!” I was so embarrassed. It takes A LOT to get me to cry out in pain uncontrollably. In fact, the only other time I remember doing so is when I had an ovarian cyst rupture. (I’m not talking about stubbing your toe and screaming “DAMNIT!” I’m taking about a raw, animalistic “yelp” that you just can’t hold in). There’s no way the entire office didn’t hear me. My doctor patted my leg and said “That’s a totally normal reaction, just take a few deep breaths while I open the IUD and let me know when you’re ready.” At this point I was hit with a tidal wave of nausea.

Shit. I can’t do this. Yes I can. No I can’t. Ugh screw it, just get it over with.

“I’m good!” –The biggest lie I’ve ever told. 

“Ok, I’m going to insert the IUD, I’ll count down and when I get to “one” it’ll all be over. Just remember to breathe. Ready…10….”

This would start the the longest 10 seconds of my life. I sounded like I was giving birth. When I tell you that I have never experienced pain like I felt during those 10 seconds, it is an understatement. If that’s a 10 on the pain scale, my endo flares are a solid 2. I would have told you anything you wanted to hear in that moment to make the pain stop. I would have posted my bank account and social security number on social media, punched my own mother in the face, and told you that Meryl Streep didn’t deserve any of her Oscars. Anything. 

When it was finally over all I could say was “WOW! That was really something!” and muster up a tiny “heh.”

I have to say my doctor handled it well. “Most women who haven’t had children find it very uncomfortable. I’m sorry it was so painful but it will be worth it.” (I would late read that only 5% of women report ‘severe’ pain during IUD insertion, but I appreciated the lie.) She told me to just lay there for 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out, then someone would be in to help me sit up, and she would see me back in a month to make sure everything still looked good. 

As I laid there the nausea continued, my mouth filled up with spit faster than I could swallow it and I thought “Well if this is normal they probably would have left me a puke pan…. You better get your shit together because you’re not allowed to sit up.” The 15 minutes flew by, and the nurse came in to sit me up and told me I could get dressed. As she left the room I leapt up and puked in the trash can. It then occurred to me I would have to drive myself home….Shit.

The cramping afterwards was intense. My drive home consisted of me whimpering like an injured animal and trying not to throw up in my Kate Spade bag. You know all bets are off if I’m considering vomiting into a $400 purse. I tried to distract myself from the pain by thinking of things that probably hurt as much as getting an IUD. “Getting shot or stabbed probably doesn’t hurt that bad…maybe getting mauled by a polar bear, or getting a limb ripped off by a silverback gorilla….” I made it home alive. 

I spent the rest of the evening on the couch with a heating pad and ibuprofen, in complete disbelief that no one properly warned me how much that was actually going to hurt. But then again, maybe that was for the best. 

So here’s my advice to you, if you’re getting an IUD:

  • Have someone drive you to your appointment. Also, make them sit in the waiting room so they can say things like “I didn’t hear you scream out here, so you must not have been as loud as you think” and “Want to go get a drink now?”
  • Take 800 mg of ibuprofen an hour before your appointment. I can’t tell you that it will ease the pain of insertion, but at least you’ll be on top of the cramps that come after.
  • Have three types of pads at home: a heating pad, menstrual pads, and an iPad. All you’re going to be good for is laying around on the couch, and since you’re on your period, you’re not going to want to use a tampon.
  • Take the following day off, just in case. I was still pretty crampy and uncomfortable the next day. If you have a job where you’re mostly sitting you might be fine, but I was not up for running around the salon and taking clients the next day. 
  • Don’t feel bad if you cry out durning the insertion, after I posted something on Instagram (@stayatworkhousewife) people starting commenting that they had a similar experience. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. 
  • Don’t worry too much, you’re probably in the 95% of people who just feel a slight discomfort, and if you are in the other 5% it’s over in 10 seconds. 

I will keep you all updated to see if I notice a difference in my endometriosis symptoms! 

The Stay At Work Housewife’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

  

 I’ve reached a point in my life where my friends and family are becoming increasingly harder to buy Christmas gifts for. We are all blessed to be at a place in our lives where we can buy ourselves whatever we want, whenever we want it. This is an amazing place to be, but it does cause a lot of brain-wracking during the holidays as I search for the “perfect” gift for everyone on my list. Instead of the predictable candles and gift cards approach I usually take when I’m stumped (which I’m sure people still appreciate, but I feel like I’m buying just to buy, you know?), I decided to go a more creative route this year, so my 2015 Holiday gift Guide is a unique one! I’ve broken it down into three very thoughtful categories:

The Gift That Keeps On Giving:

Monthly subscriptions to things like themed boxes delivered to their home, magazines, or even a Netflix membership. This doesn’t mean you need to pay for the entire year, do what is in your budget, and then they can decide if they want to continue. The great thing is, if they do end up really liking it, that gives you a no-brainer idea for their birthday or even next Christmas!

For the Foodie in your life-

Green Bean Delivery Service You know from my past posts that I’m obsessed with this service! They deliver fresh, mostly local and organic groceries straight to your front door! (Let’s face it, the real gift here is not having to leave your house to go to the store in the freezing cold!) $35 for the smallest bin, about a week of fruits and vegetables for a family of two! 

For the Product Junkie in your life-

Birchbox- Monthly deliveries of beauty or grooming samples, customized to match your profile. I’m a sucker for packaging and the boxes these are delivered in alone give me a reason enough to want these! Available in 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions at $10 per month.

For the Movie Buff/Binge Watcher in your life-

Netflix- Does your mom complain when you’re freaking out about what happened on this season of House of Cards that she doesn’t know what you’re talking about? Get her a Netflix account (and for the love of god, show her how to use it Christmas Day) but be prepared to see less and less of her as she goes into binge watching mode… Plans start at $7.99 per month

For the Eco-Conscious person in your life-

Texture by Next Issue– This app gives the member unlimited access to all of the top magazines (including back issues!) like Better Homes and Gardens, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, Vogue and Fortune, just to name a few! The awesome part about this app is that you don’t need to feel guilty for reading an entire magazine for one article, and then throwing it away! No paper waste! $9.99 per month

For the Music-Lover in your life-

Spotify Premium A digital music service that gives you access to millions of songs, ad free, AND the ability to make custom playlists or radio stations with unlimited skips! $9.99 per month

Gifts That Give Back:

Gift ideas that touch more people’s lives than just the recipient.

For the Humanitarian in your life-

Heifer.org– The gift of a goat in their name. Give a goat to an impoverished family in South Africa, not only does it provide the family with milk for personal use (one goat can produce one ton of milk every year!) they can turn the milk into cheese and butter to sell at the market for income, and the goat provides natural fertilizer for crops! $120 for one goat

For the Feminist in your life-

The Feminist Majority Foundation– Make a donation in their name to this cutting edge organization dedicated to women’s equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. FMF utilizes research and action to empower women economically, socially, and politically. The organization believes that feminists – both women and men, girls and boys – are the majority, but this majority must be empowered.

For the Animal Lover in your life-

Simply make a donation in their name to their favorite animal shelter or rescue! If you don’t know their favorite, Pet Promise, a no-kill, foster based animal welfare organization in Columbus Ohio is an amazing organization!

Give The Gift of a New Experience:

Enrich the recipient’s life by providing them with the gift of an educational experience, of just a plain fun adventure!

For the Foodie in your life-

Cooking Classes– These can be provided at a place like Sur La Table (most classes start at $69.99), which they offer in-store or online; or check with local restaurants, (I know Spagio in Grandview Ohio offers monthly cooking classes with their head chef/owner for $75 per person).

A City Food Tour- My city of residence, Columbus Ohio, is a foodie’s paradise, with walking tours offered for anything from food trucks to coffee, and meat lovers to brunch spots; along with specific districts like a Short North or German Village Food Tour. Tours start at $50 with Columbus Food Adventures

For the Drinking Buddies in your life-

A Distillery or Brewery Tour- A few of my local favorites include Brothers Drake Meadery ($15 per person) and Watershed Distillery ($10 per person). Tuck it in with a bottle of their favorite spirt and you’re good to go!

For the Open-Minded friend in your life-

Reiki SessionKnow someone who could use a little unwinding? Reiki is a light touch healing technique which gently facilitates each person’s own ability to find and maintain balance in body, mind and spirit, based on the belief that there is an energetic flow in and through all living things. When this energy is low or blocked, we are more likely to get sick and feel stressed. The Chinese intention of “moving chi” to bring harmony into the body is also the foundation for the proven modalities of acupuncture, acupressure, tai chi, and qi gong. A Reiki session restores this flow of energy, naturally helping the body’s own innate ability to rediscover wellness. Think of it as a massage for your soul! $60 per session

If you’re still looking for holiday gift ideas, check out last year’s guides: Gifts Under $30 and The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

*As with all of my gift guides, the opinions expressed are 100% my own!*

A letter to my loved ones, from someone with endometriosis 

  
I have endometriosis (you can read about my search for a diagnosis here), a chronic disease where the lining of my uterus grows in other places of my body, causing internal bleeding, a build up of scar tissue, and cysts. I get severe pelvic pain which can flare up at any time. My endometriosis decreases the effectiveness of my immune system, and causes extreme fatigue. My normal flare ups last about two weeks, from the start of ovulation to the end of my period, then I usually have another week of exhaustion from being in pain. Did I mention there’s no cure? With that being said, let me explain a few things to the people in my life:

To my coworkers:

There will be days where I will not seem like myself, nine times out of ten when you ask me “What’s wrong?” I will not feel like explaining that I barely slept the night before because it felt like I was being stabbed with a flaming hot, dull knife on my right side; so I will say “I’m just tired”. If I do open up and tell you that I don’t seem like myself because I’m in so much pain, I’m not doing it for pity, and I don’t want to hear things like “have you tried taking Advil?” or “Yeah, I get cramps too”. The best thing you can do for me is to not really acknowledge that I’m down (I like to think I’m hiding it, so don’t burst my bubble!) and just tell me a funny story to take my mind off of it. Seriously, there are days where one more “What’s wrong?” will bring me to tears. 

To my friends and family:

It takes a lot to convince me to leave the comfort of my heating pad and rescue puppy cuddles; and if I am feeling up to being active, it takes even more convincing to get me away from using that energy to clean my house. So believe me when I say that abandoning these things to be social is a very good indicator that I love you very much. It was through the encouragement of most of you that I went out to seek a second opinion, so thank you for that. There might be times we hang out where I’m more quiet than others, but don’t take that as a bad mood, I’m just tired. If I do have to cancel plans to take care of myself, don’t call me flakey, I just need some recovery time. For those of you who I can hang out with when I’m not feeling well and can relax knowing that I don’t need to act a certain way, thank you for being so understanding. I know that it’s probably confusing if you’ve known me since before my endometriosis got really bad, I’m still the same person, I’m just easier to keep up with now! 

To my husband:

I know you didn’t marry me because I could clean the entire house every week, have dinner on the table every night, be up for an adventure at any time, and still have enough energy to stay up late with you. You don’t seem to mind that I’m no longer the constant, crazy ball of energy I was when we first met. These are things I miss about myself that I project on you. Thank you for being the most supportive person in my life, for picking up the house when I’m exhausted, for dealing with my indecisiveness when it comes to picking what to eat when nothing sounds good to me because my endometriosis makes me nauseous. And while we’re on the subject of food, thank you for supporting ever diet/lifestyle change I try, we’ve been vegan, paleo and everything in between! Another huge thanks for putting up with me the entire year I moped around because no one believed there was anything wrong with me; and for holding my hand through the anxiety of searching for a second opinion. I can’t imagine going through any of this without you.

To myself:

You need to stop comparing yourself to perfectly healthy people, and especially to who you were before the endometriosis got bad. Healthy you could clean your 700 square foot apartment in one afternoon so well that you could confidently eat off of every surface. But beating your chronically ill self up because you can’t clean your 2,000 square foot house that well in one afternoon makes absolutely no sense. The things you have accomplished so far in your young life rival many healthy people’s achievements, so stop calling yourself lazy because you need to come home and rest after working a ten hour shift. You need to start caring for yourself as diligently as you monitor your bank account. Do not make energy withdrawals until you’ve taken care of yourself enough to make some deposits, and never let your funds run out, or overdraft your ‘account’. Most importantly, never be ashamed of your story. Endometriosis does not make you a broken person. It is a challenge but it is not who you are. Do not be afraid to share your struggles or your journey, it may inspire or educate others. Above all, be kind to yourself. 

Love,

Dani

Domestically Dani Episode Two

This is part one of the second episode of Domestically Dani! Featuring the beautifully charming Staley Cook!

Click here to watch it on Youtube, and stay tuned for part two!

Viva Las Vegas Gluten Free! (Part Two) 

Part two of my post on my trip to Las Vegas! Click here to read part one.

Serendipity 3 in Ceasars Palace (Dinner):

 

This was probably the least impressive meal during the trip. Although I loved the frozen hot chocolate, my bun-less burger and fries were just OK. My husband’s Chicago dog looked good and he really liked it, but I would say just go for the frozen hot chocolate!

The Henry in The Cosmopolitan (Dinner):

 

I knew I needed to prep my stomach for my first night of gambling in Vegas! (Did you know the drinks are free as long as you’re gambling? I couldn’t believe the amount of people who were walking up to the bar and spending like seven dollars for a bottle of beer! Just sit down at a slot machine, put a dollar in, order from the cocktail waitress, tip her a dollar and BAM! That seven dollar beer is now two dollars! I drank a lot of $2 vodka sodas…). So to prepare for a night of drinking, I started out with a gluten free open faced Ruben and truffle tater tots. Once again, nothing much to write home about, it was a great Ruben, the tots were yummy, and it absorbed all of the alcohol I would later consume that night. The waiter did give me a heads up that the tater tots came from a shared fryer, but like I said before, that usually isn’t an issue for me.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in The Venetian (Dinner):

 

This was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Not just the best gluten free fried chicken, the best fried chicken, period. Which is why I think it is so weird that they never mention the fact that they offer it anywhere on the menu or website! I had read it at some point, I think on another blog, that they offered it, so I emailed just to make sure. The woman who emailed me back was very helpful, and informed me that not only do they in fact offer gluten free fried chicken, it is fried in fresh oil every time, and they have other dishes on their menu they can make to accommodate my allergy! The waitress was also very helpful when we got there, and recommended that we share an order of fried chicken, and then a few other of the small plates. We ended up ordering cauliflower mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, fried green tomato BLTs, and an order of fried chicken with honey hot sauce. Everything was super delicious! I loved how dill-heavy the deviled eggs were, and the little burst of salty smoked trout roe really took this simple picnic food to the next level. They made the fried green tomato BLT for me without the breading, and it was the bomb! (Do people still say that?). I loved how it was basically a deconstructed BLT, with extra special touches, like house-smoked pork belly, tomato jam, and pimiento cheese. Then there was the chicken, which came out with the cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was perfectly crunchy on the outside, and super juicy on the inside. And you know what? It was even better cold and leftover the next day when I ate it to cure my hangover!

Jaleo by Jose Andres in The Cosmopolitan (Dinner):

 

This is another restaurant I wanted to try that didn’t list the specific gluten free menu on their website, just a blurb at the bottom about having special menus for guests with allergies, so I took a chance. Thank God I did because this ended up being one of the top five meals of my life! It helps that it’s a tapas place, because that’s one of my favorite ways to eat! I really think the world needs more tapas places! We got the “Jaleo Tasting Experience”, which our awesome waitress informed me, could be made entirely gluten free. I’m very glad we ordered that way, because it had dishes in it that I may have overlooked if I had just picked things out for myself from the menu. Now I’m a major foodie, so indulge me here a little when I tell you about the meal. The chef’s understanding of building levels of flavors and textures were almost surgically precise, while remaining insanely creative. (Can I be a judge on Top Chef now?). I’m not even kidding. There is a reason Jose Andres has so many awards, and is often referred to as a culinary mastermind. I won’t go into detail about each plate, because it will literally read like erotica for food, and I’ll spare you that. Just. Go.

Viva Las Vegas Gluten Free! (Part One)

My review on the gluten-free meals I enjoyed on my recent trip to Las Vegas!


My clothes are still in my suitcase but I just had to write this post while the excitement and flavors of Vegas are still fresh in my mind! I had an amazing time, and it was a lot of fun sharing my trip with those of you who follow me on Instagram along the way. I got a lot of questions about where I was eating and I tried to answer as much as I could, but I’m dying to go into much greater detail for you guys!

First let me start by saying if you’re just doing research by going online and looking for gluten free menus you might miss some amazing places. The best meals I had on the entire trip made no mention of having a specific gluten free menu, but because they sounded so great, I emailed ahead of time for confirmation that they could accommodate my allergy. Most places were more than happy to! So if there’s a place that sounds like something you would love to try, don’t be discouraged by the lack of a gluten free menu, or else you might miss out on an awesome meal!

Mon Ami Gabi in Paris (Brunch):

 

This is really the only breakfast I had on the whole trip (My body and stomach couldn’t get used to the three hour time change so I never actually craved breakfast foods, LOL). I had this on my list to try for dinner, because they have a designated gluten free menu for dinner, but when we flew in I was starving and figured even though they didn’t have gluten free items listed on their brunch menu, I could probably find something. I was super excited when the waitress informed me that they could do the French toast, waffles, and eggs Benedict completely gluten free. I’m a French toast kind of girl, so I jumped right on that, and I wasn’t disappointed! It came with three pieces of French toast dusted with powdered sugar, blueberry syrup and fresh, hand-whipped cream. It looked and tasted so perfect, that if it had not come with an allergy marker on it, I would have panicked for a second thinking I was eating the real, gluteny thing!

The Palm Restaurant in Ceasars Palace (Lunch):

 

Do you want an amazing deal while you’re in Las Vegas that doesn’t involve sitting through some three hour timeshare meeting? The Palm restaurant has a three course, $25 meal called “The Power Lunch”. I got the mixed green salad, Atlantic salmon fillet with mango salsa and a side of steamed vegetables, and a slice of flourless chocolate cake. There was perfection in the simplicity of the meal. The salad was just radishes, carrots, and mixed greens with a garlic vinaigrette, but it was so perfectly composed and dressed, that it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. The flourless chocolate cake was like a big slice of chocolate truffle, it was so dense and fudgy! Make sure you get a cappuccino with it!

Shake Shack in New York New York (Lunch):

  

I have to admit that I had actually never heard of Shake Shack before, but because my husband was so excited about it, I had to try it! They have a really simple menu, which is always a good sign, because they clearly focus on doing a few things very well. I ordered a single shack burger without a bun, fries, and a chocolate shake. Let me tell you, the fries were some of the best I have ever had! I’m not sure if they’re made in a shared fryer, but that doesn’t usually bother me, so I was fine. Be sure to ask though if you’re really sensitive to that.

Well that’s it for part one of my meals in Las Vegas! Click here for all the amazing dinners that I had on the trip!

Energy Bites Roundup

Raw, paleo, vegan, gluten free, no bake, granola energy bites. 

  

I wanted to put all of my no bake energy recipes in one place so that they’re as easy to find as they are to make! 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut 

Sea Salt Fig and Pistachio 

Cashew Apricot 

Enjoy! 

Fall Recipe Roundup Part Two

Paleo, vegan, and clean eating recipes perfect for fall weather.

  

Well, it’s my favorite time of year again! I’ve got long sleeves on, I’m drinking a pumpkin chai latte with almond milk, and I’m looking out over the tops of the trees in my neighborhood as they change from green to yellow (in a very trendy ombre way, I must say!). Time for boots, long sweaters, crisp mornings, and comfort food! Here are some of my favorite recipes to warm you up this season!
 

Pastelon (Caribbean Shepherds Pie)– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Chipotle Orange Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Buffalo Cauliflower “Boneless Wings”– paleo, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free

Spicy Kale and Andouille Sausage Soup– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash Soup– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, can be made vegan

Cranberry Sauce– paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegan

Black Bean Brownies– vegan, gluten free, dairy free