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Operation: Sugar GTFO

About 2 years ago, while delaying with my hobo, I binge watched food documentaries. I learned a lot. Ever since, I watch more of what I eat. We eat way more vegetables. We choose simple lean meats for the majority of our meals. Progress!

I watched quite a few of these. Even some all about the sugar industry. Yikes. I am trying to find Fed Up in a Red Box currently but I think I already know. WE ALL EAT WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR. Unlike some of the other things people find intolerances and allergies too (gluten, dairy, soy, etc), sugar is in freaking everything. It’s not cutting back on the knowns of soda and cake…it’s ketchup…salad dressing…bread. Here is my coworker Kelly to tell you more about Hidden Sugar!

Note Kelly blogs for our company blog about nutrition. There are some great reads on there. I’m not just saying that because I work with the blogging program, promise.  There is even a recipe for homemade ketchup!

10 Day Sugar Challenge

Around the end of last year, the Whole 30(no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no soy, no legumes, etc.) buzz started. We saw people making dramatic changes to their diets and they were feeling amazing. By doing drastic food elimination, people were finding drastic things that they had no idea. This wasn’t fitting into jeans better. This was sleeping better. Chronic pain gone. SO MUCH ENERGY. Skin issues disappeared. Those people are now on the hunt to figure out which food is their trigger but they KNOW.

I watched all this with fascination. A lot of folks writing about it approached it from a “do you constantly feel tired? do you struggle to get out of bed? do you have chronic pain?” informercial type stance. I have to say no to all those things actually. I actually seem to have a lot of energy relative to other mother’s of 2 young children. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to look at my eating habits. So in December our healthcare center here at work put out a registration for a 10 day sugar free challenge. The basic rules are:

  • No added sugar for 10 days ( no sweeteners*. Real or fake)
  • Only 2 servings of fruit max
  • *You are allowed a small allotment of sugar for honey or maple syrup only

To go along with it, our cafes will be offering more “no sugar added” foods every day for lunch (one entree, soup, sides, etc). So if all else fails I can just get takeout from work for dinner :)

So Kevin and I embarked on it this morning for 10 days of less sugar (the kids will get less by proxy). We have already been pregaming, if you will, this month. Eggs and fruit at breakfast. Kevin has cut back on sodas and candy. I’ve steered my snacking to nuts, popcorn and some dried fruit bars. I think we will be alright. I am curious to see how we feel in 10 days but even more excited to see us engrain some new staples in the routine to lower our sugar overall.

So this weekend I went shopping for the week like usual and found I could just skip entire aisles. I am going to live off sweet potatoes, avocados, kale and popcorn.  And with that, I give you week 1 of dinners for sugar free week!

Week1BTW I got a noodler the other weekend at Bed Bath and Beyond (remember those coupons don’t really expire!) and I am LOVING zoodles(zucchini noodles). I really could care less about spaghetti noodles and I can get a giant plate of them for like 80 calories. I also used it to shred sweet potatoes and made myself some great sweet potato hash-browns with just a touch of cinnamon!

P.S. I am really being tested out the gate as I woke up on day one with a scratchy throat and I can’t have cough drops. So whiskey, it is. Sorry, boss lady. JK


I guess we’re potty training?

Say what-Ollie has been going to the potty (toilet actually. He is very PC.) in his 2 yr old class after diaper changes for 6 months. Not always “going” but just sitting as part of the routine. One day before break, he asked if he could wear underwear like the other kids in the class (to his teacher). They had new packs donated and put him in them. He made it the ride home but then peed in them at home with no warning.


We assumed at that point that his “interest” was more routine of the class. Not that he just knew to go. Not ready but good practice. He rarely ever expressed wanting to go at home…he basically just likes peeing in the shower for novelty. Carry on, school. Go on wit ya bad self. We sent in a pack of underwear so he wasn’t using up the stash and left it at that.

Well he started waking up from nap dry (which Landon didn’t do until near 4!). He started telling them he needed to go at school. So when we picked him up that first day back from break, he was rocking a pair of Jake underoos and a sack of wet clothes (harf). He told his teachers ‘I don’t wear diapers. I wear underwear’. Alrighty then. The only accidents seemed to be minor incidents of not getting there in time or starting before his pants were all the way down. Like ya do.

But we weren’t prepared (Hell, we still aren’t). So when he would come home and have an accident, we would switch back to diapers to save our sanity. He didn’t seem to really care. We were biding our time.

That was a week ago.

By Friday, he had gone all day with no accidents. #1 and #2. And even just gone to the bathroom by himself.

Welp. Color us wrong.

All weekend he asked to go the potty like a champ. Twice at the park. I bought him Pull Ups to just make sure we were in the clear. He does NOT want to pee in that Pull Up and uses it just like underwear…it just has saved us that little bit of leakage trying to get there a few times. last night, he went about 5 times from the time we got home and bed. He didn’t care about missing TV. He didn’t even ask for treats (gummy bears). He just didn’t want to have an “acident”.

So we’re potty training, I guess. Way to sneak up on us, boyhood.

Editor’s Note: I realize that posting this will make him regress but I am still in the shock mode so whatever.

Baby sleep…it gets better

sleepI am going to blame SAD for the influx of traffic to my 4 month sleep regression post. It’s cold. It’s dark. New moms are stuck inside with babies who won’t nap. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BABIES?! THIS IS PERFECT NAPPING WEATHER!” they scream…into a pillow…of tears. I get it.

Hang in there.

I didn’t have the cold but I had the blistering heat so I can tell you, you start to get creative. GET OUT OF THAT DAMN HOUSE. Strap them to you and go join the old folks for mall walking. Jostled baby to sleep, burning calories, walk up baristas and all the Werther’s candy you can stand! Don’t buy white Reebok sneakers. You’ve gone too far.

But seriously…it’s going to be ok. This sucks but you will make it. They WILL sleep again. They WILL stop screaming all the time. You are not doing anything wrong. And to prove it, even 2 years after I wrote that post, my friend Katie is right there with you. Go give her a hug, why don’t ya.

“Then, it’s 2am, and Harper woke up to practice rolling over, and was talking and then crying, and then talking some more, and then pooped. I changed it, then put her back down, and then was wide awake and so I was re-reading about Wonder Week 19 and there I saw it.

She is not starving, she is just distracted, and all of this dumbness is related to this big developmental leap…[keep reading]”


Did you land here from researching ALL THE BABY SLEEP THINGS?! Welcome to motherhood…the insanity never ends. Here are some more of my sleep resources from over the years. God speed.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps – and other saying that make me wanna punch kittens

Wonder Week 19 aka 4 Month Sleep Regression – the motherload

A Journey in Sleep Training – how we faired with Oliver

First Daze and Nightzzz: A Sleep Coach Interview – a look into the life of a sleep coach

Newborn Tip of the Week {Sleep Tip}

The Holy Grail of Sleep – why I value sleep so much

Sleep sacks – Why we had our kids in sleep sacks until over 2

Bringing Home Baby to Your Baby – This we did when we added a kid

CTFD – learn to calm down about parenting or it will make you crazy

I Am Not A Baby Person – how I don’t like babies…and that’s ok

The Mental Health of Motherhood – take care of yourself


From Baby to Boy in Photos

Ollie’s curls were getting bushy. When wet, his hair came to his shoulders. It would get into his eyes. Poor kiddo was constantly getting oatmeal in it.


But he needed a trim.  So a “trim” he got. Kevin cuts the boys hair. He’s actually really good and OCD at it. Problem with this wispy baby curls is you can just trim off the ends. He needed a real hair cut.

So here goes…how Ollie went from a baby to a big boy in about half an hour.

haircutwm-1 haircutwm-2 haircutwm-3 haircutwm-4 haircutwm-5 haircutwm-6Verdict: still cute


P.S. I got a new camera for Christmas. Imma be doing this more.


My Top 8 Albums of 2014

This year I felt like I’ve gotten some groove back. I am finding myself experimenting with new stations on my streaming services and finding great new sounds and groups. There are a ton of tracks I have liked (you can see those here) but I thought I would narrow down my top 58 albums of 2014.

And if you aren’t feeling the albums, here is my list of my top singles of 2014.

Album Favorite Single Comments

Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso


 Could I Be This album is just plain smooth. It varies in style including some Applachian folk sounds on a few tracks.

You’ve probably heard the single…Coffee.

FKA Twigs – LP1


 2 Weeks  This may be the weirdest one on the list. I have been listing to every single she has dropped for more than a year. Her style is very haunting and erotic. I’ve read this style coined as “indie R&B”. It seems every sound and word is heavily thought about and just fascinating to listen to. I encourage you to go back to her previous singles as well.

You’ve probably heard the single…2 Weeks? I know it is on BBC some but haven’t heard mainstream in the US anywhere.

Glass Animals – ZABA


 Hazey  Need an album to just put on on a lazy afternoon and chill out? Here ya go. Hell need an album to makeout to? This is also for you. Just smooth indie pop.

You’ve probably heard the single…Gooey.

Pharrell Williams – Girl


 Come Get It Bae  Good ole Pharrell. I’ve been loving him since Rump Shaker (yeah he did the beat). Fun poppy sound. I listened to this album a lot just playing with the kids and stuff. Some tracks made me dance and some made me want to sit and relax. Gust of Wind is another favorite but I chose Come Get It Bae because it never ceases to make me smile and clap.

You’ve probably heard the single…Happy. Duh.

Broods – Evergreen


 Never Gonna Change  Another indie breakout of 2014 here. A brother and sister combo from New Zealand with an electronic sound with very nice vocals. I saw someone coin this “trip hop” and I enjoyed that. Another album that I am pretty sure we be on Garden State if it came out today.

You’ve probably heard the single…Bridges.

SOHN – Tremors


 The Wheel  I might put this at #1 for me for the year. I love every freakin track. By their biography, it is a “melding of singer/songwriter fare with abstract electronic beats”. It basically encapsulates all things I like music wise. Every track is different but still the same

You’ve probably heard the single…Artifices.

St. Vincent – St. Vincent


Birth in Reverse Not sure how to describe St. Vincent but definitely in the indie pop category. Interesting lyrics and just good to put on your headphones and knock out some house work too.

You’ve probably heard the single…Digital Witness.

Great lyrics:

Digital witnesses, what’s the point of even sleeping?
If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me
What’s the point of doing anything?
This is no time for confessing

Banks – Goddess


This is What It Feels Like Banks has a high spot on my “I’d have sex to that” list (no that’s a real thing). Her low alto voice and sex lyrics remind me of Fiona Apple with a newer electronic sound. She did something similar as FKA Twigs with an EP late 2013 and then trickled tracks to a release this past fall. Hers fell short for me but still some great track to check out.

You’ve probably heard the single…Waiting Game.


For a complete list of them all together, you can check out this playlist on Spotify.


So what were your favorites?


That Time I Scared the Hell Out of My Kid

xmascard2-1I’m going to tell you a story. This story may be very polarizing in response. You may think I am the meanest/worst mom ever OR you may high five your computer screen and send me a Starbucks twitter coffee (a girl can dream).  So here goes.

December is becoming a double edged sword. Landon, in particular, has been horrible less than spectacular. For a month everyone seems to have great Elf power over their kid’s behavior. We have had the exact opposite. Lots of whining and fits about trivial things, days of screen time gone and a plethoras of ‘I HATE YOU’s. It’s just peachy.

In a recent fit over God only knows what, he was sent to his room to cool down. This cool down process starts at the other end of the spectrum of being cool by any definition. Stomping, screaming and sometimes throwing stuffed animals and the pajamas he insists on leaving on the floor. I’ve found there isn’t much for me to do at that point until he is cooled down and he can break his own shit if he is gonna throw stuff. Anyway, I walked downstairs to finish whatever I was doing and after a few minutes I realize it’s quiet. So I turn on the monitor app on my phone and look.

No Landon.

No biggie. He could be playing at his Lego table. I scan right.

No Landon.

Maybe he is standing by the door? I scan left.

No Landon.

Hmmm oh well I guess he is on the floor and I can’t see him. Whatever so I scan back to the home position.

There he is. Starring at the spinning camera. This is the textbook image of “deer in the headlights”. He just stares. Then takes to steps left.

I follow.

A few more steps, backing to the corner as he moves.

I follow.

He stops. Face drops in horror. “THERE IS SOMETHING MOVING IN MY ROOM!!!!!!!”

I run upstairs to him crying.

Landon: “Mommy, that thing was moving!”

Me: ::naively:: “What thing?”

Landon ::points to camera::

Me: “Oh! You mean Santa? Yeah he checks in sometimes to see how you are doing. You weren’t being rude were you?”

Landon: ::sad eyes:: “YES! Oh mommy I won’t do it again.”

Me: :: mental self high five::

Later I caught him showing Ollie his camera and telling him “you have to be really good Ollie because Santa is watching”. So I realize this could backfire but whatever. That was some sweet street justice.


5 Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Until Now! I don’t do gift guides (well I did one for 2 year olds years ago but I digress) but I have found some things lately from OTHER gift guides that I went “well damn, that’s awesome”. I’m not going to moan on and on in an intro paragraph…let’s just get to it:

  1. A Battery Charging device – So you updated to iOS8 and now your battery is pathetic. Yup…I’m with ya. I am CONSTANTLY charging anywhere I can. For Mother’s Day, Kevin actually got me a charging brick. It happens to be this one right here:
    I like it because it also double as a wall charger (the prongs fold down). I then just keep a USB cable in my purse when I need it. This came in really handy while traveling this summer and all The Thread girls used it at one point :) But then this morning, my favorite photo gadget shop sent out their gift guide and LOOK IT!

    Buy the The Power Wallet at the Photojojo Store!
    t have the charge IN the wallet and it is so adorable and nice to just grab and go!

  2. A Funny Ass Necklace – I love quirky jewelry. Remember my woot necklace? Well I have a good number of different ones. I also really like giving personalized things for gifts and have been shopping Spiffing Jewelry for around 7 or so years. She can customize like a boss but she also has LOTS of ideas on her website (follow her on IG too).
    BONUS FOR DADS: Wanna seem super sweet? Check out these bird necklaces.
  3. Want a smooth way to play your tunes in the car and don’t have one of those fancy new models? No worries! I wrote about my system a few years ago but you can no longer get that specific device anymore but I did find this one by Belkin. This one is actually better because it does phone calls as well where mine doesn’t. There is no getting in and plugging your phone into something. Just get in, crank the car and hit play on your phone. Listen to audio books, podcasts, streaming music, etc.
  4. Jazz up your devices with a new skin. I have a skin on my MacBook Pro for work and I CONSTANTLY get compliments. Nuvango (used to be Gelaskins) uses a vinyl that is really easy on your devices and I have NEVER seen them tear. It still looks like the day I put it on there (years ago). And now I want this one:


  5. Did you know Stitch Fix has gift certificates? That’s right…a gift certificate for clothes you don’t have to fight the mall for or order blindly. Get it shipped to your house and BAM decide what you want. I did this once and have been clamoring to do this again (HINT HINT FAMILY). It could brighten up your post holiday January with a little fun!

There ya go. Something to get your mind working.


Want to make your family into the best gift givers ever? Lead the witness. I unveiled my “want” board years ago and now mindlessly update it throughout the year when I see something cool I like. Sometimes I buy for myself but most of the time I just forget about them honestly…so when my husband or mom buy them? SUPER SURPRISE. Read more about the want board.

The Want Pinterest Board

Why Girls Can Code Even If Mattel Doesn’t Think So

Earlier this week, the link started pouring in to me. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?!” Mattel came out with a book “I can be a computer engineer”*. If I saw this in a store before any of this, I would have snatched that bad boy up immediately. You CAN program and still have cute hair! Anyway, it did not turn out that way. You can read the great play by play here about the book but basically Barbie is NOT really a computer game programmer but basically she is the designer (no shame there but it is NOT the same…TRUST) and she gets the boys to help her do pretty much everything in the book.


barbieBeing a woman in engineering wasn’t super easy (and I think I had it pretty good) but my bigger worry has always been that there aren’t enough of us to be role models for young girls. First off in sheer numbers and then even in how the majority are introverted and don’t “get out there” to show girls it cane be done. Do girls even know they CAN be in engineering? So I half applaud Barbie for this PR shitstorm. Even with a badly written message, it is all awareness in the end. They were TRYING to do the right thing and for a 5 year old, they probably are not reading into it like we are. To them, they see Barbie going to computer science class and “making something cool” as a girl. They don’t know the specifics…thankfully. The editor should be punched in the face but they got the IDEA out there. So in a weird way, I am happy for this horrible book. It’s just bringing more light to the fact that we need more girls in engineering…period.

And to prove my point that even bad PR is good PR…

Then The Internet Rocked My Face Off

Just as the social media world is known to do,  the internets gave this outrage more fire (as it should) and the result is fantastic. Within days, we have programmers from around the world rewriting the book and you can too. Even the infamous @YourAnonNews got in to it:

See! More awareness…HAZA!

Someone Who Has Done It Right

::pulls out soapbox, steps right up:: Did you know that Dec 8-14th is the Hour of Code challenge? I wrote about it last year and now I feel like this is even more a reason to join. Take an hour and pick a tutorial of how to write some code. Make a Flappy bird game. Make an Angry birds game. You can even “code” offline on paper. It’s all about fundamentals of how to think like a programmer. Then any language is your oyster :)


Does your little girl LOVE Frozen? Do you want her to enjoy analytical thinking and learn more about computer science? Does this seem an impossible collision of worlds?



Thanks to Disney Interactive, Code.org’s signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney’s “Frozen” heroines Anna and Elsa!

YUUUUSSSSSSSS!! As much as I hate Let It Go anymore, I will be showing this to Landon like whoa. I can tell he thinks more analytically like Kevin and I and I think he will rock this. Also the kid LOVES video games and is really freaking good at it. HOORAY.

So go check it out. the site says it should take around an hour. Screw Barbie and her ridiculously high arches and let your little girl(or boy) get a little closer to an ACTUAL computer engineer! High fives all around!


Many thanks to the lovely folks at code.org for sending me this last night and making my day. This was perfect timing to give purpose to my ranting :)

*To note, this book was published in 2010 and has since stopped production and Mattel has addressed the concerns.

Things I Love – La Shish

lashish2About 7 years ago the boys at work let me tag along to their lunch. It was to a Lebanese and Greek place called La Shish. Problem was, I has never tried such food (oh, youth). Well I jumped in with both feet and figured they loved it, so I would.

We arrived and I was already in love with the atmosphere. Cute bottles with flowers on the tables. Pillows on the benches. Unique lighting. It was just plain adorable.

Then cute little Nabila came out to greet my friends like the usuals they were. Well it’s been 7 years now and I am one. She knows my drink order. Has me sample new recipes. It’s the best. I even had a shower for Landon there with my coworkers. I bring new people all the time and they all are vowing to go back to try more stuff.

Brandy’s Top Lunch Picks

  • Falafel – Hands down the best falafel I’ve had and I’ve tried a lot. The falafel pita is often my default. you will never seen a more green and fresh falafel. FUN FACT: I craved falafel with Landon and grape leaves with Ollie :)
  • Mediterranean chicken thighs – I love chicken thighs..they are just the best. Then she started marinating them for her dishes and ZOMG it is so good. I took Kevin for the first time in forever awhile back and he got them and was just gushing over how good it was.
  • La Lavash – Having a bummer day and need comfort food? Here ya go. Cheese and marinated chicken in a wrap served with delicious sides. It is always something I recommend for people not familiar with the cuisine. Like a gateway drug.
  • Pesto Chicken Wrap – Like La Lavash but slightly different. Great lunch option.
  • Vegetarian Eggplant Moussaka - Just divine. They have great vegetarian options!

Great fresh food. Adorable ambiance. BAKLAVA. What isn’t to love? So go grab some grub and tell Nabila I sent you :).shish2

La Shish is located at 908 NE Maynard Rd, Cary, NC 27513.
View  Map


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In Defense of Butts

profanity1This week we were playing around giggling with Landon where we often fall down the toilet humor bandwagon. He is a 5 yr old boy. Boogers, farts, poop…it’s all comedy gold. He calls arm pit farts “chicken farts” and it’s pretty much the funniest thing ever when he tries. Smelling his own stinky feet is a special kind of cackle. I have accepted this. It’s really harmless. We try to make sure he isn’t being rude with his words and roll with the rest.

Until yesterday when I jokingly said “stop scratching your butt”, he said “mommy, butt is a potty word and we don’t say that”. Ummmmm since when? You told me “mom I’m going to put my butt on you” at bedtime last night, I’m pretty sure. He never mentioned it again and I am pretty sure he said it later but it kinda pissed me off.

Butt is not a “bad word”. I am open to everyone’s thoughts on these kinds of parenting dilemmas but really? Butt? It is a shortened form of the ACTUAL THING. Why is this a thing? I’ve been at the park to hear the parent say “well SOME people let their kids say it”.  Yup. That would be me. Ruining America…one butt at time.

They are just words. As the adults, we have decided words have bad connotations. This isn’t calling someone an asshole or dropping C bombs on people. Once again, we don’t want rude words (no matter curse words or not) to make a person feel bad but my kid saying “I fell and hit my butt”? Yeah I don’t see it.

The grown ups have to make their own stance. I get it. Some curse (HAND IN THE AIR) and some don’t. I don’t in front of the kids and I’ve never heard either of them say one mistakenly (that’s right, all you commenters giving me shit about all my cursing…I keep it in check :P). But even with that, I often ponder “why do we decide words are bad?” My kid says “rats” compared to “damn”. Why do I really care? what is the ultimate difference besides society has dubbed it a “bad” word.

What are your thoughts on “bad words” and will this change in the future (new words added, getting comfortable with old)?


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