from carbs to Whole30 to eating for 2 : adapting my diet to lifestyle changes... plus, a recipe!

When I started the blog in early 2014, my original intent was to share my designs, recipes and inspiration. At the time I was (and still am!) in love with making up recipes for anything and everything, heavily revolving around starches and grains. I was accustomed to cooking with Israeli couscous, orzo, risotto... if it was in the starch family, I was all over it. I thought I was healthy, but my body felt otherwise.

colorwhirl recipes

In early 2015 I finally decided to try the Whole30 and give my digestive system the support it needed. I temporarily gave up grains, legumes (a main source of protein for me at the time), dairy, sugar and alcohol for 30 days. It sounds easy, and it is, in essence, but it was a huge challenge in shifting my emotional relationship with food, and moving away from my go-to "healthy" staples like the recipes I used to make. If you're interested in reading more about my experience, here are a few posts: week 1 recap, week 3 recap, and my overall recap

colorwhirl : whole30

While I hadn't switched entirely to a Paleo diet, I did put in place several things I learned while on the Whole30. I increased my protein, having a hardboiled egg for breakfast every morning, and tried to eliminate dairy - sneaking in delicious goat / mozzarella / feta cheese when I wanted. The biggest takeaway for me was knowing HOW I'd feel after eating certain things, rather than trying to guess what the culprit was or just recklessly eating things I knew would upset my system. I ate less legumes and grains. I also tried to cut down on my sugar intake, reminding myself how I'd crash and feel terrible after a bag of Skittles, Sour Patch Kids... etc. All a total guilty pleasure! 

Since I had changed my diet, I posted less and less recipes. It made me sad to deviate from my original vision for the blog, but my diet constraints made me feel less creative and willing to share recipes. I stuck with the new "diet" (I really do hate that word) for about a year and a half, until I found out I was pregnant. At that point, my outlook on my diet and my relationship with food changed again, now knowing I wasn't just eating for one! 

There are dozens of blog posts and forums arguing why it's safe to do the Whole30 (and implement those lifestyle changes) while pregnant, but for me, I knew that this was not a time to restrict my intake (or risk the inevitable food mood swings WITH my extra hormones... noooo thank you!). While everyone's opinions are different, I felt strongly that if I needed to increase my calcium and whole grain intake, I would do so for the health of our growing baby. (I know there are several ways to add / increase calcium into your diet without eating dairy, but adding dairy to my daily routine was the easiest and healthiest way for me increase my calcium intake.) 

Now that I'm 6 months pregnant (!), I've found that my system is adapting to dairy, grains and legumes once again. Many people experience a change in food tolerances and sensitivities while pregnant, and I've been lucky to benefit positively from that. It also gives me peace of mind knowing that our little peanut is getting all the calcium, carbohydrates and other nutrients I wasn't consuming - or consuming in limited amounts - prior to being pregnant. 

Other things I've been eating and can't get enough of lately? 

First Trimester: My all-time favorite food was grapefruit. I could NOT get enough! I'd have a half or a whole grapefruit for breakfast every morning. They are rich in folic acid so it was a win-win, knowing I was indulging in a (healthy!) craving and giving our peanut a little brain boost. 
Second Trimester: I've moved on from grapefruit and am fully obsessed with cantaloupe. Before I was pregnant, I loved cantaloupe but would always have a mild allergic reaction afterwards (itchy throat and ears). I gave it a go again and I was SO excited to find out I could eat it without any allergic reactions - to the point where I could eat an entire cantaloupe in one sitting if it wasn't completely excessive. I also crave raspberries and fruit popsicles, so I think it's safe to say this little peanut loves healthy, fresh (sweet!) foods. 

Here is one of my favorite go-to recipes lately, hitting on all of the food groups I mentioned above (that I was avoiding and now embracing!):

colorwhirl summertime pasta salad

summertime Pasta Salad

1 bag Trottole pasta (or farfalle, fusilli or bowtie)
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
6 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup low moisture mozzarella, diced (the solid kind, not shredded)
1/2 red onion, diced thin
1 large tomato, diced
2 ripe peaches, diced
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe from About Food)
3/4 olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. salt


Cook pasta according to package instructions. When noodles are al dente, drain pasta and allow to come to room temperature (or run under cold water).

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all Dijon vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine red onion, tomato, peaches, bacon and white beans. Add pasta (once cooled) and dress with Dijon vinaigrette. Add basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

*Note: the Dijon vinaigrette is the brightest and most tangy when served immediately. When refrigerated overnight, the vinaigrette flavor subsides quite a bit and becomes really mild.

colorwhirl summertime pasta salad


baby bumpdate / 22 weeks

Happy Friday! As short weeks typically go, this one flew by - which is what I can also say (for now) about this pregnancy. I am already 22 weeks, and over halfway to my due date!

colorwhirl | 22 weeks

It's been so much fun to watch the progression through our baby app (we are using the What to Expect pregnancy app) and it's become our Sunday morning routine to watch the video together and learn about our little peanut's developing body. Tim and I have been making an effort to document the pregnancy and while I originally planned to post updates each week, that just isn't feasible. Sorry peanut, I'm not the kind of mom that is already writing in your baby book! I am, however, painting watercolors of the fruit or veggie they are each week, so I guess I'm that kind of mom - whatever kind of mom that is.

This week, our babe is is the size of a papaya. No wonder it's getting difficult to bend over or lean forward like I used to! The biggest and most exciting update to share is that I finally feel movement! For the past 4-5 weeks, I've been getting constant questions from my doctor, nurses, ultrasound techs, friends and family about whether or not I could feel kicks or flutters. I've read that people have felt movement as early as 13 weeks and as late as 25-26 weeks. In an effort to keep up with my zen pregnancy mantra, I refused to worry about it and told myself I'd feel them when I felt them. I took comfort in my ultrasound tech's opinion when she told me that the location of the placenta and my strong (HA!) ab wall were barriers that would keep me from feeling movement until 20 weeks or so.

Lo and behold, week 21 rolled around and I felt my first kick! I'd call it more of a flutter, or that feeling you experience when you cherry bump on a swing or ride a rollercoaster. I can't put into words how overwhelmingly surreal and wonderful it is to FINALLY feel movement, and know without a doubt that there is a living, moving, developing baby in there.

In addition to feeling the kicks, I've noticed that all of a sudden, I actually FEEL pregnant. Up until week 20 or so, the only issue I had was an uncomfortable lower back. Now, as my belly keeps growing, my abs are feeling the pressure and I can actually feel them stretching apart. It's not pleasant, but it's true! I've never read / heard that anywhere, so future pregnant ladies - you're welcome. Or, I'm sorry. In addition to the ab stretching, my legs get sore really easily and it's becoming a challenge to get up easily on my own. I'm sure I'll feel like a beached whale in no time ;)

All of the mild issues aside, it's been an EASY, uneventful pregnancy and I couldn't be more thankful! We found out what we are having (we'll reveal that soon!!) and we're becoming more and more connected to this little peanut. The nursery plans are coming along, as well, and I'm excited to share those soon.

Since I haven't been keeping up with the week-by-week posts, here are the bumpdates from weeks 18-21:

I hope you all have a pool to dive into, a friend with a boat, or a hose with a bucket to dump on your head this weekend... it's been a hot one lately! Happy weekend!

michelle & dave's wedding invitations

It's a wonderful feeling when a bride not only has a specific design in mind for her wedding invitations, but a palette that includes blush and gold foil. Swoon. Needless to say, I was thrilled when my friend and old co-worker Michelle reached out to me to design her invitations back in October of 2014. I had brought in my own invitation suite when Kelsey and I partnered to design her wedding invitations, and Michelle flattered me by asking for the same look and feel of my own. 

colorwhirl : michelle & dave's wedding invitations

In an effort to give her invitation suite a look that was all her own, we explored several brush scripts before landing on Kailey, the oh-so-gorgeous typeface that I had selected for my invitations. By adding blush tones, a monogram and more emphasis on gold foil, Michelle and Dave's invitation suite quickly became their own unique, romantic suite. The invitations were printed offset with blush and metallic gold Pantone inks on a smooth white stock, while the menu and program were printed with metallic gold ink on an incredible blush textured stock to match the envelopes. 

Michelle and Dave's suite featured playful yet romantic features like an allover heart pattern on the back of the Accommodations card, playing off of the heart on the main invitation, along with a custom map that included directions for the big day (highlighting Dave's tee time - very important for the guys!). 

The subtle detailing of the metallic ink with the shiny gold foil complemented the blush tones in such a romantic way, and teased the palette for the wedding itself. In addition to the invitation suite, program and menu, we also designed placecards and various signage throughout the reception (a favorite was the Malley's sign on the candy bar... yum). 

I mentioned the swoon factor before, but as soon as Michelle told me that her wedding dress was blush lace, I about fell off of my chair. She had the clearest vision for her day - romantic, glamorous, sweet - and everything fell into place beautifully. Thank you to Michelle for allowing me to play a small part in your big day! 

colorwhirl : michelle & dave's wedding invitations

images 1-7 © colorwhirl  |  images 8-10 © Emily Millay Photography

baby bumpdate / 17 weeks

After an 8 month hiatus, I'm back! The past several months have been busy with freelance work and small house projects, both of which I plan to share soon. Also, in case you missed it...


I'm pregnant! Tim & I are going to become parents (!) in early November we couldn't be more excited (and, to be honest, a little nervous). I am 5 months along and cannot BELIEVE I'm almost halfway through the pregnancy. From what I hear, the second half of the pregnancy lasts forever, so I'm comforted knowing I have a while to go... I love this little baby, but I'm also nottttt ready for its arrival just yet.

I don't plan to post about all things baby, but since this blog reflects my life I will post baby updates here & there. To start off, a baby "bumpdate"! 


17 weeks : Each morning I wake up to a slightly larger belly, which makes getting dressed a challenge. I'm stuck in between my normal clothes (with the rubber-band belt-loop trick going on) and maternity clothes, so I'm thankful for flowy dresses and warm weather right now. Flowy anything is forgiving on this bump!

We get to find out if we're having a boy or a girl in a week (!!!!!!!) and I am literally counting down the days. Next Friday cannot come soon enough!

A word to the wise / future mamas & dads: if you are even considering daycare for your child, start looking even before you are pregnant, or as soon as you find out! I am trying my hardest to remain optimistic but the one to THREE YEAR waitlists are really bumming me out. I mean, come on... you are booked THREE years out in an infant room!? What?! How is that even possible and who are these crazy people that get put on a three year wait list for an infant? ...Me. I am becoming this person. Putting myself on every wait list in the area is my new thing.

If you know of any in-home childcare providers, PLEASE send them my way! Tim and I are putting together a few back-up plans and in-home care is currently at the top of our list.

A friend told me that if you want time to go by quickly, befriend a pregnant person. So, if you are interested in speeding through the summer and fall, stick around and I'll make sure time will go by in the blink of an eye ;)

Happy weekend!