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bits & pieces of our house

We’ve been here for almost a month (aside from traveling almost every weekend) and there are still boxes and paint cans and drop cloths everywhere.  We love it here and are so excited to be making this space a bit more “us”; we’re just coming to terms with the fact that it’s going to take some time.  But we’re enjoying the planning – the choosing paint colors and matching fabrics and deciding on room layouts – and, yes, even the “budget committee meetings” (mostly because we eat some sort of chocolate/ice cream/etc. to keep us from crying over how much it costs to renovate a bathroom).

So until I get my act together enough to actually write about something, …pictures:

More soon!

annnnd…we’re back

Well.  That was a much longer hiatus than I meant for it to be!  Between moving in mid May and going almost THREE WEEKS without having internet in our new house, I feel like I’ve been living under a rock (or, more appropriately, a giant pile of unpacked boxes).  But anyway, we’re all set now.

10336806_322221884591657_4813719068846194647_n-e1402355234460We are getting all settled in the new house.  Soon, I’ll have to give you a tour of the inside!  It was very well taken care of by the previous owners, but as with any 100-year-old house, it has enough projects to last us a lifetime.  We’re starting by painting the kitchen cabinets and re-painting/re-carpeting the family room is probably next.  It’s so much fun to finally be able to paint walls!  (It’s the little things, folks.)

I’m so glad Ryan is home now.  When I decided to move early to start painting, I never considered that I am the world’s biggest chicken.  Thankfully, Lucy the dog kept me company, but she wasn’t much help when I found a DEAD BAT in my laundry tub in the dark, creepy basement.  Anyway.

We’ve done a lot of work on the yard, which was necessary since the house had been unoccupied for the last year.  Things are coming together and it’s actually been pretty fun and rewarding to work on it with the hubby.  🙂  My veggie garden is in, too!  This year, we’re growing a variety of peppers along with tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, and onions.  I also have some containers filled with fresh herbs.  It’s so exciting to have the space to grow much, much more than we have in the past.

I know I’ve totally left you hanging about how we did on our real food pledge for the month of May.  I’ll post about that soon!  We learned so much that I really want to do it justice.  🙂

Happy Monday, friends!

it’s about to get real


The push to learn more about how the food we eat affects our bodies started a couple years ago for me.  I was dragged down and self conscious after almost a year of dealing with Chronic Urticaria – hives that covered most of my body and reoccurred daily for no apparent reason.  A friend of a friend suggested that I watch the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, which tells the story of a man with Chronic Urticaria (among other issues) who set out to restore his health by changing the way he was eating.  He saw his Urticaria completely disappear.  And that was enough to get my attention.

Over the last year or so, we’ve taken some steps in the right direction: switching to whole grains, trying to incorporate more veggies, and choosing less-processed versions of packaged foods.  As a result, I haven’t had hives in almost a year.  (Hallelujah.)

But we make (a LOT) of exceptions for ourselves, still.  Every time we go out to eat, we seem to come home feeling stuffed to the brim and a bit ill, which usually means we then sit on couch and watch (approximately) 500 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy rather than getting in our workout.  And the next morning, we wake up feeling less than motivated to do better.  It’s a vicious cycle.

So we are finally ready to go all in.  To see what it would be like if we treated food as the fuel for our bodies that it is meant to be.  31 days of real food for the month of May.  In short, this means we are eating (borrowing from 100 Days of Real Food):

+ Whole Foods that are more of a product of nature than a product of industry
+ Lots of fruits and vegetables
+ Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
+ 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains
+ Seafood
+ Pork, beef, & chicken in moderation
+ Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, unsweetened coffee & tea, and, to help us keep our sanity, wine & beer
+ Snacks like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and popcorn
+ All natural sweeteners like honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates in moderation

but we’re not eating:

refined grains such as white flour or white rice
refined sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, cane juice, or artificial sweeteners like Splenda
packaged food with more than 5 ingredients
deep fried foods
“fast foods”

We also have a goal of getting in a 30-minute workout at least four times a week.

Lord knows we will mess up a few (/many?) times, but I know that we will learn a lot!  Keep an eye on our journey by following me on Instagram (@photosbyhayley), checking out the hashtag #paintersgetreal, and subscribing to the blog via e-mail!  Now, I’m off to do some meal planning.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what led us here, check out these awesome resources:

Documentaries (mostly available on Netflix):
+ Food, Inc.
+ Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
+ Food Matters
+ Super Size Me
+ Fed Up (Coming out May 9)

Blogs with Great Recipes:
+ 100 Days of Real Food
+ Eating Whole with Lauren Brimley

Inspiring Instagram Accounts:
+ @eating_whole
+ @marcicooks
+ @tara_eats_whole

**Note: Ryan will drink his coffee black but isn’t making any promises about changing his go-to salad dressing.  😉

What is your favorite real food recipe?

the scoop


So.  Just a few things going on over here:

1.  We’re moving to Monmouth, IL in a few weeks.  Yay!  We are so happy we’ll get to set up house only 15 minutes away from our hometown and both of our families.  We also love that we’ll get back to small town living; it’s been a while.  Ryan has worked very hard during his training and has been blessed with a wonderful opportunity in Monmouth with Edward Jones.

2.  I took a half-time position as a software developer for a small research company based out of the Boston area – Barnstorm Research.  I’ll get to work from home aside from a just a little bit of travel, which will be great.

3.  We’re in the last few steps of buying a home!  More on this in a few weeks when it’s final.


April 30, 2014 - 6:41 pm

Jackie Cook - Awesome update, Hayley! So happy for you and Ryan.

a shower for laura

LaurasShower-12-1024x682Friends.  Let me tell you about my bestie.  She’s great.  We have similar brains, as in, we both get excited about reorganizing pantries, and that sort of thing.  We also like to bake.  And our favorite past-time is getting into really intense conversations as soon as she walks in the door.  If we come to a conclusion we agree on, we shrug our shoulders and go the the Container Store.  If we don’t come to a conclusion we agree on…we shrug our shoulders and go to the Container Store, before our brains explode.  She’s adventurous.  Also, she cares that people know about Jesus.  Seriously.  Ask her about spending (weeks?) in a boat halfway across the world, while receiving nourishment from some sort of ravioli-tuna-canned-deliciousness.  Also, it’s her full-time job.  Anyway, I like her. - Laura

And now, she’s getting married.  Yay!  So we threw her a shower.  And I decided to (more thoroughly) answer a question she asked me a year ago.  🙂 - LauraDear Laura,

A while ago, you asked me what was most surprising about marriage.  And I think I fumbled through some sort of answer, but I don’t remember what I said.  Or if it was quality.  So here are a few things.

  •  Hair.  Ohmygosh.  Everywhere.  I don’t know if Ryan sheds his locks more than the normal man, but be prepared just in case.  Also, closing doors.  Think it’s a given that you open a linen closet, take a towel, and then CLOSE THE LINEN CLOSET?  Think again.  Good thing we don’t have any irritating qualities.  😉

Now, on a more serious note:

  •  It’s amazing how differently you approach things when you view your husband as your teammate.  That sounds simple enough, but sometimes it’s easy to view him as the bad guy when your plans don’t pan out.  “For our struggle is not against flesh & blood…” (Ephesians 6:12)
  •  A really intelligent couple (Gary and Betsy Ricucci) said, “One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse.  Had there been a card attached, it would have said, “Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!”  I think God’s purpose in marriage might be more about making us holy than about making us happy.   And this is good news, because some days feel happy and some days feel…like other emotions.  Just like before you’re married, actually.  And that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.  It’s amazing how different a marriage relationship is from any other relationship.  While you’re dating, you put your best foot forward.  All of the time.  But after you say I do, that’s just about impossible to keep up.  Your spouse sees the ugliest parts of you, and you start to realize there are sins you’ve been hiding from all along.  With your parents or siblings or girlfriends, you could create some distance, settle down, and forget about it.  But that’s hard to do when you share a bed with someone.  If you learn to accept these moments as a time to humbly admit your sinfulness, it’s amazing how much grace your spouse may offer.  And how much you may change as a result.  (Read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas!)
  •  If your husband is humble and kind enough to ask for your forgiveness, just FORGIVE HIM, forthelove.  This is coming from the queen of the cold shoulder, by the way.  Over the last couple years, we’ve wasted too many nights on my stubbornness.  If you intend to stay married, you know you will eventually need to humble yourself and apologize.  Just get to it so you can get in a game of Mario Party before bed.
  •  Saying, “Yes!” more often makes things fun.  Spontaneous karaoke might sound just a bit intimidating to you.  But you joining in might make your husbands week!  Give it a try for him; you might just have a great time.
  •  Dreaming together is sometimes the best medicine.  If the world seems small or the days feel monotonous, remind yourselves of the bigger picture.  Where do you want to be at this time next year?  What is your next big adventure?  What do you want people to see when they look at your marriage?
  •  Words are more powerful than I ever imagined.  While hurtful outbursts can be forgiven, they have a tendency to make their way to the heart, so a bit of self-control could save your spouse a lot of heartache.  Speak encouraging words freely; they seem to find their way to the heart, too, and I think they’re worth more than gold.

So many things about marriage have been surprising, but it’s honestly hard to remember what they were.  With a steady stream of conversation and a whole lot of grace, things that seemed polarizing at first are now long forgotten.  Some of your biggest differences may even become your greatest strengths.

If I had to summarize (and I guess I do), I’d say that if you approach marriage with a humble attitude, a soft heart, and your identity safely secured in Christ, there’s no surprise that you can’t handle. - Laura

Love you, laura-dear.  🙂

April 14, 2014 - 11:12 am

Katie - Congrats, Laura!! Love that you both have found the love of your lives!! XO

April 14, 2014 - 8:05 pm

Laura - Yay. Thanks. Glad to get to reread this. Love you.

April 15, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Kate Jones - Hayley – I love this post. Such good truths are written here! I love the simple way you spoke about such deep and real things. Love you, friend!

April 17, 2014 - 11:02 am

Hayley - Thanks for the love, girls! You’re the best. 🙂

May 1, 2014 - 9:34 pm

Olivia - Loved reading this! Hayley, you and Ryan are such a great example of what a marriage should be. Something to look up to.

And Laura, Congratulations!!! So happy for you!!!