Food,  Health,  Motherhood,  Parenting,  Style

Pretty in (lots of) pink.


Well, my reign is over.

I had a good run. I thoroughly enjoyed the power I was given for the small amount of time I had.  And I feel that I used that time to the best of my ability.

These last four and half years have been my Superbowl. I had full control over something that I truly love.  Oh, I knew the day would come when it would end. If I’m being honest, I probably had more time than I thought I would.


Now it’s over.  My work here is done.

Ivy is picking out her own clothes and dressing herself.

I have spent the last four years gently steering my beautiful child toward funky, chic apparel. I have (not so gently) steered her away from sparkles, fluorescents and hot pink.

I have scoured the internet for items that I would wear, but in a size 3T.

Is that so wrong?!

I have taught her the cool subtlety of neutral colors, skinny jeans and a classic toddler fedora.

And this child… This child has repaid my years of selective curation by choosing nothing that isn’t neon pink or studded in rainbow sequins and unicorns.


It’s ok, I tell myself…  She is expressing her own style…  She may look like the love child of Punky Brewster and Rainbow Brite (on crack), but who am I to judge?

Because she is loving it.

So… I’m starting to love it.  Not the clothes she chooses (I will never fully be on board with glittery My Little Pony shoes), but I do love the joy she has in choosing her own clothes.  Because it does bring her pure joy – and anyone who sees pure joy on a child’s face has no choice but to join in on their happiness. It’s infectious.  And before I know it, I, too, am overly enthusiastic about the gold and silver metallic skirt she has found on the clearance rack at Target.


I am the disgruntled pug in the window.

Every morning when we come down the stairs after dressing and she is in her sparkly, hot pink, neon glory, my husband tries not to laugh.  Not at her… At me.  He knows this is a deeply personal dagger in my heart. I have lost all control over something for which I have an absolute passion.  Yet, he’s also in awe that I am coping so well.

Especially when she started requesting a hair bow every day.

@#$&% HAIR BOWS?!

My sister told me I’ll be shopping at Justice soon.

I’m no longer talking to my sister…

But I’m good. This is good.

I have a beautiful, creative, funny, smart pre-schooler.  And she likes sequins.

And I’m ok with that.


I totally seem ok, right?

Let’s move on…


YoYo’s Guide to Getting Fit update!

Welp, people. I’m still at it. Can you believe it?!  I’m five weeks in and I’ve lost 7.5 pounds to date.  Better yet, I feel great and have a ton of energy.

Eww, that sounds like a Nordic Track commercial…

But, as cliche as it is, it is also true.  I have to laugh, because I’ve done “diets” before where I lost 7.5 pounds in the first week.  Crazy diets.  I am also very surprised with myself that I haven’t gotten frustrated by what may seem like a slow weight loss.  It’s like a switch has flipped inside my brain. This isn’t a diet. This is the right way (for me) to live.

I’m still pretty shocked that calorie counting is what ultimately works for me. It’s such a basic thing – yet, as I said before, I avoided it for so long.  I think the reason it works for me so well is that it is what it is.  There’s no getting around it.

On one day this last week, I had a healthy quinoa bowl for lunch. On another, I had a McDonald’s filet-o-fish and small fry.  Both days, I stayed in my calorie range. You just work around what you want.  (But, for the most part, I do eat pretty healthy now. You get more bang for your buck… or calories.)

I will be posting progress photos when I reach my half-way point to goal (which should be in the next week or two).  For now, let’s get to my latest Currently Can’t Live Withouts:


1/ Lean Cuisine pizzas

Ok, so these are totally not the Whole30 way, but I love them.  You know why? I love pizza. And they taste like pizza.  Because they are pizza.  Low(er) calorie pizza.

And… ok, you St. Louis people aren’t going to like this, but I would rather eat a Lean Cuisine pizza any day of the week than St. Louis-style pizza.  St. Louis pizza truly is KETCHUP ON A CRACKER.  It’s horrendous and an absolute insult to my Italian heritage.  There’s this weird, made-up cheese concoction… They call it provel.

I’m gagging…

I can’t…

(I do love toasted ravioli though, so can we just be happy with that?  #sorrynotsorry)

Anyway, I usually have a LC pizza for lunch every other day or so. Or, maybe, every day… My favorites are the French bread pizza, the spinach and mushroom, and the BBQ chicken.

(Please do not send me messages telling me about the chemical warfare now multiplying in my body due to processed, frozen meals.  I don’t care…)


2/ Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard


I love Dax Shepard. I love Kristen Bell. I love that they are married to each other. They are two of my favorite people that I’ve never met.  And I love that they are real.  If you haven’t listened to Dax’s podcast yet, I recommend starting out with the one Kristen Bell guests on.  The conversation is great – and of actual substance.


3/ Our WorkFit Desk Station Bike


Yeah, that’s exactly how I look on it…


Ok, so I may have bought this thing without even telling my husband, but it turns out he loves it just as much as I do.  I work from home and I just wanted to move more and also get my exercise in on a busy day.  This bike desk has turned out to be the solution to that problem.

I end up working from it a lot and it is a workout – I have the very sore legs to prove it.  It’s also incredibly silent.  We put it in our bedroom and Brian will get on it at night before bed. I don’t hear a thing and it’s right next to me.

At $200, it’s actually a great buy when you consider how extremely expensive stationary/spin bikes can be.  Plus, did I mention I work from home? It’s a desk! Hello, tax write-off!


4/ Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning


Oh, man. If you love Everything Bagels, this stuff is for you. I was so late to jump on the bandwagon, because we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby. Then I realized Amazon sells it.  It totally lives up to the hype. I put mine on avocado toast… and sometimes just toast… and sometimes just my eggs. And sometimes I just pour it down my throat through a funnel.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration.

Or is it?

Just go buy it and leave me alone.


5/ Calorie counting solidarity with my brother


He sends me his school picture every year to hang on my refrigerator.


So, after my last post, my little brother read it and text me laughing, because he apparently has been calorie counting unbeknownst to me!  Now we trade texts here and there, casually grumbling about the calorie count in cough syrup and vitamin gummies.

We shouldn’t be penalized for taking our multi-vitamins, for God’s sake!

I love my brother.  And pretty soon we’re going to start to look alike. Because when I lose weight, my face starts to morph into my brothers’ faces.


(Sorry, Brian. I know you didn’t sign up for that.)

Support is good!  Can’t recommend it enough.  Be supportive and surround yourself with supportive people.  Not eye-rollers.  Eye-rollers are the worst.

Unless they are four-year olds who just learned perfect comedic timing with the eye roll.

That is actually really funny.

Until next time…





  • Colette

    Oh man! I’m glad I have a boy who will probably let me dress him forever 😂 I am also obsessed with Dax’s new podcast. Who ever thought I’d look forward to Monday’s. Keep up the good work..counting calories does work great!

  • Patti

    Do you really love the work at home bike thing?? I mean seriously? I may need one. JR said I couldn’t bring any more workout items into the house because they get used for about a week (ok maybe a couple of days) but this? This I could say is a desk! He never said anything about no more of those. PS. Love Dax and Kristen too!

    • Jen

      I 100% LOVE this desk bike. I’m actually on it RIGHT NOW. I was a little worried b/c it seems like such a reasonable price – and would it last? Would I use it? I use it EVERY day – even on top of a workout. Time flies when you’re working on it – even though you are working up a sweat. The reviews are really good on it – and so I made the leap. Don’t regret it at all!!! It can also be used as a standing desk. Get it!!

  • Susan

    Jenni, last year at this time I was 30 pounds heavier. Curtis’s wedding and turning 60 motivated me to want to lose weight. I started counting calories at around this time and haven’t stopped. I count them now to maintain my weight.
    XXOO Your Aunt

    • Jen

      I didn’t know you were counting calories! And you look fantastic! It really is working well. I don’t have panic attacks when I enter a restaurant or cry over not being able to have bread. I can’t believe it’s the one thing I avoided for so long. Love you!!

  • Anna

    I love a lean cuisine pizza…and thanks for the tip on the Dax Shepherd podcast! I love their relationship and every time either of them are on Ellen, I love them even more. Did you hear about the time Dax was in an accident and temporarily lost his memory? He forgot he was married to Kristen Bell and couldn’t believe how lucky he was. He had another similar accident and left himself notes (in case he had a memory lapse again) that he was really married to her! LOL Keep up the good work with the calories!

    • Jen

      Umm, I did NOT hear that story (about Dax losing his memory). That is insane – and hilarious!!! Also, I just ate another Lean Cuisine pizza. Like, right now.

      ps – I don’t know how to find you on my Apple Watch. Help!

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