Christmas Elves Kicked Me Out of the House (New Kitchen Lighting)

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Alternate title: An Early Christmas Present 

Alternate title #2: My Husband Is A Bad Liar 

About a week ago, I received an event invite on the calendar that I share with Mal. It said: “Tina gets out of the house while Christmas elves put together her present.” Hmm… very interesting. I accepted the invite, but, of course, I wondered what the heck Mal was planning. And as soon as he got home, I asked him about the “Christmas elves.” He just smiled and told me that I needed to find something to do on Saturday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Well, ok then. I knew he was excited about whatever he had planned, so I didn’t ask anymore questions.

On Saturday morning (yesterday), I packed up my things, said goodbye to Mal, Quinn, and Murphy, and took off for the day. #peaceout

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First stop: CrossFit for a fun partner workout. My partner and I finished it as prescribed just under 30 minutes.

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After class, I took a quick shower at the gym, swung by Coffee Shack for an iced coffee, and then got a manicure (color is OPI The Thrill of Brazil) at Gel Polish Bar. FYI for the locals: Gel Polish Bar gives the most amazing manicures. I usually destroy mine in less than week, but theirs last about two weeks for me, which is UNHEARD OF when it comes to my manicures. And, honestly, I’d probably let it go longer. It’s just that my nails start to grow out and it looks kind of weird, but the gel lasts forever!

snowy saturday

After that, I headed to the Derby Street Shoppes. I figured with Whole Foods, plenty of shopping, and restaurants, I’d keep myself busy! 🙂

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I was pretty hungry after eating an early breakfast and working out, so I popped into Whole Foods for second breakfast. I grabbed a table, pulled out my laptop, and got to work while I ate and finished my iced coffee.

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I worked about 1.5 hours before I met Kerrie next door at Rustic Kitchen for lunch and drinks (and, of course, plenty of Designed to Fit Nutrition talk). I ordered the Harvest Salad with chicken breast on top and, holy cow, it was delicious. Listen to this combo: Baby greens, housemade granola, apples, butternut squash, cranberries, cheddar, and cider vinaigrette. OMG. Loved it.

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Kerrie and I spent a couple of hours chatting over lunch before she needed to leave for a family get-together. It was nearly 3:00 PM, so I sent Mal a text to see if I was “allowed” back in the house yet. His reply: “3:15.” Well, ok then. I had my meal plan/grocery list for the week ready to go, so I went back to Whole Foods and did our shopping before heading home.

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As soon as I walked through the front door of our house, I immediately noticed the new light fixtures in our kitchen!!!


Our electrician friend (with Mal and Quinn’s help) replaced the dated (i.e. ugly) chandelier in our dining area as well as the lighting over our kitchen island.


Oh my goshhhhh, I love it so much!! What an improvement, right?! Our kitchen is a million times brighter, lighter, and cheerier now. And it seems so much bigger!! What an awesome “surprise” from my family!

kitchen fixtures before and after

I actually caught on to Mal’s little “elf surprise” awhile ago…

My suspicions started a few weeks ago when he asked me approximately 8,000 questions about kitchen lighting. He even pulled up Houzz on his laptop (on more than one occasion) to try to figure out what styles I liked. I thought it was a little strange, but I had suggested recessed lighting in our kitchen, so I thought maybe he was just excited about a potential home project. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Mal acted all sketchy when texting our electrician friend. Again, I thought it was weird, but I thought they were just plotting a guys’ night out. But, when Mal told me that I needed to leave the house for most of the day because Christmas elves were coming, all of the pieces came together! 🙂

Even though it wasn’t a true surprise, I loved walking into our kitchen and seeing what Mal picked for fixtures. He totally nailed my style, and I love, love, lovvveeee our new lighting. (It really does make our kitchen look different!) And, of course, I love that my husband is so incredibly sweet and thoughtful and coordinated such an awesome Christmas present for me! What a guy. I definitely won’t forget this present anytime soon!



  1. OH my goodness, getting “me” time for most of a Saturday would be gift enough! The lights looked fantastic! That is a really great gift!

  2. What a great surprise! It was nice of you to play along and of him to make sure it was your style. You guys are a great team. Merry early Christmas!

  3. What a fun gift and execution by Mal! I say you came out the winner with a full day to yourself and two wonderful gifts! Tell me more about the granola on the salad- was it odd or crunchy like a crouton?

  4. Wow! Crazy how lighting can change the look and feel of a room. LOVE the cow artwork on the wall, too! So cute and great colors.

  5. Love this post!! Probably one of the favorites in a long time 🙂 Love reading about about your family and everyday events!

  6. My husband did a similar thing two years ago and it’s still one of the best presents ever. My son and I flew out of town for Christmas and my husband had to stay behind because he’s a police officer and had just gotten a rookie to train. We Facetimed on Christmas and he showed me the recessed lighting and fan he’d had put in in our living room which had no lighting previously. It’s amazing! For my birthday this year it was deck lights.

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