I am so excited to be blogging again. I wish I had an entire month to devote to this little baby of mine.
Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying this wonderfully long weekend. I’ve been a bit busy, but hoping today will be filled with reading, sleeping and…more reading.
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so if you’re new here, these posts are meant to share creative, interesting or delicious links I find around the interwebs over the past week. Of course, I try to share a decent amount via Twitter or Pinterest, but sometimes it just works out better to serve you all the goodness in one place, at one time. So here it is:
Totally into updating my beauty routine to include these DIY oils.
P.S. Some exciting news: I’m starting the Whole30 again with some friends. Obviously the last Whole30 didn’t turn out so well for me, so I’m excited to give it another shot, starting this Tuesday. If you want to join in, comment below or email me and I’ll invite you to the Facebook group!
You know how Spring welcomed me? With a bug. Yep, I woke up with a terrible stomachache, head and throat feeling gross and now I have the chills. I’ve been wondering all week why I’ve had no appetite and now I’m thinking I found the culprit.
I was planning on doing a juice cleanse this weekend, but I guess that will have to wait for … next weekend maybe? Blah. Just feeling so nauseous (and no, it’s not a surprise pregnancy).
I also realized February flew by so fast I never shared my reading/read + watching/watched post with you. WTH. No wonder I was so proud of myself, thinking “Yeah, Nicole. You’re really flying through these books this month.” Um, no.
So I might share a few extras with you and I’d love any advice on what to read next. I feel stuck in a book rut right now, trying to get out.READING
Sharp Objects: I’m obviously a huge fan of Gillian Flynn, so I might as well give her 3rd book a look. Haven’t started yet, but hoping to finish by next month. Will keep you updated.
The Goldfinch: You know how I was talking about being in a book rut? Yeah, that’s what this is about. I still can’t seem to finish this book. Maybe it’s because the size is so intimidating (there’s nearly 1000 pages), but I guess I also lost interest. I’ve heard it’s SUCH a good read after you get past a certain point, so I’ll keep plugging away. Maybe I’ll read it while trying to get over this flu/cold this weekend.
Tinkers: I legit forgot I was reading this book. So…I’ll get back to you. Hopefully once I’ve read it.
Blood, Bones & Butter: One of my friends, who knows I’m a huge Anthony Bourdain fan, recommended I read this book. She said it was similar to Kitchen Confidential. I agree the first half is very Kitchen Confidential-esque, but after that it strays a bit and becomes more about her life, husband and family than the food. Which, oddly, I was fine with. I didn’t want a Kitchen Confidential twin. While, I don’t agree with a few of the author’s decisions, the book is well-written and interesting. I also don’t recommend reading it on an empty stomach. Ohmygosh, the food she describes sounds SO good!
In the Woods: I know I mentioned this in January, so I figured I’d let you know what I thought of it. First, it’s a series. Did NOT know that. Second, if you love The Killing, you will love this book. It almost feels like I’m just watching a long episode. Very, very well written and intriguing. I looked forward to reading it every night.
Better Call Saul: Ryan and I were obsessed with Breaking Bad, so naturally we had to start watching Better Call Saul. The season has been pretty laid back thus far, until two Sundays ago where things started getting pretty interesting. Guess only time will tell if it can live up to Breaking Bad.
Broad City: Favorite. Show. Ever. Seriously. I tell everyone to watch this show, it’s so genius. I was once at a bar, and me and Ry (who also loves this show) were trying to convince our friend Ashley to give it a watch. As we’re talking, the bartender chimed in and said, “Are you talking about Broad City? Or..the best show ever made!?” I’ve also gotten a few people at work into it. Needless to say, you need to go watch it NOW!
The Fall: A friend of mine knows how much I loved The Killing and recommended I give this a try. Same hottie from 50 Shades, Jaime Dordnon, and apparently his acting is actually good in this series. Haven’t started it yet, but basically this show = weekend plans (and reading The Goldfinch, obviously).
50 Shades of Grey: Did you know I read these books? Yeah, good times. I had to read them because they were being hyped so much, it felt like a pop culture thing I should know. WELP, some of the worst writing, ever. The plot was interesting, but I spent half the time wanting most of the characters dead because they were so annoying. Anyway, of course the movie was hyped up just like the books. So, I took a gander last night. Sure enough, the acting felt extremely awkward (or maybe that’s just my frustration with the characters reappearing), the way it was filmed, or what was filmed, made the movie seem empty somehow and I couldn’t get it out of my head how much the media says the actors hate each other. However, the plot is interesting enough that I am intrigued to see what the sequel holds.
Whiplash: Just watched this movie with Ry (finally!) and loved it. Amazing acting, gripping and unexpected plot-line. Terrific film altogether.
Foxcatcher: Another incredible film I watched to and from NYC. First off, highly recommend as a travel movie–really takes you away and makes you forget you’re stuck on a plane. That said, while the acting was incredible and the story was interesting, the climax seemed to come out of no where and the movie itself felt stupidly slow.
BONUS: Birdman: I had to mention this movie. Holy crap was it good. The whole movie felt like a continuous shot (intentional), which made it feel really fast paced. The acting was insanely good (I love Edward Norton and Emma Stone in it, and of course the amazing Michael Keaton) and the whole movie was interesting, unexpected and had oddly funny parts. One of my favorite movies ever, I think.
Please tell me you have a good reco for what to read next?
It’s probably the most important Etsy round-up of the year: Valentine’s Month Day.
I struggled this year with figuring out what to do for Ry. Why are men so hard to shop for? Especially sentimental things that they will actually use.
In the past, I broke into Ry’s old apartment, decorated and made him homemade cupcakes that spelled out “Happy V-Day.” I’ve also made him a blanket…though that might have been a Christmas gift. And I’ve made him a scrapbook. Basically, I can’t think of what else to make the kid, so this year, I had to take a different approach. AKA I bought something, ha. But who wouldn’t when all these awesome things are on Etsy?
What are you planning on picking up for your partner / significant other / girlfriend / boyfriend this year?
The Goldfinch – Yes, I’m still reading this book. Everyone says it’s so great, but it has such a slow start, I’m struggling. Anyone else dive into this yet?
In the Woods – Just picked it up and LOVE it. After reading two chapters, I recommended it to five of my coworkers. If you love True Detective or The Killings, you will love this book.
Tinkers – According to Amazon, “Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.” Honestly, I’ve heard good things, but more than that, the book has basically haunted me for the past few years. Reading this isn’t even a choice at this point.
Parks and Rec (final season) – This show is like a bedtime story to me. I’ve seen every episode at least 3x, I use their phrases in my day-to-day conversation (treat yo self!) and it’s like coming home to a cozy blanket and nice fire. I’m happy to have it back on air and will more than likely cry during the final episode.
GIRLS – I’m sorry, I still love it. Maybe it’s because Hanna is a writer or because the acting and plot lines are believable, yet witty, but I’m not ready to give up on this show.
American Sniper – I wanted to see it, but I knew it would be hard; that I would cry. Sure enough, end of the movie, I start tearing up. Screen goes black, audience walks out of the room in total silence. I have never ever left a movie where no one spoke. It was like a funeral. I think that says enough (even if the babies in the movie were, in fact, totally and obviously fake).
Basically, I need to pick up my reading game. This much is apparent to me. I’m in the process of reading three books, but really excited to read the next few on my list.
Okay, time for a little recappity-cap of the “no added sugar” challenge, also known as The LeBron Challenge.
Essentially, Ryan and I gave up sugar tried and failed to give up sugar for 10 days. Why do I do these diets, guys? Why. I suck at them. I’m like a kid, you tell me I can’t have it, and I want it more.
Now, this is not to say this challenge was all for nothing. From Sunday through Friday night, we were both golden. GOLDEN, I tell you.
(Note: I’m not comfortable sharing before/after photos all willy nilly, but if you want to see my before on Sunday and after on Friday, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
At times it wasn’t easy–especially at night, when Ryan usually brings out a little ice cream or I reach for an after-dinner dark chocolate–but for the most part, it taught us that eating completely clean was doable. Really doable. Except for that part where we went to my parents’ house for the whole weekend to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday. Yeah, except for that part.
Now, as you probably know or guessed, eating clean isn’t new to me. I have been trying to eat clean for the past year or more. However, it was new for us to try it as a couple. To make dinners that both of us enjoyed, that weren’t processed or full of sugar.
It also shed some light on some of the bad habits I’ve formed over the years. For example, I always feel like I need something sweet to balance out the taste of a basic meal. Well, all that sugar (I’m sure) adds up in the long run.
Together, the LeBron Challenge taught us to think before we grab. It taught Ryan to read labels. And it even opened my eyes to what my major sugar craving was (that 89% dark chocolate, baby!). And now, we are (in a way) continuing with this new diet. We both decided we need to indulge every now and then, to avoid the binge-a-thon that comes with not indulging, but that we both enjoy, and are successful at, clean eating. Woo hoo! So, in a way, this whole thing was a success!
If you’re interested in taking the challenge, I highly recommend it. It’s (probably) especially great if you are trying to go from a fairly junked up diet to a cleaner one. It’s not as hard-core as the REALLY no sugar diet (where you can’t even eat fruit, which is ridiculous to me), but it still really cleans up your system.
I kept a diary of what I ate to help you along, if you’re looking to take on a similar challenge. The bad stuff is denoted in red. Ignore that stuff. For the record, I would’ve replaced most of the bad snacks with fruits (or baby carrots and hummus) and the bad meals with leftovers, salmon or chicken, along with some kind of veggie.
Hope it helps!
Started the morning with lemon tea.
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with a dash of 2% milk and shredded cheddar cheese and a side of fruit (strawberries, pineapple, blueberries)
Lunch: Oatmeal (½ cup of dry oatmeal + 1 cup water) and 1 spoonful almond butter + 1 spoonful cashew butter
Snack: Edamame (in the pod) with reduced sodium soy sauce
Dinner: Slow cooker chuck roast w/red potatoes and carrots, lightly sprinkled with parm cheese
SLOW COOKER RECIPE:
Peel the layers of 1 onion and lay at the bottom of a slow cooker
Chop 3-5 red potatoes and 2 celery sticks
Lay a few pieces on bottom
Rub chuck roast with mix of ¼ parsley flakes, 1/8 teaspoon celery seed, 1/8 paprika, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Lay seasoned chuck roast on top of onions, some potatoes and celery
Chop ½ into small pieces
Place remainder of potatoes, celery, chopped onion pieces and 1 bag of small baby carrots on top of chuck roast
Awhile ago I mentioned watching Fed Up, but never updated you guys because Ryan JUST got around to watching it with me. On top of that, I was convinced I wrote an entire post about Fed Up that…apparently was in my draft folder. I’m losing it, guys. I’m losing it.
Okay, let me refresh your drink on what all this Fed Up babbling is about:
+I watched Fed Up, an awesome documentary that exposes the dangers of sugar and the processed American diet (I highly recommend giving it a watch, obviously).
+I talked to Ryan about doing a 10 Day No Sugar Challenge with me, but he wasn’t on board until I rebranded it “The LeBron Challenge” (because Lebron James did a similar, albeit more extreme, dietary change over the summer).
+Yesterday I FINALLY got Ryan to watch Fed Up and we are both starting The LeBron Challenge on Sunday!
In case you haven’t watched Fed Up, here’s some cliff notes:
Though fitness is an important part of staying healthy, it’s a misnomer that if you work off more calories than you consume you can fight obesity.
Not all calories are created equal (160 calories of almonds and 160 calories of Pepsi will enter and sit in your body in majorly different ways).
Always check your ingredients–sugar is found in EVERYTHING. Though it has many names (corn syrup, glucose, honey, molasses, raw sugar, natural sugar, cane sugar etc.), your body treats it the same way. And too much of it overloads your liver and converts straight to fat.
Unlike fat and carbs (which are badmouthed, but actually have an important place in a healthy diet), sugar has no nutritional value.
Sugar can cause diabetes and cancer.
Sugar and cocaine have the same reaction in the brain. AKA Sugar is majorly addictive.
The food industries in America have worked hard to get children and minorities addicted to sugar.
Health companies have even purchased stock in the food industry (food industry = pumps people with junk and sugar = causes disease = health industry treats disease = $$$ for the health industry).
And those are just the highlights; the tip of the iceberg. The documentary also focuses on the lives of three obese children and how their quality of life, self-esteem and happiness are affected by misinformed parents, the government, advertising and fast food having their fingers in our school systems.
We both agreed now would be the best time to take this challenge, since the past few weeks have consisted of way too much sugar (holiday) and not enough working out. I’ll let you guys know how it goes in, um, about 10 days. In the meantime, feel free to join or give the documentary a watch!
Christmas Eve is in one week people! One week! Anyone else jumping for joy? No? Party of one, then?
I keep seeing a lot of gift guides around the blogosphere, and even though I love them and pin them and find them useful, I think we are running out of time on the gift-buying-for-others front. That’s why I wanted to do this end of the year/relaxing round-up! Perfect for a cozy, post-Christmas night or gearing up for a New Year’s party.
What are you all buying from Etsy this season?
Oh and don’t forget, today is the last day to enter the TOMS giveaway! I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday!
Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been absent for the past few days. The holidays completely pulled me away from my computer (aside from Netflix because, let’s be real…The Killing). It’s been a refreshing respite, but now it’s time to get back to it!
I’m getting really excited about the holidays. It’s such a cozy, thoughtful season. It kind of forces people to take a look at all the beautiful things going on in their lives.
One of the things I unexpectedly gained when I started practicing yoga was daily gratitude. Ryan calls them “recaps,” but basically I started recapping positive moments that happened during the day. You know, normal things.
And I guess I wanted to bring a bit of that to this blog. If you want, you can join me by using the hashtag #grateful4!
For the purposes of this blog (and cleverness) I wanted to share four things I’m #grateful4 :::
▲ having a body that allows me to run, jump and breathe ▲
▲ the art that’s all around us (just look around) ▲
Okay, so I love “day in the life” posts. When I’m reading other blogs and they have posts that are more journal-type entries (like the old school blog post used to be) they’re kind of my favorite. Because it’s like, “Oh! This lady is similar to me!” or “Oh! She’s fit, but still eats fries!” It’s just refreshing and interesting. So I thought I’d do a post like that. Not that my day is inherently interesting, but just because I think it’d be fun. But you tell me if you like it, deal?
This was my day yesterday:
6:30AM: Groggily woke up to my alarm. Laid around for a few minutes before brushing my teeth, getting into workout clothes and heading downstairs to the gym.
Finally had an empty area by the weight benches to foam roll and do one of the circuits from Kayla Itsines. By the grace of God, I finished it.
7:20AM-ish: Got back to the apartment, took a shower, threw on my outfit (on Thursdays we wear pink!), did my make-up and called my dad to ask for some career advice. Normal things.
Went into the kitchen to get my lunch/snack situation ready for the day. I packed leftover tomato soup, an arugula salad with frozen edamame packet (that I forgot to bring with me), some applesauce and oatmeal. I then started on a crockpot dinner (will share the recipe soon!), packed up my purse and headed out to catch the bus.
8:20AM: Waiting for the bus in the cold is the worst. Luckily, the 146 pulled up a minute after I got to my stop. I actually don’t mind the morning commute. It’s nice to just look out the window, listen to Spotify, read The Skimm and chill. I usually surf Instagram or post any Instagram photos while I’m on my commute.
9:00AM: Usually I eat breakfast at home or grab a smoothie/juice from Protein Bar next door, but today I brought in oatmeal. Mixed the oatmeal with some almond butter, honey and a banana for a hearty breakfast. I threw my packed lunch stuff in the fridge.
9:15AM: Post a blog post! Hooray!
10:30AM: I usually have a snack around this time (I “stoke the fire” all day, baby!), but my late/big breakfast has me full.
11:30AM: Leave for lunch a little early to get a manicure next door. Notre Dame-themed for the game this weekend! The manicurists were probably talking about me though because at one point all five of them gathered around to watch the technician paint the border around my nail.
12:30PM: Time for lunch: arugula salad with some feta cheese (sans those damn edamames I forgot) and tomato soup. Dessert: A piece of 80% dark chocolate and some unsweetened apple sauce.
3:00PM: Starting to get a bit hungry, so I suck on a few small pieces of organic honey hard candy.
5:00PM: Leave for the day. And lucky for me, today is my “Friday” since we are headed to Notre Dame with Ryan’s parents tomorrow. The commute home isn’t as pleasant as the morning commute (usually it’s very crowded, and it’s dark outside which makes me want to be home). Luckily, it’s not too bad tonight and I get off the bus and head to Whole Foods to pick up flowers and some last minute things for dinner.
6:15PM: Finish cleaning up the apartment, while Ryan is at the airport picking up his parents. I throw in a piece of gum to keep my appetite at bay till dinner. Put flowers in their vase, finish my slow-cooker soup, light a candle, warm up the apartment and jump on the phone with my mom to catch up.
7:15PM: Homemade garlic bread is in the oven, soup is done and apartment is clean. I read some blogs and wait for Ryan’s parents.
8:00-8:45PM: The in-laws arrive. We eat and finish a late dinner. I’m used to eating around 6PM, so I’m starvin. But dinner turned out AH-mazing. Can’t wait to share the recipe soon!
9:00-10:00PM: Nothing’s on TV that we all like, so we settle for watching old episodes of Comedians in Cars getting coffee on Ryan’s laptop. I sneak a See’s chocolate that Ryan’s parents brought. So good.
10:00PM: I’ve been so sleepy recently, it’s time for bed! I brush my teeth, clean my face and head to bed to watch The Daily Show & The Colbert Report. No setting my alarm today since I’m off work Friday, but I’ll probably be getting up at 6:30AM regardless. Internal clock problems.
And now it’s Friday and I’m on my way to Notre Dame! Yes, I’m blogging in the car. Starbucks by my side. Some snacks from Whole Foods in my purse. That’s all normal right?
Okay, dish. Would you want to see more of these types of posts?
P.S. Hope you have a wonderfully warm weekend! If you want to keep updated with my shenanigans over the next few days, follow me on Insta!
This month has been busy. Or, I’ve just been too preoccupied or sleepy to read much. Meaning a few of these books I read months ago (and just wanted to share because I love them). I’m super bummed I’m not reading more though. It’s something I NEED to change because I am still way behind in my Goodreads challenge. If I can even come close to my goal this year, I’ll be happy.
But, of course, my watching skills have stayed the same. How does that even work? #life
Yes Please – This book really surprised me. In that, I’m surprised I didn’t know when it was being released! Once I knew it was on shelves, I got it immediately. Sadly, I’m only about half way through, but so far so good! If you love Amy Poheler and kick ass women, you’ll adore this book. It’s witty, interesting and inspiring. Plus, it’s not arranged like similar books (i.e. Not That Kind of Girl, Bossypants). It has pretty graphics, essays by some of her closest friends and family, and even interactive portions.
Brain on Fire – This book will pull you in and possibly convince you that you’re going to come down with a case of the crazies in the next few years. Interesting, informative and detailed, this is a beautiful recap of a young woman who suffered and (slight spoiler alert) overcame a psychotic break.
My Berlin Kitchen – Obviously I love cooking. And food blogs. So this book, written by a food blogger (The Wednesday Chef), naturally grabbed me. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the author bounces between New York and Europe, detailing her romances with food and men.
House of DVF – I’m a huge reality queen. Like, if I could watch reality tv 95% of the time, I would. It’s sad, I know. Don’t judge. With that said, though, I really love this show a lot a lot! At least one legit reason to watch? DVF’s words of pure wisdom.
Nashville – I’ve been watching this show since it first aired, but never seem to watch it during actual airtime. The past few weeks, however, I was able to catch up on the past season. Huzzah! Drama. Sex. Partying. Love. It’s all there, and it’s all written, acted and sung so well.
Nightcrawler – This movie is intense. We also went to see Gone Girl, but since I had already read the book, it wasn’t too big of a shocker for me (though it was still a great movie). But Nightcrawler? Our friend was seriously on the edge of her seat, with her face in her hands. And I was mumbling “Oh my god…” every few minutes, which I NEVER do (I hate people who talk during movies). This movie, which of course includes ah-mazing acting by my boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal, makes you question that fine line between being morally responsible and climbing the ladder to success. I can’t recommend it enough.
Alright, now you go. Whatchya watching and reading this month?
Last month, Alice had a great reco–The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman. And once I get back on track with this whole book reading thing, I’m def picking up a copy.