May 8, 2018

The Bookshelf Vol. 17


I'm so excited because I am right on track with my reading goals this year. The weird thing is with more reading comes less writing for me. But I'm here to recap the books I've read the last few months.



Wildflower by Drew Barrymore - (Amazon/Goodreads) I hear sometimes that I remind people of Dre Barrymore and I take that as a huge compliment because I love her. I knew that she had a crazy childhood, but this book definitely surprised me with some of the things I read. That said, you don't really spend much of the book feeling bad for her, just kind of impressed with how normal she turned out. It always surprises me that actors aren't friends with more of the people they work with. You spend so much time with those people that it would be hard not to hang out afterwards - unless they are assholes. Knowing that she's such good friends with so many people that she's worked with makes me like her even more. 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward - (Amazon/Goodreads) I went back to see what I rated this book on Goodreads and I said 4 stars. It was a weird read for me. I loved finding out more about the characters and I really liked the writing style. Looking back though, I don't know that 4 stars is real for me. I didn't love the way that the people that had passed away were woven in. I guess the jury is still out on this for me, but I'm curious if others loved it.

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner - (Amazon/Goodreads) I went back into the oldest books in my to-read list in Goodreads and I found this one. I think the concept is cool - the author travels to the countries that rank the happiest in the world based on different stats. I learned some interesting facts about Iceland, Moldova, Bhutan and other places, but I didn't find the book that good overall. Maybe I just didn't give with the writer. I did finish it, so that's saying something.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish - (Amazon/Goodreads) We read this for book club and I picked it thinking it would be funny and easy. There are some funny parts, but holy crap, she has lived through some shit. I had just seen her on SNL earlier this year and thought she was really funny. I had no idea what I was getting into with this book and the weirdest part is - I think I laughed because I was uncomfortable that she could still be happy and funny through the craziness of her childhood and her marriage. I would definitely recommend reading this book and then watch Girl's Trip because it's hilarious. 

And my favorite of this bunch:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - (Amazon/Goodreads) I could not put this book down. It is so important that we have conversations about what is happening in communities all over and this story follows a community dealing with the aftermath of a black teenager shot by a police officer. Things are so much different than what you see on the news and people need to read this and stories like it to help build a better understanding and have better conversations and help spark real change. I feel like there is no way to really summarize my feelings about this book or this topic, but you should read this.

Now, go check out some other book lovers sharing their recent reads as part of the Show Us Your Books link up. Hopefully I'll catch up on some other blogging soon because I have lots of pictures of recent trips and awesome things to pass along to people in the universe, but I really need a rainy night inside to accomplish that. Happy Tuesday!

May 2, 2018

Currently...


May is always one of my favorite months. It's my birthday month as well as the birthday month of my husband and so many of my best friends. Between the celebrations is the sunshine that we have barely seen for six months. As I'm writing this, the warm breeze is coming in the window and it feels amazing. Here's a rundown of other things currently happening...

Reading Sapiens. This book is really interesting and I put it down while reading some other library books, but I have some time to continue on now and I'm pretty excited about it. But I also know that I have a couple of library holds coming in soon that I'm super pumped about, so who knows if I'll finish it in May.

Missing New York. It's Springtime. I see the pictures of Central Park and it has me just missing everything about spring in New York City.

Excited that the bikes are pulled back out of the garage. We had a long bike ride on Sunday and I'm hoping to take it to work on Friday. It's also National Bike Riding Month. It's one of my favorite things about moving back to Minneapolis because it is so bike friendly.

Smelling this candle and it smells clean and like spring. I'm in love. Plus, it's made by a small local company full of book lovers and I don't mind supporting that.

Using this new Countermatch body lotion. Now that my skin is getting fresh air again, I'm back to the constant sunscreen and lotion. Also, I found this Magnesium Oil and this Magnesium Powder and I'm attempting to make this a habit... because it's good for me, right?

Watching the Real Housewives of New York. I think they will always be my favorite. Plus, LuAnn was arrested during this season and she's all of a sudden back on top. Plus, I love Dorinda. The interviews this season are just hilarious and I can't get enough of this trashy TV.

Loving our front porch. It's funny because I wrote the same thing last year here about our balcony. I don't need much, but a small front porch does wonders for my happiness.

Eating all the food in the pantry. I like cleaning everything out as often as possible and the fridge and pantry are not safe. I want room for farmer's market goodies soon. I'm so freaking excited that it's spring time... FINALLY.

So, happy May. Enjoy the longer days and happier people all around because the winter (hopefully) is behind us for a few months.

April 24, 2018

Are You There, Spring? It's Me, Desperate.


I feel like I'm just stuck in limbo a little bit. We have seen a few sunny days where it feels amazing to be outside, but there is still piles of snow in my backyard and one week ago, we had just finished shoveling two feet of snow.

We went to Montana to give our final send off to winter... but there have been two "blizzards" since then. It's the snowiest April on record in Minnesota and I'm beyond over it. I ran away to Texas for a last minute girls' trip and that helped, but there was feet of snow on the ground when I landed so that was rough. The photo above is Texas and the one below is my block this week.

I'm hopeful that winter is done. If it snows again, I might cry. But the idea of summer is getting me through.
I need sunshine, bike rides, green grass, farmer's markets, patios.
I need cabin time, lake time, sunscreen, sandals, grills.
I need to feel the motivation of windows open.
I need to catch up with work, with household crap, with friends and family, with life in general.
I just need to be outside without freezing.

Fingers crossed. We are going to stay above freezing... for at least 6 months.




April 12, 2018

A Week of Food

I have gotten some feedback that people are interested in what a mostly vegetarian (fish every once in a while) eats during the week, so I'm documenting it for a week. There may be some wins and some losses. I'm not sure if it will be a healthy week or a "treat yourself" week, but who cares. I can always do this again.



Sunday:

AM - We made a full pot of coffee which we enjoyed on our neighborhood walk. We also made a couple of our Daily Harvest smoothies. This is my lazy way of getting a variety in smoothies without have a farmer's market up and running yet. If you want to try it, you can get 3 free cups using this link. I tried a Dragon Fruit one which is my favorite yet.

PM - We made Buffalo Cauliflower Po Boys using this A Beautiful Mess recipe. It was amazing. We love their recipes and haven't had a bad experience yet. This ended up being a very filling recipe and since we ate around 2:30, we ended up just snacking on crackers, cheese and red wine.

Monday:

AM - Daily Harvest Watermelon + Cucumber smoothie and coffee for breakfast. I got hungry early so I was super happy I packed a Siggi's Vanilla yogurt for a morning snack. We were super prepared for Monday lunch and packed up the leftovers from the Buffalo Cauliflower Po Boys. Turns out there were just as good the next day and super filling.

PM - We had one final meal from Purple Carrot which is a plant based meal subscription box. We have really good luck with them - I have 2 free meals I can send if you've been wanting to try it - just comment below. The meal was Rancheros Burritos which had black beans, tofu and tomatillo salsa and it was amazing and way more food than I needed. I made a margarita cocktail to go with it. Duh, Margarita Monday is a thing.

Tuesday:

AM - Stopped at Caribou coffee for a latte instead of my normal made at home coffee. Lunch came early because we had leftover mostaciolli and it was amazing.

PM - Justin had to go to the barber shop after work, so I took my laptop and a little work catch up next door to one of our favorite local bar/restaurants and enjoyed a Pale Ale and Walleye Tacos. We try not to eat out during the week more than once and usually we walk or bike, but it's been cold and we had errands to run so this just made sense.

Wednesday:

AM - Coffee and a banana first thing in the morning. This is my busiest meeting day, so I don't have time to find snacks. By the time lunchtime came, I needed some food quickly - so we ordered a cheese pizza with green peppers.

PM - Holy crap, our best meal of the week (and maybe the month) was the Blue Apron meal we got called Miso Sweet Potato Donburi. Click here for the link to the recipe if you're interested. It involved roasted sweet potatoes, some slaw, good rice, soft boiled egg and some real good seasonings. This one will be taped up on the fridge and we will be making a trip to United Noodles to stock up on the random ingredients needed to make this.



Thursday:

AM - Coffee only this morning. I was extra tired at 5:30 and not ready to put anything together. By 11, I was so hungry so I snacked on a granola bar and grabbed a soda from the vending machine. We finally ordered lunch around 12:30. Because of my inability to be organized, we ordered in food. It was a Spinach Salad from Pizza Luce with a side of Mac & Cheese - one of our go-to meals.

PM - We were late getting home, so I was so happy that we had Blue Apron. No decision necessary. The meal was a grilled cheese sandwich with apples and mustard on it plus a side of carrots. We finished out the night with a beer while watching Blacklist.


Excuse the mess on my table.

In Conclusion - I actually thought I'd be horrified by this activity and I'm not. I exercised two of these days and hit 10,000 steps another. I would go a full week, but I'll be in Texas starting Friday and that's just not even fair. I'm super grateful that we subscribe to those meal plan boxes on weeks like this. They take the shopping and decision making out of the equation which just makes life easier. Plus, no food wasted.

Let me know if there's any recipes you want. I also share a lot of what we eat on Instagram. It's definitely not the pretty tablescaped meals, but I only share the good and tasty stuff.

Also, if you have any recommendations for Austin, Texas - send them my way!!

April 8, 2018

8 Ways to Deal with Endless Winter


It's Sunday evening and it's snowing again. I'm so over it, but I was super determined to enjoy this weekend. How did I do it?

Friday Celebration. We forced ourselves to celebrate a week gone well instead of rushing home and putting on my pj's. We tried two new places. The Hasty Tasty was dinner and we ate the best salad ever and some amazing corn bread. We followed it up with a flight at the Lyn-Lake Brewery which is a really cool spot.

Work. I know this seems like the opposite of enjoying a weekend, but having a quiet couple hours to catch up on some things I was behind on was kind of awesome. I did it in my pajamas with a mug of coffee.

Comfort Food. This might be the issue of that whole gaining weight thing since we moved home, but when it's freezing cold outside - it just seems right. We went to the Food Truck Park in Saint Paul and got a fancy grilled cheese and some pizza.

Read. Always a good idea. Always.

Cheer for Something. We watched my college win the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP on Saturday night in hockey. Go bulldogs! It was such a good game and I loved being able to watch them. It always helps when you can catch up with a favorite friend and cuddle puppies.

Get Outside. Grrrrr. I didn't want to because it's cold, but our friends and their little guy came over and we strolled with coffees and got some fresh air. Good conversation really helps pass the time quickly and after a lifetime of dealing with winter, I'm pretty good at dressing for the temps.

Skin Stuff. I love a good mask. It's either this detoxing one or one of these 13 Korean sheet masks. Then I used half of a tub of this body butter and felt like a new person. I gave myself a foot rub and it felt wonderful.

Put on a Onesie and Watch Parks & Rec. Yep, it's specific, but it happened today and I'm now a big fan. I bought a Chewbacca onesie for my nephew's birthday party (costumes required) and then I shoved it in the top of our closet. As we are continuing spring cleaning, I got a glimpse of it and today I put it on for the entire afternoon. I feel like a giant warm teddy bear. If you watched my Instagram stories - @insertclassyhere - you have seen it.

I am geared up and ready for another week. Groceries are stocked, laundry is half done and I feel like I've come back around. I'm ready for another week... I think. Hope you aren't suffering the Sunday Scaries.