May 22, 2017

Things I Keep Doing No Matter What Age

Today, I'm wrapping up my three part "series" by sharing with you a list of things that I will probably always love and continue doing no matter what age.

Disney Movies - Any movie with music gets a shot with me, but Disney movies will always have a special spot in my heart. I think Beauty and the Beast is still my favorite and I love the new one, but Princess & the Frog is a close second. Also, all John Hughes movies.

Pizza + Mac & Cheese - These two items will always be my favorite. We have been trying all kinds of different variations of each, but my favorite recently was this Street Corn Pizza from A Beautiful Mess.

Bubble Hockey Champion - I think this was all the hockey tournaments out of town as a child that formed my amazing bubble hockey skills. We found a few places in the city where you can play this and it has reignited my obsession.

Watching Animal Videos - Have you ever gotten completely sucked into the YouTube hole of animal videos? This is a common event in my life. It can be puppies, unlikely animal friends, funniest home videos. I can't get enough. It's what I do if I'm having a bad day - no matter where.

Early Riser - For at least the last decade, I have been a morning person. I'm the annoying person that can get out of bed and be wide awake and ready for the day. I love sunrises, hot coffee and quiet before everyone else is awake. In fact, I'm writing this post at 5:30 on a Friday morning, the coffee is brewing, the sun is coming up and everyone else is sleeping.

Overusing Emojis - I will not apologize for this. I love those tiny little pictures and would prefer to just communicate with those most of the time.

Being a Dog Person - I think this is obvious, but I just wanted to include a picture of Quincy & Lola.

Meatless Diet - I have been a pescatarian for over five years now and I don't really see any reason to ever go back to eating meat. It's rare now that I even eat fish. I haven't missed it at all and have definitely gotten to a healthier place, so it would feel weird to ever go backwards. Has anyone else ever gone back to eating meat? I'm always so curious about that.

Forever Posing Awkwardly in Photos- Thumbs up seems to be my go-to move, but I've had all kinds of awkward poses. I just feel weird getting my picture taken. I've accepted that I will never be part of T Swift's squad because I just don't have a future as a supermodel.

Sending Mail - One of my favorite things is opening the mailbox and seeing something with real people's handwriting on it. Because of this happy feeling, I make sure to send as much mail as possible. One of my best friends from college moved to San Francisco the same year we moved. Because of the time difference and our crazy schedules, we started sending letters in the mail and it's been wonderful. Plus, it's the best way to communicate with my grandma who has no cell phone or answering machine.

While you are reading this, we are somewhere in the Alps celebrating another year of life. Make sure you've entered the giveaway here and follow along on Instagram for updates on the adventures.


May 18, 2017

Things I've Started Since I Turned 30

In case you missed the first post in this series, catch up here. I'm back with another list. This time around, I'm focusing on the things I've brilliantly started doing since I turned 30.

Library Cards - If you don't have one, run now and get one. It's the easiest thing ever and it has saved me a fortune. Plus, our library is awesome.

Secretly Saving Money - I've been using Digit which is an app that is super easy to set up, gains interest and can be managed on my phone. I was able to squirrel away our spending money for Europe without much thought over the last few months because it does the hard part for me - moving money to a special spot so I won't touch it. I also have my bank put $1 in savings every time I use my check card - that adds up too. Accepting that you might never be a great saver is the first step to finding ways to trick yourself.

In Season Fruits & Veggies - We bought some wall decor that hangs in our kitchen that reminds us what produce we should be using in our cooking. It's better for the environment to buy in season items, but they also taste better and save you money. Our banner comes from a little store in Brooklyn, but I just found this awesome Etsy shop that has totes and posters by state and they look awesome.

Composting - Did anyone else get super excited to see the brown bins appear ALL over New York City last week? We bought this little composting bin about a month ago and it's been helping us cut down our garbage by a ton. Once a bag fills, I stick it in the freezer (which is empty except for ice cream anyways) and then twice a week in our neighborhood, you can drop off your "scraps" to be composted in community gardens or farms. It's the little steps people.

Credit Cards with Miles - I don't know about anyone else but the idea of "credit" has always been negative. I'm afraid of having bad credit, I don't know much about credit. We started researching travel cards for points when we started traveling more for work. Now, we are heading to Europe next week for $52 per person thanks to miles. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. You just can't be the person that uses it all the time and doesn't pay it off. That's when credit is BAD.

A Website with my Husband - I haven't shared this on this blog yet, but for the last year, Justin and I have been working on a website, called The Tumbling Nomad, that focuses on the environment and also adventures. It's been really fun to work on together and has given me some awesome experience with Squarespace. We are starting to look for guest posters, so if you're interested - definitely let me know. Or just check it out by clicking here and let me know what you think.

HBO - I never understood why people paid for this channel, even when I loved Entourage. Then Game of Thrones happened to us and there's no going back. We love John Oliver and Big Little Lies. I can't wait to start binge watching Veep on my next rainy day. They have Camp Nowhere available right now. Plus, they have so many awesome documentaries and specials. And you can't forget about the "lorn." haha. I'm hooked.

Reviews Nonstop - I write positive reviews anytime I had a good experience anywhere. It's crazy how often I read reviews when shopping or picking restaurants, so I want to make sure to shout out any awesome places. I keep everything honest, but try to call out people by name. I work in a business that lives and breathes customer service reviews so I know how important it is. Plus, it takes only a minute or two.

Cooking - Turns out, you just have to keep doing it to get better. It's become something that I love doing now and I never thought I'd be able to say that. I'm still working my way through this cookbook and I've learned even more words that I never knew before. If only I could register for my wedding now instead of 9 years ago. My kitchen would be filled with all the perfect tools. That's a post for a different day.

The Dentist - Still hate going, but I make myself do it. I finally found a dentist that I really like and he doesn't freak me out as bad as some have in the past, so I'll call it a win.

Good Skin Care - Turns out this stuff is important and when you start to learn about skincare products (as well as make up and other cosmetics) - you find out there's a lot of bad stuff in many products. I've spent the last few years testing out all kinds of stuff and I landed on Beautycounter for most of my skincare stuff. I'll probably do a round up of the other brands I use regularly at some point too. I liked Beautycounter so much that I joined them as a consultant to help their mission of safer beauty for everyone in the US (and Canada.) You can learn more about it by clicking on the link on the sidebar or just by checking out the giveaway :)


So now that I've shared this stuff with you guys - I want you to have a chance to get on board. I'm doing a little something special for my birthday. I'm going to giveaway one of the Beautycounter+ Spa Sets. There are three to choose from (and clicking on the links will give you more info about each) - No. 1 Brightening Set, No. 2 Plumping Set and No. 3 Balancing Set. Each one comes with a mask, a mist and a face oil. Exciting stuff.

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That's all for today. Happy Thursday!

May 16, 2017

Things I've Given Up Since I Turned 30

It's true, I've been doing this 30 year old thing for almost 2 full years now and that clearly makes me able to speak to the masses about being a 30-something.

Just kidding.

But really, it's my favorite time of life so far. There are definitely less f*cks to give (not enough to not write that word out though because I'll share this with Grandma) and more fun to be had. Also, it's crazy but you get smarter with age. #mymomwasright #mydadtoo

I figured I'd share with you some things that have changed in my life in the last two years. This is the first of a 3 part series I like to call BIRTHDAY WEEK. Embrace it. There's also a giveaway halfway through so just stick with me.

This first edition is the things I have given up since turning 30.

K-Cups  - I have my husband to thank for this because he started drinking coffee with me at home, so we got rid of the Keurig. That thing lasted us for years, but just knowing how much waste was happening with those K-cups. Our Hamilton Beach flex brewer does the trick now. It has a single serve that you can use a K cup or their built in filter for those days you are all by your self. Plus, now we can compost all the grounds and filters and that makes me happy.

Forcing 10,000 steps - Does anyone else have a FitBit? In the beginning, I felt like a failure if I didn't get 10k steps a day, so I would find myself pacing around my apartment like a lunatic at the end of the night. I gave up on that goal. Now I just try to walk the dogs further on nice days and walk instead of taking the subway. I set a goal of walking 1500 miles this year and I'm on track, so I feel pretty good about it. That said, I still love those damn challenges and get insanely competitive.

Coloring my hair
- Oh the money I've saved and the chemicals I've given up. I'm not saying that I would never do it again, but it has been quite liberating to not color my hair.

Hoarding candles and other fun things - I used to have an entire closet dedicated to candles and things I was saving for a "special occasion" and my husband called bullshit. Why wouldn't I burn my favorite candle every day? Because I was sad that once it was gone, it would be gone. Yes, that was my justification. I still do that with books - which is why I still haven't opened Trevor Noah's book. Thankfully, I've stopped doing that for everything but books. The fancy wine glasses have all been used and some broke, but there were no tears shed. Things are meant to be used and enjoyed. I think I can thank Marie Kondo for that push.

Plastic Bags - NYC went backwards on their plastic bag ban. I understand why, but they need to kick it into overdrive to get it dealt with at this point because it's ridiculous that other cities have figured this out. We have used this Flip & Tumble bag and the tote version for years. The space under my sink has thanked me. Was I the only one that just shoved plastic bags under the sink to be used again for something? We have used the final ones we have to pick up garbage in the neighborhood while walking the dogs. At least they have a good final run.

Friends on Facebook - Has anyone else done a big purge of friends on Facebook ever? Man, it feels good. I went through and unfriended all the people that I wouldn't talk to in real life. If I would avoid an awkward conversation in a grocery store, I really don't need to share my vacation photos and thoughts on the last hockey game with you. Although, I definitely see the irony of this with my blog, but let's forget about that for today.

Sugar Drinks from Starbucks - Turns out regular coffee and lattes are amazing without a million pounds of sugar added to them. The only exception I'll make it is my Caramel High Rise from Caribou when I'm back in Minnesota on a cold day. I'll take the sugar high for that one.

Safe Places - For a long time, I was the person that wanted to go to the same place as often as possible because I liked their food or knew the layout. It was comfortable and safe for me. I've learned to appreciate new things all the time now. I think 2015 was big for me because my resolution was to try something new everyday. I wrote a full summary here and just rereading it today, I'm so happy I did that. I never would have enjoyed the cheese tower below...

Bad movies & books - Dumb and Dumber To was the first movie I shut off only 20 minutes in and it was liberating. Since then, we've bailed on Zoolander 2 and countless other shit movies. I have also stopped finishing books when I'm just really not interested. Recently, I have put down Sweetbitter and Modern Lovers and felt pretty good about it.

Those 10 lbs I picked up during my late twenties - Yep, this is a bit of a bragging moment, but since the first of this year, I have gotten back down into the 130's consistently which is a good healthy spot for me. I can thank the sugar detox we did and the things I learned. Also, I've just learned to make better choices.

Having a 5 year plan - I think this is the most freeing. I'm a planner and throughout my twenties, I always had a plan. Then all of a sudden, we were moving to the east coast and things seemed a little scary and also very exciting. That experience taught me to plan a little less and enjoy a lot more. So many things have happened in the last two years that weren't really planned on, but I've learned to embrace it. I can safely say that I have no idea where I'll be living next year at this time and I'm just going with it.

I feel better just rereading through this list. What about you? What have you given up that's made your life better and easier? I love learning things like this. Bring it on!

May 11, 2017

My Single Life

Let me let you in on a little secret. The last few weeks have been long in our household. Justin and I have not been in the same state for more than a few days at a time since early March. We both travel for work, but lately, it's been ramped up quite a bit, plus we've had weekend plans on top of it. I'm pretty excited to have my husband home for the next week.

Since my time as a loner is almost over for a while, I figured I'd fill you in on the ways life is a little different when I am flying solo.

  • I take the dogs for walks separately. They go at such different speeds, so I take them by themselves. Except the night time walk because that's usually the shortest. 
  • I eat really different. There don't seem to be meals when I'm by myself, just a ton of snacks. For example, one day this week, I ate a bagel with cream cheese, a carton of raspberries, 2 Babybel cheeses, celery with peanut butter, an egg muffin with peppers, 3 bites of chocolate ice cream (I pace myself with this ice cream, but it's the best). Last week, when I had all those pineapples, I pretty much just ate pineapple and yogurt all week. I snack all day, but hate making full meals for just myself. If I'm really hungry, I'll order a ridiculous amount of Chinese food or take myself to dinner down the street.

  • My grocery shopping trips are incredibly weird. See above note.
  • I schedule happy hours with all the girls I know in the city. Working from home, I could go days without sitting and having a face to face conversation for more than two minutes. Plus, it's a good excuse to actually shower and get dressed. 
  • I watch all the bad TV shows. Also, movies from my childhood. The latest gems included Sixteen Candles, Camp Nowhere and Parent Trap.
  • I work weird hours. This week, there were a few nights that I stayed on my work computer getting things done until almost 8:00. If I don't have anything to do, I might as well get ahead before vacation.
  • I talk to the dogs nonstop. They usually just stare at me with these faces.

Honestly, we both have rhythms when the other is gone for the week. I've learned how to use this time to recharge my batteries and indulge. That said, I'm real excited to see my husband tomorrow and actually be able to put the suitcase away... for a few days.

May 9, 2017

The Bookshelf: Vol. 12

Another few books finished to share with you today. I'm officially 3 books ahead of my goal and I have two long flights this month to get some more checked off my list. The next one on my list is the official New York City book club selection, Americanah

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple - (Goodreads/Amazon) Let me just say that I loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I was super excited to read more from this author. This is the 3rd book I've read and I think I just loved the first one. This one was kind of a dud for me. I gave it just two stars. I probably wouldn't have finished it, but it was a quick read and I was holding out for a great ending... it just didn't show up.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid - (Goodreads/Amazon) I read the description of this book. A woman is married and her husband dies, she grieves and finds love again, gets engaged and then finds out that her husband is still alive. I thought this might be a little too cheesy for me - like I should have waited for the poolside in the summer. After finishing it, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not a book I would rave about, but it was entertaining and there were a couple moments in it that I loved. Definitely a good summer read.

And two that you should definitely read:

A Hope More Powerful than the Sea by Melissa Fleming - (Goodreads/Amazon) My sister in law recommended this book to me. We've been exchanging lots of ideas, articles and books since we met, but especially since the election. I'll admit, I didn't know too much about the conflict in Syria until late last year. This book is a true story of a Syrian refugee. I definitely recommend it.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - (Goodreads/Amazon) Deep sigh. I just loved this book. It's weird because there's nothing super crazy or magical about this book. The story is about a cranky, old man named Ove (although not as old as I pictured him.) It's about his daily interactions with his neighbors and how that changed the course of his life. I cried tears at the end and I'm still not sure if they were happy tears, sad tears or both.

My Grandma is my penpal and we send book ideas back and forth. When she wrote back, she told me that the book is just like "real life" but she totally understands why people love it. It made me think of her living by herself and how the everyday interactions could make an impact on her life. This is my favorite book I've read this year. I can't wait to read more by this author.

So tell me, what are you reading? Have you read any refugee stories that you would encourage others to read? Have you fallen in love with Ove?

Linking up with Steph and Jana for my favorite book round up.