Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cookbook Crush

Another swoon worthy cookbook about to hit the shelves.  Dinner: The Playbook is the eagerly anticipated "sequel" of sorts to Dinner: A Love Story, inspired by the ever-popular blog of the same name.  While I follow many a food blog, and hopelessly pin away recipes I know I'll never make, I appreciate Jenny Rosenstrach's approach to cooking.  She's very relatable; she tells it like it is, an ordinary mom of two kids, on a quest to consistently bring a variety of delicious, interesting, and healthy dinners to her family's table.  Granted her kids are good eaters, though they definitely have their gustatory quirks, as all children do.  A few of her recipes I've successfully followed and delivered include a new fan fave, pork fried rice.

What cookbooks are you crushing on?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quote of the Week

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."  

~Albert Einstein


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Healthy Deodorant

Continuing in my quest to use beauty products free of parabens, toxins, and the like, I have a new product to share with you.  Behold, The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila.  Deodorant it seems has become a hot topic among blogs I've read lately, namely because several studies have suggested that aluminum and parabens in deodorant could be linked to breast cancer.  Doing my due of diligence, I picked up current Dove deodorant, flipped it over, and sure enough, the main ingredient is Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (15.2%), sounds really natural, right?  

While this data is only pulled from a few studies, and perhaps is inconclusive, that is reason enough for me to seek out an alternative, healthier antiperspirant.  My thinking is, deodorant is something I apply EVERY SINGLE DAY.  If there is even the slightest possibility that any of these ingredients could be linked to breast cancer, that's reason enough for me to change my ways.  

A few other bloggers have reported success with Lavanila, so I bought it on Amazon (also available at Sephora) between $14-15 per stick depending on your scent.  I opted for Lavender Vanilla.  This brand boasts no parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, silicone, or mineral oil.  Scents are derived from essential oils and anti-oxidants. Three days in, I'm quite pleased with this product.  There's no sweaty smelling odors late in the day, I've had no issues with staining on my clothes, and I feel it's held up with my level of activity and exercise.  

Are you up for the deodorant challenge?


Friday, August 8, 2014

Dinner Last Night: Seared Scallops with Pea Puree and Beurre Blanc

Just call me Julia Child, friends!  A few nights ago, after that annoying Iggy Azalea song had me singing "I'm so fancy," on repeat, I decided it was high time to put the fancy back in dinner.  After a sweep of the ol' pinterest board, I selected this elegant dish; seared scallops with pesto pea puree and beurre blanc.  Not your average Monday night, eh?  Well, it was surprising easy - for real, thanks to Trader Joe's frozen scallops, my Nutribullet, and a whole lotta butter!  Butter really does make everything better…Julia was right all along.  Although I was channeling the culinary genius, I'm not sure I came even close to mastering beurre blanc (basically butter, heavy cream, and white white stirred and reduced), nor was it finessed in the same way, however the final dish did to match the picture surprisingly enough!  Victory!

image + recipe/bakedbree

Monday, August 4, 2014

Last Great Book I Read

I don't think I can say enough good things about this book, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  When I sought out book recommendations a few weeks ago, a few of you suggested this title.  I'd never heard of the author, and to be honest I was really not impressed by the cover art (yes, I know, don't judge a book by its cover and all that, but sometimes it's hard not to…).  

Anyway, I bit the bullet, and bought it on my kindle.  The first chapter didn't instantly captivate me, however a few pages in something happened; characters developed, plots thickened, and this beautiful, unusual story unfolded before me.  I found myself eager to read, seeking out free minutes to pick up where I last left off - always a sure sign of a genuinely good book.  And lastly, once it ended, I found myself still continuing to think about it.  In a nutshell it had all my hallmarks of a must read: thought provoking, moving, memorable.  Go for it!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mid-Week Link Love

+ Reading this book per your recommendations

+ Loving this motherhood series (I look forward to Mondays to read each new post)

Thinking about (and channeling my art history degree)

+ A new documentary about the US surge of C-sections

+ Watching this documentary while house hunting


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 Reasons I Love You: 8 Months

{8 Months}

1. You waved bye bye to me at day care!  It was more of an elongated flick of your fingertips, “Miss America” wave, but nonetheless, wave it was!  Just as the door was about to close you lifted up your tiny hand, tipped your fingers upward and shrieked your sweet baby squeal.  Made my day!

2. Perhaps you are preparing for new teeth, but you’ve started this new habit of sucking on your gums.  Every so often we hear this slurping sound, which I assume is anything but you, sucking on the inside of your cheek or gums.  Self discovery, I tell ya!

3. You have inherited a trait of your grandpa Bud - the point.  Bud is famous for his point, thrusting it across many a family member in order to ensure that they don’t miss a thing!  Lately, you are pointing at everything; airplanes, birds, kids, helicopters, leaves even.  You often accompany an enthusiastic point with the word “dair” which Nana swears once came out as “airplane” plain as day.  

4. We took you in the ultimate bath tub - the pool!  Daddy and I took you to your first swim “lesson,” more of a water babies class, but you loved it.  The pool was a touch cooler than I’d anticipated, but you handled the temperature like a champ.  You kicked your feet, and splashed around, and even floated on your back with your ears underwater.  At the end, you were kicking with such gusto, it was obvious you weren’t ready to get out!  Yet, you didn’t seem to mind the relaxing dunk in the hot tub shortly thereafter.  You are a born swimmer girl!

5. We took you on your first zoo outing.  It was a beautiful sunny day, the stroller wheels newly inflated with air, it was quite an adventure!  Now, mom and dad might have enjoyed the animal experience a tad more than you did, however, you were smitten by the duck sighting in the giraffe, lion, and zebra habitat.  Yes, it was those common Northwest bird ducks, not those wild safari animals that captivated your attention as you gleefully cried, “Du!”  “Du!”.  Just another reason why we love you.

6. A big girl you are, as you’ve decided sippy cups are for babies.  After experimenting with several sippy cups, I just tried the cup sans lid, and voila!  You loved it.  I hold the cup up to your lips and you eagerly lean forward opening up your mouth to drink.  You always seem thirsty and Mommy is perfecting the art of tipping the water ever so slightly as to not douse you with cold water (since that’s happened a time or two).

7. You’ve started to enjoy peek-a-boo played around the corner of the bathroom mirror.  Here’s how it goes: we stand at the edge of the wall separating the bathroom and the hallway.  I lean into the bathroom, and look at myself in the mirror and you slyly follow with your eyes, delighting when you see your reflection.  It’s a game of cat and mouse, hide and seek, as I hold you intentionally away so you have to slowly lean to peer around the corner. You love it and giggle endlessly every single time.

8. You are all over your crib these days, flipping on your tummy, propping your feet up against the rails, I think we’ve reached the end of the predictable back sleeping era.  Oh boy!

9. Your love of airplanes has only increased exponentially!  We often go to the park, lay down a blanket, and watch for the path of airplanes crossing the sky. Turns out, we might be living right underneath a popular route, as you’ve now picked up on the sound of the airplane from inside our home, and you often gesture towards the window when a passing airplane passes overhead.  Do I see a future pilot in our midst?

10. You are so anxious to crawl!  Daddy crawls around the floor, and you excitedly slap the ground and rock forward, as if to take off after him.  I can see the wheels turning in your head, as you carefully observe, and mentally make note of all the steps to complete the process.  I think it will only be a short while before you’re ready to move!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dirty Dancing

The other night, my husband and I made a discovery, Dirty Dancing is streaming on Netflix!  Side bar - I've been pleasantly surprised with the increasing number of fantatsic blast from the past movies appearing on the streaming menu (i.e. Clueless).  Through talking we discovered that he has never seen the movie Dirty Dancing!  Ever! Granted, it is a chick flick, however, there is plenty of leggy dancers, sex appeal, and a decent plot line to keep a guys interest, or so I thought.

Long story short, we watch the movie, and about one third of the way through, he states ever so matter-of-factly, "So the whole point of this movie that she learns the dance routine to keep the other girl out of trouble and they fall in love?"  Me: "Well…um…yeah, I guess...but it doesn't sound nearly as intriguing a flick when you put it that way… (Sigh).  

Quote of the Week

image via birdie to be

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fitting Room

Okay, for all you ladies out there…have you ever been in a fitting room, found an item you feel so/so about, or are just not sure you can stealthily pull off…and in desperate need of a second opinion, snap an awkward picture of your outfit in the fitting room mirror, text to a friend/relative/significant other for a second opinion, resulting in an extended fitting room stay as you impatiently linger for a (hopefully) prompt, though not guaranteed reply?  (Sigh) And yes, I realize this is indeed a first world problem.

Solution!  Meet Fitting Room the app for iPhone and android.  In this app, you submit your photo for a group of people who are also sharing their outfits and seeking feedback - basically it's a win-win all around!  It's like shopping with your gaggle of tried and trusted girlfriends who tell you truthfully hot or not.  And my personal favorite, there's an option to blur your face so you can remain anonymous to those providing feedback.  Brilliant!  P.S. Did I mention the app is free!

What do you think?  Would you try out Fitting Room


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Clueless the Musical

Have you heard?  Apparently there is buzz that the 90's cult-classic - Clueless (a personal favorite of mine) is becoming a Broadway musical!  Perez Hilton in addition to several other semi-reputable sites reported that director Amy Heckerling has expressed interest in bringing the 90's fan -favorite to the stage - possibly starring none other than Katy Perry.  Personally, I'm not sure I can envision Katy Perry playing the lead character Cher (Alicia Silverstone in the movie), but I guess she can sing, and the girl does has moxie.  Not sure about you, but I'd go see it in a heartbeat!

P.S. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Paul Rudd made a appearance.  While he's probably too old to realistically play Josh, the guy can sing (or lip-sync)...

image via theshortandsweetofit

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Days of Garbage

Talk about a reality check!  The United States has a major trash problem, with the average American producing more than 4 pounds of garbage a day…A DAY! That is is 50% more than what's produced by Western Europeans.  Photographer Gregg Segal decided to add imagery to this statistic, putting friends, neighbors, and strangers lying amidst 7 days of their own garbage to demonstrate the volume of our waste.   Segal states "obviously, this is a series guiding people toward a confrontation with the excess that's part of their lives…forcing us to reconcile what we're producing, which hopefully causes some people to think a bit more about what they're consuming."

Makes you think twice, doesn't it?

via expresso 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Whatcha Reading?

So…whatcha reading?  No really…tell me, please!
I've been nursing the 3rd installment of the Divergent series, Allegiant for far too long and it's just getting downright painful.  I earn a meager percentage or two a night on my kindle, if I'm lucky, but I can't seem to overcome the hump of 16%.  Pathetic, and I've been known to push through a book, just to say I read it! 

Thus, in an effort to move beyond futuristic teenage series (that statement sure sounded mature, didn't it)...I'm looking for some summertime reads.  The easy, the deep, the thought provoking, hit me with your best recommendations, I'm ready for ya!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Tina Fey's New Movie

I'm a Tina Fey fan.  Loved her book, Mean Girls, Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, the whole shebang.  Here's a glimpse at her latest movie, and it looks pretty good!  It's been such a long time since I've seen a movie in a theater.  Between this, The Fault in Our Stars, and Gone Girl, I'm creating quite the "movies-to-see" list.

What do you think?  Is it worth $12 plus a $4 cherry coke?

Salad Savvy: Mustard Chicken Salad

Truth.  I don't love broccoli. Never have, despite my efforts to force myself to like the nutrient packed green veggie.  However, as I was pureeing broccoli with a bit of potato yesterday for my daughter's lunch, I thought…hmm, I better find some recipes that incorporate broccoli quick so I don't influence a distaste for broccoli in her as well.  Low and behold, Ina Garten to the rescue!  During R's nap time, Miss Ina whipped up mustard chicken salad (which according to the narrative in the show, was a staple in her former Hamptons shop, Barefoot Contessa).  The ingredients are few, and most you probably have in your fridge as I did after a quick Trader Joe's run, with the exception of whole grain mustard, because who has that? 

While I'm not a huge mayo-in-salad fan, this salad feels less mayo-y than others, given the flavors of the mustard and white wine in the dressing.  I wish I'd taken a picture to demonstrate that it wasn't smothered in mayo, but this online shot will have to do.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gone Girl Trailer

Did you read ever Gone Girl?  A few trailers for the screen version of the popular book dropped this weekend, and not gonna lie, they're pretty chilling.  Initially I was skeptical of Ben Affleck being cast as the main character - Nick Dunne, but in this icy trailer he is pretty convincing.  Also - talk about a creepy Neal Patrick Harris!  In addition, I like that they picked a relatively unknown actress to play Nick's missing wife, Amy (recognize her from Pride & Prejudice?)  For the Gone Girl enthusiasts, here's another "official" trailer to reel you in. The movie debuts October 3rd.

Are you going to go see it?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'Merica Moccs

I know I'm a few days late, and a few dollars short…but aren't these American flag moccasins adorable?!  LOVE Freshly Picked!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Bookmarking: this entree and this salad
Wearing: a new top compliments of Stitchfix
Loving: this letterpress shop on easy
Podcasting: a recommendation from my husband
Reading: wish I was reading a book, lately I've just been a magazine girl
Late night snacking: the best sea salt caramel gelato this side of Italy
Hoping to see: this tearjerker



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