13 Reasons Why

Have you read 13 Reasons Why?  No?  Okay... Have you seen 13 Reasons Why?  Let me elaborate.

13 Reasons Why is the story of Hannah Baker, a seventeen year old high school junior whose seemingly abrupt suicide sends shockwaves through her small town.  The news of Hannah's suicide is compounded when weeks later, a mysterious unmarked box is dropped on the porch of Clay Jenson, Hannah's former classmate, co-worker, and onetime crush.  Curious, Clay opens it to discover seven cassette tapes, unmarked other than the numbers 1 through 13, painted on in blue nail polish.  After struggling to find a device that can actually play tapes, Clay's blood runs cold as he plays tape #1 only to hear the familiar voice of Hannah Baker, detailing the circumstances that led her to take her own life.  She goes on to explain the chain of events that contributed to her ultimate decision, and if you're hearing these tapes, that you were in fact one of the thirteen reasons why.

This month, 13 Reasons Why the series debuted on Netflix.  Both the book, by Jay Asher, and show are haunting, intense, and thought provoking.  There are distinct plot difference, though the underlying current and tone is the same.  I did appreciate the character development the show portrayed that was not always apparent in the book; the depths of physical anguish and sadness carried by Hannah's grieving parents, the quiet ache felt by those who used to consider Hannah a friend.  The throbbing pain of her absence in everything at school; her abandoned locker, the perpetually empty seat in her classes, the shrine of flowers and pictures in the front hall.

What 13 Reasons Why highlights is that sometimes something that seems so insignificant to one person might consume another. An empty rumor that spiraled out of control, being branded a slut when there's no validity to the claim, the out-of-context photo that went viral, and the vague plea for help that went ignored.  When these incidents are stacked one atop the other, it can feel overwhelming.  Which is why it is imperative to reach out, know the signs, ask and offer help.  Every gesture counts.

My only experience with suicide comes from high school.  My sophomore year, one of my closest friends attempted suicide.  She had a huge fight with her mom before school, and downed a bottle of her brother's heart medication and then came to school as usual.  We had first period together.  We used to share clothes and that morning I was wearing her sweater.  When I motioned to it as I walked past her assigned seat up the aisle to my own, I remember her blank eyes, staring straight ahead.  About five minutes into class, the guidance counselor rushed in, exchanged hushed whispers with the teacher, and ushered my friend out of the room.  I didn't see her the rest of the day. She didn't come back to school that entire week.

This was before everyone had cell phones, so we couldn't call or text from school to check in, and our calls to her home phone went unanswered.  Later, a rumor circulated that an ambulance had been at school that same day.  I never even thought to connect the two occurrences.  I was one of her closest friends, and I had no idea anything was amiss.  In hindsight, I realize that there were red flags, behaviors that could be characterized as a cry for help.  But then, in my high school bubble; to me she was popular.  She was adored.  She was happy.  Until I knew the truth, I had no idea.

So there, these are my reasons why 13 Reasons Why is worth a watch.  The show is visceral.  It is heartbreaking to watch at times.  It is quite difficult to watch at times.  However, I think it also has the potential to open up a dialogue about a challenging subject between parents and their teens.

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #StreamTeam

Big Little Lies

Did you watch Big Little Lies on HBO?  If you're looking for a short, intense drama series this one might be worth a watch.  I read the book upon which the series by Liane Moriarty years ago, and while there are similarities between the two, there are also significant plot differences.  

Ultimately I found the series a compelling drama, difficult to watch at times as it features some heavy topics including rape, infidelity, and domestic violence and rape in a marriage.  Having said that, it also employs the typical plot twists that keep you on the hook episode to episode, wanting more.  It debuted in the traditional series format of one episode per week, but now all seven are live so you could opt to binge watch it if so inclined.  Nicole Kidman gives an astonishingly strong but wounded performance, in my humble opinion.

However, one of my favorite parts of this series was its soundtrack!  My personal favorite is the Elvis cover of "Don't" by cast member, Zoe Kravitz.  The soundtrack is packed with catchy R&B songs as well as new riffs on familiar favorites.  Worth a listen!

Have you tuned into Big Little Lies?  What did you think?

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Good Friday Fun

Happy Easter!  We'll be participating in a few egg hunts around our neighborhood this weekend, feasting on brunch goodies all day long, and visiting with some out of town family.  Have a good one!

+ how cool are these succulent cupcakes?!  (pictured above) and more succulent sweets here.

+ loving this before/after house tour, I love seeing the potential a home can have (I don't personally have an eye for this but find it fascinating!)

+ this little girls dressed covered with toucans is simply adorable


+ have you ever used google flights? if so, what do you think?  I'm so curious!

+ eyeing this amazing spread

+ loving these simple, easy pretzel m&m bites for kids easter snacks

+ curious to try making detroit style pizza at home.  fun fact: my husband grew up eating buddy's pizza which was the inspiration for this detroit pizza trend (while I'm taking a a moderate vacation from the gluten-bandwagon, my family is still on board).

+ going to take this personality test this weekend!

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Weeknight Baking: One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Lately I've been experimenting with avoiding gluten in my daily eating, and have noticed that when I do eat it from time to time, there's a noticeable difference in how I feel.  While I won't proclaim myself gluten-free by any means, I and exploring other alternatives in baking and meal planning.  

We had an abundance of bananas browning on our counters, so I opted to try a gluten-free recipe, if only to get a gauge on how it would turn out.  I used Minimalist Baker's recipe, and it was really moist and flavorful.  Would definitely try this recipe again. 

Cookbook Crush: Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Of all of my cookbook crush posts, this one has to be the most "successful" in terms of recipes attempted, made, and flagged for future use.  I've had Skinnytaste Fast and Slow roughly a month (after checking out from the library to verify it's credibility), and as of today, I've made 7 of the recipes, several more than once.  The selling point of this cookbook is the abundance of slow cooker recipes, simplicity of directions, emphasis on quick prep, and overall flavor packed in every meal.  I mean it, every meal has been delicious!  In fact, I've discovered that two of my close friends also swear by this cookbook, and since our revelation, we've had an ongoing text thread sharing our latest meals, suggestions, and tips.  

I know, I know, I'm a big pusher of cookbooks, but don't believe me?  Here's the recipes we've made thus far: egg roll bowls, slow cooker hamburger stroganoff, slow cooker Korean-style beef tacos, Greek sheet pan chicken, slow cooker buffalo chicken lettuce wraps, Santa Fe turkey egg rolls with avocado ranch sauce, and slow cooker goulash with sauerkraut.  Most (but not all) have been hits with kids, which is also a huge bonus.  Truth be told, I was even reluctant to pick up this cookbook as I didn't love her first cookbook (I was a little put off by the title 'Skinnytaste' if I'm being honest), but I'm so glad I opted to give Gina Homolka a second chance.  Worth every penny.

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Friday Fun

Hello my dear readers.  How are you?  I've had a slew of posts on my to-do list, and am finally getting around to them.  Funny how that works.  These days I put find that my to-do list contains items such as "paint nails," and "send email to x."  When did that happen?  I can remember a day when to-do lists seemed to only be lined with jobs of the utmost importance, rather than mundane day to day dribble.  There's a penny for my thoughts...  Have a lovely weekend!

+ fan of legos?  what do you think of lego tape? or this lego mug!


+ a well rounded summation of the life and works of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, RIP


+ just learning that there are 4 ways to make a fried egg, who knew?


+ I've always wanted to go to Maine, have you been?

+ four questions to ask your kids at bedtime

+ my friend wrote a book!  if you're a momma, have you read it?  

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Last Great Book I Read: My Lady Jane

Historical fiction with a substantial heaping of magic is not my typical read.  While I do appreciate a good love story, especially one amongst royals - I tend to opt out of books parading magic (with the exception of Harry Potter and Twilight...of course).  But My Lady Jane is a clever, charming read, and I couldn't get enough.  Truth be told, I polished off the hefty thing in four days.

And for those skeptics, don't let the presence of magic deter you.  While I resist telling you more of the plot, consider this book an fictional explanation of real life character, Lady Jane Grey's 9-day reign as the queen of England (more on the real Lady Jane Grey here).

In a nutshell, a historical fiction spinoff love story, infused with magic, with a twist.  And for the record, you can always tell the hallmark of a good book is when you finish it only to be disappointed that it's over.

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March Favorites

+ this cookbook, Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker - part of my quest to slowly eliminate gluten from my diet

+ the podcast, How I Built This, stories of how people created companies, my favorites include the stories of Spanx, Airbnb, and Dry Bar.

+ Wonder, the YA novel about a boy born with a facial abnormality and his journey as he enters his first school experience.  It's a touching story written from multiple perspectives about inclusion, fitting in, and finding friendship.

+ these sweet birthday cards, I'm a sucker for letterpress

+ Chef's Table season 3 on Netflix, especially the Ivan Orkin episode

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Hiplet

Have you ever heard of hiplet (pronounced "hip-lay")?  I just saw this video over at Cup of Jo and am totally intrigued.  It's a new dance combining hip-hop and ballet, created by Homer Hans Bryant, who also founded the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center.  I'm into it!  What do you think?

Quote of the Week

“The days are long but the years are short."
~ Gretchen Rubin

P.S. If you don't already, subscribe to her podcast


My New Favorite Breakfast

I've never been one of those people that can eat the same thing every morning, day after day, week after week.  I get bored.  Occasionally I'll find myself in a groove for a few weeks, surfing a wave of yogurt and granola.  And once that get's old, I'll change course for a few weeks with scrambled eggs and sliced avocado.  Then perhaps leap on over to fried eggs with Trader Joe's harissa...you get the idea.  

However, it seems I've finally found a recipe with some staying power, since this has been my go-to breakfast for roughly 2+ months, and I'm still going strong!  I've rediscovered the beauty (and convenience) of overnight oats.  For those of you who might not know what overnights oats are - I did a post way back when...but the gist is - they're oats soaked and softened overnight in some type of milk.  It's an ideal breakfast for a late riser or someone who tends to have less time on their hands in the morning, as the prep work is already done by the time you awake!

My new favorite variation is Gwyneth Paltrow's almond orange overnight oats from her It's All Easy cookbook.  I had this page dog-eared for a while, and finally recognized that I had all of the ingredients on hand, so what was I waiting for?  

The result: great flavor, a nice blend of texture, and also - filling!  When I was teaching, I found it annoying when my breakfast couldn't tie me over until lunch and I'd be hungrily eying the clock at 10:00! What makes this recipe great, in my opinion, is the addition of orange juice, Greek yogurt, slivered almonds and shredded coconut.   And, I actually omitted the 2 tbsp maple syrup it calls for, because I didn't think it needed the extra sweetness.  I typically use a coconut or almond milk, though you could use cows milk or another type of nut milk as well.  

It's about time we get excited for breakfast!

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Sunday Snooze

It's the weekend!! It's a rainy, cold one here in Washington.  Thinking fondly back to last weekend LA enjoying spa adventures and my first visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Here are some links to what I've been reading this week.  Wishing you a cozy, dry weekend!

+ Pantone colors on the road

+ coming to live as refugees, as told by children

+ 13 inspiring lunches for kids

+ girl power!! check out this women of NASA lego set

+ one of my favorite children's book authors who is dying of ovarian cancer, wrote this heartbreaking 'love letter' entitled, "you might want to marry my husband." read with kleenex.

+ favorite apps as recommended by speech therapists

+ Susan Cain's TED talk, not new, but still fascinating

+ a female anatomy lesson everyone ought to read

+ it's The Book Scavenger in real life!

Have a good one!

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Embracing Minimalism

Ever watch a movie you find yourself thinking about days after the fact?  Recently, for me, that movie was Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things, streaming on Netflix.  Always a fan of a worthy documentary, I initially heard about this movie on one of my favorite DIY podcasts of all places, Young House Love Has A Podcast

Let me back track a bit...first off, initially I was skeptical.  Could a documentary on minimalism keep my interest for 79 minutes?  I mean, come on, I'm definitely not a minimalist, I like my stuff.  I shop online.  I know the thrill of a delightful find at Target.  I cultivate clutter...  And as it turns out, yes.  It was eye opening, and enlightening. And as I now know, minimalism goes far beyond the reaches of just 'stuff.'  

Ever bought something simply because it was on sale?  Or feel the need to shop online simply because you received a coupon code in your email?  Fall victim to the algorithms that put items you've previously searched into pockets of space in your social media feed?  If you've said yes to any of these (as I have), then this documentary might resonate with you. 

"We spend so much time on the hunt.  But nothing ever quite does it for us.  And, we get so wrapped up in the hunt, that it kind of makes us miserable." - Dan Harris 

The film begins with the story of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, and a series of interviews with others, who like them have embraced the concepts of minimalism in their daily lives.  Take Dan Harris, an ABC news reporter whose panic attack on live TV caused him to take a hard look and reevaluate how he was living his life. He shifted his mindset, took up meditation, wrote a book, and has never looked back, all because of choosing less instead of more.  Embracing minimalism. 

"What meditation can help you do is figure out when you cross the line between what I call constructive anguish and useless rumination. And so on the 17th time that I’m worrying about all the awful consequences of whether I’m going to make a flight, I’ve learned to ask myself: “Is it useful?” And often I’m able to cut myself off before I go down the rat hole of rumination and resentment." - Dan Harris

So why did this documentary strike a chord with me?  Because I think in a lot of ways it is so true.  Our culture has hard wired us to constantly feel hungry, empty, fueling this urge to spend, spend, spend.  Bottom line, this movie is worth a watch.  And if you're feeling extra ambitious and want to kick up this Minimalism streak, might want to pick up Dan Harris' book 10% Happier too.  

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. #StreamTeam

image via theminimalists

February Favorites

What have you been up to this month?  Here's a few of my February favorites...

+ this documentary, Minimalism on Netflix

+ this caramelized onion, mushroom, and gruyere quiche, I've made it twice now and it's delicious!

+ the original series Good Girls Revolt on Amazon Prime

+ speaking of shows, Big Little Lies on HBO is pretty good too

+ I might be drinking the kool-aid but I feel like this shampoo does make my hair smoother

+ been reading a lot lately, namely this Westing-Game reminiscent YA novel, loved this Edwardian spinoff, and just started 10% Happier

+ this super delicious and fairly easy dinner, where has butter lettuce been all my life?

+ loving this new cleanser, the scent is light and lovely
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Dinner Last Night: Spring Veggie Ramen

Tried out a new recipe this week and was pleasantly surprised by its flavor and ease to follow.  Gwyneth Palrow's Spring Veggie Ramen made for a satisfying weekend dinner to mix up our usual repertoire.  I guess I always assumed that ramen broth was a terribly complex beast, and required bone broth, hours of simmering, and unusual ingredients not available at my local Safeway.  

Turns out, this broth was primarily water, ginger, and ponzu (soy sauce with a citrus twist, and it was available at Safeway).  Easy enough.  While I didn't have bok choy, I added frozen peas for a pop of green, in addition to the called for mushrooms, green onions, and 6-minute eggs.  Oh, and I used packaged ramen noodles (flavor packets discarded).  My kids were pretty excited to have a dinner of hard boiled eggs and curly noodle soup.  I call that a win!

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2017 Goals

Well, now that we're knee deep into February, figured I might as well get around to etching my goals for the year in stone.  This is one of my favorite annual traditions, writing these down, and perhaps even more fun, looking back on past goals and reflections.  I find they are a reliable glimpse into a year, what happened, a memory of the landscape and climate of my life at the time, whether punctuated by a full-time job, a new baby, or occasionally both...

For 2017, I'm trying to switch it up and focus on a few new things.  So here goes..

+ throw kindness around like confetti
I recently discovered a postcard in my card box which read "throw kindness around like confetti" in beautiful gold letters.  I remember thinking to myself, now that's a good motto.  Though I typically aim to be friendly and polite, I don't typically set that intention for the day.  Be kind.  Exhibit grace. Exude kindness.  Whether it's taking the time to say 'thank you' or 'that was meaningful to me' to a friend or family member, to smiling at strangers, to looking for opportunities to bring kindness into someone else's day - I'm committing to doing a better job at depositing more kindness back into the world.

+ try new things
It's easy to fall into a familiar rut, especially when exhaustion sets in at the end of a long day.  I'm no different than the majority, it's very easy and convenient to collapse into the couch, remote in hand and defer to netflix.  However, this year, I'd like to try a few new things.  First, I want to attend a symphony and/or opera.  These are two experiences I've never tried, but have often wondered about and mused that I might enjoy.

+ build an exercise habit 
Now that my children have been sleeping through the night for a while now, it's really high time I resume an exercise routine.  I often set my alarm with fierce intention, willing my future self to jump out of bed upon its blaring and take to the pavement.  Yet, the reality of this is it is frequently upstaged by the snooze button.  Sleep is JUST. SO. GOOD.  I recently heard this quote which really resonated with me, "thoughts lead on to purposes, purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny," by Tyron Edwards.  This is so true, and I want to apply it to many areas of my life, including exercise.  Making the commitment to better oneself can really make a world of difference.

+ give back
Not exactly sure how give back will materialize this year, but I want to feel like I'm contributing to the community.  I always felt I was fulfilling this as a teacher, helping to mold and enrich young minds, and I'm sure I'm doing this with my kids, but I want to try and extend that a step further.  Whether it be posting phone numbers for representatives for friends and family to see, call, and advocate for political issues, or volunteering more locally in my city and surrounding community, or donating money to causes I find worthy, I want to give back more in 2017.

+ bake something every week
We've thankfully gotten the hang of meal planning for the week, which has led to a fuller (and emptier) fridge, a healthier diet, and significantly less waste.  Now that I've mastered pie crust, I'm trying to resume my plan to make homemade bread a no-brainer part of my repertoire.  R and I enjoy baking together and would like this to become a weekly habit instead of a random Tuesday kind of thing.  Whether this is a simple quiche, white bread, or a fancier something like scones or a pie, I'm hopeful that this goal will stick.  A few recipes I've pinned that are eagerly awaiting creation and consumption include chocolate babka, braided cardamom bread, blood orange coffee cake...I could go on.

+ put away my phone
Recharge without the aid of a power adapter. Enough said.

Past goals for 20162015201420132012201120102009, 2008

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Dinner Last Night: Greek Sheet Pan Chicken

In my archive of recipes, I usually funnel them into two categories; 
a). can be made in the kitchen with kids and chaos underfoot to be a successful meal 
b). needs another adult to assist/supervise/distract kids in order to be a successful meal 

Greek sheet pan chicken is my new favorite easy dinner that undoubtedly fits in column A.  And when I say easy, I mean EASY.  As in chop a few veggies, toss in a bowl with chicken breast, lemons, salt, and spices.  Spread on a baking sheet.  Bake.  Top with feta.  And it tastes like you put in hours of effort. Boom.  Plus, my kids ate it all up too, so double points for that!

Friday Fun

Ay, yai, yai...I'm finding that at the present moment, I can't even wrap my head around the news.  I've temporarily abandoned facebook, and just resorted the fb groups app instead.  Trying to avoid the hullabaloo for the time being and instead channel my efforts and time into doing good rather than feeding the media frenzy. Trying to remain positive, upbeat, and continue onward and upward, giving back in small ways (like donating here and here).  Repeating a new mantra: find your purpose, find your place, there is so much we can do to help and love each other!

+ how in one school district, washing machines improved school attendance


+ ever seen elephants in knit jumpers? love this!

+ this teacher is amazing, hope my kids one day have a thoughtful educator like him

+ a pay it forward kind of concept - syrian supper clubs

+ working on my hygge rituals, what are yours?

+ has me dreaming about a little jaunt to Germany

+ a creative way to introduce yoga to kids

+ heard this garlic herb sauce is a game changer, taste-testing this weekend

+ could you take the plunge and never use shampoo again?

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What Are You Reading?

I'm in need of a good book recommendation...or two...or three.  Really throw them all my way, I'll bookmark 'em in goodreads and call it a day.

In the last few months, I've read Commonwealth, The Other Typist, and my new favorite genre (young adult) which were all fantastic and thought provoking, It Ain't So Awful Falafel (dorky name, but quite good), Winger, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear.  Is it just me or are the YA choices way better now than they were when I was in middle/high school?

So...what are you reading?  Please, do tell!

January Favorites

Phew, the month of January flew by!  I still have yet to post my 2017 goals/resolutions...eek.  Better get on that!  In the mean time, here is a roundup of a few of my favorite things from the month.

+ Young House Love's coloring book (thought I wasn't an adult coloring book kind of fan, and just realized I'm not into nature scenes).  Coloring a cozy living room or elegant dining room is much more my scene.  Also loving these pens for coloring.

+ watching The Crown on Netflix - slow to start but after an episode or two it really picks up

+ another Netflix rec - St. Vincent.  This movie didn't seem appealing to me upon first glance, but my husband insisted, and I ended up really enjoying it.

+ the meditation app Headspace, trying to focus more on mindfulness, deep relaxing breathing, and essentially zoning in on the good and blocking out all the bad (especially in today's current world).  Enjoying this app and its guidance.

+ finding myself getting into a bunch of YA novels, enjoying the quick pace which lends itself to a faster read.  Polished off Winger in about 5 days (which was recommended to me by my friend and former librarian colleague)

+ this blue shade of Essie nail polish to cheer on the Seahawks during the playoffs

+ playing this pancake game with my 3-year old, so much enthusiasm!

Any January favorites for you?

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Dinner Last Night: Crockpot Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Jeweled Rice

Another win for Half Baked Harvest. This crockpot harissa chicken delicious, albeit much spicier than I anticipated, as I'm new to using the ingredient harissa in my cooking.  That said, given the spice, it ended up being a mom and dad-only dinner and the kids ate leftovers, not that they complained at all.  Served over saffron coconut rice, with a pinch of cilantro and chopped pistachios , this made for one tasty meal.  Bookmarking for a future date night until our kids palates can handle the heat.

Dinner Last Night: Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken Pozole

Smitten Kitchen, move aside, Half Baked Harvest might officially be my new favorite food blog. Thus far, everything made from this site has been a huge hit!  Another plus is the enormous archives of crockpot recipes they boast!  Including this one, crockpot salsa verde chicken pozole.

I modified a few things to cut down the prep time including baking poblanos instead of sautéing in order to loosen skins for peeling.  I also used canned tomatillos and pureed without sautéing which recipe recommends. However, I feel it still turned out superb for a healthy, hearty dinner.

Our garnishes were not nearly as fancy as this beautiful photograph, we opted for a few tortilla chips and avocado slices on top and dug right in.  Wasn't sure if this would be a hit with the kiddos, but my son loved it too, he kept digging his spoon into his baby bowl for more (always a sign of a good dinner!).

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Happy Birthday Blog

Happy birthday little blog of mine.  Today you are 9 years old.  NINE!  How did that happen?  One day back in 2008 I decided it was a good day for you to be born, and my how you've grown.

What has happened in those nine years, soooo much.  
Recovered from the break up of a long relationship.
Was supported, loved, and lifted up by my friends.
Enjoyed being single.
Shared many memorable LOST nights and unforgettable nights out with my friends.
Met a nice boy at a dive bar, had a magical summer together.
Fell in love.
Bought a house!  Moved in together.
Got engaged.  Planned a wedding.  Got married!
Honeymooned.  Vacationed with friends.  Drank lots of wine.
Got pregnant! Had our darling girl.
Learned how to balance motherhood and work.
Sold our house.  Moved into a condo while searching for a new house.
Stars aligned and bought our new house.
Continued learning how to balance parenting and work.
Watched our friends marry friends. Traveled the world.
Became an aunt.  Twice!
Got pregnant again! Had our darling son.
Became a stay-at-home mom.
And so much more...

A few of you have been around for a while, and I'm grateful for you.  Many of you might be new or just dropping by.  I know my posts have diminished, and I've steered away from putting my kids on social media into more safe territory like recipes, home decor, and favorite things.  But thanks for being here.  

And cheers to the lovely little things in your life.  Happy 9th my dear!

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2016 Goals Recap

Here were my goals for 2016.  Here's how I did...

upgrading our guest bathroom
Well, started this upgrade.  Accomplished tasks: painted cabinets. Painted walls. Removed paneling and old fixtures.  Refreshed with new rug and shower curtain. Unaccomplished tasks: Upgrading countertops and backsplash.  Some progress, but would've loved to have finished the job.

+ be healthier
I feel like this one is a victory.  I've cut out a lot of sugar in my daily life, including but not limited to switching from flavored yogurts to plain whole milk yogurt, making homemade pasta sauce (instead of buying jarred), making homemade soups.  We no longer buy gallons of ice cream and instead treat ourselves to air popped popcorn with coconut oil and salt or a few squares of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine after dinner.  I haven't given up everything processed, but I feel like as a whole my family is eating much less sugar, sodium, and more veggies and greens than ever before.  Yay!

+ fasting
Well...I thought about it.  I've decided to make some hard and fast rules about drive-thru coffee and social media for myself for 2017.  Stay tuned...

+ focus on gratitude
I began the 5 minute journal in late 2015 and love the concept, but I needed something quicker and more concise.  Instead I bought a blank notebook and write down one thing I'm thankful for every night.  Often times it's the obvious; my kids, my health, my husband, friends, etc. but sometimes it's random things like "AAA" which also is fun to reread, giving me some context of that day in my life. Focusing on the good upon going to sleep up adds a sense of purpose, closure and reminds me to focus on what's really important day to day.

How did you do on your resolutions/goals for 2016?

Past goals for 20162015201420132012201120102009

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December Favorites (a few days late)

+ tula skincare products with probiotic technology, currently loving the eye cream and moisturizer

+ reusable New Zealand wool dryer balls (no more dryer sheets ever again!)

+ my new desk calendar for 2017

+ this powerful young adult novel (think The Fault in Our Stars meets The Art of Racing in the Rain)

+ a new (to me) podcast I'm enjoying about preserving humanity in the digital age

+ pretty excited about my new 2017 life planner (no e-notepad for me, I can't escape the satisfaction of actually writing things down)

+ the new Ina Garten cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey

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