Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Love List

Image from Overstock

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Today's love list is about the most priorities in my life. Next week, the Love List will be back as a "Best Of" edition and then, it will be all about the holidays. In this moment, however, I am with my family and so grateful to be around them surrounded by love and laughter. I hope you are all in the same place. Cheers! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Quotable

This week, the quote says it all. If you're having trouble seeing it in spots because of the color, it says:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." -Melody Beattie

As you prepare for Thanksgiving (if you celebrate), try to leave the stress of preparation, managing family or even feelings of loneliness and grief behind. Focus on what makes you grateful-no matter how small you may think it is--and celebrate that.

Cheers and best wishes!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Artist Spotlight

This week I'm spotlighting 4 newer artists. They don't have big catalogues but I think huge things are coming. I'm playing any little piece of music I can find from each one of them. Check them out on YouTube and happy dance your way into the weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


When I first saw this workout, I honestly thought, I can do this in my sleep...except the burpees. I was wrong, friend. Dead wrong. This is a toughie for a  fitness novice and you will break a sweat and feel the burn. You will also feel awesome when you're done (just before you melt into a pool of sweat). Seriously though, great workout.

p/s If you're more advanced, try adding sets or getting through each set in a limited amount of time.  

Fashion Spotlight: Toms + Target

Toms launched its collaboration with Target on Sunday (Nov. 16) and as per usual with limited edition designer Target lines, people went nuts and lined up for first dibs at pretty little (sustainable) loot. The line is simple and consistent with Toms normal aesthetic. If you love Toms regular offerings, you will love the shoes, clothes and accessories (for you and your home) from this collaboration...and the reasonable prices don't hurt.

BONUS: For every Target + Toms gift you buy, Target will give a blanket, shoes or meals to those in need.

Prices range from $10-$48 (see what I mean about the reasonable prices!). Get your shop on!!

Here are some of my faves.  (All images from Target)






Shoes and Accessories






Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Love List

1. I repost Danielle LaPorte's Truthbombs a lot. Sometimes, they are that little bit of inspiration I need to get through the day. Imagine my delight when I found out they are for sell in a deck of positive, beautiful Truthbomb cards. I think I found a stocking stuffer for my loved ones. (Danielle LaPorte)

2. Sweater season is upon us (unless you're across the world and experience Summer or in a place where its constantly warm--in which case, I am SOOO Jealous. But I digress.) Madewell put out the perfect guide for taking care of your precious, cozy, get-you-through-the-cold-months faves. (Madewell)

3. Ever tasted your tears? Salty, right?  Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is capitalizing on that with its genius new gourmet salt line called (what else) Salt Made from Tears. As you may know, I have a love affair going with gourmet salts. I can't wait to try them all. (Hoxton Street Monster Supplies)

4. I love Lark & Linen's the idea of a popcorn bar for a movie night. Great party idea. (Lark & Linen)

5. I love makeup as much as the next woman but I am bad about throwing products out at the right time. This guide from Harper's Bazaar will keep you on track. (Harper's Bazaar)

6. If you've ever tried to carry a bunch of grocery bags in the house (with your laptop bag, gym bag and ever present bottle of water), you can use the Mighty Handle. You may even have a hand free to open the door. (Amazon)

7. I created trays for a party earlier this month and I loved the finished product. When I saw this decorative tray DIY, I knew I had to make some more. (The Everygirl)

8. We've been on a bit of a mission to get organized. In looking for tips, I found the NEAT Method. They are professional organizers and if you can't hire them, you're sure to find some major inspiration on their site. I long to be this organized. (NEAT Method)

9. Have you been to a restaurant that offers you the option of rounding up your total to the next dollar for charity? Spare NYC created an app for that with the goal of ending hunger in NYC. Read more about the charity here. (Spare NYC)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Food Tuesday

Well, folks, they can’t all be winners. Where should I start?

I eat veggie sushi a lot. I watch the sushi chef (itamae) prepare my “cuke and avo” inside out roll each week with awe inspiring precision. Brown sticky rice spread evenly on 4x6 sheets of delicate nori. A sprinkle of sesame seeds. A quarter avocado split into three and placed in a perfect line down the center of the roll. Next, come perfect cucumber matchsticks (julienned). Then, the roll is formed and pressed in a sushi mat but we’re not finished yet. A sharp knife dipped in a bowl of hot water and lemon cuts through the sushi roll like butter until its eight perfect little cuts of yummy.

After months of watching, I was like, “Yeah. I can do that.” Oh, me of big faith.

So, I went shopping and got nori. I had everything else at home. I found a sushi rice recipe labeled the “Perfect Sushi Rice” recipe. By the way, did you know how many “perfect’ recipes there are on the web? 

Anyway, I got to work on the sushi rice. After the allotted cooking time, it was still crunchy so I doubled the cooking time and it was, actually kinda perfect.

I spread the rice onto the nori evenly. My hands were a mess but I managed to get it evenly spread. BOOM! Next, I sprinkled on some sesame seeds. Easy peasy. Then, I added the avocado and cucumber. I also added a few carrots. Look at me! All fancy and feeling myself.

Then, I tried to roll it up. WITHOUT A SUSHI MAT. I know, I know. I thought I would be fine with my hands and a little parchment paper. As I rolled the then soggy nori into what became a fairly decent roll, I thought everything might turn out ok. Then I tried to slice it and my heart dropped. 

It was nowhere as easy as I expected. The knife smashed the roll and I had to reshape the sections a bit. In the end, I was able to salvage a few decent pieces but overall, it was U-G-L-Y!!

Ash and I both ate it and it was, despite its looks, edible and kinda tasty…with a little pickled ginger. I’d try again. Actually, Ash has put a challenge on the table and my competitive side can’t say no. 

This time, I’m going to buy a sushi mat first.


The sushi rice recipe I used was Alton Brown’s version. You can find it here.

For beginners like me, I’d suggest using smaller sheets of nori and not spending so much time spreading the rice that the nori gets slimy and soggy (read: hard to cut and harder to chew).

Get a sushi mat. Yes, you really need one. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Quotable

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, you are probably starting to think about time with family and all the yummy food that comes along with the day. Maybe, you're just thinking about the peace that comes with a day off even if you have a house full of noise. If you're like me, you are taking extra stock in the things you are thankful for. 

As you plan menus, make travel plans or prepare to honor the personal traditions that make the day special for you and your loved ones, make further plans to live as many days in the warm light of gratitude that tends to envelop the season...then, share it.

If the holidays bring emotions of a different kind, try to get away from anxiety, sadness, stress, etc. by reaching out to others. Tell  people how you're feeling or try to step outside of it by reaching out to others who need a shoulder. Maybe you can lean into each other.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Quotable

I practice mindfulness and try to focus on the things I’m grateful for each day. It helps me make it through when I am stressed or a little blue. That said, I am totally guilty of wishing for better days. This happens most often when I am struggling with a work issue, a health issue or trying to think about how to move up the ladder closer to my goals. In those tough or tiring times, it’s all too easy to fall into that “I can’t wait until this week is over!” habit. Today’s quote is inspiration to fight that habit and enjoy life--even the less than awesome bits. None of us know what’s ahead. Why not cash in on the joy at your disposal right now! Live and enjoy your life. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Food Tuesday

Fall weather means Fall flavors for me and today's recipe screams fall with its apple-y, sweet potato-y goodness. The original version of the recipe from Food 52 was for Roasted Sweet Potato and Apples with Pearl Onions and Crispy Sage. See what I mean about it screaming Fall. You can practically smell the crisp breeze in the air. 

I riffed on the recipe a bit and decided to saute everything rather than roasting. I loved the dish but would roast in the future because I think it would further bring out the sweetness in the onions. This time, I went with a quick saute after par-cooking the potatoes. 

Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Pearl Onions
4 cups sweet potato chunks (about 2 average-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks)
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 large apple, chopped into chunks (does not need to be peeled, but can be if you prefer!)
1 clove garlic
2 cups halved white pearl onions
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne

Rinse the sweet potatoes and poke holes into them with a fork (all over the potato). Cook them in the microwave or convection oven for about 5-7 minutes. Once potatoes are slightly softened, remove them and let them cool. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add onions and allow to cook with garlic for about 3 minutes. While the are cooking cut the potatoes into chunks. Add potatoes and apple into skillet with onions. Toss in spices and stir until well combined. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

Enjoy as a meal by serving over quinoa or with a salad. You can also serve it as a side dish like I did. The main course was roasted spaghetti squash tossed with roasted tomatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Yum!! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Quotable

I heard today's quote while watching TV last week and loved it so much I wrote it down and repeated it to a couple of friends. It's only right that it gets featured on NCL too.

I think we go through things in life (at least I certainly have) that try our patience, test our emotions and leave us feeling beat up. Those feelings can come from people, jobs, hurtful self-talk, etc. At some point, if we're lucky, those things and people causing strain fall away.

Yet, the nature of people is to avoid failure. So, we pick up the pieces and try to hold on to them-- crumbling and flaky as they may be. We hold on to people with both hands though they're only extending a finger. We hold on to stories of past failures and tell ourselves we can't get better because of them.

It's unhealthy and more importantly, it blocks growth, blessings, and joy that may otherwise enter our lives.

That's why today's quote is so important. The leaves that fall off and away from the trees of our lives are meant to stay on the ground. They are the dead stuff of our past and the only way to heal and grow is to let them blow away.