Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Food Tuesday

Today’s Food Tuesday post is more about entertaining than recipes. With grilling season upon us, we couldn’t be more excited about trying new things on the grill. The latest was tacos. I was really craving fish tacos and went shopping with that in mind. I ended up with an entire taco bar that included fish, shrimp, and steak. Then I had to throw in cotija cheese, guacamole (not pictured), pico de gallo, lettuce and Mexican crema with lime juice and garlic powder added. I used flat bottomed soft taco shells to provide more room for taco ingredients but you can choose what you love. It also cuts down on the amount of mess and spillage associated with tacos.

It was a delicious, simple meal that you can easily make for any crowd. You can also use whatever ingredients you love. I highly recommend mushrooms as a meat substitute or you can go right for soy meat crumbles or tofu. I also suggest pairing the  meal with a yummy pitcher of sangria. Happy eating!!

p/s Please forgive my picture quality. I was totally ready to eat and didn't feel like whipping out lighting. The meal was--believe it or not--impromptu. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Quotable

Hopefully, we all come to a point on our journey when we realize we are responsible for our lives. Things don't just happen to us. They happen to teach us something...or for us, if you will. If we keep repeating the same behavior, it means we're going to keep getting taught the same (sometimes painful) lesson. Eventually, the lesson will be like a brick wall in our lives--blocking us from moving forward and sometimes falling down--on and around us, breaking everything in its path. In those moments, we can crumble or start to learn the lesson. In those moments lie the power for reinvention and redemption. We are afforded the power to stop blaming others for the broken pieces of our own lives and acknowledge where we have been destructive--to others and to ourselves. We can turn off the negative voices in our heads. We can stop directing our issues towards others. Where other people truly are to blame, we can forgive and realize it is more for our own well being than for the person who hurt us. We can be happy and whole. 

Happy Monday! I hope you spend your day reducing brick walls to pebbles. Happy healing. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What I'm Reading/Book Club (SPOILER ALERT!!)

April is rolling to an end (I can't believe May is already on the horizon!!), which means it's time for Book Club/What I'm Reading. Since we had two books this month, I am going to break up the discussion into two posts, starting with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. The discussion questions from Penguin Books are below along with my responses. SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven't finished the book, do not read my answers. 

As for what I thought of the book overall, I really enjoyed it. It is a great, edge of your seat, type of read. If you're compiling your summer travel reading list, this would be a good one. If you read along with me, I hope you enjoyed it. Please share your answers to this month’s book club questions or share questions of your own in the comments.  Stay tuned for the announcement of next month’s book. Happy Reading! 


We all do it—actively watch life around us. In this way, with her own voyeuristic curiosity, Rachel Watson is not so unusual. What do you think accounts for this nosey, all-too-human impulse? Is it more extreme in Rachel than in the average person? What is so different about her?

I think we have become a voyeuristic society because of all the access we have to people’s lives through reality shows, social media, YouTube, etc. It makes even the most boring things into entertainment. Because of that, we can often find ourselves watching other people’s lives unfold like an episode of Bravo’s latest project. I am certainly nosy while out in public—especially in restaurants/bars, trains and planes. I do think Rachel’s “curiousity” is more extreme in Rachel. Watching from the train is one thing. Showing up at people’s houses and making up lies to get access leaves moves her from voyeur to stalker. I think she is that way because of how broken she is. She latched on to her fantasy of Megan and Scott’s lives because she was missing so much in her own.

How would you have reacted if you’d seen what Rachel did from her train window—a pile of clothes—just before the rumored disappearance of Megan Hipwell? What might you or she have done differently?

My inclination is to say Rachel should have gone to the police as the clothes might have been evidence. That said, I’m not sure I would have done that. Also, having lived in NYC, there is all sorts of things (clothes, shoes, etc.) you see around the train. In Rachel’s shoes, maybe it would stand out but I likely would have taken the same action (or inaction) that she did.

In both Rachel Watson’s and Megan Hipwell’s marriages, deep secrets are kept from the husbands. Are these marriages unusual or even extreme in this way? Consider how many relationships rely on half-truths? Is it ever necessary or justifiable to lie to someone you love? How much is too much to hide from a partner?

I can’t really say it is ok to lie to someone you love. Honesty has to be a priority in every successful relationship. That said, do I say everything that comes to mind or lay out a daily itinerary for my husband? No. He doesn’t have to know every conversation I have or everything I do. I just don’t do things away from him that I wouldn’t do in front of him. I also think biting your tongue is occasionally necessary. Lying about having an affair, a past marriage, a baby who passed away or a drinking problem—basically all of the hidden things in this book—are not ok.

What about the lies the characters tell to themselves? In what ways is Rachel lying to herself? Do all people tell themselves lies to some degree in order to move on with their lives? Is what Rachel (or any of the other characters) is doing any different from that? How do her lies ultimately affect her and the people around her?

In one sense, I don’t think Rachel is lying to herself. I think she is fully aware that she is an alcoholic whose life is in shambles. She lies to everyone around her to try to preserve an image of a woman who has it together or to help (in Scott’s case). They can see through it and she knows that. I think Rachel’s problem lives in the lies she tells to others. They prevent her from getting help and put her in danger. I think Anna is lying to herself about feeling loved by Tom. And I can’t really touch Tom who is a total sociopath and lives a complete lie by his choosing.

I think we all tell ourselves little lies to move past hurt. “I’m fine” or “I’m strong” after a heartbreak may not be true but it can help you get to a place where you are. That’s different from Rachel’s statements: “Megan and I were friends.” “Scott needs me.” “I’m just trying to help.” “I’ll stop drinking tomorrow.” Really, she is looking for love and validation.

A crucial question in The Girl on the Train is how much Rachel Watson can trust her own memory. How reliable are her observations? Yet since the relationship between truth and memory is often a slippery one, how objective or “true” can a memory, by definition, really be? Can memory lie? If so, what factors might influence it? Consider examples from the book.

Memory often lies. It’s one reason police sketches and line up identifications are often inaccurate. People’s thoughts and perceptions are impacted by fear and anger. Even happiness can put a different shine on what really happened in a given situation. Throw alcohol on top of that and you’ve got very little in your memory that is reliable. Examples from the book include how Anna and Rachel differed in their memory of Rachel’s interaction with the baby or Rachel’s memory of the night she was hit in the head.

One of Rachel’s deepest disappointments, it turns out, is that she can’t have children. Her ex-husband Tom’s second wife Anna is the mother to a young child, Evie. How does Rachel’s inability to conceive precipitate her breakdown? How does the topic of motherhood drive the plot of the story? What do you think Paula Hawkins was trying to say about the ways motherhood can define women’s lives or what we expect from women’s domestic lives, whether as wives, mothers, or unmarried women in general?

I think it may be what led Rachel to drink and ultimately to Tom divorcing her. It was why she turned to alcohol—to numb the pain of her infertility. I think motherhood drives the story because each woman relates to motherhood in some way. Rachel in her need to fill the void of not being able to conceive, Anna in her use of Evie to tie her to Tom and Megan in her need to deal with the loss of her baby. I think there is some relation to motherhood in every woman. It could be in the desire to have children and the hearbreak of not being able to. It could be in an adamant resolve not to have children or it could be in the joy of being a mother. It shapes us. I don’t know that Hawkins is grouping women in that way but there are definitely central themes about the expectations of motherhood.

Think about trust in The Girl on the Train. Who trusts whom? Who is deserving of trust? Is Rachel Watson a very trustworthy person? Why or why not? Who appears trustworthy and is actually not? What are the skills we use to make the decision about whether to trust someone we don’t know well?

Maybe I missed it but no one in this book trusts anyone else. Rachel lies to everyone (roommate, mom, Tom, Scott) and no one believes she has it together. It seems like Anna trusts Tom but towards the end, you realize that she doesn’t and is waiting for him to cheat on her. Scott listens to Rachel but seems to know something is off—even before he finds out for sure that she is lying. Scott doesn’t trust Megan. He knows she has things to work through and doesn’t necessarily believe she has all the secrets that she does but he is also a phone checker and monitor.  

I don’t think any of the characters are trustworthy. The closest person to it is Rachel’s roommate because she seems to genuinely want to help Rachel. At points in the book, all (except Rachel) appear trustworthy until you learn more about them. To assess someone’s trustworthiness, I don’t look any further than my gut. If my gut instinct tells me to stay away from someone, I do.

Oh wait! I just had a memory…I think the ginger drinker from the train! He is trustworthy. He’s never anything but honest with Rachel and actually helps her remember the night of the crime. He’s initially written in an ominous way but turns out to be nothing of the sort.

Other characters in the novel make different assumptions about Rachel Watson depending on how or even where they see her. To a certain extent, she understands this and often tries to manipulate their assumptions—by appearing to be a commuter, for instance, going to work every day. Is she successful? To what degree did you make assumptions about Rachel early on based on the facts and appearances you were presented? How did those change over time and why? How did your assumptions about her affect your reading of the central mystery in the book? Did your assumptions about her change over its course? What other characters did you make assumptions about? How did your assumptions affect your interpretation of the plot? Having now finished The Girl on the Train, what surprised you the most?

I think Rachel is successful at fooling some people for a moment—her roommate for example. Most others see through it. In the beginning, on the facts presented, I thought Rachel was a regular corporate commuter, albeit a little lonely. Her fascination with the couple I’d later find out was Megan and Scott showed me a person longing for love. The cans of pre-mixed gin and tonic on the train didn’t alarm me. That is what the ride home on my commuter train looked like several years ago...especially on Fridays. As the book went on, I realized she had deep seated issues but I believe a lot of her version of events.

As for other characters, I never thought of Anna as the wallflower housewife that needed protection. I could tell right away there was something else there. I also thought of Tom as a liar but I didn’t see him as the killer or a sociopath for quite a while. I thought Scott was going to be abusive and the ultimate killer. That ramped up on the scene after he finds out Rachel was lying to him.

I don’t think my assumption affected my interpretation of the plot. I think as readers, we always guess what’s going to happen and look for little clues to modify that as a novel progresses. It makes the journey more exciting.

Tom’s whole life as a lie surprised me. The death of Megan’s baby surprised me as did her affair with Tom. The book was billed as, “If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love The Girl on the Train. Both were suspenseful page turners.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Love List

1. My baby sis started a blog (God, Grad and Glitter!). So proud of all she's accomplished so far and can't wait to see how she tracks the growth experienced in her 30th year post by post. (God, Grad and Glitter)

2. This article is an interesting take on tautological phrases like "You do you" (hows that for a word of the day). I'm also including a response because the "interwebs" apparently went into revolt mode in response. (New York Times Magazine)

3. I got this Ace of Spades jumper from Nic Nacs LA about a month ago and it was hanging in my closet just waiting for a warm day. I finally got a beautiful, warm day last weekend and I rocked it for a day filled with friends, cocktails, food and city strolling. It is the most comfy item of clothing in my closet. The sack like shape and the draping at the legs took me a minute to get used to but I am so glad I did. Ironically, most of their other inventory is tight and revealing but check it out. Maybe its your speed...if not, you could always go for the jumper. (NicNacs LA)

4. I love The Happiness Project and their infographics. The latest one talks about the danger of staying plugged in all the time. I'm definitely a victim of telepressure. Learn more here. (The Happiness Project)

5. A friend showed me the Four Letters app over the weekend. I'm hooked. That is all. (Four Letters)

6. The Spring 2015 Pantone colors are out and it should be no surprise that I'm obsessed with Lucite Green. Time for some shopping. (Pantone)

7. I saw an old episode of Shark Tank while channel surfing last night and a woman was presenting Pretty Padded Room--an online therapy concept. Her presentation was poor but I saw the value in the idea. I looked her up and found the business continues to thrive and goes under the moniker, In Your Corner. If you're looking for therapy in a non-traditional setting, go for it. (In Your Corner)

8. Today is Earth Day! Find some suggestions for celebrating here. (Earth Day Network)

9. I am slave to threading. Before that, it was hot wax with Anastasia Brow Studio and before that, my local nail salon. I tried doing my own once but I'm not about that life. I just can't inflict pain on least not until now. A friend challenged me to try maintaining them on my own after I complimented her brows. Challenge accepted and these guides will help me along the way. (Buzzfeed)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Food Tuesday

I purchased black bean noodles a while back. I used them once and really loved them but haven't
gotten back around to experimenting with least not until today. Over the weekend, we kicked off grilling season (or forced it in early) with salmon, shrimp and chicken sausage. After dinner, we still had quite a bit of shrimp (I overbought). I decided it was screaming for a shrimp pasta with a white wine garlic sauce.  It came out great. The recipe is based on Martha Stewart's Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine.

Black Bean Noodles with Shrimp in Garlic and Wine Sauce
Course salt and ground pepper
2 ounces black bean noodles
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
Red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Parsley for garnish

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook black bean noodles until al dente (7-8 minutes). Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet, melt half of the butter over medium. Add garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant (about 1 mintue). Raise heat to medium-high; add wine. Cook until reduced by 1/3 (about 1 minute). Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout (1 to 2 minutes). Remove skillet from heat; swirl in lemon juice and remaining butter. Add pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with parsley.

Note: The black bean noodles may put you off a little because of how they look or how you think they might taste. Don't be put off! Give them a try. They take on the flavor of whatever sauce you add.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Quotable

Everything you’ve ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone.

It is SO easy to stay in the box and talk about thinking or living outside the box. You know the box and it’s not such a bad place. You know the people there. You choose who can come in and out. You know the routine like the back of your hand. You can predict most days. It’s totally lovely until you are so bored and unfulfilled you want to burn the box and dance on its ashes.

That’s when you have to step outside of your box or comfort zone (to relate this back to today’s quote), to change your life. Dreams you’re putting on hold until you are skinny, confident, financially secure, mentally prepared, etc., etc., ad nauseam are waiting to be pursued right now! All you have to do is take that first step out of your box/comfort zone. 

With that step may come failure but what success story doesn’t include a bit of “epic fail” along the journey. Would you rather live a life you’re proud of and fulfilled by or a routine life that is pretty good because you never left your comfort zone? Neither will be free of sadness, disappointment or challenges so why not live full out?

Let’s live outside of our comfort zones—totally stepping out on faith for the next thirty days and see what material differences pop up in our lives. I’m in. Are you?

p/s I’m totally preaching to myself on this one. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Love List

1. I'm not sure I've ever hosted a party or had a dinner where wine was left over but this list of ways to use leftover wine makes me want to reserve a little. You can also just buy wine and go to town on your faves from the list. (Greatist)

2. There's finally a female official in the NFL. Learn more about Sarah Thomas here. (ESPN)

3. I'm loving Thug Life shirts and especially this one about Karma. Great point. (Thug Life Shirts)

4. Allergy season is upon us. Did you know there are foods you can eat to lessen the effects? Read more here. (MindBodyGreen)

5. Spring is here and it's bringing a whole slew of cute fashion musts. Check out 30 wardrobe essentials for Spring (from high and low price ranges). (Refinery 29)

6. I eat quinoa a lot--at least a few times a week. I've tried many preparations but never a sweet one. That's going to change with this yummy almond joy recipe. (Skinny Ms.)

7. I am in love with H&M's latest Conscious collection. My faves are the silk blend gown (pictured), the Lyocell kimono dress and the silk tuxedo jacket. They are selling out fast so be sure to check them out ASAP! (H&M)

8. I love eggs but I don't usually stray too far from the typical preparations (scrambled, fried, boiled, poached, etc.)Today, I heard someone talking about the folds in a chef's toque (tall skinny hat) and the significance. There are 100 folds representing the 100 ways to cook an egg. I had to look it up. Now, I have some new techniques to experiment with in the kitchen. (Bon Appetit)

9. Everyone has been raving about adult coloring books lately. I've used them to get through some extremely stressful moments in law school but haven't used them since. All of the talk has me ready to order. If you haven't tried it, you should. Coloring is a major stress reliever. (Buzzfeed)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Quotable

I think we are drawn to people in life—for better or for worse—because there is something in them that we see in ourselves. Sometimes, it takes a bit of digging to see the similarities and sometimes it’s like staring your soul’s mirror. Meeting these people is part of our growth because it can help force a confrontation of the things you don’t like in your own character or mirror back the things you really love and should develop further.  

In moments of teasing or disagreement, a friend used to always say, “You hate in me what you see in yourself.” For a long time, I blew that off. As I’ve grown, I have seen the truth in it. For instance, this weekend, I was at a gas station waiting in the car while Ash ran in for coffee. A woman came to the window. I knew she was asking for money but it was 3:00 AM in a neighborhood I wouldn’t walk through alone at night. I didn’t want to roll down my window and reach in my purse while I was alone. She wouldn’t leave. I finally cracked the window and listened. She started telling me her story and showing me her ID. She is a homeless veteran and said she would take money but really just needed food or hygiene items (deodorant, soap, etc.).  I told her I did not have anything but that when my husband came out, he might be able to help her. Ash came out and I slid him a dollar to give her. 

Then as we were driving away, we stopped and gave her more.  I also apologized for being so rude to her. I needed to acknowledge my terrible behavior and to honor her right to basic respect and human decency. She started to cry, said “God bless you” and walked away into the fast food restaurant next door. I had such an overwhelming feeling of guilt but not only for the obvious reasons. 

I always give to people who ask for money if I have it to give. I live in the city of scam artists but my philosophy has always been if your circumstances make you desperate enough to beg, you must need it more than me.  Last week, my nephew witnessed someone yelling at a panhandler to “Go get a job!” We had a long conversation about helping others and I was struck by his mature stance on the subject. He falls somewhere in the middle in judging who to give to and not but feels like everyone in dire straits deserves his respect. He won’t belittle their circumstances by brushing them off.

Less than 5 hours after we had that conversation and condemned the “Get a job!” mentality, I met the homeless veteran at the gas station and wouldn’t roll down my window.  In other words, I met a myself in a disguise I didn’t like (the "Get a job" guy) but I certainly learned a lesson from it.

Have you ever had a moment—good or bad—where you met yourself in a different disguise? Share in the comments!  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Love List

1. My family must be so tired of me. I've been sending Bitmojis to them for the last few weeks and then I discovered the GIF Cam. There are GIFs of me giving side eye, doing my happy dance, crossing my eyes and blowing kisses. I have a problem. (Pic Collage)

2. I'm putting the finishing touches on our house and its bookshelf time. I've decluttered the previously overstuffed shelves and turned each shelf into a showcase for a small curated collection of pretty, sentimental things. This slideshow helped tremendously with inspiration. (Elle Decor)

3.  Karmic is an app that encourages good deeds and meditation. It gives you a good deed per day and also has 2-15 minute guided meditations to help you relax. (Karmic)

4. When we moved, we were a disaster. Our need to purge and organize was totally exposed. One of our friends actually said (repeatedly) "You guys have way too much stuff." We donated and discarded until we couldn't and were left with the things we really wanted/needed. Honestly, we could probably give away a bit more. That turnover will happen when its time to pack away the sweaters. For everything we're keeping, organization tips like folding and storing tees like a pro are essential. (YouTube/Handimania)

5. NYC is a public transit driven city. Thrillist put together a cool map of great date spots (restaurants and bars) based on what's close to every subway in Manhattan. (Thrillist)

6. If you're still going through Serial withdrawal, you'll be excited to know a new podcast about Adnan Syed's case is on the way. Undisclosed will launch April 13, 2015 and will take a closer look into the case from an investigatory perspective. (Undisclosed)

7. There's been so much hype about HBO Now in the last couple of days. I've been using the HBO Go app for a while but it's cool that streaming premium media is expanding. (HBO)

8. Since I chopped my hair off, my go-to bun/ponytail isn't an option. That has led to a lot of experimentation with curling wands, curling irons and my trusty flat iron...and I have the burns to show for it. (The curling wand is dangerous). I invested in a heat resistant glove. If you're going through the same thing, do yourself a favor and get one. (Amazon)

9. I discovered The Regal Vegan while watching Food Curated (another favorite). The products are awesome. I can't wait to see the line expand. (The Regal Vegan) 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Food Tuesday: Product Spotlight

After a huge Easter brunch that ended in a slice of red velvet cake, all I could think about was simplicity and superfood. That said, I didn't want to cook anything. In fact, after all I made for Easter, I don't want to be in my kitchen for the next couple of days. Sounds like the perfect time for a product spotlight. While grocery shopping for Easter, I knew I'd need some easy (and healthy) go to food for the week after. While browsing, I found Cedar Lane's Superfood Grain Salad. It is not vegan (it contains a small amount of Asiago and Parmesan cheese) but it is vegetarian, gluten free, low in cholesterol and fiber packed. If you're looking for a lunch or light dinner option, this is a great one.

I'm sure you're all "Sounds good. What's in it? Bark and grass?" No rabbit food in this bowl. It contains brown rice, kale, red bell peppers, quinoa (red and regular), sweet potatoes, green onions and carrots. I will say the carrots and sweet potatoes could benefit from a finer dice and a slightly longer cook but overall, I'm sold and would buy this again (although you know I'm going to remake it at some point and customize the ingredients to my preference (swapping canola oil for olive oil and replacing carrots with butternut squash).

What are your go to healthy foods? Do you ever doctor them up or try to remake them? All tips and tricks welcome. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Quotable

Procrastination is a PROBLEM for me. This year, I started making monthly goal lists instead of creating a new year's resolution list that lasts through January if I'm lucky. The project has had a positive effect on my life though last month was a bit of a bust. The whole point is to work towards my dreams or cool life experiences in a manageable way that propels me forward. It has been working (save for last month when I was sick) and more importantly, It's keeping me from the "I wish I'd started yesterday/last week/month/year. I've had way to many moments like that in the last several years and I'm trying not to have it at the end of this year. Plus, I feel so good when I'm not putting things on the shelf for another day. My goal for this month's list to to keep reminding myself THE TIME IS NOW! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Artist Spotlight/Friday Playlist

One listen to Elle King's growly, soulful, powerful voice and you're least I was. My first exposure to Elle was on Playing for Keeps, which I will admit I heard on Mob Wives (yes, I am a reality show junkie). After that, I didn't hear anything until Ex's and Oh's started making its way up the charts. I'm excited that I don't have to hear her in passing now. Her album dropped in February and is full of songs in her bluesy rock style. I'm loving it. Check out the tracks here and go support her here or here.

As a bonus, I also happened upon "Light up the World" by Yasmin this week. I'd never heard of her but the catchy, positive vibe of the song reeled me in. I decided to do a 6 degrees of separation type of playlist by linking the features and it led me to Drake, who I happen to love (who doesn't). Enjoy a little "It's Friday and I'm ready to unwind" music. Happy Friday and have a Happy Easter. To my Jewish friends, Happy Passover. Be blessed all!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Monthly Goals

March was a waste. Ok...I am being dramatic as usual but in terms of my goals, it really was. I was out of work sick for almost 2 weeks and bedridden with a fever and a hoarse, scratchy little voice...and a killer toothache.  As an aside, I am SO glad to be walking away from Winter. When I tell you I've picked up every germ available this year, I mean it. My immune system is clearly on strike. It killed a lot of planned work. 

I'm not going to bother going goal by goal this month because so little has been accomplished. I will tell you what I managed to do instead because I'm focusing on the positive (head bowed in shame). 

From the "Sis, Get Your Life Together" list: I did go back to the gym! Woo-hoo!! I also created my YouTube channel. Two outta four ain't bad? Yes it is. It totally is. I'm not giving you the schpeel about doing better in April. Just gonna do it. 

As for the March Goal List, I did try something new. I distressed a table and some clipboards for an art installation in my foyer. Now, I'm obsessed. I also started AND joined a book club. As a note, this month's books are Yes Please by Amy Poehler and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I also ate two (and sometimes more) raw meals a week. As for everything else, no cigar. 

So, a new month brings a new shot. I'm keeping the goals I didn't meet last month and adding on the Minimalism Challenge I posted about yesterday and one other thing.

Get it Done or Walk The Plank List
Finish home improvement projects and sell/donate everything there isn’t space for.
Stop stalling and launch the podcast.
Log 20 hours of writing for novel.
Do first pass of editing for April writing.
Disconnect after 10:30 p.m. at least 5 days a week.
Plan and go on a weekend trip.
Book an acupuncture session. 
Complete Minimalism challenge.
Give up sugar for one week. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Love List

1. Lock and key necklaces are historically a symbol of love (i.e., you're the key to my heart; here's a key and/or heart shaped locket on a chain). When I saw this one by Marc Jacobs, I instantly loved the edge and I read a new perspective into it. I work hard to be my best self every day. I guard my soul and character with ferocity. Whether its me being down on myself or someone else trying to bring me down, I think this phrase has the perfect amount of "check yo'self" to put those negative nellies back in their place. (Marc Jacobs)

2. 31 Bits is a "fashion for good" company focused on empowering women to rise above poverty through business. The artisans working with the company receive a sustainable income and a holistic education. The materials used to make the company's materials are made from recycled paper beats, 99% of which are sourced in Eastern Africa. The work is gorgeous. If you're looking for a statement piece, check out their store here. (31 Bits)

3. I recently cut 10 inches off my hair and am rocking a bob (or lob as it were). I was all excited for the cut but I left the salon with a bouncy, flippy blowout that made me feel more mom than vixen. I went home and hit it with the flatiron and I felt better. After a day of wearing it that way, I was over it and decided it needed some volume. My hair is naturally curly but I wasn't ready to wear it natural yet. I wanted to experiment with textured volume. I opted for a wand to get a loose, beachy wave and liked the result but needed something a little more. I mean, what about date night? Enter Nicole Guerriero. I don't know why I didn't look to her YouTube channel originally considering her current hair length and color was one of the inspirations for my Spring style update (see my Instagram). Anyway, this tutorial is next on my list. (YouTube/Nicole Guerriero)

4. Design Sponge is offering free downloads of Alea Toussaint patterns turned into digital/desktop wallpapers all week. Toussaint uses food, flowers, tea, etc. to create beautiful patterns. They'll make you a little happier to log on this week. Find your favorite here. (Design Sponge)

5. R29 has broken down the 10 ingredients you always need in your fridge. My sausage and bacon might be vegetarian but I agree with the list of staples. (Refinery 29)

6. I did a couple of fun 5Ks last year. This year, the Electric Run is on my list. It looks cool and is for a good cause. Read more here. (Electric Run)

7. Co-washing. It's a thing. It's short for conditioner washing as in wash your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. The term is Lorraine Massey's. She wrote Curly Girl, The Handbook. As a curly girl, I've rinsed my hair with conditioner for years. I wash it on the weekend and do a co-wash mid-week, It keeps my hair clean and much less frizzy than it is in its normal state. Now that it's a thing, I'm excited to try new products. For now, I'm crushing on this one by Renpure (available at Urban Outfitters). (Urban Outfitters)

8. Wine flavored ice-cream with fruity accompaniment. Enough said. Hello Summer staple. (Mercer Wine Ice Cream)

9. If you follow the blog, you know we moved 2 months ago. We are putting finishing decorative touches on the house and I am suddenly obsessed with distressed furniture hacks. We made a cool foyer table over the weekend and distressing it was surprisingly easy. Now, I plan to tackle my guest room using the same techniques. I used this tutorial but you can find tons of techniques on Google or Pinterest. (Craftaholics Anonymous)

Minimalism Challenge

I've been setting goal lists every month this year. It's been a great motivator for me to try new things and move closer to achieving some of my bigger goals. When I was thinking of what I want to accomplish in April, I noticed a lot of the March goals were carrying over. So, I decided to shake it up a bit and let someone else set the goals. Enter the 30-day minimalism challenge. In some ways, the challenge would have been better suited for the start of the year (see goals like #12) but there is no time like the present to face challenges that could improve my life. So, I'm jumping into the challenge and moving full speed ahead towards minimalism. Who's jumping with me?