THINGS I’VE LOVED THIS WEEK

cookies!

I mean, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like but man are these brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies gooood. A Bon Appétit recipe wins again. Taking them with us this weekend as part of a hey, thanks for watching my kid overnight package but some might have to get left behind to save for later!

Beyonce – she’s such a queen. I’m so out of the loop I didn’t even realize she was going to be performing at Coachella, but I happily caught parts from the full live-stream I found on Monday night. That video is down now, like every other one. I get it, but I’m sad I didn’t get to see more so I’ve been listening to her this week to make up for it!

This long wear lip color. I love lipstick but don’t like to wear it unless my skin is completely clear – maybe because I feel like avoiding drawing attention to my face if it’s blemished? After a stretch of time with skin that was giving me problems I had given up on it, but it’s better! I’m back! And the Blossom Berry color I thought was perfect for fall feels just as perfect for that slowly creeping into spring season too.

These hoop earrings. I love Micki’s shop and had been looking for just the right hoop after deciding it was earring style I could get behind again so when I found this wrapped pair they felt perfect. The detail is so fun that I had a hard time picking which color I wanted. I narrowed it down to blush or white and the blush being sold out made that choice for me. She just posted these earrings for the first time recently though, so I bet she’ll bring them back if you have your eye on a sold out color.

This week’s favorite listen was Jen Hatmaker’s podcast episode with Latasha Morrison. I’m really having a long (maybe permanent by this point?) moment with strong, courageous women and hearing about the work she’s doing around conversations about race through her Be the Bridge organization had me feeling like there’s work we can all do to contribute to change.

Second week in a row I’m including a Cup of Jo post – how am I just now realizing how much I love her blog? But after last week’s fav bringing tears to my eyes, this week’s favorite made me laugh. Scroll through the comments if you want to keep the laughter going! If you’re a parent, what’s your answer? I think mine would have to be “Alexa, set time for 5 more minutes”…

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THINGS I’VE LOVED THIS WEEK

morning coffee

THIS WEATHER!! I’m being dramatic but we’ve had some warmer temperatures and some sunshine the past few days and it’s been wonderful. A slow Saturday morning, with coffee outside in our jammies to celebrate.

This new mug, that Jacob told me looked like a volcano – I love the stuff that comes out of his 3 year old little mouth. I always love treating myself to a new mug and it caught my eye at Target this week. It’s part of the new Opalhouse collection at Target which is cute, but after checking it out I pretty much just want all of the dinnerware. Here are my favorites! 1 / 2 / 3

I rediscovered this shop and remembered that I absolutely adore every single item! I love anything that’ll give me a good laugh.

This post that I read one margarita in and had to fight back tears as I started reading through the comments. Small kindnesses man, I’m convinced we could change the world with them.

And speaking of margaritas, the weather this week confirmed that they’re still my favorite drink to reach for when the weather gets nice. My tried and true favorite is with peach juice and Trader Joe’s jalapeño limeade, but I’m looking forward to trying plenty more recipes this this summer.

After years of pledging my allegiance to this black jegging  getting me through any moment I need to look even remotely professional (hey, I work in a can wear jeans anytime type of office), maybe this pair of dress pants has me changing my mind? I grabbed them to wear to a conference this week and they were so stinking comfortable. See how I styled them for the first try here!

PRETENDING IT’S SPRING

 

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tee (similar since the exact is almost sold out) / sweater (I would not be above wearing this men’s one) / jeans / shoes (similar) / tote (mine was a $7 gem of a Target find, but this similar one looks way easier to organize)

My job gives us Good Friday off each year, tagging it as Employee Appreciation Day and I’ve deemed it the perfect day to hang out by myself (my husband doesn’t get that day off + daycare is open) and take the time to flip my closet over from a fall/winter focus to a spring/summer focus.

Wishful thinking as we’ve woken up to a light snow on the ground twice since that day, but thankfully I remember that I live in Ohio and kept plenty of transitional pieces (read: cozy sweaters) in my closet. The trick was to put away all the really heavy sweaters in the richer colors and keep out anything in a lighter tone. Add in some blush pink accessories and you’ve got yourself a spring inspired outfit still warm enough to enjoy when it doesn’t quite feel like spring out there!

THINGS I’VE LOVED THIS WEEK

tulips

Tulips! They’re my favorite fresh cut flower to keep in the house in the spring and with Easter last weekend they were all over the place. After traveling and getting back into town later than usual last Sunday we all 3 headed to the grocery store and on the way in my husband picked up the last bouquet of them. That’s not something he’d normally do and I loved the gesture!

After all that talk earlier this week of going for simpler healthy lunches, I went complicated and made this Trader Joe’s taco recipe for lunch on Thursday. The recipe itself isn’t complicated, but by the time I packed all the prepared ingredients into their separate containers so I could put together the taco at work it felt like a lot to cart into the office. They were good though so it was worth it, but it was hard to eat such a good taco and not have an equally good margarita in my hand. 🙂

Kate Bowler’s book although I learned that maybe if you’re a 33 year old mom of one son and you’re overly emotional, maybe don’t read a book about a 35 year old mom of one to a young son finding out she has stage IV colon cancer at your desk on your lunch hour unless you’re ok fighting back tears in the work place. I’ve kept my cool since and not quite halfway in I’m considering it a good read, but this book by Elizabeth Williams will probably still remain the book that hit me hardest and has stuck with me even a year and a half later.

This clearance find (sorry guys, it’s full price online) I bought right off the rack without trying it on, just hoping it’d fit me and I’d like it. I feel like that approach never works, but I wore it to work for the first time this week and it delivered on both fronts! In my can wear denim anytime work environment, it feels like a a fun take on a dressier top that I can pair with jeans to stay comfortable while feeling professional.

I’m singing the praises of this moisturizer that cleared my really dry skin up in no time. After surviving the teenage years with clear skin, I’ve struggled with break outs for maybe the past 6 months or so. After trying a few different things, it’s finally been clear for the past week or more. The only difference I can point to is the moisturizer and more salmon in my diet. I have no idea if it’s just coincidence but I’m keeping both habits going in case it’s not!

Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast episode with Kristen Bell. It’s about 2 hours long so it took me several days to complete it, but so worth it. As a couple I love their realness, their sarcasm, and their humor and Kristen Bell is just an absolute gem! Kind, caring, and generous, but you can tell she’s strong as hell.

CURRENTLY

image

Linking up with Anne and Jessica for a little bit of life lately talk…

Buying

Things for spring, before it actually feels like spring. I’m feeling ahead of the game for once! From the look of my spring style board on Pinterest, I can tell I want to stick to neutrals but just lighten everything up a bit. Lighter denim, fun florals (similar), and a striped tee (I sized down for a less over-sized fit)that felt more like a white tee with black stripes than a black tee with white stripes were on my list and I found them all plus a couple of pairs of shoes to replace worn out favorites. Dare I say I shouldn’t need to buy anything for awhile? Although I really am falling for the jumpsuit trend, but think my 5’9″ frame might mean I have to work a little harder to find one that fits.

Showering

At work more frequently since the days I work out mostly fall on week days during my lunch hour. After trying and loving the Kristen Ess texture spray that product along with her dry shampoo has been my go to for bringing my hair back to life after a lighter workout, with the air dry creme for those days with workouts hard enough I need to wash my hair but don’t have time to dry and re-style it.

Cultivating

I’m trying to make sure I do my part in cultivating a really great work environment. Our team has gone through a lot of changes and we’re currently down two people on a six person team and team dynamics can change. Although I’m sad about some of the changes (even though I’m happy for the teammates who took advantage of great new opportunities!) and less people means more work for each of us right now, so I’m trying to contribute to the good vibes I’m been feeling around the office lately and continue enjoying getting to know some different people a little better!

Expecting

The weather to shift, even after living my entire life in Ohio and knowing we’ve got some time until it actually feels like spring around here. This week we’ve seen near 60 degree weather and a few brief, light snow flurries degrees within two days – what?!

Cooking

Although I rarely find myself on dinner duty (thanks husband!), I’ve been putting more effort into prepping food for lunches. I shared more about what I’ve been making and a few tips I’ve figured out to simplify things a bit too here.

HOW I’M MAKING (& ACTUALLY EATING) HEALTHIER LUNCHES

lunchtime

In an effort to establish some healthier habits I finally admitted that while I’ve been feeling good about working out again, I just would continue to feel awful if I didn’t make some changes in my diet too. While I have a long way to go as evidenced by the three boxes of girl scout cookies I bought awhile back that never even made it home from work where they were delivered, I’m still making changes that have me feeling like I’m on the right track.

I started out curious about Whole 30, picking this book up at the library. But man does that seem intense and as someone who comes home to a husband who has already made dinner it felt overwhelming to think about cooking myself separate dinners, and I just couldn’t even fathom expecting my husband to change his cooking style to accommodate me.

Instead I decided to start with lunch since it was the meal of the day I was making for myself anyway during the work week, and I started incorporating some mostly Whole 30 compliant recipes in an attempt to find some balance. After starting out a little ambitious with recipes, I think I finally realized that keeping it ridiculously simple is the way to go and here’s what I’ve found is currently working for me: pick two sources of protein and cook several types of veggies to keep it interesting, then make enough of those items to mix and match your way to 5 lunches.

Salmon, Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken burgers, and this recipe for a healthier breaded chicken option have been my favorites for protein while sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, and roasted carrots have been my picks for the veggies. I just stir fry the green beans and broccoli together in a copper pan, no stick and easy clean up (ours was a gift, but I’m pretty confident it’s this one). Sweet potatoes and carrots get roasted in the oven with oregano and thyme being heavy seasoning favorites. I pinned this link awhile ago and turn to it time and time again when I inevitably forget what temperature to turn the oven to and how long each type of veggies needs to cook.

And then some make your life easier type of tips I’ve been using…

– Take all of your food to work with you on Monday, it’ll take the hassle out of bringing your lunch every day and it’s so much harder then to skip a day of the lunch you had planned. (Anyone else always tempted by going out for something that sounds better than what you brought? I know I can’t be alone here.) I saved a carry out box from a recent to-go order from a local BBQ restaurant (like this) and pile the veggies in and put the protein in separate containers and I swear it takes up no more space than my lunch box would each day in the shared fridge at work. I just keep a microwave safe bowl at my desk, ration out what I want that day and put the rest right back in the fridge for another day.

– For anything that goes in the oven, cook it all on one pan. I’ve put salmon, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash in their own little sections of the same pan and thrown it in the oven at 400 degrees and then just take out each veggie that needs less time than the sweet potatoes along the way. Time saver and a whole lot less clean up too!

– Let your veggies completely cool before boxing them up and throwing them in the fridge. If they’re still warm you’ll find condensation in your container and no thank you to sweet potatoes that have gone mushy from that.

– Take short cuts when you need to. For example, I knew we’d be traveling last weekend and not be home on Sunday morning when I usually prepare everything so I bought pre-cut carrots. I knew that by the time I got around to food prep later on Sunday night that the last thing I would want to do would be to stand around and peel and cut carrots too. Totally worth the extra cost every once in awhile!

 

 

THINGS I’VE LOVED THIS WEEK

greentea

The green tea, lemon, and apple cider vinegar combination Hailey shared in a recent Instagram story. Does it taste good? Not really (a little lemon helps that though), but I’m willing to try just about anything to fight off the germs my toddler brings home from daycare and while drinking that concoction I avoided the cold he had last week so I’m calling it a win.

My Old Navy power straight jeans, for 3 reasons: the fit is a good alternative to the skinny jeans that have taken over my closet, lighter denim (something I’m obsessed with for spring, I just want to lighten everything up!), and the perfect amount of distressing. I love a good busted out knee!

Falling into the routine of my husband and I doing food prep together on Sunday mornings. The bulk of our grocery shopping is a family affair, especially helpful because my husband is in charge of meal planning and cooking most dinners while I’m responsible for my own work week lunches and prepping our son’s lunches and snacks for daycare. When we get home from the store our son happily plays by himself for a bit while we each get to work in the kitchen on our respective tasks, all while listening to a Pandora station we can all agree on. Feels good to do something together no matter how mundane the tasks! (look at food prep tips?)

The Sister Jean story, have you heard this one? Sports are big in our house so we’ve been paying some attention to the NCAA basketball tournament and we just both thought it was a pretty cool story about how a 98 year old nun is connected of the Loyola-Chicago basketball team. Personally, as an Academic Advisor I loved to hear that that’s how she started at the school – just feeling that higher education love! Even though I was cheering against them last weekend because they played (and beat) a school I graduated with my Master’s Degree from, tonight they play the rival of the school I went to for undergrad so I am most definitely back to cheering for the underdog.

Bon Appétit’s magazine, time and time again. I found it by chance, selecting it as a complimentary subscription because nothing else looked that great and for someone who never really has enjoyed cooking much I am shocked at how quickly I tear through it as soon as I get it. April’s edition has me wanting to use our iron skillet for everything now (cinnamon rolls! pizza!) and this story about one of their staff was just a really good read.

After wearing out my previous pair from Payless so badly they had to be thrown away, I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement pair of nude pointy toe flats at the same price point. This week I found these for a price I couldn’t believe and I’m so excited to give them a try!

The mytherapistsays IG account – good for so many much needed laughs lately! This and this was real life for me this week.