July Favorites

Funny story. When I began typing out this post, I called it June Favorites. I officially have no concept of time. Babies will do that to you! Though I do suppose I no longer have a baby, but a budding toddler. Clint turned one last month and is so full of personality and spunk. Thus, this is the first time I’ve sat down at my actual computer, not my iPad or iPhone, in about a month. That being said, I have founds some new addictions in the mean times.

Podcast

Unhappy Hour

Unhappy Hour with Matt Bellassai – You may recall Matt Bellassai from his Wine About It fame. His Buzzfeed series featured him downing some cheap wine and discussing the things, and people, we all know we hate. Brilliantly, Matt has transformed this art into a very enjoyable podcast. Yes, he is only on week two, but I did some embarrassingly loud laughing while out walking the dog and babe.

Music

Despacito

Despacito ft Daddy Yankee – Louis Fonsi – I don’t listen to the radio very often, I love to relax with my podcasts while out running errands, so I am possibly the last person in my age group to be aware of this hit. It’s the perfect summer pick me up. Listen to it on repeat for some added sexiness to your day.

Netflix Binge

The Great British Baking Show

The Great British Baking Show – Think of this like Chopped, only far more charming. Bakers face off against one another in three challenges each week before one is eliminated. It’s so addicting, peaceful, educational, and so full of British wit it will make you want to pick up and move across the pond.

Book

Taken at the Flood

Taken at the Flood – Though I failed to hit my goal of one book per month during the month of June, I was able to finish this Hercule Poirot classic this month. Though my favorite character was not introduced until nearly halfway through the book, Hercule was able to make up for lost time. Not a full blown classic, but enjoyable and very interesting at the final moments!

Happy reading! xx

 

 

April Favorites

Happy, technically still, April! Clint has started to crawl this month. While this is fantastic and exciting, it also means I’ve sat down for about five minutes each day. Ahh, the joys of motherhood. Nevertheless, here is what I am loving at the moment!

Podcast 

Pod Save America

Pod Save America – The current political landscape is very exhausting. Pod Save America from Crooked Media offers insight and opinions from people who have been there. My favorite at the moment is the Katie Couric interview. Their episodes come out weekly. Another interesting podcast is Pod Save the World, I highly recommend their Syrian Civil War episode.

 

Show

The Mick

The Mick – Any and all fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will recognize the lead in this show as the wonderful Kaitlin Olson. Kaitlin plays a woman who is thrust into raising her, very wealthy,  estranged sisters’ three children. It’s equal parts hilarious, progressive, and heart warming.

Drink

Cinnamon Almondmilk Macchiato

Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato – I can’t do a lot of dairy in my diet. Plus, I’m a bit of the mindset that excess milk isn’t meant for human consumption. I make all my smoothies with almond milk and was thinking Starbucks would likely never get on the almond milk bandwagon due to the rise in nut allergies. Luckily, they proved me wrong. I am a huge fan of the Carmel Macchiato and this version tastes like a warm cinnamon cookie. I have yet to have it iced, though I am sure it would be delicious as well.

Read

The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders – I am obsessed with Agatha Christie, particularly, her Hercule Poirot series. I am making my way through all of those books from the beginning, but I came across The Monogram Murders at the library one day and decided to skip ahead. This was released a couple of years ago and is authored by Sophie Hannah in the spirit of Agatha Christie. It takes a little longer to get into, but the story is good and I am all for extending Poirot as long as possible.

Wine

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon – As the last cold days of winter/spring fade away, I will be transitioning away from my red wines to whites and the occasional rosé. That said. Bogle has really great wines for the under ten dollar price point. You can pick up a bottle at Trader Joe’s or most grocery stores!

Drink up! xx

Thirty Before Thirty Ambitions

Thirtybeforethirty

This month I turned twenty nine. You know, older and wiser. So I was thinking, what can I do to knock a few life goals out of the way in the next year. While I have a bucket list, I also have a million day to day ambitions. A not so tangible list of things I want to achieve and items I want to check off. The idea of “Thirty Before Thirty”, aka a list of thirty things you want to accomplish by your thirtieth birthday, interested me as a concrete way to lay down some ideas. I whipped out my planner and started brainstorming.

Here’s what’s great about this concept, the items can be as large or small as you want. For me, it’s important they’re attainable. However, there needs to be balance where they aren’t super safe ideas. They need to push you a little bit. For example, though we’ve traveled a number of times, an international trip is likely not on our roster for the next 365 days. What is attainable is for us to travel somewhere new. Where will that be? I’m unsure at this moment, but we plan to take a family vacation somewhere relatively close and relaxing. New experiences, new memories, and I get to put a check in that box.

Some other ideas? Try a new type of workout, read more about Buddhism, watch one classic film, read daily, and so on. They’re reasonable, they’re flexible, yet each one improves my life in one way or another. Though the main theme I have seen is “Thirty Before Thirty”, you can do any number before any age. Four Before Forty? Go for it. The point is to make a conscious effort to improve your daily life. Google and Pinterest provide endless ideas, though I also recommend looking over any Bucket List or New Year’s Resolution you may have.

Get to planning! And achieving.

 

March Favorites

March Favorites

March has been very eventful around here. Clint isn’t crawling yet, but he is mobile enough to get himself into precarious situations. We’ve been getting out more and have been doing some major podcast catch up while we run our errands. Enter my first recommendation for the month:

Podcast

Slaughter Podcast

S’laughter – Murder + Laughter = S’laughter. If you like your weekly true crime with a British accent, give this podcast a listen.

Splurge

Causebox

Causebox – Subscription boxes are crazy popular at the moment. They vary from monthly to quarterly and you can get them for yourself or your pet. Causebox has started a movement of giving back. They include products that are handcrafted by small businesses or that give opportunities to those who are underprivileged and need it the most. I am currently awaiting my Spring Box and could not be more stoked.

Hair Item

kk-sea-salt-hair-spray

K&K Sea Salt Texture Spray – I recently went for a “mom bob” look. I have lost A LOT of hair post pregnancy and needed to try to even out the damage. My stylist was amazing and gave me a tutorial on how to best style my new hair and sea salt spray was a top rec. Essentially, I use volumizing mousse, sea salt spray, blow dry, curl, and use a texturizing wax. It sounds complex, but takes about ten, fifteen minutes tops. This sea salt spray smells amazing and you can spray and scrunch for a refresher throughout the day as well.

Netflix Show

Schitts Creek

Schitt’s Creek – This is actually a Canadian sitcom that many have assumed it a Netflix original. Eugene Levy stars as a now broke multi-millionaire who, as a joke, previously bought his son the town of Schitt’s Creek. They now must live in two motel rooms in a community that is the polar opposite of their own. I made my way through both seasons in about 48 hours. Hilarious.

Happy Spring! xx

 

 

February Favorites

Happy Galentine’s Day, all! On this day of lady friend celebration, allow me to share some recommendations as a gift. Here’s what I am all about this month:

Podcast

the-dollop

The Dollop – When I want to learn something, but have a huge side helping of humor, I turn to The Dollop podcast. It is an American History podcast and I absolutely love the improv riffing between Dave and Gareth. Often, I find comedy podcasts too be “too much”, but these guys strike the perfect balance.

Jewelry

ssdgm

Silversheep Jewelry SSDGM Ring – Secret true crime enthusiast? Boldy proud Muderino? This ring is for you. “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” is one of the primary taglines from my beloved My Favorite Murder Podcast. Not only is this ring cute, a portion of the sales go to End the Backlog, which helps fund the backlog of rape kits. A very worthy cause! Each ring differs from the next and is handmade. I ordered the brass one and absolutely love it!

Bingeworthy Show

the-golden-girls

The Golden Girls – As of today, the Girl’s are available to stream on Hulu! I have the first five seasons on dvd, but I will be watching alllll of them again from the beginning. Not only are the the ultimate girl group goals, they were progressive and sassy as can be.

Recipe

jalapeno-turkey-burgers

Jalapeno Turkey Burgers – I am aiming to try one new recipe a month. Last month, it was these delicious turkey burgers. You can do them paleo by omitting the bun or doing a lettuce wrap. I opted to serve them on pretzel buns and it was delicious. Also, pile the guac on top for your healthy fats!

Wine

cupcake-cabernet-sauvingnon

Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon – I am all about a red wine lately, I think the colder weather is to blame. Most of Cupcake’s wines are rather good, and the price is right on point. You can get a bottle for about $10 and it will not let you down!

Enjoy! xx

Parisian Inspired Reading

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Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic // Entire Madame Chic set // What Jackie Taught Us // Bringing Up Bebe // Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life

Ever since living abroad, I have developed an interest in books that really inspire me to live a higher quality life. Not in the usual “self development/self help” way, though I do love a good self improvement book! But this genre lets the reader aspire to a higher quality of life without the cheap tricks so many books feed into.

So why is this a Parisian inspired reading list? There is something mysterious and enchanting about the French lifestyle. Whether this association is legitimate, or exists only in our mind, we do love to romanticize the French. The Madame Chic series is based on a real French woman, named “Madame Chic” for privacy reasons. The author, Jennifer Scott, relays a number of lessons she learned and how a few short months in Paris kickstarted a life long quest for a better way of being. From their diet secrets (a la French Women Don’t Get Fat) to their parenting skills, we love to look to the French culture for inspiration.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis is certainly our very own royalty. She was truly the woman behind the man. Jackie was well educated, stylish, perfectly proper, yet never seemed aloof or cold. She embodies a fantastic balance of strength and grace. This book on her is a fantastic read, providing a glimpse into her very private life.

Whether you are reading for pleasure or trying to achieve a personal reading goal (I, for one, want to read one new book a month). I highly recommend adding these to your collection. Though I have and love my Kindle, true classics are great to have in the physical form as I find myself marking the pages with post its for easy inspirational reference.

Happy reading! xx

January Favorites

This month I have tried to make my focus on less tv, or Netflix, and more Podcasts and audiobooks. While I was mostly successful, read on for what series I plowed through in three days. I have, however, made good on my goal to work out and meditate more. Both have been crucial to giving me enough energy to deal with a saucy seven month old each day! Here’s what has been helping me along the way:

Podcast

martinis-murder

Martinis & Murder – This true crime podcast come from two individuals who have worked on my ultimate guilty pleasure, Snapped. They are three episodes in and are topping the New and Noteworthy section on iTunes. It’s very banter-y, but enjoyable. Be sure to search “Martinis & Murder” with the ampersand to locate it quickly.

 

iPhone App

meditation-studio

Meditation Studio – One of my goals this month was to work on meditating more regularly. My days are filled with a babbling baby and high energy dog, so when I am able to chill for five minutes at a time, this app makes relaxing a lot easier. They have guided meditations and you can choose one based on time, topic, or instructor. In an ideal morning, I workout, do some stretching, and line up a ten minute or less meditation as long as the little one is still napping.

Netflix Binge

sherlock

Sherlock – As I mentioned, I was very committed to staying away from getting hooked on another series. However, my Anglophile soul got hooked on Sherlock. Hard. Sherlock is a modern twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes, set in current day London you somehow feel far more intelligent as you watch Benedict Cumberbatch figure out his cases. The first three seasons are available on Netflix.

Household Item

rabbit-winechampagne-sealer

Rabbit Wine/Champagne Sealer – I tend not to buy champagne. I don’t drink more than one glass in a sitting (usually) and the rest just goes to waste. The wine corkers I had left the champs with a half flat soda feel by day two. This Rabbit sealer is amazing. you screw the top while holding the silver portion and it keeps the bubbles going strong for three days. It also keeps your wine fresh a little longer.

Open some champagne, queue up you favorite podcasts, and list your to dos for February.

New Year, Same You

2017

2017 is in full swing, so let’s talk resolutions. In the past, I’ve given New Year Resolutions a go. Though I, like most, don’t end up seeing them through for too long. This year, I am entering the year with a “2017 Goal” as I call it. Kind of an overall theme to call upon each day when I need a little inspiration or I am feeling overwhelmed:

Think of every item you own as a reflection of you. Every thing connected with you is part of your image. Your nails, the cleanliness of your car, the tidiness of your home, even your phone background all add or detract from your joy. Put more thought and intention into every action, really begin to curate your life.

My goal isn’t meant in a materialistic sense, though it could come across that way. It also does not mean we should expect perfection of ourselves. I have a dog, baby, and husband to take care of each day, my house will not be immaculate at any given moment, but it will (hopefully) always be maintained. I believe that to be an achievable task for me. You cannot always control how fancy your car is, you can control how clean you choose to keep it. You may not be able to afford a manicure, you can afford soap, water, and ten minutes a week to trim and file your nails.

Make small changes where you can and I believe that is where life really starts to improve.

December Favorites

december-favorites

 

Podcast

sword-and-scale

Sword and Scale – Another true crime podcast I have become obsessed with? Shocking! Though Sword and Scale just ended their third season and is on a break until January, the archives are full of fascinating episodes.

TV Show(s)

This Is Us & American Housewife – My two new favorite shows couldn’t be any more different. This Is Us is thought provoking, feel good, and world changing. To even begin to describe the premise of the show would ruin a big surprise and plot twist. I admittedly cry at almost every episodes. The writers of this show better clean house at all awards shows in the near future. It’s that good.
American Housewife is just politically incorrect enough to be fantastic. AH follows a plus size mom of three kids with a well meaning and supportive husband. She has to navigate her way through the social hierarchy of a status hungry, and debatably always hungry, suburban oasis. Great to help you lighten up from all that true crime podcast binge listening.

Show I’ve Been Netflix-ing

miss-fishers-murder-mysteries

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Think Samantha from SATC meets Hercule Poirot, set in the 1920’s in Melbourne. Smart, yet salacious, this lady detective deals with past and present injustices in an always entertaining way. Great for a binge watch, or treat yourself to an episode an evening to avoid going through the three seasons so quickly.

Wine

Trader Joe’s Tusk ‘N Red – My corkscrew betrayed me a few weeks ago. I am awaiting my new one as a Christmas gift and in the mean time, I had to find a great wine with a screw off cap. My favorite rosé’s from Trader Joe’s have screw tops, but it’s winter after all I love a good red at the end of a long week! I bought this on a whim and it’s a great red blend. Let it breathe a little before drinking and you’ll be downing a couple of glasses in one sitting!

Recipe

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies – extremely gooey, easy to make, and delicious. If you like really rich brownies, these will be your new favorite.

 

Small Acts of Sustainability

small-acts-of-sustainability

Sustainability is an interesting topic to bring up this time of year. The holidays are about consumption. Buying more to prove you care for your loved ones. Buying them gifts they don’t really want or need just to get them something, anything at all. This year, why not take steps to break that cycle?

So. Let’s talk gifts. Christmas, birthday, all of it.

When you are getting gifts for those on your list, put a little more thought into it. Brainstorm. What do they really need? A person only requires so many mugs from Anthropologie or posters or cheap tshirts with funny phrases on them. I don’t often buy gifts for friends nowadays. I follow the rule of always sending a card, but I only send them a gift if something really catches my eye as something special for them. They know I am thinking of them, yet they don’t accumulate more things they don’t need. I appreciate when they do the same for me. Easy gift ideas? Your favorite book or a classic you think they might enjoy. A gift card, which I know people hate on, but as an adult-ish individual I can confirm nothing gets me more excited than a Starbucks or Target gift card. As long as you know a place they frequent, I think a gift card is perfectly acceptable. Do they have a pet? Throw in a toy or bag of natural treats for their fur baby. Overall, just attempt to buy smarter. Less money wasted, less stuff wasted.

Next up, look at what you bring into your home.

As Christmas fades out and our mind shifts toward New Year’s Resolutions, I encourage you to take small steps toward being more mindful of your own daily purchases. For me, that means I intend to focus on better clothing purchases. The clothing industry is the second most toxic industry world wide, second only to the oil industry. Reason being: fast fashion. If you are interested in learning more about this, I recommend the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast episode on fast fashion, as well as the documentary The True Cost. The overall message is, buy quality. Not only clothing quality, but companies of quality that treat their employees fairly. This article is a fantastic resource for companies that do just that. One other thing I want to do in the next couple of years is get a higher quality washer and dryer. Our current one isn’t high efficiency and is hard on our clothes. Plus, knowing some basic mending skills, or a good tailor, helps your clothes last and last.

Finally, focus on your daily activities.

Think manageable steps. Like I really hope no one still leaves the water running while they brush their teeth do they? For us, I try to use reusable rags for cleaning, microfiber cloths for dusting, and cloth napkins at dinner. It saves money and paper products. I haven’t purchased a plastic bottle of water in I don’t even know how long. We have a Brita pitcher filter and I take a glass water bottle with me whenever I know I’ll be gone for a while. Plus, throw in a lemon or lime wedge and it tastes far better than your average bottle of water anyway. Run your dishwasher and washer when you have a full load. Turn out unnecessary lights. Buy the large container of yogurt instead of individually wrapped ones. Have your own little garden when it warms up, or grow what you can indoors. Keep the heat lower if you can, we can’t really do this ourselves. With a six month old, we keep the temperature a couple degrees warmer than usual to ensure he’s comfortable. The changes you can implement may differ from mine, the goal is to think of a new idea or two. No matter how small.

As this year ends, we should do what we can to make 2017 better for everyone. And better for our planet.