Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Favorites {Last of January}

Can you believe January is basically over? Yea, me neither. But if nothing else that means we're just closer to warm and sunny weather!

Favorite Read
I've not had much time to read this week but I've started a new-to-me Jojo Moyes book---The Girl You Left Behind.  I'm anticipating plowing through it this weekend! Here's everything else I read in January

Favorite Recipe
I'm fairly certain Ali from Gimme Some Oven can do no wrong. Her cheesecake is fantastic, her potato soup is to die for, and girl can make some good jambalaya. This recipe blew me away and I spent the night patting myself on the back but I guess she deserves the credit. If you like cajun food you have to make this! It's so easy.

Favorite DIY
Have yo ever heard of arm knitting? Me neither until I saw one of my favorite shops was having a class. Basically, instead of using needles like in traditional knitting you use your arm and it creates a chunkier pattern. Honestly, it took me a while to get the hang of it but I loved how it turned out and it was such a fun class! But I will likely never be able to replicate so don't ask me to make you one.

Favorite Looks
This torrential weather has me yearning for sunshine and swimsuits. I think a beach trip needs to happen soon! Anyone going on an adult spring break?

Left to Right : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 
Favorite Funny
These 29 Kim K Memes that are Too Real are cracking me up.

Happy weekend friends! 

Linking up with Meet at the Barre and H5FF

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January Book Review {Books I Loved, Liked, and Abandoned}

One of my NYE resolutions this year was to read more. Part of my motivation is being accountable and setting the goal to do a post at the end of every month to share with you all! My to-be-read list is really starting to pile up on Goodreads (follow me here!)  so I've been trying to plow through it. I'm also participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy's Reading Challenge (highly recommend). This month I read a total of 5 books and abandoned 2 (I strongly believe in abandoning books that don't do it for you--nobody has time for that!)

Books I Loved
1. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton 
Kate Morton may be my soul mate author. Her books are so eloquent yet keep me turning the pages wanting more. I loved The Forgotten Garden and was so pleased that I also loved The Distant Hours. She has several more books that I can't wait to read!

Goodreads description: 
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. 

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I read this book as the first prompt in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge--A Book I've Been Meaning to Read. I've seen so many good reviews of this book over the past year or so but for some reason didn't get around to it. This one is a tear jerker for sure but in a good way!
Goodreads description:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.  What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Books I Liked
1. The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
I may get stoned for this one because I know it has a huge following but it was just ok for me. It's a very easy and short read that is also funny but I just couldn't get really invested in the characters. But it provides a perspective of those on the autism spectrum that is comical without being offensive which I think is hard to execute.

Goodreads description: An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

2. It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell
I really wanted to love this book because I adore reading Andie's food blog. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed it but it fell a little flat for me. I don't want to use the word cliche because this deals with a very serious topic but it was all very expected and didn't seem like she added anything new to the discussion.  However, it is a great source of support for those who are dealing with issues of weight and emotional eating. 

Goodreads description: A young food blogger shares her inspiring story of incredible weight loss-a journey from nearly 300 pounds to losing more than half her size-and establishing a healthy and confident relationship with food.

Books I Abandoned
I truly believe that continuing to read a book that you do not enjoy, connect with, or struggle through is just a waste of time. There are so many books out there and so little time you shouldn't waste your time.

1. A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
This book has so much potential to be good--Paris, history, an antique dealer. But it was just not developed enough for me. The sentences were very choppy and just poorly written in my opinion. There are lots of other books that you can read to satisfy your Parisian dreams that are much better than this one. Again, this is my opinion. This book has very high reviews on Goodreads and Amazon so it may just be me.

2. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

This book is probably one that I will eventually return to and read. I loved Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers so when this book went on a Kindle deal I snagged it. I think this book was just a bit too slow for my attention span currently for me to invest in it. The story was pretty good though so I may return to it later when I have a large chunk of time to devote to it.

Ok, now it's your turn! What books have you read recently that you loved, liked, or abandoned?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Highlights {Surviving Jonas}

Is everyone ok out there? Hopefully, the worst of this awful snow is behind us. I'm so over it! I drove through horrible conditions this weekend that were enough to make me want to never get out in snow ever again. I tried my best not to let the snow get in the way of some weekend fun!

Saturday night we celebrated (mourned) with some of my closest friends as they take other opportunities and move to Atlanta. I still can't believe it as I type this! It's sad and I will miss them dearly but luckily Stefanie is the kind of friend that I talk to almost daily and I know we will be planning lots of trips to stay close. It was such a good time getting everyone together for one last hurrah in Louisville with them. We of course had to send them off with some KY swag and moonshine. 
Sunday I spent all day in training sessions. But these were actually enjoyable! I am lucky to be apart of Emerge Kentucky 2016. Emerge is a program dedicated to training and educating Democratic women interested in politics. They have programs in many states and I would highly encourage you to check it out if this sort of thing strikes your fancy. I will doing one weekend training per month for the next 6 months. I can't wait to learn more with these brilliant ladies. 
 Photo via Emerge KY

What makes the end of a weekend less miserable? PUPPIES. I get to cuddle and play with these FIVE puppies for the next few days until they're off on the next leg of their forever home journey. The cuteness is overwhelming. 

Finally, here's some Monday motivation to get us through the week! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Friday Favorites {Snow Days}

My post title is more wishful thinking than reality because while we have had lots of snow I have been trudging through it. Adult life blows. I'm sure jealous of everyone who has got to have real snow days though! I sincerely hope we don't get all the wrath of snow storm Jonas like predicted.

Favorite Read
I've reactivated my library card and burning through it! I just finished The Distant Hours and I powered through the 500+ pages in about 3 days. Kate Morton is quickly becoming one of my favorites. What are you reading?

Favorite Recipe
Winter is prime soup season and it's all I've been craving lately. I made this lightened up potato soup over the weekend and it was so good! O'Charley's potato soup is top notch in my opinion and this rivaled it (with less calories/fat). 

Favorite Purchase
For Christmas my coworker got me the coolest gift from Sephora--Liquid Luxuries Samplers. Basically, you get a sample size of their 14 luxury scents and then a scent certificate to get a full size of whichever one you like the best. I chose the Tory Burch spray because of it's light scent and the cute bottle :) Such a good gift! 

Favorite Looks 
I've been drooling over the new Kate Spade Kitchen collection all week! Maybe I'll create a day. 

Favorite Funnies

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Linking up with Meet at the Barre

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Office Workout Guide {Exercise at Your Desk}

Like everyone else on the planet I'm trying to fit more activity into my days but working at a desk job makes it so much harder to stay active. Yes, I try to workout every evening but does that 30-45 minutes of activity make up for the 8+ hours I spend at work each day sitting on my butt? Not a chance.  So how do you fit in more activity when you're chained to a desk most of the day?

It's hard and nearly impossible unless you become intentional.  Taking time out of your day to make an effort to get up out of your chair will not only increase your Fit Bit steps but it will also help the health of your back, neck, and posture. Sitting all day long is no bueno for your body and mind. 

Starting with the new year I set a goal to break up my workday with a small exercise every hour that I am sitting at my desk. I set the timer on my phone in hour increments and get my butt up out of my chair when the timer dings! It's been a fun challenge and I can definitely tell a difference in my energy level.

Here's what I've put together to share with you so you can join me!
Office Workout Guide for staying active at work. Exercises tailored to do at your desk!
I've divided the exercises into 3 cardio bursts along with 4 movements you can do with zero equipment, low endurance so you're not sweating like a pig, and relatively discreet so you don't interrupt the work flow of your coworkers. 

You can alter the cardio bursts to fit your office style. My office has a back set of steep stairs that I can sneak off to and get a few sets in without disturbing anyone. No stairs? Do some extra laps around the office. Living the cubicle life? Go to the break room (or even bathroom if you have to) to get your squats and wall sits in.  The seated leg lift is one of my favorite exercises to do and reminds me so much of a barre class movement. Here's a visual

If you're feeling really ambitious there are so many products out there dedicated to staying active in a work environment. I'm lusting after a walking desk but settling in the meantime with my desk peddler.  One of my favorite purchases by far! It's a bit silly and hilarious when someone catches you doing it but it works! I also know people that have gotten rid of their desk chair all together and instead sit on a bosu ball chair.

I'd love to hear what you do to stay active at the office and hope all my fellow desk working ladies will join me in this challenge!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Work Bags for the Professional Girl

A couple weeks ago I got a message from a reader saying that she's a current law student about to graduate and wanting ideas for a work bag to ask for a graduation present. I can totally relate! During law school you have very few options for a cute bag because you're literally carrying around multiple books that are so heavy you feel like you need to go to the chiropractor. {Seriously, some people in my class resorted to rolly suitcase bags} So once you get out you desperately want something that is cute, practical, and professional. I sent her some options but I thought I'd also share them in a post.

These are the bags that I have used recently.

This Street Level tote can not be beat for under $50! It's vegan leather but the quality is op notch. PLUS it's reversible. 

This Tory Burch York Buckle Tote is what I carry now day-to-day. I love the classic look and it has a middle pocket where I like to put my essentials so they're easy to grab. 

Here are some more options! I've included a broad spectrum of price ranges from budget friendly to lust-worthy! 
What's your favorite bag?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Favorites {Lately}

Happy Friday! Here's what I've been into lately... new Rocksbox set (learn more about Rocksbox here). I received the Kendra Scott Grady Bangle (top of stack) and it fits in nicely with my other bangles. How cute is the squad one my bestie Sam got me?  I also got this double bar ring that I've been wearing non-stop. 
Watching...I'm late to the How to Get Away with Murder train but I'm hooked! I'm a huge Shonda Rhimes fan (Grey's/Scandal) so I knew I would love her newest show. FYI--her audiobook Year of Yes is fantastic! I'm catching up on Netflix so I can hopefully be up to date soon. What are you watching?

Wearing....This Patagonia pullover constantly. It's so comfy that I put it on after work almost everyday. I bought it in early Fall when it was on sale and so glad I did--now I want the vest.

Obsessing over...These socks. They have pretty much made my life in Winter exponentially better. Basically, they allow you to wear your flats or pumps without your feet freezing off! My mom found them on QVC and they're from a company called Keysocks. The best thing to happen to my work wardrobe since I discovered Spanx.  This is a weird photo but it shows how they work and what they look like.

Reading....I knocked out the first prompt {Book I've Been Meaning to Read} of Mrs. Modern Darcy's 2016 Reading challenge with Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I've read so many good things about this book but I never got around to reading it. The hype was right---so many feels! I can't wait for the movie to come out this summer.

Listening to...The Minimalists Podcast. The guys behind The Minimalists website (and books) have started a podcast and I'm hooked! I'm really trying to declutter my life and space so I'm hoping I will get some motivation. Don't let the name fool you these guys aren't telling you to live in a tiny house and reuse your toilet paper. They are all about defining your own version of a minimalistic life.

Pinning....lots and lots of soups!

Lusting after....

Have a great weekend!!

Linking up with Bright on A Budget and Meet@The Barre!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Favorite Winter Breakfast

I am not a breakfast person. Most mornings I'm lucky to get out the door with a granola bar and coffee.  Ok---if I'm being honest I'm less a breakfast person due to my laziness rather than my distaste of breakfast food.  If hitting the snooze button was a sport I'd be an Olympian.

If I had all the time in the world to cook up a delicious omelet or pancakes of course I would! But I don't. Usually my breakfast (or lack there of) routine is fine but during the Winter my soul craves a hot breakfast. There's just something about the feeling of something warm hitting your tummy during cold weather that does the body good. 

Currently this oatmeal is on repeat because it fulfills all of my needs--warm, healthy, filling, and most importantly fast. Bonus--it kind of tastes like dessert. 

My favorite winter breakfast! Chocolate oatmeal made with cocoa powder topped with banana and peanut butter greek yogurt!

{Chocolate PB and Banana Oatmeal}
1/2 cup quick oats (I made mine with almond milk in the microwave)
1.5 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of sugar or sugar substitute
dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with tablespoon of peanut butter
1/2 banana

What breakfast do you crave when it gets cold?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekend Highlights {January Week 2}

I think Winter is officially here---at least here in Kentucky. I can't be too mad about it since we've been riding out fall for way too long.

I've been wanting to try this new(ish) restaurant in a town about 30 minutes away for a while so used a plan free weekend to make the trip. Any restaurant that has boozy milkshakes is top on my list but luckily the smoked gouda burger was equally delicious! The waitress then mentioned that there was a moonshine distillery within walking distance where you could pay $5 and get a tasting of all their flavors. No question we walked over. The apple pie was my favorite! If you're in Eastern Kentucky, Thirsty Heifer and Kentucky Mist Moonshine is a nice little Saturday night.

This snazzy Instagram photo is proof that I made from scratch doughnuts. Homemade Decadence from Joy the Baker is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks and hopefully going to teach me how to bake. These vanilla sugar doughnuts made Sunday morning even better.

See that booklurking in the photo? It's my first book selection in the Mrs. Modern Darcy Reading Challenge.  I'm tagging it under the prompt "Books I've Been Meaning to Read" mostly because I feel like everyone has read and loved the book but I've been putting it off for some reason. It's so good!

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday last week and entered the giveaway! We have a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's some Monday motivation for us all!

16 Things Successful People do on Monday Mornings...

7 Morning Mantras from Female CEOs...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cheesy Tomato Cauliflower Bake

Cauliflower is still cool right? Kale had its moment and now cauliflower is taking the spotlight as the new "it" healthy food. There's cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crust, and even buffalo wing cauliflower. The beauty of this previously misunderstood veggie is that it can be translated into just about anything!

This cheesy cauliflower is so good you won't even miss the pasta. I kept mine vegetarian but you could also add sausage or pepperoni to make it heartier.

Ooey gooey cheesy tomato cauliflower bake! Healthy recipe using cauliflower that you won't even miss the pasta. So delicious!

Cheesy Tomato Cauliflower Bake

1 head cauliflower--chopped into florets
1 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Roast cauliflower florets (tossed in 1 tb olive oil) on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 425; tossing half way through. In a saucepan heat up the marinara sauce then add in the half the mozzarella and parmesan and the heavy cream (stir until melded together). Take off the heat and add in the roasted cauliflower tossing until combined. Transfer into a greased baking dish and top with the cherry tomatoes and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes then broil for 2 minutes to get everything bubbly.

I hope you all enjoy! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekend Highlights {New Years}

Can New Years Eve always fall on a Thursday? The long weekend after was amazing and definitely needed after having so much fun. I've done my fair share of chaotic and crowded NYE parties, paying ridiculous covers, and overpriced drinks and house parties are definitely the way to go. My good friends Levi and JM just bought a house and they treated NYE as their official housewarming party and it was perfect. I'd much rather spend the night surrounded by people I love than random drunk people.

My birthday is Tuesday so the celebrating continued with an early birthday! Between Christmas, New Years, and now my birthday my diet keeps getting pushed back but that's ok I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. I got to enjoy a fun and delicious birthday dinner with some of my favorites. Kentucky folks, Tony's is a great place for a special occasion. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow to celebrate my birthday with me and a giveaway to win an Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette. I'm not going to lie I want to keep it for myself.

Cheers to 2016! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...