Meal four / 5.31.16
Hey, what ever happened to me sharing my big cooking adventure with you? I mean, I guess it was May yesterday and now it’s 2017. Time flies. No matter, I’m going to keep my promise and continue to share.
So let’s back it up to when I made this super easy dish. I don’t have much to say about it other than it was ridiculously easy. I don’t even know that it counts as “cooking.” I boiled pasta and threw a bunch of ingredients together. But in the spirit of being positive – I tried something different and that’s why we’re here. To be honest though, if I’m going to eat pasta, which isn’t often, I’d rather have the real deal. This wheat pasta business didn’t go over well with the kiddos, either and they weren’t super into the cooked spinach. Buuuuut, if you’re watching your waistline – give it a go!
Here’s the recipe – Whole Wheat Caprese Pasta
I just finished reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and I’m giving it 3.5 stars out of 5. She’s a wonderful writer, but I don’t know.. the way people went on about it, I was expecting so much more. It was a little underwhelming. Regardless, there were several passages in the book that spoke to me in such a way that I felt the need to dog-ear the pages. You know.. in case I need them for future fear-crushing motivation. Honestly, I rarely revisit the pages that I mark in a book (weird), but doing so this time allowed for some much-needed self-reflection as I head into a new year. I also want to mention that while this book may appear to speak to a literal artist, I think Gilbert’s insights also apply to our every day lives – embracing our curiosities, facing our fears, and living life with more mindfulness and passion. I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a light, inspirational read.
Interestingly enough, of all the things I could take away from this book, the thoughts/ideas that stood out to me the most are the things that I am currently working through – creatively and professionally.
Part I – Courage, page 18
“As the saying goes: “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
Part IV – Persistence, page 143
“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.”
Part IV – Persistence, page 171
“if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind.)
Part V – Trust, page 247
“they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part – the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself.”
Part V – Trust, page 252
“Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. Own your disappointment, acknowledge it for what it is, and move on.”
Good stuff, right? My mantra for 2017: courage, persistence, trust the process. It’s a sticky note on the bathroom mirror kinda thing, for sure.
Did you read Big Magic? I want to know what you thought! Share in the comments below. :)
Last time I took Zoey shopping I spilled my latte in the cart, spent an ungodly amount of time arguing with a 5-year-old about sleeve lengths, and had to put a ban on anything with Peppa Pig gracing the front. And c’mon Target – if you’re gonna have a Starbucks available to me, please add cup holders to your carts.
My point is that it’s almost never fun to take your (little) kids shopping for clothing. Hell, it’s not even fun to take myself shopping, sometimes! That’s why subscription box programs like Le Tote and Stitch Fix are so convenient.. tell them your favorite styles, colors, etc and voila – a box is sent to your door. You try it all on, keep/pay for what you like and send back the rest. WITHOUT EVER LEAVING YOUR HOUSE OR LOOKING AT A GENEROUS SPRINKLING OF CELLULITE ON YOUR BUT IN A TERRIBLY LIT DRESSING ROOM. (I’m speaking for myself here and pointing the finger at Nordstrom.)
Anyway! They have one of these super convenient subscription boxes for kids, too! Its called Rockets of Awesome and.. it’s awesome. And a breeze to set up.. visit their site, build a style profile for your son(s) and/or daughter(s), sized 2-14, and the good peeps behind ROA will send you 8-12 outfit ready items, all under $40 – FOR FREE. Keep/pay for what you love, send back the rest!
Zoey loved opening her personally curated box! Who doesn’t love getting mail? And guess what? The inside of the box has a fun scene that, when unfolded, can be colored! It took us two days to color the entire thing, but the whole family pitched in and it kept Zoey occupied for hours! Thumbs up on that little feature.
On to the clothing!
She rec’d 8 items total and we kept these 4:
Cosmic Leggings $24 / Long Sleeve Star Crew $26 / Long Sleeve Lace-Hem Stripe $28 / Confetti Hoodie $26
Super cute, but sent back:
We would’ve kept the bomber jacket – it’s so freaking adorable – but it was a bit snug.
Everything was cute and pretty close to Zoey’s personal style, but we’ll have 3 more deliveries throughout the year, so this was a good start! It’s all made with quality, durability and comfort in mind.. no scratchy or hard to move around in materials, here.
Also, if we change our minds about something after it’s been sent back, we can just go to the website and buy it!
Ps. I recommend that you size up on hoodies and sweatshirts for layering purposes.
Give it a try – it’s convenient for you and fun for the kids!
Use my code to join – https://www.rocketsofawesome.com?r=5b071956
If you make a purchase, we BOTH get one item for FREE. Yay!
I know that 2016 was a shitty shit show for a lot of you, but for me – it was sort of empowering. I left a job that I felt totally stuck in. That’s right.. after 10 years, I quit. I wasn’t growing with the position, nor did I care to, and it didn’t feel good for my soul to put e i g h t long hours a day into something that wasn’t making me happy. And also, I don’t like being told what to. So when all the planets aligned and the universe handed me the opportunities to move on, I peed my pants a little, had a few sleepless nights, pulled up my big girl panties (fresh ones) and then took them. HAVEN’T LOOKED BACK. Scary as fuck, but empowering.
Let me be clear though.. I didn’t quit to write a book (one day, maybe) or open a business or something crazy cool like that. I quit to build my Beautycounter business (it’s been surprisingly lucrative) and to work part-time at a pilates studio that I’ve been a member of for about 3 years – mainly focusing on client relations and sales/marketing. *This isn’t a new field for me. I was in the fitness industry before wealth management.
So here I am! Working part-time, making my own hours to some extent, spending more time with my family, sharing/creating, diving into my strengths, facing my weaknesses, and wearing super cute athletic gear all day erryday. Not a bad gig.
Of course, nothing with an upside is without its downside(s). I left a very secure job, I took a pay cut, benefits are harder to come by, and how much I do get paid is directly related to how hard I work. Plus.. time. Where did all my time go? I had so much time when I sat behind a desk all day, dreaming of all the things I could be doing outside of the office. Now I get up and BAM – my schedule is full. There’s always something to do, somewhere to be. And some days, I only mark off 2 of the 10 things that are on my to-do list. Some days I feel so overwhelmed that I end up doing nothing. But then there are days when I get shit done and get to sit on the couch and read for an hour, which feels odd because have I actually earned the break? Have I worked hard enough? Like, who decides when I get to take a break and feel okay about it? Me?! If that’s the case, I might need to be a tougher boss.
I don’t have it all figured out. I’m literally all over the place right now. But I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on because I’m ready for these new challenges and experiences.
Cheers to not waiting!
These are my most favorite people on the planet.
Thanks for the amazing photos, Willhouse!
Merry Everything, friends. And cheers to a new year.
Honestly, I should’ve just titled this post – how many times can I show you my back from different angles?
Who knew a peachy velvet body suit would be the thing to bring me out of blogging retirement? Was I even retired? I think I was just being lazy. What I really think is that I’ve been working out and loving my bod and feeling sassy and this body suit is velvety and mock turtle neck-y and the back is open (in case you didn’t notice) and it literally sang to me from the sale rack while I was supposed to be shopping for other people on Christmas Eve. (Forgive me, I get long-winded when I’m excited but feeling guilty.) Also I’ve been wearing leggings and sports bras for the last two weeks, so here we are. This is what I wore to Christmas dinner.
Now, I know all the cool kids are wearing mom jeans with everything, but sometimes, when you’re an actual mom, you prefer to slip into your high waist bell bottoms. Plus, body suit + tighter jeans = too sexy for Christmas dinner at dad’s house. Girl’s night out at Chili’s maaaaaybe.
Enough about the body suit. The real gem in these photos is the amazing bag that’s hanging on my shoulder! Hello Madewell O-Ring Leather Bucket Bag. It’s soft and beautiful and it’s so deep I’m literally pulling lamps and shit out of it a la Mary Poppins. I could probably put Zoey in it. It’s really good and it’s the kind of bag I’ll have forever because I’m not much of a bag lady. Santa knows what’s up.
So this was fun! It probably shouldn’t have taken over an hour to write considering I didn’t say anything of huge importance, but I showed up! And that’s half the battle.
Want want want.
Mini-heeled ballet pump in faux suede
classic with a flashy little block heel. I can wear these flats to work or with my mom jeans. You know what else? Loafers. Leopard print, pointy-toed loafers. Need.
while the slip dress may not be for everyone, I’m calling it a fall staple. Wear it with a white tee underneath (a la 1995) or throw on a chunky knit sweater and a pair of ankle boots. Also, the silky cami is back. Basically the 90s are the boss right now.
a woman can never have too many blouses. I love a perfectly tailored pant or pencil skirt with a blouse that has some flair.
this skirt is everything – amazing color, high waist, suede.. I cannot justify spending nearly $400 to buy it, so I’m considering selling a kidney.
Y.A.S Magnolia dress
i’m having a moment with long-sleeved dresses. This one is perfection. (I may have to treat myself.)
equal parts masculine + feminine, a perfectly tailored pant should be in every woman’s closet.
Long-sleeved knitted roll neck
whatever you call it – roll neck, mock neck, turtle neck – i’m seeing them pop up everywhere this season and I want in on the action.
Long sleeve dress with pleat skirt
again with the long-sleeved dress! this is a very versatile, classic piece. especially for the working girl.
What’s on your fall wish list?
Ps. my links aren’t for compensation purposes, so click away!
26 adults + a shit ton of kids. They all said we were crazy, but when Mark suggested that we go camping to celebrate Zoey’s 5th birthday, I knew it would be the party of her tiny human dreams. We promised a day full of swimming, arts n’ crafts, exploring and riding bikes.. followed by hot dogs, corn on the cobb, and of course – s’mores.
We even had a “Bigfoot Hunt” on Saturday night, but I’m telling you – a pack of 5 year olds waving glow sticks in the dark is scarier than any gigantic, hairy, man-creature.
Sunday morning was met with sad good-byes, but promises of planning another camping trip soon. Like, next month soon! Enough of my babbling.. on to the pictures!
Friday afternoon / Evening
While most campers opted for a Saturday arrival, a few other RV families decided to make a weekend of it, too. We arrived Friday afternoon, got set up, had taco salad for dinner (thanks, Clifford Family!), put the kids to bed, then sat around the campfire chatting and drinking. Fun fact: I ate an entire plate of Doritos. In case you were wondering how I stay so slim. side eye.
One thing I love about the Santa Paula area are the lemon groves. I had to go into town on Saturday morning to get a few things and just couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the hills near our campground.
While we waited eagerly for the rest of our friends to arrive, Zoey opened a few presents and we took the kids swimming. You’ll also notice that the VW turned into a playground of sorts. The kids LOVE it. Who cares about running around in the dirt and riding your bike when you can play in a 1987 campervan? But they’re so cute, right?
Saturday afternoon / Arts n’ Crafts with Willhouse
Mark and I knew from the beginning that we didn’t want our friends to leave with party favor bags full of plastic trinkets and candy, so we called our friends Richard and Stacey (the talented husband/wife duo behind Willhouse) and asked them to come up with some fun, crafty activities for the kiddos. It was a nice distraction after swimming while Mark and I prepared drinks, set out snacks, and got to work on dinner. The crafts (pictured above) included: a “decorate your own” tic-tac-toe canvas bag + x and o painted rocks, an adorable “lantern” that they could customize with beads, and a customizable frame for on the spot Instax photos. Freaking cute, am I right? R+S, you guys are the raddest. (ps, friends.. Richard and Stacey are wedding/family/food photographing, website building, logo designing, workshop holding, super creative party people. I’ve included their site link above.
Saturday / Evening
By dinner time, we had nearly 40 people hanging at our campsite. It was such a great vibe! We served chicken sausages, hot dogs, corn on the cobb, chips & salsa and of course – margaritas, wine, and beer (and water and juice boxes for the kids.) After dark, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Let me tell you something.. the only thing scarier than a pack of glow stick-wielding 5 year olds on the hunt for a mythical creature, is a pack of 5 year olds who will stop at nothing to get marshmallows and chocolate. Savages! We wrapped things up shortly after, as the tiny people started having meltdowns (well, mine did) and the adults just wanted to sit around the fire and be adults. Which means telling stories from our high school days. Like, we used to be cool, but now we’re all just excited that our kids are in bed. These are the new glory days.
Overall, Saturday was a success.
Sunday / Goodbyes
*This photo was taken on Saturday evening. There are a few people missing from the shot, but here we are! Such a fun group!
We were up early on Sunday morning to fire up the Keurig (yes, we brought our fancy coffee machine) and get the campfire going for scrambled eggs wrapped in tortillas (or not) + breakfast sausages. My husband is so good at cooking on a campfire, I can’t even. We also offered cereal and bananas. I think we nailed the food part. Actually, I think we nailed everything. Nothing went wrong all weekend. Nothing.
And yeah, sure.. maybe we were a little crazy to come up with this idea – paying for several camping sites, feeding 50 people dinner and breakfast, providing snacks and beverages.. but I don’t regret it for one second. The reason we love camping is because it gives us a chance to press the reset button. We reconnect, we relax, we simplify. One of the moms said something that has stuck with me ever since – that people tend to “act human again” when they’re camping.. there’s a sense of community, camaraderie. It’s a pretty special thing to witness and be apart of.
This weekend we made new friends and possibly new traditions – I cannot wait to do it again, but maybe with less food. We have so much leftover, don’t be surprised if I show up on your doorstep with goodie bags of hot dog buns, macaroni salad, and Bud Light.
Thank you to everyone who came out – you made Zoey’s 5th birthday very special. :)
This chick turned five yesterday (can you believe it?!), so to celebrate – we’re spending the weekend camping with a bunch of our favorite friends!
Riding bikes, swimming, cooking up hot dogs and s’mores, staying up way past bedtime.. it’s pretty much her dream come true. Especially because she gets to spend the weekend with family and school friends. It’s literally blowing her mind.
I’ll be back next week with a shit ton of pics.
Until then.. peace out. We’re gone campin’.
Meal three / 5.25.16
(I’m a bit behind – sorry!)
Super easy and super packed with flavor. This was a family favorite.
I used to shy away from, well… cooking in general, but especially cooking ethnic-inspired dishes. I wrongly assumed that exotic flavors and ingredients meant that the recipe itself would be harder to imitate. Not the case. This dish couldn’t have been easier. Plus, I’m 100% certain that we didn’t consume as much sodium as we might if ordering something like this in an actual Thai restaurant. Raise your hand if you balloon up like a freak after knocking back a couple plates of Mongolian Beef or Gang Ped. (Imagine me raising my hand.)
So there’s that. There’s also this cauliflower as rice business. I’m into it. I feel like I’m really pulling one over on the family when I can get them to like something that’s posing as something else. It’s kinda similar to when I dream of posing as a statue reading a book in the corner of the room. No, I’m not your mother – I’m a statue. Go away. But that’s for another post. Let’s get back to food. Cauliflower rice is great if you’re looking to cut carbs. Yes, trick the family into eating healthier and trim those thighs in the process. Is it a significant amount of carb-cutting? Not sure. Google it.
I’m about to wrap this up, but I thought I’d mention that you should invest in a food processor if you plan to make cauliflower rice. We have one, but when I plugged it in and secured the lid… nothing happened. I tried every outlet in the kitchen to no avail. So I resorted to grating two heads of cauliflower… with the small holes of a cheese grater. Scraping a few knuckles in the process, cauliflower was everywhere – in my hair, on the floor. I was just finishing up when Mark came home. I complained a little bit, he swore it was working just fine, plugged it in, secured the lid CORRECTLY and the damn thing worked like a charm. We had a moment of silence for my sanity as he quickly opened a bottle of wine and poured me a large glass. He’s a smart man.
The moral of this story is that if I can learn to be a convincing statue, I won’t have to make dinner at all.
Find this delicious recipe, here.