nourishing & unapologetic
We've reached it, folks. Friday is upon us. The first full working week of 2016 is in the books. Accordingly, we should expect a full moon, a meteor shower, champagne, fireworks...or something for this milestone. We should celebrate. Properly. You know?
Since we can't control the universe, it's too early for bubbly, and I'm pretty sure we've passed the window for shooting off fireworks in a legal fashion, this post is practically the next best thing.
If you're new to the blog, this series is where I spill it about all the things. Things I love. Things I like. And things I think you should like or love too. This is the fifth time this series has appeared on zeeeee blog. If you have about 7.2 more minutes to spare today, you can check out the other past faves here,
Without further ado, I give you my newest obsessions, in no particular order:
1. Hella Cravings, Adele's Hello Parody: my sister-in-law, A, shared this with me. I pretty much lost it with laughter. This song could be one of my life's theme songs. The two singers rock the creative rendition with conviction. Plus, it's a pretty accurate portrayal of the struggle between fitness and food. (and, really, who isn't still enjoying Adele's song?). It's win-win.
2. Nike Running Relay Leggings: gah. these are basically the best tights/running pants. They fit well. They don't bunch, or ride, or twist. They are a great winter workout pant. The waistband is even inspirational, "run fast. live fearless." Best news, they come in a print. Now, I probably could have modeled these for you since I actually own them...but there's no reason to bring my thunder thighs into this... so let's settle for the stock image.
3. Clif Kid ZBars: I once lived with two amazing people who've made food, nutrition, and hospitality their life. During a grad school internship I had the privilege to call their home my home. These two have significantly impacted my life in countless ways, but for the purposes of this post, you should know Doc B (the lady of the house) introduced me to Clif Kid ZBars. She kept the mini version in a basket near the fridge where all the possible snacks lived (and for the record, I'm pretty sure she still does.)
You've likely heard of Clif Bars...these are from the same family but they're better. You can find them in two sizes and in a variety pack (36 count!) at a local big box wholesale retailer (i.e Sam's) or online or potentially wherever Clif Bars are sold. In my opinion, ZBars seem less nutrition bar-y and don't have as many calories. Plus the flavors are easy to support, like iced oatmeal or chocolate brownie.
We keep ours in a cookie jar on the counter so we can grab one as we dash out the door most mornings. I also keep one in purse for hunger emergencies (the world doesn't want me hangry).
4. BevCooks.com: If you've never read Bev Weidner's blog at BevCooks.com you must stop what you're doing and read now. Why? Well, first, off, she's scary witty. Second, her Instagram captions are off-the-charts original. Third, she seems to completely have a handle on life and food and music. Finally, she went to the University of Arkansas. This means were kindred spirits, I just know it.
Don't expect a buttoned up, run of the mill blog; plan to be entertained and informed.
5. This Faceted Square Necklace from Express. It's become one of my go-to accessories. It's gold tone (winner in my book!). It's simple. It's not obnoxiously long or oddly mid-chest length. It is easy to toss on to dress up a more basic outfit or pretty enough to wear with something dressier. Oh, and it is actually reasonably priced. If you're looking to add a little something to your accessory stash this might just be the one.
Ok, I think that's a wrap.
Until next time--
Holy Moly, it's Friday. Glorious Friday. I hope you've reveled in this day. And since it's still technically Friday, let's discuss some of my latest loves.
1. Lemon Water: yes, hot water with lemon juice. It may be trendy, but it's a totally legitimate habit to partake in. I started drinking a mug of hot lemon water every morning about a month ago. I'd read a lot about this simple idea and there was basically no reason no to. A quick Google search will yield plenty of positives for you. (In case you need some convincing, look here or here.) While I can't say scientifically that it's improving anything for/in me, but I can say I do feel better. I start the day with it and wait at least 15 minutes before eating or drinking anything else.
I gave up my beloved Diet Pepsi for Lent which left me yearning for a boost in the AM; this gives it to me. Seriously! We recently did a long weekend trip in California. Though I had good citrus at my fingertips, I didn't have my daily lemon water dose, and by the end of the trip I was feeling incredibly sluggish. I totally attribute it to the break in my routine. Now that I'm back on the wagon, my pep has returned. There are also a few other benefits I've noticed that bring us a bit too close to TMI territory for me, but think digestion, bloating, etc.
Try to add this to your morning ritual. Just do it.
2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish: for many a year, I painstakingly painted my nails every few days. Then I went through a phase of acrylic nails and then shellac. But as we're trying to save and life gets busier, I have a difficult time to justifying and fitting it in. Then pre-California trip, I stumbled across this at Target. I am usually doubtful about claims of "long wear" polish. BUT. BUT. This polish does a pretty fair job living up to the purpose. It paints well and wears well. My first application did last 7 solid days before chipping. (that's through travel, hiking in CA, cleaning, and cooking!) Paint happy and don't worry for a bit.
3. This. This quote. I LOVE IT. Profoundly simple. Profoundly accurate.
I came across this on Pinterest (it's on my board among many others.)
When life gets chaotic or when we're not seeing expected results from our efforts, let's all remember this. We are our own best advocate. We're our own best champion. Go ahead, be your biggest fan.
4. Shutterfly Pet Tags: our pups were in need of an update. So when my coworker sent me a link for a free pet tag from Shutterfly, I jumped on it! Now, Shag and Gart are stylin'. Check them out and order your own. (Plus they have lots of options and you can customize to your heart's desire.)
Now, let us think all things Easter. I know it's Good Friday and there's not much time to dally. But fear not, I've got two treats you can whip up in no time, flat.
First up, BUNNY BAIT! The name itself is adorable. And it's gobbled up quickly. Feel free to customize it to your bunnies' tastes. (And, I must confess, I didn't eat any of this so I can't vouch for the taste. I am not a popcorn fan, but my coworkers said it was a win.)
This recipe isn't entirely original but I didn't have one I based it off of. There are many versions floating around Pinterest so you can certainly find one for your reference if you'd like exact measurements.
1 bag microwave popcorn (probably not buttered, but use whatever you have on hand)
Pretzels (I used broken up pretzel chips)
M&Ms (festive colors always welcomed)
Peanut Butter Chips
Half of block of Vanilla Almond Bark
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil.
2. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Let cool.
3. Spread popcorn on cookie sheet. Add Chex. Add pretzels. Mix around until distributed evenly.
4. Sprinkle peanut butter chips.
5. Melt almond bark in microwave safe bowl, approximately 1-2 minutes, or until smooth. Watch it and stir after first minute.
6. Drizzle melted bark over mixture on cookie sheet.
7. Sprinkle with sprinkles.
8. Stir until well combined
9. Let it set on cookie sheet. Cover or place in a dish.
Chocolate Covered "Carrots"
1 pint strawberries, rinsed and dried
3-4 blocks of vanilla almond bark
Orange food coloring
1. Melt almond bark in microwave safe bowl, about 1 and half minutes.
2. Add about 1 and half teaspoons of shortening in the bark. (This helps keep the coating smooth and shiny.)
3. Squirt a few drops of food coloring. Mix to desired color.
4. Dip a single strawberry into the coating. Set aside on parchment.
5. Repeat until all strawberries are coated.
6. Let dry. Store in fridge.
These treats are nothin' fancy, but they're pretty festive, and they're pretty yummy. Hope they bring you some joy and satisfaction.
May your Easter weekend be full of fun, family, and blessings!
Until next time--
HAPPY FRIDAY, friends! Let's jump right into my some of the things I'm currently obsessed with. You might want these things in your life. And it's almost the weekend so you'll have time to seek them out. You're welcome.
1. In October, my organization got a new office manager. She's AWESOME. She's super high energy and absolutely sincere. She's instituting new processes, ideas, and the like. One such new addition: twice daily ergonomic stretches. Now, before you yawn, and think "really?", hear me out. At about 10am and 2pm we gather as an office and do a quick routine of various stretches. She mixes it up each day, but we focus on back, hands, shoulders, neck, etc. And then we do an active movement of some kind (i.e. grass pullers, punching Monday in the face, desk push-ups, jumping jacks, and raising the roof on Fridays!, etc.) Let me tell you, if I miss stretching I know it. These little movements actually help. Plus, they're a nice way to break up a sometimes sedentary day. I encourage you all to bring this to your workplace...your co-workers will only think you're crazy for a few days...
In case, you need a starting place, check out these cool posters:
2. Hildebrand Chocolate Milk: dairy lover's unite! Okay, I honestly, I only love dairy in the form of cheese, ice cream, on cereal, cream cheese, did I say ice cream?... I am not a milk drinker. Growing up, I only drank milk before I went to the dentist because I am pretty sure my dad told me it would make my teeth whiter... (he totally tricked me!). But as a refined grown-up ;), I have occasionally drank milk if it was ice cold and chocolate. Then I found this milk from Hildebrand Dairy in Junction City, KS at my local Dillons. It is life changing. I now crave it. I try to have it for breakfast every day it's in the fridge. This milk is awesome. Rich, creamy, delicious. They have other flavors, but let's be real, I'm a chocoholic/purist. I'm not straying to another flavor. Look for it in your local dairy case (specific location list can be found here.) Don't be alarmed by sticker shock; you can return the bottle to get your bottle deposit back.
3. Cybex Arc Trainer: I'm trying to train for a half-marathon...my new training plan calls for a good mix of running, cross-training, and strength training. So I've been looking for ways to mix up my cardio on days that are non-running days. In the past I've disregarded the arc trainer at the Y. But, in lieu of another day on the elliptical or treadmill, I hopped on it last week. Holy moly! This machine rocks. I prefer the machine that engages both my arms and legs. If you crank up the resistance and/or the incline you can totally amp up your workout. Time goes by quickly on it and I actually feel like I get a good sweat session. I'm all for low-impact on the ol' knees because I don't want to hobble later in life... I encourage you to check this machine out next time you're at the gym. (Dang, I shouldn't have told anyone because now there might be a line to use one... feel free to move along if you see me coming, I'll want to get my Arc time in, haha!)
4. MantraBands: Nick got me this bracelet for my birthday. I am by nature a worrier. At some point I came across a quote photo that said "warrior not worrier." I've tried to embody that... worry doesn't do me any good. Now I have a wearable reminder to charge through difficulty, hopefully without reservation. I love these bracelets and fully intend to buy more of them.
Find your mantra. Live it and wear it daily.
5. Avocados: I think I may have eaten my weight in avocados recently. Oops! But that's okay, right? They're nutrient dense, have good fats...yada, yada..(Learn about their nutrition here).
I made PERFECT guacamole for Valentine's Day (and again for the next two days #truth). I found this recipe from The Ecofriendly Family on Pinterest (imagine that! check one off my birthday todo list of completing 29 pins). It truly is the simplest, best guacamole--almost like Chipotle's. Yes, I can attest to that from many a taste test :) Here's what you need:
2 ripe avocados
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, finely diced
Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Finely dice and chop onion and cilantro, respectively. Put in medium size bowl. Cut the avocados in half. De-pit the necessary half. Using just the tip of the knife, score the avocado diagonally both ways, scoop out flesh in to medium size bowl. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Give it all a quick mash with your potato masher. Then cut your lime in half, prick the flesh of one half with a fork, and squeeze juice over the avocado mixture. Mash all ingredients until desired consistency (we like it a little chunky). Add more lime juice from remaining half, if desired--I like a little extra acidity so I usually have the juice of 3/4 of a lime. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and dare yourself not to eat it all.
Bonus like: @Garth_the_Goldendoodle account on Instagram: Shameless plug for our adorable pup's Instagram account. Yes, I became that person. We created our goldendoodle his own IG/social media account. But, hey, we have no Baby Born's yet and it's all in good fun. He and Shaggy are always up to something so now we have a place to highlight and report on their shenanigans. Feel free to follow him. #partyonGarth #pawfect #goldendoodle
I think that's a wrap. Hope you enjoy these things as much as I do. If not, find your own favorite things and relish in them.
Cheers to Friday! Cheers to the weekend! And, if Winter is back upon you, stay warm, friends!
Until next time.
*NOTE: None of my commentary is an official product endorsement; none of these brands know who I am. :) All opinions are my own.
It's Friday! It's Friday! And you know what that means? My current favorite things, of course! Here's the totally biased rundown.
1. Renewing an old hobby: reading!
When I was younger, I lived for Saturday mornings. This was when my mom would take me to the public library to exchange the books I'd previously checked out and load up on new ones. I don't kid when I say load up. Man, I was a reading machine! But as time has passed, I have let this hobby slip away somewhat. I still love the pastime but I let others things get in the way. On our recent vacation, I had the time to actually read. I read three books and made it into a 4th only reading on the beach and on our return flight. I think I am going to make it a point to actually read for pleasure more.
Nick will tell you my favorite "pleasure-reading" genre is ridiculous. And, I'll admit, it is, but I just love culinary murder mysteries. (Yes, there is such a thing!) It combines my two favorite things: food and mysteries. What more could I want? So on this fine Friday, I want to introduce you to my two favorite authors in this genre:
2. DIY Car Music Videos
Recently, I've been a bit (embarrassingly) obsessed with a few "lip-syncing" videos that have been in my Instagram and Facebook feeds. They are just a few seconds/minutes of joy. Both videos I share below feature couples on a road trip using a a GoPro to film their shenanigans. This gadget is definitely on Nick and I's list of wants. Talk about so fun!
I've watched over and over just seem to be filled with happiness. Check them out, I promise you won't be able to help but smile.
3. Produce from the Garden
Remember the post about Nick's front yard garden...well, it's done pretty well. We've had more tomatoes than we can count and almost as many jalapenos and chilies. Needless to say, #BornGarden2014 is a win. It's nice not buying tomatoes for an inflated price at the story and super nice to just have hot peppers when you need them. (We eat a bunch of both of these items on a regular basis.) Check out the fruits of his labor. (PS some garden related recipes will appear on the blog soon!)
This near downtown Wichita Mexican restaurant is SOOOOOO good. Seriously, we've been at a loss for good Mexican food. Loss, no longer--this is the place! Nick and I went there this week with a couple near and dear to us. The food was incredible (plus our company was outstanding!). I was so wrapped up in chatting and eating that I complete forgot to take any pictures. Hubby recommends the fish tacos (his go-to test at a Mexican restaurant) and I had the gorditas and some elote. We left well-served and stuffed. Check out, Molino's if you're looking for an easy, casual, authentic joint.
5. That I actually own something similar to something I pinned to my fashion board...
It's not a secret that I love Pinterest. My fashion board was the second or third board I created. I've always adored clothes. I wouldn't say I am particularly fashion-forward, but I am aware. I like a good trend, but I like it better when I can make my own way with my wardrobe. I'm a little bit hippie, a dash of preppy, and skoosh old-lady.
So this fashion board, titled with a nod to the glamorous SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker), has about a bazillion items of clothing that I really like but likely won't ever own. But, this morning I realized, I really do own something similar to a pin. It's a miracle! Okay maybe not a miracle, but close. Check it:
6. Quotes on Pinterest
I've always been a quote junky. I've been known to clip words out of magazines, take pictures of random signs, or jot words of wisdom down. The "Quotes" category on Pinterest is a must review for me. I love finding excellent phrases, inspiration, and advice there. Some are generic while others i come across totally hit home. This quote in particular gives me a perspective check.
I confessed in my introduction that I am a worry-wort. It seems to be as natural as breathing to me. (I grew up with asthma and still have a just-in-case inhaler, so maybe that's a bad analogy...) Anyhoo, I do make mountains out of molehills (sometimes, er often, unnecessarily). It's a constant battle between being considerate and prepared AND flexible and spontaneous. Since I met carefree, predictably happy-go-lucky Nick, he's challenged me to relax and not plan or anticipate so much. Nearly three years in, I'm still a novice non-worrier. But, to my credit, I am working on it. Little by little, I'm learning to let go. So this quote is one of my mantras. (Can you have more than mantra?...)
If you are suffering from worrying, may this forcefully direct, simple statement provide you the motivation, strength, and/or inspiration to be carry forward without anxiety. Warrior is awesome self-proclamation.
Thanks for letting me share some of my favorites! Enjoy some of yours today too.
Cheers to Friday and a new month. (Someone explain how it's August already!?).
Until next time.
I've not cooked anything outstanding this week, so unfortunately you'll start your weekend recipeless. But, good news! Today's post marks the beginning of a new blog feature: Friday Favorites. I hope to make this a semi-regular occurrence. Expect a rundown of my cravings, inspirations, enjoyments, and wants.
Here's what I'm currently loving:
I love Instagram. Maybe it's passe. Maybe it's too trendy. Either way, I love this social media outlet for now. Why? Yes, I get to see snapshots from the lives of friends and families. Yes, I get a glimpse into the kitchens of some of the food bloggers I adore. But more than that, I get to be inspired or challenged by photos like this.
I believe this quote is from I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brene Brown, but I am not entirely certain as I saw it on my Instagram feed from Jenna's Kitchen. (I share with the disclaimer that these are not my words or my photo.)
These words. These words. Seriously. Read them and re-read them. They will likely mean something different to each reader. In my opinion, our culture has sooooo many admirable qualities and so many struggles. As a twenty-something female and a newlywed in our world, I'd say there's lots of opportunity for shame and societal pressure. I admitted in my introduction that I am a recovering perfectionist; I say that with humor and sincerity. I used to spend a lot of time in comparison-ville and have been known to be a little bit green in the gills. As I grow older and gain, what I guess can be called, life experience, I am starting to understand that is of no use. At a very primary level, generally people are the same. We all want: acknowledgement, affirmation, success, and connection. By-and-large, shame and envy are not fruitful. This quote sums it up, at the heart of everything we're driven to relate to one another as a means to exist and move forward. This drive is probably the reason I finally blogged. Take it for what it's worth, but I genuinely appreciate that you've clicked your way to this site. I hope we'll continue to connect both here and likely in our real world settings, too.
Let's take the challenge to live comfortably and fully as we are at this very moment. After all, that's all we can ask for.
Sweet, sweet summa-time! Don't get me wrong, I am sucker for all the seasons. But, I do love me some summertime. Give me warm temperatures, pooltime, and sunshine anytime!
I think what I enjoy most is the longer days. If you know me at all, you likely know I don't tend to turn lots of lights on and prefer natural light. If there are windows around, I want the blinds raised and the curtains open. Let the light shine in. Give me that Vitamin D! You just can't beat extra hours of sunshine this time of year.
More daylight means the time to do more, especially outside. You can bet I've been logging more miles on the pavement than I have on the treadmill. Garth's also been enjoying an evening stroll with Nick and I more regularly too. There's something special about this time of year. So let's channel our inner schoolkid and pray summer sticks around for a while. Relish the rays, but don't forget your sunscreen!
I don't know about you, but I have a grocery problem. I tend to buy too many. And, I don't coupon well. Since we're currently working on budgeting in the Born household I am trying my best to do things differently. I'm trying to be better at making meal plans, sticking to my shopping list, and actually using coupons. Enter the Dillon's Mobile App.
Have you tried it? If not, pause to download the free app at this moment.
(And despite my affiliation with Kroger via Kwik Shop because of my brother's employment, this is not an endorsement based from our relationship.) I genuinely think this app is a cool blend of function and convenience. It let's you browse the weekly ads, clip digital coupons, track your rewards and refills, and host your shopping list all in the palm of your hand. It is good representation of the increasing digital world we operate in. Plus it's free-- it doesn't get much better than that.
Hope you find this integrated app helpful! Save on, save on.
(PS If you're a Target shopper, check out their savings app, Cartwheel!)
My Jawbone UP band, in persimmon, is one of my constant accessories. It's a versatile addition to my typical arm candy. Nicholas sneakily purchased this for my birthday this year. And, it's safe to say I love it. (Bravo, husband!)
If you're not familiar with the Jawbone UP band, it's a bracelet of sorts that tracks your activity (walking, running, etc), sleep patterns, and your calories. It has an integrated app that allows you to more seamlessly track your information too. It's similar to a Fitbit, which you might have heard of before.
Beyond tracking, the band motivates you to compete with yourself and your goals. A week or so ago, I reached my millionth step logged since February and I am still going. It's a great reminder to be active. Check it out and then get moving!
I could eat Mexican, Tex-Mex, or southwest-inspired food every single day and never grow tired of it. Tacos, beans, tortillas, queso, guac...I'm in! Further, I am a fan of fast food. Yes, it's true. (FFK rearing her head again). With fast food it's consistent, a characteristic that gets high marks in my book . Plus, you can't make it at home; it's just never the same.
There's a local place here that is great for a quick fix. Taco Pronto turns out fresh food in flash for relatively little money. (For anyone from my original stomping grounds, think Taco Station on Broadway, a zillion times better but not open as late.)
Mind you this isn't gourmet, but it is good. I recommend not only the tacos (crunchy or soft), but also the bean burritos with added sour cream. If you find yourself in the Wichita area and in need of a filling, cheap meal, look no further.
Thanks for letting me share a few of my current favorite things. I know the mix is a little random but it's real. Future Fridays await; there will be favs about fashion, cookware, technology, and more to come...stay tuned. And, feel free to steer me towards any of your loves too. Talk to you soon!