This and that

In Alabama some winters we have super cold temps and then some winters it’s all:

And we’re all:

Now I know some of you may be in drought conditions and I hear you that rain is good, however, this is like “I don’t live in Seattle and my umbrella is broken from overuse” rain. And it’s hardly ever that sprinkle rain either. It’s the knock you over in the wind rain, take your umbrella and throw it across the street rain. So the rain stopped for a minute…and they were able to start framing our house! So exciting!

 

 

 

This is looking out towards the backyard. Today is our last full day of no rain before it starts up again, so hopefully they’ll get a lot accomplished. In addition to that excitement, I made a trip to Target and found golf polos for A:

These are good weight and quality, perfect considering he now has golf every week and a match once a month. I also found new snack mix for me:

This is free of a lot of common allergens and is really tasty (a difficult combination to find). I also stopped by my Mom’s class this week to see her little flock of ducks and chicks. This little one was so sweet:

I threw together thirty minutes of work-out one night by doing five minutes of warm-up:

And then of my fitness instructor’s fifteen minute challenges:

And another fifteen of yoga tone. Which was definitely a compliment to this tasty lunch I picked up on my way to work the other day:

The episode about Chicken Salad Chick has long been one of my favorite How I Built This podcast episodes, but amazingly I’ve never actually made it to the restaurant. I got the pimento cheese and original chicken salad scoop and it was honestly enough for two lunches, but so good! And it comes with a cookie, which was an awesome surprise.

And finally, I took advantage of a GAP/Old Navy sale to buy J new pants because:

He has worn a hole in almost all of his track pants.

Continue Reading

Friday Favorites

 

Baby ducklings are J’s favorite, and according to my Mom, the feeling is mutual. They’ve been following him around all week. I know they will be sad to see the ducklings and chicks go (they go back to their farm this weekend). Today we’ve got school Valentine’s parties and then we have a fondue dinner planned for at home tomorrow night. And then we are sleeping in on Saturday and it’s going to be grand! We’ve had something every night this week, and I think we are all ready for a long weekend of relaxation. Here are some of my favorites of the week!

My current hair style and color.

Tips for styling hair in rainy weather, which is every day here.

Book I just added to my reading list.

The couch I have my eye on for our new family room.

Sweatshirt from Amazon that my fitness instructor was wearing last week.

Closet staples from Nordstrom.

Favorite yoga practice of the week.

Piper & Leaf is killing it with their teas. I may have to make a trip out this weekend to pick it up!

Spring sandals.

The podcast that made me laugh out loud.

Finally, my new favorite granola snack.

Continue Reading

Activewear for star jumps

My goal for this year is to do some sort of fitness every day. Not to lose weight, but in a determination to keep the flexibility, muscle tone, and strength that I have. I do a combination of high intensity, strength training, AMRAP, and yoga. With that in mind I decided to give myself a few incentives to keep up with continuing exercise, in the form of new activewear. At the end of January I ordered a new pair of Adidas leggings and a Zella top from Nordstrom:

And new Adidas sneakers:

So my thoughts on all of it:

The pants are very comfortable. They did roll down a bit when I was doing an intense work-out, so I would suggest them for strength training or yoga. The top has a cute detail in the back. It’s closer to a cotton material, but is extremely light weight and didn’t bunch up when doing multiple burpees and box jumps. The shoes are amazing. Seriously, my favorite. They fit like a glove, and don’t slip. The laces are a little bit slippery, so you definitely want to double knot them.

See the back detail? So cute!

Continue Reading

Current Winter Reads

My resolution for the last year has been continuously reading. Which means that every night I read for at least thirty minutes. This year I resolved to start adding in weekend reading, which means every time during the day on a weekend that I go to grab my iPad or phone, I instead grab a book. Which means I’ve read quite a few books over the past two months! This post is as much for me as anyone else, because I forget what I’ve read and will go to read a book again multiple times (for example, Delicious! A book by Ruth Reichl that I almost bought this past week. Yup, I’ve already read it). Here is my quick review of the books.

The Giver of Stars: I don’t know if this was the actual intent of the story, but what I really enjoyed about this book was the drive of the characters to bring education to rural areas. Through treacherous conditions, difficult antagonists, and class related struggles, the main characters worked to create a real moving library in Kentucky. And it’s based on a true story!

Messenger of Truth: While each Maisie Dobbs book has an element of mystery, what I’ve enjoyed even more is the scope of understanding that Jacqueline Winspear brings to the time period of the stories. Each story is connected to the next, and you see the characters triumph and also fall in different ways as they deal with the aftermath of The Great War.

An Incomplete Revenge: Continuing with what I said before about Maisie Dobbs books, this story shows the stereotyping and fear that can come from wars and the ramifications and devastation of those fears. I was honestly shocked about the turn of events in this one.

Bangkok Wakes to Rain: A novel that interweaves multiple stories that almost seem like separate short soliloquies, but they eventually start running closer and closer together until you have the singular conclusion. I had a little trouble following it at certain points, but it was an incredibly unique read.

Conviction: I read this so fast, because I had to find out what happened at the end! The main character is incredibly flawed, but embraces the flaws so relentlessly that you root for her to figure out the mystery and to make it to the other side.

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home: I was worried that this book was going to be incredibly sad, but at the end I felt incredibly uplifted. The sense of peace that the author not only found, but creates through the true story will stay with you a long time after you read it. I could honestly read it again.

The Last House Guest: A mystery that cuts back and forth from a year earlier and then present day, the main character tries to piece together the death of her friend, while also trying to overcome her struggles in a small town that she can’t seem to leave.

The Great Alone: This is one you’ll want to set aside a long time to read. It’s long. It’s at times, tiring. I may have skipped to the end to see if the characters were going to come out on the other side of the enormous walls they were up against. It is definitely an investment of time, but it is worth it. Kristin Hannah creates characters so intricately that you not only become invested, but you seek to understand who they are from the beginning to the end.

Continue Reading

Friday Favorites

Hello friends, it’s Friday! My Mom has baby chicks in her room again this year and the boys are so excited! This week A had golf, J had basketball, and we also had a PTA meeting, and second grade performance in between all of that. Plus work and school. I turned around and the week was just over. Now, we are headed towards a weekend that also includes basketball, but I’m also hoping to throw in some organization and packing as well. And we’ve got to complete a whole bunch of Valentine’s for class parties next week. And there are class parties next week. I need a nap just thinking about it! On to some of my favorites from the week!

Memories of weekend past.

The power of eye contact.

The art of squinching. I’m apparently way behind on my selfie game.

What Summer Roberts taught us about fashion.

Office inspiration.

My favorite podcast of the week.

Chicken sweet potato stew. Perfect for the cold weather coming in!

I have the segments of Stranger Things behind the scenes on my podcast list.

I just finished Home and it was a terrific yoga series! Highly recommend. All free on YouTube.

Perfect pants for summer…it may be winter, but it’ll be summer here soon enough!

Finally, total look.

Continue Reading

Eight things about J

I am in almost disbelief that we have an eight year old. I started this blog when A was nine months old, and now eleven years later, we have an 11 year old and now an 8 year old. In honor of J’s birthday today, here are 8 things that make J the amazing kid he is.

1. J LOVES sports. If it’s a game and/or sport he’s all in. This past year basketball has really taking top spot for him, but he still loves them all.

2. J is an excellent puzzle solver. He loves puzzles, and we now usually have a puzzle sitting out that we all work on together. It’s become one of our favorite wind down activities.

3. J loves reading. He gets caught up in books and will frequently pop up on weekday mornings after I turn on his lamp to read until breakfast.

4. J calls his hair bronde, because all of us have brown hair, but his hair is blonde.

5. J will eat pizza with anything on it. Give him all the peppers, veggies, meats, he likes it all.

6. J wants to be an illustrator, scientist, and professional gamer when he grows up.

7. If J isn’t playing basketball, reading, or building stadiums on Minecraft, he is building LEGOs.

8. J loves big, plays hard, thinks outside the box, and we are so glad he’s ours!

Happy eighth birthday, J!

Continue Reading

January Beauty Buys

Admittedly, I had some extra beauty buys this month because I had two Sephora gift cards to use from Christmas. I used those for a few splurges, and then I picked up a few extra items I’ve on my list!

First, Tarte’s In bloom Palette. I love this palette. The colors are rich, and just perfect neutrals with a bit of pop. I would say that it doesn’t last quite as long as my NAKED eye shadow palettes without an eyeshadow primer (I use NARS).

Hourglass vanish concealer. I gave into the hype with this one. I’d seen several beauty bloggers post about it, so I decided that I had to try it for myself. The Sephora salesperson told me to make sure my eyes were well moisturized and that is definitely true. It cakes up a bit if it’s not, and you only need a really small amount. However, once you put it on, it’s on and doesn’t budge.

Beauty counter eye rescue cream. My hair stylist brought me a sample of this after we had a lengthy conversation about eye creams. I’ve been using it at night for about a week and I really like it. I feel like my under eye area is less puffy in the morning and it has no scent and I haven’t had any irritation issues (which I’ve had with other eye creams).

Becca skin primer. I think the lasting ability of this one is based on your foundation. I’ve been testing out various foundations with it (IT CC cream was a big no, NARS sheer glow lasted a bit better).

YSL lipstick in No.10. Definitely a splurge, but such a great color. Pairs perfect with my NYX gloss in creme brûlée.

Becca eye primer. This I love. It kind of smoothes everything out and you can reapply it throughout the day. And it doesn’t go on green.

MAC eye liner in Teddy. This is my all time favorite high end liner. It goes on smooth and doesn’t budge.

And for a couple of examples of the wear of it all (Yes, I’m in my parked car. It has way better natural lighting than my office. No, I am not driving. Driving and taking selfies is foolishness.):

Hour 1:

Hour 6:

After a slight touch up (powder on t-zone, a day fresh swipe of lip gloss):

So, a little bit of redness broke through, but other than that, not bad! Happy beauty shopping!

Continue Reading

Chicken Enchiladas

While I’m not afraid to stray from the classics, this chicken enchilada recipe is one I always come back to. It’s my Mom’s recipe and the one that whenever anyone in our extended family makes chicken enchiladas, this is the recipe they make. I have had to modify it some over the years to accommodate the boys’ food allergies. The simple fix is removing the green onions and putting them on the side. The more difficult substitution was replacing the cream of chicken. I tried this recipe out and found that it makes the perfect amount needed for the recipe (I also leave out the onion powder). I’ve attached the recipe below, with some helpful photographs.

So shred up your chicken:

Make your sour cream mixture:

And take out 1 and 1/2 cups (and have this amount of cheese leftover):

Add the sour cream mixture to the chicken:

Then put a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the tortillas:

Roll and place in a pan:

Cover with leftover sour cream mixture:

And cheese:

Then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes:

Finally, uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly.

Chicken Enchiladas 

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast roasted (can be made ahead)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (or make this recipe to substitute)
  • About 1 cup of sour cream (you can add 1/2 cup more if you like sour cream!)
  • 1 8oz package of montery jack cheese (you can buy pre-shredded, or get a block and grate it!)
  • 1 8oz package of sharp cheddar cheese (you can buy pre-shredded, or get a block and grate it!)
  • 1 can of green chilies (optional)
  • 1 can of chopped olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions (you can either sprinkle these on top before baking, or leave out if you have picky eaters or food allergies)
  • 8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Coat chicken with 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp cumin. Place on a foil lined pan and drizzle chicken with canola oil. Roast chicken at 350 for 25 minutes. After chicken is cooled slightly, shred (I put it in my Kitchen Aid mixer and let it shred with a paddle mixer on low).
    3. Set aside about a third each of the shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese.
    4. In a seperate bowl mix together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, remaining cheddar and monterey jack cheese. Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the sour cream mixture and set aside.
    5. Add shredded chicken to remaining sour cream mixture (*Tip: mix the chicken a bit at a time until it looks consistent with the sour cream mixture but not dried out, I don’t always add all the chicken).
    6. Warm tortillas on a griddle (or in the microwave, I use this tortilla warmer).
    7. Place about four-five tablespoons of mixture per tortilla.
    8. Place filled tortillas in a 9X13 pan.
    9. Spread the set aside sour cream mixture on top of the tortillas and top with the set aside cheese.
    10. Cook for 30 minutes covered and then 10-15 minutes uncovered until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown. Top with optional green chilies, olives, and green onions.
    11. Extra Tips: This is a great make ahead dish. It can be frozen for about a month and can be made a day ahead if refrigerated. The entire recipe makes quite a bit, so I occasionally make half and then freeze half. If you are cooking it frozen cook for at least 40 minutes covered in foil, and then another 20-30 uncovered. If refrigerated cook for 30 minutes covered and 15-20 minutes uncovered.

 

Continue Reading

The sweet spot

Oh, how I love Valentine’s Day! The boys love it too. I wasn’t going to get out decorations this year because we are prepping to put the house on the market, but I decided to put out just a few. They are so excited! It also reminded me that even though we are moving, it’s good to stay positioned in the now. I have always been a future thinker, what’s next, when are we going to get there. However, really in the past few years I have been working to think about future steps, while also remaining present in the now. Now that I’ve gone completely philosophical, let’s take a step back into reality with a few items that would be high on my Valentine gift list!

First, a set of fun barrettes, I like finding items that are more trend oriented at a reasonable price.

A sweet sweater that has a gorgeous bow detailing in the back.

I llama love this pouch, and I do!

A re-stock of my favorite everyday perfume.

Fun cozy slides.

Heart hoop earrings.

Continue Reading

Friday Favorites

What a week! A and I went on field trip, J had a basketball game, there was school, work, and everything in between. J is stoked about his birthday party next weekend, that is aptly basketball themed. We’ve got another basketball game for J this weekend, and some serious sleep catching up to do. And here are some of our favorites from the week!

A lovely home.

Anxiously waiting for this sweatshirt to come out in adult sizing.

Lemon angel cake bars.

The cheesiest.

My favorite everyday layering tanks.

Work outfit ideas.

Thoughts on renovating spaces.

Continuing with day 20 today!

Finally, I have this diffuser in my cart to combat all the dryness of winter.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 209