15 August 2017

Slow Living

For awhile now I have been intrigued by the concept of slow living. A life of slow living is one that is intentional, minimalist in theory and relaxing. A time where you don't make plans or are constantly busy. It means that you actually have time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones. It can be as simple as cooking your meals instead of ordering out, or enjoying a cup of tea or coffee at home, instead of on the go.

For me, slow living is actually a lot of things. It's listening to records on a Sunday morning with Alex. Reading a good book or having a picnic. The way our homemade meals taste and how good simple food should be enjoyable and relaxing to make. Having a cup of coffee in the morning, sitting at my table alone, and enjoying the stillness of it all. It's also about buying less and making more.

Slow living is different things to different people.
It's about finding time for what truly makes you happy.



Here are a few links in regards to slow living - ones that have really inspired me:


What do you think about slow living? What ways do you practice it? Let me know in the comments below, so we can discuss.

14 August 2017

A Family & Movie Filled Weekend

I really thought I wasn't going to write about the weekend every Monday this month, but this weekend has been an awesome whirlwind! Packed with movies and time spent with family. On Friday night we had Alex's parents over for dinner. It was their 41st wedding anniversary, so it was nice to spend time with them. Alex made killer cubans for dinner and we watched Get Smart while snacking on delicious truffle popcorn.

On Saturday, Alex & I did a thrift run, but went home empty handed. Later than afternoon we went over to my parents for dinner. We brought Olive with us and she pretty much tuckered herself out while she was over there. We all watched a Mr. Bean movie and then the movie Clear History, which is hilarious. It was Alex & my second time watching it, but the first time for my parents. If you love Larry David, you need to watch it. It was fun hanging out over there. We even left with my sister's dog, Molly - since Caitlin needed a puppy sitter for the night. As you can see below in the awful grainy, but really funny photo, Molly enjoyed wearing Alex's boxes as well.
Sunday rolled around and Alex & I spent the day relaxing. I made cast iron skillet pizza for the first time and Alex devoured it. He said it was the best he's ever had - which is a BIG DEAL coming from a chef! So that made me pretty happy
Afterwards we made a random trip to Ikea. All we bought was gummy dala horses and a little plush mouse for Olive. We've named him Barnaby and Olive tolerates him. Once we got home we watched Dark City. Fun Fact: but that was the first movie we ever saw together. Surprisingly the movie held up quite well for 19 years! We ended our night with Twin Peaks and Game of Thrones.
Then today, Megan came over and we sewed like mad women. My Mom scooped us up and we went to Concord for coffee and Panera for lunch. It was really, really nice spending time with my Mom. The three of us talked about some serious stuff, but it felt so good to just talk. Very cathartic.

 I am very lucky to have her as my Mom and I really wouldn't be who I am today without her love and support. I'm looking forward to next Monday because the two of us are going to get breakfast together and I'm going to show her how I make my pizza dough. I think I might throw in an Ikea trip with her cause she's never been!

Oh and Megan and I did spin class this afternoon. We're dead now. ;)

So yes, my weekend was an awesome lovely family-filled weekend and my heart feels very full from it. I hope you all have had a lovely weekend. I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

11 August 2017

5 Things I'm Loving


1. Spin class. Last week I tried spin for the first time and I loved it. Which is great because I was really needing a cardio workout, outside of running. I used to run 3 miles 3 times a week and I could tell the damage it was doing. I mean don't get me wrong, I don't foresee not running at all. I still run a mile two times a week. But having a different type of cardio in my arsenal is great. Last night, Megan came with me to spin and we finished it off with a yoga sculpt class. Which really made any soreness I felt last week non-existent this morning.

2. E-Books via the library. I've had a library card for years now. Sometimes I'll borrow books, but for the most part I don't. Which is crazy because I work right across from the library. Either way, I just found out that I can borrow e-books. I mean a part of me knew this, but I guess I forgot. I've downloaded a few books this month and I'm really excited about reading good books for free. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there are gems within the free Kindle books, but for the most part they're crap.

3. Proper weekends with Alex + Olive. Alex used to have Sunday & Monday off, but now he has Saturday & Sunday off and honestly, I'm digging it. Olive is too! This weekend we have a lot of plans too. Tonight his parents are coming over for dinner and we are celebrating their anniversary with homemade Cubans, truffle popcorn and a movie. I still have to get some flowers and balloons, but I'm pretty excited. Then tomorrow night we are going to my parents to spend some time with them. As for Sunday, it's pretty wide open - except for a Twin Peaks viewing party with Alex, my sister & Jeremy. I'm also going to make some homemade pizza in my cast iron skillet. Yum! I'm really looking forward to next weekend - we're going to St. Pete to explore Mazarro's Italian Market. Thanks for the recommendation Terri!

4. Thrift stores. Alex & I are saving $$ like crazy both; for a house and pregnancy fund (Wait, what?!) - don't worry guys, I'm not pregnant -yet! So with the majority of our normal "fun money" going towards savings, I've been hitting up thrift stores whenever I get the urge to buy something. Which is pretty good because most of the time I don't find anything and when I do it's something amazing and cheap! Whether it be a perfect wicker basket or the sweetest dusty rose colored skirt - which I still need to decide if I should shorten the length or not. I used to go to thrift stores a lot when I was younger, so it feels as if things are coming full circle over here.

5. Spinach Salads. Weird thing to put on here, but I seriously cannot get enough of them. They've been my go-to work lunch for the past few weeks now. I'll add in leftover chicken (I can't stand reheated chicken, so it works), garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, fruit and chia seeds. As for dressing, I love splashing on some olive oil, red wine vinegar with salt and pepper.

Now for one thing I'm not loving:
Olive waking us at at 5am every morning. ;)


What are the 5 things that YOU are currently loving? Let me know in the comments below. Or if you make a post of your own, be sure to leave me the link!

10 August 2017

DIY Rabbit-tat

Not too long ago, Olive got a rabbit-tat which was a major upgrade from her previous pet store cage. I know that the majority of people who read my blog won't be interested in this, but I figured it might help future bunny parent's who stumble across it. Sadly, the majority of rabbit cages that you can get at pet stores are actually too small. Rabbits need space to sprawl out and relax - it's what makes them happy!

Now Olive is definitely a small bunny (she weighs about 4.5 lbs), but she's actually quite long too (around 20 inches). Which means by the time you put a bowl, litter box and hay container, a pet store cage gets small pretty quickly. The last cage she had was livable only because the top of her hidey hutch had a lounging area. But it was still too small. This is where an x-pen comes into play.

The best part is that x-pens are usually about $50 less than a large rabbit cage at any given pet store. I paid $100 for Olive's first rabbit cage and only $25 for her current "cage". See those quotation marks there? It's because her cage isn't really a cage. There isn't even a topper on it and the only time the door to it is closed is when I'm at work. Since we keep her in our heavily bunny-proof bedroom, there's nothing to worry about. And honestly, now that we have a higher bed, she spends most of her time under it anyway. We refer to it as her lair. Haha!

This is what her set up looks like:
Here's the breakdown of what it entails:

  • Enclosure:metal x-pen
  • Hidey-Hutch: a mesh hamper w/ the bottom removed​ and a blanket on top
  • Flooring: a plush blanket with a twin sheet on top
  • Bathroom: a litter box surrounded with cardboard for privacy
  • Water Container: a ceramic bowl (a water feeder or bottle isn't the way to go)
  • Hay Feeder: a pine slat box that I lined with fabric so it won't get hay everywhere
  • Toys: cut up toilet paper tubes (make sure there isn't any glue)
As you can see on the outside of her cage I have her pellets, chamomile flowers, ceramic food bowls and cup for water set up. Why? Because I like having everything she needs right there and honestly, maybe it's out of laziness. Either way, it works.

If you're considering getting a rabbit as a pet, be sure to check out my Quick Guide To Having A Pet Rabbit. And as always, if you have any questions - let me know in the comments below. I will try my best to answer your questions.

09 August 2017

Pin Curls & Memories

My sister and I spent a lot of time at my maternal Grandparent's house growing up. With our parents being divorced, and my Mom working full time, we spent the majority of our summers and afternoons at their house. Thankfully, I have a lot of wonderful memories with my Grandpa and Grandma.

I loved spending the night with them the most though; eating delicious home-cooked Italian dinners, talking and laughing while my Grandpa called me his little gypsy and watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in the living room while Grandma would answer all the questions and solve all of the word puzzles out loud.


And I'll never forget how she would pin curl her hair. I remember her sitting in her recliner with a black, velvet pouch covered in pink & red flowers with dark green leaves resting in her lap. As she watched over us, she would gingerly section off her wet hair and slowly coil them into neat, little spirals on top of her head. Securing them into place with the metal bobby pins from inside that black velvet pouch. It was something I admired, even as a little girl. And something I can still so clearly remember as an adult.

Sometimes I wish, that after Grandma had passed, I would have asked to keep that pouch of her, those metal bobby pins still kept safely inside. Perhaps maybe having that memory is worth so much more. And it's weird to me, that something so innocent as recalling her doing that simple act will sometimes make me cry.


08 August 2017

What you are left with...


Today has been quite busy and I've been rather tired. But in the spirit of blogging every weekday this month, I'm checking in with a quote that has been on my mind lately. The other day, while I was reading Bright Lights, Big City, there was quote that resonated with me so much that I just had to share it with you all.

"...what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name." - Jay McInerney


This quote reminds me so much of everything I was going through during 2015. Especially in regards to my divorce. But it also reminds me of all the hope that I experienced that year with the new life I was finding with Alex and all of the amazing things that came along with it. The start of something new, finding my footing, remembering who I was again and letting the past fall behind me without getting caught up in it's netting. Life is a series of events that you can either let soften you or harden you. I choose the former and will continue to, again and again.

I hope you all had a lovely day! As for me, I think I'll be retiring to the bedroom a lot earlier than Alex & I had planned.

07 August 2017

Our Weekend

Now I don't think I'll do a weekend recap every Monday, but the last weekend was pretty fun, so I figured I'd share ours. Friday night we went out for Mexican with Megan and Justin. Margaritas were had and Megan and Alex "nerded out" over Game of Thrones. It was First Friday downtown so we walked around, went to the antique store down there. Then made our way to Scout & Tag and a record store. We all found some records too! Alex found two Steve Martin stand-up records and I found a Hall & Oates vinyl of Private Eyes. Afterwards we all went back to our place where we played video games and listened to music.
Saturday, after yoga Alex & I hung out, ran some errands and then went on a coffee date. Which was followed by an awesome thunderstorm and a trip to the bookstore. We ambled around in random stores too. We spent the rest of the evening vegging out and watching TV. Saturday was actually pretty uneventful come evening time. I was pretty tired since Olive woke me up around 5 earlier that morning. And after all the running around, I was spent.
Sunday rolled around. I made us breakfast, with homemade no-knead skillet bread, scrambled eggs and french press coffee. The bread was so, so good and really easy to make. You can find the recipe here. Then Alex headed off to work for a tiny two-hour shift since they needed an extra chef of staff for brunch. Afterwards we went on another coffee date and I finished my book that I started a few weeks ago. It's called Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. It's written in second person and absolutely incredible. For dinner we had chicken tacos and then headed over to my sister's to watch Twin Peaks. We finished off our weekend while watching Game of Thrones while Olive hung out with us in the living room.


So, that was our weekend? How was yours? I hope it was awesome! Let me know in the comments below.

04 August 2017

My Weekly Workout Routine

​I've been working out for a long time now. Which is a big deal for me because I used to not exercise at all in my early twenties. Even though I've been in my workout routine for awhile now, I'm still learning a lot. And it goes without saying that I am by no means a professional. I just do what's right for me and what makes me feel good about myself.​ I'll be honest, some weeks I only get two sessions of cardio in. Other weeks I get at least 4. It really depends on how I'm feeling and what life is like. But the one thing I always get in is yoga and weight training. Because it helps me focus on my personal wellness. Yoga really helps me manage stress and make me feel more centered.

Here's what my weekly workout routine looks like:

Tuesday - Cardio at home: I've scoured Pinterest for some at home cardio routines and these are the best ones I've found... one and two. I actually work up quite a sweat and the best part is that they only take 20 minutes. I also throw in some weight training with a 5lb dumbbell. Here's a really great one too.

Wednesday - Cardio & Bend and Flow Yoga: Once I get to the gym I run for 20-30 minutes. I'll run for a mile and depending on how I feel, I'll run another half mile and then I'll interval between a 30 second sprint and a 30 second rest. Raising the speed from 6 mph to 8 mph. I also use this Interval Workout on days where I don't feel like running at the same speed. Afterwards, I'll head to a 45 minute yoga class. Flow yoga focuses on holding poses and flowing between lots of poses - we also focus on balance.

Thursday - Cardio & Yoga Sculpt: If I don't feel like running again I'll either use the stair stepper or elliptical for 20-30 minutes. Although this might change. Yesterday I tried a 45 minute spin class for the first time - and I loved it. I don't do any weight training on this day because the yoga class uses weights.Yoga Sculpt is a 60 minute class that focuses on poses with weights thrown into the mix - this is the yoga class where I burn the most calories.

Friday - Cardio at home: This is still an up in the air workout day. I had intentions of starting this today, but after last night's spin class and Olive waking me up at 5AM, I'm a little worn out. But next Friday... I'm coming for 'ya!

Saturday - Yoga Fit: Sometimes I'll run before hand, sometimes I don't. But I've found that even if I run for 10 minutes prior to yoga class I get a lot more out of it. Yoga Fit is an active 60 minute class dedicated to holding poses and doing deep stretches. Which is great after I've worked out all week long. I always leave this class feeling like a new person and completely relaxed.

As for counting calories, I don't really do it. I am just conscious of what I consume. I try not to eat too much sugar - it makes me sick to my stomach. I try to eat a lot of veggies and lean meats. I eat very little processed foods and bread (trust me, it happens sometimes) and I try my hardest to stay away from cheese. Even though I don't count calories, I do love using my Apple watch to figure out how many calories I've burned during any given workout. Mainly because I am always amazed by how much I do indeed burn. I used to have a Polar watch and it was okay, but the Apple watch is a lot better.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what my weekly workout routine looks like. I had a lot of fun sharing it!
I'll check back in with you all on Monday. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Do you work out? What does your weekly workout routine look like? Let me know in the comments below.

03 August 2017

My Week So Far

I can't believe that it's already Thursday! Seriously, how did this happen? I didn't really have a specific post in mind for today, so I figured I'd catch you all up on what my week has been like so far. Who doesn't love a rambling post? This week started off perfect because it rained all day Monday. I absolutely love rainy days and it was made even better by the fact that Alex & I spent all day in bed. We also finally finished watching Bored To Death. Tuesday was pretty much uneventful aside from making a cherry clafoutis and working out at home. My glutes are still sore from all of the squats and lunges! Which I secretly don't mind because sometimes I don't feel like I've truly worked out unless I'm sore the next day.

On Wednesday evening I went to yoga. Afterwards Alex made us burritos for dinner and then I booked it to the writing group at the library. My friend Megan and I have been attending this group for awhile now and it's really great. We had a write in, which I loved. I mainly worked on transcribing some old poems into digital format. Even though my intention earlier that day was to work on my piece of flash fiction that I started a few months ago.

As for the flash fiction piece, I've been tweaking it for awhile now and have toyed with the idea of turning into a short fiction piece. It's really unlike anything I've ever written before, especially in subject matter. So there is a part of me that would like to see where it can go. As of right now, I really need to focus on character development and see where it takes me.

Tonight I have another yoga class and this weekend is the first weekend of Alex's new schedule. He's switching back to a normal Monday-Friday and I'm really excited to have a proper weekend with him. Aside from another yoga class Saturday morning, our weekend is pretty much wide open. There's been talk of a coffee date sometime on Saturday. So we'll see what happens!

I hope all of you have had a lovely week so far! What are your plans for this weekend?
Let me know in the comments below!

I think tomorrow I will do a post about my workout routine. Be sure to check back for that!

02 August 2017

Cherry Clafoutis

Sometimes there's a bag of cherries sitting in your fridge that is getting too close to being too ripe. So, when life gives you cherries (that we're thankfully on sale) sometimes you just have to make a cherry clafoutis. This simple and rustic French dessert is perfect for summer days and is delicious served both cold and warm. As I was making this cherry clafoutis last night, I noticed that it was very similar to the Swedish Apple Cake I made back in May. So, with that in mind - if you don't have or even like cherries - go ahead and substitute in whatever fruit your heart desires. You won't regret it!


Traditionally the French leave the pits in, claiming that when baked, the pits give off a almond flavour. But, the idea of biting down on a pit doesn't seem all that appealing. So I simply cut the cherries in half and removed the pit, and threw in some almond extract. If you want to go the traditional route, I commend you. Alright, let's get on to this silk and creamy recipe!

CHERRY CLAFOUTIS

INGREDIENTS
3 eggs
2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
butter to grease the baking dish
1-2 tbls of granulated sugar for the baking dish

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 F, take a stick of butter and generously coat the sides and bottom of a 9 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, tapping to make sure that the dish is evenly coated. Go ahead and pit the cherries (I just took a knife and cut them in half) and arrange them in circles on the baking dish. The bottom of the dish should be completely covered with cherries.

In a bowl mix the eggs, sugar, salt and extracts until well blended. Then pour in the melted butter and mix until smooth. Next you'll add in the flour, mixing until the batter is completely free of lumps (I used an immersion blender for this step and it worked great). At this point the batter should be really thin. Also here's a tip: the smoother the batter, the better. Because if it isn't 100% blended it won't be the clafoutis won't be as silky as it should.

Immediately pour the mixture over the cherries and bake for 35-45 minutes. The goal here is to have the clafoutis puff up and be slightly golden brown in colour. Just make sure you don't overcook it or it will be rubbery. Yes, the middle will be slightly wobbly in the center - but it's completely fine. It will cook as it cools and nce it cools, cut it up and enjoy the deliciousness.

I just love how rustic this dessert looks. It is so simple to make and deliciously rewarding. If you're feeling adventurous, you can sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. I think next time I'll be making this with blueberries. Let me know if you try this recipe! I'd love to know if you like it or not.

01 August 2017

25 Things You Didn't Know About Me


I'm kicking off the August Blogging Challenge with a classic things you didn't know about me blog post. Why? Mainly because I love reading these types of posts. Besides, I thought it would be fun to share some random-ish facts about myself. Hopefully you enjoy finding out some new facts about yours truly! Let’s get started, shall we?

The one show that I can watch again and again is Seinfeld. It's also one of the shows that I the most in daily life.

I was on the yearbook committee in high school. Yes, I was that nerd. I took photos and wrote.

I don't care what people say; a good vanilla bean ice cream is the ultimate flavour.

If I could live anywhere in the world it would be either Whitby, England or New Orleans.

My engagement ring and wedding band are the best gifts I have ever received because Alex came along with it.

My mom grew up in Bronx and I still can't understand why she ever moved to Florida. I feel more at home in NY than in Florida.

My favourite cocktail used to be a Ramos Gin Fizz. But now it's margarita on the rocks with a salted rim.

I love the smell of lavender, but cannot stand the way it tastes in baked goods or drinks.

I've never had braces, but always wanted them when I was younger, but I didn't need them.

I always wanted glasses too... and well, you can see what came of that.

I first met Alex when I was 14. We were just babies and neither one of us can remember why we broke up.

Before Olive, I had a cat named Keeks. As a child, I had both cats and dogs.

I drove to Texas by myself when I was eighteen. That was also the first time I went to New Orleans and feel in love with that city. As for Texas, I don't ever want to go back. Sorry if you're just finding this out, Mom. Womp womp.

The first time I was on a plane was when I was a year old - my mom & I were headed to New York to see my newborn cousin.

With that being said, I love flying, but loathe the idea of being on a large boat.

I initially went to college for interior design, but then transferred to another school and got a degree in liberal arts.

The first movie Alex & I saw together was Dark City - all the way back in 1998.

When I was younger my parents asked me if I wanted a little brother or sister. I got what I wanted. (I'm talking about you, Caitlin!)

In the past, Alex & I both didn't want children, but now we're set on having just one.

I like to think of awkward/random band names, for example, Crunchy Mustard. It's something that me, Alex and my sister have bonded over. "Hey everyone, we're Crunchy Mustard. We're gonna to play a couple songs for you tonight...". It's ridiculous, but fun.

I have seasonal summer depression. The heat makes me incredibly lethargic and quite sad. Megan & Alex like to joke that I'm a cat and just might fall asleep under a car in order to get some relief from the summer heat. Hahaha.

I like gloomy, rainy days and cooler weather - they are my jam. Yes, I know I live in the wrong state, but Florida does have some really amazing thunderstorms. It's the only redeeming quality.

I've been writing poetry and short stories since I was in middle school. I've been asked before if I'll ever want to publish them, but I'm unsure. When I was younger I was extremely against the idea, but now I don't think I'd be too opposed to it.

I'd rather spend money on good coffee than on mediocre food. Latte, French Press, chicory, pour overs - whatever it is, I'm down.

I don't enjoy shopping as much as I used to and I'm fine with that. However, I am not opposed to wasting a few hours in an antique shop or IKEA.


Alright, so know that you know more about me, I want to get to know you! I'd love it if you would share a few facts about yourself in the comments below...


Don't forget to stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post!