Happy April!

Happy spring! We celebrated the first week of spring earlier but doesn’t April make it feel more official? If you need some spring cleaning tips or just a good book to read, check it out here and here. Or the best playlist ever, here. PS we love/hate April Ludgate.

ImageI also love/hate fish. I can’t decide. I added it to this week’s menu in attempt to “broaden my horizons.” Check out past weekly menus here

Monday: Halibut Tacos. Ew. I’m trying.

Tuesday: Almond flour pancakes, eggs, and sausage. This is a reward for eating halibut.

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Hash (can’t wait to try this)

Thursday: Stir fry with cauli-rice

Friday: BBQ shredded pork and mashed sweet potatoes

In other news, I cannot wait to dye eggs

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Or garden eggs

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or make Katie’s insanely awesome Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. She’s so cool.

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Real Food Meets Real Life

Normally I post our weekly menus and give you a peek into how we eat on the “reg.” Well, sometimes life isn’t very “reg.” This is especially true of the past few days. My whole “real food” journey has been going on for 3 years now and I have had to learn a thing or two about how to make real food work for real life . . . or at least I think I have. Here are a few thoughts  . . .

1. Relax. Stressing out about food is the last thing you need to be doing, especially if your day(s) have been crazy. Cortisol, inflammation, anxiety . . . save yourself the tummy or head ache. While your body is a temple that is to be treated with respect, it is also temporary.

2. Instagram. I have discovered some of my favorite products via Instagram. While I’m not encouraging you to become a phone addict, Instagram has been oh’ so helpful in discovering awesome products and awesome people. I listed some of my favorites below, click on their pic to be taken to their home site.

PALEO TREATS 

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PETE’S PALEO (no, not all of these links are paleo. stay with me)

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BARNEY BUTTER

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EATING EVOLVED

 

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CHAMELEON COLD-BREW

 

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3. Be prepared. This isn’t always doable and that’s okay! However keeping a box of these

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or these!

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on hand is always helpful. If you do have time, put together a bag of almonds and dark chocolate to keep in your glove box or bag . . . I keep oranges and avocados in my swim bag with a plastic knife and spoon. I also maybe keep my favorite salt in a Ziplock bag as well. That’s weird. I know. Jerky or canned tuna is another awesome “convenience food.”

4. The Key Three. Protein. Fat. Carbohydrates. When I’m staying at other people’s homes (as in, right now) I usually make a run to the nearest grocery store and grab one of the following protein sources: ground beef, grass fed hot dogs, rotisserie chicken. AND I grab both avocados and sweet potatoes. Why? They will keep me nourished and require very little preparation.

5. Think on your feet. Today we were “car-less” for a few hours and stranded at a coffee shop. Did I mention we were starving and scones (sadly) just weren’t going to cut it? We found a store nearby and grabbed a package of gluten free salami and helped ourselves to the olive bar. Boom. Bam. Be creative and learn to think on your feet.

6. Liquid Silver

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and Wellness Formula

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If you are experiencing a stressful season, chances are your sleep is a little “off” and if you’re anything like me, a sore throat and scratchy voice is just around the corner. The morning we left AZ, I woke up feeling real sick. These are two “must have-s” to keep on hand. Along with turmeric and ginger tea! Have you heard of Mickey Trescott? She’s real cool. Real cool.

ALL THINGS SPRING: The Gift Guide

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Did today feel different to you? Did it feel like spring? I went on a walk and stared at some snapdragons for a little bit, savoring the spring vibe. Today I am introducing the “spring gift guide.” Why? For a few reasons . . . Easter baskets are still a thing. Secondly, I’m sure you know at least one person who has a spring birthday coming up. Lastly, giving gifts is a love language. This list is comprised of both the small and the medium. Nothing crazy extravagant. Something for every budget. The photo above is from the awesome blog, Poppy Talk. Make sure to take a gander for some gift wrapping inspiration! Think of someone to love on and let’s get giving!

Super Cool Washi Tape

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A hand written note telling someone how thankful you are for them.

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Remember THE Spring Playlist from a few days ago? Well, it just got even cooler.

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Jenis!!!!!!!!! Apparently, Whole Foods is carrying it now? Right on. Click on photo for link to website

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Know any history buffs? Or I guess, marshmallow buffs? These are so fun.

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Solar iphone charger. Not cheap but not really that expensive either. Plus, it’s totally brilliant.

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You should totally bake and give away one of Joy the Baker’s “Salty Honey Pie(s).” For real.

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The Illustrated Chronicles of Narnia (and you thought they were for children . . . )

The complete chronicles of Narnia

Last but certainly not least, gift card to Audible.com because while the first download might be free, the second one definitely is not

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ALL THINGS SPRING: The Literature

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Welcome to day 3 of Spring Week! So far we have covered spring cleaning (aka: DIY cleaning products, aromatherapy for your home, and two of my favorite, magical cleaning tricks) and THE spring playlist you need for driving, running, unloading the dishwasher, and just regular, everyday living. If there is a season for long walks at dusk and good music, it’s spring.

Today we are covering “spring time reads” because if there is a season for good reads in the sunshine, it’s also spring. I have asked my own counterpart, bosom friend, yin (to my yang) and lifetime best friend, to put together a reading list for this upcoming season, complied of works that give a “spring-ish vibe.” That vibe is different for everyone but believe me, if anyone has a say in what to read, it’s Nicole Noelle.

She is classy, always smells good and has beautiful hands. She should be a hand model. She has impeccable style and reminds me of a nymph. Is that weird? She has always been better at putting on eyeliner and always been better at thinking before speaking. If I need a second opinion on any item of clothing, it’s her I ask. She loves vegetables . . . which is so weird to me. I like them now (given I basically have to) but she actually enjoys them. I used to think this was some sort of sick joke. I’ve since “seen the light” but believe me, that was after many years of sour straws, many packages of Oreos, and many sarcastic remarks as Nikki eagerly ate asparagus.

In conclusion: She’s the best. You will not regret anyone of these classic reads this upcoming season.

Persuasion // Jane Austen

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The Great Gatsby // F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Hobbit // J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Great Divorce // C. S. Lewis

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Farenheit 451 // Ray Bradbury

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Of Mice and Men // John Steinbeck

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A Tale of Two Cities // Charles Dickens

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ALL THINGS SPRING: THE Playlist

“I would teach the children music, physics and philosophy, but the most important is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the keys to all learning.”   – Plato

If you are curious to read more of what Plato has to say about the power music holds, I would encourage you to read The Republic. No, I’m not kidding. It’s totally cool and absolutely worth your time. Just don’t tell anyone or (do what I do) and take the cover off of the book so you don’t look like a tool.

Below is THE playlist you need for spring time. It has been put together by the one and only, Luke Taylor Hardy. Luke Taylor is Rick Umble’s counterpart. Well, I guess that’s me. Luke is his male counterpart? That sounds weird. Anyways, Luke is one of our dearest friends.

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I clearly remember the day I met Luke. He drove a wagon that smelled like home, listened to Cold War Kids and (and) loved Harry Potter. I sat in the backseat and remember thinking, “We’re going to be friends.” Well . . . almost 4 years later, we are friends. He was Rick’s best man and played the piano as I walked down the aisle on our wedding day. He’s pretty great.

He also has impeccable music taste. I don’t always like what he plays and that’s how I know it’s probably good. It’s easy to get stuck in ruts. Music can be hard to listen to. Why do you think the “top 50” are the “top 50?” Because they are easy to listen to. Simple. Sweet. To the point. It’s the good music that takes time. It should take you a few tries when listening to a new album. You know how watching a movie for the second time can reveal “hidden” things you didn’t see or notice the first time? Music is sometimes like that.

The songs below are indeed, “spring.”  This is such a good list, seriously. Enjoy.

Pacific– Sleeping At Last

Ragged Wood – Fleet Foxes

The Wild Hunt – Tallest Man on Earth

Ends of the Earth – Lord Huron

Cello Song – The Books ft. Jose Gonzalez

Entrance – Washed Out

It all Feels Right – Washed Out

Oh No – Andrew Bird

The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

Gravity Rides Everything – Modest Mouse

ALL THINGS SPRING: Spring Cleaning

Is spring cleaning even a thing anymore? I vividly remember watching the Brady’s spring clean on Nick at Night

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But then again, the Bradys (Bradies?) are in a league of their own. So are Marsha’s eyebrows.

Anyways, whether or not you choose to “spring clean,” here are some DIY methods that can and will leave your space fresh. Crisp. Inviting. Serene. Invigorating. Basically all the spring adjectives.

Some tips: keep spray bottles on hand for various homemade cleaners. I grab them at Walmart for less than a buck and keep them in the laundry room/kitchen sink.

Insanely Awesome Shower Cleaner: Unless your shower is as cool as this,

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it probably gets weirdo grime + soap scum build up like our’s. Actually, we don’t use a ton of soap anymore so it’s mostly coconut oil build up, which can be even weirder. I keep a bottle of this in the shower to use as needed but it works best after sitting for a good 10-20 minutes before cleaning. You will need . . .  1 C white vinegar. 1/4 C liquid dish soap. 8 drops of tea tree oil (optional but worth it). Pour ingredients into spray bottle and give a mild shake. Spray onto “dirty” surfaces. Allow to sit. Give it a good scrub. Be amazed. This stuff is my favorite. It can also DOUBLE as a toilet bowl cleaner and/or bathroom counter/sink cleaner. Not to mention, it’s super, super cheap.

All Purpose Cleaner: 1 Cup of white vinegar to 8 drops of tea tree oil. Optional: 5 drops of a “cheerful” essential oil (tangerine, orange, lemon etc). Place ingredients in spray bottle and spray away! The vinegar cuts through anything and everything. For tough messes, allow it to sit for 10 minutes before wiping or scrubbing. The tea tree oil acts as both an anticeptic and bacterial. The cheerful oils are my favorite part.

This awesome sage spray!! Beautiful and so fun.

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Are you familiar with aromatherapy and it’s holistic health benefits? We’re talking physical, mental, and emotional. These three are inseparable. Anyways, we will be tackling aromatherapy as a whole in the quite, near future. Until then here are some easy ways to diffuse essential oils using things you probably already have on hand. Here is a link if you want to create some of your own oil blends. Otherwise, stick to whatever smells good to you in the moment. Your body will tell you what you need.

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– The Cotton Ball: Add a few drops of your choice oil into cotton balls and hide behind picture frames, knick-knacks, etc

– The Pine Cone: Technically pine cones aren’t very “spring” but we still have some around the house! Pine cones are great (of course, God is so wise) at holding scent. Adding a few drops of oil(s) to pine cones and placing them around your home creates both cozy and calm. 

– The Candle Method: Light a non-scented candle and allow a small amount of wax to pool around the wick. Add a few drops of oil into the melted wax and allow the candle to further burn like normal. That’s it!

My mom gifts me the best books. For our first wedding anniversary, she got me this gem,

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don’t judge a book by it’s cover!!! This chick is awesome. I have learned tons from her quirky wisdom. Here are two snippets that hopefully will be of the same help to you.

How to Clean your Microwave 101: Run a rag or bar towel under the sink. Ring it out but you want it to be thoroughly wet. Place rag in the microwave by itself and “cook” for 45 seconds. DO NOT OPEN microwave. This is when the steam from your now, very hot towel is doing it’s magic. After 15 minutes, open the microwave and wipe the gunk away with a second, damp rag. I follow up with the all- purpose cleaner.

The Wonders of Club Soda: Did you know club soda is the great eraser? As long as the spill is new, club soda “lifts” the stain up from it’s victim via it’s bubbly nature. “The Queen” carries club soda with her wherever she goes, apparently. Which is not a bad idea. I have been keeping mine in the laundry room and have indeed been, “wowed.”

Whether you are planning on a spring clean or not, may these DIY tricks and tips be of the utmost service to you! Enjoy! We will be back tomorrow with an entire playlist created just for SPRING. Can’t wait.

S is for Saturday (SPRING EDITION!!!!)

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March 20th is the first day of spring and I am stoked. Music. Books. Art. Fresh thyme. Treats. It’s all coming your way. You know how bloggers invite “guest bloggers?” Well, I did “that” and I couldn’t be more excited. Why? Because these guests are some of my favorite people and will be sharing some of their favorite things. It’s a win, win situation and it’s all going down on, on this little corner of the interworld. We are all weird amphibians . . . tied to the physical and longing for the eternal. I think all four seasons pull on our amphibian heart strings but spring is interesting. My sweet friend Nicole called spring, “vague.” Vague indeed. What do you think of when you think of “spring?” I think of vanilla frosting with the “curl” at the top and wearing sweat shirts over sandy skin. I also think of chocolate bunnies.

Join us everyday this week for “ALL THINGS SPRING,” featuring some of my favorite people and some of their favorite things. Spring is just around the bend!