6/29/2016

INSPIRED BY...


{ That entry. Dutch doors get me every time... }

{The brightness, clean lines, and the simplicity of that dining room. Makes me want to buy a few gallons of white paint, a new dining room table, plan a menu, and have a dinner party.}

{You guessed it. The hood... }


{That neutral bedroom, but specifically that little settee in front of the bed. If that doesn't look like the most comfy and cushion-y thing, then I don't know what does... }

Images 1 /2/ 3/ 4
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6/21/2016

MY SUMMER READING LIST...


I took one book with me on my recent vacation- a book that I couldn't finish because it turned out to be quite a bore. I read solely for the escape of it all and I don't finish books that aren't making me escape. I don't feel bad about it, but don't you hate when that happens?? So instead I spent time researching books to read and reading lots of samples to determine what books would make my official summer reading list! Here are the books that made the cut...

1. "Truly Madly Guilty" by Liane Moriarty -  Liane is by far one of my favorite authors, so I am really excited about her new book. The style of her writing is perfection - sharp, funny, suspenseful, sad, and inspiring all in one. I love books that explore the dynamics of marriage, family, and relationships -  and this one is just that. In this book, Clementine and her husband get a last minute invite from her friend Erica to attend a barbecue. Clementine accepts the invite and from then on wonders what her life would have been like if she had declined the invite... What happened at that barbecue??? Can't wait to see what that's all about.

2. "The Third Wife" by Lisa Jewell - If you liked "Gone Girl" or "The Girl On the Train", then you might like this book. I read the sample at the beach and was perturbed when I got to the end of it. It totally left me hanging - in a good way! So it obviously made the list. In the beginning of the book, the inebriated third wife of a man steps out in front of a moving bus and dies. Was it suicide or an accident? Hmm. She supposedly had a good relationship with her husband, his prior wives, and their children. Or did she? Was this just an accident caused by her inebriation? Did someone have it in for her? Or was she just overwhelmed by the minutia of being... the third wife??

3. "The Hopefuls" - Jennifer Close - I've seen this book on just about every summer reading list, so I have to assume its going to be good! It explores the political lives of a young husband and wife who make a new move to Washington, D.C. As the husband is fulfilling his political dreams, his wife is navigating the D.C. scene - the dinner parties, the political clicks, the fashion, the gossip, questionable "friendships," and the pressure of just trying to fit in for the sake of her husband's career. Can their marriage survive this new life? I'm sure they are hopeful...

4. "One True Loves" by Taylor Jenkins Reid - I recently read "After I Do" by Reid and I'm now a big fan. In her most recent novel, Reid writes of a woman who was married to the love of her life until he dies in a helicopter crash. She moves back home after his death and then runs into an old friend - who eventually becomes her fiancé and her second chance at happiness. But then her first husband shows up - alive. Now what??

5. "The Children" by Ann Leary - The family drama is this book has me totally intrigued. The book is told by Charlotte, a 29-year-old blogger who lives and works quietly at her mother's beautiful New England estate. Her mother is "allowed" to live at the estate via a provision in her late husband's (Charlotte's stepfather) family trust. The family has certainly had their issues, but all is sort of calm until Charlotte's stepbrother, Spin, who formally owns the home, brings his new fiancé home to meet everyone. Although she seems splendid, it's around that time when family secrets, lies, and resentments surface. And did I mention that Charlotte is quite a famous blogger - and no one in her family really knows that???

6. "The Year We Turned Forty" by Lize Fenton & Lisa Steinke - The first thing I will say about this book is that I don't think you have to be anywhere near 40 to enjoy it. It makes you think about the decisions you are making right now no matter what age you are. The book revolves around the lives of three best friends who hit 40 and start contemplating past decisions and missed opportunities. Jesse is tackling her personal issues that resulted in an affair that ended her marriage to her ex-husband - a man she still loves. Gabriella chose to focus her fertile years on building her successful career and now she wants a baby more than anything else in the world. Now she must convince her husband to want the same thing. Claire spent most of her adult life raising a difficult daughter who has finally blossomed into a beautiful young adult. Now she has time to think about a man who got away and the bond she wished she had with her mother. We always wonder if the grass would have been greener, but I guess we never know until we try to find out...

What are you reading this summer???

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6/15/2016

MY NIGHTLY "WIND DOWN" ROUTINE...

My absolute favorite time of the day is night time - specifically the hour or so before bed. The day is over, dinner has been made and eaten, the kitchen has been cleaned, and preparations for the next day have been made. All there is left to do is relax and wind down! Love it. I am a very routine person, so establishing and sticking to a routine every night pretty much ensures a good night of sleep for me - and does for most people I think. I typically do these six things (all before 10PM on a good day!), which may seem like a lot, but self-care is everything to me these days. Here goes... 

1. The first thing I do is stretch myself out. I turn on a show on my DVR that I need to catch up on and then use this Magic Circle to stretch out my legs and hips. They have become incredibly tight from sitting at a desk all day for years. Sometimes I'll do a short series of Pilates (the 100, roll-ups, a side-kick series, etc. ) if what I'm watching on TV is worth the extra time and effort... :)

2. The next thing I do is step into my empty bathtub and brush my skin! Dry brushing has become a bit of a craze over the past few years and it's a craze that I'm totally with. It eliminates dead skin and stimulates the body's lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that rid the body of toxins, which makes dry brushing a super important thing for me to do given my autoimmune disease. Brushing the skin does sort of waken the body, so it almost makes more sense to do this in the morning. But I prefer more time to sleep in the morning to dry brushing, so I do it at night (I use this $6 brush). The next thing I do calms my body back down... 

3. I take a shower every morning and I take a shower every single night. That may be crazy to some, but I like to feel fresh before my day starts and I like to be free of the dirt of the day when the day ends. That's just how I roll. Showers relax me at night have have become a signal for my body to wind down. I know that because I don't sleep well on the rare times that I don't shower before bed. 

Anyway, my nightly shower is where I do the majority of my skin care regimen. My skin gets oiler and dirtier in the summers, so I use my Clarisonic two nights a week to get a good deep clean. If you don't have a Clarisonic yet, get one - like today or tomorrow. Clearer, softer skin and smaller pores are just a purchase away. Its been a game changer for me and most people I know who have one. Clarisonics don't exfoliate the skin, so I exfoliate a few nights a week using this pore scrub. I use this cleanser the other nights of the week and when I use my Clarisonic. I then moisturize with this night cream. 

And yes. All of my facial products come from the same line and can be found at your local drugstore, Target, or on Amazon. No offense to anyone, but I just can't be bothered right now with trying different types of cleansers, oils, masks, toners, and moisturizers that come from tons of different places. My face tends to dislike change, so I stick to what my face likes and this line along with the occasional good-quality facial, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, getting good sleep, and drinking lots of water is working well for me right now. I'll add things in if things start to change! I still use the products in this post in the mornings... 

4. I've mentioned this soap a few times here on the blog and I feel like it's worth mentioning again. I use the Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap in the mornings and at night. It's organic and all natural and has been a game changer for my skin. The peppermint scent is actually very calming for me, but lots of people I know use the lavender scent- particularly at night. It's just good stuff and can do TONS of things other than clean your skin... 


5. After my shower I crawl in bed and do my evening devotion. This is honestly something I just started doing consistently a few months ago. I downloaded this daily devotional book (LOVE it). I read it for the current day - and sometimes it's so good that I read the next day's too! I study the scriptures that are in each devotion and then I make my gratitude list for the day in my journal. I just write down 5 or so little things I'm thankful for that day. Doing all of this makes me appreciate that particular day no matter what it was like and it makes me look forward to the next day - no matter what I'm facing.

6. The last thing I do before bed is meditate. I wrote a full post on here on my routine. I do a 5 or 10 minute "deep sleep" guided meditation that often makes me fall asleep in a matter of minutes. I HIGHLY recommend sleep meditations if you have trouble sleeping. It works so well. I hear this sleep podcast works wonders, too...

Do you guys adhere to a nighttime routine????

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6/13/2016

SCENES FROM MY SUMMER '16 VACATION...

{The view from our balcony - where I spent most of my time...}

HI THERE!!! How are you?? I had zero intention of taking that long of a break from blogging, but life has just been getting in the way over here. I'm still on my healing journey, so I'm still massively cooking and resting most free moments I have. My precious sweet baby of a cat has been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (i.e. severe heart disease), so I've been nursing him and giving him all of the love and attention I can possibly give him. After all of that plus work, time and energy just haven't been there...

But I'm a little more energized now that I'm just back from my FAVORITE place on earth - the beach. My family and I recently went back to Singer Island, FL for some R&R and we had a great time. We all have really busy daily lives, so we planned things as each day came- and most of the time our plans involved hanging out at the beach, watching Netflix (LOVED Season 2 of Chef's Table!!), cooking, and having long chats on the balcony. It was super laid back, which was exactly what I needed. Here are a few moments from our trip... 

{The beach...  Yes. Yes. And yes.}


{Just because I was on vacation didn't mean I vacated my daily meditation practice. The beach made it even more relaxing and enjoyable. The top of that super cute and comfy swimsuit is here. The bottoms are here, and the hat is from here.}




{I'm still on my extra crazy Autoimmune Protocol diet (which is REALLY hard but REALLY working I must say), so we grocery shopped and cooked a lot instead of going out. This was lunch that my brother and I made one afternoon. He made his signature turkey sandwiches and I made organic fruit salad and sautéed zucchini and squash noodles to go on the side... }


{Since I can't have gluten, the sandwiches were out for me, so I made myself this organic chicken & avocado salad. I tucked the rest of the zucchini and squash noodles in there and topped it with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The chips you see there are Terra Taro chips. I can't have white potatoes right now (I've been dying for just ONE French fry or regular potato chip), but these chips have been a good stand-in... }

{A little evening beach photo session with my brother - a brother who is so patient, super smart, wise, the BEST listener and advice giver, and incredibly talented with the camera. I just love him. }

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