Buddha Bowl

This week was my first attempt at making a Buddha bowl and it did NOT disappoint. It’s a really nice mix up from a greens based salad and new way to incorporate yummy tofu into my diet.  I highly recommend pressing your tofu ahead of time and marinating it for at least an hour (I prefer to prep mine a day ahead of time so it gets a full day to marinate).

The break down:

Grains: Rice and quinoa blend (I recommend using stock or broth with your favorite spices to cook your grains, it turns out way more flavorful).

Veggies: Cherry tomatoes, avocado and eggplant roasted* with smoked paprika.

Protein: Tofu, I used some leftover marinade for a light dressing on everything.

*Recently learned that NOT salting the eggplant before roasting makes it FAR less soggy. Game. Changer.

Sweet Saturdays

This past Saturday was a day of doing things, my favorite kind of day.  It left me inspired, tired from laughing and walking and grateful for time spent with friends and family.

 

The plan for the day was to drive out to the Luckett’s Spring Market out in Berryville, VA.  As a lover of The Old Luckett’s Store, this was my first time at their spring market and let me just say, it surpassed the hype.  If you love design and refurbished or homemade items, it’s heaven on earth.  Seeing as my budget has been mostly spent on travel and gifts as of late, it wasn’t a buying trip, it was more a fun thing to do on a spring Saturday.  I got lots of design ideas for my future hypothetical dream house (for which I have a dedicated Pinterest board), and time spent outside eating and drinking and looking around.

Podcasts…

Within the past six months I’ve become a big podcast fan.  I get so excited on the days my favorites release new episodes and I find myself sitting in my car in front of my house after my commute just wanting to finish the episode before I head in to get all the evening tasks done.  There are so many out there, some are super popular, others are hidden gems, so I thought I’d talk about my current top three.  Let it be known that I’m not into the murder mystery ones or anything like that, it’s more of my roommates wheelhouse so I get my pants scared off when she tells me bits and pieces about her latest episodes.  Unsurprisingly, mine are lifestyle, food and humor related, and that’s just the way I like it.

unqualifiedNumber one is Anna Farris’ brilliant podcast “Unqualified“.  Most podcast lovers have heard of it if they’re not already huge fans, I believe it won some awards this year and it has been fairly popular on Apple’s podcast app.  This one is interview based and has some regular features such as caller questions, hypothetical scenarios and other fun and thought provoking prompts.  My favorite recent guest has to be Eric Stonestreet (although Tom Middleditch comes in at a close second).  On “Unqualified” you get to see a more casual side of the guests in a interview setting, they still plug their projects but you start to kind of see them as real people and less “Hollywood”.

cherryThe second is allllllll about food and women, both of which I love!  “Radio Cherry Bomb” is a foodie podcast that interviews chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, anyone with a passion for food and they focus a lot of energy on celebrating women in the food industry.  Just listening to it makes me hungry and want to spend a year eating at all the amazing restaurants they talk about.  Every once in awhile you’ll also catch a pro tip from the interviewee on their tried and true kitchen practices, it’s always delectably entertaining and I feel like the whole cast are the best of friends, something that isn’t always represented well in the world of women.

PardonFinally, I saved the best for last.  “Pardon my French“.  I have no words.  Garance Doré is not only an amazing blogger, photographer, illustrator and writer… but her voice!  Her podcast is varied and colorful and her topics include living with roommates, green and healthy living and interviews with Joseph Altuzarra just to name a few.  Some are in a group setting, casual, just her and her amazing team sharing thoughts and opinions on something new, and some are live interviews that she hosts at events.  Every time I listen to an episode I want to go home, open a bottle of Rosé from Provence and invite all my girlfriends over to chat.  Suffice to say, it’s the highlight of my Thursday.

I think podcasts are the radio of the future, I hear my parents talk about how good radio used to be, just like how good MTV used to be.  Finally there’s an place you can get quality content with minimal overhead cost and advertising, you can even find whole communities that relate to a subject the way you do.  The quality is there, the creativity is there, it’s a mixture of new and old social tools and I’m a huge fan of the way it’s turning out.

Boston – Lowell 2017

One of the big perks of my current job is an opportunity to travel, it’s all domestic but it takes me places I wouldn’t really go otherwise and that’s pretty neat.  This past weekend I spent taking all kinds of transportation to get to Lowell, Massachusetts which is about 30 minutes outside Boston.  It’s a college town with a pretty cool vibe, it would’ve been even more fun if there wasn’t a snow storm during my visit… 13″ in April… that’s New England for you.

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As a genuine food and drink lover, my first mission was to find a cool coffee shop where I could hangout until I could check into my hotel.  After trudging through the snow for 20 minutes I gave up trying to find the place I had found on google map and settled for a small coffee house that closed early.  I dried off and did some more research trying to figure out why I could not find the entrance to this mystical cafe…  Turns out it was hidden in an old mill turned apartment complex.  I took a hidden elevator to the fourth floor and found THE coolest indoor shops I’ve ever seen in a residential area:

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It made perfect sense that they would put the shops indoors as it was April and snowing heavily, the shops included an apothecary, a cheese shop, a record store just to name a few.  Plus there was a stage for live performances, which looked pretty awesome with huge oriental rugs covering the stage made of reclaimed wood.  I finally made my way to the cafe, Coffee and Cotton, and enjoyed the relaxed vibe over a sandwich and fresh ginger kombucha.  It was the highlight of my weekend and I was happy to find that gem before starting my actual work.

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I also went on every possible type of transportation Boston had to offer and made a quick video of my travels here.  I’m thinking about making some more video content, we’ll see if I stick with it…

Spring 2018 Skincare Routine 

Ahhhh skincare…it’s become a small obsession of mine ever since I discovered Caroline Hirons on YouTube.  She gives amazing tips and reviews and you can find so much valuable information on her blog, a personal favorite of mine is her post on toners.  After watching hours of her witty vlogs, I started to gather info to create my own skincare regimen, or at least make some changes since my old routine wasn’t really doing much for me…

So, here’s the set up: two cleansers (One to remove sweat and make-up, one to clean the skin), a toner (or two if you want to spritz a more concentrated acid, which can be too much for some skin types), then serums (layer a couple if you like going from clear to opaque and liquid to cream) and finally your moisturizer and SPF.  Everyone is different and everyone can afford different products, I’ve taken turns “splurging” on some items though my level of “splurging” is not that ludicrous because I’m an entry level worker/college grad with too many loans to not feel guilty about spending that money later.

img_8148First up is my first cleanse.  Right now I’m using the Clinique Take the Day Off cleansing balm and I love it, I’ve also used the Pixi cleansing balm which as great but I find that the Clinique one is just silkier and reacts better to my skin.  It pulverizes mascara and eyeliner which I wear 95% of the time.  As per the advise of Caroline, I put this on a dry face and use a warm washcloth to wipe it off (invest in 14 washcloths if you’re like me and do laundry barely once a week).

img_8150Next we have the second cleanse.  This one proves to be the most challenging for me, I’ve tried a couple different products and I’m still not totally in love.  This one from Hlyamide is really nice BUT it’s pretty oily as well, this may be something I end up having to splurge a little more on as it’s the product that should really be nourishing and cleaning your skin once the makeup and sweat are removed.  I’ve just picked up a cream from Aveeno to try but haven’t used it long enough to include in here.  Second cleanse should be used same as first, #washclothlife.

Next up: Toning.  My new favorite step in my routine, why?  Because this is really the img_8151exfoliating stage, you’ve loosened things up with the cleansers and a washcloth and now it’s the acids turn to eat up all those dead cells, the key is getting a toner that won’t dry out your skin (Especially if you have naturally dry skin like me).  My favorite so far are these pads by First Aid Beauty, they have a slightly scrubby sides that helps slough off flaky skin and leave it prepped for serums.

 

img_8152As an extra acidic step I really like this toning spray from Hylamide, it leaves my skin feeling fresh and tingly.  Acids are something you want to build up to though, don’t just start using the heaviest most intense thing out there to get results fast, it does not work that way…

 

 

Now that we’ve cleaned and exfoliated the skin it’s ready for some serums, this is really where you get to customize your routine.  Depending on your skin, there’s a million things to try, hydrating, anti-aging, de-puffing, the list goes on and on…

Two of my favorites right now are from the Ordinary, because they’re not only super effective, they are also cheap as hell.  I’ve recommended this brand a ton because even if you try it and one or two products don’t suite you, you haven’t dropped a ton of money on them and won’t feel too guilty giving them to a friend to try instead.  Their Hyaluronic Acid is super hydrating and i like to top it with the brightening Vitamin C lotion that gives my skin a really great tingling sensation (When I say tingling, I mean slightly burning but it doesn’t irritate my skin.  It can be uncomfortable or irritating to others so proceed at your own risk).  Sometimes I like to trade out the Vitamin C for a Retinol or Lactic Acid  at night and in the mornings I like to use their Caffeine serum under my eyes.  All in all I’ve been happy with everything I’ve tried thus far.

 

img_8155Lastly it’s time to seal everything in with a moisturizer, I like this one from Neutrogena because it’s super rich and has SPF in it.  A lot of people say you should have a moisturizer AND a separate SPF but I haven’t gotten to that level yet, so for now I use this and then if I’m going to be out in the sun all day I’ll use another SPF on top because I have very fine skin and don’t want to turn to leather in my old age.

Leave comments with some of your favorite products if you like, I’m still on the hunt for that perfect second cleanse and would love some suggestions!

 

***not sponsored by any of these companies.

Afternoon Tealight

This past weekend proved to be fun, a bit active and ended on an almost too relaxing note (I got nothing done Sunday, instead I binged Netflix and napped… this is what happens if I think I can get through the day without caffeine).

 

The activity of the weekend was most definitely the highlight: Afternoon tea at the Willard Continental Hotel in Washington, D.C.  This is something my Mom has wanted to check off her list for awhile, and we finally got together with some friends and made it happen.  While everyone else was off at breweries and vineyards, we were enjoying some of the finer things in life: tea, scones, sandwiches and miniature desserts all while listening to a live, talented and well humored harpist (At one point she played the Game of Thrones theme song and my sister and I just about died).



As an alcohol appreciator but an absolutely terrible day drinker, it was nice to have a social meal that left me feeling ready for the Saturday night ahead, instead of falling asleep at 7 p.m.  The focus was great friends, in a beautiful setting, enjoying fantastic food and tea (Earl Grey is always the way to go).  In a world where restaurants and bars aim to turn tables and everything can be delivered to your house, it was great to sit and socialize at slower pace.  There was no pressure to wrap it up and get out so they could seat more people and the staff took their time taking us on our tea adventure.  We ended up staying for almost 3 hours and enjoyed it so much we decided to make it a bi-monthly activity.  I’m already looking forward to April and another afternoon of tea-light.

Facebook Freedom

It’s day 2 after deactivating my Facebook account and I won’t lie… it feels good.  In the past I’ve taken breaks from social media, usually because I needed to focus on school or just to see if I could.  This is the first time that I’ve rid myself of it because I felt like it was a burden or something somewhat negative in my life.  Maybe it’s the political climate, maybe it’s all the information I’ve read and listened to online regarding using your time wisely, the benefits of unplugging and the wildly popular idea of creating a hygge inspired home, but Facebook just hasn’t been a great way for me to connect to people as of late.

One of the biggest things I’ve realized is that I’ve posted so many articles, recipes, ideas, blogs, you name it on Facebook and I’d say that I’ve tried or used that information to actually do something or create something 10% of the time.  So I’m circulating all of this great stuff, that I know I could do but don’t have the time or drive to actually accomplish.  So where’s my time going?  Where’s it being wasted?  Where can I cut back?

Facebook.

Now Facebook isn’t my only time eater, Netflix is right up there as well.  It’s not something I want to completely give up though, as my love for film and television is a great pleasure in my life.  What I am trying to limit is the amount of times I re-watch things like Friends: I have the whole series on DVD, I’ve probably seen it 10 times through, I can ace any Friends quiz out there… why am I staying up and throwing away time to watch something I could probably act out single handily?  It’s familiar and I still find it hilarious, but I shouldn’t be wasting my time on it as much as I am. Especially when there’s all sorts of great new content out there.  Right now I’ve been watching Netflix’s original series Abstract if I have the urge to turn on the television.  It’s something new, inspiring and fresh, and it makes me want to DO instead of OBSERVE.

So.

sign-out

Leaving the world of Facebook and binge watching will give me more time and honestly some very welcome boredom in which I hope to fill my time taking more pictures (I’ve decided to stay on Instagram), creating more blog posts, working on video content, reading, cooking and really getting out into the world.  We all are given 24 hours in a day, that’s something that everyone is given equally so we are the only ones who can change the way we use it.  Time is finite and I want to use mine better.