Meet Brontë

Scott and I have been talking about getting a new dog. We occasionally looked at the pound and shelters but we wanted a puppy but they were adopted before we even had a chance to get in line for them. I knew what I had in mind- a black lab with a shiny coat and sweet disposition but I was a little worried at a lab size. Coincidentally, our neighbor's lab was pregnant with 7 puppies. She couldn't keep any of them and we happily took one of the pups as ours. She's perfect- she's a puppy, 9 weeks old here, a black lab with a shiny coat, and the father is a maltese, so she won't get too big. How crazy of a coincidence is that?? Our animals have literary inspired names, and she is Brontë, named after one of our favorite female authors, the Brontë sisters. She's beautiful, sweet and every time I look at her, I can't help but think how much Max would love her. 

Hopes for 2015

I want to set a standard for this blog for 2015 and instead of just throwing the "resolutions" label on it, I'm going to really work on things I'd love to achieve. 

+ Blog- That one seems too easy but I put off blogging due to the injury I had in the beginning of fall. I could barely move and the chronic pain killed my creativity. Blogging is an outlet for me and I would love to make it part of my day again. 

+ Combat fear- The word "combat" is a little dramatic but that's how I feel when fear creeps up. I'm afraid of sharing too much, not enough, or just sharing in general. I want to imagine I'm writing for myself and not an audience that will criticize at the smallest typo or won't agree with something I write about. I'd love to write, post outfits, my health, my weight loss, life after baby loss, and hope. There is so much hope I have, I feel it's my responsibility to share it and not to keep it to myself and fear tends to tell me to shut up about it. 

+ DIY- I want to do 12 DIY's this year. That's one DIY per month. I'm bookmarking books, blogs, and pins. I am terrible at DIY's but that's only because I rarely do them. Of course my glue and painting are going to be messy, am I really expecting it to look magazine ready in one try? This one will be a fun challenge! 

+ Film! Every year I say I'm going to take more photos but I use my iPhone instead. This year I want to get back to the root of why I began this blog- to share film photography! I'm dusting off my film cameras and using the manual mode. 

Looking forward to 2015! 

Let's Get Weird

Thanks for the inspiration to Danielle's Let's Get Weird post to publish this.

My life is a constant paradox. The more I get comfortable with myself, the more I realize I'm full of contradictions. I tried for years to combine what should come easy, but I can't bring myself to do it. Instead of fighting the weird, I'm just going to embrace it. Below are the things that contradict one another, but they make me who I am. Some are very universal like I don't like cooking but I love eating, or I love the beach but I hate the sand (what) and below are some strange ones...

  • My favorite color is pink, but I wear all black. I think this uniform comes from working in a salon for almost a decade, and the ugly black uniform from cosmetology school. Black was all I had to shop for and it comes naturally. I hate pink in my wardrobe, true story. 
  • I don't like sports, well, since I'm being honest, I hate sports. But I love sports-themed movies and video games. Moneyball is my favorite movie, but I quickly turn the channel when baseball is on. NBA2K15 is constantly on PS4 but I would rather clean a toilet than go to a basketball game. Friday Night Lights is my favorite TV show, but I will never sit through a football game. Such a weirdo, I know. 
  • I love onion rings but I hate onions. 
  • I don't like dancing but I love dance music. So much sideye on that one.  
  • I text and email"loud" but I'm quiet in real life. My emoji's don't match my personality and apologies to online friends who finally meet me IRL. 
  • I love making to-do lists but I rarely "do" them. 

This is what I love to learn about people. I love to know their little contradictions, I find it endearing when I'm sure it drives friends and family crazy. I left the comments open on this post because I'd love to know what contradictions you have. 

October 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for October 2014

Favorite Instagram feed is christinawinkelmann. Her feed is playful, cheerful, and colorful. Kudos to ShopBando for hiring her as their social media director. If you follow her, tell her I sent you! I love introducing Instagram feeds you'll love. She could easily be my favorite every month. 

Favorite purchase was Hello Kitty Con. The actual convention, the hotel, everything about it was wonderful. October was hard emotionally. I didn't realize Max's first would be birthday/death-versary would hit me so hard. Hello Kitty Con was the distraction I needed. 

Favorite moment was Maryam visiting with her family. It was fun and got me out of my rut for a few hours. Honorable mention was carving my first pumpkin and then another with Aline. Yep, I've never carved a pumpkin but doing it with one of my closest friend I can see why it's a special tradition. 

Favorite album is Taylor Swift 1989. No shame, I love this album and I barely got it at the end of October. It's fun, poppy, and it's hard to be a in a bad mood for it. I used to believe in "guilty pleasures" but those don't exist. If you like something, own it. Buy it Amazon or iTunes. 

Here's to November 2014! 

Spanish Cheesecake (With An American Twist)

When Rustica Spanish Cookbook showed up at my door (well, my PO Box), I was nervous. I've never cooked European food unless it was Italian and I didn't know how to behead a fish according to one of the recipes. I sat for a few days on the cookbook, reading it like literature. I was schooled on Spanish food and the culture behind it. I realized I've never tried an authentic dish inspired from Spain. Seriously. Nothing. I fixed this with Spain's version of cheesecake. I had a graham cracker crust in the pantry that was waiting for the right moment and I'm glad I took the chance. The combination with the American detail tastes delicious. The broiled top gives it a crunchy texture to the normally creamy dessert. I don't have a blow torch, but a few minutes in the broiler gives it a similar effect. 

Fall Flowers

Never underestimate the power of a good bouquet. it can light up a room, enhance decorations, and bring a new form of life in a room. My favorite flowers are from Bouqs, I got the Dawn, perfect for cozy autumn. Aline also sent me Harvest Moon, thank you Aline! 

Fall Flowers20 Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights

Bouqs contacted me to work together, it's a company I've been using to send flowers and they are always a hit. The flowers come from a farm near a volcano, hence the "volcano flowers" term. They're a responsible company environmentally and treat their employees as such. I've yet to read of another flower corporation to offer on-site child daycare, competitive healthcare, high living wages, and pay for adult education. I love knowing that's where my money is going when I buy a bouquet. Plus they look beautiful, even when they are on the last days. 

Bouqs on ourcitylights
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses
— Alphonse Karr

You Don't Win Friends With Salads

Well, with this salad you do. I love this strawberry and quinoa salad. It's easy, filling, and delicious. I ordered it from Plated, it comes with everything in the recipe. The only thing you need is a hungry cook! 

A little cooked quinoa, roasted almonds, spinach, fresh strawberries, and mix together with the dressing made of 1 tsp each of honey, lemon, mustard, olive oil and sprinkle got cheese. It's so easy! Scott and I had seconds and we still had leftovers. Thank you, Plated! My other Plated post is here

August 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for August. 

Favorite Instagram feed is littleredbowtique. Besides the play on words with "bow" I love, Marlyn posts beautiful landscapes, cute dresses, and polka dots. She's been a favorite for some time and so happy to share her feed. 

Favorite purchase was the subscription to Hatchery. I've been eating clean lately and Hatchery offers artisan cooking ingredients like healthy oils, spices, condiments like gourmet mustard (if you know me, I LOVE anything with mustard seeds), and sauces. The bottles last enough for a few uses and make a cheap meal like rice and beans taste gourmet. 

Favorite TV Show was X-Files. With a broken ankle, I've been hanging out in bed watching the creepy show. It adds a little bit of excitement to my slow day. Plus if you miss Breaking Bad, this show is a great alternative because Vince Gilligan was a head writer. All season are currently streaming on Netflix. 

Favorite moment was doing an outfit post. It was out of my comfort zone but I loved it! Even if it wasn't I would normally wear, dressing up is something I'm doing to take care of myself.  And for the record, the TOMS shoes I was wearing did NOT make me fall. It was just my clumsy self. I love those shoes so much, they add the right height without making me feel like I'm wearing heels. 

Here's to September 2014! Check out other favorites for this year here

Dressed Up for The ER

I’ve been wanting to do outfit posts for awhile now, but I always believed I had to be skinnier, more charming, more graceful, less awkward, less this, more that. It turned out, I had to be less myself. I was starting to wonder why I wanted to do them. I get a lot of of “where did you get that?” questions, so I figured, okay! Plus when the internet witnessed my complete breakdown this year, there is not much else to hold back. I was even a little skeptical of showing off my legs since I have scars from skateboarding accidents, a Birkenstock tan, and pregnancy gave me varicose veins, or as Ruthie calls them, "nature's typography tattoos". 

Photos of myself are out of my comfort zone so I may as well start with an outfit out of my comfort zone. I normally don't wear color but I love the cut of this dress. As for the ER visit, moments after these photos were taken, I fell and sprained my ankle. It's not broken thankfully, but I was told the damage was bad enough it would take as long as 12 weeks to heal. I wish I could say I was doing an awesome slam dunk during basketball and landed but nope, I was simply walking and my foot got caught on a cement crevice, and I tripped. I guess I won't be posting many outfit posts for awhile but this was fun! 

 

Plated

I wanted to try Plated's service to deliver fresh food to your doorstep with the recipes. All you have to do is cook it! The basics are required like salt, pepper and olive oil. When logged in, you get to choose the date and the recipe, and they offer vegetarian. I chose a beet pita dish, and I can say it's one of the best things I've made, I made sure to save the recipe. It's a spiced deekuh beets with watercress on a greek yogurt with feta on a grilled pita. The photo below is what came with plated, along with the recipe. 

I love Plated and I will use it again for special occasions like when I'm having people over or even when I know I'm going to have a crazy week and eating out isn't an option for me. They offer gourmet recipes but the prices are about $15 a plate, $12 with membership. I thought Plated would be great for a couple like Scott and I but for a large family on a budget, Plated isn't for every day meals- but then I added it up. By the time I go out to a restaurant (not fast food), with tip, pay for gas, it's the same price as going out. If you appreciate fresh food from local food sources for your family, this is a great option. Sign up here