The baking streak

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Hi friends!

Happy Good Friday!

This week felt longer than usual, so I’m pretty thrilled we are now at the end of it. Spring has finally decided to stop by, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the last of the snow melting away.

My sister Mumbi sent me this photo of Imara my niece (her daughter) wearing a dress I gave her over a year ago. Imara finally grew into it and is bringing that maximum cuteness! This little girl is the sweetest. Mumbi and her family are currently in Spain, which looks like quite the ultimate vacation land.

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I discovered this Double Chocolate Chunk granola (here) and have not looked back. It is amazing as a cereal, a yogurt topper, or just on its own. Seriously the best snack. I love a chunky granola, it is so satisfying.

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This “low oil level” notification came on in my car. It must be some kind of error because Joel just added oil a few days ago. He will take a look at it –> I sure am glad he knows his way around cars. I’m slightly useless with these kinds of things.

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The scene in my kitchen last night. My baking streak continues: I baked six… yes SIX… loaves of Amish friendship bread. I would have baked eight but I ran out of eggs hah. Our freezer has never seen so much bread 🙂 I texted my mommy friend from the Mom’s Brunch (she is the friend who gifted me the original starter yeast) to tell her what I was up to, and she said she had just finished baking six loaves of bread at her house too! We are on the same wavelength lol.

In a nutshell, the “starter” has yeast, flour, milk, and sugar in a bag, and you let it sit and “grow” for 10 days (you massage it a bit each day and add more flour and other stuff on Day 5), then on the 10th day, you save small portions in 4 new bags and the rest gets baked. This means every 10 days you get 2 fresh loaves of yummy bread plus 4 more bags that will “grow”. It’s called “friendship” bread because you’re supposed to give some of those bags to friends so that they can experience the deliciousness. I didn’t give my bags out because I wasn’t sure if I had messed up the whole shabang by using almond milk instead of cow’s milk (spoiler: turned out fine). I tell ya, that Amish bread is the gift that keeps on giving.

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I varied each loaf slightly… from regular “plain” to caramel, butterscotch, and banana. Joel likes to have a slice of Amish bread with his breakfast. He says he likes it by itself slightly warmed, no butter or anything on top.

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I looked at a few different recipes on Pinterest and got inspired to turn one of the loaves into a chocolate berry bread, topped with a nutella drizzle. This will be my contribution to Easter dinner (we’re going over to Amy’s).

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See this lamp? It was a wedding gift many moons ago. The original lampshade was a taupe ish color, which was not my favorite at the time. I picked out this white/grey number at Ikea and it has lasted very well (10 years and going strong). I still like it a lot, so I don’t have any plans to get rid of it –> I will probably put it on a different lamp elsewhere in the house. Anyway, I recently wanted to switch back to the original lampshade, but when I looked for it in our attic, I could not find it (I could have sworn I saw it up there). I have no idea where it went?

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I ended up picking out a new lampshade at Target. I went with plain white linen for simplicity, because it does not compete with any of the decor. The shape also seems to fit the lamp a bit better too, so I am quite happy with the purchase. $19.99 at Target!

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Another Target find… these “nothing added” dried mangoes! The only ingredient is organic mangoes and I am here for it. And yet again, I am thinking about just going ahead with a dehydrator purchase so that I can dry my own mangoes at home…

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I got together with Natasha for lunch today! This time we went to Lumi Asian Fusion in North Haven. She had never been before and I was interested in trying out more of their menu (I have had their avocado cucumber roll before which is amazing). We each got a lunch special that started with Miso soup. I am always down for Miso soup.

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Natasha got a bento box which looked amazing. I have never had a bento box before but I will definitely be back to try one of these. It looked like just the right amount of everything! Side note: bento boxes are like the fancy version of the metal food trays that we had at my boarding school cafeteria. 🙂

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I got broccoli with beef for my meal and it was pretty great. The portion was large enough for 2 meals, so half of it came home with me for later. Leftovers rock.

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After work I headed over to the Sephora to return this It Cosmetics CC cream (here). I used this stuff years ago and remember liking it a lot (I used the color “medium”). Perhaps my skin type has changed with age or the pregnancy, but my experience this time around was definitely not the same. This stuff made me look straight up dead. No thank you. I will 100% be sticking with my beloved Andalou Naturals (find it HERE!) –> it has broad spectrum SPF 30, a pristine ingredient list, and a high rating on the EWG website. I don’t know why I ever strayed.

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When we lived in Houston I went to Sephora all the time. It was only 7 ish minutes from my house so it was really easy to pop in. Nowadays it is quite the trek to get to a Sephora (40 min or longer with traffic) so I don’t go nearly as often. It’s probably just as well because almost everything there costs a pretty penny. But it was nice to browse around and check out all the shiny new things. If I didn’t break out so easily I would definitely be more brave about trying out different products.

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While at the mall I also meandered through a couple different stores and ogled their spring inventory. Turns out walking around the mall can work up quite the appetite. Or maybe it is the whole growing a human in my belly thing. 😉 I stopped at a pretzel place for some cinnamon bites –> these things are dangerously good.

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Have an awesome Easter weekend, you guys! I hope the skies are sunny where you are! 🙂

Doing anything fun this weekend? What is your “holy grail” face sunscreen? Got any favorite baking recipes to share?  

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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Fine dining vs hole in wall

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Hi friends!

Check out Joel’s fancy dessert from a work dinner with his colleagues the other night. They went to a French restaurant and he said it tasted great. I think it looks very impressive but I am not sure I’d know how to begin eating this intriguing creation… mix it all together? or eat each component separately? hmm.

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My meal was much less fancy by comparison 🙂 Bernice, Ro, and I went to Nick’s Luncheonette in West Haven for brunch. It’s a little “hole-in-wall” place that we heard about from some of Bernice’s foodie friends. I am a fan of the hole-in-wall vibe, and based on all the good recommendations, we knew we were in for a treat. It was our first time there and we all ended up liking it a lot. It’s a cute little spot, totally unassuming, and very down-to-earth. I wouldn’t know such a popular luncheonette existed there if I didn’t know exactly what to look for. I have actually driven past this many times and had no idea it was here! They don’t have a website and yet were packed to the gills with customers.

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While waiting for a table, I watched the chef expertly cooking up some french toast. I noticed that the french toast was a popular order, and there seemed to be some on every table. It looked so scrumptious that I made up my mind there and then to go with french toast for my meal (originally I was thinking waffles). I was not disappointed! I would love to try their blueberry/strawberry waffles next time. I hope our “breakfast club” continues for many moons to come.

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They do a great hot chocolate too, which is very important for brunch purposes indeed. Not too watery or too “chewy” hah. Is it weird that I don’t like whipped cream on my hot chocolate? It is like tasteless foam to me.

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Last night’s book club was all about Ten Thousand Saints! It has a ton of awesome reviews and I fully expected to love it, so I was disappointed when it turned out to be a tough one for me to get through. I am not sure why it was hard to get into this one. I felt like every chapter went in one ear/eyeball and out the other because I retained next to nothing. If you’re considering reading this, don’t change your plans on account of me –> other girls in the book club really liked this one a lot! I will blame it on pregnancy brain and not the book 🙂

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Even though the book didn’t exactly float my boat, I’m pretty lucky that the book club ladies are undeniably awesome company! We decided to do a pizza assembly meal where each person brought different toppings. Pineapples made a big appearance. Speaking of, I have friends who believe wholeheartedly that pineapple is the worst thing that could ever happen to a pizza. It’s funny how strongly people feel about pineapple when it comes to pizza lol! As a serious pineapple lover, I’m sure you can guess which (partially-assembled) pizza is mine hah 🙂

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I am not a fan of tomato sauce so I went instead for a garlic butter sauce that Mackenzie helped me to make (melted butter and minced garlic mixed together). White pizza for the win! I also added tomato, red onion, arugula, cilantro, mushrooms, and mozerella. The finished product was pretty tasty but I have to say the dough-to-topping ratio was ever so slightly off –> it could probably have done with more of each topping… either that or a thinner crust. But overall the whole experience was a lot of fun and I quite enjoyed my pizza! I also liked hearing different perspectives on the book and the different characters – that is always fun even when I personally wasn’t a fan of the book.

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I looked for my beloved Rosemary Mint candle in Target and did not find it. Boo. It doesn’t seem to be available anywhere online that I am aware of. I hope this candle is not limited edition or discontinued because I will be very very sad if I can’t get it again. 😦 I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled if Target ever restocks their shelves with this.

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I was looking through old photos and found this one. The cantaloupe craving seems to have completely disappeared –> I went from total obsession for months on end to now complete indifference/apathy? Pregnancy is weird. I am neither here nor there regarding cantaloupe now. Huh. However, the grape addiction doesn’t show any sign of budging, which I am ok with. Grapes have my heart.

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Another one from the archives: my first time meeting Asher! This was back when he was just 2 weeks old! He was born a couple weeks early and was only about 5 pounds at the time. Such a sweet little munchkin, it’s hard to believe how teeny he was. My friend Grace does not look like she just had a baby 2 weeks prior to this photo…

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This is Asher now, at 8-9 months old. Look how big he is, and just the cutest butterball! He’s got such a calm temperament and loves to observe all the action around him.

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I have officially been introduced to Muddy Buddies (here!). How is it possible that I have never had these before? I’m a fan. I got the peanut butter kind but I have no doubt the cookies & cream version is amazing too.

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Another oldie but goodie –> every time I see this photo it makes me happy. My younger brother Gibbs is one of my favorite humans and an awesome uncle to Khee and Petros. Gibbs did shark research in South Africa for a few years and is now looking into genetic/molecular PhD programs. I am secretly (or not so secretly) hoping he will apply to schools near us so that we will get to see him more often. I know our little guy will just love his Uncle Gibbs to pieces.

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Have you ever gone from being obsessed with a certain food to feeling quite indifferent towards it? Do you recommend the cookies & cream version of Muddy Buddies? Your favorite and least-favorite pizza topping?    

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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Happy 100 post blogiversary!

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Hi friends!

Guess what, I just realized that have officially published 100 posts on this blog! (today’s post is #101.) Hard to believe! In honor of reaching 100, I’m throwing back to a few highlights:

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Ok, so let’s catch up on the weekend 🙂

Friday afternoon involved snacking on leftover brownies from smallgroup. They were just as good the next day!

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The upholstery cushion I ordered finally arrived on Friday. The cushion is made of the same dense foam as couch/sofa cushions. There are cushions of varying thicknesses available – we got the one that is 4 inches thick (find it HERE). Joel made some measurements and cut it to the right size for our hearth.

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We then went to Joann Fabric to pick up upholstery fabric which will be used to make the cushion cover. I had a coupon for 50% off and it felt great to save on this project.

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Afterwards we hit up the cinema and *finally* saw Black Panther. I was a little concerned that all the hype and anticipation would mean the film would fall short of expectations… but turns out the concern was for nothing –> it 100% lived up to the hype and beyond! What an awesome movie. My movie snack this time around was grilled chicken from Chick-Fil-A. I didn’t know they sold grilled nuggets (instead of deep-fried) and will certainly be back for them again! They gave out a bunch of ketchup pouches which I did not use because the chicken was delicious on its own.

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Saturday involved grocery shopping to pick up a few essentials –> grapes. Green grapes have my heart, and they were only $1.25 per pound at Stop n Shop (down from $2.50/lb).

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Laundry happened too. It is nice having the laundry machines upstairs near the bedroom. In our old townhouse in Houston the laundry machines were downstairs, which we were fine with, but it’s definitely nice now that we don’t have to cart it up and down stairs.

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I have temporarily moved my orchid to the living room ottoman. When it blooms, it sits in the center of the mantle. When it’s not blooming, it gets moved periodically because I can’t figure out where it should “live”.

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The vanilla greek yogurt I mentioned in my last post (here) made another appearance over the weekend. The only other flavor I have tried is the plain one which isn’t my fave –> but I am interested in trying some of the berry flavors like blueberry, raspberry, etc.

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I read the entire book “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins over the weekend. It’s been on my must-read list for years and I’m glad I finally got around to it. What a page-turner! I love getting completely immersed in a book. I like to read before bed –> I kept thinking I’ll just read ONE more chapter then go to sleep… but it was way too good to put down, and before I knew it, I had finished the whole thing. Highly highly recommend.

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My new sugar bowl arrived! I love it. We have never had a real sugar bowl before, so this is a nice addition. My criteria when I was looking were pretty simple: it had to be white, come with a spoon and lid, and have “sugar” embossed on it. This one is the perfect size and exactly what I had in mind. Find it HERE!

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We spent Saturday night at home watching Our Souls at Night. I love Jane Fonda (if you haven’t seen Gracie & Frankie on Netflix, you really should, she is awesome!) and Joel really likes Robert Redford. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie –> it is such a lovely and heartwarming story. Peanut M&M’s were the perfect accompanying movie-snack.

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Sunday dawned bright and early with a big bowl of refreshing green grapes. I think this little bun in the oven is made of 50% cantaloupe and 50% grapes at this point.

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I have 4 bags of Amish Friendship Bread going at the moment, which will translate to 4 loaves of bread. For someone who doesn’t typically do much baking, I sure am doing a lot of it lately 🙂 We will have plenty to freeze for later, that’s for sure.

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Sunday lunch happened at House of Naan with Amy and Bernice. I love these ladies, and the food ain’t bad either 🙂

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Amy and I split some veggie samosas. They are filled with potatoes, peas, and spices. I appreciate a good Indian samosa but I definitely think that Kenyan samosas are about 120% better. I should learn to make them so that others can also experience their yumminess.

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House of Naan does awesome lunch specials and mine consisted of lamb korma. Half of this came home with me and will be consumed for lunch today. The best thing about Sunday lunch is of course the amazing company! I don’t know how I got so lucky to have such stellar people in my life but I am thankful every single day.

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Next up was Target! I love these rolling pins. I have never owned a rolling pin in my life but these are super pretty. If my baking streak continues, I might have to invest in one 🙂

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I also made a stop at Ulta. I wish there was a Sephora near me – the closest one is 40 minutes away. That may not sound far, but back in Houston we had a Sephora 7 minutes from our house, and boy do I miss that. Oh well, at least the Ulta helps to fill that void hah. I went in for some facewash and ended up perusing the makeup section. I used to use this It Cosmetics CC cream years ago –> I don’t know why I stopped using it because this stuff is great. I love the high SPF. Maybe I will go back to using it again.

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I watched the pilot episode of Station 19 (really good!) and munched on these “nothing added” dried mango (here). Every time I eat these I consider getting a dehydrator so I can dry my own mangoes in my kitchen. Way too delicious.

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The thermometer on the deck doesn’t always tell the truth. Today it says it is 80 degrees outside. I WISH it was that warm hah. The high is actually 46 F. We have learned not to trust this particular thermometer on sunny days, because the direct sunlight heats it up and throws it way off. We have another thermometer on the other side of the house that sits in the shade and is much more accurate 🙂

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Do you use sunscreen on your face every day? Got any easy bread recipes to share? What are you up to this week?   

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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One sunny Friday + OOTD

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Hi friends!

It’s a beeeeautiful Friday and I am excited about all the sunshine. The nor’easter we were supposed to get a couple days ago only dropped about one inch of snow instead of eight, which was a pleasant surprise. Temps should be warming up from here on out (knock wood) and that makes me very very happy! I dream about hanging out on the patio and can’t wait for all the spring blooms to start popping up in the backyard.

My outfit for today: this black maternity wrap top! My friend Grace gave this to me and I love it. Side note: Grace and I went went to the same boarding school in Kenya and have known each other since 3rd grade. She and her family live in Boston, and it’s nice to be able to see them every so often. Anyway, I was pretty excited about this top. This is the second piece of maternity attire I now own. The first was the dress I wore to our Gender Reveal party. The dress is HERE, it’s on sale right now! (The non-maternity version of the dress is HERE). And you can read more about the party HERE. Back to the wrap-top –> the wrap feature is pretty stellar for adjustability on the growing bump and future nursing. I can see why it’s a favorite style for maternity clothing… and non-maternity too! I don’t know why I don’t own more wrap attire.

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I made some banana bread for this week’s mommy potluck brunch. I have really enjoyed getting to know mom friends. They all have young kids, and a few currently have buns in the oven. It’s fun chatting with them about their experience with pregnancy, labor, and delivery, which helps me feel a little more prepared for when my time comes. We meet in the home of one of the moms, which is awesome for that laid back atmosphere. We mostly hang out, munch on tasty foods, and catch up with each other while the kids play together. I’m looking forward to our little boy joining in on the playtime too. He’s got some amazing little friends eagerly awaiting his arrival! Speaking of his arrival, my preggo app tells me our boy will be here in about 100 days, give or take… which does NOT seem like very much time at all! Where is the time going? This pregnancy is flyyying by!

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The conference room at work got a nice little makeover –> new paint job, new cabinets, and a few bonus items: keurig, full coffee situation, microwave, and fridge. The fresh paint and new setup makes the room look bigger and brighter. I am always amazed at what a difference paint can make! While we’re on the topic of paint, I should also mention that we are considering having our living room repainted at some point. We considered doing it ourselves but figured with our schedules it probably would be better to have someone come and do it. I would love a light grey-blue on the walls. My favorite color combination is light grey-blue and white… it is just such a calming and fresh combo. I’ve been dragging my feet on getting quotes from different painters/contractors but I hope to make progress on that this summer/fall.

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Leftover pizza came to the rescue when the hunger pangs struck. Fun fact: I love white pizza. I am not the biggest fan of tomato sauce on pizza (I don’t love tomato sauce on anything, not even pasta lol). For a long time I just thought I was just one of those weirdos that didn’t like pizza… until I was introduced to WHITE pizza. After that, I was fully on board. My favorite is when there is minimal cheese + maximum pineapple. The winning combination.

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The piles of logs and brush in our backyard are slowly diminishing, thanks to Joel. I am thankful that neither of the trees hit the house on their way down. Joel has also worked hard to secure our remaining trees with steel cables –> they started leaning over after we got a heavy snow, so the cables are helping keep them upright. I hope this prevents them from falling over in future winter storms.

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Smoothies have made a daily appearance ever since we ran out of grapes a few days ago. Mangoes, blueberries, raspberries, and blackeberries make for a delicious cup of goodness. Pretty yummy! That said, I am excited to replenish the ol’ grape supply when we hit the grocery store this weekend. 🙂

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A photo I forgot to include last week –> we finished our puzzle! Joel did about 80% of it hah. He is really good at puzzles. We left it on the table for a few days before putting it away. It’ll be a fun one to bring out the next time we’re itching to put together a puzzle! 🙂

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This is a magical meal comprising a Columbian style arepa, barbacoa (lamb), plantains, guacamole, sour cream, and rice. The arepa is under the barbacoa – you can’t really see it – but let me tell you, this meal is unreal and gets a solid A+ from me. Oh yes. Joel introduced me to Columbian arepas when we moved to Connecticut, and I am so glad he did. We get them from a Cuban/Latin place in New Haven. Worth every last penny.

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This Greek yogurt has made its way to the top of my favorites list recently. A friend said she loves this yogurt brand because the ingredients are Whole 30 friendly, plus the yogurt itself is delicious. When I tried it for myself, I wholeheartedly agreed 🙂 She is absolutely right! We used to get the plain flavor but as you know, vanilla is just so much tastier. Such a yummy way to get some good calcium and protein. This yogurt is especially awesome mixed with granola –> yesss.

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Last night was our turn to do smallgroup snacks, so we did brownies and vanilla ice cream. Super easy and delicious! I can’t say enough how much I love our smallgroup. It is such a refreshing time. I really look forward to it every single week. We have a great mix of those much-needed “real” conversations, as well as plenty of good ol’ belly-laughs.

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Who is your go-to for getting bigger paint jobs done in your house? What’s your favorite fruit combo for smoothies? Your thoughts on white vs regular pizza?  

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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Snowday + hearth plans

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Hi friends!

Happy first day of spring! I know it doesn’t feel much like spring in New England, seeing as it is another snowday here in Connecticut. But let’s all collectively cross our fingers that this is the very last nor’easter before Old Man Winter packs up for the year. The one good thing about a snowday is it means working from home, and nothing goes better with that than a nice big bowl of cold grapes. 🙂

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My afternoon snack on this snowday may or may not have involved a few peanut M&M’s. These are miles tastier than regular M&M’s in my opinion… although those are pretty good too 🙂 and they were perfect fuel for my afternoon productivity. Analyzing data is much more interesting when M&M’s are keeping me company.

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We got these flowers 2 weeks ago before our Gender Reveal and they are still going strong! Some of the smaller leaves closer to the bottom have gone a bit crispy, but the blooms are still looking fresh and pretty. I tell ya, this was quite a good use of $7.99.

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I baked up some Amish bread for us the other day. I am not usually big into baking, but it was a lot of fun making this bread from scratch. Just like I do with every recipe, I used almond milk instead of regular milk. Also, the recipe called for baking soda but I did not have that. Luckily despite not following the recipe exactly, the finished product still tasted fine to both Joel and me. Oh, and I don’t have a second bread pan so I made use of the muffin pan for the extra batter. 🙂

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While waiting for the bread to come out of the oven, I enjoyed a cup of tea courtesy of the very last teabag from my sister-in-law Sonia. I will have to pick up some of this tea the next time I go to a David’s Tea shop. It is so delicious, especially with a dash of almond milk.

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Turns out muffin-shaped bread is kinda great. I loved how yummy the house smelled while the bread was baking! Joel came in from chopping wood (he’s finishing cleaning up the tree that fell during our last snow) and the first thing he said was “mmm, it smells AMAZING in here!” 🙂 He then proceeded to down several of these muffins. The bread is tasty enough to eat on its own without butter or anything else on top, which I appreciate. I haven’t tried it toasted yet, but I imagine that would be good too.

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Dinner last night consisted of Thai curry. Red curry is one of Joel’s favorite Thai dishes and I am happily jumping on board. I used to be all about noodles (pad thai, pad se ew, or any other noodle!). I still have a special place in my heart for noodles, but I have also learned to branch out, and in the process, I have discovered lots of other crazy good dishes too.

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The Thai leftovers made another appearance at lunch today –> this is may not be traditional nor’easter food, but it made for some pretty incredible snowday sustenance. Gotta love cozy foods when it’s all wintry outside! What’s your favorite thing to eat on a snowday? I would not say no to hot chocolate on a day like today.

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Let’s talk about our hearth for a sec. When we host bigger groups of people (ie, our weekly smallgroup, random movie nights, family, etc), we can’t all fit on the couch so the hearth gets used as extra seating. I have been thinking of ways to make this spot more comfortable. In my foray into different pillow/cushion options, I found THIS upholstery cushion which is essentially one huge couch cushion. It looks perfect for what we want, and the price was pretty decent too. It’s a tad longer and wider than our hearth so we will trim it to size. The nice thing about being able to trim it ourselves is that we’ll be able to get a precise fit around the white columns. I also found a great coupon for fabric at Joann Fabric, so we’ll be able to cover it with upholstery fabric that matches the rest of our furniture. I just hope that the nor’easter today doesn’t delay the cushion’s delivery!

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Let’s back up to a couple days ago when I got together with Natasha for lunch at Panera! Natasha is a pretty stellar human. She has 2 kids and is currently working on becoming a nurse. I have acquired some great pregnancy/baby advice from her, which helps to make me feel a little more prepared to welcome our little boy. I’m glad I have so many mommy friends to call in those inevitable moments when I will need advice. Oh, and Natasha also has great general/life tips, like this one: if you download the Panera app, you can get a free bakery item! When she told me that, I immediately downloaded the app and claimed my free chocolate chip cookie, and it was delish. I loved her tip (and my cookie!) so much I thought I would pass it on to you guys… quick, get the app and get your free snack 🙂 What is your favorite order at Panera? I have loved their Frontega Chicken Panini and Broccoli Cheddar Soup for years upon years. So good.

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What are your thoughts on Almond Joys? In Kenya there is a similar candy bar called Bounty, which is almost exactly the same thing except without the almond. I grew up with an appreciation for Bountys, and have always liked almonds, so it was inevitable that I would also enjoy Almond Joys. I know coconut can be one of those “love it or hate it” things, but I’ve always been a major fan. I haven’t had one of these Almond Joys in years but it surely did a fantastic job of satisfying that random hankering for something sweet.

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If you’re getting snow today, I hope you stay safe and warm! 🙂

Is this a snowday for you too? Where’s your fave place to buy upholstery fabric? Are you a coconut lover or not so much? 

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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Friends, food, and strollers

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Hi friends!

I hope your Monday is going well so far! It’s a sunny day around here which makes for a lovely start to the week, even if winter coats are still a necessity.

What did you guys do with your weekend? We had some great friend time and also managed to be fairly productive errand-wise. One of the errands we ran was returning a few library books… The Paying Guests went back to the library –> it turned out to be “meh”. Not terrible, but not necessarily one I’d recommend. Oh well, on to the next!

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Joel made himself a quesadilla –> this is such a good way to use up random leftovers. The green and brown sauces in the middle are leftover from an Indian meal earlier in the week.

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The balloons from our Gender Reveal party were hanging out in the garage waiting for trash pickup day. Just seeing this reminds me how much fun the Reveal was! 🙂

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I finally got my engagement ring and wedding ring re-sized. I’ve been wanting to do it for a couple years now so I’m glad we got around to doing it. We picked up the wedding band on Friday and will get the engagement ring tomorrow. I love when my rings get cleaned and polished and come back lookin brand spankin new 🙂

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Joel has been working on cleaning up the trees that fell during the nor’easter last week. I’m glad that we’ll have plenty of firewood, but it sure is sad to say goodbye to those trees. When Spring rolls around, we will plant new trees in those spots.

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Lots and lots of errands were run on Friday night. While we were out and about, we walked past this leather store and Joel randomly decided to check out their leather jackets. Seeing these cowboy boots reminded me of the years we lived in Texas. I used to have a cool pair of cowboy boots which I loved.

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Another one of the things we did was look at carseats and strollers. This is such a new world to us, and it’s been fun learning gobs and gobs of new information.

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Out of all the carseats we saw, we liked the Chicco one best (here). As far as strollers, we liked how light the Graco stroller was, but it was pretty hard for me to fold/unfold it by myself. The Chicco stroller (here) was a little heavier but MUCH easier for me to fold/unfold by myself, even with one hand! Unless we find something we like better in the next several months, we will probably go with the Chicco carseat/stroller combination HERE. Feel free to suggest other brands if you have one you love!

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All that carseat/stroller testing made Joel hungry so we stopped at Auntie Annie’s to grab him a pretzel –> Joel likes mustard on his pretzels. Do you? I do not.

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We then hit up Home Depot to pick up some rug-padding to go under our new rug…

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…and went home to set it all up the living room. This is the rug-pad  –> it is very plush feeling and has a waterproof barrier on one side to prevent spills from going through to the floor.

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And here is how it looks with the rug in place 🙂 There are still a few “bobbles” and creases in the rug from where it was folded during shipping, but those will get worked out over time. The antiqued, imperfect design really floats my boat.

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Turns out arranging furniture and manhandling rugs into place can really work up the ol’ appetite. Eli’s sounded good for dinner — ahi tuna risotto for me and salmon salad for Joel! Half of mine came home with me and was devoured for dinner the following night.

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On Saturday a few of my childhood friends came over for the day! Colleen, Grace, and Amy 🙂 We all went to the same boarding school in Kenya and have remained close over the years since. Amy and Colleen live in New Jersey and Grace lives in Boston, so my house is the perfect halfway point for us all to convene. Grace has a little boy who is the cutest butterball you’ve ever seen. Amy has 2 adorable sons and is expecting her 3rd in just a couple weeks. We made brunch together and made sure to get in lots of talking and laughing.

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Joel headed outside to work on cutting up the tree. Meanwhile, we chatted up a storm inside. These girls are the best.

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Danny and Jack (Amy’s boys) grabbed their toy saws and trooped outside to help Joel. These kids are utterly fascinated by everything that is going on with the tree. They were super excited to help Joel “saw” the tree with their toy saws hah. It was the cutest.

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Asher (Grace’s son) kept us company inside –> he is the most laid back baby and is content to sit back and observe all the activity going on around him.

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After the girls and their kiddos left, Joel and I decided to make use of our MoviePasses (probably our best purchase of 2018). We saw the new Tomb Raider movie – it was pretty good! Alicia Vikander was super tough and awesome. Sidenote: I saw her give an interview last week where she talked about how hard she worked for all those muscles and it made me like her even more!

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My movie snack was plantain chips (find them HERE). You guys know I love these things.

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Sunday consisted of (surprise) grapes on the way to church.

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And after church, we had lunch at Mezcal with a few smallgroup friends. I got steak tacos a la carte (comes with guacamole). I can’t say enough good things about these tacos… they are perfection.

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The rest of Sunday night was pretty low key, and it felt nice to relax at home. Joel and I chatted about boy names we like –> so far we have a list of names we like, but no clear favorites just yet. I’m noticing that we like names that are more traditional (as opposed to trendy). There are just so many cute names out there it is hard to narrow it down!

Got any carseat/stroller recommendations? What’s your favorite brunch food? Seen any good movies lately?    

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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I didn’t have grapes and nobody died

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Hi friends!

I know you guys are gonna be shocked to hear this, but……I have not eaten a single grape in 2 days! While grapes are still a solid pregnancy craving of mine, we ran out a couple days ago and haven’t had time to pop over to the grocery store. I thought for sure I would miss grapes like crazy but you know something? I was fine! Instead of starting the day with my usual bowl of chilled grapes, I have been enjoying some pretty stellar fruit smoothies. 🙂

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Gotta give that blender some love, right? My brother gave us this single serve blender when he moved to South Africa and it’s nice to put it to good use (find it HERE). I love that it’s super easy to use and also simple to clean, which means I am way more likely to want to use it. My smoothies have consisted of mango chunks, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, plus a little water or juice to help the blending process. A nice cold smoothie in the morning is *almost* as good as a big bowl of grapes 🙂

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Our fresh flowers that we bought last week are still looking mighty lovely over here! There may still be snow on the ground (and even more in the forecast for next week) but these beauties go a long way to injecting a bit of Spring to our home. I’m always amazed how long these flowers last –> I feel like they last much longer than roses, and are way easier on the ol’ wallet compared to roses too.

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Something that’s not looking so fresh –> my old lapdesk. We got this years and years ago in Houston, back when I was working on my doctoral dissertation. The lapdesk came with me to Boston, survived the move to our Connecticut apartment, and somehow also made it here to our house perfectly intact. It was going strong until last year when it quite literally started falling apart at the seams. The bottom cushion is filled with these little white fluffy balls, which started appearing in all corners of our living room. Taping it up extended its lifespan another several months, but the time has finally come to say goodbye to my dear old lapdesk and let it go.

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I ordered a new one, and although the weather last week delayed its arrival, it is finally here (Find it HERE). When I work from home, I am either at my desk or on the couch. These lapdesks make working on the couch much more comfortable, because I don’t have to have the laptop directly on my lap. Just LOOK at this brand spankin new lapdesk… it is big enough to fit my laptop and a mousepad on it, is super comfy to have on my lap, and I know it will get plenty of good use (using it right now to write this!). 🙂

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Lunch yesterday consisted of leftover Indian food. I love me some lamb korma and chicken saag (spinach & chicken). I hope our kiddo is as big a fan of ethnic cuisine as we are. We will definitely do our best to introduce him to a variety of foods over time.

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Lee was in charge of snacks for last night’s smallgroup and he brought over some fresh fruit and a couple stuffed breads. The stuffed breads are Lee’s “thing” he brings them whenever he is in charge of snacks, and they never disappoint! The stuffed breads and strawberries disappeared into our tummies pretty quickly (I was a mega fan of the strawberries) and by the end of the night the only remnants were pineapple and 2 slices of cantaloupe. Question: what are your thoughts on pineapple? I used to LOVE pineapple as a kid, but nowadays if I eat too much it sort of pickles my tongue. My friend Priscilla and my sister Wairimu say it happens to them too. I still love pineapple but have learned to go easy on the fresh stuff. But cooked pineapple? Load up my plate please, because I can eat piles of it cooked.

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After smallgroup, Joel and I decided to put down our new area rug in the living room. Look at how enormous the living room is with the couch moved out of the way. I am excited about the new rug because it will finally be the right size for the space. Up until now we have been using a different rug that we had in our old apartment, but it is far too small. That rug will instead go into the guest room (it is the perfect size for that space). We weren’t able to finish the rug task because we realized it would be a good idea to get a rug pad for underneath the new rug. We’ll need to pick one up today –> any ideas on where to look? Ideally we would like a rug pad that adds a bit of cushion and “plush-ness” but we aren’t super picky. I guess we’ll see what we can find that fits our budget!

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Joel’s beverage of choice while working on our puzzle was whiskey. He would pick beer or whiskey over wine any day. I can’t say that I miss any of those beverages, but the one thing I am looking forward to after pregnancy is sipping on a nice cold margharita (on the rocks) on a summer’s day out on the patio. Sounds pretty great, right? By the way, Joel is seriously good at puzzles. Maybe it’s the engineer in him, but he has a ton of patience to search for one specific piece amidst the hundreds of pieces, and he also has a good dose of “stick-with-it-ness” and could happily work on the puzzle for hours at a time –> I am rather impressed by his puzzle-solving skills.

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That’s it from me! I hope you guys have an AMAZING weekend! 🙂

Recommendations on where to look for a rug pad? Does pineapple “pickle” your tongue? What are you up to this weekend?    

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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