A short one

Hi friends!

My wordpress is glitching and won’t let me upload photos or do much of anything. Not sure what is going on but I hope it gets fixed soon! Anyone else having the same issue? I’m currently typing this from my phone because I can’t get it to load on my computer.

In any case, I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, so this will be a brief little check in.

How is everyone’s week going so far? It’s been a pretty good one here (despite feeling sick today) and we are settled back into the routine of life after our indy trip. Trips are always fun, but Igotta say, it feels pretty good to be home again after being away.

I sure do hope you’re enjoying your day, and that you’re having some sunny skies wherever you are!

Tell me something about your day!

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Our Indianapolis excursion

Hi friends!

We’re back in the Northeast and recovering from our Indianapolis excursion. It sure was a fun change of scenery, even if it means feeling like I need an extra day of rest to get back into the groove.

If you didn’t see my last post about the first part of the trip, it is HERE :) and now let’s recap the rest of the trip!

My friends Terril and Erin (they both lived in Indianapolis) suggested that we check out the Broad Ripple area for its trendy vibes and good food, so we did exactly that! We debated a French place versus Thai, and the Thai place won when we found a primo parking spot right in front of it.

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I could hear the salmon and veggies calling my name. I would 100% go back for this dish again. It hit the spot! After dinner we walked around the Broad Ripple area and saw lots of cool restaurants and bars –> we made mental notes to go back to Broad Ripple the next time we are in Indy.

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Hotel bump shot. Fun fact: I found this super comfortable shirt while out shopping with Natasha. The fabric is ridiculously soft and makes me wish all my clothing was made from the same material.

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Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to see these toes of mine :)

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After a full day of walking around exploring all the city had to offer, we headed to Upland Brewing Co for dinner.

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I am not normally a pork chop kind of gal but the apples and asparagus that came with it sounded like an enticing combo. It was an “ok” meal –> I can’t say I was particularly wow’d, but at least I tried something new to me.

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In our explorations of Indy, we happened upon this bar on wheels. I have seen one of these rolling through the streets of New Haven –> the people on it always look like they’re having an absolute blast. I wonder how much of a workout it is, and how difficult it is to pedal (whilst drinking) when there are only a few people on board?

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One of the places that was recommended to us was the Bazbeaux pizza place :)

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We ordered a small margharita pizza with pineapple and spinach added, and a small “Roma” pizza with artichoke hearts added. I was a fan of the margharita, probably because it came without tomato sauce and had my all-time favorite pizza topping on it: pineapple! We only managed to eat our way through a quarter of each pizza, so the rest was stored in the hotel room fridge.

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A siesta happened for Joel. He is a much better napper than me –> if I nap, it ruins my night sleep, so I tend to avoid naps whenever possible.

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We then relaxed by the fire. The hotel has an awesome firepit, and since the temps cooled off in the evening, it felt great to sit by a nice warm fire.

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I can’t wait to replicate this scene in our backyard in Connecticut. Nothing beats a relaxing fire on the patio.

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More fireside snoozing for Joel :)

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The trees in Indy are showing signs of spring a little quicker than our trees in Connecticut. I can’t wait for all the spring blooms to overtake our back yard!

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Not sure what was going on with the weather or the heater –> when we went to sleep the room was a comfortable temperature, but around 4am we both woke up SWEATING. The room felt so hot and stifling. Even after blasting the AC and getting the room back to a good temp, neither of us could go back to sleep. Joel decided to use the time wisely by getting some early morning work done.

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While he was busy being productive, I ordered breakfast –> a slightly depressing looking omelet with mushroom and spinach on the inside. It tasted a lot better than it looks :)

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We swung into a Meijer real quick and wowiee, we need to get one of these stores in CT. Meijer is like if Target and your favorite grocery store had a love child. All the cool home stuff plus all the produce/food you could ever need.

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While checking out more of Indy, we came upon this vintage McDonalds. Apparently this is what the original McD’s used to look like with the two arches. Do you have one of these near you?

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All that exploring, the random early morning due to a hot room, and a few late nights meant we were pretty tuckered out by the end of the day. Rather than go out for dinner, we opted to eat at the hotel and turn in early. Dinner consisted of this plate of perfection: salmon, asparagus, and zuccini for the win.

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It’s amazing what a full night’s rest can do! We felt totally refreshed and ready to soak in our last day in Indiana. It was slightly drizzly and a little cold, which felt very different from the warm sunny days earlier in the week, but that didn’t stop us from getting out and about. The engineer in Joel is fascinated by all the ethanol fuel stations in the area. Drivers of ethanol vehicles definitely don’t have any trouble finding places to tank up in Indy!

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Lunch happened late in the afternoon and involved Bubs Burgers, another spot that came highly recommended to us by friends. I’m sure this is a super cute place to eat in the summer when it’s nice and warm, and we can take advantage of the outdoor seating.

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We both ordered elk burgers instead of beef –> our first time trying elk! It is leaner than beef and has a slightly different taste. Joel thought it tasted more like a turkey burger. I could tell the difference but it was similar enough to beef (to me) that I’m not sure that I would be able to taste a difference if I didn’t already know it wasn’t beef.

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We had a bit of extra time before our flight, so we moseyed at a relaxed pace through Indy on the way to the airport.

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Our first flight was uneventful, but our layover was longer than expected due to our second flight getting delayed. We grabbed some eats at the BWI airport –> hummus, carrots, and pita. Turns out airport carrots are super dry but it made for some fairly decent grub.

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We finally made it home around 2am and although we weren’t pumped to see snow, it sure felt good to be back in our own bed again.

What is your ideal temperature for your house? Is your city accommodating to ethanol and other non-gasoline cars? What did you do over the weekend?         

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

Hello from Indy!

Hi friends!

Hello from Indiana! We are here for a few days, but before we discuss Indy, let’s first back up to the past couple days :)

These little balls of goodness are still making my day over here. A friend suggested putting grapes into the freezer, so that may have to be added to the to-do list –> have you tried frozen grapes? I’m not sure what to expect but I am certainly intrigued!

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Joel’s very big bowl of Sopa de Mariscos (shrimp, scallops, and tuna in a spicy broth with cilantro and onion). I’m not the biggest fan of shrimp or scallops… shrimp is one of those things I’ll eat if that’s the only thing available, but it’s not my primary go-to –> so I passed on the soup, but he very much enjoyed it.

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One of our friends works at Deep River, and he once brought over a ton of chips to a party –> that is how we first got introduced to these chips, and we can confirm: they are pretty great! Joel’s favorite flavor is jalapeno. I picked up a bag for him at our local deli.

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Anyone else an enormous fan of clementines? They are so so good, and I love that they are so easy to peel. It’s impossible to stop after having just one :) I feel like I regularly eat 3 or 4 at a time. Fun fact: I used to think clementines and tangerines were the same thing. They are not. Clementines > tangerines.

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Before leaving for Indiana, we had a couple meals comprising leftovers in efforts to use up random foods in our fridge. It sure feels great to not to waste or throw out perfectly good food.

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Bacon may not seem like a traditional taco ingredient, but you guys know that doesn’t stop Joel. He is quite the experimenter when it comes culinary combinations.

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Another meal aimed at using up leftovers: rice, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, and grilled chicken, cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It turned out to be one of those “beige” meals that tasted far better than it looks :)

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There’s nothing like getting into a pair of compression socks at 3am in preparation for a flight. My compression socks served me well during marathon training, but have since been sitting unloved in my dresser. It’s nice to put them to good use once again. I’m happy to report that this preggo gal did not have any lower-extremity swelling from the flight!

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Joel got me a pre-board pass so that I could be sure to secure an isle seat on the plane. This made it easier on me when I inevitably had to get up to use the bathroom, and it was also super handy for taking a quick walk when the ol’ legs felt restless. Side note: who knew restless leg syndrome was a pregnancy thing? I don’t get it often but when it strikes, it is not fun. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars that I haven’t had any of the dreaded leg-cramping at night –> my sister had those during her pregnancy, and she said they are the worst!

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We touched down in Indianapolis after a smooth trip. I suppose we should enjoy traveling just the two of us since those days are surely numbered! :) We decided that instead of doing one big babymoon, we’d do multiple smaller trips. So far we’ve hit NYC and Indy, and we have plans to head to DC, PA, and possibly Montreal too!

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Joel is an expert traveler and got us into our rental car in no time. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I was in North Carolina for work, and the rental car company ran out of regular cars so I got upgraded for free to a cherry red mustang? That was quite the fun ride :)

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If I wasn’t currently pregnant I probably would have indulged in a glass of wine at the hotel.

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Instead, I stuck with the ice cold lemon/lime infused water. I can’t think of anything more refreshing after getting off a plane!

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This gorgeous fiddle leaf fig in the hotel lobby puts mine to shame. It is so full and glorious. I sure wish mine would plump up too, but I’m pretty sure the air at home is too cold and dry during the winter for that. I’m just glad my fiddle hasn’t called it quits yet! :)

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A late lunch happened at Bru Burger. This is a spot that came highly recommended by a couple friends, and boy were they right :)

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We were not disappointed! Joel’s lunch consisted of the classic Bru Burger, which came with taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onions, spring mix (he substituted this instead of chopped lettuce) and mayo. Now that’s a pretty goodlookin burger.

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After lunch we went for a nice walk to enjoy the lovely sunshine and explore some of the local sights. We came across a cool little ice cream parlor that makes the ice cream (and whatever mix-in’s you choose) right in front of you using nitrogen. I don’t know how his hands aren’t frozen!

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We split some coffee flavored ice cream –> it surely had quite the smooth and silky texture, yum! I wouldn’t mind going back for other flavor combinations the next time we are in Indy. This ice cream fueled out afternoon walking perfectly.

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Joel took some time in the evening to catch up on work and prepare for a big meeting while I got all caught up on emails.

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He felt like Japanese food for dinner so we looked up a few spots. We drove past one place, but their menu mostly included ramen (which we do love, but Joel was specifically in the mood for sushi), so we instead headed over to Naked Tchopstix.

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I briefly thought about ordering a cooked roll, but decided I was not all that hungry (the burger from lunch kept me full for the longest time!), so I stuck with a seaweed salad. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Joel’s choice of a “Sushi Set” was undeniably stellar –> it came with a spicy salmon roll, and one of each nagiri piece: crab, yellow tail, tuna, salmon, shrimp, eel, egg, and red snapper. Yup, I cannot wait for my first post-baby spicy salmon roll!

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What are your recommendations for places to check out in Indianapolis? Have you ever had frozen grapes? What do you have going on in your week so far?         

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

A long overdue lobster roll!

Hi friends!

Welcome to another Monday! I heard a rumor that it’s going to SNOW again tomorrow… I can’t say I’m over the moon about that. But you know what? It is supposed to be in the 70’s by the weekend, and THAT is some pretty welcome news :)

My belly band arrived over the weekend, woohoo! I figured it would be good to have around for when we do hikes, longer walks, or just working out in general. I tried it on –> it took me a minute to get strapped in right (probably should have read the directions first haha) but once it’s on, it really does take that belly-pressure off the ol’ hips and back (find it HERE).

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Grilled chicken, broccoli, and pasta for the win! Grilled anything sounds good right now, mostly because grilling reminds me of summer. :)

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My on-and-off relationship with beauty blenders is back on again. I love these things, they are quite the game-changer :)

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Another oldie but goodie that I recently re-discovered: Crystal Light Lemonade! It tastes so darn refreshing, and is a nice change from plain water.

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A very pretty sunset happened while we were out running errands. I must say though, for the record, the very best sunsets in the world can be seen from the Rift Valley in Kenya. This is a fact. :)

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I got a new bronzer from Ulta because I am out of my other one (Nars Laguna) and do not feel like dropping $40 for another one. (side note: why is makeup so expensive?). Anyway, I’ve heard good things about this Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer. The first time I opened it, I caught a strong whiff of pina colada, which isn’t unpleasant but definitely got me by surprise. The scent has since grown on me –> I’ve used it a couple times and so far I’m into it (find it HERE). I added the mascara to my cart because I needed a new one and figured I’d take advantage of Ulta’s buy 1 get 1 50% off deal. So far so good! (mascara is HERE)

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While out running errands, I spotted this Fanta and was instantly reminded of the sugary orange juice I had to drink before my blood test on Friday. Spoiler: I passed the blood test! No gestational diabetes for me (phew!).

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Also spotted while out and about: this Eva NYC hair mask. I was gifted a tub of this stuff years ago in Houston and loved it! It has the most incredible scent. I used it when my hair was chemically straightened (thermal reconditioning). The straightening process was pretty harsh, which meant my locks were in need of extra moisture –> this mask helped to bring some of that hydration back. It’s good stuff.

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I feel like not a week goes by that Joel doesn’t go to Home Depot for something or other. This time we stopped by to pick up some bar oil for his chain-saw. He’s been putting it to good use on the trees that were felled by a nor’easter a couple months back. We will definitely have plenty of firewood for years to come.

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Date night attire – pregnancy edition. My regular t-shirts still fit over the belly –> I tie them at the hip so they don’t hang funny. I wore a long skirt that I’ve had for years (with leggings underneath because it was cold hah), plus an old cardigan and was good to go!

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For our date night, we went to SBC Restaurant and Beer Bar in Milford. We’ve been there once before and knew we were in for some good food and even better atmosphere. :)

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I went with the lobster rolls and truffle fries… I haven’t had a lobster roll since last summer, and was definitely long overdue for another. I had one roll for dinner and brought the rest home for lunch the next day.

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Joel thought the carrot cake looked good for dessert so we split one. The taste was good but it was a lot more dense than I was expecting –> not my favorite cake texture, so I only had a bite. But Joel surely enjoyed it.

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We stopped in at Target to take a peek at their waffle irons. They had a couple options but we will probably end up ordering the one we want online. I’m excited to start a new waffle tradition in our household :)

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Sunday brunch was at the State Street Cafe in North Haven. While we were there, Jamie let me use her hand lotion and I proceeded to fall head over heels in love with it –> I am 100% buying this so I can keep it with me at all times. It is super moisturizing, non-greasy, and has the most incredible chocolatey scent. Win-win-win.

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I don’t know how they get their French toast to be so perfectly FLUFFY –> do they whip the eggs? Add water to the eggs? Natasha’s theory is that they must cook it in butter. I need them to share their secrets so I can re-create this magic in my own kitchen.

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Joel went with a gyro and fries for his meal. This sparked a conversation about how to pronounce the word “gyro“. Joel and I both say “yee-roh”.

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Sunday afternoon meant a nice long walk for Joel and me. I bundled up (it was cold and windy!) and also wore my belly band. I can confirm that it is awesome. Being back on this trail reminds me of my years of marathon training. I have logged many a mile here. My longest run on this trail is 20 miles. It’s crazy to think about that kind of distance right now. I’m amazed at what the human body can do, and can’t wait to get back into a running routine again.

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On our walk, we came across some ponies, sheep, and chickens. The pony was super cute, but must not have been feeling very social that day, because it stayed in the corner and eyed us from a distance.

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When we got home, I rolled up my sleeves and got to baking! Butterscotch nutella muffins, as well as banana cream choc chip muffins. Extra batter (and there was quite a bit of it) was baked in bread pans, so we ended up with lots of muffins and breads. Our freezer is pizzacked.

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While all the baking was underway, Joel was outside man-handling piles of wooden logs, branches, twigs. What a guy.

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He was pretty excited about the muffins when he finally came inside. :)

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What is the proper pronunciation of the word “gyro”? Thoughts on how to make fluffy french toast? What do you have coming up this week?        

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

Orange soda and a blood test

Hi friends!

We made it to the end of another week :) I’m excited for a weekend of relaxation and fun. But first, let’s rewind…

Last weekend, while browsing the isles of Ulta, I picked up a new-to-me lip gloss. It’s marketed as a lip plumper but honestly I don’t think it does much plumping. But that’s totally ok, because I didn’t buy it for its plumping claims, just its glossiness! It definitely delivers that shine and is actually rather moisturizing. I find that it lasts a long time and is quite comfortable to wear. Some glosses, like the MAC ones, can feel drying to me, but this is one that actually makes my lips feel hydrated. At $10, I wouldn’t call it cheap for a drugstore gloss, but it’s a solid choice that I am currently here for. This is the box it comes in (the actual gloss is in my bag hah) –> it’s got quite the name, right? But let me tell you, it has quickly become a favorite.

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I met up with Natasha for some shopping. I was running late and needed some quick sustenance, so dashed into McD’s for a couple of their chicken tenders. They got the job done (needed that protein) and worked wonders to fuel the next couple hours of shopping.

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We did some damage at a few different stores, including a quick stop at Old Navy to pick up some sandals for Natasha’s 2 year old daughter. I snuck a peek at the little boy stuff — so super cute! Those little shoes are so adorable.

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For dinner, Joel was in the mood for lasagna, so I picked some up from Sergio’s on the way home. I like that they put their food in a cardboard box – it’s easy to carry and we can recycle the cardboard.

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When I arrived home, I found him tending to the leaning trees by our driveway. He used steel cables to secure them so the leaning isn’t nearly as pronounced as it was before. We are hoping they will re-root and be strong enough to withstand future storms. He’s also prepping the area for wood chips and mulch –> it’s going to look pretty darn good.

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He was pretty hungry after all that manual labor. He enjoyed his lasagna entree, complete with a side salad and garlic bread. We are fans of Sergio’s! They also do some really good pizza, but Joel’s favorite thing to get there is their lasagna.

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Later that night we cracked into the chocolates that Joel brought back from France. It’s technically cooking/baking chocolate, but it tasted pretty great on its own as a dessert :) If I remembered that my Glucose Tolerance Test (blood test for gestational diabetes) was taking place the next day I probably wouldn’t have indulged quite so hard. :/

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The following day, I was on the way to my doctor appointment when I passed this billowing column of white smoke/steam pouring out of the ground. I am not sure what was happening but there were lots of security cars and they blocked off the entire street. Thankfully I was still able to get to my appointment on time, and they seemed to have fixed the issue by the time I was leaving.

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Before my blood test, the nurse gave me a sugary beverage to drink. I have heard terrible things about this drink – that it tastes awful or makes you feel sick –> but I actually enjoyed mine! To me, it tasted like orange soda except without the carbonation. Give me a straw, some ice, and a warm summer’s day and we have ourselves a golden afternoon hah :)

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I had an hour to kill after drinking the orange stuff (they draw blood exactly an hour after you drink it to test how much sugar is in your blood). I tried to focus on reading my book but only managed a couple pages. My favorite time to read is at night before falling asleep, and I had a hard time focusing on the book in the light of day (hah!). I ended up mostly texting friends and catching up on emails during that hour wait. But the 2 pages I did manage to read were good ones :) For the record, I am very much enjoying this month’s book club pick: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I love her writing style and find myself very interested in the characters. Can’t wait to make my way further into the book tonight :)

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After finishing up the blood test, we went in for our OB appointment. While waiting for the doctor, I sent this photo to Kristi who promptly called us dorks for kind of matching :) Totally unintentional, but we’ll own it!

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Date night happened in the evening at the Amici Tavern in North Haven. It was our first time here and we give it two thumbs up!

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They have a popcorn machine right in the entryway, so freshly popped popcorn is the first thing you smell as soon as you walk in. Yummm. They brought over a plate of it to the table for us to munch on while we perused the menu. So good.

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I had a salad to start off, with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. I love a good house salad, especially when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe. You guys know I stay far away from tomato sauces of any kind, but fresh tomatoes, yes please!

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For my meal I had the salmon with spinach and rice. It was exactly what I hoped for and I am 100% going to order this again the next time we go back. Joel got the ribs, which were cooked to fall-off-the-bone perfection. I eyed his corn-on-the-cob with only a small amount of envy –> I am already looking forward to grilling corn when it warms up.

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Our date night continued at the movies, where we saw A Wrinkle in Time. I remember reading the books when I was in 6th grade and loving them. As usual, I thought the book was better than the movie, but we both enjoyed the movie. Side note: are there any movies that are actually better than the book? I feel like the book is always better? Anyway, the costumes and makeup for Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling were quite dramatic which made for some cool visuals, and the younger actors did great.

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Do you have a favorite time of day (or location) to read a book? Can you think of a movie that was better than the book? What are you up to this weekend?      

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

Current state of the bump + cornflakes in chocolate!?

Hi friends!

Today’s been foggy and overcast but I’m happy that the temps have been far above freezing (mid-50’s –> progress!). My friend Rachel in Minnesota sent me this slightly depressing photo of her rooftop yesterday — they got 7 inches of snow. Even though it would be nice to say that we’ve seen the last of snow here in Connecticut, the forecast shows EVEN MORE coming our way this weekend. Boo.

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Joel was recently in France and Germany for a business trip, and brought back a few treats for me to sample! He brought some fancy looking lavendar candies, plus some Ritter chocolate (love this) and also some chocolate from a local chocolatier. We sampled some of the Ritter chocolate last night… yum. The ones in yellow had cornflakes mixed in and wowzers they are delicious. Cornflakes + chocolate might not sound like an appetizing combination but trust me on this one: it is awesome (find them HERE).

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My friend Kristi sent the below image to our girlfriend’s group-chat on WhatsApp… thankfully it was an April Fools joke! Phew. Fun fact: Kristi is expecting a baby right now too, and is only 6 weeks behind me in her pregnancy. I can’t wait to see her next month :)

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Easter leftovers made an appearance for lunch yesterday. Amy’s pasta-bake and ham did a stellar job of hitting the spot. This makes me wonder why I don’t make more pasta-bakes. I didn’t grow up doing the casserole or pasta-bake thing so it’s been never my go-to, but I should definitely be making more food like this –> Amy said it’s one of the easiest dishes ever to prepare, and it certainly packs a big punch taste-wise.

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The current state of the bump. The little guy inside loves to wiggle around at night and in the early mornings. This morning he gave me a poke in the side that gave me a jolt because it felt super ticklish. Are you ticklish? I am.

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Grape love. Can you taste the difference between red and green grapes? They usually taste very similar to me, but my pregnancy cravings have been all about them GREEN grapes.

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My friend Amy who lives in New Jersey (not to be confused with my other friend Amy who lives here in Connecticut) just had a baby boy yesterday! This is her 3rd kiddo, and she is a supermommy. I can’t get enough of this little boy’s sweet cheeks. <3 He looks so much like his dad and brothers. Side note: when I was younger I thought all newborn babies looked alike, and always wondered how in the world anyone could see differences! Despite this big guy being quite a large baby (9 pounds 12 ounces!), Amy said it was an easy and calm delivery. I can’t wait to meet him :)

The foggy and overcast day seemed like a good one to enjoy a piping hot chocolate. It’s funny, before getting pregnant I hardly ever drank hot chocolate. But since getting pregnant, I find that I have 2-3 cups a week. I wouldn’t exactly call it a craving, but I’m definitely enjoying it more now that I am pregnant.

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I received my Beautylish package this morning. I love how they wrap their packages, it feels very nice and luxurious. For most of the pregnancy I have not been interested in wearing any makeup whatsoever. It was nice to simplify my life and not have to put in the extra effort to look nice (haha)… Over the past week I have slowly been venturing back to the world of makeup. It’s definitely not a daily occurrence –> honestly I do not have the interest for that… but it’s fun to feel pretty every now and then. Hence my Beautylish purchase of a new-to-me powder that I am excited to try out. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this powder and am interested to see how it fares on my skin. Is it just me or do you guys also do a TON of research on anything you’re thinking about introducing to your skincare/makeup regimen? I am very acne-prone and my skin breaks out at the drop of a molecule, so I have to be super super careful about anything that comes in contact with my skin.

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Neither of us felt like cooking last night so we got pizza from Toninos. It’s been fun discovering all the amazing pizza joints around town. New Haven (and the greater New Haven area) has a lot of ridiculously good pizza, and we are rarely disappointed. If you’re in the area, you should definitely try the Spinach, Mushroom, and Gorgonzola White Pizza from Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven. Also, anything from Modern Pizza will make you want to pick up and move to New Haven.

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I got to catch up with Priscilla via WhatsApp :) I remember back before video-calling was a thing. I also remember back when you needed calling cards in order to make long-distance or international phone calls. I’m pretty happy with how far we’ve come with technology. It makes living far away from friends and family so much easier!

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Priscilla sent me this Lavender Pisco Sour cocktail recipe. She and I are excited to make this together after the baby has made an appearance! It sounds pretty delicious to me. The only part I’m slightly unsure of is the egg white… I might have to skip that part, but other than that, it looks quite yummy! I’m pretty excited to enjoy my first post-baby cocktail, preferably whilst sitting on the patio.

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Remember this chocolate berry bread that I made last week? Joel and I finally cracked into it and I am happy to report that it turned out pretty good! I ended up freezing most of it and am already looking forward to enjoying more of it at a later date.

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What is your favorite casserole or pasta-bake recipe? Do you use powder to set your makeup, and if so, which one is your holy grail? What’s your favorite cocktail?     

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Our Easter Weekend

Hi friends!

Happy April everyone!

Let’s not talk about the fact that it’s currently snowing  -_-  let’s instead rewind to the weekend…

Saturday was one heckuva beautiful spring day: 60 degrees and plenty of sunshine! Bernice just received her LPC license and is getting ready to launch a new chapter of her life/career. A bunch of us went out to Longhorn Steakhouse to celebrate her big accomplishment. It was my first time eating there and although I found it pricier than I was expecting, I must admit the food was quite delicious. I liked the combo of this mini loaf plus big knife (side note: this bread was rather amazing).

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It was a ton of fun catching up with everyone. I was especially happy to see Ugo as we haven’t seen him in a couple months. His wife recently moved to Connecticut and he’s been helping her settle into her new home. I can’t wait to get to know her :) It was also nice to chat with Jessica who just got back from a conference in Hawaii. I think we are in agreement that more conferences need to happen in Hawaii, especially during Feb/March when winter feels like it’s dragging on forever. For my meal, I went with salmon, steamed broccoli, and rice. It was everything I hoped it would be. I ate every last morsel on this plate then went in for another slice of bread :)

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Per usual, I drank copious amounts of water with lemon and lime slices. I continue to be amazed by how much water I drink every day. I know it has to do with the increased blood volume that happens during pregnancy, but wowiee drinking water has never been so easy! A couple weeks ago when my thirst was at an all-time high, I actually checked with my OB to make sure it wasn’t anything to be concerned about (spoiler: it’s normal lol). We hung out for a while chatting and laughing over lunch, and I’m pretty sure when all was said and done, at least 3 of these glasses belonged to me.

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Easter Sunday was another gorgeous spring day and I fully embraced it in an old but never-worn maxi dress. I got this dress several years ago and it’s been sitting in my closet waiting to see the light of day. I finally pulled it out when I was trying to figure out what still fits over the bump haha. I had actually forgotten all about this dress so I’m glad to have rediscovered it –> feels like getting a brand new dress all over again! The material has some nice weight to it while still being breathable and soft. It’s also nice and stretchy which means it’ll be able to accommodate the growing bump. It’s a winner in my book :)

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We went over to Amy’s for Easter dinner! She is quite the stellar host and of course an absolute blast to be around. I got there early to help her get the Easter eggs ready for the egg hunt. Instead of candy, we put Bible trivia questions in each egg. Amy has a big piece of property (1.5 acres) and there were puh-lenty of good hiding places for all these eggs.

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Easter dinner was UNREAL –> Amy kills it every single time she cooks, without fail. This time around she made caramelized carrots, baked ham, honey butter rolls, roast beef (not pictured), scalloped potatoes (not pictured) and an out-of-this-world pasta-bake that pretty much knocked my socks off. Amy said there was cayenne pepper in the recipe which is what gave the pasta-bake a lovely kick. I kept going back for little nibbles of the pasta-bake over the course of the afternoon and evening. So crazy good.

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After everyone’s bellies were happily full, it was time for the Easter egg hunt! Turns out these things are not just for little kiddies! :D Joel’s face is everything. Since picking stuff up off the ground is not exactly my forte at the moment (hah), Joel collected eggs for the both of us :)

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Somehow Jeff ended up with the most eggs, which I’m pretty sure was rigged because everyone knows he is Amy’s favorite :)

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After the egg hunt, we cracked into the eggs to get our Bible Trivia questions! The questions were suuuper hard but the game was a ton of fun. Jeff ended up winning the game and scored himself a prize of $25 visa gift card.

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Amy, Ro, and I went down to the basement to check out Amy’s game collection. She’s got some good ones in there! We took a vote on what to play, between Taboo (here), Apples to Apples (here), and Name 5 (here), and ended up going with Name 5. I had never played it before but it was a lot of fun! You have to name 5 things in a certain category (i.e., name 5 movies starting with “E” etc) <– this was way harder than I thought it would be!

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The dessert spread was pretty incredible. Amy made some cute Easter cookies that looked way too adorable. Pastel colored M&M’s win the whole day.

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She also made some amazing cupcakes topped with lemon icing. So much YUM. Lee brought over a cannoli pie which Joel loved. Latasha brought an Oreo ice cream cake that I found insanely delicious. So many irresistible treats!

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I’d say it was a pretty stellar Easter weekend :)

You know what else made the weekend particularly glorious? I did not need my winter coat at all <– this is a super big deal, considering last year I wore my coat till May hah.

But ya know, after such refreshing balmy weekend weather, it appears that on this Monday, we have regressed a teeny bit back into winter. While snow in April is not necessarily unheard of in New England, is always a bummer to me. Luckily it is too warm for the snow to stick around for long. Come on Spring!

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What did you do over the weekend? Without Googling, can you name 5 movies that start with “E”? Your thoughts on April snow?    

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The baking streak

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?  

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Fine dining vs hole in wall

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?    

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Happy 100 post blogiversary!

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:

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.