What's Up Wednesday {May}

Hey y'all,

It feels like summer now that Memorial Day has passed. I am in disbelief that we are already to summer vacations, pool days, and cookouts. While those will all look a little different this year, my community pool opens this week, summer storms are expected here in NC today, and I am looking for a week in the calendar to take a staycation where I stay home read, make delicious food, and go on walks. Since it is the final Wednesday of the month, I am linking up with Shay to share What's Up.

What I'm Eating This Week:

With the holiday weekend and feeling done about meal prep and planning, I am taking it easy this week. 

Tuesday
Lunch: Chicken Caesar Salad
Dinner: cheese, turkey, and crackers (I like the Simple Mills sea salt crackers)

Wednesday
Lunch: Turkey and Cheese on homemade bread (I used this mix). Veggie Straws. Mandarin Orange
Dinner: Chicken Tequila Lime Sausage (from Aldi) with veggies and potato salad

Thursday
Lunch: Chicken Caesar Salad
Dinner: Chicken Tequila Lime Sausage with veggies and fries

Friday
Lunch: Turkey and Cheese sandwich. Veggie Straws. Mandarin Orange
Dinner: Chicken Tequila Lime Sausage with veggies and potato salad

Saturday
Lunch: Hamburger. Potato Salad. Fruit Salad.
Dinner: Out

Sunday
Lunch: Brunch - eggs, sausage, blueberry waffle
Dinner: Hamburger. Potato Salad. Fruit Salad.

What I'm Reminiscing About

This week marks the three year aniversary of my bestie's wedding. I can't believe it has been that long since I was up in Chicago for her bachelorette and ceremony. She now lives on the West Coast for her residency and I am hoping to see her in November. 
After the ceremony with her little sisters
At the reception with the beautiful bride.

What I'm Loving

I have been trying to focus on rest and contentment during this season when I am spending a lot of time in my home without a packed calendar. I have loved finding different ways to organize what I already have, cleaning out spaces, and using up what I already had in my home.

What I've Been Up To

This weekend was productive as I was able to deep clean my freezer, fridge and pantry to make it more functional. Other than that, I have been working, reading, working out, and calling my friends and family.

What I'm Dreading

I am already working from home all of June according to the co-owners of my company so I am only dreading if this continues on through July. I have been home working since March 15th and would love to see other humans on a regular basis again.

What I'm Working On

I received this recipe binder at Christmas and I have been working on going through my Pinterest boards, recipe cards, and magazines to compile all my recipes in one place. I am also taking inspiration from Kate at Naptime Kitchen and Emily from Em for Marvelous' meal planning tips.

What I'm Excited About

I just started the God of Creation study on Genesis by Jen Wilkin for my personal study last week. I have really enjoyed it. My women's discipleship group from church will begin the Sermon on the Mount study next Thursday.

What I'm Watching/Reading

I've been watching Elementary and Great on Hulu but that is about it. I did record ESPN's docuseries The Last Dance that I might watch this weekend.
The Last Dance had many stars beyond Michael Jordan - Sports ...
For reading, I am currently reading the second book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series called Brazen and the Beast. I will post my May reads next week.

What I'm Listening To

I haven't been listening to much over here. I used to listed to audiobooks in the car on my commute and podcasts all the time. 
I have listened to the I Do Declare podcast for book recommendations and the But Not All At Once royal episode. 
I started Open Book by Jessica Simpson on audible but I have not gotten very far into it yet. 

What I'm Wearing

I have been living in Zella leggings, t-shirts, and sweatshirts over the last few months. I am loving the "Homebody Forever" and Simplified sweatshirts I grabbed last month.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

My weekend plans consist of a few Zoom workouts with Barre3 Chapel Hill, grocery shopping, chatting with friends via FaceTime, a prayer time Zoom with other Kids leaders, church, Book Club Skype on Sunday, and I am sure some laundry.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

I am looking forward to see how NC does in Phase 2 and what that means for getting back to some normalcy. I am not probably sitting in a restaurant for a few more weeks but I am glad to see more businesses are back in action. 

What Else is New

I have been dealing with some stomach issues so next month I will be going completely dairy and gluten free to see if that is the culprit. If not, I will probably have to go on a low FODMAP or other elimination diet to see what is causing the problem. I have made my monthly meal plan and we shall see how it all goes.

Linking up with Shay and Sheaffer.
, What’s Up Wednesday {05.27.20}

Best,

Five Favorites on Friday {May 22}

Hey y'all,

We made it to Friday! I'm excited for a long weekend where my only plans are catching up with friends (via FaceTime), reading, working out, and church. Even as NC is starting to open up and we enter "Phase 2" tonight, I will be continuing to work from home for at least another month. This whole thing has stretched me a lot as I have learned how I handle living alone in isolation. As usual, here are some of my favorite things this week:

Sunny Fitness Stationary Bike + Peloton App.

If you have read my previous few posts you know I ordered and finally received a stationary bike. I had been looking at purchasing a bike since the beginning of the year and even looked into another gym membership to supplement my Barre3 classes. I used to attend B3 4-5 times a week when the studio first opened and I worked in the same town. I now work in RTP and it can be a struggle to drive to Chapel Hill in rush hour for class. Now I mostly just attend B3 on the weekends. I loved cycle classes at my old gym so I looked into other options. The most cost effective option (that gives me 0 excuses) is a stationary bike in my home. I have loved using the bike with the Peloton app ($13/month). So far I have taken 8 cycling classes and plan to do the 30 min Hamilton themed ride tonight after work. 


Six the Musical.

I have been on a big musical soundtrack kick while working especially Six the musical. If you are unaware, the musical follows the six wives of Henry VIII as they start a band together but they decide on a competition for who will be the lead - who put up with the most during their marriage to Henry VIII. The musical just hit the States over the last year so I am sad that the Tony Awards are postponed since I am sure they would have done well. 

Hamilton on Disney+.

In other big musical news we are now just about a month and a half away from watching the original cast of Hamilton's performance. Now, while I personally love the soundtrack and respect the whole musical I was not in love with it after I saw it in Chicago about three years ago. I wish I had gone to the performance with less knowledge and I think I would have enjoyed it more. 
Hamilton (musical) - Wikipedia

Laura Cox Collection.

I have loved Laura Cox Collection's earrings for years and I have multiple pairs from her (I am sad that one of my favorite pairs broke last year). I ordered two pairs of fun earrings even though I have just been rocking them with sweatshirts. Laura launches new items every Friday at 10 am EST. This week's launch is focused on her necklaces.

Yasso Greek Yogurt Bars.

These are part of my last hurrah of dairy as my stomach has been having issues and I am going back completely dairy-free and gluten-free in June to see if I can get it under control. I love the Yasso Greek yogurt ice cream bars and they recently released the new chocolate dipped collection. This one is delicious (but a bit messy) if you enjoy mint and chocolate together. They have a few other flavors as well, I grabbed mine at Target this week.

I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea

Best,

Amazon Lately {April and May}

Hey y'all,

I love Amazon find posts and I have been eyeing a few kitchen items but they are sitting in my cart for now. My orders this month have been a mix of necessities and some fun finds. 


The Skinnytaste Air Fryer
Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook
I love trying recipes in my air fryer so I finally grabbed this cookbook. I have the other Skinnytaste cookbooks so I'm excited to try out some of these recipes. I think the first one I will try might be the Everything-But-The-Bagel Breakfast pouches. They are essentially a breakfast calzone.

In part of quarantine makes you clean and organize everything I grabbed this set of containers for my pantry to help with all my baking supplies. I have a lot of alternative flours and sugars from doing some gluten and dairy free baking. 

Amazon.com gift card design
Amazon Gift Card
I ordered this for a friend who was having surgery. This allowed her to purchase a book for her Kindle to read during recovery. It was really simple to order and have it sent to her via text.


BalanceFrom GoFit High Density Treadmill Exercise Bike Equipment Mat
This item has yet to arrive so I will keep you updated on my review but I grabbed it to put under my stationary bike. I currently just have an old yoga mat under my bike.

OXO Good Grips 8-Piece POP Container Baking Set
This is the baking specific set of containers that also comes with a brown sugar saver attachment and two scoop attachments. I have the scoops in with my oats and my All Purpose Flour containers.

Simple Modern 32oz Slim Cruiser Tumbler with Straw & Closing Lid Travel Mug - Gift Double Wall Vacuum Insulated - 18/8 Stainless Steel Water Bottle -Seaside
Since I am home, I do not have access to the ice machine all day like at work. I actually took out the ice collection tray under my ice maker in my freezer to allow for more room during this time. This cup keeps my water nice and cold from the fridge and holds a ton but fits in my cup holder on the rare occasions I leave my house to go to the grocery store.
I decided to go back to using my Clarisonic Mia which I think I purchased from Sephora back in college so I'm impressed it is still working 8-10 years later. I did not have any brush heads in my cabinet so I grabbed this new style sensitive brush head and have been using it with my Beauty Counter regime at night. I tend to just use my fingers for applying cleanser in the morning.

What has been one of your recent Amazon purchases?

Best,


Currently {May}

Hey y'all,

We are on week nine of social distancing here and my currently hasn't changed in the last two months. I am working at home, working out via Zoom classes with Barre3 CH, calling friends, going on walks, doing all the dishes, and hoping for a routine to return. Here's more of what I am currently up to:
Image result for currently
making - a monthly meal plan. I wrote out a loose meal plan on my monthly spread in my planner at the beginning in early May but I have decided to tweak it a bit since I ordered Hello Fresh for next week. If you have family favorite recipes I am all ears. 

missing - a lot of things - a normal schedule, driving places, wandering Target, hugging friends, going out to dinner, volunteering at church, seeing my parents, and leaving the house for more than just the grocery store.

learning - I am finishing up the Hebrews study by Jen Wilkin tonight with my women's discipleship group via Zoom. I have loved studying the word with this group and we have decided to pick another study and continue throughout the summer.

loving - my stationary bike + Peloton app. I spoke about my bike on Monday's post but I have been enjoying the quick workouts in my home including the 30 min Greatest Showman themed ride I did last night at 9 pm. 

reading - I am currently reading Danger, Sweetheart by MaryJanice Davidson

watching - I have watched a lot during social distancing. I have watched: 
  • McMillions
  • Cults and Extreme Belief
  • Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
  • Prodigal Son
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Celebrity Edition
  • Elementary
  • The Masked Singer
  • Marrying Millions
  • American Housewife
  • The Kitchen
listening -  I started Jessica Simpson's audiobook, Open Book, but I haven't gone on many walks recently so I am only about an hour into it. I also have been loving the Six the musical soundtrack. 

ordering - my last purchases have been more Native deodorant, an air-fryer cookbook, and containers for my pantry.

Best,

Weekend Recap & Meal Plan Monday

Hey y'all,

We are officially starting week nine of working from home and social distancing. NC began phase one this weekend of opening up but I did not venture to any stores apart from Harris Teeter to grab some fresh veggies. Here is what I did this weekend:

Friday

I talked to my mom over my lunch hour when she received her FarmGirl Flowers arrangement. It was a great time to chat over Facetime and to see her beautiful arrangement. 

After work I hung out and ate dinner and waited for my stationary bike to arrive. I usually have a Friday night Facetime with some of my best friends but we decided to move it to Saturday instead. The bike was set to arrive anytime before 9 pm so I just read a bit of the Thousandth Floor on the porch before it started to rain and hoped the bike wouldn't arrive too late. 

The bike arrived at 8:20 and I spent the rest of the night trying to put it together. I had a lot of difficulty with one of the bolts on the left pedal. After googling, watching videos, and emailing the company, I decided to call it quits and went to bed.

Saturday

I woke up Saturday morning ran over to Panera for a free bagel reward. After more googling, I was able to attach the left pedal! I did a quick 20 minute beginner ride on the Peloton app before taking the 10am Zoom Barre3 class. 

After all that working out, I took a shower, got ready for the day, did my dishes that I had been putting off, and got ready for my friend Facetime. 

Following the refreshing chat with my friends, I ate my lunch and finished my book before a Zoom call with other Kids Ministry leaders for a prayer before the Saturday services. 

I went to the 4 pm services of church as we start a new sermon series on 1 Peter. Then I made a yogurt parfait for a snack, watched some TV and settled in for a quiet night.
For dinner I made a turkey burger, fries, and a copycat Olive Garden salad.

Sunday

I had a lazy Sunday morning. I got up and got ready for another 10am Barre3 Zoom class.

Following class, I ran to the grocery store for some vegetables and a few other items. I also ran to Panera for another free bagel reward (I had a free bagel every day last week). 

I came home, put away my groceries while chatting with my Mom and then hopped on my bike for a 30 min live ride with Ally Love all about Mother's Day.  

I then showered, did my bible study (I am wrapping up this study with a group of women at my church) and quiet time, and took a nap. 
After my long nap, I got up and watched some TV, make dinner, and read some more.

Since I got great feedback from last week's Meal Plan Monday, I thought I would share what's on this week's menu. For breakfast I'll have either yogurt+fruit+granola, a smoothie, waffles with pb, or cereal. Here's my lunch and dinner plans: 

Monday
Turkey burger leftovers
Chicken Cordon Bleu. Rice. Green Beans

Tuesday
Pizza Rolls or English Muffin Pizza. Caesar Salad.
Chicken Cordon Bleu. Rice. Green Beans

Wednesday
Ham and Cheese Roll-Up. Carrots. Pretzels.
Chicken Cordon Bleu. Rice. Green Beans

Thursday
Pizza Rolls or English Muffin Pizza. Caesar Salad.
Greek Chicken Bowl. I use this recipe then place in a bowl with couscous, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, hummus, and tzatziki. I am actually going to grab the Fresh Market's Little Big Meal for the bowls.

Friday
Ham and Cheese Roll-Up. Carrots. Pretzels.
Greek Chicken Bowl. 

Saturday
Pizza Rolls or English Muffin Pizza. Caesar Salad.
Out.

Sunday
Greek Chicken Bowl.
Sloppy Janes. Sides TBD.

I'm linking up for Hello Monday

What are you eating this week?


What I Read in April

Hey y'all,

Happy Cinco De Mayo! I hope you enjoy a Taco Tuesday tonight, I will be enjoying a burrito bowl and with no plans and hopefully not working late so I can get some reading in tonight. After a couple of busy weeks and adjusting to the "new normal" I only finished four books last month. I did start three other books that just didn't capture my attention. With some of my nightly commitments shifting to summer mode this week I hope to get back into a reading stride on weeknights rather than mostly reading on the weekends. Here's what I read during April:

Styxx (Dark Hunter #22)

Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.
As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.
The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.
But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.
Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it's your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

I started Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series back when I was in high school. I took a break during college when I was swamped with classic literature and never really got back to the series. I have kept up with her other series The League if you enjoy sci-fi romance I would check out that series. The Dark Hunters if you have never heard of the series is a romance series with a lot of Greek and Atlantis mythology set in modern day. Each book involves one couple with an overall story of the Dark Hunters who fight against the Daimons (children of Apollo who are cursed to die at 21 unless they then start stealing human souls). Well, one of my quarantine goals was to read a book off my shelf so I decided to pick up the Dark-Hunter series by skipping about 2 books and reading Styxx. Kenyon (now Writing under McQueen) has a way of making you despise a character for years in her series and then she writes a book from their perspective and your views completely change (see Jullien in her League series) so I was excited to dig into this 800+ page story. This book is mostly set in the past as you truly uncover what happened to Acheron’s (Acheron is the mysterious main character in the series) spoiled twin brother. It’s filled with heartbreak but shows how a little kindness can be so impactful in a world of hatred, violence, and abuse. Now to get back to reading more in the series. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Faced with the harsh reality that there are 25,000 more women than men in London, Katie's dating prospects are at an all-time low. While she's glad it's not a man's world anymore, it wouldn't hurt if there were more eligible bachelors. 
More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns herself to the fact that there's no sex in the city for her and decides to head for the hills - or the Scottish Highlands to be exact. Despite the fact she's never been one for muddy rain boats - and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere - the tiny town does have one major draw - men. LOTS of them!
But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she's not excited about going head to head with her shady new boss, Harry. At least there's the local eye-candy to distract her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and she can't afford to get on Harry's bad side anymore than she already has.
Life in the country might not be one big roll in the hay, but now that Katie has taken the plunge, can she ever turn her back on the delights of Fairlish and return to city life. . .?

A fun read that takes place in London and the Scottish highlands sounded perfect for a time when travel is off limits. This was a fun read about Katie, who works in PR and is getting disenchanted with London. She applies for a job in a remote town of Scotland and after arriving at the train station decides it's not for her and heads back to town. Well, lo and behold, her PR office assigns her a job with the forestry commission in the same remote town of Scotland. Harry at the commission isn’t a fan of her but needs help saving the forest from becoming developed into a golf course. A quick lighthearted read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.

The Naked Gentleman (Naked Nobility #6)

John Parker-Roth cannot believe that marriage is necessary for his happiness. He would far rather pursue his interest in horticulture, but if one day he should find a female who shared his passion for flowers—a level-headed, calm sort of female—he might reconsider. Certainly the lovely young woman who has just tumbled into his lap will not do, as she possesses neither of these admirable qualities.
Yet Miss Margaret Peterson does have many things in her favor. To begin with, she is a true English rose, blushing a delectable pink. And she is not entirely clothed. Her full mouth begs to be kissed. If only she would not wriggle so . . . oh, dear. He cannot ignore the sudden vision of her in his bed, but he must.
What? Is Meg actually asking him to kiss her? Well, well, well. John Parker-Roth is a gentleman, first and foremost. And he cannot turn down a lady’s request.. . 

I read the majority of the Naked Nobility series a few years ago and this book finally was available from the digital library. The series is a cute romance series where at some point, someone will be found naked (or half-naked). This was a cute fun romance read with a very strong female protagonist. Margaret wants to marry for love and won't settle for anything less, until, she might have to marry to save her reputation. ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.
The Naked Gentleman (Naked Nobility, #6)

A Woman is No Man

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.

This was my book club's pick of the month and my only audiobook of the month. A Woman is No Man follows three generations in a conservative Palestinian community in Brooklyn, NY. It depicts the hopes and dreams of these women as they struggle within their cultural expectations and systematic oppression. It was a heartbreaking read and a reminder of the many privileges I have as a western white educated woman in America. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

What have you been reading lately?

I just started The Thousandth Floor which is a YA novel set in New York but it's 2118.

I'm linking up with Jana and Steph
Life According to Steph

Best,

May Goals & Meal Plan Monday

Hey y'all,

I cannot believe it is May! April was a long week and as of right now, my work has announced that we will continue to work from home until June 1st. I am so ready to go hug some friends but also very thankful for my health, my job, and my community who have been so supportive in reaching out through this time.

Here are my goals for May:

  • 30 mins of intentional movement every day. My stationary bike arrives this week so I'm excited to add back cycling to my routine. I have been nejoying walks, Barre3, Peloton's cardio dance classes, and beginner ballet YouTube videos
  • continue to use up items. This was a goal from last month and I have been able to use up candles, some baking items, and beauty items. I hope to continue to use up some things like bubble bath, face masks, and travel toothpaste.
  • stick to my monthly meal plan. I went ahead and wrote out a meal plan for May in my monthly spread.
  • Put my phone away at 9:30 pm. This will help me get back into a normal sleep routine.
  • Read 5 books. I only read 4 in April (one was 700+ pages) and tried a few but put them down. I hope to get back into a reading routine again in May.
  • Finish my recipe binder. I received a recipe binder for Christmas and I just started to actually write out some of my favorite recipes from online into the binder. My goal this month is to go through my Pinterest boards and recipe cards to finish the binder with my favorite recipes.
Since I live alone and grew up learning to cook for a family of six I tend to make 1-2 meals for the week and then alternate them as leftovers. Below is my lunch and dinner plan. For breakfast I will probably just make some smoothies to get in some veggies and fruits during this time. Here's this week's meal plan. I'll provide links to recipes if available:

Monday
L- blackened chicken cobb salad
D - burrito bowl with this taco meat

Tuesday - Cinco de Mayo!
L - turkey sandwich. white cheddar Cheetos.
D- tacos. 

Wednesday 
L - turkey sandwich. veggie straws.
D - cowboy turkey burger. fries. side salad.

Thursday
L - turkey sandwich. white cheddar Cheetos.
D - burrito bowl

Friday
L - turkey or PB & J sandwich. veggie straws.
D - cowboy turkey burger. fries. side salad.

Saturday
L - taco salad
D - cowboy turkey burger. fries. side salad.

Sunday
L - pancakes or waffles. bacon. eggs.
D - chicken cordon bleu. green beans. garlic quinoa or saffron rice.


Best,

Five on Friday {May 1}

Hey y'all,

We made it through week seven of social distancing. This was a very busy week for me with a huge project at work I thought was wrapped up late Wednesday exploded Thursday afternoon. I am hoping to have the project signed off and complete early next week now. So here I am getting back to blogging late on a Friday. These are some of my favorite posts to write so here are a few things I have been loving over the last two weeks.

one. Fresh Strawberries.

A local farm is having a drive-through strawberry stand. There are a lot of strawberry farms in the area and picking strawberries is always one of my favorite spring activities. This year a quick line of cars and I went home with 6 qts of strawberries. I ate through a few cups this week and froze a large amount for smoothies. Yum!

two. Sweatshirts.

I love to lounge around in a sweatshirt and leggings and recently notice I only wear a few  in my closet so I have been on the lookout for a few more sweatshirts to add in. I grabbed this "homebody forever" when Blair had a flash sale. Simplified also released apparel this week so I grabbed this "joy in the journey" and a bee  sweatshirt in navy.

three. Dance Workouts.

This week I decided to change up my workouts and tried a Beginners Ballet class on YouTube and loved it. I took ballet classes growing up from age 2-10 so it was a fun reminder of my past dance life. If you love musicals you will probably recognize some of the music as well.


I also signed up on the Peloton app for their free 90 day trial and took a cardio dance workout today. It was fun and not my usual workout.
Dance Cardio Peloton

four. smoothies.

I got back to making smoothies in the morning for breakfast. I typically do water, protein powder, frozen banana, spinach, frozen fruit.
 Mixed berries, vanilla protein powder, spinach, a bit of apple juice, water, collagen powder, and banana
 Chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder, water, spinach, strawberries, banana, and collagen powder
tropical fruit mix, banana, vanilla protein powder, collagen powder, spinach, and water

five. Siri timers.

I don't know about you but I have been relying on asking Siri to set a timer in this crazy time. I sometimes set a time for 45 mins while enjoying my lunch, a 10 min timer to take a break and fold laundry, or even a 30 min power nap on the weekend.
I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea

Best,