03 August 2020

Meal Plan Monday

Hey y'all,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I had a quiet weekend that was mostly just workouts, a few errands church, some TV watching, a Zoom call with my family in CA, and meal prepping.

I haven't been as diligent with meal prep since I am home all day now but I think it will help me stay on track. Also, last week at my virtual meeting with my dietitian we decided I will keep up with the limited dairy (lactose-free only) and gluten-free. I introduced gluten back last week and had terrible reactions. Breakfasts this week will be simple smoothies, Cascadian Farms Berry-Vanilla puffs (essentially Berry Berry Kix), or eggs and bacon. Here are this week's lunches and dinners:


L: Cobb Salad (no cheese)
D: Chicken Hibachi with Brown Rice from The Defined Dish


L: Big Mac Salad - hamburger patty diced, tomato, pickles, onion, romaine, thousand island dressing/Sir Kensington's special sauce or you can use this recipe from Skinnytaste
D: Pasta Salad - I used Jovial brown rice penne, salami, tomato, cucumber, Polly-O cheese sticks diced, red onion, olive oil & balsamic vinegar


L: Club Wrap with veggie straws, carrots and hummus
D: Pasta Salad


L: Cobb Salad
D: Chicken Hibachi with brown rice


L: Chicken Hibachi with brown rice 
D: Breakfast for Dinner - eggs, chicken sausage, pancakes


L: Leftovers/wrap with chips
D: out


L: Smoothie bowl
D: Steak, mashed potato, and caesar salad

What's on your menu this week?


31 July 2020

Five {Eight} on Friday {July 31}

Hey y'all,

I seriously cannot believe that tomorrow is August! July flew by between a busy work schedule, visiting my parents, celebrating friends, and day to day life. Here are some of my favorites for the last two weeks:

Sermon on the Mount.

My church's women's discipleship group studied Hebrews in the Spring. My group decided to continue meeting this summer and picked Jen Wilkin's Sermon on the Mount study. The Lifeway podcast, Marked, has all the audio sessions available right now so it was an easy one to do. We would meet on Thursday nights to discuss the week's study then we would list to the podcasts as part of our homework. If you want to get together with friends I would recommend any of Jen Wilkin's studies (this is my 4th one).

Suprise Birthdays.

My sweet friend Jordan's birthday was Monday. Together with our friend, Traci, we planned a surprise for Jordan on Monday. We grabbed some of her favorite things (I have a list of her favorites thanks to Kristin and the best friend quiz which I shared back in January) and made a gift basket then texted her at 9:30 am that I needed help with her "little gift."
This was the basket before Traci added her additions. 
My favorite thing I added was this Harry Potter Tervis tumbler I found at Home Goods!

Simplified Planner.

This week started the 20-21 Academic Simplified Planner. This is my fifth Simplified planner and I love them. I picked the Blue Trellis Weekly planner since I use my planner for social events, to-do lists, etc. My work calendar stays in my Outlook calendar and I just add highlights to my Simplified Planner such as work lunches, interviews, etc. 

At Home Mani-Pedi.

I have loved nail polish for years and had a large collection in college. This week I painted my nails after a bit of a break and I feel more put together. I used this Butter London Slapper color on my nails with a coat of Henley Regatta glitter and then this Sally Hansen Dark Hue-mor color for my toes. 

Lake Pajamas.

The Lake pajamas summer sale was this week and I picked up one set. Unfortunately, the set I had my eye on tank-long in Marine to mix and match with my short-short set was sold out in my size. I grabbed the short-long set (this link is for the short-tall set) in Lavender. Since mine already shipped and arrived on Thursday, I am currently wearing my new set since it is 8:00 PM on Friday and I am just getting around to posting.

Lemonade Chats.

I am slowly meeting with a few friends one on one. Last week I had dinner at a friend's house where I brought my dinner and we socially distanced while we chatted for 3+ hours. Another night, I grabbed some Chick-Fil-A lemonade and met a friend to chat while her little finished up their dinner before she went and but them down for bed. 

Saranoni Grab Bag.

I discovered Saranoni blankets thanks to Andrea and grabbed my first one during Prime Day last year. When they had their annual grab bag sale last week (where you receive two blankets for just over the price of one) I snapped up an XL patterned lush bag. I received two beautiful blankets - this ballet slippers pink one and this feather grey one. Now can it be Fall so I can feel cozy under a blanket?

Dressing Up for Work.

Over the last two weeks, I challenged myself to actually get dressed for work even though I don't have a lot of video calls. I still am team leggings and a sweatshirt on Friday but it has been helpful to feel a bit normal again in my work clothes.
top: LOFT (old, similar) / cardigan: LOFT Outlet (old, similar)/jeans: Old Navy/earrings: Brosway Italia (old, similar)/blue light blocking glasses: Amazon/ ring: Go Ring

I hope all of y'all are safe from both COVID and this hurricane headed for the South this weekend.

I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea

What was one thing you loved this week?


23 July 2020

What I Read in June

Hey y'all,

I'm behind on sharing my June reads since I took so much time off of blogging. I was able to get a few books off of my "to-read" list in June including a book I have owned for over a year. While I missed the usual monthly book link-up with Stef and Jana while I was on vacation to my parent's here's what I read in June:

Brazen and the Beast

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly... until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires... for a price.
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts. 

This is the second in the Bareknuckle Bastards series and was a fun and quick read. Hattie at the age of 29 no longer cares for society’s standards for her future. She wants to inherit her father’s shipping company but on the first night of the year of Hattie, she discovers a man tied up in the carriage and learns how her brother has been involved in a scandal that has harmed her father’s business. She strikes a deal with Beast that she hopes will help her complete her list for the year of Hattie but issues arise. ⭐⭐⭐/5

You are Not Alone

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.
You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.
Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

Shay who running late misses a subway train and by that 22-second delay she witnesses a crime. It’s told across multiple perspectives as Shay learns more about the victim’s friends and family. It was a pretty quick read but I still think The Wife Between Us was my favorite from the duo. ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Be the Bridge : Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

A leading advocate for racial reconciliation offers a clarion call for Christians to move toward relationship and deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.
With racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation. This power-packed guide helps readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in the ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.

In learning and lamenting, I decided to start with Morrison‘s Be The Bridge after hearing her on a few podcasts and joining the Be a Bridge Builder Facebook group. This book reminds us that we need to lament the sins of racism, acknowledge the past (like the Tulsa massacre which I never knew about, confess the sin, seek forgiveness, and work towards restorative reconciliation. ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

The Betrothed

When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.
But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine. 

After enjoying the Selection series by Kiera Cass I was excited to read The Betrothed that focuses on Lady Hollis who is the favorite of the King of Corona. However, she quickly learns that becoming Queen comes with both gifts of stature, it does mean she is giving up her identity and hopes for her future. I’m intrigued to finish the tale is the sequel but it wasn’t my favorite fantasy YA. ⭐⭐.🌟/5 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn's funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn's apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she's not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

A few days after my book club I finally finished June’s pick. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is about a young girl, June, whose uncle is dying of AIDS. Set in 1987, June begins to learn all about her uncle’s past while dealing with her family’s complicated relationships especially her mother and uncle’s past. While slow to start it was an interesting book on family dynamics how jealousy can cloud everything.

You can find all of these books on my 2020 reads list here at Bookshop to shop your favorite independent bookstore.

What are you currently reading?

21 July 2020

Meal Plan Monday {July 20}

Hey y'all,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I just hung out around here and it was so enjoyable to just have a very restful weekend. I am still not in a big cooking mood with the heat of summer in NC - Sunday it was 93 with a heat index of 106! Here are this week's meals:


Ham, Turkey, and Bacon Wrap with Fries
Penne Aurora with Caesar Salad


Turkey Burger, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Fruit
Chicken Caesar Salad


Turkey Wrap. Veggie Straws.
Penne Aurora with Caesar Salad

Here's my mom's Caesar Salad recipe. It's very simple and easy to customize to your taste.

My Mom's Caesar Salad Recipe

2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs lemon juice
1 egg coddled for 1 minute
about 1/4 cup of olive oil - this is to taste I typically use about 1/3 of a cup of oil for a double batch
1/4 - 1/2 cup of grated parmesan 

Mix the garlic, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the coddled egg. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Finally add in the grated parmesan. Use a piece of remain lettuce to taste test and edit measurements as needed.


Grilled Chicken. DF Macaroni and Cheese. Mashed Potatoes
Breakfast for Dinner - pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit


Penne Aurora with Caesar Salad
Grilled Chicken. DF Macaroni and Cheese. Mashed Potatoes


Tacos. I use this recipe for taco meat.


Chicken Salad with Simple Mills crackers

What are you making this week?


17 July 2020

Five on Friday {July 17}

Hey y'all,

I really thought I would get more blogging in this month but the first week of July I was covering a coworker while they were on vacation which was a very hectic week and then I went and visited my parents Saturday - Tuesday of this week. This weekend I have zero plans so I will be hanging out, reading, attending church online, and taking some Barre3 classes via Zoom. 

Peloton sleep meditations.

I typically fall asleep to music on a sleep setting on my clock radio but since I now have the Peloton App I have been listening to the sleep meditations a lot. I often fall asleep before the meditation ends and they are usually 5-10 minutes long.

Apple Watch Series 3

This week I received the Apple Watch I grabbed from Amazon. I have had a Fitbit Flex (1st generation) since Christmas 2014. I actually became allergic to the Fitbit bands when I changed the band the first time and switched over to a Tory Burch leather wrap bracelet band. After years and years, it was time to upgrade (and actually see my steps, not just dots representing 2,000 steps). 

Library - Books to Go

My library started back by letting people pick up holds! I love having access to the physical copies of books again. We receive an email when are holds are available to schedule an appointment, you drive to the library, and pick up a bag on a table outside with your name. 

Trader Joe's Flowers

I finally went to Trader Joe's for the first time since February and of course, I picked up some flowers to brighten up my home. 

Orange sorbet with dark chocolate.

I am still really limiting dairy and gluten. I had a few dairy and gluten items in early July and my stomach was not having it. My most recent decadent treat has been orange sorbet from Aldi with some Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips. 

Other favorites:

  • seeing my parents for the weekend
  • getting my hair cut for the first time since September
  • fresh peaches - I love peach season
  • Hamilton - I have watched it three times so far on Disney+ (with a friend on the 4th, with my parents, and with my friend who I saw it with live in Chicago back in 2018)
  • lake pajamas - I am loving both of my sets, I have a short-short set and then a bundle with a short top and both long pants and shorts.
  • sonic strawberry limeade

I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea

What are your plans for the weekend?


13 July 2020

Meal Plan Monday {July 13}

Hey y'all,

I am actually at my parents' house today. I decided to take a few days off and since I had not visited them since February 1st it was time to come home. It doesn't hurt that my parents have an inground pool so I have enjoyed some time lounging at the pool. This is my only planned travel this summer so I am glad we have all been healthy and I could come to visit for a few days. 

I head back to my place tomorrow afternoon after a few appointments (dentist and hairdresser, yes, I moved out in Fall 2012 and still come home for these appointments) so I will then run to the store and get everything for these recipes.


Leftover Chicken Hibachi and Rice
Salmon with Grilled Pineapple and a Side Salad


Turkey Wrap with Pretzels and Mango
Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad


Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
Easy Skillet Jambalaya from the Defined Dish with Brown Rice 


Turkey Wrap with Pretzels and Carrots
Skillet Jambalaya leftovers


Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
Sheet Pan Supper - garlic pork and beef sausage, sweet potato, and onion


Sheet Pan Supper leftovers


Penne Aurora (penne in a vodka cream sauce with ham and mushrooms) with Caesar Salad

What are you having this week?

22 June 2020

Meal Plan Monday

Hey y'all,

My meal plan last week completely changed when Monday was in the 60s so I decided to make some taco soup. This weekend I did a pantry inventory so my grocery trip was almost all veggies and fruits. We are almost done with my month of gluten and dairy-free but I plan to extend into July since I have been feeling great and only had a slight reaction when I ate something that had skim milk powder in it. Here's my meal plan for this week, as a reminder I am single, currently working from home, and cooking just for myself. I don't mind eating the same thing for days since cooking for one portion is almost impossible.


L: turkey wrap. I use these Mission Gluten Free soft taco tortillas, deli turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and light mayo. Veggie straws. Grapes.
D: Chicken Stroganoff. I tweaked my mom's beef stroganoff recipe to make it dairy and gluten-free. I also swapped it for chicken in case it didn't work out (and I had chicken in the freezer).  Side salad.


L: turkey wrap. kettle chips. grapes.
D: chicken stroganoff. side salad.


L: turkey wrap. veggie straws. grapes.
D: Eggs, chicken maple sausage, English muffin. fruit.


L: chicken stroganoff. side salad.
D: Hamburger. Fries. Side Salad.


L: Hamburger. Fries. Side Salad.
D: Tacos - I use this recipe for the meat


L: Taco Fries. Taco meat. Sweet Potato Fries. Siete Foods Cashew Queso
D: out


L: brunch
D: Chicken Shwarma from the Defined Dish cookbook

Snacks this week:

Pretzels and Hummus
Popcorn thanks to my new air popper
Fruit Leather
Rice Cakes
Celery for Ants on a Log

What are you making this week?


17 June 2020

Summer Reading List

Hey y'all,

Did anyone else always love the summer since it meant more trips to the library, the library's summer reading program, staying up late until 2 am finishing the latest Harry Potter book, and on occasion, some AP Literature summer reading? In college, summer meant finally getting to read "for fun" since I did so much required reading for my English literature courses. 

Every summer I tend to read more books and since Saturday is the official first day of summer, I thought it was time to share some books on my current summer reading list. I am lucky that our local library started "Books To Go" this week and I have an appointment this afternoon to grab a few books that have arrived off my holds list. I have been averaging five books a month this year so I am going to list 20 books I hope to read this summer and five others on my list if I am a more voracious reader. 

I am currently reading Tell The Wolves I'm Home and Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation* so I am not listing them here since I hope to finish both before Saturday. Since I typically read fiction I am listing 15 fiction and ten non-fiction books as a starting point for my summer reading. I did share on my May Reads post that I wanted to increase the BIPOC authors I read this year. I marked all BIPOC authors with an asterisk. 


Stamped - Racism, Antiracism, and You* - August Book Club Pick
The Radium Girls - I might pick this for October's Book Club