When I found out I was having a baby I felt a strong urge to nest and make everything perfect for his arrival. I think it’s a way of trying to gain some control in a very changing environment. Everything is unchartered territory when you’re pregnant with your first and there are so many things that are out of your control so it makes sense that women feel a strong pull to research everything to death and nest.
I knew I wanted to do a “gender neutral” nursery even though we knew we were having a baby boy. My husband and I bought a fixer-upper condo a year and half ago and have been doing a ton of work to it. I have had so much fun picking out everything from granite to furniture and really make this place our home. Our condo is very warm with soft colors and I wanted the nursery to tie into that.
Pinterest was where I began for my nursery inspiration, its a great starting place for a novice for ideas and “themes.” I was gravitating to grays, wheats and creams and lots of texture. I wanted to incorporate some type of “beach theme” since we live very close to the water and it’s a big part of our lives. With any theme you run the risk of overdoing it or making it cheesy so I wanted to do in a subtle way that wouldn’t overwhelm the space. I also knew that I wanted to put a daybed in the room for those late nights with my little prince, but wanted to make sure it looked like it belonged there and wasn’t out of place. I absolutely love the way it turned out and it is now my favorite room in the house.
I linked everything below that is still available for purchase
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl (needs two coats!)
Crib: BassettBaby Premier Somerset Convertible Crib from Wayfair
Crib Mattress: Secure Beginnings Safe Sleep Mattress in white Base with white pad
Daybed: World Market (found barely used on Craigslist for $200- score!!)
I’ve been curious about Blue Apron for a while now and my friend Elisa sent me a free week of meals so I finally tried it out! My menu for the week (I opted for the vegetarian recipes) consisted of three meals; three cheese calzones, winter squash and baby kale quesadillas and curried cauliflower steaks. First off I was really impressed with the packaging. A box arrives right to your doorstep filled with food and it has really pretty 8×10 menu cards (see below) that I plan on hole punching and putting in my recipe binder! I was shocked at how fresh the ingredients looked. The kale was so green and beautiful. Each recipe comes with a little knickknack bag filled with perfectly proportioned seasonings, sauces and what not. I really love this concept because so many times you have to go and buy full sized items that a recipe calls for and then you end up wasting it.
Now for the actual recipes I really only liked 2 out of 3. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the three cheese calzones, mainly because I like to cook healthy during the work week and I thought the dough was hard to manipulate. Basically if I’m going to indulge I would rather have pizza or parm and order out, but that’s just my personal feelings, and obviously doesn’t apply to everyone. I also felt like the recipes were a bit long and that it stifled my creativity in the kitchen.
However I absolutely loved not having to worry about what I was going to prepare for dinner that night and knowing that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store. I also tried recipes that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own, which keeps it interesting. Blue Apron definitely has pro’s has con’s depending on how you feel about cooking. I am going to try it out for another week, and report back. The price is really affordable $60.00 for three meals which serves two, so $9.99 per serving. Have any of you tried Blue Apron? Would love to hear your experience with it!
I have been buying food at TJ Maxx for quite some time and it’s truly such a hidden gem for expensive healthy foods. I have staples in my pantry like chia seeds and avocado oil that are normally very expensive, but TJ Maxx offers high end food for a fraction of the cost. It has also exposed me to really cool brands that aren’t always sold in mainstream stores. Two Moms in the Raw make these amazingly healthy and delicious raw granola bars that are sold here for only $6.99. Simply sprouted is another awesome company that makes delicious tortilla chips which are sold at TJ Maxx for only $2.79! Next time your shopping at TJ Maxx make sure to check out their food section, you won’t be disappointed!
Today was the last day of my ten day Kundalini yoga workshop. These past ten days have truly been life changing. The workshop began March 4th at 4:30 am to 7:30am and ended today March 13th. These 30 valuable hours changed my outlook on life, and for that I am forever grateful. I found this workshop on groupon and really had no idea what I was getting into. The first day of the workshop was a huge challenge for me; I had so much judgment filled within me that I didn’t enjoy any of the exercises, breathing or mediations. I could not stop judging everything we were doing and I had convinced myself that I would not be coming back the next day, at the very end of class we did free form dance, the first song I was still judging away, but something shifted inside of me when he played the second song. I stopped being so critical and started laughing and it felt really good.
The days that followed were truly incredible; I experienced every emotion known to mankind. I felt extremely frustrated and angry one moment and content and blissful the next. I cried and laughed and released a lot of deep rooted feelings I didn’t even know were inside of me. The two main things that I took away from this workshop were self-awareness and the concept of pain.
The mind and the body are two separate things yet we don’t always view them that way. For the first time in my life I paid attention to my mind and tried to control and quiet it. We focused a lot on breathing, always inhaling across the shoulders and exhaling down the spine, and did a lot of Bhastrika breathing as well. One exercise that really resonated with me was when we would shake our bodies chaotically while keeping the mind focused, at the end Gary (our amazing instructor) would tell us to freeze and to pay attention to what was happening inside our bodies. Our hearts were beating so fast yet our minds were focused and still, we would watch our breath come back down to a normal pace all on its own without doing anything. This kind of self-awareness did a lot for me in my life. In the past ten days I have made some significant changes. I have stopped eating meat, fish and eggs; I have educated myself by watching a few documentaries about the food and way of life in America (Food Matters, Vegucated and I am.) I disabled my texting services, stopped watching mindless television, read more, cleaned more and I focused more on my breath than ever, I felt a level of calmness that I’ve never experienced before.
We only did two asanas throughout the course; cobra pose and the shoulder stance pose. I have only been to yoga classes that are Vinyasa Flow so the poses are not held very long. In this workshop by day ten we held each asana for 32 minutes!! Holding cobra pose for 32 minutes taught me an insane amount about my mind and my body. Your mind is so powerful and strong and can take over your body. My mind was thinking of every possible way I could get out of the pose, but my body remained strong. Gary told us to do nothing but focus on our breathing and if our mind wanders not to get frustrated, but simply focus back on your breath. He told us to observe our bodies like we were watching a movie and settle into the pain.
The pain aspect of this course taught me knowledge I will never forget and want to continue to explore for the rest of my life. I have had my fair share of “issues” in my life. I have had stomach problems my entire life, was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy in my right foot a few years ago and was told that I had to just live with it (my foot was blue, see through, freezing cold and I had a limp) and just recently had two bulging discs in my low back. I am a very willful person so I never took the pain lying down and was always searching for a way to alleviate my pain, but what I learned in this workshop that is we should never run from our pain. Pain is an extremely powerful tool, our body is trying to tell us something and instead of immediately booking an appointment to go to a doctor to find out what’s wrong with your body, YOU should find out, listen to yourself because NO ONE knows your body better than you do. During cobra pose the first few days I felt an excruciating amount of pain in my low back, I constantly had to break the pose and lay down. On the second day of the workshop I broke down and told him that I was afraid of hurting myself. Later on in that day I realized I had a lot fear about a lot of things in my life, and that the fear itself was inhibiting me to truly heal from my emotional and physical pain. By day six something miraculous happened, we were in cobra pose my hands were tingling and completely numb and my back was throbbing, and Gary told us to focus on our breathing and any pain we were feeling to try to settle into and accept it. I felt an extreme shift within me, my breathing was stronger than ever and I accepted the aches and pains that my body was experiencing. From then on I didn’t break the pose once in the workshop and my back pain has been better than ever. I no longer fear hurting myself. I know that I am in control of myself and that if I do experience pain it will be okay too, I will not try to mask it with pills or shots I will learn from it and grow from it. Click on this link and scroll down to the section titled Pain to read more about Gary’s thoughts on pain.
This workshop has been transformational and eye opening. I began the workshop full of doubts and anxiety. Every morning that I woke up the doubt and fear diminished a little by little, I began trusting in myself knowing that I would get up in time and physically make it there, but also continue to grow and work on my mind and body together. The people that I met in this workshop were amazing and so honest. Gary is an amazing teacher and I will be forever indebted to him for showing me what it is to truly be self-aware and in the moment. We are always thinking of the past or the future which is not real and it is a true gift to be able to fully present. I could go on forever about how this workshop has changed me, but to be very honest putting it down in words doesn’t seem to really describe and capture everything I am feeling and went through these past ten days. If any of this sounds remotely interesting or enticing to you I strongly encourage you to take a workshop with Gary or try something similar to this in your local area.
“Meditation allows for self-awareness, being self-aware can create a life of meaning and real purpose”
I normally just buy organic vegetable stock pre-made at the store, but yesterday after looking at all of the fresh produce I had I decided to make my own. It’s so easy and its great to freeze to have on hand when the recipe calls for it! I ended up using the vegetables for our dinner afterwards. I diced the veggies then added some barley, lentils, cabbage and kale to my dish with about 3 cups of the veggie broth. When making a basic vegetable stock, you want something with a fairly neutral savory flavor. Some recipes recommend adding salt and other spices, but unless you know how you’re going to be using the broth, it’s better to add those flavors when you are making the actual dish.
1 large onion
2 to 3 carrots
3 to 4 celery stalks
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch parsley
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
Roughly Chop All The Vegetables: Wash any visible dirt off the vegetables and give them a rough chop. You don’t even need to peel them first unless you really want to. Throw all the vegetables in a pot big enough to hold them plus a few extra inches of water
Cover with Water and Simmer: Cover the vegetables with enough water that you can easily stir them in the pot. Less water means that your stock will be more concentrated; more water makes a lighter-flavored stock. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to just under a boil. Once you start to see some bubbling around the edges of the pot and a few wisps of steam on the surface, turn the heat down to medium-low
Cook for One Hour or So: This isn’t an exact science, but one hour is generally enough time to infuse the water with vegetable goodness. If you need to take it off the heat a little early or don’t get to it until a little later, it will be fine. Give it a stir every now and again to circulate the vegetables
Strain and Store Take the pot off the stove and remove all the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Set your strainer over a big bowl and line it with cheese cloth or coffee filters. Pour the stock through. Divide the stock into storage containers, cool completely, and then freeze.
Niagara Produce has been around since 1961. It’s located on the intersection of Transit road and Millersport Highway in Lockport, NY. My friend Jess recently told me about the expansion of their store that just opened in the beginning of March. I buy a lot of fresh “organic” produce on a weekly basis and it can get very expensive as well as exhausting to try to determine if the quality of the produce is truly organic and wholesome. Just because something says organic that doesn’t necessarily mean its good for you. I had these organic apples from Wegman’s in my fridge and they literally look the same from the day I bought them, which was over a month ago. Listen to your common sense…its food, it should rot and have imperfections. Niagara Produce has a mixture of prepackaged and the real deal homegrown produce. I was blown away by their apples and carrots! They look just like the veggies from my dad’s garden; overgrown,bruised and beautiful. This store inspired me to start juicing again, I was able to buy 10 massively large carrots for $2.99. One of the main reasons I stopped juicing was cost. Niagara Produce has made juicing a reality again for me and that’s truly amazing. I walked away with an abundance of fresh produce and my bill was only $56.00; talk about a seriously successful Saturday! I highly recommend checking this fantastic local upscale farmer market out!
Thanksgiving is only a few short days away! Yesterday we celebrated at my mom’s house with some friends. Shout out to my awesome sister for cooking this meal with me. On the menu was a roasted pear, fig, goat cheese and pomegranate salad
Turkey with rosemary, thyme,shallots, garlic, lemon, celery and carrots.
Roasted butternut squash with red onions, baby spinach and dried cranberries.
Mashed potatoes with Greek yogurt and parsley
and last but not least greens and beans with apple slices!!I will post these recipes throughout the week! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday this year 🙂
With Thanksgiving and then Christmas right around the corner I thought I would share with you this AMAZING trick I found on YouTube. I have done it about four times now and it never ceases to amaze me. To think all of the generations before me spent countless hours peeling potatoes. The only downside to this is that your hands get cold, but I think its well worth it!
For many years the New York Public Library has kept 40,000 old menus in the rare-book room. Recently the library staff has been scanning and transcribing them so you can access them online. They have menus from the 1800’s! Check it out!
This past year I started taking a serious interest in the American diet. I began educating myself about how the diet can directly affect your health. During my research I came across a book called “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. This is probably the most important book I will ever read in my life and I highly recommend it to anyone who is concerned about the longevity of their life.
This past weekend I watched an hour-long CNN documentary titled “The last heart attack” hosted by Sanjay Gupta. Gupta investigates whether diet and the latest diagnostic tests are enough to prevent every heart attack. Trust me on this one this documentary is definitely worth an hour of your life. Please let me know what you think!