Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Favorites

Here are a few things I've been loving lately! None of these items were sent to me for review and I was not compensated for this post.

1. OXO expandable utensil organizer

I was sick of how dysfunctional our old cutlery organizers were, so I purchased this expandable one from OXO and I love it! I was able to get it at a pretty huge discount with my Kohl's birthday coupon. It was around $17 (pre-coupon and Kohl's coupon).

You can rearrange the way your silverware is held in place and expand the organizer to fit your drawer. It is very easy to clean/wipe-down and just makes me happy every time I see it!
2. You tube channel: Use Less

I'm obsessed with all things Scandinavian and minimalism lately, so when I randomly found Signe's YouTube channel, I knew I'd discovered a kindred spirit. Her realistic approach to fashion, beauty, organization, health, and more is so inspirational!

3. Epica Milk Frother

Another YouTuber (Kitty Cotten) made me want one of these electric milk frothers after she featured it on her page. I researched different brands and models for a couple of months before I took the leap and purchased this one for around $42. Craig recently began enjoying mochas, so I figured we could save some money by making espresso and milk drinks at home!

We don't drink dairy milk in our house, so I've been using the So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamers in unsweetened or french vanilla and it works really well!

I have been using this daily and sometimes up to twice a day. It works wonderfully, is so easy to use and clean! It's already been worth it because I am less tempted to get a latte at a cafe. I know I can easily make one in less than five minutes at home.
4. Aveda Stress Fix composition oil

I'm an Aveda member and with that membership, I get a bonus of a free bottle of oil for my birthday every year. This year, I chose one of my favorite scents, the stress-fix blend.
I have moved away from using lotions and prefer oil like this one for light moisturizing. It is a blend of certified organic lavender, clary sage, and lavandin. I never get tired of using lavender for stress reduction.

What have you been loving lately? Share your favorite products, blogs, YouTubers, etc. below!

Monday, September 11, 2017

My Everyday Life [Weeks 35-36]

 Here's what the past two weeks looked like!

This yogurt is not my favorite. I love almond milk, but this product has a weird almond flavor. Won't be buying it again.
 Lunch at a new Mexican restaurant near us! We both liked it, so we'll be back.
This reminded me of Pema since he's such a little stinker with his hissing habit. He hasn't done it as much lately. Who knows why.
VegNews magazine arriving in the mail is always a good mail day!
Craig and I checked out a new library on our way home from something else. It is in an old town hall and we loved how creepy it felt inside. I really think both of us should work in a library. We're always excited to visit new ones.
 Breakfast on my 37th birthday!
 Lunch with my mama on my b-day in Delafield.
Had lunch with great colleagues at one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants, Cafe Manna.
This vegan Buddha bowl from the Cafe Manna specials menu was amazing! It was so fresh and had jackfruit instead of meat. We all shared raw mango pineapple cheesecake that I got for free since it was my b-day the day before! That was also to die for.
Brunched with my high school friends yesterday! All six of us were finally together for the first time in a year, so we needed a photo! 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately: August and early September

I have read 21 books so far this year and am getting closer to my goal of 31 for 2017. I need to fit in a few shorter books to make that happen or stay off my smart phone more!

Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin by Adina Grigore

I have suffered from hormonal cystic acne since my early 20's and like most people with my condition, I am always looking for a quick solution! It turns out there isn't one and the author of this book presents that in an accessible and smart way. It really does come down to diet and proper cleansing.

Author Adina Grigore is a holistic health coach and owner of the skincare line S.W. Basics. She offers great advice, recipes, and basically presents the idea that less is more when it comes to taking care of our largest organ. I highly recommend this book and once I finish up some products, I would also love to check out her fabulous sounding skincare line.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

I joined a new book club and this was our first selection. While I enjoyed the book, I would not have continued reading it if I didn't have the obligation to finish for a book club. I like that joining a club gives me the external obligation I sometimes need to read something outside the norm.

I enjoy historical fiction, so the idea of a story set in World War II appealed to me. While I thought the book was well-written and I liked it, I thought it could have been about 200 pages shorter! I became immersed in the characters though and the story read quickly as a result.

I had heard of author Kate Morton prior to reading this and it looks like she has a pretty good following. Perhaps I will pick up another title of hers in the future.

I can't wait to see what my book club picks next! It's fun being a part of one again.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Evicted is one of the best non-fiction books I have read this year. It tells the true stories of six Milwaukee families living in poverty and their two landlords. Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America and my hometown. Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond immersed himself in his research in 2008-09 by living among the families and experiencing their plight. Because of this, he did an amazing job telling both sides of the tenant and landlord story.

I am sad that my hometown is not able to offer better living situations and jobs for those in poverty. Some of the depictions of the roaches, dirty living conditions, eviction processes, and more made me so angry.

Evicted appeared on many bestseller lists last year and it won the Pulitzer Prize. I'm sure you've seen the cover advertised at your local bookstore or library. I think this book is perfect for book club discussions.

Please consider reading this soon. You won't regret it.

Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vegan Eats: Miss Molly's Cafe & Pastry Shop

Now that I'm officially vegan, I thought I would start featuring restaurants that feature a few vegan items on their menu or are completely plant-based.

Let's start this new series with the adorable and lady-owned Miss Molly's Cafe & Pastry Shop in Wauwatosa. It recently opened on the west side of Tosa and is committed to supporting local farmers and businesses. They also compost their food waste and their serving ware is all biodegradable. 
We were happy to see herbs and vegetables being grown outside the cafe. 
The interior is clean, updated, and welcoming. 
 I loved the house rules on display!
Craig and I shared the smoked tempeh panini. It had roasted garlic hummus, spinach, tomato, and roasted red peppers. We chose the chips and dip for our side. The dip was amazing--it was a white bean and spinach combination. Even my picky husband loved it!

The smoked tempeh was delicious and the flavor combinations all worked so well together.

Other vegan options on the menu:
  • Ancient Grains Breakfast Bowl (vegan + gluten free) served with seasonal veggies
  • Fruit bowl
  • Roasted Carrot & Farro Salad (vegan): farro, roasted carrots, dried cherries, walnuts, sage, cider vinaigrette, served over greens
  • Chips & dip (vegan + gluten free)
We were there around 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon and they constantly had a line! I was glad to see the place hopping.

I can't wait to return to Miss Molly's for some baked goods and an espresso or to try another vegan dish in the future.

Miss Molly's Cafe & Pastry Shop
9201 W. Center Street
Milwaukee, WI

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Everyday Life [Week 34]

I'm a bit behind, so here's week 34. Last week was busy, but full of great events and people all crammed into one jam packed schedule.

Monday started out with a family get together because my big sis was in town. Here's our group minus my niece Sara. 
We celebrated lots of things--my nephew Nathan's 14th birthday the next day, two wedding anniversaries (including my own), and my b-day. 
The old man was sitting in his grandma's chair so I couldn't resist this photo. Oh to be 14 again.
Caught Shiva "holding paws" with Pema. Just so much adorableness right there.
On Tuesday, Craig and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary! Time has flown because I have had so much fun in my marriage to him. We went to Tofte's Table in downtown Waukesha.
Just sticky pudding for Craig since he already ate dinner at home.
I ordered the kale and collard greens dip. It was delicious!
After dinner, the history geek in me wanted to check out a building in downtown. I started a fiction book set in Waukesha based on the life of real-life veterinarian Dr. Roberts. His office was in this building. I was happy to see they even have a little display dedicated to him in the window!
A beautiful sunrise walk.
I tried ripple half & half for the first time and I loved it.
Oh Shiva, always the little cat supermodel.
I helped my best friend since middle school move to her gorgeous newly built house!
Her girls were so excited to be playing in their new basement.
Danielle didn't quite know how to organize her kitchen, so I tried my best to help out. Turns out I learned she isn't the cook or baker in the relationship, so that made it twice as hard. I told her to think of her kitchen as stations. You want things to be convenient to the appliance they are going to be used with! Helping her influenced me to organize a few things differently in my own kitchen.
We took Tanzi to a new integrative vet on Friday evening and she was wonderful. We are so happy to have found someone we can trust who also focuses on nutrition. 
Tanzi loved seeing fish swimming in the tank for the first time. He was so cute.

He lost some weight since we've moved to the new house and we thought he might have hyperthyroidism. I got the blood work results on Monday and it turns out he's completely normal! Phew.
On Saturday, we attended the 1st sustainability fair at Lapham Peak. It was amazing and I didn't want to leave. We attended talks about green and natural lawn care, zero waste living, owning a Tesla, gardening, and nature photography. We both learned so much and the green living geeks in us loved it. Definitely a must do for next year too.
We both were rock climbing virgins before Saturday. Truthfully, I was a little scared to do it. Luckily, we survived and even enjoyed our experience. I hope we can get to an indoor gym over winter.
I even got to pet a chicken! Somehow the guy who owned the chickens must have known I was a bird lover. :)
Sunday's adventures including a couple of hours with my sister-in-law and adorable nephew. I loved spending time with the little guy and getting to know him better.
Finally, we checked out the awesome Lego display at Mayfair Mall. So many neat displays on both floors.
Sunday was also full of lots of foamy milk made in my new toy. I think I'm going to do a Friday favorites post this week and include the machine I purchased in my roundup.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Everyday Life [Weeks 32 and 33]

I've made homemade hummus before, but I guess it's been a while because I forgot how incredible it is. One of my favorites is the sriracha flavor by Hope, so I added a little hot sauce to my version and it was perfect!
I loved these two podcast episodes last week. Dr. Michelle McMacken is featured on the Plant Your Self episode and her approach to nutrition and the medical field is so admirable. Check it out here

I've always wanted to try Veggie Grill restaurant and the #EatForThePlanet podcast featured co-founder T.K. Pillan. So many head nods while listening to that one too. 
Worked out at the Y with my cute mama! I was very happy to be in the gym again. I got the opportunity to show her TRX, which is one of my favorite tools for working out!
I NEED this passport cover I found at Paper Source. I sent a text with the image to Craig and he said, but then if you get this, you'll want to go everywhere. :) That's the point!
New nephew time! He sure makes a lot of funny faces. 
Loved the raspberry flavor!
Rollerblading while Craig longboarded on a lovely Sunday morning.
Tried this pizza for the first time and it was pretty good!
Thanks to Influenster, I was able to try the new Quaker Overnight Oats! I added almond milk to mine the night before and in the morning, I had a delicious and nutritious breakfast waiting for me.
Finally picked up one of these and it was delicious.
And we also finally played tennis. We always walk or bike, but rarely get on the court to hit the ball around. It was fun!
I received a coupon for a free voucher for any Nasoya product from Social Nature. Since Craig and I both love chipotle, I picked this baked tofu up and it was amazing. I would definitely buy this again as it was so easy to pop the package open and add the tofu to a salad or wrap. I warmed mine up a bit and it was nice that way too!
I enjoy cooking and need to do it more often. Here's my little work station for lunch prep. I had my parents over for lunch!
I made the Oh My Veggies tempeh sloppy joes. My mom isn't keen on spicy food, so I added sriracha to mine to spice it up a bit.
Tanzi was the only social kitty during lunch and he was curious what we were up to. So cute.
Finally received my custom ordered dresser last weekend. But...
The delivery driver dropped it on the way in and one of the legs is badly cracked. Ugh! Now I have to see if it can be repaired or replaced. So disappointed.
I was comforted by a mocha shake from Collectivo.
And this was how I felt about Saturday once that dresser was ruined.
We checked out India Fest at Humboldt Park on Saturday evening. It was so much fun! Delicious food, cool dancing, pretty music, and a great setting for a cultural festival! We had a combo plate from Bombay Sweet and it was tasty!