Happy Friday! It has been a week. Isn’t every week….a week? Lately I feel like it has been. I started reading The Soulmate Equation the other day. I was going to wait until closer to the release day to read it, but my excitement got the best of me. It is just the palette cleanser I needed after a heavy book.
Favorite Moments: Monday night was the National Championship game. I always hate having the big games (this and the Super Bowl) on a “school night”, you know? But since Bama was playing, we were obviously well invested. I made some super yummy game day snacks for dinner and we settled in to watch Bama stomp all over Ohio.
We have had a good go at lessons since the beginning of the year. We sort of got off course in December, and both needed a break. We have been consistent with at least doing 4-5 workbook pages each week day, focusing on letters, numbers, cognitive thinking. Sometimes I get fancy and throw in a fun activity. I am no teacher, I feel like Zoe was definitely thriving more when she was at school. But I have seen a lot of growth since she has been home with me. She knows all her shapes, letters and several numbers now. She can count out money when we play Monopoly Junior together. She is writing a few letters like “x.” She does really well on the worksheets where we talk about same, different, more or less, etc. I have found that if we do these early enough in the morning, there are no concentration issues and we can knock it out in about 15-20 minutes. Other than playing games and doing puzzles outside of our “school time,” I am trying to find other fun ways to sneak in learning opportunities.
Favorite Aldi Find: I love the healthier options that Aldi offers. I found the Sea Salt Caramel Cashew Crisps that I found last week. I had tried the vanilla and chocolate before, and while both were ok….there is no comparison to this flavor!! I also grabbed the new Peanut Butter Coconut Crisps that were also quite delicious!
I have been making stir fry once a week lately. I really love their broccoli frozen mix. Toss it in a pan with some soy sauce and you are good to go! I add celery and zucchini once it thaws to load up on the veggies.
Favorite Purchase: In getting old sucks news, I have had increasing pain in my bad foot. Between my high arch and Plantar Fasciitis, I have a hard time finding relief. I roll my foot on my roller for hours a day when I am sitting at my desk. I wear orthotic slippers with major arch support. And yet, I find myself limping around the majority of the day. Someone commented on my post last week about Angel socks. I did a google and Amazon search, and came to the conclusion that a lot of people find comfort in this sort of thing. I ordered a pair and have been wearing them for a week now. I have to say, I find my pain 30-40% less with just a week worth of wearing. Someone told me that after 2 weeks, their pain was gone. Sign me up! I am only wearing one on my “bad foot.” I put it on after my workout in the morning, and take it off on my way to bed. I am impressed.
Favorite Workout: Heather released a new arm workout this week. Even though I had upper body day Monday, I couldn’t help but hit play when I saw this pop up Thursday morning. It is a good one, and a shorter one that is great to add in with a walk!
Linking up with Steph and Jana. I read a few good ones this month, and quit on one that I was excited about. I went ahead and set my goal for 52 books again this year. If I can average a book a week, I feel like I am doing pretty good. Hopefully I will blow that goal out again this year. But if I don’t, that is ok too. I tried to set something that is at least attainable for me. What is your goal looking like for the year? I have two books I cant wait to read up next!!!
Full disclosure, I do not watch the bachelor shows. I hate them. I grabbed this book because a few people I trust said it was good. I really enjoyed the different ways this book read with Bea of course, but also press releases, interviews, emails, texts, live shows, etc. I really liked Bea as a character, and I was invested in some of the guys on the show. I will say that it turned out exactly how I thought it would, but I still enjoyed getting there.
What a name, right? I loved Caroline and Simon so much. Caroline was just the right amount of quirky, and I loved to see her and Simon start out sort of as enemies and then form a friendship and move from there. I liked that this book was written a little different than most I read, in that all their struggle was in the beginning and middle and we just finished out nice towards the end without that final blow out and reconciliation that we usually see in just about every romance I have ever read. We actually get to see how their relationship starts, and then goes on instead of just getting together and the book ends with an engagement 6 months later in the epilogue type of story. For the steamy parts, you don’t really get any until the end, and then it is a whole of it. Maybe a little too much in a short period of time? I dont know. I didn’t hate that though.
Bottom Line: If you are into steamier romance, read it!
This was a cute and cozy Christmas read that came to me on Christmas Day. I really loved Kate and the whole town she lived in. I knew straight from the beginning how this book was going to play out, but it was the perfect ride along the way. The whole Christmas scene, the ridiculous men she met through the twelve dates, the side story with her mom and dad. I just loved all of it.
Bottom line: Read it if you are looking for some light, fun and festive!
I could not put this book down. I really enjoyed all the characters and plotlines in this book. You feel like you belong on the island at this point, because you are so invested. I will say, towards the end of the book, I almost felt like there was a data dump to get out what actually happened. I wish there would have been a little more to it, you know? I did love that Margaret Quinn showed up at the end! I loved her in the Winter series and I just love how Elin always finds a way to wind her characters together from all her books to give you that familiarity.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed this series and recommend it if you are looking for a tropical island escape, and a little mystery. It is slightly different than some of Elin’s other books I have read. I am not going to say it was my favorites by her, but they definitely drew me in and I flew through all three.
I just love Matthew McConaughey’s whole demeaner and accent, so I knew I had to do this on audiobook! I enjoyed listening to him talk about different stories from his life. There were a few cringe worthy moments, and I got a little bored in some parts. Overall, I liked his philosophy of looking for the greenlights and found the book interesting.
Bottom Line: The audio was a fun listen, if for anything, that voice!
It is rare for me to pick up historical fiction. Honestly, Kristin Hannah is one of the only authors in this genre that I will read. And as with any Hannah book, you can expect to be completely heartbroken and shattered while reading this book. I think a combination of knowing that my grandparents were young children during this era, and the current state of our country and the world…I felt everything in this book extra hard. Parts of the book were a little drawn out for me, but I became completely lost in this world and what was going on. Parts of this book are so depressing and the hopelessness and despair of the times really hits you. You wonder how many hits a person can take and keep going. I enjoyed all the characters, and especially felt the mother-daughter relationship between Elsa and Loreda.
Bottom Line: If you are into historical fiction, this was beautifully written. You feel everything. Be in the right state of mind to read it, it is horribly depressing and I feel like I am going to need several light and fluffy romance novels to cleanse myself from this.
**I received a copy of The Four Winds from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**
I was shocked that I absolutely loved The Royal We, so I was excited to read this one! This one focuses a lot more on the family drama and I have to be honest, I don’t usually care much about The Royals and their lives because it is so far removed from the real word…you know? I was about 25% in to this one when 3 other books I had been waiting forever from the library finally came in, and I couldn’t seem to care anymore about this. I would have stuck with it had that not happened, but I don’t really care that I didn’t finish. If you read it and think I need to go back, let me know.
Blogging 4 times in a week, who am I? 2014 Nadine? Apparently so. It is just a distraction that I need from….everything. Right?? I mean, we are now 8 days into this year and I am basically done already.
Favorite Moments: I had to dig deep this week. But there is always something to be thankful for, and good memories made. Even though it was cold, we got in three walks this week before the rain came. After working all day, nothing feels better than getting out there and moving.
The other morning, I was sitting in my office working and happened to catch some movement out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was my neighbors lab, as I tend to see her around that time each day. Then I saw some more movement and looked closer, three young deer in our front yard!!! They hung around for a few minutes walking around. It was so cool.
Favorite Purchase: I had a reward at Target and saw that they had leopard heart pajama sets that just came out. What????? LOVE!!!! This is the best, because I tend to wear sweatshirts and shorts around the house pretty much every day, and this is just a fun version of that.
I also think this is a fun sweatshirt if you want to get festive for vday.
Favorite Recipes: We are back to healthy eating this week, and I always take it back to basics when I want a reset. I made some of our favorites to keep us motivated. Kung Pao chicken with stir fry veggies. I omit the sugar and cornstarch, still turns out perfect. Zoe stole all my broccoli.
And I found these butternut squash noodles in the frozen section at Target. They are DELICIOUS! I made a brown butter sauce with a dash of sage, then topped with parmesan cheese and served with a side salad. Definitely going to add to the rotation. It came together in under 15 minutes.
Favorite Workout: Heather Robertson came out with a new HITT this week and I did it this morning. Burned lots of calories and worked up a sweat. Feeling good!
The first currently post of 2021! I had this post ready to go before the events of yesterday occurred and decided I was posting it anyways. Sometimes we need a distraction from the bullshit that has become our daily lives.
I am not usually one to comment on things like this. What I will say is that I am all for a peaceful protest. I am not ok with violence. I understood the protests back in June and I understand the protest that started yesterday. It is the right of the people. I am not ok with riots and mob mentality. Burning down cities and local businesses back in June, and now storming inside the capital taking selfies and being destructive was a complete shit show and embarrassing. I realize it is not the same thing, but the violent part of it is not ok. I sit firmly on the middle of the line and refuse to chose the democrat or republican party. In my opinion, both parties are self serving assholes who are all about preservation right now and aren’t always making choices that serve the American people as a whole. The poor are meant to stay poor. The middle class is suffering more than anyone wants to admit. The mega rich keep getting richer.
One of the beautiful things about our country is that every four or eight years, there is a transition of power that happens routinely and peacefully. And that is what sets this country above all others. I read this morning that Trump does plan to participate in an orderly transition, and I hope that is the case. I have been less than thrilled about our country lately. I think the way the pandemic was handled was crap, I don’t think that we truly had a good option at election time for either party, and I don’t think that just because we will have a transition of power…that things are going to magically get better.
I think that we as people of this country need to take our heads out of our asses. Start listening to each other. This isn’t about whether you are left or right. There are bad apples on both sides. What I do know, is that having the country so divided and constantly fighting isn’t going to get us anywhere. One part of the country can’t function without the other, and that is fact. We need each other and we need to start doing what is best for all of the people.
At this point I am just rambling. It was a nice, solid 5 days there in 2021. Good try everyone. Let’s get to the distraction, shall we?
Reading: I just started The Four Winds yesterday. I have an ARC copy, it will come out towards the end of February.
Listening: I got the audiobook for Greenlights from the library. Matthew McConaughey himself is the narrator, which makes any book written by a celeb instantly better…don’t you think? Hopefully I will have both of these finished before the book linkup next week!
Watching: Besides reruns of Friends every night before bed, the only shows we are watching are new episodes of Grey’s, Chicago Fire and The Good Doctor as they are released. I feel like Grey’s has done such a great job with Covid. I basically cry every episode.
Loving: In case you missed it on my Insta stories, I made the switch from Billie to Athena Club razors a little over two months ago and I am in love. I feel like the Athena razor is superior to Billie in every single way. It feels higher quality and just looks prettier, it does not get sticky and goopy and nasty after one use like the Billie did for me, I feel like I am getting a closer shave/the blades feel better (the last several orders from Billie’s felt like they went down in quality to me), I have not cut myself shaving at all, I like the magnetic holder for the shower it comes with better.
I purchased this all on my own, but they do offer a referral program. You can use my code: NADINE2490 and save $5 off your first order (making it just $4!!!!). After your first month, they will give me a $5 credit on my next order. Win-win if you want to try something new! They have different options to receive cartridges monthly, every other month, etc. for whatever your needs may be.
Planning: I am not one to make new years resolutions in a regular year, I sure as hell am not making any for this year. Basically, I just want to survive. I am grateful that my family made it through 2020 in one piece, even though I may be losing my sanity a little bit. I am going to be completely honest and tell you that the last few months of the year were really hard for me emotionally. I had pandemic fatigue in the worst way, and I let all my hard work 3/4 of the year go to waste. I ate like shit, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I drank more alcohol than I usually do, I was drinking more diet sodas to get me through the day than water, and moving less since it was colder outside and we weren’t taking multiple walks a day, and running around outside.
I am back on the healthy nutrition train this week. I was doing great with my workouts through all that, as it is literally the only me time I get. Last year I stuck with Keto for several months and it worked so great for losing weight. But it came with a heavy price on other areas of my body, and it is just not a sustainable lifestyle for me long term. It never was meant to be when I started it, and this year I am trying to go into something more sustainable.
Right now my plan is to avoid processed shit as much as possible, focusing on more whole foods. No white rice, white flour, white sugar. I am trying to stay away from diet soda at home, only allowing myself to order one with take out if I feel like it. Drinking way more water!!! Less alcohol, more sleep, and trying to incorporate at least one walk a day in addition to my workout routine, weather permitting. If it is not raining, I need to be out there moving.
I was really good about trying new recipes last year, so I want to keep that up. I have been pulling things from the many cookbooks that I own. Chris had gotten me a recipe box for Christmas, so I want to spend some time writing down our favorites from Pinterest to keep in there as well.
Changing: I am pretty passionate about my feelings on how fucked up the government and FDA are about how our food is made. There are so many awful ingredients that they allow into our foods for the sake of the companies saving a buck or two. Did you know that major brand names that are sold world wide make better quality food for other countries because it is required…but here in the US we get the shit ingredients??? It blows my mind. I am lazy, and I buy my kid goldfish crackers and frozen chicken nuggets. I always buy organic milk, and try to get organic fruit and veggie options when available. I buy the natural, organic, grass fed meats….but again….I buy a lot of processed snacks and shit. Since I plan to go back to eating more whole, clean foods…I want to buy clean, healthier snacks for my family as well.
Yesterday I decided to sign up for Thrive Market so that finding healthier snack options is easier. Since I am doing all our grocery shopping via drive-up pick up or delivery, I am not in the store to read the ingredients on the box. I like that Thrive allows you to filter products based on what you want out of them. You can shop by diet and lifestyle, gluten free, organic non-gmo, etc. There is a cost to be a member for a year, but I think that the convenience and variety that they carry is going to make it worth it! I have also noticed that the prices for several brands on there is less than I have seen at Publix, Amazon, other stores.
I had great plans to share more Aldi hauls here or on stories, and I never got around to that last year. I hope to do that this year, and maybe share some of my experience with Thrive too. Is that something you would be interested in?
Doing: I am terrible about printing pictures. I had signed up for an app back in February of last year that allows you to print up to 85 pictures each month for free, you just pay for shipping. I did it once, then the pandemic hit and I haven’t done it since. As an adult, I wish my mom had more pictures of us growing up. I especially wish that there were more pictures with her in them!!! And my Grandma Jerry. I hardly have any pictures of her. So I want to get better about being in more pictures with Zoe, no matter how I look. And actually printing them and organizing them so we have something to look at.
What is your favorite way to organize and use printed photos? What about digital photos? Do you do anything with the thousands you have on your phone? I swore when I was pregnant that I was going to be so awesome about staying on top of organizing photos, and here we are 4 years later and nothing. It is so overwhelming, but so important to me and I need to make time for it! I may get back into scrapbooking. Who knows!
I think I am finally showing back up on Bloglovin’ again! Hurray! It was nothing they did, Chris spent hours doing all kinds of things to my site for it to show back up with them. They don’t have the best customer service, they never responded to me. When I tagged them on Instagram last week, someone messaged me and asked for my email address and I heard nothing. Anyways. Sharing some Amazon finds with Tanya today! These are so random, but isn’t everyone’s Amazon past purchase list?
My feet always get really dry this time of year, especially me heels! They are already starting to crack, I didn’t prevent it in time. Enter these moisturizing socks!!! I can’t stand sleeping in socks, but these are great to put lotion on after my shower and work in them all day. I love that there are two pairs to rotate out.
I asked for this recipe box for Christmas and found it under my tree! I absolutely love the way it looks, and the fact that it comes with tons of recipe cards and dividers to get me started. It has a lifetime warranty and unlimited downloads of more cards. It is super sturdy and absolutely gorgeous displayed in my kitchen. I use Pinterest a lot to cook from, but I want to write my favorites down. You never know when someone might take their site away, you know?? Plus, Zoe can have them one day.
My mom always put a few useful things in our stockings each year. Underwear, toothbrush, socks, hair ties, etc. I wanted to continue that with Zoe. She loves Barbie and these toothbrushes come in under $1 each! For whatever reason, kids are really hard on toothbrushes and Zoe’s needs replaced faster than ours so it works out great to get a bigger pack.
Chris ordered this for himself since he sits in zoom meetings all day every day at his desk. It is pretty cool, because you can use it to work your arms too. I thought about getting one for me, but I honestly roll my foot when I sit at my desk.
This is the foot roller I am talking about. My physical therapist uses them at her practice and had me order one my very first day there over a year ago. I have two, one for home and one at the office. I use them every day for hours. It is the only thing that relieves my high arch and Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is a real bitch, let me tell you.
I don’t know why, but this doll is getting harder to find. The only place I have seen her is online at Kohl’s for often twice as much as Amazon. Zoe really wanted her, even though we don’t really watch the show. She is gorgeous in person, very pretty dress.
Have you purchased anything recently that is a game changer?