Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

This year all I want for Christmas is nothing. With this little bundle of joy around, it feels wrong to even ask for more. I'm going to relish in being content, not lusting after a thing but quality time with loved ones.

May your Christmas be filled with joy, beautiful memories, and giving.

"Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving."
B. C. Forbes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In the Kitchen: Fish Taco Recipe

Today I'm posting a wonderful fish taco recipe. The mixture of sweet and spicy in this dish will leave your taste buds thanking you. Here's how you make it:
  • Thinly coat pan with olive oil on medium heat
  • Begin cooking fish (I use mahi mahi, tilapia works as well) over medium heat and add fresh lemon juice
  • Season fish heavily with pre-made blackening season, or make your own using paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, and chili powder
  • heat tortilla in separate skillet over thin layer of olive oil on medium
  • when fish and tortilla are done add shredded cabbage, pineapple chunks, raw spinach,  mexican crema, and sriracha sauce
Enjoy! This pairs well with mango juice and black beans and rice. To make this dish vegan, swap fish for black beans.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eating to Live

For the past few weeks I've been feeling a bit under the weather. I'll spare you the gory details, but it turns out a part of my problem is that I'm suffering from chronic inflammation. This condition is a risk factor for several serious illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease, among others.

I've been doing a ton of research on the topic, and can't believe what a serious and widespread condition it is, and how much of the epidemic appears to be attributed to diet. I'll openly admit I haven't been the most healthy eater. Fast food, processed food, sugary drinks, fried dishes, and more have happily made their way into my tummy. However, as I come face to face with the consequences of my poor eating habits, I'm realizing these temporary highs are just not worth it.

So I'm embarking on a lifestyle change. I'm giving up the bad foods (for the most part), and learning how to eat to live. It's important to me to set a good example for my daughter, and hopefully kick this inflammation's ass. So wish me luck, and if you have any awesome healthy recipes please share. I'll be posting new tasty anti-inflammatory recipes in the weeks to come.

"People kill themselves with their knives and their forks." ~Jack LaLane

“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest 
of human blessings, and learn how by his own 
thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.” 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hosting Overnight Guests in a Small Space

This time of year many people find themselves entertaining overnight guests. With a new baby in tow, we have even more visitors this year. Because we live in a small(er) sized home we have to get creative when family and friends come to visit. Though tempting, we've firmly agreed not to upsize to gain more guest space, that we'd rarely use. We just can't seem to justify the increase in housing expense. So to get around our size restrictions we've devised a few strategies, which you can try too:

1) GIVE UP YOUR BEDROOM. When a dedicated guest bedroom isn't an option, it's always nice to give up your bedroom to guests. This ensures they will feel welcomed, cozy, and have a little privacy. You can sleep on a sofa or pull out bed tucked away in another part of the house.

2) HAVE FRESH GREENERY. A few flowers on hand for guests to enjoy during their visit are always appreciated.

3) PROVIDE NICE TOWELS. Nice guest towels give guests a hotel experience for free. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for high-quality towels. You can pick up nice ones at discount stores like TUESDAY MORNING.

4) HAVE SOME OF THEIR FAVORITE THINGS AVAILABLE. Presumably if someone is coming from out of town to stay at your home you know them pretty well. Use some of your knowledge about them to ensure they have a few of the favorite things hanging around, i.e. magazines, books, tea, snacks, adult beverages, etc.

5) OFFER ENTERTAINMENT.  This could be a television, movies, or access to your iTunes or Amazon account.

6) MAKE SURE SLEEPING QUARTERS SMELL WELCOMING. Fresh linens of course are a must, but you can also have a few scented candles on hand.

7) OFFER MINI TOILETRIES. You know all those bottles of lotion, shampoo, and conditioner you've been collecting from your travels? Well now's the time to offer them up to your house guests.

What do you do to make your guests feel welcome?

“That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?” ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Around Town: Antique Exchange

 A while back when I first started blogging I did a post about ANTIQUE EXCHANGE. I wanted to update things because since that time I've gotten a better camera, and the store's merchandise has significantly changed. The store is located in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood at 3545 Chestnut Avenue. They're one of my go to sources for accessories (after scouring the clearance section at Homegoods and local thrift stores of course). They typically carry decent priced vintage/antique occasional tables,  storage pieces, and art. The owner also stocks a large selection of stunning textiles, though they can be somewhat pricey. There's a little sale section tucked away on the second floor in the back where you can frequently find discounts up to 50 percent off. Have a look around.

Monday, December 1, 2014

What I Learned in November

1) Babies are messy

When someone in a house with a baby yells, "oh shit!", they might mean it literally :-(

2) How to unclog old kitchen pipes

If you live in an older home and clog your kitchen sink pipes, try pouring one cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for a minute, then run hot water for one minute down the clogged drain. After that, use a plunger to pump the sink drain, preferably on the unclogged side if you have a two-sided sink.

3) Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds is the bomb!

It has to be for me to be willing to publicly use such a corny phrase. I see DR. BRONNER'S products all over blogs these days, and now I know why...because it really works! I've been using it to do dishes and am very happy with the results. You can also use it as an all-purpose cleaner. A little goes a long way, and it doesn't contain any harsh chemicals.

What did you learn in November? See what others have learned at CHATTING AT THE SKY.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goodnight My Love

When I was a little girl my father used to sing me a lullaby before bed. He wasn't much of a singer, but there was no doubt his tunes were filled with love. I can still hear him singing.....

"Goodnight my love, pleasant dreams
Sleep tight, my love
May your tomorrow be sunny and bright
And bring you closer to me"

Just think I have a little girl to sing this song to now. I can hardly believe is good! :-) 

What tunes do you remember from your childhood? Do you sing to your kids?

"How long do you wanna be loved? Is forever enough? Is forever enough? How long do you wanna be loved? Cause I'm never, never givin' you up." ~Dixie Chicks

Monday, November 24, 2014

Project 333: Fall/Winter 2014 Wardrobe

As promised many weeks ago, here are my selections for PROJECT 333. I was able to narrow my fall/winter wardrobe down to 30 items. If you'll recall the rules of the challenge require you to have no more than 33 items for 3 months, so I've done a pretty good job of narrowing things down. I like that I have  room to purchase a few new (to me) items should the occasion arise. At first, I felt daunted by the task, but in the end it turned out to be not too hard. Plus, I can't tell you how absolutely great it feels to have a manageable wardrobe. I can easily fit all my clothes into two drawers and a small amount of closet space.....yay! From time to time I may update you on how I'm mixing and matching things to keep myself on track. What about you? Have you ever taken on simplifying your wardrobe?

This camel Ralph Lauren shirt is great. I thrifted it for only $6 (original price $295!). They are well made from very high-end cotton, and come in a variety of colors. If you want one you can find them heavily discounted on Ebay HERE.

This Talbots blazer is another $6 thrift find. I like it because it's a very versatile piece.

Anthropologie skirt $12 Ebay.

The two black purses were also great thrift finds at just a few bucks each.

I normally am not a hat person, but I'm trying to dress a little outside my comfort zone. For $3 a hat I figure I can afford to experiment.

I think this cashmere scarf is very pretty, plus it's super warm ($5).

New (to me) leather gloves $2.

"Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” ~Yves Saint Laurent

Friday, November 14, 2014

Around Town: The Book Thing (FREE!)

One of my favorite Baltimore institutions hands down is THE BOOK THING. It's a wonderful concept that grew out of the hearts and minds of residents seeking to encourage more reading. The Book Thing is a non-profit that offers free books to all. You read that right, free books to all! It's sort of like a library with no due date. The store runs on the kindness of volunteers and donations made by the public.

Over the past year I've been a frequent patron and donator. I've used it to build an awesome free home library for the baby. Every time I visit I find at least one book or magazine that peeks my interest.

It would be an absolute shame to not check this place out. Be sure to bring your kiddos, they'll love it.

“Books are what you step on to take you to a higher shelf. The higher your stack of books, the higher the shelf you can reach. Want to reach higher? Stack some more books under your feet! Reading is what brings us to new knowledge. It opens new doors. It helps us understand mysteries. It lets us hear from successful people. Reading is what takes us down the road in our journey. Everything you need for a better future and success has already been written.”  ― Jim Rohn

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What I Learned in October

1. Almond milk is a great sleep aide

Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers GAM, I decided to try some almond milk recently. I drank it warm and it was very tasty. Not only that, but I learned it's a great natural sleep aide. I slept like a baby after one cup.

2. New babies are a LOT of work

It really helps to have an active and supportive partner. I don't know what I would do without the hubs, or as I now call him these days  "Mr. Changes Poopy Diapers". Teamwork is a must!

3. Rasberry Leaf Tea and Prenatal Yoga work wonders

Both worked in tandem to prepare me for a quick and successful labor. I had my daughter in 2 hours and 14 mins. Rasberry leaf tea also helps to supply mothers with milk post-partum.

4. Sometimes it's OK to take it easy

Things have been so very hectic in my life this month. I have been attempting to do it all....keep a clean home, run errands, be there for the baby, cook, play hostess, and snap back to my old self among other things. All of this has back fired, and really shown me that sometimes you have to take it easy, and right after birth is one of those times. It's OK to delay doing dishes, sweeping, combing your hair, etc. I've learned the importance of just resting right now, when possible. And after much trepidation, I decided to hire a cleaning service the other day. I must say, it feels sooooo good to have things tidy now and have more time for the baby. I might keep them around for a few months :-)

5. Kindness abounds

Over the past month our new little family has been shown so much kindness, from family and friends who've cooked and brought us meals, to loved ones who've generously showered us with unexpected baby gifts. We were even given the gift of a handmade baby hat from a stranger. I've been truly floored by the extent to which kindness exists in our lives, we are very lucky.

What did you learn last month?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Baby Z and I wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween! Enjoy yourselves :-)