Guilty Pleasure: The Bachelor

JoJo Unicorn

JoJo’s entrance on Ben’s season

The Bachelor is absurd. I know that, I get that, I see that—every Monday night at 8pm. But yet, I’ve been looking forward to Monday nights for almost a decade and have no plans of cutting myself off from this vice. Clearly I love the absurdity. And also the wine.

It’s the same thing season after season. Repetitious corny monologues about how love compares to whatever insane activity they’re doing on a date, the same “most dramatic rose ceremony ever,” familiar character archetypes, and always a cast of skinny and attractive contestants who are looking to find a life partner in less than six weeks while on vacation. TOTALLY REAL. And that’s what makes it entertaining; ya just gotta laugh.

Somehow the producers always seem to keep me and a bajillion other women hooked. Women (sometimes also men) who I look up to as intellectual, progressive, funny, and honest admit to liking The Bachelor/ette, despite its stereotypes and predictability. I’m always surprised when I learn someone I respect is a Bachelor fan. Every season, the show gets more and more attention and viewership grows. The most recent stars of the past few seasons have over a million followers each on Instagram. As outlandish as it is, they’re doing something right.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t continue reading if you haven’t watched this week’s episodes of The Bachelorette (yes, “special two-night event!”). I hate when things are ruined for me, so this is your fair warning to get the heck outta here if you don’t wanna know what happened with Luke, Robby, Chase, and Jordan!

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How to Create an Artificial Floral Arrangement

flower arrangement supplies
It’s quickly coming up on a year that we moved into our house. We’re still finding our style and slowly picking out furniture and decorations. I’ve been wanting to add some flowers to the living/dining room, but arranging them is not a talent I possess.

A couple weeks ago, I saw an email about a new modern flower arranging class available on Skillshare. For those who haven’t heard of Skillshare, it’s an online learning platform with a plethora of creative and fun classes. Some are available for free, and others are only available to premium members. A premium membership allows you to take unlimited classes for $10/month (discounted rates available if you purchase a yearly subscription). Subjects in my personal class list range from hand-lettering to knitting, learning Excel to knife skills (learning to chop like a chef). I absolutely love Skillshare!

When I got the email announcing the class about arranging a modern centerpiece, I immediately saved it. I’m constantly saving classes; there are about 150 in my list. Who knows if I’ll actually get around to even half of those, but this is one I took right away. The class is taught by Michael and Darroch Putnam, founders of Putnam & Putnam Flowers in New York City. Before I started the class, I spent way too long scrolling through the breathtaking work in their portfolio. Talk about inspiration; what a dream!

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Weekend Morning Traditions

weekend morning traditions

Juxtaposition

Ahhh, the weekend. There’s nothing better than waking up and realizing that it’s Saturday, and you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Sure, we all have obligations, errands, and chores, but there are also those days when it’s ok to roll back over and sleep for another hour.

On those types of weekend mornings, my boyfriend and I have unintentionally created some traditions and routines that I’ve come to look forward to as the weekend approaches. At our house, weekend mornings are reserved for the “good coffee.” Throughout the week, we drink drip coffee from the pot (usually whatever is on sale), reserving the better coffee for the weekends. We often buy beans from local roasteries and brew it in our Chemex or French press—a small way to give ourselves a treat after a long week.

We like to put on some music and cook up a big breakfast, then sit together and read the paper while we eat. We also have what we call our weekend mugs (pictured above), my favorite handmade pottery mugs that give me all the cozy feels.

I know this makes us sound like we’re 80 years old in our 20s (pretty much the truth), but it’s those simple, relaxing moments that recharge and energize me. When breakfast is over, there are errands to run, a lawn to mow, and places to be, so I like to take my time and soak in those couple of hours with nothing to do, escaping for a brief second from our busy lives.

How do you spend those weekend mornings when you have nothing to do? What are the traditions and routines that you look forward to every weekend? I hope you have a relaxing one!

Fresh Cherry Crisp for a Hot Summer Night

cherries3

The first thing that caught my eye at the farmer’s market this weekend was the table covered in plump, bright cherries. Boy do I love summer in all its fresh fruit glory. Mmmm, perfectly sweet and juicy; I ate so many. I’m surprised I had enough left to use for baking.

Aside from cookies, I’m pretty much a newbie baker. I’m a relatively novice cherry lover too, so I’d never baked with cherries on my own before. Cherry pie is my favorite, but I wasn’t feeling that ambitious on a hot summer night with no AC, so I asked my boyfriend’s mom for my second favorite (and much simpler) cherry recipe instead, cherry crisp. YUM. Writing those words makes my mouth water.

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Friday I’m In Love

napa sunrise

Napa, California

Friday already? Yeeee! I love short work weeks. What’s going on this weekend? I’ve got a long to-do list waiting for me. First up, buying a new fridge. Oh, adulthood, you sure are fun.

Does anyone have any insight on fridge buying? We looked at a bunch of them last weekend, and all brands seemed to be pretty much the same. I’ve been told over and over again that they only last about 7-10 years now too. My fridge is from 1985, which is a couple years before I was even born, so…why are we getting a new one again? It’s all about the style update. We’ll keep the old fridge in the basement, and I can’t help but wonder if it’ll outlive the new one.

Enough adult stuff. Here are some of my favorite links from this week (none to appliances I promise).

One thing I won’t be doing in this space is talking politics, but my friend Michelle has that on lock. Check out the insightful work she and her colleagues have been doing about the Clinton email scandal. Scroll to the bottom for the latest.

Here are a ton of outrageous Donald Trump fact-checks too.

I found this article last week through one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, and I just love this concept of casual gratitude. Plus, we could all strive to be a little more like Tami Taylor.

Between my sister and me, we had at least 75% of these Barbies.

I guess this is nostalgia week. ALL MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE.

Would you eat at a Golden Girls themed cafe? I would totally meet you there for coffee.

This is nuts! A new way to travel from Maine to Florida and everywhere in between.

Oh sure, let me just get right to buying a castle

Hope you have a great weekend!

Weeknight Dinner Staple: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

I almost couldn’t bring myself to label a vegetable as a dinner staple. I was never much of a vegetable fan. I’m more of the “only eat your pile of peas to get your dessert” type. That was the rule in my house growing up; you had to eat all the vegetables on your plate. Usually I knew exactly how many there were, suffering and whining my way through all fifteen of those mushy peas, counting down one by one as I got closer to the finish. Eyes on the prize. No pain, no gain.

As a chocolate lover, it’s hard to admit, but I have to confess something. I tend to hit up the vegetables for a second helping now. I know…what! Well, wait, just kidding. I never go back for round two when it comes to peas. Not even firsts. I still hate peas, but maybe I’ll come around.

Roasted veggies changed my whole produce perspective. Asparagus, cauliflower, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts are a few of my favorite sides with dinner lately, all of which I could take or leave normally. But when roasted, give me all the veggies.

A little olive oil, salt, and pepper is all you need to whip up some tasty vegetables, my friends. Whatever else you add (ahem, garlic) can enhance the flavors, but these basics are enough to get you somethin’ good.

Here are the steps I follow for roasted Brussels sprouts. They can be thrown together in no time, making a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. Or hey, if you decide you only want to eat veggies for dinner, this is a judgement-free zone. But you should probably follow up with some ice cream, just sayin’.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt (we’ve been using freshly ground pink Himalayan salt lately, so good, but kosher or regular old iodized table salt will do just fine)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Additional 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional, if you toast breadcrumbs)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. A lot of the leaves will fall off in the process. It’s up to you whether or not you want to use those. I use most of them; they crisp up and taste like a potato chip (sorta). Who doesn’t love chips?

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat until almost simmering. Add Brussels sprouts to pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper for this one! Cook until Brussels sprouts are browned. I love how the Brussels sprouts come out when browned a bit before putting them into the oven to roast, but you can skip this step if you prefer not to use the extra pan. If you skip this step, you’ll need to increase your cook time in the oven.

If you want to add a little extra crunch, add panko breadcrumbs. I add them to the pan on the stove a few minutes before transferring the Brussels sprouts to a baking sheet to give them time to brown a bit. Alternatively, you can toast your breadcrumbs in a separate pan before adding them to the Brussels sprouts (a recommendation that I love from my Aunt Julie!). To do that, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a small pan. Add ¼ cup panko. Mix well and stir often until breadcrumbs are toasted, about 2-4 minutes. Then, add them to the Brussels sprouts in pan on stove and mix.

Once the Brussels sprouts are browned, transfer them to a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes. I find that to be enough time, but if you like them extra roasted, keep ’em cooking.

This is the point when I usually start picking at the chips and eating them before they get to my plate.

Friday I’m In Love: 4th of July

summer twist cone

4th of July is one of my favorite times of year—picnics, fireworks, sparklers, cold beers. There’s a parade on the 4th in my hometown and, while it’s nothing extraordinary, I always loved it. I haven’t been in years, but I attended or participated in it every year during my childhood until I graduated high school. Even though we’d been out of school for almost a month at that point, the 4th embodied summer and felt like a beginning of sorts; sunny days ahead filled with adventure. Boy, do I miss that nostalgic feeling of naivety and freedom. I’m setting a goal to have a carefree, fun-filled holiday weekend. I hope you’re able to do the same!

There are so. many. sales. happening this weekend. Here are a few that I’ll be perusing.

Loft: 50% off everything sitewide (sales like this one are the best; no limitations or exceptions, or “up to” percents off!)

Old Navy: Up to 60% off entire store

Rifle Paper Co.: Up to 20% off (definitely taking advantage of this one!)

Joss & Main: Extra 15% off of 4th of July deals

Dot & Bo: Stars and Stripes Event with new items each day up to 90% off

Wayfair: 4th of July Extravaganza, up to 70% off

And here are some other 4th of July ideas as you go into this long weekend.

Cutting fruit into star shapes with cookie cutters? Great idea for a festive fruit salad!

I love fruit, but swapping fruit with chocolate? Sold.

Lovin’ these patriotic outfit ideas. Great alternative to the Old Navy flag tee.

Cocktails by the pool? Ok, if I have to.

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these cities or are feeling spontaneous and wanna travel, go check out one of America’s best firework displays!

Have a happy, safe, and relaxing 4th of July!

Treat Yo Self: A Birchbox Review

birchbox boxes

I heard about Birchbox several years ago, but was always hesitant to sign up, thinking it wasn’t worth the money for such little product. In April, I finally gave in and signed up for a three-month subscription to give it a shot.

If you haven’t heard of it or don’t quite know all the details, Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. For $10/month, you receive five personalized high-end beauty samples, delivered to your doorstep in a beautiful little box. You fill out a profile on their website, answering a set of questions about your hair, skin, and sample preferences.

While visiting my best friend in DC, we stopped at the Birchbox store in Georgetown within Rent the Runway. There are currently two storefront locations, the one in DC and the flagship store in New York City. At the store, you can pick all five of your samples and in some cases, even try them first. The DC store associate was knowledgeable and gave us helpful suggestions based on our hair and skin types. And! The April box was created in collaboration with one of my favorites, Rifle Paper Co., so, of course I had to have it. At first I only intended to pick out my five samples for the one box but was so intrigued that I decided to sign up for two additional months. (Plus I was on vacation, so, treat yo self!)

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Fashion Trend to Love or Hate: Overalls

overalls

I’m always fascinated by fashion and beauty trends. Bellbottoms, shoulder pads, mohawks, parachute pants, leggings, mullets…we’ve seen it all, both the elegant and the what-was-she-thinking ugly. Do the world’s top designers get together for a secret meeting and collectively decide to pair track suits with stilettos for Fashion Week? Or maybe it’s that we all see Beyoncé wearing a lemon crown and have to have one too, even if she was just promoting her album. (I was joking but then found this.) Enlighten me if you have any insight on how something becomes a trend; it’s so intriguing!

Now and then, I’m gonna pick a trend to discuss. Please share what you think too. If there’s one I bash or adore, and you think I’m nuts, call me out! Let me know why people are still wearing Crocs and why I need to go out and buy a pair right this second.

Let’s start with overalls, shall we?

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Friday I’m In Love

bowdon england

Bowdon, Greater Manchester, England

Another Friday is here! This week was a long one. I feel like I live for the weekends anymore, even if just to sleep in ten minutes longer. What are you up to this weekend? I’m heading to Ohio to hang with LeBron visit my family and work on some projects for my sister’s wedding.

It’s been a busy week, causing me to be MIA, but I promise there will be more to come next week! Here are some things that caught my attention during this crazy week.

That fireplace in the first picture! And this fireplace too!

Having been born and raised in Northeast Ohio, I love this.

The shower part made me lol because I TOTALLY FEEL THAT WAY EVERY DAY. Showering is hard. Ok, maybe the shower part isn’t that hard, but the having to style my hair again part sure is.

This can’t be real life. No more peanut butter?!

As soon as I step outside, I get eaten alive. Mosquitos love me. I need to get planting!

I’ve been (sort of embarrassingly) watching The Bachelor for almost a decade. How many hours of my life have I wasted? I don’t wanna know. How many more hours of my life am I going to waste on Ben and Lauren’s new spinoff series? Only time will tell…

Have a good weekend!