Collections // 8

Reading // The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. There’s a few other books next to my bed right now, but this one was recommended by my spiritual director and, while I’m taking it slowly, it is without a doubt the most powerful work I’ve read on Mary…ever. Highly recommend. It may take my a year to finish at the rate I’m going, but it’s worth it!

Cooking // Ugh, sometimes nothing. Poor Kevin! This summer feels like it’s been quite full (how is it almost August?!), and while I grocery shop with the best of intentions, I usually find myself scrounging for something easy & quick most days. Which is tough because easy & quick doesn’t often align with my dietary restrictions. Buttttt occasionally I’ll be on a roll with some food prep, and we make it last. This soup is absolutely amazing and lasts us a few meals. Also, plantain cakes have been my jam lately. Blend ripe yellow plantains with a bit of coconut flour and gelatin and voila! a perfect protein filled fibrous snack that can be eaten sweetened or savory.

Baking // We got some rhubarb recently in our farm share box, and believe it or not, I had never had rhubarb before. I wasn’t interested in putting the effort into a paleo pie, but I did make a plain boxed cake (paleo!) and some strawberry/rhubarb jam to accompany it. The cake didn’t last long, but I think we still have a bit of jam! It’s delicious.

Watching // I can’t believe I’m gonna say this…Downton Abbey. For years, I’ve had friends telling me how I needed to watch it because I’d love it. I resisted because I know how addicted I can get. Well, I gave in. And it’s awesome.

Listening // ehh not much other than the radio on my commutes, which can be so repetitive and annoying. I need to opt for more silence.

Wanting // to have all the time in the world to do all the things before this baby comes! Since I work for a campus ministry and August is around the corner…that’s not gonna happen. Fall is a full schedule!

Making // LOTS. Well, Kevin is. We have some exciting things in the works. We recently made the decision for him to pursue his art full-time. This has been a long time coming and the Lord has been steering us this way for a couple of years now. We are finally saying yes! And we are so excited.

Traveling // Off to San Diego in a few weeks! My brother and his wife & daughter live out there, so that’s where my big summer family vacation will be this year. Kevin and I are so excited – these vacations are usually a preeeettttty nice getaway for us. And I’ve never been to San Diego! Land of the perfect climate.

Collections // 7

Reading // I’ve recently re-started Orthodoxy by Chesterton. For some reason, I didn’t make it through the whole thing last time (a chronic problem of mine). I partly blame Kevin because the book is SOOOOO destroyed – a sign of his big love for it. But I got past the first two chapters, which felt so foreign and uninteresting to me, and now feel like I can push through the rest. Chapter three was great. Other books I’ve been slowly making my way through (because of my hardcore reading ADD): The Two Towers (re-read), Madame Chic (fun, short, total leisure), and Liberty Defined (it’s broken up into topics, and I’ve mostly ready all the topics I wanted to read but still intend on “finishing” it).

Cooking // With the new year, I’m back into making a few staples like bone broth, water kefir, and coconut milk yogurt. Gotta take care of that gut health! I also recently bought my first bag of Cassava flour (all the rage in the paleo world right now), which is basically ground yucca root. It works much more like regular flour, as opposed to nut & seed flowers that require a totally different way of cooking. I made waffles last night, and we were both very impressed. Two thumbs up!

Baking // Besides those dang good waffles, not much else. But I intend on experimenting with Cassava flour in other types of recipes! (Obviously, only those which are grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free…such fun.)

Watching // We discovered that Pirates of the Caribbean, which I have not seen in YEARS, was on Netflix, so naturally we watched it. We then felt compelled to watch the next two, which we located at a local record store for dirt cheap. They get progressively worse in story (we recently read that the script was being written as they were filming with no real planning involved – makes sense if you watch the movies), but do not disappoint in the entertaining action. From there, we watched some behind-the-scenes footage, which, especially for large productions like this, always fascinate me. That lead me to dabble back into the making of Lord of the Rings on the extended edition DVD’s – be still, my heart (the singular piece of work that made me want to abandon everything and move to New Zealand to work on a film – obviously).

Listening // Lord of the Rings Pandora station – Howard Shore’s score is, in my opinion, THE greatest movie score of all time. I talk Kevin’s ear off often about this so I don’t even know what to write about it…it just moves me in a way that nothing else does. I was regretting (for a hot second) changing our wedding song from Into the West (final song in Lord of the Rings) to Coldplay at the last minute, but then again…Coldplay. 🙂

Wanting // to find a good beginners yoga class in the area to use this winter! I think I’ve found a groupon that will allow me to try out different types of classes (so if the yoga ends up being a bit spiritual or whatever, I can move over to barre).

Making // I have a few shirts that need some serious TLC (one from a bleach stain, the other got small tears in the wash). So I’ve been on a journey to really learn how to take care of my clothes (not a natural skill of mine – Kevin is always torn when I offer to do laundry). I recently bought Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener and have since soaked some of my lights in it that had some pretty noticeable stains (coffee, concealer makeup, random stains that I was totally baffled by) and ALL of it was cleaned! The items look beautiful! Except for one poor striped shirt that we tried to fix months ago but ended up bleaching the dark stripe at the collar – so a future project I have is to try and alter the collar to a boatneck to just get rid of the stain. The other somewhat success I’ve had is fixing two small holes in a relatively new sweater after it went through the wash – with a combo of fusible bonding web & fusible interfacing (thank you, Joann’s fabric), it is minimized and should not tear further. And I shall hand wash that item, along with the rest of my sweaters, from now on. So many lessons being learned.

Traveling // Nowhere! Thank goodness! My body, while in its gut healing phase, just does not do well when I am out of routine. Reactions galore! So for the next couple of months, local exploring it is.

Collections // 6

Reading // I recently got caught up with Harry Potter book 7. Sometimes I can’t help it. But reading these novels always helps get me into a greater reading groove. However, after finishing, I went right into book 6. After this (which never takes very long), I’ll discipline myself better and start something new. I have also been reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Hallie Lord‘s new book, “On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace.” I have not yet finished, but I would highly recommend this to any woman, especially married (and I can imagine it’d be even of greater benefit for those with children).

Cooking // With my newfound allergies (what else is new?), the kitchen was a bit of a dull space for me in August. But I’m resolved to not get into a rut, lest I be tempted to eat what I shouldn’t. So I’ve been reaching for some more creativity. Kevin recently placed in our shopping cart 2 lbs. of figs because they were on sale. Shortly after that, we both realized we didn’t absolutely love plain figs. So I made a fresh batch of fig jam using the smallest amount of honey and coconut oil, and it was delicious. Naturally, I needed to find more ways to use the jam. So I tried a trusted recipe for grain-free/nut-free/dairy-free pizza crust, replacing the required egg with a flaxseed egg, and made fig & prosciutto pizza (with arugula and goat cheese). Kevin has said I’ve found the greatest pizza recipe of all time (whether he was being totally honest or just complimentary, I still am not 100% sure).

Baking // On a similar note, I tried Danielle Walker‘s totally allergy-free cookie recipe. I had tested this out several times before, with a real egg, and the results were so-so. They tasted great, but looked like massive blobs. The flax egg version was a bit similar, but I used less oil and so they were less blob-like. But still super yummy!

Watching // Can I ever really stray from the classics? Parks & Rec and The Office, obviously. They never cease to brighten up a blah day. I think I’ll be starting the North & South mini-series soon, though. I’ve heard good things!

Listening // everything Coldplay. I just can’t not. Also, now that I drive to work, I put on the radio here and there. And it’s awful. There are literally five songs on repeat on every station and they are awful. Has this always been the case? I guess I just haven’t had to drive much during morning and evening traffic since high school.

Wanting // Sperry boots. And this dress. And maybe for the apartment to be in order soon :).

Making // a new home! I’m beginning to lose count how many times I’ve moved apartments/homes over the past several years. But here is another! We really love it, we just need to finish the furnishing process. But it’s getting there!

Traveling // We did just go to Utah, which was awesome. Coming up this weekend, we will be driving up to Brainerd, a city/town about three hours northwest of St. Paul known for the lake life. Our good friend, newly ordained, is assigned to a couple of parishes there and has invited us to stay at a vacant rectory for the weekend. Then the first weekend in October, we will be venturing out to Viroqua, Wisconsin! I’m not terribly certain of what we will find, but I have reasonably high hopes that it will be pretty. 🙂


Collections // 5

Reading // I’m currently reading Make it Happen by Lara Casey – a good motivational book for the start of the new year. I’m also still working on Theology for Beginners…it’s really an easy read and could be quick if I wanted it to be. But there’s a lot of truths that I want to sink in so I’m taking my time with it. Dante’s Inferno is also taking a while, but mainly cause there’s only so much discussion of Hell I can take in a sitting, ya know?

Cooking // Back to the Whole 30. I had been overindulging somewhat in all of Danielle Walker’s delicious grain-free treats for far too long. This time around, though, I’m trying to make my Whole 30 more economical, less all-meat-all-the-time (which can be tough with their guidelines), and use more of my blender. Like tonight I made sweet potato hash, which was delicious.

Baking // Nothing as of today! For 30 days!

Watching // Kevin and I got our fill of a few Christmas favorites over the past few weeks. My contributions were Love Actually and The Holiday – I will never tire of these two films and the joy they bring me. We also watched Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life – classics! As of right now, I’ve been on a bit of a Friends binge…this was by far my favorite show for so long (it still might be) – it’s just so familiar. I can put it on in the background and laugh while doing more serious things.

Listening // The Holiday Pandora station is a GOOD one. We’ve been enjoying it a bunch. But I’m also a 21st century woman and I am still not over Adele and her new music.

Wanting // These Gap sweater leggings! We’ve hit a real cold spell here in Duluth – the past few days have been in the negatives and I swear something is off with our heating (or it’s in my head). My favorite lounge pants are dirty and so I’ve been wearing double leggings…and my winter coat. IT. IS. COLD. Which means I’ve been thinking about sweater leggings.

Making // I’ve been trying out hand lettering for a bit now. I really like it! Just because I like it, though, doesn’t mean I’m good at it, sadly. I tell myself if I work on it enough (which I don’t) then I’ll get better.

Traveling // Besides our recent quick trip to PA, there is nothing on the books until May. So I’ll probably need to change that. Maybe another trip to the twin cities at least? There’s just not as many places exciting places accessible via car then there are in the northeast. Unless you count my new favorite local coffee shop, Pelican Coffee. I go there at least once a week…daring, I know.

May your Tuesday be a bit less boring than mine 🙂

Collections // 4

Reading // I’ve been on a reading kick as of late and I love it. I finished Fellowship of the Ring (a classic one that’s good to re-visit!), I devoured The Royal We (a post for another time on books I’ve read, but I really just enjoyed this one so much!), I’m working my way through Theology for Beginners  by Frank Sheed for a more informative read, and now I’m also onto The Two Towers (admittedly much harder for me to push through than Fellowship). I also started this book called Where’d You Go, Bernadette – I’m having a harder time getting into it. I think coming of The Royal We spoiled me and I’m just hoping for another one like that, which this is not. But I’ll continue to give it a try!

Cooking // Still having a major stash of fresh zucchini from a friends garden, I’ve been spiralizing the heck out of them and making paleo pasta dishes. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do, but gosh is it tasty!

Baking // Paleo brownies! Grain-free biscuits, tortillas, & pancakes! I have been so excited with the flexibility of my schedule because I now get to create pretty much everything from scratch and it’s not a time-consuming burden.

Watching // Since Kevin and I have more of a routine these days, and it is awesome, we’ve been able to settle down for a movie here and there during super, chill, relaxing evenings (heaven!) and still have time to read and/or recreate after! We watched Star Wars (original trilogy) recently – Kevin’s gotten extremely excited over the most recent trailer (like the rest of the world). Also, I was not feeling super great one day last week and went back to the place of joy – Parks & Rec.

Listening // I’ve been really abusing my Lord of the Rings pandora station. I think I now know every possible song that could potentially play. It’s the perfect soothing music for me to have going while working, reading, or whatever.

Wanting // I walked into Target the other day to get a Starbucks beverage (I randomly found a coupon in my bag from a previous receipt for a drink, so heck yes I’ll take advantage!) and was immediately in awe of the clothing section. I feel like Target goes through seasons for me – one day I will love every item, the next I feel like it’s more for young teenage girls. But this trip was a hit. Did I get anything? Of course not. But I was being tantalized by all the beautiful winter sweaters!

Making // I recently made my first batch of kombucha! Living in a much colder climate and being stingy with our heat, it took almost a MONTH for the taste to be what I wanted. But it paid off! Delicious! I’m also trying to re-teach myself how to crochet – it’s getting better! I don’t think it’ll ever be something I’m super skilled with, but it’s a nice hobby to have.

Traveling // This past weekend, we went down to the twin cities for Borromeo weekend at St. Paul Seminary. Kevin was very excited to take me down there since it’s a tradition from his days in college sem at St. Thomas that he loved. We stayed at the major seminary in St. Paul, attended the Friday night Mass, walked in the candlelit procession, and enjoyed some adoration. The next day we went out for a lovely breakfast with our good friend, Deacon Paul, and strolled through some neighborhoods. The city was absolutely perfect. I love St. Paul and cannot wait for our next trip down there!

Collections // 3

Reading // Right now, there is an abundance of books I want to read, but gosh I just have not had the time. And we don’t have library cards in our new place, so hopefully that happens soon. However, I did sit in Barnes & Noble yesterday and read half of this accessible book on economics (something I’ve somehow gotten more into lately). I would HIGHLY recommend this as an intro to the basics.

Cooking // Cooking? Hmm…more like Kevin makes me eggs for breakfast, lunch is omitted, and somehow dinner gets eaten. Life has been not so conducive to routine as of late.

Baking // However, I did make some pumpkin bread lately that got some rave reviews – a mixture of this bread (sans chocolate chips) and these crumblies (the favorite part). It’s not grain-free or paleo, but it’s autumn and I wanted to share it with people (I couldn’t eat it, of course…).

Watching // Gilmore Girls because it’s fall and I’m already missing the beauty of the East coast. Not that Duluth isn’t beautiful! But there’s a certain charm that the East coast has the I don’t think I can find anywhere else.

Listening // Lots of podcasts, per usual. But also, Kevin and I have been listening to this on audio book. Linda Rottenberg is hilarious and has a very engaging voice. It’s a great read on entrepreneurship and how everyone nowadays should be developing the skills of an entrepreneur.

Wanting // new fall clothing, obviously. It’s by far the best season to shop for clothing, BUT it’s not really happening right now. And that’s okay! I’m also craving just some good routine in our life. Hopefully that’s something we will achieve within the next two months.

Making // Essential oil lotions. Gosh do I love essential oils. In addition to some body lotions, I’ve been making some sprays too. We had a wee bit of a fly problem when we arrived in Duluth, but with some rosemary, lavender, and vinegar/water, it seems to have gotten a lot better.

Traveling // We drove out to Minnesota! Our stops included the Philadelphia area to see my family, State College, PA to see the Dills, Ann Arbour, MI to see Elise, Erin, WI, St. Paul, MN, and then Duluth! It was a lovely trip, but far too quick. I’m actually back in PA at the moment because Frontier airlines had SUPER cheap flights from the twin cities. I’ll drive down with my mom tomorrow morning to see my sister in DC who just had her first little girl, Millie!

Collections // 2

Reading // As is my way, I got a little caught up in re-reading some Harry Potter recently. On book six at the moment – I keep myself to no more than a chapter a day.

Cooking // whatever is in our freezer. We only have about three weeks left actually in this apartment (we’re traveling for another two weeks) and I want to make sure all the meat I bought in bulk once upon a time gets eaten! Which it will. No problem.

Baking // grain-free breads. I’ve found a few good recipes, but this is my favorite. It’s not an everyday occurrence (don’t want to make a habit out of eating “bread”), but it’s super tasty when we have it.

Watching // umm…one of the Marvel films every week. You could say Kevin and I have a problem, but we personally think it’s a fine art being able to watch a film over and over. Especially when the movie is so rich! Last night was Iron Man 3, before that Avengers, before that Thor, before that Captain America…you get the idea. We just really love these films.

Listening // my younger sisters cd mixes. Since she graduated and will not be needing a car in DC, my parents passed the Acura onto us (which we’re so grateful for!). She generously left some fun mixes in her car, and it’s funny what similar taste we have. A fun variety to, from Coldplay to Tupac to the Weepies…it’s all over the place.

Wanting // another Stitchfix box! I had a gift card from my birthday that allowed for two fixes (spent a bit over my allotted amount), and now I’m addicted. I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon, but a girl can dream!

Making // homemade organic & natural makeup! It seems that I go a little bit deeper each month into a more crunchy way of life, and partly because it’s so much fun and fulfilling to create from scratch (and to know everything I’m using/eating/surrounding myself with). I’ve made a pretty successful powdered blush and powdered foundation thanks to the recipes of Wellness Mama. The concealer didn’t turn out as I expected, but I think I know the issue…but it means I gotta re-do it. Another time!

Traveling // the past few weekends have been here in Boston, but August will be the month of travels – a grand family vacation on the Cape followed by another trip to Quebec! Followed by our cross country road trip to Duluth!