Friday Thoughts: Favorite Things + Follow Up
Hey, hey! It’s April already. WOW.
I won’t go into why that’s hard to wrap my brain around (like, school’s out for the summer in less than seven weeks, wut), but…here we are. Time marches on and all that.
I wanted to check in today to share a few favorite things with you and blab about some random life notes. I also have a microblading update, but this post got long in a hurry, so I’ll save that for next time!
Here we go!
Some Favorite Things
I shared a few random, favorite things on Instagram the other week, and didn’t want those of you not on Instagram (good for you) to miss out! So, here they are plus a few more! (None of these are sponsored, just stuff I’m l.o.v.i.n.g.)
- Yasso bars. My goodness. Amazing. My friend, Deb, dropped these frozen yogurt bars off to me last week and I ate two, immediately became obsessed, and the next day drove around to find them (thank you, Albertsons – several of you alerted me they are at Target and Walmart, too). I bought every flavor I could find. All delicious; the sea salt caramel chocolate crunch are my fave.
- S’mores maker. I got this fun little s’mores maker for the kids for Valentine’s day, and it’s been a hit. The premise is super simple, and we love it. You could argue that you don’t really need another small appliance to make a s’mores, but we’d have to agree to disagree on this one. 😉
- My new favorite jeans. Listen, I’m no fashion blogger, but I’m in love with these jeans and thought you should know. This is saying a lot, since I generally avoid wearing hard pants at all costs. #joggersforlife These jeans are flattering and comfy (and I don’t look like I’m a 40+ mom trying to fit into a 19-year old’s fashion closet). I bought them from one of my favorite online clothing boutiques, Piper and Scoot – the jeans are a top seller and I think there are only a few sizes left. But good news, I did a quick google search and found the exact same ones here. They run a bit big. I’d size down one waist size (I’m normally a 27-28-ish and I wear a size 26). And yes, that is a carpenter loop, and yes, it does beg the question of why I didn’t hang on to the pair I had in high school. K, bye.
- Queen Bee Chocolates. This family-owned company is in Wyoming, a few hours from where my parents live in Montana. My dad makes the drive to this small town just for these amazing chocolates. And after every trip, he usually sends me a small box stuffed with my favorites (thanks, dad!). I love the story behind this small copmany: honey farmers turned simultaneous candy makers. All the chocolate/candy is made with honey, and it is incredibly delicious. My favorites: the dark chocolate haystacks, the Bee Energy Bars, and the honey caramels.
- Crazy amazing granola. My sister gave me a few flavors of this Safe + Fair granola for my birthday, and I became an instant fan. So much so that I ended up buying one (ahem, ok, two) of every flavor from their website. The birthday cake granola is unparalleled. But I just dipped into the honeycrisp apple and ohmygoodness.
- Sassy bites. Random grocery store find, and now I can’t eat lunch without them. I’m a pickle fanatic, and these sweet + spicy pickles might be in the land of best pickles I’ve ever had (yes, I’ve had Famous Daves, and I think they’re even better, please don’t hate me). Word has it that the pickled carrots from this company are UNREAL.
- White balsamic vinegar. The same friend who blessed my life with the fro-yo bars also gave me some of this white balsamic vinegar from Baker + Olive, and I have never had anything like it in my life. I went through a bottle of the mango white balsamic in no time (best vinegar ever), so I decided to order more flavors of vinegar than one human should ever need. JUSTIFICATION: I’m planning to keep them in my pantry for gifts. Buuuuut I’m worried I’m going to end up dipping into every flavor just so I can sample. I have personally tried the mango, cranberry pear, and jalapeno – all of them outrageously delicious. I also have bought and used the olive oil from this same company and a few of the spice blends.
As for what I do with the vinegar: I use it in recipes that call for vinegar (salad dressings, marinades), but it’s also so flavorful and tasty on it’s own that I regularly whisk equal parts vinegar and olive oil and toss it with a simple salad. Divine.
How Did This Happen?
Unbelievably, I started this blog just a few weeks after this picture was taken, almost 15 years ago.
Even more unbelievable is that some of you have been around for almost that entire time. 💗
Earlier this week that cute little boy in the blue PJ’s up there turned 18.
Me: WHO AM I AND HOW DID I GET HERE?
Also me: DON’T GET ATTACHED, THEY GROW UP AND LEAVE YOU.
Finally me: 😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗😭💗
Millions of kids throughout history have grown up, graduated high school, and launched into the big, wide world. I’m certainly no pioneer. And yet, I feel like the first mom who has ever experienced the lump-in-my-throat, bittersweet emotions watching her oldest son go through this phase of life. My heart is full of love…and also ripping to shreds.
I just honestly don’t feel old enough for this. Can we pause life for about 10 years (but only if it can be done exactly when all the teenagers in my house are in a good mood)? Pretty please?
Sourdough (Don’t Roll Your Eyes)
I haven’t personally gotten into making rustic, gorgeous loaves of rustic sourdough bread. You know the ones: the bread with incredible sourdough flavor and also crust so sharp it bleeds the top of your mouth dry. Yeah, those ones.
But I have become mildly obsessed with sourdough discard recipes.
Now is just a gentle reminder and nudge to get your hands on a sourdough starter (or make your own so it has time to grow and get ready to use), because I’m posting an easy sourdough discard recipe next week that is going to knock your socks off.
And I’m also working on the softest, fluffiest sourdough sandwich bread and a perfected sourdough waffle recipe.
If you are cringing at the thought of the sourdough recipes to come, don’t worry. I promise my blog isn’t turning into Sourdough Central…there are just a few recipes I’m super excited to share before I lose interest. 🙂
My Brother’s Wedding
My favorite younger brother, Nate, got married last month, and I was very, very honored (and also very, very nervous) to take the photos and make the cake for his wedding.
Because I had to drive six hours to the wedding, I baked the cake layers ahead of time and then made the frosting and assembled and decorated the cake at the AirBnb in Portland, Oregon.
After perusing the Pinterest boards Nate and Tim sent me for inspiration, I went with a rustic/woodsy vibe. I used this chocolate cake recipe for two 9-inch layers topped with two 7-inch layers.
In between the layers I spread dark chocolate ganache sprinkled with dark chocolate crispy chocolate pearls aff. link (sidenote: those crispy pearls are the best thing to happen to life – I decorate cakes/cupcakes/cookies with them, but mostly, I eat them by the handful; so delightfully yummy)
Tim prefers less-sweet frosting (as do I!), so I made this buttery magical frosting to frost the outside of the cake layers.
The cake ended up tasting quite delicious…but mostly, I was just happy it didn’t collapse while driving an hour through Portland traffic to the venue. Special shoutout to my amazing mom who held the assembled cake on her lap the entire drive.
I love my brother, Nate, more than I can express in a blog post. He’s not just my brother, he is one of my closest friends.
His life story is not mine to tell, but I will say that if you’ve been blessed to know Nate in the 40 years he’s been on this earth, you’ll know how lucky you are. He’s warm and genuine. Authentic and kind. He’s a phenomenal father. He’s wickedly smart. And he is also very, very funny.
I am so incredibly grateful for the man he is, the life he is living, and the fact that he’s now blessed me with an amazing brother-in-law, Tim, who patiently listens to me talk about sourdough starters and pigs. (Bless you, Tim, bless you.)
This is me probably giving Nate the side eye at some joke he made. He and I are always arguing about who is funnier. I mean, Nate is SUPER funny, but is this still even a debate?? You guys, please believe me: I am older, wiser, and definitely funnier. 😉
I have had increasing stomach issues for months. I know it’s a combination of stress/anxiety, family history of IBS, and some inflammatory foods on my particular tummy.
I recently did an elimination diet where most of my meals consisted of things like this:
Which looks yummy for half a second until you eat it every dang day for weeks on end and realize that there is no true joy without chocolate, cheese and carbs.
The upside is that I’ve been able to identify some foods that are causing me stomach issues. Along with that, I’ve also been taking these digestive enzymes + probiotics (aff. link) and have noticed a huge difference for the better when I take them.
Some News Resources I Like
I, like many of you, feel the heaviness of world events right now, particularly the war in Ukraine. If you are like me and want to stay informed without feeling overwhelmed by all the loud voices and huge amount of misinformation, here are the sites/resources I check.
- @sharonsaysso (she posts most of her information on her Instagram stories)
- @mosheh (he posts most of his info in Instagram stories as well, but he also has a very helpful email bulletin you can subscribe to)
- The Donut daily email (I love this quick synopsis of world events + other information + random tidbits)
- @smarthernews and @theamericanmoms and @ridethenews have also been great informational resources for me
- @wiserworldpodcast (here’s the website) is a new-to-me podcast (and a fairly new podcast altogether) that is incredibly helpful with short-ish episodes about countries and historical events (the four episodes on the last 100 years in Russia and Ukraine were so, so informative and interesting)
Additionally, I’ve been following the work of World Central Kitchen in Ukraine right now, and the amount of meals this organization makes to feed the hungry is absolutely mind-blowing. I’ve personally donated to World Central Kitchen and to Save The Children for their efforts in Ukraine right now. These are just two of many, many worthy and reputable organizations needing donations right now. 💗
Y’all. WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY.
Thanks for being here and for sticking with me and my randomness (for those of you that make it to the end every time). I love your guts. Just so much.
Let me know how you’re doing in the comments? Yes, please do.