If we’re not counting the weekend, today was officially my first day of Staycation! But, I did have a good weekend – I went to two places in town that I’ve never been – Counter Culture and Capital City Bakery (both vegan).
I also laid out at the pool, finished reading a book (and am already close to finishing a second), and went to Sprout’s Farmer’s Market for the first time.
As difficult as it is for me to admit, my mental health has been suffering lately. Sometimes, I feel like my brain is about to explode! It’s difficult for me to tell if it is grief, work stress, fatigue, or a combination of all three, but what I know is that my usual comforts haven’t been reliable, and that’s scary.
So, part of my staycation will be giving my mind and body the rest that it needs, but also moving “Find a Therapist” from the bottom of my to-do list and move it to the top.
Yesterday, I started making the vegan Banana Cream Pie that was on my Staycation list – it took awhile since the filling had to set overnight, but it was worth the wait. I finished it this morning and immediately had a slice – it was very good, very light! You can get the recipe from the Minimalist Baker.
I spent a majority of the morning on my patio, drinking lots of coffee and reading – it was really peaceful and nice.
But, it wasn’t long before I ventured to my computer, because even though I’m off at my day job – freelance work means you’re never truly on vacation. It also didn’t help that my boss from my 9-5 is also on vacation and she set me as her backup – le sigh. Communication really is key, folks.
I’ve talked some about my freelance career on here, but it’s something I’ve always done on the side to earn extra money and to keep my skills fresh. I find that no matter the day job, I am always looking for a change of plans.
Currently, I’m really lucky to have several steady jobs going at once, and they’ve really broadened my horizons because most of them are in other countries, including Switzerland and Columbia.
But it also means lots of organizing, juggling, and time management. For a few hours, I actually felt like I wasn’t on vacation at all. Then I remembered that I do have a whole week ahead of me, and even though I’m still doing work, it’s nice to be doing the work while posted up in bed, binging on MTV’s “Ex On The Beach”.
I did take a break to run to Michael’s, because I need to ship an Etsy order tomorrow! Ps. I am currently running a summer sale in the shop – get 20% off + free shipping when you order any two items!
I did get some supplies to make a few new items for the shop, so you’ll have to keep your eyes open for those.
In about an hour, I’m heading to a yoga class, and tonight I’m going to cook dinner, and probably head back out on the patio to finish reading a book!
I was gifted the LUSH sleepy shower jelly and lotion, which I have been dying to try – I’ve heard you really zonk out after using it – so I’m going to try that. Really partying hard over here!
Stay tuned for Staycation Day Two… and keep up with me on social media @OrangeJulius7 (especially if you want to see how my pie turned out)!
I am fairly certain its bad blogging etiquette to say how exhausted I am, but it’s been a crazy few weeks at work, and life has just been SERVING it to me. Lucky for me, I planned a staycation for myself months ago and have the entire week off!
At first, I didn’t think I’d be that excited about a staycation (I’ve never really had one) and I also thought a week (or 9 whole days) off work would be almost too long. Turns out, I’m already feeling like I probably should have asked for two weeks off.
Regardless, I made a list of things I might do next week – with an understanding that I also might just lay in my bed until the morning of July 9th, when I’m expected back at the office. So, here’s what I’m thinking:
Brunch at Holy Roller
This downtown gem is known for their witty, religious twist on their decor and menu items. They are also home of the “Trash Fries” – but I’m also eyeing the “Grilled Cheesus”. Take a look at their menu for their full offering.
Head to the Movies
It’s been a minute since I’ve been to the movies, and I really want to see “Tag” along with the new “Jurassic World” – I even have a free movie pass to use, so I’m really hoping for one of those afternoons where I’m the only one in the theatre…
4th of July Paddleboarding
This is the only event I know for a FACT I am doing because I already bought my ticket… plus, I’m pretty excited about it. This is a 2-hour stand-up paddle-boarding session on Lady Bird Lake at night underneath the Downtown Austin fireworks on July 4. I can usually see fireworks from my apartment, but each year I always wish I would have actually gone somewhere to see them closer… and I think this is about as close as I can get! I have only been paddle-boarding once before, but I didn’t fall, so I’m hoping I have similar luck!
Lounge by the Pool
It’s a no-brainer that at least a few times, I’ll be at the pool with my head buried in a book, alongside a cooler full of snacks (and white wine).
Binge on ‘The OC’
I bought seasons three and four and have no had a chance to start either of them! I really have some catching up to do.
Lunch at Veracruz All Natural
I heard that Round Rock’s Veracruz All Natural has THE BEST shrimp tacos in Austin and I will happily forgo my vegan diet to try these bad boyz. They also serve 32-ounce agua frescas and I am so freaking excited to get a pineapple one!
Cook in the Kitchen
While I do plan on eating out and enjoying food at the Drafthouse during movies, I do want to cook a few new vegan goodies right at home, including Garlic Buffalo Brussels Sprouts from Rabbit and Wolves, and a Banana Cream Pie from the Minimalist Baker #treatyoself
And so concludes my list. I sort of wanted to include a few productive things on my list, like renew my passport, renew my car registration, and wash my car… but I decided to drive myself insane and did it ALL this week so that next week – I’m completely without obligation.
I’ll let you all know how it turns out on Instagram and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7
Fall officially starts FRIDAY. Let’s be real – it won’t be the least bit chilly in Austin until November 30th if we’re lucky. Instead, we’ll just crank the AC and walk around inside wearing all our fall clothes while burning fall candles, right?
Loving fall is so basic, but you can’t help what you like! It’s sort of funny that liking a season has become so much of a thing, so commercialized, and so… pumpkin-spicey. It’s all become a guilty pleasure that none of us should really feel guilty about!
But, I can’t just let the season pass – I, too, love it and there’s no shame here! I wanted to share some of my favorite fall things, and I’d love to hear some of yours, too.
After the lazy days of summer (I mean not really, but for the sake of dramatics), everything seems to pick back up in the fall. My blog class at UT starts a new semester TODAY, dance rehearsals for our next showcase start this week, and I’m heading to Word Camp (more on this later) next weekend. The fall is just bustling, and it gives me LIFE.
No, I didn’t go to NYFW, but fall clothes are just the best. The colors, the cuts – it’s cozy and flattering, and frankly, that’s basically all that’s in my closet. As you may know, I’ve been cleaning out my closet and this means I’m cherishing my favorite items more than ever. This season, that means I’m living in plaids, huge cardigans, booties, and I’m even embracing athleisure like never before.
I’m vegan (or plant-based) for the first time in fall, but I’m taking my favorite dishes and… veganizing them! I’ve already made vegan chili and enchiladas – both delish. On my list to make: pumpkin pie pudding, s’mores granola bars, pumpkin pancakes, and butternut squash salad (all vegan). If you need ideas, follow me on Pinterest.
I’m not obsessed with pumpkin or apple scents; instead, I love woody scents, anything that smells like a log cabin or strong cologne. It was my love for these things that drove me into the Bath & Body Works outlet a few weeks ago, and I was BOMBARDED, nearly attacked by employees shoving scented three-wicks into my face and offering up sherpa blankets for just $20. I nearly had an anxiety attack, but left with a “Flannel” scented candle that is a piece of heaven. I also got some of the aromatherapy body wash and bubble bath and am so looking forward to cracking them open.
I mean we ALL know fall TV is where it’s at. The crisp air means it’s totally okay to spend more time inside, and I took it upon myself to wash all of my fabrics – my curtains, comforters, blankets, because I know I’ll be rolled up in all of them come November while I’m binging on season two of “Vice Principals”…I know.
The return of “Will & Grace” is upon us (starting a week from tomorrow), and for Housewives fans, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” returns in October, with Danielle Staub making her firey comeback after several seasons away. I just cannot contain my excitement!
I’d love to know what you’re looking forward to this season; or perhaps the goals you’re setting for yourself. We’re nearly three months out from 2018 – how will you finish 2017?
Hey hey! Don’t you just love 3-day weekends? Sure, it’s a little shitty that we have to be back at work today, but it’s already TUESDAY?! Although, I feel like tomorrow I’ll think it’s Thursday and just be really disappointed overall.
But alas, another episode of “Siesta Key” is upon us, and the gang is headed to the Bahamas!
Kelsey is headed with the group to the Bahamas, but without Garrett since they’re on a break. The group is staying in a giant house together, so this will be interesting…
Juliette is among the group as well, and she’s getting used to seeing Kelsey sidling right up to Alex. Chloe is sharing a room with Juliette and is quick to tell her that Kelsey and Alex hooked up after his gala.
In fact, she says, Amanda was looking for her phone after the party and knocked on Alex’s closed bedroom door. Supposedly, he answered the door butt-naked, and when Amanda peeked into the room, Kelsey was in the bed naked, as well.
Here we goooooo.
At dinner, Juliette is back to her dumbass ways and says she doesn’t know how to eat edamame. Lord have mercy on this child.
Pauly Paul must be fresh off a line of the good stuff because he’s asking Kelsey what’s up with her and Garrett? Who ended it? Why did it end? Who are you going to hook up with while you’re here?
Later, he’s having a heart-to-heart with Juliette and he tells her Kelsey and Alex definitely like each other… Juliette is all, “Really? What do I do?”
Meanwhile, Brandon and Madisson are getting a COUPLE’S massage (!) and Brandon is like moaning through the entire thing, and says, “This is better than sex.” Come on, bro.
Chloe and Kelsey are at the spa and Chloe asks her what’s up with her and Alex. Kelsey admits they have a fun chemistry, but that’s all it will ever be. When Chloe confronts her about what happened after the gala, Kelsey says nothing happened… but no one is believing that.
But later… Alex asks Kelsey to go to dinner “as friends”… really?
At the dock, Amanda confronts Kelsey about what happened after the gala. Amanda straight up calls her a liar, and Kelsey says she did go into his room to change into dry clothes. But nothing happened. Srsly?
Alex takes Kelsey out to dinner and he tells everyone he’s taking her out because she’s the new girl. During dinner, they reiterate how they are just friends… but Kelsey calls bullshit on his relationship with with Juliette.
While everyone else is eating dinner, they are ALL talking about Kelsey and Alex. Madisson swears they are just friends but everyone else is all NO, NOPE…
After dinner, Kelsey has a drinking game for her and Alex, and immediately he ends up with his shirt off. Eventually, the whole group joins in… and the next morning, Juliette is in Alex’s bed with him. Now what?
As the gang is packing up, Kelsey says she’s ready to go home but she’s afraid she might have blown it with Garrett. GURL.
Now I cannot wait to see what he says… next week!
Let me just start this by saying I’m writing this after having just gotten home from WINNING “Saved By the Bell” trivia! After years and years of watching the same episodes on repeat, I finally have something to show for it: $1oo in giftcards, fools! Okay, I owe a lot of it to my teammate, but we kicked BUTT.
Anyway, onto “Siesta Key”! The teaser is making it look like Kelsey is going to join the gaggle of whores going after Alex. She’s out to lunch with Chloe and basically shit-talking the gift he got her for their anniversary. Ugh.
Alex Facetimes Madison and apologized for talking so rudely to her at the bonfire. Later, Chloe is out to lunch with her mom and they’re talking about how “great” summer is in Siesta Key? Umm really, cause you literally JUST had surgery for getting your face beat in. It cannot be that great.
Later, some of the group joins Alex on his boat and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the same boat he’s committed all these crimes on. Ew.
Amanda is on the boat, in a thong, and she’s basically all over every guy, because of course. In his defense though, Alex encourages her to squash her beef with Chloe and she says she will (maybe in the season finale).
Later, Alex is “teaching” Kelsey how to drive the boat and you can tell Garrett is jeaaaaalllous.
Next, Madison (I realized I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time, it’s Madisson) is prepping for her interview with Alex’s dad’s company. But basically right when she walks in, the guy tells her she really has nothing on her resume compared to the other candidates. Awesome.
Then, Chloe is visiting with a therapist and is telling her about the altercation she had with Amanda. The therapist tells her to consider the role of alcohol in the fight, and how she reacts to situations. Chloe also tells the therapist that her father is aggressive and has been in and out of jail – she has never met him.
Kelsey and Garrett are paddleboarding and she is talking about how much fun she had on the boat the day before – and he’s not really into it. I’ll admit, this scene was a little sad – I felt bad for Garrett. He was like, “Alex has a lot of money and I’m sure he thinks he can just do whatever he wants and date whoever.” Aww… Kelsey reassures him she’s not interested in Alex, but the entire situation is just weird.
Back at Alex’s house, he finds out he’s been waitlisted for law school. So… yeah.
At Juliette’s she’s recovering from having her wisdom teeth removed. She says she’s under the influence of pain killers, yet she seems exactly the same as how we’ve seen her all season. Hm.
Alex and Madisson meet up and talk about their recent failures, and Alex says he is dead-set on wanting to be a lawyer because he likes the water and “that shit costs money”, so he’s going to work his ass off, be a lawyer, retire, and then own a marina.
Umm, ok. I feel like law is a job you actually have to have a passion for and not just want money, but I could be wrong. Two, how is someone BREAKING THE LAW going to get into law school and be successful? Is this a thing?
Juliette finally gets to hang out with Alex again, and they are trying to work out a meeting between Amanda and Chloe.
Juliette agrees to meet up with the two of them to try and mediate. Chloe immediately starts crying and apologizes for her part – basically, her mouth. Amanda apologizes, too, and says she wants to move on from it, but she still has to see it to believe it.
Aaaaand then the fact that Brandon wants Amanda comes up, and shockingly, Chloe is cool with it. Wow. WAY TO GO LADIES!
Butttt then Pauly Paul shows up at the bar during Chloe’s shift and he tells her about Amanda hooking up with Alex. And thisssss goes over poorly.
Next week? It’s another party at Alex’s! Go figure!!!! I’ll see you then…
That’s right, I celebrated a birthday earlier this month. While I don’t like to make a big scene about my birthday, I was really excited to be surrounded by cakes, balloons, and I even got sung to, twice! Lucky, lucky girl right here.
I usually spend my birthday with reflection heavy on the brain, but this year, I lounged by the pool and sipped on a peach + wine slushee (get the recipe here). And honestly, I got some pretty cool gifts! I know, I know, that’s not what birthdays are about, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case you’re looking to shop for someone on your list.
Laura Geller Summer Goddess Collection – I have gotten a few Laura Geller samples in my monthly Birchbox and continue to be impressed with the quality of this makeup. So, I was pretty amped to get this four-piece collection of full-size products! It comes with Spackle Tinted Make-Up Primer in Champagne (sheer soft gold), Baked Body Frosting Face & Body Glow in Tahitian Glow (mélange of swirled tan, cream and pearly pink), Dramalash Maximum Volumizing Mascara in Black, and Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Color in Beige Bite (rich nude).
So far, I’ve used the bronzer and the lip color – both I love. The bronzer is the perfect mix of color and highlighter, and even helps to cover redness. The lip color is good for every day, and stays on ALL day with a matte finish. I love it! You can purchase this collection at Ulta.
Q&A a Day 5-Year Journal – This was such a surprise gift, and kind of just what I needed without really knowing it! I’ve always had trouble keeping up with a diary, or a journal, but I’ve read so much recently about the benefits of doing so. This journal is good for five years, and provides a simple question for you to answer each day. This means you can keep a record of your years, but with less of a hassle – I love it! I started writing in it a week ago, and I’m excited to keep it going and then look back at my entries. You can get this journal on Amazon.
Rhinestone Trinket Box – Earlier this year, I met my mom and best friend in Vegas. For my birthday, my mom surprised me with a small, sparkly trinket box in the shape of a fortune cookie, which she bought in Vegas (this isn’t the exact one, but it’s really close). It’s gold, which goes with pretty much everything I own, not to mention that I love keeping my fortunes – especially if they have my lucky numbers on them.
Girl and Dragon Malbec – As a wine lover, any occasion for gifts brings an opportunity for wine. I will always drink wine, and if you’re ever in questions as to what to get me, it’s wine. I will never get enough and I’m always look to taste something new. So, I was pumped when I got a bottle of Girl and Dragon Malbec, which had a cool label (because of course), and later, I found out they’ve won loads of awards. I drank it with homemade vegetarian lo mein and it was scrumptious. You can purchase a bottle on their website.
“The Year of Voting Dangerously” by Maureen Dowd – I don’t often ask for books or buy books because I borrow so many from the library. But this book in particular, has been on my list, and isn’t available at the library. Here’s the description from Amazon: Trapped between two candidates with the highest recorded unfavorables, Americans are plunged into The Year of Voting Dangerously. In this perilous and shocking campaign season, The New York Times columnist traces the psychologies and pathologies in one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever. Dowd has covered Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton since the ’90s. She was with the real estate mogul when he shyly approached his first Presidential rope line in 1999, and she won a Pulitzer prize that same year for her penetrating columns on the Clinton impeachment follies. Like her bestsellers, Bushworld and Are Men Necessary?, THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY will feature Dowd’s trademark cocktail of wry humor and acerbic analysis in dispatches from the political madhouse. If America is on the escalator to hell, then THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY is the perfect guide for this surreal, insane ride. …And now I can officially add it to my reading list!
Miss Spa facial masks – Much like wine, face masks are another thing I can’t get enough of. If you’re ever wondering what I’m up to, the chances are very likely that I’m sitting in my bed, watching trashy TV, with some sort of clay, sheet, or bee venom mask on my face in hopes I’ll wakeup with radiant skin. Don’t stop believin’! When I was gifted a STACK of Miss Spa facial masks of different varieties, I was excited to add them to my stash. You can get them on Amazon.
Perhaps these awesome gifts I got can serve up some ideas for someone in your life, or heck, maybe you just need to treat yoself. Cheers!
Howdy! I had every intention of posting yesterday, but life took over – okay, more like work took over, and I was up until the wee hours this morning finishing things, and packing for my trip to Indiana tomorrow.
I planned this trip months ago, so I could participate in my second “Take Steps for Crohn’s”, which I am still looking forward to, but the trip has also transformed into something else.
It may come as no surprise that I have some pretty strong feelings for a guy in Indiana. It’s not someone new, in fact, he’s been a part of my life for years – but we’ve really been on a roller coaster.
Without going too much into it, I will say that we’ve managed to be there for each other through some very tough times, especially as of late. I’ve had a tiny crush on him since I was 15, and have been fairly honest about my feelings over the years – him, too, even though he hasn’t always felt the same way.
Recently, he quietly admitted he had feelings, too – something I never, ever thought I’d hear him say. And that’s just it: it’s the first time I’ve liked someone so much, I’d accept it if he didn’t like me. I’d rather have his friendship than nothing, and I want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
Strong words, I know.
And that’s the other part of this entire thing: I’m in uncharted territory. I’ve never liked someone who was quite so nice to me; never been able to actually talk to someone on the phone (especially about nerdy stuff, like politics and food); never had any sort of relationship that didn’t involve around sex, talking about sex, or planning for sex. It’s refreshing.
But, it’s also scary AF. What exactly is going on here? I can’t answer that right now. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer it after this trip, either.
Because if you’ve been here before, you and I both know how this ends (read this, this, this, this, and this, and this, for examples). I’ve done this. Of course, this is someone different – biologically, and in many different ways. But it has ended poorly for me before. I’m bracing myself to get on that plane next week with a broken heart, and no need for a phone.
A long time ago, I concluded I like Indiana boys because they are familiar, and because, well, I live 19 hours away and don’t really have to subject myself to the intimacy that would happen in a real, face-to-face relationship.
But what if the distance was eliminated? I always say I have stayed in the South to benefit my career. I’ve banked on the story I’ve told myself that I will always be single. But what if I put something, or someone, else first this time? What would my life be like?
There is a huge part of me that already knows the answer. My life would probably be filled with a lot more love, and a little less stress. I might actually get the thing I’ve always wanted: love. A partner.
All of that just scares me. I don’t know if I’m ready, but on the other hand, how can I NOT be ready?
I don’t want to bank everything on this trip, but I am hoping it will show me a little taste of what my story could have been; what it could be, if I choose that path, instead of the one I’m on now.
PS. The blog will be sparse next week as I’ll be vacationing and mind-questing 🙂 Promise I’ll be back.
That’s right, I’ve been trying SO many different kinds of sunless tanners and bronzers ever since I got home from Vegas. I’ll be honest, I have always loved laying out in the sun. Even in high school, I’d lay out in my backyard (no pool present), complete with Sun-In in my hair (which looked really terrible) just to get that summer glow.
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve all of the sudden become super sun-conscious… Maybe a little but my recent obsession with a sunless glow is more about getting a good, even color (with no tan lines), and about time – it takes soooooo long to get a nice color and even though it’s fun to relax by the pool, sometimes there’s other things I’d rather be doing.
I used two sunless tanners during the winter months around the time I had dance performances, one was a gradual self-tanning lotion with added bronzer, which I liked but didn’t find I got much color from it, and I also used a foam – this gave great color but had a very strong tanning smell, and was hard not to get streaks, even using a tanning mitt.
So, the ones I’ve listed below are what I’ve used recently – some are self-tanners, some are just bronzers (the color washes off), and some have added firming because… cellulite.
Tan Towel – I’ve used this product before, but it had been awhile (I actually got a sample in my Birchbox a year ago), until I saw a pack of five in a clearance bin for $4!
If you’ve never used these, they are basically like a Wet Nap, but obviously have self-tanning agents.
The cool thing about these is there’s no need for a tanning mitt, and one towel is enough for face and your entire body. There is a slight scent, but it’s light and pleasant.
The tanner applies clear (which means you have to remember where you’ve already applied), but the color begins to appear with just a few hours. The color has always been streak-free for me, and looks natural. These are a win & especially great for travel.
NKD SKN Gradual Glow – I’ve seen this product on Birchbox.com and at Ulta, but was able to get a sample size on clearance (are you noticing a trend here?).
My first attraction to this product was that it’s organic, and even at full-price, it’s affordable.
Once I started using it, I realized it’s got quality ingredients – including aloe vera and vitamins – it makes for a really nice moisturizer and my skin felt healthy after using it just a few times. You can use this product on your face and body which is a bonus.
The color goes on clear (it’s a white lotion), and has little-to-no scent. I will say I didn’t notice a huge color difference when I used this, and I got about three applications from the sample.
On one hand, this is good because you don’t have to worry as much about messing up. On the other hand, it’s not good if you’re looking for deep color overnight. Perhaps continual use of this product would get richer after several back-to-back application.
However, this same brand has other sunless products, including tinted tanner and mousse, so those may be worth trying.
Jergen’s Natural Glow – After I used up my clearance rack finds, I needed to keep up my tan, so I picked this one up during my weekly grocery run.
It was $8 for a pretty big bottle, and it says it helps to firm skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (I’m always looking for these types of things).
I got the “Medium to Tan” color in hopes of getting dark (or I guess as dark as you can get with sunless tanner). The scent is very light and pleasant.
The directions on the bottle suggest using this instead of a daily body lotion, because it is a gradual sunless tan. I haven’t been using it every day, but I put it on at least four times a week.
After two weeks, I can say I look pretty tan! The consistency of this lotion is pretty thick, which makes me feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin. I use this all over, and have tried it with and without a tanning mitt (doesn’t make much of a difference either way). A few times I got a little much around my ankles and toes, but a quick scrub and it was evened out.
Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm – I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have always been insecure about my legs. Below the knee never tans well, so it looks weird with tan thighs (large ones, I should add) and white shins and feet.
As a makeup junkie, I have always dreamed of basically “foundation” for my entire body so I could just look glowy and hide all of my weird skin issues. So you can image how difficult it was for me not to jump up and down in TJ-Maxx when I saw this product on the clearance shelf (I know)! This “Beauty Balm” has so much going on, you just have to see the official product description:
A high performance treatment body enhancer with SPF20. Transform the appearance of arms, legs and decollate – you’ll see a difference instantly. Skin looks smoother, feels firmer, and is totally flawless. Powerful moisture magnets such as jojoba oil, soy amino and hyaluronic acids relieve dry skin keeping it hydrated and radiant. Marine extracts optimize skin rejuvenation for smoother, suppler, more radiant looking skin. MIRACLE SKIN TRANSFORMER SPF20 BODY contains the M3 Complex; designed to improve the look and feel of skin – all over: Hydrate – Dry, rough skin on legs, arms, and decollate feels incredibly softer, smoother and hydrated. Enhance – Leaves skin looking younger, brighter and totally luminous.
That’s right – it’s a bronzer/illuminator (it does have a shimmer), with an SPF, moisturizer, AND a firming lotion! The only thing that would make this product better is a sunless tanning agent. However, this is nice to slap on over your sunless tanner for an instant glow. And when you shower, it comes off.
The particular color I got was pretty dark, so I mixed it with some regular body lotion to thin it out a little. I was worried the color would rub off on my clothes, so I only wear it on my arms or legs when they’re going to be “out”, i.e. with a tank top or a skirt. I really love the way it makes my skin look!
Hide & Glow Sleek – I have been a huge fan of Bliss Spa products, especially their “Fat Girl Slim” line, where this product can be found.
I’ll admit, I bought this product thinking it was a sunless tanner, but upon reading the directions before I sprayed it on, I found it’s a bronzer/illuminator, but it also offers firming qualities.
Nonetheless, I sprayed it on my legs before wearing a skirt to work one day and I loved it. It’s very light in texture, not sticky, and offers a subtle glow.
I think this would be great for travel or even for an event wear you just need a quick hit of bronze (because I do!).
It’s a little pricy, but it’s a product you can’t really screw up, plus it is clinically proven to firm skin! The scent is very light, as is the shimmer. There are two color options, so you may really be able to get some rich glow from it.
I’d love to know what sunless tanning products you’ve tried and loved (or hated)! Bring it on, summer!
You guys!! We are on the cusp of one of my favorite times of year – summer! In Texas, the later months of summer are waaaay too hot to enjoy much of anything, so this beginning part sure is something to celebrate.
Before my Vegas vacation, I know I talked a lot about my efforts to eat right, exercise more, and drink less. And I did! Honestly, I still felt a little pudgy in my bikini, but… 31. I ate and drank pretty much everything in sight on vacation and then got back on my healthy eating once I returned.
Ever since, I’ve been feeling better and am starting to see a little bit of a difference in my figure, but being healthy and feeling good is my top priority. It’s still a constant struggle, though, to find recipes and things to cook at home that make me excited to eat healthy.
I have been eating 1 hard-boiled egg, an oatmeal English muffin (it has double the protein), and half a bottle of Naked juice for breakfast for the last three weeks and I’m still not sick of it. In week’s past, I’ve made vegan chili, veggie rolls, sausage and grits, and Hawaiian chicken sewers, among other things for lunches and dinners.
But I wanted to find some festive, special things to cook this weekend to deter me from eating out (I am still letting myself have a cheat meal at the Drafthouse to see “Baywatch”). So, I am really excited to share with you these two recipes I found on Pinterest. Here goes:
I was really excited when I saw this recipe – it was in a collection of recipes that all involved a foil packet. I have been craving some Louisiana food, and this is a really easy way for me to fulfill my wishes while still staying healthy. I think I’m going to eat this as-is, but it would also been good served with brown rice, or other veggies such as asparagus or okra (yum!).
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
2 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 4 pieces
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over high heat.
- Cut four sheets of foil, about 12-inches long. Divide shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes into 4 equal portions and add to the center of each foil in a single layer.
- Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet. Add olive oil, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to combine. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.
- Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.*
- Served immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Note: This can also be baked for 15-17 minutes at 425 degrees F.
I really love a good burger, especially in the summer. While a regular burger is perfectly fine, I have been making a conscious effort to eat less meat and focus on plant-based foods. I’m hoping this recipe turns out great – I’m planning to add a little cheddar to my burger, and serve it with sweet potato fries and maybe some watermelon!
1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax + 3 TBSP water) or 1 egg
1 cup mashed black beans [refried black beans work too!]
1 cup pureed butternut squash
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced celery
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 TBSP olive oil [or butter]
3/4 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend [like mrs. dash]
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley [or fresh if you have it!]
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
Optional toppings: 4 burger buns (I used a bakery poppy seed onion bun – amazing!), 4 slices of pepper jack cheese, romaine lettuce, fresh baby spinach, mayo (store-bought or homemade) mixed with sriracha chili sauce
- Whisk together 1 TBSP ground flax with 3 TBSP water and pop it in the fridge to set.
- Next mash black beans in a large bowl and set aside.
- Add your butternut squash to the beans and set aside.
- Next saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until tender and near-translucent, adding the minced garlic towards the end to prevent burning.
- Season the veggies with your Italian seasoning blend, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to coat.
- Add the freshly sauteed veggies to your beans and squash and stir in your oats.
- Remove your flax egg from the fridge and add it to the bowl.
- Stir to fully incorporate and roll mixture into four balls.
- For optimal burger shape, cup each ball in your hands and squeeze tightly, rotating as you gently, but firmly, press it into a disc.
- Giggles aside, pop your burgers onto a plate, cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate as you prep your buns [or lettuce wraps!] and toppings. This will give them a little while to set. You can even leave them overnight and cook them up the following day.
- Pour a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high, so the burgers sizzle when you add them to the pan!
- Cook for a few minutes on each side until you’re left with a golden crust. and a warm center. Repeat for each burger, or cook two at once if you have a big enough pan!
- Slather your buns with sriracha mayo, pile them high with lettuce, spinach, pepper jack and top each with a yummy butternut burger.
That’s what I’ll be cooking up on this gloomy, rainy weekend – I’d love to know what recipes you’re looking forward to this weekend, or this summer!
Hello, hello! My sincere apologies for not posting this on Friday – I had some internet issues on Thursday night, and was simply too tired to stay up and resolve them. But alas! I finished reading another book last week and wanted to share it with you.
Blanche’s Book Club’s latest read is “Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler. Here’s the description from Amazon.com: I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
…Sounds like the leftover from many of the relationships I’ve had!
I got this book from the library and what I noticed off the bat was that it weighed a TON. It wasn’t that big of a book, but upon further inspection I saw that it was printed on thick, glossy paper and was filled with colorful illustrations of the items inside the box. After reading it, I can’t help but wonder if the weight of the book was also supposed to resemble the weight of the box from Min.
This book is very different. The voice is very raw and honest, and although there are stories upon stories about this relationship, the reader is still given lots of room to imagine the course of this couple. Sure, it’s a little dramatic, but Min and Ed are teenagers, and nothing hurts quite like your first broken heart.
While most of the things inside the box represented milestones in their relationship, some of the tokens were proof that we all assign meaning to even the smallest of things – especially if there were very few of them. I can recall not wanting to go to Blockbuster after my first relationship because we would go there to rent movies… us and the entire world! It’s funny how much we invest in the physical parts of a relationship, possibly when there’s not much to feast on emotionally.
The way this book is written – one really long letter to Ed – is different and a bit artsy. If that’s you, I say GO for this one! It was fun and refreshing.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Bittersweet” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. We hope you’ll read it along with us!
I hope you all had a great weekend – I went to dance, lounged at the pool with a book and some wine, did some shopping, and did a little cooking. It was fantastic! I’ve got a busy week ahead between work and travel, and I’ve got my Steps for Crohn’s on Saturday. It should be a good one – but I’m ready for a brand new episode of “Southern Charm” tonight, which I’ll be recapping right here tomorrow. Hope to see you then!
The summer between my junior and senior year in high school, I went to Chicago with my best friend and our moms. We got makeovers, went shopping, visited the front door of the house featured in Real World, season 11, Chicago (which aired in 2002, and was taped during the September 11 attacks), and we also saw John Mayer, with Guster as the opening act.
It was not the first time I’d seen him perform live, but it was my first (of I think a dozen) concert with him as the headliner. He was not very popular at the time, and the convert was in sort of an open parking lot area. It was the first I’d ever heard his song, “Comfortable” [above] – and it is a moment I will never forget.
I went to Los Angeles, California, for the first time the summer before I graduated from college. I went by myself, stayed at a hotel downtown, and it was the longest flight I’d ever been on. LA is a city of dreamt of since I was in 5th grade, and I have always wanted to live there. I’d gotten a contact through a story I wrote for my journalism course, a guy who owned a public relations company for independent artists. I told him I was heading to LA for a few days to check it out, if he wanted to meet.
He agreed, and I met him and his wife at The Knitting Factory in West Hollywood to see one of the bands he promoted. I took the metro from my hotel to West Hollywood, and saw Mann’s Chinese Theatre. I was in awe.
Thinking back on it, it was a pretty daring thing for me to do all of the by myself, and perhaps not smart to meet someone I didn’t really know. But, it all worked out, and it was a memorable trip. I did the Hollywood walk, and took the Hollywood Homes tour. It was everything I’d hoped it would be!
About four years ago, it seemed like pretty much everyone I knew was getting married. I was in a few weddings, and attended many others – all fun. But there was one weekend that I literally went to one wedding on a Friday night, got up early the next morning, and flew to Florida for a bachelorette weekend. I’d missed night one of the festivities, but the ladies had rented a very Real World-esque loft (complete with colored lights in the shower) and we spent the days on the beach, and the nights out. It was a complete blast!
Ah, wedding season. Looking back on it, it was pretty fun, although expensive. But I think now, pretty much everyone I know is married. We should just drink and eat cake anyway, right?
Again, you can tell it’s 2003 because of my Tiffany’s… and my terrible haircut. Ha! Truthfully, my 18th birthday (and the summer surrounding it), was a little rough. But, my best friend lit the candles and sang me Happy Birthday a little after midnight, and all was good. And by the way, the cake was German chocolate… my favorite.
I remember a very popular senior told me during my junior year that wearing a big, fluffy dress was “not the senior thing to do”. She wore a mermaid dress, and well, I wore a big, fluffy one. But I loved it, and even though I had to ask my date, and I think we didn’t really get along, I had a blast stomping around Circle Centre mall in this thing. After wearing it to prom, and later to a sorority formal, I took lots of pictures of it, and donated it to the Cinderella Project, which allows girls to choose from donated gowns, and alter them if they choose. While I love it the way it is, I think it would look cool shorter in the front, and long in the back. I will never know the fate of the dress, but we sure had some good times.
They say that summer is a state of mind, and if you want to, it can be summer all year long. I suppose that’s why beach towns and tropical islands seem to have a different way of life – things seem a little more laid back.
I certainly loved summer as a kid; and through my teens – summer meant freedom and fun. Early mornings were for fishing or making it to the lake for a good spot to layout. Nights were for country drives and cool swims.
This was my first summer in Texas, and I can say with experience, that it was mighty hot. My fantasy of laying out at the pool each weekend quickly melted when the temperature was an easy 106, with a heat index of 112. No, thanks.
And truthfully, it was anything but easy. Work was busier than ever – here I thought these were going to be the lazy days, and it was more work than I’ve ever experienced. I also worked a lot on the weekends, paying literally thousands of dollars to the government, in the form of tax money and money for registration and all my Texas paperwork.
It’s all nearing an end, very soon, and I’m not sad about it. I can easily say I’m ready for a cool breeze; ready to shut off my AC.
Sure, summer is fun, but I easily love fall. I know many of us will be spending this weekend saying goodbye to summer, and I’ve got a few thoughts in mind over it.
I can say I unfortunately spent a majority of these warmer months upset over a guy, and working on my self-confidence. But I had a few things happen over the last few weeks that are moving things along quite a big faster.
It started with a dream I had about the guy in question. We were together in person, just talking. I asked him why he never responded to the message I sent him, and he told me that at first, he wanted to write me back. But, then he just realized that he hated me.
And while no one wants to be hated, and I have no basis of this being true, I know he won’t talk to me again, and the dream gave me this great sense of closure. There is nothing left for us.
So, last Friday night I was watching “Million Dollar Matchmaker” and Patti’s guest was Ashley (known for her endless tears on “Bachelor in Paradise). Ashley was still hung up on a guy from the show; a guy who put her in the friend zone and barely talked to her.
Patti explained to her that the worry over this friend zone guy was taking up room for the real Mr. Right. “You’re crying over some guy that won’t even talk to you!” Patti said to her, and I felt like she was talking to me. It is so true, and all I needed to hear – weird, I know. But, we can’t worry about those that don’t like us; only the ones that do.
So for me, saying farewell to summer is also about letting go of that guy, and all the guilt and frustration that came with him. Fall is coming; I’m going to enjoy this last official weekend of summer – even though it will no doubt be hot in Austin for at least another month or so.
How will I celebrate? For starters, I’m whipping up some “Adult Popsicles” – technically, I’m making them for a beach trip next weekend, but I’ll have to at least taste them, right? In one of my email newsletters, Fresche Squeezed, I talked about making upscale jello shots, but I keep seeing frozen cocktails turned into popsicles, so why not? I found this article from Huffington Post that links to 20 boozy popsicle recipes, including peach sangria and a dark and stormy! Yum!
I’m going to make the Costa Rican Watermelon Mojito popsicles – which seem so easy; a simple blend of fresh watermelon, lemon juice, simple syrup, white rum, and fresh spearmint leaves. You can use a standard popsicle mold, or make these pops portable with these zip-top heavy-duty bags (just like the Freeze Pops you remember as a kid, only with BOOZE).
What else will I do this weekend? If it’s sunny, but bearable, I’ll hit the pool with a book – and don’t worry, Blanche’s Book Club will still be in full swing come fall. There is also a free day of yoga not too far from my apartment, so maybe I will get my butt out of bed and check that out!
Lately, I’ve been slightly obsessed with food blogger Gaby, from “What’s Gaby Cooking?” – I stumbled upon her on SnapChat, and she does a weekly “Snapisode” where she shows you how to cook something fabulous. Last Friday, she made a peach and tomato panzanella with burrata, and she was saying how peaches and nectarines are going out of season, so she wanted to use them up from the farmer’s market.
This salad she made looked DELISH, and very easy! A panzanella is an Italian summer salad, usually made with tomatoes, day-old bread, and a simple vinaigrette; everything else is pretty much up to you! Gaby used peaches and nectarines (she said any stone fruit is good), heirloom and cherry tomatoes, burrata from Trader Joes, plus orange champagne vinaigrette (also from TJ’s), chunks of bread (go for a really sturdy bread), olive oil and basil leaves.
Simply toss the cubed bread in olive oil and toast it, wedge the fruit and tomatoes (halve any baby tomatoes), tear the basil leaves and the burrata, and simply plate it! It looks so good and I bet it tastes just like summer – it is just the excuse I need to go to one of these fantastic Austin farmer’s markets!
Who knows what else I’ll get into, but I’m down to have this one last weekend of summer, and then make the switch to fall; something new.
I’ve been thinking a lot about disappointment lately. I mean, do you ever get to that point where you’re just not even feeling mad, more just let down?
Disappointment can come from anywhere. Speaking from experience, I’d say recently I felt disappointment when I couldn’t make it to Indianapolis to see the Dave Matthews concert; or when a guy I liked admitted he was only interested in hooking up; or when I discovered a TYPO in my cover letter, or when a wedding date stopped talking to me; or when the last person I slept with actually UNLIKED every single picture of mine on Instagram, as if he wished the memories would disappear.
I mean… come on.
Disappoint happens when your expectations exceed reality. And that is not a good feeling. The best way I can really describe it, is that scene in “500 Days of Summer”…
These are all moments where I just felt like throwing my hands up and doing a lil, “Whatever”. So, how can we handle disappointment in any remotely positive way? Well, I found some great advice on the Tiny Buddha website:
For starters, you’ve got to let yourself feel the emotions. I’ve had so many conversations with friends where they want to do everything they can in order to make the bad feelings go away; and trust me, I’ve been there. But sometimes, you’ve got to just feel all the feels in order to get it out of the way.
Once you give yourself some time to let it all out, it will be easier to look at the situation with more clarity, and you’ll be able to gain some perspective on it. But know that this will ONLY happen if you give yourself that time.
Next, you’ve got to remind yourself who you really are. Don’t let this disappointment take over your personality, or your life. This will help you cope with situations that don’t align with who you are.
And finally, find acceptance. Know that disappointment is a part of life, and you will experience ups as well as downs. And sometimes… guys are just assholes.
But seriously, I was reading another article that said to start by keeping your expectations in check, because then you won’t be as let down. And I get that – how many times have we heard that if we go in with no expectations, then we won’t have anything to lose. But sometimes it’s just too easy to get excited!
And as always, it’s important to learn from your defeats. Maybe the person disappointing you has made it a pattern and it’s something that needs to be resolved further. Or perhaps its a personal issue. Whatever it is, if we continue to learn from our ups and downs, maybe we’ll experience less of the “downs” in the future.
But can we talk about something that has NOT been disappointing lately? Drake lyrics. I mean, I was really loving me some “Hotline Bling,” and I also love “One Dance”, but how about some “Too Good”? I am loving this song!
Years go by too fast, I can’t keep track. How long did we last? I feel bad for asking; it can’t end like this. We gotta take time with this…
I’ll say this right now, I am not a big fan of just going to the library, getting lost among the stacks, and stumbling upon books I want to read. For years, I have kept a reading list of books I want to read – and it’s only gotten more intense over the last 6 months as I listen to podcasts and hear people talk about books they’ve read.
I keep my running list, and each time I go to the library (which is usually once each week), I look to see what books are in. And for the first time a few weeks ago, they didn’t have any of the books on my list. I hate to leave empty-handed, so I started roaming the aisles.
And somehow, I stumbled upon the BBC’s latest read, “Paris, He Said” by Christine Sneed. I was drawn in by the watercolors on the spine, and then I read the back:
“Jayne Marks is questioning the choices she has made in the years since college and is struggling to pay her bills in Manhattan when she is given the opportunity to move to Paris with her wealthy lover and benefactor, Laurent Moller, who owns and operates two art galleries, one in New York, the other in Paris. He offers her the time and financial support she needs to begin her career as a painter and also challenges her to see who and what she will become if she meets her artistic potential.
Laurent, however, seems to have other women in his life and Jayne, too, has an ex-boyfriend, much closer to her own age, whom she still has feelings for. Bringing Paris gloriously to life,Paris, He Said is a novel about desire, beauty, and its appreciation, and of finding yourself presented with the things you believe you’ve always wanted, only to wonder where true happiness lies.”
I mean who doesn’t want a wealthy man to promise them a life in Paris? Yes, please! This book opens up a world to the arts, as Jayne is a painter, and Laurent owns the art galleries, where he wants Jayne to display her work.
So, she gets to paint during the day, and spend any spare time exploring Paris. But soon enough, she catches on to Laurent’s lifestyle – with other women, and although she doesn’t seem too bothered by it, I found it difficult to relate to Jayne, because that would really piss me off.
It makes you wonder, though, to what extend of bullshit would you put up with to essentially live your dreams? On one hand, I feel like I’d do a lot to live expense-free, and write all day, while exploring a cool city. But would I be able to lay in bed next to a man that was off with other women? No. No, no.
And for that, I can’t say this book was a favorite. However, Sneed is also the author of another book, “Little Known Facts“, which has really great reviews. Here’s the description:
“The people who orbit around Renn Ivins, an actor of Harrison Ford–like stature―his girlfriends, his children, his ex-wives, those on the periphery―long to experience the glow of his flame. Anna and Will are Renn’s grown children, struggling to be authentic versions of themselves in a world where they are seen as less-important extensions of their father. They are both drawn to and repelled by the man who overshadows every part of them.
Most of us can imagine the perks of celebrity, but Little Known Facts offers a clear-eyed story of its effects―the fallout of fame and fortune on family members and others who can neither fully embrace nor ignore the superstar in their midst. With Little Known Facts, Christine Sneed emerges as one of the most insightful chroniclers of our celebrity-obsessed age, telling a story of influence and affluence, of forging identity and happiness and a moral compass; the question being, if we could have anything on earth, would we choose correctly?”
I think I’ll add it to my list, although I don’t know if the library carries it – which will most likely send me into a tailspin.
And just to note, I actually reserved my first book on Sunday. I didn’t want to start reserving things, because I feel like I’m taking them away from other people that want to read the book. But there is this ONE book that’s been on my list and it’s always checked out. Not anymore!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery” by Robert Kolker. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the blog comments, email (email@example.com) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.