It’s been a loooong while since I shared my first Faves and Life Lately. It’s not that I haven’t had favorites or things that I want to share, it’s just that I’ve been so busy that I’ve only been focusing on the ‘need to get done right this very second’ stuff. I’m working on getting more of a rhythm down so that I’m not constantly feeling like I’m behind, and now that my cookbook manuscript and photos have all been turned in (you can read about my cookbook update here) I feel like I can breath and relax a little again.
- Would you believe me if I told you that while we were Paris (here, here and here) the only French macarons (I’m totally obsessed with them btw) we came across were from the super touristy Laduree in Paris? They were still good, but I just thought they would be everywhere and they were nowhere…maybe the French are “over” them?
- This cookbook (Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook by Andie Mitchell) is just really amazing. I’ve been cooking from it and am really enjoying the recipes. I’m giving away a copy in this post. Last year when Andie’s memoir It Was Me All Along came out, I read it in a day, and after reading her cookbook I am going to do something I have never done – re-reading the book! I bought it in hardcover last year, and I just yesterday purchased/downloaded it and am going to listen to it on Audible. I’m prepared for lots of tears (again) because Andie’s writing style is so beautiful and really just gets me. I believe the Audible version is read by her, so it’s kinda like we’re hanging out…not creepy that I think that makes us bff status, right?
- Speaking of Audible…total life saver for me. I now listen to books on my way to/from work. They are doing tons of construction and so my drive now takes 45 min-1 hour each way, but time flies when you’re listening to a good story. Do you have any recommendations for me? I’m ALL EARS!
- I’ve listened to these books in the past few months: The Lake House – it was good, but it was 21+ hours long! Pretty Girls – gruesome, had to stop listening half way through because it was too much for me. Sing You Home – cute, but huge build up in the story and the ending was kind of blah. Who Do You Love – good, but I wish there would have been more to the end of the story, After You – A++ I still get goosebumps thinking about the beautiful story and as per usual with Jojo Moyes I cried many times during this book and I think they’re making it into a movie? Never Broken by singer Jewel – loved it, Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling – love her and her book was very fun, All the Light We Cannot See – horribly depressing and the ending was just bleak, Everything I Never Told You – ok, but not great and there were parts I really didn’t like, A Man Called Ove – A++ super good and a great story, One Step Too Far – very interesting and I bet you’ll say ‘didn’t see that coming’ when you find out the twist, What Alice Forgot – I liked it but did not loved it, The Hypnotist’s Love Story – super cute and I would give it an A++. These are just some of the books I’ve read/listened too since December, so as you can see I’m in desperate need of recommendations! As I was walking my dog I came across one of the Little Free Library’s in my neighborhood and thought “yay – maybe I can find a book here” and opened it to find 12 bibles and 2 children’s books…womp womp.
- My Le Creuset dutch oven. My husband gave this to me as a Christmas present a few years ago, and I have to tell you, it’s beyond useful and amazing. I leave it sitting on my stove even when it’s not in use. My husband came into the kitchen while I was making dinner the other night and said “out of all the gifts I’ve gotten you, that is the one you use most.” It’s true.
- April is going to be full of travel for me, it just kind of happened that way. I’m going to be visiting Minneapolis (I’d love to know any recommendations you have of what to see/do/etc.) and then the following weekend I’m visiting my bff Lynn for her 30th birthday in Charlotte -so excited to see her! And then the following week I’m going to be in Grand Rapids Michigan and then Muskegon where I’m cohosting a retreat which will be a fun get together of different bloggers where we share/learn from each other/cook together/have a good time in a relaxed environment. I’ll be sharing on social media of course, so follow along and always let me know any recommendations you guys have! When my husband and I were in Europe (London and Paris specifically) I got some awesome recommendations and tried things that were suggested to me by you guys (someone told me about how in London they do a Sunday roast at restaurants where the restaurant changes their menu and serves roast, and we went and had such a good time!)
- This is my favorite bag for traveling. It is a Stella & Dot ‘Getaway’ bag that has a zipper which expands the bag. I have it in red, and when they came out with the one in black and white stripes (more ‘me’) I immediately bought one. P.S – remember when Starbucks had the S’mores Frappachinos? I loved those! Only problem with buying the bag is that I really don’t like dealing with Stella and Dot and their ‘stylists’, they never responded to me and I don’t want to go to a ‘party’ where they sell their stuff….so, I did a little searching and found that they have a bunch of bags in different patterns (and cheaper) on eBay, so I would totally suggest looking there for the bag and type in “Stella and Dot Getaway” and the bag shows up. I also like that the bag is not fabric so it can be wiped down if it gets something on it while traveling.
- So you know I love Door to Door Organics – it’s how I do my grocery shopping (more on them and huge giveaway in this post) so in my last order I got some almond butter and bananas and a bunch of other stuff like sunflower seeds and honey…and then I remembered that Monique from Ambitious Kitchen had shared her grandmothers recipe for whole wheat sunflower honey oat bread and I decided to make it. Ummmm it was friggin’ amazing! I made it with half regular/half whole wheat flour and used coconut oil instead of butter because I didn’t have any in the house (love that she gave substitution recommendations in her recipe) and it turned out SO good. I had it with some nut butter and banana slices for breakfast. I’m usually the most impatient person EVER when it comes to bread baking, so I made this on a Monday night when I had a ton of other stuff to do so I could just let it rise as I did other stuff. You guys – this bread was SO good!
- I’m really loving Instagram and Snapchat lately. I’d love to be friends and interact on social media, so if you’re on Instagram I’d love a follow or like on a picture – I always comment back, and I’d love to snap with you (username: sweetphi) – if you follow me you’ll know that I had some awesome Qdoba for lunch (new fave is a taco salad in a hard shell bowl – so good, also doing a huge giveaway for Qdoba catering in this post.)
What are some of your faves? And how is your life lately going? Can’t wait to hear your book recommendations and how life is going for you!
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