Friday, April 20, 2018

Shopping, Chefing, and All The Emojis

It's not been all closet clean-outs and margaritas with friends over here the past few weeks. I have also cooked things and bought things and contemplated buying more.

But first, something I forgot to add in my last post - thanks to a friend with season passes who knows my love of plays and musicals, I'm now the proud owner of a ticket to the Dallas tour of Hamilton!!! A fellow musical-loving friend is going to be my date and I am SUPER excited about this. After an intense internal debate that was settled by a facebook poll, I have decided to start listening to the soundtrack so I can have it all memorized before the show. The show that will be April 27, 2019. So I have some time. The countdown is already on my phone. (372 days! SQUEE!)

Other things I've bought in the last two weeks that I love:

This dress. It's for my parents' house re-opening thank you party they're hosting for everyone who helped them during Harvey. I LOVE it. I love it more than anything else in my closet. I want to wear it around my house all the time every day and swish my skirt at every opportunity. I got it on clearance for $50 at Nordstrom Rack and that makes me love it EVEN MORE.

Now I'm just searching for the right necklace and earring. Something fun and casual to keep it all from being too dressy. The top part of the dress is a simple navy jersey material so I'm thinking a chunky pink necklace or gold necklace with fun tassel/beaded pink earrings. I don't know. I'd probably decide better if I was wearing the dress right now.

This dress! Also Nordstrom Rack. I'm trying to revitalize my work wardrobe a bit. $40, fits perfectly, and I'm obsessed with the color.

I sort of forgot Nordstrom Rack existed until 10 days ago (we don't have one here) and it's been an exciting rediscovery. I got my swim school date night dress there:

and this other one for work:

I love it all and I'm done now. Party dress, two work dresses, and a new date night dress - my whole closet feels revitalized and it finally allowed me to get rid of a few work dresses I bought in 2009 that I adored but were sad and worn (but oh so trusted and familiar!) New dresses, you have big shoes to fill.

Moving on. Has anyone tried these Heliocare pills? My dermatologist recommended them for daily sun protection. Since I'll do anything to keep my skin from doing its usual "burn in 10 seconds" modus operandi, I'm giving them a whirl. I like the idea of a layer of protection I don't even have to remember to put on, but we'll see. I haven't been in the sun enough yet to know if it's working.

Next, do we like these shoes? They're more than I would usually spend, but I don't own any neutral/light colored heeled sandals anymore and I've had a surprisingly hard time finding some I like at my usual discount haunts. They're super comfy and not too high for long outings.

Who am I kidding? I'm totally keeping them.

And lastly, do you use packing cubes? I bought a set at TJ Maxx 5 years ago and LOVE THEM. Living in Yellow, a blog I need to stop following on facebook, recommended these and they are so perfect. I'm donating my old grey ones to the kids because I love color and polka dots and my suitcase is a boring silver and these help spice it up. This set has 5 pieces and are way higher quality than my old ones. I used them on my work trip earlier this week and can't wait to pack to go somewhere to use them again!

Now for food! First, a PSA: Have you been using your KitchenAid to shred chicken? I only discovered this a few months ago and keep meaning to share the genius. Unless all of you already knew and never told me, in which case, this is a very random picture of shredded chicken and I'm mad at you, but if not - use your KitchenAid to shred your chicken!!

Just stick your cooked chicken breasts in the mixing bowl, turn it on low with the paddle attachment, and 15 seconds later, they look like this! It's the best. No more shredding with forks that always makes my fingers feel tired!

(This was from my bbq chicken two weeks ago; 4 large frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, half a bottle of bbq sauce and a generous squirt of Italian dressing, cooked on low for 8 hours. Use for sandwiches, Claire's beloved quinoa salad, enchiladas, anything!)

And a few good recipes from last week and the plan for the week ahead:

Wednesday: Greek Farro Salad (my recipe here)

Thursday: Amped up TJ's Chicken Chow Mein (2 bags of the TJ frozen chow mein, plus a big bag of fresh broccoli chopped up, handfuls of shredded carrots, sliced baby bok choy - stir fry it all for about 10 minutes = delicious!)

Friday: Pesto Chicken Gnocchi (broil TJ's pesto chicken, mix with gnocchi, kalamatas, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto). Cora's absolute FAVORITE meal.

Saturday: Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac. Love this one; haven't made it in a while and seemed perfect for a forecasted rainy day.

Sunday: Pea Soup (I wrote out my recipe here); cornbread (love the TJ's box mix).

Monday: Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto, with Broccoli Fettucini Alfredo

Tuesday: Vegetarian Tacos, toppings, refried black beans.

Wednesday: Shakshuka! The exclamation point is because I like saying the word and I've been wanting to make this forever and have finally decided this is the week. Served with naan bread.

Thursday: Crock Pot Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili. Family favorite. (Totally use the KitchenAid to shred the chicken for this now - I just put the frozen breasts in with everything else, cook all day, fish out with tongs before serving, shred in the mixing bowl, and dump back in. Ta da!)

My lunches for the week: Asian Quinoa Salad (generally based on this recipe except I skip the cabbage and add avocado when I have it, also sometimes mandarin oranges). For the 3 days I do yoga at lunch and eat at my desk after. I like having something to look forward to and this is a fave.

Lunch last week: TJ's cruciferous crunch bag salad (shredded kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green and red cabbage), sweet potato ribbons, farro, fresh Green Goddess dressing. Delish!

And finally, I'll leave you with a recent message from Landon. We recently ("FINALLY," he would tell you) powered up an old iPhone of mine, got him an icloud account under mine, and gave him access to iMessage to text friends (the 4 who also have icloud accounts on old non-phone-phones) and my family. He also has the camera, calculator, and weather apps, all of which are adored, and nothing else. Oh and the calendar, which he hilariously updates daily with his comings and goings- I get copied on all of them since his username is under mine and I giggle every time a new one pops up ("this is when I go swimming" was yesterday's 5:00 entry). The "phone" has no data plan, doesn't leave the house, and charges in our room at night. He loves it. And I must admit, I have loved being able to get glimpses into his heart and day when he messages me every day when they get home from school with our nanny.

On Monday night while I was away for work, he sent this just before bed:

It just warmed all of the cockles of my heart. I love his exuberant use of emojis. It was like getting a hug through the phone and made me laugh out loud and want to hug him back. Between the phone and his recent discovery of the delights of boxer briefs ("Mom, they can go UNDER my real shorts. Like during the day. UNDER them."), growing older has been a lot more fun lately.


  1. The Hamilton soundtrack is available for free streaming if you have Amazon Prime. I haven’t seen it but listen to the soundtrack often.

    The emojis are so fun. My boys are a few months older than Landon and have iPod touches they use to text. Everything is full of emojis and I love it. Occasionally, I’ll have one of my kids text my husband from my phone. He always knows it’s not me because I use emojis sparingly and if it’s a kid the screen is full of them.

    1. I've got it on Spotify and am already glad I'm listening to it ahead of time - so many words! So many amazing, hard-hitting, rhyming, story-telling words!

      And I love the emojis, they are just a delight and such a fun look inside a 10-year-old's brain (which I suppose, shouldn't be surprising to realize is full of emojis).

  2. Amazed at this shredded chicken hack. I must try this soon��

    1. I don't want to oversell it, but it's going to change your life.

  3. I shred cooked chicken with my little hand mixer - it's such a game changer!

  4. Aw, that text message warms my heart! Our family loves shashuka. Also, great dresses! Have a good week! <3

    1. Thanks!! We make the shakshuka tomorrow and I am EXCITED!

  5. what an amazing dress, you look SO elegant!

  6. I see so much Cora in your expression in the dress photo. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of what she might look like as a grown up.

    1. This made me smile so big when I read it today! What a sweet thing to note and share :). (And I do just love that dress)