Summer has just arrived but it feels like it’s practically gone already. Don’t you hate that? They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve definitely had some fun both on the blog and IRL in the last two months. We had margarita week here in the blog world where I shared my guava margaritas, there were sweet potato burrito lunch bowls for a meal on a budget, I talked about the wine pairing dinner I attended at a local restaurant, I ate a TON of pizza with friends in Philadelphia and told you all about it, and then to end it we had both ice cream week (salted pretzel ice cream with chocolate and peanut butter), and popsicle week (cucumber mint green tea popsicles). Holy crap! What says “summer” more than margaritas, pizza, ice cream and popsicles? We’ve got it all going on over here. I spent some time up in the Finger Lakes with my in-laws over Mother’s Day weekend, then a week at the beach with my family over my birthday, and I headed back to the beach over this holiday weekend with some friends. Our summers always get booked up so fast. But let’s get to what I’ve been loving, because I have A LOT to share with you:
The Girl on the Train – You’ve probably heard this one mentioned a million times before, but now I’m here to tell you that I can also vouch for it. This book is what I might call a “soft thriller,” about a girl who finds herself mixed up in a missing persons investigation after seeing something during her daily train commute. It’s told in an interesting way and I found myself really feeling for the main character. A super fun read and it had me guessing up until the very end – big thumbs up!
Elligible – This book just came out and it’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. If you’re a huge P&P nerd like me, then you’ll fully appreciate the ways this author spun the original story to make it fit for a modern lifestyle. The Bingley character was a previous star of a show called “Elligible,” aka “The Bachelor.” Darcy is a hot brain doctor, Liz is a writer for a cool women’s magazine, Jane is a yoga instructor and the two younger sisters are obsessed with CrossFit. You get the picture. It’s so fun and made for a perfect beach read for me. If you have any favorite retellings of P&P, let me know because I gobble those things up.
Elena Cruz – A video by this talented chick popped up on my “recommended videos” section of Instagram one day, and now I’m obsessed with her. She does a kind of dance called “shuffling,” which I had never heard of before discovering her. (Am I way behind the times on this?) Not only is she super freaking cute, but she is an AMAZING shuffler and I find her videos to be mesmerizing. I could watch them all day long. Based on what I know from some of her Q+As, she’s only been doing this for a little over a year and she’s completely self-taught by tutorials on YouTube. I actually tried out some of her tutorial videos and it is HARD. I don’t know how she manages to move her feet so quickly. If I could take classes to learn how to dance like this I would sign up in a heartbeat. It looks like so much fun!
Laura Miller – I was already mildly aware of Laura Miller in the food world, but didn’t know much about her until I heard a great interview with her on the One Part Podcast. (Omg did I just mention something from a podcast in a Things I’m Loving post? No way.) That’s a great interview, so you should definitely listen to it. Since then I’ve started following her on Instagram and Snapchat (@lauramillerrvng), and they’re some of my favorite accounts. She’s known mainly (I think) for her cooking show on Tastemade, Raw Vegan Not Gross. I like things that are fun and her stuff is just plain FUN. I particularly love her videos on Instagram where she does crazy dancing while wearing fruit necklaces and such. Like this one. Or this one. They remind me of the way I feel when I’m in a good mood at home or whatever and I bust into some weird dance moves. Robert can tell you all about it. Just follow her – it’ll add a bright spot to your day when you stumble upon her posts. I’m buying her new cookbook as a birthday gift for myself even though I have a million and I told myself I wouldn’t buy one for my birthday. Woops!
Justin Baldoni – As some of you know, I’m totally obsessed with the TV show Jane the Virgin. (Currently working my way through season two and it’s so good!!!) Justin is the actor who plays Rafael and he’s a frickin delight. I was on his Instagram one day and found a video where he was talking about thankfulness. It brought a smile to my face and I thought, “well this guy seems so NICE.” So then I went down the rabbit hole. I found the video of his epic proposal to his wife (you’ll need a full box of tissues for that, fair warning) and then the heartwarming video of he and his wife sharing the news of her pregnancy with family and friends. So now I follow him on Snapchat (@justinbaldoni) too and his posts just make me so happy. He’s freakishly in love with his wife and adorable daughter, and he’s also smokin’ hot. Seriously – if you’re into hot dads like most women creeping towards their thirties (*… slowly raises hand*), he is the ultimate.
Gina Rodriguez – Speaking of Jane the Virgin, the actress who plays Jane is also a delight. I picked up a recent issue of Women’s Health Magazine because she was on the cover and fell even more in love with her after reading the article about her. She’s so cool! She’s a huge advocate for diversity in television and body positivity, among other things. I don’t know how she has time to sleep. I’ll just leave you with some worthwhile tidbits about her:
• This video of her accepting the award as Best Actress in a TV Comedy makes me cry every time I watch it
• Behind the scenes of her Women’s Health Magazine shoot
• Her Instagram account
• Podcast interview with Gina
Actually, the entire cast of this show seems like a room full of incredibly genuine people (and apparently they get along really well), which is probably a huge part of why the show is so good. Can you tell I’m obsessed? (Here’s another fun JTV-related thing I found the other day …)
Compartes Coney Island Chocolate Bar – When we went to Philly for our recent Feast of St. Pizza, we spent some time wandering around the Italian Market while we waited for our first pizza shop to open. One of the fancy food shops was selling Compartes chocolate bars (made in LA), so I splurged and bought some. The Coney Island bar was my favorite – it’s milk chocolate with little bits of waffle cone in it. OHMYGOD. So good. If I was a millionaire (or at least, like, relatively rich) I’d sign up for their chocolate of the month club. But … I’m not. So that’s not happening.
Water – So you know how everyone is always talking about “how goooood water is for you” and how people should drink more water and how it’s beneficial in a million different ways? Well, they’re not lying. My whole life I’ve been what I refer to as “perpetually dehydrated.” I’m just not good at drinking enough because I’m a sipper, not a chugger. Recently I was feeling pretty crappy and bloated so I decided to make a stronger effort to drink more water AND IT’S WORKING. It’s really amazing! My skin is happier, I’m barely ever bloated, I have more energy, I’m less hungry and it honestly seems like I can feel my entire body just working better. It’s crazy! My secret to success is that I set up 5 alarms on my phone that go off during the work day (through my reminders app, set to “high priority”), and when they go off I have to chug whatever is left in my water mug and refill it. As a result I’m now drinking at least twice as much water every day. I’m also trying to do that thing where you chug a glass of water first thing in the morning. Water is seriously so powerful and could be the answer to all of our problems.
Roam and Golightly: A Podcast for Creative Adventurers – My friend Laura of the blog Roam and Golightly took some time off from her blog over the winter to rebrand her site and launch this fun new podcast, and she should be very proud of what’s she created. Her focus is on “creative adventure” and finding ways for normal, everyday working people to fit some adventure and creativity into their lives. She’s been interviewing really cool and fun creatives like the online editor of Darling Magazine and the duo behind the travel blog Hand Luggage Only. She was along during our recent Feast of St. Pizza and even launched a podcast episode about the event with recordings of all of us throughout the day, giving our thoughts and criticisms on the pizza we ate. It’s a lot of fun. She’s currently traveling from Iceland to Amsterdam to Italy, so she’ll be releasing the occasional “minisode” with updates on her adventures there. Her most recent one is all about her visit to Iceland and it definitely made me want to go there. You should also check out her Instagram because it’s gorgeous.
The Oxo 2-oz. Jigger – If you make cocktails at home on the regular, put this thing in your Amazon cart IMMEDIATELY. You know how some drinks might ask for 1/4 oz or 1/2 oz of lime juice or something and you have to just eyeball it? Or when you pour a full shot into a jigger and then try to pour it into your cocktail shaker but end up spilling it all over the place? Well this thing has 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1.5 and 2 ounce measurements, and it’s super easy to pour out of because it’s like a mini measuring cup. What also makes it amazing is that you can see how much you’re pouring from the top looking in, as opposed to needing to get eye level with it and reading the measurement from the side. The amount of love I have for this tiny little thing is kind of dumb, but that’s how great it is.
RECIPE BUCKET LIST
You can now find all of these recipes on my Recipe Bucket List Pinterest Board.
• All of the margaritas from Margarita Week
• All of the popsicles from Popsicle Week
• All of the ice cream from Ice Cream Week
• Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic and Pan-Seared Chicken from Bev Cooks
• Creamy Vegan Nutella Latte from Heart of a Baker
• Tahini Oreos from My Name is Yeh
• Hazelnut Cake with Créme Mousseline and Chocolate Buttercream from The Vanilla Bean Blog
• Everything Soft Pretzel Knots from Heart of a Baker
• Chicken Gyro Salad from Smitten Kitchen (We actually made this one and it was DELICIOUS. Perfect summer meal.)
• Bacon and Scallion Buffalo Chicken Dip from Kitchen Konfidence
• Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken from Eat Raise Run
• Baked Tofu with Coconut Kale from Food52
• Quinoa Taco Meat from Minimalist Baker
Illustration at top created with Illustrator and Photoshop.
Prints of my illustrations (along with other products with my work on them) are available in my Society6 Shop.