quinoa//turkey//salsa stuffed peppers

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Hello my foodie friends!

Well, it is officially the 23rd of January and as this first month of 2016 draws to a close, it’s high time that I wake from my food induced coma//emerge from my den of hibernation//& snap the hell out of holiday mode.

And you know what comes next. Oh yeah, it’s New Year’s resolution time.

And my list this year, it’s a big one. Starting this blog//traveling to Europe//living a more health-full life//the list goes on.

But more on this “living a health-full life”.

As we get to know each other, I’m certain that you will receive glimpses into my life (& I yours, I do hope!). For now, I will leave it short and sweet. I was living a lifestyle that just wasn’t working for me anymore. Have any of you ever done that, stubbornly persisted in some old habit//tradition//way of being, even though it isn’t working anymore.

Well, that was me – all of 2015. With graduation upon me and the reality of adulthood finally dawning on me, I stubbornly held onto the things that I knew and trusted. This included old, “healthy” habits, diet and exercise. What has dawned on me since is this: what fuels me is different than what fuels you. Likewise, what fueled my body//mind//soul, perhaps as little as 1 year ago, may be very different than what fuels those things now.

We truly are complex and beautiful little machines. Now then, it’s time for a tune-up. This year, I commit to a diet full of good-for-you fats, low GI carbs, lean protein and…

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Veggies!

Bold and colorful or simple and understated//sweet and crunchy or succulent and savory… there are just so many delicious ways to enjoy a nice, fresh, leafy vegetable.

So I though to myself, why not make it the main event?

Enter: roasted red & green bell peppers.

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If you would like to learn how I made these delicious and nutritious bad boys – stuffed with quinoa//black beans//corn//salsa//&turkey – and the dreamy Cilantro dressing below simply hop on over to The Minimalist Baker for the recipe! There you will find oh-so-many delicious and nutritious recipes, all created with fewer than 10 ingredients//in one bowl//or under 30 minutes. Did I mention the woman behind this lovely site is vegan? So if you’re looking for vegetable-centric meals, this is the place.

Which reminds me, I did make one obvious edit to the original. Before lovingly stuffing my peppers with the filling supplied by The Minimalist Baker, I sauteed 1 lb of ground turkey and tossed it into the mix. For those of you carnivores out there, I found this to be a delicious addition.

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Now, if you really want to impress your friends and family, there couldn’t be a simpler solution. Top it all off with a puree of avocado//cilantro//lime… ohh, it’s real good. Honestly, no words. Make it yourself, taste it, report back.

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And we are off! To a delicious start to the New Year.

And to all the delicious recipes to come.

Cheers!

play! by sephora | november unboxing

 

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It’s here, myPlay! by Sephora subscription box has finally arrived. This little guy has been highly anticipated, and not simply because it’s the 3rd installation of Sephora’s new monthly subscription service. For the past 2 weeks I have eagerly tracked the progress of my little bundle of beautifying products as it traveled cross country, all the way from New Jersey to Texas. After a week or of waiting in some cold delivery center en route, I almost thought it wasn’t going to make it, but here it is!

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But enough suspense, let’s get to the good stuff. This month’s box includes 5 deluxe samples of items that are sold exclusively at Sephora.

  1. SEPHORA COLLECTION | Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof | $10.00
    An electric blue waterproof eyeliner that goes on smooth and stays all day. I was really pleased with the color and performance of this liner, which I applied to the lower lash line for a bold pop of color.
  2. BUXOM | Full-On™ Lip Cream | $19.00
    I was really excited to try this creamy, mauve lip gloss. Buxom glosses are known to have a plumping effect and no-shimmer finish. I’m not a big gloss girl, but I thoroughly enjoyed the tingling sensation and vanilla aroma that accompanied application.
  3. MAKE UP FOR EVER | Step 1 Skin Equalizer | $36.00
    I can’t wait to add this guy to my beauty routine, for a dose of added hydration while I prime. One of the pros of sample sizes: they’re great for travel. I’ll be sure to take this with me on my trip to New York this New Year’s.
  4. BITE BEAUTY | High Pigment Pencil | $24.00
    I was excited to see if this little lip pencil would live up to all of the hype surrounding the brand. I love a matte lip pencil, and this was no exception, although I’m not certain yet if I adore this any more than my trusted Revlon Matte Lip Balms. I did especially enjoy this plum rose shade.
  5. JOSIE MARAN | 100 percent Pure Argan Oil Light | $48.00
    I’m looking forward to exploring all of the ways that this oil can be used. I was pleased to see such a generous portion, as well. At first test, this formula appeared super light weight and hydrating.

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From left to right: Buxom Lip Cream in Dolly, Bite Beauty Pencil in Rhubarb, and Sephora Collection Eyeliner in My Boyfriend’s Jeans

In addition to all of the items above, I also received an itty bitty sample of Stella McCarney’s signature scent. Overall, I was really pleased with the items in this box. For $10 a month, this is a really nice way to try out some items that I would have otherwise looked over for my trusted faves. I love that this box included two lip products, I can never have enough!

So, what do you guys think about this month’s box? Any products that you are in love with? Any products you could do without?

-grace

xoxo

that’s thrifty.

Hello all,

Well I don’t know what the weather is like in your little corner’s of the world, but here in north Texas, it is officially fall & nothing pleases me more.

I know there are truly few declarations more basic in nature, aside from perhaps “a pumpkin spice latte, please.”

I just don’t care. Fall is far and away my most favorite season. Ever since I can remember I have gotten giddy with the first signs of it… those first, brave leaves that begins to turn a bold and vibrant orange hue, the first of many breezy days, carrying with it the subtle scent of earth and fire, the begin of sun’s slow retreat as the day’s shorten and the evening’s creep in, earlier and earlier.

Now I’ll tell you what else I love, thrifting. That’s right, I love sorting through the racks for that diamond in the rough & stealing away my deal to cherish anew. Furthermore, I love a good deal. I mean, seriously. Aside from the occasional splurge or essential, I just can’t understand, no, I can’t justify paying full price for anything. As a recent graduate on a budget, my thriftiness has reached new levels. I’ve always enjoyed thrifting, but lately Goodwill is my go to.

So, in the interest of sharing some interests with you, oh reader – I just wanted to take a moment to, well, share with you some of the bits and bobs that I collected this most lovely month of the year… October has been good to me. Let me know what you think! Have you had any thrift store successes this month?

Sweater Collage

Pictured above are some of my favorite purchases, a sleeveless orange knit from New York & Co. with a cute little collar, a Target brand stripey olive green/brown/black boxy shirt, and two cozy-comfy turtleneck sweaters a lá Karen Scott, in oatmeal colored wool and red cashmere. A very sleepy lil ole me sports my most loved buy, the top bit of a matching set, tucked into a pair of Topshop jeans I had scooped up from the sales rack of a local Nordstrom’s Rack. I seriously adore this top with it’s matching ankle length, waist-cinching skirt. Questionable to the brand, but not to my affections. It is love. I love matching sets and the versatility that they provide.

Not shown here, but included in this month’s buys (I’m still working on my editorial picture taking and just could not get this bugger to shoot well) a Michael Kor’s jet black, tailored shirt dress that I picked up for my mom. Some finds are so great, I just can’t stand to leave them in the store, even if they’re not my size. My mom was certainly appreciative of the purchase!

Hope you enjoyed this little bitty peek into my fall fashion wardrobe,

XO Grace

a little adventure…

Oh Arkansas, your beauty captivates me.
IMG_3855Those are words I never thought I’d say, but there you have it. I have been mystified by the beauty that is the northwest corner of the ‘natural’ state. If you have ever entertained the notion of Arkansas as a desolate mountain-scape, you might be right….
but you’ve got it wrong.

FullSizeRenderI could go on for days about the beauty that is the Arkansan Ozarks, which is unfortunately how long my stay lasted in the lovely city of Cave Springs. *Sigh*. I could’ve spent a lifetime. I wish could put into words the simple, but immense, pleasure derived from driving those winding country roads.

And the sounds of nature.
Not on a CD.

And the stars at night.
Oh yeah.

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Did I mention the surrounding food, shopping and culture?

Art lovers: You’re going to want to plan a trip to the Crystal Bridges Museum. Trust me on this one. This piece by Tom Wesselmann and entitled Smoker #9 was one of my favorites.

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They say that in the country life moves at a different pace, but time sure doesn’t!
My visit seemed to end just as soon as it began.

What’s a place you visited recently that made your heart sing?

–grace

brain on fire

Brain on FireSo, since I am now a certified college graduate, I’ve decided pursue some more ~mature~ hobbies in my spare time. Blogging, cooking, reading. Recently, I picked up a book that actually caught my eye a couple of months ago while wandering the shelves of the campus library, but with a pile of assignments to attend to, there was no time to indulge in leisurely reading. Well, having recently come into some time… err, lot’s of time, (there’s not much for a young twenty-something to do in the ‘burbs between hospital shifts) I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to get to that book I’d found so intriguing.


We’ve all had moments in which we seem to have momentarily misplaced our marbles. It’s a feeling I can identify with. This past year, I managed to bury mine somewhere deep in the denial of a floundering relationship and impending graduation.  And more recently, after moving back home, I oftentimes find myself searching under sofa cushions for my sanity. But what if you were to actually lose your marbles?

For Susannah Cahalan it began with paranoid delusions, followed by vivid, oftentimes terrifying, hallucinations. It began with nervous tics, followed by violent and frequent seizures. It began with general fatigue, followed by the crippling impairment of fine motor skills. The symptoms onset innocently enough, but rapidly transformed to the sinister — transfiguring Cahalan into a person almost unrecognizable to family, friends and colleagues.

(So basically, if you’re a hypochondriac, this is not the book for you.)

Part autobiography, part investigative reporting, in her book “Brain on Fire”, Cahalan attempts to piece together the events that precede and transpire in her “month of madness”. Through journal entries, video footage and interviews, Cahalan weaves together an intimate portrait of a girl whose mind is unraveling at an alarming rate. Yet, at the same time, Cahalan remains removed from her subject – or rather, as removed as anyone who is writing an account of their own life can be. One has to praise Cahalan for her journalistic prowess… And at the same time, wonder if this kind of objective narrative does not also serve as a form of self-protection.

I could go on brambling about the merits of this book. Or its pitfalls. But the truth is that I am wholly unqualified to partake in that kind of literary criticism. Though once an avid reader, it is a point of shame that in my adult life I have seldom found myself reading for sport. When I first picked up this book many months ago, my curiosity was piqued by the dark notion of some kind of sinking descent into hysteria. On movie night, I’m always the first to suggest a scary movie or a creepy documentary exploring the depths of the human psyche. (I’m also the type to cover their eyes and ask what’s going on the whole way through — sorry friends and fam!)

The second time I picked up this book, I was feeling about half-way unhinged myself. I reached for this book like I was reaching for the direct line to the crisis care hotline. I brought it home with me from the library, hopeful for a happy ending from Cahalan. Especially being that she was so young, so female, so like… me.

The third time I picked up this book, I was at home. And I read the inside the flap. I now see why it is good practice to do so before check out (–you see why I might not be so qualified to write a literary review?). As it turned out, I had mistakenly assumed that Cahalan was suffering some form of psychological breach. In reality, Cahalan’s well-being was in arguably graver immediate danger. Suffering from a rare autoimmune disorder called anti-NMDA receptor-encephalitis, Cahalan’s body had literally begun to attack her own brain. Okay, different, I thought. But still incredibly interesting.  I continued to read.

And I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed this book. I found the variety of narrative mediums through which Cahalan recounts her story — be it video summary, document photocopy, or scientific diagram — to be interesting and engaging. As a medical scribe, I quite appreciated the depth to which Cahalan went in explaining scientific research and insights into the etiology and nature of the autoimmune disorder from which she suffered. But that’s about where my literary criticism of this autobiographical account stops. Because, as I mentioned earlier, I may not be the most qualified to speak to the literary merits of this autobiographical account. How literary critics are able to conjure the [insert verbose verbiage here] words necessary to conjure imagery encapsulating the essence of an entire work in but a few sentences is beyond me. When it comes to adjectives, my vocabulary is apparently lacking.

Cahalan manages to write a, dare I say, pleasurable (?) read recounting a, let’s just say, less than pleasurable experience.  Ironically enough, it’s in the quiet following the storm of events that drag Susannah from the bright lights of NYC to the flourescent glow of the hospital that I find myself most engrossed by the grossness of this illness. In the chapters documenting life following diagnosis, Cahalan reflects on the ways that her brush with insanity has changed her. Will Susannah ever really be fully recovered from the crippling effects of the anti-NMDA autoimmune disorder? Fast forward to today, aaand play: In many respects Cahalan appears the picture of health & happines. Bright, vibrant and beautiful as ever — but now Cahalan is engaged. And her career? Sky-rocketed since the release of her best-selling novel.

And yet…

With every nervous impulse or neurotic thought, she is plagued with the question, am I losing it again? When she sees a bug scuttling across the floor, she wonders, am I seeing things? Is that really there? This experience has changed her. Cahalan can now truly appreciate just how fragile the human psyche really is. And so, in this way, although Cahalan has slayed the monster, its ghost remains to haunt her.