Thursday, August 31, 2017

Things in threes

Three meals I could always eat
- nachos
- any kind of pasta
- a burger (or two)

Three songs I always sing along to
- Heart of Stone - Cher
- You Don't Own Me - from The First Wives Club
- Wake Me up Before You Go-Go - Wham

Three favourite TV shows
- Doctor Who
- Grey's Anatomy
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

Three things I do when I need to recharge
- have a ridiculously long bath
- read
- clean or organise things that don't need organising (like pinterest or goodreads)

Three places I want to visit again
- Italy
- England
- Queensland - we meant to go on our last trip home but didn't want to plan any time away from my mum. Maybe next time!

Three movies I watch when I need to feel good
- Bridget Jones' Baby - or the first Bridget.
- The Decoy Bride
- Nanny McPhee

Three books I've read more than once
- The Book Thief
- Pride & Prejudice
- The Hating Game

Three things that made me happy recently
- good books
- drinks with coworkers, some of them soon to be ex coworkers
- putting away all the things in my almost finished kitchen

What's made you happy recently?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Loving lately; add it to my list link up

I don't have that much to share today but I thought I'd still link up with Lauren & Bre.

Here's what I recommend you add to your list:

TJs Chickpeas

I've made roasted chickpeas myself before, they tasted nothing like these. These ones are super crunchy, perfect to act as croutons for my salad. 

Pasta pot ikea / bed bath and beyond
I actually have both of these, no idea why. The one pictured is the ikea one. They are good size pots, not just for pasta but SO handy for pasta. I don't think I will ever use a normal pot and pour into a colander ever again. So handy.

These sunglasses from Amazon
I first bought these for $5 in 2014, then again in 2016 for $10 (when I stood on the first pair and broke them). I just bought the two pack last week for $17 because I lost my other pair (this is why I don't buy expensive sunglasses). I highly recommend them if you like cheap sunnies.

So, like I said, not a lot, but I highly recommend all of them. I've been testing out more Trader Joe's products recently, I love their gnocchi so much I could eat it every day. 

If you shop at TJs, what's your favourite product?

Monday, August 21, 2017

What I ate last week

I love seeing what other people eat. Mainly because I am nosy, but also because I get ideas from other people. Also, I am really trying to get out grocery budget down and that means meal planning. Meal planning and actually meal making are two different things though, so I'm hoping posting this helps.

So this week's edition is what I ate without a kitchen. I mean, we finally got our oven and we still have a fridge (and a slow cooker, rice cooker & electric skillet) so even though we can and have been cooking things, I definitely went the easy route as often as possible. I'm also sharing as much as I can of what KC ate. We aren't the healthiest people in the world but I like to think we are like 75%? Maybe? Everyone has different opinions and definitions of healthy anyway, so who knows.

Now, obligatory disclaimer: I'm not a fancy cook, nor am I a fancy photographer.

KC made a big batch of scrambled eggs with veggies and that's what he took each day. 
I had a smoothie - banana, spinach, milk and protein powder. I use protein powder not because I don't get enough protein without it, but because I don't like most protein heavy breakfasts (eggs, yoghurt etc) and if I don't have protein in the morning, I get hangry at like 10am and eat everything in sight, so I put protein powder in my smoothies. Occasionally I throw frozen berries in there as well. I use whatever milk we have on hand, I prefer almond milk but KC drinks it in one sitting and then there's none left for my smoothie.

I also have a cup of tea (or two) every morning. At work, I use 2 lipton bags with 2 half n half thingys, and at home I use 1 irish breakfast and a splash of milk. During the week I have it after my breakfast, on the weekends I have it before -and most of the time instead of- breakfast (I'm lazy on the weekends).

KC was eating sandwiches that he had left over from last week, and a couple of other meals we'd already prepared like 'taco mix' (turkey, black beans & taco seasoning) in wraps. So, like burritos.
I made 5 servings of my butter chickpeas on Sunday, that's what I was supposed to eat all week.

Unfortunately, I forgot my lunch on Wednesday (rage) so one of the girls at work went to Jason's Deli so I asked her to grab me a caprese panini. So good.

Sweet italian turkey sausage (aldi) and potatoes with peppers and onions (trader joes). KC had the same, but basically double. The potato dish is normally something I'd prepare myself, but I took the easy route I mentioned above. Not enough veggies for me, though I love taters so not complaining. This was the first time we tried the turkey sausage from aldi, KC liked it, I didn't hate it but I likely won't get it again because I didn't realise until I got it home that it has a pork casing. Boo.

I did kickboxing after work so by the time I got home, KC had eaten already. He had the leftovers from last night's dinner, I had trader joes gnocchi.

Fish (cod) with spinach, onions and a lemon pepper dressing (all wrapped in foil and baked for like 10 mins). Served with a veggie/noodle pack I had in the freezer and wanted to get rid of. Doesn't look it, but the fish was great.

Chick fil a. See, meal planning vs meal making? We hadn't eaten out during the week in ages, ugh. So annoyed that we were so lazy.

I got home later than normal because Fridays are stupid, and KC had already eaten. So I made my mushroom tortelloni from aldi. I didn't finish it all.

I don't snack. Occasionally I might eat some pretzels at work, but only because, well, why not. If I am hungry enough for a snack, I am hungry enough for a meal. I 'used to' have a very big sweet tooth but it seems to have disappeared since we got back from Australia and I'm not going looking for it. I say 'used to' because it's only been like a month and I don't want to jinx it. KC snacks on fruit - apples, bananas, etc.

I was going to include what we ate on the weekend as well, but we were stupid busy with the kitchen and I was too lazy.

I am definitely a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Though I might switch things up every now and again, generally I can/will eat something every day with no issues. Dinner I am not so easy to please. Dinner is also harder because I try and make it something both KC and I can eat or will enjoy and often we resort to different meals.

Do you find these kinds of things interesting as well, or is that just me? What is your favourite quick and easy weeknight meal?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thoughts and stuff

I finally watched Big Little Lies on the flights to and from Oz, and I didn't love it. I don't remember the book very well, but yeah. The book was better. I mean, it almost always is, but I still had high expectations because of the cast. It wasn't bad, just not as amazing as I'd hoped.

I watched the trailer for Ready Player One, which I also feel meh about. I really liked the book, it's one of those books that in hindsight I'd rate higher. I only rated it 3 stars because a lot of the references went over my head, but I still really enjoyed the story. So it's more like a 4. Can I just change it now? Anyway. I don't think the trailer really did the book justice.

KC's grandpa is really sick. He was recently diagnosed with a rare and advanced cancer, and he's currently undergoing aggressive treatment. We've been doing all we can to help of course, and my mother in law is run off her feet. We made some frozen meals - without a kitchen you guys, that's no easy feat - including sweet and sour chicken, honey mustard chicken, chicken enchiladas, buffalo ranch chicken and beef burritos. I have never made freezer burritos before, I have NO idea why. KC loved them and wanted to keep the ones I made for his mom. But seriously, they were so easy and I'm definitely going to try a non-meat version for me.

We've been relying on freezer meals or things that can be microwaved lately, and I've fallen back in love with Trader Joe's gnocchi. Goodness it's delicious. I wish KC didn't like it so I could keep it all to myself.

In an effort to get better with meal planning when I have a proper kitchen again (or at least an oven) I bought this meal planning pad with magnets. It seems to be sold out right now but it was only $10. That's not an affiliate link, fyi.

As I mentioned, our oven arrived with a big dent in the side and the replacement was supposed to take a week and then a month (!!!) but thankfully it is coming this Saturday. I am SO excited to have an oven again, this has been the hardest part of the reno for sure. Plus, it's gas. Yay!

I miss Taylor Swift. THERE. I said it. I hope she releases new music soon.

I don't drink coffee. Never have. Won't say never will because things change. But the last few times it's come up, whether online or in real life, the person I am talking to loses their damn mind. Like I'm threatening to take their coffee away. It's okay that I don't drink coffee for pete's sake. Who cares? I just don't understand caring that much about what someone else drinks/eats/watches/wears/cares about.

We are trying to drink less soda. I've given up soda several times, obviously always failed eventually. I'm very much an all or nothing person, so cutting back is weird. Like I can have one or two, not twelve. I'm okay with plain water, KC isn't a big fan so we've been experimenting with sparkling water. He likes the ones from Trader Joe's but they have too much of that sparkling water after taste/kick for me and I was not a fan. The kroger ones have splenda in them I think, but they taste better.

Any sparkling water recommendations?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Books Lately

Best day in blogland! I have read a few books since the link up even though we've been busy with our kitchen renovation. Can't wait to see what everyone else has been reading.

Confessions - Kanae Minato - 5 Stars
multiple povs surrounding a little girl's death
Holy messed up book batman. Ending legit jaw drop. Can't even make real sentences right now.

Honestly though, is this the most amazing book ever? Probably not but I straight up could not put it down and I just thought it was really fabulous. Hard to read in some parts and totally f*cked up but wow. 

Happiness for Beginners - Katherine Center - 5 Stars
woman goes on 'wild' like journey a year after divorce
I read this right after Confessions because I needed something light and fluffy. I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it, it was so adorable. My little synopsis up there doesn't do it justice. Sure it's 'chick-lit' but if you like those kind of books I recommend. It was funny, interesting, light without being too fluffy. It had a few heavy topics thrown in but it was overall a light book. Predictable but in a good way. I really liked it. I wish the epilogue was more fleshed out but only because I love a good epilogue.
Alpha & Omega series - Patricia Briggs - 4 Stars
paranormal romance
This series has been on my list forever and I'm so annoyed that I didn't realise it wasn't finished. The next (final?) book comes out next year. Rage. I really enjoyed this series though, I felt like it was interesting, funny with the right amount of romance. The books did start to run together a bit and seem very similar, but I do recommend if this is your jam. I know the covers are ridiculous. Kind of comes with the paranormal romance territory.
The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy - Beau North & Brooke West - 4 Stars
P&P retelling groundhog day style
Oh my goodness, why did I wait so long to read this! It was such an enjoyable read, such a fresh and unique retelling. The epilogue ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. Goodness. The only thing I didn't like - besides the epilogue, sobs - were the things missing in the end, as in (highlight for spoilers) Wickham never got his just desserts and Elizabeth ended up never knowing about the first proposal. No biggie since it all worked out and Elizabeth caught up in the end, but still. I think this was a great P&P retelling and I'm kicking myself I had it on my netgalley list for so long. 
Received copy from NetGalley
Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility - Hillary Manton Lodge - 3 Stars
sense & sensibility retelling with the sisters running a tea shop
I don't think I have ever read an S&S retelling, so I was excited for this one. I missed that it was 'christian fiction' when I requested it though and I almost just returned it without reading. I’m really glad I gave it a go! It wasn't overly religious at all, just a couple of references. It was cute, funny, and I liked it. Something was missing for me though. If you could give half stars it would be 3.5. I really liked this quote: Every woman swoons over a man walking out of a lake in a white shirt. It’s a universal truth. 

Received copy from NetGalley
A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers - 4 Stars

I really loved the first book and at first I was bummed when I realised this book follows different characters. It eventually grew on me though. It focuses on 2 characters and their stories, I vastly preferred one over the other. Obviously I recommend if you liked the first one, and I just read there is going to be a 3rd, yay!
Fat Chance - Nick Spalding - 3 Stars
couple goes on biggest loser type radio competition

This was enjoyable enough and passed the time just fine. It was predictable, silly, light. There are a couple of things that could offend easily, but I just took it for what it was, the author trying to be funny even if I didn't find it funny myself. But in spite of that, I did think it was a cute funny book overall. 
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue - 3 Stars
nurse is called to monitor child who hasn't eaten in 4 months
Goodness this book was such a slog to get through. I very nearly gave up on it several times but since I suck at giving up on books, I kept going. There were definitely parts I liked and I think overall the story worked well, it was just super slow and I wanted to shake a lot of the characters.

I am glad I read it though because the last 25% was good and I really liked the ending, but ugh. I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend it. 

Received copy from NetGalley
memoir of her life/time with scientology
I didn't know anything about Leah Remini and I'm not necessarily a 'fan', but I gotta admit I was curious about Scientology and all that. It was definitely interesting with a side of wtf how do people believe this and Leah seems funny and honest. 

nothing this time!

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

TL;DR - I recommend Confessions, Happiness for Beginners and Troublemaker if any of those sound like your jam.

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

July 2017 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Good morning everyone! Time for another link up with Gretch & me, all we ask is that you link back somewhere in your post. Thanks a bunch. I'll be doing another monthly recap.

What's New With You

Oh my goodness, what a month! June and July are always my favourite months of the year because we do a lot, travel and stuff. It was hard at first, adjusting to summer being in the middle of the year vs at the end of the year, but I'd say I'm pretty used to it now. Not gonna lie though, I'm ready for KC to go back to work because I like our routines and summer stuffs all that up.

But first, July! We got back to KY on the 2nd, I went back to work on the 3rd - thinking it would force me to get back in routine and skip jetlag, LOL NO, thankfully it was only a half day and then we were off on the 4th.... and I'm pretty sure I slept the entire day away. Oops.

July has very much been the month of the kitchen renovation. As you all know, I am crazy planner lady, and I normally wait until the last minute to get KC involved in anything because it just works better that way. Figure it all out myself - travel, renovation, whatever - and then bring him in for opinions and such. That way he gets to skip the crazy part of my planning which stresses him out.

As I've mentioned, we are going with an ikea kitchen, and we are super excited! We ordered the cabinets and countertops on the 15th. I've been ordering other things throughout the month - my new gas range (which arrived with a not nice dent and is going back), dishwasher, microwave, sink, floors, etc. We have everything except for the replacement oven.

We've had the electrician and the plumber come in and have a look at everything, they have to come multiple times but hopefully should be done this week. The plumber is at the house as we speak (yay for KC being off in the summer!). Then once they are done, we get the drywall guys in. Once they are done we will paint and put all the cabinets together (yes, really).

We had to demo the kitchen before the electrician and plumber could come in and do their thing. We absolutely could not have done this without my brother in law, I highly recommend you get you one of those! Ha. I like to think I am pretty handy and strong, but there are just some things I can't do. We got the entire kitchen demo'd in 3 hours, pretty good! We would not have felt comfortable knocking things down if it weren't for the walls we knocked down a couple of months ago with my coworker. We felt super comfortable after already doing it before. It can be a bit overwhelming!

I tried not to be too mad that KC and Patrick ripped out one soffit perfectly and then the other one, they ripped out too much of the ceiling. It's okay, it's fine, drywall guys will fix it. You can see below kind of how much more of the ceiling they ripped out. Oh well, right, shit happens.

After the main demo, KC and I worked on the floors for another 3 hours (removing 3 layers of lino, so NOT FUN). It was so tedious and way harder than it looked.

Finally done with the lino and the demo:

We used a bagster again, I really didn't think we'd be able to but it all fit! Someone came and took the kitchen sink, lol. The dishwasher and oven were taken by Lowes when they delivered the new stuff.

The next day we had to put in wood and underlayment in the areas that we'd removed cabinets, because our cabinets went straight to the subfloor. Once that was done, we sanded everything. So dusty!

The following weekend, we did the floors! We went with sheet vinyl tiles for many reasons, the number one being I just don't like real tile very much. KC and I always joke that HGTV would hate us because we hate all the popular things - hardwood floors, tile and granite countertops.

The floor was surprisingly easy and hard at times, though we got it all done in one day - you have to prime the floors, let it dry etc. It's more waiting sometimes. Such a good feeling accomplishing something like that though. But goodness we were sore the next day. Nothing like kneeling on wood floors for several hours to ruin your knees.

Here is my current kitchen you guys. It's fun, I tell you. Thank goodness for our electric skillet and slow cooker! Oh and the microwave, naturally. I'm also super excited about my gorgeous HUGE new sink! Can't wait to get that installed. I am a weirdo and the dishes are my second favourite chore - after laundry.

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of this, I bought a new bathroom vanity and KC put it together while I was at work. That was a lovely surprise to come home to! The old vanity was falling apart - literally - so this is a huge improvement until we can do a full on renovation.

And that's about it! Our ikea delivery was missing 59 items - yes, really - so they delivered the rest earlier this week but we are still missing 2 items. Our sunroom is packed to the gills with boxes. We are still getting rid of boxes from our move, we'll have boxes forever!

I keep getting sick off and on which is no fun. I was sick when we got back from Australia for like 3 weeks, and then this week I've been feeling really sick but no idea why. I went home early yesterday and had a nice long nap and felt better, so hopefully I've kicked whatever it is. The good thing is, I've somehow managed to kick my sweet tooth since I've been sick and I am okay with that. I'm sure it will come back one day!

If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below

What's new with you?