Life Lately No. 2

Hi guys!

Another life lately… because it has been a crazy few weeks.


Our sweet Whiskey went in for surgery on the 27th of July to have fat lipomas removed from all over her body. While there was some concern that biopsies may be necessary and that we wouldn’t like the results, our girl is cancer free and recovering from her 18 incision sites and 50ish stitches super well. In her cone and jammies. How does she look so dang cute all partially shaved and with no eyelashes (they had to be cut down to work on some spots near her eyes)!?

The garden is providing literally everything you could ever want right now. I’ve been using it to make burrito bowls, salads, stews, curries and stir fries. Let me know if you’d like to see any posts about the pictures below!


I’m officially obsessed with panzanella! It’s the perfect way to use up garlic-rubbed baguette rounds left over from bruschetta, and adding grilled artichokes makes it extra delicious. Try adding grilled fennel and mini bocconcini, too!


Speaking of food,  our relationships with it and our own feelings of self confidence and worth… check out Becca Bristow’s awesome video about why she doesn’t want perfect abs… This majorly resonated with me because while there’s always room for improvement in my land of butter and carbs, to see a dietician and marathon runner publicly say like, hi- some fat is necessary on our bodies for proper function and a lack of abs doesn’t automatically equal a lack of health was refreshing. We’re bombarded with this vision of lithe, long bodies with chiseled midsections and thin limbs and the idea that this is the picture of health constantly. Doing the right things like getting exercise and eating foods that fuel a healthy body while indulging from time to time is what is important. I retweeted a tweet about a fitness girl “treating” herself with whole eggs rather than egg whites the other day and that’s the exact “perfection” trap I want to stay so, so far away from. So thank you to Becca for the reminder that my short limbs that like to pack on muscle can be just as healthy as a 5 foot 8 girl who has more space to put that muscle on her frame, and that the most important thing is feeling great and living a healthy life. You can watch her video below but I really recommend cruising over to her YouTube page and subscribing.

I’m really excited that next month my sister is getting started on landscaping the yard at her new house! It took forever to get her rough grade and now she’s waiting on approval, but I will be chronicling it as it’s a full front-and-back landscaping, with fence, deck, concrete, curbing, grass, shrubs and trees! And she’s doing it all on a budget! It will be a super fun family affair (wishful thinking?) getting it ready but since she’s doing 90% of the work herself, I can’t wait for the opportunity to get my hands dirty and pitch in. I think the end result is going to be amazing! I think she’s hoping that the approvals will be all-in and the pre-work for concrete will be done to start in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!


Also new is… My espresso machine!!! It also froths and heats milk… I’m in heaven. A cappuccino or latte is one of my most favorite indulgences that I have seriously cut back on in the past couple of years in my quest to keep my spending as low as possible, but when I had a housewarming gift card and this baby was 40% off… I really, really wanted it.

Lastly… I can say now that I have a fully-functioning BBQ! I’ve had it at my house for a few weeks (it was a gift from my parents), but it needed a natural gas fitting and put together, but this past long weekend my dad finished it all up and my friends Bridgette and Nick came over and the first meal was made on it! I have to confess that Nick did the grilling, but I started the BBQ all by myself (I’ve only done that a handful of times and it makes me super nervous, so I’m proud). Be ready for loads of grilled meals in the coming weeks to be gracing my Instagram.

Coming soon will be:

  • June/July Favorites video
  • A recap of products I’ve used and if I’d buy them again
  • How I make my lentils and rice for the freezer
  • Back-to-School easy and quick breakfast ideas on a budget (should I do lunches too, or 15 minute dinners?)
  • Fall outfits (casual and business casual)
  • Freezer friendly chorizo beans and rice
  • Recent drugstore beauty finds
  • An affordable dessert

I hope you guys are having an awesome August! Mine is packed so far with a few website launches I’m working on (woo!), getting ready for the upcoming semester at work, teaching Social Media for Business  and fun with my family! I’d love to hear what you’re up to in the comments below!

Real Girl Review- Essie Gel Couture


Hey guys!


Back with another real girl review, this one being the next in my series about gel manicure alternatives! If you haven’t seen my review of Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel, you might want to check it out!

Using the costing from my last post, a once-monthly salon gel manicure would cost you around $420/yr. This product costs $11.96 for the color and $11.96 for the topcoat, so assuming a new shade every month and 2 bottles of top coat, you’re looking at approximately $170 before tax.



This product is great. My sister has even tested the top coat with non-matched (not the Essie Gel Couture) colors and it still keeps your nails looking flawless for at least a week, if not longer. The above pictures are one week into wear. I kept this on for the full 14 days, and despite doing some weeding in the garden and carrying on as I normally would, there was only minimal chipping and a bit of cracking (below).



Unlike the Sally Hansen product I tried, this came off easily with acetone and didn’t dye my nails blue at all. I also liked the brush- it wasn’t so big that I had a ton of mistakes. I will say, for more normal wear (ie. not testing out a product), I’d touch up the tips as the color wears away if you’re a heavy typer like I am.

This test was a total win. Unless my next trial goes AMAZINGLY, I think I will be using the Essie Gel Couture for my long-wear and durable nail polish!  The next review is on a much more expensive option (if you can believe it, with this costing over $20 for a starter set), so I hope you’re ready for a really in-depth review. The more expensive it is, the more I expect it to perform!


Have you tried any of the products I’ve posted about in my Real Girl Review nail polish series? Let me know!