Lifestyle

Baby’s First 4th of July

7

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 in Lifestyle

pekin 4th

I hope you all had an awesome holiday weekend! We had absolutely gorgeous weather here, and even though we’re still getting used to life with an itty bitty baby, we tried to make the most out of our festive weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, Independence Day is a big honkin’ deal where we live, so we really wanted to try to get out to enjoy a little bit of the town’s celebration this year. Not only do we love joining in the festivities, but at this point, any excursion out of the house with a small baby is a victory. When you have a tiny human to take care of, it’s like relearning how to do everything—including something as simple as sitting at the town 4th of July parade! And when it goes well, you pretty much feel like you just won the lottery.

babyface parade

We set up shop at our normal parade viewing location, and within a few minutes, the little lady was asking for some eats. I had just done my first public nursing session the day before (in the pediatrician’s packed waiting room—a good place for a test run) and it went really well, so I was feeling confident about nursing in public. Confident enough that I happily fed my daughter while sitting on the main drag in my hometown surrounded by hundreds of strangers (and well, some not so strangers). I was so proud! We’re still fumbling a bit with latching on, so I’m not ready to go sans cover yet (plus, the sun was bright, and we wanted to keep June Bug out of it), but..baby steps! Thankfully, it was unseasonably cool out, so we both were perfectly comfy under the light blanket. It’s funny how every little thing feels like a major victory when you’re a new parent.

me nursing

Baby girl nursed for the first half of the parade and then happily passed out under her sun shade for the second half. She didn’t even wake up when all the firetrucks came by with sirens blaring. We all talked about how different it’ll be next year and all the years after. Marching in the 4th of July parade is a rite of passage in this town, and I’m sure at some point this little girl will be smiling and waving to the crowds from a float (or on a tractor, as you do in parades in the Midwest). And even before that, she’ll be right up front with a pillow case collecting candy with the other kids. I’m definitely embracing the snuggly newborn stage, because I know it’ll pass by all-too-quickly. This was probably the first and the last 4th of July parade that she’ll spend curled up in my arms. Sniff.

me juniper

Usually after the parade, we head over to the park and browse the flea market, listen to some music and enjoy a funnel cake (or two), but we figured that going to parade was a victory enough and headed back to my parents’ house for a nice holiday meal. Maybe next year we’ll be ready to hit up all the 4th of July festivities. For this year, seeing all the tractors was plenty of excitement for the day.

parade

After dinner, our big plans were for an absolutely epic family nap. We’re still trying to get a handle on sleeping arrangements for nighttime, and the night before the 4th was a rough one for everyone. But a four-hour afternoon nap seemed to cure a lot of the sleep deprivation. Plus, we did some rearranging for that night and had a much, much more peaceful night (well, other than all of our neighbors trying to outdo each other with fireworks).

I hope you all had an awesome weekend!

Did you do anything fun for the holiday weekend?

10 Goals for 31

16

Posted on Jun 20, 2014 in Lifestyle

Happy Friday, friends! Today isn’t just any Friday, it’s my 31st birthday! We’re still in waiting-for-Baby-J holding pattern around here. And as much as waiting isn’t fun, I’d prefer the little one stay inside just another day or two. Not only would I prefer not to spend my birthday in hospital, but more importantly, I would prefer my little girl to not have to share a birthday with her fuddy-duddy of a mother the rest of her life. It’d be nice for her to have her own day. But, we’ll see! I guess she’s the only one who can decide when she wants her birthday to be.

chamomile flowers stock

We don’t really plan on doing much today to celebrate, but even my super-pregnant self can’t resist the draw of making some goals for the upcoming year on my birthday. Don’t worry, you won’t find any “do a triathlon” or “lose 50 pounds” types of goals on this list—I’m feeling a bit more introspective this year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to guide my next year on this planet and my first year as a parent, and I figured today is a great time to put those thoughts into black and white. And while I am writing these down, I’m also accepting that I have no friggin’ clue what the next 365 days has in store for me—so I might revisit this post on my 32nd birthday and laugh with the hearty laugh of an experienced mom. Who knows. But we’ll try it anyway!

daisy stock flower

1. Cut myself some slack. I have to be honest, I put up a pretty high bar for myself, and whenever I don’t achieve it, I tend to have a hard time letting that perceived failure go. It’s something I think a lot of us struggle with. And it’s something that just wont fly with being a parent. Every single day I’m going to do something wrong as a parent. And I have to accept that mistakes happen, not everything is easy, and failure is an option. And that is all okay.

2. Embrace the moment (all the moments). Life is full of its ups and downs. And the older I get, the more I realize that the downs are just as important as the ups. In fact, if the downs didn’t exist, neither would the ups. There are going to be (many) struggles over the next year, and I really want to learn to bring myself outside of the emotion and frustration of that particular moment and accept that this is a normal and even healthy part of life.

3. Live for the sake of living, not documenting. I’m a blogger. I’m a digital native. I’m a social media-aholic. Which means that I really struggle with fighting the “pic or it didn’t happen” mentality. Getting validation through Instagram likes or Twitter replies is not going to make my life any happier or healthier. Sure, I get joy out of sharing my life with people, but I think, like everything else, it’s about balance. I don’t want to be so focused on sharing my life that I forget to live it.

flowers stock

4. Get back to me. It was no secret that I haven’t loved pregnancy. I would take it a step further and say that I haven’t felt like myself since the first time I tossed my cookies way back last fall. There is something about pregnancy—beyond the morning sickness and the aches and pains—that left me feeling so removed from my regular self that I felt lost and down the majority of my pregnancy (it got much better in the last trimester). I understand that this year (well, really, the next 18 years) is going to be a major transition period for me, but I also feel like I have a chance to really reinvent myself and get back to what makes me, me. I can already feel it.

5. Eat good food. These next two are related to #4. I tried to eat as well as I could during pregnancy, but it was really a struggle. I want to take this year and focus on getting back to the basics when it comes to my eating. I want to relearn to live on and love healthy, fresh foods again. It’s the best thing I can do for me and for my entire family.

6. Move again. I know there are a lot of strong, incredible women out there who power through rough pregnancies and keep on exercising and working out, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I am so excited to slowly get back to a normal activity level (after I’ve been given the go-ahead by my midwives). I don’t plan on running any races anytime soon (or, uh, ever), but I do think that as I heal and strengthen, it’ll be so exciting to be able to get back to a baseline level of fitness. I’m not sure I realized how much of my identity was wrapped up in being fit and active, and I’m excited to figure out what fit and active looks like in my new world as a mom.

flower stock

7. Don’t work so much. I wouldn’t consider myself a workaholic—honestly, I would much rather just lay on the couch and watch crappy TV all day—but I do struggle a lot with figuring out the balance between working enough to keep food on the table and working so much that I end up rocking back and forth in the corner because I’m so overwhelmed. I’ve been doing this freelance/be-my-own-boss thing for nearly two years now (wow!) and I think for the longest time, I was petrified to turn down any opportunity for fear it would be the last that came across my inbox. But I’m beginning to learn that there will always be another opportunity. I started to get a bit more persnickety with what jobs I accepted last year, but I also think I need to realize that even really good opportunities aren’t really good opportunities if they come at a really bad time.

8. Save, save, save. This one might seem kinda counterproductive to #7, but it’s actually not. One of the biggest reasons I think I feel like I need to work all the time is because I’m not a very skilled saver. I can be pretty frugal, but when it comes to actually buckling down and saving for something, I really struggle to delay immediate gratification. I work hard. So I feel like I “deserve” something. So I buy it. And then I have to work harder because I didn’t save that money. It’s a vicious cycle. If I’m being entirely honest, I wouldn’t have to work nearly as hard if I just stopped fickle spending here and there and buckled down. It’s not that I drop thousands of dollars on lavish vacations or buy new cars every two years. It’s that I do things like spend $10 here and $5 there that adds up to hours and hours of work time over the years. This year, I, quite literally, cannot work the hours that I did in years past with a kid, so something has to give. And it’s going to have to be my $5 here and $10 there.

9. Learn to ask for and accept help. I don’t know what it is about our culture that makes it so darn difficult to ask for (or even just accept offered) help, but man, it feels like the absolute biggest of hurdles. I’ve finally had to learn to swallow my pride and get over myself toward the end of pregnancy. It’s something that I really struggle with. I’m not immune to wanting people to perceive me as superwoman, but it’s really just a totally unhealthy way of going through life. There nothing wrong with asking for help. And in fact, I’d say the healthiest people are the ones who do. I have to learn that it isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help. And if I don’t, I’m not going to make it through this year.

flower tulip stock

10. Embrace a year of change. Above and beyond all of these goals, I think I have to accept that this year is going to be like no other year I’ve ever experienced. And it probably won’t be smooth sailing for the majority of it. A lot of people talk about “getting back to normal” after having a baby, and I’m trying to live under the philosophy that “normal” doesn’t exist anymore—at least not in the form I used to recognize it. Eventually, I’ll find a new normal (and quite probably, an even better normal than ever before), but I can never “go back”. This is the year of just accepting that I’m in limbo and trying to ride the waves until we, one day, realize we’ve found our new rhythm. I’m going to try my darndest to go with the flow this year.

Do you have any goals you’re trying to achieve this year?

Things I’m Digging…

24

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 in Lifestyle

berries

1 Sunrise Growers Antioxidant Blend. We stopped at Costco last week to stock up on some of their healthier pre-made foods to stash in the freezer for when Baby J comes (still no signs she plans on showing up anytime soon . . .), and we noticed these big bags of organic fruit on sale in the freezer aisle. They are SO good. I’ve just been throwing a handful in the blender with some kale, a banana and a some milk and it makes the best smoothie. So many frozen berry blends aren’t very balanced, but there is such a good balance of berries, cherries and pomegranate in here. Yum!

me pool magazine

2 Pool weather. We went back and forth about opening up the pool this summer (we figured we’d have, uh, other things to take care of), but we decided to open it up mostly because I think it’ll be a nice way to help me recover after labor. But I’ve also been enjoying it pre-labor! It’s been warm and sunny, and I’ve been enjoying laying out in the sun with a magazine. I’ve actually yet to get in the water, mostly because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to hulk myself up the ladder to get back out!

cr-v car

3 Our new car. It’s official, I’ve totally moved on from my weepy ways and am in love with our new car. Having all the extra space is amazing! And I was concerned we were going to really miss the amazing fuel mileage of our small car, but the CR-V is getting really great gas mileage. We were getting between 35-40 MPG (!) with our Fit, and that was awesome, but we’ve only dropped to between 25-30 in the CR-V, which ain’t too shabby for all the extra space we have. I’m still getting used to having a car that blends in with all the others in the parking lot, but we’ll fix that with lots of hippie bumper stickers soon.

raspberries

4 Black Raspberries. We are lucky enough to have acres of wild-growing black raspberry vines on our property, and they’re starting to come off. They are incredibly tasty, and I love that they are totally free and require absolutely no maintenance. We picked gallons and gallons of the berries last year, stashed them in the freezer and ate on them all year long. Yum!

chore charts

5 Chore charts. In our attempt to keep our place neat and tidy, we made ourselves chore charts last month and they have been working beautifully. We just keep ‘em up on the fridge and check things off as we get through them. Each of us has a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal section, and it’s really been helping to make sure we stay on top of things (and we were able to sit down and decide who did what, so each of us “owns” our specific chores). I’m sure we’ll get derailed once Baby J shows up, but it’s nice to know we have a system that’s been working that we can go back to once we settle into a new routine.

What are you digging lately?

Currently…

12

Posted on Jun 11, 2014 in Lifestyle

daisy stock flower

Thinking…that I should really fold the basket of clothes sitting next to me. I’m trying hard to keep up on all the chores around the house so everything is nice and neat when Baby J comes, but it’s getting increasingly hard to, you know, bend over.

Feeling…swollen. I’ve heard all the stories about the swollen feet and ankles at the end of pregnancy, but wowzers, I had no idea they meant this swollen. I’m drinking a ton of water and keeping my feet elevated, but still, I can barely even squeeze my big ole (regularly) size 11s into flip-flops anymore. The skin is so tight, it hurts! Some women have even told me their feet grew a size or two larger during pregnancy and stayed that way. I really hope that isn’t the case for me, or I’ll never be able to buy cute shoes again.

feet creek flipflops shoes

Watching…not a lot. We got rid of satellite a few months back, and haven’t really looked back. I am excited to see all the HBO shows on Amazon Prime. I’m about three seasons behind on True Blood. I wonder if watching that while breastfeeding will scar Baby J for life? Probably so.

Excited…about meeting my daughter, obviously. Everyday I wake up and think, “This could be the day I become someone’s mom.”

baby clothes

Missing…gin and tonics. Out of all the boozy things I could miss, an ice-cold gin and tonic while sitting on the front porch is #1 on the list.

Reading…nothing. Although Craig is reading to me (and my belly) pretty often. Baby J might come out knowing a lot about sustainable homebrewing. Either that, or knowing all the words to The Pokey Little Puppy.

homebrewing book

Wondering…how much truth there is to the idea that more babies are born on the full moon. We’ve got one coming up on Friday (Friday the 13th, no less!). I wonder if Baby J will be a full moon baby.

Working…on not a lot! Working really hard to wrap up projects by June 1st was one of the best things I think I ever did for myself. It’s given me time to nest and work on craft projects and just generally enjoy the calm before the storm. I haven’t had this much time off in years and years, so I’m definitely soaking it up (and taking lots of naps). I know a lot of women don’t get a chance to do this, so I am so grateful to be able to take this time off and really bask in these last few days.

trees woods stock

Stressed…about pretty much nothing. With worked wrapped up and most of my around-the-house projects tackled, we’re pretty much in waiting mode around here. Which is a nice change from the frantic pace we normally keep.

Proud…of Baby J’s nursery! I can’t show it all to you guys until after she is here (because there are lots of name hints in the room), but I’m so excited with how it shaped up. I’m in particular excited that we were able to do it really affordably using lots of DIY and upcycling.

ruler nursery growth chart

Wanting…to drop some pounds. I haven’t really stressed about baby weight much, but as I close in on the homestretch, my joints are seriously aching. I forgot how punishing carrying extra weight is on my knees (which are genetically weak anyway). I’m not going to rush myself or really set any post-baby body goals, but I am pretty excited about the idea of getting some of this weight off so my knees don’t hurt so badly. Even just the few pounds I drop from delivery should help a lot! That and being able to wear shoes other than flip-flops.

Wishing…that our tomatoes would hurry up! I’m seriously craving some homegrown tomatoes.

tomatoes

Eating…tons of lettuce and kale from our garden. Greens (finally) made it back onto my edible list a few weeks back and I’ve been making up lost time and trying to cram in as many leafy greens into my diet as possible. I’ve had more green smoothies than I care to count.

Drinking…lots and lots of water to try to counteract swelling. And my weight in iced red raspberry leaf tea.

Loving…craft projects, summer flowers, having my husband home more, the excitement of a new stage starting, fresh food from the garden, ice water, dresses that feel more like nightgowns than real clothes, our new car (seriously, it’s amazing—although I still wish it was orange).

What are you currently feeling, loving, thinking, eating, etc.?

That Time I Cried at a Car Dealership

15

Posted on Jun 8, 2014 in Lifestyle

car fit

I was fully expecting to be hit over the head with the crazy emotional roller coaster that everyone talks about during pregnancy, but the onslaught of weepiness never really happened for me. Sure, I cried a bit more easily at sad commercials, but, for the most part, it seems like my emotional state spared the damage of the progesterone poisoning that is pregnancy (my appetite, however, did not).

So that’s why I’m not sure I can blame what happened yesterday at a car dealership in Louisville entirely on pregnancy hormones.

The writing has been on the wall for a while. We knew we were going to either need to buy a second car this year (we’ve been a one-car family for the majority of our marriage) or trade-in our little orange Honda Fit for a new vehicle. Even without a baby on the way, the fact of the matter was that our little sub-compact car just wasn’t suited for our country life. It’s short stature and front-wheeled drive-ness couldn’t handle snow or ice on our windy country road. And more than once, we had packed it so full of plants, mulch and other items while running errands, that we literally didn’t have an ounce of space left to see out the windows.

car plants

The tipping point came when we put the carseat in there. We did a ton of research beforehand about finding a carseat that would fit well in a compact car (we even shelled out a pretty penny more for one that was highly-recommended for small cars). We first tried it behind the passenger seat. And the only way to get it to fit was to have the front seat pulled up so far that my long legs couldn’t fit. So we moved it to the middle, which gave us more legroom upfront, but completely negated any other use in the backseat. No one else could fit back there. We couldn’t put the seats down. Heck, even Puppyface had a hard time squeezing next to the car seat.

It was becoming clear that our beloved little car just wasn’t going to fit our lifestyle anymore.

puppyface car fit

We’d contemplated just getting a second car, but the truth is, we have no need for a second car with me working from home full-time. We need one car that works for our lifestyle. And as much as we loved it, our pumpkin of a car was no longer working.

It didn’t take long for us to decide what direction to go in (we’re Honda people, through and through) and after some research, a test drive, and a nice chat with a sales guy, we were on our way to trading in our car for a new-to-us Honda CR-V.

And that’s when the tears started.

sticker fit car

The CR-V is totally practical. And, admittedly, we’ve been researching and talking about eventually getting a CR-V since before we even bought our Fit. And the one we found is perfect. Low mileage. Clean history. No unnecessary bells or whistles. Totally reasonable price. Nice color. It is beautiful! And, as we tested in the car lot, it fits the car seat with tons of room to spare (heck, we could even have the two of us, the car seat, Puppyface and a few dozen bags of mulch in there).

So that’s why I was so confused as to why I was so dang sad about giving up our Fit. As much as we had enjoyed the Fit, it literally didn’t fit with our lives anymore. It was a logical and practical decision to give it up. And a logical and practical decision to move onto this SUV. So why was I so sad?

Unfortunately, emotions are rarely logical or practical.

I began to realize that this was the first real growing pain we’d have gone through with our growing family (well, other than the literal growing pains that go along with my belly expanding). Craig and I had bought the Fit together. We picked out the color (the beautiful, obnoxious, always-find-your-car-in-the-parking-lot color). We bought it from the dealership together. We took care of it together. We went on road trips in it together. We spent Saturdays running errands in it together. We took Puppyface hiking it in together. We picked out stickers for it together. We paid it off together. It was our car. As a couple. As two people. Ours.

But, the fact is, it’s not going to just be us anymore.

me babyface car fit pregnant

So I think as tears rolled down my face as we pulled away from the dealership in our new (very comfortable, very nice) SUV, the crying wasn’t necessarily about giving up the car that I loved. It was more about realizing the gravity of the life change we are getting ready to go through. I am thrilled to meet my little girl and become a mother, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to mourn a bit the beautiful life Craig and I have had together just the two of us for the past seven years. And I think those tears that rolled down my cheek as we drove away were part of that mourning.

I think it’s entirely possible to be excited about a new chapter in life and still sad to be leaving the old one behind, and the switching of those cars was a very tangible symbol of that happening in our lives right now.

cr-v car

I promise I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m honestly thrilled about our new car. (and, obviously, even more thrilled to meet Baby J). Sure, I no longer drive a cute little orange car that has a ton memories of my child-free life attached with it. But I do now drive an SUV that will be the host to a thousand new memories with my new family. And that is so awesome to think about! I now drive the car that will take Baby J home from the hospital. And will take us on our first family road trip. And pick her up from preschool. Heck, knowing how long Hondas last, it might even be the car we teach her to drive on. What a cool thought.

As Craig said to me while I cried, new chapter, new memories, new car. I’m sure this is the first of a thousand and one life-changing things that will happen as part of becoming a parent. And, I’m excited about them, even if it means giving up something I loved in a previous life.

And now I’m crying again. Okay, maybe it is the pregnancy hormones.

P.S. Today is my due date! No signs of labor yet. I think she’s pretty comfy in there.

What was the most recent big life-changing event that happened to you?

odds + ends

20

Posted on May 7, 2014 in Lifestyle

Alright, I have a bunch of little odds and ends things to tell you guys that didn’t really feel worthy of their own post, so I’m lumping them all together in a bit of a digest! I’ve actually been trying to figure out a good, non-annoying way to do this for a few months now, so this might turn into a monthly kinda thing. Think of this as my housekeeping post! Let’s get started.

Say “helllloooo!” to ZipList!

After receiving tons of requests to make the switch to a new recipe display service, I finally took the plunge last month, and I’m proud to announce that I’m now a Ziplist Partner. Woohoo! I know tons of you already use ZipList, so I’m happy that the recipes on BTHR can now integrate in your recipe-stashing process. For those of you that don’t use ZipList, it’s an awesome service that allows you to save recipes from all over the web to your own personalized recipe box and from that recipe box you can generate shopping lists, print coupons, and view all your recipes on a free mobile app. And just like before, all my recipes are still pinnable and printable, if you prefer saving recipes that way.

To create an account and access your personalized recipe box (and all the awesome tools that come along with a free ZipList account) all you have to do is click the “Recipe Box” link in my main navigation.

header

And then when you see a recipe on BTHR that you want to save into your recipe box, all you have to do is click the “Save” button in the recipe section, and it’s automagically stashed in your digital recipe box. Easy peasy.

recipes

As cool and automagical as ZipList is for you guys, it unfortunately isn’t so magic for me—I still have to manually import all 300+ of my recipes into the system (one-by-one). I’m slowly getting there, but please bear with me while I make the transition. For now, any newer and popular recipes are housed in ZipList, and all my older recipes are still housed in the previous system—meaning you can still print and share those recipes, just not access them via ZipList yet. I’m also working on a new fandangled visual recipe index (to replace this page) that I hope is 1000% more user-friendly! That’s to come soon, too.

My “maternity leave” plan

We’re closing in on my due date, and I figured it was time for me to talk with you guys a bit about my plans during the first few weeks of Baby J’s life. I feel a little silly calling this a “maternity leave” because I know how ridiculously blessed I am to work from home, make my own hours and be my own boss, but the truth is I’ve worked really, really hard over the past few weeks to stockpile projects (and, honestly, money) so I can take some time off from work when Baby J shows up. So even though it isn’t a traditional “maternity leave” from a job, I don’t really know what else to call it!

oatmeal

Anywho, I’ve been working like crazy over the past few months to get prepared to take some time off. I’ve written and photographed an entire cookbook (with 125 recipes). I designed two other cookbooks. I designed four book covers. I designed a handful of logos and other projects for clients. I wrote over 35 freelance articles (more about those below). And most poignant you guys—I’m working right now to stockpile 30+ posts for the pages of BTHR.

fabric

I went back and forth about pre-writing posts. I don’t always love having content stored in the hopper, because, after all, what is nice about blogging is that live conversation I get to have with you guys over timely topics. But, I hated the idea of BTHR going completely dark. So I decided to stockpile some posts to fill the time when I’m busy bonding with my new family. I think I was able to come up with an awesome list of recipes, projects, and topics that are relevant and interesting—even if they maybe aren’t so timely. I’m actually really proud of all the stuff I have to share with you over the next few months, so I hope you guys get some enjoyment out of it!

cauliflower potato salad
My plan is to take off from “work” from Baby J’s birth (Mama’s workin’ right up until then, though) until about six weeks afterward. And then after that, go back to working part-time for the near future.  One of the many, many benefits of being my own boss is that I get to structure my leave the way I feel will work best for our family. And, quite honestly, I have no dang clue what that is going to be! So that’s why the future past six weeks is so murky—we’re going to assess as we go. Maybe we’ll be super parents and have the easiest baby ever, and I’ll have no problem fitting in 40 hours of work with a baby strapped to my chest while I sit in my perfectly decorated office wearing beautiful organic clothing and perfectly coiffed hair (yeah, right). Or, maybe we’ll really struggle and Baby J will have colic, and I’ll be lucky if I can put pants on everyday, let alone get any work done. I’m guessing what will happen is somewhere in the middle—we’ll struggle, but eventually get the hang of it, and get to the point where I can fit in 20 or so hours a week of work (with childcare help from my parents, who live 1/4 mile away) and maybe eventually step it up to more.

So, I hope you’ll hang with me as I figure out how to fit in being a Mom with being a blogger/graphic designer/food writer/photographer. And maybe cut me some slack if I sound a little sleep-deprived and make more typos than normal. And I really hope you enjoy all the content I’ve worked on to show you guys over the next few months. I’ve worked really hard to make quality stuff for you guys, and I hope that shows!

Spotted Elsewhere

One request I’ve gotten from a few different folks is to showcase when my work is out in the world, but not on BTHR. If you don’t know, I have a few gigs writing and doing recipe development for awesome brands and companies (and doing freelance graphic design), and I figured this monthly odds and ends style post might be a good way to tell you guys about where else you can spot my work.

Anytime Fitness Blog

I’ve been writing for my friends at Anytime Fitness for years now, and I love working with them! Here are some of my recent posts you’ll find on their blog:

farmers-market-payment-1030x580

Organic, Local, Sustainable: Farmer’s Market Jargon Decoded—If you’ve ever hit up your local farmer’s market and been overwhelmed by the lingo that’s tossed around, this post is for you! This glossary of common farmer’s market terms helps shed some light on the difference between cage-free and free-range (yup, there is a difference!) and will help you be a more informed consumer the next time you hit up your local market

mexican-bean-salad-with-tortilla-chips

Recipe: Three Bean Cowboy Caviar—We call this dish “Mexican Bean Salad” in our house (and I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about it on WIAW posts a lot), and it’s absolutely one of our favorites. It’s packed with color, flavor and nutrition. It’s my go-to summer potluck recipe! You won’t find this recipe anywhere on the pages of BTHR, so I highly recommend popping over to AF and checking it out.

jalapenos-fall-in-love

Fall In Love With Jalapeños—You knew jalapeños were spicy little green peppers, but did you also know that they’re a powerful anti-inflammatory and have been shown to be a promising natural cancer treatment? Learn all about why you should eat more jalapeños in this post!

Live Better America

One of my newest writing gigs is for an awesome website called Live Better America. LBA is a wing of General Mills, and the entire goal of the site is to bring healthy eating tips, recipes and tricks to the larger American audience through accessible products and foods. It’s a goal I can really get behind! I personally do a lot of local and organic shopping, but I realize that isn’t feasible for a lot of folks, so I think it’s really admirable to see a big food company trying their best to bring healthier options to the public. In my opinion, anytime we can take steps to make the food industry a healthier place, we’re moving in the right direction.

salsa

One of my first assignments for LBA was to write all about salsa! We are huge salsa eaters in our house—in fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed that dinner consists of chips and salsa (and only chips and salsa) at least once a week. And while the standard store-bought salsa-in-a-jar is fine, I really wanted to explore some fun, interesting and unique combinations for salsa. In 9 Must-Try DIY Salsas, you’ll find recipes that cover everything from traditional pico de gallo to strawberry-mango dessert salsa (served with cinnamon tortilla chips!) to even a cranberry-orange salsa that would be a perfect substitute for cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table.

I also included a few of my favorite tips and tricks for making sure you get a perfect-for-you customized salsa each and every time you whip up the batch (like, make sure to remove the seeds and membranes from a jalapeño before you use it if you’re heat-adverse—that’s where the spice is!).  Check it out!

Cookbook Designs

One of the coolest graphic design gigs I get to do is design cookbooks for other people! Right now, if you want to get your hands on some cookbook designs I’ve done, you can preorder Cooking with Gochujang, Cooking with Avocados, and  The Ultimate Protein Pow(d)er Cookbook. You can also get your hands now on copies of Cooking with Coconut Oil, and, of course, my first cookbook Cooking with Greek Yogurt.

bookcovers

Alright, I think that covers all the housekeeping things I had to tell you! Back to regularly scheduled posts tomorrow!

Do you have any fun news or odds-and-ends to share?