This spring has had some really lovely warm days. Whenever the season begins to beckon me to the great outdoors, I start to crave simple, fresh foods that won’t require me to stand in front of a hot oven. That means tacos make a frequent appearance on our dinner menu. And my personal favorite? Pork carnitas!
I made pork carnitas for the first time in college for Cinco de Mayo, and never looked back. I got the recipe from somewhere on Pinterest years ago, and now with my Instantpot, they take almost no time at all. This year, I made pork carnitas with Madhava’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and according to my husband, they were possibly the best batch I’ve ever made!
What I love about tacos is that they can be incredibly simple to put together, and it’s easy to incorporate plenty of bright flavors. I’m a personal fan of fresh cilantro and red onions, but really the possibilities are endless. So when it came to changing up the olive oil I used, I was so happy to find an olive oil that’s so pure.
Madhava is a company based in Colorado. They’ve been around for over 45 years providing the world with high-quality organic products, and they’ve decided that honoring the purity of products like honey or olive oil with a simple approach is the best way to go.
Madhava’s olive oil comes from a single source in Tunisia and is packed by a 5th generation olive oil master. I’m no expert, but something about 5 generations of experience in olive oil testing and tasting tells me they know exactly what they’re doing.
The flavor is light, and versatile enough to use uncooked in a simple dressing. Or in my case, to release the flavors of the garlic and onions before the pressure cooking begins!
Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Mezcal, so I paired our garlicky carnitas with a smoky and sweet strawberry mezcal cocktail. I used Madhava’s Organic Light Agave which has a low glycemic index to make a strawberry simple syrup and I’m kind of obsessed.
I love a good fruity drink IF the fruit is real, and reducing frozen strawberries into a syrup with the agave nectar makes it so easy to have the best of both sweetness and flavor without tasting like lip balm.
I’ll even add a dash of Madhava’s organic honey to round out the flavor and I’m pretty sure I’ve created the ultimate cocktail to enjoy all summer. It’s such a versatile recipe that I might even experiment with a Pomelo or grapefruit flavor. Stay tuned!
I had no idea that food companies weren’t required to label the contaminants that are in their products. That is to say, since they’re not technically ingredients, so if a little bit of insecticide makes it into your olive oil or Agave, you may never know. Yikes, right?
Luckily, when it comes to Madhava, you won’t have to worry.
Madhava works with The Clean Label Project, an independent organization that checks for over 130 contaminants before their bottles hit your grocery store shelf. And the best part? It doesn’t cost any more than your average organic olive oil or sweetener!
I found my Madhava on Amazon, but you can find it everywhere from Walmart to Whole Foods. Even though I made my first batch in college, my carnitas will be a recipe that continues to make its way to our family’s table time and time again. And now that I’ve found Madhava, a simple switch has made them *that much* better.
I hope you get a chance to try out this recipe. Once you’ve made them, they’re so easy to whip together for a great dish you can feel good about eating. Enjoy!
Time: Stovetop – 2 hours | InstantPot – 1 hour on high/10 hours on low. | Crock Pot – 4-8 hours
First, dry the pork loin and trim any excess fat. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Next, in a large dutch oven heat the pot on medium heat (or in the InstantPot on Sauté) for one minute then add the oil (do not add it while the pot is heating! olive oils have a low smoke point and if you heat them too long it will start to burn.) Then once you’ve added your oil, wait about 30 seconds, and then add your onions.
Sauté the onions until translucent (about 2 minutes) stirring frequently. Remove the onions and set them aside. Add your pork loin to the pot. Sear the top and bottom of the pork loin until it begins to get a light brown crust on at least 2 sides.
Next, re-add the sautéed onions to the pot and carefully add enough water to the pot to just cover the pork loin (watch out for steam and oil splatter!). Add the orange juice and garlic cloves. Yes, all of them (I smash mine to help release the oils but also because I think it’s fun). Incorporate the chicken bouillon.
Close & cover for time according to cooking device. Note: Stove top/Crock Pot cooking will require occasional stirring and may need water to be added if the seal on your pot lets out water. Instant Pot is highly recommended.
Once your cooking time is up, your meat should be extra tender and incredibly easy to pull apart with tongs or a fork. If not, feel free to re-submerge with a bit more water and orange juice. Some cuts may need more time to tenderize so cover and cook for an additional half hour as-needed.
Warm up your tortillas with a quick toss in a warm pan with a few drops of olive oil and build out your pork carnitas! I garnish mine with red onions, cilantro and extra Cilantro Lime Crema (recipe below). If I have any Cotija in the house, I might sprinkle that on top but they’re just as delicious without it!
Add the lime juice to 6oz of sour cream about 2 tsp at a time. Slowly add in pinches of salt to taste. Stir. Taste this every time you add something! Repeat.
The texture should be a bit thinner than regular yogurt (not Greek yogurt!). If it gets too sour or salty, add in more sour cream, and substitute half teaspoons of water to achieve your preferred texture.
If cilantro doesn’t taste like soap to you, sprinkle in some chopped cilantro. This is best when made ahead so the flavors have time to fully incorporate with each other. Chill until ready to use (at least 1 hour before serving).
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves 12 cocktails
First, make your strawberry simple syrup. Add the Agave, honey, and strawberries to a pot. Cover with water. Simmer while stirring occasionally. Reduce the water until the syrup is slightly thickened. It should be able to coat a metal spoon but not be so thick that it won’t drip off of the spoon. About 20 minutes. Strain the syrup and toss the strawberries.
In a pitcher of ice, add your Mezcal, lime juice, and sparkling water. Add the simple fruit syrup to your preferred sweetness, and garnish with remaining frozen strawberries. Stir. Garnish with a lime if you’re fancy.
This post has been sponsored by Madhava. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This spring has had some really lovely warm days. Whenever the season begins to beckon me to the great outdoors, I start to crave simple, fresh foods that won’t require me to stand in front of a hot oven. That means tacos make a frequent appearance on our dinner menu. And my personal favorite? Pork […]
We did all the research in the world before we got a puppy and we still couldn’t have anticipated all the lessons we’d learn in our first 6 months with the bestest girl. We’re, of course, obsessed with our dog, as most puppy parents are, but we definitely didn’t expect what happened after we brought […]
I LOVE to lounge at home. As an anxious person, it’s very difficult to truly relax. So when we got our first stay-at-home orders, I reveled in the ability to stay in without any guilt. But after a whole year at home, even this homebody is facing a looming pandemic wall. Here’s how I’m staying motivated and beating the blues.
The light at the end of the tunnel is BRIGHT. After a year of hesitation, we’ve finally gotten to the stage where vaccines aren’t just a fantasy and it’s nearly impossible to believe. But despite vaccinations providing the beacon of hope we so desperately need, the road to “normal” still seems… long. And this has many of us wondering… are we there yet? The short answer is, no. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking forward to life post-pandemic.
I’m not in an essential role, and I don’t anticipate getting a COVID-19 vaccine anytime soon. I also am not in an age group or population that puts me at high risk should I contract the virus, either. However. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will absolutely be getting vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers–you can exit here.
Everyone else: be sure to check your local state guidelines for eligibility and resources! Quick links:
Moving to Chicago during the pandemic was a… weird decision. You can read about my initial thoughts here. We’ve had a peek into the city when she’s quiet. That basically never happens in a major metropolitan. So I’m happy we came when we did. I’ve developed a relationship with our silent streets that feels like a special moment only my neighbors and I get to share. We *know* what our city looks like when she’s not all gussied up. When her hair is down and her make-up is off, and she is still, in fact, beautiful.
But as many of us have found a way to adapt to this shift in pace, we’re changing gears with the assumption that we will (eventually) move back to a more typical speed. And maybe even like the metaphorical finish line is in sight. Yet, we may still be looking at another summer of social distancing and close monitoring for COVID spikes.
It can be hard to stay positive right now. Being *so close* [to spring, vaccinations, traveling, a sense of normalcy] and yet so far away is temptation at its finest. And for some reason, the song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels band vividly comes to mind.
I envision Johnny rosining up his bow while wearing medical scrubs. In preparation for a round against the Devil in the house of the rising sun (a.k.a, the ICU of any medical center). I’m not particularly religious so don’t worry, I won’t get all gospel-y. BUT in this case, “the Devil” happens to be this wily virus that likes to mutate and tempt us into thinking that our risk is non-existent.
I’ve slowly started re-entering the world, dining out with my bubble of friends, donning my mask, and investing in bougie hand sanitizer. Of my bubble, I’m actually the only person who remains to receive the vaccination. And while I eagerly await the ability to visit my family and travel without fear, I find that now, more than ever, I’m just as vigilant as I was while at say, the grocery store while at the height of the pandemic’s spikes.
There’s a case to be made for staying completely isolated. There’s also a case to be made for supporting the industries that were adversely affected by the shutdowns. There is not, however, a case to be made for getting reckless.
Hang in there, friends. We’re so close! And we’re still “in this together”. Mask up. Make good decisions, and remember… we’re not there yet, BUT I promise you’ll know when we are!
This one is for the Galentines. If after this Valentine’s Day, you found yourself lonely, you aren’t alone. Up until recently, I found myself increasingly sentimental about my network of girlfriends—missing them dearly and quite honestly, lonely for their company. So I took a leap. For people who don’t have a significant other or even those like myself that do, I’m here to tell you that you need to meet my new bestie: BumbleBFF. This is how I made friends during a pandemic.
When we made the decision to move to the windy city, it was before the pandemic hit. We had no idea that the dreams of romping around the city during summertime would be only during instances of protest or extremely rare runs to Trader Joe’s. The idea that we would have a few fabulous years in a major metropolitan with like-minded young professionals we’d meet while drinking wine on patios was in the end, a very distant fantasy.
Instead, we left a place that was familiar and abandoned our social support structure completely behind for months of quarantine with just the hubs and I to amuse each other. Luckily, we had plans to get Lemon in the late summer, so our lives felt full. But still, it would have been nice to talk to someone who wouldn’t bark back at you.
Over the years, I’ve watched my number of “close” friends become a handful whom I can dedicate time and energy. No matter what is happening in our lives, or where we are, we always manage to organically connect. For a few months, I merrily amused myself at home alone while the hubs went *quite* stir-crazy.
But eventually, I started to miss the companionship that only nearby friends can provide. And even FaceTime and Zoom began to stretch the distance between me and my besties. So, I did what any red-blooded millennial would do in the same situation… I turned to the apps.
Dating apps appeared on the scene much like Snapchat… well after my time when such tools would be the most useful. I find myself lucky that I didn’t have to search for love this way. Even so, I’ve heard some really amazing success stories. I figured it might be a great opportunity to find a pal who could commiserate with the local challenges my girlfriends from home can’t understand.
You set up a profile on Bumble BFF and it prompts you with questions to help you identify matches. Everything from shows you quote too much (Schitt’s Creek), to your drinking frequency (socially), to how far away you’d like to search all help filter through profiles. If you find someone you find interesting, you swipe right to connect. Then, you have 24 hours to start a conversation with them (or they with you), and hopefully magic ensues.
I’d heard of Bumble BFF and tried it once in Omaha, but the usage wasn’t as common. Essentially it’s a way to meet people interested only in friendship—although sometimes there are people hunting for roommates or creeps that sneak their way into the shuffle. Regardless, I gave it a shot when we moved here and my results were… interesting.
Like any other first date, there’s general etiquette that should be observed when meeting up with a stranger. For me, I struck out with a first “date” that was late, and overall seemed like she wasn’t a match. At this point, COVID cases had begun to spike and while socializing seemed fun, going out felt unwise. Although I had a decent time, I didn’t find the connection I was craving.
I took a break from the app for a few months but decided to bolster my profile by adding some key info. My intensity, level of busyness, and democratic ways are non-negotiable. I realized I must not be communicating myself well if I wasn’t matching with other people who I thought would be on my wave-length, so I made some tweaks and the results were shocking.
In January, I had a chilly outdoor 1:1 brunch with a lovely woman who, despite getting along well, we haven’t been able to connect again quite yet. It’s funny, because while I’m not actually “dating” any of these other women, I find myself experiencing a small amount of loss for the relationships that just don’t work out due to the ups and downs of everyday life. I’m sure in the coming months, we’ll meet again. And thanks to my profile updates, I found more matches with strong, independent women who also understand the scarcity of free time.
Merely a week later, I organized a last-minute outdoor brunch with a few different BFFs. I couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.
I invited a small group because 1:1 can be… awkward. For a brunch date, it’s easy to not know when to leave. Politeness requires that you don’t look too eager to bail if you like someone and want to hang out with them again. At the same time, it’s brunch (because when you’re in your 30s, the weekends are gems not to be fettered away with strangers unless you really, really like them), so theoretically you have the whole day at your disposal.
I figured with a group, the pressure would be more evenly distributed and the conversation wouldn’t be contingent on any one person speaking. And, in the worst-case scenario, if I wasn’t a match, but my companions were, I could leave them to their blossoming relationship, like the millionaire matchmaker I am.
My group brunch was, to say the least, an outrageous success. Bumble must be doing something right, because while I invited my 2 dates independently, they had actually happened to match with each other on their own, too!
One of the dates invited another friend (so we totaled 4), and she also matched with the other date. What are the odds? Pretty good according to these results, I guess!
I could wax poetic about the women I connected with, because in every way, we brought as much of our authentic-selves to the table and it resulted in magic. I sought out women who were strong, independent, busy, and funny. And at this stage in my life, I need people who are also confident (at least for the most part) in their identity.
I don’t presume to have “it all” figured out. But finding a group of people who are experiencing similar hurdles in their life, and want for-nothing besides mutual respect, and support has been a game-changer in how I feel about Chicago. It’s no longer a place we just ‘live’–it’s a place that’s beginning to feel like home.
The pandemic has been hell on everyone’s social life (at least it has if you’re doing it right). Chicago specifically has observed some pretty solid COVID restrictions. And while I won’t be going to the club anytime soon, I have found that outdoor dining in zero degrees is worth the emotional lift I’ve felt in the last few weeks.
I’ve created a bubble with people who reflect similar values regarding safety precautions. While it seems counterintuitive to go anywhere, it’s also important to remember that the hospitality industry is struggling right now. In ways that delivery or take-out options really can’t solve for, either. So I’ll gladly freeze my toes off and don my mask whenever an employee is at my table if it means bridging the gap for an industry that used to be my livelihood.
Yup. Sure is. It took me a long time to even want new friends. My friends are amazing. They get me, and our relationship is a well-traveled two-way street. As someone who also enjoys being at home taking a bath and listening to audiobooks like the introvert that I am, it took me a long time to realize that sometimes you need to find people who can meet you where you are.
There’s a reason people inherently form their own tribes and villages (literally or figuratively). Having a network of people who can match (if not understand) the challenges you’re facing in your life, presents a valuable opportunity to glean lessons from the community’s wisdom.
Having a blog, while working full-time, with a puppy, and a husband isn’t a combination that fits everyone’s emotional capacity. One of my new gal-pals has a new puppy, too. She and I can talk forever about the challenges we face and commiserate about our sleep deprivation. For my sister, who loves dogs, but doesn’t have a new puppy, it just feels like I’m taking up her time with complaints.
When in reality, it’s just that my pee-pad dramas are less relevant to her. It doesn’t mean she loves me any less, or that I don’t enjoy talking to her (seriously, she’s one of the funniest people I know), it’s just that she doesn’t get it as another new dog mom does. And that’s okay! That’s why I’ve built another network with people who can understand these trials and tribulations.
Hell to the no. Anyone who truly loves you, will love seeing you happy. Period. Finding
new more friends has been a gift. As someone who believes women should always empower other women, I’ve maintained a network of people where jealousy isn’t part of our manifesto.
I’m certainly not replacing anyone, and in fact, look forward to the day I can bring all my worlds together to collide again. I know with all my heart that I’ll look like a mom on Christmas Day watching you open the present she swore she wouldn’t get you when I’m able to facilitate one giant gathering.
Ultimately, I’ve found as I evolve as a woman, my relationships shift and change. My interests, needs, morals are essentially the same, but I find value in developing new relationships along the way, too. I learn from every person I spend time with. Sometimes it’s a blatant lesson, but other times it’s just a new perspective.
Other times, we outgrow relationships that were attached to pieces of ourselves that no longer fit. Or perhaps we’re rediscovering ourselves and don’t know how to allow anyone else on that journey with us. And because the people we surround ourselves with become a part of our identity, that can be a scary experience. And in some cases, it’s simply a matter of timing that makes finding common ground complicated.
But what I’ve come to realize is that the lasting relationships are the ones that naturally ebb and flow. It should be easy and uncomplicated to show your love and support. And in that kind of environment there’s no room for jealousy to flourish.
Nah. For now, I’ve found a group of babes with whom I’m comfortable spending my time. I still have plenty going on, and we’ve found a good rhythm for hanging out, communicating, and supporting each other. I’ve taken a pause on the app so I don’t overwhelm myself. Because there are SO MANY amazing people out there to be met, and it’s hard for me to not be interested in connecting with them!
It’s weird to suddenly stop talking to people. Because in truth, it’s just awkward to say, “Well this was a nice try but sorry… this conversation is boring”. Ghosting isn’t a new concept, but I feel like the natural flow of a conversation will lead to a good connection. That being said, when conversations fizzle, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve just disappeared (like a ghost, hence the term). So for now, to avoid becoming a legit Casper, I’m on pause.
Same, girl, same. But just a reminder that all things in life require nourishment, including your social life. And I wholly believe that spending time with friends is an important way to reaffirm your identity outside of your role as a child, significant other, parent, and employee (etc.). Making time to talk to friends (new or old!) can fill your cup, hopefully leaving you recharged, and inspired.
Today is the start of Women’s History Month. And I challenge you to consider expanding your social horizons by meeting someone new. Given the opportunity to flourish, I truly believe creating a tribe stacked with women who support each other, is one of the most beautiful assets we can acquire in our lives. As one section of society that’s been consistently oppressed, what better way to celebrate the history of the women who sacrificed and fought/fight for our freedoms than to continue lifting each other up so we may continue striving for greatness in our everyday lives?
In a season that can be incredibly lonely, building and maintaining relationships is challenging. Opening yourself up to someone (or something) new may seem counterintuitive, but I hope you’ll give it a try. Because now, more than ever, we could all use a friend.
“You don’t need Botox!” –The sentiment from anyone when I expressed interest in getting Botox in my 30s.
I take my beauty routine pretty seriously. Since the pandemic, I’ve been doing a pretty good job with my skincare regimen. I have more time to commit to it without my daily commute. Still, I am and always will be two things: 1) Curious and 2) Lazy.
Because I’m the human embodiment of the Cheshire cat, it means that I’m willing to try anything, especially if it makes my life easier. So when I stumbled upon the secret to a smooth visage, not once, but twice, I let my curiosity lead me to Botox.
I’ve been curious about Botox since I met my friend (she’ll remain nameless) and couldn’t reconcile her age with the glow of her skin. To be honest, I still don’t know how old she is, and don’t care because she has a kid in college but her skin is always radiant. This means, that at only 32 with an addiction to beauty subscriptions*, I needed to reconsider my strategy if I was also going to glow when my hypothetical kids are in college.
So, I asked. What are you doing that your skin is so dewy? She told me some of her secrets include regular facials and, of course, Botox.
The Kardashians really ruined parts of the aesthetics industry. Their high visibility to people who aren’t really interested in beauty, skincare, aesthetics, etc., makes them a bullseye. People mistakenly correlate their dislike for a whiney sister with her curated glow-up and photoshop fails. And it’s made people with no stake in the game instantly resent “having work done”. To which I say “pshaw!”
In the same sense, the physically focused conversations inspired by celebrities like Kim K. have also allowed people to stand up to unsolicited opinions. People are allowed to enjoy things! And if Kimmy wants to redistribute her body fat to—um… different assets, who are we to judge?
As a result, modifications to our body also benefitted from this collective reminder to “mind ya own…”. Body positivity (and it’s even more nascent friend, neutrality) has become a beautiful concept for people who struggle with body image to embrace, and frankly, I am here for it.
I’m getting there!
At the end of the day, I still harbored my own institutionalized judgment. And I wasn’t convinced Bo’ was for me until I met my dewy gal-pal.
Recently, however, I noticed some wayward eyebrow action. So I kept an eye (and roaming brow) out for someone who could produce the nearly indiscernible results I desired.
Living in a new city during a pandemic can make finding an injector extra tricky. Luckily, through a BumbleBFF [friend]date, I met a beauty who I simply couldn’t believe was also 32. As I asked for the contact information of the vampire that so kindly preserved her face, she simply smiled and said I needed to see Michelle. Which is how I discovered The Fitz.
I researched The Fitz religiously before booking my appointment. I read through the entire website and scrolled every single Instagram post across every account I could find to see examples of their work.
It turned out, Michelle (one of the co-owners) had stunning before and after photos. Plus I discovered she also ‘toxed a mutual friend who also looks like a spokeswoman for the fountain of youth. Seriously, what is it about Chicago where all the women look eternally 22?!
Suffice to say that her roster of bright-eyed and subtlely-enhanced clients spoke for itself. Which meant I could trust her to not make me look “overdone”. I’m happy with my face! I’m not opposed to a little tune-up but I still want to look like myself.
I booked my appointment, filled out the paperwork, and arrived at the chicest little medspa you can imagine. The design of the spa is sophisticated, and the environment is peaceful. There are no tacky posters, there’s a hand sanitizer that doesn’t smell like tequila, and elegant features that tell you attention-to-detail is definitely their thing.
With our masks on, I met with my RN, Michelle, and the NP, Suzie. They made sure to review the medical risks because after all, it is still a medical procedure. This might sound unnecessary, but it’s actually extremely comforting that they don’t take their procedures lightly.
I explained my concerns to Michelle who, while I spoke, analyzed my face (mask still on, of course!). It’s an eerie feeling knowing someone is staring at you when you’re not able to look away, ha. But within seconds of explaining my concerns—which I’ll detail in a moment—I was at ease.
I care a lot about my eyebrows. I have dark, relatively full brows and if they’re messy, my whole face feels off. I’ve had them microbladed (checkout Highbrow Studio if you’re interested!). I’ve even had them “laminated” or “lifted” which is a fun way to bring some youth into your face. So you can imagine, when my brows started to ying-yang, I was concerned.
Here’s what my eyebrows had started to do:
When I described (and showed this to) Michelle, not once did I feel foolish. For those not aesthetically inclined, my very random misaligned eyebrow concern is probably 100% frivolous. Even if you are into aesthetics, it may seem frivolous, but instead of laughing at me, she calmly explained how we’d address my rogue caterpillars.
Botox is essentially a way to freeze your muscles. It stops you from exercising a muscle that might be creating a definition where you don’t want it. Think of it like working out your core to get abs. You work the core muscles, your abdomen gets defined. You work your face muscles (like your forehead or eyebrows and violà! Definition (albeit undesired)!
It’s a neurotoxin and that sounds dangerous. In the right hands, Botox can really be a wonderful chemical that can smooth out brows or even relieve jaw tension. But in rushed and untrained situations, you could look like a cheap Joan Rivers.
While not permanent, you could see results for 3-6 months depending on how your body metabolizes the injections. Which is why it’s important that you find a credible and trustworthy injector!
It’s often recommended that you start Botox early. This is to prevent deep wrinkles that will require more aggressive treatment (potentially including fillers). I got Botox in my 30’s but honestly, I would have probably started in my 20’s if I could have afforded it!
The cost can vary depending on where you go, what you’re treating, and who’s doing the treatment.
I’ve seen specials as low as $6/unit, and as high as $12. Ultimately it will depend on the number of units you as an individual will need.
The Fitz did a series on their providers to share how many units they’ve had injected in various areas of their face and I think this was absolutely genius. Peep the posts here: Nusha, Mai, Suzie, Brittony, and Michelle! It’s hard to know for certain how much you’ll need until your visit, but don’t be afraid to get a consultation and ask questions before you take the leap!
Michelle mapped my brows, had me exercise some movement and talked me through the amount she’d be injecting. Then, she cleaned the area, and away we went.
She said it’d be a few pokes. But I kid you not—this is the easiest procedure I’ve ever had. Botox is easier than getting my eyebrows threaded or lip waxed. And really, neither of those descriptions truly do it justice. It’s practically painless and explains why Botox is legitimately the gateway drug of cosmetic procedures.
I am not afraid of needles. If you’re nervous about something smaller than a small sewing needle, close your eyes, but don’t back out. I think I had about 5 little pokes. I say “about” because it was that fast, and so painless I think I miscounted.
We talked through post-care and how long it’d be before I saw results. Post care is easy, just a little bit of movement, and no rubbing the area for a bit and you’re good to go. And in case you forget in all your post-treatment glee, The Fitz sends you post-care instructions so you can review them later!
At first, my forehead felt heavy. I certainly noticed a difference. Was it because I was very aware of what I had just done? Maybe! Or maybe it was because of the liquid that was just added to my forehead. It’s hard to say. It wasn’t bad, just different.
Then I forgot about it.
It can take between 10-14 days to see full results, and since it was my first time, I didn’t know what to expect. So when day 10 arrived, I was incredibly pleased to note that my brows had finally given up their imbalanced dance!
I set my second appointment for January, but even now (in mid-December), the results are still at 100%. When I frown, I feel a slight resistance, but I don’t feel restricted from emotions. I don’t get an uneven heavy crease anymore, and my eyebrows remain faithfully aligned!
I don’t take a lot of selfies frowning, but to be true to this post, I wanted to show my results at 15 days post-Botox. Fortunately, I have this horrid photo from the Jameson shot we took on my husband’s birthday, and if this literal cringe doesn’t convince you that my brows are here to stay, I don’t know what will!
Lol, no. However, I won’t knock the magic of fillers! I’ve seen the magic done by the hands of the Fitz fam up-close, and if a refresh is in order, I’d absolutely put my trust in their ever-capable hands.
As with anything good, however, great results take time. So I’m pacing my glow-up. I’ve started a skincare journey with Courtney from The Fitz to work on my stubborn hyperpigmentation, so there will absolutely be more to come from my experiences at The Fitz!
In the meantime, I’ll be looking ahead to turning 33, and not [visibly] aging a day. And what’s a better birthday gift than that?
I’m so excited about my 2020 Holiday Gift Guide recommendations! Some are stores, and others are items, but I hope you can find something for your wishlist!
Hopefully you’re safe and healthy and if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to shop, I would be shocked if you haven’t been hearing about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for the last few weeks. I’ve never done a full style post before, so here goes nothing!
Registering to vote in my new state, supporting the USPS, and continuing to push for arrests of the men who murdered Breonna Taylor is still on my agenda, don’t worry! Shopping has always been cathartic to me. It’s not just finding a way to the coolest trend—for me, it’s planning for the future. When I shop, I’m not thinking about the past, I’m looking forward and building a framework for how I want to move through the next days/weeks/months of my life.
What’s more, is that I’ve found that when I discover a piece of clothing that really speaks to me, it can be a game-changer. For a long time, I struggled a lot with finding pieces that fit short, not-quite-but-a-little-bit-curvy gals that don’t have DDs, and as you can imagine, my Instagram ads don’t exactly hit the mark, ha!
In the last few years, brands have made adjustments to recognize that “Short” or “Petite” don’t always mean “skinny/stick figure/braless or flat-chested”, and styles have expanded so that we aren’t limited only to what the stores at the mall can give us access to. (Although brands like Abercrombie have a nice line of Curvy Jeans that I’ve been really into!) In fact, I truly believe the internet has forced brands across the spectrum into the spotlight and allowed for everyday fashion to become something to be appreciated even by pedestrian shoppers such as myself.
Plus, in the age of COVID, the return policies and processes these days are so smooth, that I feel pretty comfortable taking a gamble on a new size or brand.
This is all to say that I find real joy in buying clothes. It’s an opportunity for me to be creative daily. Where I’m conflicted about ethical sourcing, manufacturing practices, and closet space, I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this is a large part of my personality, and in times of pandemic and social paradigm shifts/great awakenings, my clothing on “the chair” is a pile of solace.
It’s a last name that loosely translates to “north river” in Swedish according to the inter-webs.
I haven’t been a “Nordy’s gal” for that long. My friend Natalie has great taste and turned me onto it a few years ago. She loves it so much that I think would move in a la Eloise if she could, and thanks to her (and every Instagram style blogger ever), it was only a matter of time before I found my way to this chic behemoth.
It’s not last season’s junk. I didn’t realize that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale wasn’t just a bunch of old inventory on clearance. It’s actually new or rarely discounted items on sale. And you can imagine how finding the newest model of something you’ve been coveting at 40% off could be something to get giddy over—which explains why it’s such a hit!
It’s affordable. There’s also a wide range of price points at Nordstrom. Their algorithm for recommending similar items is wonderful. It makes suggestions all the way from top designer brands down to their store-brand. Don’t let the directionality (“down to”) fool ya—you don’t sacrifice quality when you choose a brand like BP. BP is one of Nordstrom’s in-house brands. It’s great for staples and trying trends without going completely overboard on cost. Stylistically, I’d compare it to the style section of Target, but with better endurance.
Money, Honey. All your IG bloggers are geeking out because the commissions are great when you swipe up. If you’re going to buy something anyway, why not do it and help ya girl get paid? Here’s an interesting interview if you’re curious about some of the nitty-gritty from Buzzfeed.
I know right? But 2 things:
Contrary to what my husband thinks, I don’t bring home huge hauls of clothes every week. Here’s the method to my madness when it comes to shopping:
Aw. I thought you’d never ask!
I love a good trend as much as the next gal—currently trying out puffy sleeves (my opinion is pretty much the same as Katie Sturino’s), and I’ve dabbled in tie-dye. But most importantly, it has to be easy. Remember ya’ll, I’m lazy! If it’s not versatile and comfortable, I’m not wearing it, no matter how good the brand or price!
Edit: My cart had a lot more items in it but they all sold out so forgive me for only sharing a few! I didn’t plan on writing this post so I’m late to the link-party!
Public shopping doesn’t open up until the 19th (I’m a newbie to the Nordy Club so that’s when I get to shop, too!), so who knows what will end up in my hands at the end of the day, but at least it brought a little bit of joy to me over these last few weeks, and that’s something to embrace–even in small, digital doses. I gave a little life update a few weeks ago and I’m starting to find my rhythm again, so that’s progress! I hope you’re all able to find something to bring a little bit of joy and normalcy to your lives right now. Happy hunting, friends!
It’s time for a life update! It’s no surprise that life has been absolutely weird the last 5 months. From the onset of COVID, to the paradigm shift in social justice, life has just been one major adjustment after the other. In the middle of all this, was the fact that the husband and I moved to Chicago. Which means that our plates have been incredibly full—and I’ve been particularly absent from the blog.
I’ve started writing so many posts about where my head and heart are at when it comes to the recent awakening in our social climate. And I’ve never quite completed them because it’s still just a lot to process. Aside from being a POC, I’m also working on my own anti-racism activity. And it’s been really draining to keep tabs on both fronts. To all the social justice warriors out there: You belong to the sainthood only allotted for teachers, nurses, and any other career that faces “the hard stuff”, all the time, by choice.
As a woman of color, I’ve found myself in a unique position to have a lot of opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement. (I fully support it, not least of which because we still don’t have #JusticeforBreonna, and it’s high time we #DefundthePolice). But I’ve also decided to work on my support for the movement through paced and consistent action. I’ve signed the protests. Sent the emails. I’m actively searching for (and finding–hello Oui the People Black-owned businesses to support (they’ve been overshadowed for too long!). And I am consuming as much information as I can handle before I hit the limit and become fully overwhelmed.
Still, in the weeks since the murder of George Floyd sparked the largest movement in American history, there’s a lot of work to do. AND while I’m not scared of standing on my soap box to challenge people, I’m making note that my pursuit of the true equality for men and women of all races might seem more subdued and intrinsic in the next few weeks or months.
The point of my saying that is this: If you haven’t worked on your steps toward anti-racism today/this week/this month because you think you “did enough” and things are “better now” and people aren’t shoving factoids about inequality in your face, then I’m here to remind you the work is not done, and your complacency reflects your privilege. Way harsh, Tai… I’m not the blog you come to when you want to be coddled babe, consider this a challenge. It’s very easy to get complacent if people aren’t challenging you to do more, but it’s nobody’s responsibility but your own to stay active during this movement. You’re welcome!
You’d have to be blind and deaf not to know by now that the hubs and I moved to Chicago, ha. We stepped into our apartment for the first time (we rented sight-unseen?) on June 2. Which means that we entered the city limits at the tail-end of the most violent riots the city has seen in decades.
That being said, it was a really powerful time to be in the city at the time. Now that I can breathe, I’ll be writing a separate blog post about how the move went and what it was like renting an apartment in the Age of Corona, as well as another about what it’s like living in Chicago right now. Stay tuned!
But let it suffice to say here that I’m so happy we made the move! The stress of moving was enough to make me question whether or not staying in Omaha was a better idea in the end, and I’m happy I trusted my gut and followed through with making the leap!
That being said, Omaha was our home for 4 years and that’s no small period of time, and there are plenty of things that I miss (friends & food). So I’m happy to share that I’ll be publishing my first Wild Bum travel guide to Omaha! It’s jam-packed with tons of bars and restaurants that I personally recommend plus some pro-tips on how to make the most out of each neighborhood and your time in the home of those fancy-pants steak boxes.
I’m really proud of this piece and how it came together because I only set out to write about a few of my favorite spots, and got so carried away that I had to break it out by neighborhood! I also stopped myself from going into anything outside of the well-defined neighborhoods because there are pockets of deliciousness scattered all throughout the city, but I thought a 10-page guide was probably plenty, right?
When domestic travel looks more like a packed sedan than a reclining seat in an exit row, Omaha is the kind of destination that can scratch a bit of your travel bug itch you can satisfy on a whim, no passport required. Road trip, anyone?
Don’t worry— I’ll seep you posted but it’s coming so so so soon!
When we moved, I planned on not working right away for 2 reasons: 1. Finding a new job amid a pandemic and on the cusp of a recession is so comical that I couldn’t possibly expect to find anything in my field or expertise right away. And 2. It was time for a break!
I was asked to stay on with my company through June, so I pushed my summer of leisure back to July. Since it’s currently July, it’s important I tell you that I was asked to stay on (again) until the end of this month. Since I can only handle a few changes in my grand scheme in such short periods of time, I’m compelled to take a more proactive approach to August.
I’ve found some positions with companies that have really sparked my interest, not just because of the work they do, but also because the vibe just seems right (You didn’t think I’d write this whole thing without any woo-woo, did you!?). I’ll keep you posted on how it all shakes out, but in any case, you can expect I’ll be making more time to nourish my creative energies this season!
I’ve been on a beauty-haul binge. Between our move and some logistical errors with some of the beauty subscriptions I receive, June ended up being the month where everyone “caught up” to what I should have received through most of the quarantine.
Plus, I stumbled on a few really key deals on my favorite brand Sunday Riley (check out my post here!) in the last few months (I always try to share them in my stories!), but some of them are new to me, so I’ll let you know my feedback when I’ve gotten through a few weeks of usage!
SO, I currently have an excess of products but I’ll be sure to let you know what I’m loving and leaving soon!
TBH, the hubs and I had a little COVID-scare. We had a few symptoms, got tested, and luckily tested negative. So we’ve been pretty much self-quarantined unless we have to leave the house for something, and if we do our masks are ON.
In general, while abiding by the CDC guidelines as things re-opened here in the city, we were comfortable moving about town all masked-up. However, with the increasing case numbers and even quarantine restrictions on visitors from hotspots in recent weeks, things are starting to get a little dicey.
I’m not making any distant plans anytime soon (seriously though, I miss my travel agent, Heidi?). I was hoping to hop out east to get my hands on a lobster roll, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen this summer, either. I’ll be visiting family in the next few weeks but unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable leaving the MN/WI/IL bubble until the curve starts to trend down again.
In fact, I’ve even discouraged friends from visiting because I don’t think the travel is worth the risk. I’m even a little uncomfortable going to restaurants knowing that COVID can linger in the air. But restaurants here have taken guidelines pretty seriously, and between the open air dining, and distanced seating, I might actually venture outside the house this week for something more than groceries! But that’s a really big ‘maybe’.
Instead, I’m going to be sharing some of the places I’ve visited over the years, and basking in the nostalgia of gate-area memories!
Wear a damn mask and wash your hands, people!
This is a hard topic for me because I swear I am the laziest shopper but I love an outfit that makes you feel good! I also could not tell you what my style is because it’s all over the map. For context, my husband told me I was dressed like a cartoon yesterday, and honestly, I don’t think he was wrong ?.
But when I find a style groove I stick with it, and I’ve found some awesome pieces I love in the last few weeks that make getting dressed to go nowhere simple, and comfortable. The best part is some of the pieces are on Amazon so you can really maximize your Prime Membership!
And that’s it (for now)! I’ve got my work cut out for me when it comes to posts and I’m in a good headspace that allows for words to flow from my fingertips (something a writer knows is a moment you do not let slip by!). And truthfully, it feels good to write again. I’ve missed it but it’s been too cloudy in the old head to move forward, but here we are!
Bonus: Oh and if you made it this far, we have one more surprise to share tomorrow–any guesses on what it is!?
If you need me, I’ll most likely be posted up on the balcony with a spritz in-hand, writing and pretending I’m in Italy.
April was HARD. I think we all started to get itchy to leave our homes but knowing that it’s better not to is the kind of self-induced guilt that can drive you crazy.
I know I certainly had some really up and down days, particularly in the realm of productivity (which is my go-to) and it threw me for a loop. But a few key pieces of our life snapped into place and I’m excited to leave the drama behind of May!
Here are a few things that have been bringing me (but not my bank account) joy in the last few weeks. #retailtherapy
If you missed the Good Morning America Deal I shared in my stories, you missed out on an INCREDIBLE price for some of my favorite Sunday Riley products. PLUS, Sephora just had their VIB sale, so if you’ve been dragging your feet on Sunday Riley, I’d hop, skip, jump and RUN over to SundayRiley.com before their 20% off sale disappears! This little number is expected to arrive any day now and I can’t wait to start glowing!
When it comes to jeans, you either love them or hate them, and that may or may not depend on A) whether or not you accidentally dried them, or B) accidentally on purpose ate an entire pizza because it was delicious. Since both of those things happen to me pretty regularly, I’m a fan of any pair of jeans that will adapt to my appetite. Enter: Abercrombie & Fitch.
I know–it’s crazy to believe that the brand of your early 2000s nightmares is making a comeback but make no mistake–they’ve grown up with you and I.
Gone are the size -84s that made you feel like you were failing for having a pelvis. They’ve introduced a Curve Love line, which I ? support, and which does in fact, show love to your curves. Right now they’ve got a BOGO 50% off PLUS an extra 35% off in your cart and honestly, they are worth it. It’s time to find jeans that you love, and love you back!
As we prepare to move, it’s more important than ever that our home feels organized. We want to take most of our possessions, but also donate what doesn’t serve us now or in our next home. I’m the queen of purging my home but my husband is the absolute opposite. Which means that there are always “things” lying around.
The solution? These adorable baskets from amazon were so simple to put together and they’re shockingly sturdy. It might be the beach-y color but they’ve seemed to infuse a little life into our living room where there was once corded-chaos.
I’m looking forward to a fresh start this month. April was heavy and I think we’re all ready for a mentality shift. Hopefully, the weather holds up and we can all take a deep breath outside, even if it is through a mask.
Stay safe, friends.
Today marks the beginning of my “Fox Faves” series as it relates to beauty! And that means I have to start with my ride or die: Sunday Riley, Good Genes.
Well, here we are! In the middle of a global pandemic, shifting to the “new normal”…
I’m not a style blogger (although I think it’d be fun! I just wear pretty basic outfits 90% of the time so I don’t think I’d cut it!). But last weekend I got to do something super fun with a local business I love: Four Sisters Boutique.
FSB is a cute little spot here in Omaha, Nebraska. I usually pop in here on a Friday after work when I need a little retail therapy, and it’s not hard to go home with something that I adore.
With my upcoming trip to Paris, my brain is constantly working to plan out all the fun clothes that I want to wear.
??*Note: I am staying positive about our trip despite the travel ban!??
I got to play dress up in a few of the newest looks and it was a blast despite being THE windiest day of the season (note my hair ?). I’m pretty convinced that with the weather bouncing from over 70 degrees down to 30 degrees and up to 65 again, mother nature just needs a little reminder on which way to swing.
Some of the spring looks drop today, online at FSB and I think you’re going to love a few of these pieces! They sell out fast, so check em’ out before they sell out!
Hungry for some serious ramen? *Caution* do not read when you’re hungry…
I’m a rampant Audible listener. I binge about 1 book/week which means I’m constantly running out of books to listen to (I like historical fiction and only female protagonists). I know it’s very narrow but I like what I like! So lately, I’ve been circling back to some of my favorite podcasts. I’ll listen to […]