Saturday, February 22, 2014

review: cave cravings february box

Friends! Let's talk awesome things. Specifically, food-awesome. You all know that I've been eating within a paleo framework for the better part of three years, leading to my eventual celiac diagnosis, weight loss, health gains, blah blah blar all the good things. And honestly, after almost three years, it just feels like normal, real life now-- it doesn't require much effort or thought or explanation, it just... is. But the one thing that still gets me to this very day is snacks. 

I am a snacker, by nature. Give me a thousand tiny bowls of bite-sized goodies over a full meal any day (well, most days). And while eating a diet focused on nutrient density doesn't really require snacks on the daily, I like to always keep a few things on hand for on-the-go (and frankly, I am just a human with snack-loving written into her DNA). So when Cave Cravings contacted me about their new all-paleo (gluten & grain-free, unprocessed/real food) subscription box asking if I'd like to give it a whirl, my answer was of course an enthusiastic yes (or maybe it was more like 'GIMME'-- semantics, really). 

I thought it would be fun for their very first box to do a little taste-test review video-- recruiting the help of my fave roomie, Sara. Sara doesn't eat a paleo diet (though I like to think I'm rubbing off on her), but she is a fairly adventurous healthy eater regardless, so I thought she'd be a good third party balance to my... ahem, adventurously quirky palate. As always, even though I was sent the box for review, you know honesty is my best policy-- all opinions are honest & my own!

ps. apologizing in advance for the excessive amount of times I say 'I feel like'... ugh, Mary. 
Don't make this into a drinking game, surely that won't end well. 

Are you interested in checking out Cave Cravings? Find them here-- you still have time to hop on board for next month's box! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Currently: February, 2014

It's been a while since we've caught up, hasn't it? Like, really really caught up. Grab a cup of coffee (I'll wait)-- let's do this!
oh hello! dis is mah face today. I find it more helpful when we can see each other, namely, that I can show you my award-winning grumpy cat face.
Currently, I've been...

listening to: any, any, anything by Alex Boy√©. Have you heard of this dude? A friend of mine posted his increeeeedible cover of Let It Go from Frozen (still haven't seen it, lemme crawl out from this rock I've been hanging out under) and I absolutely lost myself in his youtube channel. He's got some incredible original songs up on his channel, but I'm absolutely losing it over his 'African-ized' covers of popular songs. This upbeat, uplifting, all-the-other-up-words cover of Ho Hey has been on solid repeat for the last 24 hours: 

reading: The Mercy of Thin Air, Ronlyn Domingue (the perfect blend of 'magical realism + human connection' that I just fall head over heels for-- still reading, I'll report back when I'm done!); If You're Not Yet Like Me, Edan Lepucki (this short story broke my heart wide open and flipped me sidesways and oh man, just spend the $5 on the ebook. read this.); Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed (as far as I'm concerned, Cheryl Strayed can do no wrong. Wild was incredible, this was amazing. Just... ugh. If you read one thing this year, make it this book.) 

Wanna geek out over literary goodness together? Come be my friend on goodreads!

kicking my bootay in the best way: aerial yoga. More on this to come, but oh man. I've been settling into a steady cardio + lifting routine with my roomie + adventure partner in crime that has been making me feel like a badass gym goddess (did you know that squats are super hot? why did nobody tell me?), so in the interest of pushing ourselves way outta our comfort zones and seeing what sorts of awesome feats we can tackle next, we signed up for a few aerial yoga classes. Like I said, I have lots of thoughts on what this experience has meant to me so far (coming soon, promise), but in the meantime, watch this chick. Seriously, this is the coolest practice.

eating: the world's most delicious, tollhouse-reminiscent grain free chocolate chip cookies, pans on pans on pans of these umami-packed caramelized carrots, bowls full of hearty, perfect-for-chilly-days smothered cabbage soup (really, more like risotto), this crazy-easy, stupid-good five ingredient spaghetti squash pizza casserole.

loving: wine corks as memory keepers. A friend of mine introduced me to this idea a month or two ago, and I've been all about it lately. I've been saving the bottle corks for everything from my blog launch to galentine's day to nights in with pizza + camp takota and I can't wait to have enough to fill up cute little jars all over my house. Such a fun way to remember the good stuff.

photo from a beautiful mess
That's all for me! What have you been up to lately? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A new look & a throwback story!

First things first: welcome to the new b+b! Isn't it pretty, you guys? Don't you just want to hop inside this color scheme and cuddle up & take a nap in that cute chalkboard font and skip along those stitched lines and and and...

I'm a little obsessed. Could you tell?

For the last year or so, my blog has taken a bit of a more decisive turn in a different direction, and whereas Undergrad Fab (throwback!) and the early days of b + b were all about me being all swf-dressing-myself, I feel more confident in the way this blog has become about every aspect of my life, doing what I do, exactly where I am. And well, that flowery purple just wasn't doin' it for me anymore.

Enter Amanda.
Amanda in pink, Beth in green. Do I not have the prettiest friends?! I know.
Can I tell you all a little story? Amanda and I met freshman year of high school, bonded by our nerdy love of Spanish class and musical theater. We became insta-friends and for four years, she remained high on my list of all-time favorite people. After we graduated from high school, we moved seven hours away from each other, and adult life went on as adult life is known to do, and we just drifted apart. After college, both of us eventually found ourselves in the same city again, and through a few random, completely coincidental turns of fate, our paths crossed again. Isn't that funny, how that works? Thank goodness for that bar-league sand volleyball team, for that boy I dated who just happened to know her boyfriend, for our sweet mutual friend Beth (more on her in a second!), for that gust of wind in just the right direction at just the right time that brought us back into each others' lives.

#tbt: babies! Or junior prom (2006). same/same. 
last year, freezin' our tushes off at a baseball game.
Over the last two years or so, I have been endlessly grateful for this girl - these girls - and their presence in my life. They wear so many hats in my life - running buddies, wine-bottle-finishers, relationship counselors, cheerleaders, you name it. I highly recommend that everyone finds an Amanda + Beth of their own (you can't have mine, of course)-- what I would do without them, I don't know.

This story has a point! And I'm just about to get there. At one of our more recent girls dinners, I was complaining to Amanda & Beth that I was desperately in need of a blog redesign, but didn't know where to begin. Amanda, a graphic & web designer by trade, immediately hopped in with her expertise, and of course, it didn't take me more than three seconds to put two and two together and hire her to give a new identity to my little corner of the internet. 

From the first moment we started, she gave me countless, countless options of logos, fonts & color schemes to choose from. Anything I could possibly want but didn't know how to put into words, she created it. That gorgeous logo up there? Was born because I told her I kinda liked that whole chalkboard-y hand-lettering thing... ish. Those beautiful, vibrant, cheerful colors? Came out of me pointing at every shade of the rainbow on various pinterest color boards and telling her I wanted something cheerful, vibrant, clean & simple but still punchy & quirky. Um...I think. Halp. 

In just a few weeks, she created something completely from scratch, more perfect than I ever could have imagined, exactly what I wanted but had no clue how to bring to life. She let me tweak and nitpick until the cows came home until she had redesigned more than just my 'brand' (ugh, that word though), but she had given this cherished space of mine the face I had always hoped for. And Beth - our test audience - was there at every turn, yes'ing and no'ing and ooh'ing and ahh'ing right along with me, helping me see the bigger picture and giving invaluable advice about what this design would look like from a reader's perspective. These girls, I tell ya. 

So the biggest thank you to Amanda for her incredible work, her persistence & patience and this beautiful design that will carry b + b through the exciting things ahead in the years to come. If you're interested in working with her, I cannot recommend her enough - check out her professional portfolio here to learn more about what she can do with some vague directions, an abundance of vision, and just a little bit of time.

I'd also like to thank throwback Mary circa 2003 who (unknowingly and) wisely chose to sit next to the friendly blonde in freshman Spanish class, thus ensuring that someday, we'd all find ourselves here-- so lucky am I to have such incredible (and talented!) friends.

Thank you again to the moon and back, Amanda-- and I'd love to hear what YOU all think of the new look here at b + b!