January Bullet Journal

Can you guys believe that January is over already? I know we say this every month, but this month really did fly by. I loved sharing with you all of my wellness tips and inside looks into my life throughout the past couple weeks. In February I have some great coffee shop and restaurant spotlights, travel guides, and recipes to share with you as well as some more peeks into my life and things I love.

But before we get into all that good stuff let’s take a look back at January. This past month I decided I wanted to try Bullet Journaling. I have always loved planners and calendars (I am a sucker for office supplies) but I have never really utilized them for day to day planning other than at work. They didn’t give me the flexibility to track and plan things that were important to me. So when I first read about the concept of Bullet Journals I was intrigued. It was legitimately an open canvas – the book is blank except for the pages and pages of little dots. The world was my oyster… and I didn’t know where to begin.

So I started looking up some ideas, following bullet journal instagrammers (yes, it’s a thing!), and read about the system. You can read about Bullet Journaling from the man who came up with the concept Here. From there I decided what would work for me and what didn’t. I began planning my journal, got out my beautiful new Master Caligraphy pens and started writing. This first month was definitely a learning process. I realized I did not utilize the daily planning pages as much as some of the other pages, so I think I will be eliminating those in future months. Some things I think I will be adding for February are a Savings Tracker for my money, TV Show Tracker, and a Monthly Tasks page. I might add a page dedicated to keeping track of my posting schedule here on Nine Lives as well.

Here is the Index for my Bullet Journal So Far:

Opening Quote

Monthly Calendar

2017 Bucket List

2017 Accomplishments: Books I’ve Read

2017 Accomplishments: Movies I’ve Seen in Theaters

Month Overview: January

Daily Planning Pages: January

Health Tracker: January

Water Tracker: January

January Reflections: January

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I am looking forward to beginning my February pages tonight and learning more about what works for me- and getting a little more creative as well. Bullet Journaling is a wonderful creative outlet that also keeps you on track for the month. It really is the best of both worlds. Can’t wait to share my February pages with you next month! Know any good Bullet Journal blogs? I could use a little more inspiration.

xx Casey

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Sunday Evening Routine

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The word “routine” has never been something that I’ve been drawn to. I have always prided myself in being “go with the flow” and “easy breezy” when it comes to day to day life. But with the stress of managing a full time job, a blog, and everything else, sometimes having a routine or, something you can count on, is just what you need.

So today I am going to give you a little insight into my Sunday evening routine. This is what I do and the products I use to get myself ready for the week ahead. After adventuring all day (usually at a new coffee shop I have been DYING to try) and food shopping of course.

I begin my evening by taking off my makeup. This really is the first step to unwinding and is a message to yourself saying “this is it, I am in for the night”. I use the Neutrogena Night Calming Cleansing Towelettes which my face feeling fresh, and the scent is extremely calming.

Next I put on some music – I have been loving the Spotify Mellow Nights playlist lately.

Every Sunday I meal prep for the week. I usually prepare a salad or roasted vegetables to bring for lunch each day, and a protein for dinner each night. This week I made a hydrating salad of cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, and celery, with a little apple cider vinegar to go with my lunch. For dinner I made a big pot of chicken soup. I feel a cold coming on so this will be just the thing I need this week. Add a little bit of orzo each night and I am good to go. By the time I get home from work & the gym I do not want to cook a whole meal from scratch, so meal prepping is a total life saver.

Once I am done meal prepping and doing a little bit of cleaning it is time to run a bath. Every Sunday evening I look forward to bath time. This is when I begin to completely shut down for the evening. Recently I have been using up some of my Christmas bath bombs and bubble bars that I got from lush. Last night I used the Snow Angel bath melt, which is unfortunately no longer available. However, if you are new to Lush products I highly suggest my favorite: The Comforter bubble bar. I might just have to go buy one for this weekends bath.

While in the bath I like to take the opportunity to really pamper myself. I usually use a hair mask to hydrate my hair, and cleanse my face with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I spoke about this cleanser in my December “I’m Loving” post. As for the hair mask I have been experimenting with a few until I find one that really works well with my hair. Right now I am loving the R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask. While in the bah I will listen to some music, watch youtube videos, and just relax. Or try to relax.. I usually have a visitor that gets very concerned that I am sitting in a tub of water.

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After my bath I have been loving using Bath & Body Works Lavender Chamomile Sleep Body Lotion. It seriously takes your relaxation to a whole other level.I will then spray my hair with a detangling spray, brush my hair with a wet brush, and then put it up in two twists on top of my head using two bobby pins. Recently, I have been refraining from using any heat on my hair. My hair has been pretty damaged thanks to my hair straightener, curler, blow dryer, and my lack of care for my hair in recent months. So sleeping with my hair wet in two twists leaves me with soft waves when I wake up. For those of you who are having similar problems, I will be doing a whole post about my hair journey very soon.

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At this time I set my alarms for the next morning and put the phone away. No more social media, texts, or calls for the night. I will then brew a cup of Chamomile Tea or a cup of hot water with honey and lemon and sit down to write in my Bullet Journal. I will be sharing more about my Bullet Journal in tomorrow’s post so stay tuned! After that I turn off all the lights, get in bed, and do a 10 minute body scan with my calm app which I have talked about a TON. If I wasn’t already relaxed I definitely am now. At this point I either fall right to sleep or put on some tv, all while cuddling with the cutest cat in the world. Right now I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy before bed – I think I am on season 12 and I can not believe what is happening with April right now..

Okay guys, that was a long one! I hope you all had a very relaxing Sunday evening, and have a great rest of your week.

xx Casey

Guilty Pleasures

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As January comes to an end (can you believe we are almost in February already?) so does my month of wellness themed posts. This doesn’t mean that the resolutions end here.. I am going to keep going and continuing to do the things that I spoke about throughout the month of January. I said it once I will say it again.. this is about a lifestyle change, not a diet. I mean really, what is life without letting loose every once in a while?

So today’s post is about the little things in life that we love on the down-low. Those guilty pleasures that you indulge in when you want to shut off and #treatyoself.

01 Flamin Hot Cheetos. Guys… I am obsessed with Flamin Hot Cheetos. Those neon red spicy little nuggets are pure gold. When I want a cheat snack while watching football or a movie these are my go-to.

02 Reality TV. I am a reality TV lover. Vanderpump Rules, Dance Moms, The Bachelor, Are You The One?, The Challenge.. I love it all. When I get home from work I want to shut off my brain and watch something that isn’t going to make me think. Sometimes you need a little mindless tv to get your mind OFF things.

Oh, and for you fellow Bachelor watchers I am totally #teamdolphinshark

03 Sparkling Water. Okay this might not be unhealthy but it is definitely unhealthy for my bank account. Those La Croix add up after a while, but man do I love me some Coconut La Croix water.

What are your guilty pleasures?

xx Casey

Book Club: Year of Cozy

Good Morning Friends! One of my many goals for 2017 included reading more, so I am going to give this Nine Lives Book Club another go. As a friend of mine likes to remind me there was never a follow up to my last book club post – and no I have not finished the book yet.. but i will! Give me some slack.

Anyway, today I am here to talk about a book that I went through almost too quickly and that is the lovely Adrianna Adarme’s “A Year of Cozy”. Author of the wonderful blog A Cozy Kitchen, Adrianna has written a book full of beautiful photographs, recipes, projects, and lifestyle advice for the entire year. I absolutely love how each section of the book is divided into seasons and each of their respective months. I could not put the book down. From tips on how to plan the perfect fall picnic to coconut lemon donut recipes this book has it all. And can we talk about how cute her little corgi is who makes a couple appearances in the book.

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This book is beautiful, and is the perfect gift for the foodie or crafter in your life. It sits on the end table in my living room and is a wonderful conversation piece.

If you have not checked out Adrianna or her blog I suggest you do it now – and get ready to get inspired.

xx Casey

Rebelle Artisan Bagels Pop-Up

As a girl from northern New Jersey I like to think of myself as a bagel connoisseur. Every time I visit the fam I ditch the diet and have a bagel sandwich almost everyday…and then get a dozen to bring back with me for my freezer. Since the day I moved up to Providence I have been on the hunt for some amazing quality bagels and to tell you the truth.. it’s been hard. There really is a lack of homemade bagel shops up here in little Rhode Island. The struggle. But when a friend of mine told me about Rebelle Artisan Bagels I was intrigued. I immediately started following their Instagram and smiled at the sight of those everything bagels. So when I heard they were hosting a Pop Up Bagel Shop with Laughing Gorilla Catering (currently located inside Kitchen on Carpenter Street) I knew I had to go.

And boy am I happy I did..

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I knew going into it that there was going to be a line. Kitchen is small and only has three larger booths and two two-person booths. So despite it being a little chilly outside I was ready for the wait. After about an hour and a half it was finally my turn to go in, and sat down in a cozy two-seater booth. With a cup of warm coffee in hand I was ready to order the grilled cheese with thick cut bacon on the everything bagel I had been dreaming about. The sandwich consisted of three types of cheese – American, Sharp Cheddar, and Gouda, as well as the thickest bacon I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. But the star of the show? The bagel of course, which was cooked perfectly, and made to order. A welcome addition to the everything bagel spice mix? The caraway seeds that brought a different level of flavor to the game. The homemade chips and pickled vegetables that came with the sandwich were the perfect side pieces to the main event. I left full and happy. It also helped that everyone was so friendly and really knew how to make you feel welcome.

I am so excited to see where Rebelle Artisan Bagels owner & chef Milena Pagan takes these bagels next. Wherever it is i’ll be there, and so should you.

xx Casey

Make A Great Cup of Coffee at Home

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Happy Friday everyone! This month we have been talking about ways to create a well rounded healthy and happy lifestyle for the new year, and how to achieve that lifestyle and not just make empty resolutions (that you will give up by the time February rolls around). One of the things I haven’t really talked about yet is my goal to start taking  my finances seriously and really grow my savings for the future. There have been many ways I have been trying to achieve this goal like eating out less, utilizing the Level Money App I spoke about in a previous post, and spending a little less money at coffee shops.

Now don’t get me wrong I love a good coffee shop. I have already spoke about a couple in past posts and have a ton more I want to share with you, but my goal is to save those coffee shop runs for the weekend.. almost like an end of the week treat. So today I am here to talk to you about a couple ways to make an awesome cup of coffee right at home!

1 Reusable Coffee Pod for Keurig. This is something I have been LOVING lately. I have been buying ground coffee beans from my favorite coffee shops and using the reusable coffee pod to brew quality coffee quickly and conveniently. The ground coffee is still cheaper than a box of k cups and is much cheaper than buying a coffee everyday. This is perfect for when I am running out the door before work.

2 French Press. Oh the french press.. I love you. When I allot myself a little more time in the morning I will use a french press to brew my morning coffee. The whole experience is calming to me and really ups my morning game. First pour the grounds into the french press. Add in the boiling water and stir. Let the coffee and the water steep for four minutes. After four minutes press the plunger down, pour yourself a cup, and enjoy.

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Photo courtesy of Macy’s

3 Pour Over. Different variations of home brewing coffee are becoming increasingly popular, but none as popular as the pour over method. Most specifically the use of a Chemex coffee maker. Chemex is a beautiful one-piece hourglass shaped vessel, made of high quality, heat-resistant glass that ranges in size. You begin by putting a paper cone on top of the Chemex. Place the grounds in the cone and add enough boiling water to coat the grounds. Let it sit for a couple seconds. Continue pouring more boiling water until the coffee begins to drip through the cone. This whole process usually takes about three minutes. This method gives you control over the water flow and produces a cleaner taste.I am looking forward to testing this method out some more.

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Photo courtesy of Crate & Barrel 

Another thing I have been loving? Substituting milk for coconut creamer. I buy mine at Trader Joes and it adds a great flavor to my coffee.

What is your favorite way to get your coffee fix?

xx Casey

Author Q & A

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I have to say that one of my favorite things about blogging is being able to connect with people all over the globe through my writing. I am meeting so many new people through this process, and I couldn’t be more excite! So I thought it was time you learned a little bit more about me. As always feel free to leave me any other questions in the comments and I would be happy to answer!

Q: Where are you from and what brought you to Rhode Island?

A: I am originally from Bergen County New Jersey. I come from an Italian family who ate pizza every Friday and pasta every Sunday, so food has always been something that has been important to me. When it was time to go to college i decided I wanted to go to culinary school and peruse my dreams of becoming a chef. Some of my family lived in Rhode Island at the time, so Johnson & Wales University in Providence seemed like the perfect fit! I began to fall in love with the city and Rhode Island as a whole, and have been here ever since!

Q: What made you start blogging?

A: I started my first blog “Creatively Casey” when I began my culinary internship my Sophomore Year of College (2011). I wanted to write about my experience as a Disney Cast Member and thought it would be helpful for others wanting to apply for the program. After I left Disney and went back to Providence for my Junior year, it turned into more of a food blog where I would share recipes and restaurant reviews. After a while I knew I wanted to branch out and expand my blog but i didn’t know how. I had a hard time coming up with topics that were me and not someone else. When I moved into my first apartment with my then boyfriend the blog turned into more of a diary of sorts. I was still posting recipes and restaurant reviews but I was also writing more about my day to day life. I was struggling with what having a “lifestyle blog” meant. When that relationship ended I started a new chapter in my life and really began to find myself and what I was passionate about. I was beginning to see the city I lived in with new eyes. Something one of my best friends told me became the building blocks for what would turn into Nine Lives and that was to “be a tourist in your own town”. I knew that my passion was sharing all of the wonderful things this state had to offer with others. I also knew that I had a strong passion for decor, food and drinks, wellness, music, and promoting happiness. And with that I knew I had finally found my niche.

Q: How old are you?

A: I am 25 years old – turning 26 March 12th!

Q: What is your day job?

A: I am the Event Manager at a hotel in Providence. This means that I detail all of the food & beverage, audio visual, and any other meeting needs for a group within the corporate, association, and sports markets. The job is exciting and ever changing, and I love every minute of it.

Q: Biggest Goal?

A: To connect more with you all and be able to make this blog my main focus in life.

Okay.. now on to the fun questions!

Q: Favorite Restaurant?

A: My favorite restaurant in Providence is Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen. I have been a couple times and each time is better than the last. I will do a whole post on it soon!

Q: Last meal – what is it?

A: Stuffed Artichoke

Q: Favorite TV Show & Movie?

A: TV Show is hard because I have two very different favorites so I am going to say both: Lost & How I Met Your Mother. Favorite movie is: The Godfather

Q: If you could meet one person alive or dead who would it be?

A: Bob Marley

Q: Biggest obsession?

A: I have two – Harry Potter & Candles

Thank you to everyone new and old who have been supporting me and this blog throughout the years! I look forward to more exciting things ahead. Until tomorrow..

xx Casey