Easy Artichoke Dip For One

I know we have all been doing a ton of cooking ever since quarantine began. We do order take out once or twice a week to support some of our favorite local businesses, but for the most part I am preparing three meals a day every day. One thing I have become a pro at? Poached eggs. To say I am obsessed is an understatement. So since most days I am making avocado toast with a poached egg on top for breakfast, I don’t really want a full lunch. So I snack.

Ask me what my favorite food is and I will immediately say artichokes. That has been my answer ever since I was a kid eating my Great Aunt Ettas stuffed artichokes (Or Anetta as I called her, and I have never had better as hard as my family tries). So naturally artichoke dip is one of my favorite apps. So one day for lunch I decided to make an artichoke dip for one with ingredients I had in my fridge.

I mixed about a cup of cream cheese, three tablespoons of mayo, about half a cup of mozzarella cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small Pyrex bowl. Put it in a 350 degree oven and baked for about 15 minutes. Topped with more mozzarella cheese and baked for 5 more minutes until the cheese melted.

I paired the dip with some pretzel thins. This easy recipe totally hit the spot, and I was easy to make with ingredients I already had on hand. I will definitely be making this again soon.

The Friends Aesthetic

This past year after decades of stubbornness I finally caved and watched the first episode of Friends. Then, I quickly finished the entire series. The whole time I watched I couldn’t help but feel a sense of comfort that only a nostalgia for the 90s could provide.

Every time I hear the words “your still in bed at ten and work began at eight” I smile. Why? Not just because I can relate to that sentiment on a personal level, but because I am about to settle in to another 30 minutes of comfort. The show really does a good job of connecting you to the six friends. Everyone can relate to at least one of the characters in some way. As for me, I am 100% a Monica. She can be a little high strung, neurotic, and has a bit of ocd. But she is also loving, caring, and the mom of the group. The one that holds the whole thing together. Her home is the centerpiece of the show. A home, that we are welcomed into with each episode.

Picture it: Its a Sunday afternoon and the weather is slightly overcast. You are on the couch in sweatpants and an oversized crew neck sweatshirt. You sip your coffee and turn on the television. It’s The One with the Football and the friends are gearing up to play for the Geller cup. You are immediately taken back in time and are enveloped in a sense of calmness.

From the colors that only a show filmed in the 90s could provide (like the show was filmed with the perfect fall filter) to the iconic fashion choices of Rachel, Monica, and Chandler the show perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the 90s. And as a kid of the 90s, that’s the kind of aesthetic that feels like home.

What I’m Watching + Listening To

In a world where you can’t do much of anything but sit inside, everyone is searching for entertainment. Whether it’s tv shows, movies, podcasts, or audio books, everyone’s looking for recommendations. Here is a list of some of the things that have been getting me through quarantine.

TV SHOWS

FRIENDS – I could and will do a whole post dedicated to how much I love this show. I finally started it last year and I can not believe it look me so long. It was recently taken off Netflix but will be premiering on HBO Max at the end of May. You can also catch episodes everyday on TBS.

Gilmore Girls – Another show I never watched until this past week. And now that I’ve started it gives me all of the cozy fall vibes I’m looking for. Disclaimer: it makes me long for mornings in a cozy coffee shop, but for now homemade will have to do.

Will & Grace – Yet another show I never watched (are you sensing a theme?) but gives me all the 90s cozy vibes.

Currently on TV – Survivor, The Challenge, 90 Day Fiancé Before the 90 Days, Masked Singer, and The Voice are some of the shows that we are catching each week.

Honorable Mentions – Tiger King and Waco which are two series on Netflix that I highly recommend if you are looking for something you just can’t look away from. Also, Love Island UK which is all on Hulu. With almost 50 episodes a season you have plenty to binge.

MOVIES

A few of the movies that we have watched in Quarantine so far that I recommend are Peanut Butter Falcon ( the perfect feel good movie), Yesterday, Jumanji 2, and Blinded by The Light.

PODCASTS & AUDIO BOOKS

One of the podcasts that I have recently discovered and absolutely LOVE is the Be There in Five Podcast. They are long, nostalgic, and relatable. Perfect when you need a break from the tv. I also continue to love and listen to the Sunday Scaries Podcast which also has an aesthetic that I love.

As for audio books I am currently listening to Carrie Underwoods book Find Your Path, Cameron Diaz’s book The Body Book, and Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Hope this gave you a little inspiration on what to watch in quarantine. The common themes are either coziness or pure entertainment and I think a balance of the two is exactly what you need during this time.

A Small Change in Direction

1headerWhen people say that 2020 has been a lot so far, that’s an understatement. In my last post I spoke about what has been going on and my thoughts on it. The biggest takeaway from my ramblings is that I am using this time to really dissect what is most important to me in my life and focus my energies on that. For me that is my family, friends, boyfriend, and cat. It is about looking at the things that make you the happiest and make up who you are, and embracing that. People always say do what makes you happy, and I’ll be damned if I am not going to come out of this thing doing way more of that.

Some of you may know I started blogging in 2010, and the blog has phased through a lot of lives. I started off talking about my time as a Disney Cast Member, then transitioned into a food blog where I would review local restaurants. Then I moved into the lifestyle realm where I would spend my time writing about my life, but also about the topics I thought the people wanted to hear (hat was popular on other lifestyle blogs at the time). To be honest, there was a lot of filler content. I felt like my blog needed to be full of curated content, when in reality the content that I enjoy most is the simple and relatable kind. The kind that when you read or listen, you nod your head along.

In a world of curation, I find that the happiest people embrace all parts of themselves. For me, that is the most “basic” of things – and I am proud of it! Why? Simply because it makes me happy. And happiness is all we should really be striving for.

So what are those things for me?

I have a passion for making any space feel like home. I have Spotify playlists dedicated to different moods and times of day. I am obsessed with the coziness that fall brings. I live for those sweet four months of pure happiness that September through December bring. Pumpkin spice lattes, cozy scarves, and apple picking might sound basic to you, but that feeling it brings gives me so much joy

I am never happier than when I am wrapped up in a cozy blanket on the couch watching a Harry Potter marathon with a cup of tea and my cat George and boyfriend Jeff beside me. I am obsessed with Friends, and cheese boards, and seltzer. I could watch trashy reality TV all day long. I love planning get togethers and gatherings, whether it’s a holiday or a typical Sunday.

I believe that the little things might not be the little things at all. Through creating a home and sharing it with family and friends, embracing the seasons, and putting a little extra effort into the “little things”, you live with intention.

Living in The Age of Quarantine

Hello Friends, I am writing to you from Day 40 of Quarantine. What a crazy sentence to write. Does all of this even feel real yet? Who could have ever known we would see something like this in our lifetime? Most days just blur into the next, and I am doing my best to stay as positive as possible.

This is a very hard time for everyone no matter what the circumstances. And as tough as it is, this can also be a time for reflection. Without the distractions of the outside world (as long as you shut off the news for a while – do it, trust me) you can really evaluate what the important things are in your life and where you are headed. Take time to appreciate the things that you take for granted in your daily life.

I know it is hard to stay motivated during this time, and you know what? That is okay. Did I spend a week straight binge watching a full season of Love Island? Yes. And that is okay. I know that scrolling through social media you can feel like you are doing something wrong if you are not making banana bread or making tie dye sweat suits, but this is not a competition on who can be the most productive during quarantine. Most people are taking it day by day and THAT. IS. OKAY.

If you are beginning to get a little stir crazy being home all day long and feeling like this will never end, navigating your child through online learning, working from home, laid off, just keep in mind – you are not stuck at home, you are safe at home.

And a huge thank you to our essential workers out there. My amazing boyfriend is one of them, and is out there everyday making sure you get your mail, packages, and medications during this very difficult time. So thank your mail carriers people, because they are out there in this too and deserve your thoughts and prayers.

This will eventually pass. But in the meantime, it is important to stay as safe and healthy as possible. Follow all guidelines, keep your family safe. Do your part so that we come out of this stronger than before.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times, when one only remembers to turn on the light” – Albus Dumbledore.

Stay safe & stay well.

 

January Coffee Catch Up

Coffee Catch UpCurrently Drinking: Hot Coffee with Italian Sweet Cream

I thought it would be fun if every month I did a little catch up on anything exciting happening, updates, and favorites that I have come across the past couple of weeks. A little coffee date if you will.

As everyone knows January is the month of resolutions, goals, intentions, manifestations.. whatever you want to call it. I did a whole post on my overall 2020 goals, but my focuses for January consisted of: Get up 30 minutes earlier each day, some fort of movement daily, drink 64 ounces of water per day, no phone before or after 8AM/PM, and give my hair a break from hot tools. The biggest struggle was waking up 30 minutes earlier. The most successful was taking a break from hot tools. I did not pick up my straightener or curling iron once all month, and my hair is thanking me for it. This is something I will 100% continue in the month of February.

As for my main goal of overall healthy eating and living, I have been doing very well so far! We have been cooking meals at home much more often (other than the two pizza Friday’s we had because.. pizza.) I have been following the weight watchers program, and have lost a total of 12lbs so far. I am really happy with my progress.

Now let’s chat about some of my favorites this month shall we?

1- Comedians in Cars Having Coffee. This is the most relaxing show to watch before bed or on a Sunday afternoon.

2- Sleepytime Tea. This is nothing new, but I have been ending my day with a cup and I instantly feel relaxed.

3- Burts Bees Hand Salve. Like many people in the winter I get the driest skin on my hands. I put this on at night before bed, and it has really helped.

4- Billie Eilish. I have been listening to all of her music on repeat this month, and I am officially a big fan. So happy for her and her brother on all her awards this season.

5- Air Fryer. What did I do without this appliance in my life? I have used it every day since I got it and it has been instrumental in my healthy eating journey.

And there you have it, that is what’s been brewing this month.

Man, I love a good pun. 

xx Casey

 

I Tried a 5 Day Detox – Here’s What Happened

I Tried a YouTubers 5 Day Detox Plan (1)

They say that January 17th is the most common day of the year that people begin to quite their resolutions. So if you are reading this on Monday January 20th and are still going strong, then congratulations! I am proud to say that I am still going strong. I am on week three of the new My WW program (Formerly known as weight watchers – I am on the Blue plan for anyone wondering!), and I have been getting in at least some movement or exercise each day (even if it is just walking up a couple flights of stairs in the middle of the day!). So goal #1 of committing to a healthy lifestyle is going pretty well!

But to kick things off, my boyfriend and I decided to commit to a 5 day cleanse by a popular youtuber. So on Friday January 3rd we began. Spoiler alert – we lasted two full days.

Day one was appropriately called “Liquid Love”. You started your day with green tea, a green smoothie, a green juice, and then lastly a bowl of what I now call the dreaded “Belly Soothing Soup” aka butternut squash soup with a bunch of turmeric and spices. Honestly, Day one was not too bad. I did not feel hungry throughout the day, and I actually really enjoyed the green juice that I bought from Trader Joes. But once I got home I started to feel it. So I heated up a bowl of soup excited to have something a little more substantial and … it was just plain bad. I couldn’t get it down no matter how hungry I was. So I went to bed.

Day Two was exciting because for lunch we got to have – a salad! I had never been more excited to have a salad with some grilled chicken in my life. The day started with the green tea and the smoothie. Then I had my “Slimming Salad” filled with tons of greens, chicken, hummus, and lots of lemon. And then for dinner… that damn soup. I just couldn’t do it. To make matters worse we went to a concert that night. No dinner. No drinks. We almost cracked on the way home. But at that point I was so tired I just went to bed, but before that we both decided that tomorrow… we were done.

I just could not imagine doing another three days of this. Especially because day three consisted of more of the same as day two. If I had to have one more bowl of that soup…

Waking up on Day three I was down almost 8lbs. Because that was the thing about this detox.. you were not getting nearly enough calories to sustain you throughout the day. As soon as I started eating normal meals again (that fit into my points) I gained back 4lbs. I was still down 4lbs by the end of the week, but I attribute that to my better eating habits thanks to WW.

So what are my final thoughts on doing a detox? I say if you want to do it for one day after weeks of not eating well? Go for it. But any more than that you are just restricting your body of the calories and nutrients it needs.

The good thing that came out of the detox? It definitely helped to change my mindset on food. And maybe that is the point? At the end of those two days I didn’t want to go to taco bell or order a pizza. I was craving grilled chicken or scrambled eggs. My body was craving protein. And I think that shift in mindset was what helped me jump head first into the WW program. I got excited about planning healthy lunches and dinners for my boyfriend and I. So do I regret doing it? No. But I am very glad we stopped when we did.

I am going to do a whole post about my experience with WW so far and my favorite point friendly foods soon, so look out for that!

xx Casey

*Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian. All thoughts are my own!