^ Clean sheets. There's nothing like getting into clean sheets after a long day.
^ This sweet pup, who doesn't mind being lazy now and then.
^ Fresh flowers that Jeffrey brings home at the end of a working day.
^ New blinds that add such a coziness to our little home.
^ A new plant to fulfill one of our May to-do list items.
^ This dog shampoo, which makes Woody feel and smell like a little dream.
Other simple things we're grateful for:
This collar, which is giving our arm sockets a sweet break and helping Woody to walk like a gentleman.
Ice cubes, which make all drinks extra refreshing.
Fresh watermelon from the side of the road.
And a not-so-simple thing we're grateful for: The men and women who give their lives to fight for the freedom of this country, and the people who lose their dearest loved ones and bravely carry on.
Over the weekend, Jeffrey and I celebrated our two-month wedding anniversary. I am nothing if not a celebrator of the little things. We went to our favorite restaurant and walked to get ice cream afterward. Good company is such a treasure, my friends. I love when our date nights are filled with meaningful chats just as much as I love our date nights that are more quiet. I think I once heard somewhere that if you can enjoy one's company simply by sitting quietly across from one another and you both get something out of it, you have found yourself a kindred spirit. I think that's so true. On this particular evening, we had plenty to talk about, which I loved very much. We sat at a small table and felt like we were in a big city (this is Jeffrey's favorite way to enjoy a meal — at a table that feels like we're dining in a big city). We split a pizza and each got our favorite toppings on our halves. It was wonderful, just like it should be.
Summer days are here, my friends. They're still sharing with cool mornings and cool evenings, but midday belongs to summer. And while it's hot (and I have been known to join the chorus of sticky complaints) and humid and sweaty, there is something so special about summer. My parents came up this weekend. On the way back from the dog park, Jeffrey and I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up some watermelon. Jeffrey sliced it and stacked it in a big green bowl. We walked it down to my sister's house (where my parents were staying) and stuck it in the fridge so that it would get cool. When we ate it, it was a little piece of heaven. We didn't do much, which is sometimes the best way to spend a Saturday. We did make it to Bev's Better Burgers, which is the most delicious burger joint surrounding our little college town, of that I am sure. We went all out with fries and milkshakes. It was so delicious and the perfect way to spend a slow, summer day.
Powerberries, because Jeffrey brought home two bags so that I could take one to work.
This granola, which my sister and brother-in-law brought over and tastes like a little piece of cinnamon heaven.
This candle, which is safe (made from soy) and smells delicious.
These letters, which my dad handmade for our wedding.
These sweet pot holders, which my mother-in-law gave to us + these sunflower seeds (my favorite addition to a salad) being stored in a jar from Jeffrey's grandma.
Yum! My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal, which we ate on Sunday evening. It was so easy to throw together, it almost didn't seem real. As Jeffrey likes to say, true restaurant quality. The pasta is from Trader Joe's. Simply prepare it as directed and coat with a dash of olive oil and salt. If you're like us then your love for parmesan cheese knows no bounds, so why not add that as well?!
The brussel sprouts with bacon is something I've seen floating around a lot these days, so I thought it must be tasty. Well, it was. I strongly suggest that you make this as soon as you can because it is SO. GOOD. (And, just for reference, I'm usually not all about people using periods. to. make. a. point, so you know I'm serious.) The recipe came from the New York Times. We prepared it as a side dish, although I'm sure it would be tasty tossed into the pasta (my personal preference would be to keep it separate, though). We used bacon instead of pancetta and we didn't use the chile or lemon juice, since our pasta was lemon-y enough. Enjoy! X, J&R
May in Florida is not synonymous with breezy weather, which is why we've all been scratching our heads during the last few weeks over these beautiful days we've been having! Jeffrey and I are sort of pathetic and love to eat outside so that we can bring Woody. Add in cool weather and we've got ourselves an outdoor dinner date!
Eating outside is perhaps my favorite thing in this whole entire universe, so I'll stretch appropriate-eating-outdoors weather into the month of July, which is maybe sort of pushing it. Thankfully, Jeffrey is a good sport and will play along as he wipes the sweat off his brow. I just can't help it! Dining al fresco is my bliss.
And I know I dote on our dog a lot, but WILL YOU PLEASE LOOK AT THAT FACE?!
A few years ago, I watched something that changed the way I thought about my makeup. My mom and I have been long time fans of Dr. Oz and I just so happened to tune into his program on a day when he was discussing the ins and outs of an average woman's makeup bag. I remember being totally floored by so many of the products he was mentioning as harmful and unsafe. The scariest thing is that companies who produce makeup are only required to list the intended ingredients in a product, which means that some seriously harmful agents could be living in our makeup and we may not even be aware of it. On top of that, there are no guidelines for makeup to be certified 'natural' or 'organic.' I don't know about you, but this came as a shock to me. In particular, there are 3 makeup products that are notorious for being the most dangerous and I think some of them will surprise you!
1. Mineral Powder is the most dangerous of all the makeup products. The particles in mineral powder are so incredibly small (and that's why they work so well!) that they can actually seep into your lungs and scar them. These same kinds of particles are present on construction sites and workers are required to wear face masksso they don't ingest these dangerous particles. Although there has been no correlation between the particles in our makeup and sickness, the same particles on construction sites take 10 to 30 years to show damage within the body.
Safer Alternatives: Liquid based foundation with shimmer, cream blush and bronzer, and pressed powder.
2. Anti-Wrinkle Cream is dangerous because it penetrates very quickly into the skin. It reaches the blood vessels and is absorbed by them, which can be really dangerous. The most dangerous ingredients in anti-wrinkle creams are irritants. These are often scents such as lavender and peppermint. Products that say that they reduce wrinkles could actually be encouraging them. Finally, products that claim to work like botox or to remove wrinkles immediately are sharing false information. An anti-wrinkle cream is not capable of doing that.
Safer Alternatives: Make sure your new anti-wrinkle cream is color free and fragrance free. Also look for creams that contain vitamin A (often called retinol/retinois on ingredient labels), vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acid.
3. Lipgloss contains petroleum jelly, which is not safe for eating. In the course of a decade, women who wear lipgloss will consume 7 pounds of petroleum jelly. Some research shows that petroleum jelly could possibly cause cancer. In the European Union, petroleum jelly has been banned unless it is super pure.
Safer Alternatives: Look for lipgloss with zinc oxide, try gloss made from beeswax, and always put sunscreen on your lips before applying any other kind of lip product.
Here's a book that was mentioned during the segment, which talks much more extensively about the secret world of makeup. I was honestly surprised by a great deal of information that Dr. Oz brought up. It makes me sad that many of these facts are not common knowledge, especially because plenty of people probably don't think they're harming themselves when they apply their makeup in the mornings. You can read more about this segment here.
* I wrote a similar post about three years ago, but felt it would be pertinent to bring it up again! We have to look out for one another. :)
So as to not drag our honeymoon photos out for an entire week (because I'm pretty sure I might be the only person to enjoy that), I have chosen 10 photos from our trip and 10 moments to share with you. We had the absolute best time in Portland, Oregon. I think we mentioned what a blast we were having at least 5 times a day, everyday. We were blessed with the best weather and a family member who lent us his car for the entire week. We traveled that city up and down and around and around. Sometimes I'm still surprised by how much we did, but how relaxing the whole thing was. 1. On our first day in Portland, we ate at Little Big Burger. This photograph shows the exhaustion all over our faces. We had been up for so many hours by that point and we were walking around the city in a complete fog. This meal was one of our favorites and it was made especially delicious because we had hardly eaten anything all day. It was here that Jeffrey tried ketchup and enjoyed it, which is a big deal! It was really great ketchup, though, so I'm not crossing my fingers for a ketchup-loving husband anytime soon. 2. We stopped at Cool Moon Creamery Co. on our first night (shortly after we ate our delicious burgers and french fries) and had the best ice cream (Thai tea and salted caramel). We ate it on this little street park and were so excited for all the impending adventures we were about to have in Portland. I think we had a short second wind during that time and were filled with a burst of energy as we thought of the great blessing it was to be in such a beautiful city! 3. This big public art display just happened to be a collaboration between one of Jeffrey's favorite artists (Chris Johanson) and homeless youth. It was completely unexpected and such an amazing surprise. We were just driving through the city, looking for a parking spot when we stumbled upon this. Talk about good fortune! 4. We were taking the Columbia Scenic River Highway (which we highly recommend) and stopped off at a few different waterfalls. At the first stop (Wahkeena Falls), we enjoyed pork dumplings which we had grabbed from a food truck in the city. Then we made our way to Multnomah Falls, which is the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. We decided to hike further up and on the sixth switchback, I cursed the idea. On the final switchback, we made it to a really calm portion of the waterfall. It was so incredible. We continued hiking and happened upon the most beautiful little waterfall I might have ever seen. It was so worth it and such a special little surprise. 5. We were lucky enough to spend one night at the Timberline Lodge, which was honestly incredible. It was snowing!! Big stuff for Florida natives. When we walked into our room, the entire window was blocked by snow. I kindly asked the front desk for a room change with a better view. They happily obliged and gave us a giftcard! It was so sweet and unexpected, we couldn't believe their generosity! 6. Bungalows and craftsman style homes are among our favorite and we are hoping to own one someday. Portland is brimming with them! Seriously, just when you think you've seen it all, you turn the corner and see about a billion more. For Valentine's Day I gifted Jeffrey a book full of Portland hill walks. We did one particular route that was so wonderful! There weren't so many bungalows, but a bunch of really beautiful Victorian homes and a few really modern ones, too. We just enjoyed walking around a neighborhood and picturing ourselves living there. The walk spilled into Forest Park, which is the largest urban park in the world. It was equally beautiful. 7. We had several delicious meals, but our favorite was Toro Bravo. I wrote about our venture to try and recreate a flatbread we tried there. (You can find that post here.) Jeffrey's boss generously gave us a giftcard there and we had a spectacular time. It was so, so memorable and we had a ton of fun watching the chefs prepare our food. 8. On Saturday morning, we headed to the Portland Farmers' Market located on PSU's beautiful campus. We went to the Pine State Biscuits tent and had a country fried chicken biscuit, a biscuit with marionberry jam, orange juice, and sweet tea. As we sat on the lawn enjoying the most delicious breakfast, we both talked about living in Portland and people-watched to our hearts' content! 9. One afternoon we stopped at Washington Park with a Fentiman's cherry soda and just took in the beautiful weather we were having. It was such a welcomed treat to just relax and do nothing. We had a really nice conversation as we sat on a park bench and just talked about life. Those unexpected conversations are always my absolute favorite!
10. Our final morning was spent at Lovejoy Bakers. We had drinks and breakfast and felt overwhelmingly happy for the love and support we have been granted throughout the entirety of our relationship thus far. We discussed plans for our future home (a bunch of pipe dreams for right now) and just enjoyed one another's company. I remember feeling really blessed as I sat in that bakery.
Our favor for the guests at our wedding was a CD filled with some of our favorite songs. It was so much fun to put together and felt like a really personal gift for all of the sweet people who made it to our big day. It was really difficult just to choose a handful of songs! We wanted them all to be meaningful and we wanted to include a range so that we could appeal to everyone. We hope you enjoy it, too. :)
Below I have a version of the playlist, but Lost Without You is not on there because that's a song written and sung by my dad. You can buy it on iTunes, though!
You are the sweetest pup. And you are so, so good. You let us brush your teeth (with special dog toothpaste that smells like cupcakes) and trim your nails and you don't even flinch. You hop right to the back of the car when we're traveling. It's your spot. You loooove to cuddle between us (we love that, too). You're scared of plastic bags and sometimes you like to tear up a bag of tissue paper by the front door while we're not home. Surprise! You eat your food way too fast and your beard drips a trail of water all over the house. When we cook in the kitchen, you are always right underfoot. Always hoping for a hand out, but also just because you like to be near us. When you run, you look like a little deer. You're learning how to fetch in no time at all. You love people and will say hi to just about anyone. When the wind blows, you tilt your little face up toward the sky so you can really feel it. It might be the cutest thing. You love apples. As soon as you hear us bite into one, you come running with your tail wagging, wagging, wagging. You sit so patiently until we share a small piece with you...and then several more small pieces. You probably don't know it, but you've brought a lot of joy into our lives. We think you're pretty great.
We are big believers in showing gratitude for the simple things in life. When the going gets tough, if you can look around and still find beauty in the smaller bits of life, you can weather even the fiercest of storms. That's why we've decided to create a weekly series where we give thanks for the simple things that make our lives a little brighter.
Friends, which we've been tearing through on weeknights. We're also grateful for the friend who lent the entire series to us.
This brush, which helped us clean our apartment to a sparkling shine.
This thermos, which made an appearance at our wedding and now has a home on our dining room table + this lampshade, which has brought new life to this little corner.
These flowers, which I picked from our garden and add a special sort of happiness to our side table.
These tissues, because it's a bummer to be sick, but it helps when the supplies are cute.
Other simple things we're grateful for:
This song, which we've shamelessly been listening to after it became the soundtrack of a very memorable moment in New Girl.
Call the Midwife, which is an incredible show about British midwives in the 50s. It's considered a drama (and believe me, there have been tears on my end), but it's really spectacular and parts of it are so funny!