Bites of My Life

I’m not doing my best at delivery a “bite of my life” so far in 2019. 4 weeks in and only 2 posts to show for it. However despite the lack of posts, there is still plenty to share! The year started with me going through a major rut in my work and kind of in my personal life too. With a little perseverance and prayers and I’m really starting to feel the wind change! Things are looking up.

As far as work, instead taking some work load off my plate, I countered by adding on more. In the form of fun projects, clients (yup!!), grabbing coffee with those who inspire me and taking courses to continue to gain new ideas. As far as personal life goes, I turned to retail and travel therapy. Nothing like a couple new sweaters and a trip out of town that can’t pull you out of a slump!

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-Fun project/client #1 has to do with one of the coolest new spots in town.
-Exhibit A of taking a course to help me stay inspired and creative in my field.
-One of my retail therapy purchases includes this headband from H&M that I feel entirely too good in when I wear. It’s the little things people.
-A local beer crawl with all your besties is the perfect way to spend the cold/boring January weekends.
-Whole 30 Chicken Piccata from the Whole30 queen, The Defined Dish on tap for dinners last week. Note, I omitted the chicken stock in the recipe because I was meal prepping and didn’t care to have a sauce.
-Perks of traveling United early in the morning. I love these stroopwafel’s with coffee and tea!
-My travels led me back to the west coast for the second time in the past 3 months! The weekend had big intentions of being a surprise, but life happens and so does the stomach bug, and sometimes you have to tell the birthday boy his friends are showing up in 12 hours and ya got to rally!
-Newport Beach I love you.
-Cliche “best weekend with the best people” kind of feeling.

Annie

BIG Bites of My Life

I blame the holidays for this, but I’m combing three bites posts in one. Lot’s to read, so I won’t bore you here. If you are willing to take an extra big bite, carry on, if you give up before the end I understand.

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Week leading up to Christmas…

-Easily one of my favorite recipes, and I love that it is many of y’alls too. This Crock-Pot Verde Turkey Chili is best in the winter and can be made Whole 30.
-Trying ashwaganda for the first time. I’ve been hearing of it’s many benefits to combat stress, but hadn’t tried it until recently. It tastes pretty earthy and I am still looking for the best way to mask that, but I will let you know when I do. Picked up this golden milk mix before the holidays too. The perfect drink to wind down with during the chaotic season.
-Worked/ing on eating more veggie friendly breakfasts instead of oatmeal and smoothies during the sugar filled holidays. Hooked on a version of this sweet potato hash inspired by my friend Lauren.
-Collagen hot cocoa swept insta before Christmas and I happily jumped on the train. Posted my recipe here.
-2nd Annual Cookie Decorating Party! A fun new tradition my best girls and I started last year.
-Sucker for a good snack spread. Hummus and cucumbers, salami and olives and baked brie for my girlfriends to counteract all the icing and cookies we ate…
-If you know you know. And if you’re night ends here, you know it was a good one.
-Here we go a wassailinggggg! Mom’s wassail is a staple at the holidays!
-Christmas Eve Eve traditions run deep with this group!

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Christmas Week…

-More cookie decorating because that’s what you do at the holidays. Used my Signature Sugar Cookie recipe which is the OG recipe Santa asks for every year.
-Dad and I always on the puzzle grind come the holiday season.
-As our family grows, it also get’s small in some instances. Just me, mom and dad this Christmas Eve, but celebrated the night with church, spaghetti and meatballs (we used this recipe for the sauce and it was perfect) and a late night walk through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, just the three of us!
-Tucker tradition of OJ/mimosas with raspberries on Christmas morning. Served along side our traditional sausage crescents and new tradition of this cranberry orange bread.
-Our littlest family member was so sick, but powered through Christmas. And loved her kitchen gadgets gift from Aunt Annie :) Toast and coffee anyone?
-It’s a GRIL!! We found out back in September that Kathleen and John were pregnant with their second baby. We anxiously had to wait until Christmas to find out the sex. Best news ever that Elle is getting a little sister.
-CopperBoom! Never taking this sweatshirt off. Thank you Kathleen!
-I love for Tucker holiday meals. Beef tenderloin, twice bakes, glazed carrots and our family Christmas salad.
-Remember that golden milk mix I mentioned earlier? I used it to flavor this smoothie bowl and I highly recommend. Frozen cauliflower, some ice, vanilla Arbonne protein powder, oat milk, little almond butter, topped with chia seeds, cacao nibs and pecans.
-2018 was the year of reading. And I blogged about it.
-My London girl is back in the USA, better yet Fort Worth (for now, but hopefully for longer coming soon)!!
-We’ve been coming to Fort Worth for OU weekends since our freshman year of college thanks to The Felton’s! Glad that some things never change!

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First week of 2019…

-Balloons ready to DROP for NYE at The Jones.
-Who else has to eat black eyes on New Year’s Day? BEP or no luck for the year!
-All the groceries to get back in the swing of things post holidays.
-Celery juice trend ain't stopping anytime soon. Clear skin, smooth skin, look and feel of hair, reduced eczema, less bloat it helps it all!
-S N O W. We got about 3 inches unexpectedly this week. And funny thing about this picture is I took it at about 10pm, but it looks so bright from all the white!
-Snow day lunch at home consisting of my Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato soup, gala apple and rosemary Flackers (my new obsession).
-The Defined Dish’s Hibachi Chicken with Magic Mustard sauce lived up to the hype~~
-My favorite part of my job is when I get to taste all the fun concoctions our bartenders and chefs come up with. Exhibit A, this Oreo inspired beer cocktail.
-Always love a quick Dallas trip.

Annie

How I Turned Into A Reader

I’ve never been a reader. I used to read growing up, but more because I had to for school, not because I wanted to. The idea of reading made me bored just thinking about it. I would look at the pages, but instead of getting lost in the words, my mind would run wild.

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I’ve made the resolution the past few years to kick the whole “non-reader” tagline I put on myself. But how most resolutions go, I would crash and burn before I even picked up a book.

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Then comes January 2018 and I did not make a resolution to read more. It just sort of happened. I adore Jenna Bush Hager on the Today Show and I had put Sisters First, on my imaginary “must read” list ever since it came out. I purchased it and let it sit on my shelf for a few weeks (months).

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I was then at the gym one morning doing my routine 30 minute warm up on the elliptical or treadmill where I would watch the news and scroll social media. However, I was falling victim of the worst headaches from being on my phone for 30 straight minutes first thing in the morning. It was the worst way to start my day.

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The next day I declared to myself that I would not get on my phone until after my workout. I’m a multi-tasker by choice and I knew I would need something to do in addition to my machine workout to make the time pass. So I picked up my copy of Sisters First and head to the gym. I flew through the chapters. Next thing I knew I was flying through whole books.

The multitasking of doing something with my legs makes me focus more on what I’m reading because I have to concentrate more. It’s kind of like listening to music while you study or work. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I always found that it made me focus more because I was having to work harder to grasp what I was studying. Just me?

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Yes, I will often get stares from other gym-goers or remarks from those who love to make the comment “how do you do that while you’re working out?” Or even better “whatcha reading?” While they cock their neck to get a view of the cover of my book. Can’t a girl read and get her cardio in, in peace??

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I’m not saying you need to start working out to become a reader, but I’m also saying you should try it. Besides a plane ride or lying on the beach, there are not many other places besides the gym I can turn so many pages in a book. I’m working on the whole lay on the couch, do nothing and just read thing, but it’s a work in progress. #cantsitstill

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Now that you know walking on the treadmill was my gateway to reading (ha), let’s talk about everything I read in 2018. Disclosure: my taste in books is similar to my taste in movies. Rom coms with a few sprinkles of “based on a true story.” Think It’s Complicated, Father of the Bride and You’ve Got Mail, with Spotlight and The Social Network added in. Some may say I lend toward young adult reads, but I love an easy read with a cute story. Like I said, I’m still easing in to becoming a reader. So without further ado, my 2018 bookshelf…

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  1. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

  2. Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara bush

  3. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

  4. Love the One You’re With by Emily Griffin

  5. The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

  6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by mindy Kaling

  7. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

  8. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

  9. DC Trip by Sara Benincasa

  10. Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell

  11. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

  12. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

  13. Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah

  14. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

  15. Everybody Always by Bob Goff

  16. The Lipstick Gospel by Stephanie Wilson

  17. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

  18. Hey Girls by Michell Markowitz, Caroline Moss (still reading)

  19. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

  20. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (currently reading)

  21. Boom Town by Sam Anderson (still reading )

Purchase these books here.

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After I finished about 3 books, I set a goal to read 12 in 12. Twelve books in 12 months. Eight months went by and I was already at my goal. So then my goal became 20 in 12. I’m currently reading my 20th book of the year and have about 4 days left of the year. Think I can do it?

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Let me be clear. I’m reading my 20th book, but I’m still reading my 18th and 19th too. Like I said I’m a multi-tasker. Pro-tip, don’t read more than one book at a time.

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My favorite places to buy books are Amazon (follow me), Commonplace Books (the dreamiest book store in OKC) and Half Price Books. New books are about $5 off the retail price and used books are likely as the name suggests, half off the sticker price. Half Price Books also let’s you resell. I plan to take in a bunch of my read books to sell and then use that money to buy more!

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In my year of reading, I re-read two of my favorite books. I read every page, so it’s not cheating. Both of these books are by the same author, my favorite, Shauna Niequist. Shauna loves Jesus, loves food and loves people. She writes in a format similar to blog posts. Short chapters with a story in each chapter. Nothing is drawn out. I love that. If you ask me for a book recommendation or better yet my favorite book, I’ll tell you it’s Bread & Wine. You can’t not like it.

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And for the biggest win of my 2018 reading saga, is when my sister texted me for a book recommendation. Yes me, not the other way around. No better compliment.

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Here’s to 2019 and more steps taken and more pages turned!

Annie

**For my ratings and reviews, and the books on my 2019 reading list, friend me on Goodreads. Feel free to DM or email me too for more recommendations.

Bites of My Life

One week! One week until Christmas. I love the busyness of this time of year, yet also the calmness. Work is busy trying to wrap up last minute projects before everyone goes full on holiday mode, but it’s also slower than normal as everyone does indeed, already have Christmas on the brain. Socially I’m busy, but with all the good things. I’m glad I could kick my cold last week to gear up this week for Robert Earl Keen, a cookie decorating party, a Christmas friend dinner, two Christmas parties then the main event.

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-Finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine last week. Didn’t love it, has anyone else read it?
-The seasonal cold saga continues. Tried to kick it naturally with Elderberry Syrup, Zinc and Vitamin D. The trifecta according to my friends Powell.
-Low key the coolest new place to live in OKC. If you are in the market, check out West Village.
-The cutest Christmas cookies dressed up for our company holiday happy hour last week,
-Cornbread with a size of gumbo.
-Trendy healthy foodie vibes at Provision Kitchen.
-Hey OKC, have you been to Cafe Disco yet?
-Organic Squeeze pro tip: sub coconut water for your liquid and add maca. You still get a creamy taste like you would from almond milk, but with bigger health benefits.
-Made a batch of my favorite mix to portion out and give as gifts!

Annie

Extra bite: With 2019 just around the corner, read up on the projected wellness trends we should expect to see. I’m also working on two resolution posts. My 2018 resolution is to get said posts up before 2019 ;)

Bites of My Life

I had (still have) a kleenex to my nose all weekend, and got prettttty bored doing nothing, but it was nice to use my cold as an excuse to do absolutely nothing this weekend. I”m sure it helped, but I’m still trying to ward off a cold. However, lot’s of hot tea, Christmas movies and time on the couch doesn’t leave me much to complain about!

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-I just love the way my house glows this time of year.
-Merriest and brightest place in the city!
-My newest MBM’s that I can’t get enough of!
-Last day with our beloved intern at work, so tacos and a few tears were put on the agenda.
-Did I mention I love the way my house glows this time of year?
-Friday night in with a head cold, so I opted to clear out my sinuses with this easy at home curry. Just frozen stir fry veggies with coconut milk, spices and a little cornstarch to thicken.
-We were supposed to get snowed in this weekend but not even a flake of snow showed up. I was set on some snow day baking, so gingerbread men were still made with White Christmas on in the background.
-Had a visitor show up during my baking, but she had no interest in being my sous chef.
-We gifted my mom a cooking class at the new Sur La Table for her birthday back in October. We finally had our class last night and loved it! Loved the food we made even more - pork chops with verde sauce over polenta with mushroom ragu.

Annie