Monday 5: Food & like one other thing I’m excited about this week

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Another rainy Monday here in Charleston. Although to be fair (will TBF ever be a thing?!) we got our share of sun Saturday and Sunday morning. But it has rained a lot this summer…the plants are excited about it. This weekend I spent some time with my family; we went to the movies, went to the beach, and had some friends over for brunch Sunday morning.

Nicholas and I went with my brother and a few other friends to play tennis on Sullivan’s Island (they played, I practiced) yesterday afternoon and then we went for a short-lived beach trip since the weather wasn’t ideal.

Hopefully this weather doesn’t last too long, although it is good to get some rainy day activities in (anyone have any suggestions?!).

Massage

For our latest ‘monthaversary’, Nicholas gave me a massage (apparently he thinks I’m tightly wound…) and I’m so excited about it. I’ve been thinking of going to get a massage for a few months now but was never able to actually get myself to schedule an appointment. I have my appointment Friday and am definitely looking forward to it. Yay for thoughtful gifts!

Wine & cheese night

Nicholas has been wanting to start a weekly/bi-weekly tradition of some sort of ‘wine night’ for a little bit now and we finally had the first one last night. It was pretty low-key with a few bottles of wine and an assortment of cheeses (thank you to our friend Sara who brought the great spread!). A few people came over and we chatted for a couple of hours. It was nice to have friends over in a smaller group and more laid back environment. I think hosting people is such a nice practice that we don’t see as often anymore. It always feels a lot easier to meet up for drinks or food. Having people over invites a deeper level of intimacy and trust in friendships and gives us an opportunity to practice hospitality (plus you have to clean up a little).

Greek food

I’m not a good cook, as anyone in my family will attest. However, I do like cooking for other people and would like to improve. We’ve decided to try a few recipes together that belong to a certain culture. This week we’re going Greek and hoping to do a little research on the country itself while trying out some of their typical dishes. This way we expand our repertoire, learn a thing or two about other cultures and (hopefully) eat some yummy food.

Homemade brunch

As I said in my intro, Sunday morning we had a few people come over for brunch at our house. My stepdad Ruben made Venezuelan arepas and we had eggs, chocolate croissants and avocado as well. Our house it remarkably small so it was fun to have nine people fit in our snug living room. Everyone loves brunch and there’s something fun about dressing up and going out; however having it at our home was a cool way to bring people together (and a little cheaper for everyone).

Dunkirk

Saturday we went to go see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Even though I had my eyes closed a fair amount, the movie was really well done. The movie depicted what the soldiers went through who had been cornered by Hitler and how they were rescued. We see the soldiers on the island, the air force and the role they played as well as civilians and how they came to the rescue. It was especially impressive how they worked together to bring about relief and how essential each role/person is. It was also incredible to see how much the soldiers went through and to witness the emotional/psychological trauma they experience (in addition to the obvious physical hardships). It was a good movie that is thought provoking and inspiring (and Harry Styles is in it, in case you’re into that sort of thing).

Here’s to another great week!

xo

Miranda

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Monday 5: Teamwork & other things to be excited about this week

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This weekend was a blast. Crazy, poop-filled, lots of screaming…and really fun. Friday evening Nicholas and I biked through old Mount Pleasant (one of my favorite areas of Charleston) and then walked the Ravenel Bridge. I had never been there at night and it was cool to see the water and the city all lit up after dark.

Saturday was the long-awaited wedding of our friends Anthony and Kaitlyn. Nicholas and I were charged with the care of six-month-old baby James for the day. I was there in the morning watching the brides and bridesmaids get ready which was really fun; I had never been on that side of the preparations before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few hair and make-up artists present, Chic-fil-a and champagne…what else do you need?

We had James during the ceremony (which we left after twenty minutes when James decided he no longer could stand it), as well as during the reception afterward. We got to eat good food, dance a little and take a walk around downtown with James when he became frustrated…not a bad gig.

Sunday was more relaxed, Nicholas headed back to Ohio for the final stretch before his move here and I got to catch up on some housework and (much needed) nail painting.

I hope you had a fun weekend, this one was definitely one for the books! And after that suuuper long intro, here is this week’s Monday 5.

Biking

Friday afternoon we biked from Mike’s Bikes in Mount Pleasant over to Sullivan’s Island and then to Isle of Palms. It was truly a gorgeous ride and it made me remember the joy of leisurely biking (no hardcore cycling for me, thank you very much). Even though it was really warm, the breeze made the heat bearable. I love how mindful biking is, you get to enjoy the views without checking your phone or worrying about traffic (although you should be careful with cars). It’s such a simple pleasure, plus you get some exercise. It’s something you can enjoy alone or with someone else, and in a place like Charleston there really is no shortage of beautiful rides to enjoy. I don’t own a bike, but this weekend made me seriously consider investing in one.

Printing photos

Over the past few months, the alert that I am short on storage has showed up about once a day on my phone. As much as I try to keep photo storage to the minimum, delete texts and unnecessary apps, somehow it still adds up. I’ve considered upgrading to a newer phone with more storage, I know I may need to eventually but I am very reluctant to do so while this phone still works perfectly. I decided a good solution (at least for now) is to print more of my pictures and actually put them in photo albums as opposed to keeping them stored in my phone or computer. Pictures can seem overrated with how many we take today, but they really are important. There are so many fun, sweet moments that we experience and pictures are a great way of reminding us of the good times we’ve had and the people we spend them with. That’s why I printed a bunch through Shutterfly (you only have to pay for shipping if you print 4X6) and am looking for the best way to store them this week. I’m excited to have more concrete mementos and to find a cute way of displaying them (ideas welcome!).

Farmer’s Markets

Tuesday evening we made dinner together for my family and we stopped by the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market to buy some of the ingredients. It was fun to look around, be outside and enjoy the laid back environment. It’s such a different feel from the sterile grocery store and it gave me an appreciation for local farmers. We got coffee and a few vegetables for our dish; I think our chicken tostadas turned out a lot more fresh-tasting then they would otherwise (PS the avocado sauce is amazing). The Farmer’s Market is a really fun way to spend a little bit of time outside and support our community while getting some delicious goodies.

Wedding celebrations

I can be a little skeptical of the wedding industry as it seems to have become so over the top and almost too elaborate. I definitely feel that it’s about the marriage…not the wedding. However, celebrating with Kaitlyn and Anthony this weekend, I understand a little more now how attention to detail and effort can make for a beautiful celebration of a really important day. Even though it isn’t just about the dress, or the cake, or the flowers, it really is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate something really wonderful (two lives becoming one) with people who love you and led you to where you are today. We had so much fun at the Ragghianti-Elliot wedding and I know it wasn’t without much time, effort, and money that it was able to happen. We loved celebrating the union of these two people and now I understand more why the Big Day is big (although I’m still an advocate of being financially savvy when possible).

Teamwork

This weekend Nicholas and I really had to make a joint effort. While I probably could have made it through the day without him, having him there made a huge difference and made something that could have been really stressful actually enjoyable. I love kids, but taking care of someone else’s child on a really important day that involves a lot of transportation and moving parts isn’t a small matter. At one point James was screaming while I was trying to change him in the back of my car, the heat was making both of us sweat bullets and Nicholas was on the phone trying to figure out where we needed to go for the pictures. While not highly pleasant, both of us were laughing because of how ridiculous it all seemed and knowing it was going to work out. It’s one thing to deal with a situation like that on your own, it’s quite another to have someone there offering help and supporting you. It’s good to remember that we don’t have to do it all alone; and asking for help and approaching things as a unit if often a lot more fruitful.

Monday 5: Being steadfast & other things to be excited about this week.

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Another weekend come and gone! Friday evening my sister came into town for the weekend, we had a nice time exploring Fort Moultrie with a couple of her friends Saturday morning. I love doing the touristy things when people come to visit!

We also went to one of my favorite restaurants here in Mount Pleasant, called Vickery’s which is by the water and has delicious seafood.

This past week was a restful one as I had not one but two days off unexpectedly! Pretty sweet. I could have been a lot more productive with my time off but it was certainly nice to have time that I could make for those things that normally don’t fit in your schedule (like talking to your grandma and attempting homemade bread).

I hope this week is a good one, here are five things I’m excited about that I wanted to share!

Kale and pasta recipe

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to stray (just a little) from my Pinterest tendencies and explore recipes from cookbooks and magazines. This was one I found in the February issue of Bon Appetit and loved it! It’s pretty simple, the main ingredients are a thick pasta and kale with a fair amount of black pepper. I like that it did include kale (which I’m not a huge fan of) and that it used a type of pasta that I hadn’t tried before. I think it’s a great dish for a weekday that you don’t have a lot of time but want something that is yummy and semi-nutritious.

Something I’m good at

Okay I know I put a song in last week’s Monday 5 but I couldn’t help myself…I’m obsessed with Brett Eldredge’s newest release ‘Somethin’ I’m Good At.’ It’s so funny! And catchy and just a happy tune that makes me smile. It’s different from most country songs on the radio right now and I just love how upbeat and happy-go-lucky it is.

Party hats

Last week I went to Old Navy and while waiting in line to pay I saw these adorable party hats by Meri Meri. Hosting a good party is a skill I hope to nurture and develop more over time and I think it is often all about the details. These hats are definitely one of those fun, cutesy things that add more flavor and character to events. The colors are really pretty and I love the sparkle at the bottom! It turns out Meri Meri has some pretty great party favors, definitely worth a look before your next event!

Homemade bread!!!

Okay if the exclamation points didn’t give it away, I’m really excited about this one. A goal I recently set for myself is learning how to make delicious homemade bread. Growing up my grandmother had the best homemade bread and eating it when we went to visit her was an absolute treat. I feel like making bread is one of those lost arts that people don’t make time for anymore and I think it’s too bad. There’s something really rewarding about putting time and effort (kneading is hard!) into something special to share with others. After chatting with my grandmother for about half an hour just about the directions in the recipe she uses, I felt more confident going into my project (wouldn’t it be great if we could do that with Martha Stewart?!). I didn’t have super high expectations but I was really pleased with the results. While not as good as my grandmother’s, the bread I made was yummy and had a great texture. I hope to keep refining this skill and share some of the love with people I know!

Steadfast-ness

So it turns out steadfast isn’t meant to be a noun…just an adjective. But steadfast is such a great word. It means ‘resolutely or dutifully unwavering’ (definition courtesy of Google). I know I can often be driven by a momentary emotion or thought; so for example, if I think in the morning, ‘it would nice to have smoothie today,’ I’ll often go out of my way to get a smoothie, whether I really should or not. Or if I get irritated by something small or feel uncertainty about something, I’ll make my next decision based on what I feel at that moment…as opposed to allowing the feeling to pass before acting. This can become unhealthy especially when it comes to strong emotions like fear and big decisions. I like the idea of being steadfast because I think of it as a more integrated way to be. Instead of acting based on one feeling or thought, you take into consideration the whole picture and use logic in addition to emotion. I guess something I’d like to work on is being more steadfast, allowing a thought to be just a thought and a feeling to be just a feeling before making decisions based on things that aren’t necessarily the whole truth.

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Careless free time & other things I’m excited about

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Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had a relaxing couple of days. On Friday, my dad, who lives in NC, and my sister, who studies at USC, came to visit my brother and me. We had the best time, enjoying the excellent cuisine Charleston has to offer, the beautiful weather and just spending time together. My steadily improving health was also a plus.

I finally got a chance to visit the Angel Oak tree on John’s Island, so cool!

Of course all the excitement left me pretty worn out. Even coming up with this week’s five wasn’t easy! But I definitely felt more energized after than before, so I hope the list helps you with any lethargy you may be experiencing this morning too.

Otherwise coffee is also an option.

Recipe folder

This weekend my mom came back from a conference with a handful of magazines which I quickly went through looking for any recipes I might want to try. As much as I love Pinterest, I’m hoping to step up my cooking game a little and often Pinterest seems to focus on convenience as opposed to high-quality cuisine. While I love quick and easy recipes, I also would like to try something a little more challenging, even if it does take more time (and is more risky). Magazines such as Martha Stewart, Southern Living or Real Simple tend to have great recipes with various levels of difficulty. I’m starting to pull a few when I see one I want to try and am keeping them in my recipe folder to keep track of. It’s just a regular folder (I mean a pretty one, obvi)… labeled ‘MK’s Recipes’ but I’m really excited about it! As I attempt the various dishes I’ll post the good ones (that I don’t mess up).

Health initiative: baby steps

Being sick for so long really took a toll on my exercise and eating habits. Irregular appetite and low energy levels tend to do that. I realized as I started to feel better that getting back into my routine was going to be more challenging than I thought… turns out going to the gym isn’t as fun as I remembered. I therefore have been setting myself tiny goals to slowly improve and get back to where I was. Two weeks ago my goal was to go to the gym twice… which I did not accomplish (*embarrassed emoji*). But this past week I aimed for three workouts and made it! It’s not much, I know, but I’ve found slow, gradual improvements to be more effective and lasting than dramatic changes. There’s nothing like being sick to make you realize how incredibly valuable our health is; learning to nurture it is more of a lifelong journey than a New Year’s resolution, in my opinion. In any case, yay for baby steps!

Careless free time

I came across this term years ago. I remember picking up a book at Barnes & Noble about relationships when I was fifteen or so (I have always been a little too serious for my age) and read about careless free time and the important role it plays in healthy relationships. I have no idea what the title of the book was or who it was by (some psychologist I think) but I do remember vividly the term and it’s meaning… for some reason it came to mind this past week and I’m glad it did! The idea was that for relationships (of any kind) to flourish, careless free time is essential. This means time that isn’t spent watching a screen, a sporting event, or at a dinner party. It’s just time together unencumbered by a time limit or to-do list. For example, this weekend during the time I spent with my family perusing downtown, visiting the Angel Oak tree and walking by the waterfront, we weren’t checking the time, rushing, or watching TV…we were just together. And it was awesome! I think today we have a hard time with this concept as we feel pressured to be productive and to be available via phones 24/7, but the truth is without intentional time together focused on each other, it’s hard for any relationship to flourish.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant ‘Forever Festive’

On the more material side of things…I came across this nail polish just in time for Valentine’s day! It is a beautiful, deep red and has a thinner brush that is easier to maneuver. I typically don’t like to go with colors that aren’t neutral on my nails, but a good red is definitely the exception- so pretty! And perfect for date night.

Romance

Okay before you get all judgmental on me and say how incredibly cheesy that is, hear me out. Valentine’s day can be seen as a commercial gimmick invented to sell chocolate hearts and expensive flowers. But, Saint Valentine lived around 200 AD and is commemorated for marrying Christian couples (which was a no-no under Claudius in Rome) and converting individuals under persecution. Because it was so long ago, there isn’t too much known about him but I think in any case real romance is something to be celebrated. In today’s cynical ‘no strings attached’ culture, we sometimes forget that good and wholesome relationships are a thing; not using someone to feel better about yourself or avoid loneliness, but authentically encountering another person by developing a friendship that turns into a romantic relationship. Romance can partially be gifts and sweet words, but to me it’s even more so just getting to know the person, spending time with them and making each other a priority. Doing those things is risky (at least more so than hooking up or buying someone flowers) but then so was marrying Christians in 200 AD.