The Fab Five: October 2014 1

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1. Nourish

Nourish -- Lorna Jane Cookbook

I’ve sung Lorna Jane’s praises on this blog before, and her recently released cookbook is no exception. Not only is the physical book super high quality and gorgeously designed…it’s full of incredible recipes. I love Lorna’s balanced approach to healthy eating that emphasizes truly nourishing your body as opposed to counting calories and dieting. I’ve already whipped up two of her recipes, and they did not disappoint!

My (successful) attempts at Nut + Seed energy bread and Butternut Chickpea Salad from the Nourish cookbook.

My (successful) attempts at Nut + Seed energy bread and Butternut Chickpea Salad from the Nourish cookbook.

Not quite ready to pull the trigger on Lorna’s cookbook? You can access several of her other nutritious recipes on the LJ Move Nourish Believe blog for free!

 

2. Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire

I know, I know. Boardwalk Empire is currently in its fifth season, and I’m just getting started. Luckily, the HBO Go app (for tablet, iPhone and Apple TV) makes catching up ridiculously easy. Scott and I started Season 1 two nights ago, and are already hooked. We may or may not have spent the past 48 hours walking around the house saying things like, “Gee…I really wish you would fold that laundry, doll,” in 1920’s gangster accents.

 

3. Lululemon  Wunder Under Leggings

lululemon-wunder-under

Yes, these are basically $100 stretch pants.

But they’re kind of the best thing since individual mini wine bottles.

My local Lulu hemmed them to the correct length and shipped them to my house for free. They are warm, they are comfy, they look like a million bucks. (For that price, they’d better!) The logos are hidden, so you can wear them outside the gym without a reflective Lululemon logo distracting from your boots and infinity scarf.

 

 

4. FitBit Zip

FitBit Zip

I’ve been a FitBit fan for years, and was devastated when Scott mistakenly washed and dried my FitBit One last month. (It was still attached to a pair of underwear. Whoops.)

Before I could order a new device, the organization I work for scored a ton of free FitBit’s for employees through our health insurance company! A few days later, I was rocking my new Zip with pride. While the Zip is less robust than the One (It doesn’t track sleep or stairs climbed), I actually prefer it. It uses a regular watch battery, which means I don’t have to recharge it every couple of days, and syncs to my computer/iPhone app with ease. The One had some major syncing issues. The Zip’s larger size is still small enough to wear discretely, but way easier to find. (And hopefully unlikely to be overlooked while washing dirty underwear.)

 

 

5. Organic Food Bar – Active Greens

organic-food-bar

A friend recently tried to ordered a box of these online, and ended up mistakenly ordering 12 boxes. They ended up being so delicious, she opted to keep them all! She was kind enough to gift me a box, and they’re already almost gone. Not only are they delicious and filling…the ingredients are SO clean, green and healthy! Check it out:

  • Organic Almond Butter
  • Organic Dates
  • Organic Premium Blue Agave Nectar
  • Organic Brown Rice Protein
  • Organic Raisins
  • Organic Bio Sprouts
  • Flax Organic Bio Sprouts
  • Quinoa, Organic Wheat Juice Powder
  • Organic Barley Juice Powder
  • Organic Sesame Seeds
  • Organic Spirulina
  • Organic Blueberry
  • Organic Raspberry
  • Organic Broccoli Sprouts
  • Organic Beet Juice
  • Organic Carrot Juice

I’m a huge fan of bars, and it’s great to have a tasty option I can munch on without feeling guilty for eating a ton of processed junk. At 300 calories and with 7g of fiber and 11g of protein, these have become my new favorite go-to breakfast!

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What are you loving this month? Anyone else have a total TV crush on Boardwalk’s Nucky Thompson??

Psst! Want more Fab Five goodness? It’s all right here.

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I survived Airbnb 2

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airbnb

When booking lodging for last weekend’s trip to Napa, my brother and I ran into a problem.

AKA, a stupid golf tournament.

Apparently, this tourney was huge. So huge that the golf clapping audience snatched up pretty much every single room in Napa. Little bro and I were left with two options.

  1. Book a room at a posh property in Napa for somewhere around $600 a night.
  2. Book a room at a not-so-posh property 45 minutes out of Napa for around $40 a night.

It was a lose-lose situation. We needed the room for four nights, which made option one totally out-of-budget. Also? My brother was only staying with me for the first two evenings, then transitioning into a separate property with his girlfriend fiancé for the two nights following the proposal. Translation? He would actually be paying that outrageous price for a total of six nights. I’m all about the occasional splurge…but this was ludicrous.

Option two concerned me for several other reasons.

  • It was only $40 a night.
  • It was 45 minutes away…problematic since we were sharing a rental car.
  • I would be staying there by myself for the second two nights. (And it was only $40 a night.)

I had been desperately searching the internet for days when I finally remembered a blog post my friend Megan had shared about her experience as an Airbnb host. I decided to check out Airbnb.com and see if anything interesting popped up.

Twenty minutes later, I had booked a room just minutes from downtown Napa for a mere $85 a night. Sure, it meant sharing a queen-sized bed with my younger brother for two nights and staying in a stranger’s home–but all of this seemed far more appealing than dropping a couple grand on lodging or catching bed bugs from a skeezy motel. Airbnb it was!

I’d describe Airbnb as being kind of like Uber…but for bedrooms! Verified Airbnb “hosts” are able to rent out various properties (this can be a private guest room, an apartment…even an entire home/condo) to approved guests. I simply created a guest profile, messaged my potential hosts about wanting to stay in their guest room, and waited for them to approve the request. It was quick, simple, and honestly kind of fun! Now I just had to worry about what the actual stay would be like.

Luckily, it was amazing. So much better than a hotel in so many ways. Here’s what I loved about it:

  • Airbnb is heavily based on reviews. (Both guests and hosts earn reviews after a stay.) The detailed, honest feedback from past guests made picking a room in a stranger’s home way less scary.
  • There was no annoying check-in process. I informed our host we would be arriving after midnight, and they made arrangements for us to let ourselves in.
  • The house was beautiful, well maintained, and so much more personal than a hotel.
  • Ours hosts were super friendly and fun to interact with. They gave us lots of great tips on local wineries and restaurants, and a free $25 Lyft voucher! Cha-ching.
  • Parking was a breeze. We were able park on their quiet street for free…way better than paying an arm and a leg for the inconvenience of a parking garage.
  • FREE WINE! There was a delicious bottle of wine and two glasses waiting for us in our room. One of the hosts works in the wine industry, and gave us vouchers for $200 of free wine tastings. Napa wine tastings are ridiculously expensive — we used up all of the vouchers and were incredibly grateful.
  • Privacy wasn’t an issue, as I thought it might be. Our room was quiet and secluded, and we had our own bathroom.
  • There were adorable dogs! (This was mentioned in the listing, so it wasn’t a surprise.) I kept trying to lure them into our guest room to come snuggle with me, but they were too polite to impose in such a way. Maybe next time.
  • We saved a ton of cash, which allowed for more dining, wine tasting–and of course–SHOPPING.

Clearly, my Airbnb experience was convenient, affordable, and an absolute delight. I plan on booking rooms through them on a regular basis, and have already reserved an entire condo in Maui for a trip we’re taking with my other brother and his girlfriend in January. Airbnb was significantly cheaper than VRBO–the site I typically use for vacation rentals–and our Maui condo is gorgeous and in a fabulous, central location. Airbnb for the win!

If you’re traveling anywhere soon and need a unique, fun and affordable place to stay, I can’t recommend Airbnb enough. I’d use the site to rent my own guest bedroom if it wasn’t completely open to the rest of our home. I can’t imagine there would be too many people who’d want to be that…er…exposed.

And if they are down with that? Well…I don’t think I’m quite ready to have them stay at my house.

(Although I’m sure the snuggle whores Jolie and Penny would absolutely adore such a set up.)

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Giving Airbnb a shot? If you use my referral link, I’ll get a $25 credit! Just sayin’.

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The cat’s out of the bag…. 1

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…in other words, the ring’s out of the box!ring

My super-secret trip to Napa Valley, CA this weekend was more than just a quick getaway — I was on a mission to help my brother pull of the perfect proposal!

Not sure which is more surprising…the fact that my little bro actually trusted me to keep the entire thing a secret, or that for the very first time my adult life, I am sick of wine.

Regardless, the plans went off without a hitch. She said yes! We munched on goose liver pate, sipped on Cristal and brunched ’til we were blue in the face. It was an absolutely perfect weekend, and I was honored to be a part of such a special milestone for my brother and sister-in-law to be!

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The honey-do list 1

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scott

I’m abandoning the blog once more, but only until Monday. While I can’t explain why or where I will be, just know that I won’t be home, nor will I be logging into WordPress.

How’s that for mysterious?

In my absence, I’m leaving Scott with a brief list of things that need to be taken care of before I return. Some I haven’t had time to do myself. Some I’m too lazy to do myself. But with most of these items, I’m simply not domestic enough to do them myself. (Thank goodness I “married up” in the cooking and cleaning department.)

The “Complete before your wife returns or she will threaten to microwave your favorite deodorant and create a huge mess in the process when she gets home” list

(That list title is a joke. Mostly.)

Make and can salsa

Our neighbor gifted us with tons of fresh tomatoes from his garden, and they need to be dealt with. I’d do this myself if I weren’t so afraid of giving myself Botulism in the canning process.

Watch Season 1 and 2 of House of Cards

There’s no way in Hades I’m having another Frank Underwood marathon all by my lonesome.

Make wine

Our apple tree has been harvested, and we’re up to our eyeballs in spoiling fruit. Wine seems like the perfect way to use them all up. Also? Katrina be thirsty.

Pick up the Kitchenaid

Our standup mixer broke down earlier this year, forcing yours truly to mix all of her baked goods with –gasp–a wooden spoon! (Cue the violins.) We took the mixer to a repair shop in St. Paul, who called us a few days later to let us know that a mere fifty bucks was all it would take to get the Kitchenaid back in tip top shape. The embarrassing part? We received that call…oh…about four months ago. 

Remove our dock from the lake

I’d do this myself but…oh, that’s right…I really hate being waist-deep in frigid lake water while lifting heavy stuff.

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Aren’t you so glad you’re not married to me?

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