Fresh starts!

Blog update: I’ll no longer be updating big city, lil kitchen…

…however, can now follow me at: justoneelle.com!! Exciting! haha

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C’monnnn down, you know you want to! 😀

2014: Keep good going

Tis the season for resolutions!! Whether you’re a fan of them or not…we’ve come to that very special time of year when we are all inundated with a flurry of ads for self-help books, weight loss programs and gym specials – and sweeping promises of going cold turkey on whatever vice you have while simultaneously (not to mention miraculously) dropping 50 pounds by March.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I don’t think resolutions…goal setting…aiming to better oneself… are bad. In fact, I think having goals is an essential part of growing and changing, but I do think success lies in how you go about it. And, personally, I don’t think that success lies in picking apart your life and focusing on what you think sucks…whether that’s a relationship, your salary, weight,  job, habits, hobbies, commute, social life… your… hair? Whatever!

What if we spent time reflecting on the good…instead of focusing on what we don’t like or didn’t accomplish? I mean…shouldn’t we be moving into a new year with a renewed sense of hope? Not … “Uhhhg, okay, I’m a whale…why can’t I look like [insert your favorite celebrity here]??? 2014 will be way better if I drop like 30 lbs, right?”

I know that’s not necessarily easy to do, but wouldn’t it be great to look at what made you happy in the last year and create goals that will keep you moving in that positive direction?

So keeping that in mind, here are some of my goals:

  • Run again. The feeling of accomplishment from my races this year was incredible. Time to grab that adrenaline rush again.

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  • Give back. I was involved with a few non-profit organizations through work this year, and I’d love to expand upon that and really get involved with a cause I’m passionate about.

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  • Get social. Like in real life…with real people. Let’s be honest, it can be daunting to make new friends as an adult. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some pretty amazing people this year by going outside of my own comfort zone and joining events/groups filled with people who geek out about the same stuff I do.

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  • Segue that to…embrace my inner nerd. Embrace what I’m passionate about…who cares what other people think about it. I mean…I can love dessert and running, or high heels and Chucks. I can love bopping around to Top 40 AND any number of Joss Whedon projects. They’re not mutually exclusive. Seriously.

  • Schedule time for myself. Pen to planner. and make it happen.

  • Travel. I was finally able to get some travel in this year through work. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family in amazing cities across the entire country…time to plan, pack and take off.

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  • Appreciate it all. We live in a world surrounded by social channels filled with posts that would make you think everyone’s lives are simultaneously super exciting, glamorous, hilarious, perfectly styled and manicured, delicious, filled with storybook love and romance, busy but zen, and fat-free (spoiler alert! they’re not..) – it can be really easy to get caught up in that, and while none of those things are bad, snapshots of other people’s lives shouldn’t influence whether or not I’m happy with mine because… I have a lot to be thankful for.

  • Be happy.

So, tell me, for you… what’s good in the coming year?

Fall with favorites!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

Fiery foliage and jumping into leaf piles… crisp mornings and warm spices… comfort food and oversized sweaters. I’m technically December-baby but fall in New England is my jam.  There’s nothing else quite like it.

Oh and apple picking. Can’t forget apple picking.

One apple-picking-perk? Apple crisp. There’s nothing quite like sweet and spicy warm apples topped with an super crispy, crumbly crust, right? Last weekend, I got together with a couple of my favorite people (…and can’t forget my fave pup, Pebbles!) to tackle crisp-making.

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We worked with a super simple recipe from A Family Feast that Amanda found on Pinterest – and doubled up the recipe to up all of the (20+) apples that we had.

Pebbles was super helpful with peeling…

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We had fun peeling, chopping, mixing and crumbling — and followed the recipe almost to the tee. We added more oats than it called for – and I’m glad we did. It was definitely a sweet recipe, but not TOO sweet…but it could have gone there reallllly fast. I think if I use this recipe again, I’d use less brown sugar and add more oats.

I mean…c’mon you can’t really go wrong with a buttery, sweet crust? Really buttery…like Paula-Deen-would-approve buttery.

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After 40 minutes of hanging out in the oven, it came out golden brown, bubbly and crunchy….

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Not too shabby for a Sunday night??

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….and breakfast the next morning. Whoops.

Blog post backup! Thai yoga with Bodywaves Boston

Ohhh my gosh. How did it get to be October? The past month has been absolutely crazy – so crazy that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about a couple of awesome activities that I got a chance to try out courtesy of the Blog and Tweet Boston group!

One of those awesome activities was a Thai yoga class in the North End Greenway with Bodywaves Boston. If Bodywaves sounds familiar, they’ve been a part of a couple of events that I’ve gone to in the last year or so – including both of the Wellness by the Water events that I attended. I already knew they were amazing – so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to learn Thai yoga.

We had an absolutely gorgeous morning on the Greenway and I was paired up with Adam (@conciergeboston) and the ladies from Bodywaves walked the group the partner Thai massage/yoga.

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Adam and I quickly introduced ourselves, and then we all learned all about pushing and pulling each others limbs in a bunch of different directions.

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Oh, hey! Seriously though – my hamstrings hated this stretch (they’re the farthest things from flexible). Mwahaha.

In all seriousness, the Thai yoga instruction was awesome. Via Bodywaves – Thai massage is a” wide variety of stretching movements combined with gentle rocking and rhythmic compressions are applied. In essence it is a combination of yoga and acupressure.” It increases flexibility, promotes relaxation and is great for injury prevention.

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I walked away feeling stretched out and relaxed.

If you’re in the market for a massage and in the Boston/North End/Faneuil/Government Center area, I’d hiiiiighly recommend checking out Bodywaves. I’m already planning my next appointment with them.

Massage. needed.

 

 

 

Thanks to Bodywaves and Blog and Tweet Boston for the opportunity. I received this class free-of-charge in exchange for blogging about the experience. Opinions are my own.

 

Slow cooking and getting settled

You know what? It’s been a while since I did a standard “here’s what’s going on in my life and what I’m stuffing in my face” kind of post.

Things have been crazy lately. I moved 3 weeks ago – which…in Boston…should be declared a holiday because everyone and their mom (…and dad…and siblings, friends, acquaintances…and occasionally complete strangers… willing to schlep a couch up narrow, rickety stairwells for a case or two of beer) moves on September 1…and if you’re one of the few with off-cycle lease agreements, I envy you soo, soo much. Teach me your ways.

Anyway, the day is filled with joyous things like parking bans, families getting on each other’s nerves, thousands of inexperienced UHaul drivers, at least one box truck getting stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive…oh, and “Allston Christmas” (as it’s been dubbed). Can’t forget “Allston Christmas.”  Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 8.31.00 AM

I’m still getting settled – working full time makes it a little difficult to just get settled immediately. I’m still working on getting a dresser. My clothing situation is a little…disorganized….but you can be certain that after having a bed to sleep in…priorty numero uno was my (lil) kitchen. And yes, it’s the same little kitchen I baked and blogged out of more than 2 years ago!

At least the fridge is full!

At least the fridge is full!

After a couple months of relative chaos, it’s nice to start to feel more grounded and settled. Slowly getting back into the swing of things, and one of my to-do’s is get back in my kitchen more. I’ve eaten way too many microwavable or take-out meals since August…and I can feel it.

Last week, I saw a Moroccan-style slow-cooker recipe from Jenna @ Eat, Live, Run – and I knew it would be my project during the weekend. I was supposed to go to this yoga thing in the North End…but that got derailed when I pulled something in my shoulder and basically spent Saturday crying on the floor. Dramatics aside, it actually was pretty bad. Moving and breathing were not exactly easy. So when staying in and cooking became my only option…I slowly got myself (read: hobbled) to the grocery store for some missing ingredients and got to slow-cooking.

This is a really simply stew – chock full of veggies, lentils, chickpeas and great warm spices — a perfect fall dish. Plus, I’m a fan of anything I can slow-cook.

I’ll be honest; Jenna has this go on low for like 9 hours. While, I basically followed that timeline (I mean it is slow cooking after all), if you’re not headed to work or bed and or would just rather eat sooner rather than later – I don’t see the harm in cranking it to high and shortening the cook time. It is veggies after all so you won’t be annihilating any protein and ending up with hockey pucks floating in stock.

I mean, just look at all that veggie goodness — butternuts squash, zucchini, yellow and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas…it’s just a powerhouse dish. Plus, since I live solo – I love making anything that I can make a ton of and re-heat easily, aaaand stews have the added bonus of just getting better as they sit!

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I’ve been digging into this for a better part of a week now. I’ll definitely make again…maybe incorporated different, seasonal ingredients as fall pushes on.

What’s your go-to dish once the temps dip a little bit?