Summer Bean Salad

I live for fresh, flavorful salads in the summer. This bean-based salad is insanely easy to throw together and doesn’t require any heat or cooking. My mom made it for Emmy’s birthday party and I loved it, so I knew I had to share it here on the blog. It makes a perfect side dish to a BBQ or picnic, especially for those who don’t eat meat, and is great on top of greens or even by itself. Don’t let the short list of ingredients fool you. This is anything but bland! Although not necessary, I recommend making this salad the day before you plan to eat it because the longer the flavors marinate, the better it tastes, in my opinion.

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Emmy’s First Birthday

Emmy is ONE! Her birthday was on May 30th and we had a little family party the weekend before to celebrate the big day. Although the first few months after she was born were extremely challenging and felt like an eternity at the time (in case you missed it, you can read about that here), I look back now and can’t believe that was a full year ago. I feel like I blinked and all the sudden I have a one-year-old. I guess that’s how it goes, right?

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Why I Became a Beautycounter Consultant

I recently decided to join Beautycounter as a consultant and I want to share a bit as to why. First, what is Beautycounter? If you’re not familiar, Beautycounter is a brand with a simple mission: to get safer products into the hands of everyone. They sell high quality personal care products–from cosmetics to skin and hair care to sunscreen–that are free of questionable ingredients,1500 of them to be exact. Beyond simply selling products, part of their mission is to advocate for better laws within the personal care industry, and educate consumers about the need for safer products. You can read more about the company here, but that’s what they’re all about in a nutshell.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (all from Amazon Prime!)

I’m not sure about you but, since becoming a mom, I find it hard to stay on top of holidays, birthdays, etc., let alone plan for them in advance. I’ve become that person running out to the store the day of a birthday party to buy a gift bag, tissue paper, and a card. All I can say is thank God for Amazon Prime! It has saved me countless times when I couldn’t make it out to a mall or specific store to buy an in-person gift.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner on May 12, I thought I’d round up some gift ideas for the moms in your life that can all be purchased via Prime. Doing something with your mom in person on Mother’s Day is always the best gift of all, but that’s not always in the cards. Even if it is, it’s always nice to give her a little something special! Since returning things on Amazon can be a pain, I only included things that have been heavily reviewed, with ratings of 4.5 or 5, and that don’t need to be tried on. If you’re stumped on a gift this year (or just really short on time), I hope this offers some inspiration!

1. A silk pillowcase: Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is supposed to do wonders for your hair and skin. Is that true? Who knows. If nothing else though, it feels super luxurious and fancy! I’ve been meaning to snag one for myself and this one has excellent reviews and Good Housekeeping’s seal of approval.

2. Throw blanket: No matter the season, a nice throw blanket can provide a little comfort when you’re trying to relax. They can also add a decorative touch to a room. I have quite a few throughout the house and I use them daily. I know my mom does too. If leopard print isn’t appealing, this blanket comes in lots of different colors.

3. Mom Tote: This bag is basic but practical and I think it’s adorable. I love the idea of filling it with things your mom loves, like specific books or magazines, wine, speciality food items, beauty products, etc. That would make for a personalized and thoughtful gift I think any mom would appreciate!

4. Diffuser & Essential oils: I recently started diffusing essential oils at bedtime. It elevates my whole nighttime routine and kind of makes me feel like I’m at a spa! If your mom is into candles and doesn’t have a diffuser, I think a diffuser with a sampling of essential oils would make a nice gift. I really like the look of this diffuser because it isn’t massive and bulky like many others. It resembles a candle and doesn’t stick out in a room like a sore thumb. When it comes to essential oils, you have to be careful about the quality, especially since it’s something that’s being released into the air you breathe. I would stick to top rated brands, like Young Living, which I linked here.

5. Ceramic ring dish: Every time your mom drops her rings (or other jewelry) on this dish, she’ll get a little reminder of you and how much you appreciate her. How sweet is that?

6. Best Mom Ever Mug: I hesitated about featuring a mug here but I think this one is worthy of inclusion. I love the design and I like that it comes with a lid and a spoon.

Do you shop on Amazon for gifts? Have you found any gems?

Lightened Up Spanish-Style Rice (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

I have a new recipe to share today, and it’s a good one! This is one of those meals that I just threw together on a whim one night, with few expectations, but both David and I liked it so much that I’ve been making it on the regular ever since. I struggled with what to call this because it’s half cauliflower rice, half brown rice, with sort of a hodgepodge of ingredients. At the end of the day though, it reminds me of Spanish rice, with a few extras (like beans and kale) thrown in. So that’s what I’m calling it! Continue reading “Lightened Up Spanish-Style Rice (Vegan & Gluten-Free)”

Emmy Update: 9 Months

It has been two months since I posted an Emmy update and, in baby time, that’s like two years. You never know when babies will be over one thing and on to the next, so I wanted to capture some of Emmy’s recent developments. I know I sound like a broken record always saying how quickly time is flying, but man. Time is seriously flying! I can’t believe in three more months Emmy will be one and on her way to toddlerhood. That is so crazy to me. They say the days are long and the years are short and that has never felt more true! Continue reading “Emmy Update: 9 Months”

Sautéed Kale with White Beans (Vegan)

Eating healthfully in the winter can be tough. When it’s dark and cold out, I often crave rich, heavy foods (or plain old junk food), not salads and other lighter options. It can be a struggle. That’s why I’m really excited to share this recipe today. It’s warm, flavorful, and satisfying, but also extremely healthy! And like most recipes I post, it’s easy to make. It’s so easy, in fact, that I have been making it almost every week for the past few months. The only ingredients are olive oil, garlic, kale, diced tomatoes, white beans, garlic powder, and dried onion. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Continue reading “Sautéed Kale with White Beans (Vegan)”

My Favorite Baby Books

Did you know that today is World Read Aloud Day? I did not (thank you SJP!) but, to honor such an important topic, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books to read aloud to babies. Studies have shown that reading to kids, especially young kids, is key for their development, and it’s something we do a lot of in our house. Both of my parents are librarians and I’m lucky that they instilled a love of reading in us at an early age. I hope that I can do the same for my kids! I’ve had a half-written post drafted for months now about my favorite baby books and once I saw that today is World Read Aloud Day, I figured I may as well get it up! I’m all for any effort to raise awareness of and encourage reading to kids. The books I’m mentioning here are ones I read with Jackson on repeat when he was a baby, and I’m now using them with Emmy too.  Continue reading “My Favorite Baby Books”

Curried Lentil Soup

We are in serious soup weather right now. As I write this, it feels like negative 15 degrees outside (no that’s not a typo). Fortunately this cold spell isn’t supposed to last more than 24 hours, but yikes that’s cold! It’s safe to say I will not be venturing out today. Days like this call for hot tea, a cozy fire, and homemade soup. Lots and lots of soup. Continue reading “Curried Lentil Soup”