Best Buys of 2018

2018 Best Buys

Here are my favorite items I purchased in 2018:

1.    TARGET FIELDCREST RESERVE BATH TOWELS: If you want to spend less for plush terry towels, the Target Fieldcrest Reserve Bath Towel is a good-quality towel at a bargain price.

2.    DYSON AIRWRAP: I have made an effort to protect my hair from heat damage by investing in the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer and Dyson Airwrap. The Dyson Airwrap is easy to use. It’s clipless and sucks your hair onto the wand, and as you move the wand closer to your scalp, it automatically curls hair around the wand. No twirling, clipping, or wrapping. I also recommend the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer. Both products keep my hair smooth and healthy looking. By investing in quality products, I am saving money by styling my hair myself. I do not go to blow dry bars. I also use Oribe styling products.

3.    APPLE AIRPODS: The clarity and sound-quality for conversations is unparalleled. Already have AirPods? Install this cool program on your Mac computer so you can connect your AirPods with one click.

4.    KIRKLAND SIGNATURE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: The best olive oil according to chefs. This is the best deal at Costco. It is also the olive oil Chef Samin Nosrat recommends in her best-selling book Salt, Fat, Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. If you are looking to improve your cooking skills, it is a must-read. It also makes a great gift for newlyweds and college grads. She also has a show on Netflix.

5.    SIETE TORTILLAS AND CHIPS: The best grain free tortillas and chips on the market. I prefer this brand over any other brand based on the taste. If you have celiac disease or follow a Paleo diet or similar program, you must try their products!

6.   BREVILLE ORACLE ESPRESSO MACHINE: I decided to invest in a good quality espresso machine for my home. I was spending way too much money at local coffee shops when I could make my own drinks at home. The Breville Oracle is remarkably easy to use, despite how complicated and fancy it looks. It’s also great for entertaining guests in your home.

7.   NORWEX ODOUR ELIMINATOR: Odour Eliminator from Norwex is an enzyme-based, organic odor-remover that can be sprayed in the air, around or on the source of the odor. Odour Eliminator works to remove the source of the odor, rather than simply masking it. If you have pets, this works great to alleviate pet odors. I love that the smell does not give me a headache.

8.   NURTAMILK: The Nutramilk makes a variety of nut butter and milks in a short amount of time. You can use a VitaMix to make nut milks, but you have to soak the nuts overnight then strain the milk, while this does everything for you. It will save a ton of money after a few months of use and is worth the investment.

9.    WEATHERMAN UMBRELLA: I finally found an umbrella that is durable and stylish. It’s truly the best umbrella you’ll ever use. Weatherman was designed by a meteorologist.

10.  PALEO CHEF KETCHUP: This ketchup tastes delicious with NO added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup. I also use the steak sauce for marinades. Check out Steve’s other products. Everything is gluten-free, and Paleo approved.

11.  LASKO HEATER: I use this heater in my bathroom and when I’m working at my desk. It provides just the right amount of heat during the cold winter months.

12.  IKEA DISH TOWELS: I use this insanely cheap cloth for everything from cleaning up spills to drying herbs. They are a steal at 80 cents each. Buy several at a time like I do and don’t fret when it’s time to toss one.

What products did you fall in love with in 2018? Tell me in the comments.

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The Chic List: King Cake, Dolly Parton and Home Organization

What to Do, Eat, Read, Watch and Listen To

The Editor’s guide to the best things to do, read, eat, watch and listen to this month.

DO

CELERY JUICE: I started drinking celery juice in the morning on an empty stomach, and I noticed a difference in the way I felt almost immediately.

This article explains the benefits of drinking celery juice. 

You should see and feel results in as little as seven days after starting your celery juice habit. If you’re really not feeling well, you may want to start slowly with 6-8 ounces and build up to 16 ounces from there. You should notice a difference in digestion and gut health in as little as 4 to 5 days.

Listen to this episode of the Medical Medium podcast and learn about the benefits of drinking celery juice and how to get started. Be sure to check out other episodes of the Medical Medium podcast

BIBLE READING PLANS: if you’re considering reading the Bible through this year, it’s not too late! Here’s a great resource for various Bible reading plans.

READ

IT’S NOT SUPPOSE TO BE THIS WAY | Lysa Terkeurst: Whether you’re dealing with small disappointments or devastating heartbreaks, this book will help you honestly deal with your pain.

WELCOME TO ADULTING: NAVIGATING FAITH, FRIENDSHIP, FINANCES, AND THE FUTURE | J.P. Pokluda: This a must-read for young adults. Pokluda is the leader of The Porch, the largest weekly young adult gathering of its kind in the country. 

JP lays out a roadmap for how to navigate your life as an adult, addressing topics such as:

• finding a spouse
• finding your career calling
• resolving conflict
• controlling anxiety
• dating
• recovering from addictions
• discovering your purpose on this earth

You can also listen to his weekly podcast, View From The Porch.

WATCH

QUEEN OF THE WORLD HBO: Queen Elizabeth II has given privileged access to Oxford Films to capture the Queen, her staff, her family and her residences to tell the story of how the Commowealth has been a central focus and passion throughout Her Majesty’s life. Recently released on HBO, have a look at the trailer below.

SHINE ON WITH REESE EP. 1 | DOLLY PARTON: Reese Witherspoon interviews Dolly Parton at her home in Nashville.

TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO |NETFLIX: In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter in their homes.

MASTER THE MESS | HELLO SUNSHINE NETWORK: It features The Home Edit team, a traveling duo of professional organizers made up of Nashville-based Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. You can browse The Home Edit Instagram account to see more beautifully organized spaces, and you can also subscribe to their blog to learn more tips and tricks for home organization.

EAT

SABA NEW ORLEANS: Alton Shaya’s new Israeli restaurant is now open in New Orleans.

EAT WITH SAFTA: Alton Shaya expanded his growing restaurant empire with a new Israeli restaurant in Denver.

EAT FIT KING CAKE: Molly Kimball, registered dietitian and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit has worked closely with John Caluda of Caluda’s Cottage Catering to develop this Eat Fit King Cake that’s also Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low Carb and Keto-approved. For the current list of Eat Fit King Cake retailers and more information visit OchsnerEatFit.com and follow @EatFitNOLA on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates.

ALL ABOUT CAKE | CHRISTINA TOSI: I love Christina Tosi’s creativity and passion for baking. Her latest book is a collection of cake recipes.

Here’s a selection of recipes from her new book.

BURNT MISO POUND CAKE RECIPE

CHERRY COLA CAKE RECIPE

LISTEN

MICHAEL BUBLE LOVELove is Buble’s most romantic record to date, beginning with the lead single “When I Fall in Love.”

UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIES E27: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Less than one hour into its flight, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared from the skies. Despite all of the geo-location technology that exists, and more than $160 million in a search and recovery effort, the whereabouts of flight MH370, and the circumstances of its disappearance over the Indian Ocean in 2014 remain a mystery. The hosts present a very detailed account of the incident.

UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIES E28: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Pt. 2: In this episode, the hosts analyze the theories and mysterious circumstances surrounding this event.

DR. GUNDRY PODCAST|MENOPAUSE AND PERIOMENOPAUSE: Dr. Gundry explores the connection between modern diet, hormones, and the changing nature of menopause.

THE ULTIMATE MARRIAGE PODCAST: Ultimate Marriage is hosted by Dale and Veronica Partridge. The podcast is about understanding and implementing God’s ultimate design for husband and wife. It’s about love, humilty, and truth. Dale and Veronica haven’t innovated some revolutionary approach to marriage. They simply committed to doing what the Bible instructs even when it’s uncomfortable, unpopular, or down right difficult. If you are single, you can still benefit from listening.

P.S. If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

The latest installment of products I’m currently enjoying or coveting. I hope you find some inspiration for your gift giving and some new things to discover for yourself!

1.    DIANE JAMES SILK FLOWERS: The prettiest silk arrangements for your home.

2.    CULT GAIA ARK BAG: My favorite bag that goes with everything.

3:    SHASHI EAR JACKET: I get lots of compliments on these earrings.

4.    SWEET LAURELThe recipes are grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. The recipes focus on using a few ingredients to create wholesome and delicious desserts. If you are looking for a simpler way to bake or dealing with food restrictions, this book is for you. The cake recipes are my favorite.

5.    NATIVE UNION MARBLE iPHONE AND iWATCH DOCK: I recently purchased this marble charging station for my iPhone and iWatch. I love the sleek design.

6.    MOTHER JEANS: My new go-to denim brand. The high-rise waist is my favorite style.

7.    STASHER REUSABLE FOOD STORAGE BAGS: I pack a lot of food to eat when I travel. The Stasher bags do not take up a lot of space and allow me to heat food on the road. Stasher bags are safe for use in the microwave, a standard oven, or a pot of boiling water up to 400F. Stasher can take the heat, the cold, and anything else your kitchen dishes out. Thanks to the patented airtight seal, all of your food’s nutrients, flavors and juices stay locked in.

8.    LOVE STAMP:  The Love postage stamp for USPS “Love Flourishes” is designed by Anna Rifle Bond. She is the founder of Rifle Paper Company in Orlando, Florida.

9.    BISCUIT BEDDING: I love the beautiful floral patterns. The sheets are also very high quality.

10.  RESTORE SINUS SPRAY: Since the neti-pot did not work for me, I was happy to find a solution for occasional allergies. Restore Sinus Spray is designed to help you cleanse, soothe, and hydrate the delicate membranes lining your nasal passages.

Start your daily beauty and hygiene regimen by gently flushing your sinuses with Restore’s proprietary blend of trace minerals suspended in purified water. It’s the perfect rinse for the dust, pollen, and other airborne particulates and irritants we are exposed to in our daily environment.

11.  FOUR THINGS PERSONALIZED TOTE: You can customize your own tote.

12.  QUIP ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH: I like to travel with an electric tooth brush. The Quip design is light weight and battery operated.

What are some of your favorite things? Tell me in the comments.

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The Chic List: Personality Test, Embassy Tours and Rules for Life

What to Do, Eat, Read, Watch and Listen To

The Chic List features the best things to do, eat, read, watch and listen to this spring.

DO

1.    ENNEAGRAM TEST: The Enneagram is a profound and powerful guide to understanding your personality and inner workings. The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that identifies Nine Personality Types that are expressed individually and in relationship to others. Unlike Marston’s DiSC Assessment or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Enneagram acts as a unique tool for understanding and explaining human behavior, and the underlying motivations that drive behavior and the gifts we all have for the transformation of non-productive encounters with others.

Want to know your enneagram type? Just take this simple 5-minute enneagram test.

ENNEAGRAM BOOKS:

THE ROAD BACK TO YOU AN ENNEAGRAM JOURNEY TO SELF-DISCOVERY | Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile: This book allows you to understand more about each of the Enneagram types. Beginning with changes you can start making today, the wisdom of the Enneagram can help you get on the road that will take you further along into who you really are leading you into places of spiritual discovery you would never have found on your own, and paving the way to the wiser, more compassionate person you want to become.

THE PATH BETWEEN US | Suzanne Stabile: Suzanne Stabile’s new book on the nine Enneagram types and how they behave and experience relationships will guide readers into deeper insight about themselves, their types, and others’ personalities so that they can have healthier, more life-giving relationships.

ENNEAGRAM PODCASTS:

THE ENNEAGRAM JOURNEY PODCAST

THE ROAD BACK TO YOU PODCAST

2.    PASSPORT D.C. EUROPEAN EMBASSY TOUR: The Delegation of the European Union to the United States and the Embassies of 28 EU Member States to the United States will open their doors to the public during the EU Embassies’ Open House Day in Washington, D.C. The day will offer a unique opportunity to experience the country’s cultural heritage and national traditions.

EAT

1.    TRUE ROOTS | Kristen Cavallari shares her collection of clean recipes. Pick this one up if you are looking for easy gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. If you liked Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbooks, this one is similar.

Recipe Links:

Kristen’s Breakfast Egg Nests

Spinach Artichoke Dip

2.     MAGNOLIA TABLE | Joanna Gaines shares the Gaines family’s favorite recipes as well as ones from their two eateries, Magnolia Table and Silos Baking Co. Recipes include chicken pot pie, white cheddar bisque, fried chicken with sticky poppy seed jam, and chocolate chip cookies. Jo also shares stories and photos about her life.

Recipe Links:

Jo Jo’s Biscuit Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookies

READ

1.    THE RATIONAL BIBLE | Dennis Prager: Why do so many people think the Bible, the most influential book in world history, is outdated? Why do our friends and neighbors dismiss the Bible as irrelevant, irrational, immoral, or all of these things? This explanation of the Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, will demonstrate that the Bible is not only powerfully relevant to today’s issues, but completely consistent with rational thought.

The Rational Bible is the fruit of Dennis Prager’s forty years of teaching the Bible to people of every faith, and no faith. On virtually every page, you will discover how the text relates to the contemporary world and to your life.

2.    MARLON BRUNDO’S DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT | Charlotte Spence and Karen Pence: This children’s book is written by Vice President Mike Pence‘s daughter, Charlotte, and illustrated by his wife, Karen, and tells the tale of how one cute little BOTUS (Bunny of the United States) experiences White House life. It is well written and beautifully illustrated. Proceeds from the book will go to an art therapy program called Tracy’s Kids and a nonprofit, A21, that’s working to end slavery and human trafficking.

3.    12 RULES FOR LIFE: Jordan Peterson: Jordan Peterson is a psychologist whose writing combines science and common sense. The book covers his twelve rules for life. Peterson believes that the cure for society starts with curing the individual. Peterson’s well-known advice to clean your room is a reflection of the truth that if you can’t even manage the most basic and mundane responsibilities of life, then you have no business dictating to others how to fix society.

WATCH

1.    MY FAIR LADY: My Fair Lady returns to Broadway’s Lincoln Center Theatre. Henry Higgins, an English professor of phonetics, makes a bet that he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl, into a lady. The musical is nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

2.    WILD WILD COUNTRY:  Wild Wild Country is a new six-episode Netflix docu-series about a religious cult from the early 80’s. Led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his personal assistant, Ma Anand Sheela, the movement successfully convinced many thousands of well-educated people to move to the tiny town of Antelope, Oregon, where they attempted to establish a utopian city called Rajneeshpuram. The cult followers clashed with local residents and the government in the process.

3.    TERMINAL: Terminal stars Margo Robbie and Mike Myers so that’s reason enough to go see this one. The story follows two assassins with a sinister mission, a fatally ill teacher, an enigmatic janitor and a waitress with a double life. Murderous consequences unravel as their lives meet at the hands of a criminal mastermind wanting revenge.

My favorite movies so far this year include the following:

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE

BEIRUT

CHAPPAQUIDDICK

LISTEN

1.     MIDLAND | They just won Best New Band at the ACM’s. I love their traditional country sound.

2.    LEON BRIDGES GOOD THING | The highly anticipated follow-up to his hugely successful debut album Coming Home.

If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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The Chic List: Charleston, Olympics, Dating and Real Heroes

 

What to Do, Eat, Read, Watch and Listen To The Chic List features the best things to do, eat, read, watch and listen to this month.

DO 

CHARLESTON FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 4, 2018: The Charleston Food and Wine Festival is an annual celebration of the Lowcountry’s best food and wine. The four-day culinary event began in 2006. The festival is considered one of the top food and wine celebrations in the United States and attracts chefs, food professionals and winemakers from across the country.

Here are a few of my recommendations if you visit Charleston.

SPERO: My favorite restaurant in Charleston is Spero. The chef is always accommodating and prepares a gluten-free meal for me. If you don’t have celiac disease, you’ll want to try the chicken fat biscuits. The dessert menu includes homemade ice cream. I usually order the lamb minus the bread with European slaw and sweet potatoes.

BLACK TAP COFFEE: Black Tap Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Charleston.

SUGAR BAKESHOP: This is a cute bakery on Cannon Street in Charleston. Locals line up to buy the cupcakes. They do offer some gluten-free items.

CARRIAGE RIDE: No visit to Charleston would be complete without a carriage ride.

HOTEL BENNETT: This amazing hotel opens this summer.

EAT

Jennifer’s Way Kitchen: Easy Allergen-Free, Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for a Delicious Life: Jennifer Esposito is an actress that owned a gluten-free bakery in New York City until just recently. She has celiac disease. This cookbook includes most of her recipes from the bakery. If you have celiac disease or food intolerances or feel better on a gluten-free or paleo diet, I recommend this book. The recipes have been relatively easy to follow and only need a few minor adjustments for baking time. Some of my favorites include the butternut squash lasagna, grain free bread, banana bread, and grain free carrot cake.

READ

SINGLE, DATING, ENGAGED, MARRIED: NAVIGATING LIFE AND LOVE IN THE MODERN AGE: I’ve read my fair share of dating books, and this has been the best one. The author is Ben Stuart and he spent a longer season being single. I think this gives him a greater sense of understanding that other authors didn’t necessarily experience.

WATCH

THE 15:17 TO PARIS: On Aug. 21, 2015, the three young American friends were on a backpacking trip through Europe when they thwarted a terror attack on a high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, tackling and subduing Moroccan-born Ayoub El Khazzani. He was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a 9mm pistol and other weapons. Their bravery made headlines around the world and earned France’s Legion of Honour, various military awards and a visit to the White House. Now, in the latest improbable twist, the three are playing themselves in a Clint Eastwood-directed film about the event opening Feb. 9.

BLACK PANTHER: There is a whole lot to like about Marvel’s $200 million Black Panther.

Black Panther is set in the fictional Wakanda, an idyllic country hidden in the heart Africa thanks to an alien metal called vibranium. This resource not only gives Wakanda the ability to disguise itself as a third-world country but to enjoy an extraordinary standard of living through the miracles of technology and science.

The story follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Chilla is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

WINTER OLYMPICS: The Winter Olympics opening ceremony is Friday, February 9, 2018. The closing ceremony is Sunday, February 25, 2018.

For a full network schedule, go to the NBC Sports website. If you’re at work or anywhere with access to a computer NBCOlympics.com will be streaming the Games live, in their entirety. If you’re on a tablet or a smart phone, the NBC Sports mobile app will carry the same content as the website. For more help, read this article which details your Winter Olympics viewing options.

LISTEN

Say Something Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton: My favorite song on Justin Timberlake’s new release Man of the Woods is Say Something featuring Chris Stapleton. Timberlake’s signature pop sound meets guest Chris Stapleton’s rich country voice, and their harmonies are a match made in music heaven.

https://youtu.be/Ut7Ix9syEl4

THE PORCH PODCAST VICE AND VIRTUE SERIES: Are you struggling to let go of hurts? If you think you aren’t, are you sure? Bitterness weighs us down and anger is unproductive. When the offense seems too big to forgive, when anger seems justified, we can remember this story of undeserved forgiveness. The entire series is worth a listen.

https://youtu.be/wad6uBnqmNU 

If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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The Chic List: HGTV’s Home Town, D.C. Hot Spots, How to Be a Better Cook

The Chic ListThe best things to do, eat, read, watch and listen to this week.

DO 

MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE: The Museum of the Bible recently opened in Washington, DC. It was named one of the top 10 attractions in the U.S. for 2017. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s incredible. Tickets are free and can be reserved online. The museum also features a restaurant called Manna and a coffee shop named Milk & Honey.

The museum is close to the National Mall and within walking distance to the Smithsonian museums and the U.S. Capitol.

DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION: If you are a fan of the hit television show Downton Abbey, you may want to plan a trip to NYC soon.  Some of the most memorable moments from the show’s six-season run are on display. Visit the exhibit in New York City now through April 2, 2018.

EAT

BETH BIUNDO SWEETS: I could not recommend a good bakery in New Orleans until now. Beth sells a variety of sweets and baked goods, including cakes, cupcakes, cookies, tarts, and ice cream at her beautifully designed store. The shop is located on Baronne St. and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

LITTLE PEARL DC: The cute café is a coffee shop during the day and a wine bar at night. My favorite drink is the coconut nutmeg latte. The menu also includes breakfast pastries, salads, and a Japanese chicken sandwich. The evening menu includes an organic orange wine from Italy. There’s even a gluten-free menu. The new hot spot is the latest opening for James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Aaron Silverman. Aaron’s other restaurants are Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls.

READ

SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT: MASTERING THE ELEMENTS OF GOOD COOKING: Chef, teacher, and author Samin Nosrat believes anyone can cook great food as long as they have an understanding of salt, fat, acid, and heat.

Check out Samin’s interview on the Bon Appetite Podcast Episode 124.

TREATING PEOPLE WELL: THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF CIVILITY AT WORK AND IN LIFE: A guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama.

WATCH

HOME TOWN HGTV: I am so excited about the premier of season 2 of Home Town on Monday, January 8 at 9 p.m.|8c. This is my favorite show on HGTV. The show focuses on Ben and Erin Napier, a woodworker and artist living in Laurel, Mississippi, who are passionate about restoring local homes and restoring their charming small town back to its heyday. During each episode, Ben and Erin help newcomers to town find and renovate their historic turn-of-the-century dream home.

I recently visited Laurel with my mom. We stopped at The Laurel Mercantile co-owned by Erin and Ben. Everything sold in the shop is made in America. If you live in the South, I recommend a road trip to Laurel.

I also fell in love with Erin’s blog, where she documents the good things that happen every single day of her life.

 

I, TONYA: Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.

LISTEN

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN SOUNDTRACK: The soundtrack from the original motion picture movie is a celebration of imagination. “This Is Me” is one of my favorite songs on the album. The soundtrack is currently no. 1 on the billboard charts.

SARAH R. BAGLEY PODCAST EP. 232 REBEKAH GREGORY ON TAKING HER LIFE BACK AFTER THE BOSTON BOMBING:  On April 15, 2013, Rebekah Gregory and her 5-year-old son waited at the finish line of the Boston Marathon to support a friend who was running. When the blasts of the bombs went off just three feet away from her, Gregory’s legs took the brunt of the blast, protecting her son from certain death. 18 surgeries and 65 procedures later, Rebekah’s left leg was amputated.

In her book, Taking My Life Back, Rebekah vividly recounts her horrifying experience on the day of the bombing, her desperate desire to locate her son, and her extensive injuries, recovery and eventual amputation.

In this podcast episode, Rebekah talks about her faith and how it has sustained her through various challenges in her life, her experience during the bombing and the details of her injuries and recovery, surviving the aftermath and her eventual marriage to her college sweetheart and miracle baby, and what it’s like to live with a prosthetic leg.

If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Fall To-Do List

Fall To-Do LIst

I put together a fall to-do list with some ideas for the upcoming season. I’m also sharing some of the fun things I’d love to do this fall. I hope it inspires you to put together a list of your own to celebrate this time of year.

If you are a list maker like me, try the 52 Lists Project Journal. It’s divided into seasons and then weeks. Each week you are asked to list something. At the bottom of the page, there is a “take action” suggestion. There’s also space to make your own lists. You can print out a sample collection of the lists here to help you get started.

I also love using a Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all the above. Here’s how to get started using a Bullet Journal. Watch this great video for more details too. Find out why it’s such a great journal here.
Continue reading “Fall To-Do List”

Summer Reading List

summer reading list

It’s time for summer vacations and beach days which means more time to read. Here are a few suggestions that I’m sure you’ll want to add to your summer reading list.

1.     The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | In this epic novel full of old Hollywood glamour, a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love.

2.    Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan | From the bestselling author of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “China Rich Girlfriend” comes this fun, frothy take on the lives of the Singapore super-elites. The stakes are high, as the entire Shang-Young clan rushes to the deathbed of their matriarch, Su Yi. A battle ensues over the family fortune and who stands to inherit it all.

3.    My Glory Was I Had So Friends by Amy Silverstein | If you want inspiration, this is a book that won’t fail you. This memoir is about what friendship and living life as a transplant recipient meant to one woman. Amy Silverstein lived with a donor’s heart for 26 years that she was told would last only ten. When her heart started to fail, her only chance for survival including uprooting her life in New York and moving to California to await a transplant. Nine of her friends help her by flying to California and helping take care of Amy while she awaits news on a transplant and a new heart.

4.    Fly Me by Daniel Riley | It’s 1972, and Suzy Whitman has no use for her degree from Vassar. Instead, she’s joined the hedonism of the Los Angeles beach scene and become a stewardess for Grand Pacific Airlines. Amid all the debauchery and fun, though, Suzy becomes involved in a drug-trafficking scheme.

5.    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | Eleanor Elephant is about the importance of friendship and human connection. Eleanor is an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger.

6.     Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs | An accomplished photographer, widow, and mother, Camille Palmer is content with the blessings she’s enjoyed. When her ageing father asks her to go with him to his native France, she has no idea that she’s embarking on an adventure that will utterly transform her. Returning to the place of his youth sparks unexpected memories that will lead Camilla’s family back to the dark, terrifying days of the Second World War, where they uncover their family’s surprising history. While Provence answers questions about her family’s past, Camille meets a handsome American historian who stirs a passion with her, and who may hold the key to her future. Sometimes the best journey of your life is the one that takes you home.

7.    Out of Line: A Life of Playing With Fire by  Barbara Lynch | In this funny, fierce, and poignant memoir, world-renowned chef and restaurateur Barbara Lynch recounts her rise from a hard-knocks South Boston childhood to culinary stardom. Barbara appeared as a guest judge on season 12 of Top Chef, which took place in Boston in 2014. She oversees seven critically acclaimed restaurants in Boston including No. 9 ParkMenton, and B&G Oysters.

8.     The Alice Network by Kate Quinn | An exciting faced paced novel about a pregnant American socialite who teams up with a female ex-spy and a hot-tempered young soldier in the aftermath of World War II. A story of courage and redemption.

9.     Sugar by Kimberly Stuart | Sugar is a contemporary romance, set in the high-pressure commercial kitchens of New York and Seattle. A funny and clever story of how a female chef learns to thrive in the ruthless world of premier restaurants.

10.   One Summer Day in Rome by Mark Lamprey | One Summer Day in Rome is an enchanting novel about three couples drawn irresistibly to Rome, narrated by the city itself.

What are you excited to read this summer?

P.S. You May Have Missed:

Summer Reading List 2016

Summer Reading List 2015

Beach Reads 2015

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The Chic List: Cherry Blossoms, Human Trafficking, and Endometriosis

The best things to do, eat, read, watch and listen to this week.

DO

If you are in D.C. this weekend, go see the cherry blossoms. The National Park Service said that 70 percent of the remaining Yoshino cherry blossoms had reached the puffy white stage, the last of the tracked stages before full bloom. So even if it’s probably not going to be a banner year for the cherry blossoms this year and they’re more dinged up than usual, they’re still going to be put on a beautiful spectacle. More details on the Cherry Blossom Festival here.

COOK

Tia Mowry is an actress and host of the popular Cooking Channel show, Tia Mowry at HomeMowry just released a new healthy cookbook called Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous YouIn her new book, the actress reveals how a healthy philosophy helped her ease the debilitating symptoms of endometriosis.

READ

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel: In 1986, Christopher Knight stepped into the Maine woods and stayed there for 27 years, eking out an existence by burgling local cabins for food, batteries, and clothes, leaving no trace as he moved through the wilderness. The “North Pond Hermit” grew into a local legend, reasonably feared by some; others saw him as a harmless eccentric and sometimes left supplies on their porches for the taking, just to save everyone the trouble. After he was finally caught breaking into a camp, Knight became a minor sensation, drawing the interest of journalist Michael Finkel, who turned his interviews with the sometimes combative recluse into a book.

Continue reading “The Chic List: Cherry Blossoms, Human Trafficking, and Endometriosis”

Winter To Do List

Winter To-Do LIst

I put together a winter to-do list with some ideas for the upcoming season. I’m also sharing some of the fun things I’d love to do this winter. I hope it inspires you to put together a list of your own to celebrate this time of year.

If you are a list maker like me, try the 52 Lists Project Journal. It’s divided into seasons and then weeks. Each week you are asked to list something. At the bottom of the page, there is a “take action” suggestion. There’s also space to make your own lists. You can print out a sample collection of the lists here to help you get started. I also love this collection of 26 lists everyone should make.

I also love using a Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all the above. Here’s how to get started using a Bullet Journal. Watch this great video for more details too. Find out why it’s such a great journal here.

If you are looking for some ideas, here are a few fun things you might want to add to your list. Continue reading “Winter To Do List”