Box Subscription: Hello Fresh

I feel like there’s a box subscription for everything now. You name it, it can come in a monthly box, perfectly packaged, right on your doorstep. We’re either living in a very lazy age or a very lucky, innovative one. I haven’t quite decided yet.

My friends and family alike have been subscribing to food boxes recently. For me, I love my weekend grocery store runs and have stayed clear but when I got a call this weekend saying that someone I know ordered 2 boxes from Hello Fresh instead of 1 and asked if I’d like one, who am I to say no?

I first heard of Hello Fresh when listening to Lady Lovin’ but was a little skeptical. How can veggies be sent to you that are fresh and, most importantly, not full of preservatives? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible, delicious and extremely convenient.

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Within a refrigerated box, each meal comes in its own separate box with everything you’ll need to make your meal including a meal card with instructions, measurements and calorie information.

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I’m not a good cook. I’m too lazy. Truth be told, most days I come home from work to a dinner of cereal or, on a good day, a basic salad. I’ve always said though if I could be like the chefs on cooking shows where everything is already premeasured and ready to go, I could be a great chef. If you’re like me, you’ll love Hello Fresh.

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My box was vegetarian and my meals included quesadillas, couscous and a salad. After a weekend of fried mediterranean, salty thai and a big bowl of gnocchi, I figured a salad was necessary to start the week off.

All the veggies and fresh herbs in the box were fresh, flavorful and the perfect amount.

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The result: the perfect summer salad.

Chopped radish, persian cucumber, carrot, feta, cooked lentils flavored with mediterranean spice, over a bed of arugula and seasoned with lemon and a homemade dill salad dressing.

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The recipe was fantastic and took around 30 minutes to make which isn’t terrible. My misgivings about the quality of vegetables were all wrong and everything included was incredibly fresh.

It does make you feel like Giada (or whoever your favorite cooking show host is) when you don’t have to waste your time trying to figure out what would be good ratios and measurements.

I’ve since had the other meals in the box and really enjoyed them as well. If you’re having a lazy week and don’t want to cook or if you live alone (which can be very hard to shop for food for), definitely give Hello Fresh a try. It’s convenient, fresh and the recipes are not only delicious but easy to make.

Have you tried a box subscription? Which one and what did you think?

Meditation For Those Who Can’t Meditate

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I tend to read a lot of wellness articles. There are few things I think are as important as having a healthy body and mind. The trend right now that everyone in every healthy magazine, show, blog is saying the key to a healthy lifestyle is, is meditation.

I’ve done yoga for a few years now and meditation is a big part of it. The truth is, I couldn’t do it. I would lay on my mat trying so hard to clear my mind, searching for that inner peace everyone talks about and nothing. If anything, it just worked to make me incredibly frustrated.

I would go home, sit on my bed and try to meditate at night. Nothing.

The next time I’d be scrolling through Twitter and, inevitably, someone would talk about how they can’t start their morning without meditation or something generic like that and I would rush back to yoga in a fervor, try again and fail.

I’ve finally had enough and decided to try meditating differently because clearly everything I was reading just wasn’t working.

I found that the one thing that can clear my  mind is not just sitting on a mat, palms up, eyes closed. It’s the actual workout. Timing my breath to every move, pushing my body until it starts shaking, focusing on the words of whatever music is playing. Next thing I know, the hour is over and my mind has been cleared (then it’s time to ‘mediate’ and it promptly comes roaring back).

Now, there’s nothing more annoying than ending a practice with meditation if you can’t actually meditate. No matter how good your workout is, you leave feeling frustrated and with a racing mind. So, in a desperate attempt to finally ‘get it’, I decided I would stop trying to clear my mind. It obviously didn’t work. Instead, I would focus on one thing: a project at work, a book I’m reading, school, blogging, anything. Then, I would push everything out of my head and focus on that one subject. Anywhere my mind wandered to, I’d let it.

You know what I found, not only is it much more relaxing than trying to clear your mind, failing and then wanting to throw your mat across the room and stomp out in a rage (can you imagine a yoga class ending like that) but it’s also when I’m at my most creative. I’ve even started considering taking a notepad and pen to class with me. Some days are better than others but it’s much more productive and I think, no matter who you are or what you do, there should never be a shortage of creativity in a person’s life.

If you’re like me and just can’t meditate, give this a try! Slow your breath and practice focusing your mind and then let it wander.

If you can meditate, tell me your secret! I would love to know!

My Mad Fat Diary, Rae Earl

With school winding down and March Madness at work, I haven’t had a ton of time to read for fun. Before the craziness began, however, I devoured Rae Earl’s My Mad Fat Diary.

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When I was in college, my roommate tweeted at one of the stars of the show (adapted from the memoir) and he responded which she took to mean they were getting married and insisted I watch it.

I settled in to watch it one night before classes started and binged almost the entire first season in one night (you can watch it here). As school got underway, football season began and friends from all over the country were finally all in one place, I never got to finish watching it.

Then, a few months ago, I stumbled across the memoir and immediately bought it.

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The memoir is the actual diary of Rae Earl from the year 1989 when she was 17, living in Lincolnshire and recently released from a psychiatric ward.

I can’t get over how brave Earl is publishing her diary. Have you ever found an old diary from your teenage years? Can you imagine publishing it for the world? I’m so glad she did though! It’s incredibly relatable (a completely generic word but there really is nothing better).

Feeling like your parent doesn’t understand you? Check. Not realizing your friends are using you? Check. Unrequited crushes? Check.

The whole time I read it, all I could think was, you couldn’t pay me to be 17 again!

It also highlights something I don’t think people talk about enough: mental illness and getting trapped in your own head. She writes of her issues with anxiety and food, drawing you into her thoughts and private world in an intimate way.

In an interview with The Telegraph she said, “when the thoughts were bad, I used to burn my arms with match ends or hit myself in the face with a shoe. I just didn’t feel there was anything else I could do to get me through normal life.”

She not only opens her life to the reader but her mind too.

Don’t be mistaken, there are hilarious parts of the memoir but unlike many memoirs I’ve read, she doesn’t cover up the issues and the hard times. Life is never perfect and she makes no illusions that it was at the time.

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I would definitely recommend My Mad Fat Diary. It will make you laugh, cringe and think about what people portray to the world may not be what’s going on in their heads.

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If you have read My Mad Fat Diary, what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wolf Wednesday: Spring Morning Wander

It may be controversial to say this but I think I like spring more than summer. Maybe it’s a result of being an adult now and summer not meaning freedom. I have no idea why I was in such a hurry to grow up, kids have it made!

Anyway, in spring you have the promise of summer and the exciting anticipation that comes with it. The sun is almost always out, days are longer, mornings are crisp, you can curl up under the covers with the night breeze coming in from a cracked window.

My favorite part of the day is Lupin’s morning walk. Fueled up on almond butter toast and coffee, I snuggle into a sweatshirt and stroll around the neighborhood which is currently in full bloom.

We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain this year which has resulted in the biggest, brightest blooms I’ve ever seen and smells that turn my wolf into a bloodhound.

He’ loves our morning walks just as much as I do and sits next to me all during breakfast, just waiting until it’s time.

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Just look at this and tell me spring isn’t a magical time.

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I really can’t think of a better way to start the day than with an outdoor wander in the early morning sunlight, fresh faced and cozy before meetings, phone calls and hoards of emails becomes reality.


Life Update

Where has the time gone! My last post was over a month ago, I can’t even believe it.

I can now attest that “March Madness” is not a term exclusive to basketball. Combine that with school and other home responsibilities and that’s what’s been going on. So, within the time since my last post . . .

Flannels have been traded in for chambray shirts.

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The books I’ve been reading have been for school and have been awesome!

If you’re interested in history, you should absolute check out Penny Coleman’s book on Rosie the Riveter.

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It’s officially blossom time! I ran through a tunnel of bloomed trees the other day and I could not have had a bigger smile on my face.

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Our trees practically bloomed overnight thanks in large part to the massive amount of rain storms that have been rolling in.

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Fantastic for flowers, not so great when your Wolf needs a walk.

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I really can’t complain though. Just look at them!

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It’s also time to start eating outside. For me, there’s no better way to pass a summer evening than with a glass of wine in the sun.

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The Wolf is pretty happy about it all too.

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He loves to wake up and say good morning to his friends through the window.

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Baseball season is finally here. Baseball, Summer Shandy and pizza, it doesn’t get more summer than that!

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That’s about it! February to April is the most hectic and boring time of the year.

Not entirely winter, not yet spring. All anyone wants to do is curl up, wrapped in a blanket and hibernate until the blossoms appear.

May on the other hand is fantastic! It marks the start of early sunrises, late sunsets, summer breezes, long walks, cotton dresses, road trips, fresh fruit. It’s my favorite time of year and it’s right around the corner!

P.S. all photos are from my Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, you should!

Michigan Blackout

If you live in the Midwest, you’ll know that a two weeks ago, a massive windstorm ripped it’s way through Michigan. It was reported to be the biggest weather event in DTE’s history.

Gusts reached over 60 mph resulting in over 800,000 people losing power, massive tree damage and over 4,000 down power lines.

To add insult to injury the day after the storm, temperatures rapidly decreased to the teens.

I remember as a kid thinking blackouts were exciting but this was an entirely different story.

The day of the storm, my house still had power. I came home from work the next day to it completely out, resulting in a frantic scramble for batteries and candles, all while trying to calm down two very nervous dogs.

As the night rolled in, you become engulfed in an impenetrable darkness. It feels like a think velvety black curtain has completely engulfed you – it’s extremely unnerving.

I settled in on the couch for the night, wrapped up in layers and piles of blankets, reading a book by flashlight until my eyes couldn’t take it anymore.

Late the following night, as the house was getting increasingly cold, with a pop of the speakers, the power came back on.

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I was incredibly lucky that I had such a short duration without power. Some people didn’t get power until days later and I can only imagine how cold their houses got.

Lesson learned as spring approaches bringing storms with it – always be sure to have a stack of fresh candles and batteries on hand!

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson

My life has been pretty uneventful as of late, not that I’m complaining though. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than doing nothing on a chilly winter day.

I’ve been busy with school (midterms were a few weeks ago and now it’s time to hunker in preparation for final papers), it’s March madness (no, not THAT March Madness but equally if not more crazy) at work and then there’s the odds and ends of personal responsibilities at home.

I took a few days off work last week and, apart from walking Lupin, I didn’t leave the house. I changed from one pair of pajamas to another, reading adventure stories, watching movies (I finally got around to Iris and she is now my absolute obsession) and eating pizza. It. Was. Amazing.

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As much as I love a good adventure, I love a good do nothing day, or days if you’re in much need of a life break.

The point is, I took my time off and read and there was one book in particular I want to talk about: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson.

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It explores her relationship with her gender fluid partner, Harry Dodge and their life together, the birth of their son and their changing bodies – when Maggie becomes pregnant, Harry undergoes surgery.

It’s a book that makes you think about identity, liberation and considering what is radical or normal.

Fair warning, if you’re looking for an easy to read, feminist  book, this is not the one you should choose. I’m extremely glad I read it, it’s thought provoking and emotional. Her love of Harry can’t stay contained to the page and seems to fly off right to you, the reader.

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I wasn’t a huge fan of her writing style. At times I could get tripped up on what she was saying, especially at the points that were very academic and philosophical, so I had to go back to reread which, in the end, I don’t think was a bad thing because I ended up with a deeper understanding by taking my time and reading it more than once.

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One of the main purposes of reading is to see the world through different eyes and Maggie Nelson has given such a good honest look into her world, I recommend taking a peak into her world and giving The Argonauts a try.

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Have you read it? What do you think?