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White-Kitchen-Essentials

I thought this Friday would never come, and yet here we are. Thank goodness.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to work from home on Fridays. Atlanta traffic is no joke, and the teleworking culture is alive and well here. On Fridays, I get to sleep in a little later, fit in a late morning workout class in a neighboring town, all while maintaining productivity (for the most part) as I finish up the week’s work. The point of this little detail is that I thought I’d use today’s work-from-home status to share a little glimpse into our house, specifically our kitchen.

But before we get to that, I want to talk about some of my favorite appliances and tools that make the kitchen feel more like home. As you can see from the graphic above, I have a big thing for all things white. White kitchens are all the rage, but if you’re a diehard fan of the color (or lack of color) like me, you’ll know that finding accessories to match can be a challenge. Consider this my attempt to help you take some of the guesswork out of it. My white-on-white kitchen essentials include: 

  1. Vitamix 7500 Blender – Our (my) beloved white Vitamix was the wedding gift I was most excited about getting. After all, these things aren’t cheap and a top-of-the-line blender is one of those outrageous appliances you’d never in your right mind buy for yourself. While Brian would have so preferred if we hadn’t registered for it (he prefers cash), we made a deal that the wedding registry would be my one opportunity to get one, so best of luck to me. Thankfully, the gift gods were being kind and I got my wish. 
  2. Le Creuset 5½ Qt. French Oven – It makes absolutely no sense that I get as much joy as I do from a pot, but I do. Not only do I use it almost everyday, but it’s so pretty that I keep it in its dedicated spot on the stove at all times for all to see. It’s beautiful. 
  3. Keurig K450 2.0 – Our white Keurig is the appliance we get the most comments about, probably because it’s the most unusual and uncommon to see. Standard black Keurigs make me think of sad office break rooms. And while I myself don’t drink coffee or get much use out of ours, I sure do love looking at it. 
  4. Williams Sonoma Stainless Steel Silicone Tool Set – Hands down the best and prettiest kitchen tools available. Also sold in red and grey if that’s more your style. 
  5. Kitchenaid 7-cup Food Processor – No grown-up kitchen is complete without a food processor, and this Kitchenaid model is one I recommend. It does a great job, and as far as food processors go, is pretty easy on the eyes. I’ve owned this one for quite a few years now, well before my white-kitchen dreams were ever a thing. I’m happy this faithful old friend still fits in so nicely now. 
  6. Simplehuman Automatic Soap Pump – I picked up this soap dispenser on one of my always life-changing visits to the Container Store. My hands are always covered in one thing or another when I’m in the kitchen, so the convenience of a touchless soap pump really appealed to me. The fact that it came in white is what sold me on it.  
  7. Williams Sonoma Square Ceramic Canisters – These canisters are the newest additions to our counters. They were backordered for so long that it was a big surprise when they finally arrived at our door last week. They’re a bit on the bigger side, but because the ceramic matches so perfectly with our white subway tiles, the canisters blend in with the backsplash and don’t look cluttered. I couldn’t be happier with them!

Not pictured – our white Crate & Barrel Avondale kitchen table. It’s a classic and it extends too!

And with that, a snapshot of our actual kitchen below, where some of the above items are on display. 

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Banana Chocolate Breakfast Smoothies

We don’t normally keep chocolate milk in the house, so when I had some left over from making Monday’s chocolate soufflés, I knew I had to do something special with it. Chugging it was my first thought, but since I’m on this health kick, I decided I’d throw some potassium and fiber in the mix and make myself a nice breakfast drink. I blended the chocolate milk with a banana, oatmeal and some ice, and the results were really tasty. That’s pretty much all you need to know to copy this, but if you, like me, enjoy learning about the obvious, please follow along.

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People Who Love to Eat Are Always the Best People
Sharing a quote for this week’s pick-me-up, because it speaks to me on so many levels. The most prominent one at the moment being that I myself so love to eat and am struggling a little with my own personal identity. It’s so unlike me to pass up carbs, you know? Anyway, on this Wednesday, I’m doing my best to stay within the Weight-Watchers coloring lines, especially as I try out a new restaurant with a new friend tonight. My week of points starts over on Fridays and you can bet I’ve already made plans for Shake Shack cheese fries and a Shackburger that night. Happy hump day!

Image via Tailwind Blog

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Fortune-Finds-1.19.16
I hope this Tuesday finds you well. Here’s a look at some of the things currently on my mind. 

1. I’m shopping for a new purse and this simple brown one from J.Crew is speaking to me. The size looks just right, but it’s the tassel that’s selling me. (J.Crew)
2. A few weeks back, I cut my hair about 3-4 inches because the length was really bugging me. I told myself I’d style my hair a lot more, but the normal curling-wand thing is still a big chore. I’m currently toying with about 3 different birthday-gift options and The Beachwaver (it rotates the wand for you) could very well be the one I settle on. (Amazon)
3. Naomi of Love Taza recently shared all of her favorite lipstick colors, and they looked lovely. I am not at all a lipstick person. In fact, I insisted against it for my wedding. My two big reasons are (a) I don’t think I can pull it off, and (b) I have no idea where to start. And while I still much prefer a natural lip, this Beginner’s Guide to Wearing Lip Color would be a good place to start. (Daily Makeover)
4. Must-have winter skincare according to beauty editors. With the exception of two recommendations costing more than $160 (get real, ladies), the rest are affordable. I’m already a huge Aquaphor fan, and am most intrigued by the Acure Organics Argan Oil. (Glitter Guide)
5. Being on Weight Watchers means spiralizing everything in sight. This is a great roundup of some of the most inventive zoodle and spiral recipes out there. (Huffington Post)
6. Similarly, I need to add a healthy cookbook to my library, and The Skinny Taste Cookbook is a leading contender. (Amazon)
7. Brian and I have tried make-at-home meal subscription services like Blue Apron and Plated (we prefer the latter), but have since cancelled our memberships because we’re trying to both save money and be more resourceful at the store. Honestly, grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do, so it didn’t feel right outsourcing all the fun. Still, I always love seeing how the food-delivery market is changing and Joy shared a bunch of her favorite options here if you’re curious. (Oh Joy!)
8. And last but not least, my favorite Tonight Show Celebrity Photobomb yet. Jimmy Fallon stops by Sesame Street to surprise some unsuspecting kids, and the video is up there with the cutest things I’ve ever seen. The boy at the 43-second mark looks a lot like Brian did at that age and I just can’t. (YouTube)

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Individual Skinny Chocolate Souffles | fortune goodies
The recipe dry spell is over, you guys. But before you get too excited, I have to share that I rejoined Weight Watchers (desperate times, desperate measures), and the recipes to come may be quite a lot less decadent than we’d all like :(. Still, let’s try our best to keep things both health-conscious and tasty, starting with this recipe for Individual Chocolate Soufflés. 

This one’s straight from the WW playbook as I try and figure out the new points system. Because if you haven’t already heard, Oprah isn’t the only exciting new thing going on at Weight Watchers central, they’ve introduced their new SmartPoints plan, too. It used to be that food points were based on a calculation of fat, carbs, fiber and protein. With the new system, they’ve thrown calories, saturated fat and sugar into the mix as well, making things that much harder, and I suppose “smarter,” hence the name. Now more than ever, Weight Watchers is nudging users to adopt healthier, more nutritious diets, and one of the first things I noticed is that lean proteins like chicken, fish and eggs are now fewer points than before. On my first day back, I was loving it. The second day was a different story.

That first day, I was eagerly reaching for the better-for-me foods without giving them much thought anyway #firstdayonadiet. It was pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise as I added things up in my points calculator. “Oh! Healthy Food X is even healthier now!” But on that second day, my sweet tooth woke up with a vengeance, and I was horrified to learn that just as the healthier foods saw a decrease in points, the delicious foods that make life worth living (cake, candy, more cake) were now twice as bad for me. Right away, I wanted to give up, but after some much-needed counseling from friends in the same boat, I’ve somehow managed to stick with it, mostly thanks to dessert stand-ins like these soufflés. At 6 SmartPoints a piece (compared to the 17-point Trader Joe’s Molten Lava Cakes I so love), I can keep myself and my diet happy. 

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Brian-and-his-parents-on-Sanibel-Beach

This is not a good picture. The sky was too overcast, the composition isn’t quite right and the framing leaves something to be desired, and yet, I really love this picture, and thought I would share it today (originally intended for Wednesday, but whatever). This is a great picture. 

As I mentioned before, Brian and I were in Sanibel, Florida, where we joined his parents for the first two days of their annual winter vacation (Cleveland winters are no joke). This was my first visit, but Brian and his entire family have vacationed on the little island for generations. The weather this time wasn’t great (torrential downpours and our swimsuits never made it out of our bags), and we had to make an unfortunate visit to the emergency room (thankfully everyone’s ok), but I still found myself having a really good time. We got to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday, enjoyed great conversation over delicious meals (the Weisses love their eating out), I fed grapes to adorable squirrel monkeys, and I had my first Dairy Queen Blizzard in years. Life was good. And being that this was my first time there, it all felt like a special Weiss-Feinberg-family rite of passage that I was really grateful to experience. 

Anyway, back to this picture. I really like it, because, as whatever as it is, it captures a very content-looking Brian walking back from the beach followed by his parents, two people he loves very much. His relationship with his parents is very different from the one I have with mine. Conversations with my mom and dad are best described as concise, loud and argumentative (in the most loving Chinese way, of course). Brian’s are long, winding and involved. And even though he almost always picks inopportune times to have these hour-plus phone calls (like when I’m hungry), I really admire his love and respect for his mom and dad.

This picture makes me think of that. And reminds me that with each step we all take, our parents, the ones who helped us get there in the first place, are never far behind. 

Bob and Cathy, thanks for always being there for him. You raised a good one.

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