Monthly Archives: October 2015

{Friday Favorites} – REI Rocks

Today I’m reviewing some of my favorite things from this week. First up:

REI to Close on Black Friday & Give Employees a Paid Day Off
REI Logo

How awesome is this?! If flies in the face of our frenzied consumerism and encourages people to #OptOutside on Black Friday rather than buy more crap. I attend a lot of conferences for work with a lot of large (Fortune 500) companies that are trying to move the needle on sustainability, but I often leave the conferences wishing they had more jueves, or executive/board leadership. REI just stepped it up and joined Patagonia who ran the storied “Don’t Buy this Jacket” campaign. Nice work REI!

Don'tBuyThisJacket

The Freezer is Full of Good Soup
Cauliflower Fennel Soup

I love looking in the freezer to see that we’re making progress on stocking up for winter. In case you missed the soup production drama from last weekend, you can find it here. I’ll be making two more types of soup this weekend to freeze and applesauce. #itsfall

Mountain Mama Jody’s Dolls
JodyDoll

One of my oldest friends has a sweet Etsy shop, Mountain Mama Jody, where she sells the goods she knits/sews. I’m always in awe of people who can actually finish a knitting project – I still have a half knitted scarf from college I gave my stepmom for Christmas saying I’d finish it soon…who does that?? Me, apparently. Sorry Maria! Anyway, Jody has these sweet sweet dolls which would be fabulous Christmas gift this year, particularly if you’re looking to buck the Black Friday chaos!

Swag!!

NBBB&JI attended the launch party for the New Belgium Brewery-Ben & Jerry’s collaboration beer and ice cream in DC last week which was a fundraiser for Protect Our Winters. We heard from awesome climate advocates, watched a video on the recent victory in the arctic, jammed to Galactic and Dr. Dog, and got awesome swag! Flying completing counter to my comment about consumerism, I am a sucker for sweet swag. They gave out ice cream scoop bottle openers, super cool scarves (which I may use on the foot of a bed), and a collaboration beer glass.

Sunsets from my New Kitchen

KitchenSunset1

Now that all the leaves have fallen (sad face), it turns out we get some awesome sunsets from our kitchen! We’re looking west across the Hudson Valley and while it’s no Rocky Mountain sunset, it’s pretty spectacular.

Happy Weekend Y’all!



{Living Room} – Accent Walls Solve All the Problems

We are still buried in boxes around here and it turns out my natural response to needing to unpack is to decorate #obviously. Right now our living room (I think that’s what you call an awkward room that serves as your main entry and primary living space??) is primarily serving as a staging area for decor, which may or may not be driving TimTheFarmer crazy. Honeeyyyy, I can’t hang the pictures until you tear down that wall and I paint all the other walls and I find the perfect wingback chairs at the flea market. 

Staging

I We have plans to tear down the wall between the living room and the kitchen to create one open and flowing space that will function as a living room, dining and entertaining room, and kitchen. I’m super excited about this, but it also seems to mean that I can’t decorate a space we’re going to destroy. So, for now, the room is a staging area. But I put some pumpkins out, which means my Halloween decor is totally taken care of, right??

Like my first vignette, I like small wins that make me feel like we’re making progress. No, unpacking doesn’t give me the same feeling (reference the first paragraph). There might actually be something to this…I never unpack after trips either. If I had a therapist, I would probably ask him what that means. #butIdont. Aaannnnywayy, during that quick stop at home a couple weeks ago where I dominated entered that pie competition and my FIL’s dog ran away, I quickly painted the guest bath and an accent wall in the living room – because that absolutely makes the rest of the chaos less noticeable.

Picking a Paint

I take picking a paint color very seriously. I go to every hardware store and grab every.single.paint-chip in my desired shad and have no brand loyalty when it comes to paint. I narrow it down (t00 brown, too blue etc.) and then hmm and haw a bit longer and then ask designers on Instagram and then I jump in with both feet. This time was especially challenging because in my head I was picking the entire palette for the whole house #nopressure. Once the first coat goes on, I doubt my choice and decide how I’m going to have the store adjust it; then I do the second coat (because let’s be honest, one coat NEVER cuts it, no matter what the can says) and think it might be ok. Then I sleep on it and realize it was the right choice.

PaintChips_IsntThatGrandBlog

Our entire house is currently a yellowy off-white with wood trim. It’s not pretty wood trim; it’s wood trim that they put some weird orangey stain on. My plan is to paint all the walls and ceilings a light grey, paint all the trim and bead board white, and paint a couple accent walls and the kitchen cabinets a dark grey. I should be done with this project in…2020? See why I can’t hang the pictures yet?

Accent Wall with “Wallpaper”

I love all the funky wallpaper out there these days, but having suffered through more wallpaper removal than I care to remember, I knew I wouldn’t do that here. Although, I hear there are peel and stick wallpapers these days…hmm, tempted. I randomly checked HauteLook the day we moved in and found these amazing wall decals and planned to put them on the wall under the stairs. Actually, first I wanted to put them in the guest bath, but the kiddo vetoed that.

FeatherWallDecalApplication_IsntThatGrandBlog

The final paint choice was Smooth Slate by Clark + Kensington. After painting the bathroom, I quickly threw a coat of the same paint on the wall under the stairs and finished painting it the next day while the pie was cooking and the dog was running away.

That night, I stuck all the fabulous feather decals on the wall in a repeating pattern. I absolutely did not plan out the widths or lines or draw a grid. I am the opposite of OCD – it would make me crazy to try to plan out a grid. I went the technical route of using my hand for a ruler. Halfway through hanging them, the kiddo asked if there’d be extras for his room…ummmm. Anyway, here it is!

AccentWall_IsntthatGrandBlog

The stair risers and trim will be white, so this is just a first step. But, the living room is totally pulled together now. Have you used wall decals anywhere in your house?

Staging2



Yes, that is butter and a hand blender in my bag – Traveling with Bulletproof Coffee

Have you tried Bulletproof Coffee yet? And by tried it, I mean not just had a sip, but substituted it for your regular coffee for a few days? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. It’s life changing. It literally changed how TimTheFarmer and I eat and alleviated the morning fatigue I’ve struggled with from fibromyalgia for almost 15 years. The combination of high quality fats from grassfed butter and MCT oil (fancy coconut oil) with coffee from clean beans acts as sort of a jump start (or rocket fuel) to your morning. You can read more about it here**.

TravelingWithBulletproofCoffee_Isn'tThatGrandBlog

Anyway, once you try it fo’ reelz (and thank me) and it becomes a crucial part of your morning routine, you have to figure out how to travel with it. The free breakfasts at Hampton Inn are great, but their butter isn’t from grassfed cows, their coffee’s moldy, and blenders are curiously missing from the buffet line. Here’s how I do it:

1. Plan your butter and oil portions

I know I need 2 tbsp each of butter and coconut/MCT oil per day, so there’s some basic multiplication involved. Tip: don’t start cooking with your butter/oil like we did on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico…when you run out of Kerrygold butter on Vieques, your SOOL. When we finally found the butter when we got back to San Juan, we did a victory dance in the local supermercado #itsthatgood.

2. Bring coffee too.

At home, we buy low mycotoxin coffee and even though I knew it was better, it was until a recent business trip where I relied on hotel coffee that I could really see the difference. I was getting headaches within an hour of drinking hotel coffee. Now, I bring good coffee with me and swap it out for coffee in the hotel coffee makers. It’s kind of a James Bond move; you’d be impressed.

BulletproofCoffeeCollage_IsntThatGrandBlog
3. Pack a hand blender, knife/spoon, and mixing cup.

The key to Bulletproof Coffee is blending it. Because I tend to jump the gun—after hearing rave reviews from Critter and E—I looked up the ingredients and threw butter and coconut oil in our coffee for the first week without blending it…imagine coffee with floating butter…it was a little greasy. Once I realized you had to blend it, it took it to a whole new level. Now I travel with our Cuisnart hand blender at all times. I would love an actual blender that’s light and suitcase sized, but haven’t found one. Most hotel rooms don’t have cutlery, so bring something to get the butter and oil into your cup. And don’t forget a large cup (I use a quart soup container that I pack the oil and butter in) to blend your coffee in, otherwise, you’ll be blending your coffee in an ice bucket, which I may or may not have experience with.

4. Pack Dr. Bronner’s.

In addition to being a great non-toxic face, hand, and body soap, this is great to use to cleanse your hand blender, knife, and cup.

Since November, I’ve traveled with Bulletproof Coffee fixin’s to Arizona, California (3x), Puerto Rico, Colorado (2x), Texas, Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Connecticut. This system works, but I’d love your tips if you travel with it too!

**Just an FYI, this is not an endorsement of Dave Asprey or his products…I’m skeptical of his entrepreneurial intentions and have never purchased his coffee or MCT oil. I have read his book, and his coffee recipe works for me, that’s it. If you’re curious about how I find good, affordable substitutions to Bulletproof products, post a comment below.