My Top Three

Happy Friday!

Hope ya’ll had a great week. It was a good one around here. Can’t believe this is the last weekend of February!! Up to anything fun this weekend? I’m gonna be taking it easy in between shifts at work. Sunday evening we’re having a little retirement party for my gallery leader at work. Hope you’ll be enjoying it – – it’s supposed to be SUNNY!!

I’ve come up with this new weekly series called My Top Three. Original, right? 😉 I know, I know, but how else does one explain the top three things I’m currently loving without saying the top three things I’m currently loving?!?

  1. Aveeno’s Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion – this was actually an unintentional purchase. I was at Target looking for a good body lotion that came in a tube with a cap opening. I HATE buying lotions that have a pump mechanism as opposed to a single cap opening. I feel like with lotion pumps I never use it all up, as it gets jammed near the end of use, so I feel like it’s so wasteful.


Anyway, this body lotion is great. It has a subtle fresh scent and goes on smooth. And apparently it will firm up my skin in two weeks. I care more about the cap opening part, but whatever. I am nearing my THIRTIES and according to the beauty world, the thirties is the decade to be investing in clarifying, and toning products. We’ll see about that! 😉

2. Apple Music – it’s been around on iTunes for a while, but it’s new to me. For $9.99/month, I can basically listen to any kind of music. I especially love the Radio feature. I’ve discovered some new music that way and re-discovered oldies but goodies. I figure Apple’s monthly subscription is equal to that of Spotify or Pandora, and there’s never, ever any commercials, which is always a plus!


3. This t-shirt, courtesy of Emily over at Cupcakes & Cashmere. I’m coveting it hard and it’s a reminder that Spring IS just around the corner!

Have a lovely one!

~ Ellen




On A Roll


Man, am I on a roll with blogging lately! Pardon me while I re-regurgitate random words, thoughts, and feelings on here, but isn’t that mostly what a blog should be?  At a time when I am currently taking a step back from some previous commitments and fully, wholeheartedly, investing in myself, I think it is appropriate. I’m usually more organized and thought out with posts (okay maybe only 70% of the time) but sometimes I just need to vent. I look at it as creative therapy.

So, I digress.

This morning has been pretty good already. I slept in, as I stayed up to watch the James Burrows tribute and the Friends reunion. Gosh, I love that show and I love the cast! When I got out of bed, I felt a little hungry actually, which I was surprised about since I ate many, many cups of popcorn late last night, but I still had an appetite for something this morning. I know I didn’t want an entire meal, as I was going to cycling in about 45 min.

I decided on a slice of this bread (which is the bomb for GF bread!!), about 1T of PB, and half a banana, all slathered together. It hit the spot. After slurping down a cup of french-pressed coffee and some water, I quickly changed and sauntered out the door. I barely made it to class before the instructor closed the door, but I am SO glad I made it!!

This was the first class I had taken with instructor, Katie, and I really liked her style! About mid class when we were climbing up a hill and resistance was SUPER DUPER high, she asked us to think about something/someone that makes us happy. I instantly thought about my family and the ever-lasting goal of taking care of my body, both physically and emotionally. Funnily enough, when I thought about who/what I was taking this class for and the reason why I am working towards conditioning my body and mind, my focus came off of the climbing. Pretty nifty, yes? Her playlist was great too, and I am always up for a good playlist. I also got a row in Bingo and won a free class, whoohoo!!


After class, again, I wasn’t starving, but I knew I wanted to be satiated and not let my blood sugar drop, so I blended together a blueberry-vanilla smoothie, which again, hit the spot! In the mix: the other half of the banana from my toast earlier, 1/2 cup blueberries, a full scoop of brown-rice protein powder, 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and crushed ice. Oh! And a tsp. of vanilla extract.

So, there’s my little morning. Oh, have ya’ll ever experienced the blueberry smoothie”puff” as I like to call it? It’s weird. Most every time I make a blueberry smoothie, about half way in, the contents kind of puff up in a little frozen ball, which sometimes hits me smack on the lips, resulting in frozen fruit all up and down the mouth, lol. Has this happened to anyone else?

Have a great day!




Around Town: Brew Tour w/ My Parents

So as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last night I introduced my parents to a few of the most popular breweries in Richmond, and it was a success!

First up was Hardywood. My dad and I each got our own sampler of any four beers off the menu. I got a sample of the Singel, Raspberry Stout, Bourbon Barleywine, and the Walpurgisnacht Smoked Malbock. Dad got the Singel, Pils, Great Return, and the Walpurgisnacht Smoked Malbock. I don’t have a photo of all of them, but I think my favorite out of all those is still Hardywood’s classic Singel. The Raspberry Stout and Bourbon Barleywine were sweet, syrupy, and heavy. The Walpurgisbacht was actually refreshing, with a bacon-like taste. I’m really bad at describing these, can you tell? I’m not a huge craft beer drinker. One fancy shmancy beer and I’m usually good to go. I’m more of a Miller Lite girl, but last night was an exception 🙂

The atmosphere at Hardywood was a little too chaotic for my parents, but they hung in there. Excuse the poor picture quality. Some are grainier than others – gah!



Next we went to Ardent. This was much more my parents speed. A more intimate setting to enjoy a second flight of beers, whew! Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Honey Ginger, on tap, which is my favorite, so I got a sample of the Sweet Potato Sage, Farmhouse, Saison, and Douple IPA. The Farmhouse and Sweet Potato Sage were my favorites. 


Here’s my cute mom holding court at the table.


Time to whip out the selfies. They were having so much fun, and so was I!



Our third and final stop was Isley Brewing Co. There was a good folky-blue grass band there, and again, the atmosphere was one that my parents could handle. We snagged some stools right at the bar. Dad ordered the Plain Jane and I got the Root of All Evil, which satisfied my craving for Ardent’s Honey Ginger.

We were pretty right after Isley, so we ducked into Lunch/Supper for dinner. Your classic “hole in the wall” spot, this place has some seriously good food!! I got the eggplant Parmesan with side of their bacon brussel sprouts. Yum, yum, yum! Highly recommend.

It was a fun night out on the town acting like tourists with my parents, and they had a blast! I will certainly look back on this time, glad that I spent some quality time with them.






My Random Thoughts

Hello friends, and happy Saturday!! I have the ENTIRE weekend off, and so excited about it! It’s nice to have the conventional two-day weekend off to feel like other humans who do the 9-5, M-F thing every once in a while. The main event this weekend is going to two of the most popular breweries here in Richmond with my parents! Yes, my parents. My parents are cool, but have not yet been to any of the breweries around town, so I thought it would be fun to go on a mini “Brew Tour”, so they could see where all the cool kids are on a Saturday afternoon. We’re going here and here. I’ll let you know what they thought!

On another note, I have recently had five (and counting) revelations thanks to this odd Internet/Blogging Community that I love:

  1. Change Your Way of Thinking about Food via Isabel Foxen Duke
  2. Throw in towel with Online Dating via Gimme Some Oven 
  3. Feeling OK with being single at age 30 via Gimme Some Oven
  4. This cute dating story at age 32! again via Gimme Some Oven
  5. Do what YOU want to do every.single.day. via my Sister


Have a good one ya’ll!




A Baby, Dancing, & Cold

Happy Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend!

It’s been bone-chilling cold this weekend in Richmond, but late Friday night, my third (!!!) nephew arrived, hearty and healthy, which had me filled with joy and warmth all weekend long.

I conveniently had the day off on Saturday, so I was able to go to the hospital that afternoon to meet sweet Peter Archer! Big boy :).


I wasn’t feeling myself for most of the day however, so I mainly just puttered around until it was time to visit the baby with my sister, dad, and niece (my mom got to see Peter just minutes after he was born!), and afterwards, I dragged myself to the grocery store, where my cold symptoms exploded into high gear 😦

That evening it was too cold to even get out of my apartment and eat pizza and drink wine with my best gal, so I settled in and whipped up some scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes, and as if I didn’t get enough sweet potatoes, sweet potato tortilla chips, naturally. I also had several too many spoonfuls of this Dark Chocolate Almond Butter, which I should never have bought at Kroger, but I did and the damage is done.

Dirty Dancing was my entertainment for the night. I love how Jennifer Gray cannot keep a straight face in this scene!!

Sunday morning (Valentine’s Day!) I woke up with a fog-horn-congestive cough, runny nose, and achy body, so I decided to stay home from work. While I haven’t been completely out of commission, it has been nice to take a “rest day”. I’ve had time to think more about a big decision that’s been on my mind…more on that later. Also about re-upholstering the seat cushion on my hand-me-down sofa. Things to put in my thought catalog. And nothing can cure a cold like a sleeve (and a half) of Ritz Crackers and soup! Unfortunately, I did not get a pic of my soup, but it was Amy’s brand quinoa, kale, and red lentil. I added even more kale, zuchini chunks, and about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. It hit the spot!





A Token of Sobriety

Good Sunday morning! I have no idea why I feel obligated to state the day of the week in the opening of every post, but it’s just easy, so deal with it 😉 As I keep writing, maybe I’ll come up with something more clever. Lately, when I have the luxury to do so, I feel completely content with staying in my leggings and vintage SGHS sweatshirt, with messy bed-head hair, and my second or third cup of coffee in hand until about mid-morning. And this morning is no exception. I’m sure these nesting practices are because we are two months into Winter (and almost a month out!), but I’m reveling in it.

Last night I met my cousin Kelley for dinner at my neighborhood spot. I had been thinking about their cheeseburger and sweet potato fries allll day, and like always, it hit the spot. I dove in to the meaty, greasy, salty meal, without feeling an ounce of guilt, but more about that later. The moral of this post is about Kelley. My cousin Kelley and I have been close ever since I can remember. OK, maybe back in the day, we were more like frienemies, but we’ve always leaned on each other during the good and bad times.

In our later “adult years”, we became even closer, but the bond was mostly alcohol-induced. Kelley was someone I could call on a week night at 9pm for one more drink after being at my sisters for one or two glasses of wine. She was someone who I could sing karaoke with and convince myself that I had a good voice. Kelley was simply just a fun, single girlfriend and close family member to be around.

I list all the reasons why Kelley is amazing in past tense, because she is now six months free of alcohol!! Woohoo!! And she is still her fun-loving self, even more so. Last night we had several belly-laughs which felt great, really great actually.  It was a raw-good time. Kelley shared with me some of her experiences along her journey thus far to sobriety, and it was so humbling to listen.

She gave me this token that marks her six months sober, which set the tone of gratitude for the rest of the night.


This small token has so much meaning and strength and has inspired me to really live to my potential and put my best self forward in all areas of every-day life.

I have to admit, there have been periods where I have centered days and events solely around alcohol, but last night Kelley was the perfect reminder of the “more to life than cocktails” mentality.

You can probably pick out a few underlying conversations in this post, that I’ll save for later, but for now, just think and pray on that token, for those who have a heavier burden to bear. And lastly, my favorite alliteration phrase as of late;