I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately.
As my mom tribe grows, I long to serve them and give back to them as they lift me up daily and encourage me to be the best mama I can be to Grey. This in turn got me thinking about the best ways to give back to them – whether that be through gift giving, spending one on one time with them without the littles or just speaking words of encouragement into their hearts...
I really don't care for the cliche phrase of the "New Years Resolution", as I believe we should be able to set and achieve goals all year long, but I have set forth a goal for Mr. Charming and I for the new year. So, I suppose it can best be summed up as a New Year's resolution.
Tomato, Tomato. (that doesn't work so well in text does it? haha) I guess it should be... Tomato, Tomahto.
Although I am a HUGE Gilmore Girl's fan (my post on my thoughts on the revival and the Gilmore Girls party I threw coming soon!) I promise that the "Friday Night Dinners" we are planning for 2017 do not resemble a tension filled night in the Gilmore mansion. Quite the opposite actually.
I'll be the first to admit that when life gets hectic (IE: new mom life, running a household, marriage, travel and juggling multiple careers) our social life gets put on the backburner. Sometimes even farther back than the backburner.
Like, it's not even in the kitchen anymore.
So, I wanted to be more intentional with spending time with those we truly love and care about. The other couples we've connected with. Our oldest friends. Our church friends. Our family. My mama friends. Mr. Charming's guy friends. All the relationships that mean so, so much to us that we haven't cared for the way that we should.
Enter my Friday Night Dinner plan for 2017.
During the holidays Mr. Charming and I planned to sit down and write down all of the people who we want to spend quality time with. We wrote them all down on strips of cardstock and added them to a jar we plan to keep in a space in our home that we will see everyday.
Our plan is to draw a name, couple or family from the jar and get a Friday night scheduled with them. Whether its the next Friday, or a Friday two months from now that works with our schedules, we will get it on the calendar and plan to host them for dinner. Being able to connect one on one and set aside a night to really connect.
Once we've broken bread with everyone in the jar, it starts over again. A plan I hope that will keep us connected and getting real face time on a regular basis.
This doesn't replace neighborhood group, family events, parties we throw, etc. So it's not like it's the only time we see these special people. However, it does allow to conciously schedule quality time with those in our tribe when time can fly by lightening fast, sometimes putting months between conversations, meals and just good time spent with friends and family.
What intentional goals are you setting for the New Year to help you live your most authentic life?
I'm pulling out all the acronyms today, folks.
Last night was epic. My husband's work gifted him suite seats to Tran Siberian Orchestra so we turned it into a double date night event with his sister and her husband. We had a suite just to the four of us and our own waiter who brought us drinks. I loved the intimacy of not being in a huge crowd of people. I think one of the things that made this evening so special was that this is a show my husband has always dreamed of seeing. A little behind on our holiday advent calendar, it was an awesome way to schedule in a Christmas-related night out. The show was INCREDIBLE. The light show, the story and the music were all phenomenal and I'm so glad we went.
Now, before I break for lunch today, I come to my third and final acronym. Today's most important one and that is the EWG. The Environmental Working Group is a fantastic organization of people who work hard to keep us alert of what is in our food, beauty and skincare products, and I'm not sure if you've yet been made aware, GMO-Salmon has been federally approved. Which means it's just one more unsafe food that the government is now regulating. More information is located here, with actionable steps we can take to help get our food in the U.S. rightfully labeled, as it should be.
Make sure to eat clean this holiday season, shop local, shop organic, and if you get a chance, check out Tran Siberian Orchestra when they come through your city, because entertainment is good for the soul.
Who doesn't love spreading Christmas cheer? If you raised your hand, I'm sorry, and I send you hugs & loves & gumdrops to warm your heart.
This month, along with the beautiful Ludavia of Nifty Betty, Julia of The Quiet Grove, Ariel from Keys To My Life and my record label NVE/Universal, we thought it would be fun to bring back Christmas Caroling to the digital age. So, let's go caroling!
As Ludavia stated on her website when she started this movement... "Every Saturday in December at 2pm PST, we are going to fill social media with #caroling by posting a video singing our favorite Christmas carols. You can film yourself singing, have someone film you and some friends, have strangers join in, and if you are really shy about it, simply post a video from YouTube. We are spreading Christmas cheer; so, if you are off key, who cares! We will be jolly doing it."
Simply post your video on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (or all three!) every Saturday of December at 2pm PST and use the hashtag #caroling. Then watch some people sing their songs, comment, share, and tell everyone about it.
My record label, NVE Records/Universal will be choosing the best of the best to feature across their social media.
Won't you join us in bringing back a long-lost tradition, building community and spreading joy?
Christmas is just a short 36 days away, which means crunch time for all of the holiday planning.
Mr. Charming and I are sitting down this weekend to create our December Advent Calendar that we make every year. This year includes a mix of volunteer work, movie nights by the fire, church and celebration events. And yes, my halls are already decked. This is my favorite time of year.
As I've grown up, my Christmas wish list and my gift lists to others have changed drastically. Not a huge lover of gift cards or gifts that are impersonal, I like to try to create something special. Whether a nature lover, techie, beauty fanatic or foodie, I like to give gifts that speak to what they love and who they are. And holiday baskets are the BEST way to give multiple gifts that speak to the same theme.
Holiday Basket Tip #1: Don't Overfill. I like to space things out so that you can see what's inside. Once my food items were placed I added a couple of homey touches.
I am an affiliate for Wild Foods Co. | I adore their market & products, all opinions & photos are my own.
One of my favorite types of people to shop for are the foodies in my life. (No shocker there, right?)
Instead of buying the pre-made food baskets that are laden with sugar and processed ingredients, I like to make them using high quality products. From organic fruit (which always looks beautiful in baskets) to fine wines and homemade baking mixes to my favorite recipes, it's fun and easy to be creative.
This year, I'm putting little "market" baskets together using products from one of my favorite shops! Based in Austin, Texas, Wild Foods will ship products internationally, (except for their coffee, which is U.S. only) and offer a wide variety of specialty teas, chocolate, coffee and protein items.
Holiday Basket Tip #2: Themes are good. Since I shopped at a specialty market, I used a vintage market basket as the basket instead of a holiday box or traditional wicker or wood basket.
For this years basket I chose a pack of Wild Coffee and paired it with mugs I knew would match my friends kitchen. I added in a pack of Wild Sweet Nibs, which are high quality pieces of chocolate that can be used in trail mixes, on ice cream or as a garnish on baked goods, as well as a pack of Wild Chocolate which can be used for cocoa, in smoothies or in baking.
I finished it off by adding some information on Wild Foods, so that she would know where to go if she wanted to order more and I tied a Christmas ornament that would match her home to the basket as a finishing touch.
Holiday Basket Tip #3: If you include pre-made goods, or goods for a particular market, its good to add a recipe card or a store info card so your gift receiver can make or buy more if they enjoy it!
Have you made holiday baskets or are you planning to this year? I would love to know the ones you are creating, especially for the foodies in your life!
It's no secret that I am an avid music lover. Coming from a background as a touring singer for over 10 years, I believe music is life. It is joy and pure emotion expressed in a beautiful way. It's also no secret (to those that are lucky enough to be dragged to movies by me) that Pitch Perfect was one of my favorite movies ever to hit the big screen.
Everything from the delightful charm of Jesse and the Treblemakers, to the hilarity of Fat Amy and the amazing vocal arrangements from the Bellas, what WASN'T there to love? Seriously, I dare you to try to find one thing, because it's movie gold.
And then came the sequel. And I got to "squee!" about aca-perfection all over again. Since Mr Charming put in the theatre, I had yet to have a true "girls night" in the house taking advantage of the space.
Luckily that all changed this week because Pitch Perfect 2 released on Tuesday and Walmart is offering a Limited Edition gift set complete with blu ray, DVD, HD digital copy and CD of the films songs, so I had to pick that up. I also grabbed some chips, dip and popcorn to keep us energized for karaoke and put the word out to my girls.
OF COURSE, karaoke. Because what is a Pitch Perfect 2 viewing party without a little singing of our own?
Tips For Throwing An Epic Pitch Perfect 2 Worthy Karaoke Party:
1.) Provide plenty of hydration. Vocalists need plenty of water to keep their chords hydrated. Do you remember what happened to Chloe in the first movie? Ain't nobody got time for nodes.
2.) Set up a specific corner. Preferably where acoustics and lighting are good. You want your karaoke star to shine.
3.) Set up a good P.A. or sound system and make sure you have a laptop nearby to play the lyrics. Forgotten words are a singers worst nightmare.
4.) A rehearsal or sound check never hurt anyone. Let your guests find their sound and sing a few songs.
5.) Remember to cheer for your fellow singers and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
After snacks and singing, we settled in to enjoy the movie. Hands down my favorite movie of 2015, we sang, we danced, we laughed, we cried (because seriously, some of it is so fabulously awkward) and got to spend some great girl time together. It was much needed after a crazy busy week proceeding an even busier week of travel coming up.
It is always important to take time with your girls. To unwind, to laugh, to sing, to play, to dance and to remember to connect.
Plan a girls night with your favorites. Head to Walmart to grab the exclusive Pitch Perfect 2 Blu-Ray/Soundtrack combo pack. Soundtrack includes some of your favorite songs from Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 (while supplies last)
And I'd get in on that.
If you're just hearing of Pitch Perfect 2, check out more information on the film, it's stars and to watch the trailer visit their official site, or find them on social media through Twitter, Facebook and their aca-awesome Instagram.
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ThePitchesatWMT http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
And a little clip of the nights karaoke by yours truly, because, singing.
I ADORE FALL. So much so that it must be screamed in all caps. Just a few of the reasons I love fall:
My friends & I were just talking about how this season we are intentionally setting our hearts on community. Time with friends. Celebrating and doing life together. This weekend, to celebrate the Fall kickoff, Foster Farms was kind enough to sponsor a little party for us! This allowed me to enjoy many of my favorite Fall activities, like good food, fashion and spending time with friends & family. A friend of ours just had a baby, so a big group of us got together for games, grub and loving on little baby C.
This is a sponsored post. I received free product & monetary compensation from Foster Farms in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, as well as the photography, are my own.
Since we attended a Kick-Off to Fall Fall/Football party I found it fitting to do a fashionable spin on a referee ensemble, and baby C (along with my brother in law, aka, the Baby Whisperer) looked adorbs in his Purdue jersey.
I'm excited for Fall for Nosh & Nurture as well, as we will be taking a lot of travel writing adventures & getting elbow deep in gluten-free flours as we bring you all some delicious new recipes. Mr. Charming even has a few up his sleeve he's been wanting to experiment with that are grain-free, gluten-free, everything-but-deliciousness free for all of us. So I'm excited to see him don his proverbial apron (because real men don't need real aprons) and whip up something yummy.
The food serves was a delicious mix of gluten-free entrees, appetizers and desserts as most of our crew is either gluten-free, dairy-free or other dietary challenge so its always nice to have a lot of options. One of the most popular treats were the Foster Farm's gluten-free corn dogs we cooked up. Though not grain-free (hence, the corn) they are gluten-free and kid-friendly for those who tolerate corn. For mom's looking for other gluten-free lunch & dinner ideas for their kiddos, Foster Farms also makes gluten-free chicken strips and nuggets, available at select stores.
The adults loved the crispy golden batter and sweet honey flavor and appreciated the high quality hotdogs that Foster Farm uses. The kiddos couldn't tell they were gluten-free and loved them as much as the real thing, and for the tinier fingers we cut the corn dogs into rounds for easy eating & dipping.
I rarely eat potato, because me and nightshades aren't the best of friends, but sometimes I will splurge. Usually once a month I'll get a side of fries when we go to a gluten-free eatery on our travels or I'll nosh on coconut oil kettle chips. Which is what we had at the party. #nomnom
I made little snack bags into "footballs" and the kiddos thought it was a fun way to serve up their corn dog side dish. I was also proud of my DIY-ing, as I'm not the usual crafter. But you know, tape & bags... not that hard. haha. If you enjoy gluten-free Foster Farms at any of your fall festivities make sure to tag @NoshandNurture and use #FFGlutenFree so we can see all your yummy creations!
I'm looking forward to many more parties this season & would love to know your favorite dishes to serve! Or recipes you'd like to see this season! Leave it in the comments below & have a fantastic fall!
Facebook is the fast-food restaurant of social interaction.
Quick, cheap & convenient. Have a busy day and only have a minute to catch up with someone? Write on their wall. Don't have money to go to lunch or out for drinks, send a private PM with a hello. Need to RSVP to their party, wedding (gasp, please don't ever do this.) or other social event, hey why not, Facebook is right here, the mailbox is waaaaay over there. Click. Send. Etiquette out the door.
Now. I'm not dissing social media as a whole. I LOVE being able to catch up with family that lives in an entirely different time zone than me. Reconnect with family I haven't seen since I was in Pre-K, or get to see updated photos of all my loved ones. It's great for business marketing and meeting new people.
But what happened to connecting with our tribe, our community, the men and women in our lives who we should nurture and be nurtured by?
What happened to girls night and game nights and coffee chats that ran deep. What happened to doing everything together, or the bliss of doing nothing at all as long as it was with your girls.
Calling just to say hi. Writing a letter to let them get something fun in the mail other than bills (I totally still do this, and am a firm believer I'm one of the last ones out there who adore stationary and the hand-written word.)
Now, I know technology isn't 100% to blame. As we age we get married, we have kids, we pour into our careers. Some of us go back to school or we get ill.
But it seems to me, we find time to do so many other things, what's a coffee to catch up and let your best girls in your life know that you love them? That you still care to be connected?
I am also saying I'm not to blame. We ALL get busy, we ALL let life take over. And we all use social media as a way to feel connected. But if that's true, if we are so "connected" - then why is it that I have over 2,000 "friends" between social media accounts and there are days I feel like there's no one I could call.
So I pose a challenge. To you, to me. To my friends and to yours. For the next four weeks I will be doing a Social Challenge. Not a Social Media Challenge. A Social Challenge. Go at your own pace, start when you like, but try to get to all four of these tasks. I promise more fulfilled relationships and more connectivity to what really matters. Will you join me?
Nurture Your Relationships: Social Challenge
Week One: Plan one outting this week with a friend. Whether its meeting for coffee on a work lunch break, seeing a late movie or even running and errand together - make time for at least one hour this week.
Week Two: Aim for two friend outings this week - or one outing and one phone call with two separate friends.
Week Three: Write a letter to a friend, at least one full page long and mail it in a cute envelope to cheer her up.
Week Four: Plan an event - dinner party, a night out for a drink, group pedi's, a poker night, anything - and send out an invite (social media ok for this) to get everyone together. The point is to not just think or plan but to put it into action so you can start making more memories.
Sounds simple - but I know with our group, weeks can go by before we realize we've got so caught up in our "busy".
Let me see how the challenge is going for you! I will be doing the same! Snap photos of you and your besties together, snap photos of your event planning or of your cute stationary/envelopes and put them on Instagram using the hashtag #NNSocialChallenge.
Let's bring back REAL connection. One moment at a time.
I was honored to receive a Liebster Award Nomination from the wonderful Tiffany of The Golden Letter. An award that helps to support & promote fellow bloggers, she has sent me questions to answer in receiving my nomination. Below, you can see the answers to my questions to get to know me a little better & I have also nominated six of my favorite bloggers.
Do you have a favorite blog or blogger you'd like to see nominated in the future? Leave their links in the comments & I'd love to check them out! #SpreadTheLove.
Liebster Award Q&A