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?
Let's Go Caroling
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?
Wildly Healthy Holiday Baskets
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!
Girls Night With My Pitches
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.
Kick Off To Fall
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!
a good friday
There are people. People who come into your life. People you never expect to be lifelong loves. Lifelong friends. People who move your soul. People who rock your core. People who challenge you. People who hold you. The few that you take your walk with through this wonderful and beautiful journey.
My thirties have become such a beautiful chapter thus far. The clarity of relationships, finding my purpose and the purpose of my challenges comes into focus a little clearer. So much to learn still, but so many lessons behind me that help me to appreciate the people that God blesses me with.
Today has been so special in so many ways. I remember, not long ago, Easter was a holiday where we dressed up for church. Hunted for eggs. Ate chocolate. Had a picnic. Prayed a little. And that was it. But, since my heart, soul, mind and whole being decided to follow my Lord and Savior for all my days, Easter has become this amazing, bittersweet, time in my life where I just can't fathom what He did for me. For you. For all of us. Today is Good Friday. And today, He took up the cross to die for our sins. Thousands of years ago, before I ever existed to anyone but Him, He died for me. So that I could live. And it makes me weep. Tears for Him for the pain He endured, tears for the miracle, and tears of joy for gratitude for his love.
Tonight we hosted dinner for some of our dearest friends visiting from Omaha, which is far too far away for my liking, but such is life. My friend Karly & I have known each other for YEARS. Since I was a teen, just getting into music. (You'll know her from her guest blogs where she gives all the amazing healthy mama & kiddo tips) Through years of friendship online, we finally met and became closer. She was going to ASU for PR, and I was working on my demo. After signing with my record label she actually became my publicist and the rest of it is pretty much history. Mr. Charming and I are Godparents to her first born son and I love that little dude more than anything. She went on to marry an amazing man, and for the first time tonight I got to meet her second baby.
Mr. Charming cooked up an AMAZING meatloaf, since we are still on Whole 30, and I fixed a salad and green beans to accompany it. We sat and talked for hours and hours and my heart is full from getting to see and celebrate with our lovely friends.
And continuing my Proverbs 31 series, this month has filled me with so much joy when it comes to homemaking for all the visits God has blessed us with. Proverbs 31 states;
A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her.
As we continue Holy Week, I'm reflecting on the amazing love we all have access to. If we just open up our hearts to opportunities to truly love & be loved back. For exactly who we are. It's rare to find such people in this busy, crazy world we live in. But it's there.
Nosh & Nurture's Cookie Bake-Off
Hosting a cookie bake-off blog event, contributing to numerous St. Patrick's Day blog link ups and launching a brand new website design all in the same weekend... probably not the best set of activities to lump into one weekend & I don't think I've gone to bed before 2am for the past four days...
But, you know what? It was totally worth it. This weekend has filled me up so completely with community, love, laughter and delicious treats! On Saturday I invited fellow friends & bloggers to take on six gluten-free, dairy-free cookie recipes with me. I've been wanting to try new ones so that I can have an arsenal of go-to favorites and thought "what better way to try them than to mix it with quality girl time?"
Jenni from Jenni's Ferris Wheel of Food, Holly from My Plant Based Family and Cheryl from In Life Ministry joined in, as well as my good friends Jana, Sommer and my sister-in-law Tiffani.
One of my biggest intentions for 2015 is to get more social. We work so much that sometimes we forget what's really, truly important. And that's connection. Connection with those we love. Connection with our community. And getting out of our comfort zones and connecting with new people. I know for me, and for a lot of women my age, that ones that hardest of all.
I'm blessed that this blog allows me to connect to a community that is so loving. A community of health-minded, driven and passionate women all setting out to help and serve, one meal at a time.
For so long I've been guilty of feeling guilty when I've taken time to rest, relax, socialize and just take my focus off of being productive. Last year I asked God to help me prioritize my time to how He wants me to spend it and I'm blessed & thankful that included time getting to know more strong, amazing women. A couple of years ago, if I took time to spend the day doing something, that although was enjoyable, but didn't generate income or job leads, I'd feel anxious, stressed and unproductive.
What I've learned is that it's beneficial for us as a whole to take the time to connect, recharge, refresh, live and love. And the funny part about it all, is that in doing so, I'm actually more productive in the time I spend on my business endeavors when I've been recharged by spending time with my husband, with my family and friends or just working on a hobby I enjoy.
The bake-off was a great way to kick off the weekend. Once all the girls arrived we spent some time chatting and doing introductions for those that didn't know each other. We snacked on crudites and fresh fruit and got to baking! We experimented with two chocolate chip cookies, an oatmeal banana raisin, a chewy ginger cookie, a dark chocolate ginger, and a double chocolate chip coconut.
We had a nut-free and an egg-free station for those who had specific allergies and only two of the six recipes used refined sugar, which some of us abstained from due to sugar sensitives or for those of us that had cut it out. But I wanted to make a good mix to strictly test out more gluten-free baking ingredients and methods.
After trying the six recipes and baking for a couple hours, it was time to TASTE! The BEST part of any bake-off or cooking event. Although they all received rave reviews by at least a couple of members of the party or another, there was a shining star among them all and it was the Double Chocolate Coconut cookies we tried from Ditch The Wheat. We also decided that though the Oatmeal Banana Cookies were scrumptious, they belonged more to the breakfast snack category than cookie.
All in all, it was an amazing way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Next time we plan to cook up some amazing Paleo brunch selections and I welcome the time off to enjoy it fully.
How do you spend time & build community with the women in your life?