Bullish On: September

I was thinking about a couple posts I wanted to squeeze into the month of September this week and how I only had a couple days left to sit my butt down and write them. But… it’s not September and I actually have zero days left… how the heck is it already October? Last month was a complete blur between a couple trips back east and some extra long work hours. We were finally home for more than 24 hours last weekend and it was delicious. We tried out the new sushi spot in our neighborhood, Mamanoko, on Friday night (miss you Umami ūüėĘ) and after a week of sleep deprivation, I stayed in bed till practically noon on Saturday. After resting up, we headed out for a night full of sports (hoorah!). We headed to a pre-season Warriors game (which don’t get me wrong I love) and then to our friends’ house to watch the Cal football game (womp womp).¬†On Sunday we got all our meal prepping done early enough to enjoy a walk around the neighborhood while the sun was still out and it felt like things were finally getting back to our usual routine. I didn’t get our meal plan up this week but it was a bunch of old classics: turkey burgers, moussaka, & Instant Pot salsa chicken tacos. We’ve got some birthdays to celebrate this weekend and I’m hoping we get some of that San Francisco summer weather to enjoy some Fleet Week festivities! Here’s are the things that kept me smiling last month:

Blessings

There are two versions of this song (the¬†other one is here). I love both. Roberto listened to Chance the Rapper’s whole album beginning to end on our redeye flight out to D.C. last month. I can’t remember that last time I did that (JK I totally can and it was when I bought a p.h.y.s.i.ca.l. copy of Taylor Swift’s Deluxe Red album from Target #notashamed). We were completely awed by his SNL performance last season, but I never took the time to listen to more of his songs (I know these aren’t new!). So glad Roberto brought these into my life cause they’re bringing me major happiness and gratitude every time I hear ’em.

Simple Things to Simplify Your Life

We got two game changers for our kitchen last month. Number one: a tea organizer like this one. Ever since we did Whole30 we¬†try to opt for tea instead of wine on weeknights. I feel like I pick up a new box to try every week and our cupboard was becoming a serious leaning tower of boxes and bags precariously stacked up. We got a little organizer and it has saved us so much space and made the cupboard way more organized. My favorite flavor currently is the TJ’s Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea. Roberto sticks with his tried and true “Well Rested.” Word of warning: we both tried the Yogi Bedtime tea and it gave us nightmares ūüėĪ(I never remember my dreams). Freaky deaky stuff. Promise we aren’t crazy… I mean at least about this ūüėú.

Item number two: this simple spice rack. We got this spice rack as a wedding gift and it’s awesome since it doesn’t take up too much space and all the jars not only came labeled but pre-filled. The problem? My husband really¬†loves his spices so we had at least twice as many as fit in this rack. We were previously storing them in a drawer, but since they weren’t labeled on the top it was always impossible to find what you were looking for without pulling out every single bottle. We got this simple rack and I absolutely love it for overflow storage since I can see everything and it’s so space efficient. We didn’t even nail it in since we aren’t even using the pull down feature.

Living Proof PHD Dry Shampoo

I am a hardcore Drybar Detox enthusiast. I absolutely love the smell and always come back to it, but this Living Proof dry shampoo has me potentially changing my tune. It smells equally amazing sans the white powder that plagues brondettes like me. One thing I’ve learned? There are two general types of dry shampoo that accomplish different things. If starch comes before alcohol in the ingredient list (i.e. Drybar), that formula is best for soaking up that post-gym sweat/oil. If alcohol comes before a starch like Living Proof? That’s great for re-upping your volume. Never one to give up the search, I just grabbed a travel size version of the Ouai foaming dry shampoo so I’ll let ya know how it goes. If you have another fave, please let me know!

The Evolution of Women in Stock Images

One of my favorite feel good articles from last month which I’m needing more and more of these days…

Teeny Tiny Hoops

I don’t think I’ve worn hoops since junior high, but I picked up these sparkly ones in rose gold during the big Nordstrom sale this summer. I was digging them so much that I went back and grabbed these teeny tiny ones for my second piecing and I haven’t taken them out since… kind of has me wanting a third…

 

Bullish On: August

Rabbit rabbit! Happy September! I cannot believe it’s officially fall (a.k.a. when our summer starts in San Francisco). This month is gonna be a crazy one for us, but it’s all fun stuff so lots to celebrate! We’ve got a couple weddings (we’re in D.C. and Baltimore for one right now) and my mom and I are doing a girls weekend in NYC later this month! So much to look forward to.

Here’s a roundup of everything I loved in the month of August:

How I Built This

Roberto and I have gotten really into this podcast the last few weeks. We’ll put it on while we cook on Sundays and it’s an inspiring way to get ready for the week. Each episode highlights an entrepreneur who tells the story of how they started their business and made it to where they are today. I’ve started with the stories of brands I love myself (many of which were founded by womenūüí™ūüŹľ): Spanx, Drybar, Rent the Runway, Dermalogica, Kate Spade, etc. I also loved Barbara Corcoran’s story… real estate tycoon #goals. Highly recommend a listen!

Ozark

Don’t get me wrong, I am still loving the Americans (hello real life the Russian embassy is burning intel… at least that’s my theory after a¬†lot of spy TV), but Ozark has been the show Roberto and I can’t get enough of this past month. It’s a dark drama about a financial planner who gets caught up in a money laundering scheme. Highly entertaining on your television, but as charming as Jason Bateman is, a criminal advisor is likely not what you’re looking for in real life.

Slice

I.love.this.app. I use TripIt for travel since it organizes my itinerary without any action needed on my part, and Slice is the same thing for tracking packages. It scans your email for shipping notifications and organizes all the information so you can see what is coming and when. It will also let you know if the price drops on something that you’ve ordered so you can request a price adjustment. I just bought these earrings¬†and Slice let me know the price had dropped days later. Requesting a refund was pretty much as easy as pressing a button… they draft the email for you with all the pertinent information so all you have to do is hit send. Brilliant.

Blue Belle Headband

I’ve been trying to stay on my skincare routine and got this cute lil¬†thing to replace the old headbands I used for keeping my hair dry and out of my face while I wash my face and do my makeup. It has Belle in the name and is blue like my site… how could I not? Cheap thrills and it makes my nighttime routine feel a little less like a chore. Comes in pink¬†too if that’s more your style.

Stop Counting Other People’s Money

Love this article from Liz Weston with a message that’s essentially what we all learned in kindergarten: worry about yourself. You should be focused on your own money and not what your peers are doing with theirs. It’s where I pulled my “You can have anything you want. You just can’t have everything.” quote in my post on budgeting last week. She also references a behavioral economics professor at my alma mater, USC’s Marshall School of Business so double points right there ‚úĆūüŹľ

Bullish On: July

Rabbit,¬†rabbit ūüźáūüźá! Happy August! I’m bringing back these ‘Bullish¬†On’ posts to round up everything I loved in July:

The Americans

I’m definitely late on this one, but it feels extra relevant given the constant news about Russia lately (at least this version is pretend). The show is set in the early 80s and revolves around two married KGB agents living the suburban life with their two children right outside of Washington D.C. It was actually partially based on real life spies that were discovered living in New Jersey in 2010. It’s a constant thriller and Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys make a great team (on the show and in real life!).

Bluetooth Headphones

In my imaginary life I have these awesome rose gold wireless headphones, but in my real life where I have a budget (and most likely can’t pull off such fancy pants headphones), I have these. I finally gave up the battle of charging vs. listening to music & podcasts (thanks¬†for nothin’ Apple!) and decided I needed to get a pair of wireless headphones. These were highly rated on Amazon and under $40 and they’ve been perfect for everything from my commute to runs.

Aveeno 60 Second In-Shower Facial

I shared my skincare favorites back in April and I’m still using all the same goodies, but I recently added this face wash/treatment to my routine. I picked it up on a whim since it was so cheap and I’m long overdue for a visit to Amanda. This definitely isn’t a replacement for a traditional facial, but it’s a nice pick me up a couple times a week. I’ll use it if I’ve slacked on my skincare routine for a night or two or if I want a refresh and don’t have time for a 15-minute mask. I convinced work wife to try it too and she’s equally addicted.

Hidden Bodies

Okay, this is technically the sequel so obviously read You first, but this series is so creepy and delightful. I read ‘You’ on our trip to Ireland last year and I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up the sequel. I couldn’t put it down and as soon as I finished I started looking for details on a third book. At first, I was disappointed that it didn’t sound like Joe Goldberg was headed for a trilogy, but they are making the series into a Lifetime drama so you know I’ll be there for that. Let me know your sushi order and I’ll save you a seat ūüėĀ

Scraping by on $500k a Year

This isn’t a new story, but it’s new to me. It takes a look at a couple making $500,000 in New York and how it’s possible that they’re only ending up with an annual ‘excess’ of $7,300 after all of their expenses. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, this definitely feels like a story you could read about locally. So, what are your thoughts? Do you feel sympathy for these young professionals who are making a half million dollars a year and still feel average? Roberto and I are currently working on analyzing our budget for the first half of the year to give ourselves a reality check on where our money is going and this was definitely a good reminder that it’s not how much you make, but how much you save…

Bullish On

I have to admit my heart is hurting a little (ok a lot) this week. Our country feels more divided than ever, and I’m hoping for healing in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. Despite the sadness I’m feeling, I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to celebrate our veterans a little extra yesterday. I think both sides of the aisle can agree that those who defend our country make the ultimate sacrifice and deserve our utmost respect. I also know that we can do better as a country in welcoming our servicemen and women back home with better resources and support. So in honor of all those who serve and have served for our country, here’s what is inspiring me this week:

Ashley’s War

I.love.this.book. It follows the creation of a secret program that inserted women¬†alongside¬†the traditionally all-male Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. It’s an amazing look at the woman-to-woman impact the Cultural Support Teams had by building¬†trust and¬†relationships in a way that male soldiers had previously been¬†unable to do. I had no idea this program existed before reading the book, and it’s a fascinating look¬†at gender roles in the military and¬†using our strengths to work with other countries’ cultures and traditions. Also, #girlpower.

Taking Fire

Roberto and I got sucked into this show immediately, and it highlighted to¬†me how out of touch I am with our military’s¬†daily life. The war in Afghanistan began over 15 years, and I know I’m guilty of forgetting that we still have boots on the ground, risking their lives, as I go about my daily routine. This five-part series takes a look at the 101st Airborne posted at Observation Post Pride Rock in the Korengal Valley (a.k.a Valley of Death). You’ll recognize the area if you’ve seen the documentary Restrepo (another must watch). The footage is truly remarkable, but some of the interviews with the men after their return to¬†the US is what hit me the hardest and reminded me that we owe our veterans better support.

Fisher House Foundation

My sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, supports Ronald McDonald House Charities which provide a home away from home for families of children that are ill or injured and receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. I have great memories of cooking meals and celebrating holidays with the children and their families in college. That’s why Fisher House Foundation‘s mission appealed to me when¬†I was researching great charities that support our veterans. Fisher House Foundation provides free housing for military and veteran families to stay in while their loved ones are receiving treatment nearby.¬†I’d love to get more involved and do a better job supporting our veterans¬†year-round, and I hope you will too!

A Man and His Dog

Soldiers reuniting with their dogs make me cry every time. This is a great story highlighting how important a soldier’s bond with a dog can be¬†after our servicemen and women come home from war. Sgt. Yulfo was on the waitlist for a service dog for 18 months and the New York Knicks (in partnership with Paws of War) surprised him with his new best friend Murphy this week. Some impactful stats from Paws of War: 18 veterans commit suicide each day and an animal is put down every 8 seconds. Service and comfort dogs have proven to be 84.1% effective at treating PTSD. That’s why Paws of War’s mission is to match service dogs with veterans suffering from the emotional effects of war.

Stories of War and Its Consequences

This is a great round-up of interviews with veterans from NPR. The first interview is with Brian Castner who did three tours in the Middle East as a commander of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD). He suffers from traumatic brain injury due to his proximity to so many explosions. Although not focused solely on veterans, One Mind¬†is another great charity dedicated to the diagnostics, treatment, and cure of all kinds of brain illness and injury. We also hear the work of Brian Turner, a veteran and poet. He released a collection of poems he wrote while stationed in Iraq called ‘Here, Bullet’ and is currently working on a second collection focused on life after war. His descriptions of how cash registers sound like¬†weapons being reloaded and fans remind him of helicopter rotors are haunting. Kayla Williams provides her story¬†of being a woman in war, and I’m interested to read her perspective in her book, ‘Love My Rifle More Than You.’ Lastly, we hear a portion of the late Robert Kotlowitz’s interview discussing his time fighting in a foxhole in World War II. He was a Jewish soldier fighting Germans in France, and he worried that his dog tags which identified him as such put him at risk if he was captured. All are different perspectives and I highly recommend a listen!

Bullish On

Man… this is o.v.e.r.d.u.e.! We were busy celebrating Roberto’s birthday last week, and I’m just catching up! We celebrated with our parents at a neighborhood favorite, watched our Warriors open up the season (womp, womp), and ended the week trying a bucket list restaurant we’d had our eye on for a while. Roberto’s mom is recuperating from surgery and my parents are headed back to Vermont¬†for the rest of the month so we’ll be soaking up a little more family time this week. In honor of Roberto’s birthday, I’ve got a couple of sports favorites this week that gave me all the feels.

Ernie Johnson

This story isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I’ve always wondered who the guy with the bow tie was reporting alongside some of the most famous past players on¬†Inside the NBA. After asking Roberto for the millionth time (in my defense it was probably the millionth time he’s made me watch Shaq and the rest of the squad), he showed me this special on Ernie Johnson. He and his wife have six children, four of whom are¬†adopted. His son Michael has progressive muscular dystrophy and lives on a ventilator at home, but it hasn’t stopped him from enjoying¬†father-son activities like attending car shows. I am so inspired by Ernie and his family’s life outside the studio, and I hope you are too!

Silent Night Lights

Alright, here’s another sports tear-jerker for you. Last Thursday, ESPN2 aired the California School for the Deaf’s football game¬†against a “hearing” team. Portions of the game were aired without audio to demonstrate¬†to¬†viewers how the game sounds to the players.¬†After seeing the game highlights from the local team, we had to go back and watch this documentary. The bullying some of these kids faced is heartbreaking, but the community that CSD has fostered is amazing. In many ways the athletes’ ability to adapt and communicate in their own way is one of the things that makes them so successful.¬†Their story definitely made me think about evaluating everyone’s strengths and weaknesses in a different light…. go CSD!!!

A Very Crafty Halloween

Sadly, this was probably the least spirited Halloween we’ve ever had. We didn’t get any costumes together and no candy for us (more on that later). However, this annual feature from SFGate is one of my favorites and makes me laugh every year. Peter Hartlaub receives entries from kids and parents who make their own costumes (nothing store-bought!), and every year I’m blown away by the creativity. Here’s hoping our kids’ costumes will be half as awesome someday… I’m looking at you peacock/unicorn/butterfly girl.

Flyer Fees

When Roberto and I went to Ireland and Scotland in March we hadn’t planned to check our bags. We ended up getting to the airport late (typical!),¬†so when they told us we couldn’t carry our bags on we didn’t have time to re-shuffle or plead our case. Despite being forced to pony up the baggage fees, I was actually telling Roberto how glad I was that we had been forced to check our bags on our layover… how convenient it was to not be lugging all our stuff. Then we got to London. And Roberto’s bag didn’t. And it didn’t catch up with us for a week. It was a total nightmare, and not being reimbursed for the baggage fees added insult to injury. That’s why I was so glad to read about this pending law.

Posh for the People

Victoria Beckham is working on a line for Target with a release date of April 9,¬†2017! This is the longest lead time they have ever given for their “cheap-chic collaborations” and I’m fascinated by their strategy to gauge demand and plan their inventory partially based on the social media buzz they see heading into the holiday season. I have a true life obsession with Target, and it doesn’t get more Posh than the Spice Girl herself so I can’t wait to see what comes of this collaboration!

Bullish On

We had so much fun with our family in Seattle last weekend, but after our quick¬†trips to Telluride and Healdsburg we really enjoyed staying local this weekend. We hit ‘D’ on our A-Z date night challenge (Dobbs Ferry!), cleaned up the house, and celebrated one of our best friends’ birthdays. Yesterday,¬†I finally got to grab coffee¬†with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in weeks and we got back into our Sunday routines: football and meal prep.

Here’s what kept me going last¬†week:

The Girl on the Train

I read this book on our honeymoon and could not put it down. It feels like the wait for this movie has been an eternity, and I would have seen it the day we came out if we hadn’t been up in Seattle. Roberto and I were planning to see it Friday night, but with the stormy weather we just felt like cozying up at home. I’m hoping to finally see it this week, and that the movie version doesn’t disappoint!

Pantsuit Party

Man I wish I could dance like this in a pantsuit (or dance like this at all?). I’m still trying to work out that whole business casual thing, but I know I don’t make it look this cool. Did you know women weren’t allowed to wear pantsuits on the Senate floor until 1993? Crazy. Anyway, I’ll be taking these vibes into the week with me. Regardless of your political preference I hope this brings a smile to your face!

Vote Vote Vote

Speaking of politics… are you registered to vote? I am blown away by the stats that in 2014, only 36.4% of registered voters turned out to the national polls for the midterms… the lowest numbers since World War II. Facebook got involved in reminding people to register last month, and the impact is incredible. If you’re in California like me you have about a week to get it together… please make your voice heard! I already have my absentee ballot in hand! Check your status here.

The Barber and The Books

This story just warms¬†my heart. I think education is so important, and I love seeing learning encouraged in any setting. Even better if it’s saving families a couple bucks that kids can learn to budget themselves. Jozef is bound to be a great reader AND look awesome in his 2nd grade photo… rock that mohawk!

The Elephant in the Room

Ok, ok, the elephant isn’t in the room… he’s at the Dallas Zoo! Ajabu was born in May, but just made his big debut as the zoo has been busy “baby-proofing” his habitat. We don’t have kids, but baby-proofing for a tiny human seems like a full-time job… I can’t even imagine doing it for an elephant!¬†He and his little tuft of red hair finally made their grand entrance for the public¬†and he couldn’t be any cuter.

Bullish On

It feels like we just got back from Colorado, but¬†we headed out of town¬†again this weekend for our friends’ wedding! They tied¬†the knot¬†up in Healdsburg, and we had so much fun celebrating with them… the day could not have been more gorgeous. Roberto grew up in Petaluma, a small¬†town in Sonoma¬†county, so we’ve spent lots of time in the area, but we haven’t actually explored Healdsburg at all. I fell in love with the town, and I’m¬†dying to head up for another weekend out of the city soon!

Here’s what I’m into¬†this week:

Don’t Stop BeliEVEN

Our San Francisco Giants clinched a spot in the post-season this weekend! We’ve got a weird even year thing going on, but I’m not complaining. We swept our SoCal rivals, the Dodgers, in the last regular season series of the year. Making it extra special was that it was¬†Vin Scully‘s last day announcing. What a way to ring¬†in October!

The Power of Habit

I just finished this book and I loved it! Admittedly, this was the first non-fiction book I have read in a while, but there are¬†so many interesting anecdotes that I couldn’t put it down. It has definitely made me think about my bad habits and how I can re-engineer them. I convinced my team at work to read this for our quarterly book club too,¬†and we’re all agreeing to quit our afternoon coffee habit this month… baby steps!

6 Times Drinking White Wine with Ice Is Totally OK

We had¬†a crazy heat wave last week and in my desperation to keep cool I ended up throwing an ice cube in my chardonnay (even though I knew deep down it was wrong). I scoured the internet for some kind of proof that this was acceptable over a certain temperature, but couldn’t find anything reassuring on this list. I think white wine ice cubes are in my future.

This Is What Millennials Actually Use Venmo For

Spoiler alert: it’s pizza and beer. And octopuses on Wednesday? Venmo is basically the greatest thing since sliced bread as far as I’m concerned. I was that friend in college who painstakingly calculated what each person owed so we could (unintentionally) torture our waiter by splitting the bill between twelve credit cards for slightly different amounts.¬†Now I’m more than happy to throw down my card (and get the points!), knowing I’ll be reimbursed before we even leave the table. This article is basically a study in emojis and I can get behind that.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Cult

Speaking of credit card points… Roberto and I could easily pass for the creepy blue-eyed people in this Bloomberg article… total credit card point junkies. We upgraded from Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Reserve card last month, and this piece¬†is a¬†great¬†look at the cultish following this card has amassed. We put just about everything on a credit card (paid in-full and on-time each month), and the points we’ve earned have¬†enabled us to cover¬†some really great travel.¬†Look for a more in-depth post about how we choose and use our credit cards in the future!

Bullish On

This week has been an especially fun one with the start of the Olympics. It’s hard to believe we’re not even halfway through the Games, but I can’t wait to keep¬†the patriotism going for another week.¬†Roberto is out of town for a bachelor party this weekend so I’m planning on a little extra ‘me’ time and a dinner date with some girlfriends. Here are a few of the things that kept me going this week…

The Final Five

I think this goes without saying, but watching The Final Five compete (and win!) was the highlight of my week! After watching Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman in the 2012 Games in London, I was thrilled to see them¬†back this year. Newcomers Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian all seem like natural additions to the team, and I love seeing how supportive all the women have been of each other. Simone proved that she’s in a realm of her own with her signature move and¬†unprecedented win.¬†Congratulations ladies!!!

Netflix’s ‘Luke Cage’

Ok, I will admit that I binge watched ‘Stranger Things’ with the rest of the world, but I’m already ready to move on to another Netflix Original.

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