Jul 28, 2016

Thoughts (on Affiliate Linking) on Thursday

What is your take on affiliate links?

For the non-bloggers among you, affiliate linking is when a blogger says "click here" for a certain item, which redirects through ShopStyle or a similar company to various retailers.  The referring blogger then gets a small percentage of the sale, or subsequent sales on the retailer's website while the cookie is still in place.  The Instagram version is LIKEtoKNOWit.

In theory, I think the idea is wonderful- the blog reader can easily purchase an item they like, without any extra cost, and the blogger makes some moolah for passing along their good taste.

That's the theory.

The reality?  I didn't even open Blogger during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.   I'm (unfortunately for my bank account) quite familiar with the ins and outs of online shopping.  I don't want to see a bunch of stuff tried on in dressing rooms and closets, only to be returned once clicks are clicked and referral money made.  The dress that was "JUST SOOO CUTE" and a "MUST HAVE!!", then is never to be seen again?  Returned, I'm sure.

My issue is with the transformation of blogs that I formerly enjoyed to advertisements for whoever pays the most for affiliate links.  Blogs that used to have a shopping post once a week are now links, links, links all the time.  And it's all the same retailers!  (Nordstrom, Shopbop- I'm looking at you!).

I have no objection to bloggers making money.  If I was making mad cash from this blog, I'd be thrilled!  However, I fear the transformation from a reflection of my actual life to endless Anthropologie dressing room selfies.  It just gets old, and makes me bummed to stop reading another blog that's lost its charm to the lure of Rstyle.

So what's your take?  Best thing for blogging or one of the worst?  I see both sides, but am coming down on annoying due the side effects of endless schilling.

Linking up with East Coast Chic and Home of Malones for Thoughts on Thursday.

Thoughts for Thursday

Jul 26, 2016

Well, Hello!

And just like that, it's been a couple weeks.

Summertime computering is hard.  Especially when it's 100 degrees everyday, and I'm juggling a crib-crawling, no-napping 2.5 year old, and a 4 years who is apparently inexhaustible.

We went to the discovery center yesterday.  I asked DH what her favorite part was.  She replied with various activities, then said "What was your favorite part, Mama?  Hmmm, let me guess. . .SITTING DOWN IN A CHAIR!".  Such derision.  But damn straight!

 We went to a bowling party at Maple Hall, the new fancy bowling alley that just opened downtown.  It was fab!  If you are in the area, definitely check it out.  The food was great, in addition to the atmosphere.

In other positive reviews, we are really enjoying our Freshly meals.  This heat, combined with lack of napping, has really put a halt to my cooking.  It's so odd to not enjoy one of my normally favorite activities, but it happens from time to time.  Anyway, I'm glad that we are eating actual food, instead of scrambled eggs and toast for dinner.  That's my go-to, when I can't be bothered with anything else.

 Skirt steak, creamed spinach and roasted potatoes- delicious!  The perfect portion too- a  little too much for me, and just right for Morgan.

 Chicken Rustica was also a favorite.  The chicken and steak were both very tender, surprisingly so, considering they were reheated.
 The kiddos really liked the chicken parm.  I would have liked the Cajun Meatballs, but they were just too spicy for this tender-tummied pregnant lady.   I will do a full recap/review after trying another shipment.

 DH at her soccer evaluation.  Too cute!  Her precious baby workout clothes are from Wal-Mart.

I love doing church flower- this is from last week.  It's fun to do the asymmetrical "arty" arrangements, but I love a good old bunchy hydrangea arrangement too.

 There was a dead baby snake next to the kids new playset yesterday.  DH nailed it when she remarked that "Snakes are really cool, but kind of scary, too." It was a source of considerable excitement, as was the resurfacing of our street.  We watched trucks and ate Popsicles for about an hour.

I just finished The Hopefuls, by the wonderful Jennifer Close.  I could not put it down.  Great summer read- not too heavy, but smart.  Also, not depressing as Girls in White Dresses. I just can't handle a downer book when the heat index hits the triple digits (or when it's cold, but that's just me).

Finally, before my pregnancy/heat/exhaustion- induced cooking boycott began, I made the cobbler on this month's Southern Living cover.  It was divine.

Recipe linked here.  I made a couple changes- frozen mixed berries (blackberries, cherries, blueberries and strawberries, thawed), as blackberries weren't ripe yet, and pecans plus almond extract for the almonds in the crust, in order to avoid a grocery trip.

Did you make it through my drivel?  Congrats!  Let's hope I get my blogging act together once more, so each post isn't a marathon of inanity!

Jul 12, 2016

Food Diaries

Here we go!

DAY ONE-Thursday:

Breakfast- Think Thin protein bar.  It was one of those mornings that I was starving right when I woke up, so protein bar for the win while I get everyone dressed and together for day, before we head out to Jazzercise.

Lunch #1- Green smoothie- stopped at Tropical Smoothie Cafe after jazz and picked up an early lunch of smoothies for the kids and myself on the way out to the suburbs for open gym at the gymnastics place. I got mine without sugar, but I have a feeling it had a lot of apple juice in it, ha!  Otherwise it was cucumber, green apple, kale, spinach, celery & kiwi.

Lunch  #2- After we got home from jumping for a couple hours, Deeds went down for nap, DH had rest time.  I worked and munched on field pea salad, brie and crackers (x2- I went back for a second helping).


I was feeling peckish while making our stir fry for dinner, so I made a GIANT iced decaf coffee, with a ton of 2% milk, some stevia and cinnamon to get me through.

 Dinner- Skinnytaste Beef and Broccoli with brown rice.  I forgot to take a picture.

Snack #2- a cup of steamed milk with vanilla and cinnamon, honey and or stevia before bed.  It helps this pregnant lady sleep and my dreaded nighttime reflux.

DAY TWO- Friday:

Breakfast: Avocado Toast.  Hurrah!  My avocado is finally ripe!  Whole grain bread (Dave's thinly sliced, to be exact), with a lacing of olive oil, and a quarter of an avocado mashed on top, then some sea salt.

Snack #1- a cup of 1% chocolate milk after Jazzercise.

Lunch: We hit the pool, and was pumped to see Baja Fish Tacos as the special.  They were delicious! Grilled tilapia on a flour tortilla with pineapple salsa.  And fruit on the side.

Snack #2- 2% cherry Fage Greek Yogurt.

Dinner- My father-in-law came in town, and we had pork tenderloin, field pea salad, caprese salad, and corn on the cob.  Except I left out the corn on the cob- ever since and unfortunate incident with corn, braces and preteen angst it's something I avoid.

Snack #3- steamed milk (same as previous night).

DAY THREE- Saturday:

Breakfast:  More avocado toast, except I add two hardboiled eggs this time for a little protein power.
 Morgan and my father-in-law take the kiddos off so I can do some housework, as well as have a little peace and quiet.

Snack #1- a handful of cherries and a string cheese.

Lunch-  I find some of Martha Stewart's chicken soup in my freezer, hurrah!  It's just chicken, carrots, celery, onions and parsnips, and so good when you are feeling run-down.  I grate a smidge of parmesan on top.

Snack #2-

Morgan made dark chocolate Ghirardelli brownie/cookie bars last night.  I resisted the night before (not out of willpower- just because of reflux reasons).  I give in once Deeds goes down for his nap, while DH is checking out a dino exhibit at the museum with Morgan and Pop-Pop.  It's delicious, and I have another piece after this one (smaller though, ha!) and a glass of milk.

Dinner- We order a loaded pizza and Greek salad from our favorite neighborhood place.  This is half of a piece.  I had the other half and some more salad as well.  YUM!

Snack #3- steamed milk.

Well, this was an interesting experiment.  I definitely feel like I ate healthier than I might of, knowing I was holding a mirror up to my choices.  Also, there are things not pictured- my daily Diet Coke (oh, how I love thee), a handful of pretzels at the pool, or what have you.  And, man!  I eat a lot of dairy.  Part of that is pregnancy- I love milk when I am pregnant!

So what do you eat every day?  The voyeur in me loves these kinds of posts!


Jul 8, 2016

Five on Friday- Dieting Dilemmas

1.  Freshly

I have not had much enthusiasm for cooking lately.  Not like me, but it happens to the best of us.

It's hot.  I'm having a baby in 3 months.  I am trying to cram in work with no regular childcare.  The excuses abound!

Anyway, I'd heard people talking about Freshly, the meal delivery service.  My interest was piqued when I got an email for 9 meals for $49.  My first meals arrive next week, and I am excited!!  This appeals to me much more than Blue Apron or the ilk.  When I don't feel like cooking, I don't want to do all the chopping and prep work for my meals either!

I will do a full review after our meals- non-sponsored and completely frank.

2.  Food Diary

Speaking of eating, I have my gestational diabetes test in a week or so.  This sounds looney, but I really think I have GD.  I've already gained more weight with this pregnancy than I did the entire with Deeds.  I had a fainting spell during church after eating a Krispy Kreme a few weeks ago.  I just feel weird. This is likely just because it's my third go-around, but who knows?  So, I'm trying to make healthy choices.  Therefore, I'm accountable to y'all!  Plus, I'm nosy and love to know what other people eat.  Next week I will do a post on what I've been eating.  Sigh.

3.  SkinnyTaste Beef and Broccoli

We had this Wednesday night- delish!  And healthy!!  Recipe here.

4.  Anthro Dress

I'm longing for this dress.  Do you think it would work for the third trimester?  I keep hoping it will go on sale, then it's backordered.  Not a good sign, folks.

5.  Kitchen
I think it would be easier to go on a diet if I had this kitchen (from here).
 Ha!  Actually I would probably be cooking all the time, because I couldn't leave my pretty kitchen alone.  Speaking of, be sure to try that cherry pie I posted yesterday (pre-food diary, obviously!).  It's a game-changer.

Thanks to the Five on Friday gals!!!

Jul 7, 2016

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

 How about a little 4th of July recap and a cherry pie recipe?  Red, white and blue, indeed!

We had a great and sweaty Independence Day- Morgan and Deeds were there, although I have no photographic evidence of the first two-thirds of our adventures.  DH and I were inadvertently matching in our Mexican flavored blue and white, and a little worse for wear after a neighborhood kids' parade, barbecue and a carnival at the pool.

This mama was ready to flop down on a blanket for some fireworks.  Morgan took Deeds home- he was grooving after bouncing on twenty bounce houses and eating his weight in snow cones and cotton candy.  A meltdown was definitely on the horizon.
 Third trimester (just barely).  I'm due in three months.

Now for the PIE!!  DH and I made a homemade cherry pie for my Dad for Father's Day.  It was amazing, and I ate FAR more than my share.  Although, since I pitted a ridiculous amount of fresh cherries, the entire pie was my share.  Pitting cherries is sticky work.

 My poor attempt at a lattice crust.  I tried weaving it via instructions on the Internet.  I failed.  This recipe is adapted from Taste of Home.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup cherry juice blend
4 heaping cups fresh tart cherries (or frozen tart pitted cherries, thawed)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 pie crust
2 tablespoons whipping cream (optional)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (optional)

1.  In large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Gradually stir in cherry juice until smooth.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cook while stirring for a couple minutes or until thickened.  Add cherries and cook for about five minutes until very thick.  Remove from heat and add the spices and almond extract.

2.  Put pie crust on 9 inch pie plate, and add filling on top.  Make (or attempt to make, ha!) a lattice crust on top of filling.   Trim, seal and flute edges.  Brush with cream, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

3.  Bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes. (I recommend covering the edge of your crust with aluminum foil at this point). Reduce heat to 375 degrees; and bake for 45-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours.

 Using fresh cherries was a huge pain, but completely worth it!  This pie was even better the next day.  Eaten cold for breakfast (oops!).  It's fruit, right?  Completely healthful.  And sooo tasty.  "Rustic" crust and all!