Because my Bookmark Lit Bulletin wrap-ups got out of hand, I wanted to break up my monthly wrap-ups into two posts: one personal and one bookish/bloggy. I created Lauren Lately here to highlight all of the personal happenings in my life: events, activities, shows I’m addicted to, things I’m obsessing over, recipes I’ve loved, and goals for the next month. I decided to space them out so this wrap-up happens around the mid-point of the month and the bookish one happens at the end of the month.
✨ Check out my most recent bookish and bloggy wrap-up HERE ✨
What I’ve Been Up To
We are officially in the busy section of 2019 for me! Starting with my friend’s bachelorette trip to Charleston last month, through May and into June, we will be quite busy. We have another wedding we’re in (both Chris and me!) in August but luckily there isn’t a whole lot going into it.
We had a little birthday celebration for my friend Cassie during Easter weekend, where we got new cartilage piercings and tacos for lunch. We also went shopping to get the matching Easter outfits that Natasha and I always wear for my family! I snuck in some reading time before Easter while everyone else was sleeping and then we had a nice day at my mom’s house. We don’t have a reason to celebrate Easter but we do it anyways? lol.
I’m super busy with birthday things in April, as you all probably know by now (five super important people in my life have birthdays on April 23, 25, and 26). We celebrated my friend Brittany’s birthday at a local restaurant called the Hop Knot, where they have pretzel-oriented food. I got the s’mores one and good lord it was amazing. We went to see Chris’s mom for her birthday and she made bibimbap for dinner and we spoiled her with three cakes (whoops?).
Chris’s favorite local skatepark (which has weird hours) is open for the season, so we try to spend some time over there when the weather is nice and we’re not working! I like to watch him skate and read. That was a low-key weekend in general. We also celebrated Cinco de Mayo with his sister and her fiancee, by traveling to a restaurant on the shoreline for tacos and then cookie dough from a cafe that sells it!
This past weekend was my friend Paige’s wedding, where I was maid of honor. It was up above Boston on the shoreline and it was a gorgeous venue. I hadn’t seen some of my high school friends in a while so it was really nice to do that. I stayed up too late, had too many beverages, and had way too much fun. No regrets at all. The weather was perfect and the bride had a flawless day, which was all I wanted.
Curb Your Enthusiasm | My coworker has been telling me for years that she can’t wrap her head around the fact that I haven’t watched this show – it’s just such a ME show, in her eyes. Well, we finally decided to watch on a whim and she’s right. This show is the best. Subtle humor and absurd situations that could easily happen to anyone still… definitely a show for me.
Game of Thrones | Chris and I started GoT yearssss ago and got through the first 3-4 episodes before taking a break. Not sure why or what happened at the time, but we decided with all of the hubbub recently to get back into it. We’ve been binge-watching like crazy, watching a few episodes each night together AND watching separately in the mornings (for me) and in the work day (for Chris). We have a system to crank through them even faster ?
Avengers: Endgame | I can’t believe this huge portion of the MCU is over. What an AMAZING finale for these characters, holy crap. We finished the movie and were instantly compelled to go see it again. I always jokingly call movies “cinematic masterpieces,” but I fully mean that phrase when I think about this one. Words can’t really describe it.
Christopher Robin | Chris and I can RARELY agree on a movie to watch. We have different tastes in a lot of ways but we also never happen to be in the same movie mood at the same time. I want a comedy on the nights he wants an action movie… we can never win. We WERE both in the mood for Christopher Robin though and it was adorable! I’m so glad we finally decided to watch it. I really loved it.
Superstar Shakeup | I really hate WWE at the moment. I try so hard to be positive and just enjoy myself with wrestling but it’s so hard when the product is constantly garbage. Absolutely terrible. We’re taking a bit of a break (until we go to Money in the Bank this weekend) because we just need to be refreshed at the live show. The “Superstar Shakeup” happened aka when wrestlers move to a new brand… but it hasn’t really worked and the ratings are falling and it’s just all terrible.
Over My Dead Body | This was an interesting and addicting podcast, but it fell a little flat for me by the end? I’m really curious to see what happens with the upcoming trial AND the next seasons that this podcast puts out. The lead podcaster has a kind of odd voice and inflection but I got used to it, honestly.
Teacher’s Pet | So this is another one I’m on the fence about but thought I would include here. I just don’t feel compelled to listen to this one when I’m not listening, but I get a little addicted and interested when I AM listening… if that makes sense. I like the Australian accents too!
Random selections on Spotify | I’ve been listening to various Spotify playlists or radio stations that pique my interest. I also decided to mix in some of my own playlists from a while back, like the “Ultimate Lauren” playlist that includes basically all of my very-favorite songs.
Food & Drink
Big Mac Salad | Guys… this was amazing. I found so many versions of this floating around online for WW and decided I had to try my own. It tastes just like a Big Mac, even if you use 99% fat free ground turkey instead of beef like I do. The Worcestershire sauce makes a difference for making the meat taste like a burger! I’m obsessed. I linked one recipe but I do this: cook the meat with the Worcestershire sauce and cook the onions as well. Mix together shredded lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, thousand island dressing, and the meat. That’s it!
Honey Sriracha Meatballs | This was pretty good too! The plate looks a little boring but the meatballs had a great flavor. Chris doesn’t love honey so I usually sub in something else, so I used 1 tbsp honey and 1/2 tbsp of hoisin sauce instead.
Miso Dumpling Soup | This was such a quick and easy TJ’s-focused recipe! I couldn’t remember if I included it last month and I didn’t so here we go. It’s just a mix of a few TJ’s products as found in the recipe and it’s such a quick meal to prepare and bring for lunch the next day too.
Homemade Poke Bowls | I am still cautious about buying and eating raw fish myself, so I ended up buying seaweed salad and sashimi from the sushi counter at the grocery store instead. I cut up the fish into smaller pieces and mixed it in the soy sauce mixture. We also included cucumbers, wasabi peas, rice (obviously), avocado, and sriracha mayo.
Garrett Popcorn | Like many people who go to Chicago at any point in their lives, we became addicted to Garrett’s popcorn. We bought some when we had a layover to California last year and regrettably didn’t eat all of it before we had to fly home. Chris ordered a tin on a whim and it was an amazing decision. The Garrett Mix is PERFECTION.
Sweet Potato Tacos | I was going to make this with ground turkey as well but decided I didn’t need to. I told Chris that we should attempt more vegetarian meals! I was just super in the mood for sweet potato / black bean tacos and it coincided quite well with the release of Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Sauce! These were delicious. We ran out of tortillas after one meal for these, so I used the other half of the leftovers and made bowls topped with an egg and ranch dressing too. (You literally just cube and cook sweet potatoes and onions, add taco seasoning, mix with a can of black beans, and fill out the tacos!)
Skincare-focused | I started to read Skincare groups on Reddit to see what is going on with my skin. I’ve been thinking lately my skin isn’t as oily as I think it is… I might be drying it out too much and therefore it’s overproducing oil. I switched to the CeraVe face wash because the pH level is better and won’t strip my face. I’m still trying to clear up some pimples and redness, but I’m on the path to figuring out what my skin needs! I’ve noticed a few more bumps, annoyingly, after changing my routine, but I’m hoping it’s just the purge process!
Around the Internet
The Girl on Bloor | This has been my absolute favorite recipe blog for the past few months. I have made so many things off of this and every time something comes up in my feed, I end up pinning the recipe for later. She focuses on healthy stuff but not necessarily specific to any diet, which I love. Most things can be WW-friendly with a few adjustments, or even zero adjustments! She also talks a lot about meal prep and her recipes are almost always freezer-friendly too.
To Backlist or Not to Backlist @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog | I loved this post and totally agree. I was reminded of my previous discussions about the fact that I sometimes request new books on Netgalley from authors I’ve been meaning to read, and use that review copy as motivation to finally read them. When I finally do, though, do I go back and read the backlist titles? Great discussion!
Chicago Bachelorette & Girls’ Weekend Guide @ The Daily Tay | Chris and I have only been to the Chicago suburbs for a Lego convention, so we plan to go back at some point in the future. I know this is meant for bach trips but there are good food recs and other activities that we could do as a couple as well!
Do! Judge a Book By Its Cover @ Pop! Goes the Reader | This is one of my favorite features because you all know how much I love book covers! This post specifically features some absolutely gorgeous ones – I’m obsessed.
Trader Joe’s Spring Haul @ Doused in Pink | I am always itching to find new TJ’s items! I have an instagram account that I don’t post on and just follow a bunch of random accounts I don’t want clogging up my normal feeds (like celebrities) – I follow a ton of TJ’s oriented accounts on there too. It’s awesome to see new products as they come! This post is bookmarked for future reference on my next trip 🙂
Last Month’s Goals & Progress
1. Spring clean the house and rotate my clothes ✔ Done! I did this last weekend on a free evening. I got rid of a bunch more clothes (from the winter) and rotated in a few dresses I had stored. I’m curious to try them on because they’ll be too big and they may need to go too. We’ve been doing a better job in general of keeping the house tidy and cleaning up after ourselves. Not a big spring clean yet, but it’ll happen soon enough to count this for me.
2. Get my passport ❌ I hate myself but this very much didn’t happen. I just had way too much going on – not sure how I ever thought I’d be able to pull this off in between the bach and the wedding for Paige. I’m not going to make it a goal for next month but in a perfect world, I will have at least gotten the photo taken or something.
3. Continue using EveryDollar OR finalize a new budget software ?♀️ I decided I didn’t really like EveryDollar and think I need to just make my own spreadsheet somehow? I’m not sure. I really should do a mix of the cash envelope method and a spreadsheet to make my life easier.
Goals Until Next Time
1. Save money aka only spend on necessities / California | I have a few things here and there I need to spend money on, like Jen’s shower decorations and favors (which the other bridesmaids contributed to anyways), but I hope to really curb my spending and pay down a lot of bills/credit cards. I’m glad the influx of spending on weddings is over for a time…
2. Less grocery shopping and more super-planned meals | I noticed that because I do bits of grocery shopping multiple days a week, as a way of getting out of my office for my lunch break, I spend more money in total. I buy a bunch of things for later that I don’t need. If I’m going to split my shopping, I want to be smart about it and buy things where I need to buy them. I also hope to use up all ingredients and really plan my meals out even better.
3. Make the WW app worth it | I’ve hit a plateau recently with Weight Watchers and I know it’s for a few reasons. The biggest one is that I’m so tired of tracking things. I’m tired of watching what I eat. The bachelorette trip derailed me from a drinking perspective (lots of alcohol) and I haven’t been the BEST at WW since coming home. I haven’t lost weight in a month or so and I’m hoping to make my stupid subscription worth it. I want to reach my goal weight for Jen’s wedding in late August, but that means paying for a few more months and really working at truthful tracking and less eating out, if possible. California will be a big exception though.
Now that the big wedding (aka the one where I was MOH) is over, we have a little bit of relaxation until the next wedding we’re actually IN. This weekend is Money in the Bank for WWE and we’re attending the show in Hartford with a bunch of friends! Despite our general lack of interest in WWE at the moment, the matches look pretty good and the ladder matches for MITB itself are always awesome. The following weekend is Jen’s bridal shower (Chris’s sister) and I’m running the show with her mom, since her MOH is out of state and it’s kind of a family-run thing instead of bridesmaids. We’ll probably hang around home the following weekend because the weekend after THAT we head to CALIFORNIA for Cristina’s wedding and I am so pumped!! We’re going to explore San Francisco with some friends too. My sister graduates high school the week after (omg omg omg) and I can’t believe it.