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Oct 15, 2014 Cookbook Library

i don't know why, but there's something about owning cookbooks that makes me feel like a grown-up.  i love to cook but i rarely actually do it, and when i do, it's pretty much never done with a cookbook open next to me.

but i think i have this image in my mind of married life that requires a good library of cookbooks.  aj and i like to cook together, so i just envision us pouring over cookbooks and picking out great recipes, and meal planning, and doing other married-people things in our super cute kitchen (which he constantly tells me he'd like to have complete control over decorating and registering for...ha...right.)

anyway, i've been actively expanding my cookbook collection...aj's mom helped out by giving me the jeni's splendid ice creams cookbook, which is pretty much the greatest book ever created because it's the greatest ice cream on the planet and don't even argue because i'm right and i will never change my mind.  (that run-on sentence was definitely necessary.)

but i've also been adding other books to my library as well, and here are the three newest ones in my collection:  juice, the kitchn cookbook, and the skinny taste cookbook.

juice // carly de castro, hedi gores, & hayden slater

we started juicing about seventeen months ago, and i've been on the hunt for a good juice cookbook ever since.  this one is pretty great.  it starts off by discussing a lot of the benefits of juicing and the best practices of how to make and store juice.  then, it breaks juice recipes down into roots, greens, and citrus.  it's full of great, colorful photos, easy-to-follow recipes, and lots of great tips!

juicing is a great habit to get into (more to come on that in another post!) and it really is one of the best ways to get the purest nutrients from fruits and veggies straight into your body and quickly into your cells!  the writers of this cookbook founded a pretty successful juicery, and they even incorporate some of their personal testimonies about how juicing helped them!

the book breaks juice recipes down into roots, greens, and citrus.  roots include juices that are mostly carrot and/or beet-based.  these are your hearty, filling juices.  green juices are based on green veggies and leaves, like kale, cucumber, celery, etc!  the authors refer to green juices as "your gateway drug into the world of healthy living."  and finally, the citrus juices are jammed-packed with vitamin c, and often are the sweetest and fruitiest!

one of my favorite sections of the book contains a bunch of different boost that you can add to your juices to give them a little extra oomph!  things like apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and ginger all have different health benefits that can give your already-nutrient packed juice something extra, depending on what you're hoping to help, ease, or fix!

the kitchn cookbook // sara kate gillingham & faith durand

the kitchn cookbook is part recipe book, part cooking school.  from the curators of apartment therapy's cooking site, this book is exactly what you'd expect to get from successful bloggers:  great photos, a beautiful layout, and easy-to-digest segments.

the book contains over 150 recipes, which are scattered with pretty photos, and are great for entertaining and families alike.  it's organized as you would expect a cookbook to be:  into appetizers, sides, entrees, etc.

but the real highlight of this cookbook is the cooking school found within.  broken down into two parts, the kitchen and how to cook well, the book covers topics such as setting up and caring for the kitchen, stocking the pantry, planning meals, 50 essential cooking skills, and entertaining.

the last section, entitled gathering, is my personal favorite.  it has a great diagram of how to set a proper place setting, tips on how to spruce up your gathering on the cheap, setting the mood, and a game plan on how to prep and recover from a party...i love hosting events and gatherings, so these tips were all welcomed and appreciated!

the skinny taste cookbook // gina holmoka

the skinny taste cookbook is totally gorgeous.  it features all sorts of recipes that are "light on calories, big on flavor", and comes jam-packed with great photos and easy-to-follow directions.  it's author, gina homolka, is well-known for her low-calorie recipes that are full of flavor and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients.  the recipes are also all coded with a key, which labels them vegetarian, gluten-free, quick, freezer-friendly, and slow cooker, so it's easy to navigate the book!

the beginning of the cookbook includes "the skinny basics", which are tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle and kitchen!  everything from the author's personal story to tips on how to stay motivated can be found in the intro, and will help you get a feel for what you'll find in the cookbook.

one of the great aspects of this cookbook is that each recipe comes with nutrition information!  it will tell you how much a serving is, and then lists the calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs, fiber, protein, sugar, and sodium in each serving.  the recipes also call for specific brands, so if you follow them perfectly, you know the nutrition info will be correct!

my favorite part of this cookbook, however, is the "skinny scoop" tips that are scattered throughout the book...everything from tips on grating your own parmesan cheese for the freshest flavor to how to store homemade marinara sauce can be found in these tips!  they're designed to make cooking easier, faster, and hassle-free!

i received these books from blogging for books for this review.

have you picked up any good cookbooks lately?

Oct 14, 2014 My Parents are Rockstars.

this past weekend, my parents rode the philadelphia ride to conquer cancer.  (if you're new to my blog, you can read a little bit more about my dad's journey with cancer here.)  together with my uncle matt, they raised over $8,500 and each of them rode nearly 150 miles in 2 days.

they joined over 500 other riders and in total, $1.9 million dollars was donated to the abramson cancer center at the university of pennsylvania!  that money will be used to fund research that is seeking a cure and creating new, cutting-edge therapies.

while i so wished i was on a bike with them, i got to lead the cheerleading squad and cheered team gettis at every pit stop.  saturday started off miserably wet and cold, but they rode, so we cheered...and then sunday ended up being a beautiful day, and our crew just kept getting larger at each stop.  it was awesome to see these three push through (you would never know my dad is battling this disease!) and keep pedaling.

here they are crossing the finish line!  i think we all was such an awesome moment to see them ride through, and i am so so proud of them!

here's my dad and my brother....everyone was decked out in their "team gettis" gear (designed by yours truly!)

a "we did it!" hug!

probably one of the best photos of my parents ever...they are so great!

my  mom had a card with the names of people she was riding in honor of tied to her bike....these are the names of current cancer survivors! (and of course, my dad's name is loud and proud at the top)

team gettis with our friend rachel, the marketing director for abramson!  she's awesome, and she and her husband rode as well!

have you or someone you know ever completed a mega-race like a marathon or a 150-mile+ bike ride?

Oct 10, 2014 In Christ Alone

the other day, i wrote a whole post about getting in the word on a regular basis.  one of my tips was to surround yourself with scripture and lyrics from worship songs.  i particularly love hanging hand-lettered prints around my room with favorite verses and lyrics so that i'm seeing it every day.

lately, one of my absolute favorite references has been two simple words:  "but god".  these two words show up so many times in the bible, and each time, they are game changers.  something is going wrong or someone is feeling despair or all seems lost.

but god.

goodness, that's a whole post in itself!  but the point is, throughout this past year and a half, i've realized more than ever the importance of surrounding myself with uplifting, powerful scriptures and references.  words have power, friends!  the bible tells us to speak out things of god.  and i fully believe that surrounding yourself with powerful words is one way to get into the habit of turning around and then also speaking them!

writing a quote or verse on my mirror, hanging a print on a wall, doodling a lyric on a sticky note and sticking it on my computer...just keeping those words in front of my eyes can do so much for my mindset!

one of my favorite songs to quote is in christ's full of hope and the realization that the only place you can find that hope is in christ.  its a great reminder to have around.

and one of my favorite letterers has created a gorgeous canvas featuring lyrics from this song.  so, we're giving one away.  pretty sweet, right?  check it lucky reader will win a 16x20 canvas from lindsay letters!

and here are the lovely ladies that i've teamed up with to bring you this awesome giveaway!  check them out and enter to win below!

you have a week to enter and the winner will be notified via email...all entries will be verified so play fair!  good luck!

Oct 9, 2014 Step Inside My Office...

i've mentioned before that i work on the creative team at gt church in reading, pa.  since taking this position last fall, i've settled into sharing an office with my boss.  she's often running around in meetings, so this little space ends up being shared a small percentage of the time that i'm actually in it.  but she's also a fantastic decorator, and loves constantly changing things up, so it's bee really fun to have an inspiring workspace to be in!

since our office really is fun and unique, i thought i'd give you all a glimpse into it today!

this is the view when you look in from the door.  my desk is on the left and debbie's is tucked around the corner on the right.

my bulletin board and photos that hang next to my desk...lots of inspiration, quotes, and hand lettering going on, as well as goals, invite cards to upcoming sermon series and events, and projects i'm working on!

debbie found this old door and had her husband, todd (who is incredibly handy and also happens to be our children's pastor) bring it in to be a sort of bulletin board for her.  she has lots of quotes, photos, and mementos on it.

the top of my bookshelf. yes, we have monogrammed pumpkins and old barnwood all over the place.

again, more hand lettering and comfy chairs!  i love just collapsing into this particular's one of my faves.

this chair sits in front of my desk, and is usually where people land when they come to chat with me.

since my desk doesn't really have any storage, i picked up this white bookshelf and these great fabric drawers at target last winter and created some storage for myself.

my entire workspace...i love it!

and finally...debbie's workspace.  she has this really cool corner desk that she is constantly turning to face different directions.  seriously, it's been in three or four different positions since i moved in to her office last september!

so that's it!  stop by and we'll have coffee some time!

Oct 8, 2014 Open Your Bible.

one of the things on my summer goals list was to get in the word more regularly.  i'll be honest...this has always (like, always, always) been a struggle for me.  and this summer was no different.  i long to be the type of person who wakes up early, brews a cup of coffee or tea, and just spends time with jesus.  i even have two alarms on my phone that are titled "hey!  jesus wants to spend some time with you!" and "seriously.  get up!  jesus is waiting."  i'm not even kind of lying.

but when it comes to my alarm, my hand just always finds that snooze button.  i know, excuses, excuses.

the past few weeks, i've been trying to be really really intentional about spending time with the lord.  my soul has desperately needed it (like souls tend to), and while i've failed over and over again (no matter what time of day i try), it's been going...slowly, but going.  so obviously, i'm no expert on this one.  but i have found a few things that have begun to help me get on track with this lifelong goal that i've never quite been able to reach....

1.  be accountable to someone // when i recapped my summer goals and mentioned that i had failed at the whole devotions thing, linda from the murphmans commented to ask if i wanted to work on holding each other accountable.  we had met through another blog's package swap and had become fast friends, so i jumped at the chance to continue our friendship as accountability partners!  we chose a plan to read, a goal that we wanted to hit each week, and work on checking in on each other through text and skype.  this relationship is just the coolest thing to me because a) we met through the blogging community and are basically the same person in a lot of ways and b) are on completely opposite sides of the country (she's in alaska!).  definitely a jesus-thing.  if you can find someone who is nearby, then that's awesome!  but find someone. (and if you're in need of an accountability partner, then join the peony project...we are in the process of creating small groups and accountability partnerships right now!)

2.  find a plan // maybe you want to read a book of the bible, or maybe you want something that combines scripture with a devotion that breaks it down a little for you.  there are tons of great devotional reading plans out there!  one of my favorites is jesus calling...they're like little love notes from god to you, and there's one in the book for every day of the year.  you've probably heard of she reads truth.  linda and i are currently working our way through the "prayer in the bible" plan.  another thing i like to do is journal.  unpack what you've read or just write down your prayers!

3.  set attainable goals //  just starting out?  like any habit, it takes time to form it.  set an attainable goal for yourself.  maybe plan on doing devotions three or four days a week to start, and then increase it.  reward yourself for hitting those goals if that is motivational for you!

4.  you can pray anywhere // in the car.  while you're cooking dinner.  on a run.  you don't have to be sitting in a quiet room with your bible out in front of you to talk to god.  prayer doesn't have to be confined to your quiet time!  i pray out loud in the car all the time.  i'm sure i look like a crazy person sometimes, and i actually ran over our trash can lid coming in the driveway once because i was praying so fervently! (ok, and it was dark...and we live on a gravel lane.)  but the point is, we're all busy.  i happen to think that god doesn't mind it if we multitask and talk to him while we're doing other things too.

5.  set the mood // whatever makes you calm or gets you ready to spend time with your heavenly father, do it!  for me, i know that if i try to read scripture while i'm cozy in bed, i might fall asleep (and believe me, i've done devos through sleepy eyes and it was rough).  put on some quiet worship music, light a few candles or grab a cup of tea and a blanket and get cozy on the couch....turn off distractions and really focus on the one that you're with...he'll show up, i promise.  and keep yourself in that mindset by surrounding yourself with scripture and worship lyrics.  buy or make a print with your favorite verse on it.  grab a whiteboard marker and write it on your mirror.  memorize scripture.'s amazing what committing scripture to memory will do for your spiritual life and your prayers.

and just to help you along in your journey to becoming a more consistent reader of scripture, i've joined up with a tiny traveler, along with a few other great blogs, to give away a she reads truth prize pack!  check out the blogs below and enter!  good luck!

daisy from Simplicity Relished // betsy from Heavens to Betsy // elizabeth from Oak + Oats // natalie from A Tiny Traveler // rebecca from Adventures of Bug and Boo

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