January Check Up

{Blogged over Thin Mints. Because it’s that time} I figured this was a good opportunity to check in and see where we are with our resolutions/ goals/ intentions/ whatever they are called! I am feeling pretty good about 2018, month one (the rest of the year might turn into a disaster, so I’m not getting too gloaty here!) For a little refresher on my goals, go here.  So far I have:

-Tried an escape room (So so SO fun!!!) I went with me and my hubby for a date night but we have several others planned with friends.  My husband and I love any and all games and this was right up our alley. Totally addicting and challenging (and humbling!) Try one (and if you live in Orange County, message me and I will tell you all about the one we went to! They were wonderful!)

- Spent almost every weekend outside (thank you, CA weather!) at new parks. We’ve spent time at the Great Park (in Irvine), at two parks in San Juan and it’s been great.  Anyone with children knows that the best thing for them is to get outside. We’ve packed lunches and dinners and just let them run around on the grass, play on swings, night swim—and it’s been  wonderful.  We are not taking this fabulous weather for granted one bit!

-Traded out paper towels for cloth towels. I know, it’s not much but it’s a start for us.  Kids make everything super messy  and we can easily go through a paper towel roll (or two!) a day. Now, we are trying to be very good at  drying our hands, drying dishes, and wiping the counters with a cloth towel.   With all of the germs floating around lately,  I have been washing the towels non-stop but it is working out so far!   I hope to make one small change a month and by the years end, it will make a much bigger impact! Next month: cloth napkins for everyday!! 

-  Focusing on my kids when I get home. I have been diligent about putting my phone down and just concentrating on them for the short time I have before they go to sleep.  For me, my weekdays are a little bit of time with the kids in the morning over breakfast and then the absolute tornado of dinner/baths/bedtime at night.  Its not nearly enough, and it sometimes really gets to me, how fast life moves and how weeks turn into months.  It makes me sad to be away from them so much, but  I try not to dwell on it and just focus on the joy of the moment.    So far, its working! 

-Tried an at home work out video.  I have only done a few so far, and it’s been so-so. I am a runner at heart, but I’m struggling to find the time. For any kind of exercise.  I’ve started to do videos after the kids go to sleep, and I think if I stick with this, it will be because I find good ones! I will let you know what I find-- and I'd love to hear your favorites too!

How are you all doing with your resolutions?  I would love to hear from you and hang in there! Sweetly, Michelle 

Sweater Dresses + Butternut Squash Soup Mash Up


 {Written on Inauguration Eve while packing for a quick weekend to Palm Springs}

I have mentioned this before but I am going through blog- revamping issues.  I'm trying to figure exactly what I want to do with GDSL in 2017. As part of that contemplation, I was thinking that every once in a while, I will combine a fashion post with some sort of a practical post. Maybe a fun craft to do with your kids, maybe some make up or skin care tips, or maybe sharing some of my go to recipes (I have like 3!) Tonight it's a soup recipe...read on, brave reader!!

 The Dress

About this dress – – there really is nothing better for the office then a pretty, comfy, air-condition thwarting sweater dress! Pair it with a pretty furry vest and some statement shoes and you are set! 

 Shoes|| Dress || Vest

The Recipe 

I really love soup (who doesn't, right?).  It feels good in your tummy on cold days, it is (mostly) healthy and not too hard to make (which is fortunate because my skills are limited!)  I am making an effort in 2017 to get in the kitchen and MAKE (not order) food for my family (I am by and large a DoorDasher!)  Butternut squash is one of my favorite soups and it's easy, so I thought I'd share! The recipe below is relatively quick, and only has a few ingredients. I think this is a good way to get into cooking- with a simple recipe. I may never graduate to anything more complicated but that is a-ok!! I am going to start sharing my go-to recipes (get ready to pull out your slow cooker!)  Let me know what you think or if you  have any modifications to this recipe that make it even better! (or if you have an easy recipe to share!) GDSL Tip: You will need to play around with the puréed squash and the chicken stock to get this soup as thick or as thin as you'd like. After you blend, add the stock back in sparingly, little by little.  I like a thicker type consistency, so I use less stock. Experiment and see what you like! Happy souping! Sweetly, Michelle

Butternut Squash Soup

1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.
(Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchens)