We’re not on Whole 30 and we haven’t been on Whole 30 for… like two years. But whenever we’re looking for a new recipe, we tend to search “Whole 30” and then the thing we’re looking for. Whole 30 chicken recipes, Whole 30 taco recipes, etc. If we discover something that is 1. easy and 2. Whole 30 compliant, then we know we can make it a part of our lives on the regular and not feel bad about it. Enter these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples.
Honestly, I found this recipe years ago when I was babysitting a little boy who ate a LOT. I wanted to make him something easy and tasty. Since then, this has been a staple in our house AND is often requested by kids I babysit for.
Get ready because it’s the simplest.
Three ingredients for these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples:
It’s been a year since I started listening to podcasts, and my podcast interests have changed a LOT. In the beginning, my favorite podcasts were just the 4 podcasts I listen to. Now that I’ve started and stopped a bunch of different podcasts, here’s a list of my five favorite podcasts (for right now, we’ll see how it stands in a year)!
ONE // THIS PODCAST WILL KILL YOU
Never in my life did I imagine that I’d love listening about infectious disease. The other day I told Justen “now I’m going to know about disease AND murder, so I’m going to be great at a party!” 🙂 It’s run by two epidemiologists (say that outloud, it’s REALLY SATISFYING). So far they’ve covered influenza, rabies, yellow fever, smallpox, polio… it is crazy to hear about the history of these infectious diseases and how they’ve affected our world. They are a delight to listen to and present the information in a way that is really easy to understand.
TWO // DR. DEATH and DIRTY JOHN
I’m listing these two together because they’re both finished (for the most part, Dr. Death has some updates). They’re stories of two really crappy human beings and the people they affected. Dr. Death is the story of a completely unqualified monster of a human being who operated on people with LITERALLY NO REASON to ever hold a scalpel. Dirty John is another monster of a human being who was a con artist who wreaked havoc on a family and the story came to a really surprising end.
THREE // MY FAVORITE MURDER
I just love true crime and I really love this podcast. Every week they have a smaller “minisode” where they share listener e-mails and stories, and then on Thursdays each of the hosts shares a true crime story. There’s a lot of f bombs and foul words, so just beware if that’s not your thing.
FOUR // THE INFLUENCER PODCAST
I wanted to include some sort of blogger/influencer podcast for any of y’all interested in that sort of thing. I had a hard time deciding. Not because they’re all great but because so many of them are so-so. People who can’t pronounce the word especially, who have terrible audio, respond “I love that,” to every single answer given to a question. I chose this one because while it’s popular, I’m not completely annoyed with the host… as of now.
If you listen to any blogging/influencer/social media podcasts, do me a favor and recommend some to me!
FIVE // BROS BEFORE ROSE
Of COURSE there’s going to be a Bachelor podcast. A Bachelor podcast is what started my love of podcasts, after all! I’m still trying to find my most favorite Bachelor recap podcast, but I REALLY like Bros before Rose. It’s two men and their wives recapping the Bachelor. I apparently have no pride and am totally fine giving more than just 2 hours of my week to the dumpster fire that is The Bachelor. If you’re like me in that, I’d recommend giving them a listen!
After our sudden move out of our apartment, we un-decorated for Christmas and got the opportunity to re-decorate our new one! Since we’ve only experienced one married Christmas, our decor was all for our original apartment… that has a living room, kitchen, bathroom… oh, and bedroom. Now we live in a small studio where the living room, bedroom and kitchen are all one big room.
I’ve shared that I regretted how little I shared of our beloved 202 1 bedroom apartment, so I’m trying to take more photos in our new one. That said, a few days after we moved in, I took some photos of the little glimpses of Christmas we put up. I’ll try to post an actual, proper tour of our apartment, but for now, enjoy these belated Christmas Studio Apartment decor photos!
Not actually Christmas related but y’all our bed just is so cozy looking in this apartment!
One day we were driving on the freeway and I saw a car with an Instagram handle decal, so I went to the instagram handle and it was an adorable Instagram store, The Sweetie Bee! I began following and this year we went to a holiday bazaar and bought this beautiful hand painted silent night sign.
We had this entryway cabinet in the other apartment and I knew I wanted to recreate it as best as possible! My friend Heidi sent us this it is well sign for our wedding and our friends gave us the cartoon drawing of us! OK funny story about the fa la la la la sign! Sometimes antique vendors find stuff at like Target and will include it in their booths. Last year we were in the antique store we live above and I saw this adorable sign and freaked out. It was like $12 but I just loved it. The next week, we were in Target and I saw it… in the bullseye playground area… for like $7. UGH! But whatever, I love it enough 😀
The glass spray bottle (it’s just an old Kombucha bottle) is a spray we used to make our fake tree smell a little more… tree-ey. It’s dōterra’s Holiday Peace with a bunch of witch hazel. Also note the adorable Kate Spade wood + gold polka dot frame. I just can’t with it, I love it so much.
Last year we bought $1 stockings and said we’d buy better ones this year. When I saw these plaid with gold polka dots stockings at Home Goods, I knew they were perfect! Justen’s a little plaid and I’m a little gold polka dot, so it worked out well. I really wanted garland for the desk our TV is one to kind of turn it into a mantle, and I couldn’t find anything I liked so I just made it myself! Pretty proud of how it turned out, not gonna lie!
This year I’ve developed quite a love of ornaments! Not matchy ones, but cute symbolic ones that have meaning and I want to keep forever! The top one was given to us by my mom – it’s Lauren Conrad! Last year, Justen’s mom got him the camera one.
Curly Girl Design is ADORABLE. Years ago I’d found this Curly Girl Ornament and I love it. Justen’s mom found this old computer ornament of Justen’s, we’re always looking for Starbucks ornaments at thrift stores (bc duh) and then this year at Goodwill, I’d found these Young Living diffuser ornaments! I don’t use their oils, but heck YES I’ll use this adorable diffuser! I bought 3 of them and gave one to my sister in law.
The snowman ornament thing? When I placed my December order, a “Snowman Bottle Topper” mysteriously appeared and I was so excited to see what it was!… well… literally a snowman bottle topper! I died laughing.
Last year we bought this Liberty Theater ornament from Camas Gallery – we live next door to the Liberty Theater here in downtown Camas, so having this hand painted ornament is definitely sentimental. I love it so so so much. Can you tell I love a lot of things so much? 😀
Sorry for the overblown photo, but how do you like our tree topper? Yes, those would be my Christmas sequins mouse ears from Disneyland! It was sparkly and seemed fitting. I tucked my other sequins mouse ears all over the tree to give it a little more sparkle. The circle ornament is a dōterra diffuser ornament from last year 🙂
The full Christmas scene. See the hidden Mickey ears?! Also, there’s a Nutcracker ornament because while we were dating, Justen took me to see The Nutcracker for the first time. There’s also a Yoda Ornament and a silver Packy The Elephant (RIP) ornament!
I spent awhile picking out our wrapping paper this year. We got this cute pink paper with a crocodile that says “Master wrapper.” It was premium wrap (aka REALLY THICK) and came in sheets on a roll. It left glitter freaking EVERYWHERE! The pretty blue wrap was ALSO premium wrap. Premium wrap is hard to deal with.
This post is sponsored by Joan Of Arc Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
When people ask Justen and I what our Christmas plans are, we both kind of take in a deep breath, glance at each other and start “Well…” because we have 5 family Christmas gatherings in 3 days. It’s fun! You know what else is fun? When they start passing around a list of what you’re supposed to bring to help feed people at the gatherings.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a very… um.. amateur chef. I have dreams of making impressive, instagram-worthy dishes… but until I get myself in some cooking classes, that’s really far off.
Trust me when I say that the recipe I’m about to share with you is hands down one of the easiest little appetizers you’ll ever encounter.
Three ingredients. 5-10 minutes of prep, 30 minutes of cooking, 15 minutes of drooling and waiting and boom. 3 Ingredient Brie Filled Croissant Roll for the absolute win.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Next, you’ll break open the croissant dough. If you’re anything like me, that will include about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pop open the ends of those cans. Split the dough in half, tearing along perforated lines. Keep the other half nearby! Lay the square on an ungreased baking sheet and then press together the perforated pieces.
Once you’ve squished together all of the dough, now comes time for the brie! I’m using 8 oz of Joan of Arc Brie Cheese. Just take the whole thing of brie, put it in the middle of the dough, and wrap the dough around the cheese.
Add the rest of the dough to the top. I ripped them off into the perforated triangles so I could more easily cover all the cheese!
Crack and beat that egg, then brush it all over the outside of the dough. I didn’t use the whole egg, just as much as needed to get the whole thing good and coated. Once that’s done, pop it into the oven for 30 minutes!
It’ll stay in the oven for 30 minutes, then it’ll rest for 15 after you take it out.
Justen said he had been sitting there drooling for 15 minutes because it smelled so good.
After 15 minutes, we cut out a little pizza-shaped piece, took a bite and said “oh, this is so good,” to each other with a mouth full of delicious food.
We pulled out crackers, but the cheese wasn’t as gooey as we’d thought, though we did scoop cheese out to eat on the crackers.
I’ve seen various ways you can up level this recipe, including adding sliced apples and 2 tablespoons brown sugar on top of the cheese before you cook, and including cranberry sauce.
This was our first time even trying brie cheese and we’ll be keeping our eyes open for Joan of Arc Brie Cheese from here on out.
The other day I was (wait for it) distracted on the internet. I was sitting at my desk, gazing at the paper mill from our window and my mind went down a rabbit hole, which I followed all the way to YouTube.
I saw a video that reminded me of a text I got two Decembers ago.
Two Decembers ago, Kristen texted me to tell me that Layla was diagnosed with alopecia and her hair was falling out. My precious little Layla, sweetest Layla in the whole world (I’ll fight you on it) and truly one of the best little humans I’ve ever known.
Otherwise healthy, but losing her hair. I remember laying in bed, sobbing. I remember thinking it would change her life, and what if it dimmed her spirit? I sobbed, and then a month later Ernie posted it on social media. That text suddenly became very real. It wasn’t a “maybe” or a “possibly,” but it was an actual thing. I remember standing in the church building we worked at, crying while Justen hugged me. and then I picked my phone up and told Kristen “I’m booking a flight out there, just tell me when.” I asked her to send me videos and pictures of Layla so that I wouldn’t burden her with any looks of shock or surprise or anything.
and a few weeks later, I arrived. To my delight, she was the same spunky Layla (with some extra emotional moments about random things). She asked me to put her hair in a ponytail for gymnastics, which I gently did with her wispy hair. Right before I went to the airport, Ernie asked me to help him film a video for his Patreon. He’d chosen Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen” which has the line “honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out well I’d love you anyway.”
As he was listening to the song, the girls were dancing around and he had his camera out. He got footage of Layla hearing those words for the first time (it’s in this video and it’s the point I feel myself turn into a giant tear drop of love because she is so excited). He also included little clips of the girls, and me with the girls, and I have watched this video so often.
Here’s the thing. It’s been two years since I got that text from Kristen about Layla’s alopecia. and those moments of worrying about it affecting her spirit, the nights of crying because I wished I could protect her from anything hard… they are memories.
Those hard moments are gone, those worries and fears and tears… in the past.
and now the unknown is normal. To Layla, her twin, her parents, her family, her classmates, to me.
I think of the things right now that are unknown. That worry me, keep me up, bring me tears. Mountains that seem unclimbable, decisions that seem unmakeable.. and I wonder what those will be like two years from now.
The brilliant thing about mountains is that they just get bigger and bigger the closer you get to them, but they’re smaller and smaller the more you move past them. and taking a tip from Layla, just shave the remnants of old life off and step into new chapters of your life with boldness and a resilient spirit.
ps if you made it this far without watching the video, that’s wrong of you. Watch the video. It’s my favorite.
My head is spinning right now. Not literally but it’s getting there.
Last Monday we got a notice to vacate our apartment. A week later, we turned in our keys.
Here’s what happened. Last year, there was a leak in our apartment. Last month, they replaced the roof above our unit and around our skylight… aaaand then it leaked some more. It wasn’t just normal leaking this time, though. This time the plaster on the ceiling started peeling and falling.
The property maintenance manager asked us if we’d like to permanently move into the studio across the hall, to which we said no thanks. After a looooooong Thanksgiving holiday wondering if we would have to leave our first little home, on Monday we got the official notice to vacate.
I called up the maintenance manager and asked if we could be first to know when 202 was repaired and she said absolutely, though they had no idea of a timeline. I thanked her for the offer to move into the studio and said we’d be willing to consider it if we could be put on a month-to-month lease instead of a year, because obviously it would just be temporary while we waited for our unit to be fixed. She said absolutely. On Wednesday morning we checked out the studio, and on Wednesday afternoon we signed our amended lease and got the keys to our new, smaller living space.
They asked us to be out of 202 and turn in the keys by end of day Monday, which meant we had 5 days to downsize, pack, move, and process that we would be moving. We immediately moved our bed, desk, coffee pot and Christmas tree over to our new unit. Followed by all the things and all the stuff and bada bing here I am, sitting at our desk in our new apartment on the first day we don’t have keys to the only place we’ve lived as the Martians.
It’s been really challenging. Justen is fairly minimal in his belongings and I’ve been trying to constantly donate bags and boxes of things I just don’t need, but unexpectedly needing to downsize AND move AND process was really hard for me. I’ve never considered myself materialistic but I was actually shocked to see how I responded to the thought of not having something I didn’t even remember I owned until I found it in a cabinet.
One thing I really regret is the way I was never happy enough with 202 to share it. I was constantly telling Justen “once I get this little area figured out, I’ll take pictures and post them on my blog,” or “it’s too messy to take pictures,” or something similar. I kept waiting and waiting to share our basically perfect apartment and I missed the chance. So once we’ve finished hanging one box of pictures, I’m sharing photos of life in our little studio apartment overlooking downtown Camas.
And here’s the thing: sometimes the waiting is really the hardest. Once you have the information you need, you can do something, but waiting to find out can be the worst.
Our new digs, while we were still moving things over: