April Coffee Date - 2018 - Skillful Cook
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April Coffee Date - 2018

Office setup with leather chair and desk.

Well hi again!

Looks like it's already time for our monthly coffee date.

What are you guys drinking this month? I'm happy to report that I'm back on the coffee train after a short hiatus this winter. Half-caf Nespresso pods are my saving grace right now - not enough caffeine to make my brain into a full-blown rave (I really cannot do caffeine) but just enough to get me going for the day.

Bjork's been doing this fancy thing where he froths the milk with a little honey? Like a homemade miel? And it's really good. So on days that I'm lucky, I might be sipping on that.

Also drinking: water and the occasional treat-yoself orange or carrot juice.

Grab your drink! Here's what's up.

Stitch Fix First Timer

Standing on front step with shoes.

I'm giving it a try! And this is a picture of me anxiously awaiting my next Stitch Fix shipment. It's stupidly, awesomely, super fun.

Last month was my first fix, and I swear to you that I have never waited for something to arrive in the mail more eagerly in my life. I don't even get it. Why is it so great? I order things online quite regularly - why did I count the days to the arrival of this special little blue-green box? Is it because it's surprise? Or because it's obviously going to revolutionize my wardrobe? I watched the mail EVERY DAY and when it finally came (A DAY EARLY!!!) I did not waste any time busting into that box. Here's what I got:

  • Grey v-neck top (kept)
  • Black hoodie sweater
  • Navy flowy cardigan
  • Leggings with a blue/green print
  • Gray chambray flats (kept, and pictured above)

Notice the theme with greys. My stylist did a really nice job understanding that I am extremely basic.

I have a strange obsession with fashion shows (like, of the homemade you-just-went-shopping-so-show-me-everything variety) so maybe next time I'll try to get some pictures of the clothes before sending them back. FASHION SHOW AT LUNCH!

Books That Have Gotten Me Through Never-ENding WInter

Stack of magazines with a tablet and candle.

Okay, it's FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY getting a little melty, but dang, girl. It's been a long winter.

Some books that I've read and enjoyed (savvy reader note: these are Amazon affiliate links):

  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - intense and difficult themes with kind of a crazy roundabout ending, but I can't say I didn't love it.
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty - a medium-intensity novel that kept my interest throughout! A rare gem.
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - a combination of bubble gum pop and murder mystery, and yes, I savored every juicy bite.
  • Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine - creepy and best read during the daytime. I don't think I'll read the next one in the series, but this one did have me hooked.
  • This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel - a little more serious and thoughtful, and, for me, super compelling. It gave me a lot to think about.
  • It's Okay That You're Not Okay by Megan Devine - annnnd then a grief book, naturally. This was an excellent read and I'd recommend it for anyone going through a hard time. Probably the most accurate and honest book I've read about the ongoing experience of grief.

What books have you been loving? What needs to be downloaded on my Kindle pronto for these warm spring-ish days? Fill me in.

Garden Excitement

Tulip bud in a garden.

That's a little misleading, actually. I don't really have a garden.

But I have lots of nice plants in my yard that other people planted for me, and one such plant is some springy tulip bulbs that are finally starting to come up (thank you, Sarah)! This is in a little area of our yard that has kind of become a mini Afton garden - everything we plant there is delicate and beautiful and full of life, and all of it reminds us of him. Look at that tiny tulip bud! I'm giddy!

On the less exciting side of garden life, I chose to plant my lenten rose on the wrong side of the house. It is supposed to be one of the first plants to come up in the late winter/early spring, but it is literally still buried under a foot of dirty snow. Excellent.

Spring snow on the ground.

What is popping up in your garden / yard right now?

Update On Water Goals

Plastic tumbler with straw.

Water consumption is up, and my new tumbler with straw is possibly the best $14 I've ever spent in my life.

It's cute and it travels well and it makes drinking water so enjoyable. Who knew a straw could do such things?

One thing our team has been talking about lately is the idea of making the thing that you want to do just 10 seconds easier or more enjoyable, and as a result / magic, you'll do it more. The tumbler is totally that. I don't know why it's better to pick up the tumbler and sip through the straw than it is to open a water bottle, tip it back and drink (uhh, yes I do, actually, and it has to do with getting water all over my shirt and face), but my pick-up-and-sip hack is working. Every time I refill and sip, I just really enjoy it. Enjoy = do it more. After years of this struggle, I feel like I'm finally close to staying appropriately hydrated throughout the day.

Mint and cucumber infusion has been a little more spotty. Sometimes my mint is browning, or my cucumber is mushy, or I'm just too lazy to slice it up. I tried freezing my mint into ice cubes for easy use, but it turns the water yellow and it kinda weirds me out. So... still working on that part. Maybe I need a diffuser pitcher to just keep diffused water on hand rather than diffusing each individual water bottle? Open to suggestions here.

Overall: the tumbler + straw is a game-changer.

Hey, Speaking Of Straws

I'm having a major moment (hopefully more than a moment) with NOT USING PLASTIC STRAWS.

The thing is... I love straws! I know the anti-straw campaigns are aimed at telling people they don't need straws, but I thoroughly enjoy a good straw and beverage situation.

So since I love straws and I love the ocean, I'm just committing to only use straws of the paper, metal, bamboo variety. You know, reusable or compostable. Good for the earth. Nice to the fish and turtles. Better for everybody.

Earth Day sort of got me all fired up this year, and I feel inspired to try to do my very small part. Here's my mini master plan:

  1. For eating at a restaurant - ask for no straws and just drink outta the glass.
  2. For driving through a drive-through, uhh, NOT LIKE I EVER DO THAT OR ANYTHING - ask for no straws. Keep paper straws tucked into the glove box of my car, and/or maybe a few in my purse for convenient, non-plastic sipping. Easy.
  3. For drinks that I take on the go (water, smoothies, etc.) - use my aforementioned $14 tumbler with reusable straw.

Plastic consumption - are you thinking about it? Do you take steps to reduce it? Talk to me about it.

And if you're looking for a rabbit trail, you can read more about the why of plastic straw reduction here.

That's it!

But one last question.

Is your dog obsessed with laying in the sun?

Lindsay with Sage on the deck.

And are your pants perpetually covered in dog hair? Because that's a heavy yes to both in my life.

I hope you already know it, but I love checking in with you guys each month. I always get a big smile on my face when I read through your comments as if we were on an actual group coffee date. Happy REAL spring this time!


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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m with you on the water train. I drink mine out of this new bottle I bought recently (https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Modern-Summit-Water-Bottle/dp/B01N1G8B72/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524572934&sr=8-3&keywords=simple%2Bmodern%2Bwater%2Bbottle&th=1). I love it because it keeps my water cold FOREVER, which is how I love it, and it doesn’t sweat. I take it everywhere.

    I don’t drink coffee so I usually have a 7.5 oz. can of diet coke in the morning but I’m trying to quit that so back to the green tea it is.

    I heard a great tip recently to reduce waste…take your own tupperware with you to a restaurant for your leftovers. I haven’t done it yet but I thought it was a fabulous idea.

    Also, dog + sun = absolutely.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have also been trying to not use plastic straws. I’ve even started keeping a mason jar in my purse to use for leftovers at restaurants. Some restaurants have made the switch to cardboard material for their carryout containers but using the mason jar means that there is no waste when I take home leftover food. And yes and yes to the dog questions! My dogs are constantly searching for that perfect spot to lay in the sun (inside and outside). Myself, my clothing and every single piece of furniture that we own have dog hair on it. Just vacuumed or washed your clothes? Still dog hair on it!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really enjoy these coffee dates (I already had coffee today so I’ve switched to tea). I have also recently gotten on the no plastic straw train and am looking at reusable ones on amazon.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Since I read that the frequent use of straws can cause wrinkles around the lips, I use a straw only occasionally, sigh.
    We buy most of the produce in a small shop and bring our own fabric bags, so that there is no need to wrap everything in plastic bags. We avoid plastic cups and plates and I don’t buy any more plastic containers for the kitchen. Instead I use glass jars.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Plastic consumption! It’s my resolution for the year! So far I’ve switched to produce bags vs. those terrible, unreusable, plastic bags from the grocery, beeswax wraps vs saran wrap, a wood and rubber lint remover (just meh), and we just got a silicone microwave popcorn popper to break our bagged popcorn habit. Baby steps!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love homemade fashion shows – especially from stitchfix arrivals….but I haven’t done stitchfix yet.

    I have no luck with tulips because moles eat the dang bulbs during the winter. My husband and I have a serious war with the moles – and they are winning.

    Redeeming Love and God’s Smuggler were the last two books I read. Both are older and both have high reviews on goodreads and amazon. And I enjoyed both.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    My dog is totally obsessed with sunbathing, she will dramatically move to soak up any strips of sunlight left in the evening. Also, I am always covered in dog hair-at this point I just tell people (and myself) that it is part of my aesthetic!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    When I make mint, cucumber, and lemon infused water, I always make a full pitcher of it and just keep it in the fridge. Then I can refill my cup throughout the day without much effort. And I find that the infused water stays fresh through a second day! That’s just my suggestion as I know I would get annoyed at having to slice things every time I wanted more water…

    By the way, I really enjoy these coffee date posts!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    We’ve stopped using straws as well! And actually quite a few of our most frequented restaurants have stopped automatically handing out straws, they only give them out if someone asks for one. An interesting step in the right direction for restaurants!

    Also, YES my dog is a sun worshiper. We found this out when he was under a year old. We couldn’t find him at one point and started searching, sure enough he had somehow gotten up into our clean laundry basket that was on top of the hamper and coincidently the only spot in the house where the sun was hitting. Now 8 years later he wines for us to move his bed as the sun moves across the floor…. i really need to teach him to move his own dang bed, LOL.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    You are not alone on the water tumbler/straw thing. I LOVE drinking it that way and recently snagged a markdown tumbler and my water game is strong because of it. Also, yes, I am always covered in dog hair and my dog loves the sun. I’m really weird with online packages-I become OBSESSED with tracking it and waiting for it and then I don’t open it right away. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I wait hours. Or a day. I think it is because I know I won’t have a package to look forward to once I open it!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    SO happy spring is finally here!!! And yes. Dog. Hair. Every. Where. Not to mention one walk around the block and my pup is filthy since it’s all wet hahah! It’s so worth it though <3

    Question: Where are the chair and picture from!? Love!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay!

    I’ve recently tried to not use as many disposable straws as well. (I’m with you, straws=water drinking/smoothie sipping/iced coffee loving a little bit more enjoyable!)

    I’ve been LOVING these glass straws: got ’em on Amazon.
    The fact that I can see where “gunk” (for lack of a better word) has gotten caught makes me feel better about cleaning them out? Especially after I’ve just had a smoothie with lots of seeds that have a tendency to get stuck. It also comes with a little cleaning wire that is helpful in those situations.

    Anyways, that’s all I came down here to say. Other than, yes of course my leggings are ALWAYS covered in dog hair, and my Ollie bear does love laying in the sun 🙂

    Happy Tuesday!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I get a lot of crap in my inbox (that I really should unsubscribe to), but this is one of the things I look forward to the most getting! It definitely feels like girlfriends hanging out and catching up!

    StitchFix was my obsession for a few months – I was really happy they sent me things I would otherwise not buy at a store because the design “wasn’t my usual.” I’m also glad they sent me the same brand items when I specifically asked for them, so that’s something you can totally do if you like a piece! I now have multiple colored items (cardigans, leggings) with the same brand because they fit so well!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Straws: Same Page! I love straws so much that I buy a pack of them like every two years and use them at my house. PATHETIC. When I started running low on straws earlier this year I couldn’t bring myself to buy another pack, because, EARTH. OCEANS. TURTLES. A restaurant near me just stopped using straws all together a few weeks ago and I’ve been purposely avoiding straws ever since.

    Love the idea of a secret stash for the car/purse! I’m not sure what to do when milkshake season comes around though — paper straws don’t survive long enough for a milkshake! 😉

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I adore Liane Moriarty’s books! I think my favorite of hers is “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” and the HBO adaptation of “Big Little Lies” was fantastic! You should watch it if you liked the book.

    Other books I love “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and I recently read “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll which was really good too.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I LOVED The Night Circus. It was so beautifully written, presented like an ethereal dream.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Omg, I just received my first Stitch Fix too and yes I’m eagerly waiting for my next box coming May 6!! It’s so weird how exciting it is, lol. Oh and talking about weird… I completely agree with the tumbler with straw making it a whole lot easier and enjoyable to drink water. ha ha Lasty, doggies, sunny days, black pants, and hair…story of my life and I love it! The lint roller is my bff, lol. #doghairdontcare

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I know this isn’t the point of the post, but can you tell me the paint color in the first picture with the computer monitor? LOVE! I did a search in your site, but couldn’t find it. And yes to dogs and sun – mine follows the sunbeam throughout the house. And I don’t blame her at all!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love super cold water and recently received a Hydro Flask. Game changer for me!! I can’t wait to see how it holds up when the temps hit the 90s!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay!

    We love infused water in my house, and I like to keep it in a jar with a tap at the bottom. The fruit and other stuff stays in, and it’s easy to fill up your glass throughout the day.

    The container I use came free with the purchase of Everclear (which we use to make homemade cocktail bitters) so it’s not available online, but Amazon has a cute Mason jar that would look pretty in the fridge.


    Thanks for the coffee date!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve had a tumbler and a straw on my desk for the past two years, and it’s just so hard to not drink water from it all the time. The only negative is the number of times I have to go to the bathroom (good for getting steps though).

    Recently, I’ve been reading Everything But The Coffee by Bryant Simon. It talks about why Starbucks is so popular. It’s been a pretty interesting read so far. 8 out of 10, would recommend.