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Wellness

Filtering by Category: relationships

A Romantic Valentine's Day on a Budget

Lisa Eberly

I am not a big Valentine's Day person. I definitely used to be, but as of late I really haven't been. The hype is so stressful to me that it takes all the fun out of love! Valentine's Day is meant to be a day to appreciate the human you picked out and show them how much you love them, but it's turned into a day full of lofty, unrealistic expectations and overbooked, crowded restaurants. 

Geez I sound like the Valentine's Day Grinch! 

I really love romance, but I love real romance. The romance that causes Patryk to put a blanket on me when I fall asleep on the couch, or that makes me write him little postits of sweet nothings in his lunch. My life is full of daily moments that remind me how loved and appreciated I am and how much I love and appreciate him. So Valentine's Day isn't that appealing to me. 

A big reason for this is that V-day is just so. darn. expensive. We're big savers, so dropping $150 a head on tiny portions shoulder-to-shoulder with another couple does not sound as nice as a quiet night in. 

(Patryk, if you're reading this and have booked us a reservation somewhere, sorry, but it's true! Oops!) 

So, here are a few tips for a romantic and special Valentine's Day on a budget, without the cheesy chocolates and fancy dinner. 

The Day

1. Go on a bundled hike! Sure, it's chilly out, but it's just heating up enough for the ice to melt and short hikes nearby to become a little more inviting. Spend the day outside! 

2. Become a tourist in your own city. This can be such a fun way to experience new things together. Whether it's a free art museum or your city's landmark, you'll find yourselves talking all day log and reminiscing on memories in your city together while making new ones. 

3. Have a cozy movie marathon. This is the most underrated thing a couple can do. There are few things I love more on a freezing, gray day than cozying up under a blanket with Patryk and watching movies all day. PJs required, onesies preferred. 

4. Create a scavenger hunt of significant places in your relationship with clues at each place and take him on it! 

The Dinner

1. COOK TOGETHER! There are few things I find more romantic (and sexy!) than cooking a meal together. Throw on some Al Green, dim the lights a touch in the kitchen, feed each other tasters, and make something delicious together. Need some food-spiration? Check out our Eat blog and try our Balsamic Brussels Sprouts or Mini Chicken Parmesans. Make something light, like a few tapas or fish, because we all know V-day is really all about....

2. DESSERT! Dessert is obviously key on Valetnine's Day. My go-to? Chocolate covered strawberries. They're my favorite dessert anyway, and can easily be whipped up in just a few minutes. Bonus? Make a delish homemade flavored whipped cream to go with them. My favorite combos are mint whipped cream, basil whipped cream, and vanilla whipped cream. If your guy loves spicy, cayenne spicy whipped cream is amaze too. (My homemade whipped cream recipe is simple: 1-2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp of sugar, 1-2 tsp of flavoring (minced mint or basil, vanilla bean paste, or cayenne pepper), whisk with an electric hand mixer and viola!) 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe
(from The Kitchn!)

Ingredients:
1 pint-basket (1 pound) fresh strawberries
2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/2 cup (3 ounces) white chocolate, optional for drizzling

Equipment: 
Double-boiler or heatproof bowl and saucepan
Heatproof spatula
Parchment, wax paper, or Silpat
Baking sheet
Small plastic bag

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry the strawberries: Rinse the strawberries under cool running water and gently pat dry. The strawberries need to be completely dry before dipping, so spread them out and let them air-dry if necessary.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate: Fill the bottom of the double-boiler or saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer all the chocolate into the top of the double-boiler or the heatproof bowl and set this over the simmering water. Let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally, until no more lumps remain. Remove the bowl with the chocolate from heat. (See Recipe Notes.)
  3. Prepare your workspace: Set the bowl of melted chocolate in front of you on a towel. Place the dried strawberries to your left. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place this on your right. (Reverse if you are left-handed.)
  4. Dip the strawberries: Working with one strawberry at a time, grasp the strawberry by the top leaves and dip it into the chocolate. Turn or swirl the strawberry as needed to completely coat it in chocolate. Lift the strawberry out and shake gently to remove excess chocolate.
  5. Lay dipped strawberries on the baking sheet: Carefully lay the dipped strawberry on its side on the baking sheet. Repeat with dipping the remaining strawberries.
  6. Let the chocolate set: Let the strawberries sit until the chocolate coating is set and dry to the touch. You can put the baking sheet in the fridge to speed this along.
  7. Prepare the white chocolate drizzle: When the strawberries are ready, melt the white chocolate just as you did the dark chocolate. (Alternatively for this small amount of chocolate, melt it in 15-second bursts in microwave, stirring between each burst). Transfer the melted white chocolate to a small ziplock bag.
  8. Drizzle strawberries with white chocolate: Push the melted white chocolate to one corner of the bag, then snip a small corner off the bag. Squeezing the bag gently, quickly drizzle the white chocolate over the strawberries. Use big sweeps, moving back and forth over the whole baking sheet. (See Recipe Notes.)
  9. Let the white chocolate set: Let the white chocolate drizzle set (or place the baking sheet in the fridge again for few minutes), then serve. Dipped strawberries can be kept for a few hours at room temperature. They can also be refrigerated for a few days, though they don't look as pretty.

Drool, right? Moving on....

The Drinks

I am all about craft cocktails and specialty drinks. Every couple weeks we have some couples come over for dinner and we base the whole dinner off of a special drink we create. Our bar cart is getting crowded! For Valentine's Day this year, I went with a spin on two classics: limoncello (made at an incredible local distillery in Seattle!) and hot toddies. It has been so chilly lately that a hot toddy on rainy V-day seemed like a must. We also just recently toured Letterpress Distilling, a really cute local Seattle distillery that makes vodka, limoncello, and seasonal blood orange liqueur. (Uh hi amazing date night idea!), so using their delish locally crafted limoncello felt like a must. 

Letterpress Limoncello Hot Toddy

Ingredients: 
2 oz limoncello
1 oz bourbon
1-2 oz fresh lemon juice
1-2 tbs raw honey
4 oz almost boiling water
Lemon or orange zest and cinnamon stick for garnish

Directions: 
1. Stir all ingredients and garnish with a lemon or orange zest and a cinnamon stick! 

Romantic, cozy, and perfect for a V-day date night in. 

The Decor

Like I said, I like to do a mellow Valentine's Day, so I'm not big on candy hearts everywhere and streamers from the ceiling. In my opinion, a few candles (3 to a room tops!), some light music (something funky, sexy, maybe jazzy), and a clean home is all you need. Some mood lighting to match those candles would also be good in my book. Almost like you tried to dress it up, but didn't. ;) 

The Gift

I am all for homemade gifts. Especially if you've been together a while! I don't like spending too much money on material things unless I know for sure that Patryk really wants it and will use it a lot. This year, he's getting one material thing he has been really wanting (a nice Vince Camuto black turtleneck sweater), a sweet homemade gift (see #1 below), handwritten card (A MUST!), and one of my favorite books that I thought he'd like too. 

1. Make a rainy day jar. I wish I had a picture of this for you all but I'm still making it so it's not ready for its close up! It is a big mason jar with a simple tag on it that says something witty ("in case of emergency!" or "elixir" or something else like that). In the jar are little squares of paper folded once into triangles (they're about 3x3in), and each one has something I love about him, a special memory of ours, or a sweet thing we say written on it. The jar is meant to be kept in our home and gone through gradually. So for instance, if it's an average Tuesday and I'm working late or come home cranky or we haven't spent a lot of time together or he is stressed out from work or something, he can open the jar and  take a card. It'll instantly lift his mood and remind him of something lovely from a less stressed/cranky/busy time. 

2. Write the book of your lives. This one is intense, and requires planning, but get a big blank notebook and fill up the first little bit of it with journal-style stories from significant moments in your relationship thus far, scattered with less significant but just as special ones. For instance, the first night you met, your first date, that time you guys went on that hike, that time you guys spent all day in bed, when he did something hilarious and embarrassing, when you met his parents, etc etc etc.... then infer that the book still has so many pages to be filled up! Bonus? Add little photo cutouts to the book pages. 

3. A cute photo of you two in a frame. Bam. Simple. Classic. Awesome. 

4. A bottle of his favorite alcohol. Bam. Simple. Classic. He will LOVE it. 

Phew! Okay, I need to get back to making that big jar of love! 

Coming soon: VALENTINE'S DAY GIRLS NIGHT! 

xo

10 Easy Ways to Show Gratitude in your Relationship

Lisa Eberly

gratitude-relationship

'Tis the season for giving thanks! There's really no better time than November to remember to give thanks and gratitude for the countless people in your life for whom you're thankful. I put together this list (with the help of my handy-dandy boyfriend, Patryk!) to help you think of new, simple, easy ways to show the one you're with how grateful you are for them daily. 

1. Post it notes! My boyfriend and I always leave cute little post-it notes for the other to find throughout the day! I'll stick one on his work laptop to find later, or he'll put mine in my workbag. It always brightens my day and reminds me that he's thinking of me! (They say anything from "Love you!" to "Yep, I'm probably thinking about you, too." to "Go crush it in that meeting today!") They're wonderful. 

2. Make a toast. When we have dinner together, no matter how rushed or crazy it is in our home, we ALWAYS stop for a moment to toast to something. Even if it's just delivered pizza, we always toast. Our toast is either to each other, or something great that happened for one of us, or even just a moment to reflect on the progress of our relationship. It only takes 30 seconds, but feels so good to make the world stop turning for a moment to pause and reflect. 

3. Adding gratitude to our routine. He does things daily for me, I do things daily for him. That's how relationships work, give and take. He wakes up early to take our dog for a walk, I make us dinner. No matter how many days in a row this happens, we always are sure to still thank the other for it. Even if it's routine, never take it for granted. So, a simple 'thank you' and tight hug does wonders, no matter how many times it happens! 

4. Check each other out. I know this is silly, but you're attracted to your partner. Sometimes in relationships, it's easy to take that for granted. You see them every day, and sometimes you forget that you picked this human out of a crowd to be with them! Complimenting their appearance with give them an extra spring in their step and remind them how attracted you are to them. I call my boyfriend 'stud' or 'handsome' all the time, or will tell him how good he looks before he leaves for work in the morning. Always gives him a big smile!

5. Tiny gifts! Similar to postits, I love hiding tiny little gifts in my boyfriend's bag! A piece of his favorite chocolate, a little nick back he'd like, anything, really! It is so easy and simple to do -- I'm at the grocery store and his favorite candy is right by the register -- and has such a big impact! I remember after complaining about not having a good thermos for coffee, I was at work, opened my bag, and found this amazing thermos full of fresh coffee! He had put it in my bag when I wasn't looking! Something so easy to do brought me SO much happiness. 

6. Letters. Written letters are the most romantic and special thing you can do for someone (in my opinion, at least!). My boyfriend and I will write letters to each other to thank each other for something or to just tell each other how we feel. They are always so, so meaningful and special. They should be reserved for special things (we wrote them after traveling around Europe together, or after spending a weekend with my family out of town, or after getting our puppy), but are so very romantic. Hand writing your feelings are such a strong way to show appreciation and gratitude. 

7. Put yourself in the other's shoes. I know we hear this a lot, but it really can do wonders. If you're getting frustrated with your partner, just take a beat to imagine what they're thinking and going through. Sometimes I get frustrated when my boyfriend doesn't rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but then I take a step back and think about his day and how tired he must be after work and how happy I am he does our dishes! Or, if I know he's extra tired in the morning after being up with our puppy, I'll jump to make the bed before he can help out just to do something nice. 

8. Personal time. No matter how much you love your partner, if you spend 24 hours a day with them it is nearly impossible to not take them for granted. Spending countless hours with someone else and not taking time for yourself can be toxic in relationships, and makes it difficult to appreciate everything your partner gives you. Taking some personal time to fulfill what you want and love to do allows you to come back to your partner appreciating your time with them and what they bring into your life so much more.

9. Listen, communicate, compromise. Disagreeing is almost inevitable in a long term relationship. However, the way in which you disagree with the other person can be greatly improved with some gratitude. By listening to their side of things without interrupting, clearly communicating your side, and finding a middle ground rather than a winner and loser, you're both able to show gratitude even when arguing! An example of this is when we were moving: he wanted a projector in our living room, I wanted a television. We each clearly articulated why we wanted what we did and listened to the other. We knew we needed one or the other so we tried out each option for a few days. We couldn't find a good spot to mount a TV, and the project actually ended up super cool. Neither one of us "lost," but rather we both "won" and now curl up with an awesome projector to watch movies.   

10. If you feel it, say it. Don't be afraid to share how you feel, no matter how vulnerable! Nobody has ever said, "Gross, he said 'I love you'!" or "Ugh she told me I'm amazing"!! If you're feeling something -- say it! They deserve to hear it and will trust and appreciate that you're always being open and honest with them. Additionally, telling them how you feel or reminding them of your feelings is a great way to show them how much they mean to you. 

Do you have any go-to actions to show your gratitude? Spill in the comments below! :) 

1+1=3 // A Lesson on Healthy Relationships

Lisa Eberly

healthy-relationship

So if you've been keeping up with Nourish's Instagram or Twitter, you probably think this article is about getting a puppy. Because, well, we got a puppy. And she is adorable. 

Anyway, this article is about making relationships work and one of the many things I deem necessary in having and maintaining a healthy romantic relationship. Even without a puppy. 

I call it 1+1=3. 

In a relationship, particularly a happy one, couples often 'melt' into each other. This is super easy to do, and feels pretty friggin' awesome. You go from being an individual to being a 'we' and an 'us' and suddenly 'you' don't love pizza, 'we' love pizza. Catch my drift? 

Melting into one being and going from a 'me' to a 'we' is, in my opinion, a recipe for longer term problems. It's what I call 1+1=1. One person, plus another person, equals one relationship. 

However, that sounds pretty nice, huh? 

Maybe, you keep the one relationship, but add the two separate people back in. You have the 'we' but you keep the 'me' too. One person, plus one person, equals one relationship, plus one person, plus one person. 1+1=3. 

It's essential in a relationship to melt together into a 'we,' but it's equally essential in a relationship to maintain yourself and your individuality. Melting together isn't fair to either or you, as you each have beautiful and unique qualities. Melting together sounds, well, a little boring.

It's actually kind of beautiful. You and another person are creating and cultivating a whole thing out of your feelings for each other. A relationship is like a living, breathing being that is constantly growing, changing, and evolving; it needs to be nurtured. (Nope, not talking about babies here.) However, that 'thing' shouldn't take anything away from you or the other person, but rather you two should grow and improve upon your individual selves because of it. 

So, for example, I became a 'we': 'we' have a puppy, 'we' live together, 'we' love pizza, 'we' do the NYT crossword, 'we' make crepes in the morning, 'we' go camping. But, I kept my 'me': 'I' go out with my friends solo, 'I' do yoga, 'I' love making, writing about, and photographing healthy food. He kept his 'he': 'he' goes on long bicycle rides, 'he' listens to podcasts, 'he' loves fixing up motorcycles. 

There's me, him, and our relationship. Each of which needs to be nurtured and kept separate.

What do you guys think? To melt into one being or not to melt?

PS - Since I know you all really just want a puppy picture.... 

How to Mend a Broken Heart: the healthy way

Lisa Eberly

breakup-couple

The heart is a funny muscle. It's incredibly powerful, most definitely the strongest muscle in your body, yet can be easily broken, with some really sucky side effects. Did you know you can not only feel physical pain from a broken heart, but even have a real heart attack from one? Yikes. I'll skip that ride, thanks.

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a romantic. So, in my life I've been in love, been out of love, been crazy in love, and been hurt by love. Everything is about perspective, and if you are unlucky enough to have been hurt by love it really just means that you were lucky enough to be in love in the first place.

That's not really enough to make you feel better about it though. I've received a lot of emails about love and how to stay healthy when going through a break up, not letting it get the best of you and staying on your game through the process. So, I'm going to share how to handle a break up the right way -- by learning from not only my mistakes, but the ones society deems 'norm.'

Break ups seriously stink. They confuse you in all sorts of ways and make you feel a disconnect with not only your best friend (since your significant other really should be your best friend), but more importantly, yourself. Luckily, they happen in stages, and each stage can really make you better off -- if handled healthfully, that is. I've been through one heartbreaking break up, and this is what I learned. 

The 'OMG WTF JUST HAPPENED' Stage

What I wanted to do: Bawl like a baby in yoga pants eating all the carbs and chocolate I can get my hands on, curled up in a ball watching anything and everything with Ryan Gosling telling a girl he loves her.

What I actually did: Bawled like a baby in yoga pants eating bread dipped in chocolate pudding (yep, you heard me), curled up in a ball watching The Bachelor.

Right after a breakup, at least in my opinion, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with letting it hit you in a horribly cliche, chocolate-filled manner. As long as this phase doesn't last more than 24 hours, there's nothing unhealthy about it. You need to cry. You need to carbo load. You need to get it all out there. Hit the bottom of how sad you're going to let yourself be, even if it's at the bottom of a tissue box.

The Pushing Forward Phase

What I wanted to do: Pull the covers over my head. Not eat anything. Whine/vent/cry about him to every one of my friends and family members until they start ignoring my calls. Not study or write, but just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling thinking 'OMG what if that was it and I'm never going to be okay again?!' Spend all day on their Facebook/Twitter/Insta/etc. Basically, dwell.

What I actually did: I chose two people (my sister and best friend Meagan) to share my feelings with. I didn't whine, I shared. I know they have my back no matter what and would be there for me to push me forward, not keep me dwelling in the past. I forced myself to go to every class (even the one less than 12 hours after!), and keep up with writing daily. I hustled and tried to focus on working and new projects to get excited about. I just put my head down and made moves. I also filled up on healthy fats and protein so that even if food wasn't on my mind, I was getting all the important nutrients I needed (that can't be found in chocolate pudding). I cut out all social media relationships (to the best of my abilities...man SM can really make modern break ups a bummer!). I let myself be sad, but limited it. I told myself, 'You can only be sad in the shower, but once it's over, you're done being sad for today.' I know the shower is weird, but it's a solid 10-15 minutes which is a good time to limit yourself to.

The 'Oh wait, I'm actually totally better off' Phase

What I wanted to do: Think about all the good times and sort of shield out all the negatives/reasons I broke up with him in the first place.

What I actually did: Any time I thought of a good thing about him or our relationship, I thought of a bad one. I focused on the reasons I broke up with him and realized that it really was for the best. By doing this, you can focus on yourself, your future, and what you want out of a relationship, not what has just become comfortable to you. You'll realize that they really weren't the best fit for you, and that you're going to not only be okay without them, but you're going to be fucking amazing.

The Actually Being Okay Phase

What I wanted to do: I'm sure some of you can relate to the feeling of wanting that closure. That nail in the coffin. Maybe an email? A phone call? Coffee? Something -- anything -- to share with them that you're okay. In my case I had two emails written: one saying a general 'hey thanks for all the good times, we're really better off, best of luck...' and the other beginning with a nice 'F you. I can't believe I wasted my time...'

What I actually did: Deleted the emails. Some things are better left unsaid. And you know what? If you really are great (which I am sure all you healthy, amazing babes will be), you have no need or reason to share it with them. It's your life now, and only yours. I'm a firm believer in unconditional love, so even if I'm not in love anymore, I'll always care deeply about and appreciate that person, as they were an integral part of making me who I am today (and actually a very big motivator for this brand and my writing!). However, they have no place in my life anymore, so there's nothing to do but close the book and start a new one.

Now, years later, I am incredibly happy and healthy. As are they, and we are healthy and happily friends. 

I truly hope this helps you get through a tough time, and I can assure you that no matter what phase you're in, or no matter how hard it is, you will be 100% okay sooner than you think. It totally, totally sucks to be there, but it doesn't last forever. You're not going to be fine, you're going to be friggin' fantastic. Better than ever.