November 2019

Well folks, fall is officially here and I have the inevitable post-flu shot cold that comes with the season. ‘Tis the time to stock up on apple cider and gluten-free donuts (shout out to the true MVP, Yates Cider Mill) and break out the flannel button downs and fuzzy vests. 

While you’re at it, why don’t you pop over to Apple Music or Spotify, check out the most recent ATG playlist and jam away? Perhaps while you carve pumpkins or sip your Captains and cider by the fireplace? Maybe even while you’re digging into turkey & gluten-free stuffing? Just a thought… Here’s what you’d hear if you did:

  • Spicy (feat. Charli XCX) – Herve Pagez & Diplo [90s chicks rejoice!]
  • Love U – Monsta X
  • RITMO (Bad Boys for Life) – The Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin [another 90s throwback]
  • Baila Conmigo – Jennifer Lopez
  • Hurt People – Gryffin & Aloe Blacc
  • Baggage – Gryffin, Gorgon City & AlunaGeorge
  • Nice to Meet Ya – Niall Horan
  • Lights Up – Harry Styles [Interesting timing that Niall and Harry (& Liam but whatev) would release new songs in the same week…]
  • Lose You to Love Me – Selena Gomez [No doubt this is about JB and I’m here for it]
  • Make It Right (feat. Lauv) – BTS
  • Problems – A R I Z O N A
  • Look At Her Now – Selena Gomez
  • I’ll Be There – Walk Off The Earth
  • Lose Control – Meduza, Becky Hill, Goodboys
  • 10,000 Hours (w/ Justin Bieber) – Dan + Shay
  • Sims – Lauv
  • Lie – Lukas Graham
  • Make You Mine – Public
  • Bruises (Live) – Lewis Capaldi
  • Need Your Love – Gryffin, Seven Lions & Noah Kahan
  • Trigger – Major Lazer & Khalid [More on the chill side for Major Lazer, which I don’t hate]
  • Faith (feat. Mr. Probz) – Galantis & Dolly Parton [Yes, you read that right]
  • Turn It Up – Hootie & The Blowfish [Yes, you read that one correctly too… what a strange world 2019 is]
  • Raising Hell (feat. Big Freedia) – Kesha
  • You Don’t Even Know Me – Faouzia [Someone get this chick on a track with Sia & Florence & The Machine ASAP]
  • Body Back (feat. Maia Wright) – Gryffin
  • Survivor – 2WEI
  • Mirror – Samantha Smith
  • Orphans – Coldplay
  • Blind Leading the Blind – Mumford & Sons

You guys can find this playlist (and all others!) by searching “baconama” on SpotifyI updated my photo so I’m easier to find. If you see a face with gold jacks-like earrings, you’re in the right spot. This month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_November 2019“. For my Apple Music followers (hi mom, Stephen, & Stacy!), search “baconama” and you’ll find the “November 2019” playlist. 

Nice, France

Ever heard the saying, ‘Nice is nice’? Welp, it’s true.

Last May, Josh and I went on a two-week trip to Iceland, Paris, and Nice. Ending our trip in Nice was the perfect decision because it has a great mix of sight-seeing, yummy food, and beach time. We had been on the go for 9 days and were ready to soak up being engaged [and not having a day-by-day itinerary like we did in Iceland]. We didn’t even go in with anything in mind – no known places to see, restaurants in which to dine, or things to do.

Since this was Josh’s first time to Europe, we decided to take the scenic route and booked 2 first class seats on the TGV, France’s high-speed train. The journey from Gare de Lyon to Nice Ville took us about 6 hours. We were able to check out France’s countryside – something we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do from 30,000 feet up.

For our 3 days in Nice, we stayed in an AirBnb on Rue Paradis, right off of a cute pedestrian-only route, Rue Massena. The apartment was right near le Jardin d’Albert and was a super quick walk to Place Massena, their version of a town square. Our place was so central that we didn’t need to grab a cab for the duration of our stay, which is always clutch.

Here are some of the things we did:

  • Visited the #ILoveNice sign – A must-do in Nice in the age of Instagram. If you don’t get a picture with the sign, were you even in Nice?! How would anyone know?!
  • Walked around Place Massena
  • Checked out the Monument Aux Morts de NiceMonument_Nice
  • Walked along La Promenade des Anglais/Quai des Etats-Unis
    • The best views of the water, lots of restaurants, tons of shops & beach clubs

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  • Spent a half day laying out by the water at Plage Beau Rivage . One thing to note: the beaches in Nice are very pebbly and are uncomfortable to lay on without a beach chair. Since we didn’t bring beach towels, we opted to pay to hang out at Beau Rivage, where we had reserved beach chairs, towels, and had wait service right at our chairs. They even had burlap down as walkways to help with the heat and ouchies from walkingon stones.
    Beach 2_Nice
  • Wandered through the pedestrian streets and popped into the tiny shops. It’s so fun to get lost in the tiny foot-traffic-only alleys in European cities (more on this to come in my Greece notes) and to stumble upon some really great restaurants.

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  • Most importantly, ate a lot of charcuterie and macarons.

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    Have you ever been to Southern France? Which cities did you go to? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a note below or on ATG’s Instagram to share and stay tuned for more itineraries/city guides in the weeks to come!

 

Baked Chickpeas – Sarah Elsea Style

What a lovely surprise it was to have Sarah Elsea walk into my old work a few years ago! From day one, the two of us bonded over our shared love of J.Crew’s tissue turtlenecks, candy, wedding planning, and now blogging. Even though we don’t work together anymore (ICYMI, I moved to Chicago), we still chat several times a week to check in on each other and vent about what’s happening in our lives.

Sarah and I started our blogs around the same time and we’ve been helping each other figure this whole #bloggerlife out. I think together, we have a total of maybe 300 followers, but we’re getting there?!

When Sarah shared her easy baked chickpea recipe, I knew I had to share it with my followers. So… head on over to Sarah’s page, give her a follow, and try out this awesome recipe. I know I will!

Italian Tomato & Garbanzo Bean Soup

I first encountered the recipe for this Italian tomato & garbanzo bean soup through Hello Fresh and I’ll admit that initially, I was skeptical. I didn’t think that chickpeas, or garbanzo beans to you official folks, belonged in a soup. Long story short, I was quickly proven wrong and they’re actually my favorite part of this recipe. I’ve tweaked a few things and made the process even more foolproof, making this one of my favorite go-to meals when the weather turns cooler.

This dump-everything-in-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer recipe is SO easy and the end result is a hearty, makes-your-soul-feel-good, semi-healthy bowl of yumminess. Intrigued yet?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1.5 cups (ish) chicken stock (you can easily swap this for veggie broth to make this vegetarian friendly!)
  • Celery, onions, & carrots (I made it easy and used this mirepoix mix)
  • Garlic (I used 3 cloves, but you go with what your heart tells you on this one)
  • Italian herb seasoning
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

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Here’s what you do:

  • Mince garlic.
  • In a relatively large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Dump the whole mirepoix mix bag into pan and stir occasionally until veggies are softened, 3-4 minutes. Season with Italian herb seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Add minced garlic to pan and stir combo for an additional minute or until super fragrant.
  • Pour entire cans of crushed tomatoes & garbanzo beans into pan.
  • Add in 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, lower heat, and let stand for 20-25 minutes.
  • Divide into bowls & garnish with shredded parm – enjoy!

Do you have a go-to cool weather soup? Leave a note here or on Instagram with your favorite winter soup!

Williams-Sonoma’s Spiced Apple Muffins

It seems like we’re in a Williams-Sonoma store once a week these days – returning or exchanging registry gifts that we received for our wedding. Every time I’m in the store, I wander around seeing if anything new sparks my attention. This past weekend, I discovered their gluten-free spiced apple quick bread mix and my eyes lit up.

Instead of following the instructions and making one single loaf of bread, we divided the mix into muffin tins and created individual bread muffins. Besides from that, we didn’t deviate from the instructions and they turned out to be so yummy AND made our apartment smell like Bath and Body Works’ Cider Lane candle (bonus!):

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt one stick butter
  • Blend butter, 2 eggs, quick bread mix, and 1 cup of water in a big bowl
  • Divide into pre-buttered/greased muffin tins
  • Cook for 55 minutes or until nice and browned
  • Sit for 10 minutes – or if you’re like me, let them sit for maybe 2 minutes, bite into one, and immediately regret it because it’s too hot and you should have listened and waited 10 minutes.

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For all of my Celiac or gluten-sensitive friends, I definitely recommend this mix come holiday time. They’re the perfect little treat with the best flavoring and are so easy to bake. 10/10.

September and October 2019

After taking a month away from ATGchi to get hitched and travel to Greece (stay tuned for some pretty sweet itineraries), I’m back and have a special treat for you! Since I didn’t make a playlist for September (except an awesome 6.5+ hour playlist of your dreams called “Wedding Day Beats” that can be found on my Spotify profile), I’m giving you a DOUBLE playlist! That’s right – two months’ worth of tunes for your eardrums.

I’m currently jamming to this playlist as I’m staring out the window at the gloomiest of gloomy days and can honestly say that these tunes are getting me through. Check out the perfect blend of mmst-mmst and mmm below:

  • All The Time – Zara Larsson
  • Keep You Mine – NOTD & Shy Martin
  • Kill The Lights (w/ Nile Rodgers) [Audien Remix] – Alex Newell, Jess Glynne & DJ Cassidy
  • Love On Me – Galantis & Hook N Sling
  • Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
  • Right Back (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie) – Khalid
  • All Around the World (feat. Bryn Christopher) – Matoma
  • What Am I – Why Don’t We
  • RAIN – Ben Platt
  • Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince – Taylor Swift [Anyone else say the Half-Blood Prince? Just me? Cool.]
  • Paper Rings – Taylor Swift [We cut our wedding cake to this song!]
  • London Boy – Taylor Swift
  • Daylight – Taylor Swift
  • Rollercoaster – Jonas Brothers
  • Slow Dance (feat. Ava Max) – AJ Mitchell
  • The Git Up – Blanco Brown [The most addicting song ever]
  • Dance Monkey – Tones and I
  • Thing For You – David Guetta & Martin Solveig
  • Back & Forth – MK, Jonas Blue & Becky Hill
  • Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun [Flashbacks to MSU tailgates, anyone?]
  • Proud – Marshmello
  • Don’t Give Up On Me – Andy Grammer
  • if we never met – JOHN.k
  • Torn – Ava Max
  • Motivation – Normani [a JAM]
  • In Your Arms – Illenium & X Ambassadors
  • Dreams (feat. Dakota & T-Pain) – Alex Ross [Reminds me of a song that’d play in A&F circa 2007]
  • Call If You Need Me – Galantis
  • Peanut Butter Jelly – Galantis
  • I’m Not Alright – Loud Luxury & Bryce Vine [Slowly getting okay with this country & dance hybrid thing]
  • Wish You Well – Sigala & Becky Hill
  • Champion (feat. Tia Ray) – Jason Derulo
  • We Were Young (feat. JP Cooper) – Petit Biscuit & DROELOE
  • Look Away – Stephen Puth
  • Sax – Fleur East [If you’re in a bad mood, listen to this.]
  • Wanted – OneRepublic
  • Let It Be Me – Steve Aoki & Backstreet Boys [Backstreet’s back, alright?!]
  • OMG – Gryffin & Carly Rae Jepsen [Carly is having a MOMENT and I’m 100% here for it]
  • Lonely – Diplo & Jonas Brothers
  • Good Thing – Zedd & Kehlani
  • Heartless (feat. Morgan Wallen) – Diplo
  • Imperfections – Celine Dion [Celine!!!!!!!!]
  • Slide Away – Miley Cyrus
  • I Wish – Hayley Kiyoko
  • Love Me Less (feat. Kim Petras) – MAX & Kim Petras
  • Legends – Now United
  • Feelings – Lauv
  • Could Have Been You – Jake Miller
  • Holy Water – Galantis [Galantis can do no wrong, IMO]
  • Me Quedare Contigo (feat. Lenier & El Micha) – Pitbull & Ne-Yo
  • The Power – Duke Dumont & Zak Abel
  • This Is Real – Jax Jones & Ella Henderson [Great combo!]
  • Somebody To Love – OneRepublic
  • Lady – Blake Rose
  • Young And In Love – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Carry Me Away – John Mayer
  • Circles – Post Malone
  • Rooting For You – Alessia Cara
  • Shotgun – George Ezra

Reminder that you can find this playlist, and all others, by searching “baconama” on Spotify. This month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_Sept and Oct 2019“. For my Apple Music followers, search “baconama” and you’ll find the “September 2019” and “October 2019” playlists ready to go!

 

a HERo podcast

When my besties do amazing things, I LOVE LOVE LOVE hyping them up and telling the world how awesome and ridiculously cool they are. Today’s one of those days. Friend of 11 (!!!!) years, author of this post from back in February 2018, token ginger friend (thank goodness there’s finally an emoji for them), co-maid of honor, and lawyer extraordinaire, Kristie has added another achievement to her already long list of really cool things. She and her wicked smart lawyer friend, Meagan, launched a PODCAST!

a HERo podcast, accurately named since they chat about all things HER, touches on subjects like social media, abortion, self care, the ever-evolving (and IMO, toxic) diet culture, and my favorite one yet: how.to.be.a.good.wedding.guest. This one hits home since we’re less than 25 days out from our big day (!!!!!!!!!!!!). More on that in a bit.

First, let’s chat about Meagan and Kristie.

  • Meagan is a lawyer by trade and has a passion for good conversation and learning. She got the idea to start their podcast when she realized that she has a lot to say about issues that affect women (who doesn’t these days?!) and wanted to have fun along the way. Kristie agreed to be her co-host and they got to work! When she’s not at work or working on the podcast, she likes to play golf, travel the globe and hang out with her fur babies.
  • Kristie’s the other half of a HERo podcast. She’s also a lawyer, but most importantly, she loves podcasts and is a major public radio nerd.  She’s super thankful for the opportunities podcasting has provided her and feels so lucky to share the HERo journey with their listeners.  Other things she likes include running, exploring the city of Detroit and spending time with her family and friends.

Now, back to their wedding podcast episode. After a brief intro conversation, the ladies dive deeply into the topic of wedding rules and etiquette. Wedding rules that they chat about that I 100% relate to:

  • Check your invite – is it addressed to just YOU? Welp, that means just YOU and not a random human being you just met last month are invited. We decided to have our RSVPs be submitted via The Knot, which thankfully doesn’t allow guests to enter in names of non-invited humans. This saves us that awkward conversation of having to say “No, I don’t know this girl you met yesterday, she’s actually not invited but thank you for asking.”
  • RSVP! Our invites are due on Saturday and I’m already dreading having to follow up with people, so this is a good call out – RSVP and do it on time (please).
  • Dress appropriately! One of my favorite call outs in their conversation is to not.wear.white! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen women wearing white at weddings and while it’s obvious they’re not the bride, it’s still weird. Of all colors, of all days? Just don’t do it and save yourself the judgment from everyone else, because sadly, it’ll happen.
  • Do NOT bring colored drinks onto the dance floor – I repeat – do NOT bring red wine onto the dance floor.
  • To the brides – communicate expectations with your bridesmaids far enough in advance. As a bride, I’ve been trying to keep my maids updated (but not too updated?! ahh!), and remind them that certain things aren’t mandatory because I realize that everyone has lives and can’t do everything. It’s tough!

It sounds like the ladies are going to touch on even more wedding related festivities in future podcast episodes, so stay tuned for even more coming your way. The two of them provide a refreshingly honest take on all things women and the world, which makes a HERo podcast so easy to listen to – whether it’s during your morning commute, mid-day workout, or while whipping up dinner in the evening.

Like what you saw above and want to check out a HERo podcast? Head to wherever you listen to podcasts: Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, etc. Give them a listen, subscribe, follow them on insta @aheropodcast, and let them know how much you love them!

My Go-To Weeknight Meal: Taco Bowls

Cooking is hard – especially when you’re cooking for two and one of you has Celiac. It gets even harder when you’re tired after a long day of work and all you want to do is plop in bed and never move again.

Anyone who knows me knows that I could live off of tacos – We’re having a taco truck at our wedding, so CLEARLY I love them a lot. I’d say we have some form of taco (bowl, salad, or tortilla-formed) at least once a week. Sometimes, we get lazy and order in from UberEats or Postmates, but we do like to whip something up every now and again and it’s usually taco bowls since they’re so easy to make.

Everyone has those few things that are always in their fridge, freezer, and cabinets. For us, it’s ground turkey, taco seasoning (GF, of course), and Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice. Most of the time we’ll have sour cream, shredded cheese, and tomatillo salsa on hand, so fixing up taco bowl can take 10 minutes or less.

 

 

Here’s what we use:

  • Trader Joe’s lean ground turkey
  • Gluten-free taco seasoning
  • Trader Joe’s microwavable brown rice
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tomatillo salsa
  • Guacamole (I really like Trader Joe’s yogurt-based guac, but had Whole Foods’ guac in our fridge the other day)
  • Sour cream (mixed with lime juice, a splash of water, and a dash of salt & pepper)

I don’t even think I need to go through the creation steps with you because it’s as simple as brown the turkey, add the seasoning and some water; microwave the rice; mix your crema (sour cream, water, lime juice, salt, & pepper); then compile everything in a bowl and EAT. So quick, so good, so easy.

Bon appétit! 

What’s your go-to weeknight meal? Comment below or on instagram (againstthegrainchi) and maybe we can share one of your recipes in the future!