Friday, November 13, 2015

The Friday Five

I know.  It's been awhile...
Halloween hoopla, big birthdays, and still sick.

But, I am back today, to share what's good in my world...

Chris Stapleton + Justin Timberlake
Anyone catch this performance on the CMA's?
I'm not the biggest country music fan, but dang!  Their voices are on point!

@eastcoastcreative on Instagram
Need some new home design pornography to add to your feed?
This awesome mama + designer + DIY'er has some serious game.
I love her completely-put-together-yet-slightly-eclectic style.

Bone broth
I wish I did, but I don't, have time to make my own.  Bone broth is incredibly nutritious and health-boosting, not to mention super flavorful and full of protein.  Thankfully, "Pacific Natural Foods" has single serving sizes that can be warmed up in a mug for an instant, soul-soothing lunch!  Try the chicken lemongrass or chicken ginger flavors.  And since all the antihistamines and inhalers and cough drops in the world aren't helping me feel much better, why not delve into the "natural healing" department? ;)

NP Week
As you may have read this earlier this week, it's national nurse practitioner week!  I am still off service, but I had the complete pleasure of participating in "career day" at my son's preschool.  Each week, they've had someone come in and talk about the importance of their job.  Needless to say, these 3 and 4 year olds are pretty awesome...and I foresee a medical career in several of their futures!

"This is Parenting"
Read this little ditty over at The Pregnant Chicken.
So very true.

And and a few more fun links, just because...

Ugh, her House of Mackage jacket. #want

Dear Perfect Mom on Facebook... yassssss.

Oh, and another 40 awesome websites that will ruin your productivity today.

Finally, I've been gravitating towards this little mantra lately...

Hope your weekend is super relaxing and fun!

Xo, b

~ images via @eastcoastcreative on Intagram, Pacific Natural Foods / pics by bitsofbreezy ~

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chimichurri steak & sweet potatoes

Here's an easy weeknight meal you don't want to miss!
Amazing on the grill and served with charred corn tortillas
(and a big glug of red, of course).


Simply combine the spices and smear this dry rub on meat (save any extra for next time!).
Sprinkle some of the dry rub, along with a hefty pinch of coarse salt and drizzle of olive oil, onto the sweet potato chunks.  Roast them at 375 for approximately 45 minutes (or until crispy and golden).

Meanwhile, whiz together the remainder of the ingredients (for the chimichurri sauce!) in a food processor and grill the steak for a few minutes per side (or to your liking).  Also throw on some corn tortillas just to warm through and get a little char.

Top the meat with your fresh and spicy sauce.
Use any extra for dunking your delicious sweet potatoes.
Wrap any (or all) of the above in the toasty tortillas.

Wash down with a bottle of red.

P.S.   This could easily be assembled into a freezer meal.
Simply place the meat with dry rub in a freezer bag.
Place sweet potatoes and dry rub in a separate freezer bag.
Make sauce and place it in yet another freezer bag or container.
Place all contents into one big freezer bag along with directions.
Simply thaw overnight in fridge and voila!
All the prep is done for you and your food is just ready to be cooked/assembled when you get home from a hard day at work.

Bon apetit!

~ images by bitsofbreezy ~

Sunday, November 8, 2015

" What's a nurse practitioner anyway?"

If you've been following me for awhile, you know that I am a woman of many interests - being a mom, cooking, reading, writing, entertaining, interior design, music, fashion, and creating fun things.  However, one of my greatest interests, the one I actually get paid to do, involves health, wellness, and being a nurse who practices medicine.  I am a nurse practitioner.

I decided to write this post in honor of "Nurse Practitioner Week" (November 8-14, 2015) and the 50th anniversary of our profession, but more importantly, because so many people don't really know what a nurse practitioner is.  It's not really their fault.  Our healthcare system is confusing at best.  I've been called "Dr. Nigro" and I've also been the butt of many a "nurse wiping up poop" joke.  I've been patronized by surgeons and embraced by patients and families whose lives I've saved.  I've frequently been incorrectly called a PA (physician assistant), even by some of my direct superiors and co-workers.  I've also been given ill-defined labels such as "advanced practice provider" and frankly, more demeaning ones like "mid-level provider" or "noctor"... but most people just call me "Brianna."  I love my job.

So, what exactly is a nurse practitioner anyway?  Let me clear it up for you.  A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has completed years of education beyond his or her bachelor's degree, usually a Masters of Science (and now even a Doctorate) in Nursing.  In grad school, I delved more deeply into learning about how the body functions, different disease states, how to formulate diagnoses, and treat common medical problems.  Upon completing grad school, NP's take board certification exams and must maintain an active NP license in the state(s) in which they practice.  While I had many physician preceptors and guest lecturers throughout my graduate program, NP education, licensure, and certification is not regulated or managed by doctors.  It is regulated by nurses.  

In my current role of hospital medicine, I take care of hospitalized patients with conditions ranging from chest pain and heart failure to pneumonia and other serious infections.  It's not uncommon for me to take a thorough medical history, perform several physical exams, order a CT scan and a handful of laboratory tests, counsel someone about smoking cessation, prescribe various medications, and assist in planning a complicated hospital discharge in just an hour on the job.  NP's often work in primary care, but many also work in "specialty" areas, such as Cardiology or Dermatology.  Others perform procedures, such as insertion of dialysis catheters in Interventional Radiology, for example.  Most NP's are employed by hospitals or physicians, but many actually work independently if their state regulations allow them to do so. 

Research has shown similar outcomes between patients who were treated by physicians compared to patients treated by NP's.  But, I personally think NP's have an edge... they are nurses first.  Patient education, advocacy, and holistic care are at the very core of nursing philosophy.  To a nurse, especially to me, a patient is not just the disease he or she has; a patient is a person first, with a complex host of physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual parts that complete the larger, truer portrait of their health.  Patient education has always been one of my favorite things about my job, because knowledge is empowering.  

Today, people are living longer, patient care is more complex, and there are shortages of medical providers across the board.  Nurse practitioners are competent, integral parts of the healthcare "team," and I am constantly inspired by so many of the NP's I know.  So, the next time someone asks you, "what's an NP anyway?", I hope you reassure them that they're in good hands.  I can guarantee we are going to be around for  another 50+ years to come! :)

Brianna Nigro, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Friday Five

Hey, party people!
Happy Friday!
Here's what's good in my world...

Sufjan Stevens.
Then again, he's good in my world every week.  Just sayin'.

Zumba (on crack) with Luis Diaz
A ridiculous blend of authentic Latin dance & cardio funk that will leave you in a pool of sweat.  I can't think of a better way to dance off the pounds and burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour.  If you live in the Milwaukee area and like to dance, it's definitely worth checking out one of his amazing classes at Studio 611!
Note:  Not for the faint of heart.  Bring lots of H2O.  And a towel.

Pumpkin Pie Lust
Perhaps one of the only "pumpkin" beers I can actually groove on.  This one is a nice, amber-y color with just the right blend of spices (a.k.a. not too overpowering).  Cheers!

Honey Crisp apples
Crispy.  Sweet.  Little bit of tang.  Great for snacking... and even baking.
We lucked out and snagged over 20 lb for $20 last weekend at Barthel Fruit Farm up in Mequon, WI.
They're seriously the best.  End of story. 

Segue to...

Make memories...always.
Big ones, small ones.
Build traditions.
Be present.  Be affectionate.
Give them something to look back on and smile.

Not every day is easy, but every day is a gift!
I wouldn't trade those two biscuits for the world.

And a few more links, just for fun...

This mashup of famous dance scenes set to "Uptown Funk" totally made my day.

On the contrary, this photog's depiction of how addicted we are to our phones was totally disturbing.

As the leaves continue to fall in droves, I think this will be our next art project.

Three surprising design tips, ala Emily Henderson.

An eye-opening piece on single parenthood.  Bless you, people.  Seriously.

Conversations between parents and children.  Pretty much spot on.

Adorable hostess gifts, no?

On that note, I probably need this shirt.


Have a kick ass weekend, m'loves!

~ photos by bits of breezy / Zumba image via Studio 611 facebook page, quote image source unknown ~

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blanket scarves

One of my favorite fall trends, that in my opinion, never goes out of style!
These ladies' scarf games are especially on point...

From solids to plaids, and paired with denim and booties, I just love them all!
What's your favorite way to rock a blanket scarf?

~ images via the,,,, & ~

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mama Mondays : To say or not to say

Last week, I overheard a stressed out mom in the Target parking lot tell her 4 year old that he needed to "get a grip on his emotions RIGHT NOW!"  I laughed to myself because I'm sure I sound that ridiculous on several occasions every. single. day.

Namely, I am guilty of at least 5 of these:

My worst offenses are probably "be careful," "hurry up," and "great job."
In the right situation, they're absolutely appropriate; however, I know I say each one at least five times a day.  And usually, it's to appease my own worries and/or impatience.

According to the article in Parents magazine (from April 2014...yes, I'm that far behind on my mags) constantly praising your child (especially when it's unwarranted, e.g. for doing something they should already be doing, like picking up after themselves, etc.) reinforces them to be dependent on your affirmation rather than their own motivation.  Makes sense, no?

Overuse of "be careful" distracts their focus from whatever it is they're trying to do, whether it be climbing a ladder at the playground or painting a picture on your precious dining room table.  Like I said, this one usually is said on my part due to my own anxieties, not theirs.

And "hurry up" just makes whatever the situation is more stressful...for both parties.  You may be five minutes late for school that day, but it's important for your little one to put on those sneakers all by himself, okay?
(And when in doubt, refer to this.)

Needless to say, I felt pretty down on myself as a parent after reading all this, as you might imagine.  However, the article ends with some encouraging things you can say to your children...which I already say anyway!

"What could you do instead?" (Encourages problem-solving.)

"Yes." (Whenever possible!)

"You can always tell me everything." (Remind them often!)

"I'm sorry."  (Shows them how to own up.)

"I love you."  (You simply cannot overuse those three words.)

So, there you have it.
Guess I'm not completely failing as a mom.


~ image by Parents magazine / photo by bits of breezy ~

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Friday Five

Happy Friday m'loves!
Here's what's good this week...

M. Ward.
Love.  Just love....

Toasted Graham latte
A new fall flava from S-bucks.
Not too sweet and oh-so-yum!

Steve Madden booties
Namely these casual ones...super comfy and instantly add a little polish to your errand-running attire.  Recently marked down at DSW!  Extra love.

$5 Farmers' market bouquets
The dahlias are especially radiant right now @ the Fox Point locale on Saturday mornings!  Oh, and an honorable mention to all the Yankee Candle fall scents.  You're kind of amazing, too.

Arguably one of my favorite months.  
I just love everything about you, October.

And a few other links I'm loving this week...

Good examples of how Ikea can look amazeballs. (for all the #haters)

Crimson lips are "in" this fall.  Thoughts?  (A little too dark for me.)

This touching video literally shot chills (the good kind) down my spine.

How to prevent anxiety in your children.

A great deal on diapers, for all you busy mamas out there!

J. Crew's puffer vest game is seriously on point.

Thank you, Dwell, for showcasing that modern design doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive.  LOVE!

Hope your weekend is extra fantastic!


~ images via, / photos by bits of breezy ~

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

An ode to zucchini

As zucchini season comes to an end, 
I feel inclined to share some of my favorite recipes that star this versatile vegetable.  Because, after all, one can stomach only so many "zoodle" dishes.

In addition to the supply in our weekly CSA box,
I also grew my own zucchini this year.
It must be an idiot-proof vegetable, since my own harvest was plentiful.

* Probably shoulda picked this monster, like, a week ago.

So, if you have a pile of zucchini still sitting on your counter like me,
try any one of these amazing recipes and you will not be disappointed...

Zucchini Banana Bread
Super moist and flavorful!

Zucchini "Quick"
(Amazing over pasta!)

1 T butter or margarine
1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large tomato, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini, about 1 lb.
1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
2 t herb seasoning or 1/2 t each oregano leaves, thyme leaves, marjoram leaves, and dry basil
1/2 t salt
grated Parmesan cheese

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter, add onion and saute until limp. Add beef and cook until crumbly; discard fat. Stir in zucchini, tomato, tomato sauce, herb seasoning, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered stirring often, until zucchini is just tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, turn heat to high, and stir until excess liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Pass cheese to sprinkle over top. Makes about 4 servings.

(Typed verbatim from original recipe card from Sunset magazine in the 1970s)

Baked Zucchini Dip
Tastes just like artichoke dip - amazing!  So amazing that a post-baked shot was not captured due to dip being devoured...

2 c. Fresh zucchini, shredded (or any summer squash)

1 tsp salt

1/2 c. Mayonnaise
1/2 c. Plain Greek yogurt (could also substitute sour cream)
1/4 c. Hard granular cheese, grated (I used Parmesan)
1/4 c. Bell peppers, finely chopped 
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp canola oil
Pita chips for dipping

In a bowl, toss the zucchini and salt. Let stand for one hour.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drain and press out excess liquid really well.

(Recipe ala another CSA member.)

Zucchini Breakfast Cookies
They freeze really well, for a not-too-sweet, grab-and-go breakfast!
P.S.  Definitely grind your oats, as recommended in recipe.

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman, a.k.a. you know it's going to be amazing.  Super moist and a perfect blend of spices.  And then there's the cream cheese frosting....hello!  Perfect for those upcoming fall birthdays!

And last but not least,
one of my family's absolute favorites ~

Italian Zucchini Boats

Though I sadly have misplaced this most amazing recipe!

Meanwhile, just drool away (and your guess is as good as mine!)...

There are so many other amazing zucchini recipes out there, but let's just leave at this for today.  And if you're still like me and have zucchini coming out your ears, try freezing it in batches like this...perfect for adding to quick breads and muffins or sauces and smoothies throughout the upcoming winter months!

Bon apetit, m'loves!

~ photos by bits of breezy / zucchini cake image via The Food Network ~

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cottage by the sea

This feature in Lonny has me jonesing for a coastal cottage get-a-way...

Regional and global influences abound,
making this cottage retreat feel both cozy and unique.  

...they also evoke a sense of calm and relaxation, no?


I think it's time for another vacation...

~ image via Lonny ~

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Friday Five

Happy Friday, m'loves!
And what a gorgeous one it is.
Here's what's good this week...

I probably can't pronounce his name correctly (Gregory Alan Isokov), but this little tune popped up  on my Pandora feed the other day, and I absolutely love his peaceful melodies.

vest with a dress
We all know it's easy to add in scarves during the transition to fall, but how about that herringbone vest?! What an adorable fall look.

'Tis the season to start pickling (if you haven't already).  We've done everything from standard cukes to more exciting green beans and beets.  Fun on sandwiches and salads...and even more so in a Bloody Mary.

Rodan + Fields
I recently started using (and distributing) their skin care products and I am absolutely in love.  In just 2 weeks, my skin is more clear and smoother than ever.  (insert:  happy dance)

23 Things I Wish I'd Known at 23
A pretty amazing list, I must say.
I think this one is my favorite, because it couldn't be more true:

And a few more fun links to get you to your weekend...

OMG these two guys are adorable.

The truth behind Instagram photos.  So great.

17 secret Google Chrome tricks.  (Worth reading!)

Saw this Asian beef recipe on The Chew last week, inspired by a dish at the famous (and delicious!) Vietnamese restaurant - The Slanted Door - located in the San Fran Ferry Building (favorite spot!).  Can't wait to test it out!

The best hair colors for this fall, in case you need a little inspiration.

Wish I'd seen this handy breastfeeding website the first time around...

Thoughts you have while watching HGTV's "House Hunters".  Amen!

And alas, one more hilarious bit before you go.
(I mean, if Donald Trump is doing it...)

Hope your first FALL weekend is fantastic!

~ images via, & my / photos by bits of breezy ~