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Hello friends! Welcome back to the second edition of WW IRL (Walder Wellness in real life): 2024 Q1 Recap. Thank you SO much to everyone who wrote a kind comment or sent an email after I posted my 2023 Recap – it was so lovely to connect with you all on a more personal level 🙂

As a reminder, these quarterly posts will give you a little peek at my life behind the scenes. Each quarter, I’ll share little snippets of what I’m working on, where I’ve been traveling, restaurants I’ve tried, books/shows/movies that I’m consuming, and any other life events (we’ve got a big one this month!!)

Pinterest graphic for 2024 Q1 recap blog post.

Big life update: we moved!!

You *may* have noticed that my publishing schedule has been a little bit slower than usual, and that’s because life has been super busy with a big move!!

My husband and I moved from the apartment we’ve been in for the last 5.5 years, to a duplex about 10 minutes away. It’s my first time NOT living in an apartment since high school and we feel so incredibly lucky to have a bit more space!

While I likely won’t be giving a full house tour (in the interest of privacy), I’m more than happy to share a few shots of our kitchen. It is SO much bigger than our last kitchen and is right next to a big, bright, and beautiful window! This means that I can actually photograph and film all my recipes in the kitchen itself.

Fun fact: our last kitchen was in the back of our old apartment, meaning it got very little natural light until the end of the day. I used to carry all the food back and forth through our bedroom to my office (a sunroom) to shoot my recipe photos and videos in there. You can picture me running past our bed with trays of roasted vegetables, pots of boiling soup, and hands covered in goat cheese lol. Needless to say, this was very time consuming and I can’t wait to have a more efficient work flow in the new space 🙂

📺 Q1 movies

Wow, we watched a lot of good movies this quarter! If you’re looking for something new to watch, here were the ones that stood out:

  1. The Holdovers: Set in the 1970s, this heartwarming story is about a boy and a teacher who are forced to remain at boarding school over the Christmas holidays. With nowhere else to go, they form an unlikely bond and friendship.
  2. American Fiction: As the movie description states, this hilarious and poignant movie “confronts our culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes.” In it, we follow a talented author who writes a stereotypical “Black” book as something of a joke. Of course, the publishing and movie industry eat it up, propelling him to fame and proving his point exactly.
  3. Anatomy of a Fall: Following the suspicious death of her husband in their secluded home in the French alps, Sandra becomes the main suspect in the murder trial. The intense investigation unravels details about their marriage and family story.
  4. Dune Part 2: I’m sure everyone has seen this by now, but if not – please give it a watch in theatres! Between the mind-blowing sound engineering and visual effects, this is a masterpiece of film making. I’d advise to watch Dune 1 first, to have a better understanding of the story line.
  5. Scrambled: If you’re looking for a light but heartfelt movie, you will love this hidden gem. It’s about a single woman in her 30s who constantly finds herself at friends’ weddings, baby showers, and scrolling through engagement and pregnancy announcements on social media. For anyone who’s ever felt like your clock is ticking, or like you’re falling behind your peers – this is such a relatable one!

📚 Q1 reading

My goal this year is to read at least 24 books. Q1 started off strong, but slowed down a little bit with the move. Hoping to pick back up once we’re a bit more settled 🙂

A stack of 5 books read in Q1.
  1. Wellness by Nathan Hill (3.75/5 stars): This novel follows a couple’s marriage – from when they met as college students in the ’90s to 20 years later. I found there were many interesting discussions on current societal/wellness trends, pressures in parenting, and insights on how relationships and identities change overtime. Overall, I flew through parts of this book, whereas other chapters realllly dragged on. 600 pages could easily have been under 400, and I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it had been.
  2. The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue (4.5/5): This book captures the confusing, oftentimes messy reality of being a young woman in your early 20s. In it, we follow Rachel, an Irish university student caught up in a bit of a love triangle with her roommate/best friend and her married college professor. Rachel’s story made me reflect on what it was like to be in my early 20s, and how things have changed 10 years later. I loved this one!
  3. Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn (4/5): This novel follows Yunjae, a Korean teenager who is born with a brain condition that makes it hard for him to feel fear or anger. One day, a shocking tragedy changes his world forever, leaving him to find his place without his family to protect him. A short, poignant, and thought-provoking story about love, friendship, and human emotion.
  4. Trust by Hernan Diaz (4/5): Trust is written in 4 parts, each offering a competing narrative and different perspective on the same story. The novel begins in 1920s New York, following a legendary Wall Street tycoon and his wife. While at times I found some of the story lines a little confusing, I overall enjoyed this take on wealth, power, and privilege, and how each of these things can alter our perception of reality.
  5. Good Material by Dolly Alderton (4/5): Dolly Alderton is one of my automatic read authors! I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by her, and Good Material was no different. In it, we follow Andy, a 35-year old man navigating the end of a long-term relationship. It was unique to experience a breakup from a man’s perspective – perfect for a light and easy read!

Recipes you may have missed

17 new recipes were published this quarter! I’d love to know if you gave any of these a try. If not, here’s a recap of what went live…

JANUARY:

  1. PB&J Overnight Oats: Combining the classic flavours of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the nutrition benefits of oatmeal, these overnight oats use strawberry or raspberry jam in place of maple syrup or honey (as the sweetener). So tasty, and so filling!
  2. Simple Tomato Rice Soup: Adding rice to tomato soup makes a classic recipe even more cozy and filling. Made with pantry-friendly ingredients and perfect for batch cooking.
  3. Asian-Inspired Roasted Broccoli & Carrots: These oven-roasted veggies are lightly caramelized and seasoned with Asian-inspired flavours like soy sauce, ginger, honey, and toasted sesame oil. A delicious side dish!
  4. Kale Salad With Hot Honey Salmon Bites: This main-course, massaged kale salad is served with hot honey salmon bites, roasted sweet potato cubes, and creamy avocado.
  5. Tomato Cod Pasta: Inspired by a dish I had in Italy last summer, this nutritious pasta recipe features white fish poached and flaked in a homemade tomato sauce.
  6. Vegan Herbed Tofu Dip: Made with silken tofu, this creamy, vegan dip is perfect for veggies, crackers, or used as a spread on sandwiches or pita wraps.
  7. Tofu & Green Bean Stir Fry: This tofu and green bean stir fry combines crispy tofu with crunchy garlic green beans, all tossed in a light Asian-inspired sauce. Perfect for a plant-based dinner option!

FEBRUARY:

  1. Harissa Shrimp & Polenta: This recipe serves sautéed harissa shrimp over creamy, cheesy polenta, all finished with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh basil. Think “shrimp and grits,” but with more Mediterranean flavours.
  2. Beet Salad Appetizer Skewers: Pre-cooked beets are served on a stick, along with a bundle of arugula, and either feta or goat cheese. A fun twist on a classic beet salad!
  3. Asian Rice Salad With Shrimp: Made with colourful, crunchy veggies, protein-packed shrimp, and a mildy spicy twist on my miso sesame salad dressing. It’s meant to be eaten cold and makes a wonderful option for healthy meal prep!
  4. Baked Salmon Pasta: Only 8 ingredients, this salmon pasta is made without cream; instead, it’s filled with broccoli, tomatoes, lemon, garlic, and basil. Quick, fresh, and easy – the whole family will love this one.
  5. Vegetarian Gnocchi Soup: This one-pot soup pairs bites of soft, pillowy gnocchi with a creamy red pepper, tomato, ricotta, and basil soup. Plus veggie sausage for protein and a bit of spice!
  6. Spinach Artichoke Baked Feta Dip: Warm and cheesy, this is a delicious spin on a classic spinach artichoke dip! It’s made without mayo, cream cheese, or sour cream; instead using tangy Greek yogurt and feta cheese for a healthier, more Mediterranean-inspired flavour.

MARCH:

  1. Spring Vegetable Soup: Made with 7 chunky veggies, orzo pasta, fresh dill, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. The perfect combo of warm and cozy, yet fresh and bright for that transitional spring season.
  2. Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie: This smoothie tastes like chocolate covered berries, with bursts of bright, juicy flavours combined with the luscious taste of dark chocolate!
  3. Classic Arugula Salad: This 6-ingredient arugula salad is simply perfect when you need a crowd-pleasing, goes-with-everything side salad ready in no time!
  4. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta: Made with spinach to get some veggies in, plus a hint of smoked paprika and chili flakes for a bit of a kick. Simple and packed with protein – this pasta will quickly become a go-to weeknight dinner.

My favourite recipes this quarter? While I truly enjoy every recipe that I share, I always have a couple that stand out! I was obsessed with the Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie, making it multiple times a week for breakfast. The Baked Salmon Pasta became a dinner go-to – I don’t know why I had never prepared a salmon pasta this way before! And taste wise, the Spring Vegetable Soup was beyond delicious. We had so many leftovers of it during the multiple recipe tests/shoots, but I never got sick of it 🙂

That’s it for now, friends! I should get back to unpacking and working on new recipes again. Anyone else have a hard time getting back to routine after a major life change? That said, I’ve been working on my Spring/Summer content calendar and I’m very much looking forward to all these warmer weather meals ☀️

Wishing you a lovely start to the spring season!

xoxo, Carrie

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.