Friday Faves #11

Can you believe Friday Faves is back?! I definitely fell off the bandwagon, but waiting for your child to be born has a way of motivating you to find anything to take your mind off the fact you’re NOT in labor. So here we are!

As a reminder, each Friday (AKA random Fridays…) I’ll post five or more things I’m loving right now and links to where you can get them. Here’s what I’m loving this week!

1. Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Small Weekender (in Dove Grey)

You might remember that I posted about my old Po Campo weekender in a previous Friday Faves, but that got stolen (people suck), and I replaced it with this L&S bag. AND I AM OBSESSED. It fits SO much stuff, is durable, has a bottom shoe compartment (!!) and a side zipper situation that lets you slip it on a piece of rolling luggage to cart around the airport without it falling off. Can’t recommend this highly enough.

2. S’well Water Bottle (25oz)

My dear friend Katie gifted me this water bottle and I’m genuinely confused at the magic it uses to keep things cold. I can put ice in it and the ice is still there the next day. What?! How?! It can also keep things hot, but I haven’t used it for that since it’d never cool off enough to drink!

Grab a 25oz bottle and it fits a whole bottle of wine. You’re welcome. Chill your white or rosé and pour it into your S’well bottle and it’ll stay cold for basically ever, because “forever” isn’t long when we’re talking about wine since I just drink it all. #unashamed

They’re TOTALLY worth the price tag because they’re sturdy and steel and last. There are also SO many fun designs!

3. This Shirt from Print Liberation

I bought this a few years ago, and I don’t know if I’ve ever worn it and not had someone comment on it. I’m actually wearing it right now. It’s a true shirt, too. PS: This company has some other killer shirts. And they’re really soft.

4. Sweeter Than Honey: A Coloring Book to Nourish Your Soul

I love coloring, but most “adult” coloring books are way too intricate and time consuming for me to actually enjoy. Until this one! I’m a huge Lindsay Letters fan, and this coloring book is so well done. I’m about to finish mine and need to order another one! I color one page before bed each night and it calms me down. I love how thick the paper is, and that the pages are perforated so you can tear them out and use them as art in your home!

The signed edition is on sale for $10 on her website (link above), or you can grab it on Amazon.

5. Starbucks UPSIDE DOWN Caramel Macchiato 

Okay, tbh, I haven’t actually tried this. I’m addicted to iced caramel macchiatos right now, and the guy in front of me got an UPSIDE DOWN caramel macchiato. What?! What does that even mean? His drink looked decidedly different than mine, so I did a little research. This is what a “normal” caramel macchiato looks like:

A normal caramel macchiato is made in this order: vanilla syrup > milk > ice > espresso > caramel drizzle. It creates a “separated” drink, where you can see the milk on the bottom and the espresso on top. Some people order this “stirred”, because they want it to be more mixed from the beginning. But with an upside down CM, you get that from the get go! Weird!

An upside down CM is made in this order (basically opposite): caramel > espresso > milk > ice > vanilla syrup. The result is a drink that is more mixed, instead of separated. So you don’t really have to stir as much. It looks more like a regular iced coffee with cream.

Regardless, they’re both freaking delicious, so you’re safe ordering either way.

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Friday Faves #10

Helllloooooo 3-day weekend. Our friends are throwing a ‘Merica party tomorrow, but other than that we (I?) am looking forward to lots of naps over the next 3 days.

So, to kill time while you waste away your Friday afternoon in desperate search of the weekend, here are this week’s Friday Faves!

1. Humans of New York (Instagram & Facebook)

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I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to list this as a Friday Fave, but I LOVE these stories. My favorite recently has been the series he did at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The stories of the kids, families, and doctors/staff was so heartwarming. This is also the only social media feed that I dare wade into the comments section; luckily, people on HONY are 99.9% kind.

I think it is incredible the things people share with this guy, but it just goes to show you how much people just want to be heard.

2. Hash for dinner

This is the easiest make-at-home dinner I have ever stumbled upon, and it’s easy to make it your own, AND it is Whole30 compliant if you do it right. Here’s what I do:

  • Brown enough hash browns for Matt & me (I use Alexia frozen brand, W30 compliant)
  • In a pan, heat up Aidells Cajun Sausage (or Aidells Chicken + Apple Sausage for W30)
  • Once those are browned, add in anything–I usually wilt some spinach and chop up avocado, tomatoes, and dab on some hot sauce. You can also fry up some eggs.
  • Put it all together on a plate! Voila!

3. Olay® Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter

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This body wash has saved both my skin and Matt’s skin. We both have dry skin, and this is the ONLY thing that has worked. It’s amazing how quickly you will notice, too! Definitely grab a few of these heading into fall/winter–Sam’s Club sells them in packs of three for $12.

4. Emi Jay Tees

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They sell these at our local Pure Barre studio and it’s REAL HARD not to buy all of them. I want this one (above) and the TUCK tee. And, like, all of the other ones.

5. Coconut LaCroix with limes!

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Y’all–how in the WORLD I have not posted this as my fave yet I do not know. But maybe it’s just because these drinks are part of my blood now, so it’d be really meta to write about. Anyway, if you’re looking for the most refreshing summer drink, grab the Coconut LaCroix and a lime and sweet baby Jesus you’re welcome. It’s summer in a sip. AND IT IS WHOLE30 COMPLIANT. All the praise hands.

Have a happy and safe 4th!

Friday Faves #9

What whaaaatttt Friday Faves is back and since I’ve left you high and dry for so long, I’m doing TEN faves today. Enjoy!

1. Whole 30

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I did Whole30 last year right around this time and it was a total game-changer. (You can read about that here.) I lost a total of 11 pounds in 30 days, and felt like a totally new person. I felt SO GOOD. Which is why I am about to do it again: because I DO NOT FEEL GOOD. I am so so so tired and sluggish and my body just does not feel great. Let me know if you want to do it with me! (It’s free and not some sales-y thing, you just eat whole food for a month)

2. bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Free Spirit

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My mom gave my sister and I a crap ton of makeup to go through and take that she did not love. Somehow I ended up with two tubes of this stuff, and I am SO GLAD I DID. I’m picky about lipgloss since a lot of it leaves me with chapped lips, but this is minty and a great, has a lasting color and somehow is also kind of moisturizing? I also love this because it is kind of the shade that my lips naturally are, so I can wear it every day.
PS: Sign up for the bareMinerals email and you’ll get 15% off your first order!

3. Buzzfeed

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I cannot get enough of Buzzfeed. If I could get a job reading Buzzfeed articles or taking Buzzfeed quizzes, I’d jump on it. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

 

4. Starbucks Cold BrewScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.13.19 PM

This is mainly a fave because I’m drinking it right now and it’s so effing hot outside. All y’all Starbucks haters can chill out, because I don’t care about any level of coffee-snob-ishness. Okay? Good.

I order mine with a splash of whole milk (studies have recently shown whole milk is MUCH better for overall health & weight loss) and one pump of vanilla syrup.

 

5. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

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This is the best white wine I think I have ever had. Very tart, bright, light. Not sweet. Love it so much.

6. LOLA Tampon Delivery

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You heard me right. Here are the four BEST things about LOLA:

  1. They deliver tampons to your door.
  2. They are made from 100% organic cotton.
  3. You can MIX AND MATCH absorbencies. WHAT. Isn’t that all of our wish? Want 3 supers, 14 regulars and 1 light? Done. How about 7 supers, 7 regulars, and 4 lights? Done. All regular? Done. 8 super and 10 regular? You get that too. This is so crazy.
  4. You can turn off and on delivery. So if you don’t need a new box next month, just change the delivery date and you won’t be billed. Brilliant.

And, they aren’t that much more expensive than Playtex or Always or whatever other brand.

Start now! Get your first TWO boxes for only $9 (regularly $18) AND get a $5 credit if you use the code APURSER1

 

7. Catbird 

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I love Catbird jewelry if you’re looking for some timeless, dainty, long-lasting jewelry. In fact, this is where I got my wedding ring! I love it so much because their pieces are timeless and sturdy and don’t break the bank (although there are some incredible pieces that do break the bank).

In addition to jewelry, they also have beauty products, and home goods.

 

8. Loacker Quadratini Chocolate Wafers (I buy @ Trader Joe’s)

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All I need to say about these is that they’re light enough to easily trick me into eating a whole bag. God bless America.

I buy them at Trader Joe’s, but they’re also on Amazon and I think at Walmart and World Market.

 

9. Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad from Love and Lemons

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THIS is my salad. It’s my jam. It’s so filling and yummy and different and I love it. I roast the chickpeas for 15mins at 450 degrees to give them a little crunch and I don’t add the chives or almonds because they’re just unnecessary to me so why spend the $ on them? And OH the dressing. So good.

 

10. Pure Barre

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Y’all, I drank the Kool-Aid. The bright red Kool-Aid.

I didn’t think I’d enjoy PB as much as I do, mainly because of the cost ($$$). I didn’t think it would be worth it but YOU GUYS. It is.

I’ve taken barre classes before, but when I took a Flybarre class in Atlanta thanks to my cousinsisterfriend Joanna, I knew that I was missing something. There is something about a KILLER workout with fast paced music that is REALLY HARD that just fits my soul. The barre classes I had taken before were good, but lacked the energy.

Since we don’t have a Flybarre here, I just thought I was out of luck–because I did not realize that we have a Pure Barre. But once I found out that we did (!) and went to my first class–GAME OVER. Literally I signed up for the New Client Special (1 month unlimited for $100) after my first class and yesterday I signed up for a year unlimited.

A YEAR UNLIMINTED, YOU GUYS.

That’s a lot of classes. But it is so worth it let me just tell you. I usually go a minimum of three times a week, and sometimes more. It’s an incredible workout, and I usually reach muscle failure in each section we work (arms/thighs/seat/abs). They tell you to “embrace the shake” and BOY DO YOU SHAKE. I worked in the fitness industry for almost 8 years, and this is the bomb.com. It’s the real deal.

This 55 minute workout is no joke. Yesterday my instructor commented on how she loved how much I sweat during class. Because I do.

So–if you have a Pure Barre in your area, go to one class. And then promise me something….go again. The first class can be overwhelming; they move quickly and use terms you might not be familiar with. But guess what? EVERYONE in the room with you has had to be a first timer and not understand what was going on. No one walked in all chill and new what it meant to “bend stretch”, okay? So just go once, have a little fun, and then go one more time. You won’t regret it.

PS: BUY THE STICKY SOCKS. You are required to wear socks during class. Try holding a 90 second plank with regular socks on ON CARPET. #bless

Friday Faves #8

Hallelujah, TGIF.

Work is *literally* stressing me to death, so I am thankful that I have this place to come to and think about some of my favorite things for a hot second. So, here we go!

1. This recipe for homemade marinara sauce

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Okay, soooo some of you might be rolling your eyes at the thought of making your own marinara sauce. BUT–it’s almost the same price as jarred, and this is incredibly delicious. And? Making it was cathartic. There’s something very real and cerebral about making something from scratch, and tasting and chopping and stirring. It’s beautiful and I think it’s crazy relaxing. Plus, it just takes like 15 minutes.

Matt and I have both vetted this sauce and, indeed, it is as delicious as it sounds. Make it exactly as it instructs you to, and then after that first batch you can tweak if needed (we didn’t need to!). Enjoy!

 

2. Body weight circuits

That's my hubs.

That’s my hubs.

I worked at a gym for almost five years, so I really do love gyms. But I don’t love the price tag. My favorite workout (currently) is body weight circuits, because you can do them anywhere. Here’s my current favorite (targeting legs):

400m warm-up run
10>1 squats (10, then 9, then 8, then 7, and so on)
10>1 curtsy lunges (this is how to do them)
When you hit the middle, run up a hill and back (or just do another run)*
400m cool-down run

*I usually do 10>1 and 1>10, so that I don’t front load my exercises before running up a hill! So it would look more like: 10 squats, 1 curtsy lunge, 9 squats, 2 curtsy lunges, 8 squats, 3 curtsy lunges, 7 squats, 4 curtsy lunges, 6 squats, 5 curtsy lunges, 5 squats <NOW YOU DO YOUR HILL RUN> 6 curtsy lunges, 4 squats, 7 curtsy lunges, 3 squats, 8 curtsy lunges, 2 squats, 9 curtsy lunges, 1 squat, 10 curtsy lunges.

The best part about this circuit is that it’s easy to add another exercise (say, burpees) or to switch out the exercises completely, and focus, for example, on arms (doing 10>1 dips and 1>10 push-ups). It’s very mold-able! And, you can go at your own pace.

 

3. Fresh SUGA(RED) Lip Treatment SPF 15

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There’s no way around it: this stuff is expensive. $24 for some lip balm is a high price to pay, but it is 1000% worth it. I have terribly chapped lips and this stuff is a lifesaver. Literally I was using a toothpick to get every last ounce of it before I bought a new one. I buy this in the untinted color, but I’d bet the other colors are fun too! Just head to Sephora to test this bad boy out.

PS: For every purchase of SUGA(RED), 25% of the retail price will go to the US Fund for the Global Fund, which can provide more than 2 weeks of life-saving HIV medicine. To learn more, visit fresh.com/RED.

 

4. Downy Wrinkle Releaser

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If this is something you’ve never heard of, I am about to change your life. This magical spray has saved me from countless hours of ironing. Just spray on your wrinkled clothes, pull, and smooth. VOILA. No more wrinkles. // I’m not quite sure that it works on heavy duty wrinkles, but for your everyday “I left this in the dryer too long” this is a lifesaver. And they make it in travel size, so it’s FANTASTIC for suitcase wrinkles.

 

5. Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband

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I used to use the Jawbone UP, but it had some flaws that I wasn’t a huge fan of (mainly the fact that it doesn’t show the time, but totally feels like a watch, so I look like a goober when I’d look at my wrist to check the time). So I bought the Fitbit Charge (not the Fitbit Charge HR) and I love it! It has a lot of features that are better than the UP, and I love that it tells me the time. Bless. Also, it has Caller ID–which is a great feature since 90% of the time my phone is on silent. Now, if someone is calling, my Fitbit will buzz and tell me who it is. So good! PS: It’s way cheaper on Amazon (link above).

xo, A

 

PS: Sometimes I will use affiliate links for these products that I will earn a commission off of from Amazon. Transparency! But don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you any more than if you just found it on Amazon on your own. This way, B+B earns some mo-nay!

 

Friday Faves #7

I bet you guys thought I fell off the earth! (Hah, kidding, I know you didn’t think that). But I am back with Friday Faves! Let’s jump in, since all I can think about is #1 (and #5)…

1. Naps

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Okay, so this isn’t something you can buy, but it’s something you can and should do. If I could nap every day, I would. This past weekend Matt and I were up WAY past our bedtime on Friday because we were having a spectacular time hanging out with friends. But we paid for it on Saturday when we woke up at 6am to leave to go see my parents. Thankfully, we scheduled a nap for later that afternoon, and IT WAS JOYOUS AND ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, a nap at like 2pm on a Saturday in a cool room is the stuff heaven is made of.

PS: I almost posted a picture of Matt sleeping (instead of our sweet niece Kennedy sleeping), but I figured he wouldn’t appreciate that too much. Bless his heart.

2. PackIt Freezable Picnic Bag with Zip Closure, Cali Stripes

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I try to be reaaaalllly good about bringing my lunch to work and not eating out. Having a lunchbox that is a) cute and b) FREEZES itself goes a long way in supporting that. The PackIt line of freezable lunchboxes is ah-mazing. It’s easy because I can just keep it in my office and my lunch stays cool. But do you know what the best part of this item is? IT FOLDS UP. So it doesn’t take up a crap ton of room in your freezer. Bless the lunchbox gods.

3. Lumosity App (the FREE version)

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A few months ago, I started noticing that my memory was totally failing me. I’d be pulling into the Target parking lot, think to myself, “I need toothpaste, a candle, and laundry detergent.” I’d park, walk into the store, and NOT REMEMBER A SINGLE THING from that list. When that became a frequent occurrence, I knew I needed to start working out my brain. So, I downloaded the free Lumosity app.

So here’s the thing: to get the full sha-bang, you’re encouraged to pay for a subscription. That way you can play all of the games. BUT–I use the free version and that’s plenty for me. It gives you three random games a day, tracks your brain stats, and usually takes no more than 6-10 minutes to finish all three games. Honestly, I don’t want more than that. So paying for a subscription just doesn’t make sense to me. There is also a website version, but I don’t know much about that since I use the app :)

4.  Buffalo Trace Bourbon

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Because, you know, Baubles + Bourbon. I’m a total bourbon fan (you’d probably hope that, considering the name). And Buffalo Trace is, hands down, the best bourbon I’ve ever had–both because it tastes incredible and because it has sentimental value. It’s the bourbon both Matt and I were drinking when we got engaged, and the bourbon we buried at our wedding and shared with our 80 guests (yum-o!). It’s smooth and delicious and warm. It’s a little hard to find, but if you see it, grab it! So delish.

My favorite Buffalo Trace drink is the one I was drinking when I got engaged: The Kentucky Mule from MOJO Hogtown BBQ + Whiskey Bar: MOJO Selected Buffalo Trace Bourbon (they have their own barrels of this stuff!), Lime Juice, Ginger-Lime Syrup, and Ginger Beer–served in a copper mug with ice like you get from Sonic.

Just remember two things: 1) All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon; and 2) drink responsibly, friends.

5. My sweet husband

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                                  Photo by @lizzierandazzo

Everyone is told that marriage is hard. Duh, it is. But so is life. Life is hard, with or without marriage. And I can’t IMAGINE doing life without my husband by my side.

These past few weeks have been so tough. We are having to make hard decisions and he just LOVES all of the tears I cry (hello, CRIER here). This isn’t new stuff, since we tend to attract stressful situations. When we were preparing for our wedding, our pastor sent us a questionnaire about each other. This is one of the many things I had to say about Matt: “In the three and a half years we’ve been together, we’ve been through a high number of really stressful events (2 degrees, 4 job changes, almost losing dad, Matt owning his own company, a move), and there was never a point where I felt like our relationship was negatively affected by these stressors. When life was incredulously hard, our love was easy. Matt consistently showed up in the hard places, and made commitment after commitment to tackle life together, never apart, and never when it is just easy. His slow and steady strength and love is the most endearing quality. I know that entering marriage we will encounter even more difficulties, but I have no fear of them because of the type of love Matt shows. He showed me that to be strong, you could be tender. That to be my rock, he would point me TO my Rock. That romance is sometimes just showing up and being present, and is not necessarily all passion and fireworks–although we have that, too!”

I’m just so thankful for my husband. He’s my most favorite thing.

xo, A