Favorites, Holiday, Travel

Top 3 Moments From Chicago And July 4th

Hi everyone! Since I was gone from the blog last week I wanted to share my top 3 moments from our trip to Chicago. Have a great day 🙂

Hopsmith With Friends

Since Alex and I were going to be in Chicago over a weekend, I thought it would be perfect to meet up with friends in the city to get drinks. Most of the time when we’re at my parents it’s for a holiday so most people are busy with their own families. Luckily that wasn’t the case so we got to meet up with about 10 people total and it was a blast!! Alex and I took the train to the city on Saturday afternoon then went to my friend Alison’s new apartment for drinks with her boyfriend Corey before we headed to Hopsmith which is a bar that Alison recommended. We drank the night away and I got to see some of my best friends which was awesome. Corey ordered us nachos and they were tasty. Alex even made a cute little speech since we were calling it birthday drinks.

Incredibles 2 With Alex, Mom and Brendan

 

My older brother Brian, Dad and sister Megan were actually in China for the first half of the trip so it was just Alex, my younger brother Brendan, my mom and I at my parent’s house. Mom was thinking of something fun for us to do so we went and saw The Incredibles 2. Majority of the people in the audience were over the age of 15 which was kind of surprising. The movie was so good though! If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely go. The 14 year wait was worth it.

Time At The Lake

Culver 2018

On Monday afternoon, Alex and I drove to my grandparents house in Indiana. They live on the lake and I grew up going there all the time in the summer. It was such a relaxing and slow paced few days. My entire family went as well as an aunt and uncle. We celebrated some birthdays, had fireworks on July 4th, went boating, read a bunch and spent time with family. It was the perfect little refresher that I felt was needed for both Alex and I. Apparently Mike Pence’s brother lives on the same lake as my grandparents and the VP was there while we were. Alex thinks he saw the secret service on a random boat while we were out one morning too.

Question of the day: American friends, what’s the highlight from your July 4th activities?

Favorites, Weekly Obsessions

Weekly Obsession XXIII

Happy Friday! I’m pretty excited that the weekend is tomorrow because Alex and I leave bright and early to head to Chicago. I’m not kidding about bright and early y’all, we’ll be at the airport before the sun is up haha. We’re heading to my parents house for a few days then going to one of my favorite places to visit my grandparents and spend a few days at their house on a lake. I’ll check in when I can next week but I apologize if the blog takes a bit of a back seat.

Before I can even get home to finish packing, let’s share a few things I’ve been obsessed with this week. Let me know what your plans are for July 4th next week and something you’ve been obsessed with in the comments below. Have a great day 🙂

Blueberries

Blueberries

I picked up two pints of blueberries since they were on sale at the grocery store and it was a great decision. Most of this week (minus today since the blueberries are gone) I’ve been bringing a full snack size bag of them to work with me. They’ve been the perfect midmorning snack. The berries come from New Jersey so they’re about as close to fresh from the farm as I can get since the farm near us doesn’t have any. Some have been really tart while others are more mild. I’ve been loving them and have to prevent myself from snacking on them at home. No joke, I would eat the whole pint if I could.

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

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On the opposite of the health spectrum have been these no bake cookies. I made them last week and have been snacking on them nonstop. Full disclosure I ate 3 of them in one day earlier this week. No regrets either. The texture makes it feel like you’re eating straight cookie dough but it’s actually healthy. Some of them were straight peanut butter while I added a few dark chocolate chips to the top of others. If you are looking for an easy dessert for any cookouts you may have, try these out.

Paul McCartney Carpool Karoke

If you like the Beatles, watch this. If you don’t like the Beatles, watch this. Carpool karoke is one of my favorite segments that James Corden does but this one is probably my favorite! Alex and I watched it the other night and we were both singing along to the songs. Some of them have been stuck in my head since then and I’m not complaining. This video is such a feel good one and a perfect way to say goodbye to work and hello to the weekend.

Question of the day: What’s one thing you’ve been obsessed with this week?

Favorites, Health

5 Things I Always Buy Name Brand

Hello and happy hump day! We’re already halfway through the week which seems crazy to me.

When I was grocery shopping and cleaning out the cabinets the other day, I realized there are a few items that I always buy name brand. Now I’m all about saving a dollar here and there on generic items but sometimes the extra money spent on name brand items is worth it in my opinion! So today I’m sharing five food items that I always buy name brand. Let me know if there’s anything you always buy name brand in the comments!

Snyder’s of Hanover Snaps Pretzels

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One time I bought the generic brand of pretzels because they’re about half the price of Sneyder’s pretzels. Let’s just say there’s a reason they are cheaper and not a good reason. The store brand just tasted stale to both Alex and I so you couldn’t eat them alone. Hummus or peanut butter was a must. We were both very happy to finish so we can go back to our beloved Sneyder’s. Without fail, the pretzels are perfectly cooked and the right amount of salt. When they’re on sale we stock up and our cabinet is overflowing with them.

Dannon Oiko’s Triple Zero Greek Yogurt

Oikos Peach Yogurt

This Greek yogurt is the healthiest Greek yogurt I have found. There is no added sugar or artificial sweeteners in it which is amazing. So many flavored yogurts have sugar as one of the first three ingredients and in my opinion that defeats the purpose of having yogurt. There’s also 15 grams of protein in them which is great. The yogurt is actually blended which gives it a thick yet light texture. That’s probably a terrible explanation but just try it! My grandma even said it was good once I told her about it. My favorite flavors are peach, strawberry, mixed berry and vanilla. I eat one almost every afternoon at work as a pre-run snack. I don’t think I’ll stop buying Oikos Triple Zero yogurt for years.

Rotel Chipotle Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles and Chipotle Peppers

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There are always a minimum of 2 cans of this in our cabinets. If we’re being real though there’s usually 4-5 cans. The local grocery store has a 5 for $5 deal on them so when I see that, I’ll stock up. I use these to make homemade salsa and the flavor of the Chipotle version is the best. The store brand just has one variation and in my opinion it didn’t have a ton of flavor and spice. It’s not worth the few cents I would save buying the generic can if I have to sacrifice flavor. Rotel diced tomatoes will forever be something I buy.

Martin’s Potato Rolls

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Alex introduced me to potato rolls since they’re his preferred bun for burgers, hot dogs, brats, and Italian sausage. I tried the store brand version of them and they did not freeze well at all. We don’t go through a pack of buns fast enough to keep them in the cabinet so we keep them in the freezer and just take two out to defrost when we need them. The flavor of Martin’s potato rolls is so good even after being frozen. They’re just as soft when you defrost them as when you buy them too which I like. If I gave you one from the freezer and one that I had just bought from the store you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. When I noticed them on sale, I buy a few packs to have on hand.

Tea

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I drink tea every day. Alex occasionally drinks it as well so I grabbed a box of the generic store brand tea once. The tea was almost flavorless if that makes sense. It just made the hot water taste kind of different but the tea flavor wasn’t strong. I ended up using two tea bags in every mug so that I could get flavor and use the box faster. Instead of saving a dollar or so by buying the generic brand, I grab the “Club Sized Savings” box that our local grocery stores offer for Lipton. Just one tea bag gives me the exact flavor I’m looking for in tea. Plus it makes good iced tea as well.

Question of the day: What’s one thing you always buy name brand?

Favorites

My Top 10 Favorite Foods

Happy hump day friends! I hope your week is going well so far. A few weeks ago, I saw Erinn write about her top 10 favorite foods which seemed like a fun idea to me. So today I’m sharing with you my top 10 favorite foods. Well my top 10 as of right now because they could change. Enjoy 🙂

Fresh Blackberries

  1. Fresh from the farm fruit – there’s something so much better about fruit straight from a farm or apple orchard than when it’s bought at the grocery store

2. Peanut butter – I can eat spoonfuls of it!

3. Pizza

4. Italian beef – a Chicago staple

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5. Popcorn

6. Ice Cream – especially chocolate peanut butter flavored

7. Fresh baked bread

8. Buffalo chicken

9. Chicken Caesar salad

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10. Roasted potatoes

It was so hard just picking 10 foods! I had so many that I could have put so maybe I’ll check back in a few months down the road if my list has changed.

Question of the day: What’s one of your favorite foods?

Favorites, Weekly Obsessions

Weekly Obsessions VIII

Happy Friday! How was your week? Although I really dislike driving to work in the dark, I have to admit, it’s been nice to have the sun out much later at night. After work today, I’m heading to a bachelorette party for the weekend. Luckily it’s not too far so the drive should be easy. I’ll do my best to check in tomorrow per usual. Below are a few items that I have been loving this week! Have a great day 🙂

Ham & Potato Soup

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Ham and potato soup is something that my dad has made for years now. He found a recipe on linked in that has almost 10,000 5 star reviews and it’s the best! I made it on Sunday and had it for leftovers later in the week. The only change I made to the recipe (that my dad told me he does) is to go heavy on potatoes and ham and omit the onion. The recipe doesn’t call for using an immersion blender but my dad started doing that a few years ago. Game changer! It makes the soup thicker and is so good. I don’t have an immersion blender and used my Ninja blender which did the trick.

The Knockoff

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Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza wrote such a fun read with The Knockoff. It’s the story of Imogen Tate, the editor in Chief of Glossy magazine, who comes back to work after 6 months away from sick leave. When she returns, the office she left has completely changed. Her beloved magazine has become a website and her former assistant seems to be the boss. Imogen has to try to navigate the world with social media while figuring out where she fits into the new world. As we head into spring and warmer weather (I hope!), this would be the perfect read while sitting outside.

Pomegranate and Lemon Verbana Body Wash

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I had been using a Bath & Body Works shower gel for a while and it was empty so while at Target on Sunday I picked this one up from Up & Up. Full transparency I just grabbed this one because it had the cheapest price per unit which is how I shop most of the time. This may be my new go to body wash. The scent is amazing! It’s strong without being in your face. It almost has an awakening feel to it which is nice in the morning. I love the scent and it’s creamy without being thick and suds pretty well on me.

Why Easy Miles Should Actually Be Easy

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This is a blog post from Elizabeth Jansen. She is not an expert (i.e not a trained coach or certified in anyway) by any means but she gives her experience in how running easy miles every week has helped her decrease her marathon time significantly. The point of easy runs is to run slow in order to run fast. Yes it sounds silly but it does work! Elizabeth has been running this way for 3 years now and shows how it works. She also links to another article which is more scientific and shows you how to determine your maximum aerobic heart rate. Monitoring it makes you a more efficient runner. I found it interesting and thought some of you would like it too.

I’ve been running 10+ minute paces on recovery runs and long runs for a lot of my training. Granted I haven’t been running for years but I definitely think taking 3 runs a week at a slow pace has helped me become faster.

Question of the day: What’s one thing you’ve been obsessed with this week?