Spring has Sprung!

Hello loves!

This past weekend I wanted to be one with nature so I decided to go hiking with a few friends. I went into the day with an open mind as hiking is fairly new to me, but I am so grateful I went! My friend acted as a tour guide and we were all very surprised when we started walking on the ‘Stream Trail.’ The trail was just that – a series of streams and waterfalls that we had to trek and maneuver. I was really impressed with myself, and went in with the mindset that I can do anything!

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As you all know I have been making strides in my fitness journey, and being active is really important to me, so this was a fantastic way to have fun while being active. The trip also acted as team building exercise, and made me closer with the friends I have, and gave me an opportunity to I was able to get to know some others that I have been meaning to sit down and talk with.

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On the hike we had to decipher the best course of action to not fall in the water, which required patience and a little guts! The weather was beautiful and I cannot wait to explore more of the beauty that is Central New York.

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Happy Hiking!

-A

#ThriftyThursday

Good morning everyone! I just wanted to share a fun find from my flea market trip this weekend. In our city, they have a big farmers market on Saturday’s and a flea market on Sundays. Since the boyfriend had Sunday off and it was a beautiful day out, we decided to get up early and give it a try! I have always loved flea markets, my dad and grandpa used to take me and my sisters to them when we would visit my grandparents in Cape Cod. Always coming home with some sort of little treasure. But I think that my favorite part of thrifting is really the “hunt”. Looking through tables of old things that all have a story to tell, to find something that speaks to you.

My Favorite thing to thrift for has always been kitchenware. Things like pyrex, serving dishes, and ceramics are expensive, and I love the look of a vintage piece. This weekend, we took home these 2 mugs. They are really pretty, seem to be handmade (have initials carved into the bottom) and are unique! The boyfriend and I LOVE our coffee, preferably in a huge mug, so they were perfect. We ended up paying $3 for the two, so I was pretty happy!

What are your favorite things to thrift for? 

Your’s Truly- M 

Spaghetti Squash and Marinara Sauce Recipe

Have you ever used spaghetti squash as a spaghetti substitute? I feel like I have seen recipes for it all over lately, so I decided to finally give it a try myself! I used my basic marinara sauce that I have been making for a few months now. I add whatever I feel like or have on hand, and make it nice and spicy! Again, I eyeball my ingredients, and make everything to taste, so I did not include exact measurements below. It turned out really well! Both me and the boy thought the texture and taste of the squash resembled a lot like noodles, and the sauce tasted great with it! I think it was a healthier substitute for us, and helped us stay on track and feel less guilty since we have been eating low-carb low-sugar lately!

Recipe 

Simple Spicy Marinara

Ingredients:

  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped garlic
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 5 mini red/yellow peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Spices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spaghetti squash

Sauce Directions:

Cook the the onions, peppers, garlic and spices in olive oil until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or too. Add red wine now if you would like. Add Crushed tomatoes and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add spice to taste.

Squash Directions:

Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Drizzle flesh with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Cook at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Scrape out flesh gently with a fork. Pour sauce over squash and enjoy!

I served mine with some fresh parmesan on tip and a simple tomato cucumber balsamic salad on the side. It was delish!

Your’s Truly- M

My Trip to Austin TX!

Hello friends!

Last week I got back from my trip to Austin TX – and I have been slacking in getting a post up about my adventures, but here it is! I had such a great time and the weather was fabulous! It was a great springtime getaway and I spent time with my best friend who lives in Austin. We did a lot of shopping and exploring!

I got to see some local art and was really excited to see the Hope graffiti park! There were artists completing their work and it was really fun to see them with the spray paint creating something so interesting. Later that afternoon I had some authentic Texas BBQ! It was spicy!! There are plenty of great barbeque places in Syracuse, but when I went to Freedman’s it was a totally different experience.

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The rest of the weekend was just a blast! We went to Hamilton Pool Preserve and it was just gorgeous! The Park Rangers were so helpful and informative. It was not an easy hike – but it was well worth it! We could not swim due to bacteria levels but the preserve was pristine otherwise and the 85 degree weather helped me get a sunburn.

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Finally the trip ended with a hike up Mt. Bonnell which overlooks the city and some of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen! With the sunset it was a fantastic end to the trip. I reccomend this city to everyone. There was a TON to do and lots of really cool restaurants and bars. I hoped I would bring back the warm weather to Central NY but that was not the case. Back to 40’s and 50’s this week with rain. A girl can dream!

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Cheers!

-A

Wanted: Beginner’s Running Advice!!

Hey everyone! Hope you are having a great morning! The weather in CNY has been BEAUTIFUL, sunny and in the 60’s this week. Because of this beautiful weather, my boyfriend and I have started running outside! I have never been a runner my whole life, dreading the 1 mile run in gym class, and just HATING running. But, as of this New Year, we have been making an effort to get the best exercise for us, and I know that running really is the best workout, and it allows you to spend time outside! We have an amazing 5 mile trail through the woods, along the lake only one block from my apartment, so it is really crazy to not make the most of it. (I stole a picture of the trail above from this website)

So, we have been trying to get into it, and so far so good! My first goal was to be able to run a mile straight without stopping to walk at all. Sounds pretty easy, but as someone who really hates running, that was hard for me. I am proud to say that last night I DID IT! It felt really good, and now I am looking forward to a new goal.

I have downloaded map my run, and so far really like it, but I know I need some more gear. My nike sneakers are approximately 3 years old and worn out. My headphones are always falling out of my ears, and I just really don’t know what I am doing. Should I focus on speed? Should I focus on distance? Help!

So this is what I need from the blogosphere:

What kind of running sneakers should I look for? 

What kind of new goals should I set for myself? 

Is there any gear that I NEED to have? 

Do you have any general tips for someone who is just starting to run? 

Your’s Truly- M

I love RetailMeNot and everyone needs to get the app right now

So, I am not sure exactly who told me about it, but about a year ago I downloaded RetailMeNot just to see what it is all about. It is now a staple for any shopping trip I make. Basically it is just an app and website where you can search coupons and deals by location or search by store. Basically all those coupons that you get in the mail for having a rewards card for every store, appears on the app. I find the best deals at Khols (always at least a 15% off coupon) JcPenny (again, usually a 15% off) Famous Footwear, Macy’s, American Eagle, Dicks Sporting Goods, Target, and so on.

The best deal I ever got with RetailMeNot, I was moving into my apartment and wanted to buy a nice set of knives.I looked at Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, JCPenny, and  I researched a bunch of brands, and found out that you can buy the same stuff at any department store. I saw online that Bon-Ton had a $200 set on sale for $100. I had a $50 off a purchase of $100 coupon on RetailMeNot, went to the store, and paid $50 for a knife set that would have cost me $300 at Bed Bath and Beyond. This is when I became sold. Before I check out at any store, I check my app. A little 10% or $5 off here and there really does add up! And no, I am not getting paid to post this, I just really wanted to share my love for this app!

What are some of your favorite money saving apps? I need to know!

Your’s Truly- M

Wake Up Wednesday: Protein Shake Recipe

Good Morning!!

I have been making more of an effort to be active and work out, and fueling your body after the gym is just as important as the actual workout. 30 minutes after your workout is the perfect time to promote muscle growth! I like to make a shake to drink after the gym that is filled with protein from various foods.

Ingredients:

1.5 scoops of protein powder (this can be your choice of brand. I use Trader Darwin’s Vanilla Soy Protein Powder)

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1 banana

1 Scoop Peanut Butter

Handful of berries (I use frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries)

Almond Milk

1/3 cup of 2% Plain greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients besides the almond milk to a small blender. Add enough almond milk to cover the contents of the other ingredients. Blend until desired texture. If the mixture becomes to thick, add more almond milk.

Clearly I could not wait to drink this smoothie!!

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Cheers!

-A

Essential oils aren’t just for “hippies”…

Essential oils… they have become all the rage over the past year. But are they worth the time and money to start using them? Personally, I have a few essential oils that have become an integral part of my daily routine. I use them for beauty purposes, as a freshener and cleaner, and for aromatherapy. My basics are lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus, and I suggest anyone who is trying essential oils for the first time, to start with these three. You can buy them all online, I buy mine from ADK Aromatherapy (and stole this photo from them).

Tea Tree- The first essential oil I ever used! When I was in college my cousin recommended it for an infected nose piercing I had. It cleared it right up, and I fell in love with the stuff. I use it to dab on pimples, add it to homemade room sprays and cleaners. It is really an all purpose oil, and you can find it either online, or at your local grocery store in the natural foods section.

Lavender- I use lavender mostly for aromatherapy. I add it to my bath, put a few drops in a homemade room spray or cleaner, and will rub a little on my wrists after a long day. It really does relax you, so use cautiously.

Eucalyptus- As someone with year-round allergies and chronic sinus infections…eucalyptus is a must. I will add a few drops to a bath, or on the floor of my shower to help clear out my sinuses. I will also rub some on my chest before bed to help keep my nose clear. It is a must-have in my medicine cabinet.

What are some of your go-to essential oils? 

Your’s truly- M

Trader Joe’s Favorites: Part 2!

Hello loves!

Today we talk Trader Joe’s once again because I have more favorites to share. I attempt to try something new every time I shop there (of the healthy variety) so I can switch up my meals. Clean eating can get somewhat boring, so it’s important to find the tasty and healthy items within a diet.

1. Trader Joe’s Fiber Bread – I love this bread because for me, with bread the heartier the better! This packs 6 grams of fiber per slice, and 5 grams of protein. For a 90 calorie slice of bread you really can’t go wrong here. There are little additives and I enjoy getting my whole grains with a slice of bread. Before my workout most mornings I will have 1 slice of fiber bread with peanut butter and a banana. (my apologies about the photo being sideways – I can’t seem to get it to rotate)

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2. Trader Joe’s Fiber Cereal – I love this cereal with almond milk, chia seeds, and fruit (berries, banana, etc.) It packs 9 grams of fiber per serving and 6 grams of protein. I am a big cereal person but I feel I finally found a great healthy option that packs a lot of nutrients and whole grains that takes care of my cereal cravings.

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3. Trader Joe’s Fruit bars with flax and chia seeds – Last time I raved about Trader Joe’s Fruit bars and I found another option that is very similar and tasty. This is packed with seeds and the fruit is a mix of fruit purees and juice concentrates, including apple, pear, elderberry, lemon, and strawberry. These again are at the .99 cent price point and is a great deal for a snack that is packed with nutrients.

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Cheers to healthy eating!

-A

Sunday night & a pizza recipe

There has always been something special and exciting about Sunday nights. For me, it usually involves tidying up the house, doing laundry, and lounging around. It has always given me time to reflect on the past week, and make a mental to-do list for the new week ahead. Lately, my boyfriend and I have started a small tradition to make a nice hearty meal on Sunday nights, then to sit down and enjoy it while watching my personal favorite show…60 Minutes. Yes I realize this sounds like the life of an 80 year old couple, but it is just such a nice relaxing time that we can share together.

So this week, I wanted to whip up some homemade pizza. Since we are still trying to eat healthier, and we are on a budget, I went with Cookie & Kate’s Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe. It turned out pretty good, and it was SO easy! The recipe makes enough for 2 small pizzas. My only suggestion would be to hand press the dough out into it’s shape. On my first pizza used my “rolling pin” aka a wine bottle to flatten the dough and it stretched too thin. Since this isn’t a very fluffy dough, it turned out more like a flat-bread. We did one pizza with pesto and mozzarella and the other with brie and this maple cream. We love baked brie with the maple glaze on a cracker, so I knew that we would love it as a dessert type pizza.They were both amazing.

Do you have a go-to Sunday meal? Or a pizza dough recipe you love?

Your’s Truly- M