Good Friends Make Life So Very Sweet

Good Monday afternoon! I know “good” and “Monday” don’t normally mingle together, but today has been quite a lovely day so far. I really hope it’s been the same for you!

Thursday

Kaci and I were fortunate to get to take the free Barre3 class offered at Elkmont Exchange on Thursday evening, and while incredibly demanding and tough, it was an amazing class! Tough and challenging don’t have to mean you feel defeated or frustrated. I love that each instructor reminds us that just showing up for ourselves is an act of self-love and that breaks are advised so one can come back stronger.

Love my girl! Even five to ten years ago I would’ve never seen myself taking these exercise classes or being so outgoing. I was shy and a bit withdrawn sometimes. Not anymore!

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Kaci and I walked over to the food truck park and enjoyed the perfect meal while chatting, people-watching, and soaking up those late evening sunrays.

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Kaci’s mouthwatering meal.

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My sandwich along with the green beans side dish that we split.

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I adore their turquoise tables!

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Friday

Friday morning began on a delicious note. Mashed avocado toast over wilted spinach and topped with an over easy egg, sliced local tomato, and a plum.

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My step-mom, Karin text this to me, and I admittedly cackled about it! That owl falling would be me. Hahaha

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Mid-point break in preparing our monthly lab reports, so I figured I would take some SnapChats. They never get old.

My twinklet is now a fellow blogger!! Follow all of her amazing fashion tips, decoration ideas, and lifestyle posts at www.basickeesh.com

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Just a sweet girl and her banana.

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After finishing laundry (does it ever end? No, no it does not), I heated the last of our Indian pork chops over rice with roasted butternut squash, and very small amount of wilted spinach. This was the meal that kept on giving!

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Dessert was a Gala apple cut up and topped with yogurt, pb puddle, spicy strawberry coconut, and a side of Jax!

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Saturday

I had plans to join Kaci and our friend, Carla for brunch, so I had this cucumber, watermelon, mint yogurt with pistachios before getting ready. Matt loves melon, yet he wasn’t a fan. I don’t love melons, yet I loved it. Go figure! I say try it! I loved the flavor combo.

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I had to sport my ‘avogato’ shirt because brunch and reppin’ Mason!!

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We dined at Tomato Head, and I chose their Fernando bowl, which included spinach, scrambled eggs, roasted potato, cheese, jalapeno peppers, pineapple, spicy apple salsa, chipotle crema, and I chose the baked tofu over the chorizo. I love me some heat, but I had to remove a lot of the jalapenos because holy guacamole my mouth was on fiya! It prob didn’t help that I tried rinsing it down with hot coffee…genius! The super sweet waitress also gave me a bowl of tortilla chips on the side at no additional cost!

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Carla was so dang sweet and got our meals for us as a birthday gift, and I appreciated it so much! After a ton of fun conversation and laughs, Kaci and I went to Val’s Boutique so that I could get some arm “cannies”. Click over to her recent post to check out her collection of beaded bracelets! I chose to just get one and a dress.

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After reading Mackenzie’s latest Friday Favorites post, Kaci and I knew we wanted to visit Aerie! Have you seen their new campaign? They are genuinely celebrating body diversity, and I’m not just talking a professional model in a larger sized body. Girls with insulin pumps, missing an arm, a gap in their teeth, birth marks, etc. I adore this and was so excited to support it by shopping there! Even their dressing rooms are full of positivity. They left a marker and sticky pad so that you can add your own empowering message.

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My contribution ❤

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From the moment we walked into the door, we were greeted by the most inviting, sweet staff! The Retail Manager noticed my t-shirt, and we were able to share some of Mason’s story, which warmed my heart. When we checked out, I asked the cashier about her engagement ring. This sparked a conversation about her upcoming wedding, and she showed us her engagement photos. They were beautiful, and she’s going to be such a lovely bride! I told her I need to come by in January to ask her how it all went. 🙂 I love getting out and making connections with people!! I am not very shy anymore at all.

I had to try one of these organic lollipops at the register. The flavor was super amazing, but the fun thing is that sage seeds are within the biodegradable stick. So you are supposed to plant the stick, water it, and then you should get a sage plant. How cool is that? I’ll keep you all updated on if I can manage to grow it!

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Kaci and I went back to her and Drew’s home and did chores together like the old days. I ate a bowl of cereal on their pretty back deck, and it hit the spot.

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I shopped at Aldi for a few things, and then made my way home. This was a purchase I could not pass up at Aerie. I even text Matt with what I was set to spend, and he told me to still get it. Well, okay then! I can’t wait to take it out to the lake house soon! Give me avocado everything.

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I began to get hungry before it was time for dinner, so a thick slice of bread with hummus and tomato did the trick.

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I found a frozen wild caught shrimp fajita mix that sounded perfect for dinner. I simply sautéed the green beans with everything bagel seasoning, and then wiped out the pan before sautéing the shrimp and vegetables. The seasoning packet was more than enough, so I just sprinkled maybe a third or so of it. I also sprinkled some of it over our cucumber/tomato/avocado salad. Matt munched on tortilla chips with his, and we both agreed this was a quick, awesome meal.

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Dessert was ginger, turmeric, and black pepper stirred into yogurt then topped with thawed mango, Love Grown Comet Crispies, and roasted peanuts. I discovered from Alexis that the pepper helps to release the nutritional benefits of turmeric. I’m always learning!

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Sunday

I have to say I was quite pleased with this oatmeal creation! I have been really into chopping up our oats to make my oatmeal more porridge-like and creamy. I made it with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, and milk. I then added frozen berries and heated through before drizzling with molasses and topping with roasted peanuts and date paste simply from blending a date with enough water to create a paste consistency.

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Rachel loves this spot in the house and is often catching some sunrays. ❤

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She helped me with my Barre3, and then I got cleaned up to sadly take her to the vets. We’ve noticed she’s lost some weight, and with her blood sugar levels, I get really nervous. Sadly, they were unable to draw blood for her senior blood work, so we’re scheduled to return tomorrow. Per their records, she has lost 0.7-1.0 pounds, so my heart sank. Please keep our princess in your thoughts! My heart can’t handle any of my babies not being well.

I am really grateful that Matt is a nurturer and can bring my seemingly dead plants back to life. He poured a lot of water over my gorgeous hanging plant, and it sprung back beautifully. I need to try harder!

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My succulents are going strong.

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Our crepe myrtle is in full bloom and is such a gorgeous color.

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My aloe plant that Matt also rescued. #plantwhisperer

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Lunch was my leftover sandwich from the food truck park along with green beans and tortilla chips.

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I finished this chocolate bar, so now I need to find a new one to try. Any suggestions?

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I tried my hand at a little DIY project, and let’s just say I won’t be quitting my day job. Lawd. Thankfully, Matt is also handy (is there anything he can’t do?), so he’ll be helping me to finish it. I can’t wait to share the final before and after!

I had to go by Wal-Mart, and I never can avoid buying something new from the Pioneer Woman collection. I finally upgraded our salt and pepper grinder situation. Blue on blue on blue, but I love it! Matt asked if I plan to get everything PW one day. I almost want to, ha! Her lines all coordinate despite the pattern. But I don’t want to make it look almost tacky. What are your thoughts? Do you fall hard for a certain brand or look, and if so, then how much do you like to decorate  with it?

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Up close and personal. Aren’t the etched designs super pretty?

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Dinner was random but tasty: organic canned pinto beans, steamed vegetables, cooked sweet potato, avocado, and TJ’s champagne pear gorgonzola vinaigrette. I packed this for our lunch, and my clinic manager jokingly gave me a hard time for such a weird bowl. Any fellow odd food combo peeps out there?

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Dessert was yogurt, frozen banana, Love Grown granola, and sweet spicy coconut.

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Monday

I was in the mood for eggs, and thankfully, we have a ton! Matt’s friend gave us two dozen farm fresh eggs, and we already had almost two dozen. I made fluffy scrambled eggs with Sargento tomato basil cheese over wilted spinach, Dr. Praeger’s carrot potato puffs with ketchup, and plum with cinnamon.

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This is my dress from Val’s that I absolutely love! I love the vintage vibe. If you can’t tell, I love vintage everything.

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Wishing everyone the very best week ahead!

It Must Go Up From Here

Good Monday morning! I hope everyone is off to a lovely, fresh start this week and had an enjoyable weekend. Ours was amazing and refreshing. Matt and I have been house hunting, and it has been many things. Stressful mostly. But I’m trying to find joy in the process and not get so caught up in finding one asap. I think my strong desire to find “the one” is sort of clouding my judgement at times and making me feel resentful rather than thankful that we are able to look for our own home. It has tested us and our marriage, but after hitting a low point, we’re only stronger and happier. We have both talked about this and agreed sometimes you have to hit a so-called rock bottom for it to go up from there.

Alright, enough with that, onto our noms and fun!

Friday

I enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal made with milk, dried figs, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and vanilla. I then topped it with roasted salted pistachios and honey. I’ve found that I enjoy smaller cut oats if I’m making them in the microwave, so I’ve been pulsing our old fashioned oats in the chopper lately. Makes it more of a porridge texture, which I love.

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I love all of The Natual Life’s posts and can’t help but share several on my blog.

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In learning to eat intutively, I’m also trying to incorporate intuition in my overall life. Constantly working on ditching perfection, and this includes something as silly as painting my own nails. Because I know I could get a better mani/pedi at the salon, I slowly stopped trying to do them myself. But now just giving myself a quick mani/pedi really helps. I love the pops of color and getting to change it out often.

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Kaci and I were fortunate to get to attend a free Barre3 studio class that evening! It rained like cah-razy, so we couldn’t take it on the roof top. It was probably my second hardest class ever, and I loved it! We had to get our #barre3anywhere photos after class, and we tried setting up warrior three as a twin mirror image. These candids were pretty awesome, though!

Matt was in-credible and made our dinner! I so appreciated walking in the door and getting to sit down to a tasty meal. Modern Table Meals creamy garlic bean pasta kit with added smoked trout and steamed vegetables on the side. I also snacked on a Babybel cheese as an appetizer because I was quite hungry. Nothing like a good sweat session to increase one’s hunger.

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After getting showered, I thawed some of my leftover birthday cherry pie and had Fage Greek yogurt with it since we didn’t have ice cream or whipped cream. I then slept like a baby if said baby wasn’t in a sleep regression. Lol. I always think it’s a funny analogy to make considering some babies don’t sleep all that well, ha!

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Saturday

I was in the mood for savory oatmeal, so I made it with our kale carrot blend, and I loved the shredded carrot addition! I also had sunflower seeds, Sargento tomato basil cheese, and an over easy egg to complete it.

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Another day, another awesome screen shot.

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This also spoke to me.

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I was somewhat freaking out because *the* cofounder and CEO of Barre3 ‘liked’ my post! I know, big deal. But it felt awesome for her to recognize my participation and love of Barre3.

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After relaxing and then hanging out with Matt when he got up, I enjoyed a slice of pb toast sprinkled with cinnamon and goji berries. Then I finally got showered for the day.

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I made an Aldi sundried tomato chicken quinoa frozen entree to eat in the car while we headed to our first of six homes to tour that afternoon. I love this meal and never grow tired of it.

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Unfortunately, none of the homes worked for us, so better luck next time! I snacked on a banana and mixed nuts at some point and then made us these snack plates plus tea when we got home.

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Neither of us were craving anything specific, but I finally threw together this random mix that we both ended up really enjoying. The last of our steamed Brussels and roasted seasoned cauliflower, organic canned cannelini beans, and stuffed grape leaves.

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Dessert included and apple berry smoothie with pb, Love Grown granola (obsessed), and Love Grown Comet Crispies with a side of Jackson photo bomb!

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Sunday

I have been sleeping so soundly lately *knock on wood*, but I wake up early in the six or seven o’clock hour due to my internal alarm clock. I allowed myself to lay still for a while and slowly got up. I’ve found this can help me to feel more calm some days. I had a bowl of Peach Cheerios with cottage cheese, thawed fruit, ground ginger, ground flax, hemp hearts, and warmed chopped pecans.

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Sweet baby girl enjoyed the sunshine. ❤

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We didn’t have enough coffee (the horror!), and we needed provisions. So while Matt caught some more shut eye (he generously has been getting up early to feed Rachel and Jackson!), I went to First Watch for a fabulous cuppa Joe and then Kroger across the street.

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I knew I shouldn’t buy more stuff, so I snapped these photos and moved on, but they are cute!

Rachie just couldn’t even. 😉

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Avocado, tahini, and spicy strawberry coconut toast.

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Once ready, we gathered up our things, swung by Kaci and Drew’s, then we made our way to the lake house! Kaci found this sign at Fig & Company, and is it not absolutely adorable? Love it out there!

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I wanted to try Epic’s egg white and date-based bar. While still obviously really sticky and chewy like an RX Bar, I *loved* the lemon flavor!

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We tried getting into the water, and about that time the sun said, “see ya!” So we settled on taking some selfies instead. 😉

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Our fav ❤

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We enjoyed a snack plate then set off on a walk.

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It’s so gorgeous along our road! I love the canopy and how the light dances through the trees.

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We spotted this gorgeous butterfly, and thankfully it stayed in place and even spread its wings long enough for me to snap a photo. It made me think of Ree Drummond because of her love of butterflies.

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Cool ‘shrooms along the side of the road.

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Matt and I stumbled upon this neat “Little Library”! You are asked to add a book for one that you take. If you look close enough, then you can see our reflections.

Matt and I loved how the sunshine hit this spot and made it look so gorgeous.

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I zoomed in and saw this spider just relaxing, waiting on its next meal.

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We think there used to be a camper here and I assume a dock, but now it’s just a really pretty opening. Such a lovely view of the lake.

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Matt is a sweetheart and always is happy to oblige when I ask for him to take photos. I wanted to submit some of my Barre3 Anywhere from our lake property. I don’t think there would be a better view for a Barre3 workout!

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I’ve never considered myself athletic. We played softball with Girls’ Inc. for three summers as a kid, and I was active all throughout my childhood. But athletic, not so much. I’m grateful that Barre3 has boosted my confidence, capabilities, and even coordination. I know I talk about it a ton, but it makes me happy.

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A juicy plum before getting back into the water. Our hour-long walk was just perfect, and it gave time for the sun to return!

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Dinner was epic on epic. I roasted tandur bbq spiced butternut squash, garlic herb seasoned zucchini/yellow squash/peppers, and Matt simmered thick pork chops in a jarred Tika Masala Indian simmer sauce from Aldi. We enjoyed them over the brown rice I had made with chicken bone broth and then froze part of the batch.

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We were both members of the ‘clean plate club’! I was thankful to have scored all of the vegetables on clearance at Kroger that morning too.

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Once we sadly packed up and left (it’s the worst!), we unpacked, showered, then made tea and dessert. Matt made me my herbal blackberry cinnamon tea with honey perfectly and had it waiting on me when I got downstairs. ❤

Yogurt, banana, cinnamon, pb, and granola.

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Kaci recommended we watch The Hunt on Netflix, narrated by David Attendborough. Rachel is seriously watching it with us! But girlfriend was too sleepy to sit up for it. Axl also watched with them and wouldn’t take his eyes off the screen!

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Monday

I wasn’t craving anything in particular, so I had Honey Nut Cheerios, Love Grown Comet Crispies, ground flax, roasted sunflower seeds, and a plum this morning. Unfortunately, it was not very filling. Oh well!

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Wishing everyone a lovely day! What did you get into this past weekend?

Recent Eats

I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July! Matt and I chose to work to stay caught up on said work, but next year I’m definitely going to the lake house. I missed an amazing time with my sister and the family! As always, I really hope these meals spark ideas for you!

Breakfast

This creation was so very satisfying. I picked up a free loaf of Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Multigrain thick sliced bread thanks to Kroger’s Free Friday program. I topped one with avocado and two over easy eggs while I layered the other with fresh tomato and cottage cheese.

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I snagged this new Love Grown granola on sale and with a coupon! It’s so delicious! It has big clusters and is not too dense – a nice, lighter texture.

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One morning I had chopped old fashioned oats and thawed fruit mixed with Fage plain Greek yogurt and milk then topped my bowl with warmed chopped raw pecans, Alchemy spicy strawberry coconut, and Love Grown granola.

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Another morning I made a breakfast bowl with thawed fruit, Fage plain Greek yogurt, Love Grown Comet Crispies, Peach Cheerios, roasted sunflower seeds, and spicy strawberry coconut.

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This bowl of savory oatmeal was fantastic! I chopped old fashioned oats (that’s the key: the oats need to be finer) and cooked with them with milk, Tandur bbq spice blend, salt, and smoked paprika. I added wilted spinach, cottage cheese, and an over easy egg. If you haven’t given savory oats a try, then you really need to do so!

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I apologize for the poor lighting, but the beautiful Pioneer Woman placemat and napkin makes up for it. 😉 For Waffle Wednesday, I enjoyed one waffle with avocado, tahini, and spicy strawberry coconut. I then had cottage cheese, frozen ripe banana, organic cinnamon, and three banana pancake puffs in one of my fav mugs.

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Although simple, this was such a good meal! Two fried eggs with salt, pepper, and garlic over wilted organic kale medley, thick toast with Sargento tomato basil Jack, and thawed fruit.

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Lunch

I love buying bagged salad kits, and I found three on sale at Kroger! This one contained arugula, freeze-dried corn, pepitas, dried cranberries, and a buttermilk dressing. I added baked seasoned chicken breast and pita croutons from a different salad kit.

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Thanks to our great friend, Cindy, Kaci and I were able to enjoy a lunch at Wild Love Bake House with a gift card!

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Twin selfie

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We spilt this phenomenal turkey and cheese panini with blue corn chips.

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We also split this soft chocolate chip cookie. I sipped on a decaf iced Americano because I had already enjoyed a big mug of hot coffee with breakfast.

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Dinner

On Sunday, I did a good amount of meal prep by roasting a head of cauliflower with manchego spice blend, and on a separate pan, I roasted carrots, parsnips, onion, and garlic. I cooked a whole bag of brown rice with organic lower sodium chicken bone broth. I froze about half the batch, so now we have a quick starch option ready to go!

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One evening I combined the above foods with chickpeas and after heating it, I added avocado and drizzled with a leftover salad vinaigrette. Easy and perfect.

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On Sunday after Matt and I toured several homes (house hunting is exciting/stressful/frustrating/exhausting), our realtor suggested we try a Mexican restaurant that is actually tucked in the back of a Mexican corner market. *Side note: I had planned to make a bean power bowl (as pictured above) with the foods I had meal prepped. The “old” me would’ve freaked out that I hadn’t intended to eat Mexican. Because I had dinner planned, it would’ve thrown me for a loop, and I would’ve been against it. So much thanks to intuitive eating and letting go of rigid rules, I was able to enjoy this meal on a whim with my husband!*

We started with chips and really good spicy salsa.

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Matt got their Barbacoa, which came with whole grilled onions and jalapenos, refried beans, rice, cheese, and corn tortillas. It was hella flavorful! He had his leftovers for lunch the next day.

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I tried their shrimp salad with lime, onion, tomato, amazing cheese, and I think an entire avocado! This made the best lunch on Monday; I combined my leftovers with some of our kale blend. Perfection.

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Another salad kit, which included kale, two types of cabbage, carrots, cheddar, dried corn, tortilla strips, and buttermilk ranch. I added chickpeas and jicama.

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Snacks

I realized I only took a photo of one snack. Whoops. This was on July fourth, and it was the only red, white, and blue creation I ate. Thawed fruit, Fage plain Greek yogurt, Love Grown granola (so good!), and roasted sunflower seeds.

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Please tell me: what have you been enjoying lately?

Twin Collabo: Favorites + Meal Inspiration

Happy Fri-yay!! It’s been a good but very rainy week, so I’m extra thankful for it to be a rain-free Friday. I really love featuring Kaci’s finds and photos here, and I hope you like our favorites along with a few meals I’ve enjoyed lately!

Kaci first began using this deodorant brand, Schmidt’s, and I decided to try it as well. As much as I love Primally Pure (!), I couldn’t keep paying that price. I’ve applied this two or three days now, and so far it works well. I love the unique scent too! Not overly strong but different than floral or lavender.

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Kaci found this brand, MJLuLu, on Amazon, and their jewelry is so gorgeous! Kaci bought this ring and coordinating pair of earrings. I shared in my ring and earrings in my previous favorites post.

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This necklace! {heart eye emoji}

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She scored with this cardigan and pants as well. Is she not gorgeous?! My stylish twinklet.

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Haley’s recent post inspired this analogy that I felt I needed to share.

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Alexis was incredibly sweet and gave me this bag of spicy strawberry coconut when we dined at Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe. It’s fabulous!

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One evening I enjoyed it with a few squares of my Coco Gin + Tonic chocolate bar. The perfect combo!

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I recently bought a box of Dr. Praeger’s Carrot Puffs, and I decided to try them dipped in ketchup alongside fluffy scrambled eggs with cottage cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and smoked paprika over wilted spinach. I enjoyed Wyman’s of Maine thawed berry cherry cacao blend. This breakfast was exactly what I was craving and needed!

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For ‘Waffle Wednesday’, I toasted Van’s Ancient Grains waffles and enjoyed them over wilted spinach (it keeps them from becoming crumbly + spinach is my fav green). On one I topped with thawed fruit, tahini, and maple; on the other I mashed avocado and then sprinkled with the spicy strawberry coconut.

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For a tasty evening snack, I sliced an apple, added a spoonful of Fage plain Greek yogurt, and then sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground flax, and hemp hearts.

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One evening after viewing some homes, it became too late for me to want to cook. Enter Chick-fil-a to save the day! (or evening if you wanna be picky, ha) I chose their Market Salad but saved the granola for the next morning’s breakfast (I shared this in my last weekend recap).

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I bought a six-box variety of Modern Table Meals on Amazon, and we first made the sun-dried tomato flavor. I added steamed vegetables, and we enjoyed a simple green salad on the side. If you haven’t tried their meal kits, I recommend you do!

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Lastly, I whipped up this quick dinner Thursday evening, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Toast with mashed avocado, salmon burger from Kroger, local tomato, Dole cilantro lime slaw, and cucumber.

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What have you found lately? Any meals you’ve really enjoyed? Please share!

 

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone // The Daniels Take on Columbus, OH!

This past weekend Matt and I had a mini getaway from Friday to Sunday. Even in that short of a time, we packed in a lot and really enjoyed our first trip together to Columbus, OH! As a kid, I was pretty shy, but I’m proud to say I really am quite social and open now. I had been saying how much I wanted to visit, finally meet Alexis of Hummusapien, and try Alchemy Juice Café, so I finally made that happen. I found a cute AirBnB for us, Matt’s first and our first together, and we went with a loose itinerary. No more overly planning for this chick!

Friday

First up is breakfast on Friday: the remainder of cottage cheese with a red pear, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, pepper, Chick-fil-a granola that comes with their Harvest Salad (I didn’t use it Thursday evening when I had it for dinner), and roasted sunflower seeds. This was delicious! Sweet, spicy, and tangy from the cottage cheese.

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Sweet Jackson! Matt snapped these after he got out of bed.

After repainting my nails and completing a 10-minute Barre3 workout, we got ready, packed, ate lunch, and hit the road. My lunch consisted of the last of our roasted vegetables and sautéed cauliflower pearls with Caesar and avocado, pizza, and pb on graham cracker.

Love these two!

I snacked on this RX Bar later in the drive.

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After going through a lot of rain storms, we found blue skies and an exit with several coffee options. We chose Panera Bread, and it had just opened. It was weird, though in that you could order from their kiosk. It’s like they’re doing away with human help. I’m not a fan.

Latte for me and coffee for Matt with big smiles thanks to said caffeine, ha!

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I took these at the rest area we stopped at. Made me think of Mackenzie!

We finally arrived at our AirBnB for the weekend! It looked a little sketch when we pulled up and then when we walked up the stairs. But once you opened the door, you could see how much effort was put into the space. Really bright and cute.

The kitchen was really nice!

The cute bathroom; loved the polka dots.

After getting settled and freshened up, we headed downtown for dinner. Parking was…fun. Haha. They were holding Community Fest (abbreviated ComFest) all weekend, so there was people ev-er-y-where. We finally settled on a garage and made our way over to Brassica.

I chose their salad with mixed cooked and pickled vegetables, roasted pepper sauce, and baba spread plus their doughy, fluffy, deeeelicious pita. Matt got their salad with a combo of brisket and lamb bacon. Holy moly it was all amazing!

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Afterward we went by Kroger for just a few things for breakfast and then got back. I got this t-shirt on Amazon in honor of Mason and his love of avocado! “Avogato” with a cat-avocado saying, “hola!” Matt was my official photographer for the weekend, and I loved it!

Saturday

For breakfast, I simply spread a packet of Justin’s maple almond butter over my leftover warmed pita, added slices from half a banana, and sprinkled it with cinnamon. I also tried this whole milk pineapple coconut yogurt, which was really enjoyable.

After we figured out how to operate the Ninja coffee maker, I sipped my juice-from-the-gods then got changed to complete my 10-minute Barre3 workout. I’m participating in their free one-month summer program, and I love it! I don’t ever consider my movement as punishment nor do I think it must be done in order to eat certain foods. It just feels good in my body to move this way, and I urge you to find the same for yourself. It may be going on a walk, hiking, running, Barre3, HIIT, etc. Just get out there and try from a place of self-respect, not as a means to burn calories.

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Once ready, we set out to finally visit Alchemy! Y’all, this space is so inviting, fresh, bright, and fun!

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Love their artwork!

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This table is gorgeous.

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Matt got their orange carrot juice to try, and Alexis very kindly gave us a maple coconut bacon donut!

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Pinkie out!

Matt came up with this, and it warms my heart. We talk about Mason all. the. time. We miss him so damn much! He did this at Matt’s chair back at the beginning of April as he begged for a taste from our dinner, which he got of course! I did my best Mason impression. He would’ve gobbled up this donut!

Matt chose their Power Bowl, which includes ancient grains, hemp pesto, kalebouli, hummus, tri kale potato hash, bulgarian feta, organic purple kraut, hazelnuts, micro greens. Holy smokes it was heavenly.

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I went with their Beet Benny: organic eggs, beet hollandaise, smoked salmon, arugula, wasabi yogurt, pickled mustard seed, pumpernickel along with their majik mint latte. YUM!!!

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Look at that swirly deliciousness. It’s made with hemp milk, blue majik powder, and peppermint oil. It tasted like a York Peppermint Patty. {heart eye emoji}

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I had to model with it.

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And again.

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Action shot! Those eggs were the most perfectly poached eggs I’ve ever had.

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When the bathroom wallpaper is this cute, you go basic and snap a selfie.

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The super sweet and very talented Alexis! Her hospitality was so appreciated. We thoroughly enjoyed our first but not last visit!

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I bought myself a tank top and was going to get their spicy strawberry coconut, and she kindly gave me the bag of coconut on the house. So so generous!

Matt and I went down to this mercantile store, and we played a game of guess-the-price-of-this-item. I was spot on for a few, and Matt guessed the exact price of the armoire pictured below! We loved the vases and China, and I couldn’t resist posing in this weird furniture piece.

We went to Two Dollar Radio Headquarters where Matt got a tea-vodka drink, and we relaxed for a bit.

As soon as I saw this mural, I had to have us snap a photo with it. Get on that unicorn level!

Thumbed through some books, sipped my fruit-infused water, then we navigated to the house where Matt’s oldest brother once lived with his ex-wife. Matt helped him move from it to CA back in 2007.

 

This whole neighborhood was so cute, and there a lot of really nice homes.

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Not far at all from there was the Columbus Park of Roses.

Check out the size of this hydrangea! They’re my new favorite bloom. Matt got all “artsy” and had me place my hand on it. Lolz

There weren’t nearly as many blooms as Matt recalled, but I think the heat had a lot to do with it. They were still pretty!

My favorite colors.

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The sun came out all of a sudden, so Matt popped his collar to protect his neck. Looked all preppy for a sec. 😉

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I captured this cute bumblebee hard at work!

Funny story: I ordered a lemon-print dress from Amazon, but when it was delivered, it came with a black belt despite the photo showing a white. I didn’t think much of it, but unfortunately, the neck stuck out in the back. I ironed it hoping it would help, but nope. So I ironed a romper Kaci let me borrow. It didn’t quite fit right either. So I ironed yet another outfit. Ha! I am proud to say I did not get frustrated, though. I just rolled with it!

We settled on Hubbard Grille for dinner.

Love this!

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Matt let me model with it too; my turn for pinkie out. It was a whiskey cocktail, and it was sooo good. If I drank, then whiskey would be choice. I always try his concoctions.

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We started with their roasted lemon artichoke dip: roasted artichokes, arugula, lemon, parmesan, gruyere, cheddar, housemade seasoned tortilla chips.

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I ordered their Lake Eerie walleye dish, which included pan-seared walleye, black risotto, shaved asparagus & tomato salad, saffron vinaigrette.

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Matt opted for their pan-roasted pork chop: house cut & brined chop, butternut squash threads, sauteed asparagus, braised pear & mushroom pan jus. He gave me a bite, and it was fantastic.

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After dinner, we walked around to explore and take in the area. Matt took the photo on the right. We loved the ivy-covered buildings!

Pretty murals along the Short North district.

We decided to take some photos in this pretty courtyard. It was very lush and green all over.

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We then made our way over to Jeni’s thanks to my friend’s suggestion! She is from OH, and she said their Jeni’s is the best. I didn’t know that it originated there!

Matt sampled several and chose their lavender and Bangkok peanut.

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I struggled with deciding and ended up going with their cream puff and milkiest chocolate.

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They put a lot of effort into everything including their napkins.

We spotted “Mason” while walking back to our car.

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Sunday

I made a simple bowl of Ancient Grains oatmeal with cinnamon, banana, and maple almond butter for breakfast.

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I completed my Barre3 10-minute movement, showered, and we sadly packed up and checked out.

We made our way to German Village, which was *such* a precious area!

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Sharing #barre3anywhere photos on social media allows participants to be included in a weekly drawing, so these shots were my entries. This bike art was so fun.

One thing I knew for certain was that I had to visit Pistacia Vera! Alexis shared photos of their chocolate croissant that I knew I had to try.

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Matt got an iced chai, and I got an iced half caf latte. We walked around and stumbled upon the neatest book store that Alexis told me about.

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The entrance was like a fairytale.

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I needed this back in my childhood, haha.

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I found a Nancy Drew book! Despite having them all, I wanted this style of print. I also got Alice Through the Looking Glass written based on Tim Burton’s film, and I found this adorable 2019 calendar.

Mason was spotted again and so was Kaci and Drew’s last name, even spelled correctly.

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The famous croissant.

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I ate half and was so impressed by it!

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Once home, we snuggled Rachel and Jackson hard! Kaci took care of them so well while we were gone.

Dinner was a salad with a veggie burger, sweet potato chips, and Chick-fil-a sauce as the dressing.

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Monday

This morning I made two sunny side up eggs over wilted spinach with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and avocado. On the side I finished the croissant and enjoyed thawed mixed berries.

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So this dress saga continues. When we arrived home, another one had been delivered! It was a slightly more casual fabric and with the white belt. They refunded me a percentage due to the poor fit, so two dresses for less than $20. Score!

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Have a fabulous week ahead!

 

 

Friday Favs + Finds

Happy Friday, and I’m wrapping up this first week of my 30’s with a little Favs + Finds post!

First up are these beautiful messages that serve as good reminders for me.

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Note to self…

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I’ve been drinking a mug of this Celestial Seasonings Lemon Lavender tea almost every night. I’m not huge on herbal teas, but this contains two of my absolute favorite flavors. With a swirl of honey, it’s so perfect!

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When I’m not busy drinking herbal tea in the evening, I’m drinking allthecaffeine in the morning. I bought this with a coupon at Target, and it wasn’t until I looked at my receipt that I realized it’s made by Folger. Doh! It is already ground, but it tastes amazing on the bold setting of our coffee maker.

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Matt and I found this quinoa meal cup at World Market, and it was really nice to build a lunch around one day! All you do is stir in the sauce and either eat it at room temp or warm it in the ole microwave. I warmed it, and it was very satisfying. Served with a sald of mixed greens, black beans, green pepper, avocado, Chick-fil-A cilantro lime sauce, and two clementine oranges.

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We also found this Mediterranean risotto at World Market, and it was a breeze to make. I first cooked Aldi Italian chicken sausages and then added olive oil to the pan without wiping it out, toasted the rice, and then I added Winking Owl white wine and reduced it.  Slowly I added a small amount of warm water at a time and stirred until it was absorbed. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and it fluffed up perfectly with tons of flavor.

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One of my clinic managers was so very sweet and surprised me with this gorgeous hanging plant plus breakfast for my birthday! They are so beautiful.

 

One of my friends gave me this succulent for my birthday, and I love it so much! I’m admittedly obsessed with them like so many others, but I can’t help it. They’re so pretty and unique. My aloe plant from my manager last year is thriving!

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Another friend surprised me with this amazing owl artwork that I so love! “You are interesting and you are different. And I like that.”

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My dad surprised me with such a generous Amazon gift card. I love gift cards because I’m able to get a number of things that I love, and it extends the celebration. 🙂 I got this skirt, and I’m obsessed. Are you team floral print?

I also chose this necklace and ring and the pair of earrings in the next photo.

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Barre3 is doing an incredible summer program for free called Barre3 Anywhere, and they released the first 10-minute workout on Monday. Kaci came over, and we completed our first workout as 30 year olds. 😉 Then we went on a lovely walk. They’re doing a giveaway for those who share their Barre3 Anywhere photos, so here is my first submission. Photo skillz thanks to Kaci!

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Snap Chat flower crown filters that I hope to never become too old to use. 😉

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Attending the Dietetic Internship Luncheon has become a favorite of mine. On several occasions, I had spoken to the RD sitting beside me, as we’ve shared mutual patients with her working in long-term care, but we’d never met. Now we’ve put faces to names!

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The interns gave us each a really pretty notepad and Dove chocolates as a token of their appreciation. I love a good notepad for lists!

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I ordered this Pioneer Woman Dutch Oven from Amazon, and is it not gorgeous? I love alllll of her products, and I cannot wait to use this!

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That’s a wrap, my friends! Tell me: what have you been loving lately?

The Absolute Best Birthday Celebration!! // 30 is The New 20

I want to begin by thanking Kaci for organizing and coordinating our very best birthday to date. She did an amazing job! Also, I cannot thank Sara of Sara Miller Photography enough for capturing these photos for us! These are just some of the many she got from our gathering at The Hive, the cutest event space anywhere. Lastly, Kendale Ball, chef and mastermind behind Simpl Food Arts made us the most delicious food that everyone couldn’t get enough of!

I’m  mostly going to just let the photos speak for themselves with some captions here and there. Thank you to all who came out and celebrated with us!!

Kaci made all 48 cupcakes herself using Pillsbury’s natural cupcake and buttercream products. They were outstanding.

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I chose a cherry pie from Old Milly Bread Company, and thanks to Matt, we were able to transfer it to my Pioneer Woman pie dish.

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Caprese skewers with balsamic reduction, jalapeno pimiento cheese with GF crackers, grilled vegetable skewers, and roasted chicken skewers that are not shown below.

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We decided to use gold for Kaci and silver for me to honor each of our unique vibes. 🙂

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When we were born, our mom joked that she got “scared”, so Kaci was nicknamed Boo as she was born first, and I became Boo Boo. We call each other that, so this was my birthday card to her. 🙂

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We both wore our wedding shoes. ❤

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Clearly I’m very expressive with my face, ha!

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When food is life.

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29 and holding!

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I love these next two of Drew!

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Chef Kendale

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This chair felt so royal and fancy!

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If you can’t be goofy, then you just aren’t living life fully enough.

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Group shot!

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Trissa is an absolute angel and the sweetest!! A work obligation caused her to run late, but rather than miss it altogether, she came by and got to spend time with us. It meant the world to see her!

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Meal Inspiration

Good Thursday morning, lovelies! I have a post coming at you with hopefully plenty of meal inspiration. I did not organize these in any particular order, and truthfully, any of these could be a breakfast/lunch/dinner. It’s whatever your taste buds are craving!

I made a cheesy scramble egg and avocado sandwich that I then toasted in the pan after cooking my eggs. Holy deliciousness! This was simple but killer.

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My clinic manager is *so* sweet and gave me a free breakfast for my birthday! I chose this beautiful salad from Maple Street Biscuit Company, and it included spinach, strawberries, pecans, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, and a fluffy biscuit.

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I decided to use my leftover chicken sausage from First Watch in oatmeal that I simply soaked with milk overnight, heated it in the morning, added the warmed sausage, and then I drizzle with maple syrup. It doesn’t look super pretty, but it was so good!

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Matt seasoned and cooked the deconstructed natural whole chicken that we bought, he did the absolute best job! It was juicy, spicy, and full of flavor.

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One evening we had simple greens and avocado salad with Caesar, Italian chicken sausage from Aldi, and Mediterranean risotto from World Market. I’ll be sharing this product in tomorrow’s Friday Favs post! The rice was the perfect texture and flavor combination.

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I split the last of the leftover risotto and warmed it over spinach with shredded gouda, a small amount of seasoned pan-seared polenta, and two farm fresh eggs. I enjoyed a red pear after polishing off this awesome breakfast.

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The polenta I mentioned above was leftover from this dinner. Pan-seared seasoned sliced polenta, seasoned pan-cooked Great Northern Beans from the can (no shame in taking some shortcuts!), and a salad of romaine, Dole cilantro lime slaw, mushroom, and avocado. We loved all of this together, and shout out to Kaci for giving me two of her set of four Pioneer Woman reversible placemats! The napkin, glass, and plate are all from the Pioneer Woman collection. I’m ob-sessed.

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For my birthday, I received a free drink from Remedy Coffee House, and I chose a half caf lavender iced latte with oat milk. Then later in the week, I had a free drink from Honeybee, and I chose a classic half caf with light Cruze Farm milk. Both were awesome!

For the third year in a row, I attended The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Dietetic Internship Luncheon as a preceptor. This is the same program that I graduated from as an intern myself five years ago. I enjoyed their blue cheese, pecan, spinach, and pickled onion salad, which was awesome.

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For my entrée, I chose the salmon with rice and Brussels sprouts. I wanted to take home what I did not finish, but unfortunately, one of the catering assistants told me they are not allowed to provide boxes or bags. Hmph. I hate wasting food.

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For dessert I had this vanilla custard layer cake. Holy yum! After several bites I was full, and I felt satisfied.

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After viewing three homes, Matt and I came home one evening and knew pizza sounded quick and tasty. I completed that day’s 10-minute Barre3 workout as part of their summer program, and then we put dinner together in 15 minutes flat. I had some of Aldi’s Quattro pizza, but because I couldn’t decide which of the flavors I wanted to try, I just mixed them. Lol!

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All swirled up nicely. Matt made us delish salads with romaine as the base then topped with warmed sautéed + seasoned cauliflower pearls and roasted + seasoned peppers/onion/mushrooms/garlic that I meal prepped the prior evening. Drizzled with Caesar completed it.

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I had a few of my leftover slices of pizza for breakfast with wilted spinach, two farm fresh sunny side up eggs, and thawed mixed berries in a ramekin not photographed.

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I already had our bowls made and ready to be heated when I got home from Barre3 one evening. In them was the sautéed seasoned cauliflower pearls, roasted seasoned peppers/onion/mushrooms/garlic, basil paste, thawed seasoned roasted chicken that I shared above, avocado, and sweet potato tortilla chips.

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The interns gave the preceptors Dove chocolates and a notepad as a token of thanks. Love the sweet messages on the inside!

I hope everyone has a great day!

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Friday

Well, y’all, it happened. Kaci and I officially crossed over and entered our third decade! It is admittedly hard to identify as a 30 year old simply because for ten years I’ve been, “in my 20’s.” So now when I have to acknowledge my age, I think it’ll hit me from time-to-time. With that said, I have not had a better birthday weekend ever! This was one for the books.

On Friday, I wore one of my fav vintage dresses and changed up my accessories. Funny thing is I realized I had worn this last year almost exactly to the day. Consistent!

Breakfast was Garden Lites blueberry zucchini muffin with a GF Ancient Grains waffle warmed over spinach and topped with mashed avocado + white beans and dried spices. Delicious!

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After work, I went by Old Mill Bread Company to pick up my cherry pie for our birthday party on Saturday, and I grabbed one of their energy bars. I ate maybe a third and that calmed my hunger.

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My awesome manager gave me a nail gift certificate, so I got a birthday mani/pedi. Love this salon!

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Kaci also got her nails done, but I had to get started early. We hung out while my nails dried, and she surprised me with not one but two gifts when she said we weren’t exchanging gifts! So I’ll have to get her back when she least expects it [hey, Kase! 😉 ].

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For the first time in a while, I knew exactly what color I wanted before I arrived, and I love how they turned out! The bracelet was one of Kaci’s gifts, and I adore it!

She also got me this purrfect hand towel!

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Matt and I viewed a home with our realtor on Friday evening, and while it is an adorably farm house (!), the people who renovated it cut corners. It was not clean, and there were a number of things that would need to be addressed, especially the roof. I had new three-dimensional shingles, but the underneath side was concerning. Once those things are addressed, I’m sure it’ll be an awesome home, but it’s not quite right for us. The pergola below comes off from the master bedroom. Really nice!

It still has a barn on the property and an old well house. No joke, every house we’ve looked at has had some sort of Painting With a Twist style painting there. Lol! I also loved this neighbor’s truck.

For dinner, we had Italian chicken sausages and risotto heated and enjoyed with a salad.

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Saturday

For breakfast, I made Ancient Grains oatmeal with milk, spices, dried figs, brown sugar, pb, and sunflower seeds. I accidentally made it a tad thick, but it was satisfying.

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Sweet Jax!

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Snuggly Ray.

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My dad surprised me with an ah-mazing Amazon gift card for my birthday, and I ordered a ton of awesome items, including this Modern Table Meals variety pack!

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Jackson loved the box. Ha!

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After getting ready for our par-tay, Matt and I had snack plates of sweet potato chips, carrots, hummus, and Babybel.

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We swung by Kroger for a few things, and I grabbed this water. I had forgotten how much I love Hint flavored waters!

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Kaci is a rock star and planned our 30th birthday gathering at The Hive, an incredible/adorable/precious event space. One of Kaci and Drew’s wedding photographers, Sara, even came and took so many photos for us!!! I’m beyond grateful. She took this of our “30” balloons, gold for Kaci and silver for me. I cannot wait to share some photos soon! Kendale Ball of Simpl Food Arts catered for us, and the food was phenomenal.

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Even though we had asked for our friends and family’s presence over presents, they surprised us with the most thoughtful gifts!

Matt also surprised me with this gorgeous champagne gold photo album that will hold 600 4×6 photos!!

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After getting freshened up, Matt and I went to Elkmont Exchange for dinner. Unfortunately, they’re in the middle of a menu transition they said, so they had few options. We made our way over to Balter Beerworks and dined on their patio.

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Matt was a sweetie and got my sunscreen from the car. We latered it on to sit through dinner.

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I ordered their grilled salmon salad with freshly baked fluffy pita. This hit the spot!

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Matt ordered one of their burgers on a GF bun with coleslaw and broccoli salad. I got a bite, and holy moly it was tasty.

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Looking back across the street as we walked to our car. Love the patio string lights!

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The sunsphere against a pretty evening sky.

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We met Kaci, Drew, and Axl at the food truck park where they ate dinner. After plenty of laughs and conversation, we decided to make our way home to shower and get to bed.

Sunday

Matt and I were up and at ’em to enjoy my free birthday brunch at First Watch! We also had a $2 coupon off his entrée, score!

We both ordered The Traditional, mine with over easy eggs, their amazing toast, mixed greens, and chicken sausage while Matt got a half order of each bacon and pork sausage, Udi’s GF bread, and potatoes. I traded some greens for potatoes, and man oh man did this hit the spot!

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Modeling my ‘June’ t-shirt! “June Born // I have a smart mouth but I’m faithful and honest. I am sarcastic but I’m loving and supportive. I’m stubborn as can be but I’m trustworthy. I’m a little bit of chaos and a whole lot of fun.” 😉

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They gave out mini bags of ground coffee for Father’s Day, so Matt scored big. Hehe

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We loved this! It was Paw-ther’s Day for Matt, and he’s the best cat dad!

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We gathered up some food and our swimsuits and made our way to the lake house. We got to Facetime with my dad while on our way, and it was so fun! I love having this technology, so despite the miles between us, we got to see each other. It was *such* a gorgeous day! Kaci and Drew sanded and repainted this patio furniture, brought it back to life. I’m grateful!

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Once Kaci, Drew, and Axl; Neal, Sara, and the kids; Drew’s parents, David and Susan; Neals’ parents., we broke out the snacks. Simple Mills tomato basil crackers with jalapeno pimiento cheese dip from our party and Sabra dip.

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My sweet man who made my weekend such a blast!

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I’m so glad I get to celebrate my birthdays with a badass, amazing twinklet! Rockin’ our Cupshe swimsuits, and I’m now obsessed with mine. My friend gave it to me, and she is just the sweetest!

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Our signature pose. 😉

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Drew was being goofy and snapped these hilarious “artistic” shots. We were hardcore cheesin’!

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Matt snapped these of me on the deck. 🙂

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Is she not gorgeous! Loved her suit and entire look from her topknot to her purple painted toes. 😉

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Cuties!

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Just bobbin’ along.

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Kaci or “Quiche”  with Piper. That’s the kids’ name for her, and it’s adorable! She’s Aunt Quiche, and they love her so much.

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Sara made the best strawberry mint lemonade! Summer staple from now on.

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Our epic dinner! Baked beans, sauerkraut, corn cucumber salad that was so good, pasta salad with kalamata olives that Sara made (the best!), pickle spear, caprese and grilled vegetable skewers from our party, and cilantro lime cole slaw that I made.

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Matt had a salmon burger and a grilled brat of some kind.

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Drew’s dad made cobbler in the cast iron skillet on the grill. I’m going to let that sink in for a sec. It. Was. Killer. We had very melty vanilla bean ice cream over top, and it was heaven-in-a-bowl!

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Group shot! ❤ Love my family!

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Matt and I saw this sign and had to snap a photo. Of course we would always vote for Mason!

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Monday

This morning I made us fluffy Ancient Grains oatmeal with fresh red pear, cardamom, ginger, cloves, vanilla, brown sugar, and then pistachios for me.

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First Watch coffee in my new mug thanks to Rachele, one of the nicest girls and one I’m thankful to have as a friend!

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When I got to work, one of my coworkers, Lindsey had surprised me with this! You’ll never meet another person with as kind of a soul and genuinely good to the core. Love her!

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I feel so very loved, appreciated, and grateful. This weekend was epic in every way, and I’m thankful for all of the memories that were made!