Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Treat Yourself Tuesday #1

A few months before I started blogging I came across a pin on Pinterest that led me to a blog. Well, one click led to the next and I was quickly immersed into the blogging world. After reading blogs every day and following along with the lives of others I was inspired to start my own! 

A little while after starting my own blog I began "meeting" other fitness and healthy living bloggers. One of those bloggers was Becky over at Olives n' Wine. I quickly fell in love with the way she wrote, her love for fitness, shopping, and all things chocolate and peanut butter! 

I honestly read every single one of her blog posts and feel like we would be real life best friends if we had the chance to meet! Anyways, for the past 100+ weeks I have been reading all of her Treat Yourself Tuesday posts and figured it was time I join in on the fun! I seriously can't believe I haven't done this yet because I treat myself on a daily weekly basis. 

So let's get started with a few of the things I've treated myself to lately. 

Bath & Body Works Candles - I am obsessed with candles and I always have one lit! The baking scents are my absolute favorite as I love how home-y they can make the house feel! There's nothing better than walking into a house and smelling fresh baked goods (well walking into a house with actual fresh baked cgoods would be better ;) ). BBW had an amazing sale on their candles this past week and I snagged up a few.

I spotted this Burt's Bee's cuticle cream in Old Navy for an amazing price the other day. I had never used any of Burt's Bees body products before (just the chapstick) and figured it was worth a shot - and a nice little treat! I am so glad I picked this up because it has done wonders on my hands plus it smells amazing! I will definitely be treating myself to this more in the future. 

A few posts back I asked your advice on joining a CrossFit box or a regular ol' gym/home gym. I opted for the home gym option and bought my first kettle bell! I've already used it a ton and am now realizing that I still need to buy some chalk for my hands as they get so sweaty working out inside!

There's nothing better than enjoying a nice hot cup of tea in the evening to unwind. Recently I've been on a huge tea kick and when I passed Teavana in the mall the other day I couldn't stop myself from going inside! After talking to the super sweet Tea Expert at the store I was able to figure out exactly what I needed to make myself 1 or 2 cups of hot or iced tea at home. If you are looking for something small and easy to use, I highly suggest looking into the Perfectea Maker!

Question of the Day

What have you treated yourself to lately?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Artisana Organics (Review and Giveaway)

The first time I teamed up with Artisana Organics I was still living in the dorm rooms in college and cooking was almost nonexistent. The only appliances I had were a mini fridge, a microwave, and a Keurig which didn't leave me a whole lot of room for experimenting in the kitchen. Heck, I didn't even have a kitchen!

Since then I've been a huge fan of Artisana and their products! If you've been following the blog for awhile you have probably noticed a trend in most of my smoothie recipes - almost every single one of them includes an Artisana nut or coconut butter of some kind.

Lately my favorite has been the Raw Coconut Butter. It's dense, melts in your mouth, and adds a delicious flavor to my smoothie - or spoon because it tastes amazing that way too ;)

All of their products are fresh, high quality, organic, and nutritious. I also love the convenience of their squeeze packs. Taking nut/coconut butters on the go has never been easier!

Here are my favorite smoothie recipes using the raw coconut butter:

Artisana also has other products including chocolate bars! I am dying to try these but have yet to find them in stores. Hey Artisana, if a huge box of these randomly arrived at my door I wouldn't be mad at all, haha!

Now it's time for the fun stuff - a giveaway just for you! 

Artisana is offering to give one lucky reader 2 8oz jars and a variety of squeeze packs! Talk about a delicious giveaway. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below and a winner will be notified via e-mail.

 There a ton of different ways to enter, just be sure to follow all the directions for the different ways to entry - also, some entries can be done every day. Good luck!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

It's peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat... 

If you've been so fortunate to have never heard the song "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" consider yourself very lucky. Every single time I make a PB&J or this PB&J Smoothie I start singing the song and it gets stuck in my head for days! I'm not sure if the song ever was popular but I remember in middle school my best friends and I made up a dance to go along with the song. One of the girls video taped the entire thing and I am crossing my fingers that it is long gone!

Dancing isn't my forte but creating delicious smoothies? Now, that's something I'm good at!

This smoothie recipe is easy and if you have a peanut allergy you're in luck because this one is peanut free!

PB&J Smoothie


1 frozen banana - this is easier to use if you cut it up before freezing
2 tbsp. Strawberry fruit jam - check your ingredients - there are paleo versions out there
2 tbsp. Easy Homemade Almond Butter
1 packet of Artisana Organic raw coconut butter OR 1 1/2 tbsp. Artisana Organic raw coconut butter
1 tsp. Chia seeds
Almond milk - use enough to get everything moving


Place everything in a blender, mix, and enjoy!

It's that simple, my friends!

Questions of the Day

Are you a peanut butter and jelly fan? Have you ever made up a silly dance with your friends to go along with a song? 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Healthy Snacks for College Students That Won't Break the Bank

One of my most read posts on the blog is called Inside My Fridge. This post unveils everything that I had inside of my college dorm room and would snack on when hunger hit! Since moving out of the dorms and recently graduating college, I am a bit more concerned about the food I put in my body. I figured I would clean up the list a bit for those looking for healthier snack options! 

Almonds - These are an easy, mess-free snack. I recommended buying them in bulk and pre-portioning them out into little baggies so you always have some ready whenever you're on the go! Tip: Buy them slightly salted to satisfy the craving for salty snacks such as potato chips. 

Almond Butter - Use up some of those almonds and make your own! It's so easy and can be spread on fruit, celery, toast or eaten by the spoonful. Tip: Use this easy to follow recipe to make your own in a flash!

Tuna - Tuna is cheap and so good for you! Because it's full of Omega-3's and they're supposed to make us smarter, it's the perfect snack for any college student ;) Tip: I recommend mixing tuna with guacamole or half an avocado with a little salt and pepper for a delicious snack. 

Greek Yogurt - This is an easy way to get that extra kick of protein throughout the day. There are so many delicious flavors. My personal favorite is plain-old greek yogurt because it's so versatile in cooking! Tip: Add a little granola on top for an added crunch! 

Cottage Cheese - Another great way to get some added protein into your diet! Tip: Top with a little fruit for a sweet treat.

Tea - Ever have those moments when you are craving something but just can't figure out what? Half the time it means you are dehydrated and tea is a great way to get those added fluids in ya with a little kick of flavor! Tip: Brew your own at home. If you want it sweetened, drizzle in a tiny bit of honey or stir with a fun honey spoon!

Popcorn - There are so many "better for you" versions of microwave popcorn that don't contain loads of artificial ingredients and butter. Whenever I get a late night snack attack, I'm always reaching for plain white popcorn that's slightly salted. Tip: Pop your own popcorn for an even healthier option. Also, Brewer's Yeast makes an excellent popcorn seasoning!

Fruit - Nature's candy! Just make sure you aren't adding any extra sugar or artificial sweeteners on top of it. Fruit is sweet on it's own. Tip: Wash your fruit before putting it away after coming home from the store that way it's always ready to eat.

Vegetables - Veggies are always a great option for when you are craving something crunchy. And the best part? You can eat as many as you want! Tip: Prep your veggies ahead of time so they're easy to access when a craving hits or you need something quick before class. 

LARABARS - These are my go-to when I am running late for work or I am craving sweets. They are also a lifesaver on the Whole30 Challenge! Tip: Make sure you read the ingredients if you are following a Paleo lifestyle as some contain peanuts!

Applesauce/Baby Food Pouches - You may feel a little weird eating one of these in front of your friends but they are a quick and easy way to get healthy carbs. Tip: Check the ingredients. Often times I find that the cheapest brand has the cleanest ingredients with no added sugar! 

Question of the Day

What is your favorite healthy snack option? 

Friday, September 18, 2015

4x4 Workout

My drive home from work normally takes about 30 minutes which means I have 30 minutes to talk myself out of into going on a run as soon as I get home! Today I talked myself into going on one until I got home, changed, and looked outside. It was pouring rain!

I quickly came up with an at-home no-equipment needed workout before I could even think about the possibility of changing into my comfy clothes!

Here's what I came up with:

By the time you're done you will have completed 100 reps of each movement and will be feelin' super sweaty and ready to change into your comfy clothes!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Easy Homemade Almond Butter

You guys, I may have just discovered my new favorite thing.

Homemade almond butter.

Yes, the stuff from the jar is good and all but sometimes it's hard to find a clean almond butter at the store that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg. Plus if you actually take a moment to stop and read the labels in the grocery store you will find that most "healthy" things are loaded with a bunch of unnecessary crap. Pardon my French but one label I read said that the almond butter was made from 'almonds, flax seed, wheat germ, dehydrated cane juice, egg white.' What?! Is that even almond butter?

By making your own you can save money and be in control of what goes in your almond butter.

If you've never tried the homemade version, you must! I don't think I can ever go back to the store bought butters, even if I do buy the healthiest version on the shelf. This homemade almond butter, served up on the spoon, immediately after the batch is done, is one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten. And that's saying something! Plus it's made with one ingredient and one ingredient only - almonds! Are you surprised? ;)

Almond Butter Recipe

2 cups whole unsalted almonds (Use organic if possible)

1. Put the almonds in the food processor on high
2. Walk around, do the dishes, start making dinner and come back to scrape the sides of the bowl every few minutes.
3. It will take about 15-20 minutes until you will have the creamiest, most delicious almond butter around!
4. Grab a spoon and enjoy! Spread it on fruit, bake with it, or put a spoonful in your morning smoothie. Store any extras (if there are any) in an airtight container in the fridge.

This recipe makes about 1 and 1/2 cups of almond butter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Box or Gym?

Since moving to Florida I have been running a few days a week to get back into the routine of working out. Running here is hard though. The heat and humidity make running after work near impossible. And the sound of waking up at 5:30 a.m. and running in the pitch dark is very unappealing to me. I'm constantly hitting the snooze button so I'm not so sure I could train my body to be a morning person and wake up before dawn! If you have any tips on how to train your body into waking up that early, please share.

While I always enjoy running (it's more of a love-hate relationship), I have been missing CrossFit a lot lately, so on Monday night I went to my first WOD in four months! After doing some intense research on the boxes in the area, I decided to go ahead and drop in for a WOD. Two days later, I can hardly walk!

The WOD we did was "Chelsea." The WOD was 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats, every minute on the minute for 30 minutes. I ended up scaling down and did 3-6-9 for the entire 30 minutes and it was a challenge. These CrossFit ladies are not messing around!

While I absolutely love, love, love CrossFit I still haven't decided if I am going to join the box or not. I really want to start saving more money and joining a box is not the way to do that! Jon and I get passes to the gym at the university he works for so I may choose that option - which is good for all of you because I will be creating fun workouts again! :) I'm just not so sure what I will do the moment I step into a regular ol' gym for the first time in years!

Question of the Day

Which do you prefer: a CrossFit box or a regular ol' gym? And why?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday Morning Pancakes

Last week I asked some of the girls at work for recommendations on places to take my mom while she was in town. Several people recommended that we check out  The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House so on Saturday morning we woke up extra early to beat the morning rush.

The restaurant features tables with electric griddles built in where customers get to make their own pancakes! I guess I didn't do a good job of explaining this to the crew because when we sat down Jon said "We have to make our own breakfast?!" Haha!

After we stuffed our bellies full with the amazing all-you-can-eat pancakes we headed outside to enjoy the natural spring and tour the area. Being from Indiana, I had never seen a spring before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Apparently the springs are a constant 72 degrees year round, make a perfect swimming hole in the cooler months, and are home to several manatees! While we were there we found out that you can rent kayaks so we are planning a day trip to do that very soon!

It was definitely a fun morning and Jon and I are already planning trips back to the spring very soon!

Question of the Day

Have you ever been to a DIY restaurant? Have you ever been to a natural spring? 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sweet Spot

Late Thursday evening my mom flew in from Indiana for a long weekend visit. Yesterday she was on her own as both Jon and I had to work all day so she took her time relaxing on the beach, enjoying a local coffee shop, and touring downtown.

Last night my mom and I headed downtown for some homemade ice cream.

We both chose to get one scoop of the coffee ice cream and one scoop of the salted chocolate caramel ice cream. This made for a delicious combination and satisfied our late night sweet tooth!

We decided to go on a walk through downtown, ice cream in hand, to tour some of the local shops.

Downtown was packed with people as there was an event going on. In Florida it seems that the cool thing to do is to take your dog with you everywhere you go. There were dogs in the wine bar and laying under the tables in restaurants while their owners ate! I wonder if they allow cats in places too...  ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Earlier this week as I was cooking dinner I saw my KitchenAid sitting in the corner, unloved and collecting dust. I'm pretty sure the frequency of my baking has a lot to do with the size of my counter and oven! I definitely lost a lot of kitchen space when we moved so it makes baking and cooking a bit of a challenge. As I was cooking I was trying to think of something to make for dessert that Jon would love. I figured that chocolate and peanut butter would do the trick. I mean, who doesn't love that combo?!

I thought about making brownies drizzled with peanut butter but then I would have to make one huge pan. I decided that baking individual desserts would be much more fun! Plus I always feel 10x better seeing mini individual brownies disappear than one giant pan!

After doing a bit of brainstorming, these Peanut Butter Brownies Bites were born!

You've seriously got to make these.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites


1 1/4 c. sugar
11 tbsp. butter (1 stick + 3 tbsp)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, cold
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. arrowroot powder (can substitute with cornstarch)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup peanut butter
chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and sugar together for 1 minute 30 seconds. Remove, stir until mixed, and cool for 5 minutes.
3. Once butter/sugar mixture has cooled, stir in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder.
4. Pour the butter/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl and slowly add in the eggs one at a time.
5. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and salt. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until no flour pockets remain.
6. Grease a muffin tin and evenly distribute the brownie mixture into 12 brownie cups.
7. Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Flip the brownies over onto a baking sheet or plate.
8. Take a small spoon to remove some of the brownie from the center of each cup. Be careful not to go all the way through the bottom of the cup.
9. Place a spoonful of peanut butter into the center of each brownie and top with chocolate chips (optional).
10. Enjoy immediately or allow to cool so the peanut butter has a chance to set.

I preferred these still warm with gooey peanut butter while Jon liked them better after they cooled so it's totally up to you! I suggest trying them both ways, I know I did ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Not-Your-Average Strawberry Banana Smoothie

When I have a few extra minutes in the morning I like to treat myself to a delicious smoothie rather than my usual banana/fruit and nut bar combo. Lately I have been loving this "Not-Your-Average Strawberry Banana Smoothie" that I whipped together.

Most strawberry banana smoothies have - you guessed it - strawberries, bananas, and milk as their only ingredients but I've amped this one up to add a burst of extra vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, and protein!


1 frozen banana (Note: it's much easier to blend if you slice it before freezing - using frozen bananas replace ice cubes)
1 handful of strawberries
1 tsp chia seeds
1 packet Artisana raw coconut butter
enough almond milk to get things movin'

1. Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth
2. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Third Times A Charm

The first weekend we moved to Florida we went to a local furniture store and purchased a couch, only to get home and find that it wouldn't fit through the front door. We ended up returning it and purchasing a couch online that would fit through our tiny door frame. After a couple weeks of waiting we contacted the company only to find that the couch never shipped.

Because we have our first guest coming this week we decided we needed a couch and we needed one now. We hopped in the car and made the hour drive to the nearest IKEA hoping that we would find something that would meet the following criteria: 1: It had to fit through the front door, 2: It had to fit in the car in one trip, and 3: We loved it.

When we got to IKEA it was a mad house! There were people everywhere. I'm not sure if it's always that busy or if people were out shopping because of the holiday weekend. After walking around for what seemed like forever, we found the couch section of the store and decided on a couch that we prayed would fit.

When we were packing it up into the car we ended up having a few difficulties. To make sure everything would fit, we had to take pieces out of the boxes and put all of the seats down flat except the drivers seat, which meant someone had to sit in the back. Because I'm way shorter than Jon and the drivers seat was pushed up as far as it could go, he was sent to the back.

You should have seen the look on the people's faces next to us when he climbed in the back and I shut the trunk door! Naturally as soon as we arrived home I got my camera ready to snap a picture of him right when I opened up the trunk and I'm glad I did. Imagine stuffing something so full that when you open it, you have to be on guard to catch the things when they fall out. That was what it was like with him back there!

I am so glad we finally have a couch. I mean, it only took 3 tries and stuffing people into the trunk to get the perfect one! ;)

Question: Have you ever had any challenging or interesting moving experiences?


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