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Friday Faves: Ninja Coffee Bar

September 21
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I shared this earlier this week on Instagram, but I finally got a new pod-free coffee maker.  I’ve been trying to cut back on disposable single-use products and my k-cups were on that list. I wanted to replace my Keurig with something that was easy to use, looked nice, and was of a decent quality. My coffee bar is located in the middle of of kitchen and dining room, so it needed to be something that fit with the space. I asked on Instagram and was suggested the Ninja Coffee Bar. This coffee maker is a drip machine, but is designed for easy single serve use just like a Keurig.  Just what I needed!

I love that I can brew directly into my mug, or make a big batch if I have guests. I am the only coffee drinker in my home and I only brew what I am going to drink right now, so I did not need a carafe or warmer plate.

I like to make my morning coffee as I am heading out the door so I usually turn the machine on while I am getting ready so it can heat up. Then, as I am grabbing my things I brew the cup. Although not as fast as the Keurig, I can totally wait like 2 minutes for coffee.  I then just toss the grinds in my kitchen compost, rinse the filter, and go out the door.

This week I’ve been using some whole coffee beans from Lucky’s Market. When I like to use whole bean coffee the the best flavor and just grind it up in my blinkone coffee grinder. This grinder is great for this machine as well as any other coffee maker or press.

I love the brew options. You can select your size as well as brew type. This weekend I am going to try out the specialty brews which are like espresso shots for your favorite beverages.

The machine also comes with a frother for those special drinks. It works great and won’t break like many of the cheap flimsy ones.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this cup of coffee. What’s your favorite coffee drink? I want to know so I can try and make it!

Note: this is not a sponsored post. I purchased this coffee maker myself. Affiliate links are in use which help support the upkeep of this site without costing you anything.

Travel Tuesday- Dollar Tree travel favorites

September 18
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I generally don’t like buying special travel products, but there are always a few things you need special. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to find many of those at the Dollar Tree. Today I’m sharing my favorite Dollar Tree travel finds. Enjoy!

One of my favorite things to grab are these travel bottles. I hate buying travel sized products as they are so expensive for what they are. This three pack of bottles is a steal for $1. I use them for shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and body wash.

We don’t take many medications but I do like to take some ibuprofen and allergy medicine with me when we travel. I bought this pack and just mix the pills together in one little tub. I also keep one of these in my bag all the time and one in my husband’s car so he always has them. These could also be used for small earrings.

I ran across these the other day and I fell in love. I have been working to reduce my disposable products around the house and one of the items I have cut out is face wipes. I didn’t use the wipes often, but I loved them for travel. While in the health and beauty isle I found these face cleansing cloths and they are perfect for home and travel. Use them with a regular face wash or just with some Micellar water for quick and easy cleansing.  I hand wash in the sink after each use and then toss in the wash with towels.

As I mentioned already, I don’t like to buy travel size products. My one exception to this rule is toothpaste. Grab one and an extra toothbrush so you don’t have to worry about remembering yours.

So that’s it. Like I said, I don’t buy a lot of special travel stuff, but these items all work super well for me. Do you have any awesome travel size items or Dollar Tree favorites?

Friday Faves- a natural deodorant that works

September 14
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Please note: this is not a sponsored post. I just really like this stuff. Also please note, this is a bit of a stinky topic. You’ve been warned.

 

I’ve always been a sweaty person. Like, an armpits kind of sweaty person. Ever since high school I have been self-conscious of my pits, often times wearing extra clothing to cover them just in case.  Totally great for someone living in Florida.

At a young age I started searching high and low for products to help reduce the sweating. Some worked, some didn’t. As I aged I learned how to deal with my perspiration with both products as well as clothing. By my mid-twenties I had been using the same basic products for some time, but always worried that the “maximum strength” anti-perspirants couldn’t be good for my health. Of course, I also felt that it didn’t matter as I needed those products more than I could worry about them, so it continued.

A few weeks ago I learned about something called “vodka deodorant” and tried it out. Have you hear of it? It is just vodka and water in a little spray bottle. For some this works great but sadly for me it did not. They say that when you switch to a natural deodorant your body needs time to adjust, but I gave it time and it just did not work for me and my pits.

I want to take a second here to publicly apologize to my friends, family, coworkers, and that guy in line next to me in the sample line at Costco. I smelled bad, real bad. For a WEEK. I am sorry for all of you who’s little noses I offended. I offended my own nose for crying out loud. I did not even know I was capable of being that smelly.

Anyways, I am sure the vodka deodorant is great for some people, sadly I am not one of them. Defeated, I wondered Costco trying to stay away from strangers. Then, while I was hiding in the pharmacy section, hoping to avoid an old college friend, I ran across Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant. I looked at the cute Costco display, (everything is enticing in that store) but remembered that I was clearly not a natural girl. But, while I was hiding I did a little Google research and it appeared to me that the product might actually work. Knowing that it was Costco and you can return anything there, I decided to give it a whirl. I grabbed the three pack of the Bergamot and Lime scent and cautiously checked  out. I tried it for work the next day. (Brave, I know) and was pleasantly surprised that I was not disgusting at the end of the day.  Figuring it was a fluke, I tried it again and it still worked. I’ve been using this stuff for two weeks now including  traveling through two airports and a wedding. I smell great and have had no issues with wetness. That didn’t even happen with the maximum strength stuff.

So anyways, I am here to tell you that even if you though natural deodorant was not for you, it just might be. Give it a try. I am not going to sit here and bore you with health information, you’ve seen it. The usual stuff is bad. Try out something new. Schmidt’s is working for me, but look around and see what works for you and your body.

Please note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links I will get a (very) small commission which helps me run this site. 

My new all-time favorite pen

September 4
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Lets be honest, I usually just grab the pen that is closest to me. I am the worst about keeping a pen near me and I also leave mine wherever I am. Because of this, I usually find myself using whatever random freebie pen that I find. Although they are not perfect, they get the job done. This was all fine and dandy until about a week ago.

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Last week someone stopped by my workplace and brought sample Pilot Frixion  Erasable pen for the office. Never one to say no to free stuff, I grabbed mine and tried it out. OH MY GOODNESS. This pen/pencil/piece of perfection was a life changer. The darn thing writes like butter, erases like magic, and does not bleed or show through pages. They are so good a coworker and I messaged each other about them and both ended up buying ourselves a pack off Amazon.

So I got the ten pack off Amazon because I wanted several colors. Two days later these babies showed up on my doorstep and the fun started. I am using these in my planner so that when I change my plans I can use erase instead of crossing out my changes. The erasers work so well that you can hardly tell there was anything else there before.

I went ahead and tried out each of the pens and then also erased with them so you can get an idea of how good the are are erasing. I have used “erasable” pens in the past but was never really happy with any of them. These erase pretty darn well.

Here is what the back of the page looks like so you can get an idea of the bleed through which is basically nothing. There is some markings that show through so I will try to not press as hard with the pens.

 

Have you tried these out? What did you think? Also, do you have a favorite pen that you think is BETTER? Let me know here or show me on Instagram.

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ThriveSteer Planner

August 23
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Created by a therapist, the ThriveSteer planner is designed to be a planner and a life coach all in one. This planner has a strong focus on both helping you plan your day as well as helping you create the vision for the life you want to live.

Before the “planner” starts there are several pages of activities to go through. These activities help to sit back and think about what you really want from your life from six core values.

These values are:
Strategy
Congruency
Synergy
Courage
Inspiration
Transformation
To learn more about these areas visit the ThriveSteer website.

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After you understand the core values, the planner has prompts about many areas of your life. Through these prompts you will learn more about what you are really looking for from life as well as create pursuit statements that will help focus your actions over the next year.

The planner then walks you through the steps to make one goal for the year and helps you plan how to get to it. At the end you will have a chance to review what you’d worked on and you should leave the beginning of the planner with a strong sense of what your real goals are as well as how to get there.

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The planner portion itself it fairly simple. Monthly pages are tabbed for easy access and weeks are put together in a simple hourly vertical layout. Both have areas where you can mark the core value you want to focus on as well as space for reflection.

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At the end of each month there is a two page Monthly Follow Up  where you can reflect on the previous month. There is also a quarterly and year end review as well. These include prompts that will help you decide where you were successful and how you might need to change your pursuit statements to better meet your needs.

Overall, this is a high quality planner with unique insight that I have never before seen in this format. The paper is strong and I love that it comes with two bookmarks and a band to keep the whole thing together.

 

If you are looking for a planner that focuses on wellness and goals this one might be for you. Find out more at ThriveSteer.com 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I was given a free product for review purposes. 

 

 

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Friday Faves

August 17
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It has been a few weeks since I posted one of these, but I didn’t have anything awesome to share…so I didn’t. You’re welcome. Today I am just sharing a few new things and a recipe I am loving.

First up, I have been doing some shopping at Madewell lately. Did you know if you are a Madewell insider (free) you get a code for $25 off in your birth month? Totally worth signing up. I used that combined with a sale to get this dress for a steal.  I love it with a denim vest. I already have this tank in a blush pink, but I ordered another in gray because it is just that good. The color is backordered, but being that I live in Florida tanks are  year round outfit.

Today I ordered two items I have been eyeballing for some time. The first one is this canvas transport tote in a blush pink color. (It keeps going out of stock, so keep an eye out.)  I have been on the lookout for a new carryon that would count as a “personal item” for Spirit and Frontier flights and this bag fits the bill. It will also be a perfect tote bag for work and busy days.

I also splurged and grabbed these mules. I know a lot of you are not mule fans, and frankly I still might be on the fence, but I want a new “fall” shoe and these are just too cute. We will see, there is still like a 50% chance I will return them.

I have begun putting in seeds for my fall garden and I am so excited. Here in Florida fall and winter gardens often have better luck than spring and summer because it is not as hot. This fall I am planting tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, and radishes. I’ll let y’all know how it goes. If you have Florida gardening tips PLEASE send them my way.

We have been in a total food rut over here. The same meals over and over again are just getting boring. I’ve been trying to keep to healthy options that use easy ingredients and are simple to make. Tonight I made these Eggplant Pizzas and they totally hit the spot.  If you have other healthy options let me know!

That’s all for today, see you next week!

Agendio Planner

August 9
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If you remember, last year I tried out the new Agendio planner. This is a fully custom planer that is printed just for you. You get to pick the layout, sections, colors, headers, and even add events and tasks. That planner is about to end and I loved it so much I ordered another one for this year.

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I use this planner for work and I use it in an A5 binder so that I can include other papers and inserts in the planner. (Look for A5 binders at Filofax or Michaels.) You can also have yours made with a coil or in a book form. These look nice and professional.

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I have been using a daily planner layout for a few years now and what I always notice is that I don’t use the hourly column.  In my field I don’t have tons of meetings or appointments, and the ones I do have are often the same each week.  Because of this I changed the layout of my planer to just have a small “today” section to record my appointments for the day and then a “tonight” section to jot down evening plans.  Of course, if you need the hourly section, go for it! That is what I love about this planner, you can make it work for YOU.

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Although I love a daily planner for work, you can also create a weekly planner if that is more of your speed. Vertical, horizontal, whatever you want. I saw some where they had the days on the left page and then the right side was for notes and such for the week. Kind of perfect really.

Once you’ve decided on a layout Agendio lets you add in important dates. You can choose from holidays, moon cycles, religious holidays for several religions and more. You can also add your own holidays like birthdays and anniversaries.  Agendio will remember them so you can add them in next year.You can also add reoccurring events like due dates or meetings. A super easy way to ensure things get done.

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One of my favorite parts of this planner is that you can set it to start whenever you want. So many times people decide they need a planner in like April and like no planners start in April so they have to buy one they only have use or wait until Academic planners start in around July.

Want to see my Agendio planner from last year?

Reminder: links in this post are affiliate links. I receive a small commission on each sale which helps me run this site at no cost to you.

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Friday Faves- Birthday edition

July 20
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Happy Friday y’all. Today is my birthday and honestly, my favorite part of this is birthday freebies. I mean really, who doesn’t love free stuff? So today I’m going to share my favorites.

Coffee:

Everyone knows Starbucks gives you a free drink for your birthday. Make sure you have a registered card a month before your birthday for this deal. Mine expires the day after my birthday.

Dunkin’ Doughnuts also gives a free drink. Again, have an account ahead of time.

Food:

Firehouse subs will give you a free sub for your birthday. Make sure you sign up ahead of time and download the app to redeem.

Moe’s will give you a free burrito. Same deal, make sure you have the app and an account ahead of time.

Ruby Tuesday gives you a free burger for your birthday. They will send an email ahead of your birthday and you have a few weeks to redeem. This is one of my favorites and you will receive the coupon ahead of time which is helpful.

Cafe Rio gives you a $5 credit for your day. Find in in the app. Also, get $5 just for downloading the app. (I love this place.)

Other:

Ulta: if you have a free rewards account look out for an email with a freebie. I got a mini mascara.

Sephora: beauty insiders get free mini products once during their birth month. Redeem at checkout in store or online.

New to me this year is madewell.com. At the beginning of the month they sent me a $25 gift card to use by the end of the month. This is a great gift.

The best part about these is that they don’t have to take place on my birthday. I write down expiration dates in my planner and then I can use these whenever.

These are my favorites. Do you know any great birthday freebies? Let me know so I can add them to the list!

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Friday Faves- Nordstrom Anniversary sale

July 13
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Happy Friday!

Today I figured I’d share a few favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Honestly, I don’t shop at Nordstrom very often. We don’t have one here in Central Florida, and let’s face it, I’m cheap and they are not. But, they do carry some brands that I like and if you ever want to try out their stuff now is the time.

The way the anniversary sale works in the first week (July 12-19 is just open to cardholders. Then, July 20-August 5th the sale is open to everyone else. You can buy online or in store, up to you.

 

So below are some of my favorites from the sale. Two lovely Kate Spade bags are on sale. The large one is $100 off and perfect to take to work. The other is a great travel back with a cross strap and zip closure. (see more on my travel bag tips here.)  Be sure to click the bags to see more color options.

A must for me will be the Zella leggings. I hear so many good things about these, better than Lululemon! They will sell out so act fast. The Spanx leggings are pretty popular as well. These are a faux leather and are super slimming. Both items rarely go on sale.

The other items are just cute things for fall. Check them out if you’re interested.

Well, that is about it! Have a great weekend!

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. – Amber D.

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Travel Tuesdays- What I carry in my day bag

July 10
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Today for Travel Tuesdays I wanted to share what I carry with me when I am out and about while traveling. I know a ton has been written about the essentials you must carry, but I like to keep things really simple so today I am sharing the few items I consider necessities.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about bags. When overseas or in a more dangerous place I always carry a crossbody bag that has a zip closure. This way a pick pocket cannot just reach in and grab something nor can they grab it off my shoulder. Also, I hold the bag in front of me when on the train or in other congested areas. I carry something similar to this one by Kate Spade.  Although backpacks are in right now, I do not suggest a backpack purse as you cannot see your belongings and they are too easy to steal from. As you can see, I like to carry an actual purse instead of a backpack or messenger bag. I like to blend in as much as possible and I think carrying a regular bag helps. When we do need more storage my husband brings a small black Timbuk2 bag that blends in well most places.

Ok, back to the contents. Like I said, nice and simple.

Before we leave I check my wallet and leave any unnecessary items at home. I keep a few credit cards, insurance info, my ID, and anything else I need. Other cards, especially work IDs and credit cards are left at home (unless traveling for work of course.)  I carry a small wallet, like this one when traveling as it holds the essentials without taking up too much valuable space.

During our trip to Europe, my husband carried both of our passports on his person. Although I did not have my passport on me I felt safe knowing I would not lose my passport if my bag was stolen. This worked for us, but if you need a passport decide for yourself the best way to carry it.

I like to carry a smaller  makeup bag with my personal essentials. I carry this at home too and just restock it for trips. This bag contains lipstick, eyeliner, tampons, medicine, (ibuprofen and Zyrtec), a pen, gum, a mini hair brush, and a hair tie. Having these items on me at all times helps to ensure a good trip. If I need an afternoon makeup refresh those two makeup items do it for me. You items could differ.

A reusable water bottle. Although I love my big fancy water bottles, when out for a long day or short on space I like to use a regular disposable water bottle as my container. They are lightweight, cheap, and disposable if needed. Refill whenever you see a safe water location. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Something to snack on. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and meal times change. Keep a small snack in your bag just in case. An apple, granola bar, or carrot sticks all work perfect. I usually carry enough for both of us.

If we have a heavy travel day I might toss in my Kindle Fire or headphones, but for just day to day exploring I leave those at the room.  Also, if I have a phone with a bad battery  I might bring a backup. Right now I have a new phone so the battery is great.

That is basically all that I carry. It is pretty similar to what I carry daily. If it works most of the time, why switch it up, right?

Do you carry anything unusual or different when you travel?