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A few days in Maryland

June 19
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This past weekend Charlie and I spent some time in the town where Charlie spent most of his childhood. Although we spent most of our time visiting with old friends and driving around his old stomping grounds, we did get to spend a little bit of time exploring in Baltimore on Monday.

I had heard of the Sagamore Distillery and found it intriguing. They make a classic rye whiskey and do tours. We’ve been on tons of brewery tours but hadn’t yet had the chance to tour a distillery so we jumped at the chance. We were also exited to find that there was a Groupon for the experience. Be sure to check for one of you go.

The tour was super informative and because we went early on a Monday morning we were the only people in our tour. We learned all about the process as well as what makes different types of whiskeys.

At the end of the tour we were able to sample the products and found rye whiskey to be pretty good. Now to find some for sale here in Orlando.

Each bottle is hand labeled by the last person to touch it at the distillery. In the visitor center we were able to mark our own bottles. Sadly we were unable to purchase them as we were not checking any bags for our flight.

After the tour we visited Nick’s Fish House on a recommendation from our tour guide. This little harbor-side restaurant was super cute and carried Sagamore cocktails. We enjoyed both an Orange Crush and a Moscow Mule made with their whiskey and are happy to report they were delicious.

Guess what? I had never had raw oysters! Surprised? No? Well I was kinda surprised I hadn’t and when I saw they had them a-la-carte I figured now was the time to try one. My only experience with them was when I was twelve my family visited Key West and my dad ordered and ate a dozen raw oysters and was then in the bathroom for the rest of the night.

Anyhoo, it took me about twenty minutes gather the courage to eat them, and I had to google how to even do it, but I did. I’ll spare you the video proof. Did I like them? I’m still not sure, but I’d be willing to have a few again.

I also had some great crab cake balls. Perfect for Maryland.

By the time we were finished with our meal it was time to head to the airport and go home. Hopefully next time we’re in Baltimore we will have more time to spend. If you have ideas of where we should visit let me know in the comments!

Friday Faves

June 9
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Happy Friday y’all! (Ok, technically I’m posting this on Saturday, so bear with me.)

I love that once piece bathing suits are “in” again. Finally, we can wear something that covers stuff. Yeah, most of them are more skimpy than a bikini, but I have seen some cute stuff this season. Right now I am loving this black one from Target. Those scallops? Adorable. Want to show a little more skin? This one is cute too and has a full coverage bottom.

I just finished The Beauty of Dirty Skin by Whitney Bowe and really connected with a lot of what she said regarding skin, diet, and how it all connects. I will be sharing more about her book in the future, but if you’re into those topics check it out.

Charlie has a gig tomorrow so I am going to do a little bit of summer planting. Generally we are done with most plant-y things by now here in Florida, but I am going to try and put in some hardy plants and see if they stick. I’ll share more about that on Instagram.

Now that the rains have subsided we’ve been swimming every day. I am looking for tips as to how to help my skin cope with the water and chlorine it is getting so much of. Any ideas?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Summer weekend staples

May 27
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Just as my beauty routine gets simple in the summer, my weekend wear also starts to get very basic. here in Florida it gets hot, like for real. So when summer comes along I like to just stock up on these staples to get me through.

I love a basic v-neck and these v-neck tanks are perfect for warm sweaty days. They are nice and thin and the pocket is the perfect accent. Stock up on a few to get you through the season, or for year-long wear here in the south. (Hint: wear a cami under these for the evenings if you get chilly.)

Cut-off shorts are one of my favorite staples. They can go with just about anything, but also look stylish with just a tank. I’ve been wearing these midi legnth ones for years as they are shorter than a burmuda, but don’t make me look like a teenager in booty shorts.

I would be remiss without mentioning sandals in this post and don’t worry, I won’t. The two strap sandal is still super popular this year and I am still loving the J. Crew Factory option. Old Navy ones are cheaper, but these are are worth it if you’re going to wear them a bunch.  The fake leather is great and the soles look super nice.

I have super sensitive eyes so I don’t leave the house without sunglasses all year round. My favorite all day wear pair are these ray-bans. A classic look is always a good ideas. Check out this budget option too.

When it comes to evenings I usually just toss on a cardigan or a pair of distressed jeans. Here is Florida shorts are acceptable day or night almost everywhere.

Happy Planner Garden Planner

May 23
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One of my favorite aspects of home ownership is having a yard of my own. A space where I can create and nurture life and spend time outside. Although I have been a homeowner for several years now I had not taken the plunge into vegetable gardening until the spring. Vegetable gardening is a little different here in Florida. Our soil is bad, our temperatures are sweltering, and the bugs are everywhere. Because of this I held off on growing vegetables for so long. Finally, after seeing friends be successful I started my own little garden.

It is not much yet, I am just growing some beans, squash, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes; but it is a good solid start. This is kind of a trial run for the fall. In Florida, fall/winter gardens often have better luck as the temperatures as much more mild. My plan is to take what I learn from this season about my land and soil and use it next month.

While planting my garden I realized I needed some way to keep track of what I planted, when I planted it, and what actions where taken regarding watering, fertilizing, and weeding.  This is when it dawned on me that using a Mini Happy Planner to record my garden would be perfect.

The planner is used as a cross between a planner and a journal. I can mark when I want to plant and fertilize so I don’t forget, as well as journal how my actions, the weather, and outside factors influenced the yield.

I have also added grid paper so that I can make a diagram of my garden. I use a few varieties of seeds as well as planting methods so I wanted to be sure I remembered which plants were which in the end. This will also help in the future to see what spots work best over time as well as if I need to remember for crop rotation.

I will be keeping my punch handy so that I can punch used seed packets and keep them on hand. I also included a pocket for other literature and receipts. (Did you know many garden centers accept returns on dead plants if you keep these?)  You never know when you need to go back and see the “rules” for the plant.

Have you ever made a garden planner? How did it go? Also, please share your favorite gardening tips, especially for Florida!

Teorizanthes Apparel!

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Old Navy fashion

May 9
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For most of my adult life I have been pretty loyal to Banana Republic and Gap for work staples. I like to think I am petty easy going with these items. All I want are items that cover me, fit well, and wash well. With staples like black work pants, being able to withstand wear is important as I wear them all the time.  As of late I have not been as happy with some of the items at those stores so I decided to check out Old Navy as I had seen many bloggers shop there. Generally when I think of Old Navy I think casual wear, but if you look closely they have quite a few options in the work wear category.

The Pixie Pant is of course a cult classic, but I also have found love for their high-waist pixie which boasts a flat front and comfortable elastic waistband on the interior. They have really stepped up their cardigan game as well with items like this one and this line of open front cardigans in all the colors. I have also been grabbing a few of their casual summer dresses  because they are so easy to dress up or down for work or weekend wear. Here in Florida simple dresses rule in summer.

As for more casual favorites, I love this tee and these sandals.

So for now, I will continue to shop at Old Navy and see what works for me. Of course, all the brands mentioned as part of the same company so who knows, maybe it is all basically the same thing.

 

Knowing yourself and knowing your habit type

May 2
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Wow that feels like a long title, but this is something I have struggled with I know many of you do to. I love planning out my day and week and allotting tasks and to-dos, but sometimes when the day or time comes I find that I lack the simple motivation to make it happen. Sound familiar? Good. You’re human too. Today I want to share a little bit into my struggle, as well as a resource to help.

I have again and again failed at following through with my plans. You know all those people who show up at the gym on January 1st? That is me. I plan out a great week and schedule and then by Wednesday I stop following it.

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I finally had a light bulb moment when I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin categorizes everyone into the following four habit tendencies; upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel. Everyone more or less falls mainly into the categories which by understanding them can start to understand how we make and keep positive habits (for me, getting plans done.)

 

Here are the four tendencies:

Upholder: This person says she is going to do something, so she does it. She is accountable to herself and does it for herself. She probably stopped reading this post because she does not have this problem.

Obliger: This person may skip out on a habit (like going to the gym) unless the promised someone else that they would. She might neglect to follow plans that are just for her, but will totally make sure anything that she promised to anyone else gets done, like prepping meals for her husband. (I fall into this category.)

Questioner: This person has a hard time with things unless they understand why doing it is good as well as what the benefit is for them.

Rebel: These people resist expectations from themselves and others. Also, they probably don’t own a planner or read this blog.

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Once you understand where you fit you can start to find ways to make your plans work for you. As an obliger, I found that being accountable to others makes me work my best.  My best personal example of this is that I wanted to wake up earlier in the mornings, but was having trouble because I didn’t have to get up, I could sleep in and it would not hurt anyone. My husband leaves for work about an hour before me and I wanted to get up with him. I also wanted to make us both smoothies to take to work each day. I spoke to my husband and told him my intentions to get up and make smoothies and asked him to help me do this by reminding me if I was still in bed to make smoothies. The next day, without his reminder I was out of bed and at the blender. I wanted to do what I had promised him.  I use the same system to keep myself on track. I tell him what I intend to do and he will come back a few days later and ask how I did. To the outside eye this could come off in a slightly controlling way, but I have asked him to keep me accountable. If you’re an obliger, find someone to be accountable to and ask them to help you. When you do something for someone else you will be more likely to follow through.

Please read more about these types, it really did help put everything into view for me. Rubin has two books Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. I suggest reading both, but if you don’t have time at least check out her website.

BONUS: Understanding the tendencies as well as how your family scores helps so much in understanding where they come from in things. My husband in a Questioner. Knowing this, I know that if I ask him to do something without giving him the WHY he will just drive me crazy with questions. I now explain why I am asking him to do something while I ask so he understands the reasoning and is more willing to comply.

While I don’t have any one great tip, I honestly believe that looking into your tendency will help you know yourself the best.

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Travel Tuesday: Road trip tips

April 3
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Since it is still spring break in some parts of the country I figured today would be a good  day to share road trip tips. We love road trips, but they have to be done right. Below are my seven tips for a successful road trip. Note: We don’t have kids so these tips apply to adults traveling without kids. Some tips will relate to older kids and teens, but I can’t promise anything.

1. Know your route
I feel like this is pretty obvious, but I feel the need to mention it anyway. Know where you are going, how you are getting there, and if possible a few major cities on the way. Share the basic plan with the entire car so that everyone can assist is paying attention to the route. We’ve all missed an exit before, it happens, but it is best to realize this as soon as possible.

2. Bring beverages
Staying hydrated on road trips is super important. We always bring big water bottles to get us going and refill them as needed at rest stops. As a coffee drinker make my coffee before we leave and take it with me, saves money and the time it takes to stop. Yes, the more you drink the more you need to use the restroom, however it is worth it and the bathroom breaks give legs a minute to stretch.

3. Healthy Snacks
Avoid the gas station crap by packing a small cooler or lunchbox with a few snacks to keep you going. I like to pull these out when we get a little tired or just bored. Favorites include carrot sticks, grapes, baked potato chips, and trail mix. Apples, bananas, popcorn, and a handful of nuts are also good options.

4. Pack a lunch
If you are watching what you eat, or just trying to stay healthy and on budget consider bringing your lunch for the first meal of the trip. Before the rise of fast food road trippers always had picnics at rest stops but these days it is not popular. As a nod to the past pack a light lunch to eat at a rest stop and remember the old  days. Salads, cold sandwiches, potato salad, and chips and salsa are favorites for packed lunches.

5. Avoid gas stations
Of course you have to gas up the car, I understand that, however limit time spent wandering around the convenience store. I can’t count the group road trips I’ve been on where we have walked around one of those for 20 minutes and everyone ends up buying junk. Gas the car, use the restrooms and get out. If you do need snacks consider stopping at a grocery store and getting enough for the next leg of the trip instead of single serve options. (If you must stop, Wawa is our favorite for healthy options)

6. Power up
Before you leave ensure you have at least one phone charger in the car. Running navigation, music, and surfing the internet drain phone batteries and for the sake of safety you need at least one working phone. We usually have two chargers just to be safe. Make sure all other entertainment devices are powered up and ready to go as well. Note: check on your phone data allowance before your trip, all that time scrolling instagram in the car can totally blow it.

7. Plan ahead entertainment
Road trips are long but a great time to enjoy an audiobook together. We like to download one to my phone via Overdrive from our local library.  We also love listening to and playing along with our favorite trivia podcast, Podquiz. This is also a great time to talk about life goals, dreams, aspirations, and whatever else needs hours.  I like to bring a pencil and notebook for notes as some of our best ideas come from this time. Eventually I will publish that children’s book.

 

So those are my tips, nothing crazy but just a starting point for a good road trip. Most of all, have fun. A road trip is the memories you make it. So take the time to relax, be silly, and share the real you with your companions. I believe this is the reason so many of us love road trips; in the car we can return to the real us.

 

Check back next week for Travel Tuesday and I will share some of my favorite road trip destinations in the southeast. See you then!

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Let’s talk about some books

March 30
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So as most of my readers know, I am a librarian by day and as comes with the territory, I enjoy reading. So I figured today would be a good time to share a few recent favorites. My tastes range from popular fiction, to light sci-fi, to historical non-ficion, to literary fiction. Due to my profession I try to read new titles to keep up to date on

An Oprah’s book club pick, An American Marriage is a forceful look at a relationship that deal with many of the trials and tribulations that so many of us deal with. The book also deals with the specific issues such as the prison system, inequality, and the justice system which unfairly punish blacks. This is a raw, emotional tale that is definitely worth the read.

On a lighter note, Carnegie’s Maid is an interesting historical fiction look into the life of The Lady’s Maid to the mother of Andrew Carnegie. An Irish Immigrant,  Clara Kelley falls into the job after a misunderstanding at the dock. The book follows her life, relationships, and rise from poverty. Great for both the historical aspects as well as the upstairs/downstairs life.

Ever since she read Better Than Before I have been a big Gretchen Rubin fan. Her newest book, The Four Tendencies builds on the tendencies she explained in her first book and are designed to help readers learn how to best use their tendency to the best of their ability. A must read for productivity gurus and those wanting to better understand themselves.

Although I don’t read his horror titles, I am actually a big fan of Stephen King’s newer works. His newest book, written in conjunction with his son, is one of these books. Sleeping Beauties is just the amount of Sci-Fi I like in my books. It is a bit lengthy though, so give yourself plenty of time.

So if you’re in the market for a new read check one of these out. Looking for something else? Feel free to DM me on Instagram or comment here for recommendations!

Carnegie’s Maid

Travel Tuesday: Orlando things to do

March 27
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So I figured that for Travel Tuesday this week I would switch gears and talk about something a little closer to home.  I have lived in Central Florida basically all my life, and a total of ten years in Orlando. Because of this I feel like I have a decent grasp on the area and have lots of suggestions as to off the beaten path and budget friendly options. Here are a few of my favorites things to do in and around town. Check back next week for my favorite restaurants and bars.

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I may be a little biased, but SAK Comedy Lab is a great place to see some local improv. With shows five nights a week there is always something going on. SAK is located in downtown Orlando so it is a great place to have dinner, see a show, and have a drink. Most shows are family friendly so feel free to bring everyone. Tip: Check Groupon for specials.

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Growing up in Brevard County, Kennedy Space Center has always been a favorite. At half the cost of Disney it is a great deal and a relaxing way to spend the day. Although I would not call the center a theme park, there are attractions and one ride-like simulator. Ticket price includes a bus ride to the Saturn VI Center where you see a Saturn VI rocket like the one that went to the moon. One of the newer exhibits is the retired Shuttle Atlantis. This in itself is worth the trip and is an awe-inspiring experience like no other for both NASA fans and casual observers. A few years ago I had the honor of chaperoning a overnight trip to KSC where I was able to sleep UNDER the shuttle. The whole thing was an amazing experience. BONUS: the drive in is a great place to see alligators in the wild.

One of my biggest tips for visitors wanting a taste of Disney is to visit Disney Springs. If you are traveling on a budget and can’t spend much time at Disney, (and I don’t blame you) Spend a day at Disney Springs. Parking is easy and free and there is free entertainment throughout the park. We settle in at Dockside Margaritas for a frozen Orange Grove Rum Runner and enjoy the live music. We also enjoy the music at Raglan Road for an Irish flare. Live entertainment is also found by the food trucks and the stage. Looking for the entertainment schedule? Find it here. Another option at the Springs is the new Star Wars VR experience. Charlie did it and enjoyed it, but it is on the pricy side.   Although the food and drinks are at Disney prices you can plan ahead by viewing menus and prices here. We love Blaze Pizza for a cheap meal. Feel free to stroll around the springs and check out the shops. I love window shopping and Uniqlo is a great place to pick up reasonably priced clothing and disney themed apparel.  Lastly, there is a bowling alley and a movie theater available as well.  Like I said, you can spend the day here and enjoy it as much as a day at disney at a fraction of the cost. This post is also reminding me I should go back…

Florida has tons of cool attractions but some of my favorite things to do are away from town. We love to canoe and kayak down at Wekiva springs to get away from it all. This is a great, budget friendly trip and is great for all ages. We love to pack a lunch and make a day of it. There is also swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing available in the park free of charge. If you are looking for a way to spend a day away from the crowds the springs is the place to go. Aim for a weekday as the park can get busy on weekends during summer.

Have a favorite Orlando spot? Tell me on the comments ❤️

Weekday breakfasts that last

March 20
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I don’t know about you, but I am hungry in the morning. I feel like everyone is different, but for me, I need food in the morning. On the flip side, I hate taking time to cook or eat before work. Even though I know I want and need to eat, I often end up skipping it when I am in a rush. So lately I have been trying out new on the go breakfast ideas. Below are a few of my favorites.

 

First of all, I like to have  green smoothie every morning. I make these using the single serving cup option on my blender. (Find my basic smoothie recipe here.) I use frozen greens and fruits to make the prep process as easy as possible. I can make two smoothies in only a few minutes and they are one of the best parts of our days. I usually drink my smoothie while doing my makeup or on the way to work. Once in a while I drink it at work instead.

 

A few months ago I came across Hulk Muffins from Instant Loss.   These muffins are gluten-free, dairy-free, and a great high fiber way to start the day. The best part? I mix them in the blender! I double or triple the batch and then freeze them. In the morning I grab four and take them to work to eat around 10am as a snack. I like to add a few mini chocolate chips on top when I bake them for a little extra flavor.

 

When I am super hungry in the morning I go for eggs. They are kinda the perfect high-protein, keep you full food. Like the hulk muffins, I prepare these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer until I need them, then I toss them in the microwave to reheat. I follow along this recipe but end up using whatever mix-ins I have in the house. Peppers and turkey bacon are favorites but onion, spinach, sausage, and others are fine too. Sometimes I add some cheese for fun.

 

My last go to option is these pre-made freezer steel cut oat cups. I make the oatmeal regularly and then freeze it in muffin tins. I then take them out and store them in a baggie in the freezer so I can grab one or two, reheat, and eat as a quick breakfast.

 

As with much of my cooking, I like to prepare and store these over the weekend so that come Monday morning I have nothing to worry about. Having options in the freezer makes the morning go so much smoother. Do you prep any breakfast foods? Which ones, I want to know!

 

 

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