Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

My Best Buys of 2017

I made countless purchases this year, but only a few stood out. Here's a short list of my best purchases of 2017.

1. A ThirdLove Bra - I've never been one to splurge on undergarments. To me, they've always seemed like such a practical purchase that didn't warrant breaking the bank. And then I worked with a brand that sent me a code to purchase a ThirdLove bra. I redeemed the code on a t-shirt bra and within one wear, I was hooked. I logged on to the web site and purchased a strapless bra immediately. Hands down, ThirdLove bras are the most comfortable bras I have ever worn. While they are pricey at about $70 per bra, they are worth every single cent. I've had my t-shirt bra for about a year now, and it shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear.

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How To Layer To Stay Warm In Winter



The winter cold has finally set in here in the northeast, and it is not nice. With daytime temperatures barely reaching 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dressing warmly is a must. But how do you do that while staying comfortable (i.e., not drowning in layers of clothing) and still looking stylish?

ClimateRight by CuddlDuds at Walmart to the rescue! While picking up some essentials at Walmart this week, I came across this amazing brand of layering and lounging clothes that are perfect for staying warm, cozy, and comfortable.


ClimateRight at Walmart offers both a base layer collection as well as a sleepwear collection. Since I'm all about layering and staying warm while out and about running errands or exploring the city, I chose two pieces from the base layer collection. However, the sleepwear collection looks ultra comfy if you are in need of some new sleepwear.


The base layer collection includes a stretch microfiber long sleeve crew shirt with fits nicely under sweaters and sweatshirts. Although the fit is snug, it's not tight or uncomfortable, and you don't feel as if you are wearing layer upon layer once you put on a sweater.


The leggings offer the perfect fit under your favorite pair of jeans. Again, the leggings offer a snug fit (they are made of Spandex) but aren't tight or uncomfortable. The light layer was perfect under jeans in temperatures that hovered just below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.


Whether you choose to layer or wear alone, ClimateRight by CuddlDuds at Walmart are versatile and offer just the right amount of warmth and protection from the cold. When worn alone, they are a comfortable alternative to sleepwear.


You absolutely cannot beat the price tag on ClimateRight by CuddlDuds at Walmart. The microfiber pieces I purchased were both under $10. The sleepwear pieces range from $10 to $12, making the entire line of ClimateRight at Walmart incredibly affordable in addition to being extremely practical.

ClimateRight by CuddlDuds are available exclusively at Walmart. Shop the full assortment of layering pieces and sleepwear now on Walmart.com where you can enjoy free in-store pickup or 2-day free shipping (with a qualifying $35 purchase).
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Cocktails To Serve On New Year's Eve


Every New Year's Eve celebration we host always includes a little bubbly. I mean, it wouldn't be NYE without some sparkling wine. My go to is Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore. This year in addition to serving the prosecco straight from the bottle, I'll be mixing up two delicious cocktails for those who want an added twist to their prosecco. And if you've got some leftover prosecco to use for mimosas the next morning, here's a little trick for re-carbonating it.

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My Favorite Moments from 2017

Another year down, and another chance to reflect. 2017 was filled with highs and lows. There were plenty of good times and bad, but as always the good far outweigh the bad. As I was recently cleaning up my photos in iPhoto, I realized all the things I did in 2017. Here are a few of my favorite moments.

1. Our trip to Tucson - In April we spent part of spring break in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. Although I had previously visited Phoenix, Tucson was a new destination for me. I fell in love hard with Tucson and its breathtaking mountains and cacti-dotted desert. From start to end, it was an amazing vacation filled with new adventures and delicious foods and a visit with two of my three sisters.

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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. All 218 U2 songs ranked worst to best via Vulture.

2. The largest employer in each state via Thrillist.

3. Fifty-two celebrities who don't drink alcohol via Harper's Bazaar.
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Currently Craving: All The Cozy Things

Pullover | Socks | Beanie | Blanket | Slippers | Shorts | Cardigan | Pillow | Pants

When the temperature starts to dip down below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, I just want to snuggle up in all the warm and cozy things. And with a long break coming between Christmas and New Year's Day, it's the perfect time to get cozy and binge watch your favorite shows and just be lazy.

Here are a few of my favorites for staying warm and toasty on even the coldest days.
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Becoming The New You In 2018 - How To Begin


When it comes to approaching the new year and being a much better, different person, it can be difficult to know where to start. In an effort to become more satisfied, perhaps meet more people, and maybe get in shape or eat better, it can be easy to see ourselves as the problem. If your general life has been lacking lately, or you feel inclined to rejuvenate your attitude in 2018, you’re in the right place.

Here are some tips that will hopefully help you become the new you in the next year, and help you figure out where to begin.
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3 Easy and Inexpensive Last Minute Gift Ideas



The countdown is on! With only 10 days until Christmas Day, it's time to think fast and be prepared. If you've been busy, no problem. If you've procrastinated, I've got you covered. Have no fear. I've got five easy and inexpensive last minute gift ideas that will save you right here.


1. A Bottle of Wente® Vineyards Wine
You can never go wrong with a bottle of wine. Although it may seem like an unoriginal gift, a bottle of wine never goes to waste. I was introduced to Wente Vineyards last year, and I've happily been drinking the wine ever since. Wente produces a great bottle of wine that tastes expensive but isn't. Most bottles are under $30, with the chardonnay coming in at under $24.

Wrap a bottle of Wente Vineyards wine in a pretty package, and you've got the perfect gift that any recipient will love.


2. A Favorite Book
Everyone loves a good book even if the recipient isn't an avid reader. If she's a foodie, get her a cookbook. If you've got a traveler on your list, get them a book about a favorite destination. Coffee table books are insanely popular and serve as great conversation pieces at parties. A little light reading goes great with wine too!

3. A Monthly Subscription
What I love about monthly subscription boxes is that there are so many options these days. From fashion to beauty to books to food, you can find anything for anyone. I bought my husband monthly subscription to a sock box, and he loves it. He looks forward to his package every month. It's the gift that keeps on giving, and the recipient will think of you each month when her package arrives.

Whether you go with wine, a book, or a subscription box, these last minute gifts are easy to find, inexpensive, and are fun to give!

Happy Holidays!!

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Weekend Dispatch


While most of you will be hurrying from one shop to another or one party to another, others will be looking for something to fill the time this weekend. Even if your plate is full this weekend, it's important to take a few minutes to yourself to unwind or catch your breath (read, watch TV, or listen to a podcast). Here's what I'm up to this weekend and a few suggestions for you.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The celebrity wedding everyone was talking about the year you were born via Elle.

2. I'm totally addicted to reading the Money Diaries series via Refinery29.

3. The best podcasts of 2017 via Vulture.
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7 Must-Have Items for Your One Year Old Baby

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Do you love to buy things for your baby? For me, it always took away the stresses of the day. Buying cute clothes, shoes and even her milk and food had a way of calming my senses and making me feel good. Seeing my girls in their new clothes made me smile.

There are a lot of things that a baby needs to feel comfortable and content. These items include necessities such as clothes, milk, and blankets while there are also privilege items like baby push walker and expensive toys.

When your baby turns a year older, there are even more things to consider. You can find a few of these examples in the list below.
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How I Stay Healthy During The Holidays


The holidays are a time filled with joyous occasions such as parties, elaborate dinners, festive gatherings, and more. During this time, it's easy to go overboard on food and cocktails as well as become more relaxed about our exercise routines. It's difficult to keep it all in check while still enjoying yourself so you don't feel completely deprived.

But it's not completely impossible. The holidays can be exciting without being stressful. Here are a few of the ways I stay on track during the holidays while still enjoying a fabulous meal, a festive cocktail, and a fun dessert.
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Gift Guide: For The Cats

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It wouldn't be Christmas without spoiling my cats with a few fun, feline-friendly gifts. I've rounded up a few of my favorites in today's featured holiday gift guide. Whether you've got a cat of your own or you're buying for one, here are few fun gift ideas.
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Five Tips for 5-Star Luxury: Turn your Bedroom into a Lavish Hotel Suite

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Who doesn't like staying in luxurious hotel suites? During vacation, we tend to invest in the best rooms, simply because comfort is everything. However, this enthusiasm dies out quick, once we come home to our ordinary bedroom. How about never giving up on the fine life? How about giving your bedrooms a much-needed makeover by transforming them into your personal royal suites? With these few tips, you can add in a touch of the lavish lifestyle to your very own bedroom without breaking the bank.
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Gift Guide: For The Hostess



Although your host and hostess may make entertaining look effortless, they are likely to have put a lot of time and effort into preparing and executing their party. Show your appreciation with a thoughtful gift.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Tips for never overpacking again via MindBodyGreen.

2. The perfect stocking stuffers via Cosmopolitan.

3. How to rein in the excess and not go overboard during the holiday season with kids via The Washington Post.
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Weekend Dispatch


I still feel like I am reeling from our busy weekend last weekend. But the next one is quickly approaching, so we'd better start planning. There's never a shortage of things to do at the Jersey Shore around the holidays. From plays to concerts to shopping, here's what's happening this weekend.


Lots and lots of holiday happenings going on this weekend for all ages. Let's start with Friday, December 8th. There's Market in the Park happening at Community Park in Point Pleasant from 5-9 pm. Food vendors, crafters, and more! Catch the tree lighting while you browse and munch on goodies, including edible cookie dough, pizza, and more!
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Gift Guide: For The Francophile


I have a soft spot for anything French-themed. Of all the European countries I've visited, France is by far my favorite. In honor of my love affair with all things French and Parisian, today's gift guide is for all my fellow Francophiles out there. If you've got a French-loving person on your list and you have no idea what to buy, look no further.
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Captiva and Naples Recap


I wanted to do a little recap of our trip to Florida last month. I love our annual trip to Captiva, and over the past few years we've built on to the beginning of it and expanded on the tail end of it. This trip happens at just the right time, when the chill begins to set in here in the northeast and you're in need of sun and warm breezes.

This year we spent our first night away at a hotel near the Philadelphia airport since we were flying out the next morning. Then we spent two nights in Fort Myers before we headed to Captiva for a week, which was followed by a weekend in Naples. All in it was a fantastic trip. It was our first time in Naples, and we were blown away by how beautiful it is there.

As I sat down to get some pictures off my phone, I realized that I didn't take very many. I'm definitely not mad about that because it means I was focusing on being in the moment, but unfortunately, I have only a select few to share here.
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Playing Favorites

Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. Here's what I am loving this month.



1. Ritual Vitamins For Women
Since my 30s, I've been taking vitamins regularly. I started out taking Vitamin C regularly and have incrementally increased my daily supplements since then. Each Sunday evening, I fill a pill organizer with my weekly supply of supplements. A few months ago on a particularly grueling Sunday evening when I was pressed for time, I wondered if there was an easier way than taking 6+ pills to get the required nutrients. Sure enough, there is. Ritual vitamins are specifically formulated for women and contain the 9 essential nutrients that women lack the most. They are $30 for a monthly supply (which includes 60 capsules - 2 per day). You can set up auto ship or you can order them at your convenience.

2. TaskRabbit App
When a friend told me about this app, I jumped on it. Basically TaskRabbit allows you to source out tasks that you either don't want to do or simply aren't capable of doing around the house. From moving furniture to carrying large, heavy items to hanging pictures to pretty much anything, TaskRabbit helps you find a tasker in your local area who is for hire to help you.




3. m-61 Hydraboost Body Butter
Despite my best efforts to keep my skin hydrated during the harsh winter months, I never seem to be successful. There are very few moisturizers that hydrate without leaving my skin feeling greasy or filmy. Last time I was in Bluemercury buying my favorite facial moisturizer, I was given an m-61 Hydraboost Body Butter sample. I loved it so much I went back a few days later to buy a full-size tube.

4. A Song A Day
I love discovering new music and singers/songwriters. A Song A Day is like a little present (amid all the junk email) each morning. A team of curators hand picks songs from all different genres and time periods and emails one to you each day. I've discovered countless new artists that I wouldn't have otherwise. And although I can't say that I've loved every song that's been delivered to me, I do love the variety and selection.



5. Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Matcha Green Tea Lemonade
This incredibly refreshing beverage has only 4 ingredients: filtered water, cold pressed lemon juice, manuka honey, and matcha green tea powder. It's both tart and sweet, thanks to the lemon and honey combo. It's also a bit earthy, but matcha generally is.

6. The Christmas Cars Collection at Crate & Barrel
I mean, could you die? I absolutely adore this collection. I bought the trivet, but now I'm thinking that I need to add the spoon rest and the cookie jar too! It's so super cute and festive without being over the top. 
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to make room in a tight budget for charitable donations via Huffington Post.

2. Could binge watching be bad for you via Well+Good.

3. The one wine you need this holiday season via Real Simple.
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Weekend Dispatch


If last weekend was totally low-key and relaxing, this weekend is going to be the complete opposite. It's the weekend before my birthday (which, BTW, is Monday), so we have lots of plans and lots going on this weekend. So, let's not waste anytime getting to it.

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Currently Craving: Plaid

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There's something about the holiday season that makes me want to surround myself in plaid. From clothing and accessories to household items like mugs and blankets, give me all the plaid. This time of year, the classic tartan plaid is most popular. I've selected a few of my favorite tartan plaid items that can work right now and well beyond the holidays.
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Gift Guide: Harper's Wish List


Every year since they were able to write, my daughters have put together Christmas lists. They've been helpful to "Santa" as well as to family members looking for gift ideas. As the years have passed, the lists have evolved. They started out as short lists of scribbled misspelled toys and have now become elaborate lists of printed photos and URLs.

And I might add that as my girls have gotten older, the items on the wish lists have become fewer but more expensive. Gone are the days of the $20 art kits and $5.00 books. Now it's expensive electronics and brand name clothing.

For today's gift guide feature, I'm sharing what's on Harper's holiday wish list. It's short, sweet, and age-appropriate for an 11-year old.
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Ways To Give Back on #GivingTuesday


Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to make a positive impact in our communities and our world.

Since 2014, we have been supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in hope of a cure for our daughter Harper who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2014.

Millions of people with T1D—and the families who love them—are hoping for a cure. Advances funded by JDRF, such as the artificial pancreas system and encapsulated cell replacement therapy, are bringing us closer to the day when we can defeat this terrible disease. You can learn more about advances being made in the quest for a cure for type 1 diabetes at JDRF.org.

This holiday season, as you embrace the season of gift giving, consider giving to your favorite charity. The smallest gift can make the biggest impact for someone suffering from a disease or illness or someone without a home or food.

It can be a challenge deciding which causes and charitable organizations to support. There are so many that are worthy of our time and contributions. Sifting through them can be overwhelming. In addition to JDRF, here are a few charities that I support on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year.
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Gift Guide: Under $25



Whether you need a gift for a secret "Santa", a teacher, a bus driver, or a frequent delivery person, showing you appreciate their efforts with a small token is a must. These gifts under $25 are the perfect way to give a gift that's meaningful but won't break the bank.
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Nordstrom Black Friday Sale


Nordstrom is infamous for its epic sales. From the half-yearly to the anniversary sale, Nordstrom offers some of the best markdowns in the retail industry. I'm happy to report that the Nordstrom Black Friday Sale is no different. Huge markdowns. Great selection. What are you waiting for? Get after it!

Here are a few of the items I plan to pick up during this sale (which ends 11/28 - so don't procrastinate!!)

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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 25 best inventions of 2017 via Time.

2. The worst guests Oprah Winfrey has ever interviewed via E!

3. The one huge mistake we make in hotel rooms via Condé Nast Traveler.
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Gift Guide: Rosé All Day

I have to say that this is probably my favorite gift guide I've ever created! Gift guides aren't a favorite amongst bloggers. They are time consuming and you never know what the return on your investment will be. Since most of my readers are always asking for gift ideas, I like to put together a few gift guides each holiday season.

If you have a rosé enthusiast on your list (hi, raising my hand over here!), any item on this guide is a good bet. It my book, it's rosé season all year round, and I'd love to receive any or all of these pretty pink gifts.


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The Importance of Unplugging During A Vacation


I know it's a bit of an oxymoron since I am writing this post as I am on vacation. However, stay with me and hear me out.

Two weeks ago as I was preparing for a two-week vacation in Florida, I was completely overwhelmed. I had so much work to do for clients in preparation of my vacation that I had little to no time to prepare posts for my own blog. I felt guilty that I couldn't get my act together enough to write even a single post and schedule it to go live while I was away. Not one post.

I resigned myself to accepting that I did everything I needed to do for clients before my vacation began and nothing for my own blog. But I still felt guilty. I have NEVER gone on vacation and ignored my personal blog. I have either pre-written posts or I have written them while away when I had a few free moments. But this time it's been different.

I've used this vacation as a chance to unplug and stay in the moment. Since I know I don't do either of those things well when I am at home, I made every effort to do them well while I was away. That's not to say I haven't posted on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. I mean, I can't lose all contact with the social world, right?
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How I Accidentally Became A Vegetarian


Sometimes things happen, and you never realize it has happened until someone brings it to your attention. A few months ago while out to dinner with The Hubs, I was poring over the menu when he casually mentioned that he hadn't seen me eat meat in quite a while. It was then that I realized I had made a (somewhat) unconscious decision to stop eating meat.

While I've never been a big meat eater, I would occasionally eat chicken and enjoy a burger on the grill in the summer. I didn't, however, eat pork, lamb, veal, or any wild game (deer, bison, etc.). At the beginning of this year, I found myself switching to turkey based meats like pepperoni and bacon in an effort to cut some unhealthy fats from my diet.

I didn't set out to become a vegetarian. By the way, I am a pescatarian as I do eat fish and seafood. But I don't eat lobster. They mate for life, and I don't want to be the one who eats someone else's "lobster". :-(  Becoming a pescatarian was something that just happened, a sort of dietary evolution.

A vegetarian is a person who doesn't eat meat and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons. A vegetarian is different from a vegan in that vegetarians may consume dairy products and eggs (I, personally, do not eat eggs but do indulge in dairy products. Hello, cheese!). Vegans generally do not eat any products derived from animals or any living thing with eyes (fish, shellfish, etc.).

And I want to point out that I became a pescatarian for health reasons, not necessarily for ethical reasons. But watching both Forks Over Knives and Live and Let Live did partially influence my dietary evolution, but these documentaries were not the driving factors behind my decision to go pescatarian. It was a decision that was right for me, my health, and my lifestyle. Vegetarianism is not right choice for everyone. If you love meat and can't imagine eating a meal that doesn't include it, a vegetarian diet isn't going to work for you.


Shortly after I became a vegetarian/pescatarian, I consulted my cardiologist (I suffer from both high cholesterol and high blood pressure) to discuss how the absence of meat in my diet would affect me. Here are a few of the ways he said I would benefit from eliminating meat from my diet.

  • Reduce your fat intake - When you switch to a plant-based diet, you cut a lot of fat that's derived from animal flesh from your diet. Vegetables, fruits, and beans have significantly less fat than meat. By cutting out meat, you'll be reducing the amount of bad fats you eat. He stressed that in his line of work, he has seen that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.
  • Aid in weight loss - Being vegetarian doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll eat a healthier diet. After all, a vegetarian could exist solely on French fries, pizza, soda, and chocolate cake. However, in most cases, vegetarians hardly fit this profile. Most eat healthy diets full of vegetables, whole grains, fish, and beans, which contain healthy fats.
  • Reduce the suffering of animals - The meat industry does not have a reputation for being kind. Most animals that are raised for food have a long history of suffering even before they are slaughtered. Becoming a vegetarian reduces your involvement in that.
If you are interested in becoming a vegetarian (or even just trying it for a week), here are a few of my recommendations.

1. Do your research
Before you dive in, do your research. Know what a vegetarian is and what foods are permitted/prohibited from this type of diet. Understand exactly what going vegetarian means. Eliminating meat from your diet means that a primary protein source has been cut off. Know what are suitable and healthy substitutes for protein and be sure you are taking any necessary supplements (primarily iron).

2. Have good reasons
If your best friend has just made the switch to a vegetarian diet, and you want to be just like her, it's probably not going to cut it. You need to have solid health or ethical reasons for making such a drastic change in your diet. Otherwise, it will not work.

3. Be prepared with good recipes
One of the reasons people fail from making a switch to any kind of new diet is that they are not armed with the proper foods and recipes. Have a few go-to vegetarian recipes that are quick, easy, and require few ingredients. This way, you won't be tempted to run out for a fast food burger. I sauté chick peas and kale, spinach, and collard greens in olive oil and add some salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I add that mixture to white or brown rice. It's delicious, full of protein, filling, and so simple.

4. Reserve judgement
Don't expect everyone to embrace your new diet. Many may be critical of it. Know that it's right for you, but may not be right for others. By the same token, don't be judgmental of those who choose to eat meat. It's a personal decision, much like politics and religion.
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Best Online Reads



The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 30 best music videos of all time via PureWow.

2. Unhealthy foods that most people think are healthy via The List.

3. I need this 3-ingredient wine fudge in my life via Babble.
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Weekend Dispatch


We are leaving for a 12-day vacation in Florida next week, so this weekend will be spent preparing and packing. But I am hoping to squeeze in a few fun things this weekend, which will be a nice distraction from getting ready to head out for almost 2 weeks.

Here's what happening this weekend.

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6 Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

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We all have days that get us down. Whether it’s a problem at work or a struggle at home, life has a way of making us feel self-conscious, insecure, and unhappy. When I'm having a bad day, I don't wait for it to pass. I take matters into my own hands and make every attempt to boost my mood. Here are some of the ways I use to cheer myself up when life is throwing me lemons.
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5 Favorites: Podcasts


Although I've been listening to podcasts for years, it's only recently that I've gotten seriously addicted to them. Whether you want to be educated or entertained, there's a podcast about anything for anyone. From food to sports to politics to movies and TV to fashion and beauty, there's a podcast for that.

In this week's installment of 5 Favorites, I'm sharing my current 5 favorite podcasts (and few honorable mentions, too!).

1. The Daily
I want to keep up with current events, but I don't have time to pore over newspapers, websites, or watch daily news shows to stay up to date. The Daily offers a daily podcast, 20 minutes long, with a brief synopsis of all the need-to-know news stories to keep you informed and educated. It's brought to you by The New York Times and expertly hosted by Michael Barbaro. Since I subscribe to this particular podcast, I get a notification each morning when it's available (generally by 6:30 am). Once I get to the gym, I listen to that day's episode.

2. Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
This weekly, hour-long podcast from NPR is a sort of quiz show. The podcast features a host and generally a celebrity co-host and a group of panelists. You can test your knowledge of pop culture and politics as the co-hosts quiz the panelists to see what they know (and don't know) and how well they discern truth from fiction. This is one of my all-time favorite episodes.

3. Call Your Girlfriend
This podcast is for long distance besties everywhere. But it's so much more than that. Who doesn't love eavesdropping on a good conversation? This podcast is exactly that. It's like listening in on the conversation between two best friends, tech expert Aminatou Sow and journalist Ann Friedman, who met at a Gossip Girl viewing party in DC, but whose lives took them across the country from each other.

4. Burnt Toast
Food is a part of our everyday lives so it's only natural that we should know as much about it as we can. I love this podcast because it delves deep into food origins, popularity, and cultural trends and favorites. It will give you plenty of fodder for your next cocktail or dinner party and plenty of inspiration for your next meal.

5. Tiny Leaps, Big Changes
This podcast offers insightful advice but doesn't require a huge time commitment. Each podcast is just a few minutes long but offers actionable personal development advice. Whether your vice is procrastination, anxiety, stress, or lack of motivation, you'll walk away from this podcast feeling renewed with a sense of purpose and an immediate list of to-dos.





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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to build a skincare routine via The New York Times.

2. Fifteen health benefits of apple cider vinegar via Balance Me Beautiful.

3. The 8 most affectionate cat breeds via PetMD.
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5 Tips For Staying Motivated To Workout


This post was written in partnership with prAna.

I have a bit of a reputation for being a yo-yo exerciser, but in January of this year, I made a pact with myself to regularly use my (rather expensive, but worth it) gym membership. After a few months, I had accidentally happened upon a consistent workout routine and was hooked. Today, almost a year later, I am regularly hitting the the gym, sometimes 5 times per week, and have let go of my fear that everyone else there is better, fitter, thinner, stronger than I am.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have days where I am dragging my feet up until the moment I step foot on the Stairmaster, but for the most part, I look forward to my daily workouts. Building on the mistakes I've made in the past and what I hope to accomplish in the future, I've put together this list of easy tips for establishing a love-love relationship with your workouts.



It's time to stop thinking of exercise as a chore and as another binary task to cross of your list. Exercise doesn't have to be boring or rigorous. Make a goal to do something active each day (a short brisk walk, light weight training). Some days will be more taxing than others, but the point is that if you are doing what you like, you'll begin to look forward to it and stop seeing it as a chore.

Establishing a workout routine is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the biggest mistakes I make is being too enthusiastic at the start of an exercise program. I tend to be over the top, wanting to work out every day and constantly checking the mirror for results. The key to having any success is to do it slowly and steadily and with consistency. Set a reasonable goal for yourself at the onset. Start out small and work up to bigger and better things.



Where's the fun in working out if you can't wear cute clothes? Forget the oversized t-shirts and baggy sweats. Invest in a few new pieces of active wear, and I promise, you'll be motivated to work out. One of my favorite lines of workout wear is from prAna. prAna makes sustainable, fair-trade certified clothes that are ideal for yoga, exercise, or adventure.



prAna's mission is to give people the option of reaching into their closet and dressing in items that reflect who they are. The versatile but classy clothing design makes for outfits that can be worn to work or on an adventure. 

Whether you are looking for clothes you can wear everyday or for exercise-specific clothing, prAna's clothes are for you. If you are a yogi, and adventurer, or a traveler, prAna can outfit you.

I've recently gotten back into doing yoga regularly (for me that's 3-4 times per week). I wanted a pair of pants and a new workout tank to reward myself. The Caraway Tight is a high-compression performance pant that's perfect for yoga. They are super comfortable with a wide waistband and a hidden mesh pocket.





SAVE! prAna is generously offering Pieces of a Mom readers a 15% discount on all purchases made through November 24th with code MBCSHF17




Fitness trackers are great tools for helping you achieve your goals. Not only do they track your daily fitness, but many also offer groups which can provide inspiration and support when you need it most. I love my fitness tracker because it keeps me on target and it provides friendly competition in the form of friends and our daily steps.

Many fitness trackers also provide free tips and training information as well as ways to monitor your sleep, diet, and water intake.



I've tried working out at all times of the day, and the only time that truly works for me is first thing in the morning. I get my workout clothes ready and pack my gym bag the night before so that I am ready to go (no excuses!) in the morning. I drop my daughters off at school at 7:20 and 7:50 respectively. As soon as I do that, I head straight for the gym before I can think of all the reasons I shouldn't go. I am home, showered, and sitting at my desk by 10:30. Working out first thing in the morning not only allows me to get it out of the way but it also sets the tone for a productive day.



Not only will doing the same activity over and over again yield zero results, it will also become terribly monotonous. In order to keep workouts interesting and fun, you need to constantly switch up what you're doing. I like to change up days where I workout on cardio equipment with days that I take a class or do strength training.  It keeps me from getting bored while giving my muscle groups time to recover. 

Another way to get stuck in a rut is to force yourself to love something you loathe. For the longest time, I tried to convince myself that I enjoyed running. Eventually I started to dread my workouts because I despised running. Discover what you love and pursue that passion. For me, hot yoga, a good, strenuous walking workout, and light strength training are my therapy.

See you on the trail!
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