Weekend Dispatch

Friday, March 31, 2017
This to-do list is taken directly from my own personal calendar (yes, I put my workouts and exercise classes on my calendar!). It includes what I plan to do, eat, read, and watch this weekend and some recommendation for things I've recently done. If you have something of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

The summer concert season is just a few months off, but if you want to get tickets to good seats (or tickets at all), you'll need to start planning now. The Mountain Jam Festival takes place in Hunter Mountain, New York for 3 days (June 16-18). With Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers headlining and The Steve Miller Band joining them, among many other bands. This is a must-attend for festival junkies.

And then there's the the bi-coastal Classic Concert featuring Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Steely Dan. You can catch that on the east coast at Citi Field on July 29th and 30th and at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 15th and 16th.

And if you are looking to stay local, PNC Bank Arts Center has a varied lineup this summer. You can see the full schedule here.

While we are on the subject of planning for summer, why not get hooked up with a CSA now before it's too late? Community Supported Agriculture is one of the best ways to support local farmers and enjoy the bounty of produce that the summer provides. New Jersey isn't called "The Garden State" for nothing! Here's a link to a list of CSAs per county in New Jersey, and most are taking orders for the summer now. If you don't live close to a participating one, they often distribute to their CSA customers at local farmers' markets. Be sure to inquire.

The Manasquan High School Drama Club performs Fiddler on the Roof this weekend. This is one of my favorite musicals, and I always enjoy seeing it live. You can get a sneak peek at the performance here, and tickets can be purchased at the door on the night of the performance (March 31 and April 1) or by calling 732-223-8330.

I've been into making smoothie bowls at home lately. They are perfect for breakfast or for a post-gym recovery meal. I was so excited when I saw that Julia posted her three favorite acai bowl recipes on Lemon Stripes. I am definitely going to make at least two of these this weekend. The big decision is which two to make.

When I first learned of the Missing Richard Simmons podcast, I was completely intrigued. If you are old enough to remember, Simmons was a fitness guru back in the 80s. He was famous for sweating it out and inspiring countless others to do the same. These days it appears that Simmons has, well, disappeared. He's been off the grid since 2014. The podcast is a gripping tale of the speculation over may have happened to him and where he may be.

So, tell me. What do you have planned this weekend?

Best Online Reads

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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

1. Incredible photos of cities captured from above via BlazePress.

2. The importance of distraction via Lucky Peach.

3. How long do you have to work out before you see results via Science of Us.

4. If animals could talk, here's what they'd say via Bored Panda.

5. The seven habits you need instead of passion via Mashable.

6. The best facial masks according to beauty editors via Elle.

7. The most addictive books of the last 25 years via Oprah.

8. What men and women are actually thinking on the first date via MindBodyGreen.

9. Easy ways to exit awkward conversations via Real Simple.

10. This apple crisp breakfast bowl looks like the perfect way to kick off any day via She Likes Food.

Playing Favorites

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, apps, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. 

1. Graze Snacks
I love a quick grab-and-go snack for directly after my workouts. I am usually feeling famished and somewhat weak, so a quick jolt of protein that isn't overly filling is exactly what I need. Graze snack packs offer exactly that with tons of flavor and what seems like endless varieties. My two favorite are New York Everything Bagel (cheese flavored cashews, poppy seed onion sticks and roasted pumpkin seeds) and Pro Power (black pepper cashews, edamame beans and spicy chickpeas). Find them in your grocery store or order them here.

2. Herban Cowboy's Blossom Deodorant
A few months ago, I officially made the switch to an all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant. It took a little getting used to at first. I had to re-apply it several times per day until my body adjusted to it. But knowing that it's better for me and my body makes any increased effort and cost worth it. There are many, many natural and chemical-free deodorants available. I did some research, but in the end, I chose strictly based on scent, and this one had a slightly fresh floral one that many others lacked.

3. Small Victories Cookbook
This cookbook is full of simple and achievable recipes. It includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and is full of gorgeous, mouth-watering photos. That's just about all the motivation I need to get in the kitchen and get cooking!

4. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Macchiato
It takes a lot to get me to stray from my favorite Starbucks drink: iced white chocolate mocha, but I did when I tried this new concoction. Let's break it down: espresso, almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, and caramel drizzled on top. It was a little sweet the first time I had it. I have since ask them to cut down on the cinnamon dolce syrup. But otherwise, this drink is a delicious combination of sweet and creamy.

5. First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Caffeine Matcha Wake Up Wipes
These matcha-infused wipes gently cleanse to whisk away dirt, makeup, and impurities. They also contain caffeine (in the form of matcha) to perk up a tired complexion. I love to use them post-workout because they clear the sweat and makeup (yes, I wear a small amount of makeup to the gym) from my face and also give me that little jolt to look well-rested.

6. Diets Are For Idiots (formerly Simple Steps) App
I downloaded this app in an effort to make a few simple changes to my eating habits (mainly, drink more water). But it has turned out to be a great virtual coach for me. You can set daily and weekly goals for yourself, and they can be as general or as specific as you want. I currently have a goal to drink more water at breakfast since I tend to go for iced tea or orange juice at that time of the day. I'm also trying to get more greens into my meals at breakfast and lunch. It sends reminders so you stay on course and have no excuses and allows you to skip a daily goal only twice in a week's time.

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.27.2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Now that we are a few weeks into lacrosse season, I've gotten smarter about meal planning and preparation. Lacrosse practice pick up and scrimmages do not cooperate with meal time. I've been forced to push back our dinner times. So, I've also had to adjust the menu plan to include easier and quicker meals since I've been starting to make dinner later.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Meatball Parmigiana sandwiches (using leftover meatballs from a batch the Hubs made yesterday).

Tuesday - Ground beef tacos. A classic for Taco Tuesday, and also at the request of Harper.

Trendspotting: Yellow For Spring

Friday, March 24, 2017

Yellow is such a fun, happy color. It embodies sunshine and happiness. So why then do I so seldomly wear it? Part of the reason is that I am blonde, and blondes notoriously look horrible in most shades of yellow. It washes out our skin tone and certainly does little for our hair color.

But this season's yellows are bright and vibrant, shades of yellow that actually flatter blondes. I've been making an effort to add a few yellow pieces to my wardrobe to mix things up a bit and put those dark, gloomy colors of winter behind me.

In today's installment of Friday Fresh Picks I'm sharing a few of my favorite yellow items...to wear and to decorate with.

Best Online Reads

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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

1. How smart people handle difficult people via Entrepreneur.

2. The best family summer vacations to take in 2017 via Condé Nast Traveler.

3. Five fashion trends that will be out for 2017 and 5 that will be in via Elle.

A Better-For-You Banana Split with Kemps Yo²

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Over the course of the past few years, I've been attempting to clean up my diet and make better choices about what I put in my body. While some people are able to make sweeping changes overnight, I've been slowly removing and subsequently introducing new foods into my diet over a period of months and years.

For me, slow and steady wins the race. I've been trying everything from gluten-free breads, pastries, and cookies to dairy-free cheeses to all-natural, artificial-free foods. This has been a trial and error process for me as not all foods are created equal. After three long years, I am finally rounding out my list of go-to foods with a lot of clean favorites.

The latest addition to my growing list is Kemps Yo². Since 1914 Kemps has been delighting families with its wholesome and delicious dairy products. What began as a small, local creamery in southeastern Minnesota, Kemps has grown to represent throughout the United States. Owned by family farmers, Kemps is passionate about delivering a quality product that delivers goodness from the first to the last bite.


What We're Reading

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Now that I am finally back into a reading routine, I can't seem to get enough of books. I've been trying to mix up the genres of the books I read, rotating between thrillers, biographies, popular fiction, and resource books. I'm surprising myself with some of the books that I am actually embracing that I never thought I would.

Here are the books we are currently enjoying:

What I'm Reading: Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot--and Relaunch Their Career by Wendy Sachs
For many years, I worked in the tech industry before I had my kids. After choosing to stay home with them, I wasn't sure how to re-enter the work force. I knew that I couldn't go back to being a software consultant since it required a lot of travel, but I knew I definitely wanted to go back to work. A career change was likely, but I had no idea how to go about it. This book has become as invaluable resource. I am only about half way through it, but I plan to publish a full review on the blog within the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

What Emma's Reading: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
A young girl with severe allergies who is not permitted out of her room  due to her allergies falls in love with the new boy next door. Will love be the final result or will they be forced apart forever?

What Harper's Reading: Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume

Growing up, I loved reading Judy Blume books, especially Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great! I loved the tales of friendship, growing pains, and family matters. Now, my youngest has developed a love of Judy Blume books. This book explores the pre-teen friendships and all the complications that often accompany them.

What are you currently reading? Leave a comment to let me know if you have any recommendations.

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.20.2017

Monday, March 20, 2017
I took a break from menu planning last week. It was a combination of being slightly burned out and having a crazy, up in the air week that didn't exactly lend itself to sticking to any sort of meal plan. But no fear! This week I am back in business and ready to get to it.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. This pasta is so rich and decadent. Use as much or as little sage as you like. I like to use cheese ravioli, but any kind of ravioli would be absolutely delicious!
Photo credit: Taste of Home

Weekend Dispatch

Friday, March 17, 2017
This to-do list is taken directly from my own personal calendar (yes, I put my workouts and exercise classes on my calendar!). It includes what I plan to do, eat, read, and watch this weekend and some recommendation for things I've recently done. If you have something of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Tonight we are going to see a performance of the musical Sister Act at my daughter's high school. We've seen several musicals at her high school, and they have been impressive. Her high school takes the arts very seriously and has quite a cast of talented actors and singers. If you live in the Jersey shore area and are looking to support a local high school and the arts, check it out.


Best Online Reads

Thursday, March 16, 2017

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

1. Where to get the best views of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris via Condé Nast Traveler.

2. Life-changing time management hacks via Squareup.

3. All the tears for this video of a little girl's reaction to a surprise rescue kitten via Hunto.

Splurge vs. Save

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
While I was browsing Nordstrom.com for spring totes, I came across the cutest scalloped tote when I realized that I haven't done a Splurge vs. Save post in a long time. I recognized the scalloped tote I found as a less expensive version of a designer scalloped tote that is about 5 times the price.

In the mood to throw caution to the wind? Buy the Kate Spade Scalloped Leather Tote.

In the mood to pinch your pennies? Buy the BP Scalloped Leather Tote.

Looking for the ultimate splurge? Check out this scalloped tote.

Style Crush: Nicole Richie

Monday, March 13, 2017
I've watched Nicole Richie's style evolve over the years. She has finally settled on a look that combines both classic pieces with bohemian ones for a look that is distinctively chic yet classy. She has come into her own with this style and has been an inspiration for bohemian fashionistas everywhere.

Here are a few of my favorite looks of Richie's:
image via
Boho Meets Western
I would never consider pairing a mixed print boho dress with Western-style boots, but the combination definitely works here. I love how she accessorizes with sheer black tights, a long, lightweight sweater, and of course, the fedora.

How To Create A Safe and Comfortable Home

It’s important that you create a home in which your children know they belong and in which they feel safe. They may not be comfortable in the wide world yet, but their quest for self-realization starts at home. If they can’t belong there, then where?

I always say that everything is relative. Although, to adults, the life of a child can seem idyllic and carefree, life can be hard when you’re young. You may not have to worry about work or bills, but things are far from carefree. Our little ones have to cope with the mammoth task of finding their place in the world. And let’s not forget how difficult school can be between academics and socialization. We may look back at them as the best days of our lives, but your kids have yet to gain those rose tinted glasses. You only have to look at how much homework they have to realize that school is challenging! 

photo via

Hot Health Trend: Meal Planning and Prepping

Sunday, March 12, 2017
image via
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that every Monday, I post my meal plan for the week. Most health nuts swear by meal prepping  as do most organizational freaks. It allows us to attempt to get the right amount of fat, protein, carbs and other macros in each meal and helps us to stick to their health goals and schedules each week. However, you don’t need to be an athlete, super fit gym rat, or organizational geek to take advantage of meal prepping. It’s just as useful to those who aren't health-conscious or have no organizational goals in mind.

Here are four reasons why meal prepping is a trend that you need to get on board with.


Tips For Saving Money on Energy Bills

Saturday, March 11, 2017
This is the time of year when we take one look at our monthly energy bill and go running for the hills. The rising cost of energy can be daunting. We all want to cut your consumption and keep big bills at bay, but how do we do that?

Here are a few simple tips to help you use energy efficiently and save money on your household bills:

Insulate Your Attic
The U.S. Department of Energy says that the attic is the place from which the majority of the heat in your home escapes, which makes sense because heat rises. If you want to keep more of the heat you’re paying to generate in your home so that you can use your home heating more efficiently, consider adding extra insulation to your attic. By doing so, you could cut your energy consumption by as much as 20 percent.

Friday Fresh Picks: My Favorite Off-The-Shoulder Tops

Friday, March 10, 2017
Every once in a while a trend comes along that I can't get enough of. Such is the case with off-the-shoulder tops. Last spring and summer, I jumped on the bandwagon, and this season, I am thrilled to see that the trend is still going strong. What I love most about off-the-shoulder tops is that we all have great shoulders, making this style of top universally flattering.

In today's installment of Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of my favorite off-the-shoulder tops. If you don't have an OTS top, it's time to get one!

Striped Off-The-Shoulder Top from J. Crew Factory (currently $23.50)

This top is currently my favorite. It's made of a soft, knit cotton that is so comfy. It stays up nicely so you don't have to constantly tug at it and situate it on our shoulders. Also available in maroon and white stripes.

I wore it yesterday when the weather was unseasonably spring-like.

Pompom Off-The-Shoulder Top from Willow & Clay ($79)
How cute is the pompom detail on this top? It's adorable! This top would pair nicely with white jeans or white shorts and these sandals.

Best Online Reads

Thursday, March 9, 2017

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

1. The top 37 things you'll regret when you are old via Educate Inspire Change.

2. The main differences between Advil, Tylenol, Aleve and Aspirin via Business Insider.

3. The 10 hottest suburban Philadelphia towns via Philadelphia Magazine.

How To Create The Perfect Nursery

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
It was 15 years ago that I was planning the nursery of our first baby. It was such an exciting time in our lives, and of course, I wanted everything in the room to be perfect. Since you won't have much time once the baby arrives, you want to be sure you have the nursery prepared with plenty of time to spare. In between prenatal classes, finishing off all those necessary tasks at work before maternity leave, and making sure you get enough rest, you'll want to find time to devote to creating a comfortable, relaxing, and inviting space for baby.

Image via

Here are the tasks we focused on to create the perfect nursery.


Currently Craving: Palm Prints

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Every where I look, I am seeing gorgeous palm prints. And they have me so excited for warmer weather, soft breezes, and afternoons by the ocean. This fun, tropical print is perfect for overnight bags, home decor items, especially pillows, beach towels, and clothing too!

Take a look at a few of my favorite items:

1. Beach Towel
Hands down. This is my favorite palm print item. How cute is this beach towel? Not that I need another excuse to hit the beach or pool, but this oversized towel definitely serves as one.

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.6.2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

One way to make your week go smoothly is to put together a menu plan. The key for me is to stick to quick and easy meals that I can pull together any night of the week no matter how busy my day was. Weekend meals can be a little more complicated depending on what we have going on. No matter what we are eating, I like to keep the ingredients simple and healthful!

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Bacon cheddar potato soup. Today is a chilly day. It's the perfect day for soup.
Photo credit

4 Easy Ways To Give Your Home a Clean and Airy Feel

Sunday, March 5, 2017
Is your home feeling a little tired and dreary? Now that the days are getting longer and warmer with hints of spring, it's the perfect time to refresh your home and start your spring cleaning. It’s always nice when you can get the windows open, get the air circulating and enjoy the fresh spring air.

photo via
Here are a few quick and easy ways you create a home that feels bright, airy, and beautiful.

Food Trend Alert: The Paleo Diet

Saturday, March 4, 2017
The eating plan known as the Paleo diet is a food trend that's sweeping the nation. But what is Paleo and what are the advantages and disadvantages of eating in this way?

What is Paleo?
So imagine the scene. You are somewhere in the Paleolithic era. There are no towns, and there is certainly no large-scale production or manufacturing of food. In fact, when you get a hunger pang, someone has to go out and hunt your dinner. Or you have to make use of the roots and berries that you have foraged for earlier.
image via


How To Achieve the Perfect Bathroom

Friday, March 3, 2017
Having you been dreaming of a bathroom renovation? Is an  update with all the latest in bathroom trends on your wishlist? There's no reason that you can't own the bathroom you've always been dreaming of. It takes time, effort and money, but the perfect bathroom could easily be within reach.

First, budget well. It's pointless having a half finished bathroom because you splurged on the shower and now you don't have a toilet. Make sure you can afford the basics before you spend too much on non-necessities. Budget so that everything can be completed in one go, and if not, make sure the must-haves are in place and then add on down the road as your budget allows.


Weekend Dispatch

This to-do list is taken directly from my own personal calendar (yes, I put my workouts and exercise classes on my calendar!). It includes what I plan to do, eat, read, and watch this weekend and some recommendation for things I've recently done. If you have something of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

A few weeks ago, I saw a poster hanging on the bulletin board of my local Starbucks. I glanced at it and didn't give it much thought. But the next time I was in Starbucks, I really noticed the poster advertising a documentary about women. I checked it out online and immediately purchased my ticket. Last night I attended a screening of the documentary The Goddess Project. Two amateur filmmakers set out on a cross country adventure to interview and share the inspiring stories from women of all different walks of life. The women are overcoming their fears, imagining their dreams, and discovering their true selves in the process.

This documentary is so eye-opening and inspirational on so many levels. I left the theater with my mind churning. I was thinking about all the things I want to do in my life and all the things I am capable of doing. I thought about all the things I am grateful to be able to have done and accomplished so far. I left inspired to teach my daughters the importance of the legacy of women and how each of them contributes to that legacy. Truly a life-changing movie. Go see it if it's playing in your area or you can organize a screening (check link above for info).

photo via


Best Online Reads

Thursday, March 2, 2017

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

1. The most Googled skin care trend via Allure.

2. What to clear off your Mac or PC for better performance via Apartment Therapy.

3. Easy ways to exit awkward conversations via Real Simple.

4. Thirteen rules to follow to get your errands done faster via Reader's Digest.

5. How to know when it's time to end a friendship via Greatist.

6. A 4-step trick that will help you to remember names via Prevention.

7. Nine foods that almost never go bad via Food and Wine.

8. The most valuable thing a parent can do for their kids via Oprah.

9. Seven methods to help you stay focused via LifeHacker.

10. How to decline an invitation without seeming antisocial via Business Insider.