If you’ve been watching the news, you might have similar snow day flurries in your tummy as I do! According to the weather, Winter Storm Harper is on the horizon for the Northeast! Actually, I think New York and further north is getting the bulk of it, so maybe not much here for us in Baltimore, but no reason not to get a little giddy and excited for a snow day, amiright!?
I remember when I was a kid and we wanted a snow day, we would place spoons under our pillow (it signifies that maybe *hopefully* there will be so much snow you will have to dig your way out) and demand upon wearing our pajamas inside AND backwards to bed for snow day good luck!
Plus, recital of:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord lays the snow down deep. Please give me a snow day before I wake, So I can have big snowmen to make.
Did anyone else have these quirky, crazy traditions?! Or other ones I haven’t heard of? Pretty please with snowy sugarplums on top, post your childhood traditions below! I’d love to hear them 🙂
Back in the day, I was THAT girl with the French, fake, acrylic tips. While they may have looked completely flawless to strangers, one thing’s for sure that I grew to quickly hate was how broken, brittle and quite honestly, painful my fingernails had become. I couldn’t bare to show them in public not ‘done,’ (they looked horribly paper thin) and they had been so grinned down that they physically hurt. OUCH!!
Fast forward, I decided to revamp my nails. First, by going cold turkey on the whole ‘getting my nails done,’ and second, I started researching healthier ways to keep my nails strong and happy. That’s when I found gel nails! Gel nails have a more natural look with a glossy finish. And, unlike acrylics, if the nails are primed correctly, there is no damage to the nail bed! I absolutely love Gel nails. I’ve had them and kept up with them since I’ve been about 20/21 and have the healthiest nails I’ve ever had since.
However, gel nails are also more flexible than acrylic nails. And let me tell you . . . I’m no delicate daisy when it comes to my nails. One thing I found most frustrating was that if I was rough on them, they chipped and sometimes broke; many times unreasonably early from the last time I had them done at a salon. I found myself having to check-in or have them re-done every 2 weeks, which wore on me over time. I found myself not making the time to get them done, doing DIY removal myself (which P.S. is the WORST for your nails) and just plain allowing them to look less than average for what I was paying out of pocket. #byeeemoney
Most recently, a dear friend of mine told me about her love for the trendy SNS, or “Dip Powder,” nails. Being skeptical, I naturally had a MILLION questions. Taking the leap, I decided to try it out for myself! Here’s my verdict:
The process was pretty upfront and simple.I don’t know why I was so nervous – then, again I’m nervous with anything new! The nail tech primed my nails, just as if I was having a standard gel manicure done – which I really appreciated! No abrasive grinding or shaving – just simple cuticle trim up, shaping and buffing before the powder application began. This part I found most intriguing! It’s like an art! She carefully painted an adhesive on each nail before dipping individually into the colored powder of my choice. And – my favorite part – NO UV rays!! She continued with three layers of powder before finishing out with a final shaping, buff, and –layered top coat, which took only 2 minutes to air dry with no fan.
This new manicure lasts longer than gel polish and doesn’t use UV light. The dip powder treatments have lasted me a month on average versus gel, which typically lasts me few weeks.
Many have asked me if it’s “thick” or “too fake” feeling: it’s definitely something to keep in mind as I’ve heard some women experience/feel this way. But, if you do your research, and mention it to your nail tech upon arrival, I’ve had experience with techs who have been very careful to paint the adhesive on in staggered layers away from the cuticle. This way, it grows out smoothly and naturally. Not with a huge ridge, similar to what you’re probably envisioning from acrylic nails.
Of course, the thing that makes gel or dip powder more desirable is how well they stay on. BUT – remember the small drawback that anything intended to last thing long will resultantly be rather difficult to remove. In my best advice – DO NOT do yourself/at HOME!!
The removal process is crucial. Getting the polish properly removed is just as important as the application. In my experience, most issues occur and and stem from attempts at a DIY home removal. OUCH!! It is always safest to go back to your salon and have a licensed professional remove/update any product for you.
All in all, I love the new process! It saves me time, money and lasts significantly longer, no matter how much I beat them up. As with any nail applique, remember to take care of your nails by taking breaks. Having anything on your nail for an extended length of time without proper removal and rejuvenation can be harmful, whether it be acrylic, gel, or powder.
What’s your typical nail routine? I’d love to hear! As well as your thoughts on dip powder if you’ve tried, or are planning to try?!
Woo hooo! Feeling not only FULL, but also fully re-energized after last night’s bake sesh of Keto meals for the upcoming week and even MORE eager to share them with you!
I never knew going into this how much I would love reading, learning and understanding so much about the Keto diet, the general process and the overall impact it has had on my attitude and lifestyle so quickly.
I love having a more structured and routine eating regimen, I love that I’m eliminating sugars and limiting complex carbs/foods that aren’t entirely good for my digestion – both from a daily perspective and for ongoing weight management and healthy living. I even more so love the ritual of researching & discovering new, fun recipes and ideas for tweaking, testing (taste-testing is the best part – amiright?!) and making my own!
Scroll on to see this week’s tasty delights: a NEW variation on my Pizza Chips – Hellooooo Salami! + what you’ve all been waiting for . . . Keto Chicken Nuggets
NEW Variation to my Keto Pizza Chips – Helloooo Salami!
While you may have read my original Keto Pizza Chips recipe here utilizing pepperoni, I found when I was snacking, that I couldn’t help myself but wonder if it would still be as tasty if I swapped up the meat and cheese combo in order to to have more variety throughout the week.
I tried it – and yep!Still. Just. As. Tasty!
Boars Head Genoa Salami
Kraft Natural Cheese Cubes – Natural Colby Jack
Preheat oven to 400F. Take out some cookie sheets. You may need 2-3.
Arrange salami and place cheese cubes on top – don’t worry, they’re not going to expand like cookies. They can be close together!
Bake for 10 minutes
Lay the chips onto paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
Let sit for 3-4 minutes to cool off and crisp up even more.
Nutrition: Fat: 15g Protein: 15g Net carbs: 1g
Now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . KETO CHICKEN NUGGETSSSS! DUN DUN DUNNNNN!! I have to say – when I uploaded photos of these little fried dreamboats to Instagram, I couldn’t believe all of the comments and asks I have for the recipe! So, here we go!
Keto Chicken Nuggets
The easier way to do these is likely via a deep fryer . . . but given not everyone has one of those (myself included) . . . I made do with the below steps and I LOVED how they turned out 🙂
PLEASE NOTE: I’m 99.9% sure I scared the living $%!# out of my pups while making these – LOL! If you’re not careful to keep a lid on your simmering oil, it does create a decent amount of smoke. Be sure to crank a door, a window, anything, if you possess the lack of coordination that I do.
1 Chicken Breast
1/2 oz Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Almond Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Water
WITH DEEP FRYER:
Start by heating your deep fryer to 375F
WITHOUT DEEP FRYER:
Cook a chicken breast (I cooked (3) at once for approx. 20 – 25 minutes)
Pour ¼ cup avocado oil into a deep skillet/pan and set to med – low to bring oil to a simmer
Pull chicken from oven. Cut chicken into cubes. (Don’t worry if your chicken isn’t cooked ALL the way – this is what you want! The battering and frying in the oil will finish it off just right, without allowing it to be overcooked or dry out)
Mix the grated Parmesan, almond flour, and baking powder
Add the egg and whisk
Add the water and whisk
Roll the chicken breasts in the batter until they are fully coated, then use a fork to drop them into the frying oil
Cook until the batter turns golden brown
Transition chicken bits to a sheet of paper towel to drain excess grease, cool and crisp
Calories 166 Fats (g) 8.0 Protein (g) 23.0 Net Carbs (g) 1.0
Let me know what you think of this recipe! Try it at home, tag a friend, or pass it along – share the Keto loveeeee!
Stay tuned for more recipes throughout the week!
Psst… sign up/subscribe to my blog and you can get all of my awesome recipes delivered right to your inbox 🙂
Today’s new, fun and easy Keto recipe comes to you via Keto Elk Stuffed Peppers With Cauliflower Rice!
If you’ve always been one who is curious to try a more “gamey” meat, this is DEFINITELY your opportunity! Plus, you can be extra healthy while experimenting.
Elk meat is a nutrient-dense food, meaning that it’s low in calories but contains a concentrated amount of many vitamins and minerals. It’s low in carbohydrates and fat but high in protein, zinc, vitamin B12, niacin and vitamin B6. If you are on the keto diet, or just like to experiment with low carb recipes, this keto stuffed bell peppers recipe is for you.
So, let me reiterate in saying I am NO great cook, that these are SUPER easy, and take little to no-prep time (don’t be scared away by the list of ingredients! you just end up mixing everything together):
4 bell peppers, red, yellow, or green
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup ground/diced cauliflower (this replaces the need for rice!)
shredded mild Cheddar cheese, about 1/2 cup
Cut top off of peppers, remove seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers under cold water.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.
Saute chopped onion, cauliflower and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground elk, cooked onion & cauliflower.
Divide & stuff all peppers with meat mixture and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes.
Top stuffed peppers with a little shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese just before peppers are done and bake until cheese is melted.
Once peppers are complete, top with a little basil, or any other spice you’d like.
If you’ve arrived here today, WELCOME!! Today, I’ll be promoting my NEWEST & BIGGEST challenges for January. Every New Year, I like to take on a fresh new challenge, hopefully healthy, and ideally something that will push me to be a better version of me. Plus, I need a way to keep myself distracted from my #1 of the 2 challenges I’ll be tackling:
No drinking for the month of January
A Keto Lifestyle
That’s right folks, I said NOOOO drinking. Are. You. Kidding Me. Relaxxxxx, it’s not as hard as it seems! For those that are close to me, know I LOVE my W.I.N.E., but after the hustle and bustle of the holidays it’s a great time to kick start getting back on the right fitness track. And, what better way than to keep myself distracted by learning an entirely new diet/eating régime!?
I’ve officially been doing Keto for (1) whole week. And to be honest, I’m SUPER impressed with myself! No cheating, just straight up Keto. It was super tough at first – I was one of the few to experience what they call “the Keto flu” known as the period when your body learns to transition over from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat for energy. It. Was. Rough. I could barely move from the couch.
BUT – don’t let that deter you! The way I feel now, there’s no turning back. I have even more energy than I ever have before (I barely even need coffee anymore in the AM) and I feel super focused, motivated and driven at work!
Outside of the traditional cheese, avocado, no-prep needed snacks, I’m going to take you along in my journey of cooking, baking, prepping and taste testing (and trust me – those who know me know I am NO COOK), in the world of Keto recipes.
Keep scrolling for a sneak peek into this week’s (easiest EVER) prepped snack menu:
Keto Cheese Crisps
Cheddar Cheese Slices
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Arrange Cheddar cheese in 24 small squares on the prepared baking sheets. (I folded each slice into quarters)
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from baking sheets.
Per Serving: 60 calories; 3.0 g fat; 6.0 g protein; 0.0 net carbs
Pizza Keto Chips (Pepperoni and cheese are great keto snacks. To turn them into a chip, is absolutely brilliant. A simple recipe that the kids are absolutely going to love without question. It is impossible to eat just one.)
6 oz Pepperoni
5 ¼ Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat oven to 400F. Take out some cookie sheets. You may need 2-3.
Arrange pepperoni’s – don’t worry, they’re not going to expand like cookies. They can be close together!
Bake them for about 5 minutes until they are semi-crispy and the grease is coming out of them. If they move out of place just arrange them back together.
Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for another 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little crisp.
Lay the chips onto paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
Let sit for 3-4 minutes to cool off and crisp up even more.
Per Serving: 61.3 calories; 5.3 g fat; 3.0 g protein; 0.2 net carbs
No-Bake Keto Peanut Butter Balls
1-2 100% Bakers Chocolate Bar (For dark chocolate lovers, you can use a 100% bakers chocolate bar. It is extremely bitter, but when used in these peanut butter balls, they’re perfect, as they pair with the sweet and salty peanut butter filling)
2 Cups Smooth Peanut Butter
¾ Cup Coconut Flour
½ Cup Sticky Sweetener of Choice (The sticky sweetener is necessary to not only add a tad of sweetness but also to help the dough have a soft and chewy texture. Unfortunately, using a granulated sweetener will not yield the same result. The article I found suggested using a monk fruit sweetened maple syrup, which is 100% sugar free, keto-approved and low carb. Since I couldn’t find this, I used the next closest, sugar-free, low carb syrup)
Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients, except for chocolate bar, and mix until fully combined. If the batter is too thick and crumbly, add some liquid (water or milk) slowly until a thick, formable batter remains.
Using your hands, form small balls and place on the lined plate or tray. Freeze for 10 minutes.
While the peanut butter balls are firming up, melt your sugar-free chocolate bar. Remove the peanut butter protein balls from the freezer and dip each ball in the melted chocolate until completely covered. Repeat until all the balls are covered in chocolate.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until the chocolate coating has firmed up.
I hope you all enjoyed my first Keto recipe spill!
Check back for more as I continue eating my way through Keto!
It’s been a week since we returned from Napa and I can’t tell you how much I’m still missing it everyday!
Let’s be honest – – who wouldn’t want to ring in their birthday with a 5-day span, consisting of waking up and eating your body weight in cheese & wine?!
. . . Just me?
Alrite then…. 🙂
To me, there was no place quite like it – incredible views, breathtaking landscapes, endless rolling hills, relaxing spas, delectable pairings & tastings on every corner, indescribable restaurants with wine lists longer than I’ve ever seen, consisting of wine types I’d never even heard of, and the list goes on…
First plus – they’re right next to each other. And, when I say “right next to each other,” I don’t mean the Napa version of, “right next to each other, which we learned could mean quite literally 40+ minutes apart – haha! These two are about a 2-3 minute walk from tasting room door to tasting room door. Could it get much easier than that?!
We learned all about Judy Jordan, the founder of J Vineyards & Winery, and her road to fruition in the world of sparkling wines, beginning at just 25 years old !!! Can you even imagine starting your own winery and vineyard at 25 years old…? Insanity. We had a wonderful wine ambassador & tour guide named Taylor who guided us through the storytelling of all the successes and challenges July encountered – including losing her entire crop in her early years due to flooding from the Russian River Valley. Judy had to start. all. over. from. scratch. BUT – check out the photos below to see the beauty that exists today!
I love wine.
I love touring the uniquely built facilities, filled to the ceilings with wine varieties that will be aged well beyond even some folks’ lifetimes.
I love learning the intricacy and process behind each carefully crafted ‘wine-recipe.’
I love the warmth and intimacy a bottle of wine brings to friends who enjoy it together.
I love the complicated analysis of stressing the vines juuuuust the right amount, in time for harvesting in order to get more boldness and flavor from the fruit.
It’s literally the coolest thing to me!
Moving on from our tour at J, we ventured out to Healdsburg to explore a private tour of MacMurray Estate Vineyards! Traditionally not open to the public, I felt extra special as we had the privilege of walking their gorgeous 284-acre ranch, in the heart of the Russian River Valley. And, super cool – we were also able to tour the home on-site, previously owned by a once movie legend – Fred MacMurray! The home has since been pristinely restored to the state it was when he and his family lived there. I felt like I stepped back in time 60 years – old school refrigerator and all!
Leading to the most incredible part of our day – a tasting atop the highest hill at the vineyard, overlooking the entire winery and Russian River Valley.
What. An. Incredible. Day.
BUT – – it doesn’t end there! Birthday dinner was still in store!
Having stayed in the quaint surrounding of Sonoma Square, where, “It’s sweet to be slow,” we had the convenience of a leisurely stroll through the park to the 21-year-famous, farm-to-table, longtime favorite – the girl & the fig. They had an awesome, seasonal menu with vegetables and herbs from their very own farm right in Sonoma! Rated one of the top ten best restaurants in the United States by Bon Appetit, I’ll end here on saying I truly felt like the most special, most spoiled, and luckiest birthday girl in town.
However… our adventure didn’t end here. Can you believe this was O N E D A Y ?!
Stay tuned for more following our journey of eating and drinking our way through Napa!
What. A. Trip! Just getting back from an awesomely inspiring and motivational annual M2M (Marketing to Moms) Conference in NYC and I couldn’t be more wiped – physically, mentally and emotionally.
From the first day, I knew I was in for an incredible learning experience. With a focus on finding new, relevant and compelling ways to connect with moms today, I was surrounded by strong, independent, driven Moms. While you may be thinking… marketing to Moms… what….?
Let me share a few fun facts from my findings.
Did you know…
U.S. moms control 85% of household purchases.
U.S. moms spending power is $2.4 trillion.
U.S. moms annually spend over $25,000 per toddler and $13,000 per child.
Moms are the primary source of income in 40% of US households, and 67% of those moms are single.
Moms are the decision maker. Period. And, the most interesting part… they will ALWAYS buy; not necessarily out of want or desire, but ALWAYS, always, always out of need.
And the REAL kicker…
83% of new moms are Millennials.
Eighty-three-p-p-percent. That’s REAL power. As a Millennial myself, I soaked up everything like a sponge. It truly felt like each carefully crafted speaker’s presentation specifically spoke to me and my generation.
I was in awe, to say the least. The very impressive generation of business leaders & speakers ranged from the founder and inventor of the Owlet Baby Care Monitor, a innovative sock-like device that tracks baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep (seriously – – how cool?!?), to the co-founder of Dear Mom Oregon wine, to the co-founder of STATE bags(which have partnered with JayZ, Beyonce and Obama – – JUST to name a few…), a special, heart-strung keynote from Save the Children and more.
Truly an incredible and amazing forum to learn about not only the evolution of women, but also the progression of traditional marketing, and the evolved marketing trends to incredible women – – the decision makers; the powerhouses; the movers and shakers of today’s world.
By no means do I intend this to be some sort of stereotypical post, but let’s be real in saying – – take a moment to think of your Momma. Then… try looking me in the face and telling me she isn’t a real-life boss lady that doesn’t take no for an answer and kicks some serious tail on the regular.
Not only did I walk away with a fresh, newfound wealth of knowledge and perspectives, but also with these the mindset that if there’s anything I learned, or had reinforced from the strong, relentless, fearless female leaders who spoke, it’s similar to what I’ve always preached: Be authentic. Be genuine. Be resourceful. Never, ever take yourself too seriously,and most importantly… be YOU.
Your creativity, your thoughts, your dreams, your beliefs and YOUR innovation is real. It’s valued and it’s one-of-a-kind. It’s unique. And it belongs to YOU. Own it. Always, always remember that YOU can do anything – – with the right mindset.
xoxox chat soon!
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<< fun fact: Manhattans are my favoriteeeee cocktail >>
Everything is all right when you’re wearing pink. At least to me, as that’s my favorite color! You know those crazies that color coordinate their closets? Suuuuper weird…
NERD ALERT– I’m unfortunately, but shamelessly one of them. EEEK! If you step into my closet, you find a section of blue about yehhh big, a section of green even smaller, a few bits and pieces of yellow, but the sections of black and white overtake the space, led by… the main contender… and rockstar… the PINK section!! Something about it just seems to make me, and everyone around me happy. 🙂
I found this lovely pop of color at Lord and Taylor where it’s 40% OFF! But, when I went to link out to it for y’all, I noticed they’re not selling the hot pink any longer 🙁 .
SO, I’m linking to it here! PLUS – it’s 54% OFF at Bluefly! Steal it before that color is gone! Whatever color you decide – how cute are the little el-BOWS?! 😉
This little highlight comes to you, courtesy of LAUNDRY by Shelli Segal! Seriously? Does it get much cuter?! Part of me felt like I was six-years old again in this little number, but I received so many compliments! This dress literally could not be more darling and was P-E-R-F-E-C-T for desk to drinks 🙂 . (don’t mind my little maniacs in the background… )
I absolutely loveeee the southern-belle-feeling, charming, scalloped sleeves; not to mention the dainty lace detailing along the collar, sleeves and back detailing of this dress! I’m curious to know what anyone reading thinks 🙂
I’m wearing a size small and this dress fit fairly true to size – was almost a little loose in the waist area. You can snag it on their website here! PLUS – you get 25% off your order when you join their email list, AND FREE 2-day shipping. WOOT!
Let me know if you like these little fashion teasers by commenting below!
I’d love to see where y’all find your favorite finds too!!
This weekend was a sunny one in Baltimore – hallelujah!!! It’s felt like it’s rained literally every day the past few weeks, so when the sunshine peeked out, I. WAS. AFTER. IT !!!
Plus, it breaks my heart when my poor little pups are cooped up day after day with miserable rain (I mean, seriously – look at those faces), so I always try to make it a priority to get them out and moving too when the weather breaks.
Like any typical day, you can find me constantly scrolling through Instagram, perusing for new outfits on sale, trendy coffee/wine/pup photos, orrrrr new adventures, fitness routines and places to try. Pretty much as #basic as it gets for this girl. BUT – through all my scrolling, stumbled on a post from SouthBmore.com promoting South Point’s opening in Port Covington. Clicking on their profile, I quickly noticed their Grand Opening party scheduled for August 11th, but that they also were opening early!
It’s a quick assumption on next steps – snagged the pups and jumped in the car (it’s a less than 5-minute drive from our home in Federal Hill), arriving to find barely any folks there. Selfishlyyyyy… it couldn’t have been more perfect! This peaceful, outdoor, waterfront, industrial pop-up oasis offered an array of drinks (AVA Grace Vineyards Rosé and Pinot Grigio among my favorites 🙂 ), AND yummy barbecue food truck-like delights.
PLUS – any outdoor venue that’s pup friendly is a WIN-WIN in my book 😉
If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to take a look at their website. While it’s a public park, open 7-days/week, the extra special goodies (food & drink) are only open Thursdays, Friday & Saturdays as of now.
Can’t wait to spend many more Saturday afternoons here to come.
Scroll for all the awesome photo deets!! Know of other awesome spots I should check out? Comment below!