You Betta Belize It! Check Out Cheery & Charming’s Must See Spots (+ What You Need to Know) if You’re Considering A Visit to Ambergris Caye’s Great Barrier Reef!

This past New Year’s Eve, we decided to celebrate a little ‘less’ traditionally: we planned a trip to Ambergris Caye, Belize!!

Some of you may know this trip was our second time visiting Belize; our first adventure being on our honeymoon! Throughout our first visit, we realized quickly we loved the country, the scenery, the water, and especially the people and culture so much so that we simply couldn’t get enough. We knew we wanted (and needed) to go back and, after this most recent trip, we still haven’t gotten our fill!

If you’re looking for a new spot to add to your travel bucket list, please do yourself the favor in adding this gorgeous destination to your vision board. While it’s relatively affordable and easier to get to than other exotic options, there are a few tips and pieces of advice I’m sharing here to get the smoothest experience out of your travel, and start building your list of MUST sees!!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Southwest flies here! This makes booking travel super easy and fairly affordable to most. Even better – get yourself a Southwest credit card! I was able to hook us up with free flights using points from my everyday purchases. While I haven’t been able to find a direct flight via any airline just yet, most layovers are a mere hour or so.
  2. Arriving Checklist:
    – You’ll fly into the mainland (BZE airport). From there, you will have needed to arrange travel in advance for getting from the mainland to the island, Mon! Options are by air or by sea.
    OPTION 1: There’s a water ferry that transports guests to the island for about $40-$50/way, but PSA: it does take a little over 2 hours from point A to point B, not including the time it takes to get to the boat port from the airport.
    OPTION 2: Personally, our preference is to save a few extra pennies and splurge for the puddle jumper plane to and from San Pedro. Thankfully, there are only (2) airline options, so it makes your decision easy between Tropic Air & Maya Island Air. While this option is a tad more expensive alternative, est. $170/pp/way, you’re there in only 20 minutes, and you get to see the gorgeous clearwater views on your final stretch.

    – Once you’ve landed on the island, there isn’t much, if any, public transit available. You will want to pre-schedule some variation of pickup of yourself and your luggage with your resort/staying accommodations from the San Pedro airport.

    FUN FACT: There are little to no cars on the island! The most common method of transportation is via gas-powered golf carts, which you’ll want to be sure you reserve in advance for getting around town/around the island. Last visit, we used Sam’s Golf Cart Rentals and couldn’t have had a better experience! They even were super flexible with us in extending our golf cart rental at the last second for a few additional days. 🙂

YOU’VE ARRIVED! …. now what?

While everyone has different vacation agendas, here’s a list of my favorite spots compiled from both visits! While there’s still a ton to see on this little gem of an island, I sure my list barely even scratches the surface in regards to unique finds 😉
I hope to be able to update and/or add a new entry the next time we make it back. The island is full of new business development, so there’s always new shops and concepts emerging as well as restaurants popping up. If you happen to stumble on a favorite or two, please comment at the bottom of this article so I can keep adding to my “MUST-see list” !!

  1. Estel’s Dine By the Sea
    THE breakfast spot in Ambergris Caye! It’s downtown on Front Street/right on the beach front. You’ll want to arrive early, or earlier than starvation mode as this spot is always packed, but the food is 100% worth the wait!
  1. Crocs Sunset Sports Bar
    In town during football season? This is the coolest spot to post up for any sports game watching on the island. If you’re sweet to the staff, they’ll ensure the game you’re there to watch is streamed on the nearest TV to your seat 😉 PLUS – don’t miss the stunning views of the lagoon side of the island at sunset!
  2. Matachica – Mambo Restaurant
    Incredible dinner spot on the Matachica Resort! While it’s a little further out from town – think 20 minutes or so of golf cart riding, it’s worth the hike. You may want to head this direction before the sun sets though, as this restaurant is well past where the more formal road paving ends and there’s limited lighted streets.
    You can’t go wrong with the menu! It’s MUCH larger and filled with more seafood options when you arrive in person versus what’s noted on their site. We enjoyed the authentic Italian bruschetta, tenderloin carpaccio, calamari fritti, and spicy gazpacho from the app section! I don’t see the fresh seafood entrees we went with on here, but everything we had was mouth watering.
  3. Secret Beach – Maruba Beach Klub
    We actually missed going to this spot the first time we made it to Ambergris Caye and man was I bummed once we did made it!! It’s quite a drive (about 4 mi north of the downtown bridge, and then west another 3.5 mi), but a really unique area filled with restaurants, beach chairs, bars, massage and pedicure options – IN THE WATER! (does it get any better than that?!), colorful swings, local shops and more.
    P.S. While it’s called ‘secret beach,’ it’s far from a secret anymore, as it’s likely one of the most touristy spots on the island, but totally worth the visit 😉
    Maruba Beach Klub was my favorite place we saw with great service, yummy drinks, tasty food, and comfy adjustable lounge chairs for posting up in right on the water . Although we really wanted to make it back a second day to explore the other spots!!
  1. Rain Rooftop Restaurant
    Beautiful view! We spent our New Year’s Eve dinner here, before heading down town and enjoyed the vibrant decor, live music and friendly staff. Also a really great location, as part of The Grand Caribe Resort – you don’t have to go far!
  1. PUR Boutique Cabanas & Taco Bar
    Loved this little gem! Really great tacos! PUR Boutique Cabanas is new since we last had been to Ambergris Caye. A cozy & tranquil spot just south of The Grand Caribe resort, this boutique hotel is adorned with 6 queen & king suites – some even with their own private plunge pools!
    While we didn’t stay here (maybe next time!), we enjoyed dinner al fresco adjacent the multicolor LED lit pool. They had both vegan, low-card and gluten free options available!
  1. Carambo Restaurant & Bar
    THIS. PLACE. WAS. THE. BOMB. !!!
    We had no idea what we were getting into at Carambo. We stumbled on this as a local recommendation by one of the bartenders we befriended at Crocs Sunset Bar and it absolutely was NOT one to miss.

    The decor and family heritage made me feel similarly to if I had stepped into an island version of the legacy Tio Pepe Baltimore restaurant. After being greeted by our server, we were prompted escorted outside – yes, outside – to pick out our dinner!

    Lining the front of the restaurant was an open, market-like spread of all the fresh caught seafood you could imagine: lobster tail, shrimp, red snapper, yellow snapper, scallops… enough to make your stomach full just by looking at the spread!! How to order you ask? By simply walking with your server down the line to hand pick exactly what you’d like prepared on your plate to perfection!
    Seriously one of the coolest spots we’ve found to date on the island!!
  2. Palapa Bar
    Into night life? Palapa bar is a fun, happening spot in the center of downtown in you’re looking for a little post-sunset fun! While most places tend to wind down earlier on the island (think 9-10PM), this is a great option for keeping the fun going. There’s typically a live DJ every night and a lively crowd. If you visit during the day, they have inner tubes tied by the dock that you can float on in the crystal clear water while you enjoy your snacks and bevvies 🙂
    PPSSSTT… there’s also a buy 1, get one FREE drink coupon on their website!

I think that wraps it up!

Got questions? Reach out to me! I have even more photos over on my instagram and ove connecting with my readers!

Check me out at @brittanyleighxo

Cheers & talk soon!
xoxo
Brittany

Cheery & Charming’s Traveler’s Guide: 10 MUST See Places When Visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico

Well, well, well . . . Puerto Rico – like other islands we’ve had the blessing to visit, was absolutely beautiful. The sunsets were stunning, the food was amazing and the culture of Old San Juan was priceless! I wish we had the time to visit all the reco’s we received before visiting, but with a jam-packed, short four days, I’m posting my personal, favorite finds here:  

1. Serafini Beach Hotel
This spot was absolutely STUNNING. Talk about feeling like you’re on the edge of the ocean – a quaintly designed infinity pool, waves crashing and live jams. I was super bummed to have stumbled here on our last day, as we weren’t able to take full advantage of the amenities, but the staff was warm, welcoming and nice enough to hold onto our luggage while we explored during our last day – even with not having stayed there!

2. Cochina Abierta 
Umm… YUM. That’s all I have to say. Although, to be transparent that it was definitely more on the pricey side of the meal options we had while in San Juan, it was worth it for sure. Wanting to try everything on the menu, the four of us went family style, which also made it feel like we got a lot more ‘bang for our buck.’ They have a seasonal, farm-to-table menu, but in the event you see any repeats, here we the table favs!

– Croquettes filled with porcini mushrooms, truffle oil & tomato chutney
– Octopous causa over a bed of purple potatoes, black olive “crema,” & hibiscus pickled quail egg
– Fresh local catch ceviche seasoned with chiles, cucumber & tropical fruits
– Goat cheese and ortica leaf ravioli over charred tomatoes Passata, parmesean cheese & roasted pine nuts
– And accompaniments Gratin of creamy yucca and cauliflower + Ember roasted veggies


… is your mouth watering yet?!

3. Tacos & Tequila by Patron – inside the Condado Vanderbuilt Hotel
Yet ANOTHER breathtaking spot. This gem, located inside the Condado Vanderbuilt Hotel is another space we stumbled on during our last day that I wish we had more time to enjoy. The views were incredible and they had multiple areas to lounge in the ocean-side, shallow infinity pools & hot tubs.
But, one thing we WERE able to enjoy were the giant margaritas and delicious tacos! I had (2) crispy fish tacos and (1) pork belly taco – some had (3) of all different kinds! It was fun that you can order all three the same, or mix and match what’s on the menu.

4. Alambique Beach Lounge – NEXT DOOR: “For Lifeguards Only”
The day we visited Isla Verde Beach, we were in search of… you guessed it… even MORE tacos! While the Alambique Beach Lounge was hopping, we decided to try the smaller, more intimate spot to the side of it called “For Lifeguards ONLY,” and SO happy we did! In recapping our trip, this place, hands-down, had the BEST fish tacos we had the entire time we were there. The staff made you feel like family as they graciously served you tacos OVERFLOWING with goods and crisped to perfection. Deliciouso!!

5. Piu Bello Gelato & Restaurant
Being a firm believer that you can’t let any vacation go without the local ice cream and/or gelato, Piu Bello was great! We ended up having a great chat with the owner, who coincidentally used to live in Baltimore! What a small world!! Oh, and the gelato was delightful. I mean, who doesn’t like a sprinkle cone?!

6. La Placita de Santurce
Definitely a must see! This is the “party-scene” of San Juan – a full “block-like” plaza square of everything you could imagine having in one spot:
music, dancing, clubs, some food, nightlife, fine dining and casual bars and restaurants alike. While we were there on a Wednesday, it wasn’t quite as “hopping” (which was honestly sort of nice), but it was cool to pop around a number of spots without having to jump back into an uber or cab.

7. Barrachina 
Eeeee! One of my favorites!! Barrachina is most well-known for a traditional Spanish bartender Don Ramon Portas Mingot, who in 1963, created what became one of the world’s most famous drinks: the Piña Colada.  With the reputation of 50 years in the business, they certainly did not disappoint. Look at that beaut!

8. Isla Verde Beach 
While we had a beautiful view and beach where we stayed, at Condado Del Mar, I think everyone agrees that you shouldn’t spend an entire vacation in one spot. SO, this is my top beach pick for the places we were able to make it to during our time in San Juan. There are a number of beach bars, convenient to the beach so you can grab a quick bite to eat, without losing too much beach time. Plus, it’s always fun to immerse yourself in more of the local culture – everyone we encountered here was friendly and welcoming. Then again.. who wouldn’t be on a nice day at the beach? 🙂

9. Fortaleza Street – Old San Juan
A bustling street in Old San Juan full of shops and boutiques! I really can’t place enough emphasis on the true, authentic sense of San Juan’s culture you receive by visiting here. From handmade treasures to uniquely manufactured Puerto Rican finds, there’s an array sights for everyone to see – including my favorite – Fortaleza street, which is lined with parasoles! And, depending on when you visit, they’re always different colors, so no visit is ever the same.

10. Di Zucchero
And, finally… DiZucchero! This was our first night’s dinner adventure and WHAT an adventure it was – CHECK. OUT. THAT. FISH. Located across from the San Juan Condado Mariott, this final “must see” could very well be listed first. The food was incredible, the drinks amazing (they’re know for their fresh squeezed/crushed daiquiris) and our server was the best! It was a great kick off to our trip, and an awesome way to close out this post 🙂

And that’s a WRAP! I hope you enjoyed scrolling through my reco’s and feel compelled to share some of yours!

Until next time…

xoxo
Brittany

Cheery & Charming Traveler’s Guide: 8 NEW Places to Visit in New York City

As always, New York was a whirlwind! Up and back in 2-days, via the Vermonter & Acela Express made for a jam-packed, fun and exciting adventure for our Valentine’s Day this year. Aside from my first time at Madison Square Gardens + seeing Billy Joel live, we covered a TON of ground and visited a slew of new spots!

Whenever I find fun, new spots, I’m always pressed to share! So, I’m quickly jotting down my top 7 favorite places we visited for any of you who may be looking for a cool, trendy or cozy new spot to check out next time you’re in the area!

  1. Hanoi House
    We had dinner here Thursday night and let me tell you – it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. Placed appropriately on the historical, adventure seeking, 119 St. Mark’s Place, you’ll arrive in a (not-so-surprisingly-small), delicately quaint, romantically dimmed, intimate spot in East Village. But – don’t let the size fool you. Hanoi House is known for “The Absolute Best Pho in New York,” “The Absolute Best Octopus in New York,” “The Absolute Best Vietnamese Restaurants in New York,” and more. I mean . . . WOW!!! Once you’ve had a moment to take in the eloquent details, brace yourself as you’re about to be spoiled with a breathtaking, unbelievable, well-cultured, imaginative display of Vietnamese cuisine! From the Crispy Crab & Pork Spring rolls (Nem Ran), to the Spicy Octopus (Bach Tuoc Ca Ri) – delightfully displayed over roasted sweet potatoes, coconut curry, charred scallion and shishito peppers, to the Hanoi Style Beef Pho Soup (Pho Bac), – a classic 16-hr broth with heritage Black Angus filet mignon, brisket & rice noodles AND an add-on option of bone marrow (must have!) on the side, our dinner was simply divine. The only thing that will leave you feeling disappointed after this visit, is the wish that you could fit everything on the menu in your belly!
    P.S. make sure you get there early!! They don’t take reservations and the place was nearly filled upon our arrival, 15-minutes post their opening at 5:30.
    P.S.S. our dear friends own this place, so go. check. it. out. !!!
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  2. Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria NYC
    I don’t know about you, but I know that when I visit New York City, I’m not leaving until I’ve had a proper slize of za 😉
    Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria is more formally known in the Staten Island area of New York. Wanting to break in and make their presence known in the Manhattan area, they opened their NEW location at 168 1st Avenue. Priding themselves on a secret Neapolitan recipe for a special thin crust pizza that has made their restaurant famous, I was so glad to have enjoyed this gem during our trip! We sat at the antiquely pounded copper counter top on the corner of the bar and enjoyed catching up with friends and admiring the original, characteristic stained glass windows before, quite literally, demolishing our pizza. Looking for the perfect NY fold? You found it!! Can’t decide which kind to try when you visit? Psst… if you order a large, they allow you to do half and half! But, they also have a smaller, personal 10” option as well. Not to mention – the bartender and staff were  amazingly warm and welcoming, making for a fun, social lunch break on Friday!
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  3. C&B – East Village, Thompson Square Park
    I’ll keep this one short and sweet, just like this shop! Seriously one of the cutest little coffee shops in East Village! We stopped in for a quick espresso (always needed!) and loved seeing the kitchen staff live, in action, flipping, kneading and pounding their homemade dough!! I mean, you just can’t get that just anywhere in Baltimore! Plus, you can take your coffee/espresso/latte and enjoy a casual stroll around Thompson Square Park after, which is right across the street!
  4. Tacombi
    SALT! SALT! SALT! LOVED this Mexican spot we found on 267 Elizabeth Street. And come on … a old school, authentic Volkswagen Bus as the taco-making station?! We only stopped in for a quick taco (or two…) and kept on our exploring, but the atmosphere was so traditional and genuine, it’s definitely worth a visit and some cliché photos! P.S. the tacos were awesome too!
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  5. L’AMICO
    This is probably one of my favorite spots in NYC – although a little more ‘commercial,’ in feel, the atmosphere is to die for and this is going to sound weird, but I love their bathrooms! Haha! While separate male and female, the hand-washing station connects the two via a shared wash-sink area with a reflective, stained glass like mirror for separation. It’s a great spot for a casual happy hour, quick bite at the bar (they have amazing selection of appetizers, wood-burning pizzas, fresh pastas, and selections of charcuterie), or in our circumstance, a late night cap for topping off Saturday evening after the concert. We stayed in the hotel above it – The EVENTI, which I would TOTALLY recommend if you’re ever seeing a show at Madison Square Gardens. It was about a 5 minute walk from the concert!
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  6. BUA Bar
    Cute and friendly spot to stop to get a snack or drink beforehand if you try our Hanoi House! It’s right across the street and felt so intimate. The space is decorated with countless lit candles that grace spaces in the walls where bricks have intentionally been removed. Candles also delicately and artfully line random fashion behind the bar liquor bottles, shelving, and pretty much anywhere you look!
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  7. Westside Market
    Talk about a local food market!! I WISH we had something like this in our small town, Federal Hill! Then again, I get we may not have the same volume to sustain this type of operation 🙂 It felt like I had walked into the Costco-version of a market! Never-ending, colorful supply and variety of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, deli meats, cheeses, traditional grocery, flowers and more! Super cool spot to stop by, take in the colorful spreads and patronize a local business (with some salty and sweet snacks while you’re there!)
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  8. The Pennsy Food Hall
    Last, but not least – and definitely not a big secret as it’s right above Penn Station, but this is a great, vibrant and convenient spot to grab-and-go a snack before you catch the train ride home. It’s more of an incubator-type feel with a variety of small eateries, so there’s a little something for everyone. From sushi, to tacos, to bar food, to sweet treats, ice cream and more! Plus, they sometimes have a DJ that slings throwback songs and top beats to get you boppin’ and grovin’!

Do you have any favorite spots or gems to share? I’d love to hear! Ping me in the comments below!

Talk soon!

xoxox
Brittany

Mamma Mia! NEW: Keto Italian Stuffed Meatball Recipe for the Books

For some, odd, I can’t-explain-it reason, I was so intimidated by the idea of making meatballs. I know . . . call me weird. But, it felt like everyone had their own “special” or “secret” recipe, sometimes dating back generations of family. BUT – it turns out, most of those recipes don’t fall within Keto diet guidelines anyway!

While traditional meatballs are not keto, I’m here to help you with an awesome, SUPER easy, Italian Stuffed Keto Meatball alternative.

Typically, meatballs contain bread/crumbs as their main ingredient. This helps the balls maintain their shape. The presence of bread is a direct keto violation, but here’s a solution! (don’t be scared away by the number of ingredients – you just end up combining everything together! 🙂 )

Servings: 4

Split equally into 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 tbsp Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Large Egg
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper Sprinkled for Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Mix meat and all other ingredients together
  • Form into meatballs
  • Lay on a foil covered baking sheet
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Serve over spinach with sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition
Calories            594
Fats (g)              44.8
Protein (g)        36.8
Net Carbs (g)    3.8

Seriously… HOW FLIPPING SIMPLE?! Great for lunches on the go, hearty dinners and for satisfying your favorite Italian food cravings! And these are delicious . . . I PROMISE you!

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Give them a try and post your review/comments below 🙂

Talk soon!
xoxox
Brittany

 

Cozy Snow Day Work Outfit

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 🙂

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white furry vest // white top // high waisted j brand jeans // ralph lauren riding boots // gucci leather belt

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . .

xoxox
Brittany

NAILS: One Thing You Can Get In Shape Without Exercise

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?!

Talk soon!

Xoxox
Brittany

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NEW Keto Recipe: Chicken Nuggets

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’m addicted!

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!

Ingredients:

  • Boars Head Genoa Salami
  • Kraft Natural Cheese Cubes – Natural Colby Jack
  • Paprika Powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Take out some cookie sheets. You may need 2-3.
  2. Arrange salami and place cheese cubes on top – don’t worry, they’re not going to expand like cookies. They can be close together!
  3. Bake for 10 minutes
  4. Lay the chips onto paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
  5. Let sit for 3-4 minutes to cool off and crisp up even more.
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition:
Fat: 15g  Protein: 15g  Net carbs: 1g

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 oz Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Water

Directions:

  • WITH DEEP FRYER:
    1. Start by heating your deep fryer to 375F
  • WITHOUT DEEP FRYER:
    1. Cook a chicken breast (I cooked (3) at once for approx. 20 – 25 minutes)
    2. Pour ¼ cup avocado oil into a deep skillet/pan and set to med – low to bring oil to a simmer
    3. 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)
    4. Mix the grated Parmesan, almond flour, and baking powder
    5. Add the egg and whisk
    6. Add the water and whisk
    7. Roll the chicken breasts in the batter until they are fully coated, then use a fork to drop them into the frying oil
    8. Cook until the batter turns golden brown
    9. Transition chicken bits to a sheet of paper towel to drain excess grease, cool and crisp
    10. Enjoy!

Nutrition:
Calories 166  Fats (g) 8.0  Protein (g) 23.0  Net Carbs (g) 1.0

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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 🙂
Talk soon!

xoxo
Brittany

Eat Your Veggies . . . with ELK!

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):

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Cut top off of peppers, remove seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers under cold water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.
  4. Saute chopped onion, cauliflower and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. 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.
  6. Divide & stuff all peppers with meat mixture and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Top stuffed peppers with a little shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese just before peppers are done and bake until cheese is melted.
  8. Once peppers are complete, top with a little basil, or any other spice you’d like.
  9. Enjoy!

Nutrition:

Calories: est. 387, Fat: 26g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 22g

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We made (4) at one time so I could plan on taking one to work with me the next day. For those wondering how it weathered/tasted the next day . . .

I just indulged and it was deeeee-licious!

I hope you enjoyed peeking at this recipe and bookmark it to try it at home yourself! Let me know how it goes!

Stay tuned for more . . .  🙂

xoxo
Brittany

A Birthday Getaway to Napa Valley

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…

Day 1 of our trip (was my birthday – WOO HOO!!!) began with a first quick stop at Rodney Strong Vineyards and a tour, tasting and pairing at J Vineyards & Winery.

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?!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

xoxo
Brittany

P.S. Here’s a video of all the fun in action 🙂

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An Empire State of Mind

CheeryandCharming_NYC_EmpireStateBuilding1What. 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.

#AnEmpireStateOfMind

xoxox chat soon!
Brittany

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