Take Care of YOU – One Step Closer to the Cure Recap

It’s not something you ever expect or want to hear…that your friend has cancer.

Last month one of my close friends found out she had a tumor on her ovary. She had surgery to remove it and I thought that was that. She was told there was a chance it could be cancerous, but I was positive it was going to be benign and that my friend could go about her life.

A few days later I had a message from my friend’s mom saying to call back because they got the results back and my friend was very upset. My heart began to race. What does this mean? I thought she’d be ok? As soon as I got on the phone with them the dreaded words were spoken. “The tumor was cancerous.”

I tried to hold back tears as I took a breathe and started rattling off questions…what happens next? What stage is it? Will she need chemo?

Luckily, the cancer was caught early. She was stage 1. And the type of ovarian cancer she had was a rare form that responded well to chemo (if she needed it).

It has been a tough month to say the least, but I believe in my friend and know she will come out of this stronger than ever.

Before she went to the doctor my friend had been complaining of stomach pain, had a lack of energy and had digestion issues she couldn’t explain. She thought maybe it was something she ate or that it was stress related. But when nothing would let up she went to the doctor, where they gave her an ultrasound and found the tumor.

We all live such busy lives that it’s easy to write off any symptoms we may have. And more than likely our symptoms are nothing…but there is always a chance that they could be something. I like to joke that I’m a hypochondriac and I go to the doctor whenever I feel that something is off with my body. Because you’re better safe than sorry, right? So here’s my PSA to you: Don’t ignore any symptoms you have. If you don’t feel right, go to the doctor and get checked out.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Persistent abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, often a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Feelings of pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Feeling tired or low energy

On a similar note, about 5 years ago my gynecologist discovered an ovarian cyst during my annual exam. It was as big as a grapefruit and I had to have surgery to remove it. It had destroyed my right ovary and they had to remove that as well. Cysts are pretty common in women and usually there are symptoms that go along with having a cyst, but I had none (which is surprising since it was so big). Luckily, my journey ended after it was removed. But all the same this is a good reminder to get your annual exam even if you think you are healthy.

This past Saturday was the Celma Mastry Foundation One Step Closer to the Cure Walk/Run in St. Pete. This is a race I’ve wanted to do in the past, but this year it meant even more to me to be there. Not only to support my friend, but the many other women who have been through ovarian cancer.

My friend Ashley and I did the 1 mile walk. We started at Albert Whitted Park, walked past the Dali and turned around near the St. Pete Yacht Club.

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I ran into a handful of other friends who had run the 5k and the 10k in support of the cause or in support of someone they knew.

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I loved the shirts and medals they gave out…so colorful!

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After the walk we went to brunch at Cassis.

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Mimosas!

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And my favorite brunch dish at Cassis…Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Ragout.

It was a great morning and I was so glad to have been able to support a wonderful cause.

For more information about ovarian cancer and the Celma Mastry Foundation visit http://ovariancancerfoundation.org/

Turning 28

Welp, this post is a few weeks late, but I had such a great birthday that I still felt the need to share!

My birthday is on August 27, but I celebrated the Saturday before with some close friends. Last year I went all out with a ’90s themed bar crawl. This year I wanted to just do something low key and enjoy time with friends.

Jon’s sister Tori and our friend Nick came up from Cape Coral to join in the festivities. So the day started off with us getting lunch on St. Pete Beach at Rick’s Reef. $3 Bloody Marys and house made smoked salmon made for an amazing meal! Before we headed back home we stopped at Toasted Monkey for a birthday shot.

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Cheers!

I wanted to get fancy for our night out so my friend Ashley and I made appointments at a new blow bar that just opened near downtown St. Pete, called Nouvelle. What a great experience!

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We both got blow outs from the head stylist, Olivia, who was great. I wasn’t sure what she could do with my short hair, but I ended up leaving feeling like a bombshell!

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Oh yes, and when you get a blow out you also get a complimentary drink. Cheers again!

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I’ll definitely be back to Nouvelle. I love the idea of a blow bar, where you can get a quick hair style for a special night out. They also do manicures and pedicures. The staff was very friendly and I loved the welcoming feeling of the salon.

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After we were done at Nouvelle, Ashley and I made our way to Boca in Tampa for my birthday dinner.

I have been to Boca a few times and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay. Their food is fresh and local and delicious. We had a party of 14 and our waitress was amazing. She had great energy and kept up with our food and drink orders so everything moved along smoothly.

Jon and I shared the marrow bone appetizer, which is ah-mazing.

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For an entrée I went with the short ribs, which was glorious.

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After dinner I wanted to check out the new Epicurean Hotel and their rooftop bar. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The rooftop bar was very dark and there wasn’t much of a grand view. And even though we got there early in the evening there was still a crowd at the bar. Oh and I forgot that it was AUGUST and it was H-O-T. Once we all had a drink in hand we headed back downstairs and found a nice sitting area to hang out in. Much better! Good news: the drinks were great!

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All in all it was an amazing birthday. I couldn’t have asked for more than spending a wonderful day and night with great friends, food and drinks!

Cupcake Tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery *Giveaway*

*Disclaimer: Sweet Tooth Cakery invited myself and other bloggers to their shop for a cupcake tasting. Writing about our experience was not required and I was not compensated for this post.

Sweet Tooth Cakery. This place already knows me oh so well. I have always had a big sweet tooth. Cookies, cupcakes, cake…gimme gimme!

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So when I had the opportunity to participate in a cupcake tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa, I was all. over. it.

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Yes, indeed.

Our purpose of the night was to taste test three new cupcake flavors that Sweet Tooth Cakery was thinking of adding to their menu. We were given rating cards so that we could rate each cupcake for it’s taste and presentation.

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As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a special treat to start off the night…a birthday cake milkshake! So glad this was mini…if it was any bigger I would have slurped the whole thing down and had no room for cupcakes.

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We took our seats and the treats started to flow.

Cupcake #1: Kahlua Biscoff Crunch

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This was my favorite right off the bat. Full of chocolate flavor and the icing was rich and creamy.

Cupcake #2: Sweet Potato Pie

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This was the main favorite of the rest of the group. I was looking for a bit more sweet potato flavor, but overall this was still delicious. The icing had a marshmallowy texture and taste, making it reminiscent of a beloved Thanksgiving side.

Cupcake #3: Chicken and Waffles

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By far the most creative cupcake flavor I’ve ever had. This one was a little too sweet for my taste, but with the maple flavor of the cake and frosting, plus the bacon and piece of fried chicken they definitely pulled it off.

After the cupcakes we were told that there was one surprise dessert in store for us. And as we waited we were treated with a S’mores Iced Latte…delish!

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What was the surprise dessert?

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A cookie cup!

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The first cookie cup in Tampa Bay to be exact. Served with almond milk, this was mmm mmm good.

As if that wasn’t enough we were given one more dessert to take home. Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake. This was amazing!

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We were also given a parting gift of a tub full of goodies! This place was like the Oprah of bakeries.

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I am fully in love with Sweet Tooth Cakery and this is definitely going to be one of my new favorites places to stop by for a sweet treat or for a special occasion.

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They have a variety of cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, ice cream and more.

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They are also know for their milkshakes and flavored lattes. You can basically create your own latte with any flavor they have…think red velvet, almond joy, hazelnut…anything!

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You guys HAVE to check this place out. And to make sure you do, I’m giving away a $20 gift certificate to the Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa. Perfect if you have a celebration coming up, or are just in the need for a sweet treat.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is. I will announce a random winner on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Good luck!

Edit: The winner is Tammy! Congrats Tammy! Please email me your address at afullplateblog@yahoo.com and I will mail your gift certificate to you.

 

 

My Orangetheory Experience

So what am I doing now that I’ve hoped off the CrossFit train? Orangetheory!

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I have heard about Orangetheory quite a bit over the past few years and have always wanted to try a class, but just have never gotten around to it. Once I knew I was serious about switching up my fitness regimen I finally walked into my local Orangetheory to get the full low down.

The staff was very nice right off the bat. They walked me through the studio and gave a full explanation of how classes and membership work.

For those who are unfamiliar with Orangetheory it is an hour long class that combines cardio and strength exercises. They equip you with a heart rate monitor and have a screen set up in the studio so that you can see your current heart rate and what percentage of your heart rate you are working in. There are four zones: blue, green, orange and red. Blue is low, green is moderate, orange is high performance and red is all out. For the majority of the class you are encouraged to stay in the green and orange zones. Green is your fat burning zone and orange is your performance zone, where you’ll build up stamina.

After being walked through the studio I signed up for a class. When I came back for class I was given a heart monitor strap to borrow (you’ll eventually want to buy one) and my assigned heart monitor for the class. Since it was my first class I watched a quick video, which outlined what to expect in a class. Then I met one on one with the coach, who took me around and explained how to use the equipment and the flow of the class.

The class itself was awesome. For my first class we did what they call a “26/26″, where half the class spent 26 minutes on the treadmills and the other half of the class was doing strength exercises. Then we switched. I dreaded having to use the treadmill but we did intervals the entire time so I had no time to get bored. When it came to the strength exercises we did a variety of exercises using weights and our bodyweight. There was a good variation and we also hoped on the rowers in between sets to keep our heart rates up.

I loved being able to look up at the screen and see which zone I was in. It was a great motivator if I was lagging behind and a good reminder to take it easy if I was going too hard.

At the end of the workout the coach instructs you to check out your results on the screen and reminds you that ideally you should have spent the most time in the green and orange zones.

My results after my first class:

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I’ve taken two classes since and have burned more calories each time. The class is definitely a calorie scorcher!

What didn’t I like?

I get heart palpitations every now and then and even though they are infrequent I still like to inform people about it before working out at a new place. I noted on my intake form that I get heart palpitations and I was surprised that no one seemed to read over my form and inquire about them. It worried me a bit in case anything should ever happen to me.

The atmosphere isn’t the same as CrossFit. CrossFit truly feels like a family as soon as you walk in. Our coaches would have us say hi to each other before each class and reminded us to introduce ourselves to new people. I always loved this because we got to know each other easily and it further enhanced the family feel. At Orangetheory I did not meet one person officially and barely said a word to anyone. It was weird.

You have to sign up for classes ahead of time. I’m so used to just walking into a class when I know I can fit it in. My schedule can be hectic and all over the place and I’m not always sure if I can make a certain class time. And if you sign up for a class and aren’t able to cancel within a certain amount of hours you forfeit that class. Kind of sucks, but I can definitely see why they do it. So I have just been signing up for classes at the last minute.

Regardless, I decided to sign up for a membership. The price was comparable to what I was paying for CrossFit and overall I really liked the class. My goal right now is to try Orangetheory out for a few months and see how I like it and if I see positive results.

Have you tried Orangetheory?

Why I’m Breaking Up With CrossFit (For Now)

Yes, it’s true…after 1 year and 10 months I am cancelling my CrossFit membership. But not forever. I still love CrossFit and this has been a hard decision for me to make. This truly feels like a break up! “CrossFit, it’s not you, it’s me…” Why the sudden change? Here a few of my reasons.

I’m not getting the results I want

When I first started CrossFit I saw results. My muscles were becoming more defined. I felt stronger. I felt faster. I felt amazing. But about a year in I started to plateau and I stopped noticing changes. Especially after I took a break from running after my half marathon in November. I know that there are other factors that are playing into this, like needing to clean up my eats more (where did you go metabolism, where??). But I’ve also realized that my body needs more cardio. I’m already starting to add more cardio to my routine on my own, but also would like a workout that incorporates cardio as well. CrossFit can be strength heavy in their workouts and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough cardio.

I’m afraid of hurting myself

Let me preface this statement by saying that the coaches at my CrossFit box are FANTASTIC. They are extremely knowledgeable and are always making sure our form is correct. However, weightlifting is weightlifting and I’ve been feeling lately like I need a break from putting this kind of strain on my body. And when you’re in the middle of a WOD that includes lifting a certain amount of weight as fast as you can you inevitably compromise your form. I try to be as careful as I can, but it’s always a thought in the back of my head that maybe one day I could lift wrong and hurt myself.

I just plain need a change

Before I started CrossFit I went to a regular boot camp for about a year. I loved it and saw great results. But eventually I felt like I needed a change. And that’s how I’m feeling right now. This very well could be my MO, where I need to switch fitness classes every year or two. And I’m ok with that. I think it’s important to switch it up every now and then and keep your body guessing. There are SO many forms of fitness out in the world, it’s not a bad thing to explore them.

Like I said, this was not an easy decision. I’m going to miss my CrossFit classes a lot, but am excited for the next chapter of my fitness journey. I credit CrossFit for my new found confidence in my fitness ability and the ability to test my limits. And I will most certainly be taking that with me into my new form of fitness. Most of all I will miss my coaches and the amazing atmosphere CrossFit provides. It definitely feels like home to me, but I know that I’ll return eventually.

Have you changed up your fitness routine recently? 

Gourmet Hot Dogs and Applegate’s Weinervention

*Disclaimer: Applegate graciously offered to send me their Weinervention kit. I was not asked to blog about the items, but want to share how awesome Applegate is! I was not compensated for this post.

As much as I love to eat healthy foods, I also love my comfort foods. And when healthy meets comfort? I’m so there.

So when I got an email from Applegate asking if I wanted to join in on their Weinervention and receive their Weinervention kit I replied with a resounding YES. I have always been a fan of Applegate products. I buy their bacon regularly and love their breakfast sausage. I couldn’t wait to try their hot dogs!

Yes, Applegate products are delicious, but what do I really love about them? They’re CLEAN. No chemical nitrates or nitrates added. No artificial ingredients. No fillers. No GMO ingredients.

ag Applegate’s Weinervention is all about introducing people to a cleaner weiner. So when I received the kit I asked Jon if he wanted to have some friends over so we could cookout and have some good ol’ fashioned hot dogs. He was in and our friends, Kyle and Jesse were in. I leave for work and by the time I get home Jon has taken good ol’ fashioned hot dogs to gourmet hot dogs. Hey, I’m not complaining!

ap2 My kit included:

  • Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs
  • Rudi’s Hot Dog Buns (White and Gluten-Free)
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup and Mustard
  • Rick’s Pick’s Relish
  • Applegate Apron
  • Grilling tool set
  •  Frisbee
  • Mini Applegate Cooler
  • Susty paper straws and napkins

Unfortunately, the grill outside of our condo complex wasn’t working so we had to nix the cookout and make the hot dogs over the stove.

photo 2 Still good! photo 3 Jon made two plates with different toppings so we could top our dogs with what we wanted. The first plate had Bahn Mi toppings (shredded carrots, shredded jicama, jalopeno, cucumber, cilantro and a siracha cream sauce). The second plate had pate, bacon, garlic paste, sauerkraut and sautéed onions. We didn’t really have a name for this one so call it what you will. We just called it delicious! My favorite was the Bahn Mi though since I’m a big fan of Bahn Mi. photo 1 The hot dogs themselves tasted wonderful. They were full of flavor and went perfectly with the buns and toppings. I have never tried gluten free buns before and was pleasantly surprised at how soft and fluffy they were! They tasted just like regular buns. I was not a huge fan of the whole wheat buns though. I usually love whole wheat bread, but these were a bit too dense for my taste. photo 4 For sides I picked up some Publix homestyle potato salad and made this corn and tomato salad, which was very tasty. photo 5 We had a great time making our gourmet hot dogs and I’m happy that I still have another pack of hot dogs waiting in the freezer. I’m having visions of cut up hot dogs in mac and cheese a la elementary school. photo 6 Thank you Applegate!

Have you tried Applegate hot dogs or any other Applegate products? Comment below for a chance to win your own Applegate Weinervention Kit! I’ll announce a winner on Monday, July 28.

**UPDATE: The winner of the Applegate Weinervention Kit is Scotty S.! Congratulations Scotty, I have emailed you with how to redeem the kit. Enjoy!

My Favorite Places For Healthy On The Go Meals

One of the major changes I needed to adjust to with my new job was my eating schedule. I’m either at home or I’m out and about going to meetings, events, visiting with coworkers, etc. I’ll often find myself out around lunch time and the inevitable question presents itself…where should I go get lunch?

Thankfully, I’m highly turned off by fast food (i.e. MacDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King). Also, thankfully, I’ve found that there are many places where it is easy to stop in and grab a healthy meal.

Here are some of my favorite places to go and grab a quick, healthy meal. Convenient doesn’t have to be bad for you!

Panera

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This one is probably the post obvious, but who doesn’t love Panera? With an array of soups, sandwiches and salads your taste buds can never get bored. I also love how they list their calories on their menu. I’m a big fan of the You Pick Two and my new fav combo is the Roasted Turkey Avocado Sandwich and the Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. I highly recommend getting their rewards card for freebies and discounts!

Little Greek

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Even though this place is a chain it’s my favorite Greek place in St. Pete (there’s not a lot of options). I haven’t even had their gyro because every time I go I can’t help but get their Greek salad. Their grilled chicken is amazing! It has that grilled taste and really makes the salad.

Chipotle/Tijuana Flats

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I’m a burrito bowl lover and both of these locations offer an awesome, fresh tasting burrito bowl (in Tijuana Flat’s case it’s the Noritto Bowl). Rice, beans, meat and salsa. Can’t go wrong with that.

Rollboto

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This is a local eatery that serves up sushi at a fast pace. Think of Subway but with sushi. You can choose from one of their signature rolls or create your own. You can even substitute brown rice! They also have lots of healthy side options such as miso soup, seaweed salad and cucumber salad.

Publix/Whole Foods/Fresh Market/Rollin’ Oats

I love Publix for when I want a freshly made wrap. It’s also easy to grab healthy snacks like fruit bowls, veggies, etc. Whole Foods has an awesome (albeit costly) salad bar and I love that I can grab a pre made juice/smoothie. Fresh Market also has freshly made sandwiches, salads, sides and sushi already ready to grab and go. Rollin’ Oats is one of my favorite grocery stores in St. Pete. They also have a grab and go area with freshly made sandwiches and salads. Or you can order off their menu at their café. I also love getting a fresh juice or smoothie here as well.

What are your favorite on the go places?

Ugly Smoothies and Easy Weeknight Meals

Smoothies are another one of my favorite breakfasts. I’ll usually have them if I work out in the morning as the second part of my breakfast. I’ll have a KIND bar or almond butter and fruit pre workout and a refreshing smoothie post workout.

Can any one explain to me why the yummiest tasting smoothies are the ugliest?

Exhibit A

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Ugly icky color, but it was good!

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Strawberry Banana Ginger Smoothie

1 banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 handful spinach

1 tbsp. ginger

1/2 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla)

1/2 cup greek yogurt

Blend on high. Pour. Try not to let the color get to you. Enjoy.

My mornings seem to always be more low key than my nights. I seem to have time now to wake up, decide what I’m in the mood for and whip it up without having to worry about being somewhere at a certain time. Most days any way.

But as the day goes on, there’s meetings, emails, working out, taking Maddie to the dog park…before I know it dinner time is near and I have NO clue what to eat.

I’ve started to gather some go-to recipes that are tasty, healthy and most importantly EASY to make during a hectic work week.

Copycat Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Rice, beans, chicken, guac…what’s not to love? This is a great recipe when you’re in the mood for Mexican, but want something that won’t leave you feeling like you need a siesta after.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

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There are simple roasted pork tenderloin recipes all over the internets. I learned from Jon to sear it on all sides until it’s browned before putting it in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes. You can make a simple pan sauce with butter, flour, wine and chicken stock. I most recently used this one. Serve with roasted potatoes and your favorite veggie.

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

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Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t rave enough about this recipe. It is not only simple, but it is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite dishes to make. Best served with white or jasmine rice and your favorite veggie.

What are your favorite easy weeknight meals? Feel free to share!

 

Currently Loving…

Dogeared Rings

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This was a Nordstrom Rack find. Originally $42(!) but I got it for $19. They have initials, but I couldn’t find a K. I fell in love with this one instead. I love the look of all of their jewelry. So delicate and simple…definitely my style!

Abound T-shirts 

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Another Nordstrom Rack find. These tees are soft, comfortable, fit well and are only $10! I am such a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal…I have 5 of these tees now and hoping they last.

This Buzzfeed Article

Anyone who knows me well knows I have an addiction to the Real Housewives on Bravo. I can’t help it! This article had me in hysterics…the gifs perfectly describe what a marketing department is like!

Heads in Beds

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I picked this book up awhile ago and just started reading it. I love memoirs and I thought I’d really enjoy this one since I worked at a resort for 5 years. I’m loving it! I’m flying through the chapters. The author has great humor and I can’t believe some of his stories!

Burlesque 

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A few friends and I had a girl’s night out recently where we went to see a Burlesque show. It was my first and unfortunately it wasn’t the best. I thought there’d be more dancing, but it was more of a cabaret style. It still made me excited to see my next show. I’ve heard Suicide Girls are really good.

This Announcement

The Sundial is a landmark in downtown St. Pete that everyone has been waiting for. They are finally starting to announce store and restaurant openings. Including the opening of this farm to table restaurant and market! I can’t wait until this opens in the fall.

Bacon Peanut Butter Banana Honey Oatmeal

AKA Elvis oatmeal.

I’m not sure what sparked this thought, but last night I was thinking about bacon, then peanut butter, then breakfast. And all of a sudden it was like a neon sign flashing in front of me. “Bacon and peanut butter…in…oatmeal. Oh, and let’s throw banana in there too! Mmm I can’t wait for breakfast.”

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I love oatmeal. It’s one of my standard go to breakfasts. So simple. So easy. So filling!

I start with a 1/2 cup of Publix rolled oats. Then a 1/2 cup of almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla). To add some sweetness I add a tablespoon of honey.

Mix it together. Pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Voila!

Now for the toppings that were dancing in my dreams…

Mmm bacon…

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I sliced half a banana on top (ate the other half while I was cooking the bacon). Then a tablespoon of all natural creamy peanut butter. And then…the bacon.

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Take a pretty picture, then swirl it all together for delicious mush.

As Elvis would say, “Ahummana hummana”.

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Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp. honey

Half of a banana, sliced

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 piece of bacon

1. Cook one piece of bacon on medium high heat in a skillet. Place on plate, blot excess grease with a paper towel and set aside.

2. Add oats, milk and honey together and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Heat in microwave for 1:30. Stir.

3. Add banana slices, peanut butter and bacon. Mix together. Enjoy!

 

 

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