How Compression Helps You Be A Better Runner

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of compression socks from Tiux in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

When I first started running and training for my first race my body didn’t know what to do with itself. My leg muscles were being used more than they had ever been used. While training I became familiar with some common running injuries. Specifically shinsplints and tight calf muscles. As a new runner I turned to my good friend, Google, to see how I could alleviate these injuries and make my runs more comfortable. That’s when I learned about compression socks. 

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Compression socks were my BEST running accessory while training, especially for long distances. I’m just now getting back into running and once again I’m relying on compression socks as my muscles get used to the motions of running again. That’s why I was thrilled to receive a pair of new compression socks from Tiux. Tiux is a small startup that sells performance compression socks exclusively online. Since they cut out the middleman, retail stores, etc. their socks get shipped directly to you for only $35 AND free shipping. Not bad, right? Plus, they come in some pretty awesome colors.

If you’ve never tried compression socks before here are some reasons why I LOVE them:

1. They help your muscles recover faster.

Some people wear their compression socks during a run and after their, or just during their run. I do both. I wear them about 1-2 hours after my run and I definitely notice a difference in my muscles not being as sore than if I hadn’t worn them. The compression helps to reduce lactic acid build up in your muscles and improves circulation. Plus, they’re really comfy!

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2. They help you run better.

If you’re legs are sore from yesterday’s run and you still need to fit a few miles in the next day just slip on compression socks to help alleviate the soreness and enjoy your run. 

3. They protect your feet and legs.

Compression socks are great coverage for your legs if you’re prone to scrapes, bumps, getting dirty, getting bit by bugs, etc. They also help with chafing, which sometimes happens when wearing ankle socks.

4. They keep you warm on cool days.

We are a LONG way away from cool days here in FL, but when they do come around compression socks are a great way to help keep your legs warm. I wear them over running leggings, as well as with shorts.

5. They just plain look cool!

Stand out during your next race or be the talk of your running club when you show up with awesome, colorful compression socks!

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These Tiux compression socks gave great compression and are really comfortable. It may be silly, but my favorite part about them is their color! I am a big fan of the purple/pink combo. If you want to get your hands on a pair of these awesome compression socks check out Tiux at tiux.co.

Do you wear compression socks?

 

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival Recap

Disclaimer: I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival through Big City Events and the Tampa Bay Bloggers in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

This past Saturday I got to attend the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival thanks to Big City Events! 

Thanks to summer storms we weren’t actually sure we’d make it. The festival was from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. and to beat the heat of the day my friend Ashley and I decided to go in the evening. I also had my friends Nick and Katie come up from Cape Coral to join the fun! 

We left St. Pete around 5:30 p.m. and it was POURING. We crossed our fingers, hoping the bad weather was going south and that Tampa would be all clear. Luckily, it was!

Ashley and I had VIP tickets so when we got there we checked in and received these nifty wristbands.

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These are RFID-enabled wristbands that made the festival cashless. Instead of fumbling for money at each vendor you could pay for food and drinks with just a swipe! Very, very cool and smart for a big festival. And it definitely made paying much easier!

Our VIP tickets got us access to the Grand Marnier VIP Experience, which was a huge tent that had unlimited margaritas. Of course, we headed there first.

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Unfortunately, at 6:30 p.m. they were out of some of their mixers so the margarita types were limited. I ended up with the Prickly Pear and the Classic. The Prickly Pear was awesome! Not sure if it quite tasted like pear, but it was very good nonetheless. The Classic was a good mix of sweet and sour.

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Nick and Katie visited some of the vendors and I got to try a sip of their pineapple margarita, which was fantastic! The festival was super crowded, but upon exploration we found an upper level that was much more low key, had tables, cornhole, seating areas, etc.

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I really wanted to try some of the extreme margaritas that had been promoted, but the line was SUPER long so I had to forego it.

As for food there was a good variety of places to eat. For some reason I really wanted a hot dog and found an awesome hot dog vendor. Lots of yummy choices, and I ended up with the chili dog.

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Unfortunately, we missed seeing Smash Mouth and the fireworks, but the other bands that were playing while we were there were really good and did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained.

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Overall, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival was a blast and I can’t wait to go again next year! Thanks again to Big City Events for providing me tickets! 

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival *Giveaway*

So, remember how much fun the Bloody Mary Festival was? Well, Big City Events has another awesome event coming up…the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival!

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The Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will be at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa, FL from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 23.

I’m already drooling over their website…there will be 14 (yes 14!) tequila and liquor brands pouring different kinds of margaritas. Brands include Cabo Wabo, Hornitos, Sauza 901, Camarena, Margaritaville and more! There’s even an Extreme Margarita Bar featuring a RedBull Margarita, Sour Patch Margarita, Strawberry Sriracha Margarita and even a Bacon-a-Rita!

And while you’re enjoying those yummy margaritas there will be some awesome bands on stage throughout the day. And you’ll never guess who the headliner is…Smash Mouth!! 

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Now that you know how much fun is going to be happening, who wants to go?? I have two pairs of FREE general admission tickets to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival up for grabs. To enter to win visit their website here and comment below on which margarita you’re most excited to try! Comment by Wednesday, May 20 at 12 a.m. and I’ll be randomly choosing two winners on Thursday, May 21.

Good luck and hope to see you there!

*Winners have been chosen and contacted. Congrats to Summer and Katie D.!*

 

 

Influenster Bella Vox Box Review

When I got back from Vegas I was thrilled to see this little pink box waiting for me.

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Have you heard of Influenster? It’s this really cool social site that sends you free items to review if you have a high social impact. It’s a great way for brands to get feedback on their latest products and hey, who doesn’t love free stuff?

This box is called the Bella Vox Box and was filled with fun beauty and foodie finds.

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Influenster includes a card that gives a run down of each product, it’s price, the company’s social tags, etc.

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First thing I saw was this coupon for Club W. Club W is a wine club that chooses wine for you based on a short quiz you take on your palate. You get 3 bottles for $39 a month, which sounded like a lot to me at first. But truth is I probably spend about that much on wine a month anyway. The coupon we got is for a free bottle of wine when we buy our first two bottles. You can get this deal to! Just use promo code: REFERME. I looked around on their website and there are a lot of wines I’ve never heard of so I’m excited to give it a try and find some new favorites!

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Next up were these chocolate covered blueberries from Dove.

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Although I don’t think you can taste much of the fruit these are still a tasty treat. For a snack I mixed them up with shredded coconut and walnuts. Yum!

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Next was this Eco Tools Mattifying Finish Brush.

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I LOVE this brush. It works great with the loose powder I use and it is the softest brush ever. I also love the look and design (the handle is made of bamboo) and EcoTools is big on using organic materials for their products, which I love.

Next is Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu Do Style Extender.

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Again, I am in love with this product. First off it smells AMAZING. But it also really makes a difference with my hair! The first day I tried it I was outside at the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival for 3 hours and then later spent another 2 hours on the beach. By the time I got home my hair was still in really good shape, where normally it would have been a hot mess. Can’t say enough about this tube of joy…I even bought my mom some for Mother’s Day!

Next up were two products from Rimmel’s Kate line.

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Since my name is Katie I love that the lipstick has “Kate” on it haha…it’s like my own personal lipstick! I also really liked these products. The mascara gives great coverage and really elongated my lashes and made them look full. The lipstick is super moisturizing and stays on well. 

Last up was Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs. 

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I almost didn’t try this product. First of all, they sent me a light color, which isn’t the right color for me since I have tan skin (but obviously there’s no way for them to know that). Secondly, I have tried this in the past and wasn’t thrilled with the results. I have a lot of dark scars on my legs and I’ve tried different leg make up and I always feel like you can tell it’s make up and then I feel silly.

However, I gave it a shot any way. Below the leg on the left is the one with Airbrush Legs on it. I posted it on Sally Hansen’s Facebook page and someone commented that they thought it evened me out, but I’m still not completely sold.

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And that’s it! Overall, I loved what Influenster sent me…it introduced me to some great new products!

Have you tried any of the above products? What do you think of them?

Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival

Disclaimer: I received two free tickets for myself and a guest to attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival through the Tampa Bay Bloggers. All opinions are my own.

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival thanks to Big City Events and the Tampa Bay Bloggers. As expected, it was bloody mary heaven.

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It was a beautiful day in Tampa. A tad hot, but beautiful none the less. As soon as we arrived it seemed like a fun scene. There was live music, cornhole and of course lot’s of bloody Mary’s!

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All of my favorite Tampa restaurants were there: Datz, Roux, Boca, Epicurean, Irish 31, Carmel, Ferg’s, SONO, Paddywagon and Acropolis. Each restaurant was striving for the coveted “Best Bloody Mary” and gave out a free sample of their blood’s.

With a general admission ticket you got one free full sized drink so we thought it was best to get our full sized drink to sip on as we waited in the lines for the samples. For the full sized bloody Mary’s the event used Tito’s and Zing Zang mix. I love Tito’s but these blood’s weren’t the best. It was a good starter, but nothing compared to the samples we were about to taste.

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(I got a bit overzealous and got two so I wouldn’t have to wait in line again!)

Each restaurant had it’s own booth therefore each had it’s own line. The event was set up fairly well and the lines went pretty fast.

First on our list was Epicurean. A few friends we were with said it was their favorite so far.

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Garnished with an amazing piece of pastrami cured salmon. It was good, but too spicy for my taste.

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Next was Datz.

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Oh ya…one thing that really set many of these blood’s apart were their garnishes. The more the better! This was a sweet pepper stuffed with smoked pastrami, bacon and a green bean. Also an olive stuffed with a pickle. And that thing little pretzel on the end? Yes, folks, that is a COMBO. Insert childhood nostalgia.

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Datz used a bacon infused bloody mary mix, which tasted fantastic and made this bloody my favorite of the day.

Next was Roux who served their blood’s with hush puppies. Yum!

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I really liked this bloody mary as well. It had a slow heat and the Cajun seasoning around the rim was perfection.

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Believe it or not these were the only three I ended up trying. I love my bloody’s, but was getting bloodied out!

Thankfully there was also tons and tons of FOOD. In the form of food trucks no less.

I spotted the Bacon Boss food truck right when we walked in so I just had to get something from them.

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Grilled cheese with bacon, tomato and ranch. De-lish. Seriously tasted like the grilled cheese of my childhood.

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I’m so glad to have attended the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival…here’s to next year!

Did you attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival? If so, who had your favorite bloody mary?

 

“Spaghetti” and Turkey Meatballs

Lately I have been trying to monitor my carb intake and focus more on lean protein and vegetables. Especially for dinner. One of my absolute favorite go-to healthy, low-carb meals has been spaghetti squash with meatballs.

I’m not really sure why, but cooking spaghetti squash was always a bit intimidating to me. The size maybe? Not knowing when it would be done? Luckily, as with most things, once you do it it’s easy!

The toughest part for me was cutting the darn thing. Tip: Ripeness is key when it comes to spaghetti squash. They are a billion times easier to cut when ripe.

Once cut scrap any seeds out. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then cook face down for 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees. How do you know if it’s done? Take a spatula and poke the skin. If it gives then it’s done!

While the squash is cooking saute kale in a pan with olive oil. Season and add a little broth (I use whatever I have on hand). Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.

Once kale is cooked add sauce and meatballs and stir to combine. To make this a super easy dinner I use premade meatballs. For this particular recipe I already had premade turkey meatballs that Jon had made and put in the freezer. But I’ve also been able to find premade meatballs at my local Publix and health food stores. They’re usually where the bacon and sausage are kept.

When the squash comes out of the oven and has cooled some scrap it all out with a fork (I find this oddly satisfying) and add to the sauce.

Scoop into a bowl, add some shredded mozzarella on top and enjoy!

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Recent Eats 4/28/15 Vegas Edition

Breakfast

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Kashi 7 Grain waffles with Maple Grove pure maple syrup, Wellshire turkey sausage and banana.

Lunch

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One of my favorite lunches is a nice, big snack plate. This day it was Boar’s Head black peppermill turkey, Boar’s Head muenster cheese, a gala apple and Cape Coad chips.

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I was away at our company’s annual conference this past week…in Vegas! The food there was a-mazing. This was my first meal in Vegas after a 5 hour flight (ugh!). A smoked salmon sandwich with an iced latte at Bellagio’s Jean Philippe Patisserie.

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A nice yummy lunch once I got back home. Jon had made some of the best chicken salad. I made a salad out of it and added some leftover bacon. Best think about putting things like chicken salad on top of greens? No need for dressing!

Dinner

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One of my favorite healthy dishes I made before I left for Vegas. Spaghetti squash with meatballs, kale and marinara sauce.

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First dinner in Vegas at Bellagio’s Noodles. Duck and pork combo with rice and Chinese broccoli.

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12 oz NY Strip steak at Bellagio’s FIX. This was one of the best steak’s I have ever had. Our table also shared a bunch of sides that were equally amazing.

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I didn’t get a ton of food pics while at the conference, but I have to say Bellagio’s catering rivals any convention food I’ve ever had. Our breakfasts and lunches were delicious and healthy. Our gala dinner was quite impressive too. This was just the appetizer of our gala…such pretty plating!

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As nice as it is to get away for a few days it’s always nice coming home. I was especially yearning for a home cooked meal. I made myself pan seared chicken with sautéed spinach and mushrooms on top of mashed potatoes. As a time saver for mashed potatoes I like to use Pineland Farms all natural mashed potatoes.

What are some of your recent eats? Do you have a premade substitute you like to use?

Win Tickets to the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival! *Giveaway*

I love brunch. To me the word brunch makes me think of weekends, friends, yummy inventive breakfast food and of course…drinks! And not just any drink…a bloody mary.

I used to not like bloody marys (crazy, I know), but I just hadn’t had a good bloody mary. Eventually, I realized I loved them. Most people I know like their bloody Mary’s a particular way. I like a spicy bloody mary, but not too spicy. I love it with worchester, horseradish and even some pickled vegetables.

And since I’ve finally found my love for bloody mary’s I cannot wait to attend this Sunday’s Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival. That’s right…a whole festival dedicated to the bloody mary! The festival takes place on Sunday, May 3, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. A whole bunch of local Tampa restaurants will be competing for the best bloody mary, including Datz, Ella’s, Irish 31, Boca and Carmel. There will also be live music from Busted Blues. For more information visit: www.tampabloodymaryfest.com

Lucky for you I’m sharing the love and I have not one, but two general admission tickets up for grabs. These tickets will get you unlimited samples of bloody mary drinks as well as 1 full sized drink of your choice. More full sized drinks and brunch food will be available for purchase.

To enter to win these two tickets to the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival just leave a comment below with how you like your bloody mary! I will choose a random winner using random.org and will contact the winner. Giveaway will end Thursday, April 30 at midnight.

Good luck and hope to see you there!

*Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to the winner Nichole C.!*

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Recent Eats 4/18/15

Breakfast

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Have you ever heard of potica? If not you’re missing out. It’s a Slovenian pastry/bread that’s a holiday tradition in Jon’s family. His dad surprised us on Easter by bringing us Easter leftovers, including some potica!

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Last weekend I had a friend’s wedding to attend. I knew the night would be filled with food and drink so I wanted to start the day off healthy with one of my fav smoothies: 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp. almond butter.

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One of my standard breakfasts…eggs, turkey sausage, avocado and yes ketchup. Does anyone else put ketchup on their eggs? I always have and love it, but Jon things it’s gross, ha!

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I haven’t had much appetite in the morning lately so my breakfasts have been light. This one morning toast with Peanut Butter and Company’s Cinnamon Raisin sounded good to pair with my morning latte.

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We’ve gotten into the habit of making our own oatmeal, but I’ve been craving instant oatmeal so I picked up a box. I like the texture better…I can never get my homemade version that smooth!

Lunch

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You can never go wrong with a hearty sandwich! And there’s avocado hiding under those tomatoes.

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This was the same day as the wedding I attended. I wanted a healthy but filling lunch and didn’t have anything in the house…so Publix turkey sub it is! And those chips are one of my fav chip brands: Cape Cod. A new sweet chili flavor that was awesome!

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Salad and soup is a favorite lunch of mine. Salad included chicken, spinach, beets and new goat cheese crumbles I found at Publix. I love love love Pacific brand soup. Their flavors are tasty and natural!

Dinner

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This was a Jon dish. Roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and roasted green beans. So simple, but oh so good.

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Another yummy Jon dish! Chicken Parmesan with pesto angel hair and salad. The pesto was a gift from his sister who got it in Spain…SO good.

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My friend Lora and I had a dinner date where we picked up food from Fresh Kitchen in Tampa. If you haven’t tried them yet you must! Their food is delicious and everything is healthy…it’s a great way to load up on protein and veggies.

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This was what I picked up at Whole Foods one day after a long work day. Meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Easy and yummy, but NOT cheap…thanks Whole Foods…

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THIS. This will forever be one of my favorite meals that Jon makes. Mojo pork with black beans and rice. His black beans are perfection and I could literally eat them all day every day if I had to.

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I attended Flicks and Food Trucks in downtown Tampa for a work event this past week. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet. There’s 15 local food trucks that come out, live music and a big blow up screen where they show a movie. It’s super neat. While I was there I got the Che-Bacon from the Grilled Cheese truck. This thing was heaven. Pure, absolute, cheesy heaven.

What have been some of your recent eats?

 

Recent Eats 4/7/15

I’m personally not a fan of sharing what I eat every single day (who has the time???). However, I’m going to start doing weekly posts about some of my recent eats that are worth sharing. Hopefully they will help you with some future meal planning!

Breakfast

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Can I just tell you how much I LOVE avocado toast? I only just decided to give it a try a few months ago and it was one of those moments where you go “What the hell have I been missing out on?” I do it simple…whole grain toast, mashed avocado, salt and pepper.

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More eggs and bacon. Eggs and some kind of protein (either bacon or turkey/chicken sausage) is one of my normal breakfasts. This day I also had one of my homemade banana coconut walnut muffins that I had made the night before. Anytime I leave bananas out for too long it’s either banana muffins or banana bread!

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I recently visited the St. Pete Trader Joe’s for the first time. I go to Tampa for work a lot so I’ve been going to the Tampa location until the excitement of the St. Pete store died down. On this trip I had grabbed a package of cranberry orange tea scones. They were quite delish with a cup of tea, however I think I prefer an actual scone (sans frosting).

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The next few months are going to be very busy work wise. I’ve had some early mornings lately and I like to keep any extra minute of sleep that I can. Which means sometimes I eat breakfast in the car…For a quick breakfast I LOVE Bobo’s Oat Bars. Seriously I am obsessed. For locals, I buy them at Rollin’ Oats in St. Pete. They come in a bunch of different flavors and they are all awesome. They are also guy approved…one reason I kept buying them was because Jon loves them too and it’s one of the few things I can make him eat before he rushes off to work.

Lunch

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Jon and I have pretty opposite schedules, but every now and then it will work out that I work from home the same day that he’s off. Obviously, I have to work so there’s not much we can do together, BUT we can take a break for a fun lunch. On this particular day I had to run up to Tampa and on my way back I stopped to get sandwiches at Mazzaro’s. I got us the Muffalatta to split along with some spicy artichoke salad and tomato chips that looked interesting. We decided to have our lunch with a view at Maximo Park, which is just down the road from us. Lunch break done right!

Dinner

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This was a yummy dinner my dear friend Lora made one night using her new spiralizer! Zucchini noodles with chicken and pesto…SO good.

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This was a bit of an indulgence night. I keep eyeing the Niman’s Ranch pulled pork at Rollin’ Oats and one day I finally bought it. Paired with sautéed kale and Annie’s mac and cheese.

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Another night dining with friends! Our friends Kyle and Jesse invited Jon and I over for dinner. Jesse made an amazing brisket with polenta. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again!

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In an effort to try to reduce my carb intake at night I picked up a spaghetti squash to use as “pasta”. I paired it with some turkey meatballs that Jon had made, marinara sauce, kale and mozzarella. Recipe coming to the blog soon!

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I was craving pesto and found a super simple chicken pesto recipe on Pinterest. Literally all I did was top chicken breast with pesto and baked for about a half hour at 375 degrees then topped with mozzarella and broiled for another 5 minutes. Perfection. Paired with roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted spicy sweet potatoes from Rollin’ Oats.

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I had a lot of work events last week, which meant when I got home I wanted something fast and easy for dinner, but still healthy. That’s how I paired these two together: Seeds of Change Caribbean Rice and Bilinski’s Cajun Chicken Sausage. I LOVE Seeds of Change and I use their instant rice frequently in recipes because it’s fast, the rice tastes awesome and they use natural ingredients. I also love Bilinski’s (at Rollin’ Oats). Their chicken sausage is so tasty and they have some great flavors. All I did for this meal was heat the two up together and paired with some leftover veggies.

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I had been craving buffalo wings and found this recipe on Pinterest for Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole. This was definitely a healthier way to crave my buffalo wing craving! Despite the cheese and bacon, but oh well.

What have been some of your recent eats?

 

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