Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whole 30: Mocktails

One of the biggest struggles most people face on Whole30 is drinks. Giving up alcohol and soda is tough. Between the amount of sugar and all the 'feel good' emotional connections with drinks, it is often difficult to go out and enjoy a night out with friends without having a typical drink. Unlike a great amount of people on Whole30, I stopped drinking soda years ago. However, my girlfriend who started Whole30 was struggling with removing soda and alcohol.

While I had been enjoying my La Croix or mineral water with a slice of lime, orange, or pom seeds, it was often a difficult time always sticking to simple flavors. However, I also found infused water did not always satisfy my desire for having a great cocktail with my girlfriends. So, I decided to make my own "mocktails" instead. And, they were amazing!!
Making Mocktails and Cocktails for ladies' night!
Frost Bite Mocktail (revamped from Babble's recipe)
  • lemon-lime seltzer water
  • blueberries
  • mint
  • lime juice
  • pineapple juice (we made our own from actual pineapples)
*we omitted white grape juice since we did not find any without added sugar!)
We followed the recipe exactly as they had and they turned out delicious! 

Strawberry Mojito Mockail (per cocktail) 

  • mint
  • 1/4 lime slice 
  • lime seltzer
  • 4 strawberries
Muddle strawberries until pureed and transfer to glass. Bend mint to "bruise" and add to glass. Squeeze 1/4 lime and add to glass (including full slice of lime). add ice and 1/3 can of seltzer to glass. stir and serve.
*since you cannot have sugar on whole30, the strawberries become your sweetener* Garnish with additional sprigs of mint. (optional: can also substitute mint for rosemary and strawberries for blueberries or blackberries).

Morning Mai Tai Mocktail (per cocktail)

  • Apple Cider (no sugar option - locally made is best)
  • splash lemon juice
  • splash apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp coconut nectar
  • Apple Sliced and Julienne/matchstick (garnish)
Warm coconut nectar until syrup transfers to liquid. Add shaker with apple cider, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. shake well. add to short glass and serve with over ice with slice of apple as garnish.

Grapefruit Martini Mocktail (per cocktail)
  • 1/4 blood orange- juice squeezed
  • 1/2 grapefruit - juice squeezed
  • La Croix Orange Seltzer Water
  • Slice of Grapefruit (garnish)
Combine all ingredients into shaker with ice and shake well. Transfer to martini glass and garnish with sliced grapefruit. Optional: zest orange into glass.

Happy Mocktail Hour!!

Comfortable Casual

I spend a great deal working from home. Most of the time when I shop, I invest in clothing I will be wearing around the house. I tend to keep my outfits "comfortable casual" - an outfit that would translate to running errands, lounging around the house or hitting the gym. All those things are a focus when I am shopping.

Now, I love to shop but I am particular about being comfortable and I tend to go for a lot of basics, like tees and jeans that tend to go with everything. I stopped in Old Navy and got really luck with their HUGE sale and I had to share some of the cute items I snagged up!
Tee, Sweatshirt (similar), Pants, Mug (similar)
This sweatshirt is so super comfortable. It is perfect for chilly mornings in the office- its lightweight enough to not be bulky so it is easy to work in and it was $7! Grey and black goes with everything. Currently online they have it only in plus-size, however if you go in-store you may get lucky to find it on clearance racks! Since I bought it, I have literally worn it every morning in the office and it has been the perfect item to wear until around noon-ish when the weather is a bit warmer outside. I think this will be perfect for chillier mornings in the fall or for camping or my upcoming girls weekend away!
Leggings, White Shirt (similar), Cardigan
I absolutely love this outfit. It is the ideal outfit for lounging on a rainy afternoon. I love cuddling up with a blanket in my chair and getting lost in a good book. It is the ideal Sunday afternoon on a rainy spring day. This cardigan is so soft and comfortable. It is a jersey knit fabric so it is super lightweight and airy. I love the looser front fabric to wrap around myself - something I normally would not have chosen for myself. The cardigan is on clearance now for $6 and is a great investment for your casual days and "me time". Believe me, we all need a moment to ourselves and this cardigan is perfect for that.

What are you wearing to curl up with a good book lately?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekends in Augusta, GA

We enjoy traveling - a lot. And, we are thankful to have the opportunity to be able to charter a plane in lieu of driving. One thing we have learned in our travels is we have a knack of finding great places to see and we always feel like some lists we come across lack some love for a city. In other words, travel the new city as if it was a place you truly love. Let it shine on its own. Augusta is one of those smaller cities that boasts a lot of history it is proud of. While it may be small, it is big in places to see and things to do. And, with its charms and quirks, it makes for a great weekend away. Here are the things you should go see and do - simply because we loved it so much, we know you will too!
Historic Augusta- Green Street
  1. The Downtown River walk - The river walk is one of the best places to visit in Augusta. Locals take to this strip of land right on the water for dates, picnics or just a morning jog. At the main bridge, it shows where the water levels of the Savannah River was so high, this stroll was completely under water. During the summer, you will find tons of bike enthusiasts trek down its path, boat rentals and even children enjoying the playground. Simply, it is like a park on the water. Along the river walk, you will find local museums and eateries to fill you with historic charm to make you want more of all Augusta offers.
  2. Historic Augusta Canal- Augustan's are proud of their canal. They have a museum completely dedicated to her history, from the conception of the idea to building of the canal, and all the way to her current usage today. She gives so many electric power to the grid for the city the museum runs off her water power alone! If the museum is not enough, they have canal boat tours where guides give you a background of her as you glide down the canal basin itself.
  3. Historic Green Street- One thing great about Augusta is as small of a town as she is, a lot of Augusta's history was once in flames due to war. However, some of the beautifully historic homes remain along Green Street. Take a walk and view her beauty and imagine what life was like when the canal was new and times were simpler.
  4. Dining on Broad Street - You cannot come to Augusta without sampling local fare. We really enjoyed Farmhauus Burgers, New Moon Cafe, and The Bees Knees. There are so many food options along the way there is something for everyone.
  5. James Brown Statue - One of the unique things on the list of things to do we found was posing with the King of Soul himself- a real like replica of James Brown. There is an actual cam setup where you can text it to activate- and it will take your photo with his statue which can easily be posted on Social Media.
  6. Augusta Museum of History- Much like the Augusta Canal museum, the Augusta Museum of History is a great place to go back in time of the entire timeline of Augusta herself. This museum is interactive - it has an entire train inside. It has her history from golf to music and industry as well. If you love history and want to dig deeper into what made Augusta what it is today, it is a must stop!
  7. Morris Museum of Art - I am a fan of art galleries. There is so much to be seen and this particular museum is dedicated to southern artists (not just ones from Augusta, but the entire south). It has pieces that are interchanged often and also has a traveling exhibit. While this place is not expensive at all, go on a Sunday when it is free! Kids can utilize the scavenger hunt to help them enjoy the museum too! 
  8. J Strom Thurmond Dam- While this is a tad far compared to most of the other options on this list, it is just as important. This is the infamous dam which makes the Augusta Canal what it is today. Stop in the visitors center to view all about it. 
  9. Shopping on Broad Street - If you want a memento of the city, there are a ton of boutique's to see and view. One of our favorites is a local bookstore called The Book Tavern that is readers' dream come true. With books of all types, there is literally something for everyone. If reading is not for you, Head to the River walk on Saturday for their Saturday outdoor farmers' market with vendors and local crafty items for sale. It is packed but for the right reasons. If you love antiquing, there are tons of small stores around to find a trinket or two.
  10. Augusta National Golf Course - No Augusta list would be complete without mentioning Augusta National. While you will not be allowed to come in (it is invitational only), the golf course has gone tenfold on turning the main strip of Augusta as beautiful as the course itself. With a lot of renovations being made to expand her, the city has been listed as one of the best places to visit for quite some time. During the tournament (which happens in mid-April), you can rub elbows with the famous golf pros of today around town.
  11. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. I love the outdoors and if you love being outside and exploring just as much, this hidden gem is just the perfect opportunity to experience the wildlife in Augusta firsthand. You will find everything from alligators, osprey's, and even wild boar on occasion to wander about this park. It is a great place for a walk or to take the kids. 
While Augusta may not be on every one's list, it surely is a wonderful place to enjoy and see all she has to offer. Augusta boasts a lot of history and she is as charming as she is quaint.