Category Archives: Personal

What I ate during week 2 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 15 of the Whole30! [If you’d like to read about my first week on this journey CLICK HERE.]

Week 2 was leaps and bounds more enjoyable than week 1 as my body felt fully settled in to eating this way. Whereas last week I would eat and then feel hungry less than an hour later, this week food felt like fuel. And days 12-14 I started to see a glimmer of the “Tiger Blood” everyone talks about (ie. super-duper energy, productivity, strength, etc.). Especially yesterday when I felt extremely motivated to clean(?) and my workout felt AH-mazing (I was sweating bullets while simultaneously thinking, “I could do this ALL day!”).

I’ve continued to have no gastro-intestinal issues. No bloating, no stomach aches. And since Day 3 or 4 (when I was still detoxing from sugar), I haven’t had any headaches. *knocks on wood like whoa* I’ll be interested in seeing if I get any headaches during the re-introduction phase. I’ve always assumed my headaches were due to allergies, hormones, and barometric pressure. But now I’m wondering if they could sometimes be caused by foods?!

It’s strange to me that I’m not missing or craving the foods I thought I would. I haven’t really missed dairy AT ALL nor have I really felt the absence of bread. Strong statements for someone who is a devotee of Pizza Friday and a life-long peanut butter and jelly sandwich consumer. I’m starting to think I’m going to make some permanent lifestyle changes after my 30 days are up. More on that later! But for now, I’ll stop blabbing and get on to the food diary…

Here’s what I ate on Week 1: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.) When listing foods like coated fish, fries, tater tots, and seared scallops – they’ve been prepared in the air fryer.
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day Eight

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown and pineapple
Lunch –Lettuce wraps with turkey, salami,  mayo and mustard and more pineapple
Snack – Chicharrones
Dinner – Catfish filet, scallops, broccoli slaw with homemade dressing, crumbled hard boiled egg and a few crushed cashews + a dried fig as an after-dinner sweet treat
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Nine

Breakfast – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) and turkey ham
Lunch – Broccoli slaw with Caesar dressing, tahini, turkey ham and salami with plantain chips
Dinner – Brekky for dinner! Scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and avocado
Snack – Red grapes and a dried fig
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Ten

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch –Turkey and bacon roll ups, a hard boiled egg, raw broccoli with  ranch  for dipping, and red grapes
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Baked chicken breast and raw broccoli with ranch for dipping
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, kombucha

Day Eleven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Turkey and bacon roll ups, pickles, red grapes
Snack – a handful of macadamia nuts
Snack – Plantain chips and guacamole
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with mayo, ketchup, and pickles with fries and asparagus
Snack – a little piece of jerky (had to sample the test batch Chet made in our food dehydrator) and a dried fig
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twelve

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Lunch – Turkey, hard boiled egg, red grapes, raw broccoli with ranch for dipping
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with mayo and ketchup with fries, zucchini, and yellow squash
Snack – a handful of trail mix I made by combining cashews, macadamia nuts, banana chips and coconut chips
Beverages – coffee and water

Day Thirteen

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, turkey ham, leftover cooked vegetables, pickles and macadamia nuts and sprinkled with  County Clare seasoning
Dinner – Chicken leg and smoked sausage with homemade barbecue sauce and collard greens
Snack – Red grapes
Beverages – Coffee and water

Day Fourteen

Brunch – Eggs scrambled with leftover cooked veg and turkey ham and sprinkled with County Clare seasoning
Snack – Plantain chips and guacamole
Snack – Banana and almond butter
Dinner – Chicken leg and smoked sausage with homemade barbecue sauce and collard greens
Snack – Red grapes and macadamia nuts
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, La Croix

I’ll report back on Day 22 with Week 3!!! Wish me luck!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

 

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Is the Tangle Teezer all it’s cracked up to be?

Tangle Teezer

Let me tell you a potentially gross secret. I’ve had the same hairbrush for over a decade. I bought it my sophomore year of college after a return flight from a debate tournament in Wisconsin. I opened my checked luggage (Remember back when checking a bag was free?! Luxe.) to find a complete disaster, a friendly note from TSA saying they had searched my bag, and several broken items. Including my beloved hairbrush. Annoyed, I rushed to Walmart to buy a replacement and the rest as they say is history!

BUT! For years, these little kidney bean shaped brushes have been EVERYWHERE. And so I finally decided, enough was enough. It was time give ol’ faithful a rest and try something new. And the results surprised me…

Tangle Teezer bristles

So, here’s another secret. I don’t brush my hair all that often. I wear it up or let it air dry naturally and call it a day. But I feel like I need to buck this trend and start taking better care of my mane.

Tangle Teezer promises speedy and gentle results thanks to their revolutionary teeth formation. And most importantly for yours truly, helps to minimize hair breakage caused by mistreatment when detangling.

Some big promises, eh? I took it out for a spin on wet hair. At first, it felt like nothing was happening. If a brush isn’t rippin’ through those tangles then I ain’t got time for it! But then I realized it had ACTUALLY GOTTEN OUT THE KNOTS. With one swipe. Without my noggin really feeling a thing. What IS this witchcraft?!?

On dry hair I experienced similar results. Quick and painless. Minimal hair left behind in the brush. (SCORE!) Shiny, no knots, and a great little scalp massage to boot. The only downside so far is a little bit of static when brushing dry hair. Other than that, call me AMAZED. I can’t believe I waited so long to jump on this bandwagon.

Does the Tangle Teezer work?

Do you have a hairbrush you swear by? Have you tried the Tangle Teezer? Are there any other beauty trends I’ve been sleepin’ on??? Leave me a wake up call below!

P.S. This isn’t a sponsored post. I just REALLY needed to get a new hairbrush and was so baffled by how well this one worked that I couldn’t keep it a secret. 🙂

What I ate during week 1 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 8 of the Whole30! Weirdly enough, I’ve wanted to try my hand at a Whole30 for some time now. On our recent mini vacay to Delray, I finally convinced Chet to commit to the program with me…and the rest as they say is history. We did a bunch of research, bought a bunch of compliant food, and dove in head first the following the Monday.

For those of you unfamiliar, Whole30 is a 30 day program that has you cut sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol to help you identify if certain foods are having a negative impact on your health and fitness. The elimination lets your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. So what’s left after cutting all those foods? Well, the program encourages you to eat all sorts of WHOLE foods – like vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs. Essentially, I think calling it a “diet” is kind of a misnomer. You can eat as much as you want to feel full and good. You just have to eliminate certain foods and drinks.

I’m happy to report that, while the first three days were super tough (afternoon pounding headaches were not so fun!), I’m still on the wagon. And I can already feel the benefits . I have a ton of energy, I’m sleeping great, and muscle recovery after I workout is WAY faster. I also haven’t had any gastro-intestinal issues since starting. Digestion is, how shall we say, superb. (TMI?) Plus, I haven’t had any stomach aches or bloating. (A common occurrence after meals for me.)

Throughout the first week, I didn’t really experience any severe cravings or food boredom and I chalk this up to having a bunch of compliant foods on hand. However, as of this writing (Day 8), I could really go for a baked good or some crackers of some sort. But I’m not gonna cave…I wanna see what sort of benefits the next week has in store!

Here’s what I ate on Week 1: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.) When listing foods like coated fish, fries, tater tots, and seared scallops – they’ve been prepared in the air fryer.
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day One

Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with salsa and 1/2 an avocado
Snack – Handful of cashews
Lunch – Rolled turkey and salami slices, mango slices, and raw carrot sticks with tahini
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Salad made with 50/50 mix, turkey ham, hard boiled egg, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Freeze dried apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Two

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, salmon, scallops, hard boiled egg and homemade dressing
Snack – Mango and salami slices
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with ketchup/mustard/avocado, sweet potato fries and asparagus
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, chicken, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with avocado, tater tots and green beans
Snack – Apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water, kombucha

Day Four

Breakfast – Mixed Berry RX Bar
Snack – Bottle of fruit juice smoothie
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrot, broccoli stems, etc) and salami and freeze dried mandarins
Dinner – Fish breaded with almond flour, tater tots and a side salad
Snack – Smoothie bowl made with frozen banana and mango with a splash of coconut milk and topped with coconut chips
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, cucumbers, seared scallops, and prosciutto
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) and salami, cucumber slices with ranch for dipping
Snack – Plantain chips and salsa
Beverages – Coffee, La Croix, water, kombucha

Day Six

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs with Everything but the Bagel seasoning and pineapple
Lunch – Lettuce wraps with turkey, salami, mustard, and mayo and cinnamon banana chips
Dinner – 2 hot dogs, fries, and raw carrot sticks with ranch for dipping
Snack – Handful of cashews and an apple
Beverages – Coffee, water

Day Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Scrambled eggs with hot dog pieces, raw carrot sticks, and pineapple
Snack – Handful of cashews
Dinner – Sunday roast served over mashed potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers
Snack – Smoothie made with frozen mango and strawberries, coconut milk, and a little bit of almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

I’ll report back on Day 15 with Week 2!!! Wish me luck!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

Mini Vacay: Delray Beach!!!

Last week, for a quick getaway between Chet’s summer session classes and the fall semester (#professorlife), we loaded up the car and headed to Delray Beach, FL. We stayed in the lovely Delray Beach Marriott, which I’d highly recommend. Due to my work schedule, we knew we could only escape for a few days. But the hour drive from our home meant we had our toes in the sand by 10 am! Plus, the short stay, coupled with choosing a Tues-Thurs time-frame, meant we could splurge on accommodations.

We drove up on Tuesday morning and immediately parked beachside. After an hour or so, some rain clouds started rolling in. But that gave us the perfect excuse to grab brunch at Caffe Luna Rosa. The watermelon mojito is a must! Afterwards, we explored the Pineapple Grove Arts District, read books while enjoying some afternoon coffee, and then headed to the hotel for check-in followed by quick dips in the pool and hot tub.

We got cleaned up for dinner. Burgers and fries are a beach vacay favorite of mine. And went for a long walk along the beach…

delray beach ocean

Do you spy our shadows?

delray beach photographer

Gotta get those ‘grams!

brooklyn girls by gemma burgess

Wednesday was our full day so we headed to the beach bright and early. I brought along Brooklyn Girls for a fast and fun beachy read. We read, swam, and soaked in as much Vitamin SEA as possible.

Chet recently got this old school Polaroid working. (We found it at a flea market.) So we also snapped a roll of film. Presto! So satisfying.

mariott hotel delray polaroid photograph

Here’s one I took of our hotel. Doesn’t it look like it could have been taken in the 70’s. I love the vintage-y vibes. I’d love to find a cool way to display all the pics we took because I’m pretty obsessed with them. Any ideas??

mariott hotel towel service

One way we made this quick trip feel longer? After a full morning and early afternoon at the beach, we packed it in, ate a quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit in our hotel room, and then headed out for round two at our hotel’s pool. I was pretty enamored with the idea of a towel made to the exact specs of the lounge chairs (it’s the little things, people!) and of course the poolside wait-staff. #luxury

We finished off the evening with a trip to a cheesy, quintessential beachside restaurant for conch fritters and frozen beverages.

The next day, we clicked repeat on the beach, had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at 11 am (because why not?) and then headed home in the afternoon. What an amazing getaway!

So long for now, Delray! We can’t wait to come back.

Have you ever been to Delray Beach? Do you like taking quick trips to recharge or do you prefer to really settle in to a place for maximum relaxation? Got any hot tips on where we should take our next mini vacay!? Let me know! xoxo

Lexington Eats: Where + What

Where and what to eat in Lexington, KY

Hello friends! Today, I thought it might be fun to share what I ate on my whirlwind trip to Lexington, KY. In case you’re new ’round these parts, Lexington is where I was born and raised and, after a 7-year stint in Bowling Green, where I lived until our recent move to Miami. This might explain my particular brand of homesickness…a longing for the tastes of home! While my mom and I were unsure of whether we’d be able to pack in all my culinary desires (both in terms of time AND stomachs), I’d say we did a pretty fine job!

margaritas at Mi Pequena Hacienda Lexington, KY

Mi Pequeña Hacienda – We kicked off my 2-day visit with an arrival celebration most-appropriate–Mexican food and margs. Our original restaurant choice was tragically unavailable (It had closed down for good just a few days prior. RIP.), but we rallied. Luckily, Lexington has tons of great Mexican restaurants. Many of which have been around since my childhood.

Whole Foods hot bar lunch

Whole Foods Lexington – The next day, as we tooled around the city running errands and stopping in favorite locations (I even made my mom do a drive-by of my old apartment building, lol), I couldn’t resist checking out the brand new Whole Foods. Holy Moly! Hot bars on hot bars on hot bars. Plus pizza, deli options, salad bars, and desserts galore. Yowzas! I loaded up a plate (the Indian food always gets me at WF…it just smells so good!) and we headed outside to the awesome patio. Such a nice step up from the outdoor dining at the old location. I made sure to stock up on baked goods on the way out.

The Oasis Lexington, KY

The Oasis – That evening, my mom had to teach a class downtown, so we grabbed dinner to-go and I tagged along to hang out in her office. (I meant to use the time wisely and get work done but I ended up talking on the phone to a friend the whole time. Whoops!) I had the chicken shawarma sandwich with sides of rice and hummus. IDK how Oasis makes their rice but I literally have never had ANY that compares. Same with the hummus, tbh. If your’e ever in the area, def do yourself a favor and check this place out.

red beans and rice from Alfalfas in Lexington, KY

Alfalfa – Alfalfa is a Lexington staple that’s been around my whole life. Recently, it acquired new owners, and since I’ve been following the saga from afar, I was eager to check out the change for myself. I was so happy to see that it was the same ol’ Alfalfas (with minor menu changes for the better!) and I ordered up my fave — red beans and rice, cabbage salad, and a cold bottle of Ale-8.

homemade vegan pizza

Homemade Pizza – Finally, we decided to give eating out a rest for my final evening. My mom can veganize ANYTHING (AND make it taste delicious to non-vegans like me) and asked what I would like. Well, since it was the high holy day better known as “Pizza Friday”…I think you know what was in order. One pizza she topped with fajita veggies and black beans; the other with soy-rizo, corn, and green chiles. YUM!

Have you ever been to Lexington, KY? What were your favorite dining experiences while there? Share below!!!

P.S. Check out Savannah Eats: Where + What!!!

My Perfect Lazy Day

Summertime is the perfect excuse for a little now and again laziness. I can totally remember, during Summer vacations in high school, ENTIRE days spent doing literally nothing. Well, besides heading to the basement as soon as I woke up (it was always so COLD…even in Summer) to watch hours and hours of MTV and maybe make a phone call or two on the landline.

With that memory in mind, I started daydreaming about an ideal lazy day in 2017. While I could still probably waste the better part of a day watching trashy reality TV, I’d like to think “My Perfect Lazy Day” would have a bit more to offer. Here’s how I see it going down…

lazy day reading in bed lazy day starbucks green tea

10 am – Reading in Bed. Put off getting dressed for as long as possible by staying wrapped in blankets with a good book. Here are a few I’m looking forward to reading soon!

11 am – Coffee Shop. Officially get the day started with a quick trip to Starbucks. I slowly nurse my iced tea or coffee while enjoying some good conversation, a perusal of my favorite websites, and a flick through the newspaper.

 

1 pm – Fish and Chips Al Fresco. To me, nothing beats dining in the great outdoors. Luckily I live in a place where the outdoors often involves an ocean (or at least some sort of waterfront view). This dish is my fave seaside fare.

3 pm – A Walk in the Park. A long, ambling walk is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. I love to bring along a camera to snap pics of the beautiful blooms. And I’ll pop in a podcast if I’m hiking stag.

 

6 pm – Pre-Dinner Cocktails on the Porch. Who wants to be indoors so soon? Not I! Time to enjoy something tropical tasting. Mason jars and stripey straws are non-negotiables.

9 pm – Binge Watch. Curl up on the couch with these handsome fellers! The Netflix queue awaits…

What’s your ideal lazy day? SHARE BELOW!!

An update.

elitist llama

Oh my golly, you guys! I haven’t posted in FOREVER and I certainly apologize for my absence around these parts. Elitist llama up there doesn’t look too kindly on bloggers who ignore their blogs!

Whilst M.I.A., Chet and I went on a week’s vacation to Louisiana. We got to visit with his family, eat a bunch of delicious food, and mosy around the great outdoors with out the oven-like temperatures of South Florida. We also managed to sneak in a little time in New Orleans where we BBQ’d with friends, enjoyed daquiris, and walked around the sweet neighborhood streets. (Have I mentioned how much I want to move to NOLA these days???) All in all, we had a BLAST!

Book-ending our trip out of town has been a LOT of work to be done by yours truly…accounting for the other half of my radio silence. Hopefully I’m on the return path to a balanced WORK – BLOG – LIFE flow. Well, at least for next few weeks! I’m off to Kentucky for two weeks in July and I might be too busy visiting with my Mama and shaping the mind’s of America’s youth to drop any lengthy content. (I’m teaching at a speech & debate camp!) But I’ll try to post updates/fun stuff here and there.

STAY TUNED!

P.S. Check out my FAVES PAGE for a list of my current favorite things. I plan to update regularly…in case you care about my faves…which you should.

Blog Love: I Can’t Get Enough Of These 5 Blogs

favorite blogs

My Bloglovin feed is ever growing but there are a few tried and trues I return to again and again. If you don’t already follow these five, I think you’ll love them too! Have a nose around and let me know if you find a new favorite.

Reading My Tea Leaves
www.readingmytealeaves.com

Why I love it: The site has such a beautiful, calming aesthetic. I could literally scroll through all day and never tire of the bright, crisp images. The posts focus on simplicity and practical ways to live a more sustainable life. Areas in which I’m always willing to listen and attempt to incorporate.

Why YOU will love it: Erin is an amazing writer and photo stylist. [She even has a beautiful book to prove it!] Reading Tea Leaves is a happy marriage of these two skills with a nice balance of writing-driven posts and image-driven posts.

Posts for your reading pleasure: Simple Stuff: Hangers, Floral Ice Cubes You Should Not Make, My Week in Objects Series, Out and About: Seattle, and Habit Shift: Dinner Outside.

And Then We Saved
www.andthenwesaved.com

Why I love it: Budget based content is some of my favorite to read. It might be a strange topic of interest but I always find helpful information and inspiration when perusing  this budget blog. (Plus, there’s such a sense of “we’re all in this together and by this I mean the rough world where stuff is hella expensive”. Ya feel me?) Bonus: I’m a sucker for a great list post and Anna writes some great list posts.

Why YOU will love it: If you want to ball on a budget, and who doesn’t really, you will find some great tips and hacks for doing so.

Posts for your reading pleasure: Spending Fasters SeriesHow to Grow an Organic Garden on a Tight Budget, 29 Ways to Make Money, 17 Ways to be Happier (Because Feeling Down is Costly), and How a Zero-Waste Lifestyle Leads to Saving Money.

A Cup of Jo
www.cupofjo.com

Why I love it: I started reading A Cup of Jo when I was too poor to afford internet in my apartment so I would go to work early to read posts from the archives until I caught up with real time. (I’m nothing if not a VERY dedicated blog reader.) IMHO, Joanna is the best in the biz when it comes to lifestyle bloggers.

Why YOU will love it: The daily content is truly “lifestyle” with a healthy mix of home, beauty, travel, design, and relationships. There’s literally something for everyone! Plus, a great collection of series that will leave you begging for more!

Posts for your reading pleasure: 8 Great Gifts for Hosts, Packing for Vacation, A Week of Outfits Series, How to Avoid Panty Lines and Other Reader Questions, and Motherhood Around the World Series.

Yes and Yes
www.yesandyes.org

Why I love it: Posts on Yes and Yes always bring some sort of REAL value to my life — and in all sorts of arenas too! Everything from self-care to business, road trips to balancing spending and happiness.

Why YOU will love it: Sarah‘s writing style feels like you’re listening to a BFF and not just someone you found on the internet. Plus, the site features fantastic interviews and time-suckingly wonderful link round-ups.

Posts for your reading pleasure: True Story Series, How to Chase Your Dreams Without Hating Your Life, Mini Travel Guide: Georgia (The Country!), 9 Train Travel Tips You Didn’t Know, and My 5-Second Money Saving Trick.

Budget Bytes
www.budgetbytes.com

Why I love it: Simply put, I love a good food blog…and I especially love a good food blog that ALSO ticks my ballin’ on a budget box! The budget-lovin’ nerd in me is obsessed with the cost break-downs on each recipe.

Why YOU will love it: Budget Bytes features tasty recipes that turn out delicious no matter your income. Plus, each post includes tons of great step-by-step photos so you’re way less likely to mess up the recipe. Score!

Posts for your reading pleasure: Sweet Potato Grain Bowls with Green Tahini Sauce, One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese, 5-Minute Microwave French Toast Mug, Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos, and Lemon Poppyseed Two-Bite Scones.

What are some of YOUR favorite blogs???

Photo Diary: Everglades Adventure

Chet and I went on a day-trip adventure into the everglades last week! On a whim, we decided to drive from our apartment in Miami to Everglades City and stop at anything that looked cool along the way. The drive is just under 2 hours and takes you through Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and protected land of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Below you’ll find pictures from the stops we took to and fro’ Everglades City. Above is an alligator just chilling on the side of the road. As they do.

Note: I didn’t snap any pics in Everglades City because the mosquitoes were HORRIBLE. We mostly toured from the comfort of the car. However, the town is ADORABLE and we had a delicious lunch HERE. I had a crab cake sandwich because a sign in the little town square told me that Everglades City is the stone crab capital of the world! It did not disappoint.

Hiking in South Florida? That’s right! We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve and found it marks the Southern Terminus of the Florida Trail. It is one of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. (the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail are others) and runs from down here in the Everglades all the way to Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach, FL. (About 1,100 miles.) Now I really want to thru-hike it!

The Miccosukee Indian Village had a surprising amount of tourists about for a random weekday morning. We perused the gift shop and checked out some of the attractions. (Still not sure how I feel about the dude in jorts below.) Curious for a non-touristy look into reservation life, we also went on a walk through an adjoining neighborhood. (No pictures out of respect for the real lives and real homes we encountered.) Needless to say it was an interesting wander and I’d love to learn more about this tribe.

We also stumbled upon THE SMALLEST POST OFFICE IN AMERICA! Apparently, the Ochopee post mark is much sought-after. People travel to this tiny office to mail themselves a card just to get the mark. Wish I’d known to bring along a post card!

Bugs! L: The size of my index finger. R: The size of my whole hand. Everglades wildlife ain’t playin’ around.

 

Unfortunately Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe, which was literally just chillin’ in the middle of nowhere, was closed for the day. But how fun does it look?! I really think this place is worthy of a return trip!

One thing you should know about me — I WILL stop a car to explore an abandoned building. RIP Everglades Kayak Tours.

Another nature center (not sure if it was on preserve land or the national park) with tons of info about wildlife and the history of the everglades. Below are a couple pictures taken on the back deck outside the center. They had this book for sale which I’m still kicking myself for not buying. Note the tannins in the water. (They make it look like sweet tea!)

Have you ever been in this part of Florida? What did you think? I already want to go back! (And retire to Everglades City…but maybe just in the winter because I’m a wuss about mosquitoes.) 

April Resolutions — How Did I Do?

Happy May, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out past months HERE.) Here’s how I did in April…

April Resolution #1. Spring clean my closets and drawers. 

I don’t know what it is but every Spring I get this terrible, insatiable urge to THROW EVERYTHING I OWN AWAY. Is that weird? Maybe it is something to do with the natural rhythms of the seasons. Hoarding everything away in a little nest during the Winter and then purging once the weather starts to get warmer. Whatever the case, my space starts to feel cluttered.

Instead of tossing stuff willy nilly, this year I evaluated what areas needed decluttering the most and focused my efforts. I hadn’t done a proper Kon Mari (ie. throw everything you own on your bed and go through it piece by piece) clothes clear out since moving to Florida and it was high time. So I definitely wanted to tackle my closet and dresser. Organizing my desk drawers has been on my To-do list foreeever, and so has our linen closet. So those went on the list too.

How did it go? Well, I Kon Mari’d the HECK out of my clothes and was able to rid my room of TWO TRASH BAGS full. (It still boggles my mind where this stuff comes from!) All the drawers are done…save for one pesky desk drawer that accumulates crap no matter what I do. (But doesn’t everyone have a crap drawer? Isn’t that like a law of LIVING?)

The linen closet still hasn’t happened. But there’s always this month!

 

Going forward: Declutter the dang linen closet! Oh, and actually transport those two trash bags that are in the trunk of my car to a donation location.

April Resolution #2. Examine spending habits through the lens of happiness. 

Recently, I signed up for a FREE Money + Happy Bootcamp through one of my fave blogs — Yes and Yes. The whole thing was chock-full of helpful advice about how to navigate spending habits while staying in tune with what brings you joy. (Sound helpful? You can sign up in the sidebar of the site.)

One exercise that really resonated with me asked us to take our bank statement and go at it with three highlighters. Pink, yellow, and green. The pink highlighter was for regrettable purchases. The yellow highlighter was for necessary purchases (like bills and groceries). And the green highlighter was for those purchases that brought about happiness.

Since taking the mini-course, I’ve kept up this highlighter rigmarole and have found the visual wildly helpful. And since I had data for the entire first quarter of the year, I thought April was the perfect time to crunch the numbers, evaluate how I did, and decide if there were changes I wanted to make going forward.

I pin-pointed a few trends. I got a clear picture of how much I’m spending and on what (as well as if the “what” brought me joy or regret).

 

Going forward: I will continue to go through my bank statements with highlighters every month and examine the results more thoroughly each quarter. I’ll try to get my pink purchases down and my green purchases as up as my bank account will allow. 😉

Alright friends, let’s keep things going in May!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Four months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!