Category Archives: Personal

My Birthday Book & Movie Haul

In case you can’t tell by the title of this post, I recently had a birthday! Just last week, in fact. I was blessed with some amazing gifts (like this beautiful bar cart from Chet and a huge box of Gilmore Girls themed coffee from my mom!).

But my favorite way to treat MYSELF for my birthday is to pick up whatever book(s) and movie(s) I feel like! Usually I’ll talk myself out of book and movie purchases because of a little thing called the library and another little thing called Netflix. On my birthday though? Well – I deserve it! 🙂

Here’s what I picked up:

Movies

Stephen King’s IT

Who doesn’t love watching a scary movie (or three or four) in October? I still really want to see the new version but I mean c’mon! So many famous faces in this one. Including, but not limited to, John-Boy from The Waltons sporting a rad early 90’s ponytail.

The Edge of Seventeen

This movie looked reminiscent of two of my favorite coming-of-age flicks – Cheaters and Juno…and the back cover likens it to a modern day The Breakfast Club (another fave!) – so I was all in. Plus, I love Woody Harrelson!

Books

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends On Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

Since I left the world of speech & debate, and no longer sit through tons of informative speeches every weekend, my annual dose of pop psychology has drastically diminished. This looked like an interesting and fun way to rectify the situation. I’m excited to dig in!

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 so this book seemed like a good bet. 😉 The subject matter, a city hit by an epidemic of “white blindness,” reminded me a little bit of Station Eleven. Not to mention it won a ton of awards and received rave reviews! So, although it’s not a book I would normally gravitate to, I couldn’t resist.

Which of these interests you most? Have you bought any books or movies for yourself lately? I’d love to hear!

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Hurricane Irma: What I Learned & How to Help

After our stint as Hurricane Irma evacuees, we are finally back in our apartment and slowly returning to normal. We are beyond lucky. Our home is intact, my car is right where I left it, we are happy and healthy. Many can not say the same.

As we made the drive back to Miami, Chet and I reflected on a few takeaways from the past couple weeks regarding Hurricane Irma (in general), our evacuation (in particular), and how we would apply them to future preparedness efforts.

Lessons learned…

1. Fake news. Social media ran rampant with false information before, during, and after the storm. Emotions are already running high and stress levels are at their peak. Make sure you’re following a few trusted sources and ignore the rest until you can verify them.

2. Predictions are not certainties. Irma didn’t make up her mind on a path until she was barreling through. Sometimes you gotta make moves based on possibilities and pray it was for nothing.

3. Bring bedding. Kind of random but I’ll remember this for any future evacuations. We ended up staying at a sparsely furnished cabin at a campground in Lake City, FL as we made our way out of the state. It was a bring your own bedding situation but luckily the campground sold us sheets and a towel. If you’re evacuating, it wouldn’t hurt to toss some blankets and towels in your trunk just in case. You never know where you’ll end up staying!

4. Gridlock traffic isn’t fun. We were on the highway during the largest mass evacuation in United States history. And it wasn’t fun. At one point we were in stand-still traffic for over an hour, 6+ lanes across, no cell signal. It was claustrophobic and panic-inducing. Make sure to have food, water, and a first aid kit in the car when you choose to get out of dodge.

5. Mike’s Weather Page FTW. The Weather Channel is exhausting and alarmist. Mike analyzes data and gives you the facts. We love him!

6. Expect to stay. Returning too quickly after a natural disaster is a bad idea. Wait for word from public officials that it is safe to return. Our social media feeds let us witness a ton of folks who tried to head home only to be met with road closures, no gas, and floods.

7. The right time to talk climate change is NOW. 

Honestly, I could probably share a ton more but for now, I’ll leave you with this —

How to help victims of Hurricane Irma…

Donate to UNICEF. They are focused on getting children back to school in Irma’s wake.

Donate to SPCA. They give shelters and rescue groups support to help animals affected by natural disasters.

Donate to The Miami Foundation. They support recovery and rebuilding on the ground in Florida (especially in marginalized communities) as well as in small Caribbean island nations and territories, including Antigua & Barbuda, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.

Volunteer to assist the affected through Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). They are registering volunteers to assist with relief efforts in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

As soon as affected areas get back on their feet, VISIT. Chet and I decided last night that we want to head down to The Keys as soon as humanly possible. We want to support the businesses that rely on tourism dollars. They have a long road ahead of them and many local businesses and jobs are at stake. We want to stay at a hotel, eat meals in local restaurants, and buy a gift or 2 from a local shop.

I know it’s easy to think of the areas who found themselves in Irma’s path as vacation destinations, upper class playgrounds, and landing pads for rich retirees. Surely such folks had the means to weather this storm, right? But the huge number of working class people, who largely labor in tourism/service industry jobs, don’t. Their livelihood could be adversely affected long after the detritus of Irma is cleared.

And I’d love to know…

Have you had a first-hand experience with a natural disaster? What did you learn? What organization do YOU recommend donating to?

Sending warm and powerful thoughts to anyone who needs them. xoxo

What I ate during week 4 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 30 of the Whole30! (oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!) I’m planning to do a full write up about the experience (and maybe a food diary post about the reintroduction phase) but for now…

Here’s what I ate on Week 4:

Day Twenty-Two

Breakfast – Coconut Chocolate RX bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, chicken, salami, broccoli, carrots, and macadamia nuts, and strawberries
Dinner – Baked tilapia, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew with coconut/almond creamer

Day Twenty-Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Plantain chips and guacamole, hard boiled egg, strawberries
Snack – Chicken and salami roll ups, apple
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Baked chicken and sweet potato
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Four

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, salami, hard boiled egg, guacamole, and topped with plantain chips, and strawberries
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Twenty-Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and strawberries
Snack – Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Handful of cashews and freeze-dried pear
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Six

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, hard boiled egg, pickle, and home-made dressing, plantain strips and 2 dried figs
Dinner – Hot dogs and sauerkraut
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water

Day Twenty-Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and served with salsa, handful of almonds, freeze-dried tangerine
Snack – Blueberry Muffin Lara bar
Dinner – Hot dogs with sauerkraut, plantain strips, unsweetened apple sauce
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew coffee with nut pod creamer

Day Twenty-Eight

 Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Chicken jerky, plantain strips, and Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Tilapia, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

For more Whole30 food diaries CLICK HERE

What I ate during week 3 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 22 of the Whole30! [If you’d like to read about my first week on this journey CLICK HERE or my second week CLICK HERE.]

I’ll be honest, week 3 I kinda felt like I was eating like a crazy person. Not a lot of variety — Lunches consisted of salads and deli meat roll ups with a rotating set of accompaniments. Dinner was spaghetti 3 nights and smoked sausage for 2. And there was a heavy reliance on Lara bars.

But the truth of the matter is, I was BUSY. Several days of week 3 were spent working extra long hours with meal times either squeezed in or at odd hours. So I’m proud of myself for sticking with it…even if the food I ate wasn’t super exciting.

I also didn’t have a huge appetite this week (especially on days 17 and 18) so I just went for what sounded good. (Note: I don’t think the appetite change had much to do with W30 but was more to do with where I was at in my cycle.)

All in all, I’m still feeling great! I’m starting to plan my reintroduction phase and form a vision of what I want my diet to look like once this is all over. But more on that later!

Here’s what I ate on Week 3: 

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.)
  • 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 Fifteen

Breakfast – Apple Pie Lara bar 
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, baked chicken breast, hard boiled egg, leftover veg, and raw broccoli with Caesar dressing
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, cold brew coffee mixed with French vanilla nutpod

Day Sixteen

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, hard boiled egg, broccoli and macadamia nuts with ranch dressing
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Snack – Banana, 1/2 an apple, and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, kombucha

Day Seventeen

Breakfast – Cherry Pie Lara bar and veggie sticks
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, 1/2 an apple with almond butter, and a carrot
Snack – Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Eighteen

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Smoked sausage, roasted sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Banana and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, cold brew coffee mixed with nutpod, kombucha

Day Nineteen

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown, banana, and salami
Snack – Apple Pie Lara bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, and broccoli with homemade dressing, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Smoked sausage and veggie sticks
Snack – Smoothie bowl made by blending frozen mango and strawberries topped with coconut chips
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Blueberry Muffin Lara bar
Snack – Handful of cashews
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, side salad, unsweetened apple sauce
Dinner – Snack plate: Salami, hard boiled egg, a carrot, macadamia nuts, and grapes
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Twenty-One

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, a carrot, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Bacon wrapped sirloin steak, home fry potato medley, and green beans
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, decaf chai tea

I’ll report back on Day 29 with Week 4!!! We’re in the home stretch!

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

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 2: 

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

 

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!!