Trader Joe’s Favorites

trader joes

I kinda love grocery shopping. Probably because I can buy things and not feel bad about it ;) What I love even more than grocery shopping is grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I try and buy as many staples as possible from Trader Joe’s because not only is it cheaper but TJ items have no preservatives, artificial flavors etc. Here are some of my favorites:

Real Mayonnaise: Mayo is one of those things that you know isn’t good for you but it’s required in a lot of recipes and also tastes great on sandwiches. You can feel a little better by getting this one that’s preservative free and tastes the same as any other mayo!

Coconut Oil: There are a million uses for this both in the pantry and in the bathroom cabinet!

Gnocchi: If you haven’t tried this yet, pick it up next time and you’re in for an easy delicious Italian dinner. I just heat up some butter with garlic and parmesan cheese for the sauce and it’s the best.

Thai Red Curry Sauce: Great for making chicken curry with rice and veggies.

Salsa Autentica: This is my favorite salsa ever.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels: Just yum.

Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals: A healthier alternative to sea salt. This is all I use now.

Mini Croissants: Frozen pastries that are delicious for breakfast (you just have to remember to take them out the night before ;))

Goat Milk Brie: I’ve found that all cheeses from TJs are not only delicious but way cheaper than at any grocery store. This one doesn’t disappoint.

Light Champagne Vinaigrette: All the dressings they carry are delicious but this one is one of my favs. It’s nice and light.

Basil Pesto: I always keep pesto in the pantry. It’s a great alternative to noodles and a jar of marinara when you want an easy pasta dish.

Frozen Edamame: Heat it up in the microwave for a few minutes, add salt and you have a delicious, healthy snack.

Not Pictured:

All the wine: so cheap and so good.

What are your favorite Trader Joe’s buys? I’m always looking for new things to try :)

Sunday Dinner: Simple Fresh Pasta Recipe

pasta recipe

One of my favorite easy recipes is fresh pasta with a light sauce. It’s a great dinner for Sunday nights when you aren’t necessarily up to making something elaborate after a long weekend!

I picked up some fresh pasta from the farmer’s market (you can find some in a health food store, don’t settle for dried pasta!) Cook it according to the instructions. Make the sauce in a separate pan by heating up some oil and adding diced garlic, cherry tomatoes cut in half and salt. Let that simmer for a bit on low-medium heat. I added some white wine (optional) and a lot of basil and oregano from the garden.

When the pasta is done and drained mix with the sauce and top with parmesan cheese. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy your Sunday night!

Welcome to New York

We’re back from NYC and I’m resting my legs, drinking some tea and about to dive into the million photos I took! This blog is a long one, but feel free to follow along!

During the first part of the trip we stayed in East Williamsburg with a friend. It was cool to get to experience a neighborhood and live like locals for a few days!

central park

image1[a morning walk around central park aka one of my favorite places]

IMG_6353[Yankees v Rays game]

bagel[New York bagels, duh]

IMG_6372 IMG_6473IMG_6474[smorgasburg– beautiful views and delicious food! this was a mozzarella “bomb” filled with pesto – they made the cheese right in front of us!] 

[i dragged everyone to Tacombi, a referral from The Londoner, and thankfully it was just as delicious as she said!] 

[picadillo de angus regio and tacos al pastor at Tacombi, also the guac was delish]
After dinner we went to Brooklyn for the fireworks and I of course did not get any good photos. :( but we had a great view!

IMG_6478[walking across the Williamsburg Bridge]
IMG_6479[the prettiest building]
IMG_6485[bathroom selfie at Schiller’s Liquor Bar. the bathroom was epic but a bit of an adventure to get to. the burgers were great too]

IMG_6482[pretty views]

Our last night we decided to stay at a hotel in Midtown and get a little more in the middle of everything.


IMG_6484[we stopped at The Smith for dinner. it was super loud but the meatballs were amazing]

IMG_6481[we stopped at Dos Caminos for a drink and they had an awesome cactus wall!]
IMG_6455[we stumbled upon Upstairs at The Kimberly on our walk home and I’m so glad we did! the views were amazing]

After walking way more steps than my FitBit goal, eating tons of delicious food and soaking in the city vibe, I had a blast but I’m also so happy to be home :)

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

fried green tomatoes
As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, we made fried green tomatoes after I picked some up at the Farmer’s Market. They are one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant so I figured why not try them myself? Here’s what I did:
– 2 green tomatoes
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup buttermilk
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 cup cornmeal
– oil
– salt


1. Slice 2 green tomatoes into 1/3 inch slices.

IMG_63102. Set out 3 bowls. In the first one put 1/4 cup of flour. In the second put 1 egg and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. In the third combine 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal and a teaspoon of salt. (sorry the bowls are out of order in the picture above!)

IMG_63113. Dip each tomato slice in each bowl in order, first the flour, then the egg mixture and finally the cornmeal.

IMG_63134. Pour oil in a skillet and heat at medium-high.


5. Drop each tomato in the oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Put on a plate lined with paper towels.

We whipped up a quick sauce made with mayo, hot sauce and relish :) Enjoy!



Capsule Wardrobe Experiment

capsule wardrobe

I tend to read a lot of blogs that promote capsule wardrobes (Like this, and this) and I’ve always been intrigued by the idea but it seemed way to daunting too try.

*If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, it’s a 37 piece (or however many items you choose) wardrobe that includes tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes.

So naturally instead of making a decision to try a capsule wardrobe and plan it all out, I  randomly just took everything out of my closet one day except for 37 items. Then came the “what the heck am I doing” moment but I thought well I already moved everything out of the closet so I might as well just try it and see how it goes!

That was 15 days ago and I’m still going strong with my 37 items (I did not include shoes). Here’s what I’ve learned/discovered so far:

1. Getting dressed in the morning doesn’t have to be so hard.
Even though I still occasionally exclaim “I have nothing to wear!” in the mornings, I then have a lot less things to pick from and end up grabbing something that looks great in the end.

2. Consider comfort when buying clothes.
I’ve been avoiding a few items I picked for my capsule wardrobe because I know they just aren’t comfortable even though they are the style I’m going for. I need to remember to buy clothes that are comfortable and not just the style I’m going for.

3. Thirty five items is more than I thought.
I haven’t felt like I’ve worn the same outfit or the same piece too many times which was definitely one of my main concerns.

4. Planning ahead is important.
I just randomly threw this wardrobe together but next time I will plan it out a little bit better and maybe shop for a couple extra pieces I might need beforehand.

5. It’s fun.
Overall I’m enjoying the experience so far. I don’t have an exact end date in mind so I’ll just keep going until I don’t want to! For now my goal is to get through a month so I’ll check back in after 30 days and let you know how it’s going!

Would you ever try a capsule wardrobe?

Summer Weekends

This weekend was really great. Mostly because it was filled with sun, water and really good food, a few of my most favorite things. We’ve been on what seems like an endless hunt for a new house (wish us luck) so between the stress I’m trying to squeeze in as much good stuff as I can. Thankfully, I have just one day of work this week, followed by a couple days to just relax and get stuff done around the house and then we are off to New York City for the 4th of July! I could definitely use the vacation :)

Friday night we met up with my parents to watch the sunset at the beach with some sandwiches and some wine (well a lot of wine). siesta key sunset

sunset sunset

Saturday we went to the Farmer’s Market where they had a Shrimp and Lobster Festival going on as well. We got there early and it was pouring but after hiding out for a while under a produce stand it was sunny skies! We picked up some veggies, scored some free fresh pasta and enjoyed a lunch of crab cakes and lobster rolls. (Also, has anyone had lychees before? I picked some up but haven’t tried them yet!)


The rest of the day involved house hunting and movie watching but I did see my first Sarasota peacock while we were out and about! And he was nice enough to show me his feathers :)


Sunday, we spent a delightful morning fishing and reading on the boat. We caught a lot, but they were apparently small undesirable fish for keeping (I don’t really care I just get excited when I catch something!) We then made fried green tomatoes for the first time (recipe coming soon!) from the tomatoes I picked up at the Farmer’s Market and grilled some steak and corn while I caught up on my blogging!


fried green tomatoes

How was your weekend? 

Stuffed Peppers Recipe


Stuffed peppers make for a hearty meal with great leftovers! My grandma used to make stuffed peppers all the time and although I don’t have her exact recipe, this one is definitely reminiscent of it. It’s always extra special when a meal is not only delicious but has memories that go along with it!

– 4 peppers (any color, just make sure they can stand up well on their own)
– 2 cups brown rice (I just use a box)
– 2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
– 1lb. ground beef
– Mozzarella cheese
– 1tbsp. worcestershire sauce
– 2 garlic cloves minced
– Italian seasoning

1. Cut off the tops of all the peppers and clean out the seeds and membranes
2. Preheat oven to 350 degress
3. Cook brown rice according to instructions to make 2 cups
4. Cook garlic for one minute in oil
5. Add beef in skillet over medium heat and cook until brown
6. Place peppers in a baking dish
7. In a large bowl mix together: beef, garlic, rice, worchestershire sauce, one can of tomato sauce, salt and pepper
8. Use the mixture to stuff each pepper evenly
9. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over each pepper and sprinkle with italian seasoning
10. Bake for 45 minutes
11. Add mozzarella cheese over the top and bake for another 15 minutes, until cheese begins to brown.
12. Enjoy!

stuffed pepper

Do you have any recipes connected to good memories?

Tips for working at home

working from homeMany people now have the option of working from home, at least every once in a while. I work from home one day a week and it usually ends up being my most productive day. But I also know how it feels when the couch and netflix are calling your name. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused, even more so when all the comforts of home are right at your fingertips. Here are some tips:

1. Get ready for the day: It’s hard not to stay in your pajamas with your hair a mess when you’re at home, but I find I’m significantly more productive if I do something to get ready in the morning. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do your hair and put on a pencil skirt. My getting ready usually consists of changing out of my pjs into something equally as comfy (like yoga pants or a t-shirt dress), putting my hair up and throwing on some mascara.

2. Have a designated work area: For most of the day I stick to the dining room table when working. It’s always clear of clutter, right by the window, and has a jar of fresh flowers on it. I originally was working in our home office but realized the dark room that’s away from the rest of the house just made me want to get out of there. Create a work area clear of distractions and preferably somewhere that inspires you.

3. Take breaks: I get easily distracted by housework when I work from home. So instead of reading a blog or going on Facebook for a quick work break I do something around the house like empty the dishwasher or switch over the laundry. Then when I sit back down at my computer I stay focused on work until my next break.

4. Take advantage: Don’t forget to indulge in the benefits of being able to work from home! Make yourself a delicious lunch you wouldn’t normally bring to the office, blast your music, or work outside on a nice day.

5. Get out of the house: Sometimes after a day in the office all you want to do is go home and sit on the couch. But after a day of working at home all I want to do is get out of the house. Plan a dinner out with friends or a trip to the mall for after work on the days you’re home.

App Review: The Simplified Planner


I first discovered Emily Ley when my sister showed me an adorable picture of her twins on Instagram. I immediately starting following her and was even more thrilled when I discovered she has a stationary, gifts and organization store! I (of course) already have a planner for 2015 so I couldn’t buy one of her designs (even though I was tempted!), so when I saw she was coming out with an planner app I knew I had to have it!

I’ll admit I was a little disappointed when I saw it cost $5.79. But after considering it for a minute, I just went for it (I’ve spent $5 on a lot stupider things) and so far I’m glad I did! Not only does the pineapple icon make me happy every time I open my phone, I’ve been actively using the app every day since. Here are the 5 sections the app offers and how I’ve used them so far:

Summary: When you first open the app you get a quick preview including the date, events, dinner and an inspiring quote.IMG_4227

Today: The next tab along the bottom is the calendar. I haven’t used this much since I put everything in my physical day planner but it seems easy to use!

To Do: I’ve obviously been using this section like crazy. I currently have 3 active to do lists, Today, This Week and Future.


Notes: This section is definitely handy to jot down random thoughts in an organized way. So far I’m using this section for ongoing house wants, shopping list and blog ideas.

Dinner: I’m the worst at planning meals ahead for the week so I’ve been trying to use this section to encourage me to do so! It’s very helpful to jot down a plan before heading to the grocery store.

Overall, this app is adorable, organized and consolidates a few of my other apps into one. Although I don’t think I’ll ever stop using my paper planner for events and scheduling, the other features of this app make it worth checking out!