Growing up is tough. I cherish the days of my youth when I didn’t have as many responsibilities as I do now: Work. Blogging. Fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it but sometimes it gets hard to juggle everything all at once. Working out is a big part of my life. It gives me a safe place to go after a bad day or first thing in the morning to jump start my day in the right direction. I love the gym, but sometimes, other things get in the way. I was having a tough time working 12-hour days and finding motivation to go to the gym for an hour workout at night. Either I was worn out or if I attempted the gym, I was distracted by emails/phone calls.
As I mentioned in my pervious blog, last summer, I was introduced to the 21-Day Fix from Beachbody and it changed my life. I’ve already blogged about my meal prep planning, but now I’d like to talk about the workouts that come with the program. The 21-Day Fix workouts are truly heart pumping, cardio blasting, 30-minute workout sessions of fun.
It all starts with the instructor. Autumn is WONDERFUL! She’s the perfect motivator for getting you to your goals. If you stick with her plan (the workouts and the meal prepping) you will lose weight. Yes, it is one of those plans that makes you put in what YOU want to get out but trust me, it’s worth it.
The 21-Day Fix workouts are all 30 minutes long – that includes warm up and cool down. And they are not designed to be easy. I’ve been doing them for almost a year now and they still kick my butt. You can either use weights or use a resistance band (helpful for those who are on the road). And there are modifications you can follow if a move is too difficult.
My favorite workout routine is the cardio fix: a full on heart pounding cardio thumper that is four rounds; two exercises each round, lasting for a minute (you do get a tiny break in-between each minute). Get ready for those burpees! Autumn also has two abdominal workouts that are legit. One is a standard 30-minute session, and the other is a ten-minute quick fix for those “off days.” She also has two recovery workout sessions: Yoga fix and Pilates fix. Both are perfect for stretching sore muscles. Which I totally need, even to this day of working out with her for almost a year.
My absolute favorite part about these workouts is the time commitment. 30 minutes a day is truly nothing. The 21-Day Fix workouts fit perfectly into my busy schedule. Even better – they travel well. You don’t need to have weights or a resistance band for all of the workouts. Perfect for cranking out a workout in a hotel room.
No more excuses about not having enough time to workout. Try the BeachBody On Demand 21-Day Fix and let me know what you think.
Sunday by far has to be my favorite day of the week. Why you ask? Because Sunday is all about fun, brunching with your friends and loved ones while you over indulge on delicious food and mimosas. I mean Sunday fun-day is truly all about brunching. I have never been one to love breakfast, because for me, variety is a must. You can only do so much with eggs in the morning or in my case, a vegan Shakeology. But when it comes to Sunday brunch, the restaurant scene options are endless, and I am always on the hunt for a great brunch spot or re-enjoying some of my favorite locations.
Whether hanging out with friends or my fabulous husband, there’s something about Sunday brunch that always puts a smile on my face. It’s a time to reminisce about the week before or what’s on the docket for the week ahead. There are no true worries ahead, it’s all about taking in that moment and relaxing. I mean isn’t relaxing what Sunday’s were meant for? With that being said, I have rounded up some of my favorite brunch spots I have experienced this year in Philadelphia.
Harp & Crown
Wow! By far my favorite brunch spot thus far. I have been to Harp & Crown for dinner and happy hour, but never for brunch. My friend Maggie took me there for it was amazing. At first glance, I was a little hesitant as buffets are not really my thing, but I gave it a go and I am so glad I did. The buffet spread was unbelievable and extremely delicious. You had everything from to-order omelets, waffles, fresh fruit, potatoes, meats, fresh salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, shrimp, curried ham, bagels, sandwiches and more. And their desserts…mouthwatering! They have homemade donuts with all the fixings. The price is under $30 per person and they have drink packages that are hard to pass up. The atmosphere is unique and charming. They have the most attentive staff that always makes sure you are taken care of.
First, you can’t go wrong with Parc, no matter what the occasion. The food, staff and atmosphere are like nothing anywhere else. Think of Parc as if Paris came to Philadelphia. You have the selection of dining indoors or outdoors. It’s a great spot to get lost while people watching all while enjoying delicious cuisine. You will always have an incredible experience and I (and my husband) cannot recommend this restaurant enough. For brunch I’ll either get two eggs any style or the avocado toast, but mostly my go to is the Warm Shrimp Salad with no cheese. No matter what, nothing on this menu will disappoint.
From my pervious blog: Triple Threat in Philadelphia I blogged about my favorite vegan restaurants in Philadelphia (V Street, Wiz Kid and Vedge) and not only are they by far my go-to spots for lunch/dinner, they hit a homerun again with their brunch menu. When I go, here is what I order: Langos Brunch Bun (UNBELIEVABLY delicious), Peruvian Home Fries and the Dan Dan noodles. I am a creature of habit and I have no shame in that. If you had to try one thing during their brunch time, it would have to be Langos. I was never a fan of beets until I devoured this dish. The smoked beets, fried capers, cucumber and sauerkraut remoulade together are a perfect combination. Unlike their lunch and dinner menu, I have yet to try everything on their brunch menu, but why branch away when these three options are a true homerun?!
Perfect brunch that is a BYOB! A large, variety menu with options for everyone. They have three Center City locations, small, but packed with a lot of people. Even with the crowds, it makes for an exciting brunch. I don’t believe they follow any sort of portion control, as each plate is enormous. But you cannot beat the price and with it being BYOB, it’s a win/win. They don’t take pre-reservations, you have to put your name on the list and wait your turn. Yes, there’s always a line, but be patient, it might take some time to get seated, but it’s worth the wait. Be sure to come hungry as you won’t be disappointed.
A cozy, quant Philadelphia spot right off 19th and Chestnut. Hard to find but once you arrive, you are blown away. They have a great selection that won’t disappoint. When you go, be sure to order the crispy potatoes: garlic aioli. They are out of this world. My favorite has to be the poached eggs: sautéed kale: hollandaise: potatoes. They have their own hot sauce on the side that gives it an extra kick. Even with the recent news of the owners splitting up, I still will mention this spot as one of my favorites.
Green Eggs Café
Talk about gigantic portions! That is what I feel Green Eggs Café should rename themselves. Whenever a guest comes to stay, I take them to Green Eggs Café (that is if we can get in). The line is always down the block but another spot that is worth the wait. My dish of choice is the breakfast burrito (minus the cheese, sour cream, and pork) but I do add extra sauce. That sauce by the way, is amazing and if I could, I would eat that every day. Their portions are so huge, this breakfast burrito will last me a couple of days. Any of the French toast is worth it as well. I always get either the pancakes or French toast to share for the table. A little something extra. They do not take reservations; they are cash only and a BYOB.
Pub & Kitchen
Pub & Kitchen takes day drinking to my kind of level with their New Orleans inspired Pimm’s Cup NO 1! By far one of my favorite drinks of all time. It’s my go-to drink whenever a restaurant has it on the menu. Pub & Kitchen has a variety of options on their brunch menu, which does change based on what’s in season. Some of my favorites are the classic breakfast pizza (minus the chorizo), brussels sprouts and their signature salad. All choices are fiercely delicious. I also love their french fries with the whiskey dip…mouthwatering actually. Their location is on a super cozy corner of 20th and Lombard Street in the Graduate Hospital area of Philly. I love dining here for brunch and dinner. Definitely, put them on your list and start your dining experience with a Pimm’s Cup NO1!
One thing that I love about Philadelphia is that our options are endless when it comes to great brunch spots. I haven’t tried them all, but I am on a mission to do so. Sunday brunching is my favorite past time and if you have a particular brunch spot you love, please share and tell me what your favorite dishes are. Cheers!
Happy Monday! If you are like me, you are probably wondering where did the weekend go? It’s now early Monday morning and you are tired, and I mean beyond tired. All you can think about is COFFEE! Am I right? I mean if you’re like me, this is my first thought. Coffee is my absolute life saver to get me through days that I am dragging, and it tastes SO good…bonus!
Over the weekend, I was having coffee with a friend. I arrived first and when she arrived, she went up to the counter and ordered her drink. Sidebar: have you ever walked into a coffee shop and was instantly overwhelmed by the amount of options we have? I mean how does one choose their perfect coffee? When she sat down, she started talking about how she is always tired, and coffee doesn’t do it anymore. I asked her what she put in her coffee and wow, that was one of the longest titles I have ever heard. I mean it was no longer coffee, it was pure sugar and cream. That made me think and I decided to do a little more research on what people were putting in their coffee and what might be the benefits or non-benefits.
What I found out…the majority of people seem to be loading up their coffee with cream and sugar. Which is completely ruining the healthy aspects of coffee drinking and most likely already starting the day off on a bad (diet) note. Did you know that adding just a standard serving of cream and sugar to your coffee creates 50 calories, 1.42 grams of fat and 9.14 grams of carbs? More details here.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I 100% love a Starbucks latte, or even an occasional Frappuccino in the summer with its high calorie and sugar content. However, this is not an everyday occasion, it is a treat. So, let’s talk about it ladies and gentlemen, what does our morning cup of java look like?
According to many articles and research over the years like in this article, it turns out coffee can actually be really good for you. Take that in moderations as something isn’t always good for you if you load it up with cream and sugar. Adding too much is completely taking away from the actual benefits. Here are a few health benefits to drinking that Cup a’ Joe- or whatever you want to call it:
Protects the liver
Helps you feel less tired and increases energy levels
Helps boost the metabolic rate
What happens when we add sugar and cream?
Well besides turning a perfectly healthy cup of coffee into something more harmful then good? You are hurting your body in more ways than one- but you probably already knew that. I was a major culprit of this, latte every day or extra cream and doing it 2-3x per day- major fail on my diet, which I keep pretty clean. It wasn’t until I started bikini/ fitness competitions that I realized keeping “loaded” coffee to a minimum was easy and super important- not to mention I actually like the taste!
Fabulous substitutes to sugar and cream
Of course, there are many other options as well if you don’t want to drink your coffee black. Like Stevia- a zero calorie sweetener, and almond milk (which also contains protein), nut milk, or coconut milk. Even adding cinnamon is a great way to add a bit of sweetness and cinnamon is known to boost your immune system. These healthier substitutions for cream and sugar that you can add to your coffee to make it part of a more balanced diet.
I would imagine at this point you are thinking about what you add to your daily java and I want you to share. What are you adding to your coffee in the morning or even better, tell us your order!
Here are a few great articles about coffee and how it can affect your health:
Here we go again, another Nor’easter is on its way. As I sit here dreaming about warmer temperatures (hopefully soon), I wanted to reflect back to a vacation I took in late December. In the past, my husband and I have stayed local for the holiday season. But last December was different. We needed a break from the cold and Nor’easters that the east coast is known for during the winter. So, we decided to pack our bags and head to the friendly southwestern state of Arizona.
Arizona is my first home. I was born in Phoenix and lived there up until grade school. Being a typical kid/pre-teenager, I took the Arizona weather for granted. Sure, some say the summers are brutal, but I never had to worry about layers and layers of clothing to keep me warm in the winter. I also had a total disregard for the beauty of Arizona. For instances, the Grand Canyon was right in my backyard. Quite the site if you have not seen it up close and personal. Also, very close by are the Antelope Canyon – I really wanted to swing that in this trip, but we ran out of time. And Flagstaff was a quick two hours from home. I guess it takes growing up to really appreciate what you have in front of you.
Our December vacation to Arizona was primarily spent in Flagstaff (home of the Great Pinecone Drop) but we spent a lot of time around the Sedona area. Sedona was lovely, and I cannot wait to go back and take on some additional adventures we weren’t able to get to during our trip. We started our trip with a drive to Sedona, where I found myself staring out the car window just in awe of the landscape. I highly recommend taking the scenic route and not the major highway. And the weather was perfect – low 60s during the day and not a cloud in the sky during the morning and afternoon.
Sedona is famous for a lot of things, but for this trip, we focused on the vineyards (as this isn’t their busy time of year). We stopped at a handful of some of their best wineries, including Page Springs Vineyard & Cellars, Arizona Stronghold, Alcantara Vineyards & Winery, Javelina Leap Winery, and Caduceus Cellars. Each winery had their own unique twist, and all were very, very good…so much so that I can’t pick my favorite winery or wine. Since you have to be an Arizona resident to partake in their wine club, the only way to truly experience it as a non-local is to venture in person. No matter which winery you pick, you will have a fabulous experience and enjoy great, quality wine.
How can I talk about Sedona and not talk about the shopping? Well, I can’t! Sedona has a wonderful variety of boutiques and markets. You name it they have it: dress stores, olive oil stores, hats, socks, art galleries, and more. It was a fashion bloggers dream! One of my favorite boutiques was Just Us Girls. I’ll have more details about them in an upcoming blog post, but their clothing and jewelry were perfect additions to my wardrobe. I loved everything I saw!
We also ventured to VomFass home of amazing oils, vinegars, spirits and gourmet food. It was difficult to choose which olive oil blend I wanted to bring home with me (they do offer instore shipping, which is genius!). The selection I chose was the infused olive oil with basil and garlic. I even ordered a few bottles for my friends! You can purchase a variety of sizes and if you cannot choose, they also offer gift size with a small sampling of each one.
We never had a bad meal either. When you head into Sedona, be sure to check out The Hudson. If you are a foodie, this is the place to dine. Not only is the food fabulous, but they have the best seats in the city. They are known for having the best deck in town where you can take in the view and even a sunset or two. I wish it was a bit warmer, so I could sit on the deck, but even sitting inside, I still had a breathtaking view.
Our week in Sedona was one of my favorite vacations. I got to see a lot of my family and soak in some much-needed sun. I highly recommend that you make Sedona your next trip. It’s fun for everyone because there’s so much to do there. And if you live in Philly, it’s a good escape from the harsh winters.
Have you been to Sedona or any other part of Arizona? What’s your favorite part?
Recently, a few of my blogs have focused on time saving tips. My three part series on meal prep gave you tips on how to save time in the kitchen. I also blogged about my favorite workout called the 21-Day Fix and how it’s saved me hours and hours from the gym allowing me more time to focus on my work, my wonderful husband and, of course, my blog.
But even with the meal prep and the 21-Day Fix workouts, I still found myself needing more hours in the day. What seemed liked 10:00 a.m. on a Monday turned into 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. Time was spinning out of control and I needed more of it.
Enter my husband who had this crazy idea of waking up at 5:00 a.m. during the week. My first thought was, no…hell no, is he crazy? But after I thought about it, and after he told me all about the benefits, I gave in.
That first day was hard. Actually, the first three weeks were tough. But, like all life changes, you get used to them and start to love them. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping, but I love checking off all of my to-do list items more.
So, what do I do at 5:00 a.m.? I workout. Getting my body moving helps get my mind right for the day. No longer do I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and hit the snooze until 6:45. Side note: you are so right science – the snooze button is the worst thing for your body.
Once my 30-minute workout is complete, I enjoy a nice shake and get ready for the day. I find myself more productive and ready in the mornings. The only challenge is the late afternoons. Not always, but sometimes, I’ll get tired around 3:00 pm. This used to be one of my biggest challenges when I first started. But after a healthy snack, I was right back in the game and ready to take on anything.
5:00 a.m. iPhone alarms are the worst. But once you jump (or roll) out of bed it starts to get easier and worth it. You’ll feel more productive in the mornings and your evenings will be open for date nights, work events, shopping or having drinks with the girls. Give it a try for a month or two. You’ll be so happy you did.
Are you a morning or a night person? What tricks and tips do you use to keep you productive throughout the day?
It’s time to go back to the basics. I’m taking about nontoxic, chemical free hair, skin and body products. More specifically, the collection by Seed Phytonutrients. Not only are they obsessed with all things organic and natural, but they are leading the charge on completely ecofriendly packaging.
I’ve tried my fair share of products ranging from all different price points. Some I still use today and some didn’t stand up to the challenge. In a previous post about my sensitive skin, nothing truly seemed to work for me when it came to treating my skin. My scalp in particular. Every shampoo or conditioner I used left my scalp feeling either irritated or chemically. Determined never to give up on the day my scalp wouldn’t be irritated by the products I used, I came across a company in Doylestown, PA that specializes in crafting natural-origin products for your hair, face and body. I wasn’t going to hold my breath that this product would work for me but once I received their samples, it changed everything.
In today’s world of mass production, adding harmful chemicals helps with extra lathering and shelf longevity. It made me really think what harm these products might be doing to my body over time. Many of the products I’ve used had their long list of ingredients – half of them I couldn’t pronounce. Adding these harsh chemicals to our products need to stop. I am not saying to take us back to the time where bathing wasn’t really necessary but take us back to the time that we cared about what went onto our bodies. Even more important, we should hold these companies socially responsible for the harmful chemicals they use.
Seed Phytonutrients products are sulphate-free, plant based, gluten-free, paraben-free, natural fragrance, 93-100% natural origin and are not tested on animals. A bonus, they are the first company ever to have shower-friendly post-consumer recycled paper bottles. Talk about a social responsibility. Here is an article on their website that speaks more to their post-consumer recycled paper bottles.
Their natural quality ingredients come from American organic farmers where they take nothing but the absolute quality products to use for all of their product lines. These products consist of sunflower seed oil, coconut, shea butter, camelina seed oil, and turmeric. By working directly with these farmers, they ensure that over-commercialization of the seeds is non-existent. They strive for only the best products that are also high in vital natural nutrients.
No matter what product of theirs I use, my body is left feeling rejuvenated, hydrated, natural and free from chemical residue. I feel like a million dollars! Even after my first use, I felt an instant change. This is the first time in years that my scalp hasn’t felt irritated. They are leading the charge with their environmental sustainability business model and their superior products.
They are set to officially launch their product line in April 2018, and you can bet, I will be right there purchasing it all. If I could buy in bulk, I would do so! That is how much I believe in their products. Keep up the fantastic work and I look forward to watching your successes.
Philadelphia is known for a lot of great things: the birthplace of America, the home of the first zoo, Bradley Cooper and delicious food. In the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to dine at some of the best restaurants Philly has to offer. Now, I’m no restaurant critic, and I’m not big on red meat, pork or cheese, but like you, my loyal readers, I’m a huge fan of healthy eating.
There’s no shortage of fabulous places to eat in downtown Philadelphia. When talking to friends and family back home, my husband always quips that we’ve never been to a bad restaurant in the city. And when I find restaurants that we absolutely love…we cannot stay away! That brings me to my three places that I just can’t get enough of and where I can be frequently found for lunch or dinner: V Street, Wiz Kid and Vedge.
V Street: Probably my favorite of the three. I love sitting at the chef’s counter (Brandon pictured above, is a MASTER in the kitchen) with my husband during the week and watching the magic happen up close and personal. My go to dishes are the Beet Lángos, Carrot Asado, Cauliflower 65 and the Dan Dan Noodles. For those that have a sweet tooth, they have a daily soft serve that is incredible. And did I mention its vegan! An added bonus of V Street is its home to one of my all-time favorite servers: Ashley. Ashley is great and I highly recommend that you ask for her when you go.
Wiz Kid: Right next door to V Street, a great lunch spot for sandwiches and amazing salads. For those of you who are looking for a new spin on the famous Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, then Wiz Kid is the place for you. Hard to say which sandwich is my favorite (as I like them all) but the WK Philly is a MUST! Also, be sure to check out their French Fries, which are dynamite. I sometimes cannot control my well power and eat the entire basket. #sorrynotsorry
Vedge: If you’re looking for a fancier dinner spot, look no further. Their focus here is locally sources vegetables and creative spices and sauces make Vedge a must. I’m not a huge fan of radishes, but their fancy radish dish is superb and a favorite of my husbands. Another favorite of mine is their fingerling potatoes – lightly roasted and drizzled in a “to die for” sauce. You truly cannot go wrong with any selection of their menu. I suggest trying everything. Their designed to be shared!
Each restaurant has its own unique look and cuisine; however, there are some subtle similarities you see between them as well. For one, they are all vegan restaurants. Who needs cheese sauce when you have rutabaga sauce? Also, these are healthier restaurants that focus on portion size. If you’re looking for big portions, these restaurants are not for you. But, if you’re looking for a light meal with amazing flavors, then look no further than V Street, Wiz Kid and Vedge. You cannot go wrong with either of these choices!
They source local and their menus are always changing. Be sure to keep an eye out on their social media for menu updates. I promise, you wont be disappointed.
This Spring, they are expanding to Washington D.C. with the Fancy Radish. Watch out for official grand opening details. I am personally excited and cannot wait to see their success in DC!
If you have dined at any of these restaurants listed above, tell me what’s your favorite dish. And or if you haven’t yet, book a reservation and tell me about your experience!