Rose: A Philadelphia Saturday

I’m not sure I’ve had a bad time in Philly yet. And that’s saying a lot, for a former Pittsburgher. There is just so much to do in Philly, and it’s even better that Jenna lives there. I absolutely love my time there and delight in day trips to the city. This weekend was no exception.

Jenna had invited me to her friend’s birthday party. M’s best friend was in town for the weekend, so we made a day of it. I grabbed my friend Jenn, and the four of us drove into the city. We dropped the boys off at the museum, met up with Jenna and headed to the pier for birthday fun.

It was the kind of day where you are just so thankful to know really great people. Both new and familiar faces filtered in and out throughout the day. I just sort of let the day take me away, and it was nice to just let go like that. Plus, life is always better when I’m seeing this lovely lady:

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This was taken at Spruce Street Park, where they’d set up an oasis of sorts. We got to sit on these nets by the river — so peaceful. They also had hammocks (we didn’t partake), games for kids and really good food. It was bustling, and we stayed for several hours.

After Spruce Street, we headed to Morgan’s Pier. I’ve been wanting to check this place out since Jenna mentioned it. It’s a large outdoor space on the pier next to the Delware River. Perfect for sunny summer days and large gatherings. I got to hang out with some new friends there, and my old college buddy Sam eventually showed up. I also shared a loving embrace with Jenn, who is just the sweetest friend. Aren’t we cute?

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As if the day wasn’t good enough, it got better. We headed to Frankfurt Hall, one of my favorite spots in Philly. A beautiful beer garden with an open air backyard. As luck would have it, my friend Erica was next door with her fiance Matt. They stopped by, and it was SO great seeing them. It’s been months since we’ve hung out (we are both the busiest people ever), and it was good to see them, even if just for an hour.

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I always say to Jenna after days and nights like these, “Being here made me feel so much at home.” It’s amazing how a place can do that. How a city can just wrap its arms around you, envelope you and make you feel renewed again. I wouldn’t trade this Saturday for anything. 🙂

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Rose: Outdoor Yoga at the Museum

I’m putting Fashion Friday on hold for another week because I want to write about this event while it’s still fresh in my mind. Don’t worry — more fashion is in the future. I just haven’t been making as many purchases this month since I’m saving up for my traveling next month! But expect a short fashion post next week.

Last night, I attended a free yoga session in front of the Princeton Art Museum led by Princeton Yoga Stream and Lululemon. I’d seen this event on the University calendar a while back and made a mental note to attend. I love anything free and anything outdoors. I also like to attend events like these in my community — it makes me feel connected to this town and its people. Two friends me me there, and we spent the evening under the big blue sky.

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This photo doesn’t do the crowd justice. I snapped this in the beginning, about ten minutes before class. But the crowd grew as the hour wore on. As I went through the movements, I continued to feel more energy around me. Behind us, a large crowd had formed — kids from summer camps at Princeton. They were actually quite good — I forget how flexible you are when you’re a kid!

This was only my third time taking a yoga class outside. And it was a beautiful night for it. I actually quite liked the flow of this class. It began in a seated position with a lot of core movements. The idea was that you would warm up the core so that later moves would be more fluid. This really worked. So many classes I’ve been to in the past begin with standing movements, and core work at the end. I usually feel tight and sore in the beginning. This opened me up a lot more.

The instructor was really energetic, which I know isn’t for everyone. But I liked it. She moved around the crowd and made adjustments. I also find this helpful so I can continue to hone the art of yoga.

I’ve found that I’m getting much better at this practice. I still have a ways to go in terms of the meditation part, but I’m getting stronger in the movements, and I’m able to hold poses for a lot longer. I always feel so great after taking a yoga class like this, especially at the end of the week. I feel like it puts everything into perspective as I’m able to just breathe, relax and reflect. I always go into my Fridays feeling a lot more refreshed and renewed.

Big thanks to the Princeton Art Museum for hosting this great event. I can’t wait for another!

Have you tried outdoor yoga? How do you feel about it?

Jenna: Cold Brew Coffee

It is no secret that both Rose and I love iced coffee. We downed a ridiculous amount of it the last time we took a road trip home together. I realized that I was spending a lot of extra cash on coffee, so I set out to figure out an easy way to make it at home and it actually be delicious. (a Keurig cup sitting in the fridge over night just wasn’t cutting it)

First, I went and bought some coffee from my favorite place in Philadelphia. I should have gotten an espresso roast so the flavor came through more, but I’ll go with that next time.

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Next, I put about 4.5 ounces of coffee into the Nut Bag that I previously blogged about. It’s basically a really big tea bag. You find these on Amazon, at Whole Foods and kitchen supply stores.

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After the coffee is in the nut bag, and cinched tightly go ahead and stick it in a 2 quart pitcher and fill it up with water.

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Seal the pitcher and place it in the fridge for 10-12 hours. Pull out the nut bag and squeeze the excess water into the pitcher. Then, you can dump the grinds and rinse the bag for use next time!

You now have a beautiful pitcher of REALLY strong coffee. This recipe usually requires you to dilute it 1:1 with water, but I am a caffeine junky and usually just add a bit of water, ice and half n half to mine.

Happy coffee making!

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Rose: “Skinny” No-Bake Cookies

No-bake cookies are a staple in my family. It goes without saying that my grandmother’s no-bakes were out of this world. They were the perfect size and texture. She seemed to make them effortlessly, too. But until recently, I’d never made these myself — despite how easy they are.

For me, the trouble with no-bakes was always the high fat and sugar content. It’s essentially melted butter + sugar + oats. Not so healthy. And so, I began looking for a recipe that would cut down on these items.

Enter: Skinny Taste. I adapted one of her recipes, and they were quite the hit at a recent work party.

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These were such a success at the work party. Several people came up to me afterward and said things like, “I always feel better if I’m eating something with the word ‘Skinny’ in it.” A few other ladies liked my container choice (see below — we had to bring reusable items, so I brought an old strawberry container).

If you want to make these at home, I’ll give you two tips: Definitely use quick oats. While I used regular oats, and they were fine, they were a little harder to eat. Also, don’t bother with adding powdered sugar to these. You could, but who needs the mess? People like seeing what they are going to eat. See the recipe for full details below.

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Adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats (for gluten free, use gluten free oats)
  • 3/4 cup Better’n Peanut Butter or peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Combine the first 4 ingredients (sugar through milk) and boil in a small sauce pan for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.

Roll into balls with slightly moist hands and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, if you want, roll them in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. I didn’t do this because of time and mess.

Keep refrigerated if storing for several days.

Jenna: 3 Day Refresh

I posted on my Facebook page yesterday about wanting to try a 3 day cleanse in the next few weeks, and then again before I leave for a trip for my birthday in August.

I will admit, I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I like the sound of this one. It includes Shakeology (which I drink every day) and actual food. Here’s some information I’ve gathered online, so I’m excited to try it:

What is the 3-Day Refresh?

The 3-Day Refresh is 3-day program of specially formulated shakes, healthy snacks, and delicious, easy-to-prepare meals that have been scientifically designed to help you lose weight and break the cycle of bad eating while dramatically improving the way you feel.

How is the 3-Day Refresh different from other cleanses?

Unlike juice fasts or liquid cleanses that are high in sugar and low in protein (which can leave you feeling weak and sluggish), the 3-Day Refresh is scientifically designed to help support your metabolism while nourishing your vital organs.* Plus, you actually get to eat delicious, real food during this program.

What’s included?

  • 3 packets of Shakeology®—your choice of 6 flavors (we recommend Chocolate Vegan or Tropical Strawberry   Vegan during the Refresh as plant proteins are often easier for the body to digest)
  • 6 packets of Vanilla Fresh (high-protein shake)
  • 3 packets of Fiber Sweep (digestive drink)
  • 1 Program Guide

What does one eat and drink while Refreshing?

  • FILTERED WATER: In addition to the water you use in your shakes and teas, we recommend you drink   at least half your body weight in ounces of filtered water each day.
  •  BREAKFAST: A superfood-packed Shakeology shake, plus one fruit option
  • MORNING TEA: 1 cup of unsweetened herbal or green tea
  • LATE MORNING: Fiber Sweep, a digestive health drink
  • LUNCH: Vanilla Fresh shake, plus 1 option from the Fruit List, 1 option from the Vegetable List, and 1 option   from the Healthy Fats list
  • AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 option from Vegetable List, and 1 option from the Healthy Fats list
  • AFTERNOON TEA: 1 cup of unsweetened herbal tea (caffeine-free)
  • DINNER: Vanilla Fresh shake, 1 option from the Dinner Recipes, and 1 cup of organic vegetable   broth (optional)
  • EVENING TEA: 1 cup of unsweetened herbal tea (caffeine-free)

I think I can handle this for three days! I’m considering ordering it today and starting it next week or the week after. I have a few friends that are interested, so message us on the contact page if you want to join us!