Thursday Thoughts

Hey guys! How is your week going? Things over here are going well. My work week is very much what I call a “catch-up” week as I don’t have client meetings but I have a lots of things on my to do list that I’m trying to get done as well as cleaning out and organizing my entire Outlook inbox.

I have a number of posts ready for next week including some fun announcements, but today I thought it’d be fun to share some random musings with you guys as we wind down the week.

Royal Palms shuffleboard

Tuesday night I headed to Royal Palms Shuffleboard for an evening of beers, laughs and shuffleboard with fifteen other local P&G employees. It was a great place to sit back, relax, catch up and talk about everything except work. If you haven’t ventured out to Royal Palms yet, I highly recommend it. They have a great beer selection, plenty of booths for catching up over drinks, ten shuffle board courts and a food truck serving an assortment of Greek food. You can walk-in or you can make a reservation in advance, which costs $40 for an hour court time. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before – they provide a complimentary lesson!

brick nyc

My goal half marathon, the NYC Half, is in five weeks and I’m excited and nervous at the same time. My training has been very different this time around with only three runs per week but my cross training has me feeling stronger than ever. During yesterday’s B/X class at Brick Grand Central via ClassPass (<–get $25 off your first month) I could feel the difference that the mix of cross training is making. My legs, arms and abs felt strong as we pushed through the multiple five minute AMRAP sessions including wall balls, rowing, push presses and jump squats. I am going to use this week’s eight mile long run as a diagnostic to assess any changes I need to make in the coming weeks. 

Speaking of running and training, I wish I had a crystal ball to know how much longer winter was going to last. I am tempted to invest in a few more pieces of warm weather running gear like better gloves and a wind-proof vest. Since I’m running outside at least two days a week now, having the right gear is a must. Tonight’s forecast already has me feeling cold – 25 degrees and 20 mile per hour wind gusts! If I was to order new gear today, I’d buy these Asics wind-proof gloves, this Nike vest and this Nike Dry-Fit wool top.

Until reading her post today, I’d never heard of the “Jesus year” but if anyone is making it happen it’s Theodora. She has shown so much strength this year and is truly making 2016 her best year yet! Today is her birthday so be sure to hop over to Preppy Runner and show her some love!

After a number of emails back and forth, my best friend Amy and I finally booked a long-awaited girls vacation for the end of April! We are going to spend four sunshine and blue water filled days enjoying cocktails, massages and relaxing at the adults only Iberostar Grand Hotel at Rose Hall. I’ve been craving a warm, sunny, beach-filled vacation for a while and I was elated when Amy said she was happy to join in the fun. Years ago we planned to plan a similar trip for our 30th birthdays but due to living abroad, babies and life it never happened.  I’ve never been to Montego Bay, Jamaica but considering that our goal is to read, relax, swim and enjoy drinks poolside, this all-inclusive resort fit the bill perfectly!

As you guys know, this weekend is Valentine’s Day. Similar to New Year’s Eve, this is one of those holidays that I feel is over hyped and way too commercial. Instead of going out to an over priced dinner where we’re forced to order from a special pre-fixe menu, Bo and I are doing something a bit more fun AND inexpensive.  We each are choosing a favorite workout, favorite food and favorite activity to enjoy together on Sunday and Monday. I think mine is going to be enjoying a homemade cheese plate, going to hot yoga at Tangerine and going to see a movie at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) which is supposed to be a gorgeous venue.

So, I’m craving a change in the hair department. My hair is the longest it’s ever been and while I love it, some days I go to Pinterest and search “lob hairstyles for thick hair.” I mean how cute are these styles?  But then I think, “Ashley who are you kidding, you don’t know how to blow dry your hair like that or use a curling iron to get those tousled waves.”

I think part of this haircut inspiration is due to the fact that the amazing hair stylist who I loved when we moved to Carroll Gardens didn’t in fact move to South America like the salon told me! It turns out she’s working a few blocks over at Sara June, a small, boutique salon near Park Slope.

Your turn: What’s on your mind today?

Follow:

Updating My Smoothies + $50 iHerb.com Giveaway

Happy Tuesday! I can’t believe it’s already the second week of February. How are the days flying by so quickly? Well, just in time for that second month of the year when resolutions and healthy habits start to fly out the window, I am partnering with iHerb.com today for a post and giveaway that will help you guys stock your home with items to help you live your healthiest year yet!

improved smoothie

Over the past few weeks, my love of smoothies has grown exponentially. The perfect way to pack a lot of delicious, healthy flavors into an easy to sip and refreshing serving, I’ve been enjoying them for breakfast, snacks and even lunch if it’s an especially busy day. After dreaming about the delicious smoothies that Kristine, Rachel, Georgie and others make, I knew I needed to invest in some new ingredients. In comparison to their vibrant, unique, nutrition packed smoothies, my typical green smoothie seemed simple and boring.

Based on their recommendations, I hopped over to iHerb.com to stock up on a few ingredients that would help me elevate my smoothies to a new level in terms of flavor, nutrients and aesthetics.

If you’ve never heard of iHerb, you’re in for a treat. I became an iHerb fan while we were living abroad as they were on of the only websites which would ship Kind Bars to Switzerland without charging a fortune or taking forever. In fact, my friend Lauren once received her order of Luna bars from iHerb in just a few days even though we were thousands of miles away!

The online retailer sells thousands of products that help you live a healthier life including vegan, natural, vitamins & supplements, and a huge beauty section. In this month’s order I updated both my smoothie drawer and my beauty regimen. Tonight I’m going to focus on the smoothie aspect as I’m going to include a few of the beauty items in an upcoming Friday Favorite’s post once I’ve had a few more weeks to test them.

iHerb believes in delighting the consumer especially in their shipping! You qualify for free shipping if you spend over $20 AND most orders arrive in 1-2 days. My order was delivered in less than 24-hours!

i herb pic 2

So, what did I order for my smoothie drawer?

  • Goji Berries – Often advertised as the most nutritious fruit on Earth, these tiny berries have more than 140% of your daily Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C as well as four grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar! I love the tart punch and chewy texture they give to my smoothies. I’ve also tried substituting them for raisins and dried cranberries in my afternoon, homemade trail mix. Love it!  I would buy these again!
  • Acai Powder – I’ve heard about this miracle fruit for ages but never spent the money to buy the frozen or powder version. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Unfortuntely, I think I’ll stick to the antioxidant mix which includes acai versus this rough, hard to dissolve, expensive powder. I didn’t taste the flavor when adding it to my smoothie and ended up with a grainy texture. I will not buy this again.
  • Superfruit Antioxidant Smoothie Mix – I saw this item recommended in a few different blog posts over the past few months and had taken a screen shot of it. The blend includes goji, pomegranate and acai powder which provides a great sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. It tastes delicious and provides a rich color to smoothies! I would buy this again!
  • Tera’s Whey – I’ve gone through three tubs of this protein powder since discovering it back in October. It blends perfectly in smoothies and results in a frothy, thick smoothie that also tastes delicious thanks in part to the use of Madagascar vanilla. Each serving packs 21 grams of protein for only 3 grams of sugar and 110 calories. I would clearly buy this again!

improved smoothie

If this is your first time shopping at iHerb you can use my discount code TCB960 to receive $5 off your order once you register on the website.

Iherb image

Now, it’s your turn to win your own $50 shopping spree on iHerb.com! Winners will need to register on iHerb to claim their prize but shipping will be paid for both US and non-US winners.

You can enter in 1 of 3 ways:

  • Leave a comment letting me know your favorite smoothie combination.
  • Follow @healthyhappier and  @iherbinc and leave a comment letting me know you did.

Giveaway will close on Thursday, February 11th at 11:59 PM EST.

This post is a sponsored partnership with iHerb.com but all product and website opinions are my own.

Follow:

Friday Favorites – February 5th, 2016

snowy brooklyn pic

Happy, happy Friday friends! I am smiling like a kid on Christmas, once again this morning, as we were surprised with an overnight dusting of snow. It’s so fun to share this not only with Bo, but also my parents! As you can imagine, they never see snow in Savannah, Georgia so it’s a fun treat. Today we’re heading into the city for a full day of exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, checking out the new dinosaur at the Natural History Museums as well as finally seeing The Lion King! Before the show we are going to share our favorite pre-theatre dinner spot with my parents – Casellula.  The cheese plates and small plates to share are terrific as is their wine selection!

As promised, in regular Friday fashion, here is this week’s version of Friday Favorites. So, as you count down the minutes until the weekend begins, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Friday Favorites, including recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week.

  • I can’t start this week’s favorites off without recognizing the gorgeous snowy scene outside our window this morning. Waking up to find Brooklyn covered in a dusting of snow was such a welcome surprise. Too bad it’s supposed to reach 40 degrees today, which means the snow will only last a few hours.
  • We are finally hitting the slopes this month and I can’t wait to clip into my skis and enjoy some time outside skiing on both the east coast and out in Tahoe. In preparation for our trip, I’ve had my eye on two base layers from Sweaty Betty. Both the Clubhouse and the Flowline are vibrant in color and gorgeous for both the day on the slope as well as après ski! I love that they are both sweat wicking as well as slim fit which means that I can easily layer without feeling like the abominable snowman. Which one is your favorite? I think the Rio pop art top is my favorite due to the bold colors which remind me of my favorite statement necklace!
  • Did anyone else shed a tear while watching the Me Before You preview? My favorite book of 2014, this movie looks like it is going to do the book justice and quickly rank high on my list of romantic tear-jerkers along with Love Story and The Notebook.

jcrew coat pic

  • Speaking of clothing, a few of my favorite winter items are now on sale at JCrew. The leather pixie pant is dressy enough for business meetings when paired with heels and comfortable enough for weekends. These lean and flattering jeans have been a weekly staple since I bought them in October. They have just enough stretch to make me want to wear them daily but not enough to end up looking saggy in the butt. Seriously, now that these are marked down 25% I would buy these in black and the classic rinse! Anytime I wear the Cocoon Coat or feature it on social media, people immediately ask me where I bought it. This coat’s funnel neck, large pockets and looser yet flattering style is perfect for winter when you want and need to wear multiple layers but still want to look feminine.
  • Last night we finally tried Hometown Barbecue and boy did it live up to the hype. Brooklyn is home to multiple award-winning barbecue restaurants but none have been as creative as Hometown. If you’re visiting or a local, you must add it to your list of restaurants as I woke up this morning dreaming of their Chinese Sticky Ribs and the Texas-Style Queso Mac + Cheese. Oh, my word.
  • Since my parents are in town, we thought it would be fun to have a few friends over for a casual Super Bowl party. When I say casual I mean less than 10 people, leggings and jeans as acceptable attire and lots of time watching the game and judging the much anticipated ads. But, what is a Super Bowl party without good food? We are keeping things simple by making it pot-luck style but we have our eye on this delicious brownie recipe, this upgraded brownie recipe, and these homemade pretzels.

detox salad

  • After all the weekend indulgence, I know I’ll need a few days of vegetables and whole food in my life. You guys know I don’t support juice cleanses as I believe that we can reset our bodies with healthy, natural foods versus restrictive liquid diets. This detox salad is filled with delicious ingredients and when paired with the homemade dressing, will not only be a healthy start to the week but also one I actually want to enjoy, unlike a disgusting wheatgrass shot.
  • I’ve professed my love of smoothies more than once, but lately I’ve been looking for some inspiration. While I’ve never read Whitney Port’s blog before, when I saw Diana share this link on Facebook, I immediately jumped over. I love that each of these recipes packs a flavor and nutrient punch without filling the smoothie with unnecessary sugar.

Your turn – What are you loving this week? 

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and instead is a list of the things of my favorite things this week. As normal, it includes lots of beauty and fashion items which means there are a few affiliate links via ShopStyle. It takes time and money to maintain a blog so I thank you for the support and few cents that come from clicking through the links!

Follow: