My Favorite Apps

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There’s a set of pretty standard apps that most of us use frequently. You know, the social media standards (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), The Weather Channel app, Google Maps and Waze, etc. But then we all have those extras that we love and use pretty often that others might not know about.

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I wanted to share some of those “extra” apps — outside of the rather ubiquitous social/maps/weather set — that I use frequently. (I have an iPhone, by the way. I think some of these are iOS specific.) Here goes!:

Waterlogged: I’ve raved about this app before, but wanted to mention it again. It allows you to set a water consumption goal for the day and then track against it as you chip away at the goal. Go, hydration!

Wunderlist: This is the perfect app for fellow Type A list makers. You can make lists galore (and then share them with others as necessary). I have lists for groceries, blog post ideas, movies I want to watch, books I want to read, gift ideas, recipes I want to try, and more.

Ibotta: I’m not all that into coupon clipping, but I do enjoy using Ibotta to get money back on grocery items. Once you hit $20, you can deposit it right into your PayPal account. Easy!

Ebates: Y’all. I know, I’ve talked about Ebates a ton, but that’s because it’s amazing! Getting cash back for purchases you’re already going to make (at sites like Nordstrom, Target, Expedia, and more), no strings attached?? Anyway, the app version is essential for when you’re shopping via smartphone.

Cardstar: Good news! You can get rid of all those pesky little loyalty cards with barcodes that make your keychain massive. Just put the bar codes into your phone instead and pull up any card you need as you’re checking out! Talk about streamlining things.

Calm: I’ve been trying to incorporate more meditation, mindfulness, and stillness into my life, and have to say it doesn’t come naturally. This app has been a helpful reminder and, with sessions starting at just five minutes, is a good way to ease into things.

SkyFit: I’ve shared about this app just recently, but couldn’t not include it, as it’s one of my new favorite finds. The app is populated with tons of on-demand workouts — ranging from indoor or outdoor running to yoga workouts and more — led by a variety of trainers. I’ve been using it mainly for outdoor running so far, and have loved the way my runs have been flying by. It’s a subscription-based, paid app, just as a heads up. I think it’s very worth it, though!

What are some apps you use all the time? I’d love to add some cool new-to-me ones to my line-up!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Welcome to Friday Favorites — the new name for what was formerly Links I’m Loving. (I realized some of the things on my Links I’m Loving list weren’t always links, per say — they were more just things I was enjoying in general — and so I opted to go for a different title. A little rebranding can be healthy, right?)

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve been pretty pumped about recently. Short and sweet this week!:

  • SkyFit: This workout app is totally up my alley. I talked about my love of group fitness in a recent workout post, and SkyFit is able to offer me that effect in a running context. The app is populated with tons of on-demand workouts — ranging from indoor or outdoor running to yoga workouts and more — led by a variety of trainers. I’ve been using it mainly for outdoor running so far, and have loved the way my runs have been flying by. I tried the seven-day free trail and then ended up signing up for a three-month subscription because I’m convinced this is going to make me a better runner. I highly recommend it!

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  • Speaking of workout motivation, Nike’s new India-based music video, “Da Da Ding,” is sure to get you pumped for a workout. It’s just so visually stunning — I can’t stop watching it! Plus, these women are total badasses:

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Happy Friday!

My Favorite Summertime Nail Polish Picks

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My obsession with nail polish (and constantly painted nails) continues in full force, and so it only seemed right to devote a blog post to the colors I’ve fallen hard for this season. Here are the polish shades I find myself reaching for again and again during these warm weather months:

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  • Zoya “Rue.” It’s lovely and understated, and pairs perfectly with just about anything.

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  • Zoya “Charli.” I’ve found myself drawn to lots of earth tones this summer when it comes to fashion in general, so it makes sense that this polish made it into my line-up.

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Fellow nail polish lovers: What colors are you loving this summer?

My Favorite Non-Pure Barre Workouts

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My favorite workout, hands down, is Pure Barre. (That comes as no surprise to just about anyone who knows me and/or reads this blog/follows me on Instagram.) But to supplement my time at the barre, I like to incorporate other workouts to round things out and keep some variety, too.

I’ve found that I much prefer group workout classes to individual ones, which is one of the reasons PB is so appealing to me. But I’ve found that group element in other types of workouts, too, which has been great. Groups make me feel more motivated, and I definitely think I work harder when I’m with others versus on my own. (Oh, hey, pride! I think it’s working in my favor in this case, though.)

Anyway, here are my go-to workouts when I’m not at the Pure Barre studio, listed in no particular order:

  • Spinning: I discovered spinning in the last year or so (where have I been??) and really love it as a cardio complement to Pure Barre. Plus, it’s something Kevin and I can do together, which makes it especially awesome.

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  • Yoga: I wish I did more yoga. I need to do more yoga. Because every time I do it, I get so very happy. Sure, there’s some crossover between yoga and Pure Barre, but they’re distinctly unique enough that I definitely get different benefits and experiences from each. Paz Studios here in Winston is my top pick for yoga (and I love when they host classes in Bailey Park!).
  • Running: I’m liking running more and more, and finding that the less pressure I put on myself to be awesome at running, the more enjoyable it is. (Duh — go figure, Anna!) It’s been nice to take some of the expectations away and just, well, run! (I’ve especially loved running races, which totally makes sense given my preference for group-oriented workout environments.)

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  • Tennis: I’m pretty terrible at tennis, but that doesn’t stop me from playing! We have some great courts by our house, and love meeting up with friends for some casual summertime games.
  • Rock Climbing: I’m solidly in the amateur category when it comes to this activity, but I looooove it. My friend Jodi introduced me to outdoor rock climbing (it’s SO MUCH BETTER than indoor!), and I’m so grateful to her for it.

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  • Platform: Another great form of cardio, which is also a Pure Barre class, is Platform. I’ve enjoyed integrating Platform classes into my routine from time to time as well, as it’s definitely a class that syncs up well with regular Pure Barre classes.

What are your favorite workouts? 

Keller Family Beach Vacation 2016: A Photo-Driven Recap

I lucked out beyond measure in the in-law department. Kevin’s family is incredible, and I adore spending time with them. I’m grateful to them for welcoming me into the family with such open arms and making me feel so comfortable.

Kevin and I spent last week at the beach with his family (including: his dad, Keith, his mom, Cathy, his older sister, April, her husband, Greg, their two boys, Everett and Isaiah, his younger brother, Justin, and his wife, Katie) and loved every minute. All 10 of us shared a house on Oak Island, and it was a blast being together, sharing dinner responsibilities (I made an Atlantic Beach Pie — yum!), hanging out on the beach, and laughing — a lot. Spending a week at the beach each summer is a Keller family tradition, and it’s one I’ve been happy to join!

Instead of writing out the details of our week-long beach vacation, I thought I’d share our trip with you through photos.

Enjoy!:

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We’re already excitedly planning next summer’s Keller beach trip. I can’t wait!

Introducing Kate Morris Jewelry (Plus A Giveaway!)

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**Update: Congratulations to the winner of this Marla bracelet giveaway, Megan Neubauer! (Megan: Be on the lookout for an email from me with details.) Thanks so much to everyone who entered this contest!**

I am always in awe of my friends’ many talents. I know people who make amazing things out of wood, who have started awesome parenting websites, and who design captivating narrative-inspired wallpaper.

And a college friend of mine, Kate Morris, is another one of those inspiring and talented folks. Her craft? Making stunning jewelry. Kate and I met through our sorority in college (shout-out to the ZTAs out there!), and now she’s a Pure Barre instructor (like me!) in Birmingham, Alabama, in addition to being a middle school Spanish teacher and crafter of lovely jewelry.

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Kate has been making jewelry since she was young, honing her skills through the years and using her craft to fund summer mission trips to South America starting in high school. In fact, to acknowledge her love for South American culture, Kate names all her pieces in Spanish. She also donates 10% of her profits to the International Mission Board. Her dream is to eventually use KMJ to somehow be heavily involved in an orphanage/school in South America.

After selling on Etsy for a few years, she founded Kate Morris Jewelry in 2015 and began selling her wares via her current website.

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I love every single piece Kate designs, and they adhere to a style Kate calls “elegant bohemian.” (I’d have to agree with that description.) “You could wear most of my pieces to a formal event, or you could wear them with a T-shirt,” she explains.

Some of my top picks on Kate’s site right now include the Canela necklace, the Villa necklace, and the Naturastack bracelet.

And, lucky for you folks, Kate is offering 15% off to Curiouser & Curiouser readers when you use the promo code “curiouser” at checkout. (This discount is valid on TOP of many already discounted prices on the site right now thanks to a great sale, so be sure to shop now!)

For one SUPER lucky reader, Kate is giving away one of her beautiful Marla bracelets!:

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(I have one of my own and am so very obsessed with this piece.) To enter to win, simply follow Kate Morris Jewelry on Instagram. That’s it! (Please also leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve followed KMJ.)

The giveaway winner will be announced Monday, July 11, so please be sure to enter (a.k.a. follow KMJ on Insta) by Sunday, July 10!

Happy jewelry shopping, y’all!

Links I’m Loving

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Oh, summertime Fridays. How I love you! Each and every one of you.

To help you usher in this glorious weekend, I’ve collected a few of my favorite links from this past week. Enjoy!:

  • I love, love, LOVE this book idea. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls features tales from 100 awesome women in history — past and current — to inspire kiddos to dream big:

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  • How adorable is this gingham swimsuit from J. Crew Factory (top here and bottoms here)? And the price is great, too! I might just have to snag it for this year’s beach vacation (coming up the week of July 4!)…

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Happy Friday! Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend ahead.

 

3 Perfect-For-Summer No-Bake Vegan Dessert Recipes

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There’s something pretty magical about a dessert that doesn’t require baking, especially this time of year when leaving your oven turned off sounds quite appealing. Enter no-bake recipes: the perfect summertime sweet treat, minus the oven time.

I’ve rounded up three delectable no-bake recipes for you lovely readers. (You’re welcome!) I’ve vetted all three and have made a few slight tweaks from their original versions in some cases. Time to get to blending, mixing, and refrigerating. Enjoy!

1. Healthier No-Bake Homemade Samoa Cookies (modified slightly from this recipe by The Pretty Bee)

Girl Scout cookies are just the best, aren’t they? And, as far as I’m concerned, Samoas (I know they’re called Caramel deLights now, but they’ll always be Samoas to me) are the BEST Girl Scout cookies, hands down. And so when I came across a recipe that promised a healthier version of this amazing cookie, I was all in.

After making this recipe twice now, I’d recommend doubling this batch. One batch will get you about eight cookies, so if you’re making them to share it’s worth it to go ahead and double it. (And these are going to go fast. Trust me — you’ll want to have a lot on hand!) I buy my dates from Trader Joe’s in the 16-ounce package and just use the whole pack when doubling this recipe. It makes it nice and easy!

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free to make this recipe vegan)
  • Maple syrup (optional)

Directions

  • If you need to toast your coconut flakes, start there. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and distribute coconut evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 5-8 minutes, watching them carefully and turning them often to ensure they don’t burn. No need to cool them after toasting — they’re ready to throw right into your food processor!
  • Then line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside. (You can use a small baking sheet for this. I used a 12″x9″ pan even for a double batch and it worked great.)
  • Place the pitted dates, water, toasted coconut, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides if needed. (You can drizzle in a bit of maple syrup to help bind the mixture together if needed. I tried that approach and it worked well. I’ll be continuing that!)
  • Roll the mixture into balls, then flatten each into a half-inch thick medallion. Use a straw to poke a hole in the middle of each cookie, then place cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place cookies (on the baking sheet) in the freezer for about an hour.
  • After the cookies have set in the freezer, remove them and melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (or on the stove). I recommend microwaving them in 30-second increments, stirring well after each 30-second session, until fully melted to avoid the chocolate burning.
  • Cover the bottom of each cookie with melted chocolate (you can either dip them into the chocolate or spoon some chocolate onto the base of each cookie and then spread it out, which is the approach I took) and place them back on the baking sheet (chocolate side down).
  • Place the rest of the melted chocolate in a Ziploc bag, then cut out the corner of the bag. (I recommend turning the bag inside and placing the chocolate directly on the corner where you’ll be squeezing it out to fill it to avoid losing any precious chocolate!)
  • Pipe the chocolate on the tops of the cookies in stripes.
  • Store cookies in the refrigerator (they’ll last for several days).

2. No-Bake Chocolate Fudge Cookies (modified slightly from this recipe by Oh She Glows)

I trust all things that Angela of Oh She Glows recommends, and I sure am glad I gave this recipe a try. I used her recipe as a base and incorporated some extra elements (sunflower seeds and cashews) for even more great taste and texture.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seed oil (or nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup organic cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat.
  • Whisk in the sunflower seed butter, cacao powder, and maple syrup until smooth.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  • Add the oats, sunflower seeds, cashews, coconut, chia seeds, and salt to the pan and stir well until fully combined. The mixture will be thick and oily.
  • Using a spoon, scoop the dough into mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving just a bit of space between each cookie.
  • Place the cookies in the freezer to set for 10-15 minutes (until firm) or chill in the fridge for a longer period of time.
  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in the fridge (they’ll last for up to a week, but good luck with that!) and serve directly from the fridge.

3. Decadent Raw Brownies (recipe from The Conscious Cleanse)

I’ve made, oh, probably four batches of these raw brownies over the past month or so. They’re the perfect sweet-but-not-crazy-sweet, chocolate-packed treat to keep on hand in our fridge. And, with just three raw ingredients, they’re a treat I can feel good about. Pull out your food processor and get to blending. You won’t regret it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts or cashews
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder

Directions

  • Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment or wax paper.
  • In a food processor, mix walnuts (or cashews) and dates together until smooth.
  • Add cacao powder and blend completely.
  • Press mixture into prepared pan.
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Links I’m Loving

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Another Friday! You know what that means. Time for my favorite links from this week!

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  • This blog post — showing what a day-in-the-life post from a mom in the 70s might look like — is pretty outstanding. It makes me wonder what things we do now will be total jokes in a few decades.

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  • With Father’s Day coming up (next Sunday, June 19), don’t forget to take advantage of my Curiouser & Curiouser 20% F&R coupon code to shop for something the dads in your life are sure to love. Plus, shipping is always free — score!

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Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Easy, Healthy (& Vegan!) Superfood Breakfast Cookies

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I’m always on the lookout for delicious, healthy, breakfast-friendly baked goods. For one, I love to bake. Also, baked items tend to be so easy to just grab as you walk out the door. (No heating required, no bowls needed, etc.)

That’s why when I came across this recipe for Superfood Breakfast Cookies, I knew I had to give it a go. After all, these babies are packed with so much goodness (seeds, nuts, fruit, coconut oil, and more) they just had to be tasty (not to mention super healthy AND portable).

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I discovered this recipe thanks to Thrive Market, which I’ve raved about in a past post. Thrive Market is a wonderful, membership-based website that has tons of healthy items — including grocery, beauty, home, baby, and pet products — for wholesale prices. Um, yes please. Initially I was a little hesitant, only because I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay the $59.95 annual membership fee, but after trying my (FREE!) 30-day trial and discovering how many products I already buy are offered on Thrive Market for significantly lower prices, my hesitation was gone. Just look at my last order. Good stuff, huh?:

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(Plus, one paid membership gives someone who wouldn’t be able to afford to access Thrive Market a membership as well, so you can feel doubly good about your participation.)

One awesome thing about Thrive Market is they’re always giving their members freebies. Sometimes it’s a free add-on item to your order, sometimes it’s a discount, and sometimes it’s great content. With my last order, I received an e-book called The Ultimate Guide to Coconut, which had lots of interesting information about coconut, including some mouthwatering recipes. One of said recipes was this one, and I’m super excited to share it with y’all! (I modified my version ever so slightly from Thrive Market’s version.) Enjoy!

Superfood Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3 ripe banans
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats and set aside.
  • In a food processor (or blender), coarsely blend together pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, and shredded coconut. Pour mixture into large bowl.
  • Add coconut flakes, ground ginger, flaxseed meal, salt, almonds, goji berries, and raisins.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine bananas, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until bananas are well mashed.
  • Pour banana mixture into dry mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Form dough into balls and place one inch apart on baking sheets (they won’t spread, so you can put them pretty close together).
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until golden brown. (Mine baked for closer to 15 minutes.)

Breakfast is served!

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