Exploring the Bloomingdale Neighborhood of Washington, DC

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Happy Wednesday! If you were following along on my Instagram this past weekend, you may have noticed that I ventured over to the Bloomingdale neighborhood of DC to check out their farmer’s market (it’s open seasonally from 9-1) and try the highly recommended Big Bear Cafe. The verdict? I loved both, and everyone local needs to scoot on over there soon if they haven’t already!

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My Sunday was pretty much wide open when I woke up (aside from having plans to head home and see my family–including my new baby cousin–in the afternoon). I sometimes struggle when I don’t have concrete plans set out for the weekend. As much as I cherish my alone time, I sometimes feel “behind” or just boring when I don’t have things lined up to do. However, Sunday was a perfect example of how relaxing it can be to just have a free day to explore someplace new. After using my free birthday spin credit at Zengo Cycle (woohoo!), I decided to Uber Pool on over to Bloomingdale to catch the last half hour of their farmer’s market. Not gonna lie, I was largely tempted because of the adorable photos I’d seen of it on Instagram over the past several weeks!

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The farmer’s market was small and a little Gilmore Girls-like, with a singer, a few different stands, and tons of photo-worthy fruit. I was starving from my workout and had heard great things about Big Bear Cafe, so I decided I’d see what the fuss  was all about. I ordered a breakfast sandwich with delicious runny eggs (perfection!) and an iced coffee, and sat outside and people-watched. Part of my wished I had a book with me, but it was also super calming to just sit at my table and pretend I was at a little cafe in Europe (I was texting pictures of the leafy outdoor space to my mom and sister, and they immediately were jealous!).

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Other than this mini adventure, I honestly hadn’t spent much time in Bloomingdale before, so I’m glad I decided to pop on over. My roommate and I had actually looked at one apartment unit in the area, but I don’t know if we would’ve loved the location in the long run (busy street far away from public transportation). So while I remain biased toward Dupont/Logan Circle in terms of where I’d rather live full time, I absolutely love that DC has so many fun, unique neighborhoods (each with their own strong fan base!).

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Next up, I NEED to finally check out the Red Hen in Bloomingdale. It’s an adorable Italian restaurant with hard-to-snag reservations, and I keep only finding openings at times that don’t work super well for me…however, their pasta looks amazing, so I’ll have to make it a priority soon!

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Instagrammable Eats in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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I recently crossed a new state off my list–Michigan (ok, I don’t know if it was really on my list, but a lot of my classmates from high school applied to or attended the University of Michigan, so I’d always been curious to see what the hype was about!).

Last week, I was in Ann Arbor for four days attending a work conference at the University of Michigan, but the downtown location made it easy to explore the city, too. The campus itself was beautiful but I didn’t see much of it aside from the building where the sessions were held. However, I honestly think I would be fine being a student there based on the little that I did see–and because of the amazing food and shopping located right nearby! The food posts I shared from my trip were super popular, and for good reason–Ann Arbor has some great eats that are also super Instagrammable…what more could one want?!

First up was a cute little macaron shop (Le Bon Macaron) I found while exploring the first day I arrived. The macarons (pictured above) were $2 a piece, which is pretty common but still not super ideal, though they were worth it. I picked up a honey lavender and strawberry champagne and spent the first five minutes photographing the shop (but can you blame me? It was adorable with its exposed brick, chandeliers, and marble tabletops!). The macarons were delicious and when I told my coworker about them at lunch, one of the hostesses quickly recommended another place that we had to try, called TeaHaus. Needless to say, we sprinted on over there even after feeling stuffed from our delicious meal at Sava’s–we went back later on during the week because it was that good!

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The TeaHaus macarons were huge, well-priced ($2.50 each for a gigantic size), and so creative–I loved the floral design some of them had! I also had to get a vanilla rose one, which was amazing.

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Later in the afternoon, I had some free time before an evening dinner event and made my way over to Fred’s, an adorable tea/coffee shop by our hotel. The flamingo mural and plant wall were enough to get me in the door, but their iced tea was great as well!

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The Ann Arbor art fair was happening the week we were in town, so between browsing the various booths (I picked up some gorgeous mudcloth blankets that I’ll have to showcase on the blog at some point), we stopped into Sava’s again for cocktails and dinner. Having ordered a turkey burger with tons of toppings the first time, I opted for something a bit healthier and tried their “hippie bowl” (basically a grain/greens bowl with amazing veggies) with a black bean burger on top. I honestly have been dreaming about it for days! The drinks they offered were super Instagrammable and delish–I got frozen rosé (obviously!), and my coworkers picked out some summery cocktails that also looked amazing and were a perfect way to celebrate wrapping up the week.

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Current Trader Joe’s Faves

I was browsing Apartment Therapy the other day and came across this article about what it’s like to live two blocks from Trader Joe’s and could totally relate–I love having one super close to my current apartment! In New York, I would take the subway and bus across town and back just to be able to stock my kitchen with delicious, cheap groceries. In Philly, there was a TJ’s that was a quick Uber ride away, but I didn’t get over there as often due to my lack of time and the cost involved in getting there. Last year in DC, I’d visit the West End location every now and then, but now, having a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks away from my new place has been a game changer.

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Lots of other bloggers I follow have shared their TJ’s must haves, although I’d say that mine tend to change each time I go, so I don’t know if I really have a reliable “list” to post on here! I’ve been trying a lot more of the frozen items while still stocking up on things like peanut butter pretzels (so good), a four-pack of Simpler Wines (so cheap and perfect to have on hand when friends come over), and practical things like yogurt and mini avocados (the best!).

I’ve learned over time that just because something is sold at TJ’s doesn’t mean it’s healthy, though. The salads always looked amazing until I started looking at the nutrition information on the back of the packaging–yikes! Obviously they’re worse for you when you include all of the dressing, but they still aren’t that great if you’re trying to be health conscious! Some of the frozen dinners are even more dangerous and are packed with fat and sodium. I believe in “everything in moderation” most of the time, but I can’t get myself to pick up some of these items, no matter how good they look and how affordable they are!

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That said, I’ve found lots of delicious alternatives that allow me to compromise a bit. The other day, I picked up a package of the “bambino” pepperoni pizzas, which are perfect for when you need to satisfy a craving but don’t want to heat up or order a whole pizza for yourself. The cold brew latte popsicles are also great to have on hand–they’re only 40 CALORIES a pop (ha!) which I think is so crazy considering how creamy and delicious they are, but hey, I’m not gonna question it! I also love the TJ’s version of Pirate’s Booty, which comes in both a traditional cheddar flavor as well as a sour cream and onion one.

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And back to the mini avocados…they’re the perfect size for a serving for one, and they’re great for my avocado toast habit. My blog friend Colby introduced me to the whole grain crispbread that TJ’s sells (there’s both a regular and a gluten free version) and combined with avocado and Everything but the Bagel spice (another must buy!), they’re AMAZING.

What are your favorite TJ’s items? I’m always looking for more to add to my list! PS- I’ve noticed that TJ’s recently started selling Nespresso pods–a game changer for those of you that own machines! Unfortunately, the machine I have takes the larger (Vertuoline) capsules, so I can’t buy these, but definitely try to snag a few if you go through the little ones religiously!

All images via traderjoes.com 

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Instagrammable Things to Eat and Drink in NYC

I’ll begin this post by saying that I’m not a foodie. A friend of mine works in the restaurant industry and was recently asking me all of these questions about his pop-up and how much he should charge and I was basically useless. Do I like fun, Instagrammable places that happen to be tasty? Yes. But do I enjoy spending money on food, going out to nice dinners, cooking, or even paying $10 for a work lunch? No way. However, when I’m traveling, I’m always eager to check out local places, try the food that everyone is raving about (or let’s be real…Instagramming), etc, even if it’s a little overpriced. When I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago, I hit several of my favorite spots as well as some new finds that I’ll definitely be going back to next time!

Ess-a-Bagel: I sadly didn’t take a picture of my bagel, but that was probably because I was too busy wolfing it down. If you’re one of those people who refuses to eat bagels most of the time because they’re just so darn bad for you, I totally get you, but you HAVE to make an exception for this place. When I worked at Meredith (which was home to American Baby), Ess-a-Bagel was right down the street and we’d get it catered in our office every Wednesday (my goodness, I miss that!). I would always have either a 9 grain bagel with veggie cream cheese or a cinnamon raisin bagel with veggie cream cheese (I know that sounds disgusting, but I like both of those flavors and pairing them is surprisingly good) and eat it at my desk before banishing myself from carbs for the rest of the day, haha. The crazy thing is that I had no idea that this bagel place was so popular because I’d either eat their bagels in the office or snag a mini bagel on my way home from dropping off papers at my boss’s townhouse–I swear my NYC life was basically a hybrid of Younger and The Bold Type ;). So I was shocked when I visited Ess-a-Bagel on a Saturday morning a few months ago and was greeted with a line that wrapped around the block! I didn’t want to wait for 30-plus minutes, but an employee mentioned that there’s an “express line” where you can go inside and order a bagel (not toasted) and a side of cream cheese and assemble everything yourself. I did this both then and this past time in NYC because even on a Friday, the line was outrageous! However, their bagels are so, so worth it!

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Milk and Cream: I kept describing this place to the friends I was visiting who thought I was referring to Milk Bar and kept getting frustrated trying to correct people–it’s a similar concept, but Milk and Cream is its own store in the West Village and has both adorable decor and AMAZING ice cream. I’ll admit that I ordered mine because I thought it was cute, but OMG, it was so worth every bite. I got the cookie dough ice cream with Cinnamon Toast Crunch mixed in and Teddy Grahams on top, and whoa, it was delish! They have countless other toppings and mix-ins, so it’s easy to change it up the next time.

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Bar Primi: I made reservations for a group of us on Friday night at Bar Primi, and it’s the cutest little Italian restaurant with famous frose (I think I first heard about the concept of frose after seeing a pic from this place), and great pasta. (Thank goodness for walking 18,000-ish steps in NYC, because all of the food there is so tempting!). We started with a delicious cheese plate that we split as a table and then got perfectly-sized bowls of pasta.

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ByChloe: I’m obsessed with ByChloe and actually ate there twice during my most recent visit, which isn’t uncommon for me to do when I’m up! While everything served is technically vegan, this isn’t your typical crunchy, hippie place…rather, when it comes to the demographic, it’s basically the restaurant version of SoulCycle. I almost always get the quinoa taco salad (which I ate two days in a row!) but have also tried and loved the avocado toast, and my friend Molly got the mac and cheese and really liked it as well. It’s definitely worth a visit, just note that lines can be long during lunch, since it’s a popular grab and go place, too.

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The Honeywell: My friend Austin and I trekked all the way up to 145th Street to get drinks at this spot, which she had been to last summer when looking at an apartment. She told all of our friends about the awesome lava lamp drinks (some kind of cocktail served in a lava lamp shaped glass), and I’d been wanting to go there ever since! The drink was strong and cost $15, but it was definitely worth it for the portion and the overall experience of drinking out of a lava lamp–people kept asking me where I was when I Snapchatted them. (The bathroom also had gorgeous palm leaf wallpaper, but it was too dark in there to get a picture). We got some appetizers there for dinner before my train before getting another drink at Harlem Public next door. We wished that we’d waited to eat there, because they had a much better selection of food…next time!

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Lately Around Here…

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How was everyone’s Memorial Day Weekend? I’m feeling relaxed and ready to take on this short week after a couple of workout classes, some fun brunches (at The Fainting Goat and Martin’s Tavern), a much needed night out on U Street, and lots of reading time–I made my way through three and a half books–so May’s reading roundup will be a good one.

What’s been happening around here?

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Last week, I grabbed frozen rosé (or frosé) with my friend Olivia, and it did not disappoint. I’ve found that sometimes rosé has a weird consistency (when I made it myself this time last year, it was definitely refreshing but a little too icey and not as sweet as it could be), but we stopped at Black Jack on 14th Street and found the BEST frosé we’ve ever had. The pictures don’t even do it justice–not only was it super pretty, it was exactly the right consistency (almost Slurpee-like) and dangerously fruity (again, almost like a Slurpee). If you find yourself in the area during happy hour this summer, definitely stop in. At $8, it really can’t be beat, but I’d totally pay the non-happy hour price of $12 for one of these!

On an unrelated note, I wanted to highlight a new page on the blog where I talk about the copyediting services I’m offering. I explain my journalism background in further detail on there, but if you’re looking for an extra set of eyes as you take on blog/freelance work, I’m your girl!

And one last thing…I’m such a die hard spin class girl, but I finally took a pilates class for seriously the first time in years and loved it. I went to a little studio in my neighborhood and had a blast trying something new. I always worry that the class will seem too “slow” for me, but it definitely flew by and I’ll hopefully be able to go back there soon! I really love the energizing atmosphere of spin classes and wasn’t sure if I would feel the same way about pilates, but it was an upbeat, challenging workout for sure.

What did you do this past weekend?

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Spring Shopping Favorites

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Happy Monday! It’s back to the grind after a fun little getaway to Bermuda for a work trip last week. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go but also that my passport was up-to-date! It expires next spring, so I need to get that taken care of…I would’ve been so disappointed if it was expired and forced me to say no to this experience!

Now that spring is finally in the air (as is tons of pollen…), I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for the season. I’m lusting over all of these but am trying to curb my shopping a bit this month since I have a few trips coming up in June.

I’m a sucker for a good wicker bag and I spotted this one on Kate’s blog awhile back. It’s not back in stock but looks like it will be on its way later this month, so I’ve signed up for an alert. You would NEVER believe that it’s under $20!

By mow everyone probably knows about my obsession with all things cane/rattan, and these shoes do not disappoint…plus, they look pretty comfortable!

Speaking of shoes (which is funny, because I’m really not a shoe person…bags/tops are more my speed), these lemon slides look PERFECT and may have to go in my shopping bag…(actually, the palm leaf pattern is equally adorable, so now I’m undecided!).

I’ve been breezing through books and want to read this and this…adding to my wish list! I think Slone Crosley is hilarious and am bummed I couldn’t attend her book talk in DC in April!

Ok, I’m not getting this exact chair, because $$$$, but I want to find one like it for reading outside/inside. I sat in one in Savannah and fell in love. I’m so excited to spend more time out on our roof as the weather warms up!

What’s on your spring shopping list?

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My Dupont Area Guide

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Now that I’ve lived over here for six months (seriously, time flies!) it’s about time I do a post on my favorite neighborhood spots (I did a smaller one about a month back, but this one will be a little more comprehensive!). I’ll preface this with two notes–1) I honestly call the entire area surrounding me Dupont even though parts of it are technically Logan Circle/U Street-ish…our apartment was listed online as being in Dupont, but we’re very close to these other two areas, so I kind of describe my place as being in the middle of all three! 2) These are just a few of my personal recs and this definitely isn’t a comprehensive list. I’m also writing this kind of on a whim and am likely forgetting something! Lastly (sorry…I’ll stop rambling!), I really don’t go out to eat that much, so my restaurant guide is a little subpar–I feel like in previous cities, I honestly tried lots of restaurants through various boyfriends because going out to dinner was always our go-to date night activity (I’m sure many of you can relate!), and now that I’m not part of a couple, I’m like, oops…I’ve barely been to any of these!

Anyway, with all of that aside, haha…here are my favorite spots for…

Shopping: 

Starting this on a practical note…Trader Joe’s is my go-to spot for grocery shopping and I love being able to walk to one of the DC locations now. I barely ever made it to TJ when I lived in Georgetown even though the Foggy Bottom location was relatively close, although that’s partly because I lived near such a great Safeway that was about a three minute walk from my apartment. There’s still a Safeway near us now, but it’s known as the “Soviet Safeway” (the DC ones all have nicknames) and it definitely lives up to its reputation of being run down and often lacking in certain areas. (But if you live in Georgetown, seriously go to the “Social Safeway”–it’s amazing!).

In terms of shopping shopping, I think this post pretty much covers it–Miss Pixie’s, GoodWood, and Salt and Sundry are my go-to’s when it comes to weekend browsing. Also, Little Leaf is a spot that I frequent pretty often–I have several of their plants in my room! Plus, 14th Street is also home to chains such as West Elm, Room and BoardLululemon, and many, many additional stores.

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Happy Hour/Dining/Bars: 

I honestly don’t make it to HH as frequently as I would like, but Zorba’s is one of my favorite spots (I’ve been there on dates, with friends, and even alone–it’s super casual and is perfect for dropping in quickly or sitting down for a couple of hours). It’s a Greek spot that’s located right off of the Dupont Metro, making it super convenient whether or not you live in the neighborhood. The owner now knows me and sometimes honors my requests for extra happy hour wine even when it’s past 7:00. 😉 If you’re the kind of girl who appreciates no frills $3 wine, all of the hummus/dips, and delicious french fries, this is the spot for you!

Le Diplomate is a beloved French spot on 14th Street and is perfect for everyone–my friends and I love it, my parents and their friends love it, and for good reason! Go for brunch, drinks, dinner…everything is delicious and this is a highly-recommended spot that you shouldn’t miss if you come to this area (or to the city in general!).

El Centro is delicious for brunch and dinner alike. They also have a Georgetown location, but I really like this one as well. At brunch, you get a ton of food and unlimited drinks for a pretty good price, and if you go for dinner, definitely try the Chipotle BBQ chicken salad at some point–it’s so good, and I promise you won’t feel weird for ordering a salad at a Mexican restaurant; this isn’t a lame one and is super yummy! I also love Lauriol Plaza for Mexican food–start out by ordering one of their delicious swirl margaritas and then grab a platter of tacos (and some queso!). Lastly, there’s Mission, which is located right next door to Zorba’s and also has great happy hour specials in addition to regular dinner and brunch options.

Brick Lane is relatively new to me but has a great brunch menu and is reasonably priced. Alero, a Mediterranean place, is right down the street from Brick Lane and is another popular brunch spot, but be sure to make a reservation, because they definitely fill up! I ate there a few weeks ago and have also been to their happy hour–order the cheese plate and a cocktail! And of course, Duke’s Grocery is also right down the street, and I’ve been told you have to try their burger (although I can attest that their sandwiches are great as well). If you’re in the mood for a wide selection of American food, Ted’s Bulletin (a local chain) is a great option–I always want everything on the menu and am also obsessed with their famous poptarts!

A few of these places (particularly Mission) also double as popular places to go out at night…Ghibellina is another restaurant (delicious Italian) that also fills up on Friday and Saturday nights. I went to Sotto, a speakeasy-ish bar below it, a few weeks ago (overpriced wine = no thanks) and have also had a blast at Pearl Dive and Barcelona. If you venture out to U Street later at night, The Brixton, Provision 14, Hawthorne, and The Fainting Goat are all faves and are a great place to bring out of town friends who want to go out (just prepare to feel like you’re 23 again). That said, you can totally sit and have a drink there and actually hear each other if you get there early enough! Finally, for a real dive/1 am stop, head to the Codmother…just prepare yourself for sticky floors and angsty ’90s music–one of my friends and I call it “the Scotty Doesn’t Know Bar” because they play that song on repeat, and that about sums it up! Oh, and if you want a real speakeasy, definitely try The Sheppard–you may have to put your name in and come back, but the drinks are amazing (the bartender kind of just whips up whatever based on your preferences) and the atmosphere is classy and relaxing.

Coffee/Dessert: 

Colada Shop has a cult following and is conveniently located right off 14th Street–stop in for Cuban eats and good coffee. It’s right next door to Ice Cream Jubilee, an ice cream place that I tried the weekend I moved in–I’ve been meaning to go back, because all of their flavors looked super good! Jeni’s also opened this past fall and has amazing ice cream as well (plus super Instagrammable decor).

If you’re more of a froyo person, I love Mr. Yogato…it’s a super hole in the wall place and a little overpriced, but I swear the plain tart yogurt is among the best I’ve had (and they usually offer one additional flavor as well). Just note that the offerings are somewhat limited, and it also isn’t serve yourself as most froyo places are nowadays.

Activities: 

Kramerbooks and Afterwards is a super energetic bookstore and restaurant (though I’ve heard the food is pricy) and is open pretty late. Someone recently told me that they price match with Amazon, which I didn’t know!

If you’re in more of a game night mood, the Board Room is a super chill bar that lets you bring in your own food (because they don’t sell any!) and offers a wide selection of board games and seating. I went last year with a few high school friends and caught up over Cards Against Humanity, which was the perfect relaxing night out (if there is such a thing!).

Whew–this is everything I could think of for now, but I’m sure this will be updated soon! Anything I definitely need to try? I’m always up for more area recs!

Photos by forbetterdays4@gmail.com

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Raspberries and Rosé

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Summer may be on its way out, but I’m still milking rosé season for as long as I can. After making a batch of frozen rosé, or frosé, over Memorial Day Weekend (sidenote—what?! That seriously feels like last week), I decided to try it again but with…raspberries!

Raspberries are hands down my favorite fruit (although frozen grapes are definitely making their way up the list, haha), and I always pick up a box (or several) when they’re priced decently. When I came home from Paris, I headed to the store to do a big shop for the week and saw that raspberries were two for $3!!! Usually the best deal you can find is 2 for $5, so this was a steal. I grabbed two boxes to enjoy fresh and two to freeze for the rosé, and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Oh, and the best part? It couldn’t be easier to make. All you have to do is blend the two ingredients together and garnish with additional raspberries on top. The result? A pretty, refreshing summer drink, perfect for a night in or as a pre-going out treat.

 

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Q&A with Cole from @cookbookish_

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It’s safe to say that I’ve been sucked in by food Instagrams, and busy teacher Cole’s account is no exception. So when she agreed to do a Q&A about meal prep, I was thrilled! I definitely struggle when it comes to planning meals. A lot of the time I blame it on living alone and getting an all-you-can-eat, relatively healthy lunch (for just $3!) at work every daytwo factors that mean I don’t need to go grocery shopping quite as much (excuses, excuses). However, when I get home, I’m often at a loss for how to use what I do have in order to create a meal that’s both delicious and nutritious. I also have a hard time eating the same thing multiple days in a row (a bad habit that apparently dates back to my highchair days, just ask my mom—supposedly I’d refuse to consume anything that I’d already had the day before!). Thankfully, Cole (who just so happens to be a former college classmate of mine!) is here to share a little bit of wisdom with regard to planning ahead, making the most of your weekly supplies (so that you aren’t eating the same meal on repeatyesss!), and staying full over the course of a long day on the job. Check out our Q&A below (all photos featured in this post are Cole’sfollow her account for more!):

Q: How often do you go grocery shopping? Do you set a specific budget per week or per month? Where do you save and where do you splurge?

A: I grocery shop one to three times per week, depending on what I have going in the days ahead. I make it a priority to grocery shop on Saturday or Sunday so that I feel ready going into the work week. I’ll get most of what I need for the week during these trips, but will take 1 to 2 small, additional trips to the grocery store later on.

I don’t have a specific food budget, but I would say I spend a solid $100 on groceries a week, because I cook most of my meals and feel strongly that health is an investment. I don’t have specific a budget that I stay within, though. I rely on a lot of staples that I don’t need to re-purchase every week, so if I run out of something like olive oil, for example, I’ll probably spend a little bit more during the week I replace it. I don’t really have any weekly purchases that I splurge on, though there are some staples, like nut butters, oil, and smoothie add-ins, that I’ll invest in, since I can use them across many weeks or even months. I don’t buy all of my produce organic, but I do buy organic for a few items, such as fruits or veggies with thin peels that are more likely to have pesticide residue, like strawberries (note from Sarah: I’ve heard that these are one of the best fruits to buy organic if you can, for this reason!) or cherries for example. I won’t waste money buying organic avocados or bananas, though, because they have thick skin, which means they’re less likely to have pesticide residue.

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Q: What are five to 10 items that should be on every young professional’s grocery list?

A: That’s a hard question! It really depends on your diet, but as a person who is fortunate to have basically no medical dietary restrictions, my weekly staples are whole wheat/multi grain/sourdough bread, brown rice/quinoa/healthy pastas, avocados, lemons, tomatoes, green beans, greens (romaine/mixed/spinach), bananas, eggs, beans (chickpeas/black beans), and organic turkey. I’ve found so many creative ways to make quick and nutritious meals with all of these things (seriouslytry to find an instagram post of mine that doesn’t have one of these items!). As for kitchen staples, I always have olive/avocado oil/ghee, salt/pepper, collagen peptides (protein to put in smoothies), nut butters (almond/cashew/peanut), nut milk (cashew/almond), whole nuts, and dark chocolate.

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Q: Based on your feed, it looks like you prep a lot of your lunches at work. What items do you keep on hand in the school fridge? How do you switch things up from day to day?

A: In our shared school kitchen space, I always have some healthy bread, avocado mayo, pepper jelly, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and chia/hemp/flax seeds. I’ll make easy meals during school by bringing in things to supplement what’s already there. So for breakfast, I’ll bring hard boiled eggs and sprinkle them with seeds/salt/pepper when I get there, or I’ll bring an avocado to make avocado toast with pepper jelly in our shared kitchen space. For lunch, I’ll bring a little bag with some turkey slices, avocado, tomato, and lettuce, and then toast my school bread and make a sandwich or salad on the spot. I also keep Trader Joe’s veggie gyoza in the freezer in case I’m really in a pinch and didn’t have time to prep anything beforehand or want something fast. A lot of times, I have leftovers from my dinner that I cooked the night before, and I’ll bring them in a glass tupperware to heat up in our shared microwave, and then I’ll add some of my seeds on top.

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Q: Where do you get your meal inspiration? Do you enjoy recreating recipes or do you prefer to whip up your own experimental dishes?

A: I get inspiration from a lot of my favorite Instagram food bloggers, but like my Instagram handle suggests, I’m not a huge fan of actual cookbooks or intricate recipes. If I see something I love on a food blogger’s page, sometimes I’ll try to re-create it with whatever I have at home and change it up to make it work for me, rather than following an exact recipe. I like intuitive cooking mostly–just staying in tune with what my body is craving and making up recipes based on the foods I feel like eating. For the most part, I’m not super concerned with exact measurements or serving sizes.

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Q: When you have a desk job it’s easier to take multiple “snack breaks” throughout the day, but working on your feet (not to mention being in front of students!) all day make this more difficult. What are your tips for staying full throughout a hectic work day?

A: It’s definitely hard for teachers to stay full during the work day! A lot of times, teachers are too busy to eat a real breakfast that fills them up, and then they’re starving by 10 am but don’t have time to make food, because they have a class of 30 kids to watch until their 12 pm prep period. I think teachers can stay full by really prioritizing eating a healthy and filling breakfast. This does take a little prep work, but I think investing a little time beforesuch as making hard boiled eggs on Sunday night, making a smoothie to take to school, or bringing in a jar of your favorite nut butter to keep in your classroomcan really make your day better, because you actually have energy to do what is a difficult and physically-demanding job. To stay full, you don’t necessarily need to be eating a lot of snacks, but you should prioritize having snacks that are nutritious and high in healthy fats and protein (such as peanut butter and apples, hard boiled eggs, an avocado/spinach/pineapple/protein smoothie, granola bars with low sugar and real ingredients, veggies and hummus, or cheese and turkey with healthy crackers). Just as we build in time to lesson plan, we need to build in time to feed ourselves, because what we put into our bodies has a profound effect on our mood and energy level throughout the day–not to mention on our long-term health!

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Q: How are you working to help change people’s attitudes when it comes to eating healthy foods? I saw you arranged a sandwich-making workshop for your fellow teachers—what were their takeaways?

A: There’s a HUGE food community on Instagram filled with incredible chefs, dieticians, nutritionists, and health coaches, and I love learning from that world, but I’m ultimately just a teacher who prioritizes her health and is trying to help other teachers do the same. My goal is to inspire teachers to make time to take care of themselves in all sorts of ways, but most importantly through what they choose to eat. Teaching can be such a self-sacrificing profession, so I think it’s really important to remind ourselves that our own health and well being matters and is actually essential to us doing a great job for our kids. Besides just hoping to inspire teachers through my Instagram and blog, I also work with teachers as a health and wellness coachmaking them meal plans, grocery lists, and meal prep instructions that incorporate the specific foods they love.

I organized a sandwich making workshop for our amazing staff because I wanted to show them how easy it is to make a sandwich right at school with just a little prep beforehand. A lot of teachers were really grateful for the prompt and loved the opportunity to create their own healthy lunch in our school building where we spend so much of our time. I love when I get photos from teacher friends of their healthy mealsit makes me so happyor as teachers say, really fills my bucket!

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Genuine Liquorette at Home

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I keep seeing the cutest Instagram pictures of Genuine Liquorette, a new bar that opened up in Manhattan and is famous for serving canned drinks with mini bottles of alcohol on top. I’ve been wanting to go and didn’t get a chance to try it out this trip, but one of my friends pointed out that it’s really easy enough to recreate their funky cocktails at home. So, off I went to pick up some airplane-sized liquor bottles (I already had the fun variety of sodas, juices, and seltzers on hand)…

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And the drinks couldn’t look cuter! You’ll definitely want to pour some of the soda/seltzer/etc out of the can before pouring one of the mini alcohol bottles in, or else it’ll overflow…as I learned the hard way. I mean, duh. I don’t know why I thought executing this idea wouldn’t be as effortless as it looks on Instagram 😉

I also don’t know how all of the pictures I’ve seen show somewhat full bottles of alcohol…like, do they pour some into the drink and put the cap back on? Or just never take it off at all when they hand you the drink? Inquiring minds want to know. All in all, though, this is a fun way to try mixing a few new cocktails without shelling out tons of money for ingredients. Plus, it makes for super cute pictures.

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