Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lately 4/26/2018

Here we are- the last Lately post of April! This month was great. It was my birthday month, after all! I made sure to clear April of travel. I wanted just one month that I could make sure to spend at home. It was great because I was able to relax more on the weekends in my apartment, get together with friends and family, and catch up on Pittsburgh life in general!

This week was one where I got a lot done! I feel like I have been very productive overall this month. I typically clean my apartment before the weekend, but this week, I cleaned on Sunday. It was really nice to start the week with a very clean space. It was refreshing and set me up for success this week!

This weekend, my cousin, Paige, is graduation from college! I actually can't believe it because she still seems so little to me! I'm excited to celebrate with her on Sunday.

Pittsburgh-ing: The photos at the top of this post are from my birthday dinner at a new Pittsburgh restaurant, Poulet Bleu. It's a French restaurant located in Lawrenceville by the restauranteur, Richard DeShantz. I had been wanting to go since it opened but it was hard to get a reservation on a Saturday night! My thoughts? It's a must-go. The decor is something straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie and it feels like you are on vacation rather in Pittsburgh. It's truly something different and something Pittsburgh did not have. Everything was wonderful and I really liked that the wine list was very affordable.

The only thing that was annoying is that they make you pay for bread and butter. It's only like $4, but still. It's a pricey French restaurant and you'd think they would bring baguette before your meal as a courtesy. They're just overall chincy with their bread. We had ordered mussels and it came with two measly slices to sop up the delicious broth. Definitely not enough for 4 people when there were enough mussels for probably 6 people. It's a small but very valid constructive bit of criticism.

Sweater// Jeans (currently 30% off)
Wearing: I got this men's sweater recently and love it. I'm wearing a size small and it first perfectly! I love that this is cotton for spring/summer/fall and can be machine washed.

Eating: This week, I wrote a post about GG crackers that you can read, here. 

Sale-ing: Talbots just kicked off their Friends and Family sale where you can take 30% off your total purchase. You can find some really good deals in this sale- especially because Talbots always has nice quality. I just got this gorgeous white dress and my mom got this top and skirt. I tried these cropped sweats on in the store and they surprised me so much. They're beyond soft and comfortable but also really flattering. You could wear them to run errands and look cute/put together!
Watching: My friend Aly and I went to see Chappaquiddick this past weekend. I rarely see a movie in theaters anymore, but this one is worth going to see! It is so well done and interesting. It's about Ted Kennedy and the death of a woman while they are driving on Martha's Vineyard and how he tried to cover it up. 

Loving: This Lilly shift has to be the best ever! Is anyone else as obsessed as I am?

Wanting: So many cute things right now- I'm soooo ready for it to warm up here in Pittsburgh. It's definitely been milder, but we are still getting into the 30s at night and in the early mornings. I am ready for that to go away!!! 

Smelling: I got this fig candle at Target the other day for under $10 and it smells so similar to the Diptyque Figuier, which is one of my favorite scents. I personally prefer a clear glass candle because I like the glow that it gives off, but the larger version of the candle comes in this beautiful ceramic blue and white holder

Quoting: 'When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.' - Paulo Coelho // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Target's Up and Up Products I Love

I was at Target last night and I had another post scheduled for today, but then I thought this would be a good topic, so I'm switching things around to fit this post in!

I typically try to avoid Target at all costs. The more I stay out of Target, the more stays in my wallet, ha! But in all seriousness, I really do stay out of Target for as long as I possibly can. I ended up running out of razors, so I finally ended up needing to go.

I'm pretty brand loyal when it comes to certain things, but then don't care at all about others. At Target, they have their in-house brand, Up and Up, which is typically cheaper than brand name products. I have a few tried and true favorites that I thought I would share. 

But as a disclaimer, you always want to check the prices on the brand names vs. Up and Up because Up and Up isn't always the lowest price. For example, this Scotch packing tape is something I buy often and it's the same price as the Up and Up so I always choose the brand name. 

I always like saving money, but I sometimes find you end up wasting your money on the generic if you don't know what to look for (for example, I have tried generic glass cleaner before and I just don't think it works as well as brand name)!  

I think these are the best! They are so similar to Venus and while they're not exactly the same, they do the trick and are substantially cheaper. They have 5 blades and have a surrounding strip that helps the razor to glide smoothly. 

I take a probiotic daily and they are expensive! I have tried other name brands that I like a little better than these, but I do like that they are higher strength and that they are in capsule form. The price is dramatically lower than most other probiotics out there and I think they are 'good enough'. 
You can literally buy a bottle of 1000 ibuprofen for less than a bottle of 300 Advil (both the same strength at 200mg). I actually have no idea why you would buy the Advil brand because these are exactly the same product just without a brand name.  They make capsules, too, if you prefer those, although they cost a bit more. 
I have tried more 'luxurious' shave gels, but this one does the trick day in and day out. Sometimes I'll 'splurge' on a brand name shave gel but I honestly don't think there's enough difference to warrant spending any more money! I think this one smells weird/unappealing, but the rest smell great!

I have tried other generic dishwasher packs before and I haven't found them to be as good as brand names. These ones, though, really do work well and don't make my glasses foggy at all. Everything comes out clean and sparkling just as they do when I use a brand name! 

I have a Swiffer brand broom/mop (not really sure what you call it) but I get the generic wipes. They are a lot less and work just as well as the Swiffer brand! 
I love that this bottle has a pump and it works just as well as any brand name polish remover! They also have these gel nail polish remover foils and they're so convenient! 

You can scroll through the widget at the top of this post to see some more favorites! Some honorable mentions: Trash Bags// Cotton Rounds// Aluminum Foil// Paper Towels// Toilet Paper

Do you have any favorite Up and Up products or generic products I should know about?! Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

GG Crackers vs Trader Joe's Crackers

GG Crackers vs Trader Joe's Crackers
Today we are discussing the very trendy 'GG Crackers'. It's a Scandinavian bran cracker and has become popular after Tanya Zuckerbot discussed them as a part of her F-Factor diet.  The crackers have been around since the early/mid-1900s and are known to be packed with fiber.

Just one GG (original) cracker has 12 calories. A serving has 20 calories, 4g of fiber, and 2g net carbs. I haven't read the book (but I am drinking the Kool-Aid and ordered one to read), but the very basic science behind consuming a lot of fiber is that fiber makes you fuller (for longer) and in turn, you eat less of everything else. 

I'm not totally into diets. I get exercise and eat pretty healthily generally. However, I have weeks... heck, months where I am 'bad'. That's when I try to get back on track. 

The GG crackers tout themselves as an 'appetite control cracker'. Another benefit is that since they are high in fiber, they help with digestion, too. I am hoping that means they will also help to kill bloat. So I figured I would get them and try them out.

GG Crackers vs Trader Joe's Crackers
GG Cracker vs. Trader Joe's Cracker

Before I was able to get my hands on the GG crackers (they are hard to find in stores- I suggest finding them on Amazon or GG's website). I stumbled upon Trader Joe's version. Trader Joe's version is only really similar in that it has 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per cracker. 

Otherwise, these crackers are night and day. The Trader Joe's version is like a more filling, healthier cracker. It's actually flavorful and delicious on its own. Plus, it's substantially larger than the GG cracker. It has a lot of seeds in it so that's where you get the added fat and protein that the GG cracker lacks. 

The GG cracker has very few ingredients and has a rough texture- almost like a Triscuit. Honestly, the GG crackers alone taste pretty bad. I don't think I'd ever eat one on its own. Not because of the taste, but because they are so dry. However, I ate two slices of the GG crackers topped with tuna salad (it was delicious) and I was SO full. How often can you say that you ate tuna salad and are stuffed?! You're actually supposed to eat 4 crackers (or so Tanya says) to feel full for a long period of time, so I plan on doing that from now on!

Tanya is such a believer in these crackers that she is selling a cracker pouch.  I could not make this up if I tried. 

So, if you are comparing the crackers, I'd say you should get the GG crackers for the F-Factor diet and the appetite control. The Trader Joe's version is just a yummy cracker (with some healthy ingredients). 

On GG's website, they have some recipes you can try with your crackers. I like the idea of a GG pizza. I think you could do PB and J, scrambled eggs, salmon and cream cheese, chicken salad... really the options are endless! The F-Factor has a huge archive of recipes, but I really only plan on adding the GG crackers into my diet and not really following the entire diet because the addition of the crackers is so easy! 

Have you heard of the GG crackers? Have you made anything good with them? I'd love to know!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Shoes Under $50

Spring Shoes Under $50

Today I am sharing some really cute shoes for spring and the best part is that they are all under $50! I know everyone works with different budgets and I'm often asked to share some lower-priced options. I was surprised to find a lot of cute shoes under $50! 

My opinion when it comes to accessories (like shoes and bags) is quality over quantity. Buy the best you can afford. I'm not a fan of fake leather and can appreciate a well-made shoe. 

But, I think you can find a lot of lesser-priced, but well-made shoes for spring/summer because the materials (like espadrilles) are just a lot cheaper. Not to mention, there are always some really great sales going on. For example, Talbots has a great sale on their shoes from time to time and these flat sandals are one of my go-to comfy sandals in my closet. Right now they're only $30! 

Three of my favorite resources for affordable shoes are Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack (really good for men's shoes, too), and DSW. I bought a pair of sneakers from Old Navy for my trip to Paris this past fall and they were one of my most worn pairs of shoes because they were cute and comfortable. They have cute neutral, classic sneakers like these white ones for under $20! Scroll through the widget above to see some of my picks! All of these are under $50! 

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