Amazon Favorites: Travel

This morning while sitting in rush hour morning traffic, in 30 degree weather, with both my heat & old Luke Bryan songs full blast, it became pretty clear…I’m ready for a vacation. So, until we leave for our next trip, I’ll be gridlocked on I-85 day dreaming about saltwater and sunshine.

We have less than a month before we leave for Oahu & Maui, so I wanted to share how I’m preparing for the trip. I am a complete Amazon Prime fanatic and can’t rave enough about how Amazon feels like my secret weapon or friend some days. Those days where work or traffic or the gym or whatever it may be keeps you late, and the last thing you have time for is to go run around the mall, or target, or best buy, or REI, to look for the one specific thing you need (and hope to god they have it in stock). I still love to shop in person, but it’s more experiential and inspiration based rather than for when I need something specific.

So, let’s bring in the real MVP here – Amazon. I’ll be writing a few separate segments on my Amazon Favorites for home, beauty, etc. going forward, because some of my essential products have been as easy as opening my front door and voila, I’ve got what I need. Keep in mind the list below is geared more towards an outdoor, tropical environment, so maybe skip the bikini’s if you’re planning an Alaskan cruise 🙂

My favorite Amazon finds for Traveling:

Techie

My iPhone 8+ really satisfies all my photography needs (HELLO portrait mode!!), but strapping it to the front of an ATV through the mountains or using deep in the ocean obviously ain’t gonna happen. I LOVE underwater photography and the ocean in general, so I knew I couldn’t step foot on the plane until I had a GoPro in tow. I love the aesthetic of GoPro photography, but also didn’t find myself needing the biggest and baddest model for what we’re using it for. The Hero 5 Session is an amazingly compact model with all the features of the larger models, other than there is no viewing screen. However, the GoPro app allows you to sync your GoPro to your phone and use your phone to view, which I almost prefer. Every other feature that the GoPro Hero 5 Black has is in this tiny little session – for $100 cheaper. Currently these are $100 off and only $199.99! The battery life isn’t amazing, but it’s easy enough to charge up and I plan to do so while driving from location to location in Hawaii.

To support your new GoPro, you will need to buy a microSD card (no internal memory comes with the GoPro). SanDisk is the recommended brand by GoPro, and the Extreme edition is temperature, water, and shock proof. I wanted to be sure to get a memory card that can hang with my GoPro, and this find is only $36.89 on amazon for 64GB! They also have a 32GB for $20.89, but the extra storage is so worth it.

You’ll also need accessories for your GoPro, and I found this 50-in-1 Kit for only $20.99! It comes with all of your basics – Chest Strap, Head Strap, Tripods, Suction Cup Mounts, etc. My big tip for shopping on Amazon is to read. the. reviews! I found this kit based on the many positive reviews, and will be testing out a lot of the components before our trip. For the price, it’s a great starter kit to help me assess what I may want to buy directly from the GoPro brand and save me a lot of $$$ in the process.

Outdoor Gear

Again, positive reviews led me to this lifesaver. With over 2,200 5 star reviews, the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag is a roll top dry compression bag that is perfect for Hiking, Kayaking, Beach Trips, Boating, Camping, Fishing, etc. It also comes with a surprisingly high quality waterproof phone case. While I’m not going to use for any deep diving, this works perfectly fine for boat trips where you may get wet and want the extra phone protection. Be prepared to see this bag in most all of our Hawaii hiking trips (Comes in 7 different colors!)

Because the Earth Pak only comes with 1 Waterproof phone case, I ordered this so both my husband and I are covered. The price point is great, and with nearly a 5 star rating from almost 23,000 people, I feel comfortable using this for the added protection and light water use. Amazon has 8 different colors and I of course went with this cute bright Turquoise!

While I probably wont bring this for our Hawaii trip, this pop up beach tent is the perfect addition for long beach days or added shelter for camping. It comfortably fits both my husband and I and our (big) dog, although I suggest the low profile beach chairs. It will fit regular height beach chairs, but you’ll need to be short like us to have enough head room 🙂 It is impressively wind resistant, provides UPF 50+ sun protection, and has a mesh backing that allows for it to still stay breezy and cool. We love using this for road trips to keep our cooler and pup in the shade no matter where we end up.

Apparel

If you haven’t ordered from Cupshe before, you may have heard of it or seen on Instagram. These swimsuits are super on trend with both cut and prints, and are great quality for such a good price. This one piece is $26.99! One super important thing to note with Cupshe – the sizing is NOT accurate to what you’d see from a typical line. Their items run extremely small, and may have different rises or cuts than you’d expect. Also, if you order directly from their website, it can take a long time to ship, as they’re shipping from overseas. However, our good friend Amazon has plenty of styles available all on Prime, so I got mine in a day and a half! Also, Amazon supports free returns on most of their suits, so if you order the wrong size or hate it you can return. I ended up loving both styles I ordered and am so happy I gave it a shot! For reference in this suit, I am a 36D & M/L in bottoms and I ordered the XL – it fits just like the L Aerie one piece I purchased this year. How cute are the other colors and prints on this one piece too??

This suit is the cutest! Another great Cupshe Amazon find, at just $23.99. Same goes for this suit as what I mentioned above as far as fit – I ordered the XL and it’s great. The chest support isn’t necessarily one I would trust while surfing or swimming in big waves, so keep that in mind if you have a larger chest. Overall super happy with it and the tie back is so easy to adjust to make your waist look teeny tiny! Also, want to note that the print is slightly more aqua tinted on the leaves rather than green, but I actually love that and think it’s so pretty!

This pack of 2 UPF 50+ dry fit long sleeve is perfect for long days in the sun hiking or kayaking! My husband has fair skin and burns easily, so these do a great job at keeping him cool while also covered. Plenty of colors to choose from, and at $17.74 for 2, it’s a great deal. They’re pretty comparable to the Columbia PFG shirts and a great basic to have on hand in case you get a little too much sun and want to stay protected! I’ve got a feeling I’ll steal one to wear for comfy paddle boarding days.

This to-size running belt is perfect for keeping your cards, cash, and phone safe while hiking, running, or just going through town! This really fits a ton of your personal items and comes in cute colors. While I’m planning on using a cross body for shopping/in town trips, I love using this for more active plans where I want to be hands free. Perks – It’ll fit your GoPro Hero 5 Session!! This would be great for trips overseas to prevent pick pocketing and depending on your outfit you can’t see it at all.

For the Flight

My book choice for the long flight is one I’ve been recommended by countless friends and I’m so glad I’ll finally be reading! The Amazon paperback is only $9.59 and Amazon frequently has deals on purchasing books (I love buying my coffee table books here, but more on that in my Amazon Favorites: Home piece later)

Ral’s book choice for the flight is again a book recommended by so many of our friends. We both struggle with giving way too much of our energy on things, events, or people that just don’t deserve it. Worst of all, we both tend to not be able to let it go and struggle with not letting it ruin the whole day/experience. I can’t wait to dig into this and continue learning how to handle adversity and quite frankly better handle the parts of life that just kind of suck.

All of our other trip essentials like luggage, locks, neck pillows, etc we luckily already have on hand, so this should do it for our trip! My Hawaii Packing List is coming soon, so make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss it. I’d love to hear your Amazon travel essentials – drop a comment below to share your must have’s!

 

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Vanilla Raspberry Keto Cheesecake

Fat Bombs are a Keto gal’s best friend – right? This was my first time making a dairy based fat bomb and I can’t wait to play around with the flavors on this – could easily use any flavor you like of the Torani Sugar Free Syrups and combine flavors to kick those sugar cravings right when you need! I decided to go with Raspberry this time around and served with fresh berries.

You’ll Need:

1 8 oz block of Cream Cheese

2 tsp of Vanilla Extract (I love the Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract!)

7 oz Heavy Cream

2-3 oz Torani Sugar Free Raspberry Syrup (Adjust according to your preferred sweetness)

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To Make:

  • Place Cream Cheese, Vanilla, and Sugar Free Syrup in KitchenAid and mix on low
  • Slowly add part of your heavy cream and let mix, then slowly add more. Total time mixing is about 5 minutes, and when you are done you should have a thick mixture with stiff peaks.
  • Use a flat silicone spatula to spoon all of your mixture into a piping bag (or if you’re fancy like me, a zip lock with the tip cut off…revolutionary, right?)
  • Pipe mixture into muffin tin about halfway full. These are dense and should be portioned out fairly small, mini muffin tins would work well here also, or a flat baking sheet with small dollops.
  • Set in the Fridge for an hour or more before enjoying!

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Once these set in the fridge, I used small ramekins to plate and topped with these fantastic blueberries & blackberries from TJ’s. They have been so good lately!!

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Depending on how you portion your mixture out, these come in at just 1g of carbs per mini muffin tin (before you add the berries, worth it to me since they’re so good lately!) They definitely kicked the sugar craving for the day and are a great foundation for really limitless combinations.

Enjoy!

 

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Almond Flour Biscuits

My two favorite words when it comes to cooking might just be easy & cheesy, and good news, these Cheesy Almond Flour Biscuits are both. Keto can be time consuming and requires a lot of planning and prep work, but those of you who have started know it is well worth it. Now that I am fully adjusted to the diet, I rarely crave sweets or bread, but I of course have those days where no amount of cauli-anything is satisfying. My sweet southern husband who was brave enough to join me on Keto constantly had me laughing when he started…how many carbs are in fried chicken? in biscuits? in (insert delicious southern food here)?

So, I obviously took to the internet to figure out how to make keto friendly biscuits. There are a ton of great recipes on Pinterest for a Ketogenic diet, and a lot of variations on biscuits. On the night I made these, I had already made Chicken and Shrimp Cauliflower Fried Rice for dinner, meal prepped for lunches, and made Berry Cheesecake Fat Bombs for desert…needless to say I did not want to spend much more time in the kitchen that night, but we really wanted these so I went for the most streamlined interpretation of the recipes I found on Pinterest, with the ingredients I already had on hand. These might as well be called lazy girl biscuits.

 

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You’ll need:

1 1/2 cup Almond Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Flour

1/4 tsp Salt (I use Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan – your call)

1/4 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar (I had Triple Cheddar on hand, so that’s what went in. Mozzarella would also be good here!)

1/4 cup Heavy Cream

3 tbsp diced cold butter

1 egg

Make your biscuits:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix Almond Flour, Salt, Pepper, and Baking Powder together for your dry mix. I use my KitchenAid for everything, but hand mixing is fine here too.
  • Cube your cold butter into small chunks, and add to dry mix. Mix butter into mix to create a crumby dough base. If you’re using a stand mixer, start slow to prevent your almond flour from covering your entire kitchen 🙂 If you’re mixing by hand, use a rubber spatula to mash the butter.
  • Create a well in the middle of your bowl and add your wet ingredients – the egg and cream.
  • Mix on low and stop mixing once fully incorporated – if you over mix, these will get super dense and nobody wants a brick-biscuit.
  • Fold in your cheese of choice
  • Scoop dough into nonstick muffin tin (or spray with coconut oil). I did not roll or shape mine, but rather dropped them in. We’re sticking with the lazy theme on these bad boys.
  • Bake for 20 minutes

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This will make 6 average sized biscuits, but adjust your batter and time if you want bigger/smaller biscuits. For 6 biscuits, this breaks down into about 7g of Carbs and 3g of Fiber, bringing you in to just 4 net carbs per biscuit. These would also make a great breakfast or lunch sandwich bread!

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Next time, I’ll probably add some garlic powder into the dry ingredients for these as well, YUM! I pulled these out of the oven and slapped a big pad of kerrygold grassfed butter on top while they were still hot. I was surprised at how good these came out, and how completely filling and satisfying they are! 1 biscuit with kerrygold is easily enough for breakfast, or with a small bowl of keto chili for lunch. Or with a fried egg. You get the idea.

These are definitely a new go-to in our house and I can’t wait to make them again! If you make these, let me know how yours turn out. Am I crazy for wanting to make a “sweet” version of these with cinnamon? Probably safe to say that will be coming soon 🙂

Enjoy!

 

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Let’s Do This

Guys! Let me start off by saying how good it feels to finally start this project…After years of constantly DIY-ing something, traveling, and figuring out all of the little (& big) things that I feel make life so much better, I found myself really needing a space to not only keep my ideas and projects, but grow as a creative and find community in the things I love with all of you.  The concept behind by Kristen Harbin has long existed in my head, in photos on my phone, in my immediate circle of friends and family…and I can’t tell you how happy I am to make it a reality and see where it goes.

2017 was full of change…in pretty much every major milestone way possible. From planning our entire wedding and truly pulling off (IMO) the B E S T day ever with my amazing husband, to moving from our beachy, easy comfort zone to bustling, crazy-awesome and just crazy-crazy metro-Atlanta, starting new careers, getting a puppy, and checking off some big long-term goals, it’s safe to say we broke out of the norm and made it a damn good year.

For this next year, my big goal is to hone in on more of my personal passions and focusing on developing, improving, and growing, because if I’ve learned anything in my early twenties, it’s that getting out of your comfort zone is the biggest favor you will ever do for yourself. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where you’ll learn about the world and people around you. That’s where you will meet you.

I started this blog to make sure I stay creative no matter how life busy gets, to stay accountable in the kitchen + going out by staying healthy and balanced, to start and keep up with my writing again, and and to of course stay on the move and document my trips along the way. By trial and error I’ve experienced a lot in life and I couldn’t shake the feeling in my heart to share it in a bigger way.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what you can expect on by Kristen Harbin :

ALWAYS ON THE MOVE

Whether it’s a road trip, long flight, day trip, move to a new city, trip abroad, or work trip, I am always up for it! I have lived all over the state of Florida and moved more times than I can count. I love visiting my favorite, familiar places or going somewhere new, so on this blog expect lots of travel tips, tricks, and recaps of my go-to spots. I’ve learned the good and the bad of being a frequent flyer and hope to share some insight to anyone feeling nervous or overwhelmed by travel planning!

IS BUTTER A CARB?

I’ve always loved to cook, understand my ingredients, and of course eat! A main goal of mine for the new year (like most of us) was to get a grip on my diet and get more balance with my health, so a big part of starting this blog is to keep myself accountable, on track, and excited about my choices. In September of 2016, I became familiar with the mega-popular Keto/LCHF diet, and successfully dropped my pre-wedding weight to be just where I wanted for our wedding. I’m really ready mentally and physically to go back to Keto, this time without the goal to just get into a dress…but to achieve balance, not beat myself up if I stray, and to learn how to finally turn my lifelong serial-fad dieter habit into a happy, healthy lifestyle. Expect tons of Keto/LCHF recipes here that are tried and true by yours truly, along with potentially the occasional splurge on a good cocktail or meal because *as noted above* BALANCE 😉

RENTAL REVIVAL

Living in a big city absolutely has it’s perks, but moving into a tiny apartment didn’t feel like one of them…at first. With some problem solving storage and organization, curated furniture & accents shopping, and good ole DIY I’ve made our modern but vanilla apartment a true (temporary) nest for our family. A house is in our near future, so expect lots of planning and inspo as well!

PRIMPIN’ AIN’T EASY

Fun Fact: When I was in late elementary/early middle school, I was DEAD SET on being a makeup artist. My favorite gifts growing up were either those kid-friendly art kits with a million colored pencils + watercolors, or the huge, thick black plastic makeup kits with 20 different shades of green eye shadow (necessary? necessary.) My choices in color may have changed since then, but my obsession over products, tools, and the latest lip color fad is here to stay. I’ll share my favorites, hits + misses, dupes, and another new goal for me this year – prioritizing my skincare routine (hi, late twenties).

JUST TO LIVE THIS HERE LIFESTYLE

I have always been a “Jill of all Trades”, into everything kind of girl. When I’m not going somewhere or making something, I’m most likely at or watching a game, or a concert. I love sports and Football is a HUGE part of my life, so for the months of September-February expect lots of Garnet and Gold, Red and Black, and Black and Teal. I’m a firm believer everyone needs a good soundtrack, so expect some tunes too.

A big part of my professional career growth has been organization and planning, and i’m excited to use this outlet to share how I keep my personal and professional life in check. Fellow obsessed-list-makers, let’s be friends.

CREATIVE LADY

My lifelong love of art and making has evolved into so many different mediums it’s hard to keep track. My latest obsession is digital design and hand lettering, and I’ll be sharing my favorite platforms + tools to use, and my pieces, because #practicemakesperfect! I also love filling my home and spaces with art and will share how I give a personal touch to essentially everything I look at day to day.

Thanks for following along on this new adventure with me! Always feel free to reach out either through a DM or on the contact page to collaborate, make a suggestion or request, or just to say hi! ❤

 

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