These are a Few of my Favorite (Keto) Things

After a long holiday weekend filled with lots of eating + drinking whatever I wanted, I am so completely ready to hit restart on Keto and get back into my normal routine. While I love doing Keto and rarely get bored of making new recipes and combinations to stick to no grains or sugars, I’m in the bad habit of cycling on and off the diet based around trips/vacations/events we have planned. I’m really determined to stick to it without a clear cut end date in mind, and am stocking up my kitchen for the long haul and a clean, healthy summer.

Sticking to a Keto/LCHF diet isn’t hard, if you stock up on the items that help pull you through on even the busiest of days. For those days (sometimes weeks) where you don’t meal prep & grocery shop, it can feel impossible to stick to Keto without feeling like you’re aimlessly looking for food all the time, or living off of grab-and-go salads. There are so many products I’ve found that significantly make my days avoiding carbs easier, either on their own or to add to my kitchen arsenal. I find myself constantly telling others about these products and really rely on them to stick to eating clean, and can’t wait to pull this list together AND hopefully keep adding to it as I find those lifesaver items.

Here are my absolute favorite, always on hand items, and some helpful parings/uses for them!

These are a few of my Favorite (Keto) Things

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EAS AdvantEDGE Carb Control Protein Shakes: Cold Brew Coffee Flavor

On any given day, chances are you can find one of these in my hand, cup holder, or purse, and I may have already talked your ear off on how obsessed I am with them. These protein drinks are my absolute must have item – whether I’m eating clean or not. All of the flavors of these AdvantEdge Crab Control drinks are yummy (Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate), but I am obsessed with the cold brew coffee flavor. These drinks have NO sugar, 17g of protein, and are only 100 calories per shake – making them an amazing breakfast to tide you over until lunch, or mid-afternoon pick me up when you get a little hungry and are tempted to snack. Plus they do contain caffeine (as much as a cup of coffee; nothing crazy), which helps curb my appetite even more and gives me the boost I want. I drink one of these on my way into work in the morning or at the office in the afternoon so I can leave work and go on a run without immediately wanting dinner. If you are a coffee fan or cold brew obsessed like me, you’ll love these! They are best really cold, so keep them in the fridge or pour over ice.

Where to get them: Target does carry EAS protein drinks, however my local target does not carry the cold brew flavor (I obsessively check every time I go and it’s a let down every time). Check your local store and hopefully you’re lucky enough to have them there. You can get the cold brew flavor at Walmart or Amazon.

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Quest Bars

Quest Bars are my protein bar of choice, as they are packed with protein, have a ton of fiber to bring the net carbs down to a really low amount, and most flavors have little to no sugars. With these you still will need to check the nutrition label for each flavor you try, as some are higher in carbs and sugars than others (mainly any of the chocolate flavors). These are very filling so I like to eat half in the morning and half in the afternoon if I need. My favorite is the cookies and cream, but I’ll let you in on a little secret…flavors like the Blueberry Muffin or Cinnamon Roll are SO GOOD if you pop them in the microwave for around 15-30 seconds! Make sure to remove the wrapper and place on a plate (it will most likely stick if you put it on a paper towel), and zap away. They really do taste like a desert treat and are so much healthier for you!

Where to get them: Luckily over the years I’ve noticed that you can find these EVERYWHERE. Target, Walmart, GNC, Amazon, Trader Joes, Publix, etc.

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Torani Sugar-Free Syrups

These Sugar-Free flavored syrups are such a staple item in my kitchen and truly make cutting out sugar easy. I love using in my coffee and the flavors really do combine and layer in together well so you can get creative with your favorite combinations (a splash of Vanilla, Caramel, and Hazelnut in coffee is divine). I also use these in cold keto-friendly deserts like cheesecakes or fat bombs. I really, really wish these were sweetened with Stevia, as the sweetener is Splenda and I try to avoid artificial sweeteners, however I can’t complain because they are all so good. They sell large bottles (like what you would find at starbucks), or have smaller bottles so you can try flavors without committing to a giant bottle.

Where to get them: My favorite place to get these is kind of unexpected – it’s World Market! If you have a Cost Plus World Market near you you’ve probably explored their fun grocery section, and they have by far the best assortment of flavors and sizes of these that I’ve ever seen. They are also really well priced at World Market. You can also find these on Amazon, and I’ve found them at Kroger. Unfortunately Publix doesn’t carry them but I hope they start to; they are just too good not to have on hand!

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Trader Joes Organic Liquid Stevia

While we’re talking about sweeteners, I couldn’t skip over my favorite – Trader Joes Liquid Stevia. This dropper style is my favorite because it is super concentrated and you only need a couple drops to sweeten anything you may be using it for. I keep a bottle in my purse to add to coffee/tea when I’m out, and a bottle at home. It’s also much more affordable than some of the other glass bottle dropper-style stevia brands. One bottle lasts me a long time and I really do enjoy the taste. It isn’t as bitter as some other stevias (especially powders), so even if you are new to using Stevia this is a great one to start with to get used to the slightly different taste than traditional sugar.

Where to get it: Trader Joes, in the Sweetener/Baking section

Cheese Crisps

Cheese crisps act as a keto-friendly chip alternative and are perfect for dipping. I love the Whisps brand and Trader Joes Cheese bites! I always keep these on hand as they are packed with protein and can totally be a full meal if paired with a keto-friendly dip like pimento cheese dip, chicken salad, a sour cream based dip, etc.

Where to get them: I stock up at Trader Joes when I can find them (they sell out FAST), otherwise you can find these at Walmart, Costco, Amazon, and Starbucks regularly carries the Cheddar Flavored Moon Cheese in their chip section.

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Silicone Donut Pan

This Amazon find is a game changer – this silicone pan easily creates Donuts OR Bagels using your favorite keto-friendly recipes! Use Almond or Coconut Flour for delicious gluten free goodness that feels like you’re eating the real thing. I’m working on recipes to share using this pan, but pair this with the amazing Trader Joes Everything but the Bagel seasoning for super good grain-free Everything Bagels!

Where to get them: Find them on Amazon here

These products are perfect to add in to your normal keto meal prep to make things easy and satisfying. Have any of your favorite items you want to share or love any of these, too? Drop a comment below!

xx

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In Her Suitcase: It’s Saturday in Athens

There are few places more magical than Athens, Georgia on a Saturday. Football season in the Classic City rivals any college town atmosphere in the country, but the off-season is just as sweet (and a WHOLE lot easier to get around). We have ranted and raved about Athens to pretty much anyone who will listen, but especially to my mom, for years now…so for Mother’s Day this year we knew exactly what to treat her to. Mother’s Day weekend made for the perfect time to visit; Graduation was the weekend before and all of the students had already left town, leaving us with no traffic, no lines, and no need for reservations (we walked right in to Mama’s Boy..that’s how you KNOW you’ve hit the jackpot! #BLESSED).

I love how close Athens is to Atlanta; it makes for the perfect weekend away out of the hustle and bustle. For this trip we got to bring Chief, thanks to the gorgeous (and super dog friendly!) hotel called The Graduate. It was a short and sweet weekend trip, so I wanted to make sure to pack light yet cute and fun. Spring is feeling like full-on Summer here in GA, so I brought pieces I am loving right now to soak in allllll that sunshine. I’ve linked all of my favorites down below!

Brewery Tours + Downtown Exploring

We made the drive over from ATL to Athens early Saturday Morning, so we had some time to kill before Check-In. Chief was with us so we needed dog-friendly options, which is thankfully easy to come by in Athens. We hit a few local breweries and walked through downtown to show my mom some of our favorite spots. I have been wearing this Madewell Rainbow Stripe Button Up Tank on repeat, and it made for the perfect easy and super comfortable outfit – it got up to 94 outside this day!

acs_0167I also brought a new Bamboo Tote I ordered off of Amazon that I love so much – these Bamboo bags have been everywhere and this is a super great option that is really good quality without the investment bag price tag. The shipping was quick, careful, and even had a thank you note and free silk scarf.. so cute! This size pictured is the Small, and it comfortably fits a phone, wallet, and lipstick. I do love the idea of getting the large if you’re using more as a beach bag, or want a big statement piece. I love how it looks with a Madewell scarf tied on, and ended up using it all weekend.

These Universal Threads sandals from Target are super cute, comfortable, and go with everything. I wanted to pack light for the weekend and wore these with a few different outfits and did a LOT of walking in them.

This strapless jumpsuit was such a lifesaver after a super hot day and quick check-in to drop off Chief left us all wanting to take as little time as possible to freshen up and change before dinner. I got this at Forever 21 in store while in Maui, and unfortunately couldn’t find it online. Here are a few similar options from F21 that are super cute! I stuck with the same bag and sandals for this outfit too to keep things easy. These rose gold colored sunglasses are a new favorite and another Amazon find! They are really great quality and have a super nice weight to them; they feel just like RayBans!

Mother’s Day Brunch

This Jumper is so adorable and the best find from Target! Another super easy piece to throw on, I paired with these Universal Threads Wedges that I adore. And of course, THE BAG 🙂 And can we talk about how cute my mom is?

The Graduate ended up being a perfect weekend spot, and we will definitely be staying there again. The decor was so cute and it was perfectly dog-friendly in the rooms.

Athens is ALWAYS a good idea, so if you haven’t been yet make sure it’s on the top of your list! The perfect mix of southern-charm, artsy quirk, and tradition. We already can’t wait for our next trip back!

What are your favorite Athens spots or weekend road trips from Atlanta? We love being so close to so many great cities and have a fun summer up ahead! 🙂

xo,

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Insta Beauty: The April Play! by Sephora Box

April’s Play! box may have taken way too long to get to me (anyone else have such a hard time with mail delivery living in an apartment complex? I am so over it!! #APARTMENTPROBZ 😦 ) but these products were worth the wait because they are SO good y’all…packed with products I’ve been dying to try & definitely lived up to my high-hopes! The April box was curated around “products that deliver quick, camera-ready results” which also means flawless, natural-but-better makeup that makes everyday looks just that much better. Lately I have been all about products I want to reach for time and time again rather than things that will crowd my vanity and rarely get used, and I can’t wait to get the full sized of a few of April’s Play! goodies!

Insta Beauty

  1. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Perfector (in Shade #6) (Full Size: $36) This “Lightweight skin tint that blurs imperfections and protects skin” was selected for my skin tone in the shade #6: Warm Sand. I applied with my beauty blender over the Primer in this month’s box (read below), and love how this product feels, looks, and even smells. I do prefer more full coverage foundation usually but this is PERFECT for summer days, vacations and easy weekend days! The SPF is super lightweight and has no fragrance itself, but the foundation has a subtle yet bright, crisp smell that I loved while applying in the morning. As expected from Make Up For Ever, this product is fab and in my opinion super similar to the ever-popular IT Cosmetics CC cream but WAY more lightweight, breathable, and natural looking.
  2. Urban Decay Hi-Fi Lipgloss in SPL (Full Size: $20) This “On-trend, iridescent lip gloss that visually plumps while it moisturizes lips” is shimmery-sparkly-pepperminty heaven. I’m not a gloss girl or typically any kind of shimmer (unless it’s neutral eyeshadows) but this gloss is too pretty to not break out of my norm. Wearing alone it looks and feels great, but based on this particular shade I would probably layer over a light/medium pink liquid lipstick to tone it better for my skin. This shimmer has a lot of purples and blues, and I like to warm up my lip color to best suit me.
  3. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Poreless Finish Airbrush Pressed Powder (Full Size: $29) My skin tends to get really oily throughout the day, so I am and always have been on the hunt for great powders. This IT Cosmetics pressed powder has been on my radar for a bit, so I was so excited to get a sample beforehand to see what it’s all about. This “Translucent pressed powder that reduces the look of pores for an airbrushed finish” is so divine, and I can’t wait to get the full size. It is feather light, has great brush pickup unlike some pressed powders, and truly fits the description. The shade “Translucent” was sent and it truly is sheer and gives a flawless finish. I have been wearing this without even using my usual Urban Decay Deslick setting spray, and still stay completely matte. Love love love this and can’t rave enough!
  4. Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector (Full Size: $28) This primer made for a great trio with the foundation and powder in this months box. I started with this primer and love the consistency and how breathable it still feels. This “weightless primer that blurs imperfections and reduces the look of pores” is one of the best primers I’ve tried and I’ll definitely be getting the full size once my sample tube is finished.
  5. Fresh Lotus Face Mask (Full Size: $62) This Fresh face mask is described as a “five-minute facial in a jar that targets dull, rough, and dry skin”, and after a few tries I have to say i’m not all that impressed. I love the Fresh line and although this mask smells great and feels good to apply with the slightly gritty pieces to exfoliate, I just don’t see or feel enough of a difference to buy a full size. I applied according to the instructions and left on for 5 minutes, but personally prefer face masks that can sit on a bit longer and have more dramatic results.

This Month’s Bonus: MIU MIU L’eau Rosée (Full Size: $81)  “Scent Type: Fresh Floral with key notes of blackcurrant, lily of the valley & musk. soft floral with sophisticated musk.” At first try I was not a fan of this, as the musk hit me first and was pretty strong. However even just a few minutes after spraying and the fragrance adjusting to my skin, it smells divine and just keeps getting nicer throughout the day. It’s not as bright and fresh as my go to Chance by Chanel, but this is a nice change and reminds me of the diptyque fragrances with the complex musks.

April Total: $256

Overall I couldn’t be happier with my Play! Boxes so far and have been so impressed with the brands and quality of products you get for so little each month. This month’s bag was a simple and sweet canvas bag that goes along with the theme and says “Make it Snappy”.

Many of these products are really good sizes for just being samples, so I’ve already noticed that my Play! products tend to help supplement my normal makeup routine & purchases. I feel like I am actually making less trips to Sephora just by using my samples with my normal go-to’s; win win! What did you think of your April Play! box? Are any of this month’s products your go-to favorites? Drop a comment below and let me know what your favorites are!

xo,

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